Insert saxophone solo here

You know, there is something very noir-ish when your lady slips a snub-nosed revolver into the outer pocket of your leather over-coat just before you venture out into a sub-freezing night to help strangers.

Just thought I’d throw that out there.

LawDog

The Popular Vote

We here at Rancho LawDog are seeing a whole bunch of fluster in the air regarding Secretary Clinton “winning the popular vote.”

Leaving aside for the nonce the uncomfortable fact that there is no such thing as a popular vote for the Office of President of the United States (yet another sin that the Mainstream Media will have to answer for) near as I can tell — if we had been foolish enough to do so — had there been a Popular Vote the winner would have been “None of the Above”.

According to data from the United States Election Project, there are just over 231,000,000 (231 million) eligible voters in the United States at the time of this cycle’s General Election.

Secretary Clinton got (so far) ~ 66,000,000 (66 million +/-) of those eligible voters.

Mr Trump got (so far) ~ 63,000,000 (63 million +/-) of those eligible voters.

Let us add 66 million to 63 million — if my math skills are up to scratch — about 129,000,000 (129 million) votes.

231,000,000 (total eligible voters) minus 129,000,000 (eligible voters participating) — leaves 102,000,000 (102 million) eligible voters who sat at home, muttering into their beers on Election Day.

In other words, it sure looks like the Presidential picks were so dismal this year that 45% of the electorate couldn’t get enthused enough to cast a vote.

To quote Herself:  “So, she got about half of the half that showed up?”

It actually cyphers out to Secretary Clinton getting 48% of the 55% that showed up, but close enough.

Hillary Clinton didn’t win the popular vote.

“Bugger This For A Lark” and “None Of The Above” won the popular vote with a total of 102 million to Secretary Clinton’s 66 million — almost half again as many votes.

LawDog

postscript:

A cheeky young bugger has pointed out that it could be said that “Noah Ward” was actually the winner of the popular vote.

Sigh.

LawDog

Stew

Take:

2 1/2 pounds stew meat
4 cups beef stock
28 oz little taters (one to two inches in diametre)
3 carrots
3 stalks celery
2 medium yellow onions
5 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs of thyme
4 sprigs rosemary
1 cup red wine
couple of slugs of Worcestershire sauce
salt
pepper
flour
olive oil

Okay.

Bung your beef stock into the slow-cooker, or decent-sized stock-pot, and start it going.

Generously salt and pepper the stew meat, dredge it through some flour, throw it into a frying pan with some oil, and brown it.  You’ll probably need to do this in batches.  When the meat is brown, bung it off into the stock.

You’re probably going to have a nasty mess inside your frying pan.  That’s perfectly okay.  Take your cup of red wine and pour it into the frying pan. With a wooden spatula, scrape the goodie off of the bottom of the pan while still on a medium flame.  This is called “deglazing” and you may be surprised at how easily the gooey bits come loose.  When it’s all loose, pour all that goodness into the pot with the meat.

Quarter the taters (I prefer the little red or gold ones), cut the carrots and celery into one-inch lengths, chunk the onions, and throw it all into the pot.

Run the garlic cloves through a press into the pot, toss in the bay leaves, and tie the sprigs of thyme and rosemary together with twine, and into the pot with it.

End up with a couple of generous glugs of Worcestershire sauce (about a teaspoon worth).  Simmer or slow-cook on high, until the meat is nicely tender, pull out the bay leaves and the spice bundle; and serve with crusty bread.

Voila!  Stew.

LawDog

Because esoteric makes me warm and fuzzy

Couple of Gentle Readers are enquiring about the title of my last post.

It is a somewhat sanitised version of a punchline to an Internet meme I saw sometime back, which (if I remember correctly) goes something like this:

GOD:  “Behold!  I have created Mankind!”

Angel:  “You [deleted]-up a perfectly good monkey is what you did.  Look at him — he’s got anxiety!”

The meme goes on for a bit, and ends with the angel begging God to turn Man back in to a monkey.

Anyhoo, the punchline kind of stuck in my head — apparently it’s weird in there — and I have found that it is a wonderful comment for the occasions when “WTF?!  Really?!  W.T.F?!” just won’t do.

As a for instance, let us say you are observing a scene in which several laws of physics have been violated in a way only possible by a combination of an overabundance of hormones divided by an under-appreciation of mortality.  Fire that is guaranteed to not be possible is possibly occurring, and something — probably important — is in a physical location that there is no sodding way for that something to be in.  The young — they’re always young these days — person responsible is standing in front of you, twiddling their fingers in such a way as to suggest that the report that is about to cross your desk is going to be one of the more impressive works of speculative fiction/ nitwittery you will read since … well, the last one .. lacking only in the mention of the beer that someone was holding during the entire episode.

I find that glaring at the responsible party over your glasses, then performing a Migraine Salute while gritting out, “Yeee-up.  Cocked-up a perfectly good monkey” manages to be completely apropos, yet just profane enough to properly convey my feelings on such occasions.

LawDog

Yup. Buggered up a perfectly good monkey.

I was swinging through the office this morning, in search of a cup of coffee that wouldn’t put up too much of a fight, when one of the front office ladies — the perennially perky one, and I do realize that’s not much of a distinction — caused me to pause in my search.

“‘Dog,” sayeth she, perkily, “I don’t see your name on the Angel Tree.”

The office has this tradition where you draw names and ID info of disadvantaged children from around the community, and then you buy gifts for that sprog.  Rather charming, really, but after the Event of 2009, I discovered that you can also send the charity HQ money, and those worthies will take care of buying presents for the kid.

