Thursday, August 18, 2005

Better a sociopath than a retard. . . . .

Sometimes I think about how the media is really desensitizing us to a lot of the horrors that are going on in the world by inundating us everyday with news of beheadings, car bombs, etc etc.. I'd say it's a Dark Time in the Empire when one can skip over a headline about however many people getting blown to pieces by a bomb, so today I read this story about some car bombings that killed some 43 people or so in Iraq. I'm going to point out some stuff that kinda jumped out at me.

"Police said the first bomb blew up at the Nadha bus terminal, the city's largest, shortly before 8 a.m. as swarms of travelers were boarding buses. As Iraqi police rushed to the scene, a suicide driver detonated his vehicle in the station's parking lot. Another suicide bomber blew up his car a half hour later across the street from the nearby Kindi hospital, where ambulances were transporting the injured."

Such an attack requires a few elements... Sure, timing, planning, coordination, etc, are all very important, and surprisingly enough the "aesthetics" of these attacks are usually left out of mainstream media. But the element that stands out the most for me is the element of seriously fucked up these people are. Forgive me for being inarticulate, but Jebus H Christ in a Sidecar. I don't care what religion you are, what country you're from, or whatever greater affiliation you put yourself with, these guys sat down and came up with this plan. They had....oh, what's that now? Aah yes, Motive, Means, and Opportunity. And some serious planning.

Stories like this are a big reason I get pissed off when people say "REMOVE TROOPS FROM IRAQ NOW!" like the aforementioned dipshit below. It's not because I'm concerned for Iraqi lives. I think it's a tragedy when anyone dies a premature, gruesome death, but let's be honest. I'm not going to pretend that I feel close Iraqis, because I don't. I don't know any Iraqis. There's nothing tying me to the Iraqis. If that makes me a dickhead, then I'm sorry -- I guess I just don't have enough compassion to give to a billion strangers world wide. Most people feel the same way, even if they don't admit it. Anyway, one of the reasons people like Sheehan piss me off is because they rally behind this notion of what a bunch of loving, benign peaceniks they are.... But even though she's trying to look like this motherly figure and blahblahblah, she's still demanding that we withdraw troops now. When someone makes such a demand, I'm left with only two possible options to believe:

  • She's a retard and knows nothing about world politics
  • Human life isn't quite as important to her as she pretends

    What other options are there? If a person tells you "Bring the troops home now!" and nothing else, they're a retard or a sociopath... and I encourage you to make them aware of their condition. People can say that incidents like the bombing I mentioned above are a result of "US Imperialism and Occupation" and, but that doesn't change the fact that right now, Iraqi civilians are being targeted. Do people think that this is how people settle their differences in Iraq "just because the USA is there"? Do people think that if the USA leaves, everything will be cool and shit like this won't happen anymore? "Oh, the USA is gone? Sweet.. Let's go ahead and act like humans."

    Fuck you and fuck them. That's what I say.

    (It should be noted that "you" does not mean "you," the person who is reading this, but rather the "you" in the hypothetical conversation where one might tell me that the "troops should be pulled out now.". It should also be noted that "them" does not refer to the troops, but those who enjoy strapping semtex to themselves, and those who enjoy letting them do it.)

    OK, you know what? I'm tired of thinking about the Sheehans of the world. I call subject change!

    On a lighter note, I've been doing some grappling lately, and last night I went to a reputable Gracie Jujitsu gym in Tokyo. What a cool activity. Now, a lot of people are like "ooh that's a famous school," but seriously. That doesn't mean I'm good. Like, umm, at all. What it means is that I went there and got my fucking ass handed to me by a bunch of older Japanese dudes who appeared to be using a lot less energy than I was [to choke me out repeatedly]. Basically I'm wrestling around hoping that I can get one of the 3 submission moves in my repetoire to work.

    Yeah, I tapped out a lot. A lot. Right now it looks like someone punched me in the mouth... And the side of the face.

    But I tell ya, it's an awesome school and I think I'm gonna try and make it up there twice a week. I left there with a "...woe that was awesome" type feeling. Good workout, too. At the end of the class I was pretty much incapacitated, and I had the shakes. I suppose I'll have more on that as it comes. Maybe I'll even tap someone out one of these times? Wish me luck..

