Thursday, November 13, 2008

Why donate to Valour-IT?

I'm glad to see that the teams are mixing it up well - with Fuzzybear Lioness hijacking the Castle to post for the Marine team. (Run, Fuzzy, Run!) Still, the Army team is currently holding a decent lead in the inter-service rivalry.

Go Army! Beat Navy!!!

Fun aside, there are many reasons to support Project Valour-IT. When it was created, the concept was simple - provide a laptop and voice-activated software to allow wounded servicemembers to communicate with their loved ones. To give them a means of interaction that didn't require someone else at the controls, and to give them a tool for further independence.

If you need help understanding how much it means to have this, be sure to try Chuck's visualization exercise. Go ahead and come back, I'll wait.
So, did you cheat? Now, imagine that you *couldn't* cheat. Because your arms are too hurt and encased in bandages, or maybe one or both are gone. Imagine how you would stay in touch with your buddies back in the sandbox, or with your family and friends back home.

Over the past three years more than 2700 laptops have been distributed, to men and women like Lieutenant Colonel X :

I don't know where to start. I was thrilled and truly appreciative of the laptop donation that Soldiers Angels sent. My neurology team is ecstatic with the progress that I have made, yet we all temper our excitement as I still have a long recovery ahead. Due to the great hearts (sponsors, donors, volunteers and others too numerous to mention) within Soldiers Angels I have become more mobile in my rehabilitation and the laptop is absolutely one of the tools that I have in my recovery toolbox. I use it to keep current on my schedule and have several applications that assist with recovery.

I know that my recovery has been aided by the cards, letters, and notes sent by your Angels. I love to read them and have started to send Thank You's to many of them. I just want you and everyone to know that your organization is a Godsend to Soldiers. Please send this note of Thanks to the appropriate personnel, and if there is anything I can do to help, let me know.

God Bless You and God Bless America.

Lieutenant Colonel X

Amen to that, sir.

Each year the project has improved, and this year, new technologies have been added for even more impact. One big change is the partnership between Project Valour-IT and the CAP program of the DoD :

Originally Valour-IT provided the voice-controlled software that accompanies the laptops, but now works closely with the Department of Defense Computer/electronic Accommodations Program (CAP): CAP supplies the adaptive software and Valour-IT provides the laptop. In addition, DoD caseworkers serve as Valour-IT’s “eyes and ears” at several medical centers, identifying patients in need of laptops and other technological support for their recovery.

The program is great, but ... there isn't enough money to meet the needs. As Chuck explains, they need our help. Give up some lattes or mochas, and go pop a few dollars in the pot to keep this program going strong. Help to ensure that all of our injured troops who can benefit from this program get hooked up - with the technology that will help them recover and stay connected to the world around them.

Oh - and make sure you donate right here!

Serve those who have Served

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veteran's Day and a Call to Action

Today is set aside to honor our Veterans, those men and women who have served, and those who are serving, offering their lives in defense of the United States of America. It's really something we should do every day - take a minute to thank the Vets around you for their service, send cards / letters through Soldiers' Angels, AnySoldier or Books for Soldiers, stop at a VA facility and brighten someone's day -- whatever way works for you. But at least, take the time today to seek out and thank as many Veterans as you can.

Thanks to John and SWWBO, Bill, Dusty, Sgt B, Keith, Heartless Libertarian, ChuckZ, Neptunus Lex, Doc in the Box, Maj Pain and America's Son. Thank you to the whole gang at Blackfive, Greyhawk, Michael Yon, Army Girl, Allie, Joel, MacGyver, and so many others I have met through blogging. And thank you to Max (both of you!), Wendell, Sneddy, Rob, and countless more who I've met over the years.

Thank You - You guys and gals ROCK!

Today is also the perfect day to launch this year's Project Valour-IT event. That's right, it's time to use a little of that inter-service rivalry for a great cause ... the 2008 Valour-IT fundraiser!

Project Valour-IT
(formerly Voice-Activated Laptops for OUR Injured Troops)

In memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss

It was the first time I felt whole since I’d woken up wounded in Landstuhl.
–Major Charles "Chuck" Ziegenfuss, on using a voice-controlled laptop

Project Valour-IT, in memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss, helps provide voice-controlled/adaptive laptop computers and other technology to support Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand wounds and other severe injuries. Technology supplied includes:

•Voice-controlled Laptops - Operated by speaking into a microphone or using other adaptive technologies, they allow the wounded to maintain connections with the rest of the world during recovery.

