December 30, 2004

What's up?

Well, I am having a much deserved day off today and plan on doing a little catching up around here. The blog novel is perking right along at just under 10,000 words and is mid-chapter on chapter 4 now. The few people who have seen it, with one notable exception, are enjoying it which is a good sign. Even one of my co-workers who wouldn't know a blog if it walked up and pimp slapped her is having fun reading it, so it seems to appeal to at least one non-blogger as well as to bloggers. Perhaps in another chapter or two I'll publish a link.

Old Scratch has a great link up right now that anyone who loves jets needs to go view. Be kind, though, and do the "Right-Click-Save-As" routine and save the old boy some bandwidth. You'll be glad you saved it, since then you can watch it over and over, again and again. Amazing piece from, where a veritable plethora of visual goodies is available. If you've never gone there, believe me you'll like what you see.

Acidman is busy being the gracious host we all know him to be. Daughter and S.O are visiting and being shown a great time.

I'm under an extreme Spam Attack right now. The email alerts from this piece of crap are coming in faster than bullets in Fallujah while I'm typing this. I've never had this happen before, so this is more than a little disconcerting. I think this slime has hit every post in my archives to drop his poker-spam. HELP!!!

Oh, for crying out loud! Make this shit stop! That makes about 50 right now! Sons of bitches!

How do I add that little "enter what you see" thing to my comment??? Please, someone help!

Update: A knight in shining armor just rode up! Well, I actually waylaid him in IM, but that's not important. Now, if I can get the blacklist to work, I'll be inbusiness. In the meantime, be patient. Comments may be down for a sec, since I'm not as good at this as I'd like to be and goodness only knows what kind of stuff I'll screw up trying to get this right.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 02:16 PM | Comments (2)

December 29, 2004

Oh, my goodness.

Seem's I have attracted the attention of the prince of darkness. He's all full of himself over the Indonesian quake and giving himself "high fives" over the Tsunami. This could get ugly.

Gee, I wonder how I ended up on his blogroll. Must have been something I did in Jawja... Hmmm...

Posted by Mamamontezz at 11:59 AM | Comments (4)


Damn, I miss him.

Update: He's Back!!!! Yay!!! Oh, man, and I was really worried I wasn't going to be getting my daily dose of irreverance and sarcasm. That does me more good sometimes than the Zoloft.

Whew! I feel much better now.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 12:30 AM | Comments (4)

December 27, 2004

Whew... *sigh*

Well, Christmas weekend is finally over and I was treated to a day off. I slept in a bit, blogged nekid, built a new blog for someone (don't ask, don't tell), got a snarky comment from law enforcement. All in all it's been a quiet day.

The progeny is with my parentals, spending some time with the elderly mall-walker set. Her cousin is down from Hartford City for a few days, so the rising, pre-pubescent hormones must be driving them and my poor mother nuts. For the most part, my dad is pretty oblivious. He just turns down the hearing aids and turns up the television and all is right with the world.

Spousal Unit finally turned in his Social Security Disability paperwork, so in about 120 days we will get our first refusal. Then it's a call to the contingency lawyer and we start all over again. I'm hopeful that the bypass, the adult onset diabetes, and the mini-stroke in his optic nerve will get it for him on the first try, but I'm not getting too optimistic. I know how this works, so there are no delusions.

Mortgage payment made in full today, too. Officially caught up! Do I hear an "Amen"? As soon as the January payment is made, I hope to be able to do an automatic deduction every two weeks of half a payment, so that we end up making an extra payment each year. It will also take a great deal of stress off the budget to be able to make two half-payments a month instead of losing an entire paycheck to it in one fell swoop. I can use any little help I can get at this point, and that would be a tremendous one.

The novel is trundling right along. I would like to start chapter 3 tonight or tomorrow. With the growing awareness of blogging and bloggers, I hope to actually get this published. We'll see. Hell, if J.K.Rowling can write on napkins at a sidewalk coffee shop and end up with Harry Potter, why can't our merry little team of bloggers do the same with this? I just hope that no one included in the book decides they don't want to be included. It's all a homage to our friends, and I hope it is seen as such. In the meantime, Doggerel, inject something or I'll be off on another tangent quick.

Well, I'm going to finish this post and my cigarette and head to the parentals' to save them from Progeny. I'll see some of you in chat later this evening, and the rest of you in my comments. Have a good evening. Stay warm. Pray for the folks who need it, whether they realize it or not.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 04:04 PM | Comments (0)

December 26, 2004

Productive Day

Had a relatively productive day yesterday at work. Finished the draft of the first chapter of the online novel, and started the second chapter. Doggerel Pundit and I have been working on this little project for just a short time, only when inspiration hits, and I have to admit I'm kinda pleased with the results so far.

No, I'm not showing it publicly yet. I've shared it with a few folks in IM, but that's as far as it's gone. Soon, perhaps. When it starts to look like something. Maybe. But I'm happy with it.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 11:51 AM | Comments (0)

December 24, 2004

Scrooge, Redux

Ah, just when you need a good laugh, you find one in an improbably place. Isn't that just the way it works?

Today, I found it in the form of a delightful piece at Tech Central Station by Douglas Kern. A Christmas Carol will never be the same for me after reading some of the scenarios Mr. Kern dreamed up. And no one is safe from his sharp wit. Kerry, Edward, Kerik, even zombie maven George A. Romero gets pulled into the mix.

Kinda makes a person wonder how some of my fellow bloggers would have done with the Scrooge story...Hm....I wonder... (hazy dream sequence)

At the Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler, Scrooge is visited by a Ghost of Christmas Past who looks incredibly like a young Golda Mier, a Ghost of Christmas Present with a remarkable resemblance to Yassir Arrafat's mouldering corpse, and a Ghost of Christmas Future who appears as an amazingly buff and well armed member of the IDF. Christmas Past shows him a summer from his idealist youth spent as a Peace Corps member building a school on a Kibbutz, Christmas Present shows him the idiocy of his stance as a self-loathing, Palestinian-embracing, liberal afraid of his own stereotype, and Christmas Future drags Scrooge to Ramallah and points out a hole and stone right next to Arrafat's. Inscribed on the stone are the letters "F.E.T.E." Scrooge immediately goes back to Synagogue, begins voting conservative, and buys several handguns which he distributes to the Cratchet family over Christmas.

At Gutrumbles, Scrooge gets the ghost of Christmas Past so drunk and stoned that they pass out together in an Effingham County juke joint and miss the appearances of the other ghosts completely. Scrooge then takes Christmas Past with him to Costa Rica and they spend six weeks trying to decide how much to tip the maid if she gives them "Extra" room service.

At Parkway RestStop, Scrooge is taken to the Meadowlands and introduced to the Ghost of Christmas Past who looks remarkably like the elder Jimmy Hoffa. He is given an offer he can't refuse and left there to find his own way home, thereby missing the ghosts of Christmas Present and Future who got tired of waiting for him to return to his condo in Atlantic City.

At Inblognito, the Ghost of Christmas Past shows up at the Queenie McScrooge residence with bag of Maui Wowie and a sterling silver one-hitter. Chirstmas Present brings her significant other, Prudence, and tries to argue about HTML tags and FTP hosts, only to have her latex encased, protoplasmic ass handed to her. Christmas Future staggers in from Costa Rica with a rainbow of 9 different shades of lipstick on his Roscoe. He had spent the last week trying to find out why Christmas Past had such a good time there with that scrawny Jawja Scrooge, only to find out, but now has only a sketchy recollection of events. Queenie McScrooge wakes up 3 days later and doesn't remember any of it, but does acknowledge having some pretty interesting new flashbacks.

In Spatulaville, Christmas Past, Present and Future each are pimp-slapped by Lord Spatula when he mistakes each of them for trolls from the comment threads at both his blog and the Rottie. They stagger from the front porch and fall into the bushes, where the local constabulary find them and mistake them for hippies and arrest them. They are cuffed, stuffed into the backs of three squad cars, and ceremoniously booked, printed, strip-searched, deloused, interrogated, and placed in the tank with 17 members of the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang, Laredo chapter. The next morning, they are found stuffed into the ventilation shaft, through the grate, and are charged with attempting to escape.

At Protein Wisdom, Scrooge consumes Velveta and blackberry jam sandwiches with Boones Farm Sangria in the company of a beautiful, young woman who tells him that she cannot date him. She is, she insists, engaged in a profoundly intimate relationship with the Ghost of Christmas Trout, and so rebuffs Scrooge. Scrooge then drives his vintage AMC Gremlin to Gallup, New Mexico to breakfast on pancakes at Gabriel's Kitchen along a straight stretch of Route 66. He then proceeds to Dallas. There he sits in the easement along the interstate with a steno pad and ultrafine Sharpie and composes haiku about Velveeta and blackberry jam sandwiches and the inhumanity of being in Dallas when the AAA counter girl distinctly stated she was planning his route to Shelbyville, Indiana.

At Emigre with a Digital Cluebat, Scrooge is up watching bondage p0rn when the Ghost of Christmas Past shows up in what he mistakes is a long white nightie. He quickly subdues her, trusses her up, and proceeds to spank her ample bottom until she squeals and begs to be let go. When Christmas Present shows up, he is so shocked at the scene, that he leaves immediately and goes to a gay bath house in Cinncinati for consolation. Christmas Future, however, is undaunted at what he sees, and quickly picks up a smooth leather paddle and joins Scrooge in punishing Christmas Past. Eventually they release her, and she is so grateful that she [CENSORED]. Scrooge and Christmas Future sit down to a bit of single malt, a good Dominican cigar and a discussion on how hard it is to find good submissives these days, while Christmas Past kneels on the floor in the corner awaiting her next command.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 08:40 PM | Comments (5)

Merry Christmas

Well, it was an inevitability so I was actually prepared for it this year.

Because of staffing and attendance, I will be spending a lovely Christmas day nestled in the warm bosom of my place of employment. No, this is not a complaint, merely a statement of fact.

A hospital never closes for weekends or holidays. It never sleeps, never takes vacations, never stops doing what it does. And someone has to staff it.

So I will be sitting in my dark blue office chair, headset on, logged into the computer network and the telephone system, performing my duties as pleasantly and efficiently as possible. And no one who calls in for information on a loved one, or to contact another employee similarly situated will ever be aware that I am missing Christmas with my family.

If anything, my enthusiasm and humor will mask any disappointment.

Yes, someone has to be here. It may as well be me.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 06:24 PM | Comments (5)

Christmas in Baghdad

I wrote this last year at Christmas time, and liked it so much that I thought I'd repost it. There just isn't much Christmas Spirit around the Manse Montezz this year, which makes it difficult to write about Christmas the way it really truly deseves.

So sit back, put your arm around your loved one, even if it's only in your minds eye or your soft, fleeting dreams, and enjoy your Christmas. And send a few tender thoughts overseas where there isn't much "Love and Joy" these days.

The snow flakes dance
In the cold winter air,
And people walk by
With nary a care,
Shopping for presents
For under the tree
The present I want
Won't be there for me.

I put my kisses in a little package,
And tied them with a ribbon soft and red.
I know that I could save them 'til you're with me,
But I'll hand them off to Santa Claus instead.
He'll take the little gift of all my kisses
And pack them in his regulation pack.
When he's gotten clearance through the No-Fly-Zone,
He'll visit every unit in Iraq.

I hope that Santa comes to visit you in Baghdad
And brings you all my love wrapped up in blue,
So on that chilly Christmas morn in Baghdad,
You'll know how much your family misses you.

I hold your picture up for little Billy.
He smiles and giggles when he sees your face.
He stretches out his tender little fingers,
And reaches for his daddy's strong embrace.
Your princess listens to your every letter.
I see her swell with pride at what you say
About the little children there in Baghdad,
And how their lives get better every day.

