Sunday, January 28, 2007

Out of the mouths of babes...

Thomas's Webelo pack is working on their Citizenship badge. I love this badge, because it really drives home what makes not only our country wonderful, but what it means to be a part of the USA. The kids are learning about the flag, the government, and our history. It's pretty cool. At tonight's meeting, we were playing a game about Citizenship. It was a "Family Feud" type of set-up. It went something like this:

Question ISSSSS "Name the first 13 colonies"
Answer ISSSS "Um... ALL 13? Can't I just name a few?" We eventually got through all 13, as a group, but not one of us could name all 13 alone.

Question ISSSSS "When would you salute the flag instead of cross your heart, facing the flag, during the National Anthem or Pledge of Allegiance?"
Answer ISSSSS "If you're in a national organization(like the military, or the Cub Scouts), AND in uniform, you salute. If you're not, then you cross your heart."

Question ISSSSS "Which president was the first to live in the White House?"
Answer ISSSSS... John Quincy Adams! (aren't you proud of me? I knew that one!)

The question was followed up with "Is that White House the same one that GWB lives in now?"
Answer is, of course, "No. The first one burnt down."
The most obvious follow-up question to that was "Who burned it down?"

To which Lucas quickly answered.....


I shit you not. It really, truly happened.... and I'm STILL laughing about it! God bless that child... he's being brought up RIGHT!

Maggie corrected me in comments. The first president to live in the White House was John Adams... John QUINCY Adam's father. She also further clarified that the exterior walls of the White House are still the original walls. Thanks for keeping me honest, Maggie!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Sitemeter Fun

I was checking my Sitemeter tonight, and was SHOCKED to find out that I am currently #1 AND #2 on Google for "I hear bagpipes cryin' amazing grace".... and the artist who performs the song is #3.
I get more hits for Rushlow Harris's song, "I hear bagpipes cryin'" than Rushlow Harris does. whoa.

Of course, I also got hits for things like "monkey penis", "internal organ shaped lapel pins", "mommy's boobies", "dickweed", about a dozen versions of "heywood bank's yeah toast", "wart removal bacon moon", "coast guard porn", and "boys have weiners", so I suppose I shouldn't get all high and mighty yet, eh?

Oh, and to the person who got to my site by asking "which side of the bed does the president sleep on?"... The answer is, of course... the far right.


Friday, January 26, 2007

American Soldier: Keeping it real

American Soldier's a new daddy once again, and is having some revelations about his near-death experience in Iraq. Leave it to AS to keep it real. Pay attention to his list of what's important- it flashed before his eyes when injured in Iraq. I left my own list in comments. It goes like this:

Laying across my Grandmother’s lap as a child, as she scratched my back; the birth of my two boys; a meeting in the San Antonio airport; a parkbench in New York City, in the shadows of the former WTC’s; the rush I felt getting my first financial license; seeing the pleasure in my son’s eyes as he pitched his first strike-out; my younger son’s laughter and silliness; the touch of My Man’s fingertips on my skin; my Mom.

What would you see?

More from the DAYUM files....

Jim and Nell Hamm went out for a hike in California about 60 miles from the Oregon border when a mountain lion attacked Jim. According to Nell, "He didn't scream. It was a different, horrible plea for help, and I turned around, and by then the cat had wrestled Jim to the ground."

She grabbed a 4" diameter log and started beating the cat, but it didn't work. Jim, with his head firmly in the grasp of the wild cat, told her "I've got a pen in my pocket and get the pen and jab him in the eye." I don't know how she did it, but Nell got the pen out of her husband's pocket and attacked. "So I got the pen and tried to put it in his eye, but it didn't want to go in as easy as I thought it would."

Nell went back to beating the animal with the log after the pen bent and became useless. Finally, the cat let go. She then walked her husband to the trail head where they met up with a park ranger who called for help. Jim, 70, is in fair condition recovering from multiple wounds to his face, head, and body... and is insisting that they continue with their plans to visit New Zealand in celebration of their 50th wedding anniversary next month.

Can you say "DAAAAYUMMMM"???

