Friday, November 26, 2010

Top Ten Reasons Thanksgiving is Better than...

I like Thanksgiving, all of the benefits of a holiday, without the stuffiness of religion getting in the way.  It kind of makes up for all of those fasting holidays, or deprivation promises, or whatever that all of the world's religions make you do for the rest of the year.  I like to call Thanksgiving the "Anti-Fast."  Here are my top 10 reasons why it is better than Christmas, Birthdays, or any other holiday, for that matter.  Now, this does not apply if you happen to have a birthday that falls on Thanksgiving, or have a relative that you feel obligated to get a present for, anyway.

10.  You don't have to get anyone any presents.
 9.   You usually have to fight to cook...meaning that if you play your cards right, you can almost always get someone else to do the cooking for you.
 8.   Because of #10, you never have any disappointed kids/relatives over who got what for whom.
 7.   You get to nap in the afternoon, no one makes fun of you, and you get to eat leftovers for weeks!
 6.   Three football games...ON A THURSDAY!
 5.   Did I mention it is always on THURSDAY?  Day of thew week predictability is the key to a good holiday!
 4.   Did I mention that I had my Bar Mitzvah on Thanksgiving?  You can always hear Torah, somewhere on Thanksgiving, if you so desire.
 3.   No religious significance whatsoever!  Which means no one gets offended when your creepy cousin decides to have a Wiccan prayer circle in the backyard, nor does anyone care if you went to Mass, go to Mass, or even suggest going to the movies.
 2.   There is always a day off to shop following it...not too shabby, a day off of work, completely devoted to doing nothing productive, but to spending the fruits of the past year's labors.
 1.   It's an American Holiday, celebrated by ALL Americans that choose to do it, and no one gets mad if you don't!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

P.S.  I do not claim to have a cousin that claims to be a wiccan, nor do I know anyone that does...and no Wiccans were harmed in the publishing of this Blog...unless you consider the mental stress of possibly being related to me harm.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Army Notre Dame Top Ten

Top Ten Reasons why watching the Army Notre Dame game streaming over the Internet is better than watching it over AFN...

10. You don't have to watch all of those AFN PSA's every commercial break.
 9.  You don't miss any plays because the PSAs go longer than the actual commercial breaks.
 8.  You get to privately shed a tear for your alma mater when they flash back to days of yore.
 7.  You get to watch regular, good old commercials.
 6.  No one gets to watch your mouth water while they play commercials for food that you can't have because they took away your food court - because you are alone in your room.
 5.  You get sympathy from your Internet guy because the game isn't being broadcast live here in Iraq (so he gives you special bandwidth), so at least the commercials come in without interruption.
 4.  You get to keep re-running your streaming program to keep the video link and voice link in synch - keeping you awake at 0330.
 3.  You get to watch Army Football, LIVE!
 2.  You get to have your coffee pot within arms reach while watching the game at 0330 in the morning.
and the number 1 reason why watching the game live over the internet is...
1.  No one will see you cry when Army loses (or wins) to Notre Dame.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I love Iraq (well, their Holidays, anyway)

Less than 30 days until I start my long journey home from Iraq.  We have a slight break in the action while they celebrate the Eid (feast) that celebrates the Hajj.  The Hajj is the annual pilgrimage to Mecca that is required of all Muslims once in their lifetime.  One of our High-ranking generals actually made the Hajj this year.  A lot of people in the US military call everything here that is run by the locals as "Haji."  Not sure why, since I sense their use of the word is supposed to be derogatory or pejorative.  This is actually a very respected word that has great pride in all people that have made the pilgrimage.  I think that they even add the word to their name once they make the trip.  If anyone has seen pictures of the Hajj, they will know that it is one CROWDED place.

I would like to congratulate the Huntsville "Wild Turkeys" Rugby Club for winning the first Alabama State Rugby Tournament.  And they won it quite easily, too.  I placed an Alabama "Wild Turkey" on my door in their honor.  Also, was happy to watch my Chicago Bears destroy the "Moss-less" Vikings this past weekend.  They FINALLY broadcast one of the Bears' games live on AFN.  They also broadcasted it on Fox Sports, but, of course, the great Satellite Caper of 2010 is a never-ending one - and Fox Sports was completely out on Sunday night.  I had to go to my office to watch the game.

     I am working on putting all of my pictures from this deployment to music, one song at a time.  I have a lot of pictures (over 3000).  So this is going to take some time.  I will make sure that I send a few copies to my parents for distribution.

I have to run for now...more to follow.


Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Pirate Looks at Forty (Four)...

Here I am, about to stare at 44 years on this great Earth, and it gives me cause to pause and think about everything going on around me; namely the Iraq War, my failing knees, the rocket attack we had last night, and more immediately, the half hour I just spent praying to the porcelain g-d...from what I have no idea.  Rarely does one get to experience a good puker like that WITHOUT consuming mass quantities of alcohol, or German Beer, at least.  Only I had been drinking Pomegranate Crystal Light, so it looked quite red.  Smelled a bit like wine, so I was having flash-backs to the last time my stomach hurt this bad....Only this time I am armed with anti-nausea medicine and Immodium.  We shall see.  But enough about my insides becoming my outsides.

