Saturday, March 29, 2003

Seen on my ISP's home page this morning, under "Top Stories": War in Iraq Turns Ugly. That's What Wars Do.

I'll be out of touch for the next 36 hours or so. Going to a big ol' party out of town. Have a great weekend.

Friday, March 28, 2003

On a totally unrelated note, if there are any Parrotheads out there who have missed this, check out the Church of Buffett, Orthodox. Whether or not you believe the first four albums constitute the canon, Chris Wilson has the best news available about tour dates and general goings-on.

Kick back with a margarita, put A1A on the stereo, and relax a little. You can't save the world from a little padded room.
Lance Armstrong speaks out on the war. Click on the current weblog link and enjoy. Thanks, Charles.
Rand Simberg's take on how today's press would have reported WWII. There are links to more archives in his latest column for

Better yet, go to his front page and explore from there. He's good.
Support the troops: Read what the DoD has to say about mail. Then follow the links to ways to help.

There are many in the blogosphere promoting--or organizing--programs to help, as well. I am in the process of compiling a list, and I'll post it soon. If you have a program you'd like me to link to, e-mail me.
This is just weird. But I expect more political types will discover the joys of blogging...and that isn't a bad thing. (Via InstaPundit.)
Check out this exchange from the CENTCOM briefing on March 27. Thanks to Dad, for pointing it out.

Q I'm Michael Wolf (sp) from New York Magazine. I mean no disrespect by this question, but I want to ask about the valued proposition of these briefings. We're no longer being briefed by senior-most officers. To the extent that we get information, it's largely information already released by the Pentagon. You may know that ABC has sent its senior correspondent home.
So I guess my question is, why should we stay? What's the value to us for what we learn at this million-dollar press center? (Applause.)

GEN. BROOKS: I've gotten applause already. That's wonderful. I appreciate that.

First, I would say it's your choice. We want to provide information that's truthful from the operational headquarters that is running this war. There are a number of places where information is available, not the least of which would be the embedded media. And they tell a very important story. The Pentagon has a set of information they provide as well. If you're looking for the entire mosaic, then you should be here.

I think some of you may have been, based on the questions yesterday, looking for very, very precise information about the operations. And we'll give you that as we can. But we should never forget, the more we tell you, if we're precise about the frontline trace and where units are operating, exactly what our strength is, you're not the only one being informed. And that's the most important (business ?).

Q (Inaudible) -- but is it possible that we can get General Franks on a more consistent basis?

GEN. BROOKS: I'm sorry you feel disappointed. I probably need to get a pay raise here. (Laughter.) General Franks will -- he's already shown that he's more than willing to come and talk to you at the right time. But he's fighting a war right now. And he has me to do this for him.

Visit CENTCOM. And while you're there, check out the leaflet gallery.
If you are interested in what the Pentagon has to say (as I helps to keep me grounded amid all of the interesting rumors), go to DefenseLink.
I've taken a page from Salam Pax here and have been blogging on paper until I can get to a computer. It may take some patience to get to his blog, since he has been "discovered", and the server is sometimes overburdened, but it is worth it. He hasn't posted in a few days...I hope he's ok.

I'm not going to get into whether or not the man is who he says he is...I tend to believe him, but read and judge for yourself. A good place to start if you're interested in the question is this article.

In any case, I thank him for the idea of working on paper when there is no way to get on the 'net. This way I can look like I'm posting like crazy, when I'm really trying to figure out how to add the links to my template.

Thursday, March 27, 2003

I suffer from time to time from the feeling that I am not a "real" veteran, both because my service was so short--16 months--and because I never finished my initial training. I was unable to avoid the disability discharge that was handed down to me just a few days after 9/11. Eternal thanks to the sixth person in this Officer Candidate's chain of command, the (then) Director of Officer Candidate School. He thanked me for my service on the day they kicked me out. He taught me that the honor lies in giving it more than you knew you had, even if it feels like it wasn't enough.
This was sent to me years ago by a friend, but it seemed appropriate. I pulled out my favorites, since the whole thing is a little lengthy. If you want it, drop me an e-mail and I'll send it to you. Apologies to the author, whose name was lost in cyberspace before it reached me.

For everyone who has ever been a sailor! For your friends who think that Navy life depicted in 'Top Gun' and 'JAG' is so glamorous, you can teach them to play along at home. Or maybe some of you have friends that don't quite understand Navy life? Here are some things they can do at home:

1. Buy a dumpster, paint it gray, and live it in for 6 straight months.

2. Run all the piping and wires inside your house on the outside of your walls.

3. Pump 10 inches of nasty, crappy, water into your basement, then pump it out, clean it up, and paint the basement 'deck gray.'

