December 21, 2004

HAVE YOURSELF A HOOAH CHRISTMAS

The 1ID website has got the only holiday video you'll see that contains both toy distribution and explosions. Check it out.

I am leaving to take two friends to the airport, so I'll be out of blogging range for two days. More when I return.

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December 20, 2004

AGENDA

Tonight I watched The Day After Tomorrow. The social agenda in that movie was almost as bad as Superman IV.

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HE IS JOHN GALT

I had a thought the other night that would probably make Den Beste cringe, but I realized that I'm glad that he shrugged. He started writing because it made him happy. He got noticed, and more and more people tried to control him. Write about what I want to hear. Make sure you include this angle. No, you're wrong about this minor detail. Maybe if you read Ayn Rand you'd understand. And so on and so on. He started carrying the world on his shoulders, getting more and more burdened by pedantic mail and impossible demands. And finally he shrugged.

Who is John Galt? Den Beste is.

And all of a sudden, now that I think of it that way, it's easier to bear his absence. I'm happy for him, now that the weight has been lifted from his shoulders. I'm happy that he's let go and stopped letting the looters rule his blog. I'm happy for him, and it makes missing him easier.

But now I'm worried about him because he's sick.


(And, yes, I'm relating everything in my life to this book right now. Sue me.)

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DIVORCE

The husband and I have to get divorced. That's all there is to it. What else am I supposed to do after this exchange?

Sarah: everyone keeps telling me that now that I have vacation, I should go home
Sarah: but I cant go home without you
Sarah: we're a team
husband: yes ma'am
husband: team america, fuck yeah
Sarah: ha
Sarah: have you seen it yet?
husband: yes ma'am
Sarah: was it funny?
husband: yes ma'am
Sarah: dang

He left me behind! You never leave a man behind...especially not on the way to a Parker/Stone movie.

(I'm just kidding. He's trying to find a way to get me a copy, but they're sold out.)

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December 19, 2004

THEY PUSH AND THEY PUSH

I remember reading some blogger note how ironic it is that Americans write comments on Iraqi blogs trying to tell Iraqis what Iraq is like. Apparently it's gotten the best of Ali, and he's hanging it up. Thanks a lot, folks.

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CAN I CALL A DUDE'S SITE "PRETTY"?

Look at Bunker's new style for the holiday season! I like it.

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DEBT PAID

Until Amritas put me on the spot, I didn't know the full details of Charles Jenkins' desertion. (Remember he's the guy who was in North Korea for almost forty years and just turned himself in.) When I first heard the gist of the story, I thought he was despicable, but now I believe he's paid the price for his choice.

Jenkins' unit, he had learned, was scheduled to ship out soon to the live war in Vietnam, a prospect that terrified him. "I did not want to be responsible for the lives of other soldiers under me," he said during his court-martial trial last month. So Jenkins looked for a way out. He could confess his cowardice to superiors and accept the consequences or attempt somehow to flee. He chose the latter option.

He should have chosen the former. When you sign up for the military, you'd better be prepared for the worst assignment possible in exchange for that precious GI Bill. You don't get to pick and choose with the military -- as Paredes and Hinzman believe they can -- so if you break that contract you signed, you go to jail. You don't try to flee. That said, Jenkins paid dearly for his error in judgement, working as a slave to the North Korean government for 40 years, and turned himself in willingly at the first chance he could find.

He would plead guilty only to desertion and aiding the enemy (for the time he spent teaching English). In exchange, his penalty would be a maximum 30 days' confinement, a demotion to private, forfeiture of all pay and benefits and a dishonorable discharge. Military-law experts assume Jenkins won this relatively lenient treatment in exchange for providing intelligence about North Korean spy programs. Neither Jenkins nor the U.S. government will comment on any such discussions.

Jenkins has paid his debt to the military and to society, and he has likely suffered far more than if he'd stayed in the Army a few more years. His slate is clean in my book. Hinzman, on the other hand, has far more 'splainin' to do.

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December 18, 2004

MATRIX

I have a confession to make: I bought The Matrix: Revolutions tonight. Yes, I know, I know. General consensus is that it sucked, but I have to see for myself because I still haven't seen it. I missed it the one day they played it in the theater here (yes, we get movies for one day only, unless they're mega-blockbusters), and I have to know how it ends. I don't care if it's the worst movie ever; it's been a year, and I have to know.

