much to our chagrin, the Bad Dogs and I have returned to Tampa (we brought Mr. Abby home, too). A wonderful Christmas up north.
Tampa is, of course, hot and damp and generally foul. More to follow, but it's New Year's Eve and I have beer to drink.
31 December 2006
25 December 2006
TEAMWORK is the key to a successful Christmas celebration!
First, Casey must PATROL the Christmas area, ensuring a fire is burning for proper ambience, and securing the living room from roving bands of dog treats.
THEN, Sparky must MODEL his Christmas neckwear, while at the same time warming the legs of one of the Bad Pups (the Bad Dog stepkids).
Finally, all Christmas chew toys must be LICKED into shape. An aside, what Abby learned this Christmas: If the BOXER receives a squeaky moose puppet, it's a BAD IDEA to put the puppet on one's hand, then SQUEAK it. Good way to get one's hand CHOMPED by said boxer.
Oh well. Merry Christmas to all the Bad Dog Faithful! Bonus points for you if you know the song from which the title of this post came!
24 December 2006
for the lack of posting recently. We're up at Bad Dogs (North), with the stepkids, having a grand old time. Abby's Mom is progressing with her Full Frontal Assault on breast cancer, and is handling her chemo very well (she's had one round).
Also, posting has been impeded by....well, a picture would describe this best.
See? How can I be expected to work under these conditions?
Posted by Abby at 12:00
21 December 2006
14 December 2006
...with a Gerber.
Anyway, we're headed north tomorrow, so Sparky helped me try to do some wrapping tonight.
I'm not totally paranoid, but while I don't work too hard to keep my identity SUPER SECRET, I would rather not be excessively identifiable to strangers on the internet. There ARE weirdos out there. Plus, what with my occasional calls for extreme violence in various directions, I'd like to avoid any fatwas.
What you DON'T see in this picture is Mr. Abby doing the lion's share of the wrapping on the other side of the rug. He's better at it than I am.
13 December 2006
Well, this little group came out with a very nice list of recommendations the other day. I read over the report online. Nice summary of how things are going over there. Beyond that, well...
There are just a couple of things I'd point out. Maybe any interested parties could print these out and occasionally refer to them while reading the ISG report.
1 - Iran is not a partner for peace. Iran kills US soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines. If they could kill Coast Guardsmen, they would. It doesn't seem to violate any classification to say that we KNOW that Iran is responsible for a particularly nasty variety of weapon that was developed STRICTLY to kill American servicemembers. And it does. It has. SGTs Reali and Willey. Among many many others. We do not "partner" with countries that take an active, cheery interest in killing our soldiers.
2 - Syria = Hezbollah. They are not "partners for peace" either.
3 - In no way, shape or form does this group have any right to insist Israel comprimise its security to help us weasel out of Iraq.
Check it out - if this group's definition of success involves pleasing Syria, Iran and Hezbollah, as well as requiring the only reasonably civilized nation in the region to roll over and expose its belly, is theirs a definition of "victory" we really want?
(hint - if answering the above requires any thought at all, you should immediately jab a fork into your hand. Repeat until you're thinking more clearly)
12 December 2006
We've established already that I love Christmas. I hate the stupid song, but love the holiday.
But we like to focus on things I hate here, so let's do that. I hate Christmas gifts. I hate Christmas gift shopping. Now, I'm sure this is because I'm not very good at it. I have family members who spend all year picking up the most wonderful things. I, on the other hand, have no idea what anybody ever really wants unless they tell me.
It's not bad with some folks. I get the list, select an item or two, then purchase. But it still gets bad.
See, even if I manage to FIND a gift that seems like something someone will want/use, I then have to WRAP it. Does anybody remember my post on trying to make a shipping box? Yeah - gift wrapping is a similar total meltdown. I did a couple of easy ones today. Of course, I spent half the time trying to chase the dogs off the wrapping paper, a quarter of the time unwrapping the tape tangled around my fingers, and the remaining fourth trying to remember where I set the scissors. Then I spent five minutes picking G. Shep hair off the packages.
And these were the nice, normal boxes. I have one object that I can tell is going to reduce me to whimpering on the floor and swigging gin.
THEN it got worse. Because my entire family is certifiably nuts, we do tend to do Dog Gifts.
I told you Santa Claws has something stashed away already for the Sparkster, but I had a bag from PetSmart that came in with a couple of others. Stupid me, I set the bags DOWN on the couch while I did a couple of just-walked-in things. Only to turn around to see BOTH of the Bad Dogs expressing ACUTE interest in it.
Which led to more yelling and cursing. Because Bad Dogs do not UNDERSTAND the concept of delayed gratification, or holidays.
So although I'm wildly looking forward to this Christmas, I can't wait to be done with the gifts. I like giving them, and I like getting stuff (who doesn't), but the logistics make me crazy.
So if you'll excuse me, I have to go try to wrap a squeaker toy. Silently.
Posted by Abby at 15:34
11 December 2006
There are no words for my rage. And I can swear with the best of 'em.
Have I told you about my water heater? My....(wow - I think I could run together a string of four-letter words to serve as an adjective, but it would be a LONG string)...miniature water heater???
My water heater that makes it PHYSICALLY FREAKING IMPOSSIBLE to wash my body AND shave my legs? Oh, who the hell am I kidding. I can't wash and condition my hair unless I want to skip soaping my torso and washing my face. I got my hair washed, armpits shaved and started reaching for the body wash today when - ZAP! - COLD WATER!!!
That just ain't right.
Oh, stop. Spare me. I don't give a rat's ass if YOU don't mind cold showers. And I do not give a SHIT if people all over the world lack indoor plumbing. I just don't care. I am an American. I am an adult. I file respectable tax returns. There is NO REASON for me to have a shitful, three-gallon water heater.
You might not understand how this impacts one's life. But think about it. EVERY SINGLE DAY I run out of even lukewarm water before I can complete my shower routine. Now, true, in a perfect world, I DO like a nice, long, hot shower. But these days I can't get FIVE DAMN MINUTES.
So this means that EVERY SINGLE DAY I have a bad experience that pisses me off. I haven't shaved my legs in like four days. I won't until I can
A) schedule an additional shower where I otherwise require no washing
B) shower somewhere else
That would be the gym. And how ridiculous is it that I have to plan to shower at the gym if I want to wash my hair and shave my legs?
And yes - I blame Mr. Abby for this. We wouldn't be in Tampa, in this weird-ass financial position, in this evil stupid ratbastard CRACKHOUSE if it weren't for him. I TRY not to hold it against him, but I pointed out that I fully intend to have this situation rectified this summer. If he can't get orders and get us somewhere acceptable where we can improve on the housing situation, well, I'll move into a goddam state campground somewhere. At least they have HOT WATER.
AAAAGH!!!!!!! So. Damn. Angry.
OK - now that I've vented about that, I have things to do. I think I'll kick Sparky, just to vent that last little bit of "irate."
10 December 2006
I've mentioned before that I've spent some Christmases far away from home. All of them were at the hands of the military. And all but one of them (the first one, Parris Island, '96) was made even worse by AAFES (that is, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service).
I was 19 and stationed on Okinawa the first time I encountered this horror. I was living on Camp Hansen on the empty northern part of the island. One day I wandered into the exchange about a month or so before Christmas. I was feeling okay about the whole thing. Away from home, yeah, but I was in Christmas denial - I wasn't there, so it wasn't happening.
Then, from above, as I wandered the aisles of knives, cigarettes and black Tshirts, I heard it...
I'll be home for Christmas,
You can count on me.
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents under the tree.
Christmas Eve will find me,
Where the love light gleams.
I'll be home for Christmas,
If only in my dreams.
Christmas Eve will find me,
Where the love light gleams.
I'll be home for Christmas,
If only in my dreams.
Oh Jesus. I'd been doing well up to THAT point. Now I was choking back a lump in my throat, and glancing around, I noticed a zillion other young Marines doing the same thing.
I had the same experience the next year, when I was in the same place trying to get orders off the island. That year, I'd hoped to make it home for Christmas, but it didn't happen. And Bing Crosby made every trip to the exchange an excruciating reminder of what I was missing.
After that, I hated the song. Even if I WAS headed home, it reminded me of all the times I wasn't, and of all the folks who, for one reason or another, weren't where they wanted to be either.
And it went over the top last year. December was a month of death and horror and fear where I was. Things were bad and getting worse, we'd gotten hammered on Thanksgiving and the roads were blowing up regularly. It seemed as though we were sending soldiers from our manuever unit home in bags every day.
On Christmas Eve, we ran a road that was getting to be a nightmare in order to pick up some of our soldiers and take them on a shopping trip to Camp Liberty. Christmas was going to suck, but we figured we'd do a run to the nice PX so everybody could buy Spam and a new CD or something. Eat a real meal with non-stale bread. Have fruit. And ice cream.
We picked up our team, braved the same Hell Road going out, then shot up to Liberty. We pulled down the guns, shucked our armor and helmets and wandered into the Big PX. It was nice. This was the most relaxed we got during our year there. Wandering the aisles, grabbing a box of CheezIt, and some cans of root beer, I heard it again.
