Thursday, May 31, 2012

Abandoned Water Slide

Why are abandoned amusement park rides so creepy?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Living Area In Tent Al Taqaddum Iraq Al Anbar Province

When we first got to Iraq there were 22 soldiers in this tent from two different platoons working two different shifts. It could get a little tense. Later there were only 8. It was like a family. There was no running water, but there were 4 air conditioners which could keep the temp. down around 80-85 degrees. Makes me shiver to think about it.

There was a legend started the tents were waterproofed with a kerosene derivative to keep guys from smoking in them. You couldn't burn one of those things with a flamethrower. I mean- nearly literally. My buddy from another platoon's gunner dropped a flare which was armed. It fired striking a tent pole, it flew up the pole and came out the tent hitting the giant tarp which covered the outside of the tent travelling to the other end of the tent where it jammed until the propellant was expended. The tent did not even try to burn.

There was always Dr. Pepper under my bunk. Everyone knew to take one if they wanted- unless it was the last one.

No one slept on top bunks with the theory being an explosion going up and out at an angle would be more likely to strike you.

Santos bunked on one side of me. He was covered in tattoos and muscle. His Spanish was terrible and he got teased by Mexican guys from another platoon that mine was better. Joe slept on the other side of me. He went to Poly in Fort Worth and was a smart Alec. He was my gunner on 80% of our combat patrols as the people who outranked me did not want to deal with him. He was smart, aggressive, to the point and much more of a thinker than he ever got credit for. He could fix our guns or trucks if either went down.

I loved both of them.

I still have the blanket hanging behind me from the top bunk. It is Zachary's favorite and he insists on using it for naps. My buddy who was our medic gave it to me. It has the caduceus on it. When I came home I washed it in the bathtub. Mud ran out of it and I had to fill the tub multiple times to get it clean- it was nauseating and I swear once dry it was lighter. Blankets and ponchos hung like that privacy were called jack shields.

Close to the end of our tour we threw a bunch of ad hoc furniture into the burn barrels at the smoke pit making a giant bonfire. Something in there caused a flash and huge flames. A Cobra helicopter pilot called some base command informing them we'd been hit and there was a fire. Halliburton firefighters came out. They were not impressed.

You had to walk about 40 yards to Port A Jons which were serviced by guys from Eastern Europe and 200 yards to the showers which were serviced by guys from Nepal. Toward the end of our time there I'd go to the Port A Jon in my underwear and boots much to the gigglement of guys in the smoke pit although said activity was mightily frowned upon by those with high enough rank to frown upon.

What were they going to do to me- send me to Iraq?

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I Learned About Fear From That

When people feel comfortable enough after finding out you're a war vet. the one question they always ask is,"Were you scared?" The first mission or two- yes. You have been bombarded with information. You're waiting to leave the base. There are 3 trucks behind you with 11 of your friends, maybe a dog and his handler and an interpreter. You're leading the way. A convoy comes in dragging blown up vehicles or a patrol comes flying past with one or more vehicles full of bullet holes, shattered windshields, shredded tires smoking.

They've called ahead for gate clearance to get their wounded to the hospital. Gunners look down at you vacantly as they blow by you.

Initially you're told to wait- the mission may be cancelled due to the activity beyond the wire. Then a FRAGO comes down telling you to be ready to go clear the route of what caused all the violence to the inbound convoy or patrol in the first place.

You butt starts ripping at the seat. Your mouth goes dry and your stomach knots up. You glance over at your driver and his eyes are rolling in fear.

Then you get a grip. Your inner voice says,"You better get a hold of yourself- or you will get killed. I'm sick of you- straighten up. Things are out of your control. It's going to be alright. One step at a time."

You look over at your driver and as cheerfully and boldly as you can say,"Hey man- you good? You locked and loaded? Yeah sarge, I'm good. Weapon on safe? Yeah, uh- no sarge." he says as he clicks the selector over to safe.

You're doing your job- one step at a time.

Take a deep breath and key up the mike and say," Cobra elements this Cobra 32- status over."One by one you hear the voices of your friends, your brothers saying,"This is Cobra 33 ready to move- out. Cobra 34 ready to roll..."