But I'm positive I won't think it's the worst movie ever. I'm sure my husband would say that my favorite movie genre is Crap, which is evidenced by my owning The Karate Kid Trilogy and Big Trouble in Little China. I'm easily entertained, have criminally low movie standards, and am a complete sucker for explosions, especially when they're set to techno music. Hence, my desire to see the final Matrix movie.

Since it's common knowledge that the movie was bad, it goes for $6.83 online, so I feel no guilt whatsoever in purchasing it. And I will watch it eagerly when it shows up. However, I will likely refrain from writing the embarrassing post about how I enjoyed it. Because I know I will enjoy it. Big Trouble in Little China, remember?

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December 17, 2004

ANTHOLOGY

I've been cleaning out my husband's hotmail while he's been gone, and I just noticed that he saved all of the emails I wrote him while we were dating. I've gotten sucked into reading them all over the past few hours, and I must say that I was something else back then. It's funny how he's been gone for ten months: back when we started dating, I couldn't stand to be without him for an hour. Probably the only person who will be interested in this post is my husband (and maybe Annika because she paid us a nice compliment in our interview). Without further ado, here is an Anthology of Goofy Crap I Said to My Husband Back in 2000:

I will think about you twice every second while you are gone.

Girls dig sponges of useless knowledge, so if anyone tries to pick you up this weekend, get her number and then I'll go after her wolvyberserker style and beat her senseless. Mercy is for the weak.

Without you, I am Schroedinger's cat...both alive and dead...

It is funny how I have been looking forward to spring break for 18 weeks, counting them down, and then when I had to leave you I felt like I wanted to stay. I am about to waste 25 hours...the travel time...and all I can think about is how I would love to stockpile those hours and save them to spend with you.

My mom found out you are 19. Ha.

When I am without you, my heart is all ate up.

This is the last time I can write to you from Sweden, so I am going to blow you another kiss through the ethernet cable and tell you that I cannot wait to see you.

I am listening to "Glory of Love," the cheesy love song from the Karate Kid, and I wish you were here with me. I'll see you when you get home. And I promise not to be grumpy.

Work will be torture because you will not be there.

[when my roommate was annoying me] Only one more week. After that I will never share a room with anyone but you for the rest of my life.

I rented a movie and blah blah blah, everything seems so empty and boring without you.

I wanted to tell you that I want to marry you and have your big headed children and that I cannot imagine having to do this for another two years. Two days has been torture enough.

Are you drunk?
Are you telling stories?
Are you missing me as I am missing you?

Your grammar mistake was cute, but only after I realized what you meant to say. You wrote: "I am so glad to find out that you read my email. I'm glad you are not worried. You have no reason to be my Sarah." I hope you meant "You have no reason to be, my Sarah"!
I love you. I have every reason to be your Sarah

P.S. All pushups done for our beautiful flag are good pushups. (You are so strong!)

I love you so much that in driving home today, I started crying because I happened to look into a house window and see a wife straightening her husband's tie in the living room. I wanted so much for that to be you and me.

I miss you. To steal a metaphor from one of my new professors, when I am without you, I feel as alone as a bean rolling around in a boxcar.

[after watching an episode of Days of Our Lives] I love you, though. I will never say that you raped me just because you were keeping it a secret that your father didn't really die when he got shot by the Italian Mafia and is instead pretending to be dead to get back at your mother who is trying to cover her murdering tracks.

I am really starting to miss you. I can't wait to be together. 315 days until we get married...

I love you because you didn't vote for Nader and because you think Krispy Kreme donuts are overrated.

And my favorite:

My roommate told me something once that I have been trying to forget for four years. She once said, "In every relationship there is one person who loves more." Once I heard this wise statement, I began to analyze all of my relationships, both romantic and friend. And I have found through the past four years that she has unfortunately been right. There is usually one person who is head over heels for the other and the other tries to figure out why he does not feel the same. My view of relationships has drastically changed in the past four years because in my mind there was little chance of anything that resembled real love.

However, there was the oddball relationship that would come up every once in a while, the two people who seemed so in love that I could not tell who loved more. And my amendment to that statement is that in every relationship there is someone who loves more, until the two people reach a state of love where the difference is indiscernable. It's like some sort of calc graph where the lines become tangential and almost appear to be one graph. And so I decided that this is the only true love, the love where you cannot tell where one graph ends and the other begins.

