Cowboy Blob's Saloon and Shootin Gallery

I'm not a real Cowboy, but I play one in the movies.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Around My Milblog Neighborhood

Beside's Greyhawk's great story, Castle Argghhh and Blackfive are kicking off another Spirit of America drive. B5 has also got a good list of other charities devoted to helping the troops.

Mommamontez at Sgt Slaglerock's tells the tale of two brothers in Iraq, one wounded.

GI Korea gives his take on anti-US violence in Korea.

Sgt Hook is home!

Risawn has sprouted a milblog in preparation for her Kovoso deployment.

Heath at Pass the Brass is getting paid to go to the bathroom in Korea.

Noble Eagle has news on Julia Cook who was shot in the head in NY. She's the pregnant wife of a deployed Marine.

That is all.

Happy Birthday, Winnie!


Today is Winston Churchill's 130th birthday!

I wonder what they're doing aboard his namesake today?

USS WINSTON S. CHURCHILL (DDG-81) is the third ship in the OSCAR AUSTIN - class but also the 31st ARLEIGH BURKE class guided missile destroyer.

The ship is the fourth US warship named after an Englishman. As a courtesy to the ship's namesake country, a member of the Royal Navy is assigned to the ship's crew at all times.

Pic and text stolen from this site which has great information on the ship and the great man himself.

It's a Small World

Greyhawk at the Mudville Gazette has a touching post about the few degrees of separation that exist in the military community and the story of another fallen hero. Read it...I'll wait.

My career field was a small world; after basic training, I never went anywhere that I didn't know somebody (five guys from by basic flight went to the same tech school). Even when I scored a rare TDY to an isolated site in Germany, an amazing coincidence manifested itself. I was talking to a lady on my shift who was a Russian linguist; when she mentioned she came from a Ukrainian community in the US, I immediately thought of the Uke Homestead so near my hometown. No, it wasn't, but it's still creepy...it was in Ohio. Prior to this trip, a co-worker had been reminiscing aloud about this Ukrainian girl he had worshipped as a young man...and he was from Ohio. I asked her if she knew him and it turned out that it was her little sister that my coworker had been pining for! This trip almost got freakier...a high school friend was vacationing in Germany at the same time and he just happened to be coming to Bavaria. I gave him my duty phone number which he called when he arrived in-country. Unfortunately, it turned out he'd be getting there the same morning my bus was leaving for the Paris Air Show. Sorry guy. I've seen you before, but I'll probably never see Paris again (plus, I'd already paid for the trip).

He's not the only high school classmate I'd pass in the night. My roommate at language school used to sit next to me in high school English class...I later encountered him at Survival School where he was faculty and I was red meat...fortunately, he was very cool about it. I ran into another classmate standing in line for a taxi in Korea; I almost didn't recognize him without his long red hair. Another lives right here in Tucson, but I never saw her until our 20-year Reunion.

My best friend Alan is the master of the small world. He was my Dorm Chief in Basic Training, fellow flight member in language school, and fellow squadron member as instructors at tech school. I was the Best Man at his wedding. His wife was later secretary in Germany for an officer who was in my high school history club (and my little brother's best friend). Alan left the linguist field to become an analyst and soon got to know everybody in the Air Force intel community.

Chief Master Sergeant: "Hey, here comes our new commander."
Incoming Commander: "Oh, hi, Alan!"

[Gets the look from the Chief]

Of course, I call Alan "Chief" even though he'll retire next year one stripe short of the rank. Thanks for everything, Chief!

Monday, November 29, 2004

Anime Aircraft Pr0n


Italian Air Force Macchi 202 (circa 1942)

Beautiful airplane.

Too bad the game (Il-2 Sturmovik: Forgotten Battles Ace Expansion Pack) doesn't let you fly it; it was the best Italian fighter of the war. However, you can fly the CR.42 biplane against Gloster Gladiators!

Labels:

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Sunday Ferret Blogging 28 Nov


Got to squeeze the Phoenix Weasels this weekend and noticed that my Lenny and Squiggy are a bit heftier than Rustle (top) and Mooglie now. I think the difference is all the aerobic exercise Jon gives his guys. I'd like to get the L&S out of their room to run around sometime, but I've got to do some major cleaning and re-ferretproofing. The few times I ran the boys with the ferret lure (ferret doll on a string hanging from a guncleaning rod), they did some damage to it. Lenny is very paws-on and has a pretty strong bite. Learned from Jon that his will chase just a pen cap...guess they're not fussy, just need something to chase. I hope it works with mine; usually one of them gets tired of competing and tries to claw his way up my leg.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Our Blessed Lady of Acceleration...and Tunes!

Spent some of the holidays out of the saloon, including a roadtrip to Greater Phoenix. A friend of mine invited me up for Thanksgiving with his extended family and his Day After Feast at his home with friends. That was a lot of socializing for me, and a long time for Lenny and Squiggy to be alone, and a lot of gluttony, and a lot of socializing...did I ever tell you I'm not very social?

Anyway, I bailed on the Thurday Thing...I microwaved the last of my turkey sausage chili, called home where they passed the phone around and said, "Howdy," and watched the traditional Detroit and Dallas football games. After the sun went down, it was time to head for the Valley of the Sun. I hadn't driven the Stang for a month and I was a little leary about little critters building nests in the wiring and causing a fire, but not quite enough to pop the hood and look. Heck, let the stampeding horses shake the nesting out!

Remember when I posted a meme asking what CD would you rather get stuck in your CD player? Of course not...I had about three regular readers back then. Well, it happened to me Friday and fortunately I had an even better CD in the player that will no longer eject...a homemade CD entitled Remax ("remakes") which I made for my friend's wedding reception. All remakes that sound better the second time around (Jon and his bride were each getting married for the second time). When the Tucson FM started petering out after Picacho, I was greeted with:

"Hey, hey, what can I do?" by Hootie and the Blowfish. What? How can that be better than the Led Zep version? I had to wait for the %&*&* Led Zep box set to come out to get that great song on CD!!

Also..."Battle of Evermore" by the Lovemongers...dude, the Wilson sisters ROCK! It's the best use for mandolin since "Maggie May" and "Back in the High Life Again"

What else is in there? "I'm your Boogie Man" by Rob Zombie (the Crow soundtrack).

