27 January 2007

Good Information

LawDog has a post up on avoiding identity theft.

Lots of good information. And if you're not already reading LawDog fairly regularly for your recommended daily allowance of small-town Texas law enforcement insight, well, you're just wrong.

Waiting for Santa

Waiting for Gun Santa, that is. Remember when we talked about my M9 pistol a week or so ago? I ordered it today from my friendly local dealer.

I love my friendly local dealer. Action Aquatics on Gandy Blvd, if you're interested. Problem is, they're an FFL/SCUBA shop, so they don't stock many guns. They have to order everything.

Sigh. So my new gun should be in Wednesday.

The end of the road...

for Christopher Gay.

They got him.

Over on the other side of the state, in a place called Volusia County. Maybe he was headed for Dayonta Beach (David Allan Coe is playing there in March, at Bike Week).

I don't think he was heading over to do independent research on the 2000 presidential election vote counting nighmare, although apparently Volusia County was pivotal in that whole fiasco.

Oh well - another one bites the dust.

Happy happy joy!

A few weeks ago, Mr. Abby and I were the victims of online fraudsters. I noticed a bogus charge on our debit card. Fortunately, we have the World's Greatest Bank, and they fixed the problem instantly. Returned the 74.95, canceled the card, put the smack down on the fraudsters.

Problem is, we then needed NEW CARDS.

Which has taken TIME. The cards finally showed up in the mail early this week, but NO PIN numbers. Grrr... Now, while this has been going on, we've been either operating:
A) Out of the account in Florida to which my pay is deposited. As most of you know, I'm currently not WORKING, so nobody is depositing any pay there. It's not much of an account
B) With checks from the other bank. Not very many places take checks these days. Try writing a check at your local urban gas station. Good luck with that.
C) By depositing checks from the useful bank into the Florida bank. This worked, but it was a giant pain in the ass.

Today the PINs showed up! Yea! We can spend the money we have and it's not an eight-step process.

Happy happy happy!

If you're not following this news story...

you're just WRONG.

Christopher Gay's cross-country escape has been like...some kind of white trash epic.

So this dude's gettin moved by the prison system from Texas from Alabama. Somehow, he escapes in South Carolina. He stole a truck when he escaped. It seems he then went to Tennessee, where he stole an 18-wheeler, which he drove to Alabama to visit his dying mother,

After that, he (it seems) returned to Tennessee, where he stole a tour bus belonging to Crystal Gayle. Now he seems to be in Florida. How do we know he's in Florida?

He showed up at some "speedway" in Lakeland. A "speedway," is apparently a place where the sort of people who enjoy NASCAR hang out. Some real sharp guy who runs the speedway decided Mr. Gay did not seem to be who he said he was - he was claiming to be there to pick up Tony Stewart. So Mr. Gay took his stolen tour bus and left the area. The Florida cops are now looking for him.

Yet more proof that just about everything tacky, absurd and sad eventually ends up here. Because Florida is the land of tacky, absurd and sad.

But this - this seriously sounds like a David Allan Coe song.

26 January 2007

Giving Up

OK - I surrender. Casey's reopened her hotspot like twice. And she's working on another one. We've got a vet appointment. I'm going to get this dog FIXED if I have to sell Mr. Abby to do it.

I wonder if we're going to end up shaving her? If we do, we'd better do the whole dog. Because shaving the back half would be really dumb-looking. And I refuse to keep her in this licky collar for the rest of her life.

For all my nurses out there

Abby's Mom is a nurse. And she throws me a little nurse traffic from time to time.

So this one's for the nurses. Xavier rocks. He's a nurse. And he's damn proud to be a nurse-who-happens-to-be-a-man.

He also includes a fabulous product option for all of you who have sons who might want to be nurses.

Enough with the hysterics, already!

So I've had CCN on for a couple of hours. And, apparently, the issue that has us all worked up today is "Bush okays killing Iranians plotting against Iraq."

It seems we're supposed to talk about this. Perhaps, we're even supposed to debate it.

Sigh...we've talked before about Iran and the fact that they're
A) Not just some innocent country that happens to be next door. Iran is not Canada.
B) Killing our soldiers.

I did a google search on this, because I don't want to be the one who talks about things we don't talk about. I'm not, so I will. Let's try to do this quickly, though.

