Shithouse rat

I'm a bipolar writer in the Naked City. I'm not playing with a full deck. I don't have all my dots on the dice. My cheese is sliding off my cracker. I don't have both oars in the water. I'm a bubble off plum. In other words, I'm crazier than a shithouse rat. These are my stories. Comments--short or long, nasty or nice--always welcome!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

These new army ads are BROILING my BUTT!!

Elvira II
Originally uploaded by Elvira Black.
Have you seen those new army commercials? Are you as sickened as I am? Well, BG's Halloween cat, Elvira the Second, is not fond of them either.

They represent yet another shining example of some things that really BURN MY ASS!!

Despite searching the internet and the army website, I could not seem to find clips from the current TV ad campaign, so here is my biased, inaccurate, impressionistic rendition of three of them:

Young guy, prime army age, in some jukejoint with his dad, playing pool. The dad is a tough, gruff sort. Obviously, the kid is eager to please this crusty authority figure, whom I gather has pooh-poohed his son's cockamamie career and life schemes many times before. The kid tentatively tries to chip away at dear old dad's skepticism, gingerly approaching the subject at hand.

Here's where the dialogue becomes hazy, but this is the gist I got.

Kid: Trying to be casual: "I think I've decided what my next step is."

Dad (No eye contact, of course, thanks to being absorbed in setting up his next shot, etc. "What's that?"

Kid: "The army will give me money to go to college. I can study any field I want."

Dad: But it's the army.

Kid: It's the reserves, so I can stay at home until they need me.

Dad: It's the army.

Kid: They'll train me; really cool stuff.

Dad: Suddenly looking up; close up to his craggy face with a glint of hope in his jaundiced eyes: "Good training?"

Kid: (a tad smugly) "It's the army."

Touche! Checkmate!

The presumed aftermath:
Ol'Grizzle Pop is convinced at last that his directionless, spoiled brat of a son will finally be in good hands; safely and swiftly on the road to clean-cut normality. And because it's the reserves, he'll be at home til they need him (like, yesterday). Doubtless the rigors of army life: the strict discipline, the humiliation of basic, the unyielding hierarchy, will make a man out of him yet. Plus, the kid is obviously starving for atttention from a stern but emotionally distant father figure, and his homicidal drill seargeant ("Get after it, you maggots!")should fill that role quite quite nicely indeed.


Kid sits down at the kitchen table with his moms for a little heart to heart.

Kid: "Mom, I know what I want to do with my life."

Mom: (With a world weary "I've heard it all before. What now?" expression): "Go on."

Kid: "I'm going to join the army, mom. I'll get money to go to college. Now, wait a minute, mom..."

Mom: (mentally rolling her eyes) "Yes, go on..."

Kid: "Mom, it's time for me to be a man."

Mom: (settling in for the Talk of a Lifetime): "Ok. Tell me more."

(Fade to black): Kid: "Well, I was thinking I'd like to be an engineer...."

The presumed aftermath:
Beleagured mom can finally stop worrying about her kid getting into trouble, not being a "man," and all that nasty stuff. He'll be out of her hair, on the road to a good career, and last but not least, she can have the run of the house again without having to pick up his dirty socks or make his bed. Hey, not too shabby, this army stuff.


Rainy nighthouse; dad has just picked up son at train station. He's on leave, in uniform. They sit at counter, apparently having stopped for a quick cup of joe before heading home to mom.

Dad: "You're a changed man."

Son: "How's that?"

Dad: (Too overcome to look at his boy: "Back there, when you got off the train, you did two things you've never done before at the same time."(Pregnant pause). "You shook my hand, and you looked me square in the eye."

(Shot to dad looking his son square in the eye; shot to son who seems to have an oh-so-slight smirk on his face).

The presumed aftermath:
Sonny boy was on a one-way trip to Deep-Shitsville. Then somehow he found his way to the recruiting office, and now he is a fine, upstanding, (albeit slightly cocky and smirking) young man who can finally perform two social skills simultaneously.

Bring us your brain fried, your poor, your teeming n'er do wells yearning to break free and stay out of the joint...

This brand new campaign, started recently, is quite blatantly aimed at the parents of potential recruits. Doubtless it is designed to quell some of the anxieties mom and pop might have about having their sons and daughters sent into harm's way. Typically, the target market is those young people whose parents have not had the means/wherewithal to send them through law or med school, let alone the college of their choice.

