Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Karma strikes and a neat aircraft sighting.

First the aircraft. I was outside today and heard a heavy helicopter. Looked up and saw a CH-47 airframe with a refueling probe. I'm pretty sure (Maybe NOTR can verify or correct me) that as there is no HH-47 (that would be a search and rescue bird) a CH-47 airframe with the probe is an MH-47 Pave Low--a bird specially tailored for Special Operations work.

Now for the Karma. Had a bad baseball game the other day in which the coaches and manager of one of the teams behaved like spoiled children. Bunch of tough guys, all of whom had applied to coach an all-star team (thus ensuring their sons slots on the team). I've had prior complaints about this crew from my umpires. Turns out the league commisioner has as well. He's a good guy even if we have had some differences. Told him about the game and he went ahead and yanked their applications. Karma, baby.

Had a call on the answering machine when I got home tonight. Some name I don't recognize who wants to talk to the guy in charge of the umpires. It was too late to return the call, but I will tomorrow. I suspect it's probably the manager I got in trouble. I'll call him tomorrow--could be fun.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Earlier I threatened to post something for Memorial Day. On second thought, it's much more appropriate for Veterans' Day, so you'll have to suffer through my own thoughts on Memorial Day.

Went to the parade today. I couldn't resist wearing an I Love Me hat that the kids bought for me at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum two summers ago. Nice hat with a full color SF patch and tab on it, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Special Forces. Lots of other hats there, so I wasn't alone. It was a nice parade, though small--as befits a small town. Afterwards there was a ceremony at the cemetary.

Car went by with a group of disabled vets in it. My wife said "They're like daddy". (I get a pension due to being hurt while training). I said "No, they're not. They got theirs legitimately". She didn't hear me and asked me to repeat it. I couldn't.

In fact, I couldn't talk for most of the parade.

I noticed that the stores are stocked up with fireworks--at least the lame excuses for fireworks that we're allowed in this lame excuse for a state. It seems a bit early to be stocking for the 4th of July, but I hope they're not thinking people will want them today. Don't get me wrong--I love fireworks. Next to hurting people, blowing things up is one of my favorite pursuits. But today isn't a day for fireworks. It's a day for reflection and honoring those who gave everything for this country.

There's a lot to remember. Those who never came back. Those who came back minus limbs and faces. And those whose bodies came back, walking and talking, but it wasn't him anymore.

Flint Kaserne, at Bad Toelz, Germany, had a large wooden statue of a Special Forces soldier, hand carved by a local artisan. It's probably at Panzer Kaserne in Stuttgart now. Next to the statue was a plaque with the names of 10th Group soldiers who died in Vietnam. One day I was looking at the plaque and one of the old Chief Warrant Officers stopped and stood with me for a moment. He pointed out a name on the plaque and told me that the guy was the only soldier he knew who wore his flak vest all of the time. He was shot through the side, where the front and back of the vest didn't meet.

No greater love. People join the military to serve their country, but it turns out that in actual combat men do the things they do without thought for country, but for their buddies. You may wonder why old soldiers are they way they are, preferring each others' company. The bond is incredible. Even never having experienced combat, I feel a stronger bond to military and ex-military types than to anyone else.

Anyway, to all of those past, present and future who have given their very lives so that the rest of us may live free in the greatest country on this planet--Thanks.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

"These are the times that try men's souls..."

Had the longest day of baseball I've ever had today. To start things off, someone decided it was a good idea to schedule games on Memorial Day weekend. My umpires have lives. People with lives sometimes do things other than baseball and three-day weekends are prime time for such pursuits.

I literally bled finding umpires for today. For some reason half of the guys are heading to West Virginia, of all places, for the weekend. If there's some sort of weird Gathering of the Umpires in WV, I'm not privy to it. Got most of the games covered, but not all. I decided rain was my last option. I thought about running out back naked and doing some sort of rain ceremony but decided the sight of me unclothed would only frighten the rainclouds away. Finally decided I'd done all I could and let the cards fall where they may. I covered the Senior League double header, but only half of the Junior League double header. Late afternoon I discovered that the Senior League games had been canceled. Had someone told me that I could have reassigned the umpires to cover the Junior League game. When I make mistakes like that there's one commissioner in particular who likes to crawl up my large intestine...

To give you an idea, I started the morning with a fresh charge in my cell phone and by noon I had completely exhausted the battery and had to recharge it.

Later I got a phone call from someone who was wondering where the umpire was for her 6:00 game. Gotta love this one: The scheduled umpire is her son. I have no idea what the resolution was--I was calling a game at the time and when I got the message at 8:00 after my game finished I just didn't even bother.

Had a strong plate umpire scheduled for the 5:00 game along with my son on bases. At 3:45 the plate umpire called to say he couldn't make it. My only option was to put my son behind the plate and me on bases. My son calls bases well, but has never been behind the plate. I've done the plate but can't any longer due to a seriously advanced case of Paratrooper's Knees. Got to the game and realized that one of the teams was the team that all of the umpires complain to me about. The game got ridiculous and I unfortunately lost control because I was concerned about a perception that I was shielding my son from criticism. I should have tossed the manager and one coach from the bonehead team (which was winning until the bottom of the very last inning). I plan on doing more of their games with a stronger plate umpire and I will toss both of them next time. Might take aim at some parents as well. The bonehead team's parents we pretty much across the line, too.

Oddly the players, coaches and parents from the team that losing all along remained a class act.

If you want proof that there is a God, just maybe it's here: The Orioles' players, coaches and parents were a class act, even though they were behind the whole game. The Indians were ahead the whole time and behaved like spoiled children. Bottom of the last inning the Orioles got a couple of kids on base, then some huge kid comes up to bat and cranks an in-the-park home run. Orioles win.

Walking off the field I passed an Orioles coach and muttered "Bunch of f**king babies". He thanked me.

One of the Orioles' moms is a girl (I guess she's a woman now) I dated um, ahem, 28 years ago. She was all bundled up against the cold. I told her I couldn't believe she was cold. She countered that they were in the shade. Hmm, I said. Plenty of heat down here...They all laughed, having seen the crap we were putting up with from the Indians.

She's still cute, by the way, despite being nearly as ancient as I.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Maybe I'm just hypersensitive to this topic...

I'm not a soldier anymore. I had every intention of being a career soldier but as I broke various parts of my body it was no longer a possibility. Nonetheless, I remember well and fondly my days as a soldier and retain respect and affection for those who serve.

So given that, maybe my antennae are perhaps overly sensitive. But I just feel like there is a growing "screw the soldiers" sentiment in the land, reminiscent of the Vietnam era backlash against military personnel.