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Cows and Politics, Explained

After last night's State Of The Union address, I figure a lot of people around the world may have some questions about politics in America as compared to politics around the world. I thought I'd help them out by explaining politics by way of cows.

Cows & Politics Explained

DEMOCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE: You have two cows. The government taxes you to the point you have to sell both to support a man in a foreign country who has only one cow, which was a gift from your government.

CAPITALISM, AMERICAN STYLE: You have two cows. You sell one, buy a bull, and build a herd of cows.

BUREAUCRACY, AMERICAN STYLE: You have two cows. The government takes them both, shoots one, milks the other, pays you for the milk, then pours the milk down the drain.

AN AMERICAN REPUBLICAN: You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. So what?

AN AMERICAN DEMOCRAT: You have two cows. Your neighbor has none. You feel guilty for being successful. You vote people into office who tax your cows, forcing you to sell one to raise money to pay the tax. The people you voted for then take the tax money and buy a cow and give it to your neighbor. You feel righteous.

AN AMERICAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. You are surprised when the cow drops dead.

A CHRISTIAN DEMOCRAT: You have two cows. You keep one and give one to your neighbor.

A COMMUNIST: You have two cows. The government seizes both and provides you with milk.

A FASCIST: You have two cows. The government seizes both and sells you the milk. You join the underground and start a campaign of sabotage.

A FRENCH CORPORATION: You have two cows. You go on strike because you want three cows.

A JAPANESE CORPORATION: You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create clever cow cartoon images called Cowkimon and market them World-Wide.

A BRITISH CORPORATION: You have two cows. They are mad. They die. Pass the shepherd's pie, please.

A BRAZILIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You enter into a partnership with an American corporation. Soon you have 1000 cows and the American corporation declares bankruptcy.

AN INDIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You worship both of them.

And finally... THE ARKANSAS CORPORATION, in which you have two cows, and the one on the left is kinda cute.

End of lesson.
Any questions?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

SOTU surprise

It wasn't in the President's address, which I found very direct and heavy. I expected him to address health care, the war, the economy.. and he did. I was encouraged by the stern words directed toward the Iraqi government- he basically told them to get their shit in order and take back their country's safety from the United States and our allies.
The surprise came after the speech, during the Democratic response.

The opposing party is always given air time to refute the SOTU Address, but it's usually a senior member of the party. This time, the Dem's chose a newbie- Senator Jim Webb of Virginia. The mere fact that Webb was chosen has set the tone of the next two years for me- Webb is the Senator who had a little "exchange" with the President a few months ago. At a White House dinner, President Bush approached Webb and asked him "How's your boy?", inquiring about the well-being of Webb's son who is currently serving in Iraq. Webb's reply was a curt "I'd like to get him out of Iraq, Mr. President". Undetered, Bush said "That's not what I asked. How's your boy?" At which point Webb got nasty and said "That's between me and my boy, Mr. President."

My reaction? WHAT A DICK. President Bush has repeatedly shown his concern and appreciation for those serving in our military, and genuinely cares about their well-being. Asking "How's your boy?" was a non-invasive, non-threatening, geniune question, which was met with aggression and rudeness.

So much for diplomacy and working together, eh? The Dem's have made their stance clear: Anything Bush says, does, or implies will be promptly refused. Webb refused to recite the prepared speech from the Democratic party, instead delivering a speech he wrote himself. I wonder how much it differs from the prepared speech. It's no wonder, however, why Webb was chosen to deliver the rebuttal: He's firmly against the President, for our military, and not afraid to speak up. It's also clear to me now that the Dem's are going to do everything in their power to piss off the Republicans and play devil's advocate to everything the President suggests.
It's gonna be a LOOOOOOOONG two years.

How do they DO that?!!??!?!

Some things, I get. Other things... are just beyond my comprehension.


Not only that, but the first time I tried it, I was getting ready to leave the house to run a few errands (Walmart, Toys R Us and Target). The symbol my number matched up to was a circle with a dot in the middle... JUST LIKE THE TARGET CIRCLE!

whoa. freaky.

