Thursday, June 24, 2010

Afghanistan: Questioning the Leadership and the Mission

From Jeff Emanuel on
By now, you’ve heard or seen the news: President Obama (D-IL) has accepted the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who had until now been in charge of the coalition’s erstwhile efforts in Afghanistan, and is attempting to demote General David [Betray Us] Petraeus from CENTCOM commander to czar of the eastern front of the [Global War on Terror] Isolated Effort to Diplomatically Prevent Man-Caused, Non-Islam-Related Disasters.

And from the blog of my friend, Scott who is also a professor of Political Science at the University of Maine: World in Motion:

The problem is that planners, both civilian and military, can always dream up a plan that on paper looks like it might work. It’s akin to a football coach putting together a plan for a play that should be able to score a winning touch down. If executed right, if the defense plays as we expect, and if there are no other difficulties encountered, then we should score.

And one last quote:
"I am appalled that Obama did not contact Col. B.S. Lovell to replace McChrystal in Afghanistan!" From Eric Stone, to my facebook wall. What President wouldn't pick a face like this to lead a big and important command?

(Note: this message was removed from my facebook wall somehow. Either Eric changed his mind, or facebook has become involved in the anti-Mookist movement gaining hold here in the U.S.)

Let me be the first to tell you that the Colonel has seriously considered putting his name in contention for the Afghan Post. He has relayed to me, that given the general rules of engagement over there aren't much different than here at the Mookist Compound. He gets to see the enemy all day, but unless he is directly attacked, he is given little latitude to operate as a top notch combat fighting machine. He has informed me that despite all this, he has opened up a can of whoop ass on a particular 6 year old in this household more than once. The Colonel estimates, in his own highly self-important position, that fighting a 1000 fully armed Taliban fighters while weaponless himself would be an easier task than living with the little punk.

The Colonel has decided if these guys can do it, he most certainly could handle the job

That information notwithstanding, the Colonel has decided ultimately against the top posting position in The Afghan Theater. He said he really does have a desire to make it on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine himself, and would have no problems with spewing forth his ideas on how wrong the Commander-in-Chief is on certain issues not having military experience or expertise himself, not on the level the Colonel does anyways. He said he would be forced to resign, or end up in Leavenworth after publicly embarrassing President Obama in a hand-to-hand confrontation. He said if the President, acting as his boss or not, even consdiered not doing exactly what teh Colonel tells him to do, this WOULD happen. I believe the exact words were, "The President would most certainly witness my cat-like reflexes." The Colonel seems to think his use of puns is hilarious.

To drive his point home, he gacked up on the carpet right in front of my feet. Then walked off as though nothing had happened. Clearly the sign of the one master strategist who could win any war deemed unwinnable by humans. Cats are a little too pompous if you ask me, but then again he'd reply that he threw up all over my office and left me, The General, to clean it up my damn self. He could be right.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Blessed Curse of Being Unknown

For most of my life I have had a dual mentality. I love to be complimented, and at the exact same time I hate it. I also like being recognized, while also hating that simultaneously as well. Well last night, I hear from my supervisor just how recognized I'm not.

(Now, for full disclosure here, I don't really care in the end. I just don't mind bitching about overall meaningless shit that happens in my life. If you haven't figured that out yet, or don't believe me, ask my wife. She'll confirm it.)

The other night, after coming out of a building downtown, my supervisor and I notice a confrontation taking place a block up between a hotel security guard from another company and a homeless guy. It starts out verbally, and the next thing we know punches are being thrown. I look at my supervisor and ask if he wants to join the party. So we immediately head that way, but after a quick exchange the homeless guy goes taking off around the corner away from us and the hotel. Directly across the street stands a group of cleaners who had to have watched the whole ordeal, but "none of them saw anything." Of course we made sure the security guard was alright, and stood by ready to be his witnesses. Des Moines' finest arrived pretty quickly, got a quick description and direction of travel and went off to find the homeless guy. They swung back around within a couple minutes and picked up the hotel guy to go identify the perp. Solid ID was made and the guy taken to jail. The cops came back with the security guard and took down information from my supervisor and myself. No big deal.

However last night, my supervisor tells me our office received an email from the hotel. They wanted to extend their thanks for our part in as they put it: taking care of one of our own. Apparently all of us rentacops have our own brotherhood that I wasn't aware of until reading this email. In the email it said, and I quote: Two of your officers (Casey & an unknown)were leaving the Hub Tower and noticed the situation getting a little hostile.