"Go Your Own Way" by the Cranberries (yeah, the guitars lacked the passion and precision of Lindsay Buckingham, but Delores O'Riordan made up for it on vocals. Stevie Nicks...don't be sad. Call me, we'll talk.

"Rocket Man" by Kate Bush (from the Eltom Remax album Two Rooms). Plus more....

"Gold Dust Woman" by Hole. Seriously, Stevie, if you're reading, call me.

There's much more, but I'm not here to bore you with my lack of musical taste. Instead, I'll bore you with my geekiness! We played Dungeons and Dragons with some of Jon's old high school friends, and inhaled some of the best turkey and fixings I've ever had. The gaming was very devious and entertaining, centered on Jon's incredible improvisation/authoring talents, but equally energized by the wizened veterans who know you don't kill every member of an evil party of humans/demihumans you encounter!

Well, I hope everybody had as good a holiday as I had, at least! Now, back to the saloon...gotta check out the expiration date on this bottle of vodka.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Thanks for Little Friends

Two of the many things I'm thankful for today are my furry housemates, Lenny and Squiggy. These little poop factories teach an otherwise asocial hermit to love and care for some other being. Russ at Tac Jammer expresses this feeling much better than I can. His story reminded me of Ripley's last days, except that there could be no happy ending. You see, Ripley was truly a geriatric ferret, living at the edge of the average lifespan of nine years. When she got very sick, I took the day shift taking care of her while her owner was at work. She wouldn't eat her food, so I whipped up some sick ferret goop using a recipe out of Ferret magazine: oatmeal, sardines with oil, and water in a blender. Using a medicine dropper, I force-fed her at first, then she warmed up to it and slurped it out of the cup herself. Eventually, she was up slinking around, albeit very shakily. Amazingly, she lived for, I think, six months on this diet and Jon's tender care until her body decided it could run no more. Ripley's cage has new tenants now, and I'm sure Jon's giving the boys an extra thankful hug today.

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

A Kindred Cowboy Soul

The Jersey Cowboy at The Questing Cat is at war, but that's not what he's posting about. He's cold and having comflicting thoughts about his dislike for the feeling and his like of the idea. He's also a fellow D&D geek! Check him out!

I utterly hate the cold. One of the reasons I retired in Arizona rather than PA was to endure the absolute minimum of winter weather. On my last tour to Korea, we suffered the worst blizzard in over 50 years the day after I got off the plane. I had my field jacket with liner, but that was poor defense against the numbing Siberian below-zero temps that sat over Korea that month. They couldn't issue me a parka for weeks because the issue point was inside a secure area and the security office wouldn't unpack from their office move for a while to process me. Fortunately, I had enough stripes that I didn't have to shovel snow at the squadron--I actually didn't even have to do anything but call in daily to see if I could report to work. That I could do in civvies, so I bought a nice warm Goretex coat and stomped through the snow from the hotel to the base, where I could get breakfast, a big cup of joe, and a Pacific Stars and Stripes to read.

At the end of my tour, I had to turn in my parka the day I turned in my badge. I braved the December ice-winds in my field jacket, all the while cycling profanities against the winter through my brain on the way home. After my retirement ceremony and final outprocessing, back to the snuggy-warm civvies until my flight out of Inchon. I'd spend Christmas with friends in Phoenix, gloriously clad in a short-sleeved shirt and slacks. Hang in there, Cowboy!

Rival Saloon

I don't normally like to send business to another saloon, but this guy is an exception. A sample of his wares:

Madfish Willie's Weather Forecast For Turkey Day:
Turkeys will thaw in the morning, then warm in the oven to an afternoon high near 190F. The kitchen will turn hot and humid, and if you bother the cook, be ready for a severe squall or cold shoulder.

During the late afternoon and evening, the cold front of a knife will slice through the turkey, causing an accumulation of one to two inches on plates. Mashed potatoes will drift across one side while cranberry sauce creates slippery spots on the other. Please pass the gravy.
...
Mosey on over for multiple helpings of Thanksgiving Goodness!


Tuesday, November 23, 2004

More Gratuitous Gun Pr0n


The Walther P-38 is the grandaddy of double-action semi-auto police/military pistols. A great improvement over the P-08 Luger (no matter how elegant Lugerphiles might think it), it was the working officer's pistol. I bought my first P-38 (1943 make) from my best friend who was heading overseas. At the range, it hit the extreme bottom of the target or not at all. Oh well, it joined my museum pieces I never intended to fire again.

A few years later, a coworker had a '61 P-38 he was trying to sell after a divorce. He horned in on me, being the office gun nut, but his asking price was too high. I already had a P-38 and I wouldn't pay more for another, even though I got best-friend pricing on it. He was desparate (I think) enough to meet my price and I paid it. Range report: it hit the extreme bottom of the target or not at all. Grrrr.

For some reason, I brought the '61 out to a range shoot and a friend shot it very well. What gives?...I'd been aiming at the top of the target to get shots into the black. At some time after I got my first USAF pistol instruction(on the Berretta M-9, another double-action), I started printing hits in the 10 ring! When my friend and I watched a stranger cuss out his own P-38, I offered to check it out. I kept the soda can moving until it was out of site, then offered the advice I got from the Air Force staff sergeant who cured my Walther Block.

When I brought the '43 Walther out the next time...in the 10 ring! They're great shooters! In the funny little niche a single-stack 9mm fills nowadays, go Walther! Heck, somebody showed interest in buying my sadly ignored-but-not-neglected 9mm Firestar a few weeks ago....

Homecoming

I've been a faithful Ford owner since I bought my first Mustang from the AAFES dealer in Korea in 1987. Now Ford has put out a great commercial to thank our troops and show off the new Mustang.

h/t to Kevin at the Smallest Minority

Monday, November 22, 2004

Okay, Fine!

Billy Budd at American Dinosaur insisted I do a list of great Westerns.

10. Ghost Rock (straight to video-cool, but let's go on.)
9. Pale Pider
8. El Dorado
7. High Plains Drifter
6. High Chaparral (TV Series)
5. Blazing Saddles
4. Young Guns
3. Eastwood's Man with No Name Series
2. High Noon
1. Unforgiven

Update: Thanks for all the suggestions in the comments! It pains me that none of the films featuring John Wayne, Henry Fonda, and other old greats haven't bubbled up higher in my memory. There ought to be a Western Channel that dusts off great flicks like The Undefeated, Cat Ballou, Rio Lobo or Bravo, or whatever, a lot more regularly than Turner does.

