Tuesday, October 31, 2006


No Details of Flying Disk Are Revealed
Lake Co. Man and Wife Report Disk Seen

The intelligence office of the 1st Donut group at Mundelein Army Air Field announced at noon today, that the field has come into possession of a flying saucer.

According to information released by the department, over authority of Maj. I. Prop, signal officer, the disk was recovered on a driveway in the Lake County Area, after an unidentified rancher had notified him, here, that he had found the instrument on his premises.

Major Prop and a detail from his department went to the ranch and recovered the disk, it was stated.

The intelligence office stated that no details of the saucer's construction or its appearance had been revealed.

Two unnamed residents apparently were the only persons in Mundelein who have seen what they thought was a flying disk.

They were sitting on their porch last Wednesday night at about ten minutes before ten o'clock when a large glowing object zoomed out of the sky from the southeast, going a northwesterly direction at a high rate of speed.

Both ran down into the yard to watch. It was in sight less than a minute, perhaps 40 or 50 seconds. It appeared to him to be about 1,500 feet high and going fast. In appearance it looked oval in shape like two inverted saucers, faced mouth to mouth, or like two oldtype washbowls placed together in the same fashion. The entire body glowed as though light were showing through from inside, though not like it would be if a light were merely underneath.

It looked to be about five feet in size, and making allowance for the distance it was from town it must have been 15 or 20 feet in diameter, though this was just a guess. It made no sound.

Go to Illini6 for further details.

What? Again?!

You know, education, if you make the most of it, if you study hard and you do your homework, and you make an effort to be smart, you, you can do well. If you don’t, you get stuck in Iraq.

So sayeth Senator John Kerry.

And your grades at Yale, sir?

So should I end up in Iraq next time I deploy, I guess I can just go ahead and shred my BA, MA and J.D.?

UPDATE: I think I know why this story makes me so angry. See this.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Major John and CSM Bones excellent weekend adventure, er, meeting

Hail, hail the gang was all there... Darn near the entire leadership of the Army National Guard in Illinois gathered this past weekend. CSM Bones and I were there - and the CSM had been there for two days already. A lot of information, and a lot of Powerpoint slides.

However, we did have some very good things come out of this meeting. We heard some good "lessons learned"from a recently returned Infantry Battalion commander (Iraq) and saw just how the State is going to try to deal with upcoming deployments. My own unit draws ever nearer to the ready and go lists.

War is a great, um, focuser (?) of perspectives. We have seen what we did wrong (and some things right too) and we have moved to correct these things. Soldiers are much better informed about possible deployments, and we are trying to make sure when soldiers return that we handle their reintegration better. That last one still draws a little bit of a bitter reaction from me - but I do see we are improving.

I will have to say that the Illinois Army National Guard is very much more serious and focused now than at any time I have seen in the near 22 years (off an on) I have been part of it. As I said, war will make you focus.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

A Profound Twelve Minutes

Sunday, October 29, 2006. Springfield, IL. In the Auditorium of the University of Illinois - Springfield. About 11:30AM. COL Lawson plays a twelve minute film clip for the several hundred soldiers of the Illinois Army National Guard gathered there. When the clips ends, it was stone silent for several seconds. Watch the clip and see why. (I'd put it up on YouTube, but it is 2 minutes too long). [NOTE: It is a Quicktime movie - also, you may have to refresh the page when you get there, if you don't see the movie].

COL Lawson followed up with an equally profound speech - "Why are we here". I wish I had a transcript. On Monday, I'll relate a little more of what CSM Bones and I learned.

"What was your proudest moment in the Army?"

I think mine might be when I didn't shoot someone that I had every right to [in fact, I had a JAG Captain right next to me saying "shootemshootemshootem"], but felt something was wrong with the way the situation as it appeared. It was in Kabul in June 2004. In retrospect, I was a little surprised that I had the control and discipline not to shoot someone who gave every impression that they were starting an ambush of my small group - including ramming an LMTV with their car [a new tactic at the time - you stop, you get blasted].

But I'll give it some thought.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I got my Tea

Thanks to the World's Greatest Military Contractor™, aka Haji-o-matic, I got my first taste of Alokozay Tea in a year and a half!

