Friday, April 29, 2005
I've Been Waiting For This Headline For Years!
Alcohol is good for your brain...
By Mike Tait, Metro
29 April 2005
A pint of beer or a glass of wine triggers the growth of new brain cells and boosts memory, scientists say. . . . The growth of new neurons could improve memory and learning, said Prof Stefan Brene, who carried out the research at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. . . .
The findings did not surprise members of the Campaign for Real Ale. "It is well known that alcohol in moderation is good for your body so it's no surprise it's also good for your mind," said a spokeswoman. "Maybe that is why lots of pub quiz teams are so bright."
You should read the entire article... it'll bring tears to your eyes.
(I can't think of a better way to kick off the weekend)
Doing The Laundry In Iraq - Army Style
(Link to Video Below)
When I was deployed to Kirkuk Air Base, Iraq, doing laundry was probably one of the most stressfull and exhausting tasks. Typically it took place after working a 20 hour day, and the machines never worked properly which meant I had to stand over the damn freak'n things and babysit each cycle change. Don't even get me started on the dryers. I hated doing laundry in Iraq!
Well, I came across this video of some troops in Iraq who obviously had the same issues I had with the laundry machines. I will forever be jealous of how they overcame the situation.
These guys deserve a medal for this!
(Watch the Video!)
I only wish I had done it myself.
God bless the Army.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
Up For A Little 'Kung Fu Hustle'
Yes, I've already talked about 'Kung Fu Hustle', but I'm hoping to sway some more folks to go and see it over the weekend. I can't add much more to Roger Ebert's review... "Imagine a film in which Jackie Chan and Buster Keaton meet Quentin Tarantino and Bugs Bunny." This movie was off the wall.
Michelle Malkin Says "Go ahead... make my day!"
The characters were all well thought out and hilarious. My favorite is the 'Landlady', pictured above. She was the perfect combination of Mrs. Roper, Michelle Yeoh, and Bugs Bunny. If you want a good laugh, it's worth every penny.
On my 'Movies are like Liquour' rating scale, I give 'Kung Fu Hustle' 3 out of 5 shots of Cuervo Gold, with a chaser of Jagermeister that hits the spot and leaves you giggling out the door.
Iraq 3, Europe 0
Iraq's Parliament OKs a Partial Cabinet
It's April 28th 2005, and Iraq is closing in on having a National Constitution by this Summer.
The leaders of France and Germany joined forces Tuesday to try to save Europe's embattled constitution, warning French voters they could set back European ambitions if they reject the charter in a referendum.
As of 1 January of this year, Iraq has taken 3 solid steps towards finalizing their government and producing a constitution. Europe is about to take one very large step in the wrong direction, and they're scrambling to avoid this colossal failure.
So who will get there first, Iraq or Europe? Stay tuned for breaking updates on...
Constitution Watch '05
(aka Irony is a Bitch)
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
Thank God, Pierce is Staying....
The world is once again good. Pierce Brosnan will be staying on for another 007 movie. Now, if we can just get Quentin Tarrantino to direct the next Bond film, we'll finally be at peace with the 'Kwan'.
Why Couldn't the Wheels Fall Off?
Of course I would never want anything to happen that would cause loss of life, so don't be thinking that nonsense. I was at least hoping that the Airbus A380's maiden flight would have been plagued with problems so that it would get a bad reputation.
The European Union is touting this plane as their triumph over the United States and its companies such as Boeing and Lockheed. They think that the A380 is symbolic of Europe's ascention over American economic imperialism. It's representative of Europe's French-like misconception of greatness over the rest of the world.
This would explain why I was hoping the wheels would fall off or something of that nature. Nothing lost, nobody hurt, just a bad rep for the plane in the hopes that airlines would flock back to Boeing.
C'mon, maybe just one wheel at least? An engine? Something's gotta give. It was built in Europe.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Time To Sue Someone's Freak'n Pants Off!
Man arrested, cuffed after using $2 bills
© 2005 WorldNetDaily.com
A man trying to pay a fee using $2 bills was arrested, handcuffed and taken to jail after clerks at a Best Buy store questioned the currency's legitimacy and called police.
According to an account in the Baltimore Sun, 57-year-old Mike Bolesta was shocked to find himself taken to the Baltimore County lockup in Cockeysville, Md., where he was handcuffed to a pole for three hours while the U.S. Secret Service was called to weigh in on the case.
Bolesta told the Sun: "I am 6 feet 5 inches tall, and I felt like 8 inches high. To be handcuffed, to have all those people looking on, to be cuffed to a pole – and to know you haven't done anything wrong. And me, with a brother, Joe, who spent 33 years on the city police force. It was humiliating."
After Best Buy personnel reportedly told Bolesta he would not be charged for the installation of a stereo in his son's car, he received a call from the store saying it was in fact charging him the fee. As a means of protest, Bolesta decided to pay the $114 bill using 57 crisp, new $2 bills.
As the owner of Capital City Student Tours, the Baltimore resident has a hearty supply of the uncommon currency. He often gives the bills to students who take his tours for meal money.
"The kids don't see that many $2 bills, so they think this is the greatest thing in the world," Bolesta says. "They don't want to spend 'em. They want to save 'em. I've been doing this since I started the company. So I'm thinking, 'I'll stage my little comic protest. I'll pay the $114 with $2 bills.'"
Bolesta explained what happened when he presented the bills to the cashier at Best Buy Feb. 20. "She looked at the $2 bills and told me, 'I don't have to take these if I don't want to.' I said, 'If you don't, I'm leaving. I've tried to pay my bill twice. You don't want these bills, you can sue me.' So she took the money – like she's doing me a favor."
Bolesta says the cashier marked each bill with a pen. Other store employees began to gather, a few of them asking, "Are these real?"
"Of course they are," Bolesta said. "They're legal tender."
According to the Sun report, the police arrest report noted one employee noticed some smearing of ink on the bills. That's when the cops were called. One officer reportedly noticed the bills ran in sequential order.
Said Bolesta: "I told them, 'I'm a tour operator. I've got thousands of these bills. I get them from my bank. You got a problem, call the bank.' I'm sitting there in a chair. The store's full of people watching this. All of a sudden, he's standing me up and handcuffing me behind my back, telling me, 'We have to do this until we get it straightened out.'
"Meanwhile, everybody's looking at me. I've lived here 18 years. I'm hoping my kids don't walk in and see this. And I'm saying, 'I can't believe you're doing this. I'm paying with legal American money.'"
Bolesta was taken to the lockup, where he sat handcuffed to a pole and in leg irons while the Secret Service was called.
"At this point," he says, "I'm a mass murderer."
Secret Service agent Leigh Turner eventually arrived and declared the bills legitimate, adding, according to the police report, "Sometimes ink on money can smear."
Commenting on the incident, Baltimore County police spokesman Bill Toohey told the Sun: "It's a sign that we're all a little nervous in the post-9/11 world."
If I were him I'd be owning that store. I'm beginning to have second thoughts about my devotion to Best Buy. Here's another example of their bafoonery.
Care for some 'Russian Whine'?
Russia's President Vladimir Putin has described the collapse of the Soviet Union as "the greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the 20th century.
