Meanwhile, in Afghanistan

Arthur Chrenkoff has his latest comprehensive report from Afghanistan. Since only bad news is “news” in America, you likely have missed all the good that is being accomplished there. Well, now you can read all about here. Of course my favorite part talks about what our soldiers are up to these days:

THE COALITION TROOPS: Most of the time it’s providing security; often it’s helping to rebuild the country; always it’s an effort to make lives better in many ways, big and small. Recently, the troops have been instrumental in enabling pilgrims from Afghanistan to attend their annual pilgrimage to Mecca: “Scores of commercial flights from four locations in Afghanistan – Kabul, Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif and Herat – have been coordinated in some way or another by Air Force, Army and Marine personnel. [Marine Maj. John] Forti said the number of pilgrims processed through the four sites totals 26,387, up by nearly 2,000 from 2004. Some Afghans even came from refugee camps in Pakistan. The U.S. military provided broad assistance, from security and accommodations in Kandahar to fire trucks in Herat.”

The troops are also active in the reconstruction effort. These units have been working throughout the sixteen provinces of eastern Afghanistan:

“While continuing small-scale projects, the command is committed to initiating what [Army Col. Gary] Cheek called ‘capacity-building projects’ — creating road networks, revitalizing downtown areas, establishing irrigation and water systems, and bolstering economic infrastructure. ‘We are working with each of our provincial governors to develop five-year reconstruction plans that will set a course for reconstruction in each province,’ he said. ‘We will also continue to equip and train Afghan police forces to improve the security posture across the region.’

“Since June, Cheek said, eight provincial reconstruction teams within Regional Command East have spent more than $24.8 million on reconstruction projects. These projects have focused on education, water and sanitation, healthcare and governance, he said. They included full renovation of the Ghazni Public Health Directorate Civil Hospital, which serves an estimated 1.5 million people, and the nearly completed Matun electric grid project in Khost province, Cheek said. By late February, the Matun project will provide electricity to some 85,000 residents.

“Other successes included purchasing 110 police vehicles and 7,260 police uniforms, facilitating the first meeting of the Ghazni Women’s Council, and progress in promoting winter wheat and other crops in lieu of poppies.”

Hillary, I know you are out there somewhere doing good things. When you get a minute, write your daddy. We love you and miss you. Be strong, be safe.

Via Vodka Pundit

UPDATE: Carol sent me this picture of Hillary. She was the maid of honor for Ashley’s wedding last August. And deployed to Afghanistan two days later.

Team America: banned in Korea

In both the North and South parts of the peninsula. But coming soon to a theatre in Czechoslovakia. Seems the folks north of the DMZ believe it hurts the image of that fair paradise. Down here in the south, they don’t want to antagonize a country with 3 million troops stationed near the border. As reported in this press account:

“It harms the image of our country,” the Lidove Noviny daily quoted a North Korean diplomat as saying. “Such behavior is not part of our country’s political culture. Therefore, we want the film to be banned.”

The Czech Foreign Ministy said the film would not be banned in the Czech Republic.

“We told them it’s an unrealistic wish,” ministry spokesman Vit Kolar was quoted as saying. “Obviously, it’s absurd to demand that in a democratic country.”

Let freedom ring, baby. I’m getting the DVD and showing it to ALL my friends here in the ROK (well, I don’t technically have any friends yet, but maybe this DVD will be my entré into polite company). Or not. Who cares, the movie rocks and I am up for a good laugh!

Via The Marmot’s Hole

My haircut

Ok, some might think that blogging about my haircut is pretty lame. And some might be right. And I am going to do it anyway. Because this is not just your ordinary, run of the mill haircut, this is my first Korean haircut.

It was quite the experience really. The first thing I said was don’t use the shears, just scissors. I may work for the Army, but with all due respect, I don’t have to wear an Army cut and I choose not to do so. So the barber nodded and asked if I wanted the shampoo and massage. I responded confidently “sure”. Now, I am used to having my hair washed prior to the haircut. So when the barber proceeded to cut my hair dry, I figured she had misunderstood my confident “sure” as a declination.

Well, the haircut proceeded in the usual fashion, and she did a nice job clearing the jungle in my ears (shut up!) without my asking. Then she asked if I wanted my moustache trimmed and I said “sure” but with less confidence. Probably should have given a decisive “no” in retrospect, but one thing about hair, it does grow back.

So I figure that’s about it, when another person comes up and loosens my tie and unbuttons my shirt halfway. Puts a towel around my neck and reclines the barber chair so my head is in the sink. Interesting, I did get the shampoo after all (and after the haircut). So, when she is done with my hair, she turns the chair, raises the footrest, and all of the sudden I am prone in the chair, much like my recliner at home.

Next thing I know I have a hot towel on my face, which felt pretty good. Then that towel was removed and a cool towel was placed over my eyes. Then I felt this lotion being rubbed into my face. Not exactly a scent I would have chosen, but I could feel my skin begin to firm up almost immediately (and at my age that is an unusual feeling). While this is going on, another pair of hands starts a gentle pounding on my right calf. And then rubbing my leg (all from the knee down, so get your mind out of the gutter!). Then she moved up to my shoulders and neck. While another pair started in on the right side. Then my arms, hands, and fingers. After that was done, it was another hot rag on the face.

Then came gel in my hair. No blow dry, just slicked it on back. Definitely a new look for me. Needless to say, I left much more relaxed than I came in. And all this for half of what I paid for the standard cut in DC.

So I have now confessed to the fact that I had by my count three pair of female Korean hands on my body today and I don’t feel the least bit guilty about it.

I guess I understand why you ladies enjoy the spa experience so much.

I wonder if my hair will grow faster here. Or maybe I will just go back tomorrow and say “you missed a spot”. (On my head! Y’all have such dirty minds!)

Anyway, that is the story of my first haircut in Korea. I am quite certain you could not possibly have enjoyed it as much as I did!