Monday, January 15, 2007

Soldier Humor

No matter where we go we leave a mark. Sometimes it is in the cultural changes we make and sometimes it is in the guise of smaller things like humor.

American soldiers have always had a warped sense of humor and it is tradition to leave behind jokes, remarks, etc. Some are funnier than others and some are all about place and time.

I was with three others today who have never been to Baghdad so after a tedious and painful meeting we took the opportunity to have a look around at some of the sights.
I have read a lot of soldier humor in the form of graffitti and it says so much about the American psyche that we carry everywhere we go. Even in the midst of destruction and pain the American soldier finds a way to see the funny side.

I took these pics today at the Flintstone Palace. This is the children's playplace that he was building across from the "Victory Over America" Palace in the Camp Slayer complex. While all the finished palaces are occupied by Coalition Forces or agencies, the unfinished ones are not. The Victory Over America Palace was never finished and neither was the Flintstone Palace.

I love this one. I can't wait for "Wet Burkha Wednesdays" myself. I am trying to imagine what the prize is. Is it a free Hijab? Maybe a free goat sandwich? Who knows what amazing things await the lucky winner.
The DJ can wail from the minaret while she spins like a whirling dervish slinging water at all the spectators. Of course the Taliban just would not approve of this. Too shocking and all. Maybe Mullah Omar might get a secret titallation from it.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Back in Baghdad

I am back in Baghdad for a few days. I have not been here for 6 months and that seems like a long time and a short time at the same time. People roll in and out of here so often that if you are not here on an almost constant basis you lose track of them. I saw a few that I know last night but there are a whole lot that are new faces to me.

We made a night landing at BIAP and while I have done that on numerous occasions in rotary wing aircraft this was in a fixed wing bird. I am used to the cork screw approach like that at no other commercial airport in the world but at night it is really weird.

I wont say that I was scared but I was tense. Being away in Kuwait has given me this different sense of day to day life. Even though it is part of the OIF effort the danger aspect is just so remote. Here it is real and in your face. A lot of things came right back to me. Dont hug the T-Walls, shrapnel spalls the cement. Look for the closest bunker, make an instant evaluation of the cover situation. Where are the low spots? that is where you go when there are no bunkers. Carry water at all times, if you get closed in a bunker you can't go out to get a bottle. Leave your pants and boots by the bed like a fireman so you can jump right in them in the event of incoming fire. And so on and so on. All those little lessons you learn after three years in a war zone. They come back in a snap.

I am going to hit the PX and bazaar while I am here to look for a new pocket camera. My SLR was too big to bring on this trip (weight restrictions on the flight) and I think my other camera has been stolen. I am bad about misplacing things but I have been looking for it for two weeks and can't find it. I think it took a walk from my office or vehicle. I hope not, I hope that I can trust those who do the cleaning and dispatching but human nature is what it is and if it were stolen due to my negligence I would not be surprised.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Crane Roll Over

I was driving out in the desert away from town and came up on this beauty. Some how an operator turned over a perfectly good 35 ton Grove Rough Terrain Hydraulic Crane. However he did it was awfully dumb. These rigs are designed to operate in these environments and flipping one over is usually a result of getting a load out of radius. I know because I used to operate these in another lifetime (seems that way sometimes).

From the looks of his tracks it appears that he tried to walk this rig with the boom all the way up and taking the berm on the road edge at the same time. All operators are taught that you never run more than 10% off level and that you always travel with the boom as far down as possible. What a shame. This is a nice looking fairly new rig.

Like Daddy said, "Never underestimate how stupid someone can be."

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

What Rose Bowl?

I worked late last night and got into the rack about 23:00. I was up at 05:00 to get ready and meet some folks at 06:30. I ran into a major issue with personnel and got a late start to my schedule. I made a major road trip and did not get back until an hour ago.

I just checked the box scores from the Rose Bowl. USC 32, Michigan 18 I didn't watch it. I have not seen highlights. I don't know anything other than this. I am so tired that I am not even that psyched about it. I just know that I am damn glad that I don't have to hear a years worth of crowing about it.

I feel for the Michigan fans though. They really thought they were the team to meet OSU. I know what it feels like to get your hopes shattered. So Michigan fans, have a great recruiting year and let's do this agin. After all Michigan and USC have been in the Rose Bowl together 9 times now. USC leads the series 7-2.
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