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Generation Kill - Highly Recommended -
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"We re like America s little pit bull. They beat it, starve it, mistreat it, and once in a while they let it out to attack somebody.
Over the past few weeks I have been reading probably the finest book regarding this Iraq war so far published Generation Kill. The author, Evan Wright, is a contributing editor to Rolling Stone and the book started as a series for the magazine. As of publication, the book was being made into a miniseries for HBO.
The author is an embedded reporter with the First Recon Marine Division, most often with Bravo Company. The Recon Marines are the elite Marine Corps infantrymen, they are trained in air assualt, SCUBA diving, snow shoeing, and mountain climbing. Fewer than 2% of Marines are selected for Recon training, which takes over a year to complete. According to Major General Mattis, the commanding general for all Recon Marines, they are a bunch of cocky, obnoxious bastards. As an unnamed enlisted man says, We re like America s little pit bull. They beat it, starve it, mistreat it, and once in a while they let it out to attack somebody. The one thing Recon Marines are not trained to do is ride into battle in Humvees this is exactly what they did in Iraq. They trained for three weeks at Camp Mathilda in Kuwait before the invasion, but when the invasion starts, most drivers don t even have Military Driver s Licenses.
General Tommy Franks planned the invasion of Iraq to be an arrow driving north from Kuwait to Baghdad. The Recon Marines are the very point of this arrow, and at times, the Humvee Wright is in is the northern most Humvee. The mission for Recon Marines is to find ambushes in Iraqi towns, they do this by driving straight into them.
In Wright s Humvee, there are four Marines Person, Trombley, Garza, and Colbert. Person is the driver (he doesn t have a Military Driver s License), Trombley is a nineteen year old and still in training to become a full-fledged Recon Marine (he carries the Squad Automatic Weapon), Garza mans the .50cal machine gun turret, and Colbert is the platoon leader. The Humvees in First Recon are in terrible shape, some don t have roofs, others don t have doors. Half the Humvees in First Recon are equipped with a .50 cal machine gun turret that will fire a half inch bullet up to 6 miles, the other half have Mark-19 automatic grenade launchers that will fire 3 grenades per second at distances of 2 kilometers (accurate to 1 kilometer).
They complete their mission to seek and destroy ambushes by driving through a town ahead of all other troops. They drive through town after town and wait until they see a muzzle flash, when they do see that flash they pour down hate and discontent like a motherf****r as another platton leader puts it.
The book follows First Recon s Bravo Company from Kuwait to Baghdad. The first city they go through is Nasiriyah. Nasiriyah is a Shia city in which many thousands of leaflets were dropped by US Army psyops urging them to overthrow Saddam s Iraq. When they did, they got no help from the US and were treated to years of bloody reprisals by Saddam. In order to get through the city, they drive at full speed in a single column of about 70 Humvees. They drive almost straight through the city, with the exception of two 90 degree turns, one right after the other. As they approach the first turn, they see a wall of muzzle flashes from the building directly in front of them. All the Humvees in the column see this. Colbert s Humvee is riddled with bullets. The Humvee behind had a Mark-19, the automatic grenade launcher; and manning the massive gun is a Marine they call Manimal. Manimal fires a wall of grenades at the building for almost thirty seconds, hitting the building each time the building collapses just as Colbert s vehicle turns the corner. No more muzzle flashes were seen coming out of that building.
Before the Marines enter the city, we learn a few very interesting things about them. At one point, Person looks at Colbert and asks, Hey, you think I have enough driving hours now to get my Humvee license? And as they get within eyeshot of the city, Person notes, Now, this looks like Tijuana and Colbert responds, And this time I get what I ve always wanted to do in T.J., burn t to the ground.
The Marines get a rush of excitement each time they enter a city (it might be the excitement of an oncoming battle, or all the instant coffee crystals they eat for energy), but eventually it wears on them. As Wright writes,
Once the initial excitement wears off, invading a country becomes repetitive and stressful, like working on an old industrial assembly line: The task seldom varies, but if your attention wanders, you are liable to get injured or killed.
We follow Second Battalion through most of Iraq. In most cities the Marines dole out more Humrats (Humanitarian Rations) than enemy casualties. As Colbert hands out Humrats to one group in the city of Al Rifa (another Shia city that suffered heavily under Saddam), he says, You re Welcome, vote Republican. Eventually we end up in the city of Al Kut.