I'll be home for Christmas,
You can count on me.
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents under the tree.
Christmas Eve will find me,
Where the love light gleams.
I'll be home for Christmas,
If only in my dreams.
I could've spit. No - I wouldn't be home for Christmas. Not even close. As it turned out, I'd have a crummy Christmas in the extreme, but I definitely was NOT going to be home, and I did NOT need Bing reminding me about that. Armed to the teeth, I was tempted to pop off a couple of rounds at the speaker. Or whoever had decided to play Bing Crosby.
Anyway, I switch radio stations when that one comes on. Talking to Mom today, I discovered that she refers to last year as the year she'd stalk out of a store if they played it.
Come on - that song doesn't make ANYONE happy. It sucks and it makes people sad. It makes even HAPPY people sad. It should be purged from music libraries, banned from radio stations, and Bing Crosby should be dug up and beaten.
07 December 2006
The MacDill AFB PX (or, I suppose, BX in Air Force Speak) can be a strange place. This time of year, the snowbirds are in for the winter, and it's nigh on impossible to wander around the PX without getting stuck behind a pack of slow-moving retirees. I normally try not to be too bitter about this, figuring that if I'm lucky, I too will be old and slow-moving someday.
Once in a while I step around some codger moving at a glacial pace, and glance back at him only to be amazed.
See, these are old military people. Old war dogs. And you forget about that until you look back at some little old guy who's wearing a Pearl Harbor Survivor cap. Jesus God, I always think. We think of it as history, but for some guys still out there walking around, it's a memory that probably still comes at night.
I had the good fortune to get to visit Pearl Harbor as a side trip of a Marine Corps mission some years ago. It's a beautiful sight, and if you get the opportunity to see it, you should. There's still oil surfacing from the ships, 65 years later. There are still Sailors and Marines in those ships.
And once in a while, out walking around, you run into the boys who made it off the ships. Of course, if you think about it, that wasn't the end of the war for most of them. Some of the ships were raised, and all of the Sailors who could went on to see that war to the end.
On December 7, 1941, they weren't old men, and they weren't yet "the greatest generation." They were just boys, Sailors and Marines, doing Sailor and Marine things (that is, drinking and chasing women).
Remember that with the old folks in the store and the parking lot. You never know. I pass old-folk cars in the parking lot that have WWII stickers and "ex-POW" license plates. I nod at old men in the exchange who have no legs. I get cut off in the commissary line by tiny old ladies who patched up soldiers under barrages of artillery in European mud.
For some of them, it ain't history, it's a memory. Thank them while you still can. And remember that every image you see on tonight's news from Iraq and Afghanistan is a memory for one of our modern warriors. Thank them, too.
Posted by Abby at 13:15
06 December 2006
Time to point out another product worth spending your hard-earned money on. Sparky, as many of you know, is a little rough on squeaker toys. OK - very very rough. He usually has them less than 24 hours before he's wrecked the squeaker. At 4-8 bucks a toy, I can't afford to keep up.
But then we found this guy! It's a "black squirrel" from the American Kennel Club "Outdoor Series." I picked it up in Michigan and handed it over within minutes of walking in the door, so he's had it...eleven days. And he's been working on it. And it's STILL squeaking.
Don't tell him, but I think Santa Claws has an AKC Outdoor Series "raccoon" hidden away somewhere...
Buy these AKC toys! They'll squeak until you take them away from your dog and grind them up in your food processor!
I promised a story about Oregon, didn't I?
Years ago, in the days before Mr. Abby, I had a long distance "thing" with a guy we'll just call the Sailor. He was in the Navy on a ship out of Everett, WA, and I was on Okinawa.
I said it was long-distance.
I was just past 21, and took a week or so of leave in the summer to fly to Washington. There, the Sailor pointed out that he had some hippie friends in Eugene and they'd invited him and me down for some event called the "Oregon Country Fair."
We rode the train from Seattle to Eugene (which was pretty - I recommend it most highly). We met up with the hippies and rode out to the Fair site with them (in their van - I'm not kidding). We'd camp there for a couple of days, the plan went.
Now, a little background about me, particularly at that point in my life. I probably qualify as a "conservative," but it's a stretch. Back in the late 90s, I was distinctly less so. I've never been a "peace and lover" flower-child type, but I'm pretty into everybody just doing their own groovy thing.
I was a little far to the left for most of the Marine Corps (my lack of a Rush Limbaugh quote tattoo on my ass leaves me left of most of the Corps), but I figured I could do the hippie fair thing.
Well, apparently two or three years in God's Beloved Corps had left me a little different than I was before. The hippies were all very nice, but they seemed like freakin' space aliens to me. The clothes were...well, hippie clothes. Not a big deal, I thought. I've got kind of a homeless park ranger thing going on, I can work with that. Well, no, Abby. You might be able to sleep in the dirt in your clothes for a couple days, but the Marine Corps has done something to your posture...
This was the hard part. I found that no matter where in this whole place I was, I felt like a damn federal agent or something. I could NOT find a suitable "hippie pose." I had very few just-standing-around poses in my inventory then, and they went something like this:
A - standing with my feet shoulder width apart and arms folded.
B - standing with my feet shoulder width apart and hands behind me
C - standing at the position of attention (feet together) with my hands in my pockets
That was about it. And I think they all went with a disapproving scowl. I felt like a fed, and the hippies looked at me like I was a fed.
So it was an uncomfortable couple of days. I'm not into pot, and if there's no marching, I'm not into drums. I don't get giant puppets on stilts, and I cannot function somewhere where there is no meat available in the food for sale. I finally managed to find beer, but it was some sort of homemade ginger atrocity that not even a young Marine on leave could choke down.
The only highlight was in the grounds itself. It's a beautiful location, and with any group slightly less over the top than the hippies, I think it would have been fabulous. They had the most wonderful communal showers I've ever visited (raised wooden decking, open air at the top, good pressure, warm, etc). The only downside was that it was co-ed communal showering with hippies.
Now if it had been co-ed communal showering with Marines, it would have been great. As it was, one naked experience with hairy, pudgy friendly people my parents' age and older was plenty. More than plenty, in fact.
So that was the Abby and Hippies in Oregon story. In the end, the Sailor and I parted ways on distinctly less-than-friendly terms, and I haven't been back to Oregon since then.
But if you're in the market for a big ol' Hippie Fair Good Time, the link to their site is below. Enjoy. And don't forget your shower shoes.
OK - I can't make the link work, so you'll just have to cut-and-paste.
And I got to do a worldwide one, too! I had to check "China" because...well, Hong Kong is a part of China.
Man, I look at THIS map and think, "what a lot of places yet to see..."
create your own visited country map
or check our Venice travel guide
I'd LIKE to do a trip through Europe someday. I'd also like to do Africa, but THAT will wait until someday when I'm not burned out on "roughing it."
Posted by Abby at 15:41
I thought this was a fun little tool. The red states are the ones I've washed up in or wandered through at some point or another. I find it hard to believe I've never passed through Vermont or New Hampshire, but I couldn't remember, so I didn't opt for either.
create your own personalized map of the USA
or check out ourCalifornia travel guide
You know, looking at that reminds me a trip to Oregon some years ago. That's a good story. Perhaps later tonight I'll make a pot of coffee and share it with y'all.
Posted by Abby at 15:36
05 December 2006
FedEx...let me COUNT the ways I curse you.
I engaged in a long drawn out email exchange with FedEx about my package's Tour of Florida. This involved answering questions like "what does the package look like?" Answer: "I don't know, because it's in WEST PALM BEACH!"
So finally it gets over here, and it's "On Truck for Delivery." Now, I have to go do some shopping this evening, so I clicked on the site one more time.
"Customer not available or business closed, 1445."
WHAT??? I have been here ALL AFTERNOON! I recently took a shower, but I have Bad Dogs in the house. They'd have barked. I went outside and poked around. Nada. No FedEx slip. Were they even here? I dunno - I watched the truck cruise up and down the road earlier this afternoon. Perhaps the CLEARLY PRINTED NUMBER on my mailbox confused them and they tried to delivery my crap somewhere else.
This is starting to make me CRANKY.
Oh well, I've other things to do today. Like some hard core KWANZAA SHOPPING.
04 December 2006
Yep. I keep A List. I'm that kind of gal. It's a loooong list, too. It could be titled "enemies of the realm," or "people who've pissed Abby off," or even "those entities which need to be whacked upside the head with a bat."
And today, Federal Express is On The List.
I ordered some crap. And it shipped from LOUISIANA on 29 NOV. Now, we are talking FedEx "Home Delivery," so it's not like it was going to be here the afternoon of the 30th.
But I have absolutely NO LIFE, so I've been clicking on the tracking page. Estimated delivery date, it said, 2 DEC. Cool. Home Delivery happens on Saturdays, so I was down with that.
Hmm...Saturday comes. I click on the tracking page. Last entry? "Departed FEDEX location," which was Orlando, at 2145 on the 1st. Cool, I thought.
