Friday, June 22, 2007

Too much reality

February 12, 1993.
Liverpool, England.
Two-year-old Jamie Bulger wanders away from his mother at The Strand shopping center, and is lead out of the store by two 10-year-old boys, Jon Venables and Robert Thompson. The scene was caught on a store security camera and was a key bit of evidence used in their trial. Jon and Robert had been at the shopping center for a while, shoplifting different items. They had a history of run-ins with the police; these were not "good kids". Apparently they got bored with simple theft, and raised the stakes attempting to kidnap a child. The mother noticed her missing toddler, ran out of the store calling his name, and he returned to her, safe and sound.

Not long afterwards, the boys successfully completed their mission when they lured another 2-year-old away from his mother and left the store with him, unnoticed- except by the store's security cameras. Jamie was then lead on a 2 1/4 mile walk with the boys. Nearly 40 people report seeing the trio, but no one thought that this was anything more than two older brothers keeping watch over their baby brother. No one thought it could possibly be a kidnapping which eventually lead to torture and murder... but it did.

Jamie had paint thrown on his face. He was kicked, hit with bricks, stones and a 22lb. iron bar. They put batteries in his mouth. They laid him across a railroad track, weighed his head down with bricks and stones, and left him to be ran over by a train. The coroner later reported the beating killed little Jamie before the train hit him.

Jon and Robert were tried as juveniles, convicted, and eventually sentenced to 15 years at a juvenile correctional facility. In 2000, their sentence was reduced to only 8 years. The boys were released in 2001.

Why is this important now, 14 years after the murder?

Because the store's video survellience tape was recently used as a clue in a computer game. "Law & Order: Double or Nothing" includes a still shot of the video footage, supplied as a clue to a murder. The game has been removed from UK stores, but is still available in the US.

I am a fan of "Law & Order" and their "ripped from the headlines" storylines.. HOWEVER... They have NEVER (to the best of my knowledge) used real footage from real crimes. EVER. This is a disgusting abuse of corporate greed. Could you imagine being Jamie's parents, and realizing real footage of their son's abduction was being used in a VIDEO GAME!?!??!?! 14 years after the brutal death of their child, his image is being used in a toy. I am truly disgusted. Who in their right mind would ever thing that using the kidnapping image was "ok"?????

I just don't get it. I really, really don't. Legacy Interactive has taken a tragic story, and made it even worse. Unreal.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A couple of good shots

Archaeologists in Peru have discovered the remains of the first gunshot victim in the western hemisphere. They believe the victim was killed by a musket shot to the head... nearly 500 years ago. Wonder if the shooter had a "MySpace" account....

And then there's this guy.
A golfer's attempt to get out of the rough and back on the fairway started a grass fire that burned about 20 acres near a golf course, officials said.


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Where's Larry?

You know... there are embarrassing moments in life, and then there's OH.MY.GOD...JUST KILL ME NOW embarrassing moments in life.

Embarrassing: Realizing you have a HUGE hole in the crotch of your pants AFTER you've conducted several business meetings.

Embarrassing: Having your 6 year-old run through the pool store, toward the outdoor bar setup, yelling "OHHHHH YEAH!!!! FREE BEER!!!!!" (DAMN that fake beer. I sure could have used a REAL one by the time I got to that child. sheesh)

Embarrassing: Farting, REPEATEDLY, while laughing at the dinner table- the first time your new boyfriend meets your parents.

Embarrassing: Having your 60ish male boss, stop at your desk, hands on hips, and ask you, "AFSis.. have you ever had a YEAST INFECTION?".. and he's TOTALLY serious. Then, wondering why you and your other female co-worker are beet red and flabbergasted, says "WELL. My Doctor told me I have a YEAST INFECTION in my MOUTH.. and I've never had one before. Hell- I've never even HEARD of one before!" I swear to God, I actually said "If you have a yeast infection in your mouth, I don't even want to know what you've been eating"... and then told him to go call his wife and ask her the same question. Next sound we heard from his office was the phone slamming down, followed by "AWWWW SHIT!" Gina and I STILL crack up just at the thought of that day.

