Working on a couple posts that I will put up later, but here is an open thread for now.
BTW- sometime in the last couple of days marks four months since I quit drinking. Not keeping count or track and the only reason I know is because my insurance finally took care of all their part and I got my bill today. Not bad- only about 2k over all. I’m cool with that. Cheaper than drinking, that’s for damned sure.
Keeping track is worth something. I know several recovering alcoholics that enjoy the 100 day, etc anniversaries as times to reflect on the commitment that has kept them off the juice.
I kept close track for a couple of years. Nothing wrong with it at all but it was fun, after about ten years, having to sit and figure it out based on other awful shit that happened to me when I got straight. Keep on truckin man.
High of 75 in Chicago today. Yes, yes, yes.
Now if only I could get this [actual name of work product censored] whipped into shape. It won’t stop fighting me.
Good on ya, and, right there with you on the 4 mos.
Congrats. You should do yoga.
Obama is OK imprisoning the troops:
Jesus on a pogo stick, there’s that “enhanced” again. Right out of the Yoo/Christie playbook.
Do you know that your shadow can get the Ebola virus and infect you without you being aware? This process occurs when your shadow goes gallivanting whilst you are asleep. Please advise our RWNJ friends so that they guard against this happening to them.
Tree With Water
I notice the Bush clan making noise about Jeb in 2016. Sure didn’t take long after reports surfaced of him criticizing FOX “news”. It tells me he’s running.
@srv: Um–the Carabinieri are under Italian control. How is this Obama’s fault?
@Tree With Water: He’s running. And if he decides to stay out, Mitt will come in. One of these two will be the GOP nominee.
@aimai: They’re not really under anyone’s control, and I have 100,000 carabinieri jokes to prove it. ;)
congrats, john; shows courage and grit.
also too, your productivity is so great now, both in content and volume.
Paul in KY
Keep on keeping on, John :-)
big ole hound
@Tree With Water: Cruz is going to let his huge ego screw with every other candidate in the primaries.
Nice work Cole!
Just wondering how you felt about your senator Joe Manchin endorsing Lamar Alexander, Susan Collins, and Lindsey Graham on Meet the Press yesterday.
@shortstop: The only reason why Chris Christie is seen as a primary Prez candidate, is the rest of the GOP offerings.
Or we can just assume Italians are imprisoning American troops? Can’t wait for that meme to ramp up.
My husband just sold our minivan for about 20% of blue book value. I am seriously considering taking up drinking right now.
@patrick II: Fuck ’em.
Congratulations, Cole! Now if you could just share some of that commitment with me so I would start eating right and get in shape…
Meanwhile, I was just over at Charlie Pierce’s place, and a commenter pointed out that a great way to strike back at the irrational, but politically expedient, response to Ebola on the part of some is to donate to Doctors without Borders which I have just done.
Congrats man! I’ve seen my brothers marriage disintegrate due to alcohol, and am glad that you’ve been able to kick it for this long. At the very least you didn’t drag anyone down with you like my former sister in law, which is a benefit of being a bachelor I suppose!
Keep it up.
Well, it wouldn’t have been, if you didn’t insist on buying all that Glenfiddich 1937.
Seriously, John, congrats, and keep up the great work.
@srv: Question: What exactly are the US troops doing in Africa to support the Ebola effort? Is it more than building hospitals? Specifically, are they handling patients and are they getting training on how to deal with them? Are the going through the training that Doctors Without Borders puts their volunteers through?
I suspect not. The difference, therefore, between these people and the nurses and doctors who are back here is that the medical people know what they should be monitoring for.
Also, according to your article, they are being placed in a building. That’s a big difference compared to what the nurse in New Jersey got until she complained.
@patrick II: Read his post from a few days ago about why he votes early.
Stay healthy, John. Sounds like you have good local support, as well as those of us who wish you well through this blog.
I live next door to a church that hosts a couple of meetings each week. One is AA, but I’m not sure what the other one is. The smokers, of course, hang out in back during breaks, and I sometimes stop to talk with them when walking the dog. One of them once asked if their being there bothered me. I said no, that the ones I worried about were the ones who weren’t there, but should be.
