Monday, December 29, 2003


From QandO we find Powerline Blog and from there we find Shot in the Dark, and are directed to "What Famous Leader are You." These tests are cute sometimes. I was the Chosen One from Star Wars, and mad King Luddy reknown for his fairy castles. My oldest was Dory from Finding Nemo.

This time I'm Abe Lincoln.

Yup, that's irony.


Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Merry Christmas!

It's been a hectic couple of days and tomorrow promises to be hectic. I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and wish you all the best.

Most sincerely,

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Start Your Engines...

There are several bloglists in my bookmarks. The  first  are  my  daily  reads, then the  Iraqi  Freedom  Blogs, blogs on  French   perfidy, and finally the secondary blogs that I check every so often. On this last list is Layman's Logic, where his last post, 09 Dec 03, talks about the Plymouth to Dakar Rally.

Oh man I like that one. It's a rally that appeals to the cowboy in me far more than the Paris-Dakar ever did. It's a nifty reminder of where Britain's cowboy kids (The US, Australia, Canada and New Zealand) get that cowboy and tinker element that has made the Anglosphere the most dominant and noble force in the world.

I'm going to follow it until I leave next month.


You'll notice a new link in the blogroll there to the left. What you're seeing there is called...nepotism. Arrowatch is my oldest son's nickname and that's his blog. I have no idea whether it's any good or not. He's not an idiot so I'm betting he can be pretty interesting. The reason I haven't read it is because I've never bothered to ask him what it is he's writing. Don't get me wrong, I'm curious as all heck, but for a while there I wanted him to have a place where he could post about stuff he wanted to get off his chest without me knowing. No more. I'm gonna be checking it out, and I'm betting I'll be pleasantly surprised by his writing.

I hope that anyone of you three regular readers (four including my son) who take the time to read his rants are pleasantly surprised.


Wednesday, December 17, 2003

All Rise...

So Wesley K. Clark was in The Hague yesterday to testify at the UN Tribunal of Slobodan Milosevic. Nifty. "It's the rule of law, it's closure. It's a very important precedent for what may be happening later with another dictator from another part of the world," says Clark which the Washington Post claims means that "Clark Sees Model for Hussein's Prosecution." Thing is, later in the article Clark is quoted as saying in a speech, "I don't believe that any form of punishment should be off the table . . . including the death penalty." Sorry Charlie, you can't have one without the other. A United Nations international court won't allow the death penalty.

Here's my beef with Clark's opinion, and all those "multi-lateralists" who think an international court, such as The United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia aka The Hague tribunal should be where Saddam Hussein is tried. It's a piece of crap.

According to the UN ICTY website the initial indictment was 24 May 1999, with amended indictments following in June, October and November of 2001. As I recall Milosevic was sent to The Hague in the summer of 2001. Now, two and a half years later, Wesley Clark has played his part and there is still no end in sight. Is that the kind of court Clark and others are actually calling for? Do they really want years of farcical comedy masquerading as justice.

Here's an example; secretly indicted by the UNICTY in 1998 Stanislav Galic was finally captured in December of 1999 and only two weeks ago finally brought to justice. He was found guilty on two counts of murder, two counts of inhumane acts (other than murder) and one count of terror -- for this he was sentenced to twenty years with credit for time served (starting on his capture). It is likely that he'll be spending his 77th birthday a free man.

The Milosevic trial is still going on, and shows promise of going on for quite some time.

UN ICTY history shows that if tomorrow the US decided to hand Saddam over to the UN for trial they'd first have to set up the UN Iraq Tribunal which could take a couple of years, UN bureaucracy not being known for its speed. Then it could easily be half a year before a final indictment is made, that's after he is in UN tribunal custody, then several years of Comedy Central trial before judgement is rendered with a sentence as short as twenty years with time in custody (starting the day the US captured him, not the day the UN takes custody of him) counting to that; meaning that if he survives he could be a free man by the age of 86, an attainable age considering the level of health care he's receiving in US custody and what he'll probably receive while in UN custody. That is how international justice seems to work.

Truth is I believe it's more a case that they are either parrotting some party line or simply haven't actually thought out their position to its logical conclusion. Sure the thought of an international criminal court sounds good, but only if we look at it through a lens of our own hope and dreamy visions of how we wish the world was. It's an entirely different animal when we look at it through a lens ground with historical precedent, then we get a whole different picture, one that depends on who is the motivating and controlling power behind the courts. That's where the big difference comes in. Nuremberg is seen as a success and The Hague is considered, by many, to be a modern day Nuremberg. It's not. The Hague is an international compromise designed to make "The World" happy with its existence; Nuremberg was not.


Update: Den Beste weighs in on the Transnationalists and touchs on the subject I wrote about,
"Based on performance in the recent past, there are serious questions of whether international tribunals are capable of holding such trials efficiently and effectively. That's what the Rwanda and Milosevic processes seem to suggest."

The entire thing is, as is usual for him, well worth reading.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

"I Seek Asylum..."

Spoons points and comments to an op-ed by Orson Scott Card about what has been happening in the Democratic Party. One of his commentators, Yosemite Sam, comments:

Unfortunately, Democrats like Orson Scott Card and Zell Miller are no longer welcome in that party and are shunted aside and ignored.

They're not the only ones. Roger L. Simon has blogged about finding out that some of his old friends aren't really friends. Alan Colmes has mentioned that he got heat just for being on Fox News.

It's pretty disgusting. When I was a GI I was pretty liberal (voted for Clinton the first time, then learned a hard lesson) had gay friends, went to the Gay Pridefest, and yet I was never ostracized by my more conservative Airmen. I was never denegrated because my beliefs were more liberal than theirs.

I defected, first to being an Independent, and just recently went straight to the arms of the Republican party. The Democrats in Sacramento had been sneaking in anti-union efforts for some time. I understand why. The pro-union worker rules and laws in place cost extra (lots extra), and they prevent illegal immigrants from being hired for government construction, and they know that their values are counter to those of most union laborers so they know they'll get more votes from the pro-illegal alien faction then they really get from the skilled labor-union factions.

The Democrats may have no place in their ranks for moderates, but the Republicans don't seem to have a problem having a DWS American and South Park Republican around. Perhaps I should have pulled a Zell Miller and tried to bring the party back to being a moderate party that cares about the working man. Turns out I don't have the backbone to struggle against the far-left that the Democratic Party now represents.

Perhaps I'll go back one day, but only if they do what the Republicans did and marginalize their extremists; the socialists, environmental fanatics, anti-Americans, anti-US-Constitution (specifically the second Amendment), terrorist supporters, anti-Christians and hate-mongers that have become typical of the Democratic Party, though not typical of Democrats. My views are still pretty close to where they were when I voted for a "centrist" presidential candidate never realizing that my party had left the center and shifted so far left it had become the very thing it detested at one time. I remained enlisted long enough to regret that voting decision and learned a valuable deciscion.

There's no way I'll go back until they've marginalized their fanatics and decided to represent me and my working-class centrist (and not so working-class) buddies. Not that they care. I doubt they ever want any centrist to come back, since in their warped, illusory, hallucination they are the centrists and Roger, Zell, and myself are Right-Wingers; or as I was called in my comments recently, Hitler (a mass murdering socialist).


Monday, December 15, 2003

I Remember When...

Sarah, at Trying to Grok, has a cute lil' post that I hope she won't mind my snatching in full.


"Why didn't you fight?" one Governing Council member asked Hussein as their meeting ended.
Hussein gestured toward the U.S. soldiers guarding him and asked his own question: "Would you fight them?"

This cracked me up and reminded me of a personal story that occured many years ago to me.

I used to participate in one of those re-enactment groups, the Society for Creative Anachronism, and was in a fighting unit called The Fray. We were a heavy shieldwall unit and early on we managed to earn a fair reputation for our ability to withstand and repulse attacks despite the opposition (unless they were so large they could wrap our lines).

We were at a Potrero War (Kingdom of Caid), many many years ago, and the fighting that day had been a blast. Late afternoon several of us were standing in line for the showers when we heard some folks from another fighting unit talking around the corner. They were discussing one of the bridge battles that happened that day. It was a two bridge battle in which the majority of our sides forces were massed at one bridge and a holding unit, The Fray, and part of the reserves were stationed at the other bridge with the remaining reserves halfway between both bridges so they could reinforce or exploit the situation as needed.

From around the corner we heard, "So they had all these guys on the one bridge and I said, well go around, and he said, we can't, The Fray is there. Talk about a good ego and confidence boost, not to mention a good belly laugh.


Sunday, December 14, 2003

Oh Puh-lease...
And I thought my priorities were skewed.

