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October 31st

Happy Halloween

 

Thank God for awesome friends.  They keep you sane during life's little moments. 

Friday my 78 shares of Google stock got up to a daily high of $199.95/share, but then dropped $9 to close out the day at $190.64.  I said earlier that when the price hit $200/share I was going to sell what I had and walk away with close to $2,000 profit.  I figured 199.95 wasn't quite 200 so I held onto my shares and then watched the price drop.  That means I lost about $650 of potential profit Friday.  Live and learn.  My buddies kept me from ruining my weekend for myself.  I was rather upset, to say the least, but until you "cash out" and sell your shares it's not real money anyway.  Here's a great NY Times article about the company for any of you who are curious.

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/31/business/yourmoney/31tech.html

Friday night Jason, Ed, and I went to see the new movie about Ray Charles.  A bit on the long side, but a GREAT flick.  Two thumbs up unless you've got something against great music and intriguing stories about interesting people. 

Saturday we went to a flea market in Fishkill and then to a costume store near there to find Jason a Superman costume for the party we were going to at The Ranch later that night.  I found a SWEET pellet pistol with a legit laser sight on it for $7.  I needed something better than a yellow dummy pistol for my costume that night.  The costume store was sold out of Superman suits so Jason went as an escaped jailbird instead.  Before we left for the party Jason "coerced" a Junior in his company, a Mormon, to be our designate driver.  Nothing against Mormons, not at all.  Joe was a good dude and made sure we got home safe.  We had a great time at the party and a ton of people told me I need to consider the Secret Service in the future.  I guess I looked the part pretty well because I had more than a couple girls giving me "the look" from across the room.

Today Jason and I drove back up to The Ranch to get a few jumps in, but we stayed grounded the whole time because of high winds.  They don't let students jump with winds over 10 knots.  Sucked watching all the experienced people go fly while we were on the ground.  It's all good, Karol taught me how to pack a chute by myself and after I did it by myself a few times she signed off on that requirement for my Class A license.  Rock n roll.  All I have to do now is get just over a dozen more jumps, dock with someone in the air, and land 2 more times within 20 meters of my target.  I've done it 3 times already and I'm getting better every time.

The Bengals lost to the Titans today.  Not good, but they beat the Broncos on Monday Night Football last week.  The BLACK KNIGHTS lost to East Carolina yesterday, but we're still looking good.  NOTRE DAME didn't play this weekend, but we would have won if we had.  Fact.

That's all for now.

-Tom

 

 


 

October 28th

Costumes galore.

Tonight we had mandatory spirit dinner and then I went to the Firstie Club to chill out.  The "theme" for both was Halloween so we all did our best to be original and come up with good stuff to wear.  This morning around 10 A.M. I still hadn't figured out what I was going to wear and then I remembered I had a jet black suit in the trunk room that I had made while I was stationed in Korea 5 years ago.  I borrowed my roommate's white dress shirt and black tie, borrowed some aviator sunglasses, an earpiece, and a dummy pistol, and BAM!!!  CIA/Secret Service/Men In Black Agent Kay.  Take your pick, I covered 'em all.

From left to right we've got Drew the Mormon, me, Clay the whatever he is, Randal the um... Orange shirt wearing dude, and Tracy the pink sport coat wearer.  To his credit that sport coat has been passed down to the Company 1SG from each year for the last 15 years or so.  I dunno why he wore it tonight, but whatever.

 

Me and Yolanda, the St. Pauli Girl.

 

The St. Pauli Girl and the German.

 

My good friend Heather Peterson (Petey) aka Daisy Duke.

 

Me and the uber-badass Chris T-house.  I really really hate Twinkies.  He had it coming.

 

The Taliban paid us a visit and got the better of me.

 

 


 

October 27th

I think I'm starting to believe in Karma.  Yeah, the first two and a half years I was here I brought alot of trouble and heartache on myself, but someone somewhere is helping me make up for that this semester and hopefully next. 

