a Someone should care, maybe not you....: July 2005 .comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Someone should care, maybe not you....

My thoughts on many things including the army, war, politics, the military corrections system, chaos, life, books, movies, and why there is no blue food. Feel free to comment on what I say. Feedback is nice.

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40+ year old former teacher, linguist, interrogator, soldier, and lastly convict. We all do stupid things every once and awhile. I am an economic conservative and a firm believer in civil rights. Starting a new life now and frankly not sure what I am going to be doing.

31 July 2005

War Story

I have been told I need to tell more “War Stories”. I have several of course and am planning on sharing most of them eventually but today I have decided to tell a war story that is not mine. It is the story of an acquaintance named John Horne. I won’t say friend because I really don’t know him that well. But more one that at the end, here is his tale, and I warn you, it is graphic and unpleasant.

NOTE: This story is slightly edited from when Horne wrote it. He wrote this as a response to something from another blog (sfalphageek post dated Thursday May 05) discussing the Capt. Maynulet court-martial. I have taken out the parts of Horne’s document that directly address the posts on the other blog.

“…My platoon engaged a large dump truck full of Iraqis that were seen dropping explosives on the side of the road. One box exploded as one of our Bradleys was approaching it. Another exploded after it was shot with coax machinegun fire. The truck was fired upon with 25mm HE rounds from the Bradley and small arms fire from another squad on the ground. My squad was in the back of the Bradleys. I was put on the ground to investigate the scene. As I approached, stepping over chunks of human flesh and sloshing in blood standing in the street, I noticed several injured and dead Iraqis lying beside the truck. The truck itself was suspected of being full of explosives. I saw some movement in the rear of the truck, through the flames that were rolling out of the back of the vehicle. I gave my weapon to my platoon leader who had followed me to the truck and climbed into the back of the burning truck to pull a young man to safety. The young man survived because of my actions. I was an American soldier and as a member of one of the more compassionate armies in the world, once an enemy is subdued or badly wounded he is no longer an enemy, but a human being. I tried to save another young man that was lying in the flames, but as I pulled him close to me, his stomach and intestines spilled out into my lap. There was nothing more I could do for him. (No medics were on the scene so morphine was not an option) {Editor’s note: this is in reference to a comment on sfalphageek to drugging severely wounded and dying men so they went without pain} I got down from the truck and assisted my soldiers in treating the other wounded. Moments later the badly wounded Iraqi rolled from the top of the truck onto the street and cracked his skull upon impact, but somehow still appeared to be breathing. My platoon leader informed me that a medevac had been called but responded that due to the heavy contact we had been under medevac would not come out unless the wounded were Americans. And even then not to expect them for another 45 minutes to an hour. My platoon leader urged me to hurry and finish up in the area so we could move out. The wounded Iraqi would have been left to die from the large hole in his abdomen and possible eaten alive by wild dogs. I made the decision to shoot the young man to put him out of his misery...
…You may say that since I am not a doctor I couldn’t have known for sure the Iraqi would not survive. I fought the war in the initial invasion in 2003 and again less than a year later, all with an infantry unit, 1st Battalion 41st Infantry. I’ve seen death up close and personal. I recognize it when it is near….

Johnny Horne was a Staff Sergeant at the time this occurred. He is currently serving a three year sentence in the Army prison system for the killing of this Iraqi.

Now, I have looked on the Web and found press accounts of this incident and they differ extensively from Horne’s version. LINK will leave it to you to decide which version is true, if either of them is. All I can say with certainty is a Soldier’s career ended with that shot. He was on his second tour in Iraq and he went back because the Army said it needed him instead of getting out. He has a young daughter who won’t see her Dad for 2.5 more years, and he will carry the federal felony conviction around with him for the rest of his life. Right or wrong? I wasn’t there. I don’t know. What do you think?

As a further bit of info, Horne's Platoon leader was also charged in the incident but the charges were dropped shortly after Horne's conviction. Horne pled guilty on the advice of his military attorny, something he now strongly regrets. For further information on Horne email susanajjames@yahoo.com (address provided by Horne)

29 July 2005

Well, an interesting accident....

