MARK SWEENEY

Dear Diary 2009/Iraq

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1/21/09

Dear Diary-

Well, it looks like I’m back. I took off for ‘08, but it’s time to get back on my pony. I was watching the inauguration yesterday and heard that Obama is the first black man elected president. What? Is that true? How come this is the first time I’m hearing of this? I tease of course, we all knew, it’s all the media has been freakin’ talking about. Obsess much? Yes, he’s black, we get it. And I say black because that’s what my black friends call themselves. Now the country is obsessed about electing a black man president. All of sudden all is right with the world? All past sins are forgiven? There was a comment made recently where someone said “now, color doesn’t matter.“ Well, it never did, at least to intelligent people. It’s time we got over ourselves. I love the fact that so many are waiting anxiously for the change President Obama will bring. Almost breathless in anticipation. Well, take a breath people, anything he can change is going to take awhile. But yes, he’s black, I think we’re ready to move past that now and concentrate on more important things, like what kind of dog the Obama’s are getting. I hope it’s a labradoodle.

 

 

1/19/09

Dear Diary-

Well, I’m ready for the Bahamas. I'm going with Bob and Tom the Super Bowl party, should be a kick. I’m at the hotel and ready for the charter tomorrow. I tried go get something to eat but could barely get out of the parking lot so I had a pizza delivered. They had a special on the pizza, a large was the same price as the small, so for economic reasons, I ordered the large…and ate the whole thing except for one piece. What kind of pig eats an entire pizza pie by himself? I probably could’ve eaten the last piece too, but I had to draw the line somewhere. How am I supposed to look myself in the mirror knowing I just consumed an entire pie? At least with one piece left, I can say I didn’t eat the whole thing. I guess I’m of the mind set that weight gain, high cholesterol and increased blood pressure can all kiss my ass. Live long and prosper. Yeah, good luck with that.

 

2/1/09

Dear Diary-

I made it, I’m here, in the Bahamas. I came by myself, which I didn’t think was a big deal. It became a big deal when Tom got on the intercom on the plane and informed all 160 people on the plane that I had a free ticket to the Bahamas and couldn’t get anyone to go with me. Thank you Tom. But you can’t just ask anyone to spend 4 days in a hotel room with you unless you know them pretty well. So I came alone, not the first time.

 

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2/6/09

Dear Diary-

The world has gone mad. Michael Phelps had his picture taken smoking pot. Oh my God! Pot? At 23? What kind of example is he trying to tell the youth of America? Um…that even Olympians need to unwind. Well, that and I need to get some friends who won’t take pictures of me doing bongs. USA Today had an editorial saying he should be punished to the full extent of the law, just on principal. OK, then Tom Daschle and Tim Gaither and Nancy Killefer should be prosecuted for being tax dodgers. Seems only fair, I mean based on principal. Resigning isn’t enough, criminal charges should be filed. Charges would be filed if it was one of us. They all belong in what I call the Obama’s C.O.D’s: the CIRCLE OF DOUCHEBAGS. I wonder how many will join before it’s over?  The balls on these guys.  Mr. Geithner you didn't pay your taxes, why?  "I forgot"  The dude has been appointed Treasury Secretary and he "forgot" to pay his taxes.  I can't believe this guy can even get his pants on over his monstrous balls.  Maybe that's why he forgot to pay his taxes, his gargantuan balls are causing him discomfort.  And it's time to let the Michael Phelps thing go, there are more pressing matters. Half of Obama’s cabinet members are tax cheats, over 4,000,000 people lost jobs last year, the economy sucks, people have no insurance, un-employed, un-married women with six kids are giving birth to octuplets and…oh yeah, the country is involved in two wars. Michael Phelps smoking dope is about as newsworthy as Jessica Simpsons’ weight gain. The mainstream media in this country should beaten with a soap filled sock, now that’s a news story.

2/12/02

Dear Diary-

I don’t know what’s going on anymore. It may be time for a move to the Netherlands. I hear it’s nice there. This place has become preposterous. Judd Gregg withdrew from the Commerce Secretary job because he can’t agree with President Obama, this is the post that Bill Richardson withdrew from because the FBI is investigating him. Bill Richardson also belongs in Obama’s C.O.D.’s. Speaking of douche bags, watching Tim Geithner talk for only a minute will make you think “Tim Geithner is full of shit.” That little speech he gave yesterday was hilarious. I don’t think anybody in Washington has a clue on how to fix this country. Stimulus package my ass, hey, package this. That thing is crawling with pork like maggots on a rotted carcass. Maybe we should just use Geithner’s way and just not pay taxes. Talk about a stimulus to America’s bank account. How much would that help everybody? No taxes, either that or split the bail out money evenly amongst the tax payers. The real taxpayers.

Sheriff Leon Lott of Aiken S.C. now wants to arrest Michael Phelps and charge him with a crime. He should probably reconsider. There has to be more serious things to deal with than this aren’t there? Could this just be for publicity? Hmm. Turns out, in the 90’s, the good sheriff wore suits like they wore on Miami Vice and drove a Porsche while fighting the drug war in South Carolina. Adorable. A Porsche that was confiscated from drug dealer. Hey Sheriff, you're welcome. Maybe the sheriff wants to be a little Hollywood. Maybe he needs some attention,"shine the light on me for a sec. Look at me, look at me." If he arrests Phelps, I’m going to ask for his resignation. If apologizing is good enough for the Washington C.O.D.’s, it should be good enough for Phelps.

Kelloggs officially dropped Phelps, which was really stupid because stoners love cereal. Apparently his DUI was OK, but they can’t have him smoking pot. At least you’re not going to go out and kill someone from doing bongs. What’s the worse that could happen? he smokes too much and then eats a whole box of Ho ho’s. And by Ho, ho’s, I mean the delightfully, delicious chocolate tubes of goodness brought to us by our friends at Hostess, no the Ho ho’s you find down on 7th avenue. What brainiacs these guys are. They should take advantage of this and come up with a new ad campaign directed at stoners. “Hey bongers, cereal is not just for breakfast anymore.” I mean, stoners already know this, but to have ad campaign directed at them, I’m sure would be something special. The law and anti-drug people are pissed off and you know why? Phelps showed that you can smoke a little dope…and still win 8 gold medals. Touche.

 

2/19/09

Dear Diary-

In this maddening world we’re living in, I often wonder “what’s next?” How’s this? There was a segment on the news about the latest “fad” in the burial business. I wasn’t aware there were “fads” in that particular business, but there are. The last big one was being buried with the ashes of your beloved pet. Hmmm. I know people love their pets but doesn’t a line have to be drawn somewhere? Being buried with your pet? When do we stand up and say “enough” to these loonies? Isn’t that cruel to the animal? Torching your beloved Fido because your number came up? How stupid, people and pets don’t even go to the same heaven.

Now, the newest thing is to be buried with your cell phone. Somebody get the Uzi’s and start shooting. Really? This is what people have come to with their phones? The level of obsession is pitiful. How empty is your life when your phone is one of the most important things to you? Now people are being buried with them? They had interviewed a funeral director for the segment, and let me say that I have nothing but respect for the people that do that for a living. It can’t be easy dealing with so much grief. But this guy, this guy I tell you. He bugged me. He had is hands folded in front of him, like they do, and said “the phones are a way for the family to stay in touch with the deceased.” Are you shitting me? I swear I wanted to punch him right in the face because he said it with such seriousness. He looked like he believed what he was saying. This guy needed a severe throttling. “You can just call up and hear your loved ones’ voice.” Yeah, until the battery goes dead in 3 days. Plus, what are you going to do if you call the grave and someone answers? What are you going to do then?

Hello?… Gloria, is that you? Who the f*** buried me?

 

2/23/09

Dear Diary-

On Sunday afternoon I was watching some shows on Home and Garden TV, I have it in high def, so it’s OK. I was taking in shows about various do it your self projects and rehabs and selling and buying homes. I especially love the ones where they have hidden cameras and the sellers get to watch as prospective buyers go through the home and belittle and ridicule their taste and decorating skills. It’s hysterical because the sellers are defending themselves…to the video clips on the computer. Priceless. “My mother made us those afghan rugs we have hanging on the wall.” Another thing I’ve noticed is people are generally idiots when it comes to selling their homes. No one likes clutter, it looks like homeless people having been staying there. If you want to sell your house, pick up your shit and put it away.