I've got one C, two B minuses, and three B's.  Ok all you uber-nerds out there, I know that's not exemplary, but if you could only see my transcript from the first few years here you'd be rather astonished at my performance now. 

We had a WPR (exam) in MilArt today.  Too easy in my opinion.  After we turned in our essays the instructor handed back our quizzes from the last class and our class participation grades from this sub-course.  The comments on mine were, "Keep pushing your analysis in class.  It's critical to the discussion.  You're a key contributor to the class.  Thanks for your work."  Get some, nerds. 

Like always, if you think I'm bragging or sounding arrogant, I don't care. 

I'm "this" close to being off of academic restriction for the first time in 3 years and this will be the first time I've ever been able to take pass for the Army/Navy football game.  The 3 years prior to this I've had to ride a bus down there, in uniform, freeze my butt off in the stands watching the game, and then be back on the bus no more than an hour after the end of the game to come straight back here.  All my buddies would be able to take pass for the weekend and have a great time, but not me. 

I'll sum this up for you.  Don't be an idiot and screw around like I did by getting in trouble and blowing off graded assignments.  Not smart. 

In other news, I got to see a lunar eclipse tonight.  Except, not.  Yeah, good thing that just as the moon started to black out the clouds rolled in and blocked the view.  A bunch of Astronomy club members were hanging around and trying to tell us about their super telescopes and home-made web cams and other geeky stuff like that, but we still managed to entertain ourselves. 

Notice how up until this point I didn't mention the Cardinals losing to the Red Sox in game 4 of the World Series?  Yeah, I DON'T CARE and the majority of you out there are bandwagon fans that don't really care either.  You'll be taking your Pedro Martinez jersey's back to Champ's Sports tomorrow and you know it, jabroneys.

-Tom

 


 

October 26th

I couldn't help but bring this to your attention.  By now you've probably all heard about the 380 tons of explosives that were "looted" from a secure compound in Iraq.  Senator Kerry's crew jumped on the story and spun it into another cheap shot at President Bush.  News flash dude...  It was gone before the US Army ever got there. 

Here are two rather interesting reads on the incident.  The first is from the IraqNow blog and the second is from the Captain's Quarters blog. 

http://www.iraqnow.blogspot.com/

NY Times Blows Another One
It appears that the missing 370 tons of explosives -- made much of by Senator Kerry and other Administration critics as evidence of Bush's incompetence -- was missing before US troops even rolled in.

Drudge is reporting that an NBC News crew was embedded with the unit that rolled up on the Al Qaqa'a weapons facility on April 10th, and found that the expected weapons stores had already been looted.

Now, I never thought that this story was a huge deal to begin with. Yes, insurgents could use the material to make IEDs with. But every tribe in Iraq has huge weapons stores of its own, which they used to hedge against other tribes in the event of a collapse of the Hussein regime. Members of my own battalion dug up mortar shells by the hundreds, and artillery shells by the dozens, the whole time we were there. Digging up another weapons cache was almost a daily occurance at times in Ramadi.

And every few days, we'd get a notice that 30 or 40 or 50 tons of explosives were about to be detonated out in the desert south of Ramadi or west of Fallujah (so we wouldn't get spooked by the huge explosion and the mushroom cloud in the distance.)

370 tons of ordnance sounds like a lot. And it is. But if you know Iraq, it's really a drop in the bucket.

Here's the other reason it was a dumb idea for Democrats to use the missing ordnance as evidence of Bush's incompetence:

It's not the President's job to look at a map and tell the Secretary of Defense what sites he wants secured. It's not even the SecDef's job to do that. The identification and securing of the weapons site was entirely the purview of the military commander on the ground at the time, CENTCOM commander General Tommy Franks.

A Clinton appointee.

Funny how Kerry never calls Franks' competence into question.

I know I don't.

And it turns out that Franks is vindicated. He did what he was supposed to do - US troops were on the scene before the dust even cleared. Now, it is true that he could have dispatched special operations troops to secure the site even earlier. But these troops would have been isolated, and too light to last long on the desert floor, unsupported, in a static defense. On a literal powder keg. It would have been foolish to commit them; the Iraqis obviously showed up in enough strength to move 370 tons pretty quickly.