I was watching CNN (Financial) and one of their foreign analysts, Octavia Nasir, was brought on to comment about Saddam's capture. She was smiling and seemed pleased about this turn of events, that seems to be a reasonable reaction. She shatters the illusion as to where her loyalties actually lie, however when she compared the Iraqi journalists cheering the news that Saddam was captured. "They cheered him when he was in power, and now they're cheering again, how do we tell which one was their real reaction." Hmmmm, let's see if I get this straight. Cheering with a gun to your head is the same as cheering without a gun to your head. Interesting point of view. Warped, but interesting.

Priorities Skewed

Considering all the important happenings at the front of my mind are three things. They should be things like how Saddam's capture will affect the terrorist and Arab National Socialist attacks in Iraq, or what Howard Dean's statement will be, with a smattering of what future operations will be like in the War on Terror.

Nope. The second and third things on my mind are how Cox and Forkum, and Chris Muir will treat todays events. The main thing is how the Ducks will perform against Edmonton later today.

Skewed priorities.


Update: Chris Muir has his Day by Day cartoon out on So-Damn-Insane, as does Cox and Forkum.
Keeping the Faith

My wife interrupted my shower this morning to say, "The kids just ran up to me and told me they caught Saddam." The first thing after my shower I did was boot up Mozilla and load a bunch of pages. Then I rolled a cigarette, went outside and slowly enjoyed it, came back inside and am still slowly enjoying my first cup of coffee. I'm news-channel surfing to see the news.

The first pages I checked were the main Iraqi Freedom Bloggers, Alaa, Zeyad, and Omar. I left a comment on one because I had a sudden thought on hope and those who support the coalition over the coalition's enemies and adversaries.

"There are a lot of people who have some credit in this, certainly the Pesh Merga and the Fourth." I wrote that. Despite the efforts, both covert and overt, to destroy American resolve in the war on terror many Americans have shown they have the perseverance to succeed. Here at home the people who refuse to allow outright lies and spins to hurt the United States are who have kept America's policy, in the war on terror, strong and right. All the way from George W. Bush and his people down to Sarah over at Trying to Grok, and all those in between, many of whose blogs I read daily.

There are other fronts where people exist who have kept the faith. In Europe they are represented by people like Bjørn Stærk and Merde in France and others. In Iraq we see the Iraqi Freedom Bloggers. Certainly to one extent or another Sarah, myself and our comrades are kinda "RAH RAH" cheerleaders, but those fighting the good fight overseas aren't. They support our goals in Iraq because they are Real humanitarians and/or because they believe we are doing the right thing. This is hugely important because it helps to counter the message sent out by Human Rights Watch, their leftist allies (from simply anti-Bush all the way to the fullblown anti-American front), and the anti-Coalition Iraqi bloggers such as Salaam and Riverbend.

Bush, Sarah, Zeyad and Bjørn have kept the faith, and it has helped to contribute to the war effort without having fired a shot.
Heartfelt thanks and attaboys to you all.

LtC Allen West,
Free at last...Well, he was never actually in imprisoned but the Army did finally decide on giving him an Article 15, and under that article of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) he has been fined. I'm satisfied that he was disciplined for his actions, but more importantly that what was decided on would not be a deterrent for future initiative and action by officers to safeguard their people's safety and life.


Wednesday, December 10, 2003

I Feel Their Pain...NOT

France, Germany, Russia and Canada are upset that they won't be allowed to bid for some of the major contracts in the re-building of Iraq. I've heard that Canada's commitment to rebuilding Iraq is 120 million dollars, approximately 1/10th of 1 percent of what the US congress voted to contribute recently. That's not including the billions already spent and committed by the US. It's also not counting the money that Britain has spent and committed. More importantly it's nothing compared to the inestimable value of the coalition blood that was spilled removing Saddam Hussein and in the ongoing work of re-building and bringing democracy and peace to Iraq.

As to Canada's support in Afghanistan, so far as I know they're fully allowed to bid on construction contracts there, as are France, Germany and Russia.

Another thing, the contracts in question are being paid for by American money. They're complaining because we don't want our money going to support companies and government (taxed monies) that supported our enemy, made both the war and the peace more difficult, and in the case of France actively worked against American interests regarding Iraq.

France claimed that removing Saddam Hussein was unjust. The American Left claimed the same and said the war was all about oil, which means money and business. The peaceniks claimed that Haliburton was a war profiteer. Now here are France and their American allies (the pro-French peaceniks) complaining because French companies can't profit from American taxpayer monies, American blood, and American cowboy ethics. The worse part is that they don't see it that way, and neither do their supporters.

France, Germany, Russia, the American Left and much of the media see this policy as a punitive one; wrong. France, Germany and Russia are not being punished, they are simply not being rewarded. I do like that the policy rewards our stalwart allies for supporting America against Saddam Hussein.

I, see no reason to reward The Axis of Weasels for supporting our enemy.


PS. Canada, some advice. Bite the bullet on this one and realize that by doing so you demonstrate to America that you are willing to re-build the rift created by your decision to support France over your neighbors and cousins to your south on this issue.

PPS. Ducks over Sharks, Huzzah.

I want to write about the US rewarding its allies, at the expense of those who tried to make us fail. I want to write about the protests in Iraq.

Not gonna happen. Kings just lost to Atlanta (Outstanding game though), and The Mighty Ducks are about to host San Jose. Ergo (whoa latin), it's time for a pre-game smoke, and then all my attention will be monopolized.


Monday, December 08, 2003


Monkeys flew out of my butt today. Not a pleasant experience.
I was watching O'Reilly tonight and they were discussing the New York court ruling making it illegal to display a nativity scene in public schools during Christmas. Oddly enough the mennorah is allowed to be displayed during Hannukkah and the Koran during Ramadan.

So tonight, one of O'Reilly's guests was Hussein Ibish, a man with whose politics I have vehemently disagreed. I see him as a supporter of terrorism and to this day there are terrorists and terrorist organizations that he refuses to denounce, trying to change the conversation or give a prepared rant whenever the subject comes up.

It seems Mr. Ibish agrees with O'Reilly that the court is taking separation too far in this.

It is unpleasant and now I have to run around the house corralling flying monkeys and shoosh them outside.


Saturday, December 06, 2003

Just a short note. It's late and I just got back from Washington state where I was since Wednesday.


Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Not Feeling the Love
Zeyad is right, this is a cool map. I'm feeling jealous though. I was hoping I'd at least rate an intersection.


Monday, December 01, 2003


Two things, several of the hits to this site are looking for information on the LtC Allen B West travesty that is going on right now. I'd recommend checking out Yankee Pirate's LtC West site.

The second is that I just heard that the prosecutor in the case compared West to a terrorist.


Sunday, November 30, 2003

Hit Blip

Sarah over at Trying to Grok, gives my rant (below) a little mention, causing a blip in my hits. To my three regular readers, and those who get here via weird web searches, I'd like to re-recommend her blog. It's a good read, and (unlike myself) she's pretty durn good about updating it regularly. Not to mention she gives a great roundup about a lot of stuff.


Friday, November 28, 2003

Tim Robbins, Lying Liar?
Well, Fox News has published William La Jeunesse's formal copy of the story I yakked about earlier.

There are differences. For instance the unnamed woman who provided a short soundbite was named.
"It is not propaganda. It is a voice of dissent, which is different than propaganda," said audience member Kadina Dayal-Halday.

They chopped off the end of her statement. It should read, "It's not propaganda, it's a voice of dissent, which is different from propaganda. I think Fox News is propaganda." I kinda understand why Fox News chopped the end off, but it did give insight into what kind of person she was. The way it reads now it sounds much more reasoned, and it's no longer clear that Kadina Dayal-Halday sounds like a typical leftist. I'm guessing that her statement combined with her name would bring visions of ISM to people's mind or because they couldn't get the condescending sneer across in print that was evident in her voice.

When Laura Israel, another audience member, was asked if she thought the play was accurate, she replied: "Yes, not only on what is going on there, but it also showed how we are being lied to by all the networks."

Considering what happened to Dayal-Halday's soundbite, I'm left wondering what else Laura Israel said that Fox News didn't mention in the copy.

Another difference is that the copy mentions that that the play opened to two rave reviews. The number of rave reviews was mentioned in the first instance of the story, but not in the second, but I only managed to record the second instance of the story I saw.

They also name the USMC officer as Maj. Rich Doherty, and I'm glad they did that, since he remained anonymous in the news story.

They do, at the end of the article, mention something that was in the first instance of the news story that wasn't in the second, was that even after the viewing (despite his offer) Robbins refused to be interviewed by La Jeunesse.

