Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Watch your gas

I was working was I doing great! The bell was dinging and I was playing the hell out of the machine. I watched the score climbing...and climbing...and climbing... I leaned left, then right, riding the wave of excitement. People were lining up behind me. They wanted some of what I was getting.

That's right bitches...people pay big money for this shit...

Could this be it? Was it a new high score?

Holy crap! Yes!!! Yes!!!

That was before I remembered it was a gas pump, not a video game. Damn.


It's truly amazing to watch the price of a gallon of gas jump 30 cents one day and another 35 cents the next. Must be Clinton's fault...


In an amazing show of leadership, the Prez is thinking about maybe, possibly, could be releasing some oil from the country's strategic reserves. Not to help ease the sharply rising gas costs mind you, but to help the refineries hit by the huricane. Huh?

Yeah, that's, me, and the guy down the street can take our lumps, but those poor, poor, multi-billion dollar oil companies are hurting and they could use a little lovin'.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Battle lines drawn...

It's official...I've given up my pacifist beliefs. War is necessary and I've just declared it. That's right, the Battle of the Waistline had broken out here.

A long time ago, I decided that I would never buy a pair of pants that have a waist bigger than 34 inches. I've stuck to it too. Once that's been filled, that's it. No new pants till they fit into the 34s...32s are better.

Let's get on the ball guys...

Okay, what kind of friends do I have? Did anybody let me know that Emily Procter was on CSI: Miami? No, I had to find that out for myself. Mind you, I still think the show is lame, but this at least gives me a small reason to watch. Also, it's not the awesome Ainsley from The West Wing...I loved Ainsley...I would marry Ainsley if she was a real person and I had a real job and I lived in Washington, D.C. And when I did, I wouldn't invite any of my friends. They don't deserve to come if they can't keep me posted on important doings. Jeez guys...she's even my age...I would think you would be more helpful.

This isn't as bad as finding out that Winnie was on The West Wing. That's right, they failed me on that one too. What kind of crap is that? Poor Winnie (aka. Danica McKellar)...she's been wandering around in a funk since she and Kevin went their separate ways and when she finally emerges as Elsie Snuffin, do my 'friends' let me know? Hell no - not a peep! Clearly, I must do everything myself.

Well, since this is a Googletastic world...if either of you want to go out sometime, just let me know.

P.S. - Note that both are posing with their cats...that's so my cat-lovin' friends can see just how badly they've failed me.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

German Fest in West Bend, Wisconsin

I'm pretty sure this says it all...

Beer garden...and yes this woman always had this expression. Once she almost smiled, but caught herself before her 50-year record was nearly ended.

Is this crazy old guy putting down sawdust? Why yes, he is... Will the madness never end?

I wonder if they have any cute raffle girls? Indeed... And note the godlike figure of one of our fine citizens on the right. That's right ladies, there are many just like him wandering around here waiting to date you.

But they surely wouldn't dare to bring the music inside the beer tent... Ah, but they would! These are crazy-ass oompahers, they'll try anything. They had already Rolled out the Barrel and Edelweissed like madmen. Of course they were gonna storm the tent. There's no stopping men in Lederhosen. couldn't possibly be...a gyro!

Our idyllic little slice o' heaven...Main Street.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Pick your own version...

Life is all about how you perceive it. I'm sure some philosopher said something like that. If they didn't...well, let's face it, they must just suck at philosophizing. I'm not even a philosopher and I came up with that.

In the spirit of perspective, I bring you two versions of my day. You may choose whichever path you like. (Bold type is for the optimist, italic is for the pessimist and regular is just sort of neutral stuff.)

Got up kind of late and wasted most of the morning doing nothing.

Got up kind of late and wasted most of the morning doing nothing.

Blew off a BBQ with some old family friends because it would have been crawling with kids and I wasn't much in the mood for a bunch of kids. Also wasn't in the mood to be surrounded by a bunch of churchy husband/wife combos.

Decided I wanted to have some to myself to just relax and not do much of anything. So, I sent my regards and blew off the 'cue.

Hopped in my car and saw that German Fest was in full swing.

It was hard to find a parking spot and had to walk down to the goings on.

Found a parking spot and walked down to the goings on, enjoying the sun warming my face.

Live oompah music was going and people were having a good time.

Got a Gyro (yes, a Gyro at a German Fest...don't's been a question of mine for three years) and had to search for somewhere to sit down and eat it.

Got a Gyro (yes, a Gyro at a German Fest...don't's been a question of mine for three years) and got helped by one of the cutest girls ever. Okay, maybe that's an stretch, but anyone who knows me will tell you that I can fall in love 100 times a day and often do. It's called living in the moment dude. Found a cool spot out of the main fray and sat down to one of the best fuckin' Gyros ever. (This is actually not an exageration. The same stand is alway there and it's run by real Greeks who make awesome Gyros. These are even better than the Gyros I ate in the Latin Quarter in Paris and those were pretty damn good. I get at least one every year - usually they're all I eat on German Fest weekend.) Also, the girls are always really cute too. I don't know how they do it but it's truly amazing.

The Gyro was so big I could hardly finish it.

The Gyro was so big I could hardly finish it. (It was way bigger than every other Gyro I saw. Obviously the Hot Greek Girl (HHG) who took my order and made it really wanted me and expressed it through her food. That is so awesome!

Went on my way to finish errands.

Stopped at computer store to get a video capture card and maybe a case.

They didn't have a video capture card that was supported in Linux. Bastards! Guess I won't be building a Linux powereed PVR this weekend. Thanks for nothing Milwaukee PC.

They didn't have a video capture card that was supported in Linux, so I just bought some memory. Now I've got lots of RAM. Go ahead and be jealous if you want.

Went to the book store.

They didn't have what I was looking for. Bastards!

They didn't have what I was looking for. Bought a different cool book. Hah!

I could go on more, but now it's getting to be evening and I think I'm going to go back and get my Fest on.

I'll probably get another Gyro too. No I'm not hungry yet - but what does that have to do with anything? Not a thing if HGG is still working that's for sure.

I will likely also drink beer. They at least have good beer down there. It's not beer I really like much (which I guess makes it bad good beer) but it's still better than Bud. Hmmm, maybe HGG would like to join me for a bad good beer...


Friday, August 26, 2005

The Waiter and Former Intern Andy (who may have superhuman powers)

Man, I love The Waiter... In his latest post, he was tipped in porn. Sometimes his kind of humour is just what the doctor ordered.

And Josh, you should check this one out. In his latest post, Former Intern Andy makes a pretty good argument for why The Flash kicks ass... I'm not even a fan of the fast guy, but I was pretty convinced.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

A cry for logic

We all have beliefs. Unforunately, most of us couldn't state logically why we have them. Maybe it's a shortcoming of our education, maybe it's because we're too lazy to question ourselves, I don't know.

I've noticed it quite a bit lately when trying to follow some lively debates that I've either heard, been part of, or witnessed in the blogosphere and day to day life. There seems to be a lot of invalid arguments and not a lot of sound arguments or even valid arguments.

So, what is a sound argument? Well, a sound argument is a set of premises that lead by way of inferences to a conclusion that is true. The only way for a sound argument to exist is for the premises to be true, the inferences to be valid and the conclusion true.

Slightly less appealing, but at least understandable is a valid argument.

A valid argument is one where the inferences are considered to be valid. The starting premises can be wrong, or the conclusion can be wrong, but everything in the middle makes logical sense.

Here's an example taken from The Philosophy Pages:

If I believe that whales are mammals and that all mammals are fish, then it would also make sense for me to believe that whales are fish. Even someone who (rightly!) disagreed with my understanding of biological taxonomy could appreciate the consistent, reasonable way in which I used my mistaken beliefs as the foundation upon which to establish a new one.

On the other hand, if I decide to believe that Hamlet was Danish because I believe that Hamlet was a character in a play by Shaw and that some Danes are Shavian characters, then even someone who shares my belief in the result could point out that I haven't actually provided good reasons for accepting its truth.

It seems that we've become so proud of the strength of our convictions that we seldom stop to examine the validity of our convictions. Instead of stating a logical case that supports our convictions, we tend to slip into a ''re just a poopoo head' mentality when our convictions are questioned. And while the 'my Dad is bigger than your Dad and he'll beat you up' argument might be the trump hand on the playground, it's not a very impressive one in adult debate.

Politics and religion tend to be the two big battlegrounds of debate. That's been the case for centuries. But in America today it seems that our political debate generally runs something like this:
D: People need access to health care.
R: We're not going to let you raise taxes.
D: You don't care about regular people like we do, you just want to help the rich.
R: Fuckin' Liberals are trying to ruin this country.

R: People should have adequate health care.
D: Oh sure, you want to make the rich richer.
R: People need a hand up, not a hand out.
D: Fuckin' Conservatives are trying to ruin this country.

A friend of mine is a sports editor at a paper in California. On the sidelines of a football game he was asked by a local booster why he wasn't cheering for the home team. His answer was that wasn't cheering for either team, he was cheering for the game.

Maybe if more people were willing to take that attitude, then more people would find themselves able to question their own convictions and allow others to question them as well.

That's really all logic is about. Exploring how we come up with our convictions and beliefs and determining whether or not they are really valid. But that takes work and the results don't generally fit onto a bumper sticker so most of us tend to just fall back on our 'you're a poopoo head' mentality never stopping to think that in so doing it's us that become the 'poopoo heads.'

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Have you ever...

Have you ever bought a delicious grande mocha from Starbucks, sipped it while driving and then left it in the car, only to hop in the car a day or so later and grab said mocha and take a swig? Well, I have. It sucks.

Putting My Seven Point Mind Training To Work

I was listening to a recording of a talk by a Buddhist monk, Lama Thubten Yeshe, who has a pretty thick accent. He was talking about the Buddhist concept of renunciation. I could have sworn I heard him use the words "monkey nuts" repeatedly.

Of course I was confused, so I played it back. Sure enough, "monkey nuts."

Then after listening some more, I replayed it. Ah, maybe he's referring to Buddhist concept of "Monkey Mind." No, that didn't make sense either.

Finally, it became clear that he was saying, "monks and nuns." It all made sense.

So you see, studying Buddhism does lead to enlightenment.

True then, true now

Here's quick test for you. Who said the following:

"The man who trades freedom for security does not deserve nor will he ever receive either."

A) Some nutcase Liberal against the Patriot Act.
B) One of them long-haired hippy freaks.
C) Ben Franklin, a major figure in the founding of this country.

Um yeah, it's neither A nor B...guess that just leaves C. But what did Ben Franklin know about patriotism?

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

WWJS? (Who Would Jesus Slap?

Here's a happy little ditty from Media Matters that's sure to warm the cockles of your heart (or something of that nature). Never mind that the guy has none of his facts right to start with, this is a 'Christian' leader calling for an assassination.