The impetus for this current campaign was apparently the distressing fact that recruitment figures and quotas are down, at a time when active troops are being pushed to the limit, sometimes obliged to extend their tour of duty in Iraq much further than they had originally bargained for.

These new ads--which sport the tagline "Help them find their strength"-- replaced the pre-Iraqi war "Army of One" campaign, aimed at Gen Y'ers--esp. African American men-- who were used to a youth culture based on individualism rather than blind obedience to authority. Those ads, as I recall, focused on the image of recruits as glam Tom Cruise types a la Top Gun: out there performing their one-man missions from God in really cool fighter jets, doing those super keen ego enhancing swoops and 360s in a pure, clean, cloudless, American sky. Sexy, cocky mavericks who make their own rules--including maybe squeezing in a little schtuppy duppy with their hot training instructor (hey, if you believe Tom Cruise is capable of that, you can believe Joe Schmoe might have a shot at it too).

Turns out that the long standing Be All that You Can Be ad campaign, while still a morale-boosting touchstone for those already in the military, was no longer too effective for recruiting new youngsters. But that catchy little jingle was ubiquitious enough to become hard-wired into the collective unconscious.

In any case, the new ad campaign disgusts me, on several levels.

If you've ever seen Private Benjamin, you may recall that Goldie Hawn, a spoiled Jap, marries a guy who dies on their wedding night and then escapes into the military to get away from it all. Her recruiter plays up army life as a kind of country club, and she envisions herself basking in luxe suite accomodations, with ample time to kick back, try on new shades of lipstick, and do her nails. The reality hits her, and hits her hard, on her first morning of basic, when the tough female drill seargeant literally slings her and her mattress onto the floor after she tries to snuggle and snooze through wake up call. She tries to convince the brass that there's been some mixup--some terrible mistake--she must be in the wrong company. But she's stuck, and she does, indeed, become a fine figure of a woman, after numerous Lucille Ball style misadventures.

This may be very funny, but I know of at least one woman who was similarly misled by her recruiter, and it was definitely no joke. In a word, she was lied to and swindled. And I'm sure she's far from the only one.

I can only wonder how many millions are spent on these ad spots. Don't even get me started on that.

Now on to everyone's fave, Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11...

My leanings made it easier for me to get totally sucked into this movie. Although many on the repub right seem to feel this is misleading propaganda, to my mind it seems to pale in comparison to the propaganda entailed in the army's fantasy-land commercials.

One of the most moving segments of F 9/11 concerned a mom who was initially more than happy to see her kids join the armed forces, since she felt that, particularly in the economically depressed, job-impoverished area she hailed from, families of limited means who could not afford to send their kids to college might see the military as a great choice for thier sons and daughters. She maintained this stance until her son was killed overseas. She eventually wound up being an outspoken opponent of the current war effort.

Perhaps, as his detractors claim, Moore employed some deceptive or misleading editing techniques, but all I can say is that the sequence with Dubya sitting in a classroom, kiddie book in hand, boasting the look of a poleaxed mule while Rome burned, spoke much louder to me than his patriotic words ever could.

That's it. I'll keep this one mercifully short, just for a change of pace, and turn the floor over to YOU!

7/19/05 UPDATE....

Thanks to my pal Henry, I have two very relevant links to add for more info. In addition to a link to a site on military corruption, there is also a very interesting and chilling link to a site run by the lCentral Committee for Conscientious Objectors concerning Army recruitment vans touring schools around the country to glamorize the military life. The link to "Before you Enlist" gives myth-busting info on the supposed college and training benefits the army promises recruits. (Also: from the main site, click "military out of our schools," and then click on "military adventure vans" to get the full scoop on the recruitment vans). As they point out, "two-thirds of recruits never get any college funding for the miliary," and "joining the military is a dead end," since the skills learned are not particularly relevant to civilian jobs. The link also discusses issues such as the recuitment of minorities and women, the effect of the miliary on mental health and civil rights, and so on. Well worth checking out--although unfortunately, I think Blogger has once again gone senile and will not let me add the hyperlinks direvtly to these last two links, so just go to the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, and link to the specific pages from there.