The cry of defense from the cast, crew, director and writer is the same used by many who seek to defame; satire. As I've mentioned before I'm not a rocket scientist, but I'm pretty sure I know the difference between satire and a lying slam piece. This is Spinal Tap is satire, Monty Python's The Life of Brian and ...The Holy Grail are satire. Heck, MASH dished up a healthy dose of satire, it even had over the top characters that satirized aspects of some pretty whacked out people. From the way La Jeunesse describes some of the characters in Embedded, however, we're not talking about satirized characters based on factual outrageous people, we're talking about imaginary mean-spirited characters totally invented in the author's mind without any basis in reality or real people.

Military members who are mis-characterized in nothing new, but considering the source of this mischaracterization I doubt there was real satire invloved. La Jeunesse reported that "the cast and audience that we spoke to swore that Robbins' version of the war...was what really happens (check out the previous post for what the elipses cut out)." That tells me that their defense of satire is a lie. They know they're bashing the military, they believe things the play claims happens are fact, but they'll claim satire in an attempt to justify, or simply get away with their lies.


Update: It turns out someone came here looking for this actual topic, so I tried a google search also and found this commentary on a blog I'm unfamilliar with, Say Anything. Much better written and thought out than mine and I enjoyed reading it. From the progressive community we read a superficial review that reveals very little about the play unless you've already heard about it. Mind you, Richard Slayton of the LA Times says it's, "a surprisingly touching and balanced play," and we all know that the LA Times wouldn't be biased.

Pissy Hawaiian Alert

Pissed at Tim Robbins today. Oh, okay, I've been pissed at him before and disgusted by him since I found out what his opinions are; though he's a great actor, and I've enjoyed his work, as a person I revile him.

This'll be re-written later, but I wanted to get it out of my system right now.

William La Jeunesse, of Fox News who had been an embedded reporter in Baghdad, went to the play Embedded by Tim Robbins. He took with him a USMC officer. They pointed out a few problems with the play, though I'm sure there were far more that they didn't have time to report on. They weren't little inaccuracies or anachronisms either. In one scene, as I recall, a military officer calls one of the reporters a bitch and says if she doesn't write the story the way he wants he'll write it himself and put her name on it.

Within a few minutes of the play one of the audience members called the officer a Nazi. The cast and audience claims that Robbin's play is an accurate portrayal of what happened.

I'm disgusted.

Oh, though Robbins yet again refuses to be interviewed or defend his views in public, a couple of the cast member had the guts to step up, on camera, and defend their opinions. Stand up people will always get my respect, if only for that.


Update: We're running behind schedule so I had time to transcribe, in hurried and horrid fashion, the piece itself. It's very rough and Fox may release the transcript later. I wish I had recorded the earlier newspiece, being live, there was some difference. It seemed as if William La Jeunesse polished it up a bit and seemed less agry more incredulous.

Well, Patti-Ann, indeed Tim Robbins is a very talented actor, but he’s also unapologetic, anti-war individual. Now of course, that’s his view, he’s entitled to it. Now he’s written a play that reflects it. The play is called embedded, it opened about a week ago, in Los Angeles, to rave reviews. Yet it is a satire, and the audience, however, treats much of it as fact. Now we asked to speak to Robbins about this play, he said “not until we saw it” so we did. Now I was curious because I was an embedded reporter in Bag, along, I brought along with us a marine who was also, uh, served alongside some embedded reporters in Iraq. Now among the cast and crew the writer and director we were the only ones who had actually been to Iraq, who talked to ordinary Iraqis about their life before and after Saddam. And yet the cast and audience that we spoke to swore that Robbins’ version of the war this bush bashing satire, was what really happens. Now it portrays journalists as pentagon puppets, us soldiers as thieves, killers of women and children. The bush cabinet as warmongers hoping to start a war simply to escape the publicity surrounding Enron.

[filmed interview clips]
USMC Major: It was spun to make it look like that leadership started this war simply for its own political agenda.

Unidentified Female: It’s not propaganda, it’s a voice of dissent, which is different from propaganda. I think Fox News is propaganda.

William La Jeunesse: No one looked at my copy, no one touched my tapes, no one edited scenes, no one told me what to say, period. And to leave the impression that we are all puppets and we’re idiots and we are being run by a handler, so to speak, was highly inaccurate, it was grossly inaccurate, it was wrong.

Actor: I think tone of that particular scene was satirical.

Now that actor played Col. Hardchannell he was the military liaison with the press in the play. It was kind of funny because he, in the play, he says to reporters, he calls them a derogatory term for a female dog and says “if you don’t write it the way I want I’ll write it myself and put your name on it.” That’s a joke. That didn’t happen to me, it didn’t happen to the other embeds that we spoke to. The cool part of this was the play was actually entertaining. Although, when I took the major who I’d never met before to this half the time I wanted to apologize to him. Because I’m shaking my head, because of course it’s making part of the military look so bad and so inaccurate.

But, uh, he was good natured about it. One of the individuals, one of the audience members actually called him a Nazi, and the major said, “Thank you very much I enjoyed protecting your freedom over there.”

So it was an interesting night, the play ended at 9:30, we didn’t get out until 11:30, so we had a very interesting discussion with the cast and crew afterwards. Back to you.

Update: Fox News has published an article to go along with the story.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Friday, November 21, 2003

Search Engine

Hmmmm. Interesting. So someone came here after doing a search for "Edwards AFB sucks" and another looking for "Bill O'Reilly hate sites." I wonder if they're looking for sites that hate Bill O'Reilly, or for sites that document hate coming from Bill O'Reilly. Looking at the google results I'm thinking the former.

The Google algorithm needs work. It's a great engine, I use it often, but my blog shouldn't anywhere near the top of these searches. I know, and understand, why it works out this way; it's the links. Still, I find it interesting.


Update: Oh, man, this takes the cake. A search for "sexy germen men gay porn" popped someone here. Geez, gotta love the net.

Update: There's more. "Humanizing Aliens" "Gay Porn" and "Asian Penis Size."

When did this happen?

Blogger has a spell checker. When the heck did this happen? Okay, yeah sure if I were more observant and bothered to post more I probably would have noticed it earlier. It's a nice, neat, nifty for someone, like me, who has horrendous spelling abilities.

What I find odd is that Blogger's spell checker didn't recognize a few words; blog, blogs, Blogger and blogger.

On a Rant and a Roll

I'd like to say something else (DAMN you Motivating Simon!!!). I've read Riverbend and Salam and they are whiny whinys, BUT...

While they are complaining because the US handed them a dinged up beater so many other Iraqis do realize that they have been handed a sweet Motor City muscle car. They're out there getting their hands dirty (and getting killed) with bondo and dent-pullers, dreaming of the day when everyone else at the cafe drools over their "tricked out, cherry fine" machine. These are the people who won't rest until that the twelfth coat of paint has been laid, they are the ones looking forward to those last two layers of clearcoat. They are the ones dream of that first pin-stripe, perhaps flames and Holley carbs. It is those people who understand what they have been given, it is those people who appreciate it, and it is those people who will take this imperfect thing they have today and make it the ongoing project that we have here in America.

To those people I wish to say good luck. I'm pulling for you.

Malama pono 'oukou.

Whiny Whiny

Roger Simon comments on something Lileks says about a post from Salam Pax. Being the big mouth I am I, of course, felt compelled to comment on Roger's comments.

At the end of my comment I wrote "Man, if I updated my blog as often as I comment on other's blogs I'd have several daily updates." So why don't I just start posting my comments here as well? Dunno.
Kinda seems like a decent idea. I've done it before, and rarely does a day go by that I don't rant on someone else's blog.
So here goes.

My take on Salam was that I enjoyed reading his blog, but that he was privileged. Considering how Iraq's situation that meant that his family was pretty well off compared to many. Anyone want to tell me what demographic was the 'privileged' one in Iraq?

I don't believe he was an Arab National Socialist supporter, or even that he was a member of the party. Being privileged his take on Iraq today is going to be different from many others, because they weren't as bad for him before the US smashed Saddam and his government as they were for most others.

Consider that if most of us had to go through a life change that left our living conditions similar to those who live in the backwoods of the Appalachians. Big change for the worse (even for me as a desert rat). The same change for Joe Haiti or Joe Somalia is a huge step up.

It's the same problem I have with riverbend. Privileged; so by her view her life is worse in many ways. I don't know if anyone reads it the same as I, but her writing exudes "privileged, spoiled child."

It strikes many Americans as being ungrateful for two reasons. The first is that looking from the outside and seeing the severe drought of murder, rape, and death that has come to exist in Iraq, we feel they are whining, and second because it is whiny.

The bottom line is that the United States has given the Iraqis a huge, invaluable gift. Certainly because it was in our own best interests, but one they could never earn on their own. What they do with it is important; will they cherish it, throw it away, or whine because it's the wrong color.

