February 26, 2003
I swear I’m not making this up.
A friend and neighbor of mine just graduated
the Naval Postgraduate School got stationed in Georgia (where
I assume he doubled the Mexican population). Our kids were
best friends and Alex received an email from him with the
following unedited line (remember, they’re in Georgia
“I got a bow and some arrows
for Christmas and we just set up a target. My friend that's
younger than me got a real gun for Christmas and my mom said
I can't get one till I’m out of the house. That’s
okay because I don't need one anyway.”
BTW, he's 10 years old.
As much as I'm for education, I think
bestowing working firearms to 10 year olds is, well, what's
the phrase… freaking insane! I like to call it investing
in future of our penal system. I have many friends that are
from the South and I try to dispel the stereotypes every chance
I get but these kind of situations make it tough. Come on,
fellas, help me out over here!
“Mebbe fur Christmas wull getcha
dat gurnaid lawncher, boy…”
February 25, 2003
My damn dog
is prejudice. I’m embarrassed to admit it but I think
Last summer at a soccer game, a little black boy came
up behind him and he growled and snapped at him. This was a
total surprise because he’s always been the most friendly
dog I’d ever seen (a popular statement after a dog mauling,
I know). Maybe the kid startled him but we noticed that any
time a black kid came near him, he would growl.
Tonight, I went to a friend’s house and decided
to take Buster along. We
were talking on the porch and his wife came out and saw Buster.
When she bent down to pet him, he pulled back a bit and growled.
I was floored. I had to admit to them that he was prejudice.
My wife and I think that his prior owners might have
been black and we’re pretty sure he was abused. We’ve
never abused him once but anytime my voice get louder (usually
when my computer and I are not in agreement), he cowers until
I come out and tell him it’s OK. Also, he tends to flinch
if you make sudden movements to him, as though we beat him regularly
(the “Leave It To Beaver”
syndrome: they never beat them but were always afraid Dad was
going to go medieval on them). This would explain why he might
associate abuse with black people. It’s just a theory
but whatever it is, he has issues with both abuse and people
So how do I remedy this? I told Dan I was going to
give him some sensitivity lectures and present my equal opportunity
class I give to my Marines. That should snap him out of it.
Dan said I should paint my face black for a week. I told him
that the Al Jolson routine
would probably be hard to explain to the neighbors.
But if he starts bringing home Arian recruitment literature,
I’m putting my foot down!
February 24, 2003
Today was so cool because I heard from my Flash
mentor: OddTodd himself.
Yes, I got a response from the man himself and I’m proud
to announce that he liked the cartoons
and will be posting a link to them on his page tomorrow. YES!!!
I spent the entire weekend making the follow up to
my first Flash Burns
cartoon. I learned how to put a preloader (the little status
cartoon as it loads) and made an ending menu. I made a couple
of scenes for part 2 and had a lot of fun doing it. It’s
tedious and time consuming, but fun when things are progressing.
As I learn more, I watch the first one and cringe at the mistakes.
I try to just chalk it up to the learning curve but sometimes
I HAVE to go back and fix things.
Jones won like ten Grammys yesterday. Is it possible
for a 34-year-old man to get a crush? I heard her for
the first time a few months ago before she became mega-popular.
I happen to catch the video of her “Don’t
Know Why” song and couldn’t decide if
it was more a treat for my ears or eyes. I mean, I don’t
even care for jazz but that voice is really something
else. And then the drop dead looks had me standing in
front of the TV, jaw wide open like a little boy. |
|Today, I saw one of the funniest
videos online I have ever seen: Terry
Tate, Office Linebacker. They are ads put out by Reebok
and you have to see them!! I watched them quite a few
times and laughed harder each time. It’s streaming
video so if you don’t have high speed internet,
February 23, 2003
They’re here. They arrived yesterday
and have been calling my name incessantly. I thought I could
resist their beckoning but their force was simply too strong.
At approximately 2105, my will broke like a dam holding back
a flooded river.
In a disgusting display of gluttony,
I ate the entire sleeve of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies. Oh,
the horror of this yearly temptation. Each of them, I calculate,
is worth about a mile of running so I put myself behind by
an entire marathon. Bastard little Disks of the Devil!!!
Worse yet, there are still about 5 boxes
left (my daughter was selling them and it looked like she
was bombing early on so we signed up for a half dozen boxes.
She rallied and sold over 100 boxes). To fight this, I’m
thinking of taking on a less destructive vice. I’m thinking
February 19, 2003
I spent the last couple of days reformatting
my desktop computer and reloading everything back on. Yeah,
and now all I have to do is get that root canal while subjecting
myself to a voluntary prostrate exam to round out the experience.
But it worked out in the end (complete the joke at your own
Way back when the Windows OS made sense,
I remember you made a boot disk because (fellow geekoids help
me out here) you couldn’t reformat your hard drive until
you got to the DOS prompt. Not the fake-ass prompt you can
get inside the Windows environment but the no kidding, outside
of Windows, Old School, bareback DOS command promptoid.
For awhile, they made it easy by letting
you chose to reboot to the DOS prompt but this had hidden
dangers because once there, you could format the hard drive
but alas, there was no way to get back on the system (no OS,
remember?) without the boot disk. So then I guess they got
smart (or helped us NOT be so dumb) and required a boot disk
to get to the DOS prompt, thus ensuring you’d have it
to reboot once you scraped your drive clean. But now, to get
your hands on a boot disk. You think the computer’s
gonna help you pull its own plug? Not a chance.
I had Windows 2000 and wanted to scrape
it clean and reinstall the same OS. Much like the junk drawer
in my kitchen, the hard drive had accumulated all matter of
things until it had scraplets of crap that interfered with
its intended use. So a scrapin’ I decided to go. Shave
it clean as a babies, but I digress.
