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December 31, 2005

H&I Fires for the last day of 2005.

Open post for those with something to share. New, complete posts come in below.

While I'm working on something else, I don't have too much to say at this moment - and here it is the end of the year and I'm supposed to do something profound. Instead, I'm working on Gun Pr0n. Go figure.

The Castle Blogmeet (sometime late April-early June, Sergeant B) will be serving Coke, regardless of what the students of the University of Michigan think about the company. Rancid horse pee Pepsi will only make it on the grounds of the Castle if you smuggle it in yourself, and seeing it may cause me to reach for a trench mace. Just sayin'.

Just so you know - the Castle, via Sitemeter, *does* collect this data... but only for the last 100 visitors and it isn't stored anywhere we can get it... oh, wait - our server logs have it *all*... bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! I just don't know what to do with it, though it is fun to flip through the hosts file to see where people are working when they visit... For example, this month: Total : 72652 Known, 15194 Unknown (unresolved ip) - 86529 Unique visitors. More on that stuff tomorrow.

Don't forget the new caption contest at The Right Place - mebbe we'll get Cassandra to take up the Caption Contest Mantle here at the Castle (shameless guilt-device).

In the meantime - I invite you Regulars and Visitors to leave comments about what was most memorable to you in this rapidly passing-from-the-scene year...

The Armorer


A report on my micro blogmeet with Lex...

Fuzzybear Lioness


Only 36 Hours remain in the 2005 Milbloggies All of your favorites are there and then some! Be sure to vote!

Shameless Self Promotion by saying Basil is hosting interviews of a lot of Bloggers. Questions for yours truly are due tonight, while some other your favorite bloggers may be upcoming so be sure to check the list for deadlines and questions submission links!


And *I* got to be a SWWBO-KAT Sandwich tonight.

Sadly, the PG-17 wouldn't even have noticed.

The Armorer.
Don't miss this years slide show of the US Military in action:

Like a rock

Turn up the sound!


Through a glass, darkly - part II.

Once again proving his utility - Canadian Warrior CAPT H provides an expansion back to WWI of the open-backed-machine-gun-carrier post - with these fine shots of the Combat Car of the 1st Canadian Motor Machine Gun Brigade - circa 1914-18.

1CMMGB Armoured_Car

1CMMGB Armoured_Car

Wahabism Delenda Est!

Right Islam vs. Wrong Islam Muslims and non-Muslims must unite to defeat the Wahhabi ideology.

Friday, December 30, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST

JAKARTA--News organizations report that Osama bin Laden has obtained a religious edict from a misguided Saudi cleric, justifying the use of nuclear weapons against America and the infliction of mass casualties. It requires great emotional strength to confront the potential ramifications of this fact. Yet can anyone doubt that those who joyfully incinerate the occupants of office buildings, commuter trains, hotels and nightclubs would leap at the chance to magnify their damage a thousandfold?

Imagine the impact of a single nuclear bomb detonated in New York, London, Paris, Sydney or L.A.! What about two or three? The entire edifice of modern civilization is built on economic and technological foundations that terrorists hope to collapse with nuclear attacks like so many fishing huts in the wake of a tsunami.

Just two small, well-placed bombs devastated Bali's tourist economy in 2002 and sent much of its population back to the rice fields and out to sea, to fill their empty bellies. What would be the effect of a global economic crisis in the wake of attacks far more devastating than those of Bali or 9/11?

It is time for people of good will from every faith and nation to recognize that a terrible danger threatens humanity. We cannot afford to continue "business as usual" in the face of this existential threat. Rather, we must set aside our international and partisan bickering, and join to confront the danger that lies before us.

Read the whole thing here, if you haven't already.

December 30, 2005

H&I Fires for the Day.

Open post for those with something to share. New, complete posts come in below.

I'll start - this kid is why there are so many warning labels on ladders...

Heh. Don't piss off the pilot. Of course - it couldn't have been *that* bad - there are luxury hotels on the place.

Bad Cat Robot rouses herself - finally - and takes on Marketeers... after all, where are *her* adult-sized blinking shoes and personal jet pack? Hmmmm? HMMMMMM?

Cassandra has *still* not been heard from.

Alan has his Best Beer of 2005 musings up at his Beer Blog. Smuttynose Big A IPA? I like India Pale Ales, but *that's* an odd name...