Congratulations, Mr. Cole. I’ve been off the sauce about the same amount of time. In my case, though, it wasn’t the desire for sobriety (unfortunately, I like being a drunk), it was the fact that alcohol and warfarin don’t mix well. One end result that’s the same in both instances: lots of $$ saved.
Four months already? Wow, congrats, John. I remember reading about all the crap you had to go thru in the beginning just to get some help.
Warning! I was just at the Doctors without Borders website and made the mistake of reading an article about the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, and now I am in tears. God damn to hell the politicians who misuse this tragedy to their advantage!
@shortstop: I don’t buy that Jeb or Mitt will be the GOP nominee in 2016. Unlike as recently as 2009, the crazies run the party now. In 2012, they grudgingly accepted Mitt (as long as he said “how high?” every time they said “jump”) only because their freak show of possible candidates (Trump, Bachmann, Cain, Newt, Santorum, etc.) made Ted Cruz look statesmanlike by comparison.
This time, they’re not going to settle for an establishment figure, no matter how much the establishment figure promises to do everything they say. They want one of their own, and this time it will happen.
The Main Gauche of Mild Reason
Sounds like John is in the Chris Hardwick camp: *drinking problem* but not necessarily a huge addict. Good to hear
@srv: Forced to spend 3 weeks in Italy is like a vacation, amirite?!
Heh, my parents met in an Italian refugee camp at the end of WWII…
Gin & Tonic
@greennotGreen: You can do monthly recurring donations with them, if you’re so inclined, which I have done. I increased the amount after the two-asshole quarantine fiasco.
Karen in GA
Speaking of medical confinement, a quick update on how Iggy’s handling his.
Has he told you what his cunning plan is?
@low-tech cyclist: I’m still inclined to think Willard’s going to get it again. He’s obsessed and he’s got a shitload of money.
@aimai: I suspect they are being isolated on a US/Nato base in Vicenza. But what do I know — except what I learn on BJ.
@low-tech cyclist: Agree completely. It’s the endgame for the freak-show caucus. Big-Bidness is the tail and not the dog anymore, and it will be whoever can unite the Tea-Party economic caucus with the fundamentalist right.
@Belafon: They get a tyvek suit, gloves and a few hours of training:
@Mike E: I’m sure the Italian nurses in Tyvek are hot!
Bob In Portland
Not sure what the news value is of this, but we all knew this before, right? Maybe when the swastika is fully rehabilitated we’ll find out about the other ten thousand Nazis. By the way, von Bolschwing had lots of friends in the Republican Party.
I saw Fury today. There’s no plot, really, no special mission that Brad Pitt’s crew gets sent on; just a tank crew in April 1945 making slow, grinding progress towards Berlin. It’s a war movie like those from the 1950s or 1960s, except for its frankness about the brutality and capriciousness of war. Think Saving Private Ryan‘s Omaha beach sequence taking up most of the movie. (And marvel, as I did, at the two boys in the row in front of me: for many of the battle scenes they were on on their smartphones, reading and sending text messages.) Not the most original cast of characters ever seen in a war movie, but the cast did pretty well. Pitt gets a peach of a line: ‘Ideals are peaceful, history is violent.”
WTG, John! That is awesome, and I hope it feels worth it.
Karen in GA
@The Main Gauche of Mild Reason: I can’t speak to the exact nature of John’s problem. I will say, though, that when I was drinking a lot in my 20s and people were starting to worry, my therapist offered a good rule of thumb: if you can remember the date you last had a drink, you’re in trouble.
(Meaning, if the fact that you haven’t had a drink in exactly X number of days is noteworthy enough for you to keep track, it’s way too important to you.)
@big ole hound: I think Cruz has a good chance of getting the nom, because I think he is locking up the far right crazies, who could not settle on one guy while they still hated McCain and Romney. Other people think I am wrong – who knew?
Anyway, if the US ends up actually electing Cruz, that would be a scary place to live. I believe we would not do it, but realize how crazy he is. Only the future will tell.
@srv: Natch. Hot-headed, too! Same story if they’re Croats, also. Too.
@low-tech cyclist: a year ago I would have disagreed, but my money’s on Cruz.
Congratulations, John. Difficult and worthwhile work.
@catclub: No way we elect Cruz. He’s too hard to look at.