Another thing that I noticed is over use of the word “space” in describing an area of a home. As in “Look at this space” or “isn’t this a great space?” or “I love what you’ve done with this space” or “I wonder what I could do with this space.” Shut up you morons, it’s a corner.

 

2/25/09

Dear Diary-

I watched the president’s speech last night, OK, I watched a little bit of it. National Geographic had the Dog Whisperer on, Caesar Millan is always entertaining. I found it hard to focus on what the President was saying though because Nancy Pelosi, who was sitting behind him, jumped up and gave him a standing ovation about 20 times. What a brown noser. I was laughing my ass off, every other sentence, she was jumping up and applauding. What a little cheerleader. Joe Biden was sitting to her right and you could tell he was getting a little tired of jumping up every 30 seconds. There was one time that his look said “Jesus lady, give it a rest already.”

She wouldn’t have looked out of place with pom poms.

2/28/09

Dear Diary-

I went to the Chinese Buffet for lunch today. Why? Why would I go to a Chinese Buffet on Saturday? Because I am stupid, that’s why. Absolute bedlam. People were eating like this was it, the whole thing is just about over, the end is near, by tonight we’ll be dead. The world was ending and by God these people were going to get their fill. I understand the attraction of buffet’s, the large selection, the eat all you want, it’s a good deal. That’s the key right there though, all you can eat. I know the customers know this, why then is their plate stacked so high with food, that they have to take baby steps all they way back to their seats? Leaving a trail of bits of food so they can find the way back. Holding the plate out in front of them and keeping their eyes glued to the plate and occasionally glancing up to see if the pathway is clear, then right back down to the plate. Staring at this enormous pile of food as if their eyes are what held everything in place. I don’t understand, why take the chance? Just put a little less food on there, transport it safely and then if you want more….go back and get more. It’s all you can eat, not all you can eat in one trip.

I sat in a booth and behind me sat a young couple and their newborn. It was obviously their first child because they did goo goo’s and ga ga’s the entire meal. Absolutely the most irritating shit I’ve been around this week. Hey-it’s a baby, get over it. A lot of people have them. The kid doesn’t understand the baby talk. You could explain the theory of relativity to him and you’ll get the same reaction; drool. I would’ve gotten up to move, but the place was full. It was noisy as hell, it sounded like a crowded bar on Saturday night and all I could hear was this couple baby talking the kid. I just wanted to turn around and say “knock it off, you’re pissing everyone off.” I wasn’t sure if anyone else was irritated, I’m not sure anyone else even noticed, but I did and they were driving me crazy. All I wanted was for them to leave. Finally they did, they were getting up, Praise the Lord. I felt the guy leave the seat. I saw them stand up out of the corner of my eye. I knew they were leaving. They started to dress the baby, they continued to dress the baby, then they continued to dress the baby and gather their belongings, any minute they will leave me in peace, once they dress the baby. They continue to prepare, there is much movement occurring on my periphery, they’ll be leaving any second. The preparation continues, I almost stand and ask if they need any help, it’s been about 7 minutes and they’re still not ready. What the hell is going on over there? Can you not get this kid’s outfit on? Collect yourselves and get the hell out of here already. It was an eternal circle of nothing happening. It took them at least 10 minutes of preparation before they left. I had never seen anything like it. It took them another 4 minutes to pay the check, I guess they were just slow movers. It even took them forever to walk down the hall. They seemed to be walking at a regular pace, but just couldn’t cover any ground.

3/6/09

Dear Diary-

Got up at 5 a.m. today to go to a TV interview with the morning news crew. I’m not sure why you would do an interview with a comedian at 6 a.m. but there we were, sitting at the dais and talking shop. No real energy is generated, it’s just the three of us and the newscasters always seemed terrified that we’ll say something unseemly during the segment. You can see it in their eyes, the fear, the uncertainty of bringing this untested, unscripted segment to the air. During that kind of thing, you can look right at the camera and nobody freaks out. The problem is there is a monitor next to the camera and when I looked at it, all I could think of was; you sir, have one large head. It was huge, bulbous and blocking out the light. It took up the entire monitor, you could see very little background behind this behemoth head I’ve got sitting on my shoulders. Hey, zoom back a little there my brother. But there wasn’t a camera man. Sometimes, there isn’t, they zoom in and out remotely with a computer in the other room. There was no one there to tell, it was just zoomed in on my face and it was horrible. Hey balloon head, down in front, we can’t see the weather board. I’ve always felt my head was a little large for my frame, and now I know it. The proof was right there on the monitor. Nice. It’s amazing I can even keep myself upright. I know the camera adds 10 lbs, but does it have to be added to my head?

3/8/09

Dear Diary-

What a travel day. My departing flight left Erie at 10:15 with a connecting flight at noon in Detroit. At 9:45 they asked us to be start getting ready for our “on time departure.” At 10:15 we started to board for our “on time departure,” which wasn’t going to happen if we’re just now boarding. You can’t take off the same minute you start to board, so the “on time departure” wasn’t happening. The lady on the intercom insisted that we were “on time.” We weren’t, but I found her attitude amusing. We get in the air at 10:30 for our “on time departure.” It’s an hour flight so making my connection will be ticklish. Hopefully, my connecting gate will be in the same concourse as my arriving flight. Ha, ha. We get off the plane at 11:30 at gate C35. Of course it’s at the very end of the concourse. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be departing from C something, I’ve got half an hour, I should be fine. I check the departure info and my flight leaves from A4. Oh well, I should still be able to make it without running. I’m at C35 which is the end, so at least A4 will be close to the center hub. I take the moving sidewalk to the hub, go down the monster escalator and head under the runway. The walk over to A concourse is about a mile. You have to use 4 different moving walkways, but it gets you there. It’s now 11:50, I head up another monster escalator and turn to the A concourse. At least A4 will be close. But no, C concourse starts with C1 and goes to C35, A concourse starts at A35 and goes to A1. What? Why does this concourse count down and the other count up? How do you number the gates the exact opposite of the other concourse. Is there no consistency? Is that just to mess with people? Do they think that’s funny? Now I’ve got to start to boogie, my flight leaves in 5 min and I’m still 30 gates away. I don’t want to run, but I’m shuffling, there’s nothing worse than running through an airport. I get to my gate right at noon and they haven’t started boarding yet. Then I hear over the intercom, we’re ready to start boarding for another “on time departure.” I’m not sure what clocks they’re looking at, I guess “on time departure” has some leeway.

3/16/09

Dear Diary-

Well, I flew again this weekend. Fairly uneventful, until I got to Cincinnati and witnessed a most horrifying sight. There are certain things a man should never do. As men, we’ve got a reputation to maintain, it’s not much of a reputation, but it’s all we’ve got. Sometimes a man comes along who tries to destroy all we’ve created for all these thousands of years. A man so clueless he threatens to bring all of mankind to it’s knees. A man so out of touch with his manliness that it’s surprising he stands when he pees. A man who sends his children messages that are so mixed, they’re not quite sure what daddy is…or does.  A man that you want to grab by the throat, give him a good throttling until his testicles drop, and tell him to man up.  You know, just give him a good slapping to wake his ass up. Yes, my friend, once in awhile a man comes along and you stare in wonderment at him, in amazement that this is what he’s come to. Open mouthed, slack jawed staring, that’s what he creates. This man gave forth such an unsettling sight, I had to photograph it. What follows below may disturb some, may sicken others. Be forewarned.

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And yes, he was color coordinated from head to toe.  I hope no one has nightmares.
 
3/29/09
 
Dear Diary-
 
Well I made it back through the blizzard.  What a lovely spring.  I'm off to Iraq again.  If I get blowed up or something, this will be my last entry in the star log.  I hope you've enjoyed our time together. If all goes well,  I'll have many tales to tell upon my return.  Maybe this time, they'll let me tote a weapon.
 