I am blearily eyeing Her Perkiness, trying to organise the words necessary to tell her so, when another office lady button-hooks the partition, frantically waving her hand in front of her throat, “No!  ‘Dog isn’t allowed to help with the Angel Tree!”

We both look at Office Lady #2 — one of us more squintily than the other — and #1 queries, “Well, why on Earth not?”

That worthy responds:  “In 2009, ‘Dog pulled the name of a twelve-year-old girl from the hat.”

“Ok,” says #1.

Here come the tones of moral outrage, “He spent fifty dollars on her!”

Office Lady Numero Uno says, somewhat placatingly, “Well, that is a little excessive, but I don’t …”

“$50 worth of pepper spray, a flashlight and A HUNTING KNIFE!”

I protest.  It wasn’t a hunting knife.  It was one of those little fixed-blade jobbers you used to be able to get from Cold Steel, had about a two-inch serrated blade.

Perky Office Lady #1 guppies at me for a second, then (in mildly outraged tones) demands, “Why, in God’s name, would you give a knife to a little girl?!

My buddy Tam has a great many quotable things to say about carrying a knife that I have memorised for occasions such as this.  One of my favourites is:

“Hell, carrying a sharpened rock around in case of future need is basically how we tell where the apes stop and the people start in our fossil family album.”

We love Tam, and if you’re not reading her blog, you’re missing out.

Anyhoo, I had that little quip all memorised, and when I opened my yap …

“Because nothing drives home: ‘Keep your meathooks off of second base until I decide differently’ quite like a strategic shanking.”

… came out.

I blame the lack of caffeine in my circulatory system.

As both Office Ladies disappeared in the vague direction of the powder room, I continued my quest for the Holy Java Bean of Life, stepped around the cubicle wall, and ran into the Chief Deputy, sipping coffee and eyeing me amusedly.

“Morning, boss,” I say, trying to figure out if he left anything in the pot.

“‘Dog,” he responds, “The inside of your head is a weird place.  Don’t ever change.”

Snort.

And that is Reason #243 that LawDog shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near people.

LawDog

Oh. Wow.

Dear Gentle Readers,

Larry Correia is a very large, very kind goober — during this years LibertyCon, he had me take a bow in an auditorium full of people.

At the same LibertyCon, Peter Grant and his wife did the same thing to me in a discussion panel they were putting on.

My lady has been noodging me fairly firmly, as has OldNFO.

Those of you whom I have spoken to in the paint have likewise been prodding buttock.

So.

As of ten minutes ago I have signed a contract with a publishing house for two books:  one of law enforcement stories, and a second of Africa stories.

If you’ll pardon me, I’m going to go breathe into a paper bag, and then I have to write.

Thank you, all.  I think.

LawDog

LibertyCon 2016, Day -1

Well, after a couple of days driving (courtesy of OldNFO), I am at LibertyCon.

First impressions:  Larry Correia is bigger than I had figured, and his wife is a complete sweetheart.

I am more comfortable at LibertyCon than I had feared.

The drive in was striking; there were all of these tall, green things that I am reliably informed are called “trees”.  Odd, but pretty.  Also:  not only does water come out of the ground –,by itself — it comes in colours other than red, and can often be seen through.  I’m … not sure how I feel about this.

Joking aside, the rural areas of Arkansas and Tennessee that we drove through were breath-takingly beautiful.

If you’re in Chattanooga, you should probably go by the City Café Diner, but you’d better pack an appetite — the beef souvlaki platter I had was about thrice what I could get around.

Since I volunteered to help at the range trip tomorrow, I’m headed for bed early.  More updates tomorrow evening.

LawDog

Dear Trump protestors,

Dear Anti-Trump protesters,

As a student of history, and as an observer of the American political process as a whole, I have been watching the increasing violence of your protests with some cynical bemusement.

First off, we’re electing a President, and not a God-King.  No matter which of the — quite frankly — dismal prospects available in this election wins the Oval Office, at least some part of Congress is going to dig in their heels and do their level best to stymie anything that President does.

Near as I can tell, you idiots seem to confuse “President” with “King”.  Maybe there’s some psychological projection going on there, an unconscious desire for a benevolent King surfacing in your little hearts, or something, but without a majority of Congress backing him (and trust me, most of Congress hates Donald Trump almost as much as you do), the best a President can do is twiddle his thumbs for four years.

Yes, I know about Executive Orders.  I also know that Congress has multiple ways to pimp-slap an Executive Order across the Capitol (How many years has it been since the BATFE had an actual director?  Five?) from passing legislation that contravenes the Executive Order; going through holding back funding of the Executive Order, all the way to not confirming key people required (Hello, BATFE! How’s that “Acting Director” thing working out for you?).

Second off, the country that survived the likes of Warren G. Harding, Andrew Johnson, and James Buchanan is going to survive this election cycle.  Get your Hanes out of the half-hitch, and breathe.

However, I would be remiss if I did not point out that the major effect of your little tantrum throwing is to irritate a large majority of neutral-leaning folks.  Americans are fairly predictable when it comes to getting annoyed — they tend to do whatever it takes to annoy the people that are pissing them off.

Every time you hold up traffic — some neutral voter who’s being discommoded is going to decide to vote for Donald Trump just because it will upset you.

Every time you show up on the TeeVee screen pelting a little blonde gal with eggs — someone watching is going to decide to vote for Donald Trump, just to whiz in your Post Toasties.

Every time you show your violent little arses on national TeeVee, voters who would have voted against Donald Trump are going to vote for him … just to stick a metaphorical finger in your eye.

In other words:

Not that I really give two hoots in hell either way, but someone should be giving you the warning that your parents and your teachers obviously skipped out in giving.

Nothing but love,

LawDog