@SatanicPanic: Anybody see the movie Dead Zone? Cruz reminds me of the Martin Sheen character in that movie.
Gin & Tonic
@Bob In Portland: Hey, Bob, long time.
Those election results yesterday in Ukraine sure proved you out, hey, right? Pravy Sektor with less than 2%, Svoboda not reaching the 5% threshold? Those damned fascists are clever, though, so I’m sure there’s another explanation for their getting the short end of the stick.
@catclub: I don’t know anything about this but srv is usually wrong about whatever he posts. I’d also like to point out that given the crazed way local politicians and communities are handling the threat of Ebola in *this* country the military would be crazy to directly repatriate anyone who is known to have been in contact with anything even a smidgen African because the liklihood of their being fucked over once they come back to the US is high. If I were US military personel and admin I’d want to do my “quarantine” on an army base far from home so that when I got home I wouldn’t be attacked and isolated like the Nurse in New Jersey.
From what I’ve seen of American politics since Obama’s election, locking up the far-right crazies would be a good idea, but no one wants to try it.
Or maybe you meant that Ted Cruz has become the darling of the right-wing crazies. In which case, I seem to recall that that’s a good way to win a Republican nomination, but not quite a sure thing for winning an election.
The Other Chuck
@Karen in GA: Or you just drink infrequently and are good at remembering dates. Honestly, it sounds like a really lousy rule of thumb. Now if you’re repeatedly thinking about the last time you had a drink, that might indicate a problem, but again, thinking about it in reply to a question doesn’t count (it’s a “don’t think of a purple zebra” sort of thing)
My best wishes and admiration of your strength,John. That’s great…
Yep, your sources (even if just BJ) were right: the returning Army troops (the only Service doing this so far) is keeping the returning troops at the base in Vicenza. – the accommodations are probably short of Ritz-Carlton standards, to be sure: but it hardly sounds like Stalag 86, either….
As it should be, really: after all, we don’t want Our Troops to have sleep outside in tents, or anything…..
@Karen in GA:
I’m reminded of a story told by one of the British “bad boy” actors from the 1960s–can’t remember which one. Anyway one minute he was drinking in a bar in London, next thing he’s getting off a plane on a Caribbean island. The time in between was a complete blackout. He quit drinking.
Also, good on you John.
congrats, John :)
Paul in KY
@Amir Khalid: Did anybody in movie call a Sherman tank ‘a Ronson lighter’? That’s what their nickname was. The tank’s major flaw was that it used gasoline, vice diesel.
Paul in KY
@greennotGreen: Not quite as slick as the Martin Sheen character, but I see where you are coming from.
Proud of you, Cole! What a great thing you’ve done.
War is a bitch.
Everybody loses. Even the victors lose.
I’ve been trying for decades to understand why humans so enthusiastically engage in war. It’s been a futile effort.
@Karen in GA: If he were quarantined for Ebola, he’s be out by now. Congrats and I’m pleased that his jail time is almost up.
@Karen in GA: Such a great photo!! Perfect that you didn’t write a whole story and let ” Attica!” and the photo speak volumes.
I love the reddish color on the bottom of Iggy’s paw – the one that’s rattling the cage. My cocker spaniel had a couple patches of that same same color on his paw. So sweet, it reminds me of my boy. (now gone for 3 years)
Not much time left in the joint for you guys; I’m sure it can’t come quickly enough.
@Paul in KY:
No, not that I recall, although a few of them catch fire rather quickly. The movie does point out quite early on that the Shermans were generally inferior to the Germans’ Tiger tanks.
John Cole +0
@Jay C: Actually, I bet the building is pretty nice by Army standards. We’ve had a long standing base in Vicenza housing the 173rd Airborne. I actually crossed paths with those guys a couple times while I was on active on different training missions. Because of their location, they are out and about a good deal. One of their CO’s got himself court martialed a while back.
$2K over four months? Yep, that’s way cheaper than drinking, at least the way I drink.
And seconding those who said, “remember the last day you had a drink” as a lousy metric. Since having a glass of wine with dinner isn’t anyone’s idea of alcoholism, and since I can generally remember “yesterday,” I’d say I can just about always remember the last day I had a drink without having a problem.
My main problem with drinking is that it’s making me fat.