At 5:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The Army's in trouble... it can't get enough recruits. The Marines are below their recriuting levels too. Both have been far below the usual naumbers for 2 quarters in a row. Only the Air Force amd Navy have met their basic quotas on a consistant basis.

The new direction seems clear, add a touch of family to the "Army Life" mix. Maybe the parents can see something more than junior running off into a blaze of glory.
(Remember the old commercial of "We do more by 9Am than most people do all day"). Almost made me think somebody must be drinking a lot of java before the sun is up.

The new commercials also mask the new direction that's happening with reserves (Army/Marines). They
(the Dept of Defense, or DoD) is retaining people past their date of release/retirement of service. Because of very low recruiting numnbers, the Army and Marines need to keep people in to maintain their deployment figures. Also, DoD is allowing older Americans to join. They are desparate to get the numbers up.

These numbers can't fall below a certain level due to certain needs overseas for Army and Marine Commanders. Since not enough are going in, then DoD is keeping many in longer until recruiting picks up.

It's not just the needs in Iraq, but also Afghanistan, Korea, S/E Europe, etc. There are so many overseas bases which require warm bodies.

DoD thinks the new ads will do the trick. It won't. Other factors must change before youngsters will feel safe enough to "join-up". DoD should have saved their money and maybe put more armor on their trucks and tanks going overseas.


At 2:46 AM, Blogger Walker said...

When's the commercial of the body bag coming home going to air?
The military is desperate for recruits and is willing to buy souls, with lies. The kids that joined for an education and never got a chance to start because the were shipped out to fight and killed.
There's some money saved on schooling.
Now the worst part of all of this is that most of the new recruits are from poor families who can't find work or can afford to go to school so they enlist, with the hope of getting an education and paid too and hoping never to have to go fight.
The way the world is today, fat chance that will ever happen.
Micheal Moore makes Movies and sensationalism makes headlines and money, screw him too.
If he can't say all of the truth he should shut the fuck up.
That said, the military is for some people and the ones that join should join for the right reasons.
That mother bitching about her kid getting killed is only freaking because of her loss' but if had never happened and her kid lived, she would be out there and as fucken poster mom for the military.
I have friends in the military and they are there for noble reasons and not the money. They are there for their country and are career people no free ticket.
It's time the government set up student loan programs and saved their young but then again it Saves money on welfare and the poor are expendable.

Have a nice day :D

At 7:51 AM, Blogger Judith said...

This is a double-edged sword.

I was in the navy just long enough for them to invite me to leave. Basically, they had shaped me up good, until I, well...story for another day...Let's just say it included France and a very large quantity of liquor, and the Captain's gig.

My brother on the other hand, had great sucess pulling his head out of his ass, while in the Army. He did go to Iraq with the Stryker Brigade (remember all the publicity?). He came back alive, he had friends that didn't.

My husband is in the Coast Guard (previously had 8 years in the Navy), but currently stationed in the Middle East, away from me and his three children, for the next year.

I think the military life suits some, and does not suit others. While in the Navy my husband earned his Associates in Engineering, paid with by his GI Bill.

Myself, my family, extended family, and friends all really appreciate any inconvience other military families endure, and enjoy the freedoms they keep secure.

Stepping off my soap box...

At 9:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Blackie, on behalf of Judith;

Judith, you should be very proud. It sounds like you and yours have served our country with honor and dignity by joining the military.

BG, and 2 of his 3 brothers served too, (I was one). We followed in our dad's footsteps and "did our duty", which means nothing to some. We were fortunate to come home w/o incident.

My younger brother made a career of it and stayed in 20+ years. He served in Iraq and Saudi Arabia during the Gulf War. He had also served overseas in Korea, Germany, and England.

Being in the military is only one way to serve. It happened to be my ticket to an education, and a way to better myself in many ways. I feel very fortunate to have never endured what my dad did in WW II, or what maybe some of you and your loved ones did. "Congrats" to your family for all your efforts.

I don't know how desperate our armed forces will get in finding new ways to recruit young men and women, (as shown by the new wave of TV ads). But, I do know there must be a continued stream of them willing to join in both good and bad times ahead.