Saturday stretched on...no package. Hmmm... clicked on the tracking page. The only thing that had changed was...no estimated delivery date anymore? Grrrr....
Still, I figured, it would show up early Monday. It's FedEx. They're good. It's a busy time of year.
So it's Monday. No package. Hmmm... clicked on the tracking page. Still no delivery date, but a new piece of tracking info.
"In transit," it said. "West Palm Beach, Florida."
WEST PALM BEACH??? Hey, FedEx, WRONG SIDE OF THE FREAKIN' STATE!!!
So I'm annoyed. Is it anything super-important? No - just a couple little things for Kwanzaa and a little toy for me. But still. I'm bitter. Very bitter. And FedEx is On The List.
03 December 2006
Mmmm...venison tenderloin. I just hit one out of the park.
When I came back south, I brought along most of a doe that Carl had shot while I was up north. Yes - I took pity venison. I can live with that.
I'd carefully separated the tenderloins when we cut the deer up. I stashed them in a corner of the freezer till Mr. Abby was out of the area. Then I got to work.
First - thawed the tenderloins. Once thawed, I salted and peppered both sides.
Then I fired up my small skillet with olive oil, crushed garlic and mushrooms. Once that got sizzling, I dumped in the rest of a bottle of red wine and a little balsamic vinegar. I cooked this, then dumped some sage in after a sniff. I then ignored it and let it simmer down.
Then I fired up the stove under my heaviest skillet. I let it get hot. Very hot. Then I dropped in the tenderloins. 90 seconds on each side. Did NOT touch them while they were searing.
After those 3 minutes, I pulled out the tenderloins. I gave them some mushrooms and sauce.
Oh so good...I prefer my meat rare, and so it was FABULOUS.
I'd like to work more on the sauce. I think next time I'll add some beef broth and cut back on the wine a little. And perhaps some salt. Normally, I'd make the sauce in the pan the meat was seared in, but venison is so lean there'd be little to gain.
Anyway...if only deer came with more of those yummy little tenderloins. Good stuff.
Posted by Abby at 19:53
It's almost Christmas, and I am one happy camper about that. Contrary to the belief of one family member who recently called me "Scrooge" after I bitched about the Christmas-music blitz I endured on my drive south, I LOVE this time of year.
This year, Mr. Abby and I will pack up the Bad Dogs and head north for a Big Ol' Family Christmas at Bad Dogs (North). My stepkids will fly in, and it will be a hoot.
I love being home for Christmas. I'd low-crawl through a hail of machine gun fire to be home for Christmas. I've spent...four?...Christmases away from friends and family (boot camp, Okinawa, Okinawa, Iraq). That's enough. I can do it - but if I don't have to, I don't wanna.
We did one Christmas down here with my folks camping in the back yard and the kids and dogs. Not. Enough. Room. It works better up north. Plus there's snow, and the rest of the Bad Dog Family.
We have to pick our priorities, and I've decided this is one of mine. I have a close family and I enjoy them. I don't want to miss the opportunity to engage in all our weird, non-religious Christmas rituals. It gives me great joy to watch my whole family sitting around, eating snacks and opening presents. It gives me great joy to sit down for too much food at a family Christmas dinner. It reminds me why I've been doing the things I've been doing since I became an adult.
THAT is worth defending, and it is worth driving across the country for.
So this year, we'll have pretty much the whole Pack up home (except Cousin Ruth - communist). There will be Too Much Traffic at my parents' house. They will have put up a tree that is Too Big. We will eat Too Much Food and Too Many Cookies. The dogs will race around and chase Hobbes under the tree. I will mislabel packages and erroneously give Mr. Abby's underwear to Mom.
It will be fabulous. I can't wait.
Posted by Abby at 15:48
Packed up my little uber-tactical "range purse" and headed off to do some shooting this afternoon. I've been recently, but had one of those "crummy" range days (just couldn't get comfy, inconsistent, etc etc).
Today, however, was a STELLAR range day.
I bought a new pistol a few months ago. I shall post a picture so you may all drool before I continue.
OK. Stop drooling. You'll mar the finish. :)
It's a 1911-style .45 auto. I love this design - the single-stack magazine makes it perfect for my hands (it's a lot slimmer that the grip on many of the newer-style big automatics).
Anyway, I've been religously putting 150-300 rounds a week through it. My pistolwork is improving, too. I normally shoot one, big, ragged hole out to about 20 yards, at which point I shoot a cluster of little holes. I haven't put a round outside the 5-zone (the part of the target designated as sure 'nuff dead) in months. Until today, but that was only one and I was firing with just my left (weak) hand.
I'll stop bragging now. I just love my Warrior, and I love to shoot it. I love very best to shoot it well.
02 December 2006
Let's get our Aretha Franklin on, shall we? R-E-S-P-E-C-T...what it's all about in the Middle East.
There's a lot of talk about us backpedaling on the Iraq "mistake." We'll just put the kitten in the box with a little food, drive it WAAAY out in the country and leave it on the side of the road. We'll drive home thinking about the happy life the kitten is going to have on a pretty little dairy farm.
Wrong. In real life, the kitten gets flattened on the highway. In the kitten-as-Iraq analogy, the kitten gets smashed on the highway and all its kitten relatives follow you to your home and piss on your carpet for years.
Let's talk about the Iranian hostage crisis. You know, the one where we made some disapproving sounds and launched one spectularly unsuccessful attempt to free our people? Yeah - that one. That was Them shoving Us. And we flailed around the ground for a while and then they let us get up and run home.
And then there was Beiruit and the 241 dead Marines and Sailors. And then there was Khobar Towers. And the first attack on the World Trade Center. And the African Embassies. And the USS Cole. And the SECOND attack on the World Trade Center.
And then we kinda blinked and said, "huh? Someone out there hates us? Well, let's KILL 'EM!"
Which was precisely the right response, albeit 20 years late.
So now we're thinking about running the Hell away from Iraq. Because it's difficult, and winning would require more than a week and courses of action that are not easily fit on a bumpersticker.
Hmmm...I'm not really into the Vietnam analogies, so let's see if we can find another situation which might shed a little light on Iraq's future without some serious adult supervision. We need a country with lots of Muslims. A country where the U.S. tried to help and left when things got hairy. Preferably one we've visited in the past 20 years...
Oooh! I've got it! SOMALIA!
Now, of course, Somalia is in Africa, has a less-educated populace and fewer natural resources than Iraq. But the security situation is making Iraqi school attendance iffy and the populace is settling nicely into the habit of sitting in the dirt and watching their goats while thinking hateful thoughts, so it's really not a BAD comparison.
Somalia is a sore topic here at Bad Dog Central, as, 14 years ago, Mr. Abby did a lot of sweating in the dirt there. He LOVES to watch CNN while they point out what a violent, evil pit of hysterical Islamic Terror that country is swirling into. Makes him feel like it was time well spent.
If they're not already, Al Qaeda will be running airplane-takeover drills in Somalia very soon. Al Qaeda leaders will be living in mud huts and giving evil orders on satphones from Somalia.
If we leave Iraq, they'll do the same things from there.
Also, if we leave Iraq, the neighbors will notice. They will notice that Americans will NOT tough things out. They will notice that Americans will NOT be inconvenienced at home by a protracted war. They will notice that AFTER Iraq, Americans will NOT be willing to send a single soldier any farther east than a pub in Germany.
And then they will begin again. With no fear that we will come storming in and destroy their nasty little dominions, the masters of terror will take a poke at our warships. They will carbomb western businesses in the middle east. They will storm our embassies and take hostages.
And someday not so very far in the future, they will take more of our planes. They will knock down more of our buildings. They will kill our children and our non-combatants here in our country again.
And we will wonder why.
The Middle East is a strange place. The currency is R-E-S-P-E-C-T and the language, the only one universally understood, is Force. There is at least one country in that region that is working toward developing the world's most dangerous weapons, and he is watching closely what we do on his border.
We must not leave Iraq whimpering. There is no painless solution, as much as we Americans like painless solutions. We change strategies, pay the price and win in Iraq now. Or we will bleed at home later. There is no third way.
I don't mind ranting about the War on Terror (as those who know me are well aware). But I normally don't do a lot of that here because...well, this is a public place. But I'm going to go ahead and do it.
We're fucking this up big time. The United States and, I believe, Western Civilization as a whole, is locked in a no-shit struggle with the forces of savagery and darkness. Seriously - take a GOOD LOOK at the Middle East. Other than Isreal, do you see any place that doesn't just SUCK?
I'm not going to go into a ton of detail about economies, personal freedom, the god-awful treatment of women, life expectancies, etc. It's a basic premise of mine that the entire region sucks ass and has pretty much nothing to offer except seething resentment and hate.
When President Bush had sent troops into Afghanistan and was shifting focus onto Iraq, I thought - great! This guy gets it!
We were finally going to start Draining The Swamp. Now, we all know that U.S. policies since WWII have not helped the Middle East, and in no way have encouraged the growth of self-determination and human rights there. In exchange for continued access to oil and the opportunity for our companies to profit from said oil, we'd prop up any sonovabitch over there. And we did.