There is definitely an anti-military thing going on with schools taking measures to try and prevent military recruiters from accessing their students. The schools are making the spurious claim that recruiters are directing their efforts at the disadvantaged, claiming that the US wants some sort of weird military where the soldiers can't read the "This Side Toward Enemy" stamp on a claymore mine. This idea is only flawed on about 97 different levels. And secondly, for schools to shut out what may be a life changing choice-either as a career or as a leg up into the rest of their life-for disadvantaged students is immoral. Nobody knows how many disadvantaged high schoolers parlayed a hitch in the military into a highly successful adult life.

The military doesn't focus their recruiting efforts at the disadvantaged, as some claim. Infantry soldiers, the so-called "cannon fodder", tend to be very intelligent, highly motivated individuals. Clerks and typists tend to fall at the opposite end of the spectrum. And even if recruiters did stalk the disadvantaged-so what? At least they're offering them possibilities.

Apart from the ant-recruiting movement I'm getting the feeling that there is a growing sentiment against the men and women in the military. In the wake of the Marines' decision not to prosecute 2LT Pantano I saw an astonishing wave of posts vehemently condemning US military personnel as unaccountable killers, etc.

It would seem that Michael Crook (an utter punk) is only the tip of the steaming pile...

I could go on at incredible length on this topic. It's one I hold dear. But rather than bore you further with a novel-sized post, let me just assure you that I'll keep a finger as close to this anti-military pulse as I can stomach.

Since I'm on a Kipling roll, let's revisit him. I was saving this for Memorial Day, but it addresses the treatment that military people receive from (some) civilians on a daily basis. Not to worry, I still have one up my sleeve for Memorial Day.

Thomas Atkins is a general name applied to British troops, supposedly from a real Thomas Adkins who was a lion of a soldier. Just as British police are often called "Bobbys" after Robert Peeler, so are British soldiers referred to as "Tommy"

TOMMY

I went into a public-’ouse to get a pint o’ beer,
The publican ’e up an’ sez, “We serve no red-coats here.”
The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die,
I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I:
O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, go away”;
But it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play,—
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play,
O it’s “Thank you, Mister Atkins”, when the band begins to play.

I went into a theatre as sober as could be,
They gave a drunk civilian room, but ’adn’t none for me;
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-’alls,
But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they’ll shove me in the stalls!
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, wait outside”;
But it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide,—
The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide,
O it’s “Special train for Atkins” when the trooper’s on the tide.

Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap;
An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit.
Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, ’ow’s yer soul?”
But it’s “Thin red line of ’eroes” when the drums begin to roll,—
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll,
O it’s “Thin red line of ’eroes” when the drums begin to roll.

We aren’t no thin red ’eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too,
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you;
An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints,
Why, single men in barricks don’t grow into plaster saints;
While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Tommy, fall be’ind”,
But it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind,—
There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind,
O it’s “Please to walk in front, sir”, when there’s trouble in the wind.

You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all:
We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational.
Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace.
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ “Chuck him out, the brute!”
But it’s “Saviour of ’is country” when the guns begin to shoot;
An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please;
An’ Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool—you bet that Tommy sees!

Friday, May 27, 2005

I've been passed the popcorn. Barb of Righty in a Lefty State has tagged me to be next in line for a movie poll.

Ok. Here goes:

Total number of films I own on DVD/video:

I'd say roughly 75 based on a quick and dirty count/estimation. Quite a few of them need to go--Thomas the Tank Engine took us through the early years, but someone else couldmake better use of him now.

The last film I bought:
Cats and Dogs


The last film I watched:
At the movies: The Incredibles
Here: Cats and Dogs

Five films that I watch a lot or that mean a lot to me (in no particular order):
I assume this is limited to films I possess

Almost hate to admit it, but yes, I have The Green Berets on DVD
Cats and Dogs-- Juvenile humor, but hysterical.
Second Hand Lions-- Quite possibly my favorite movie ever.
Metropolis--A morality play, but with a striking interpretation of the future. Reminds me of the 1964 World's Fair (Yes, I was there and remember it)
Pirates of the Carribbean--Don't much care for Johnny Depp as a person, but his portrayal of Captain Jack Sparrow is a work of art.

Now I have to subject someone else to this introspection...
Jack Army says it's "Self-Portrait Friday". Who am I to argue?

This photo was taken on Smoke Bomb Hill following graduation with SFQC 5-81. Back then only paratroopers wore camouflage fatigues. As trainees we had to wear the all green "pickle suit" fatigues even though we were on airborne status.

It's not obvious, but the white-bordered flash on my beret is a 20th Group flash. Later, when I converted to active duty, I wore an all-green flash.



1981 Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 26, 2005

It took far too long, but the Marines finally came to their senses in the case of Lieutenant Ilario Pantano.

He won't be prosecuted, but the devil got his due in this case. 2LT Pantano's career is trashed, he's been dragged throught the mud, he has most likely expended considerable financial resources--in short, his life has been irrevocably changed. All over accusations made by a disaffected sergeant.

By all accounts Pantano is a superb officer and held in high regard by his men and his peers. On the other hand, Pantano's accusser, one SGT Coburn, is known to be incompetent and a slacker. When Patano finally tired of Coburn's incompetence he removed him from his leadership position. Coburn clearly was seeking revenge. The one man who was in a position to witness exactly what did occur that day, Navy Corpsman Gobles, backed Pantano's statement.

Like Ray Donovan before him, 2LT Pantano now finds himself in the position of wondering where to go to get his reputation back.

Rudyard Kipling understood the travails of military service.

From "That Day":

It got beyond all orders an’ it got beyond all ’ope;
It got to shammin’ wounded an’ retirin’ from the ’alt.
’Ole companies was lookin’ for the nearest road to slope;
It were just a bloomin’ knock-out—an’ our fault!

Now there ain’t no chorus ’ere to give,
Nor there ain’t no band to play;
An’ I wish I was dead ’fore I done what I did,
Or seen what I seed that day!
Posted below some clarification about the videos I linked to the other day.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I'm on a roll now. I don't watch much TV, but I just turned it on to check the weather. Saw uniforms, so I stopped on the channel to see what was on. Turns out it's an A&E channel show about the siege of An Loc, part of the so-called Easter Offensive during the war in Vietnam.

One of my pet peeves is people who get paid to write news about the military and get it wrong. Recently the local paper wrote a piece about the "82nd Engineer Armored Tank Division". Anyone with the most rudimentary knowledge of the military could tell you there's something wrong with that name. There are no engineer divisions, engineers and tanks are two different things and "Armored Tank" is redundant. The writer was actually referring to the 82nd Engineer Battalion (SEP). Oh, and the editor never responded to my note regarding that article...

Anyway, I decided to watch the A&E show for a moment and the first thing I hear is that So and So was flying an OB-10. Ain't no such thing. They meant OV-10 Bronco. O stands for Observation and I think the V stands for Fixed Wing, but I'm not going to swear to that. But I know for absolutely certain it's OV and not OB. Then to cap it off, they showed footage of an OV-2 Skymaster. There are some similarities in the empennage, but that's about it. They're two entirely different aircraft.