Just now I was opening a can of clam chowder for my dinner and an interesting thing happened. It was a pop top can, and as I popped it open I suddenly found the edge of the top embedded in the middle finger of my left hand. I wasn’t at all sure how that had happened but at the moment I wasn’t worried about hows, merely in aftereffects. Like the half inch long gash across my finger that looked so deep I was rather surprised that I wasn’t gushing blood like a river. I quickly washed it, put antibiotic ointment on it and found a gauze pad. Unfortunately I was not able to find any tape to go with said pad. But I did find a band-aid which was long enough to fasten the gauze pad on. Why you ask didn’t I just put a band aid on this cut? Well my fine young friends, I have unfortunately had cuts like this before, I knew from past experience that a regular band-aid would quickly fill with blood and begin oozing all over the place, then fall off and leave messy blood stains on things. I needed the extra absorbency of the gauze pad.

Now that I was not threatening to stain the floors and the carpet with my bodily fluids I went back and examined the evidence. Well, actually I heated and ate my clam chowder and then examined the evidence and I could see no easy way that I could have cut my left middle finger while opening this can with my left index finger. Then it dawned on me. The can was dented. When I popped the seal the pressure in the can blew the top off and into my finger. Wholly unexpected but logical once you think about it.

So, be advised all of you out there, when opening a dented pop top soup can (or cat food, or who knows what you may be opening) be careful so you don’t end up like I am. The big question of course is will I remember this when I get to the next can?

Good reading...

Just a quick short link today. Some really fun reading here.


With thanks to my sister for the link.

27 July 2005

a few random comments

Well, who would have thought that the post that would get the most response would be on making Nan? It wouldn’t have been my guess but I can see why it is. Bread is something people can relate to.

A few random stats (not that any of you really care I am sure,)I got my first international visitor today(Welcome!). The state with the most hits to this blog is California, and hits from 18 states in total. Also one hit from “other”.(?)

Just read that NASA is grounding future shuttle flights because of more flying foam. I’m sorry, since when did space exploration become wussy? I know you don’t take pointless risks but you can’t bloody stop the whole program just because something might possibly happen! Launching oneself into space is inherently dangerous. Let’s get on and do the damn job! I am sure if you asked the astronauts they would be willing to take the chance, NASA is letting itself be governed by press, and public relations. Launch! And to hell with falling foam. IF the shuttle is unsafe then by god replace it! It is obsolete anyway. We can’t get a new one though because there has to be 6 billion safety checks and development reviews. In case you haven’t noticed folks, the space program is stagnating! Let’s here it for private enterprise that is finally getting into the game. I am eagerly watching companies like this and hoping them great success. They will probably fail but the next one might succeed. God knows the government is screwing it up as usual. Buried in red tape and terrified of taking a risk.

26 July 2005

New Conspiracy......

A web comic which I read, (yes, I have just exposed yet another of my quirks, or maybe even "odious personal habits") called Shortpacked came up with a wonderful new idea for a conspiracy theorist.
Basicly that the whole move towards accepting Gay marriage is a plot to eleminate homosexuals. People conceed that homosexuality is at least in part genetic. In the past gays have been forced to hide in sham marriages and thus have reproduced. If they marry each other, no more passing on of the "bad" gene and they gradually remove themselves from the population. That is not the most twisted and convoluted conspriacy theory I have come across but it is a good one. Maybe Gays should push this idea and get the fundies to stop raging against them so much. A conspiracy within the conspiracy...... Now all we have to do is tie in the Tri-lateral commision, the Knights Templar, and the Illuminati.

24 July 2005

Afghan bread (Nan or Nam)

WEll, as I type the second batch of a new recipe is in the oven. I have been trying to get good bread like I has in AF ever since I got back but have thus far failed. This new recipe isn't all that different from the one I had before and I substituted whole wheat flour for regular. It comes out pretty good but still not the same. From what I read the bread in AF is a sour dough mix so I am making some starter and will try again when it is ready. Sooner of later I will get it right.
Note though, what I have this time is really good little whole wheat flat breads. Had one with just butter, expect it to be better with honey or maybe apple butter.

23 July 2005

Lizards on the roadway.....

