Friday, November 26, 2004

Toys for Toys

I just saw a cool commercial.

A Marine in his dress blues standing at attention. A young boy walks up to him and asks him if he is Santa Claus. No response from the Marine. Then the white gloved hand of the Marine turns and opens. The little boy grins and says 'You are Santa Claus' and he puts his list in the Marines hand. As the Marines hand closes the boy leaves smiling.

Please add a toy for the Marines to your list this year.

Being Thankful

A bit late but Thanksgiving was a busy day. With the wife not up to doing the cooking it was up to me. Luckily my sister was bringing about half the food. Dinner was excellent (it was strange cooking a turkey inside) and a good time was had by all.

So what am I thankful for? A wife who deserves better, kids - despite their issues - are great kids, a house around us, a job that pays the bills as well as enough left over to put Thing1 through college, friends, and family.

I am thankful that 52% of voters picked the right man to lead the U.S. for the next 4 years. I am thankful for the brave men and women who put themselves in harms way so that we can live freely.

I am thankful for this wonderful country. Despite the effort of all those (inside and outside the borders) who wish to destroy it, the U.S. is the greatest country in the world.

Happy Trails

Thing1 was coming home for Thanksgiving weekend. Snow was falling. Roads were slippery. Sounds like a fun day for a drive.

Left work to go pick him up a bit early so as to miss traffic. Yea - right. Got on I88 (iPass is really cool) and traffic stopped. It usually takes me 15 minutes to get to 355. It took 55 minutes. Another hour later I was finally there. Only twice as long as usual.

Five minutes later we were heading home. 2 hours and 35 minutes later (usually an hour) and we're home. 4.5 hours on the road. Can't wait for Christmas!

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Nothing says Merry Christmas

like a Glock 17. Maybe a 19 - not sure yet.

While we are far (very far) from wealthy our choice of lifestyle has allowed us to live comfortably. It is also allowing for us to send Thing1 to a private college rather than a state school. Judging by the results so far this was an excellent choice.

Back to the Glock. The wife and I exchange lists of things we want for Christmas. Usually mine are filled with 'toys', her's have jewerly. They tend to be things that we want but won't usually buy for ourselves as they are past that limit that we have for 'stuff' purchases.

Several years ago I put a bunch of computer parts, knives, and DVDs on my list. I ended it with a Glock 17 or 19. In the pit of a state known as Illinois where we reside one needs a Firearms Owners Identification Card to legally buy a gun. I have one. The wife didn't at that time. So while the wife was at Best Buy looking for parts the clerk asked to see the list so he could find things quicker. After scanning the list he grinned and yelled to his buddy "Hey - this ladies husband wants a Glock for Christmas". The buddy replied "Cool!". I didn't get one that year. Or the year after. Repeat.

Now this year for some reason the wife says "Time to get your Glock". After I recover from the shock she just smiled and said "You deserve it". Who am I to argue? So after we drop off Thing2 for a Karate seminar next week we're going shopping. Maybe we'll get his-n-her's models? A 17 for me and a 19 for her? Hmmmmm...

Stranger things have happened!

Tuesday, November 23, 2004


The Wife makes the best fudge. Nothing fancy - just awesome chocolate fudge with walnuts. She made a batch for Thanksgiving today. And I got to scrap the bowl!

Somedays life is just great.

Monday, November 22, 2004

I've always wanted to do this

But things never seemed to line up for me. Somehow BlackFive is always is the right place.

Growing up we always used to have sailors from Great Lakes at our house for Christmas. It was fun talking to these guys and they always seemed to enjoy Mom's cooking. Hmmm - maybe we can make room this year...

Sunday School

No - I didn't go. I taught.

The wife has been teaching 2nd grade for a couple of years at our church. She alternates weeks with another woman at our church (who used to work with my oldest sister). Since she is still not 100% after surgery. Maybe not even 50%. Maybe 20% or so. This week was hers ao it was up to me.

I had a blast. I got to spend some time with 4 wonderful little boys. Reminded me of Cub Scouts so many years ago. We talked about what it means to be a King and then segwayed into how Jesus is Christ the King and how the Ten Commandments are our laws. These kids seem to get it. Well maybe just a little. And at 7 I'll take a little.

