11 May 2007


I am not a canine professional, but I have spent a little bit of time around just a few dogs. I "get" the pack concept in theory, but watching it all play out is a constant source of bemusement.

Growing up, we always had only housedog at a time. The only exception were the Bullmastiff Years, but then we had a son and his mother, so that was pretty much a non-issue.

When I got Casey back in 2000, she was the only dog in the house. She knew I outranked her, but she was pretty sure she outranked the loser housemate I had at the time (she was right - she did). When we moved in with Mr. Abby, she tolerated him, but as he was neither female nor canine, she wasn't really concerned.

Sparky came to live with us about seven months later. At the time, he was a year old, and (for about five days) un-neutered.

Sparky tried for about ten minutes to establish some sort of position in the pack, and lost every attempt. Mr. Abby was unwilling to let him be the household Alpha Male, despite Sparky's habit of standing on his chest and barking in his face. Casey made it very clear that Sparky was merely an annoyance to her.

So there he sat, at the bottom of the pecking order, for years. He's not really into other dogs, so he didn't seem to mind. We go to the Dog Park, and he's the one hanging out at the picnic table with the people.

But then came Jack.

Casey reminds him quite frequently of his excessively junior status. And he seems cool with that. Not that it would make much difference if he wasn't. Sparky, however, has to work to keep his position. He's definitely Senior to Jack, but since Sparky weighs nine pounds, making this point sometimes requires a Laying On Of Teeth.

But he's hanging in there. And I'm rooting for him. Sparky is little and cute, but he's going on seven years old. It's nice to see him bossing another dog around.

The Dog Park is a great place to watch this pack dynamic in action. Casey is obsessed with dominance, to the point that I have occasionally removed her from the park when she's laying down too much whup-ass. She'll ensure every dog in the park knows she's Alpha Bitch, and most of them seem to get the picture fairly quickly.

Jack is trying to figure it out. He loves to play, and he loves to play rough. But he'll flop right over on his back the instant another dog feels like putting him there. Then, of course, he bounces back up to play some more. I think he'll do well in groups, and I'm going to keep ensuring he gets lots of time with other dogs.

10 May 2007

Cage match!

I try. I really do. I page through the news, read the other folks, I find something that interests me, and I start a post about it. But people, it's really hard to concentrate on anything in my house these days.

Because, it never takes take long before I have this next to me:

Is that not the most horrifying picture of a damn puppy you've ever seen? It's all in good fun, it seems. But it never goddam stops. Oh, it sometimes pauses for a second:

But then they're back at it:

Somebody's eventually going to get an eye chewed out.

Swear to God, I'm about 36 hours from just dropping them at Crazy Uncle Buddy's with a blank check and running away to the Bighorns. Casey could come with me.


I just washed a bunch of underwear and a pair of my favorite shorts in a bucket. I thought briefly about taking a picture of the drying process, but you'll just have to conjure up your own imagine of my 550 cord clothesline that runs the length of the living room.

I wash everything in the bucket, give it a good wring and shake in the shower, then hang it between the two A/C vents. You could call it "ghetto," but I like to think of it as "expeditionary."

I can do it for pretty much any garment, although I usually don't do long pants. Handled correctly, I won't have to make a laundromat trip until right before Mr. Abby gets home.

Although, it has gotten simpler since I remembered to pick up clothespins. Before that, I used paper clamps and chip clips, and that was ghetto.

OK. The Tigers game is almost over, and I'm off to the range.

09 May 2007

Phase II

I just ordered the World's Cheapest Red Dot Tacticool Optic. Seriously - I spared every expense and ordered the fourth one down on this site.

That, folks, is how we know Abby isn't a Mall Ninja. Mall Ninjas buy the good shit.

No lectures, please. The Uber-Tactical M1 Carbine Project exists strictly to entertain me. If the zombies show up, please rest assured I won't be manning the barricades with a rifle I've built using the cheapest bits available.

The rail, however, was not a cost-saving measure. It's the only object I've found that would enable me to play these games with the carbine. Still, at $90, it didn't induce any cringing. I promised a picture.

As I mentioned, it went on with no issues. The Ramline stock didn't have any structures that required sanding/removal/alteration. The instructions said to not let the rail touch the receiver or the barrel band, so I scooted it a couple millimeters forward of the receiver and cranked the screws tight.