Heh. Don't mind all the pervs in the raincoats lurking around the corners. Note to little bloggers - post a boobie pic (even hidden), get overrun by Google-pervs. Hmmmm. I should replace the pic with something like a fuzzy bunny. We're on track to our best month ever (though we aren't going to break 1 mil uniques this month) and we've had over 1.5 million *visits* this year - and the rush is from the pervs. Sigh. 224 visits this last hour - half to the boob pic.

"Ware the Chihuahua!"

FREMONT, California - A pack of angry Chihuahuas attacked a police officer who was escorting a teenager home following a traffic stop, authorities said. The officer suffered minor injuries including bites to his ankle on Thursday when the five Chihuahuas escaped the 17-year-old boy's home and rushed the officer in the doorway, said Fremont detective Bill Veteran.

Really. Gotta keep an eye on 'em. Damn gangs. I blame Bush.

The Armorer


Sorry--no Cassie yet...

AFSis is waxing poetic--and pensive...

Desult the Flutterby found an Interior Guard with a mission and is shopping for interior decorators (heh)...

And Fuzzybear Lioness has morphed into quite the social butterfly. Spending the day with the *gahkk! p-tui!* Navy, indeed...

--CW4(Ret)Bill "Freezing My Buns While You Bask in the Sun" T


Damn, I'd rather run into Cassie around here than you, Bill, but, whatever...

Anyway - All you Canuckistanians - We're Busted! Of course, first thing they'd do is have the RCMP arrest us for being armed.

Update (via the Blogfather)

Jonah: War Plan Red has been known for years. Although the plan was declassified in 1974, the 1935 Army war games were fairly open that they were based on war with Great Britain involving an invasion of Canada. Every couple of years, it gets pulled out, usually by a left wing Canadian professor who wants to use it to tar Canadian conservatives as making common cause with the hated Americans. About 8 years ago, it was even argued that the location of Fort Drum in upstate New York was to prepare for an invasion of Canada (instead of being a pork barrel project by Senator D'Amato).

It is no surprise it comes up now. Canada is in the midst of a general election and the liberals are performing badly. This could be 3-5% to the Liberals (or at least away from the Tories).

Punctilious Sends:

Posts over the last couple days have struck home. Two are combined in this post. We travelled in a red Studebaker and the kitchen boxes my dad, a WWII vet, made are probably based on the OMK's you wrote about earlier. That was the first thing I thought of when I read that post. Of course the funereal links have hit too close to home. We will be glad to see the back of this year. --p

The Armorer

Unclear on the concept...?

A french artillery piece from WWI.

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Made of paper. Explains a lot... right?

Actually, no.

Also known as a Quaker Gun.

Obviously, used for deception purposes - whether as in pretending to have something more powerful than you have for deterrence purposes (see May Day Parades at Red Square, or early Nazi Party Rallies at Nueremburg), or to deceive the mean people who suck and are trying to kill you as to the location of your *real* toys - so they can die surprised, later, when they miscalculate and you end up killing *them,* the bassids!

I just picked on the Soviets and Nazis, but hey, the North and South did it too - especially the North, early in the war around Washington. Such as these logs in a fort at Centerville, VA in 1862.

The concept has a long pedigree with the US Army - at *least* as early as 1780. As late as 1984, as I was a participant in *this* fight - on the winning side.

They were crucial for D-Day.

[Off on a tangent - while out looking for the Washington story, I stumbled across this, which confused me for a minute...]

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Serb Quaker Gun

My Kosovo involvement includes some *direct experience* with the Quaker Gun concept as a component of Information Operations, just as relevant today as it was for Colonel Washington. To my mind, within the overall limitations on the campaign for both sides, the Serb Quaker Gun Concept was every effective.

And we still do it on our side, too.

In fact - if anyone has any pics of current (or the last 20 years or so, to avoid OPSEC issues) decoys, send 'em along!

Through a glass, darkly...

