Wednesday, February 28, 2007

This Is Wrong

The things you find when you're not even looking for them....

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Do You Think...

If you are having one of those days when you have called no less two salesmen and one QC/QA person an asshole, maybe it's you (me) who has the problem?

A Wedding and A Baby

Darn there was one thing I meant to post yesterday and forgot.

Congratulations to Zed and Sam on their impending marriage and parenthood!

I just love Chris Muir!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Put A Fork In It

Let me explain. I am a Mid-Westerner through and through. I moved to Arizona in '76, and after about 18 years, decieded one day that it was HOT there and moved back home. I NEED my four seasons! Except for the occassionally shitty road conditions, I do not bitch about the cold. I like it! I will not even wear a coat unless it gets colder than 20 degrees or is exceptionally windy. And that all lasts right up until we hit The 'Tweens.

The 'Tweens is that end-of-February-most-of-March time of year when the weather isn't really winter, but it's too early for Spring. Yesterday I got out of my car at work and stepped into slush so deep, it leaked into my boots. This morning I nearly broke my neck slipping on ice. The snow is dirty, the clouds even look dirty, it is a very bleak landscape. The little patches of lawn that peaked through the snow last week were sodden and beaten down.

I would be perfectly happy if we could go right from snowfall and sleigh bells to sunshine and daffodils. Alas, transitions make me cranky.

There. I have now become so boring that I have blogged about the weather. Thank God I don't have a cat.

I'm Confused

Iraqi Cabinet Approves Oil Revenue Sharing

The plan recently approved by the Kurds to split the oil revenue of Iraq with the Sunnis won approval from the Iraqi cabinet. It now faces debate in the National Assembly, whose final approval will resolve one of the toughest issues in post-war Iraq and one that has helped fan the flames of the insurgencies:

Now how in the hell can you split the oil revenue when the Bush Administration is stealing all the oil??

Just wondering.

h/t Capt. Ed

Rant Alert

Jack Army has a post up today that everyone needs to read.

Go read it, right now.

And now I’m going to say a few things that might cost me what few readers I have; so be it.

I am not pro-war. No one in their right mind thinks of war as a desirable condition. My husband is still subject to recall and we have two boys still in the Army. War scares the bejesus out of me. Like so many other parents, we get to live day to day wondering when the “when”, not the “if” of another deployment is going to happen. The worry you have while they are gone, the happiness and yes, guilt you feel when your kid makes it home okay, and the heart-wrenching sorrow you feel for the ones who don’t…yes, I hate war.

But there are things I hate worse.

I hate that 241 Marines, sailors and soldiers were killed on October 23, 1983 in Beirut.

I hate that 19 airmen were killed on June 25, 1996 at Khobar Towers.

I hate that 17 sailors were killed on October 12, 2000 when the U.S.S. Cole was bombed.

I hate that Islamic terrorists have felt free to attack our citizens with impunity and little chance of retribution for YEARS, and I am thankful that on October 7, 2001, we were able to stand up as a nation and say, “that’s about enough of this bullshit.”

I think of your hatred of our Commander-In-Chief exceeds your hatred of the filthy fucking bastards who would have no second thoughts about separating your head from your body, YOU are the one who has a problem. I not only question your patriotism, I question your sanity.

And just as a final piss-off, I think George W. Bush is a decent, honorable man making some very hard decisions in a world gone crazy.

Thank you, and have a lovely day.

A Sad Anniversary

I typically wear two bracelets on my left wrist. One is fairly recent, and commemorates the best friend of one of my sons; they were in Iraq when Adam was killed.

The other I have had much, much longer. And now for forty years, the fate of this man still remains unknown.