•Wii Video Game Systems - Whole-body game systems increase motivation and speed recovery when used under the guidance of physical therapists in therapy sessions.

•Personal GPS - Handheld GPS devices build self-confidence and independence by compensating for short-term memory loss and organizational challenges related to TBI and severe PTSD.

The experience of Major Chuck Ziegenfuss, a partner in the project who suffered serious hand wounds while serving in Iraq, illustrates how important these laptops and other technologies can be to a wounded service member's recovery

As a Denizen of Argghhh!, I am joining the Army team ...

Check back for updates! Meanwhile - go read more at the Soldiers Angels site. And then donate to the ARMY team!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Sgt B is boots-on-the-ground

I was so wrapped up in election angst that I missed Sgt B posting! He is now boots-on-the-ground in Iraq, and has recognized he isn't in Kansas (or eastern Washington) any more. Godzilla's fangs are exposed ... hoping for quiet, but ready for the alternative.

I'm pretty sure I speak for the Denizennes when I say, we fervently hope it's a boring rotation. With Sgt B and Bill both lounging in Iraq, quiet and boring would suit us just fine!

Speaking of Bill - his latest edition of Argghhh-onauts is up. Keep 'em coming, Bill!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

It's funny, until it's not

While I haven't blogged much about politics, or anything else, this fall - I am sure I won't surprise anyone by saying that I support the McCain/Palin ticket. I was extremely happy with the selection of Gov. Palin, and I like the lady's style, wit and brains.

So it's no shock that I got a big chuckle out of this Youtube video portraying the Obamunist being mocked by the world's dictators. It's low humor, but funny.

But the following video wasn't made to be funny, although it made me laugh as I watched it.

I laughed at the idea that anyone seriously wants to vote for a man who couldn't even bring himself to show up on time for his committee meetings ... before he started his public campaign for the Democratic nomination. His constant apologies for his tardiness and absence during testimony, which he then (apparently) intends to comment on, would be disappointing in a high school senior.

In a U.S. Senator it is highly unprofessional.

From a man who thinks he deserves to be President, it is unforgiveable.

This isn't the biggest reason *not* to vote for Obama, with his views on raising our taxes redistributing our wealth, and relieving us of our guns. But if you know anyone who really intends to vote for Obama/Biden, make sure they watch both videos, won't you?

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Recent activities

Much has happened in the last few weeks, and many miles have been traveled. A few weeks ago, I hopped on an airplane with BCR and headed for Last Vegas and the MilBlogging conference. One of the best things about that weekend was getting to meet so many of my imaginary friends, and to hang out with others once again.

In addition to the list below, I was tickled to chat with Francis Marion of Where I Stand again (our previous meet-up was documented here). And I shared tears and hugs with Sarah of Trying to Grok, in remembrance of Mike Reed, AKA Bunker Mulligan, who we lost in 2005. The fact that two people who were meeting in person for the first time could cry over the loss of someone neither had met in person is just one of the aspects of the blogging world that non-bloggers can't really grasp.

Last weekend, I took advantage of a business trip to spend a day at Castle Argghhh, home of the Armorer of Argghhh and She Who Will Be Obeyed. I arrived late Saturday night to find a crowd in the kitchen - Bloodspite of Techography, Wendy of Girl on the Right, and Kat of The Middle Ground and Castle Argghhh were already enjoying life mightily, and we all visited into the night/morning.

Among the benefits of a day at the Castle is the opportunity to throw some lead downrange with John, and several interesting and fine firearms were offered for testing. John captured the visual evidence, and provides context here and here.

I'm traveling again this weekend, headed farther yet away from my PNW anchor. More later!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Milblog Party - Success

Thanks to Matt of Blackfive, and the wonderful folks at the Penthouse club, the milbloggers party was great fun. I had lots of fun meeting old friends for the first time, and putting faces and 'real names' together with blog / commenter names. The club provided a room just for our crowd, complete with dancing poles (more on that later) and an open bar staffed by comely young ladies.

Matt started the night off properly, with a toast to Absent Companions, then encouraged us all to enjoy the party, which order was taken to heart. Bad Cat Robot and I greeted our fellow Denizens - John, SWWBO, AFSister, Maggie, FbL - and tracking down Homefront Six to introduce ourselves for the first time. Then it was off around the room to visit with new/old friends.