Iran is chock full of Shiites. That aligns Iran with Al Sadr and the Mahdi Militia. That ties Iran to anti-Iraqi and anti-Coalition activities in heavily Shiite areas. MMMkay? We're talking about the city of Najaf, of Karbala, certain (but not all) part of Baghdad.

(We face different enemies and influences in our more Sunni areas - other parts of Baghdad, Ramadi, Tikrit, etc. We can talk about Sunni extremism - Al Qaeda and a certain great big rich country that rhymes with Paudi Bapabia - some other time.)

Iran contributes materials and know-how to build certain types of IEDs. If you go to the DoD News Release page and look for those releases that involve IEDs that kill two or more American soldiers (particularly soldiers in vehicles, where that is noted), a significant number of those were caused by the type of IED that comes from Iran. If you conducted this search, you would note the phenomenon really kicked off in late summer/early fall 2005.

There are different kinds of violence in Iraq. Most of my tour was spent in an area that was largely Sunni. There was lots of violence. There were lots of IEDs. But they were a different kind of IED. They could still kill you, but you had to be pretty unlucky if you were in an armored vehicle.

Not so with the Iranian-made specials in largely Shiite areas. These are bombs that are specifically developed to kill Americans by defeating vehicle armor.

Iranian influence is not just "unhelpful." We need to be clear about this. That would be like...the Canadian government using intermediaries to give money to a U.S. political candidate aligned with Canada. This is different. This is like the Canadian government working through intermediaries to kill...I dunno...Republican party members in Iowa. Or democratic get-out-the-vote people in Kansas City.

Not that they would. Canadians seem nice enough.

We've got to remember - Iran is not our friend. Iran is not neutral. Iran is not a country we "deal with" the same way be deal with Canada over fishing disputes. Iran is a country that expends its efforts to KILL OUR SOLDIERS.

And personally, I think CNN needs to freakin' stop it. I want my President to be all about killing people who kill our soldiers.

25 January 2007


I hate these things. I think they're like the funny emails people forward that you've already seen 87 times. But sometimes I can't help it.

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Milady the Right Reverend Abby the Fiendish of Witchampton Under Buzzard
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title

Heh. It was the either the "buzzard" or the "fiendish" that made me smile.

Abby's Mom Update

This has been a process, not a series of events, so I haven't talked about Mom's Full Frontal Assault on Breast Cancer for a while.

Today she's having her fourth chemo treatment. Of eight. Which means she's HALFWAY THROUGH.

The treatments are two weeks apart. She has them on Thursday. She feels fine on Thursday and Friday. Then, very late Friday night or very early Saturday morning, the Giant Curtain of Feeling Like Shit descends. She describes it as the "world's worst hangover."

Saturday is the worst day, and she feels puny Sunday as well. It starts getting better Monday, and with the exception of little flashes of nausea, is good to go by the middle of the week.

Her hair is gone, which she's handled amazingly well. Not saying the loss was easy, but she was prepared and now, in fact, often masquerades as a redhead. She's working after the bad days, although due to the nature of her work, shortened shifts.

When this all started, she called me and told me we "had some bad news." I couldn't think of anything to say other than, "Oh, shit, Mom..."

But she went on the offensive immediately. No dicking around trying to find the most gentle treatment. They couldn't find a tumor...maybe it was only one breast... She wanted no part of the dithering. Mom's tough and she's busy and she has plans, so off with both breasts. Hell yeah, let's do the chemo. Let's be done with this, Mom said.

And now she's halfway there. More than halfway, really, when you consider the surgery and recovery time that preceded the chemo. I try to help by sharing what experience I have in dealing with things that suck. Divide it up into little pieces. Make a note of each one. You're an eigth done, that means you're 12.5% of the way there.

Well, now she's halfway. It's a long run, or a helluva long walk with a heavy pack she can't pass off and can't drop for even a second, but now she's at the part where all she's gotta do is turn around and walk back.

I'm immensely proud of her. For a lot of reasons. But the way she's handled this whole thing - it's something else. Go, Mom.

Making progress...

I just sent off a signed purchase agreement for our house Up North. The world's greatest tenent not only decided to buy it, he decided to buy it QUICKLY and WITHOUT DRAMA. Have I mentioned how fabulous this guy is?

Other than the annoyance of trying find "legal size" printer paper to print the damn thing out, this has been incredibly painless since we enlisted the aid of the World's Most Useful Real Estate Attorney. He WILL be listed as a product endorsement after all is said and done with this.