Name: Harold Joseph Alwan
Rank/Branch: O4/
US Marine CorpsUnit: VMA 121, Marine Air Group 12
Date of Birth: 04 August 1934
Home City of Record: Peoria IL
Date of Loss: 27 February 1967
Country of Loss: South Vietnam/
Over WaterLoss Coordinates: 150500N 1085100E (BT930320)
Status (in 1973): Missing In Action

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Harold Alwan graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1956. There, he participated in ROTC and graduated as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps with a degree in engineering. He decided to make his career as a Marine pilot, and served at bases in Quantico, VA and Cherry Point, NC before being assigned to Vietnam.
At 0812 hours on 27 February 1967, then Major Harold J. Alwan was the pilot of an A4E (serial #152051), call sign "Oxwood 501," that departed Chu Lai Airfield, South Vietnam to conduct a routine operational test flight. If the flight was successful, he was to contact an airborne control aircraft for assignment to a helicopter escort mission. Once contact was established with the airborne controller, Major Alwan was informed of his secondary mission and that there were some holes in the overcast in the target area.
The last communication with Harold Alwan was with the airborne controller 28 minutes after take-off, at 0840 hours. At that time he reported he "….was looking for an opening in the cloud overcast over the target." Five minutes later all contact with the A4E was lost. At the time of last contact, according to the "Resume of Circumstances," report, Harold Alwan was "in the vicinity of BT9332 on bearing 060 degrees." Search and rescue (SAR) efforts were immediately initiated. According to information provided to the family, US Air Force search and rescue (SAR) aircraft "heard an emergency beeper, flares were seen and pieces of debris spotted," but SAR personnel were unable to locate the downed pilot. These emergency signals were tracked for the next three days in an area covered by dense jungle between DaNang and Chu Lai. Maj. Alwan's Skyhawk was the only aircraft missing in that area. SAR efforts continued until 6 March, but failed to locate the downed pilot or the main wreckage of his aircraft. At the time the formal search operation was terminated, Harold Alwan was listed Missing in Action.
Over the next few years Maj. Alwan's family was given four different loss locations where the Marine Corps and various US government agencies believed his aircraft vanished. Two of these locations were over land and the other two over water and ranging up to 35 miles inland to 35 miles out to sea. All of these locations of loss are in the region south-southwest of DaNang to north-northeast of Chu Lai, Quang Tin Province, South Vietnam.
In an attempt to identify pictures of unidentified American prisoners, families of POW/MIAs were shown post-capture photos of men in captivity. During one of these US government sponsored photo review sessions, Maj. Alwan's family identified a prisoner of war in Hanoi from a Christmas propaganda film released by the North Vietnamese as being their son and brother. After Operation Homecoming, in an attempt to negate the family's positive identification of the photograph, the US Government told them that a returned POW identified the same photo as himself. When government representatives were asked to provide the identity of returnee, the officials declined to do so sighting the man's "right to privacy." Ironically, several years later that same photo was provided once again to the Alwan family as being an unidentified POW who was never released from North Vietnam.

For his family or anyone who knew him, he is still remembered.

Monday, February 26, 2007

A Good News and Bad News Monday

I always like to get to the bad news first. A man we have gotten to know through Shayna has passed away.

Eugene was a World War II veteran that lost everything- his family and to some degree, his life. It was an experience he could never escape, fighting a war, then coming home to find his wife and son had left him. Shayna made his life better in so many ways, and because of her, Eugene will never be forgotten.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Shayna was sweet enough to give Eugene an afghan from me. I really hope it kept him warm.

Now, for better news.

When SGT Hook was deployed to Afghanistan a few years ago, he set up a program to provide shoes to the Afghani kids.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Sending shoes to SGT Hook was my special project as District President that year, and we were able to send over 800 pairs of shoes that year. Now another group of soldiers is asking for shoes or donations.

If you have some spare dollars, please send to:

Michael T. Larkin
Camp Phoenix, AF
APO, AE 09320

And I’ll go one better! If you live in my area and would like to help get 10-11 boxes of kids shoes to the post office, I’ll buy the adult beverages at the VF*n*W afterwards! Seriously, after we did this project, the shoes kept coming in and I have a bunch of clean shoes ready to go, they just need to be addressed and have the customs forms filled out.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Joys of Marriage, Or...