But post-9/11, I thought we had it figured out. Long war, national committment to changing that part of the world, the whole nine yards. Lose the dictatorships, standing up some representative governments, let people do better and have hope and maybe they'd leave us the hell alone. I could have skipped Iraq and seen us going into Iran or (god forbid) dealing with Saudi Arabia like the terrorist petty-cash box it is.
But the President said Iraq and, honestly, it was as good a place as any to start.
Then, all of a sudden, we're doing Iraq on the cheap. No, we were assured. Our military kicks so much ass that we don't need a giant troop buildup ala Gulf War 1. We'll just send a few divisions zipping up to Baghdad. Hell, we won't even worry about bringing the 4th ID in through Turkey. We won't stop in any of the little towns along the way. Piece of cake!
And it was. Of course. Our military does kick massive ass. Problem is, there we were in Baghdad and the oil fields and a few major cities with our collective thumb in our collective ass, while the Saddamites ran away and hid in all the little towns we'd bypassed.
And we never poured the bodies in. Because that would have been some sort of admission of defeat for the Bush Administration, which the hysterical shrieking bitch Democrats would have jumped all over.
Bush is so polarizing that we've been entirely deprived of the ability to have a useful national dialog about how to best conduct this war. The Republicans have, until very recently, been loathe to admit that maybe the ENTIRE plan wasn't ENTIRELY perfect from the VERY beginning. And the Democrats have not offered a single useful bit of input other than grasping at any straw to jump and holler "it was lie! And it's a failure! And we should bring all the troops home!"
Check this out - the troops don't want to come home like that. No shit. Listen vey cloesly: I do not want to have fought in a war we lost because we lacked the balls to win it. None of my comrades in arms want to have fought, bled or died in a war we lost because we lacked the balls to win it.
Our political leaders on both sides need to shut the hell up. They need to stop listening to mothers. We all love mothers, but all the mothers want all the warriors home safe, too often at any cost.
We don't want to be safe and shamed in the United States. We want to be safe, victorious and proud in the United States. We'll take not safe but able to look in the mirror in Iraq.
So the politics needs to stop. We need an assload more troops in Iraq and we need to turn the clock back.
Step 1 - Bigger military.
Yep. The military is overcommitted. But the services are making their recruiting goals. So our Congress needs to get off its dead ass and authorize a massive increase in the Army and the Marine Corps. The 9th Infantry Division colors are in a closet somewhere. Pull them out. Stand up the division again. Give the recruiters a mission - they'll fill it. The Army is just packed with NCOs and officers with combat experience. Fill that Division. Wouldn't take but a year or 18 months to see that full Division's worth of combat power come on line. And the Army has old barracks all over the county.
The Fifth Marine Division raised the flag on Mt. Suribachi. Reactivate. Fund. Fill.
Step 2 - Stop letting Iraqis fuck up Iraq
So great was our desire to declare our on-the-cheap war a success that we turned the running of Iraq over to the Iraqis far too soon. We needed to run that country for a year, while suitable Iraqis were found for key positions. Then we needed to let them run it, but with an American standing right there. We can't take it all back, but we can shove our way back into things. Every time a hospital administrator in Najaf calls Baghdad to try to figure out why they can't pay nurses, there needs to be an American standing by the phone in Baghdad, and the call needs to be on speakerphone. That way somebody is paying attention to who is stealing the money that's not getting where it needs to go.
This is an annoying problem when it's a hospital or school. It really sucks when the rank-and-file of the Iraqi Army isn't getting paid. No pay leaves them susceptible to bribery, which is a Bad Thing. Trust me. I can show you pictures of what a Bad Thing it is.
Iraq is a place where bribery and graft are a way of life. You can't blame these people - we're obviously working up to run out on them, so they need to steal while they can so they have enough money to flee hours after our last soldier gets on a C130. We must make them do better.
Step 3 - Blanket that country in Americans.
Story time! Once upon a time, a civil affairs unit was given an entirely stereotypical mission from their CA Higher. "Go forth," said Higher. "Ask around town and find a site for a Government Information Center, where we can have resprentative from each Ministry so the locals can find them easily."
This in a town where nobody who cooperated with the Americans LIVED. Oh, some officials who worked there were on our side, but they didn't LIVE there. They would have been killed. We had one non-dirty judge there and HE received death threats on a daily basis.
Nobody was going to openly side with the Americans, because we couldn't be there to protect them when the Bad Guys came. There simply weren't enough U.S. troops to have a patrol ALWAYS out and about in each neighborhood. And the IA didn't work at night.
So how stupid were our local Iraqis? Not stupid enough to do the stupid things we wanted them to if it was going to get them killed.
More Americans in Al Anbar. More Americans in Baghdad and Babil and Najaf and Karabala. 18 months of an American on every street corner will take care of a lot of problems.
Step 4 - Kill Al Sadr.
Yep. Don't know why we didn't do it before. Al Sadr is not helpful in the job of building a free and open Iraq where each individual is empowered to seek happiness as he or she sees fit.
We conquered the country. We're being very polite about it, but we're the ones with tanks and artillery, so we still own it. We get to kill whoever we deem worthy of killing.
All is not lost in Iraq, but we need to get past political posturing in order to win there. And win we must, for reasons I'll discuss shortly (I'm on a roll tonight).
Step 5 - Bomb the Hell out of Iranian nuclear sites
OK - I know we can't get away with this, but it would send a phenomenally valuable message. Remember - Iran is Not Our Friend. Iran is not a Friend of a Happy Middle East.
I was out and about today at the Gun Show. No - no new toys - it's too close to Christmas for me to spend a bunch of money on another gun. I was walking in, and passed two young (early 20s) guys walking the other way.
They were dressed with the GREATEST of care in similar-looking jeans and faux-faded Tshirts. Pseudo-distressed baseball caps. They were doing that "young man" thing - talking loudly to try to be overheard, gesturing too broadly.
I see another variety down here pretty often, too. The "urban male," dressed again with great care, talking loud, slouching around, trying to look...well, I dunno. Scary? Dramatic? Thug-esque?
I see them up home and in inland, redneck Florida. 22 year old boys in big pickups with tattoos and chew. Loud pipes, etc etc.
They're all young men who are trying to BE men. They desperately want someone to take notice of them, they seem to crave some sort of validation.
And every time I see them, I just roll my eyes. You think you're a MAN? You wanna be a MAN? Stop "hanging out" and acting like a over-contrived jackass. I got a phone number for you, son.
I know posturing and bravado are part and parcel of adolescent and just-post-adolescent guyhood. But it chaps my ass to see all those FALSE balls out there wandering around.
Seems to me like any young man worth a damn would be marching his happy ass down to his local recruiter about three days after high school graduation.
But no - these little wanna-be's just wander around, their behavior a giant billboard screaming "treat me like a man and respect me!"
Makes me want to spit. All that excess testosterone and not a uniform to be seen. Makes me want to spit because therein lies a big part of the solution to our Iraq issue. And no, I'm not a fan of the draft. More on this later.
But for now - young men! If you are sitting around, playing grab-ass with your buddies at the gas station and trying to convince your Dad you're an adult while you live in his basement...
The bus is over there. Give your ID to the nice man in the uniform and Get On It.
Posted by Abby at 17:19
01 December 2006
So after the attack of the Kamikaze Pigeon this morning, I sat around the house for quite some time. Then I thought - hey! I'll take the Bad Dogs for a walk.
Tell you what, that's like taking retarded children to DisneyWorld. Lurching all over the place, randomly stoping, acting more or less like I normally keep them locked in the basement.
We got down to the park and Sparky decided to jump in the lake. Then roll in the dirt. Jesus God. So I got home and stuck him in the shower, where he shook several times, covering the entire shower in lake mud.
So - things are going to hell in a handbasket here. And what does that mean? It means Mr. Abby is out of town (in the military sense). Downside - everything instantly goes tits-up the instant he leaves. Upside - I can drink a pot of coffee at 2100 if I want and stay up all night watching chick flick DVDs.
The state of Florida and the absolute knuckleheads who live here have not yet ceased to amaze me.
This guy, one Florida's posterchildren, decided to smoke some crack, get nekkid, then go swimming a lake at 0400. Which is when this GATOR decided he was just stupid enough to eat. That, ladies and gentlemen, is an 11-foot, 8-inch alligator. THAT is why Abby does not hang out in lakes in the hellhole state.
Four Polk County deputies took a 911 call, raced INTO the reeds and dark water, and pulled said Rocket Scientist out of the jaws of the gator. Showing yet again that the Polk County Sheriff's Department apparently has "balls of solid brass" as a hiring requirement. Of course, I think the smart thing to do would have been to let him get eaten, but he was screaming a lot and disturbing the neighbors, so I suppose they had to respond.
We also had a Hillsborough County deputy bitten by a 6-foot rattlesnake while hiking this week. A fellow deputy with whom he was hiking helped him get out and he's now recovering nicely. The snake, like the gator, was shot.
