Thursday, November 24, 2005

A Politically Correct Holiday...Or Else

I recently read a well-crafted holiday post by a fellow blogger -- FTS -- regarding the Christmas Holiday and the attempts by some fringe, way-out-of-the-mainstream groups to dilute it to the point of public exclusion. Or, in the mocking words of one local radio talk show host, "if it saves even one person from being offended, wouldn't it be worth it?"


It moved me to dig deep into my archives, and retrieve my own thoughts on the efforts of a small but very loud minority to politicize and exorcise Christmas from the general public view.

I originally wrote and ran this column in December 1996, in the small town newspaper I wrote for at that time. Considering the fact that the majority of readers served by this paper at that time were Democrats, it was a wonder to me then and since that I wasn't run out of town, but I digress.

In the column, I speculated on the kind of holiday season we'd all 'enjoy', if we were to be 'saved' from our insensitive selves by the cultural-diversity-at-any-price, politically correct liberal activists and their judicial allies.

With no further adieu, enjoy reading and pondering what might have been (or yet may, if the activists win):

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Careful What You Wish For...

May, 1973. Thanksgiving, 1979. Xmas, 1982 (the mondo winter storm of my lifetime). Thanksgiving, 1983. Xmas, 1987 (pictured above in progress; photo by moi, ass deep in snow). April, 1991. October, 1997. March, 2003 (the second mondo winter storm of my lifetime).

For those who live in snow zones, you know the drill. For those who envy us, be careful what you wish for. It's a regular in Colorado's high country; it makes periodic visits along the Front Range, in Denver, and points in every direction therefrom.

Periodically -- as noted with the above dates listed -- that periodic visit is memorable. And not all things memorable are things one is desirous of recalling the experience of.

I'm aware of a blogger who so eagerly anticipates a move from the sauna of Texas, to the occasional snowfields of Denver; for that person, and for all the others who envy us our snow, I provide this link to a real-life experience in the March 2003 snowstorm in Denver and points west. A storm that deposited in one location of Gilpin County (west of Denver and the county in which I work), 11 feet of snow over a 48 hour period.

Two coworkers saw property outbuildings and garages crushed under the weight of it.

Got snow? Moving here, you might just get it.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Thoughts of Veterans' Day

I know a number of veterans, from WW II to the current war in Iraq.

I thank them all.

I selected the photos at the right for a reason: both are Korean War-era photos.

The first is a pre-combat assembly of members of Dog Company, 2/7th, 1st Marine Division; I know (via correspondence) one of the members pictured here, PFC George Crotts. I recently sent him an email, commenting on how much different Thanksgiving is in '05, versus the way he spent it in '50. He readily agreed that this year was infinitely more pleasant.

True, even in the field at the time, Thanksgiving dinner was served to the troops. Some got quite a feed; some got little. Whether it was little or more, it had to be eaten quickly: at -20 degrees (not counting the wind chill, which was, Crotts related, awesome), in a place called Yudam-ni, North Korea, on a hill known as 1240, things froze fast.

But it was hot enough in the early hours of the 28th, as Crotts and his mates were ass-deep in Chinese, fighting for their lives. Three times during the melee, Dog Company was driven from Hill 1240; three times, they counterattacked and took it back.

There were others, too: Hill 1403. Hill 1282. Turkey Hill. Toktong Pass. Two regiments of US Marines were descended upon by six divisions of Chinese.

The night was many things to Crotts; but in the end, the only thing that mattered was the situation at daylight: the Marines had held.

Not far from Hill 1240, Easy Company stood on Hill 1282. Or at least, what was left of Easy Company: the night had been no less horrendous there. In the midst of their crisis, company commander Captain Walt Phillips -- already wounded, but maintaining command of his troops -- stepped to the front of Easy Company's line, and jammed a bayonet-tipped M-1 into the ground before them; to the troops within earshot, he shouted, (I'm paraphrasing) "This is Easy Company, and this is were we stand!"

Captain Phillips died by his standard of defiance, as did many of his men; but Easy Company held.

The two regiments would fight their way out of encirclement, back to where a battalion and hodgepodge of other troops were surrounded at Hagaru-ri; and onto surrounded Koto-ri, into and through Funchilin Pass, and back to the sea at Hungnam.

In so doing, the men of the 1st Marine Division would write one of the most incredible chapters in the history of the United States Marine Corps. A corps with no shortage of incredible chapters, from the Revolution, through Belleau Wood, Guadalcanal, Tarawa, Saipan, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, Hue, and two Desert Storms.

Having become familiar with the story of Chosin Reservoir, and so many of the individual stories that make up one of the most incredible sagas in the 230 history of the USMC, I think about them on Veterans' Day, and at Thanksgiving, every year now. I will think of and remember them to my dying day. They deserve never to be forgotten.

I won't forget.

The other photo is also of a Korean War Marine veteran. He was 19 when that picture was taken. He was a reservist, who volunteered fresh out of high school in 1949; in September 1950, he got the call to active duty. He shipped out in December, 1950. Sometime in the spring of '51, he joined the Weapons Company, 1/5, as an 81mm mortar gunner. And from April 1951 on, he saw more than most 19 year olds would ever care to experience as a nightmare: two massive Chinese offensives, the second of which ended with a massive Eighth Army counterattack.

