Monthly Archives: March 2013

Thank god military tuition assistance is safe … meanwhile in Afghanistan.


I don’t know if you’ve been following the recent issue with the Department of Defenses’ decision (since overturned by congress) to possibly suspend service member’s tuition assistance.

If you haven’t, here is a synopsis provided by a guy who has had a few beers.

The government told the Department of Defense to cut XXX-percent of its budget and the DOD made plans to cut that percent. One of things that the DOD decided to cut was “free college,” or in more recognizable terms, tuition assistance.

After that decision was made a lot of service members lost their minds and cried.

dollars

Look, who wouldn’t want more free money? (Photo credit: Tddy)

They cried a lot. They cried on Facebook. They cried on Twitter. They cried on the internet in general. They cried to the media and they cried to their elected officials. Their tears were so great that the decision was reversed and their collective cheeks were dried with soft, fluffy tuition-assistance dollars.

So in its place, something else was cut. It was training. Training dollars in the U.S. Military have gone to shit.  If you weren’t deploying in support of Afghanistan (or even if you were – read on!) we have left our military with enough training funds to draw shit on a dry-erase board and call it training.

While those service members safe at home protested the cutting of tuition assistance, those same monetary worries might actually force their comrades-in-arms to remain in theater past their scheduled redeployment date.

To be clear, according to the Washington Post, “Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army’s chief of staff, recently warned that the cuts may curtail training for 80 percent of ground forces, including some in the deployment pipeline, forcing him to extend the deployments of troops already in Afghanistan.”

Did you get that?

“Forcing him to extend the deployments of troops already in Afghanistan,” remains an option, but because “Sgt. Smith” yelled loudly enough that tuition assistance became the news story of the day.

Where was the outcry for slashing the training budget?  Where was the Facebook rage at that possibility?

There was none. The very service members who should have heard that and offered up their tuition assistance as a way to offset training costs, remained oddly silent.

“Hey, I got mine,” right?

Overnight, the training budget went from fully funded to I’ll pay you tomorrow for a hit off the crack pipe today. Instead of training on how to be a military, the training dollars just fucking left the building and no one noticed.

Much like the National Guard Cpl. (and convicted criminal) Jesse Thorsen who intentionally wore his uniform to a political rally, some of today’s military members have to remember it’s not about them individually, it’s about the unit as a whole.  Readiness really doesn’t suffer when school funds dry up. But when there aren’t enough funds to buy bullets for the rifle range, it’s a real fucking problem.

I retired from active duty service in 2009. I served a tour in Iraq and another in Afghanistan. I remember the lean days of military funding during the ’90s and recall that money tends to fall from the sky when the military is at war, but is a scares commodity in times of peace.

That’s as it should be. If the nation as a whole is asking its service members to serve in harm’s way then the nation has an obligation to ensure that every resource is spent making certain service members are safe, well supplied and well trained.

To my mind, tuition assistance is nice, but it doesn’t really fall into any of those aforementioned categories. College classes are nice, but they do little to ensure you and your battle buddy come home safe from a war zone.

In times of peace, the nation, rightfully, expects the budget of the U.S. Military to shrink.

I’m not saying that the federal gun to the military’s head demand that they “lose

A Headquarters and Headquarters Troop , 6th Sq...

What do you mean we’re out of bullets? (Photo credit: U.S. Army)

$46 billion dollars,” right now, is the best way to go about reducing defense spending. I am saying that these cuts were visible on September 12, 2001.   Anyone who thought the spending could go on, and on, and on just wasn’t paying attention.

Tuition assistance is exactly one of the first things you cut when faced with  budgetary reductions during a war and attempting to prepare for tomorrow’s fight. Tuition Assistance is a ‘nice to have’ benefit, but it’s in no way an entitlement. An entitlement is decent body armor, a weapon your trained to shoot or a medic who knows what the hell they’re doing.  Those my friends are entitlements.

I know, I know.  Tuition assistance only costs the military $300-400 million and that’s a percentage of $43 billion that someone who is good at math will have to tell us. I’d counter with — that money is coming out of somewhere else now that your bachelor-degree funding is secured.

That cash would buy a lot of bullets for a rifle range, pay for a lot of fuel during a training exercise, fund a lot of medic training, and in short, save lives the next time we ask you to go into harm’s way.

But degrees are important too …

If someone doesn’t give me a cigarette right now I’m going to blog …


Hi!

How are you?

You’re good?

That’s great!

You know what?