Why I May Kill My Husband Over Vegetables.

99% of the time, there is never any conflict over meals at Jackass Acres. I'm a good cook, Old Sarge likes to eat, and things stay pretty harmonious...right up to the point that I try to serve anything other than green or lima beans as a vegetable.

Now, I love almost any vegie. Asparagus is the only one I really object to, otherwise I'm good with anything. But Old Sarge will not eat anything but green beans. Here we live in corn country, and the only way I can even get him to occassionally eat that is if I have (shudder) squeeze cheese for it. It's a Wisconsin thing as far as I can tell, imported by my SIL.

My big unforgivable sin is that one time last year, I put some peas in the tuna casserole. Once. It was met with much wailing and gnashing of teeth, and has never been done again. Now, it is the Lent season, and I did not have anything at hand to fix on Ash Wednesday except, you guessed it, tuna casserole. Pea-less, by the way, with green beans and garlic cheese biscuits on the side.

He wouldn't eat it.

Last night, I fixed pork chops, sesame rice and...corn. Which I found delicious.

Tonight, instead of having some lovely talapia filets, he's getting fish sticks and french fries. I think I will treat myself to the beets I put up this summer.

Folks, it is hard to be this nasty during Lent, but my memory is long and my wrath is terrible.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Walter Reed Rant

Chuck Z has an excellent post on the situation at Walter Reed. If you haven’t read it, you should.

Then read this:

“Disgraceful,” said Gary Kurpius, a Vietnam veteran from Anchorage, Alaska, who had served 20 years as a veterans’ service officer to help others obtain due compensation and benefits from the government.“It is an absolute disgrace that it took national media attention before corrective action would begin on problems that had been reported months if not years ago. Walter Reed’s world-class reputation has now been tainted by a behind-the-scenes support element that, in part, doesn’t work,” he said.“If money was needed to ensure that Walter Reed had the necessary personnel and programs to properly serve our wounded and their families during a time of war, then people were derelict in their duty for not reporting the need, and then for not following up on their reports,” said Kurpius. The VFW is now calling for Congress to exercise its oversight authority and investigate how this situation was allowed to happen by Walter Reed and Department of the Army officials.“Supporting the troops isn’t just a bumper sticker for civilians,” he said. “It’s a solemn pledge that those who wear the uniform also make.”

-statement from VFW Commander-in-Chief Gary Kurpius from the VFW website

There is a similar statement from the American Legion.

And now for the rant.

The VFW and its Auxiliaries participate extensively in the VA Voluntary Service (VAVS) program. I am wondering why, if the VA uses volunteers to such a large degree, the military does not encourage that for their hospitals. As far as I can tell, the American Red Cross seems to be the only volunteer organization officially involved at military hospitals. That’s a shame, because it is obvious that they could benefit from the help that could be given by our veterans’ groups.

My only experience is with VA hospitals, so I hope I’m not talking out my ass. But the Illinois VFW has VAVS representatives from both the VFW and the Ladies Auxiliary in every hospital and clinic and veterans home in the state and surrounding areas. I have been to the VA hospital in Madison, WI many times as part of the VAVS commitment we have towards our veterans. It is a big responsibility and one that the VFW takes very seriously. And we aren’t the only ones. This is a list of groups that participate in VAVS in Madison:

American Ex-Prisoners of War
American Gold Star Mothers
American Legion and Auxiliary
AMVETS Auxiliary
Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks
Daughters of the American Revolution
Disabled American Veterans and Auxiliary
Forty and Eight
Knights of Columbus
Masonic Service Association
Military Order of the Cootie and Auxiliary
Military Order of the Purple Heart and Auxiliary
National Woman's Relief Corps
Polish Legion of American Veterans and Auxiliary
Salvation Army
Telephone Pioneers of America
Veterans of Foreign Wars and Auxiliary

So why haven’t we stepped up to the plate for the armed forces? I’d really like to know if it is because the military doesn’t want us there, or our leadership hasn’t pushed the issue enough.