"Train your child in the way of the Lord and when he is old he will not turn from it"

Go Get Em Marines

My dad was a Marine. He was training for the invasion of Japan. I don't know if he ever saw combat as he never wanted to talk about it. He was pretty adamant that none of his boys went into the Marines. There are a number of times since then that I wished I had ignored him on this - as I had on so many other things. I've always felt like I missed something.

Since then whenever possible I always say Thanks when I run into a active duty or retired soldiers and Marines. These men and women took time out of their lives to put their asses on the line for me. It's the least I can do.

So when the story about the Marine shooting the 'dead' insurgent/terrorist in Fallujah broke I wondered when the local clueless liberal (CL) would start whining about how evil the Marine was. Personally I felt he did the right thing. Well the CL was right on time.

I sent him a polite note:


    You have a slight flaw in your argument. You write

    "While a pledge to adhere to military codes and the Geneva Convention sounds noble, some argue that it is not realistic when fighting such a brutal war against such barbarians."

    The Geneva convention applies to uniformed combatants of a organized army. The dead terrorist is 0 for 2. Your legal resources should have told you that. General Tommy Franks discusses this in "American Soldier" when the Special Forces went into Afghanistan and went 'native' to blend in.

    On a semi-related note: Not far from where the Marine did the right thing one of his fellow Marines was killed and several others injured when the 'dead' terrorist decided to blow himself up. This Marine did the right thing. The camera operator did the wrong thing by making the tape public. He should have turned it over to JAG for a proper investigation rather than giving Al-Jazera more propaganda footage.


Shockingly I get a response a couple of days later.

    Dear Al,

    Thanks for your response. I appreciate you reading the column and taking time to respond in a polite manner.

    I understand your argument, and asked my sources about it. "It was not the military JAGs who thought up the Geneva exceptions for terror suspects in Guantanamo and elsewhere _ it was the civilians. The JAGs were horrified," one responded.

    These men have far more military sources than I (and, I'm assuming you), and they say very few military people condone any sort of deviation from the Geneva Convention and the military code. That is not the way the U.S. should fight a war, they say. I agree. A Navy admiral in the Pentagon who read my column also agrees.

    While the Marine in question might never be charged with a crime, I am troubled by your assertion that he "did the right thing." How do you know this? Or are you just echoing the anti-American "kill no matter what" philophy embraced by our enemy?

    I have a much higher opinion of our fighting men and women than that. Also, I think soldiers who fight by the rules have an easier time returning home and readjusting to civilian lives.

It seems strange that someone who in previous columns has done nothing but trash the military he claims to have a 'high opinion of them'. So I sent him a response.

    They probably have more official sources than I do. Most of what I learn about what is going on in Iraq comes from the blogs of the men who are there.

    It's really quite simple. You may even agree after reading this. From a letter from a Marine in Iraq posted at PowerLine

    "This is one story of many that people normally don't hear, and one that everyone does.

    This is one most don't hear:
    A young Marine and his cover man cautiously enter a room just recently filled with insurgents armed with Ak-47's and RPG's. There are three dead, another wailing in pain. The insurgent can be heard saying, "Mister, mister! Diktoor, diktoor(doctor)!" He is badly wounded, lying in a pool of his own blood. The Marine and his cover man slowly walk toward the injured man, scanning to make sure no enemies come from behind. In a split second, the pressure in the room greatly exceeds that of the outside, and the concussion seems to be felt before the blast is heard. Marines outside rush to the room, and look in horror as the dust gradually settles. The result is a room filled with the barely recognizable remains of the deceased, caused by an insurgent setting off several pounds of explosives.

    The Marines' remains are gathered by teary eyed comrades, brothers in arms, and shipped home in a box. The families can only mourn over a casket and a picture of their loved one, a life cut short by someone who hid behind a white flag.

    But no one hears these stories, except those who have lived to carry remains of a friend, and the families who loved the dead. No one hears this, so no one cares.

