Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Sorry for not blogging for the past few weeks. I have been busy with work and will be posting something tomorrow. GO RED SOX!

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Ralph Peters write some great columns but his writing Parameters are outstanding.
Here is a great look at our foreign policy.

I am still catching up on the lack of sleep from the trip to London get the details and notes straight. Will have a post ASAP!

Friday, September 12, 2003

We are heading to London in a few minutes. Will be taking the train and staying next to Hyde Park. We will be back on Sunday night and will give you all the details. Cheers!

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Sorry for not posting for the past few days. I have been in Manchester and Birkenhead with contractors.

Today is September 11, 2003 and I feel out of it. I am going to visit another contractor in a few minutes, but when I think about what happened two years ago I feel sad and pissed off.

Sad because a few people that my wife and I knew were killed. An old co-worker was died. He worked over at Raytheon and was a good guy. One of the pilots was a member of my fraternity’s alumni group. I meet him once at a family function. You know the type occasion: hi this is my wife, barbeque a hot dog, drink a beer, and play with the kids. My wife lost two co-workers who were flying out west to start the west coast division of her company.

Pissed off, because shit of that scale does not happen over night. A few of OSB boys did not get drunk and say, “dudes, lets blow some shit up tomorrow!” No, the ball was dropped years before. It takes a while to plan, train and put together a logistical network. Targets were scouted, rehearsals were conducted and the operation shop gave it blessing on it.

I have a few friends who are out there defending us and some of them are very dirty in dark parts of the world. God bless you and keep your head low.

Sunday, September 07, 2003

Do you want to know how the US armor forces are dealing with the Faydaheen and leftover Baath irregulars in Iraq? Here is a page from the US Armor Association magazine. You don’t need the media to give you the morning after quarterback analysis, read the playbook.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

I just checked the game results and how can I put this in a politically correct manner: The Red Sox just kicked the sh#$ out of the Yankees! 11-0!! Oh yeah, baby! The bats came alive and bitch slapped Roger “Jabba the Hutt” Clemons! The Sox are only one and a half games from first place in the American League East. Screw the wild card slot. Time to win the AL East! Time for the World Series in Boston!! I am getting NASN tomorrow.
These guys rock and they are from Manchester. I saw them on the television at one of the outdoor festivals. They look like the new big band for the UK. At least they play their own instruments and write their own music. Their new CD sounds great. I hope to see them soon.
It is 12:53, Saturday morning as I am writing this. Pumpkin girl is having a hard time sleeping with her nasty cough and that is why I am staying up late writing.

Some thing weird or odd happened today at work. I am going to be busy next week, traveling to contractors in Manchester, Birkenhead and Swadlincote. While typing on the team master calendar to let my boss know where I will be with contact details, I was filling out the details for my trip to Swadlincote this upcoming Thursday. I realized that Thursday will be the September the 11th.

The first thing that popped in to my head was: where I was when the first plane crashed in to the World Trade Center? I was starting to audit a facility that was making a part of a jet engine that I was making. They had a few problems and we were going to look at their manufacturing quality system, the configuration of the part to the drawing and specifications and to see how they were progressing on fixing the problem.

When we showed up, the Quality Manager, handed me a print out from the CNN web site showing the first plane crashing into the WTC. Don, who was a helicopter crew chief in Vietnam, said something is fishy and Bob, a Production Engineer and former Naval Engineer, said no pilot would have flow into a building, if they had a malfunction, they would try to ditch the airliner into the Hudson River or Atlantic Ocean. It came to my mind and I blurted out, how some Arab radicals, bombed it a few years ago, trying to destroy it. Then Don said “Oh shit, they are going for it again.”

A few years earlier, I was visiting a friend of mine who was still active duty in Special Forces, at Fort Bragg, N.C., and we ended up having a dinner and a few beers with some other friends, who worked for three lettered organizations. The subject floated on to some past bombings that were witnessed. The conclusion was amateurs used single bombs to kill and maim, but professionals use two. The first was use to produce bait, the dead and wounded. The second one is the real punch or as is briefed in the Army, the main effort. It is delivered to produce the main effect: kill the emergency medical personnel, police, firemen, community leadership and to damage or destroy their equipment. Do that a few times and the morale of the populace will sink and the terrorist will achieve their goal.