                             IRAQ 2009

Dear Diary-

Well, I’m off to Iraq. I’m sitting in a plane in Washington D. C. I’ve been hanging around the airport for almost 5 hours and I’m ready to go. I’m in the economy seats but I’m not fretting, I should have plenty of room. I’m picturing a plane about half full. I mean how many people can be going from D.C. to Kuwait? As it turns out… a lot. What the hell? Are you people all really going to Kuwait? Why? What’s going on there that you need to be a part of? The plane is packed. I’m sitting behind a little kid, who seems to be about 4. As soon as the plane takes off, he slams his seat back. Seriously? You little shit, do you need that extra room? I don’t think he does, so my job now, is to distract him on the right so I can reach up with my left hand and push his button in. I need to get this kid’s seat back up or I’m going to lose it. I’m not going to spend the next 13 ˝ hours jammed up because someone showed this little knucklehead how to put his seat back. I just don’t feel that a kid that small needs all that room.  His feet barely hang off the seat edge, what does he need extra leg room for? Maybe I can slip a little “kiddie doze” into his apple juice and get him to fall asleep, then bam, I make my move and get his seat back in the upright position. Very stealth. And let me just say,I don’t know what “kidde doze” is and I certainly don’t want anyone to think I carry around a supply of children’s tranquilizers on hand “just in case,” I’m just saying. Then, a couple of rows up another kid starts chiming in “I want my mommy, I want my mommy” over and over. Oh man, come on, let’s not do this. This isn’t a movie man, it’s not a comedy about a traveler stuck on a plane with a bunch of whiny kids, this is real life, my life. Don’t tax my mental firmness but hitting me with all this before I even leave the freakin’ ground. I can’t get out of here for the next 14 hours and I’m being tested now? Holy Christ, what’s going on? Then a kid at the rear starts in, I’m stunned into silence. I’m just sitting there with my eyes closed, just listening, concentrating on the sound and I start to laugh. It sounds like chaos. I’m listening to babies crying, 4 year olds whining, 7 and 8 year old brothers going at each other, parents trying to reprimand their kids in public without causing a scene, I’m hearing overhead bins slamming, people talking way too loud for such close quarters, I hear 4 different language’s, maybe 5, what the hell is going on in this plane? I start to look around and there are a bunch of kids on this flight. Why? I don’t know, I don’t even know why they let kids fly. They shouldn’t. Kids should be on a separate flight, that’s fair isn’t it? If you’re this tall, you can’t get on the ride. If it works for roller coasters, it should work on planes. Why should we all suffer because Julie and Omar want to bring the kids to Kuwait? We shouldn’t, that’s why. That’s just the way it should be, kids under 10 don’t get to fly. If you need to go to Kuwait with your kids, take a ship.

Half way through the meal, Scott comes back and tells Flip and I we can move up to Business Class with him. Hallelujah! Business Class, now that’s the way to go. Plenty of room, the seats can go almost prone and it is a little slice of heaven compared to cattle car coach. Things are looking up. When we started I was crammed in, no leg room, no breathing room, no room to do shit. Now I’m sipping beverages while laying down, wrapped up in a blankie. Life is now sweet again. Good night sweet prince.

Dear Diary-

Kuwait. We made it, yeah. On my time, it’s like 7 a.m., Kuwati time is almost 5 p.m. We lost a day. I guess that happens when you go into the future. We get on base at Camp Arifjan, get settled, have some chow and prepare for slumber. It’s only 8 p.m. but I’m pooped, wiped out, exhausted and plum tuckered out, I should sleep like a baby.

2:45 in the a.m. and I’m wide awake. I slept great for about 5 hours now I’m awake and ready to start my day. The only problem is: it’s 2:45 and there’s not shit going on. It’s too early to start a day, unless you’re a gravedigger, or a cook at Waffle House, what am I to do? I’m bored. I wonder what Scott and Flip are doing?

I read for a couple of hours, did some puzzles, a couple of crosswords and a sodoku. When’s chow? I hope I don’t have the gastro problems I’ve had on previous trips over here. So far so good.

I’m back from chow and ready for a nap. Nap’s over and now it’s time for lunch and then off to Ali Al Salem for our first show of the trip. Still so far so good on the bathroom breaks.

The show rocked, we had about 300 people in an auditorium type place. We signed a lot of autograph cards, shook a lot of hands and posed for a lot of pictures. It was a nice ice breaker. I had 3 sitdowns (poopy breaks) before the show, and so it begins.

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Dear Diary-

Went to bed at 10, it’s now 2:30 and it looks like I’m up for the day again, what the hell? I need a sitdown. Who needs to poop at 2 in the morning? I do, that’s who. At least here, we’re not having to use porta potties yet, we’ve got indoor plumbing, the portas are coming though, you know that my friends, they’re coming. I’ll will say this, after last nights excursions in the men’s room, I’m not having biscuits and gravy today. It’s a shame though, B’s and G’s are delightfully delicious, but it wrecks my internals. I’m sorry about the discussions of bathroom breaks, but it’s a huge part of life over here. Eating, sleeping and pooping, the cycle of life if you will. Much importance is placed on these things, and not just with us, these things are important to everyone here. It’s how you know you’re alive. You need that stuff to look forward to, the next meal, the next nap, the next good bowel movement. Without those things to look forward to- what is the purpose of life? That’s the question to ponder here my friends, with out those things to look forward to in our lives- what’s the point?

We’re taking off at 8 a.m. for Ali Al Salem, we have to catch a flight to Iraq. We’re hanging at the PAX terminal (airport) waiting for a C117 that will take us up north. After 3 trips to the portas, we’re reading to load up the bus. The bus is full of soldiers heading up range so it’s tight quarters. We get half way to the flight line when we’re called upon to return because of a mechanical problem with the plane, thank God they found it now as opposed to an in-flight discovery. We head back to the PAX and wait. Another 2 sitdowns and I’m getting chapped. The paper in porta potties isn’t what you would call “top shelf” it’s definitely from the discount pile. Rough, coarse and un-wielding, just what you want on a sensitive bum. It’s been raining for 2 days and it’s humid and clammy, not ideal weather for sitting in a porta pottie. You don’t sweat like you do in the summer heat, but it’s just enough sweat to make things uncomfortable and damp. Plus we have our body armor now, another 20 lbs of gear to carry around.

The flight to Al Asad was uneventful. I fell asleep right when I heard the announcement “We’ll be landing in 15 minutes.” Perfect, I’ll get 15 minutes of shut eye, that should rejuvenate me just fine.

We did about 5 tours today. We did a long one at the hospital. I never did feel comfortable walking around talking to the wounded. I’m a huge puss and seeing injured soldiers is heartbreaking. Most of the injured weren’t hurt too bad, but they’re still all patched up and heavily medicated. We did what we can though and we did it without breaking down, that was a plus. We finish our tours and head back for some chow and a shower. We’re in the DVQ barracks. (Distinguished Visitor Quarters) I’m in the exact same room I was in during the 2006 tour. I mean the exact same room, last time I was here we got mortared, I hope this night brings more quiet. I don’t feel like sleeping in a bunker tonight. I’ve been up almost 22 hours and I’m starting to wind down. This place used to be called Camp Anaconda, but the Air Force took it over and changed the name to JBB or Joint Base Balad. Clever. The show was great, there were about 600 people in a huge movie theater. This was the biggest show of the last tour as well. It will be the last show we do like this. Tomorrow we head to the FOB’s. (Forward Operating Base) I’m totally wiped, call time is 0600, I hope I can sleep past 2 in the blessed a.m.

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The three little warriors Kennedy, Schultz, Sweeney

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Heading into Iraq

Dear Diary-

We started out the day with a chopper flight to Camp Paliwoda, I had been there in 2006 and it was being mortared on a daily basis. It was the Camp where we had to run out of the choppers, get into a bunker and wait for the birds to take off. That really sucked, having to run with all your armor on and dragging your bags along. This is too much weight to run with, I came here to do comedy, not train for the Ironman. Isn’t there a bell hop on this chopper? No, there isn’t. Get your shit and boogie. This time it was a little more serene. We gently strolled off the bird on a clear, cloudless day. No rush, no panic, just a stroll. Sweet. They’ve actually got Iraqi’s guarding the compound; progress in full view. We had a great little show for about 40 guys, it’s welcome back to the FOB’s boys, no more 600 seat theaters, packed to the gills, back to doing shows for a handful of people in a tent or dirty courtyard with the aroma of overheated porta potties gently caressing your face. Ahh, back in Iraq.

