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November 25, 2003

It's time to... Gobble. Gobble. Gobble.

As Americans world wide prepare for Thanksgiving many will reflect on the things that we cherish most and for the majority of the year take for granted. We are thankful for our families, we are thankful for our health, for the food we receive, for the homes we live in, and for Gods blessing on America.

This will be the third time in my adult life that I have spent time in a foreign war torn land. Thank you God, that I can come home to the land that you have graced. The everyday life I have seen would bring tears to the eyes of most civilized people, put fear in their hearts, and pity in their souls. It is the simple thing that we should remember as well, drinking water from a hose if we want, eating at the dirtiest restaurant without fear of food poisoning, walking across a field without fear of a booby trap, pulling over to the side of the road with out driving over a land mine, living in a land that has more ice cream shops than prosthetic leg stores.

I for one am thankful for so many of the simple things America has to offer, toilet paper, toilet seats, more varieties of food than one could count, traffic laws, roads, street lights, police officers, fire departments, sewage systems, on and on and on.

But what we all need to be thankful for is our country itself. We have got, without a doubt the most wonderful country in the world to live in. We have the choice to start a church or open a porno store, the choice to have any job we choose, the chance to start over again, the chance to fall in love and marry whom ever we wish, we have the right to say what we want to say, where we want to say it, in any medium whatsoever. We have the right to view and worship God in the way we feel in our heart. We have the right to defend ourselves and redress grievances against our government for injustice, choose our leaders, and more recently fire our leaders.

We have clean rivers, pristine mountains, lush vegetation, parks, and undreamed of recreational facilities. Can you imagine if you could instantly transport a person from Kosovo or Afghanistan to Las Vegas or Disneyworld, they would go into shock?

Oh, there are those who would complain about the United States that prejudice is rampant, that crime prevails in epidemic proportions throughout our land. These people have never been outside of the United States, ok maybe a trip to Europe. Here, Balkans, the Mideast, there is no such thing as prejudice, it simply is called hate or blood debt, it can last a 100 generations. Here when they deny you a job there is no court you can address your complaint with. Here when they show prejudice, and in many places in the world, they just hang you, or bomb your favorite pizza shop, our burn down your house and rape your children....

The average American cannot tell the difference between a Tajik, Pashtu, or Hazzara. Chances are that less than 1 in 1000 has even heard of these ethnicities. However, in Afghanistan it can mean fear beyond a normal Americans understanding.

What makes America so great is the genius of are founding fathers. All men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, among these the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. What simple words, what a deep philosophy.

We are a nation of laws, rules, regulations, and bureaucracy, and while some may think we are losing rights, these very things provide us with security. Sure, it is a pain to travel a 75 MPH when you're the only one on the road, sure its pain to have building inspector endlessly review your permits and work, what a pain to pay taxes, ...What a blessing to know the rules, have them enforced and then, then if we really disagree with the statute, we then have system where by we can change the rules because each year we have the opportunity to go out in vote. Someday this will be a world wide right, yet, we are so blessed that only a small fraction of those who can do vote.

I love the fact that we can fail, well I hate failing but, without the option of failing who would take the risk. I would say in American business we are the greatest risk takers in the world. And guess what, we are the largest economic power in the world, heck California by itself would be the fifth largest economic power in the world if it were a separate country ...like republic of Texas!

Oh, finally a plug for the Army, a lot Americans do not feel good that their loved ones are overseas, fighting, living, and some dying so far from their families and loved ones. And I know for a fact there are a lot of soldiers that do not like it much either, I am raising my hand now...

But each solider, airman, sailor and Marine knows the importance of their job and what it means. Today, our American Army with her allies, and yes the Germans and the French are with us here, are keeping the horrors of war and terrorism away from America and Europe. By waging the good war here, so far from home, those who have designs on would wound us at home are forced to engage their energy and forces here. We have disrupted their terror cycle. Yes, they can still hurt us on the home front, we should never let down our guard, but we have and will continue to put a dent in there effort. We will wage the war in where we have to, we will win the hearts and minds, we will bring the blessings of prosperity and liberty to places that have only know war. We will build their Armies, build their roads, we will help the orphans, we will build schools, we will build land of promise not of fear, we will build bridges to peace.