Special ops troops don't exactly grow on trees, either. A good portion of the available SPECOPS troops were committed to protecting the Iraqi oil infrastructure, as well as the dam at Hadithah.

Had sabateurs gotten to Hadithah or the oil fields before our own guys, Bush would have been raked through the coals for neglecting to secure Iraq's industry, and for allowing the prime power generator for the Euphrates River Valley to go unprotected, and for allowing insurgents to plunge the entire valley into darkness.

You never have enough troops or resources to do everything you want to do. Ever.

So jumping the gun and securing Al Qaqa'a early was not a real option, either, when you adjust the likely outcome against the risk of having an American detachment overwhelmed.

Maybe that wasn't a big deal for Clinton at Mogadishu. But soldiers tend to resent being hung out on a fishhook like that.

Kudos to
Captain Ed for being one of the first to call "BS" on the original NY Times story. And to the NBC News crew for showing up.

I can't say the New York Times reporters were inept, though. The White House seemed to confirm the notion that the explosives went missing sometime AFTER the arrival of US troops.

That was clearly an error on the White House's part. The New York Times did what they were supposed to do: try to build a detailed timeline, and write the story from that.

So a good part of the blame has to fall on the White House press office themselves.

We'll see how the New York Times corrects the error, though.

Splash, out

Jason
 

http://www.captainsquartersblog.com/mt/

We're familiar with the NY Times story and the IAEA accusations that the "missing" explosives were looted from the Al-Qaqaa military base due to US negligence in securing the facility.  If I were a guerilla "looter" and I was planning such an operation from a military standpoint, here's what the task would require:

Assumptions:

-Each "looter" could haul comfortably about 25 pounds per trip to a truck. (of course after 12 hours that would require superhuman endurance)

-I'd allow 5 minutes per round trip to the truck

-Work day 12 hours

-assume security breaks down 1 week after war starts (that allows 2
weeks before the US troops arrive)

-each pickup truck can carry about 1/4 ton of explosives (I did a quick calculation based upon the dimensions and weight of a block of C-4 and the dimensions of an average small pickup) and it takes 15 minutes to either load or unload the truck.

-the secure hiding place for 380 tons of explosives is 30 minutes away.

Calculations:

-380 tons / [((12hrs/dayX60min/hr) / (5 min per load)) X (25 lbs per load) X 14 days] = 15 loaders X 2 = 30 loaders/unloaders

-30 loaders/unloaders times 200% for breaks, rest, inefficiency, etc. = 60 loaders and unloaders.

-380 tons / [(12hrs/day / 1 hr/round trip,load,unload) X (.25 tons per trip) X 14 days] = 10 trucks and drivers X 1.5 (contingency) = 15 trucks and drivers.

-4 trucks + 10-15 men to supply water, food and other logistical
requirements

Total = 19-20 trucks, 90 men working continuously for two weeks to "loot" facility.

Bottom line this operation would take the resources of AN ENTIRE COMPANY (approx. 100 men) OVER TWO WEEKS, good Intel to know exactly where the "right" explosives were hidden and a means of breaching huge steel doors and concrete of an ASP (ammo supply point).

And all of this would have to be done in an area with numerous intel overflights that would be looking for exactly this kind of activity in the combat zone, and not get noticed at all. Like so much of what the New York Times, CBS, and the Kerry campaign feeds us ... it just doesn't add up.

I don't really like jumping on the political soapbox, but I couldn't let this one go by.

-Tom

 


 

October 25th

Jeez what a great day!  Except for one somewhat minor thing this afternoon it was "more gooder" than most days around here.  I aced a History of the Military Art (MilArt) quiz about Clausewitz this morning, brought the house down with my civil engineering presentation about tunneling, had my once lost but now found Notre Dame hat returned to me (my buddy Tom had it in his friggin desk drawer.  Don't ask.), and... oh yeah, I've made a total of $927 from Google stock.  Yeah, once again, to all you "experts" out there who said I needed to sell my shares a long time ago, BAH HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!