If you're going to get paid big bucks to write about the military, get it right, dammit.

The OV-10, by the way, bears the distinction of being the only US Army aircraft, past or present, to have ejection seats.
As I have noted here before, I did the military thing backwards. Most people do an active duty hitch then finish their service obligation in the reserves or National Guard. I started out in the National Guard as a way to help pay for college and then found myself enjoying it a bit too much, so I went active duty.

At any rate, while serving in the 20th Special Forces Group (National Guard) I became aware of an officer named Stephen Blum. He was no longer assigned to 20th Group, but regularly attended functions with the unit. I met him on a few occasions and I know that he was highly thought of by the men in the unit. I should capitalize that. He was HIGHLY though of by the men. He was held in the absolute highest regard.

Now, by a happy accident, I just discovered that Lieutenant General H. Stephen Blum is the chief of the National Guard Bureau. Top dog of all National Guard in the United States. Congratulations, General Blum.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Via Scottish Tanker Hooligans, an excellent post about the war and why we are prosecuting it in the manner that we are. Read it here.

Monday, May 23, 2005

It's late and it's been a long day, but I do want to share two video clips with those who haven't yet seen them.

Spent most of the day putting in the garden. Tomatoes, onions, cucumbers (Greek salad, anyone?), squash, peppers, beans (lima, green and kidney), sweet corn, Indian corn (for the kids), watermelon, pumpkin and white sweet potatoes. The last might require a bit of an explanation. White sweet potatoes are a local thing. First time I planted them I thought they were "regular" sweet potatoes and I was shocked when I cut the first one open to eat it and discovered white flesh. Turned out they taste just like any other sweet potato (well, maybe a bit better...). Not long after that I came across a newspaper article which spoke of the local white sweet potato. Mystery solved. Now I put them in every year.

Putting in the garden proved to be a wonderful opportunity to build on the sunburn I got yesterday at the ballfield...

Anyway, before I retire to the coldroom for the night, I wanted to point out to people like Kurt Nimmo and Oliver Willis that soldiers aren't the idiots that they want to believe they are. The first video here was made by British troops and is a takeoff on a video called "Amarillo". The second is Norwegian troops doing a spoof on the Beach Boys' song "Kokomo".

Here are the links:

http://media2.big-boys.com/bbmedia/armyrillo.wmv

http://media2.big-boys.com/bbmedia/kosovo1.wmv

UPDATE: I realize that a few explanations might be due for the above links. "Kosovo" is easy to understand--it's a plaint about UN peacekeeping. The guys in the video are Norwegian soldiers, but I have no idea about the soundtrack. It's obviously professionally done. It seems to be American English like the original Beach Boys song, but accents often get hidden in the drawn out syllables of singing and Scandinavians in particular speak English with great proficiency. At any rate, whoever wrote the lyrics had a good command of colloquial English. Whether the troops had anything to do with the soundtrack or not, they do a great job creating a video to go along with it.

The other video has a clearer origin, but the humor might not be immediately obvious. I enjoyed it on its own merits-it's very amusing- but there's more to it. The true humor is probably only obvious to Brits. A British comedian named Peter Kay did a number where he lip-synced the Tony Christie song "Road to Amarillo" while running about and being surrounded by various celebrities. The link is to a video made by members of the British Royal Dragoon Guards, wherein they do a spoof on the Peter Kay video, essentially creating a spoof of a spoof.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

I did nothing of note today besides baseball. Snake Eater, Jr. got to go to a 13th birthday party for his squeeze, but I was boring.

What a day, though. I've noted that the Minor League is the most difficult league to schedule umpires for. Adults mostly won't do the games because they can't crouch down far enough to see a 9-year old's strike zone and the kids who call games are fickle at best. They have part-time jobs, proms, family events...you name it. And the fact that the coaches and parents at the minor league level are by far the most abusive doesn't help one bit.

Had a Junior League game which was originally scheduled for 9:30. One of the teams is coached by some college kids who had graduation today, so the game was moved to 9:00. I was notified of the change, but neither team was. Already we're off to a bad beginning.

Arrive at the field at 7:00 because it rained all night. By 9:00 despite efforts it's clear that the game will have to be postponed until 11:00. All well and good, except both guys calling the 12:00 Minor League game are on the team that now won't play until 11:00. Make call to Minor League commissioner. I'm sorry, but you're going to have to find coaches to call the game. Phone call degenerates into a shouting match after which I call the league president and inform him that from now on the Minor League guy can find his own &%^*&^ umpires because I can't deal with the $%**(_& a$$hole.

At this point the entire day is in turmoil. I have umpires who can call games in the AM, but not PM. As reports come in from various fields it becomes clear that I'm losing umpires right and left due to postponed games. Fortunately one field is deemed flat unplayable, so I was able to use that umpire on another game.

Just as I was about to plummit into the abyss of total hopelessness the area commissioner for Little League showed up. We went through some names of umpires while I recited each guy's reason for not being able to do games today. Then he says "How about Cindy?". I have no Cindys on my list. In fact, I have no women whatsoever on the list I've been given. He called her and Deus ex machina, she was available. Not only is Cindy available today, but I find myself in the presence of greatness--She's been selected to call games for the Girls' Fastpitch World Series this year. Holy crow...Then he gave me a book listing all of the umpires in the state who belong to some umpire association. Suddenly I have twice the number of potential umpires as I had before.

A high point in a low day.

Then it's Snake Eater Jrs. game (the one that was postponed until 11:00). They hammered the other team and ended the game early by ten-running them.

Now I'm off to a Minor League game where I have two very young umpires assigned and I've decided to make it a three-man crew (me being the third) so that I can read the riot act to the managers. "I have two young umpires here, and they're here to learn just the same as your kids are here to learn. I will brook no nonsense whatsoever. I won't hesitate to stop this game until the league president arrives (per rules), and he's out of town at his grandson's track meet. I'm placing you on notice and I expect you to place your parents on notice". (can you tell I was in a bad mood by this point?)

Well, the game never happened. One of the managers could only muster eight players (and this is a guy who would give me no end of bad time if I couldn't find an umpire for him...). Technically if you only have eight players, every time you hit number nine in the batting order, it's an automatic out. He decided he didn't want to play that game and took his kids and went home. Technically a forfeit. Why the two managers couldn't get together and decide to ditch the ninth batter rule and just let their kids play baseball is beyond me. I wasn't involved--they made the decision while we stood watching pre-game practice and never said a word to us. As a league officer I'd have told them to forget the automatic out and just let their kids play the game.

Nah. Too easy. Tempers flare at minor league games like Fourth of July fireworks, and yet play at that level is almost comical. Pitchers go into HUGE windups only to lob the ball in the general direction of the plate. 99% of batters reach first on balls and once on base, you're guaranteed to reach home due to pitches thrown over the catcher's head or otherwise out of his reach.

