If you corral a score or more of young men into forced close proximity for any length of time, their irrepressible energy will express itself as either fractious behavior or horseplay.
Also, the period of the early 1970s will be remembered as the time of counter-culture and widespread drug use. In autumn 1972, the admin unit called Team 1 was created from the 530 Administration Company of the 3rd Armored Division, stationed in Frankfurt, Germany. As a quick aside to this story, let me mention that yours truly was responsible for enabling many of these same enlisted personnel to live off-post in apartments and get paid for it.
While poring through my set of Army Regulations, I happened to run across a housing reg that established the minimum allowable square footage for permanent enlisted billeting.
From our earlier residence at Drake Kaserne in Frankfurt, we both remembered this young major who was friendly to the grunts. When we got back to Kirsch Goens, we showed 1LT McLinn the authorization orders and he had to let us move out. We quickly punched two small holes in the bottom of each can with a pocket knife awl (so thata€™s what that tool is for!).
Within fifteen minutes of the heist, we were lowering the converted six-pack back down to its perch. Then the five-pack disappeared not too long later as some passerby in the dark thought they had found a prize. One day in the office there was a big meeting of Divisional Top Brass in a room across the hallway from our office.
Sp4 Dave Ramsey was walking down the hall and noticed that there was one of those fold-over locking hasps on the aforementioned door.
Realizing that inserting the dinner fork through the lock ring would only invite some passerby to pull it back out again (this was, after all, the Army), he did what any admin troop would do: he made a sign.
But it is still funny to imagine the look on that officera€™s face after he climbed out the window and walked back around to unlock the door. Summer arrived in 1973, and with it came warm weather, and the need to clean up the office building. One day during that same summer while I was at the PX, I happened to notice a pack of party balloons.
The remaining party balloons stayed unused in a drawer until the move to Giessen the following year. One summer night two camouflaged figures crept out into the dark carrying a large heavy box between them. The next day a certain admin group was performing soccer practice on this same soccer field when they found out the hard way that it had been mined. It just so happened that the same mena€™s room where the water balloon event occurred had extraordinary resonance. One day in the summer of 1973, I was washing up in the mena€™s room when I saw Wallace arrive in his blue VW hatchback. I waited a reasonable period and sauntered back into the office, wearing my most contrite expression. Part of the essential kit of all soldiers at that time was a butane-lighter to ignite the omnipresent bowl of hashish.
This of course resulted in everyone having to have one, and soon fiery sword fights could be witnessed that pre-dated the Star-Wars light saber by a decade.
I have always thought that printera€™s ink is one of the most amazing substances ever created. Then the printera€™s ink just happened to have exactly the same patina and shade of black as military toilet seats.
I used the same technique to get even with a pain-in-the-neck corporate executive in the mid-1980a€™s.
Answer: a€?YOU KNOW DAMN WELL WHO YOUa€™RE CALLING!a€? I forget the ladya€™s name right now, but she was married to a Captain and was pretty used to handling brass. It was a curious characteristic of those telephones that, even without a microphone, if you shouted loud enough, you could actually be heard at the other end of the call: there was probably a low efficiency transmission through the handseta€™s earphone speaker. Then Embury would distract McLinn for moment: call him away from the phone to provide some pertinent info (travel order number or something), and Ia€™d slip in, and put the microphone back in. The one time we pulled it off, the two parties simultaneously picked up the phones, and then launched into their answering speeches.
About this time the curiosity of a€?why did you actually place this call?a€? began to intrude very cautiously and diplomatically into the discussion.
I was sitting at my desk when SP4 Dave Morgan stomped into our office area, obviously furious. Realizing that the incident was spinning into nowhere, Morgan stalked out in a huff, but not before warning me something about a€?winding up a Jimmy.a€? From then on, everyone first checked their carbons, just like looking into their typewriters.
My good office partner Sp4 Scotty Martin sat on the opposite side of our small bay, about twenty feet from me.
