Thursday, June 30, 2005

Something is going on, news, detective, image and quote

I hate to tell some people back in America but there is still a war going on in Afghanistan. Right now American forces are going after the Taliban and they are killing lots of them. Remember that the Taliban ruled Afghanistan and an overwhelming majority of Afghans do not want the Taliban and their al Qeada overlords back. All they are trying to do is discredit the Afghan Government and upcoming election. Remember the Taliban is not a great fan of democracy or women rights to an education.

Here is more news from Afghanistan.
Sometimes strange things can happen anywhere. I hope there are more like her soon. . (Hat tip to Wretchard at the Belmont Club)

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Riding shotgun.

Quote: Whining is like masturbation; you should not do it in public and it makes you go blind.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Memory, Russian vehciles or irony and quote

What do you have around your neck? When I joined the army years ago, it used to be a set of dogs tags on a chain. Now I have my dog tags with three memory sticks to told official and personal information such images from my from my wife. The other two memory sticks carry power point presentations, standard operating procedures and other army information. The one of the more interesting facts is the two of the memory sticks each has two gigs of memory. When I was a young, 64k of memory was a lot and I stored applications on cassette tape. Now I have short movies stored five gigs of memory. In a few years this shall be dwarfed.

Here are some images of vehicles that were donated by Russia to Afghanistan.
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The Russians paint a reminder on each vehicle.

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A few soldiers wonder why these vehicles were not torched, since the last time the Russians were here was not under the best conditions.

Quote: When you run out a whooa, call an air strike.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Sorry, but I am not dead

I am sorry for not posting for the past few weeks. A while back I went on R&R to Qatar for four days. The US Army runs a facility that is used by troops to relax from the combat zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is part of a big logistics facility at Camp As Sayliyah, Qatar. It was nice to sleep in without the fear of a rocket attack, use real toilets and take a nice long hot shower. The dinning facility was good. There was Baskin and Robin’s ice cream, unlimited Gatorade and lots of good fruit to eat. At the gym there were tons of free weight and weight machines with an Orange Julius that charged $1.50 extra for a scoop of protein powder with their drinks. The bonus part was going to Chilis and getting a nice big cheese burger and a real beer. Each soldier is allowed three beers a day. The Army sold beer tickets that cost three dollars and was tracked to your social security number. Some troops were selling their beer tickets for seven or eight dollars at the end of the night. Bonus points was that there were a swimming pool next to Chilis.

One nice part of R & R was that expat Americans who lived in Qatar picked up and drove us soldiers around the city, to the mall or gold souk (market). Part of going out is to wear pants, no shorts, women had to wear modest clothing and guys had to have collars on their shirts. The big mall in the city is supposed to be the fifth biggest in the world. It had a CarreFour, a French hypermart. Also there are many high price shops selling luxury items and two or three store selling sporting goods. Lst, there were five to ten stores that sold burkas for women.

In the food court had the best of fast food eateries: McDonalds, KFC, Taco Bell, Anthony’s Pizza and others. But the real prize was sitting down and ordering a steak at Applebee’s. I ordered a nice big juicy steak, bake potato and a huge class of lemonade. It was good service and nice to sit down and order a meal. It felt like I was home, except I was not with my family.

One though came to my mind while I was walking about the mall. I was looking for a bookshop to buy the latest bestseller, classic of literature, or some tales of old Arabic culture; something like the Norse sagas, or tales of old for the region to read while sitting at Starbucks. To my amazement there were no bookstores in the mall. This might be trivial to you, but to me bookstores are a repository of knowledge where ideas can be disseminated or knowledge can be purchased for the inquisitive. Not here.

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While driving around most of the notable buildings were five to ten years old. The skyline is peppered with cranes for construction. This is the effect of having vast reserves of natural gas underground.

The gold souq or market in Arabic was interesting. Think of a small mall made of marble with 20 or so jewelry shops selling gold, pearls and other precious stones. The gold was 10% to 20% cheaper than in America without any taxes, but the prices of pearls were rock bottom. So I did some Christmas shopping.

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For troops who golf and are lucky, there were trips to the PGA golf course, but were advised to go early. The temperatures went to 110-120 with humidity. You could change to shorts when you start playing, but with the heat you were advised to drink half a gallon of water, since the heat could drop a man.

It was nice to relax for a few days. Now it is back to the task to helping Afghanistan to join the 21st century.