"We should enable citizens to have access to objective information. This is a crucial political issue, directly linked to action within our state policy on the principles of freedom and justice... We should establish guarantees that state television and radio are as objective as possible, free from the influence of any individual groups, and reflect the entire spectrum of social and political forces."
This coming from a guy who controls the media.
And the last of the Whoppers?
"Russia is a country that, at the will of its own people, chose democracy for itself. It set out on this course itself and, observing all generally accepted political norms, will decide for itself how it will ensure that the principles of freedom and democracy are implemented, taking into account its historical, geopolitical and other characteristics..."
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Anzac Day, 2005
Today Australia celebrates Anzac Day. Check out Arthur Chrenkoff's blog to get the scoop on why this day is remembered. Also remember that the blood of our Australian bretheren has, is currently, and will always be spilled with ours on the battlefield. Please take a moment to read about Anzac Day and remember the fallen.
Courtesy of Chrenkoff
Friday, April 22, 2005
213 Things You Can't Do In The "Military"
WARNING: Very Very Funny
I came across this post on Special Forces Alpha Geek's site. He linked it from elsewhere as well, but it is so damn funny and true I had to pass it along. Apparently it was written by an Army soldier who wanted to share their life lessons with the rest of us. It's originally titled 213 things you can't do in the Army, but since it applies to us all, I changed it to military. I hope they don't mind. If they do, they can do numbers 6 and 8 to me.
Enjoy! (Also, a challenge... Print this out and read it during a meeting at work. If you don't burst out laughing or inhale your coffee, you aren't livin')
Once upon a time, there was a SPC Schwarz stationed with the Army in the Balkans. SPC Schwarz was either very clever or very bored; but probably both, since he managed to attempt or be warned about 213 things he wasn't allowed to do. He collected those things into a hilarious list and posted them to the web.
1. Not allowed to watch South Park when I'm supposed to be working.
2. My proper military title is 'Specialist Schwarz' not 'Princess Anastasia'.
3. Not allowed to threaten anyone with black magic.
4. Not allowed to challenge anyone's disbelief of black magic by asking for hair.
5. Not allowed to get silicone breast implants.
6. Not allowed to play 'Pulp Fiction' with a suction-cup dart pistol and any officer.
7. Not allowed to add 'In accordance with the prophesy' to the end of answers I give to a question an officer asks me.
8. Not allowed to add pictures of officers I don't like to War Criminal posters.
9. Not allowed to title any product 'Get Over it'.
10. Not allowed to purchase anyone's soul on Government time.
11. Not allowed to join the communist party.
12. Not allowed to join any militia.
13. Not allowed to form any militia.
14. Not allowed out of my office when the president visited Sarajevo.
15. Not allowed to train adopted stray dogs to 'Sic Brass!'
16. Must get a haircut even if it tampers with my 'Sampson like powers'.
17. God may not contradict any of my orders.
18. May no longer perform my now (in)famous 'Barbie Girl Dance' while on duty.
19. May not call any officers immoral, untrustworthy, lying, slime, even if I'm right.
20. Must not taunt the French any more.
21. Must attempt to not antagonize SAS.
22. Must never call an SAS a 'Wanker'.
23. Must never ask anyone who outranks me if they've been smoking crack.
24. Must not tell any officer that I am smarter than they are, especially if it's true.
25. Never confuse a Dutch soldier for a French one.
26. Never tell a German soldier that 'We kicked your ass in World War 2!'
27. Don't tell Princess Di jokes in front of the paras (British Airborne).
28. Don't take the batteries out of the other soldiers alarm clocks (Even if they do hit snooze about forty times).
29. The Irish MPs are not after 'Me frosted lucky charms'.
30. Not allowed to wake an Non-Commissioned Officer by repeatedly banging on the head with a bag of trash.
31. Not allowed to let sock puppets take responsibility for any of my actions.
32. Not allowed to let sock puppets take command of my post.
33. Not allowed to chew gum at formation, unless I brought enough for everybody.
34. (Next day) Not allowed to chew gum at formation even if I *did* bring enough for everybody.
35. Not allowed to sing 'High Speed Dirt' by Megadeth during airborne operations. ('See the earth below/Soon to make a crater/Blue sky, black death, I'm off to meet my maker')
36. Can't have flashbacks to wars I was not in. (The Spanish-American War isn't over).
37. Our medic is called 'Sgt Larwasa', not 'Dr. Feelgood'.
38. Our supply Sgt is 'Sgt Watkins' not 'Sugar Daddy'.
39. Not allowed to ask for the day off due to religious purposes, on the basis that the world is going to end, more than once.
40. I do not have super-powers.
41. 'Keep on Trucking' is *not* a psychological warfare message.
42. Not allowed to attempt to appeal to mankind's baser instincts in recruitment posters.
43. Camouflage body paint is not a uniform.
44. I am not the atheist chaplain.
45. I am not allowed to 'Go to Bragg boulevard and shake daddies little money maker for twenties stuffed into my undies'.
46. I am not authorized to fire officers.
47. I am not a citizen of Texas, and those other, forty-nine, lesser states.
48. I may not use public masturbation as a tool to demonstrate a flaw in a command decision.
49. Not allowed to trade military equipment for 'magic beans'.
50. Not allowed to sell magic beans during duty hours.
51. Not allowed to quote 'Dr Seuss' on military operations.
52. Not allowed to yell 'Take that Cobra' at the rifle range.
53. Not allowed to quote 'Full Metal Jacket ' at the rifle range.
54. 'Napalm sticks to kids' is *not* a motivational phrase.
55. An order to 'Put Kiwi on my boots' does *not* involve fruit.
56. An order to 'Make my Boots black and shiny' does not involve electrical tape.
57. The proper response to a lawful order is not 'Why?'
58. The following words and phrases may not be used in a cadence- Budding sexuality, necrophilia, I hate everyone in this formation and wish they were dead, sexual lubrication, black earth mother, all Marines are latent homosexuals, Tantric yoga, Gotterdammerung, Korean hooker, Eskimo Nell, we've all got jackboots now, slut puppy, or any references to squid.
59. May not make posters depicting the leadership failings of my chain of command.
60. ‘The Giant Space Ants' are not at the top of my chain of command.
61. If one soldier has a 2nd Lt bar on his uniform, and I have an E-4 on mine It means he outranks me. It does not mean ‘I have been promoted three more times than you'.
62. It is better to beg forgiveness than to ask permission, no longer applies to Specialist Schwarz. 63. Command decisions do *not* need to be ratified by a 2/3 majority.
64. Inflatable novelties do *not* entitle me to BAQ or Separation pay.
65. There are no evil clowns living under my bed.
66. There is no ‘Anti-Mime' campaign in Bosnia.
67. I am not the Psychological Warfare Mascot.
68. I may not line my helmet with tin foil to ‘Block out the space mind control lasers'.
69. May not pretend to be a facist stormtrooper, while on duty.
70. I am not authorized to prescribe any form of medication.
71. I must not flaunt my deviances in front of my chain of command.
72. May not wear gimp mask while on duty.
73. No military functions are to be performed ‘Skyclad'.
74. Woad is not camouflage makeup.
75. May not conduct psychological experiments on my chain of command.
76. "Teddy Bear, Teddy bear, turn around" is *not* a cadence.
