'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

29 April 2013

Herbivore Whisperer?

I have a dog. I am a dog owner. For those of the more PETA oriented view I have a Canine Companion. Now, I have to admit here that I did have a choice in my canine purchasing decision making. I could have gotten one of those dogs of smaller stature and sock tasting constitution. I could have gotten a dog that specializes in snoring and slobbering on the furniture. I could have gotten one of those dogs that knows sign language and can balance your checkbook. But no. I got a Lab.

Owning a Lab is a lot like having a male child that is both hyperactive and addicted to espresso. And unctuous. I don't actually know what unctuous means and I'm too lazy busy to look it up, I just always wanted to use it in a sentence because I'm hoping it'll make me seem incommodious. Yeah. You ever notice how multifarious some people are? Me too. I hate that.

Anyway. So I have this dog, a Lab to be precise. He's a good dog in a black hole of misdirected energy kind of way. He is what is euphemistically referred to as a 'pain In The Posterior' by those folks who specialize in casual dog insults, also known as dog trainers. Is there a college for that profession and if so is there an entrance requirement that all applicants must be the type of person who insists on telling you things you already demonstrably know over and over again at approximately the speed of mange? I know they mean well but telling me my two year old Lab will act like a brain damaged Tree-Kangaroo (they actually exist) until he's two years old causes me to question your grip on sanity. Especially since I just told you he's two years old and acts like a brain damaged Tree-Kangaroo. Also, Tree-Kangaroo.

But back to my dog. He has to be walked or otherwise exercised approximately 7,000 times a day. That's an estimate of course but according to my strictly kept diary that I update religiously 'every once in a great while' it's close enough. So we go on things my wife refers to as 'Walkies'. Walkies are a lot like walks with the added benefit of carrying around a plastic bag to scoop up the odoriferous exhaust system deposits of aforementioned brain damaged Lab. Hopefully without getting any on one's fingers. But, of course, I am repeating myself. All Labs are brain damaged and I don't really have a plastic bag. Just a paper towel which works for poop picking up pretty much like you'd expect. I am also informed by my athletic and well meaning wife that Walkies are good for me as well. Something about Spleen health or something. My mind tends to wander whenever the topic turns to things not related to beer, sports or sleep. Maybe boobies but only after I've had a few beers watching Synchronized  Head Injuries and a good nap. Still, another reason to resent my dog. If not for him I could spend my days ensconced happily on my barcalounger in a blissful alcohol induced haze enjoying the spectacle of dangerous, semi sports related activities being performed by someone else. But no.

He also does the Dance of Joy whenever we get ready for one of our special outings. As soon as he sees me reaching into that box where we keep his leash he starts running around the house like a crazy person, barking and wiggling from nose to wildly gyrating tail. He quivers with whole body excitement like a politician regarding a particularly lovely pile of 'campaign contributions' in a paper bag left in his refrigerator. He grabs the collar while simultaneously trying to convince me to 'Hurry Up!' and drag me to the door. He crowds the door so I can't actually open it and let him out, apparently completely ignorant of the operation of that particular device that he's gone through at least a million times before. I'm convinced that he's convinced the whole things works by magic and if he just believes hard enough it will open in spite of having his nose pressed against it so hard that he's leaving drool smeared teeth marks in the paint. Past experience notwithstanding.

So we go Walkies and Angus...have I mentioned we named him Angus? No? Well we did. Why? For the life of me I can't remember. I think it was Biblical, that whole passage about 'Hearkening unto Angus because he has the Doritos and really needs your guacamole for the big Superbowl party next Sunday'. Maybe not.

Anyway. Angus really likes his walks around the neighborhood. At first I thought it was because he just liked to walk around smelling and pooping and peeing on the neighbor's lawn like you'd expect any brain damaged Lab to enjoy. But I have come to understand that there is a much deeper and possibly slightly unsavory element to his Walkie Joy. He can talk to the herbivores and maybe even believes himself to be one.

It started with horses. My other dogs were frightened by horses. Reasonable since they also scare me. No one in his or her right mind willfully consorts with animals that weigh as much as a Buick and can squish you with a casual arrogance usually only associated with Chicago Aldermen. To a dog they must look like Dogzilla. A gigantic and possibly nefarious dog who is also probably on steroids. I know they do to me but then I'm more than a bit of a wuss so there is that.

But not Angus. He immediately went to the fence and stuck his nose through. To my amazement (and not a little consternation) the horses quickly ambled over and exchanged a series of nose touchings and lickings with my dog that reminded me of strongly of an episode of Doctor Doolittle if Doctor Doolittle was a weird dog instead of an alleged veterinarian on who is clearly on psychotropic drugs. This went on for a few minutes until exasperated that apparently my dog has more friends than I do, I called him away and we went on with our 'fun'.

Until we got to the big open field that someone had mysteriously populated with goats of various sizes and dispositions, few of them pleasant. Again a doggy nose through the fence and again a stream of goats trading disgustingly drippy salivary messages with my dog. I have no idea what they were saying to each other and I'm not really sure I want to know. One hopes none of it was along the lines of "Hey baby, what's your sign?" or "Want to come up and see my etchings?" But the less information on that matter I have the better. A little more jealous concerned now I reigned in my recalcitrant dog and on we went. For exactly a block. Where the cows were.

Now horses I can maybe understand and accept. They're big, strong and to a certain segment of the female population symbolize strength and character. Stuff we husbands tend to display none of. Goats are Meh. The babies are kinda cute the those horns are gnarly knife like and I can so totally respect that. But cows? I was approaching their enclosure with a mixture of disgust and outright fear. "Please, oh please, Oh Please don't let those cows come over and offer bovine love to my dog" I was thinking. Surprisingly I think things like that a lot. Or maybe not so surprising to anyone who has known me longer than five minutes. In any event I was trepidatious and I don't even think that's a real word. Sometimes I invent words. That's how bad the situation was.

But no. Over they came, of both the male and female varieties, with a dancing step that told me my greatest fears were about to be realized. But they didn't stop at nose touching and slobbery communication. Oh no. They gamboled and pranced and generally made Bessie like fools of themselves. Angus was in heifer heaven. He did The Dance of Joy and would have undoubtedly gone off immediately into a life of grazing and cud chewing if I hadn't had a firm grip on his leash. After much tugging (and even a few words my mother would be aghast to learn that I both know and on occasion employ) I managed to drag my dog away from the embarrassing scene. Not without many wistful glances back and at least one attempt to convince me to return. At least that's how I'm interpreting him piddling on my leg no matter what my wife says or how hard she laughed. Really, it wasn't nearly as funny as she seemed to think. But I suppose that's what I get for marrying a philistine. Ok, it may have been a little funny but that's all.

The rest of the Walkie was thankfully uneventful. So long as you regard grasshopper chasing, random leaf pouncing and cat poop eating uneventful and I assure you that after what I experienced I was grateful for the cat poop.

What to make of all that? Well, as near as I can tell Angus either thinks he's a herd animal and in love or he's the canine Herbivore Whisperer, able to converse with all things four legged that exist by eating grass and sticks.

I'm going with the latter. At least then I can fantasize that he's simply gathering an army of evil minions to do his nefarious bidding in a quest for world domination. Considering the alternative that's almost cool. Plus, since I know him and all, maybe he'll save me to be his personal pooper scooper instead of consigning me to the Bermuda grass mines to feed his growing legions. I hate grass stains.