One of the people I made sure to track down was blog-brother That 1 Guy. After nearly 4 years of blogging, it was nice to put a face to the guy! Along with the people who have kept me informed and amused over the years, like Matt, Froggy, Laughing Wolf and Uncle Jimbo of Blackfive, Greyhawk (but still waiting to meet Mrs. G), NZ Bear of TTLB, ChuckZ, American Soldier, Sean Dustman of Doc In The Box, and Andi of SpouseBuzz - and many more. I obviously have to do some work on the "Bloggers I have met" section of the sidebar!

Of course, as HF6 says, what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas. But she is keeping track of the evidence. I won't say what happens next after that little series of pictures, but let's just say that there will be blackmail Fund-raising opportunities to come. Stay tuned!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering 9/11

I remember arriving at work around 7am (pacific time) as usual on this day in 2001, not having listened to the radio on the drive. As always, I sat at my computer and scanned email, and ran through the morning ritual of checking on customer cases for our support team.

I don't remember the time, but it wasn't long until my cube neighbor said "The World Trade Center in New York is burning", as he was checking the news feeds on his computer. Then he said "One of the towers is gone!". We thought that impossible to imagine, and the picture on his screen was too small to see well. Then we moved to the conference room, and on the TV feed we could clearly see he was right - there was only one tower left, and the images of the dust cloud across Manhattan.

We stood numbly watching, comforting one another, and many cried as the second tower collapsed. Throughout the day the horror overload continued, and we realized there were virtually no support calls - because the country was doing the same thing we were.

I haven't forgotten, and this song remains one of my favorites.

Others who are remembering today ...


Also, it's interesting to note which of the popular internet search sites are remembering the day. Pictures at the Castle.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

A Veteran's Reasons

This is an eloquent and well-spoken reason for voting for John McCain this fall.

Dear Mr. Obama

From Warrior25, who I Thank for his service in Vietnam and for fathering this fine young man. H/T to BillT of Castle Argghhh!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Going to Vegas

It's a sure thing - BCR and I are heading down to Vegas in September for the MilBlog Conference portion of the BlogWorld Expo.

I'm looking forward to some very interesting panels and lively discussion, and generally to meeting up with many blog friends - many of them for the first time.

Click the banner at the top of the right hand sidebar to read more about the Conference. If you want info on registering as a Milblog / supporter ... Greyhawk has the details here. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

RNC highlights Obama's energy plan

Pretty creative tactic ... I like it!

RNC Delivers Tire Gauges to Obama Press Corps
by Bonney Kapp

When the Obama press corps arrived at the Elkhart, Indiana, Jameson Inn where the campaign is staying tonight, Obama staffers were on hand to distribute room keys - and a small white envelope from the RNC.

That’s right, the Republican National Committee.

Inside the envelope addressed to individual members of Obama’s regular traveling press, was a small tire gauge labeled “Obama’s Energy Plan” along the side, and a note that joyously read, “Happy Birthday, Barack Obama!”

The RNC along with the McCain campaign seized upon Obama’s advice to a voter last week to properly inflate her tires to increase fuel efficiency, and have managed to create a sideshow to mock Obama’s “judgment” and “experience” when it comes to energy policy.

Today Obama helped continue the story line when he accused the Republicans of being “ignorant” on the issue. At his Ohio town hall this afternoon, Obama said, “They think it is funny that they are making fun of something that is actually true. They need to do their homework because this is serious business.”

The RNC doubled down on their humorous assault tonight with its “gift” to the press corps. “We hope you’ll enjoy this complimentary tool related to Barack Obama’s energy plan - your very own tire gauge. Because, instead of actually increasing America’s domestic oil supply, this is how Obama thinks you should try to alleviate your pain at the pump,” the note read.

Obama's Energy Plan

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Web-a-Thon for the troops!

Here it is, folks. A chance to show how much we care about our troops, but joining in to donate to this historic fund-raising event!

May 26, 2008— A team of patriotic leaders are working together in a historic undertaking with the goal of sending the largest single shipment of care packages to U.S. troops in American history. The care package drive will result in the shipment of not just 1,000 care packages—a feat accomplished by the Grand Ole Opry in October 2007 (Source Link). Organizers similarly won’t settle for just the 10,000 packages shipped as part of an impressive effort undertaken by the Nevada Girl Scouts (Source Link). And they plan to surpass the efforts of the terrific organization, Operation Gratitude, which undertook a multi-day effort to pack and ship 50,000 care packages last year (Source Link).