Unfortunately for me, I had no boot
disk (imagine that). Easy enough because I thought about this
BEFORE trying to scrape. But try to find information on the
help system about a boot disk for Windows 2000. There were
setup disks and emergency disks but were they the same? (your
answer might be a resounding “DUH” but I was taking
nothing for granted.)
I made the four floppy disks which was
strange to be dealing with 1.44 disks again. They seemed so
ancient and I vividly remember transitioning from the big
floppies to the 1.44 and thinking how sleek and indestructible
they seemed. Now it’s like using a book. And only 1.44
MB of storage? – bitch, please.
I made the emergency disk too but before
I did any formatting, I wanted to see if I could reboot off
the disks. The emergency disk did no good and the setup disks
just tried to reload Win2000 on the machine but I couldn’t
get to the DOS prompt. Damn it to Hell!
Next thing was to search the web with
my laptop. I found some sites and downloaded an executable
of “Windows 2000 Boot Disks.” But after suffering
through downloading through the hair thin pipe that is my
modem, I discovered these were just the same damn 4 disk setup
disks I already had. Still no DOS prompt. I was getting dangerously
close to a funk.
Another site told me that you could
use a Windows 98 boot disk so I downloaded that. Ironically,
one of the floppies I reformatted to use as one of the system
disks was an old copy of Windows 98 boot disk. Nice shot to
the orbs, don’t ya think?
This time it worked and I got to the
DOS prompt (applause). Good thing the website also explained
the extremely non-intuitive procedure of killing all your
partitions using FDISK first and then creating another new
partition, rebooting, and then formatting. I would have never
thought of that little dance. Thanks Bill Gates, you really
know how to stick it to a wannabe geek.
There’s always that moment when
you start the reformat when you wonder if you backed everything
up and if you’d be able to get the machine back on its
electronic feet. But it was too late and the scraping had
begun. For better or worse, we were riding this boat to Cairo
(is that right? My analogies are getting more lame every day).
Well, everything went smoother than
I ever expected. It only cost a lot of time but everything
went back on smoothly. I even set up the Outlook accounts
and they worked the first time. The “Windows Updates”
only took two days to get everything downloaded (let’s
hear it for 26.4 modem connections! <fart>)
Now, the machine boots up extremely
fast and I’m stunned. Normally, a lot of yelling is
involved before it decides to work my way. I guess after all
these years either it’s getting a little long in the
tooth or my ranting over the years finally broke its spirit.
February 17, 2003
Here is a response I sent to someone
who thought the draft was a good idea for today's "undisciplined"
"I tend to agree about your statement
about discipline but have to adamantly disagree with the instituted
draft for a variety of reasons. The Corps’ main mission
is the win battles. The discipline we receive is a means to
that end and a hell of a benefit for the rest of our lives.
But what the Corps isn’t is a harsh rehabilitation program.
Again, a good side benefit but not the main thrust. Forced
enlistments means we’d have to deal with people who
didn’t want to be there with all of the attitude that
brings. Not that we couldn’t handle it (even the volunteers
tend to be a challenge) but then we’d spend more time
and energy trying to get our Marines in line (and stay there)
rather than training them for battle. Also, this would detract
from the good Marines because as we all know, 90% of the leader’s
time is spent with the 10% who make trouble. I think we learned
that in Vietnam; they are more trouble than what their worth
as a group. Yes, there would be a certain amount of converts
and statistically, a few that become stellar. But by far,
our resources would be dwindled trying to make large numbers
of disgruntled people do what they really didn’t want
February 16, 2003
Let’s cover a couple of articles
out of the paper. It’s always a good source for my rants.
Seems this 26 year old man got 30 days
in the clink for having sex with a 15 year old girl. The article
says that the judge believed the girl had instigated the “oral
copulation” but had not made her wishes clear that she
didn’t want to have sex.
The girl wanted to dude to fry (which
I’d have no problem with) but to provide oral sex and
then claiming that, me oh my, I didn’t mean to insinuate
that sex was going to be involved is kind of, um, false advertising.
Now don’t get me wrong, having sex with 15 year olds is
way out of bounds but why not leave it at that? Why do you have
to play to innocent card after getting this idiot to agree to
the stupidity of underage sex?
It should have been as easy as this:
Did you have sex with her?
How old is she?
See this book? I’m now going to throw it at you.
There should be no “she instigated
it” or “I didn’t want to really have sex.”
Unless it was forceful rape, there should have been no other
It occurred to me that this girl couldn’t
have waited 3 more years to be a slut. She had to be an early
starter and get a jump on the competition.
So I say, stupid girl and even more stupid
man. As though his stupidity was not galactically enormous enough,
Chester the Molester actually stated that the penetration was
WHHHHAT? Accidental. So his pants just
fell down, he slipped, and his plug fell into her receptor.
“Oh, sorry about that.” And this upon getting to
his feet, he slipped again, over and over and over and over….
That right there should have doubled his
Now for 30 days, maybe he’ll be
“accidentally penetrated” by Hammer the Butt-Slammer
in the local correctional facility. Hey, make sure you inform
him you really don’t want to have sex when you’re
dusting off your knees, if you get the chance.
Dolly died. No, not Ms. Pardon. The cloned
sheep. Seems she got a lung infection and after 6 years of living
as the first animal cloned, she was taken down (I wonder if
they used the same needle that created her. Kind of has a “full
circle” ring to it, don’t ya think?). Now all the
scientist are bummed that raised her from a petre dish. Hmmm,
getting bummed over a dead sheep they spent a long time with.
Maybe a little too long, if you know what I mean.
(Tangent) Isn’t it kind of unfair
to sheep as a species that every time we talk about them, we
have to attach it to the whole farmer/sheep ungodly union thing?
Kind of like Richard Gere and gerbils.
The most amusing part of the article:
they listed who she was survived by. Wonder if they wore black
to the funeral. (Get it, black sheep… hello?)
