What's Happening

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January 31st

All things considered, it was a good weekend.

I did my area tours (not so great, but I'm done now), went out Saturday night, and ran some errands on Sunday. 

Here's the crew at Fireside Bar and Grill on Saturday night.  From left to right we've got Ed, Jerry, Les, Johnny, Nick, Erika, and me.  Nick owns the place and he's one helluva great guy. 

 

Erika got an A+ for the weekend.  When I got done walking hours on Friday she had my favorite Subway sandwich waiting on me back in the room, did the same thing Saturday with Dunkin' Donuts coffee, and she also helped Ed make sure we all made it back to the barracks in one piece after we left Fireside that night.  Gotta love that...

Sunday we ran some errands, looked at winter clothes for Erika for our ski trip over President's Day weekend, and went grocery shopping at Wally World.  I got three 6-packs of IBC root beer.  Rock.

 

That brings us to what happened to my Trooper.  As most of you already know, I LOVE my car.  It's a little beat up right now, but until recently there was nothing too terribly wrong with it.

A little bumper damage from the jerkoff who gave me a hit and run this summer, but I could still drive over a house if I wanted to.  I LOVE my car.

A month ago I loaned it to some yearlings for the weekend and when I got the keys back Sunday night they said the transmission was all screwed up.  I didn't have a chance to look at it for quite some time so it sat in the lots until yesterday when I went up to check things out. 

From what they described to me I thought it was just really low on transmission fluid, but when I pulled the dipstick out to check the level I initially thought I had the wrong one because the fluid was friggin black like motor oil instead of cherry red like it's supposed to be.  This was no good.  I topped it off with the fluid I carry in the toolkit in the back and had Erika follow me to Jiffy Lube to get everything flushed out to see if that would help.

There's a rather large mountain between West Point and Jiffy Lube.  SUVs with transmission problems don't do well climbing big hills.  We made it, but there were times when I was going as slow as 10 mph because there was so much slippage going on in the transmission.  Not fun.

Bottom line is that even after I had the fluid flushed out and new stuff put in there was still something terribly wrong so I dropped it off at a transmission shop.  When I spoke to them tonight they said I had to replace or rebuild the 2nd clutch drum, 3rd clutch drum, forward sprag, rear seal, and all the solenoids. 

The estimate?  Three thousand dollars.

Donations to the "FIX TOM'S CAR" fund are more than welcome.  Thanks and have a nice day.

-Tom

 


 

January 29th

So somebody wants to prank me, eh?  I suppose that's fair considering all the crap I've pulled with other people in the past.  Karma coming back at me, I guess.

Here's the deal.  Check out the entry I wrote on the 28th of January.  In response to my angry rant about some things going on around here, an entry on my guestbook popped up written by somebody in Avondale, Arizona.  Yeah, that's right, fokkers, anytime you click on my website I can see you.  IP addresses are such wonderful things... 

The person that wrote it was impersonating an old grad from here, and the cowardly punk left the following entry on my guestbook:

Cadet,

I presume you believe your little web site to be humorous. I do not. You're insubordinate anecdotes disgust me. I weep for the Army and the United States if you are typical of the officers that will lead our troops into combat.

I will be joining BG Scaparrotti for lunch in early February. I will provide him with a copy of your entire web site. He is surely unaware of your antics, as evidenced by your continued residence on the Hudson.

David Hughes, Colonel, USA (Retired)
USMA '50

Naturally, that got my attention, to say the least.  I knew other cadets had gotten into trouble in the past for posting anti-WP stuff on their personal websites (insubordination in a public forum like the internet is slightly frowned upon) so I decided to email this retired Colonel and try to smooth things over before he wrecked my world.

Oh, wait!  There were a few glaring problems with the entire thing.  Not to be a nerd, but how could a former English professor use "You're" at the beginning of the 3rd sentence when "your" is the correct word to use???  There was no return email address!  I had the Colonel's name so I did a bit of research and found that Colonel David R Hughes, class of 1950, works in COLORADO and not, as the IP address of the guy who made this entry indicated, in ARIZONA. 