It doesn't interfere with the iron sights, although unless I track down the right mount, they'll be useless once I put an optic on. I think. It sure looks that way.

It seems secure, although we'll have to wait and see if it stays in place once I start shooting. The M1 carbine is not exactly a kicks-like-a-government-mule type of weapon, but the test will be interesting.

OK. Further updates once I get the optic.

Today's major achievement

Was finding a dress for MC's upcoming wedding. Jesus God, I hate shopping for grownup clothes.

So that's a win.

Now I've got hysterical pets, because in their mind, we have entered the Activity Time of the day. Off to the Dog Park, then a walk, then another walk.


Well, that solves the old what-shall-Abby-do-today question; the Ultimak rail arrived!

This means, of course, I need to clear off my Expeditionary Gunsmith's Bench (that is, the coffee table), roll out my Non-Marring Bench Mat (that is, an old towel), and see if I can find enough tools to get this particular job done without a trip to the Storage Unit of Sadness.

Alas, I still don't have an optic to put on once I get the rail mounted. But I'm sure one will turn up, so I will charge forward!

Pics and doubtlessly hilarious tales of my non-handiness to follow.

UPDATE: That didn't even rate its own entry. I thought I'd have some cutting to do on the inside of the compositie stock, but that wasn't the case. Too simple.

Rope. Tree. Assembly required.

Kiddie porn is not a laughing matter. It's only because I think we can all agree that folks who "enjoy" said product ought to be drug out in the road and shot that I'm comfortable sharing this.

Dude's a scumbag, and this is the weirdest lead I've seen on a local news story in a while:

According to his wife, Donald M. Payne, Jr. doesn’t even like children.

I'm really not sure how to take that.

08 May 2007


You know what's fun? When I look at the blogroll and think, "hey - I haven't checked that one in the past day or so!" THEN I go to said blog, and there's something entertaining.

Today, it's Hammer.

Favorite excerpt:

11. Watching lifetime, LMN, Oxygen, or any of the sundry estrogen charged television channels is gay...

I have to keep pointing this out to Mr. Abby. "Honey, there is never, ever going to be anything you want to watch on WE."

In other news, if you can't tell, I'm working my way through a pot of coffee, so things could get a little hysterical and incoherent later. You've been warned.

Idiots and video games

Student held in off-campus apartment shooting

At first I thought, oh no! How terrible! How awful!

Then I heard this part:

One of the wounded men, returning home with a bloody bandage on his left shoulder, said the dispute started Monday night when he and the other victims accused Brooks of stealing a Sony Playstation console and game.


Video game enthusiasts.


I seriously stopped giving a shit about this story the instant I heard some video game system was involved.

The fact that our culture is producing grown men who give a shit about video games... It's tied into a lot, I think. Video games suggest pasty, weak, pudgy, soft young men with whiny voices.

You know the guys I'm talking about. The mere sight dragging his pale, flabby self around the grocery store, stocking up on energy drinks and salty snacks, makes me foam at the mouth.

Can't even hack it as a real 19-year old, spends his time fucking with video games.

See - I'm foaming at the mouth now, I can't write, because I can't string that much foul language together.

If there's a straight 19-year-old guy in America who's not in some sort of single-sex environment, and he's trying to do anything other than get laid in his off-time, that guy just ain't right.

Listen - you're 19. You chase girls to try to get laid. You work on your car to impress girls to try to get laid. You lift weights to look hot to get laid. You hang out on beaches and at bars and in bookstores to try to find a chick who likes you so you can get laid. You go to work so you can buy shit and try to get laid. You study so you can get good grades and get a decent job and make money to buy more shit and get laid.

Get it? That's what 19 year old guys should be doing. Hell, if you're gay and you're 19, I'm assuming you're doing something very similar.

I've been fortunate enough to know some very fine young men in the 18-22 age bracket. Not a single one of them would ever have sat around playing video games if there was a snowball's chance in Hell of running across some ass somewhere. The ones who might have were to a man anemic in all senses of the word.

Any boy who's regularly playing video games after he reaches, say, 14 or so...ought to be snatched up and sent to some Young Man Re-Education camp, run by, say, lumberjacks. Or rodeo cowboys.

I blame the lack of quality father figures.

