Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year!

Here's to a wonderful 2006!!

This is as close as I'm getting to the fireworks at the Space Needle tonight, since I'm headed for bed shortly. Click the image for a Castle Argghhh! Public Service Announcement ...

Space Needle, Seattle

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

In Memoriam

It's a hard thing to lose a loved one at any time, but especially hard during a holiday which is typically marked by family gatherings. My heart goes out to Jack Grant, who is finding his way through this hard reality, having lost his beloved father, William Martin Grant.

The picture below gives no hint whether the sun is rising or setting, and sometimes in life the end is also the beginning ...

Cycle of life

You can leave a kind word for Jack at his blog, Random Fate.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas!

I wish you all a safe and Merry Christmas. If you are far from the ones you love, then take care of those around you.

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 23, 2005

Poor Grandma!

About this time of year, the airwaves and elevators are filled with insidious tunes that play over and over. Some of them are classic beauties, and others are just plain goofy, and as hard to get out of your head as "It's a Small World".

My sister and I have a personal favorite, which I don't even know all the way through. That is due to the fact that simply singing the first line is guaranteed to send the Hubster off into Grinch mode. Hmm - not that this is difficult, you understand. But some triggers work faster than others ... and "Grandma got run over by a Reindeer" works better than most ... *grin*

So imagine my joy at finding an item that could prolong the torture and add a whole new dimension to it! Click here to see the video -- Ry, better not if you're at work!

I don't know why BillT thinks I'm having too much fun. Heh!

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas cheer

John of Argghhh! shares a Politically correct version of an old standard. I don't know, though, it just doesn't seem to have the right rhythm ... what do you think?

Meanwhile, this has to be the best rant of the season, for those of us who are tired of hearing all the anti-Christmas blather. Warning - explicit language, use headphones if you're at work! Thanks to Rachel of Legless in Perpetuum for sharing this one, along with other grins.

Tara of Everything Goes with Pink is sharing daily Christmas cartoons - just start here and scroll down.

Speaking of cartoons, I saw this at Two Babes and a Brain, and just had to have it ...

Ho Ho Ho!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Moonlight over Iraq

Take the Iraqi Army 1st Brigade, 1st Division - add in the Teufelhunden of the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines and supporting aircraft from the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing - and what do you have?

Operation Moonlight is the name, and America's Son gives us his view from the ground.

It's 1815, Tuesday evening. Bingo and I have just returned from assisting the Iraqi Army in Operation Moonlight; a "cordon and knock" mission along the Euphrates river. There were three Iraqi battalions from the 1st Iraqi Brigade involved in the operation which covered a large swath of desert on either side of the river just East of the city of Ubaydi.

I was greatly impressed with the performance of the Iraqi soldiers who bring a much needed local face to the coalition's operations. Many of the soldiers whom I served with brought a wealth of combat experience to the fight from previous operations in Fallujah, Najaf, and most recently Operation Steel Curtain within the cities of Husaybah and Karibala. Most importantly, the Iraqi soldiers fight with passion fueled by a their desire to take the torch and defend their homeland unassisted. While they are willing to serve beside coalition forces, each soldier that I spoke to about their progress told me (in broken English) how much pride they take in the defense of their country. They are also quick to tell you how thankful they are for "Ameriki's" assistance. Also worthy of note, is that Operation Moonlight was a milestone for the Iraqi army as it was the first ever brigade size operation conducted by the newly created army.

There's a lot more ... Go read the whole thing here. Make sure you include a pat on the head for his 4-footed partner as well.

Also, if you aren't already following Bill Roggio's reporting from Iraq (and why aren't you??), check out these articles :
  • Operation Moonlight, with a Twist
  • The Teufelhunden of the 3/6
  • Christmas decorations

    This is about as close as I'm going to get to decorating the outside of my house!

    XMas card
    Click on the picture and then the bottom menu.

    Thanks to Echo9er for the great link.

    Monday, December 19, 2005

    What a sicko

    We have all wondered who would be sick enough to send the horrible card to soldier Joshua Sparling at Walter Reed Medical Center.

    Well, wonder no longer. According to Michelle Malkin, it is the same twisted cretin who once ran a site called "Forsake the Troops". I'll let you read the whole thing at her site, since I refuse to feed this asshat's ego by printing his name or providing a link to anything he has on the web. He's not human, he's an oxygen-stealing biped with a severe brain deficiency.

