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March 12, 2005


*stage whisper voice*

"Hey, everybody, over here! Shhhhh! Not so loud, Bill! Damn, those big feet of yours make some noise!"

"Okay, okay, okay... here's the deal:"

"It's SWWBO's birthday. And we're gonna throw here a surprise party, okay?"

"We're gonna go hide in the comments of this post over at her place - and I want ya to go hog wild in there! SWWBO isn't quite the prude I am, so you can prolly over-indulge, but don't get stoopid, 'k?"

"Now, assuming you read this place from the bottom-up, like you should - what are you doing here? GIT!"

No comments here - go there!

Caption Contest!

To give us something to do this weekend (though there *will* be a comment party later) here's a pic to caption...

To get you started: "Oh, Carp! The Bedoodlewhoopies are loose! Call for backup!"

As an aside, Pam (The Castle's graphic artist) is hosting the Carnival of the Recipes!

Want more captioning fun?

Villainous Company.
Conservative Life.

by John on Mar 12, 2005 | Tanks and AFVs
» Conservative Life - General Politics links with: Conservative Life Caption Contest #20

A moment of Militant Zen

Let's just hit it up with all 5 of the armed services this morning, eh?

First up, the Senior Service - The Army. You USAREUR vets will appreciate this one.

Members of the 1st Armored Division drive a M-1A Abrams tank through the Taunus Mountains north of Frankfurt during the READY CRUCIBLE exercise held 7-17 February 2005. This was the largest movement of American armored vehicles through German roads and farmland since the REFORGER exercises of the 1980's.

I did those last *HUGE* REFORGERS (REturn of FORces to GERmany) in the '80s.

Hi-res here.

Next up, the next in line for seniority (because the Navy painted itself into a corner) Uncle Sam's Misguided Children, the Marines, in a little Amphibious Assault Vehicle action...

Hi-res here.

Next in line, the Coast Guard. Yep. The Coasties. I chose this one because it's a homeland defense kinda thing, with the Coast Guard providing support to an FBI team. The Cox'n of the boat is a Kansan and the son of a loyal reader.

Don't have a higher resolution shot, sorry.

Okay. Now the Navy. And their new toy, the Sea Shadow.

Now, they want you to think that this ship represents all new thought... I think they're just recycling, myself.

Hi-res here.

Now, for the junior service... the Air Force. A little Eagle-action.

Hi-res here.

by John on Mar 12, 2005 | Observations on things Military
» The Bow Ramp links with: Navy Concept Cars
» EagleSpeak links with: Navy: Back to the Future

March 11, 2005

That hum you hear... probably Lane Kirkland spinning in his grave. I'll get to that in a minute...

Before I go further, be advised I've been in defilade, immersed in company efforts to convince potential clients to transfer taxpayer wealth to us instead of someone else. Long story, boring and I'll stop now...

As for the peace offering below: accepted. For what it's worth, I wasn't mad at John for a second; just the buffoon who thinks it's cute to snipe at fellow pilots 'cause they don't wear the same uniform. Trust me...about 50% of the officers in EVERY service need to reflect on the phrase "Grow Up!" now and then and then get back to work on becoming truly Joint, focus on killing the enemy, and figuring out better ways to help their brothers and sisters in the other Services.

Rant #1 over...

Now then.

Got this from Lileks this morning.

You know, up until today, I thought the blinding, breathtaking stupidity of the Democrat Party was pretty much reserved these days to Howard Dean, Ted Rall, Robert Byrd and Ted Kennedy. After watching the "loyal" opposition's response to our successful liberation of...Fifty. Million. People..., it wouldn't surprise me at all to turn on C-Span to see Ted and Bob standing naked in the Senate chamber with tin foil-wrapped collanders on their heads shouting about how the BushitlerRoveChthulu monster is eating peoples' brains. OK...OK...picturing Byrd naked might be a bit much for people to handle. Let's say he's appropriately attired in white.

But, krep, the UAW telling Marines they can't use the parking lot anymore because they drive Nissans and HAVE BUSH FOR PRES BUMPERSTICKERS ON THEIR VEHICLES?!?

Well, Sieg Heil to you, too brother.

NOTE: OK, so Kirkland was AFL-CIO, not UAW, but still...

My Honda...I think I'll keep her.


Rant #2 over.

This Post Rated LAW/KVL

Looking At Work?/Keep Volume Low…

>>hzzz. morning be good, all castle critters of hy-umun and other species feline ladies. to gents also. name muffy is presenting newest castle freebie feature, online msm.

>>hz. name muffy, questioning from name jake. how online be mainstream medium?

>>hzz. softball from peanut brain in peanut gallery. just start, too small to be mainstream medium. is mainstream miniscule. become medium after advertising suits shower with cookies, be rolling in dough.

