07 October 2006

22 Years

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.

06 October 2006

Gratuitous Dog Pic

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.

Road trip!

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

Happiness is


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.


The Postman Always...

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.

03 October 2006

Things my Mom taught me (Part II)

Mom pretty much always cooked a real meal for us. I never knew what an undertaking this was until I got a husband. They always want to be fed. And they always want a Real Meal. Most women I know, in the absence of their men, have no problem subsisting on cheese, candy and fruit.

My husband, though, likes Real Meals. And for some reason, he expects me to care. However, I learned how to handle this from Mom (because Dad also likes Real Meals):

Men will eat anything you feed them.

Thus, when Mr. Abby came home at lunch (ever heard the old expression, "for better or for worse, but not for lunch?" - he hasn't), and gave me that pathetic look...I was able to say, "How about some Ramen with eggs? And look - I have SPAM!"

Jesus. I mean, how nasty is THAT??? But he hoovered it right up and was a happy little camper when he went back to work.

Mom was right. They'll eat anything. Mostly because they're just too lazy to rustle up their own food if they can get someone else to do it.

Women in Combat

[deep breath]

I am so FREAKING SICK of hearing the media simpering about "women in combat." The latest round of this was caused by the loss of 2LT Emily Perez, a West Point standout who was KIA recently in Iraq.

First - condolences to the family of Lieutenant Perez. By all acounts, this was an outstanding woman and a fine young officer. The Army and the country are less for her loss.

Second - CNN, this is directed at you. THERE IS NO LAW AGAINST WOMEN IN COMBAT. None. I will try to explain.

Women may not serve in occupational fields the primary mission of which is to engage in direct ground combat with the enemy. Women may not serve in these UNITS below the brigade level (note there is a difference between "job" and "units" - field hospitals have supply sergeants).

Thus, there are no female infantrymen. None. Nor are there female tankers, artillerymen, amtrac guys, and a few other small and odd jobs. There are no female Rangers, SEALs, Green Berets, or Force Recon Marines. There ARE women in the US Army Special Operations Command(psychological operations and some civil affairs). There ARE women in fields labeled "combat arms" (an example being the females who handle ordnance in the Marine Corps).

There are female admin clerks. Some of them are in, say, the 82nd Airborne. They are Airborne qualified. They jump out of planes. They may serve at the Division level, they may serve at the Brigade level. You will not find them in the infantry battalions or rifle companies.

There are female mechanics, postal clerks, combat photographers, civil affairs specialists, etc etc. If there is a position IN an infantry battalion for one of these people, it will be filled by a MALE. If, however, a small group of...oh, I dunno, say...civil affairs soldiers are ATTACHED to said battalion, or IN SUPPORT of said battalion, there may very well be women.

Let me further elaborate on this one, because it could be confusing. We will use the examples of an infantry battalion and a civil affairs company, because that is one with which I am intimately familiar. There exists a document called an MTOE - this is a Modified Table of Operations and Equipment. One exists for every unit in the military (although they may go by different names). This is the big list of what makes up a unit. If you look at the MTOE for say, an Army Infantry Battalion, it will be a list that would go something like this:
Lieutenant Colonel, battalion commander, 1, 11A;
Major, executive officer, 1, 11A;....
Captain, company commander, 4, 11A;
Sergeant first class, supply NCOIC, 92Y, 1...and so on and so forth.
Now, we know that none of the positions that start with "11," that is, the field identifier for "infantry," will be filled by women. However, NOR will the position of "supply NCOIC." Although there are female E7 92Ys (a lot of them), they may not fill a position on the MTOE of a unit, the mission of which is to engage in direct ground combat with the enemy, below the brigade level. Got that? Now, if Higher, in all its wisdom, decides this infantry battalion needs to be augmented by a civil affairs company, that company has its own MTOE, and no restrictions on where females may serve, as it is not a unit for which the primary mission is to engage the enemy in direct ground combat. Do we have that cleared up? Good.

Of course, there are many non-combat arms units out there. Let's talk about, oh, we'll say...a Division Finance Company. Let's put them in Iraq. Now, they have a mission that is not necessarily to "locate, close with and destroy the enemy using fire and manuever." Of course, they're American soldiers, so they will do this if they must, but it's not why they're there. They are there to do MONEY STUFF.

Of course, part of that involves moving money to outlying camps so the grunts and support folks out there can have cash. So the finance company puts together a convoy. Maybe they can borrow a couple of gun trucks from their local infantry unit, or maybe not. Either way, the finance soldiers are going to be manning a couple of those vehicles. And by manning, I mean provinding a vehicle commander (TC), a driver, and a turret gunner.

There are lots of women in finance companies. Now, enough of these convoys are out rolling around, and one gets ambushed. Some soldiers are hurt, and some are killed. Some shoot back, some provide aid and some call for medical evacuation.