4.. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, turn your water temperature up to 200 degrees, then on Tuesdays and Thursdays turn it down to 40 degrees. On Saturdays and Sundays declare to your entire family that they used too much water during the week, so all showering is secured.

5. Raise your bed to within six inches of the ceiling.

8. Have your next door neighbor come over each day at 5am, and blow a whistle so that Helen Keller could hear it, and shout "Reveille, Reveille! All hands heave out and trice up!"

9. Have your mother-in-law write down everything she is going to do the following day; then have her read it to out loud while you stand in the backyard at 6 am.

10. For three straight days, eat the raunchiest Mexican food you can find, then lock the bathroom door for 12 hours and hang a sign on it that reads 'Secured - Contact OA DIV at ext. 3053'.

11. Invite 200 of your not-so-closest friends to come over to your house, then board up all the windows and doors for 6 months. After the 6 months is over, take the boards down, look out the window and wave to family and friends...and since you are on duty, you can't go out to say hi until the following day.

12. Shower w/ the above-mentioned friends.

13. Walk around your car for 4 hours checking the tire pressure every half hour - record all readings on log sheets and annotate any unexpected changes with red circles.

14. Have your neighbors collect all your mail for a month, randomly losing every 5th item.

15. Sew back pockets on the front of your pants.

16. Ask your neighbors to needle gun the aluminum siding on your house after you have gone to bed.

17. Post a menu on the refrigerator door informing your family that you are having steak for dinner. Then make them wait in line in the family room for an hour, and, when they finally get into the kitchen, announce that your are out of steak, but, they can have either ham or hot dogs. Repeat this procedure daily until they just ask for hot dogs.

18. Lock yourself and your family in the house for 6 weeks straight. Then promise to take them to 'Disneyland' at the end of that 6 weeks for weekend liberty. At the end of 6 weeks, tell them that weekend liberty has been canceled due to the fact that they need to get ready for 'E-cert,' and so it will be another week before they can leave the house.

Remember: It's not just a job! It's 24/7 for the rest of your life (or 20 Years if you're "lucky").

I would have considered myself very lucky indeed. And remember...this is the peacetime simulation. Think about what our people are going through right now. I find it quite humbling.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

I am flush with the joy of having created working links, and I will definitely be up all night if I keep going. Unfortunately, I am one of those types who has to be in the office, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, early in the morning. So I'm going to go try to convince a friend or two to join in, to give this thing some variety, and then hit the sack. 'Til then, if you have stumbled across this rough beginning, thanks for reading. And please come back...
I will be struggling over the next days to learn enough HTML to be able to do a few neat tricks and add some links and all of that typical blog stuff. I am, I admit, a latecomer to almost all revolutions--it was my father who told me about way back when. He is the one who remembers the 1200 baud modem. I am more than old enough to have been on the forefront, but he is the early adopter in the family.

I nearly entered the blogosphere 2 weeks ago, when I was told by an otherwise pleasant lady that I must be glad to be out of the military with the war coming and all. I kept my temper, but it got me thinking...and yesterday I was pushed over the edge by a friend from my more liberal youth, who has been riding the train farther to the left while I've been busy falling off the right edge of the Republican party into a sort of Libertarianism. He is a Massachusetts Democrat who believes the current war in Iraq is illegal and none of the evidence of wrongdoing by Saddam is authentic. Or so says the link he sent me instead of explaining it himself. I am a disabled vet who believes very strongly the opposite. I was gearing up for a good argument before I got this. Read it, and if you agree, you may want to skip my posts in the future. I'll just piss you off.

The worst part of this is that I signed up in part to defend with my life his right to spread this stuff. Dissent is a vital part of any healthy society, and nowhere is this better demonstrated than in the good old US of A. I love disagreements. But argue with me, dang it! It would take me the next week to lay out in type all of the evidence to refute this thing. I should tell him to just go read InstaPundit for some balanced news.

The thing is that the byproduct of this war should be the freedom of the Iraqi people to talk as much bs as they desire about their government--without getting shot for their trouble. And the folks who scream the loudest about their right to dissent don't seem to think it's worth dying for. I do.
Ok, I have to admit that I have no earthly idea what I'm doing, but I should be able to figure it out before too long. With any luck, I will not piss off too many in the 'sphere before I do! I'll post later on what finally annoyed me into starting one of these, but for now, I'm terribly anxious to post something, anything at all of my own and see it on the site. So pardon the fascination with myself as I publish, and don't, whatever you do, pardon the pun.