@Karen in GA:
Remembering may be one thing that keeps some people from starting back up. “I’ve been sober/straight this long, I’m not going to ruin a good thing.” I remember, if not the day, the month/yr that I lit up my last high. And that’s going on 31 yrs.
It was a good thing that I stopped, I want to remember that.
Now I can see a therapists point if you still have a desire to ingest your poison of choice, your remembering is about something you’ve lost, not something you’ve gained. John has gained something he desired, sobriety. Someone losing something they liked probably doesn’t want to be reminded of that regularly.
Boys like to fight. Many who hold power find that useful.
Bitches one can live with. War is far worse.
Other wise I agree with you wholeheartedly.
Another Holocene Human
This Jian Ghomeshi thing is really weirding me out. He was so violent and weird with so many people it’s kind of amazing that it took so long for this to come out.
So I’m wondering what it is about our culture that makes it impossible to call this stuff out.
Heck, I saw my coworker hanging out with a woman who, er, has a problem. Let’s just say her last husband LEFT TOWN and got a new job just to get away from her (and says the money he spent on that divorce was the best money he ever spent). I was going to say something to him. Then I figured he’d blow it off because of who it was coming from or it was inappropriate because we aren’t in the same job classification. Maybe he knows who she is and figures he can handle it. I mean how does he know I don’t have some sort of weird motive, right?
It seems like serial abusers have lots of prey because their victims are auto-silenced. So they do it over and over and over. I just … how do we fix this?
Paul in KY
@Amir Khalid: They were completely inferior, except for speed. Thank you for your quick answer. Hope all is well in KL.
Keep up the good work.
@John Cole +0:
Ummm, NOT the ones in quarantine, one hopes…..
We both hope you are right about this. It has been pointed out that once said crazy person has gotten the GOP nom, something crazy could happen and they could be elected.
This is a reason to worry that Cruz does get the nom, even if it seems obvious that he would have no chance in the general.
In contrast to all those people who did not get the nom and have zero chance of being elected.
Another Holocene Human
Hey, if you’re finding that day after day 500 cups of coffee don’t wake you up…
I’m not having memory problems at least not major ones and I’m not having “ack, can’t breathe” episodes. Although all these shift changes are fucking with my sleep. I am dreaming before waking again which seems to indicate I got my deep sleep in.
So what else could it be?
I’m occupationally at risk of thyroid problems but … non-medical people screamed “thyroid!” before but everything was normal and I bounced back, so …
@low-tech cyclist: Let’s compare notes in spring 2016. ;)
OT: You know that drunken homophobe racist thug (okay, redundant) that got tackled at DFW the other day? You know who was smack in the middle of the whole scrum? Paul freaking Rudd!
And on topic: Congrats, John. Keep up the good work!
@shelley: Is he still seen as one? I don’t think he’s even going to give it a try.
Hell yeah brother. You can drink up 2 grand in a hurry. Very proud for you.
Congrats! And you’re not noticeably more cranky. V. impressive.
Just One More Canuck
@shelley: when I first saw your comment, I thought it said “the rest of the GOP droppings”
@John Cole +0:
You’d probably win: the US Army base at Vicenza has been significantly expanded in recent years (scroll to p 14 of the pdf) – they seem to have plenty of space, now…
PS: Caserma Ederle seems to have been picked for expansion in main part because it is the HQ for US Army Africa (USARAF) – is there some reason why the HQ for whatever forces we may have deployed in Africa is located in Italy, rather than, y’know, Africa? Or is “It’s The Army!” explanation enough?
@Karen in GA: That makes a lot of sense.
Help! I just lost that dropdown menu in Firefox that gives quick access to Wikipedia, Google, etc. How do I get it back?
@Another Holocene Human: For people with personality disorders, it is so much “Can we fix” as it is a “Will s/he fix” dilemma… our responsibility is to identify those with this disorder cluster; what is it about you/me that attracts said people; and, do the necessary work to extricate ourselves from this situation.
Blows, but little else can be done about it esp. since they invariably will choose self-ruin before taking responsibility for their ailment.
Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN)
@Paul in KY: The Sherman was not “completely inferior” to the Tiger; it was designed with a completely different purpose in mind, at which it was significantly better than the Tiger. U.S. Army doctrine was that tanks were supposed to be used as infantry support, not dueling with other tanks. That job was reserved for the tank destroyers (hence the name), such as the M10 Wolverine.