77. The MP checkpoint is not an Imperial Stormtrooper roadblock, so I should not tell them "You don't need to see my identification, these are not the droids you are looking for."
78. I may not call block my chain of command.
79. I am neither the king nor queen of cheese.
80. Not allowed to wear a dress to any army functions.
81. May not bring a drag queen to the battalion formal dance.
82. May not form any press gangs.
83. Must not start any SITREP (Situation Report) with "I recently had an experience I just had to write you about...."
84. Must not use military vehicles to ‘Squish' things.
85. Not allowed to make any Psychological Warfare products depicting the infamous Ft. Bragg sniper incident.
86. May not challenge anyone in my chain of command to the ‘field of honor'.
87. If the thought of something makes me giggle for longer than 15 seconds, I am to assume that I am not allowed to do it.
88. Must not refer to 1st Sgt as ‘Mom'.
89. Must not refer to the Commander as ‘Dad'.
90. Inflatable sheep do *not* need to be displayed during a room inspection.
91. I am not authorized to initiate Jihad.
92. When asked to give a few words at a military ceremony ‘Romper Bomper Stomper Boo' is probably not appropriate.
93. Nerve gas is not funny.
94. Crucifixes do not ward off officers, and I should not test that.
95. I am not in need of a more suitable host body.
96. ‘Redneck Zombies' is not a military training aid.
97. Gozer does not dwell in my refrigerator.
98. The proper response to a chemical weapon attack is not ‘Tell my chain of command what I really think about them, and then poke holes in their masks.'
99. A smiley face is not used to mark a minefield.
100. Claymore mines are not filled with yummy candy, and it is wrong to tell new soldiers that they are.
101. I am not allowed to mount a bayonet on a crew-served weapon.
102. Rodents are not entitled to burial with full military honors, even if they are "casualties of war".
103. My commander is not old enough to have fought in the civil war, and I should stop implying that he did.
104. Vodka, green food coloring, and a ‘Cool Mint’ Listerine® bottle is not a good combination.
105. I am not allowed to bum cigarettes off of anyone under twelve.
106. I may not trade my rifle for any of the following: Cigarettes, booze, sexual favors, Kalishnikovs, Soviet Armored vehicles, small children, or bootleg CD’s.
107. Must not mock command decisions in front of the press.
108. Should not taunt members of the press, even if they are really fat, exceptionally stupid, and working for UPI.
109. I am not authorized to change national policy in Eastern Europe.
110. Never, ever, attempt to correct a Green Beret officer about anything.
111. I am not qualified to operate any US, German, Polish, or Russian Armored vehicles.
112. When saluting a ‘leg’ officer, an appropriate greeting is not "Airborne leads the wa- oh...sorry sir".
113. There is absolutely no need to emulate the people from ‘Full Monty’ every time I hear the song "Hot Stuff".
114. I cannot trade my CO to the Russians.
115. I should not speculate on the penis size of anyone who outranks me.
116. Crucifying mice - bad idea.
117. Must not use government equipment to bootleg pornography.
118. Burn pits for classified material are not revel fires - therefore it is wrong to dance naked around them.
119. I cannot arrest children for being rude.
120. An EO briefing is probably not the best place to unveil my newest off color joke.
121. I should not use government resources to ‘waterproof’ dirty magazines.
122. Radioactive material should not be stored in the barracks.
123. I should not teach other soldiers to say offensive and crude things in Albanian, under the guise of teaching them how to say potentially useful phrases.
124. Two drink limit does not mean first and last.
125. Two drink limit does not mean two kinds of drinks.
126. Two drink limit does not mean the drinks can be as large as I like.
127. ‘No Drinking Of Alcoholic Beverages’ does not imply that a Jack Daniel’s® IV is acceptable. 128. "Shpadoinkle" is not a real word.
129. The Microsoft® ‘Dancing Paperclip’ is not authorized to countermand any orders.
130. ‘I’m drunk’ is a bad answer to any question posed by my commander.
131. No dancing in the turret. This especially applies in conjunction with rule #113.
132. The loudspeaker system is not a forum to voice my ideas.
133. The loudspeaker system is not to be used to replace the radio.
134. The loudspeaker system is not to be used to broadcast the soundtrack to a porno movie.
135. An order to put polish on my boots means the whole boot.
136. Shouting ‘Let’s do the village! Let’s do the whole fucking village!’ while out on a mission is bad.
137. Should not show up at the front gate wearing part of a Russian uniform, messily drunk.
138. Even if my commander did it.
139. Must not teach interpreters how to make "MRE" bombs.
140. I am not authorized to sell mineral rights.
141. Not allowed to use a broadsword to disprove ‘The Pen is Mightier than the sword’.
142. 'Calvin-Ball' is not authorized PT.
143. I do not need to keep a 'range card' by my window.
144. 'K-Pot, LBE, and a thin coat of Break-free' is not an authorized uniform.
145. I should not drink three quarts of blue food coloring before a urine test.
146. Nor should I drink three quarts of red food coloring, and scream during the same.
147. I should not threaten suicide with pop rocks and Coke®.
148. Putting red 'Mike and Ike's'® into a prescription medicine bottle, and then eating them all in a formation is not funny.
149. Must not create new DOD forms, then insist they be filled out.
150. On Sports Day PT, a wedgie is not considered a legal tackle.
151. The proper way to report to my Commander is 'Specialist Schwarz, reporting as ordered, Sir' not 'You can't prove a thing!'
152. The following items do not exist: Keys to the Drop Zone, A box of grid squares, blinker fluid, winter air for tires, canopy lights, or Chem-Light® batteries.
153. I should not assign new privates to 'guard the flight line'.
154. Shouldn't treat 'piss-bottles' with extra-strength icy hot.
155. Teaching Albanian children to taunt other soldiers is not nice.
156. I will no longer perform 'lap-dances' while in uniform.
157. If I take the uniform off, in the course of the lap-dance, it still counts.
158. The revolution is not now.
159. When detained by MP's, I do not have a right to a strip search.
160. No part of the military uniform is edible.
161. Bodychecking General officers is not a good idea.
162. Past lives have absolutely no effect on the chain of command.
163. Take that hat off.
164. There is no such thing as a were-virgin.
165. I do not get 'that time of month'.
166. No, the pants are not optional.
167. Not allowed to operate a business out of the barracks.
168. Especially not a pornographic movie studio.
169. Not even if they *are* 'especially patriotic films'.
170. Not allowed to 'defect' to OPFOR during training missions.
171. On training missions, try not to shoot down the General's helicopter.
172. 'A full magazine and some privacy' is not the way to help a potential suicide.
173. I am not allowed to create new levels of security clearance.
174. Furby ® is not allowed into classified areas. (I swear to the gods, I did not make that up, it's actually DOD policy).
175. We do not 'charge into battle, naked, like the Celts'.
176. Any device that can crawl across the table on medium, does not need to be brought into the office.
177. I am not to refer to a formation as 'the boxy rectangle thingie'.
178. I am not 'A lesbian trapped in a man's body'.
179. On Army documents, my race is not 'Other'.
180. Nor is it 'Secretariat, in the third'.
181. Pokémon® trainer is not an MOS.
182. There is no FM for 'wall-to-wall counseling'.
183. My chain of command has neither the time, nor the inclination to hear about what I did with six boxes of Fruit Roll-Ups®.