Imagine, if you will, that you have a house more than a thousand miles away that you still own. And that although you have a tenant, you make up a monthly difference between his rent and the mortgage that is a constant, evil drain on your fundage.

Then imagine getting rid of this situation. Does this make Abby happy? Oh yes, it does.

24 January 2007

More thoughts on Election 08

I wandered by Tamara's place earlier, and this post got me to thinking.

and what's gonna happen to the finger-wagging, lecturing, "Lesser Of Two Evils" voters if this election comes down to McCain v. Edwards or Clinton v. Giuliani, and there is no lesser evil? Are we justified in voting third party then? Or should we just say "screw it", and stay home?

I'm an Independent. That is, I'm not registered with either party. Upside: I get to proudly say, "I'm an Independent!" and I'm not on the party call lists (which doesn't really help, because Mr. Abby is a registered Republican, so they still call). Downside: In most states, including Florida, I can't vote in primaries.

I think most of us can look at the lists of Presidential hopefuls now and see someone we don't hate. The downside of our (mostly) closed primary system is that the True Party Believers pick their party's nominee.

Too often, that leads to each party nominating the candidate who:
A) Spends the most time pandering to their base
B) Has the most disposable income

So how about if we "tuned in" Independents pick a candidate and register with a party? Then we get at least some say in picking the nominee (if we live in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, etc - this is another major flaw in the primary system. How can someone be "hopeless" after NH and IA? I dunno - but it happens).

I'm not clear on this thought - I'm thinking out loud tonight. But I've had about enough of watching the Democrats nominate the individual who promises to hand out the most money to the "party base," while watching the entire Republican machine spend a zillion dollars to find the guy who can sound most indignant about prayer in school.

We've GOT to be able to make this primary system work better. Any ideas? We're still a ways out, but once I know where I'll be living for the primary season, I think I'm going to look into registering. Which party depends on what I think of the available candidates at that point.

More food for thought.

Best TV Channel - EVER

I'm not into watching any of the network shows - no American Idol, no Deal or No Deal, no CSI Oklahoma City - none of that. I keep CNN on most of the day, until the CONSTANT PRESENCE of Wolf Blitzer starts to make my eyeballs bleed.

Then I switch over to the satellite radio country music feed that comes with this magic satellite TV.

But at some point fairly recently, a new channel showed up. Discovery Health. This channel is fabulous. Like 80% of the programming falls into the Incredibly Fat People and Their Related Issues category. The other 20% consists of shows like Extreme Surgery, and Plastic Surgery Miracles, all of which show incredibly fucked-up people, and detailed operating room footage.

I have no idea why this appeals to me. Actually, I've got a couple, but they're pretty depressing. All the same, I highly recommend Discovery Health. Hours of entertainment.

Names from Karbala

Well, now we have it.

The Department of Defense announced today the death of four soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died Jan 20 in Karbala, Iraq, from wounds sustained when their patrol was ambushed while conducting dismounted operations. The soldiers were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Richardson, Alaska.

Killed were:

1st Lt. Jacob N. Fritz, 25, of Verdon, Neb.

Spc. Johnathan B. Chism, 22, of Gonzales, La.

Pfc. Shawn P. Falter, 25, of Cortland, N.Y.

Pvt. Johnathon M. Millican, 20, of Trafford, Ala.

Yesterday they announced the name of a CA officer:
Capt. Brian S. Freeman, 31, of Temecula, Calif., died Jan. 20 in Karbala, Iraq, of wounds suffered when his meeting area came under attack by mortar and smalls arms fire. Freeman was assigned to the 412th Civil Affairs Battalion, Whitehall, Ohio.

Our Bad Dog hearts go out to the families.

CPT Freeman, as a Civil Affairs Officer, was trained and was in Iraq specifically to facilitate the formation of functional government structures and processes. The infantrymen and their lieutenant were supporting that mission. These men died trying to improve the lives of others, and build a better Iraq.

We hope the Army takes a good look at how things are run down at the Karbala Government Center (or whatever they're calling it now) and takes steps to ensure this doesn't occur again.

I understand our desire to trust Iraqi Security Forces and local governments, and I understand that behaving in accordance with that trust is a way we show we're making progress in Iraq. And I understand the desire to show we're making progress.

However...it is not unknown that the Karbala provincial government is...not entirely on the side of the angels. We must deal with things as they are, not as we wish they were.