One of my few military duties during my time at Camp Udari Kuwait was to drive to Iraq. Went to Baghdad a few times but most of the trips were much shorter, to Camp Bucca at Um Qaser near Basra. WE would pull out of the gate at Udari and hang a very sharp left and go back along the fence line. Unless there was an incoming convoy on that road then we would swing wide to avoid the massive dust clouds. There actually were roads more or less but in this area you could (and did) pretty much drive where you wanted to so long as it was in the right direction. At any rate, on the east side of Udari there was an honest to god dirt road that you could actually see for most of it. You would take this road north through a little escarpment until you came to a building. This was supposedly a Kuwaiti Army outpost. There was a flag flying over it and a few guys hanging out there but not much else. Here we would turn right and enter an amazing little stretch of road. Nothing spectacular about the road per se, or the terrain, but this was prime lizard habitat. There is a rather strange looking lizard there in Kuwait called the dhub, dhab, or dhor, it is also called the spiny tailed lizard.

The biggest one I saw was probably three feet long, most of them were in the one to two foot range. They were actually fairly common all over this part of Kuwait and several in fact lived in the camp. We had about a 6 inch one living under a corner of our tent for awhile and it was not uncommon to find flattened ones mummified in the sand. Tanks, rolled over them and I suspect several were flattened by large CONEXes being lowered by helicopters. (I spent awhile trying to figure out a way to ship one large such mummified lizard patty home but never came up with a good way to mail it. I am sure my mother will be grateful to learn of my failure.) So seeing lizards by the road wasn’t so surprising. What amazed us was the sheer number of them along this little stretch of road. They were everywhere. Dozens of them at a time ranging in color from black to bright banana yellow. Sitting beside the road staring at us and soaking up the sunlight. Now a website I found about these things (Arabian Wildlife) says they tend not to come out of their burrows in the mornings but we saw them bright and early every time we took this route. OF course this site also says the adults are exclusively vegetarian but I watched them sit on ant hills and eat the ants. But hey, maybe the ones I watched were abnormal. It is said that the Kuwaitis eat the big fellows and I suppose that is true. At any rate if you stop your vehicle and get out they will take off running at an amazing fast pace for something so stumpy looking. They ignored cars (hence becoming common road kill) but a person on foot caused them to scamper.
I write of this because this was the largest collection of non plants that wasn’t domesticated that I saw anywhere in Kuwait. Kuwait is a barren seemingly lifeless waste land and then you turn a corner and BAM, giant lizards all over the place. I was suitably impressed.
Indecently, the picture here is not one I took, I found it on theArmy’s Pest Management Board’s website. I failed to take my 35mm camera with me on this expedition to South West Asia, so I had no real telephoto of zoom capability. And as mentioned above, when I stopped and tried to get closer to take a pic they scooted. Although judging from the shadow this one stayed near a stopped car to get his picture taken.

20 July 2005

My comments on the Plame Affair.

This post comes in great part from a response on the BlueGal's blog. I have been ignoring the whole Karl Rove/Valerie Plame issue because I am actually quite torn by this in a variety of ways. My first natural instinct as a former Intel worker is to say "Hell YES! FIRE HIM!", hell, "Arrest Him!" Anyone who knowingly and deliberately blows the cover of an undercover CIA operative should be punished in an appropriate manner. (Technical note: Plame was not an "agent" she was an "operative". An "agent" is someone that an "operative" has gotten to give them information. A local national who is working for the CIA. An "operative" is a US national working for the CIA.) My problem with hanging Rove out to dry is that I can no longer in good conscience look at someone who has many years of good loyal service and say "Hang him" for one screw up. After all, that is what the Army did to me. Big Army was fully justified in what they did to me in the legal sense. But I really don't think it was a fully appropriate response. But I am biased. If Plame had been outed then arrested by the government of Niger and executed, sure, take Rove hang him, and literally throw him to the dogs. But for what happened? I don't know. I think he should be asked to resign. If I were in his place I would have by now anyway. But once he is gone that should be the end of it. Am I wrong? Am I letting my personal feelings get in the way of doing what is right? Probably. But hey, it's what I feel. Tell me why I am wrong.

Presented for your edification......

I found this blog done by an Army photographer. His photos and the stories behind them are quite good. Especially An Awakening, and Old Glory. The rest of his stuff is very interesting too.

And as long as I am shilling other people's blogs, here is one that I like but it annoys me too. Mr. Bill's Pond has nice pictures of this guys pond in (I think)New Mexico. But he has no way to comment or get in touch with him. and I have some questions I would have liked to ask about his pond.

As a random aside I wonder why my Google ads have been going to "Party tents" lately? This really seems a bit off topic but who knows?

19 July 2005

Interesting news item

Got this tidbit off the BBC. I of course never talked to Zardad while I was in Afghanistan. (He was already in England in custody) But I spent alot of time talking to one of his associates.


