Sunday, October 30, 2005

Top 10 Military Based Movies...IMHO

I thought I would list my 10 favorite military themed no particular order. I am obviously not Roger Ebert (if I was I wouldn't be able to get into the cockpit) so don't expect a review or reason why I like each one...I just do. If you don't like them or never heard of them I'm sorry get over it, it is after all my list. If you would like put your list in the comments section.

So, here it is:

1. Twelve O'Clock High: I find this WWII movie starring Gregory Peck a great example about the pressures of command and a good illustration of the effort of the 8th AF in Europe.

2. To Hell And Back: Starring Audie Murphy as himself. If you read the citation of the final event depicted in this film you know it doesn't do justice to the acts he performed that day. This film begs to be remade. If you don't know who Audie Murphy was knock out 20 and look it up...every American should know about him and those like him.

3. Pork Chop Hill: Another Gregory Peck movie this time dealing with the actions that took place on Pork Chop Hill during the Korean War.

4. Patton: George C. Scott as the title character. Worth watching just for the speech at the beginning. But the entire movie captures the charter of this enigmatic general, tactical genius and egomaniac.

5. Stripes: Bill Murray goes to boot camp. If you can't watch this movie and laugh there is something wrong with you. Filmed at FT Knox, KY.

6. No Time For Sergeants: Another boot camp film this time with Andy Griffith as the hayseed that wants to be in the Infantry.

7. Rough Riders: A made for TV movie starring Tom Beringer as Teddy Roosevelt. I believe it's around fours hours in length and worth every minute of it. I enjoy this movie every time I watch it.

8. The Big Red One: Detailing a squad in the 1st Infantry division's travels through WWII. Starring Lee Marvin as the Platoon SGT, and Mark Hamel as on of the soldiers. A Private Ryan before there was a Private Ryan.

9. Band of Brothers: Yeah it's an HBO mini-series and not a movie but it's my list and I can do what I want. Besides it the best thing ever produced about WWII. Just an awsome production that captures the essence of soldiers.

10. Saving Private Ryan: I thought about not including this...simply because over time the tactical innacuracies and made up premise have begun to bug me more and more. But for the sheer impact this movie had the first time I saw it. This movie can't be matched. In the theater I saw this film you could hear a pin drop it was that quiet. EARN THIS!

Others of note: The Green Berets: Starring John Wayne; The Devils Brigade: Starring William Holden; The Hunters: Starring Robert Wagner and recently appearing on a screen near you, The Great Raid wasn't too bad. There are many more but these are a few of my favorites. I look forward to seeing yours as well. A list of the worst will follow soon.

Friday, October 28, 2005

FAT ASSED Tourists


These are the words that are carved into a massive stone block at the entrance to the WWII Monument in Washington DC. But I wouldn't know that unless I looked it up because two fat assed tourists were resting their overworked LPCs by sitting said fat asses on this block. Never mind that their were unoccupied benches less than 50 feet away, they apparently wanted to rub their sweaty ass cracks across the names Washington and Lincoln.

Yeah, I guess that what all those guys died for, so fat assed tourists could avail themselves of the right to deface a monument to one of the greatest achievements of the 20th century.

While I'm at it, is October vacation time in Japan? The Smithsonian was filled to the brim with them. Just noticing not begrudging them the right to visit...I just found it odd. But I did also notice that they were taking a lot of pictures of the Zero fighter hanging from the ceiling in the Air and Space Museum, not so many over at the American History museum where they had a nice display featuring a picture of an Atomic mushroom cloud...could the two be connected? I wonder?

I was also taken aback by some guys speaking what I understood to be Spanish, who were standing by the display of some recovered parts of the WTC and giggling as the y reached over and touched it...I can only hope they were laughing in the fact that they were getting away with something that they shouldn't be doing (touching the display of bent metal) rather than the other odious option...I left before I committed some kind of crime.

Sometimes I wonder if we aren't doomed as a nation when I see crap like that. It's a shame really, the monuments and museums are inspiring in their content and beauty and it seems to be wasted on those that meander dumbly through them. What possessed them to visit in the first place? Odd stuff this!




Well, as everyone surely knows by now, the Houston Astros were swept in 4 games by the ball club from Chicago.

At least my suffering was short lived except for the 14 inning marathon...thanks for forgetting how to hit guys.

The National League pennant was a great accomplishment...thanks for all the thrills this year! GO STROS!