Embarrassing: Explaining to your son how (and why) to wear a cup/jock- when you're the MOM and you've never worn one of the damn things, so you have to ASK THE P.E. TEACHER for instructions. (oh, SHUT UP)

Embarrassing: Pulling papers out of your briefcase, causing THREE TAMPONS to fly out with the papers, landing at your new boss's feet. I guess I should be happy they were unused and wrapped, eh?

OH.MY.GOD... JUST KILL ME NOW Embarrassing: Today. Looking for Larry.
I had a meeting today with a new client, Larry, and the broker. We (the broker and I) arrived after a 45 min. drive, so I asked where the bathroom was. "Right here", says the broker, followed by "I'm going to go tell Larry we're here".

I put my stuff down on the conference table, and headed toward the bathroom door. As I grabbed the door handle, the broker says "Huh, I wonder where Larry is. He's not in his office."

I open the unlocked bathroom door.



There was Larry, pants gathered around his ankles, sitting on the toilet, reading the paper!!!!!!!!!!!! Ho.Lee.SHIT. (well, OK... don't know if it was holy or not)

I'm not sure who was more embarrassed... but you can damn well bet that by the time I got into that bathroom, I made sure it was locked BEFORE dropping trou!

Don't be surprised if the next time you look up "embarrassed" in Webster's, it just says "see Larry... HERE", with a link to this post.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Maybe I'm Just Being Pissy....

But when your new boss tells you that you'll be working off of folding tables for the next few months until YOUR new office furniture arrives... and then, when said NEW furniture arrives, it's given TO YOUR COWORKER.... I get a little pissy.
Especially when I find out that I'll be getting my coworker's OLD FURNITURE, WHICH ISN'T NEARLY AS NICE OR EXPANSIVE.


Monday, June 11, 2007

A Letter From The Lion of Fallujah

I've often been humbled by the words of our nation's warriors. Men like R2A, Currie, Prakash, Chuck Z, Questing Cat & Cowboy, Doc, CB, and so many others have often brought me to tears.

None brought me to tears like the Lion did today.
Thanks, Matt, for posting this.

(sidenote: Matt also posted a link to Marcus Luttrell's new book, "Lone Survivor: The eyewitness account of Operation Redwing and the lost heros of SEAL Team 10". It comes out tomorrow. You can bet I'll be looking for it at the closest bookstore, and will sit down, with a box of Puffs to read it, cover to cover.)

Make Love, Not War!

Using the Freedom of Information Act, Edward Hammond of UC-Berkeley obtained a copy of a proposal to create a "Gay Bomb" from Wright Lab in Dayton.

"The Ohio Air Force lab proposed that a bomb be developed that contained a chemical that would cause enemy soliders to become gay, and to have their units break down because all their soldiers became irresistably attractive to one another," Hammond said after reviwing the documents.

The DOD quickly responded, saying that they are "committed to identifying, researching and developing non-lethal weapons that will support our men and women in uniform," and that the idea was quickly dismissed. (SOURCE)

I'm not really sure what to think about this, other than "Well... HUH!" and "Did they REALLY think that turning lose hormones on soldiers at war would really do anything to affect the outcome?" I mean, we've had gays in the military since the beginning of time- they just didn't talk about it openly. And as far as I know, it hasn't caused any hormone-enraged lovefests on the battlefield.

(h/t to Leta for emailing this story to me... so when it shows upon Snopes, I can blame her for starting the rumor- whether it's proven true or not!)

Sunday, June 10, 2007

My Inner Geek


I just got to see David Hyde Pierce win his first Tony, for "Curtains"!!!! Way to go, Niles!!!

And I just found out that Usher is Ben Vereen's godson. WHO KNEW?

God, I love the theater. Really, really love it. I was heavily involved in high school theater- so much so that my Mom was surprised I didnt' pursue it in college. I did makeup, costumes, set design, props, and some acting- and loved every single minute. My best friends from high school were in theater. It's served me well- considering that I have no problem with public speaking, something that scares a lot of people.

ooooo... Best Musical... goes to..... "Spring Awakening". Well, shit. I was pulling for "Mary Poppins".