I was thinking about this as I drove back to school, and I realized that I do not know who loves more in our relationship. It has been so easy to see with others, yet I really think that we love equally. And that amazes me. We are a calc graph. A horizon. A rainbow whose end you can never find.

"In every relationship there is one person who loves more, unless you are [husband] and Sarah, and then you just love the most."

My husband didn't do so bad himself. This one's my favorite:

Before you, I didn't give a rat's ass about girls. Now, I'm a shell of my former self. I'm pathetically crazy about you. I miss you so much that I read all your emails over again and listened to the voice mail message you left me over and over just to hear your voice. How pathetic is that? I would have kicked my own ass in the olden days. Who am I kidding? I love how crazy you make me. Come home.

Husband, the way I missed you five years ago is nothing compared to what I feel now. If it sounds like I loved you then, my feelings have only grown. I miss you so much and I can't wait to see you again.

You're favorite.

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HA

John Hawkins braves the Democratic Underground again and finds a wonderful example of the irony that happens when Christmas pageants can't mention Christmas.

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KISMET

Reader mjseabee on Smash's blog pointed out a wild coincidence. I followed the story of a blogger named SGT Lizzie, who recently ran over an IED and got her "happy ass blown up", as she said. It turns out that Red 6, my husband's best friend, recovered her vehicle. Here's her account of the story, and here's his. Thanks to mjseabee for noticing that two bloggers' lives crossed for a moment.


(Update: Looks like they've figured it out.)

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FRIENDLY

Last week, Annika -- a cool blogger whose themes include poetry and ripping on Britney Spears -- interviewed me via instant messenger. She just tidied up the conversation and posted it on her blog. I think I sound like a huge tool, but I bet that's pretty representative of my real personality: I probably sound like that to everyone. Anyway, if you're interested in hearing me yabber for an hour, check out Chicks Dig Tanks over at Annika's.

Annika and I touched briefly on Pat Tillman, a segment I would like to expand. I seriously didn't hear about the friendly fire until last week. I think the phrase "friendly fire" is is one of the worst things I can think of. I'd rather pretend it doesn't exist, but Tillman's death forced me to imagine the possibility.

2Slick wrote a long and detailed post on the anger the Tillman family feels, the "Army cover-up", and his thoughts on the matter. If you're interested at all in the subject, I highly recommend reading it. I think 2Slick summed up the crux of the controversy, at least for me:

There's a reason why the men involved refused to talk about the incident with the WaPo reporter. It makes them sick. Every single day. It's the first thing they think about when they wake up in the morning, and it's the last thing they think about when they go to bed at night. [...] But no amount of punishment could ever compare to the stomach-grinding guilt that these officers and soldiers will live with every single day of their lives. Please forgive the Army officials for not wanting to string these people up and administer public floggings.

Every now and then, I offer the same generic, sing-songy disclaimer: I have never been in the Army, I speak as a civilian, 75% of what I know comes from my husband, the other 25% comes from movies, etc, etc, etc. That said, I would like to return to the movie Courage Under Fire, which I mentioned twice was the reason I married my husband. I've been told that this movie is pretty emotionally accurate, and when I read 2Slick's post, I kept thinking about Denzel's character. He tortures himself throughout the whole movie for the friendly fire death he caused. In the end, the soldier's family says it's easy to forgive him, but now he has to learn to forgive himself.

One night right after CPT Sims was killed, I had a dream I was a soldier clearing buildings in Iraq. I shot someone who came rushing in the door and then realized he was an American. I woke up with the worst feeling imaginable, and that was just a dream. The guilt I felt based on a dream was so horrible that I can't begin to imagine the guilt of reality.

When your husband is deployed, you can't help but mentally plan for tragedy. I don't know if anything we mentally plan would actually hold up to reality, but we unconsciously work our way through various scenarios so that they're not uncharted territory should they ever come up. Last Wednesday I had to work my way through a mental friendly fire death. That was harder than anything I've imagined so far. But I know that it wouldn't be nearly as hard for me as it would be for the soldier who fired the round. That's how you would forgive something like that.

