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September 2005


Chief Steve, my great friend and former right arm (my First Sergeant when I was a Company Commander), is finally on the way home.  You long-time visitors here know him.  I've written about him several times.  Here's the back-story.

One reason that he's coming home alive and well after a very successful mission is that he had a great Company Commander looking out for him.  I often evaluate people based on just one aspect, "Would I follow them?".

In the case of Steve's Company Commander, the answer would be "Hell, yes!"

Chief's Steve commander was none other than Mustang 23 of Assume Command.  Mustang 23 put it all together after I posted about the birth of Steve's son while he was in Iraq.  I then received emails from some sergeants in the command about how accurate my portrayal was of the gruff but (somewhat) endearing Chief Steve.  And, then, Mustang 23 had to IM me at the Blog Nashville Milblog session while I was speaking (remotely) and asked if I would avoid the Miller Lite...

Small world isn't it?

Good job, boys.

Welcome home!

Serenity Review


    "Attention!  This is the Captain!  We might experience some slight turbulence...and then explode." - Captain Malcolm Reynolds

If you've been waiting for a long time to see Captain Mal Reynolds get upset enough to utter the words, "I. Aim. To. Misbehave.", and take on the Alliance again, you'll enjoy the movie.  This synopsis is from the official site:

...The film centers around Captain Malcolm Reynolds, a hardened veteran (on the losing side) of a galactic civil war, who now ekes out a living pulling off small crimes and transport-for-hire aboard his ship, Serenity.  He leads a small, eclectic crew who are the closest thing he has left to family - squabbling, insubordinate and undyingly loyal.

When Mal takes on two new passengers-a young doctor and his unstable, telepathic sister-he gets much more than he bargained for. The pair are fugitives from the coalition dominating the universe, who will stop at nothing to reclaim the girl.  The crew that was once used to skimming the outskirts of the galaxy unnoticed find themselves caught between the unstoppable military force of the Universal Alliance and the horrific, cannibalistic fury of the Reavers, savages who roam the very edge of space.  Hunted by vastly different enemies, they begin to discover that the greatest danger to them may be on board Serenity herself...

I've been struggling to figure out how to describe the movie without giving away too many surprises - some are absolutely hilarious and some are sure to shock many fans (although there are also some very predictable outcomes).  If you've never seen Firefly, you'll enjoy the movie.  If you're a fan, you'll love the movie.

The first half and last quarter of Serenity are amazing.  A combo of Blade Runner, Empire Strikes Back, and Aliens.  The rest is back story for the non-Firefly-aficionado.  You needn't have followed the series to understand what is going on or enjoy the different relationships of the crew.

What will you see?



    The Captain - He's, well, unpredictable...what I can tell you is that each time I wanted the Captain to kill the bad guy, he didn't.  And when I wanted him to let certain ones live, he didn't.

    Jayne - Has more than his usual allotment of one liners.  While his propensity for saving his own skin is hilarious, he risks his neck often enough to make you wonder if his callousness is feigned...


    Inara - Gotta love Inara.  When the Alliance Assassin coldly claims that Captain Reynolds will never succeed in evoking anger in him, Inara whispers from the corner, "Just give him an hour."

    Kaylee - Very enjoyable in this movie.  In fact, her line at the end of the movie during the Serenity Crew's most desperate battle will go down in sci-fi movie history as one of the best.

    Wash - While flying Serenity expertly through an enormous space battle, evading fighters and destroyers, dodging space mines and laser blasts, Wash tells himself quietly, "I'm a little leaf on the wind." Wash is one of my favorite characters.

    Zoe - Having fought the Alliance together, Zoe is the Captain's conscience but gets [email protected]$$, real [email protected]$$ towards the end.

    Doc - While the Captain and Jayne don't have much respect for the doc, he's tougher than you thought.


    Book - You find that Book has a more profound impact on the Captain than you suspected.



    River - Weird chick.  Really, really weird.  And, you know, she just never goes crazy at the time when you really need her to...

Then, there's the Reavers.  The Reavers are actually central to the plot so I can't say much other than you'll see a lot of them (hence the "Aliens" ref at the beginning of the post).