18 July 2005

News from Iraq....

I got an email from my friend that is off training the Iraqi army. Here, for your enlightenment, is an excerpt from his email. (posted with his permission)

Our job is to "mentor" the new Iraqi Army, which is made up mostly of former-regime generals and brand-new everybody else. Should be a tough gig, since what they really lack is a Western-style work-ethic and a concept of accoutability. Having said that, I suspect that I may be the right guy for the job, having worked with Arabs before. I wish this assignment had come up earlier in my career, but I'm glad to have the opportunity. I expect it to be the most frustrating and reqarding year of my career.
I'll probably be in the International Zone in Baghdad, which everyone tells me is "comfort city." I have already started working on the restaurant overlay on FalconView. Baghdad also has about 70% of the country's VBIED's and indirect fire attacks, so I suspect the comfort factor will be balanced out by the manmade precipitation.
Iraq isn't too exciting yet. We've been mortared and sniped at a few times, but most attacks are unenthusiastic play-for-pay affairs in which we have to wait until the next day to find ut where the rounds landed. Most attacks, surprisingly, take place during daylight, because the "muj" have to take pictures of themselves firing in order to get paid. If you're going to fight paople, it's best to fight lazy, stupid people.
We got a class on the AK-47 taught by Iraqi drill sergeants last night, and our interpreter (a doctor) was not up to the task, so I got to translate. I haven't used my Arabic since 1997, but the Iraqis were amazed to see any Gringo who could speak any Arabic.

Now a few points to be made from this:
1. "play for pay" attacks - this means the actual "bad guys" pay some poor ignorent yokel several days or weeeks wages (usually in the vicinity of $10-20) to launch an attack on the Americans. This is very common in Afghanistan too. So many if not most of our "attackers" aren't doing it becasue they hate us. they are doing it becasue they are getting paid to do it.

2. "...fight lazy, stupid, people" I agree whole heartedly!

3. "...what they really lack is a Western-style work-ethic and a concept of accoutability." This is an issue that we have to deal with often. The american soldier, press and peopel seem to expect the new army in Iraq (or in Afghanistan) to be just like Uncle Sam's. It doesn't work that way. It took generations for our Army to become what it is. It will take generations for theirs to get to our level. If ever.

4. "...the Iraqis were amazed to see any Gringo who could speak any Arabic." This is a major failing of the Army. It has been real obvious for a LONG time that the Middle East, or South West Asia as the Army prefers to call it, was going to be a big playground for the troops. Yet we have a terrible time getting people to learn Arabic and a harder time keeping them in the service once they learn it. Of course the same is true of Korean, Chinese, Russian, and just about any other language. DLI is a great school but more needs to be done than send somebody to school.

Well, just some random comments.
Incidently, if you don't read Froggy Ruminations, a blog about Navy SEALS, you should. Or at least you should go read Froggy's description of the memorial service in Hawaii for the SEALS just lost in Afghanistan. Read the Comments too.

14 July 2005

Heads are gonna roll......

I somehow missed this on Monday but it seems 4 Arab detainees at Bagram have escaped. And they have apperently gotten local clothing now as I saw a the streamer under the CNN news that they have found some of their orange jump suits. The news report I read from the BBC says that they escaped at about 0500. I would guess that is when they were discovered missing because at 0500 the streets on Bagram are filling up with people doing PT and such. I hate to say it but I can see it happening. We used to sit around and talk about how one could escape. And that is from the main facility. When I left country there were plans to build a holding facility behind the main facility where detainees could be housed in tents.
MP heads are gonna roll over this one.....
The latest is that the Taliban spokesman is claiming they have made it to a Talib safe haven. We shall see.....

13 July 2005

Random thoughts on me, Boy Scouts, the Supreme Court, and other issues as I think of them

Actually, let's start with the Boy Scouts. It seems in Atlanta they over reported the number of minority scouts enrolled in a program that gives them money for uniforms, campouts etc. Fraud or sloppiness in record keeping is as of yet unknown but either, or more likely a combination of both, are possible in the good old boy south. What gets me is that the program that gets all the money is designed to help minority and underpriviledged youths get into scouting. (Ever notice how those two words always get used together but no one ever comment on minorities who aren't underpriviledged or white kids who are? Oh well) At any rate from what I heard on NPR this afternoon scout leaders from inner city Atlanta are getting together to urge the United Way not to donate some huge amount of money to fund this program. Now excuse me but isn't that sort of cutting off your nose to spite your face? So money was being brought in for allegedly imaginary scouts. The money is still being used to support Scouting in the Atlanta area including these inner city troops. I am not sure what exacatly they are getting all hot about. They want less money for their programs I guess.....

