Thursday, April 19, 2012

Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome

The Marine Corps:  well oiled machine?  Or well-polished turd?
The Corps puts alot of pressure on its Marines to be able to adapt to extringent situations.  But can the Marine Corps itself adapt to the needs of the nation and Marines themselves?  Keep in mind that the Marine Corps has been kept alive in spite of its redundancy to the U.S. military, for good reason.  But so little has changed (and so much has changed) since its conception on July 11, 1798.  Yet the system is so steeped in "tradition" that it is next to heresy to try to change any part of it.  Attempt to do away with a useless appendix of a rule, and you are "disrespecting Marines that died for your freedom."  For example, the date above is the actual date of the chartering of the United States Marine Corps.  However, Marines are told--since their days in boot camp where they memorized and screamed these bits of knowledge--the Marine Corps birthday is 10 November 1775.  This is actually the birthdate of the Continental Marines, which was disbanded some 15 years before the U.S. Marine Corps was born.  Yet to point this out to Marines is met with ignorance, disbelief, disdain, even hostility.
"Tradition" is the reason why so many things about the Marine Corps makes little to no sense.  The computer networks and web services of the Marine Corps have become essential, while becoming slower and less useful.  Why?  Tradition.  PT gear is green underwear.  Why?  Tradition.  Ranks and authority are ineffective, communication broken, and trust between ranks destroyed.  Why?  Tradition.  "Tradition" is the scapegoat that keeps the Marine Corps in the 18th century, and allowing modern laziness to be a staple of Marine leadership.  Since boot camp, Marines are taught that what matters is the outer appearance of the Marine and everything he does.  In other words, you don't want to look bad, no matter what.  Less emphasis is placed on actual performance and proficiency than on appearance.  Now, everyone in every organization has to deal with this issue.  Nobody wants to look bad to outsiders, it brings your work into question.  This is why Marines always look so good, and why they try so hard to appear impeccable.  If they don't, someone might "dig deeper" to find out how they do their job.  They wouldn't want that.  It's extremely important in the Marine Corps for everything to look good, whether it is or not.

Officers in the Marine Corps are a bit of a redundancy, filling a spot which is just as easily mainained by staff and senior staff.  Most Marines despise officers.  Why?  They operate effectively only through blind, thoughtless obedience of their subordinates, but all the real work and operations of the Marine Corps is accomplished through critically thinking privates, PFC's, Lance Corporals, and Corporals.  Supervised or delegated by Sergeants, and responsible to staff NCOs.  Most officers, or a good many have never been enlisted and so are not familiar with the actual process and how the Marine Corps actually works.  So at the worst, officers impede progress and productivity through endless bureaucracy, and at best stay in their office, or on the golf course, out of the way of the working-class enlisted.
I'm not saying that officers should be done away with.  However, why not promote from within?  A enlisted Marine could have the option at the rank of Sergeant to continue to staff enlisted, or to qualify and continue to officer grooming.  One qualifier could be applying and being accepted into college.  Certain other standards would also have to be met.  Then remove the 2nd Leutenant and Major ranks.  All Officers would be tough and adaptive enough to function as a Sergeant, able to lead Marines, and have a good understanding of the Marine enlisted structure.  They would all have plausible leadership experience, and deserve the respect that the officer ranks are assigned.  As it stands, while it is true that officers do complete a long and rigorous training course that rivals that of the enlisted's boot camp, a basic officer's most striking and impressive claim to fame is a college degree, and having exhibitted that they WANT to be there (officer candidates can drop out of OCS anytime after the first four weeks, and officers are commissioned, not contracted, so they can resign their commission at any time).  Their training is indeed worthy, and they have to be tough to meet the demands of it and be selected.  However, the one simple fact that stands between them and a chevron as opposed to a butter-bar, is the first-born mentality, the drive for power or the thirst for leadership.  This can be a great power, or it can be terrible, since just WANTING to lead does not necessarily qualify someone to have the chance to.  But they want it enough to go through OCS and a degree program.  This is why a salty old Gunny who is approaching 20 years will refer to a brand new lieutenant barely over the drinking age as "sir."  I don't understand it myself.  The main difference between a PFC and a 2nd Lieutenant is that a PFC has been promoted.
It seems that Marines are always adapting to conditions, and mostly adapting to ineffective Marine "traditions," but the Marine Corps itself is very very slow and very bad at adapting to anything for anybody's benefit... of least importance being the enlisted marines themselves.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Bedtime Story