His war ended on July 31, 1951: another Marine in his unit, stepped on a 'bouncing Betty' land mine. That Marine was killed (PFC Chester Corello, Lima, Ohio); the one in the picture was gravely wounded. He would be in and out of hospitals for a year, and discharged 70% disabled in 1952.

He went on to father five kids, and have careers in insurance and law enforcement.

He's been many things over the years, not all to be proud of. But for his service, I am proud of him.

My father.

It's Veterans' Day. And I remember. Then and now, each and every one of you.

Thank you.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Let's Get Physical

I would have much preferred Olivia Newton-John's version. With her. But I digress.

November 9, 2005, 8:45am. Time for that luverly passage of chronology that creeps up sooner or later, and becomes sooner as it gets later: a physical.

Of course, mine was scheduled as a result of my Halloween night experience with things that go bump in the blood pressure. Booga booga.

Of course, what is any good physical without the obligatory 12 hours-prior-starvation?

I won't answer that.

And then there's the arise from what amounts to a nap (got off work at 3am, in bed at 4am, awake at 6am, saying to self "screw it" and getting up at 6:30am), drinking two full glasses of water before arriving for IT...and holding that water until then.

Ewwww. At least I know of one thing that still works, though applying such forces for long suggest what happens to an earthen dam, strained once too often.

I arrive at the office, and therein begins the hurry up and wait, strained earthen dam and all. No, Miss Desk Attendant, I'm not doing this happy dance because I'm happy to see you. May I suggest a life preserver if this preliminary hork carries on much longer?

Finally I am ushered into the back area of the clinic, where I am blood-pressured (138/90), pulsed (60 bpm), temperatured (97.4), and given a 9.9 for my happy dance (with the highest and lowest totals thrown out, Olympics-style). I am then weighed (oh no you don't), measured (6' 1 1/2 inches; I'm shrinking due to g-forces in the sphincter region), eye tested (yes, I have two, and no, I'm not making up what I'm reading, Ma'am), and finally...mercifully sent to "give a sample".

I blew out the bottom of three cups before the pressure let off to allow the fourth to withstand the psi. *Whew*

Then to the 'room', to await His Nibs. Just me, a bunch of stuff to get in trouble with if I was 8, and an old...a very old Reader's Digest (when was Gerald Ford the president?) to entertain me.


Shortly after I was getting reintroduced to Disco: Fad Or Here To Stay? , His Nibs entered the room.

One minute later, and he would have had not a physical; it would have been an autopsy.

Questions. All sorts of questions. Recheck of the BP (134/85; amazing what pressure release does); recheck of the pulse rate (still 60). Listen. Poke. Prod. Test reflexes. Inquire about family medical history. Ask me if my pet rock is authentic.

His Nibs then asks me if I have any questions, while he snaps on one of those gloves, and picks up a tube of axle grease, in preparation for the H I hoped was forgot in this equation: Ho Sh**.
But it wasn't: the infamous Finger Wave. Also knowd by the male of the species as a brain buster.

That's a not so inside joke.

My mild dismay at this part of the procedure is greeted with the following His Nibs logic: "if you were 50, you'd be getting the proctoscope".

Thank God I'm not 50: I don't want to be responsible for having to pull a US Navy nuclear attack sub off a vital national defense patrol, just so's they can borrow the periscope and jam it up my hooha to tell me what I'm thinking in advance. What I'm thinking should be evident from the look on my face.


With a sarcastic (so I assumed) "this won't take but a minute", I assumed the position, and got my eyeballs extended six inches in a hummingbird heartbeat.

Don't worry; they retracted almost as fast.

Told that everything seemed "fine" down there I was dubious, having just been violated with an axle-greased fist. But I didn't bother belaboring the point.

It was over. I'll have the blood work up results in a day or so.

Which is about how long I think it'll take to get rid of the axle grease.


Wednesday, November 9, 2005

The 419 Files: Finale For A Shithole In Progress

In to each life, a pot at the end of the rainbow must fall; most prefer it not to be like the one pictured.

But that's exactly what Mr. Joseph Shithole, 419 unextrordinaire, rated.

And received.

When I last left you, Mr. Shithole was excitedly awaiting the 'big fool', Dr. U. R. Phulovit, to send (via Western Union, one assumes) $1250 US dollars to his contact, one Christorpher Okoye. This would -- according to Shithole -- transfer title of documents that would give Phulovit access to a safety deposit box containing $ 10.5 Million US.


Of course, it was his plan to abscond with the $1250; if he could sucker Dr. Phulovit to actually travel to South Africa -- and some poor yutzes actually fall for this ploy -- he would have extorted additional monies out of Phulovit, in exchange for freedom.

Or in this case, freedumb.

Wahl...the game is won when the 'intended fool' gets sucked in. But it's so much more fun when the bigger fool is the original scamster ;-)

The last communique received from Shithole: Dear Dr. Phulovit: plese hurry with the payment. i need to do things to ready this. Plese send tomorrow (Friday).

