Wednesday, August 23, 2006

What a Moronic Presidential Press Conference! By Fred Kaplan - Slate Magazine

What a Moronic Presidential Press Conference! By Fred Kaplan - Slate Magazine

Ok, this is my favorite article this week. It makes me want to run to Canada. Fast. This is so embarassing. We must be the laughing stock of the world to have re-elected someone so blatantly incompetent. And yet his administration let's him get in front of reporters and say stuff like this. Gosh, I'd want to keep him locked in a closet. Wait. I already do want to keep him locked in a closet.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Patrick's Letter, August 9, 2006

I think I'll use a red pen today. So Nick's birthday is in seven days. I think I'll slip something in this letter. A check for $150...because I have it to give away.

Well we started BRM on Monday...and we qualify with our rifles on Tuesday. Good stuff. I sent graduation info to you and Ashley, spread the word to everyone else. I'll tell Jordon the 411.

Let's see...I have been chosen to assume the responsibility among 3 other people to memorize basic army knowledge, such as navigation, medical, the uniform...the whole nine acquire prestigious awards that go to only one platoon. So...pretty much, me and three other people in my platoon are representing the whole platoon.
(ok, I have no idea what he just said here...Nick says it basically translates as Patrick and three other soldiers represent the platoon at a contest with other platoons and the game is to have more knowledge about the regulations and army basics than the other platoon representatives.)

Let the light shine.


Patrick's Letter, August 6, 2006

As usual, Patrick's letters begin with...

This is the new stationary I bought (it's blue bordered with the US Army crest on the left side, and says United States Army on the right side, and the edges are blue that fade in to white). And the spandex is unbelievable. It's UnderArmour so I wouldn't expect anything less.

So we had a PT diagnostic today. i did 61 push-ups and 76 sit-ups...and ran my two miles in 13:14. I need to work on my push-ups...get a faster sit-up pace because I had about 24 more without stopping. The 2 14 seconds too slow. I'm shooting for 300+ points on my final PT test and I'm gonna get it.

We zeroed our weapons today. Half of us actually zeroed and the other half couldn't get 5 of 6 consecutive shots in that 4 cm (diameter) circle. The target was a piece of paper 25 meters away with a sample target that is the approximate size of full target 300 meters away. I actually have one (he enclosed it in his letter!). It's not mine, though. It took me 9 rounds to get my weapon zeroed, whereas some people it took 968,473,216,577 bazillion rounds and still didn't zero. It's alright, though. I won't be the one being held back because I couldn't qualify. (I don't know what zeroing a weapon means...)

And I had a butterfly land on my hand and stay there for a good 4 or 5 minutes. I took that as good luck like...luck that couldn't get any better. I often do butterflies land on people? Twice for me for as long as I can remember. A bunch of guys called me a pussy. Then I called out, "is that why I can fire an assault rifle and you can't?" Still got me a soft-ish heart.


Sunday, August 20, 2006

Cool Things from Slate

Does Israel's attack spoil the cease-fire? By Jesse Stanchak - Slate Magazine

One of the many things I love about are the "Today's Papers" titles. If you don't know about Today's Papers, it's a daily email that highlights what the major newspapers are headlining and summarizing their coverage. By majors, I'm talking primarily about Washington Post, LA Times, NY Times, and sometimes USA Today. It's a lot cheaper than actually subscribing to the physical paper or surfing to each of their sites. By the way, Slate is owned by the Washington Post.

Wednesday: Diss-Arming (The Washington Post leads with Hezbollah reiterating it won't disarm or really withdraw)

Thursday: No Farewell to Arms (Lebanon's government, as expected, ordered its army into the south after it hammered out a don't-show don't-search deal with Hezbollah)

Friday: Tapped Out (federal judge ruling the president's warrantless wiretapping program is quite unconstitutional)

Saturday: Cease To Exist? (wire services reported early Saturday that Israel may have broken the ceasefire that took hold Monday by launching a raid in eastern Lebanon)

Sunday: Kofi A-None Too Pleased (all lead with an Israeli strike on a Hezbollah bastion in Baalbek, Lebanon, an act United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan considers a violation of last week's cease-fire agreement)

So what's all this about? Well, I'd forgotten that I can "blog this" using my right-click menu thingy and I'm all about that right now. I'll get over it soon.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

More Conspicuous Consumption

New washer and dryer time! Woohoo! It seems so sad to get so worked up over a new set but these are really nifty, quiet, smart, and have a huge capacity. We didn't just do this out of the blue, though. This was all about the fact that our dryer had been dead for over a month, and this set is >15 years old, and geez I'm sorry but I don't enjoy hanging out at the laundromat. I wish we had as nice a laundry space as this but, truth be told, it's in the dark, spider-webby basement of our 100-year old house. But it's a very sweet set!