God bless you, God bless America, and during this time of thanks we should all whisper a small word of gratitude to the grand Architect of the Universe who has blessed us and our land.

LTC David Francavilla
United States Army


November 21, 2003

What's Wrong With This Picture?

According to a new survey just released about sex, 41 percent of the people interviewed said they would consider having sex for money if the amount offered was large enough. The average female said the amount would have to be at least $100,000 and the average male responded with, "How much do you have on you?"

Okay, just a question that I'd love someone to provide me with some help on. Anybody. This past weekend, two American soldiers are ambushed while travelling in a civilian car in Baghdad. They have concrete blocks dropped on their heads, and then their bodies stripped of all their personal belongings (initial reports they had their throats slashed have been refuted). One could argue, "such is war," but then I would imagine avoiding ambushes is as much a part of war as being caught up in one, yes?

And one month prior to this atack, Lt Colonel Allen West is relieved of his command and now faces a court martial for... threatening a corrupt Iraqi police officer for information regarding an upcoming ambush. Yeah after hours of fruitless interviews by trained interrogators, that mean ol Colonel West actually drug the dirty bastard outside and threatened to shoot his worthless ass. No, no, didn't actually harm him, just threatened to. The prisoner promptly pissed himself, spilled his beans, and the ambush was averted saving American lives. And for his efforts, the good Colonel is looking at spendig years in the same prison as rapists, murders, and thieves.

So my question to you is well. What The Fuck?

Hey did you ever wonder why they have "No Smoking" signs at fireworks factories?


November 21, 2003

Why NASCAR Has Never Impressed Me

So this past weekend I had the opportunity to force myself to watch a NASCAR race from start to finish. Please allow me to recap the entire thing for you....

Green flag. Go! Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Crash. Yellow Flag. Go Slow. Green Flag. Go! Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Crash. Yellow Flag. Go Slow. Green Flag. Go! Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Checkered Flag. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Turn left. Stop.

Now to me, that's just not entertainment. What's the attraction? I can appreciate a good race as much as anyone... some nice Indy/CART racing where you're on a nice road track and you're zooming down straightaways, then turning both left -- here's a concept -- and RIGHT. I can even get into watching drag racing, where it all comes down to the honing of your reflexes and the size of your balls. (Or in the case of Angelle Savoie, the wonderful absence of balls. Never before have I wished so hard to be a motorcycle. Hubba hubba!)

Anyway, here's just a few facts for your NASCAR weenies to chew on...

- Dragsters reach over 300 miles per hour before you have completed reading this sentence.
- One Top Fuel dragster 500 cubic inch Hemi engine makes more horsepower than the first 4 rows at the Daytona 500.
- Under full throttle, a dragster engine consumes 1-1/2 gallons of nitromethane per second; a fully loaded 747 consumes jet fuel at the same rate with 25% less energy being produced.
- A stock Dodge Hemi V8 engine cannot produce enough power to drive the dragster supercharger.
- With 3000 CFM of air being rammed in by the supercharger on overdrive, the fuel mixture is compressed into a near-solid form before ignition. Cylinders run on the verge of hydraulic lock at full throttle.
- At the stoichiometric (stoichiometry: methodology and technology by which quantities of reactants and products in chemical reactions are determined) 1.7:1 air/fuel mixture for nitromethane the flame front temperature measures 7050 degrees F.
- Nitromethane burns yellow. The spectacular white flame seen above the stacks at night is raw burning hydrogen, dissociated from atmospheric water vapor by the searing exhaust gases.
- Dual magnetos supply 44 amps to each spark plug. This is the output of an arc welder in each cylinder.
- Spark plug electrodes are totally consumed during a pass. After ½ way, the engine is dieseling from compression plus the glow of exhaust valves at 1400 degrees F. The engine can only be shut down by cutting the fuel flow.
- If spark momentarily fails early in the run, unburned nitro builds up in the affected cylinders and then explodes with sufficient force to blow cylinder heads off the block in pieces or split the block in half.
- In order to exceed 300 mph in 4.5 seconds dragsters must accelerate an average of over 4G's. In order to reach 200 mph well before half-track, the launch acceleration approaches 8G's.
- Top Fuel Engines turn approximately 540 revolutions from light to light!
- Including the burnout the engine must only survive 900 revolutions under load.
- The current Top Fuel dragster elapsed time record is 4.441 seconds for the quarter mile (10/05/03, Tony Schumacher). The top speed record is 333.00 mph. (533 km/h) as measured over the last 66' of the run (09/28/03 Doug Kalitta).
- The Bottom Line; Assuming all the equipment is paid off, the crew worked for free, and for once NOTHING BLOWS UP, each run costs an estimated $1,000.00 per second.