A huge red flag popped up so I found Colonel Hughes' email address and sent him a note.  Here's my email and his response at the bottom.

Sir,

I presume this to be Colonel David R Hughes, USMA 1950. If I am writing to you in error because someone has impersonated you, I am sorry to bother you needlessly.

I write to you apologetically in response to the remarks you left on the guestbook of my personal website at www.tommym1080.com.

I have since taken down the entry which I believe you were concerned with as it was not my place to make such statements in a public forum like the internet and I assure you statements of that caliber will not appear on my site again.

With all due respect, sir, your comments are the first negative ones I've received concerning the content of my website. Save yours, all feedback has been positive. I ask you to read a few more of my journal entries to gain a more clear understanding of my personality and potential before weeping for the Army and the United States.

If you read the journal entries further back, sir, you will see I am not a cynical cadet who tries to bring down those around him with sarcastic and hateful comments toward USMA. I understand your concern that I may be that type of man; I assure you this is not the case.

Thank you for your time.

 

Respectfully,

CDT LT Thomas Martin

C-2 USMA '05

 

And here's the REAL Colonel Hughes response:

I am the authentic Col (Ret) David R Hughes, '50. 719-636-XXXX and with email dave@oldcolo.com which resides on my own server in Colorado, if anyone wants to confirm. Someone HAS impersonated me on your web site, of which I knew nothing until your email. (knowing the hi-jinks of cadets, I wouldn't put it past one to play cutesy with you. And might know me because I was selected as a Distinguished Graduate in 2004 and of course, appeared there during June Week. He probably passed in review before me and the other DGs! On the other hand it might even be an Air Force Academy cadet, because I am known on their website - my daughter in law is an instructor there. I often refer to them as 'zoomies,' instructing them on why West Point is superior to the AFA <grin> and one might be trying to get back at me.)

As a weblog owner you are, and always will be vulnerable to such attacks. I should know. I have operated a series of online services since 1980, over 25 years ago, and am very high tech in the business of online telecommunications.

You may have to figure out a way to authenticate the identity of users before permitting them to post. While right now its just your personal blog, after you graduate it will be on official web sites - which are attacked in great volume. Internet security will forever be an issue. Better learn how to protect yourself and your online persona.

Please remove the remark attributed to me. And I would appreciate it if you posted a note, and what I said above to your weblog, which looks to me very well done. And if anyone is interested you can go to www.oldcolo.com and see what the REAL Dave Hughes, grad, is about.

Thanks for alerting me. Sorry if my impersonator caused you gas pains. If I ever see him I'll click his heels together.

Dave Hughes

dave@oldcolo.com

 

Nice try, you retarded coward, but never forget that I'm the smartest man alive and if you're trying to punk me, it's not gonna work. 

-Tom

 


 

January 28th

I'm all about taking risks, but I know the difference between having fun by dancing on the line and friggin pole vaulting over that line.

I had a post up here about some stuff going on here, but I took it down permanently.  "Big Brother" is starting to seriously crack down on cadets and their electronic rants and raves so until I graduate I'm going to, as my mother once told me, mind my P's and Q's. 

-Tom

 

 


 

January 27th

Check this out.  There's a movie coming out soon called Gunner Palace and the lead role is played by our very own "Joe."  Joe is a great great dude and I absolutely can't wait to be in charge of a platoon of him.  Redleg (that's what you call Field Artillery enlisted folks) Joes are lots o' fun and some of the most hard working and loyal people anywhere.  Anyway, here's the trailer to the movie. 

Gunner Palace Trailer

 

Now, some of you may know this, but others may not.  I abhor the news media today and how it misconstrues what actually happens overseas.  Here's a masterpiece of an essay written by a Lieutenant Colonel in the 1st Cavalry Division about his thoughts on the media.  My stance is nearly identical to his.  Hopefully this movie will counter some of the media dishonesty and wake people up to the BS they read in the papers and see on the evening news.  This essay is rather lengthy, but worth the read.