Pat Robertson, host of Christian Broadcasting Network's The 700 Club and founder of the Christian Coalition of America, called for the assassination of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

From the August 22 broadcast of The 700 Club:

ROBERTSON: There was a popular coup that overthrew him [Chavez]. And what did the United States State Department do about it? Virtually nothing. And as a result, within about 48 hours that coup was broken; Chavez was back in power, but we had a chance to move in. He has destroyed the Venezuelan economy, and he's going to make that a launching pad for communist infiltration and Muslim extremism all over the continent.

You know, I don't know about this doctrine of assassination, but if he thinks we're trying to assassinate him, I think that we really ought to go ahead and do it. It's a whole lot cheaper than starting a war. And I don't think any oil shipments will stop. But this man is a terrific danger and the United ... This is in our sphere of influence, so we can't let this happen. We have the Monroe Doctrine, we have other doctrines that we have announced. And without question, this is a dangerous enemy to our south, controlling a huge pool of oil, that could hurt us very badly. We have the ability to take him out, and I think the time has come that we exercise that ability. We don't need another $200 billion war to get rid of one, you know, strong-arm dictator. It's a whole lot easier to have some of the covert operatives do the job and then get it over with.

If it pisses you off, then take action and leave a comment here at ABC Family. ABC Family airs Robertson's hatefest, The 700 Club.

Monday, August 22, 2005


In what can only be viewed as an epic confluence of events, I witnessed three annoying things simultaneously today. That doesn't happen very often - not even in Wisconsin.

I pulled into a spot at Goodwill, turned off the car and decided to finish off the McDonald's grub I had just bought at the nearby drive thru. (It was the Big-n-Tasty with cheese meal if you were wondering. And it was indeed tasty. And I had Coke to drink with that today.)

I'm sitting there enjoying the interplay of the mayo and ketchup with the fine American beef on a bun and in pulls a woman with a big "In Loving Memory Of..." sign on the back of her SUV. Normally, I wouldn't have noticed, except just the other day Slade had done a post on this very thing.

Then, just as I'm letting that slide off my back, a woman pulls into a not-spot in the middle of the lane in front of the store. Best of all there's an actual spot six feet away. Amazing.

She lets her fat buddy waddle out and into the store and then proceeds to stay right there with the engine running. Her windows are down and it's not hot enough to need the AC and she's not listening to the radio. Again...amazing. Listen lady, you're already driving a 12 MPG beast anyway, why not cut of the engine and let us all breath a bit while you're at it?

You might think I got mad about all this, but you would wrong on that one. No, I just enjoyed the hell out of my burger and thought to myself that maybe there really isn't any such thing as evolution...

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Note to dumbasses the world over...

Finally got spammed... Wow, how fun is that? At least I don't have to deal with Chinese hackers trying to hijack my site mailserver like when I had a website up... With them I tracked them through a couple of IP addresses, three hotmail accounts, two yahoos and a couple of gmail accounts before dead ending in China.

Anyway, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out who anonymous posters are on your Blogger site, especially when you have something like Blogpatrol. It just makes you wonder when you get a shitty anonymous post from someone who stops by your blog several times a day... Maybe it was supposed to be tongue in cheek.

So, I took off the spam completely and deleted the crap anonymous post. Maybe I should repost it with a return address so people can know who you are...there's a thought.

An hour ago, it was a beautiful sunny day. I was going to go sit outside with a coffee. It's dumping rain now. We're not talking metaphorically either. Maybe it will clear up later...

How's your day?

Friday, August 19, 2005

Back at ya...

In August of '04 - in his room in Queens - my friend Josh wrote pretty fucking cool story about a Kirsten Dunst daydream he had... If enough people beg him, he might repost it on his blog. It's totally worth reading.

Well, time has rolled on and I finally have my hip-hop response to it. (For those of you who unfamiliar with the rap world, it's a pretty common thing to respond to other artist's works by addressing them in your own...don't you feel cool knowing that?) Um, here it is:

"Anyway, it's not like you should talk," she said over her fork, a strand of Spaghetti a la Puttanesca dangling from the prongs. I never imagined that a loose strand of pasta could increase a beautiful girl's attractiveness, but there it was. I tucked the memory away, knowing that this small moment would remain cherished forever. "How many hours a week do you work?"

I just grinned at her.

"And besides, you don't get mobbed going to buy tampons..." she said.

"Um...maybe 'cause I don't buy tampons."

"Well, if you loved me..."

God, if she only knew. How could I not fall for her. I was still amazed that I somehow made it past the initial "hi."

"I'll buy you tampons if you stop waving your food at me."


The loose noodle had slipped further from her fork. She put it in her mouth and slurped it up making a pucker-lipped face at me.

"Okay Dad..." she said in her mock grownup voice. I felt her foot on my leg under the table at the same time she stuck her tongue out at me.

"Nice," I said. "There's next week's cover shot for the Enquirer... And since you were mean, maybe I won't tell you about that spaghetti sauce on your face."

"What?," she said quickly pulling the napkin off her lap. "Where?"


She rubbed the napkin down both sides of her mouth, her light-blue eyes darting quickly to her left as if to be sure no one was watching from the front of the restaurant. Looking down, she saw her napkin was still white and frowned. She dabbed around her mouth, this time catching her chin in the process, and glanced at the clean napkin.

"Where..." A quick glimmer of a blush lit her cheeks as she realized she'd been had.

I was saved from a flying napkin by the arrival of our white-shirted waiter.

"Ah...the bell," I said.

"How is everything?" the waiter asked.

"Great, thanks," I said, still relishing my little victory.

"Would you like some more wine?"

I glanced across the table and saw her nodding, "yes."

"There you have it..." I said to the waiter. "Two more please."

"Great," he said. "I'll go grab those for you."

"I think he's scared of you," I said, nodding at the back of our retreating waiter. "Notice how he never talks to you?"

"It''s better than when they only talk to me..."

"I guess you're right about that."

I still wasn't used to the whispers and the weird reactions, but I did my best to pretend it didn't bother me. That kind of attention was easier for her since she was used to it, but I knew the constant spotlight got to her sometimes.

"So, have you heard anything yet?" she asked, breaking the short silence.

"Huh? About what?"

"About your friend's story."

"Oh that..." I said. "Not yet."

"I can't believe she hasn't called him."


"C'mon. It's a great story," she said. "I just about died when I read the poem part. That was pretty awesome."

"Yeah, that part cracked me up too. That's why I figured she might like it. I don't know, maybe she'd get a kick out of it."

"I think she'll call him."

"That would be pretty cool."

"How did you get it to her?"

"You remember the guy who sent your agent my script?"

"The guy from William Morris?" she asked.


"Mmmm, not really. But go ahead."

"Well, anyway, he's a friend of my friend Eric so I got his number and asked if he could hold of Kirsten Dunst. He said that wasn't really his thing. So I told him I would just send it to him, let him read it and if he thought it would be cool, he could try and get it to her. I guess he liked it 'cause he gave it to one of the guys he works with and he gave it to her agent. There you have it."

"I think she'll call," she said.

"What makes you so sure?"

"I called..."

"True. I'm still pretty amazed about that."

"I'm glad I did," she said as she reaching for my hand.

"Me too.."

I pushed the rush of memories back, happy though they were. The phone call, the lunch down by the beach, the drive back from Redondo, thanking God I actually cleaned the place and did the dishes that had been stacked in the sink, the talk into the night over the bottle of Dynamite Cabernet I'd been saving for a special occasion...

I just wanted this moment right now though. Her smile, the little freckle on her cheek, her hand in mine across the table... These moments are short when we're out in public.

This one was no exception.

"Excuse me..."

I looked up to see a guy in jeans and an In-and-Out Burger tee shirt standing at the side of our table.

"Aren't you Scarlett Johansson?"

She smiled politely at him. I felt her hand pull out of mine.

"You're her aren't you?"

"Yes I am."

"Wow...I'm a huge fan. Can I get your autograph?"

"Sure," she said. I pulled a pen out of the pocket of my jacket that was draped over the chair behind me and handed it to her.

"Hey, can you take our picture together?" the fan said, handing me a cheap digital camera.

"Sure," I said...

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Monday, August 15, 2005

What's up doc?

Okay fine...I admit it. I loved 'Doc Hollywood.' Happy now?

The thing is, I'm a sap for stuff like that. That and it always seemed to come on when I had nothing else to watch. Over time, it's become like an old friend. If I need a boost, I just call it up and feel the cheer.

Anyway, there's a scene near the end where Michael J. Fox's character calls the recording put up everyday by the chamber of the little town he finally escaped from. He's feeling saudage* for the place and just calls to hear a familiar voice.

A while back I found just such a place. I was looking at journalism jobs and there was a little paper called The Corbin Times-Tribune in Corbin, Kentucky. It serves Knox, Laurel and Whitley Counties thank you very much. On their website, they always have a short video clip of the day's headlines read by a high school girl who I think is the daughter of the publisher. It's charming.

Now, whenever I feel a bit jaded or annoyed with life, I click over to The Corbin Times-Tribune and watch Jessie Hanson giving me the headlines from Knox, Laurel and Whitley Counties. It never fails to make me smile, even if just a little.

If you hurry and follow the link, you may get lucky and catch highlights of the Nibroc Festival. Kansas played there if you're wondering. Also, you may not have noticed that Nibroc is Corbin spelled backwards. That's gotta warm your cynical heart...

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Oompah redux...

Come on, really...did you honestly think I could withstand the pull of the St. Mary's parish festival when it was right there calling my name? Of course not. So, for the second day straight I was drawn into the magic that is small town America.

Before you get too excited, let me tell you that there was no oompah today. In it's place was a rock/country band. (The ever so inspired Sibling Rivalry if you were wondering.) I was greeted with a chorus of "hell, yeahs!" coming from said band as I walked up. (It wasn't directed at me by the way. I think they were just moved by the holy spirit to shout out.)

Today there was a silent auction and an regular auction. A word of advice when it comes to Catholic auctions and thrift stores and such...they pretty much suck...except St. Vinnie's (St. Vincent de Paul for any thrift neophytes) which is usually pretty good. Today was no exception and was actually remarkable in the level of badness which it achieved.

I did buy a Pop-A-Shot for my nephews though. That's right...a full-sized Pop-A-Shot.

But wait Shawn...didn't you just say that today's auction was terrible? It was. I stand by that, but I'm pretty effin gifted when it comes to bargain buys. I can usually find the one thing worth buying and buy it.

The bidding started out pretty fierce to start...then I jumped in at $10 and everyone could see that there was a shark in the water. Let's just say, I tightened the screws and my competition cracked. I knocked my last competitor out with a left and a mighty bid of $16. Don't mess with me, I'm a master of bid jitsu. I would have gone to $20 and everyone knew it...Pop-A-Shot was mine.