So once again, I'm in a mood. Then, I'll be damned if a B-2 Spirit doesn't fly right over the ballfield. Don't know if it was connected with the Armed Forces Day show at Andrews AFB or the Preakness, but either way we got quite a show.

I'll call the day a draw.
I'm reminded of the time Old Scratch challenged St. Peter to a baseball game.

"Don't you realize who we have up here?", asked St. Peter, "Stan Musial, Lou Gehrig, Ted Williams..."

"Yeah", interrupted Satan, "But I have all of the umpires".
Oh, and before I retire to the ice slab, I may as well relate one conversation with the Bear this evening.

She checks the paper each day looking for someone who is giving away free hamsters. Apparently the gerbil needs friends.

Today, however, she suddenly decided that she needs another dog as well. Apparently Zephyr The Insane Labrador Retriever isn't enough. Well, I equivocated in just the manner that any other male in my position would: "You're definitely going to have to consult mommy on that one".

Her reply: "But mommy always says 'no'".

I have nothing to add.
I was going to post something substantial tonight, and I was thinking of doing so as a reply to some idiocies posted by the internet's official moron, Kurt Nimmo. But alas, I wax weary.

Baseball looms large in the morn and I will attend one game and call three more.

Assuming the day isn't rained out...
On the lighter side, try reading this without laughing out loud. I dare you...
Haunted, I am. Haunted by visuals.

I have a friend, with whom I am secretly deeply in love. She once told me that sometimes late at night in the summer heat she cools off by climbing in the Jeep, taking down both tops (her's and the Jeep's) and cruising the back roads. That's a visual that will haunt one.

In addition I'm haunted by visuals of women in floppy hats salsa dancing at baseball games, people grilling foods over inappropriate fuels and women with hootchies.

It's overwhelming, I tell you.

Friday, May 20, 2005

A great addendum to the whole Koran-flushing controversy, by way of ROFAsix.

Seems the knife only cuts in one direction.
Via A Collection of Thoughts, a good analysis of the whole Koran-flushing story. Basically, you can't flush a book down a toilet. As a father, I can vouch for that conclusion...
Just for grins, a photo of the Bear playing her recorder out back. It's not clear to me why she has a lei wrapped around her head, but I've learned not to question these things.


The Bear Posted by Hello
Time to start some controversy.

I've been mulling this one over since I accused Kurt Nimmo of hating Jews. He says he merely opposes Zionism, but having been around the world at least once (one more time than Nimmo, anyway), I've learned a lot about human nature. That Nimmo hates Jews is beyond question, and he never denied it in our email exchange.

Having said that, it seems that issues often can be paired up. Years ago I read an op ed piece which started off citing gun control and abortion. The writer noted that if you're for one, you're probably against the other. That's always stuck with me, because as unrelated as the two issues seem, it's quite true that proponants of either are usually opponants of the other.

So back to Zionism, the desire for a return of Jews to an historically established homeland. Paired with that is the call for a Palistinian state. If you're for one, you're probably against the other.

What gets me is there is historical precedent for a Jewish homeland. A Palistinian homeland is an artificial construct. The so-called Palistinians were kicked out of Jordan and Syria and there has never been a Palistinian homeland.

I'm not utterly unfeeling for the Palistinians, though they make it very difficult to sympathise when they blow up civilians--children and the elderly--and dress toddlers up like homicide bombers, but they are an Arab problem. Not an Isreali problem. They were kicked out of Arab states and stake claim to a land that they have no historical claim to. They choose to vent their frustrations and desire for a state on the Israelis, and the Israelis choose to defend themselves in their own fashion. If you don't like getting your home bulldozed, stop throwing grenades into schoolbuses.

So if you're going to endorse the Palistinian claim to an artificial construct, how can you possibly say the Jewish claim to an historical homeland is wrong?
There are lots of little quizzes on the internet--Find Your Perfect Lover, etc. Few of them are scientific, most of them are really just for amusement. There may be some science built in to the algorithm they use, but I wouldn't put too much stock in any of them. I once took some religion quiz which put me between Orthodox Jewish and something else--maybe Buddhist. Interesting results for someone who was raised Catholic.

Anyway, having time to kill tonight while I wait to feel sleepy enough to go upstairs and lie down on the ice slab, I took a quiz which I found through Fast Bunnies. The Find Your Spot quiz is on the website of a company specializing in helping people relocate. While maintaining a healthy skepticism of web quizzes, I won't quibble with the results. Incredibly, the number one place they chose for me, Saranac Lake, is precisely where I had already decided I'd like to live. Lewisburg, PA is minutes away from the cabin where I go to hunt, fish and sometimes just recharge my batteries. I've lived in New Hampshire, not far from their recommendation of Concord. And there's one other coincidence in the list, but I'll keep that one to myself.

Here's the list:

Saranac Lake, New York
Plymouth, New Hampshire
Littleton, New Hampshire
Windham, New York
Lewisburg, Pennsylvania
Lewiston, Maine
Glens Falls, New York
Plattsburgh, New York
Johnstown, Pennsylvania
Lebanon, New Hampshire
Easton, Pennsylvania
Hanover, New Hampshire
Jamestown, New York
Camden, Maine
Sandpoint, Idaho
Helena, Montana
Ithaca, New York
Hancock-Houghton, Michigan
Dillon, Montana
Concord, New Hampshire
Kalispell, Montana
Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
Peekskill, New York
Peterborough, New Hampshire

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Some more blogs that have caught my attention. Found both by way of Jack Army.

Fast Bunnies is written by an Army Officer stationed at Ft. Lewis, WA.

Righty in a Lefty State is self-explanatory. Written by Barb, the blog tends toward news about the military.
Found another good blog, American in Canada. She even linked to me, which won't do anything positive for her respectability.
This is just plain bizzare.

Hat tip to Froggy Ruminations.
I think that everyone outside of West Virginia has come to the realization that Robert "Sheets" Byrd is little more than an old fool.

If there are any lingering doubts, this excerpt from one of his Senatorial ramblings, posted at Froggy Ruminations, should dispel them.

Byrd goes out of his way to mention that he is "born again" and has gone "under the water". He further makes the point that he only reads the King James version of the Bible. Seems to me he's taking a shot at Catholics (who read the Douay-Rheims version). Maybe it's just a leftover from his days as a Ku Klux Klan recruiter.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Just one more rant, and then I'm done...well, for a while.

Pulled into a gas station late Saturday night. I didn't want to hit that station, incredibly the gas is $.10 cheaper per gallon just a few miles up the road, but I needed gas badly.

A woman was just finishing pumping gas into her vehicle as I pulled in. The nozzle was still in her vehicle as I alighted (love that word) from my truck.

She headed in to pay for her gas as I went to work with the pump I had pulled up to. Nothing happened. Couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. I finally walked to the cashier's window only to have her shout at me "I'm closed now".