I hope that Santa comes to visit you in Baghdad
With presents from your little girl and boy,
So on that chilly Christmas morn in Baghdad
You share your little children's Christmas joy.

You're cold in the desert,
I'm warm in our home,
And although we miss you
It's you that's alone.
Please tell the Sentry
On duty tonight
To please watch for Santa
On his yearly flight.

I pray that Santa comes to visit you in Baghdad
And brings you all my love wrapped up in blue,
So on that chilly Christmas morn in Baghdad,
You'll know how much your family cares for you.

Merry Christmas, to all of our brave young men and women in Iraq, Afganistan, Korea, Yugoslavia, all the ships at sea and in dock, the many bases, forts, outposts, and naval stations at home and abroad. Merry Christmas to the people they love, and who love them in return.

And Merry Christmas to the Gentlemen of the USMC at Cherry Point, NC. Those of you who have read recently, even if you haven't commented, are welcome here any time. Don't worry about commenting. Just feel at home.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 04:08 AM | Comments (2)

December 22, 2004

Obese Confessions.

No, I don't take any offense at this, because I know that Acidman loves to stir up the pot and see what boils out first. And no, I'm not going to get all defensive and pout and cry in the corner and nurse my bruised ego over it either. It's counter-productive whining, and I don't go in for that crap. What I am going to do is tell you a little about my history with obesity.

When I was born, I was a large infant. None of the three of us kids was under 8 pounds. I was the largest, at just over 10 pounds. My parents were quite small. My mother was a size 10 at the time, and my dad, who was in the Air Force, wore a 15 1/2 shirt and a size 38 short uniform.

Back in 1957, almost all kids were bottle-fed. Well, on the formula that my mother fed me, I ballooned. I looked like a beachball with fat, creased arms and legs and a round, bald head. Even before I had gotten old enough to crawl, I was so large that my mother took me to the peds doctor at the base hospital, who put me on a diet (yes, an infant on a diet) of Skim Milk. We're talking zero fat. No food, yet. Just skim milk reconstituted from the powdered contents of a Carnation box. And I continued to gain weight.

I walked early, I talked early, I was happy and easy to take care of as a child. I ran, rode my trike all over, played Combat, and Cowboys and Indians with the neighbor kids, but I continued to grow. So again a trip to the peds doctor, who measured and tested and drew blood and did all the things they did back then and contiune to do today. And do you know what he told my mother? "Keep her clean, dress her well, and she'll be happy. She's always going to be large." Large? Large was an understatement.

In the summer between kindergarten and 1st grade I distinctly remember weighing 99 pounds. I remember that because it seemed to me that it was almost the only topic of discussion at my grandmother's farm when we visited between duty assignments in Hawaii and Dover.

In California during the 4th grade, I was put on a 1,000 calorie diet and dropped from 135 pounds to 125 pounds. I was over 5 feet tall when I started the 6th grade, and still weighed 125. I was larger than my mother. By now, however, we were in Indiana, and I was in the process beginning the Great Hormone Wars. Just like my fellow students at both Jr. High and High School, puberty was not kind, and during its course I doubled my weight before I entered college.

After that I yo-yo'ed up and down, Weight Watchers (too much food), Overeaters Annonymous (low carb, it helped temporarily), Weight Watchers again and again, and my weight seemed to always be near the 300 pound mark. Sure, I got as low as 220 once. But each time it came back with a vengance.

Finally, 8 years ago, at age 39, I had gotten to 370 pounds. I had been pregnant 2 years earlier and had gained only 20 pounds, lost all of it, but was still at 370 pounds. I wasn't able to sleep in a bed, so I slept in a chair. Didn't eat. Didn't want to. I ate just about 1500-2000 calories a day, and chased a toddler all day. And worked all evening or night, depending on the shift I was pulling. So when the opportunity came for a surgical "cure" I jumped at it. After fighting with the insurance company for a full year, it was finally approved, and I had my surgery.

Sylastic Ring-Vertical Gastroplasty. Stapled and strictured with the equivalent of an elastic band to keep the opening between the small part and the big part of my stomach from stretching. What this achieved was that for months all I could eat was pureed food. First one ounce per meal, then two, then gradually up to about the equivalent of a cup. One cup. And nothing to drink before, during, or immediately after a meal, or it all comes back up again. Vomitting as dietary enforcement.

And I lost weight. 120 pounds in one year. I lost a person. I was walking almost 3 miles a day, lifting weights, doing the machines at the fitness center at the hospital every day. I had reached the point where I could actually run for a few feet, walk for a while, then run for a little longer. I was toning and losing weight. Sure, I had to give up a lot of the foods I enjoyed because I was no longer capable of eating them. Steak, soft breads, rice, al dente pasta, all lost to me forever. And I didn't even really miss them. I was happy at my progress and they seemed a small loss for what I was achieving.

Then one day, on my way into work, I didn't see the rock that lay before me on the sidewalk, and I stepped on it. It rolled my foot over sideway, torqued out one knee, smashed the other, damaging them to the point where I was unable to walk correctly, and tore up my ankle. The orthopaedic surgeon that the hospital personnel clinic sent me to said I have no cartilege left in either knee, but that I was too young for a replacement. Of course, the replacement is the only thing that will give me back my mobility.

But I refuse to use the electric carts at the store. I walk. The more I walk, the more pain there is, but at least I have been able to keep from gaining back all that I worked so hard to lose. That's been 6 yrs ago. I weigh between 270 and 280, depending on water and hormones.

I'm proud of what I was able to accomplish, and continue to accomplish, by keeping my weight down to where it is now. It might look like I'm a failure, but I assure you, I am not. I'm just big. Always have been. Always will be. At least I'm not on a walker like I was before my stomach surgery. And some days every step feels like an ice pick shoved up into my legs, but I still take the stairs. And the stares. Screw'em. If they don't have anything better to stare at, at least I'll give them a show.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 03:15 AM | Comments (17)

December 20, 2004

Letters Wanted

This post will remain at the top of the site until after December 20th as a reminder to get those letters written. Additional posts are stacking up below, so scroll down for the new stuff.

SlagleRock has a call for letters to the troops. He has a friend and comrade in arms who will be deploying on Christmas Eve, and this friend has challenged him to produce more letters than the previous letter drive. The plan is that they will be printed and carried into Iraq to be distributed as far and wide as they can be.

The last drive netted 320 letters, all of which were printed and distributed. Do you think we can top 500 in this drive?

Go read his post, and drop your letters into his comments. Or post one on your site with a trackback to him. He will get any letters left in the comment threads of posts tracked back to his post. You can also leave them here.

This post will remain at the top of this site until December 20th, when hopefully we will have enough letters to spread a lot of holiday wishes. They may be late for Christmas, but that's no reason not to bid them good cheer.

Write. This is your homework assignment for the month. Don't make me get out my red pencil.

Update 12/7: I just got word from Slagle that we have received 50 letters, 10% of our goal. We have 17 days before the letters are carried onto an airplane bound for Iraq. We're not asking for huge essays here, just a few words of kindness, a brief look at home, and wishes for health and safety.

"My kid did this," "the dog saw snow for the first time," "I wish you could have seen the look" kinds of things can lighten a day. A few brief, personal letters will make more impact and be passed further than something more serious, however well written.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 11:46 PM | Comments (5)

December 19, 2004

White Christmas

That classic old movie is on today. You know, it has been a favorite of mine for as long as I remember, and when I received my very first VCR for Christmas one year, I made it a point to find a copy of that movie. It has been a part of the video library for as long as I have had VCRs and I still dig it out and watch it, spring, summer, fall or winter.

I certainly hope it comes on again before the season's over. Love that movie.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 05:39 PM | Comments (3)

Why, why, why?

Why is this woman's blog still a "Slithering Reptile"? Could it be because not enough people have put her in their blogrolls? Surely not, since I know all of my readers enjoy a good read, and all of you have her linked...

Don't you?

Posted by Mamamontezz at 04:15 AM | Comments (1)

Oh, My, Queenie!

I just hustled over to Queenie's place, Inblognito, and had a solid smack of nostalgia right across my ample behind. I'm still laughing.

Queenie's not for the faint of heart, women who are nursing, those with diagnosed coronary artery disease, nuns, Baptist ministers, or members of the Kiwanis. But the rest of you, if you don't have her in your blogrolls, you're missing a gen-u-ine treat. She's kinda like me, but with no filter and a much more interesting past. Well, more interesting than the stuff I'll admit to on a blog anyway.

And *sigh* she loves me! And it's mutual. If she's not at the next Jawja Blogmeet I'm able to attend, I will be soooo disappointed.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 02:46 AM | Comments (5)

December 17, 2004

Alas, I never knew ye...

I never had the opportunity to meet Cpl Kyle Renehan. I've known his younger brother, Spence, through the Rottweiler's "Loyal Citizen Chat" for a long time, talking sometimes into the wee hours during times when he just needed someone to listen.

The event of Kyle's injury and death was very hard on him, as it would be on any brother in the same situation, but not knowing what kind of person Kyle was I didn't know the whole story. I wondered if I would ever know.

Today, on the USMC website we find some insight into what sort of man Cpl Renehan was. My favorite part?

According to Cpl. Curtis A. Smith, 23, a communications technician with Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 263 and a Virginia Beach, Va., native, Renehan was a close friend who would always find ways to have fun.

During the MEU's urban training in Morgantown, W.Va., he and Renehan were manning a position on a small hill to control aircraft. At one point a small wooden structure was brought out to them to work from. According to Smith, the thing looked like an old lemonade stand.

"Renehan, being the jokester he is, makes this little sign that said 'Lemonade $.25,' and hangs it out in front," Smith said. "Then he just changed the call sign to lemonade stand. So for the rest of the time, when the aircraft would come, he would say 'this is the lemonade stand, make sure you stop by for $.25 lemonade when you get back.'"

Take the time to read the rest of the item.

And also, please take the time to read his Baltimore Sun obituary and to sign the guest book for his family. The guestbook will remain open until January 16, 2005 for your condolences.

Thanks to LCBeth for this information.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 10:55 PM | Comments (0)

December 16, 2004


One of the best things about the Christmas Season? Hickory Farms Beef Stick.

I mean to tell you, that greasy flavorful hunk of cured meat and preservatives is the highlight of December for this chick. As a matter of fact, I have one right here now, sitting next to the mousepad, with a sharp lockback knife shoved into it for convenience and snacking pleasure.

Mmmm. I sure do love'em.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 11:15 PM | Comments (6)


There has been a person or persons recently who have been trying busily to inject viruses and parasitic nasties into my system in mails that reference this blog. And persistent? Goodness, I do believe that if I looked up the word 'Persistent" in the Webster Collegiate, this pest's picture would probably be there.

Well, even I have to admire such determination, but still I have but one thing to say to you: Give it up.

You're just not going to succeed in your mad little attempts to subvert my modest little blog. I have taken a few extreme precautions to guarantee that you won't. I am so confident in these measures, in fact, that I am going to divulge a few of these precautions to you now. You see, all mail to me, either through the comment feature of my blog or otherwise, is captured by off-shore servers in the hold of a decrepit freighter with Liberian registry, which in turn sends it to where it rigorously screened by a group of genetically enhanced middle school computer students living on base at a top secret military research facility at some desolate location in the Nevada Desert, Groom Lake I believe but no one will tell me exactly.

From there it is transmitted to Australia via a T-1 hidden in the rafters of a thatched hut on the beach in Tonga. In Australia, the data is converted from the traditional binary of 0's and 1's to O's and Z's and fired over to Bahrain. There it is converted back into traditional binary and transmitted to a hyper modified Commodore 64 on a table in the guestroom of an anonymous Estonian blogger.

