Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Whatever will we do? ...

Now that self-proclaimed "attention whore" Cindy Sheehan has given up her quest to badmouth America, it's government and it's troops. Between her departure and Rosie O'Donnell's spiral into oblivion, I just don't know where America will go to get left-wing freakshow drivel. Oh well, we've always got CNN.

-Grease out.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Back to business ...

Okay, the baby pics are posted, the family is all at home and doing well … let’s get back to the lunacy that is … Baghdad. The picture below was taken at Blackhawk, a kind of supermarket for bootleg videos and software. These guys are so good that, if a movie comes out on a Friday, Blackhawk will have it on DVD Monday. Granted, the movie is filmed with a webcam in a theatre, but it’s better than nothing when you don’t have a theatre. Obviously, this merchant skimped when it came to hiring a translator.
My anti-media rant for the day. Many of you have seen stories lately about the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected Vehicle (MRAP). If you went by the mainstream media’s slant on this: The Hummer is worthless, MRAP’s are the savior of the world and the Army and Marine Corps (particularly the Corps) have withheld the MRAP from the troops because they have a monetary interest in the Humvee.

Here’s the truth folks: The Up-Armored Hummer is a VERY capable vehicle. The MRAP is a good next generation choice to EVENTUALLY replace the Hummer. The Army and the Marines HAVE purchased a large number of MRAPs (You can’t walk down a street here without seeing several MRAPs). The biggest deal is: American General motors has the capability to produce more Humvees faster than the MRAP folks do right now. If it’s a choice between having the best possible armored vehicle but not having enough for the effort, or having a darn good armored vehicle in large numbers until the MRAPs can be purchased in large numbers – I’m taking the Hummer. In reality, we have a lot of both! The MRAPs have gone to units who have a larger chance of encountering IED’s. Not everyone is going to get them; in the beginning, you give them to the units with the greatest need. Also, NO vehicle is completely protected against an IED. If the bomb is big enough, it will win. I just hate the so called ‘military experts’ on CNN telling us that the military is holding back on the vehicle that will be the solution to all of our problems. The MRAP is NOT the savior of the forces. Is it better … probably. Is it perfect … no.

Now if you want to see a ‘perfect armored vehicle,’ here it is: This truck was in our parking lot yesterday. The Iraqi Army has taken an Isuzu pickup/flatbed delivery truck and turned it into a redneck’s dream. How’d you like to drive this baby through an American town and watch the stares as you pass. Not only do you have protection in the back for your troops to lay waste to the local populous, you have up-armored the tires as well. Way to go boys – the U.S. spends $25 Billion dollars on up-armored trucks, you guys find some junk on the side of the road and weld it to the truck. The fact that your truck is in my parking lot tells me that it works (or you’re really lucky) – who’s the fool here?

I can’t go any farther today without recognizing the efforts of my sister this past week. She, despite being a lifelong Georgia fan (and alum, soon to be double alum), recognizes my passion for my Fighting Irish. This has led to quite a few heated debates amongst her and I (At one point there was a GREAT defensive lineman who was playing for my old high school whose college choices were: UGA or ND. I’m pretty sure Lisa and I didn’t speak for a while after that one – unfortunately, Travis Stroud went to Georgia and did well there). Well, my beloved sister is a county administrator in a major school system in Georgia. She’s also a HUGE football fan. As she was walking the halls in one of the schools in the county, she bumped into the Notre Dame head coach, Charlie Weis. Apparently, Coach Weis was in town to look at a recruit for the Irish. Lisa, knowing what it would mean to me, walked up to Coach Weis and asked him to sign an autograph for a fellow Domer who is serving in Iraq (that would be me). This is what I received in the mail the day my twins were born:

Above: Lisa and Coach Weis
Right: A note from a friend.

Lisa, as always, you are the coolest. I do wonder how you keep bumping into all of these famous folks (last year her Christmas card was a candid photo with Bono of U2 – she randomly ‘bumped into him’ in Miami). I think she might be paparazzi … she does like cameras … she has been known to drive a bit insane … If she shows up with a photo of Lindsey Lohan, we have problems. Until tomorrow.
-Grease out.

And the counter rolls ...

One Thousand. In Naval Aviation, 1,000 traps is one of the most sought after goals of carrier aviation. Thanks to all of you out there who got me to that point in the blog world.

-Grease out

Monday, May 21, 2007

More baby pics ...

