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Ernie's House of Whoopass! November 17, 2014
November 17, 2014


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, everyone in my immediate family -- my mother, my father, and both of my brothers -- saw me off to the bus station when I was shipping out to Basic Training. I know, you'd think a tale so fucking awesome as mine, would have me flying off on a Learjet 60, right? No, my Air Force story began with a beat up old Greyhound bus to Buffalo, NY. It faintly stunk of vomit, stale cigarettes, and body odor. The bus, that is, not Buffalo. Although to be honest, I'm pretty sure Buffalo does, too. I remember my father bawling his eyes out -- he has always been much more emotional than my mother -- as my legs warily carried me up the bus stairs and to the side of the bus that faced the passenger terminal, so I could see my family one more time through the waterspot riddled glass. We had the quintessential hand pressed against the glass moment as the bus pulled out of the depot, and just like that, my adolescence gasped one final breath before sliding off into that great unknown. I don't remember much of the hour long bus ride from Rochester to Buffalo, it was rather unremarkable except for the candy and trail mix filled bag my mother packed to sustain me throughout the arduous hour long trip to Buffalo, but I do remember pulling into the small government contracted no-tell-motel near the airport. It didn't exactly look like a pay-by-the-hour place, but the Ritz-Carlton, it was not. There were lots of young kids such as myself, standing around outside of the hotel check in, gym bags at their feet, all doing their best to make small talk without looking too awkward and out of place. The Greyhound hissed to a stop and without much ado, I shuffled my feet across the faded yellow line at the front of the bus, and took up my place at the back of the line heading into the hotel check-in.

And I would soon find that arriving late to the party had its perks; by the time I made my way through the line and checked in, all of the double occupancy room were filled. So instead of having to share my room with a complete stranger like the rest of those pleebs, I was the only person processing through the Buffalo MEPS to have a single room all to myself, king size bed included. I remember the room was very white: white sheets, white blanket, white coverlet, white walls, white sink, white towels, white tiled floor, white shower, white toilet. It just all seemd very sterile and void of character. I remember the sheets were very, very tight across the lower half of the bed, so much so that if you didn't make a conscious effort to fight it, otherwise the sheets would pin your feet sideways. The cheap hotel clock had green LED numbers; the first one of those I would ever see, oddly enough. All the other LED clocks I'd ever seen up until that point were red. I remember setting the alarm for an unspeakably early hour -- 4am, was it? -- and calling down to the front desk for a wake up call, just in case. "Christ," I thought, "can you imagine oversleeping and missing my flight to basic training?" That wouldn't set a very good stage. I fought the tight sheets one more time, kicking my feet a bit to loosen them up, stretched out in a bed twice the size of the one I was used to sleeping in when I grew up, and tried to fall asleep. I counted far too many minutes off that green LED clock, before the Sandman finally decided to grace me with his presence. Less than twelve hours later I would be lost in a 60-man bay at Lackland Air Force Base, in San Antonio, Texas, getting my ass chewed by one neatly mustached Sergeant Donald Skaggs, USAF.

I tell you this little story because I don't think you ever really forgets their Shipping Off To Basic story. In fact I was reading some guy's post on Facebook about how when he flew out of [some airport] in Texas, and as the plane climbed higher and higher, he just stared out the window, his eyes fixated on the water tower that serviced his local town. He reasoned that as long as he could still see that tower, he hadn't truly left home yet.

I really wanted to touch upon this on Veteran's Day because I'm sure those of you who have served, or are still serving, can tell me a similar coming-of-age experience your of own. But thanks to some shitty scheduling on my part, I had company down last week and I couldn't devote myself to a genuine writing session. I just figured I'd hold off until I had the time to give LBEH its proper pomp and circumstance, rather than half-ass it on day one. So I dunno, I guess that's sort of my pitch this year; to remember. To remember what it was like when you were a scared snot-nosed pimple-faced kid with a gym bag full of civilian clothes in one hand, and a half crumpled airline ticket in the other. To remember when that bus pulled through the gates of whatever military installation you were lucky enough to go through basic training at, to hear the sound of the door being forced open, followed by those boots stomping their way up the bus stairs. To sit on a concrete floor and nervously look around at a room full of people all dressed like you, and yet never feel so alone in your entire life. Everyone in uniform -- and I mean everyone, whether they happen to be 3 or 30 year veterans -- started out in the exact same fashion; scared shitless.

