Sunday, December 27, 2009

"Quickly, Watson, get your service revolver!"

Took Chris and LawMom out to see the new Sherlock Holmes movie today; and we all three loved it.

Is this movie an accurate depiction of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous literary invention? That depends.

If you are a fan of the Sherlock Holmes of the books, then yes. If you are a fan of the Hollywood version of the detective -- then no.

This is going to come as a shock to some folks, but Basil Rathbone was a lousy Sherlock Holmes.

Sir Arthur penned a Sherlock Holmes who was a young man -- probably in his late twenties, but no older than mid-30's -- who was a genius, yes, but also manic-depressive.

In "A Study In Scarlet", Sir Arthur -- through Dr. Watson -- described how Holmes would be seized by melancholia and would lie upon his sofa, in the dark, for days without speaking or moving; in other stories, Holmes would be "seized by an intensity" and go for days without eating or sleeping, until he fainted.

He is -- as written by Doyle -- an eccentric, who kept his unanswered mail nailed to the mantel with a pen-knife; his tobacco stored in the toe of a shoe; and his cigars in a coal-bin.

He is an addict, who self-medicates his depression with a 7% solution of IV cocaine, with occasional forays into morphia use.

He is also a prize-fighter. In "The Sign of the Four" McMurdo, a retired prize-fighter of some renown is acting as a servant to a house. He refuses to allow Holmes and company into the house because he doesn't know them, until Holmes announces that he is shocked that McMurdo doesn't recognize Holmes as the amateur who went three rounds with him at a fighting club in London. McMurdo responds that if Holmes had stepped up and hit him with his right cross to the jaw, McMurdo would have immediately recognized him; and goes further to announce that Holmes had wasted his fighting skills by not becoming a professional.

And I think my earlier post regarding "Baritsu" covers stick-fighting and such.

As for Watson, Arthur Conan Doyle wrote Dr. John H. Watson as a survivor of the Second Anglo-Afghan War, where he was injured by a jezzail bullet during the Battle of Maiwand. While not a genius (as is Holmes), Watson is not only intelligent enough to solve mysteries himself (The Hound of The Baskervilles), but astute enough to easily follow Holmes' reasoning.

Capable and courageous, Watson was a ladies man, a combat veteran of a particularly nasty war, a respected medical professional, a gentleman of the Victorian Age and a crack shot whom Holmes regarded as his best friend and trusted as his back-up for 56 published adventures and uncounted others from 1887 to 1914.

He was neither a bumbler nor a fool, and he was definitely not an incompetent as Hollywood has tended to portray him.

If you are a fan of the Sherlock Holmes of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's books, then go see this movie.

If you are a fan of the Hollywood Sherlock Holmes, go see Avatar.

If you are a Hollywood movie critic who claims that a pugilistic Sherlock Holmes isn't "faithful to Doyles vision" then I'd like to make one little comment:

You're supposed to read books, not eat them.


Thursday, December 24, 2009


In 1893, an English civil engineer by the name of Edward William Barton-Wright went to work for the E.H. Hunter Company in Japan.

While there, Barton-Wright studied jiu-jitsu and Kodakan Judo, before returning to England in 1898.

Once in England, Barton-Wright took what he had learned of those two Japanese martial arts, and combined them with English pugilism to form what he called "The New Art of Self-Defence".

While teaching this pragmatic art, Barton-Wright met Swiss Master-At-Arms Pierre Vigny, who introduced Barton-White to the French art of Savate Dèfense and Vigny's own variation of Canne d'Arme which used walking sticks and umbrellas.

Barton-Wright called this early mixed martial art "Bartitsu" (a portmanteau of the words "jiu-jitsu" and "Barton") and taught it to a great many people in London -- including women. Which was definitely a first for the time.

Unfortunately, E.W. Barton-Wright wasn't very skilled as a promoter, and although he is rumoured to have continued training and development of Bartitsu until the early 1920's, for all intents and purposes Bartitsu ended in 1903 with the closing of Barton-Wright's Bartitsu Club in London.

Bartitsu might have vanished forever, except that an author -- who occasionally published articles in Pearson's Magazine alongside the articles of Barton-Wright -- happened to pen some books about a bloke who liked to solve mysteries and who was well-trained in an art of self-defence called "baritsu".

We don't know if "bartitsu" was mis-spelled because of copyright issues, or mis-remembering, typographical error or a goof-up on the part of the editor -- but we do know that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's most famous detective was thoroughly acquainted with the eclectic mix of savate, judo, boxing, wrestling, cane-fighting and street-scrapping that is the legacy of E.W. Barton-Wright.


Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Sometimes I think the previews are the best part of the whole theatre-going experience; mostly because I think that not only do they show the best parts of the movie, but the movie I make in my head is ever-so-much better than anything Hollywood is going to turn out.

For example:

The scene is a placid street in a small town in West Texas. A nattily-dressed man gets out of a rental car and, carrying a large case, walks up to the front door of Rancho LawDog.

The doorbell is rung, and answered by a man of average height with what looks like a plastic orange rodent stapled to his upper lip.


"Mr LawDog, I have a proposition for you. May I come in?"

Against his better instincts, LawDog allows the man into his sanctum sanctorum, and even brews a cup of tea.

"Mr LawDog," says the nattily-dressed man, opening the case to reveal a Black Box With A Big Red Button, "If you press this button two things will happen. The first is that I will give you a million dollars. The second is that a random stranger, someone whom you do not know, will die."

"Pull the other one, mate, it's got bells on."

"I assure you, Mr. LawDog, I am quite serious."

"You're going to kill someone who's a complete and total stranger to me, so that I can have a million dollars."

"No, Mr. LawDog, you are going to kill a total stranger so that you can have a million dollars."

"Oh. Did you happen to mention your name?"

