Sunday, August 31, 2008
The appropriate brag badges have been secured and placed on the left.
I'm pretty sure she did this in 2007 also, but we lost those badges in the Great Blogger Change earlier this year.
Speaking of which, I lost several blog-awards-type-thingies during that change-over. If have sent me any brag awards in the past and you'd like to see them back here, please send the code to TheLawDogFiles [æt]gmäïl[døt]çøm.
Do whatever you feel appropriate with the contents -- feed something, throw it away, whatever -- then run a can opener around the bottom so that you have a short, squat cylinder open at both ends, peel the labels off, give 'em a quick scrub in soapy water and then bung 'em into the dishwasher on the 'Pots/Pans' setting.
If you, or a loved one, is particularly squeamish you can always substitute generic tuna cans, but cat food cans are kind of traditional.
4 english muffins
4 large eggs
4 chopped green onions
4 breakfast sausage patties
Couple of big three-finger pinches of shreddy cheese
Crack your eggs into a bowl, add your chopped green onions and the shreddy cheese, and beat well.
Toss your sausage patties onto a hot griddle and cook to your specifications.
Grease the inside of your "egg rings" with butter and place on the griddle. Spoon the egg mixture into the middle of the "egg rings" and cook until done to your satisfaction, turning once.
Split your english muffins and butter the open ends, place on griddle butter side down to toast.
Remove muffins, slide egg/onion/cheese puck in-between the muffin halves, top with a sausage patty.
LawDog's Breakfast Sandwich.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
Thank you all very much, and I'm humbled by your obvious appreciation for my little scribbles.
That being said, I'd like to clear up a couple of misconceptions I've noticed cropping up attached to my story.
No, I didn't steal this story from a British cop. Yes, I do live and work in Texas; and I also use the proper (English) spellings of some words.
I was born and raised overseas and my tutors and teachers were primarily subjects of Great Britain, and this may have coloured my writing style a bit.
I thank everyone for reading this little blog, and I hope to get back up to my old posting frequency as soon as Real Life eases up a bit.
In the meantime, I will be the subject of a BlogTalkRadio interview over at TxFellowship, probably somewhere around the weekend of 14SEP -- assuming zombies don't invade and the creeks don't rise.
Again, thank you very much for reading.
The more I learn of Sarah Palin, the more I find myself willing to vote for that rotten SOB McCain.
I look at a map of Alaska, and two things immediately catch my attention: Russia, on the left side of the map; and Canada on the right. Alaska doesn't have common borders with any other US state. None.
While not exactly widely disseminated, it is no secret that the governors of border states do a lot of diplomatic and international work. The Texas SecState has an entire section titled: Texas Border and Mexican Affairs; the California Governors Office runs Trade Missions in multiple foreign nations, as does the Arizona Dept of Commerce International Business section.
And both Texas and California have only one international border.
All of Alaska's borders are international.
The Alaska Executive branch has an office called, "The Governor's Office of International Trade". Right now, I can't get the link to open, but I'm relatively sure that this office is primarily tasked with doing things ... well ... internationally.
I may be a bit off, but seems to me that Governor Palin has a couple of years of Executive Branch International experience under her belt. Not as much as I'd like, true, but a sight more than some other folks.
On top of all that, Governor Palin has cut government spending in Alaska -- not as much as I'd like, but still -- and she hunts (moose!), fishes, and has worked in the private sector.
Plus, she (allegedly) seems to have had an artistic elbow as point guard and captain of her schools State champion basketball team. (The whole sinking-the-critical-free-throw-in-the-last-seconds-of-the-championship-game-on-a-fractured-ankle just kind of being icing on the cake.)
Yes, this is someone I can vote for.
Monday, August 25, 2008
Which brings us to the Pink Gorilla Suit.
Tucked not-far-enough in the back of the evidence closet was a costume that the S.O. had picked up from somewhere. As the name suggests, this was a gorilla costume, mostly pink.
Now, when I say pink, I don't think y'all quite understand the depth of pinkness we are contemplating here: It was pink, pink. Neon pink. Fluorescent pink. A pink not found anywhere in nature. A pink that, in and of itself, constituted a radiation hazard. A shade of pink which, after a single glimpse, would cause the most flamboyant Mardi Gras costumer to protest that things had gone too far.
Now, bad as this mental picture is, the long-ago insane designer of this suit had apparently decided that having only one eye-searing shade was simply too boring, so this poor unfortunate had added spats, gloves, cuffs, a bow-tie and a top hat.
All very natty, and all very mauve.