Saturday, October 22, 2005


I have a picture at my house of me standing in the parking lot of Colt .45 Stadium in Houston TX with my brother before attending a game and in the background you can see the Astrodome being built. I was so young I have no memory of that day, but it at least gives photographic evidence that I was there at the beginning.

As a child I became an Astros fan. There wasn't much to cheer for really except that they were the home team, and aren't we supposed to cheer for our home team? As I had relatives who lived in Houston every year we traveled to Houston and attended games several times a year. I was an Astro Buddy (complete with T-Shirt and newsletter). I attended a coaches clinic where I went on the playing field of the astrodome and received tips from the players. I sat next to my Mom on summer evenings in a lawn chair in the driveway as we listened to the games on the radio (there wasn't 100 TV channels back then) every year always hoping that they would get better that they would get to the playoffs.

In 1980, my boss being an Astros fan, I brought a TV to work and we watched to our disappointment as our beloved Stro's lost to the Phillies.

In 1986 I was in flight school. I snuck downstairs to the day room after lights out and turned to the TV to ESPN to find out the scores of the series with the Mets. Once again disappointment.

Then there were all the losses to the Braves. Last year the fantastic comeback in the League Championship Series only to loose two in St. Louis and see the red birds go to the series.

At the beginning of this year my team was a mess. The big bats in last years line-up had left for big bucks and greener pastures. Jeff Bagwell in the twilight of his career had a bad shoulder that would eventually force him to leave the line-up and have surgery. The team was at one point 15 games under .500. And now here they are in the World Series.

In the grand scheme of things this really means nothing. It's a bunch of professional athletes who play a kids game for big money. We are at war and I have friends in the middle of it. I will be going back to war soon, more than likely next year. So you see baseball shouldn't really matter all that much. So why was I sitting there in the bottom of the ninth Wednesday with my palms sweating? I never had that happen even while flying missions over Sadir City...It shouldn't mean that much to me. I tried to forget about them, it ridiculous to feel this way about a game but here I am an Astros fan, with my team in the World Series. If they can close the deal this next week the 40 years of pain and suffering will almost be worth it...THANKS GUYS and GO 'STROS!



Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Things You See on the Internet

I was reading Jack Army this morning and followed a link he had posted referring to a short film some boob had produced. The short of it was, join the service become a murdering zombie that doesn't know the difference between right and wrong.

Anyway, on said boobs website there were links to assorted sites one of them being the "Axis of Eve". If you choose to go THERE please make sure you haven't just eaten. While there is nothing pornographic, this panties against President Bush campaign would get more of my attention if the women were at least attractive. Well, Eve good luck with your protesting! I'm not sure what a chunky girl in underwear that reads, "weapon of mass seduction" has to do with anything...but good luck with that.

I can't speak for the entire US Army but I know that's what I'm fighting for!

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Reading is FUNdamental

I like to read, especially about military history. What follows is a list of my faves and what I'm reading now. Feel free to add to the list in the comments section.


Imperial Grunts by: Robert D. Kaplan
The author who is a corespondent for The Atlantic Monthly follows US soldiers around the world and reflects on how it's the soldier on the ground not the State Department that is the main instrument shaping the opinions and feelings of those around the world toward the US. Quite interesting. I tend to drift when he gets into philosophical prose about imperialism and the United States passing resemblance to a declining Roman Empire. But his descriptions of soldiers in the field doing what soldiers do is priceless.

Omaha Beach by: Joseph Balkoski
Anyone who was a fan of Band of Brothers should go out and get this book right now. If your local book store doesn't have it, try the on-line stores...that's where I got mine. Balkoski has painstakingly researched oral histories of the Normandy invasion and assembled them here and in his companion book Utah Beach and has achieved a very readable, fresh and entertaining (if that's a word one can use about D-Day) book. Anyone interested in WWII, especially the Normandy invasion should pick up this book.


CW2 by: Layne Heath
This book is a work of fiction, but if you can find it I recommend it highly. As a helicopter pilot I found his descriptions of the pre-flight and start-up so spot on I could hear the ticking of the the igniter's in the old L-13 engine as I read. I have read this book several times over the years. Can't say how a non-aviator would feel about it...but I really like this book. Besides the author is from Texas, so union rules say I have to recommend it.

