Sunday, November 30, 2008

Daily funny

What a long, strange trip (it still is)

Me and the fan damily spent this past week in Bastrop, Texas at the Soldier's Angels home for wayward families and chihuahuas.

We had a great trip to Texas, with both kids behaving themselves pretty well, and they enjoyed the flights and the company on the flights. My eight-year-old clone even taught sudoku to a septuagenarian who kept him engaged throughout the flight from Pittsburgh to Houston.

After turkeys and hams and sweet taters and wine was consumed, we packed up the rent-a-wreck and drove four hours on Friday to visit with the Mrs.' Aunt Cindy and her family, (a true Texas Darlin if there ever was one,) and after a night with Cindy, A.J. (her husband) and Ann Lauren (Cindy's Chicago-transplanted Texas darlin) we drove back to Bastrop on Saturday.

We lounged around the Soldier's Angels home for wayward families and chihuahuas on Saturday evening, and rested up for Sunday's flights home.

The day started quite well... on time to the airport, turn in the car, find out our flight is delayed for an hour, (thanks, Air Traffic Control!) but we'll still have time to make our connection in Atlanta, then home. So we ate and I bought a new book (airports book prices=robbery) and Carren bought some last minute gifts.

The plane left at it's new appointed time, and all was right in the world.

Except...

The air traffic control was still busy screwing with Chuck and co. We say on the taxiway an additional fifteen minutes because ATC was still unable to do the same thing they do every day.

Now we had five minutes to get to our gate, assuming everything went well.

Assuming. Heh.

We arrived in time to watch our connection take off. Atlanta was a veritable madhouse. Everyone was getting screwed by the FAA today. Not only was the next flight out overbooked, the delta agent informed me that the family and I were assigned a new flight--tomorrow, and that would basically be on a preferred-stand-by. I asked for a lodging chit, (I was being nice and gracious to the lazy twat behind the counter, who'd spent 20 minutes fetching tape, then an envelope, then stacking receipts neatly, then placing said receipts in the envelope, then taping the envelope in place, while the line for connections grew longer and longer...) But I remained polite and calm, as you catch more flies with honey. She told me delta would give me a room at their "negotiated rate" which I would have to pay, because the problem wasn't caused by delta, but by ATC.

Grrr...

The room rate was $59 on the chit. Okay, not bad for a room at the embassy suites. Of course, the Embassy told me the rate wasn't $59, but it was normally $169, and the negotiated rate was $159.

Thanks delta, a $10 savings!

I begged, pleaded, and gave the big sad brown eyes to the clerk, and she let the room go for $80.

Yay me, and thank you, embassy suites.

So we called our bosses, and won't be going to work tomorrow, the kids'll miss another day of school, I'll miss the first day of Buck season (grrrrr...)

All because the ATC seems to take its cues from the TSA when it comes to efficiency. (Oh by the way, this is twice that my son has carried scissors in his carry-on.)

I'll be home by 4 Pm tomorrow, according to schedule, but, like I always tell my students, "Any plan based on aircraft is a bad plan." Never have truer words been spoken.

--Chuck

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Daily funny

Queer Olympics.

Prayers needed

CPT Rob Yllescas and his family need your prayers more than ever right now.

Shopping for Soldiers' Angels

From my email:
Dear Angels,

This year, you can do your Holiday shopping and support Soldiers' Angels without paying even one cent extra!

Please do all of your online shopping through GoodShop.com, where a percentage of each order made at hundreds of stores will be donated to Soldiers' Angels (you don't pay anything extra!).

More than 700 top retailers including Amazon, Target, Gap, Giftbaskets.com and others have teamed up with GoodShop and every time you place an order, you'll be supporting the troops! Just go to Goodshop.com, select Soldiers' Angels as your charity, and start shopping at your favorite stores.

And, remember to use GoodSearch.com, the Yahoo-powered search engine, for all of your web searches and Soldiers' Angels will receive a penny every time you do a search!!

You can use GoodSearch and GoodShop every day, but be sure to check us out on their homepages on Sunday, November 23, when we'll be featured as the Charity of the Day!

Happy shopping!

Wingtip to Wingtip,

Patti

Sorry I didn't get this posted before SA was featured. But it's not too late, unless you're one of those odd people who has their Christmas shopping done in July. (But if you are, don't you have a friend whose birthday is in May you haven't shopped for yet?) Of course, you can use GoodShop all year 'round.

You can also show some love for Soldiers' Angels if you're looking for good beef jerky by shopping at House of Jerky. They have teamed up for "Operation Beef Jerky" where they donate $10 to Soldiers' Angels whenever you buy from the "Jerky for Soldiers' Angels" page. And I have it on good authority they make some great jerky.

And don't forget the Angel Store for all your favorite Angel Gear!

(If you're one of those people who doesn't really need anything for Christmas this year, consider asking your loved ones if they might donate jerky through House of Jerky or send one of the many items at the Soldiers' Angels Store that can be sent to "ANY Hero". It's a win-win situation. You don't wind up with another fruitcake and a soldier gets a surprise in the mail.)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Daily funny

Nope. Nothing strange about homosexuality. Perfectly normal behavior.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gone Hunting

For the next 2 days, through Tuesday, I am going to be wandering the woods and game lands of North Western Pennsylvania looking for one of these:

This is the North American Black Bear.

If I should find one, (and the odds aren't great, but they aren't abysmal, either, I intend to place a 185 grain .270 caliber soft-nosed partial metal jacket boat tail bullet right behind the top of it's foreleg. This has a very high chance of hitting it's vital organs.

I don't miss, so bullet placement isn't too hard. The hard part will be finding the bear in the first place.

Once I take the bear, it's a simple matter of gutting (or "field dressing") it, then dragging it out of the woods (they are still pretty heavy) and getting it to a processing station/butcher and taxidermist. (I will mount the head, or maybe leave it on the rug.)

