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09 November 2008 @ 10:39 pm
OK, this is NOT mine.
Was sent to me by a former student, now in Germany and headed for a second tour of Iraq next month:


Guiding Light

I walk slowly through the street of the city... my city.

I walk slowly so slow, I’m really strolling. No purpose in mind other than the need to move, to see, to feel...

I feel, and something feels wrong.

Imperceptible to my senses, and unaided by my logic, but my soul, it feels.

And as my skin tingles and my heartbeat decreases... my soul screams BULLSHIT.

I’m home and it’s cold... but I’m sweating and my ears are ringing...

I see her in the distance... calling me forward, a sad look on her face and as I move to embrace her, on the front steps of my childhood home...

She kisses me softly the violently pushes me away and whispers... '

I am with you always... But you cannot be here... you are not finished'

Smoke fills my nostrils choking me... and as I regain consciousness, my adrenaline floods...

My senses over powered almost as soon as they return from numbness and grow sharp...

My body ignores my logical brain as my hands find the rifle still slung to me...

My body checks the weapons status, as familiar as her body, and as the round in the chamber is ejected and replaced...

My mind finally takes comfort in the familiar sound of the shell hitting the floor...

My Team is waiting for me; I bring them comfort as they give me strength...

"Okay... we’re screwed.  Here’s what’s gonna’ happen..."

Welcome to the Fight.

Caquan Palmer

Saturday, November 08, 2008  

Oh Lord God Almighty,
Please bring my friend and all those other sons and fathers and daughters and mothers and all their friends home again safely.

Current Location: Lockport NY
Current Mood: tiredtired
Current Music: Drowning Pool: Bodies
07 July 2008 @ 12:13 am
Well, I'm going against the flow - once again!- and buying a new house. Well, OK, not a new house - it was built in 1925, but new to me. Got a great deal on it, and that's even counting the currently depressed economy.

For the first time ever, I'm in no hurry. Ain't like I gotta move out of the trailer that fast, and I haven't closed on the house yet.I figure to get all the small stuff moved this week in the van, than get a U-Lug on Sunday for the large furniture.

I had my first cookout today. Invited "The Wolfpack" over. Mostly fellow denizens of Baen's Bar, to call us a writer's group is kind of pretentious, but describing them as a "D&D" group - which is what we originally started out as - is too geeky even for us. 

The previous owners left a DuKane gas grill - a Natural gas one - no tanks - sells for approx $700 new - I just cleaned it up, washed the grills, and fired her up on the first try. Just burgers and dogs, but hey...I get the DSL hooked up in the next week or two, and we have the new party place.
Cleaned up the old patio furniture with the pressure washer, hooked up the portable stereo on the patio, and just chilled and enjoyed the evening.
Went in and fired up the MP1 - that's my term for the player piano - and we played about 10 rolls. Kinda cool, the original karaoake, ya know. Got something like 400 rolls or so that the previous owners left. A lot of it is songs I never heard of, some I've heard of, but never heard, so I'm working my way through the boxes. Some of it is labeled in Polish, but that's close enough to Russian that I can sort of follow the titles, but still nothing I recognize. 
Well, gotta get going, it's midnight and I gotta go to work tomorrow.
Current Location: Lockport NY
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Current Music: Little River Band
05 July 2008 @ 12:01 pm

I'm in the process of buying a house.
Got a great deal - 1700 sq feet three bedrooms, finished basement,  1.5 car garage with storage loft and $45K. Downside is an itty bitty lot I can mow in under 10 minutes and the place has not been maintained. I think an old couple lived there, retired in 1987, and did very little upkeep after that.
Got a break on the price because I offerred to clean it out. Now, don't get me wrong. I think my garbage men hate me - the old folks were true children of the depression, and I could just hear my dad saying "But I might be able to use that" I have been dragging a dozen bags of trash to the curb every week since the first of May. 

But the real bummer is the legalities. I have bought houses in Ohio, Alabama and New Jersey. This is the first house I bought in New York, first house in 10 years, and OMFG!
Forex, the bank inspector is going over my records, and can't figure out why there's a $3000 deposit to my checking account. The fact that it say "transfer from savings" doesn't give him a clue. 
Bit of telephone tag to get that resolved. The next day, he's got another question - why am I getting monthly payments on the first business day of the month...from "DFAS-Cleveland" Lesee, a retired military guy, buying a house through the Veterans administration, getting monthly payments from the Defense Finance Accounting Service...yep, sounds suspicious to me.
Oh yeah, and just to make things interesting, I paid my earnest money on May 1, two months later, I'm at Fort Drum on Summer Leadership School Cadre, and THAT's when they gotta talk to me. I mean, they seem to have enough exasperation with the fact that I don't answer my cell phone when I'm teaching class.
 Ya gotta love cell phones - "Mr Stalker, could you drop off a copy of your insurance policy. We can't find the one you mailed last week."
"M'am...I am on the rifle range on the side of a mountain in the Adirondacks. Wait a second "loud noise drowns out conversation" sorry, that was a flight of Blackhawk helicopters. Just a second *another Loud noise* sorry, that's a couple of M-240 machine guns - what were you saying?"
"Yes, M'am, that sounds good, I guess I'll drop it off when I get back next week.