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FOB Paliwoda

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Now we’re at FOB Brassfield-Mora and I’m back in the porta. I don’t know what it is about coming over here, but it wrecks havoc on my internals. I’m not eating weird food or anything but none of it stays with me very long. What gives? Huh? What gives? I’m eating twice as much as I normally do, but it shouldn’t cause this-should it? I’ve noticed that there isn’t much dawdling in a porta, you don’t bring anything to read in there, it’s all business and then move on, and business is brisk. The welcoming crew had a little sandwich buffet lined up for us, but only one light in the room worked and I admit, I was a little hesitant, what with my problems previously mentioned. The last thing I needed was to eat something else that would play “hurry up and get out” with my lower tract. I don’t like eating in the dark. The room was dark and the table was set up in the very furthest recesses of the room. It was cast in shadows and the beam of light that was reaching out, was full of dust, sand and other microscopic blots of unknown origin. I’m straining my eyes because I need to see what I’m looking at before I put any of it on my plate. It’s just how I roll. It turned out to be delicious and I had two big sandwiches, a bag of chips, 2 apples, 2 gatorades, a cookie, a banana, an orange, a chewy granola bar and a cupcake. Hey- maybe that’s why I spend so much time sitting in a plastic pooping box. The crowd is light. It’s Sunday, so there’s no lunch being served, so no one really showed up for the show. It was MRE day, which are meals in a bag, not a big draw, so there were about 15 people scattered around the chow hall. And I mean scattered, if a grenade landed anywhere in the room, it would’ve only taken out one, maybe two people. Now, that’s scattered. We didn’t generate much energy, you know, 15 people in a room the size of a gymnasium. But we got through it, we’re done and ready to hit the choppers, but wait. A group of guys that didn’t come to show, want us to come over and say hi, and join in their barbeque. Even though we just ate, there we are, eating brats and a burger, along with 2 sodas, another apple and another bag of chips. I can’t believe I’m still eating. It’s not like I’m burning up thousand of calories, why am I eating like I’m storing fat up for winter? I’m full now, and I need a sit down. I wonder what’s up with that?

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FOB Brassfield-Mora on MRE day

Now we’re at FOB McHenry near Hawijah and there was nobody there. Two guys came out to greet us and informed us that there had been a “skirmish” and the rest of the camp had left to assist. I asked the Capt. about the “skirmish” and he said “Sorry, that’s classified.” When I asked what made the info classified he replied “that is classified as well.” So I knew the camp comedian had been left behind. So we sat in the VIP shack for about 70 minutes, then the choppers came back to get us. No show at McHenry.

Now the choppers are taking us to Camp Speicher and the fellas decided to have a little fun with us. Midway through the flight, we drop from 1000 feet to about 200 feet in seconds and the machine gunners open up on both sides. They wanted us to think that we were under attack, ha, ha. When we dropped like that I thought we were crashing, and it wasn’t a pleasant feeling. I do admit, for a second there, I thought we were going down, I thought we had been hit and the chopper was crashing, I actually lifted my feet up so no rounds would come through the bottom of the chopper and hit my feet. It had the zero gravity thing working like on a roller coaster, but the waiting to hit the ground was what I didn’t care for. There really didn’t seem to be time for my life to flash in front of me, all I remember thinking was “fuck, we’re going to crash.” Then we made some sharp turns and my stomach was flying all over, I’m dodging brass from the machine gun, it’s flying all over, including one down my sweatshirt, and yes, it’s hot, they’re hitting me in the face, on the neck and I’m just holding on for dear life. I think that’s when I realized they were just flying around, playing. Ok, that’s cool, we’re fine, no worries, I’m not going to die, whew, ok, cool, everything’s cool, it’s all ok, we’re not crashing, it’s all good, ok, we’re fine, I’m fine, he’s fine, you’re fine, we’re all fine, I need to hug someone. Then I noticed Flip screaming at the top of his lungs. The noise inside a chopper is deafening, which is why you have to wear ear plugs. The engines were screaming, the machine guns are pumping out rounds and suddenly, all I could hear was Flip screaming, I couldn’t believe I could hear him over all that noise. Then I glanced his way and noticed he had a little green tinge to him and it looked like he was holding back from spraying the inside of the helicopter with vomitus. As we’re into our 40th second of defensive maneuvers I’m having a blast, I like the feeling of having your stomach in your chest cavity. It’s cool. I’d never been sideways in a helicopter, it’s an interesting feeling. Thank God we’re wearing seat belts. I’m like a kid at an amusement park, I want it to go on. Flip didn’t feel that way, he’s just staring at the floor, trying to hold on to his insides. I would’ve laughed if he hadn’t looked so terrified. He had even stopped video taping, so I know he was close to losing it. Then he started with the “I’m going to puke” look and we leveled out. The pilots thought it was hilarious and I must admit, I was enjoying their antics as well. But all good things must come to an end and now we’re approaching the landing pad, I’m hoping they do a combat landing, because you really get tossed around doing those, but sympathy for Flip prevented them from doing any other fancy moves. No one wants puke in the helicopter, too many crannies.

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On the road again

We’ve arrived at our lodging for the night and it is sweet. It’s called Freedom Base and it’s usually used for soldiers who need a couple of days off from battle. We’ve got individual rooms and a.c. That’s all a girl really needs isn’t it? Just a room and some air conditioning. There’s food available 24 hours a day, sweet. We get back from chow, I enter my room and all I can smell is feet. Not everyone’s feet, just mine. I’ve got my dirty socks in a separate bag, but the bag apparently doesn’t hold in odor. I’m using plenty of powder on my tootsies but my room still reeks of sweaty feet. I may have to turn the a.c. down to chill the smell. Does that work? Make it too cold to stink? I don’t know, but I’m trying it.

We did an impromtu show for the some of the pilots on base. It wasn’t scheduled but they’re just sitting there, why not do a show. I am out of juice, I’m totally wiped out and can’t wait to hit the rack, I’m going to sleep like a baby tonight my friends. I am so looking forward to crashing tonight, I’m going to shower, wipe the dust off and sleep the sleep of a thousand dreams.

It’s now 2:30 in the a.m. and I’m still awake. I finished one book and got half way through another. I don’t get this, I’m tired as hell but can’t get my mind to shut down. I finally took a pill and slept like a rock from 3-6, hell, three hours is all I really need, isn’t it?

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Get off the bus Gus, you don't need to discuss much

Dear Diary-

My sleeping meds haven’t worn off yet, so now I’m groggy, perfect. This day is going to be about 20 hours long and I can barely keep my eyes open. Glad I’m not piloting.

As we’re sitting in the PAX terminal waiting for our choppers, a soldier approached me and asked if I was in Milwaukee  last week, I was and he had seen me at Jokerz comedy club there. How’s that for a small world? Friday night he sees me in Milwaukee, the next week he sees me in Tikrit, Iraq. We were wearing different clothes, but it was us. That was cool.

We’re off to FOB Doria, a mud soaked, sand wall enclosed camp that had no amenities. They didn’t even have a proper shower, they would go out to a shed with a washcloth, a bar of soap and a couple of water bottles, remind me not to complain about anything again. The place was a mud pit, when we arrived they were trying to spread gravel around so they could move vehicles. Most of the camp was out on patrol, so we only had about 20 for the show, which is better than none for the show. This camp still had pee tubes, which are plastic pvc pipes shoved into the ground and you pee into them. Crude? Sure, but with no plumbing, you have to make due. Or doo doo.

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In one of the Medi-vac choppers

Now we’re back on the birds heading to FOB Summerall, outside Bayji, Iraq. We’re doing this show in the DFAC (dining facility) and it’s huge. I usually find these shows to be the worst of the bunch. The room is too big, people are eating and unaware that there’s a show coming up and it’s just too much distraction. People are sitting down, facing away from you, talking etc. But we’re here to do a show and by God, that’s what we’re going to do. We blaze through the show and pulled it off, it wasn’t the best show of the trip, but we got some laughs, and that’s what matters isn’t it?

Now we’re off to Kirkuk and Camp Warrior. The four of us, the three comedians and our escort Kenny are all bunking together. It’s just like camp. I mean, I guess it is, I never went to camp myself.

The show went pretty well, it was in a outdoor courtyard type of setting with the fast food joints surrounding us. Sometimes people would have to wait for their food and when it was ready it would be announced over the loudspeaker. Every 20-30 seconds you would hear “number 217, your order’s ready” and it was loud enough to drown us out. You would have to stop each time you heard the click of the intercom. I guess things can’t always go smoothly in a war zone.