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Two highback Humvees filled with Marines from the Maritime Special Purpose Force (MSPF) of the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), practice firing their M240G medium machine guns while on the move during during live fire training on the Udari Range outside Camp Beuhring, Kuwait, Dec. 11, 2005. The 22nd MEU (SOC) is currently in Iraq conducting combat operations in the Al Anbar province. Photo by: Sgt. Robert A. Sturkie

Seeing that twigged a few memories. I couldn't find the exact pics I wanted, but I did find these. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Ya want to be able to fight on your feet, have some cover, and be able to look *down* on the countryside around you. Admittedly, Bill takes that to an extreme. Though - I do remember times at the National Training Center when I was looking *down* into the cockpits of helos and A10s from the walls of the Central Corridor during Force-on-Force ops (where they use lasers for guns). Of course, up in Live Fire, I only saw *down* into helos. For some reason, the A10's were just specks high in the sky... The Air Force doesn't really believe in "Big Sky, Little Bullet." To tell the truth, I don't think helo pilots do, either. They just don't have any choice in the matter. Remember this challenge? How many holes can you find in Hubert?

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The Vietnam era 'Gun Truck'. Used for convoy protection, the gun truck has been revived for Iraq. Only one original gun truck came back from Vietnam. This replica has been a labor of love.

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December 29, 2005

H&I Fires for the day...

New stand-alone complete posts will come in below. This is a running post to keep us amused.

Gut Rumbles is older than dirt. Sadly, with 23 out of 25, so am I. Of course Bill remembers the *invention* of dirt...

SGT Hook has his own Fiddler's Green story. Go read Gold Star Mom. Most of them are *not* Cindy Sheehan.

Bob Owens notes that 4 months after Hurricane Katrina, you wouldn't know it hit anywhere else but New Orleans. Welcome to the definition of news, Bob.

Speaking of the Hurricane, Chuck Simmins has the Carnival of Hurricane Relief #18 up, in case you have any gift-money left over from Christmas.

Speaking of left over money - Project Valour-IT still has a ways to go, if you are feeling generous. Or, as Fuzzybear Lioness notes in her comment:

Thanks for the Valour-IT link, John!

On the topic of Valour-IT, CPT Ziegenfuss recently wrote the following about his experience with the voice-control software:

I submit to you that the freedom that blogging, email, and general internet use provided me was second only to driving in allowing me to feel truly independent again. For a pittance, you can give a gift to an injured soldier that will give him him a fraction of the daily autonomy you enjoy, and return to him that which he so readily sacrificed on the altar of freedom... for you.

As I've said before: did any present you gave this Christmas have that kind of impact on its recipient?

More through the day, as the mood seizes me. Bill - you can add to this one too. Dusty is in the midst of sim-runs and tests, we're not going to hear from him. Hmmmm, Cassie, perhaps? Wotta thought!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

I've always liked Morgan Freeman, even though he never appeared as one of the regulars on the old Smothers Brothers show. And now I know why. From ALa via Dbie the AFSis.

Okay, so this isn't a link, but I wondered why one of my recently-returned buds has been so uncharacteristically quiet of late.

He went to China. And sent me the observation that some Chinese phrases do *not* translate well into English...

A roll of paper towel we bought was called "Chiefly Used in Rag."

A woman's boutique was named "I Go My Mold."

A sign on the taxis states "Psychos and drunkards must be accompanied."

Heh. Pete used to fracture his chats in Serbo-Croatian--I can just imagine what his Putonghua sounds like...

Ummm--your turn, Cassie. Unless you liked my e-gram suggestion better.

-- CW4Bill "Gave God the Recipe for Mud" T


Lex finds kindness in strangers, and faces yet a busy New Year, as he returns home from his sad Christmas. One thing about faith - in the back of the mnd, you know the dead are not truly gone - only gone on.

CDR Salamander is keeping an eye on the Brits - since they seem to want to keep an eye on everyone else.

Heh. Via David's Medienkritik, we see the Germans are perhaps reaping the whirlwind caused by their release of one of the killers of PO2 Stethem. Nothing breeds excess like success...

Oy, vey! And be careful when passing this guy!

When a loved one passes, the pain is deep - two legged or four.

-The Armorer

I should have known...

It wasn't the temperature.

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It was just

More militaria stuff...

Yesterday's post having hit a chord with some, here's a follow-up...

Obviously, aside from eating, you have to drink. The Castle Collection has *several* items in it related to drinking... heavily, in some cases.