And so it was...cough...cough...kjkkjtwentykjkuefkjsftwovejcwkl...cough...cough years ago that I climbed on that bus, I still remember it like it was yesterday. I guess the important stuff, you always do, right? And so I remember the stuff that came after it, too. Settling into a routine. Making friends. The relief of graduating. Your second round of panic as you ship off to tech school/AIT. Settling into a routine again. Your third round of panic as you ship off to your first duty station. Making more friends, or if you're really lucky, seeing some old ones. And of course, your first time on leave and seeing that old water tower again. The look of pride in your father's eyes at the airport. Realizing how much you took recognizing street signs for granted. The intangible comfort of your mother's cooking and gorging yourself until your stomach creaks. Seeing your friends' parents who now seem to treat you with some newfound respect. And of course, staring dumbfounded at how small your old bedroom looks.

So I'm not asking you to get all broken up about this, but yes, this year I'm asking you to remember what it was like for you to push past your fear, and ship off to basic military training. To remember the only thing greater than the fear of going off to do it, was the sense of relief from coming home afterwards. Because right now, as you're reading this, there are Soldiers, Airmen, Sailor, and Marines looking to make their way home for the Christmas season. And some of them will surely make it, but some of them will not. And the latter are not because they don't want to, but because they can't afford to. It is with these folks in mind why we created Let's Bring Em Home in the winter of 2001. As an avenue for us the American public-at-large to extend personal thank you to our nation's newly minted warriors by giving them a gift of spending time with their own families during the holidays. So yes, this is my annual plea. So this is it. The one time a year where I solicit, I ask for, I plead for, I beg for donations. The time a year to go into your wallet and drum up a few bucks to put towards these servicemembers' airfare home so they can spend the holidays the same way we do. You know I make it work. You know I stretch these donations as far as I can. And you know I only buy tickets for those who are both deserving and appreciative of our support. So please, don't blow me off. Don't say you'll do it tomorrow, because you won't. Bust out that checkbook or log into Paypal and send a few bucks our way. I will make every dollar -- every TAX DEDUCTIBLE DOLLAR, I might add -- count. Thank you in advance for your continued support!

Been following since the stick figures, sometime middle 2001, just before 9/11. I’m very disappointed in the November 12, 2014 post…not one single link to LBEH… John P.S. It’s early morning the next day, I’ve been drinking all day again…I may have misspoken because I’m dunk…don’t flame me…just put out more LBEH links…it’s the best cause in the world I will donate every year until I die.

Today's post was for you, John. Thanks you for your continued support, and in this case, your patience.

It's a known fact that half of the Internet is porn or porn-related content. So then it's only natural that porn is also the most profitable industry in the world. Even more profitable than the National Football League, the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball. However, this only goes for the US, since in North Korea just for watching a couple of minutes of pornography you would be sentenced to death. And speaking of the North Koreansd, did you know that if the North Koreans detonated their most powerful nuclear bomb at the top of the Empire State Building, the blast wouldn't even reach Central Park?

Ernie, I had a co-worker that just moved to So. Calif. with her twin sister. She was limited to what she could carry in her car till her "Pod" was delivered. She was at the local laundromat and noticed the sign on the wall. "Juan Cruz, Attendant on Duty". I guess Juan likes dogs too....that can see an eye. PS....I posted a link to on my Facebook page and I'll keep bumpin' up it till the end of the Holiday season. Rock on Ernie!! Terry "Tbone", Lake Stevens, Wa.

I believe it was Justin Timberlake who said -- and I'll admit I'm paraphrasing a littl ebit here -- "first we lived outdoors, then we moved into cities, now we live on the internet." But even though we live on the internet now, there are still plenty of surprising facts out there about our home that most of us knew nothing about. In that vein, here are nine crazy internet facts that might surprise even the most hardened and cynical information superhighwayman. Read all of them, and maybe it will change the way you approach your life on the world wide web.

And those of you fluent in Italian can double check me on this one. Google reports that "c'e' più gusto ad essere italiani" roughly translates to "there is more taste when youre be Italian." How close is it?

Ernie, you are a rock star, love the site. Here is a video that shows that Syrian video of the kid was fake. Keep up the great work! James

And if you're looking for some inexpensive stocking stuffers (or Syrian?) might I suggest the Simmons 1x20mm 5-MOA RedDot Illuminated Scope for under $16 -- and you get free shipping on orders of at least $35. Bet your life on it? Certainly not. Great el'cheapo scope that you can stick on your plinker to teach someone how to shoot? You betcha. is the coolest webcam site on the web. definitely NSFW.

Insert Your Favorite Weekend Joke Here....

Insert Your Favorite Weekend Joke Here....

Insert Your Favorite Weekend Joke Here....

Insert Your Favorite Weekend Joke Here....

Insert Your Favorite Weekend Joke Here....

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