Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Stick That in Your Pipe Mr. Gore

In wake of the gushing support of the Al Gore film, "An Inconvenient Truth" at the Oscars the other night we hear news of over thirty new species found in Antarctica following the collapse of ice shelves. The collapse was due to the increase of the average global temperature (aka Global Warming).

Wow, this is surely another sign that we EVIL humans are destroying the Earth. After all, look at some of the species the scientists found:
Another inconvenient truth, if it weren't for the ice shelf collapsing and revealing these new species these scientists might be out of a job.
Hey, Mr. Gore why do you want to eliminate jobs?

Hey?! Knock it off!

Bomb...in a shipping container near Bagram (bonus quote from my friend Kabir Ahmad!). Yeah, while a good way to transport it to BAF, you'd never get it on base. So this looks like someone taking a poke at the front gate area. So who is at the front gate area? A few soldiers, a lot of Pakistani and Afghan truck drivers and kids. That is the brave AQ/TB/HIG - blow up truck drivers and kids:

Waiting to enter the search area at the front gate of Bagram.

This is what was probably waiting to go to the search area

As for the Vice President - I doubt he, or anyone with him even heard the bomb [UPDATE: Wrong, he did hear it]. I had to walk from the area he would have been up to the front gate ever frickin' day for months. It's a bit of a stroll. Well more than a mile. But I guess the fact it was even in the same neighborhood gives the story a hook. And can be used to segue into "increasing violence" "resurgent Taliban" "yada, yada, yada" "blah, blah, blah".

I just wanted an excuse to post a picture of Kabir Ahmad and, well, me looking kind of dopey.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Something You Don't Want to Hear

...when security doors are being installed on your floor of the office tower (and you just caught a whiff of something burnt):

Guy on Ladder (with a tool belt on and drill in hand) "Hey, I think they screwed up on them doors"

Carpenter standing on floor looking up, "The doors or the wires?"

Guy on Ladder, "Both!"

Friday, February 23, 2007

News of Afghanistan ۴۸

Heh. Overslept a bit today...so, here it is a bit late.

Photo: IRIN
Men such as former warlords (l-r) General Atta Mohammad, Ismail Khan and General Abdul Rashid Dustum may be granted immunity for alleged war crimes
Wolsei Jirga (lower chamber) already said "yes", now the Meshrano Jirga (upper chamber) gives it a thumbs up...off to President Karzai's desk.

Photo: Ozra Ahmadi/IRIN
Children recently displaced from Musa Qala in Lashkar Gah, provincial capital of Helmand province

We want...information.

Photo: IRIN
Increasing harrassment in Helmand could force women such as this doctor from giving up their professions altogether

This is what the enemy in Afghanistan is all about. Where is the outrage?

Former mujahedeen rally inside the national football stadium in Kabul on Friday, Feb. 23, 2007. Tens of thousands of former mujahedeen, including top government figures, rallied Friday to show support for a proposed amnesty for Afghans suspected of war crimes and some called for the death of those demanding prosecution of warlords who were involved in a quarter-century of fighting. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)

I knew this was going to be devisive. I wish they had gone more with the South African Truth Commission model...

Probably not the most popular place, for many Afghans that is.

How about a bit of good news? OK!

photo: DoD / Joshua Gipe

"More diggers coming over...cool!"

This little piece of news is dedicated to anyone bitching about the British in Iraq. Knock it off. See also.

I hope in emphasising Iran's interests and activities in Afghanistan, I haven't understated India's. India is quietly helping Afghanistan, and has quietly been a place where many Afghans look - for education, medical care and culturally. Good. Double Plus Good.


A little more good news.

Oops - I hope this doesn't mean they may need the above...

WTF? Is this their version of the WCTU??

Hey, if you are in New York at the time, check it out.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


and I don't mean in the John Lennon sense either...

Courtesy of 18 Doughty Street.

UPDATE: Monster traffic at the site seems to be causing some difficulty with the clip actually finishing...?

The PDA is Dead, Long Live the PDA

My "old" PDA (a Palm Tungsten T5) died last Thursday.

It was issued to me by the army when I was in Afghanistan and I had brought it home and threw it in a drawer until last October.

In that short time I have begun to rely on it heavily and had big plans to use it for work, blogging, writing and military.

Then suddenly last week it stopped working. It could be fixed, but it's out of warranty and a new one would have cost about the same as fixing this one.

Saturday I took my Christmas gift cards and an on-line rebate and got myself a brand spanking new Tungsten TX. It was considerably cheaper "out-of-pocket" than a repair would have been.

You may be wondering why I want a new one after the old one only lasted a couple of months. Well, I did a decision matrix and gave a decision brief to Mrs. Prop and she authorized the purchase.