News of Afghanistan ۲۷

A day early this week - I have to take tomorrow off to head down to a conference of the leaders of the Illinois Army National Guard. Whee.

So, here we go.

"You cannot hustle the East"

Cultural Insensitivity!
How about a 5 year report? Look here.
German Soldiers and some photos - the Bundeskanzler is not happy. (see also)
Natasha's excellent Afghan Adventure?
Float like a butterfly earn like a bee.

Afghan children roll their wheelbarrows away after receiving donated goods from Soldiers and Airmen during a humanitarian mission near Bagram. Photo by Cpl. Bertha Flores.

Fort Polk?! I thought the Afghans were our allies, heh heh.

Cha-ching in New Dehli.

One guy calls from the office, one guy calls "from an undisclosed location" - which one do you think is right? I've got 100 afghani on the police chief...

NATO, scratchin' around for troops.

Papers, Please.

This week's source of Afghan News and Information is Afg-info.com

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Dear Soldiers, please sign seditious documents here.

I am at a loss what to call this. Sedition? Any active duty soldier that thinks this is going to be some quiet, anonomous petition sent just to Congress is deluding themselves. This is going to turn into a very public and very show flourishing of these people's names and status.

We stay out of politics for many good reasons - tradition and statute. This would violate them both.


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Youse hurt?

Shocking I tell you, shocking! Can you believe that Chicago patronage workers may actually be gaming the worker's comp system?! Next thing you know, someone will tell me of voting irregularities in Cook County...

Ye Olde Fashioned Polemic

There are a pair of newspapers in Boston - diametrically opposed in their editorial slant. One is revelling in the distress of the other. A good, old fashioned polemic. Would to God, that the two Chicago papers would do this too each other!

Monday, October 23, 2006

More Evidence of Low Morale and Uncaring Soldiers

Thanks to the good SGT Hook, I was made aware of "Operation Care." My officemates collected 5 boxes of basic school supplies to send in support of this effort. I just received an e-mail from the NCO who is helping to run the school part of the Operation...

Dear John,

I wanted to write you and thank you for the wonderful donations you made to us here in Afghanistan. The other day I opened up one of your boxes and found your
card. It really made me feel good to see where it was coming from.
I am from ___________ at _______High School and have been a US History teacher there for the past 25 years. In 1979 I got out of the Army and went to Purdue and decided to go into teaching. But after being out of the Army that long I decided to get into the guard after 911. Well it took over three years and I finally ambushed the state TAG at an awards ceremony for my daughters unit returning back from the war. Three days later I was back in but had to wavier retirement. But that wasn't my goal - I just wanted to serve and return to teaching which I love and miss.
I am an MP but was taken from the volunteer list and placed in an ASG. Once we arrived here I was placed in S-5, Civil Affairs, a job that is the best. The 1SG of the section and myself felt that the section wasn't doing enough for the Afghan people so we started a program called Operation Care". We now have 80+ volunteers that work with us giving out needed things to local Afghans. Your donations have really helped us and we thank you!

Thanks again,
Sgt. ________
Task Force Tiger
219th ASG
S-5, Civil Affairs
Bagram Airfield
APO AE 09354

I am leaving the address up for those that wish to send clothing, shoes or very basic school supplies (pens, notebooks - please try to get the kind without the wire/spiral binding. No fancy stuff, crayons or art supplies).

Friday, October 20, 2006

Donutium or Illinisixium – Our Chance for Immortality

Scientists this week created a new, and as yet unnamed, element. It is the atomic weight of 118 and is the first manmade noble gas.

The way I figure it, we could name it. If we got enough people together (say, more than three) they might just name it what we suggest. I'd love to get something on the PERIODIC TABLE OF ELEMENTS.

At least it would be a symbol I could remember (maybe Md for Donutium or Il for Illinisixium).

Here is a list of faux elemental names.

Let's have a vote. Write-ins are welcome.

News of Afghanistan ۲۶

Right into it we go!

One of Ahmad Shah Masood's old aides calls out Pakistan
Forces of Religious Toleration in action!