Putting all of this into perspective: You are driving the average $240,000 NASCAR Winston Cup racecar. Over a mile up the road, a Top Fuel dragster is staged and ready to launch down a quarter mile strip as you pass. You have the advantage of a flying start. You run the stock car hard up through the gears and blast across the starting line and past the dragster at an honest 200 mph. The 'tree' goes green for both of you at that moment.

The dragster launches and starts after you. You keep your foot down hard, but you hear an incredibly brutal whine that sears your eardrums and within 3 seconds the dragster catches and passes you. He beats you to the finish line, a quarter mile away from where you just passed him. Think about it, from a standing start, the dragster had spotted you 200 mph and not only caught, but nearly blasted you off the road when he passed you within a mere 1320 foot long race course.

That folks, is acceleration.

November 18, 2003

Doh, This Needs A Different Title

You know, some people strike me as so fucking stupid, I'm amazed they haven't wandered out in front of a bus by now. I mean it's only a matter of time right? Doesn't our old pal Father Darwin cull out the weak and the stupid eventually? Look, I'm all for speaking up and saying your piece when you've got something to say. But don't spew inflammatory garbage just for the sake of seeing your name in print. That's asinine.

Speaking of asinine, Tom, one of the admins on the EHOWA forums, came up with a pretty funny idea... Forum Survivor. A bunch of users are confined to posting in just this one forum, they had to compete in events, one gets voted out each day... you know the drill. Yesterday everyone had to crap on queue. Yeah, Tom's a strange fellow sometimes. That's why he's an admin.

pretty cool pics from the 101st airborne in iraq


November 16, 2003

Follow The Rules Dammit

Some of you thimbleheads are complaining you don't see regular updates when you're supposed to. And it's the same bunch of thimblehead who bookmark this page instead of the intro page where you have to click [ENTER]. Think that's a coincidence, because it's not. The main page checks what files you have cached and updates as nessecary. Skipping the front page will cause you to see updates older than your father's favorite underwear. So don't do it. Spend the 2 seconds and click [ENTER] you lazy bastards.

So this past weekend I was proudly showing off my condo to a couple of my friends late at night, I led the way to my balcony where there was a big brass gong. "What's that big brass gong?" one of the them asked. "It's not a gong. It's a talking clock," I replied in a drunken stupor. "A talking clock? Seriously?" asked my astonished friend. "Yup," I said. "How's it work?" the other guy asked, squinting at it. "Watch," I mumbled and picked up a hammer, gave it an ear- shattering pound and stepped back. The three of us stood looking at each other for a moment. Suddenly, someone on the other side of the complex screamed: "Hey you asshole! It's ten past three in the morning!"

beijing university -- colorado university


November 14, 2003

We Didn't Start The Fire

It was always burning, since the world's been turning.

We didn't start the fire.

No we didn't light it, but we tried to fight it.


November 11, 2003

Okay, Let's Get It On

Yesterday morning a friend of mine shipped out for a year's deployment in Iraq.

