'The true Soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because He loves what is behind him.' -G. K. Chesterton

31 May 2010

A Good Question On This Memorial Day

Kanani answers the question; Should We Be In Afghanistan? It's a fitting question today and the answer is both beautifully written and spot on to my mind.

Go and read it. Even in my fevered dreams Kanani is 10 orders of magnitude a better writer that I will ever be.

I hope you all enjoy this Memorial Day. To my brothers and sisters who have or are serving here and around the world

Thank You.

Your service and sacrifice will never be forgotten.


30 May 2010

Memorial Day

Army Lt. Col. Robert Bateman, who completed a year long tour of duty in Iraq in 2007 and was after assigned to the Pentagon.

Here's Lt. Col. Bateman's account of a little-known ceremony that fills the halls of the Army corridor of the Pentagon with cheers, applause and many tears every Friday morning. It first appeared on May 17 on the Web-log of media critic and pundit Eric Alterman at the Media Matters for America Web site.

"It is 110 yards from the 'E' ring to the 'A' ring of the Pentagon. This section of the Pentagon is newly renovated; the floors shine, the hallway is broad, and the lighting is bright. At this instant the entire length of the corridor is packed with officers, a few sergeants and some civilians, all crammed tightly three and four deep against the walls. There are thousands here.
"This hallway, more than any other, is the 'Army' hallway. The G3 offices line one side, G2 the other, G8 is around the corner. All Army. Moderate conversations flow in a low buzz. Friends who may not have seen each other for a few weeks, or a few years, spot each other, cross the way and renew. Everyone shifts to ensure an open path remains down the center. The air conditioning system was not designed for this press of bodies in this area. The temperature is rising already. Nobody cares.
"10:36 hours: The clapping starts at the E-Ring. That is the outermost of the five rings of the Pentagon and it is closest to the entrance to the building. This clapping is low, sustained, hearty. It is applause with a deep emotion behind it as it moves forward in a wave down the length of the hallway.
"A steady rolling wave of sound it is, moving at the pace of the soldier in the wheelchair who marks the forward edge with his presence. He is the first. He is missing the greater part of one leg, and some of his wounds are still suppurating. By his age I expect that he is a private, or perhaps a private first class.
"Captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels meet his gaze and nod as they applaud, soldier to soldier. Three years ago when I described one of these events, those lining the hallways were somewhat different. The applause a little wilder, perhaps in private guilt for not having shared in the burden ... yet.
"Now almost everyone lining the hallway is, like the man in the wheelchair, also a combat veteran. This steadies the applause, but I think deepens the sentiment. We have all been there now. The soldier's chair is pushed by, I believe, a full colonel.
"Behind him, and stretching the length from Rings E to A, come more of his peers, each private, corporal or sergeant assisted as need be by a field grade officer.
"11:00 hours: Twenty-four minutes of steady applause. My hands hurt, and I laugh to myself at how stupid that sounds in my own head. 'My hands hurt.' Christ. Shut up and clap. For twenty-four minutes, soldier after soldier has come down this hallway — 20, 25, 30. Fifty-three legs come with them, and perhaps only 52 hands or arms, but down this hall came 30 solid hearts.
"They pass down this corridor of officers and applause, and then meet for a private lunch, at which they are the guests of honor, hosted by the generals. Some are wheeled along. Some insist upon getting out of their chairs, to march as best they can with their chin held up, down this hallway, through this most unique audience. Some are catching handshakes and smiling like a politician at a Fourth of July parade. More than a couple of them seem amazed and are smiling shyly.
"There are families with them as well: the 18-year-old war-bride pushing her 19-year-old husband's wheelchair and not quite understanding why her husband is so affected by this, the boy she grew up with, now a man, who had never shed a tear is crying; the older immigrant Latino parents who have, perhaps more than their wounded mid-20s son, an appreciation for the emotion given on their son's behalf. No man in that hallway, walking or clapping, is ashamed by the silent tears on more than a few cheeks. An Airborne Ranger wipes his eyes only to better see. A couple of the officers in this crowd have themselves been a part of this parade in the past.

"These are our men, broken in body they may be, but they are our brothers, and we welcome them home. This parade has gone on, every single Friday, all year long, for more than four years."

(Copyright 2007 by Robert Bateman.)

29 May 2010

Book Review

Anyone who knows me is aware that I'm basically a simple guy with simple tastes. That does not always hold true however, especially in what I read for pleasure.

I love a good Thriller, well written hard S.F. and Military both fiction and true life. I've read a little bit of just about everything (including Ed Rasimus' newest, Fighter Pilot which I am almost finished with and will review soon). I have my favorite authors including Ringo, W.E.B. Griffin, Weber, Scalzi, Williamson and a host of others. I'm adding a new name to my favorite authors list.