"No, Mr. LawDog, that information is not necessary for this transaction to be completed."

"Sooo ... basically, you're a complete and total stranger?"

"Yes, what does that ..."

Two forty-calibre gunshots ring out, and the nattily-dressed man convulses and slides off the sofa to the floor. LawDog pinches the bridge of his nose and heaves the mighty sigh of a man beset by the tribulations of the world, then rises and steps around the coffee table. A third shot rings out. Always pay the insurance.

Keeping the muzzle of his pistol trained upon the corpse in his living room, LawDog weasles his cell-phone out of his pocket and hits speed-dial.

"Tole's Mule Barn, head jackass speaking."

"Hey, brother, you wouldn't happen to have any of that quicklime left, would you?"

"Sure do. Need it?"

"Yeah, and if you could bring a shovel with it, I've got a beer for you."

"Aw, crap. Again?"

"Yeah. Figure we'd stick him under the gardenias."

"Not unless you moved the Cthulu cultists from last month."

"Oh. Nuts. Hmm. You got any room in the wife's herb garden?"

"Nope. Had a pack of Jesuit ninja assassins through Friday evening. One of these days they're going to realize that this thing is a hammered leaf-spring wired to a broom-handle by a Pakistani blacksmith and then there's going to be some red faces at the Vatican."

"I wondered why I kept running over throwing stars with the lawnmower this weekend." Ruminative pause. "Suppose we could stick him in the rutabaga patch with the mummy."

"Sounds good ... ohh ... better double the hole."

"What? Why?"

"You got a Spooky Henchman lurking in your driveway."

"What? Hell! I'm up to my elbows in parts here! What sort of of bargain-basement creeps are they minting these days?! Can't even wait a courteous amount of time ..."

"Relax. I'll get him on the way over. Need anything else?"

"Nah. 'Preciate it, bro."

End Movie.

See? Much better than anything Hollywood turns out these days.


Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Curses! Foiled again!


The scene: A teeny-tiny office in North Texas. A map of the United States covers one wall, and LawDog is currently measuring a route betwixt Bugscuffle, Texas and PaddlefasterIhearbanjos, NotTexas.

LawDog: "muttermuttermutter."

Enter, stage left, Baby Officer, snarfing a Cretaceous honey bun, recently excavated from the depths of the office snack vending machine.

Baby Officer: "Whatchadoin'?"

LawDog: "We're picking up one of our critters in some godforsaken hole in a corner of NotTexas that I've never been, so I want to have a good feel for the route. You do realize that honey buns aren't supposed to -- you know -- crunch?"

Baby Officer (crunching happily): "I'm young, I gotta cast-iron stomach. You do know that the Sheriff bought a GPS for these trips, right?'

LawDog: "Yes, I did hear that. Weren't you using said GPS unit when you went to Tyler by way of Waco last year?"

Baby Officer (shrugging): "Nah, that was one of your fellow dinosaurs. He didn't enter the destination information properly -- Garbage In, Garbage Out."

LawDog: "I like my maps. Look, they're even laminated."

Baby Officer (rolling eyes): "Okay, Lewis Clark, have it your way. I'll go grab the paperwork and the vehicle."

LawDog (yelping at Baby Officers retreating back): "AND Clark! Lewis AND Clark! Two different people!"

Scene closes with LawDog firmly removing the Garmin GPS unit from it's Cordura case, lofting it into the open filing cabinet, and authoritatively slamming the file shut while muttering sulphurously.


The scene: The interior of a standard police cruiser, some distance away from the Bugscuffle County Sheriff's Office. LawDog is in the shotgun seat, staring in disbelief as Baby Officer manages (more or less) to drive, text on a cell phone, and pound down a 64-oz Cappuccino Mongo Shake from Giblets Coffee House and Cafe -- all at the same time.

Baby Officer (attempting to lick the last bits of sugary caffeine goodness from the bottom of the half-gallon barrel): "Ey! Eb geb Gee Pee Ess oug!"

LawDog: "That's not a feed-bag and the last drop will do fine without you. I swear to Shiva -- when your heart jumps out of your chest and starts vibrating down the road, I am not picking it up. Now what did you say, in English this time?"

Baby Officer (slightly manic grin): "Whoo, that's good stuff. Pass me the Garmin, wouldja? Hey! It's not in here!"

LawDog (piously): "Goodness. I do believe this here is a Teaching Opportunity in the Arcane Art of LandNav. Now, this here is what we call 'a map'..."

Baby Officer: "Hold on, I got the GPS app for my iPhone. Give me a sec ... yep ... here it is ... how do you spell, 'PaddlefasterIhearbanjos' ... dude, stop banging your head on the dashboard!"



Sunday, December 06, 2009


I was down in Houston the other day, bored out of my skull, so I hie'd myself over to the local bookstore for some brainfood.

Is it just me, or has the fantasy section been over-taken by a large number of not-really-heavily-armed ladies, most dressed in mini-skirts and/or lace camisoles, or the like -- all fighting vampires?

I'm all for the fantasy genre attracting more readers of the distaff persuasion, but from my brief perusal of the back covers, I get the idea that a lot of these books seem to be cookie-cutter versions of the same basic plot (Harlequin Romance meets Buffy the Vampire Slayer, minus the humour.)

Is that about right?


Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

On this day, I am thankful for my health, I am thankful for my family, and I am thankful for my friends.

Everything else is just details.

Have a happy Thanksgiving, my friends. Eat well, laugh often and never miss a chance to hug and kiss those you love.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thought for the day

One of the duties of a best friend should be to immediately delete the 'History' folder on your computer upon your death.

Just saying.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month ...

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Please join me in two minutes of silence at 11:00 this morning.


