Monday, September 29, 2008

Pirates & Cowboys

For any who did not know...pirates are alive and well on the high seas around the world. Yes, I mean like on ships kidnapping people or stealing from other ships. We routinely capture them when we go out on our deployments. It mostly happens around the Straits of Malacca - it is a choke point for a vast amount of the world's sea traffic and it is easy for pirates to see what comes thru and then follow for a few days. Also off the coast of Africa. Case in point - currently we have pirates who have taken a ship full of Russian tanks and are demanding millions in ransom. I am sure that will turn out well for them.

And closer to home...My Cowboys lost in a disgusting display off poor offensive and defensive play calling. But I guess I can't complain too much about being 3-1 right now. That said, only an NFL record 6th Superbowl win this year will satisfy this fan.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


That is what I saw just now on a temperature gauge on one of our helos.

As best I can tell, the difference between being here in Yuma, AZ and being in Iraq is:

1) Nobody is shooting rockets at me here

2) I have to pay sales tax when I buy things here.

That's about it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

So Tell Me, Mr. Taxpayer, Who is Going to Jail???

Using the limitless credit card of the US Treasury, we are now bailing out numerous banks and insurance companies (there will be more I am sure). I am just curious, how is this trillion dollar bailout constitutional?

I am just wondering who you think should go to jail – there are plenty of deserving candidates. The people who took out loans they knew they couldn’t afford? (and are losing or leaving their homes)? The local banks that gave them those loans without legitimate applications (and are going under now)? The mega-banks/investment banks/insurance comapnies that bought all the loans? How about all the executives running all these clown-houses (and who are pulling in multi-million dollar salaries and bonuses as they walk out the door of the crumbling house they built)? How about the members of the Democratic party that pushed for banks to lend to people of questionable ability to pay those loans back,all in the name of “equality and evening the playing field”?

Don’t get me wrong. I am a staunch capitalist. I am all about everyone making as much as they can. But I don’t live in la-la land either.

This mess goes deeper than just saying “well, let them all go bankrupt, they dug their hole.” The problem with that is when these banks/investment banks/insurance companies go under, so does everyone’s money. Money in the checking and savings accounts, money invested in the stocks of those companies, money invested in mutual funds that owns these stocks, money, money, money. Don’t forget about your credit cards/credit lines that are owned by all of these institutions. We are going to have some upset people when their retirement funds are gone, their credit cards get turned off, and there is no money in the bank to withdraw.

I guess it doesn’t really matter when the Federal Reserve Bank (there is nothing FEDERAL about that bank, by the way – more on that later) can just print up some new money, make some electronic entries in some electronic accounts, and loan out some more money to the US Treasury. Since the government doesn’t actually earn money, guess who gets to pay back those loans? Thank you again, Mr. Taxpayer.

But don’t worry, Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain are both promising to lower your taxes. I am sure everything will just fine. But, in the mean-time, who is going to jail?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"I'm not a machine" and more social observations

After 3 days of being here, I have "worked" maybe 4 hours. An efficient use of my time and your money, wouldn't you say, Mr. Taxpayer?

Social observation #1: Over the years I have noticed that when giving a class, meeting, whatever, to a large group of people, speakers tend to move towards their dominate side. As in, a right handed person will move towards their right and spend a disproportionate amount of time on that side. I don't think this applies to professional speakers and obviously those who are using a stationary podium or microphone.

Social observation 2: Every Marine, from the day he/she went to boot camp has been taught that as you enter a bus, or a large room with seats (theater/auditorium, etc), you go to the farthest seat and everyone behind you does the same, so that the bus is filled back to front and the theater is filled in front to rear. And then you leave in the opposite manner. Very orderly and all.

As we progress from boot camp and get some freedom, this tends to not happen. Everyone just goes in and sits wherever, leaving empty seats everywhere, and the majority of the seats in the front (of a theater) empty (like at church or when you go to the movies).

Now, everyone knows that eventually a Staff Sergeant or a Gunny (like me) is going to say something like "If there is a seat in front of you, get up and fill it in" and everyone gets up and moves. This scenario happens WITHOUT FAIL, EVERY TIME.

Why is that? Everyone knows it is going to happen. It always does. I even hear them talking about it before it happens. So why don't they just do it? Can someone explain that to me?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Shopping and other adventures

So I went to the commissary here on base (in Yuma) and did some grocery shopping. Now, the purpose of grocery shopping, is, as we all know, to save some coin rather than eating out all the time. The problem we, as defenders of freedom, have is that our refrigerators in our lavish suites are the little ones that stand about 2-3 feet high. Worse, we have to share that space with a roommate who feels that he needs to eat also. So, the whole exercise of buying food in bulk to save some coin is rendered moot. Buying food that needs to refrigerated or frozen and then not being able to store it because of lack of storage space in the ‘frige is a little…aggravating.

While we are discussing the commissary and shopping, let me take this opportunity to write about yet another fascinating observation I have made during my trip (as well as other trips to the commissary over the years). Note: I am a big fan of social experiments – both reading about them and instigating them – and a large part of my blogging will be about these experiences.

Anyway, I am sure everyone has been shopping at the grocery store or Wal-Mart, Target, Cost-Co, Sam’s, etc. Further, I am sure everyone has at one time or another (or always?) left their shopping cart in a convenient location other than back in the store or in the collection points strategically placed around the parking lot. In fact, that seems to the rule rather than the exception. I would venture to say that unless the collection point is within 2-3 car lengths, we aren’t going to walk our lazy butts WAY OVER THERE and put it where it belongs.

Now, this doesn’t happen at the commissary on base. The carts, in my 16 years of observation, are always returned to the collection points, be they in the parking lot or in front of the store. This is fascinating (to me). Even more fascinating, I myself, am guilty of being lazy out in town, but not on base. Today I pushed an empty cart about 50 yards in 105 degree heat back to the front of the store. No way anyone is going to do that out in town! I can probably safely say that I am not the only one guilty of being lazy out in town, but not on base. Why is that?

Now, I can understand having little kids and not wanting to leave them, but what about when we don’t have them, or those who just never have kids? Can someone explain to me why that is? There are no “cart police” on base. Fascinating. I love it.

So now I am in Yuma...

As I entered the city limits yesterday, I glanced up at my outside temp gauge and it read a balmy 109. Perfect. Starting off my stay in Yuma the right way.

Good thing they had us check in yesterday. This morning (Tuesday) I went to a (mandatory) meeting and was told to be at another meeting TOMORROW morning. That was it! Done for the day!

We (about 40 of us from all over the world) had to be here on Monday to spend 15 minutes checking in, go to a 15 minute meeting on Tuesday, and now another meeting Wednesday morning. Who says the government isn't efficient?

On the brighter side of things, the Cowboys were victorious Monday night. Just one more in the win column on the road to Super Bowl win #6.

All of this on the day my little Faithy has a fractured wrist. I was feeling pretty quilty about having to go out of town after that. Such is the life of a defender of freedom...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Making progress...

After working with my technical support staff, I have successfully added sound to my new blog page-thingy. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I do. It is VERY exciting.

Earlier this morning I scrubbed our trash cans. Not very high on the cool meter and a definite blemish on the ULTRA-COOL rockstar image I am trying to convey to the world. Oh well...

Friday, September 12, 2008

1st Post

OK, I had to get something on here so everyone knows I am taking this seriously. This is SERIOUS BUSINESS. I don't have anything clever to say right this second and anyway, I am still working on my blog page-thingy. Like I said, serious business...