After being rigorously subjected to no less than four state of the art anti-virus programs, then filtered through a top secret nuclear powered super computer in geo-synchronous orbit over Moscow, the signal is lasered to earth by bouncing the intense light beam back and forth between 13 different communications satellites and finally down to the servers at the NIH, which in turn uploads them into the Yahoo servers where they are promptly delivered to my mailbox.

So give it up.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 11:04 PM | Comments (4)

December 15, 2004

White Chilli

Yes, I know some of you will cry "Heretic" and "Blasphemer" when you see this, but I happen to really like this recipe. No, it's not really chilli in the strictest sense of the word, but it's the closest thing I could find that appoximates it.

In a big dutch oven or heavy stewpot, put some olive oil and a whole large onion chopped up. Sweat the onions until they're soft, but don't brown them. Then toss in one bag of dry Great Northern beans that you've sorted and rinced, two small cans of chopped mild green chillis, a few rings of japaleno pepper minced, some of the juice from the japaleno jar, some minced garlic, and top with a whole chicken or an equivalent amout of chicken parts and water or chicken broth to just cover. Add a good mounded teaspoon of salt or two to help with the beans, then simmer covered until the chicken is tender and done.

When the chicken is done, remove it and let it set until it is cool enough to handle. Take the meat from the bones, tear it into nice bite-sized pieces and put them back into the pot with the still simmering beans.

At this point, taste it for seasoning and add more salt if it needs it. Add pepper, and shake in either six healthy shots of tobasco or a similar amount of hot green sauce. Stir it all together and let it continue to cook uncovered at a simmer. Stir it occasionally and the broth will thicken as some of the beans break down.

Cook this until the beans are really tender. Serve it with shredded cheese and sour cream. It's a little bit soupier than a traditional chilli, so you can add pasta shells if you like, or a handful of rice when you put the chicken back in. It's also good ladled over a mound of steamed rice in the bottom of a warm stoneware bowl.

Sure, it looks funny if you compare it to traditional chilli, but it sure does taste good.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 11:36 PM | Comments (3)

Bunny Break

Bill said he needed a Kitten Break, but I don't want to incur the wrath of He Who Abhors Cat-Blogging. So we're having a Bunny Break instead. Goodness only knows, I don't want to be called a Cat-Blogger.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 01:12 AM | Comments (6)

December 14, 2004

"Taking Chance" -A Revisting

In April of this year, Matt at Blackfive posted this account by Lt. Col. M.R. Stroble, USMC. Given the events of the last several days, and because I just needed to read it again, I am reproducing the account in its entirety.

I found it as moving and profound in this most recent reading as I did the first time I encountered it those many months ago.

23 Apr 04 – The enclosed article was written by LtCol M.R. Strobl USMC who is assigned to MCCDC Quantico, VA and served as the officer who escorted the remains of PFC C. Phelps USMC from Dover AFB, DE to his home. PFC Phelps was assigned to 3d Bn, 11th Marines – an artillery unit functioning as a provisional infantry battalion during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM 2. PFC Phelps was killed in action from a gunshot wound received on 9 Apr 04 during combat operations west of Baghdad. He was buried in Dubois, WY on 17 Apr 04.

Chance Phelps was wearing his Saint Christopher medal when he was killed on Good Friday. Eight days later, I handed the medallion to his mother. I didn’t know Chance before he died. Today, I miss him.

Over a year ago, I volunteered to escort the remains of Marines killed in Iraq should the need arise. The military provides a uniformed escort for all casualties to ensure they are delivered safely to the next of kin and are treated with dignity and respect along the way.

Thankfully, I hadn’t been called on to be an escort since Operation Iraqi Freedom began. The first few weeks of April, however, had been a tough month for the Marines. On the Monday after Easter I was reviewing Department of Defense press releases when I saw that a Private First Class Chance Phelps was killed in action outside of Baghdad. The press release listed his hometown—the same town I’m from. I notified our Battalion adjutant and told him that, should the duty to escort PFC Phelps fall to our Battalion, I would take him.

I didn’t hear back the rest of Monday and all day Tuesday until 1800. The Battalion duty NCO called my cell phone and said I needed to be ready to leave for Dover Air Force Base at 1900 in order to escort the remains of PFC Phelps.

Before leaving for Dover I called the major who had the task of informing Phelps’s parents of his death. The major said the funeral was going to be in Dubois, Wyoming. (It turned out that PFC Phelps only lived in my hometown for his senior year of high school.) I had never been to Wyoming and had never heard of Dubois.
With two other escorts from Quantico, I got to Dover AFB at 2330 on Tuesday night. First thing on Wednesday we reported to the mortuary at the base. In the escort lounge there were about half a dozen Army soldiers and about an equal number of Marines waiting to meet up with “their” remains for departure. PFC Phelps was not ready, however, and I was told to come back on Thursday. Now, at Dover with nothing to do and a solemn mission ahead, I began to get depressed.

I was wondering about Chance Phelps. I didn’t know anything about him; not even what he looked like. I wondered about his family and what it would be like to meet them. I did pushups in my room until I couldn’t do any more.

On Thursday morning I reported back to the mortuary. This time there was a new group of Army escorts and a couple of the Marines who had been there Wednesday. There was also an Air Force captain there to escort his brother home to San Diego.

We received a brief covering our duties, the proper handling of the remains, the procedures for draping a flag over a casket, and of course, the paperwork attendant to our task. We were shown pictures of the shipping container and told that each one contained, in addition to the casket, a flag. I was given an extra flag since Phelps’s parents were divorced. This way they would each get one. I didn’t like the idea of stuffing the flag into my luggage but I couldn’t see carrying a large flag, folded for presentation to the next of kin, through an airport while in my Alpha uniform. It barely fit into my suitcase.

It turned out that I was the last escort to leave on Thursday. This meant that I repeatedly got to participate in the small ceremonies that mark all departures from the Dover AFB mortuary.

Most of the remains are taken from Dover AFB by hearse to the airport in Philadelphia for air transport to their final destination. When the remains of a service member are loaded onto a hearse and ready to leave the Dover mortuary, there is an announcement made over the building’s intercom system. With the announcement, all service members working at the mortuary, regardless of service branch, stop work and form up along the driveway to render a slow ceremonial salute as the hearse departs. Escorts also participated in each formation until it was their time to leave.

On this day there were some civilian workers doing construction on the mortuary grounds. As each hearse passed, they would stop working and place their hard hats over their hearts. This was my first sign that my mission with PFC Phelps was larger than the Marine Corps and that his family and friends were not grieving alone.

Eventually I was the last escort remaining in the lounge. The Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant in charge of the Marine liaison there came to see me. He had Chance Phelps’s personal effects. He removed each item; a large watch, a wooden cross with a lanyard, two loose dog tags, two dog tags on a chain, and a Saint Christopher medal on a silver chain. Although we had been briefed that we might be carrying some personal effects of the deceased, this set me aback. Holding his personal effects, I was starting to get to know Chance Phelps.

Finally we were ready. I grabbed my bags and went outside. I was somewhat startled when I saw the shipping container, loaded three-quarters of the way in to the back of a black Chevy Suburban that had been modified to carry such cargo. This was the first time I saw my “cargo” and I was surprised at how large the shipping container was. The Master Gunnery Sergeant and I verified that the name on the container was Phelps’s then they pushed him the rest of the way in and we left. Now it was PFC Chance Phelps’s turn to receive the military—and construction workers’—honors. He was finally moving towards home.

As I chatted with the driver on the hour-long trip to Philadelphia, it became clear that he considered it an honor to be able to contribute in getting Chance home. He offered his sympathy to the family. I was glad to finally be moving yet apprehensive about what things would be like at the airport. I didn’t want this package to be treated like ordinary cargo, but I knew that the simple logistics of moving around a box this large would have to overrule my preferences.

When we got to the Northwest Airlines cargo terminal at the Philadelphia airport, the cargo handler and hearse driver pulled the shipping container onto a loading bay while I stood to the side and executed a slow salute. Once Chance was safely in the cargo area, and I was satisfied that he would be treated with due care and respect, the hearse driver drove me over to the passenger terminal and dropped me off.

As I walked up to the ticketing counter in my uniform, a Northwest employee started to ask me if I knew how to use the automated boarding pass dispenser. Before she could finish another ticketing agent interrupted her. He told me to go straight to the counter then explained to the woman that I was a military escort. She seemed embarrassed. The woman behind the counter already had tears in her eyes as I was pulling out my government travel voucher. She struggled to find words but managed to express her sympathy for the family and thank me for my service. She upgraded my ticket to first class.

After clearing security, I was met by another Northwest Airline employee at the gate. She told me a representative from cargo would be up to take me down to the tarmac to observe the movement and loading of PFC Phelps. I hadn’t really told any of them what my mission was but they all knew.

When the man from the cargo crew met me, he, too, struggled for words. On the tarmac, he told me stories of his childhood as a military brat and repeatedly told me that he was sorry for my loss. I was starting to understand that, even here in Philadelphia, far away from Chance’s hometown, people were mourning with his family.

On the tarmac, the cargo crew was silent except for occasional instructions to each other. I stood to the side and saluted as the conveyor moved Chance to the aircraft. I was relieved when he was finally settled into place. The rest of the bags were loaded and I watched them shut the cargo bay door before heading back up to board the aircraft.

One of the pilots had taken my carry-on bag himself and had it stored next to the cockpit door so he could watch it while I was on the tarmac. As I boarded the plane, I could tell immediately that the flight attendants had already been informed of my mission. They seemed a little choked up as they led me to my seat.

About 45 minutes into our flight I still hadn’t spoken to anyone except to tell the first class flight attendant that I would prefer water. I was surprised when the flight attendant from the back of the plane suddenly appeared and leaned down to grab my hands. She said, “I want you to have this” as she pushed a small gold crucifix, with a relief of Jesus, into my hand. It was her lapel pin and it looked somewhat worn. I suspected it had been hers for quite some time. That was the only thing she said to me the entire flight.

When we landed in Minneapolis, I was the first one off the plane. The pilot himself escorted me straight down the side stairs of the exit tunnel to the tarmac. The cargo crew there already knew what was on this plane. They were unloading some of the luggage when an Army sergeant, a fellow escort who had left Dover earlier that day, appeared next to me. His “cargo” was going to be loaded onto my plane for its continuing leg. We stood side by side in the dark and executed a slow salute as Chance was removed from the plane. The cargo crew at Minneapolis kept Phelps’s shipping case separate from all the other luggage as they waited to take us to the cargo area. I waited with the soldier and we saluted together as his fallen comrade was loaded onto the plane.

My trip with Chance was going to be somewhat unusual in that we were going to have an overnight stopover. We had a late start out of Dover and there was just too much traveling ahead of us to continue on that day. (We still had a flight from Minneapolis to Billings, Montana, then a five-hour drive to the funeral home. That was to be followed by a 90-minute drive to Chance’s hometown.)

I was concerned about leaving him overnight in the Minneapolis cargo area. My ten-minute ride from the tarmac to the cargo holding area eased my apprehension. Just as in Philadelphia, the cargo guys in Minneapolis were extremely respectful and seemed honored to do their part. While talking with them, I learned that the cargo supervisor for Northwest Airlines at the Minneapolis airport is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Marine Corps Reserves. They called him for me and let me talk to him.

Once I was satisfied that all would be okay for the night, I asked one of the cargo crew if he would take me back to the terminal so that I could catch my hotel’s shuttle. Instead, he drove me straight to the hotel himself. At the hotel, the Lieutenant Colonel called me and said he would personally pick me up in the morning and bring me back to the cargo area.