This Is the Story of the Facebook Unpoke

Guadalupe Von Welgenshlecht Garcia was a scientist.  His brilliance knew no bounds.  His father was a Nazi physicist who had defected to the United States after World War II through Project Paperclip, and invented the dart board.  This contribution was sufficient to grant him and his family assylum, and Garcia was illegitimately conceived on the ship to the U.S. by his father and a hispanic waitress in the galley.  Guadalupe never knew his father, and always wondered why his perpetually single mother had given him a German middle name, but his scientific creativity could not be stifled.  It was like a baboon in a water-glass: unable to be contained.

By the time Guadalupe was 18, he had patented 22 products.  At a quarter of a century old, he was hired on by NASA to develop "re-entry velcro." It is a special type of velcro that can withstand the extreme heat of atmospheric re-entry.  They would use this to put designs and logos on the rockets and shuttles of the space mission.  Guadalupe became so smart, that he had to develop an artificial skull to house his ever-increasingly-sized brain, and also develop a procedure for skull-transplant, then perform it on himself, while under local anasthetic.  The very next day, he developed something called "general anesthesia."

One day, at the age of 29, Guadalupe was hard at work, testing the molecular bond of a brand new element called Oatmeal 17.  Suddenly, he realized he had been so busy discovering the innovations and technology of tomorrow, that he had never had sex.  Now THIS was a challenge for the great scientists expansive mind.  He had never considered the implications of this.  He quickly emptied his wall-sized chalkboard of the formula for Oatmeal 17 (committed to memory), as well as the designs for the most advanced microprocessor known to man (which he photographed and sold to Apple for stock options), and a grocery list which he did not remember.  For 36 hours straight, Guadalupe scrawled out formula after formula, breaking the human psyche into  three distinct affections: Male, Female, and something else which nobody ever really figured out what it was.  He developed a complex algorithm for every emotion, and reduced every possible interaction to a variable integer, then copiously integrated a logarithm for countless complex variable chance (bad place to meet, terrible weather, meeting at a wedding, wearing a bad outfit, untied shoes, having a mild stroke and developing a lisp, ketchup stains, deodorant aromas, attraction, being too attracted, being unatracted, cat ladies, horse ladies, etc.) and thusly came up with a complex equation which would theoretically get him laid.

I know you are all dying to know if it worked for him.   Since I don't want to give it away, all I'm going to say is no it didn't.

But after the equation was complete, Guadalupe went home and fell asleep for 24 hours.  He awoke to a knock at his door.  He stumbled over to it, and peered through the apartment peephole.  On the other side was a woman. From what he could tell, she was very attractive.  This woke him up enough to realize that the equation must already be working.
"One moment please," he said through the door as he started flitting about the room in a panic.  His mind was calculating at the speed of a chicken on meth (normally it was twice the speed of light, but Guadalupe had just woken up), and he was naked but for a thong, which is what he wore as underwear for no apparent reason.  As he was throwing on sweat-pants, for a value of x3 presentableness, and the green and blue striped robe for x2 sexiness, a spritz of cologne for +81 oportunity and squeezing a grapefruit behind the ear for x=P12 where x is the perceived appeal and P is pheremones, her fabulously female voice came through the door:
"It's your Landlady's daughter Venicia... I wanted to ask you something.  Can I come in?"
"Oh, yes, I'm just throwing on something presentable.  I was not expecting anyone..."
"Oh, I AM sorry if this is a bad time, I was just about to head out for the day, and I wanted to ask you...  Well, I wanted to talk to you before I left.  See, I just moved in with my mother a week ago, I was living in India, and I was--"
"AH!  India, how fabulous.  Was it wonderful?"
"Oh, well, yes, actually.  It was the best 4 years of my life so far..."  By this point, Guadalupe had prepared as much as he could, in his calculated hastiness, since she spoke slowly, in a sultry, velvety voice.  Then he opened the door, in the middle of her sentance, cutting her off, and her voice trailed off, and her eyes flashed over him.