We will now pause to give the Gentle Reader enough time to fully digest the Sheer Awfulness that was the Pink Gorilla Suit.
Anyhoo, we had gotten a search warrant. Apparently our Usual Suspects had graduated to Methamphetamine, Distribution Of; and had stashed a functioning meth lab inside a garage apartment out behind the house of, and belonging to, the grandparents of Usual Suspect #3.
Our pre-warrant briefing consisted of The Sheriff reminding us of some of the knottier problems associated with executing a search warrant on a meth lab (most of which seem to involve uncontrolled high-speed random disassembly of various items and/or people) and finishing off with a reminder that the Standard Obscenity Procedure for this sort of thing was to distract the critters long enough for officers to secure the scene without any of what the Sheriff referred to as "fuss and bother."
That's when the Chief Deputy handed me the box containing the Pink Gorilla Suit.
There I was, sulking down the street in front of God and everybody, wearing a neon-pink-gorilla-suit-with-mauve-accouterments over jeans, armour and a pistol, with a search warrant tucked securely in my sleeve, and the Sheriff's exhortations to "Be distracting" ringing in my ears.
Bearing in mind that the search warrant was only for the garage and apartment, and not wanting to find myself in Animal Control's Bad Graces (again) I moped up the steps to the main house and rang the doorbell.
Light footsteps approached the door, followed by a long pause. Then the sound of the footsteps heading away from the door.
I pulled my badge out from the collar of the suit and held it prominently in one paw.
This time the footsteps were accompanied by a heavier tread. I waved my badge at the peep-hole and was rewarded with the door opened just enough for me to be beheld by an extremely suspicious eye.
I tipped my hat (top, mauve in colour) politely, "Afternoon, sir. Sheriff's Office. Pardon the interruption, but we're going to be serving a warrant on your garage and apartment. The Sheriff told me to tell you that he'd take it kindly if y'all would stay inside the house until we got things under control."
"Under control" murmured the gentleman slowly as he opened the door a little more fully, "Are you planning on that there control thing happening any time soon?"
"Can't really tell with this kind of thing, sir. We'll let you know as soon as possible."
Might as well get this over with. I leaned slightly right and looked around the gentleman to the lady of the house, "Ma'am", tip of the hat again, "Mind if I borrow some of your flowers?"
She looked at me, at the innocent tulips on the edge of the walk, and back to me.
"Umm. Go right ahead. You do know that you're ... pink?"
"Hadn't noticed, ma'am" I lied gallantly, while selecting a pair of yellow tulips that set off the mauve spats nicely, "We'll be around back, if you need us."
I trudged back to the street, turned left and walked down to where the driveway from the garage entered the street. The garage sat about twenty feet or so back, with the apartment being the second floor of the structure.
The only ways in or out, were two roll-up garage doors and a people-type door facing me, and the only windows to be seen were on the side facing the street.
I looked around and made sure that I was at the junction of the driveway and the public street, set my top hat securely on the mask, straightened the gloves and spats, took a deep breath ...
... and burst into a full-blown, top-of-the-lungs, you'll-bloody-well-hear-this-one-at-Carnegie-Hall rendition of Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap. While using the tulips as the microphone.
I did the works. Vocals. Back-up vocals. Sound effects. Kinda-sorta instruments. Howling. The whole nine yards.
And, of course, Dirty Deeds has that lovely guitar solo, which lends itself quite nicely to an air-guitar -- excuse me -- tulip guitar performance.
Well, if it didn't, it does now.
Unfortunately, the tulip-guitar solo kind of led into a dance.
It was fairly energetic dance. And maybe a touch expressive...
All right! There was gyrating going on.
However, I do not think that I was doing -quote "The gorilla version of a fan dance" -unquote; I don't think that you can do -quote "Suggestive things with a hat" -unquote when you're wearing a fur suit over armour and that over jeans; and I do take umbrage at the suggestion that I -quote "Gave them the 'Full Monkey'" -unquote.
Anyhoo, I dug down de-eeeep for that final, "YEARGH!", clutched my tulips to my chest with both paws and slowly, dramatically, and with the greatest amount of majesty that can be summoned while wearing a gorilla suit -- fell over backwards onto the gentle grass.
Hell of a performance, if I do say so myself.
So, I lay there, pondering the blameless sky and trying to remember if, at any time during the Academy, any of my instructors had ever mentioned the words, "Pink", "Gorilla" and "Suit" in the same day, much less the same sentence, when over my natty, spat-adorned (mauve in colour) toes, I noticed some faces in the window panel of the garage door.
