14 April 2007


I'm working on something about this stupid "draft" conversation I've been hearing on the news all day.

But I'm having a rough time staying reasonably focused, so I'm hoping to have that cleaned up this evening.

As for now, I think I'm going to escape this kennel and go run around the park. It's hot and humid, so if I never post again, it means I heatstroked out and am lying bloated next to the Little League baseball field...


So, we scrolled through the comments, and mulled this over. We asked the Senior Dogs.

Casey suggested, "Stupid Puppy in Need of Corrective Nips." Sparky suggested, "Fucking Puppy I Hate."

Ahem...he is named "BlackJack." To be shortened to "Jack."

Which also fits in nicely with "Jacked-up."

He seems to be a good boy, but he is a little...energetic. Yes, it has been a long time since I've had a puppy, can you tell?

Casey is taking her Senior Dog responsibilities very seriously. She's had him down on his back four or five times already. I encourage this - I think it leads to good pack dynamics. Sparky is having a rough time, but he's already bitten Jack's nose a couple of times, so I think things are becoming clear to the little guy.

OK. I've got several things I'd like to talk with y'all about, but we'll see if I can find a chance in between chasing this guy around.

They're here!

Late last night, the Gentlemen of Color arrived here in Tampa. The little guy seems amazed at the number of things we have strictly to amuse dogs. Yeah, so am I.

So here's a pic. We're going to paw through the name suggestions and I'll be back to you shortly.

13 April 2007

Here's something you don't hear every day

This went down at the range I normally shoot at - Shooting Sports Inc: Hostage Situation Ends; Gunman Dead

The good news is, apparently SSI did not feel inclined to sell the guy a gun when he walked in to buy one.

Dudney, who had been arrested just a few weeks ago by Tampa Police on attempted murder charges, entered Shooting Sports Inc, 7811 N. Dale Mabry, to obtain a gun so he could run from those charges, Gee said. Dudney, he said, was “irrational.”

The bad news, of course, is that this didn't seem to go over well with Mr. Lunatic.

Now, folks I gotta wonder, because other than hearing about this on the radio this news articles is all I have to go on...how in the hell do you have a ten-hour hostage situation at a gun range?

SSI is not an open-carry firearms facility - that is, you do not see the employees with guns. I'm not saying they're not wearing them (at least some of the employees), but I don't know that they all are.

Still. There were customers shooting.

I can see someone going nuts at a range, but I always figured that sort of thing would lead to a eight-second hail of hysterical fire. I can't say I figure the results would be pretty, but I would expect things to come to a head.

I dunno, folks. We're going to have to wait to hear more about this. I'm pretty confused.

Also, this is the range I normally shoot at. It's not fancy, and in fact it's a little rough, but it's close and I have a membership. I wonder how long it'll take before the place is back up and running.

Auntie Abby always says...make sure you hold back on magazine's worth of ammo when you finish on the range. Because you never know what's going to happen on the way to your car.

UPDATED - Hmm. Looks as though he didn't try to buy a gun - he tried to rent a gun. Or did rent a gun. This still seems quite odd, but there aren't enough details for me to armchair quarterback the situation.

11 April 2007

Sorry, gang

But I got nuthin'. Long day on the road. One near-miss with a rented motor home that some middle-aged jackass was driving like...well, as though he were trying to live out trucker fantasies, but without trucker skills.

10 April 2007

Lonestar beer - Story Time!

At my last Marine Corps duty station, we served under Major General Evil. This particular general officer was the tool of Satan. He was simpering, political, pandered to any and all media outlets, and often stuck his head in our office to bitch at our officers for imaginary slights.

He once delivered a group ass-chewing to the lieutenant in my office, our senior NCO and me. Why? I'd been promoted and since we worked in a wing of his building, we should have told him. Rather, I'd asked the lieutenant (a fabulous officer) to do it, specifically to avoid having Evil General put my sergeant's stripes on (and the LT had done it, specifically to avoid having to listen to the general ramble on in our office). It wouldn't have been a big deal, but he seemed seriously offended that any Marine in his "orbit" would rather be promoted by a butter bar.

He also ordered the base NCO club to stock orange soda (his preferred beverage), so he could enjoy one when he'd drop in and annoy the NCOs who were trying to hide from officers and drink in the dark. This, it seemed to him, was camraderie.


Time passed, and the day came when General Evil was to leave us. He was to be replaced a one-star. I was tasked to narrate the change of command ceremony.

I narrated a lot of these, having been gifted with the (rare in the Marine Corps) ability to read aloud in a non-stilted manner. We rehearsed the parade for several days.

One day during rehearsal, I was standing behind the podium and smoking a cigarette while the base sergeant major chased field grade officers around the parade deck, trying to explain the proper manner in which to march the staff forward. A shadow approached from my right. I glanced over, caught shiny stars out of the corner of my eye. I dropped my cigarette, assumed the postion of attention, rendered a sharp salute, and greeted the general.

"Jesus Christ, sergeant," he growled. "Pick up that cigarette. Those things are expensive these days."

It was the new Commanding General, and he chatted with me a couple minutes while I smoked (nervously).

The change of command went off without a hitch. I resisted the urge to say, "Hurry up! Faster!" when the sergeant major passed the colors to the new commander.

The new general's remarks, in which he introduced himself, included mention of how happy he was that the local cops had never "caught up to him" when he was a young officer at our base.

Within a week, he'd had the orange soda in the NCO club replaced with Lonestar beer. That was his beverage of choice, and he'd often drop in and have a beer with his corporals and sergeants. Unlike when Evil General would visit, we looked forward to seeing the new CG. Yes, he was a general, but you could shoot the breeze with him.