I celebrated by eating a second cheeseburger as I quietly watched the rest of the auction crawl along. I bought a random old guy a Mt. Dew and helped a couple of ladies load an old appliance into their van. I was a victor, I could afford to share the joy.

Now, here I am...just waiting to see when my counter will tick over 1,000. I always miss these little blogging milestones and I'm determined not to miss this one...

Saturday, August 13, 2005


Some people are just more blessed than others. That's not just talk either, it's the truth. Think about it. There are people who just seem luckier than others aren't there?

I'm glad to see that you've admitted it, because I'm telling you that I am one of those people. I can feel your scepticism through my high-speed cable hookup, but I assure you it's true.

If you still doubt it, let me direct your attention to the snapshot right up there... Yes that is indeed a man with a funny hat playing the hammers. What?! You've never heard of such a thing? Well, it's rare to be sure...but it does happen (pictures never lie). To be honest, I think he's actually playing the anvil with two hammers as opposed to just playing the hammers. Behind him is a band playing oompah music. Mmmm hmm...I was there. I saw it live. Eat your hearts out.

Many people would travel many miles to see such spectacles. I, however, just walked out my door and down the steps and in less than a block I was surrounded by all this wonders. St. Mary's Catholic church is a block away and they're hosting the fine, fun, family festivities.

So far today I have had new tires put on my Jeep, savored a delish Strawberries and Cream frappacino, bought coffee filters and several books, stopped at an Apaloosa horse show, heard oompah music at St. Mary's and chowed down a bratwurst...It's been a lot to fit in and yet I managed...and the night hasn't even started yet.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

The Bundesdance

Just one reason German elections are so much cooler than American elections... The Bundesdance which I found a link to on this blog.

On a less funny note, how many Americans know or even care that Germany is about to hold a major election. Not too many I'm guessing. That's how 'Superpowers' stop becoming 'Superpowers.' But that's a whole other post.

It's been three years...

Hey Travelocity Member Services people...remember when I changed my profile three years ago because I moved to Wisconsin?

Yeah well, that should have been an indication that I don't need you to keep sending me emails about the new great fares I can get out of Sacramento anymore. I must admit though, it is pretty tempting to drive for three days to get that $171 round-trip fare from Sacramento to Ft. Lauderdale.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Are you lame enough...

I've been back here in Wisconsin for about three years now and actually spent most of my childhood growing up here. I've made some observations and have - I think - made some unfair stereotypes about many of the people of this state.

One such erroneous stereotype is that Wisconsin drivers suck. They don't actually suck as drivers...they suck as people. Wait...that's not right either. People in Wisconsin simply display a certain degree of lameness that exceeds the lameness of people from most other places and this lameness manifests itself in many driving.

Here's the thing...Wisconsin is a nice place and offers some nice attractions. This might cause people from other places to want to maybe move here. Unfortunately, many of these people won't be able to muster the reguisite levels of lameness to fit in. In short, they will be miserable.

So, I decided that I should perhaps help prevent that by devising a series of tests that will help people to learn if they are indeed lame enough to live here.

I've split them up so I can dole them out a little a time. Here's the first one:

The above diagram shows an intersection with three cars. The cars are numbered in the order that they arrived at the four-way stop. Cars 1 and 3 will be travelling straight ahead after the stop and car 2 will be turning left onto the cross street. Assuming that no outside forces come into play (ie. monsters, aliens, toppling buildings, pedestrians, etc.), in what order should the cars proceed?

A) 1, 2, 3

B) I don't know...does it matter?

C) Whatever car I'm in should go first.

D) I wouldn't be driving a car...I would be riding a bike to save the environment.

E) What? There are other cars on the road? When did that happen?

Well, the only correct answer here is "A". If you picked "A", you're only going to get mad if yu live here. Trust me on this. If you picked "B", "C", or "E", you are indeed lame enough to live here. Although, if you picked "C", you should really try would likely get along better in Illinois. If you picked "D", you are truly admirable and we respect you for that, but we don't really do crazy shit like that should probably try Oregon.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005


Since I know there are many others out there who wish to help the RIAA in their quest to keep us safe from the scurge of music piracy... stop laughing... we're being serious here. Um, where was I again? Oh yeah, to help the RIAA out, I have created this fine composite drawing of a dreaded Musical Pirate. (Pretty scary, huh?)

If you see one wandering around, don't - for love of God, please don't - try and apprehend him yourself. Call the RIAA immediately. They're professionals and know how to handle this shit.

By the way, I created this with a licensed copy of Illustrator CS, so don't go trying to turn me in for the reward. I know you were thinkin' it, you scurvy dog...

RIAA... you owe me money

Dear RIAA,

I have noticed the increased efforts you have been making to combat musical pirates from pilfering your coffers. I must applaud your determination. It isn't easy to keep up with all those 14-year-olds with their boundless energy and unfettered internet access. Maybe if more people understood the amount of energy required to sustain such an effort, they would join me in praising instead of vilifying you.

Well, after seeing how hard you've been working, I felt that it was my duty to join in and do my part.

Over the years, I have bought quite a bit of music. Some of it was good and some wasn't quite so excellent. (I fear we've all had our Debbie Gibson moments. Perhaps even you have had one.) Anyway, during the last several decades, I have bought a lot of music and have on occasion played it in my car (first in the form of cassettes and more recently - please bear with my justifiable boasting - in the form of Compact Discs. Yes, I have indeed availed myself of this wonderful technology and have greatly enjoyed the positive impact it has had on my life). I know this isn't unusual and even, I believe, falls under what has been called "fair use" but that isn't why I'm writing you.

Looking back, I remember that during many of these drives with music playing I was not always alone. That too would be fine - of course, you would know better than I the intricacies of the various laws - except that some of my passengers hadn't purchased the same Compact Discs. Thanks to your efforts, I now realize that since my passengers hadn't paid for much of this music we were essentially stealing food from the tables of our favorite artists. I can only plead ignorance and offer to make restitution.

I have spent hours trying to piece together a timeline of my music listening for the past 20 years and have come up with some figures. I have simplified them here for length, but you can give me a call if you want to see the more detailed breakdowns.

Between 1983 and 1986, I spent approximately 10 hours a week in my car with friends. The radio was on roughly two thirds of that time and most of the rest of the time was spent with cassette tapes playing. I've rounded that down to three hours per week since much of that time was spent switching tapes and fast forwarding through lame songs (I'm sure you remember those days). So, at about 15 songs per hour, I should owe you for 8640 songs for that period of time.

I could go on like this for hours, but the rough total of songs I believe I owe you for is a staggering 80,000 songs. I was going to try and collect from my friends (after all, they're really ones that benefited from all this unpaid for listening) but I realized that would be unreasonably difficult for me. Instead, I've decided to settle with you myself. Based on the going rate of $1 a song, I guess I need to pay you $80,000. So, whenever you're in the neighborhood, feel free to stop in, have a beer and pick up that 80 grand.

Your pal,



Dear RIAA,

I haven't heard back from you on that $80,000 yet. Is everything okay out there. I know you're really busy working with the FBI and everything (how do you get them to stop worrying about silly terrorists in order to focus on the very serious and real problem of musical pirates?) so I won't bug you too much.

Don't forget I've got a beer for you too.

Your buddy,



Dear RIAA,

Oh dear... this is rather embarrassing. I know that I promised to give you $80,000 for times that My friends listened to music in my car without paying for it, but there's a little snag.

As you can imagine, it's not very easy to keep $80,000 around and the cost of storing it can really add up. It's all very complex, but some of this money has been held by me for 20 years now and, unfortunately, I have to charge a storage and handling fee for holding onto it for you. You, of all people, should understand this...

Anyway, (this is where it gets embarrassing) the storage and handling fees have really added up and have far exceeded the amount of money I was saving for you. I'm sorry to say that with interest and late fees calculated in, you actually owe me an additional $17,503.87.

I don't want this to strain our friendship, but if you could just get that to me as soon as possible I would appreciate it. I would hate to have to go to court over this as it would surely detract from your efforts to catch musical pirates.



Live forever?

It's amazing what comes to you late at night. Most of the time I forget to write down all these awesome ideas I get. Not so this time my friends! And what I came up with will startle you! I came up with a way to live forever... That's right... 4ever!

As I was getting eaten by a big ole dino while shooting stuff in a Jurassic Park III arcade game, I was not so quietly telling the machine that it was bullshit to throw a big bastard like that at me so early in the game. (Note that while I was calling bullshit like Robert Novak on a live CNN talk show, I still hung in there and took the hits.) I blinked red and was toast, but I had been through this already once...I had my fresh quarters ready so I could jump right back in the fray.

That's when it came to me. I'm still amazed at how obvious it was. Just sitting there in plain sight the whole time...

The secret to living forever is to always carry around extra quarters.

Beauty, eh?! I don't know why no one thought of this before. I also came up with some suggestions to make living forever easier too.

First, keep the extra quarters in a separate pocket. You don't want to be fumbling around trying to pick the quarters out of a handful of nickels, dimes and lint while your timer is counting down.

Secondly, you should also carry some Chuck-E-Cheese tokens with you too. It would suck to find out you needed to add tokens if you didn't have any. Similarly, you should probably make sure none of your quarters are too out of spec. Wouldn't you hate to see your quarter dropping through the machine because it's too worn out to register?

If you're travelling overseas, you should probably check to see what their arcade games take. Who wants to be thinking, "Oh...if I had only listened to Shawn and kept some Euros in my pocket..." as they check out? Nobody, that's who. Don't be that guy.

If there are two slots side by side, don't use the one that is stuck halfway in. Your coins are just going to drop through. And don't waste time trying to tweak it free...just put the coins in the other slot. Jeez...

And, finally, unless you have an unlimited supply of quarters...don't keep trying to defeat the big dinosaur. Just run to the four wheel drive conveniently parked in the clearing over there. You'll save yourself a lot of aggravation.

***Coming soon...Tips on what to do to pass the time while you're living forever and further suggestions from the upcoming New York Times best-seller and Oprah Book Club selection, "Arcade Life Wisdom: What Your Video Game Is Trying To Teach You."

Monday, August 08, 2005

Tired Poem

Long day
Not over yet

Sunday, August 07, 2005


I was reading a blog called Flogging the Simian and off in the side column she had some interesting stuff. Flogging the Simian is written by a young American woman who is living in Romania. That in itself is pretty interesting to me, but FTS tops that with the fact that it's well written and interesting...