Obviously this kind of thing is not limited to the silver spoon set in Iraq. I recall a young fellow student in my drama class at Cal-State Bakersfield who was complaining that his parents were going to buy him a Mercedes if he kept his grades up (I don't think he was anything higher than a sophomore). It seems his parents were hitting on some hard times and he was going to have to settle for an Ford Explorer. Pretty irritating when you're just hoping your own Chevy Camaro POS just keeps running (the word you're looking for is envy).

On the other side of the coin was one young man who had a gorgeous, cherry classic Mustang that his father was going to let him keep when he graduated. The big difference is this young man had been massaging and restoring this car with his father since before he was old enough to have a license. He was allowed to use it for appointments, school and running errands. Aside from the fact that it was a classic, this young man was earning his car in a way that brought far more appreciation for it than the former young man would ever have.

That is close to where the Iraqis stand today. There are those who are working hard to take the opportunity the US has given them and to continue down that path earning the kind of country that is worthwhile. There are other's who will bitch because they weren't handed exactly what they want.

One last comment. I absolutely loved that POS Camaro I had. It was the first car I had ever bought and ever owned (my wife's cars don't count). It was something I owned. No one co-signed for it, no one else paid for it, and no one else helped me buy it. It was all mine in ways that go beyond a name on a pink slip. It's a darn good feeling and writing about that feeling, even now, brings a smile and a tight sadness in the pit of my stomach in a way that the first girl I kissed can never do.


Update: Daniel Drezner weighs in on the other side of the argument.

His argument is that since we encouraged the Iraqis to earn their freedom and they failed that we owed them American blood to do it for them. I've of the "Fuck you" opinion. It isn't our fault they couldn't earn their own freedom. It is our fault that we encouraged them to earn their freedom, as we have for many nations, but to say that we owed it to them to free them since they failed in their own aborted attempt is utter BS. His opinion suggests that either the US should stop encouraging liberty in other countries or that we should pay for it with American blood if other countries fail to earn it themselves.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Spoons has a post on a killing of a dog. A pretty sick killing. I have no problem with Spoons' anger towards that guy. I agree that he needs to go. I need to point out that the crime of killing that dog pales in front of the trauma and terror that he put those children through. It's the kind of tactic that pedophiles and Rawandan death squads use to terrorize children into doing their bidding. Killing and victimizing people and animals that children love to get them to do their bidding.

I'd like to see this guy put away too. I'd like to see him put away for a long time, not for killing the puppy but for what he has done to those children AND because the kinds of people who can do this are a threat. This guy has no problem hacking up a puppy; so where does he go from there? The guy has no problem with hacking up a puppy in front of the children, so where does he go from there? He has already shown himself to be a sick human, and someone capable of that is probably capable of doing far worse.

I love dogs (though I don't consider yippers and rat-dogs as dogs), but I don't consider them on par with humans. I do strongly believe, old tradition, that humans have a responsibility towards dogs that no other animal deserves. They have been a part of our familys and tribes for tens of thousands of years (if not longer). So many of them have the qualities we, as humans, consider noble -- loyalty, courage, and unconditional love.

That said, they taste fine. Oh, and for future reference, if you ever get invited to a party put on by asian plantation workers, be sure to find out what something is before you eat it.


Update: I thought I had posted this Tuesday evening, but it looks like I forgot to hit publish. I seem to have three regular readers, and you know who you are, and to the first two I'd like to be sure to recommend Spoons' blog to them. To the third, I'd like to remind him that other people live in this house and that he needs to spend less time in the bathroom.

Sunday, November 16, 2003

I get Googled. Every so often I read an entry on Instapudit or some other blog commenting about the weird search engine referrel they've gotten. It's nifty for a second or two, but then I usually go on to read something with a bit more meat. At least until now. I'm not going to be able to skim those entries without thinking about what I've found on GoStats. I use GoStats for my counter because...wait for it...
It's free.

One of the neat niftys they have is a list of the last twenty hits and how they got to my blog. Some of them say "Bookmarked or Typed" which is very flattering since it means someone somewhere cared about my ranting enough to put this blog in their favorites or to remember the addy and type it in. That's saying something.

What I found interesting today was the search engine results. It turns out I'm near the top in a Google search for "LtC Allen West." Someone else got here looking for "WOLFOWITZ cartoon", I'd recommend using the image search on google next time. Oh, and the Wolfowitz search came from Google's Belgian page. Some of them made sense, searches for Kamehameha and Illicano, though I have to guess that they must've been listed somewhere around 10,000 on Google.

On the plus side at least people aren't coming here looking for "hairless sexy chihuahuas on acid", though I guess that'll turn up on Google now.


Friday, November 14, 2003

Via Spoons, we find that "The Yankee Pirate has started a web page devoted entirely to keeping up with the government's persecution of Lt. Col. Allen B. West."

That one is going into the blogroller list to the left there.


Thursday, November 13, 2003

A comment by Rick over at Sgt. Stryker's today starts out "WE live in a world where CEOs get "bonuses" and "Incentive plans" to do their ordinary job, without any great effort on their part."

He seems to make a good point, but I feel he's off the mark just a bit. More accurately they get bonuses and such for doing their job, or failing to do their job. Driving a company into the ground will still garner some CEOs a sizable wad of cash. As it is many Executives can do a poor job and still get away with a nice bit of Or.

His comments continue, but more importantly Stryker pulls the story of Pfc. Miller into the limelight. At a time when we've forgotten that we have more than one or two types of heroes, the type that Pfc Miller can claim (but undoubtedly won't) is one that we once celebrated, but we ignore today. I don't think Joe Six-Pack ignores him. Joe still likes Cooper as York, Murphy as Murphy, and thinks the story of Rodger Young is stirring. I know this because Joe made Saving Private Ryan and Band of Brothers a hit.

There are all kinds of heroes and different levels of heroism. Jessica Lynch was a hero long before Iraq simply because she volunteered. She reached a different level simply by surviving what the enemy threw at her. Pfc Miller is a hero for those same reasons and for other grander feats of heroism. It is not appropriate to try to diminish Lynch's heroism, but it is equally inapporpriate to ignore Miller's heroism simply because he committed acts of greater heroism; a heroic display that is looked down upon by some.
Looked down upon by so many of those who choose what we see in the news.


Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Incidentally, to build on the chickenhawk rant, there are words whose new definitions bug me. I like the word neo-conservative. When I first heard it I thought it referred to this new generation of South Park Republicans. A type of moderate conservative/moderate liberal. People who believe in a strong United States, a strong American military, and who detest our enemies (both foreign and domestic) yet who support a woman's right to choose, know the names Ron Jeremy and Jenna Jameson, and vote yes on gay adoption. As it turns out either it was misused when I first heard it, or it has been turned to mean someone who is pretty tradionally conservative. Paul Wolfowitz (sp?) and Dick Rumsfield are called neo-conservatives (usually with a sneer) and those of us who are pretty traditional in our love of country, patriotism and support for real human rights are left with "South Park Republican" being the closest thing to a descriptive term. As of two days ago I'm thinking that the term was hijacked by leftists who turned it into a derogatory term because otherwise it would have become a touchstone label thereby leaving their enemies without a positive sounding name; this because I heard a supporter of refer to Arnie as a neo-conservative.

Maybe we could call ourselves "DWS Americans."
Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy

via Sgt. Stryker, is this rant from Lt. Smash on a Tom Tommorrow cartoon.

Opinions rage from righteous indignation to blase indifference. I looked at the cartoon and took immediate offense. It was pointed out in the comments on Smash's site that the cartoon wasn't aimed at bloggers who are active duty or vets. It probably wasn't aimed that way, but that's the way it hit because the cartoon discounts that such people exists. It also implies that people (such as the cartoonist himself, though I doubt he meant it this way) have no right to voice an opinion on war. He discounts that some military folk may actually support the removal and destruction of evil dictators, regimes and the enemies of the United States. I don't know why it wouldn't occur to him, probably because such desires are alien to him he can't see such motivation in others.

Now on to the 'derogatory' term chickenhawk. You'll notice I put the word derogatory in scare quotes. The reason for this is that chickenhawk is commonly used, today, as a derogatory term. I don't know if it evolved that way because of its homosexual connotations (a chickenhawk was once commonly used to refer to skinny homosexual men in gay porn) or if it evolved that way because of Foghorn Leghorn's influence. What I do know is that when I was in high school I had only heard it to have three meanings. The first being an actual raptor, the second being Foghorn's nemesis, and the third referring to a Vietnam war era helicopter pilot whose auto-biographical novel was entitled Chickenhawk.

