Monday, July 31, 2006

Gender Dysphoria

Please go to Illini 6. I have posted excerpts from the detective novel I am working on called The Larch. The POV and main detective is a transsexual named Alison Brickhouse.

Before you get confused, transvestites dress as the opposite gender (not as vikings); transsexuals believe they were born as the wrong gender (and some try to correct this through surgery).

How to Lighten the Office Up a Little Bit

Folks at the office have be just a little down lately. We had a co-worker pass away a while back, a couple more co-workers transfer to other departments too. Something had to be done...

What else could I do but dress like a Viking? It did seem to lighten the mood around the place. Of course, now people are convinced that I am (more) nuts.

Friday, July 28, 2006

I love the IDF!!!! I also like the Merkava.

Married to a member of the Tribe and being told I was a Jew by proxy by a certain Rabbi from the 82nd in Bagram during the High Holidays of 2004, I cannot hide my great respect for the IDF and the free people serving in it. Keep up the good fight.....Mozoltov!

The Goy-Wonder

News of Afghanistan XV

There, at least I put in the right number for this installment...

Now that I am back from the fun at Fort McCoy, it's back to the News!

For those in a hurry - try the Radio Free Afghanistan Daily Round Up.
Taliban minimum wage?
Oh boy....this isn't good.

"Speak for yourself, Crusader dog! It's good for me!"
Oh fer cryin' out loud...not this bunch, again.

"yeah, we're worried too..."
A sad example of a good man, and what the enemies of a peaceful Afghanistan are all about.
e-Ariana's editorial cartoon (I think they agree with the ladies above)

Attention Afghan TV seekers (satellite that is).

NAWAJ, PARWAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Two Afghan men on crutches cross a newly constructed bridge linking the village of Nawaj and other mountain villages to a main road in Parwan Province. The bridge, an initiative of the Parwan government and supported by the Bagram Provincial Reconstruction team is the first step in a transportation and flood control project for this area of Parwan. (Photo by Air Force Maj. David Kurle, 455th Air Expeditionary Wing public affairs)

Now back to the War...

Sometimes you just shouldn't ambush people that can call for artillery fire...

OK, tell me how this helps the Taliban again?

No?! Really? Hard to imagine.

Now back to the rest of the News...

Get Out! Get Out!

Yea for grapes!

Uh, now what?

This weeks Source o' Afghan information: The Times of Central Asia

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Two Posts in One

The US Army just graduated it's first class of Lean Six Sigma students.

What're we going to do, have kanbans for units deploying? I'll tell you six sigma army style: one shot, one kill. That's army six sigma!

Here's a telling quote from the article:

"One challenge the graduates will have is making the lessons, which came mostly from the corporate world, relevant to the military environment..." [emphasis mine]

Score one more for the professional reservists. I took a six sigma class back in the 90s when I was at Motorola.

Here's another:

“The major difference is that the corporate world […]you get rewarded for saving money. In the military, you have to spend all of your money, usually in specific ways… but the lessons can be transferred with some creativity[.]"


The other thing is the call up of Israeli reservists. My first thought was, "I hope they don't call up this US reservist," but then I thought about reprisals against US forces already deployed. I don't think our deployment was fun, but I also don't think it was too hairy.

Mrs. Prop is nervous, but I'm going to say a prayer for our folks out there now.

Oh yeah, and everybody go to Illini 6. I've been posting there (seven times in the last week).

The most foolish thing ever written (almost)

Read this and hold your rising gorge. I'd believe it was a parody, except that the author is "a graduate student at University of California, Berkeley. "

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Operation Magneato Update

See Iowahawk for the latest in the equipping of the damndest HMMWV in the Army. And send some magnets...

Dr. Darren Lee
FOB Brassfield Mora
APO AE 09349

Previously mentioned here. (Is that enough Mr. Burge?!?)

An Afghan Riddle

What do the following have in common?

Gary Sinise, the Parwan Provincial Reconstruction Team, Laura Hillenbrand, the Government of Afghanistan, and a bunch of kids in Nayzi.

Give up? Read this and see.

