Sunday, November 30, 2008

Fight For The Troops

After I got done watching the copy of Kung Fu Panda I borrowed from my sister yesterday, I was flipping through the channels for something to watch while I worked on a cross-stitch project that someone's Christmas present. Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back had started on SPIKE about 45 minutes earlier. Since I've see it more times than I could count, and it didn't matter that I'd missed the beginning of it, and that I didn't need to pay close attention to it to know what was going on, that's what I went with. I'm now on to Return of the Jedi, and I've now seen several commercials promoting Fight For The Troops. It seems that UFC and SPIKE are teaming up to raise money to benefit the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. UFC Fight For The Troops is a charitable services fund of the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.

You can make a donation - from yourself, or in honor of someone else, or even in memory of someone - in any amount you wish, or, there is also an auction for those with both the interest and the deeper pockets. Up for auction is:

So, whether you would like to donate just a little, or if you'd like to go for one of the pricey auction items, the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund is a worthy charity. What has the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund done?
  • The Center for the Intrepid, co-located with Brooke Army Medical Center, opened in January 2007, specializes in physical rehabilitation
  • Provided unrestricted grants of $11,000 to each spouse and $5,000 to each dependent child; and $1,000 to parents of unmarried servicemembers killed in the line of duty prior to May 12, 2005 (the government has since increased survivor benefits)
  • Began construction, in June 2008, on the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (located near the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at Bethesda), which - when completed - will be an advanced facility dedicated to research, diagnosis and treatment of military personnel and veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury (TBI) and psychological health issues.

Please do what you can to support the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving 2008

As I get ready to celebrate out at my Grandma's house this afternoon (Dad has cooked the turkey and is working on the cornbread dressing, and I've taken care of a couple of chocolate pies, and everyone else will contribute some dish or other to the feast), I would like to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving. I know things aren't as I would wish them to be at this time, but I try to remember that things could be worse. Even though there is much I would like to be different in my life and in the world, I still have much to be thankful for: a roof over my head, food on the table, family and friends whom I love - and love me, and I am a citizen of the best nation in the history of the world.

I would also like to thank all those who serve - or have served - who help make the life I have possible. No matter where you are in the world today, know that many Americans - this one included - appreciate all the sacrifices you have been willing to make for the rest of us.

For a bit of history, The Lost Story of Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A long way to go, and a short time to get there...

If this year's Valour-IT fundraiser is going to make its goal of $250,000, we need to get on the ball. As of now, we've raised just a little more than 27% of that goal, with $68,367. I got paid today, so I'll see what more I can do to help the cause. Please give what you can to this wonderful cause.

British Marine Rugby Tackles Homicide Bomber in Afghanistan

Saw that headline when I was checking today at the office. From their story:

A British Marine saved the lives of 130 soldiers in Afghanistan when he used a rugby tackle to take down a homicide bomber before he was able to detonate a motorcycle bomb, The Daily Mail reported Tuesday.

The unidentified 40-year-old Marine sprung to tackle a Taliban fighter when he reached for a detonator button to blow 154 pounds of explosives strapped to a motorcycle that had been driven into a group of 130 Marines and Afghan soldiers, The Mail reported.

Fox News links to the UK Daily Mail:

Major Rich Cantrill, Company Commander of L Company, said the marine saved many lives.

Major Cantrill said: 'He acted with conspicuous gallantry in the situation and put himself at great peril to get the suicide bomber away from the motorbike.

'He ran over and more or less rugby tackled him to the ground. I got on the radio and I heard mention of hand fighting.

'He had grabbed him away from the bike after seeing wires and switches. He quickly realised the full implications of it all.

'He showed great restraint in dealing with him especially as he had tried to kill him and the other lads around him.

'It was conspicuous gallantry. He saved multiple lives. Everyone thinks he's a hero.

'It was a bungled attempt at a suicide bombing but he still could have set off the other charge.

'Had it not been for this Marine's actions there would have been a massive explosion.'