Monday, November 09, 2009

Best. Blogmeet. Ever! Part the First

Miss Fatale and I headed towards Blogarado on Friday from Bugscuffle, but due to work-related delays, had to overnight in Amarillo, arriving at the shooting pit noon-ish on Saturday.

OldNFO, AEPilotJim and Farmdad had set up a pistol range with poppers, falling steel, and paper; a rifle range with a half-size steel silhouette at 240 yards, and paper at shorter distances; and the piece de resistance: fifty-five-gallon drums at 500 and 950 yards.

And the guns. OhMyGawd, the guns.

I was admiring the falling plates when someone stuck a revolver in my paw and gestured downrange. When the damage was done, I looked down at the pistol I had been shooting with wild abandon to discover that I held a Smith and Wesson Five Screw Hand Ejector.

No wonder the trigger was so nice.

You name it, it was probably fired -- including the Internet's Most Famous Bersa.

Towards the end of the day, AEPilotJim pulled me to one side and revealed a small plastic jar of black and white granular substance. Much chortling ensued as we stealthily secreted the jar in an inoffensive red picnic cup and placed it on top of a blue barrel located at the hundred-yard rifle line, then we went to the three newest female shooters and innocently invited them to participate in the "time-honoured" ritual of "just shooting a cup of red Jello-O. Makes a nice red mist to mark the end of the day's festivities, don't you know".

I may have to work on my innocent expression, because all three of them regarded me with great suspicion ... but they came to the rifle range; where we put them on various scoped pretties and let them fire at will at the red cup.

Breda was the one to nail the cup full of Tannerite, producing an absolutely wonderful, tooth-rattling "BOOM!" and knocking the barrel arse-over-tincups to the equally-thunderous cheers and applause of the spectators.

Followed by Breda asking -- confusedly -- "Did I hit it?"


Shooting was followed by some of the best gravy on the face of God's little green dirtball -- and some chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and so forth, all washed down with home-brewed beer and story-telling.

Sunday to follow.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Warrior Song

"The Warrior Song" is a chesty piece of music which reminds me of the cadences we used to sing when I was going through Basic Training, lo these many decades ago.

Cocky, arrogant, proud -- it glorifies those who fight war, and as such, it will not appeal a lot of folks.

Probably including most of Congress these days.


I think it's fantastic.

It is dedicated to every member of the United States Armed Forces, past and present

If you like it, you can buy a copy from iTunes at 99 cents a pop - and any profits derived from such sales will go directly to the Armed Forces Relief Trust.

If you are currently on active duty with the US Armed Forces, send them an e-mail and they'll send you a free copy.

Even if you don't like the music, the money goes to a truly worthy cause.


Sunday, October 25, 2009

See. This. Movie.


Chris and I went to see this movie, laughed ourselves silly, then took Reno and Tole to see it.

There is some gore -- it is, after all, a zombie movie -- but less than some others I've seen recently, and there's quite a bit of cussing and swearing, but other than a brief shot of a set of pasties, there's no nudity.

There are, however, guns galore, including some brief scenes of what I think might be an HK MP7; and you will gain a whole new appreciation for the fine art of the double-tap.



Sunday, October 18, 2009

My last two weeks at work in one picture:

funny pictures of cats with captions

Sometimes I get to be the cat, but more often these days I seem to wind up as the guy in the box.


I wonder if Coeur d'Alene is hiring?


Tab 'A' goes bloody where?!

Dad inherited in full measure the Scottish instinct for engineering combined with the Mohawk flair for construction. An admirer of his once remarked that you could "Put Jim on a desert island with three monkeys and a hammer; come back in six months, and he'd have two ships in the water and a variant model on the production line."

He never came across something he couldn't build (or tear down). And what was happily referred to as "Ethnic Engineering" was a particular specialty of my father's -- I have fond memories of a white-faced MIT School of Engineering graduate having to sit down abruptly after coming face-to-face with what Dad had done to an oil-derrick with gaffer-tape, baling wire, and thirty feet of bamboo.

Anyhoo, any child of my father ought to be able to suss out a Made-In-China shelf kit in less than an hour.



Friday, October 09, 2009

Barack Hussein Obama was sworn into the office of the President of the United States on January 20th of this year.

The Nobel Committee ceased taking nominations on February 1st. Same year.

Now, check my math, but I believe that is about eleven (11) days -- more or less.

Prior to being President, Barack Obama had a fairly normal run as a Federal Senator -- some more lustrous, some less so -- and before that he was a State Senator and a "community organizor".

*blink, blink*

Eleven days.


Tuesday, October 06, 2009


I was stunned today to discover that my good friend Peter, from Bayou Renaissance Man, went and had hisself a bit of a cardiac rodeo.

The good news is that -- apparently -- the incipient infarction was caught fast enough that no heart muscle died.

The bad news is that he's about to become Good Friends with Mr. Triple Bypass -- first thing tomorrow morning, apparently.

Folks, if you could take a brief moment out of your day to send good thought to a good man, I'd surely appreciate it.


Monday, October 05, 2009

Heroes are where you find them

Peter over at Bayou Renaissance Man remembers a friend.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Public Service Announcement

Ladies, if I can tell from the far side of the courtroom that your G-string is tuned to A -- your outfit probably violates part, or all, of the "Acceptable Court Wear" memo posted at the courtroom door by the Judge.

Plus, District Court is not a place to wear that cute little number that you bought for the nightclub, the beach, or any place where the major architectural features are limited to a stage and a brass pole.

And -- as we have learned -- just because you aren't the one on trial, doesn't mean that you can't catch Contempt of Court charges.

Now we know. And knowing is half the battle.


Sunday, September 20, 2009

For my Gentle Readers of the Medical Persuasion ...

... I give you The Laryngospasms!

AD, why does the video immediately make me think of you?