Before leaving the airport, I had told the cargo crew that I wanted to come back to the cargo area in the morning rather than go straight to the passenger terminal. I felt bad for leaving Chance overnight and wanted to see the shipping container where I had left it for the night. It was fine.

The Lieutenant Colonel made a few phone calls then drove me around to the passenger terminal. I was met again by a man from the cargo crew and escorted down to the tarmac. The pilot of the plane joined me as I waited for them to bring Chance from the cargo area. The pilot and I talked of his service in the Air Force and how he missed it.

I saluted as Chance was moved up the conveyor and onto the plane. It was to be a while before the luggage was to be loaded so the pilot took me up to the board the plane where I could watch the tarmac from a window. With no other passengers yet on board, I talked with the flight attendants and one of the cargo guys. He had been in the Navy and one of the attendants had been in the Air Force. Everywhere I went, people were continuing to tell me their relationship to the military. After all the baggage was aboard, I went back down to the tarmac, inspected the cargo bay, and watched them secure the door.

When we arrived at Billings, I was again the first off the plane. This time Chance’s shipping container was the first item out of the cargo hold. The funeral director had driven five hours up from Riverton, Wyoming to meet us. He shook my hand as if I had personally lost a brother.

We moved Chance to a secluded cargo area. Now it was time for me to remove the shipping container and drape the flag over the casket. I had predicted that this would choke me up but I found I was more concerned with proper flag etiquette than the solemnity of the moment. Once the flag was in place, I stood by and saluted as Chance was loaded onto the van from the funeral home. I was thankful that we were in a small airport and the event seemed to go mostly unnoticed. I picked up my rental car and followed Chance for five hours until we reached Riverton. During the long trip I imagined how my meeting with Chance’s parents would go. I was very nervous about that.

When we finally arrived at the funeral home, I had my first face to face meeting with the Casualty Assistance Call Officer. It had been his duty to inform the family of Chance’s death. He was on the Inspector/Instructor staff of an infantry company in Salt Lake City, Utah and I knew he had had a difficult week.

Inside I gave the funeral director some of the paperwork from Dover and discussed the plan for the next day. The service was to be at 1400 in the high school gymnasium up in Dubois, population about 900, some 90 miles away. Eventually, we had covered everything. The CACO had some items that the family wanted to be inserted into the casket and I felt I needed to inspect Chance’s uniform to ensure everything was proper. Although it was going to be a closed casket funeral, I still wanted to ensure his uniform was squared away.

Earlier in the day I wasn’t sure how I’d handle this moment. Suddenly, the casket was open and I got my first look at Chance Phelps. His uniform was immaculate—a tribute to the professionalism of the Marines at Dover. I noticed that he wore six ribbons over his marksmanship badge; the senior one was his Purple Heart. I had been in the Corps for over 17 years, including a combat tour, and was wearing eight ribbons. This Private First Class, with less than a year in the Corps, had already earned six.

The next morning, I wore my dress blues and followed the hearse for the trip up to Dubois. This was the most difficult leg of our trip for me. I was bracing for the moment when I would meet his parents and hoping I would find the right words as I presented them with Chance’s personal effects.

We got to the high school gym about four hours before the service was to begin. The gym floor was covered with folding chairs neatly lined in rows. There were a few townspeople making final preparations when I stood next to the hearse and saluted as Chance was moved out of the hearse. The sight of a flag-draped coffin was overwhelming to some of the ladies.

We moved Chance into the gym to the place of honor. A Marine sergeant, the command representative from Chance’s battalion, met me at the gym. His eyes were watery as he relieved me of watching Chance so that I could go eat lunch and find my hotel.

At the restaurant, the table had a flier announcing Chance’s service. Dubois High School gym; two o’ clock. It also said that the family would be accepting donations so that they could buy flak vests to send to troops in Iraq.

I drove back to the gym at a quarter after one. I could’ve walked—you could walk to just about anywhere in Dubois in ten minutes. I had planned to find a quiet room where I could take his things out of their pouch and untangle the chain of the Saint Christopher medal from the dog tag chains and arrange everything before his parents came in. I had twice before removed the items from the pouch to ensure they were all there—even though there was no chance anything could’ve fallen out. Each time, the two chains had been quite tangled. I didn’t want to be fumbling around trying to untangle them in front of his parents. Our meeting, however, didn’t go as expected.

I practically bumped into Chance’s step-mom accidentally and our introductions began in the noisy hallway outside the gym. In short order I had met Chance’s step-mom and father followed by his step-dad and, at last, his mom. I didn’t know how to express to these people my sympathy for their loss and my gratitude for their sacrifice. Now, however, they were repeatedly thanking me for bringing their son home and for my service. I was humbled beyond words.

I told them that I had some of Chance’s things and asked if we could try to find a quiet place. The five of us ended up in what appeared to be a computer lab—not what I had envisioned for this occasion.

After we had arranged five chairs around a small table, I told them about our trip. I told them how, at every step, Chance was treated with respect, dignity, and honor. I told them about the staff at Dover and all the folks at Northwest Airlines. I tried to convey how the entire Nation, from Dover to Philadelphia, to Minneapolis, to Billings, and Riverton expressed grief and sympathy over their loss.

Finally, it was time to open the pouch. The first item I happened to pull out was Chance’s large watch. It was still set to Baghdad time. Next were the lanyard and the wooden cross. Then the dog tags and the Saint Christopher medal. This time the chains were not tangled. Once all of his items were laid out on the table, I told his mom that I had one other item to give them. I retrieved the flight attendant’s crucifix from my pocket and told its story. I set that on the table and excused myself. When I next saw Chance’s mom, she was wearing the crucifix on her lapel.

By 1400 most of the seats on the gym floor were filled and people were finding seats in the fixed bleachers high above the gym floor. There were a surprising number of people in military uniform. Many Marines had come up from Salt Lake City. Men from various VFW posts and the Marine Corps League occupied multiple rows of folding chairs. We all stood as Chance’s family took their seats in the front.

It turned out that Chance’s sister, a Petty Officer in the Navy, worked for a Rear Admiral—the Chief of Naval Intelligence—at the Pentagon. The Admiral had brought many of the sailors on his staff with him to Dubois pay respects to Chance and support his sister. After a few songs and some words from a Navy Chaplain, the Admiral took the microphone and told us how Chance had died.

Chance was an artillery cannoneer and his unit was acting as provisional military police outside of Baghdad. Chance had volunteered to man a .50 caliber machine gun in the turret of the leading vehicle in a convoy. The convoy came under intense fire but Chance stayed true to his post and returned fire with the big gun, covering the rest of the convoy, until he was fatally wounded.

Then the commander of the local VFW post read some of the letters Chance had written home. In letters to his mom he talked of the mosquitoes and the heat. In letters to his stepfather he told of the dangers of convoy operations and of receiving fire.

The service was a fitting tribute to this hero. When it was over, we stood as the casket was wheeled out with the family following. The casket was placed onto a horse-drawn carriage for the mile-long trip from the gym, down the main street, then up the steep hill to the cemetery. I stood alone and saluted as the carriage departed the high school. I found my car and joined Chance’s convoy.

The town seemingly went from the gym to the street. All along the route, the people had lined the street and were waving small American flags. The flags that were otherwise posted were all at half-staff. For the last quarter mile up the hill, local boy scouts, spaced about 20 feet apart, all in uniform, held large flags. At the foot of the hill, I could look up and back and see the enormity of our procession. I wondered how many people would be at this funeral if it were in, say, Detroit or Los Angeles—probably not as many as were here in little Dubois, Wyoming.

The carriage stopped about 15 yards from the grave and the military pall bearers and the family waited until the men of the VFW and Marine Corps league were formed up and school busses had arrived carrying many of the people from the procession route. Once the entire crowd was in place, the pallbearers came to attention and began to remove the casket from the caisson. As I had done all week, I came to attention and executed a slow ceremonial salute as Chance was being transferred from one mode of transport to another.

From Dover to Philadelphia; Philadelphia to Minneapolis; Minneapolis to Billings; Billings to Riverton; and Riverton to Dubois we had been together. Now, as I watched them carry him the final 15 yards, I was choking up. I felt that, as long as he was still moving, he was somehow still alive.

Then they put him down above his grave. He had stopped moving.

Although my mission had been officially complete once I turned him over to the funeral director at the Billings airport, it was his placement at his grave that really concluded it in my mind. Now, he was home to stay and I suddenly felt at once sad, relieved, and useless.

The chaplain said some words that I couldn’t hear and two Marines removed the flag from the casket and slowly folded it for presentation to his mother. When the ceremony was over, Chance’s father placed a ribbon from his service in Vietnam on Chance’s casket. His mother approached the casket and took something from her blouse and put it on the casket. I later saw that it was the flight attendant’s crucifix. Eventually friends of Chance’s moved closer to the grave. A young man put a can of Copenhagen on the casket and many others left flowers.

Finally, we all went back to the gym for a reception. There was enough food to feed the entire population for a few days. In one corner of the gym there was a table set up with lots of pictures of Chance and some of his sports awards. People were continually approaching me and the other Marines to thank us for our service. Almost all of them had some story to tell about their connection to the military. About an hour into the reception, I had the impression that every man in Wyoming had, at one time or another, been in the service.

It seemed like every time I saw Chance’s mom she was hugging a different well wisher. As time passed, I began to hear people laughing. We were starting to heal.

After a few hours at the gym, I went back to the hotel to change out of my dress blues. The local VFW post had invited everyone over to “celebrate Chance’s life.” The Post was on the other end of town from my hotel and the drive took less than two minutes. The crowd was somewhat smaller than what had been at the gym but the Post was packed.

Marines were playing pool at the two tables near the entrance and most of the VFW members were at the bar or around the tables in the bar area. The largest room in the Post was a banquet/dinning/dancing area and it was now called “The Chance Phelps Room.” Above the entry were two items: a large portrait of Chance in his dress blues and the Eagle, Globe, & Anchor. In one corner of the room there was another memorial to Chance. There were candles burning around another picture of him in his blues. On the table surrounding his photo were his Purple Heart citation and his Purple Heart medal. There was also a framed copy of an excerpt from the Congressional Record. This was an elegant tribute to Chance Phelps delivered on the floor of the United States House of Representatives by Congressman Scott McInnis of Colorado. Above it all was a television that was playing a photo montage of Chance’s life from small boy to proud Marine.

I did not buy a drink that night. As had been happening all day, indeed all week, people were thanking me for my service and for bringing Chance home. Now, in addition to words and handshakes, they were thanking me with beer. I fell in with the men who had handled the horses and horse-drawn carriage. I learned that they had worked through the night to groom and prepare the horses for Chance’s last ride. They were all very grateful that they were able to contribute.

After a while we all gathered in the Chance Phelps room for the formal dedication. The Post commander told us of how Chance had been so looking forward to becoming a Life Member of the VFW. Now, in the Chance Phelps Room of the Dubois, Wyoming post, he would be an eternal member. We all raised our beers and the Chance Phelps room was christened.

Later, as I was walking toward the pool tables, a Staff Sergeant from the Reserve unit in Salt Lake grabbed me and said, “Sir, you gotta hear this.” There were two other Marines with him and he told the younger one, a Lance Corporal, to tell me his story. The Staff Sergeant said the Lance Corporal was normally too shy and modest to tell it but now he’d had enough beer to overcome his usual tendencies.

As the Lance Corporal started to talk, an older man joined our circle. He wore a baseball cap that indicated he had been with the 1st Marine Division in Korea. Earlier in the evening he had told me about one of his former commanding officers; a Colonel Puller.