Just finished a book by Don Brockette called America Falling and I loved it. Fast paced, tautly written and full of action and true emotion. It is a can't put down kind of book full of compelling characters, especially Elliott Cahill, a real American hero. Elliott is exactly my kinda guy.

Don is a veteran and writes with a veterans eye. If you like action, honest emotion, believable characters and a chilling vision of our probable future you'll like this book.

Brockette is also more than a bit prescient. I'm not going to give any spoilers because I want you to buy and read this book but, viewed in the light of recent events that track with Brockette's vision, America Falling should be sending a warning to all Americans to wake up. I unreservedly recommend you pick up a copy.

I'm eagerly anticipating his next book.

Nice work Mr. Brockette.

For the FCC. I have received no remuneration in return for this review.


27 May 2010


I'm going to get some hate mail for this one but let me start this by saying It Doesn't Apply To Evryone. Ok? Sheesh.

I have a motorcycle. It's a 1997 Kawasaki Concours, what's commonly known as a sport touring motorcycle. A sensible, mature motorcycle for a sensible, mature man.

I bought it used a couple of years ago with 4000 miles on the clock for $2800.00. Great bike and a killer deal. I love the thing. Smooth, powerful, comfortable and handles very well.

I've got some friends (don't snicker, I've got friends) who also ride. They, almost exclusively ride Harleys. Now, I've got nothing against Harleys, except maybe the price.

And the uniform.

Here's the thing. Harley riders tend to wear essentially the same thing with some (minor) variations. Black leather jackets/vests or sleeveless denim vests. The smallest helmet the law will allow, also black in color. Jeans with black leather chaps. (What's with that by the way? The only place you can see more assless chaps than a Harley fest is at a leather bar in San Francisco. Not that I'd know. I heard is all). Fingerless gloves, black. Black leather boots. Maybe the eye catching face protector that looks like a skull. And facial hair, can't forget the scraggly mustaches and goatees as well as the Grizzly Adams beards. Typical, especially on the chicks. And don't even get me started on the exhaust pipes.

The jackets usually have something stitched to the back. HOG. PIG. Fat Bastard. Bad Ass Outlaw Motorcycles From Hell or Reasonable Nearby Therein, etc. (Insert name of your club here).


Hey guys, I've got some bad news for you. It's called a uniform. When everyone dresses alike and looks alike it's called being 'uniform'. "Oh look honey, it's a fat guy with a stringy goatee wearing all black with a helmet that wouldn't protect a pinheaded squirrel perched on his size 8 3/4 melon riding on a Harley Davidson painted black and decorated with 3000 grinning and smoking skulls that can be heard on the Moon. Isn't he cool? Isn't he unique?"

It's ok though. I get the whole being surrounded by people who look and act just like you. Really, I do. It's just that it doesn't go with the whole loner/biker/outlaw image thing, ya know?

You want to be different, unique, a real outlaw?

Wear something pink. Buy a chartreuse jacket trimmed in vermilion with white Naugahyde boots and a full face helmet painted dayglo green. Instead of skulls, decorate your motorcycle (Scooter or Scoot in uniform outlawese. They even talk alike) with a painting of your favorite poet. How about some colorful balloons or maybe a giraffe? Come on, be creative.

Oh, and before you sport bike guys start chortling and touching each other. You're no better. You're 19 years old (or 45), just got your license and your parents (your wife) bought you the latest go fast racer replica that tops out at 175 mph. It's painted like an classic impressionist took a shit on it, you're wearing a helmet sporting an orange mohawk and a clown face and your ass is clad in a 1500 dollar one piece leather riding suit that Kenny Roberts would ejaculate over. Your motorcycle has a header and set of pipes that cost you nearly the value of the bike they're barely bolted to and sound like 1500 cats trapped in a sack. You're a squid. Admit it and get help. I think there's a 12 step program.

I on the other hand am a mature, experienced rider with thousands of hours in the saddle (dammit, now I'm doing it!). I ride a motorcycle that I can take down to the pharmacy for my Viagra...er, steroids (yeah, that's the ticket) or across the country. I wear a tasteful black and red leather jacket that I paid $99.99 for. My full face helmet is plain black. My boots are brown. My full finger gloves are black and silver. I wear faded jeans. My motorcycle is a sensible green.

I am creatively uncreative. I am different by being ordinary. I am the true bad ass outlaw. No one else rides what I ride or dresses like I dress. Plain. Ordinary. Usual. Expected. Ah, True Uniqueness.