It made the most fiscal sense, the infrastructure was already in place, I think the death of the old one was partially due to it's multi-continental, drawer journey into use and the new one has almost all the features I think I'll need.

It is very similar and I am now learning to use it. I hope to use it for all the things I mentioned and just maybe to edit my latest novel, Guya Principal during March, which is NaNoEdMo (National Novel Editing Month).

Long Live the New PDA! Huzzah!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Fun with photos

I took a very recent (2 day old) picture of me in my Blues and tinkered with it... I was trying to make it look like it had been pulled out of a 60 year old photo album. How did I do?

UPDATE: After the first three comments, I fuzzed it up a bit.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

He'Brew Beer..The Chosen Beer..Join the Jewbalation

Found this chosen brew at a local Kosher deli. Good stuff with better than your average micro brew taste. Genesis Ale and Messiah Bold. The motto is "Don't pass out, Passover"

Friday, February 16, 2007

I'm Doing It Anyway: Tag, I'm IT!

Major John didn't TAG me, but I typed it all up in anticipation so I'm going to post it anyway.

Here are my weird things:

1. Until I was 30 the only place I ever had stitches was my right eyebrow. That may not seem too odd (unless you know how big a klutz I am), but you have to consider that I had had stitches three times up until then. The first time was when I was three and my brother pushed me down the stairs in a wicker clothes hamper (it had a lid and I was pretending to be Oscar the Grouch, who happened to scare my brother). The second time was when I was 16 and someone slap-shotted my face during a floor hockey game. The last time was when I was 23. I was in OBC and we were playing soccer with the cadre after going to the base student final. A Major and I went up for the same header. I got three stitches; he got twelve and a week off because of the painkillers. We won.

2. I ran through an axe-yard in a sleeping bag during a flood.

3. I ran myself over with my father's van.

4. I've never been hurt playing Rugby. I've hurt myself playing pickup basketball after a Rugby practice (severely sprained ankle that had me in a half-cast for a month) and I have even hurt Major John when we were on the same team, but I have never gone to the hospital because of a Rugby related injury (including stitches in my right eyebrow).

5. My tears run the wrong way. Apparently this isn't that unusual. My astigmatism is the bad kind (you know, when you hear commercials about eye surgery and they say it's not appropriate for some types of astigmatisms, that's mine) and it causes my tears to run sideways on my eyes instead of down like normally. This causes me to tear up much more easily, making wearing contacts and watching chick-flicks much more difficult.

Okay, now you pick which one of the remaining stories you want to hear more about:

6. I've won a latrine-building contest.
7. I've eaten crickets, lightly salted and seasoned with lemon.
8. I laughed when they blew up the space shuttle
9. My first semester in college I majored in Astronomy, so I guess you could say I took up space.
10. I failed driver's Ed the first time through.
11. I went through three commissioning programs before getting my gold bar.
12. I told Santa to give my toys to the poor one year.
13. I went as a radio telescope one Halloween.
14. My "rebellion music" was classical.
15. I was afraid to swim in our family pool the year that Jaws came out (even though I hadn't seen the movie).
16. I memorized parts of Star Wars before I actually saw the movie.
17. One year, while I was on camp staff, I jumped through the stage.
18. The door to my mind opens in, but it's one of those half doors and the bottom is always locked so I have to crawl over the top to get out like the General Lee on Dukes of Hazard.

Only the last one isn't true (it opens out).

PC wins again...

The University of Illinois bends the knee to the weird brand of PC nonsense from the NCAA.

I guess hosting that fencing championship is more important than alumni donations (alumni have been very against this)...

News of Afghanistan ۴۷

Ah, the past weekend reminds me of what one of my favorite interpreter's father would say... "Snow in the mountains is better than gold in the bank." As, I do not have any farmland along the Panjshir River, he may have my allotment of snow. Please come and remove it ASAP.

A great muddle if you ask me - Talbin scum...

Testifyin' about security.

The Canadians mull over a very old problem.

Britain's Prince Charles greets President Hamid Karzai at Clarence House in London. Afghanistan is at a "tipping point" ahead of an expected Taliban spring offensive, a hard-hitting report warned, despite upbeat comments from Karzai and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.(AFP/POOL/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Oh brave Talib - got enough children to flee behind?

Rebuilding Torkham.

I am wary of the numbers cited here. But one shouldn't downplay all of the report.

Photo: IRIN

I weep for our media when I can look at an article in the Tehran Times and see they are very much more careful in how they treat claims by a "purported" Talib commander than our own...

Another good Canadian idea!

At e-ariana.com

Gimme energy!

I wonder if he said this with a straight face....?

Uh, wait one...over.

A bit of an angry, historical oriented polemic.

Over to you, Airborne.

Go watch this - it's a bit long. I, and my co-workers, helped a bit with this...

