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These words are my diary screaming out loud

Friday, January 28, 2005

Sometimes, violence really IS the answer

I put up with a lot for my job. I spend most days dealing with slightly below-caliber personnel who do all kinds of stupid things. I know who needs a little extra supervision, and I can tell, usually fairly soon, who is going to be alright. What I can't deal with, however, is people above me who seem to have no understanding whatsoever of the fact that the people who work below them are not perfect. That sometimes things are going to slip up a little, that every once in a while they may get a product that is not what they expected. Not that that makes it OK of course, but its a reality thing... it happens. I know that all of the superiors were in the position once of being a subordinate to someone at their current level, in some way or another, but sometimes, it seems as though they have forgotten that part of their life. Ive seen a few that are great about remembering, and a few that perhaps are a little too good at it, but in the last year or so I have seen so many that have absolutely no idea. It manifests itself in so many ways, from the way a person talks to people, to the way they talk about people, to the expressions on their faces when people are around. I hope I never turn into one of those people who forgets what its like to be at the bottom. If I do, someone please kick me in the head and bring me to my senses.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Conspiracy Theory

Apparently, almost half of the black population in the US thinks that AIDS was developed in a lab and that there is a cure but it is being intentionally withheld from the poor. A survey, reported on in today's Washington Post, also says that 15% of blacks surveyed believe that AIDS was created as a method of genocide against them. 40% say that either the government or the CIA developed it. It made me feel a little better though that 75% believe medical and public health folks are working hard to try to stop its spread.

It is unbelievable to me that people in America still think this way. I was really surprised by this article, and the opinions expressed by a professor (yes, they actually let this guy teach) who says that African American lives are not valued because they are more likely to live near pollution and far from health care. At least there are some guys out there who are trying to change these views though. The Post interviewed the head of the Black AIDS Institute in LA who basically said that people need to wake up and realize that past discrimination is no excuse for these conspiracy theories. People are more likely, if they think this is all a conspiracy, to not be as safe in AIDS-prone situations, such as sex and drugs, because they figure why should they bother.

Kinda scary from where I sit....

My brother, the genius

My brother David is way smarter than me. Now instead of all those pesky long http addresses, I have finally figured out the whole link thing. Every time I tried to post a link before I just sat there flustered as I went through every menu on this stupid webpage, and I think it took him like 10 minutes looking at it to know and share it with his big sister.

I promise, Im not as retarded as I may seem on this computer....

Monday, January 24, 2005

Walk for a Cure

In communities throughout America, thousands of people participate in Arthritis Foundation events. I am one of those people. I am teaming up with the Arthritis Foundation for the Arthritis Walk, where I will be walking in honor my thirteen year old sister, Emily, who has arthritis. I am writing to ask you to lend a hand as I take on this personal challenge!

Please visit my Web page (link below) to make a secure, online contribution. Arthritis doesn't discriminate -- it affects one in three people, including children like Emily. People turn to the Arthritis Foundation for information, support and resources -- you and I can help. The Arthritis Foundation has made it easy!

Your generosity ensures that the Arthritis Foundation continues leading the way toward prevention, control and cure of the number one cause of disability. Contributions through special events are vital to providing these services. Anything you can give is appreciated, and, together, we can make a difference.Thank you for your support!

PS- any of you that will be in the DC area on 21 May, sign up to join my sister Sophie's team and participate in the Walk at Robinson High School.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Another great lawsuit...

Some people just don't know when they have it good....

