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     Do you know who said the following quote?  E-mail me!

"Optimism (light) is the power that ultimately defeats fear (darkness)."

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Get the Good GWOT Gems!

Do you find that you just don't have the time to get to all those Milblogs out there? Does it seem like after you've read one, it's time to take out the garbage, or get the kids to bed, or GET OUT OF YOUR JAMMIES!!! And, once you've taken the time to read a few, and all you get is smack down and venting and rhetoric that'll give you curls like Lucy's?

Wanna just get to those blogs giving you the good news from the sandbox? Once in a while, do ya have a hankerin' to read a few great stories without all the 'tude?

Then ya wanna click on over to Phil of Camp Katrina fame's new site, MilTracker.com! He's taken the time to reach out to those bloggers that have the good stories, he compiles them into a quick list for us all, and gives ya the meat without all those annoying turnips!

I go there every day now. Hope you find what you are looking for there, as I do!

Stay Tuned to ...

Tornado Warning in California?

Just read, and heard, there is a tornado warning in Northern California. Near Travis AFB, in Solano County, they predict a tornado to hit around Suisun City (say it as Sih-soon City).

Take care everyone, and be safe!

Stay Tuned to ...

Sunday, February 26, 2006

What?! The Night Stalker Dies Too!!!

Darren McGavin died yesterday. What is in the water down there in LA anyway?!

Darren McGavin has done an amazing amount of work in TV and Movies. The list is as huge as Don Knotts, yet he fit into a very different genre than Mr. Knotts.

Take a gander:
The Man with the Golden Arm
The Court-Martial of Billy Mitchell
Billy Madison
Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Dr. Kildare
Death Valley Days
Mission Mars
The Rookies
Six Million Dollar Man
Airport '77
Hangar 18
Donovan's Kid
Tales from the Darkside
Dead Heat
The X Files
Sheesh, the list is too long. I am a huge TV/Movie Trivia IDIOT, so to see two big actors go in one weekend makes ya think ...

Is Hollywood in for a shake-up? Who is taking the place of the once great actors of our days ... ???

Time will tell. Yet, for those in the blogosphere that are Milbloggers ... we have a list and put up with the rest.

Stay Tuned to ...

Mr. Limpet Dies at 81

Just looking around for something good to write and came upon something sad (for me). Don Knotts died Friday at the age of 81. Even though his primary memory for me is from comedies and great movies from Disney (they just can't make good ones anymore), I think I'll remember him best from those long days as a little boy, being sick as dog, watching Mr. Knotts on TV with Andy Griffith ... you know the show ... say it out loud! :)

A moment of sadness for all those that remember these unforgettables:
Mr. Limpet
The Apple Dumpling Gang
The Shakiest Gun in the West
Three's Company
Chicken Little
The Reluctant Astronaut
It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World
The Muppet Show
Aw, heck, just remember him as a great man with a great love for children everwhere who refused to compromise principles for Hollywood.

Take care Don, and I can't wait to shake your hand at that great mixer in the sky with the Big Guy!

Stay Tuned to ...

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Just Remember Who Funds the Military

Alright, it's been a bit slow here 'cause we took a short trip. Too short to be exact! But, who ever thought a vacation was ever long enough?!

Back to some business - the Air Force Association's latest e-mail update regarding TRICARE and Department of Veterans Affairs benefits costs. I am going to focus on the issue of TRICARE and Department of Veterans Affairs personnel here.

You do need to know that no matter what, the same construct applies to anything regarding the funding of anything that relates to the US Military: Congress authorizes the budget, they pay the bills, the President and his staff only draw up a proposal (they are the executive branch). Congress is responsible for reviewing and approving everything that is in every nook and cranny of the budget.