Godspeed, soldiers. Good work. We will not drop the ball.

Job Interviews

Once I'm through this process and settle on one of these several options, I'll be talking more about this whole silly process. It's been a long time since I've done a real job interview. And interviews for low-paying hourly service positions are something...well...it's been since high school.

It's interesting. Strangest, I think, is the idea that I, as the applicant, am supposed to pretend I think Kwik E Mart or McWeezel's or KWalMart or whatever is a Great Career Opportunity and that I'm interested in paths of advancement through the organization.

At the same time, the interviewers look at my resume and pretend they think I'm there for any other reason than because I need cash to support my hobbies and am desperate for something to do.

Obviously, I'm just there for a paycheck and I'm going to be gone the instant something better comes knocking. I have no interest in working my way up the Piggly Wiggly foodchain from bagger to district manager.

But at the same time, obviously I am a (reasonably) stable individual who will show up for work, sober, and not rob them blind. I also speak coherent english and bathe on a daily basis.

It's funny, a little, but mostly it's just sad for all involved.

Cookies - Product Endorsement!

OK, so almost everything pisses me off. But NOT THESE. I never even knew such a thing existed, but Mr. Abby is of hispanic descent, and apparently this is one of those things they've been hiding from us gringos.

Apparently the entire "genre" of these cookies are "Maria cookies." Iberia is one brand.

These things are obviously made by people for whom coffee is a way of life. They're just slightly sweet - it's definitely not like eating a package of Chips Ahoy with your coffee. Kind of a much-less-sugar shortbread taste. But they're very crispy. And thin.

The only downside is that the packages don't seal and they go stale fast. I find that problem is most easily solved by eating the entire package fairly quickly. Works for me.

You'll find these in the "ethnic" or "hispanic" section at your supermarket. It's part of the Great Hispanic Plot to hide them from us. Any brand will do, but this is my personal favorite.

grumble grumble...

I'm grumpy this morning. My dogs are annoying me. Politics are annoying me. I had another job interview this morning (followup) that went very well and still managed to annoy me.


I'd go shooting, but there really are other things I should be doing, which (you guessed it) annoys me.

I'm going to go take care of some business and then will post about a product that does NOT annoy me.

23 January 2007

State of the Union

Let's just look at a few bits of this, shall we? I'm just going to ignore pretty much everything domestic, because that's all just the part where Bush tries to friendly up to the Democrats rather just dive into the Big Issue(s).

...we cannot fully secure the border unless we take pressure off the border, and that requires a temporary worker program. We should establish a legal and orderly path for foreign workers to enter our country to work on a temporary basis. As a result, they won’t have to try to sneak in, and that will leave border agents free to chase down drug smugglers, and criminals and terrorists.

You know, I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for the federal government to develop a program so simple and quick that desperate people think it's a better alternative than walking across the border. Sometime I'll do a "Story Time" about my week with INS.

...as we continue to diversify our fuel supply, we must also step up domestic oil production in environmentally sensitive ways.

I swear to God - is there anybody who still thinks drilling in Alaska is going to fix our oil issue? Because that's what the above means. Of course, it didn't happen with Republicans controlling both houses, and it won't happen now. Why do Republicans cling to this idea so desperately?

With the distance of time, we find ourselves debating the causes of conflict and the course we have followed. Such debates are essential when a great democracy faces great questions. Yet one question has surely been settled — that to win the war on terror we must take the fight to the enemy.

You know, I don't think the question has been settled.

In the minds of the terrorists, this war began well before September 11th and will not end until their radical vision is fulfilled.

Yep. We've talked about this here before.

To prevail, we must remove the conditions that inspire blind hatred and drove 19 men to get onto airplanes and come to kill us. What every terrorist fears most is human freedom — societies where men and women make their own choices, answer to their own conscience and live by their hopes instead of their resentments. Free people are not drawn to violent and malignant ideologies, and most will choose a better way when they are given a chance. So we advance our own security interests by helping moderates, reformers and brave voices for democracy.


On this day, at this hour, it is still within our power to shape the outcome of this battle. So let us find our resolve, and turn events toward victory.

Which would require us to think of something beyond party politics. But what's a little thing like the outcome of a war compared with pandering to the voices of weakness?

A second task we can take on together is to design and establish a volunteer Civilian Reserve Corps. Such a corps would function much like our military reserve. It would ease the burden on the Armed Forces by allowing us to hire civilians with critical skills to serve on missions abroad when America needs them. And it would give people across America who do not wear the uniform a chance to serve in the defining struggle of our time.