State Worker Sues for Having Nothing to Do
Friday, January 21, 2005
Fox News

ALBANY, N.Y. — Pat Freund has a job most people would envy. She spends her days at work reading the newspaper and finishing crossword puzzles, and earns about $100,000 a year for her troubles, including benefits.
But Freund isn't content to put up her feet and watch the paychecks roll in. Rather, she is suing her employer, the state of New York, for not giving her any real work to do.
"It could have been a lot easier for Pat had she continued to sit in her office and do nothing, and continue to basically be the most avid reader that the state has employed," says Sue Adler, the attorney representing Freund in her federal civil rights lawsuit. "But she decided that was not how she wanted to live out her years working for the state."
Freund, who has been a New York State Liquor Authority employee for 25 years, says it all started in 2000. She believes her superiors were angered after she questioned the practice of colleagues attending Gov. George Pataki's annual prayer breakfast. But instead of firing her, Freund says, her responsibilities were taken away.
Now Freund does nothing at work, on the taxpayers' dime.
Mike Causey of Federal News Radio has examined government employment issues for more than 20 years, and says the same protections that make it difficult to fire government workers sometimes backfire.
"People say that they're [employers] either trying to drive them out one way or the other, and one of the ways to do it is to give them nothing to do," Causey says.
When asked about the lawsuit, the Liquor Authority said it was policy not to comment on pending litigation. So until a trial, Freund will most likely continue to do nothing at work.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Aah, validation!

From today's Washington Post....

Daily Drink Helps Keep Brain Sharp, Data Suggest
By Rob Stein Washington Post Staff Writer

Women who imbibe a little wine, beer or even spirits every day are less likely than teetotalers to see their memories and other thinking powers fade as they age, according to the largest study to assess alcohol's impact on the brain.

The study of more than 12,000 elderly women found that those who consumed light to moderate amounts of alcohol daily had about a 20 percent lower risk of experiencing problems with their mental abilities later in life.

"Low levels of alcohol appear to have cognitive benefits," said Francine Grodstein of Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, senior author on the study, published in today's New England Journal of Medicine. "Women who consistently were drinking about one-half to one drink per day had both less cognitive impairment as well as less decline in their cognitive function compared to women who didn't drink at all," Grodstein said.

While the study involved only women, the findings probably hold true for men, although previous research indicates that men seem to benefit from drinking slightly more -- one to two drinks per day, researchers said.

The findings provide the latest evidence that indulging in alcohol, long vilified as part of an insalubrious lifestyle, can actually help people live longer, healthier lives. While heavy drinking clearly causes serious problems for many people, recent research has found that drinking in moderation protects the heart. A few small studies have similarly suggested that alcohol may help the brain. The new study is by far the largest and most detailed to examine that question.
"We know it is beneficial to have a drink a day for your heart. This says there is an additional reason to follow that guideline -- it can protect against cognitive decline," said Marilyn S. Albert of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, speaking on behalf of the Alzheimer's Association. "So now we have two reasons to do it."

Alcohol appears to protect the brain in the same way that it guards the heart: by improving blood flow. It may also reduce the risk of small "silent" strokes, which can cause subtle brain damage that erodes mental powers.

For the new study, researchers analyzed data on about 12,480 women ages 70 to 81 participating in the Nurses' Health Study, in which detailed information is being gathered about thousands of nurses as they age to try to assess how myriad lifestyle factors affect health.
Data on alcohol consumption had been gathered regularly beginning when the women were in their forties and fifties. They also underwent detailed questioning by telephone when they reached their seventies to assess their ability to remember and reason and to perform other mental functions.

Those who consumed half a drink to one drink each day for at least four years were about 20 percent less likely to have an impairment in their thinking abilities and about 15 percent less likely to experience a decline in their mental powers over the two years they were studied, regardless of what type of alcohol they preferred, the researchers found. On average, women who drank moderately tended to have the memory and reasoning agility of someone about a year and a half younger than those who abstained. No benefit was seen among women who drank more than that.

The results held true even after the researchers factored in characteristics about the women that could have confused the findings, such as age, education, how many friends and family members they had, how much exercise they got, and whether they had any other health problems.

While the findings are encouraging, several researchers said they were concerned about strongly recommending that people drink more based on the results, given the heavy toll from alcohol abuse.

"The prevention of cognitive decline in old age . . . is one of the major public health challenges of the 21st century. Few things are as valuable as the unimpaired ability to reason," Denis A. Evans of Rush University in Chicago wrote in an editorial accompanying the study. But "persons seeking to maximize cognition in old age must keep in mind . . . the knowledge that alcohol consumption can be a double-edged sword, with the dangers of over-indulgence being all too familiar."