Hint below

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Afghanidan is back in the USA.

Some Observations...and an Excuse

OK, I am back to blogging. Two weeks of fun at Fort McCoy are over. I was the acting S-3 (operations officer) for our Brigade - a role I have not assumed before. Interesting, but I am glad it is over.

First, the observations:

Fort McCoy is slowly turning into quite the mobilization station. The training facilities are much improved from when I went through them in February 2004. The civilians working there continue to be very helpful, knowledgable and good at coping with the off and on again flow of soldiers.

The soldiers I saw were more ... serious? I am at a loss as to how to describe their demeanor. But after several years of war, it seemed like everyone was either on their way to deploy, coming back from a deployment, or had already done one (or more). Don't get me wrong - there was plenty of, um, high spirits (like the 2/106th CAV's guests - 100 soldiers from the Coldstream Guards) and it wasn't like people were walking around depressed. There just seemed to be a background impression of seriousness in soldiers' attitudes and actions. For those of us who were in the National Guard back in the mid 1980s, it is still a source of wonder, and makes me proud of the Guard today.

Now the excuse - I am tired. I have been slack in my blogging, in my reading of the blogs linked here, and slack in my commentary at some of the blogs I frequent. I guess I am feeling my age, having turned 40 a short time ago, heh heh. I did manage to go out and run a couple of miles this morning - so there is hope I am pulling out of this. Just be patient while I get back into the swing of things (like dealing with 2 weeks of e-mails, and items placed in my 'in-box' at work). Hopefully this Friday will see the triumphant return of the News of Afghanistan.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Charity ride from Kabul to Germany....

These British soldiers are on the ride of a life time. Check out the website to track their progress and Blog. American Bikes are so boring. Safe trip gents.

Friday, July 21, 2006

New Illini Philosophy!

That's it! I have a new philosophy for Illini 6. I am going to post everyday, whether I have anything to say or not. I want to draw more readers so I'm going to post random writing thoughts and stuff. I HOPE I get some feedback.

At first I didn't want to push the Reach Out excerpts too far down, but I looked at "Creating Family Websites for Dummies" "Writing a Good Blog" entry and they said to write everyday.

SOOO, now the idea is to keep it fresh, keep the readers coming back, and maybe I'll get some comments and people will read the book chapters.

Wish me luck.


PS: Beer!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Operation Sesame Slam

Kabul, Afghanistan - This Donut reporter just received intelligence that a major operation was launched this morning from Afghanistan into the neighboring country of Hooperstoreistan.

Based on information provided by Ernie el Henson, former number two "man" in the Muppet Brigade, the multi-national force hopes to capture or kill Evil Burt.

Good luck men.

[Actually the photo on the left is courtesy of AKO and is a photo of a Civil Affairs Battalion CSM (and Ernie el Henson of course) en route to a humanitarian mission in Iraq.]

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Fort McCoy, being a mobilization station, has a "inert IED recognition route". Several are based on what troops have encountered in Iraq. The very last one, however, is a little touch of Wisconsin humor. Behold, the BBIED (Bambi Borne Improvised Explosive Device!

[yes, I realize that dead animals have been used to hide IEDs...but a deer is just soooo Wisconsin]

Friday, July 14, 2006

Ahh Global Warming!

I understand the concern about Global Warming. I too am concerned that we should not poison our planet. I don't think we are doing enough to minimize harmful impacts on all the ecosystems (not just the ones that are comfy and attractive to us) through pollution, uncontrolled growth, irresponsible technology, abuse, sprawl and other things.

On the other hand I do not believe in Global Warming, (our culpability for it) yet.

As Inigo said, "Is too much. Let me sum up." We don't have the data. We don't know how temperature works.

We've been keeping records since 1880 (only since 1895 in USA). 1880! How can you blame human technology and industry for a heat wave when you don't even have records that go back to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution (as early as 1760), let alone what it was like before?

I say the jury is still out (Alleged Global Warming).

Should we be concerned? Should we do something about it? Darn tootin! Should we act like the man at the left (the photo on the left not the Man at the Left)? Let's not be too hasty.