Anyway, in the side column was a simple list. It was just a bunch of names and I don't know how up to date it is, but it the fact it kept going struck me in an emotional way. I copied it and put it here:

Some of the American soldiers who have given their lives in Iraq:

Cpl. Roberto Abad, Sgt. Michael D. Acklin II, Spc. Genaro Acosta, Pfc. Steven Acosta, Capt. James F. Adamouski, Pvt. Algernon Adams, Sgt. Brandon E. Adams, Spc. Clarence Adams III, 1st Lt. Michael R. Adams, Pfc. Michael S. Adams, Lt. Thomas Mullen Adams, Spc. Jamaal R. Addison, Lance Cpl. Patrick R. Adle, Capt. Tristan N. Aitken, Spc. Segun Frederick Akintade, Lance Cpl. Nickalous N. Aldrich, Spc. Ronald D. Allen Jr., Sgt. Glenn R. Allison, Lance Cpl. Michael J. Allred, Capt. Eric L. Allton, Cpl. Nicanor Alvarez, Cpl. Daniel R. Amaya, Pfc. John D. Amos II, Lance Cpl. Brian E. Anderson, Airman 1st Class Carl L. Anderson Jr., Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael C. Anderson, Spc. Michael Andrade, Pfc, Spc. Yoe M. Aneiros, Lance Cpl. Levi T. Angell, Army Spc. Edward J. Anguiano, Chief Warrant Officer Andrew Todd Arnold, Lance Cpl. Alexander S. Arredondo, Spc. Richard Arriaga, Staff Sgt. Jimmy J. Arroyave, Spc. Robert R. Arsiaga, Sgt. Evan Asa Ashcraft, Pfc. Shawn M. Atkins, Maj. Jay Aubin, Capt. Matthew J. August, Lance Cpl. Aaron C. Austin, Spc. Tyanna S. Avery-Fedder, Lance Cpl. Andrew Julian Aviles, Pfc. Eric A. Ayon, Sgt. 1st Class Henry A. Bacon, Sgt. Andrew Joseph Baddick, Staff Sgt. Daniel A. Bader, Staff Sgt. Nathan J. Bailey, Spc. Ronald W. Baker, Spc. Ryan T. Baker, Sgt. Sherwood R. Baker Pfc. Chad E. Bales, 1st Lt. Kenneth Michael Ballard, Maj. Spc. Solomon C. Bangayan, Lt. Col. Dominic R. Baragona, Pfc. Mark A. Barbret, Pfc. Collier E. Barcus, Sgt. Michael C. Barkey, Spc. Jonathan P. Barnes, Command Sgt. Maj. Edward C. Barnhill, Lance Cpl. Aric J. Barr, Sgt. Michael Paul Barrera, Maj. Carlos Barro Ollero, Sgt. Douglas E. Bascom, Spc. Todd M. Bates, Sgt. 1st Class Michael Battles Sr., Gunnery Sgt. Ronald E. Baum, Spc. Alan N. Bean Jr., Spc. Bradley S. Beard, Spc. Beau R. Beaulieu, Capt. Ryan Beaupre, Spc. James L. Beckstrand, Sgt. Gregory A. Belanger, Cpl. Christopher Belchik, Sgt. Aubrey D. Bell, Pfc. Wilfred D. Bellard, Staff Sgt. Joseph P. Bellavia, Sgt. 1st Class William M. Bennett, Spc. Robert T. Benson, 1st Lt. David R. Bernstein, Spc. Joel L. Bertoldie, Staff Sgt. Stephen A. Bertolino Sr., Staff Sgt. Marvin Best, Cpl. Mark A. Bibby, Sgt. Benjamin W. Biskie, Sgt. Michael E. Bitz, Sgt. Jarrod W. Black, Chief Warrant Officer Michael T. Blaise, Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco, Command Sgt. Maj. James D. Blankenbecler, Spc. Joseph M. Blickenstaff, Spc. Nicholas H. Blodgett, Sgt. Trevor A. Blumberg, Lance Cpl. Jeremy L. Bohlman, Gunnery Sgt. Jeffrey E. Bohr Jr., Lance Cpl. Todd J. Bolding, Sgt. Dennis J. Boles, Sgt. 1st Class Craig A. Boling, Petty Officer 3rd Class Doyle W. Bollinger Jr, Sgt. 1st Class Kelly Bolor, Staff Sgt. Stevon A. Booker Chief Warrant Officer Clarence E. Boone, Capt. John J. Boria, Pfc. Rachel K. Bosveld, Spc. Mathew G. Boule, Staff Sgt. Elvis Bourdon, Pvt. 1st Class Samuel R. Bowen, Staff Sgt. Hesley Box Jr., Pvt. Noah L. Boye, Lance Cpl. Aaron Boyles, Spc. Edward W. Brabazon, Cpl. Travis J. Bradach-Nall, Staff Sgt. Kenneth R. Bradley, Staff Sgt. Stacey C. Brandon, Spc. Artimus D. Brassfield, Pfc. Joel K. Brattain, Pfc. Jeffrey F. Braun, Chief Warrant Officer William I. Brennan, Staff Sgt. Steven H. Bridges, Spc. Kyle A. Brinlee, Staff Sgt. Cory W. Brooks, Sgt. Thomas F. Broomhead, Sgt. Andrew W. Brown, Tech. Sgt. Bruce E. Brown, Lance Cpl. Dominic C. Brown, Cpl. Henry L. Brown, Pfc. John E. Brown, Spc. Larry K. Brown, Spc. Lunsford B. Brown II, 1st Lt. Tyler H. Brown, Spc. Philip D. Brown, Pfc. Timmy R. Brown Jr., 1st Lt. Tyler H. Brown, Cpl. Andrew D. Brownfield, Petty Officer 3rd Class Nathan B. Bruckenthal, Lance Cpl. Cedric E. Bruns, 2nd Lt. Todd J. Bryant, Sgt. Ernest G. Bucklew, Spc. Roy Russell Buckley, Pfc. Paul J. Bueche, Lt. Col. Charles H. Buehring, Lance Cpl. Brian Rory Buesing, Sgt. George Edward Buggs, Spc. Joshua I. Bunch, Staff Sgt. Christopher Bunda, Staff Sgt. Michael L. Burbank, Staff Sgt. Richard A. Burdick, Spc. Alan J. Burgess, Lance Cpl. Jeffrey C. Burgess, Pfc. Tamario D. Burkett, Sgt. Travis L. Burkhardt Pfc. David P. Burridge, Pfc. Jesse R. Buryj, Pfc. Charles E. Bush Jr., Pvt. Matthew D. Bush, Pfc. Damian S. Bushart, Sgt. Jacob L. Butler, Capt. Joshua T. Byers, Cpl. Juan C. Cabralbanuelos, Pfc. Cody S. Calavan, Sgt. Juan Calderon Jr, Sgt. Charles T. Caldwell, Spc. Nathaniel A. Caldwell, Staff Sgt. Joseph Camara, Spc. Michael C. Campbell, Sgt. Ryan M. Campbell, Spc. Marvin A. Camposiles, Spc. Isaac Campoy, Spc. Ervin Caradine Jr., Spc. Adolfo C. Carballo, Pfc. Michael M. Carey, Cpl. Richard P. Carl, Pfc. Ryan G. Carlock, Pfc. Benjamin R. Carman, Staff Sgt. Edward W. Carmen, Spc. Jocelyn L. Carrasquillo, Sgt. Frank T. Carvill, Capt. Christopher S. Cash, Spc. Ahmed A. Cason, Pfc. Jose Casanova, Lance Cpl. James A. Casper, Capt. Paul J. Cassidy, Staff Sgt. Roland L. Castro, Sgt. Sean K. Cataudella, Lance Cpl. Steven C. T. Cates, Pfc. Thomas D. Caughman, Staff Sgt. James W. Cawley, Spc. Jessica L. Cawvey, Petty Officer 3rd Class David A. Cedergren, Lance Cpl. Manuel A. Ceniceros, Cpl. Kemaphoom A. Chanawongse, Spc. James A. Chance III, Staff Sgt. William D. Chaney, Chief Warrant Officer Robert William Channell Jr., Spc. Jason K. Chappell, Pfc. Jonathan M. Cheatham, Sgt. Yohjyh L. Chen, Lance Cpl. Marcus M. Cherry, 2nd Lt. Therrel S. Childers, Spc. Andrew F. Chris Staff Sgt. Thomas W. Christensen, Spc. Brett T. Christian, Spc. Arron R. Clark, Staff Sgt. Michael J. Clark, Lance Cpl. Donald J. Cline Jr., Pfc. Christopher R. Cobb, Lance Cpl. Kyle W. Codner, 1st Sgt. Christopher D. Coffin, Pvt. Bradli N. Coleman, Cpl. Gary B. Coleman, 2nd Lt. Benjamin J. Colgan, Sgt. Russell L. Collier, Sgt. 1st Class Gary L. Collins, Lance Cpl. Jonathan W. Collins, Chief Warrant Officer Lawrence S. Colton, Spc. Zeferino E. Colunga, Sgt. Robert E. Colvill, Sgt. Kenneth Conde Jr., Sgt. Timothy M. Conneway, Spc. Steven D. Conover, Capt. Aaron J. Contreras, Lance Cpl. Pedro Contreras, Sgt. Jason Cook, Command Sgt. Major Eric F. Cooke, Sgt. Dennis A. Corral, Chief Warrant Officer Alexander S. Coulter, 2nd Lt. Leonard M. Cowherd, Spc. Gregory A. Cox, Pfc. Ryan R. Cox, Lance Corporal Timothy R. Creager, Sgt. Michael T. Crockett, Staff Sgt. Ricky L. Crockett, Sgt. Brud J. Cronkrite, Lance Cpl. Kyle D. Crowley, Pvt. Rey D. Cuervo, Pfc. Kevin A. Cuming, Spc. Daniel Francis J. Cunningham, Staff Sgt. Darren J. Cunningham, Spc. Carl F. Curran, Cpl. Michael Edward Curtin, Staff Sgt. Christopher E. Cutchall, Pfc. Brian K. Cutter, Pfc. Anthony D. D'Agostino, Spc. Edgar P. Daclan Jr., Capt. Nathan S. Dalley, Lance Cpl. Andrew S. Dang, Spc. Danny B. Daniels II, Pvt. 1st Class Torey J. Dantzler, Pfc. Norman Darling, Capt. Eric B. Das Spc. Shawn M. Davies, Pvt. Brandon L. Davis, Staff Sgt. Craig Davis, Staff Sgt. Donald N. Davis, Spc. Raphael S. Davis, Staff Sgt. Wilbert Davis, Staff Sgt. Jeffrey F. Dayton, Pvt. Jason L. Deibler, Spc. Lauro G. DeLeon Jr., Sgt. Felix M. Delgreco, Sgt. Jacob H. Demand, Staff Sgt. Mike A. Dennie, Spc. Darryl T. Dent, Pfc. Ervin Dervishi, Spc. Daniel A. Desens, Pfc. Michael