Wednesday, June 13, 2007

New digs coming soon...

I'm working on my own site with a Wordpress blog.

You can find it HERE.

I will be either deleting this blog or making it private within 14 days, after I update the blogroll and am assured that most of my regular readers have found their way to my new site.

I'm still working on's rough...but I think I will like having my own space a lot better.

All of my old posts and comments have been transferred, and new posts have already been made (including the answers to the questions I invited on that post last week). Check it out! Add it to your blogroll! Love it!

Monday, June 11, 2007


Sorry 'bout the absence this weekend (if anyone noticed at all, that is). I had a belated birthday party to help clean for and attend (Saturday), and then recovery from said party on Sunday, along with another birthday dinner. It wasn't exactly social, but I wasn't sitting on my butt all day, so that's good.

I've been keeping up with everyone even though I haven't been commenting much, so rest assured that I haven't missed much, if anything. Bless you, Google Reader...bless you.

On with the snark!

Remember when Tam wrote about that prom party where the mom supervised while the teens drank some beer and hung around? Well, she's been sentenced to 27 months in jail. This was down from 8-10 YEARS.

Why? Well, aside from the fact that ommitted the happy little fact from the other parents that there would be alcohol available to the teens (which I do disagree with), she...well, the reason is that she gave them alcohol at all. MADD was the group wanting to give her the 8-10 year sentence, which is EXCEEDINGLY amusing to me, given the fact that the kids all had their keys taken away, and none of them drove at all, under the influence or no. If anything, she might have saved their lives or even the lives of others, should they have chosen to drink elsewhere (and subsequently try to drive home drunk).

And I'll go ahead and say what others have said, because it's the truth: If I was a parent, I would MUCH rather my child drink in the safety of his/her own home, if they were to drink at all. A kid's going to do it, anyway, so you might as well make it as un-rebellious as possible by not necessarily making it commonplace, but removing the glamour and the taboo associated with it - basically, the parents should show the kids that they're well aware of what kids want to do, so the kids don't think they're doing anything that hasn't already been done before. Obviously I'm not condoning giving your kids something to drink, but I think that should be up to the parent to make that decision.

Again, that's the only problem I have with what this woman did - all but one of the children involved WASN'T hers, so I could see how some of the other parents would get pissy. But for fuck's sake - this is ridiculous.


Speaking of ridiculous, that former teen (now 21) who was sentenced to prison for consensual oral sex between him and a 15-year-old girl (he was 17) was told that he could just have 12 months of probation, and the time he served in jail was more than enough.

Well, of course someone filed an appeal. Because god forbid older teens make any decisions of a sexual nature that don't result in pregnancy and don't involve rape.

At the time of the encounter, the law forbid such action (was it the ages of the two teens? the action itself? or the fact that it was videotaped?), but it was changed shortly after this guy was sent to prison. They didn't apply the law retroactively, though, even though his case was the partial reason for the law change.

And now, after two years of fighting, and after a judge in a court of law ruled the punishment "cruel and unusual", this prick of a prosecutor feels the needs to make a point by filing an appeal and trying to get the rest of this sentence carried out.

What a douche.


Daughter killed by parents after she falls in love with someone of a different religion.

It's like a really fucked-up version of Romeo and Juliet, except the Capulets just decided to off Juliet themselves rather than deal with the drama maturely.

They might as well bring back the guillotine, because that appears to be the way things are headed.

I just can't believe someone would kill their own child, least of all for something so petty. Beliefs aren't diseases, y'all. You can catch them by being around them, and you can just ignore them if you want. It's not like this guy threatened her family or their way of life. They just didn't want to be known as "those parents whose daughter's arranged marriage failed". Then she had to go fall in love with someone else. How dare she.

Boot, meet ass. Face, meet floor.


Why won't Bono just go away?

I can understand wanting to help people, but no one likes a whiner. And you're whining. A lot. Shut the hell up.


Five Republican senators have voted to oust Gonzales.

The head honcho, Arlen Spector, has said he's going to vote "No Confidence" on Gonzales.