Cpl. Michael Good, from the 10th Mountain Division, patrols Aranas, Afghanistan. Photo by Spc. Eric Jungels.
South Dakota ARNG getting down to business.
Afghan Refugees not happy? Not at all.
Some stories of interest.
CPT Jason K. Piercy poses with local children during a health assistance visit on Wednesday, Oct. 4, in the village of Robat, Afghanistan.CPT Jason K. Piercy, 147th Field Artillery, South Dakota Army National Guard, and fellow Soldiers participated in a health assistance visit on Wednesday, Oct. 4, in the village of Robat, Afghanistan. The unit handed out food, cooking stoves, blankets, wheel barrows and first-aid supplies. The unit is also building a boys and girls school in the village.Photos by 1LT Randy Lynch
A Cricket magazine? I guess this means things are getting somewhat better.
The World Bank - think long term.
Stand and Deliver!
Hmmm. Maybe.

Canadian and American soldiers cross a ravine in Panjwaii District, September 16, 2006. Canada increased the pressure on reluctant NATO allies to send more troops to war-torn southern Afghanistan on Thursday and said it could not maintain its 2,300-strong military mission there without more support. REUTERS/Canadian Forces/Sgt Lou Penney/Handout

Thanks for the help - and please send lawyers guns and money. Er, make that doctors, engineers, guns and money.

Let me get this straight...when the US was in command, no problem. Now NATO takes over and you might run? HA!

Speaking of guns and money...Haji Abdullah Jan & Sons Arms Store?

AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd

There are those that complain and do nothing. There are those that stay silent and do nothing. There are those who do not remain silent and DO SOMETHING.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

They Pull Me Back (Should I Let Them?)

Last November I did this thing called NaNoWriMo. You start on 1 Nov and you write a 50,000 word novel before the end of the month. I did finish last year and I just got an invitation from the site to try again this year.

I don't know. It makes November crazy and you pretty much can't do anything else. I don't know about the quality of the stuff either.

Last year I wrote a young adult space opera called Reach Out. I posted the first few chapters on Illini6 back in January.

What do you think? Should I do it again?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Two Series and a Hope.

I am a big fan of John Scalzi - in particular his book "Old Man's War".

When he came out with a sequel "The Ghost Brigades", I was hopeful that it would be as good as the first effort.

It was. And then some.

While I wait for the third book in the series, I find myself hoping that Scalzi doesn't pull what Colleen McCullough did... with the Masters of Rome series (The First Man in Rome, The Grass Crown, Fortune's Favorites, Ceasar's Women, Ceasar, and The October Horse). After completing the first 5 books, she STOPPED! She worked on other projects and took years to get back to write the last book. Of course, I didn't know that it was going to be the last book of the series. When I got to the conclusion, McCullough informed all of us readers that she had to stop writing the series now, or she would never be able to stop. "And this is a problem HOW?!" I thought. Gah! And don't leave angry comments - I know she has intervening circumstances. It is just that the series was so good, and she clearly likes writing about the subject matter. Sigh.

So, as I see Scalzi's series unfold, I have a small dread that he will someday say "enough" - when there is still more to see in the universe he has created. At least there will be a third book, or more, so I guess I should be happy for that.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Message to the People of Arizona and Zaphod Beeblebrox

I want to apologize on behalf of all of Chicago for stinking up your state with that performance of football last night by the Bears. I know you were trying to help us by letting us stay in the game, but we didn't have to go and not lose. To give the ball away six times, and not score an offensive touchdown, to come back from a 20-0 halftime deficit and not lose was in bad taste and I for one am truly sorry.

For Zaphod, I know you're out there in Arizona. Only the close proximity of the Heart of Gold's Infinite Improbability Drive could have accounted for the results of the game last night (especially the last non-field goal).
So Zaphod, if you see Arthur Dent tell him, from me, that he's a complete knee-biter.

BTW – Cardinals' Head Coach Denis Green had this to say:

A friend of the Army

Lug Nut, the Lowe's Motor Speedway mascot, greets 3rd Infantry Division Soldiers before they march onto the race track to start off the Bank of America 500 on Oct. 14 in Charlotte, N.C. Photo by Spc. Emily Wilsoncroft.