After much prodding, Karen has sent more pics for me to post (I told her that her vacation was over and that she needed to get back to work … four days in the hospital, where I come from that’s called LAZY … You notice how bold I am when I’m 6,000 miles away from home, If I was home she’d be pummeling me with a baby toy right about now). Karen made it home with Patrick and Bridget in tow on Saturday. Megan and Brendan seemed to like having the babies around, and LOVE having Mom back home – even if she is laid up for a while. Brendan seems most excited that Mom is trapped upstairs in her room (Karen’s Mom runs a tight ship) because that way Grandpa can still spoil him without her interference. Megan has taken to the role of big sister with her usual aplomb. She is already critiquing the clothing choices for the twins and has her own ideas about what activities they should participate in (they are more in the observer mode vice participant at this point, give them a few months though and Meg will have them playing goalie in the backyard soccer matches). I think all involved are taking a well deserved week of low-key activities, after the madness of last week. I’ll post more pics as my wife sends them, and will return to the usual business of blogging random thoughts in a little while. Until tomorrow.
-Grease out.

P.S. The woman in the picture is Karen's doctor (and another Notre Dame alum!)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Baby Photos ...

Not much in the way of commentary here, just thought some of you might like to see some photos of the twins (and their WONDERFUL Mom). Enjoy!

-Grease out.

Clockwise from top left:

Mommy on the big day ... with the BIG tummy

Patrick (L) & Bridget (R) in their prime time debut

Three TIRED campers after a long day

Patrick on the scale

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Twins update # 3 ...

After several hours of trying it the old-fashioned way, the doctor's decided to perform a C-section on Karen after all. I was able to get through to the Operating Room on speaker phone just before the surgeon started to cut and ... at 6:41 PM (EDT) Patrick Andrew entered the world and his sister Bridget Grace joined him two minutes later. Both babies are doing great and mom is still finishing the C-section as I type (they kicked me out of the room after the babies were born). I'll get a chance to call her in about one hour where I can get some 'official' times, weights and measures. Thanks again for all your prayers. More to come.

-Grease out.

Twins update # 2 ...

Karen is much happier since she recieved her epidural just over an hour ago (noon her time). I am sitting patiently at my desk waiting for further word. The good news is: We found that you can call DSN direct to her room at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. More to come!

-Grease out.

Twins update # 1 ...

As of 6:30 this morning (EST), both babies have changed their minds and pointed head down. Karen is trying for a traditional delivery via induction. More to follow.

-Grease out.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Becoming one of the 'Old Guys' ...

I have spent a great deal of the last few days ferrying people around who are either coming to Iraq or leaving for home. The guys leaving for home just want to get the heck out of here and there’s not much story there. The interesting part was the guys coming INTO Iraq. My command picked up six new Navy personnel on Saturday. Two of these guys work in my shop. Before I picked them up, I thought to myself, this is most likely their first time in Iraq. With that in mind, I wondered what it they were thinking. I remember when I first arrived, being overwhelmed at most of the sights, but we showed up in the dark. These two would get the full experience of Baghdad in the daytime. As I drove them back to our office, I could almost feel the tension in the car. The questions were the same ones we asked three months ago: “How often do you get mortared / rocketed?” Why do the roads stink so badly?” “Why does Iraq smell like a toilet?” “Can we stop and eat?” I tried my best to give them some insight into life here in Baghdad, as I am now one of the guys who has been here a while (It doesn’t seem like three months since I first arrived). While we were standing around in the office, a loud ‘boom’ was heard from outside. Those two were the only ones who reacted at all (that’s kind of sad, but true). When they asked if that was a mortar, I replied, “Nope, that was the waste truck backing into something in the parking lot, the bombs are louder.” As with everyone over here, they too will soon be desensitized to the sound of incoming / outgoing fire(If you hear it blow up, you didn’t get hit, so why stress about it). You only notice the ones that make the walls shake or the lights flicker. I guess it’s like what the war movies call the ‘thousand yard stare.’

Well, enough of that. Tomorrow morning Karen goes in for the last step in this eternal pregnancy. She has her C-section scheduled for the early morning. The babies are big and breech (sideways) so the docs decided the C-section was the way to go. Karen is nervous (justifiably), but she is the strongest woman I know. That being said, the next time I blog, I should have two new children and will announce their names in a live press conference on ESPN (just kidding, I’ll post them here). Prayers and happy wishes are appreciated.