And Nick...broke his wrist :( He see's an orthopedist tomorrow for a cast. It's a small fracture at the end of his ulna and he's had it in a brace since Saturday - the folks at PatientFirst wanted a radiologist to read his X-ray because they weren't sure if it was a break or not. His health insurance doesn't take effect for another four months so this really is a major bummer for him.

All the news that's fit to print!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

California's secret SUV ban, By Andy Bowers

California's secret SUV ban. By Andy Bowers

Doesn't this make you want to go out and tell someone and then stand back to see what happens? It's just too good. I've been trying to catch photos of Hummers in incongruous places. In the supermarket parking lot, towering over other cars; in rush hour traffic; in front of the doctor's office; parked at the botanical gardens. Funny, I've never seen one at the hardware store...

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Patrick's Letter, August 2, 2006

I got 9. REMEND is an iffy, though, but I would've crushed on that roll. I was told about the new washer and dryer.

I might want a copy of that program you just made. I could use it to my advantage.

So, yeah. Oklahoma.

Our first FTX was awesome. People were getting hit with fake IED's, drill sergeants were sniping privates with rubber pellets whenever they walked out into the open, MRE's are a godsend, 3k and 5k road march, random running through the woods trying to take out the drill sergeants, and we were kept on our feet the whole night during fireguard trying to infiltrate other platoons areas. And the stars were magnificent. I spotted Orion, Cancer, Ursa Major and Minor, Cassiopeia, Poseidon, and Venus. Not to mention a shooting star and the Milky Way. Good training. We started BRM today
(I think that's a rifle). Touched on a few things I've been reading up on. I asked about the rear sight...because there a big hole and a small hole...I wanted to know the difference.

It's all good, though.


He used the phrase! AAARRRGH!

No title, no sun, just rain: p.s., "it's all good"

I don't like that phrase, "it's all good." Maybe I'm just being perverse. It's in the same league as "oh, my bad" and "functionality," the latter being a term made famous by the IT people. Apparently, "capability" just doesn't cut it, and neither does "function(s)." IT has a tendency to create short-hand that becomes mainstream. It's even in the Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. Sad.

I meant to begin by saying that the idea to post a bunch of pics occured to me when I ran across the little ad for "disposable weddings..." June was a really wet month: we picked up over ten inches of rain. This month I think we're up to one inch. Most of this is via little squalls that run through the area, or thunderstorms that build around the hottest part of the day. Every so often, though, we'll get a gray, wet, depressing day. Summer in Norfolk = Hot to Sweltering. Did you know that sweltering is defined as above 70% humidity? I didn't until today.

I promised my Mom that I would type Patrick's letters from basic training. Here's the first one.

July 11, 2006
I'm in boot camp finally. It started yesterday. And so far, to say the least. I've organized a little work-out routine compiled of stuff I learned in weight lifting to help prepare everyone else for the PT tests. So far red phase isn't so bad. All I do is obey the drill seargents and don't resist and we get along fine. It's easy. Three people went AWOL already. It's ridiculous. I tried to call yesterday but I forgot how to use 1-800-Collect
(what, are you kidding me?) and I don't have a phone card. So...send a loaded phone card and moleskin, ok? I've got half a blister. They're on my feet now and not my hands.

I graduate in November when I complete AIT.

p.s., stick a 3 on the center
(back) of the envelope when you write back so the mail can find me faster.

Patrick gets blisters on his hands from rowing and weight lifting. Blisters on top of blisters...because he refused to wear gloves. He said it interferes with his feel of the paddle (or weight bar). Ok. I don't like the way THAT sounds...