The leading citizens of Rogmati. [photo by...me]

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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Lend a hand, wouldya?

I received a letter from my Legion Post (addressed to "Dear Desert Storm Era Veteran"... heh) that asks for some help. Our Service Officer had read an article in the Legion's magazine, and had a thought or two. While we now see an effort for wounded warriors - what about everyone else returning home? Invoking the return of WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam vets coming home to simply try and pick up their lives as best they could he mentions;

Many of our veterans from all these war eras would have had an easier time returning to their families and freinds and assimilating back into the civilian sector if they had been able to discuss their experiences with fellow veterans who had been there and done that.

And then tell us that our Post is going to set aside time every week for returning vets, from OEF and OIF, to have a place to go and someone to talk to.

At first I was a little bitter about this - first, "Dear Desert Storm Era Veteran"? I was in OJE in 1997 and OEF V (2004-2005) .... then I thought "I wish this had been around when I came home in 2005." Let us just say, my return home was a little problematic. But, I quit being bitter and decided I would help.

After all, we take care of our own, yes? Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. Etc.

Anyway, I will be at the Post, with the coffee pot on, and a box of doughnuts handy - and I will listen.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Howard vs. Obama

Apparently the PM of Australia, John Howard has spoken out against Senator Obama's presidential bid and his plan to remove US forces from Iraq. Senator Obama responded that Australia wouldn't be fully supporting the GWOT unless they sent 20K soldiers to Iraq. Is the Senator aware that Australia's army is only 51k strong?

I'm kind of surprised that the PM of Australia is concerned about what the Junior Senator from Illinois is saying. Why are we all giving so much attention to Obama?

Oh, yeah, because The Oprah told us to.

Sunday, February 11, 2007


I did a little shopping this weekend. No big deal, right? Well...I found that after I came home from OJE in 1997, that I had taken things for granted. The first time I went back into a Sam's Club, it felt like a religious experience. Since that time, the feeling wore off a bit - especially after the kids came along. Hard to wax poetic about free market choices when your 4 year old is throwing a cereal box at your 2 year old...

However, since I came back from OEF in mid '05 I got that old joy back. 14 months of DFAC creations and MREs might inspire it... Especially going to a place like Trader Joe's.

They may be the high end side of the Aldi's conglomerate - but be damned if I don't get some pep in my step going in there. Food that would have taken all day to make back in the day, is readily available, easy to make, and affordable too. I made a pork roast tonight that even my late grandmother couldn't have pulled off. Yum!

I consider them the polar opposite of an old Soviet State store (I was in Moscow and St. Petersburg - then Leningrad - in 1984 for a brief spell). Colorful stores full of great merchandise with a cheerful and helpful staff.

Naturally, the missus thinks I am bats - but in a good way. If I do the shopping and like it (for whatever mad reason) she doesn't mind.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

ACU Test.......

Many of us have asked the simple question.....What environment is the ACU uniform made for. It doesn't seem to blend into our comfy tree lines. It tends to clash with urban areas. One of my Soldiers found the perfect background while napping on his Grandmother's couch. Now we just have to find a way to harden this piece of furniture and make it tactical. Cost effective of course.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Attention Donuts!

Those of you who have not registered with the "New" Blogger, please do so. If you are having trouble, or cannot find your "invitation" - e-mail me and I will send out a new one.

That is all.

News of Afghanistan ۴۶

Oh happy day. Shall we start with the News then?

From Maxwell Street, to Columbia? "A few years ago, anyone with a folding chair and a table could deal...now, eh..."

I can only imagine how busy the tazkera offices will be.... (the tazkera is a sort of cross between state ID and birth certificate and Social Security card).

Get out! Anyone who worries about how illegal immigrants might be treated in the US, Australia, etc., take note. [note - internal problems too.]

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (L) greets to his Afghan counterpart Abdul Rahim Wardak (C) next to NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer (R) during an informal meeting of NATO defence ministers in Seville February 8, 2007. The meeting will be held in Seville from February 8-9. REUTERS/Marcelo del Pozo (SPAIN)

Oooh, this isn't gonna play well....

Nor did this.

Artistes, arise!

Rights groups oppose a draft law which grants immunity to former warlords, such as Ismail Khan (left) and Rashid Dustum.

Good for her!

Note two things: the paper this review appears in, and the irony of the possible trouble the Iranian government is causing/has caused Afghanistan. I take more hope from this than dismay. The Iranian people have a great interest and bond with the Afghans - no matter what their regime's attitudes and actions.

Talk about squeezing blood from a turnip...

My favorite of all the pictures I took in Afghanistan. Opening day of a girl's school in Parwan Province

I'd bet you won't find much current US pop music allowed.