-Grease out

Friday, May 11, 2007

Ohm's Law and other annoying science stuff ...

The power went out today in the trailer. That’s not a huge surprise, the power goes out all the time, but this one got me thinking (nothing good can come from that). When I’m at home, the occasional power outage can be a real pain. My first job, when the power comes back, is to go around the house and reset all the clocks. Even with all the advances in technology, I still wind up resetting clocks. All these clocks that have this ‘auto set’ function have a small disclaimer that says, “Does not work in Florida or Virginia.” I’m kidding of course, but it seems that way. Now if the power stays off for a long time, then it can be kind of fun. Karen and I have spent many a night playing Rummy-Q by candle and flashlight. You’re almost sad when the power comes back, then you remember the dollars invested in the frozen food that is rapidly decaying and you don’t feel as sad anymore.

When the power goes out here, it’s a different story. I thought about it today and realized – I have NO CLOCKS TO RESET! When the power goes out in my ‘hooch, my biggest concern is the fact that the A/C has turned off, but I can live with that (at least for a while). When I’m at work, a power loss is like a bit of a snow day. With no computers or phones to keep us busy, we mostly just sit around and enjoy each others company. However, when the power stays off, it becomes a huge hassle. We do have a lot of work to do, and without computers or phones, we can’t get ANYTHING done. It’s a strange reversal of feelings about a random power loss. Like I said, it’s not always easy to come up with topics, but this one kind of fell in my lap this afternoon … literally. Moms enjoy your weekend, you deserve it. Until tomorrow.

-Grease out

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Time for some follow-up ...

After I posted last night, I stepped back for a second to review. Reading it again made me even more worked-up. I took some time out to look at some of today’s news, looking for some examples of the greed and dishonesty in Congress right now.

First was the news today about the additional 35,000 troops to be sent later this year. General Petraeus has made it very clear that the ‘surge’ would need time before you can see concrete effects. This should seem like common sense to most of you, change doesn’t take place overnight. The Democrats, on the other hand have proposed a slightly different way to run a war:

Under the proposal, Bush would have to update Congress by July 13 on whether the Iraqi government was meeting certain political and security reforms. Congress would decide 10 days later whether to end the war and bring troops home or provide funding through September.

Wow … a whole two months … why didn’t we think of things like this in 1942, we could have been out of that war by early ’43! But wait, there’s more! Sen. Olympia Snowe (see, I have problems with some of the Republicans as well – bowing to polls is no way to run a war) shows in her own way that the politicians have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what is going on over here:

Sen. Olympia Snowe (news, bio, voting record), R-Maine, introduced legislation Tuesday that would require the Iraqi government to meet certain benchmarks within four months. If Baghdad fails, military commanders would begin planning to bring some troops home and refocusing remaining forces on noncombat missions, such as training the Iraqi security forces. Snowe's bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Evan Bayh (news, bio, voting record), D-Ind., sets a nonbinding goal of ending combat six months later.

Amazing … that’s brilliant, lets focus on the “non-combat” missions, like training the Iraqi Security Forces. Let me clue you in on a little something, the guys who are working with the Iraqi Security Forces are involved in combat more (on average) that any other forces in theatre. These are the guys on the front lines teaching the Iraqis how to do it themselves. You don’t do that in a classroom, you do it on the street – where the action is. If these people would spend less time making sound-bites and more time doing actual research, they might actually be useful.

But, sound-bites make for good politics – even if they aren’t true. Presidential hopeful, Barack Obama, got a bit too big for his britches in a speech yesterday when discussing the tornadoes in Kansas. Apparently, devastation from tornadoes is now caused by the Bush Administration, and the War in Iraq. Sen. Obama was heard to say:

"In case you missed it, this week, there was a tragedy in Kansas. Ten thousand people died — an entire town destroyed," the Democratic presidential candidate said in a speech to 500 people packed into a sweltering Richmond art studio for a fundraiser.

Hmmmm, … 10,000 you say … last I checked it was 12. Not to take away from the tragic loss of those in Kansas, but we all know 10,000 sounds much better than 12. Makes for a better sound-bite, charges up the crowd, brainwashes them just a little bit more with dreams of one world, living together, everyone sharing their goods, free-love and all sorts of other things the rest of the world has proven end in total collapse of a government (heck, even the French figured it out and elected a conservative this week). Why, do you ask, did the honorable Senator bring up the tragedy in Kansas … to blame it on the President and the war effort, of course:

Obama mentioned the disaster in Greensburg, Kan., in saying he had been told by the office of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius that the state's National Guard had been depleted by its commitment to the Iraq War.