R. Deuel, Pvt. Michael J. Deutsch, Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher M. Dickerson, Cpl. Nicholas J. Dieruf, Spc. Jeremiah J. DiGiovanni, Spc. Jeremy M. Dimaranan, Spc. Michael A. Diraimondo, Spc. Anthony J. Dixon, Spc. Ryan E. Doltz, Sgt. Michael E. Dooley, Chief Warrant Officer Patrick D. Dorff, Petty Officer 2nd Class Trace W. Dossett, Lance Cpl. Scott E. Dougherty, 1st Sgt. Robert J. Dowdy, Pfc. Stephen P. Downing II, Spc. Chad H. Drake, Pvt. Jeremy L. Drexler, Cpl. Jason L. Dunham, Staff Sgt. Joe L. Dunigan Jr., Spc. Robert L. DuSang, Spc. William D. Dusenbery, 2nd Lt. Seth J. Dvorin, Petty Officer 2nd Class Jason B. Dwelley, Pfc. Sheldon R. Hawk Eagle, Staff Sgt. Richard S. Eaton Jr., Cpl. Christopher S. Ebert, Sgt. William C. Eckhart, Spc. Marshall L. Edgerton, Pfc. Shawn C. Edwards, Spc. Andrew C. Ehrlich, Sgt. Aaron C. Elandt, Spc. William R. Emanuel IV, Lance Cpl. Mark E. Engel, Spc. Peter G. Enos, Senior Airman Pedro I. Espaillat Jr. Pfc. Analaura Esparza Gutierrez, Sgt. Adam W. Estep, Pvt. Ruben Estrella-Soto, Pfc. David Evans, Cpl. Mark A. Evnin, Pfc. Jeremy Ricardo Ewing, Sgt. Justin L. Eyerly, Pvt. Jonathan I. Falaniko, Sgt. James D. Faulkner, Pfc. Raymond J. Faulstich Jr., Capt. Brian R. Faunce, Capt. Arthur L. Felder, 2nd Lt. Paul M. Felsberg, Spc. Rian C. Ferguson, Master Sgt. Richard L. Ferguson, Master Sgt. George A. Fernandez, Staff Sgt. Clint D. Ferrin, Spc. Jon P. Fettig, Cpl. Tyler R. Fey, Sgt. Jeremy J. Fischer, Sgt. Paul F. Fisher, Lance Cpl. Dustin R. Fitzgerald, Pfc. Jacob S. Fletcher, Spc. Thomas A. Foley III, Sgt. Timothy Folmar, Gunnery Sgt. Elia P. Fontecchio, Spc. Jason C. Ford, Capt. Travis A. Ford, Chief Warrant Officer Wesley C. Fortenberry, Sgt. 1st Class Bradley C. Fox, Spc. Craig S. Frank, Lance Cpl. Phillip E. Frank, Staff Sgt. Bobby C. Franklin, Pvt. Robert L. Frantz, Pvt. Benjamin L. Freeman, Sgt. David T. Friedrich, Spc. Luke P. Frist, Spc. Adam D. Froehlich, Pvt. Kurt R. Frosheiser, Pfc. Nichole M. Frye, Sgt. 1st Class Dan H. Gabrielson, Lance Cpl. Jonathan E. Gadsden, Capt. Richard J. Gannon II, Spc. Tomas Garces, Lance Cpl. Derek L. Gardner, Cpl. Jose A. Garibay, Spc. Joseph M. Garmback Jr., Sgt. Landis W. Garrison, Sgt. Justin W. Garvey, Spc. Israel Garza 1st Sgt. Joe J. Garza, Pfc. Juan Guadalupe Garza Jr, Spc. Christopher D. Gelineau, Lance Cpl. Cory Ryan Guerin, Cpl. Christopher A. Gibson, Pvt. Jonathan L. Gifford, Pvt. Kyle C. Gilbert, Command Sgt. Maj. Cornell W. Gilmore, Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronald A. Ginther, Pfc. Jesse A. Givens, Spc. Michael T. Gleason, Cpl. Todd J. Godwin, 2nd Lt. James Michael Goins, Spc. Christopher A. Golby, Spc. David J. Goldberg, Lance Cpl. Shane L. Goldman, Cpl. Armando Ariel Gonzalez, Lance Cpl. Benjamin R. Gonzalez, Cpl. Jesus A. Gonzalez, Cpl. Jorge Gonzalez, Lance Cpl. Victor A. Gonzalez, Cpl. Bernard G. Gooden, Pfc. Gregory R. Goodrich, Sgt. 1st Class Richard S. Gottfried, Spc. Richard A. Goward, 2nd Lt. Jeffrey C. Graham, Sgt. Jamie A. Gray, Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael J. Gray, Sgt. Tommy L. Gray, Lance Cpl. Torrey L. Gray, Cpl. Jeffrey G. Green, Lt. Col. David S. Greene, Pfc. Devin J. Grella, Spc. Kyle A. Griffin, Staff Sgt. Patrick Lee Griffin Jr., Cpl. Sean R. Grilley, Pvt. Joseph R. Guerrera, Chief Warrant Officer Hans N. Gukeisen, Pfc. Christian D. Gurtner, Lance Cpl. Jose Gutierrez, Pfc. Richard W. Hafer, Staff Sgt. Guy S. Hagy Jr., Spc. Charles G. Haight, Lance Cpl. Michael J. Halal, Pfc. Deryk L. Hallal, Pvt. Jesse M. Halling, Pfc. Andrew Halverson, Chief Warrant Officer Erik A. Halvorsen, Capt. Kimberly N. Hampton, Sgt. Michael S. Hancock Pfc. Fernando B. Hannon, Sgt. Warren S. Hansen, Sgt. James W. Harlan, Sgt. Atanacio Haro Marin, Staff Sgt. William M. Harrell, Sgt. Foster L. Harrington, Pfc. Adam J. Harris, Sgt. Kenneth W. Harris Jr., Pfc. Torry D. Harris, Pfc. Leroy Harris-Kelly, Pfc. John D. Hart, Sgt. Nathaniel Hart, Sgt. 1st Class David A. Hartman, Sgt. Jonathan N. Hartman, Staff Sgt. Stephen C. Hattamer, Staff Sgt. Omer T. Hawkins II, Sgt. Timothy L. Hayslett, Chief Warrant Officer Brian D. Hazelgrove, Sgt. David M. Heath, Spc. Justin W. Hebert, Pfc. Damian L. Heidelberg, Pfc. Raheen Tyson Heighter, Spc. Jeremy M. Heines, Staff Sgt. Brian R. Hellerman, Staff Sgt. Terry W. Hemingway, Cpl. Matthew C. Henderson, 1st Lt. Robert L. Henderson II, Staff Sgt. Kenneth W. Hendrickson, Sgt. Jack T. Hennessy, Spc. Joshua J. Henry, Pfc. Clayton W. Henson, Spc. Armando Hernandez, Spc. Joseph F. Herndon II, Pfc. Edward J. Herrgott, Spc. Jacob B. Herring, Sgt. 1st Class Gregory B. Hicks, Spc. Christopher K. Hill, Spc. Stephen D. Hiller, Sgt. Keicia M. Hines, Pfc. Melissa J. Hobart, Sgt. Nicholas M. Hodson, Sgt. 1st Class James T. Hoffman, Spc. Christopher J. Holland, Staff Sgt. Aaron N. Holleyman, Staff Sgt. Lincoln D. Hollinsaid, Spc. James J. Holmes, Spc. Jeremiah J. Holmes, Cpl. Terry Holmes, Airman 1st Class Antoine J. Holt, Pfc. Sean Horn, Master Sgt. Kelly L. Hornbeck Staff Sgt. Jeremy R. Horton, Capt. Andrew R. Houghton, Lance Cpl Gregory C. Howman, Pfc. Bert E. Hoyer, Spc. Corey A. Hubbell, Pfc. Christopher E. Hudson, 1st Lt. Doyle M. Hufstedler, Staff Sgt. Jamie L. Huggins, Spc. Eric R. Hull, Cpl Barton R. Humlhanz, Lance Cpl. Justin T. Hunt, Spc. Simeon Hunte, 1st Lt. Joshua C. Hurley, Lance Cpl. James B. Huston Jr., Lance Cpl. Seth Huston, Pvt. Nolen R. Hutchings, Pfc. Ray J. Hutchinson, Pfc. Gregory P. Huxley Jr., Spc. Benjamin W. Isenberg, Spc. Craig S. Ivory, Pfc. Leslie D. Jackson, Spc. Morgen N. Jacobs, Chief Warrant Officer Scott Jamar, Cpl. Evan T. James, 2nd Lt. Luke S. James, Spc. William A. Jeffries, Petty Officer 2nd Class Robert B. Jenkins, Sgt. Troy David Jenkins, Spc. Darius T. Jennings, Pfc. Ryan M. Jerabek, Sgt. Linda C. Jimenez, 1st Lt. Oscar Jimenez, Capt. Christopher B. Johnson, Spc. David W. Johnson, Pfc. Howard Johnson II, Spc. John P. Johnson, Pfc. Markus J. Johnson, Spc. Maurice J. Johnson, Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Michael Vann Johnson Jr., Spc. Nathaniel H. Johnson, Staff Sgt. Paul J. Johnson, Chief Warrant Officer, Pfc. Rayshawn S. Johnson, Pvt. Devon D. Jones, Capt. Gussie M. Jones, Staff Sgt. Raymond E. Jones Jr., Spc. Rodney A. Jones, Lt. Kylan A. Jones- Huffman, Sgt. Curt E. Jordan Jr., Sgt. Jason D. Jordan Staff Sgt. Phillip A. Jordan, Cpl. Forest J. Jostes, Spc. Spencer T. Karol, Spc. Michael G. Karr Jr., Spc. Mark J. Kasecky, 1st Lt. Jeffrey J. Kaylor, Spc. Chad L. Keith, Lance Cpl. Quinn A. Keith, Lance Cpl. Bryan P. Kelly, Cpl. Brian Kennedy, Chief Warrant Officer Kyran E. Kennedy, Staff Sgt. Morgan D. Kennon, 1st Lt. Christopher J. Kenny, Spc. Jonathan R. Kephart, Cpl. Dallas L. Kerns, Chief Warrant Officer Erik C. Kesterson, Capt. Humayun S. M. Khan, Spc. James M. Kiehl, Pt. Jeungjin Na Kim, Staff Sgt. Kevin C. Kimmerly. Spc. Levi B. Kinchen, Staff Sgt. Lester O. Kinney II, Pfc. David M. Kirchhoff, Staff Sgt. Charles A. Kiser, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Brian Kleiboeker, Spc. John K. Klinesmith Jr., Sgt. Floyd G. Knighten Jr., Petty Officer 3rd Class Eric L. Knott, Spc. Joshua L. Knowles, Staff Sgt. Lance J. Koenig, Cpl. Kevin T. Kolm, Pfc. Martin W. Kondor, Chief Warrant Patrick W. Kordsmeier, Capt. Edward J. Korn, Sgt. Bradley S. Korthaus, Cpl. Jakub