Then again, perhaps I should just stop drinking so much cough syrup.

Six


28 April 2013

Sunday Kipling

Lu and MIL had their big yard sake yesterday. Angus and I mostly tried to stay out of the way. After lifting heavy objects of course. After it was some of my special Del Monte Express burgers. Yummy! Angus is getting on well. I'm working on my creative writing and I have a story brewing about Angus, horses, cows and goats.

I hope this day finds you all hale and happy. Life is far too short to spend it miserable and alone. Trust is a hard earned prize but when won it is the sweetest nectar.

I am feeling a little risque today. Kipling was a bit of a rogue don't you know.

Six

Pink Dominoes

 They are fools who kiss and tell" 
   Wisely has the poet sung.
 Man may hold all sorts of posts
   If he'll only hold his tongue.

Jenny and Me were engaged, you see,
  On the eve of the Fancy Ball;
So a kiss or two was nothing to you
  Or any one else at all.

Menny would go in a domino 
  Pretty and pink but warm;
While I attended, clad in a splendid
  Austrian uniform.

Now we had arranged, through notes exchanged
  Early that afternoon,
At Number Four to waltz no more,
  But to sit in the dusk and spoon.

I wish you to see that Jenny and Me
  Had barely exchanged our troth;
So a kiss or two was strictly due
  By, from, and between us both.

When Three was over, an eager lover,
  I fled to the gloom outside;
And a Domino came out also
  Whom I took for my future bride.

That is to say, in a casual way,
  I slipped my arm around her;
With a kiss or two (which is nothing to you),
  And ready to kiss I found her.

She turned her head and the name she said
  Was certainly not my own;
But ere I could speak, with a smothered shriek
  She fled and left me alone.

Then Jenny came, and I saw with shame
  She'd doffed her domino;
And I had embraced an alien waist 
  But I did not tell her so.

Next morn I knew that there were two
  Dominoes pink, and one
Had cloaked the spouse of Sir Julian Vouse,
  Our big Political gun.

Sir J. was old, and her hair was gold,
  And her eye was a blue cerulean;
And the name she said when she turned her head
  Was not in the least like "Julian."
 
Added per Tierlieb who I suspect is a Kipling aficionado. 
You're right. It does bring it together.
 
Now wasn't it nice, 
when want of price
Forbade us twain to marry,
That old Sir J., 
in the kindest way, 
Made me his Secretary

26 April 2013

HAH!!!

Don't mess with US military women.  It's a bad idea.

~The DO

23 April 2013

Miscellaneous

Ok, it looks like the steam has run out of that past post and topic. I'll leave the comments open and I encourage everyone with an opinion on both sides of the argument to check it and comment as you please.  I thought we got some great comments, questions and answers and my thanks to all who took of their precious free time and weighed in. Seriously, thank you. With that said...

I'm going to be slowing down the blog. I'm really feeling burnt out. I was a keystroke from taking it all down last night. That last thread is the only reason I didn't. The blog is starting to feel like maybe it's run it's course. I have writing to do but I'd really like to do more of the creative stuff that scratches my itch and leave the real life stuff to those of you better equipped for it. I guess I'm just tired.

I'm going to queue up next Sunday's Kipling and then I probably won't be around until next week. I need a jump start and to decide what I want to do and where I want this to go.

I'll ask the DO to monitor the blog and comments because when I close this computer down after this post I'm not opening it again for a week.

Thank you all for visiting here, reading and participating. I have been honored to have you here.

See you next week.

Six

21 April 2013

A Passionate Defense Of The Boston Cops - An Open Thread And An Invitation

(Title change. Because I can)

I did a rant about the perceptions of police actions in Massachusetts recently. You can find it if you scroll down just a bit. I encourage you to read that post and especially the comments. One of those commenters, Jacksonian Grouch, has taken me to task, challenged me and invited me to hold a conversation.

"When you're ready to have an adult conversation about this, send up a post that has a bit more depth."

I'm not sure what he means by a bit more depth but Ok, I'll bite. Here's your chance to weigh in on this topic on the site of a retired police officer.

Please read my post and all the comments and then, if you would be so kind, comment here. I promise not to delete comments and will respond to everyone who leaves me one. It may take me a day but I will respond. Commenters are free to engage with each other. Civility is temporarily set aside for this thread so have at it and give me your best shot. Tell your friends, all are welcome. Be aware, I also have friends and some of them both agree with me and are frighteningly smart so you critics have been warned. Links are also welcome but no video or pictures in comments. I can't spare the bandwidth. You might also peruse my tags list, especially the one labeled police to get some background on both my experience and views on modern policing. You might be surprised.

This is a very big event in modern American history and it deserves to be bandied about, studied and understood. I'll make my own position clear. The Mass cops did a magnificent job in their handling of the bombing, the aftermath and the pursuit of and capture of both suspects. I include the FBI in that though it pains me to make that admission. As a police veteran I understand their actions, mindset and what they wanted to accomplish. More importantly I understand why they reacted the way they did and took the actions they did.

A cop's first priority is public safety. Period. Yes, we have made mistakes in the past and continue to do so on an anecdotal basis. Guilty as charged and I have addressed this very issue when I talked about Hysterical Incompetence among my brethren. But none of that changes the fact that preservation of life is number one among our lists of things to do. When an officer is in active pursuit of a felon (note that word please, felon) he has an awful wide lawful latitude on things he can do to apprehend that felon. That includes pursuing him into a private home absent either a search or arrest warrant. An officer may also enter a home in Exigent Circumstances absent a search warrant if conditions on the ground warrant it, mostly in the pursuit of that public safety I talked about earlier. We can also (I say we because it's easier for me to write that way though I am at present retired) give lawful orders at crime and catastrophe scenes that may result in arrest if they are disobeyed. Yes, I understand that those of a more libertarian bent both hate and dispute that idea but it's true nevertheless. We can bar entry to an area and likewise evacuate the same if conditions meet the criteria. What is that criteria? It depends. Natural disasters, fires (Google Oakland Hills fire), petroleum refinery explosions, crime scenes, etc. The list is long and really depends on the situation, the conditions, the resources available and the agency(s) responsible. Let's examine Watertown/Boston for a moment.

We have two bombs that go off at the Boston Marathon, killing three and wounding more than 150, many critically. Law enforcement commences a massive investigation and suspects are identified by face. Pictures are released hoping for a break. See, we understand that the general population is our best resource. Someone will almost certainly know or see our suspects and let us know where they are. In the meantime we gather evidence, begin to make our case and make plans in the event we get a break.

The suspects did what many felons do, they went to ground in the hopes that the pursuit would pass them by so they could either escape or strike again. Given what we now know about our felons, making plans for a continuation of the violence seems like it was probably a pretty good idea since that's what happened. Fast forward a few days. Now we have our felons shooting an officer and carjacking an innocent's car. That's as much as shouting to the police "Hey, here we are! Come and get us!" The police accept the challenge and the active pursuit of violent felonious criminals in the act begins anew. Shots are fired from the fleeing vehicle and bombs are tossed willy nilly across the landscape. And a large landscape it is. Miles of streets. The felons are finally cornered and a gunfight breaks out. Another officer is critically wounded. That makes two gunned down in a very short period of time in an active and ongoing crime. One felon is killed after officers exchange fire with the two brothers and still try to take him alive. The second felon flees.

Have I mentioned that these two brothers are bombers armed with both IEDs and firearms? We an dispense with the definition of terrorist of you like but that doesn't change what they were. Armed enemy combatants committing a continuing act of War against the United States of America and her citizens. But I digress.