184. When operating a military vehicle I may *not* attempt something 'I saw in a cartoon'.
185. My name is not a killing word.
186. I am not the Emperor of anything.
187. Must not taunt officers in the throes of nicotine withdrawal, with cigarettes.
188. May not challenge officers to 'Meet me on the field of honor, at dawn'.
189. Do not dare SERE graduates to eat bugs. They will always do it.
190. Must not make s'mores while on guard duty.
191. Our Humvees cannot be assembled into a giant battle-robot.
192. The proper response to a briefing is not 'That's what you think'.
193. The Masons, and Gray Aliens are not in our chain of command.
194. Shouldn't take incriminating photos of my chain of command.
195. Shouldn't use Photoshop® to create incriminating photos of my chain of command.
196. I am not allowed to give tattoos.
197. I am not allowed to sing 'Henry the VIII I am' until verse 68 ever again.
198. Not allowed to lead a 'Coup' during training missions.
199. I should not confess to crimes that took place before I was born.
200. My chain of command is not interested in why I 'just happen' to have a kilt, an inflatable sheep, and a box of rubber bands in the back of my car.
201. Must not valiantly push officers onto hand grenades to save the squad.
202. Despite the confusing similarity in the names, the "Safety Dance" and the "Safety Briefing" are never to be combined.
203. 'To conquer the earth with an army of flying monkeys" is a bad long term goal to give the re-enlistment NCO.
204. NEVER nail a stuffed bunny to a cross and put it up in front of the Battalion Headquarters sign as an "Easter Desecration."
205. Don't write up false gigs on a HMMWV PMCS. ("Broken clutch pedal", "Number three turbine has frequent flame-outs", "flux capacitor emits loud whine when engaged")
206. Not allowed to get shot.
207. The Chicken and Rice MRE is *not* a personal lubricant. (Skippy wanted this noted for the record that this is not something he has ever attempted or considered! It was something we heard at dinner on 22 September 2001 and it was just so obscene it had to go here.)
208. Not allowed to play into the deluded fantasies of the civilians who are "hearing conversations" from the NSA, FBI, CIA and KGB due to the microchip the aliens implanted in their brain.
209. An airsickness bag is to be used for airsickness *only*. (Also not a Skippy-ism...this was the same dinner.)
210. Must not make T-shirts up depicting a pig with the writing "Eat Pork or Die" in Arabic to bring as civilian attire when preparing to deploy to a primarily Muslim country.
211. Don't ask LTC Steele to sign my copy of Blackhawk Down.
212. Must not go on nine deployments in six years that require a security clearance that I don't have, even if the Army tells me repeatedly that I have one and I have no reason to question them.
213. Do not convince NCO's that their razorbumps are the result of microscopic parasites.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Japan Pisses Off The 'Hood Once Again
Japan, still not ready to admit that it did some serious damage to millions of people throughout Asia and the South Pacific in the 1930s and 40s, has once again buried its head in the sand.
Tokyo's High Court has rejected an appeal for compensation by 10 Chinese survivors of Japanese germ warfare experiments during World War II.
You have to give Germany credit. It has done everything it can to make amends for the carnage it unleashed across the globe during WWII. It's campaign to correct the past has properly focused the blame for its past squarely on the Nazi Party and leadership, not Germany itself.
Japan should have followed suite long ago. By apologizing and focusing the blame for that horrible period of history on the minority of greedy Japanese military and political leaders, it would remove the animosity most of Asia feels towards the current Japanese government and it's people. Instead, Japan has repeatedly given Asia and it's WWII victims the proverbial middle finger and has ignored their calls for acknowledgement.
Way to go Japan. Instead of shaking hands, apologizing and making amends to Asia, they continue to carpet bomb the mainland with Pokemon and Mp3 Players while laughing all the way to the bank. With China on the verge of Superpowerdom, the last thing we need is for them to use Japan as an excuse to start flexing its muscles.
The NY Times has a good Q&A on the increased tensions between China and Japan.
Monday, April 18, 2005
Sin City.... Holy SH#!!
I'm not a huge comic book fan, so the name Frank Miller didn't ring a bell when I saw his name on the movie poster for Sin City. I am however a Quentin Tarrantino and Robert Rodriguez fan, so when I saw that they were involved with this movie I knew I had to see it.
Two words sum up my reaction to the movie: Holy SH#!!
Not only am I speachless... I'm going to go see it again because I don't believe what I watched on Saturday night. It was by far one of the most violent, artistic, suspenseful, and amazing movies I've ever had the opportunity to watch. I enjoyed every minute of it... from the slow parts to the horid graphic moments... every beautiful minute.
There's nothing I can say that will add to what's already been written about the movie. The black and white filming was perfect in every way, and it basically made color films look silly. I found myself getting lost in the details of the characters faces or city skylines because of the details that came out in black and white.
Yes, it was violent... more violent than most of what I've seen in the past, but strangely enough I found myself cheering at some of the most violent parts. I think (and hope) it was because the focus of those moments was on the bad 'bad guys', and not the good 'bad guys'. Yes, they're all bad, but like Mel Gibson in Payback, you root for some of the bad guys.
To close... go see it. Go see it as soon as you can. Leave the wife and kids at home (unless your wife likes gore), and go see it. Watching it at home on DVD will not do this film justice.
On my 'Movies are like Liquour' rating scale, I give Sin City 5 out of 5 shots of Cuervo Gold. (That's what it felt like going down)
Friday, April 15, 2005
A Bit of Clarification for our Non-American Brethren
The United States broke away from England because of money and equal representation in government. Basically, we didn’t like paying taxes. So how do we crazy Americans celebrate this wonderful achievement? Every April 15th we commemorate our hatred of paying taxes by… paying our taxes.
On paper, our tax laws are 44,000 pages long, and there isn’t a single person on earth who can decipher them properly. So every time we file our taxes, we’re gambling… or betting on the fact that our mistakes won’t be picked up by the Gov. I guess gambling is an American tradition, making tax day sort of fun.
I completed my taxes 3 weeks ago to make sure I could celebrate April 15th properly. I plan on driving by the long lines at the tax preparation offices and post offices, pulling out my megaphone, and laughing hysterically at all the morons who’ve waited nearly 5 months to file. After that, we’re all headed to the pubs to toast and pay tribute to the Tax Gods, asking for mercy and hoping our gamble pays off. If not, we’ll be getting a knock on the door some time this summer. (I’ll be drinking a lot to ward off those tax demons)
If you’re really confused about our tax system (as we all are), here’s a good read.
Good Weekend Links
Chirac is threatening that the evil U.S. will benefit if the EU constitution isn’t voted in. Remember the movie ‘Armageddon’? Where’s that giant meteorite that smashes into Paris when we need it the most?
When Dolphins Get Better Treatment than Humans:
Here’s a link to CNN’s story about some dolphins that beached themselves down in Florida this week.
Feeding and Care
The dolphins at the conservancy, identified by numbers, are hand-fed three times a day with herring stuffed with vitamins and medication.
"Today we made the first critical steps in getting them to eat dead fish and to eat them out of our hands," Banick said.