(h/t to ChurchLady BJ for this one)

Monday, January 22, 2007

One Romanian's View

One of my favorite blogs is One Marine's View. I mean... come on! How can you *not* love a cee-gar smokin', kilt-wearin', Elvis-lovin' hunka hunka burnin' luv?!?! He fights to defend the freedoms we hold so dear to our hearts, like the thousands of other US Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen. They pledged to defend us and promote "Americanism" around the world- many of whom took that pledge after 9/11, knowing we're a country at war.

Immediately following 9/11, so many people asked a simple one word question- "WHY?" Why would anyone target us in that manner? Many have answered "because of your arrogance". I don't consider it arrogance at all. When people all over the world are trying to gain entry and citizenship into our country, that's not arrogance. When people all over the world cry out for American assistance in times of great national need, that's not arrogance. What we have to offer the world is something special. The freedom we enjoy came, and still comes, at a heavy price. Many wars have been fought to defend these freedoms, and much blood has been shed.

It angers me to see so many Americans spitting on the sacrifices of those who defend us. People like John Kerry, John Murtha, Nancy Pelosi, Cindy Sheehan, Michael Moore.. they just don't get it. True, Kerry and Murtha served our country.. ONCE. But not anymore. People across this country are yelling for us to pull out of Iraq, and leave them to squander in islamofacist hell. Insurgent leaders in the Middle East rejoice whenever any Americans speak out against President Bush's tactics in the GWOT. So I ask you... if we, as American's, don't appreciate what we have, why, and what makes it so special, how can anyone else in the world understand it?

Perhaps this editorial from a Romanian will answer that question. I received it today via email. Snopes verified that it's real, but I really don't care. What I care about is the message. The article, written by Cornel Nistorescu, originally appeared in the Romanian newspaper "The Daily Event" on Sept. 24, 2001, under the title "Ode to America". Thank you, Mr. Nistorescu. You're a man who "gets" America... sadly, better than some Americans do these days.

~An Ode to America ~

Why are Americans so united? They would not resemble one another even if
you painted them all one color! They speak all the languages of the world
and form an astonishing mixture of civilizations and religious beliefs.
Still, the American tragedy turned three hundred million people into a hand
put on the heart.

Nobody rushed to accuse the White House, the army, and the secret
services that they are only a bunch of losers. Nobody rushed to empty their
bank accounts. Nobody rushed out onto the streets nearby to gape about.
The Americans volunteered to donate blood and to give a helping hand.
After the first moments of panic, they raised their flag over the smoking
ruins, putting on T-shirts, caps and ties in the colors of the national
flag. They placed flags on buildings and cars as if in every place and on
every car a government official or the president was passing.
On every occasion, they started singing their traditional song:
"God Bless America !" I watched the live broadcast and rerun after rerun
for hours listening to the story of the guy who went down one hundred floors
with a woman in a wheelchair without knowing who she was, or of the
Californian hockey player, who gave his life fighting with the terrorists
and prevented the plane from hitting a target that could have killed other
hundreds or thousands of people.

How on earth were they able to respond united as one human being?
Imperceptibly, with every word and musical note, the memory of some
turned into a modern myth of tragic heroes. And with every phone call,
millions and millions of dollars were put in a collection aimed at rewarding
not a man or a family, but a spirit, which no money can buy.
What on earth can unite the Americans in such a way? Their land? Their
galloping history? Their economic Power? Money? I tried for hours to find
an answer, humming songs, and murmuring phrases with the risk of sounding

I thought things over, but I reached only one conclusion.
Only freedom can work such miracles.

"Only freedom can work such miracles"
Truer words have never been spoken.

Building a Better Enemy

I hate it when we do that. We've been in Iraq and Afghanistan for too long. Why, you might ask? Because our enemies have become smarter by watching us and learning our tactics and SOP's over the past 5 years. Now, instead of dressing as Iraqi military and police to gain access to our troops.. they're disguising themselves as US troops. For the first time ever, US troops have been killed by insurgents who walked the walk, talked the talk, and dressed the part. They accessed the Karbala compound in vehicles mimicing ours (uparmored SUV's with the "keep back" signs on the back), dressed as US soldiers and acted with the confidence of US soldiers, entered a meeting between US and Iraqi military, opened fire, and killed 5 of our guys. None of the Iraqi's in the meeting were killed- just the Americans. Then they got back into their vehicles and simply drove away.... In the drop of a hat, the infiltrated our base, killed our men, and drove away unharmed.