We also provide service officers to help vets with the intricacies of VA paperwork, transportation to appointments, assistance with benefits…wouldn’t the efforts of the men and women who volunteer to do this for the VA be a blessing to the Army?

Commander, we don’t need a Congressional investigation nearly as much as we need you and your officers to start talking to the military to see how we can help.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Campaign for Leave

Young SGT is going on leave March 19th, but hasn't decided where to go. Please cast a vote in the comments if you think it's high time he came to see his mother!!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Presidents Day Post

Since this is Presidents Day, I have a few things to share.

When we were in Springfield last weekend, we took the time to go through the Lincoln Museum. I can’t recommend this place enough! Just to name a few attractions they have, there is the “Ghosts of The Library” theater that is the most amazing live actor/holographic performance I have ever seen. It will leave you wondering how did they DO that??? There is also a tour of the Lincoln White House, which includes the Whisper Gallery. If you think political cartoons and posturings are brutal today, you wouldn’t believe how nasty they were then.

George Washington has a quote attributed to him that says everything about why Old Sarge and I are so involved in the VF*n*W:

“The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of earlier wars were treated and appreciated by our nation.”

Which presidents would you most like to meet?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

For me, this one for sure.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Definitely this one!

Enjoy your Presidents Day!

The Good Fight

While catching on from a weekend of bloglessness, I found this over at AWTM's place.

Ten minutes ago, I was unaware of Rep. Sam Johnson. He is now one of my all-time favorite Americans. Please take the time to listen!

Exploder Update

It looks like Old Sarge and I will have a new(er) Explorer this morning. It means an extra two years of car payments that we were not planning on, but all in all, pretty much a lateral move.

Tammi always expounds on the joy of living in a small town, and she is absolutely right- there is no substitute for it. The car dealership I have dealt with for the past fifteen years has one salesman, who is our mayor. He has always been more than fair with us. He brought an Explorer down from their Byron lot, and it was almost identical to what we had. He knocked almost three thousand off the list price (and if you know how car deals work, that is an actual $995 of the bottom line selling price). Our banker, who I went to high school with, was my neighbor growing up and belongs to the same parish we do. Although he is now a vice president, he came in on Saturday to run numbers for us, and gave us the green light on a loan.

I don't think many people outside of a small community would go that extra mile for you if you are in a bad situation. In that sense, I feel very lucky.

Oh, the new ride? 2002 Explorer XLT, has all the bells and whistles the old one had. This will be my fourth one, and I love them. It is also NOT Packer green; I think that may have been bad mojo. I've been driving a Dodge Stratus for the past week and I have to tell you, I do not like driving cars. I can't bend and duck like I used to, so it will be nice to be able to slide straight into the driver's seat again. If I can stop hyperventilating every time I'm behind the wheel, I'll be good to go!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Exploder Update

BOHICA, that's all I can say. The adjuster quit estimating repairs once he got to $5200 and declared it a total loss. Progressive (and yes, I'll name them- it's not MY insurance company) is only offering $4500 for my car, which doesn't cover the payoff. SO...I have to pay the balance out of my own pocket, and have no money for down payment or vehicle to trade in.

Does this SUCK or what??

Thursday, February 15, 2007

9000 Visit

It looks like my 9000 visitor was the Australian Department of Defence.