    I do want to thank the terrific folks at Two Babes and a Brain for the hat tip, though. They're the good guys - and went in to visit Joshua last week in person. Excellent!

    Sad stories

    It's that time of year, when stories appear that tug on your heart strings and make you grateful for what you have.

    Chuck Ziegenfuss seems to be recuperating well, if this story is any indication.

    If you were touched by that little vignette, then you will want to go and visit Appalachian Gun Trash for a real doozy.

    Sunday, December 18, 2005

    Withdrawal symptoms

    I am just getting connected to the internet again after a 4 1/2 hour break, due to our cable service disappearing. I'm still experiencing the withdrawal symptoms ... *shudder*

    This morning I woke to the sound of tree branches hitting the roof, and howling winds. The sky is clear as a bell, but the wind sometimes gusts so hard that our 60-70 foot tall fir trees wave back and forth 15-30 feet at the top. So far no big parts have fallen on us, though!

    Shortly I will be taking off to attend our last company Christmas party. This year, the Hubster's company has booked a dinner cruise on Lake Washington - as part of the Christmas Ship Parade ... Whoo Hoo!

    Christmas Ship Parade

    The only downside? It's clear and windy now, which could be interesting - but it is supposed to cloud up this evening, and rain and/or sleet tonight. I just hope it waits until after we get home!

    Friday, December 16, 2005

    Iraqi Good News

    The elections yesterday are another great achievement in the progression toward peaceful democracy in Iraq. Congratulations to the Iraqi people, and to our men and women in uniform who have been doing the mission every day to keep this happening. America's Son offers his perspective on the day ...

    Since I have been here in Iraq, I have not heard celebration such as what I witnessed yesterday. It was a surreal atmosphere. At one time, I looked at one of the Iraqi soldiers and asked him "Are they happy?", as a flag waving throng made their way down one of the streets of the city. "Yes. They say 'Long live Iraq' and 'Today is a great day for all Iraq', he responded as he thrust his ink stained finger in the air. It was indeed a great day for all of us.

    Go read the rest.

    In other good news from Iraq, Jim Hake of the Spirit of America reports on the success of a different kind of mission - Operation Snapshot.

    "The pictures were the hit of the day. I showed the Iraqi Soldiers how to take pictures and just let them go with it."
    --Sgt. Charity Lewis, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, Al-Anbar Province, Iraq

    "In the end 200-300 Polaroid cameras with plenty of film spread across the Division zone may go farther in establishing enduring relations than a thousand soccer balls!"
    -- LtCol Jeff Vold, United States Marines

    Some missions just need different tools, that's all.

    Thursday, December 15, 2005


    Yes, the Iraqi elections are today, and there's a great post at Iraq The Model, which has been updated all day with reports from around Iraq. Fantastic pictures and tons of first hand reports!

    But there are elections here that are important as well. Don't forget to go vote for your favorite (Argghhh) milblog (Argghhh) today (Argghhh). The voting is open until midnight - Go for it!

    Wednesday, December 14, 2005

    Gift idea (updated)

    Call me a sick puppy, but I love this T-Shirt design! I think it would makea great gift for all the warfighters on my Christmas list.


    This is the design on the front chest. Be sure to go to the web site and see the main graphic on the back!

    AND ... Speaking of gifts, I've been giving the gift of Votes for Castle Argghhh in the Best Milblog category as often as allowed. But now that it's coming down to the wire, BillT has offered a TINS in exchange for pushing Argghhh past The Officers Club in the voting. The trick is - we have to get the votes in before he'll tell the tale.

    Please ... please ... PLEASE go vote for John, Bill and Dusty - you KNOW you want to!

    Iraq present and future

    A couple of items that caught my eye ...

    Over at Trying to Grok, Sarah looks at parallels between US and Iraqi citizens.

    Lt K took a look throught the crystal ball of his imagination to see what the future might be like in Golden Years.

    Monday, December 12, 2005

    Words do hurt

    I haven't posted on the statements made by Sen. Kerry the other day on "Face the Nation" regarding our troops in Iraq, comparing them to terrorists. It's been covered everywhere from the political side, and I have no great insight to add to the discussion, except to say that it is yet another ball in play in the political game.