Are you lying now, or was your lawyer lying then?

Convicted ex-lawyer Lynne Stewart's attorney proclaimed "If you send her to prison, she's going to die. It's as simple as that." [see this extraordinarily sympathetic AP offering]. So while I am driving in to work this morning, I hear Stewart on the radio laughing and celebrating on the courthouse steps after receiving a sentence of 28 months, proclaiming "as my clients say, I can do that standing on my head".

So, are you lying now, or was your lawyer lying in court at the sentencing hearing?

What is America?

An Australian pegs it in just a few words...

"First American I ever met was a US Army Sergeant at Tan Son Nhut in Saigon in 1967. I was hot, tired, jetlagged, lost and confused. He pegged me as an Aussie, and gave me a cold Budweiser beer, a corned beef sandwich, and organised my ongoing move up country.

Sort of a one man version of what America has done for the rest of the world for 200+ years.

No better friends. "

Monday, October 16, 2006

Moscow or Mos Eisley Spaceport?

WTF is going on in Russia these days? I know that for several years the most dangerous profession in the world had been "Investment Banker in Russia" but things are getting worse it seems.

and the band plays on...

What Time IS It?

The Doomsday Clock at the University of Chicago was developed in 1947 to graphically show how close we are to Zero Hour or nuclear destruction (they call it midnight, but I like the 24 hour clock and Zero Hour sounds cooler).

Currently the clock stands at 2353 or 11:53 p.m. and they are waiting to see how the international community responds to North Korea's recent test before changing the time (I went ahead and moved my own Digital Clock of DOOM ahead).
OOPS! Nobody panic, it was only a power failure, not the real doomsday. Nope, no doomsday here. (Does anybody have any nine volt batteries of doom?)

Hey, why don't they use a digital clock? The most sophisticated devices for destruction, so high tech that less than a dozen countries in the world are capable of producing them and we track them with a cardboard clock that needs some old guy to stand there and hold it?

Korea isn't even on the clock (It's hard to see in my photo, but go here). Does that mean that it doesn't affect the clock? Now that I look closer Japan isn't on the clock either. Ironic aint it.

What time do you think it is?

Friday, October 13, 2006

News of Afghanistan ۲۵

Right to it, shall we?

Afghan/Pak rivalry... with bats!

A daily summary.

Take this job and shove it.

photo: NATO file/Sgt F Proctor, UK Army

A follow-up story.

Radio - the ultimate weapon is playing the hits.


photo: U.S. Army by Cpl. Thomas Childs

Yea for Blue Star Mothers! Oh, and the Inner Prop will like where this happened...

Pssst.... SGT Hook, does this type of scene look familiar?

Jirga time?

A bit o' oil and gas? Note which country's press carries this story. Oh, and this too.

A very interesting summary of efforts - and results.

The war goes on too.

Uh oh, I hope my pal Engineer Zarar doesn't miss anymore meetings.

Thanks for reading - I'm going to go get a cup o' tea. Soon, hopefully, Alokozay Tea!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Giving in to nuclear blackmail

I never thought I would give in to a nuclear threat, but I am caving in to this one.

Army Strong

RTO Trainer got me squared away - so here is what we mean by Army Strong.

This little clip effected me deeply. In it, I saw so much of what I was 20+ years ago, what I have done since I enlisted back then, what the Army means to me, and, perhaps, a glimpse of what I still may become.


UPDATE: This goes with it...

FOR THOSE LOOKING FOR THE SONG DOWNLOAD - Click HERE and look on the right side of the page.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Go Listen. Now.

The Honorable Francis Harvey, Secretary of the Army, gives a long interview to my Blogfather (and his lovely and talented co-host). My first thought hearing the interview was "why isn't this guy out in the media more"?

Nobody Escapes from Devil's Island!

"Maybe Bagram wasn't so bad after all..."

OK, maybe not Devil's Island - but four did get away from Bagram. MAKE THAT THREE. You can run, but you will only get caught or killed somewhere else. This guy opted for "killed".

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

I had to post this again....He is just Lonely

Oh Kim, we love a sick, demented Communist demagod. What will we do when your ilk finaly dies off? I'm glad you found good use for the cash and nuke material pay off we gave you back in 1994.