The last show I saw was "Spamalot", which was fantastic. Even if you're the one person in the country who doesn't like Monty Python (Hold on... gotta launch the Holy Hand Grenade at that person), you'll enjoy "Spamalot". I *highly* recommend it!
Other fav's include "Tommy", "Dreamgirls", "Wicked", "The Secret Garden", "Phantom of the Opera", "Lion King", "Seussical", and.. and... and... the list could go on and on. Next year I'm hoping to see "My Fair Lady" and/or "Camelot" in Cincinnati.

LOVE the theater.

Friday, June 08, 2007


You know, there's been a lot of talk over the past year about global warming. Hell, it even got AlGore an Oscar (hack. spit). However.... all it took was the wisdom of one of my CL friends, Sammy D, to solve the mystery of global warming.
She had an epiphany Tuesday night,discovering the TRUE source of global warming. Duh …. The baby boomer females are all going through MENOPAUSE!!!
Of course, now Sammy's claiming all over AlGore's internet that SHE invented global warming. sheesh.

In other news. I'm getting hit with a NASTY string of thundershowers right now. The vertical rain is swirling around outside my office window. It's really freaky. This is the same cell of storms that caused tornados in Wisconsin yesterday.

If you haven't seen it yet, Blackfive has some phenomenal video links up. This one is about the USAF taking out an Al Qaeda weapons range. HOOAH, ZOOMIES! And this one provides a link to the San Diego Union Tribune's video interviews with the Cee-gar Marine, Gunny Popaditch. Pay close attention to his right eye- Marines will get a kick out of it.

My buddy, Bloodspite, has been rallying against the immigration bill that failed yesterday, and is deep into celebration mode today. If you haven't been following his rants, you should. And I'm embarrassed to say that one an Ohio REPUBLICAN Congressmen, Paul Voinovich, voted FOR the bill. ick. Thank God *MY* rep, Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, had better sense and voted it down.

One last note.
Would somebody PLEASE just kill Paris Hilton and GET IT OVER WITH ALREADY!?!??!?!?! God, I am SOOOOO tired of that waste of space.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

This week in history

As John notes, today is a very important day in military history. (many thanks too to Rev. Jim, who sent out an email reminding us of this important day)

The Battle of Midway was in full swing, lasting from June 4 through June 7, 1942. It was on this day, over 60 years ago, that the USS Hammann was hit and sunk by a Japanese torpedo, and the Yorktown was fatally hit by a Japanese submarine, although it didn't go under until the 7th. The US Navy hit the Japs hard that day, sinking the cruiser Mikuma and heavily damaging another cruiser, the Mogami, plus two destroyers, the Asashio and the Arashio. The bloody battle of Midway was finally declared over.

Exactly two years later, June 6, 1944... Allied forces stormed Normandy on what is now known as D-Day. Utah Beach was less deadly for the Americans than Omaha beach- we "only" lost 257 at Utah (60 missing; 197 dead). Omaha Beach ended with 3,000 US losses and 1,000 "officially" dead. Nearly half of the US losses on D-Day occured at Omaha Beach, earning it the nickname "Bloody Omaha". There is no "official" casualty figure for D-Day, but it is estimated that 10,000 Allied troops were lost that day, including 2,500 dead. The US lost over 9% of the men they landed on D-Day across all of Normandy.

Those who fought at Bloody Omaha won that beachhead with blood, sweat, tears, courage and faith. Within 10 minutes of the initial landing, every officer and NCO in the 1st Infantry Division was dead or wounded, leaving the ordinary Soldier to complete the mission. They climbed the cliffs of Normandy, and eventually overtook the enemy. By the end of the first day, only about 2,000 yards of Omaha Beach had been secured, but it was enough to allow Allied forces to unload the vehicles, manpower, and equipment necessary to complete, and accomplish, their mission.