SP4 Goody must have heard this steady, a€?whiirrr a€“ BANG!a€? coming out of the smaller office where I was and got curious.
Ia€™ve always thought that if I was ever trapped in a building with bank robbers, terrorists or that ilk, Ia€™d scan around quickly to see if there were any rubber bands and paper clips. Without fanfare, Lindsey touched a flaming match to the touch hole and there was a momentary sizzle as the charge inside the tube ignited, just like the old flintlock muskets.
Perhaps more importantly, the Code of Office Conduct now required that a spitball be delivered via cannon shot.
The zenith of Admin-Cannon design was achieved with a steel tube that somebody found lying around outside: obviously divine providence at work.
Rather than have someone actually touch a match to the touch hole, it was deemed safer to make a rudimentary fuse using cigarette paper. Considering all of the untested features of this advanced model Admin-Cannon, one would have thought that the most appropriate testing time would be in the quiet of the evening. I had just achieved eye level with the top of my desk when 1SG Spence heaved himself upright and dashed for the doorway connecting the large bay and small bay. As one gazed out into the large bay, the record clerks were joyously operating at full capacity, while the smoke continued swirling around the left end of the bay.


Since the record clerks were so determinedly carrying the air of normalcy, the Vietnam soldiers were soon up and back to normal too.
Ramsey and I were just sitting around, nothing to do, and probably feeling a little frisky from the snort we had had.
After what seemed like a half an hour (we were rapidly running out of space alien energy), Wallace started to stir. Around an hour later we were poking around, getting dinner ready when the door opened and in staggers Wallace. One of the jobs that a Personnel Actions Specialist had was reviewing the a€?RA Applicationsa€? of officers who had decided to make a career of the Army.
Having written all the above, one might assume that ultimately, the pressure of perfection proved to be just too great: a practical joke simply had to assert itself. One day in the fall of 1973, I was paging through some old National Geographic magazine lying around somewhere. McLinn paged contentedly through the document, checking the personal info of the applicant, probably comparing the a€?Applicanta€™s data against his own personal situation.
Inasmuch as no one had ever heard McLinn (or anybody) make a sound like that before; it immediately got the entire officea€™s attention. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish between a person laughing out of control, and a person wracked with extreme anguish.
I knew McLinn would need a few minutes to collect his thoughts, so I took a little powder and did a quick walk around the building.
Apart from hating me, from that point on McLinn and I were tightly bound to a unique fraternity. As a quick aside to this story, let me mention that yours truly was responsible for enabling many of these same enlisted personnel to live off-post in apartments and get paid for it.A  As Team 1a€™s Personnel Actions Specialist, I had a full set of Army Regulations, and was trying to read quickly through them so I could hasten my On-the-Job-Training.A  Why was I hastening with OJT? We quickly punched two small holes in the bottom of each can with a pocket knife awl (so thata€™s what that tool is for!).A  Crockett finally made it back with his big bowl (a€?they kept pointing me to the mena€™s room!a€?), and we emptied the cans into it.
Then the five-pack disappeared not too long later as some passerby in the dark thought they had found a prize.A  It probably migrated all around the base, losing one can at a time. One day in the office there was a big meeting of Divisional Top Brass in a room across the hallway from our office.A  They were discussing sensitive issues and so closed the door to their meeting room.
The meeting went on for what seemed like hours.A  And everyone of our gang wandered by and chuckled at that sign and the locked door, just thinking about what was surely going to happen. Nothing was said when Wallace returned after a rather lengthy time out of the office.A  It was understood that nature sometimes cana€™t be hurried.
Both Wallace and Pardekooper fell out of their chairs as if theya€™d been axed.A  Ron had of course, heard the wounded moose and its final despair.
