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Hobbies are Good

Through an ordering mix-up I ended up with both Trainer of the Hounds and The Eyes of Lucifer.  I'm really looking forward to working on both these figures!  Oh, and as a bonus, since they screwed up my order, they sent me a free Werewolf skull!  Seriously cool!  I can totally recommend Brothers Bad kits! (Website may be NSFW)

Vic's Award Winning Chili

  • Heat a couple of tablespoons of chipotle olive oil over medium-high heat in your favorite chili pot.
  • Add 2 lb stewing meat, cut into smaller than 1" chunks.
  • Season with salt, pepper, liberal amounts of chili powder and minced dried chilis.
  • Cook until brown and yummy.  Reduce heat to medium
  • Add 2-3 chopped yellow onions.  Cook until just translucent.
  • Add 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced.  Sweat.
  • Reduce heat to low, add 2 jars of Bettina's canned tomatoes, with juice, 1 can tomato paste, 1 large can kidney beans, drainied, 1 can black beans, draned, a couple of splashes of lemon juice.  Tobasco and/or Tiger Sauce.
  • Simmer for a couple of hours, or until you can't take it any more.
  • Make cornbread.
  • Serve chili in a bowl, plate, or coffee mug of your choosing.  Top with diced sweet onion, cheese, sour cream or whatever.
It should look something like this:

As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, I referred to the men and women of the armed forces as "G.I.s." It got me in trouble with some of my colleagues at the time. Several years earlier, the Army had officially excised the term as an unfavorable characterization derived from the designation "government issue."

Sailors and Marines wanted to be known as Sailors and Marines. Airmen, notwithstanding their origins as a rib of the Army, wished to be called simply airmen. Collectively, they were blandly referred to as "service members."

I persisted in using G.I.s and found I was in good company.  Newspapers and television shows used it all the time. The most famous and successful government education program was known as the G.I. Bill, and it still uses that title for a newer generation of veterans. When you added one of the most common boy's names to it, you got G.I. Joe, and the name of the most popular boy's toy ever, the G.I. Joe action figure. And let's not forget G.I. Jane.

G.I. is a World War II term that two generations later continues to conjure up the warmest and proudest memories of a noble war that pitted pure good against pure evil and good triumphed.

The victors in that war were the American G.I.s, the Willies and Joes, the farmer from Iowa and the steelworker from Pittsburgh who stepped off a landing craft into the hell of Omaha Beach.

The G.I. was the wisecracking kid Marine from Brooklyn who clawed his way up a deadly hill on a Pacific island.

He was a black fighter pilot escorting white bomber pilots over Italy and Germany, proving that skin color had nothing to do with skill or courage.

He was a native Japanese-American infantryman released from his own country's concentration camp to join the fight.

She was a nurse relieving the agony of a dying teenager.

He was a petty officer standing on the  edge of a heaving aircraft carrier with two signal paddles in his hands, helping guide a dive-bomber pilot back onto the deck.

They were America.

They reflected our diverse origins.

They were the embodiment of the American spirit of courage and dedication.

They were truly a "people's army," going forth on a crusade to save democracy and freedom, to defeat tyrants, to save oppressed peoples and to make their families proud of them. They were the Private Ryans, and they stood firm in the thin red line.

For most of those G.I.s, World War II was the adventure of their lifetime.  Nothing they would ever do in the future would match their experiences as the warriors of democracy, saving the world from its own insanity. You can still see them in every Fourth of July color guard, their gait faltering but ever proud.

Their forebears went by other names: doughboys, Yanks, buffalo soldiers, Johnny Reb, Rough Riders. But "G.I." will be forever lodged in the consciousness of our nation to apply to them all. The G.I. carried the value system of the American people. The G.I.s were the surest guarantee of America's commitment. For more than 200 years, they answered the call to fight the nation's battles. They never went forth as mercenaries on the road to conquest. They went forth as reluctant warriors, as citizen soldiers.

They were as gentle in victory as they were vicious in battle.

I've had survivors of Nazi concentration camps tell me of the joy they experienced as the G.I.s liberated them: America had arrived!

I've had a wealthy Japanese businessman come into my office and tell me what it was like for him as a child in 1945 to await the arrival of the dreaded American beasts, and instead meet a smiling G.I. who gave him a Hershey bar.

In thanks, the businessman was donating a large sum of money to the USO.  After thanking him, I gave him as a souvenir a Hershey bar I had autographed. He took it and began to cry. The 20th century can be called many things, but it was most certainly a century of war.

The American G.I.s helped defeat fascism and communism.

They came home in triumph from the ferocious battlefields of World Wars I and II. In Korea and Vietnam they fought just as bravely as any of their predecessors, but no triumphant receptions awaited them at home. They soldiered on through the twilight struggles of the cold war and showed what they were capable of in Desert Storm. The American people took them into their hearts again.