It's a race against time and feeding times must be strictly kept to.
For Robert Lingenfelser, who heads the conservancy, this day's feeding preparations have not been moving fast enough.
"Have they been tubed yet?" Lingenfelser asks a volunteer.
"No, they haven't," the volunteer responds.
"Now! Now! These guys are two hours behind schedule," Lingenfelser tells them.
Banick understands the commitment she has made -- the rehabilitation will likely last weeks, not days.
But the surviving dolphins have become stronger, and the volunteers hope they will soon be able to return to the open sea.
Does anyone see the inequity between how the dolphins were discussed vs. how Terri Schiavo was discussed in the Media?
The beautiful, majestic beached dolphins were helpless and in need. The volunteers were doing everything they could to give them food, water, and the proper medical care in the hopes that they could survive.
The vegetable Terri Schiavo, who was slowly being starved to death, deserved to die. The volunteers/protesters who tried to give her food, water, and proper medical care were simply religious, right-wing extremists.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
Chrenkoff Does It Again...
Aurthur Chrenkoff hit the nail right on the head once again with his most recent post about the reduction of U.S. Forces across Europe. The best part of his post is the free advice given. I just wish the techno-geeks at the Pentagon would log off the 'accidental porn' sites and pay attention every now and then.
Here's some free advice for the US military policy planners:
1) Shift East: I'm glad that after 60 years, the US has finally worked out an exit strategy from Germany. The continuing presence of the occupation forces has been clearly unpopular among the German population, and with the security situation now quite stable, it had already served its purpose.
Seriously though, the challenges facing Europe in the foreseeable future will be demographic, multicultural and economic - not military. Stationing the US forces in Western Europe serves no strategic purpose and no longer engenders good will and friendship with the locals.
But don't abandon Europe altogether - shift East instead, to countries such as Poland and Romania which for a whole range of reasons - political, military, economic - actually want to host the US installations on their territory. The benefits are many: it would solidify the new alliances, convince New Europe that the US means business, help local armies to better integrate with the 21st century fighting machine, generate plenty of good feeling on the grass-roots level, and it would put the US closer to the Middle East and the increasingly unstable Russia's "near abroad."
2) Be careful about North Asia: As troops are being withdrawn from Europe, there is a temptation to also close the door on another Cold War deployment in South Korea.
The US should tread very carefully here. With China, North Korea, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan all within a striking range of each other, North Asia remains the most dangerous hot spot in the world today. And the tensions are on the rise: the North Korean nuclear issue remains unresolved as is the long-term future of the Pyongyang regime; the specter of forcible reunification with the mainland looms even larger over Taiwan; and the relations between China and Japan are nosediving, ostensibly over Japan's inability to come to terms with its war-time
past, in reality over a whole range of geo-strategic issues such as Japan becoming increasingly close to Taiwan and resource exploration in contested waters.
North Asia, of course, boasts some of the world's largest and best equipped armies, not to mention two existing nuclear powers, with all others also wanting to join the club. Just as a region-wide conflagration in the Middle East would be quite disastrous, starving the world economy of oil, a similar conflict in the increasingly economically important North Asia could also have quite devastating international effects.
So perhaps now is not the time to disengage from North Asia, although pulling the US troops away from the Korean DMZ is long overdue. It never made much sense to have 37,000
American troops as a trip-wire along the border; it makes even less sense now.
3) Build on Central Asia: Situated strategically between the Middle East and China, increasing military presence in Central Asia helps to accomplish the political and military encirclement of both. As an added bonus, it's a great choke point for the oil and gas flow into China.
Not that the Pentagon needs my advice on this, having been slowly moving into the region in the aftermath of September 11 (by the way, is Kyrgyzstan the only country in the world to have the pleasure of hosting both an American and a Russian military base?). And more is obviously still being done, as evidenced by Secretary Rumsfeld's third trip to Azerbeijan in 15 months, and the recent offer from President Karzai:
"Catching U.S. officials slightly off guard, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said yesterday he is seeking a long-term security partnership that could keep U.S. troops there indefinitely and make permanent the military relationship that began when U.S. forces invaded his country in
Off guard or not off guard, the Administration must be pretty happy that amongst the world-wide tide of anti-Americanism there are still countries out there that are asking the US not to leave.
By the way, it's outside of all the regions discussed above, but Northern Australia offers unequalled opportunities for, at the very least, storage installations.
The part about there being plenty of storage space in Northern Australia is no joke. Nobody lives up there. My split personality asks.... "Why don't we just invade them and get it over with." My alter ego replies... "Nope, the Aussie chicks only dig us when we're the foreign folks. Invade and they'll start looking at Canadians. HA HA, just joking."
Forgot my medication this morning.
Why We Hate Apple...
Just read this aricle via BBC about how iPods are fueling a surge in Apple's bottom line. I have to give Apple credit for selling their iPods so well. Then again I have to smack anyone who buys one. Why do you ask?
1) There are a million alternative Mp3 Players on the market. I have one that holds 20G's worth of music, and it cost half the price of a similar iPod.
2) The batteries only hold a 3 hour charge, and die after 18 months. No expensive extended warranty, say goodbye to your music. (My charge lasts 16+ hours... HA HA!!!)
3) It's trendy!!! For got sake, what ever happened to originality or independence? Anything trendy sucks, unless of course it's something that I like. To me, iPods are the Britney Spears of Mp3 Players... fun to look at, but a waste of time and money.
So I go back to why most people don't like Apple Computers.
Here's reason one:
There are a gazillion better alternatives out there:
Here's reason two:
I bough a PC with 3 times the capability of the best Mac found on the link I provided, yet mine was 1/3 the cost.
Here's reason two...thousand:
(Link) Yes, childish, but to the point.
In conclusion, I'm upset because I'm tired of hearing how Apple is so much better than a PC. I challenge any Mac to a race against my PC. Meet at 'Dead Man's Curve', midnight tonight. We'll see who really wears the silicon testes around here. Yes.... I will admit that I like Apple when it comes to music composition software, but that's it. That's the only positive thing I can think of. So unless I ever start competing with Fatboy Slim in the computer-generated music market, I will never, ever, ever waste a dime on an Apple product.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Greatest Hits From Iraq, Part III
Well, my Defence Acquisition class is going well. I'm almost officially certified to pay more for less... at least when it comes to military gadgets, gizmos, multi-million dollar aircraft, etc. You know, the usual.
We're Not In Kansas Anymore (from 28 September 2004)
This morning my Commander made a comment to us all regarding what we say to our friends and family back home. His concern is that we only share the bad stuff about this place, placing an unnecessary burden on everyone back home. He wanted us to share more positive things about this place instead of all the gloom and doom. So here I am at 1am with nothing better to do, so I decided to give it a shot.
Let me start by describing this place from the outside in. Driving from my building where I work to my MOD (living quarters) at night, roughly half the horizon is lit up with flames from oil refineries. These flames are burning the excess natural gas that comes up from the wells, and at night they turn the flames up. They're miles away, but they dominate the sky with their 100ft plus flames that shoot upward. You can almost hear them, but you know you can't. They are nice too look at, although they only remind you of where you are whenever you see them. The other side of the horizon are the suburbs of the city. Street lights, apartments, buildings, you name it... just a normal every day city.