Collapsed under the Ugly Forest

BillyBudd at the local American Dinosaur has a post almost as hideous as my Madly Albright/Admiral Ackbar comparison.

Feature Blog: Live from the Rear

Via CBFTW comes Live from the Rear, a blog by a C-130 mechanic who spends time and emotional capital visiting our wounded heros in foreign hospitals. She also relays a lot of her encounters with troops heading into Harm's Way.

Cowboy Blob has a special place in his heart for the folks who fix broken Herks (yes, Dad was one). I'd have had a bit more than 229 hours in the airframe if it wasn't for these people grounding them, but I might not be writing this now if it wasn't for their dedication to ensuring the "jet" was ready to fly. Check it out.

It's a Trap!



Hat tip to and idea from Jennifer at Demure Thoughts.

Mmmm, Food Pr0n

You know that groaning, gurgling sound the submarine from "Operation Petticoat" made? My stomach sounds just like that after seeing Steve Graham's ManCamp cookout over at Hog on Ice. I'm not much of a gourmand myself, limiting myself to microwave bachelor food or the occasional pot of chili. Last night I made my chicken stir-fry, whose recipe I will share with you.

Into a non-stick skillet, drop one piece of boneless frozen chicken breast (two if it's boneless thighs) and two handsful of frozen french fries. Set the heat from 3 to 4 and go back to blogging in the next room. When you can hear the sizzling, return and stir the fries and flip the chicken. Go back to blogreading. After a few minutes, use a rigid non-metal spatula to break the edges off the chicken as it becomes soft enough to do so. Stir the chicken pieces with the fries. Steve would probably drop a blob of beef lard into the pan, but this browns very nicely with just the fat that's sprayed onto the fries at the factory. Add liberal dashes of worcestershire sauce, a few sprinkles of Mrs. Dash, and stir until everything is browned. I usually switch to a nylon spoon at this point because the spatula touched partially raw chicken. Dump onto plate and top with ketchup (gotta have a vegetable). I don't think I'll be invited to ManCamp any time soon.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Sunday Ferret Blogging 21 Nov


Here's a blast from the past: Coco as a young'un.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Argghhh-alanche

Howdy to all of you folks coming in from Castle Argghhh! If the stampede is over, I hope you come back again and read this; if not, I hope you read this and come back some day. You know what I mean. Take a look around...from the title of the blog, you'll see I like blogging about my favorite things, like Alcohol (and other things that go on in saloons), Tobacco (I quit 6 months ago, but if I do for a bowl of Captain Black right now), and Firearms (and the people who use them for things, sometimes not fun). Check out the good folks on my blogroll!

Git Yer Bubba Here!

Country Store has a roundup of Clinton pics! I don't know, but I suspect that this one wasn't even PhotoShopped. Some pretty funny ones over there.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Dear/Beloved Leader

I've been watching the Korblogs and news sites about the latest strange happenings in North Korea. It appears that they're dimming down the personality cult of of Kim Chong-il. Now I've found a site that appears to explain why that's happening: Beloved Leader.

What Took Me So Long?

Why did it take me so long to check out BlameBush? I must have seen URLs and links scattered all over the Blogosphere, but I didn't follow even one. Don't be as lame as me.

"You Are Not Authorized to Die"

I've read a lot of good coverage of the Marine shooting the allegedly possum-playing terrorist in the mosque, but I'm too lazy to link to them all. Citizen Smash stands out with the speech he gave to his sailors last year. Not bad for an Anchor-spanker! Go read Rules of Engagement.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Drawn Together


I wondered how Comedy Central was ever going to hold my interest beyond South Park after Tough Crowd was cancelled and Jon Stewart totally jumped into the Anybody But Bush camp. Well, Drawn Together certainly answered that question. Drawing together every contrived reality TV cliche with every Western animated/computer game cliche, DT put out a cliche-fest spiced up with hip, naughty, sleazy adult comedy. My favorite charactor is Princess Clara, a sheltered, right-wing, bigoted twit reminiscent of Ariel, Disney's the Little Mermaid.

Really, they don't get any hotter than Ariel. Anyway, it's an enjoyable show, but merely a complement to South Park, which remains prime entertainment at Cowboy Blob's Saloon. Now, throw in some real anime a la Project A-ko or Tank Police, or Vampire Princess Miyu, and you'll have my attention forever!

Dennis Miller, Super Genius 2

"It's already a gated community, and just a stone's throw away from the Gaza Stripmall!"

Or Maybe I'll Make You Wait an Hour

(see previous post's title)
I opened two daily-read blogs almost at the same time. AnalogKid at Random Nuclear Strikes has an account of a Brit whose struggle with UK Socialized Medicine in getting treatment for an infected tooth almost killed him. SlagleRock at Combat Arms described his own problems getting service in America's military medical system which is just as socialized. Believe me, we don't want this model instituted on a national scale. Sure, it was nice having free health care while I was active duty, but I often got just what I paid for, customer service-wise. I've had my med records lost for months, resulting in my not entering flying training for eight months. I've been innoculated by surly techs hungover after drowning their homesickness in soju. I've been told by a commissioned officer that my dental gag reflex could be cured by eating a big breakfast beforehand. Most of the primary providers seemed competent and friendly, but well, just read SlagleRock's account.

Stop Barking, the Doctor Will See You Now

Mike at Cold Fury has on-the-spot coverage outside a PEST psych counseling center in Boca Raton FL.
The lines outside clinic doors were long and slow-moving yesterday, and in some locations the situation went from tense to downright dangerous, as some local homeless victims of society’s greed and lack of compassion taunted those standing in the queue. The underlying threat of violence from the panhandlers was never far from the surface as they openly poked fun at the enlightened progressives waiting patiently for treatment.
More, funnier stuff at the link above.

Speaking of Blackhawk Down

Heartless Libertarian has a story of a friend involved in the rescue of an Army helicopter crew downed in Iraqi fighting. Unlike what happened in Mogadishu, this turned out much better.

Check it out.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Top Ten War Movies

Acidman posted his top ten favorite war movies. Check 'em out; here's mine:

Honorable Mention: Go For Broke: token B&W flick for the list. The acting and action was standard for the period, but the story of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team must be told often.