The active crime scene is now huge. It runs from Cambridge to Watertown and all the surrounding environs , including the city of Boston. The cops don't know if the fleeing felon is wounded or not but they can't make that assumption. He could be anywhere his feet or a convenient vehicle can take him and the longer he's loose the further away he could be. They also know he's been armed so they can safely assume he's both still armed and ready to kill. Again. He has already done so 4 times and tried many, many more. This isn't a pursuit of Billy Bob who just hit his ex and ran off into the neighborhood. It's not sumdood who stuck up the corner Stop&Rob when it all went to hell and he had to flee. This is an active (there's that word again) combatant who has killed and shows every sign that he's eager for a confrontation so he can kill again. He's killed both police and civilians (Yes, I know we're also civilians. Work with me here) and shows no compunction about killing even children.

What do our police do in such a chaotic and dangerous environment? What would you do? Remember, this is an active crime scene with a mad bomber running loose who has already killed 4 and wounded scores. There are explosions and shots being fired. It's an ongoing massive and violent clusterfuck and it's now your job to unfuck it. Lives are at stake here. Many lives. You must act immediately and forcefully to bring this to a successful and hopefully casualty free conclusion but act you must. Right now not hours later or tomorrow or the day after. Right. Fucking. Now. That's your job and what your community both hired you for and expects of you. Don't be wishy washy here. Don't fidget and stall for time. It's here now, it's huge, people are fucking dying right fucking now for for God's sake do something and do it quick!!!! But Lord help you if you're wrong because then We Will Crucify You!!!!! Yep, that's what a scene like that looks like for those men and women on the sharp end. Something to bear in mind kids.

So act they did. They exercised their lawful authority to control an active crime/disaster scene. They temporarily locked down the scene, put on their big boy pants and went in after this psychopathic terrorist knowing that the next bomb might be going off in their faces. They threw up a cordon and stopped all forms of public transportation. Except for the taxis. Did you know that? Some taxis ran for those trapped in places other than their homes. Then they went door to door (but didn't do mass entries in spite of what some might say), house to house, street by street searching for our remaining murderous, violent, psychopathic felon. It took time but such a search usually does. They were pugnacious, courageous, swift and daring. They were also compassionate. They did all in their power to bring that scene to a quick and safe conclusion. Yes, in the end it took a citizen investigating a suspicious circumstance about his boat to capture the felon alive but that's not the cop's fault. I've seen escapees watch the cordon for holes and weaknesses to allow them to move from hiding spot to hiding spot. In the end it avails them nothing as was the case here. The casualties were limited to two cops and both of our felons. No innocents were injured in the course of these events (that I am aware of).

If you want to understand how the police actions were viewed then just watch the interviews with those affected and the videos of them community lining the streets to thank those brave officers for the job they did. Now contrast and compare the actions of those American police officers with the Indian cops response to Mumbai. Here's the money quote:

The two gunmen fled the scene and fired at pedestrians and police officers in the streets, killing eight police officers. The attackers passed a police station. Many of the outgunned police officers were afraid to confront the attackers, and instead switched off the lights and secured the gates.

Compare that to this:

After more than 200 rounds were traded over several minutes, some officers were out of ammunition and charged the brothers’ position with their police car. The vehicle was disabled by gunfire from the Mercedes. Kitzenberg said he saw one of the shooters toss a metallic object — possibly a pressure-cooker bomb similar to the ones used in the marathon attack — in the direction of the police line. It rolled a few yards before detonating harmlessly.

And make no mistake here, these two murderous brothers were after a Mumbai like outcome. They didn't get it because our police officers stood up and in effect told them 'Over our dead bodies' and then backed that up with their blood.

The funniest thing about all of the criticism I've seen is that I get the clear indication that the cops could not have been right no matter what they did. If their response had been wishy washy and someone had been killed, say in a hostage situation,  they'd have been as roundly criticized if not more so. The truth is that in some eyes the police cannot win. We understand that and the very best among us act in accordance with their education, training and moral/ethical compass and just do the right thing regardless of the naysayers. They're called Street Cops and I love them dearly for it.

And lest we forget, police administration, the courts and every personal injury and defense lawyer in the country. Admin will sell you out in a hot second for a general pass from the media for the organization, the courts will censure and even jail you depending on how big a hard on the local DA has for convicting a cop and  defense attorneys will literally salivate themselves to death if you made an error. What all that means is that every decision you made and every action you took will be scrutinized in the light of safety by those who were not there and wouldn't understand even if they were. And it'll go on for weeks, years, decades after the fact. That means that if those folks who were subject to the lockdown or any other action of those Mass cops doesn't like it redress is only as far as the IA desk and the nearest attorney's office.

So there you have it. My reaction to the actions of those officers in Mass and my simple explanation for why they did what they did. I am hardly the first or last authority in these matters so if I have made errors please point them out and if correct I will amend them. The floor is now yours. You may agree. You may disagree. I hope you will respond carefully and thoughtfully. I really hope you will not only offer criticism but also explain, given what the officers at the scene either knew or suspected, what you would have done differently and why. Because criticism without alternates is really just kvetching because you hate cops and they're always wrong. I really hope that's not what's going on here.

The very idea that those cops acted unconstitutionally and as jackbooted thugs worthy of the SS and the Gestapo really burns my ass. These are brave and worthy officers acting within the strictures of the law and in the best traditions of their service. You want to discuss? You got it. Let's discuss.
(After some cross talk with TinCanAssasin I have come to the conclusion that those words are unnecessarily confrontational and may serve to turn off some that may otherwise wish to engage in this discussion. My purpose here is to both defend good police work as I see it and to address the gulf that currently exists between citizen and cop by talking about how such work is done, why and the thinking that goes into critical events like this one, not to be seen as simply a by rote apologist for my profession. A gulf that seems to be growing almost daily. If we can have a frank and open discussion here then perhaps others can and will as well. The first step to understanding is the ability to relate and see another point of view.)

Six


20 April 2013

Early Sunday Kipling - A Tribute And A Warning

I have posted this poem before but it seemed fitting today. It is offered as a tribute to those men and women in Watertown who at precious price did what all of us wished we could do and to those who were horribly injured and lost their lives on that terrible day in Boston.
And a warning to the rest of the world. The price of an American's life is high. Best you consider that in your plans and machinations. Justice has been served but she is hungry yet. The retribution isn't done, it has only just begun.
And for Officer Sean Collier, a brave subaltern. May your samadh reach to Heaven.
Six

The Grave of the Hundred Head

There's a widow in sleepy Chester
  Who weeps for her only son;
There's a grave on the Pabeng River,
  A grave that the Burmans shun;
And there's Subadar Prag Tewarri
  Who tells how the work was done.

A Snider squibbed in the jungle,
  Somebody laughed and fled,
And the men of the First Shikaris
  Picked up their Subaltern dead,
With a big blue mark in his forehead
  And the back blown out of his head.

Subadar Prag Tewarri,
  Jemadar Hira Lal,
Took command of the party,
  Twenty rifles in all,
Marched them down to the river
  As the day was beginning to fall.

They buried the boy by the river,
  A blanket over his face --
They wept for their dead Lieutenant,
  The men of an alien race --
They made a samadh in his honor,
  A mark for his resting-place.