That troglodyte watched me pull in while someone was still pumping, then threw the switch on me. She should thank any deity that she might believe in for the fact that she was safely ensconced behind concrete and thick glass. I'd have derived great pleasure from choking the life out of her.

Nobody gives a damn any more. "I'm closed now. I was open when you pulled in, but the second hand hit twelve while you were pulling your shorts out of your crack, so I flipped the switch". That sort of stuff makes me furious.

I can remember going to what's called a "POL Point" at Ft. Devens. POL is Army shorthand for Petroleum, Oil, Lubricant. In other words, a gas station. (I know "oil" and "lubricant" are redundant. Don't ask me...). The POL Point was manned by a civilian who had very little in the way of actual job duties. Soldiers pulled in, pumped the gas, and filled out the logbook under the civilian's eyes. He might have initialed their entries, I forget. Anyway, once we pulled into the POL Point and the attendant was sitting in his booth, watching a TV and eating a sandwich. He was always watching the TV, the only difference was the sandwich. We tried to pump gas, to no avail. I approached the booth only to have him preempt me by shouting (I really mean SHOUTING) "I'm on my lunch break". We sat there and watched him eat his sandwich and cookies until he finally looked at his watch and turned the pumps back on.

In other words, people can be real jerks.

And for the record, I was somewhat subdued in my reaction to Lunch Time Boy since I had recently had a very unpleasant experience with the garrison administrative clerks. I'd been trying to change my insurance and had been stood up by the admin types twice, which led to a blowup with the Non-Commissioned Officer in charge. He said something to me about "his soldiers" and I blew and told him I didn't see any soldiers, just a bunch of *(^&*) clerks. That resulted in a call to my team leader and a very unpleasant audience with the warrant officer in charge of the admin people. I was on good behavior for some time following that...

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

It's time for some rants.

I've never much cared for Newsweek. The reporting has always seemed slanted to me, and they have a habit of using isolated pieces of information to write major, "authoritative" articles based on very little. The Koran-flushing article is a prime example.

I don't think Newsweek should disappear. After all, it takes all sorts of people to sell a magazine. Not just the reporters and editors, but hogs like me to operate the presses, drive the trucks, sell advertising and so forth.

But having said that, some people need to pay for this mistake. Newsweek published a piece based on hearsay and people died.

Right from the outset, you have to be careful when you write of things that affect the Islamic world. They have a different take on things than the western world. Just ask Salmon Rushdie. If an article were published alleging that Muslims were wiping their posteriors with pages from the bible there would be much head shaking and several nut cases would come forth to demand death to the A-rabs, but that's as far as it would go. But anyone who has been conscious for more than a day or two knows that Muslims take things far more profoundly than we do and allegations like that can have serious consequences. Newsweek simply wanted a scoop and damn the consequences.

Well, now it's time for consequences. Sloppy reportage resulted in the deaths of human beings and damage to the US that will take years to repair.

Some people at Newsweek need to go.

Now for Part II of this rant.

If you really want to know just how deranged the left is...Just how unhinged people like Kurt Nimmo, Ollie Willis and the Orcs at Democratic Underground are... Just how rotted through with hate the left is, then here we go.

This has got to be some sort of official Left Wing Nutcase talking point. It's repeated almost verbatim at the above sites as well as others.

Anyway, word in the sewers of the left is that since the US entered Iraq based on "a lie" (their opinion) and deaths ensued, it's ok that Newsweek published a lie that got people killed. Can you believe that?

They actually claim that because the US killed people over "a lie", it's ok that more people got killed over another lie. They are some sorry, twisted people.

Oh, and another reason I know that they communicate these "talking points" to each other is that in every instance the allegation that there were WMDs in Iraq is referred to as a "f**king lie". Never just as "a lie". I guess if I ever become a Democrat I'll have to learn to let loose with the F-word without regard to who might be within hearing or reading radius.

As far as the alleged "lie", several points. First, Saddam had poison gas. Period. We know he had it and he used it. That's a matter of record. Poison gas is a WMD. Next, we got intelligence re. Saddam's nuclear program from British intelligence. We have long had a "special relationship" with British and Canadian intelligence which enables the three of us to share very high level intelligence. When one country provides intelligence to another, you can bet that the intelligence is vetted at the very highest levels. It would be a huge embarrassment to provide garbage intelligence to another country. Given that, when we receive intel from the Brits or Canadians, we can pretty much assume that it's good. The Brits had every reason to believe that the intel they had was good. It was well vetted and provided to us. We had no choice but to assume that it was good intel. Even if it turns out to be wrong, the onus is not on the US government. And fact is, the intel probably was good.

There is some evidence that a French operative had something to do with some false notions about the yellowcake/Niger thing, but I haven't heard anything about that in some time. I guess if it can't be used to trash the US the media lose interest in the story. But beyond that, there is every reason to believe that WMDs did exist. Poison gas, for example. And every reason to believe that research programs were in place for other WMDs. Yes, we've searched the country, but unless and until we put the entire US military shoulder to shoulder across the country and sweep every millimeter who can say we didn't miss anything? Like the fighter jets we found buried in the sand. And who can say that in the weeks preceding the invasion while we stamped our feet and made noises they didn't ship everything to Syria? Who can say they never had anything? You can't prove a negative.
Came across another blog by way of a comment posted here. It's sort of a narrative. The writer, FinnCanuck is a connoisseur of women and beer, definitely the top two food groups in my opinion. He's also a retired Army Reservist, which gives him major points here.

FinnCanuck traces his roots to Suomi, hence the name of his blog, Sotamies.

If I'm not mistaken (and I often am), I believe that means "soldiers".

The only issue I have is that I keep pronouncing the name of the blog as "sodomy".
Awww.

Kurt Nimmo called me a name. I'm deeply wounded.

He also claims that the Koran-flushing story is true, despite the fact that the magazine that published the article has retracted it. Says I should follow his links and they'll prove it. Right. Michael Isikoff, the reporter who broke the story, is no shrinking violet. If he still believed in it, there's no way Newsweek would have retracted it.

Oh, and Nimmo didn't dispute at all my contention that he hates Jews.
I'm heading for the shower after a swim through the sewers of the blogosphere. I was researching the Newsweek fiasco, about which more, when I found myself immersed in the effluvia of such bloggers as Oliver Willis, Kurt Nimmo and August Pollak.

Ollie, possibly the dumbest blogger still breathing, seems to have disabled my sign-on, prohibiting me from posting any more replies to his drivel.

I'm still waiting to hear back from Nimmo (a completely deranged, Jew-hating egomaniac), Pollak (a no-talent, hate-filled "cartoonist") and J. Barrett Powell (a crystal-gazing loony tune) as to why they have not enabled comments on their blogs. Actually, Powell used to allow comments, but disabled them after I questioned one of her posts.

