Archive for October, 2012

Oct 31 2012

I’m up. He see me. I’m down!

Published by under Comm 300

It was another boring evening in Diwaniyah. It was to dark to play chess and the porn computer was only at its third destination of the night.  Chances were by the time it reached my tent the battery would be dead. Chubby was on fire-watch. Not that I cared. I was tired of her anyway, though I’m sure any of the guys would have gladly traded the computer for her.

Most of them were watching a bootleg DVD someone had bought at the Bazaar. It was the newest Hulk. Supposedly it hadn’t even hit theaters in the U.S. yet. So even though the quality sucked, it was still better than watching Drumline over again.

What only seemed like seconds passed, after I sat down, before a familiar and scary sound whizzed overhead. At first I couldn’t believe.  The war had been over for weeks. But then I remembered that Uday and Qusay had only been dead a few hours. So the town folk were angry and I’m sure the raids of that day hadn’t help matters. Like everyone else, I turned to see where it came from. Horror set in when I looked behind and saw dozens of tracers streaking through the night air.

“Everybody up!” “Flacks and Kevlar’s on!” is all I remember yelling.

As the bullets poured in, I watched as everyone frantically suited up and scrambled for their gear. It was at that very moment too I realized – I had fucked up.

A week prior, one of my Marines had lost his helmet and I had given him one of theirs. My unit was still stationed in Babylon. Yet I had been attached to Task Force Scorpion and moved with a smaller squad to Diwaniyah.  The perks of which included a Pajero and free access to the highways as needed. I didn’t know the Marines at Diwaniyah. They weren’t my friends. Let their NCO’s deal with some boot that lost his helmet. They were careless and sloppy and one of my guys needed it.

But at that very moment, their young, sloppy PFC was standing there in front of me – without his helmet. He was scared shitless and with good reason. I couldn’t let him die it would be on my conscious.

“FUCK!!!” was my only thought.  As I handed him mine.

He looked silly with his little head flopping around inside it, but I didn’t have time to giggle. I gathered everyone in the immediate area into an open-ended container. They were Supply Marines, which meant that even though they were active duty they had no idea about fire-teams or how to use them. Luckily I had a few of my guys with me. I quickly grouped them into squads with one of my own as their leader and sent them into position.

I led my team out last trying to save every precious second of my life that I could.  I felt like a 14-point buck running through the cornfields during hunting season. I was a running bulls-eye that could be killed with one good shot and it was my fault.

My real unit was safe back in Babylon. It was an allied base now for crying out loud. I could have taken that helmet just before leaving, but I didn’t because I didn’t want “Fish” to get in trouble. How the Iraqis had gotten tracer rounds to gauge their targets, I have no idea. The best part was they were mostly pink ones. Great – killed in action by a pink tracer round. Karma’s a bitch.

The roar of the LAV’s coming to life was a comforting sound. Unfortunately, the whizzing hum and burning flash of the tracers, each getting closer and closer wasn’t. I positioned my team and hit the ground. It seemed like a lifetime until the fireworks ceased and the night air returned to darkness. Thank god the Iraqis never learned to shoot straight. I’m not a badass. I’m just lucky.

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Oct 10 2012

Overindulgence 101

Published by under Comm 300

What happens when you mix two teaspoons of freedom, an ounce of desire to standout, and a pound of invincibility? Unfortunately, more often than not you get a college student in the hospital.  Whether binge drinking, attempting an ill-advised prank, or one of the dozens of other foolish things done by students, the common denominator is self-destruction.

Claire DeRoin first met “Soccer Mom” at a party. Mom was on the floor passed out and had no comment after. Dan Corey is leaving KTIV for greener pastures hopefully. Not wanting to start off on the wrong foot, Corey also declined to share the details of a binge.

Everyone does it. Search any social media site and browse the albums of a friend. There are Youtube videos galore on binges and those who go overboard. Tune into any media today and you’ll see the stereotype of what a college student is supposed to do. Here’s one from Youtube:

College is the place where everyone is figuring himself or herself out.  Some do it in different ways, and sometimes those ways are self-destructive.  Blogger Tomochka asked a classmate about her recently acquired smoking habit to which she replied, “Oh, I do not know. Just wanted to see how it is, to smoke.”

Going to college can be a stressful time so it’s hardly surprising that many students fall victim to self-destructive behavior. Chances are that you or your dorm mates know someone who has engaged in some sort of negative behavior, especially after midterms or finals where stress levels are at their peaks.

Dr. James Golden, addiction medicine physician at the Betty Ford Center says, “The young adult brain continues to develop until approximately age 25. Younger adults have a need to engage in activities with a perceived risk, yet they simultaneously have a decreased ability to control impulses when compared to adults over 25.”

Yet while it can be said, “kids will be kids” when does the fault of poor behavior choices fall into their laps? According to the federal Centers for Disease Control in 2010, “one in four young adults binge drink, i.e., drink four or more alcoholic beverages in the span of a few hours.”

Author Lynn O’shaughnessy lists two trends she believes contribute to self-destructive behavior among students: “First students go off to college having had unprecedented luxuries growing up…Transitioning to a largely unsupervised residence hall just kick starts their desire to live a life like they have seen on MTV and in the popular media.”