10) Battle of Britain: Hollywood has never made an air war movie to my satisfaction. BOB used authentic aircraft and okay special effects. I wish they'd make a movie out of Thud Ridge.

9) Starship Troopers: Okay, not really a war movie, but it had Denise Richards in it. And a glimpse of what future war might be like. If you're gonna get huffy about it, I'll replace it with Bat-21.

8) Patton: Great acting! Wish they hadn't melted down all that great German armor right after the war. Heck, Kelly's Heroes had real Shermans and Tigers!

7) To Hell and Back: Another average movie made great by the fact that it's true (mostly).

6) Sergeant York: I watch this and #7 every Memorial Day.

5) We Were Soldiers: Another true story well done by Hollywood.

4) Henry V: Brannagh's Harry and the Original Band of Brothers! And the dialog never gets old, because you can scarcely understand it! Once more into the breech, dear friends!

3) Saving Private Ryan: A Hollywood story but jam-packed with gripping realism. The Gold Standard for special effects.

2) Blackhawk Down: True story of heroism amid a military clusterf*ck. Shughart and Gordon were for real!

1) Band of Brothers: The other BOB. I could have broken this miniseries into individual episodes and monopolized a third of the top ten. It's good to know some of the originals are still around; the interviews made the movie that much more special.

El Capitan has his own list. I like a lot of stuff on it; I haven't seen Waterloo since high school.

Might as Well Jump

David Lee Roth is a paramedic! In these days where assclown celebrities can't think of anything but themselves and their pet "values," it's refreshing to see Dave actually providing some value to society beyond his recorded screechings. I just hope he's not the first choice to try to talk down a potential suicide jumper out on a ledge.

I'm Back

Didn't really go anywhere except on a little trip to inner space. Yesterday would have been my Dad's 68th birthday and I didn't even give Mom a call. I just curled up at the keyboard and lost myself in Blogland, Monday Night Football, a bag of popcorn, and a bottle of cream sherry. The only human being I met was a young man who woke me up from my nap to try to sell me something. He never got around to saying what he was selling, just that he was in a contest and trying to win points, using his winning personality...he was very outgoing and animated, practiced much, I assume, but my not opening the security door sort of threw him off his routine. He seemed to expect to shake my hand and high-five me and become my friend so I would buy his magazines or whatever. Maybe he could see me standing there with "bed hair," wearing sweat pants, and maybe not. I cut short his monologue with "Sorry, I'm not interested." I wonder how many asocial people like me this kid runs into every day.

Getting back to my nap was not an option. Back to Blogland. And Email...got one literally out of the blue; an AF acquaintance from one of my Korea tours saw one of my posts on our unit Yahoo forum and dropped me a line. I remembered the name, but couldn't place the face until he mentioned that we'd ridden in the squadron van together from the MAC terminal on our first day in-country. Just one little detail like that brought back a rush of memories. Shooting pool in the Lounge...sitting in the Big Seat for the first time. The tours sort of blend together in my mind unless something unique gets pointed out. A nice diversion in a day dedicated to diversion.

Back to reality...gotta give Mom a call tonight. Their 48th wedding anniversary would have been next week. Another tough day ahead.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Speaking of "We're Not Sorry..."


Risawn has gotten a lot of response to her We're Not Sorry offering, some nice, some not-so nice (from the DU crowd). She's done some PhotoShopping to the original image...perhaps she can augment her Army pay with some T-Shirt sales or something. Click to pic to see all of her other efforts.

Spy Sub Museum


Blogger GI Korea paid a visit to the east coast where he found a North Korean spy sub on display. More pics and descriptions at his site, link on the pic.

This particular sub was discovered on one of my final days on watch in September 1996. With access to cool intel in near-real time, I saw an amazing mass of activity going on in the airspace around Kangnung, but up North, Commie sphincters were tightening and it got nice and peaceful up there, IIRC. These people came ashore and killed people and still the current South Korean administration has Sunshine coming out of its ass over the North. Aigu!

Not Sorry

Treacher collects links to those "We're Sorry" nutjobs. SondraK PhotoShops one to make it more realistic. I mean, geez, a whiny Marine?!? Well, he does have two stripes....

Sunday Ferret Blogging 14 Nov


Gracie (front) and Coco loved their "ferret blanky" crocheted by my friend and fellow ferretherder Lisa.

Nessie (yawning) and Ripley were more partial to Jon's shirt drawer for their napping pleasure.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Old Friends

There's something special about old dogs. Maybe you can't teach them new tricks, but they can teach us. Pamibe has a story about her collie Tess.

My collie Tess is, as you know, getting old. She’s 11 and I think she’d feel and act much better except she’s got health problems. She’s on thyroid meds as well as some really potent stuff for her skin that makes her feel like crap. Couple that with arthritis, etc… Well, you know. She’ll play for a few minutes but has to lie down quickly.
On this particular day I was sitting in the back watching Zoe hunt and out of the corner of my eye saw a large black form streak by in the side yard… and it almost didn’t compute that it was Tess. Tess? So out I ran to see what was going on, and sure enough something had caught her attention just beyond the hedge; she was very excited. Not barking, just watchful and tense.

Read the rest.

Russ Vaughn: The Last Battle of Vietnam

The Last Battle of Vietnam

It never occurred to me, ever before,
That our Navy would win the Vietnam War.
When they took to their boats in this year of elections,
With the mission of making some major corrections
I shared their belief, John should not be elected,
And their view overdue, truth should be resurrected.
Yet I questioned the course they’d set themselves for,
Knowing how John was loved by the media whore.

Ignored and dismissed by the media queens
Being shrewd, savvy sailors they still found the means
To reach out to the people, to open their eyes
To a phony John Kerry and his war story lies.
With their very first ad, they torpedoed his boat,
A Cambodian Christmas would no longer float.
His heroics unraveled, his stories fell flat,
Especially that one ‘bout his magical hat.

John called on his lawyers and media whores,
And threatened the Swiftees with vile legal wars.
But these warriors kept charging back into the fire,
And made the folks wonder, “Is Kerry a Liar?”
Till the question of whether he’s telling the truth
Was still in their minds in the election day booth.
So the brave Swiftees gave us what we’d not had before,
They gave us our victory in the Vietnam War.