Hehehehe... I'm still laughing at all of you.  When the price hits $200, which it most certainly will, I'm cutting back to the 10 shares I originally had and sticking to a much less risky investment "strategy".  That may sound like I know what I'm doing, but I'm no expert.  I just know a good thing when I see it and Google is a MOST EXCELLENT THING.

That's pretty much it for now.  Here's a list which gives you an idea, I can only assume, of what it's like to be on deployment in Iraq.  Pretty funny, but if you think about it, not so much.  Keep the troops in mind when you're racking out in your ginormous 4-poster bed and waking up to soft carpeting under your feet. 

-Tom

HOW TO PREPARE FOR A DEPLOYMENT IN IRAQ

1. Sleep on a cot in the garage.
2. Replace the garage door with a curtain.
3. Six hours after you go to sleep, have your wife or girlfriend whip open the curtain, shine a flashlight in your eyes and mumble, “Sorry, wrong cot.”
4. Renovate your bathroom. Hang a green plastic sheet down from the middle of your bathtub and move the showerhead down to chest level. Keep four inches of soapy cold water on the floor, stop cleaning the toilet and pee everywhere but in the toilet itself. Leave two to three sheets of toilet paper or for best effect, remove it altogether. For a more realistic deployed bathroom experience, stop using your bathroom and use a neighbor’s. Choose a neighbor who lives at least a quarter mile away.
5. When you take showers, wear flip-flops and keep the lights off.
6. Every time there is a thunderstorm, go sit in a wobbly rocking chair and dump dirt on your head.
7. Put lube oil in your humidifier instead of water and set it on ‘high” for that tactical generator smell.
8. Don’t watch TV except for movies in the middle of the night. Have your family vote on which movie to watch and then show a different one.
9. Leave a lawnmower running in your living room 24 hours a day for proper noise levels.
10. Have the paperboy give you a haircut.

11. Once a week, blow compressed air up through your chimney making sure the wind carries the soot across and on to your neighbor’s house. Laugh at him when he curses you.
12. Buy a trash compactor and only use it once a week. Store up garbage in the other side of your bathtub.
13. Wake up every night at midnight and have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on a saltine cracker.
14. Make up your family menu a week ahead of time without looking in your food cabinets or refrigerator. Then serve some kind of meat in an unidentifiable sauce poured over noodles. Do this for every meal.
15. Set your alarm clock to go off at random times during the night. When it goes off, jump out of bed and get to the showers as fast as you can. Simulate there is no hot water by running out into your yard and breaking out the garden hose.
16. Once a month, take every major appliance completely apart and put it back together again.
17. Use 18 scoops of coffee per pot and allow it to sit for five or six hours before drinking.
18. Invite at least 185 people you don’t really like because of their strange hygiene habits to come and visit for a couple of months. Exchange clothes with them.
19. Have a fluorescent lamp installed on the bottom of your coffee table and lie under it to read books.
20. Raise the thresholds and lower the top sills of your front and rear doors so that you either trip over the threshold or hit your head on the sill every time you pass through one of them.
21. Keep a roll of toilet paper on your night stand and bring it to the bathroom with you. Also bring your gun and flashlight.
22. Go to the bathroom when you just have to pass gas “just in case” every time.
23. Announce to your family that they have mail, have them report to you as you stand outside your open garage door after supper and then say: “Sorry, it’s for the other Smith.”
24. Wash only 15 items of laundry per week. Roll up the semi-wet clean clothes in a ball. Place them in a sack in the corner of the garage where the cat pees. After a week, unroll them and without ironing or removing the mildew, proudly wear them to professional meetings and family gatherings. Pretend you don’t know what you look or smell like. Enthusiastically repeat the process for another week.
25. Go to the worst crime-infested place you can find, go heavily armed, wearing a flak jacket and a Kevlar helmet. Set up shop in a tent in a vacant lot. Announce to the residents that you are there to help them.
26. Eat a single M & M every Sunday and convince yourself it for Malaria.
27. Demand each family member be limited to 10 minutes per week for a morale phone call. Enforce this with your teenage daughter.
28. Shoot a few bullet holes in the walls of your home for proper ambience.
29. Sandbag the floor of your car to protect from mine blasts and fragmentation.
30. While traveling down roads in your car, stop at each overpass and culvert and inspect them for remotely detonated explosives before proceeding.
31. Fire off 50 cherry bombs simultaneously in your driveway at 3:00 a.m. When startled neighbors appear, tell them all is well, you are just registering mortars. Tell them plastic will make an acceptable substitute for their shattered windows or just put sand bags over them.
32. Drink your milk and sodas warm.
33. Spread gravel throughout your house and yard.
34. Make your children clear their Super Soakers in a clearing barrel you placed outside the front door before they come in.
35. Make your family dig a survivability position with overhead cover in the backyard. Complain that the 4x4s are not 8 inches on center and make them rebuild it.
36. Continuously ask your wife to allow you to buy an M-Gator.
37. When your 5-year old asks for a stick of gum, have him find the exact stick and flavor he wants on the Internet and print out the web page. Type up a Form 9 and staple the web page to the back. Submit the paperwork to your spouse for processing. After two weeks, give your son the gum.
38. Announce to your family that the dog is a vector for diseases and shoot it. Throw the dog in a burn pit you dug in the neighbor’s back yard.
39. Wait for the coldest /hottest day of the year and announce to your family that there will be no heat/air conditioning that day so you can perform much needed maintenance on the heater/air conditioner. Tell them you are doing this so they won’t get cold/hot.
40. Just when you think you’re ready to resume a normal life, order yourself to repeat this process for another six months to simulate the next deployment you’re been ordered to support.
 