"Turns out that the National Guard in Kansas only had 40 percent of its equipment and they are having to slow down the recovery process in Kansas," Obama said, his shirt sleeves rolled up and his head glistening with sweat.

The good news is: It’s not just the Congress involved in this hatchet-job, the Governor of Kansas had some words as well that she planned to talk to the President about when he arrived today:

"I don't think there is any question if you are missing trucks, Humvees and helicopters that the response is going to be slower," she said Monday. "The real victims here will be the residents of Greensburg, because the recovery will be at a slower pace."

Sebelius said that with other states facing similar limitations, "stuff that we would have borrowed is gone."

Holy cow, whatever did she need? The state must have requested all sorts of assistance and received none for her to turn a tragedy into a blame-game with the White House. What did she ask for?

Snow said no one had asked for heavy equipment. "As far as we know, the only thing the governor has requested are FM radios," the spokesman said.

Radios … damn wish we’d known about that, we have TONS over here. Oh wait, she got them? And a mobile command center, a SAR team and some Blackhawk helicopters. They must be good then, but why all the drama … it worked for Katrina right? All I know is: when Hurricane Ivan was bearing down on my house, I was underway off the coast of San Diego. My wife actually listened to the advice of the government (as did most of the rest of Pensacola) and LEFT. She didn’t wait for the government to swoop in and rescue her from the storm – she left. Sometimes we have to do things for ourselves folks, like those great folks in Kansas are right now. Despite their governor’s dire statements, they are taking care of each other and picking up the pieces. Maybe if the governor spent more time helping them and less talking to the camera, she’d realize that when bad things happen, the only thing you can do is pick yourself up, pick your fellow man up and start over. Standing around and waiting for the government to jump to your rescue like some sort of institutionalized welfare program doesn’t work. The Republic only works when the people are willing to ‘cowboy up’ and do the lion’s share of the work themselves. Help from the government is a great thing, but it should be a surprise, not an expectation. As an aside: the people from FEMA have been under fire for several years due to the media convincing the country that FEMA should do all the work for you. Let me give you the ground-zero truth: The people from FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers are some of the FINEST people I have ever had the pleasure of seeing in action. They were there for the citizens of Pensacola and Lower Alabama from day one. Their help was invaluable in a rough time. It worked because the folks on the Gulf Coast came home, started to pick up and didn’t look for any handouts.

That’s just my two cents, take it or leave it. We are being snowballed by the media and our representatives in Congress. They tell us what they want us to hear, not the whole story.

-Grease out.

P.S. I did find one other story out there today totally unrelated to this topic. I can’t tell if this guy is the luckiest guy on the planet, or the unluckiest. You decide

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

The Evolution of Modern Warfare ...

Walking around the VBC (Victory Base Complex) is like walking into a giant room full of James Bond’s toys (you know, the scene in every Bond where ‘Q’ shows up to give James a pen that has a rocket launcher imbedded in the tip). What’s even more bizarre here is, you can see the evolution of a fighting vehicle by sitting on a street corner. My Humvee is called an M-998, some of the follow on ones are called M-1114’s and M-1151’s. You can see the similarities between the basic chassis of the vehicles, but the exterior is a completely different story. Each of the models is born out of soldiers modifying their vehicles to defeat a threat on their terms. Mostly this has to do with armor. My Hummer has basic armor on the doors, but would never survive a trip outside the wires. An 1151 has armor all over the place, specifically designed to protect the crew from insurgent bombs. The difference is astounding, but it all comes down to soldiers with ideas

