Tuesday, July 29, 2014

This'll be interesting...

So, up jumped a monkey from a coconut grove, er, popped a proposal for a unit reunion in Tacoma.

Now, the thing with have served 20 years in a (mostly) peacetime Army is that you tend to move around, and in most MOSs you don't really get a lot of chance to put down metaphorical roots. The "career model" I had explained to me somewhere along the line is that, in a 20 year career, a soldier will serve one overseas "long tour" of three years, and one overseas "short tour" of one year. The Army being a big bureaucracy some will do two long tours and no short tour, some will do two short tours, guys are always pulling strings to get an extra short tour.

Then we have Fort Brag, NC, often called the most appropriately named installation in the US Military, to which a guy will report straight out of AIT and never leave until it's time to retire. Theoretically, he does an overseas tour in there; if he's really plugged in, it'll be with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Vicenza, Italy, so he can stay on jump status. If less plugged in, he'll go to Korea for a year.  (No kidding, I knew First Sergeants and Sergeants Major who were on their first overseas tour ever.)

Now, being an MI Geek means that assignment models and  theories about career development go out the window. Especially if you're a Korean linguist, what with effectively NO overseas long tours.  The longest I was stateside was not quite two and a half years, at Ft Ord, and that was because the Seventh Infantry Division (Light) had priority to make the Light Division Concept work, or something. (As Alton Brown might say, that's another blog post.)

There were also slots in Hawaii.  Hawaii sort of counted as an overseas tour, simply because it costs so much to move someone there and back. People assigned to Hawaii often need to be removed by the US Marshals Service because, well, it's Hawaii...

So, that leaves the assignments in Korea.  Which, at the time, were all "short" and all considered "hardship." Oh, you could apply to extend, and they practically begged you to, and I am probably the only 98GxLKP SIGINT/Electronic Warfare Voice Intercept Operator - Korean1 to apply four times, on three different tours, for extension and to be turned down all four times.2

Anyway, in 20 years I had 7 overseas tours, plus various and sundry TDYs and exercises, for almost 9 years in Korea. So the idea of a "reunion" is a little odd, what with all that moving around, the confirmed list has a few people I never heard of, and a bunch I was last assigned with 20 or 30 years ago, but I always heard their names. I spent a total of maybe three years assigned to this unit.

So, anyway, if you hear of a riot in Tacoma Friday night, the creaky old MI Geeks had nothing to do with it...


***
1. Now 35S SIGINT Linguist.  Gee, they actually improved something!
2. The first time the company clerk lost my paperwork.   The second time I was heading to Ft Ord and the 7<th ID, see above comments regarding Light Division workability. The third and fourth times I don't know why they did it, but it led to my meeting Mrs. Drang, so that worked out after all. The only time I was successful in getting extended was when I didn't want to, I was retiring and they kept me in Korea for an extra six months.  On flight status, collecting flight pay...  
3. No, there is no "three" above. I made a couple of minor corrections to this post, including actually publishing it; apparently, I saved it as a draft, and tried to link the draft on facebook, which doesn't work too good.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Well, isn't this an interesting development!

Alan Gura reports success inVictory in Palmer v. D.C.

The full decision is here, all 19 years of it, but here is what you need to know:
In light of Heller, McDonald, and their progeny, there is no longer any basis on which this Court can conclude that the District of Columbia’s total ban on the public carrying of ready-to-use handguns outside the home is constitutional under any level of scrutiny. Therefore, the Court finds that the District of Columbia’s complete ban on the carrying of handguns in public is unconstitutional. Accordingly, the Court grants Plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment and enjoins Defendants from enforcing the home limitations of D.C. Code § 7-2502.02(a)(4) and enforcing D.C. Code § 22-4504(a) unless and until such time as the District of Columbia adopts a licensing mechanism consistent with constitutional standards enabling people to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms.4 Furthermore, this injunction prohibits the District from completely banning the carrying of handguns in public for self-defense by otherwise qualified non-residents based solely on the fact that they are not residents of the District.
(Emphasis added.)

IANAL, but... Constitutional Carry in DC! Seems appropriate, actually. Look for the Fed .gov to ban it in all Fed-controlled property. Cuz the Smithsonian should obviously be a No Self-Defense Zone.

You know how I know?

If your first reaction to this photo was "Blackberries! Yum!", that right there is definitive proof that you have no blackberries growing on land you maintain.*

*Void where blackberries are cultivated for profit. I think.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Book Review, Popeye Edition

"Popeye edition" as in "I've had all I can stand, and I can stands no more!"

I've been plowing, no slogging, through Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism , by Peter Marshall.

The problems with my finishing this book are manifold, among them
  1. It was written by a True Believer
  2. Who assumes that the reader is one too
  3. And has a knowledge of the philosophy of anarchism. 

Being at base a working class guy from Detroit I have little interest in or patience with philosophy, and I regard anyone who believes that all we need to do is get rid of government and private property and everyone will suddenly be nice to each other as an idiot.

Oh, and telling me that in your Cloud Cuckoo Land that I will be required to work--and by whom, pray tell?--but that I will not be allowed the fruits of my labor does less than nothing to endear your pipe dreams to me. In fact, I suspect that the source of these fantasies did, indeed, have it's origin in a opium pipe.

I also found it annoying that  the author uses "anarchism" and "libertarianism" and "socialism" as synonyms.

So, my actual review of the book can be summarized as "TL;DR."  Seriously, just over 700 pages of text, most of which was sound and fury signifying... well, it might have signified something to someone, but, as for me, it was words, words, words.  Maybe it gets better after page 320, which was about where I gave up.

If you finish it, let me know how it ends.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

That moment when...

...you see that a new comment was posted on your low-traffic blog, and you think "Oh, boy, someone visited!" and it turns out to be a spammer who leaked past the blocker...

Monday, July 14, 2014

Birds of Prey Know They're Cool (Edited)

What a nifty idea for a niche business, combining a passion/hobby, and a service.

There's an accompanying photo essay,Falcon Force: a natural patrol against crop pests, here's a thousand words-worth:
BETTINA HANSEN / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Cooler than rent-a-goat, too.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Adventures of Roberta X: Independance Day

Well said, ma'am:
The Adventures of Roberta X: Independance Day:      Here it is again, that day with all the fireworks.  But what is it, really?  What was wrought this day?  From before 4 July 1776 through...