    This is the story everyone hears:

    A young Marine and his fire team cautiously enter a room just recently filled with insurgents armed with AK-47's and RPG's. There are three dead, another wailing in pain. The insugent can be heard saying, "Mister, mister! Diktoor, diktoor(doctor)!" He is badly wounded. Suddenly, he pulls from under his bloody clothes a grenade, without the pin. The explosion rocks the room, killing one Marine, wounding the others. The young Marine catches shrapnel in the face. The next day, same Marine, same type of situation, a different story. The young Marine and his cover man enter a room with two wounded insurgents. One lies on the floor in puddle of blood, another against the wall. A reporter and his camera survey the wreckage inside, and in the background can be heard the voice of a Marine, "He's moving, he's moving!"

    The pop of a rifle is heard, and the insurgent against the wall is now dead. Minutes, hours later, the scene is aired on national television, and the Marine is being held for commiting a war crime. Unlawful killing."

    --End extract --

    In my opinion this Marine may have saved his life as well as the lives of his team. If you have watched the uneditied video (I have) you would notice that the only one shot was the one faking being dead. The visibly wounded were left alone.

    I think that soldiers and Marines returning from active duty will have an easier time readjusting to civilian life if it weren't for the fact the only stories the main stream media carries about Iraq show them in a less than positive light.

    As far as the rules the Rules of Engagement for clearing a room of non-uniformed combantants are much different than when fighting a regular army. (See Froggy below)

    I think if you spent some time read the blogs of those who have been shot at you might have a change of heart. A few to read

    Most of these guys link to other milblogs. I suggest spending a evening reading them.

No response.

I've never been in a life threatening situation before. Never had to point one of my guns at another human (came close once) but I'd like to think that I'd do the same as this Marine did. In my opinion he saved not only his life but several of his fellow Marines.

They guys are my heros.

Semper Gratus (Always Grateful)

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

An opposing view

A letter from a Marine with a different view on the shooting in the
mosque. Worth the read at PowerLine

Exit Strategy

This was talked about alot during the presidental race. BlackFive has a exit strategy for both Iraq and Afghanistan. I think it'll work.

What could this be?


Monday, November 15, 2004

Sunday, November 14, 2004

A Day at the Hospital - Part 2

After getting the wife home from the hospital I got to go back the next day. No I didn't forget something. I had to take my father-in-law in for a test. Up early to go pick him up, back home to take Thing2 to the doctor. Back home to pick up the father-in-law. Off to the hospital to be there at 10:15 for a 11:30 procedure. Sat with him for a while till they wanted to put the IV in. So out to the waiting room. Bad place for someone with a iffy lower back...

Anyways a lady that was sitting a few seats away asked if I knew where the cafeteria was. Having spent the last 4 days there I knew. Back to the book I had brought along (American Soldier by General Tommy Franks - awesome read so far). She came back, thanked me for the directions and then asked me if I was enjoying the book. We spent the next 45 minutes talking books, kids, houses, religon, and the lack of family friendly TV on the broadcast channels. Then the nurse came to get her and the conversation was over.

After I got home I took a look at the TV Guide. There isn't anything on broadcast tv to watch with small kids. Thats sad.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Scum sucking liberals

After reading this I'm amazed that anyone would want to be part of this organization. The main idea of the thread is to stop giving to charity because Bush won and 'everyone knows that charities are slaves to the Republican party'. What a bunch of loons. While there are several charities that I won't support there are so many that do such wonderful work and it is strictly with donations.

The good thing about this is that with this attitude the Republicans may get over 60 seats in the Senate in 2 years :-)

Thinking about the people I know - those that lean to the right give money to lots of different charities. They also volunteer their time. Those that lean to the left - well they complain alot about how the goverment doesn't do anything. I'll stick with whats Right

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Grrr Arg

Watching CSI - NY. The show is almost over. The case is almost solved. And CBS breaks in to tell me Arafat is dead! It couldn't wait 5 minutes for the local news?

Regarding Arafat - who cares? Maybe his family does. On the other hand the only good terrorist is a dead one...

Veterans Day

So what does it mean? For school kids it's a day off. For just about everyone else - it's another day at work. If you're a veteran - that ain't right!

I'm not a veteran. I almost went into the Air Force in 1979 but the recruiter couldn't / wouldn't put the training I wanted in writing. So I went to college instead. Ever since then I've felt like I was missing something.