Friday, September 18, 2009

Of Advice, To A Stranger

Oh, I know what you're thinking: What advice can I -- a man comfortably in his fourth decade -- offer to one such as yourself, not even twenty years on this little green dirtball, and thus vastly more knowledgeable in the ways of this wicked, wicked world?

Never-the-less, do allow me to try.

I shall not attempt to advise you that, when using expectorant as a condiment upon a customers hamburger, one really shouldn't go for the Deep Lung Hork. While it is a loud enough -- not to say distinctive enough -- noise to elicit giggles from your co-workers, only persons of the late-teens/early twenties age-group are cunning enough to recognise that noise as an indication that Things May Be Afoot.

Likewise, far be it for me to point out to you the tactical -- nay, strategic -- difficulties involved in Saying It With Saliva at a cook station fully open to the view of the cash registers. And the people at said cash register. I bow to your Youthful Treachery, sir.

In the same vein, only a naif would fail to understand that it is only the most wonderful of coincidences that the customer whose food you are so sublimely spicing is the same middle-aged man to suddenly point out of the window and exclaim that person, or persons, unknown are -- and I quote, "Messing with your car, man!"

How a complete and total stranger would know which conveyance is yours, or to even care that it is being "messed with", is a testament to your cunning, Young Sir, but bless this most naive of your elders for bringing this to your notice and allowing you to rush outside to interrupt the "messing with".

No, the advice I offer this fine fall afternoon involves the simple white cotton handkerchief.

If you were to get into the habit of carrying one of these items on your person at all times, you would find it of remarkable utility: one could dust off a seating place, hand it to a damsel to allow her to blot tears, or even to blow ones nose -- although it appears that you have that process well in hand, so to speak.

Or you might even be able to use it to staunch that crimson gush spewing from your afore-mentioned snot-locker like the Devil's own fire hose.

Just some advice.

By-the-by, I was truly inspired by the way you pounded that middle-aged man's knuckles with your face. You brilliantly displayed The Stuff Of Which You Are Made. Bravo, sir. Bravo.

Nothing but love,


Saturday, September 05, 2009

For your viewing pleasure: more "right-wing rage".

By way of Gentle Reader sru132:

You know, according to the Leftist Conventional Wisdom, this probably counts as "astroturfing", and should be considered prima facie evidence that I'm receiving a cheque from the Republican National Committee.

RNC must have my mailing address wrong, because so far I've not received one brass farthing.

Stingy buggers.


They won't let me.

A Nony Mouse opines:

"If you don't want government run health care, then kindly refuse to participate in government run retirement - Social Security. While you're at it, make sure you don't enroll in Medicare too."

Unfortunately, refusing to pay the FICA payroll tax (funds both Social Security and Medicare) winds up with humour-impaired people with big guns showing up at your house with a Federal Arrest Warrant.

Something about "tax evasion" -- which the Federal Government appears to take altogether too seriously.

Otherwise you think I wouldn't refuse to participate? Hell, yes, I would refuse -- I'd take that money that the government currently steals out of my paycheck and invest it my own damn self.

Not only would I actually receive the benefits of MY OWN SODDING MONEY, but I'd avoid those pesky little "Flemming v. Nestor" problems.

Thank you for playing, though.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

In other news ...

... Senator Edward "Ted" Kennedy became eligible yesterday to vote in Chicago. And New Orleans.

Mary Jo Kopechne was unavailable for comment.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ladies and gentlemen ...

... the Constitution of the United States of America.

Learn it, live it, love it.

It is the Founding Document of the great Nation in which we live, and it is the fountain-head -- the sole source -- of the powers, rights, duties, obligations and responsibilities of the Government, to wit:

The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;

To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;

To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;

To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;

To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;

To establish Post Offices and post Roads;

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;

To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;

To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;

To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;

To provide and maintain a Navy;

To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;

To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;

To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;

To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And

To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

I don't see one sodding thing in there regarding the power of Congress to establish and maintain a national health-care program.

The President shall be Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States, and of the Militia of the several States, when called into the actual Service of the United States; he may require the Opinion, in writing, of the principal Officer in each of the executive Departments, upon any Subject relating to the Duties of their respective Offices, and he shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offences against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment.

He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.

The President shall have Power to fill up all Vacancies that may happen during the Recess of the Senate, by granting Commissions which shall expire at the End of their next Session.

He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

I don't see one bloody snippet in there regarding the power of the President to establish and maintain a national health-care system.

I don't give one sweet damn if the thousand pages of Obamacare were actually the Lost Dead Sea Scroll, or if the idea came straight from the lips of Odin All-Father Himself -- if the Constitution doesn't authorize Congress to do it, it is unlawful, it is illegal, and it is treachery.

You want Government-run Universal Health-care -- then you Amend the Constitution to allow Congress to do it -- the instructions for the Amendment process are listed and enumerated in Article Five of that document.

For the best part of my adult life, Congress and the various Presidents of this Union have, at best, ignored the Constitution, and, at worst, actively crapped on it.

And I am Sick. And. Tired. Of. It.

No more. My line is here.

You want Government-run National health-care? You do it right -- you get the Constitution amended to allow Congress that power.

Until then -- go to hell.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

For that which you are about to receive, may you be truly grateful.

The name of the Marine is David William Hedrick, at least, according to the information sidebar at the YouTube site.

And I do believe that I owe Mr. Hedrick a beer.

God bless the USMC.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight?

We here at Rancho LawDog are somewhat irritated -- but by no means surprised -- to discover that President Obama has decided to utilize sermons and the altar to give his badly damaged healthcare plan a moral boost.

On the morning of Wednesday the 19th of August, in a call conveniently left off of the White House schedule, President Obama asked about a thousand Jewish rabbis -- currently preparing the sermons and messages for the High Holy Days -- to include an appeal for universal health care in their homilies from the altar during this most holy of times.