Now, I'm the one guy with a name tag pinned on my chest, the police took down my info including name and all that, and it was my suggestion to go get involved in the situation, and I'm an unknown. That's just great! The letter goes on to say: I just wanted to make sure these gentlemen were noted as taking an extra initiative... This speaks highly of yourself and your officers in the eyes of the [Hotel name redacted]

Well now. That's fantastic. My supervisor Casey, and whoever the hell they figure on placing in the Unknown's slot, now have special regard for "their" initiative in assisting a fellow security officer. Damn supervisors hogging all the spotlight while relegating his underling to status of "YOU, whatever your name is...go do this for me!" What a high horse self important bastard, he is! (Casey, I know you're reading this...I still love you! Stew put me up to this...right after I mentioned blogging the crap out of it!)

You know, as much as I may like and hate a compliment or recognition, a backward compliment has got to be, by far, the worst kind of compliment to receive. It's like there's a committee doling out awards.

"And we'd like to confer special recognition, for all his hard work and extra efforts to...NOBODY!" The music plays, the crowd claps, and some putz goes up there that no one has any idea who the hell the guy is. I mean really..what the hell?

A few years back, when I was relatively new on the patrol squad, I caught a guy breaking into a house. I first found a broken out window pane. I searched the house, and after finding nothing out of place or anyone on site, I had my supervisor at the time get hold of the information to get in contact with the residents. While waiting, some dip wad shows up, I confront him, he confronts the floor, and my handcuffs develop a close personal bond with the guys wrists while we wait on the cops to show up and haul the poor dumb bastard off to jail. As much as I'm not a people person nor care to remember many of them, I still remember that poor bastard's name, 5 years later.

Well we have a meeting the next morning for all the people who run my route. I'm sitting next to the sales/service guy in our office, who also happens to be a former sheriffs deputy. He tells me that I did a good job, although I got really lucky with that whole situation. He then tells me that if the guy had been a professional burglar he would've put me on flat on my ass. Yeah, thanks for the backhanded compliment, buddy!

I realize I'm not some universally recognized bad ass or anything, but I can handle my own, and within that meeting room, there were about 2 guys I had any worry of not being able to take physically..and our former sheriff deputy of a sales guy was not one of those two. Former cop or not, I could've run circles around him all day and he would've dropped dead from a heart attack before besting me.

And to top it all off, my good job at breaking up a B&E didn't get me any recognition like "employee of the month". Nope, that went to a guard who stood at a Wells Fargo Bank along Ingersoll directing customer cars out onto the road around the construction the property was undergoing during the daytime. So for that one I get a backhanded compliment, and then essentially a slap in the face. I was Rent-a-Cop two years in a row (2007-8), and now, I can't even be given a name other than "Unknown". Sad Days!

Of course, let me screw something up. Then they got my name all marked down, double confirmed. And not just my name, but my FULL name: first, middle and last, pillorying me for all to know: The Mook has seriously %$#&*! up, people, please take a note of this mistake that he, MOOK, made. They say no news is good news. So maybe no name is good name?

Maybe when I die, I'll be given a tombstone for "Unknown Rentacop", that is watched over 24/7 by only the finest of rentacops (or, as we call them in the security business, 'any old warm body we can schedule for that slot'). I'd prefer a Marine, like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but I think that's shooting just a bit too high for a guy like me.

In the end, I suppose it is probably just another ploy by anti-Mookist forces. Conspiratorial bastards!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

For 5 Years Running, I'm a Dork

My wife has had fun at my expense on many occasions. I'm sure I'm not the only husband to be the target of shenanigans by their spouse, but my wife has seemed to have made an art form out of this. And sadly, I play into it every single year.

I opened up my facebook account yesterday while my wife was at the office taking care of some urgnet matter or another and I read this following statement she left on my page: "DORK. yes, i mean you"

Naturally, I have to directly question what this is all about. Granted, I realize that at any given moment I could be any number of things: dork, idiot, moron, smart-aleck, Einstein, etc., etc. A friend of ours who also has facebook simply added the comment under my question stating the obvious: "She is calling you a DORK!" Well, gee, really? I hadn't noticed that yet, Mac! I'm a lot of things, but I can still comprehend the english language. I get that she's calling me a dork, I'm just wondering why now? Why on a saturday, on my day off, where I'm sanely sitting at home in the air-conditioning watching one of my movies, while she's busy at the office on her day off, without additional pay, why am I the dork?

So later on I call my wife to see how much longer she's going to be working, since she expected it to be a couple hours, and we were going into hour #4. I also asked why I was a dork this time. She merely laughed and said she'd show me when she got home. Well, I'm not big on surprises, nor patience. My wife, however, is at least as stubborn as I am, and I have learned over the eyars that no matter how much I want to know whatever RIGHT NOW, I won't learn of it until she decides to impart the knowledge to me.