For they swore by the Holy Water,
  They swore by the salt they ate,
That the soul of Lieutenant Eshmitt Sahib
  Should go to his God in state,
With fifty file of Burmans
  To open him Heaven's gate.

The men of the First Shikaris
  Marched till the break of day,
Till they came to the rebel village,
  The village of Pabengmay --
A jingal covered the clearing,
  Calthrops hampered the way.

Subadar Prag Tewarri,
  Bidding them load with ball,
Halted a dozen rifles
  Under the village wall;
Sent out a flanking-party
  With Jemadar Hira Lal.

The men of the First Shikaris
  Shouted and smote and slew,
Turning the grinning jingal
  On to the howling crew.
The Jemadar's flanking-party
  Butchered the folk who flew.

Long was the morn of slaughter,
  Long was the list of slain,
Five score heads were taken,
  Five score heads and twain;
And the men of the First Shickaris
  Went back to their grave again,

Each man bearing a basket
  Red as his palms that day,
Red as the blazing village --
  The village of Pabengmay,
And the "drip-drip-drip" from the baskets
  Reddened the grass by the way.

They made a pile of their trophies
  High as a tall man's chin,
Head upon head distorted,
  Set in a sightless grin,
Anger and pain and terror
  Stamped on the smoke-scorched skin.

Subadar Prag Tewarri
  Put the head of the Boh
On the top of the mound of triumph,
  The head of his son below --
With the sword and the peacock-banner
  That the world might behold and know.

Thus the samadh was perfect,
  Thus was the lesson plain
Of the wrath of the First Shikaris 
  The price of a white man slain;
And the men of the First Shikaris
  Went back into camp again.

Then a silence came to the river,
  A hush fell over the shore,
And Bohs that were brave departed,
  And Sniders squibbed no more;
    For the Burmans said
    That a white man's head
Must be paid for with heads five-score.

There's a widow in sleepy Chester
  Who weeps for her only son;
There's a grave on the Pabeng River,
  A grave that the Burmans shun;
And there's Subadar Prag Tewarri
  Who tells how the work was done.

19 April 2013

Some Folks Need To Get A Grip - A Rant

It's over. One is dead and the other is in custody. The cops were unbelievably magnificent. I know this is quick but if you'd indulge me for a minute I'd like to touch on what has rapidly become a sore spot for me concerning those very cops. It's really bugging me.

In perusing my blogroll and the various links and musings I have unfortunately run across more than a few who have decided that the events in Watertown, Boston and their environs constituted an occupation worthy of the Waffen SS. Yes, at least one site and it's commenters used those very words. Waffen SS. Just allow that to wash over you for a moment. Please excuse my word usage here but I'm seeing red at the moment. I really shouldn't be posting on this topic at this moment but I am a man of deep feelings and I refuse to pull punches when I think they're appropriate and necessary. The F word will be used liberally.

This wasn't a case of an armed robbery gone wrong and a suspect running loose. It wasn't a domestic violence gone bad with a significant other on the lam. It wasn't a car jacking. We used to have a name for those guys; Common Decent Criminals. Yes they are dangerous. Yes they often times killed including firing on those officers pursuing them and occasionally stray passersby. But they weren't terroristic animals who would place a bomb next to an 8 year old boy. They didn't routinely throw bombs out of a moving car willy nilly. They didn't desire to rack up the highest body count before they were finally killed in an orgy of evil, death and violence. They weren't actively working for the forces of evil arrayed against all we love and hold dear. They weren't the Enemies of America. These two scumbags were.

This was two guys who wanted to kill the maximum number of people possible and then die themselves. Want to remember what Chechen terrorists are capable of? Here ya go.  The police reacted swiftly and appropriately. Locking down the scene was the right thing to do. This wasn't a local cordon it was a desperate attempt to cut off, find and neutralize two of the most desperate and dangerous foes one can imagine. Errors weren't allowed. Miscalculations carried the highest imaginable penalties. Cutting off transportation was the right thing to do. Requiring people to stay in their homes and businesses was the right thing to do. Calling in every available officer and piece of equipment was the right thing to do. It's called Calling In The Clans and if was absofuckinglutely the right thing to do.

This was a pig pile writ large and it was absolutely and positively the right thing to do. Witness the near total lack of civilian casualties. Witness the superb use of force control. Yes, it's horrifying to see a modern American city in total lockdown but it was still the right thing to do. Welcome to the 21st Century and what a nearly perfect police response to active terrorist shooters looks like.

Ask the people of Mumbai if what we saw in Boston was excessive. Those who survived anyway. How many of them would have welcomed such an immediate and forceful response from their own police forces with open arms and tears of joy? The Mumbai cops were a pathetic joke and people were killed because of it. It's not oppression it's fucking WAR and that war is in our neighborhoods even as we speak. It's not a fucking army of occupation taking over and running roughshod over the Constitutional rights of the people. Give me a fucking break. Yes it is bad. No it is not unconstitutional or evil of reminiscent of the Third fucking Reich. And the cops have sent a very clear message to our enemies. We ain't Mumbai. You screw around over here and we'll hunt your asses down and do it quick.

This, this very thing is one of the biggest reasons we have the Second Amendment and why I support it so vehemently. But we don't go hunting the bad guys. We hunker down and protect ours and allow the men and women we have hired and sworn in to do the job we have asked them to do. I want to see the lights and hear the sirens and watch as my police officers march to the sound of the guns. Isn't that what we expect them to do? This isn't common crime its an act of War and the responding Massachusetts police were fucking magnificent. I have never been prouder of my brothers and sisters in blue and fuck anyone who doesn't like it.

Listen, anyone who has even casually perused my blog and writings knows that I don't hesitate to criticize my fellow police officers when warranted. No one is a bigger critic of police corruption and incompetence than I am. But this incident contained none of that. This was a job well done with the correct outcome. The only people who were killed and injured were the terrorists and the cops. What more can we ask? If the blood of two cops is insufficient then I don't know what to say. I hate that one of my brothers was killed with another fighting for his life in the hospital but if you ask any officer worth his or her salt they'd tell you that it was worth the sacrifice. I have said many times that if the situation calls for it then an officer is obligated to take the bullet and even die in the performance of their duties. That happened here exactly. This response should be applauded not sneered at by imbeciles and those who wouldn't understand what a tactical requirement and textbook deployment looks like if it was spelled out in their primary reader. The Mass cops were swift, careful, courageous, decisive and on the ball. The scene commander was more than competent. The responders did all the right things without ever shooting someone they weren't supposed to even with two of their own down. I salute each and every one of those cops and hold my own honor short simply because I wasn't there standing by their sides. I am in awe of them all.

So. I have again removed a couple of blog links. No, I didn't leave them a comment. I have no patience for fools and refuse to engage them in useless argument. If you are one of those who look at the police response in Boston and Watertown as something Orwellian or Totalitarian then please just leave me the hell alone. I don't want to know you and for damn sure I don't want to be associated with you in any way. I'll take the blog down first. Yes, I am that angry at the moment. My brothers and sisters in Law Enforcement and the Military who also responded did an absolutely wonderful job in the most difficult and chaotic environment one could imagine. If you can't see that then just fucking piss off.