As Walker pointed out, however, it seems to be mostly the poor who serve in a disproportionate number over those privileged who have the means to advance in life. The ones who have funding for any higher education move ahead w/o the risk of any real danger by joining the military. They are lucky.

God's speed to all those going into "harms way". I pray for a speedy end to the conflict we presently face in the Middle East.

It appears we will be there longer
than most of us had imagined. A big "welcome home" is due to those coming back from this awful mess.

I'll get off my soap box too. BLLB

At 9:41 AM, Blogger !ce said...

I can add a little something to this. I'm planning to go to college soon, and I have to find some way of funding it, because the Pell grant people said that they expected my parents to contribute nearyl 20% of their annual income. They're not contributing anything, and couldn't afford to contribute anywhere near that much anyway. I'm sure it's the same for everyone else as well. Why would the Pell grant people do this? It's very simple. It's all government, and heavily controlled by the Republicans. They want people in the military, so the Pell grant is much harder to get. I would also like to point out that I'm 23, and until I'm 24, my parents' income has to be factored. Most people going to college are 18. They can either find some way to make a lot of money, wait 6 years, or sign up to commit suicide.

At 1:38 PM, Blogger ERL said...

okay totally random, but that cat is so f'ing cool looking. like all standoffish and non-needy. i like.

At 2:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

erl: Yea, that feline friend of elvira's is the big cat's meow! Totally independent of us, except to say, "LOOK AT ME-I'M SO PHAT"! QFK

At 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To ice-you're right, the money's gone, very little left like in times gone by with unlimited grants, etc. Now, you've got to scrape up any free money you can get from any source. Guess I better contact Matt Lesko to see if I qualify for any loose coin. Don't quite want to grab a gun right yet. lbc

At 3:29 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Thanks, all you guys, for the great comments.

BLLB: What can I know from whence you speak, and made some excellent points from an "insider's" point of view.

As you have pointed out, many in your family have served their country, and that is an awesome achievement indeed. On another level, as I've said before, I don't think that vets are being treated with the dignity, respect, and support they so richly deserve. To my mind, especially with the current situation, this seems like a reprehensible slap in the face to brave vets everywhere.

The sad thing is, that esp from the info on the website I mentioned, it seems that the army is not being forthcoming about what you can get if you don't get yourself blown to bits. The promises of college and training for a great career are apparently not all they're cracked up to be. Plus the great point you made about retaining and extending recruits' length of service.

And of course, the poor and disenfranchised are represented in disproportionate numbers, which is nothing new.

Judith: yes, I agree that some are well-suited to the military life, and we are fortunate that those individuals, like you and your family, are brave enough to serve.

Ice and anonymous: your comments on the Pell/government grants are well taken. I hadn't even considered that angle before, but it makes perfect sense. Sure, there is no draft currently (not yet, anyway) but the dire situation of many disadvantaged folk, along with the army's glamor-lure commercials, almost guarantee that some will be drawn into something they cannot easily get out of, if they survive at all.

Walker-I agree about the woman who did a 360 about the war when her son got killed. My feelings go even further. Although 9/ll and other tragedies are horrific, it is also a fact that many innocent civilians in Iraq have been killed as well. There was a time when the Japanese and Germans were our sworn enemies. Now they are not. The only thing that has changed is that we are no longer at war with them. People are still people, and deaths of innocents is a tragedy--Hiroshima springs to mind as one of many examples.

But WWII was a much less controversial conflict. The cause was clear cut--fighting the true evils represented by Hitler et al. Now the enemy is anywhere and everywhere, and terrorists do not play by any "rules" of war.

Also, a question to Walker and any others who feel that Michael Moore is a lying scumbag: I have some inkling of what you mean, but I'd like to get some specific examples of how he distorted the facts in the F 9/ll film. Since some of it is straight out of the horse's mouth, it seems harder to refute, but there is always the issue of context and witholding of inconvenient details, etc. I just assumed that despite his flaws, the basic premise was right on. How do people feel about the claim, for example, that the whole war is based primarily on greed for oil profits by the Bushes et al?

Erl and anonymous: yes, Elvira II is one cool cat. Since BG's birthday is on Halloween, BG knew it was kismet when he first laid eyes on her. We rescued her from the shelter when she was no bigger than my hand. She now rules the roost completely, of course.

OK--I don't think I left anyone out, so far...