All in all, Serenity is a great movie for sci-fi fans and regular movie-goers alike.  While it couldn't have possibly answered all of questions you have about the characters, it does wrap up a few plot lines.   

Serenity certainly lives up to it's hype.

The Moonbat Manual

[Cindy Sheehan gets arrested]

Instead of delivering a message, the leftwing whackos seem to be having a Wile E. Coyote moment.  I'd enjoy it if I didn't think that these folks were as unhinged as they seem to be...

First, in case you hadn't seen it, Greyhawk takes the playbook from the DailyKossack and let's you decide if it was followed or not...(I had a good laugh)

And Smash describes the implosion of various anti-war and anti-everything groups at a San Diego protest...here's just a small part of it:

...CARL MUHAMMED takes his turn at the podium, lecturing us about the deep-seated racism in American society. “You may think that you’re open-minded, but you still haven’t confronted the racism you hold in your hearts.” This from a man who just minutes earlier had been waving a Palestinian flag at a mob of angry Jews...

Iraqi Captain Ali Abass - American At Heart


Yesterday, at the Rally to Support the Military, Debby Argel Bastion told the story of Iraqi Air Force Captain Ali Abass who died with her son, USAF Captain Derek Argel, in a plane crash in Iraq on May 30th.

Captain Abass was the first Iraqi (and one of sixty foreigners) buried in Arlington National Cemetery.  Captain Abass was popular with the USAF.  During a mission that went wrong, Abass and an American pilot, LtCol Phillips, performed an emergency landing in Iraq.  Abass convinced the arriving Iraqis that he was with the Agriculture Ministry and kept the American pilot hid, saving his life.

Abass went on to work with the USAF Special Operations.  On May 30th, Abass and Argel and three other Americans died when their plane crashed in Iraq - Major William Downs, 40, of Winchester, Virginia; Captain Jeremy Fresques, 26, of Clarkdale, Arizona, and Staff Sergeant Casey Crate, 26, of Spanaway, Washington.

Here are some photos from the ceremony at Arlington courtesy of the USAF:


ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, Va. -- Honor guard Airmen hold flags to be presented to the families of four U.S. Airmen and an Iraqi Airman who died May 30 in an aircraft accident in Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber K. Whittington)


ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, Va. -- Major Gen. Kamal Abdul-Sattar Barzanjy, Iraqi Air Force commander, presents the Iraq flag to Gen. and Mrs. Hussam Abass Ali, the parents of Capt. Ali Hussam Abass Alrubaeye, during a funeral held here Aug. 11 for the captain and four U.S. Airmen who died May 30 in an aircraft accident in Iraq. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Amber K. Whittington) 

[Blackfive note:  Debby Argel Bastion is in blue, holding the flag, to the left of Captain Abass's parents]

There are some who object to foreigners being buried in Arlington.  I can understand their view, but cannot side with them about men like Abass or South Vietnamese Soldiers or the Brit or Canadian Soldiers (more than half of the foreigners) buried there.

At some level, we are all fighting to ensure that all men are free.  America is an idea, not a plot of land (as much as I love my little plot of land), that all men were created equal.  Captain Abass was fighting for that ideal and, in a way, fighting for you.

Godspeed, Captain Argel, Captain Fresques, Staff Sergeant Crate, Major Downs and Captain Abass...

Protect The Pledge

    "In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war." - President Dwight D. Eisenhower on June 14, 1954, on approving the addition of "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance

Watching the rally to support the military yesterday, I discovered that my four year old son knew the Pledge of Allegiance.

I must be slipping in my fatherly duties because I had no idea that Little Blackfive knew it (and neither did Mrs. Blackfive).  But when it was recited during the opening of the rally to support the military, he stopped playing with his trains and stood up and recited it.  I was overwhelmed by it for some reason...watching him stumble over the big words, hand over his heart, too serious for a four year old...I felt pride, concern, gratitude, love...

    I pledge allegiance to the Flag
    of the United States of America,
    and to the Republic for which it stands:
    one Nation under God, indivisible,
    With Liberty and Justice for all

I had two thoughts at that moment.

We're not paying his pre-school teachers enough.
We've got to protect the pledge.

Friday's Rally At Walter Reed


I need to get me one of these posters for my upcoming visit to DC.  My favorite sign by far...

