April 26, 2004

KETCHUP

Catching up on the weekend:

Check out the lame demonstration against Caterpillar in Peoria. My mom said no one even noticed.

Read about Drill Sergeant Rob's hero.

Check out the making of a good news story.

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April 25, 2004

RESULTS

The moment you've all been waiting for: the before and after of my trip to visit Tim.
You can also read Tim's infuriating before on his blog.

I've had some extra thoughts since I got home. The funniest one is that my mother encouraged me to go meet a total stranger from the internet. I think we look at blogging in a different way than we look at internet dating...

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April 23, 2004

BLOG TRIP

Remember when Roger Simon went to Paris and met The Dissident Frogman, Merde in France, and Nelson Ascher? Man was I jealous. I wanted to make a blog trip too. I want to meet these people whose lives I follow every day, more closely than I follow any of my friends' lives.

So I bought a train ticket yesterday.

That scenario could lead me off in a whole different direction, by the way. I could talk about how I tried to put to use the German I've been studying and say Ich möchte am Samstag nach Frankfurt fahren bitte, and how the girl behind the counter gave me this exasperated look when my German wasn't as fast as she would've liked, and how finally I just gave up and let her do it all in English, and how I walked out of the train station fuming and wondering why I even bother to study German in the first place. But that's a diatribe for another day; we need to stay on track.

Last week I decided that I needed some support. When my friend remarked that my house is entirely too quiet and that she doesn't know how I can stand to be alone like this, I started to think that I'd like to spend some time with someone who knows exactly what I've been thinking since day one.

So the grokkingest girl on the planet is going to Frankfurt...to meet Tim.

We had planned to meet once CPT Patti returned, but after last week's extension and missions, I figured there was no time like the present to just make it happen. So I'm going tomorrow to meet my first fellow blogger.

I'm a little nervous, to be honest. First of all, I have no idea what Tim looks like! I referred him back to my sweater photo and told him to be on the lookout for me at the train station. He also promised me a big hug -- something I have not had in two months -- and I'm honestly afraid that I might break down weeping there in the Hauptbahnhof. But it might be the best thing for me.

The hardest part about making this trip is explaining to people around here where I'm going. Do you want to come over on Saturday? Actually, I'm going to Frankfurt. What are you doing there? Visiting a friend. Are you staying the night? No, just a day trip. That's eight hours on the train -- why not spend the night? Because it's probably not appropriate to get a hotel with someone else's husband and a man I've never met before. Wait, who are you going to visit?

Just joking on that last part; I haven't said that because I know how odd it sounds. I've circumvented the whole thing really, just saying that I'm going to visit a friend. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Blogging resumes on Sunday, starting with what Tim looks like...

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BELONGINGS

Yesterday was a rough day for my friends here. The two of them work in the Quartermaster: they tag and sort soldiers' uniforms and TA50 to be laundered. Yesterday PFC Ludlam's laundry came in. My two friends tearfully and carefully tagged every piece of clothing PFC Ludlam had here in Germany, to make absolutely certain that all of it comes back to them clean so it can be shipped home to his family. Their hearts were breaking as they did this, as mine did when I heard the story.

I know some of my readers know PFC Ludlam's family. They can be assured that my two friends are doing everything they can to respect his belongings and make sure they make it home.

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UNEMPLOYED

If all soldiers wrote as well as Drill Sergeant Rob, I'd be out of a job. Thanks, Bunker.

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WHY

This is a phenomenal story. Why why why was it reported in the UK and not at home? Why isn't this news, why do we Americans have to go digging around to find positive stories about our servicemembers?

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April 22, 2004

EPIDEMIC

First Spain, then Honduras, and now the Dominican Republic.

Do you remember when Stan contracted vaginitis? Seems there's an epidemic going around the Spanish-speaking countries.

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DENIGRATE

From Mohammad:

I wasn’t like this before. I was afraid most of the time. I have always looked for safety above all. I lost faith in the whole world and I wasn’t ready at all to make the slightest sacrifice for the sake of others. I was trying to leave my country and find a better job in a safe place, BUT, The brave solders (who don’t hold shares at Halliburton or Bechtel) who crossed seas and oceans and came to my country to fight for our freedom -and don’t anyone dare say the opposite, as I met so many of these soldiers and had hundreds of letters from them and there families and I know their motives; they fight for their country’s safety and for our freedom and they are proud of what they are doing- gave me the faith and showed me that man should not care only about himself, his family or his country, these are not enough to make a human being. These guys are MUCH better than me because I have to fight for my issue and they fight for me. They deserve the respect of the world and so do the people who support them. They always give me hope to go on no matter how difficult it seems.