U.S. doctrine turned out to be reasonably effective. Tank destroyer battalions operated with large recon components which allowed them to break up German armored attacks pretty well. And the “except for the speed” part is missing the point, because tactical speed was a key element of that.
As for the Sherman, the various models equipped with the short barrelled 75mm were very effective in infantry support; the medium velocity guns they carried were better for firing HE than the long barrelled, higher velocity guns. That’s the reason the Germans made a lot of Pz IIIs and Pz IVs with lower velocity guns, too.
When the Sherman was specifically gunned for fighting armor, as with the M4A3E8 with the 76mm gun or the British Firefly variant with the 17 pdr gun and APDS ammunition, it was also effective. One on one it couldn’t fight a Tiger with a high probability of success but that’s a ridiculous comparison; the Sherman was a medium tank (about 30 tons in weight) and the Tiger was a heavy tank (about 60 tons). A much better comparison is to the Pz IV (27 tons), and the Sherman comes out looking fairly good.
The main disadvantage of the Sherman was it’s height (about 10 inches taller than the Pz IV, with the difference being primarily in the hull), which limited it’s ability to take cover. It also had slightly thinner armor that had less slope to it, giving the Pz IV a greater effective armor thickness. It also had a noted tendency to catch fire when hit, though this had less to do with using gasoline than it did the method of ammo storage; the fires were primarily caused by ammo ignition, not fuel ignition. (There were many cases of finding a burned out Sherman inside which was a completely intact fuel tank.)
The advantages of the Sherman were a lot less sexy than the disadvantages but probably more important. It was extremely reliable mechanically and easy to repair, so it was not only much cheaper to produce than German tanks of similar size, but a much higher percentage of them could stay in the field. The Pz IV, like all German tank designs, were full of precision German engineering that made them really expensive in the first place and often resulted in breakdowns that required sending the thing back to the factory. And, since the Sherman faced one test that the Pz IV never did (namely, the need to put every one of them built onto a boat before it could be used) that was a crucial advantage.
The Sherman takes a lot of shit that it doesn’t deserve. It was a fine tank, as long as you remember what it was and make the right comparisons with it.
GHayduke (formerly lojasmo)
With both my wife’s insurance and mine, my $50K treatment bill ended up costing me $500 OOP.
That was about a month’s worth of wine for me. I drank cheap wine.
Proud of you, John.
@elmo: The two buzzes I’ve had in 21 years were both colonoscopies. How you like them apples?
@Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Nice piece on the Sherman for the UofI.
@Jay C: respecting cultural differences, more Tham anything else.
AFRICOM doesn’t have any combat forces permanently assigned, but rather forces based elsewhere are aligned regionally. Most African countries, having been victimized by colonialism, are VERY roxy about the prospect of hosting significant forces from a country that many people in the region consider only one step removed from their colonial oppressors of the past.
For a long time, Africa was under EUCOM for command and control purposes because events in Africa weren’t realty on the radar of US policy-makers.
Karen in GA
@The Other Chuck: Eh… I guess you had to be there. More like “if how much time has passed since you last drank matters that much to you… “.
@soonergrunt (mobile): that should read “are VERY leery about…”
Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism
@Another Holocene Human: Vitamin D? Potassium? Anemia?
Way to Go John!
Just checked my handy dandy sobriety app and today is day 450 for me.
Karen in GA
@WaterGirl: Thanks. And yeah, I figured nothing I wrote could top the picture.
@JPL: Imagine if Chris Christie were a vet.
And John, congratulations. I hope that you ate as proud of this accomplishment as you should be.
Good on ya, John. Impressive.
Another Holocene Human
@Sister Rail Gun of Warm Humanitarianism: I do have some sort of anemia, it’s hereditary, and I have been feeling really weird the last few days. Maybe I will take some B12.
I’ve been avoiding eating meat lately* and now I have this round the clock hunger feeling that won’t go away. Damn.
*-not for religious reasons, just cause I wasn’t feeling it
Another Holocene Human
@Mike E: No, “we” can’t fix a personality disorder but we can cause them to inhibit their behavior by convincing them that they’re not going to get away with it.