Another article showed the new Mattel
games coming out. They roll them out at an expo in New York
where kids can come out and check them out. Why did this catch
my eye? They had a picture of a kid playing this little table
top version of the carnival game Skeeball where you roll the
wooden balls and try to get them into the rings for points.
But instead of rolling wooden balls, the bounce little metal
ones on a little trampoline contraption.
It struck me that this isn’t a kid’s
game! It’s the quarters drinking game! They’re teaching
kids early how to bounce quarters!!
Can you see the staff meeting on this
one? Benny from R&D gets hammered the night before his new
product idea is due and wakes up all late. He grabs some wrinkled
clothes and rushes out the door without even shaving, smelling
like a bar floor on the Sunday morning after St Patrick’s
Day. He rolls into the meeting 15 minutes late and realizes
he has nothing to present…
“Ok, um, we can, like, make this
bouncing game thing with quart… er… I mean metal
balls and there are rules if you make it….”
Now he has the big corner office with
the view while his new underling, Percival, wonders why his
“Happy Enema Kit for Kids” idea tanked.
February 15, 2003
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and
being the romantic sap I am, I got the missus a dozen roses
and took her out to a nice dinner at the Old Del Monte hotel,
which just happens to be the admin building at my school, NPS.
Oh, and I got the dinner free for helping them with their MWR
website. But this didn’t stop us from getting all dolled
up and going out for a romantic dinner. Of course, me having
all the couth of Jethro, I had my moments.
When we got there, I realized the closest in age to
us still had us beat by a trio of decades. In fact, one of them,
shuffling out as we entered, seemed impressed that I was wearing
a coat and tie. I swear, this lady was Lovey Howell from Gilligan’s
Island and had to complain about “how kids dress
for dinner these days.” She ended her impromptu rant by
exclaiming how she wouldn’t let anyone in with jeans.
I bet she’s just a pistol around the mansion. I hope her
blue blood didn’t get to pressurized over the situation.
We had a nice dinner, although the clientele reminded
me of Thursday’s Costo BLOG entry and it took a glass
of wine to wind down a bit.
According to my wife, here is what I learned:
-- the little fork is for the salad.
-- One should not take the grated cheese and soaked grapefruit
slice off the salad and onto the bread dish.
-- Ketchup is not a respectable condiment for broiled rib eye
with peppercorn sauce
The set up: great. The rose given to Carrie: nice touch.
The maitre de name “Crazy Larry” maybe should change
his nametag and fix his collar. He came over to the table and
tried to engage us in conversation but awkward silence doesn’t
go well with dinner. Maybe I’m just some kind of sociopath.
Yeah, that’s probably it.
All and all, a good night with the woman I love. We
recalled good friends over the years in all the places we have
lived. We concluded we’ve been luckier than most to have
such a close set of friends wherever we went and that we were
luckiest to have each other for the last 16 years. I think I
got the better end of the deal but who can account for a woman’s
February 14, 2003
My 11-year old boy thought that the “Fruit-By-The-Foot”
snack was named such because when you unrolled it and held it
up, the end was “by your foot.” For those of you
not familiar with this snack, it’s pressed fruit and sugar,
packaged for kids. To me, it’s like old, mashed fruit
but as long as they like it, it’s better than sugar frosted,
deep-fried, breaded Crisco balls (sorry Krispy Kreme).
But to be fair, I have to admit that I always thought
the old nursery rhyme was “Peach Porridge Hot,
Peach Porridge Cold …”
And I’ll throw in that my wife thought that Billy
Squire was singing “Stroke Man, Stroke Man…”
and the song “Hole Hearted” was belting out “Oh,
Donna” instead. (tee hee).
February 13, 2003
Love was not in the air today.
It started out simple enough: go and get
a card and some flowers for my wife today, thus avoiding the
annual last minute rush on Valentine’s Day (yes, a whole
day prior is a major accomplishment for a guy). But Cupid decided
to bury his arrow some place that’s not usually associated
Before I left, I looked in my wallet without
the slightest notion of how much money I had. Ends up two bucks
wasn’t gonna cut it so I did what any Dad would do: snagged
the 10 spot my mom sent my son for his birthday. Don’t
gasp so loud, I planned to return it.
The first indication that things were
not going my way was the decision to drive out of my way to
the base gas station/mini-mart. The fact that they didn’t
have ANY Valentine’s Day cards in their meager card selection
on February 13th annoyed me. They weren’t out, mind you.
You must have had something in the first place to be “out”
of them. So I left, a bit annoyed but still upbeat because I
was going to Costco to get some cheap roses.
Costco on a Thursday morning in Seaside
California, A.K.A.: The Night of the Living Dead. God bless
all of them but my patience evaporated as a result of the sheer
number of elderly people struggling to push oversized carts.
But again, I was upbeat because I was in Costco and looking
around on a Thursday morning. After a bit of browsing (do I
really need a pack of 100 AA batteries? Wow, 6 pounds of gum
for $13.) I decided to wander over to the roses section and
hit a homer with the missus.
I’ve told about a dozen people at
NPS about the great deal of roses. They sell them for about
$13 for TWO dozen. Yes, that’s right, and they’re
the size of a fist and come in every color imaginable. Every
once in awhile I go and get a bundle, giving 12 to my wife and
12 to my daughter. So imagine my surprise when I saw that they
were now selling them for $14 for just a dozen smaller roses.
Yes, I know that’s still a great deal but I really thought
Costco was immune to price jacking. Oh, Costco, how you’ve
Well, seeing that my fuse is measured
in nanometers, I was pushed a little further up the perturbed
scale because I was looking forward to presenting 2 dozen of
the “bigguns.” But it’s the thought that counts,
At this point of the story, the immense
volume of ancient ones really made a dent in my happiness. I
have a bundle of freakin flowers and I see that every line at
the front has at least a half dozen shrunken figures standing
in line with carts filled over the brim. I’m sorry but
the first thing that popped into my head was if they would live
long enough to use all of these supplies. Were they stockpiling
for the afterlife?