Thud Ridge by: Jack Broughton
A book about flying F-105 Fighter Bombers in Vietnam by A former commander of the USAF Thunderbirds. I was loaned this book by the commander of my USAF ROTC detachment in college. He warned me that this book was different. If you are expecting a feel good, god and country book, this isn't really what you are looking for. Lt Col Broughton was rather disillusioned by the constrained nature of the air war in Vietnam and the methods he used to "take the fight to the enemy" ultimately got him relieved of his command. It will give the reader a good idea of what it was like back then and the things the "Thud Driver" had to face over the Red River Valley. Also on the same subject I would recommend When Thunder Rolled: An F-105 Pilot Over North Vietnam by Ed Rasimus...not nearly as bitter but informative and very readable.

SOG: The Secret Wars of America's Commandos in Vietnam by John L. Plaster
You will read this book and swear it's some movie the stories are that fantastic and made more so by the fact that they are true. I can't recommend this book enough. The things these Special Forces men did for this nation must be remembers and honored. This book stands as a testament to their courage.

I have many more I could tell you about (Black Hawk Down, To Hell and Back, The Green Berets) but it's your turn now! What are you reading besides AAFES porn?

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Luckiest Man EVER!

This guy should go out and buy a lottery ticket right NOW. This story is also a refreshing change for the goons that always seem to want to cash in on this sort of thing. He seems like a class act.

For fan, sharing memories beats cashing in on catches
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle
Three-year-old Tyler Dean came close to having a piece of baseball history in his bedroom. But his father thought better of it. The Astros and the Baseball Hall of Fame are glad Shaun Dean did.

In exchange for handing over two historic home-run baseballs Dean caught in the Astros' nail-biting victory against Atlanta on Sunday, team officials will give him four box seats to Saturday's game against St. Louis and invite him to the Astros' workout Friday, said Astros spokesman Todd Fedewa.

The team also has some surprises it didn't want to reveal to the media, Fedewa said.

Dean caught Chris Burke's game-winning home run in the bottom of the 18th inning of the National League Division Series game against the Braves at Minute Maid Park. Ten innings earlier, he caught Lance Berkman's record-setting grand slam.

A lifelong Astros fan, the 25-year-old Porter resident said he would have put them on a shelf in Tyler's room. Now, he'll present them to a representative of the Baseball Hall of Fame on Friday.

"It's cool to be able to give them back," Dean said. "It's awesome."

Burke's homer ended the longest playoff game in history. It also was the sixth series-ending homer in a postseason tilt. Berkman's grand slam was the second of the game; it was the first time two have been hit in the same postseason game. The Braves' Adam LaRoche hit the first grand slam in the third inning.

"We're grateful he was willing to share these baseballs with the Astros' fans and all baseball fans," Fedewa said.

Expensive souvenirs
Returning the balls seems unusual in an era when some fans have tried to profit from having been in the right place at the right time.

Two fans sued each other because they both claimed to have caught Barry Bonds' record-setting 73rd home run in the outfield stands in 2001. The judge ordered the men to sell the ball and split the proceeds. Each received $225,000.

Mark McGwire's 70th home-run baseball, hit in 1998, that broke the single-season home-run record of 61 set in 1961 by former New York Yankees slugger Roger Maris, was sold for nearly $3 million.

Burke's home-run ball will likely bring no more than $5,000, and Berkman's is probably valued at between $500 and $1,000, said Kent Sessions, owner of Headline Sports, a sports memorabilia company that sells items regularly on the Internet.

Determining the dollar value of either baseball is difficult, said Ted Nelkin, owner of HLT&T, a sports memorabilia store in Houston. Outside the Bayou City, the baseballs may have little, if any, monetary significance, Nelkin added.

"It really is a big deal for the Astros and their history," he said.

The home runs may be footnotes in baseball history, but Dean felt they belonged to the players who hit them. After he caught the home runs, he said, an Astros worker told him the club usually liked to collect such historic baseballs and he left his name and telephone number with officials at the stadium after the game.

Accepting immediately
Astros officials called him Monday morning with their offer for him to return the baseballs. He accepted immediately, he said.

"Without the home runs, these baseballs would mean nothing," Dean said. "They hit them. I just caught them. I've got no interest in cashing in."

One human behavior expert said Dean's desire to connect with the team is common. People often have very selfish motives, but they also have social ones, said Alan Fiske, professor of anthropology at the University of California at Los Angeles.

People often feel connected to a group — or other people — and willingly behave in ways that benefit others, Fiske said. Dean appeared to identify with the Astros and baseball, Fiske said, and put aside selfish gain from the baseballs for the betterment of the team and sport. He connected with them by returning the baseballs.