My response on Friday: Dear Mr. Shithole: a change in plan. I have decided that, since I have communicated with you, and only with you, I am not going to send this money to your designee. I am going to send it directly to you. I have your address from prior communications. So, check your email on Monday, November 7, for what you need to collect the funds (which will be arriving as Euros, not US dollars) and the pot at the end of the rainbow you so crave. I'm even including a bonus with the Euros ($1850 Euros), because you've been such a splendid sort at giving me the business.

All your plans and schemes are an email away from achieving the deserved results, my good Shithole. On this you can count.

Dr. Phulovit

At the top, left, is the Euro he received (courtesy of Gus Schultz, maniacal alter ego of one Larry Graves, Canadian humorist/musician).

Jump ahead to Monday, November 7: Dr. Phulovit's consummation of Mr. Shithole's effort to give Phulovit the business having been received, the reply from Shithole, as one can imagine, is a mix of mystified, deflated, and a tad...upset:


(If I didn't know any better, I'd say Shithole is upset with me; just so there's no misunderstanding, I sent him the 'rest of the story', so I could guarantee it)

Shithole: I would take from your comments that you're upset. You should be. You set out to find yourself a mugu. You thought you had. It sucks to be you, when you find out that you're the bigger mugu. Makes you want to go out and screw a water buffalo, doesn't it? Well, I understand. PETA won't, but I do.

BTW, Shithole: you are one of the biggest dumbassed mugus I've ever led on. You let me call you Shithole throughout this scam; even the dumbest scammer I've encountered up to you recognized basic insultive slang. But not you. You are the Mugu of the Year, Shithole. Wear it proudly.

Some day, ask a person with real intelligence and a grasp of English to tell you what my name means: U. R. Phulovit.

Thanks for letting me make you look stupid to the Internet World. You may return your head up your ass now.

No reply to that.

Sooprise, sooprise ;-)

Thursday, November 3, 2005

The 419 Files: A "Sithole" In Progress -- An Update

When last I made mention of this particular 419 scammer -- improbably named Joseph Sithole -- thing were left with my second reply to his effort to give me the business, and a week of silence had settled in. He had left me with a series of questions of a personal nature to answer, and I had done so, without any further communication.

A week of silence punctuated by personal issues of the most annoying kind, but I digress.

Despite that, a good counterscam simply couldn't be let go, at least not without one last effort on my part. So Dr. U. R. Phulovit wrote back to (disclaimer: the name of the subject, adjusted for the purposes of my response and planned climax of this counter scam, will be used henceforth; those with politically correct sensitivities might bear this in mind) Joseph Shithole, letting him know a reply was required, or I'd consider his effort to give me the business at an end.

That was the cattle prod that got the herd moooving.

Any replies of his I quote will be in italics; my quoted responses will be in bold.

(Here we start with Shithole's belated reply and explanation): am very sorry that I did not get back to because i want to have a meeting with the bank on how to transfer the money into your account. So this is the out come of the meeting the banker told me that you have to pay US $1250 for changing of the owership on your name so that the money will be on your name.So get back to me so that i will inform you how to send the money so tht we can procced the transfer immediately.

(and my reply): Mr. Shithole, now I see we get to the rat killing. You provide me with the information necessary, and I will see to the required steps that result in your being rewarded with a pot at the end of the rainbow. Guaranteed. I have, and so should you, great confidence that things will turn out in a manure exactly as they should.

(Mr. Shithole is most enthusiastic in his reply; so much so, he forgets some key information): thanks for your mail. Please i will like you to send this money so that we can procced the transfer because i meet my attorney he told me that he is going to send you the documents of this money. So please do not delay to send the money for the change of owership to your name. Use this name: Christorpher Okoye.

(in his excitement, Shithole forgot to tell me where to send the money; but I'll go lightly..)

Mr. Shithole: I thank you for your expedience. I am, however, a touch cornfused: you tell me to use the name Christorpher Okoye. Am I to use this name, or is this whom I send the money to? Secondly, if it is whom I send the money to, you have neglected to tell me how to send the money to this person, let alone where this person is.

Soon as we have this straight, I'll attend to it. Your pot at the end of the rainbow grows closer with each successful communique.

(Mr. Shithole now corrects his omission...sort of): Thanks for your mail. As i told you before that am refegue. So this name is my attorney assistance so fill free to help me and also try to send the money so that we can procced the transfer immediately. As soon as you send the money try to send the information that use to send the money so that i can take the money out. THE NAME IS CHRISTORPHER OKOYE ADDRESS 54 SMITH JHB SOUTH AFRICA

Thanks and God blees you.

(I have little doubt that God will blees me for this; now to build up his anticipation)

Mr. Shithole: Okay, I will go back over our full correspondence, and will send the fee to whom you direct. Soon, my good Shithole, you'll receive your pot at the end of the rainbow. Succor is coming.

Dr. U. R. Phulovit

Shortly I shall dispatch Mr. Shithole both his payment and his pot at the end of the rainbow; next excerpt ;-)