What the hell is this about? Seriously - I have no idea what he's talking about.

I don't find this speech anything to be excited about. Jim Webb's rebuttal was...okay. I'm having a hard time feeling anything but despondent when I see any of these people talking.

I was taking it easy on the wine so I could post coherently about this, but it's time for another glass before bed.

Meat for them...

...and now meat for me. I have an excellent bone-in ribeye marinating while the coals get going. I have some peas on the stove. I have a very plesant glass of some sort of red wine (Abby wanders off, looks at bottle). Merlot. With some sort of bull on the label. Happy Bull? Drunken bull? Oh - Dancing Bull.

Whatever. I'm not a big wine drinker, but I do like wine. I've been slowly trying to figure out what I like so I'm not a total retard when people ask me. I think I normally prefer white wine. NOT the sweet kind. I believe the term is "dry."

However, apparently one consumes red wine with red meat. I used another merlot to do a roast a little while ago, and enjoyed the rest of the bottle, so I'm trying this Chipper Bull.

I even have wine glasses. I'd broken our last two over the past year. So I went to Target and got four. This is where Target is great. I'm not a wine snob, but I like to be able to offer someone a glass of wine at my house. These are certainly no display pieces, but they're very presentable, and - check this out - they were $7.99.

OK. I think my coals are ready. More later around the president's speech if I don't get too far into the Perky Bull.

I am SO FREAKIN' brilliant

So the dogs are not currently annoying me. Which is abnormal, since normally at about 1630 they start lobbying for food, activities and attention. How did I pull this off, you ask?


This is the "beef neckbone." I get them from Publix at about three bucks for four. Then I roast them in the oven for a while. Then I pass 'em out and enjoy the relative silence.

The bones are sturdy. It takes Casey about an hour to get through one, and she occasionally ends up just burying the really sturdy part. I don't feed them poultry or pork bones (with the exception of the rare ham bone), and I'm very picky about which beef bones I serve. These work well and they're cheap. I recommend them.

Consider that a Product Endorsement. Beef neck bones.

Good stuff

BlackFive has an open letter from Ben Stein. Go forth and read.

Red Hot Poker - Election '08

Oh, God, it's starting.

Let's get this straight RIGHT NOW.

I am not a Republican. Yes, yes, I know. I'm a military type and I'm a gun nut. But that's about it.

I am not a Democrat. Yes, yes, I know. I'm pro-choice and I hug trees. But that's about it.

If the Republican Party disengaged itself from the unholy act of fellatio it's been performing on the religious reactionaries since the 80s, I could grow to like the party. I don't see any sign of that happening.

And the Democrats? Listen - legislation is very rarely the solution to anything. I oppose the nanny state. Wholeheartedly.

However, I am keenly, deeply, personally committed to and interested in the security of our nation. I believe in killing the living shit out of any person, group, nation or entity that threatens the ability of my fellow Americans to live in peace.

I will not support any candidate who advocates cutting and running from Iraq. I will not support any candidate who advocates negotiating with Iran and Syria before those countries put whacking Hezbollah on the table.

But check it out - I am not afraid anyone is going to take my guns in the next eight years. Nor am I afraid that anyone is going to overturn Roe V. Wade and make the missionary position with the lights out and everyone's eyes closed the only legal sexual option.

So, ladies and gentlemen, I think I am the center. I am the great, undecided masses. I vote. I always vote.

So who's my man? Or woman?

I dunno yet. Bill Richardson intrigues me on the Democratic side. McCain and Duncan Hunter intrigue me on the right. Newt Gingrich is a very smart man. Hillary is a very smart woman.

Barack Obama makes my blood run cold. I will never vote for John Kerry. John Edwards has great hair, and that's about it. Dennis Kucinich is always good for a laugh (followed by a shudder). Wes Clark appears to be insane, judging from that weird, ill-advised run he made last time.

Sam Brownback creeps me out. As does Mike Huckabee. Huckabee sounds like a nice guy, but I have that feeling he'd make me wear a house dress and have babies. And then insist they pray in school. Mitt Romney is Mormon, and I'm afraid of Mormons.

Giuliani could be intriguing, but voting for an anti-gun Republican strikes me as about as logical as voting for a democrat who wants to pass weird abortion legislation and drill in ANWR.