The next vehicles you see are the ones that have come after the Humvee’s. Strykers, and all sorts of other vehicles that look like they come from a sci-fi movie. When you watch them drive by, you can’t help but be amazed at the time and effort involved with building these things. Then reality sets in and you realize that one insurgent with a simple explosive, used properly, can destroy these monsters of the road. There are some days when I don’t know if we’re going to win over here. It’s not that we don’t have the tools and talent (we’re loaded with that), it’s that we have a government (specifically a Congress) that believes quitting is the right approach. The lack of respect for history astounds me. We have proven, throughout history that the right approach isn’t always the easy one, and that quitting just makes the conflict worse for later generations. I keep looking at our representatives in Congress and waiting for them to show the courage that has made this country great, but all I see is greed and dishonesty. Greed to keep their jobs, and dishonesty with the American people. I truly believe that the only ones who get it are the President and his inner circle. It does give me hope that, unlike the last administration, he realizes that you cannot govern by polls. You have to do what is right, no matter what the media says, no matter what the polls say: right is right. The amazing thing is how short sighted these people (our Congressmen and the media – the left) are: they were the ones who continued the fight for equal rights when it was not popular. It was only by their courage and persistence that we all won there. I say this to you to remind you that you are in this war too. If the naysayer’s get their way, we’ll be fighting this conflict on our doorsteps in the near future. I’m sorry for the soapbox, but we pay close attention to what’s going on in the states, and it frightens us. Know that we’ll be out here doing the job, as long as they let us – it’s up to you good people to ensure that it happens. We have been the silent majority for too long, it’s time to speak. Until tomorrow.

-Grease out.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Happy Birthday Megan ...

Today is one of those tough days. My daughter turned six today at 4:39 AM EDT (1:39 AM on the west coast, where she was born). As many times as it happens, missing special occasions never gets easier. In 12 years of service I’ve missed quite a few birthdays and almost all of my anniversaries. My family understands, they’re always supportive, but that doesn’t make it an easier day.

Megan was born May 4th, 2001 at Naval Hospital, Oak Harbor. Her WONDERFUL mother labored for 22 hours and pushed for three before giving birth to this 9 lb. 12 oz. wonder (If you’ve ever met my wife, you’d realize that the fact that she could contain a child that size is nothing short of amazing). The labor had been so long and intense, that the doctor had assumed that Megan was going to need some quick help when she was finally delivered. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit folks had been called in from their homes and were standing by waiting to help this child. When Megan was finally delivered (with a resounding ‘pop’ I might add), the doctor said what everyone in the room (except Karen) was thinking … “Oh, so that’s why it took so long.” So we woke up an entire team of highly trained professionals to come look at a perfectly healthy baby … I didn’t care. They handed Megan to Karen, and it was quite possibly the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. That lasted for about 15 seconds, before Karen announced to the room that someone needed to take the baby, as she was so exhausted she could not guarantee her grip on this ten pound Goliath.

After we rescued Megan from almost certain peril, the head nurse handed her to me and asked if I wanted to walk her down to the nursery. Now I’ve always been a confident guy, truly believing that I CAN do anything (an mindset shared by many a naval flyer – it’s kind of an invincibility complex that fades with time and experience), but I was truly terrified of the 40 foot walk to the nursery. You hold in your hands such a perfect being, untarnished by the imperfect world we live in, and you don’t want to screw up. It has never taken me longer to walk forty feet in my entire life, and I don’t think it ever will again. My daughter was perfect, and she had the same snow-white hair that she maintains to this day. As a parent, you love all your children unconditionally, but the first one seems extra-special. I just couldn’t believe that an imperfect being, such as me, could help create something so grand. Megan was then, is now and will always be my angel.

Happy Birthday Megan, I love you a ton and miss you so much it hurts. Be good to your Mom and help her out when the twins arrive.

-Grease out

Thursday, May 3, 2007

The man is trying to keep us down ...

Some of you may have read the news article on the new Army regulations regarding blogs and wondered, “Is this the end of The Landlocked Sailor?” Well I’m here to tell you that I will continue on my quest to bring you random oddities of life in Iraq. Nothing they can do can prevent the voice of the people in their quest for … hold on, I have to answer the door … as I was saying, this will be the last edition of The Landlocked Sailor, I don’t want to go to jail in Kansas.

Just kidding. So long as I’m posting random goofiness about my time in Iraq, the man has no problems with it. Now if I start posting the secret launch codes, we have issues (especially because I don’t have any secret launch codes or any real desire to post them if I did). There are kids out there, however, who don’t know what is ok to post and what isn’t. Hopefully, the article will scare them enough to get someone in their chain-of-command to ‘vet’ their blogs and give them some tips.

I’m going to cut it short today, as tomorrows blog will probably be extensive – in honor of a certain little girl’s sixth birthday (she reads the blog, too). A taste: Six years ago today, at this very moment, I was sitting in a delivery room at Naval Hospital, Oak Harbor wondering if my wife would EVER pickle this child. Until tomorrow.