The Executive Team proposes a budget and the run-rate for the entire system (our country) going forward. The Bean Counters work the numbers and adjust fiscal year targets responding with a Yea or Nay on the proposal. Everyone gets back to the table and "haggles" until the whole thing works for everyone. That's business. And, really folks, this country is run like a business! We may be a representative republic, but we still are a capitalist system and therefore must have this process under control and run by a CEO (CINC is the CEO, and the CFO/CIO/COO/Legal are in other seats!).

If everything that has been proposed passes this budget phase, and Congress has not stopped increases in fees for TRICARE and Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, stop blaming the President. You really need to go after your slacker representatives!

Net-Net the proposed budget shows an increase in fees/co-payments (what you and I, if you are in the private sector, pay now) for visits and drugs. In some cases there is an "enrollment" fee for folks in Priority Groups 7 and 8 (folks that have illness/injuries not related to military service). Let's be honest, rates are going to increase for everyone, and in some cases these changes are upwards of a 40% increase overall!

Now, I never served 20 years. I am not under TRICARE. I am also not a Department of Veterans Affairs employee. I'm just a regular guy. I am already getting whacked by my company for benefits because I work at a small company and insurance companies love to rake the small companies - which translates to costs (I pay around $800/mth out of pocket) passed directly to the employee. No free ride here ...

If I had served 20, benefits should be very affordable for my family and I. No question. In fact, costs now, if they go unchanged and there are no increases, only costs 4% of the GDP. I think useless funding of some slacker programs eat up more of the GDP - so, why is there a need to change the Military's 4%? Leave the 4% GDP cost for Military Costs and Benefits steadfast and clamp down on some of these other slacker programs that just get slacker representatives reelected!

If these costs are going up, and the government (I use a generic term on purpose) sees fit to pass these fees on down the chain, what can a person do? How can a few of us get enough momentum going to change the wave of disrespect for those that sacrificed their lives for those of us riding on their backs? (yes, I served, but not as long, remember?) I believe that the 4% price for the US Military is small and well worth it when compared to the yearly paycheck these useless representatives pull down a year, sucking us all dry!

Sorry, I still think Washington gets paid too much for what they are doing for us these days ... off the soapbox now.

Anyway, there needs to be something done. I am mailing my useless representatives. What about you? Take the URL for the Air Force Association online article and pound away at your empty suit in Washington.


It can't hurt!

Oh, the above is pretty simplistic - give me a break, I just got back from vacation! :)

Stay Tuned to ...

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

You're Looney Toons to think it's OK!

Certain things should just be common sense. Riots over cartoons are a stretch and over the top. Too much hate is being whipped up over there. That matter is a ticking you know what. I read some good arguments over at CaliValleyGirl as her feathers got ruffled by a friend. Yet, during the "ruffling", a point she put forth touched a nerve ... many of you may have that nerve too ... I am posting my comments on her blog here - you can go there to read them too. Therefore, don't take the "you" here as you, but the "you" over there in her comments section ... whatever! :) Here are my words:

I NEVER let my American Flag touch the ground. Would any of you? Do you understand why? Do you know the history, and the many men that risked their lives TO RETRIEVE OUR OLD GLORY before their position was overrun, while under heavy fire, to retrieve "The Old Girl"? Do you know how many men WATCHED the guy they've been sharing a foxhole with run to collect the flag, get cut down, and HE THEN JUMPS UP and goes to get the flag?

If so, then you KNOW why burning the American Flag is not free speech. You tread on those that have passed before you. And that is where this country has brought itself.

Never leave anyone behind. Never leave the colors, ever. Never disgrace those before you.

Powerful words. Words spoken by those that have brought you safe shopping malls and open freeways. Luxuries, compared to many other countries run by tinhorn dictators.

But, I don't riot.

Yet, if we could wrest the flag burning issue from judicial activism and place it in the hands of the people, who do YOU think would win?

I know what MY VOTE would be. And before you say, "Aww, but, they should have a right to ...", look deep in your heart and concentrate - I say, "People should protect our national symbol, the American Flag, for those that have kept it flying for us to enjoy our luxuries."