So, there I was, standing in a circle with three Marines recently returned from fighting with the 1st Marine Division in Iraq and one not so recently returned from fighting with the 1st Marine Division in Korea. I, who had fought with the 1st Marine Division in Kuwait, was about to gain a new insight into our Corps.

The young Lance Corporal began to tell us his story. At that moment, in this circle of current and former Marines, the differences in our ages and ranks dissipated—we were all simply Marines.

His squad had been on a patrol through a city street. They had taken small arms fire and had literally dodged an RPG round that sailed between two Marines. At one point they received fire from behind a wall and had neutralized the sniper with a SMAW round. The back blast of the SMAW, however, kicked up a substantial rock that hammered the Lance Corporal in the thigh; only missing his groin because he had reflexively turned his body sideways at the shot.

Their squad had suffered some wounded and was receiving more sniper fire when suddenly he was hit in the head by an AK-47 round. I was stunned as he told us how he felt like a baseball bat had been slammed into his head. He had spun around and fell unconscious. When he came to, he had a severe scalp wound but his Kevlar helmet had saved his life. He continued with his unit for a few days before realizing he was suffering the effects of a severe concussion.

As I stood there in the circle with the old man and the other Marines, the Staff Sergeant finished the story. He told of how this Lance Corporal had begged and pleaded with the Battalion surgeon to let him stay with his unit. In the end, the doctor said there was just no way—he had suffered a severe and traumatic head wound and would have to be med’evaced.

The Marine Corps is a special fraternity. There are moments when we are reminded of this. Interestingly, those moments don’t always happen at awards ceremonies or in dress blues at Birthday Balls. I have found, rather, that they occur at unexpected times and places: next to a loaded moving van at Camp Lejeune’s base housing, in a dirty CP tent in northern Saudi Arabia, and in a smoky VFW post in western Wyoming.

After the story was done, the Lance Corporal stepped over to the old man, put his arm over the man’s shoulder and told him that he, the Korean War vet, was his hero. The two of them stood there with their arms over each other’s shoulders and we were all silent for a moment. When they let go, I told the Lance Corporal that there were recruits down on the yellow footprints tonight that would soon be learning his story.

I was finished drinking beer and telling stories. I found Chance’s father and shook his hand one more time. Chance’s mom had already left and I deeply regretted not being able to tell her goodbye.

I left Dubois in the morning before sunrise for my long drive back to Billings. It had been my honor to take Chance Phelps to his final post. Now he was on the high ground overlooking his town.

I miss him.

LtCol Strobl

Posted by Mamamontezz at 01:57 PM | Comments (3)

December 12, 2004

Twelve Days of Christmas, Baghdad Style.

I can imagine how nice it must be to get packages during the Christmas season when you are in a strange land 7 times zones away from home, in the middle of a mucky, cold, sandy place, where the citizens don't celebrate Christmas and the high point of any day is a toss-up between a nap, dinner, or the arrival of the mail.

So in honor of the thousands of intrepid warriors overseas today, I offer you the Twelve Days of Christmas, Baghdad style.

On the First day of Christmas
my true love gave to me
A cute little Christmas Tree.

On the Second day of Christmas
my true love gave to me
Two pounds of fudge,
And a cute little Christmas Tree.

On the Third day of Christmas
my true love gave to me
Three dozen stamps,
Two pounds of fudge,
And a cute little Christmas Tree.

On the Fourth day of Christmas
my true love gave to me
Four X-box games,
Three dozen stamps,
Two pounds of fudge,
And a cute little Christmas Tree.

On the Fifth day of Christmas
my true love gave to me
Five DVD's,
Four X-box games,
Three dozen stamps,
Two pounds of fudge,
And a cute little Christmas Tree.

On the Sixth day of Christmas
my true love gave to me
Six packs of Marlboros,
Five DVD's,
Four X-box games,
Three dozen stamps,
Two pounds of fudge,
And a cute little Christmas Tree.

On the Seventh day of Christmas
my true love gave to me
Seven cute, new photos,
Six packs of Marlboros,
Five DVD's,
Four X-box games,
Three dozen stamps,
Two pounds of fudge,
And a cute little Christmas Tree.

On the eighth day of Christmas
my true love gave to me
Eight censored Hustlers,
Seven cute, new photos,
Six packs of Marlboros,
Five DVD's,
Four X-box games,
Three dozen stamps,
Two pounds of fudge,
And a cute little Christmas Tree.

On the Ninth day of Christmas
my true love gave to me
Nine pre-paid phone cards
Eight censored Hustlers,
Seven cute, new photos,
Six packs of Marlboros,
Five DVD's,
Four X-box games,
Three dozen stamps,
Two pounds of fudge,
And a cute little Christmas Tree.

On the Tenth day of Christmas
my true love gave to me
Ten on-line hours,
Nine pre-paid phone cards
Eight censored Hustlers,
Seven cute, new photos,
Six packs of Marlboros,
Five DVD's,
Four X-box games,
Three dozen stamps,
Two pounds of fudge,
And a cute little Christmas Tree.

On the Eleventh day of Christmas
my true love gave to me
Eleven perfumed letters,
Ten on-line hours,
Nine pre-paid phone cards
Eight censored Hustlers,
Seven cute, new photos,
Six packs of Marlboros,
Five DVD's,
Four X-box games,
Three dozen stamps,
Two pounds of fudge,
And a cute little Christmas Tree.

On the Twelth day of Christmas
my true love gave to me
Twelve bags of Snickers,
Eleven perfumed letters,
Ten on-line hours,
Nine pre-paid phone cards
Eight censored Hustlers,
Seven cute, new photos,
Six packs of Marlboros,
Five DVD's,
Four X-box games,
Three dozen stamps,
Two pounds of fudge,
And a cute little Christmas Tree.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 10:28 PM | Comments (0)

December 11, 2004

"Your belief might be insulting..."

I received this comment today, and felt the need to respond to it:

"Thanks for sharing.

"I admire, in a way, your belief that all the things that we need will come to us, if the need is great, and we "shut our mouths, and open our hearts, minds, souls," etc.

"But can't you see that your belief might be insulting to people who have unmet needs?

"Think of all the millions who died in the Holocaust -- in your estimation, they were in some way responsible for their own demise. Surely their need was great, and surely some of the millions who were killed were able, as you advise, to open thier hearts, minds, and souls. What about them? What about those who died on 9/11? Or their relatives -- they may need their dead relatives back, no?

"Can't good people die poor, say, or with their needs unanswered?"

How can we presume that even the needs of the condemned are not met merely because they were unable to prevent their deaths? If death were the indicator, than none of those who have passed before us have had their spiritual needs met. And all of us dies, one way or another, by the hand of another or through the ravages of time or disease.

By your statement, taken at its most literal, all of us will die with our needs unmet purely because we have died. Life and living are the great needs.

This just isn't so. Merely being alive and living a life are not the greatest needs of a life. Living a life as well as we can, touching in a positive manner as many lives as we can during this life, and leaving a legacy though your children by teaching them to do the same are the greatest needs of a life.

Can any of us know that at some point during the internment of a Holocaust victim, on what may have seemed to them at the time the darkest day, that some small need was not met? Can we know that at a moment of absolute degradation or humiliation or even death, that a kindness wasn't

Is there any way for us to know who was not actually there? None of us can, as we were not deep within the psyche of any person or persons involved. To presume we know, or to claim we know is vain.

I can only speak from my own experience of how an affirmation has been experienced. This particular situation was life affecting, but there have been others, smaller and more humble, throughout the last several years:

A smile from my daughter when I was sick at heart,
A kind word from a person I had never spoken to,
An unexpected hug, or touch, or even a pat on the head,
An unanticipated "Thank you."

There have been affirmations much greater and very humbling in recent months. There have also been unmet needs, great and small, most of which will never be met. It is a part of the human condition, and it always will be. But a major difference between me in my situation, and many of the others who would trumpet and display their own unmet needs is perhaps the difference in how we interpret the word "needs" in our day to day lives.

I would like for my elderly parents to live for another 20 years, to be there for me and my family whenever I want to talk, or when my daughter needs some guidance or a warm soft shoulder on which to cry. I may feel now, that if anything were to happen to them that I needed them to stay with me forever, but deep down, I know this not to be true. I want them to be with me forever, but I recognize this as a selfish want, not a need, and certainly not one which considers their needs.

I would someday like a new car. I don't need a new car. I only need for my old car to work adequately. I would someday like to sing the National Anthem at a sporting event here in Indianapolis. I don't need to do this. I merely would like to do that one time.

Most of all, I would like to have a lovely, gentle life with no disappointments or difficulties, with a job where my talents and knowledge are appreciated and sought after, surrounded by all of the people I love, constantly pampered, entertained and cherished by those who love me. Who would not want these things? But to believe that anyone needs all of these things in constant supply is to be deluded and self-centered, nothing more or less than an ego-driven child.

It is the same sad mindset that would look at what was a life changing and spiritually affirming event, and declare that what the event gave me and taught me was in any way insulting to anyone who has not found their needs met in a similar manner. But let us look at this from the other side.

Many are the survivors of the Holocaust who found their beliefs stronger and their souls not only healed but enriched, and not merely because they survived but because of how they survived. The same can be said of the greatest number of 9/11 victims and/or their families. Some were shattered, some believed it to be irreparably. But many sought and received that which was needed to mend the tatters that were all that they believed remained of their lives.

"But can't you see that your belief might be insulting to people who have unmet needs?"

Can't you also see that your statements above might be equally insulting to people who have needs which have not been met, as well as those who find their needs met in times of despair or grief, in some small or profound way?

Posted by Mamamontezz at 10:21 PM | Comments (6)

December 10, 2004

Yes, they know...

I believe in a lot of things that some folks look at as crazy, crackpot, flakey. I believe in some of them because of faith, others because of trust, and others because of experience.

One of the things I hold as a deep belief is that what we need will come to us if the need is great. We need only open our eyes, our ears, our minds, our hearts, and our souls, and shut our mouths and turn off our egos and insecurities. I believe this because I have experienced it more than once.

The first time, the time which shook me the greatest came several years ago after the death of my grandmother, Eva Albert. All of the grandkids who lived close to her in Maine called her "Mammette" as had their parents before them. Because I lived so far away, she was always just Gramma to me. But even though our times together had been short and years apart, I still adored her, and she loved me just a little extra because I was so much like her and had the red curly hair she always loved to touch.

She fell very ill in the fall, just as it started to get cold in Maine. My father, his brother Chester who was living in Indianapolis at the time, my mother, and I packed quickly when we found she was ill and probably dying, and left in the afternoon and drove the many miles to Caribou, the family home town. After a solid 23 hour drive and a stop over night in Portsmouth, New Hampshire for a much needed sleep, we hit the road again and arrived in Presque Isle, where she had lived her final years, only to find that we had missed her, and that she was gone.

We pulled into the driveway and into pandemonium. They had fallen onto her meager posessions like the winged monkeys in the Wizard of Oz, but my one of my aunts had hidden away a piece for me, so I would have something to remember her by. After talking all night in the kitchen, smoking and drinking coffee, we finally went to bed to await the coming series of viewings, rosaries, and eventually the wake and funeral.

The first night of viewing was like so many others, with family and friends gathering and spending time besider her to talk and pray and fuss over how she looked. After the rosary, we all left and repeated the night before.

The next day proved a re-run of the previous night, but at the end of the evening my Uncle Ernest said he wished he could have had Gramma's favorite song sung at the funeral mass. She always loved Ave Maria, and, he said, he deeply regretted that no one had a tape. I walked over to where he stood, in a small group of his brothers and sisters, and told him I could do it.