I used the same technique to get even with a pain-in-the-neck corporate executive in the mid-1980a€™s.A  The jerk didna€™t know that I had received special training in the military. What began as a sideline business selling polished metal mirrors to pilgrims in Germany (to capture holy light) evolved into an enterprise that altered the course of art, religion, politics and industry: Johannes Gutenberga€™s movable type and printing press. We judge ourselves by our noblest acts and best intentions, but we are judged by our last worst act.
There are 10,000 species of ants, and for several million years they have coved the earth, except Antarctica [no pun intended].
Credit has existed globally since the early days of trading and mercantilism, but it wasna€™t until the 1920s that oil companies issued a physical card to repeat customers who purchased fuel for their new-fangled automobiles.
Therea€™s nothing so hollow as the laugh of the person who intended to tell the story himself.
CHALLENGE #111: Why is the numeric keypad on a computer (7-8-9 at the top) upside-down from the numeric keypad on phones (1-2-3 on top)? English belongs to the very large Indo-European language family [Germanic, Baltic, Slavic, Celtic, Latin, Hellenic, Iranian, Sanskrit et alia, which led to Polish, Welsh, French, Greek, Kurdish, Punjabi, and English, to name a few].
The real test of character comes when doing the right thing may not be in our self-interest. In the past 5,000 years the human genetic code changed 100 times faster than it had in any prevous period. In the 1880s, Samuel Augustus Maverick was a Texas cattleman who refused to brand his cattle, seeing it as cruel. CHALLENGE #111 was: Why is the numeric keypad on a computer (7-8-9 at the top) upside-down from the numeric keypad on phones (1-2-3 on top)? Researchers gave cash to experimental subjects who were instructed either to spend it on themselves or on others. BIG Q #26: Pericles argued in his Funeral Oration that democracy stimulates excellence because all citizens are stakeholders with public responsibilities. When intensive-care units at Michigan hospitals followed a 5-step checklist for how to insert intravenous lines in patients, infections were virtually eliminated, saving the hospitals $175 million over 18 months.
The peace symbol began as the emblem of the British anti-nuclear movement 50 years ago on Good Friday: a combination of the semaphore positions for N and D [Nuclear Disarmament] within a circle [the earth].
CHALLENGE #114: He was a fighter who was obsessed with boxing and he abused drink and drugs. BIG Q #27: Since poverty is deeper among children than the elderly, why does public spending on the elderly vastly outstrip spending on the young?
E-mail and Web searches consume 1.5% of the nationa€™s electricity last year, and if current trends continue, by 2010 the power bill to run a computer over its lifetime will surpass the cost of buying the machine. Biologically speaking, humans have changed little in the 100,000 years [or 3,000 generations] since modern humans emerged on the African savanna--not enough time for serious adjustments.
Rembrandt was a master of chiaroscuro (kee-ahr-uh-SKYOOR-oh), the use of contrasts of light and shade to enhance the depiction of character and for general dramatic effect.
CHALLENGE #114 was: He was a fighter who was obsessed with boxing and he abused drink and drugs.
CHALLENGE #115: What proportion of the cells in your body are not actually yours but belong to foreign organisms? BIG Q #28: Why do girls, on average, lead boys for all their years in school, only to fall behind in the workplace?
Only 11% of CEOs of top 500 companies have an Ivy League degree, but 20% of the top 60 women in Forbes a€?most powerful womena€? list did.


The hormone oxytocin is naturally released in brain after a 20-second hug from a partner, triggering the braina€™s trust circuits. CHALLENGE #115 was: What proportion of the cells in your body are not actually yours but belong to foreign organisms? CHALLENGE #116: A westerner and an easterner who each changed the world, but didna€™t want their names used to identify a religion--to no avail. Featured Quote: a€?The truth of the matter,a€? is that a€?we havena€™t sacrificed one darn bit in this war, not one.
BIG Q #29: Why are the most powerful people in the world old white men and pretty young women? When lima bean plants are attacked by spider mites, they release volatile chemicals that summon another species of mites to attack the spider mites.