I found the shortest line and waited…
and waited….and waited. Finally, after watching the elderly
gentleman in front of me pack up his box of 3000 trash bags
and industrial pack of tarps, among other things, I placed my
flowers on the counter.
The employee rang them up and I gave him
my checking Visa card. I’ll admit that I’m completely
lost when it comes to doing this (checking card? Debit card?
Checking-debit hybrid card? Charge card? Checking charge card?...)
and it’s a guessing game if the transaction will be successful
each time. I usually just hand them the card and hope for the
best, praying that there will be no quiz. Last time I was in
Costco, I had successful navigated these transaction waters
so felt confident nothing would go awry. I was wrong.
“Is this a debit card?” said
Mr. I Work At Cosco For A Living.
“Uh…” replied Marine
Captain Working on a Master’s Degree
I then tried to recover by saying “No,
“We don’t take credit cards.”
“You can use it as a debit”
as he swipes my card and tells me to enter the pin.
At this point, I’m annoyed beyond
words. I’ve never had to go through this process before
and didn’t see why this time should be so drastically
different. Plus, I suddenly became dreadfully retarded and cannot
figure out which buttons to push on the little entry pad. I
can’t remember my pin number which ends up not mattering
at all because I never knew it in the first place and thought
all I had to do was enter my cash card pin (which I had a hard
time even remembering that). Nope. The happy little display
happily informs me that it cannot complete the transaction.
Have a happy day.
Suddenly I realize, I’m the idiot
that I always get pissed at when I’m in line and some
bozo taking too much time and holding everyone up. So I make
the command decision to just put it on my Costco card. After
all, that’s what I did before. Right? Oh, silly man, you
think it’s that simple, do ya?
“Tell you what, just put it on the
Costco card.” Said I.
“This is not a charge card”
says he, holding up my Costco card.
Now confusion took over and anger decided
to come out to play. I had officially crossed over the “slightly
annoyed” threshold and emerged in the “all out pissed
I tell him that I do have a Costco account
and that’s the only card I’ve ever had. He tried
to explain that this is not the charge account, only the membership
card. I tell him I get a freakin’ Cosco bill so I know
I have an account. And if I get a bill, I have charges. If I
have charges, I need a card that does that. Since this is the
only card I knew existed, this must be the one. We were obviously
at a standstill with this.
I look in my wallet, knowing this was
a futile move since I had only 12 bucks. He then makes the suggestion
I use the cash machine in the store and God forgive me, I take
the opportunity to run away like a scared school girl because
by this time the only thing that surpasses the level of anger
I have is the level of embarrassment. Screw it, I’ll just
get cash. Actually, I thought about bolting out of the store
but then remembered that he still had my Cosco card, as useless
as the son-of-a-bitch was.
As I’m nearing the cash machine,
my anger is once again welling up because I just know that I’m
going to be charged an obscene amount for a “transaction
charge” for using this little “Fast Cash”
machine. Seems the smaller and more convenient they are, the
more they juice you with additional charges. Then I remember
I might have entered the wrong PIN number and furiously search
through my wallet for the number (Dear Reader, do not even think
about lecturing me on the writing my PIN number on a scrap of
paper in my wallet!!! I’m already pissed off just recalling
this story!). Bingo, I find it and return to the counter, thus
sidestepping the exorbitant surcharge of the Evil Fast Cash
Of course, now the employee is helping
Old Melba with a gross ton of denture cream and 22 pounds of
saltines among her purchases. After waiting there as patiently
as the situation allowed, I finally get my chance and inform
him that I might have entered the wrong PIN and that I wanted
to try again. Again, this was met with failure and I just left
in disgust. Red hot. I think if anyone would have said anything
to me in the proceeding 5 minutes, I would be in the county
jail on verbal and physical assault charges.
I thought about packing it in, cutting
my losses, and going home to ride out my anger. But it was for
Valentine’s Day and my wife so I really couldn’t
do that. I had to go that extra mile and try to calm myself.
It didn’t help that I was cut off in the parking lot by
someone who felt it necessary to go my exact route at 10 miles
per hour below the posted speed limit (of which was 35 to begin
with!!!) But since I’ve not been allowed to attach sidewinder
missiles to my truck for just such occasions, I was forced to
participate in this funeral procession, boiling the entire way.
After getting $40 out of the cash machine
(this little portion was the only thing that went over without
a hitch) I decided to take advantage of my proximity to the
actual PX to get a card, although I was a little worried that
my streak of bad luck and attitude would spell out disaster.
But I decided to do it anyway and picked out a card in about
15 seconds (women, note how easy this is for men. It’s
not a life and death decision, just make it!) and proceeded
to the counter. Wondering how I got away with such a smooth
event, I soon got my answer when I got up to the counter that
only had two people in front of me and each only had a couple
of items. Was I going to get out of there in under 5 minutes?!?!?
The register worker made Forrest Gump
look like a Nobel laureate. I don’t know if he was mentally
slow or disabled but there was something going on (or “not”
going on) there. He moved with deliberate moves reminiscent
of a glacier race. At this point, I just sat back for the ride.
Obviously I had done something that made the Man upstairs unhappy
with me and I was being reprimanded.
Back to Costco I went with a clearer head
and a question about my ability to charge onto my account. Once
I was away from the heat given off by my anger, I realized I
should have been able to charge so I went to the customer service
counter to see what was going on. Can you see what’s coming
Old lady at counter with old man on deck.
One person behind the counter. Trainee. Act II, Scene 1.
I wait and wait and wait and wait…
Both people in front of me want to get new cards (to include
new pictures) and have stories longer than mine dealing with
some confusing situation they find themselves in. Steady, Jason,
Once I get to the counter and explain
my situation, it attracts the attention of another trainee.