The climate here at this time of year is very similar to the San Juaquin Valley in Central California. Honestly, this region is not a desert. It's very fertile farmland, cris-crossed with rivers and irrigation canals. Just off the non-city side of the base you can see farms, fields, and a citrus grove. Occasionally you'll see sheppards herding their sheep just outside the fence, and as I've mentioned before, there is always one or more kids hanging outside looking in. They're always cool to see.
This place not only holds most of the oil in Iraq, it could also be a very successful agricultural region. It simply lacks more water infrastructure for irrigation, as well as investment capital. Add a little more money, an ounce more water, and pinch of security, and this place would be booming agriculturally.
The sky is mostly sunny, but the horizon is always blurred with dust or smoke from the fires. Not the best to inhale, but it always makes for beautiful sunsets. The flat valley we're in is surrounded by hills, one of which has an ancient castle on the horizon. Not sure what significance it has, but I'm sure I'll find out. Just a few miles away is the Citadel with David's tomb, as well as a few other very important biblical figures. And about 25 miles away is the eternal flame. The Army Chaplain explained to me that the flame is mentioned in the Old Testament. It's the location of the furnace where Chadrack, Mishak, and the other dude (someone remind me what his name is) were thrown into. In the Old Testament, the three were protected by a fourth person that appeared in the furnace with them... Jesus.
The local leaders could not understand why this flame attracted so many tourists. The Muslim leaders looked upon it as a scientific anomaly, where natural gas was coming from the ground and was burning continuously. The Chaplains on base have a great relationship with the local religious leaders around here, and when they informed those leaders about the significance of that flame to the Christian religion (one of the first places Jesus showed himself to the world), they finally realized that it was a special place. Even in Islam Jesus is regarded as a very important profit, so they now have more respect for that spot. There's so much more to the story that I can't remember clearly, but it is fascinating to listen to.
So back to describing the area. Without giving up any info to the bad guys (you never know who's out there), I can only describe the spaces where we work in live as a maze of barriers, roads and buildings. We use some of the existing bunkers and hardened shelters that were here when we liberated this region. They made those things pretty strong actually. The base is pitted with underground bunkers, above ground bunkers that look like small pyramids, and lots of dirt. The base must be the dirtiest place in the region because of the lack of vegetation. The dirt is similar to baby powder in consistency, so it blows everywhere and gets into everything. I gave up trying to stay dirt free the first day I arrived. It's impossible. There are a few trees on base, but most of the trees are off base and throughout the city. Like I said, very much like the Central California Valley.
Since we share the base with the Army, each service has its own gyms and facilities. We share everything, but the Air Force tends to have better stuff than the Army. The Air Force definitely takes care of their own.
The food is actually great, but it does get repetitious. There are typically 3 food lines... One with a basic square meal with meat and veggies, one line for pizza, or pasta, and the third line for fast food (i.e. fries, burgers, dogs, egg rolls, etc) There's a sandwich bar, a fruit bar, and plenty of juice to drink. I haven't had this much fruit juice in years, and I'm sure my body is loving it.
I'm constantly comparing this to the soup lines of old, when military chow was something to fear. It's amazing how far we've come. Of course the chow hall is contracted out to a private company, which is why it is so good. The Government has never been great at preparing thousands of meals a day for its troops. The company running the place hired its servers from the Philippines, and most of the chefs from India. Not sure how much money they make, but they are certainly doing very well here. Be confident that it is enough to overshadow the risk, and enough to return home and live comfortably for a very long time.
Well, it's getting later and later and I'm finally falling asleep. There is much more I could describe, but I hate to give it all out at the risk of giving too much out. The only downfall to sharing info on this blog is that you must always assume the wrong people are reading it. Don't worry, I won't give any info out that our Commander doesn't put out. Some back home might call that censorship.. I call it keeping my ass safe. These guys are shooting at us, so the less they know the safer I am.
Don't forget. In one of my previous posts from yesterday I mention an article that discusses all the good things we're accomplishing in Iraq. Click here to see it. Please read it if you haven't already. If you have read it, pass it along. We need to get the word out to everyone that our country is truly making a positive difference here.
I know, some of you are thinking..."Surely he can't be serious."
I am serious... and don't call me Shirley.
And don't forget to pass this website along to anyone else. I only charge by the minute.
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Greatest Hits from Iraq, Part II
Once again, I'm out of pocket all week taking an exciting class to learn why the government pays millions for toilet seats and hammers. Until then, enjoy another previous post.
Latest and Greatest, (Originally Posted 22 Sept 2004)
Well, I’ve been away now for 30 days and in country for 27. Still not sure if time is flying by or simply dragging along, but it’s nice to see the days ticking away. I know lots of bad things have been going on around the region, but I was truly inspired by Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi’s comments the other day. He said that no matter what happens between now and January, this country will have its elections and democracy will rule. ‘This will be the ultimate blow to what the terrorists are trying to accomplish.' If his words inspired me, I hope the rest of the people around Iraq were just as inspired. Yes, bad things are happening around here, but there is so much hope for the future, you just can’t stop people once they have a taste of freedom. Our forefathers who wrote the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution knew that freedom was not something handed out by man. It was a gift handed down by the creator of all mankind and instilled in everyone's heart, and we all have a God given right to it.
I’m currently reading a history of the Soviet Union, and I find it amazing how the hundreds of millions of people who lived for generations behind the Iron Curtain had all succumbed to communism and socialist rule, but their yearning for freedom never truly faded away. That is why, as time went on, so many of those people gained enough strength and demanded democracy and freedom, resulting in the velvet revolution... the revolution that conquered the Soviet Union without a shot fired. I only hope the Iraqis are the same way. If freedom is ingrained in all of us, then give these good people a few years and they will be well on their way. In the mean time, we’ll keep helping them kick terrorist ass.
We’ve had the occasional random attacks, but nothing significant. I’ve still got all my bells and whistles intact. It’s cooling down, so the average day is about 105F. Just perfect for us out here. Oh, and yes, I did the deed. I shaved my head with a razor on Sunday. I could never do this permanently, but it is kind of cool. It makes life so much easier out here with the 3 minute showers and wearing the helmet every day. It just better grow back before I get home. I look like Mr. Clean.