In Al Kut, the Marines find what will become commonplace in Iraq foreign Jihadis. After destroying another ambush at the gates of another city, the Marines sift through the wreckage. They find one surviving fighter, though he s critically injured. They search him and find a Syrian passport, 500 Syrian Pounds (worth about $9.55 USD), and an entry Visa dated March 23 (the day bombing began). On the line of the Visa labeled reason for entry one word is written: Jihad. Intel will later estimate that 50% of fighters in these early days were foreign jihadis.
As they enter Al Kut, they are ordered to retreat. They ve gone in about one quarter of the way through the city, but are called back. When they get back to camp, they are informed of General Franks master plan they have been a diversion. They traveled the same route that every Army invading Mesopotamia for last 5000 years has traveled. Franks knew this, and so did Saddam. The Marines are told that two Iraqi Republican Guard battalions are stationed in the city of Al Kut, but no one is protecting Baghdad. Two US Army Divisions and one USMC division now surround Baghdad and will be invading in a couple hours.
This is an all-inclusive account. It tells the tale in great detail of four or five Marines, but also includes the big picture. He tells about how the radios never work either officers change frequencies without letting the men know, or they encounter the problem that west coast Marines from Camp Pendleton cant get on the radio with east coast Marines from Paris Island. Wright also tells the story of Captain America. He s the jackass officer of First Recon s Alpha Company. He ll often scream over the radio that he s encountering heavy enemy fire, when even the men in his Humvee know the fire is nowhere near them. He ll also head into battle with his bayonet affixed. He used the bayonet once, charging a handcuffed prisoner of war. He got the POW square in the chest, he stood and bragged, but the POW got up too he had explosives strapped to his chest that bayonet didn t penetrate. Captain America lost his command towards the end of the invasion, and was investigated for war crimes. What I found to be the most interesting was that just before the invasion started, Major General Mattis hacked into the commanding officer of the Iraqi forces computer, and was sending him emails urging him to surrender. Also told is the story about the first days after Baghdad fell:
On the third night in Baghdad, [commanding officer] Fick tells his men, We re not going out on at night. There are too many revenge killings going on in the city. Mostly it s Shias doing a lot of dirty work, taking out Fedayeen and Sunni Baathists. Lt. Col. Ferrando takes this even further, telling his senior men that the Shias are wiping out paramilitary forces through a sort of agreement with the American occupiers.
The Marines can describe their work and their life better than any reporter can. As one unnamed Marine said, One universal fact of being in the Marine Corps is that no matter where we go in the world, we always end up in some random s***ty place. One Sargent we get to know well says at dinner party after his return to civilian life, I m not a hero. Guys like me are just a necessary part of things. To maintain this way of life in a fine community like this [Malibu], you need psychos like us to go out and drop a bomb on somebody s house.
Copyright: Copyright 2005
Bored Is Me -
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ABOUT YOU Your full name: Brandy Nicole Maines Age: 20 Height: 5'3" Natural hair colour: dark brown Eye colour: brown Number of siblings: 4 Glasses/contacts?: no Piercings: tongue and ears Tattoos: a star by my hip Braces?: used to FAVOURITE Colour: black and any color together Band: A lot... but I guess um... silverstein or fftl Song: last days of summer by silverstein or one eight seven by senses fail Stuffed animal: my alf that I can no longer locate Video game: old skool nintendo TV show: golden girls and the nanny Movie: Uh.. a lot of them Book: something I read in high school, but can' t remember the name of it Food: taco bell and cilli cheese pups... seafood Game on a cell phone: uh.. the snake thing CD cover: hmnn.. a lot of them Flower: hibiscus or rose Scent: a guy that smells good or cake batter Animal: any that aren't annoying Comic book: uh.. no Cereal: cinnamon toast crunch or any with marshmellows in them Website: realultimatepower.net hahha Cartoon: arthur DO YOU Play an instrument?: no..I wish Watch TV more than 60 hours a week?: not anymore Like to sing?: yes Have a job?: I wish Have a cell phone?: used to Like to play sports?: kinda Have a boyfriend/girlfriend?: no Have a crush on someone?: no Live somewhere NOT in the united states?: nope Have more than 5 TVs in your house?: nope Have any special