Now all three of us are confused while the two trainees stare
blankly at the screen I can’t see. They are trying to
look up my account and ascertain if I’m on the account
with my wife. It takes the only pleasant person in this long
story to come over and patch things up and apologize for the
trouble. It seems I truly am on the account, which is nice since
I like, pay the bill and all. But there IS a difference between
a regular membership card and a charge card. But all that Dorkzilla
had to do was to punch in my account and finish the transaction
rather then send me away. Seems that was too much trouble for
a dumbass customer who tried to use a credit card.
You might think (or hope) that it all
ends here but alas, there’s more.
They write me an “authorization”
to use my card for today’s transaction. I grab the flowers
and realize I went through the trouble of getting cash which
is the preferable method anyway. As this thought is entering
my head, I round the corner to see that all the lines were twice
as full as last time and I had to wait yet another insufferable
eternity to get checked out … AGAIN!! A mere 25 minutes
later, I’m done, grab my flowers and turn just in time
to see a line of over 30 shopping carts waiting to exit the
Ahhh, the final kick in the teeth. For
those of you that don’t know, Costco insists on checking
your receipt at the door before you exit. I have a dozen flowers.
That’s it. And then I have to wait another 20 minutes
to get out the door. At this point, I’m really starting
to question if it’s all really worth the savings.
The long wait gave me time to reflect
on what all just happened and a chance to really get ticked
off about this receipt policy. I mean, no other store does this
and what purpose does it really serve in reality? I’m
not the first person who questioned this because they have a
big sign that explains their “policy.” But this
sign is the final case of the ass I have about the entire Costco
experience. It claims they check the receipt for two reasons:
to ensure the members received everything they paid for and
that they were not over charged.
Come on, people! First, they are not even
remotely interested in helping me double check I got everything
I paid for. They don’t even check everything; they spot
check. Second, they have no idea how much the items really cost
so how can they ensure I was not over or under charged? They
can’t. Why don’t they just be honest and say they
check the receipt to make sure we aren’t stealing crap
from them and since they haven’t the interest nor the
capability to scour everything, they spot check to deter theft.
I would much rather them be honest than to feed me crap about
helping me out. Yeah, Register Boy really slid me a favor.
So honey, I hope you like the flowers.
They cost $16, 2 ½ hours of wasted time, about 20 miles
of driving around, frustration out the yang, and my 10 years
of satisfaction with Cosco. Happy Freakin’ V-Day!!!
(Actually, I really mean this because
I’m thankful she does most if not all the retail shopping.
I’m obviously unfit to deal with normal society.)
February 12, 2003
Here is a great tip passed to me from
Miles Michel who left for bootcamp on Feb 9th:
"A wonderful way to exercise your
vengeance upon spammers or anybody is to get their fax number,
and fax them multiple copies of a black piece of paper. I'm
not entirely sure if this is legal so you might want to check
first, but those companies that solicite their products to me
without my approval haven't complained (for good reason)."
Thanks Recruit Miles and Godspeed.
February 11, 2003
Another Marine Corps item I feel strongly
about demonstrated in an email exchange:
hi my name is (name withheld by Capt Grose)
and I'm a cadet corporal in my school's marine corps junior
rotc program and i just wanted to tell you about how much i
enjoy your website. i really enjoyed reading about your boot
camp memories and your meeting with Gunnery Sergeant R Lee Ermey.
Im a huge fan of his and have seen full metal jacket close to
a million times (if you havent read it already, I recomend the
issue of leatherneak featuring him.) but i digress i was just
wondering what your position was with marine corps junior reserve
officer training corps cadets wearing the marine corps emblem,
while i beleive that one should truly have to earn the right
to wear the emblem by way of the crucible. We who wear it in
rotc are not posing as marines.(although i plan to enlist as
an officer out of collage) we are doing our best to represent
whatever part of the corps we can in the best possible way.
i have heard of many marines not approving of cadets wearing
the emblem and i was wondering what your stance is.
thank you for your time and keep up the
(name withheld by Capt Grose)
(name withheld by Capt Grose),
Thank you for your kind words and I’m
glad that you enjoy the site. Feedback like yours is a big reason
why I continue to put work into it.
A slight correction to your email: you
don’t “enlist as an Officer.” Enlistment only
refers to enlisted ranks. You earn a commission to become an
Officer. Slight difference but you kind of mixed the terms.
Let me start the next portion by stating
that I respect your involvement in the Marine Corps Junior ROTC
Program. From what I’ve seen in some of today’s
high school students, embracing the ideals that we Marines hold
dear is an anomaly. Whether you go on to become a Marine or
not, the lessons you learn will help you in whatever you chose
But since you asked my opinion, let me
say that there are two things we Marines hold so close to our
hearts that they are taboo for anyone else to even think about
touching. The title “Marine” and the Eagle Globe
and Anchor. The two go hand in hand and neither is granted.
Both are earned.
Here is an email exchange that addressed
the title of “Marine.”
Among enlisted Marines it is customary
to say that one does not earn the title "Marine" until
graduation day at boot camp. College students, however, commonly
refer to the Marine-option NROTC students (even the freshmen)
as "Marines". I always found this a bit offensive,
because I had to work so hard to earn the title. So, at what
point in their training does a NON-PRIOR-ENLISTED officer-candidate
(PLC, OCS, NROTC, or USNA) earn the title "Marine"?
Ut oh, now you did it...
In the famous words of Gunnery Sergeant
Hartman from Full Metal Jacket, "YOU LISTEN HERE AND YOU
There one way and ONLY one way to
earn the honor of being called a Marine. The moment you perform
that about face, the moment those immaculately edge-dressed
leathers smack together, is the moment the spirit of the Marine
Corps brands your soul for life. At that moment, your very DNA
changes and little eagle, globe and anchors propagate through
every fiber of your being. For an enlisted man, it happens on
the parade deck at MCRD. For an Officer, it normally happens
on commissioning day. Until that moment, you are not a Marine
and should never, and I mean EVER, be referred to as such. You
have not earned it, you don't rate it, and it's an insult to
every Marine who has sacrificed so much over the history of
our beloved Corps.
