Saturday, June 23, 2007

Pet coke and random farts

It has been a weird day. I went to a refinery today to look at some of our installations that are embedded there. It is pretty damn weird to see US Army ocean going vessels and gate guards who are US Navy. That is like some strange alternate military universe.
It is also weird to see brick after brick of petroleum coke just dropped all over the place. I used to work at the Port of LA and the terminal I was at exported pet coke to the far east. It is the solids that are left over after you just squeeze every bit of fluid from oil. It is actually the left over impurities but it burns extremely hot and is used for steel manufacturing. It was just all over the road. In California that would be a major environmental fine.
It was random fart day too. Every once in a while the DFAC serves chow that makes everyone fart. I'm not talking polite little gas poppers. I'm talking full scale gale force winds with a smell that will peel paint. Your eyes water and you do everything you can to get away. It also seems that during these force 5 fart a thons that everyone goes crop dusting. You will be walking in a hallway and walk into a cloud of death. You can just see the laughing skull as you furiously try and get away but all you do is cause an air plenum and it wafts behind you.
Girls are just as bad. They fart too.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

"He just need a good a$$ kicking."

I am trying to imagine the world outcry in the MSM if an Iranian Diplomat had been set upon and beaten in public in Washington, D.C. In today's Kuwaiti Times they describe just such an attack in Theran upon a Kuwaiti diplomat.

The dude was just walking down the street when a group of the Iranian Neoislamofascist government sponsored thugs set upon him and whupped him good. At least that is the way my dad would say it. What they really did was smack him around like they would one of their women, leaving some marks on his face so that they could send a message to Kuwait that the government of Iran is pretty ticked off at the Kuwaiti government.

This is all about regional politics. The Kuwaitis are our allies because while many of them may have short memories regarding the 1991 Gulf War, their senior government staffers and their Royal Family do not. Had it not been for GWB the 1st the Kuwaiti Royals would be like the Greek and Albanian royal families. Just a bunch of rich homeless people. They know who is their real friend. The Iranians on the other hand, have not forgotten that Kuwait backed Iraq in the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s and gave the Iraqis umpteen bazillion petrodollars for the fight.

Draw your own conclusions but state sanctioned thuggery invariably leads to a suffocating level of totalitarianism which is exactly what Iran is heading toward. Our struggles with and in Iraq are paltry compared to what it would be with Iran. They scare the crap out of every Arab government over here. At the end of the day, if the Iranians rattle the saber enough, the Arabs may just wake up and say, "You know, the Americans and Brits are not so bad. Maybe we should concentrate on the looming 800 pound gorilla right across the gulf."

Saturday, June 16, 2007


The International Council of Manlaws, Ltd.
1: Under no circumstances may two men share an umbrella.
2: It is OK for a man to cry ONLY under the following Circumstances:
(a) When a heroic dog dies to save its master.
(b) The moment Angelina Jolie starts unbuttoning her Blouse.
(c) After wrecking your boss's car.
(d) When she is using her teeth.
3: Any Man who brings a camera to a bachelor party may be legally killed and eaten by his buddies.
4: Unless he murdered someone in your family, you must bail a friend out of jail within 12 hours.
5: If you've known a guy for more than 24 hours, his sister is off limits forever unless you actually marry her.
6: Moaning about the brand of free beer in a buddy's fridge is forbidden. However complain at will if the temperature is unsuitable.
7: No man shall ever be required to buy a birthday present for another man. In fact, even remembering your buddy's birthday is strictly optional. At that point, you must celebrate at a strip bar of the birthday boy's choice.
8: On a road trip, the strongest bladder determines pit stops, not the weakest.
9: It is permissible to drink a fruity alcohol drink only when you're sunning on a tropical beach ... and it's delivered by a topless model and only when it's free.
10: Only in situations of moral and/or physical peril are you allowed to kick another guy in the nuts.
11: Unless you're in prison, never fight naked.
12: Friends don't let friends wear Speedos. Ever. Issue closed.
13: If a man's fly is down, that's his problem, you didn't see anything.
14: Women who claim they "love to watch sports" must be treated as spies until they demonstrate knowledge of the game and the ability to drink as much as the other sports watchers.
15: Never hesitate to reach for the last beer or the last slice of pizza, but not both, that's just greedy.
16: If you compliment a guy on his six-pack, you'd better be talking about his choice of beer.
17: Phrases that may NOT be uttered to another man while lifting weights: a) Yeah, Baby, Push it! b) C'mon, give me one more! Harder! c) Another set and we can hit the showers!
18: The girl who replies to the question "What do you want for Christmas?" with "If you loved me, you'd know what I want!" gets an Xbox. End of story.
19: There is no reason for guys to watch Ice Skating or Men's Gymnastics. Ever.
20: We've all heard about people having guts or balls, but do you really know the difference between them? In an effort to keep you informed, the definition of each is listed below:
"GUTS" is arriving home late after a night out with the guys, being assaulted by your wife with a broom, and having the guts to say, "are you still cleaning or are you flying somewhere?"
"BALLS" is coming home late after a night out with the guys, smelling of perfume and beer, lipstick on your collar, slapping your wife on the ass and having the balls to say, "Roll over, You're next!"
I hope this clears up any confusion, The International Council of Manlaws, Ltd

Friday, June 15, 2007

Iraqi Editorial Cartoons

Its been a while since I have posted but I am just jamming these days. It seems that I have no time for myself let alone anything as all consuming as taking my random thoughts and transcribing them to the keyboard.

I generally don't post just to post. I only do it when I think I have something to be said or when I need to get something off my chest.