>>hzzzzz. bassackwards. must roll in dough first before make cookie.

>>hzzzz. maybe name jake like be correspondent. do eyewitness report from inside septic tank.

>>hzz. unfamiliar. sovbloc? what size main gun?

>>hzzzz. continuation from before rudeness of interrupting. first is news flashing of denizen-doing. denizen bad cat robot-lady and denizen pretty barb-lady doing of lunch at tony institutional cafeteria yesternoon. Unawareness of hidden parabolic mike in plastic flower centerpiece. sof’ware-make pless have thematic menu, also music-to-munch-by.

>>hzzz. name scout from name kc, still live at cafeteria pless, still cammied as large beige philodendron, hide near table for listen to gurl talk. To name scout, hello.

>>hzzz. name scout report that denizens hy-umun and mechanismic ladies meet and begin with usual gurl small talk. then bout special appetizer prepared by cafeteria sous-chef. then bout job and choice of refreshermints. then talk bout hubster—

>>hzzz. hubschrauber? rotorhead there also?

>>--no. hubster what pretty barb-lady call spousal unit. Then talk deplorable conditions of prime-time televisions. heh. Then bad cat robotic-lady comment about favorite sci-fi channel show. then bad cat robotic-lady speak of life ambitions. then both ladies giggle and order ‘nother round of adult beverage. then pretty barb-lady mention plans for after working. then bad cat robotical lady realize that mouse-thing had meandered up petticoats. then ladies discuss weekend party at castle. then leave many papers with pix of first potus on table, then split, giggling muchly. then name scout sneeze and all leafses fall off ghillie suit.

>>hzzz. thanking name scout.tomorrow castle msm sneak peek at mawk, were-kitten and afsister.

>>hzzzzz. be dead air unless visit at work, when hold three-way conversation with self.

>>hz. name muffy, maybe fuzzybear lyonnaise-lady be better.

>>hzzzz. name jake soon be name dillweed. lyonnaise not *persona* name. lyonnaise tasty sauce for cookie.

>>hzz. thought that was hollandaise.

>>hzzzzz. idiot. lady not nederlander.

>>hzz. maybe lyonesse?

>>hz. lyonesse mythical pless, same as atlantic city.

>>hzzzzz. too much knowledge. head of name jake need ductape before explode.

>>hz. not happen. if brains were gasoline, name jake could not fuel flea’s honda halfway around bb.

>>hzzz. name muffy, name kc report ad exec suits on line three wanting talk cookies.

>>hzzzzzzz. bout time. tomorrow we buy history channel.

>>hzz. what do with?

>>hzzz. replace lee ermey with jarhead-pless man. do five minutes of play “danny boy” on bagpipes while demonstrate ma deuce cyclic rate of fire. heh. blow comedy central right off air.

by name muffy on Mar 11, 2005 | I think it's funny!

A pic for Dusty.

Since I managed to pi$$ him off yesterday... a peace offering.

Hi-res (worth it!)

by John on Mar 11, 2005 | Plane P0rn

The Israeli Army and Role-Playing Games.

Much buzz in certain sectors of the Blogosphere yesterday about the fact that the IDF considers players of Role-Playing-Games (RPGs) like Dungeons and Dragons to be poor cannon fodder.

I find that among my readers there are many D&D'ers. Yours truly wasted many an hour he could have spent chasing wimmin and swilling alcohol instead sitting around a table, rolling dice, swilling Coke (the Armorer didn't really start drinking until he made Major - he thinks the two are related), eating pizza, and taking down the Frost Giant Jarl and his minions. With GFs around the table, too.

The Armorer always did like a good fighter. His best friends were a Mage, Cleric, Thief, and a Ranger. Good balance in that party, eh? Except the damn Thief was so chaotic we occasionally hadda kill him to get our stuff back... but that's a different story.

Anyway - the Armorer went on to invade small countries, meet exotic people, and kill them - all at the direction of the Government, mind you. And was entrusted with *nukulur* weapons. And Western Civ still stands, if our feet are being washed with a tide of tiny little Islamist crabs.

Methinks the IDF should chill, and rather than shunt these kids off to pointless jobs - examine their strengths and put them to use.

Kinda like we do, to wit:

In the United States, where RPGs were invented in the early 1970s, there have been many accusations (by religious leaders, lawyers and distraught parents looking for a reason strange behavior by their children) about the bad effects of using RPGs. There has never been any concrete evidence that RPGs do any harm. The American military encourages the use of RPG and other games by troops, both for recreation and professional training. RPG game design techniques have been used in professional wargames.

In response to the IDF revelation, one D&D player provided a Top 10
list of positive reasons for having IDF recruits who play D&D.