I was beginning to wonder if maybe my performance was a little too good, when the door opened and the Usual Suspects slipped out to stand just shy of my fuchsia carcass.
Usual Suspect #1: "Dudedudedude, umm, dude, umm, wow."
Usual Suspect #2: "Umm ... it's ... umm ..."
#1: "Dude, this is, like, not good, okay? Not good, dude. You can't stay here, okay?"
#2: "Umm ... its ... ummm ..."
'Pink', I think to myself, 'pink'. The word you're looking for is 'pink'.
#1: "Dude! Top hat! It's not an 'it', it's a 'he'! See the hat?"
At this point, Usual Suspect #3 -- the only female in the group -- stopped gnawing on her thumbnail long enough to vibrate out, "Chickswearhats.Youlikemyhat!"
#2: "Furry! He's ... ummm ... furry?"
Geez. Behind the group, I see the Sheriff, hands in pockets, grass stem between his teeth, stroll nonchalantly into the structure through the door the Usual Suspects had left open. Right behind him, grinning at me, went the Chief Deputy.
Usual Suspect #1 glared at #2: "Dude, he can't help the way he was born. Dude!"
#2: "Umm ... pink. And pink."
Ah-hah! Thinks I.
#1: "Dude, Pinky. Come on, Pinky. Dude, you can't stay here, dude. Oreos! Pinky, dude, oreos in the kitchen, man. Oreos! Let's go get the oreos!"
So saying, #1 and -- after a short pause -- #2 began lifting me up, and as they got their shoulders under my arms, I saw the Sheriff pop out of the garage and give me a thumbs up.
About bloody time.
I reach into my left sleeve, pull out the folded paper, hand it to Usual Suspect #1 and announce, quite firmly, "Sheriff's Office, search warrant."
Usual Suspect #1 stares at me, then his eyes well up with tears, "Dude, dude, ah man. Dude! We're buds, dude!" #2 pivots slowly and begins to oh-so-innocently wander away, only to be corralled and cuffed by the grinning night deputy.
"No, no, dude," offered #1, as I cuffed him, "No! This ain't right, man! You sold out, dude! That's so wrong!"
I turned him around, reached up, pulled that damned gorilla mask off, dropped it on the ground and shook a hot pink finger in his face, "Listen to me."
All three sets of jaws dropped.
"Are you listening? Quit guinea-pigging the product. Seriously."
I was pretty sure that I wasted my breath, given the completely bumfuzzled expression on the face of #1 as he looked from the discarded mask to me and back again; and #2 was just staring at me with his face scrunched up like a monkey doing a math problem.
And then the magnitude of the sheer depravity that local law enforcement was capable of hit Usual Suspect #3.
"... OhmyGawdohmyGawdohmyGawd," she gasped, bouncing up-and-down like a demented jack-in-the-box ...
"... Nonono,youdonunnerstand,nonono!" She took a deep breath, her expression one commonly seen upon the countenance of saints who have just beheld the vilest depths of the utter darkness of the human soul ...
The Chief Deputy was immediately seized by a coughing fit; the Sheriff seemed to find something intensely fascinating in overhead cloud cover whilst rubbing his mustache ferociously; Usual Suspect #1 let out a soul-rending shriek as he fell to his knees, sobbing and nuzzling the discarded gorilla mask, and #3 hurled imprecations and threats in my general direction.
I looked at my fellow peace officers, all finding this to be incredibly funny, gathered my tattered pride and dignity, straightened the bow-tie and spats, extracted my hot pink gorilla mask from #1, tucked it under my arm, announced firmly, "I'm going home, now", turned and began marching down the street ...
... but not before the night deputy slid a comradely arm about my shoulders and said, with steely sympathy: "I know it doesn't feel like this now, but your betrayal was for their own good. Go home. Drown your sorrows in oreos. Things will be better in the morning."
"Oh, you're a right bastard, you are."
As I flicked open my napkin, I heard the male half of the couple in the booth across from mine say -- with a large amount of relief -- "They've got some [deleted] guacamole!"
This caused me to blink, then I looked over at his plate and saw the pile of pale green paste sitting next to some of those fried egg noodles used for thickening soup.
"Self," thought I, "This here is a recipe for unpleasantness" so I said, very gently, "Excuse me, but I believe that is actually wasabi, rather than guacamole."
You know, I was brought up with the understanding that offering unasked-for advice to those who were neither family nor friends just Wasn't Done.
Every once in a while, I am reminded of the wisdom of this.
Gentleman turned to me, and to the evident mortification of his lady said, very softly and in a Not-From-Around-Here accent: "I don't remember asking you a goddamned thing."
