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Because both liberals and conservatives seem to be having trouble understanding this lately, let's spell it out:
  • You are free to express any opinion you wish.
  • Your opponents, even the vilest, are free to do the same.
  • The fact that people may vehemently disagree with your speech and consider you [an immoral hell-bound God-mocker][a hate-mongering narrow-minded bigot] as a result is not "persecution".
  • The fact that your free speech may have consequences--for example, in influencing people to frequent or avoid your business, or inciting lawsuits for libel or slander or discrimination--is not "persecution" either.
  • Your opinion is not the law of the land, no matter how emphatically you express it.
Carry on.
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Ridley Scott is great at atmosphere and striking visuals. But this movie is so stupid it is nearly incoherent. Supposedly smart scientists do moronic things over...and over...and over. Because if they didn't, they wouldn't get to die in spectacularly gross fashion for our entertainment.

"Hey, there's air here, let's all TAKE OFF OUR HELMETS on this unknown alien world with all these alien corpses lying around. It'll be fine!" "But Bob, somebody who did that yesterday had alien worms come out of his eyeballs and had to be killed with fire..." "Oh, shut up and breathe the sweet air."

"Let's screw." "I wouldn't do you if you were the last man on earth." "Yeah, but the plot requires me to be away from the communications center long enough for two more crewmembers to die horribly." "My quarters, big boy. Ten minutes."

"Oh, look, alien goo. I think I will slip some in a crewmember's drink. Why? No friggin' clue. But perhaps it will have an utterly inexplicable effect that I will somehow be able to predict even though I have been here on this world all of ten minutes, and only a scriptwriter on SERIOUS drugs would imagine it would do any such thing."

"I had major abdominal surgery 2 minutes ago. See how I run!"


This film, like its characters, is too dumb to live.
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Enjoy the extra day off. Enjoy the family time. But please take a moment to get to know at least one of the faces on this page:

Honor the Fallen.

25 of them died in May alone, in our country's wars, in all our names.

The most recent as I post this, Army 2nd Lt. Travis A. Morgado, was from Theo's brigade.

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"Does my soldier's unit have a Facebook page?" is another frequently-asked question on the Ft. Jackson Facebook page...so I'm compiling all the relevant links to basic training units in one place.


PLEASE NOTE: As of November 2013, I will no longer be updating this list. My husband is out of the active-duty Army now, and as a result my information about Army matters will rapidly become out-of-date.  If you find dead links, please search Facebook for new ones.

193rd BRIGADE (BDE) BATTALIONS/REGIMENTS:


165th BRIGADE (BDE) BATTALIONS/REGIMENTS:


Families of newly arrived trainees should also see my BCT 101 post.

A note about BCT units: Sometimes a family member will post something like, "My son is in Alpha Co. 1st platoon, where is their Facebook page?" That is NOT enough info to correctly identify the unit! You need the battalion/regiment #.  Every battalion is made up of 6 companies named A-F (Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta, Echo, and Foxtrot), and every one of those companies has platoons numbered 1 through whatever. There are nine different Alpha companies at BCT, and 36 different platoons called 1st Platoon! So the more info you have, the quicker you will find your way to the correct page.

Just an FYI:


  • A platoon is about 35-50 soldiers.

  • 4-6 platoons make up a company.

  • 4-6 companies make up a battalion.

  • 5-6 battalions make up a brigade.

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If you could invite four people-living or dead- to a dinner party, who would they be?
My dad (still miss him so)
Mark Twain
Cleopatra
Dorothy Parker
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It's been almost two years since my husband went to Ft. Jackson for BCT (Basic Combat Training). But I remain obsessed with the Ft. Jackson page on Facebook, haunting it in hopes that I can be helpful to other new Army families who are as dazed & bewildered as I was in those early weeks.

I'm no kind of expert. Mostly, what I do is simply direct traffic--pointing new folks to the Facebook link for their loved one's specific BCT battalion and/or company (if they have one). Once I get 'em there, they are in far better hands than mine! But those pages aren't always easy to find, and a lot of questions end up asked on the main Ft. Jackson page--where they may or may not get an answer.

Since the same questions get asked over and over every cycle (heck, every week!), I am collecting my BCT Basics here for easy linking convenience.


Read more...Collapse )

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Last academic term, I had recurring problems with student workers underperforming. They didn't show up (and didn't send word about why). Or they showed up and looked industrious, but failed to complete tasks & projects in anything approaching a timely manner.

Finally, I had to fire one and take another to task. The one taken to task responded with a heartfelt apology, and it became clear that he'd become trapped in a vicious cycle of failure--unable to complete the assigned project, but equally unable to 'fess up and ask for help. The longer this continued, the more ashamed he felt about his failure, and the harder it seemed to admit that he just couldn't handle it.