So she gets home, and I almost immediately ask what the "dork" comment is about. She begins her little chuckling while grinning thing she likes to do when she knows she has pulled the wool over my eyes (sadly, this happens alot). She looks at me, still smiling that devilish grin and says to me, "You fell for it again! Every year you ask why I say that."

Suddenly memory kicks in and I remember she has done this randomly at some point in the year for the last 5 years. It might be on facebook, it might be in a random email, she may say it on the phone, or when one of us is on the way out the door to work or where ever. She says it, just to get me paranoid and ask why she's calling me a dork.

I told her that she will not get me next time. That I will remember this so that next time she tries it, I will just not acknowledge it. She then reminds me I said the same thing last year..and the year before. I think she has Pavlov's Dogged me. I have become a social experiment in a literally dorky kind of way.

It may happen in January, or March or December of next year. But she will attempt it again, it's all completely random. Hopefully dementia will not again overtake me and erase this from my memory. She just walked up behind me and read this, and walked away giggling...I think I'm gonna have to beat her once I'm done writing this! Check local hospital listings for my name to see how that ends.

MARK MY WORDS! I will remember this time around. Five years of falling for the same damn joke is kind of embarassing for a guy like me. I favor myself the kind of person who doesn't get duped by anything or anyone. Although my track record here is not exactly edifying me in that respect.

If I fall for this one again next year, I may as well just reprint this with 6 in place of 5, and expect a whole host of laughter in the comment section. Yesterday was a sad day for the Mook, succumbing to the fact that while the man may be the head of the hosuehold, clearly my wife is the neck that turns the proverbial head. Kind of irritating to my unwilling to learn ego.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

More on Denny's, Buggy, The Colonel, and Adoption

Just to clarify the title a bit, none of those are actually related. Buggy stays here; the Colonel wont leave unless it is to go outside, but he would expect to be let back in; And so far Denny's hasn't adopted me...YET!

So first, lets go with Denny's. As some of you know, I have an unhealthy liking of Denny's Restaurants. I'd call it stalking, but since the buildings don't exactly move, and they WANT me to come in and eat their food, it doesn't technically qualify. But, if the Denny's went on wheels like the Ice Cream man, yes I would be one of the crazies running down the street begging for the guy to throw me a few pancakes to catch like some sort of dog chasing a car. And maybe an omelet, and some hash browns with the works. Sure it'd be messy, but my inner child will manifest himself and eat the stuff off of the pavement just like a kid who drops his candy in the dirt. It's just like sprinkles, that's all!

Anyways, so I started a Facebook group page dedicated to making me the next new face of Denny's. I haven't worked out all the details yet, but it basically involves them making me their real world advertiser. Some pics, some videos, some blogs about the Denny's I'm at, the city its in, employees, people in that city (in and outside of the Denny's), things like that. The first step is this page, to attempt to use facebook's networking capabilities to garner support from my friends, their friends, and whoever else may stumble upon it. It seemed to have worked well for Betty White to get asked to host Saturday Night Live. But she's a celebrity. Let's see how well this thing can work for a normal (I use that term loosely when referring to me) person.
Then we go to Denny's Corporate with a nice juicy plan for them and me. So if you have a facebook account, you can friend me, or just join the group or both. If you don't have a facebook account, you should make one for the pure purposes of helping out this effort. With no monetary support, and my having limited interactions with much of anybody, this is as grassroots as it gets. Plus, I'd get to travel to all the wondrous Denny's locations...and then maybe take in some of the local attractions, which of course are secondary to my favorite eating establishment.

Now, onto Buggy. He is just about to finish his year in Kindergarten in a few hours. As some of you readers know, this boy has managed to endear himself to the staff while sneaking extra breakfasts at school. In fact one of the staff mentioned that he specifically is one of the staff favorites when it comes to the kids. He recently came home with an award from his teacher. I assume its one of those things where every kid gets some kind of positive acknowledgement. His, unsurprisingly, was "Best Sense of Humor". He had surprised his teacher early in the school year by exuding an extremely dry sense of humor on top of the normal cackling little kid humor most people are used to from kids. So, as I said, neither his mother nor I were very surprised at this. I do believe that nothing will really surprise us with this particular son of ours. Even if he comes home one day and accidentally lets it slip out of his mouth the goings-on in other parts of the metro area, after having jumped on a city bus, or took off with a friends parents under the assumption that we knew about it and were okay with them taking him along, or just plain having walked. Or if he comes home with a ripped shirt and tells us how he had just scored the winning touchdown while scrimmaging with the local high school football team even though he is nowhere near old enough, and now was thirsty, not giving second thought to the fact that we might want to know what he's doing BEFORE he goes and does it...none of this would be surprising.