The AQ coming into Afghanistan - they couldn't care less who they hurt. Mortar shells hit kids - they don't care. Bastards.

Oh, that porous Pak border...

Good on ya moment of the week: The Aga Khan Foundation is helping rebuild the Babar Garden - one of the nice things the terrifying conqueror and founder of the Mughal Dynasty, Babar - the Tiger of the North - left behind. Go look at the pictures.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Waiting for the other shoe to drop

A few minutes ago, I looked around my desk and realized that I am almost totally caught up for the moment. So, when will the next crisis land in my in-box?


Monday, February 05, 2007


I was tagged by a Phoenix...

"Each player of this game starts with 6 weird things about you. People who get tagged need to write a blog of their own 6 weird things as well as state this rule clearly. In the end, you need to choose 6 people to be tagged and list their names. Don't forget to leave a comment that says you are tagged in their comments and tell them to read your blog."

OK, whether you will or no:

1. I talk to myself .... in German. I once got very upset when I couldn't remember the word for "soap". It inspired me to refresh my vocabulary. Not long after I ended up in Rhineland-Pfalz for a number of months.

2. I will not, I have never, nor will I EVER gamble with dice. I have nothing against a little gambling. Personally I like playing (low stakes) Blackjack. Must have been the ealry teen-geek trauma of losing so many role-playing characters to bad die rolling. For reference, see Dave Chappelle's 'World Series of Dice' skit.

3. I always wanted to scrum. When I played rugby (until this past year, when I finally admitted that 40 isn;t the best age to play a contact sport) I played second row - right in the midst of the scrum. 16 guys straining to get one ball. Usually it is approached with resignation (if one is losing most of them) or at least a tired feeling. I never cared. One game that still lives in legend, the "Game of A Thousand Scrums", was just fine by me. We had so many penalties - and resulting scrumage, that nobody could do much more than stagger or stumble off the field at the end...I was still happy. Other players think I am slightly mad...

4. I laughed when I was told I was on a mined cliffside. I was climbing up a very narrow path at Ashrafkhel when my interpreter, with a local farmer, yelled up "he says the weather may have uncovered more mines!" I stopped, and for some absurd reason, I thought about what the look on my face must have been like. I had to hold back a whole lot more laughs while asking "did he say 'more' or 'some'?" When told that he had said "more" and that I would be fine if I stuck to the "path" (no wider than my size 12 wides... I started to laugh again. I stopped laughing by the time I got to the top - I was too winded.

5. I consider the onion to be the Devil's Weed. Preachers invoke images of Hell as "fire and brimstone" yes? Brimstone is sulfur, yes? Onion gets it's distinctive aroma and taste, in part, from sulfur, yes? QED: the Onion comes from the Devil. Won't touch 'em. OK, maybe I am just fussy.

6. I windsurf naked by moonlight...not really, but I am quite dull and cannot think of anything else at this point. I reserve the right to come back and anything I come up with later.


Back to 85!

Well, I guess we'll all have to go back to admiring everything about and comparing all Bears teams and wishing for a return of the 1985 Bears still!

GAH! That was awful last night! I have two images that are painfully seared into my brain from last night.

I will present the first here and you will have to go over to Illini6 to see the other one.

Notice to whom the donkey belongs? Notice what he is not wearing? I guess Coach Green was right.

Friday, February 02, 2007

News of Afghanistan ۴۵

Man, I must be getting old - good thing I have a mug of Alokozay Tea at hand (thanks to The World's Greatest Military Contractor)...

e-ariana posts the following:
I can only surmise they may have found the Thomas Nast of Afghanistan!

I think that this is called "self-interest"... at least for several members. This is why the amnesty really pisses me off. #$%&!

Chiding the Pakistanis...I wonder if the reporter and her photog hadn't been messed with, would we be seeing this article?

© Sultan Massoodi/IRIN

The only targets they can't hit are economic?

Speaking of Pakistan - a reply by a former FM.

Ungood. Plus ungood.

photo: UNHCR/N.Behring-Chisholm

Ungood. Double plus ungood.

Ha! I actually said this would happen back in 2005...so I was just a couple of years off...

Say, any contraband in that there truck?

I just wanted to post this photo of Squadron Leader Rich Langley ... because I could [photo by me!]

Heh. First thing I'd do is make the Germans and French hustle.

Cell phones - leading the way to Afghan prosperity! CSM Bones had one (was that Roshan or Afghan Wireless?)

Yea, Japan!

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Awkward Moments in Insurance

I was assigned an old asbestos file for a welding supply company and decided to call the company's general counsel. No answer, so I left a phone message for the gentleman.

Next I called the lawyer who is handdling the cases out in the field. He informed me that the company general counsel had passed away a month before...

Oh boy, I wish I could take that voice mail message back.

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