Also shot was some idiot who was burglarizing a home on the north side of town when the homeowners came back from a Thanksgiving trip. This being Florida, the cops merely showed up, hauled the wounded burglar away, and all is good.
This state...I tell you what...something or someone is ALWAYS getting shot here. The bad thing is, something or someone always NEEDS shot down here.
Dropped Mr. Abby at the airport an hour ago and as I was coming home - WHAM - suicide by windshield. Freakin' pigeon...
Fortunately, we have USAA for our insurance and their glass coverage is great (yep - a stealth Product Endorsement). This is the second windshield they'll have replaced for me in the last three months (the last one was a small boulder I caught on I75).
The only downside is that I don't want to drive the Jeep with this going on, and they'll be out to fix it tomorrow. Grumble grumble - if I want to go anywhere today I have to take Mr. Abby's giant Green Truck.
So if you hear shots from Tampa, it's me exacting revenge on the pigeon population...
29 November 2006
Mr. Abby and I did dinner and a movie tonight (the first movie we've been to in...4 or 5 months). Dinner was Chinese at PF Chang's (good).
Movie was Casino Royale - the new Bond flick.
I give it two thumbs up. More if I had more. The plot was...well, I guess there was a plot. Very groovy chase scene to open. It went on a little long.
But there were two scene w/ the "new Bond" (David Craig? Craig David? Whatever) hanging out in the ocean in those tight little swimming trunks, and some AWESOME Bond-in-a-tux footage.
So in short, I don't know if this movie was any good, but I think all our female readers should go see it. Immediately.
I'd been meaning to put this up while I was up north, but had photo uploading issues. My trip home managed to coincide with Deer Season. Deer Season is, of course, not merely a time of year but damn near an extended relgious holiday where I come from.
I did some hunting. I saw a lot of deer, but nothing to shoot at. Of course, one morning when I decided to sleep late and skip the woods, I woke to the neighbor on the phone. He needed help with a deer. Needed help getting it out of the woods.
This is Carl. I hate him. Can you tell why? And of course, he can manage to drive all night home from college, walk out in the woods and bust this monster after 20 minutes out there. But can he manage to shoot it next to his truck?
Oh no - he could NOT. So we dragged it. Dragging a deer will convince anyone their fitness routine is inadequate.
But good for Carl, this is a once-in-a-lifetime deer. The biggest I've seen taken from around those parts. But next time I'm NOT taking his phone call.
So I'm still working on Casey's fall molt. This is insane. NOrmally I brush her a couple of times a week, get a couple of handsful of hair, and she looks fabulous. Right now...it's (at least) once a day for twenty or thirty minutes. I get BAGS of hair, and she still looks like a scruffy coyote two hours later.
Apparently, though, ditching your entire coat ITCHES. She's been miserable. She LOVES the brushing, though. Normally she tolerates it, but right now she's rolling over on her back, leaning into the brush, just eating it up.
There is one sport on her back that she seems to have scratched a little vigorously, and so I'm going have to chase her down with the Cortizone cream.
A few more days, I think, and we'll be fully switched into the chic G. Shep winter ensemble... I certain HOPE so.
28 November 2006
...by a box.
I shall explain. Mr. Abby deeply enjoys EBay. He loves to find things I had no idea we needed and then buy them. He also loves to sell things that he thinks will net us millions.
Very recently, he sold the Very Special Seat from his recently deceased motorcycle. Of course, he's Very Busy these days, and so the task of boxing and shipping said object fell to ME.
But, being the endlessly helpful being he is, he DID bring home a box he suggested I use. It was like a FREEZER box or something. So I measured and I cut and I taped and I folded and I cut and I taped some more. Then I screamed for help until one of the neighbors came over and un-taped me from the love seat. Then I stuck the seat in the box and folded and taped and swore. And swore some more.
Then I grabbed the seat, drove up to the Box Guy (Package Emporium on Dale Mabry just south of Kennedy), and gave him a fistful of cash and an address label.
I think Mr. Abby has finally recognized that sitting around in Tampa is making me insane, and has decided to devise clever little challenges like this box thing. I've done the same thing with Casey when I've filled her Kong with peanut butter and stuck it in the freezer. I know she'll spend the entire day obsessing about it and won't be hysterical when I get home. I think he intended this boxing project to work the same way.
Alas, whereas Casey cannoy pay Kong Guy to come and get the peanut butter out of the Kong and put it in her bowl, I can pay Box Guy to make the damn seat go away.
27 November 2006
...of broken dog hearts, I have returned to Bad Dog Central.
I made a trip out of it, stopping at my trusty Days Inn in Mammoth Caves, KY, and for a VERY enjoyable evening with Cousin Ruth and Dog Cousin Allie in Georgia.
I returned home (triumphantly, of course - it's me we're talking about) last night. All is more or less well here. Mr. JJ is recovering nicely from his fall-down-go-boom the other day. Casey is blowing her coat and I think I brushed a garbage bag full of hair off her today.
Went to the gym tonight and could really tell I'd taken only two short runs while up north - made good time for 2.5, but that's about all I had.
Abby's Mom continues to do well. She got rid of the 3 of the 4 drains she's been cursed with since her surgery, which will improve her life dramatically. The docs say she can now DRIVE, so if you encounter a short blond woman in a Subaru and hooded sweatshirt in West Michigan, be extra nice to her!
19 November 2006
Yes, shelter CATS are great, too. Of course they're mean and creepy and screwed up, but all cats are like that, so just go on down to your local shelter and give a homeless cat a family the next time you're in need of a cat.
Not that we know if anyone actually needs a cat, but Hobbes is giving me the evil eye and made me do this post.
Shelter cats - just as good as the high-dollar, name brand kind.
Posted by Abby at 22:41
I haven't pointed this out before, but nearly every dog you'll see pictured here is a Rejected Loser. Each one of them is somehow screwed up and unworthy of being loved. Or so someone thought.
Casey came from an animal shelter in the California desert. According to the story, her People decided to take up the RV Lifestyle and didn't have room for a G. Shepherd. Fortunately, it was a no-kill shelter, and so she had the luxury of waiting a couple of months for me to show up and say, "Yep! I'll take her home!"
Sparky had to live in the bathroom at the house before ours. He was a DOG and thus bad for the carpet. It was our house or the shelter.
Sarge came to my parents through a Boxer Rescue organization. He wasn't a year old when they got him, but he has scars all over his head and trembles like a leaf whenever anyone picks up a gun or golf club within 50 feet of him. What this tell me about what some asshole did to a boxer puppy makes me wish I had an eight-digit grid for said asshole.
This next guy is a Gift Gone Wrong who was returned to the giver and eventually found his way into the pack of another of Mom's friends.
This is Chance, and he's a very good Bad Dog. As are ALL of the pack of Reject Losers listed above.
There's nothing wrong with buying the dog you're looking for - especially if you know exactly what sort of dog you want. But if you're game to put in the extra work with a Rescue Dog, or gamble on a mutt like Chance or a Shelter Mystery like Casey or a his-people-just-don't-like-him Special like Sparky, you can not only get a fabulous Bad Dog, but you can give a second chance to a dog who just happened to end up in the wrong pack on its first try.
17 November 2006
We just got the lab report back from Mom's surgery - and it's GOOD NEWS! None of the lymph nodes that were removed showed any signs of cancer, and they couldn't find anything in the breast tissue itself (other than some abnormal cells). So that TOTALLY rules out the possibility of radiation, and apparently, there's a question as to whether chemo will even be required.
This is, of course, fabulous news. We here at Bad Dogs (North) are wagging and howling with happiness. Sarge is mostly just happy because Mom's surgeon called and gave her the news over the phone - he'd been getting worried because we kept referring to "going up to get the labs." He's an only dog and kept pointing out that he didn't WANT a lab.
Incidentally, we don't know the lab in the above picture. We shamelessly stole this image from www.dogbreedinfo.com
16 November 2006
...it's another. And sometimes, if you're really really lucky, it's BOTH things at the same time.
So there I was on Sunday, hanging out up here before Mom's surgery. It was late afternoon but not dark yet, and I got a call on my cellphone. It was Mr. Abby, calling from his regular Sunday motorcycle ride.
"Hey, sweetie, what's up?"
"Well, I had a litte problem..."
This is never a good way to kick off a conversation. Long story short- he was riding on a big sweeping curve up somewhere in Marry Your Cousin Country (that is, north florida) and some cat-sized animal ran out in front of him. He went about 30 yards down the road, the bike ended up in a TREE.
I have in the past harassed him about the whole body motorcycle outfit, but I was very happy he was wearing it on Sunday. And of course he was sporting his full-face helmet. When he checked out of the ER, he had a small laceration from his sunglasses, a wrenched back and a sprained knee. The helmet was cracked and the bike, well, you can see how that turned out.
Moral of the story: If you insist upon riding a motorcycle, wear your safety gear.
Posted by Abby at 20:21
I know, I promised the Bad Dog Nation a JUICY, never-seen-before picture here tonight. Now, I know this may frighten some of you. It scares the beejesus out of me. But, it's part of life as I know it, and so I'm going to share it with you.
