Thursday, May 31, 2007
Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Well, if the Navy sticks to the plan (not holding my breath on that one) , I have 3 more months to go. So that means I’ve been gone for 6 months now and I’m 2/3rds of the way through my tour. There were times when the days really dragged by, but for the most part, time flew by. I realized lately that I’ve been setting small milestones for myself along the way. So instead of looking forward to a date 9 months away, I was looking forward to Tuesdays, when my favorite TV show comes on and to Fridays, the day I can sleep late since I don’t run on Fridays. I once heard a saying “Yard by yard, life is hard…inch by inch, life is a cinch”. It really applies to here.
Monday, May 28, 2007
When I got to work, I found out that we had 75 knot gusts during a freak windstorm. It did a fair amount of damage—but not a single port-a-potty blew over.
Today is a sad day for me and a lot of the guys I serve with. In the past, Memorial day was a day off from work filled with BBQ, family reunions and long drives. Sure, the intent was to honor the fallen, but they were a bunch of dead guys from a long time ago that died in some far away place. The biggest tragedy always seemed to be how much gas prices went up on just in time for Memorial day.
This year its different. It is more personal. We are honoring guys that were just here—some of which haven't finished making final trip home yet. It has been a bad couple of weeks. We have taken some bad losses lately.
Saturday, May 26, 2007
but something I came across in the news.
Today, I read a story about a 12 year old Alabama boy that killed a 1100 pound wild boar. His proud dad put up a website: www.monsterpig.com. On the website there is section for comments. As you can imagine, some people have issues with hunting and they said as much. One comment really stood out. Remember, the boy is only 12 years old:F@#$ YOU YOU F@#$ING IDIOT!!!!!!!!! WHAT THE F@#$ IS WRONG WITH YOU?? YOU LITTLE FAT ASS PUNK!!! THINK YOUR SO COOL CUZ YOU SHOT A HUGE PIG! JUST BECAUSE IT WAS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER PIGS DOESNT MEAN THAT IT DOESNT HAVE A LIFE, A MATE, A FAMILY!!!! HOW WOULD U LIKE IT IF U WERE KILLED FOR NO REASON OTHER THAN UR FAT!?! I WOULD SURE BE HAPPY!
My only question is; where is the civility? I can understand not approving of what the boy did, but to attack him with such hatred and foul language? That is simply inexcusable. He is a child after all. I simply don’t understand how someone could have such compassion for an animal yet such disdain for a person. I thought liberals were kind and compassionate?
The real hero in our family is my wife. We had very little notice that I was deploying, and suddenly she was left with a house to run and 2 kids to take care of—all on her own and during a very difficult time in our lives. She didn’t have the option to take a “down day” or to sleep in if she was sick. She was faced with real challenges and took them on head on. From replacing a faulty water pump in our truck to painting the garage floor—she has done it all. Just yesterday our oldest daughter finished her first year of school by earning an award for being the best overall student in her class. I’m extremely proud of our daughter and all she has accomplished. So much of the credit has to go to my wife as well. She has spent countless hours helping our daughter with her schoolwork and fostering a love of learning. The results of her hard work are evident every time I look at our kids.
Thursday, May 24, 2007
Wednesday, May 23, 2007
In the Navy, I seldom knew which jet I would be flying until maybe a hour or so before launch. As a result, all of the jests were very standardized.
Not in the Army however, guys are assigned to a truck and that truck is the one they roll in. If that truck was to go down for a maintenance problem (which rarely happens), they wouldn’t swap trucks, another truck and crew would take their place. These kids get attached to their trucks, and inevitably they “pimp their ride” with custom light bars, sirens, bumpers, loudspeakers—not quite Road Warrior, but pretty cool. The best thing I saw, or rather herd, was some guy rigged up the music system from an ice cream truck. So the other day, I was walking along and I heard “It’s a Small World” blaring down the street in downtown Camp Victory, Iraq. It was great! Just hearing that sound brought me back to a simpler time and place. I think it made quite a few people’s day.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
If all goes according to plan, I should be coming home in September. I would like to go on a family vacation. I wonder where we can go??? Some place the kids will enjoy and Braye and I can relax and watch the kids have fun. A real family kind of place...I’m sure something will come to mind one of these days. I just don't have any ideas right now...
