18 May 2007

From Marathon

I wandered into a bar earlier today and ended up drinking with some Big Pine Key locals. Beards down their chests, all six of 'em, and not eight teeth among the group. One of them said he'd caught the "Keys disease" six years ago.

I'm not all about the toothlessness, but I see how one can come down with that "Keys disease."

Today was Critter Day.

You have no idea how many backroads on Big Pine I drove down before I saw that guy. They are quite cute, and quite small. But that was the afternoon. In the morning, I took a tour. (Yes, I am the hopeless tourista)

Yep. I went to the Turtle Hospital at Marathon. Pretty cool.

And finally, a picture of your author, in the always-weird-looking Aunt Jemima headgear, on Seven-mile bridge. My first night here, I had a couple beers with some biker-tourist corporate types from St. Louis. One of them said he'd "seen God" on the Seven-mile bridge. I dunno about all that, but it is a nice view.

OK. That's it. My wireless tonight is provided by Porky's Seafood and BBQ in Marathon, so I'm going to let y'all go and have a beer (or two). I'll get back to comments and such in a couple of days.

17 May 2007


We'll be quick here, since I'm stealing wireless in a grocery store parking lot.

Oh yes, it's a beautiful thing. Show me anyone who doesn't love a tiki bar, and I'll show you a humorless bastard. And this one was a combination tiki bar/treehouse. I don't think it gets any cooler than that.

This sign got me all hopeful.

But alas, no key deer yet. I intend to spent tonight driving up and down Big Pine Key with my brights on - eventually I'll spot one.

See y'all in a day or two with another update!

16 May 2007

I screwed up the puppy

and Mr. Abby is going to kill me when he gets home.

I did not know it was possible to turn a dog into a night owl, but it seems I have. The past couple of nights, Jack's been running wild at 0200, 0300, even 0330. He's jumping on the bed, off the bed, trying to get Sparky to play, making that weird let's-play "yerp!" noise...

Two nights ago I was dozing around 0350 and woke up to him viciously shaking his toy camel and whacking it against the bed. Last night, after I turned out the light and tried to explain to him that "this is the time when we all shut up and sleep," he wandered into the living room, retrieved his bone, and proceeded to gnaw loudly on it.

Of course, now he's sacked out on the floor.

Good lord. Anyway, now is the time when I pack their trash for their trip to Crazy Uncle Buddy's.

15 May 2007

More carbine madness

Since I'm on the subject...

You may have noticed I haven't posted anything gleeful about the CMP M1 carbines. I'm actually kinda bummed right now. Let's wallow in my bummedness for a while, shall we?

I sent my paperwork with a check, Priority, from Tampa to Alabama, on Thursday, April 26 in the afternoon.

Now, since it hasn't been returned, I'm certain it didn't get there Friday.

It took the fine folks at the CMP until Friday, 11 May to open all the mail they received on the 30th (more than 3000 pieces). They sent out confirmation emails. I didn't get one (sonuvabitch ratbastard Florida mail).

Now they're working their way through the pile they got on the 1st. Estimates say they should have all that open by the end of this week. Still, no email for Abby.

(Yes, since you mention it, I would like some cheese with my whine)

Note to self - next time, spend the extra dollar for delivery confirmation.

Since I sent a check, I'm keeping an eye on the bank. If it clears and I don't have an email, I'll assume my handwriting was too crappy for them to decipher and I'll call. Until then, though, I wait.

And whiiiiiine.....

Range report

Well. Huh. That works.

I trooped out and got one of the trusty Osama targets. I think they're tacky, but they're also HUGE, which helps when you really have no idea where you're going to shoot.

OK. I could work that. My point of aim was the middle of Osama's beard. So I fiddled around with the windage and elevation knobs.

As you can see, we're getting closer. I have always been too conservative with my sight adjustments. I ran out one of the Blue Guy targets. Around this time, I started have ejection issues - so forgive some of my groups, as I occasionally had to pop a casing out of the chamber. I'll be taking a look at that later this evening.

That's at 25 and then 50. So I adjusted down, and ran it back out. Then I burned through another 20 rounds or so, with one right windage adjustment. The results were satisfactory.

Now I have to figure out this extraction thing. I'm hoping a good shot of oil will fix it - I got to the range before I realized I was shooting bone dry. I've got a couple specific things to look at - I don't think it's going to be a big problem.

That little red dot was cool - made shooting with both eyes open a simple thing.

In summary:
Plainfield M1 Carbine - $175
New extractor - $3.35
Composite stock - $43.01
Ultimak rail - $87
UTG 1x32 CQB Quick Aim Dot optic - $40
Total: $348.86

That is, of course, not accounting for shipping or the time I spent working on the bolt rebuild. Hint - if you ever think about doing anything with your M1 Carbine bolt, buy the bolt tool.

Carbine Tomfoolery

The World's Cheapest Optic showed up on my doorstep, so I put it on.