Now women take much less time to "check out" someone then do men.  When men observe a member of the opposite sex, especially one that dilates the pupils, they tend to spend the time to scan their eyes from bottom to top, then think better of it, going back to the top to start again at THAT point, scan down to bottom, then the legs, in the same fashion, then realize that it would be best to start again and work more systematically.  Women, on the other hand, have adapted a quick approach.  They seem to take in the basic outline, shape and form all at once and somehow notice every out-of-place thread and every dimple and color and the entire body language style, and believe that by the data collected in this invisible once-over, that they can determine a man's entire upbringing, favorite sports team, penis size, wallet size and salary, whether he has ever ridden a horse, greatest fears, cat/dog person status, and how many women he has dated and/or slept with.  In short, women are absolutely out of their minds.
But here was Guadalupe Von Welgenschlecht Garcia, the scientific virtuoso, virgin, and sexual imbacile.  Staring into the hallway at the most beautiful girl he had ever met not wearing a lab coat.  He was speechless, and the only thing in his mind was the unconscious vision of corollaries exponentially deleting themselves from his memory banks.  And he instantly regretted putting on clothes, for there, in front of him, was the most shapely and intensely radiently ravishingly lyrically gorgeous female of the human species that he had ever noticed... And all the clothes that she had appeared to be wearing through the peephole (and he was sure she was wearing them then) were on the floor to her right.  While he had been dressing as fast as possible, she had been undressing even faster, and there was this angelic beauty, fully exposed, naked at Guadalupe's door.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Few, the Chosen, the Jokes.

Tonight, I will thrill and delight my readers with a series of jokes and such to entertain.  Hope you all enjoy.

I'M A Rabbit!

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), The FBI, and the CIA are all trying to prove that they are the best at apprehending criminals. The President decides to give them a test. He releases a rabbit into a forest and each of them has to catch it. The CIA goes in. They place animal informants throughout the forest. They question all plant and mineral witnesses. After three months of extensive investigations they conclude that rabbits do not exist. The FBI goes in. After two weeks with no leads they burn the forest, killing everything in it, including the rabbit, and they make no apologies. The rabbit had it coming. The LAPD goes in. They come out two hours later with a badly beaten bear. The bear is yelling: "Okay! Okay! I'm a rabbit! I'm a rabbit!"


One day, President Bush visited an elementary school. All the kids were so excited to get to meet the President. He began to talk to them and asked them to define the word "tragedy." "Well," one girl replied, "If my mommy ran over my dog, Rover, that would be a tragedy!" The President smiled at the little girl and said, "No, sweetie. That would be an accident! Can anyone give it a try?" A little boy sitting across the room raised his hand and said, "I know! I know! If our bus driver ran off of a cliff and killed everyone!" The President shook his head and said, "No son. That would be a great loss! Doesn't anyone know of a good example of a tragedy?" A small girl raised her hand and said, "Well, Mr. President, if you and Laura were in Air Force One and it was hit by a missile and blown to smithereens, most people would think that that was a tragedy!" "Very good," he said. "And what was your reason for that answer?" "Well," she said, "It would not be an accident and it sure would not be a great loss!"

What You Say is What They Understand

What a woman says: "This place is a mess. C'mon, you and I need to clean up. Your stuff is lying all over the floor, and you'll have no clothes to wear, if we don't do laundry right now!" What a man hears: "... C'mon ... you and I ... all over the floor ... no clothes ... right now!"

Fishing Business

One day a fisherman was lying on a beautiful beach, with his fishing pole propped up in the sand and his solitary line cast out into the sparkling blue surf. He was enjoying the warmth of the afternoon sun and the prospect of catching a fish. About that time, a businessman came walking down the beach, trying to relieve some of the stress of his workday. He noticed the fisherman sitting on the beach and decided to find out why this fisherman was fishing instead of working harder to make a living for himself and his family. "You aren't going to catch many fish that way," said the businessman to the fisherman, "you should be working rather than lying on the beach!" The fisherman looked up at the businessman, smiled and replied, "And what will my reward be?" "Well, you can get bigger nets and catch more fish!" was the businessman's answer. "And then what will my reward be?" asked the fisherman, still smiling. The businessman replied, "You will make money and you'll be able to buy a boat, which will then result in larger catches of fish!" "And then what will my reward be?" asked the fisherman again. The businessman was beginning to get a little irritated with the fisherman's questions. "You can buy a bigger boat, and hire some people to work for you!" he said. "And then what will my reward be?" repeated the fisherman. The businessman was getting angry. "Don't you understand? You can build up a fleet of fishing boats, sail all over the world, and let all your employees catch fish for you!" Once again the fisherman asked, "And then what will my reward be?" The businessman was red with rage and shouted at the fisherman, "Don't you understand that you can become so rich that you will never have to work for your living again! You can spend all the rest of your days sitting on this beach, looking at the sunset. You won't have a care in the world!" The fisherman, still smiling, looked up and said, "And what do you think I'm doing right now?