One of the nice features is that they take debt cards and you are allowed to get $20.00 back for each purchase. There are no ATMs in theater, so it is the easiest way to get cash. Right before I left on leave, I bought quite a few $22.50 sodas.
In addition to the BX, there is a Green Bean Coffee shop, a Taco Bell and Pizza Hut Trailer. There is a local “Hajji mart” there as well. Half of their goods are made in China and most of it is junk. I did buy a holster there—it is 6 months old and is now held together with wire ties and tape. Someone mentioned that, in the picture I posted the other day, the musicians didn’t use sheet music. Since they don’t know how to play, I don’t think that it would do any good.
Monday, May 21, 2007
Sunday, May 20, 2007
The thing that puts the ass into asinine, however, is then they bring the band into the chow hall. OK, the flute section by itself can add a little ambiance. But about once a week, they bring in the big horns. The music is so loud you can’t even think, let alone talk. It would help if they could actually play. I know, I have often said to my wife: “Hey honey, let’s go out for dinner, I know a restaurant that has a great tuba player!”
Saturday, May 19, 2007
Well, it took me 6 months to find my intellectual equal over here—a fence post. OK, maybe I’m giving myself too much credit. One thing that stands out is the fact that they use concrete fence posts over here. I don’t know if it is because of the extreme weather or if because of the lack of timber. Just one of the many things that make this place so different.
On a happier note, I was told that I have to turn in my Fitness report for all the things I’ve done while I was here—think of it as a report card. They are due way in advance, but it is still the first step in heading home.
Friday, May 18, 2007
Somewhere in the Green Zone there is the “Baghdad Country Club” a real pub where you (unless you wear a goofy digital green uniform in the middle of the desert) can get a real drink. Where do they get alcohol? Well, right outside the wire in any Iraqi liquor store. Maybe Iraq isn’t the fanatical Islamic country that some people think it is. True you have your “Bible”… er.. I mean “Koran thumpers”, but I guess some folks bent the rules a bit.
Thursday, May 17, 2007
But hey, what do I know? I’m just a guy on the ground.
This is a picture taken in the Green Zone in Baghdad. The dome ahead has a name that escapes me. To the guys, it is known as the Golden nipple.
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Tuesday, May 15, 2007
The other day, my wife sent me a clock radio for my iPod. Since then, I have started listening to the BBC news. It is an interesting perspective. It is clear that tat news isn’t an entertainment industry in England—I haven’t heard a thing about Anna Nicole or Natalie Holloway since I’ve starting listening to it. The BBC isn’t as anti-American as I was led to believe. Most of the stories are very informative and offers an interesting perspective on the world. Too bad they have drunk the “global warming cool-aid”. Every other story is a bunch of whining about the plight of pigmy shrimp or how global warming raises the risk of post partum depression. I have yet to hear a balanced discussion on the subject.
Monday, May 14, 2007
Sunday, May 13, 2007
Saturday, May 12, 2007
If the Navy were a county, it would be the 3rd largest collation partner over here with over 5,000 Sailors.
Friday, May 11, 2007
I was interviewed on a Pensacola radio show today. My 15 minutes of fame. With Mother’s day so close, I figured I better toss in a couple of shout outs in. As it was, Braye missed it. Oh well, now I have to hurry and send a card.
Ok, so I didn’t really shoot the bird.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Wednesday, May 09, 2007
Tuesday, May 08, 2007
Monday, May 07, 2007
This is one of the ceilings inside the old Presidential palace
Most of the pictures I sent have been from an exclusive part of Iraq—where the privileged members of the Baath party worked, lived and played. There is another part of the country—one that is trashed and derelict. It is difficult to take pictures in those areas, since I have other things worry about.