Elderly people are at particular risk for experiencing problems from drinking, such as falls, which can be life-threatening, said Molly V. Wagster of the National Institute on Aging. But Wagster added that the weight of the evidence clearly indicates that moderate alcohol consumption cuts the risk for dementia.

"The preponderance of the observational evidence certainly points in that direction," Wagster said.

The findings suggest that moderate drinking should join the growing list of steps that people can take to try to stave off mental decline, such as getting regular physical exercise and routinely engaging in mentally stimulating activities, Albert said.

"The basic message is, there is a lot we can do to lower our risk for cognitive decline," she said. "I would add having a drink a day to that."

Dumb celebrities....

I was listening to the radio on the way home and the local country station had Billy Currington on because hes playing here tonight. I can't remember if Ive heard any of his songs before, but they played one and it was pretty good, and I was thinking maybe Ill go see him. Then he and the DJ started talking about this video/song he did with Shania Twain, and the DJ asks, "you recorded it in Switzerland right?" This guy, no joke, says, "No, not Switzerland, a town called Geneva. Its about an hour and a half from Switzerland."

Does it say "Babysitter" on my nametag?

When I joined the Navy, I had this image of people like my dad and my grandfathers and other family members who had been officers in the Navy. You know, adults. And I put emphasis on the word adult. Little did I know that I would be dealing with children who do things like this:

This kid bought him self one of those neat knives with three blades that fold into a kind of circular shape, kind of like a ninja star. OK, fine, you might say, so what? Well, this kid lives on board, and put it in his locker. OK, you say, I still dont see the problem. Its locked up. This is contraband on the ship, but thats not even the point. Kid forgets his keys to his locker yesterday and needs the lock cut. Alright, happens all the time, the duty master at arms takes him up and cuts the lock. Locking your locker is required though, and when the berthings are cleaned daily if the cleaners come across an unlocked locker they have been instructed to take everything out of it, bag it up, and put it in a designated room downstairs for safekeeping. You fill in the rest of the story.

Or how about this one. Kid is at a party and decides that the passed out drunk girl in the other room is the perfect person to have sex with. Obviously he didn't ask her permission, she was passed out...

One more for you. Kid is on leave for Christmas visiting his mother and terminally ill father, who, by the way, noone here knew was terminally ill. This kid had negative leave, but his chain of command had worked with him to get him home for Christmas, and even gave him an extra day when he was having trouble gettinr the money from the bank to get his car to come back. This kid decided that since he had no leave he probably wouldn't get to see his family again for a year or so, he should just go ahead and stay home an extra day. So he did. No calls, no nothing. Just didn't come back, and then lied about when he did.

I could go on forever. Each of these incidents has happened in the last 4 weeks. None of the above kids is older than 20, which is really not that much younger than me. But it sure does feel it. I guess because I had only dealt with officers before I had no idea. Goes back to the whole generation gap/lack of discipline thing. Half of the kids that come straight in the Navy have never been disciplined, have never been away from Mommy and Daddy, and with this kinder gentler Navy had a cake walk through boot camp.

My CO has this nametag for his SWO Sweater that has his name and rank just like normal and then under says "SURFACE WARRIOR." I think Im gonna get one that says "BABYSITTER."

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Everything smells like Bourbon Street!

A little over a year ago when Melanie told me that she was getting married in New Orleans this January I told her I would go UA before I would miss it. You don't spend four years living with someone, at the Naval Academy no less, and then just not show up to their wedding. When she told me a couple weeks later that she had gotten married already but that they would still be having the party, I told her that I would still go UA before I would miss it. I mean, I would not have made it through those four years without her, a sentiment that made me cry each time I said it at the party- her family was telling me the same thing about her. I am so glad I did. One thing you have to understand about Melanie is that she comes from a very crazy and very large family- her parents are each on their third spouses. This party included almost all of them. Her Mom, ex-stepdad (and more of his family than any other), and current stepdad, and her dad and his current wife and their 3 year old son, as well as family members of all. And all of these people, all differences aside, were there for one reason- they all love Mel. It amazes some people, but because I know her so well and know how she is, it would amaze me if they didn't feel that way. She is not someone you forget easily, and is a very easy person to love. So I wish Mel and Shane the absolute best, because she deserves it more than anyone I know.