LTC Ryan Article

 

If you own a 2-wheel drive car parked in C-lot, you'd best forget it exists until at least... March. That is, unless you can magically drive through a foot and a half of snow after you get over the ginormous berm the snow plows made. So now you've all got that going for you, which is nice.

 

Naked Man paid us a visit last night.  Awhile back my good buddy Brent made a video about this phenomenon we, as cadets, do so love.  Some might consider this a bit odd, but watching a dude run bare-assed across central area is quite entertaining to us.  Don't read into that too far because it's the fact that he's blatantly shattering one of the biggest rules around here by doing it, not that we like seeing naked dudes.  Naked Man is a tradition dating back to at least 400 BC (yeah, REAL Old Corps) when cadets here at WP wore Togas instead of Dress Gray.  We all have to do our part to keep the tradition alive so at least once a semester, every semester since 400 BC, Naked Man makes his presence known.  So without further ado, here's the video.

Naked Man

 

That's all I've really got for now.  It's still extremely unwarm outside, but I'm no longer sick with strep throat so that's cool. 

-Tom

 


 

January 26th

This past weekend was 500th night for the cows, but it didn’t exactly go according to plan.  The formal dinner was optional and everything afterward (dance and receiving line) was cancelled because of the ridiculous amounts of snow that fell, but that didn’t stop us from having just a bit of fun in central area.  Brian Hewko, the plebe in my company who made the "Birthday Party" video I put up here last week, put together another video of what happened Saturday night.  It’s a bit shaky at one point, but extremely funny nonetheless.  

The quote at the end of the huge snowball fight/brawl in the 2 degree weather really cracked me up.   Random plebe saying, “Hey, you think I need some pants or what??” 

I have no idea what the first part of the video is all about, but the “snow fortress” footage is priceless.  This file is rather large so it might take a bit to download, but it’s worth the wait…

Once Upon A 500th Night

 -Tom

 

 

 

 


 

January 24th

I almost died.  Again.  It's all good because once more I proved my immortality by overcoming the worst case of strep throat the doctors at the hospital here on post have seen in a looooong time.   I had a sore throat all last week, but like the stubborn moron that I am I kept taking Tylenol, Dayquil, and Cepacol so I could function like a normal person.  Friday night/Saturday morning at 3 AM I woke up drowning in sweat and thought to myself, "Self, this is no good.  You should probably go to the hospital before this gets worse."  So that's what I did, and now I'm six million percent "gooder." 

It snowed here this weekend.  A lot.

Because of all the snow the 500th night activities for the Cow Class were altered just a bit.  All the formalities after the banquet were cancelled and dates/parents/guests were given the option of staying in the barracks Saturday night.  Yeah, how sweet would that be?  "Sorry, girlfriend, we can't make it back to the hotel tonight so you get to stay in a female plebe's room instead of with me tonight."  No dice.

One other effect the snow had was area tours.  This is by far the oddest way of making people walk hours that I've ever seen.  Instead of making these poor kids walk inside Hayes Gym or doing laps inside Ike Barracks, "higher" made them walk the area like they normally do, but gave the front rank of each formation snowshovels to clear the way for those following behind them in formation.  There's a word for this type of rationale and it is INSANITY.  Seriously.

 

 

 

 

 

And just in case that wasn't enough for you, here's a video someone made from their window.  Colonel Scott, the "oppressor of the masses" mentioned in the title of the video, is our Brigade Tactical Officer and after witnessing this debacle on Saturday someone made a rather humorous video.  (Turn up the volume so you can hear the music in the background.  That's key.)

Comrade Colonel Scott the Movie

 

-Tom

 

 


 

January 21st     7:00 PM

I got the following in an email today.  Definitely worth the read.

 

Do you remember the guy who got on a plane with a bomb built into his shoe and tried to light it? 

Did you know his trial is over?

Did you know he was sentenced?