A couple of my soldiers wrote yesterday that they don't think the military belongs at our elite universities because somebody smart enough to go to Harvard should do bigger and better things than the military. They're going to get yelled at today.

Yes, there are smart folks at Harvard. But so much of elite academia is self-perpetuating horse manure. I've never been to Harvard, but I did go to a fairly rigorous university, and many aspects of it were a joke. The students weren't that motivated, most of them simply wanted to regurgitate on the test and then go to their frat party, and a great number of them are now America-bashing MA students, cycling back through the system. In contrast, my students work their tails off to attend classes in addition to their more important job of PROVIDING FREEDOM!

I'm extremely disappointed to hear my student soldiers denigrate themselves like that. At Iraq the Model a soldier's inherent worth is obvious; why isn't it obvious to them? Maybe I should smoke them at the start of class...

MORE TO GROK:

Well, I tried to smoke them, but I got choked up. They were looking at me with the most interesting look on their faces; I realized that most of them consider their job to be nothing special. They don't think they're heroes, so for me to get choked up when I praise them is probably a hoot.

But they're all heroes to me.

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April 21, 2004

JOKE

A popular bar had a new robotic bartender installed. A fellow came in for a drink and the robot asked him, "What's your IQ?" The man replied, "130." So the robot proceeded to make conversation about physics, astronomy, investments, insurance, and so on. The man listened intently and thought, "This is really cool." Another gent came in for a drink and the robot asked him, "What's your IQ?" The man responded, "100." So the robot started talking about football, baseball, and so on. The man thought to himself, "Wow, this is really cool." A third guy came in to the bar. As with the others, the robot asked him, "What's your IQ?" The man replied, "70." The robot then asked, "So, are you Democrats really going to nominate John Kerry?"

HAHAHAHAHA...

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UNCLE TOM

Found via Annika: a wonderful post on the term Uncle Tom. May I just say how nauseated I was when I saw the uncle tom slurs on Kos last week? This post is a much better reaction than I would have done -- mine would've had too much swearing and punching.

MORE TO GROK:

Yeah, it's a lefty blog, but it's a really good post!

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COINCIDENCE

My students had to write a short reaction to an article on anti-militarism in universities. The responses varied, as they would vary in any cross-section of the public, but does it seem like more than a coincidence that the only student to use the phrases "imperialistic government", "ducking the texas national guard", and "barbarian invaders" is the civilian who's already studied at a university in the US? I refrained from writing snide comments on his paper even though I could have torn his argument to shreds, and he still got the same grade as everyone else. But I certainly noticed the difference in tone.

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SADDAM

There he is! I was wondering when we'd hear more on Saddam.

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WISE MAN

A buddy of Amritas' started a new mu.nu blog called Rishon Rishon, and I really like how he came up with the name for it.

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YEP

Wow. On a bad day, I think I could have written this article.
People are beautiful, the world stinks

Thanks, LGF.

And I thoroughly enjoyed this informed fisking of Michael Moore.

Thanks, Synthstuff.

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April 20, 2004

P-TOWN

Ye-ah, P-town is in the house! (Sorry -- silly me, trying to "represent".)
Too bad I don't know this Marine from my hometown.

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GROK

Sam is dealing with a troll, and he had some very insightful remarks:

Not to forget; that no single Iraqi accept and like to see the occupation of his country by a foreign troops. We all would like to see an end to the occupation but not by the way of chaos, looting, robbery, blood shed, abduction, killing innocent people, terrorist attacks, destruction of power stations and of oil and water pipes, dirty power seeking militias, force using to impose their own way of life on women and men, assassinations of university professors and doctors and intellectuals, and so on and so forth. A scale is of a complete havoc and destruction. This is not resistance at all. What happened in Falluja and by Sadr are part of what I listed above. Thugs are seeking power or money or pushed by terrorist of Wahabi origin to commit their crimes.

Those who clap and shout slogans to Sadr on last Friday are the same people who did the same and more slogans for Saddam! Those who kill in Falluja are the same people who did the crimes of mass graves and tortures and Halbja chemical attacks by Saddam. Those who negotiate for them the Sunni Group and mediate for the release of hostages are the one who cried and regret the fall of the most tyrant regime on earth.

