Divorcing AT&T and breaking up with Yahoo!

•April 21, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Lloyd Lofthouse:

You might ask why I Reblogged this post here, because business is war too and we may now be at war with AT&T and Yahoo.

Originally posted on Lloyd Lofthouse:

Divorces, as you may know, are often expensive and divorcing AT&T was no different. This divorce—so far—has cost us more than $1,000, and it seems that AT&T wants to suck more green from our bank account.

Here’s the latest demand dated April 10, 2014: “Return all equipment listed below, including all cables and remotes associated with these items (unless needed for replacement). Note: If you are disconnecting all of your Wireless Receivers, then you must also return the Wireless Access Point device (connected to your gateway).”

I have no idea what they’re talking about. If AT&T thinks I’m going to crawl under the house to retrieve the cables their people installed for the slower internet speed that was supposed to be faster, I have news for them that will be apparent by the time you finish reading this post.

Back in March, soon after we filed for divorce with AT&T…

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A rare and close look at what war is really like through China Beach

•April 11, 2014 • 1 Comment

There’s no fantasy, hero worship or fake humor in this TV series. Everyone is flawed and injured from the war—even Americans who never served in Vietnam or wore a uniform.

“China Beach” was a TV series from 1988 to 1991, and I didn’t view it until recently after I first heard about it and bought a copy of the series on DVD at Costco. I didn’t buy the complete series that comes with almost 60 hours of run time. I bought Seasons 1 + 2 with about 22 hours.

And I think I know why this excellent TV series was cancelled after four seasons—although the series has more than 249 reviews on Amazon with 4.8 of 5 stars, most Americans can’t deal with the harsh reality of war. After all, less than 7% of Americans are veterans and even fewer have served in combat.

“China Beach” is set in a combat hospital during the Vietnam War in the late 1960s. The title refers to My Khe beach in the city of Da Nang, which was nicknamed “China Beach” in English by American and Australian troops during the war.

The main character is first lieutenant Colleen McMurphy who is a triage nurse dealing with often severely wounded troops.  The directors focused on reality and there were real combat nurses who were consultants. There’s a bonus DVD with this set where we get to meet some of the nurses who served in Vietnam.

The fictional nurse, McMurphy, takes her job saving lives seriously and when she loses wounded troops, she takes the loss personally and is emotionally injured. Her PTSD is visible from the beginning. At times the suffering and drama were so intense, my eyes filled with tears from my own memories.

If you want a close look at the reality of combat and the price the troops and civilians pay, I highly recommend this series. You’ll have a safe front row seat to watch these characters become friends, lovers and then suffer loses that would break most people and scar them for life as it must have scarred the real nurses who served there.

You may question my opinion of this series so it may help to know that I’m a Vietnam combat vet who was a field radio operator in the U.S. Marines. And I was fortunate to never have to be medevaced to a combat hospital although some of the Marines in my unit were.

Now I’m thinking about the seasons of “China Beach” I haven’t seen.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

What happens if Russia starts a war in Europe? You decide

•March 22, 2014 • Leave a Comment

The Daily Beast reported, “The Pentagon Isn’t Ready for a New Cold War.”

I read the Daily Beast’s post and burst out laughing. The first thing I thought was the Pentagon is addicted to massive budgets. This is a ploy to stir up fear in Americans (again—it’s worked so well in the past. I’m thinking Vietnam and Iraq.) who’ll demand that Congress and the President increases the shrinking defense budget.

Let’s look at some numbers to see if Russia really wants to start a war with the United States and NATO.

First: The US has the third largest population in the world at 316.6 million, and 120 million are considered fit to serve in the military if we needed to call them up. There are 1.4 million active military with an active (trained) reserve of an addition 850+ thousand. In addition, the European Union (the EU is mostly made of NATO nations) has more than 1.5 million in its military and a total population of more than 500 million.

How about Russia? It has a total population of 145.5 million (Less than half of the US not counting the EU). Russia only has 46.8 million considered fit to serve; its active military numbers 766,000 with an active reserve of about 2.48 million (you can bet that they aren’t as well trained as the US reserves).