Did you see/hear any of the judge's comments on TV/Radio?

Didn't think so.

Everyone should hear what the judge had to say.

 =================================================

Ruling by Judge William Young, US District Court.

Prior to sentencing, the Judge asked the defendant if he had anything to say.

 

His response: After admitting his guilt to the court for the record, Reid also admitted his "allegiance to Osama bin Laden, to Islam, and to the religion of Allah," defiantly stated "I think I ought not apologize for my actions," and told the court "I am at war with your country."

Judge Young then delivered the statement quoted below, a stinging condemnation of Reid in particular and terrorists in general:

January 30, 2003, United States vs. Reid. Judge Young: Mr. Richard C. Reid, hearken now to the sentence the Court imposes upon you. On counts 1, 5 and 6 the Court sentences you to life in prison in the custody of the United States Attorney General. On counts 2, 3, 4 and 7, the Court sentences you to 20 years in prison on each count, the sentence on each count to run consecutive with the other.

That's 80 years. On count 8 the Court sentences you to the mandatory 30 years consecutive to the 80 years just imposed. The Court imposes upon you ach of the eight counts a fine of $250,000 for the aggregate fine of $2 million. The Court accepts the government's recommendation with respect to restitution and orders restitution in the amount of $298.17 to Andre Bousquet and $5,784 to American Airlines. The Court imposes upon you the $800 special assessment. The Court imposes upon you five years supervised release simply because the law requires it. But the life sentences are real life sentences so I need go no further. This is the sentence that is provided for by our statutes.

It is a fair and just sentence. It is a righteous sentence. Let me explain this to you. We are not afraid of you or any of your terrorist coconspirators, Mr. Reid. We are Americans. We have been through the fire before. There is all too much war talk here and I say that to everyone with the utmost respect. Here in this court, where we deal with individuals as individuals and care for individuals as individuals. As human beings, we reach out for justice.

You are not an enemy combatant. You are a terrorist. You are not a soldier in any war You are a terrorist. To give you that reference, to call you a soldier, gives you far too much stature. Whether it is the officers of government who do it or your attorney who does it, or that happens to be your view, you are a terrorist...And we do not negotiate with terrorists. We do not treat with terrorists. We do not sign documents with terrorists. We hunt them down one by one and bring them to justice.

So war talk is way out of line in this court. You are a big fellow. But you are not that big. You're no warrior. I know warriors. You are a terrorist. A species of criminal guilty of multiple attempted murders. In a very real sense, State Trooper Santiago had it right when you first were taken off that plane and into custody and you wondered where the press and where the TV crews were and he said you're no big deal.

You're no big deal.

What your counsel, what your able counsel and what the equally able United States attorneys have grappled with and what I have as honestly as I know how tried to grapple with, is why you did something so horrific. What was it that led you here to this courtroom today?

I have listened respectfully to what you have to say.  And I ask you to search your heart and ask yourself what sort of unfathomable hate led you to do what you are guilty and admit you are guilty of doing. And I have an answer for you. It may not satisfy you, but as I search this entire record, it comes as close to understanding as I know.

It seems to me you hate the one thing that is most precious. You hate our freedom. Our individual freedom. Our individual freedom to live as we

choose, to come and go as we choose, to believe or not believe as we individually choose. Here, in this society, the very winds carry freedom.  They carry it everywhere from sea to shining sea. It is because we prize individual freedom so much that you are here in this beautiful courtroom.  So that everyone can see, truly see, that justice is administered fairly, individually, and discretely. It is for freedom's sake that your lawyers are striving so vigorously on your behalf and have filed appeals, will go on in their representation of you before other judges.

We are about it. Because we all know that the way we treat you, Mr. Reid, is the measure of our own liberties. Make no mistake though. It is yet true that we will bare any burden; pay any price, to preserve our freedoms. Look around this courtroom. Mark it well The world is not going to long remember what you or I say here. Day after tomorrow, it will be forgotten, but this, however, will long endure. Here in this courtroom and courtrooms all across America, the American people will gather to see that justice, individual justice, justice, not war, individual justice is in fact being done. The very President of the United States through his officers will have to come into courtrooms and lay out evidence on which specific matters can be judged and juries of citizens will gather to sit and judge that evidence democratically, to mold and shape and refine our sense of justice.