God Bless America. God Keep the American Flag Flying Free and Unsoiled. And, may God Bless all of you. Sorry for the "soap box", but this is a big one for me ...

(i lived in Germany while in the US Air Force. i had to inspect my car every morning to look for explosives. i had to watch myself when in non-military towns. during those two years we closed the gates numerous times [Rhein Main AFB is no small base!] for safety. that was in the early 80's. have any of you had to check under your car, in the engine compartment, and in the trunk before you could go to work? i thought not. think about what the American Flag brings you at home, and what it draws to you outside our borders. frightening.)

Stay Tuned to ...

Monday, February 13, 2006

LinkedInUSAF Group Member #0025 In Need!

I started this blog, as you remember from a previous post, to help other members of the US Air Force that use LinkedIn and are members of our private group, LinkedInUSAF. I have been working on images and templates for the occasion when one of our group members needs help. That day is today!

First, how does the FLASH MESSAGE look?! I took the format from the old teletype messages everyone would receive in the field. I borrowed the look and feel from an old World War II contact from CINCPAC to ALL PAC Forces. The field at the top really is a priority 1 message! The day of the month and time (in Zulu) are preceded by a number or code to signal importance. The month abbreviation and the year drops in at the end. Took a while to find out how that part of the transmission was put together. I am sure some of you SIGINT folks can give me more information about the format and code. Please do!

Second, to help you understand how to get in touch with the person in need, a little extra info is in order. There will not be a name associated with this post. I am using the group members ID to protect their identity. To reach this person, just go ahead and contact me using the e-mail address in the FLASH MESSAGE graphic - this also minimizes my spam by not putting a live mailto link here! Now, on to the most important part!

LinkedIn USAF Member ID#0025

Need: Career change in process and currently seeking a new position.

Titles: Program Manager, Service Manager, Lt Colonel, Management Consultant

Summary: Over 20 years experience bridging all levels of communication in both corporate and government organizations. Individual strengths are in systems and process design as well as technology support resulting in increased organizational effectiveness.

Specialties: Process Design, Technology Project Management, Enterprise Systems, Cross-organizational communications and coordination.

Currently: Project management, process design, and business process development from technology support to enterprise software systems development. Corporate structures range from mid-sized to large organizations to include: agribusiness, aerospace, telecommunications, utilities, education and service. Responsibilities included being a Program Manager for an information technology consulting company, a Service Manager for a Fortune 100 Software Company, and providing Command and Control capabilities for numerous systems valued at over $30 billion requiring 12,000 personnel in 44 locations worldwide.

Past to Present: United States Air Force (22+ Years), DPI Services Inc., IBM, Management Consulting Firm (owner)

Please, contact me at the e-mail in the FLASH MESSAGE graphic as soon as possible with any leads! Dropping me a note with the name, e-mail address, and phone number of a headhunter that serves the Northern to Central California region would be just great! You might also want to just give that headhunter my e-mail address and I'll take it from there - whatever is easier for you!

If you have a blog, would you be so kind as to provide a link-back or Trackback to this post? I'd like to get as much reach into the job market as possible. As you all know, the more people you can touch the more successful your job search will be - and I just love success!

Thanks for all your help in advance! Our LinkedInUSAF Group members thank you very much, too!

Stay Tuned to ...

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Spirit of Hawaii - Ke Aloha

This is a great photo of the Spirit of Hawaii!

Take care, Bruddah! Mahalo!

Stay Tuned to ...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Thermonuclear war in a Starbucks Society, discuss ...

You know, it never ever gets old how folks can easily blur what is the reality in front of them. There seems to be a strong affectation brought about via the "coffee shop safety dance". No one wants to offend the other because their kids are in the same class, or play a sport together, or belong to a group or club. Some of us are flat out afraid of being sued or stalked for putting our own ideas out in front! Everyone is so quick to smack you down for expressing your ideas if counter to theirs, because they are safe in their "coffee shop", having their "coffee talk".