Since this is a photo-heavy post, I'm going to put the rest in the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »


Email box pinged yesterday, with this delivered:

December 28, 2005
DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers, who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

They died in Baghdad, Iraq on Dec. 26, when their Apache helicopter collided with another military aircraft in mid-air and then crashed. Both soldiers were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Hood, Texas.

Killed were:

Chief Warrant Officer Richard M. Salter, 44, of Cypress, Texas.
Chief Warrant Officer Isaias E. Santos, 28, of Ancon, Panama.

The incident is under investigation.

Even though Bill is usually up on things like this from his own sources, I send these along to him, as the Aviation community is small, and a tight-knit group.

Bill responded with this:

Desertion lands pilot in jail for 10 months. Spartanburg soldier abandoned his Guard unit before Iraq deployment

By CHUCK CRUMBO, Staff Writer

An S.C. National Guard helicopter pilot has been sentenced to 10 months in a military prison for deserting his unit before it deployed to Iraq.

Chief Warrant Officer Alex Pitts of Spartanburg pleaded guilty to two separate charges of desertion and one charge of being away without leave (AWOL) under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

Pitts also pleaded guilty to "missing movement" — a military charge for not reporting when his unit left McEntire Joint National Guard Base for Fort Bragg, N.C., and eventual deployment to Iraq.

Pitts was a member of Company D, 1st Battalion, 151st Aviation Regiment. Two of the unit's pilots were killed Dec. 9, 2004, in a crash with another helicopter near Mosul, Iraq.

According to Army documents, Pitts reported for duty Aug. 10, 2004, and then "attempted to shirk combat duty by quitting (the) unit."

The Apache unit then left Aug. 13, 2004, for Fort Bragg with Pitts missing, the documents said.

Pitts resurfaced in December 2004 at Fort Hood, Texas. When Army officials learned Pitts was an aviator, he was ordered to go to Fort Bragg.

But Pitts never reached Fort Bragg. He later was apprehended at his home in Spartanburg and then sent to Fort Knox, Ky.

Pitts was to be held in the Personnel Control Facility until he could be transported to Fort Gordon for court-martial. When MPs went to Fort Knox on May 13 to pick up Pitts, who was restricted to the post, he was gone.

On May 26, authorities found him at a house he was renting in Spartanburg and took him to Fort Gordon, according to the Army report.

Prior to the call-up of his unit, Pitts spent 18 months training to be a chief warrant officer and an Apache pilot, said Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Pete Brooks.

Pitts pleaded guilty Dec. 12 to all charges at a court-martial at Fort Gordon, Ga.

Pitts also received a dishonorable discharge and was fined $100,000. If he doesn't pay the fine, Pitts will have to serve six more months in prison.

Desertion is a rare charge among National Guard members. Brooks said this is the first incident since he became spokesman for the S.C. Guard 14 years ago.

I've always thought that the sentence for wartime desertion should be "the duration of the conflict, plus 6 months, or final redeployment, whichever is later."

Just sayin'.

Bill largely agrees. What say you?

Update: Outlaw 13 provides *focus*.

As all the comments so far have been in reference to the aforementioned scumbag deserter...I'd like to put in my two cents about the late Matt Salter and his front seater Isaias Santos.

I know Matt from a previous assignment as did many of my co-workers. Matt was a great guy with a great family and his and Mr. Santos loss saddens all of us.

When you contrast their sacrifice with the cowardly actions of Mr. Pitts no amount of punishment is worthy the same he has brought on the Attack community, the Warrant Officer Corps and the United States Army. I personally would bush him to PV1 and have him ride convoy duty on RTE Irish for as long as his unit is deployed. As George C. Scott in Patton said, "You're going to the front my friend, and you may be shot and you may be even killed but I will not have this place of honor defiled by your presence." or words to that effect. (sorry didn't look up the script).

I could go on about how the system screwed up and allowed a person like Mr. Pitts through but all that would accomplish is to raise my blood pressure even more.

Mr. Santos and Mr. Salter will be waiting for us at Fiddlers us a cold one.

Thanks for the words, Outlaw. Now, at least, when people Google the Castle for Pitts... they'll get the good words about Mssrs Santos and Salter.

Meanwhile, over in Afghanistan

In an attempt to lure Dusty out of the Shadows... a little pic from the new Forgotten War. Besides, knowing Dusty, he probably flew this particular bird at one point or another!