By the end of that first day, the Americans were solidly planted at Utah, but the Battle of Normandy wasn't over yet. Officially, it didn't end until June 30. The Allies experienced success at Utah Beach due in part to the following:
- the attack occured at low tide, rendering anti-landing craft measures useless
- Army engineers were already in place, busy building and completing the Allied Road between Utah Beach and Saint Martin de Varreville
- precise and effective US Navy bombing, both from ships and planes
- landing 1800 meters south of their intended target, the artillery at Crisbecq and Azeville couldn't reach them

US forces from Utah Beach were able to join up with those who had survived Omaha Beach a week later, following the liberation of Carentan and the silencing of the guns at Crisbecq. Paris was finally liberated on August 25, a little more than 11 weeks later. The Germans were retreating, but it took another 9 months to offically end World War II. It is important to note that storming Normandy was the beginning of the end... and the end started today, 63 years ago.

My grandfather was there, but he won't talk about it.

He was a Navy Corpsman. He must have been so young- maybe 19 or 20 at the time. What a terrible thing to have experienced at such a young age. I have no doubt that's why he won't talk about D-Day. Heck, we didn't even know he was there until he casually mentioned it to Mom two years ago. She was talking about teaching kids about WWII and Normandy, when he turned away from her and just simply said, "yes, I know all about it. I was there, Bonnie." The conversation stopped, Mom knowing that he couldn't talk about it even after more than 60 years. Mom has given him a tape recorder, and asked him to put his thoughts on the tape at his convenience, in private, where we can't see his tears or anguish. I hope he does, because I don't want to lose that part of my family's history.

They've been called "The Greatest Generation", and we're losing them at staggering rates- around 1,500 a day. 16 million Americans served during World War II; more than 400,000 died. It is estimated that only 3 million are still alive today. We can't let their stories go to the grave with them. Please encourage all war veterans- no matter which war (or wars) they fought in, to put their memories to paper or tape.

And if you see a veteran today.... thank them for their service.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

That's my boy

"That's my boy" is something that every parent of a son will say at some point. You puff out your chest, smile, and proudly proclaim to the world that "That's MY boy!" You know that whatever the accomplishment is, you had some little part in it, whether it be playing catch in the backyard and then seeing him strike out batters 1-2-3, or teaching them the importance of patriotism and then seeing them join the military.

I mentioned going to the Matt Maupin Scholarship Fund dinner in my last post. I wrote about remembering a fallen son. I already knew Jim's story, told to me by his mother and then by a mutual friend. I didn't know a lot about the other 39 being honored and remembered when I arrived that night, but I would know about more before I left. Some of the names were very familiar to me- Nick Erdy, Justin Sims, Jim Miller, Timothy Bell, Taylor Prazynski, Bryan Taylor, and Charles Kiser. I knew about them for various reasons- I wrote about Nick Erdy following his death; Alice's son, Jim Miller; Timothy Bell, nephew of the great baseball player, Buddy Bell; Taylor Prazynski, whose father attended the homecoming ceremony for the rest of Taylor's unit, fulfilling a promise he made to his son prior to deployment, and whose grave I recently visited at Arlington.

One I didn't know anything about was Jason Bishop. That changed on April 9.

I went out into the lobby during some of the evening entertainment (sorry, but I just can't sit through anyone singing a Dixie Chicks song at a dinner honoring our deceased and missing soldiers. sooooooo tacky). The tables outside were filled with pictures and memorabelia the families of the deceased had brought. It was getting late, and many of the families had taken their pictures and left already. I was drawn to a photo on the right side of the lobby, with a coin hanging from it, and a scrapbook page below it, showing off the stages of this man's military career. One picture that stands out was him in his Cavalry Stetson. What a proud moment that must have been for Jason and his family!

As i was admiring Jason's Cav photo, I was approached by a man who proudly told me "That's my boy."

For the second time that night, I cried. We both did, as he told me the story of Jason's death.

Jason was on patrol when his convoy passed a parked, yet running, car on the side of the highway. Considering the gas shortage in Iraq, this seemed rather odd to Jason, so he ordered his vehicle to turn around so they could investigate. he got out of the humvee, and upon approaching the vehicle, it sped off, then turned around, heading directly at Jason and his guys. While firing his weapon at the driver, Jason yelled to his driver to "GET THE HELL OUTTA DODGE!". Jason's bullets found the driver, killing him, and as he slumped over in the car, his foot slid off of the accelerator, releasing the pin on the detonator. The car exploded right next to Jason, killing him and one other Soldier, SSG Christopher J. Vanderhorn. It was January 1, 2006.

