Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Last Trip Home
I'd like to thank El Capitan for allowing me to take care of his blog while he was up north. I ended up not blogging as much as I intended to, things got busy. I'll leave with this post about some photos I got at work. Without a doubt, some of the most powerful images I have seen. Hard to look at without getting choked up.
You can find the full story beind these pictures at Pictures of the Year International. I have to admit there are no words adequate to describe the emotions images like these evoke. However, I have no doubt this idiot would throw a party and cheer at the photos.
It was fun blogging folks. Take care and God bless.
Anzac Day 2006
Thanks to my recent vacation and chaos with the new house I completely forgot that 25 April was Anzac Day. Since Australia is my adopted home I usually try to stay on top of important holidays such as this.
The Anzac tradition - the ideals of courage, endurance and mateship that are still relevant today was established on 25 April 1915 when the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
It was the start of a campaign that lasted eight months and resulted in some 25,000 Australian casualties, including 8700 who were killed or died of wounds or disease.
The men who served on the Gallipoli Peninsula created a legend, adding the word 'Anzac' to the Australian and New Zealand vocabularies and creating the notion of the Anzac spirit.
So if you missed it yesterday, go hug your local Aussie.
And for fun, here are a few Aussie slang terms from my Aussie-English translation book. With a little training you too can sound like this: "I think I'll be a fruit loop today and drink a slab before I go and chuck a yonnie at some greenies and cut lunch commandos. If I miss my ride on the booze bus, I'll go hit the thunder box and meet up with my sheila, who is quite the earbasher."
Bomb-happy: affected mentally by battle, or shell shocked
Booze bus: police vehicle used for catching drunk drivers
Chuck a yonnie: Throw a stone
Cut lunch Commandos: School cadets
Dinky-di: the real thing, genuine
Earbashing: nagging, non-stop chatter
Fruit loop: fool
Icy pole: popsicle, lollypop
Middy: 285 ml beer glass in New South Wales
No-hoper: somebody who'll never do well
Oldies: parents - "I'll have to ask my oldies"
Sheila: a woman
Slab: a carton of 24 bottles or cans of beer
Stubby: a beer bottle
Thunder box: toilet
Woop Woop: The Boondocks... "he lives in Woop Woop"
Weekend Warriors: Army Reserve personnel
Whacko: You beauty! (an exclamation.)
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
The F-22 Raptor vs. a Hacksaw
No kidding. This pilot was stuck in the cockpit for 6+ hours until the maintainers gave up trying to open the canopy and brought in the fire department and their trusty can opener. I held back on a lot of the close-up cockpit pix that show oil and debris all over the flat-panel displays and the HUD due to security concerns, but trust me... it's not a pretty sight. Even worse, the fire crew wasn't trained in handling low-observable materials, so they scratched the hell out of the back of the plane when they drug the canopy along skin.
$200,000,000 for an F-22
$1,000,000 for a fully trained pilot
$1,000 for an oily hack saw
$100 for a new flight suit and change of shorts
$1,000,000+ to repair the damage caused by a $500 actuator
Look on the Squadron Commander's face.... Priceless.
Back From Alaska
...And life is hell. Our new home is quickly turning into The Money Pit. Even the pizza delivery guy thinks we're testing missiles at this place.
So far our basement has flooded (leaky pipe), the new microwave exploded, the new grass looks like kelp, circuits have blown, the new dishwasher leaked, drawers have broken, sockets don't work, some of the flooring is cracked or coming up, and the water coming into our home comes directly out of a nuclear reactor, forcing me to install a water softener. To top it off, the dog thinks that the inside of the house looks like one big fire hydrant, making life harder for us all.
The finished basement has been cleaned and recarpeted, and the electrical is supposedly getting fixed, but things just keep falling apart at this place.
I was hoping to post the Alaska pictures, but we'll see what tonight brings us in La Casa Del Capitan.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Even In a Crowd, You Can Be Lonely
I found this while cleaning out some stuff in my apartment. It is a collection of poems I used to have on my wall. I believe most were written by soldiers but it is difficult to tell since most are anonymous. I think I copied them from a book about life as a soldier but I cannot recall the title. I kept them because I felt like I could sympathize with the authors. I hope you won't mind if share some of these poems because they are some of the most expressive words I have ever read.
This first one hits home for me because I think I felt close to the way the author did for almost a decade. I look back on those times and shudder sometimes. I was listening to a lot of Morrissey and The Cure as well. Bad combination, thank God I stopped drinking and wasn't on drugs. After I found this I found myself wondering, like I did when I first read this, who the author was and what ever happened to him. I pray that he got out of his funk somehow and found happiness. If not, maybe fate was merciful and some battlefield somewhere took him out of his misery. Be warned, this is a very expressive but depressing read.
Thursday, April 20, 2006
What in the World is Going On?
Can anyone explain this to me? What is going on with freaking oil prices? I can understand how instability in oil production countries and uncertainty in the commodities market can drive up prices. However, can this level of elevated prices be justifiably sustained? Panic in 9-11 drove up prices. Then the GWOT drove up proces. Then the Iraq conflict drove up prices. Then Katrina drove up prices. Now events in Iran and Nigeria are blamed for driving up prices. It seems like it is just one excuse after another. Meanwhile, oil companies are posting RECORD profits. Not like they were losing money in the past, they are posting RECORD profits.