She is a 24 year old medic with the 2nd Infantry Division stationed at Fort Lewis, in Washington state. Her unit will be assigned to a forward command post near Tikrit, Iraq, which if any of you read the newspapers know is Saddam's hometown and one of the last bastions for his supporters. We lose soldiers there almost every week.

After already having spent time on peacekeeping missions in Kosovo, she readily accepted being called upon by her country again. I should also like to point out that she otherwise would be returning from Iraq as a civilian after four months as her enlistment ends (ed) in early March 2004. But she voluntarily extended her commitment to her country for an additional year so as to not, "leave her soldiers behind."

One one hand, I told her she was downright fucking crazy. On the other hand, I respected and even admired her decision. Hey, for a chick, she's got some set of balls.

I don't fear so much for her physical safety; I think the times of this war when a combat medic will have to routinely race into enemy fire to rescue a wounded comrade have faded away. No, I think by the time a medic will be called under today's circumstances, it will be to try to save the life of some other poor bastard who's fallen victim to a sniper attack, RPG assault, or homemade bomb explosion. Sometimes she'll succeed, and sometimes, well, she won't. I fear more for any emotional scars she may carry back home with her, than any physical ones.

She will be joined by another friend of mine, called back to active duty and reporting to Iraq later in December. He will be leaving a son behind and making a return trip to Iraq, after already serving his country in battle some twelve long years ago.

And yet their stories are not unlike any of the other 139,998 stories that each of our troops in Iraq could tell us if they had the chance.

What you may ask, can you John (and Jane!) Q. Public do to make these soldier's burden just a little bit easier to bear? Easy, support them. Regardless of whether or not you supported the war in Iraq, regardless of whether or not you think we should still have troops there, regardless of whether or not you think we should send troops into wherever the hell they're sent to next... support them. Remind them you are grateful for their sacrifice. Remind them that you appreciate the day to day live that you continue to lead while theirs are interrupted and they are stripped away from their friends and family to be sent to a far away place.

And when the opportunity presents itself, as it will now, I ask you to help them.

Today is hereby the official kick off date for our Let's Bring Em Home 2003 campaign, where we all pitch in to purchase plane tickets for junior enlisted military personnel. Normally this wouldn't be happening until much later in the month, but unusual circumstances require unusual actions. Priority will, for obvious reasons, be given to troops returning from Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places of deployment across the globe.

As I'm sure you are well aware, the Department of Defense initiated a "rest and recuperation program". Thus halfway through their deployment, our troops are allowed to come back to our country for fifteen days at a time to spend time with their families. As of right now, the government flies these troops to particular airports here in the continental United States (currently only Baltimore, but soon to open up to Dallas, Atlanta, and a few more major cities), but then it is up to the service member to pay for their airfare to wherever it is they wish to go from there. There is legislation in the mix to remedy that, but as of right now, that's the way it is.

Thanks to an amazing donation by Mr T. Tanner, a subscriber and former enlisted soldier himself, this year's campaign got a head start and exploded out of the starting blocks before the starting pistol even went off. As of this writing, we have already COMPLETED 21 ticket requests -- all soldiers deployed in Iraq, all home with their families RIGHT NOW thanks to the donors of LBEH. We've got another four "R&R" and nine Christmas ticket requests in the queue, and we haven't even officially started until today. This year will be busy.

So. The official site for this year's Let's Bring Em Home campaign is http://www.lbeh.org

I separated it from ehowa.com this year to (a) make the site more accessible to folks using government computers and (b) lend a little more credibility to the program itself. Donations, in any amount, can be sent in one of two ways. The first (preferable) is via paypal.

https://www.paypal.com/xclick/business=paypal@lbeh.org

Or if you prefer to send a check or money order, please make it out to "LBEH.ORG" and mail to:

LBEH.ORG
119 Drum Hill Road, Box #330
Chelmsford Plaza
Chelmsford, MA 01824

Sorry folks, donations are not tax deductible -- getting that set up is a 90 day+ process and we don't have enough time this year, although we should have it set up for next year. All this information along with a snot load more is readily available on the website. Please don't be afraid to ask questions.