My guess is that none of them have the intellectual capacity for discussion, or perhaps their egos demand that that they create a world in which they are never submitted to critical questions.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

I wish I knew what "trackbacks" are, exactly, and how to use them.

But at any rate, via Michell Malkin, we learn that Pablo Paredes has been convicted.

As I've said before, I only hope that he gets to spend some time with a cellmate known as "Tripod".

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

I'm lagging behind on posting--the last week has been brutal--but I want to make one quick point before I gather myself to actually post something substantial.

I've always felt like the filibuster is a suspect device. If you don't like a bill, simply stymie it by talking it to death.

In the midst of all of this debate over the filibuster I'd like to point out that over the last 40 years, aside from Robert Byrd's occasional self-important meanderings, there has been only one time that the filibuster was put to significant use. Care to guess?

It was when the so-called Dixiecrats (southern Democrats), led by Senator Al Gore, Sr., filibustered for 74 days in order to try and kill the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Yep--the last real use of the filibuster was when Democrats tried to keep blacks down.

Monday, May 09, 2005

I'll make it real simple, boys and girls:

As long as batters continue to strike out, as long as fielders continue to committ errors and as long as coaches continue to send runners to the next base only to have them thrown or tagged out, I don't want to hear ANY crap about umpires (in your fuzzy opinion) missing the odd call.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Via Gold Falcon at the JumpBlog, I have some across one of the most despicable life forms masquerading as a human that you would ever encounter.

Then I consider Oliver Willis, Markos Moulitsas, the Orcs at Democratic Underground...And I wonder just how low the left can possibly go.

I have noted that I respect people with strong beliefs who adhere to them in the face of adversity, even if I don't necessarily share those beliefs. I respect their strength.

The far left as represented by those whom I have cited above has no beliefs, so there is nothing there to respect. In place of a belief in anything, be it a sincere desire for world peace or whatever, they merely substitute hate. They believe in nothing (except possibly themselves). They only hate. They hate anyone who doesn't think like they do. They hate the US because it's predominantly red. They hate conservatives for thinking differently than they do. They hate soldiers for myriad reasons: They stand for the US, they steadfastly do a job the left is too wimpy to do, they don't badmouth the US and they say that we're right.

The left loves anyone who hates the US, no matter why 'they' hate the US, because they hate the US too. Yet they have every intention of remaining here and drawing sustenance from the teat of the greatest nation yet. They deny their two-faced view with a blusteryness that puts all but the boldest off from questioning them.

Ayway, from Gold Falcon we have Michael Crook, whose websites include Forsake the Troops!. I have no idea what to say about him. He apparently enlisted and was later dismissed for a heart murmer--or was it low body weight? Depends on which of his acccounts you read. As of this morning he had alleged each at different web sites (both of which have been "cleaned up" as of tonight, so much for links). Frankly, neither account rings true with me. He alleges what amounts to slave labor, unprofessional conduct, etc. I've been there. I strongly suspect Mr. Crook hasn't.

He now runs several web sites dedicated to trashing US troops in despicable ways, and uses his alleged discharge as an excuse for inexcusable postings. Did I say "cleaned up"? Tonight I can't find the photo of an apparent US fatality which he captioned "Serves him right".

Hey, Mikey--Any time, any place.
Not much energy to post right now.

The last 28 hours have included three baseball games in the space of 16 hours, multiple umpire crises and a down time of roughly an hour between baseball game number three and a Boy Scout spaghetti dinner.

On the positive side, Snake Eater, Jr. acquitted himself well, driving in two runs last night to even up the score during a comeback from a devastating second inning. They finally won 8-6. Today they split a double header with a Rec Council team about an hour's drive into the mountains. First game was good baseball. I'm afraid that the manager had more to do with the horrendous second game than the players did. More later. Oh, and a good catch from Junior finally got them out of an interminable inning during that game.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Haven't posted a recipe in a while, so here goes.

Take some chicken. Chose your weapon, but I think boneless skinless breasts are one of the great advances of the twentieth century. I like my chicken that way, too.

Anyway...

You need:

Chicken
Garlic
Onion (or not--it's an option)
A couple of leeks
Heavy cream
White wine
Dijon mustard


Cut the leeks into about one inch pieces and wash well. Heat some oil, saute the garlic (and onion) then add the chicken. Cook the chicken until almost done. Add around a half cup of white wine and the leeks. Cook until the chicken is done and the leeks are heated through. Move the chicken and leeks to a plate. Add some heavy cream to the pan to make a sauce and add a tablespoon or so of mustard to the sauce. Pour over chicken and leeks, toss to coat and enjoy.

I recommend using an extra large bottle of wine so that there's still plenty left to drink with dinner...
Cinco de Mayo aftermath. We'll discuss this no further.

Anyway, here's a case that gets the hackles up. Apparently the schools know better than you about what's best for your child. And as if we didn't already know that the ACLU was selective about its cases.

Hat tip to The Jumpblog.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

As far as I'm concerned, this is another Islamist attempt to influence western policy--in this case, an election. They succeded in Spain, and I fear that they may succeed here as well.
Now for the rantings from a life misspent.

We live back a road, if you will. We actually own the road from the state road to a point past our house, then the next house picks it up. There are several houses strung along the road, so we have neighbors, but not in the normal sense of the house next door.

The family across the road from us is, ummm, special. Dad is completely wrapped up in church. They spend a great deal of time there, and in addition he works with a church youth group (which doesn't include his remaining daughter) and plays guitar with some church-affiliated musical group. When he's not in church he bikes (by himself), plays tennis (with whom, I don't know, but it's not with his daughter or his obese, hypochondriac wife), flies an aircraft (again, by himself) and sometimes rollerskates. They used to lock themselves in church on Halloween.

I once heard an expression for people like him: So heavenly bound he's no earthly good.

All this and he was astonished when his oldest daughter left home and got married at 19. They "disowned" her and so resented the fact that her grandparents stepped in to take care of the wedding that they decided to relocate several states away to ensure that the grandparents could have no further contact with their remaining daughter.

This sounds like a tall tale, I know. But it's absolutely true.

Their house actually sold, for an astonishing amount of money. I was stunned. Given what they sold for, I estimate our house is worth over a half million, maybe even as much as 600K. Interesting to know that we own a house that we couldn't possibly afford to buy...

He's currently searching for a job in Kentucky. Don't know why Kentucky in particular other than it's a very long way from here.

His remaining daughter comes over here to play. Given the above, you can imagine that she has issues. Bad things seem to happen to our daughter when she comes to play. Things like shaved eyebrows, for example. I don't make too much of an issue of them because I figure it's children being children.