Wish me luck.

--Chuck

We won. Someone go tell Harry Reid.


Today is the appointed day for rejoicing about the victory in Iraq.

This has been a different kind of war and I think we all have had a tough time getting our arms around what victory actually means. I will stand with security conditions that allow the Iraqis to govern themselves. They seem to be doing so and we continue to move back as they step forward. Congratulations to all who were part of those efforts and godspeed to all who gave their lives or were wounded in the cause. Those who fought knew they could win, and they did.

Of course, the war was actually over the first day I set foot in theater, nobody knew it (except me) though.

We won. That doesn't mean there will be more violence, it means we've met every goal we've set in Iraq since 2003.

Saddam and his regime toppled? Check.
Weapons of mass destruction found? Check. Proof here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
New, democratically elected gummint in place? Check.
Safe and secure environment? Check. Well, at least as safe and secure as Chicago. Between 1 Jan 2008 and 30 June 2008, 230 troops were killed in Iraq, counting combat AND non-combat deaths. In Chicago, (land of gun control) there were 229 murders in the same period of time.
Complete women's suffrage? Check.




This was supposed to go up yesterday, but I am a muppet.

--Chuck

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Daily funny

Fail.

We're losing the fight.

Not just as a branch, but as a fund raising effort.

Our goal is $250,000. After 11 days, with only 6 days left, we've only raised 20% of our goal.

Every single dollar counts. For those who've donated, you have my deepest gratitude. For those who are thinking about it, what is stopping you?

If you blog, perhaps you could contact corporate sponsors with this idea for a trade:

They donate, and based on their donation amount, you'll place an ad on your blog. The larger the donation, the longer it stays up. All they need to do is send the receipt email to you.

For those who read blogs, now is the time to engage your friends, family, work associates, clients, and even people in line at wal-mart. Don't just ask them to give, ask them to ask their friends to give. Get them to commit to it, and tell you when they do it.

Please. I'm begging you for those who can't beg.

--Chuck

Friday, November 21, 2008

Daily funny

Chuggin right along

CPT Rob Yllescas


Chuggin right along

Posted: 20 Nov 2008 09:58 PM CST

Well, today started off has a hard one for me. I was feeling really down and emotional. I went to the hospital to see Rob and brought my laptop. I had downloaded a bunch of songs that reminded me of him and I. I also had a slide show playing with all our pictures. I put it on the bedside table in front of him and turned it on. When the songs started playing, tears began to trickle down his cheeks. He never took his eyes off of me. I couldn't help but cry too. You're mourning the past, present, and unknown of the future. I've never loved my husband more than I did at that exact moment. I have absolutely no doubt in my mind or heart that we will get through this-together. Today Rob was a lot more "aware". He's tracking people in the room. When someone comes in, he looks at them. I think the tracking of the fingers is really hard for him right now because it takes a lot of concentration and he is so tired and, I'm sure, has a pounding headache. When I tell him to look at me, he will. The nurse told me that instead of trying to get him to squeeze my fingers (because this could just be a reflex), to try to get him to do a thumbs up. I asked him to do this and at times you could see he was trying by stiffening up his arm and lifting his whole arm slightly. Tonight he had to get a heparin shot in his stomach to help prevent clots. This is only a small needle but the heparin burns some as it goes in. I was holding his hand and when he got it, he squeezed by hand really hard and lifted up his arm slightly. The doctor came by and said that he is REALLY happy with how Rob is doing. He said today is the first time that Rob has responded to commands from him. He would ask him to open and close his eyes on command and Rob followed all of them! He also said his kidneys are doing what they need to do, his bili continues to go down, his electrolytes (calcium, sodium, etc) are doing much better and today is the first time since this attack happened that Rob went 24 hours without receiving blood because his blood counts have been stable. They also said as of now, the left leg where they closed it looks good. He asked me if I thought I could get him to respond with a one blink for yes and two blink for no to see if he was in pain. With the dr there, I asked Rob if he was in pain and if he was to blink once and twice if not. Rob very intentionally blinked once!!!! The dr said that he had no doubt Rob responded to that command. So, they are going to increase his pain meds some but continue to ask Rob so they can keep him comfortable but not too sedated. I was also telling the dr how Rob moved his arm when I was trying to get him to give me a thumbs up. He said that is how the body works. The bigger muscles will respond before the fine motor muscles. He feels Rob is on the right path. I am SOOO excited!!!!! Also, as I was getting ready to leave Rob tonight, they were taking him to change out his feeding tube so that he can get that nasogastric tube out of his nose! YEAH, no more tubes in the nose. :) So, please continue to pray for this continued progress and for his surgery tomorrow. When they close the legs, they have to take some bone off so that they can get the skin around to cover it. Let's pray that they don't have to take too much bone and he can still keep most of his below the knee. GOD IS GOOD. ALL THE PRAYER WARRIORS ARE OUT IN FULL FORCE!!!!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Daily funny

Holidays--not fun until Gramma needs a barf bucket.

Lazy Auction

I stole this from Blackfive's Laughingwolf because I'm lazy. Thanks, Blake!

Soldiers' Angels

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Best-Selling Authors Provide Autographed Books to Support Project Valour-IT

Seven noted authors have stepped up to support Project Valour-IT by donating autographed books for auction, and more are anticipated to join them. The books are being auctioned on eBay to help raise money to help Soldiers' Angels provide adaptive laptops to wounded or disabled service members.

David Weber, David Drake, John Ringo, David J. Williams, Dean Ing, Mark L. Van Name, and Travis "Doc" Taylor have all agreed to provide works for auction as part of the annual fundraiser, which kicked off on Veterans Day and ends Thanksgiving Day. The works are being auctioned on the eBay Giving Works listings (seller spliffslips) with the money raised going directly and fully to the Project Valour-IT fund.