It's a shame that it might not make it through, but it's good that people are finally going, "WTF?" and trying to get rid of this dumbass. "President Bush's best friend" isn't a qualification, it's a description.


I just wanted to post this link (regarding juvenile diabetes and how it can strike adults, as well), because I LOVE this woman's attitude about it: "You deal with it."

She's not whining, she's not suing anyone, she's not demanding that things be changed for her.

She's taking care of herself, exercising, eating right, etc.

Granted, there's a chance that she should have been doing all that stuff before she got sick. But there's no "woe is me". That's refreshing. So I'm going to just end my post there.

Hope everyone's Monday has been as relatively uneventful as mine (I mean that in a good way).

Friday, June 8, 2007

My D-Day Story - An Unsung Hero

I knew I had a good story for D-Day, but I wanted to wait to post it until I got all of my facts straight. I just talked to my father and got all the information I think I need to give a brief rundown of my grandfather's involvement in the invasion and the war in general. It's amazing. I don't generally think fighting is amazing, and war doesn't impress me...I share my late grandfather's viewpoint that someone who runs to retrieve a dead body from the line of fire is probably an idiot, and doesn't deserve the title "hero" or a medal.

However, I wouldn't hesitate at all to call my grandfather, Bud, a hero. That means a lot, because I'm generally not impressed with people, even my own family and friends. It takes a lot to make my jaw drop in awe rather than disgust.

D-Day is part of a bigger story, and I'm going to tell as much of it as I know, which isn't much in the grand scheme of things, but it's enough that many of you won't finish this in one sitting. Grab a beer and some nachos (or tofu and water...whatever) and settle in. If it's half as amazing as I think it is, it will probably amaze you, too, to some degree - if not the actions, then the consequences (or lack thereof, in this case).

Bud was in his 20s when Pearl Harbor was bombed. He joined the Army, and was somehow assigned the task of Demolition Specialist/Engineer for General Patton (yes, THAT one). During his tour of duty, he started in North Africa, participated in D-Day, went through the Philippines and parts of Asia, and ended up on a ship headed for Japan when the first bomb was dropped on August 6, 1945.

As a DS (not the correct terminology, but bear with me here - I'm going on secondhand information by someone who heard the stories when he was less than 10 years old), his job was relatively simple in theory, tough in practice, and nearly impossible in combat: He and his fellow DS's were to sneak under bridges that were occupied by the enemy, set up demolition equipment (i.e. attach bombs to them), get away safely, blow up the bridges, take care of the enemies still hanging around (obviously the rest of their group helped with this), re-build enough of a bridge to support their troops safely across, then blow THAT bridge up, as well. In this way, they made their way around.

As you may well know, Patton was famous for his attitude during wartime, which was essentially to shoot first and think about it later. In battle, he was ruthless, and while his troops had a high mortality rate, they were also fiercely loyal and had more success than most of rest of the Army.

Imagine, if you will, being in a wooded area near a bridge. Standing at each end of the bridge is one or more soldiers, with guns, grenades, and orders to not let anyone cross for any reason. These men have been ordered to die for that bridge, and they are prepared to do so.

You and your partner saddle up in your "frog" gear and go a little ways down the river, entering downstream. You swim slowly upstream, careful to keep attention off of yourselves, until you reach the bridge. With any luck, the soldiers at the ends won't see you - but they usually do, as splashing below in an otherwise quiet area tends to catch attention. They begin firing as you attach explosives to the bridge, all the while dodging bullets, and sometimes dodging grenades. Your buddy might get shot, but you both finish the job and swim away as quickly as possible. You detonate the charges, and your group comes out to make sure the area is clear of enemy troops as the bridge crumbles.

As they cover you, you and some other soldiers find as many supplies as possible and build a new bridge so that you may cross. If there are only soldiers on foot, it could be as easy as laying a strip of metal on some supports for them to run across. If you have tanks, it is decidedly more time-consuming.

Somehow you finish the bridge with most of the troops having come through safely. They cross. On the side that was just vacated are enemy vehicles making a beeline for your new bridge, trying to cross close behind you.