Why is it OK for everyone to smack down the US Military getting budget dollars?

I mean, if we were taking those budget dollars and giving it to the politicians, well, then you have cause for alarm! But, we are in the beginnings of some very tense days. This isn't Fidel Castro trying to sport a few missiles in Cuba to get his way (ie having the United States pay him for his terrorist action). This is about people that have no compunction lobbing missiles at Israel and the United States - ultimately to destroy us both. We need to do everything in our power to stop this from happening.

Hmmm ... let's see, cattle flatulence studies or new ways to achieve success in the Global War on Terror ...

The key is what I read in the QDR (yes, I really did read it, and no, I won't print everything here; you all hate my huge posts I am sure). The US Air Force is being given complete control over UAV/UCAVs - keep the airspace under control. Also, combine forces better by having AFSOS beginning to form tighter bonds with a larger Special Operations force comprised of the Navy, Army, Air Force, and Marines. The art of war is changing every day as the climate throughout the world heats up to epic proportions - in fact, biblical proportions! We need to be able to strike deep into all sorts of enemy territory with precision, and then amass a force on the ground that is mobile, lethal, and efficient. This really is a war where we break things and kill people. And the enemy can amass militants at the snap of a finger, or the stroke of a pen.

If a few cartoons get these people to riot, what makes you think they are going to give you a "big hug"?

I think that there have been cartoons out there over the years that never should have seen the light of day. You know that when the cartoonist drew it, the editors reviewed it, and the paper prints it, they all are colluding. They are all at fault, and they have to know it is going to provoke emotion. If they do not know this, we need to take the pen out of their hands and immediately prescribe meds. Sheesh, even a kid knows this is going to set people off - it is targeting a religion!

Is Homer Simpson in charge of today's media? I hear a huge "Doh!" out there after this last mess!

Does the media out there actually forget the Cold War? There were missiles aimed at all major metropolitan areas all over the world (predominantly here and in the USSR). We all knew where ground zero was, we knew that living in Omaha, Nebraska, wasn't just cold, you had a huge target on your head! Now, there is no big bad evil empire, it is a fluid, flammable, easily excited enemy out there. Access to elements key to mass destruction can be bought for the right price. I am not the only one asking why is it that the Starbucks Society has lost touch with all the threats to our way of life.

Can I have a tall-multiple-delivery-intercontinental-ballistic-missile? OH! Leave room - ya just never know.

People, wake up! There is a drive-up window for this stuff! If we don't make the military stronger, bring new ways to combat covert attempts to gain elements, and continue pressure on the world community, you may just get what you ordered: a steaming cup of brackish goop in your lap from a sneering immature flunky paid minimum wage - oh and 72 virgins ... blah, blah, blah ...

Stay Tuned to ...

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Meme, Oh Meme, What Meme Be This?!

This week has been a complete mess. There were numerous posts I wanted to get up on the blog. And then, I really wanted to get to this one, 'cause it's fun, and I think I am just off-center enough that a few of you are gonna say, "Huh? Is this guy stable? The Military GAVE HIM a gun and made him an augmentee!?"

Now, it is just plain, flippin', impossible to pick only four of something! Movies and blogs are the hardest. I have so many movies flying around in my mind that even the list below is not enough. And then, there were some things I thought we all could think about, like "Places that just rate an, 'Eh', response", Milblogs to visit daily, and adult beverages! You all can leave those off, if you want, but I figured I'd dive right in and be honest! :)

So, here we go, and thanks for tagging me, Laurie! I know you have been waiting for these answers. And, as you already know in a few other choice and whacked e-mails, I am, well, certifiable!

