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Monday, September 5th 2011

12:25 PM

MedShopExpress - A Ripoff?

I just placed an order with this firm for a 0.25-ounce tube of Compound W Gel, at $8.14; not the best price available, but not the worst.  After I entered my credit card info and submitted the order, I realized that they just charged me $100 to mail it to my APO address!

That's right, sports fans, a cool $100 to drop it in the mail!  After searching their website diligently, I finally found an e-mail address for them and advised them NOT to fill the order.  We'll see what happens, but they'll never, ever get another order from me, regardless of how they handle this matter.

Too many businesses either simply refuse to ship to APO/FPO (overseas military) addresses, or else they charge exorbitant rates to do so.  A package can be mailed (by the U.S. Postal Service) to APOs at domestic rates, but getting UPS or FEDEX delivery is a bit more complicated.  It can be done, but most folks (including me) aren't familiar with the details.

The problem is that businesses are set up to ship by UPS or FEDEX; the truck comes every day to pick up.  The USPS will do that also, but most businesses don't bother with them for a variety of reasons.

The moral of the story is to be alert before you click on <SUBMIT>!

Edited to add:  Turns out it was a software glitch; shipping was $6 and change.
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Friday, August 26th 2011

2:42 PM

Twenty 2ID DA Civilians To Lose Jobs in FY 12

I initially posted this on the official 2ID Facebook Page, where it lasted less than three hours.  8th US Army published OPORDER 161-11 in June of this year; since then three FRAGOs and a WARNO have been published with additional information.  Sixty-eight DA civilian positions Korea-wide, and twenty from 2ID are slated to be eliminated sometime in FY 2012.  The OPORDER states ASAP, but no later than 30 Sep 2012!  Unlike other, more forward-thinking agencies, the Army absolutely DOES NOT want the effected individuals to know about any of this until the last possible moment.  In fact, one document that I read goes so far as to state that units will NOT discuss this with the effected individuals!

I think that's really pretty shitty, even for the Army.  Fifteen of the 20 effected people from 2ID are Family Readiness Group assistants who, as I understand it, are overhires anyway.  One is a Safety guy at 1HBCT, and the other four are from my office, the G-4 MAIT Team.

The G-4 has denied any knowledge of this, and I am inclined to believe him since he just came on board in July.  He's being fed bullshit by the people above him - or at least that's the distinct impression that I get.  At any rate, we have been given zero useful information.  That's all that I expect to get until the last possible moment, unless my U.S. Senator can persuade the Army to open up.  I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for that to happen, either!

I'm busy looking for a job in the States, and my prospects are looking reasonably good.  I recommend that anyone else who is facing elimination do the same, and don't dawdle! 
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Tuesday, June 21st 2011

7:26 PM

Despite the loss of a leg, Army Ranger is back in the fight

Read the story of Joseph Kapacziewski (pronounced Capa-CHESS-ski), an Army Ranger who lost a leg to a grenade - and who couldn't wait to get back into the fight! He is currently the only amputee qualified for active combat ops. As a Ranger! That, my friends, is an incredible achievement! A lot of soldiers 'profile out' of the Rangers with various infirmities caused by peacetime training accidents, and reclassify to less physically demanding job specialties. Many more cannot pass the qualification course to begin with. Joe requested that his mangled leg be amputated so that he could return to combat ops wearing a prosthetic!

USA Today

I am proud to be associated with this man in even a limited way. This is the kind of person that your Army is made up of, folks! Be proud, America!
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Wednesday, December 15th 2010

11:34 PM

T'was the night before Christmas...

As you join with family and friends this Christmas season, think about the American servicemen and women who can't be with their loved ones this year.  Many will spend Christmas on a lonely outpost in the snowy, wind-swept mountains of Afghanistan, or locked down on a small Log Base in Iraq---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

T’was the night before Christmas

 He lived all alone in a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.  I had come down the chimney with presents to give, and to see just who in this home did live.

I looked all about a strange sight I did see.  No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.

No stocking by mantle, just boots filled with sand.  On the wall hung pictures, of far distant  lands, with medals and badges, awards of all kinds.

A sober thought came through my mind.  For this house was different, it was dark and dreary,

I had found the home of a soldier.  Once I could see clearly, the soldier lay sleeping.

Silent, alone, curled up on the floor, in this one bedroom home.

The face was so gentle, the room in disorder.  Not how I pictured, a true American soldier.

Was this the hero, of whom I’d just read?  Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?

I realized the families that I saw this night owed their lives to these soldiers who are willing to fight.

Soon round the world the children would play, and grownups would celebrate a bright Christmas day.  They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year, because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.  I couldn't help wonder how many lay alone, on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.  The very thought brought a tear to my eye.  I dropped to my knees and started to cry.

The soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice,Santa don't cry, this life is my choice; I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more. My life and my god, my country, my Army...."

The soldier rolled over and drifted to sleep.  I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.  I kept watch for hours, so silent and still.  And we both shivered, from the cold night's chill.  I did not want to leave, on that cold, dark, night, this guardian of honor, so willing to fight.  Then the soldier rolled over, with a voice soft and pure, whispered, "carry on Santa, its Christmas day, all is secure."

One look at my watch, and I knew he was right.  "Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a goodnight!"

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Thursday, September 2nd 2010

2:38 PM

Typhoon Kompasu

Well, the big typhoon has come and gone.  The military did what they do so well, they over reacted, and all we got out of the deal was some rain and some fairly heavy wind gusts.  No damage locally that I'm aware of, other than some TV dishes knocked down.