I really, really want to stab you in the head right now. I don’t even care who you are. I want to find a sharp object and just ram it into your head in a stabbing motion over and over. Maybe through your eye. I don’t know. I just want to stab you … in the head. Call me Mr. Mcstabby because I really, really feel like stabbing you in the head.

Shocked? Well here’s another for ya. I’ve quit smoking. AGAIN. It’s been 48 hours, 45 minutes and 38 seconds since my last cigarette and I’m not happy about that at all.

its hard keeping this one on one hand and the ...

This image is making me (more) insane. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m chewing a plastic straw, I have a supply of gum that would make any child envious and I am basically going bat-shit fucking insane right now.

Fuck, I need a cigarette!

Please don’t chime in with comments like, “I know you can do it!” or “Great job!” Fuck. OFF. Any of that shit gets posted to the comments and I will seriously track you down and kill you. I’ll also buy a pack of cigarettes afterwards and smoke and smoke and smoke, all the while flicking ashes onto your still-warm corpse.

So, don’t do that.

I’ve been down this road before.

“Quitting smoking is easy, I’ve done it a thousand times,” said Mark Twain, and fuck him, he’s a real asshole, you know? This is attempt number four by my count and attempt number 8 million by the wife’s.

She’s a real “counter” with shit like this.

“It’s not that I don’t believe you’ll quit, Todd, but remember that time you drank 87 beers, swore you were going to and threw all your cigarettes in the toilet? And then remember how the next morning you went to the store so hungover you forgot to pants on and bought a new pack?”

Yes, dear, I do remember that.  I honestly tried to block that memory, but now, thankfully, you’ve brought it rushing back. Reminding me of previous failures at life is likely exactly what I need right now.

So, there’s that.

If this whole update seems disjointed in any way just let me know, I’ll mail you your own box of dicks.

It IS disjointed. I know that, of course. It’s because of the quitting smoking or something.

The bitch about quitting smoking (and I know it’s different for everyone), isn’t the withdrawal. The physical aspect of that is gone in a few days.

For me, the worst part is the little ways in which your brain absolutely fucks with you throughout the day.

You're so damn bossy, U.S.www.howtoquitsmokingfree.com

You’re so damn bossy, U.S.
http://www.howtoquitsmokingfree.com

Did you just wake up? It’s time for a smoke.

Just get into the car? It’s time for a smoke.

Just get out of a meeting? It’s time for a smoke.

Want to kill five minutes? It’s time for a smoke.

You can prepare yourself to fight the urge to smoke after a meal. That’s the easy part. But its the unconscious urges you can’t plan for. like when you’re alone in the car and at exactly 3:17 p.m. you brain says, “Hey, buddy, grab those smokes off the passenger seat and light one up, OK?” The suggestion is so subtle, the brain is such a fucking saboteur, that my hand is on the seat searching through used gum wrappers and my lips are pursed before I realize what’s happening.

“No brain you fucker! Bad brain! Bad, bad brain! Shit!”

I don’t know how to explain it to a non-smoker any better than that really.

It’s when you least expect it that some part of your mind says to you, “Hey lets go have a cigarette,” an activity that you actually enjoy. So, the response is natural and pure, and for a split second, you’re a smoker again because right before you catch yourself part of you says, “Yes, we will go have a cigarette!”

That part of your brain is a complete asshole.

I know that shit stops eventually. Statistics show that after like 5 million years as a non-smoker your brain says, “Well, fuck it. I guess he’s not going to fall for that shit anymore,” and it gives up. But we’re not there yet. Right now it’s fucking annoying as shit.

And, during this latest smoking-cessation attempt, I’ve noticed a new little side affect that hadn’t been part of my previous failures. I’m sweating like a motherfucker! It’s gross. I would submit, it’s grosser than smelling like cigarette smoke. To prove that point, smell me now and then let me go have a quick one (Smoke ’em if ya got ’em!) and smell me again. Oh, I was wrong, you say. Well, fuck you very much.

I’ve quit smoking for substantial periods of time before (like when I was pregnant and in basic training – baha!) and I really don’t remember this flood of smelly flop sweat. When the fuck did that become a thing?

Quitting sucks, don’t be a quitter.

Damn you jailbroke Apple TV: I have few morals, I have fewer morals now


Broken iPhone 4

Turns out this is not what jailbroke means (Photo credit: DaveOnFlickr)

One of the joys of being in Europe, besides all the castles and shit, was the military-run American Forces Network.   AFN offers troops overseas American television.