At 9:39 AM, Blogger !ce said...

Don't forget the profits made by their friends in the weapons manufacturing business. This current war is giving them their biggest business yet. Also, I've seen a new commercial a couple of times. It shows tanks in a desert, and asks "what are you setting your sights on?"

I would like to let everyone know that I've been updating my blog. Please check it out at

At 4:58 PM, Anonymous Harris Bloom said...

Hey Elvira,

Sorry I haven't written more (or longer) to you, but I've been cutting down on my blog-reading. There's just waaaay too many out there that I like, and if I read them all, I'd never get anything else done. You know, like read,,, etc

(but i do read once in a while)

Hope all's swell


At 7:58 PM, Blogger Judith said...

Hi, Elvira-

I talked this post over with a few of my military and non-military friends. We came to a few comclusions- one should research any career one considers (deepsea diving requires getting wet), so read the fine print.

Some careers, civialian or military are a bit more demanding (see point one), so if you don't have time to go to school while you're holding down a fulltime job, maybe you should have made a better choice. Plus, keep in mind there are people that complain just to hear there own voices.

I would also like to mention, that active duty with family (MOSTLY) have very nice housing, I have lived in several units and only HATED one. My 3 children and I also have very good health insurance. Alot of people don't think so, but I'm not complaining and I have two special needs children and my own mental health issues.

Anyway, my point is you're gonna have people that think they're getting a raw deal, and people that have no complaints.

At 4:11 AM, Anonymous Emmet said...

HI, I'm a friend of Henry's, and he directed me to read this blog....

I'm currently in Iraq, and have a bit on insight on the whole recruiting thing. I joined the Army shortly after 9/11, in order to aid the fight on terrorism. If anyone out there doubts the need for able bodied Americans to give a hand, feel free to flip on CNN, or FOX news...

I'll be the first to admit that recruiters are a shady sort. They do hide the fact that when you enlist, active or reserve, you can be called up on inactive reserve up to eight years after your initial enlistment. So these new 18 month contracts are really securing troops for the next 8 years, not 18 months. But everything is spelled out in plain English when you sign on the dotted line.

One of my friends in my platoon was recently called up on inactive reserve, out of the blue. And here he finds himself, back in Iraq for the third time... Away from the loving arms of his new fiancé... Another couple of people in my platoon have been stop-lossed, meaning that they have been kept in for up to an extra year from their exit date from the army.

About the tie to Fahrenheight 9/11: I watched that laughing out loud from here in Iraq. Directly afterward, I wrote my mom and forbid her from ever, ever, speaking out against the push here in Iraq, as I feel it would cheapen what everyone is working so hard here to achieve. Now a soldier posting his opinion is one thing, but everyone signed up for this. Let's remember that the Army is still voluntary.

The Army has a good point targeting parents for enlistment. That is a huge factor in getting people to join. Weather or not people agree with the campaign is another issue entirely. My mother was into the joining thing up until the point I did, and then I think it dawned on her what I was up to and where I was headed. My father on the other hand was always against the military. He moved to Costa Rica to miss the Vietnam war, but now he is hugely proud of his little boy. Taking me out to eat steak with his friends when I come around, and telling them what his son has been up to.

Since coming to Iraq we have lost two men from my platoon. Two family men at that. Both leaving behind children, and wives at home. These were both career men, in for over 10 years apiece. Their families recognized the dangers involved. There is no doubt that they will be missed, but in time hopefully their kids will come to see these men as the true heroes they were.

If we don't get more recruits, these families, and others like them will have to spend more and more time away from their fathers and husbands. This war is not going away. Nor is the need for new heroes to step up and help out their county. And help out those who cannot help themselves. Like the Kurds of Northern Iraq, persecuted and tortured by Saddam for tens of years.

I didn't join the Army to come to Iraq. I wanted to Kill the Taliban in Afghanistan. Now that I'm here in Iraq, I understand the need to be here. Weapons of mass destruction or not, this is a battle that needed to be fought. One against oppression. There are numbers of other places that also need our attention. But this cannot happen without troop strength from NEW RECRUITS!

At 9:59 PM, Blogger Henry said...

No hyperlinks this time; I kinda have the runs. I hope there's enough toilet paper...