Evil General retired as a two-star. Awesome General is still out there in the Marine Corps. And tonight when I saw Lonestar at the gas station, I thought of him and bought a six-pack.

So, LtGen. Weber, this one is for you.

Job Interviews

And in highlights from today, we have Abby's favorite question, asked by a gentleman peering at my resume.

"So, between this outreach work, and this Army stuff, which of your last couple of jobs have you liked best?"

[blink blink]

"You know," says Abby, trying to organize her thoughts and not say that's a dumbass question, "although I really enjoyed working at [the outreach agency], and I love the mission and the people, there's a certain job satisfaction that comes with bringing people home alive that was a real highlight on the last one."


Did you prefer a job where you ran a pretty good chance of dying, or a job where that really wasn't on the table?

I like to not die.

Did you prefer knowing you'd ensured adherence to Government Printing Office regulations at end of the day, or was it slightly more satisfying for all of your Soldiers to have all of their limbs?

Gotta go with the limbs on that one, Jim.

Anyway...it wasn't bad. Although one group did have me take some 100-question automated personality test that I'd be willing to bet came out "cranky."

09 April 2007

About "Spook" - Story Time!

I've been getting some great ideas for a name for Black Dog. LabRat recently suggested "Spook."

Well...now I gotta tell you a story. Two, in fact,

First one, made very short: when I was a kid, my Dad had a yellow lab crossbreed named Spook as a hunting dog. Good dog. One day, he was gone. Swiped. I think my Dad is still bummed out about the loss of Spook.

OK. Story #2. We're going back to 1997, and Abby is a young Marine in the Basic Journalist Course out at Ft. Meade. It's an all-services course, and PFC Abby's primary instuctor is SFC Reed, a black Army NCO. He's very smart.

We're getting toward the end of the class and we're writing "features." These are different from "news," "sports," or "commentary." They're human interest. I opted to do one of mine on the museum the National Security Agency had recently opened at Ft. Meade (yeah - just for a minute, imagine the DoD training all its photojournalists on the same base as the NSA - where you can't take pictures of anything - that was an adventure).

Anyway, I went out and I did the story. The NSA museum is highly cool, by the way. You should go see it if you ever have the opportunity. They have pieces of the U2 that Francis Gary Powers was shot down in.

I wrote the story and handed it it. Of course, being "journalist" trainees, we had to write a headline. I used something along the lines of, "Terrorists, Spies and Spooks - Oh My!"

Yes - I know. Very gay. But that's why God made editors.

The day after we handed our features in, SFC Reed called me aside.

"[Abby], that was a great feature," he said. "But the headline's no good."

I was confused. Disoriented. "Why not, sergeant first class?" (The Marines always used the full rank and it drove the Army instructors nuts)

"Do you know what 'spook' means?"

"Yeah. A spy. Or a ghost."

SFC Reed sighed. The poor man. "Or nigger. It's a term a lot like 'nigger' in the south."

I was mortified. I did not know this. We didn't have any black people where I came from, and I just had no idea. It was embarassing. He didn't mark me down, and I never used 'spook' again.

So...I dunno about that for a dog name. I'd be all about it, but I don't want to be rude. Rude is bad. Since I discovered that people have alternate meanings for the word "coon," I've been very careful to not refer to "shooting coons in the barn when I was a kid," and I don't think I should backslide on this one.

I dunno. It's a shame the term has racist connotations, because I like it.


That is, in the positional sense. Yes - I made Fort Worth. I found a hotel, reconned my route to the first interview tomorrow. Then I found a bar.

The Fox and Hound - in some strip mall off of 820. Just a question - what was up with the music?

It was as though they had a Top 20 of all genres - with videos - and kept playing them loudly. Sorry, folks, but the good beer selection couldn't make up for the lack of theme. Country? R&B? Hard rock? Easy listening? I don't know.

And the lack of fish and chips? For God's sake - you call yourselves an English Pub and Grill! If I patronize your establishment and end up ordering a chicken ceaser salad - you're wrong.

Bedded down

for the night in a Cheap Motel between Mobile, AL and the Mississippi state line. My goal today was a minimum of 400 miles - I did 535, so I should be in good shape to make DFW tomorrow with enough time to hunt down some pantyhose (have I mentioned how much I hate occasions that call for the wear of heels and pantyhose?).

This particular Cheap Motel advertises free high speed wireless, and apparently it exists, but it was impossible to get a connection - so I'm "borrowing" the network from the Cheap Motel next door.

Appreciate all the input on a name for Black Dog. Keep 'em coming. I've got Mr. Abby over the idea of naming him "Gunny," so let's see what we can come up with. Right now we're stalled at "Junior" ('cause then he could be JR From Dallas here in a few months), but I'm keeping track of the suggestions. Once we meet the little guy and get a read on his personality, we'll see what fits best.

OK. 765 miles to drive tomorrow, so I'm off to bed.

08 April 2007


I laughed and beer came out my nose. Ouch.

(just skip this if you're not one of my gun nuts)

I missed the reference when Xavier posted some of this guy's stuff, but I ran across a thread at 1911forum that took me to the site.

They are very reliable and I really enjoy the trigger on Glock Pistols. They are good triggers once you get the hang of them. I would recommend having a smith work on them. The 1911 triggers are amazing but they require the use of a safety. I don't like safeties on my guns because when you're at the Starbucks and some democrat thug walks in waving a Lorcin you just might forget to turn the safety off of your nice shiny 1911. (It happened and America lost a great CCWer that day.) Then where will you be? You will be holding a gun that isn't going bang all the while getting shot by someone who voted for Clinton. How does that help the community?

I swear, if you can't laugh at yourself, your comrades, and some of the wingnuts your hobby puts you in contact with...

Satire, people. Satire.

I knew one of these guys. I'll do a Story Time about him soon.