Interesting, the quality of life hadn’t diminished for the elite of Saddam’s regime. Saddam funneled money from the UN’s oil for food program and spent it on palaces and other luxurious items. His people suffered. I guess the suffering of average Iraqis didn’t matter to the anti war crowd—if it were up to those folks, they would just keep giving the UN another chance. To them, results don’t matter, only the appearance of doing something does.
Sunday, May 06, 2007
We had the Baghdad ½ Marathon the other day. I thought about running it, but I didn’t—that was way too long to go running without an iPod. Funny, for a service that prides itself of physical fitness, they can sure make running difficult.
Speaking of running, while I was over here eating Bon Bons and watching Jerry Springer, my wife actually placed third in a race back home. So she is officially “Googable”. I'm so proud of her
Saturday, May 05, 2007
I spoke with one of our interpreters today. He had a similar opinion ofSaddam Hussein that I have heard several times before: "He was a greatdictator, but a terrible person". He did keep the trains running and thewater flowing. He also killed anyone that was a threat to his power.He told me that Saddam wouldn't kill innocent people (unlike his sons),but the problem was that a lot of people threatened him. He then told mean interesting story. The guy I was talking to is an Iraqi Christian.One day, a gang of Muslims broke into his church in Baghdad andthreatened the Priest (Apparently they were upset that the infidelPriest was allowing women to enter his church). Saddam gotwind of the trouble and told the leader of the crowd to leave the Priestalone or he and his family would disappear,
Thursday, May 03, 2007
An insurgent in the making? Nah, just boys being boys. I’m sure he was trying to show off to his buddies how tough he was by throwing a rock at the big truck with big guns. I guess it is the Iraqi equivalent of throwing an egg at a police car. Our guys did noting—it was no big deal. His buddies were patting him on the back and he was strutting like a peacock. Still looking to impress his buddies he then gave my truck the Middle Eastern equivalent of the finger. I just had to smile back at him—boys will be boys.
Wednesday, May 02, 2007
Tuesday, May 01, 2007
Al Qaeda decided to plant a bunch of artillery shells and other explosives inside a building that was under construction—presumably to detonate them when the building opened later this month. It wasn’t a military facility or a government building—rather, it was a girls school. They wanted to kill a building full of school girls. Girls no different than mine. The only difference is, to these girls, monsters are real.
These are not Freedom Fighters” or “Holy Warriors”. They are a bunch of evil cowards that are only brave enough to take on a bunch of little girls. It would be a disservice to call them men—they are pigs.
Evil is like a cancer—you can’t reason with it or sympathize with it. There is no rehabilitation for these people. They need to be eliminated. I don’t care what made them they way they are or why they do the things they do—all I care about is making sure they don’t hurt anybody again.
Now that this story is out in the media, where is the outrage in our country? We wept over Virginia Tech and rightly so, but I predict that this story will not make the main stream media. Even if they were successful in their attack, I doubt this story would make it past the scroll on the bottom of CNN.
We have a responsibility. If we ignore evil, then by our silence, we condone it. By turning a blind eye, we encourage evil doers. I would like to think that we, as Americans, are better than that.
I don’t like Baghdad. War aside; this isn’t a very nice place. It seems like everything is brown and covered in either mud or dust (and sometimes both). Outside the wire, it is trash covered with mud or dust. It occurred to me that if you painted everything grey instead of brown and replaced the dust with black soot—this place would be a ringer for one of the cities in Eastern Europe. At least that is what it reminds me of. I guess when you live under an oppressive regime , aesthetics go out the window. Maybe that is why the last time I was in what used to be East Germany, I saw that they painted a bunch of grey buildings purple, yellow and blue—just to lighten the place up a bit. I wonder if place will have some color in a few years.
Oh well, at least I’m not in New Jersey