I opened up my suitcase last night when I got back, and suddenly my room was filled with this funk. Made me glad my roommate can't smell, because there are very few smells quite like that of Bourbon Street. I didnt really even spend that much time there, but it doesn't take much...

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

35 more days...

Right now Im at work and I have nothing to do. How, you might ask, is this any different than any other day? Well, its not really. Except that today it got a little twist. The day after a duty day is always long, especially when you are trying to leave and can't. But today was further enhanced by my friend Chad who, at 452 this morning on his way to the gym, decided that since he was awake I should be too. Umm, wrong answer. I usually get to sleep a little later on duty days since I dont have to drive in. It would have been OK, I could have gone right back to sleep after the little beep letting me know I had a text message, but waking up also made me realize that it was freezing on the barge. Luckily I had no further blankets/sweaters/warmth of any kind. And, finally, to make matters worse, anyone who has ever been on a Navy ship and drinks coffee knows that, especially inport, mess decks coffee leaves a little something to be desired. Youd think with the number of people on a ship who drink coffee we would have gotten the art of making it down, but it seems as though no matter what, its always the kid that doesnt drink coffee that gets assigned coffee making duties in the mornings. Id rather go without than drink some of that. Then, sitting here a little while ago complaining to Chad about the whole chain of events that he started, I had another thought- does that make me a coffee snob??

Laissez les bons-temps roulez!

This weekend I am heading down to New Orleans to see my roommate from the Naval Academy, Melanie, for the first time in almost 2 1/2 years. A lot has happened to both of us in that time: Mel went off to flight school, got engaged to Shane, who she had been dating since our sophomore year, got married to Shane soon after, got her wings, moved to Oklahoma... I have gone to SWOS, gotten to the ship, done a 7 month deployment complete with workups and SWO board, and now am about to transfer again. Thats a lot. But one thing hasnt changed, and thats the fact that when I see her this weekend, its going to be just like old times. Except for the whole married part. I was thinking about this as I was reading the comments on some of my other posts, and I was re-reading my post yesterday about marriage. The real reason for the trip this weekend was supposed to be for Mel and Shane's wedding. As I said before, theyre already married. The wedding ended up being slightly sooner and slightly more private (like justice of the peace private) to facilitate military co-location, so instead of having another wedding, they decided to keep the original date and let everyone come down to New Orleans, Mel's home town, and celebrate the first year of their marriage with them. What a neat idea. It makes me feel better about the whole thing yesterday- yes, there are plenty of people out there who actually do get married because they like each other, and want to share it with the people they care most about. And what better way to share that love than to offer up a weekend of rock star partying in one of the greatest party cities in the world?

Monday, January 10, 2005

Military Rules for Non-Military Personnel

My dad sent me this in an email right before the Iraq war 2 years ago (wow has it already been that long??) and I have decided that it needs a rebirth.


Dear Civilians,

We know that the current state of affairs in our great nation have many civilians up in arms and excited to join the military. For those of you who can't join, you can still lend a hand. Here are a few of the areas we would like your assistance with:

1. The next time you see an adult talking during the playing of the National Anthem ... kick their ass.

2. When you witness firsthand someone burning the American Flag in protest... kick their ass.

3. Regardless of the rank they held while they served, pay the highest amount of respect to all veterans. If you see anyone doing otherwise, quietly pull them aside and explain how these Veterans fought for the very freedom they bask in every second. Enlighten them on the many sacrifices these Veterans made to make this Nation great. Then hold them down while a Disabled Veteran kicks their ass.

4. If you were never in the military, DO NOT pretend that you were. Wearing battle dress uniforms (BDU's), telling others that you used to be "Special Forces," and collecting GI Joe memorabilia might have been okay if you were still seven. Now, it will only make you look stupid and get your ass kicked.