Domain Name ? (Australia)
IP Address 203.10.224.# (Australian Department of Defence)
ISP Australian Department of Defence
Location Continent : Oceania/Australasia
Country : Australia (Facts)
State/Region : Australian Capital Territory
City : Canberra
Lat/Long : -35.2833, 149.2167 (Map)
Time of Visit Feb 15 2007 6:28:26 am
Referring URL http://miasmaticrevi...eneral_assholery.php
Visitor's Time Feb 15 2007 8:28:26 pm
Visit Number 9,000

Contagion, are you trying to get me into trouble?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


WASHINGTON (Feb. 9, 2007) – The national commander of the nation’s largest organization of combat veterans is very concerned that the ongoing debate in Congress about the planned troop buildup will be perceived by those in uniform as a sign that America’s lawmakers have given up on them and their mission in Iraq.
“My generation learned the hard way that when military decisions are second-guessed by opinion polls or overruled by politicians, it’s the common soldier and their families who pay the price,” said Gary Kurpius, a Vietnam veteran from Anchorage, Alaska, who leads the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. Close to half of the VFW’s 1.8 million members are Vietnam veterans.
“There is no question that mistakes have been made in the prosecution of the war in Iraq,” he said, citing a list that reveals more faults in planning than in execution, such as questionable intelligence assessments at the onset, invading with insufficient forces, the dismantling of the Iraqi army, and the absence of diplomats and civilian nation building experts.
“There is no playbook to fight an unconventional war against an unconventional enemy that wears no uniform and acts without conscience, yet our forces have adapted and are performing brilliantly,” said Kurpius, who provided Army convoy security in the central highlands of Vietnam during the 1968 Tet Offensive.
“We have to let our generals be generals and wage this war as only they are trained to do, and have hope that the announced troop buildup will be the final key that’s needed by the Iraqis to build a secure and united country,” he said.
“We have to have hope that it’s not too late for the U.S. to make a difference in Iraq.”
Efforts to pass a non-binding resolution to criticize President Bush’s troop buildup have currently stalled in the U.S. Senate, but House leaders feel more confident in their ability to get enough votes for passage. A non-binding resolution has no legal authority; it merely expresses the sentiments of Congress.
That’s what worries Kurpius, who called the current debate a major distraction to U.S. forces because it does nothing to improve their morale or strengthen their resolve.
“We fully respect Congressional oversight and the First Amendment rights of all Americans to debate issues of national importance, but the VFW is very concerned with the tone and timing of it,” he said. “We need to send the message to our troops that America wants them to succeed in Iraq by giving the buildup a chance to succeed.”
Kurpius also said the American public needs to remember that Iraq is the centerpiece in a war against a new enemy that only has one goal: To destroy America.
“We must never forget what indiscriminate horrors our enemy is capable of, and never forget that the only reason 3,000 innocent people died on Sept. 11 is because this new enemy didn’t have the means to kill 30,000 or 300,000 or 3 million people,” he said.
“They will not leave America or our allies alone if we pull out of Iraq prematurely. Our sons and daughters in this fight know that, and that’s why they want victory, peace and stability in that region, and that’s why they want to destroy this new enemy — permanently. Our job is to support them.”

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Commander-in-Chief Gary Kurpius in the center, Old Sarge to his left.

I wonder what he's going to say about this latest spew from the mouth of John Murtha.

Happy Valentine's Day Part II

And thank fucking god it is nearly over! If I have to listen to one more commercial for either Pajama Gram or Vermont Fucking Teddy Bears, I will lose my shit completely.

You know what Old Sarge got? M & M's, Hershey's Kisses and heart-shaped Reece's. He will sit in his recliner for many nights, snacking on his chocolatey treats and think I hung the moon for indulging his sweet tooth.

I get indulged 24/7/365, just by having him put up with me. That's PLENTY.

Damn teddy bear commercials!

Have You Heard This?

When we were driving down to Springfield last Friday, a song by Darryl Worley ("Have You Forgotten?") came on the radio, one that I had never heard before.

It's not your usual red-white-and-blue fare, but having talked to so many kids that have come back to The World, I think it's probably pretty on target.

Happy Valentine's Day

Old Sarge-

I did, I do, I always will.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Honey, it wasn't my fault!