He told me that Jason has been put in for a Medal of Honor, for his actions that day. He then asked me if I heard a baby crying during the speaches that night. I had, but only a few times. He then told me that was Jason's infant son, and how sad he was that he would grow up without a Daddy. I was quick to tell him that yes, the baby won't know Jason's touch, smell, or face, he would always know exactly who his father was, how much he loved his family and his country, and how proud he was to be in the Army. Mr. Bishop nodded his head in agreement, as yet another tear ran down his face. Jason leaves behind another child, a daughter, from a previous marriage. You can bet she'll make sure the new baby, Matthew, knows all about their Dad.

He then picked up the picture and removed the coin hanging from it. He handed it to me saying "Do you know what this is?" I said, "Yes sir, I do. It's a presidential coin. They're very rare- I'm honored you'd let me hold it." He told me that President Bush gave it to him, in honor of Jason's death. He pointed out the special minting process, and how it was stamped on both sides. He ran his finger over the words "President George W. Bush", remembering the day it was given to him at the White House.

Then he said, "Well, the baby's tired, so we should be going. Please, don't forget my son." Through my tears, I know he heard me say "I won't forget, Sir. Thank you."

SFC Jason L. Bishop was a son, a husband, a father. He was a drill sergeant, a Cav member, a friend, a Soldier, a mentor. He was awarded a Bronze Star and a Purple Heart for his actions on January 1, 2006. He was loved.

He will NOT be forgotten.

Friday, June 01, 2007

If you're reading this....

I shudder to think how many families have read letters that begin that way. "If you're reading this" is always, ALWAYS followed by some version of "I broke my promise- I won't be coming home to you, and I'm sorry." How hard it must be to write that letter; how hard it must be to read that letter.

But the thing is... how hard would it be to *NOT* have letters like that. If there were no "good bye" letters, there wouldn't be anyone in our country willing to defend us. There wouldn't be any hero's. There wouldn't be a United States. As hard as it must be to read that last letter, I just can't imagine what our country would be like without the men and women who wrote those letters.

Sometimes we get the chance to learn about them in unexpected ways.

Several years ago I contacted an old friend out of the blue. I don't even know why I emailed her, but I felt compelled to on that cold January morning. My casual "HEY! How ya doin?" was replied with "Actually, I'm not doing very well. Remember Alice? Well... her son was killed in Iraq yesterday."


Yes. I remember Alice. I used to work with her. She was going through a nasty divorce and was determined to get custody of her boys. She was awarded custody, and began raising them as a single parent. I remember the complaining- oh, Lordy.. that woman could COMPLAIN. EVERYTHING was a struggle. She was ALWAYS sick.

Then, suddenly, she really was sick. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. When she was no longer able to care for herself, she moved in with my friend and handed over custody of her sons to their father. She died in 1999, never seeing her treasured children graduate from high school, grow up or join the military.
She never knew the pride and fear associated with sending a son to war.
She never knew what it's like to have the CNO knock on your door.
I never knew Jim had joined the Army... until he died, guarding a polling station in Ramadi in 2005.

And I'm ashamed to say that I forgot.

My friend Melissa and I went to a fundraiser for the Matt Maupin Scholarship Fund on April 9, the 3rd anniversary of Matt's disappearance. 40 local families were there, honoring the memory of their deceased soldiers. Their faces and names were shown on giant screens. It was then that I remembered Jim had died, when his strong, proud face popped up on the screen.

I remembered. I had forgotten. And I cried.

I won't forget again.

Tastes like chicken!

Well, not me. But apparently Jack does.

I, on the other hand, am:

1. real name: Banshee-like
2. AFSister: a lewd street performer

And apparently, Were-Kitten is a little bit Land-O-Lakes:

were-kitten --


Similar to butter in texture and appearance

'How will you be defined in the dictionary?' at