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Today is V-I Day

Image courtesy Zombietime
From Zombietime:

We won. The Iraq War is over.

I declare November 22, 2008 to be "Victory in Iraq Day." (Hereafter known as "VI Day.")

By every measure, The United States and coalition forces have conclusively defeated all enemies in Iraq, pacified the country, deposed the previous regime, successfully helped to establish a new functioning democratic government, and suppressed any lingering insurgencies. The war has come to an end. And we won.

What more indication do you need? An announcement from the outgoing Bush administration? It's not gonna happen. An announcement from the incoming Obama administration? That's really not gonna happen. A declaration of victory by the media? Please. Don't make me laugh. A concession of surrender by what few remaining insurgents remain in hiding? Forget about it.

The moment has come to acknowledge the obvious. To overtly declare a fact that has already been true for quite some time now. Let me repeat:


And since there will never be a ticker-tape parade down Fifth Avenue in New York for our troops, it's up to us, the people, to arrange a virtual ticker-tape parade. An online victory celebration. Saturday, November 22, 2008 is the day of that celebration: Victory in Iraq Day.

Read it all.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Auctions in support of Project Valour-IT

Okay, I'm a little late to the party with posting about the auction. However, it's not just the books up for auction now. There is now also a hand-made fleece tie blanket.

Books for auction:

The Last Centurion by John Ringo (author autographed & dated)
The Quantum Connection by Travis S. Taylor (author autographed)
Warp Speed by Travis S. Taylor (author autographed)
Slanted Jack by Mark. L. Van Name (First Edition; author autographed)
Complete Hammer's Slammers Vol 1 by David Drake (author autographed)
Von Neumann's War by John Ringo and Travis S. Taylor (author autographed)
Vorpal Blade by John Ringo and Travis S. Taylor (author autographed)
The Ransom of Black Stealth One by Dean Ing (autographed by author)
The Nemesis Mission by Dean Ing (autographed by author)
American Rifle by Alexander Rose (autographed by author)
The War Within by Bob Woodward

And, the fleece tie blanket:
Hand-made two-layer fleece tie blanket

Update 11/25/08, 11:16pm

As of Sunday (the 23rd), the fleece blanket sold. There are plenty of books left, though - 25 as of now, with some auctions ending as soon as midday Thanksgiving Day, the rest running as long as until late Saturday. To see all items still available in support of Valour-IT (there are new books added since I originally posted which I do not have time to individually link), you can see them here.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

2008 Project Valour-IT Fundraising Competition

Update 11/15/08, 2:39pm CDT:

Team Army is in second place with $11,037. Total raised overall, so far: $36,473. That's not quite 15% of the $250,000 goal.

It's that time again. Time for the annual Project Valour-IT Fundraiser. Yesterday, I joined Team Army and added the team donation button to the sidebar.

This morning, I received an email from the man who got this whole thing started:

The valour-IT project is out of cash--unless we raise the funds to keep going, it will cease to exist, and the DOD will issue voice software to people who don't have computers to run it.

As of this writing, just over 5% of the goal amount ($250,000) has been raised.

Last night, I found Chuck's post explaining what it's like to try to use a computer without the use of one's hands:

Okay, this is really cool.

First, if you haven't already, maximize your browser window.

Next, (and this is critical) put your drink/cereal/whatever down.

Next, and this is also critical, (trust me--I work for the gummint) you must put your hands under your legs until you finish reading this post.

Now, start reading.

Some of my first memories in the hospital were of an angel at my bedside. Not the winged, harps and choruses kind of angel, but an angel in Human form named Kathleen.

I don't remember what she first said to me. I don't remember much really, but to this day, I still remember the soup.


Soon Kathleen told me there was clear broth to be had


There was just one



I didn't have anyway to feed myself. My hands were bandaged, my shoulders swollen from being dislocated, I had tubes coming out of my arms, which had swollen so much from infection that I now sport scars on both where they had to cut them open to keep them from splitting open on their own--an armpisiotomy, if you will.

