Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Thought Police: a necessary function for our safety?

Please take a look at this video and tell me what you think.

When I saw this, obviously I was shocked, but even more than that, I started trying to frame my thoughts into the context of what I do for a living. Obviously in this country people have a right to express their opinion on everything that goes on. I am happy we don't live in a police state where so many things are censored and forbidden. However, I don't think that we should overlook people like this, the "Miami 7", or any other nutcases out there that are Anti-American. I don't believe that the United States has done everything properly over the years, but I do believe in the inherent "goodness" in America as a whole.

So, should we kick the doors in of these people and haul them off to some austere prison complex for creating such a hateful and radical video? Certainly not, but I do think that they should be watched very closely, and we should be ready to make a move on them at the slightest hint that their bad taste is going to transform itself into bad action. If these people have this feeling in their hearts that "God" is punishing Soldiers by killing them, and if they rejoice in "God's success" by picketing funerals and holding up signs, then is it such a far stretch that they would jump into the fray to help punish America?

Just something to think about.
One day and one half...

I just woke up in my hotel room after a night of fun and good times with my wife at 4th Street Live. I glanced out the window, and realized that I was facing the sullen reality that I have today and tomorrow on leave, and that Tuesday means the end of my contact with my family for a great while. I have approached this time on leave with the solid intent of not concentrating on how much time I had left, but rather the quality of the time that I was using. Somehow, it just didn't work like I thought that it would.

I have noted that these past two weeks have flown by, much quicker than any other two weeks that I have experienced in my life. If deployment were to go like this, the time wouldn't seem so unbearable. But, nonetheless I suppose that I need to get myself prepared for the inevitable. The reality is that my oldest son Devon who just finished the seventh grade will be starting his Freshman year of High School once I get back. Robbie who just finished second grade will be in the fourth, and Alexandra who is a daycare toddler will be in kindergarten.

I will miss my wife's birthday this year, all of the kids birthdays, my wedding anniversary, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Kind of sobering..... All of that will be difficult, living and working in a dangerous area is going to be difficult, but there is nothing that will be more difficult than walking out my front door. Crossing my threshold knowing that I will not darken the doorstep for over a year is going to be tough. Letting go of that last hug with my children, or finishing that last kiss with my wife will be difficult. Tuesday morning will be the day I dread to wake up.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

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Happy Birthday Mommie Essie!

Today is my Grandmother's birthday. Unfortunately she passed away in November of 2004. She would have been 99. I remember so many things about those trips to visit her in Alabama. I can smell the familiar smells of her house, I never wanted to leave once I got there. Up until a certain age I would always cry when it was time to head back to Kentucky.

She made the most delicious poundcake that I have ever tasted. She was so wonderful to me, and to all of our family. I woke up this morning and looked at my watch. When I saw that it was June 24th, I thought to myself. is Mommie Essie's birthday. Kind of sad, but she lived a long and wonderful life. What more could someone ask for?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

On point....

I had to share these pictures here. This is my daughter clowning around with one of my sons toy guns. It is a tiny model M-4. Alexandra calls it an "M-Pour". Check out the stance and the finger outside of the trigger guard. Is this a daddy's girl or what?

Here is a closer shot....

What do I fear?

I have spent the last 10 days on leave enjoying the fact that I really didn't have to do a thing. Over and over, people have asked me what I felt about the mission that I am about to embark upon. Aside from not wanting to be away from my wife and children for an extended amount of time, I am somewhat ambivalent about the mission. This isn't my first one, and more than likely it will not be my last one. I do have to say that I was troubled by the guys from the 101st that were captured...the idea of being tortured is indeed frightening. I am not sure of the scope of the "desecration" that the reports indicated, but aside from the pain and the fear, I can imagine the overwhelming feeling of being alone was probably the most difficult thing. I could not imagine being in that situation...facing my own death at the hands of some torturing lunatic.

I would not want my family to know that I had suffered like that. I wouldn't want them to imagine my last moments on earth being so full of terror and pain. I felt for the family of one of the Soldier's who spoke to the news. I consider myself to be a level-headed and thoughtful individual, but I echo the sentiment of one of the family members that said we should, "make them pay".

I tucked my daughter into bed tonight, and I thought about all of the things that are going on in this world that she is pretty much oblivous to. I hope that we can fix this place so that all of the other 3 year olds out there will not inherit this mess.