This call to the rabbis -- intended to be off-the-record -- was Twittered by several of the attending rabbis.


I have to wonder -- as I sit here contemplating Thomas Jefferson's Separation of Church and State -- how some folks would have reacted had other (previous) Presidents attempted to use the sermon, the pulpit, and Sunday morning church service to push their political agendas.

Especially if these other Presidents had arranged for secret, off-the-record, sub rosa phone meetings to convince religious leaders to work political goals into the preaching, lecturing, proselytizing and Religious Text Of Your Choice-banging.

I'd like to think that those Certain People who would have absolutely lost their minds in an Internet apoplectic fit had prior Presidents attempted to do this thing, would have the same reaction now that our current President has done it.

I'd like to think that, I really would -- but I won't be holding my breath.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Darth LawDog demands an end to this buffoonery

I like tortilla soup.

Matter-of-fact, a good chicken tortilla soup is one of my comfort foods, so I was damned near ecstatic when LawMom called me to say that she had sampled the tortilla soup at Cheddars, and that it had passed muster.

So, after a particularly nasty day at work, I trundled into The Big City for a nice bowl of chicken-y goodness.

'Bout my fourth spoonful -- om nom nom -- and I notice a distinct green tint to the mass occupying the bowl of the spoon, and I decide that Cheddars is generous with the avocado ...

... and then I bite into it.

The texture was ... wrong. And not just a little bit wrong, I mean football bat wrong.

Probably because it was a tree of broccoli.

Yes, I realize that chunks of broccoli are properly referred to as "florets", but there was a bloody partridge hiding amongst the branches on this one.

"Okay, self," I say to my self, "Probably just a stray lost piece of broccoli fell into the soup tureen -- odd, but worse things happen."

And then I came up with Broccoli Tree #2. I'm of the impression that this one had a tyre swing dangling from one of the branches, but I might be mistaken.

Folks, I hate broccoli. And somehow I don't think broccoli is native to Mexico. Or Mexican cooking.

I realize that broccoli is cheap. And the fact that it is allegedly healthy probably eases the old conscience of folks what use the bloody plant as filler.

But, for Freyja's sake, some food is sacrosanct! Mexican food should not be contaminated by broccoli!

When my legions of flying monkeys complete my quest for World Domination, anyone caught sneaking broccoli into non-broccoli-type food will be summarily defenestrated.



Tuesday, August 18, 2009

And yet ... no one got hurt.

The left side of Blogworld is buzzing a bit about the recent instances of armed citizens carrying firearms at rallies protesting the Government in general, and some policies in particular.

We have noticed that in each and every case to date, the rifles have remained slung and the pistols have remained in their holsters; no shots were fired, no one was muzzle-swept, and everyone went home.

As might be expected, I think.

The Brady Bunch, as usual, is all up in a tizzy. As I refuse to link to those parasites, Gentle Readers will have to use Google to find their own links. Suffice it to say, Little Sarah One-Note's sock puppets are their usual hysterical selves.


There is a theory that explains that gun-grabbers hate guns so passionately because they are afraid of what they would do if allowed unfettered access to firearms -- and they think everyone else has the same uncontrolled urges.

In other words, Paul Helmke doesn't trust himself around guns, therefore he doesn't trust me with them, either.

I used to think that was an all-together simplistic answer for a complex problem.

These days -- I don't know. I've seen less poo flung in the primate house at the Dallas zoo than at some gun-grabbers press conferences (metaphorically speaking. I think.)

Ah, well.


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Mental rabbit chase

During the last Presidential ruckus, various folks were exposed to the whacky world of citizenship as it relates to the ability to run for the office of POTUS.

Part of that ruckus involved the Senate passing a resolution declaring that Senator McCain was a natural-born citizen, an act that I found to be completely unnecessary and little more than a "bread-and-circus" act for the gratification of the Public.

It was only later, during a informal debate with a political figure that I learned -- to my horror -- that it appears that most law-makers were actually taking that resolution seriously.

When I pointed out that the First Congress of the United States had actually put that question to rest some centuries back, this lawmaker was flabbergasted.


I hereby offer to sponsor the 28th amendment to the United States Constitution: "The possession of a law degree hereby bars the person so possessing that degree from holding any elected office at the Federal level, as does the possession of a degree in political science."

We've got enough lawyers and PoliSci types in Federal Government now -- and look where that's gotten us. We need more historians in Congress, and fewer lawyers. That way we might actually be able to avoid passing laws to cover things already dealt with.

That, and the whole "Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it" thing.

Just a thought.


Labelling FAIL

I have discovered recently that we are not supposed to refer to the mentally ill as, well, mentally ill. There is -- and I can see the point -- a stigma attached to being "mentally ill".

The accepted "alternative label" is: "consumer".

*blink, blink*

If I'm taking someone who's a tetch throwed-off to the Crisis Unit, or the State Home For the Half-A-Bubble-Off-Plumb, and I hear that they are a "consumer" -- well, the first thing that crosses my little mind is a quote involving fava beans and a nice chianti.

Hmm. Oh, well, probably just me.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Thought for the day

Why is it that the same people who state that there's no point in reading bills that cross their desks ...

... are the same folks who accuse protesters of not understanding the health care bill?

If House Members are advised not to read the bill because they don't have two days and two lawyers on hand to explain it to them (see above video) -- how are those House Members in a position to tell anyone that the protesters don't understand the bill?

Just wondering.


Sunday, July 26, 2009


We are informed that the Baen version of Larry Correia's book Monster Hunter International is on the shelves. And, apparently, flying off of them.

Outstanding. Very good news.

If you like late-night 'B' movies; the good guys winning and the bad guys losing; big guns; romance, and good, healthy, creative violence -- then you should read buy this book.