Funeral directors promote embalming: replacing body fluids with formaldehyde, a carcinogen that eventually leaches into the environment when the buried body decays [800,000 gallons annually]. In 2001, President Bush exempted some 3,500 plants that spew toxic chemicals from the Right-To-Know law.
Consultants get paid up to $500,000 to name a drug, and insist that letters are imbued with psychological meaning: P, T, and K, they claim, convey effectiveness.
CHALLENGE #116 was: A westerner and an easterner who each changed the world, but didna€™t want their names used to identify a religion--to no avail. CHALLENGE #117: His father a€?bluffeda€? his way into law school using a faked transcript, and went on to finish first in his class and become a successful labor lawyer. Spoken language is instinctual, the brain collects the phonemes and abstracts the rules from what it hears, but written language must be taught.
Busha€™s tax cuts for the rich have reduced annual tax revenue avaiable for public needs by $300 Billion each year. CHALLENGE #117 was: His father a€?bluffeda€? his way into law school using a faked transcript, and went on to finish first in his class and become a successful labor lawyer.
FACTOID: Unusual English spelling shows the way the words were pronounced 100s of years ago. Chinoiserie (sheen-WAH-zuh-ree) is a style of ornamentation using motifs identified as Chinese.
CHALLENGE # 118 was: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there, does it make a sound? CHALLENGE #119: Which a€?booka€™ won the Pulitzer Prize for literature and drama, in successive years?
In the better sets, the traditional flaws of plasma (burn-in) and LCD (limited viewing angle, weak blacks, weak fast motion) have been largely eliminated. In 1958, Dinera€™s Club launched the first card available for payment to general merchants: 27 participating NYC restaurants. Kugel, an Orthodox Jew and author of a€?How to Read the Biblea€? says that there is essentially no evidence--archaeological, historical, cultural--for the events in the Torah. Koerner which he said depicts: a€?a horseman determinedly charging up what appears to be a steep and rough traila€?--representing his own political journey against steep odds and naysayers. The rope was not strong enough to carry them all; they decided 1 had to leave, or all would fall. According to the Energy Department, vampire gadgets account for about 25% of total residential electricity consumption in the U.S. Guppy submitted a fish to the British Museum that was already classified, but the name stuck [and the fish is still in a jar at the museum].
But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. No man spoke, but the woman said she would voluntarily let go of the rope, because, as a woman, she was used to giving up everything for her husband, kids and men in general, and was used to always making sacrifices with little in return.
Jeffrey Wallace and I drove back to Frankfurt to get some anonymous major to sign the authorization.A  That alone was kind of an interesting little affair.
So, plasma has truer color and does better in darker rooms, and LCD has more vivid color and does better in bright rooms.
Upon entering the Army, I had originally been trained as an a€?armored reconnaissance scout,a€? a deadly profession. Chambliss and I put together a request (as allowed under the reg) to receive payment for off-base quarters: renting an apartment.
Military Academy at West Point receive their commission upon graduation, but officers who become officers by graduating through a€?Officer Candidate Schoola€? do not belong to the Regular Army until they submit a petition to be accepted: the RA Application. But, therea€™s no such thing as a 1080p TV broadcast (cable, satellite, anything), and wona€™t be for years. Actually, it was an illustration for a Saturday Evening Post short story, a€?The Slipper Tongue,a€? about a slick-tongued horse thief fleeing a lynch mob.
All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. Athens, to honor god of wine & drama, Dionysus [Baccus], where comic actors wore padded phalluses as part of their costumes. This brief memoir is a recollection of events that primarily took place at a€?Team 1:a€? an administration platoon stationed at Ayers Kaserne in Kirsch Goens, Germany. He quickly but quietly unpacked the small umbrella that he had carried disguised inside his fatigue shirt.
Out in the hallway it sounded like a tuba half filled with water attempting to mimic a wounded bull moose trapped in an echo chamber. Slightly after the arrival of the electric typewriter, Team 1 received an actual photocopier.




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