Since I was one of the first to arrive for this rotation, I’ll be one of the first to leave this winter. The sad part is that I’ve made some great friends over the last few weeks who have now all gone home. I’m happy for them, but I have to admit the folks on their rotation were much better than the ones on mine. There were some great Captains and Senior NCOs that would always gather up on the rooftop, smoke a good cigar, and just chat. Now I’m surrounded by junior Airmen and Lieutenants. My God, I can’t believe I survived being a Lieutenant. These guys are knuckleheads! One has only been in a year, and he’s a Zoomie, so there is no hope. (A Zoomie is an Air Force Academy Graduate) The other is from Hanscom AFB, Mass. He’s got to be the most arrogant guy alive. He knows his job, don’t get me wrong, but he had the misfortune of disagreeing with me about our office. We tore apart my office, repainted it, and then moved 1 more person in it. Now there are three of us sharing a space about the size of my old dorm room in college. Since I’m the Group Exec I am in charge of these two knuckleheads, so I placed the desks accordingly. When the Lt saw where I was putting the desks he succumbed to his inner 3 year old and started throwing a temper tantrum. He would not shut up, and he would not stop telling me that I was wrong, that he wouldn’t sit there, and that I didn’t know what I was doing. I politely straightened him out and told him that the decision was final. He left, but the next day when I arrived he moved his desk back, so I pulled him out of the office and as far away from the others as I could. I then politely told him that I didn’t care what his reason was for not listening to me, he’d better move his stuff back. Next thing I hear is him whining and yelling at me. To make a long story short, everyone in the building could hear my response, and he has yet to raise his voice at me again. Yes, I’m always a nice guy and I usually let people sit where they want to, but had I given in, this guy would have been walking all over me for 4 months. I at least have half a brain, so I know never to yell or scream at someone who outranks me, no matter how right or wrong they are. So yes, I’ve wielded my power, cleaned house, and as Mel Brooks once said, “It’s good to be the King.” Now all I need are some cigars. I ran out.
Hey, my mouse count is up to 8. I’ve caught 8 of the suckers in our building. I have these sticky traps all around, and they just keep coming. I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like once the rains come. The only thing that sucks about the sticky traps is if you step on them, it’s impossible to get them off your boots. Trust me, I know from experience.
Not sure if I mentioned this, but I’m in charge of this renovation project here on base. There is an ancient Muslim Shrine and cemetery here on base, and a lot of the folks around the area pray to it every day. They can see it from miles away. We found out that renovating the place will pay huge dividends in improving the relations with the locals since Saddam kept so many away from the place and refused to help in its upkeep. Anyways, the Army is getting 100K to fix it up and I’ll be the Project Manager on it. It means I’ll be working with local clerics, which will be very interesting. Hopefully we can get it rolling soon. I’ll keep you updated as it progresses.
Someone pointed out a building that is fenced off in a corner of the base. I guess Saddam had killed a group of Kurdish leaders and dumped their remains inside the building. Since Islam dictates that bodies should be buried by nightfall of the day someone dies, Saddam dumped them there to give the locals the proverbial middle finger. Nobody goes near the place for obvious reasons. I’m sure the locals will want to collect their kin some day in the near future. You’d be amazed to hear the stories told about Saddam around here. The bombed out soccer stadium behind our base was a Bath Party hangout, and during soccer games they would bring out people who had done something wrong and execute them in front of the crowds. At another stadium they interrupted a soccer game by bringing out a large number of people, killing them in front of the crowd, digging a trench in the middle of the field with a backhoe, dumped them in the trench, quickly filling it, and then continued the game.
Sorry to talk about stuff like this, but you just never hear about how bad it was before we came along. Yes, there is bad stuff going on and it’ll get worse before it gets better, but most of the folks here in Iraq are happy we’re here because of what they endured for decades under Saddam. We already cut and run back in 1991 after telling these people we’d support any uprising against Saddam. Not only did we leave them hanging... we allowed Saddam to fly his gunships in and mow'em down under the guise of flying humanitarian missions. Not one of our proudest moments. Yes they never forgot that, but they have forgiven us because we’re here now and we’re helping them become a democracy. Now if the nimrods back home would just shut up about cutting and running again because we've shed blood here. Don't they remember when Thomas Jefferson wrote, "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
Okay, I’ll get off my soap box. Like I said before, I can’t wait to see these people years from now and how much better off they will be because of what we’re doing here today.
Thanks for all the funny emails. Tam, the joke about the Redneck wrestling the alligator was a big hit around here. Bev, thanks for the letter! Michelle, thank you for the e-cards. Shane, thank you for the pictures of the kids at the apple orchard. I can’t believe they’ve changed so much since July.Keep in touch, and keep counting down the days. I’m almost there!
Sunday, April 10, 2005
Greatest Hits From Iraq
I'll be taking an exciting 'Department of Defence Acquisition Course' all this week, which means I'll be away from my blog. In the mean time, here's some of my posts from Iraq. Kind of makes me miss the place.
Originally Posted 9 September 2004 (link)
'A Fond Farwell'
Here's a little update. I was hoping to have posted more last night, but I never really had the opportunity. Everything is good here, and I'm working hard as usual. No, I'm not being sarcastic this time. With the transition between rotations, everyone is coming and going at once and it makes for a busy schedule. Yesterday was something that made things a little harder.
Late yesterday afternoon we got word that one of our Army folks here on base was Killed in Action. Since we had a C-130 arriving soon, they planned on transporting the young soldier on it. The folks that schedule those planes, located at another base, decided that we had to place our outgoing troops, luggage, and pallets on the plane along with the casket. Since the plane was originally intended to take folks home, they wanted it used for that.
I have to give my boss credit on this one. He fought for quite a while to just have the casket flown back on the empty plane, and finally just did it despite the folks telling him he had to load it. It just wouldn't have been right. We all agreed, good call.
Just as the sun was setting, the plane pulled up and parked on the ramp and the new passengers walked off. They were greeted by a few hundred Army and Air Force personnel, all quiet, who were in formation at the rear of the plane on each side of the ramp. Those new troops joined in once they saw what was going on. What a way to be introduced to the base.
Anyways, we stood there at attention as they carried the flag-draped coffin along the flight line and onto the plane. We stood there for about 30+ minutes moving between attention and parade rest while waiting for the coffin to arrive, but nobody complained or griped or even said a word. After 4 years of training and 5+ years in the Air Force, that was the first time I realized why we were in and what we were doing here. I used to hate formations and military bearing and all of that pomp and circumstance stuff, but no more. I will never forget that sunset I watched while standing there as the coffin went by.
None of us knew the guy, but we're all going to make an effort to get to know his fellow soldiers that are still here. I can't imagine being his commander...After that we went and delivered food to all of the passengers that were supposed to have left that night. Then a few of us went up to the roof of our building and chatted about everything while watching the stars, the lights from the city, and the moonrise.
Most of the troops here are all leaving in a few days, so I'll be the 'old guy' as their replacements arrive. Kind of funny I guess. Other than that, it's starting to feel like the movie groundhog day.Repetition... it's torture. I'm not complaining, it's just strange to wake up and not know what day it is because they're all the same.In the 'Clam-tina', which is where most events take place on base, they're going to have another Bingo night on Saturday. It's free, and they have a few thousand bucks worth of stuff, so it's worth it. Maybe I'll get an AAFES certificate so I can buy the stuff the Air Force lost on the way up.
If I haven't mentioned the food, it's good. The servings are a little too big, but the Filipino women who serve it don't speak good English, so it's hard to tell them to not give as much. Half the time they think you're flirting with them if you try and speak up, so you just shut up and get your food. I now skip the meal line all together and go straight to either the 'fitness food' bar, full of fruits and nuts, or the sandwich bar. I may just lose a few pounds out here thanks to those women.I've been working out almost daily, and they do have a swimming pool, but I'm one of the unlucky guys who work for a living so I never have time to go and enjoy it. I have been running outside more because the sun feels nice even though it's 115 degrees. It's a dry heat. The only concern is all the oil smoke in the air. People say it'll make you wheeze after a while. I've even heard that everything you send home smells like oil. Have fun Tonya!