Those brave, stalwart sailors, falsely labeled as liars,
Stood firm and stood tall, kept directing their fires,
Steadfast, unrelenting, they served once again,
And defeated John Kerry, these honorable men.
All Vets can take pride, yes all, not just some,
That we won the last battle of Vietnam.
It took far too long to bring an end to our war
But we did, November Second, Two Thousand Four.

To our Brothers, forever on that long black Wall,
You’ve been vindicated now, one and all.

Russ Vaughn
2d Bn, 327th Parachute Infantry Regiment
101st Airborne Division
Vietnam 65-66

Mexicans Beat Their Kids


Why else would the little girl be inside a pinata? M.H. King at Rambling's Journal has the story.

Friday, November 12, 2004

Vets

I can't say my family has a military tradtion that runs back to the Revolution or even the Civil War...heck, even World War One was passed over by saner elements. My great grandfather, Andrew, was allegedly a deserter from the Austria-Hungarian Army. Good for him! Other reports have him sneaking to America under a lady's skirts on the boat across...I could care less. Once in the States, he settled down with a lady from the Old Country (Slovakia), farmed the land, and raised a family. His son Paul, my grandfather, not only managed his own farm, but worked shifts at Bethlehem Steel during World War Two. Dad as a kid, won a trophy from Campbell's Soup for his prowess with a tractor and the family's success in harvesting tomatoes. (well, maybe it wasn't tomatoes, but that's what I think of when I think of Campbell's Soup.)

Up to this point, there are no veterans in the family, except for Dad's cousin Harold, who was a Marine hero at Okinawa. I wish I could say more about him, but all I know about him is that he was a Marine at Okinawa. I added the hero description myself.

Dad joined the Air Force in the mid-50s as an engine mechanic and later cross-trained into fuel systems for KC-135s and B-52s. I saw him go to and return from Viet Nam in the early 60s as I was almost a toddler and go short-tour to Taiwan and Guam later. Now I realize that Guam meant Vietnam War...all Taiwan meant was typhoon damage to the cool furniture he brought back. Mom's brother was in Air Force electronics in Nam and her half-brother was a machine-gunner who won a Purple Heart.

For some reason, I joined the Air Force while Jimmy Carter was CinC...my brother joined a couple years later. He had inherited all the mechanical talent in the family and worked for eight years in the weather equipment maintenance field. Now he trains folks to maintain lab "clean room" equipment. Not having many civilian-marketable skills, I hung around the USAF for 22 years, long enough to ensure Bill Clinton wouldn't be signing my retirement paperwork. The closest I came to being a real veteran was being on the rotation to deploy to Italy for the Kosovo war (Noble Anvil). Not that my other tours didn't have their share of thrills. I was next door to the Osan Air Base JP-4 fuel tank when it exploded in 1986 and almost died of carbon monoxide poisoning during my first tour there. Other than 9/11, I only wore my "Fear Gear" for exercises; every other crisis involving North Korea (Rangoon bombing, SR-71 SAM shoot, spy submarine washing ashore) was met in the routine of my duties.

I made a jump from being an intel geek to being an airborne electronic warfare geek late in my career. Survival school at a fat, slow 36 years of age was no picnic, but worth it to get to wear a flight suit and train for killing Communists instead of watching them train for killing us. And finally in a mobility position! And temporary duty out the ying-yang! In four years I equalled my career total of TDY days, including trips with the airplane across country (to say "howdy") and to Las Vegas (to pretend to kill people). As a bonus, I made annual pilgrimages to Monterey, California.

Yeah, I had it tough...but the AF brought me back to Korea for one last unforgettable tour, starting with record snowfall my first day in-country and ending wound-up with post-9/11 adrenaline. Then I got out. Could I have more for my country? Maybe, but not much more at the place they wanted to send me. I didn't have it in me. It was easier to come back and cheer on my friends hopping on the "jet" to head into harm's way. Thankfully, they all made it back.

I hope the rest of the guys and gals make it back.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Thank You, Veterans!

To the frail gray geezer wasting away in a VA hospital and to his equally gray friends at the Legion preparing to mourn him; to the guy who bags groceries at the Commissary who lost his innocence in Saigon and his foot somewhere further north, to the lady down the street with a globe and fouled anchor tattoo you can't see, to the truck driver who had adventures in his youth and half-Korean kids to prove it, to the company CEO who put her GI Bill educational benefits to good use, to the bearded, homeless kook who pushes his life in a shopping cart, to the grimy, babyfaced 19-year-old Marine enjoying his first cigarette after clearing a tough neighborhood in Fallujah...thank you, veterans, for your service, for your sacrifice.

And to the United Services Organization, American Legion, AmVets, American Red Cross, and all the folks involved with these fine organizations, thank you, too!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Happy Birthday, Jarheads!

There is no fighting force on this Earth that holds my respect more than the United States Marine Corps. That being said...enjoy:

Q: What do you call a Marine with an IQ of 120?

A: A platoon

Q: Why does the Navy put Marines on board ships?

A. Sheep would be too obvious.

Q: What do Marines and submarines have in common?

A: Sailors go down on both of them.

At an Imperial Japanese Naval Infantry outpost in the Solomons, Captain Kawamata reported to his Colonel, "Sir, our reconnaissance plane has spotted what appears to be a US Marine sitting on the beach of an uninhabited islet." He handed his superior a map section and a black-and-white photograph of the Marine. The colonel looked at the ragged, disheveled figure in the photo and ordered, "Send a squad to the island and capture him! We can torture him for information!"

The Captain stamped martially out of the office and ordered a squad to take a boat and capture the American Marine. The squad suitted up, shoved off, and were never heard from again.

The next morning, the Colonel was livid! "You couldn't capture a single Marine!?! Send a platoon this time! And bring him back dead or alive!" The Captain personally gave the platoon leader his orders and saw the landing craft off. It was never seen again.

The next day, the redfaced Colonel had almost unsheathed his katana (Samurai sword) and assualted the Captain. "Kawamata...you will take your whole company, reinforced with Captain Yoshino's company, and you will take that little island, and you will bring me the severed head of that Marine out to the flagship!"

Kawamata smartly saluted and loaded his company into the landing barges.