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Sometimes...it looks like I know what I'm doing

Dear Diary-

I finally slept through the night. Well, not all the way through, I had to get up twice and use my pee bottle, but it was in all other ways, a good nights sleep. It only took five days. We’re leaving Kirkuk and headed to Korea Village to do a show for the Marines. I was at KV in 2006 and it was pretty bleak so I’m not expecting much. We’re riding in a Chinook helicopter and sometimes it can be a little bumpier than the Blackhawk. I’ve got my ipod working and Stranglehold by Ted Nugent starts to play and it was amazing. I’ve heard the song a million times since high school, but listening to it while in a Chinook flying over Iraq was the best. It seemed fitting. The flight to Korea Village is about an hour. There are only 8 people on this flight and 15 minutes into the flight, Flip looks a little green again, I see him lean over and say something to Scott, who then makes the puking gesture. That means Flip is getting sick and needs a barf bag, which they don’t really carry on helicopters. I look up at the machine gunners and make the puking signal and I’ve never seen machine gunners move so fast, they were tearing apart everything and anything to find a barf bag. When none can be found one of them grabs the fire bucket and starts to pass it back when the other one empties out an MRE bag and passes it back, just in the nick of time too. Flip grabs the bag and lets loose. I felt bad for him, no one likes to puke, especially on a helicopter, it was the one incident that I didn’t capture on film. I just don’t think he’d want a picture of him heaving into plastic bag while trying to keep in his seat. He puked off and on for almost 40 minutes, poor little slugger. I could tell in his face that he was expecting to land any minute, but alas, no, there is still some flying to do. We finally get on the ground and along with his gear, he has to bring his little barf bag with him to dispose of properly. Good boy. We get settled into our quarters, which was just a plywood building, but it’s got floors and walls, and that’s what really matters. The Marines ask us if we want to hit the range and of course, we do. We haven’t gotten to fire any weapons on this trip and that’s always a highlight. Scott and I have done quite a bit of shooting, not so with Flip. I don’t think I’ve been around anyone who’s never fired a weapon since boot camp and I’m sure it’s going to be interesting. We go through a little safety talk because no one wants to get shot by the comedians. Scott and I go first just to let Flip get a feel for the action and then it’s his turn. He fired the M 4 first and it was the funniest thing we saw all week, until he fired the pistol. He did ok with the rifle until they put it on burst, which fires 3 rounds each time you pull the trigger and he was kicking up dirt 10 yds in front of him. He unleashed a full clip into the dirt and Sgt Alvarado called him “one bad ass worm killer.” We had a good chuckle over that, then came the 9 mm pistol firing. We thought the rifle was funny, I’d never seen Marines scatter like that when he opened up with that pistol. The rounds are flying everywhere, anyone lying on the ground would have been toast. Anyone standing in front of the target would’ve been fine. By the time he was done, there was a straight line of people directly behind him, no one wanted to stand off to the side in case he ricocheted one off the rocks. It may have been the biggest laugh we had all week. Thank you Flip.

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The boys in a reflective moment

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Getting ready to light it up at the range

As we head back to our hooches, the wind starts picking up and you can feel something in the air. By the time we got back, the wind was blowing about 50 mph and there is a sandstorm coming. This trip has been one of the dustiest and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better. As we look north east, you can see a dark brown/reddish wall coming at us. I asked what it was and was told “sandstorm.” Really? A sandstorm? I’m going to get my camcorder. As I’m standing outside the rooms, you can feel the sand start to hit you, it’s about the color of dusk out even though it’s 4 in the afternoon. I stayed out as long as possible, but when you’re getting sandblasted, it’s hard to maintain your place in the out of doors. I can feel the skin peeling off my arms and the exposed parts of my face and Flip is screaming, “get in, get inside, come on.” It reminded me of all of Bill Paxton’s lines in TWISTER. That’s all he said during the entire movie “come on, let’s go, get of there, come on, let’s go.” Great writing.

I’ve eaten 4 times today and am back to regular sit downs. The portas at KV were the cleanest ones I’ve ever been in and I found out why. The locals on base clean them every 2 hours and if you’re in there, they start anyway. They’ll knock on the door and I’ll say “occupado” because I can communicate with anyone, and they start on the outside. The outside is cleaned with a sprayer and they go top to bottom, but there are vents at the top that don’t stop the water from getting in, so you get a nice little shower of porta pottie disinfectant. Thanks Hadji, maybe you could wait 3 minutes for me to finish up in here, or maybe start on the next one etc.

The show was great. We had to move indoors though. They wanted to do it outside, but you can’t do a show with a sand monsoon blowing at your ass. When we got back to our hooch, the place was covered in dust. I slapped my pillow and it billowed red and brown dust. I had a mini Mount St. Helens going on in my room. I had to put a t shirt over my pillow so I wouldn’t wake up muddy. I went to take a shower and once again, I had mud puddles at my feet upon completion.

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Our secure lodging at Korea Village

Dear Diary-

We’re at the PAX terminal waiting for a 10 a.m. flight to Ramadi. There is a dust storm at Al Asad so they’ve been delayed. No flights take off in “red air.” Sit tight and wait. We have a 7 p.m. show for the Marines in Ramadi. At 5 p.m. our choppers still aren’t here. We may miss a show because of it. At 6 our flight arrives, they can’t get to Ramadi, so it’s back to Al Asad for some late chow and back to Arifjan for a day off before we head back to the states. We’re taking a C130 cargo plane back to Al Asad and when it picks us up at the VIP pad, there are only the three of us on the plane. We had this entire cargo plane to ourselves. They asked if we wanted to sit up in the cockpit and Flip went up. Scott and I had been up there before so we declined, I needed a nap. When I woke up Scott told me that they let Flip fly the plane. That’s right, actually sit in the pilot’s seat and take the controls. Oh well. He screamed on one chopper, puked on another and shot the shit out of the dirt, but he got to fly the plane. I guess it all works out in the end eh? We’ve got an overnight here then back to Kuwait.

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Flip gets to fly the plane

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This may be my best pic of the trip

Dear Diary-

We had the night off last night and went to the movies. We saw PUSH and I have no idea what the movie was about. It had something to do with watchers, shadowers, pushers, movers, etc. I couldn’t write up a synopsis if I had too, thank goodness I don’t. We’re sitting in the Kuwait airport waiting on our 11 p.m. flight to DC. 13 ˝ hours, that should be fun.

I got an exit row seat, I know I said I would never take an exit row seat on an international flight again because it turns into the stretching, waiting for the bathroom, chatting area, but I needed the leg and elbow room. Slept like a baby for 3 hours, then it was time to “kill time.” I finished one book, started another, did some puzzles and then watched a few movies. I saw YES, MAN with Jim Carrey, that was OK, THE EXPRESS, that was pretty good, something with Daniel Craig about Jews escaping the Germans, and MARLEY AND ME. Marley and Me was a story of “the world’s worst dog.” It wasn’t though, what it was really about is the world’s worst pack leaders. This Grogan guy and his wife are obviously too stupid to own a dog, they should’ve stuck with a cat or maybe some fish. They have no control over their dog, how sad. Get a clue, watch the DOG WHISPERER or something. I felt bad for the dog, he just wanted a pack leader to boss him around, instead, he got these morons. Are we there yet? I can’t bear to look at my watch. We have to be at least 10 or 11 hours into this flight don’t we? I checked the map and no, we’re still only 1/3 of the way across the Atlantic. I keep glancing out the window looking for the sunrise and it’s not coming. We finally get to DC and cruise through customs. We only have about 1 ˝ hours between flights, so there is a small sense of urgency. I get to my gate in plenty of time for my departure. Four hours later, my flight is ready. I don’t know what the delay was, I just kept repeating, “serenity now, serenity now.”

Going to Iraq or Afghanistan always changes my perspective when I return. Nothing is that bad or that urgent, just relax nimrod, no problem I have in the states can compare to what the guys and gals over there confront on a regular basis. Just keep your cool, they just announced that the flight will be here by 9. Then 9:30, then 10. Allright you mofo’s get your shit together and learn how to fly in the rain. Yes, it’s damp and wet, I don’t give a shit, just do your jobs. Oops, “serenity now, serenity now.” At 10:45 my plane arrives, I’ll be home soon and Iraq will be another memory. Until next time.

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6/3/09

Dear Diary-

I’m in Overland Park, Kansas. The day I got here I saw three station wagons. Not the SUV’s made to look like a station wagon, I mean a station wagon. Three of them! The odds have got to be astronomical. I mean once in awhile you’ll see an old wagon still making the rounds, but three? In one afternoon? Craziness. I used to live here about….38 years ago and you know what? Nothing’s changed. The trees are bigger and there are more strip malls, but that’s it. It’s kind of refreshing, it brings me back to a time when life was simple. We went to school, we played with our friends and summer was the best part of the year, every year. There were only home phones and no one had an answering machine. Why? Because they hadn’t been invented yet. Wow. That’s taking us back.