An avid duck hunter was in the market for a new bird dog. His search ended when he found a dog that could actually walk on water to retrieve a duck. Shocked by his find, he was sure none of his friends would ever believe him.He decided to try to break the news to a friend of his, the eternal pessimist who refused to be impressed with anything. This, surely, would impress him. He invited him to hunt with him and his new dog. As they waited by the shore, a flock of ducks flew by. They fired, and a duck fell. The dog responded and jumped into the water. The dog, however, did not sink but instead walked across the water to retrieve the bird, never getting more than his paws wet. This continued all day long; each time a duck fell, the dog walked across the surface of the water to retrieve it. The pessimist watched carefully, saw everything, but did not say a single word. On the drive home the hunter asked his friend, "Did you notice anything unusual about my new dog?" "I sure did", responded the pessimist. "He can't swim."

Cheap Parking Space

A woman walks into a bank in New York City and asks for the loan officer. She says she is going to Europe on business for two weeks and needs to borrow $5000.
The bank officer says the bank will need some kind of security for such a loan, so the woman hands over the keys to a new Rolls Royce, parked on the street, in front of the bank.
Everything checks out, and the bank agrees to accept the car as collateral for the loan.
An employee drives the Rolls into the bank's underground garage and parks it there.
Two weeks later, the woman returns, repays the $5000. and the interest which is $15.41.
The loan officer says, "We are very happy to have had your business, and this transaction has worked out very nicely, but we are a little puzzled. While you were away, we checked you out and found that you are a multimillionaire. What puzzles us , is why would you bother to borrow $5000? "
The woman replied, "Where else in New York, can I park my car for 2 weeks for $15? "

Help the President

A man on his way home from work came to a dead halt in traffic and thought to himself, "Wow, this traffic seems worse than usual. Nothing's even moving." He notices a police officer walking back and forth between the lines of cars so he rolls down his window and asks, "Excuse me, Officer, what's the hold up?" The Officer replies, "The President just found out another report has been delivered to Congress and he's all depressed. He stopped his motorcade in the middle of the Beltway and he's threatening to douse himself in gasoline and set himself on fire. He says his family hates him and he doesn't have the $33.5 million he owes his lawyers. I'm wjalking around taking up a collection for him ". "Oh really? How much have you collected so far? " "I've got a lot of folks still siphoning; but right now I have about three hundred gallons. "

You Know It

A lady was walking down the street to work and she saw a parrot on a perch in front of a pet store. The parrot said to her, "Hey lady, you are really ugly. " Well, the lady is furious! She stormed past the store to her work. On the way home she saw the same parrot and it said to her, "Hey lady, you are really ugly. "
She was incredibly ticked now. The next day the same parrot again said to her, "Hey lady, you are really ugly. "
The lady was so ticked that she went into the store and said that she would sue the store and kill the bird. The store manager replied, "That's not good," and promised he wouldn't say it again.
When the lady walked past the store that day after work the parrot called to her, "Hey lady. "
She paused and said, "Yes? "
The bird said, "You know. "

Find more jokes at

Monday, April 9, 2012

The Lunar Landing

Was the Moon Landing a complete hoax????

LMAO.  Nah, this is just a mad funny video of the lunar landing.

Saturday, April 7, 2012


Some breaking news stories in the amphibian world:

Here's a story from AmphibiaWeb about the blue-tongued skink and cane toads.

  • April 2, 2012: Invasive cane toads (Bufo marinus) in northwestern Australia have proven lethal to many native animals, which eat the toxic amphibian and are not adapted to its secretions. One such affected species is the omnivorous reptile Tiliqua scincoides, the bluetongue skink. A University of Sydney study, however, indicates that another invasive species, a plant native to Madagascar named mother-of-millions (genus Bryophyllum), may have helped some skink populations to develop resistance to the cane toad’s deadly toxins. The plant produces bufadienolide toxins similar to that of the cane toad (a result of convergent evolution), and both species are readily ingested by bluetongue skinks. Skinks from regions with introduced mother-of-million showed a higher resistance to bufadienolides than skinks from regions without the plant. Such preadaptation may have a positive impact on the persistence of bluetongue skinks, and other omnivorous Australian species in the face of the introduced cane toads. (John Cavagnaro)

What does this tell us about amphibians and the natural world?