10. Ability to make split second decisions while simultaneously
thinking about how the entire scenario will play out.

9. Axe-wielding skills.

8. Two words: Healing potion.

7. Ability to think outside the labyrinth.

6. Most Dungeon Masters are good strategists.

5. Being a 15th level magic user warrants as much respect as being a
soldier in Sayeret Matkal (an elite IDF recon unit).

4. Elf assassins are stealthy and efficient.

3. Chicks dig chain mail armor.

2. After battling enough dwarfs and mystical pygmies you learn not to
underestimate your enemy.

1. Heightened ability to read people - "She may look like a Mermaid but
there is definitely something nefarious about her and I've been less
trustworthy of female lake dwellers since that Siren pulled a fast one on
me last year back on the Netherworld."

So, Denizens. A challenge! Raise the Scorpion Banner, Cry Havoc! and let slip the Denizens of the Castle... what would *OUR* top ten list of reasons the IDF should happily embrace the Geeks?

News you can use.

Blogger? Blog from/about work? News you can use.

Strategy Page is chock full of fun this morning.

Dick Tracy, call your office.

Jim hears what I hear about the recruiting picture for the Active Component. I differ with Jim regarding the impact on the Guard and Reserve - I think the paradigm shift of defending the Homeland to Virtual Regular but still Second Team has really started to impact recruiting and retention - and that Household 6 (spouses) are flexing their muscles in this arena. And Jim has a piece up that talks to exactly that. There is also this, about the drop in black recruits, which mirrors analysis I seen elsewhere with friends who work in Accessions Command.

This following has been a topic of discussion at work. Due to intellectual property rights and disclosure agreements, I can't really do substantive posts on this issue out of fairness to the client and (freely accepted and understood) obligations to my employer. That doesn't mean, however, that I can't post other people's work that I substantially agree with - I just can't go into the details of why...

So, here is a post I would have written (in most respects) were I able to - my problem is I couldn't write it credibly without work sneaking into it. None of my work has crept into this piece!

From the fellows at FPRI - worthy of considering joining, if you have an interest in this stuff. The Armorer almost pursued a doctorate in the subject of Foreign Relations.


March 8, 2005

Keith W. Mines recently retired from the U.S. Army reserves after 22 years of active, reserve, and National Guard service, including military and civilian assignments in Grenada, Honduras, El Salvador, Israel, Somalia, Haiti, Hungary, Afghanistan, and Iraq. A former intelligence analyst, he currently serves as a Political Officer with the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa. Mr. Mines is a founding member of the Council on Emerging National Security Affairs (CENSA). These views are decidedly his own and do not reflect U.S.
government policy.


by Keith W. Mines

The United States military has undergone two transformations since the end of the Cold War. The first, from 1989 to 2000, was marked by a simple downsizing of the force, a reduction from 18 to 10 Army divisions, from 2 million to 1.4 million personnel. There was some modernization of equipment and limited transformation of doctrine and tactics, but the end-state was essentially a smaller version of the Cold War force.

The second transition, from 2000 to the present, took this smaller force and made it more effective by capitalizing on new technologies and better management.

While downsizing was an unavoidable response to the demise of Cold Wars mega-threats, and transformation a natural effort to improve and modernize a somewhat stodgy force, the net result has been a near disaster. The current force is simply too small to manage the totality of America's threats, and holding the line on a permanent increase in the future will create a risky window of vulnerability. In short, we are managing a 16-division fight with a 10-division force. Powell was right: we need to be prepared to apply overwhelming force overwhelmingly, and to do so we need a much larger ground force.

The rest in contained in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

March 10, 2005

Oh, BTW.

Iraqis are dying for US...

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, DU.

Just sayin'.

Thanks for sharing, Major K.

This just in: From Greyhawk, comes this bit about TLC looking for good Homecoming Stories for an upcoming show. Let's get the word out - many of you know soldiers who don't read blogs but who have been deployed... don't overlook them, either! Put the link out in email on your various lists. Let's leverage the Internet, folks!

I need a tidy-up post for some loose ends...

BTW - for you repeat visitors - I've been adding to this post all day.

There are many retired vets in Leavenworth. Some well-off, most of us comfortable, some of us, well, aren't. Interestingly enough, the better-off you are, around here, the less likely you are to fly a flag... I wonder what it is about that.

The route I generally take to work each day passes by the home of a former Marine, who flies a US flag and a Marine Corps flag. The house is worn but serviceable, the gentleman is a WWII vet and his mobility is declining. For years, when his flags start to get tattered, the "Flag Elf" has paid a visit to his house, leaving new flags on the porch. This year the Elf noticed that while the new flags had been picked up, they hadn't been raised. Then the Elf was driving by one day and saw why. The Marine is in a wheelchair now. So, there was a drive-by flag-swapping that night.

