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Profile Information

Gender: Male
Hometown: Puyallup, Washington
Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 58,574

About Me

I truly believe that we will all live in peace and brotherhood someday. And so that I don't lose my faith in humanity, I will live my life as if that day had already happened.

Journal Archives

Anyone seen 'Fury' yet?

I saw it Friday night. It was a lot more harrowing and bloody than I thought it was going to be. I don't know why I expected that. Nearly every war film in the post-"Saving Private Ryan" era seems to go as far as they can in the direction of nearly unwatchable violence in the name of being 'authentic'. Sometimes, it helps the filmmaker to tell the story better. Oftentimes, though, it seems gratuitous.

'Fury' had a mixture of both, I think.

It seemed to be a pretty good primer for tank warfare. Although my Gulf War tank unit never got into actual combat, a lot of the nuts-and-bolts details of life on a tank and with tankers were fairly accurate. One thing that definitely rang true was the bickering and animosity that can exist between crewmen on the same tank. The rigors of combat aren't solely to blame for this. We have been trained by Band Of Brothers, and other intense filmed stories about soldiers about the bond that grows between fighting men. Talking-head interviews with veterans almost always include a recitation of the love that they grew to feel for their comrades, and that it often surpassed familial levels. And while that is undoubtedly true, the petty squabbling and enmity that often occur between combat soldiers is often omitted. I was on a four-man M1A1 Abrams tank crew. And none of us liked each other very much. On-duty communication was mostly limited to purely business tanker lingo. And off-duty, each of us went somewhere and did our own thing without the others. My tank commander respected my abilities, but he didn't like me personally; those feelings were reciprocated.

I actually got along with our gunner. We would exchange jokes every now and then. But we had nothing in common, and he could be unpredictable. One minute, laughing and joking, the next, irritable and nasty.

And our driver - the less said about him, the better. He was poorly trained, indifferently motivated, and had no interpersonal skills of any kind.

Brad Pitt did fairly well in his role, I think. I don't know if moral ambiguity is easy or difficult to portray on film. But Pitt is good at it. He's had a lot of experience.

Shia LaBeouf was a pleasant surprise. I guess someone finally convinced him to stop being a douche and just act. And he acted well.

The redneck psychopath was a scary addition to the crew as loader. I knew a lot of guys like him when I was in the Army. Hyper-aggressive Southern boys whose only means of expression, as 'Superman's' Jor-El might have put it, was wanton violence and destruction. Guys with no conscience, no restraint, no decency, and a monstrous chip on their shoulders.

It was great to finally get to see the scene with the Tiger tank, portrayed by the last German Tiger tank in working condition anywhere in the world, and the only one ever to appear in a Hollywood film about the war. Authenticity is always appreciated.

SPOILER - One quibble I have about the film is how the crew just seemed to give up when their track was damaged. Now understand, throwing a track in the mud is a tanker's worst nightmare. But if you've got Nazis headed your way and you've got the 30-60 minutes the crew seemed to have before they showed up, you hop off the tank, grab the end-connectors, spare track blocks and the tools, and try to lever the thing back together.

All in all, a pretty good film experience.


I posted my ballot this morning. Washington State is vote-by-mail.

There are no Earth-shattering races being run here. No elections that could swing either house.

But I voted in favor of a bill empowering the state government to confiscate firearms from gun-owners purchasing them from unlicensed or unregistered sources. And I voted in favor of a similar bill that would close the gun show loophole.

Naturally, every gunfuck in the state is howling to vote that one down. I suspect it probably will be. It's hard to outspend the profitable mass-murder industry.

The bartender here just invented a new cocktail right in front of me.

Ouzo and Bailey's Irish Cream.

She calls it the Good And Plenty.

Having dinner and drinks with Will Shakespeare. Ask us anything.

No edition of WSTFTD this weekend. We're both going out of town. Will to Stratford to see the wife and kids. Me and Mrs. Aristus to Victoria, BC.

Time to relax...

It's official. The homeless clinic ceases operations under our current contract in December.

The local city planning and development council will be taking over medical operations with their own provider.

I was asked (and my old friend at the council told me the planners begged) to work for them directly, instead of under contract. But I declined. I'm loyal to my employer.

As for my loyalty to my patients, and their loyalty to me: about 300 or so will be following me over to our mainstream clinic, and I'll announce the move with every patient I visit with until then. Rather than 'steal' my own patients from the planning council, I will simply offer to continue being their provider at our mainstream clinic. I suspect a lot of them will join the ones already planning to follow me there.

This is painful, but the loyalty my patients have expressed for me, and the love I feel for them, are the upsides. It's been a good run.

I love you all...

The clinic is especially quiet today.

If anyone wants anecdotal evidence, at least, of that 5.9% unemployment rate, and a decrease in the homeless population, this is it.

Yesterday was an odd one, too. The morning was slammed, and the afternoon was slow.

Hey, if I had to pack up and leave because there were no more homeless to treat, I'd be fine with that.

Thank you, President Obama!...

Saturday, October 11th. The Weekend Edition of William Shakespeare's Thought For The Day.

"The living record of your memory
'Gainst death and all-oblivious enmity
Shall you pace forth; your praise shall still find room
Even in the eyes of all posterity..."

Sonnet 55, Lines 8-11.

A young guy I know from church has, in the last year, changed his Facebook status from 'Republican'

to 'Progressive Democrat'.


I attend Mrs. Aristus' conservative Four-Square church because there's no way she'd ever attend a liberal church. The guy in question is a very smart, personable young man. I guess he self-ID'd as Republican out of reflex, growing up in a conservative evangelical household.

Well, he got a job in Japan teaching English to young Japanese students. Seeing the way the rest of the world works must have done a number on his head, because now he's a Democrat!

My assistant is wearing military-camo pattern scrubs today.

When he walked into the room to give me my schedule for the day, I looked around, puzzled, and said: "Who did that? Who is that? Where are you?"

He laughed.

It's Friday. We're gonna need a sense of humor to get through the day...

Drinks, Greek food, and William Shakespeare. Got the best of everything here. Ask us anything.

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