Colonel Yamashida watched the invasion through his binoculars from bridge of the destroyer. There was gunfire and explosions, gouts of water, sand, and men...when the firing diminished, a pall of gunsmoke obscured the beach. Then, out of the haze swam a lone figure--Captain Kawamata! He was yelling something as he frantically tried to put distance between himself and shore.

"What's he saying?" the Colonel yelled down to the deck hands.

The reply: "Turn back! There's TWO OF THEM!"

From Steven Shiles:
The Marine General went to the doctor for his annual physical. Before he began, the doctor asked him the standard questions -- age, height, weight, and then he asked when was the last time the general had sex. 'Oh,' he mused, 'It was 1945.' 'Isn't that a long time to go without sex?' the doctor asked. 'I don't think so. According to your clock it's only 21:13.


A man is driving down the road and breaks down near a U.S. Marine Corps base. He goes to the front gate, and says to the sentry, "My car broke down. Do you think I could stay the night?"
To his surprise, the Marines accept him enthusiastically. They feed him at the officer's club, they fix his car at the motor pool, and they even allow him to sleep in the VIP quarters. But, as the man tries to fall asleep that night, he hears a strange sound. All through the night, he hears this sound. The next morning, he asks the Marines what the sound was, but they say, "We can't tell you. You're not a Marine."
The man is disappointed but thanks them anyway and goes about his merry way.
Some years later, the same man breaks down in front of the same Marine Corps base. Again the Marines accept him enthusiastically, fix his car, and allow him to stay in the VIP quarters. That night, he hears the exact same strange noise that he had heard years earlier.
The next morning, he asks what it is, but the Marines reply, "We can't tell you. You're not a Marine."
The man says, "All right, all right. I'm *dying* to know. If the only way I can find out what that sound was is to become a Marine, how do I become one?"
The Marines reply, "You must go to Paris Island, there to undergo several weeks of torturous behavior. You will be yelled at, put down, cut down, and physically exhausted. From there you will go on to receive infantry training. You will learn how to fight, fight to survive, and fight to win. You will learn how to act the Corps, breath the Corps, eat the Corps, sleep the Corps, be the Corps. When you finish these trials, you will be a Marine."
The man sets about his task. He goes through boot camp, advanced infantry training, and is assigned to an MEU. While part of the MEU he is sent to fight in two small wars, and three "police actions." Three years later, while on leave, he returns to the Marine Corps base where he last heard that strange, strange sound. Standing there in his dress uniform, he says, "I have joined the Corps, and I have paid my dues. I have fought for the love of God, Country, and the Corps. The Marines reply, "Congratulations. You are now a Marine. We shall now show you the way to the sound."
The Marines lead the man to a wooden door, where the Base Commander says, "The sound is right behind that door."
The man reaches for the knob, but the door is locked. He says, "Real funny. May I have the key?"
The Base Commander gives him the key, and he opens the door. Behind the wooden door is another door made of stone. The man demands the key to the stone door.
The Commander give him the key, and he opens it, only to find a door made of ruby. He demands another key from the Commander, who provides it. Behind that door is *another* door, this one made of sapphire. So it went until the man had gone through doors of emerald, silver, topaz, amethyst...
Finally, the Commander says, "This is the last key to the last door."
The man is relieved to no end. He unlocks the door, turns the knob, and behind that door he is amazed to find the source of that strange sound.
But I can't tell you what it is because you're not a Marine.

==============================

Dear Dad,
A funny thing happened to me yesterday at Camp Bondsteel (Bosnia): A French army officer walked up to me in the PX, and told me he thought we (Americans) were a bunch of cowboys and were going to provoke a war in Iraq. He said if such a thing happens, we wouldn't be able to count on the support of France. I told him that it didn't surprise me. Since we had come to France's rescue in World War I, World War II, Vietnam, and the Cold War, their ingratitude and jealousy was due to surface at some point in the near future anyway. I also told him that is why France is a third-rate military power with a socialist economy and a bunch of faggots for soldiers. I additionally told him that America, being a nation of deeds and action, not words, would do whatever it had to do, and France's support was only for show anyway. Just like in ALL NATO exercises, the US would shoulder 85% of the burden, as evidenced by the fact that this French officer was shopping in the American PX, and not the other way around. He began to get belligerent at that point, and I told him if he would like to, I would meet him outside in front of the Burger King and whip his ass in front of the entire Multi-National Brigade East, thus demonstrating that even the smallest American had more fight in him than the average Frenchman. He called me a barbarian cowboy and walked away in a huff. With friends like these, who needs enemies?
Tell Mom I love her,
Your loving daughter
(name withheld) Lt. Col., USMC

Better than a Chicken


The geniuses at Beer.com have done BK's Subservient Chicken a billion times better. Introducing Virtual Bartender! Words to try: "kiss," "fight," and "do pushups."

h/t to SayUncle

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

The Real Thing


Just a few days after I played war on the computer, and busted caps on some cardboard in the desert, our armed forces are executing the biggest military operation (Phantom Fury) since POTUS GWB declared an end to major combat operations. I know there are going to be casualties, civilian and friendly, but we must push on to victory. The terrorist/insurgents were only encouraged the last time we let attempts at diplomacy stop us short. Now the enemy has swelled in numbers and laid their ambushes. Our Marines, Soldiers, and Iraqi Allies are going in anyway and our Airmen are raining death from above on those who try to stop us. Our British friends have moved in to seal off an escape/replenishment route and have taken casualties already. I have no doubt of the certainty of victory, only fears for the cost. Those of you who do so, say a prayer for our boys and girls' safe return.

Good coverage at CNN. Who knew? Sgt SlagleRock, that's who!

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Down Range

Woohoo! Another monthly match! I trucked up to Jon's Saturday night for the next day's IPSC match. How did we kill time Saturday night? Watching movies? Hitting the clubs? Shooting pool? No! We killed stuff! On an old Gateway computer that was my third computer 10 years ago, we played Steel Panthers II--Modern Battles, a battalion-level turn-based game we haven't been able to top since. I've long since opined that I'd rather not play against Jon, a real whiz at wargaming, so we always play cooperative games. The visiting player (me) takes on the role of battalion commander and picks the first half of the units. Jon bought the other half. We used our geeky D&D dice to determine what army we played (Egypt), what army we faced (Spain), the type of engagaement (Meeting), year of conflict (1972), map size (large), and lighting conditions (noon). We've been doing this for years and hope we can find a more advanced version that'll play on modern computers. In case you're curious, we crushed the Spanish with the most heroic sorties of Il-28 bombers and some very tough infantry. My armor sucked at range warfare, so I closed with the Spaniards in the smoke and ripped them to shreds, many kudos to Jon's mech infantry and BMP infantry fighting vehicles. An extra cinnamon bun for each artillery nug who pinned the Spanish Sparty from the very beginning (that's how we cheat...the computer almost always puts their Self-Propelled Arty (Sparty) towards the back of the map, near a road hex.