Speaking of one of the reasons I like Monster Hunter International, when did vampires -- formerly the Varsity team for the Bad Guys -- turn into such ... wusses?

Seriously, vampires used to have an entire chapter of the Book of Arse Kicking devoted to them. Yes, they had back-stories, but that was just stuff to fill-in after the initial neck-biting, but before the massacre started.

When Gary Oldman's Dracula lost his girlfriend, did he write bad poetry and mope? No! He took a sword to the interior design, and kicked loyal servants through the bars of their cell.

Not only did Jerry Dandridge fail to agonize over his undead existence, he savoured it. Hell, he even went to the trouble of having dessert after his snacks.


When the vampire appears on the screen, the audience should be urging the heroes to track him down and pound a stake through his undead heart -- the audience shouldn't be wishing that the hero would give the vampire a wedgie and stuff him into a locker.

But that's just me.


Saturday, July 25, 2009



About six medium-sized jalapenos
1 block of cream cheese
12 thick slices of glorious bacon
1 pair exam gloves

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now, put on your exam gloves. I ain't kidding none. Trust me, you get jalapeno juice all over your crumb-snatchers, then rub your eye -- or worse, go to the bathroom -- and you're going to be One Unhappy Camper.

Grab those peppers, give them a good wash and then gently cut each pepper in half length-wise.

Okay. Look at the inside of each pepper. You should see three ribs and a bunch of little white seeds. These ribs and seeds hold the majority of the oleoresin capsicum of the pepper.

"Oleoresin Capsicum" is a Latin phrase meaning -- figuratively -- "It burns, it burns, oh my God, it burns!""

So. Very Carefully cut each rib away from the wall of the pepper and discard, then scoop out the seeds. Also discard.

Fill each pepper half with cream cheese, then grab a strip of bacon, genuflect in the direction of Ohio, and proceed to completely wrap each pepper half. We're talking mummify that dude.

That should give you about twelve bacon-wrapped, cream-cheese-stuffed pepper halves.

Put 'em on a baking sheet and bung into the oven until your bacon hits your desired stage of crispy.

Voila! Snack food.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Willing suspension of disbelief, my fuzzy butt

Well, we have ventured forth and viewed "Transformers 2, Something or Other" and I am now prepared to give my opinion.

Anyone with a delicate constitution, those who have not yet seen the movie, and folks who had anything -- at all -- to do with this movie might ought to go visit someone on the sidebar while I pontificate.

Are they gone? Good.

Oh my tap-dancing Goddess, does this movie suck.

Bad. Bad, bad, bad.

First off, the plot.


You want a plot? You can't handle a plot!

So, anything remotely resembling a plot was replaced by a motley collection of hackneyed cliches randomly scattered throughout a series of standard Hollywood sound stages. And as near as I can tell, the most important member of the production company must have been an inebriated gibbon -- whose drunken staggering from cliche to cliche obviously formed the basis for the storyline.

As bad as that was -- and trust me, it was bad -- as bad as that was, the blatant impossibilities were the absolute cherries on that rotten little cake.

I'm not talking about running in the front door of the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum -- last I checked still on the Mall in Washington, DeeCee -- and running out the back door into Davis-Monthan AFB boneyard, last I checked still in Arizona.

But I can still suspend disbelief on that one.

And I'm not talking about the pyramids being near the beach, when they're actually a couple of hundred miles inland. No, I can suspend disbelief there, too.

Nor is it all that hard to suspend disbelief at Petra, Jordan being right next to Cairo, Egypt -- what's 600 miles in a good movie?

No, ladies and gentlemen, the one impossibility that I simply could not wrap my mind around was that pair of white jeans.

There is no way on God's little green dirtball that you are going to paint a set of white jeans onto Megan Fox, have her run through a college, several firefights, explosions, a car wreck or two, more firefights, the desert, more explosions, and finally rescued by the U.S. military -- and keep those damned jeans white.

Not possible.

I know the military, I was in the military, and the fact that there wasn't a single hand-print to be seen -- not to mention no mud, blood, soot, grease or random stains -- on those jeans is simply not possible.

Yack. No willing suspension of disbelief whatsoever.


Word of the Day


Today's Word of the Day is a reference to a cinematic technique used by Hollywood as a substitute for acting ability, directing ability, talent, choreography, skill and/or training inherent in either the actors or the director of an action film.

This technique is easily reproduced by The Common Man via four bungee cords, a camera, and a set of hapless actors.

Each bungee cord has one end tied to the ceiling, and the other tied to the camera. The camera is then pulled until the bungee cords are taut, and the actors are then instructed to engage in a slap fight -- hair-pulling and weeping optional.

As the actors begin flailing about, activate and release the camera, allowing the bungee cords to catapult the camera willy and nilly through -- and around -- the previously mentioned squabble.

Voila! You have now simulated the use of the Bungee-Cam! Affect an accent, crank your nose 60 degrees skywards, practice snootily announcing that anyone who suffers a near-fatal case of mal-de-mer from watching the nausea-inducing random gyrations of your action scenes simply, "Doesn't get 'cutting-edge' art."

Now you, too, can be a multi-million dollar action movie director!

Bungee-Cam -- simulating talent for the last decade!


Thursday, July 09, 2009

Ted Nugent and the 2nd

First off, I'd like to apologize to the rest of the United States for Texas Monthly magazine. The only two times that I've read Texas Monthly, I've been somewhat shocked by the sheer amount of left-wing bias it contained.

I don't know how one could call a magazine "Texas Monthly" when the only articles that I've ever read in "Texas Monthly" were embarrassed by Texas and Texans.

Anyhoo, I digress.

The above is a video clip of one of The LawDog Files' favourite musicians being interviewed by the editor of the afore-mentioned magazine.