I have come to the realization that I probably write better stuff when responding to others than I do on my own. I thought about that as I was responding to something on the BlueGal's blog. She was writing about the up coming supreme court appointment and we have differing views on some things. Go and read it, she writes good arguements. I won't rehash it here except to say that the mantra that you hear from the left that Bush is going to pack the court with conservatives is bunk. To do that the more liberal wing of the court would need to be retireing. It is the conservatives who are moving on, Bush's appointments will merely maintain the status quo.

I was thinking today (a dangerous habit) about how many people opposed to Bush's actions in the War on Terror, tend to say things like "Well most of the the 9/11 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia." This is usually done before attacking Bush's action in Iraq. My response to this is SO WHAT? Don't spout drivel unless you have a plan or an idea. Are you suggesting that we should have invaded Saudi Arabia instead of Iraq? If one of you folks out there would care to explain to me why you feel that is significant and more importantly, what you want to do about it, please, feel free. the Saudi government is a L O N G way from ideal and the Wahabist sect of Islam that the country produces is the root of alot of Islamic Fundamentalists. But you know, their government still supports us and works with us. The wahabists are an issue that will rise up and bite the Saudi royal house one day soon and I think they know that.

My little blog here seems to be reaching out a bit. Hits are picking up some. And I am showing up on Yahoo Search. According to the Tracksy hit counter I have two people have found me from Yahoo Search, one was looking for Geoneonanimation, mentioned in my movie reviews, and the other surprisingly enough was looking for Domino's Pizza, mentioned in my first post. The wierdest things show up I suppose......

Enough for today I suppose. A close friend of mine who should be finishing out his last year or so in the Army as a First SGT at DLI just arrived in Baghdad were he will be attached to an Iraqi Battalion to help train them. Good luck Rick and come home in suitable condition for kayaking, SCUBA, and a half marathon.

11 July 2005

Rain in the Dessert

My first night in Kuwait was certainly not what I or anyone else in my squad expected. We had arrived in the evening and it was hot and muggy. The battalion was being moved into a transient tent but all of our personal gear was still on the pallets in a pile. They were going to assign people to take shifts for guard duty and I quickly volunteered, not for any overwhelming sense of goodness but because I figured it would be cooler outside in the breeze than it would be in the tent. My squad leader agreed and after a quick poll of the squad volunteered all of us to take the guard duty. The rest of the battalion was quite happy to let us have it and we were quite happy with our choice. (You can sense can't you that there is a catch to this....)
Well we were making our plans for how many shifts and who would be on them and got things started. The two of us watching were up and the others had gone to sleep on the piles of gear. At this point the unexpected occured. It began to rain. Not to drizzle, no gentle shower, no scattered showers, it was a deluge. My emotions tell me that there was thunder and lightening but I really can't recall if there was or not. but it was a monsoon like rain. Needless to say pretty soon everyone was awake and huddled together in wet misery. All of the rain gear was of course in the duffles or rucks on the pallets. After awhile we baegan to open the gear and pull out some of the "snivel gear" Not because it would keep us dry, it was way too late for that, but becasue we began to have real fears of hypothermia. The early signs were hitting us and we thought it would be really lousy to go down from that on our first night in the dessert. (I say dessert, that is true as far as all of Kuwait is a dessert, we were at the airport.) Needless to say it was a LONG night. The rain finally stopped and the dawn finally came and we were relived and went to the tent to sleep. So much for our grand plan to sleep in cool comfort, now we got to try and sleep in the tent in the heat during the day. And for those who came later, this was before any of these tents had AC set up in them, it was just going to be hot. Now before we started our shift we had been warned to be alert of SCUD alarms and during the night we had heard a few things but in the noise of the downpour we were never sure if one of those sound had been the alarm. No need to worry. A couple of hours, more of less, after I got to sleep the screaming trumpet of God went off in my ear. Actually it was more like a monster buzzer, it was the SCUD alarm and there was no way you could miss it. All that mask training paid off becasue I had that damn thing on before I was fully awake. Then with further alert we went to full MOPP. this means I am now sitting in the tent in the dessert heat wearing my full chemical protective suit waiting for a missle to come raining destrucion down on the airport I was sitting in. Not the most comfortable morning to follow on the long night. I have some pictures I took while sitting here someplace and whenever I can get all of my stuff out of storage I'll try to post some of them.
This was our introduction to Kuwait. Things went downhill from here.