Everyone likes to make fun of AFN commercials because they suck. But I find  AFN’s programming hysterical. It’s a collection of the “most popular” shows on television in the U.S, and if you’ve been paying attention, you’ve noted that most of the popular TV sucks. The fact that it all sucks was never truer than right now. It’s all Survivor, American Idol and Two and a Half Men (Two and a Half Men makes my skin crawl, not that anyone asked. – Editor).  Sure AFN has its moments, but those moments only come on Sunday afternoon when the news talk shows air, or in the early morning when I’m getting a look at yesterday’s evening news cast (made completely irrelevant by the internet).

But AFN’s one redeeming quality was that is distracted my wife. It allure was so strong it could draw her fine ass onto the couch (and out of my face) because, “Oh my God, The Voice is about to come on!”

When that happened I wasn’t required participate in anyting. Not a damned thing! She would watch, “shit TV for $400, Alex,” and I was free to do whatever I wanted.

I used this time of course to earn my first of many master’s degrees in “fuckoffery.” I achieved like level 40 million in “World of Wardork”, surfed every porn site that has ever existed, and started this blog.

Time well spent, in other words.

All that was only achievable because AFN aired everything I had no desire to watch. I would not be watching any of it with my wife and she knew it. Hell, I think AFN knew it – or should have because I sent them weekly emails thanking them for their fine lineup.

There are television shows on the planet I will watch, but they just aren’t on AFN. (Every time I return to the U.S., that harlot, “On Demand,” calls to me like the filthy vixen she is. Nazi Germany’s Lost Treasures, is on? Sign me up! Nova’s latest special about planets?  Let’s watch that!) I can be a TV junkie, I just don’t want to be, and here in Europe it used to be very easy to just say no.

This “agreement” between the wife and I was rock solid for 10 years. That’s like a decade or something.

I now consider that the “Golden Age” of our TV relationship.

Because along came an evil, vile, disgusting device by Apple known as Apple TV. I know, I know — all Apple products are fucking vile — but Apple TV is a special kind of hell. It has tons of shows on it that my wife knows I’ll watch. All she has to do is buy them and bam, my ass is on the couch with her. That damned TV was preventing me from doing really awesome things like internet-boobie surfing, and turned me into a banana slug on the couch. There is no way out. I’m screwed.

And then, Apple TV and its seemingly endless programs revealed its silver lining — it costs money.

You see, for years I’ve been grilled about my unapproved purchases (because those fucking things show up on the goddamn secret-spilling credit card statement).

Shortly after Apple TV’s introduction into the house, and after hours of balls-to-the-wall marathon TV viewing, the bill came in. The wife was mortified.

This was a gift of immeasurable worth.

Potato Head - Couch Potato : )

Potato Head – Couch Potato : ) (Photo credit: oddsock)

That little detail meant I would only occasionally be sucked onto the couch. AND, if she was willy nilly spending our cash on TV programs, then what leg did she have to stand on when an unapproved .99 cent purchase of “California Gurls” showed up on the credit card statement? IT WAS BEAUTIFUL!.

Until some fucker at her office got a bright idea and told her about jailbreaking.

I’m sure some greasy co-worker, wearing only a trench coat, approached her in the parking lot as she left one evening.

“Psst! Hey you want free TV? I can get you free TV. It’s good too. Don’t worry you won’t get addicted. Just try it. It’s OK. It’s not stealing because we’re in Germany.  Just try it…  Take a gander at my willy.”

When she told me about it, my heart sank. I was back to being screwed.

And then I had a brilliant idea. We all know I’m basically a piece of shit. I swill beer, make shitty jokes about women, smoke like a fiend and have the kind of morals a real-life pirate would question. But when I take a stand on an issue, I pretend it’s something I really believe in. One of those issues is piracy. (No, I don’t mean the pirates two sentences back, I mean stealing intellectual property on the internet – but real pirates are also bad.)

When the suggestion that we get a jailbroken Apple TV was made we had friends  over, so what better time to get out the moral soap box, right?

Break out the soap box I did.

“Piracy is bad because blah, and artists deserve blah, blah and further NPR has said blah and then there is blah!” I ranted like only a drunken, albeit morally corrupt drunk, can.

I went on an antipiracy tirade that would have made Madonna and Metallica weep tears of joy.  Our guests had befuddled looks on their faces that said, “This is what you hang your moral hat on? You told me personally that you’d kick a puppy for $20.”

Yet, take a stand I did, until my shitty morals were kicked in the nuts by a jailbroke Apple TV and I crumpled like a 3-year old presented with candy.