"I especially don't need some PC, multicultural, liberal [deleted]wipe telling me what to call something."
I propped my chin in my left hand, feigning an expression of mild interest to cover my right hand casually loosening the lid on the bottle of sriracha sauce, just in case.
"A [deleted] spade is a [deleted] spade and I'm not going to call it a 'ding ding ching how' just because some gook handed it to me." So saying, the gentleman promptly shoveled a large amount of the green paste onto a chip, popped it into his pie-hole and chewed with emphasis.
I'd like to say that I was a big enough man that I didn't smile happily at him when he blinked, coughed, and then shot fluorescent green goo out his left nostril.
But I'd be lying.
If the old boy had a case of the hips towards "multiculturalism", one would have to wonder what the hell he was doing in a Chinese restaurant owned by a Vietnamese clan and employing Mexican cooks to serve Japanese sushi and American BBQ chicken for patrons of various European and African descents? Not to mention insulting a Maltese-American of Scottish and Mohawk ancestry?
Hell, that's practically the United Nations right there.
Apparently a nasal lavage of Japanese horseradish is not conducive to a Proper Dining Experience, because the gentleman and his lady friend left ... probably about the time his vision cleared enough for him to drive.
I am reminded of this nasty little episode because yesterday I was drifting through Intake and guess who was hanging off the bars in the Detox tank slurring threats and curse-words at Detention Staff like an intoxicated gibbon?
I probably didn't help matters much when I stopped and asked him if he'd figured out the difference between guacamole and wasabi yet.
Karma. It's a wonderful thing.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Frankly, I'm not really sure what to think of this story. Mainly because the subject of the story is so astronomically asinine that I truly have a great deal of difficulty fully wrapping my mind around it.
But, we shall make the attempt anyway.
The Dallas Independent School District has decided that their 20% drop-out rate amongst DISD high school freshmen is a wee bit of a problem and have decided to go about fixing things.
To me, the first step in fixing something is usually to find out why it needs fixing.
In this case, apparently 80% of the DISD 2007 class of freshmen scored below the 40th percentile on the Iowa Test of Educational Development in -- you'll be shocked by this, I know -- reading.
Allow me to illustrate this: in 2007, of each 100 freshmen who took this test, 61 of them read better than four out of every five DISD freshmen.
Yet, 98% of DISD freshmen were graduated from 8th grade the previous year.
Gentle Readers, if you can't get 8 out of each ten of your 9th graders to reach at least the mid-level mediocrity of the 50th percentile in reading -- you have a serious problem on your paws.
Period. Full stop. End of discussion.
So. If I were to attempt to fix this problem, I would find out why these incoming freshmen were unable to read -- yet allowed to graduate -- and institute steps to increase reading ability while refusing to allow illiterate students to advance.
Controversial, I know.
Anyhoo, it is readily apparent that I am not an employee for the Dallas Independent School District, because those worthies have decided that what is required is actually something called "effort-based grading".
And what students really need, are "multiple opportunities to demonstrate that they've mastered class material."
CrankyProf, close your eyes.
Check that -- Cranky, you should probably scoot over to some website with a variety of soft music. And kittens. Lots of kittens.
Under "effort-based grading" if a student turns in homework, and the grade received on said homework would lower the students grade point average -- well, that homework grade does not count. Only homework grades that raise the students GPA are to be recorded.
If a DISD student fails an exam, the teacher MUST allow the student to retake the exam, and the higher of the two grades will be the official grade.
If a DISD student misses a deadline on turning in an assignment, the teacher MUST accept the late assignment with no penalty to the student. If the teacher believes that a penalty for late work is appropriate, that teacher must inform the school principal, who will make the decision as to if a penalty is actually appropriate, and if so, the principal will set the penalty.
No DISD student will receive a grade of zero for any reason, unless the teacher contacts the parents of the student, and efforts made to assist the student in completing the work.
A grade of fifty is the lowest grade that may be recorded in a six weeks average for a DISD student.
How is this fuzzy-bunny, cotton-candy-pink happyland bushwa supposed to prepare student to earn a living?
I hate to tell the idiots running the Dallas Independent School District, but Real Life isn't "effort-based".
This is how Dallas prepares our children to compete in the marketplace? In the Global marketplace?
By teaching them that there are no penalties for cocking about? By teaching them that half-arsing a project is just as good as making the effort to do it right the first time?
Several million Chinese children and almost as many Indian children are being taught to excel, taught to succeed, taught to win -- and this is our response?