I went by my old house and noticed that it had changed a little. I thought it strange though. I had been back here once before about 10 years ago and nothing had changed, why now? The basic house shape was the same but there was only a one car garage. Hmm, I wonder how they made it from a two car garage into a one car garage. I also noticed that they had changed the address from 9809 to 9767, that too, I found strange. Not outrageous mind you, but strange. The house we lived in while in Chicago had an address change so I knew it could happen. But not in Overland Park. Not here, not this house. I took a couple of pics and then noticed a couple of huge trees in the back yard that I don’t remember. Again, perplexing, but I knew exactly where I was. Exactly.

I told a friend about this and was told, “you had the wrong house.” Poppycock. You’re telling me that I don’t know which house I lived in? That’s nonsense, I KNOW what house I used to live in. I used to live there. It was bugging the hell out of me, so I decided to go back and take another look and do you know what? I had the wrong house. I was two houses off. What a dumb ass! They had painted it gray and it threw me off. I mean who would’ve thought they’d paint the house sometime in the last 4 decades? Nimrod.

6/4/09

Dear Diary-

The lodging here in O.P. had recently changed. I don’t know what happened but we ended up at the house of one of the employees who took over his recently deceased Aunt’s home. I’m guessing from the décor etc. that she was a senior citizen. I mean like in her 80’s. Every room has flowered wallpaper and those heavy, full, monstrous drapes with the thick, layered bunting on them. It also has those roll up shades that you have to keep pulling on while it rolls up and down until you find the right spot. Every day I spend about 10 minutes trying to get them adjusted properly. Yank and roll, yank and roll. Why is this so hard?

I had lunch today with a Marine buddy I hadn’t seen in 28 years. I couldn’t believe how much time that really is. 28 years, that’s a whole lifetime to some. We’re the same, I mean we look older, and don’t see as well, or feel as well, we’ve got a few more wrinkles, a touch of extra neck and belly weight, we don’t drink as much, or stay up as late or get as wild as we did, but we’re the same. It was great to see him again. You forget a lot about your past until you spend time with someone who knew you back in the day. We reminded each other of many things we had forgotten about ourselves. It was cool. Then we went for a ride with his 15 year old daughter who has her driving permit. That’s the first time in my life I’ve ridden in a car with a teenager driving and I don’t want to say I was afraid, but my head was on a swivel. I looked like a bobble head doll, just checking our perimeter for any hint of sabotage. Ready to alert our young driver of any impending doom. I sat in the back seat too, I can’t remember the last time I sat in the back of someone’s car. There’s no control back there, you are totally at the mercy of…well, everyone. The only thing you control in the back seat is how far your window goes down, and if the child safety latch is on, you can only get it half way down, so even that control is taken away. She did a fine job but thinking about the fact she’s driven less than 1000 miles in her life was a bit unsettling. We didn’t get on the highway, just the side streets, but there’s plenty of danger there. She’s just driving along, talking to us, singing along with the radio while Kenny just kept saying, “slow down, slow down.” Yes please, for the love of God, please slow down little girl, I’ve got my whole life ahead of me. I never really thought about since I was learning, but 15? We teach 15 year olds how to drive? It seemed fine when I was 15, but now I have second thoughts. It’s a different world then when I was a lad. (thank you gramps) There are too many distractions these days. We didn’t have phones and texting and twittering when I was a teenager. The only distractions we had were beer, pot and rock and roll. Much safer.

 

6/05/09

Dear Diary-

I went through the Taco Bell drive through last night on the way home and had quite the time ordering. The lady who took my order had what I can only describe as a Mexican/Canadian/Fillipino accent. We spent 10 minutes together through the intercom and I didn’t understand a word she said. Ten minutes of trying to order while I keep saying “excuse me?” and her replying with a ramble that ended each time with “taco?” By the time we were done I was laughing so hard I had tears running down my cheeks. It was hilarious, how did she get to work the window? It seems like you would have to pass some type of language test to take orders, not here. I made the turn not knowing what I was getting or how much it will cost me. A total surprise awaited. I pulled up to the window and damned if she wasn’t a tiny Fillipino lady who was also about 8 months pregnant. She was all smiles and had gotten my order perfectly right. Except they had just run out of chicken, she tried to tell me this and I just kept saying “uh, huh, yes, ok, right.” No idea what she was telling me. Again the only word I recognized was “taco.” Then the line guy leans over and says “we’re out of chicken do you want regular tacos?” Oh, sure that’s fine. She handed me my change and smiled. As I drove off I faintly heard her do her incomprehensible spiel and then, distinctly the word “taco.”

6/6/09

Dear Diary-

We found out something today, this house doesn’t have air conditioning. It gets hot in a house when there’s no a.c. Night time isn’t too bad but afternoons were a little sweltering. I’m not even sure sweltering can be little, it’s either sweltering or it isn’t. For some reason I love that word. Sweltering. It even sounds hot doesn’t it? Hot and miserable. I love to swelter. I tried to take a nap today and it worked for about 10 minutes, then I woke in a pool of my own sweat. I felt like a cast member of “Cool Hand Luke.” Which, by the way is the sweatiest movie ever made. That was nice. There was an attic fan. Remember those? A huge ass fan in the ceiling that would pull air through the house and “cool it off.” Again, it worked pretty good at night, during the day it just pulled that 90* air through the window so it could lovingly caress my bod. So no naps this week. That’s a bummer. Oh- and there’s no t.v. I mean there is one, but there’s no cable to it. Just white noise. I’m getting a lot of thinking done. Mostly thinking “it’s hot in here” and “I wish the t.v. worked.” Oh, the difficulties we have to overcome and conquer as comedians. It’s not for everyone. I’ll probably leave after the last show, I normally wait until morning so I don’t hit deer #5, but I don’t think I want to spend another night in “the box.”

6/23/09

Dear Diary-

I'm back home just in time for the summer.  We didn't get spring in St. Louis this year.  We went from cool, wet and rainy to temps in the upper 90's with high humidity.  Delightful.  It was a weird trip, I saw odd things this week, and I happened to catch a couple on camera. 

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Really?  The intersection of 95th St. and 95th St?  Is this the crossover spot in the time space continuum?  Will standing here kill you?  I don't know, I didn't stay very long.  I didn't want to get sucked into the vortex leading to the unknown.

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I'm not sure what's going on here.  Human Hair Sportswear?  I think I prefer my sports wear made out of synthetic materials, like rayon or something.  Not only is sportswear made from human hair a little gross, it must itch like mad in the summer.

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Again with the street signs.  Is this intentional?  Could they not find some way to make this easier for the out of town traveler? 97th terrace apparently goes to the left as well as up.
 

6/24/09

Dear Diary-

The audacity of politicians never ceases to amaze me.  The new case in point, Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina.  He had disappeared for a seven days and no one knew where he was.  He said he was hiking in the Appalachians by himself, without letting anyone know he was going.  For seven days, seven days man.  Nice move. Turns out, he was having an affair with a woman in ARGENTINA!  Argentina? Are you shitting me?  How do you carry on an affair with a woman in Argentina, when you live in South Carolina?  And then keep it a secret?  How do plan on getting away with this?  Has he lost all sense of reason and logic?  What a dipshit.  He said “I’ve spent the last five days crying in Argentina.”  Didn’t Eva Peron ask Argentina not to do that for her?  If he wanted to cry, why not just stay home and cry, it’s a lot cheaper.  What a dumbass.  Another politician without a clue as to how the real world works.

7/01/09

Dear Diary-

I’ve come to a crossroads.  I got my AARP card application in the mail yesterday.  Ouch.  How do they know?  I didn’t sign up for one, I didn’t want one, but it’s here.  The descent into madness and dementia has begun.  I’ve reached the pinnacle of my life and now, it’s all down hill.  I guess in a way it’s good.  I can get discounts on my meals at the Hometown Buffet or at Golden Corral Buffet or whatever buffet old people go to. Nothing has made me feel older than getting and AARP card in the mail.  That means someone is keeping track.  Someone’s watching me. A card for retired people, let me tell you something Jack, I’m more than a hop, skip and a jump from retiring.  I’m not even sure my parents have an AARP card.  I haven’t filled out the paper work or anything, but it’s only a matter of time.  I better do it before it’s too late and my drool distorts the information on my enrollment card.