 


 

October 23rd

Battalion Fun Day!  HOOOOOOOOOOOAHH!!!! 

Ok, when I woke up this morning I have to admit I wasn't exactly leaping out of bed to go run 4 miles in BDUs while carrying/wearing a protective gas mask.  Here's the route of the "Fun Day" competition.

This is a map of West Point they give to visitors and tourists even though it's kinda sorta 20 years outdated.  You still get the idea. 

We started in the lower right corner of the map at the river courts and, as a platoon, carried a Zodiac assault boat about 200 meters to the first bend in the road.  From there we split into our 2 man buddy teams for the rest of the run. 

My partner, Jon Batt (a yearling who was in my platoon over the summer), and I stayed towards the front of the crowd as we ran up the hill to Buffalo Soldier Field, dropped to do 40 pushups, and continued up the hill to the Association of Graduates building for the weapons assembly/disassembly station.  We were given 1 of 4 weapons to take apart and reassemble in a minute or less.  Luckily, we were assigned the M9 pistol which takes all of... like 15 seconds to complete.  The other weapons were the M-16 and 2 types of machine guns, the M249 and M240B.  We were done and out of there in under a minute and then kept running up the hill to the protective mask site.

Wow.  Ever ran 500 meters with a gas mask on after having already ran a full mile up a decently steep hill?  Oofta...  I had to break the seal of the mask a few times as we ran behind Lusk Reservoir just to get a deep breath as we were running because I was literally asphyxiating with it on and I kinda needed a bit more air...

We got to the radio site and took off the friggin masks and then had to put together a SINCGARS radio, test it, load a single channel frequency, and take it apart.  After that we started running down the other side of the hill by the Cadet Chapel and turned right at the Catholic Chapel. 

Ok, at this point I was hurtin' pretty bad because since the last PT test I've done um... nothing at all to maintain/improve my physical fitness.  Yeah, I ran a 12:58 two mile a month ago, but massive quantities of beer and junk food come back to haunt you after awhile.  Yeesh...  I felt like a 3rd grade soccer player at halftime with cramps in my side.  I kept asking Jon if he had any orange slices for me.  He didn't.