Our kids used to go over to their house and roller skate in their garage and on their blacktop driveway. Several months ago, in a rare family moment, their dad offered to take our kids to a skating rink with him and his daughter. About a half-hour later he's at the door demanding that we talk. It turns out that his daughter gave my son his skates one day and they skated on the blacktop. (I won't comment on the fact that his skates fit a 12-year old) When they got to the skating rink the people there said he couldn't use his skates on the rink due to the asphalt residue on the wheels. Rather than spend three bucks to rent a pair of skates and deal with things later, he opted to ruin the whole thing, abort the trip and throw a fit in our kitchen. I took the skates and after he left I spent a whole five minutes with a Scotchbright pad and cleaned the wheels. What a jerk. To rub things in I threw a good Airborne spit shine on the uppers. Gave them back to him and he said not a word.

Now with that as a background, and bearing in mind that bad things happen when his daughter is around (it's not her fault she was brought up by a**holes), had a good one last night.

I'm in the kitchen washing dishes, my son is getting ready for a baseball game and my daughter has already dressed for basketball and is playing with Hell Child. All of a sudden I hear a scream followed by crying. The Bear had her mouth open, apparently laughing and Hell Child flicked a paper clip at her which lodged in her throat. I looked in her throat with a flashlight and had a pair of needlenose pliers on hand, but I couldn't even see the paper clip. There was no doubt it was there--there was a pronounced huskiness to her voice. Called the pediatrician and they couldn't deal with it, so off to the emergency room. Spent almost four hours there, during which time it finally made its way to her stomach. They took X-rays, and of course it couldn't be a normal paper clip. Nope, this one is opened up to resemble a fishhook. So immediately there is concern about its journey through the digestive tract.

Let's total up the above: Pain. Anxiety. Missed basketball game. Missed baseball game. Two umpire crises I was unable to resolve. Three and a half hours in the ER. Potato chips for supper. Another missed basketball game (she's restricted on activity until we know that the clip has safely passed). Emergency room charges. Sorting through her bowel movements for the next few days. Notifying teacher and school nurse of the need for sorting through bowel movements. Embarrassment incurred when teacher has to notify nurse that Bear has to have a bowel movement. Followup appointment with pediatrician. Charges for followup appointment. Potential that there may be complications...

I'm I wrong for wanting to take his roller skates and insert them into his rectum?

I left a message with Bear's teacher last night and called the school nurse this morning, confident that dealing with swallowed items is not unknown in elementary school. Just my luck, she has never had this situation before. Bear reports that she rarely has bowel movements at school. Let's hope that the trend continues.

Oh, and Hell Child's mother drives her the few hundred feet to the bus stop each morning thereby ensuring that the cycle of obesity will continue. Hell Child usually gets out of the car and talks with my two kids. This morning she remained in the car until the last minute. And I'll bet a month' s pay she hasn't said a word to her parents.

Someday I'll have a normal life...
SFAlphageek has an interesting moral dilemma posted here.

It's a direct reference to the case the Army is making against CPT Maynulet and if they actually possesed anything resembling intelligence, it would give the Orcs at Democratic Underground and Daily Kos pause to think in their unrelenting drive to assassinate CPT Maynulet, 1LT Pantano and every other member of the US Armed Forces.

I weighed in on SFAlphageek's dilemma, but I think the best solution was posted by the guy who identifies himself as an "E-6, 40 years ago".
As I have said, any lingering doubts I had about the necessity to invade Iraq evaporated when our troops discoverd the children's prison. The aftermath of the invasion has only reinforced that this was the right thing to do. Every Islamist nutjob on the planet is heading for Iraq. That they are there not to fight the Western Oppressors, but to fight the very idea of freedom is easily proved by their attacks on targets such as Iraqi police stations.

If this is the way it has to be, than so be it. Let it be a war of attrition where the Islamists eventually remove themselves from the planet by blowing themselves up or committing the fatal act of attacking coalition forces. There are reasonable people of the Muslim faith and once the nutcases are eliminated we can get back to being a decent planet.

I bring you a case in point via NOTR at ROFASix. (By the way, I have no idea what either acronym stands for) Do read ROFASix, it's a very good and fascinating blog, but the case in point is conveniently summed up at Michelle Malkin's blog, here.

In particular, note that the piece of dung who attacked the US convoy could have done so at any time. The slimeball was driving a vehicle. But the @^&*(@# chose to do it when Iraqi children (undoubtedly all devout Muslims) were surrounding the US vehicles. It's a matter of historic record that American GIs have always had a soft spot for children. There are countless, countless examples of troops tending to children, giving them food, passing out treats...The "candy bombers" of the Berlin Airlift are legendary. And the Berlin Airlift itself was a humanitarian effort driven largely by concern for children when the communist bastards callously blocked off Berlin and left its population, children and all, to starve. This Islamist piece of garbage chose to make his point by driving a bomb into a convoy while children were visiting.

Do we need to be there? Is it worth it? Hell yes.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Well, fresh from swimming the sewers at Daily Kos, Oliver Willis, et al.

Not much to report. Just the usual venom from Kos. He's endorsing some candidates, which is a good thing since his endorsement amounted to the kiss of death in the last election.

Oliver Willis continues to confuse hate with intellect. He's just beaming with pride at his brilliant insights about the presidency. He has officially labeled Bush a "lame duck". Yes, Ollie, he is in his last term.

Kurt Nimmo is so immersed in his hatred of Jews that I'm surprised he hasn't killed himself with his own venom. I thought lefties believe would should all love one another. I guess Jews aren't people in their world.

Managed to slog through Democratic Underground by convincing myself that the Orcs there aren't worth getting worked up over. Nothing of substance to report there (big surprise, right?).

Unfortunately, while pushing my way through the sea of waste that these intellectual vacuums frolic about in, I discovered this guy. I began looking into his dreck and had a half dozen tabs open on him when I finally couldn't deal with the nausea any more. I'll put it in plain terms right here and now. He's a liar. I see he's also appeared on the radar screen at Mudville Gazette. Good post with lots of links. I'm too angry and worked up to do anything approaching the quality of Greyhawk's article, so go read it.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Just a really quick post while I'm looking around and researching some things.

I had the news on and they were talking about the little five-year old girl who was handcuffed in Florida. I don't have enough background on the hows and whys and whether it was appropriate to handcuff a five-year old (well, I have one comment), but there was a statement in the interview of her mother that deserves comment.

The interviewer said to the effect that "People will question her upraising". Not the exact question, but close. Her mother replied that her upraising was just fine. Oh? A kid who throws a fit like that has had perfect upraising? Even if mommy feels that she's done just fine as a loving parent and the fits aren't attributable to her, the upraising argument falls short. After all, even if homelife is perfect with a loving mommy and a loving daddy and all that, good parents would have taken a cue from the child's history (yes, she has a history) and sought counseling or some other form of help.

Mommy (don't know if there's a daddy) is suing for huge sums of money, but she says it's not about the money, but only to draw attention to the (perceived) injustice of handcuffing a small child. If that were truly the case she could achieve the same effect by suing for $1.00.