The Armorer respects private property and would *never* tresspass. Nope. Not me! Never! *Ever* Well, except in small countries at the direction of the government.

I tell this story because the Flag Elf had a problem he came to me with. Whattaya do with old US flags? Believe it or not, you really aren't supposed to dump 'em in the trash. But an enterprising group of Vets has banded together to address this issue:

Please share the below message with your weBLOG viewers. We'd appreciate it if you'd give us a little publicity so we can get some website traffic for a change. We really do good work, but no one knows about us! Thank you very much!

- - - - - -

You can retire your tattered, worn out and frayed American flags without cost to you. Send your flags to the Kitchen Table Gang Trust, 42922 Avenue 12, Madera, CA 93638-8866 and we will dispose of your flags in a proper and dignified manner with full honors and dignity pursuant to the United States Flag Code Section 8K. We have been doing this for he past seven years. Our flag retirement ceremonies are held on Flag Day, June 14th each year and are conducted by an all volunteer U.S. Marine Corps Honor Guard led by GySgt. Dan Kelley USMC (Ret.).


Charles Taliaferro

I know the local Flag Elf uses this service.

God, I love soldiers. So does the Heartless Libertarian.

Heh. The Army Times covers Milblogs - but they missed us. Sniff. Good on the ones they did note, however. Scoooorrrre! Hat tip to the Heartless Libertarian.

If you haven't read the post below about "You know you've been in Iraq too long when..." I'll wait while you go catch up.

Back? Okay - let's focus on this one:

"You're in the Navy and you realize you are in the middle of the desert, the exact opposite of being in the middle of the ocean, where one might normally find the Navy."

How about we change it to read...

You're in the Navy and you realize you are in the middle of the desert, the exact opposite of being in the middle of the ocean, where one might normally find the Navy - and you just got a Bronze Star (with "V" for Valor) for ground combat?

Hat tip to WillyShake, the submariner at Unconsidered Trifles.

I've been awfully nice to sailors lately. Let's balance the Karma.

Let's move on with a head nod to the Jarheads - Neffi sends this along with the following words:

Hey, here's one the Jarheads might like. This was taken near Gilcrest, CO at Thanksgiving. Corn mazes are popular around here...

And, OMIGAWD - I can't join the Israeli Army anymore. Apparently I'm detached from reality and a poor security risk. Hmmm. That would explain the pilfered nukes in the basement.

Heh. Just heh.

D-uh. Just d-uh. (The NYT, not Cassie)

Now this bit from Kevin Drum is interesting... I'd have to say when it comes to politics, we're pretty critical... move us out of politics and we get more supportive. Or timewasting, anyway.

Ruh-roh. We have 8 of these potential miscreants in the house...

What the Blogfather said.

I'm with Jeff Jacoby on this one. These are just the baby steps. The hard work is helping them learn to walk on their own. And that is going to require patience. Too bad if it sounds like I'm infantilizing the residents of the Middle East. When it comes to economic freedom and self-governance... they are new at it, as far as these generations who are going to have to make it work are concerned.

American Soldier has a post you should go read - and the comments.

by John on Mar 10, 2005 | Observations on things Military | Something for the Soul
» Techography links with: Life thoughts Round Up
» Righty in a Lefty State links with: More on the 81st coming home

More Stories from the "Other Sandbox"

We here at the Castle are self-published. The Joy of Bloggery. Our newest correspondent (in the truest, Churchill-esque form), MSG Keith, is not self-published. He actually has to get by (shudder) *editors* - some of whom are undoubtedly (shudder) *officers*... Heh. Just like here...

But gets by he does. And gets published. Like this story from Afghanistan.

Being in the Public Affairs business, seducing him into feeding us here at the Castle is good from several perspectives. 1. He's funny and can write, the primary qualities we seek. 2. He's got something to say, also good. 3. He's deployed out at the sharp end... and so has 'eyes on'. Even if we did have to send him scruple-taken nudie pics of *all* the female Denizens, well, it was worth it to get a straw in the pool Over There - especially in the Under-Reported War, I so call it, as it doesnt' have enough bad news to be news.

But there is some good news. Like this story pointed out to us by MSG Keith...

Rich Van Wyk/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis, March 8 - Beneath a soldier's helmet and flack jacket there's a physician. During a humanitarian mission to an Afghan refugee camp, Captain James Gruber heard Qudrat Ullah's failing heart, despite his infectious smile. Gruber realized the young boy probably wouldn't survive the winter.

Captain Gruber's diagnosis and compassion of other soldiers sent Qudrat and his father on their journey of hope.

"Afghanistan, as I've said before, is just a pitiful place. These people truly have nothing. Sometimes when you are in a combat zone, a war zone, and you see this little child and he may grow up to be a normal kid, it gives you some satisfaction for the sacrifices that you made when you went over. And I think all of us felt that way."

