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Ernie's House of Whoopass! December 17, 2010
December 17, 2010

Rules. Meant To Be Bent A Little, Yes?

One thing that drives me absolutely batshit crazy are all the innocuous rules that seemed to have no fucking reason for being there, other than some bored person though making up some rule would somehow justify their existance. I understand there had to be some rules, of course. But it was the stupid and pointless ones that really used to break my balls. One of the things that used to make them easier for me to swallow, is if someone would explain to me the reasoning behind said rule. Take for example a speed limit. Why the fuck is the speed limit on the road outside of my house only 35mph? Did some bureaucratic asshole just pick some arbitrary number? Actually no. That speed is the result of calculations that take into account things such as the average driver reaction time, the distance of the houses to the side of the road, any curves or blind spots in the road, the average vehicle weight and stopping distance, and a handful of other factors that would dictate how far and how fast a vehicle could stop in that particularsection of road. Furthermore, that speed limit has been increased from 30mph to 35mph, to account for new safety technologies such as four-wheel anti-lock brakes, electronic skid protection, electronic stability control and pre-crash safety systems. Oh, well, now my speed limit makes sense, right?

So When LBEH first started out, we literally couldn't spend money fast enough. With the support from the EHOWA Army so strong and the program so little known at the time, we had more donations than we had recipients to buy tickets for. "Want to fly across the country for only three days leave on a $2,000 ticket, no problem." I remember calling up Puddy -- I think he was a Captain at the time -- and Paypal'ing him $1,000 to pass out to some Airmen at his squadron's Christmas party. Well as time wore on, LBEH got more and more attention -- culminating in this year's FOX News report -- and ticket requests have caught to (if not surpassed) donation level. And that in and of itself is not a bad thing; truth be told a little prioritizing was long overdue. And while our hard set rules are few and far between (single, E1-E4) we do exercise the occasional judgement call in regards to ticket pricing and length of leave. We don't necessarily turn people away but whenever we're faced with a big ticket price for a short amount of leave, I always explain the situation to the Service Member and ask for a little input to see if there are any extenuating circumstances. Example:

Hello Airman Jane Doe, I'm Ernie, the guy who started LBEH and I'd like to get your thoughts on a few things. Among other things, it's my job to make the judgement calls when tickets become too pricey or unworkable. We might be creeping into that arena with your ticket request. As a general rule, we try to look for tickets that cost us about $75/per day of leave for domestic flights, and $150/day for international flights. So for example, someone flying fro Texas to Maine for a weeks leave, we try to keep the ticket costs to around $525/give or take. The same person flying back from Germany for ten days, we budget about $1,100. These aren't hard set rules, there are always other factors to consider, it's just our guidelines. Treating your ticket request as an international flight -- coming in and out of Alaska is expensive, I'm sure you know -- we get a ticket price of $1,700... and that's for only about two days of actual time with your family in Alaska. That's $850per day of actual face time at home. That's too big a pill for us to swallow. So there are two things we can do. (1) 1. Do you have more leave built up and can perhaps get your dates extended? or (2) 2. Each year when we kick off around Veteran's Day, before we take any new requests... we take care of the folks from the previous year that we couldn't help. Such would be the case for you.... we pass on this year, give you time to build up some leave for next year, and get your ticket squared away right when we kick off the 2011 LBEH. Think it over, talk to your supervisor... I know going negative leave is frowned upon and you'll need at least fifteen days of leave to make this work. Or again, first in the chute next year. Give us a buzz back and let us know what you think! Ernie

Ernie, Thank you so much for your email. I think this site is the best thing I have ran across in a long time. As bad as I would like to see my kids this Christmas before my next deployment, I will have to pass on this opportunity and try again when ive gotten back. Im sure theres another soldier somewhere wanting to go home that actually has more time to spend with his or her family. Thank you for what you do Airman Jane Doe

And so Airman Jane Doe's name will live on written on a Post-It on the side of my monitor. Next year around the last week of October/first week of November, she'll write in and we'll get her ticket taken care of right off the bat. She'll probably have 20-25 days of leave to take and the ticket price that far in advance will probably be down to around $900-$1,000. That's a win-win for both parties. And more often than not, that's how that scenario plays out. I don't try to guide the person one way or the other. If the planets align against us and the situation dictates, sure I'd like to see them take what I consider to be the wise choice and forgo a quick trip and take a lengthier one the following year. But things don't always play out that way, that that's okay.