-Grease out.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

What is it with Chuck Norris? ...

I try my hardest to make each post an original work (I know the Shakespeare thing again), so I never intended to do the Chuck post. I looked on all the other sandbox sailor blogs out there, and realized that almost all of them have dedicated a day to Mr. Norris … well, I couldn’t let you miss out on one of our most treasured pastimes, so here we go.

Some of you may have noticed the addition of the Chuck Norris Random Fact Generator to the side of the page. I feel I must explain the genesis of Chuck. I don’t know why, but soldiers in this part of the world have this strange affinity with the Chuck Norris Facts. When our group first arrived in Kuwait, one of the guys came back from the port-o-potty and told us that the inside of it was covered with ‘Chuck Norris Facts.’ For those of you who don’t know, there are several websites out there dedicated to all things Chuck (Warning: The generator on the page and the websites cross over in to the ‘R’ rated category, so no small people on the Chuck pages please … that means you Liz and MK … no looking at Chuck or Chuck will find you). People have this strange fascination with making outrageous statements about the Walker: Texas Ranger star. Things like: Chuck Norris invented water, Chuck doesn’t sleep, he waits and so on. I found the jokes in the port-o-potty amusing, but wondered why they were there. As we continued our journey into Iraq, we found that quite a few of the portable toilets were covered inside with Chuck Facts, including the one at the JCCS-1 command building. When I stopped by the command yesterday to teach the new class, I was shocked to see that the KBR folks had taken it upon themselves to CLEAN the inside of the port-o-john. This saddened me greatly, as I looked forward to my visits back to JCCS-1 HQ to see what new Chuck-isms were placed on the wall by the new class. Hopefully they will begin redecorating the walls soon, but until then I have the Chuck Norris Random Fact Generator on the page (We live in a bizarre world over here). I often wonder what he would think about it if he came over on an USO tour. Here is a country full of soldiers and sailors who scribble Chuck Facts on the walls of their toilets. I don’t know if he’d be honored, or really, really scared (Chuck doesn’t get scared … it must be the former). Either way, some days we have WAY too much time on our hands. Until tomorrow.

-Grease out.

P.S. If you’re trying to show the blog to someone in a PG status and you get an R Chuck quote, just refresh the page – you’ll get a new quote that should be more suitable.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The benefits of self-publishing ...

When I started the blog, I thought it would be a fun way to pass time and to share some of the experiences of being over here with the folks I know back home. It has turned into so much more than that! It’s actually a joy to go out and look at my everyday life, searching for things to pass on to my fanbase (hi Mom!). There is a side benefit of being your own editor and publisher … you can write whatever you want!

In today’s edition, I’m going to send out a word of thanks, in the most public venue available to me. I told you some time ago about my wife’s cousin … let’s call her Helen … cause, that’s her name. Helen is a research chemist for Chattem, Inc. Most of you have probably never heard of Chattem (I hadn’t), but you know their products – BullFrog, IcyHot, Selsun Blue, Gold Bond and others. Well, Helen’s care package arrived the other day. I was the envy of the office. People could not believe that someone who I’ve only met once before would take the time to accumulate all of these items from her lab/office and send them thousands of miles to a guy in Iraq. The kicker was, all of the items show that she really thought about what we’re going through out here and they all make sense (although, Helen must think I have some severe foot problems, because she sent a TON of the Gold Bond stuff … the foot stuff, not the other one). Then I shocked them all by saying that Helen did not send this care package for me, she sent it for us. Needless to say, Chattem’s customer base grew by a couple dozen today. One thing about military folk, we tend to reward those who take care of us. In this case, the best reward we can give is our loyalty to a company whose people obviously care about more than the bottom line. (by the way, you HAVE to try the BullFrog Mosquito Coast – It’s a SPF 30 sunscreen with DEET-free bug repellent built in – now that’s a cool idea, especially in a country where your biggest non-kinetic threat is sunburn, bugs and dehydration – I don’t think it’ll help with the dehydration thing, but give them a few years)(By the way, non-kinetic means anything other than high-speed chunks of assorted metal – bullets, mortars, bombs, etc.). So Helen, we salute you (and your company). Thanks for remembering us over here, it means the world.

-Grease out.

P.S. I know I went overboard today with the Google Gadget additions to the page, but they’re so darn cool

First stop home, next stop ...