Why are the citizens of Dallas allowing their DISD superintendent to teach their children to fail?
And why has he not been burned in effigy on the DISD HQ front lawn?
Can someone tell me this?
Good Lord, the things that lady has seen.
She was born in Forreston, Texas in August of 1907. Horses were the primary means of transportation, followed by steam locomotives. There had never been a World War -- much less two -- and the thought was inconceivable.
The telephone had been invented, but none were to be seen in Central Texas for a while. Likewise, the Wright Brothers had flown at Kill Devil Hills some four years earlier, but it would be years after Nana's birth before she and her family would see an aeroplane.
Edison had patented an incandescent light bulb; but Nana can remember seeing her first one.
Indoor plumbing was the exception, rather than the rule, and most families used well-water and detached outhouses for their plumbing needs.
When Nana was born, Theodore Roosevelt was President of the United States, and she's seen seventeen more in the Oval Office. There've been nine Popes, five Monarchs in Great Britain; and the United States consisted of 45 States on the day of her birth, with Oklahoma being admitted to the Union when she was three months old.
She remembers the RMS Titanic going down, as well as the RMS Lusitania, the Spanish 'flu pandemic, the Great Depression and the first permanent Personal Income Tax law in the United States.
I can remember the awe and excitement over Neil Armstrong taking his first steps on the moon, and I wonder if she felt something similar when she heard that Charles Lindbergh crossed the Atlantic? Or when she heard that Robert Peary had reached the North Pole, or when Roald Amundsen found the South Pole?
I remember how things have changed since the Internet came into my home in 1999 -- and I wonder how her life changed with the advent of first radio, and then television? Or the Interstate Highway System?
It makes me wonder if any other generation will ever see as much drastic change as my Nana. If anyone else will effectively go from horse-and-buggy to interplanetary travel? From telegraph to the World Wide Web? Or would want to?
Or -- more importantly -- would another generation handle such drastic change as gracefully as my grandmother?
Happy Birthday, Nana.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
That innocent sentence spent two paragraphs in queue before that little voice in the back of my head said, "Hold on ... what?"
My brother is in the habit of emptying his pocket litter into a little glass bowl on top of the bedroom computer tower after work each day. Amongst said pocket litter is usually a utility knife.
Apparently bandit or bandits unknown have been heisting said utility knives -- to the tune of about four of them -- before sunrise next.
A quick check, and I have discovered that in addition to the above, a Spyderco Delica, a Case Russlock and a Kershaw/Ken Onion Whirlwind are missing from the end table in my room -- along with some other small, shiny, easily moved trinkets.
You know, if I were given to flights of fancy, I might wonder what Ittycat has been telling Thing vis a vis veterinarians and neutering.
Since I am not, I think I'll go find out where those two thieves are stashing their toys.
If I come across a set of Op-Orders signed with a paw-print, though, all bets are off.
Friday, August 15, 2008
According to the always-reliable Mainstream Media, the Harrold Independent School District has become the first in the nation to authorize teachers to carry guns while on school property.
The real money quotes come from the article in the regional newspaper:
By Linda Stewart
For the Times Record News
Friday, August 15, 2008
VERNON (Special) — Harrold school district Superintendent David Thweatt’s recent television coverage of his district’s policy of letting some of his faculty carry handguns failed to tell the whole story, and even suggested that what they are doing is illegal or against school policy.
The idea was researched for about a year and a half before any action was taken to implement the emergency plan. The people involved go through extensive initial training and regular follow-up training, Thweatt said.
The small rural school is located in Wilbarger County just off U.S. 287 between Vernon and Electra. Response time from law enforcement agencies ranges from a minimum of 20 minutes to possibly 30 minutes if a life-threatening or dangerous situation were to arise, Thweatt said.
The superintendent said following much research, asking many hard questions and conferences with state officials, new security measures were implemented.
The district’s school board passed a policy Oct. 22, 2007, that would allow certain faculty members to possess the weapons. Thweatt said the school has about 25 faculty members, including himself.
“Out of that number, from one to 25 of those faculty members has undergone extensive training,” he said. He declined to provide an exact number for security reasons.
Thweatt said the policy approved by the school board requires that each person who has possession of a handgun be approved by the board on an individual basis.
Only those school employees who have obtained and maintain a current license, in accordance with state law, to carry a concealed handgun are eligible to be authorized to possess a firearm on school property, the policy states.
It also said any school employee authorized to possess a firearm on school property shall be provided additional training in crisis intervention and management of hostage situations.