Yes we have been liberated from that regime with the help of the coalition troops and the USA admitted that it is an occupying force. GWB and his aides and Ministers etc, always said that they like to help to build a free, democratic Iraq with open and strong economy. This sound very good for us and we would like to see it started as soon as possible. We know that it is delayed for a little while but the reasons are very well know? It is the others who do not like to see it started and we are always said that it should start sooner rather than latter. See who kidnap and kills the contractors and bomb the oil pipes and the water pipes? It is the above groups who do not like to see security and reconstruction as well as the regional countries.


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OPSEC

Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead. -- Benjamin Franklin

The hardest part about being a spouse is keeping things opsec. Last week I got myself in trouble by being too informed: I keep up on the news and know what's going on, and our rear detachment SSG got upset that I told another soldier what I had learned; he thought I had gotten the info from down range instead of from Associated Press! I am trying to be very cautious about what I talk about now, even if it's already in the news, but it's really hard for me to not share information with other wives who are just as concerned as I am. For example, I just found out something very interesting, but I don't think I can trust anyone else not to spread it. If I let myself tell just one person, and then she lets herself tell just one person, and so on, then I might as well tell everyone. I hate to keep the information inside -- I feel like I could explode right now -- but I know it's best if I don't share. I've already seen how fast stories can circulate, and I don't want to contribute to that. I have to learn to keep it quiet; man, is that a skill I don't have!

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FREEDOM

So the first quote that I pull from Mexifornia has nothing to do with either Mexico or California. But it relates to something that happened here yesterday:

Europeans who drive their safe government cars to the beach, work seven hours a day, enjoy six to eight weeks off yearly, and have nearly all their medical problems, tuition, natal care and rest home worries taken care of by a maternal government see us as impoverished. Yet Americans find Europeans' tiny homes, solitary small cars, single televisions, and outrageously expensive food, clothes, entertainment and gasoline a real poverty that restricts the individual's ability to satisfy his cravings.

I honestly don't have that much interaction with Germans. I go to restaurants occasionally, but usually to the same ones over and over, and I have some German friends, but they're pretty Americanized (it's hysterical to be with a group of German women who are trashing Germany mercilessly.) I have never really had any run-ins with Germans, so I'm fascinated by the stories the Conflicted Reservist tells. He started working for the Germans about two years ago and has thus lost his support from the US military. He is engaged to a German and owns a house here and for all intents and purposes is living the German life. And he faces deep troubles with Germany and her citizens.

His neighbors won't let their kids play with his daughter because she's American. He tried to help a neighbor jump start his car once, and the neighbor refused his help, saying, "You're an American." Two weeks ago he had his motorcycle tires slashed by a German biker who growled "American" in his face. This Reservist is trying to fit in to the German world, and he's facing shocking opposition.

When we first moved here, my husband went to get his haircut and had to listen to the German barber go on about how the US doesn't have any real freedom because once she was at Walmart and wanted to try on bras in the middle of the store; security wouldn't let her, thus we have no freedom. Europeans might have more freedom to take their clothes off whenever they want, but there are other realms I'd rather have freedom in.

The Reservist's fiancee just had a baby last week. They went to get their new daughter's birth certificate, and they were told they cannot name their child what they want. First of all, the Germans wouldn't let them give the child the Reservist's last name since they're not yet married. Second of all, they won't let them name their daughter Haley Amber because it's not German-sounding. So their child doesn't have a name yet. Legally, the Germans can tell you what to name your children -- an appalling governmental control, in my opinion.

Just as we define poverty differently, as Mexifornia shows, we seem to cherish different expressions of freedom. The Germans may look at our inability to tolerate boobs in the Walmart as being one step away from a police state, but I see the inability to choose a child's name as a more important freedom that's being denied to this Reservist.

So the Reservist is fed up; he's moving to Spain.

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MIMIC

Sometimes I just have to laugh when I think of how the terrorists are starting to mimic what they hear on the American media. I don't for a second believe that these terrorists give one fig about Kyoto or Halliburton or a peace treaty with Europe. These people are not dumb; they know what the transnational progressives in the West want to hear and they give it to them. They listen to the protestors, and then suddenly a "new bin Ladin tape" comes out and says exactly what the moonbats want to hear. It's all fascinatingly silly to me.

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April 19, 2004

FRIEND

After reading this new Amritas post, I just wanted to take a moment to publicly thank Marc Miyake for being such a good friend. Sunday in an email I mentioned that I was feeling rather down, and he called me to make sure I was doing OK. Some people I have known for years have not called or emailed me once since my husband left for Iraq, yet a virtual stranger loses sleep at night worrying about me. Not only is he insanely smart (the dude taught himself Japanese), but he's also extremely caring and a wonderful friend.

(And he'll probably kill me for broadcasting this...)

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