Dipshit Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina was in the news again.  You know, the guy who had an affair with a woman in Argentina.  He’s now trying to explain himself. Hilarious.  I love all these politicians who get caught cheating on their wives and then try to explain why they did it.  “I made some bad choices,” yes, yes you did dumbass.  According to Sanford “This was a whole lot more than a simple affair, this was a love story.  A forbidden one, a tragic one, but a love story at the end of the day.” Um what?  Oh that’s right; f**k you.  Don’t you just want to pummel him in the face? Just a good ol’ fashioned ass kicking. A love story?  I wonder if his wife feels the same way?  Doubtful.  If you can’t keep your pants zippered for your wife, how are you going to keep them zippered for your constituents?  You can’t.  If his wife can’t trust him, how are the people of South Carolina supposed to trust him?  They can’t, you’re fired, next.

 

7/06/09

Dear Diary-

Steve McNair, former football player is dead too.  They are dropping like flies lately.  Scary.  McNair was shot 4 times, twice in the torso and twice in the head.  The police are calling it “a homicide.”  Really?  Are you sure?  That is some kind of police work there.  I’m not really sure what else it could be.  Accidental shooting?  Not likely.  It seems that little Stevie had himself a girlfriend.  I mean why else would he have a “condo” in downtown, when he’s got a house with a wife and kids in it.  Bad, bad, bad mojo man.  His girlfriend has just purchased the gun too. I doubt she spent much time at the range though, probably why it took her 4 shots. Maybe he should’ve found himself a girlfriend in Argentina.

 

7/7/09

Dear Diary-

I’m not sure if you heard, Michael Jackson is dead.  I’m not sure how you couldn’t have heard, it’s been shoved down our throats for a week now.  I think it’s time we moved on.  The media is calling his death “our Princess Diana.”  That’s kind of a stretch.  If Michael Jackson is our royalty, we’re in big trouble.  The dude was whacked.  Yes, he made a big impact musically over the years, but he was a freak of nature.  He admitted in an interview that he had sleepovers with 12 and 13 year old boys, who also happened to share his bed.  Having a sleepover with 12 and 13 year old boys is fine…if you’re 12 or 13.  If you’re 40, you’ve got some problems.  He was quoted as saying “There’s no greater way to show love than to share a bed with someone.”  Well, unless you’re a grown man sharing a bed with little boys.  Shit dude, try ice cream or Playstation or something.  It’s just wrong and the whole country knew it. The dude has been living in Bahrain for the last 2 years after basically being morally banished from the U.S.  Now that he’s dead, all is forgiven.  Please.  People are losing their minds over this.  Traveling half way around the world to sign a poster?  Get a life man.  Today is the memorial service.  They had a lottery to give away tickets, and if you don’t have one, stay the hell away from the Staples Center.  The coverage starts at 10 a.m. and will go non-stop until they plant him.  Seems like a good day to go outside.

7/13/09

Dear Diary-

The world is still going crazy.  Arturo Gatti died last weekend.  For those not in the know, he was a junior welterweight boxer who was a total bad ass.  I’d seen him fight a couple of times and he was an exciting pugilist.  How did he die?  He was strangled by his wife with a purse.  That’s right.  A guy who made his living fighting with his hands, was killed with a purse.  I guess there must have been problems in the home life.  Apparently, she strangled him while he was sleeping.  That’s pretty sneaky.  That also must have been one hell of a purse strap, yikes.  The company should use that in advertising.  “Not only will it stay on your shoulder in case of a snatching, but you can then wrap it around your assailants’ neck and bring him down.

 In other news, Levi Johnston, Sarah Palin’s daughter’s boyfriend, fiancé or whatever the hell he is said he didn’t think Sarah Palin would make a good president.  He doesn’t think she could handle the stress.  Ouch.  I don’t know how much more this woman can take.  Her and her entire family have been dragged through the spotlight and the mud for 18 months, and now, she has to worry about not living up the expectations of a 19 year old un-employed high school drop- out who knocked up her daughter.  How will she continue?  Why are they even talking to this little dipshit?  Didn’t his mother get arrested last year for selling crystal meth?  Yes, I think she did.  Maybe he should spend a little more time worrying about his own going nowhere life and less about the stress involved in running an administration.  Go away Levi. You don’t have the sense required to put on a condom and we don’t care about you.

7/15/09

Dear Diary-

I watched the President’s speech last night before the All Star game and I must admit, I found it somewhat amusing.  I know he’s just trying to sound important and confident for a country that’s in quite a pickle, but please.  I’m going to take it step at a time.  He referred to baseball players as “iconic heroes.”  No, they’re not, they’re baseball players, there isn’t a hero in the group.  Outside of  Pat Tillman, there hasn’t been a hero athlete in recent memory.  Unless you’re saving lives or dedicating part of your life for the betterment of others, you’re not a hero.  There are a select few who do more for others than they do for themselves, but I think it’s a stretch to ever refer to athletes as  “heroes" especially iconic ones.  Then the President said “baseball is the center of our national life.”  What?  Really?  Baseball is the center of our national life?  Why wasn’t I told of this?  All this time baseball has played such a small and mostly insignificant part of my life, and it was supposed to be the center of it? I don’t think it’s even close to being the center of our national life.  I know people who don’t even care about baseball.  It’s not the center of their life.  I wonder if they know?

Next came the reference to “ground breaking pioneers.”  Holy shit!  Ground breaking pioneers?  Who?  When?  When did anything about baseball become ground breaking?  Jackie Robinson can be called a ground breaking pioneer, but who else?  Anyone?  Has there been anyone outside of Robinson who did anything ground breaking? No, there hasn’t.  According to the Prez, “baseball is full of role models who inspire us when we need it most.”  Oh, that’s rich sir.  That’s rich.  Athletes shouldn’t be role models, parents should.  Don’t get me wrong, that was a great catch to win the game, but I’m not inspired by it.  He should’ve caught the ball, that’s his job.

Here’s another quote that I loved.  “Athletes whose talent and dedication go above and beyond.”  Yes, many baseball players go above and beyond the call of running and catching and hitting and playing.  The dedication they show for a minimum salary of $400,000 and an average of $3.4 million is moving.  That is some serious dedication there folks.  The truth is; real dedication is getting up every day to work a job you hate or is dangerous or is underappreciated just to make enough money to take care of your family.  Dedication that goes above and beyond was in the lives of those people they showed clips of volunteering their time to help others.  That’s above and beyond.

This next one gave me a gasp.  “As a sport, baseball has always embodied the values that made America great.  Hard work, leadership, passion and teamwork.  He forgot steroids, adultery, recreational drugs and DUI’s.  Again, please.  Baseball isn’t about any of that and hasn’t been for a long time. It’s mostly about money.  All that other shit left baseball as soon as the money train rolled in.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t really have anything against baseball, I think money has ruined all sports.  But listening to the President’s speech, all I could think of is “bullshit.”  You’re talking about baseball, that’s it, baseball.  It’s just a game.  Only in the sporting world could people like Albert Pujols and Manny Ramirez, both be looked up to.

 

7/26/09

Dear Diary-

Our government wants to run health care.  Those may be the scariest words I’ve ever heard.  Government running health care?  This government can’t run the government.  They’ve never been able to.  The U. S. government has been screwing over and stealing from the American people for over 230 years. The only group that will benefit from a government run health care system is the government.  I wouldn’t let these people take care of my fish, much less my health care.  You want to make health care affordable?   Stop charging $120 for a saline drip or $45 for a gauze wrap.  Have you looked at an itemized hospital bill?  It’ll make you feel like picking up an uzi and go see some people.  Charge a reasonable amount for this stuff and everyone can afford insurance.  Our government is full of dipshits, morons and self centered douchebags that don’t have the common sense of a dog.  The U.S. debt is almost 12 trillion dollars, thanks to the people in our “government.”  They’re all worthless and always will be.  Everyone in Washington should be fired and replaced by the unemployed.  I’d rather have an unemployed auto worker in charge of our money than any Senator or Congressman we have in office right now.  Unfortunately, it will never happen.  But one can dream can’t one?

  

7/30/09

Dear Diary-

Our beloved government has done another study.  This one was a study of texting while driving a car.  They found out that it’s dangerous.  Wow!  That is something.  They spent just over $6 million to find out it’s dangerous to drive a car while typing a letter! Gadzooks.  Who would’ve thought that looking a tiny typewriter instead of the road while operating a 2000 lb vehicle at high speed would be dangerous?  I’m as surprised as anyone.  Looking away from the road and concentrating on something else has always been dangerous.  I’m just not sure they needed to spend $6 million to figure it out.  I would’ve told them that for way less.  A couple of hundred thousand and I could’ve straightened them out.  What a bunch of dumb asses.  Let’s spend millions of dollars to figure out something that everyone already knows.  Rah, rah U.S. government. 