The Army gave us the day off work, which gives me a 5-day weekend for Labor Day!  I'll take it!
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Tuesday, May 11th 2010

11:17 PM

Back In the States - For a Couple Weeks

I'm back in the States for three weeks - attending my youngest son's wedding, and a brief vacation.  I truly wish that I didn't have to return to Korea this coming Saturday, but... one does what one must, sometimes.

The wedding went off perfectly!  It was threatening rain, and it did rain - after we left Tennessee.  Nashville and other areas had some bad flooding,  but we missed it all.  I think everyone had a great time at the wedding, and we got to meet a lot of wonderful people!

Back in Maryland now, staying with my oldest son and his family, catching up on the grandkids.  They have grown tremendously since we last saw them, but then it's been almost a year.  I wish we could remain in the States and enjoy spending more time with them.

I drove to Pennsylvania yesterday to visit an old friend.  I had a chance to catch up, and to help him with some projects.  He's experiencing family problems, so this was not the time for an extended visit. 

Not as fulfilling a vacation as I had hoped for, but still vastly preferable to staying in Korea.
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Saturday, March 6th 2010

2:05 PM

Genocide By Any Other Name

The Ottoman Turkish army murdered hundreds of thousands of Armenian Christians in 1915-1916.  This fact is well documented, and nobody disputes that.  The debate lies in whether or not this represents a genocide.

So, how many people have to be murdered before we can all agree that it represents genocide?  Apparently, a couple of hundred thousand doesn't count - not unless the massacre was planned and orchestrated.  The murder of 6 million Jews during WWII by the Nazis was a genocide, everyone agrees on that.  Well, except the Iranians; they say it never happened.   A couple of million additional Gypsies, mentally ill, homosexuals, and other undesirables were slaughtered by the Nazis as well, but you never hear much about them; guess they don't matter.

The U.S. House of Representatives just passed a resolution condemning the genocide (yes, they dared to use the word) of the Armenian Christians.  The measure will go to the Senate for their vote next.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton opposes the resolution, as does President Obama.  I guess the President doesn't want to offend his Muslim cousins.

Wait!  Didn't then-Senator Obama promise to work to condemn the genocide (yes, he used that word) of the Armenian Christians if he were elected president?  Yup, sure did.  Guess that promise doesn't matter now.

Hey, Turkey!  Your army committed GENOCIDE in 1915-1916!  Get over it.  It won't go away, no matter how much you wish it would.  You're in the same boat as the Germans, who committed GENOCIDE in 1939-1945, when they murdered the Jews, Gypsies, and assorted other 'enemies of the state.'   That won't go away, either, regardless of how much they wish it would.

Secretary Clinton and President Obama - call it what it is, GENOCIDE!
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Saturday, March 6th 2010

1:37 PM

Rules To Live By

I'm going to do some preaching here.  I am a gun owner; I've owned guns my entire life, and so did my father.  Both my sons own guns.  Some people should NOT be allowed to own guns, because they lack either the maturity or intelligence required to handle them safely.

I will admit that I have experienced one ND (negligent discharge) in my life, and very nearly had another.  Both resulted from my failure to insure that the guns were not loaded.  I vow that I will never even come close to having another.

Being a gun owner carries with it a responsibility to always, always handle them safely.  Lives depend on it!

Below is a link to another gentleman's blog, detailing how one man shot another man - his best friend - in the chest, at contact distance.  This happened because of unsafe gun handling, and immaturity.  The young man who was shot survived, although his heart stopped four times that day.  His life is forever changed.

Guns are tools; no better or worse than their user.  They can save lives, but they can unintentionally take them so easily, and all it takes is a moment of carelessness.

Rule #1:  Treat all guns as if they are loaded.  Always.

Rule #2: Never, ever, point a gun at anything that you do not want to destroy.

Rules to live  by.
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Monday, February 8th 2010

11:43 AM

Super Bowl Monday

The Colts currently lead 10-0, and I'm at work.  Yes, work; it's Monday morning here in Korea.  All the soldiers have the day off, and we DA civilians were given the option of taking annual leave today.  I elected to work, along with one coworker out of five.

Our work schedule is in an uproar; has been ever since we met the new commanding general and he decided he didn't like us.  Granted, I would have come away from that episode with a very unfavorable impression too.  The way things are going, I fully expect our positions to 'go away' before long.  They can't fire us; well, not easily, anyway.  They can reassign us, but they still have to pay us.

So, I'm looking for another job; here in Korea if possible, but in the States if necessary.  I prefer to have options.

I had surgery to repair a ruptured quadriceps tendon on January 8, one month ago today.  I'm making slow but steady progress; my leg is getting stronger every day.  I can't wait until I can 1) bend my leg, 2) walk without crutches, and 3) drive!  Actually, #1 and 3 will probably occur simultaneously.

I know that my wife will doubtless be even happier than I when I reach the milestones mentioned above.  She has been absolutely super during this ordeal, performing such tasks as putting my shoes and socks on for me (extremely difficult when you cannot bend one leg), to carrying nearly everything for me!  I love you, Yong!
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Sunday, January 10th 2010

2:20 PM

Narcotics Are Wonderful

When used as directed; I slept like a baby last night.  I spent Thursday night in a transient billets - think of it as a flophouse for military personnel.  You get a bed, linen, a locker to put your clothes in, and shower facilities.  I didn't sleep a wink.  It wasn't noisy my bay - I was alone in; I just couldn't sleep.

Friday night was morphine and oxycodene night, following surgery.  I may have slept for 2 hours, although not straight through.

Last night I took my meds and went to bed fairly early.  I had almost zero pain all night.  I feel pretty good today, although I'm a little fuzzy from all the percoset.  Still, I'm much better than at this time Friday!
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