Henryk Kowalik, Sgt. Elmer C. Krause, Pvt. Dustin L. Kreider, Pfc. Bradley G. Kritzer, Capt. John F. Kurth, Sgt. 1st Class William W. Labadie Jr., Sgt. Joshua S. Ladd, Sgt. Michael V. Lalush, Lance Cpl. Alan Dinh Lam, Spc. Charles R. Lamb, Spc. James I. Lambert III, Pfc. James P. Lambert, Sgt. Jonathan W. Lambert, Capt. Andrew David Lamont, Staff Sgt. Sean G. Landrus, Gunnery Sgt. Shawn A. Lane Pfc. Moises A. Langhorst, Spc. Tracy L. Laramore, Spc. Scott Q. Larson Jr., Chief Warrant Officer Matthew C. Laskowski, Staff Sgt. William T. Latham, Pfc. Karina S. Lau, Cpl. Jeffrey D. Lawrence, Staff Sgt. Mark A. Lawton, Lance Cpl. Travis J. Layfield, Staff Sgt. Rene Ledesma, 2nd Lt. Ryan Leduc, Cpl. Bum R. Lee, Pfc. Ken W. Leisten, Staff Sgt. Jerome Lemon, Spc. Cedric L. Lennon, Pfc. Farad K. Letufuga, Spc. Justin W. Linden, Spc. Roger G. Ling, Spc. Joseph L. Lister, Staff Sgt. Nino D. Livaudais, Sgt. Dale T. Lloyd, Sgt. Daniel J. Londono, Spc. Ryan P. Long, Spc. Zachariah W. Long, Pfc. Duane E. Longstreth, Sgt. Edgar E. Lopez, Lance Cpl. Juan Lopez, Sgt. Richard M. Lord, Staff Sgt. David L. Loyd, Capt. Robert L. Lucero, Pfc. Jason C. Ludiam, Lance Cpl. Jacob R. Lugo, Pfc. Jason N. Lynch, Pfc. Christopher D. Mabry, Lance Cpl. Gregory E. MacDonald, Lance Cpl. Cesar F. Machado-Olmos, Pfc. Vorn J. Mack, Lance Cpl. Joseph B. Maglione, Spc. William J. Maher III, Staff Sgt. Toby W. Mallet, Chief Warrant Officer Ian D. Manuel, Pfc. Pablo Manzano, Pfc. Lyndon A. Marcus Jr., Staff Sgt. Paul C. Mardis Jr., Cpl. Douglas Jose Marencoreyes, Master Sgt. Jude C. Mariano, Spc. James E. Marshall, Sgt. 1st Class John W. Marshall, Pfc. Ryan A. Martin, Staff Sgt. Stephen G. Martin Sgt. Francisco Martinez, Pfc. Francisco A. Martinez Flores, Pfc. Jesse J. Martinez, Spc. Michael A. Martinez, Pfc. Oscar A. Martinez, Spc. Jacob D. Martir, Sgt. Arthur S. Mastrapa, Chief Warrant Officer Johnny Villareal Mata, Lance Cpl. Ramon Mateo, Spc. Clint Richard Matthews, Lance Cpl. Ramon Mateo, Cpl. Matthew E. Matula, Staff Sgt. Donald C. May Jr, Pfc. Joseph P. Mayek, Spc. Patrick R. McCaffrey Sr., Lance Cpl. Joseph C. MacCarthy, Pfc. Ryan M. McCauley, Cpl. Brad P. McCormick, 1st Lt. Erik. S. McCrae, Spc. Donald R. McCune, Spc. Dustin K. McGaugh, Pfc. Holly J. McGeogh, Sgt. Brian D. McGinnis, Spc. Michael A. McGlothin. Petty Officer 2nd Class Scott R. McHugh, Hospitalman Joshua McIntosh, Spc. David M. McKeever, Spc. Eric S. McKinley, Pvt. Robert L. McKinley, Staff Sgt. Don S. McMahan, Sgt. Heath A. McMillin, 1st Lt. Brian M. McPhillips, Cpl. Jesus Martin Antonio Medellin, Spc. Irving Medina, Spc. Kenneth A. Melton, Cpl. Jaygee Meluat, Petty Officer 3rd Class Fernando A. Mendezaceves, Gunnery Sgt. Joseph Menusa, Staff Sgt. Eddie E. Menyweather, Spc. Gil Mercado, Spc. Michael M. Merila, Spc. Christopher A. Merville, Sgt. Daniel K. Methvin, Pfc. Jason M. Meyer, Sgt. Eliu A. Miersandoval, Spc. Michael G. Mihalakis, Pfc. Matthew G. Milczark, Cpl. Jason David Mileo, Pfc. Anthony S. Miller, Pfc. Bruce Miller Jr., Staff Sgt. Frederick L. Miller Jr. Sgt. 1st Class Marvin L. Miller, Sgt. Joseph Minucci II, Sgt. First Class Troy L. Miranda, Spc. George A. Mitchell, Sgt. Keman L. Mitchell, Sgt. Michael W. Mitchell, Spc. Sean R. Mitchell, Pfc. Jesse D. Mizener, Staff Sgt. Jorge A. Molinabautista, Pfc. Anthony W. Monroe, 1st Lt. Adam G. Mooney, Lance Cpl. Jason William Moore, Pfc. Stuart W. Moore, Sgt. Travis A. Moothart, Spc. Jose L. Mora, Sgt. Melvin Y. Mora, Pfc. Michael A. Mora, Master Sgt. Kevin N. Morehead, Capt. Brent L. Morel, Petty Officer 3rd Class David J. Moreno, Sgt. Gerardo Moreno, Spc. Jaime Moreno, Pfc. Luis A. Moreno, Spc. Dennis B. Morgan, Staff Sgt. Richard L. Morgan Jr., Pfc. Geoffery S. Morris, Pfc. Ricky A. Morris Jr., Lance Cpl. Nicholas B. Morrison, Sgt. Shawna M. Morrison, Sgt. Keelan L. Moss, Spc. Clifford L. Moxley Jr., Sgt. Cory R. Mracek, Sgt. Rodney A. Murray, Sgt. Krisna Nachampassak, Spc. Paul T. Nakamura, Spc. Nathan W. Nakis, Pvt. Kenneth A. Nalley, Chief Warrant Officer Christopher G. Nason, Maj. Kevin G. Nave, Spc. Rafael L. Navea, Spc. Charles L. Neeley, Staff Sgt. Paul M. Neff II, Pfc. Gavin L. Neighbor, Spc. Joshua M. Neusche, Cpl. Dominique J. Nicolas, Lance Cpl. Joseph L. Nice, Spc. Isaac Michael Nieves, Lance Cpl. Patrick R. Nixon, Spc. Allen Nolan, Spc. Marcos O. Nolasco Sgt. William J. Normandy, Spc. Joseph C. Norquist, 1st Lt. Leif E. Nott, Staff Sgt. Todd E. Nunes, Spc. David T. Nutt, Cpl. Mick R. Nygardbekowsky, Spc. Donald S. Oak Jr., Pfc. Branden F. Oberleitner, Lance Cpl. Patrick T. O'Day, Spc. Charles E. Odums II, Spc. Ramon C. Ojeda, Cpl. Terry Holmes Ordonez, Cpl. Brian Oliveira, Spc. Justin B. Onwordi, Spc. Richard P. Orengo, Lt. Col. Kim S. Orlando, Lance Cpl. Eric J. Orlowski, 1st Lt. Osbaldo Orozco, Pfc. Cody J. Orr, Staff Sgt. Billy J. Orton, Sgt. Pamela G. Osbourne, Lance Cpl. Deshon E. Otey, Pfc. Kevin C. Ott, Sgt. Michael G. Owen, Lance Cpl. David Edward Owens Jr, Sgt. Fernando Padilla- Ramirez, Pvt. Shawn D. Pahnke, Spc. Gabriel T. Palacios, Capt. Eric T. Paliwoda, 1st Lt. Joshua M. Palmer, Staff Sgt. Dale A. Panchot, Pfc. Daniel R. Parker, Pfc. James D. Parker, Pfc. Kristen Parker, Cpl. Tommy L. Parker Jr., Sgt. Harvey E. Parkerson III, Sgt. David B. Parson, Staff Sgt. Esau G. Patterson Jr., Master Sgt. William L. Payne, Sgt. Michael F. Pedersen, Staff Sgt. Abraham D. Penamedina, Spc. Brian H. Penisten, Sgt. Ross A. Pennanen, Staff Sgt. Gregory V. Pennington, Pfc. Geoffrey Perez, Staff Sgt. Hector R. Perez, Sgt. Joel Perez, Spc. Jose A. Perez III, Pfc. Luis A. Perez, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Perez Spc. Wilfredo Perez Jr., Petty Officer 1st Class Michael J. Pernaselli, Staff Sgt. David S. Perry, Pfc. Charles C. Persing, Staff Sgt. Dustin W. Peters, Spc. Alyssa R. Peterson, Staff Sgt. Brett J. Petriken, Staff Sgt. James L. Pettaway Jr., Staff Sgt. Erickson H. Petty, Pfc. Jerrick M. Petty, Lt. Col. Mark P. Phelan, Pfc. Chance R. Phelps, Sgt. 1st Class Gladimir Philippe, Sgt. Ivory L. Phipps, Capt. Pierre E. Piche, Pfc. Lori Piestewa, Capt. Dennis L. Pintor, Spc. James H. Pirtle, Pfc. Jason T. Poindexter, 2nd Lt. Frederick E. Pokorney Jr., Staff Sgt. Andrew R. Pokorny, Spc. Justin W. Pollard, Spc. Larry E. Polley Jr., Sgt. Darrin K. Potter, Pfc. David L. Potter, Sgt. Christopher S. Potts, Spc. James E. Powell, Lance Cpl. Caleb J. Powers, Cpl. Dean P. Pratt, Pfc. James E. Prevete, Pvt. Kelley S. Prewitt, Sgt. Tyler D. Prewitt, Pfc. James W. Price, 1st Lt. Timothy E. Price, Lance Cpl. Mathew D. Puckett, Sgt. Jaror C. Puello- Coronado, Staff Sgt. Michael B. Quinn, Staff Sgt. Richard P. Ramey, Sgt. Christopher Ramirez, Spc. Eric U. Ramirez, Pfc. William C. Ramirez, Pfc. Christopher Ramos, Spc. Tamarra J. Ramos, Pfc. Brandon Ramsey, Pvt. Carson J. Ramsey, Sgt. Edmond L. Randle, Pfc. Cleston C. Raney, Capt. Gregory A. Ratzlaff, Spc. Rel A. Ravago IV, Spc. Omead H. Razani Spc. Brandon M. Read, Pfc. Christopher J. Reed, Pfc. Ryan E. Reed, Sgt. Tatjana Reed, Staff Sgt. Aaron T. Reese, Spc. Jeremy F. Regnier, Sgt. 1st Class Randall S. Rehn, Sgt. Brendon C. Reiss, Staff Sgt. George S. Rentschler, Sgt. Sean C. Reynolds, Lance Cpl. Rafael Reynosa- Suarez, Sgt. Yadir G. Reynoso, Cpl. Demetrius L. Rice, Sgt. Ariel Rico, Spc. Jeremy L. Ridlen, Pfc. Diego Fernando Rincon, Cpl. Steven A. Rintamaki, Sgt. Duane