Thursday, July 21, 2011

July News

It's hot! One day I'll find my way back to the Pacific Northwest, where it's not so oppressively hot in the summer. After a very enjoyable visit with my family in Mobile, I had more than a week off before qualifying with my M9 for WSI, followed the next day by battle assembly ("drill") with my unit. Monday I took my annual PT test with WSI and dutifully performed three days of annual training, and now I'm back. It's also great to be back training with my Bujinkan class near Fort Myer.

Saturday I finished another John Ringo book, Eye of the Storm. When I went to Afghanistan, I devoured the first four of the Posleen War series (which tell a complete story) in early 2007 as I sat out in the boonies of Afghanistan on a tiny firebase with a handful of SF guys and 4 other mortarmen. These books are an incredible, fast-paced, well-written 4-parter. I mentioned on my blog trying to read with night vision- unsuccessfully- and John even commented, asking if I'd like a larger-print version. Ringo is still one of my very favorite authors, along with pal Larry Correia, for not only the stellar first four books he wrote, but for other superior writing since.

John's stuff is incredibly entertaining, with (usually) solid story lines, plot twists, enjoyable characters, and tons of action. He does have a few...quirks, though. Based on his writing, it's easy to believe John is a bit of a perv. Also, John sometimes obviously wants to create a character or situation that's really fricking cool, man! Sometimes those things may work, and sometimes...An example is the Des Moines. She is a warship that has bonded with its artificial intelligence computer- and fallen in love with the captain. So she cloned a body from cells of a deceased movie starlet who played Daisy Mae. Daisy Mae/Des Moines is a single entity who feels and controls what happens in the ship and in her physical body, which must remain close to the ship.

Eye of the Storm is full of John's usual skillful writing, though he does tend to sometimes use translations of ethnic insults that just as we read them. In English. John also seems to have created the Ultimate Bad Guys for this book. Because they're bad, and they look horrendous, and they can USE THE FORCE. No, really. John has characters who use The Force, only he calls it something else than The Force, because aliens had it first, and they don't speak English on their planet. Also, George Lucas could sue. It's still The Force, though, and despite some attempt at a scientific explanation for it, well, it's still magic.

Regardless of potential distractors, Eye of the Storm is a solid, very enjoyable read. I give it a 3.5/5 stars.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

News Flash!

The U.S economy in such bad shape, Mexicans are staying home.

In all seriousness, a series of factors seem to be involved in the decrease of illegal Mexican-U.S. immigration:

o Poor US economy
o Increased criminal penalties
o Improving Mexican economy
o Ease of legal immigration to U.S.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

More Cigars and Troops

Thanks to all of you who were able to help a few months ago when I was sending some cigars to members of my old unit who are deployed to Afghanistan. I received a very nice card signed by about a platoon's worth of troops (and it is VERY hard to assemble that many for a non-mission function in a war zone!).

If anyone would like to send some more, JRCigars is having $.99 shipping for the month of July. A 12-pack of JR Special Corona #5s, a cheap cigar cutter, and a small humidifier will set you back less than $21. Email for address if you're interested...and it's not a bad deal for everyday cigars for you, either.

Other inexpensive cigars that are favorites of mine are Maria Mancini Robusto Largas and El Rey Del Mundo. Lastly, probably my favorite cigar is the Romeo Y Julieta Reserve Maduro.

Should you decide to enjoy any of these yourself, or purchase them to store and share with guests, remember all cigars benefit from being kept in a moderately moist environment. If you don't have a humidor, an inexpensive humidifier and a small cooler work. I actually use a cheap plastic tool box that I've lined with bamboo skewers.