I thought about my sons, who are 12 and 8 years old. In 6 years, Devon will be eligible to enter the military. Robbie will be ready in 10, what sort of things will be demanded of them if they decide to take on my occupation. I watched them in the kitchen, (this was their dish night tonight), and I thought to myself, could I watch them head out toward a dangerous part of the world?

I want to get over there, and do my little part to tie up all of the loose ends in this god awful mess. I want to get over there, do my job, and get back....home.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

My girls...

Just a few pics for no particular reason. The first picture is of Alexandra and Renee working in a coloring book. The second picture is of them standing in the kitchen, (sorry about the mess). The third picture is them on the back deck eating shrimp, (or shwimp as Alexandra pronounces it.)

Happy 231st Birthday to the U.S. Army!

Happy Birthday to the greatest military fighting force that the world has ever known. I will be toasting tonight with dinner! I'll post a picture, it is a nice evening so I may have to eat on the deck tonight. Hooah!

I am enjoying myself from now until the 27th. I am on Leave! Of course my decadence will be interrupted by having all four of my wisdom teeth pulled tomorrow. So, I may need to toast three or four times tonight. Hooah!

Jay Leno hosts Ann Coulter tonight....

Jay Leno will be hosting Ann Coulter on the Tonight Show this evening. Along with her will be comedian and raconteur George Carlin. Some people are saying that Jay will probably need referee stripes. I am sure that Carlin will draw first blood, because he is an anti-establishment sort of guy, but Coulter is no slouch. She has a scornfully derisive tone that knows no match on the right. I think she is even more harsh than Savage. Someone is probably going to get owned, but I wouldn't try and lay odds on either will be a toss up tonight.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Joga Bonito

Just some fun in the backyard.
Joga Bonito...

The performance of the United States National Team against the Czech Republic was very disappointing, but I love the game no less. There have been some great matches thus far. Here is an excerpt from a match that was "close to home" today. Damn I love being on leave.

Friday, June 09, 2006

World Cup Play...

The United States will beging World Cup competition on Monday against the Czech Republic. I think to our disadvantage, people are looking at the U.S. National Team as the 5th ranked team that made it to the quarter finals of the 2002 World Cup. I think we have a much better team, but we are in a very difficult group. It is called the "group of Death". I think that there is a very good chance that despite having a great offense built around the skills of Landon Donovan that we could very well fare worse than what we did in 2002....despite having a better team. Watch and see.......

Thursday, June 08, 2006


I just wonder it this will escalate, or downsize the insurgent movement in Iraq? The reason I ask this is because often times when there is a loosely organized movement with a figurehead in charge, as is the case with the Iraq insurgency' it is very difficult to launch a "decapitation strike" with much success. Either, it wiil have no effect because he actually didn't have the command and control he boasted about, or it will escalate because people will start doing dumb shit in the "name of Sheik Al Zarquawi" or something inane like that.

I am happy that Nick Berg has been avenged, but I wanted Zarquawi to be either shot with small arms fire, or captured. The lunatics will try and martyr him and boast about how "Soldiers could not get him, only big bombs." I mean come on, we saw the video, the guy's weapons craft sucked.

[From ABC]
Oil exports from Iraq have failed to return to pre-war level due to frequent sabotage attacks on the country's northern pipeline and deteriorating security that has prevented significant investment in aging southern oil fields.

So this is part of the reason why I am paying $3.00 plus per gallon?
Army officer from Honolulu refuses to report for Iraq duty

A fellow First Lieutenant has refused to deploy with his unit. Some people are cheering him by saying that he is refusing to take part of an "unjust" war. Other people are calling him a deserter. I simply call him a Blue Falcon. Any of you guys who are military out there will know what I am talking about.

While some people feel like they have given up some of their rights when they raise their hands and swear into the Armed Forces, others feel as if they are afforded the luxury of not having to have an opinion. This guy joined the military after the initial Iraqi campaign began and knew what sort of world events were in place. He is due to ETS on December 3rd of this year, but no doubt he will be stop lossed because of the scheduled deployment.

I am not sure if he is a deserter, or if he is anti-American, or even if he is a coward. All I do know is he is a shitty Officer. Any man who accepts a commission and refuses to go where the men he commands are going is a piece of garbage. I make no qualms about it. I don't care what reservations I had about the mission, the leadership above me, or the equipment I was given to complete the task.....I would make the most of it with my men.