"Can you sing?" And before I could answer, my dad, who had only been to one of my choral performances in the entire time I was in high school and college spoke up and said, "Yes, she can do it."

A call was made, and the church organist at the little Catholic church in Caribou was contacted. She would meet me in the church the next morning before the funeral to play through it a few times, and I would do it during Gramma's funeral mass.

I was anxious to do well, and full of dread that I would not make it through the song. It was difficult to sleep that night, with the sadness of the funeral, the loss, and the terrible responsibility I had taken on myself to give to Gramma one last song, her song, the Ave Maria.

The next morning, after dressing and putting on the lapel of my jacket the lovely old rose and burgandy rhinestone pin she had given to me the last time I had seen her alive, I went to the church while the rest of the family went one last time to see her in the funeral home. One last rosary, one last good-bye, one last touch of her hand as it held her own rosary in death.

After the organist and I rehearsed, she left me alone in the church to wait for the family and the coffin to arrive. As I sat there, I could see the parrish ladies across the parking lot in the parish hall, fixing up the tables and putting out the food for the mourners, preparing the wake.

"What have I done," I asked myself. "I want this so much for Gramma, and for my dad and his brother Ernest."

I sat there for the longest time, alone, praying. I prayed like I had never prayed before. "Please, let me sing this song for you and for Gramma." The sadness sat in my throat like a stone. Then it happened.

I felt her before I saw her. It was warm even in the coolness of the church. And when I looked up toward the altar and the statuary, I noticed the lovely Virgin statue to the right of the altar. And at that moment, with my prayer still echoing in my heart, the face of the virgin turned to me so slowly and her smile fell on me so intense, so pure, so real, that I felt all doubt and grief lift off me and fade. I knew at that moment that I would sing the Ave, for Gramma, and more importatly, for the Virgin who had taken the doubt, the fear, the insecurity, and had given me such a serenity as I had never felt before.

I sat there with her, thankful and happy, until the procession arrived and the church began to fill. I took my place in the choir box, next to the organ, and waited for the mass to begin.

The music began, the mourners sang, the priest began to say the mass. Gramma's coffin sat at the front of the church. And at the moment, when it was time, the organist motioned to me and I stood. She began the music as I opened my sheet music, and I began to sing...

Ave Maria Gratia plena Maria, gratia plena Maria, gratia plena Ave, ave dominus Dominus tecum Benedicta tu in mulieribus Et benedictus Et benedictus fructus ventris Ventris tui, Jesus Ave Maria, gratia plena

I sang every word. My voice never faltered. Where I had been in fear of breaking down and weeping openly during this hymn, her favorite hymn and prayer, there was nothing but my voice, stronger than I had ever remembered singing. Over the top of my music, I could see the faces turn, and every eye was dry, the weeping had stopped for Gramma's Ave. And when the last note was sung, and the final note faded from the pipes of the old organ, it remained silent for a brief moment. And I looked from my place in the choir box and silent said thank you for the beautiful gift I had been given, the beautiful gift of being able to give Gramma a final good-bye.

Had she really touched me and given me strength? Some will say not, that it was only a trick of my mind or my imagination. But deep down, I know she did. And for the affirmation she lovingly passed to me, I am eternally grateful.

Gramma heard me. The Virgin made sure of it. And I thank her.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 01:55 AM | Comments (5)

December 09, 2004

Sweet Warrior

Come to me, sweet warrior.
Take me by the hand.
Follow me to quiet places
in a quiet land.
Sleep in fields of emerald
beside the quiet sea.
Feel the sun upon your face
and stay awhile with me.

I followed you to battle, son,
and helped to calm your fears,
and laughed with you in happy times
and brushed away your tears.
I shielded you with tender wings
when you were very small,
staying close across the miles
after duty's call.

Come to me, sweet warrior.
Take me by the hand.
Follow me to quiet places
in a quiet land.
Walk with those who came before
beside the quiet sea.
Feel the mists upon your face
and stay awhile with me.

Gone's the time of duty now,
your battle has been won,
and brothers wait to welcome you
beneath a rising sun.
Take my hand, we'll go to them
it's where you need to be,
a land of gentle warriors
each one, USMC.

Come to me, sweet warrior.
Take me by the hand.
Follow me to quiet places
in a quiet land.
Walk amongst your brothers here
beside the quiet sea.
Feel the warmth of heaven's grace
and stay awhile with me.

-Lila Meyer, December 9, 2004

God bless and keep you, Lance Corporal Kyle Renehan, USMC. Semper Fi.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 05:01 PM | Comments (7)

December 08, 2004

My Letters

I have finally written my letters for the Letter Project, Christmas Edition. This is the first one, the other two are continued below. Please, feel free to add your letters to this in the comments, or write one and post it on your blog with a trackback to Slagle's post.

To the brave man who fights alongside our brave sisters,

Little Brother,

Often are the times I think of my young brothers in Iraq and hope so hard that you are doing well.

As I get ready for the holidays, I wish there were a way to bring you home, if even for just a few brief moments. If it were possible, I would wish you home to sit beneath the tree in a warm, dark room and watch the lights twinkle and glitter. To feel the warmth of the smouldering embers as the fire in the fireplace slowly dies to a soft red glow.

I would wish you home to raid the refrigerator in the middle of a dark, starry night for a sandwich made from the leftovers of Christmas dinner, and a cold long-neck of your favorite beer. To walk from a hot shower to your chest of drawers for clean, soft underwear and socks and your favorite jeans and t-shirt. I would wish this for you tonight.

I would wish you a few sweet moments in the sweet embrace of your love, to stroke her hair and kiss the salty tears from her eyes as she dreams of you and wants for you to come home. To watch your little angel asleep in bed, all innocence and love and hopes and dreams.

Sadly, wishes do not always come true, however badly we want them for someone. But be comforted in knowing that each of us holds you in our wishes and prayers today.

Thank you, little brother, for being where you are, for doing what you do, and for doing it for your family here at home, the family of all of us who believe in you and what you do.

With fondness and gratitude,

Lila Meyer

To the brave woman who fights alongside our brave brothers,

Little Sister,

I was thinking of all the little sisters overseas and hope that you and all of the others are doing well.

I imagine you're pretty tired of the boy's club by now and would give your left one for a little bit of privacy for even five minutes. Must be a lot like how my aunts must have felt growing up in a home of 13 boys with only one outhouse in the middle of Maine.

We have had pretty warm weather here in Indiana for a December. The days have been in the 40's and 50's, and it just cracks freezing at night, so it's good sleeping weather. Most of the leaves are finally down, and the grass has that pretty green color it gets just before it gets too cold, almost emerald and soft when you look at it. The kids are enjoying this last respite before winter finally begins in earnest, and if I have to run my daughter's coat through the washer one more time to get the muddy dog-prints off of it... Well, you catch my drift.

Anna, my 10 yr old and the apple of my eye, watches the news with me, and sees the faces of both the men and the women like you who are currently in Iraq. She prays for you every day, and when her teacher asked for those things she was thankful for at Thanksgiving, all of you made her list quite prominently. She wants to be a Marine, and I hope she can reach her goal. I was never able to serve, because I was just too big and too out of shape and way to blind even with the RPG's to qualify. I always had wanted to follow in my father's footsteps, a 20 yr USAF retired Master Sergeant. Perhaps his granddaughter will.

We are all keeping you warm in our thoughts and our hearts. I hope that even though you weren't able to be home, you were at least able to enjoy some of the blessings of the season. My little family sends it's love, and cheer, and gratitude to you, today and every day.

With fondness and thanks,

Lila Meyer


To the gentleman who leads my young brothers and sisters,

Kind Sir,

Yours is a thankless job in these days of both the certainties and the uncertainties of war. You make decisions each and every day, moment to moment, the outcome of which you may know instantly and with devastating effect, or not for days, weeks, or even months. Because you do so, because you do everything you can to make the correct decisions for achieving your goals and still safeguard those entrusted to you, I thank you.

Yours is a job that I could not do, and this realization makes me appreciate all the more that you are able, and that you have chosen to do so.

During this season, when you are far from home and familiar sights and sounds, I would wish for you a quiet and uneventful time. To have no after action reports to file, or letters to write to stunned and grieving loved ones.

I would wish that you are able to spend some time either online or over the telephone with those who love you, and whom you love. To hear in their distant voices nothing but love for you.

I would wish that you find yourself surrounded by friends who care deeply for you and share with you the joy they receive from those who love them back home. To enjoy a crumble of fudge made by your radio operator's little girl, or a Crayola drawing by his son.

I would wish that you find comfort in knowing that your efforts are not only appreciated by those to whom you report, but also by the men and women you lead each and every day. To see in their eyes trust, respect, loyalty, and fierce, determined love.

I wish these things for you out of gratitude and respect. You are in the prayers and thoughts, minds and hearts of me and my family as you remain on guard, protecting all we love and cherish.

Fondness and thanks to you,

Lila Meyer,

Posted by Mamamontezz at 10:37 PM | Comments (3)

Can't help myself

(To the tune of Oh, Holy Night)

Oh, Canada,
our liberals keep whining.
Take them, please,
Let us send them your way.
Loud have they moaned,
The volume's not declining.
Let them come,
It would sure make our day.
Sweet land of snow,
Give homes to Moonbat voices.
You did before.
Ple-ase do it once again.

Paul Martin, Please?
We'll give you lots of choices.
Take Michael Moore,
Sean Penn, Carmen Diaz,
Oh, please. Oh Canada!


Sweet land of snow,
Give homes to Moonbat voices.
You did before.
Ple-ase do it once again.

Paul Martin, Please?
We'll give you lots of choices.
Take Michael Moore,
Sean Penn, Carmen Diaz,
Oh, please. Oh Canada!

Sure, it's not as good as Oh, Fallujah, but do you know how hard it is to parody one Christmas song while the muzak is playing everything but the one you're working on? Made my brain hurt, dammit.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 10:28 PM | Comments (2)

December 07, 2004

CPS Strikes Again.

This is one of those moments when I wish I were a more fluent and powerful user of both profanity and cursing.

I remember, as a child, reading in the newspapers and hearing on the evening news the stories of forced sterilizations by "well meaning and well intentioned" medical professionals at the behest of governmental agencies who had deemed persons unfit as members of the gene pool. Young black children in orphanages, the blind, the deaf, those with mental illnesses, those with birth defects were all routinely sterilized in hospitals every day.

And the arguements given for such brutalilty were just so "rational" at the time.

"How would they care for a child?"

"We would be burdened with the care of any (fill in the defect) child they produced for as long as it lived."

"Imagine how it would suffer?"

Defective. That's how they looked at these people. Burdensome, nonproductive, a drain on our resources. Quaint archaic notions, all.

But robbed of the tools of their brutal agenda, they have moved on to something much more evil and vicious. Sure, they allow people to retain their ability to have a child, to bring a precious life into the world. Then they step in and rip the family apart in the name of compassion.

Compassion for whom? The mother who cries herself to sleep, terrified of what is being done to her child? The father who grieves for his son or daughter, believing that he will never be able to love his child again? The child who will bounce from foster home to foster home, or be adopted yet always wonder who he or she is?

Thank you, Misha. You just got my blood pressure up.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 05:20 PM | Comments (2)

December 7, 1941

I wanted you to see the USS Arizona proudly, the way her crew saw her the day they first boarded her, the way she looked when she cruised the Pacific Ocean in the days before her destruction. To use an old quote, "She was Yar."

But hers was not the only story of the attack on Pearl Harbor. There was also the story of the USS Vestal, who was moored next to the Arizona at the time.