Second: The US has the largest manufacturing sector in the world. No matter how much we hear about the US losing jobs to China, China is only number two. If you doubt that, check out what Carpe Diem has to say: If Separate, America’s Manufacturing Sector Would Rank as the Tenth Largest Economy in the World

Compared to other countries, Russia only ranks 9th—a fraction of America’s manufacturing ability.

Carpe Diem also says, “American manufacturing is alive and well and poised for even greater growth in the future. Flush with record-level profits, the manufacturing sector has never been financially healthier than it is today and the future of American manufacturing has never looked brighter.” In fact, jobs are starting to come back from foreign countries.

Third: the US has ten active nuclear powered Nimitz-class super carriers. No other country in the world has even one carrier with the capability of any one of these ten. In addition, the US is building three Ford class super carriers that will be even more advanced and lethal. The US has a naval fleet of 473 ships. In addition, the European Union has 543 more naval ships.

What about Russia? It has one active aircraft carrier that’s about half the size of a Nimitz and it isn’t nuclear powered. Russia has 352 ships in its naval fleet.

According to Global Fire Power, the US has 13,683 total military aircraft and 6,012 helicopters. In addition, the EU adds another 2,037 fighter aircraft.

What about Russia? Total military aircraft of 3,082 in addition to 973 choppers.

What about tanks? The US has 8,325 tanks (several thousand are already in Europe). The European Union has another 6,510 tanks. Russia has 15,500 but only 1,667+ are its latest main battle tank—most are outdated (see embedded video). All of America’s tanks are the latest version.

The stupidest thing Putin could do is to pick a war with the European Union and the United States. Of course national leaders aren’t known to think rationally, but I’d place my money on the fact that Putin is bluffing, Obama may have blinked, and the US Pentagon is using this as an excuse to drum up support for bigger budgets.

Why is Putin bluffing?  Because Americans are war weary after more than a decade of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s gambling that public opinion in the US will hold back NATO, Obama and Congress from acting boldly to push Russia back with a show of force that Russia couldn’t match in its wildest dreams.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

The Realty of Honest Reviews and Book Blog Tours

•March 3, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Lloyd Lofthouse:

A story of war so violent one reviewer couldn’t finish reading it.

Originally posted on Lloyd Lofthouse:

Last Saturday, March 1, 2014, I received an e-mail from the publicist who arranged the March Book Blog Tour for my novel, Running with the Enemy. She was writing to let me know that one of the tour hosts who’d agreed to read my book and review it on her block wasn’t going to read it and there wasn’t going to be a review posted on that Blog (I’ve removed the blog’s name and it’s host’s name from this post).

Here’s the reason for the change: “I wanted to let you know that (the book Blog host) handed the book off to one of her other readers who requested it. She never told me that it was for one of her reviewers and not herself.  That reader found it too violent and couldn’t finish it. (The blog host) won’t be posting a review but will be posting a spotlight…

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How the WORSHIP of Reaganism threatens democracy and America’s public schools

•February 28, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Lloyd Lofthouse:

There is a Civil War taking place in America. It’s between the working class and the top 0.01%, and the billionaires—for instance Bill Gates, Rupert Murdock, the Walton family and the Koch brothers—are winning and reversing time back to the age of the Robber Barons, widespread poverty and even the return of child slavery.

Originally posted on Crazy Normal - the Classroom Exposé:

The Robber Barons of Public Education and the Wolves of Sesame Street are launching a major voucher battle in Congress through Lamar Alexander (R) of Tennessee; Luke Messier (R) of Indiana and Tim Scott (R) of South Carolina.  If these bills are successful in the US Congress, 63 percent of federal education funds would flow into private schools owned/supported by corporate CEO’s like the Walton Family, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdock and a few other billionaires.

The titles of the bills (wolves wearing sheep skin) disguise their real purposes: For instance, the Scholarship for Kids Act and the CHOICE Act.

