Thursday, June 29, 2006

Vernon Robinson for Congress in North Carolina

Oh man, this was funny, funny stuff.

Nice Moves ... Unless you're Charles Woods and Sons

Well, three moving days down and one to go. I finished scrubbing the stove so that it's so clean you could eat...well, you know.

Our neighbors are gone but left us their place, so we have somewhere to eat, hang out, and of course, blog. It's definitely the people who make this job what it is. Yeah, we're leaving town ... here's the keys to our place ... lock up when you're done.

We also said goodbye to Chuck/Laurel, two of our very good friends. They're on their way to Hawaii. Chuck's always been a guy willing to take one for the team. He takes command the same day I do, only of some sort of engineering directorate down there. One officer and a hundred civilians....yow!

Fortunately this time we have two very good moving companies. We have two because more than half our stuff is going into long-term storage, whilst the rest heads to Yongsan. We've been very happy with both crews, unlike when we came here. The guys have worked hard and been great.

The transportation officer (a civilian) stopped by again today to see how it was going. We talked about one of the moving companies, Charles Woods and Sons, who moved us here. He was telling us that they've been trying to get this company off the approved list of movers, but too many people who lodge complaints fail to follow through with official letters. This keeps the transportation office from being able to go to the contracting office and saying, "what the hell, over?" Apparently, whenever there's a complaint, someone gets a check from the company and magically, there's never any letter. The contracting office won't stop dealing with these people because they're the lowest bidder.

Guess who just got the "exclusive" contract to move all the folks on post to the new housing just being built? Yeah, you guessed it.

Personally, I told the transportation office I didn't want these guys moving me. I wasn't here when we moved in, but my wife was explaining that when they showed up at the door she said, "Hey, how are you?" to which they replied, "well, that depends, we haven't had any good tippers yet today, but maybe things will get better."

Then they spent the day mostly gawking at my 11-year old daughter. She decided later to let our German Shepherd "accidentally" get in the house to give these guys a scare.

Anyway, one more day of moving tomorrow and my final house clearing inspection. Thank god they're tearing out the insides of these cleaning crews required...hoody hoo!!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Why does bad customer service have to be the customer's fault?


We're in full "crunch time" for the move now. I just got back from school (Broadcast Management Course) and the movers hit tomorrow. The advance team from the moving company just left after completing the pre-move survey. Their estimate: 7k for household goods. We'll see how close they are.

So I'm at the Post Exchange yesterday (think post department store), and I'm paying by credit card. Of course, after I swipe the card and hit "okay" the screen goes blank and says "swipe card".

Now I'm about to do exactly that...the entire situation is about to last 3 seconds and be over in a flash. That is, until the smart-aleck clerk decides she just can't let it go. Her exact words?

"You did something wrong, do it again."

Now here's where I wish I had been fast enough to quip, "Well, if I did something wrong, how is doing it again going to help?"

What ensued after that really isn't important. What struck me was how it's automatically the customer's fault. As though those little credit machines that get used thousands of times in a week don't have their quirky moments.

I've been noticing a lot of this lately; maybe just because I'm more tense because of the move. It's our 10th move in roughly 16 years; my 11-year old daughter is making her seventh move. God bless her and her 9-year old sister (her sixth move).

I just returned from school and am trying to settle my travel voucher. I couldn't get a receipt when I checked out of the hotel because the computers were down. What we did before computers, I have no idea.

I called today and can't get a receipt because the rooms are all full? Apparently the computer won't let them generate a receipt until a room shows as "open" in the computer. Then they have to put me in, pull me out, and generate a receipt.

I was SO tempted to just say, "So you can't charge me until I give you my credit card number AGAIN because your computer was down? Okay, see you!"

I'm just ramblin...the movers are almost here, and I have to pack my suitcases. Hey, it beats being shot at, that's for sure. The guys and gals who are deployed are the ones we should keep in our prayers.


Don't do me any favors...

Well, it's moving time again. I just got back from the schoolhouse at Fort Meade. Just a quick thought and will post more later today.