USS Vestal

The repair ship Vestal was moored between the Arizona and Ford Island and had already been taking its own share of hits from the enemy bombs. Standing exposed on its deck was Commander Cassin Young, ordering resistance and seeking to organize his crew. The violence of the explosion on the USS Arizona was so intense more than 100 crewmen on the nearby Vestal were thrown into the air and hurled into the oil-covered waters of Pearl Harbor. Commander Cassin Young was among them.

Immediate panic set it. The Vestal appeared to be done for with water flowing into the engine room from an earlier bomb hit. Bulkheads bowed and buckled inward. The ship's commander vaporized along with 100 others in the explosion that destroyed the Arizona and Japanese airplanes kept coming. In a last-ditch effort to save the crew the ship's executive officer issued the order to abandon.

Men were streaming over the sides when an apparition clambered aboard. His uniform drenched with water and his entire body covered with oil, the figure presented an eerie sight standing completely exposed on the Vestal's gangplank. "Where the hell do you men think you are going?" shouted the voice of Commander Cassin Young. Unbelievably he not only survived the blast that hurtled him into the air but also the flaming waters of Pearl Harbor. Determinedly he swam back to save his ship. Looking down at the water, now filled with crewmen who were racing towards shore, he shouted, "Come back here! You're not going to abandon ship on me yet!" Then he strolled the litter-strewn deck, heedless of enemy strafing and bombardment. "All hands back to your battle stations and prepare to get under way," he shouted.

Normal steam pressure for moving the Vestal was 250 pounds. Damaged pipes spewed hot steam into the air and only 50 pounds of pressure could be achieved. On this day, it was enough. Mooring lines to the doomed Arizona were cut and slowly, miraculously, the Vestal moved into open water under the fearless guidance of Commander Cassin Young. Two tugs were commandeered to help the stricken vessel continue its escape from the burning Arizona, but water continued to pour in and it was apparent that the Vestal was sinking. To prevent the loss, Commander Young ran his ship aground on a coral reef at Aiea. The Vestal would sail again, after some repair work, thanks to its fearless skipper's sheer guts and determination.

Many are the stories of bravery under fire, as well as those stories loss and grief. Take a moment and remember the men who survived, and the hell they lived through on that day and afterward. Pray for the souls of those entombed, those never recovered, and those who went on to fight and die to defend their memory and the country they all held dear.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 03:29 PM | Comments (0)

A Day of Infamy

Today is December 7th.

If you do not know the significance of this day, you are either an uneducated moron, or a culturally liberal boob.

Either way, I hope you get rectal cancer, causing your own filth and shame to run down your legs as you die slowly.

Posted by Darth Monkeybone at 08:33 AM | Comments (2)

December 05, 2004


Men! He's not in his new digs for a whole day yet and he already has boobage posted.

Dogs. You're all dogs.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 05:55 PM | Comments (5)

Time for a little Housekeeping

Ah, you know how good it feels when a visitor packs his bags and bids you farewell on his way out the front door?

Sure, it was fun having them around for their visit, but after a while you know that they are itchy to be back home, almost as itchy as you are for them to be back home. It doesn't mean you don't love them or want to be around with them, but you just kinda want to revert back to some of the old habits that you have hidden away during their visit. Stuff like blogging in your underwear after work until the wee hours of the morning, or dancing naked to some embarassingly silly disco tune after your shower while getting ready for work each day...

Well, that's kind of how I feel right now.

The Spousal Unit, Delftsman3, has finally signed the lease at his new Munuvian digs, picked up his keys and after an early morning round of painting, furniture moving and unpacking he has bid the Rumpus Room good-bye and has taken posession of his new home.

So for all of you who missed his posts, including the things that I, as a nice little old lady and Homespun kinda gal just couldn't let him post here, set your bookmarks and update your links for Delftsman3's new site and then go visit. He's all excited about it and wants to show off the view of the clothing optional pool area just outside his bedroom window.

Did I mention that his place is in a singles complex filled with Danish flight attendants and lonely, childless divorcees? I think he'll have fun there.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 01:45 PM | Comments (1)

December 04, 2004

Oh, Fallujah

Dedicated to the Marines and others currently disinfecting Fallujah, making it save for its citizens to return home and restart their lives.

(sung to the tune of "Oklahoma"")

Oh, Fallujah,
Where the bombs fall right before a fight.,
and the tracer's shine
can look divine
through the cross hairs of a rifle sight!

Oh, Fallujah,
Every night my rowdy crew and I
walk a street patrol
and rock and roll
while Apaches rip across the sky.

You know we could all use a break
And we'd kill for big, juicy steak!
So when we yell (Hooah!)
You'd better run like hell (Hooah!)
We're mopping up this mess
that we found in Fallujah.
Oh, Fallujah,
Damn Straight!

Oh, Fallujah,
Grabbing sleep and chow along the way.
All those IED's
and damned sand fleas
They can really f*ck a person's day.

You know we could all use a break
And we'd kill for big, juicy steak!
So when we yell (Hooah!)
You'd better run like hell (Hooah!)
We're mopping up this mess
that we found in Fallujah.
Oh, Fallujah,
Oh, Falluuujah! Hooah!

-Lila Meyer, "Mamamontezz"

Posted by Mamamontezz at 09:03 PM | Comments (1)

Breaking Sugar News

Hollywood-Castro Cartel Responsible

In a move that shocked Wall Street, a large international cartel of sugar producing nations announced today that they had purchased the patents for the big three artificial sweeteners and will begin the process of removing them from market immediately.

Stocks plummeted at the news, with soft drink manufacturers Pepsico and CocaCola taking huge hits. Stock in the two companies dropped to less than 50% of their opening prices within 30 minutes of the news. Also adversely affected were diet giants Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig.

Frightened consumers nationwide stormed retailers and wholesale warehouse stores to purchase Equal, Sweet & Lo, and Splenda before it could be pulled from the shelves. Widespread hoarding has been reported, as well as a burgeoning black market with prices as high as $1.00 per packet in rural areas and $5.00 in New York City and Los Angeles.

The cartel, formed by representatives of several large cane sugar growers, refiners, and wholesalers and chaired by Fidel Castro, was the brainchild of several Hollywood activists who saw this as a means of giving Castro the leverage needed to break the current trade embargo with the United States.

"People have done gone crazy," observed Otis Amplebottom of suburban Houston, TX. "I've seen grown men pumping change into Dr. Pepper machines like they was slot machines trying to get every single damned one out. Why, just a few minutes ago at the In & Out, I saw these two big ol' women wras'ling in the drive-up over the itty-bitty Diet Coke what came with a Kiddie Meal. It was terrible, just terrible."

Actor and director Robert Redford, one of the activists instrumental in both the forming the cartel and the legal maneuverings necessary purchase and withdraw the patents, saw this as a great day for Castro and the Cuban people.

"Now, with control over what Americans eat, Popi Fidel, er, I mean the great Cuban people will be able to take their rightful place in the world. I mean, it's not like Hawaii can produce enough sugar cane for New England, much less those fat, sweaty heifers in the Midwest." Redford went on, "Americans eat too damned much, and the world is starving because of it."

"Not to mention the fact that now I won't have to get my cigars smuggled into the country in a diplomatic pouch. Viva La Revolution!"

Police in Boca Raton, FL reported several clashes between obese dieters and persons seen queuing in front of tobacco shops in anticipation of inexpensive legal Cuban cigars. Fighting was fierce, with the dieters easily routing the smokers and sending several to area hospitals.

"Those smokers really never had a chance," stated Boca Raton police spokesman Lt. Clyde Shields. "See, the bikini models and surf chicks teamed up for a big protest march with those overweight, middle-aged women handcuffed to the fence over there. After blocking traffic with their protest, they ran down the block and attacked."

"The little old men in tropical shirts in front of that tobacconist were pelted with devils food Snackwells that the women had stored in their fanny-packs. There was no doubt how it was going to turn out. And each and every one of the women is claiming temporary insanity as their defense. You know, from what I saw when I arrived at the scene, I'd believe them."

Posted by Mamamontezz at 08:57 PM | Comments (1)

December 03, 2004

An True American Hero

One of our readers made the following as a comment on my post about Sgt. Engledrum. It wasn't a comment, it was a heartfelt post of it's own, so here it is:

Some people say what this county lacks are real Heroes. I say they are
wrong. This county has plenty of Heroes and Patriots, and a great one
died on this day December 1, 2004 while serving his country in Iraq.

That alone makes him a hero for he made the ultimate sacrifice for his
country and our way of life. However, this man did so much more than that.
On September 11, 2001, he along with many other members of the NYFD
charged into the gates of Hell of what once were the World Trade Centers,
and 343 did not come back along with 2,792 other who died when the planes
stuck the towers and then collapsed.

In the mist of searching for survivors, this man and two other found a battered and dirty American flag that fell, and out of respect for the flag, love for their county, and defiance to bastards that did that heinous act, they hung that flag up for all the world to feel.

Did he retire? Did he write a book?, no ladies and gentlemen he went to war.

Citizens of the United States of America

I say ye Christian P. Engeldrum, citizen,police officer, fireman, solider, patriot,
hero, American, may he always be remembered and never forgotten.

Let us not forget wife and two sons and the hard journey that they have ahead
of them.

Save a Prayer

God Bless America

Spider John

Posted by Delftsman3 at 05:41 PM | Comments (1)

Breaking News

Hans Blix Declares Chemical Labs Actually Fuel Research Facilities

Hans Blix announced today that the chemical laboratories found in Fallujah during the recent joint operation by the Iraqi National Guard and US Marines were actually a legitimate labs involved in highly specialized alternative fuels research.

"I have it on very good authority from representatives of the Jordanian, Syrian, Saudi and Egyptian UN delegations that these laboratories and many others like them across Iraq are studying very volatile alternate fuel sources," stated former UN weapons inspector Blix at a morning press conference in Paris.

According to his sources, several nations have been actively exploring alternate fuels. Blix pointed out that it makes "perfect sense for oil-rich nations to vigorously pursue these programs." By developing these fuels and patenting them, oil producing nations could effectively block their use from the world market and protect their collective impact on the global economy.

"We have it on very good authority that the Iraqi alternative fuels program, under the direction of Dr. Zarquawi, has made great strides and has actually begun vehicular testing of some of these fuels." Blix went on to commend the "brave test drivers" of these vehicles, calling them "Martyrs of Technology."

"In their quest for scientific knowledge, these brave young men from many nations have willingly converged upon Iraq, willing to load these test vehicles with unstable fuels and drive the roads of Iraq under dangerous conditions. Many have died for their efforts in fiery explosions, often taking the lives of innocent bystanders with them." Blix went on to criticize coalition commanders for labeling these failed experiments as "acts of terror."

"Science is a very risky endeavor. These experiments are costly in terms of human life. But to look at these brave fellows as terrorists is nothing less than an attempt by the United States to legitimize their illegal aggression against the nation of Iraq."

When questioned about the highly explosive nature of the chemicals found, and the written instructions for producing "Bombs," Blix chided, "So they said it was the bomb. Is that not an American hippity-hop slang term for something that is incredibly good?"

On hearing Hans Blix's remarks, Vice President Dick Cheney was so overcome with laughter that his Secret Service detail requested medical assistance. He was transported to Walter Reed Army Hospital as a precautionary measure for observation. He is also said to be undergoing treatment of Dr. Pepper burns in his nostrils.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 05:15 PM | Comments (1)

Hanson - Pure Genius

NOOOO!! I'm not talking about the girlish trio of boys who MMM-bopped their way into the hearts of Delftsman and Frank J... I'm talking about a pure political genius. Victor David Hanson. If you've never heard of him, it's never too late to start experiencing a truly wonderful political mind.