Dusty Bait

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan (AFPN) -- An A-10 Thunderbolt II takes off on a combat mission. Since Sept. 15, A-10s here have flown more than 1,700 combat sorties, totaling more than 6,000 combat hours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. The A-10 was the first Air Force aircraft specially designed for close air support of ground forces. (U.S. Air Force photo by Chief Master Sgt. David L. Stuppy)

Hi-res here.

As long as we're picking on Aggies...

An alumnus of Texas A&M is drinking in a New York bar and gets a call on his cell phone.

He talks quietly (okay, *that* part's unbelievable) for a few minutes, then rings off. Grinning from ear to ear, he orders a round of drinks for everybody in the bar, and announces his wife has just given birth to a typical Texas baby boy weighing twenty-five pounds.

Nobody can believe that any new baby can weigh in at twenty-five pounds, but the Texan just shrugs and says, "That's only about average down home, folks. Like Ah said, my boy’s a typical Texas baby boy."

Congratulations shower from all around with many exclamations of


One woman actually faints from the sympathy pains.

Two weeks later, he returns to the bar. The bartender says, "Say, you're the father of that typical Texas baby that weighed in at twenty-five pounds. Everybody's been making bets about how big he'd be in two weeks. So, how much *does* he weigh now?"

The proud father answers, "Seventeen pounds."

The bartender is bemused and more than a little suspicious. "Wait-a-minute--what happened? He already weighed twenty-five pounds the day he was born!"

The Texan takes a slow swig from his beer, wipes his lips on his shirt sleeve, leans into the bartender and proudly says, "Had’m circumcised!"

December 28, 2005

Oh for pity's sake.

Alright! Alright! I'll turn up the heat a bit.

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The militaria of Argghhh!

The Budget of Argghhh! currently not supporting acquisition of chemical-powered armaments, I have been indulging other tastes in adding to the Character of Castle Argghhh! - and with a Castle Blogmeet on the horizon, some thought to making that experience apropos to the place we have collectively built. Though, sadly, the Great Chandeliers of Argghhh! will have to remain a metaphysical construct, absent someone wanting to spend the dough to build an artifact in the Bailey that we could suspend a chandelier from... and then build the chandelier...

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Where was I? Oh, yeah - *stuff*. As long-time readers know from previous posts, I like to find the little things of a soldier's life, like this schnapps glass, or this helmet, for example. I sometimes take it to extremes, too - I like dolls (flesh and blood, or plastic).

Anyway, one of the things I remember from my days as the Fire Direction Officer of Bravo, 1/22 FA, was the joy of being the Supply Officer. That is said with tongue firmly in cheek, though being SO made life as a Battery Commander simpler - I already knew how to prevent/make-up shortages and account for it all without going to jail/writing a check - and when your Battery is the size of a small battalion (350+ peak strength in garrison, close to 600 in the field when all the attachments showed up) such skillz are needful if you don't want an ugly time at your change-of-command inventory. I was short two sheets, which I made good by saving the bacon of the Target Acquisition Battery commander... I left command with no Reports of Survey, no Cash Collection Vouchers.

One of the interesting bits of kit that company-sized units used to have was the Officer's Mess Kit, a holdover from a different time in the U.S. Army. A fascinating bit of kit - it held place settings for 8 - serving platters, coffee cups, dinner and salad plates, bowls, salt and pepper shakers, etc. All in a nice fitted box. In WWII they were enameled steel, starting around the Korean War they shifted to aluminum. Sometime in the late 80's, they disappeared off of the MTOEs (Modified Table of Organization and Equipment) that lay out a unit's mission, organization, and allowable property. They were intended for use when deployed units went into semi-permanent bivouac - when engaged in mobile ops *everybody* ate out of a mess kit or box, on top of the jeep hood, or wherever else you could find a flat, semi-level surface - unless you were wolfing it down before the rain washed it all away...

As the Supply Officer of a firing battery, it was just something else to inventory and try to keep people from stealing the flatware and coffee cups from. As a Battery Commander, I only used it for fun - whenever we were deployed, such as for REFORGER, the NTC, etc, I would use it whenever the Commanding General came to visit - set for him, the DIVARTY Commander, and the S3 (more if the visit called for it) in the D/A Commander's tent, set on a red tablecloth - with candles. Hey - we're the Artillery, dammit - we lend dignity to what is otherwise a vulgar brawl...