Six

Update:  "some officers were out of ammunition and charged the brothers’ position with their police car." 
 "While Tamerlan Tsarnaev was firing a pistol with the other hand, police tackled and tried to subdue the 200-pound amateur boxer."
Yeah, sure sounds like jackbooted thugs to me.
ht: Ace

E.O.W. 4-18-2013 Godspeed MIT Officer Sean Collier


MIT Officer Sean Collier. 26 years old. Your duty is done. Your honor is intact. We will miss you so terribly. May God take you into his loving embrace and comfort all those who loved you. I am honored to have once worn the same uniform and to call you my brother. Your sacrifice will not be in vain. We will prevail and we will send those who would do evil to our people to the very depths of Hell.

Six

One Suspect Dead, One On The Run, One Officer killed, One Critical

In Watertown Mass last night the suspects were run to ground. There were at least two shootouts with local police. One suspect is dead at this hour and the other on the run. One MIT officer was killed and a Transit officer is in critical condition in a separate shooting.

Details are a little sketchy but becoming more clear. The dead terrorist had gunshot wounds but also had blast injuries. There are reports of explosions as well as gunshots. Watertown and the surrounding communities are in lock down.

In watching the news a few things strike me. First was the question about why they would stay in the local area. It isn't unusual for a suspect running from the police to find a rabbit hole and go to ground when being actively pursued, especially if they think they haven't been identified. They wait until the pursuit passes them and then find a hole to exploit or for the heat to die down so they can make their escape.

Some have wondered about their motivation in engaging the police. The presence of explosive devices is a pretty fair indicator that their bombing spree wasn't done. The timing of the attempt to escape and the FBI release of their photos probably isn't a coincidence. They understood their chances of being fingered had gone up, their identities were known and there were no good reasons to stay. I think they have a controller who convinced them to not be taken alive. I do believe they always intended to become martyrs in spite of not being suicide bombers at the marathon.

Remember that there is such a thing as being well trained amateurs. They're both young and there is only so much training they had time to acquire. Most of that training is going to be limited in it's scope, mostly related to weapons handling and bomb making skills. Escape and evasion would have been skimmed if not omitted altogether. We're not talking about Delta or SEAL level training here. Get them in a facility, teach them the basic skills they need to kill the largest number of people possible and turn them loose. They're expendable, in fact their deaths were almost certainly always a part of this scenario.

The police have done a very creditable job so far. I haven't seen any signs of overreaction or trigger happiness. Several folks have been detained and at least one was felony proned at gunpoint but so far no innocents shot. This is totally to be expected. When you can't tell the sheep from the goats everyone is a goat. Sucks if you're just trying to get to work but in a situation like this there just isn't really any other way to operate.

I predict that as this investigation continues we'll find out that there are more than just these two involved. Others have aided and abetted in both direct and indirect support roles. Some of them might even be local. In fact that's a virtual certainty but we'll see.

My thoughts and prayers go out to those two officers killed and wounded, their families and fellow officers. May God keep you and may he watch over all those in pursuit of evil and keep those innocents in the line of fire safe and whole.

Six

Update: Suspect #2 (the one still at large) has been named as Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. The other suspect hasn't yet been named but they apparently are brothers from Chechnya, probably picked because they don't look Arabic. I know, I'm racist but there it is. They've been here for a year or so. Makes that Russian pledge of complete cooperation a little more clear.

Next Gen Artillery

In my Army career I was Artillery, AKA The King Of Battle. Yeah, I so went there. With that in mind you'll understand how much this pains me. The Navy is fielding a Super Gun, the Advanced Gun System.

It fires a 155mm projectile called the LRLAP or Long Range Land Attack Projectile. It utilizes GPS and Inertial Guidance and can send rounds as far as 63 miles. 63 fricking miles. Let me put that in perspective.

Back when I was a Fire Direction Specialist, computing Artillery firing data with plotting charts, Logarithmic tables, slide rules, FADAC (go to the link and click on photo if you want a look at a circa 1960 Army computer) and pencil & paper the newest thing in our inventory was Copperhead and ICM (Improved Conventional Munition including DPICM, APICM and FASCAM). The newest 155 self propelled howitzer, the M109A5 has a range of about 14 miles, 18 with rocket assist rounds. That's pretty good but not quite 63 miles.

No word that I can find on accuracy but considering it's use of accuracy enhancing technology and just how far we've come our smart munitions I'd expect it's probably fairly good, Range Probability Errors notwithstanding.

But still. The Navy has this bad boy? I know they need it, that new DDG1000 is going to be steady kicking ass, but the Navy!? This cannot stand. The Navy cannot have a bigger penis, er gun, (yeah that's what I meant gun) than the Army. My boys in the Redleg community must be aghast, chafing at the bit and planning a midnight visit to a certain naval facility where a certain large boat like object resides to do a late night requisition of a pretty dang cool brand spanking new long range World O' Hurt Delivery Device. Heck guys, give me a call. I've got a trailer.

So if you see a big ol' gun on a redneck trailer being pulled behind a crappy green pickup truck being wildly driven by a disreputable crew of drunken rapscallions and cutthroats wearing cutoff camouflage pants and Budweiser t-shirts please pay it no mind. And if anyone sees Old NFO, ORPO or NavyOne, tell them not to read this post.

You never saw me. I was never here. This post will self destruct in 5...4...3...2...1...

Six

17 April 2013

I Am A Snow Jinx

A couple of weeks ago, while we were walking Angus, I remarked to Lu what a nice evening it was and how it felt like Winter was finally past and Spring here for good.

The very next day it snowed.

On Sunday we were again walking Angus on a warm Spring evening when I said it again. But this time I was certain! Dang it, Winter is over and Spring is here.

This is what hit us yesterday.

It's more hail than actual snow but it was cold enough that it stuck like snow and felt like snow. If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck it's almost certainly frozen precipitation. It's also been cold as heck the last two days.

So I'm now going to try some reverse psychology, Calvin style.

Brrrr. It's cold. Feels like Winter is here to stay. For a long time. With no sign of Spring. Anywhere. I swear.

And this time I mean it.

Six


16 April 2013

Car Guy

I've held off on this post a few days because I wanted to wait until we heard some confirmed good news. We now have that news. I am going to hold off naming the city or hospital to help protect their privacy. I hope you understand.

A couple of days ago Car Guy's daughter was involved in a bad accident. In the car was her son and daughter. The van was t-boned at speed by a large vehicle and the results were simply awful. Daughter and grandson were hurt but not critically. His granddaughter on the other hand was very badly injured. I mean badly. About as bad as you can imagine and still be alive. He immediately flew out and has been by her bedside virtually day and night. Well, the power of prayer works and I can now say that little girl is doing much better. To the point that she's off the opiates, the ventilator and many of the usual tubes and drains. She's responding positively to those around her and seems to be on her way to a complete recovery. There will be the normal difficulties and challenges associated with traumatic brain injuries but her doctors are upbeat and positive and all signs are excellent. It's more that we could have hoped for.

I'm not going to go into the intimate details of the crash or her injuries but trust me, I saw the pictures of both and they near broke my heart. Among my jobs at the PD was fatal accident reconstruction. I've seen a lot of horror and too many accidents that resulted in the loss of life. As I viewed those pictures of the crash scene I couldn't help but note the details with an educated and experienced eye. I have no earthly idea why that little girl survived beyond that the Good Lord reached out his hand and spared her.