    But I am not a warfighter facing action, so as offensive as I found the comparison to be, my thoughts aren't as important as those of warriors on the ground. America's Son is fighting in Iraq, go read Are We the Enemy to understand how the troops on the ground feel about the comparison.

    Taking care of Business

    On Friday I posted about supporting our wounded servicemembers by sending cards and letters (scroll down). Just as important is our support for the men and women in the sandboxes, who are going to be spending this Christmas away from their families and the comforts of home (again, in some cases). I've been sending packages to some great folks, and even gained a Blogson out of it (*grin*), but this request is too important to pass up.

    The Armorer asked us all to dig just a tiny bit deeper for a special case raised by Deb at Turns out there are some units far from home who are going to have a very empty Christmas, and Deb is working hard to change that. Her Operation Santa is going to try to get some stockings over to them ASAP, and needs our help.

    If you can spare a few dollars to help her fill and ship these stockings, it would be most appreciated. Please go read her post, and donate a little to help her be Santa's elf to the troops, won't you? (From her main page, the PayPal button is on the right)

    Putting my money where my blog is, I've sent along my donation ...

    Dear Barbara Way,

    This email confirms that you have paid $25.00 USD using PayPal.

    Payment Details

    Transaction ID: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Sales Tax: $0.00 USD
    Total: $25.00 USD
    Item/Product Name: Marine Corps Moms
    Buyer: Barbara Way


    Your turn.

    Friday, December 09, 2005

    Support our Wounded troops

    Looking for a way to support the troops? There are a lot of our amazing men & women in all the services who are recuperating in various military medical facilities around the world. Truth be told, they could use to hear from us all year long, but as Christmas is rapidly approaching - let's show our spirit of giving in a very simple way.

    For the cost of writing paper or card and a stamp, you can brighten someone's day considerably. If you are interested in helping to spread some holiday cheer, zoom over to Sgt Hook's and see how to get 'hooked' up!

    Thursday, December 08, 2005

    Weird is good ... right?

    Contagion had a fit when Oddybobo tagged him with another meme, which would just be funny. But he decided to tag me with it ... great. I'm supposed to bare my soul and tell you all about five of my weird habits.

    Only five?

    Here you go, in no particular order.

    1. I don't bite my fingernails, but I nibble on the skin around them - and sometimes draw blood by accident.

    2. When I travel, I like to pack for the return the night before, no matter how late that means I get to sleep. Otherwise I can't sleep at all.

    3. I love picking out postcards on trips, but I almost never mail them. They're for *me*, don't ya know!

    4. I'm an electronic pack rat - saving almost every email I get from my friends and family. (Blackmail is easier that way)

    5. For true bloggy weirdness - I select the taggees before I complete the meme!

    See, that wasn't so bad ... at least I keep the same numbering scheme for my whole list, unlike *some* people I could name!

    Now I'm supposed to name the next five victims players. I choose Sgt B, AFSister, Crazy Ride Lady, AnalogKid and GunTrash.

    Good reads

    Thanks to Gunn Nutt for highlighting a great take on a Christmas classic from a FreeRepublic post. Go check out The Liberal Night Before Christmas!

    Not everyone has the same take on the 'War on Christmas'. Holly Aho shares her viewpoint, and reminds us to keep things in perspective.

    And speaking of Christmas, the Armorer shares some good links for real troop support, and the battle with the ACLU - support Operation Nativity! While you're there - check out his bleg for the Weblog Awards.

    The Fuzzilicious one shares A Soldiers Christmas poem, a beautiful and moving piece that makes me tear up every time. Send healing wishes her way - the flu bug has bitten her, and she doesn't have time for it! My own package of warm, healing thoughts is on its way.

    Speaking of bugs attacking, Rammer and Punctilious are battling their own infection - of Spam. You may not be able to leave comments, but go check out today's Man Bits Dog story.

    Yesterday at the Castle, BillT uncovered The Invisible Enemy, as a response to a comment by Kat. Today Kat herself shares some of the evidence of Real Torture in Iraq.

    JMH thoughtfully provided a link that maps the popularity of baby names. It even tracks Barb separately from Barbara, for instance. Meanwhile, Bad Cat Robot makes the case against relying on technology.

    Chuck Z has been doing well - and has (re)discovered that stupidity is contagious.