As the truck gathers momentum you relax. The HUMVEE has a familiar whine and the auto transmision has a hard bang to it when it shifts. The whir of the turret as your gunner moves the .50 cal. around is also reassurring. You're on an internal radio and talking to base on another and having the gunner check out suspicious stuff. "Hey man, stay away from that trash pile." you yell to the driver, "It might be explodey- besides it's on my side!" you tell him laughing.

You think then to yourself, I could get used to this.

Attention Getting Accessory For Your Truck

Monday, May 14, 2012

Monday's Missives

    According to Buzz Feed this is the worst album cover of all time. I bet he rocked.

  • Uriah Heep Easy Livin.
  • An old church friend's ex wife has married the guy she was was having an adulterous relationship with. She and new hubby have moved and continue to go to church together. It's their lives to live, but I think they may have missed the point. Regardless- if they'll cheat with you- they'll cheat on you.
  • Recently I recommended an over the counter allergy remedy to a refugee patient who was absolutely suffering from seasonal allergies. He came back a few weeks later and bowing deeply with his hands clasped together bestowed blessings upon me in his mother tongue. It was then I became their chief. They called me, Ninna wantie bucco chopa winah sinta kant which means, He who teaches about life while healing and teaching about healing things of life and stuff...
  • I hurt my nursing buddy recently with one of my attempts at a humorous retort. It felt awful. I mistook her strength for toughness.
  • I won't even say what it was I said, but yeah- it was pretty funny.
  • One day before I die I will stand out in public somewhere and wearing a t shirt that says LIFE in big, bold letters I'll hand out lemons to everyone that walks by.
  • Have a great day.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Saturday's Situation

                                                                      Looks legit...

  • If you knew just a little about the relationship between myself and Zac and the way life has unfolded for both of us in his few short years you would totally understand what this video means for me: Puddle Of Mudd Blurry.
  • The new look for Blogger is retarded. I'm about to have a heart attack getting this post out.
  • I know a few different people who routinely leave their front door open with their A/C wide open while they sit outside on the porch to let the cool air pass by them.
  • How many people in this world could not even comprehend that?
  • I would rather be hated for what I am, than loved for what I am not.
  • Few things in a relationship are as unappealing than one person trying too hard.
  • When I look back on this life and everyone who has passed through it I look forward to looking at the one person I end it with and saying,"I'm glad it was you."

Friday, May 11, 2012

Random Object From My House

A carved elephant is supposed to be good luck in many countries- even Mexico I've heard, wonder why there? Anyway, superstitions generally greatly get on my nerves but, a harmless nod to an interesting one now and then is ok I suppose. These are meant to be given to new homeowners to bring fortune and luck. So, I'll just sit here and rock back and forth wanting all that fortune and good luck.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursday, May 3, 2012


Zac has been playing with a wooden snake that had been big bubbas when he was little for a couple of days. This morning he decided that snakes probably get jealous laying around on the ground, staring up in the trees watching those caterpillars turn into butterflies!!!! Its not fair that only caterpillars get to turn into butterflies, that’s probably why snakes bite!!!

I Love These Definitions

ADULT: A person who has stopped growing at both ends and is now growing in the middle. BEAUTY PARLOR: A place where women curl up and dye.

CANNIBAL: Someone who is fed up with people.

CHICKENS: The only animals you eat before they are born and after they are dead.

COMMITTEE: A body that keeps minutes and wastes hours.

DUST: Mud with the juice squeezed out.

EGOTIST: Someone who is usually me-deep in conversation.


INFLATION: Cutting money in half without damaging the paper.

MOSQUITO: An insect that makes you like flies better.

RAISIN: Grape with a sunburn.

SECRET: Something you tell to one person at a time.

SKELETON: A bunch of bones with the person scraped off.

TOOTHACHE: The pain that drives you to extraction.

TOMORROW: One of the greatest labor saving devices of today.

YAWN: An honest opinion openly expressed.

WRINKLES: Something other people have, similar to my character lines.