Once approved, participating faculty members undergo specialized training to meet the needs of the school system and are required to participate in ongoing training throughout the year. Those approved must have a concealed handgun in their possession at all times, Thweatt said.
He said faculty members involved were required to take the standard concealed handgun course and additional training for their situation at the school.
“The training they did receive was very intense and very appropriate for our situation,” Thweatt said.
The superintendent said the school didn’t have the resources to pay a police officer or security guard.
Thweatt said the school system has the same magnetic strips used by many courthouses and banks that allow a keyless entry in place for several years. Entry to the school can only be made through one door during school hours.
The school boasts a state-of-the-art security system, he said. Buttons are located in the office areas that will sound an alarm and automatically lock all doors in the school when activated.
The alarms are used only for a dangerous situation that requires a lockdown. An intercom system is used to alert students and faculty of impending tornados, fires, etc. Security cameras are also located throughout the school.
The school is located near Burlington Northern Railroad tracks, and buses are kept ready to load students and head out in the event of a toxic situation involving train traffic, he said.
“What we have done is the best of the best,” Thweatt said. “We are as connected as we can get.”
He said Burkburnett school officials came to look at Harrold’s system and adopted same security system for their buildings.
With help so far away, officials started looking at the state law and discovered that the school board has the power to make whoever they choose within the faculty school police officers.
The superintendent said it’s unfortunate to come to the point to have to take what some might consider drastic measures.
“I think making schools gun-free zones was one of the stupidest things ever done on earth,” Thweatt said.Highlights are, of course, mine.
The thought of the impending aneurysms on the East and Left Coasts actually makes me giggle a bit.
The betting pool is now open on how long it will take for some interfering Statist meddlers to begin sticking their noses off in Harrold -- and Texas -- business.
Welcome to Texas. Now, piffle off and leave us alone.
If anyone would like to drop by and give the Harrold ISD -- and its superintendent -- an "Attaboy", their webpage is here:
On the Harrold ISD homepage linked above, click the "Faculty and Staff" button on the top bar.
On the "Faculty and Staff" page, look to the left. Just under the blue box on the left, you will see a "List and E-Mail" button. Clicking on this will bring up the e-mails of all Harrold ISD staff, with Mr. David Thweatt at the very top.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Or he may have been German, Polish or Hungarian, depending on who's telling the story.
Anyhoo, this courier was riding with dispatches when enemy skirmishers killed his horse. He was apparently a man of some bravery, because he promptly killed several of his attackers with his saddle pistol, before escaping with his papers intact.
On foot, behind enemy lines, the courier continued his mission, being forced to engage more troops with his sword, escaping across a river, before finally delivering the dispatches at a run.
At the 1912 Olympic Games held in Stockholm, Sweden, in honour of this dispatch rider, de Coubertin introduced the Modern Pentathlon.
Little known in the United States, the Modern Pentathlon consists of five events.
Each athlete must complete a 350-450 meter course of 15 jumps on horseback. The horse the athlete uses is provided by the hosting organisation, and the rider first meets his horse 20 minutes before the start of the race.
A rapid-fire pistol course tests the athlete's marksmanship skills. Originally a .22LR on turning targets at 25 metres; in this modern fluffy bunny world, the pistol course is now a .177 air pistol at 10 metres -- 20 shots at 20 targets with 40 seconds allowed per shot.
Swordsmanship is demonstrated by way of the epee, with each athlete fighting a match against every other contender -- first touch ends each match.
The swimming part is demonstrated in a 200 metre free-style swim.
Last, but certainly not least, the 3 kilometre cross-country foot-race. Not a 3000 metre run on track -- the course must be held over open or rough terrain.
Traditionally, the events were held over a four or five day period, however, beginning at the 1996 Games, all five events are completed in one day.
In this years Beijing Games, Pistol starts at 0830 Local Time;
Epee starts at 1000;
Swimming at 1430;
Riding at 1700;
and ending with the Cross-Country Run at 2000 Local Time.
And you think you have a rough twelve hours.
One of the medal contenders in that first Modern Pentathlon was a very young Lieutenant George Patton of the United States. Unfortunately, LT Patton turned in a dismal performance in, of all things, pistol, which knocked him down to fifth place.
Seems he made up for his disappointment by using tanks in his later interpersonal conflicts.
For several decades after 1912 the Modern Pentathlon was limited to military participants, until Lars Hall, a Swedish civilian, won the gold medal at the 1952 Olympiad at Helsinki, Finland.
Stephanie Cook of Great Britain broke the male-only restriction at the 2000 Sydney games in a close-run, finger-nail-biting win in the Women's Modern Pentathlon.