After a coupla beers and a shot of Bushmills or two, we decided to play another. Who needs sleep? The color drained from our faces when we saw we were playing the Army of India against the US Marines. That's usually "Game Over, Man!" Things looked up when the dice determined we were fighting a delay action in the dead of night (No Moon) in 1962. Nobody without night vision eqiupment could see further than two map hexes. The goggle guys consisted of Jon's three T-62s...my infantry company and extra light machinegun and bazooka units just laid as low as they could in the rough terrain. Our only artillery was four 120-mm mortars from my company. Thank Vishnu for the terrain. After a platoon of M-47s blundered into my platoon covering the southern secondary road--and died, some modern M-48A1s with infrared sights lit off Jon's tanks...his only return shot disabled one tank, effectively removing it from the battle. With no armor to oppose them, the computer drove into my infantry. Fortunately, Indian infantry units were augmented with Super Bazooka teams, so squashed the Marines before they could reach the objective areas. Jon was disappointed--with the points he saved by buying the cheap Soviet crap, he purchased an engineer platoon. When these guys attack tanks with satchel charges and flamethrowers, it's usually fun to watch (if you've got a good imagination). All this from a game ten years old!

Despite having a comfy bed to sleep on, I slept fitfully, often visiting dream scenarios where I was called back to the Air Force. I should have drunk much more, but I've had dehydration and nervous stomach issues at matches before, so I laid off.

During the night, I was wondering whether Jon's swamp cooler was responsible for the whooshing/gurgling sounds I heard (well, it coulda been! This is Phoenix, Arizona!). Turns out, it was the torrential rains. Hmm...is there gonna be a match? Fortunately, Yes! We stomped through the muddy range thankful that the rain had stopped. I had some odd magazine problems with the Glock, blazed through carbine with the Bushmaster (but schwacked two no-shoots in the meantime), and had a ruinous day with riotgun. That'll teach me not to clean it after two matches!!

Update: Match results posted today. Jon and I were the only shotgunners and only one other rifleman showed up. And I beat him! The long gun events are the most fun for me, but I wish more competition would show up.

Sunday Ferret Blogging 7 Nov


I wanted to offer my host for the weekend the honor of guest ferret blogging, but Jon's a busy college student now and I'm a lazy hermit, so you get me instead. Mooglie (left) and Rustle are about eight months older than Lenny and Squiggy and are a delight and an armful. No biters in this bunch. Jon raises 'em right.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

The Horror....

Friday, November 05, 2004

Sorry, Not Playing


Sorry, Mr. and Mrs. du Toit, I don't think I'll be participating in National Ammo Day this year. It's not because I'm not a patriotic Supporter of the 2nd Amendment...it's really because, in anticipation of an undetermined period of underemployment, I celebrated my own National Ammo Year earlier this year. Not knowing when I was gonna have a well-paying job again, I bought a crate here and there and barely made a dent in it. I figure I can shoot all next year without buying anything but shotgun ammo. The shells displayed here won't cycle through my semi-auto, so I'm saving it for a cowboy action shoot or hunting trip with the double-barrel. I got enough Federal shells (that my Remington likes) to last a month or two. I'm considering shooting revolver-only next year to use up the .45 ACP I've had sitting around for a few years (in addition to the case I just bought a few months ago). God knows when I'll use up the .30-06 in the Garand clips or the .308 in the battlepacks. I've still got Norinco .308s somewhere out in the garage. Maybe it's time to get social and do some Tucson Rifle Club CMP shoots on the odd weekend.

A Flood No Dike Can Stop

Beautiful Atrocities has a good post on the Islamification of Europe. With no one with a backbone to stand up to them and force them to assimilate, Western Europe is going to overrun with islamofascists while the "progressive media" looks on.
When gay Dutch politico Fortuyn was murdered, 'progressives' on both sides of the pond slagged him off as a 'right-winger' (the gay-chummy Village Voice said imams who call gays 'pigs' are actually victims of bigotry.) Amsterdam of course is the party destination of American gays. Sign me up! (Dutch Muslims, btw, publicly celebrated both murders.)
Links to sources in the original, RTWT.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Jabba the Moore has a Tin Ear

On Michael Moore's web site, he has posted a mosaic portrait of President Bush using miniature portraits of those service members (I assume) who gave their lives in the War on Terrorism. My first thought was that someone had hacked his site, but I'm beginning to realize that the Greasy One really believes there is something damning to GWB about the image. I was kinda moved by it, but not the way Mikey intended. Each face in the mosaic represents someone who raised their right hand and vowed to put their life on the line for our freedom. They died in the mountains and in the desert so that a nonvolunteer citizen might not die at his desk in an office building or in an airliner seat. Their individual images coalesce into the visage of the man who had the courage to stamp out the rats nests where terrorists grow. Thanks for the picture, Mikey. I'll treasure it always.

Hat tip to [it'll take me all day to find the site--hold your horses].

Update: Aw, forget it. Just read Michelle Malkin's post about it.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Now is a Time for Heeling

Damn right. No misspelling here. Now is a time to replace CBS News with a variety show and place Walter Cronkite in a home. It's a time for the State Department to expedite the emigration of Michael Moore, Tim Robbins, and Whoopie Goldberg. Now is a time for Massachusetts to elect a couple of Senators with character and better attendance records. It's a time to look Osama bin Laden in the eye and say "I live in a Red State...whatcha gonna do about it?" Now is a time to finish the job of Democratizing Iraq and Afghanistan, then wheel the 1st ID around to face the Iranian border. Time for Heeling.

Jeff at Protein Wisdom says so too.

The Fat Lady Sings

Fox News reports.
The Blogosphere gloats.
John Kerry concedes.
Teresa Heinz sighs.
The cankled freshman Senator from New York pumps her fist and yells "Yes!"