Conservative Propaganda has the pictures and the story about the rally to counter the protestors outside the gates to Walter Reed Army Medical Center from Friday.

I watched the entire rally to support the military yesterday.  I hadn't heard politicians talking like Steve King and Trent Franks before...that's because I live in @#$%ing Illinois.

Representative Steve King (Iowa) said it best - "If we all would have stood together, this war would've been over last year" - referencing the reprehensible actions of the leftwing, the media, and the politicians angling for sound bites resulting in galvanizing the terrorists and Al Jazeera (taking their ques from ol' Ho).

Media Covers Pro-Military families

Well, don't let the title fool you.  The author's vague generalities of those at the anti-war protest do not match the vague generalities of those who were at the pro-war rally.  From the AP via the WashPo:

War Supporters to Follow Anti-War Rallies

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
Sunday, September 25, 2005;  10:36 AM

WASHINGTON -- Military families and others defending the war in Iraq claimed on Sunday their turn to demonstrate on the National Mall, a response to the massive protest against the war a day earlier.

Organizers acknowledged that their rally would be much smaller than the anti-war protest that drew nearly 100,000 according to police estimates. Still, they said their message would not be overshadowed.

"We are preparing for as many as 20,000 people, just to be on the safe side," said Kristinn Taylor, a leader of FreeRepublic.com, one of the sponsors. "People have been fired up over the past month, especially military family members, and they want to be heard."

The pro-military rally was billed as a time to honor the troops fighting "the war on terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world."

On Saturday, demonstrators opposed to the war in Iraq surged past the White House in the largest anti-war protest in the nation's capital since the U.S. invasion. The rally stretched through the night, a marathon of music, speechmaking and dissent on the National Mall.

In the crowd were young activists, nuns whose anti-war activism dates to Vietnam, parents mourning their children in uniform lost in Iraq, and uncountable families motivated for the first time to protest.

From the stage, speakers attacked President Bush's policies head on, but he was not at the White House to hear it _ he was in Colorado and Texas, monitoring hurricane recovery.

A few hundred people in a counter demonstration in support of Bush's Iraq policy lined the protest route near the FBI building. The two groups, separated by a police line, shouted at each other.

War supporters said the scale of the anti-war march didn't take away from their cause.

"It's the silent majority," said 22-year-old Stephanie Grgurich of Leesburg, Va., who has a brother serving in Iraq.

Unfortunately, the WashPo includes an Anti-War/Military/Administration protest photo instead of a photo of someone from the supporter rally.  And I wonder how many articles about the Anti-war protests include info about the supporter rally.

Update:  Jeff Goldstein at Protein Wisdom fires accurately at an AP article about the Anti-War rally.

C-Span to Cover Pro-Military Rally Today

Tony sends this link from Kristinn at the Free Republic:

I just received a phone call from C-SPAN informing me that they will broadcast live in it's entirety the Rally to Honor Military Families this Sunday from noon to 3 p.m. EDT.

We're hoping for a large turnout so our troops overseas will know that what happens the day before the rally with the antiwar crowd does not reflect the majority of the country.

Please join us this Sunday at 4th Street on the National Mall (near the Air & Space Museum) as we pay tribute to military families, and their loved ones serving in our armed forces fighting the war on terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere around the world.

You can view the rally live on regular C-SPAN via your cable TV (or satellite) or at their website:

(look for the 'WATCH / LISTEN LIVE' link on the right side of the page)

Update 11:20 CST:  Sherri Francescon was amazing.  Get that girl in the Senate!

Musky Fest

If you're in Chicago, stop by Musky Fest at Will's Northwoods Inn. The crowning of the Musky Queen will occur tonight and usually it's hosted by my pals at WXRT. (click on thumbnail for larger poster)


It used to be that the girl crowned Miss Musky could drink free for a year.  Now, it's more of a popularity contest over a weekend.  Each drink you buy entitles you to a vote.  Last year, my pal Phil and I accounted for about 120 votes.  The contestants guest bartend and try to win votes by various means...free shots or single malts usually work for me.

So, I'll be casting my votes all afternoon and into the evening for my choice for Miss Musky. 

More blogging tomorrow morning...err, afternoon.