4 Jobs You Have Had In Your Life
  1. Landscaping for an elderly widow (her husband was a famous botanist! at least I didn't kill any rare plants!)
  2. Inertial and Doppler Navigation Systems Specialist (USAF - supported Doppler, AWADS, Gyro-based INS, Stellar or Celestial Nav, and worked on the first Navstar GPS Systems, too!)
  3. Travel Agent and Systems Support (worked for United Airlines and Covia on Apollo Systems, and then numerous travel agencies as their IT/IS guy)
  4. Software Quality Engineering (companies like Frame Technology, AirTouch Cellular, OmniSky, and ran worldwide Software Quality for palmOne [the Palm PDA guys])

4 Movies You Would Watch Over and Over
  1. The Waterboy (c'mon, hard hitting football scenes and STUPID comedy! what else is there in life!?)
  2. Monty Python's movies (The Meaning of Life, Life of Brian, The Holy Grail, duh!!!)
  3. Mel Brooks' movies (Spaceballs, Blazing Saddles, High Anxiety, History of the World)
  4. Usual Suspects (Kaiser Sooohhhh-saaaay!)

4 TV Shows You Love to Watch
  1. CSI(s) (plural, like 'em all)
  2. House (if you like Black Adder and Frye and Laurie, you'd like House)
  3. Black Adder (doh! dead give-away! - well, Mr Bean too!)
  4. 24

4 Places You Have Lived
  1. California (I'm a Native Californian, so, BACK-OFF!!!)
  2. Mississippi (Biloxi, Keesler AFB, 9 MONTHS PEOPLE!)
  3. Frankfurt, Germany (Rhein Main AFB - sad, she is no longer with us)
  4. Omaha, Nebraska (once you get on it, you can't get Offutt!)

4 Places You Have Been On Vacation
  1. West and East Berlin (during the Cold War, BABY!!! it was a TRIP!)
  2. Fulda Gap (back then, it was a SIGHT to see - that was power on the battlefield)
  3. Tahiti (for my birthday one year - Dad worked for United Airlines and got us a deal!)
  4. Alaska (my older sister lived there for many years working in the Capitol [quiz: the capitol is?])

4 GREAT Places Where You Just Said, "Eh .."
  1. Atlanta, Georgia (sorry, lived there, it was beautiful, but, eh)
  2. Las Vegas, Nevada (it got old real fast - sorry, not me cup o' tea)
  3. London, England (I loved Norwich/Kings Lynn and my Dad's birthplace Manchester better)
  4. Oahu, Hawaii (I've been to Hawaii ~20 times, everywhere else but Oahu is GREAT!)

4 Websites You Visit Daily
  1. Amy Proctor (she just knock-down nails some tough subjects - with panache!)
  2. Faith at the Front (Sara is a great writer and motivator via the word)
  3. Irish Pennants (just dropped onto this site and like the writing)
  4. NewsMax (well, I subscribe to the feeds and e-mail drops, so maybe it visits me!)

4 Milblogs You Visit Daily
  1. Soldiers' Angels NY and DE (DE is for Germany, folks)
  2. TOAOBP (The One And Only Buck Pennington!)
  3. The Truth (thought provoking Chief has a handle on some brain twisters!)
  4. TOSS UP: Cap'n Bob and Officers' Club (I like 'em both, they both rate! so, more than 4!)

4 Favorite Foods
  1. Chocolate
  2. Chocolate
  3. Steak
  4. Chocolate

OK, just kidding, here we go again:

4 Favorite Foods
  1. Chocolate (just relax, there's more!)
  2. Steak (Tri-Tip or Market on the BBQ)
  3. Baked Cut Red Potatoes with rosemary/basil/salt/olive oil
  4. Fried Chicken (coated in a garlic & salt & flour, basted with oil and sherry)

4 Favorite "Adult Beverages"
  1. My own Appletini Recipe (involves Berentzen's Apfel Korn)
  2. My own Sangria Recipe (let's just say it's killer and includes extra alcohol!)
  3. Strong wines (any dark cabernet, pinot, port, or eisewine/troken beeren auslese)
  4. Good Scotch, Jack Daniels, or 7 to 12 year dark rum (Ronrico)