I wish I could say that I have been having horrible dreams, or that there was a deep foreboding about my upcoming deployment, but there is not. On the contrary, all of the things that trouble me are here. I just have a feeling that perhaps things are not as complete as they need to be. I have been working on continutity books and the hand off of many of my duties. I worry about the people that i am in command over, as I have no idea who my replacement will be. I have those same worries that a parent has when his kid is changing schools.

Possibly there is such the feeling that nobody can do what I do, like I do it, and then again perhaps this is the way of me coming to grips with the fact that I am leaving. Perhaps I am clinging to everything here as if I am holding on for my very life. I brought a box into the office to clean out my desk about two weeks ago. During that span of time I have been unable to do much more than place a few pictures and coffee mugs into it.

As much as things at the job have been getting on my nerves as of late, I am passing each day with dread knowing that there are scant few before I am no longer assigned there. I cannot look at the bright side of a new unit, new men, new command, and new adventures without constatnly worrying about allof my interests that I have behind. I am frightened by the fact that my feeling of not going is the feeling of actually being inadequate in some measure. *sigh* This must seem like a tiresome I reread it, it even appears cryptic to me.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Fourth Street Live

Last weekend, Renee and I went to Fourth Street Live to hang out for a while. 4th Street Live is an effort that the city of Louisville has made to inject life into the downtown scene. It is located near the waterfront, and consists of several upscale bars, lounges, and restaurants all within about a 2 block area. We attended a First Friday's celebration at a club called "Felt", which is a very nice billiards room. Here is a picture of me, Renee, her friend Derita, and Renee's cousin Howard. I hope to go back at least once before I head to Iraq.

Operation Overlord: D-Day + 62 Years
"Bravery is the capacity to perform properly even when scared half to death."
-Gen. Omar Bradley-

For some reason there seems to not be much press about the anniversary of the Normandy Invsion this year. I am not sure if it is because of the oh-so-scary, 6-6-06 date., the coverage of the volcanic eruptions in Indonesia, or the incessant political squabbling between the Democrats and the Republicans. If there were ever a time to honor the sacrifices of people who have been called "The Greatest Generation", then I say it is now. I say this especially given the world climate now.

Since this event happed roughly 62 years ago, it is not hard to understand why the true warriors are the only ones living. The wars are calculated by skilled tacticians with many years of experience, but the deeds are done by every day people. Young people. Junior Enlisted, Junior NCO's, and Junior Officers. If you were 18 during the Normandy Invasion you would be 80 years old today. Very telling indeed. Unfortunately we are losing these WWII veterans at an astounding rate, if you happen to see a WWII vet, tell him "Thank you."

Monday, June 05, 2006

Honor and Nail Polish....

The last few months have been quite hectic.....with all of my TDY, and my rapidly approaching deployment, my wife and I have had precious little time for ourselves. With her being in school full time as well as working, it seems as if we never get to do something just with one another. Even when I am not at Uncle Sam's beck and call, we have three children, two of which are actively engaged in sports. Generally, I don't have time to take my uniform off after I get off work because of endless errands, practices, games, and just about anything else that the typical married father of three goes through.

About two weeks ago I had traffic school. It just happened that the night that I went happened to be one of the most beautiful days of the year. My class was from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. As I sulked through my 45 minutes of downtime before I needed to depart for class, I heard my wife talking to my oldest son. It turns out that he said he needed to go to an awards banquet at school. Now, my son is all that a father could want, a great student, well-mannered, and a superior athlete, but even more than that, Devon is a social butterfly. More than once, devon had finagled his way into an outing. (at our expense) just so he could hang out with buddies. I heard my wife telling him that she had a huge test to study for, (which she did), and was he sure that he was supposed to go. (We had not heard any word of this.) He answered with, "I think so.".

Immediately my B.S. detector went off and I started grilling him. I wanted to know what kind of banquet, what awards, and what time. All he knew was 7:30. Renee sighed and said, "Okay, get your stuff together." I will preface this with the fact that I was tired, and upset about having to waste a perfectly good evening in traffic school, but I do wish I could take my actions back.