IED deaths are increasing as well, due in part to the newer, more deadly Iranian built bombs. Before our guys were being maimed by IED's... now, they're being killed. John Negroponte, director of national intelligence, testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Feb. 2, 2006, saying, "Tehran's intention to inflict pain on the United States and Iraq has been constrained by its caution to avoid giving Washington an excuse to attack it."

The Iranian IED's are more lethal than the previous IED's due to their construction and design. The devices are easily hidden and detonated by motion detectors that cannot be jammed. When exploded, the copper disc becomes a molten liquid bullet that can penetrate the thickest armor the United States has. According to Richard Clarke, former White House counterterrorism chief and an ABC News consultant, "They penetrate the armor of an M1 Abrams tank. They're shape charges. They go through anything, and they are very lethal." And worse yet... Clarke says there's no defense against these explosives at this time.

Between June, 2003 and December, 2004, 264 US soldiers were killed by IED's. In 2005, that number jumped to 407. Between January 2006 and January 2007, 438 US service members were killed by IED's, including the worst month in the history of this war: 68 were killed by IED's in December, 2006. Clearly since the beginning of 2005, IED deaths have dramatically increased.

Our enemies are getting to know us too well- our tactics, our strengths and weakenesses, our vehicles, our bases, our routines, and our uniforms. Something needs to change. NOW.

Friday, January 19, 2007

I hear bagpipes cryin'......

Matt posted this today (a couple of versions, actually), and I just had to post it here too. I know you all read Blackfive, but dammit... how could I pass this up?

The poem was Commander Mark Waddell's reaction to a June 28, 2005 battle in the mountains of Afghanistan. An MH-47 helicopter was shot down during the fight and 19
special forces troops and airmen were killed, including 11 SEALs. Waddell was acting commander of East Coast SEAL operations at the time.

"I had three of the four guys on the ground that died that day," Waddell said in a recent interview with radio station KATC/Colorado Springs. "I was so heartbroken after I passed out all the flags at the memorial service. I was just thinking about the bagpiper, who is also a retired SEAL captain, standing there literally crying the song out of the bagpipes. We were all so sad.

"When I came home my wife said I should write down some words. Tim (Rushlow) called me and asked how I was doing. I told him I wrote this poem and he said well let me have it. We went back and forth on the phone and decided to make it a tribute to everyone from World War II to the present."

Anyone who has ever heard "Amazing Grace" played on bagpipes knows exactly what it means to hear "bagpipes cryin"... and everyone who hears this song will know the heartbreak our military feels when any of them perish, no matter if they knew the fallen man or not. God bless them all.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Border Patrol Agents Begin Serving Sentences

GODDAMMIT, this pisses me off...
The two Texas Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting a Mexican drug runner WHILE ON DUTY turned themselves in to U.S. Marshals today. Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean began serving 11- and 12-year prison sentences, respectively, for the February 2005 shooting of Osvaldo Aldrete Davila. According to Friends of the Border Patrol Chairman Andy Ramirez, "Evidence that would have severely damaged the credibility of the known drug smuggler, and exonerated Compean & Ramos was sealed and suppressed and the attorneys were prevented from mounting a proper defense."

Thing is... I'm equally as pissed that they were charged and convicted of shooting Davila as I am that President Bush hasn't issued a pardon! Bush has made a lot errors during his presidency (hey, didn't he just admit that a lot of mistakes were made in the GWOT and the blame rests squarely on his shoulders?), but this one is just unforgivable to me.

WTF is WRONG with our justice system, when we jail our law enforcement officers for doing their job? WTF is WRONG with our justice system, when we jail our Soldiers and Marines for killing people, or embarrassing prisoners DURING A WAR?
Is THIS what we call "justice" in the United States these days? I sure as hell hope not.