Move America Forward, the nation’s largest pro-troop organization, has launched this historic drive to rally Americans to show our troops in Iraq & Afghanistan just how much support they have from the American people back home.

Read more about it here :

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Milblog Conference registration is up!

I am planning to get to the conference this year, and I am jazzed to catch up with fellow Denizens of Argghhh, and meet some of the milbloggers who have informed and amused me for the past four years!

Registration for the MilBlog Community Track
June 24, 2008 • Andi

The MilBlog Registration Package includes admittance into the full MilBlog Conference Track (all panels) and the exhibit hall. This package will be free of charge for milblog attendees. The BWE staff is extending the MilBlog Registration Package to milbloggers, milblog supporters, members of the military community or those who work in the troop support, non-profit community, but you must plan to attend the MilBlog Community Track in order to take advantage of this offering. We'd like to thank BWE for putting this package together for our attendees. If you want to register for additional events at Blog World Expo, you'll need to pay the associated costs.

To Register:

BWE will assign individual registration codes for MilBlog Track Attendees. Attendees (excluding panelists, speakers or moderators) will receive a registration code and should send an email with "Request Code" in the subject line. You need to meet the criteria laid out above to receive a code. Once your request has been received and a registration code assigned, you'll receive your registration code via email, and you can proceed with registration. If you're bringing a spouse, significant other, etc. you will need to request two codes. Each code is unique and can only be used once. You cannot share your code with someone else. Please request a code only if you plan to attend the MilBlog Track. All other registrations will need to be submitted through the BWE registration page.

If you're requesting a code, but but plan to attend another event (party, workshop, etc.) in addition to the MilBlog Track, after you receive your registration code, you'll need to send an email to Kathy at BWE, tell her you are attending the milblog track and want to pay to attend another portion of the Expo and she will take care of your request.

It may take a couple of days or so for you receive your code. Please don't send follow-up email or worry about it unless it's been more than seven days and you've received no response.

If you're a panelist, speaker or moderator, you will register as a speaker and will not need a registration code. Information on how to register will be emailed soon to all speakers.

Friday, May 30, 2008

A little humor

Got this in email today. There's something here to irritate pretty much everybody.


The chicken crossed the road because it was time for a CHANGE! The chicken wanted CHANGE!

My friends, that chicken crossed the road because he recognized the need to engage in cooperation and dialogue with all the chickens on the other side of the road.

When I was First Lady, I personally helped that little chicken to cross the road. This experience makes me uniquely qualified to ensure -- right from Day One! -- that every chicken in this country gets the chance it deserves to cross the road. But then, this really isn't about me.......

The problem we have here is that this chicken won't realize that he must first deal with the problem on 'THIS' side of the road before it goes after the problem on the 'OTHER SIDE' of the road. What we need to do is help him realize how stupid he's acting by not taking on h is 'CURRENT' problems before adding 'NEW' problems.

Well, I understand that the chicken is having problems, which is why he wants to cross this road so bad. So instead of having the chicken learn from his mistakes and take falls, which is a part of life, I'm going to give this chicken a car so that he can just drive across the road and not live his life like the rest of the chickens.

We don't really care why the chicken crossed the road. We just want to know if the chicken is on our side of the road, or not. The chicken is either against us, or for us. There is no middle ground here.

Now to the left of the screen, you can clearly see the satellite image of the chicken crossing the road...

We have reason to believe there is a chicken, but we have not yet been allowed to have access to the other side of the road.

Although I voted to let the chicken cross the road, I am now against it! It was the wrong road to cross, and I was misled about the chicken's intentions. I am not for it now, and will remain against it.

That chicken crossed the road because he's GUILTY! You can see it in his eyes and the way he walks.

To steal the job of a decent, hardworking American.

No one called me to warn me which way that chicken was going. I had a standing order at the Farmer's Market to sell my eggs when the price dropped to a certain level. No little bird gave me any insider information.

Did the chicken cross the road? Did he cross it with a toad? Yes, the chicken crossed the road, but why it crossed I've not been told.

To die in the rain. Alone.

Because the chicken was gay! Can't you people see the plain truth?' That's why they ca ll it the 'other side.' Yes, my friends, that chicken is gay. And if you eat that chicken, you will become gay too. I say we boycott all chickens until we sort out this abomination that the liberal media white washes with seemingly harmless phrases like 'the other side. That chicken should not be crossing the road. It's as plain and as simple as that.

In my day we didn't ask why the chicken crossed the road. Somebody told us the chicken crossed the road, and that was good enough.