Now I'm going to go spit again.

Fort Dix

I really don't have much to say about the recently-revealed plot by a bunch of savages to massacre soldiers at Ft. Dix.

They're out there, people. There are the major leaguers. They have the nice membership cards and they've been to the real nice training camps in Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Bekaa Valley. They've probably got baseball caps that say "I waged jihad in Chechnya/Najaf/Algeria." They might be Sunni (Al Qaeda) or Shiite (Hezbollah, etc). We can think of it as the American and National League of Terror.

Problem is, they've also got bush leaguers. Guys without enough talent, enough training. Guys who just need some seasoning. Guys who want to get noticed by a scout. Guys with nothing but ambition.

This group fucked up. They got stupid. They talked outside of school, used services outside their network. Dumb mistakes. But remember - we also got lucky.

No matter what anyone would like to believe, the threat is not gone. There are literally thousands of these evil bastards out there in the world who want to kill Americans. Hell, by their standards, these assholes were being honorable - at least they were targeting American warfighters.

We're having a war, whether we like it or not. We choose to fight them over there, and because they are not equipped (yet) with planes and ships and missiles, we can pretend, for the most part, that the entire war is there.

But there is just one battlefield. The war is wherever they think they can get to us.

Incidentally, I've been to Fort Dix. It's a dismal place. The only thing more depressing than spending time at Fort Dix would be getting shot by a bunch of yahoos waging My First Holy War while you were there.


you wish you could make a visitor come back, so you could tell them what they wanted to know, because once in a while, you get the feeling it might be important.

New shit

So I went out and bought me some new shit this afternoon. My saucepan is the tool of Satan. We broke our trusty glass one a few months back, and tried a super-cheap replacement from the PX.

Yes. Its coating is flaking off. That was obviously not working. So I went to Target. Of course, they had a beautiful saucepan for $40. That's a little more than I want to spend on my macaroni and cheese pan, to be honest. But they also had what looked like a nice one for $20.

That oughta work.

I have also noticed a funky odor from my wrist in recent days. It dawned on my that perhaps the watch that I run and swim in was the culprit. So I took it off and smelled it. A new band, it seemed, was sorely needed. Fortunatly, my taste in watchbands is not extravagent, and for like 4 bucks I got the one you can see attached to my watch.

Why yes, the old one is standing there on its own. I guess it was time to send it to the Great Wrist In The Sky.

OK. I promise this is the last post about super-boring shit for a while. I keep watching the news, and eventually it will spark some reaction beyond overwhelming rage and despair.

The calm before the storm

Cousin R called last night and pretty much hollered at me for insufficient puppy
picture posting.

Well, Cousin R, here you are. A moment of relative calm this morning.

Oh yes, he looks mellow. But just ten minutes later he and Sparky were engaged in a high intensity bark-yap-and-chase evolution around the living room.

Absurdity in poses, though, is what he does best.

No. He has no shame.


So there I was, opening the back door to let the Bad Dogs out this morning. I sniffed. What the Hell? And I blinked.

It seems that since North Florida and South Georgia are on fire, today's prevailing winds have blown all the smokes into Tampa.

I was going to give y'all a cranky post on the subject, since I was planning on heading to the beach getting some sun today. Then I realized that's a stupid thing to bitch about, so I won't.

I shall instead contemplate how I'm going to entertain myself today. I have to buy a dress here pretty soon for an upcoming event, but I don't feel the motivation to hit the mall today. Perhaps the range?

07 May 2007

Kansas and its Guardians

Bad Dog hearts go out to the residents of Greensburg, Kansas. That's some pretty serious total devastation.

I saw the governor interviewed on CNN yesterday. She sounded pretty good.

"Kansans are resilient," she said, echoing a depiction of Midwesterners offered by other state and federal officials in the wake of the devastation.

"We have an opportunity to rebuild an entire rural community," Sebelius said, adding that the "eyes of America are on us."

I don't know many Kansans, but I'm betting these folks are pretty capable.

But I did have to wonder, when she hinted that because there's a war in Iraq, and there are Kansas National Guardsmen there, there aren't enough trucks and humvees available for disaster recovery.