In this century hundreds of thousands of G.I.s died to bring to the beginning of the 21st century the victory of democracy as the ascendant political system on the face of the earth. The G.I.s were willing to travel far away and give their lives, if necessary, to secure the rights and freedoms of others. Only a nation such as ours, based on a firm moral foundation, could make such a request of its citizens. And the G.I.s wanted
nothing more than to get the job done and then return home safely. All they asked for in repayment from those they freed was the opportunity to help them become part of the world of democracy, and just enough land to bury their fallen comrades, beneath simple white crosses and Stars of David.

The volunteer G.I.s of today stand watch in Korea, the Persian Gulf, Europe and the dangerous terrain of the Balkans. We must never see them as mere hirelings, off in a corner of our society. They are our best, and we owe them our full support and our sincerest thanks.

As this century closes, we look back to identify the great leaders and personalities of the past 100 years. We do so in a world still troubled, But full of promise. That promise was gained by the young men and women of America who fought and died for freedom. Near the top of any listing of the most important people of the 20th century must stand, in singular honor, the American G.I.

General Colin Powell, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is now chairman of America's Promise.


"'Bread and Circuses' is the cancer of democracy, the fatal disease for which there is no cure.  Democracy often works beautifully at first.  But once a state extends the franchise to every warm body, be he producer or parasite, that day marks the beginning of the end of the state.  For when the plebs discover they can vote themselves bread and circuses without limit and the productive members of the of the body politic cannot stop them, they will do so, until the state bleeds to death, or in its weakened condition the state succumbs to an invader -- the barbarians enter Rome."

- To Sail Beyond the Sunset; Robert A. Heinlein


When a man hath no freedom to fight for at home,
Let him combat for that of his neighbors;
Let him think of the glories of Greece and Rome,
And get knocked on his head for his labors.

To do good to mankind is the chivalrous plan,
And is always nobly requited;
Then battle for freedom wherever you can,
And, if not shot or hanged, you’ll get knighted.

Lord Byron, 1820


International Pipe Smoking Day

Yes, it's the day you've all been waiting for!  It is International Pipe Smoking Day!  For me, since it is also my day off, I plan to put a serious hurtin' on a tin of Peterson's Summertime 2011 while working on one of my garage kits.  What will you be up to today?

Once More into the Breech...

Or perhaps not.  I'd be interested to read your thoughts on this.  Especially those of you on the left.

If Iran Goes Nuclear

What's really going to happen?  Will they nuke Israel?  I doubt it, unless they want to commit national suicide.  Nuke the US?  Unlikely, since they don't have any missiles that can hit the US.  And where would they buy such things?  North Korea?

Look, lots of countries have nuclear weapons and haven't used them in a war.  I'm not trying to be Pollyanna-ish about this, but really.  We're considering military intervention in Iran because of this?  We need to consider very carefully what we do next.


(Liberals hate this part): In 1993, President Clinton who campaigned on the promise to allow all citizens to serve in the military regardless of sexual orientation, introduced Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT).  That worked well. 

While I am busy Clinton-bashing, he also signed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996 which defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman. Under the law, no state (or other political subdivision within the United States) may be required to recognize as a marriage a same-sex relationship considered a marriage in another state.   A real friend of gays, Clinton was.

DADT ends today.  This is one of those things that I think the press and people outside the military are inflating WAY out of proportion.  It's one of those things the media tells us we should really care about.  For us in the military, there really aren't a lot of functional changes.  Sure, there will be some people in the military who oppose the repeal of DADT but frankly, if things get out of hand, that's what the UCMJ is for.  For me personally, while I don't think the military is the place for social experimentation and I may not agree with the timing, it was bound to happen eventually.

And yes; I am in favor of the repeal.

Feeling Stimulated?

I received a check from the US Treasury for $250.00 yesterday. Fortunately, they printed on the bottom "VA Economic Recovery Payemnt".

I had to look it up.

Now, I don't mean to sound ungrateful, and at one point in my life not too long ago, this would have been a tidy sum of money.  Not a meaningful amount of money even then, but nice.  But really.  $250?  What am I supposed to stimuate with that?  I suppose, as HH6 mentioned, in some neoghborhoods, I might be able to buy a hooker.  That would be stimulating.  Maybe get half a tattoo?

Incidentally, when I enlisted in the Army in 1981 my base pay as a Pv1 was $501 a month.  So this would have been two weeks' salary for an Army Private. In 1981.  Beer money!

I really don't mean to sound ungrateful here, but WTF?  Why would they send me $250?  Okay sure, it's because I am a disabled vet.  I understand that.  But really?  $250?  That's almost insulting in some ways.  It's not really enough to actually do anything with it.  Sure, it's a month's worth of groceries, but it's as if they are just sending out some token payment to attempt to placate the masses.

And they set up the whole government infrastructure to cut checks, track them, man the phones, answer questions, create websites, get coffee, and so forth.  How much does all that cost?  Is keeping more government employees busy part of the stimulus?

Oh, and the checks were supposed to have been sent out by 4 June.  So they were late too.

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