Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Word of the Day: downrange

downrange: shooting. The part of a shooting range where bullets are going i.e. the target and backstop.
Military. A combat zone.
Usage: "How long have you been downrange?"

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


The Pittsburgher has left Afghanistan and is on his way home :-)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Word of the Day: Popping Smoke

Smoke: Particulate that is carried in the air and is visible to the eye.
Popping smoke: Lighting pyrotechnic device to generate dense clouds of colored smoke. Used in signaling aircraft from the ground and to identify specific locations. Especially used in marking pickup spots for personnel extraction by aircraft.

Popping smoke: Leaving, especially very quickly.
Usage: "When are you popping smoke?"

Friday, August 24, 2007

Good hunting

We found a praying mantis nearby our living quarters this evening. The best thing we could think of: we wished her good hunting.

QOTD: It is pink. It may as well be contaminated

P1: "My wife had to get a new cell phone"
P1: "It is pink. It might as well be contaminated"
P2: "Does that mean you can't use it? How secure are you in your masculinity?"
P1: "(young daughter), did mommy get a new phone? What color is it? Where you with her when she got it? Did you pick the pink phone?"

Thursday, August 23, 2007

QTOD: Have you read those books?

I was giving a collegue some books I had in PDF

P1: Have you read all those books?
Me: I'm from ____. One thing we know how to do is read.

P1: Have you read ___ by ___ ___?
Me: I even cited him in my brief.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Independence Day!

August 19th is celebrated as Afghanistan Independence Day, when Afghanistan achieved full independence from Britain. It is probably a testament to the attitude towards things that Britain tends to celebrate along side its former colonies during their independence day celebrations, even when the actual event was not exactly love and kisses.

The usual parades of armed power. And speeches. The week has been one marked by honesty in public. President Karzai talking about the importance of education. Rather strange for a President of a country that is covered in war and conflict. But

Karzai said the Afghan people must be ready to make sacrifices for the country's freedom, but also need to focus on education.

"Without education, technology and science we will be under the attack of the foreigners," Karzai said. "For an independent Afghanistan, our youths have to get an education."

There is a realization that the end of this is when the Afghan are educated enough to govern themselves. Or my way of putting it, when the children we are putting through school now become the elders and leaders of Afghanistan.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

NYTimes: You Win This War By Drinking Tea

New York Times

This is a fun sounding book. In 1943 American and allied soldiers were in Iraq, because Nazi Germany was threatening to conquer it via Syria. The article is an interview with LTC John Nagl, an American officer known for his book "Learning to Eat Soup With a Knife." Me makes the comment that it sure seemed like we knew alot about Iraq back in 1943. A "charming" book, with illustrations, written in a more hopeful, less irony-filled time. Back when we were sure we were fighting evil.

The article title came out of one of the points that Nagl talks about. I remember being dragged by a shopkeeper who wanted to get me to buy a rug. Brought me into his shop, and immediately offered chai. Very recognizable story.

There is a lot to be said about referencing the past. When I wrote my dissertation, one of my goals was to have at least one citation older then I was. I was successful. I also was able to do the same in a presentation I gave for work. One of the most compelling slides that I have. This is a difficult business, marked by what is unknown as much as is known. Using the advantages of other people's hindsight sems like a good thing.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Word of the Day: Chief's Initiation

Chief: Chief Petty Officer - Senior non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy. Position of responsibility and leadership. Expected to be a leader of men (and women), a master of his area of knowledge, and a teacher of skills and traditions. Also noted by the wearing of khaki's instead of dungerees, a sign that you are now a leader who directs other.

Chief's Initiation: Ceremony commemorating new Chief's. A time of solemn recognition. Also a time of incredulity of how some sailor was able to con his superiors into regarding him a person of maturity. Where old salts look at these new guys and wonder if they have what it takes, and put them through many tests of their, umm, endurance, resiliance, intelligence (wisdom? these new guys?) because they want to see just how much these new guys can take. Definitely not something to tell mom all the details.

Usually remembered as one of the happiest days in the guy's life.

Congratulations Smokey!

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Word of the Day: Hail & Farewell

Ceremony where new arrivals are welcomed and people departing are recognized. Usually paired, as the goal is to have a bit of overlap. Hails are generally simple. Farewells can include roasts, many praises, sometimes a gift of appreciation.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Word of the Day: Short

1. Are you getting short?
2. How short are you? He's so short he can look up at a dime.

The state of being when your assignment is close to an end. Long form: short timer. Symptoms: the number of days left in the assignment is recalled instantly by the person in question, as well as anyone who spends more then 10 seconds with the person in a day. Viewing the pages in the calendar below the current month as worthless. Boxes being used to get stuff out instead of bringing stuff in. Office mates looking around and thinking about rearranging all the furniture as the desk and shelves will be cleaned out. Everything done is associated with the question "How are we going to do this when ___ is not here?"