When you're already 2 hours late for something, do you really think you're doing someone a favor by calling them to tell them you're late?

Our movers want to come by for a pre-inspection today. They already missed their pre-inspection day on Saturday by not calling until they were already 90 minutes late. By then I had already left the house to take the kids to see "Cars" (which is really funny by the way).

We rescheduled for today at "noon". Well, it's 2:10 and I just got the call that they are going to be another hour. You know, you'd think that you would make that call either 1- 15 minutes before you're going to be late, or 2- 15 minutes after your time and say it's going to be another few hours.

Gotta run...gotta grab something to eat before they "actually" get here.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Freedom of the's gonna cost you.

Another blow for freedom of the Press? That’s right, if you’ve got the money.

Remember when the Pentagon took heat for paying certain reporters to cover stories in Iraq?

The funniest comment is “But we don't do it here--not without getting punished, and fired, for it anyway.”

Well, apparently we DO do it here – without getting punished or fired.

This link will take you to this story.

In the latest blow to editorial credibility and the crumbling of the wall between church and state, nearly half of senior marketing executives (48.9%) said they have paid for an editorial or broadcast news placement, according to a PRWeek/Manning Selvage & Lee survey conducted by Millward Brown, BtoB Online reports.

See another, more in depth take here.

A Manning, Selvage and Lee report claims that almost 50% of marketing executives PAY for story placement…including, get this EDITORIAL placement. This is fantastic! Companies are paying for placement on the editorial page, where the connection between truth and reporting is often the weakest.

This is as opposed to paying reporters to cover your “good news” stories. At least there, you have facts that are verifiable. For instance, if we were to pay a reporter to cover a story about building three new schools, someone else could verify that there were…actually….three new schools that we had built.

With the MSL survey, companies are often (but not always) getting editorial placement. This means that they are getting stories that say, “This company is full of people who really have their customers’ best interest at heart.” This is somewhat harder to prove, isn’t it?

My guess is that these placements are in some of the same media outlets that were “outrage” when the U.S. government paid reporters to get off their lazy asses and cover some good news in Iraq.

Oh, wicked Harlot, oh shameful wench, thy name is Media.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Catching up and moving on.

Whew! It has been a while and it's time to catch up.

First of all, I'm late to the party on the fund raising for Project Valour IT. This is the project that provides voice activated software and laptops to wounded service members. The fund raising drive ends today, but I'm sure they'll always take a donation. Check out the link below:

Well, I left Fox News a few weeks ago and moved to the Defense Information School to start the Broadcast Management Course. Only a few days to go, one briefing left, and it's back to Brooklyn to round up the family and head out to Indiana. Maybe the Army will actually give me official orders at some point to allow my family to actually travel! You would think that this isn't rocket science, but apparently it is. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of great individual people who are working hard to make this happen, but the system...ah, the system.

I'm not complaining...especially after reading this heart-wrenching story about a young Marine. This is why I'm in the military and love soldiers. Thanks to BlackFive for these...

On the other hand, I saw 1st lt. Ehren Watada on Dayside today, talking about why he is refusing to deploy to Iraq. Someone not happy with Fox is here .

Fort Meade has been great. I've gotten to see three soldiers with whom I was in Kosovo in 98. One former Specialist (the rank of E4) who was on our Public Affairs Detachment is now a Staff Sergeant and an instructor here at DINFOS. He has also been selected for Sergeant First Class (E7). Another, who was a Private First Class (E3) with whom I spent a week living in a Russian Motorized Infantry Battalion teaching public affairs, is now a strapping young Drill Instructor and a Staff Sergeant. And a former Sergeant is now a DA civilian instructor teaching at DINFOS as well. All great people with whom I am proud to have served.

I love this job!

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Ding, Dong, Zarqawi's dead...

h/t to Trevor at Milblogs...

see the MNF-I press release here...

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, al-Qaida's leader in Iraq who led a bloody campaign of suicide bombings and kidnappings, has been killed in an air strike, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Thursday, adding his identity was confirmed by fingerprints and a first-hand look at his face. It was a major victory in the U.S.-led war in Iraq and the broader war on terror.