So - at the Castle Blogmeet - expect the Officer's Mess Kit vice paper plates.

by John on Dec 28, 2005 | Militaria


The year is ending on a hard note for many in the Castle circle of family and friends.

Ry's the latest. This from the comments, which I've pulled into the light.

And the Grim Reaper known as cancer has struck again. I'm gonna be incommunicado for a while. An uncle of Jess's just succumed (7pm PST) after a lengthy bout of cancer gained thru being a fireman for 20 years. I'm driving out to CA tomorrow with The Wife for a few weeks to get everything arranged and taken care of since they had expected him to turn the corner and haven't done anything.

You still have my best wishes Jack. Your father was a hero, a real salt of the Earth type. We're all diminished by his passing.

See you all when I get a computer set up at my Mothers.

There's a table set at Fiddler's Green. And music for him.

For those without RealPLayer, the MP3 is here.

And there are mixed sorrows, hopes and the story of a Lady's courage in Fuzzybear Lioness' latest telling of her travels last week...

by CW4BillT on Dec 28, 2005 | Something for the Soul
» Techography links with: Yol Bolsun

Numismatist Alert

By now, everyone should be familiar with the state quarter series issued by the US Mint. Some have proven so popular with collectors that they have virtually disappeared from the market, inducing an artificial shortage that has increased the market value of those particular coins.

On the flip side (that one was for Punctilious), there have been so many *complaints* about one state quarter that the Mint has announced that it is recalling all still in circulation, which will induce an actual shortage which--no big surprise--will increase the market value of that quarter.

The center of controversy is the Oklahoma quarter, which was designed by students in the Graphic Arts Department of Oklahoma A&M. After an initial glitch in the actual minting was solved, people receiving these quarters in change discovered that they were not only too large to fit in the coin slot of vending machines and other coin-operated appliances, but the duct tape holding the two dimes to the nickel had a disturbing tendency to unravel...

December 27, 2005

Sigh. We're so sorry, Jack.

Castle Contrarian Jack has had to face that hardest of all decisions.

Go, share with Jack.

Read of a man...

Jack's father.

And what you can do, if you wish.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance: In Memoriam.

If you don't have RealPLayer, click here for the MP3.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Taking the road less traveled.

As a youngster, I'd have done the same.

Now... I'd take the tea and cookies.

A note from the Exterior Guard.

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Who were a tad grumpy they stayed here while we went to visit the Center of the Familial Universe.

Top 10 [Heh, they can't count) Exterior Guard "pet" peeves about the Armorer.

1. Blaming your farts on us . . not funny . . . not funny at all! ! !

2. Yelling at us for barking. Do we yell at YOU for TALKING? We're FRIGGIN' DOGS, YOU IDIOT! It's what you hired us for (and about that pay thing...)

3. Taking us for a walk, then not letting us check stuff out. Exactly whose walk is this anyway?

4. Any trick that involves balancing food on our noses . . stop it!

5. Any haircut that involves bows or ribbons. That's why we chew your stuff up when you're not home. Well, that and see the "pay thing" above.

6. The sleight of hand, fake fetch throw. You fooled a dog! Whoooo Hoooooooo what a proud moment for the top of the food chain. Butthead.

7. Taking us to the vet for "the big snip," then acting surprised when we freak out every time we go back! Dogs don't get painkillers! Okay, okay, thetre *is* hat tasty chondroitin thingy, but you get the point...)

8. Getting upset when we sniff the crotches of your guests. Sorry, but we haven't quite mastered that handshake thing yet.

9. Dog sweaters. Hello ? ? ? Haven't you noticed the fur?

10. How you act disgusted when we lick ourselves. Look, we both know the truth, you're just jealous.

11. Lay off on some of these things; we both know who's boss here (you don't see *us* picking up your poop do you ? ? ? ) Oh, speaking of poop - get rid of those automatic cat-litter boxes... those crunchy tootsie-rolls are a perk (see that "pay thing," above)!

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Heh. You can see how hard the job is...

H/t, Jim C.