I am wanted and desired by women and envied by men. It's true I swear. Just ask me.

You should immediately stop wearing your uniform and riding your 'everyone has one' Harley or 'too fast for your stoopid ass' crotch rocket. You should endeavor to be just like me. Wear what I wear and ride what I ride.

Hey. We could start a club and snub riders not like us and refuse to wave at them when we ride by and be all cool and bitchin' and rad and outlaw and stuff. Maybe a neato patch our wives could sew on the back of our jackets. I kinda like the sound of "The Bland Ones". Oh yeah.

That'd be so cool. I hear Payless is having a sale on brown boots.


Update: Go read Sheri's take on this topic. It's chock full of LOL goodness. I have got to go for a ride with her if only to see her 'cut a bitch' face.

24 May 2010


Kanani wants desperately to give someone a cool book. Maybe even me. Cool.

She's giving away a copy of Sebastian Junger's new book War. Go check out her site and the book as well.

I'll write a review if I win and I'll buy a copy and write a review if I don't. How magnanimous is that?


23 May 2010

Sunday Kipling

I'm in the middle of Fighter Pilot and I couldn't resist this poem. It's one of my favorites.



To the legion of the lost ones, to the cohort of the damned,
To my brethren in their sorrow overseas,
Sings a gentleman of England cleanly bred, machinely crammed,
And a trooper of the Empress, if you please.
Yea, a trooper of the forces who has run his own six horses,
And faith he went the pace and went it blind,
And the world was more than kin while he held the ready tin,
But to-day the Sergeant's something less than kind.
We're poor little lambs who've lost our way,
Baa! Baa! Baa!
We're little black sheep who've gone astray,
Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree,
Damned from here to Eternity,
God ha' mercy on such as we,
Baa! Yah! Bah!

Oh, it's sweet to sweat through stables, sweet to empty kitchen slops,
And it's sweet to hear the tales the troopers tell,
To dance with blowzy housemaids at the regimental hops
And thrash the cad who says you waltz too well.
Yes, it makes you cock-a-hoop to be "Rider" to your troop,
And branded with a blasted worsted spur,
When you envy, O how keenly, one poor Tommy living cleanly
Who blacks your boots and sometimes calls you "Sir".

If the home we never write to, and the oaths we never keep,
And all we know most distant and most dear,
Across the snoring barrack-room return to break our sleep,
Can you blame us if we soak ourselves in beer?
When the drunken comrade mutters and the great guard-lantern gutters
And the horror of our fall is written plain,
Every secret, self-revealing on the aching white-washed ceiling,
Do you wonder that we drug ourselves from pain?

We have done with Hope and Honour, we are lost to Love and Truth,
We are dropping down the ladder rung by rung,
And the measure of our torment is the measure of our youth.
God help us, for we knew the worst too young!
Our shame is clean repentance for the crime that brought the sentence,
Our pride it is to know no spur of pride,
And the Curse of Reuben holds us till an alien turf enfolds us
And we die, and none can tell Them where we died.
We're poor little lambs who've lost our way,
Baa! Baa! Baa!
We're little black sheep who've gone astray,
Gentlemen-rankers out on the spree,
Damned from here to Eternity,
God ha' mercy on such as we,
Baa! Yah! Bah!

22 May 2010

Well, okay, they aren't ALL bad!

Tom McClintock is an elected Republican in the state of California. Yes, apparently more then just Dad, Mom and I exist in this state, who knew! Though he is from the Oroville area, which is a heavy ranching area (not Ag), so read conservative area, and that does make a difference.

The Sarge came across Rep. McClintock's response to the, er, 'illustrious' Pres. Calderon of Mexico, and he nails the point perfectly. I'd go on, since I know you all love the sound of my voice, but I think I'll let him speak for himself:

H/T to Sarge on this one

-The DO

New Site Addition

Eeben Barlow founded Executive Outcomes in Africa in 1989. The company operated in Africa, South America and the Far East. He's a serious, knowledgable man with great insight on security matters and how wars are won and lost. His site is definitely worth your time to visit and read.

Another jewel from Stormbringer. Thanks Sean.


21 May 2010


With the kids here and Trooper needing basically full time care I've been remiss in my posts. No excuses. I'll be posting more in the coming days.

I do have one piece of news. Fed Ex just dropped off my order from Amazon. Fighter Pilot, When Thunder Rolled and Palace Cobra, all by the inestimable Ed Rasimus (and Christina Olds). It's going to be a Rasimusathon this weekend.

On second thought, I may not get any posts done after all.


19 May 2010

Dale Peterson

Er... yeah, that guy.