Currently, there are seven items up for bid on eBay:

The Last Centurion by John Ringo. (I LOVED THIS BOOK. If you like the way I write (other than when I'm being simplistic or just telling gay jokes, you will too.)

The Quantum Connection by Travis S. Taylor.

Warp Speed by Travis S. Taylor.

Von Neuman's War by John Ringo and Travis S. Taylor (autographed by Travis S. Taylor only).

The Complete Hammer's Slammers Volume 1 by David Drake.

Vorpal Blade by John Ringo and Travis S. Taylor (autographed by Travis S. Taylor only).

Slanted Jack by Mark L. Van Name.

Works by David Weber, Dave Williams, and Dean Ing will be posted for auction soon. The end time for each auction is different, so please check each listing to determine its end date.

John Ringo is a New York Times best-selling author with more than a million copies of his works in print. A veteran (Airborne!), he is known for his solo "Posleen" and "Ghost" series, as well as his "Empire of Man" series co-authored with David Weber.

Travis S. "Doc" Taylor is a rising light in the science fiction sky. He's earned not only a Ph.D. in optical science and engineering, but Master's degrees in physics, aerospace engineering, and astronomy and a Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering as well. The author of several books, he may be best known for the "Looking Glass" series co-authored with John Ringo. The start of a series of video interviews with Taylor can be found here.

David Drake is the New York Times best-selling author of the "Hammer's Slammers" series. Having written on a variety of subjects, his Hammer's Slammers work is based on his service in Vietnam and he is known to describe the series as the 11th Armored Cavalry with ray guns. The start of a series of video interviews with Drake can be found at here.

Mark L. Van Name is an author who also runs a technology assessment company in the Research Triangle area of North Carolina. A former Executive Vice President for Ziff Davis Media and national technology columnist, he's published over a thousand computer-related articles in addition to his "Slanted Jack" series and numerous short stories. The start of a series of video interviews with Van Name can be found here.

David Weber is the New York Times best-selling author of the acclaimed "Honor Harrington" series. The author of multiple best-selling books and series, he has seen his works develop a world-wide reach and following. The start of a series of video interviews with him can be found here.

David J. Williams is another rising star in the science fiction universe. Born in Hertfordshire, England, he now resides in Washington, DC. Mirrored Heavens is his first novel.

Dean Ing is the author of multiple science fiction and techno-thriller novels. After serving in the U.S. Air Force, he earned a doctorate in communications and worked in aerospace engineering. He served on the Citizen's Advisory Council on National Space Policy.


Project Valour-IT, in memory of SFC William V. Ziegenfuss, (My dad) helps provide voice-controlled/adaptive laptop computers and other technology to support Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines recovering from hand wounds and other severe injuries. Technology supplied includes:
Voice-controlled Laptops - Operated by speaking into a microphone or using other adaptive technologies, they allow the wounded to maintain connections with the rest of the world during recovery.

Wii Video Game Systems - Whole-body game systems increase motivation and speed recovery when used under the guidance of physical therapists in therapy sessions.

Personal GPS - Handheld GPS devices build self-confidence and independence by compensating for short-term memory loss and organizational challenges related to TBI and severe PTSD.

The experience of Major Chuck Ziegenfuss, a partner in the project who suffered serious hand wounds while serving in Iraq, illustrates how important these laptops and other technologies can be to a wounded service member's recovery.

Established in 2003, Soldiers' Angels is a volunteer-based 501(c)(3) non-profit providing aid and comfort to the men and women of the United States Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard, as well as veterans and military families. For more information, see www.soldiersangels.org or call 626-529-5114. Tax ID# 20-0583415

My dog's daily planner

My dog's daily planner
1. Sleep
2. Lick humans face to wake it up
3. Lick genitalia
4. Poop
5. Chase cat from kitchen, sniff its butt.
6. Eat
7. Sleep
8. Poop....a lot.
9. Sleep
10. Bark at nothing
11. Chase cat. Sniff its butt.
12. Lick own anus.
13. Stare at human until it gives me food
14. Poop
15. Sleep

My cat's daily planner
1. Sleep on female human's head.
2. move 1/2 inch when human female pushes me away.
3. try to sit on male human's head
4. wake up next to wall
5. meow until humans wake up, look surprised when they wake up. Purr.
6. follow humans into kitchen, meow for food.
7. run from dog who is trying to sniff my butt.
8. Venture back into kitchen when dog is busy sleeping
9. Eat. meow for more.
10. Ignore any further food offerings.
11. return to bed. lick self. Take my time.
12. Sleep.
13. wake up. Venture into kitchen, demand new food.
14. Ignore food offering.
15. Run from dog. What's the deal with him and butts, anyway?
16. Wait on bed for humans to come and warm it up.
17. Lie down between humans with face toward female and butt in male human's face.
18. Vault away from wall.
19. Sneak up on human female, curl up on her face.

Woot Off!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Daily funny

1000th post


you were expecting something deep and moving?

--Chuck

America! F*ck Yeah!


WE did it. We, the American Service Member, the patriots who supported us, the men and women at home who sent us everything from postcards to Kevlar Blankets, who never lost faith in us or our mission, won.

November 22 is VI day--Victory in Iraq. We, the people, declare it as such. We do not need an elected official to tell us we are victorious, nor do we need some booze-addled hack with a journalism degree to bleat it on the nightly news.

Chicago is more dangerous than Iraq--An estimated 125 people were shot and killed over the summer. That's nearly double the number of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq over the same time period.

(I know someone from Chicago--famous somebody there, can't recall his name. Worked on gun legislation...)

It is up to the American people to declare victory. Which is exactly what we are doing right now.

There never will be an "official" announcement from the government or the media, so you can stop waiting for it.

This is the official announcement.

Victory in Iraq Day

November 22, 2008

More info here.