R. Rios, Capt. Russell B. Rippetoe, Pfc. Henry C. Risner, Sgt. 1st Class Jose A. Rivera, Cpl. John T. Rivero, Spc. Frank K. Rivers Jr., Sgt. Thomas D. Robbins, Sgt. Todd J. Robbins, Lance Cpl. Anthony P. Roberts, Lance Cpl. Bob W. Roberts, Spc. Robert D. Roberts, Staff Sgt. Joseph E. Robsky, Sgt. Moses D. Rocha, Pfc. Marlin T. Rockhold, Pfc. Jose Francis Gonzalez Rodriguez, Cpl. Robert M. Rodriguez, Spc. Philip G. Rogers, Sgt. 1st Class Robert E. Rooney, Cpl. Randal Kent Rosacker, Staff Sgt. Victor A. Rosales, Pfc. Richard H. Rosas, Sgt. Scott C. Rose, Sgt. Thomas C. Rosenbaum, Sgt. Randy S. Rosenberg, Spc. Marco D. Ross, Sgt. Lawrence A. Roukey, Capt. Alan Rowe, Spc. Brandon J. Rowe, Sgt. Roger D. Rowe, 2nd Lt. Jonathan D. Rozier, Spc. Isela Rubalcava, Pfc. Aaron J. Rusin, Sgt. John W. Russell 1st Lt. Timothy Louis Ryan, Chief Warrant Officer Scott A. Saboe, Spc. Rasheed Sahib, Cpl. Rudy Salas, Cpl. William I. Salazar, 1st Lt. Edward M. Saltz, Capt. Benjamin W. Sammis, Spc. Sonny G. Sampler, Spc. Gregory P. Sanders, Pfc. Leroy Sandoval Jr., Spc. Matthew J. Sandri, Staff Sgt. Barry Sanford, 1st Lt. Neil Anthony Santoriello, Spc. Jonathan J. Santos, Pfc. Brandon R. Sapp, Staff Sgt. Cameron B. Sarno, Staff Sgt. Scott D. Sather, Lance Cpl. Jeremiah E. Savage, Capt. Robert C. Scheetz Jr., Spc. Justin B. Schmidt, Spc. Jeremiah W. Schmunk, Pfc. Sean M. Schneider, Cpl. Dustin H. Schrage, Maj. Mathew E. Schram, Lance Cpl. Brian K. Schramm, Spc. Christian C. Schulz, Master Sgt. David A. Scott, Pfc. Kerry D. Scott, Spc. Stephen M. Scott, Spc. Marc S. Seiden, Capt. Christopher Scott Seifert, Pfc. Dustin M. Sekula, Lance Cpl. Matthew K. Serio, Sgt. Juan M. Serrano, Staff Sgt. Wentz Jerome Henry Shanaberger III, Spc. Jeffrey R. Shaver, Maj. Kevin M. Shea, Spc. Casey Sheehan, Sgt. Kevin F. Sheehan, Sgt. Daniel Michael Shepherd, Sgt. Alan D. Sherman, Lt. Col. Anthony L. Sherman, Pfc. Harry N. Shondee Jr., Lance Cpl. Brad S. Shuder, Capt. James A. Shull, Pfc. Kenneth L. Sickels, Lance Cpl. Dustin L. Sides, Cpl. Erik H. Silva, Pvt. Sean A. Silva, Sgt. Leonard D. Simmons Pfc. Charles M. Sims, Lance Cpl. John T. Sims Jr., Spc. Uday Singh, Spc. Aaron J. Sissel, Pfc. Christopher A. Sisson, Pfc. Nicholas M. Skinner, Petty Officer 3rd Class David Sisung, 1st Lt. Brian D. Slavenas, Pvt. Brandon Ulysses Sloan, Lance Cpl. Richard P. Slocum, Lance Cpl. Thomas J. Slocum, Pfc. Corey L. Small, Sgt. Keith L. Smette, Capt. Benedict J. Smith, Sgt. Benjamin K. Smith, Pfc. Brandon C. Smith, 2nd Lt. Brian D. Smith, Chief Warrant Officer Bruce A. Smith, Cpl. Darrell L. Smith, 1st Sgt. Edward Smith, Chief Warrant Officer Eric A. Smith, Pfc. Jeremiah D. Smith, Lance Cpl. Matthew R. Smith, Lance Cpl. Michael J. Smith Jr., Spc. Orenthial J. Smith, Sgt. 1st Class Paul R. Smith, Capt. Christopher F. Soelzer, Sgt. Roderic A. Solomon, Cpl. Adrian V. Soltau, Maj. Charles R. Soltes Jr., Sgt. Skipper Soram, Pfc. Armando Soriano, Cpl. Tomas Sotelo Jr., Pfc. Kenneth C. Souslin, Spc. Philip I. Spakosky, Pfc. Jason L. Sparks, Cpl. Michael R. Speer, Staff Sgt. Trevor Spink, Maj. Christopher J. Splinter, Sgt. Marvin R. Sprayberry III, Pvt. Bryan N. Spry, Sgt. Maj. Michael B. Stack, Pfc. Nathan E. Stahl, 1st Lt. Andrew K. Stern, Staff Sgt. Robert A. Stever, Maj. Gregory Stone, 2nd Lt. Matthew R. Stovall, Pfc. William R. Strange, Sgt. Kirk Allen Straseskie, Pfc. Brandon C. Sturdy Spc. William R. Sturges Jr., Spc. Paul J. Sturino, Lance Cpl. Jesus A. Suarez Del Solar, Spc. Joseph D. Suell, Spc. John R. Sullivan, Spc. Narson B. Sullivan, Lance Cpl. Vincent M. Sullivan, Staff Sgt. Michael J. Sutter, Pfc. Ernest Harold Sutphin, Chief Warrant Officer Sharon T. Swartworth, Spc. Thomas J. Sweet II, Staff Sgt. Christopher W. Swisher, Maj. Paul R. Syverson III, Sgt. Patrick S. Tainsh, Sgt. DeForest L. Talbert, Sgt. 1st Class Linda Ann Tarango-Griess, Spc. Christopher M. Taylor, Maj. Mark D. Taylor, Capt. John R. Teal, Staff Sgt. Riayan A. Tejeda, Lance Cpl. Jason Andrew Tetrault, Spc. Joseph C. Thibodeaux, Master Sgt. Thomas R. Thigpen Sr., Cpl. Jesse L. Thiry, Sgt. Carl Thomas, Staff Sgt. Kendall Thomas, Spc. Kyle G. Thomas, Sgt. Anthony O. Thompson, Spc. Jarrett B. Thompson, Sgt. Humberto F. Timoteo, Capt. John E. Tipton, Pfc. Joshua K. Titcomb, Spc. Brandon T. Titus, Spc. Brandon S. Tobler, Sgt. Lee D. TodacheeneCpl. John H. Todd III, Sgt. Nicholas A. Tomko, Master Sgt. Timothy Toney, Pfc. George D. Torres, Lance Cpl. Michael S. Torres, 2nd Lt. Richard Torres, Spc. Ramon Reyes Torres, Lance Cpl. Elias Torrez III, Sgt. Michael L. Tosto, Spc. Richard K. Trevithick, Pfc. Andrew L. Tuazon, Staff Sgt. Roger C. Turner Jr., Pvt. Scott M. Tyrrell, 2nd Lt. Andre D. Tyson, Spc. Eugene A. Uhl III, Lance Cpl. Drew M. Uhles Rick A. Ulbright, Pfc. Daniel P. Unger, Spc. Robert Oliver Unruh, 1st Sgt. Ernest E. Utt, Sgt. Michael A. Uvanni, Staff Sgt. Gary A. Vaillant, Lance Cpl. Ruben Valdez Jr., Sgt. Melissa Valles, Spc. Allen J. Vandayburg, Spc. Josiah H. Vandertulip, Chief Warrant Officer Brian K. Van Dusen, Lance Cpl. John J. Vangyzen IV, Lance Cpl. Gary F. Van Leuven, Staff Sgt. Mark D. Vasquez, Spc. Frances M. Vega, 1st Lt. Michael W. Vega, Staff Sgt. Paul A. Velazquez, Cpl. David M. Vicente, Sgt. 1st Class Joselito O. Villanueva, Cpl. Scott M. Vincent, Staff Sgt. Kimberly A. Voelz, Staff Sgt. Michael S. Voss, Spc. Thai Vue, Lance Cpl. Michael B. Wafford, Sgt. Christopher A. Wagener, Sgt. Gregory L. Wahl, Staff Sgt. Allan K. Walker, Sgt. Jeffery C. Walker, Sgt. Donald Ralph Walters, Pvt. Jason M. Ward, Pfc. Nachez Washalanta, Lance Cpl. Christopher B. Wasser, Pvt. David L. Waters, Staff Sgt. Kendall Damon Waters-Bey, Maj. William R. Watkins III, Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher E. Watts, Chief Warrant Officer Aaron A. Weaver, Spc. Michael S. Weger, Staff Sgt. David J. Weisenburg, Spc. Douglas J. Weismantle, Pfc. Michael Russell Creighton Weldon, Lance Cpl. Larry L. Wells, Chief Warrant Officer Stephen M. Wells, Spc. Jeffrey M. Wershow, Spc. Christopher J. Rivera Wesley, Sgt. James G. West, 1st Lt. Alexander E. Wetherbee, Spc. Donald L. Wheeler, Sgt. Mason Douglas Whetstone, Pfc. Marquis A. Whitaker Staff Sgt. Aaron Dean White, Lt. Nathan D. White, Sgt. Steven W. White, Lance Cpl. William W. White, Pfc. Joey D. Whitener ,Spc. Chase R. Whitman, Spc. Michael J. Wiesemann, Cpl. Joshua S. Wilfong ,Sgt. Eugene Williams, Lance Cpl. Michael J. Williams, Spc. Michael L. Williams, Sgt. Taft V. Williams ,1st Lt. Charles L. Wilkins III, Sgt. 1st Class Christopher R. Willoughby, Spc. Dana N. Wilson, Command Sgt. Maj. Jerry L. Wilson, Staff Sgt. Joe N. Wilson, Lance Cpl. Lamont N. Wilson, Lance Cpl. Nicholas Wilt, 1st Lt. Ronald Winchester, Spc. Trevor A. Wine, Lance Cpl. William J. Wiscowiche, Spc. Robert A. Wise, Spc. Michelle M. Witmer, Pfc. Owen D. Witt, Spc. James R. Wolf, 2nd Lt. Jeremy L. Wolfe, Sgt. Elijah Tai Wah Wong, Sgt. Brian M. Wood, Capt. George A. Wood, Spc. Michael R. Woodliff, Spc. James C. Wright, Pfc. Jason G. Wright, 2nd Lt. John T. Wroblewski, Lance Cpl. Daniel R. Wyatt, Pfc. Stephen E. Wyatt, Sgt. Michael E. Yashinski, Sgt. Henry Ybarra III, Pfc. Rodricka A. Youmans, Sgt. Ryan C. Young, Lance Cpl. Andrew J. Zabierek, Spc. Nicholas J. Zangara, Spc. Mark Anthony Zapata, Pfc. Nicholaus E. Zimmer, Cpl. Ian T. Zook, Lance Cpl. Robert P. Zurheide Jr.

