Mar 19, 2005

Once more into the breach, dear friends 

I'll be gone for two weeks of fun and adventure - all courtesy of Uncle Sam - starting tomorrow. Hopefully I'll have tales of said adventure for you all when I return. Until we meet again... go through my archives.

And go visit Smokin'. I'm sure he could use the company.


Mar 18, 2005

Kickass video of the day 

Kickass link of the day 

From Major K, a soldier in Iraq:
All too frequently, the driver of many of these vehicles is unaware that he is doing anything more than smuggling supplies through a checkpoint or planting a car bomb for later detonation. These murderers are often driving not far behind the VBIED with a remote control detonation device. The bomb is detonated as soon as the vehicle gets close enough to the target, or, as in many cases, the device is about to be discovered and the mission compromised at a checkpoint. The checkpoint becomes a target of opportunity, no matter how many innocents are there. We refer to this as a Kervorkian, or an assisted suicide bombing. It is loathsome.
Good read with some impressive pictures.

Mar 17, 2005

Ever wonder what $230 worth of Guinness looks like? 

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The beer fridge, circa 1999.
click for full size

This is what happens when:
- you are a Marine
- you live with 4 other Marines
- you decide to invite over 200 of your closest Marine friends
- the liquor store stiffs you on the Guinness keg they were supposed to order for you
- they decide to give you the monetary value of the keg... IN CANS
- a Marine Reserve SSgt who works at the liquor store hooks you up OVER the amount you were supposed to get

None of this happened on St Paddy's, mind you. But I think it keeps in the spirit of the thing.

Happy Guinness to all... and to all a good night.

Mar 16, 2005

Movie review 

Some war stories will never make the nightly news.

400 American soldiers carry out their mission from a bombed-out pleasure palace once owned by Saddam Hussein. This is their story.
Blackfive has been running at the mouth for awhile now about the film "Gunner Palace". So I decided to go see it on the strength of his commentary, and for a few other reasons - not the least of which because I may BE in Baghdad or the vicinity at a point in the not too distant future. Might as well take the opportunity to get a good look at the lay of the land.

First of all, let me preface this by saying that I saw this film in the ONLY theater it's playing in between Los Angeles and Mexico. It was filled nowhere close to capacity. The only people who were there were people who had made an effort to search this film out... more on them in a moment.

The theater itself is one of those kind of places that I both love and hate. Small, personal, kind of olde tyme feel to the movie experience... good. Staff that looks and acts like they just got off from their other job at the record store which by default makes them cooler than you... bad. This is the kind of place that only plays indie films... good and bad. Good because you get stuff like "Gunner Palace." Bad because it attracts people that think watching independent films makes them a superior lifeform to all us schlepps who like a big budget action flick.

People like the guy next to me in the line for refreshments. I kid you not, the guy actually asked "Is that real cappuccino back there?"

Made me feel dirty... I was in a movie theater that even had cappuccino as an option...

The crowd was small but definitely a mixed bag. There were obvious Marines in there... guys with hair so short it made me look positively scraggly (and I have to keep a pretty good high-reg or I get a case of the "white-man's-afro" you don't even want to know about). And then there were your burned out hippies... the kind that take as much pride in the "Kerry '04" bumper stickers on their Volvos as they do in the "Mondale/Ferraro '84" stickers that are still there as well. Everybody with an agenda. Everybody with some kind of preconception about this film... about this war.

And I think everybody... got what they wanted...

If ever there was a film that could act as a mirror of each individual viewer's personal beliefs, this is it. The hard-chargers got motivated to go cap some Hajis for mom, the flag, and apple pie, while the flower-children had their suspicions confirmed that Rumsfeld actually IS Satan and that American soldiers are dumb kids, basically forced to join the military because they have no other options in life. Everyone came away happy.

But regardless of your personal political stance, this film does one thing better than any other that I can think of: it lets the American fighting man tell the tale for himself. It doesn't sugarcoat or water down anything. Granted, it's not a Marine Corps film (which I feel would have been a vastly different product), but it's an American combat soldier's film and should be seen by anyone who thinks they know what's going on in the sandbox. You have no idea...

There is no gratuitous violence and no one gets killed on screen (odd for a "war film," eh?), but some people we meet do die, and there is an abundance of colorful language (not so odd for the military).

Some people on the Left say this film glorifies war, and I've even heard a few on the Right say this is an anti-war film and that the filmmaker has liberal leanings. I say it's whatever you want it to be. For me, it seemed to lean slightly to the anti-war side... but then why wouldn't it? It's a soldier's story right? Every soldier is anti-war. War means we have to leave home, work long hours, and get shot at. That sucks. Who could possibly be pro-THAT?

All the anti-war protesters back here in the states have no reason to bitch. They aren't going to be shot at. They aren't going to have to wonder which rooftop would make a good RPG position. NOT ONE liberal college professor is in danger of being hit by an IED on his way across town today... not even Ward Churchill. So what the hell do they care if there's a war on or not? They aren't going to fight in it.

The Gunners know that, see? And so they do their job... and they love it and they hate it all at the same time. And that's what really comes across in this film. Politics be damned.


"Baretta" Not Guilty 

O.J. Simpson has a new golfing buddy.

Throw in that freak Robert Durst who dismembered some guy in Galveston (and possibly killed his wife years earlier), and Chappaquiddick Ted, and you've got a hell of foursome.

I'd suggest letting them play through...

Mar 13, 2005

Quick question 

Why is it that whenever I call computer tech support, no matter what question I ask, be the problem great or small, the answer is always the same?