To any veteran who reads this - Thank You. Thank you for taking the time out of your life and giving to your country. Thank you for your sacrifice so that the rest of us can sleep safely in our beds at night. Thank you. I know it's not much but it's what I can do. If I could give you the day off on November 11th I would. You deserve it.

Another Birthday

For a real oldie. I am soooo glad that they are still around. Happy 229th Marines

Sounds like a mandate

Much has been said about the election, exit polls, and whether or not W has a mandate. Over at Blogs for Bush Matt has a link to an article about a question asked in the exit polls. (Assume that this question for correctly answered)

Since so many who voted for Kerry were voting against Bush the actual numbers are something like 57.2 million (Bush) to 12.9 million (Kerry). Mandate!

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Playing Mr. Mom

With the wife in the hospital enjoying better living through chemistry I get to run the house. Shouldn't make too much of a mess in 4 days...

Getting Thing2 up takes awhile. She likes to get moving slowly. Once moving she's ok.

But today the fun started way before that. Buffy the Cockatiel Slayer (our cocker spaniel) decided she missed the wife at 2:30am and wanted to go out. Back to sleep till 4:30AM when the CO detector decided to tell me it was time to replace the battery.

Got Thing2 up at the right time and off to school. Off to work and a huge traffic jam. Home at the usual time, make dinner, and off to visit the wife at the hospital. After an hour she was falling asleep talking. Time to go. Some DQ for desert and time to relax. And start all over again tomorrow...

Monday, November 08, 2004

A Day at the Hospital

The wife had surgery today. Fairly major operation that went well so all is good. Well except for the recovery process to come. I had the easy part - sitting in the waiting room. Easy except for lower back problems. Nothing compared to what my wife will be going through but a pain to me. A least I got to spend some time with my oldest sister who sat with me.

Doc and I got to catch up on things. Which was good as we don't get much time alone to talk. I had some things to explain after Thing1's birthday party. Funny how conversations take strange turns and half answers get out and people who know what you're going through (or at least thought they did) give you funny looks. And then you have to explain...

Sunday, November 07, 2004


Until today I had never been to a Catholic mass. Raised in a Lutheran church it was just never something I had done. Well - Thing1 still had one more non-Lutheran service to attend for Theology 101 so we went to Mass.

It was very strange. I have never understood Mass from reading about it and after seeing one I'm still lost. The Priest barely spoke English and left most of the preaching to the Deacon. Add to that some strange (to me) ceremony and I'm lost.

Afterwards Thing1 and I agreed - we both like Willow.

Some Healthy Competition

Thing1 is one of those naturally gifted kids. Pullout programs in elementary school, gifted programs in middle school, and a Technology Academy in High School. His first progress report at college was 6 A's.

Thing2 is probably as smart as Thing1. But she lives with Aspergers so learning is a bit tougher. Elementary school was a bit tough as the teachers just didn't know what to do. Now in middle school she is with teachers that know what to do and she is thriving. Her first report card was 6 A's and a B. And inclusion on the Principals Selection Honor Roll.

Even though they are 6 years apart in school they both tried to explain why their report card was better....

Quality Time

I like to shoot. Not too many things more relaxing than time spent with family and friends at the range. Where we live we have to go indoors so Thing1 and I were off to GAT Guns in East Dundee Saturday morning. 700 rounds later and both of us were ready for the week to start up again.

For people that have never shot a gun and can't appreciate the fine workmanship or the skill necessary I say - too bad! You are missing out on a great experience. Thing1 and I have spent time at the range by ourselves and with my sister-in-laws husband and son. When we are out with Matt and Jon - well several thousand rounds are fired and we've talked about jobs, family, church, scouting, and so much more. It's a great way to spend time with good people.

Happy Birthday To


He turned 19 on Friday. I still remember him getting 'stuck' and necessitating an emergency cesearan section. And he's still stubborn!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition

From a Flash post on Drudge

    Marines turn to God ahead of anticipated Fallujah battle
    Sat Nov 06 2004 09:37:17 ET

    NEAR FALLUJAH, Iraq, Nov 6 (AFP) - With US forces massing outside Fallujah, 35 marines swayed to Christian rock music and asked Jesus Christ to protect them in what could be the biggest battle since American troops invaded Iraq last year.