[giggles in a creepy manner]

It's got a little dot that glows! How cool is that? And it can be a red dot, or a green dot! I can choose!

(This is the part where all my readers who are into 21st century optics roll their eyes, I'm sure. That's alright, I'm okay with being the last one to the party.)

And yes - I did have to put the battery in and turn it onto figure out which end of the optic was the front and which was the back. I'm down with being an idiot, but I do choose to do as much of that as possible in the privacy of my own home.

I have things to do today, but I'm pretty sure I'll be able to scoot up to the range and put a few rounds through it, just to ensure I've got everything clamped down.

Packin' my bag

I was kicking around Bad Dog Central recently, being bored. I don't have much time left in Florida, my husband's out of town, and pretty soon I'll be rejoining the ranks of people-who-have-jobs.

So...what to do, what to do?

Funds were tight, so I went out in the yard and dug up a few Kruggerands.

- Hey, get out of my yard! I wasn't being literal! There's nothing back there but dog shit! -

Sorry about that.

Anyway, I freed up some funds. Kicked most into the "general getting through the next month" fund. And pocketed a little.

The Bad Dogs have a short reservation with Crazy Uncle Buddy. I have several Florida road maps. My fishing bum/boat drink clothes are in my leather bag. The only shoes I'm taking are sandals.

Tomorrow (correction - later today) I clean the house and lay mines. Wednesday, I drive south.

How far south, Abby?

As far as I can go.

Well, without having to get on a raft. I'd like to see Cuba, but I'm going to settle for Key West on this trip.

14 May 2007


I have calm dogs. It was not easy. I took Jack for a ride to the park. Then I threw his retrieving toy into the lake. Many times. Then we walked to the Dog Park, and he played wildly. I came home, changed, grabbed Casey, and we ran/sprinted/jogged (repeat as necessary) around the park. Brought her back, took Sparky. He, of course, wanted to race from mailbox to mailbox - apparently the pee-mail was just that good today.

Now I've got the Tigers game on, my feet hurt, and I'm thinking about supper. But at least the dogs are all sacked out.

What Abby learned today: taking a wet lab to the sandy dog park, then home, entirely negates the fact that I ran the vacuum earlier in the day.

Driven to distraction

I keep clicking over to CNN, hoping for some news on our three missing guys.

And I find this: Iraqi insurgents warn: Stop search for U.S. troops

Hey, insurgents, fuck you.

We will search for them. We have, according to The Man, about 4,000 people doing nothing right now except searching for our three missing. We will search, and, eventually, we will find them. And bring them home.

That's what our military does. We have a standing task force and one of the best forensic labs on earth dedicated to finding and bringing home our missing. Such is our committment to the task. Where, I wonder, is its equivalent in the Muslim world? What does that say about the value of a life here, and there?

We are going to find them. If not today, then tomorrow. If not tomorrow, then someday. Today would be best.

You insurgent bastards, if you had a glimmer of logic through all that death-crazed haze in your brains, will not have harmed them. The smart thing to do would be turn them loose and let us pick them up on a roadside. But if that was too much, if your twisted death-loving minions couldn't not kill prisoners...then do yourselves a favor, and put the unmolested bodies out in the open so we can pick them up and bring them home.

You hear us talk about how thing we're stretched, and yet within 48 hours we can put 4,000 warriors on the street to find our guys.

That's the difference between us and you. You revel in a culture of death and misery, killing women and children and noncombatants to perpetuate a squalid chaos.

We recognize that the very least we owe every man and woman in uniform is a committment to get them home. Because each and every man and woman in uniform is valuable and in that uniform of their own free will, and keeping that promise is a matter of trust.

We waiver a lot in the United States, and often on things we shouldn't. But we don't waiver on this. We don't ask politicians for permission to do what we've promised we will. We don't do the cruel calculus of whether or not our people are worth it.

We're going to find them.

13 May 2007

A sordid tale

The next time some simpering do-gooder tells you the world would be a safer place if we all melted our firearms down and made a great big steel bunny statue...tell them this story.

BRANDON - Willie Tarpley Jr. knew this much about his ex-wife's new boyfriend: The man was a convicted sex offender and Tarpley didn't want his children anywhere near him.

So Saturday night at about 8, Tarpley, 46, drove to his old house, grabbed one of his samurai swords, a katana, out of the garage and threatened to use the 42-inch blade to cut off the boyfriend's head.

Ok. Seems logical so far. Bad, but logical. Now, Mr. Tarpley did not cut off the boyfriend's head, but after the boyfriend tried to flee by car and hit Mr. Tarpley's Corvette...

...Tarpley reached into the open car window and plunged his sword into Alexander's body, Hillsborough County sheriff's spokeswoman Debbie Carter said.

Into his armpit. Which, if we're talking about a whopping long sharp blade, will pretty much do the trick. And it did. And remember, the victim was a registered sex offender, who apparently targeted the young.