It was a great book, following his enlistment, boot, and flight training and going into his experience in Vietnam. I was offended when the word, that I felt had a pretty noble meaning (because of the book, not because of the problems of a giant chicken) , was hijacked to mean a type of gay porn star. It turns out I'm actually a bit miffed about it being hijacked into a derogatory term for people who support war over appeasement, enslavement, or surrender. After all the opposite of war is not always peace, and history shows that it is actually rarely what we would consider peace today.


Update:Right Wing News weighs in on "Chickenhawk."

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Blackfive has an update post on the West affair.

It got me to thinking. In high school JROTC was a mandatory class. There we learned that a leader's priorities are (supposed to be) 1)Mission, 2)Men, 3)Self -- in that order.

So while I was outside having a cigarette tonight, I thought about the case again, though it pops into my head often. I started to think about the consequences of doing what LtC West did. Then I thought, can you imagnine not doing what he did and having to write that letter to the parents?

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Joe America,

Your son or daughter died a hero protecting my pension and appeasing Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch Groups around the globe.

Thank you for your sacrifice,

I think that question should be asked of the television and newspaper pundits. What kind of letter would you write and how could you look in the mirror knowing you'd allowed your own people to die?


Friday, October 31, 2003

Quagmire, Quagmire: North Kosan All Over Again

LtC Allen West (via Trying to Grok) is being talked about on television, radio and internet right now. I hear some criticism but not much in the way of heartfelt condemnation of his actions. This may be because all of us would want a commanding officer who puts his men’s welfare ahead of his own. We understand that what he did was illegal, but was it wrong?

Last night I watched a former JAG member talk about it on O’Reilly (yeah I watch that show) and he was right about much of the justification for prosecuting LtC West. Over at Intel Dump, Phil Carter expands upon this. I understand it, but I hate that we have to do it.

Then the JAG guy pulls crap from his hat in the form of that old false claim that we can’t be bad because it endangers our own soldiers. Excuse me? When has following (or even attempting to follow) the Geneva Conventions and Western rules of war helped our own soldiers? North Korea? Nope. Vietnam? Hell no. Somalia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Iraq (the first time and the second)? Has it ever made a difference? Maybe somebody else knows of a time when it has, because I can't think of any. The last time our enemy behaved in accordance with Western rules of war towards our own people was Germany in WWII. As it turns out that wasn’t because we played nice; rather it was because our cowboy, gangster reputation caused them to believe we would brutalize German POWs if ours weren’t treated well.

During WWII it wasn’t the thought that we’d play nice so they would that made the difference, it was the threat that if they didn’t play nice we wouldn’t. Since then the one thing we know for sure is that by playing nicely no matter what all we do is ensure that our enemies don’t have to worry about whether or not to play nice. It doesn’t have to be a consideration for them since they know that even if they flay ever POW and parade their skinless bodies over satellite TV we’ll play nice.

In 1987 a PBS show called Ethics in America did a show on military conundrums such as the one that faced LtC Allen West. James Fallow wrote an article about it and today that’s the only reference that google seems to be able to find. A couple of years ago there were more on the net. I recall reading more about it via Alta Vista.

Update: I accidentally omitted a very important part of the torture question. I've added it to the beginning of the quote where it belongs. Also, I seem to remember that it wasn't just about finding his men, but about saving their lives. Then again I could be misremembering and other than the Fallows article the episode and longer pieces of it have dropped off the face of the net.
Ogletree asked Downs to imagine that he was a young lieutenant again. He and his platoon were in the nation of "South Kosan," advising South Kosanese troops in their struggle against invaders from "North Kosan." (This scenario was apparently a hybrid of the U.S. roles in the Korean and Vietnam wars.) A North Kosanese unit had captured several of Downs's men alive--but Downs had also captured several of the North Kosanese. Downs did not know where his men were being held, but he thought his prisoners did.

And so Ogletree put the question: How far would Downs go to make a prisoner talk? Would he order him tortured? Would he torture the prisoner himself? Downs himself speculated on what he would do if he had a big knife in his hand. Would he start cutting the prisoner? When would he make himself stop, if the prisoner just wouldn't talk?

Downs did not shrink from the questions or the implications of his answers. He wouldn't enjoy doing it, he told Ogletree. He would have to live with the consequences for the rest of his life. But yes, he would torture the captive.

A Marine Corps officer juggled a related question: What would he do if he came across an American soldier who was about to torture or execute a bound and unarmed prisoner, who might be a civilian?

The Fallows writing available on the net fails to quote the answer I remember. Bear with me, since I’m old and having to pull this part from memory. Either the USMC officer (probably George M. Connell) or William Westmoreland had answered the question. Though Fallows doesn’t quote it I remember it going something like this: I’d arrest and prosecute him. I’d hate myself for having to do it, but I’d do it.

One thing Fallows notes that other writers have noted was that all the military personnel on the panel had given far more thought to ethical questions concerning their jobs than either Mike Wallace or Peter Jennings had.

Oh and one other thing, where the hell did all the references to this show go? Why does Google only return seven entries on “North Kosan?” There were a great deal more several years ago when I first read up and wrote on the journalists responses.


Friday, October 24, 2003


As it turns out Evangelical Outpost weighs in on NASCAR Dads too. One of the things that really caught my eye was what he had to say about Bush's tax cut. Look, I'm not a rich person by any American standard (friggin' millionaire by Zaire standards) but I can say I got to help the economy out with $800 that went straight back into the economy. Do I care that someone like Bill Gates gets one heck of a lot more back? Not really; I got my cookie and he makes more so he gets a bigger piece back. Big deal, I got something back and I have friends who didn't see a dime out of the tax cut.

Granted, they didn't make enough this last year to actually pay any taxes to begin with, but none of them are bitter because I got some back. Heck I paid bank taxes while working at JI because of the way taxes are figured.

Like I said before, however, it's not a simple question of the Republicans simply appealling to blue-collared Americans, it's also the Democrats beginning to disgust them.

Evangelical Outpost has an entry on how bad facilities are for the Army compared to the Air Force. A fact made worse because apparantly the Grunts aren't allowed to eat at the Wing-Nut facilities.

Now, Grunts have a history of sneaking over to the Wing-Nut chow halls. My dad did it, some of my closest friends used to do it. Me, I went wingnut to start with so I never had to worry about it.

Okay, here's what I think the case is with the Air Force and Army facilties. Mind you, this is all a guess based on what little I know about the military (nine years AD AF, three years Army JROTC, bunches of relatives in or formerly in different branches).

The Air Force tends to have more permanent structures because it's oriented that way. They're expected to be near the rear and as such all their equipment and facilities are designed with that in mind. The Army tends to require more mobility and facilities that are closer to the front or ARE the front. As such their equipment and facilities tend to be designed that way.

Because of this temporary facilities tend towards tents and other light structures for the Army and pre-fabs and semi-permanent structures for the Air Force. When you go to

It's all in how each service defines temporary, mobile, semi-permanent and permanent. I'm of the opinion that when the Army says it needs a quickly depolyed, mobile temporary structure that they're looking at a tent, whereas the Air Force is looking at a double-wide it can transport on a low-boy.

Though none of that has ever applied to chow halls, O-clubs or NCO-clubs. I have no idea why that is.

Now this could be entirely wrong, I'm no expert on building policy for any branch of the armed forces. Now if the topic were early 14th century coat of plates...


Saturday, October 18, 2003

NASCAR Democrats

Over at instapundit I found this link to an article in Mother Jones News. It's a topic I've heard a couple of times. It boils down to members of the Democrats wondering how they woo "NASCAR Democrats." It's funny, considering condescending impression they give off towards "NASCAR Democrats."

I got hot and jotted off an e-mail to the author. It goes as follows.

Arlie Hochscild,

I thinks you've missed a big chunk of who is responsible for working-class anger. Loggers watch their jobs go to Canada and Indonesia thanks to environmentalist extremists (democrats). Journeymen in production watch their jobs go to Mexico and China, thanks again to Bill Clinton's administration. We watch the world look at us with disdain, thinking (falsely) that Americans are paper tigers with no courage and no strength of conviction, thanks again to Democrat policy.

Recent veterans and GIs (such as myself and friends) watched the hatchet job done on the military by the Democratic party. We watched what were once low-paying secure jobs disappear, and saw the administration's un-official policy kick people out for missing appointments all in the name of a "Peace dividend."

We see the majority of things we once machined and fabricated with the "made in china" or "made in Mexico" label on them and wonder how it is that our country let our very livelihoods go to people who weren't American.

Their workplace puts lie to the myth that illegal immigrants ONLY take jobs no one wants. This is because blue-collared people WANT that $15/hour welding job. Some would love to have that $8/hour janitorial job. Not only in production and maintenance (where I've seen it with my own eyes) but in construction work.