BTW. As a FREE speech site I wanted to add a link to the site from which the photo was cribbed. I Googled "Hair on Fire" and got a link to Screaming Points. The blogger there seems to have opinions different than most visitors we hear from here. I just wanted to reinforce the fact that Miserable Donuts is not about one political view (maybe one economic view, but not political). Cool picture dude, thanks.

Greetings from Fort McCoy

Ah, Fort McCoy. Spent a decade here one two month period... Really it isn't that bad, but it is awfully crowded right now. This is the first opportunity I have had to get at acomputer and update everyone. It's hot, there are lots of soldiers going through mobilization here, and we are trying to stay out of the way while we get some training done. There, don't you feel informed now?

More, perhaps in a day or two (provided I survive the heat...)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

It's an El not a Subway, get out!

We had a bit of a problem in our fair city yesterday (Chicago of course).

It seems there was a derailment of one of our commuter trains and a fire during rush hour.

Despite the fact that it was the underground portion, and regardless of what CNN thinks the CTA trains are the El, not the subway (compare the photo on the left with this link).

A woman I work with left for the day yesterday and called back to say that she had heard that it was terrorists. Of course it wasn't, but that is the first thing we think of today. Sad really.

In fact this donut reporter has since found out it was actually the work of one misguided young woman. This is an exclusive photo from the event as it happened.

It appears that she was targeting the man seen in the following photo. He actually slept through the attack.

(While MJ is on sabbatical getting in touch with his camouflage side I'm trying to keep you all amused (in my own special style)).

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


I probably should have done this earlier so you guys could have voted for me. I submitted a story called "Time in a Box" to Mirabile Visu 's SSIW (Short Sharp Imaginative Writing) contest.

It's a BBS-type site so go to the link and scroll down until you see my confused face.

The theme of the contest was COIN / CUSP with an added challenge of putting in math and a flashback.

I have also had a story called "Delectioparvulus" rejected recently. I won't post it yet, because I still have hopes for it. It was originally named "The Neighborhood Pedophile" and lost a different contest. The administrator told me it was good, but that no one would publish it with a name like that.

I seem to be going backwards!

Sorry about the whinning, I just wanted to share my pain.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Gone Fishin', Gone to AT

I hit the road tomorrow AM for Annual Training at Fort McCoy. I am not sure what the computer situation will be, so if I don't post, or post much over the next couple of weeks...

Not Fort McCoy, but the bed of the Ghorband River. I just wanted to post one of my Afghan photos.

News of Afghanistan XIV

OK, I have the numbers - now if I can figure how to get them in the title of the post...

Anyway, onto the news:

The BBC cheerfully notes more combat.

Diplomacy and disarmament - let us try it. With sufficient cash, of course!

"Guys, put 'em down please."

"Hey, I think he means us!"

A small school problem for an ex-"diplomat". I still think the school should be ashamed that he is even there...

Unqualified patronage workers aren't just a Chicago problem after all!

Aieee! They are everywhere!

Floods - I remember in the Spring of 2005 when we had to send everything we had out to help with floods in the Panjshir. The aviators were saving people left and right. Man, I hope something similar is happening now.

Postcards of Afghanistan - check these out!

OK - this isn't good. I mean really ungood.

Awwwright. I promised several Afghans that someday I would return - as a tourist, not as a soldier. Who knew I would be beaten to the punch by a pair of elderly South Africans?

Huh? I am going to have to watch this situation.

Somewhere a junkie weeps...

This week's source of Afghan culture - Lemar-Aftaab (Afghanistan Magazine of fiction, poetry and such).

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The, County Board President is Dead - well, not really... Long Live the ...uh, replacement?

I've had enough of this #&%*, I'm outta here.

Cook County's latest embarrasing political episode continues. Laid low by a stroke, Cook County Board President John Stroger's hand was moved across the bottom of a, he "signed" a letter (read it here).
In a shocking twist (I'm shocked, I tell you! Shocked!) the man that would replace Mr. Stroger on the County Board - Stroger's son is going to run for the Presidency - is possibly considering his own daughter as a replacement in the Chicago City Council.
So a man too ill to legibly sign his own resignation is to be replaced on the board by a man who will seat his own daughter in the vacancy he leaves - all in anticipation of contesting the Board presidency with the son of the first man. Got it?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Thank You KIM for the rockets red glare !!!!!!