See that flag, Mr Reid? That's the flag of the United States of America.

That flag will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag stands for freedom. You know it always will.

Mr. Custody Officer. Stand him down.

So, how much of this Judge's comments did we hear on our TV sets? We need more judges like Judge Young, but that's another subject. Everyone should and needs to hear what this fine judge had to say. Powerful words that strike home.

 


 

January 21st

Happy Birthday, Kim!!!

Yesterday was our friend Kim Soer's birthday and since she's not only a Firstie but also our Battalion Commander, the plebes gave her a proper party.  Never mind that she was at the Firstie club while this was going on; I'm sure she had fun when she got back to her room.

A plebe in my company, Brian Hewko, made this sweet sweet video of what they did.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KIM!!!

I'll add pictures when the plebes get them to me.

In other news.  It's really cold here.  Single digit and sometimes negative temperatures sure are fun!!!  Yep.

 

-Tom

 

 


 

January 19th

It snowed so we had to; it's the way of things.  If snow then sledding. 

Ed, Jason, and I headed out to Trophy Point tonight to see if we couldn't have a little fun with the bit of powder that fell tonight.  Here are the pictures.  Alot of them are of Jason in pain, but we all had our fair share of spills, bumps, and bruises.

 

We hadn't been there 5 minutes and already had our first casualty.  Trophy Point has a few levels cut into the side of the hill and normally the snow is deep enough to keep you from hurting yourself when you drop from one level to the next, but not tonight.  The snow was maybe an inch deep so there wasn't much padding and when you went down the hill you got airborne a couple times along the way.  Those are Jason's gloves and goggles on the left and you can see he landed a bit further than the sled after the 2nd to last drop.

 

I literally fell down laughing at one point when Jason hit a rock and dented the sled.

That's what happens when you hit a rock at full speed.

 

Yes, Miss Daisy, I be driving...

 

I TRIPLE DOG DARE YOU!!!

Yeah, that's the Supe's house in the background.

 

Good times with good dudes.

-Tom

 

 

 

 

 


 

January 18th

Tonight Erika and I were reading for History class tomorrow and staying indoors from the 1 degree actual temperature outside when good ole Les stopped by for a visit.  We started talking about "the good ole days" at the prep school (USMAPS) and how we used to have so much fun there and at one point I recalled how I used to terrorize a few select people for my own entertainment.  Funny stuff.

 

There was one particular fellow named George who was quite the, for lack of a better word, dork.  He was a rather puny dude with zero muscle mass and thick glasses perched on a nose that made him look like a bird, but he had a heart of solid gold.  He had extremely thin skin and let people get to him far too easily so I, being the fine upstanding citizen that I am, took it upon myself to try and toughen him up through "a bit" of occasional harassment.  Don't get me wrong.  I wasn't a bully to him--we actually got along pretty well most of the time--but once in awhile I would get bored and go terrorize poor George.

George didn't like it when people touched his bed because he had meticulously folded and creased every "hospital corner" on it and in his opinion it was sheer perfection.  We thought it would be a brilliant idea to flip the entire thing over, frame and all, once in awhile just to see him explode in a fit of high pitched yelling and cursing.  Once we moved his entire bed into the shower down the hall and didn't tell him where it was for a few hours.  He didn't like that too much. 