I've always taken the failures of my children personally. After all, I'm raising them. When they fail, who else could possibly be responsible other than me? And if they fail big enough to be arrested I guarantee you it was my fault and not the fault of the police officers who had to deal with the situation.

As far as handcuffing the child, I don't like it. BUT--had the police restrained her in any other fashion-and she did require restraint-they'd have opened themselves up for all manner of abuse from the mother, the ACLU, Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrukhan, Al Sharpton...you name it. Instead they adhered strictly to regulations regarding the restraint of out of control persons. A little latitude would have been nice. After all, it's not so difficult for a grown man to restrain a five-year old, but it is exactly the people/organizations I just named that make that impossible. Descretion is anathema. It'll only get you in trouble. Stick to the SOPs and you'll at least keep your job even though it tastes bad from time to time. SOP for deranged suspects is handcuffs, ergo all deranged suspects, even five-year old children, get handcuffs. I don't think for a second that any of the officers on that scene enjoyed cuffing that child, but they did what they had to do. What they were forced to do by the same people who are now condemning them for it.

Monday, May 02, 2005

I still owe another post about Ft. Devens where I include Wagon Wheel memories, but I just reread one of SFAlphageek's posts regarding a jump gone awry and I'm remembering all sorts of things that happened on jumps.

As SFAlphageek mentions, there are a lot of variables involved in a jump, including, but not limited to: wind, aircrew experience, jumpmaster experience, experience level of jumpers, the guys on the ground setting up the drop zone...It goes on and on.

Besides the jump on Turner Drop Zone which I already mentioned here, I'll bore you with some others.

During the Special Forces Qualification Course potential radio operators had to do an exercise in Pisgah National Forest. I don't know if they still do it. The drop zone in Pisgah is (was) minescule. It was referred to as a three-second DZ. The C-130 could only drop four guys per pass (count--zero, one, two, three). I hadn't yet learned how important parts of the pre-jump briefing are and let my mind wander far afield while the aircraft commander discussed the direction of the DZ and the azimuth the aircraft would be flying, etc. Another mistake I made was assuming that they were talking about "B" Mountain (presumably there was also an "A" Mountain and a "C" Mountain). Turned out it was called Bee Mountain, for good reason.

C-130s have air conditioning--a nice feature. But as we learned on that flight the air conditioning ducts eventually freeze up and--I swear to God--start throwing out chunks of ice. Everyone's helmet went on. About an hour out of the DZ the aircraft descended to what's referred to as "nap of the Earth". Low-level flight to avoid radar. Of course in low level flight the aircraft is constantly turning around hills or pitching up and down over them. A number of guys had to use airsickness bags, further enriching the atmosphere.

A further feature of that DZ is that everyone knows that there are periodic jumps there, and at four jumpers per pass it takes considerable time to complete the jump, so lots of spectators show up.

Like the Turner DZ jump, there was enough wind that we exited over trees and the wind would push us over the DZ. I exited the aircraft and saw nothing but trees underneath me. Having paid no attention to the briefing I was on my own trying to find the DZ. There was a promising clearing to my front, so I headed for it, losing precious altitude all the way. After a bit I looked to my left and saw smoke. Holy Sh*t! So I grabbed the left toggle and pulled that thing hand over hand until I nearly collapsed the 'chute. Now I'm heading in the right direction, but at the last minute a tree between me and the DZ suddenly grew very tall and very wide. I hit the tree, which took the loading off of the parachute and pretty much collapsed it. Fortunately in that part of the country they like to dump garbage at the bases of trees and it was actually one of the softest landings I ever had. I shook the coffee grounds out of my hair, pulled the orange peels out of my ears and mustered what dignity I had left as I walked past the spectators to the turn in point.

Could have been worse. At this point the name Bee Mountain became obvious. Someone disturbed a bees' nest when he landed and we were treated to the sight of him running across the DZ with his parachute dragging behind him.

Several guys overshot the drop zone. The far end of the DZ ended with a dropoff into what they called Lost Hollow. Overshooting the DZ by a few feet horizontally meant dropping an considerable distance vertically into this hollow. We got the guys down and then proceeded to rip the parachutes to shreds getting them out of the trees. Someone took a knife and removed enough suspension line to pass around to everyone. We never heard anything, but I know someone got in big trouble over what we did to those parachutes.

Spent the next 17 days humping up and down Bee Mountain with AN/PRC-74 radios, batteries and GRC-71 Coderburst devices. I literally bent the frame on my backpack due to its weight. And the bees? They were everywhere. These big yellow things that would dart to and fro and hover. Not a meal went by that they didn't try and fight us for our C-rations.

God, I miss those days...
And from an elephant, no less.


Candy Bar Posted by Hello
Saw an advertisement for some TV show in which Rosey O'Donnell is cast as a "mentally challenged woman". Talk about type casting...
I've got mail.

Pablo Paredes is a piece of slime who ducked out on his contract to serve in the Navy (after four and one-half years of sucking on the Navy's teat) and made a huge media spectacle of himself waving to his ship as it sailed off. He claimed that he didn't want to participate in the in Iraq, but actually he ended up not participating in the humanitarian relief efforts in Indonesia. Citizen Smash posted an open letter to the slimeball here. Be sure to follow the link to Paredes' weasly reply.

Paredes used to have a web site with his odd writings in the third person. I posted two comments on teh web site (which actually got copied to a new web site some moron is running on Paredes' behalf). You can probably guess from what I've said so far that the comments were not exactly complimentary. Here's one of them (I borrowed his weird third person style):

So is Pablo still happy with himself, or has Pablo realized that he's a whiney little piece of sh*t who ducked out on serving wth the relief force that we sent to what was probably the greatest single tragic event in human history?
Methinks Pablo can live with himself because Pablo is a t*rd. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Now he has sent out a letter, apparently to everyone who has ever posted on his site, detailing what a heroic matyr he is. Mine even came with the above comment attached to it. I wonder if it dawned on any of those morons that I don't have the slightest interest in anything that worm might have to say.

The up side is that the Navy has decided to prosecute him and once convicted on federal charges he'll at least lose his right to vote.

I hope he ends up sharing a cell with a guy nicknamed "Tripod".


I managed to sit through a double header and only yelled at one parent.

The batter went for a low pitch and ended up sort of lobbing the ball to the pitcher. The ball hit the dirt a fraction of an inch in front of his glove and then went into his glove. I was standing with four or five umpires and coaches and we all saw it, as did the plate umpire. Batter was safe at first.

Some guy in the bleachers- a big loutish looking jerk-started screaming at the umpire, gecticulating and carrying on like an idiot. I blew and pointed at the guy and yelled "You cannot make the calls from there". I guess I must have really launched into the delivery, because he immediately sat down and didn't say another word. I should do that more often...

I happened to have a stack of umpire shirts to distribute and later I offered him one. He declined...
Snake eater, Jr. delivers the bad news.



Out Posted by Hello