I've heard of Brazil's touted ethanol initiatives. They have received more and more attention lately as a direct result of oil prices. I have read articles where reporters ask why we haven't known about this. Brazil began these programs in the 1970s. How can we not have known about these programs? Was there someone suppressing research or efforts to start a similar program? Who knows?
The bottom line is: Are oil companies using fears of instability or uncertainty as an excuse to make money? When and if tensions die down, can we honestly expect oil companies to lower the prices? Now that they have seen that America is willing to pay $3.00 per gallon, what motivation would they have to lower prices? After all, after 9-11 paranoia dropped down to lower levels, I didn't see any reduction in gas prices. Can we expect any intervention from state or federal government to stop this escalation? Is there anyone there who will try?
Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Marines Can't Go to The Prom
I found this story at Fark.com Apparently this 21 year old Marine and 17 year old senior in high school cannot attend the senior prom at Pearl River Central High School in Mississippi. The school board has a rule prohibiting students from bringing dates 21 or older to school dances.
The Marine and his girlfriend have been dating since he was 17 and she was 14. He is getting ready to deploy overseas and took leave to be able to attend his girlfriend's prom with her. Both sets of parents and the couple have appealed their case to the school board. The board met in closed session and voted not to make an exception to their case. The couple would be allowed to take photos at the prom but would be required to leave immediately afterwards.
Although the rule seems incredibly cold and absurd, I can see the reasoning behind it. Otherwise there will be students bringing dates in their mid-20s or older to school dances. It's not impossible. I can recall at my senior prom one girl brought her 26 year old date....she was 17. I wondered how seriously the guy took her. Now, not to say that it is impossible for such a relationship to be genuine and I am not trying to trash anyone's relationship with a similiar age spread. However, you have to admit: A 35 year old dating a 25 year old would be very different from a 25 year old dating a 15 year old.
It seems unfair that this couple that has been together so long would be denied admission to the prom. The Marine is getting ready to head overseas to a hazardous area and he can't take his girlfriend to the dance? However, I can see why the school board has their rule in place. You have to draw the line somewhere. If you make an exception, what's to keep someone from bringing a date ten or more years their senior? But does the school have a right to pass judgement on such a relationship by denying admission? But how proper is it for a teen to be dating someone in their mid-20s? I'm not sure what the right answer is in this case. This is one where the precedence set will have impacts long after these kids graduate.
Saturday, April 15, 2006
Rolling, rolling, rolling
I am very sorry to have not posted for El Capitan recently. Things have been crazy busy. As he mentioned in his last post, I just got engaged and I have been very busy ever since. Still, I hope this post can make up for it.
An Air Force staff sergeant I used to work with sent me these photos:
This trucker painted his rig with the names of all the victims of 9-11. Supposedly, state troopers have been pulling him over.....to get photos of the truck! I have to admit, this is one of the coolest things I have ever seen.
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
We're Not In Kansas Anymore
Nope... we're actually up in Alaska right now. I wasn't lying when I said that I would be busy in late March early April. We're still not finished unpacking from the move, yet we had to plan this trip up north to allign with work and spring break, so here we are... in Fairbanks Alaska.
We're staying on Eielson Air Force Base for the first week, located just outside of Fairbanks. We'll be headed down south to Anchorage on Sunday, then back up here to finish it all off. I'll be posting pictures as soon as I get back because I'm a bonehead and forgot the cable from my laptop to my camera.
If anyone else would like to post on here, just let me know via firstname.lastname@example.org. Once I complete the urine test and background checks, it's all yours.
Until then, have a good one, and enjoy the spring heat down there. Tumbleweed will be guest blogging between now and my return as well, although he's a little busy right now seeing as he just took the plunge and got engaged. Congrats my friend.
Friday, April 07, 2006
Brokeback Mountain 2
I'll be camping out in front of the theater a few weeks ahead of it's release for the best tickets.
More on Monday's C-5 Crash at Dover
A friend of a friend sent me these pictures of the C-5 Crash out at Dover AFB that were taken immediately after the incident. If you look closely at a few of them you can see the left wing with what appears to be fire damage over where an engine once was, which may have been the source of the initial emergency that necessitated the immediate return to the field and subsequent crash.
Thankfully nobody was killed, which is a testament to the outstanding flight crew that was almost certainly pulling the control wheel out of the floor on final to keep this flying whale from going in nose first. I'm sure his compadres on the ground had the beer flowing for these guys later on that night.
Tuesday, April 04, 2006
The Straw That Broke The Camel's Back
I just bought a new car over the weekend. Beautiful vehicle, all the gadgets and gizmos I could hope for, and it runs like a charm. This thing was perfect.... until yesterday. On my 3rd day of owning this baby, some piece of SH#T slammed their car door into my new car. Now there's a nice dent on the passenger side rear door.
So now I'm on a hunt for the inbred douche bag, and I will not rest until justice has been served, or the dent is fixed.
No more Mr. Nice El Capitan. The Dark Side is flowing strong in this one.
Monday, April 03, 2006
C-5 Crashes Near Dover
So far no fatalities. Keep the crew and passengers in your prayers. The fact that they were able to get this whale on the ground in only 3 pieces is a miracle, or a testament to the pilot.
This crash just reinforces my unease about having these giants fly low over my house every day.
Opening Day... Life Is Good