And don't talk to me about Ron Paul. That's not gonna happen. Although a general election that was between Al Sharpton and Ron Paul would be a hoot.

More on this as time passes, of course. I advise all the Bad Dog faithful to start doing your homework now. This will be an important election, and it will be in our best interests to force both parties to produce a GOOD, VIABLE, SMART candidate at the end of the primary process.

My Friend (yes, I have at least one)

In case you haven't figured it out, I don't have many friends. I hate most everybody, and our weird military lifestyle makes it difficult to stay in contact with anyone for more than maybe a year. And a year is a pretty long time in this world.

However, I've managed to stay in contact with one friend from the tour I did at Major High Silly Command here before Iraq. We'll call her MC.

MC is a couple years younger than I am. She's an Iraq veteran, and associated with the CA community, although as an intel weasel, not a 38-type CA dork. Her tour was OIF I (the initial invasion).

She currently works in some strange and probably frightening capacity as an intelligence-type contractor in the greater DC area. One of the people quietly manning the wall between us and the screaming hordes.

MC is a person in whom our country has a very significant level of confidence. You know those strange security clearances 17 levels above Top Secret? She has all those.

So you might not want to be aware that she is the World's Worst Motorist. In the two years since she left Tampa, she's managed to rack up so many minor accidents that she's been stripped of any hope of holding a driver's license until she's probably 30. This is someone who we've decided we can trust with pretty much any national security issue you can imagine. However, we cannot trust her to drive to Kwik E Mart.

It's SO BAD that her fiance has been notified that his insurance company intends to drop him immediately following the wedding, since that implied MC will be in close proximity to his motor vehicles.

Anyway, MC is great. She makes me laugh, and she's taken care of me a couple of times when I've pretty much slipped off the edge. She threw my "heading to Iraq" party (a story I'm NOT publicly sharing, but suffice it to say it was epic). And she came to Ft. Bragg before I headed downrange and helped me get my head screwed on straight. She remembered Abby's Mom and sent gifts in the days following her surgery. And she's got a great Dad. I'm sure her Mom is great, too, but I've only met her Dad (for a weekend festival of gun-buying that could be its own story).

So, here's my shout-out to MC. And should you ever find yourself driving around Our Nation's Capitol, and should you see a short chick with long, dark hair and about 750 security badges, and should she be driving...dive for cover.

And did I mention she was once a Hooters Girl? Crazy world.

Mission Top Secret

Sometimes I wish I felt comfortable sharing details about Mr. Abby's job with y'all. But it's not my business to do so - evil eyes may be reading and although he does NOT have a super-secret squirrel job, sometimes Bad People can derive useful intel from seemingly innocuous details.

So suffice it to say he just bopped out the door to drive all day, then turn around and drive home tomorrow. His mission is probably the most absurd one I've heard of in many years. It's not a stupid mission, because it does need doing, but still.

So what does that mean? Well, aside from guaranteeing some sort of household repair crisis, it means I will get to watch the State of the Union and pick my own meal to accompany the same.

Oh - the most absurd mission order I have ever received? From my Marine Corps days...

SSgt O.: Hey, [Abby], I got one for you tonight.
LCpl. Abby: What's that, staff sergeant?
SSgt O.: I need you to go to White Beach at midnight and take a picture of a ship.
LCpl. Abby: Huh?
SSgt O.: We're not supposed to talk about it before it happens. White Beach, ship, midnight.
LCpl Abby: Aye aye, staff sergeant.

It was a ship bound to support our intervention in East Timor, and I'm still not sure why we were acting all weird about it.

22 January 2007

M1 carbines - You need one

OK - this is something slightly stronger than a product endorsement. I'm talking today about the M1 carbine. As the title implies, You Need One. And I don't care who you are. You do.

There's a ton of drawn-out info on these fine little weapons, so I'm not going to flog that specific dead horse. You can go here or here to find lots of handy specs and such.

I'm merely going to point out that this is a tremendously fun rifle to shoot (it IS a rifle, even though the round is really a glorified pistol round - see above technical links). It's good for what ails you out to 100 yards (beyond that in the right hands), and can easily be a tackdriver at 50 and 75.

ANYONE can shoot this rifle. It's gentle. It's short (as the term "carbine" would imply). It's semiautomatic. It's tough as nails. It's a great starter centerfire for young shooters. And if the whole world turns to shit around you, it's light and handy. Although the "End of the World As We Know It" crowd might gripe about its perceived lack of stopping power, it serves one well to remember it was good enough for the Screaming Eagles on D-Day.