That would be Hobbes. Hobbes is my parents' housecat, and he is entirely MY FAULT. We lost my childhood housecat (Max) while I was at Parris Island. At some point when I was home on leave early in my Marine Corps career, I volunteered to go to the shelter and pick up a NEW cat for Mom and Dad, since Mom has a hard time with shelters (ends up bringing ALL the critters home).
So I went to the shelter, and I found Hobbes, who SEEMED normal enough. Of course, in the nine years or so they've had him, I think Mom has had more veterinary visits to deal with Hobbes' EMOTIONAL issues than his physical ones. He's pushy, needy, and he bites.
Really, seeing as he's just pretty much your typical CAT, I try not talk about him here at Bad Dogs. However, he's been giving me the evil eyes and since I'm honestly a little afraid of him (who isn't a little afraid of cats?), I promised him I'd put up his picture.
So there you have it, folks, Hobbes - the dirty feline secret of the Bad Dog Family.
Posted by Abby at 20:01
15 November 2006
Yes, I know, I've been remiss! The Bad Dog Nation yaps, howls and demands UPDATES! Ok - maybe not, but I like to think I have a cult following.
Abby's Mom had surgery on Monday - she came HOME today (Wednesday). In the interests of those who prefer not to hear details about the medical issues of others, we will let it suffice to say she is doing WELL, with good mobility and surprisingly little pain.
We await news on the next steps in whipping this bastard breast cancer, and we will know more when the pathology comes in from the surgery in the next few days.
Tomorrow will be a catchup day, when I will bombard you with NEWS and SCANDALOUS IMAGERY! There have been Significant Developments at Bad Dogs (Rear), and I can promise you that tomorrow will bring a UNPRECEDENTED IMAGE!
12 November 2006
We've opted not to be overly specific about the Bad Dog Family health issue thus far since, well, this is the internet, for chrissakes.
However, Abby's Mom (the primary reader we have here, that I am aware of) approved the release of more detailed information.
Abby's Mom was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. This is something the women of my family have some history with, so she was on the lookout and, fortunately, things were caught early. She will be having surgery tomorrow - the first active step in what we are certain will be a long but ultimately successful process.
Updates will be provided as warranted. Sarge is sporting HIS pink "neckwear" in support, and urges any/all of our Bad Dog Faithful to think good thoughts for Mom in the coming days and weeks.
A social day at Bad Dogs (North), as we did dinner with one of the Bad Dog grandmothers. Cousin Sarge almost lost his honorary Bad Dog status, however, as the entire meal was prepared and consumed without once having to chase him out of the kitchen.
After dinner, we met a new Bad Dog. Tucker is the junior member of one of Mom's coworker's pack. In this picture, of course, he looks Good. Very Good. Almost nauseatingly Good. But it's all a lie.
Tucker's People once cared for Sparky while I was Downrange and Mr. Abby was also Out of Town (in the military sense). So they're used to Bad Dogs.
11 November 2006
So I have arrived at Bad Dogs (North). The trip was largely uneventful. As you know, the official Bad Dog position on Florida is one of HATE, so I'm pleased to be in the upper Midwest where late November feels like...well, late November.
I'm up here to lend moral support to the Bad Dog Alpha Female (that is, Abby's Mom) during a challenging time, so all is not happy fuzzy joy, but it IS good to be home and good to be able to help out a little.
Of course, life goes on at Bad Dogs (Rear), where Mr. Abby has been cooking large roasts and feeding them to the Bad Dogs because, apparently, dog food is too complicated.
In the absence of my Bad Dogs, I am fussing over Sarge, the resident canine here. Why yes, he WAS named after me.
Can't you see the family resemblence?
Posted by Abby at 22:10
09 November 2006
RON - that's a military acronym that it took me like eight years to understand. It's one that I don't remember existing in the Marine Corps - it's an Army thing. It means, "remain overnight." Yes - basically "camp," or "sleep." But the Army made it an acronym. WhatEVER...
Anyway, I'm holed up in the lovely Mammoth Caves area. No trouble finding a cheap room, since, according to the friendly Days Inn desk clerk, there's some sort of E. Coli issue going on at the caves right now.
Ick. I think I'll just double check the locks and call it a night. No nocturnal E. Coli spelunking for me...
Posted by Abby at 22:22
08 November 2006
That's military speak for moving the Command Post during an action or exercise. Although the main body of Bad Dog Central is NOT moving, I (the Bad Dog CO), will be heading north to what we'll call Bad Dog Higher (that is, my parents' house) for a while.
The Bad Dogs will not be making this trip, and will remain in the capable hands of Mr. Abby here at Bad Dog (Rear).
We will attempt to continue posting during our trip.
Posted by Abby at 21:20
07 November 2006
Well, I did my patriotic duty for the day this morning and trudged off to the local church to vote. I swear to God - if there's anyone in Florida who can't figure out these electonic voting machines, they are too stupid to live.
Mr. Abby reported what seemed like a very valid issue that HE observed while voting. Apparently a VERY elderly woman was having a hard time "tapping" the right name, as she had VERY shaky hands. A poll worker came to the rescue, provided her with blunt pencil for increased poking accuracy, and all was well.
I'm glued to the TV, watching the returns, because that's the sort of thing I think is fun, because I'm a sick puppy.
It looks as though the Dems are going to take the house, although I don't know they'll take the Senate. I have some very serious concerns about the Democratic Party and national security, but I'll go on about those at some other point. Honestly, the things I view positively about the Republican party are things they haven't managed to accomplish while holding both houses and the presidency, so I'm not too sad to see them lose a house.
If the democrats take the House, they're not going to be able to singlehandedly surrender DC to the first group of grubby foreigners to shoot filthy looks at our country, and I'm not too afraid Nancy Pelosi is going to come to my house and take my guns (unlike some of my more exciteable fellow 2nd Amendment enthusiasts). But, with some moderate Republicans in the Senate, perhaps they'll be able to resist the urge to repeal good environmental law, and stop yammering about this idiotic Protection of Marriage Amendment.
I abandoned the Bad Dog Command Post today and took a road trip to meet a member of the Bad Dog Extended Family, who we will refer to as "Auntie M."
Now, Auntie M is one of my Dog Person mentors. When I was a small child, she lived several states away, but would visit periodically. We had a blue heeler named Scruffy. Scruffy pre-dated me by several years, and never failed to remind me of MY place on the household seniority list. Scruffy tolerated my mom and worshipped my dad. But for Scruffy, all paled in comparison to my Aunt.
I remember asking my Mom, "Why does Scruffy sleep on the couch with Auntie M? She won't sleep on my bed!"
"Because dogs love Auntie M, and she loves dogs. She's like...the patron saint of dogs or something."
Well, THAT stuck in my little-kid head. My aunt - a DOG SAINT! Maybe somewhere, in some Dog Meeting Hall, they had little statues of her. Maybe they ALL talked among themselves when she was coming to visit. It boggled the little-kid mind.
Well, now I'm grown-up, and I still think that it's entirely possible that's the case. Auntie M brought Dog Cousin Icky to our lunch - he wasn't feeling well and she wanted to keep an eye on him. She brought gifts for my Bad Dogs.
Casey is wearing the "in" look in South Florida - the do-rag w/ skull-and-crossbones. Isn't she a hoodrat?
Sparky, on the other hand, scored BIG off Auntie M's find of a Marine-Corps themed swatch of fabric, which became a fuzzy cover for his VERY OWN COUCH PILLOW.
Maybe now I can keep MY couch pillow not smelling like Sparky.
So the dogs have gifts from their Patron Saint, and I had a good fabulous road trip.
06 November 2006
I have GOT to get on a normal sleep schedule. I've always been a night person, but I don't have anything to read and I don't care much for TV, so there's not a whole lot to do at 0300.
I thought I was tired, but after 45 minutes of tossing around, I had to get back out of bed to avoid waking Mr. Abby up.
I'd like to go somewhere and do something, but there's not a lot going on at this hour that I really ought to be involved in. Oh well - I suppose a bowl of lime sherbet might knock me out. :)
05 November 2006
This is something different, but we here at Bad Dog Central believe in economic Darwinism. We want good products to survive, and bad products to go away. So...without further ado...we bring the First Ever BDC Product Endorsement!
I picked these up at Target yesterday because we'd finally run out of Rawhide Turds (not the official name - just the substance and shape of our last treat). They are a hit. They're semi-crunchy/chewy, but they're not HARD like little bones - Sparky has no problem wolfing one down. They're small and not crumbly, so they'd make a perfect "pocket treat" or training reward.
They are a little spendy (I think this bag was like $8), but there are plenty in the bag. The bag is ALSO self-sealing. Casey says "buy some today, and then give them to me!"
See? So yummy they're worth braving the scary digital camera! We were GOING to give these Two Tails Wagging, but then I had the opportunity to get additional input from Trixie, our official Pit Bull Next Door (a guest star here at BDC). She's a sweetheart, and regularly scores treats off me.
Okay - so the official verdict is Three Tails Wagging!
Buy Schmackos! They ROCK!