  • Saturday, August 13, 2005

    "Anti-War Mom" aka "...Durp!"

    For more information on "durp," click hnyaah.

    Ok, so I was going bananas on an elliptical machine at the gym, and CNN was playing on one of the TVs. The headline on the screen read "Anti-War Mom," and the story was about a lady named Cindy Sheehan, who is protesting outside of the Crawford Ranch. Maybe you've heard of her.

    The reason I throw the "...Durp!" next to the "Anti-War Mom" is because I don't know of too many moms who have children serving in the military who are big fans of War. My mom wasn't too happy when she found out I'd decided to join the Marines, and I can say with some certainty that any mother with a son or daughter serving in the Middle East is losing a lot of sleep. Even in my relatively posh settings in the cultural mecca that is Kabul, I know my mother was freaking out.

    There are thousands upon thousands of people in the USA who have lost a relative, friend, or loved one in the middle east, but this woman has made a media spectacle of it. That's irritating to me, but what's more irritating (and somehow interesting) is how she's ascribing blame.

    She wants to ask President Bush, "Why did you kill me son?"

    How quaint. How delightfully dramatic. YEAH, PRESIDENT BUSH! WHY DID YOU KILL HER SON?!

    I've talked on here and Adventurestan about personal responsibility. I've mentioned before that, even if anyone's entire military knowledge base is derived from Arnold Schwarzenegger movies, they should have a worse case scenario about what they're getting into. Furthermore, upon arriving at bootcamp, it is made clear in no uncertain terms that they will be called upon at some point to engage in hostile fire with an enemy. (Sorry, I went a little crazy with the movie pictures, but I couldn't resist.) Some of us were lucky enough to not have to experience that, but others are faced with some regularity.

    Am I saying that if someone if killed in combat, it's "their own damn fault"? No. I'm not saying that. But certain actions have consequences. When you join the military, you are accepting the fact on some level that people in the military kill and get killed. Anyone who thinks any differently is seriously delusional. If being put in such a situation makes an individual queesy, the military is 100% volunteer. No one has to join the military. Millions of people have been successful without taking advantage of the opportunities that the military affords. It is one option among thousands that a person can take to get where they want to go. The stakes are high, but if properly taken advantage of, so are the benefits.

    There are so many things that Cindy Sheehan could blame, but she's camping out in front of the President's ranch and blaming him. And to make it even more preposterous, she's saying that all troops should be pulled out of Iraq now. To me, this indicates a completely irrational and uninformed outlook on Geopolitics. Worse still, she will be remembered by most people as a media whore. She is using her son's death for credibility and to shield herself from public reproach. How despicable. While thousands of people mourn their loved ones' sacrifices in personal silence, she's making a circus of her child's death. People will get tired of hearing about it, and any attempt to talk to George Bush will most likely be futile. Bush has said he's heard what she has to say, but pulling out troops now would "send the wrong message to the enemy," which is just one of many things on a huge laundry list of why taking the proverbial ball and going home would be a bad decision. Also, add it to a list of things that I use as a sort of measuring stick for people's awareness on world affairs. It rates up there with, "Well, if no one had military, there wouldn't be any war" and "the reserves is a backdoor draft!"

    I guess I expect people to be more realistic, which in itself is a pretty unrealistic notion. Color me hypocrital.

    In any case, Mr. Jinxy beat me to the punch and echo'd my thoughts with far more clarity and succintness than I managed to muster.

    And I'm spent.

    Monday, August 08, 2005

    Expats are Creepy...

    ...and I, dear friends, am no different...

    But at least I don't look like a creepy fucker.

    So I'm standing on the train platform this weekend waiting to go up to the NFL game up at Tokyo Dome when I spied an old white dude sitting on the bench. He had long gray hair, a long gray beard, glasses, a green field jacket with military shit on it, and a military hat. He didn't see me so I kinda laid low next to a pillar and hoped that he wouldn't see me.