Update: Don't you *dare* remove those automatic toilets, or we'll blarg on your pillows! They're kewl! Signed, The Interior Guard.


We're having a lot of traffic at the Castle today, for not having any posts people are linking to in any great numbers (interesting trend, though for the Castle in general, not just today - links are down, traffic is up).

Anyway - Googlers seem particularly interested in the archives from the last week of 2004, i.e., 1 year ago.

Gee, I wonder why?

Volcanoes... we hateses them we does!

70 years ago was born the kernel of the idea of the Blogfather, Jonah. The first semi-attempt at Airborne Volcano Lancing occurred on this day in 1935 as US Army B-10s bombed a lava flow in Hawaii in an attempt to stop or divert it. They weren't terribly successful...

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And today - an announcement from the Joint Operations National Annihilation Headquarters, the Air Force, and Boeing...

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December 26, 2005

Hi everybody.

I see I got snarked about posting early. Too bad. I was still nice and fixed yer formatting problem, Bill. (hint - for something formatted like the poem, put in a hard break after the blockquote).

Thanks for all the nice notes, except that nitpicking folderol from Neffi. Geez, dude, you've never sent dated Christmas presents before? There's this thing called mail, dude - you do your thing, wrap it up, give it to the nice postman, and your soldier overseas gets their gift mebbe on time, or, *early*.

I went home and stayed unplugged for family reasons, so when I came back, I find that entropy had exerted itself in the family of a friend, in a way I fear entropy may work on my family soon.

And I see in my inbox that the war ignored the wish in my last post.

U.S. Department of Defense Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs) News Release On the Web: Media Contact: Army Public Affairs - (703) 692-2000 Public contact: or +1 (703) 428-0711

On the Web:
Media Contact: Army Public Affairs - (703) 692-2000 Public contact:
or +1 (703) 428-0711
December 25, 2005


DoD Identifies Army Casualties

The Department of Defense announced today the deaths of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. They died in Baghdad, Iraq, on Dec. 23, when an improvised explosive device detonated near their HMMWV. Both soldiers were assigned to the Army Reserve's 351st Civil Affairs Command, Mountain View, Calif.
Killed were:
Sgt. Regina C. Reali, 25, of Fresno, Calif.
Spc. Cheyenne C. Willey, 36, of Fremont, Calif.

December 25, 2005

DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Master Sgt. Joseph J. Andres, Jr., 34, of Seven Hills, Ohio, died in Balad, Iraq, on Dec. 24, of injuries sustained earlier that day in Baqubah, Iraq, when he was attacked by enemy forces during combat operations. Andres was assigned to the U.S. Army Special Operations Command, Fort Bragg, N.C.


December 25, 2005


DoD Identifies Army Casualty

The Department of Defense announced today the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Sgt. Myla L. Maravillosa, 24, of Wahiawa, Hawaii, died in Kirkuk, Iraq, on Dec. 24, of injuries sustained earlier that day in Al Hawijah, Iraq, when her HMMWV was attacked by enemy forces using rocket-propelled grenades. Maravillosa was assigned to the Army Reserve's 203rd Military Intelligence Battalion, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md.

In some places, for some families, it's still 1944.

Now is the time at Castle Argghhh! when we dance, In Memoriam.

December 25, 2005


Merry Christmas, kids!

And it really *is* Christmas Day right now, even for FbL and Barb and Sarge B. I figure *one* of us has to stay honest with the post dates--uhhh, even if it usually *isn't* me...

I've always associated Christmas with sharing things. Care package cookies, letters from kids addressed to Any Soldier, pictures of futuristic helicopters done entirely in brown crayon--you know, the *neat* stuff that doesn't come from a store, but from the heart. And I shared, because I knew that whatever I gave would come back to me, maybe in a different form, but it would always come back.

V29 received this present and he decided to share it with me. It's the kind of present that needs to be shared...