I like to write. When I wrote on a regular basis (many years ago), I was a pretty decent writer, but even at my best, I'll never be a 1/4th of the writer VDH is...

Here is but a taste of his brilliance:

Do we now remember the impassable peaks, the snowy haunts of the Taliban that were too high for us, or Kabul, the dreaded graveyard of all imperial expeditions? It was just a few months ago, it seems now, that we were admonished about the fury of retaliation to come for daring to fight during Ramadan, the impossibility of working with a nuclear and Islamic Pakistan, and the Wild West nature of Afghanistan's tribes so impossible to forge into the stuff of consensual government. And it was worse still than all that: the cries on the hard left of millions of refugees to come; the European warning about thousands of dead from indiscriminate American bombing; the need to adjudicate 9/11 by jurisprudence rather than arms; and the crazy conspiracy theories of pipelines, neo-cons, 'Jews,' Likuds, and CIA plots.

Yes, we remember all of it...preach on brother!

Have we forgotten what foul and cowardly folk the Taliban were — thugs who lynched women, shot homosexuals, blew up civilization's icons, destroyed a century of culture in Afghanistan, promised us death and worse, and then ran out of town in the clothes of women with what plunder they could carry? Do any of us recall the brave Afghans and Americans, both the planners in Washington who were libeled and the soldiers in the field who routed these butcherers?

You can sure as hell bet some of us never will.

Now, get yer buttz over to there and read!

Posted by Darth Monkeybone at 09:02 AM | Comments (4)

Vote or Die Branding to Expand

P. Diddy, Sean "Puffy" Combs announced today that his design corporation will be expanding his controversial and largely irrelevant "Vote or Die" brand to include other desperately losing civic and political causes.

Umbrella Man, acting as a spokesman for the Combs Corporation, stated during a press conference Thursday that several groups had expressed an interest in the "_or Die" branding during the ill-fated 2004 Kerry campaign.

"Even though only 17% of the young actually turned of their televisions and crawled out of their mother's basements to vote on November 2nd, we still managed to sell freaking tons of those overpriced, cheap-assed, Chinese Slave Camp produced, crappy T-shirts. We made a mint!"

Umbrella Man continued, "Vote or Die spoke to the youth, the underachievers, the slackers and delinquents, even the Anarchy Activists. Because of this, we intend to extend the brand to include other issues, as to appropriate, assimilate, excoriate and celebrate all kinds of losing causes world wide."

Available at the press conference were samples of shirts for some of the causes already contracted with Combs. Included in the list are such campaigns as "Toke or Die" (NORML), "Libertarian or Die," "Palestinian State or Die," "Free Saddam or Die," and "Hillary in 2008 or Die."

Posted by Mamamontezz at 02:55 AM | Comments (2)

December 02, 2004

Legal Challenge to Wizbang 2004 Blog Awards

In a shocking move, a group of lawyers lead by former Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards announced today that they have initiated a series of lawsuits alleging voting irregularities and wholesale disenfranchisement in the 2004 Weblog Awards.

"The very idea that the furthest fringe element of our nations greatest crop of progressive bloggers was completely disenfranchised is deeply wrong," stated Spazbot Moonray Jones, spokesperson for the legal team involved in the suits.

"Not only were blogs by brilliantly mediocre Progressives horribly under represented in the Milblog category, there were none at all in the Best Conservative Blog category. We find this morally reprehensible and just another example of the fascist behavior of the Right Wing Nuts and VRWC types who are conducting this bogus poll."

Representatives for Wizbang, host of the popular annual awards, stated that they would not dignify the allegations with a response. They went on to add that "blood cannot be produced from either turnips or stones in spite of current IRS policies."

Several conservative bloggers, on finding out about the lawsuits, were reported by witnesses to have laughed themselves to the point of helplessness.

There has been no confirmation of the rumor that conservative bloggers were so amused at the situation that several laptop computers and a wireless keyboard required replacing, or that at least one blogger was forced to return to his home with hygiene and wardrobe issues.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 10:34 PM | Comments (11)

Operation Lump of Coal

Some of you, by now, may have heard about the city of Denver's idiotarianistic decision to exclude religious themes from their CHRISTMAS parade.

Well...Conservative Blogger Babe Michelle Malkin is leading the charge to send they Mayor of Denver what he deserves--A big lump of jet black coal!

If you've got the time, resources, and a little gumption, spread the word and send a message to those asshats who are so threatened by dat evul babee jeebus!

Personally, being sithmonkey and all, I'd rather send him a big lump of something else... ;)

Posted by Darth Monkeybone at 09:06 AM | Comments (1)

"A little hit never hurt anyone..."

The next time someone tells me that marijauna smokers aren't a danger to anyone, I'll probably fling poo in their face and proceed to monkeystomp them with a pair of army ClueBoots®...

From NBC 5 in Dallas, Texas:

DALLAS -- A 20-year-old mother of an infant was killed Wednesday in a multi-vehicle crash that closed portions of Interstate 35-E (Stemmons) northbound at Royal Lane.
Investigators arrested an unidentified man at the scene. They said he had been driving erratically in a Lincoln Towncar on the southbound side of the highway before his vehicle clipped an 18-wheeler.
As a result, the semi-truck hit a pickup and both vehicles crossed the highway divider.
"When the 18-wheeler hit [the median], it hit at just the right angle that it was able to jump over the median. It had a lot of inertia and the median just couldn't stop it," Lt. David Smith said.
McCauley's Pontiac sedan traveling northbound collided with at least one of the vehicles, killing her and wounding her baby.
"I see a baby stick his left hand up, or her left hand up ... I got over there and it was just covered in blood. It had a big gash, or a chunk taken out of its forehead," Brian Trip said. "I looked at the mother -- there was no life."
NBC 5 reported that the infant was hospitalized and expected to fully recover.
Police administered a field sobriety test on the man they arrested, and said he admitted to being under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash.

Now, I know some folks feel strongly that we should legalize marijuana. This post isn't intended as an argument against it...I'm merely pointing out that marijuana CAN affect a person's motor skills (no pun intended) and people under the influence are just as dangerous as those bastards who like to get drunk and then arm themselves with a 2000 pound projectile.

Anyway, the story really pissed me off...a baby is now forced to grow up without its mother because some ASSHAT chose to go one toke over the line on a busy highway.

Posted by Darth Monkeybone at 08:07 AM | Comments (4)

December 01, 2004

Sgt. Christian P. Engeldrum, A True American Hero

We all remember the torment and grief of September 11, 2001, and the pain in the faces of the various police, EMS workers, and firemen on the scene as they struggled with the unalterable fact that four passenger planes had changed the world forever and had taken so many of their badged brothers and sisters with them.

And a great many of us also remember the pride and redemption we felt when we watched that small group of responders, exhausted from digging for the missing and the lost in the ruins of war as they raised the flag, the American flag on a tilted and damaged flag pole in the midst of the smoking rubble.

People who were old enough to remember looked at the tableau and saw this act as a victory, an act of defiance against those who had perpetrated an act of war against out nation. "Ground Zero Iwo Jima" it was called.

We lost a little piece of that history this week.

One of those brave and defiant firemen was Sgt. Christian P. Engeldrum. He was a former policeman, a former member of the Army, and a former fireman. He left the New York Fire Department to rejoin the military and fight in the war on terror, and on Monday, November 29, 2004, he became a casualty of that war.

Sgt. Engeldrum was killed in when when his vehicle came under attack outside Baghdad. With him when he was killed was Daniel J. Swift, who served with him in the NYFD and also left to serve in the military.

Either one of them could have remained in the relative safety of NYC and worked until retirement age. Either one of them could have written a book, made a movie deal, and lived on the stories of their experiences during and after that horrible event. Instead they decided to volunteer and take the war that was brought to them and throw it back to those who brought it.

Now Sgt. Engeldrum truly is in the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Posted by Delftsman3 at 10:16 PM | Comments (3)

The Abortion Scam

RepublicanJen has a great post on the motives of the abortion on demand crowd.

I wasn't even aware of the Doe Vs Bolton case. The fact that that the "Doe" opponent wasn't even aware that she was involved in the case, or that she was going to forced into having an abortion even further shows that the pro-abortion side of this issue isn't really concerned about the "rights" of women, but only in furthering their agenda.

I agree with Jen that men should have at least some say in this issue as well.

The pro-abortionists say that it is strictly an issue of a womans right over their own body, but my feeling is that women give up part of that right when they voluntarily engage in activity that starts a new life and that the father is also part of that new life....half of the genetic input of that life is his; a woman, by engaging in sexual activity KNOWS of the possibility of pregnancy; by going ahead and engaging in that activity, I believe that she enters into a tacit contract with the father and tacitly gives him some say in the disposition of the results of that activity; if this is not so, by what reasoning can she demand support for that progeny from the father, even against his will?

If the law holds a father responsible, it should also hold him as having some rights. Responsibility without rights is just a further perversion of the perverted liberal idea that rights come without responsiblity.


Posted by Delftsman3 at 04:09 PM | Comments (1)

I So Rule...

Aaron, AKA The Liberal Slayer, has bestowed upon me the greatest honor a Sithmonkey such as myself could ever hope to attain...


Respect my Gangstah!!

This is the piece ALL the fine ladies will be fightin' over come game time...;)

Thanks a million, Aaron! A crate of the finest veal ewoks has been shipped to your domocile.

Original Post: The Return of Blogopoly

Posted by Darth Monkeybone at 08:43 AM | Comments (0)

Easy Rider He Ain't

Val, over at Bablublog, posts a detailed chronicle of follies pertaining to the *ahem* great revolutionary Che Guevara.

Posted by Darth Monkeybone at 08:28 AM | Comments (3)

Caption Contest

"Helen Thomas was seen discussing a future conjugal assignation with Sen. Robert Byrd at fairwell festivities honoring Sen. Tom Daschle last Friday."

Oh, so you can do better? Fine.

Posted by Mamamontezz at 02:24 AM | Comments (1)

Dutch on the Slippery Slope

Back in the years preceeding WWII in Europe, Germany began the routine practise of eradicating euthanizing the undesireable infants, the phyisically deformed, the mentally ill, the intellectually retarded, the aged, and eventually those with criminal tendencies as a means of purifying the nordic gene pool and building their "Master Race" for their eventual bid for complete European domination.

Asylums, nurseries, hospitals and pension homes were emptied and their tenants were incinerated after they had been exterminated euthanized for their own good, and the good of the German people. They were a strain on the economy, not to mention a weakening of the fine genetics that were prized by the Nazi eugenists.

And we all know what happened next. Homosexuals, Gypsies, Jews, all deemed impure and undesirable in their great experiment were also swept up in this murderous drive and killed in huge numbers. And then the Poles, and Catholics, and anyone who was politically undesirable.

How did it start again? Oh, I remember. It started with babies.

"In August, the main Dutch doctors' association KNMG urged the Health Ministry to create an independent board to review euthanasia cases for terminally ill people "with no free will," including children, the severely mentally retarded and people left in an irreversible coma after an accident."

Sound familiar? It should. History doesn't always repeat, but it always rhymes.

"Examples include extremely premature births, where children suffer brain damage from bleeding and convulsions; and diseases where a child could only survive on life support for the rest of its life, such as severe cases of spina bifida and epidermosis bullosa, a rare blistering illness."

Do you also suppose they plan to include other disorders? Cystic Fibrosis? How about birth-injuries like Cerebral Palsy? Will that be next, or is it just not listed but being done now? Hydrocephalis? Down's Syndrome?

Can you say "Slippery Slope"?

Posted by Mamamontezz at 01:12 AM | Comments (3)