    About 5 minutes later I hear someone say, "Are you in the Marines?" This is not an unreasonable question, 'cuz I have an Eagle, Globe, and Anchor tattoo on my right calf. Since it's officially "Hot as Fuck" here in Tokyo, I cruise around in shorts. Now that he was all up in my face, I got a better look at him. Super skinny, sunken in features, vacant, wide eyes, and fucked up yeller teeth. The kind that have a white line across them, like he had braces and didn't brush his teeth the whole time, but judging by how crooked his teeth were, I don't know what caused it. All I really knew is that this dude was a weirdo and this weirdo was talking to me. So he asked me a question, and it would be most discourteous of me to ignore him, so I said, "I was in the Marines for 5 years, but now I'm not," to which he replied:

    "The Marines gave me a medal 37 years ago, but I'm United States Army......." and pointed at the US Army on his jacket..

    OK fucker, this is where the conversation ends.

    I wonder if he thinks this is the first time I've had some freak tell me that they were in the military way back when. I always wonder what kind of reaction they're looking for. I also wonder if I look like the type of person who would brighten up and say, "REALLY? TELL ME A STORY!!" so they can say, "well, son, there I was, on muh belly in Da Nang, waist deep in the shit..........."

    Fuck them. That reminds of Ft Benning, GA.

    Fun Fact #1:
  • Every cab driver, tattoo artist, and morbidly obese no-name around Ft Benning, GA, was a Ranger Battalion 1st Sgt or Sgt Major, or Special Forces in Vietnam

    I always wanted to tell them, "Hey man, any cool points you mighta had for being a stinky cabbie were lost when you told me you were a Sgt Maj.."

    But Ft Benning's SMFSXSF (Sergeant Major First Sergeant Ex-Special Forces) infestation would lead me to believe that they get a favorable reaction from many of the kids who get rides to Victory Drive in their cabs. Maybe a sample conversation would go like this:
  • Cabbie: So you kids hnyah fuh jump skewl?
  • PFC: Yessir!
  • Cabbie: Don't yessuh me, youngstuhz. I was a Ranger Bat Sahjent May-juh in Vee-et-nayum... Wounded...
  • PFC: Wow Sarjint Mayjur! (ooh aah) ....Does it hurt when you land? Is jumping scary? Today Sergeant Airborne yelled at me!

    Fun Fact #2:
  • Being a former Sgt Maj doesn't make you cool. While there are so very very cool Saj Maj's out there, I would say that it would make me think you leaned a little more towards the dickhead side of the house. When I was active duty and someone told me they were a Sgt Maj from the get go, I immediately assumed that they were insecure and felt like they were trying to "Alpha Male" me in some way and establish their "dominance." Hi, I didn't know we were on the playground at recess. Using your rank when you get out is lame anyway.

    Fun Fact #3:
  • Even if you were a Sgt Maj "back in the day," it doesn't change the fact that you drive a shitty cab and you smell like feces. If you were in fact a Sgt Maj, or a good one at least, you wouldn't look like a herd of shit monsters ran a train on your face. You'd be in Florida playing golf or something.

    Either way, there's no shortage of compulsive liars in the Military. Maybe those compulsive liars get out of the military, they hang out in military towns, and try to look cool by making up stupid stories. Or maybe all the cabbies are actually former Ranger Bat NCOICs, and they love Rangers so goddamn much that they've pledged to drive them to strip clubs on Victory Drive till the day they die.

    I'm sure some of you think I'm being very harsh on cab drivers. There's nothing wrong with being a cab driver... But pretty please, with sugar on top, don't drive some piece of shit car that you haven't cleaned since Thriller and try and make me "subservient" by telling me a stupid lie. That's offensive to me. Not being a cabbie. Cabbies rock. If you think I'm looking down on cabbies, uuh, I dunno, close this window and go be mad at me somewhere. (That last sentence was waaay more offensive about 30 seconds ago but I toned it down a bit.).

    I digress.

    So I'm there on the platform at the train station and some dude has just told me that "the Marines gave him a medal 37 years ago." My first question naturally was, "You can get a medal for halitosis?' but I didn't say anything. Anything worth getting a medal for isn't something that you go up to strangers on train platforms and talk about. People who get medals worth bragging about generally don't brag about them, and they usually don't feel like they did anything particularly special. I guess I felt sorry for the guy -- if you saw him in the states, you would think he was homeless or crazy. Yet here he is in Japan, not showering since the Meiji Era, probably making up stories and seeking approval from some stranger on a train platform.

    Hope you all had a good weekend. I'm gonna go make up some extravagant lies in an attempt to make youngsters think I'm cool.
  • Wednesday, August 03, 2005

    How lame am I...?