Indiana National Guardsmen are part of Task Force Phoenix. Although their primary mission is to train a new Afghan Army and keep the peace, Army photographs show soldiers trying to relieve the misery of a war ravaged country.

Captain Gruber left with one regret. "There were plenty of sick kids and adults. There was nothing you could do. As a doctor with an infantry unit that treats war wounds, I can't treat heart problems and diabetes like you can care for them in the US. And you have to get used to telling people, 'There is nothing I can do for you at all.' It's real difficult, real difficult."

Dr. Gruber is now a physician in the emergency room of St. Joseph's Hospital in Huntingburg and follows Qudrat's progress on the Internet.

Dr. Gruber anticipates being recalled to active duty this year and sent to Afghanistan or Iraq.

See? For all the PC bullshite in the TV show, M.A.S.H did get some things right...

To be fair to the MSM, this story *has* been covered. But how many of us knew about it? Because we too, if we watch/read the MSM, tend to look for the bad stuff, and skim over the good.

Not surprisingly given where the protagonists live - Indiana leads the pack:
WTHR, Indianapolis
WFIE, Evansville.

ABC News

Local to me, the KC Star.

Local to Barb SGT B, and Bad Cat Robot - The Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

International: Kerala, India.

Thanks for passing this along, Keith!

I see that Strategy Page and I get the same email...

When mortars land near your compound and you roll over in bed and think "still way off, I got another 5 minutes"

When you start humming with the Arabic song playing on the radio on the shuttle bus

Every woman that reports to your unit starts looking attractive

Every guy that reports to your unit starts looking attractive

You walk an extra 6 blocks to eat at the KBR (contractor run) [Kellogg Brown & Root ed.] dining facility to have the exact same food they are serving in your dining facility because you think it tastes better

You actually volunteer for convoy security duty because you still haven't seen the country yet

You start picturing your wife in traditional Arab dress

The contractors have more fire power than the military combat units. (This is true)

You take the time to add your lines to this list

You've spent $200 dollars at Haji mart on DVDs buying Basic Instinct, 9 and ½ weeks, and Body of Evidence just for the sex scenes

You drink the water from the tap because you want to drop 20 pounds in two weeks

Driving around in SUVs with weapons pointed out the windows and forcing cars off the road seems very normal to you

You can put your body armor and helmet on in the dark in under 5 seconds

When the organization you work for has changed its name more than 3 times

When you can actually talk to people in the United States on a cell phone, yet you can't get people on their cell phone a block away

When you actually spend more time writing e-mail about the dog in the compound versus how to conduct the fight in Najaf

Your idea of a fun Thursday night is to go to the Palace pool to watch the State Department folks get drunk, naked and try to pick each other up

When you actually get excited to get a package that contains 3 pair of socks, 12 bars of soap and a Victoria Secret Catalog

When you start to enjoy the rocking of the trailer every time the MEDEVAC choppers fly over

Continued in the Flash Traffic/Extended entry!

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

March 09, 2005

The "Other" Sandbox...

I’ve been holding off on this one for a while, but with the addition of MSG Keith to the extended family, this is probably the time…

The MSM is concentrating on Iraq, because that’s where the biggest GWOT military action is. There are other sandboxes we play in, as everybody is aware, but because of the in-your-living-room, front-page footage of Iraq almost every night, the other boxes are kind of relegated to the “page 6” of our consciousness.

Prepare for a visit to page 6.

Biggest nastiness we faced in Bosnia were the mines. Over a million known minefields—not mines, minefields—in BiH, and even though we knew where most of them were (the various factions at least kept decent records), the Cardinal Army Rule of Foot Travel over there was “Don’t walk anywhere that’s not paved.”

Subtract any semblance of pavement outside a city, subtract the knowledge of where the old mines are, add various scuzzbuckets roaming around planting new ones and the result is Afghanistan. Some guys I know were over there, and one of them, Pete Doerr, corresponded with me whenever he could grab some keyboard time. He also sent me pix and the background briefs that explained them…

There were eight troops in the Hummvee; driver and A/D in the cab, six guys in the open rear. They were traveling on one of the few roads to Ghazni, located on the Eastern Plateau about 100 miles southwest of Kabul. They approached a section of the road at the base of a small ravine and the Hummvee triggered a mine that had been placed on the road and camouflaged with mud.

Pete and his wingman were flying a pair of Apaches a few miles away and saw the explosion.