The problem isn't , as you suggest, that blue-collared workers are ignorant. It's that they aren't as ignorant as they once were in the realm of politics. They do a google search and find out that the president never said "imminent," and as such they realize the Democrats are lying to them. They worked in the military during the Clinton Administration and realize that the fact isn't that Clinton and the Democrats left the US with a military able to fight the war on terrorism; but rather that the American GI continues to fight the good fight DESPITE the damage done to them by Clinton and the Democrats. They remember who was in charge when the policies that begun throwing jobs overseas finally hit their job.

They're smart enough to know that the Democratic party stands for and endorses some core positions that are anti-thetical to their own moral beliefs. They've heard their own moral and spiritual beliefs attacked by Democrats (not centrist Democrats, to be sure) who are not marginalized by the Democratic party, thereby giving de facto endorsement of such views by the party.

And finally the Democrats have long given the impression that they know better than "Joe six-pack", that Joe's morals are sick and wrong, that Joe is ignorant (even your own article is condescending in that respect) and that they are better than those of us who sweat for a living.

A term like "NASCAR Democrats" would be one they liked had they not heard they way it was said (too much TV, I guess). The condescending tone we get from very liberal groups who now control the party we once walked with. The memory of our parents being called baby-killer, and the elitist looks GIs would get before Bush took over all contribute to America's blue-collared worker rebelling against a party that no longer represents them. A party that has come to regard them as scummy-bottom dwellers while idolizing the likes of Frieda Kahlo and Kofi Annan without every realizing that blue-collar workers see people with Kahlo and Annan's anti-American beliefs to be the enemy.

Incidentally mispelling NASCAR is not going to win you points with the blue-collared worker, but I understand that was not your intended audience (or your word processor freaks at all cap words, or your editor popped it,).

The sweathogs of America are pissed, but rather than trying to play the blame game and pin conservative success on sneaky Republicans, I suggest the Democrats take a serious self-assessment. If you really want to know why the blue-collar worker shows more support for the Republican today, I suggest you look at the Democrats. The Democratic party has managed to piss-off, insult, anger and alienate the blue-collar worker in America. They don't particularly like Bush. Hell I can't think of any that love him, we just would rather have him than someone whose goal in politics is to drive our jobs away, take our guns away, spit on our sports, sneer at our drink, geld our military, and generally look at us as something to be scraped off their shoes until they need our vote.

Believe it or not, with sincerity,
unemployed, journeyman welder, journeyman machinist

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

I'm not a happy camper today (I was last night). My Ducks got trounced by Dallas tonight. Hell and Damnation.

I voted yes on Prop. 54 yesterday. I almost voted no, not because I planned to, but because the wording on the ballot made it seem as if voting no meant that I didn't want racial information. Now I'm not a rocket scientist, but I'm hardly an idiot or a rube, and yet I had a problem with that part of the ballot for almost a full two seconds.

Here's the thing, if I had a problem with it then what about the people who didn't bother to re-read the question? What about the people who haven't had to take poorly worded tests for decades?

I'm finding it difficult to believe that a state that has voted to make a more color-blind society would suddenly reverse course while voting to fire Gray Davis and electing 'Ah-Nold.'

Then again, I could be in denial.


Tuesday, October 07, 2003


Voted today. Looks like I'm being trendy in my vote. Yes on recall, and fill in the oval for Arnold.

By the way, who the hell is getting computerized voting booths? I live in a poor destitute desert town and got high school flashbacks when I voted. No chads, no LCD screen, I got a sheet of paper with a bunch of ovals on it and instructions on how to fill the ovals in properly.

It must be because I live in a poor town that is predominately white. Poor whites, working-class whites, and some GIs who get to live off base. It's not all white. I'm certainly not white and my oldest son has the same problem with people walking up to him and rattling on spanish like he's not an American or something, and there are enough black folk that it's certainly NOT like Paxton Illinois.

After all the bruha about poor people and minorities not being able to deal with chads.......


Saturday, August 30, 2003

Star Wars:KOTOR
I've been meaning to post the next part of my Hollywood experience but was blocked by Lucasfilm. Not some type of censoring, but rather an insidious attempt to put my life on hold. Star Wars:Knights of the Old Republic for Xbox.

DO NOT buy this game. Your life will be on hold for at least thirty hours of gameplay. The damn storyline sucks you in and keeps you wanting to see what happens next. Being the hero in the story has always been an attraction for me, it led to my early forays into Dungeons and Dragons and then into the SCA, though the SCA made me work for it.

I've finished the game and handed it to my oldest son, and again meant to start writing Hollywood: Part 2, but have been commenting on various blogs about this that and the other thing, and got sucked into lenghty answers to troll's cut and paste idiocy.

I will be writing the next part. It is about my buddy's Hollywood friends and our dinner at The Stinking Rose, and the nifty lights and people I got to watch and the horrible state of beer accesibility back in those days.


I was reading a post over at Tim Blair's place and headed over to Surfdom to see what the commotion was about. While there I posted this comment over at The Road to Surfdom, in response to their claims that the rhetoric and actions of anti-war demonstrators gave no comfort to the enemies of the west. I kept it a bit plain, but my aim was specifically at the anti-war protestors in the US who protest the war alongside those who hate the US and would like to see America fall.

During the 80's there was a thirteen part documentary series on Vietnam that I watched. One part that has stuck with me, and reversed my supportive position on the 60s-70s peace activists, was an interview with a Vietnamese General. When he was an NVA captain morale was always a problem. Like any soldier he saw less of the succesful politics of North Vietnam and more of the constant losing of battles with the Americans. To bolster morale the Chinese constantly shipped in films of the Vietnam protestors. This general (at the time a captain) stated that watching the peace protestors gave him and the men under him the boost they needed and improved their morale.

Jim McCain long ago stated how the North Vietnamese would use footage and quotes from peace protestors to try to demoralize the POWs. As I recall in his recollection he remembers both Kerry and Fonda in those.

Jane Fonda's protests are well known to have given succor to the North Vietnamese and their communist allies.

Part of the problem isn't that peace protestors hate their countries. Certainly those who belong to certain organizations do actually hate their countries but I don't believe all of them do. There is also the fact that those organizations are quite willing to utilize people whose sole goal is to stop the use of force to help them push their agenda. The problem comes when those who decry the use of force allow anti-west voices to harmonize with theirs.

I don't recall hearing any accounts of peace activists disavowing the World Worker's Party, International ANSWER, or the ACP. I don't recall any accounts of peace activists disassociating themselves with peace activists who burned their own country's flag or carried signs that stated "We support our soldiers -- when they shoot their officers."

So long as peace activists give tacit support to those people and organizations, or attend rallies organized by those same people they will be viewed not as being against war, but as being against their country.

So long as that view is the one they allow to be promoted (by those organizations, the press and themselves) that will be the friendly face terrorists see and identify with.
And the fault will lay with those who are for peace but refuse to denounce those who hate their country.


Sunday, August 10, 2003

My Hollywood Experience: Day 1

    I was in a movie once. Well, sorta, kinda, not really. Oh, okay, it was a demo movie. The way it was explained to me was that a small studio, calling itself Saracen Productions, had gotten some money from a major studio to shoot a 15-20 minute demo to show the studio what their project was. If the studio liked it they would finance the movie. The movie’s working title was Deus Vult and was to be about some part of the crusades and Templars. 

    My buddy Etien had called me and asked if I would be interested in coming to L.A., meeting my old buddy Baltazar’s Hollywood friends, and teaching her to fight with a sword. The first sounded interesting, but the latter was definitely out of the question. You don’t just pick up a sword and start fighting with it, just like you don’t enter any martial arts competition after watching a Jackie Chan flick. It seems that Saracen Productions had sent out e-mails looking for people with “medieval combat experience”, and Etien was looking to break into the business and thought this might help.

    She showed up in Tehachapi and dragged me off kicking and screaming with help from my wife, kids, and my other buddy Carl, who all insisted that I should go since I was already being Joe Grumpy Stick-In-The-Mud.

    So Saracen Productions was looking people with “medieval combat experience”, now considering that every single person who really fits that description has been dead for several hundred years what they needed were people who fought in the various medieval recreation groups that are in Southern California. There are several and I’m sure if they had better timing and knew whom to call they could have gotten several hundred people who knew how to swing a sword. As it was, when Etien and I arrived there was only a small group with several live steel group members and one SCA heavy weapons fighter. Me.