    I received a package from none other than Mr Troff. Click on that link to see how much he rocks, and his defunct blog that he's neglected forever is in the index. He recently went and ran with the bulls in Spain. Click on that link to see how much he rocks even more. And no, Tara Reid is not that tall. She's probably 4'3, cuz Mr Troff can't be a hair over 4'4. OK, anyway, the package he sent me had 3 pakols (one of which he is wearing in the first picture) and a little Afghanistan flag that is currently dangling from my rear view mirror. He also sent a regular sized flag. He rules. My Halloween costume is all picked out. He also sent me a Dyncorp ID, and said that I could wear it "just in case you ever need to impersonate a fat stupid intolerant guy". God bless thee, Mr Troff. I wish I could have seen you before leaving Kabul, but I was too busy gettin my diddy-mao on so I couldn't high-5 you somewhere over the English channel.

    Speaking of Afghanistan... Even though I'm far from there, I have a lot of friends there, and I continue to read news from there. I was also realized how lame I was this weekend at a picnic. There are a lot of festivals going on here in Japan, and they include fireworks. I was sitting there eating a steak and a firework went off on the other side of a hill, and I about shit my pants. I don't like fireworks anymore. The reason I feel so lame is that I was never "in the shit." I was never particularly scared during 5 years in the Marines, at least not in the sense that I was scared that someone would kill me. I was more "uneased" at the thought of someone doing something stupid or something huge falling on top of me, like a CH-53. But even then, I was able to put it out of my mind 'cuz it was completely out of my control. Even driving down Jalalabad Road when Kabul Joe had a negligent discharge in the backseat of the Excursion with an MP5 while the windows were up, I was a little freaked out, but that was just for a little bit. Then it was funny. And my ears hurt real bad. (Sorry to bust you out, but I've been waiting to get back at you for almost killing me with a 9mm holopoint ever since you put that shooter pic on your blog. Update your blog by the way.) Anyway, in Afghanistan I was super scared twice. Once because I was pretty sure I would be hacked to death by a bunch of Opium farmers who were staring at me (cuz they were mad at the fact that we were there destroying their fields, i,e. taking food off their plates) while I was sitting somewhere relaying comms (well, not by myself, there were two Nepalese guys passed out in the back of my truck, but they were useless so I let them sleep). The other time was when Timmy Taliban decided it would be a good idea to blow up our building, which happened just under a year ago. There were explosions a lot, like when the aforementinoed group of dummies was shooting rockets into the center of Kabul, but that night we were all out on the balcony hoping for a light show. Still, it bothers me that fireworks should make my stomach drop. It seems a bit of a dramatic reaction to a rather limited amount of "bad experiences," but even little firecrackers put me on edge.

    Just for the record, since I came back, another thing that freaks me out is being in crowded places when people are taller than me. Not good when you're a colossal 5'9. Good thing I'm in Japan.

    So yeah, I'm lame. I like to think that I don't experience a lot of anxiety or that I can control it pretty well, but that's not really the case. I think if I were a big and tall shop and someone shot off a blackcat, I'd curl up in the fetal position, soil myself, and cry myself to sleep.

    Don't get me wrong - I don't go deer hunter or anything. I don't grab the nearest steak knife, take a child hostage, and shout "MAO.. MAO!! MAO!!!!" over and over. It's just butterflies.

    Japan is a great place to live (albeit expensive) for a number of reasons, the biggest one being that it's so safe. Sure, there are a couple areas one might want to avoid, but it's not like Compton. It's more like, don't get too drunk and pass out 'cuz you might get rolled, and don't get drunk and talk to shit Nigerians cuz they might beat the dogshit out of you. I don't walk around like a badass (cuz I'm not), and I don't go out with huge groups of belligerent drunks. I've seen a lot of fights here, but they were almost all involving foreigners, and the people who got jacked REALLY deserved it. Except in Okinawa, but that's a whole different animal.

    So that's about the size of it. Just some stuff I've been thinking about lately because I'm all caught up at work and spend a lot of time sitting there or talking shit to everyone around me. Thanks for reading...

    (By the way, the sidebar ends up on the bottom of the page when I view with Microsoft Internet Explorer, but it works fine with firefox. It's not a template issue cuz I replaced it completely with Adventurestan's and it still was the same. Anyone know why??)