As they come, you're back in the water, attaching explosives, likely being shot at again. You're still scrambling out of the water when the bridge explodes, and pieces of the metal that you'd slapped together go whizzing past your head.

Minutes, hours, days...any amount of time may pass, and you'll have to do this again. And again. And Bud did, for most of the time he was in the Army.

During a field battle, people were assigned wherever a soldier was needed. In Bud's case, the machine gun nest on top of a tank was vacant, so he was ordered to take it.

In battle, when you're on the ground, a tank is, well, a tank. It has no real weak spots. You're not going to damage the machinery with a mere gun, especially back in the 1940s. The only thing to do to stop the tank from doing any more damage that it does by merely rolling around is to get rid of the firepower, which involves killing the guy manning the machine gun. So, as you can imagine, it's a pretty stressful position. I believe at that point the life expectancy of the person manning the tank's gun in battle was a whopping 10 minutes. And Bud survived. Not only did he survive, the only bullet that hit him merely grazed the side of his helmet. It gave him a scare, but he was unscathed. He apparently took down quite a few people while up there, too - he grew up hunting for food for his family, so he was a great marksman.

At another point, he and some of his fellow veterans (I call them that because they were in for quite a while at this point...they weren't n00bs by any stretch of the imagination) were under the command of a Lieutenant. This officer was straight out of West Point, and was very full of himself. Education, to him, trumped experience, and he had a habit of telling them what they needed to do without actually planning out how they would accomplish it strategically.

They were in a trench, being shot at from all sides by machine guns. They were waiting to be able to move, but they weren't sure where yet. The Lieutenant told them that they needed to cross a street close to them, and that they needed to do it NOW.

Bud was in the front of the line...the closest soldier to him. Therefore, he was the one who should have led the pack. He sat there, counting machine gun rounds, and didn't move.

The Lieutenant yelled at him and asked him what he was doing, and repeated the order. Bud told him to hold on a second. The Lieutenant pulled his gun out and pointed it at Bud's head.

"Either you cross that street RIGHT NOW, or I will shoot you, do you understand?"

Caught between a rock and a hard place, Bud sat there trying to weigh the benefits of being shot by your commanding officer vs. being massacred by enemy fire. Before too much time had passed, another soldier came up and put HIS gun against the Lieutenant's head.

"If you shoot him, I'll shoot you."

The Lieutenant was bewildered. "What's going ON here?"

The soldier explained. The Lieutenant said, "Okay".

They all made it safely across.

It's a classic example of why authority isn't always right, and why book learning doesn't always yield the "smartest" results.

I don't have many details about D-Day. That's apparently a story that was too massacre-happy for my grandfather to talk about very much. I do know that he stormed with Patton, and that he may not have entered on June 6, but that he came early, because he was a key player in their advancement across the countryside (still a DS).

After that little slice of history, they advanced through the Philippines and parts of Asia. And then, as I mentioned before, they boarded a ship and began a journey to Japan to invade. Then the bombs dropped, the war ended, and he came home.

Remember me mentioning the bullet grazing his helmet while he was manning that machine gun? That's the ONLY bullet that hit any part of him. He came out of that war completely unscathed physically.

Given what he'd been through, THAT is amazing.

He was always able to keep a level head during times of crisis. He was a boxer, and would often settle bar fights by sitting and calmly nodding and smiling at the person trying to start something, and then out of nowhere, he would smack them a good one and knock them down. People usually only tried to mess with him once. My grandmother (his widow) said it was creepy how you could never tell when he was going to snap, because he looked so calm and happy until his fist had already made contact with one of his fellow barflies. I think it was this ability to hold out on retaliation until necessary (and until it was actually a surprise) that allowed him to survive. It also took a certain element of anarchy to be able to do what he did - he couldn't always follow orders if he expected to live. So...he didn't always follow orders. And he did well, though he only made it up to Corporal as a result of his disobedience. He never did like being in charge of a group of people, anyway.

After he got out, he married my grandmother and then my father was born, 13 years after the war ended.