I would like to make a prediction...Iraq has a government formed within a month.  Just a prediction that is not based upon anything.  It is amazing how much progress we have been able to make, locally, while Nationally they have almost regressed.  It was kind-of the opposite for so many years here.  We were making so much progress, nationally, that we did everything for them, locally, so that when we turned things over to them they just kind of stared at us and wondered when we were going to either do it for them, pay for them to watch us do it, or pay for what they were going to do, then move in and fix it by paying some more for it.

As for the Rocket attack here last was loud, it went boom, it was well outside of anything that could have done me any bodily harm, and that was about the end of it.  The interpreters that were outside playing dominoes made more noise trying to get under cover when their table came crashing to the ground as they scrambled to get out from under it than the rockets did.

I have to lay off the touch Rugby for a week or two because of the failing knees.  It seems like my left knee has gotten jealous of all the attention the right knee was getting for the surgeries, so it has decided to beg for a good scoping.  Not much they can do without an MRI, and the closest one (beside Israel) is probably in Germany.  I think that I will wait.

Less than an hour to go until I turn 44...still not sure what I want to be when I grow up.  Who says I have to grow up, anyway?  I still wear pajamas to work, albeit with a pistol and sometimes body armor, but compared to the old "starched" BDUs, the ACU is like wearing pajamas!  I may have, however, successfully hidden the fact that tomorrow is my birthday from my entire team.  Wish me luck.

I just realized that I missed a good photo op of the Ruby Red stomach contents all over the latrine...oh well, maybe next time?!?

Later Gators.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Shoulda, Woulda, Coulda...But Dint

     I used to look forward to reflecting on what was going on here in Iraq.  Really, I did.  Now I just count the days until I get to get on a Helicopter to start my long, shower-less journey home.  I actually have more time on my hands these days, maybe because I have everything figured out, or maybe it is just because I remain ignorantly bliss that everything is going OK.   Who knows, really?

     I am getting injured more and more, doing absolutely nothing these days.  I have a huge gash in my right index finger at the middle knuckle...from making my bed!  I have a piece of wood under the mattress, and took a chunck out of my finger trying to tuck in the blanket.  Really?  I deploy thousands of miles away, in a war zone, and my my most bloody injury is from making the bed?  Then there is my left knee.  Everyone remembers my great (or not-so-great) right knee and its multiple surgeries, but this is my left knee.  This knee does apparently does not like to walk around on all of the large gravel that we have here to keep from walking on mud when it rains.  I can barely walk at times, and then others I can run without any pain at all.  Strange.  I am sure there is another scoping in my future, anyway, sometime soon.

     Not sure if anyone has really gotten into watching Hawaii 5-0, the new version.  But I find it pretty good.  I have a guy that gets all of the new shows downloaded for me, without those agonizing commercials in there.  When you get deployed, and watch any AFN at all, you go through three stages of development.  1st Stage:  You kinda like that there are no commercials, and you find the little info breaks refreshing and new, and, amazingly enough, informative!  2nd Stage:  You actually start to grow extremely tired of the annoying breaks in the action to have some dufus tell you how you should dress when going over to a friend's house in Germany.  Third Stage:  You have watched enough TV sent to you from America, with commercials, to really start to get annoyed again...but this time because of all of the restaurant commercials that make you crave real food, especially when they have snuck your food court out in the dead of night!  That's right folks, no more Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Subway, Cinabon, Popeyes, and most of all, the Coffee shop.

     I do have a new favorite fruit drink...It's called Rani.  They have many flavors, but Orange and Strawberry Banana are my two favorites.  There is real fruit floating in there!  It is as thick as syrup, and probably has about a 2/3 sugar to 1/3 juice ratio, but it is oh so good!  They also make a drink called the Three Jewels, which is even THICKER, and tastes pretty good, too.  It is called three jewels, but apparently has Orange, Apple, Pineapple, and Banana in it.  But no real fruit.  Made by the same guys, though.

     Not sure if anyone was aware of this, but we are suffering through the great microwave popcorn famine of 2010.  Luckily, a few friends have pitched in to send me some provisions to get me through these last weeks without going crazy.  It is so good to crunch on popcorn again.  I guess it is better than crunching on candy...or chewing, or whatever you people do with your candy.  Another thing that I am missing is Gummy Bears.  I purposely did not bring any back with me from R&R because the Sather AFB PX had a whole dedicated to nothing but the Golden Bears themselves.  BUT, when I got there, they had removed them, and had nothing even gelatin-related in the whole place!  And I even turned down a few bags in Leipzig Germany.  

     I better get going, it is after 2300, and I started this thing at about 2100.  Best save some more for later.

Until next time...