All of that night at Fayetteville came back to me on the morning of the 11th of September 2001 as we gather around a conference table discuss how we were going to conduct the audit. Right then, I asked the Quality Manager, to check CNN web site. We came back a few minutes later and said it was down, but some of the workers were gathered around portable radios on the plant floor and it was reported another plane hit the other tower of the World Trade Center. Right then I told every body what was said back in Fayetteville a few years back, and a some people looked at me like I was a mad man. The former military people, Don, Bob and a couple of others said I was right, and were wondering what other place would be hit next.

I got on phone to call my wife, who was literally a thousand miles away, and told her I was all right. Then I called my boss told him I was ok, and then called my Army Reserve unit. The Supply Sergeant answered the phone and I asked him was going on. He said to stay by a phone, because emails, faxes were flying and the secure STU phone in the commander’s office was being set up. I told him that I was on the road for work and he said I should head home ASAP.

After that, we started the audit, but nobody had their heart into it. We were all more concerned for our families, friends and country. Word got around that all the skies were cleared of airplanes. Nothing was flying. Somebody brought a TV into the conference room; I saw that the country was being locked down. I figured that was the safest thing to do. So, Bob and I called the Hertz rental car company and I asked if I could keep my rental car for a few extra days. They were great and said I SHOULD keep it as long as I would need it. No penalties for extra days or miles. Then I said I was going to drive back home to Boston from Madisonville, Kentucky. The lady said no problem. I was greatly relieved. Later that day we wrapped up the audit that would normally take three days to do and the next morning Bob, Don and I started to drive 1300 miles home.

It is 1:58 am and it is time to try to sleep.

Friday, September 05, 2003

It might not be the NFL, but Nottingham does have a football team, the Caesars, and they do know how to play. I wonder if they have pre-game tailgate parties? If not, I might have to help them start a tradition of the pre-game tailgate party!

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Cost of living in the UK: Yesterday I filled the gas tank of my work car and thank God that work pays for it. It cost 42 pounds for 54.6 liters of gas or 78 pence/liter. For those who are not familiar with the metric system or converting pounds to dollars: 66.48 US dollars for 14.2 gallons or 4.61 US dollars per gallon.

For the past five days I have been home taking care of pumpkin girl who caught a nasty virus that made her feel and look pretty bad. Not as bad as one of infected zombies in the movie “Twenty-eight days,” but she did look bad. Guess who caught the bug next? Mummy! So I am nursing two girls. Fun, fun and more fun. I now have the TV show “Balamory” theme song stuck in my head.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

I have never of heard of them before I went on my honeymoon- Travelers. While my wife and I were driving from Dublin Airport to Howth on the Baldoyle Road there was a collection of camper trailers or caravans with literally tons of illegally dumped construction debris and other garbage on the side of it. A woman was burning a pile of rubbish. I was told that they have no fixed address and they do shady or cowboy work on homes. It looked like a scene from a third world country. Then a coworker told me about how travelers trashed a park and descended on the front lawn of a contractor. It took weeks to get rid of them. When you drive around England you see a bar or something that look like a big soccer goal post going across access roads to parks or parking lots, they are there to keep travelers out. Now they have struck in Nottingham.
You think that you have expensive gas prices? While traveling around Southwest Ireland I had to fill up the gas tank of my zippy 1.2 liter VW polo. It cost 29.39 Euros for 35 liters or .83 Euro per liter. That would work out to 32.21 US dollars for 9.24 gallons or 91 cents per liter or 3.78 US dollars per gallon. That was in Kilkenny.
We were on holiday this past week in Southwest Ireland. We saw lots of interesting sights: Kilkenny Castle, Ormonde Castle, Rock of Cashel, Dunmore Cave and the Waterford Crystal. I will tell you more about it later. We stayed at the Moonarch Bed and Breakfast. Margaret Trecy, the host, was brilliant. I highly recommend the place.
Pumpkin girl picked up a nasty cold and fever while visiting a cousin. Now we are nursing her back to health. While driving around we rented a 1.2 liter VW Polo. It was an ok car. The gear box felt a bit stiff and it handled the twisty roads like a shopping cart.

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