We got to Battle Monument, did the "evaluate a casualty" site, and kept running around the soccer field and back toward the start point at the river courts.  We cut through Kosciusko's Garden to save a few seconds (they didn't say we couldn't) and made it back to the start point in 35 minutes flat.

Jon and I finished with the 4th fastest time of any other buddy group in the Battalion and the fastest time in our Company.  Get some fokkers...

 

My buddy Travis found a mouse in the barracks today.  He's our new mascot at least for awhile.

He looked a little hungry.

Still hungry.

Cute little munchkin, eh?  I meant the mouse...

-Tom

 


 

October 22nd

Hats off to my boys Les and Ed for backing me up in a political "debate" with a flaming, misinformed, and ANGRY liberal.  I'd post the entire thing on here, but it's pretty long and I know we all have attention deficit dis... hey, look at that bird!!!

http://www.xanga.com/item.aspx?user=Beckola&tab=weblogs&uid=144174435

An 18 year old art student/musician from Fremont, Nebraska and his stance on the military/government:

(insert rant based on bad information and downright anger towards the government and the military for some deep-rooted reason the kid never eludes to)

My response:

You don't like this country and aren't willing to support her?  Seek life elsewhere.   

It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the organizer, Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.

- Father Dennis Edward O'Brian, USMC

Reply from the 18 year old art student/musician from Fremont, Nebraska:

(insert horrificly angry response using the same circular logic and misinformation for support)

Educated, thought out, and well supported response from Eddo to silence the punk.  It's pretty long, but worth the read:

This is Tom's friend Ed also at West Point. He told me about this little debate going on on Becky's web blog. I've read the opinions and me being a more objective mind I believe that I have the bottom line correct point on the issue of the military. While korky99_04 said that the pilgrims created this country for freedom our security and maintenance of our country has always relied and always will on our fighting ability. Jamestown also crumbled because of the Native Americans. Our independence was secured through the Revolution. Diplomacy is an empty shell without the coercive forces to back it up. Our country has always had the desire to help other countries. Think back to Wilson and 'Wilsonianism." What was the point of it? He was a liberal economist who desired to bring democracy around the world so we could all be secure trade partners. Americans cried for action when the Spanish were slaughtering the Cubans. We responded because American citizens wanted action. Somalia? We went there because the American public could not stand the images of starving women and children while we sit on enough grain to feed the entire world two times over. Iraq was the proper mission. Why?  Because of the same principles every President has followed, suffering will not be tolerated. Clinton went to Bosnia. Carter went to the Middle East. 9/11 is the not the only thing fueling our foreign policy objectives. Did the US try to connect 9/11 with Iraq, sure. Was this the fault of Bush? No, he is not the director of our intelligence community. Even Britain thought they had a connection. Saddam knew we were watching him and he deliberately deceived the UN arms inspectors. Why would you kick them out if you didn't want the perception of having WMDs to happen? Saddam was an unstable but smart dictator. Nonetheless, 9/11 was not the only reason we went into Iraq.

The oil argument, while favored by critics, has a very valid point. If you have an unstable dictator threatening the oil supply you have a world wide problem. If Saddam destroyed the oil supply the world economy would feel it. He had that much power and knew that fact. Far as your argument that the military is trained to dehumanize. That's completely off basis and its formed on no knowledge of how we train. Our army has always been respected because of our strict adherence to the laws of war. Was Abu Gharib a stupid stupid mistake? Yes, but the actions of one military police company do not speak for an entire army. Iraqis surrendered by the thousands in the first gulf war because we follow the laws of war and treated them humanly and better than the rough treatment under Saddam. Do you think all of the National Guard that do domestic relief efforts are dehumanizing killers? Do you think the engineers, currently in Iraq rebuilding the infrastructure so kids have schools and running water, are dehumanizing killers? The words Duty, Honor, Country and the seven army values stand for the ideals we started within our country and continue to follow today. You should be so lucky to have such words associated with a group of people. It is not propaganda to mask our dehumanizing ways.