All this talk of the military and the Global War on Terrorism is really starting to chap my hide. Some people say it's bad, and some people say it's good. I tried to find out what was going on. My main source of information is from the Internet. I went online to find out the straight dope. Man, I'm more confused than ever. I found all kinds of information from all different sources. No matter who I talk to about it the whole mess, my sources are wrong. I just can't figure it out: there are conflicting stats everywhere. I recall something from my college statistics class (required for my one-year long Psych major) about statistics and numbers being manipulated easily to say whatever the manipulator wants.

I can't figure out what to do. I think it's just my spiraling hypomania; maybe it's that I'm one of those rare, insane genii that really can see what's going on. I don't know, and only time will tell.

Reading this post brings two things from my life to mind:

Before I turned 18, I was worried about signing up for Selective Service (but it is required for all MEN turning 18, especially if you want to apply to almost any college in America), so I went to the Draft Counseling Office at my school. This is a Quaker high school in NYC, and they counsel all Quakers as to what their options are regarding military service. Quakers are lawful Conscientious Objectors.

They told me that I had to register for Selective Service, no getting around it. However, if they did ever reinstate the draft, they could help me file the needed paperwork to claim CO status. I know the chances were slim of the draft being reinstated, but there was still a chance. In the mid 80's, things were getting hot in Central and South America, and Movie Star Ron Regan was building up a mighty military. I was not really keen on being drafted, against my will, and made to go into combat under threat of execution for desertion if I didn't. I'm pretty sure that if that had actually happened, no matter how remote the possibility, I would probably have wound up in a mental hospital (my worst fear).

OK, it never happened, so I'll try to forget about it; it's just hard because I have a genetic illness that causes my brain chemistry to be messed up, so my memory, mood, emotions, and thinking are all out of whack.

This post also reminds me of the time after my mom had kicked me out, and my sister kicked me out of her palce 3 days later. I know why my mom kicked me out: I smoked weed, and didn't follow her orders immediately! I still really can't figure out why my sister booted me after such a short time; I kind of thought she might be sympathetic because she had been kicked out by mom not too long before me. She claimed her roommates wanted me out, even though they had lavished praise on me the night before for cleaning the whole apartment while they were all at work. For young women, they sure were messy; they had had a party the night before, so I thought I would carry my weight and clean up for them, since I was staying there. One of my sister's roommates actually said something along the lines of being allowed to stay as long as I wanted, so long as I kept cleaning up like that. It sounded good to me, for a little while, until I could get my bearings straight after mom booted me. I guess my sister didn't agree. There really wasn't much room to discuss the matter. She wanted me out.

I was going to move to California and stay with an aunt and uncle for a little while while getting set up in college. They are the quintessential bourgeois hippie emulation (thanks to Craig via Nat for that one) poster children. My aunt said on the phone, as I was trying to figure out what to do after my sister's eviction notice, that she was cool with it, but she needed to talk it over with my uncle. I couch surfed with friends for a week and called her back; she said I could not stay with them, and asked if I had considered the military. Huh? This coming from some serious hippies that lived in an art commune in the 60's in Mexico.... I cried.

OK, I digress. I bucked it up, and started looking for a job, and thinking about the military. I guess I was willing to do what it took to stay alive. Here's what happened:

I went to see a Coast Guard recruiter in some huge government building down near City Hall, in the canyon wastelands of the bowels of NYC. The office door was locked, even though I had an appointment. I waited 15 minutes. I had another appointment for a job interview at Flutie's Restaurant on Pier 17 later that day. I split the recruiter's. I got the job at Flutie's that summer. I worked with this great young lady named Jennifer Levin. I'll never forget how that summer ended... I guess being in the military was not in my cards.

OK, I'll fast forward to 2001. 9-11 shattered my world. I cry as I type this, thinking of the horrific images I got to see right after my mother woke me with a phone call that morning; she was ordering me to turn on the TV and telling me that my sister was missing. Mom wanted me to try calling my sister because the phones were all messed up in NYC that day and my sister didn't have a cell. I called her house a few times, and got blown off once by the illegal immigrant nanny. I finally got ahold of my sister that day, but after seeing those images over and over again: The planes crashing, the towers collapsing, over and over on the TV news. My sister seemed annoyed that I had been worried out of my mind.