This was combat. The soldiers there are Combat Veterans. The wounded are Combat Wounded Veterans with Purple Hearts. The dead are Combat Losses (also with Purple Hearts). And some of them are women.

Women are in combat. This is indisputable, and this is not a violation of law, or a travesty of justice. The finance company women, the transport women who move materials and go out to retrieve damaged vehicles, female MPs training the Iraqi Police, the postal clerks moving mail. All of these women are being employed in accordance with all applicable law, and all of them can be, at any moment, "in combat."

This is an issue that a lot of people feel very strongly about, and it's even more detailed than I made it sound here (wanna know why you'll find female Marines on helicopters in situations where you wouldn't find female Soldiers? - no, you probably don't).

Like most complex issues, and like absolutely everything involved with our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, this one doesn't benefit from over-simplification. It's not that difficult to understand, and the media and our government do all of us a disservice when they fail to take the time to help people understand what's really going on.

Lieutenant Perez didn't die doing something she wasn't supposed to be doing. She didn't die because she was employed in violation of the law. 2LT Perez died doing her duty as an Army Officer, and we shouldn't minimize what she gave all of us by pretending her involvement in our national mission was a mistake, or that she was a helpless victim of a big cruel Army.

That is all. Dismissed.

Casey says, "C'Mon! Stop typing! Feed me and take me for a WALK!"

Range Time!!!

So, at the end of Errands From Hell yesterday, I managed to talk Mr. Abby into some range time. I love range time. I love to shoot. It's relaxing.

Relaxing? What's relaxing about a loud room with lots of people firing wildly, you say. Relaxing is...walks on the beach. Meditation. Aromatherapy. Or maybe kittens. But not firing ranges!

Story Time!

Long ago and far away, at Marine Corps Boot Camp, they taught me to shoot. Now, I already knew how to shoot. But the Marine Corps taught me how to shoot anything, and well. The Marine Corps being the Marine Corps, this was made very simple.

1. Position your body to facilitate gaining a quality sight picture.
2. Maintain proper sight alignment.
3. Focus on the clear tip of the front sight post.
4. Squeeze the trigger. Make the weapon go "bang!" without screwing up 1,2 or 3.

If you do these things, you will hit what you are shooting at. Of course, there are find points and details, but if you do the four things above, consistently, you will hit what you are aiming it.

Huh. How 'bout that?

Now, I was THE ADD kid. And I have grown into THE ADD woman. I focus about as well as a broken TV camera. It's just who I am - I'm used to it. I like my thought process, even though occasionally I fnd swiss cheese on the pasta shelf, where I obviously set it while distracted.

But when I shoot - ah...then I FOCUS. I HAVE to. You can't cheat on that. If I'm thinking about my Spanish class, and not doing the four listed things above, I get lots of little holes all over my target. If I think about showing off and shooting well because Mr. Abby is at the range with me...again, lots of little holes. But if I FOCUS, ignore everything else in the world, and do the four things above, then I get targets that look like this:

Not the best shooting I've ever done, but it's the target on my wall. Incidentally, that's at 20 yards with an old "beater" .45 manufactured in 1943.

This works with a pistol, but it's most fun with a rifle. I just adore the clarity I get when I'm shooting. Can't think about anything else. Just do a few, simple things again and again.

And yes, I did shoot better than Mr. Abby (after I settled down and stopped trying to show off).

Day off

yesterday. Well, not really, but it turned out that way. I went to the Math Class of Satan and the World's Most Silly Humanities Class. Then Mr. Abby called and said that, because Certain People had taken the day off, he had nothing to do.

So we made a day of it, running exciting errands including Tampa Police Department so he could get fingerprinted. I can never find that building on the first try, and Tampa, like most other big cities, has only one-way streets and less than helpful signs in the downtown area (the aquarium? I don't need to know how to get to the aquarium! How about some DAMN SIGNS pointing me to city services????).

Also had a fun trip to the Dept. of Motor Vehicles to replace the registration on his motorcycle. While there, it occured to me that the Jeep needs new registration (this is one of the ways that Florida makes money - you pay to register your vehicle when you buy it, then you re-register it again shortly thereafter. Bastards). So I have to go back to the DMV later today.

Then, just to keep it fun, we went to the range. More on that later.

01 October 2006

Good Riddance

New information tells us that the Sub Human Piece of Shit (SHPOS) who shot two Lakeland County deputies, killing one, and also a K9, was whacked with extreme predjudice when found (with the dead deputy's sidearm) by our fine LEOs.

It sounds as though this SHPOS slaughtered Dep. Williams in an especially coldblooded manner. This is vile, and heartbreaking.

A very small measure of comfort can be taken from the fact that our LEOs killed the living shit out of SHPOS.


68 rounds sounds highly appropriate. Casey points out that she believes being ripped limb-from-limb by K9s would also have been appropriate. I agree.