If you want to help our border agents, get involved with Friends of the Border Patrol, The Minuteman Project, or Grassfire. Please also write letters to your Congressmen/women, asking them to put pressure on President Bush to issue a pardon for these men.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007


"The death of Al Qaeda suspect Fazul Abdullah Mohammed was detailed in an American intelligence report passed on to the Somali authorities. Mohammed, one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists who has evaded capture for eight years, was allegedly harbored by a Somali Islamic movement that had challenged this country's Ethiopian-backed government for power."

Somalian leaders were fully aware of our military operation to locate and destroy the Al Qaeda location. Not only were they fully aware of it, but the fully supported it. Considering that Fazul was involved in an Islamic movement to overthrow the current government, it makes perfect sense.

I don't see this as an attempt by the US to come to the rescue of the current Somalian government, but rather a very successful attempt to rid the world of some nasty, hateful, murderous people. I know that there are reports of innocents being killed, including children and a newlywed couple, but my thought on it is this: What in the HELL were there doing in our strike zone? Seems to me that the warnings put out earlier, combined with the very targeted attacks, would indicate that the "innocents" were affiliated with the "not-so-innocents".

Good on ya, Air Force and Army!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The father of 5 boys, and 1 fine daughter: Dr. Will Tickel

I've been rather quiet over the past couple of weeks due in part to breaking my home pc. I closed up the laptop with an inkpen on the keyboard and broke the screen. I've been extremely busy at work, which hasn't allowed much time for goofing off and writing posts, but something happened yesterday that is haunting me.

Remember my "Ice sucks ass" post? The one which talked about the car accident outside my office one morning? I was off work last Thursday and Friday, and late Friday afternoon, a couple of men showed up at my office asking for me. Gina told them I wasn't here, and then they said that their Dad and younger brother were in the accident with the bus out front. Gina immediately asked about them, hoping they were ok... but that wasn't the case. The dad, the one I was helping, died four days after the accident. They wanted to meet the woman who was with them right after the accident, and had been looking for me for weeks. Since I wasn't a witness to the accident, my name wasn't in the accident report, but they knew from the news coverage and from talking to the bus driver and paramedics that I was there to help their dad. All they knew was that I "lived" near the accident scene, in house that's for sale. (actually, I work in a house that's for sale)

I really thought he'd be ok. I never thought he'd die. I've been thinking about this a lot since I found out yesterday. I've also been reading about the man who died. His name is William Tickel, and he's a very well known chiropractor, christian father of "five sons and one fine daughter", and author of nearly 3 books. I say "nearly" because he'd just finished the third book and was still editing it. The comment page for his obituary has nearly 100 comments.

Three of his sons may come see me tomorrow, including Bill, the oldest, and Geoff, the driver of the car. I talked to Bill on the phone today for about a half hour, and learned a lot about the aftermath of the accident. His dad's heart stopped for 15 minutes, his aorta was torn, he broke several bones in his face, and was in a coma. He said that there were times he was able to talk to his dad, and he'd turn his head and open his eyes, but he never said anything. He said things went downhill rapidly on the 4th day, and they turned off his life support. Bill told his dad that it was ok, he raised a good and strong family, and it was ok for him to pass.... then he died.

I am just heartbroken. Things like this change your perspective. Geoff, the driver, and one other brother graduated from college a week after the accident. Geoff got married a week after graduation. Bill was so sad that his dad didn't get to experience the graduations or the wedding. He said Geoff has no memory of the accident, or me, and had no idea he seized while waiting for the police to arrive.

I've thought a lot about Geoff and Will, and what happened to them after the accident. Now, I know. In some ways, I'm glad. Other ways.... I'm just devastated. From what I know, Will was right with God and his family when he died. They all knew he loved them, and was so proud of his children. They knew he was a strong christian man and would go to heaven to be reunited with them in the future. His daughter-in-law wrote that he was in heaven now, with her son Caleb, playing soccer in the clouds. (I found out from Bill that Caleb died from a heart condition when he was about a year old.) When she told her 6 year old son about his grandfather's death, he said "I guess he was done telling people about Jesus".

Out of the mouths of babes.... "I guess he was done telling people about Jesus".

Rest in peace, Dr. Will Tickel. You've left behind a strong and faithful family who will love and support each other over the years to come. It is obvious to all that you will be greatly missed. Be sure to give Caleb a kiss from his mom and dad, ok?