OK. As of 2006, the Kansas Army National Guard was authorized more than 7,000 soldiers, and the Air National Guard more than 2,200. Hmmm...let's page through the report and see what else we've got...$224,844,522 worth of vehicles. Now, I know that Kansas has a bunch of tanks, but looking at the table (page 73), we see that tanks and other weapons systems are not included that $200 million-plus.

We also see that the combined Army and Air National Guard in Kansas is staffed at slightly more than 79%...which translates into 7,851 bodies in uniform (also on page 73).

Now, an exact number of vehicles is not broken down for us. But we know we're not counting weapons systems, and I'm guessing we're not counting construction equipment, either.

Now, the good governor tells us that half their shit is in Iraq. I don't believe her, since National Guard equipment tends to be old, green, and lack armor. The vast majority of the vehicles in Iraq are "stay behind" equipment. You train on your unit's equipment, then you go to Iraq and fall in on the equipment the unit before you used. When it's broke or worn out, new equipment comes directly into theater.

I'm not disputing that some of their shit is in Iraq (or some other, more rear location in theater). But I dispute that half of their too-outdated-for-the-regular-Army trucks are there (the Guard does not, traditionally, get anything even resembling the latest and greatest gear in the rear).

And although the governor did not say that half of their people were gone, even if they were, it would still leave 3,925 uniformed individuals in the state.

News reports tell us Greensburg has a population of 1,500. The state could give each citizen a uniformed battle buddy, still have one soldier (or airman) driving a truck around to support each resident, and still have 925 other Guardsmen to man the phones at the armory and do officer things.

But this seems to be a theme for Governor Sebelius. This is an excerpt from an article published 17 April.
Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius says she fears deployments of Kansas National Guard troops and equipment could hurt the state’s ability to react to disasters on the homefront.

Her remarks this week, which were similar to ones she had made in the past, came as more governors criticized Washington’s use of Guard members in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. National Guard personnel are under the dual command of the president and the governor in their home state.

Hmm...I started out this post in sheer annoyance at the governor. And I still think she's stretching it - her people should be sufficient for this disaster.

But not for something much bigger, hey?

This is something we need to keep in mind as we continue to work our Guard so hard downrange. That's not really what the Guard is for, and perhaps we need to think about that as we dicker about expanding our active duty forces.

I knew a Guardsman once when I lived in Minnesota. He was an officer, but he'd been a Regular Army enlisted man during Desert Storm. He liked the military, but he liked Minnesota even more. He loved being in the Guard, because he loved the idea of being able to help Minnesotans. He absolutely relished jokes about someday being called up to invade North Dakota (this was during a particularly vicious period in the Great Walleye and Pheasant Disagreement of the early ought-somethings).

He was called up and sent to Bosnia in...2002? Once he got back, and as I was leaving, he was seriously contemplating resigning his commission. He was a Minnesota National Guardsman to serve Minnesota, and he felt he'd done his time in the sand.

It's fortunate that many of our Guardsmen choose to continue to serve, even in the face of continuing combat deployments. But that's not really why we keep them around. And we should be careful not to ignore their actual purpose, because when our homes are blown down, or our streets flooded, we'd all be awfully happy to see our hometown Guard guys pull up in the big trucks full of fresh water.

The National Guard takes a lot of shit from just about every other organization on the military totem pole, but we should occasionally remember that they are, as they like to say, "twice the citizen."


I don't get it. Last fall we tried to get rid of a mattress, and it very nearly required major political intervention. See, to drop things at the Authorized Blessed Official City Dump, you need to present a current Tampa Trash and Water bill. We rent, and that's the one bill the landlord takes care of.

When I tried to ditch the mattress, it was a nightmare. One of our neighbors finally took pity on us and took it in with his utility bill (probably because he was tired of it being on the curb).

So I called this morning and explained the situation, and, in an oddly helpful moment, the Big Pieces of Trash man said, "OK. I wrote down your address. Just put it at the curb tonight with the rest of your trash and we'll get it tomorrow."

Mr. Abby had, in the meantime, squared away the flight issue and was at home changing into suitable flying attire (this is another post in and of itself). So we backed his truck up to the curb and put the damn thing out. I grabbed a Sharpie and wrote "I DON'T WORK" on both sides, and added, "scheduled for removal 5/8/07."

Then I took him to the airport. I got home, and it's gone.

I cannot imagine who on earth would want our dead refrigerator, but I hope whoever took it gets whatever they're hoping for out of it.