Hello Private Doe, I'm Ernie, the guy who started LBEH and I'd like to get your thoughts on a few things. Among other things, it's my job to make the judgement calls when tickets become too pricey or unworkable. We might be creeping into that arena with your ticket request. As a general rule, [blah-blah-blah, copy and paste about $75/day] On your dates we get a ticket price of $684... and that's for only about two days of actual time with your family in Florida... remember you're flying across the entire country. That's $350 per day of actual face time at home. [blah-blah-blah, copy and paste about extending leave dates or perhaps passing this year] ...let us know what you decide! Ernie

I was going to fly out on Monday Dec. 20 2010 and I was didnt need to return from Pensacola until Friday December 24, 2010 before midnight so that would give me almost a full week with my family, I've been in Washington since May of last year and I deploy next year this is the only way I would be able to see my family before I leave if I dont see them now then its gonna be a long time until I'm able to! I found a ticket for 500 on Cheapoair.com for Flying out on Dec. 20 and Return flight on Dec 24. I really hope you can help me out with this I would give anything to spend this week with my family as im going to be in Afghanistan next year. Private Doe

Private Doe. I see flights that get out out of SEA anywhere between 0630 and 0830, getting you into PNS around 1800 on the 20th. Then the return trip, out at 0830 and back into SEA at 2030 on the 24th. Understand this: of the 5 days of leave you'll be taking, you're going to spend 2 of them in airports, so it's only 3 real days home. If you're okay with that, I am. But consider this. Getting a ticket from LBEH is a once in a lifetime shot... no repeat customers. So if you take this ticket now and use it for what amounts to 72 hours at home, and the next time you've got 20 days of leave built up and you are facing a $1,500 plane ticket.... you're on your own, we can't help you. You understand that, yes? E

Yes I understand that, You are a great American and a lot of people don't understand we have to sacrifice with all the training, and fighting a War. The world needs more people like yourself. I'm and 11Bravo (Infantry) In the United States Army, that's about to deploy to Afghanistan next year its so bad over there so for my Family. 72 hours would be a lifetime to see there son before he deploys, like my 1SGT reminds us everyday " Not everyones gonna make it back. I understand your policies and respect them, If I could get the earliest flight on the 20 and the Latest one on the 24 that would be outstanding. This was a true blessing to find this website and to have this chance to receive a ticket, as you know Privates don't make a killing in the military, but were expected to suck it up and drive on with the mission. Thanks and I would be overwhelmed to receive a ticket. Private Doe

And with that, the soldier helped decide his own fate. Kat booked his ticket late last night life is good. Would I have liked to see him wait and take a longer trip home next year? Sure. But what if his First Sergeant is right? And so, off he goes. See, I am a merciful and understanding god, too.

But I do hate film parodies. I really do. So if you're going to make one and want me to like it, it's got to be special. it's got to be unique. It's got to be fucking awesome. And who's the only person who can really achieve all three of those things? That's right, get ready to ride with everyone's favorite porn star: Tron Jeremy.

An entire crew of a B-29 (12 aviators) bailed out and was rescued by a US submarine after their plane was shot down in 1944/5 70 miles off the coast of Japan. The entire rescue was filmed in color video but then sat in a guy's closet until now. This is a story from a Denver TV station of one of those rescued aviators to whom the video was delivered. It also shows their transfer to another submarine that is likely headed back to port before the one that accomplished the rescue. When this video finishes, there is a link which shows the full 8 minute version of the rescue. There is no sound. Joel

The Bud Light Port Paradise cruise is an interesting entity as prizes go, in that what you win is not a free trip but, rather, the opportunity to buy your way onto the trip for $380. Before you start getting up in arms, however, you should first look at the scenario that you get for your money. During the course of the cruise, several events will take place which offer all the Bud Light you can drink. Suffice it to say that by the time you're transported back home -- which, yes, is included in the package as well -- you won't have any trouble excitedly promoting the fact that the Bud Light Port Paradise cruise only cost $380!

History lesson: In 1812, the fledgling and shiny new United States declared war on Britain again, because shit, it sure was fun the last time. This turned out to be kind of a bad decision. After a really determined, last-ditch attempt by the United States to conquer Canada, shit got real for the adolescent nation during the War of 1812, when a British invasion stormed up the Chesapeake for Washington, D.C. Naturally, President Madison did not like seeing the nation's capital being fondled by some sex-starved limeys, especially since the Americans had just kind of sacked and burned present-day Toronto. Madison had no choice but to grab the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence under both arms and get the hell out of Washington. The British promptly marched into the defenseless city, burned the White House and U.S. Capitol, and, just to be dicks about it, the Library of Congress as well. While the Brits probably felt the burning of Washington was a righteous act of retribution, they definitely pissed off the wrong deity when they desecrated the U.S. capital. With the city in flames, God punished the redcoats with the sort of smiting usually reserved for characters straight out of the Old Testament. A goddamn tornado touched down -- which almost never happens in the capital -- and plowed a path of instant terror right through downtown D.C., uprooting trees, lifting cannons and tossing the hapless redcoats around like maple leaves. The British were forced to flee the city after learning exactly whose side God was on -- after all, he did nothing when the Americans torched Canada.

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