Despite the fact that the Modern Pentathlon was specifically created for the Olympic Games by the father of the Modern Olympics, its future is hazy.
Little known to the general public outside of Eastern Europe, the Modern Pentathlon doesn't draw huge crowds, nor multi-million-dollar endorsements. It is, however, every bit as athletic as any other Olympic sport -- and more so than some.
Mens Modern Pentathlon will be Thursday, Aug 21; and Womens Modern Pentathlon will be the next day.
Hopefully we'll get some decent coverage of the guys and gals before the Modern Pentathlon fades into history in favour of Doubles Basketweaving, or somesuch Politically Correct, no-icky-guns, non-violent, anti-militaristic bushwa.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
While I am not exactly sure of the exact reason for my disillusionment, but I have the feeling that a great deal of it involves the commercialized egos that have sprung up.
And I'm not talking about the athletes -- although that idiot who wore the gold running shoes when every other Olympian was wearing standard colours shows that individual arrogance and egotism is alive and well -- but rather I am speaking of the Olympiad as a whole.
The Olympics are about amateur athletes going "Faster, Higher, Stronger" -- supposedly -- but to me everything around the Olympics has become another NBA or NFL or MLB revenue machine where sportsmanship and honour are sacrificed on the altar of the Almighty Dollar in favour of the money-generating Bad Boy attitudes and antics.
Only with funny accents.
And that's really a shame, because I have always enjoyed the Olympics.
The Beijing Games, though, have reignited my interest.
For the first time I was given the opportunity to watch the fencing team work their hearts out -- and I cheered as the American team swept Bronze, Silver and Gold in Women's sabre.
Watching tiny Montenegro's scrappy Men's Water Polo team force powerhouse Hungary into a 10 - 10 draw was as exciting and nail-biting a contest as I have ever seen; and while the USA Women's Beach Volleyball team is going through opponents like they're not even there -- they are doing it with style and they are gracious in victory.
And I shrieked loudly enough to set the dogs howling as the American swim team served the trash-talking French a heaping helping of crow in the 4X100 relay. (There may have been some popcorn tossed at the TeeVee set, too.)
It is good to enjoy the Olympics again.
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
Little brat spots a camera and he's gone.
So. I have scoured the Intarwebz to find a 'representative' picture of him -- and voila! Not only have I found a picture of a different cat that closely resembles Thing physically, but it is also a stunningly accurate view into his personality.
Behold, by way of ICHC:I give you what has to be the twin brother of Thingol the Kittenator.
Monday, August 04, 2008
I won't say that this series is brain candy -- because the books are far better crafted than mere fluff -- but for me they are the mental equivalent of comfort food.
I've seen critics of Butcher's work lambaste him for being 'simplistic', but I have to wonder if they're reading the same books I am. Or if they remember that they're being paid to read books, not skim them.
Butcher paints incredibly detailed places, things, and events; weaves them together with a suspense plot and then adds a liberal dash of three-dimensional characters before giving the whole thing a quarter-turn widdershins.
He always has Good Guys; and he always has Bad Guys -- and most of the time you can't tell which ones are which -- but the Good Guys win in the end. Much like a Bogart movie. Which is probably explains a great deal of their attraction for me.
There are plenty of books out there which have some kind of point to make -- philosophical, creative, social, whatever -- books which aim to make the reader Think About Things. And I have read my fair share of them, and will continue to do so.
However, sometimes you just want the literary equivalent of a ginormous bowl of beef stew, with a thick slab of home-cooked bread on the side, and a Guinness.
Plus, who can resist such throw-away lines as:
"Maybe I'd been shut away in my lab too long, but Spenser never mentions that Mab has a great ass.
So I notice these things. So sue me."
Anyhoo, I was banging around the Internets, drifted by Butcher's homepage and noticed that there's a new Harry Dresden book coming out.
"Ah-hah!" thinks I. And then I read the tag-line:
"When Morgan shows up on Harry's doorstep, broken, bleeding, and begging for protection from the Wardens, Harry finds himself at odds with the White Council yet again.
To be released in hardcover from Roc publishing, April 2009."
Warden Morgan is one of those characters that you admire while simultaneously wanting nothing so much as to whack him across the back of the bonce with a lead sap, drag his unconscious body into a dark alley, and work him over with a rubber hose for a couple of weeks.
And I've got to wait until next year to see what happens.
Had I known -- at the time -- that the officer from whom I borrowed said face mask had a romping case of chicken pox ... well, I probably would have put up with the pepper spray.