Many people would believe that this is proof for some evolutionary principle.  That would make perfect sense if the genes of all creatures on earth were not synthesized by reptilians on Mars.
Nah, just kidding, I made that up.  It's probably true, though.  Anyways, these skinks are unconsciously adapting to a new food source by eating something with a similar poison.  That's how people become winos.

Here are two more stories about the rising number of identified amphibious species, and the falling number of total amphibious species:

  • March 26, 2012: How many species of Amphibians ARE there? With nearly 7,000 species described, one might think we are reaching a decisive answer. However, in many parts of the world, we are just coming to understand that herpetologists have overlooked cryptic species. Funk and colleagues report finding that species richness in Ecuador, which may have more species of amphibians per unit area than any other country on earth, has been severely underestimated. For example, two currently recognized species ofEngystomops are shown to be from five to seven species, and two species of Hypsiboas are six to nine. Clearly, amphibian taxonomists still have much work ahead of them. (DW)
  • March 19, 2012: Although most new species of amphibians are being discovered in remote corners of the tropics, sometimes there are surprises: a new frog species has been reported in New York City (and surrounding counties). The as-yet-unnamed species of leopard frog resembles the southern leopard frog, Rana sphenocephala, but is clearly distinct from other local leopard frog species (R. sphenocephalaR. pipiensR. palustris) both genetically and by its call, and has a restricted range. This new discovery highlights the importance of urban areas as well as pristine habitat in conservation of biodiversity. See both the paper by Newman et al. (2012)in Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, and the NYTimes and NSF perspectives.

Why are Black Widows... Widows?  Here is an article about animal cannibalism.  From the Cane Toad (mentioned above) to the Black Widow, and more.

I won't copy it here, due to length, but I recommend that you visit the NYT site in the link above and look at more of their stories.  You can find the amphibian section here.

Monday, April 2, 2012


Hello fellow.
Hazel here, being newty as per usual.  Cause I'm the HNIC, Head Newt In Charge.
I am here to talk to you today about anti-depressants.  In specifics, the ones that I'm taking.  Have you ever felt like you couldn't shake a sense of hopelessness and despair?  That was me over the past couple years.  It got pretty bad.  So now I am on something called "Welbutrin" and it seems to be working pretty well.  It is not habit forming, and it doesn't have withdrawals, it is non-narcotic, and all it does is increase the natural internal chemical rewards in your brain.  This gives it an anti-addiction effect too, because whatever chemicals my brain has been conditioned to be rewarded with have less of the same effect.  Like the brain receptors are blocked from those chemicals, and conditioned to accept internal rewards more, which happens on a more constant basis while taking the medicine.  Basically, I can get pleasure from doing things I enjoy more than from random external chemicals.  Pretty cool, because I don't feel constantly depressed any more.  Therefore I enjoy things like writing again.
Thanks to my friend Fahmida for encouraging me to try something to help me and improve the quality of my life, because I owe it to myself to feel good on a regular basis if I possibly can.  I have better control of my moods now, too, so I can freak out and then recover, which is fun.  But I can keep myself from freaking out if I want to.  That's important.
Anyways, I don't encourage any type of drug use if it can be avoided, but if you are a person who is having emotional problems that don't feel right, and maybe you can't control your feelings, and you don't feel like yourself... look into something that might help you feel BETTER, if you can.  Don't take something that makes you have less feelings, but maybe there is something out there that can help you cope with your feelings better and get a better quality of yourself to live with.
All the best.

What I'm Reading

Right now I'm getting into Bill O'Reilly's book Who's Looking Out for You?

Great book so far, most excellent.  O'Reilly is insightful and down-to-earth.  Keep company with good people who are worth your time, be extremely loyal, and you will have a good chance in life, and enjoy loyalty from those friends.  You will enjoy a long life of knowing who you can count on to look out for you, and who you are going to look out for besides yourself.  As successful people, we need that.

A quote I just read in the book:

"Associate yourself with men of quality if you esteem your own reputation, For 'tis better to be alone than in bad company."

--George Washington