This is what they saw when they approached the area. The Hummvee’s cab was gone; the six troops in the rear had been violently ejected and were lying motionless in the snow several meters from the vehicle’s remains. As Pete flew an initial recon to detect any sign of a secondary ambush, his wingman approached the site to check for survivors and update his initial Spot Report*. The six troops in the rear were stunned, but already moving to assume defensive positions--and think about this for a minute…

…when you are subjected to the dynamic overpressure from a large explosion, your brain is concussed, you feel like you’ve been hit in the gut with a train and chances are better than excellent that your eardrums have been ruptured. First, you’re stunned, then it starts to hurt like hell. There’s the added attraction from this mine encounter of being thrown through the air and landing, hard, on frozen ground and rocks--throw in broken bones, dislocated shoulders, etc. Given all that, would your first thoughts be to prepare to defend yourself and your friends from an attack?

When the presence of the Apaches reassured the troops, they began to move in one direction—toward the Hummvee. They’d counted noses and realized they were short their two friends in the cab.

Then they realized there was no cab left.

We now return you to the front page...

* For the non-uniformed family members, a Spot Report is information transmitted from a recon source to someone who needs that information and, hopefully, can act on it; e.g., a unit commander or the intelligence staffers. Initial Spot Reports are usually sketchy and always updated, on the premise that fragmentary intel in a continuous flow is better than complete intel that arrives too late.

by CW4BillT on Mar 09, 2005 | Global War on Terror (GWOT)
» Techography links with: Life thoughts Round Up

This is why you don't let your daughter go to KU...

Must be Eeducation Mmajors.

The Canadian Armed Forces.

Since CAPT H and Damian are having it out in the comments below, and Lucius poked a scab yesterday, I thought I would bring up a couple of pertinent posts I've done on the subject of Canada and her soldiers.

Here, here, here, and here.

And here.

Hmmm. Here too.

And again, here.

And, we've honored her dead heroes, here, at the bottom half of this piece.

There's more but you get the drift: The Armorer is a fan of Canada's soldiery, if not her defence (sic) policy.

Of course, the Armorer can be found expressing that opinion regarding the government of the dead space that separates Canada from Mexico, as well.

Update: Damian, of Babbling Brooks, who has been conversing with CAPT H in the comments to a previous post, offers up his blogging on the subject of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Subject: Canadian defence issues John, I didn't want to start using your comments section to shill for my own blog, but I've posted a number of times about the recent budget, and I wonder if some of your readers may find these informative.

How Much Is A Liberal Promise Worth?

Can We Correct The Record, Please?

Grade 4 Math Problem.

Anybody wants to add to this, drop a line or drop it in the comments. Linkage is fine!

CAPT H, if you would like to produce a formal response, vice something in the comments, pass it along and I'll post it.

Taking up the challenge is Angry in T.O., who brings up an issue that periodically raises it's head in the US, as well. The short answer? Because they can - and we'll try our damndest to make it work. Sometimes, they're right. Sometimes, we try to hard to make bad ideas work.

It's easy to fault the Canadian leadership about underfunding our Armed Forces. I get really steamed about the time wasted and potential disruption caused by our government using the Armed Forces as a laboratory for their pet social engineering projects that in no way can be seen as a way of improving the morale or fighting capability of the military:

Relevant link.


Regardless of your position on same-sex marriage, I can't imagine why
the military thinks this is a good idea, or relevant to their job of
defending the country. But I might be wrong -- someone tell me why.

Any takers?

Changing the subject, in order to re-use this post rather than waste a whole new one...

This is for you:

You know who you are.

You've seen them elsewhere...

But CAPT H sent 'em along this morning... and I saw some new ones.


Constipated People Don't Give A crap.
If You Can Read This, I've Lost My Trailer.
Horn Broken....Watch For Finger.
The Earth Is Full - Go Home.
I Have The Body Of A God....Buddha.
So Many Pedestrians....So Little Time.
Cleverly Disguised As A Responsible Adult.
If We Quit Voting, Will They All Go Away?
Eat Right, Exercise, Die Anyway.
Illiterate? Write For Help.
Honk If Anything Falls Off.
Cover Me, I'm Changing Lanes.
He Who Hesitates Is Not Only Lost, But Miles From The Next Exit.
I Refuse To Have A Battle Of Wits With An Unarmed Person.
You! Out Of The Gene Pool - Now!
I Do Whatever My Rice Krispies Tell Me To.
Fight Crime: Shoot Back!
Seen Upside Down On A Jeep) If You Can Read This, Please Flip Me Back
Remember Folks: Stop Lights Timed For 35 mph Are Also Timed For 70 mph.
Guys: No Shirt, No Service. Gals: No Shirt, No Charge
If Walking Is So Good For You, Then Why Does My Mailman Look Like Jabba
The Hutt?
Ax Me About Ebonics.
Body By Nautilus; Brain By Mattel.
Boldly Going Nowhere.
Caution - Driver Legally Blonde.
Honk If You've Never Seen An Uzi Fired From A Car Window.
How Many Roads Must A Man Travel Down Before He Admits He is Lost?
All Men Are Animals; Some Just Make Better Pets.