Operation Enduring Freedom is in Afghanistan not Iraq, tell me that the ridding of the Taliban regime was a wrong thing. Aren't you using the argument that Iraq didn't attack us? The Taliban did, and we have brought a desolate country their first free elections ever. They had a monarchy before. It seems to me that you're mixing your issues. Bush is commander in chief, but he is not the mind behind our doctrine, leadership, or values. The Army owns our own actions. We have that ability to think about illegal and immoral orders. We are not the blind leading the blind. Hence why West Point is such an important institution to the Army. Some of the minds in the Army are much more intelligent about every issue than you and I could ever be. So be sure to dissect which issue you are mad about, Bush or the Army. But do not forget where our country came from and grew from. Military power is a part of diplomacy whether you agree or not. And when the next human tragedy hits the world I would suggest you find a way to solve it without the military if you hate us so much. Just try to use your NGOs on your own with no protection and security. Try to donate all of that money and canned goods and see how much it helps when the people cant get running water or food because bandits steal it.

Oh I didn't even comment on the legality of Bush's actions. This I have great knowledge over since I'm basically a law minor besides being a political science major. The process of deploying troops has two rules, if we are attacked the president can deploy troops immediately and notify congress later. Usually congress must approve troop movement. Now who approved the Iraq war? Congress, to include Senator Kerry. Interesting point isn't it? Now you talk about the brainwashing. It has been political culture to never vote against the military. So if some democrats "knew all along" that this was bad, why didn't they take a stand and vote against? Why did they just follow the "groupthink" mentality? So please do not talk about the military being brainwashed. Our congress people don't get it right. So both Afghanistan and Iraq were completely legal in every way. So the ultra-liberal argument that we're fighting illegal wars is very wrong.

Don't get me wrong I'm not on the far right. I come from California and many of my views go against my catholic religion and staunch republicans. But my good education to this point gives me an objective and intelligent view. Not heated angry opinions. Yeah Tom crossed a line, but we someone attacks your organization with equally wrong points it can get people heated. Remember its seem your mad about the policies, the Army is the policy enforcer. Don't mix the two, that's why we vote every four years, so people can voice their opinions on the policies.

There you have it, folks.  Ed has now taken over the title of The Smartest Man Alive.

Jason and I were supposed to skydiving again today, but the clouds aren't cooperating with us so we'll have to hold off on the freefalling until tomorrow.  I'll let you know how that goes...

Oh, one more thing.  Remember that old addage, "Without great risk you will never achieve great reward???"

Yeah, look at the earning reports and the chart of Google's stock market price over the last month or so.  I've made $650 in the last 2 weeks on that company.  $250 today alone.  To everyone who thought I was crazy and said I needed to sell a loooong time ago, BAH HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!

-Tom

 

 


 

October 20th

I think everyone's entitled to their own opinion, but when you start talking trash about the military you'd best prepare yourself for some rebuttal on my part.  I had the great displeasure of reading the comments of an 18 year old art student/musician from Fremont, Nebraska on my sister's website today.  Wow.  Ok, kid.  You're 18 and I understand you THINK you know everything there is to know about everything, but believe me.  You don't.  You're 18 years old.  Stay in school and shut the hell up about things which you don't understand. 

http://www.xanga.com/skin.asp?user=Beckola  That's my sister Becky's website.  Check it out.

Ok, on a more excellent note, here are some random pictures for you.

Pay attention to the instructor, Meg.  Jeez... slacker. 

 

Great picture of the folks at Trophy Point just minutes after I got my class ring.

 

Eric Pitts, one of my Dirty Joes from the summer, and I right before the Thayer Award Dinner.

 

Tom tryin' to act tough right before we marched into the Cincinnati game 2 weeks ago.

 

The new parade uniform for next year, I swear.  Yellow flag optional.

 

Ever seen Orange County Choppers?  That's him.  Paul Teutul Sr.  He presented that POW/MIA bike at the Cincinnati game.