Right now we are in the middle of yet another cycle of incoming and outgoing units. I feel like I have seen every unit patch in the Army now. I'm actually getting pretty good at identifying even the 1001 National Guard units that cycle through.

I guess that all I could say today is summed up in these two cartoons. A spook type friend of mine sent these to me. Its a sad, sad comment on the state of affairs up North. When we first got here in 2003 we were so full of hope and just knew that the shooting would be over in a couple of months.
OK, I'll admit it. We were wrong. We misjudged the enemy. We misidentified the enemy. We should have shot the journalists. Had we done so and then just kept them ALL out this would have been over. Like a lot of other conflicts we have won every fight and battle but lost the media war the day we rolled into the country.
I detest the media. I loath them. My brothers and sisters are still dying because they all want "The Story." They stand on a balcony in the Green Zone with their backs to Baghdad and speak as if they have actually been out on the street. They are cowards who will not even leave the Green Zone where there is AC, swimming pools, beer, and TV. They don't ride in a HUMMWV on a convoy mission at night. They don't walk the side of a stream zigging and zagging up and down the banks looking for trip wires or electronic sensors for IEDs. They don't carry a plastic rifle with underpowered rounds against an enemy who shoots .30 caliber (7.62) on "Spray and Pray".
AND....they have not a drop of ball sweat for bravery when it comes to the Iraqis who drew these cartoons. These people could be, may be, probably will be kidnapped and the shot, beheaded, or worse.
Ask me how I really feel.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Lest we forget

I get a lot of email every day and some is junk mail. Some are daily newsletters and such. I got one today from and it had a link to a video remembrance of the D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6th, 1944.
Even though it was over 60 years ago and seems like such a different war in a different time the words spoken by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt are a haunting alarm bell to the struggle we have today. I'm glad I tuned in. Today was not a good day for me as I just was overwhelmed by all the duties I have but this gave me some new found strength and vigor.
I also logged onto this video clip where there is a mockumentary of what the media would have portrayed as the invasion as had it happened today instead of over 60 years ago. It has the requisite graphics, talking heads, pseudo experts, and nay sayers who know not what they are talking about just as we do today.
I invite you to watch these videos and hear the words of a man who led us through dark, dark days and into a an era where American hegemony became a fact. It is always darkest before the dawn and it is dark today. The media is largely to blame as are poverty, religious intolerance, and ignorance. I know we have a real live human enemy but anyone involved in this effort long enough comes to understand that if we can defeat poverty then ignorance and religious intolerance will fade away.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

On the road again.....

After all my years in Southern California I swore I would never commute again but lately it seems like that is what I do. Thanks God the Army lets us use SUVs in Kuwait instead of HMMWVs. My ass could not take that.

Sometimes I just take some quick snaps as I am driving. The first one is an intersection of a paved road (Iron Horse) and an unpaved road (Dallas). Each has its own particular type of danger. Iron Horse has nutcase locals in Mitsubishi pick ups transporting sheep and doing about 150 KPH and Dallas has new potholes and ruts every time you traverse it.

This second pic is from some Kuwaiti Air Force junk. It is an A-4 Skyhawk which was a top of the line Navy/Marine close support aircraft from the 60s up until the early 90s. I'm not sure if that is battle damage from the Iraqi invasion or cannibalising of the airframe but it is an American made jet which has met a sad fate in Kuwait.

You saw the A-4 in action as it was the OPFOR (Opposition Forces) jet in TopGun. It was a really nimble aircraft with fighter characteristics except for its landing gear. It had an ungainly appearance on the ground as it had long, skinny landing spars because of all the ordinance it carried.

This last shot is a twilight snap of soldiers getting ready to leave the relative safety of Kuwait and head North to Iraq. This is the last safe sunset they will see for a year.
I like the color in this and what is most amazing to me is that all of these photos were taken with my telephone camera. It is just not handy to carry around a DSLR all the time but this is with me 24/7.

Friday, June 01, 2007

A Disturbing Find

It's a dead donkey. It appears to have been dead for about 3 days or so because it is starting to ooze but the eyes still have fluid in them (Oh, the things you learn at Paramedic School).
I see dead animals on the side of the road a lot here. Dead sheep, goats and the like for the most part but this is a grown donkey. It does not appear to have been struck by a vehicle so I dont know how it died, I can only speculate.
I see them a lot. Donekyes that is. The bedo (bedouins) and the sheep herders use them for transport and as beasts of burden. Life is hard over here and doubly so for this poor beasty.
This poor animal was most likely born here which means that it never saw a green field of grass, never got to play in a lake, river, stream or pond. It never had a day in the warm sun just laying in the grass watching insects buzz about. No it did not.
This is the way that animals live and die here. In the heat, the unrelenting sun, in the oppression that is endless, mindless toil. The donkey was alone and excluded from companionship of its kind with only the sheep herder and the sheep for company.
I was filled with remorse looking at this and will remember it. I dont know why but with all the death and suffering that I have seen the human side does not affect me as much as that of a dumb animal. Maybe it is because we as humans make choices to stand and fight or go about our merry way. (Fight or Flight, another Paramedic lesson)
The donkey did not have that choice. It led a miserable life in miserable weather doing a monotonous, miserable set of chores. Maybe it is better off. What galls me though is how the person who benifited from the work and life of this animal did not even care enough to bury it. They just leave it there, bloating up in the sun and waiting for some Indian, Pakistani, or Bangladeshi to come by in a trash truck and haul it off. That or let it rot.
How we treat animals says much about our cultures. Draw your own conclusions form this one, I have.
View My Profile