Uh, who?

Dale Peterson is running for Alabama Ag Commissioner. And he rocks!!

be the real deal. One can only hope.

The DO

17 May 2010


Kanani has a post up on her site asking for donations for some pups that need new homes. The best part? They'll be named after some well known and much beloved milbloggers. Woo hoo. I'm going over and donating in Troopers name now. Hey, if you've got a few loose shekels rattling around in your pockets why not spread a little love?


16 May 2010

Sunday Kipling

Sunday Kipling is back and I thought this poem was especially appropriate today.

"The Power of the Dog"


There is sorrow enough in the natural way
From men and women to fill our day;
And when we are certain of sorrow in store,
Why do we always arrange for more?
Brothers and Sisters, I bid you beware
Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.

Buy a pup and your money will buy
Love unflinching that cannot lie --
Perfect passion and worship fed
By a kick in the ribs or a pat on the head.
Nevertheless it is hardly fair
To risk your heart for a dog to tear.

When the fourteen years which Nature permits
Are closing in asthma, or tumour, or fits,
And the vet's unspoken prescription runs
To lethal chambers or loaded guns,
Then you will find -- it's your own affair --
But . . . you've given your heart to a dog to tear.

When the body that lived at your single will,
With its whimper of welcome, is stilled (how still!)
When the spirit hat answered your every mood
Is gone -- wherever it goes -- for good,
You will discover how much you care,
And will give your heart to a dog to tear.

We've sorrow enough in the natural way,
When it comes to burying Christian clay.
Our loves are not given, but only lent,
At compound interest of cent per cent.
Though it is not always the case, I believe,
That the longer we've kept'em, the more do we grieve;

For, when debts are payable, right or wrong,
A short-time loan is as bad as a long --
So why in -- Heaven (before we are there)
Should we give our hearts to a dog to tear?

14 May 2010

Trooper Update II

I have news that may bring a smile to your face. Trooper is alive and doing pretty well. Please forgive my lengthy stay away but I wanted to be sure we really were past the crisis point before I posted another update.

Let me recap where we've been and tell you what's happened and where we're going.

On Friday, April 30th Trooper suffered a heart attack and nearly died. You already know so I won't go into that night any further. On Monday, May 3rd we went in and saw his Vet. The news was bad and we prepared for the worst. Now, the Vet is a great Doc who loves Trooper. We cried, he cried but he also saw something I didn't and drew blood and ran tests.

On Tuesday, May 4th Trooper was diagnosed with Insulin dependent Diabetes. His blood glucose was 370. Normal is 70 to 138.

As funny as this may sound I was relieved. I now had something I could see and touch. Something I could fight and battle and fucking choke away from my dog. At the very least I saw a way I might at least ease his pain and give him some relief. I wasn't going to let him die without a hell of a fight. Doc agreed.

I went to the pharmacy and loaded up with Humulin N, Bayer Keto-Diastix test strips and 30 gauge needles. Lu made a check list and form for me to keep track of medications, injections, tests and diet. He got his first injection on the 4th at 2000. 10 Units. He gets a shot every 12 hours with a meal.

I keep track of everything that goes in and comes out. I get up and test him first thing in the morning. I feed him and give him his shot at 8 on the button. I monitor his food and water intake like a momma with a sick child. We've modified his food a bit. Same kibble but no people food, no pig ears (His stomach won't handle them anymore) and no rich treats. He gets canned food twice a day now to make sure he eats just before his shot (This is important. The Insulin must be given with a meal). Trooper doesn't even mind the shots. Hell, half the time he either sleeps through it or goes to sleep right after. Doesn't even ask for a cookie. What a dog. At night the same. A meal at 1930 and another shot at 2000.

The results? When Trooper was in his prime he was a tad over 90 pounds. After his hip replacement surgery I dropped him into the low to mid 70's and kept him there. At his Vet appointment on May 4th he was 62 pounds. At our last Vet visit on the 11th he had gained 3 pounds back. His blood glucose was 242. He's stopped panting like he's fighting for every breath. His balance is good. He has almost stopped having accidents in the house. He sleeps soundly and restfully. Even his eyesight has improved (Take heart Laura). He's stopped drinking and peeing gallons at a time. He even spends time in the living room with the family. He's not running around and playing but he will lie quietly and watch us and the kids.

He stays near me almost constantly. He's virtually never more than a few feet away and will follow me around the house. Sometimes the pants will come back and the only cure is to sit or lie beside him and stroke his fur and gently scratch his belly. He gets overwhelmed by loud noises and strange places. His walks (And he must get his regular exercise) are short, casual strolls.