Did I mention I got my first Helicopter ride yesterday. Quite the ride. Hopefully you'll all see the pictures. It was very different then an airplane. I know, you're saying... duh, of course it's different. It just felt different, and the movements and turns were very strange. I almost liked it better. Of course I'd trade it in for a flight to Australia in a 747 any day of the week.
The admin staff has been asking me for my OK, or my opinion, on a lot of things. I forgot that I'm in charge of their office and they're supposed to do that. It's been a long time since I've had folks under me, and I've never actually had a 'staff' working admin issues for me. Hmmm, maybe they can write my blog posts for me too. Kidding, this is the only fun I have. I won't have them doing my laundry, cleaning my bathroom or anything else like the last Commander did.
Speaking of laundry, it's time to go and get it done. I don't want to say up late tonight. I've been having the strangest dreams for the last few days. Very vividly real dreams that are so strong I wake up and lost track of where I am. They say that's a common thing here too. It ruins my sleep, so I don't like it. Funny, I sleep right behind an ancient Muslem cemetery, so I wonder if the ghouls are bugging us. Kidding of course... just a thought. I want to walk through it and look at the head stones, but I don't want to tick anyone off and I wouldn't understand the writing anyways.
Thanks again for the emails and the good cheer. I miss you all, and I can't wait to be home.
Friday, April 08, 2005
Germany, UK, Australia, Denmark....
I continue to get a lot of traffic on this site from people in Germany, Australia, the UK, and Denmark. If you're from one of those countries, please do me a favor:
1) Please show me some of your favorite blogs from your countries. I'd like to link them to mine.
2) Tell me what you'd like to see on my site, or what you can recommend I add to make it more interesting.
3) Any criticism, comments, jokes, you name it, speak up. Now's your chance to throw it down.
Finally, to my foreign 'Homies'... Peace out, and word to your mutha. (Bad attempt at an Austin Powers impression)
And In Other News....
Holy 'Giant Drill Bits' Batman!
Hole Drilled to Bottom of Earth's Crust, Breakthrough to Mantle Looms
I hope they're kind enough to offer her a cigarette and a ride home afterwards.
Wal-Mart Is Going Upscale
Does that mean shoes, shirts, and at least 10 teeth are now required to work or shop there?
Indians' Wish List: Big-City Sites for Casinos
Let's see, we took their land, killed their people and livestock, and rounded 'em up into bottomless pits like Oklahoma and Arkansas. Can you say payback time?
Finger-in-chili investigation widens
Someone really gave this woman the finger at Wendy's
Exotic Dancer Injured Inside Fire Station
Can you say Workman's Comp?
It's a Weapon Bufett over at Ace's website. One can only dream...
Wednesday, April 06, 2005
U.S. Copter Crash Kills 16 in Afghanistan
By STEPHEN GRAHAM, Associated Press Writer
KABUL, Afghanistan - A U.S. military helicopter returning from a mission smashed into the southern Afghan desert Wednesday, killing at least 16 people in the deadliest military crash since the fall of the Taliban in late 2001. An Afghan official said most of the dead appeared to be Americans.
Please stop by CaliValleyGirl's website and give her a word of support. The U.S. Chinook that crashed came from her Boyfriend's Unit. I can't imagine what she's going through right about now. If you didn't know this by now, the relatives, spouses, and friends of servicemembers have a harder job than their deployed loved ones because they not only have to hold down the fort... they also worry every second of every day for their safe return.
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Our Aussie Brothers and Sisters in Arms...
On 3 April the Royal Australian Navy and Air Force lost nine brave, dedicated, and honorable young men and women. They were risking their lives to help the Tsunami and Earthquake victims in Indonesia, something many anti-military people tend to forget. Most of our military work and effort is humanitarian, not combat. Australia, my adopted home, has fought with the United States on nearly every front over the last century. From serving humanity to protecting it, the U.S. and Britain have no better friend and ally.
Lieutenant Mathew Davey
Lieutenant Matthew Goodall
Lieutenant Paul Kimlin
Lieutenant Jonathan King
Petty Officer Stephen Slattery
Leading Seaman Scott Bennett
Squadron Leader Paul McCarthy
Flight Lieutenant Lyn Rowbottom
Sergeant Wendy Jones
Announcement of the crash
Story on their arrival back home
Repulsive Pulitzer Prize-Winning Photos
I always considered the Pulitzer Prize as an honor bestowed on someone who took a picture that truly made a difference. Sadly, I was naive in thinking it were such an honorable thing. The newest winners of the Pulitzer Prize are truly repulsive and pathetic.
Not only do they continue the Main Stream Media's portrayal of the war in Iraq as a lost and unjust cause, they are completely offensive to anyone with any sense of respect for the victims portrayed.
Basically, the winners all pictures of dead Americans, or dead Iraqis. It's a celebration of death, and the people who chose these pictures as winners are simply celebrating the death of the innocent. This is an affront to those Iraqis and Americans alike.
Here they are, in all their biased, grotesque, and repulsively celebrated glory
(Hat Tip to Michelle Malkin for the link)
I'm surprised they didn't include a picture of the Pulitzer Prize Board members dancing atop a burning Humvee. (I'm sure they were on top of their desks, pretending to play along)
Here's a list of the Pulitzer Prize Board Members.
Denis Finley, managing editor, The Virginian-Pilot, Norfolk, VA (Chair)
J. Ross Baughman, director of photography, The Washington
TimesEric Newton, director of journalism initiatives
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Miami, FL
Larry Nylund, deputy managing editor, presentation, The Journal News, White Plains, NY
Janet Reeves, director of photography, Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Colorado
Monday, April 04, 2005
Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan - Coalition Patch
Back in 2003 these were the countries based out of Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan. (aka Ganci Air Base) The countries have changed, but the mission remains.
Typical Summer Day in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan
Traditional Honor Guard of Bishkek, KG
They've Seen It All
This man is a typical Kyrgyz citizen. Of course he is much wiser than the younger generation that now rules the country. He has survived the old Soviet regime, and now the newest revolution.
Not being Catholic, it's hard for me to relate to the emotional loss most Catholics are feeling with the loss of John Paul II. My sadness is more from a historical perspective. I've studied some of the Popes throughout history. Some were great, some were murderous, and some did little to further their cause. This Pope was different.
He came into his office with a different view of the world. He made every effort to advance his church throughout South America, Asia, Eastern Europe, and most importantly, Africa. He also attempted to make amends to the various cultures or religions that were harmed by his church in the past.
Most importantly, he stuck to his word. He did what he knew was right, and never wavered in the face of adversity. His word was as good as gold, and that is something very few people can ever say about themselves.
No, he wasn't perfect, but he came closer to perfection than any of his predecessors.
To my Catholic friends, my heart goes out to you. I also wish you luck with the next Pope. Hopefully he'll be as visionary and steadfast as the last guy.
Here's a link to a great article about Pope John Paul II.
Friday, April 01, 2005
Here Lies El Capitan - Blogger Extraordinaire
El Capitan will be out of pocket for the weekend. He was invited to host a kegger at the Pearly Gates.
(Don't believe me? Here's the picture)
Until I return, have a drink on me!
Happy April 1st, and have a great weekend.