Current Location: Lockport NY
Current Mood: happyhappy
Current Music: Gordon Lightfoot
05 July 2008 @ 09:48 am

Got into a discussion with a guy here about all the cops doing DUI checks this weekend.

Thought I'd post my reply here:

As far as I'm concerned, me and white man's firewater don't get along. Mind you, I did a lot of experimentation, back in my younger days, but my dad is Native American, my mom's Japanese. I have an ETOH tolerance of about zip.
Drink all ya want though, enjoy!
Call me, I'll drive ya home, OK?
My first supervisor at NNMC Bethesda did three tours of 'Nam. Spent his third tour up in the Rung Sat Special Zone, racing the NVA to the downed pilots.
Never got injured bad enough to require medical care out-of-country.
So, he goes home to West-by-god-Virginia for the 4th of July, 1976. Driving down a road near Beckley, runs into a schmuck with a snootful.
at 10.30 in the morning.
Bastard killed Pete, his wife, and both boys. The little girl lived a week longer.
The drunk walked away.
Never saw a group of sailors and Marines get that close to lynching.

We had the jail reconned, mapped, and a  flash bangs, smoke and CS ready to go. Imagine a squad  sitting on a grassy knoll about half a mile from the jail fence, scoping the place and trying to gigure how to identify the correct prisoner van.

Yep, THAT serious.

Nowadays, I'd use the SVD and the night scope...but that's what 33 years of experience get's you.

Tags: ,
Current Location: Lockport, New York
Current Mood: depresseddepressed
11 November 2007 @ 10:57 am
Today is November 11.
What is it's significance?
It's a three day weekend, and most folks are enjoying the chance to sleep in tomorrow.
Some big sale ads in the Sunday Paper. Looks like the Christmas Specials are starting early.

A few people are at sparsely attended ceremonies and some are cursing the lazy and ungrateful protected masses of strap hanging sheep.

Some are looking at the rows upon rows of flags on headstones and wondering why we bothered - why they, the ones who sleep beneath those flags, why did they bother.

Why did they pledge their "Lives, Fortunes and Sacred Honor" and carry through?

Was it worth it? Does anybody care?

They had lives. They had futures.

I think of Tim - he was in school with my older brother - big, blond, might have been an NFL draft pick, but his dust -off ate a burst of 23mm over the Ashau Valley in '68. He would have been 58 this year - I imagine him as a fat, bald grandfather taking his grandkids to the mall today...but there's a stone with his name on it here.

I think of my Great Uncle George, a B-24 gunner. He died of Typhus on the green jungle of hell of Bougainville in the South Pacific. He left a son that was born after he died. What kind of man might he have been, if he'd come home alive from that war?

I think of Chris, an SP I knew in Korea. He got out of the AF, joined the Kansas Guard, got a commission, died in a convoy ambush in 2005. His son must be seven now....

Like any military person, I realize that war is a necessary evil.
Only the stupid believe that "If you ignore it, it will go away."

I like the world I live in. It isn't perfect...but I envision a world with Soviet, Nazi or Imperial Jjapanese Troops in the streets of my town,

Nope, I prefer this world, imperfect as it is. Energy prices are hefty, but at least we're not huddled around a trash fire, wondering how many will survive the winter. We aren't scrounging in trash cans for the leavings of our "betters"

But, damn it, I want three things:
1. Our troops need the best stuff to do their jobs. Not crap, not over-priced pretty high tech junk that falls apart in combat, but good, usable equipment and food.
2. Good medical care for the survivors. Not necessarily "top-of-the-line" stuff, but don't abandon them to the streets like feral dogs, or keep them in hospitals with mold dripping from the walls.
3. If you're an American Citizen, make GOD-DAMNED sure that you do everything you can to make sure that we only send troops to places in the best interests of the United States.

Not crapholes like Somalia or the Balkans, nor the much discussed Darfur. "Nation-building" only works when you understand, really understand, the cultures and people. For the most part, we don't.

When you "send in the Marines" ...or anybody else...we are not faceless, mindless robots.

Soldiers, sailors, airmen - we are all people. We all have lives, and dreams and families.

If YOU- America, demands it, we will put it on the line and die, if need be.

My Grandfather, my father, myself, my son - we have all made that promise, that bargain. We all came home alive, but it was a near-run thing at times.

So, all I ask is that YOU - you personally, as an American - you hold up your end of that deal.


The only further thing I ask is that, if you read this, think about it and pass it on.

Of course, maybe you can just go back to obsessing over whatever Britney whatshername or Paris Lohan did last night, you know, important stuff like that....


(If you gotta ask, you wouldn't understand the answer)
Current Location: Lockport, NY
06 November 2007 @ 03:43 pm

It's election day.
You SHOULD vote, just to make sure the government officials know you're still alive.
Trouble is, it's an off-year.

Here in Nigara County, New York, I looked at the ballot and wondered if I'd moved to the USSR and not noticed it.

Basically, for most of the offices, there was only one candidate...on some, I had the same person running both as Republican and Democratic, not just Conservative, Green, Coalition or whatever....seven seperate blocks on the ballot, but the same name in every block....On the State Supreme Court, there were 15 blocks, we could vote for any three, but there were only four individuals on those 15 blocks.

I guess nobody's interested....

Current Location: Lockport, NY
Current Mood: numbnumb
Current Music: Drowning Pool