Preachers Gone Wild

I don't know what the Hell is going on around here.

Pastor Facing Charge Of Battery On Man.

The man said he awoke to find his pants and underwear pulled down to his knees, his shirt pulled up to his neck and Smart straddling him while kissing his chest, records state.

Well, yes. I guess I can see how this is maybe not what you expect from your pastor. Not that I have a pastor, but I know lots of people who do, and this doesn't seem to be the expectation.

But when men of the cloth go wild, it's apparently not always about sex. Sometimes, it's about crack.

Anton agreed to be searched and the officer noticed a plastic baggie with 16 rocks of crack cocaine in Anton’s left shirt pocket, the affidavit states.

Well, the general consensus seems to be that everybody likes crack. Apparently, preachers are included.

It's always something

After Mr. Abby failed to leave on Saturday, we decided to go out and celebrate Cinco De Mayo in a suitably...rowdy fashion. A good time was had by all.

Sunday morning found us bleary-eyed and whining. What sounded good, thought Mr. Abby, was a nice cold Gatorade. So he grabbed a couple out of the fridge...and they were piss-warm.

The refrigerator has been getting wobby the last few weeks. It's a re-conditioned mosel we bought last summer when the World's Most Disgusting Fridge (provided by the landlord) went tits-up in a foul puddle of rusty water.

So we spent yesterday afternoon/evening hunting down the World's Cheapest Used Refrigerator from the classifieds. And picking it up. And driving it home. And removing doors and shuffling fridges. All while hungover. And it was hot. And the A/C is out in Mr. Abby's pickup.


So it's ugly. And it's old. But it's reasonably clean (let's hear it for BLEACH!), and it seems to be functional.

All I need is...22 days. Well, Mr. Abby will be here, so we really need about 54 days.

Now I have Dead Fridge in the back of Mr. Abby's truck, and he took my Jeep to work. I have to figure out how to get rid of the damn thing, which will require phone calls to the Tampa Department of Shit You Want to Get Rid Of. I will have to get a Voucher. Then I will have to take it to the Designated Solid Waste Big Stuff Place. And I will wait in line, and fill out Papers.

You know, when I was a little kid out in the boondocks, we didn't have trash pickup. We had a dump. And a burning barrel. Dad burned the household trash, and when the barrel was full, we'd drive it and whatever large crap we had to the dump. We usually used the tractor and trailer, as Dad and Grampa had long ago cut a tractor trail that connected our property to the dump.

The dump was in the woods, on some land owned by a relative. I could cut through the woods just south of the it and end up at my grandparents' house. I did that a lot.

The distant relative sold the land. There's a fairly high-dollar housing development on it now, named Fox Run Rolling Hills or something equally stupid. The homeowners there are easy to spot, since they're the ones driving their nice shiny cars 5 miles an hour on the dirt road so as not to raise dust.

My Grampa died, and Gramma moved to an apartment in town. Their old house has been demolished. But my Aunt and her husband live on the property in a house they built. My other Aunt and her husband live on the hill next door, in a house they built. You don't even have to walk up the road to get from one house to the other, because years ago my Grampa built a huge set of stone steps going up the hill, with stone terraced gardens on the bank between the steps and the road. That's all overgrown with the wild pea plants he planted, but the steps are still there.

The folks in the housing development live on top of our old family dump. They get stuck in the snow all winter long because the dirt roads are way down on the county's plowing list. They spend the month of November cringing in terror, because my family and our old neighbors never got on board with civilization coming to Irving Township, and continue to chase whitetail deer where they always have.

We did make a family concession when Gramma moved to town, and it's no longer a ritual for everyone who gets a deer to take it over there and hang it from the clothesline pole.

The relative I mentioned a few posts ago, my Dad's cousin, who used to own the dump property and lost most of it in a divorce, staged his great standoff with the Michigan State Police from the front door of his trailer on the couple acres he retained. His daughter and her retarded son live on the same couple of acres, in a small and tidy trailer that the police do not visit.

Sometimes I miss "home," but mostly the home I remember, not the home that's there now. Except when I have a refrigerator to get rid of, and as I navigate phone trees and dicker with civil servants, I can only dream of put-putting out in the woods with the tractor and just leaving it at the dump.