Up until that winter day I had never had chicken pox. My father had caught it twice as an adult, and his descriptions of those experiences had instilled in me a fervent desire to keep my fuzzy non-juvenile butt as far away from it as humanly possible.
Unfortunately, as we have steadfastly maintained here at The LawDog Files, Old Man Murphy hates my guts. Personally.
Ten to twenty days later, I spend four days in the hospital. Journal entry around that time reads:
"Advice for further consideration: If you're going to pass out in a hospital, do not choose the hospital located in your Nana's hometown.
If you can not accomplish the above, do not pass out in the hall outside Reception, ER, Outpatient Clinic, Patient Services, and/or Billing.
If following the previous guidelines are right out, endeavour not to hit the deck face-first.
And last, but certainly not least, should you feel it necessary to do the above events, do not fail to wear your own pajamas.
Side note: Skimpy, draft-butted, open-backed, hospital gowns are the Tool of De Debbil and are Never To Be Worn. Ever. Again.
Yes, children, the Dog has managed to moon half the congregation of the First Baptist Church, the Pastor, two Little Sisters of Charity, Nana's oldest best-friend, and most of the offensive line of the local High School Girl's Volleyball Team. And their mascot.
Gawd. Take me now."
One of the highlights of that little experience was my doctor holding up a set of my chest x-rays, watching both of her eyebrows shoot up into her hairline, and her saying, "Hmph."
"Chest x-ray once a year from now on. Maybe twice."
Since then, any type of bug that I get inevitably winds up taking a sabbatical in my lungs. Head cold? Pneumonia. Ear infection? Double pneumonia. Hell, my last bout with Plain Olde Sinusitis wound up with the bugs trying to pull a Rorke's Drift off in the old air box.
So, last weeks mild case of food poisoning?
Okay, bad, bad mental image, but, yes, hello, hacking cough and welcome, Levofloxacin.
But, I'm better today.
Saturday, August 02, 2008
Five dollars to save the sweater kittens, Gentle Readers. The cost of one fast food combo meal -- plus, you just might go home with a beatemous pink AR15.
I call that a "win-win" situation.
On 31JUL I received the following e-mail:
Your blog at: http://thelawdogfiles.blogspot.com/ has been identified as a potential spam blog. To correct this, please request a review by filling out the form at http://www.blogger.com/unlock-blog.g?lockedBlogID=22957834
Your blog will be deleted within 20 days if it isn't reviewed, and you'll be unable to publish posts during this time. After we receive your request, we'll review your blog and unlock it within two business days. If this blog doesn't belong to you, you don't have to do anything, and any other blogs you may have won't be affected.
We find spam by using an automated classifier. Automatic spam detection is inherently fuzzy, and occasionally a blog like yours is flagged incorrectly. We sincerely apologize for this error. By using this kind of system, however, we can dedicate more storage, bandwidth, and engineering resources to bloggers like you instead of to spammers. For more information, please see Blogger Help: http://help.blogger.com/bin/answer.py?answer=42577
Thank you for your understanding and for your help with our spam-fighting efforts.
The Blogger Team
P.S. Just one more reminder: Unless you request a review, you won't be able to use your blog. Click this link to request the review: http://www.blogger.com/unlock-blog.g?lockedBlogID=22957834
I noted several things about this e-mail -- one of which was that the e-mail was sent to my TheLawDogFiles-at-g-mail-dot.com address.
Since my account here at Blogger (and this blog, which is, obviously, part of the account) uses a totally different e-mail address ... I would have thought that the folks at Blogger would not only have known this, but would have had access to my account e-mail.
Since the notification came to the public -- and blind -- e-mail address located prominently on the front page of my blog, I figured it was a clumsy attempt at phishing for personal information, or my Blogger account details.
Because, you know, if the Staff at Blogger needed to contact med about my account/blog, they'd use my official account/blog e-mail in their records, right?
Shows what I know.
Got in from work last night, log in to the old blog -- and I find a chirpy little note informing me that posting to my blog has been locked due to it being a spam blog. If a mistake had been made, the note went on to say, then I should click on a link, and my blog would be reviewed with posts allowed after a review which would take place sometime in the next two working days.
Until then, sayeth the note, I could save 'Drafts' of any posts -- which could be posted after the review -- in two working days -- and ... if ... my blog was determined not to be, in fact, a spam blog.
This front page notice is about as much explanation as Blogger apparently deems appropriate for this kind of situation.
You know, renting some web-space and setting up The LawDog Files someplace free from the foibles and whims of a faceless someone else is starting to look pretty good about right now.