Second Annual Pistol Challenge for Charity

From the Anarchangel

Last year, In order to add a little extra incentive to the Project Valour-IT fundraising challenge; and I had a reverse auction for a pistol.

Last year we auctioned an FEG PA-63, which is a perfectly decent little pistol; but not exactly a world beater.

We managed to raise about $5,000 through our little part of the challenge; and this year we need even more money, in less time, so I decided to up the ante a bit.

This year, we're auctioning off a SIG P6.

More info here.

--Chuck

Passing forward a kindness

The cabbie arrived at the address where someone had requested a taxi. He honked but
nobody came out.

He honked again, nothing. So he walked to the door and knocked. "Just a
minute," answered a frail, elderly voice.

He could hear something being dragged across the floor. After a long pause, the
door opened.

A small woman in her 90's stood before me.

She was wearing a print dress and a pillbox hat with a veil pinned on it, like
somebody out of a 1940s movie.

By her side was a small nylon suitcase. The apartment looked as if no one had
lived in it for years. All the furniture was covered with sheets. There were no clocks on the walls, no knickknacks or utensils on the counters. In the corner was a cardboard box filled with photos and glassware.

'Would you carry my bag out to the car?' she said. The driver took the suitcase to the cab, and then returned to assist the woman.

She took his arm and they walked slowly toward the curb. She kept thanking him for his kindness.

"It's nothing," he told her, "I just try to treat my passengers the way I would want my mother treated."

"Oh, you're such a good boy," she said. When we got in the cab, she gave me an address, and then asked, "Could you drive through downtown? It's not the shortest
way..."

He answered quickly. "Oh, I don't mind."

She said "I'm in no hurry. I'm on my way to a hospice."

The driver looked into the rear-view mirror. Her eyes were glistening. "I don't have any family left." she continued. "The doctor says I don't have very long."

The cabbie quietly reached over and shut off the meter. "What route would you like me to take?' he asked. For the next two hours, they drove through the city.

She showed him the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. They drove through the neighbourhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had him pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she'd ask him to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

As the first hint of sun was creasing the horizon, she suddenly said, "I'm tired. Let's go now."

They drove in silence to the address she had given him.

It was a low building, like a small convalescent home, with a driveway that passed under a portico. Two orderlies came out to the cab as soon as they pulled up.

They were solicitous and intent, watching her every move. They must have been expecting her.

The driver opened the trunk and took the small suitcase to the door. The woman was already seated in a wheelchair.

"How much do I owe you?" she asked, reaching into her purse.

"Nothing," he said.

"You have to make a living," she answered.

"There are other passengers"

Almost without thinking, he bent and gave her a hug. She held onto him tightly. "You gave an old woman a little moment of joy," she said. "Thank you."

He squeezed her hand, and then walked into the dim morning light.

Behind him, a door shut. It was the sound of the closing of a life.

He didn't pick up any more passengers that shift.
He drove aimlessly lost in thought. For the rest of that day, He could hardly talk.

What if that woman had gotten an angry driver, or one who was impatient to end
his shift?

What if
He had refused to take the run, or had honked once, then driven away?



We are conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments - but great moments often catch us unaware-beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.



Now consider the allegory: The old woman is a wounded trooper. She's closing the door on her life, just as that trooper is looking back on his prior life--before his injury took away his hands, or his eyes or his memory. His new life has yet to open, because he is still looking back, unable to move forward, because he can do nothing for himself. He can only focus on what was, and what will be is too hard to think about.

You are the cab driver. You can go about your day, focusing on "important" things, things that likely won't matter in a month, a year, or a decade. Or you can stop,ever so briefly, and help that wounded hero. He's already taken stock of what was--he needs help going through those doors into what he does not know.

You can help him--a voice controlled computer can help him bridge the gap between what was and what will be. It can help him realize that he can still be a part of the world as he sees it, that he can still do things he used to do.

It isn't the grand things and achievements in life that define us. It is the innumerable small things that determine how we affect and effect the world around us. It doesn't take much, you CAN make a difference.

--Chuck

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Chatting with Chuck & Carren

If it's not enough fun for you all to just read Chuck's words, you can hear them spoken in a podcast/radio interview with Greta Perry of Kiss My Gumbo fame.

Greta has a radio show on WIST AM 690 New Orleans. Saturday, she interiewed Chuck and Carren in the second half of her show.  The conversation with the Z's starts at about 22:00 in the show, but give the whole thing a listen because Greata has a great show.  

You can get to the podcast here.  Listen to Chuck, Carren, and Greta talk about how Project Valour-IT got started.

Daily funny


CPT Rob Update

CPT Rob Yllescas


Another quick update

Posted: 15 Nov 2008 08:35 PM CST

I just got back from being with Rob. The dr told me that they found a stone in his gall bladder. He says the stone was not there when they had opened him up and looked at it before but with all the blood he's received, it's not uncommon for him to get a stone. Anyways, they also noticed some inflammation from the tubes coming off the liver. This could be from the stone putting pressure on it. So, tomorrow they are going to do a scope on him and try to get all the "back junk" out of the liver. This will help with his jaundice, urine, and platelets. They will do this by either making a slit in the muscle for it to drain or by putting in a stent. At this point they are not worried about taking the stone out of the gallbladder. He said later on when Rob is able if he wants to have an elective gallbladder removal, that's fine but this is not the time for it now! So please pray that they will be able to clear that up tomorrow morning when they do the scope. THANKS!!!