 In the paper there were people writing in saying that outlawing cell phone use while driving is an infringement of their rights.  I say too bad. If infringing on your rights saves lives (and it will) and stops pissing other people off (and it will) then I say infringe away.  Take the talking and texting away.  None of the conversations you’re having while driving matter.  They are inane, meaningless and unnecessary.  Unless you’re talking someone through a life and death situation, get off the phone.  And if it is a life and death situation, pull over and concentrate on it.   I don’t care if you think you can drive while talking on the phone, you can’t.  I mean, you can physically, but the mental part isn’t there.  Driving takes focus and foresight.  Neither of which can be accomplished while having a phone conversation.  You’re not on a 1000 mile road trip, you’ll be at your destination shortly, when you get there you can find out who called.  No conversation you’re having on your cell phone is worth dying for.  Trust me.

 

7/31/09

Dear Diary-

According to the news today, Pope Benedict XVI is going to release an album.  Um what?  The Pope? Our Pope?  is going to release an album?  Hilarious.  I didn’t even know he sang.  At least anything that’s not in Latin.  According to “his label” he’s releasing an album on which he sings and recites prayers to the Virgin Mary. The fact that the Pope has a “label” is funny.  You would think that of all the things going on in the world and with the Catholic Church, he would find more pressing things to do than spending time in a recording studio, partying all night trying to get that last take just right. I wonder if he’s going on a promotional tour to let the people know.  Oprah, Larry King, all the biggies will have the Pope on so he can promote his new album.  I wonder if he’ll cover any Beatles tunes.

 

 

8/13/09

Dear Diary-

You are not going to believe this.  Our government, once again, in all their glory are making new pennies.  That’s right, the most worthless, insignificant piece of currency is being re-made in honor of the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth.  What’s good about pennies?  Um, nothing.  Pennies are virtually worthless, no one uses them.  Leave a penny, take a penny.  That’s about it.  These Einsteins’, in all their infinite wisdom are going to spend 1.4 cents each to make something that’s worth 1 cent.  I’m not a business major or anything, but that doesn’t sound very profitable.  Is anyone in charge? Please tell me there is.  Doesn’t look like it though.   These idiots seem free to do whatever the hell they want.   They have already made 319 million of the first ones and are planning on making 1.3 billion of the second ones.  We’re going through the worst financial time in 2 generations and these douchebags are spending money on making new pennies.  God help us all.

Speaking of stupid.  I’m not sure when businesses decided that the American people are morons, but it’s got to stop. Alpo is having a contest asking dogs to submit stories of their favorite activities.  Really?  This is your latest ad campaign? Pretending that dogs can use a word processor?  Someone fire the guy in charge for coming up with the stupidest promo ever.  It’s not cute, it’s not funny, it’s stupid and the dumbing down of the American people continues. They’re requesting stories about eating, chasing, chewing , drooling and napping.  Since when is drooling an activity?  Much less a “fun” activity.  Or napping for that matter?  Napping by definition is void of activity.  What about fornicating?  It seems like that’s a dog’s favorite activity, that or dry humping.  As a matter of fact, I may write a story about my dog and what he likes to do.  Scratch his ass along the floor, smell the crotches and asses of other dogs and banging anything that moves.  How’s that for a story Alpo?  You nimrods.

8/15/09

Dear Diary-

Are the President Obama supporters in touch with reality or not?  I say no, they are not, they are so in love with this guy they can’t see the real world.   In November of 2008, there was a group of Obama supporters who predicted that in nine months there would be a “Obama baby boom.”   An increase in babies born to people who were so excited that Obama became President, they decided to celebrate by having a baby.  Right, right.   Let’s celebrate our new President by taking on a new $290,000 debt to raise a kid for 18 years.  That’s the new study, in 1962 it cost around $18,000 to raise a child to the age of 18, now its $292,000.  That’s quite an increase.  Almost makes you re-think the process.  Kids are fun sure…but $292,000 worth? Unlikely.  Much to the dismay of these groups, there wasn’t an increase in the birth rate, Praise Jesus.  I guess even though their maniacal about their Prez, common sense abounded.

 

8/17/09

Dear Diary-

Well, it’s official.   Aerosmith had cancelled the rest of the summer tour.  Steven Tyler’s injuries are more serious than thought at first.  He suffered, head, neck and shoulder injuries from falling off the stage.  Some people in the crowd thought he was crowd surfing! Yeah, a 61 year old man crowd surfing.  Hilarious.  This is the second time this year he has hurt himself to the point where they’re cancelling shows.  He also had pneumonia this year and had to cancel a couple of shows.  Maybe it’s time man, it just maybe time to reconsider.  We all get hurt more easily as we age, but he’s a singer!  What chance do the rest of us have if he’s hurting himself singing?  What’s next?  Safety railings along the stage?  Maybe some reflective tape on the top so he can see it and know not to walk past the railings.  Maybe even put little signs near the end of the stage saying “STOP- DO NOT GO ANY FURTHER!”  I mean this guy has been doing shows for the last 30 years and he’s still managing to fall off the stage?  That’s an old man thing there.  Is he going to continue until he’s on stage with a walker?  Cruising around the stage pushing his little wheeled walker, using the flowing scarves to hide the colostomy bag?  Maybe Jethro Tull was wrong, maybe you can be too old to rock and roll.

 

9/3/09

Dear Diary-

Today was the laziest I've ever felt.  I just read this story about a lady named Hilary Lister who sailed solo around Britain.  She didn't just sail around the islands by herself, she was the first quadriplegic to do it.  A quadriplegic sailed around the U.K. by her lonesome and I found it hard to motivate myself enough to ride my bike.  Shame on me indeed.  Doesn't that make you feel lazy?  Knowing that someone who can't use their arms or legs did something physically that I couldn't do with all my appendages in fine shape.  I mean, Damn, I feel like I've accomplished something if I make 10 miles on the bike, have a good bowel movement and squeeze a nap in.  Later, do a show.  Many times, that's a full day.  I lie down at night and think "Markus, you've had a full day."  The I read about Hilary sailing her boat around by blowing into straws and I think "you lazy bastard, get off your ass and do something."  OK, OK, I will, right after my nap.

 

9/23/09

Dear Diary-

You won’t believe this.  There was a guy outside of St. Louis who shot himself in the head while teaching his girlfriend about “gun safety.”  I know, funny.  Um…you can’t teach gun safety if you don’t know any.  This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of something like this.  Last year in Atlanta, a guy was teaching his daughter about “gun safety” and shot her in the stomach.  Poor kid, too bad you have a moron for a father.  I know it’s sad, but damn, how funny is it to shoot someone or yourself while teaching someone how to properly handle a firearm?  Jesus Christ, the first lesson of gun safety is: Don’t point a gun at anything you don’t intend on shooting and the second rule is: Every gun is loaded at all times.  That’s it, that’s all you really need to know.   You don’t go over gun safety with a loaded weapon. This guy had several guns and he was teaching her about the safety catch; he’d point a gun to his head and ask her “can this fire?”  Well, the third one did and it blew his brains out.  Freakin’ hilarious.  God does work in mysterious ways, he knows how to thin the herd.  I don’t mean to be callous, but really?  He pointed a gun at his own head?  Well guess what genius?  Wrong call.  I’ll bet she now knows more about gun safety than he did.

 

9/24/09

Dear Diary-

I saw a commercial last night for a stop smoking drug called Chantrix.  It has some serious side effects.  It said you may experience changes in behavior, hostility, depression and suicidal thoughts.  It said if you experience any of these and they aren’t “typical” for you;   stop taking it.  Typical?  I wonder how many people experience these emotions on a typical day?  Being a human isn’t easy but hostility, depression and suicide?  If you experience these on a typical day you’ve got deeper problems than smoking.  It also said the drug can increase the chances of mental illness, that’s nice.  Of course if you go through hostility, depression and suicidal thoughts on a daily basis, you’re on your way to mental illness anyway. You may also experience swelling of the mouth, face and/or throat.  You can also suffer from a rash as well as insomnia, and if you do sleep you can expect vivid, unusual or disturbing dreams.  It seems like quite a price to pay to quit smoking.  It actually seems like you’d be better off smoking.  At least you can still maintain your sanity and get a good nights’ sleep.  The only side effect missing is loose stool.