The older one, Josh, pushes his limits somewhat, but is generally more passive and willing to ask permission before going off to do much of anything. Corwyn on the other hand would be the one to tell everyone things are fine, and he doesn't need to ask permission to do stuff "he already knows he can do." I already know that when he is a teenager that he and I will be having the same stupid discussions my dad had with me when I came home at 3 or 4 in the morning. And he will irritate me because I have to have these discussion, but also because it will be just another set of opportunities for me to sound JUST LIKE the Evil Duane did, which I had promised to never be like when I grew up. Whenever I talk to Mom and Dad, he always laughs at me when I tell stories of what the kids have done 'this time.' I have another feeling that whenever the boys go up to see their Nana and grandpa that stories are told and ideas planted, just to expedite the process. I just can't prove it yet!

The Colonel is as feisty as ever. He'll nap in long stretches and leave you alone, until its time for you to be left alone by necessity. Then he shows up, wound up like a kid who just downed 12 giant Pixie sticks, followed by an entire 2 liter bottle of Coke. He makes weird growling noises as he runs back and forth through the apartment, sometimes only stopping his current path because his head ran into a wall, the door, a cabinet, or some furniture, before reversing paths back the way he came. He's a bit on the weird side. We are however in the midst of changing over his diet a little bit. It has been told to me by my friend Machelle, that the current cat food brand (which shall remain nameless) we have been giving the Colonel since we got him, was mentioned by her vet to cause crystals in the urine/bladder, and can seriously screw the cats system up over time. Whether or not its factual information or the vet is a shill for some other cat food manufacturer is beyond me. But one ingredient in the current brand is Zinc Oxide. Now maybe I'm wrong, but isn't that what people throw on their noses at the beach to avoid a sunburn, while causing them to look like an albino-nosed idiot at the same time? I treasure my cat's health, but I never thought to worry about his innards getting sun burnt, what with all that fur and abundance of fatty tissue and bone surrounding his digestive system. I have no idea why someone would stick zinc oxide into food. I am pretty sure that if I wiped the zinc oxide off your nose someday this summer and proceeded to eat it, I would not be doing too well later on that day, never mind the nasty taste left in my mouth. Turns out the stuff is nearly insoluble in water. No wonder they say an adequate supply of water is needed to maintain your pet's health. I have to wonder what amount is considered 'adequate.' Either way, we've made the switch over to Purina cat food, and are doing a mixture of both, until we work the Colonel into the new stuff entirely. Don't need to upset his bowels any, he already poops more than enough for a whole herd of cats. I'm hoping that the new diet will curb some of the pooping, the eating of paper and cardboard boxes, the strength of smell his pee comes armed with (it gets bad some days). And he can tone it down to normal cat like activities of snubbing me, and eating the children, things like that. I'm not thinking he'll calm down much on any of it, but I can always cross my fingers and hope.

Now onto probably the most important topic, Adoption. Some of my readers already know of the situation, but for the rest of you, I'll bring forth some enlightenment.
For awhile now, my good friends Jed and Naomi, have been looking to adopt children and have their own family. They have been working hard at saving money up and holding fundraisers, to get the over-$30,000 they need for this to happen at all. They have gone through the excitement of having a placement of 2 young girls, only to have their joy arrested when the girls were found to have been placed in the foster program fraudulently by their mother. The supposed dead father had showed back up. It was heartbreaking for all involved who have been supporting them, but I guess God had decided that those were not the children meant to be a part of Jed and Naomi's family. Well, after a long wait, far too long, they have 2 qualified little girls, ages 4 and 7, who have been vetted it appears, and ready for adoption. The court date is tentatively going to be this fall to make the adoption go through. While its months away yet, it also gives Jed and Naomi time to work toward the last few thousand dollars they need. It turns out Ethiopia has new rules on adoption to overseas. Instead of just one trip over, both Jed and Naomi will need to go over twice. Once for the adoption court date, and again to bring home the children to the United States. You can find some of their plans
here on their adoption blog. Please think it over, pray on it, whatever it is you do, and if you can give, even just a little bit, feel free to donate to their cause so that they might make their dreams of having a family come true! And, if you could, as a favor to me, or them, pass this section on to your friends, and see if they would be willing to help out as well! Thank you!