    Men with buzzcuts and clad in their camouflage waved their hands in the air, M-16 assault rifles laying beside them, and chanted heavy metal-flavoured lyrics in praise of Christ late Friday in a yellow-brick chapel.

    They counted among thousands of troops surrounding the city of Fallujah, seeking solace as they awaited Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi's decision on whether or not to invade Fallujah.

    "You are the sovereign. You're name is holy. You are the pure spotless lamb," a female voice cried out on the loudspeakers as the marines clapped their hands and closed their eyes, reflecting on what lay ahead for them.

    The US military, with many soldiers coming from the conservative American south and midwest, has deep Christian roots.

    In times that fighting looms, many soldiers draw on their evangelical or born-again heritage to help them face the battle.

    "It's always comforting. Church attendance is always up before the big push," said First Sergeant Miles Thatford.

    "Sometimes, all you've got is God."

    Between the service's electric guitar religious tunes, marines stepped up on the chapel's small stage and recited a verse of scripture, meant to fortify them for war.

    One spoke of their Old Testament hero, a shepherd who would become Israel's king, battling the Philistines some 3,000 years ago.

    "Thus David prevailed over the Philistines," the marine said, reading from scripture, and the marines shouted back "Hoorah, King David," using their signature grunt of approval.

    The marines drew parallels from the verse with their present situation, where they perceive themselves as warriors fighting barbaric men opposed to all that is good in the world.

    "Victory belongs to the Lord," another young marine read.

    Their chaplain, named Horne, told the worshippers they were stationed outside Fallujah to bring the Iraqis "freedom from oppression, rape, torture and murder ... We ask you God to bless us in that effort."

    The marines then lined up and their chaplain blessed them with holy oil to protect them.

    "God's people would be annointed with oil," the chaplain said, as he lightly dabbed oil on the marines' foreheads.

    The crowd then followed him outside their small auditorium for a baptism of about a half-dozen marines who had just found Christ.

    The young men lined up and at least three of them stripped down to their shorts.

    The three laid down in a rubber dinghy filled with water and the chaplain's assistant, Navy corpsman Richard Vaughn, plunged their heads beneath the surface.

    Smiling, Vaughn baptised them "in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit."

    Dripping wet, Corporal Keith Arguelles beamed after his baptism.

    "I just wanted to make sure I did this before I headed into the fight," he said on the military base not far from the city of Fallujah.

Go (with God) get em Marines.

250 Tons

Want to see 250 Tons of Explosives go Boom!

Be sure to read about how big the crater is

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Senator Obama?

What a sad day. Illinois has joined California, Massachusetts, and New York with have 2 ultra liberal Senators. Why do I stay in this state?

And now former Governer Jim Thompson is calling it a beautiful thing? Time to hurl.

The wife seems to like him. I just don't trust him. Time will tell.

The Republican party in Illinois blew it. I like Alan Keyes. I voted for him. However he was not the right person for Illinois. Oberweis would have been a much better choice and made it a real race. Instead Keyes turned people off and Obama cruised (with the media's help)

Monday, November 01, 2004

Final Thoughts on the Election

Well - at least before the voting starts...

It's less than 90 minutes till the nice people in Dixville Notch, NH vote. I wonder how long it will be before we have a president?

  • Update - Bush takes Dixville 19-7 . What a nice trend that would be!

I'm a Bush fan. Kerry has been less than honest on a number of issues and the complete line of bull coming out his camp just turns me off. I fear a Kerry presidency will put us back several years in the Global War on Terror and cause us to lose face with those who love freedom in the Middle East. On the other hand Iran will get nuclear fuel from us and start producing atomic weapons.

Is Bush perfect? No. But this is a easy choice. One stands by his decisions, the other takes a poll to see what position he should have. I've done my best to teach Thing1 that he has to make (and live with) his decisions. How could I expect anything less from the President?

Can I get a Amen?

In Dolby 5.1 surround no less.

The local Lowes theatre has closed and been sold to a church. The family is kinda bummed. The theatre was close enough that we could be there in about 5 minutes. No real planning involved. Now the nearest theatres are 20 - 30 minutes away. More Netflix!

Thing1 had that exact same thought. The theatre that is closest is a huge multiplexes that cost 7.50 to get in at a matinee. For 2 of us we could buy the movie.