05 June 2009

Sad News

My great-grandmother passed away two days ago. A week short of 106 years old, so she had a good, long run.

"Grandma Walton" was a character. She was a twiggy woman who walked several miles a day to keep in shape, but I remember her as a voracious carnivore - ordering large slabs of rare beef at any occasion (preferably rare). She tended, as she aged and her appetite diminished, to prefer her deserts first.

She made major in the Army Nurse Corps in Europe in WWII, then left the service when the war ended and pursued a career in school nursing and its administration.

I was fortunate to have been able to hear her stories. She was a treasure, and will be missed.

03 June 2009

Look what I saw!

On the way to the green closet in the small hours of the night, I shined my light over near where the kittens hang out - you know, to see if they were doing anything impossibly cute (as kittens are wont to do).

And I spotted something snuffling around a pile of meat scraps...

That, folks, is a long-eared hedgehog. And it's cute. Way too cute to be hanging out in Iraq.

02 June 2009

In the news

We don't have much to say (that we really ought to say) about this piece of shit who shot a couple of Soldiers in Arkansas.

Police think the shooter acted alone "with the specific purpose of targeting military personnel," Thomas said.
He [the shooter]"stated that he was a practicing Muslim, that he was mad at the U.S. military because of what it had done to Muslims in the past," homicide detective Tommy Hudson said in a police report.

Whatever the military has "done to Muslims in the past" pales in comparison, I would say, to what a lot of members of the military would like to do to one, paritcular Muslim right now for killing one young private right out of Basic and wounding another.

A crying shame. Bad Dog hearts go out to the family of Private Conway and we wish a swift return to duty for Private Ezeagwula.

In better news, we note with approval that Princess Leia made it to the States, albeit without her person. MAJ Huchinson sounds he was a helluva guy, and the sort of character that gives the Army a lot of its soul.

In one of his biggest capers, he adopted a dog. A stray crossed his path and from then on, Hutchison brought it scraps from breakfast, lunch and dinner. He wrote a memo authorizing the dog as a member of the unit and requesting it get shots from the base’s vet. He signed it himself.

Fitting that, although the Warrior didn't make it home, the dog that brightened his days did. For those interested, Princess Leia made the trip from Iraq to Michigan courtesy of Operation Baghdad Pups. Not that there aren't enough worthy causes out there, but...well, if you happen to find some extra cash under the couch cushions...

01 June 2009

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright,

In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

I was sitting on my porch, reading. SGT B was sitting on the other side of my porch, reading. The sun was down, darkness had settled over FOB McSleepy. Since we were reading, my porch light was on.

One of the laundry gals who lives across the way stepped outside and headed in my general direction. There's a very nice porta-jon next to my area, and the quickest route there is either across my porch or the porch of the first sergeant who lives behind me. The laundry gal, seeing my porch occupied by NCOs, altered her path to cut across the first sergeant's vacant porch. Then she stopped and switched back.

"Can I cut through here?"

Sure, I replied. Public property, cut through any time!

As she crossed my porch, she looked at me, shame and terror in her eyes.

"I'd go back there," she indicated the first sergeant's porch with her chin. "But there's cats back there. I don't like cats."

She hurried on her way. I looked at SGT B, he looked at me. We sat there perplexed until Laundry Gal finished in the porta-jon and trooped back through. Then I had to ask.

She doesn't like cats, I asked? As in, afraid of cats?

They're not even cats, SGT B pointed out. They're kittens.

I was, until last night, unaware of the threat that very small kittens pose to America's Fighting Men and Women. I knew combat deaths have dropped off significantly here in Iraq, but I wasn't aware that we were losing Soldiers primarily to suicide and, after that, to kittens.

But, admit it, they are kinda scary.

With twenty razor sharp points before they even open their mouths, they're like wee little demonic tigers. And while you may be able to escape one of them, rumor has it they hunt in packs. And, due to their feline grace and cunning, they retain the element of surprise, particularly in the dark.

Note how that one is lurking behind a piece of webbing?

I have also heard that their whiskers ooze poison, ala the greater weever fish, and that, possibly, kitten tails have spikes cleverly concealed in the fur.

...When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb, make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright,
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?