The second reason she believes is, “Colleges, in their quest to recruit students, provide accommodations and amenities that are more like cruise ships.”

Like it or not, college-admission officials are fighting back. According to New York City based Kaplan Test Prep the number of colleges using Facebook and other social-networking sites (to learn about applicants) has quadrupled over the past year. In the 2011 survey twelve percent of admissions officers reported discovering underage-drinking photos, vulgarities, and “illegal activities.”

Though not listed in the aforementioned report, the latest craze among students according to Dennis Romero is “butt chugging.”

Romero says, “It hit the headlines late last month after University of Tennessee frat boy Alexander Broughton was hospitalized following and alleged backdoor drinking sesh.”

Tune into any media outlet and you’ll see the stereotype of what a college student is supposed to do. Below is a brief sampling. Remind you of anyone you know?


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Oct 09 2012

This I Believe

Published by under Comm 300

Nothing is more alluring to a Latin woman then a Spanish-speaking white male. I had proven this fact in several quaint Baja towns and after leaving El Farallon that night was proving it again. Prior to heading to my place, we stopped in for a quick bite at a popular Mexican restaurant I frequented. Similar to La Juanita’s here in Sioux City it had great authentic food, but you didn’t want to be there after dark. I was a regular though, so I gave it little thought.

While we sat there enjoying each other’s company a young chunti approached. His eyes were glossed and immediately I could tell he was zooted. He asked if we could talk in the bathroom. I assumed he was angry at the fact a guero had stolen one of their own. But I was a young brash Marine fresh out of MCMAP training and he was coked-out. What did I have to lose?

Reassuring my companion that I’d return shortly, I obliged and followed him in. I wasn’t surprised when he asked if I’d like to buy cocaine and simply smiled, refused, and excused myself.  Yet to my surprise and dismay a nearby stall opened and four other chuntis emerged. My heart raced and limbs shook as the cold steel I felt beneath my chin began choking me. I recall the feeling as one tried to remove my watch and others began searching my pockets. “Fuck it,” I thought – “if I’m going to die then I’m going out swinging.”

I clenched my fists. Yet just as quickly felt the snap of the trigger in my throat. I wasn’t dead. “It isn’t loaded” was my only thought. Fighting my way out of the bathroom and into the dining area I could hear myself screaming, “Call 911” “Call 911.”

The sound of my cries or more likely the fear of prison caused four of them to immediately flee the scene. The owner of the gun knew his fate was sealed though, so he continued to fight at first. Yet reality set in and he headed for the door. The cops wouldn’t arrive soon enough to catch them, so I followed in pursuit knowing that a license plate number and escape direction would be helpful.

He turned to me and again pointed his unloaded gun and pulled the trigger. The muzzle flash and whizzing sound at my ear stopped me dead in my tracks. I turned as if in a dream and stood there as the glass cracked around the fresh bullet hole.

There is a God –This I believe.

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Oct 03 2012


Published by under Uncategorized

After watching Gattaca, famous movie critics Siskel and Ebert proclaimed it, “one of the smartest and most provocative of science fiction films.”

Both men also noted that the film was, “a thriller with ideas,” bestowing it with their coveted two thumbs up. After watching Gattaca, I couldn’t agree more.

Set sometime in the near future, the sci-fi thriller Gattaca stars Ethan Hawke as Vincent Freeman, a “Godchild” (or natural birth) whose only goal is space travel. Unfortunately for him as a Godchild or “In-Valid” he is a genetically inferior man in a society where the prerequisite for such a mission is perfection. His limitations prohibit him from service at the astronaut-training program  “Gattaca” in any capacity except cleaning it. Yet by assuming the identity of Jerome Marrow (Jude Law), and his second to none genetic profile, Vincent’s deception and persistence lead him to the cusp of his dream – a manned mission to the moon of Saturn.

As luck would have it though, a week prior to launch a murder investigation marks Vincent as the prime suspect. What’s more, the lead investigator in the case as well as Vincent’s alluring colleague may know more about him than we think. The question thus lingers if Vincent will fall from his so-called “borrowed ladder?”

Directed by Andrew Niccol and released in 1997, this PG-13 tale keeps you on the edge of your seat. More notable than the plot itself is the films star-studded cast. Throughout the story I caught myself trying to recollect where I had seen several of the actors and actresses prior. Films like Billy Madison and television shows like Monk immediately came to mind. If pop culture is your thing, then definitely try and place this cast with their other “claims to fame” and see how many you can guess.

Notwithstanding, I enjoyed the flow and suspense of the film, which never ran off course and always kept me engaged. Though I’m not generally a fan of the science fiction genre I found Gattaca extremely compelling. The genetic science in Gattaca is probably possible by today’s standards and it got me thinking. If parents could order perfect babies would they or more importantly should they?

After some brief searching on that question I found several had opinions on the matter. even wrote, “ Imagine a society where everyone is more intelligent and healthier than you. Imagine a society where your genetic makeup—engineered or natural—determines the job for which you are eligible, whether or not you can be insured, and who associates with you.”

It does get you thinking about the possibilities of such a choice and the medical ethics that coincide. Fortunately for us, life (in this case) has yet to imitate art – or at least we hope.

Three and half stars. Worth the time to watch.

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