Never one to miss an opportunity to offer up a motherly lecture, I replied with something I wish somebody had told ME at age 18:


That's a heavy load you've been carrying around, isn't it? I'm betting it's a relief to set it down at last.

Look, kiddo...everybody makes mistakes. And everybody gets in over their head on a project sometimes. Or a relationship. Or a--whatever. That's a given.

Also, although it's rarely discussed openly in adult life: Everybody FAILS. Just flat-out fails--falls flat on their ass in truly spectacular fashion. Sometimes it happens in a mortifyingly obvious public way. That feels worse, at the time, but it's really a gift, because there's no pretending it didn't happen. It's when it happens in private that it's so very tempting to play the cover-up game. "If I can just glue this broken plate back together seamlessly enough, Mom will NEVER have to know..."

The challenge isn't how to avoid ever falling on your ass. You can't. Nobody can. Which is a good thing, believe it or not, because we learn a heck of a lot more from our failures than our successes.

So no, the challenge is not how to remain fail-free and fall-free. The challenge is getting up again. And sometimes that calls for a helping hand. Which, yes, does require you to holler and wave--in a sheepish fashion that makes you feel both stupid and conspicuous--with a hearty cry of, "Hey! Need a little help over here!"

But help comes when you do. It almost always does, when you get past the embarrassment of asking for it. And usually the people who help you up are happy to do it, because they are just awfully grateful the fall wasn't their own (for a change).

Learning how to do that--learning that it's *OK* to do that, and necessary, and healthy--is a more important lesson than anything you will ever encounter in a classroom. So, there you go. I have contributed to your education. :)

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I need to find a piece of music that starts soft and anticipatory--cuing the listener that something good is about to happen--then bursts forth with a faster tempo and a lot of energy. Preferably instrumental.

I haven't a freakin' clue how to find such a thing. Anyone?

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I wrote on Facebook this morning: "My 9/11 observance is to love my soldier, to count my blessings, and to walk free in the sunlight. That feels about right."

As I write this, Theo has been in the Army 16 months, nearly half of his 33-month commitment. Most days I don't feel like an Army wife, only a lonely one. I still live where we always lived. When I visit my husband, we stay in his off-post apartment, he stays in his civvies (albeit with that distinctively Army haircut, the High Fade), and we spend the lion's share of our time in civilian spaces. I have never attended an FRG meeting, never met his commanding officer, never shopped for groceries at a commissary, never experienced a battalion sendoff or welcome-home event.

My husband is Army, but my life is civilian. And in a pecular way, that parallels the national condition: We are a country at war, a civilian population at peace.

In this strange Army-yet-not existence, I can't help but notice that we live in a nation where our tenth year at war merits fewer headlines than the latest drunken escapades of the Jersey Shore cast or the latest catfight on Real Housewives. Where supporting our troops is a bumper sticker or a lapel pin, not a personal sacrifice. Where the biggest debate about our decade-long occupation of foreign lands is its impact on the federal deficit, not the blood it has shed or the virulent new enemies it has bred.

1% of the population lives (and dies) the consequences of a decade of war. 99% of the population doesn't even have to think about it for days, weeks, even months at a time, except to complain about its price tag--the kind of price measured in dollar signs, not crosses at Arlington Cemetery.

How wrong that feels. How immoral.

When Theo joined the Army, I made peace with his decision--and oh, the irony of that expression!--by telling myself that it is important that we have an all-volunteer military, not a draft. That if men like Theo did not serve willingly, someone else's son, husband, brother, or father would have to serve unwillingly. No one should be forced to serve their country, I thought. No one should be conscripted into a service that may require their very life.

I still believe that. I fiercely believe it.

And yet. And yet. 10 years into this war, I cannot help but wonder: If draft lottery numbers were again being read on national TV, might not this war be likelier to end? If a Congressman's son or a Fortune 500 CEO's son could at any moment be drafted to bleed and die in Iraq or Afghanistan, would we still be there?

I also cannot help wondering: How "willing" are many of our volunteer military, in a nation where the unemployment rate still stands at more than 9%? In a ruined economy, it's as likely to be a paycheck as patriotism that leads someone's steps to the recruiter's office. Or health insurance: 39-Year-Old Joins Army to Save Wife's Life.

More than twice as many American lives have been lost in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars than died on 9/11. More than 6,000 and still counting. The American injured number in the tens of thousands. The Iraqi and Afghanistan civilian dead, in the hundreds of thousands. Civilian injured, perhaps in the millions.

Enough. Enough. By even the most bloodthirsty measure of justice or vengeance, enough.
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Today is Demolition Day in the downstairs half-bathroom. I'm removing the old ugly vanity in preparation for a prettier (and smaller) one to come.

So far, with the help of this handy Lowe's how-to video, I've successfully unhooked the plumbing from the sink. Now taking a break to gather my nerve before trying to remove the vanity top and then the cabinet itself. Deep breath....

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