4 Places You Would Rather Be Right Now
  1. Sitting on the patio in the early evening, while the girls are swimming, and all you hear is laughter
  2. Eating my favorite foods with a glass of red, then enjoying dark rum and some pipe tobacco on the patio (see above)
  3. Sitting on the hammerhead at Beale AFB with two sets of hearing protection at sunset waiting for the SR-71 pilot to rocket down the runway
  4. Sitting at home in front of our TV with popcorn on a rainy day and all 3 of my girls watching The Princess Bride, Scooby Doo, Monsters Inc, Ice Age, Emperor's New Groove - just laughing under a blanket with a flashlight (huh? what happened to the movie? lost interest!)

4 People to Tag
In Training ('cause she'd have some good answers!)
Cap'n Bob (I think between the Cap'n and Damsel, the answers will be great!)
Days Gone By (she needs to gimme some funny ones!)
planningblog (Carol, start at the pub, and then lead us onward!)

Stay Tuned to ...

Friday, February 03, 2006

When You Think You Know Someone

"I speak for all my Soldiers when I say that we sleep well at night because we know you are all out here keeping us safe."

Is that a quote from a Captain or Major of the Iraqi Forces thanking the service of our US Army or Marines? Could this be a quote you read when you were just skimming the news bytes from the MSM and a reporter forgot that this is something positive? Do you think that this one sentence is a training command leader speaking about the active Soldiers protecting them as they learn their new duties? Well, actually, this is one of those real life statements that is spoken in true thanks and appreciation from someone who "knows soldiering".

The speaker is US Army Colonel Victor McCagnan, commander of the 16th Corps Support Group and Logistical Support Area Adder, Tallil Iraq.

The 30 folks he is thanking are the US Air Force Security Police Airmen from Tyndall AFB, Niagara Falls ARS, and Seymore-Johnson AFB.

Surprised? Colonel McCagnan isn't. Everyone serving over seas and here at home are not surprised. The families of our US Military are not surprised one bit! The President of the United States is not surprised. And, I'm pretty sure, if you read my blog once in a while, you aren't surprised and I didn't surprise you one bit.

Yet, it's not just the quote above but the actions taken by Colonel McCagnan that should not go unreported. Colonel McCagnan was speaking at a ceremony where he was awarding 16 of the 30 US Air Force Security Police with United States Army Commendation Medals! US Army Commendation medals are rarely awarded to other service members outside the Army. Generals of both branches need to approve the medals.

US Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Marc G. Melcher wrote:
"Receiving the decorations was a very exciting and a very proud moment for me personally. I have over 25 years of military service and this was the first time I was involved with another service performing a mission. To be recognized by the Army for my service and contributions to the garrison was a great moment."

SrMsgt Melcher said something that really struck me. He said that he has served for 25 years and this is the first time he has been involved in a joint services mission. Now, I know he doesn't mean we've never worked together - we always do. But, today's forces are really working closely together to achieve mission success. The last time that the US Army and the US Air Force worked this closely was before the Army Air Corps became the United States Air Force. People, we were the same branch of the service some 58 years ago!

The US Army's little brother has grown up, moved out of town far away, and picked a life that is very, very different from his older brother. For many years they just never saw things the same way. When problems came about and "Mom and Dad" needed help, yeah, of course they'd pull together and get the job done! Let's be honest, we are family after all! Yet, when things got back to normal, both brothers would sorta drift off to their respective regular lives. The younger one is a major nerd and into all kinds of techie-things - the older one would just shake his head, "What sorta gadget is he messin' with now?" The older one is completely at home in the outdoors where the air is clean and there are no traffic jams or annoying cell phones - the younger one would just shake his head, "He never reads my e-mail."

Colonel McCagnan recognizes that we are all working together for one cause. And, it's good to hear him say:
"I hope the next guys are at least half as good as these guys because they were great."

Stay Tuned to ...

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