If I ever caught someone referring
to a Marine Option (which is what we called them) as a "Marine,"
it would pretty much resemble an angry pit bull versus a limping
(end of my response)
You will likely find that the average
response from other Marines and can apply to the wearing of
the Eagle Globe and Anchor also. You see, however well-intentioned
you consider representing those of us who have painfully earned
the Eagle Globe and Anchor, you CANNOT.
Since I’ve been a Marine for 15
years out of my 34 on this Earth, it’s hard for me to
put myself in your shoes to see if this makes sense but if you
ever go through boot camp or OCS, only then will you understand
the folly of adopting the Eagle Globe and Anchor before earning
it. The spirit that ingrains itself in you when you become a
Marine is the very foundation of our fighting ability and our
success is based on the power we receive from the fact that
we are Marines, have earned that title and symbol, and everyone
we fight with has proven themselves in the cauldron of Marine
training. So early adopting the title or symbol, for whatever
intention, is profoundly insulting to us.
The argument that you are not actually
posing as Marines is not a factor. You are wearing something
that is not yours, that you have not earned, and that many millions
of Marines have held as their most prized possession. I would
never wear a Medal of Honor with the argument that I’m
showing my deep respect for the symbol or that I’m trying
to emulate everything it stands for. Not only would this be
wrong to do but the people who don’t know the difference
would be misled and those that did know the difference would
be enraged… justifiably.
I hope I’ve made my point and again,
I want you to know that I approve of the program overall. I
think it teaches valuable traits for young people to incorporate
as life-long beliefs and the fact that you are participating
during a time that military service is not exactly popular with
your contemporaries makes it that much more honorable. I just
hope that honor expands to encompass the proper respect for
those you chose to model your program after.
Jason D. Grose
United States Marine Corps
"And of course you can't become
if you only say what you would have done..."
If You Steal My Sunshine
February 10, 2003
I thought I'd post this email exchange
since it once again covers my thoughts better every time I write
about it. I think it's pretty self-explanatory.
Dear Capt. Grose,
My name is (name withheld by Capt Grose),
I recently graduated boot camp (Feb. 7th) and your page really
helped me and others in my platoon. I used all your memorization
tricks for the general orders and passed them along to others
in my platoon. Needless to say nobody in my platoon got any
of those wrong on prac.
I hope that while in the Marines I have
the time to go to college so that I may try to become accepted
into OCS, but seeing how things are right now and watching Pendleton
empty out in front of my eyes I don't think I'll have much time
for collage anytime soon. Have to get the job done though.
I ended up graduating with the "most
improved" title, platoon highshooter, and the only meritorious
promotion that wasn’t a guide or squad leader in my platoon
so I guess I'm starting my career off on the right foot.
Any extra advice you may have for me would
be great, I have a great deal of respect for you and would like
to hear what you may have to say in order for me to accomplish
my goals, I check into MCT on the 18th so I hope you respond
in time for me to read it... I have no idea what MCT is going
to be like but I doubt I will ever get a chance to check e-mail.
I wish I had a better idea of what I am getting ready to do,
your website gave me a good idea of what to expect when going
to boot camp but now I'm kinda lost.
Anyways, I hope to receive a reply and
thank you for this website, it has been a great deal of help
PFC (name withheld by Capt Grose)
PFC (name withheld by Capt Grose),
I've created my webpage back in 1992 and
in all that time, I received literally thousands of emails that
I've answered in response to the contents of the page. But in
that entire time, no one has told me that they used anything
specific to help them in bootcamp. Your email telling me that
you used the memorization tactics means a lot to me.
Consider this: they were passed to me
by my high school history teacher: a former Marine himself.
I used them in 1987 and now that you used them, there are (at
least) three generations of Marines that have benefited. It's
your responsibility to pass it to the next and I fully expect
you to comply whether it's by word of mouth, email, or as a
DI yourself someday.
You are correct: you are starting off
right. Your accomplishments in boot camp are impressive and
I would encourage you to continue this level of effort (I never
held a leadership position above "prac private" in
bootcamp). If you're lucky, you'll run into leaders that will
ensure you don't backslide but more likely, it will be your
own self-motivation and self-discipline that will have to hold
strong. You will find out that many Marines consider being "moto"
is akin to butt-kissing and/or "uncool." It will be
a test of your character whether to follow them into their bitching
complaint parties and their "the world is against me"
attitudes that will make their time in the Corps less than stellar.
Excuses are like assholes: everyone has one and no one wants
to see or hear anyone else's.
You must have the strength of character
to go against the tide and do the right thing even when the
right way is also the unpopular path. You must make yourself
stand out by never compromising and always challenging others
when stupidity surfaces. You must make it "cool" to
do the right thing.
The best example of this is my mentor
who had no qualms of breaking off a boot in my ass if I performed
one lick below my abilities. He was a major force in what I
know about accomplishment and leadership to this day. He was
a Sergeant, I was a Lance Corporal. He took me and brought me
home from the Gulf War, as promised. Last Thanksgiving, I drove
for 18 hours up and back to spend two days with him in order
to watch the seconds hand sweep across midnight, ending his
22 year career. You must find someone like him and latch onto
him. Eventually, you must BE that person for someone else.
When you get to your first duty station,
you will be at the bottom of the shit pile. Sorry, but that's
the way it is but there are two things you must do. First, do
everything with zeal, professionalism, and better than expected.
Whether it's cleaning shitters or briefing a General, approach
each mission with everything you posses and NEVER accept anything
from yourself less than everything. Make it a challenge to improve
your performance in everything and critique yourself afterward,
analyzing if you wrung out every drop of your effort to accomplish
Second, learn from everyone you meet.