You know, there really isn't anything I can add to that.

Preach it, Brother Ted.


Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Independence Day

The Mistress of Snark offers 4th of July greetings.

Not really much I can add to that, except to wonder when the holiday stopped being "Independence Day" and became "The Fourth of July"?

Why is the simple recitation of a number and a month preferable to what the day is actually about?


Happy Independence Day, Gentle Readers.

Enjoy the fireworks. Spend time with kith and kin, eat too much, laugh long, and love well, but I counsel you: On this day, more than any other, take a few moments to read and ponder the Declaration of Independence -- the document that is the penultimate reason for this day.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Neda Soltani

By now just about everyone has seen the iconic picture of the Iranian protests: a pretty young woman held in the arms of her screaming father, as she dies in a welter of blood.

The actual concrete details are sketchy. There is video showing her and her father standing peaceably on the sidelines, merely watching a protest; and then she dies -- all on video -- confused, terrified, and uncomprehending.

All else is supposition at this time.

That is enough.

For her family, I grieve. I offer my condolences for the loss of their most precious treasure, and I can only utter those most inadequate of words: she is in a better place now.

In time, I hope that the memories of the joy she no doubt provided to you become stronger than the memories of the horror; and thus provide some tiny measure of comfort.

As for those who have done this deed, either directly or indirectly, listen and heed my words.

There will be a reckoning. It may not be before a judge, a jury, or even a mob; there may not be forensic evidence or witness testimony - but know this: all men must stand before their Creator sooner or later.

No God tolerates the wanton butchery of His children -- not mine, nor yours; not the God of Abraham, the God of Paul, nor the God of Mohammed; not even the old Gods of fire and fury, neither the many thousand Gods of the Hindus, nor those of the Han, allow the murder of their innocent children.

Reflect on that, you wretched excuses for men, and despair.


Saturday, June 20, 2009

Are you [deleted]-ing me, part the deux.

Stop Customs Pocket Knife Grab -
Isn't that just typical? Just as soon as I get done venting my spleen about cluelessness on the far side of the pond, I discover that -- as usual -- when it comes to home-grown idiots, the good old USofA takes a back seat to no other village world-wide.


Sometime in the mid-1950's, someone parasitizing the United States Federal Government (but I repeat myself) saw one too many showings of West Side Story, The Wild One, and/or Rebel Without A Cause and decided that switchblade knives were the weapon of choice for disaffected youths and uppity ethnics.

Never you mind that switchblades are inherently more fragile. delicate and prone to (catastrophic) failure than your standard, legal, found-everywhere steak knife -- minorities liked them. And that made switchblades Bad Things.

So, we wound up with the Federal Switchblade Act of 1958 in all of its illogical, racist glory.

Fast forward to 2009 and some clueless pencil-pushing smacktard at the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection decides that the Switchblade Act of 1958 doesn't ban enough things.

Yes, Gentle Readers! In their part to help in this time of financial instability and general nervousness, the CBP has decided to unilaterally invoke a rule of their own and potentially make
any knife that can be opened one-handed unlawful.

A light must be shined upon this outrage; CBP must understand that the American public knows what they're trying to do and
Does Not Approve Of It.

Blog this; write letters; inform your kith and kin; and (politely) demand that your Congresscritters firmly bring the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection to heel.

For further information, including pre-written letters, contacts, updates, and various banners such as the one above, scoot over to KnifeRights.Org


In the "Are you [deleted]-ing me?" Department ...

By way of Gentle Reader Bill, we discover the latest "gee-whiz, what the [deleted] was he thinking" gadget: Stab-Proof Knives.

Now, we here at The LawDog Files kind of consider a "stab-proof knife" to be somewhat analogous to a "ride-proof bike
", a "drive-proof car", a "swim-proof pool", or a "swing-proof hammer", but what the hell, we'll take a look at it.

Fortunately the FoxNews story has a link to a Times OnLine story which has a link to the knife designer: New Point Knives

Colour me ... unimpressed.

What really set the cat amongst the pigeons were the quotes from the designer in the articles. While a certain amount of hyperbole is expected in advertising, this goes beyond the pale.

Allow me to quote from both of the news articles listed above:

"It can never be a totally safe knife, but the idea is you can’t inflict a fatal wound," he said. "Nobody could just grab one out of the kitchen drawer and kill someone."

First off, the old boy says that you can't just grab this knife out of a drawer and kill someone like that's a Good Thing.

I'm here to tell you -- from personal experience -- the ability to grab a knife out of the kitchen drawer in your rented flat (in a gun-banning hell-hole) on the way to see who the hell is buzzing the door at three bloody o'clock in the morning can be a warm and comforting thing.

Secondly, I take exception to the statement that:
"Nobody could just grab one out of the kitchen drawer and kill someone." My name may not be Nobody, but I'm pretty sure I could turf someone from this mortal coil with that widget. And if I can do it, I'm willing to bet that most critters could, too.


Don't get me wrong -- if this over-engineered piece of idiocy floats your boat, by all means: outfit your entire kitchen with them.

Just don't be part of forcing me to use them.

And I will guarantee you that somewhere in Dear Old Blighty, someone with a little bit of power and a whole bunch of ego is thinking it'd be a Damned Fine Idea to mandate these stupid knives.

Thinking that there needs to be another useless tit of a law thinly hidden behind, "It's for the chhhhildren!" banning regular knives in favour of these knives upon pain of imprisonment and felony charges.

Pfagh. England, I knew ye when ye were great.


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Professor LawDog's School of Mayhem and Survival

Good evening, class.

Today's block of instruction concerns the skill-set popularly called "flash-to-bang time" and its use in SHAG* range estimation.