Another Day Down

Posted: 15 Nov 2008 06:05 PM CST

Well, I don't really have much to report today. The doctor said that Rob's body has pretty much "optimized"-meaning everything is going pretty well. The only thing that is not quite right is his liver. He is still pretty jaundice. They did an ultrasound of his gallbladder and liver to make sure there wasn't a block somewhere. They've seen the inside of Rob's stomach and said the ducts do not look blocked to them, but they wanted to do an ultrasound to double check. They're thinking that it's probably from all the blood he's received. To date, he's had 140+ units of blood. That's approximately 14 adults supply of blood. His left leg was also pretty weapy but the ortho dr's looked at it and were able to stop it by applying nitrate to it. The doctor said that now the only thing Rob needs to do is "wake up". Yes, his eyes are open, but he needs to respond to commands. Rob had his eyes open today and I could tell that he was really torked. I would be talking to him and if he didn't like what I had to say, he'd look away and refuse to look at me. I know this has to be extremely scary for him. Everytime we're in the room, we explain that all the tubes are just temporary. That one day we will be on the boat wakeboarding again. My heart breaks for him because I know Rob and I know that he absolutely hates being in the bed like this. So, the cheerleader in me kept telling him that he WILL be fine and he just has to keep working on responding to commands. He is a fighter--he is a RANGER. I told him that he finished Ranger school when he didn't think he could go on anymore, and he can use that fight in him to get through this. I told him that he has 2 little girls that are waiting to have daddy back and that we will be able to continue all our future plans (like buying an RV and following the girls around when they go to college so that we can keep them in our view at ALL times!!) At times, I've just got to use humor. Because if I don't laugh, I'll cry. I absolutely don't take for granted the baby steps Rob is making. Because if you look back to 2 1/2 weeks ago to where he is now, it's remarkable. Patience just was never my virtue. So, I continue to pray and pray and PRAY. God has a perfect plan and I just have to have FAITH that he WILL bring OUR ROB back to us. So, I'm on my way to go see Rob again tonight. One more day done and closer to complete recovery.

When Rob regains consciousness, I fully intend to deliver Valour-IT laptop to him in person. I am continuously amazed by his wife's faith and confidence in him and God.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Daily funny

Mirror Sites and Checks

Now, it's even easier for you to tell your friends about this!

www.frommyposition.com
www.frommyposition.net

For those Luddites who want to donate by check or money order,

Soldiers' Angels
Project Valour-IT [INSERT SERVICE BRANCH] [TEAM ARMY]
1792 E. Washington Blvd
Pasadena, Ca 91104
  • It's wise to write "Team ARMY" on the memo line.
  • Donations by check ARE manually credited to the "Team ARMY" widget as they arrive.
  • Anything with a post date within the competition schedule counts for the competition.
--Chuck

Delta Bravo Sierra



Very Nice.

The button is on the left side bar.

Thanks, DBS.

More Cute

Another reason you should give to the Valour-IT Army Team:

Army guys share their hats with puppies.

A puppy sleeps under a U.S soldier's hat and rifles in Baquba, in Diyala province some 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad November 6, 2008.
REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic (IRAQ)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Daily funny

Good Monring! Something for you to try.

Okay, this is really cool.

First, if you haven't already, maximize your browser window.

Next, (and this is critical) put your drink/cereal/whatever down.

Next, and this is also critical, (trust me--I work for the gummint) you must put your hands under your legs until you finish reading this post.

Now, start reading.

Some of my first memories in the hospital were of an angel at my bedside. Not the winged, harps and choruses kind of angel, but an angel in Human form named Kathleen.

I don't remember what she first said to me. I don't remember much really, but to this day, I still remember the soup.

I don't know how long it'd been since my last sip of water--the last memory I had was begging for water as they put me on the plane to WRAMC from Germany, and cussing out--like I've never cussed out anyone, the medical staff at WRAMC who were trying to assess me during preop.

I wanted to know a) where my wife was, and b) can I please have some goddamn water?

I didn't get the answer I wanted to either one. Carren was not yet in DC, and they couldn't give me water, as I was about to go into surgery. At one point I paused my tirade long enough for some female person to tell me that my "conduct was unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman." I know realize she was trying to reach that disciplined part of my brain that would tell me to behave.

At the time, however, I knew only that I was scared and wanted my wife, and I was really farooking thirsty. I made the effort to demonstrate just exactly how ungentlemanly and unbecoming I can be. I don't remember exactly what I said; I'm sure I invented new swear words, as the current crop don't seem to be able to adequately express the feelings and frustration I felt.

Sometime after that interminable hell, I awoke in my room. There sat Kathleen. I didn't know who she was, where I was, or what the definition of "is" is. I didn't know the extent of my injuries. I didn't know anything, except there was someone in my room, and I was still so goddamn thirsty.

I croaked out "Can I have some water?" (Pleasantries would have to wait for later.)

"How about some ice chips?"

"No... water." I still don't understand why people who go to college for over eight years seem to think that ice chips are a good, or even passable, substitute for liquid water. It's like needing a drink dying of thirst and someone says "Here, this is humid air instead. Take it slow."

So I chewed ice chips. Kathleen patiently shoveled them into my mouth and I hungrily devoured them, taking only enough time to try and suck water from the chips that wouldn't melt fast enough. While I fantasized about the hundreds of gallons of bottled water I had recently rescued from a broken-down tractor trailer near the FOB, Kathleen told me she was from soldiers angels and had followed me from Andrews Air Force base to Walter Reed, and then waited in my room while I was in surgery and post-op, so that when I woke, I would have someone there to talk to, and not be alone.

Soon Kathleen told me there was clear broth to be had, if I didn't have a garden-hose-sized-catheter in my shrapnel damaged pork sword, I think I'd have gotten an erection.

There was just one

small

problem:

I didn't have anyway to feed myself. My hands were bandaged, my shoulders swollen from being dislocated, I had tubes coming out of my arms, which had swollen so much from infection that I now sport scars on both where they had to cut them open to keep them from splitting open on their own--an armpisiotomy, if you will.

I could continue this story, but I won't right now, because if you're reading this, you've failed to follow instructions. You pulled your hand out from under your legs, and either used you mouse or touchpad to scroll down this far.

Being able to use a computer sure is nice, isn't it?



