25 January 2008

Out of pocket (New posts below)

I'm going to be out of the loop for a couple of weeks. I'll be back the second weekend in February.

Alas, there's no emergency need for an angry woman and a cranky old German Shepherd to fly to a foreign country and start quietly killing terrorists. I simply have to attend an Army thing at a location where, something tells me, there's not probably a lot of wireless internet access.

I'll toss up a post if I can, but I don't have high hopes there'll really be an opportunity.

You all stay safe, and those of you in primary states better not choose utter nutjob candidates in my absence.

24 January 2008


I think. Maybe. I'm fairly sure.

If not, well, I hope I didn't forget anything real major, like, say, pants.

[pauses, opens duffle bag, digs to bottom and confirms presence of trousers. sighs in relief]

But there is one thing on the list I am not taking. Because they don't exist in our house and I could not find a suitable stand-in at WalMart.

Can you believe you can't get black shower shoes at WalMart? Hell, you can't even get hot pink shower shoes. You can get slippers that are shaped like shower shoes, but I don't think they'd work out well.

Anyway, I'm taking Teva sandals and, if there's no available post exchange, the world will just have to learn to cope.

But you know what is at WalMart? Check this out:

That's Wild Animal Crunch. I'm guessing it's throwing a few pennies per box to a worthy cause, but I think it's weird. Brings to mind crunchy little critter-based breakfast nuggets.

23 January 2008


Traditionally a slow day at the office.

I made it out of bed and braved the chilliness to run this morning. But I'd like it noted for the record that it would have been a really nice day to stay in the rack.

Yeah, like that. Only with blankets.

22 January 2008


Note to my Northern Readers: I am NOT complaining about January in Texas. It could be worse - I understand.

But...now is the time when I complain about January in Texas.

The cold isn't so bad, but because I'm in Texas, there seems to be a thought in the back of my mind that it shouldn't be cold at all. And y'all may remember me whining about the darkness when we did the time change. Well, it's still bumming me out. Dark in the morning, dark when I leave work (although there's starting to be a little light left in the sky).

So, yeah. Basically I'm just whining about winter. So let's take a little trip in our minds, shall we?

How about...the beach in April? With a black dog?

Yeah. That's nice.

It's almost tiki bar season again, and that's a good thing.

Oh geez...

Yes, the global economy had some sort of emotional breakdown that led our Federal Reserve Board to cut rates harder than they have in two decades.

We're in the middle of a truly fascinating presidential campaign that involves folks dropping out and other folks shrieking at each other.

We have a war - a couple of them, actually, going on.

And what's been at the top of the CNN and FoxNews pages all afternoon?

Yep. Heath Ledger is dead.

I actually rather liked Heath Ledger, and am one of the few red-blooded Americans who seem to admit to thinking Brokeback Mountain was a pretty good movie.

But come on.

I swear, sometimes our culture embarasses the heck out of me.

Not impressed yet

The stock market opened and, like a drunk getting out of a car after an iffy trip home from the bar, promptly went face down on the pavement.

I have two small retirement accounts, and about 35 years until I have any big plans for them, so I'm not going to hurl myself out a window (it would be anticlimactic anyway - we have a single-story).

I don't think this is the beginning of total social collapse, although I guess I could be wrong.

Probably not a valid reason to call in sick to work, anyway.

Given the wide-open presidential election and the increasingly divided outlook of Ameicans, together with the slow-mo implosion of our economy, I'm going to stay home today and bury ammo in back yard.

21 January 2008

I've got just one comment

on tonight's Democratic debate in South Carolina.

This idea of taking all the "combat troops" out of Iraq scares the beejesus out of me.

From John Edwards:

And I have said in the first year that I am president, I will have all combat troops out of Iraq. All combat missions will end in Iraq, and there will be no permanent military bases in Iraq.

From Barack Obama:
...what I have said, and I've said repeatedly, is I want to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in, but I want to make sure that we get all our combat troops out as quickly as we can safely. Now, the estimates are maybe that's two brigades per month. At that pace it would be some time in 2009 that we had our combat troops out, depending on whether Bush follows through on his commitment to draw down from the surge.

Both of these gentlemen are big on the idea of removing "combat troops." Neither of them are stupid, so that tells me they recognize that some troops will remain.

Just not combat ones.

Well, you know...from a personal perspective...I would really not prefer to be one of those non-combat troops wandering around Iraq when the combat ones go home.

I say this personally, with tongue in cheek, but think about it. Who on earth thinks that we should leave any sort of military presence in that country without a robust, viable and potent offensive force to protect that presence and its mission?

My personal image when I hear this is of a civil affairs team, in some tiny little town way out in the boondocks, counting how many houses have running water. And when something goes bad...although that team has some medium machine guns and is comprised of soldiers...it's not many people and the guns aren't very big.

When you're doing that kind of work, it's real nice to know there's a rifle company or a tank platoon close enough to come to the rescue.

But it's not about my anecdote, it's about reality. We do not leave an unspecified number of "non-combat troops" in a real dangerous country with some vague mission and bring all the gunslingers home. That's a recipe for disaster.

These gentlemen are either:
A - lying to pander to their base
B - fools

Mrs. Clinton weaseled hard on the question, but at least she didn't pick a theme that would baffle any thinking person.

From Hillary Clinton:
It is not going to be easy. Withdrawing troops is dangerous. That's why I've been working to make sure that we knew all of the various steps we would have to take, because it's not just bringing our troops and equipment home. We have more than 100,000 civilians there, working for the embassy, working for businesses, working for charities.

All quotes lifted from the second page of the CNN transcript, about three quarters of the way down. Love her or hate her, I think she "gets" the situation as it really is.

Ladies and gentlemen, I'm not saying a whole lot about this contest, but I am going to go ahead and point it out when potential commanders in chief says things that could put my comrades' butts in a sling.

20 January 2008


are meant for football and couch naps, and that pretty much describes my day.

I grew up in Michigan, then lived in Minnesota for a few years after the Marine Corps. That Minnesota cold is serious cold. Watching this Packers game...it was enough to make me go put on a sweater. I remember that it felt as though the wind just picked up speed coming across the Dakotas. In Green Bay, it's had an extra state to build up even more momentum. [shivers]

We've kicked off Operation Fish Oil here with the dogs. Casey's got the real problem skin, but everybody could use extra it, so we're putting two 1200mg capusules in with the big dogs' suppers. Sparky gets one.

Except that these fish oil capsules are so yummy that Sparky was busted stealing them from the big dog dishes (he's allowed in the laundry room while we're putting out dog meals).

I hope this stuff works, because it sure makes for even worse dog breath.