George collected GI Joe figurines.  You know, the 12 inch tall dolls that are on the same level with Barbie Dolls as far as collecting them goes?  Yeah, those.  He didn't like it when people touched his GI Joes so of course we decided it would be a good idea to give him a new one and switch it out for his "George Patton" GI Joe.  We got a shoebox with a hinged lid and taped one of those "punching nun" dolls in the bottom.  We put cellophane over the box, drew 4 stars in a row on the underside of the hinged lid, and drew a little placard that read "New and Improved Convent Patton".  Not the funniest caption, I know, but it did the trick.  George came back from class expecting to see his Patton doll up on his shelf, but here was this retarded nun doll behind cellophane taped on a shoe box just smiling at him.  "Ok, guys, seriously.  Where is my GI Joe?!?  WHERE IS IT?!?!  I SWEAR I'LL BRING YOU UP ON HONOR VIOLATIONS AND GET CAPTAIN GOLDSMITH TO COURT-MARTIAL YOU FOR THEFT!!!  WHERE IS MY &!%@*#! DOLL?!?!"  Rather amusing for us, to say the least.

 

One other time Ed and I decided we needed to really bother with this one girl who's entire character can be summed up in this quote she uttered at the beginning of the year.  "Y'all didn't think I'd really shave all my hair off, but I did!!!"  Seriously.  She shaved her entire head just because nobody thought she would.  There was no bet, no dare, no challenge of any kind.  She just decided she'd do it one day and there ya have it.  No hair.

Anyway, one evening Eddo and I were in the room next to hers bouncing a basketball back and forth to one another just talking when she came in and demanded we stop.  We exchanged a few words but eventually did, and as soon as she went back in her room we started bouncing it off the wall to one another just to make her mad.  Of course she didn't like that too much so she locked her door and blasted her stereo to cover the noise. 

We decided we couldn't let her win that easily so we went around the building and collected every single vacuum cleaner we could find, I believe it was seven in all, and ran extension cords so that they could all be plugged in and placed directly in front of her door.  We turned on all seven at once and walked away.  You can imagine the result.

 

Later that same week Ed and I decided we hadn't bothered this girl enough so we went to the PX and bought 8 of the cheapest alarm clocks they make.  We set the alarms to go off every 30 minutes starting at 1 in the morning and hid them all over her room. 

Beepbeep beepbeep beepbeep beepbeep.....  Every 30 minutes from a different hiding place in her room.  It was beautiful.

After trying to find the third clock she finally gave up and went to another girls room to sleep. 

 

You'd think we'd have better things to do like homework and such, but no.  Instead, we harassed the little people and had a lot of fun doing it. 

-Tom

 

 

 


 

January 17th

Great great weekend. 

Erika and I got out of here Friday for the 3-day weekend and had a most excellent time.  We didn't really do a whole lot that first night, but Saturday we met up with Megan and Les in the city. 

Someone in The Bronx is madly trying to get on that MTV show "Pimp My Ride."

We took a stroll through the Metropolitan Museum of Art, had some wine back at their hotel, went to dinner at a nice Italian place in Soho, and then to my favorite Irish Pub on the planet Tir Na Nog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Today Jason and I went skiing here on post and found out we both need practice.  He just started learning how to ski last week and he's already doing extremely well.  I hadn't been since Spring Break with Les 3 years ago at Whistler-Blackcomb in Canada so I was a bit rusty, but we had fun. 

Sorry I don't have more pictures to put up from the weekend; I'll have to get my camera fixed someday I guess.  Hope everyone else had fun wherever you went.

 

I found out tonight we lost a few kids in the latest round of academic boards.  The people up for separation from West Point will be given the chance to retest in 60 days for the class they failed, but they won't walk with us at graduation.  It reminds me of the last part of the poem Casey At The Bat.

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright.
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light.
And, somewhere men are laughing, and little children shout,

but there is no joy in Mudville --
mighty Casey has struck out.

 

I won't put their names on here, but say a prayer for the good dudes that would be superior 2LTs to any of those uber-geeks at the top of class.  "Joe" needs someone who can lead him, not someone who cares more about a Chemistry or Nuclear Engineering problem set. 

I'm sorry if that sounds a bit resentful, but I'm not too keen on the "rating system" around here.  It's all good, though, because one day I'm going to change it.

-Tom

 


 

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