But he's still here. He's at ease and peaceful. His pain and discomfort are lessened and maybe gone. He's gaining weight and is happy just to be with me. I'm happy just to be with him.

I don't go anywhere much right now. To the gym is about it. I missed out on the Disneyland trip with the grand kids but I don't really mind. It's for the very best of causes. I'm Trooper's nurse and companion. If it makes his life easier to be near me 24 hours a day then I will be near him 24 hours a day. His care has taken over my life and I'm grateful I have the time to be that caregiver. It is a labor of love.

We're adjusting and fine tuning his diet and especially his Insulin. He started out at 10 units but we've upped his dose to 12 now. We'll do another blood test next week at the Vet and I expect to see it down another 50 points. I suspect we'll finally settle in at 13 or 14 units.

I want to be clear here. I am a happy man. I know he's got a serious disease but it's something I can deal with and help Trooper to fight. The DO and I have been studying and researching to make sure we're doing all we can. She's been a peach by the way. Not only helping out but also taking care of posting while I've been otherwise occupied.

I'm trying not to get carried away. I know trooper's time is still short. He's 14 years old, has had a heart attack and is dealing with Diabetes. The Vet was clear on this. I believe I'm buying him time but if I do nothing except make his remaining life easier it is a salve to my soul to be able to do so. Frankly, in the dark hours when I was sure I was watching him slip away I prayed for a way to ease his suffering. I was lost and in anguish because he was in such terrible pain. I nearly...... I am a man and I know what my duty to Trooper is. I am eternally grateful to God that it didn't come to that.

Here's a couple of links I have found useful should you ever find yourself in our shoes.

Both are great sites full of useful information and links. I am seriously indebted to my Veterinarian, a man I will cherish forever. I love you Doc. The DO is doing the bulk of the research because she's smarter than I am and is learning and passing on to me critical stuff every day. Lu has been a rock and has taken on the meds and shot on those mornings when I'm completely worn out and she just wants to see me get some sleep. Thanks guys, I love you both.

So, bottom line here. Trooper's health is steadily improving. We've got a handle on his Diabetes and he is pain free. Trooper is a strong dog and he's aptly named. He's a real Trooper. I know this sounds sappy but we're both pretty happy and determined to be together as long as we can. I'm looking forward to the future with more than a modicum of optimism. I get to keep my boy for at least a little longer and the world is just a bit brighter today.

Thank you again my friends. I am indebted to all of you as well. Your well wishes and prayers meant more to Trooper and me than I can ever say. This is our pledge to you. Trooper and I will live each day together in memory of the beloved pets each of you have lost along the way. We dedicate this fight to all of them and to you, the people they loved.

Prayers sometimes are answered.


12 May 2010

Arizona, here we come!

Okay, not really, we will be in Hungary for at least 2 more years. That being said, however, I can't believe that I'm actually seeing the attempted end of white hating in Arizona of all states.

"State schools chief Tom Horne, who has pushed the bill for years, said he believes the Tucson school district's Mexican-American studies program teaches Latino students that they are oppressed by white people.

Public schools should not be encouraging students to resent a particular race, he said.

"It's just like the old South, and it's long past time that we prohibited it," Horne said"

Really, Arizona? Rock on! So bring on the Arizona Ice Teas!!

07 May 2010

Lunático de Mayo

Gee, DO, why won't you raise your kids in California?? You must be a hateful racist.

No, I just want to raise them in The United States, not Mexico, and not be worried about their physical safety if they were an american flag shirt.

View more news videos at: http://www.nbcbayarea.com/video.

02 May 2010

Trooper Update

I'd like to take a minute and thank all of you who have sent Trooper and me your love and concern. Words cannot express how much they have meant to me and how much I appreciate them and you. That we have somehow attracted such as you humbles me beyond my ability to describe.

We had an appointment with the vet today at 2:30. I trust him implicitly. He's been Trooper's vet since he was 7 weeks old. He loves Trooper nearly as much as I do.

Trooper had a heart attack. Doc thinks he was as close as I feared he was on Friday night. Neither of us is quite sure how or why Trooper held on but somehow he did. As of today Trooper is markedly better. We don't know how long that will last but at this point I'll take what I can get. We talked for a bit and he got us ready for what is inevitably coming. We agreed that when the time comes I'll let him go. We're all hoping that will be here, at home. Doc believes he may well have another heart attack and simply pass on. For my part, since I know he must go, I hope it is here.

Thank you again. Both for your support and for stopping by this very modest little blog. I consider each of you a friend. We're still in hospice mode so I'm going to take a little break from here. My heart just isn't in it and my boy needs me right now.
I'll see you soon.