Without getting too preachy, I firmly believe it behooves all of us to be prepared to defend ourselves and our loved ones should worse come to worse (Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Andrew, the LA Riots, etc etc). And if you really want to get philosophical, no matter what side of the political spectrum you fall on, you can probably imagine a doomsday scenario.

So get one of these, take it to the range a few times. Buy five 15-round magazines and four 50-round boxes of ammunition. Put these in your closet and hope you never have to take them out. Best case scenario, your decendents will inherit a piece of American history.

What brings this on, you say? A wonderful organization called the Civilian Marksmanship Program has received tens of thousands of these rifles from the U.S. Army. In a month or so, they will be available for purchase (to those who meet certain criteria). Even if you can't purchase from the CMP, this influx should push the open market prices down into the reasonable range.

So go forth and buy an M1 carbine. Or buy two and give one to me.

Well, yes. I already have one. But it's a Plainfield (not by one of the original military contractors). I got it for a song, rebuilt the bolt, and threw a composite stock on it. It's a shooter. I fully intend to purchase one from the CMP when they become available. I'd like to get my hands on a Saginaw carbine (it's a Michigan thing) or a Rock-ola. 'Cause who doesn't want a rifle made by a jukebox manufacturer?


Waiting now for the names from this happening.

Five U.S. soldiers were killed and three wounded yesterday while repelling an attack on the Provincial Joint Coordination Center (PJCC) in Karbala, Iraq, military officials reported today.

I know this building, its entrance and its security setup pretty well. I spent a lot of time sitting behind a machine gun on top of a truck in the parking lot, staring out at nothing much.

NBC reported tonight that it was a CA unit that was hit. I'd expect the names out tomorrow.

Many things I could say. I'll skip all that and point out my continuing hope that our national leadership doesn't negate the deaths of these soldiers along with all the others by caving in to our national ADHD and running away. If we want to win, we can. That, and only that, is worth this price.

I'm fairly sure I can guess which Camp or FOB these soldiers were from (it's one of two). If they haven't already, their comrades in arms will be gathering around yet another display of boots and rifles, saluting at the appropriate moments, and getting their minds right to go out and carry on with their missions.

Let's ensure we continue to have their backs.


Wild and crazy night at the gym. I generally dislike running on the treadmill, but it was both dark and rainy, which pretty much rules out the park. I've been wimping out on distance lately, and need to start doing the bridge (5.2) again regularly.

Keep in mind whenever I refer to running, that I am just about the slowest person in the world. When I say "good run," I'm referring to about a 37-minute mile pace.

Productive day

I hate productive days. I've already been useful once today (job interview - yes, it went well. Trust me, at this point I'm applying only for jobs for which I am grotesquely overqualified).

Now I'm going to go be useful again. The Bad Dogs are out of crunchy food and, following the advice of someone who commented here, I'm going to go track down some "sensitive skin" food. Wish me luck...

Oh - useful thing I learned from today's job interview.

I only wear one pair of slacks regularly (actually two, but they're exactly the same pair of pants), and they were dirty. Or wrinkled. Just not what I felt was appropriate. So I dug through the closet for any of the variety of slacks I wore when I last had an office job.

Success! A pair of Eddie Bauer khakis, neatly pressed, no fraying...no stains... I pulled them on... Huh. I guess between the war, the Summer of Discontent and all the running I've started to do, I'm a little smaller than I was.

I could have fit Sparky and a rubber chicken in my size tens. Oh well, the older guy who did the interview didn't ask, "are you wearing someone else's pants?" So I guess it was OK.

If that was my fashion no-no from today, I think I scored a victory by not spilling anything on my white shirt in the time it took to get out of the house and to the interview site. Small victories...

Yes, for those of you wondering, my inability to dress myself probably has played a part in my choice to spend so much time in uniform.

21 January 2007

Hey - thanks!

I left a comment over on the Smallest Minority recently. (It's a gun people site, for my readers who may be interested) They very kindly visited my humble home, linked to a certain poop-oriented post, and threw me a few readers.

Thanks. I appreciate that.

I suppose if I commented more on the blogs I read, this might happen more often.

I shall now attempt to engage in good blog manners by adding them to my shockingly small blogroll.