In 1969, he turned 49. My dad would walk home from the bus stop in the afternoons (he was 10), past the tavern, and would check to see if Bud was parked there. Often, he was. So Dad would go in there and say hi.

One day, Dad went in, said hi, and then asked what Bud wanted for his birthday. "Oh, you don't have to get me anything."

"No, I want to. What do you want?" Obviously my father didn't have much money, but he felt it was important to give gifts for someone's birthday, particularly a parent's.

"Oh, haha, well, why don't you buy me a beer?" Bud laughed.

My dad thought about it for a minute, went into the bathroom, and emptied his pockets. He found 35 cents, which just happened to be exactly the amount a frosty mug of beer cost in those days. He approached the bar, away from his father, and asked the bartender to please take his money and use it to buy a beer for Bud. The bartender said he couldn't, because Dad was a minor - this went on for a few minutes, and finally my dad asks what they could do.

They both headed over to Bud, my dad handing him the change and telling him to give it to the bartender. "What the hell for?" "Just do it."

The bartender took the money and set a mug of beer in front of my grandfather. He was amused.

That was the last birthday present my dad would buy for him.

After the stress of the war, Bud settled into family life without actually "settling"...he always had to do things for himself, and considered it a sign of weakness to change any part of his routine, even those parts with were obviously bad for him, such as the excessive drinking and smoking.

He had 3 heart attacks in his 40s. All that excess, and all the work he wouldn't allow anyone else to do...things like yardwork, and preparing to move to another part of their land, away from the main road. He did it all himself, even when he was wheezing and having problems.

On August 21, 1970, Bud, my grandmother, and my dad were eating dinner. They usually watched Alfred Hitchcock Presents, but that night Bud said he just wanted things to be quiet, and to just leave the television off. This had never happened before.

Shortly after dinner, he said he was tired, said goodnight, and went to bed. He never woke up. His 4th heart attack killed him in his sleep.

He was never regaled for his acts in war. He was never given any medals, and no speeches were made about him. He lived his life after the war doing what he had during the war: what he had to.

All the cool kids are doing it.

If you have a question, ask away.

I like answering them.

And while I'm not at a lack for things to blog about, I figure people might be more likely to check back if what I'm blogging about actually has something to do with them.

I will post the answers in a few days.

Don't all ask at once, now.

YGTBKM, part 2

Say Uncle has an interesting reflection on the fact that California reps voted 41-38 to outlaw mixed-breed animals in the state.

No mutts. No general "cats" and "dogs". Nothing that doesn't have a traceable lineage, and nothing that can't have papers provided for it.

Everything else must have a mandatory spay or neuter by age 4 months.

I don't understand why they're doing this, but it makes me want to throw a Third Reich salute and scream, "Sieg Heil!"

Next think you know, they'll demand that only blondes live in the major cities.

YGTBKM, part 1

I had a hard time following this article's line of thought.

It's about Edwin Hall, that guy who kidnapped Kelsey Smith in a Target parking lot and then killed her. He kidnapped her last Saturday, and I guess they just found her body on Wednesday in Missouri (she was kidnapped in Kansas, which makes this a federal offense).

The article appears to want to be a dissection of his MySpace page, but apparently there wasn't enough interesting info there, so they continued to speculate on the murder/kidnapping itself, turning this article into a schizophrenic interpretation of the situation.

It says that the MySpace page said that he liked to eat kids and "harm small animals", but there was a link from his wife's MySpace page to his, which causes me to think that this was a gag of some sort. Else why would his WIFE link to his page? Unless she was just a sick fuck, too. Not much is said about her, though.

Also, this guy had a small kid. If he was serious about harming small animals and eating kids, and was dumb enough to put that on his MySpace page, wouldn't his wife have left and taken the kid with her? And wouldn't he have already been in jail? Did I miss something here?

Maybe I'm missing the point. It's happened before. But this article, as it stands, is poorly written and stupid. They just wanted to have something to say about it, likely. That's pretty sad.

At least Paris Hilton wasn't on the front page this morning. That stupid bitch needs to just take her solitary confinement and be happy they're not putting her in general population, though she deserves that. That's all I'm saying about her.