There is another reason though I'm of the opinion the two are related. Car Guy told me that one of the local hospital's trauma surgeons routinely rides around in his personal car with a radio tuned to the local PD/Fire/EMS frequencies. He just happened to drive through the intersection where the accident occurred and heard the call. He turned around and returned to the scene within minutes. Car Guy says if he hadn't done that, if he hadn't heard or responded to the call, his granddaughter wouldn't have survived her injuries. That doctor literally kept her alive at the scene and for her life flight to the hospital and the ICU. It was that close. Cay Guy couldn't have been happier with the hospital staff. They were professional, caring and extremely competent. The doctors and nurses there are top notch. We are still a country with the best emergency care in the world. We are grateful for their wonderful care of that oh so precious charge.

I'm so happy and grateful to be able to post this with the sure and certain knowledge that with a lot of time, effort and love Car Guy's granddaughter will return to his loving embrace and remain his beloved grandchild. That makes me smile with my entire soul. Car Guy, we've been holding you all in our hearts and prayers my brother. I couldn't be happier for you and the rest of your family. Thank you for sharing with me and allowing me to help in a very small way. We love you my friend and are here for you always.

This post with a huge thank you is dedicated to the blessed men and women of our EMS and hospital services. On this day, after we have witnessed the herculean efforts by those same folks in Boston, it seems like a good time to remember them. And to say We Love You All.

Especially one trauma surgeon who will forever be in my prayers and will have my eternal gratitude. May God bless you my unknown friend. You saved the life of the grandchild of a man closer to me than my own brothers and I will never forget.

If you have a minute and are so inclined a quick prayer for a very special little girl in the hospital would be wonderful and very much appreciated.

Thank you my friends.

Six

I Am A Bad Husband

I'm here to confess and ask for forgiveness. I am a bad husband. First, I am a man so that automatically makes me a bad person but it goes deeper than that. Much deeper.

See, I've decided that Lu is smaller and weaker than most men (Shame! Evil! Sexist!) and therefore less able to physically fend off an attack from a larger and stronger male armed only with kind words and soiled underwear. To my everlasting shame and guilt I have armed her and forced her to take a concealed carry class and get her carry permit. Even worse I have subjected her to the horror of actually carrying a gun with her everywhere she goes.

It started so innocently. A shotgun and a revolver. Nothing really evil, just guns she could take to the range and have a little fun. But it progressed from there. A rifle. Just one, what harm could it do? But that apparently wasn't enough to satisfy my misogynistic tendencies. The gun buying went on and on, getting worse and worse along the way. Harder and more evil guns were purchased culminating in the two most vile decisions I have made. I bought her not one but two Evil Black Rifles with Evil Magazines. Ah, the shame, it burns me!

But perhaps the worst, the most evil thing I did was to buy her a handgun and holster for her to carry a concealed gun on her actual person. Yes, I am that bad a husband and man. I started with insisting she carry a notquiteevilbutstillprettydarnbad S&W Airweight revolver. I bought her a purse to carry it. An innocent purse may the Lord forgive me. Then I made her get a black leather holster for it and we all know just how evil that makes any gun. But I still wasn't done. I insisted that she take classes and even went so far as to teach her about self defense with a gun myself. But I still wasn't done.

See, Lu is a petite woman and carrying a large capacity handgun is difficult for her. So I went and bought a high capacity handgun for her in .22 LR that she can conceal and carry easily. And it's semi automatic and black! Does my perfidy know no bounds? Is there no end to my hatred for women in general and my wife in particular and their safety?

But it's even worse yet. As we were getting ready to head out to a nice lunch today Lu showed me her Airweight on her hip and asked me if her cover shirt was adequate. I was struck with how sexy a woman wearing a handgun was and overwhelmed with both admiration for her and a deep desire to throw myself at her and have my evil way upon her soft, womanly body.

My shame is complete. I have a wife I have encouraged to learn the martial art of handgun self defense and have so equipped her. Clearly I do not understand how much less safe such preparations have made her. Clearly I want some evil to befall her since all those loving, caring individuals on the left have made it clear that no woman is fit nor able to defend her life and honor with a gun. It would be so much better and safer for her to be at the mercy of some thug the left has encouraged and protected and allowed free reign across our society. I admit my criminal guilt and promise to never rectify this situation.

So there you have it fellow Subjects Citizens. I leave it to you to determine my fate. I accept the charges as levied against me but I will accept no plea bargain, make no apologies. I will proudly go to the reeducation camps secure in the knowledge that Lu is safe behind me with her gun on her hip.

And for anyone who decides that pretty, petite, middle aged woman is an easy mark please I give you this warning. Lu doesn't agree with the idea of disarming those who most need the protection of a gun and has made the conscious decision that anyone who attacks her or someone she loves deserves the pain she will dish out. And trust me on this, she can Bring It. That's her answer to the question of arming the fairer sex. Because she is the poster woman for 'Fairer Doesn't Equal Helpless' and no ignorant liberal mouthpiece is going to tell her any different. Pro Choice has more than one meaning kids. Something to keep in mind as you continue hypocriting all women as both too strong to need a gun and too weak to handle one at the same time. The real irony here is that sentiment is exactly 180 degrees wrong. Women are strong enough to handle a gun and (in many cases) just weak enough to need one. To deny women the means for self defense is to wish harm upon them all. Perhaps that is the real crime here?

I suppose all this does indeed make me a bad husband in the eyes of some but not in the beautiful blue eyes of the woman I love most. I am content. It is a verdict we can both live with.

Six

15 April 2013

Breaking: Bombing At The Boston Marathon

Fox News is covering it live. Two explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon at about 1457 local. At least three dead and thirty injured so far. Those numbers are liable to go higher as the day goes on. It's anyone's guess who the bombers are but it's noteworthy that it's Patriot Day. I'm going to follow the news and update as information comes in.Prayers for all the victims.
Six

Update: It's pretty clear looking at the footage that it was indeed explosive devices that were detonated. They didn't seem extremely large, more like big pipe bombs or satchel type charges as opposed to car bomb sized packages. Still, there is a lot of carnage so they were pretty significant. They're talking about finding ball bearings so the obvious intent was anti personnel. Terrorism is a given but those responsible have yet to be identified. I'm waiting for the shouts of Allahu Akbar from the usual suspects but then I am a hater.

Update: Mass General is reporting 10 patients with traumatic amputations. Bad. This is very bad. Dare I say it? We've been attacked. Again.

Update: Boston PD is saying 2 dead and 22 injured. DO and I talked and we agree that the explosion that was shown wasn't underground. It was an above ground blast not quite big enough to bring down a building which argues for them being anti personnel. Low to the ground and fairly low yield. I'm convinced, after watching the video, that these were deliberate bomb attacks. Domestic or foreign? Cue the Tea Party references in 5...4...3...2...1... (A brave anonymous poster was the first in comments. The ban hammer has been lowered. Blood dancing won't be tolerated here. If you want to hate go do it some place where leftist violence is celebrated. I suggest HuffPo, MSNBC or the New York Times.)

Update: Two more unexploded devices have been found which argues against suicide bombers. There's also a treasure trove of forensic evidence in such finds.

Update: There are reports of a suspect in custody at the hospital. Take that with a very large grain of salt.

Presser going on now with the Governor and Police Commissioner. There was a third explosion at the JFK Library. I think we can put away any idea that these explosions were the result of accidents or natural gas lines. They've pretty much called in the clans on this, including the Mass National Guard. No confirmation on casualties.  

I'm going to shut down my live blog of this incident. Lu and I send out our prayers to all those killed and injured in the horrific event. Stay safe everyone.

14 April 2013

homeschooling...?