The next day, Emmet (see his comment right up there) was at work with me (I won't even go into how our alcoholic, absentee boss was pissed because I had called him at 7 AM to tell him I could not open his store, but he did not get the voicemail because he was sleeping one off until 12 noon and no one was able to open the store until 2 PM). Emmet knew I was pissed. We talked all kinds of really angry shit. He talked about enlisting. I thought it jusy might be ranting of a riled up boy who did not really understand the implications of war. I had already passed the age for recruiting, so I was helpless to join the fight against demented, murdering Islamic vermin. Emmet, I feel, in a way, went over there for both of us.

I'm really happy someone like Emmet is over there doing something. The death tolls from IED's is climbing; the number of OTM illegal immigrants is rising. No one seems to give a crap. Except Emmet. He took the time to go over there, he risks his life every day, and he still finds the time to write a comment on this post, even though it took me about 2 hours of chatting at 2 AM to convince him that his comment was worthy. I think he deserves our thanks and support, at a bare minimum.

PS: Sorry to clog your blog.

At 3:23 AM, Blogger elvira black said...

Once again, I thank everyone for the awesome comments, and deeply regret that it has taken me a MONTH to reply to some of the newer ones. Oy, the guilt!

Oops--forgot about the Anonymous who replied to Ice. Yes, I feel bad for those who are trying to fund their education under these conditions. I'm appalled to think that people cannot afford higher education unless they step up to the military plate.

Ice: Yes, it's always been my understanding that war boosts the economy and big business big time.

Harris: Nice to hear from you. I totally agree--so many great blogs, so little time...

Judith: thanks for providing a first-hand perspective on this issue. BG's dad was a military career man, and though it didn't pay a fortune, he was able to keep food (of some sort) on the table for his five kids.

Emmet: As I told you, I am indeed "stealing" from my own e-mail to you, at least in part--LOL. Anyway, loved your comment. Great to hear from someone who's actually there in the thick of it, rather than folks like me bickering on the sidelines, snug in my bed. Henry has told me of your incredible bravery; I think you're totally awesome. If blogger would let me exit this comment and pick up a hyperlink to your site and articles about your incredible heroism, I would do so here. However, if people swing over to Henry's blog, there should be links there.

Yes, it's very scary shit. There are some incredibly
evil people in the world. You made a great point about needing new recruits, but I just think the state of the world and the current situation is tragic all the way around. I'm honored that you visited the Shitrat; stop by any time!

Henry: As I always say, clog away, baby! That was a terrific comment. I always say to BG, when he recounts tales of basic and AIT (before he got an honorable discharge after re-breaking his arm): if I were somehow in the position where I got drafted, I would definitely lose my mind completely--though I've actually realized your worst fear, having been in a locked ward a couple of times myself. I know that many soldiers come back with PTSD that never goes away. In addition, during the Vietnam conflict, guys who went through sheer hell came back home only to find themselves reviled for their participation.

Anyway, very disconcerting about your aunt and uncle. Wow, you almost signed up for the Coast Guard? That is wild.

Yes, I think that Emmet is awesome. I fervently hope that he comes home safe and sound.

At 12:37 PM, Blogger Henry said...

I'll make it easy for everyone.

Read about Emmet's heroism.

Check out Emmet's website.

At 2:20 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


Thank you! I knew you'd come through.

At 3:47 PM, Blogger Henry said...

No worries!


At 12:35 PM, Blogger Henry said...

I have good news and I have better news.

Emmet's been sick for the last week or so, but he told me during a late-night IM session, he's on the mend, and should be on the road to full recovery this week. He says he lost 10 pounds, and I hope he can put it back on, as the total weight loss is over 30 pounds now.

The better news is that he is being moved early out of Iraq. He's heading to Kuwait on the 28th of this month for 28 days, then he's finally headed back to Fort Lewis. Yea!

He'll be in the Santa Barbara area for 40 days around the Holidays, so I will get to catch up on all the rag-head killing stories he has to share.

I'm glad he's coming home safe!

At 12:55 PM, Blogger elvira black said...


Wow, that's terrif! Sad to see the pic of Emmet with the IV and all, and to hear that he's lost so much weight. But I'm glad he's feeling better, and so glad to hear he's coming home.

'sabout time!


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