The good leaders are easy: pack away what you like about their
style and why they are "good." The bad ones, watch
closely and similarly pack away their negative performance into
your head, labeling it "What NOT to do."
Remember, they are in charge for now and
your professionalism is displayed as doing what you're told
rather than bickering, second-guessing, or bad mouthing behind
backs. (Obviously, if they are receptive to suggestions, offers
yours but once the decision is made and you consider it a bad
decision, follow it as long as there is no immediate danger.
If there is danger, speak up!) It's their time in the sun and
your professionalism is not dependent on their decision. It's
doing what you are told. But remember and know that your time
will one day come and you will expect the same level of subordination
and order-following from your Marines. So be a good follower
and when the time comes, expect and REQUIRE others to be as
good as you were. If you blow it now, it will be hypocritical
to expect your future Marines to follow your orders.
This is a lot to soak up so I'll end this
email with something I wrote recently when asked what the Marine
Corps has that the other services don't offer. Here is my response:
The Marine Corps is unique among the armed
forces in several respects and many of them that you hear or
read about are mostly true in practice. While it’s honorable
to serve in any branch, the Marine Corps takes the most pride
in being the best in what we do and that attitude carries through
both our personal and professional lives (which by the way,
blurs as we identify ourselves as Marines).
Being a Marine is an attitude of professionalism,
brotherhood, excellence, pride, and a belief that we can do
anything. We promote both physical and mental toughness, education,
decision-making, and a self-assurance that borders on cockiness.
But at the same time, we hold civility, protocol, respect for
others, and a love for our country and her people in high esteem.
We hold ourselves to a high standards
and are not shy about policing our ranks, which means that if
we see something wrong or someone acting the fool, we correct
the situation right away because not only does it make that
Marine look foolish and we do not allow it to continue, he or
she represents the Corps as a whole and therefore the stupidity
is a reflection of all of us. So you have everyone keeping everyone
else in check at all times and it becomes a mark of professionalism
never to let your fellow Marines down by doing something we
know is wrong. This is something you don’t see in other
services who would view this behavior as “too motivated”
or “hard core harassment.”
Marines have pride in their history. Every
Marine knows and celebrates the Marine Corps birthday every
year. We can talk for hours about our history and traditions
from loving memory. Any Marine can talk for hours about everything
from weapons and tactics to protocol and history. We all go
through a life-changing transition when we go through bootcamp
and we have endured the hardest recruit training in history
from men and women that are as scary as they are professional
(and we never EVER forget them).
It would be insulting to call the head
of the Air Force “Airman.” Just as insulting, the
Army General would be beside himself if you called him “Soldier.”
If you call the Chief of Naval Operation a “sailor”,
you’ll see the inside of the brig. But the Commandant
would still get a chill when addressed as Marine. We are the
only service who uses part of their service name as a title.
It’s a compliment to be called “Marine” no
matter what rank you are.
The last point I’ll bring up answers
your second question as well. When things go wrong in this world,
who are the first people that the President turns too? He calls
the Marines and that’s the truth. We have Marines waiting
on ships deployed around the world every day of the year. When
called, they can be anywhere within a day if not hours, ready
I say America doesn’t technically
need a Marine Corps because technically, we provide a service
that could be a specialized Army function. But America WANTS
a Marine Corps because we represent the punch of American power.
We kick down the door and neutralize any situation before it
gets too big. It’s what we represent that makes America
feel good about having some really tough men and women to keep
them safe from those that would do us harm. To ensure that we
meet that requirement and that the belief is not just a bunch
of hype, we train hard and hone our skills to match the expectations
America has for us. We focus that professionalism, excellence,
pride, smartness, toughness, and dedication on everything but
when applied to warfighting, there simply is no better force
in the American arsenal.
We do two things well: win battles and
make Marines. The benefit of the first is obvious but the benefit
of the second is not fully appreciated. By making Marines, we
create super-citizens who take the skills but more importantly,
the attitude of being a Marine with them for the rest of their
lives. Once they return to civilian life, they have with them
an attitude of citizenship, respect, honor, drive, and professionalism
that is somewhat missing in today’s average American,
at least to the degree that Marines posses.
Will the Corps be disbanded one day? I
hope not but it’s been tried ever since we were established
in 1775. The same people that love us sometimes forget why they
loved us in the first place. This is especially true after a
war because they want to put the reality behind them and see
no need to keep fighters at the ready after they have established
peace. At that time, we represent the ugly reality that you
must have men and women who know how to fight and do real damage
to the enemy. They forget that there are people out there that
do not share their view about loving everyone, accepting diversity,
and laying down their arms for one big Earth hug. There are
people out there that would take over this country at any sign
of weakness from us because we are the “haves.”
People who have enjoyed our standard of living without ever
experiencing foreign aggression sometimes do not appreciate
the level of danger that exists every day in the majority of
this world and that the only realistic protection from it is
to meet force with force, or at least have the capability to
do so. Personally I wish it was not that way but that doesn’t
change the necessity of protecting ourselves from those that
do not share that same view. I don’t want to try to explain
the folly of violence to a mob who is tearing me apart for being
an American. The Marine Corps exists for the same situation
on a national scale.
We have to constantly prove to those that
forget what we do that we still hold a purpose. We are in a
continuous state of justifying ourselves which, on the good
side, forces us to reevaluate what we do and the services we
provide. The result is that we evolve depending the latest world
situation. We used to have an amphibious focus but the mass
landings on hostile shores are unlikely for the future. We now
concentrate on things like close combat in an urban situation,
terrorism, and quick insertion strikes. But the thing that has
not changed, and that will never change, is the application
of the Marine attitude. As long as we keep that, we can learn
new tactics and apply our professionalism to become proficient
in anything we evolve into. That’s the secret and what
I think is the uniqueness of the Corps: the attitude is the
constant and with that, we can do anything.
Semper Fi, Marine!