You know, I've struggled with the homeschooling idea for a long time.  I even tried it, and failed.  I was, however, in a part of my life that was more survival than it was thriving and I'm sure that had something to do with my failure.  So I've struggled with the choice, watching my sweet right-brained student trip down the rabbit hole of the left-brain school system.

However...

When I see that the left is so self assured that they have started to openly mock all that is American, and feel they have the power to begin to dismantle the freedoms in our nation, well then I have to start looking hard at my choices.


MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY: ‘I STAND BY’ ‘KIDS BELONG TO WHOLE COMMUNITIES’ MSNBC PROMO

Huh...  Well maybe I CAN be a good teacher after all....

~The DO

Sunday Kipling

The political class totters on, never understanding the depth of their ignorance. They fear the wrong things. A lost election. An unkind word issued by those who will always despise them. An unjust epithet. They betray those who put them forth to protect their rights and call it compromise. As if treachery could be contained by such a word. Our memories are long and in this climate forgiveness hard given. I have no sympathy for my enemies only contempt. We choose and we accept. That is what it means to be free. Coercion and the long, slow erosion of natural rights are tools of oppression. Righteous anger is the answer. They fear the wrong things indeed.
Six

An American

1894

The American Spirit speaks:
 
If the Led Striker call it a strike,
  Or the papers call it a war,
They know not much what I am like,
  Nor what he is, My Avatar.

Through many roads, by me possessed,
  He shambles forth in cosmic guise;
He is the Jester and the Jest,
  And he the Text himself applies.

The Celt is in his heart and hand,
  The Gaul is in his brain and nerve;
Where, cosmopolitanly planned,
  He guards the Redskin's dry reserve

His easy unswept hearth he lends
  From Labrador to Guadeloupe;
Till, elbowed out by sloven friends,
  He camps, at sufferance, on the stoop.

Calm-eyed he scoffs at Sword and Crown,
  Or, panic-blinded, stabs and slays:
Blatant he bids the world bow down,
  Or cringing begs a crust of praise;

Or, sombre-drunk, at mine and mart,
  He dubs his dreary brethren Kings.
His hands are black with blood -- his heart
  Leaps, as a babe's, at little things.

But, through the shift of mood and mood,
  Mine ancient humour saves him whole 
The cynic devil in his blood
  That bids him mock his hurrying soul;

That bids him flout the Law he makes,
  That bids him make the Law he flouts,
Till, dazed by many doubts, he wakes
  The drumming guns that -- have no doubts;

That checks him foolish-hot and fond,
  That chuckles through his deepest ire,
That gilds the slough of his despond
  But dims the goal of his desire;

Inopportune, shrill-accented,
  The acrid Asiatic mirth
That leaves him, careless 'mid his dead,
  The scandal of the elder earth.

How shall he clear himself, how reach
  Your bar or weighed defence prefer 
A brother hedged with alien speech
  And lacking all interpreter?

Which knowledge vexes him a space;
  But, while Reproof around him rings,
He turns a keen untroubled face
  Home, to the instant need of things.

Enslaved, illogical, elate,
  He greets the embarrassed Gods, nor fears
To shake the iron hand of Fate
  Or match with Destiny for beers.

Lo, imperturbable he rules,
  Unkempt, desreputable, vast 
And, in the teeth of all the schools,
  I -- I shall save him at the last!

13 April 2013

Dogs

Why is that I can be rattling around the kitchen, opening cabinets and the refrigerator and generally banging around and Angus doesn't so much as open his eyes from his sleepy spot on the bed in our room. But the moment I try to sneak into the kitchen with the prior intent to grab a snack I turn around and see this

  "You weren't going to eat that all by yourself were you?"

That boy is psychic, I swear.

Six

10 April 2013

Canine Broken Leg Care - Rehab

Rehab is going well. Angus is still favoring the leg a little but he walks and runs readily on it. Sometimes he runs on it when we'd really rather he didn't but he's a young Lab. What you gonna do?

When we started the rehab process the thing that struck me initially was that the dog's basic adaptability was working against us. You've all seen the videos and stories about the three legged (and occasionally even two) dogs who manage to get by just fine. They don't seem to understand or even remember that they once had four wheel drive. Or care seemingly. We had experienced a bit of that with Angus. He'd been going three legged for long enough that it was natural for him. He adjusted his gait and his life to the tripod system and was perfectly happy with that. No issues here, let's go! One of the things we had to do in the beginning was to remind him, re-teach him really, that he did indeed have four legs and he should be using all of them. We started with slow walks. He continued to do the bunny hop while standing on all fours. When it was time to go again it was hippity hop and off we go. We started having Lu walk just in front of him and slowed the pace way down. That made Angus pull to get even with her and the slow pace made him walk instead of hopping out ahead. It worked and pretty soon he was on four about as often as three. We also put up a small pool. We are space limited in the back yard behind the covered porch which was where we wanted the pool to go. It's an el cheapo 12 foot round above ground pool just over three feet deep. Plenty for canine rehab or lounging on a hot Summer day. It also reinforces the instinctive use of the leg while providing low impact exercise. We swim Angus for 30 minutes every day.

Sometimes I can simply hold onto his ribs and let him swim in place

But usually he requires some motivation

The water is still awful cold so when it's her turn Lu suits up in her triathlon wet suit

Angus has a huge play drive and needs little convincing to jump in and swim around but we have developed a few games to keep his interest up. Teasing works well. "Get the ball Angus!" He'll chase it around and around.

Or his personal favorite, a good game of "I've got it you can't have it" AKA Keepaway.

We figured out that all he needs is the hint of a game of tug-o-war and he'll happily swim circles forever. In a small pool you have to be inventive and keep his interest piqued.

We even found a fun way to start the sessions. Ready?

Go! Trust me, that is a very happy dog. He now runs out and sits by the pool whining whenever he sees one of us getting on the swim gear. When I bend down to get him he runs up and snuggles immediately into my arms eager for the launch. You can almost hear him thinking WHEEEE!!

When I was convinced we'd been able to rewire his brain back to the instinctive use of the leg it was time to progress. First up was back to some trail walking. We're still limiting Angus both to distance and control. He stays on the retractable leash for now. Those leashes are a blessing when doing rehab walks with a young energetic dog like Angus. He gets enough freedom to make him happy and enough distance to get a good workout but we also have the ability to keep him close enough to anticipate trouble and keep him out of it.

Standing tall and proud on four good legs. How wonderful a picture is that?

The idea has been to reintroduce Angus to his old haunts and habits as rehab progresses. It motivates him, normalizes his life and makes him use the leg in controlled conditions. That's important with a dog. You can't just tell him he has to take it easy and follow this strict rehab regimen. You have to guide, show and convince him. That leg still hurts but if you approach it correctly he'll learn to trust what you're telling him. That it's Ok to go ahead and use it. To that end we went to the pond. Not the lake where the accident occurred but a small pond near the house. Angus loves the place. It was also Chrisi's favorite spot and we have since christened it Chrisi's Pond. Did I mention that it has resident ducks living there?

You can see in this picture that in the beginning Angus was still favoring that leg. I think it was still subconscious. He'd learned that the leg was no longer available and had adjusted to that reality. That, as much as anything else, was what we were fighting.

But throw in something that took his mind off the injury, like say, oh I don't know maybe some ducks? Now he's concentrating on exterior influences and not the leg.