They pick on people who are vulnerable, often they are vulnerable because of being raised in a dysfunctional environment or sometimes, by being raised in a loving, trusting bubble where they never imagine that someone close to them could hurt them. Yeah, I think there’s a problem in how we socialize people that they don’t learn until it’s too late what boundary-testing consists of, and so on.
People on B axis with violent fantasies go on and on and on because they don’t get stopped by anyone.
Another Holocene Human
@Another Holocene Human: I feel really stupid that I didn’t even think of that … thank you, Sister Railgun.
Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN)
@raven: Actually, it’s a crappy piece. The Panther is also a weak comparable to the Sherman, given that it weighed in at 45 tons; it was really a hybrid between a medium and a heavy tank.
As I said before, the better comparison is to the Pz IV, and it’s here that the article’s inconsistencies really show up. At one point it says, “At the time they fared well against the German equivalent tank, the Panzer IV.” Two paragraphs later, it says, “Sherman tanks were not nearly as efficient or as armored as the primary German tank, the Panzer IV. This was a fact even before the upgrading of Panzer gun barrels and armor in 1943.” So, which is it? Did it fare well against the Pz IV or was it not nearly as efficient? And it adds that last sentence without accounting for the fact that later models of the Sherman were also upgunned and uparmored.
The paragraph about the loss rates is extremely misleading. All tank forces suffered huge losses and the Germans were no exception. Even when they were winning it was common for Panzer divisions to be down to single digit operating tanks after a few weeks of heavy campaigning. This is something you didn’t see with the Sherman, precisely because it was so easy to return them to battle.
There are a number of other problems with it, but the biggest is, again, that it’s without going into the differing tank doctrines you can’t explain why the Sherman was more effective than it might seem at first glance.
@Another Holocene Human: You might ask your health care people about B12 by injection. Oral B12 does nothing for me, but the monthly injection helps enormously. I can self-administer so no doctor visit needed. My anemia was also a hereditary deal which eventually led to transfusions & a year of iron injections (iron pills make me puke – can’t even take multi vitamins with iron). Also, I was advised that, barring religious/moral objections, beef 2x weekly would be a good idea. It has been helpful.
Forgot to add: hearty congratulations to our genial host & best wishes for continuing along a healthy path.
@Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): I guess I was thinking about the interview with the dude that has been there.
@Another Holocene Human: Agree. But freedumb means they can express their umm, various amendment rights an’ all that. Also, our mental healthcare system is for shit. Too. Sadly.
And oral B12 has been fantastic for me. I think it’s amazing how much we are all supposed to be the same and yet on a micro level we can have pretty drastic differences.
OK that was meant medically/chemically different, not different in how we should be valued as human beings.
My sister, a practicing vegan, took to eating meat when she had cancer, she needed more iron than she could get otherwise.
Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN)
@Raven: The problem is the same as every time you rely on anecdotal data. In this case, soldiers are always going to gripe endlessly about the perceived deficiencies of their own equipment. That’s what gets their attention. They’re less likely to go on about the things that are advantageous in their gear and they’re usually completely unaware of the deficiencies of what the other guy is using. The average American tanker never stepped into a Panther tank and they certainly didn’t know anything about the production and maintenance problems with German tanks.
If you’re going to compare American to German tanks, an interview with someone who was there, in the sense of having actually been a tanker, is almost worthless.
@Another Holocene Human: Have your D3 checked as well. If you don’t have enough you won’t process calcium and other basic stuff as well as you should. Potassium, magnesium and iron need certain basic trace items to get into the cells properly.
@Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Um, I really don’t care either way. You obviously know way more than anyone else here.
@raven: raven, are you posting from two different devices (one as raven and the other as Raven) or are there two of you?
@WaterGirl: Back and forth, I went downtown with the dogs and hit one on my phone.
@raven: After the conversation yesterday, I thought maybe you were just messing with me. :-)
Congratulations! And you’d have probably spent way more than $2k on alcohol (and if you’d had a DUI or accident……….).
Paul in KY
@Tissue Thin Pseudonym (JMN): Completely inferior to a Tiger tank (except for speed & probably repairability). I was not comparing it to a Panzer IV.
Also, as I noted earlier, it used gasoline.