"Flash-to-bang time" requires two things: 1) an event which produces both an effect that you can see -- the "flash" -- and a sound that you can hear -- the "bang" -- and 2) some way to reliably count seconds.

Now, light travels at about 186,000 miles per second. As far as us knuckle-draggers are concerned, this is close enough to instantaneous as to make no nevermind.

Sound, on the other paw, travels about one mile every five seconds, or 375 yards every second. More or less. This is quick-and-dirty ranging -- you want precision, get a laser rangefinder.

For those on the far side of the pond, one mile every five seconds comes out to about 340 metres per second. More or less.

Obviously, we're going to use the difference between the speed of light and the speed of sound, but to do so, we have to be able to reliably count seconds. This is easily done using the "One thousand" or "Mississippi" technique. Since "One thousand" and "Mississippi" both take just under a second to say, they are both fairly reliable -- as long as you remember two things:

First: The number of seconds goes at the end of the word. You say, "One thousand-one, one thousand-two, one thousand-three" or "Mississippi-five, mississippi-six, mississippi-seven" -- NOT, "One, one thousand; two, one thousand, three one-thousand" or "One mississippi, two mississippi, three mississippi".

Second: Don't count past ten. One through ten are nice one-syllable words. Once you get off into those multi-syllable teens, the number takes longer to say and throws your timing off. If you find yourself needing to go to eleven or higher, mark the first ten and start over again at one thousand-one.


Let us say we have witnessed a flash of lightning. We immediately say, "One thousand ONE, one thousand TWO, one thousand THREE, one thousand FOUR, one thousand FIVE", we hold up an index finger, then we start counting again at, "One thousand ONE, one thousand TWO" and we continue, holding up another digit each time we get to one thousand FIVE and starting the count all over again until we hear the bang of thunder.

Remember the speed of sound? About one mile every five seconds? The number of piggies you are holding up is the range to the lightning bolt in miles.

Of course, there are some of us who are simply too cool to hold up piggies. In this case, count your total number of seconds -- remembering to start over if the count goes past ten -- and divide by five to get the range in miles.

"But, Professor LawDog," I hear you say, "What if the range is less than a mile?"

Nae problemo, grasshopper.

As a creative articulation, let us say that we have a boat-load of eco-terrorists hippies in a harbour somewhere over there. Further, let us state that standing next to us is a confused, yet friendly, French tourist who sure would like to know how far away that particular boat is.

Fortunately, the boat has a steam-whistle, and when you see the plume of white stuff (the flash), you start counting seconds. Two seconds later, you hear the shriek of the whistle (the bang).

Sound travels about 375 yards per second ... two seconds ... 375 times two ... carry the little piggy ... about 750 yards away.

Oops, your new friend is French. Okay ... 340 metres per second ... ummm ... call the range 680 metres.

Using this method, any event which you can both see (flash) and hear (bang) can be ranged. In the past I have used a pile driver -- starting my count at the sight of the drivers impact and ending the count at the distinctive "whomp"; I have used the dust raised by the muzzle-flash of a prone rifleman together with the sound of his shot; and I've used the sight and sound of a man splitting cord-wood with an axe.

Thus endeth the lesson.


*Scientific Hairy-Arsed Guess

Oh, well done

It is with some pleasure that we here at The LawDog Files learn that Christopher Frank Carandini Lee (RAF, ret.) has been made Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Elizabeth the Second.

Mr. Lee was one of the British Volunteers who traveled to Finland to offer their services against the Soviet invaders during the Winter War of 1939.

Following that disastrous little scuffle, Mr. Lee joined the Royal Air Force, and wound up as Intel wonk for the Long Range Desert Group, did some cypher work with 260 Squadron, and pulled a quiet stint with the Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, before ending the war with the rank of Flight Lieutenant.

It should also be noted that he has done some work in the movie industry.

Bravo, Sir Christopher. Well done, indeed.


Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Open letter to my fellow officers

Ladies and gentlemen:

Let us turn our attention to the lowly, unloved handcuffs. Actually, let us turn our attention to where our handcuffs live for 98% of the time -- some form of leather or (more recently) ballistic cloth.

See that fuzzy kind of stuff lurking around in those handcuff carriers? That, my confused yet earnest apprentices, is lint. Yes, just like the stuff that breeds in your pockets.

Now, you may not know this, but when your 'cuffs are riding in the carriers, all of that lint is busily having conjugal relations with the ever-present dust -- and they're doing this inside of your handcuff mechanism.

I was going to say "ever-present dust-bunnies", but I've seen some of y'all's gear -- and "ever-present dust buffaloes" just doesn't have the cute mental image I was going for.


Now, just what do you think happens to all of that mung when you squirt a jumbo-sized dose of 3-in-1 oil off into the handcuff mechanism?

Maybe nothing -- at first. But, as things go along, as more and more dust and lint builds up, and as more oil gets coinked in there, sooner or later the inside of your handcuff mechanism is going to look remarkably like the Demon Hairball of Azgeroth exploded in there.

And (sooner or later) you're going to be standing there with a bemused, yet apprehensive look on your face; a broken handcuff key in one paw; and an increasingly concerned -- and still handcuffed -- prisoner in the other.

Which means that someone -- probably not you -- is going to have to go find a set of bolt-cutters, chop your inmate loose; and further followed by someone else -- probably with more rank than brains -- in my department issuing a silly-arsed memo restricting our officers to the short, dinky, short, tiny and altogether too-bloody-short official Smith-and-Wesson issue key.

Ladies and gentlemen, if the official Smith-and-Wesson key was truly the bees knees, there wouldn't be a booming business in after-market improved handcuff keys.

So. When you do lubricate your handcuffs, kindly use dry graphite powder, or some other variety of dry -- non-Demon-Hairball-forming -- lubricant.

Thanks ever so.