Records show that Alexander was convicted in Polk County in 2000 of lewd and lascivious battery on a person under 16. Alexander was 18 at the time.

But I know my readers, and you, like me, are now wondering why Mr. Tarpley was running around with a katana. I mean, Florida is the Gunshine State. And this whole affair sounds pretty redneck. So why did Mr. Tarpley have a sword? Well, turns out Mr. Tarpley was one of those folks who has a little problem should he try to buy guns...

Tarpley himself is a registered sex offender, as is his wife.

Oh. Gracious. Well, for a convicted sex offender, he seemed mighty judgemental. Perhaps, though, it was one of those "lesser" offenses. You know, maybe one of those he-was-20-she-was-16 type things.

In 1988, Tarpley and his wife were convicted in a high-profile case concerning a woman who once worked for Willie Tarpley as a nude dancer. The Tarpleys were accused of kidnapping the woman, beating her, gluing her eyelids and genitalia shut and tattooing a four-letter word on her forehead...

Or maybe not. Good lord, that's pretty fucking horrifying. Can it get any damn weirder?

Duh. It's Florida. Of course it can get weirder. And it does.

Willie Tarpley was injured in a motorcycle accident in the early 1980s and lost his right leg. He wears a prosthetic limb and is skilled in martial arts.

Remember, folks, guns don't kill people. Peg-legged stripper-torturing ninjas with katanas kill people.


A big shout-out to commenter Angus Lincoln, who tested out my email link for me. Not only did I apparently install it correctly, I also have it routing into my Outlook with my regular mail. These small victories are good for my self-esteem.

Dude - your dog rocks.

That was a nice distraction from tonight's baseball game, which has the Twins beating the beejesus out of the Tigers. It's currently 16-4, and it's not over yet.

New doo-hickey

In our ongoing quest to learn more about this magical "blog," we have added an EMAIL LINK over on the sidebar.

I know - the excitement is overwhelming.

I did have to set up a new email account, so I'll try to remember to check it occasionally. If you have a gripe, a question, or want to send me novel and exciting offers for prescription meds, get down with your bad selves.

"Be safe"

It became the standard parting line when I was in Iraq. If we met other CA soldiers somewhere, when we parted ways, someone would say, "be safe." When my soldiers would run a mission without our truck, the last thing I'd say was, "be safe." When my truck would roll out without them (meetings and such), as I grabbed my gun to leave the tent, either the veterinarian or the specialist would always say, "be safe." When the vet would fly up to a meeting, "be safe."

It was a caution - don't do anything you don't have to do that might get you killed. It was a reminder - wear your eye protection, watch your ass. And it was a little bit of a prayer - be lucky, beat the odds, don't be in the bad place at the bad time.

Be careful isn't what you want to say - sometimes careful won't get the job done. Good luck isn't it either - luck alone will not save your ass when it's finally your turn.

Mr. Abby's rolling around Iraq right now. The guy he's traveling with - well, suffice it to say nobody wants that guy getting killed on his watch, so no unit is going to hang them out in the wind. But it's a dangerous place, and a random one. So every time I talk to him, I say, "I love you. Be safe."

There are three warriors missing right now in my old stomping grounds. Thousands are combing the canal roads and tall grass and the scary places to find them.

I hope against hope they find the missing, alive and defiant. And I hope that the searchers manage to be careful, lucky and ready. I hope they manage to be safe, and to bring our missing back.

Mother's Day

Shout out to Abby's Mom. She's working this weekend, tending to the medical emergencies of Barry County.

Last year, I sent flowers from Fort Bragg on Mother's Day, and was happy because I figured the coming year would be less worrisome for her. And it was, until evil Mr. Cancer came calling in the fall.

She's spent the past six months kicking Cancer's ass. It hasn't been a gentle ass-kicking, either. She dragged Cancer out in the street by the scruff of the neck and has been kicking him down the sidewalk. He got in a couple good licks, but surgery in about a month will drive the last nail into his coffin.

This in the middle of working, running the local Humane Society, and keeping track of me and the rest of the goofballs of the family.

So a toast to Abby's Mom - may this coming year finally cut you some slack. I love you. Happy Mother's Day!


are the sort of people who take their reponsibility to protect their communities very seriously. And, for many, that doesn't stop when they leave the Corps.

FRANCONIA, N.H. -- New Hampshire authorities said yesterday that they will not press charges against a former Marine who stepped into a deadly shooting and killed a 24-year-old high school dropout who had moments earlier fatally shot a police officer.

Bravo, Mr. Floyd! Mr. Floyd is also raising a son who will not shirk his responsibilities to the community.

The elder Floyd drove his Tahoe into a spot between McKay and Kenney as a shield and told his son, who is in his late teens, to run to the officer's cruiser and radio for help.

The story is worth a read - this shooting seems to be a culmination of years of drama, involving Olympic skiers.