The pond also allowed us a place for Angus to have long uninterrupted swims. I teased him with rocks tossed around where he was swimming. He'd chase one and when he didn't find it he'd look back to me and I'd throw another. It' goes against his retriever training where this type of thing is verbotten but we're concentrating on rehab. The rest can wait. Of course the ducks also did their part. You can see the two he was chasing just above his head in this photo.

Again, walking on the bottom in shallow water on all fours. Not a care in the world. "Did I do good daddy?" Yeah pal, you did great.

When I was rehabbing from my Achilles surgery the one and only thing that really gave me pain relief was massages. To this day Lu still massages that leg and foot area and probably will have to the rest of my life. I figured if it worked for me it'd work for Angus and I was right. He loves his massage time.

He'll come immediately and lay down as soon as he figures out what's coming. I rub him from shoulder to paw, being careful not to put too much pressure on the leg repair. That plate is still quite noticeable.

This is also the time for stretching. The ligaments and tendons in that leg have all shortened up and gotten stiff. He needs to have the ankle stretched back every day. He doesn't seem to mind and I'm careful not to make it painful. A little further each day.

A happy dog at the end of another good day. He was incredibly happy when he got his couch back.

Angus is doing very well, so well that I'm even starting to be confident of a total recovery. He gets stronger literally every day. Between the walks, swims and massages his rehab is taking him back to the dog he once was and that we despaired of ever getting back. Lu and I are indebted to both of his doctors for the fine work they did and to God for giving him back to us. Seeing him curled up on his couch after another day doing his work and generally having fun has been a balm to my soul. I figure his rehab will take anywhere from 6 months to a year before I can call him 100 percent recovered but I am now convinced that, barring the unforeseen, that day is coming. We're still barely 12 weeks into this process. We have a lot of work yet to do but the heavy lifting is done and that makes me unbelievably happy. I'll do updates as the months go by but for now the Canine Broken Leg Care posts have come to an end and a wonderful end it is.

Thank you again for all your prayers, support and treats. The journey would have been so much harder without all of you. Lu and I are grateful. If you happened to stumble upon this post and would like to talk or ask questions about your own dog's recovery I invite you to drop me a line. Lu and I are always happy to do what we can to help, even if it's just to provide a sympathetic ear and a encouraging voice.

For now I'm going to say my prayers of thanks and go love my dog. We'll see you all down the trail.

Six

07 April 2013

Sunday Kipling

I have found a new excuse for being a slacker. I simply tell myself "yeah, but I finished the remodel". That way I can convince myself (and anyone who asks) that I'm really just resting as opposed to goofing off.

Lu and I are considering another short trip, maybe to Colorado to visit my favorite uncle. Though I filled up the Ford the other day and Ouch! Maybe not.

Angus is doing well. I'll have another post up about his rehab next week. I swear.

I hope this day finds you all relaxed, happy and in good company. The path we tread is fraught with peril. Find all the happy you can, grab it with both hands and hang on for dear life.
Six

The Glories

1925
IN FAITHS and Food and Books and Friends 
   Give every soul her choice.
For such as follow divers ends 
   In divers lights rejoice. 

There is a glory of the Sun 
   ('Pity it passeth soon!)
But those whose work is nearer done 
   Look, rather, towards the Moon. 

There is a glory of the Moon 
   When the hot hours have run;
But such as have not touched their noon 
   Give worship to the Sun.

There is a glory of the Stars, 
   Perfect on stilly ways;
But such as follow present wars 
   Pursue the Comet's blaze. 

There is a glory in all things; 
   But each must find his own, 
Sufficient for his reckonings, 
   Which is to him alone.

03 April 2013

Remodel Update - It's Done! - Flooring, Trim And Final Painting

A spoiler. The rooms are done as of 9 PM last night. I put in the last trim screw and Lu took over to finish the trim paint. Last brush stroke went on at 9 and we were officially done. I'll go over flooring and trim painting today and then in the next day or so do a final post including comparison photos so you can see where we started and finished.

Flooring. There are as many choices here as opinions in a political convention. For us when we want a hard surface we normally go with either tile or vinyl plank flooring. For the hallway we went with the vinyl plank flooring.

That's Allure by TrafficMaster. I've talked about this stuff before. We absolutely love it. It's hard, wears very well, goes down easily and can be used in both dry and wet applications. We did the kitchen floor in California with this stuff and have absolutely no complaints.

Here's how it goes down. First thing to remember is it's free floating. No glue involved and you can take it up as easily as you put it down. I've even reused it. Take a look at this photo. The planks are 3 feet long by 6 inches wide. You can see the back and front of the planks. There is a one inch sticky strip on each side that mates up when you set the plank and holds them together.

Start by setting whole planks until you need to cut. You can either score and snap or make a cut with either a chop saw or a jig saw. I like the chop saw for 90 degree cuts for length and the jig saw for intricate cuts like the areas around doors. Lu does the score and snap when she's in a hurry. It works well but the saw will give you a cleaner cut end.

When the cut is done line up the planks

And press into place. Easy peasy. We went with Country Pine.

Hallway flooring done it was time for carpeting. We made sure we had the entire hallway floor done, especially the entryways into the bedrooms, before the carpet guys got here. They arrived just before 10 AM and were done by 3:30. They were prompt, professional and did a very nice job. This was the only part of the project we contracted out since it's both frustrating and free. Hey, free is good.

The Girl's room

And the Boy's

A shot from the kitchen. You can see the unpainted trim.

A better look at that floor. I really like the look, kind of an old pine thing.

A shot looking down the hallway.

With the floors done it was time to finish up the trim. We let the floors rest on Monday and went for the finish line on Tuesday. My job was installation while Lu handled the paint. I got the better end of that deal as I was done by about 4 and she didn't knock off until 9. This is an example of a room carpeted and ready for paint. Can you guess who's room this is?

I start with the doors since I want the verticals to go all the way to the floor. A word on fasteners. I tend to finish so that I can remove if we decide to change things later. To that end I attach trip with 1 1/4 inch brads and then screw everything down with 2 inch wood screws. That allows me to firmly attach the trim to the underlying studs and sill plates and I can still uncover the screws and remove the trim if I ever want to.

I can also fudge the wood trim to make sure it lies just as I want it. Once the trim was in we filled screw and nail holes with light spackling and then sanded everything down.

We had plenty of wall paint left over which was a good thing as Lu wanted the trim to match the walls.

It's amazing how the trim blends into the walls after painting. We wanted the coverage and the depth the bigger trim provided without drawing the eye. I think (hope!) we succeeded.


And just like that this project is finished. We took a useless room and turned it into two very useful bedrooms and a small hallway with a pantry. Not only a practical value but also an increase in the resale value of our home. It took a lot of very hard work and a not inconsiderable expense but the end result was worth everything we put into it. We are happy but it's funny. We woke up asking what needed to get done today. It's a weird feeling being done. Good but weird. I think we'll take a few days off and then start decorating. Lu already has a lot of pink stuff for the Girl and I have a few things for the Boy. I'll post final photos after we get everything in place.

For now Lu and I are basking in a job well done. It's by no means perfect but it is well built from quality materials and feels solid. The rooms are quiet and well insulated. The windows are modern. The wiring and construction are code and we've added a much needed pantry. Look for some before and after later this week. The transformation is amazing if I do say so myself. There is nothing like a big project done.

Thank you all for reading and adding in your support and thoughts. We appreciate you all coming along for the build. I'm now eying the master bedroom and the new bathroom but I think I'll put them off until after the kids visit in June. Lu and I need to decompress for a month or two before we jump back in.

Six