    Wednesday, December 07, 2005

    Remembering Pearl Harbor

    My parents' generation were galvanized to action sixty-four years ago, when the Sunday morning attack on Pearl Harbor shocked the nation. My Dad was a high school lad of 16, and had to wait almost two years before his 18th birthday to join the Army. He was never an athlete - even after his service he remained a bookish and geeky young man. But he became a soldier, and he did his duty gladly. He's been gone these past 5 years, but he once told me that his memories were only of the men he served with.

    Sgt Hook reminds us that the ranks of the Greatest Generation get thinner all the time.

    For further reflection on the day, visit Capt B, who reminds us to Walk Tall America.

    John of Argghhh! remembers the day in words and pictures.

    Meanwhile, Kat of The Middle Ground reviews her favorite part of President Roosevelt's speech, and the word Infamy isn't in it.

    * UPDATE *

    America's Son remembers walking in the Footprints of Heroes.

    At Blackfive, Matt shares a Chaplain's message in remembrance.

    Tuesday, December 06, 2005

    5 Things

    AFSister tagged me with the 5 things meme. What 5 things? I'm supposed to come up with facts about me that you likely don't know. Given all of the other memes I've played along with, finding 5 might be a challenge.

    Here Goes ...

    1. I played string instruments through high school - mostly the cello - and performed with 2 schools in a total of 5 musicals. Since then ... nada.

    2. I have charged up and fired defibrillators hundreds of times - although never into a person ... yet!

    3. The first country I visited other than Canada and Mexico was India. (not counting the stopover at the Frankfurt airport)

    4. Although I work in computers, my degree isn't in computer science - it's in mathematics.

    5. I used to lay out circuit boards by hand, before learning to use CAD systems to do it.

    There ... my job is done! Now, if you would like to play, drop me a comment and I'll link up your post.

    Monday, December 05, 2005

    Iraqi Justice

    ** UPDATED **

    My own disgust for Ramsey Clark is nothing compared to the feelings of those Iraqis seeking justice against Hussein, as demonstrated in this post by Hammorabi.
    H/T to JMH.

    (Original post follows)

    The sight of Saddam Hussein getting mouthy with the court on TV this morning made me thankful for a mute button. I'm glad to read that Judge Amin appears to be holding the circus together - even shutting down some initial grandstanding by Ramsey Clark.

    Sunday, December 04, 2005

    I want one!

    Love these bumper stickers ...

    CNN X


    H/T to E-Claire.

    Lazy Sunday

    I'm lazy, but here are some fine reads for today ...

    Bill Roggio's reporting on operation Steel Curtain struck a chord with America's Son, and he shares some personal insight of his own. He also shares a pictoral reminder of what it's all about.

    Meanwhile, Capt B points out another example of the media getting it wrong. Note to the media - the troops watch your broadcasts, too - and they know when you mis-report things.

    Coming home mid-deployment is meant to provide relaxation and time to reconnect with family. Sometimes the purpose is less joyful - as shared by Lt. K of Wordsmith at War.

    Thursday, December 01, 2005

    Welcome, America's Son!

    ALERT -- New military blog!! I have been corresponding with America's Son for several weeks now, since hooking up with him through Books For Soldiers. I was going to ask him if I could post up a picture of his K9 partner. Well, now I don't need to - he's decided to start blogging. And as cool as pictures are, you need to pay close attention to the words, because the man has something important to say ...

    I often find myself lying in bed awake at night. I am surrounded by war and the tools of its trade. I am required to sleep with my rifle at an arms reach away. There are tanks parked yards away from where I live. Attack helicopters are constantly flying over my head. Every night, I hear about troops in contact, casualty updates and a host of other issues relating to war. I cannot escape the sights and sounds of destruction and I would be lying if I said that this has not affected me. It has. I lie awake at night and ask myself what brought us to this? As a civilization of human beings, what kind of lunacy causes one people to reach a point where the death of another is the only solution to conflict? We as Americans believe that democracy and liberty is a gift from God bestowed to every man regardless of his socioeconomic status, religious affiliation or ethnicity. Our enemies disagree. They hold that democracy has led to the moral decline of this planet and will eventually result in its demise. And because of this, at this very moment, our country is at war with terrorists and we are killing each other.

    That's just a taste - please go read the whole thing here, and let him know you visited.

    Welcome to the blogosphere, America's Son. Keep up the good writing!