I Thought you had become a fossil of the Cold War as Castro has. Thanks for adding more fireworks to our celebration. What were you thinking as you dumped your oversized bottle rockets into the Sea of Japan? Trying to get another payday? Do you think you are still dealing with the Clinton administration and Dame Albright? Condi don't play that.

Independence Day

What is today all about? This.

(Adopted by Congress on July 4, 1776)
The Unanimous Declaration of the Thirteen United States of America

When, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bonds which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the laws of nature and of nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. --Such has been the patient sufferance of these colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former systems of government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over these states. To prove this, let facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his assent to laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his governors to pass laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of representation in the legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved representative houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the legislative powers, incapable of annihilation, have returned to the people at large for their exercise; the state remaining in the meantime exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these states; for that purpose obstructing the laws for naturalization of foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migration hither, and raising the conditions of new appropriations of lands.
He has obstructed the administration of justice, by refusing his assent to laws for establishing judiciary powers.
He has made judges dependent on his will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, standing armies without the consent of our legislature.
He has affected to render the military independent of and superior to civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his assent to their acts of pretended legislation:
For quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by mock trial, from punishment for any murders which they should commit on the inhabitants of these states:
For cutting off our trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing taxes on us without our consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of trial by jury:
For transporting us beyond seas to be tried for pretended offenses:
For abolishing the free system of English laws in a neighboring province, establishing therein an arbitrary government, and enlarging its boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule in these colonies:
For taking away our charters, abolishing our most valuable laws, and altering fundamentally the forms of our governments:
For suspending our own legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated government here, by declaring us out of his protection and waging war against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coasts, burned our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large armies of foreign mercenaries to complete the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of cruelty and perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow citizens taken captive on the high seas to bear arms against their country, to become the executioners of their friends and brethren, or to fall themselves by their hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavored to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare, is undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these oppressions we have petitioned for redress in the most humble terms: our repeated petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A prince, whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have we been wanting in attention to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, enemies in war, in peace friends.
We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

New Hampshire: Josiah Bartlett, William Whipple, Matthew Thornton
Massachusetts: John Hancock, Samual Adams, John Adams, Robert Treat Paine, Elbridge Gerry Rhode Island: Stephen Hopkins, William Ellery
Connecticut: Roger Sherman, Samuel Huntington, William Williams, Oliver Wolcott
New York: William Floyd, Philip Livingston, Francis Lewis, Lewis Morris
New Jersey: Richard Stockton, John Witherspoon, Francis Hopkinson, John Hart, Abraham Clark
Pennsylvania: Robert Morris, Benjamin Rush, Benjamin Franklin, John Morton, George Clymer, James Smith, George Taylor, James Wilson, George Ross
Delaware: Caesar Rodney, George Read, Thomas McKean
Maryland: Samuel Chase, William Paca, Thomas Stone, Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia: George Wythe, Richard Henry Lee, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Harrison, Thomas Nelson, Jr., Francis Lightfoot Lee, Carter Braxton
North Carolina: William Hooper, Joseph Hewes, John Penn
South Carolina: Edward Rutledge, Thomas Heyward, Jr., Thomas Lynch, Jr., Arthur Middleton
Georgia: Button Gwinnett, Lyman Hall, George Walton

Source: The Pennsylvania Packet, July 8, 1776

Monday, July 03, 2006

The New Invaders

Not Al Qaeda, not the HIG....the Transformers. They have seized my piano...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

World Cup runneth over....

Powerhouse England and Brazil go down without a whimper. The great Beckham couldn't bend it. Ronaldo was stunned by the Frenchies. Last standing... Germany, Italy, Portugal, France. Sounds like an EU conspiracy to me. I will miss my Brazilian Fan pics.
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