 

Most every night's a party in room 133 (after the homework's done).  Me, Dre, Tom, Brent, and Rob on the $50 couch. 

 

That's all for now. 

-Tom

 


 

October 19th

Pretty decent weekend. 

Jason and I drove to DC and hung out with a bunch of old Warrant Officers Friday night.  Ok, so my mom was there too and the only reason I went was to see her, but we brought our Full Dress uniforms and went to a formal banquet where we met a ton of CW5's.   They were more than willing to buy us a few drinks and give us their thoughts on the Army, as if we've never heard Army officer's opinions on such things...  Here's how most of the conversations went.  "Pleased to meet you too, sir.  Yes, I'm Chief Martin's son.  No, it's not that bad attending USMA, and I've got just over 200 days until graduation so I'm almost done.  Thank you, sir.  Yes, sir, the Army is a great career.  Oh, that's interesting...  I had no idea."  

Ok, you get the idea.  Really boring stuff, right?  Exactly. 

A little later in the evening I got away from the old guys asking the same questions and giving me their thoughts on life in the Army, and then it got a bit more interesting.  Because I was in Full Dress a lot of people asked to have their picture taken with me.  An older lady approached me...

"Certainly ma'am, I'll pose for a picture with you."  [random other person takes the picture as this 70 year old lady I'm standing next to reaches behind me and pinches my ass

Uh, yeah.  What in the hell???  A 70 year old woman pinched my ass.  Her reply to my strange look?  (thick English accent) "Oh my, what a lovely bum he has!"  Needless to say, I excused myself and went back to talking to the old CW5's about life in the Army and catching up on things with my mother.

It was great seeing my mom again, even with random old ladies trying to get their picture taken with me.  Overall it was a decent night.

Saturday morning Jason and I woke up early and he drove me to Dulles International to catch my flight to Atlanta to see Celine.  Jason stayed in DC with some friends of his on the crew team here and took care of the Trooper for me so I wouldn't have to pay airport parking costs.

Atlanta was a pretty good time.  We went to Stone mountain on Saturday, tried to go to Six Flags on Sunday, and saw Shark Tale Sunday night.  She had been dying to see it and the flick wasn't too bad.  It was great spending time with her again after being away from each other for so long. 

I flew back to DC Monday afternoon where Jason picked me up from the Airport and then we headed back north to school.  We were listening to John Denver and our miniature road-trip was rather uneventful until we picked up a hitchhiker just North of Trenton, NJ on I-95N.  I was driving and the sun had just gone down when all of a sudden we saw a small animal or something fly right in front of us and then heard a *whump* as it hit the bumper/grill.

"What in the blue hell was that?" 

"I think it was a bird"

"Didn't look like a bird to me.  Hang on, I'll check it out."  (pulls over to side of the road, gets out, and walks to the front of the car)

Hysterical laughter.  "Jason, you're not gonna believe this.  Come look."

"Is that a squirrel?!?"

"Yeah.  I guess he wants a ride.  Let's oblige him."

We left him on there, but he fell off somewhere between Trenton and the gates of WP.  Poor guy never had a chance, haha.

We got back to school around 10:15 and that was that.  Pretty good time overall and it was great to take pass for the first time all year.

My teams did pretty well this weekend. We, the BLACK KNIGHTS, beat South Florida at their own homecoming game 42-35.  SF had won 24 of 26 home games, but we rolled up and cleaned house.  I'm telling you, the Commander in Chief's Trophy is ours this year.  NOTRE DAME whooped up on Navy 27-9 so now the squiddies don't have anything to brag about anymore.  Well, it's not like they ever had anything to brag about in the first place.  They've been playing WEAK teams the whole season and they KNOW it.  It's the only reason they're 5-1 right now.  The Irish have beaten Navy 41 straight.  The last time Navy won against ND was in 1963 when Roger Staubach was their quarterback and won the Heisman trophy.  They've got nothing now. The Bengals lost this weekend, but I still love 'em. 

Ok, that's enough.  If you're still reading, good for you.  I'm done now.

-Tom

 


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