I could continue this story, but I won't right now, because if you're reading this, you've failed to follow instructions. You pulled your hand out from under your legs, and either used you mouse or touchpad to scroll down this far.

Being able to use a computer sure is nice, isn't it?

I had the privilege of meeting Chuck's amazing wife, Carren, the weekend of October 18th at SpouseBUZZ Live in San Antonio. She is a strong advocate for Valour-IT and what it gives to our Wounded Warriors who have lost the normal use of their hands, even temporarily. This is an important program, and we should all do whatever we can to ensure that it continues to help those who need have given so much for all of us. This year's theme is "give up something to give to the troops". So, even if all you can do is skip that weekly $5 value meal at McDonald's, it's the least that can be done for them... Please donate. You have until Thanksgiving!

Nineteen years later...

With me being so busy lately, I completely missed the 19th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall. Nineteen years ago, on November 9, 1989, I was watching it all on CNN in my college dorm room, in complete disbelief. It was an event I never thought I would witness in my lifetime.

I had been to a divide Berlin twice before, when we were stationed in Augsburg from 1978 to 1982. As it happened, even though I was stateside going to college, my dad was once again stationed in Augsburg.

When I returned home for the summer in May 1990, we immediately left for Berlin. I was able to see with my own eyes that The Wall had, indeed, fallen. It was an amazing sight, one I will never forget.

This photograph of a section of The Berlin Wall that had been beautifully painted (something that only even happened on the Western side of The Wall until after it fell), had been spared destruction, and sat on display outside (IIRC) the Checkpoint Charlie museum.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Cherish your freedom and guard it with honor and respect
For it carries the blood of those who gave it to you

Update: The Virtual Veterans' Day Parade at YouServed

Saturday, November 1, 2008

A Virtual Veterans' Day Parade

From CJ @ A Soldier's Perspective:

Just a reminder for those that have signed on to participate. The cutoff for sending me your images or ideas is November 4th! If you or a fellow milblogger want to participate, I just need three things: the name you'd like us to use, a "float" (basically an image associated with either your blog or your feelings about Veterans Day), and a brief description of what Veteran's Day means to you. If you don't have an image, we can try to create one for you. Just send us an idea of what you're thinking about. The Virtual Veterans Day will be composed of a scrolling images or floats along with your names, blogs, and thoughts on Veterans Day. I've only got about 14 participants right now, which means only $280 for Valour-IT. I'm sure we could do much better than that. I still need some info from a few of you, which I'll remind through email.

veterans day

Greetings fellow milbloggers and assorted opiners of liberty!! For those that don't know me, you haven't had your head in the sewage much and I applaud you for it. For those that do, I apologize again. I write this to ask for your help in arranging a virtual Veterans Day Parade that will be hosted on the YouServed blog and I would like to enlist your help (yes, even if you are/were commissioned, you're being enlisted for THIS cause!).

Here's what I need from you. First, of course, is participation. This hasn't been done before and if we pull this off I may have a shot at being the next writer for Blackfive during the upcoming television series "So You Think You Can Blog For Blackfive"!!

We'd like to get at least 30 participants for the "parade", but the more the merrier. For every participant I can get, the VA Mortgage Center will donate $20 to VALOUR-IT. That's right, for EACH participant.

Second, I need you to contact other milbloggers and ask for their participation. For blogs like ASP, Mudville Gazette, and Blackfive where there are multiple authors, each participant will count as a separate person for this purpose.

Finally, I need each milblogger to provide the following information:

Name or screenname
Blog URL
Character "float" you'd be and why you picked it (for example: Snoopy because he was the Red Baron - a veteran like no other!!)
Personal thoughts about Veterans Day.

You can either send me the picture you'd like to use for your float or we can make one to use. The picture can be something you create or just an image you like that reminds you of Veterans Day and speaks to your "float". Please forward this post to your favorite milbloggers and have them contact me if they're interested. Share this on YOUR blogs and snatch this up into emails to milbloggers as well. The deadline for this is November 4th - one week prior to Veteran's Day.