--Chuck

The Moon over Yusuifyah

Robert Stokely wrote, what by far is the single most moving letter I've ever read. Robert epitomizes the best of us, he is why I fight, he is the America I believe in and serve. All that follows are his words:

Saturday was a first for me, visiting the Malogne House at Walter Reed. While I have seen some of the PTSD, TBI and other serious wounds of soldiers from Mike's unit, I had not had the up close personal experience with the horrors of war that comes with damage to limbs and eyes and serious disfigurement as I saw at WRMC last Saturday. A stiff reminder of a different cost of war and the price of freedom. But, what an experience to be there and visit with these fine military personnel whose bravery is only matched by their courage in recovery. I was struck by these personnel, some with no legs or seriously injured arms, who didn't want to be too much trouble getting the lunch that Soldier's Angels provided. As I offered to help this was a typical response - "thank you sir for offering to help but where is your plate and I wouldn't want to hold you up from eating..." Pride in these military personnel is an understatement when I see such spirit and caring toward a fully able bodied civilian like me when they have suffered so much for our family's freedom and they have every excuse to only care about themselves. Honestly, I was a little nervous to go, but I am so glad I went and I want to go back and be with them again soon and serve them as a simple sign of what they gave me on Saturday and what they give us all each and every day - a gift of themselves. It made me appreciate all the more what Chuck Z. endured and continues, with his lovely wife, to endure for our freedom in the service of America.

It is early Tuesday morning, Nov. 11 - Veteran's Day 2008. As I write this I have just come through a period of time at 0220 that I was up and wondering the house and now, in Mike's room. I have just come in from outside from gazing at the moon. Ironically, the moon is in the same phase it was in as I gazed at it this same hour 169 weeks ago, not knowing that my boy, Mike was dead from a road side bomb near Yusufiyah south of Baghdad at 0220 Iraq time. 169 weeks ago at this time I prayed for his safety not knowing a visit from a Commissioned Officer and Chaplin was just a little over four hours away at 0700 August 16, 2005. 169 weeks later, on this Veterans Day I prayed again - thanking God for the privilege of being Mike Stokely's dad, for him being a part of our family and I selfishly asked God to give him back if he would, knowing God could if it were his Will to do so. But I also prayed that we as a family would submit and honor God's Will and to please tell Mike how much we loved him. One day, I will see my boy again, and as I do everyday, I listen to his voice mail message on my cell phone that I saved by the Grace of God - Father's Day weekend call from Iraq, 2005. As I listen to that message, I am reminded of the sound of his voice and I never want to forget his voice. You see, my faith says I will see him again one day when I die and we meet in Heaven. I figure he will see me coming long before I can spot him and I know he will call out to me "Dad, Dad - here I am...." and I will know his voice and I will run to him.

Tonight, the Moon over Yusuifyah, as I call it, reminded me again of what I have lost, but more importantly, it reminded me of what I was blessed to have. I am, when it is all said and done, a man greatly blessed by God.

I hope one day before I die to stand where my boy once stood and gaze at the Moon over Yusufiyah and see it as he saw. And when the sun rises, I want to go into the village of Muhlafayed just a few kilometers away, and then to the nearby town of Yusufiyah where his FOB was and visit with school children and bring them school supplies from the Mike Stokely Foundation, Inc. As Mike went to Iraq to give them a hope of freedom, I want to go with school supplies to help the Iraqi children go beyond a hope for freedom to a hope for a better life through education. I want them to know that the service of Mike Stokely did not die at 0220 hours 16 August 2005 on that lonely road outside Muhlafayed neary Yusufiyah, but that in his death, he continues to serve them and that they are not forgotten or foresaken. I am not Mike Stokely and I could never fill his shoes for I am not even fit to tie his shoe laces. I could never endure Mike's hardship nor is any sacrifice I make able to match what he has given. But, if given the chance, I will do my best to be his legs and carry on with the Mission.

I didn't get to make the choice whether Mike lived or died 169 weeks ago. I do get the choice on how I will handle it - blame in bitterness or REMEMBER WITH HONOR. May I never give any person reason to question that I made a choice to handle Mike's death by Remembering Him with Honor - a choice I made in the first instant of learning of his death and I will strive to uphold until the day I die. It is little enough I can do given what Mike has done.

Thank you for your kindness to Mike and our Family these last three years. I shall never forget what you have done, especially for me.

DUTY HONOR COUNTRY.

Robert Stokely
proud dad - lucky dad of SGT Mike Stokely
E 108 CAV 48th BCT GAARNG
KIA 16 AUG 05 near Yusufiyah south of Baghdad

free welcome home banners

Hi Chuck,

I'm an employee at Buildasign.com, and we just launched a promotion in honor of Veteran's Day. We're giving military families a free customizable banner to help welcome home their loved ones returning from overseas or the option to send a free customizable jumbo card to a loved one overseas. I was wondering if you could offer me any tips or suggestions on who to get in contact with to get the message across to people that can take advantage of this promotion. Also, it would be great if you could help spread the word by posting about our promotion on your blog. The link to this promotion is www.buildasign.com/Troops.

We are giving away a total of 20,000 banners plus jumbo cards to support our troops at home and abroad. Thank you again, I greatly appreciate your time!


Best,
Katherine

We're Broke!

Valour-IT is completely out of money, and it's really going to be a shitty Christmas for wounded service members waiting for laptops. And yes Virginia, there is a waiting list.

So we begin the Valour-IT veteran's day fundraising project. Our goal is $250000, and that means each of the five branches are racing to the $50,000 finish line. Team Army, will, of course, win, because all of you WILL contribute. You will get your friends, family, and coworkers to contribute. You will get acquaintances to contribute.