One of my wife’s criminal cock-blocking co-workers, between flashing his weiner and robbing little-old ladies, loaned her a jailbroke Apple TV for a week.

I haven’t seen a fucking Apple TV bill at all this week. I have seen “The Hobbit” (a clearly pirated copy I might add) and mostly my wife has shut the fuck up.

So besides folding on my bendy-straw flimsy, moral high ground, I’ve lost something else. I’ve lost the ability to say, “No this program on TV doesn’t interest me at all, honey, please enjoy it while I surf the breasts, er ‘net.”

Because everything in the universe is on this device, she’s guaranteed to find something that will make me go, “Yes! Yes I DO want to watch that with you. Cue that shit up honey, I’ll get the popcorn,” and I’m not very happy about it.

I should write something for the blog but, “HOLY FUCK EVERY EPISODE OF TOP GEAR IS HERE RIGHT NOW” or, as it actually happened this weekend, “Todd, do you want to watch The Hobbit?”

Yes, yes I do. More than I want to do anything else ever in my life, honey!

If I’m not back in a few days someone, someone PLEASE call the police because even if a jailbroke Apple TV is not illegal I need Frodo Baggins to take ours and toss that shit into Mount Doom.

I’d write more, but fuck, there’s a lot of TV to watch.

Hey, can you Google that for me? Thanks …


Hey does anyone know the number for the take-out place down the road? No? Fuck. Maybe you know the movie schedule for Friday? Perhaps someone would be kind enough to answer for me what “Google” is, or better yet, tell my fucking wife.

Pardon that rude introduction to this blog. It was rude only because I’m at my wits end. Some of you, well a few of you anyway – OK, probably none of you – have to deal on a daily basis with a technophobe. If I’m somehow mistaken and you do have a spouse like mine, you have my sympathy and we should start a support group.

Hello, my name is Beers and my significant other thinks Tumblr is used for drying the laundry.

It’s fucking driving me insane.

As some of you remember, I bought my wife an iPhone 5 and WOW was she excited. Her old phone was manufactured by cavemen, had a battery life measured in seconds and weighed as much as the Apollo 9 space capsule. The new phone has unlimited calls and text messages to the U.S. and that shit excites her. She and her daughter can be “Chatty Cathys” all the live-long day and that’s “fucking awesome,” I’m told.

Seriously, with what is arguably one of the best smart phones on the planet today, she’s still no technically wiser than understanding that ; plus ) equals a winky face.

I had to explain what ROTFL meant to her yesterday. If you don’t know what that means than please leave the internet right now.

I recently received the following “instant message” from my wife Picture1

“Can you look up the community bank hours and tell me when they open?”

Now I shouldn’t bitch, prior to the iPhone purchase the concept of an IM would have been the equivalent of landing a man on the sun for her. Text messages were what all those damned kids were doing to “sex-up all their friends” on Friendster and MySpace. So the very fact that she can now text at all is a vast, vast improvement.

But for fuck’s sake, that message was 14 words long. By simply opening whatever shitty browser Apple shoves down our collective throats and typing “community bank hours (city name)” into the fucking search bar the answer would’ve magically appeared. When I suggested that the aforementioned method is really faster than asking me to do it (on an inferior phone, no less), I’m accused of being an asshole.

The emoticon that would convey the eye roll I just did doesn’t exist. It will never exist. It cannot exist. It was an epic eye roll.

This is the second example.

During a brief period of unemployment after retiring from the U.S. Army in 2009 my wife became acquainted with Facebook. I was proud of her. She never once sent me a Farmville request to water her marijuana plants or whatever the fuck it is Farmville players do, but rather made a few witty comments here and there and did the general shit we all do on Facebook. “So glad you had a good birthday,” and “the baby looks so cute” or the occasional, “Sorry about the penis cancer.” I mean, she got it. She avoided the bullshit that we’ve all occasionally succumbed to on Facebook. You know what I mean — click here to see who unfriended you (you fuckers), find out about the 18+ Facebook, and grow a larger penis in just two weeks — the type of crap we’ve all clicked on. You’ve clicked on that shit too, right? I’ll just assume you have.

Anyway, she picked up a job a few short weeks later and from then on Facebook could go fuck itself. Her hours of free time shrunk back to normal and Facebook died when matched against her desire to watch American Idol.

Fast forward to the new iPhone 5 purchase and the installation of the Facebook app. Just days after its purchase I get a concerned look from my wife.

