August 28, 2005
You've never read anything like this about Iraq
Michael Yon's latest from Iraq, Gates of Fire, is stunning, an in-your-face account of combat the likes of which I've never seen from a modern journalist.
Yon captures on film the instant LtCol Kurila, the CO of Deuce Four, is hit three times and keeps on fighting. According to Yon, in the photo below, "The Commander rolls into a firing position, just as a bullet strikes the wall beside 2nd lieutenant's head (left)." Click on the photo for a better look at the action.
Kurilla was running when he was shot, but he didn't seem to miss a stride; he did a crazy judo roll and came up shooting.
BamBamBamBam! Bullets were hitting all around Kurilla. The young 2nd lieutenant and specialist were the only two soldiers near. Neither had real combat experience. AH had no weapon. I had a camera.
Kurilla, though down and unable to move, was fighting and firing, yelling at the two young soldiers to get in there; but they hesitated. BamBamBamBam!
Kurilla was in the open, but his judo roll had left him slightly to the side of the shop. I screamed to the young soldiers, "Throw a grenade in there!" but they were not attacking.
"Throw a grenade in there!" They did not attack.
"Give me a grenade!" They didn't have grenades.
"Erik! Do you need me to come get you!" I shouted. But he said "No." (Thank God; running in front of the shop might have proved fatal.)
"What's wrong with you!?" I yelled above the shooting.
"I'm hit three times! I'm shot three times!"
Amazingly, he was right. One bullet smashed through his femur, snapping his leg. His other leg was hit and so was an arm.
With his leg mangled, Kurilla pointed and fired his rifle into the doorway, yelling instructions to the soldiers about how to get in there. But they were not attacking. This was not the Deuce Four I know. The other Deuce Four soldiers would have killed every man in that room in about five seconds. But these two soldiers didn't have the combat experience to grasp the power of momentum.
This was happening in seconds. Several times I nearly ran over to Kurilla, but hesitated every time. Kurilla was, after all, still fighting. And I was afraid to run in front of the shop, especially so unarmed.
Folks, there's so much more to read, with incredible photos too. I defy you to read of the incredible courage of these men and not be moved. And proud, too.
Posted by Mike Lief at 10:47 AM
August 24, 2005
The wrath of the poorly trimmed
How can you not enjoy a laugh-out-loud funny essay on hatred of hair stylists that begins:
I have always hated barbers, and have never gone to the same one twice. This is because they invariably butcher my hair and tickle my scalp beyond belief during the shampoo. I cannot stand this, but I also cannot go around looking like a member of the disreputable band Phish. I'm over a barrel on this one, and looking forward to the day when I am entirely bald. There is a nobility in baldness, I have always thought.
And who amongst us hasn't had this irritating moment when reluctantly venturing into the overpriced froo-froo co-ed salon?
Then it was on to the cut. She was more than a little incredulous when I simply told her I wanted a "good, simple men's haircut." She jabbered at my face using terms like "finger-wave," "tousle," "buzz," "fade," "texture," etc. I just wanted a damn haircut, not a beauty school education, so I dismissed her with a wave of the hand and said, "just start cutting. I'll tell you when you're done."
Did you know that Googling "bad haircut" gets 58,400 results?!
Posted by Mike Lief at 06:55 AM
August 18, 2005
Good to know
Having just purchased an Acura TL (the nicest car I've ever owned), which also boasts an unbelievable amount of hi-tech wizardry, this piece of advice, courtesy of mechanic-columnist Douglas Flint at the Car Connection, seems worth passing on:
Discharged with prejudice
Every now and then a customer will come in with an electrical problem, either starting or charging, and tell me he knows the alternator is working because he unhooked the negative battery terminal while the car was running and it didn't shut off. Apparently the look on my face must be sufficiently horrified because after a few seconds they usually say, uh, did I do something wrong?
I suppose this alleged test dates back to the Model T Ford and probably wasn't valid then. It is rather the equivalent of setting a woman on fire to determine if she's a witch or not. The answer won't much matter. As the negative battery cable is pulled away, a tremendous voltage arc occurs. The alternator starts to both overcharge and burn with nowhere for the voltage to go, and every circuit in the car is desperately hunting for ground. Think of all the computer processors, diodes, solid state circuits, relays, and modules all getting an enormous voltage spike. You may as well fly a kite into a thunderstorm and hook it up to the back of your PC. Heck, BMW says you can blow the radio in their car with just a jump start.
So please, if you believe nothing else I've written, do not disconnect your negative (or positive) battery cable while the car is running. It is not a valid test, it tells you nothing, and is likely to cause future electrical problems.
The rest of his Mechanic's Tale columns are worth a read, too.
Posted by Mike Lief at 07:28 PM