"He clearly cares about the team and baseball," Fiske said. "I think it's a lovely example that people have a lot of motives and concerns for others."

News about the catches spread quickly. Local television stations interviewed Dean, and he said he's scheduled to be a guest on an ESPN sports show this morning.

A second baseman and outfielder on his high school baseball team, Dean often went to Astros games with his father, Richard Dean, and his brother, Chris Dean. He plans to continue that family tradition with Tyler.

"I love baseball, " Dean said. "I was raised watching it, and I just love the game."



Monday, October 10, 2005

Best Game EVER!

I'm not some kind of baseball scholar or anything like that, but the playoff game yesterday between the Houston Astros and the Atlanta Braves was the best game I've ever heard or seen.

I more than likely wouldn't feel that way if I were an Atlanta fan, but I'm not one so there.

What more could a baseball fan want; two grand slams, a home run with two outs in the ninth to tie it, a future hall of famer pitching on short rest comes in from the bullpen to hold the Braves down for three innings and finally a rookie coming off the bench to hit a home run in the bottom of the eighteenth to win it. I'm tired just typing it. If you didn't get something out of this game you don't like baseball...and you probably didn't even read this.



Saturday, October 08, 2005

Funny If It Weren't True, Part 2

Boeing apologizes
to CAIR for ad
Depicted U.S. soldiers rappelling
onto roof of mosque

© 2005

A controversial Muslim lobby group in Washington said it has elicited apologies from the Boeing Co., Bell Helicopter Textron and the National Journal for publishing an advertisement depicting U.S. troops attacking a mosque.

For the entire story go HERE

While they are at it, since they make the AH-64 maybe they should apologize for this happening as well...

No wait it's the fecking terrorists who are responsible, you corporate hack morons. I guess the only thing that Boeing stands for is $$$. Yeaah, the V-22 would never be used to actually rappel/fast rope anyone onto the roof of a mosque in the middle east, that's a totally implausible scenario. And since when has CAIR or any of their bed wetting members ever bought any of Boeing's products anyway? As for Bell Textron I'm sure I can find some UH-1 or AH-1 Cobra pictures from Vietnam that they should apologize for as well....fecking hacks. Grow some balls!

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Cav Trooper

Anyone who is interested in the history of the Cavalry in the US Army should visit the Cavalry Museum at Fort Riley, KS. Located about 2 hours west of Kansas's well worth a visit for you history buffs out there.

Above is a statue based on Fredrick Remington's drawing "Old Bill". Located at the base of the statue is the grave of the last Cavalry horse assigned to the US Army. "Chief" passed away in 1968.



1st Class Upgrade

First sorry to the 3 people who read this blog for my extended absence. I was away on business and unable to connect to the internet. That being said...

My only experience with First Class airline flight previous to the other day had been passing through it on the way to the back of the bus.

Having grown up in the middle class and having done most of my travel on Uncle Sugar's dime I had never known the wonder of flight that is known as "First Class". I am about to reveal to you dear reader the wonders of what goes on behind that curtain. The joy that is FIRST CLASS!

When I arrived at the airport I was pleasantly surprised to find when I checked in that I had been upgraded to First Class. WOW, what happened there? I was traveling on a government funded ticket and didn't have frequent flier miles or anything like that...but there it was. Actually I didn't really care about anything other than the fact that i was getting the increased arm and leg room...but very cool none the less.

So there I was at the head of the line, called forward, find your leather covered cushioned seat and would you like some coffee before we take off this morning sir. I could get used to this. One flight attendant for 6 people. I wonder what the plebeians back in coach are doing? Probably fighting each other for a bag of peanuts! HA HA!

I then I looked around me. I have never seen such a rude disrespectful bunch of selfish bastards if ever at least in quite some while. The guy next to me was demanding and rude to the flight attendant. The woman across the isle had her shoes off and her bare feet firmly planted against the bulkhead doing, I don't know stretching exercises? I suppose that just because they payed extra they think they can be asses? Puzzling and disapointing...actually upon reflection they acted no different than anyone else these days and I don't know I would be surprised or expect anything different just because it was first class. But I guess first class doesn't apply to the people just the fixtures and the service.

Depending on one's point of view the best was yet to come. When I arrived in Houston I had to catch a small commuter plane to the Fort Hood AO. It seemed that everyone was on board but the plane was being held...held for what? I'll tell you what 4 Miami Dolphin and 4 Miami Heat flight EVER. Sorta makes up for all the crappy flights I've had over the years...that weren't of my own making, but not really.