Isn't that interesting? In a few moments, we will be listening to the chicken tell, for the first time, the heart warming story of how it experienced a serious case of molting, and went on to accomplish its life long dream of crossing the road.

It is the nature of chickens to cross the road.

Imagine all the chickens in the world crossing roads together, in peace.

I have just released eChicken2007, which will not only cross roads, but will lay eggs, file your important documents, and balance your check book. Internet Explorer is an integral part of the Chicken. This new platform is much more stable and will never cra...#@&&^(C% .... reboot.

Did the chicken really cross the road, or did the road move beneath the chicken?

I did not cross the road with THAT chicken. What is your definition of chicken?

I invented the chicken!

Did I miss one?

Where's my gun?

Why are all the chickens white? We need some black chickens.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Belated Birthday fun

A belated Washington chapter meeting of Denizennes was held at the local shootin' range Tuesday night. Bad Cat Robot provided a customized birthday gift, so that I could practice shooting at dangerous predators! Sadly, not all my shots were kill shots, but I think it's safe to say that This predator won't be hurting anyone soon ... heh!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Good Question

Favorite helicopter pilot and Castle Denizen, BillT, shares a good story from Iraq. If anyone can answer Hussan's question, I want to know the response.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Sgt B has been Busy!

Blog brother Sgt B of The Gun Line has obviously been kicked by his muse. He had left his series on preparation for deployment hanging at Chapter 2: Movement to Training, but he has not neglected his writing, and just needed to kick the blog demons into submission. Today he adds many new chapters in the series - you owe it to yourself to visit and catch up on your reading!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

My family has grown!

The new entry in my sidebar is my BlogSon Sned, who just started his blog yesterday. Please go visit and welcome him to the blogosphere!

Welcome, Sned!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

No Real Surprise

My favorite Republican candidate of the field, and the best Conservative, in my opinion, is no longer in the race. Fred Thompson has announced his withdrawal from the race for the oval office. I could see the writing on the wall, especially after South Carolina, so I wasn't surprised to see the actual notice. But still, I'm bummed.

So I reviewed the remaining candidates and concluded that I have to line up along with my friend Francis Marion, and throw my support to Mitt Romney. He's had some experience at turning this around, and has been an Executive in both the public and private sectors, and with the Congress we have now, he's going to need all of it.

If any of you who have been Fred supporters are aiming in another direction, I would love to hear Who and Why. There's still a lot of Primary / Caucus activity to happen yet, and things are still up in the air.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Li'l bits

Yes, I know posting has been light almost non-existent around here for a while. Deal with it. But I have been trying to keep up on reading, and in finding interesting things, I decided to share.

My friend Atheist Crusader has some comments regarding Congress and the Religion of Pieces.

In the H&I post yesterday at Castle Argghhh, FbL pointed out an important note from Soldiers' Angels. To wit: No Slump for our Troops.

"Soldiers' Angels commit to sending support to our troops all year long, not just at the holidays, or around certain patriotic holidays. Troop rotations mean we have a lot of new troops signing up with us, but the slump means we don't have as many people signing up to adopt them.

If you are currently an angel, can you adopt another? If you have never adopted, why don't you give it a try? If you are a blogger, can you help spread the word? Our troops deserve our support, and we don't want to keep them waiting."

Spread the word, and take up the challenge.
If you want alternatives, go check out AnySoldier or any of the other support organizations I have listed at the right.

Nice Tribute

Sgt Hook points to a wonderful site which honors all who are serving and who have served ... Soldier Wall.

Visitors can add their own photos and highlights, and there is even a search function to see if your servicemember has been posted.

I've added a few good people, and as soon as I scrounge up some more images, I'll be adding others. Go check it out.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Pretty close

Since the political season is heavy upon us, I snagged this quiz on political likeness from Uncle Jimbo over at Blackfive ... the results are not bad. Except for the fact that the outdated info still has Tancredo in it, it pretty much nailed my top choices.

83% Fred Thompson
81% Mitt Romney
80% Tom Tancredo
74% John McCain
64% Mike Huckabee
60% Rudy Giuliani
52% Ron Paul
30% Bill Richardson
30% John Edwards
29% Hillary Clinton
28% Joe Biden
24% Barack Obama
23% Chris Dodd
20% Mike Gravel
13% Dennis Kucinich

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

I'm a little concerned about the 13% congruency with Kucinich, though ... I might need an intervention!