Jason D. Grose
United States Marine Corps
"And of course you can't become if you only say what you
would have done..."
If You Steal My Sunshine
The shuttle tragedy is all over the news.
On one hand, I’m grateful to have the information beamed
right to my house where I can watch it from my bed, thus perpetuating
my slothly ways. But on the other hand, the one I must bite,
I got a little irritated with some of the lame straws that the
news grasp at due to the lack of information in the early hours
of the tragedy.
Since no one knows exactly what happened
(and we won’t know for a long time), the news is left
to wild conjecture and scrambling for relevancy. Suddenly, they
dig up and dust off every person, relevant or not, that has
ever had even a faint connection to the space program and/or
the astronauts that died.
The top prize has to be one I saw yesterday.
They went to college that Kalpana Chawla attended some years
ago and interviewed a current Indian female student that obviously
was flagged down at random for a street interview. This girl
had never even seen the astronaut and had little to add, other
than what most anonymous strangers felt. This was a tragic event.
So to sum up, a random, current student from one of the astronaut’s
alma mater stating the blatantly obvious. Really lame.
Hours and hours and hours of newscasters
babbling endlessly in a blackout of current information. They
furiously sank their teeth into the only shred of fact about
the foam insulation coming off the tank and hitting the wing
during take off. When that foam horse was once again beaten
viciously and they ran out of things to conjecture about it,
they mention that most of the scientists agree that it likely
was not the cause. But did that stop them? NO. Bring on the
foam experts. Bring on the tile experts. Bring on the next pilot
after the Challenger disaster. Bring on the student rep from
one of the payload specialist’s kindergarten class.
But this pales in comparison to what I
read today. If I could have written yesterday about what popped
in my head, you would be saying that I’m either clairvoyant
or that I have a strong sense of the inevitable. What I thought
about yesterday and what I read about today was that some idiot
was going to be selling shuttle debris on eBay. Sure enough,
I read today that several listings came up hours after the disaster
and that eBay took the listings off as soon as they realized
they existed. What’s sadder is that I have no doubt that
there were bids on them before they were torn down. Never under-estimate
the stupidity of a certain percent of humans. Like the story
said, whether the debris was bogus or real, it was obviously
the wrong thing to do.
To sum up and offer some advice, we are
tired of hearing “And now, standing by via satellite,
we have the former director of Acme tile design company that
came in third place bid for the shuttle program in 1972…
Mr. Smith, what brought down the shuttle?”
Gather the news, report it, and get back
to work. The facts will come out and when they do, report them.
Don’t drag out every hump with an opinion and loose association
with the space program to offer their view. I stopped getting
spoon fed about 32 years ago and at this point, your chances
of contributing something accurate is miniscule. Your wasting
my time and yours when you travel way down the conjecture path.
February 1, 2003
Today we lost the Space Shuttle Columbia
and the seven astronauts aboard. I was barely aware that there
was a mission up there and absolutely no clue they were coming
back today. Such is the general situation these days when the
flights have been so routine that they aren’t newsworthy.
We go about our lives, worrying about the little things, while
other’s lives end tragically.
Everyone remembers what they were doing
when things like this drill themselves into the national memory.
Today, I was preparing to coach a basketball game at NPS. I
coach my son and 8 other 10 year olds and we were looking forward
to a good game after getting beaten rather badly last week.
We worked all week on the weaknesses that sunk us last week
and I felt we were ready. Literally minutes before tip off,
one of the parents asked me if I had heard the news this morning.
Having awoken at 0545 to get a 10 mile run in before our 0900
game, I had not heard anything. The parent informed me that
the Space Shuttle blew up and my one and only question was “Did
they lose all the astronauts?” But I knew before they
answered; there is no escape module on the shuttle and surviving
a crash from space was not in the realm of possibility. For
the rest of the game, I just hoped that it was a joke or mistake.
I didn’t want to face the reality of another national
disaster until I got home and watched the news.
My own jolt in all of this is when I realized
that it could have been me up there. I had wanted to be an astronaut
since I was a kid and a few years ago, I made a concerted effort
to make it a reality. At 34, it’s possible that I could’ve
been in the pipe to be on a shuttle flight by now. Albeit a
sliver of possibility, it made me think about how my life has
panned out. With all of my successes, it’s my failures
that speak to me at quiet moments. Being an astronaut was so
important to me all through growing up and it’s one of
the biggest regrets and failures due to lack of serious effort
that I have to face. It makes me shiver to think a more bull-headed
effort on my part could have put my name among the seven lost
today. Yes, it’s a risk that every astronaut knows and
accepts, just like a military member, but for those of us left
to contemplate the reality, it requires a moment of pause.
I was in 11th grade when the Challenger
exploded. I was walking into a classroom at Putnam City High
School in OKC, OK when someone told me about it and I remember
a sense of utter disbelief. The teacher wheeled in a TV that
we watched for the class and there was stunned silence for the
entire hour. Back then, the desire to become an astronaut was
still a reality and I remember it scared me to the core. I had
a dentist appointment that afternoon and I can vividly remember
as my mother drove me to the dentist office that for the first
time, I questioned my desire to be an astronaut. Did I really
want to put myself in that kind of danger? (an ironic thought
for a future United States Marine).
Back then it was “Do I want to do
this” and this time it’s more like “Maybe
it’s fortunate that I never did.” These thoughts
are of no comfort, though, when I think of the 7 people who
died today. They not only did they share that fledgling desire
I felt but they acted on it to make it a reality. The odds of
successfully making it up in a shuttle mission are, excuse the
pun, astronomical. But they did it. They could look in the mirror
and say something I will never be able to: “I am an astronaut.”
That it cost them their lives for that title is depressing and
for some of the family, I assume, considered not worth it. But
I have to think that for them, they would not see it that way.
They would not have been where they were at if they were not
willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice for their ambitions. For
that, they deserve our respect. Forever, they will have mine.