Look, you don't have to donate your life savings. Just figure out how much you spend on mini-luxuries for a week. Five trips to starbux is $30. Drink coffee at work instead, and you've sacrificed little, but you can now contribute three percent of a laptop. Think about your weekly luxuries. What can you do without, so that you can give the gift of modern functionality to someone who needs it?

We've made sure the fund raiser will cover the mid-month pay period, too. So put back that can of creamed corn (really who eats that?) when you are doing your turkey day shopping. That's a dollar right there. Put back the second can of purple jelly too. Learn to make gravy instead of buying a jar.

It's important. It's something you can do to give, really give, someone such a great gift this holiday season. While we focus on being thankful for what we have , take a little time to remember what others have recently lost, and know that the only thing stopping them from regaining a piece of what they've lost--is you.

Want o thank a wounded vet? Here's How:
--Chuck





Sunday, November 09, 2008

TAPS Website Makeover to be Unveiled on Veterans Day!


www.taps.org Gets a New Look and Offers Better Online Resources for Hurting Families
Families who've lost loved ones serving in the military turn to TAPS, the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, to connect with others who've experienced similar losses. Now finding help will be a little easier - thanks to a new website going online at www.taps.org on Veterans Day, November 11, 2008.

The new site will be easier to navigate and offer better support for the rapidly growing network of surviving families who seek to connect through TAPS from all over the country, and even around the world. The TAPS website provides virtual support through its online community with real-time chats. It also offers online discussion forums on a host of topics that are available 24-7. Grief and trauma resources are posted online for family members, casualty officers, chaplains, and anyone supporting a family that has lost someone serving in the military. The popular Baghdad bracelets, which are sold as a fundraiser to help provide services for families, will also continue to be sold on the site. Check out our new look by visiting www.taps.org on Veterans Day.

TAPS provides ongoing emotional help, hope, and healing to all who are grieving the death of a loved one in military service to America, regardless of relationship to the deceased, geography, or circumstance of the death. TAPS meets its mission by providing peer-based support, crisis care, casualty casework assistance, and grief and trauma resources. Services are provided free of charge. Since its founding in 1994 by a group of surviving military families who lost their loved ones in a military plane crash, TAPS has provided help and support to more than 25,000 surviving family members. For more information go to www.taps.org or call the toll-free crisis line at 800.959.TAPS.

--chuck

Daily funny

I'll have the cow something, medium, served with a barf bag.

Logo


I am Jealous of Blackfive. They have a logo.

I want a logo. Please email any submissions you have (original artwork, please) to me at TCOVERRIDE@gmail.com.

Thanks in advance,

--Chuck

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Tech notes - Gravatar

Just a quick one today:

If anyone's been wondering how to get their own personalized image to show up when they comment here, it's available through Gravatar.com

Friday, November 07, 2008

Dueling Road Trip Pictures - Part II


Could we be in more opposite parts of the country?

Chux Code Monkey
Who doesn't have a crackberry yet

Dueling Road Trip Pictures - Part I



Chuck Ziegenfuss
sent from my crackberry

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Best letter evah--

Hello Sir.
I read your "why I'm okay with Obama" post and felt prompted to ask your advice. I have been trying to decide whether or not to apply to Army OCS as a college ops candidate (no prior service). I am married with 2 small children, so despite the call I feel to serve, it's no easy decision. Leaving aside all of my family concerns, I'd like your opinion on how and to what extent the election results should weigh in my decision. I am deeply conservative, and the election certainly didn't come out to my liking; however, what's done is done, and I won't spend the next 4 to 8 years of my life whining about it. I want to make the best of the situation, and I dont wan't to give up on my Army plans. It seems to me that no matter what Obama does or if/how the budget gets cut, the Army will still need new junior officers and that I'd have no problem serving at least 6 years. Do you agree with that? It may be a silly question, but I can't help thinking of the 90s and all of the people who were forced out.
Thank you for your service and thanks for reading this,

Chux new slogan

This covers politics, foreign policy, how to deal with the neighbor's little towheadded kid, etc.

Oderint dum metuant!
Let them hate us, so long as they fear us!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

More important news than any election

Update from Nancy

Posted: 04 Nov 2008 11:43 AM CST

I don't think Dena will mind- I wanted to give you guys an update based on the information I'm getting from a variety of sources.

Looks like Rob was stable enough for the flight today. All three ladies (Dena, Rob's Mom, and Dena's Mom) were able to join him on the plane for transport back to the states. This is great news and makes coordinating so much easier on this end!

They are due to arrive at Andrews Air Force Base today around 4:30pm EST, and will travel from there to Bethesda Naval Medical Center.

I'm sure Dena will be on later to give more specifics, I just wanted to share what I've learned at this point since I know so many people are anxiously awaiting news!

Keep the prayers and comments coming- you guys are the best! The support for the Yllescas family has been amazing and I know they are feeling it!

What's next?

The opinions expressed are those of Chux Code Monkey. It's entirely possible that I will someday piss off even him. Get mad at me, not him. Check the bottom left corner for feedback.

******************************************************************

K, we lost. It's a pisser. You know what? Life goes on. America goes on.

For those of you that need time to lick your wounds, you get 48 hours. You had best be singing this while you put on your "Hello Kitty" band-aids and drink your Zimas.



The rest of us are working on what's next. Let us know when you get done sulking.

If y'all want to plot about how to best make the next four years suck for our new President, count me out. If you want to talk about what we do next, I'm all in.

Let's roll.

UPDATE:

What she said. The decision has been made, the people of these United States have spoken, and come January, he's the new boss. It doesn;t matter if you like it or if you voted for him. I am NOT going to spend the next 4 years acting like the very moonbats we've ridiculed endlessly as sore losers. This is a milblog, and in the military, you have to know when the time for debate is over and when to snap your chinstrap and get to work.

You don't have to like him, but he is your next President. Now get to work. People on welfare need your money.

--Chuck

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Daily funny

Daily Funny

I am a bad republican (small R)

I'm Your Worst Nightmare. I am a BAD Republican.