5. If you witness someone calling an enlisted Marine "Sir," stand back...a Marine will kick their ass.

6. Next time you come across an Air Force member, do not ask them, "Doyou fly a jet?" Not everyone in the Air Force is a pilot. Such ignorance deserves an ass kickin (children are exempt).

7. Roseanne Barr's singing of the National Anthem is not a blooper was a disgrace and disrespectful. Laugh, and sooner or later your ass will be kicked.

8. Next time Old Glory prances by during a parade, get on your damn feet and pay homage to her by placing your hand over your heart. Quietly thank the military member or veteran lucky enough to be carrying her .....ofcourse, failure to do either of those could earn you a severe ass kicking.

9. What Jane Fonda did during the Vietnam War makes her the enemy. The proper word to describe her is "traitor." Just mention her nomination for "Woman of the Year" and get your ass kicked..

10. Don't try to discuss politics with a military member or a veteran. We are Americans and we all bleed the same regardless of our party affiliation. Our Chain of Command is to include our commander in Chief. The President (for those who didn't know) is our CIC regardless of political party.. We have no inside track on what happens inside those big important buildings where all those "representatives" meet. All we know is that when those civilian representatives screw up the situation, they call upon the military to go straighten it out. The military member might direct you to Oliver North. (I can see him kicking your ass already.)

11. "Your moma wears combat boots" never made sense to me ... stop saying it! If she did, she would most likely be a vet and probably kick yourass!

12. Bin Laden and the Taliban are not communists, so stop saying"Let's go kill those Commie's!!!" And stop asking us where he is!!!! Crystal balls are not standard issue in the military. That reminds me ... if you seeanyone calling those damn psychic phone numbers; let me know, so I can go kick their ass.

13. Bus Driver, Jar Head, Grunt, Swabbie, Squid, etc, are terms of endearment we use describing each other. Unless you are a service member or vet, you have not earned the right to use them & could get your ass kicked.

14. Last but not least, whether or not you become a member of the military, support our troops and their families. Every Thanksgiving and religious holiday that you enjoy with family and friends please remember that there are, literally, thousands of troops overseas wishing they could be with their families. Thank God for our military and the sacrifices they make every day.Without them, our country would get its ass kicked.

I see stupid people....

What is it with people who get married and then beat up their spouse, or make false accusations that their spouse beat them up, or call the police every time they have a fight with thier spouse? In my current job as legal officer, I get to deal with every single time something like this happens, and it amazes me how often that actually is. Now, correct me if Im wrong, but doesnt marriage somewhere imply liking, if not (gasp) loving the person that youre marrying? Maybe thats just my old-fashioned-ness shining through, but then again Ive never been married. I know its hard work, and I know that married people fight and argue and all, but come on now people... Am I totally wrong here?

Friday, January 07, 2005

Frivolous Lawsuits... Will it ever end?

Why is it that Americans are so quick to want to sue? It used to be that lawsuits were used to settle civil matters in a fair and impartial way, like where the land boundary was or who got what in a divorce settlement. Now it seems as though every time we turn around we're hearing about someone suing just to make a little money or to make a point. I was driving to work this morning and they always have interesting news tidbits on the Chuck and Jenna show, which I listen to in the mornings to keep me from falling asleep on my way to work. The last one is always the most wierd, obsolete thing they could find, and today it was about this guy that hand-wrote a lawsuit against NBC. He is asking for $2.5 million in damages for pain and suffering caused by an episode of Fear Factor where they put rats in a blender and had the contestants eat them. He says that it made him vomit and become nauseous, lose his balance, and hit his head on a doorway. ARE YOU KIDDING ME ??? CHANGE THE CHANNEL!! I usually never hear about that stuff again, but as Im sitting at work trying to get through yet another duty day with very little to do I came across an article about it in the Washington Post. It even made legitimate news. Here's the link to the article.

When will Americans stop abusing our legal system and let it work for what it's meant to be used? This is worse than the guy suing the owners of a house he broke into because he fell and hurt himself while he was inside. But the worst part of all of this is that people like this are WINNING! Burgler won, McDonald's coffee lady won... it will be interesting to see if Rat Man wins too.