03 November 2006
I ran this afternoon - short but hard. It was a good run, and I decided to walk the last couple blocks to the house to shorten my total time-spent-gasping-in-the-living-room.
As I strolled up the sidewalk, the ground trembled. There was a rumble to the west, then a building wall of sound. I looked up (I know what this is - you gotta look ahead of the sound). The roar built, until it was almost painful and almost overhead. Then I saw it.
(photo courtesy USAF)
Taking off from the Air Base. It cleared the base perimeter and shot almost straight up. Three more followed at angles less steep.
We get a lot of transport and utility planes here, not so many fighters. But man, are the fighters ever awesome. From the sound to the sight, whether they're taking off, landing or just screaming by at low altitude...well, it makes me smile. Not a little smile, either. A big ol' shit-eating grin.
Now, I've (thankfully) never been in a position where fixed-wing air power had to come to the rescue. But I have been in a couple spots where it was REAL nice to know those fighters were out there. I see them now and it just makes me realize the amount of talent, technology and sheer POWER we can bring to bear on anything or anyone that threatens us.
And I defy anyone who ever watches fighters fly to not feel a little envy. I know that flying in the military, particularly flying fighters, is a lot more work than glamor. And I know that getting there requires massive effort (and a buttload of math). But...I'd just about give a kidney to launch one of those off a runway and into a steep climb someday. I never will, but it makes me happy to see that people do.
Anyway, fighters just give me a warm fuzzy way down in my boot-wearing, warmongering heart. And I felt like sharing.
OK - time for the ---hold on, gotta answer the phone...
IF THERE'S A PAWN FOR THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY IN THE FLORIDA STATE SENATE RACE IT'S KIM BE-
Okay. I'm back. As I was saying, the Official Position on Election 2006 here at Bad Dog Central is: Please God, let it be over.
Please observe what came in TODAY'S mail.
That's just today. These people are insane. And that's to say nothing of the phone calls. And the commercials.
I've been a politics dork for years. I care far more than the average individual about this sort of thing, and even I don't give a shit about the vast majority of the offices.
And attack ads? Boy howdy, can Florida politicians run attack ads.
There's a woman named Kim Berfield running for State Sentate. She's a pawn of the insurance industry, might be a scientologist, might still live at home with her parents, and doesn't like kittens.
Her opponent is Charlie Justice, who wants to quadruple property taxes, mandate gay marriage and shoot puppies.
Both of them have, according to the ads, apparently taken duffel bags of cash from insurance companies (a big thing here since people insist on building waterfront home in hurricane country).
I give up.
I'll vote on Tuesday. But really, shouldn't I look forward to election day as an opportunity to elect a candidate I'm enthusiastic about, rather than as the painful which-one-of-these-assholes-will-screw-up-less selection process that it usually is? I am absolutely certain that only cretins will be elected to any office, and that's because, as near as I can tell, only cretins RUN for office.
I hate all these people.
So I don't know anything about this guy. I'm opposed to the religious right on priciple. It's as though every time some twitchy man starts yammering about "family values" I can hear, very softly in the background, "and you, missy! What are you thinking, wearing TROUSERS??? Get into a shapless long-sleeved floor length flowered dress and get in the kitchen where you belong! And why aren't you surrounded by squalling infants? Have babies! Lots of them!"
Ugh. Makes my blood run cold.
Anyway, I'd never heard of this Jesus-told-me-to-tell-you-what-to-do guy, but apparently he's a big deal in that world. And apparently there are Troubling Allegations about him and some excesively attractive young man.
This would be a problem for almost anyone, mind you, who was married. Obviously a Huge Problem for someone of his ilk. Anyway, CNN just showed a little clip of him trying to explain this away, and it was the most priceless soundbite I've heard in years. Check this out:
"I have never had sex with a man in Denver."
Well, that clears THAT up.
02 November 2006
So Casey had an upset tummy today. A little yard pukin' and a serious case of the I-gotta-go-out-RIGHT-NOW. So I called Mom up, got a Course of Action (that's military speak for what-the-Hell-we-gonna-do), and did it. Went to CVS, bought Pepto and a syringe.
I came home, fired up the syringe, grabbed the German Shepherd, pried open the Giant Jaws of Death and thoroughly Pepto'd the dog. Then I did it again. Mr. Abby kept looking at me like I was crazy.
However, Mom always taught me:
If you're going to be a Critter Person, you have to be able to deal with your critters.
When I was a kid, we had barn cats. Now, the average barn cat gets about one trip to a real veterinarian in its life (if it's lucky). That's the spay/neuter trip. Other than that - why would anyone, my mother would ask, pay for an office visit for shots you can buy through the mail?
(Disclaimer - Abby's Mom is a medical professional)
So at least once a year, we'd trap the barn cats out in the garage. Then it was my job to a grab a cat and wrap it in a towel, leaving the neck exposed so Mom could administer the shots. We also did this with the housecat. And Dad's hunting dog.
When I was in high school, I had a couple of horses. One of them was a freak of epic proportions and ran through a barbed wire fence. Since we believed in Dealing With Our Critters, I applied ointment to those lacerations every day for weeks (and the horse kicked, too).
The two horses needed shots, too. This seemed to my Mom to be a GREAT OPPORTUNITY for me to learn to give shots. I remember her standing on the OTHER side of the fence and giving instructions as I warily circled Freak Horse with a needle. But I did it. I learned.
One weekend, my Dad and I were Up North and Mom was at home with our two bullmastiffs. On their Last Pee of The Night, Boris, our large male (and I do mean LARGE), somehow got tangled up with a raccoon family in the woods below the house. Raccoons are MEAN and Boris was not. He DID triumph (decisively, my father found the next day), but sustained a nasty ear-tear in the process. Nasty as in his big, floppy, velvety ear was ripped pretty well in half from tip to base.
Mom fixed it. With a flesh stapler. The woman stapled an ear together on a I-shit-you-not-150-pound frantic dog with no assistance.
That's Dealing With Your Critters. And that's why I could never even contemplate calling the veterinarian to administer dog tummy medicine. Because Mom would laugh at me.
Ah, yes. Another day draws to a close. Mr. Abby is already asleep, and one of us has apparently decided it's time for the Last Pee of The Night. Yes - of course I took a picture. You should just be thankful I cropped most of our nasty ghetto backyard out of it.
What? Too tacky? Oh, okay. Then we came back inside and Sparky decided to paw at the couch blanket and build himself a nest. Isn't that cuuuuuute?
I KNEW you would like that one.
01 November 2006
Literally. The dogs laid down the law recently and said "no more blogging until you get some DOG PICTURES!" Hence our recent lack of posting. This afternoon I managed to wrestle both of them AND the camera into the Jeep for a ride to the park, so I'm back in business.
And can you really beat a CAR RIDE?
No. You cannot.
And once we got to the park, there was much running and standing and looking to do.
And then there were the SQUIRRELS!
Sparky ALMOST got this one. Almost.
22 October 2006
CNN has finally managed to embed a reporter with a unit from the 10th Mountain Division down in my old Area of Operations. It's kind of funny - "Oh My God! We're in the Triangle of Death!"
What strikes me is the enthusiasm of the troops she's to be with. It reminds me of the enthusiasm of the two units we supported, when they first arrived. I hope the 10th Mountain has better luck. Heads up, guys - Hadjii is watching. Just because he's letting you kick brushpiles this week doesn't mean you'll be able to do it next month.
The enemy (or, more accurately, various enemies) in Iraq is an adaptable monkey. If you want to ride around in tracked vehicles, he'll figure that out and work around you. If you want to ride around in wheeled armored vehicles, he'll figure that out, and react accordingly. If you want to dismount and walk, well, he's got a plan for that, too.
The bad guys are not stupid, and we are all served by remembering that.
AN ASIDE - Yeah, I've seen the CNN "sniper footage." As someone who probably ran 150 or so missions as a turret gunner, this video makes my blood run cold. Remember this video - your troops know this can happen at any time and there's very little they can do about it. But they still roll out. Whatever the hell our country is doing with the strategy of this war, our warriors are magnificent.
We here at Bad Dog Central apologize for the recent break in posting. There's been some rough news in the Bad Dog Family, and it required contemplation.
Modern medicine being what it is, however, we have great confidence in the eventual triumph of our loved one, and so we will continue to post our thoughts about various trivial issues, but with one ear on the telephone.
15 October 2006
and if you were wondering why (and you know you were), it's because Mr. Abby is Out of Town (in the military sense).
So I have a couple of weeks of getting to be on MY VERY OWN SCHEDULE!!!
Love my husband, but he's an early-to-bed, early-to-rise type. I normally try to conform to his schedule at least a little. Otherwise it's quite easy for us to be in the same house and only be awake together from like 1700-2100.
But he's gone - and his timing is FABULOUS. Mr. Abby is a patriotic American of the first degree, but - he DISLIKES BASEBALL. I know. I know. If I'd realized this earlier, I probably would have called off the wedding. But, as it stands now, I'm good to watch the World Series, or at least the first four games, without anyone wandering into the living room and saying, "what's for dinner?" or "can you help me find my green service cover?"