I like big cars, big cigars and naturally big racks. I believe the money I make belongs to me and my family, not some mid-level governmental functionary with a bad comb-over who wants to give it away to crack addicts squirting out babies. I don't care about appearing compassionate. I think having with guns doesn't make you a killer.

I believe its called the Boy Scouts for a reason.

I think I'm better than the homeless. I smell better, look better and act better, anyway. I am not the real Slim Shady, so I think that I’m gonna stay seated right here in this damn comfy chair. I don't think being a minority makes you noble or victimized. I don't care if you call me a racist, a homophobe or a misogynist. I am not tolerant of others because they are different. I know that no matter how big Jennifer Lopez’s ass gets, I’ll still want to see it.

I don't celebrate Kwanzaa.

I believe that if you are selling me a Big Mac, you do it in English. I don't use the excuse "it's for the children/environment" as a shield for unpopular opinions or actions. I want to know when MTV became such crap. I think getting a hummer is sex, and every man is entitled to at least one extremely sloppy one per month. I know what the definition of is is. I think Oprah's eyes are way too far apart. I didn't take the initiative in inventing the Internet. I thought the Taco Bell dog was funny. I want them to bring back safe and sane all fireworks.

I believe no one ever died because of something Ozzy Osbourne, Ice-T or Marilyn Manson sang. I think that being a student doesn’t give you any more enlightenment than working at Blockbuster. I’ve never mourned a dead goldfish. I don’t want to eat or drink anything with the words light, lite or fat-free on the package. I believe everyone has a right to pray to their God or gods, while I pray that the test results come back negative. My heroes are Abraham Lincoln, Orson Wells, Ronald Reagan and whoever canceled Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. I think creative violence makes movies more interesting and terrorists more dead.

I don't hate the rich. I don't pity the poor.

I know wrestling is fake, but I still think The Rock could kick my butt. I know global warming is junk science. I’ve never owned or was a slave, I didn't wander forty years in the desert after getting chased out of Egypt, I haven’t burned any witches or been persecuted by the Turks and neither have you, so shut-the-fuck-up already. South Park still makes me laugh. I think you can respect and admire women while mentally undressing them. I believe a self-righteous liberal with a cause is more dangerous than a PlayStation and Grand Theft Auto. I want to know which church is it exactly where the Rev. Jessie Jackson preaches. I think explosions are cool. I don't care where Ellen puts her tongue. I think the cops have every right to shoot your sorry ass if you’re running from them. I thought Spinal Tap was great, but Rob Reiner can still kiss my ass.

I worry about dying before I get even.

I’ve discovered that DVD is better than Laserdisc, and Blu-ray and HDDVD aren't worth the cost. I like the convenience of buying oranges while I'm waiting at a stop-light, and I'm pretty sure the Latina midget selling them to me is glad she no longer lives in a refrigerator packing carton outside Ensenada. I figured out Bruce Willis was dead midway through The Sixth Sense but enjoyed it anyway. I think turkey bacon sucks. I want somebody to explain to me exactly why it's wrong to point out that when I watch a freeway chase, I know the losers the police eventually pull out of the car are gonna be a gang-banging hommies or vatos. I believe that it doesn't take a village to raise a child, it takes a parent. I think tattoos and piercings are fine if you want them, but please don’t pretend they are a political statement, or make you different or special, because all your friends have them too.

I like hard women, hard liquor and an easy bowel movement first thing in the morning. I believe you don’t have to speak with a lisp to pick out a couch for your living room. I'll admit that the only movie that ever made me cry was Old Yeller. I didn't realize Dr. Seuss was a genius until I had a kid. I will not conform or compromise just to keep from hurting somebody's feelings. Sometimes I throw my soft drink can in the trash, even when the recycle bin is just a few more steps. Making love is fine, but sometimes I wanna get laid. I'm neither angry nor disenfranchised, no matter how desperately the mainstream media would like the world to believe otherwise.

I don't think just because you were not born in this country, you qualify for any special loan programs, gov't sponsored bank loans, etc., so you can you can open a hotel, c-store, trinket shop, or any damn thing else.

I did not go to some foreign country and risk my life in vain and defend our constitution so that you can tell me it's a living document ever changing and is open to interpretation.

I believe a self-righteous liberal with a cause is more dangerous than a Hell's Angel with an attitude.

I own a gun, you can own a gun, and any red blooded American should be allowed to own a gun, but if you use it in a crime then you will serve the time. A rubber band and a paper clip is a dangerous weapon in the hands of someone with malicious intent.

I think Bill Gates has every right to keep every penny he made and continue to make more. If it pisses you off, invent the next operating system that's better and put your name on the building. Ask your buddy that invented the Internet to help you.

I don't believe in hate crime legislation. Even suggesting it pisses me off. You're telling me that someone who is a minority, gay, disabled, another nationality, or otherwise different from the mainstream of this country has more value as a human being that I do as a white male. Hell, if someone kills anyone, I'd say that it's a hate crime.

We don't need more laws! Let's enforce the ones we already have.

I believe that it doesn't take a village to raise a child, it takes a parent with the balls to stand up to the kid and spank his butt and say "NO".

I will not be frowned upon or be looked down upon or be made to keep silent because I have these beliefs and opinions.

I thought this country allowed me that right I will not conform or compromise just to keep from hurting somebody's feelings.

Yes, I'm a bad Republican. And I vote... even if it rains.

CPT Robert Yllescas

The 6-4 Cav is in hills of the Stan along the border.

CPT Robert Yllescas, B Troop Commander, 6-4 CAV was injured in by an IED. His wife, Dena has a blog to keep people updated on their condition. They have a 7 year old, and 9 month old daughter. Both he and Dena have touched many lives. Please leave messages for the whole family.

http://www.yllescasfamily.blogspot.com/