#20 is the Castle Motto! *ssshhhwack!* Ow! How does *she* do that?

Money can't buy happiness...

...but it can buy cool stuff, and take away debt pressures, which eases family strains... okay, money *can* buy happiness, properly channeled.

Castle Denizen Barb, responding to Graumagus, offers up the "if money were not an object, what 5 Really Expensive Toys would I buy for myself?"

Barb offers up this list.

We find Graumagus's list intriguing, and appropriate for the Castle.

So, what would the Armorer want...

1. Land. Where I can do silly things like this, even though this isn't a mountain view...

Land in a machinegun-friendly state, preferably in mountains, but not too high. The Mistress of the Castle gets cranky at altitude. Meadows, lake, forest. Lots of room to ride the horses and let 'em run free. With a large predator sensor that shoos 'em away. Spot for an airstrip. Hanger for when Dusty, Neffi, Bill, or anybody else comes to visit. Stables. Sufficient range for the small arms and artillery of the Arsenal to be fired safely.

2. The Castle. Big, rambling, room to display the collection - including the covered motor pool. Rooms to lounge in, rooms for guests, wired and wireless. Machine shop so the Armorer could buy broke stuff cheap and fix it. Robots. Sauna/hot tub, fully equipped studio for the Mistress. Little doors in odd places for the Interior Guard to move through the house at will - that the Littlest Exterior Guard can't get to or through. Large Library, walls throughout for the art and bullet boards, G-scale train running through the house. Capable of delivering comestibles to guests. Big bar/lounge area. Think mountain lodge with Fortress overtones. No stairs, except for the impressive one flanking the foyer with the James 12-pounder in it (the Mistress *does* like bronze!) Flagpole out front with 25pdr gun for a noon/salute/retreat gun. The Castle must have a high tower with office/observatory on top. Wired, of course. Telescope, too. Multiple control stations at strategic locations for the security system.

3. Investment account sufficient to greatly expand the Arsenal's holdings and expand the Armorer's evil agenda of more guns for more people! Plus, it gives the Armorer the ability to host (and help subsidize) Denizen-only Castle Tours Cricket is responsible for setting up the first one, to England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales. Alan can set up the "Forts of Canada" tour. Barb and Jack get France. I'll take Germany. Bill gets the Balkans. Who wants Austria? Origen Plotinus gets Switzerland. Who wants Italy? Spain? The Baltics? Eastern Europe? CAPT H gets the Tank Museums of the World tour, Mostly Cajun can help. Neffi has the Great Aircraft Museums of the World tour...

Okay, only 3, because #3 enables the rest.

So, what's in your wallet?

*Photos of Haut-Koenigsbourg and cannon at Les Invalides thoughtfully provided by Barb. Hi-res available here and here.

March 08, 2005

Since we're overrun with Grunts...

Let's do a "What is this?" for them. CAPT H - you can't play, simply too easy for you, but you *can* offer up an analysis of *where* this is...

This one will probably suffer some mis-identification at first, but there's a grognard out there who will score pretty quickly, I would think. Cockpits are a lot harder than externals. Just like when I posted the interior shots of the T-55 and people had real trouble with that - only fair. No fun if they're too easy.

Unless you *know* what it is - don't go with your gut, do some research.

Update: Completely unrelated, saving on space update.

Terrorist Catch and Release program, over at Techography.

Given the Misogyny of Male Castle Denizens...

This offering from our newest official Denizen, MSG Keith, seems appropos.

An office manager was sent three secretaries, equally qualified, to fill one vacancy. "Well," thought the manager, "I'll give them an honesty test to determine which secretary to keep."

To this end, he gave each secretary a money bag to take and bank telling them that there was $50 in the bag. (In fact, he had placed $100 in each bag; thus the honesty test.)

The first secretary goes to the bank, discovers the extra money, banks $50 and returns the extra $50 to the manager.

The second secretary goes to the bank, discovers the extra money, banks the full $100, and returns with a deposit slip as proof.

The third secretary goes to the bank, discovers the extra money, banks $50, goes to the local TAB and uses the $50 to win $300, then returns, explains to the manager and gives him the all the money.

Question: Which secretary does the manager select to retain?



\ /


(Answer in the Flash Traffic)

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Let's see who the geeks are.

Which aircraft cockpit is this?


Really busy day today. But if you know your airplanes... there are enough clues to get this. If you don't, well, have fun anyway!

by John on Mar 08, 2005 | Plane P0rn

March 07, 2005

Message from SWWBO.

She's off to Reno today. Actually, she's in Reno - and suffered the slings and arrows of air travel. Here is her announcement:

I'm here in Reno!