Yes! Magazine, A UTNE Media Awards 2013 Winner, recently ran an expose, The Myth Behind Public School Failure, revealing the almost fifty-year plot that started with President Reagan’s policies that kicked off  a privately funded, public relations campaign that would be the envy of dictators like Hitler, Stalin and…

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Using music to fight wars instead of bullets and bombs

•February 10, 2014 • 10 Comments

Who do you think would win a war between Russia and the United States if it were fought between army choirs?


Russian Army Choir singing at the 2014 Winter Olympics

Of course, the second video with the MADtvMarine Choir was for fun. Now, in all seriousness, here’s the U.S. Army Choir

It’s only fair that we compare the Russian Army Choir to the U.S. Army Choir, in the 3rd video.

In addition, the 4th video is from The Vocal Majority – [US] Armed Forces medley.

Next time we fight a war, let military choirs compete on a battle field filled with the sound of music. Maybe through song, we might find peace. Do you think the Taliban or al Qaeda might have a choir?

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

Saving Art Treasures from the Nasty Nazis

•February 3, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I listened to the abridged audio version of The Monuments Men and learned something I didn’t know about World War II—something that has only happened once in history where a dedicated military team was organized [thanks to President F. D. Roosevelt] by the allies in World War II to save as much of the art looted by the Nazis as possible.

I first heard of The Monuments Men at the theater during all those [soon-to-appear] movie trailers before you get to watch the film you paid to see. Because I usually see a film at the local theater at least once a week, I’ve seen The Monuments Men trailer a number of times, and I admit that I’m eager to see the film.

Overview lifted from Barnes and Noble

“At the same time Adolf Hitler was attempting to take over the western world, his armies were methodically seeking and hoarding the finest art treasures in Europe. The Fuehrer had begun cataloguing the art he planned to collect as well as the art he would destroy: ‘degenerate’ works he despised.

“In a race against time, behind enemy lines, often unarmed, a special force of American and British museum directors, curators, art historians, and others, called the Monuments Men, risked their lives scouring Europe to prevent the destruction of thousands of years of culture. Focusing on the eleven-month period between D-Day and V-E Day, this fascinating account follows six Monuments Men and their impossible mission to save the world’s great art from the Nazis.” (Barnes and Noble: Overview)

The film is scheduled to release February 7, 2014. Thanks to Costco—where I bought the audio book—I ended up listening to the book first. As I was listening, I thought I’d be ready to recognize when Hollywood’s version drifted from the facts—but maybe not. In case you didn’t know, Hollywood’s famous for revising history and true stories.

When I bought the CD’s at Costco, I had no idea it was an abridged version only 7.5 hours long. I usually avoid abridged versions but the fact that it was abridged wasn’t printed anywhere I could easily find. Publishers must know this and they are getting tricky just like Monsanto wants to hide the fact that the food we eat might be genetically modified by them. (Truth-Out.org)

I wanted to know how much I may have missed and discovered that audiobooks usually run 150-160 words per minute, the range people comfortably hear and vocalize words. I then dragged a few hardcover books off the bookshelf and came up with about 400 words a page. That means the 512 page Monuments Men hardcover probably has at least 205,000 words—equal to about 21 hours for an audio book.

Wow, that was a lot of story to miss out on, and I was disappointed.

But I did listen to the 7.5 hours and still enjoyed the story. The only full length audio version I found was sold by Barnes & Noble.

I guess it depends on what you want. If you’re willing to settle for the abridged audio version and miss two-thirds of the story, it’s probably worth the cost.

The full-length audio version at Barnes & Noble.com was listed at $19.08 when I checked (with a 17% price reduction from the original $22.99). I checked Amazon and they’re asking $6.89 for the Kindle; $22.37 for the Hardcover and $9.85 for the paperback.

_______________________

Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning suspense-thriller Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was fighting for the other side.

To follow this Blog via E-mail see upper left-hand column and click on “FOLLOW!”

 

 
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