Read the rest of the story here.

This is an absolutely great day for freedom and for the world.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Pimp my airwaves?

But first, short remarks about the LT who has refused to go to Iraq. h/t to blackfive and heidi.

For me, anyone coming in the service after 9-11 should understand one thing: you will very likely go to Iraq. You may not go now or next year, but you have a very good chance to go. Understand that before you raise your hand, take the oath and take a paycheck.

Make your decisions now about whether or not you think it's a lawful order to go. Yes, you have an obligation to disobey an unlawful order, but it's not like you don't see this coming.

I’m sorry it takes someone this long to make this kind of decision. Make the decisions you can live with, but understand the consequences. Refuse to go and pay the price.

No whining…pick up a jumpsuit and stand inside the bars.

Now for some news about American Forces Radio:

Stars and Stripes has published a story concerning a recent study by Lund Media Research. The study recommends changes to various radio services and formats that American Forces Network provides. It’s the first major study in more than ten years.

And the bottom line is that no one has made any decisions about anything yet…

You’re going to hear, read and see lots of accusations in the near future. People want to fill in facts where there aren’t any and speculate over “what it all means”. Some folks see this as an attempt to get rid of certain programs such as Rush Limbaugh (whom I happen to like).

Others, such as John Gibson over at Fox, think that AFN radio is going to become Hip Hop Nation, serving up a “steady diet” of nothing but Hip Hop…

No we’re not.

We’re not going to serve up a steady diet of any one food. We understand that we have lots of audiences to serve. Right now we’re just happy to have some better information about our audiences and what they’re interested in.

You’ve all seen this before. An organization—any organization—wants to change things, so they bring in some experts in a particular field. They do some surveys and get a list of recommendations. Then the real work begins when we sit down and start to look at the details. That's where we're at now. Do you think we—or anyone else—is going to start making any changes before we figure out what it will cost and how it will affect us in the long run? We have to answer a lot questions. Will this affect our core values as an organization? Will we be able to sustain it? Will it make things better or worse? Will we have to stop doing something else to make this happen?

Organizations look at all options and consider each one carefully before acting, especially when they’re trying to make things better. These are decisions we’re all going to have to live with for a while so we’re going to take the time to make the right ones.

We understand that our main mission is bringing service members to the information commanders want them to have. We also understand that if we don’t make our products entertaining then the information won’t matter at all. People have to want to tune in and that means giving them something they want.

But anyone who tells you that AFN is “definitely going to do” anything doesn’t have a clue.

The bottom line is this: We ain’t going all Slim Shady on ya…peace out dawg!

Friday, June 02, 2006

Army Finance Strikes Again...

Well, sorry for not blogging more often but we're getting ready to make the move back to Korea. Lots of paperwork, a few schools en route, major overhaul for the station wagon AND the German Shepherd...

Of course, my friends at Army finance struck again. I had turned in my paperwork for my last travel settlement and waited several days. After no response I called up and asked what had happened. I was told "we don't have any record of you turning anything in."


I said, "but I have this email from such-and-such address confirming that you received my package via email."

I was told, "well, we automatically send those out and sometimes our computer drops the attachments from email."

You don't say :(

On a lighter note, I got my shiny new ID card today with "lieutenant colonel" on it. My wife and I are 20 seconds outside the ID section building when a female captain walks by me (both of us in uniform) and says, "hey" and nods her head.

I stopped and said, "Hey?"....she stopped and just stared at me, not saying a thing.

I told my wife, "go ahead dear, I may be a minute..."

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Kind words for those that serve

I had a chance to talk with this amazing guy yesterday. My whole family has been big fans of his since he first appeared (although I have to say Chris Daughtry was my own pick to win--hey, what do I know?). I made all the typically lame fan comments, love your stuff, we're big fans, blah blah blah and ended with "we just want to thank you for being such a great entertainer."

That's when he paused and said, "Well, thank you. No seriously, I thank all of you guys for doing what you do. It's guys like you who allow me to live out the American dream, so I thank you."

Gratitude like that makes it all worthwhile.

Kosovo Dad