I swear to God and all that is holy, you too can be a tech support guru if you remember this one simple phrase:

"Backup your information and reformat your harddrive."

That's IT! That's the mystery answer! If ONLY I had the forethought and common sense to simply format away every bit of information on there BEFORE I called!

What part of I DON'T WANT TO DO THAT UNLESS I HAVE A CATASTROPHIC SYSTEM FAILURE AND ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO do you tech support assclowns not understand? I called you because you're supposed to have a way to fix it that DOESN'T require me reinstalling the operating system that - oh by the way - YOU ASSHOLES DIDN'T INCLUDE DISKS FOR WHEN YOU SENT THE COMPUTER! Call me crazy, but doesn't ol' Billy Gates make it damn near impossible to make your own copy of Windows in order to prevent copyright infringement?

So to fix the problem which you should have an answer to - because, after all, it's YOUR DAMN PRODUCT - your answer is "copy, format, buy Windows XP, and reinstall"? FOR EVERYTHING?

If there is a heaven above, it will provide me three things in the afterlife: hippies, commies, and tech support weenies to kick the crap out of for all eternity.

Mar 10, 2005

One down, one to go 

One of these men is a controlling, socialist, dictatorial jackass, loathed by millions in his own country, who has incessantly railed for decades against the evils of the United States, and whose total downfall has been eagerly awaited.

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"So, Fidel... your room or mine?"

The other one runs Cuba.

So long, Danny boy. Don't get too comfy over at 60 Minutes either. After all, THAT'S the show that finally blew you out of the water.


Image courtesy of a website you should really read called The Real Cuba, which I found at the equally informative Babalu Blog, which was given to me by the indomitable Blackfive.

That's a solid three-pack of Anti-Commie to brighten your day right there.

Mar 2, 2005

Like there was any question 

What Flavour Are You? I tashte like Alcohol.I tashte like Alcohol.

Heh. Heh. I taste like beer. I like beer. Buy me a beer. I'm not drunk, I can drink plenty without... What was I saying? Beer. What Flavour Are You?

hat tip to Tammi

Mar 1, 2005

Hi!... and welcome to 1997 

Arianna Huffington Huffinstuff has just taken the mantle of stupid away from the previous owner, Maureen Dowd. Don't worry Maureen, I'm sure you'll regain your lost glory before too long.

You see, Ms. Huffinstuff has taken it upon herself to point out that - horror of horrors! - the Department of Defense has a TV channel.

Dear GOD, whatever shall we do?! Now the evil triple-headed Bushitler/Cheney/Rummy monster will be able to beam mind control rays straight into the eyeballs of ZILLIONS of unsuspecting people who have the potential to actually accidentally listen to Stuart Smalley's show on Air America before realizing that it sucks and turning it off anyway. This CANNOT stand!

Pentagon TV to invade your living room

The Bush administration will do just about anything to manipulate public opinion. It paid pundits to say nice things. It created bogus - and, according to the controller general, illegal - video news reports. It gave us Gannon/Guckert-gate.
Say wha? "ILLEGAL video news reports?" I thought that CNN had cornered the market on those when they overlooked Saddam feeding kids into wood-chippers so they could 'maintain access' (in the words of the dearly departed Eason Jordan). And for all your bluster, I STILL have NO GODDAM IDEA who Gannon or Guckert is except for something about them being the same guy or something. Sorry, I couldn't hear you over the sound of Dan Rather sobbing...
Now, the Bushies are producing their own news network: the Pentagon Channel, brought to you by the Defense Department.
You may remember them from such exciting events as: D-DAY, Inchon, and the winning of the Cold War!
Started last year as an internal public-relations unit, the network is expanding to the general public. Some cable systems, including Time Warner, already carry it, and the Dish Network will soon be beaming the station to more than 11 million viewers.
All of whom still live in the freest country on the planet and have access to remote controls. God forbid it has to compete for screen time in a house like mine with HBO-On-Demand... it'll be a ratings GIANT I tell you!
Defense Department TV execs say it'll be "a mix between CNN and C-SPAN," with military news and lifestyle shows, live briefings and appearances by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

Pentagon Channel programs include "Why I Serve," and "Korea Destinations."
Like the Lieutenant told Joker, we run two kinds of stories here: "Grunts who give half their pay to buy kids toothbrushes and deodorants - Winning Of Hearts and Minds. And combat action which results in a kill - Winning the War." Sadly, Ms. Huffinstuff has found us out and will now call us on it...
Rumsfeld might consider a more realistic lineup. How about: "The Real World: Fallujah"; "Pimp My Humvee" and "Desperate Military Housewives."
Wow... I'm speechless... where oh where does this woman's comic genius spring from? And that timing! Only EIGHT YEARS behind the power curve! (Maybe more, but as far as I can tell, the televized "Navy/Marine Corps News" show which does everything she just described has only been on the air since 1997...)

But rage on, fair maiden, rage on. For more of Ms. Huffinstuff check out her website (which has a longer and even more action-packed version of the article above) and what supposedly passes for a blog. Apparently, an excerpt from an article you wrote the day before (which is on the same website, by the way) and a hotlink that takes you DIRECTLY THERE (will wonders never cease) qualifies. Maybe I missed the memo, but I thought it had something to do with original content, or at least maybe referencing somebody besides yourself. Guess I was wrong.

But at least I know now that the Pentagon Channel is coming to steal my soul and scramble what's left of my feeble military brain. So I've got that goin' for me... which is nice...

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