Good Riddance, "Army of One"

I despised the old "Army of One" advertising campaign. To my delight, the Army cut it short, sacked the advertising agency and is ready to launch the new campaign in it's place.

Please for you to be leaving

It seems Hekmatyar Gulbuddin would prefer that NATO leave, and anyone who helped get Afghanistan back on the road to recovery step aside. This is quite a comedown for the long-time fighter. He fought the Soviets, then was actively engaged in the civil war that followed their withdrawal. He kept fighting when the Taliban pushed in, and after they were chased out.

Maybe 26+ years of fighting have tired the #$%&@* out? The recent close call at capture scared him? From florid proclamations of death to his enemies, to now saying that everyone should just stand aside so the HIG (his party) can peacefully be given the reins...

Monday, October 09, 2006

So, anything happen this weekend?

I guess while I was watching the kids indoor soccer, going to the pumpkin patch

Some other folks were busy,

and they were not doing nice things.

Make me glad I missed the alarm this morning and caught an extra hour of sleep. Anyone seen my extra boots and rucksack?

Friday, October 06, 2006

News of Afghanistan ۲۴

As the great American philospher Tön Löc once said, "Lets do it"!

Hmmm, today seems like an anniversary or something...

Gee, write off Afghanistan's Soviet-era debt. How very noble of Russia.

(photo: ISAF file) So how many of who - where?

Taliban = fools on a hill?

Princess Anne meets medical troops in Afghanistan's Helman province.

People had better keep paying attention to Japan.

Good for them, and I hope they succeed.

President Bush shakes hands with President Hamid Karzai, right, as Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, left, looks on at the Rose Garden of the White House Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2006. AP Photo

A boy rides a donkey past a destroyed Soviet-made tank in Bamyan. An insurgency, raging in the south and in eastern provinces along the Pakistan border, has begun to creep into provinces that had been considered secure: Wardak, Kunduz, Ghazni, Balk. In the past two weeks, suicide bombers have struck Herat, a center of Persian culture in western Afghanistan, and Kabul, seat of the Afghan government and headquarters of the NATO force deployed to Afghanistan to establish security. (USA Today/AP Photo)

Fortune (the magazine) looks at Afghanistan and making money.

Follow this link, and the one in the story too. I don't put it past Iran to cause trouble - but their primary interest in Afghanistan is economic. They want a place next door that doesn't flood them with refugees, and that they can make a little money with. I would suspect that both stories are true - Iran isn't seeking to destabilize Afghanistan, as a whole, but they are sending aid for attacks on US and NATO forces specifically.

Who visited? Look here.

It's goin' on in the Inner Prop's old neck of the woods.

Take a look at these photos.

It's a start...

If you make it to Kabul, please consider staying here.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Gratutious Afghanistan Photo

Watchman of the school at Deh Qadzi, Parwan Province, Afghanistan. February 2005.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Skipping the Middle Man

Why bother going through the UN - too many outstretched hands waiting for their piece of the action. Instead, the Iranians have figured out that they can cut out the middle men and go straight to the source of cover...er, legitimacy, um...well, just read this.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Flashback Weekend

Oo! I felt like a teenager again this weekend.

I went to Scouts Friday night (like I always did, except this time it was Girl Scouts), had pizza and then watched Dr. Who!

To top it all off I watched Da Bears dismantle the NFL National Conference Champs on Sunday night in front of the wide wide world of sports.

The Fighting Illini won too! Woo Hoo!

Oh, and Major John here's another blast from the past:

"Na na na na, na na na na, Hey hey hey GOODBYE!"

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Non-Toxic Insectiside

While taking advantage of a wonderful Fall day to do some yard work - I noticed this fellow walking along my retaining wall. The kids found two more of similar size.

Now I happen to have one of North America's busiest Box Elder Bug transit stations. It is also known as the back half of the outside of my house. So I decided to "relocate" the largest Praying Mantis to a back wall.

The Praying Mantis immediately recognized that it was in the Land of Milk and Honey - or at least the Wall of Easy Prey. Chomp!

Now if I could only convince a few more to stay there for a week or two...
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