I noticed I got some hits from the Republic of Kiribati after I referred to it in an earlier post. It appeared someone searched for that term and got me.

In that spirit, I feel I should say a couple of words about Kiribati, so that anyone looking for information doesn't totally waste their time.

The Republic of Kiribati is made up of many small islands. One of these islands is called Butaritari. That's the one I visited. Once upon a time, Butaritari was called Makin Island.

Makin Island was the site of one of our first offensive operations in the Pacific during WWII. You can read about that here.

As for the island itself... It's not very large. There's one building next to a dirt strip that serves as an airstrip. The local women who indulged me by stamping my passport wore old shorts, Joe's Garage-style shirts with their names on them, and sandals.

The official tourism site for Kiribati is here. If you have the chance, you should visit. I would.

Casey update II

I know you've all been on pins and needles. I can hear the barking and whining from here.

"Abby," you say, "how is Casey's hotspot?"

Well, here you go!

Yep. It's HEALED! Of course, after healing comes the part where she's got a bald spot. Judging from how her tail healed, I assume it'll be a couple of weeks before the hair grows back and she doesn't look...weird.

Oh yes, by the way, remember that she hates the camera. I had to hold her while Mr. Abby snapped pictures of her rear end for this. Yet another charming moment...

Arts and Crafts

I have an old Argentine .45. It's not technically a 1911 - the design is a little different. It's one of several foreign knock-offs of the famous design. Mine happens to be a Ballester Molina. It's got the Argentine Army markings, and was made in the 40s.

I like it. It's old and it rattles, and it absolutely refuses to feed anything but FMJ. And the sights are traditional GI-style (that is, miniscule). That said, it's stone-cold reliable with FMJ, and it hits where I point it.

My pistol's problem? Rust. The instant we moved to Florida, it started sucking up surface rust. It happens here, what with the humidity, but this particular pistol was impervious to all attempts to rust-proof it. I assume that was related to its age and rough life - any vestige of protective covering (bluing, etc) was loooooong gone.

Rust on firearms makes Baby Jesus cry.

So, not being afraid to charge blindly into the unknown, I ordered a couple of cans of Aluma-Hyde II from Brownell's. I disassembled my pistol well beyond the point I'd ever gone. I stripped EVERYTHING.

I stuck the pieces that were getting painted in the oven to heat them (as suggested with Aluma Hyde). I shook the bejeesus out of the cans. Then I sprayed.

Well, I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. One side of the slide has some texture to it. It's not bad at all, but I do notice. If it bothers me as time goes on, I'll strip the slide and do it again. You can also see on the forward portion of the dustcover where I whacked it before it was entirely cured. Doh!

I haven't taken it to the range since the paint job, but I think I'll do that this week. If this coating holds up well, I'll be very pleased with it.

Primary lesson learned: Plug all pin holes. Even if your gat rattles, a layer of this stuff will add enough thickness to moving parts that, well, it becomes difficult to move them.

Secondary lesson learned: I can do this, but for anything other than a total beater firearm, I'll probably pay a pro in the future. Duracoat looks way better and isn't all that expensive.

But this worked for me on this occasion. Ok, one more picture!

We're back!!

I have returned (yes, again triumphantly) to Bad Dogs Central. An entertaining weekend all the way around.

I had three missions this weekend.

1) Get out of the house. Once in a while, you just gotta leave the Man and the Bad Dogs and hit the road. Best thing about road tripping by yourself? Total control of the radio AND the bathroom/snack break schedule.

2) Check out a Reserve unit in South Florida. Although my Army paperwork is still dorked up beyond belief, I am going to have the opportunity to either be totally free or in the IRR very soon. I wanted to visit the CA battalion here to decide if I wanted to try to re-enlist (and deal with the ensuing paperwork nightmare) in order to drill with them. The conclusion? Nope. The unit seemed good, the people were great, but it's a long-ass way away and, with our pending departure from this humid purgatory, the paperwork involved would NOT be worth it.

3) Visit Auntie M, Cousin M (Auntie's M's daughter) and Baby Cousin. I haven't seen Baby Cousin since June. He's 2 and a half now, and a LIVELY little guy.

So - weather was good, driving was nice. I need to do a couple more of these before we leave here, since there are a couple of places (the Keys, etc) that I have yet to see. I'll have to get that on the schedule.

More thoughtful crap and some totally gratuitous full frontal gun pics later!