talents/skills?: nope Excercise daily?: hhaha.. no Like school?: depends CAN YOU Sing the alphabet backwards?: hell no Stand on your tip toes without wearing shoes?: yes Speak any other languages?: a little Go a day without food?: yes Stay up for more than 24 hours?: yes Read music, not just tabs?: used to, but I've forgotten now Roll your tongue?: yes Eat a whole pizza?: probaly HAVE YOU EVER Snuck out of the house?: no Cried to get out of trouble?: yes Gotten lost in your city?: no Seen a shooting star?: yes Been to any other countries besides the united states?: no Had a serious surgery?: no Stolen something important to someone else?: yes Solved a rubiks cube?: no.. damn't Gone out in public in your pajamas?: yes Cried over a girl?: not in a romantic way Cried over a boy?: yes Kissed a random stranger?: no Hugged a random stranger?: yes Been in a fist fight?: no Been arrested?: almost Done drugs?: yes Had alcohol?: yes Laughed and had milk come out of your nose?: probaly Pushed all the buttons on an elevator?: not yet Gone to school only to find you had the day off because of a holiday/etc?: no.. hahah Swore at your parents?: yes Been to warped tour?: I wish Kicked a guy where it hurts?: yes.. it was an accident. I think Been in love?: sure Been close to love?: sure Been to a casino?: no Ran over an animal and killed it?: no Broken a bone?: no Gotten stitches?: no Had a waterballoon fight in winter?: no Drank a whole gallon of milk in one hour?: no Made homemade muffins?: no Bitten someone?: yes Been to disneyland/disneyworld?: no More than 5 times?: ....... Been to niagra falls?: no Burped in someones face?: probaly Gotten the chicken pox?: yes WHENS THE LAST TIME YOU Brushed your teeth: this morning Went to the bathroom: 20 minutes ago Saw a movie in theaters: last week... hide and seek Read a book: last year Had a snow day: haha.. that's funny. Had a party: it's been years Had a slumber party: years ago Made fun of someone: not to long ago Tripped in front of someone: idk Went to the grocery store: a couple weeks Got sick: couple months Cursed: like 10 minutes ago PICK ONE Fruit/vegetables: fruits Black/white: black Lights on/lights off: depends TV/movie: both Car/truck: both Body spray/lotion: both Cash/check: cash Pillows/blankets: both Headache/stomach ache: headache Paint/charcoal: paint Chinese food/mexican food: mexican Summer/winter: summer Snow/rain: both Fog/misty: misty Rock/rap: rock Meat/vegetarian: meat Boy/girl: boy Chocolate/vanilla: chocolate Sprinkles/icing: both Cake/pie: cake French toast/french fries: french toast Strawberries/blueberries: how about neither Ocean/swimming pool: both Hugs/kisses: both Cookies/muffins: cookies p33n/bewbz: lame Wallet/pocket: wallet Window/door: both Emo/goth: whatever Pink/purple: both Cat/dog: both Long sleeve/short sleeve: both Pants/shorts: pants Winter break/spring break: spring Spring/autumn: autumn Clouds/clear sky: both Moon/mars: moon FRIENDSHIP How many friends do you have?: How the hell should I know.. What are their names?: errrrrrrr Do you have a best friend?: sure Have you ever liked one of your friends?: sure Do you have more guy friends or more girl friends?: guy friends Have you ever lost a friend?: yes Have you ever gone to an amusement park with a friend?: yes Whats an inside joke between you and a friend?: none of your business Have you ever gotten in a big arguement with a friend?: not really Whats the nicest thing youve ever done for a friend?: I don't remember Whats the nicest thing a friend has ever done for you?: Just being there if I need them Do you miss any of your old friends?: ehh not really What friend have you known the longest?: kim Do you regret anything youve done to a friend?: no If so, what is it?: How often do you spend time with your friends?: not that often lately Do any of your friends drive?: yes Has a friend of yours ever died?: yes Whats the dumbest thing youve done with a friend?: I don't remember What do you think your friends think of you?: I don't really care LOVE AND ALL THAT CRAP Have you ever been in love?: sure If you have, with who?: ricky Are you single?: yes Are you in a relationship?: no If so, for how long?: Do you believe there is someone for everyone?: Yes. But people are stupid so you rarely end up with them. What is your idea of the best date?: how should I know What was your first kiss like?: really long How old were you when you got your first kiss?: 18 Do you think love is a load of shit?: people are Whats the best experiance youve ever had with the opposite sex?: idk If you are single, have you had any boyfriends/girlfriends before?: no Have you ever been dumped?: yeh.. and that's odd b/c I've never had a boyf Have you ever dumped someone?: see above Whats the most sexual thing youve done with the opposite sex?: uh.. had sex WORD ASSOCIATION