The embers glowed softly, and in their dim light,
I gazed round the room and I cherished the sight.
My wife was asleep, her head on my chest,
My daughter beside me, angelic in rest.
Outside the snow fell, a blanket of white,
Transforming the yard to a winter delight.
The sparkling lights in the tree I believe,
Completed the magic that was Christmas Eve.
My eyelids were heavy, my breathing was deep,
Secure and surrounded by love I would sleep.
In perfect contentment, or so it would seem,
So, I slumbered--perhaps I started to dream…

The sound wasn't loud, and it wasn't too near,
But I opened my eyes when it tickled my ear.
Perhaps just a cough, I didn't quite know,
Then the sure sound of footsteps outside in the snow.
My soul gave a tremble, I struggled to hear,
And I crept to the door just to see who was near.
Standing out in the cold and the dark of the night,
A lone figure stood, his face weary and tight.
A soldier, I puzzled, some twenty years old,
Why here, I wondered, huddled there in the cold.
Alone in the dark, he looked up and smiled,
Standing watch over me, and my wife and my child.
"What are you doing?" I asked without fear.
"Come in this moment, it's freezing out here!
”Put down your pack, brush the snow from your sleeve,
”You should be at home on a cold Christmas Eve!"
For barely a moment I saw his eyes shift,
Away from the cold and the snow blown in drifts,
To the window that danced with a warm fire's light…

Then he sighed and he said, "It's really all right,
“I'm out here by choice. I'm here every night.
"It's my duty to stand at the front of the line,
”That separates you from the darkest of times.
”No one had to ask or beg or implore me,
”I'm proud to stand here like my fathers before me.
”My Gramps died at Pearl on a day in December,"
Then he sighed, “That's a Christmas 'Gram always remembers...
”My dad stood his watch in the jungles of 'Nam,
”And now it is my turn and so, here I am.
”I've not seen my own son in more than a while,
”But my wife sends me pictures, he's sure got her smile.”

Then he bent and he carefully pulled from his bag,
The red, white, blue... an American flag.
"I can live through the cold and the being alone,
”Away from my family, my house, and my home.
”I can stand at my post through the rain and the sleet,
”I can sleep in a foxhole with little to eat.
”I can carry the weight of killing another,
”Or lay down my life with my sister and brother
”Who stand at the front against any and all,
”To ensure for all time that this flag will not fall.
"So go back inside, and harbor no fright,
”Your family is waiting and I'll be all right."

"But isn't there something I can do, at the least,
"Give you money," I asked, "or prepare you a feast?
”It seems all too little for all that you've done,
”For being away from your wife and your son."

Then his eye welled a tear that held no regret,
"Just tell us you love us, and never forget.
”To fight for our rights back at home while we're gone,
”To stand your own watch, no matter how long.
”For when we come home, either standing or dead,
”To know you remember we fought and we bled
”Is payment enough, and with that we will trust
”That we mattered to you, as you mattered to us…”



Proud wife of SSG Melo
Final PCS 21 Dec 2004,
Last Mission: Guarding Freedom
New Mission: Guarding Heaven

SSG Julian S. Melo was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, part of the 1st Brigade, 25th Infantry Division stationed at Fort Lewis, WA. He and twelve of his friends were killed in Mosul, Iraq, on 21 December, 2004. They'd been there about six weeks.

No dance today, though--their song has long since been played and even the echoes are gone and the thirteen have travelled the Hard Road. And a Lady who was left behind put aside her grief when the time for grieving was past and, just a short while ago, she shared...

So, if you get some quiet time today or tonight, say a prayer for those now in harm's way. Make a wish for their safe return. Share the wish with God, if you are a believer, or launch it on the wings of Hope if you aren't.

And channel comfort to all those left behind.

I have to go, now. Somebody's outside...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Lex's sister passed this morning. Fuzzibear Lioness has the link. Stop in and leave him a note...

by CW4BillT on Dec 25, 2005 | Something for the Soul
» Political News and Blog Aggregator links with: Last-minute shoppers flock to stores on Christmas Eve

Merry Christmas everybody!.

To heck with it. I'm not taking the laptop with me! So, here's my Christmas post a day early. See ya on the 26th!

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MOSUL, Iraq (Dec. 21, 2003) -- An M-249 Squad Automatic Weapon stands perched under the Christmas tree at the 101st Airborne Division G-6 office at the palace in the Division Main compound in Mosul Sunday night. Instead of under the tree, the presents for the members of the unit are on a cabinet nearby. Photo by Pfc. Chris Jones, 40th PAD

Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards All. And these guys and gals help keep it that way. Just as did this guy and gal.

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Joe and his armored New Testament were in Bastogne that Christmas.

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