2Slick is right: there are only victims in a friendly fire, not villains. Is that the way anyone wants their soldier to go out? Hell, no. Is that the way Pat Tillman should've gone out? Not a chance. But I think I can honestly say that I would have an easier time dealing with being the family member than with being the soldier who shot America's hero.

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December 16, 2004

DANG

So today is apparently the day to just post funny stuff. This one's for all my reality show addicted friends: Survivor: Texas Style

And this one's for my mama.

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ROCKY

We're due for a post raving about my husband since I haven't done one in like a couple days now. Every time we chat online, I remember why he's my favorite person in the whole wide world. My husband is not only the smartest man I know, he's also one of the funniest:

Russell: cool about the OIF 4 stuff
Russell: no 1st ID
Sarah: wait, isnt that OIF 3?
Russell: no OIF three is coming in 2 months
Russell: 3rd and 42nd ID
Sarah: dang, I get them confused
Sarah: there are almost as many as the Rocky movies
Russell: Man OIF 5 is gonna suck then

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HEH

Another joke:

Politics: It all really just boils down to this:

Criminals:
Democrats: Give them a second chance.
Republicans: Give them the swift sword of death.

The poor:
Democrats: Give them some food.
Republicans: Give them the swift sword of death.

Endangered species:
Democrats: Give them protection.
Republicans: Give them the swift sword of death.

Dictators:
Democrats: Give them a way out.
Republicans: Give them the swift sword of death.

The uninsured:
Democrats: Give them health care.
Republicans: Give them the swift sword of death.

THE COST:
Democrats: $9,000,000,000,000,000,000
Republicans: $29.95 (cost of one sword)

Heh.

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LAW

Law and order are coming to Iraq. In baby steps, naturally, but they're coming.

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LUCKY

Man, how come I don't live in Hanau?

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December 15, 2004

RED 6

prak.jpg

1LT Neal Prakash from Albany, New York, a tank platoon leader with Alpha Company, 2nd Battalion, 63rd Armor, fires an AT-4 shoulder-fired rocket into a building in eastern Fallujah Nov. 10 after receiving fire from the site during Operation al-Fajr (New Dawn).

Compliments of the 1ID website, pointed out by an observant mother-in-law.

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HEH

And because we all could use a laugh, here's a joke from Oda Mae:

A Baptist minister was seated next to a Marine on a commercial airline flight. After the plane was airborne, drink orders were taken.

The Marine asked for a scotch and soda, which was promptly placed before him. The flight attendant then asked the minister if he would like a drink.

The minister replied in disgust, "I'd rather be savagely raped by brazen whores than let liquor touch my lips."

The Marine handed his drink back to the attendant and said, "Me too. I didn't know that was a choice."

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LUNCH

When I sat down at our office Christmas lunch, I immediately remembered that I don't like any of the people I work with. I ate with a bunch of looters. Two hours of conspiracy theories and "health care is a right" and all sorts of socialist nonsense from people who have chosen to remain in Germany as squatters, mooching off the Army. The table conversation would've been funny, I suppose, if it didn't make me want to throw up. One woman was complaining about health care in the US and about how much better it is in Germany. She said that German doctors weren't motivated by money like American doctors and that they earn the same salary as schoolteachers. "Then what's the incentive to become a doctor?" I asked. She got all flustered and condescending. "But that's thinking like an American! You can't think like that!" "But I am an American," I responded. "I'm an American to the bone." "But life isn't about money!" she whined. So here's where the fun began. "OK," I said, "then since we all work equally hard in our education center to help soldiers, why don't we pool our money and all get paid the same salary?" "Oh, but that's different because we work under the American system..." she trailed off. Different, really, how? Oh, because she makes $61,000 a year and I make $12,000. It's her pocketbook now, so it's different. "Germans aren't motivated by greed like everyone is in the US," she continued. Her mental gymnastics were simply stunning: this is the woman who gets an outrageous housing allowance from the American government, illegally rents part of her house out, and uses the profit to buy up property in Germany and re-sell it. I suppose she does all of that out of the goodness of her heart and not for profit or anything.

AAAAAAAAAAARRRGGGGGHHHH!

On the way home, I tried to convince myself that I had just had a lovely lunch with Bunker, Deskmerc, Amritas, Fad, and CavX.

A girl can dream, right?

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