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Sorry, Old Sarge couldn't get the pictures in his email, so I had to post them here so he could see. Damn, I haven't written anything nasty about him lately, have I?

So...on the way to work this morning, the roads are kind of crappy but not really bad if you are being careful. WHICH a certain Toyota pickup wasn't, and he slid into my lane. I had a second to get over far enough to avoid a head-on collision, but the truck got most of the drivers side, spun me backwards into oncoming traffic and over to the other shoulder. It was a bit of a wild ride, and I think if my air bags had deployed, I would have been wishing I'd worn the brown corderoys this morning. As it was, we were both very lucky that we didn't get hit by other cars on the road and no one was hurt.


...a little while ago I asked the question: do you stop for accidents?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Just in case you're wondering, no, not one person stopped. And yes, that IS my Explorer.

Happy fucking Monday.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Miss Me?

Not only can it never get too cold to snow, but it is entirely possible to freeze your wireless antenna. So damn, I've had to be quiet! And now I'm off to Springfield for a wonderful weekend of Voice of Democracy competition. Blech.

Oh and Springfield has gone completely smoke free. Thank goodness I stopped (not quit, mind you- I know I'm too vulnerable) three weekd ago.

Monday, February 05, 2007


The Chicago Bears died SUnday, February 4th.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

They choked to death.

Friday, February 02, 2007

I Call B.S.!

I will kick the ass of anyone near enough to me that buys into this global warming bullshit.

The ice caps aren't melting, they've just relocated to Northern Illinois.

A Trivial End

This is it for trivia, and I will even leave the answers in the comments. A co-worker sent this to me and I struggled with it. Let me know how you did!

1. Under what team name did the Bears begin?
2. How much did George Halas pay for the Bears franchise in 1920?
3. What college did Red Grange attend prior to joining the Bears?
4. Soldier Field held the all-time largest collegiate football crowd. How many fans were on hand?
5. Who played in that historic game in November 1927?
6. What was Red Grange’s nickname?
7. The Bears played in the NFL’s first indoor game. Where was it played?
8. Which Bear’s player was NFL rookie of the year in 1961?
9. In what year did the Bears’ “C” logo appear on their helmets?
10. In his rookie season (1965), Gale Sayres tied the NFL record for single-game touchdowns in a 61-20 drubbing of the 49ers. How many did he score?
11. How many times did Butkus make the Pro Bowl?
12. Where did Walter Payton play his outstanding college career?
13. Who led the Bears in tackles in ’85?
14. In what year did Mike Ditka become head coach?
15. The Bears notched back-to-back shutouts in 1985. Who were their victims?
16. What was the final score in Super Bowl XX after the Bears scorched the Patriots?
17. Which extra-large Bear scored three touch-downs in the 1985 season?
18. How many championships have the Bears won?
19. Who did Chicago beat in the “Fog Bowl” at Soldier Field in 1988?
20. Which Bear has been invited to the Pro Bowl the most time?
21. In what year did Walter Payton secure the NFL all-time rushing record?
22. How many games did Walter Payton miss in his thirteen-year career?
23. What is the title of the Bears’ Super Bowl theme song?
24. Brian Urlacher was drafted out of New Mexico in what year?
25. Only one team beat the Bears in the 1985 season. Who was it?
26. The Bears “C” logo is orange today. What was the original color?
27. How many Bears uniform numbers have been retired?
28. What defense was mentioned in the Bears’ popular “Super Bowl Shuffle? ditty?

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Trivia Overload?

Tired of trivia already? No one has even answered the last two questions.

Well, tough. Did I mention there is a prize?

Here's some Did You Know? stuff.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Did You Know:

- that George Halas played briefly as an outfielder with the New York Yankees?
- that he was also the MVP of the 1919 Rose Bowl?
- that Papa Bear not only was the Bears founder and head coach, but was a player also? His #7 jersey was retired.