“Honey, can I talk to you,” she asked almost in tears. “Why are so many people mad at me on Facebook? Why are they posting mean things about me, about me being negative and mean?”

This weird question, and you’re all thinking the same thing, is the equivalent of her asking me why dinosaurs had sex with Elvis Presley on the White House lawn. I mean, she hadn’t been on Facebook for more than four years if you discount the occasional quick check to make sure I wasn’t posting photos of my testicles willy-nilly.

I looked at her with confusion. I didn’t really check her status that much anymore because her last update was literally July 16, 2010. She’s my wife on Facebook and, this is the odd part, also in real life. I get notified when she farts on Facebook. Who the fuck was saying negative shit about her? I was failing miserably as a husband for not bringing to bear my considerable 74 Facebook friends to e-beat the fuck out of whoever the fucktard was that was talking shit about my wife on Facebook!

Still though, it made no sense. In order to have an interaction on Facebook you have to, well, interact on Facebook. As a guy who’s been called an asshole many, many times on Facebook, trust me, I know this fact.

“Honey, show me what you mean,” I finally said.

Yep.  It's personal.
Yep. It’s personal.

She pulled out her phone, opened the Facebook app and showed me. I know I didn’t laugh, but I kind of chucked a bit.

You know all that shit you (we) all post? The meme’s about, “If all you have are negative people in your life blah, blah?” or “Mean people are <insert retarded Facebook meme here>”? She — I’m not kidding — literally thought people were posting that about her. It was just her normal Facebook feed.

I don’t know if I should laugh or cry …

I’ll just have another beer.

Thora’s back: Don’t wag your weenie and for gawd’s sake, take your f’ing socks off


I’ve graciously been asked back to share more of my acerbic wit and nonsensical wisdom. Last time I wrote about my adventures in online dating. I’m still out there. More awkward shouldIshakeorshouldIhug introductions, more mental wanderings over cocktails (“Oh, this man is never gonna see my hooha.”), more work/family/history statistics — so much so that I feel like I should just get a baseball card made up showing my “stats.” (Actually, that’s not a bad idea and I think I could make ‘em pretty too. What font should I use for “child of divorce?”)

But, on topic, I know my time is coming. I will look into that face, hold that sweaty palm and think, “Yep, I could probably put up with this guy.” And then I will pass him “The List.” The list of things men should never do. Not comprehensive, of course, and liable to change with any of my moods.

Do Not:

See how much more attractive naked men are sans socks? Perhaps., Dennis Rodman wasn’t the right example.

— Wear socks if you do not have on pants and underwear. If your penis is visible, your feet should be uncovered. This is a sure libido killer for women. Have you looked at yourself in the mirror? Would you want to sleep with you? No. “My feet are cold,” boo-flippin’-hoo. I don’t care about your comfort, I want you to look like a strong, virile caveman who is about to ravage me. A naked man wearing dingy white socks or faded misshapen trouser socks only underscores the fact that I’m settling.

Naked + Socks = gross. Dennis Rodman + Basketball = who cares. It's a naked Dennis Rodman holding a basketball over his junk.

Naked + Socks = gross. Dennis Rodman + Basketball = who cares. It’s a naked Dennis Rodman holding a basketball over his junk. (photo credit: sports.espn.go.com)

— Dance naked. Ever. Unless you are Channing Tatum.

— Shake your willy at your fair maiden. This is mostly related to the last bullet but it stands on its own as well (ba-da-bing, ay-oooh!). Not funny. Not charming. But if you want your woman laughing at your dingle dangle, then by all means — who am I to judge?

— I know Had a Few Beers has a strong attachment to all things mammary and I have no qualms about that, however… some men also think boobies are funny. Never, ever, ever honk a boob. Even the most well-heeled, sophisticated, smooth man will revert to junior high and honk a boob. It may be years in coming but, invariably, they do. Don’t.

Honk if you like boobs!

Honk if you like boobs!

— Lastly, this isn’t bedroom related but it is a troubling trend I see. A bald man sporting a beard. This leaves the sideburns looking like socks with no pants. If there is no hair on your head, you cannot have a beard. You can have a ‘stache, you can have a goatee, you can have a Fu Manchu (I don’t know why you’d want one but whatevs) but, by god man, ditch the beard.

There are more rules, but they aren’t for mixed company or black and white. Well, more the black-and-white thing. And sober. They can’t be told sober. And we have to avoid eye contact afterward.

(Beers: You know Thor, if we ever meet again I’m totally honking your boob)