    Etien and I showed up at Griffith Park (I think that’s right, the place with the Batcave) and got to meet the fight coordinator and a couple of the stuntmen, some of the PAs, extras, and others. They reminded everyone to be sure to get their names and information to the people keeping the call-back lists, in case the project got the go-ahead. They got us into a group and separated the experienced sword-slingers from everyone else and asked us what groups we belonged to and how much experience we had with them.

    There has historically been some rivalry between the different recreation groups. Some give a hard emphasis on accuracy, others like warm showers, and yet others are quite accepting of elf-ears and vampire fangs. I belong to one around the middle; we don’t want elf-ears, we want warm showers, and duct tape is a holy relic. There has also been some rivalry between the live steel groups and the rattan groups. I’ve heard stories about it, but I have never experienced anything impolite or untoward in that respect. Most of the fighters there were live steel groups and I was expecting a bitter treatment that never came.

    When Padraig (the head stunt guy) heard I was SCA he smiled and said, “Well, this is going to be very different for you.” He explained that movie fighting was absolutely nothing like SCA fighting. In the SCA the fighting is usually quick, furious, and the styles designed to win. In movie fighting you are performing for the camera. The camera sees broad strokes best. The very cuts and strokes we avoid as being too flowery and easily blocked or even dodged. So as it turns out I wasn’t what they were looking for, but I learned quickly and was gifted with my very own extra. A nice guy whose name I’ve long since forgotten but who was eager and, unfortunately, wanted to stand out some.

    In a minute I developed a broad five blow combo that we worked on, my extra wanted to add more, and add flourishes. I was more interested that neither of us be hurt. His sword was nice and blunt, but I had brought my own weapon and a sharp claymore is not a boffer or a pugil stick. I browbeat the poor kid with my size, imposing glare and menacing grin and we worked on the combo I came up with. We practiced it until we could do it at full speed safely. At that point he saw what I had been trying to tell him (at the expense of a small tree nearby). 

    That was Friday afternoon. Friday evening would be my opportunity to meet Balti’s other circle of friends. The ones who weren’t like me. I had no idea what they would be like, and it turned out that any expectations I had were wildly wrong.


Thursday, August 07, 2003


       One of my best friends is French, was French. He's an American now after serving four years in the USAF. He was not the best representative of France. He was sort of a country boy (but not really) growing up outside of Tours and he came straight from central casting. Central casting is a term we use to describe someone who is so stereotypically representative that it borders on ridiculous and it refers to the days in Hollywood when all extras and bit parts came from a part of the studios called central casting. Because of this Chinese always had Chinese accents and wore pajamas, and Frenchmen all sounded like Inspector Clouseau(sp?), swore incessantly and needed a shower.

        He was the one who broke my first predjudices regarding the French. Other than being the ultimate French stereotype he hated Parisians in the same way I saw country-boys from Kern County hate the city-folk in Los Angeles. I learned a lot from him and I ate well because of him, oh and endless jokes based on his inability to say Heath (one of our close friends) and always called him Eees, or the way he pronounced 'penny.' 

        Or the infamous cooking rabbit at a camp-out incident.

        "Oh, I thought you said paper.

        "Zat is what I said, salt and fucking paper!", 

        The worst communications in history occured during drunken
revelries.  I recall a time when some of us reverted to the accents we grew
up with.  Absolutely horrible, with the bad French accent, the Cajun
accent, and the regression past Hawaiian Island Creole straight to Hawaiian
Island Pidgin.  The number of "goddameet"s, "ya'll"s,
and "bin stay go"s were legion.

        He was not the best representative of the French, but he has been an outstanding representative of America and being American.  Huzzah my old friend, huzzah.



Wednesday, August 06, 2003


I own one of his books.  It's an outstanding book on bodybuilding geared to those interested in the sport of bodybuilding and, most importantly for me, to those who are just interested in getting a little more fit.  It covers everything from warm-up, to workout, to proper eating and it could be used to chock an F-4 at full throttle.  It's a monster of a book.

Today, since he's announced his candidacy, I've got to listen to pundits, who know absolutely nothing about him or choose not to mention what they know, question his skills and abilities.  What I know of him is that he has his masters in business and made his first million in real estate investments before his movie career.  

He has no political experience.  In my opinion this will work for him where Joe Sweathog is concerned since the experienced politicians have made such a hash of things here. The majority of Joe Sweathogs, however, don't often turn out to vote.  With Schwarzenegger in the run they may turn out, but I don't think anyone can really predict that accurately.

I do know one thing, despite the opinion of Susan Estrich, most of the Californians I know want Davis out.  Democrat and Republican alike want him out.  I keep hearing the Democratic Party complain that Davis was elected and it's against the people's will that he be recalled.  First off, he was elected partially because he lied to us and told us how well the state was doing.  A few weeks after the election, however, he let us know just how bad things are.  The thing about the recall is that it allows us to fire an employee who has lied, cheated and ran our company (California) into the ground.  If it were anything else but politics no one would have a problem with an employer firing an employee who lied on his resume and ran their company into near bankruptcy.  Now get this straight, the row coming from the Democrats would be coming from the Republicans if the tables had been reveresed, but that doesn't make it any less whiny bitch like.



Friday, August 01, 2003

French Jokes

Thomas posting in the comments over at Pave France writes: That's the point, we were not saying anything negative. Ten years ago I was reading Baudelaire, LA Rochefoucauld, and Foucault around my university and never heard anyone say anything negative about France...

I have to admit that isn’t entirely accurate for me. Granted I had never been as incensed or angered by the French as I am now, but I did tell French jokes. Sometimes simply because I thought they were funny, and occasionally when my buddy Frenchy got a lil’ big for his britches.

Truth is that it would be difficult not to tease and tell jokes inspired by France’s performance in the late ‘30s. Sure if they could erase that impression, but it would require significant action and courage on a scale greater than their appeasement, surrender and collaboration with Germany. That’s quite a tall order even with fifty years to work on it.

I don’t see why it would be impossible. The individual French soldier is still known as a skilled professional even by many of us ignorant cowboys. But then their soldiers have never been a problem, it’s their government, leaders and national will that led to France’s reputation as “cheese eating surrender monkeys.” I’m even willing to give the French the benefit of the doubt and assume that recent French treachery is due entirely to their government, leaders, and lack of national will and ethics.

All in all it’s been quite a confrontational last couple of days at Pave France. I’m a new visitor there, so I don’t know if this is normal for them and I know that I haven’t helped things remain calm. But then I’m not known for my sweet disposition and even temperament.


Tuesday, July 29, 2003

New Wiggle

Chief Wiggles has a new contributer, Orpheus. All in all a very nice development. Chief Wiggles helps us to rummage through the mainstream press much more efficiently since he (and his cohorts) give us a view that we don't get to see in the mainstream media.

Right on guys,


Monday, July 28, 2003

Steven Den Beste blogs about The Enlightenment. I find I often agree, and am often educated by his blogs, my favorite being about history (especially military).

"I think this idea of cultural purity and of an absolute dedication to preserving the old ways and preventing cross-cultural pollution is something that western leftists are projecting, rather than something the majority of people elsewhere actually think."

I disagree, I don't think they're projecting, since that would imply they had those feelings themselves. Consider that the group talked about has little regard for tradition. It's a group that has consistently attacked America's traditions (both the good ones and the bad ones).

I think what they are projecting is their own hate of America and its culture, and simply rationalizing it as the hatred of Western culture by others.

Bob Hope, Comedic Master and Entertainer of Troops, Dies at 100 don't know what else to say. Thank you Mr. Hope.


Sunday, July 27, 2003

Bit of Truth from the Media?

Fox News reports that Israel is set to release hundreds of prisoners and
states that this is NOT part of the “Road Map to Peace” but the White House
says it is necessary to keep the process moving.

I’m not going to analyze the whole situation, that is done on many other blogs
in much better fashion than I could do. I will, however, draw attention to the
fact that Fox News just said something that the major media has been ignoring
for some time now and that certain bloggers have been cognizant of for some
time; the prisoner release is NOT part of the “Road Map.” Never was, no
matter how much Hamas, Abbas, Arafat, and their supporters insist otherwise.


More Propaganda

I don't remember when it happened, but at some point, many, many years ago, the media (as a group) lost my trust. They threw it away because it really didn't matter to them. Perhaps it was no more than not noticing a single blip falling off their trust-meter (and why should they notice), but today it's not just my one blip. It has become millions of blips. According to one poll it may be hundreds of blips. As a group they've played with the facts rather loosely, been misleading and have published outright falsehoods that could've been checked out with a phone call (or a web search today). They continue to say they are not biased, but if that is true why do they continue to only push news that furthers the agenda of a certain point of view? Why ignore the good news coming out of Iraq? Why ignore the EPA's deceptions and the Kyoto treaty-pusher's deception?

