Sunday, March 31, 2019

Very rarely in life, you meet special people.  These people are the ones that not only befriend you, but *get* you.  They aren't simply friends, they are the kind of people whose opinions you treasure, whose company you crave, and who, for me, are in a select group of friends who I will drop everything if they needed something.

I can probably count them out on my remaining fingers.

Carrie Costantini was one of those people.  Snark and sarcasm was her outward face, but her inner heart shined through to the people she was close with.  She cared.  Above all else, she cared. 

I met Carrie in 2007 like this:

Hi Chuck and Carren,
You don't know me but I do know of you through Beth.
I also don't know your schedule for the day after the milblogger conference but I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to my home for dinner on Sunday, May 6th.
I would like to open up my home for those out-of-towners still here after the conference on that day.
I don't live too far away from DC and when I was compiling my dinner guest list, I thought of you two.
Hope you can come.  Feel free to ask me any questions.
I am not a felon...just ask Beth...:)  Heh.
Carrie Costantini

Although we didn't make the dinner, Carren and I came to know the Costantini's through other avenues... Carren through Spousebuzz, and I through my blog.  Over the years, Carrie became very active with Soldier's Angels Project: Valor-IT, heading up not only the Marine Corps fundraising team, but also working with me on the overall fundraisers for the project.

Much like Carren, Carrie was one of the few voices who could reign in my smart assitude, my sarcasm, and my temper.  It's a very rare thing, for me to give that level of trust to someone. When I founded Hero Labradors, Carrie was the absolute FIRST person I called about being on my board of directors.  I will miss her posts on Facebook, her love of art and old houses, pictures of Thatcher and her headbutting idiots in the the milspouse community.  One thing I came to know about Carrie from those--if you were in disagreement with her, the problem was probably with you.

I will miss her so.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Shop a lot!

Till midnight PST, Shop at amazon smile and 10% of your purchase goes to Hero Labradors!

Thursday, March 02, 2017

As Promised, my twitter feed reaction post

Yesterday (1 March) I promised to write a post based on what I saw at the top of my twitter feed when I first signed on.

Hey, why not?  Here goes:

Apparently, Beau Biden's widow is dating his brother, who is still married.

My response--Good for her.

I'd hope that if I died (which honestly, given my past is either not possible or will happen any moment now) that the missus, after a brief decade or two of mourning, would find love again. I know she could never replace me, nor find anyone who could fill the void I'd left, she could at least find someone to share her remaining days with.  I'd be okay with that.

I don't know if Beau's widow will find love in the other Biden boy.  And frankly, in a world as messed up as ours, who really cares who she dates?  It's nobody's business but hers.  "News" like this isn't, it's the kind of garbage that busybodies and nosy nellies fill their day with.  Is Beau's brother cheating/separated/trans-married?  Who Gives A Flying Fig?  Redstate is devolving to tabloid garbage quick, fast, and in a hurry with shit like this.

Jesus Jumping Christ, if they are hurting that bad for Real, relevant news, commentary and opinion, with just a hint of wit, sarcasm, and dark humor, they should throw some sheckles my way and I'll gladly write for them.

THIS, THIS is part of what the "Fake News" kick is about.  This isn't news, it isn't of interest to the general public.  It's being made an interest item because news organizations are putting it on their menus.  An analogy, if you will:

You are really hungry.  You go into a fine dining establishment, expecting a substantial meal with healthy, and tasty choices.  The waiter hands you the wine list--
MD 20/20
Boones Farm Strawberry Hill
Night Train

You're really thirsty for a good wine, but finding only swill, you choose the one that you'll at least be able to keep down, knowing that most of the others taste like piss filter through a can of bad clams.

On to the main menu at this fine dining establishment...
Chicken Nuggets
Hot Dogs
Fried Butter
Gravy on Saltines

You wanted a good, aged steak.  You can't get one here.  You know that the nuggets are chicken, the hot dogs are lips and assholes, fried butter is something best left to Mama June and Gravy on Saltines might be filling, but... ew.

So, still being hungry, and with no other choices available, you opt for the nuggets, paired with a nice bbq dipping sauce that will go with the Ripple.

You pay your bill, and the staff wishes you well, complimenting your choices and appetite.

You leave the restaurant, fed, yet undernourished.  You know you will have a bad night either sitting on the throne or driving the porcelain bus.  You know that tomorrow you''' feel terrible, and though you will search out new sources of food, you will likely end up back at the big chain, forced to eat poorly prepared food that will only leave you feeling full but not truly fulfilled.

That's exactly what fake news is.  You want real news about important happenings in the world, in your government, in your life.  You get bits about how someone sat on a couch.  Who's dating who. Who did or didn't clap when the President said something.

Dear god people, don't click on these stories, it only encourages the bastards!  Follow stories of substance.  Read those stories with an eye towards what is fact and what is opinion.  If the opinions outweigh the facts, stop reading, because you are no longer being informed, you're being led.

That's fake news.  Give them garbage to eat, because there are no other options.  If there is something substantive, give it to them with a layer of opinion so thick that they will agree with our conclusions.
And holy hell am I tired of it.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

My other gig

Hero Labradors
On Twitter:  @HeroLabradors
On Facebook (I think that is the right link)(CM: it is)
Via Email

I am a wounded warrior. A service dog helped me immensely in my recovery, and has continued to help me live a normal life. One of the things instilled in me during my years of service was a dedication to a lifetime of service to our nation. To that end, I am starting Hero Labradors.

Hero Labradors has a simple goal: I am breeding AKC registered Labrador retrievers to serve our wounded veterans.

There are many wounded and disabled service members who could benefit from a service dog. There are many charities that train and provide these dogs for free to veterans. The kink in the pipeline is the dogs. Not every dog has the temperament or aptitude to be a service dog.

So, my premise is simple: If a dog line can be bred from good hunters to produce dogs with great hunting drive, or a line can be bred to produce dogs with great show lines, why not try to breed dogs to produce the qualities that are common in service dogs?

The Labrador retriever is my choice for several reasons--
1. I personally have owned two Labrador service dogs, and have owned many Labrador pets throughout my life. I love the breed and find them not only great companions, but also readily trainable.
2. They possess the right body type and weight to assist full grown adults with many mobility and stability issues.
3. They are handily America's favorite dog breed
4. They have a great and friendly temperament in general, are very good with kids, strangers, and other dogs
5. They usually bond rapidly with their owner, and readily focus on them and their needs
6. They tend to have large litters (6-10 pups) meaning there is a greater chance of producing dogs with service aptitude

There are a multitude of other reasons (too many to list!) but I want to fill a niche that I have not seen filled: a breeder with a primary goal of breeding aptitude for service, and (importantly) providing these dogs free to charities that will in turn pair them with a wounded warrior, train them to meet the warrior's needs, and then donate the dog to the wounded warrior.

Normally, an AKC lab from the lines I breed would run upwards of $2500 per pup. I take care of feeding, vaccinations, weaning, rearing, and housing these pups until they are donated or (for the ones who don't make the cut for service dogs) sold as pets. This endeavor isn't a cheap one, but it's a labor of love. I am exploring setting this up as an LLC and a non-profit, more to follow on that; right now, I believe that the best thing is to focus on the dogs and on spreading the word that this program exists.

I had a litter (only three pups) in August, of these, one has been accepted as a service dog by Dogs Helping Heroes, another is soon to be evaluated for service, and #3 is going to stay with me to continue the breeding line.

How can you help? Share this with your friends and let people know we're out here.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016