He's actually developed some sort of jealous adversarial relationship with baseball, in which he occasionally tries to tempt me away from the Tigers.
"Hey, babe - you want to go get a steak?"
I finally had to break it down.
"Babe, this hasn't happened in 22 years. I love baseball. Like 65% of my early childhood memories involve Ernie Harwell's voice. I love you, but please, GO AWAY. Or you can sit here and watch the Tigers. One or the other."
I really am a sucky wife, but I REALLY love baseball.
Well, I still suck at homework. I just raced through four sections of math that were due at 2359 Sunday, trying to squeeze as many points as possible out. Of course, I could have done these weeks ago (probably would have improved my test score), but that would have been MOST out of character.
So I'm sipping a late-night cup of coffee, and listening to "Mortaritaville." It's some twisted little piece of music I picked up in Iraq (along w/ persistent GI tract issues - the music is way more fun). Another ripoff of Margaritaville, but it DOES include the line, "at least I don't wipe my ass with my hand."
One night, I sat on a plywood porch with four other individuals and watched everything we owned burn to the ground. There were Apaches overhead, the bad guys were shooting at the FOB, we had no pants, and "Mortaritaville" was playing on a laptop.
It makes me smile now. Yeah, I'm still a bad student and I probably always will be. But at least all my shit isn't on fire.
OK - if you live in an urban (or, I suppose, suburban) area (read, neighborhood), you just gotta keep track of your dog.
I have the Bad Dogs, and they are indeed Bad. Casey loves to run off. Sparky loves to run across roads looking for people willing to pet him. People don't MIND Sparky, but the road is not a safe place for a dog. People DO mind a German Shepherd who loves chasing kids on bikes, so wandering free is NOT a safe place for Casey.
The solution here is simple. My dogs don't wander outside. Our backyard is fenced (a requirement when we rent). The dogs don't go from the front door to the car if we don't have a firm hold on them. When we walk, they have leashes (and they WEAR them).
I just got back from taking them for an evening walk. As we neared the house, we had TWO decent-sized dogs come running up on us from the front, doing that creepy low jackal run.
I hate that. Of COURSE they weren't on leashes (one wasn't even wearing a collar). And of COURSE they had no people.
I yelled at them (sergeant voice! "HEY! GO HOME! GO HOME!") and they drew back. I scooped up Sparky and dragged Casey on down past them. I kept looking back until I saw they'd developed an interest in a neighbor's trash.
Listen - I love dogs. Love em love em love em. I love ALL the dogs. Ugly ones, smelly ones, ornery ones and hairy ones. I love my next door neighbor's pit bull, and pet her daily.
I DO NOT LOVE packs of unleashed dogs.
1. If your dog is running around the neighborhood unrestrained, there's a good chance it'll get hit by a car. That sucks.
2. If your dog is running around thinking it's part of a pack, charging other dogs, that ain't good either. I love all the dogs. I love mine best. Your unleashed dog attacks one of mine? That will go badly for your dog. That sucks.
3. Unrestrained dogs consistently attack people down here. If your dog ATTACKS someone, that's bad. For you AND the dog. Also sucks.
Keep track of your dog. A neighborhood is not an appropriate place to let your dog roam. Bad things can happen to it, and it's not fair to the dog.
I DON'T MIND BAD DOGS. I HATE BAD DOG OWNERS.
11 October 2006
So I got up this morning, basking the the afterglow of last night's Tigers win, and headed off to school. The math test wasn't bad, which was nice.
I was going to swing by the range, but I decided it sounded too "loud," so I just came home. Now I'm on the couch, watching ESPN, with a German Shepherd on my lap. Well, just her head. Apparently I'm furniture today. Normally Casey isn't very cuddly, so it's nice. Perhaps we'll nap.
Posted by Abby at 11:37
09 October 2006
They say there are three kinds of dogs, as defined by what "motivates" them. There are the Toy-Oriented Dogs (that is, Sparky). There are Praise-Oriented Dogs (I think I've met a few - they're the dog equivalent of the suckups you remember from high school). Then there are the Food-Oriented Dogs.
Casey is a FOD. When I first got her from the shelter, she was skinny and I set about trying to fatten her up. I can get her to around 68 pounds, and that's it. But man, can she EAT. I wish I had my dog's metabolism.
Her favorite thing in the world - fruit. More than steak, more than jerky, the dog loves FRUIT. Nectarines, watermelon, apples, you name it. If I peel the little sticker of a plum at 0330, she hears it and is RIGHT THERE in an instant.
Tonight I tried to eat a pear. You can see how that turned out. Her passion for fruit is stronger than her fear of the digital camera, it appears.
07 October 2006
That's how long it's been since the Detroit Tigers made it out of the first round of the playoffs.
I was 6 in 1984. Now, I'm not going to get all excited - there's still an ALCS and, good Lord willing and the crick don't rise - a World Series. But...DAMN. That was BEAUTIFUL.
Kenny Rogers pitched last night like nothing I have ever seen. The most inspired performance I've ever seen on the mound. Bonderman was fabulous today, and the Tigers just looked like a team that WANTED it.
And that they won the game in Detroit? SWEET.
So, I'm off to do the Happy Dance again. I fully intend to be intolerable between now and the ALCS opener on Tuesday.
Posted by Abby at 21:40
06 October 2006
The Bad Dogs point out I'm not posting enough dog pics here. In my defense, I'd like to point out that Casey is afraid of the digital camera and runs away whenever I turn it on. And Sparky sleeps all the time.
But anyway, on the way back through Orlando, I did get this picture of a Very Happy Big Black Dog.
I do not condone letting one's dog ride in the open back of a truck, and I don't let mine do it. But some dogs really seem to enjoy it, and you know what - when I was a kid WE were allowed to ride in the back of the truck. So good for this Big Black Dog.
Today I went to Orlando. There was a new Gander Mountain outdoor store opening. I was out of ammuntition (well, I'm never OUT of ammunition, but I was getting very low) and I haven't been in an outdoor store since I left the midwest.
So off I went. Now, I was passing up on going to BassPro (which is at exit 75) in the hopes that a "grand opening" would lead to better prices. But I had to go to exit 98. Keep in mind, I start out about 10 miles BEFORE exit 1. And here's a fun fact - if you lead a BAD LIFE, and you DIE, you have to spend eternity driving on I4 through Orlando. Jesus, that was annoying.
Apparently, I'm not the only one who thinks so.
If you can't read this guy's personalized plate, it reads "ICUSS I4"
I got there, did my shopping. They had ALMOST everything I needed. And, a bonus, out in the parking lot, they had THIS!
Yep - that's a GIANT INFLATEABLE BASS with a slide in its mouth. Priceless.
I DID end up stopping at BassPro on the way home for one thing Gander Mtn. didn't have. Oh well - the prices were better at Gander, but BassPro was WAY COOL. Good thing I don't live closer.
04 October 2006
That's a frosty cold IBC root beer. I normally prefer A&W, but this stuff is good, too.
I've always liked root beer, but it became a super rare treat while I was in Iraq and whenever Higher could get a truck of soda through to our camp, it was at least 90% some weird Arabic strawberry soda.
And here's a dirty (but true!) little fact. On the rare occasion root beer would come in on a beverage delivery, the desk-sitting weenies on the staff of the battalion we were supporting would raid the soda supply and steal it. I'm not kidding - I saw crates of A&W in the TOC tent when the rest of the battalion hadn't seen anything but Hajji strawberry soda for weeks.
I'll let the unit remain nameless because although they pissed me off then and the thought of them pisses me off now, I'd hate to pop up on someone's Google search for said unit with my root beer bitching.
But if any of them find their way here - that was pretty shitty, guys. Your Joes - the ones out performing the dumbass missions y'all were dreaming up - deserved the first crack at all the soda. You guys should have been stuck with the warm strawberry crap.
breaks my heart with his lack of reliability. I think he drinks. Oh, I'm pretty sure he TRIES not to - those are the days when he comes by between 1045 and 1115. Most days. But then there are the days when I think he's fallen off the wagon, and arrives sometime between 1300 and 1515. I'll see him drive down a nearby road on those days, then he'll disappear for an hour or two. I think he's parked down at the corner store, sucking down 40s of Old E.
Just my theory, of course. This wouldn't be so annoying if about 80% of the time he was early, predictable, etc. Makes me crazy.
I blame it all on being a rural only child. Mail was a major highlight of the day, even in the years before I began monitoring the delivery in order to intercept letters from the local school.
Mom also got good catalogs. As opposed to us - we get annoying motorcycle stuff (for Mr. Abby) and threatening letters from financial entities addressed to the deadbeats who formerly occupied our house. Oh joy.
And the mail delivery was always timely at my parents' house. THEIR mailman doesn't drink. Or if he does, he doesn't allow it to interfere with the completion of his appointed rounds. Oh no - Mr. Smelker gets the mail to the masses.
Mr. Smelker rocks.
My mailman sucks.
Why yes - today WAS one of the "drinkin' at the corner store days." Could you tell? And when he finally showed up, the mail SUCKED.