At the client site. Flight was really bumpy, but it doesn't seem to
bother me anymore.

Guy next to me farted all the way from Vegas to Reno.




'Nuff said.

Today in History...

In 1862, the Battle of Pea Ridge ended. Yeah, we captured Cologne in 1945. But today, I'm more interested in...

The Bridge at Remagen - the crossing of the Rhine in 1945 - the true death knell for German hopes in the West.

Read Ken Hechler's story.

Read Clemon Knapp's story.

How to get on the "Insider" list at the Castle.

When you travel, and visit cool museums, or just see tanks, guns, and airplanes on display someplace, send the Armorer pictures. Individual or CD, for the 'Virtual Museum" tours the Armorer is constructing. The Armorer can deal with prints, too - (though Wal-Mart and other places will digitize 'em for yaz!). Like Jack at Random Fate, or SangerM and others have done - now we add...

Randy K. - currently gallivanting through the UK, who sent these teasers from the Imperial War Museum (a museum housed, appropriately enough, in the famously-named former Bedlam Mental Hospital...

The 15-inch Guns out front:



Data plate.

A bit smaller, more intimate, a wakizashi blade:


Data plate.

Thanks, Randy!

Welcome to Afghanistan!

Via the good offices of AFSister, we at the Castle have been introduced to a senior NCO working in Afghanistan, MSG Keith J. - who has been sending regular reports back to his pals in the World. We've secured his permission to reproduce them here, so we're going to. He's been there a while, so we have some catching up to do - so... Welcome to Afghanistan! Subsequent reports have pictures, too! The Armorer's eyes snapped to one - of a relatively rare rifle. We'll cover that in a later installment.

Welcome aboard, Keith!

8 Oct 2004

Well, it's been an interesting two weeks. After sitting through Hurricane Jeanne, I left Ft. Pierce about 3:30pm heading for Ft. Benning, Georgia. We made it as far as the state line when I decided to stop for the night. Driving at night in 50-60 mph winds, driving rain and trees laying across the highway was not my idea of fun. I checked in Monday morning, and spent a week rocessing. For those interested, I fired a 300 out of 300 on the 9mm pistol range.

I left Atlanta Monday afternoon at 4:40 pm for a nine-hour flight to Frankfurt, Germany. After about an eight hour layover, we flew 4 hours to Incirlik AFB, Turkey, then another 3 hours to Manas AFB in Kyrgyzstan. We arrived at 4:00am and sat around waiting for a flight. 100 or so names went on the list for 65 seats on two flights. I got on the second one and flew out arounf 2:00pm. We flew for two hours in a C-130 to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. Sitting in a web seat staring at the guy across the aisle who was so close I couldn't straighten my leg out without kicking him in the leg. Delta Airlines, it ain't...

By the time we processed in at Bagram, it was too late to be picked up by the guys in Kabul, so I slept in a circus tent next to the flight line. I called the next morning and was told to be ready for pickup between 10:00 and 11:00. They got there arounf 12:30. Traveling anywhere outside of US compounds requires a convoy. So we ended up with six vehicles that picked up 10 of us with various types of luggage. Me and the two Marines had all Duffle bags. Apparently, the Air Force isn't aware of duffle bags since the four or five AF people had luggage like they were going to Disney World. We "borrowed' some tie-down straps from a pallet sitting nearby and tied all of the luggage to the roofs of the vehicles and headed for Kabul. We looked like some gypsy caravan with people stuffed into every seat and bags tied to the roof.

It took about 45 minutes to get to Kabul. We were on the 'New' Bagram hyway, which didn't look too new to me. The driver we had seemd to enjoy hitting all of the potholes. We passed by landscapes that looked like photos of the moon. As we drove along, seeing desloate areas, and people, I thought to myself, "What the @#$& did the Russians want to invade this place for?" Maybe I'll figure that out after I've been here awhile.

When I got to the US compound in Kabul, I checked in and was given my sleeping quarters in the Maxwell House. I share a room with another Sgt. I introduced myself, and asked him what he did and where he was from. His response, "Vero Beach, Florida." Seems everyone on my floor is the National Guard guys from West Palm/Ft.Pierce/Vero Beach. Imagine that. Deploying half-way around the world and end up bunking with someone that lives 15 miles away.

Around 1:30 I was awakened by a loud explosion. It seems some of the local idiots like to shoot rockets at the compound. They're always bad shots. This one hit a gravel parking lot outside the US embassy. After about an hour, the "All Clear" signal was given and we could leave the bunkers and head back to bed. Welcome to Afghanistan.

I should note - his next ones are a little more upbeat! If you've ever traveled US Air ForceAir, you know how tired you can be... all I can add is - Keith, at least you didn't make that trip with a parachute on!