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Darker Shade of Red


For the first time in my life, I was able to vote for a President without filling out an absentee ballot and jumping through those hoops. There was a light crowd, but the poll workers shuttled the old folks around politely and efficiently. One was nice enough to capture this event for me with my camera.

Naturally, I gave Dubya the nod, but spread some lovin' to the Libertarians a bit, mainly to yank on John McCain's chain. Sure, he's a great guy...that's why he should come home to Arizona and drink beer with us and get to know us again. Well, me anyway...I was a Pennsylvania voter way back then.

Want your own "Nuke the Moon" T-Shirt? Visit Frank J's site, IMAO.

Update: Hey, here's another poll station newbie, Wind Rider!

Update too: And look who's picking up my slack in PA! It's Geek with a .45! And an AR!

Candidate Pentathlon

DaGoddess has posted some pretty novel ideas for campaign reform:

In case the pols can't come up with a plan, I've developed one of my own.

Candidates will not be allowed to send out mailers. Nor will there be any ads on television. How will they get their message out? They will be given 30 unedited minutes each on TV. Political infomercials, if you will. They will only be allowed to speak about what they have done and will not be allowed to say a single word about the other candidate(s). About the future, they will present their plans, in writing. They cannot change their plans unless they've submitted them, again, in writing. Clear, detailed plans on their ideas for bringing the city, state, or country up to the standards we expect.

Following that, each candidate will be wired to the nth degree. Like the Truman Show, their every move will be recorded. 24/7. One station will be devoted to split-screen coverage of their actions. No editing. There will be challenges a la Survivor, in which each candidate can demonstrate his or her leadership skills. Jeff Probst and Julie Chen will award points for creativity and ability in solving difficult tasks, like balancing their checkbooks or catching greased pigs in a mud pit - surrounded by Africanized killer bees.

In other rounds, the candidates will take part in challenges called "Trading Places." There will be the city refuse collection phase. Each man or woman will spend a day on the back of a garbage truck. There will be a day spent in a classroom, teaching a classroom full of oversugared remedial ADHD children, and dealing with their parents. The day spent as a nursing assistant in an inner-city hospital (lacking adequate funding) will present each candidate with a true test of their people skills. Each of these tasks tests the candidates' compassion, problem-solving abilities, and patience. Points will be awarded by the people most impacted by the actions of the political participants.

Read the rest.

My own campaign reform would include a pentathlon to measure a candidate's fitness to be commander in chief:

1. Shoot one round of sporting clays, observe all safety rules, and not cringe at the sight or touch of a firearm. Extra points awarded if a high-capacity semi-auto riotgun is used.

2. Sports quiz a la WWII: "Softball" questions every American should know are asked of the candidate as he or she is standing by a bin of baseballs. A row of hanging tractor tires (with multiple choice responses printed on them) faces the candidate 10 yards away. Points awarded for shortest time to complete the quiz, throwing through the tire with the correct response, minus points for throwing like a girl or striking the ground short of any tire.

3. In an obstacle-filled paintball arena, the unarmed candidate is given 10 minutes to devise a lucid plan to lead his ten veteran paintball players to capture the other candidate's flag. Team members must follow the plan to the letter, but are subject to changes shouted by the candidate mid-match. The candidate is immune to elimination by hits, but suffers a point penalty for each hit on his body. If, pre-match, the candidate immediately seeks the advice of the senior team member, a stuffed duck on a rope drops from the ceiling and awards the candidate 50 bonus points. Points awarded for flag capture, surviving team members, and style points under fire.

4. In an oversized wrestling ring are four pairs of foreigners, one pair in each corner, having a heated shouting match at each other in their native tongues. The candidate must guess the language then tag an interpreter standing outside the ring. Candidate must pacify each argument with the help of the interpreters. Shortest time wins, with penalties added for poor style, cultural gaffes, and diplomatic behavior not conducive to the argument.

5. Again with a squad of interpreters, the candidate has a tent containing a Frenchman, a Haitian, an Israeli, a Chinese, an Iranian, and a North Korean. At the start signal, the candidate must assemble a greased pole-climbing team and have them reach the top of the pole erected outside the tent. Shortest time wins, penalties only for dollar value of injuries to team members.

What events do you have in mind?

Monday, November 01, 2004

Blob's Saloon Unification Theory

Countertop never did get around to posting his recipe for the coffee liquor. Here I am trying to stay awake for Monday Night Football. I had a cup and a half of coffee this morning and nursed a caffeine headache for most of the afternoon. I pounded water for a few hours to fight it off, then fixed a rum and coke (caffeine-free Diet), which usually kills the headache, at dinner time. Sure, I don't have a headache anymore, but I'm dozing in the easy chair again. So, I get to thinking...I've got that bottle of vodka soaked with coffee beans...and a buttload of Halloween chocolate I never gave out last night. Hmmm. Experiment: two Hershey Nuggets and a mini York Peppermint Patty microwaved for 2 minutes in half a coffee cup of water. Stir the sludge until solids are dissolved. Top off with coffee liquor and stir again. Bam! Good stuff! Now I've got a delicious way to get rid of that nasty coffee stuff and that bowl of chocolate left over from Halloween. Unfortunately, the last time I sampled the Jumpin' Java Juice, I was awake through that night until noon the next day. I posted a lot of stuff that no one commented on, so no harm, no foul. Anyway, I'll settle down enough to vote tomorrow and probably nap until the Ohio Lawyer Riots start tomorrow night. Wonder how much a non-resident Ohio hunting license costs?

Voila! L'MRE!

Kevin at Landlocked Sailor is also in the 'Stan and has a side-by-side comparison of French and American Meals, Ready to Eat. He gives the Frogs big points on presentation, but hasn't taste-tested them yet. Personally, I'd prefer the Meatloaf over Le Rabbit in Mustard Sauce, sight unseen. I still have some MRE components in my kitchen drawers and on the shelves. You never know when those little bottles of Tabasco will come in handy.

Woohoo! Sgt Hook is on the Hook!

For Sergeant Major! One of the proudest moments in an NCO's career is when he or she gets handed a new set of stripes by the Boss. When it's for the tippy-top grade short of the one-of-a-kind E-10 job, it's time to Party! Sgt Major-select Hook is in the 'Stan at the moment, so let's all tip a brew for him tonight and wish him a safe tour and successful career.
 
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