They concentrate on how poorly the war on terrorism is going without showing the counter-point. Of course there is no way for them to show the counterpoint to their doom and gloom without exposing their dire predictions and deceptions on the war. There are execptions. Blogs have been pointing to the good news for some time now, they've published e-mail from soldiers in Iraq, and some of the soldiers actually in Iraq have been blogging.

One of these is Chief Wiggles -- Straight from Iraq. He's become one of my regulary daily stops since I first saw a link to his page from another (I don't even remember which one that was). His news is not always rosy, and it does put you in the position of seeing just how bad major media has ignored positive news about America.


Saturday, July 26, 2003

Hmmm, seem to be having a problem with the entire page not loading when I view it with MSIE. I just noticed it, since I use Mozilla pretty exclusively.


Newsflash:  WMDs Found in Iraq?

On the scene reporter Jonathan Swift (reporting for Kalroy Network News) embedded with the American WMD detection unit reports that US forces have found a stockpile chlorine. 250 million gallons was found buried beneath the famous Iraqi theme park, Saddamland, along with equipment for gasifying the chlorine. Captain Jonas Grumby states, “This much chlorine in gaseous form is similar to that used by the Germans during World War One or for making satellite dishes out of coconuts and sea-shells.”

Update: BBC reports: Americans claim to have ‘found’ a site at which ‘WMDs’ have been located, but no other sources have been able to substantiate this ‘claim’ since it was made almost twenty minutes ago. “There is no excuse for the US not verifying their ‘claim’ in front of an international investigative team,” BBC correspondent Andrew Gilligan said.

Update: Former Iraqi Information Minister Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf, now working for a well known Arab news agency, responds that the chlorine was used exclusively for chlorinating the swimming pools of Saddam Hussein’s presidential palaces.

Update: CAIR spokesman, Ibrahim Hooper, comments on the gas generation system “This is a typical distortion of the Zionist controlled American media. It is tradition in Arab culture to chlorinate our swimming pools by bubbling chlorine gas through the water. If Americans understood our culture better they would realize that.” When asked how Americans could understand Arab and Muslim culture better Mr.Hooper stated, “We at CAIR are more than willing to spoon-feed, er, educate, I mean, Americans in Arab propa… I mean culture.

Update: A recent poll conducted in Germany shows that over one third of young Germans believe that the “chlorine” found was used for swimming pools, or that it was planted by the United States to further their imperial desires.

Update: According to Prince Bandar ibn Sultan, the Saudi ambassador to the United States, “These are not ‘weapons’ of ‘mass’ ‘destruction’, rather what is being seen is Uday’s professionalism in providing clean water for the members of Iraq’s Olympic swim team. We Arabs understand how important a swim team is to our culture and our religion, and know that even a bad person can care about their country’s Olympic athletes.

Update: Reuters correspondent, Deanna Wrenn, reports that she was allowed to view the so-called ‘weapons’ ‘of’ ‘mass’ ‘destruction’ and says that not a single one was labeled as such. “I couldn’t even find the letters ‘WMD’ stenciled on any of the ovoid and finned storage containers.

Update: Transcript of a Fox News interview with Deanna Wrenn.
Fox News: How were you chosen, among all the journalists in the area to report on the chlorine find at Saddamland?

Wrenn: What? What are you talking about? I’ve been reporting on surf conditions at Hawai’i’s North Shore.

Fox News: Are you saying you didn’t write a report for Reuters…

Wrenn: What? Those sons of [censored]

Thursday, July 24, 2003

The Propagandist...

    Well, I've become an American Propagandist yesterday.  I printed up various letters and e-mail from Gulf troops that were linked from such notables as Andrew Sullivan, Instapundit, and Daily Pundit, and had my father in law read them.  He's stuck in a news quagmire, forced to rely on such sterling examples of journalistic integrity as CNN, and the Big Three.  Not that Fox News is perfect, but at least they haven't begun running around hiding horror stories and spreading propaganda for hostile and enemy nations.  This all stemmed from an article in the LA Times about open mike night in Sacramento for the Members of the Democratic Study Group that seems to have failed to make it into the news feed my father in law gets (I do recall it being mentioned on Fox News though).

    Continuing my new found calling, today I bothered to send e-mail to the few personal e-mail addys I have in my address books a link to Merde in France.  I'm not sure what my next action will be but it will probably due to my own reaction of outrage to something along similar lines. 


Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Ollie Ollie Ox in Free...

Donald Sensing points out an article in The Scotsman that talks about East Berlin airport sitting on thousands of bombs and on aircraft and such hidden in bunkers.  "Not only did the commissars intern munitions beneath the runways, but also entire Nazi fighter planes, all fuelled and fully bombed-up, according to the Stasi." 

Jim Miller (via Donald Sensing) says it shows how easy it is to hide weapons.  This is something I've commented on before.  You take a VX ton container, hose it down with Clorox, tack a hood on it, paint it gray and stencil the word propane on the side and it looks just like every propane tank sitting next to a house out in the boonies.  You could hide several thousands of gallons here where I live.  Sit it upright, wash it down with Clorox, paint it white, glue some fake hoses to it and stick it in the water heater space in most houses and no one is going to find it (unless a bomb hits the house).  Now what about the anthrax?  Real easy.

What gets me is that all the people complaining about us not finding them don't seem to understand what it is we're looking for.  Hell, you could dump it into a sand pit, hose the pit with caustic and cover it over and I doubt you'd ever detect it.  Here's something anecdotal.  At an American chem demil facility they decontaminated a room.  No detectable agent vapor.  They opened up a sealed electrical box and the HD (mustard gas) monitors go ape.  Our most advanced detectors won't always show the presence of agent unless it's floating around and actually sucked into the machines.

As an aside, tomorrow I'm going to try to find my stats on how much agent the US has destroyed.  We only have a few more years to finish ALL of it, and we're off to a late start because of all the environmental lawsuits and protests.


The Problem with Liberals...

    There are people who claim that they are not anti-American, they simply disagree with the Administration and disagree with conservatives.  My problem with them is that no matter how much they protest this characterization of them, as long as they continue to allow Leftist creep to enter into their house and refuse to see it, they tacitly  approve of blatant anti-Americanism.  Failure to condemn signs at rallies that read "kill your officers" and such is tacit approval of such views; or at the very the appearance to most of such approval.  As with Arabs and Muslims failure to condemn people and organizations for extremist views and actions gives support to those people.  Certainly moderates continue to say they don't support extremists, but so long as environmentalists fail to condemn ELF, so long as Muslims fail to condemn Hamas, and so long as Democrats fail to condemn ANSWER, they will continue to tacitly support the causes those espouse.

    It is with heartened smile, therefore, that I read Roger L. Simon's piece today where he condemns one of the "fuzzy partisan thinking" bloggers who make liberals, such as Mr. Simon, look bad. This is not the first time Mr. Simon has defended the liberal viewpoint from Leftist creep, and I doubt it will be the last.  Huzzah Mr. Simon


Monday, July 21, 2003

Will the democracies consent to their own survival?

    The title is a quote by Sir William Stephenson from the book A Man Called Intrepid.  I read the book in secondary school, but had long since forgotten anything about it beyond my recollection of it being a good book.  My wife, today, bought a copy of this old book for me and I began re-reading it outside while smoking a cigarette.  That quote struck a bit of a chord in me and I decided to blog the next two paragraphs as well.

    ...Will the democracies consent to their own survival?

    We failed to face that critical question prior to 1939.  Not one of the democracies honestly confronted the obvious threats to its survival.  They would not unite, rearm, or consider sacrifices for individual or collective security.  There were those who argues that the sacrifices were not necessary.  Today, parallel arguments are heard, similar responses given.

    We are rightly repelled by secrecy; it is a potential threat to democratic principle and free government.  Yet we would delude ourselves if we should forget that secrecy was for a time virtually our only defense.  It served not only to achieve victory, but also to save lives in that perilous pursuit.

    I can't help but see and feel  a parallel to today in Sir William Stephenson's words.  Facing the menace of radical Islam the world's democracies did not give their consent to survival.  Those few who called for the survival of the western world were branded as bigots, paranoiacs, hate-mongers and alarmists.  Even today much of the western world refuses to survive, they are not being raped for they have given their consent to the destruction of their very way of life.  So much so that they have refused to aid or have actively hampered those nations who refuse to submit to the attacks of their people, their culture and their countries. 

    It is unfortunate that it has required the deaths of literally thousands upon thousands of westerners (no matter the actual geographic location of their countries) for many of us to finally decide that maybe we want our country, its citizens and our way of life to survive.  It is truly tragic that some of us (our own countrymen, and those who have benefited for years by our laws and way of life) don't care or simply want us to be destroyed.