10 July 2005

The Dark Art

Tonight on the History Chanel, I saw the last bit of a program called The Dark Art of Interrogation. I really hope it comes on again, at a time when I can watch it, as I turned it on just as they quit talking about Bagram. I was curious to see what they said about us. Or more accurately, what they were probably saying about the 519 which proceeded us.
I was pleased by the fact that the talking heads gave a fairly balanced view of what is done in the booth and what could be done. I was on the other hand horrified by one of them who suggested that it should be a policy that the individual interrogator be left to make the decision as to whether or not illegal action needs to be taken to get information and then be forced to justify that in a court of law. The Army would sell him or her down the river as soon as it hit the press. (of course that is what they do now in similar circumstances anyway so maybe it wouldn't be that big a change)
I can't really comment on what the program said was done in Afghanistan because I missed that part. I was pleased to see that they pointed out that Guantanamo has very strict rules and regulations about what can and cannot be done there. They also acknowledged that the Abu Ghraib mess was not done by interrogators and in fact the interrogators probably didn't tell the morons to "soften them up". The talking heads (I don't know who was who, I'll take notes if it comes on again) said that the vastly undertrained guards probably saw what interrogators were doing that was legal but harsh and extrapolated on their own how to treat prisoners. Of course then they laid the blame on the "Chain of Command" and the Bush Administration. Chain of Command, sure, but not the Generals. I really want to know where the LTs and Captains that worked there were. Or the senior NCOs who were there? Were these guys so absolutely clueless that they didn't know what was happening or were they giving it the wink and a nod? Either way they are every bit as much to blame as the E-3s and E-4s who are getting prison time over this. And note, I have no objection to them getting prison time. Maybe not as many years as some are getting but, they violated the law. I am certain someone sat them down at some point and explained at least once about Geneva and what is and is not allowed. As for the Bush Administraion being to blame for Abu Ghraib, well really folks, I hope the President and the SECDEF have better, more important things to do than keep current on guard shifts at the detention centers in the war zone.

07 July 2005


I have been told in no uncertain terms that I should be writing my "war stories". This usually happens after a conversation in which I tell one or two of them. Stories like the Pepsi terrorists that are down the list aways. I am going to do that. But not tonight. Tonight is a less ambitious random rant/reverie.
I was sitting in my kayak in the middle of my pond earlier today. I say pond, but in truth right now it is little more than a hole with alot of water in it. It has no spring so it is totally dependent on rain to fill up and in the last few years drought has assured it of being dry most of the time. This year it has alot of water. I am hopefull that I can keep it up and get it to real pondhood. The local frogs have been doing their part to bring life to the water and I, in an attempt to control the mosquito population, went and netted up a bunch of minnows and put them in there. Well today I saw many, as in lots and lots, of little bitty minnows less than .25 inch in length. i.e. The first native generation to my pond. I was happy. Sitting on the kayak in the pond is very relaxing. I watch the birds fly over, in the evening I can see the bats come out of the trees and swoop down over the water. I am lucky enough to have my house in a place where I can sit there for an hour and not have a single car drive by. I like that alot. The plan I have to keep my pond full involves the extra well on the property and some solar panels. I intend to drop a new pump in the well that will run off solar power. Thus when the sun shines, water enters my pond.I will probably landscape the heck out of the yard and make a stream that will run across the yard from the well to the pond. Of course to do this I need to buy the pump and the panels. This will cost me somewhere between 1500 adn 3500 dollars depending on how pwerfull and pump I get and how many panels. Of course as a direct result of my having been exceptionally stupid and getting tossed from the army after a short stay in thier home for unwanted soldiers (i.e army jail), I am unemployed. So the well is on a back burner for the moment and I am living on my savings. This of course can't go one very long.
Which of course leads to a different thought. The army is having real trouble getting people to enlist. I and several others who were in the clink would be more than happy to get back in, go to Iraq or Afghanistan, and redeem ourselves. I have read that the Army is going to start allowing some people who have BCDs (bad conduct discharges) to come back in. I would rather they just stopped the process to toss me out and put me back to work. Trained and skilled interrogaters are not found on every street corner. (and in all honesty, I was good at the job.) I am not going to hold my breathe though. To paraphrase the blog by sfalphageek "You may love the army, but don't think it loves you back." It doesn't. In fact it not only doesn't love you it activly dislikes you when you do something wrong. You would think 14 years of good service would weigh in there somewhere but it doesn't. All that means is that I should have known better. Oh well, not planning on fussing about that tonight so enough.
I was reading another blog I rather enjoy. Blue Girl, Red State This lady really sound like she would be interesting to get together with and talk and eat dinner. I disagree with her on A LOT of things but she uses rational thought instead of random invective in her arguements which I like. She was talking about the upcoming Supreme Court war and said the following, "President Bush claims he will require no litmus test for any nominee. Let me assure him that we will. There will be no roll-back of reproductive choice, no scaling back of privacy. Or there will be no confirmed justice." Now while I agree with her on privacy, that attitude added to the equally foolish one of the right demanding a strident anti-abortionist nominee, means all chaos is about to ensue. I pity the nominee. He or she is in for pure living hell. And as an aside to that, how in the hell can Alberto Gonzales not be conservative enough???? Are these people mad? sigh. There is a reason I am no longer a Republican. Now if only I could find a political party that was rational. The Libertarians are good except they haven't got a rational foreign policy. Oh well probably enough for tonight anyway.