May they all Rest In Peace

Friday, August 05, 2005

Novak flips the **** out

Usually, you don't get to see people who make careers out of being dicks finally get theirs. Even more rarely do you get to see it live on national television.

So, Robert Novak, after years of giving real newsmen a bad name with your pseudo-journalism, I'm glad to see you flip the fuck out on CNN.

I wish I could say I feel sorry for you, but alas you are an ass...

Now, if I could only see James Carvell make Karl Rove flip out, I would be a happy little camper.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Cowboys are cool...

I've got thing for cowboys. I covered rodeos for several years, I can't help it.

It all started with a freelance job. I had done a couple of magazine pieces and was trying to do more. I found a publication called ProRodeo Sports News and called them up. I told them I could cover a rodeo just up the road for them. They asked if I knew anything about rodeo and I lied. I got the job.

The Sisters Rodeo (The Biggest Little Show in the West) was my first rodeo and I was going to write about it for what turned out to be the Sports Illustrated of the Rodeo World. Thankfully, I didn't know that it was a big stink publication in the rodeo world at the time.

Basically, my knowledge of rodeo was that if it was trying to buck you off, you were supposed to stay on and if it was running away from you, you were supposed to catch it... humble beginnings indeed.

I met a lady in the contestant's area and we started talking. She explained some things to me and then said I should talk to her nephews...apparently they knew a bit about the sport. I grudgingly accepted her invitation thinking it would only take a couple of minutes and then I could get back to the real job of covering this event. Well, She introduced me to her nephews. One was a multi-time world champion bronc rider and his younger brother was on his way to winning his own world championship gold buckle that very year. These cowboys, Marvin and Mark Garrett, were a couple of the nicest, down-to-earth guys I've met. They took the time to explain the sport and gave me some pretty durn good quotes too.

A week or so later, I was supposed to cover a Hunter/Jumper horse event for a national equestrian magazine. The event started on Tuesday or Wednesday and ran through the weekend. I went out to the event grounds and stopped at the office to get my credentials. The woman there was a bitch and more than a bit snotty. I put up with her giving me the run around about getting copies of results during the week for awhile and then finally decided it wasn't worth it.

"If coverage in ***insert national horse magazine here*** isn't worth a couple minutes of your time, then fuck you and your shitty event," I said. "I'm sure your sponsors and the event director will be pleased."

They weren't, but I didn't care. I called ProRodeo Sports News and asked if I could cover anything for them. They asked if I could go that weekend. I never looked back.

Along the way, I learned a lot and met some pretty cool people. One thing I learned is that these guys lead a tough life, but they wouldn't trade it in for the world. I also learned that cowboys really can be like comic book heros.

Here's a couple of examples:

*** I drove a beat-up Chevy pickup to the grounds. It was - to put it kindly - distinctive. It was also prone to having starter problems. At one rodeo, I had to replace the starter in the dirt at the grounds. A cowboy came over and gave me a hand without even knowing me. I saw him a few weeks later and he asked if the truck was okay. I bought him a beer and it was never mentioned again.

*** One year at Sisters, someone on the rodeo commitee (which I had joined by then) asked me to pick up a contestant at the little airport outside of town. That wasn't uncommon since most of the top cowboys tried to charter small planes if they could since they often had to travel pretty great distances between rodeos. I picked up the reigning world champion saddle bronc rider, Dan Mortensen, in my crapped-out Chevy. He grinned and hopped right in. Instead of bitching about the dirty ride, he pointed to some flies I had stuck to my dash.

"You fish?" he asked.

"A bit," I said. "I'm not very good."

He laughed and said, "Me either, but it sure is fun. I wish I had some time here. I hear there's good fishing around here."

He always gave me a nod when I saw him after that. Even at the National Finals Rodeo in Vegas.

*** Most rodeo grounds are split into two areas - the contestants' area and the rest of the grounds. I used to leave my camera bag sitting on the ground in the contestants' area all time. I never had any problems despite the fact that there were alway several lenses and bodies in there.

At one event, I came back to find -- well, nothing. My bag was gone. The rodeo was over and it was just some people milling around afterward. I felt sick. It was unbelievable that someone would just take it...that kind of thing never happened.

Just as I was about to lose it, a guy walks up and asks if I'm the camera guy. He then proceeds to tell me he moved my stuff into the announcer's booth so it wouldn't get hurt because he thought it might be expensive. I nearly kissed the guy...I stopped short of that and just thanked him.

*** In Bremerton, Washington, I had the great joy of having dinner with the then Miss Rodeo America. MiQuel Holyoak was one of the most beautiful girls around and she was spending some time between performances with me. I was in heaven.

Well, wouldn't you know...of course the starter on my truck went bad right after dinner. MiQuel sat up in the cab, peaceful as could be, reading a magazine and turning the ignition when I would yell up to her. Finally, it got going and I took her back to her motel to get changed for the evening show.

'Sorry about that," I said. "I hope this doesn't make you late."

Most girls wouldn't have been very impressed with the showing, but she just hopped out and grinned.

"I wasn't too worried. I knew you could get it started," she said laughing. "You know I love your truck, but next time...maybe I should drive."

Next time, she did drive...

Anyway, that's just a couple of reasons I have a thing for cowboys and - even more so - for cowgirls. I still miss that culture and wish the rest of the world was a bit more like it. Ah well...maybe someday.

Till then, Happy Trails...

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Gettin' my ogle on...

I was all set to post about my peppy late afternoon... which was spent in my happy place (the mall) with two of my favorite things (pretty girls and books). I was in the neighborhood, so I stopped at Barnes and Noble and browsed the bookage for a while then headed into the mall.

Let's just say, some days are better than others and today was one of the better days. I wandered around with a big grin and nearly walked into several walls. I had my ogle on and life was ogletastic! I was rewarded with smiles in return and the Starbucks dude even hooked me up with a tasty triple grande mocha. In short, I was walking on Grade-A, high-octane sunshine...

That was then.

Now I feel like I went to Mexico and drank the water (and I have the trips to the bathroom to prove it). Oh how quickly we fall!

So, anyway here's a couple quick thoughts:

* Rain can feel pretty cool on your hand when you hold it (your hand that is) out the window while driving down the freeway.

* That same rain can sting like a son of a gun when the drops get big and hit your forearm...

* If you want to read some excellent writing, check out Waiter Rant at his old address, or his new address and also check out Laurie's blog. The Waiter is sometimes funny, sometimes thought provoking and always worth the time. Laurie manages to catch special moments and express them in a unusually poignant way. It just goes to show that the guy bringing your lunch or the girl cashing your check might just be artists at heart.

A and P

There's a short story by John Updike called "A&P" that seems to represent a recurring pattern in my life.

In it, Sammy (the 'hero') is a checker at an A&P grocery store in the middle of a little town where not much happens. It's late afternoon and three girls in bathing suits walk in, fresh from the beach. Sammy watches them out of the corner of his eye and ponders things.

They wander around and pick up a can of herrings and head to the check out. Sammy is just starting to help them when Lengel (the manager) walks over and lays into the girls for their inappropriate attire, saying that next time they need to have their shoulders covered. The scene gets uncomfortable and the air heavy with 'get these sluts out of here' vibes rippling off the manager. Sammy rings them up, hands them their change and then says to Lengel, "I quit."

There's a lot of layers to the story, but the gist is that at the end Sammy quit his job, the girls are gone and never knew he stood up for them, and Lengel is unchanged. Ever since I first read this story, I knew that I was Sammy. I will always believe that Lengel was wrong for embarrassing the girls. Maybe Sammy shouldn't have quit, but I respect him for doing it.

Anyway, this blog is my A&P and people stopping by is kind of cool. It's fun to chat and meet new people, to chew the fat and even to have some hearty debate. Most everyone seems pretty okay with that but lately there have been a couple of snarky comments and a tiff in the parking lot. I can't do much about what happens out in the parking lot, but I do have a say in what happens in my store. That said, anyone is welcome here and I don't care if you cover your shoulders, wear a two-piece bathing suit, or dance naked in the aisles.

Just keep in mind that I'm a Sammy and always will be...

Here's a link to John Updike's "A&P" for anyone interested. It's a quick read and worth a thought or two.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Finis... or finis enough

Okay, here she is... as done as she's gonna get by my hand. (It's too late to take that one back, so I'll keep my wicked, wicked thoughts locked up for now... And my friends would never go for a easy lob like that, right guys.)

Anyway, that was my fun for the day. That and putting in a handrail on my parent's back step. You just can't buy this kind of fun...

Which leaves the question of what to do tomorrow. Wow, there are just so many choices to make, it sort of hurts my head. I sort of get it

This has been the year of the geek for me. I've been trying to learn all things computer and there's a lot to learn.

One problem I have that adds to the learning curve is my short attention span. So, the oher day I decided that if I was to get anywhere with this learnin' thing, I would need to just pick one thing to work on during any given day. Easier said than done, but I did manage to put the new guidline into play a bit.

The outcome? I finally get Adobe Illustrator... a little. I know it's not much of a big deal to most people, but I've stared at this beast and have tried to learn it off and on for several years. Photoshop... not a problem. Quark Express... piece of cake. Illustrator... I don't have an effin clue. Well, I finally started to get it and it sort of makes sense.

Anyway, here's the fruit of the efforts so far... in all its rough draft glory. Obviously not done, but that wasn't really the point anyway. I just wanted to learn this bastard of a program so I could sit down and actually use it.

Anyway, I sometimes forget how much I like to learn stuff. Am I alone on this one?

I'm also pretty lucky because I can usually figure things out on my own and sort of prefer to do it that way. That's great now, but it really sucked back when I was in school because I always got bored.

Have you guys learned anything new lately? Do you like learning new stuff, or would you rather not have to? Just wondering...