Folks, today is Veterans Day. Fly your flag. And Let's Bring Em Home.

Sergeant Kemnitz and Staff Sergeant Gamble.
Keep your heads down, your spirits high, and hurry home.
We salute you.


November 8, 2003

What's Good For The Goose

So I have to admit to having mixed emotions with this Jessica Lynch situation. One one hand she claims the military took advantage of her and exploited her being taken prisoner of war to drum of support for the war. Which even I'll admit, I think is true. Her heroism was built up so much that she really had no choice but to go along with it once she was freed. Now details are surfacing as we the public find she wasn't the guns'a'blazin knife-clenched-in-her-teeth Rambo that she was initially portrayed to be, well it kind of leaves a bitter taste in our mouths. We, as well as Jessica I'm sure, feel somewhat betrayed.

On the other side of the coin, she was so eager to set things straight about this misconception, she wouldn't tell her story without seeing a $1 million dollar book deal first. Not that I'm suggesting she turn the money down, hell no. I'm just curious as to why she's not using all this newfound publicity to do a little more to set things right for those who fought alongside her. Because the other five prisoners of war who were captured in the same tragic turn of events event as Jessica, continue on with their lives in much less splendor that America's favorite Cute Little Blonde Girl currently is.

I'm just not sure what kind of a message that sends.


November 6, 2003

It Starts Earlier Every Year

I remember two years ago with the first LBEH project, we did 28 tickets over a 14 day span and we were damned proud. But much like the Japanese it looks like we're getting faster, cheaper, and more effiecient. Two days ago, I received a request for 21 tickets for soldiers coming in on R&R from Iraq. So to start off this year's project, Kat and I did 21 tickets in about a 12 hour span. Yeah that's right, we bad, we bad. The troops will land here in the Baltimore around 11am on the 8th, tired and stiff from 18 hours of flight, but comforted by the knowledge that they each have a trip home to see their families paid for by grateful Americans such as yourself. A huge thanks to Ted Tanner for making it possible with an enormous fucking donation.

So it appears we'll be starting things off a little earlier than planned (again). We'll set the official kick off for the LBEH project this coming Monday, the morning of the 10th. Please start to paw through your wallets, purses, piggybanks, seat cushions, and wherever else you store your money -- because Monday I'm gonna come a callin.

Here's some pretty amazing pictures of the final flight of the Concorde before it landed in London last month. Not suprisingly the French surrendered theirs a long time ago. Ha!

concorde 1 -- concorde 2 -- concorde 3 -- concorde 4

Me? I'm going to have a few beers to unwind because I know I'm going to be busier than a purple pimp in the coming weeks. Then maybe, I dunno, take a vacation somewhere exotic for awhile. And this my friends, is why John Cusack is the man.


November 3, 2003

I Solve Problems

Problem #1: Despite major combat being officially declared over for over six months now, we continue to see American soldiers killed on a daily basis in Iraq. Hotspots such as Tikrit and Fallujah have been particularly dangerous areas for our troops, as local residents have attacked: ambulances responsing to emergencies, troops rebuilding schools and government buildings, engineers destroying stockpiled munitions, and supply convoys transporting medical supplies. Our forces have been unsucessful in identifying exactly who is behind the attacks, since local residents provide no information despite witnessing the events while they dance around burning vehicles and chant anti-US slogans, and are suspected of harboring these forces loyal to Saddam Hussein and perhaps Al Queda. Until we can neutralize these attackers and those that shelter them, we will continue to lose soldiers every day while we rebuild Iraq.

Problem #2: Aside from one test drop done on a munitions test range under controlled parameters, we have yet to see what our new MOAB can do in a actual combat environment.

So is it me, or do these two problems kind of solve themselves?

To save our troops, we have to go Keyser Soze on their ass. Make them fear us more than they hate us. Pull out and nuke em from orbit, it's the only way to be sure.


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