Slippers: fuzzy Hat: trucker.. haha Hard: on... I couldn't help myself.. Free: spirit.. wtf Space: mars Taste: bad Good charlotte: joel Red: lipstick Deep: shit Heart: club Cord: instrument Cheese: wheel Rain: drops Work: play Pedal: bike Head: helmet Bed: soft Fluff: stuff Hardcore: drama Race: cars Knife: stab Jump: off I.... am: bored want: a life need: a job crave: attention love: this song hate: you did: that feel: blah miss: me am annoyed by: me would rather: die am tired of: life will always: be hungry... haha SILLY STUFF What is your favourite genre of music?: hardcore/country What time is it now?: 11:37 What day is it?: sunday Whens the last time you called someone?: friday How much money do you have right now?: $3 Are you hungry?: yes Whatcha doin?: lame Do you like parades?: sure Do you like the moon?: sure What are you going to do when youre done with this?: kill myself Isnt cup a funny word when you repeat it over and over?: yeh now that you mention it If you could have any magical power what would it be?: some kind of voo-doo.. if people piss me off, I torture them, but they would have no clue.. oh yesss Have you ever had a picnic?: no Did you ever have one of those skip-its when you were young?: no What about sock em boppers?: no Are you wearing any socks right now?: yes DO YOU THINK YOU ARE funny?: at times pretty?: sure sarcastic?: at times lazy?: yes hyper?: no friendly?: sometimes evil?: yes smart?: yes strong?: depends talented?: sure dorky?: yeh ASSOCIATE THESE WORDS WITH SOMEONE YOU KNOW (or dont know) high: matt skip: me dance: vics mom lonely: me pen: idk flower: idk window: matt p psycho: idk brain freeze: idk orange: idk sassy: idk jelly: idk FOR OR AGAINST suicide: whatever love: for drunk drivers: against airplanes: for war: idc canada: idc united states: for rock music: for gay marriage: against school: for surveys: for parents: for cars: for killing: depends britney spears: idc coffee: idc pants: for WOULD YOU EVER Sky dive?: no Play strip poker?: no Run away?: no Curse at a teacher?: yes Not take a shower for a week?: yes Ask someone out?: no Lie to someone to make them think better of you?: no Visit a foreign country for more than a month?: sure Go scuba diving?: yes Write a book?: yes Become a rockstar?: haha.. sure Have casual sex?: hmnn.. not anymore LAST QUESTIONS What shampoo do you use?: john frieda brilliant brunette Whens the last time you did something sexual with the opposite sex?: 2 days ago What kind of computer do you have?: dell What grade are you in?: graduated Do you like to throw popcorn at people in the movies?: sure Or just make out?: sure How many posters do you have in your room?: none right now How many cds do you have?: idk What time is it now?: 11:42
Scuba News from NewsTrove.com:
Mercedes-Benz SLR - JAMAICAOBSERVER.COM -
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"The new SLR, a reinvention of its legendary 300 SLRs that dominated racing in the 1950s, is the first politically incorrect Mercedes. Heretofore, all Mercedes-Benz road cars have been limited to 165 mph, as a modest gesture of civic responsibility. The SLR will, unapologetically, hit 207 mph.
It is powered by a mere 617-horsepower supercharged 5.5-liter V-8 engine, turning 575 foot-pounds of torque and is capable of 3.8-second 0-60 times.
The rest of the SLR's vital statistics are no less impressive.
The four-corner double wishbone suspension is F1-inspired, and it uses the lightest weight materials known in our galaxy."
Rugged students learn to rough it -
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"As mist rolled off the Caloosahatchee River, the only sounds that broke the dawn's silence were the cars speeding down Palm Beach Boulevard about a mile south.
Then came the shouts, "B-R-E-A-K-F-A-S-T! B-R-E-A-K-F-A-S-T!"
More voices picked up the call, which echoed through the palms and tall grasses.
Slowly, people began to emerge from the tents that were scattered along the banks of the water's edge. Among them were a hunter from Pennsylvania, an office worker from Japan, a former mayoral candidate from Tennessee and a Cub Scout den leader from Port Charlotte."
Going to jail for clean air? -
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"In June 2004, protestors climbed a 700-foot smokestack in Pennsylvania to bring attention to the dangers of a dirty coal power plant and US President Bush's polluting energy plan. They took this bold, peaceful action to help keep communities that live in the shadow of dirty power plants safe - but now they need your help. In only six weeks they may face long jail terms, we need you to support the "Smokestack Six."
We believe strongly in our activists taking responsibility for their actions and bearing fair consequences for our protests."
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