05 July 2005

Battle Armor!

Well, Not quite but it is moving along in the right direction.
Robot suit

What can I say, I'm an anime fan and I want my own suit of battle armor.

01 July 2005

A source of Human happiness??

The other day I was out reading the web site of one of my favorite authors, Steven Brust, and found this in his Log.

"I believe that I have now made a lasting contribution to
human culture and happiness.

It came about this way:

Years ago, my friend David Dyer-Bennet introduced me to the
idea of going to Baskin-Robbins in the summer and getting a
quart of Daiquiri Ice and a quart of Deep Chocolate Fudge ice
cream. Then you go home and alternate bites of each until
you reach that state previously known only to heroin users,
certain Tibetin monks, and hard-core masochists after a good

Well, I have recently discovered that one can improve upon
perfection: instead of the Deep Chocolate Fudge (which they
don't reliably have), use Godiva Belgian Dark Chocolate ice
cream. It's amazing.

And now I have the satisfaction of having made my
contribution to humanity.

Excuse me, I'm going to go eat some ice cream now.

I have independently discovered a simialr effect except I don't use Baskin Robbin's. I have though used the Godiva Belgian Dark Chocolate. (Chocolate is another of my many weaknesses.)
For those who haven't read any of Mr. Brust's books I strongly recomend him. He generally writes fantasyesqe novels. He has a long ongoing saga about a human assasin living in the land of "elves". Not elves such as people normally think of them though. Many of his other books fall in the same universe. Certainly not all of them though, no nature loving songsters singing to the trees here. He wrote an excellent vampire novel called Agyar, a police/fantasy novel called The Gypsy, for which he also wrote a series of songs which were made into an album by a band called Boiled in Lead which I have not yet bought but am planning on when I get some money. (As a random aside, I have read the song list and It appears the song Stepdown which is quoted at the start of several chapters in the book is not on the album. This disapoints me as it has very interesting lyrics.) He has also written a truely excellent novel concerning the war between God and Satan in the pre-existence. I will spare you all a litany of his books because pretty much all of them would be described with much the same phraseology. "An excellent book about...."
The only books of his which I can't called excellent areCowboy Feng's Space Bar and Grill, which isn't bad but not up the the standard of the others, and Freedom and Neccesity which I probably need to read again because it impressed me as one of those which would be better the second time through. It is totally unlike the others he has done and so threw me a bit.
One added benefit of Mr. Brust's works is that he liberally throws in aspects of Hungarian folklore which is a nice change from the hoards of Celtic wannabes flooding
the fantasy writing world. Is it true Hungarian folklore or does he make it up? (in one of his author descriptions he is described as inventing traditional Hungarian dishes)I don't know and Frankly I don't care. It is fun and interesting.

I was going to make this longer but friend I haven't seen since before I went to Afghanistan showed up here about 21:30. We have been talking ever since and it is now 04:58. I need to get some sleep. so, more on Mr. Brust and his books later. Or just go to his web site or google him.