I told Devon that his mother was going to take him, but I reminded him of all of the things that we had done recently in regard to sports, and other things, and that we needed some time to take care of things. I told him to "tell me the truth" if he was really getting honored, or if he just wanted to go. At this point Dev stated that it wasn't a big deal. By this time my B.S. detector was going haywire thinking about the past attempts at just going somewhere to socialize. So I let him know in no uncertain terms that if this was the case, and he got no awards then he was going to be in trouble.

Later. After I got back from traffic school, and the kids were in bed I jumped into the shower and snuggled into bed next to Renee. She was still awake, and I said, "So, did he get an award, or was he just going to hang out with his buddies?"

She said, "He got three awards."


The next morning before I drove him and his brother to school I apologized for not believing him. I told him I was proud of him, and I told him that I was wrong to not have had complete faith in him. He just smiled and said, "That's okay." I learned a valuable lesson from that 12 year old.


My wife went shoe shopping this weekend with a couple of her girlfriends to some outlet mall. I just did a few things around the house like cutting grass, and a little straightening up. The kids were playing outside for the longest time, and I put together a simple little dinner. Later I went upstairs to the rec room and got on the computer, I surfed the web, watched some TV, and played some X-Box. When I came downstairs, Devon and Robbie were eating and watching the NBA Playoffs. I said, "Where's Alexandra". Robbie said, "I think outside."


I said, "Oh God!" I went outside and called for her and called for her, but she was not in the front or the back. I hustled inside and told the boys. "I'm going to look for Alex...she's gone." I dashed into the bedroom to grab my keys and wallet, and there sat Alex on our bed. She had spread a towel out and was sitting there painting her toenails and fingernails. I was, of course, relieved she was inside. But I noticed a huge pool of fingernail polish that was spilled on our new comforter....our new, "expensive" comforter. I started in to her about how she was not supposed to be into Mommy's things, and she had been told and blah, blah, blah. She kept on trying to say something, but I kept right on talking. Finally her three-year-old eyes began to brim with tears and she said, "I just wanted to be beautiful like Mommy." I stopped for a moment and said, "Hunny bunny you are beautiful." I gave her a hug and a kiss, wiped her tears and began removing the nail polish.(which by the way, covered a good deal of her fingers and toes along with the nails.) Then, Daddy did his best job of putting on a good coat of polish on her fingernails and toenails. After I finished and they were dry, she said, "I'm pretty!"

Note to self, "STFU and listen to your kids no matter what".

Friday, June 02, 2006

G.I. KEL, A real American Hero.....

Last night I went to Blockbuster to take a video game back for my son, and to pick up a movie. After I wandered around the store looking for something worthwhile, I headed to the counter. Like always, there was a long line and I found myself in the pleasant company of three Goth kids. As usual, I didn't feel like changing clothes after I got home so I still had my ACU's on. I noticed one of the kids, (two female, one male...although I had to study the male to discern his gender), kept looking at me and he was whispering something to this female companions. I purposely acted as if I didn't notice....

Suddenly the guy looks up and says.. "Hey man, are you in the Army?"

I said, "Yes I am."

He extended his hand and said, "Thanks man, I really appreciate it." (For a split second I felt guilty about thinking that he was up to no good.)

He then said, "Man, you are a "Real American Hero"..."You'll fight for freedom wherever there's trouble....I mean you're there."

His vampiric looking cohorts snickered again....which irritated me. Unfortunately for this guy, I was a child of the eighties, and the entire theme music from G.I. Joe went through my head, (He'll fight for freedom wherevere there's trouble...Gi. Joe is there.... G. I. Jooooooooooooeeee......A great American Hero!), and I knew he was trying to clown me. I dropped my hand from his grasp and said...

"How old are you man?"

"Eighteen." he said.

I said to him.....

"When I was eighteen I was a lot like you, except I had a decent haircut and bathed once a day. I loved to impress girls by being a witty smartass. But, most of the time I was careful of who I got smart with. Generally I would make fun of someone and my comedy would be unbeknownst to them. I grew up watching G.I. Joe, so I know the song, and I see through your feeble joke. Your friends laughed, so I am sure they are impressed. But how impressed are they going to be when I punch you in the face and you fall on the floor? How impressed are they going to be when I start choking you and you piss yourself and pass out in public? So, to make sure that they remain impressed with you, why don't you just turn around, leave me alone, and pay for your movies. I'll go my seperate way, and it'll be like we never met."

A hush fell over the people near us and the counter. We continued to wait in line, they paid for their movie and left. I paid for my movie and left. Dang I feel old.....