A clean, well-lit place to vent
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For readers who might not know, a specialist is an E-4, the rank equivalent of a corporal. It's a holdover from the 1960s and '70s when the Army had SP4s, SP5s, SP6s, etc., as an alternate to the hard-stripe NCO ranks. These days, Army recruits who have earned a four-year degree or have civilian-acquired job skills will enter as a specialist. I'm guessing that Miller is a college grad with a technical skill, possibly medic since he brought Ray in for treatment after the explosion.
I have TBI from multiple blast injuries. Thanks for getting people to understand that even though we were not tornup and bleeding, that over time and throughout multiple deployments and exposure to numerous blasts (many not reported) we have developed injuries that are difficult to deal with, and at times for us to accept.
Ray has been representing the more subtle, and thus largely unseen, side of war ever since our first adventure into Saddam-land. It hurts to see his current condition, but this story must be told and no one but GBT can tell it with heart and humor. I'm not looking forward to Ray's story going ahead, but go ahead we must.
Ray, I've met your type. See, back in the early 80s at community college, I was an honorary member of the vet's club -- the only place I fit in (not all who face combat serve, you see). My "big brothers" were all Vietnam Vets. It's time to think about coming home, honey. Think hard, because I don't do funerals.
You go Ray! Look, the world just handed him a steamer. He's taking the ball (figuratively) and he's making his play. No doubt the nick 'Boomer' will stick for the rest of his life. Or, about six months, whichever comes first. A few "get it," where Ray is at, but they have no patience with VA Outreach centers. Gawd help those poor citizens at the VA help centers. They do not, cannot, will not ever, get it. Ray is on a different trip. Patronizing a mentally ill soldier could have disastrous consequences. Blowing off a body part might be the only thing that pulls Ray back from the edge. Thanks for taking this whole thing seriously.
Regarding this week's strips involving Ray, at least we can take comfort in the revelation that Ray possesses the same (if not superior) super-human powers of immunity to death that Jeff Redfern and Duke have. Surviving as many explosions as he has with no injury? That's a super-human feat that, while not based in reality, at least makes me confident that Ray will manage to survive while he's out in the battlefield.
Actually, it is based in reality. GBT recently met an Army sergeant at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany who had been blown up 16 times. His nickname was "Ten Seconds", which was how long he ordinarily lasted on patrol. He wanted to return to duty, but his commander ordered him home for good.
Ray is starting to remind me of a Sergeant I had in Advanced Infantry training before I went to Nam. He had a nervous tic and, while inspecting the troops, his head would shake. Then he'd berate the poor SOB in front of him for moving. Someone said he was involved in a friendly fire incident in Nam. Get Ray home. Maybe it's not too late.
I knew it, I knew this would happen to Ray. GBT knew it too. He used to visit the patients at Walter Reed, he was very kind to them but he knows how it is. Now Ray will not, I repeat, not get around this on his own. This will not go away. No budget cuts, no VA-DOD sharing agreement, no congressional re-election mandate that looks good on paper will fix this. Ray needs his buddies, maybe Toggle even. Damn it, I knew this would happen...
You were brilliant when I was a liberal, 40 years ago. You are still brilliant, today, now that I am a conservative. Thank you.
I love the look on Earl's face in today's strip. He looks like he's totally going to enjoy this!
Perhaps the fact that Duke is now working on basketcase Syria will in some unforseeable way help bring attention to the plight of Dorothy Parvaz, a journalist who has been detained by the Syrian government for eight days and counting. Here friends and colleagues are worried about her safety, per the Free Dorothy Parvaz Facebook page.
The Homeowner Assocation/line drying series involving Zonker's folks has come around again in Flashbacks (10 years ago). When I first saw this 5 years ago I thought HOAs and GBT had to be kidding. Wrong. Just try Googling it... This LAT article from '09 is just one such fish from a trawl.
"Why does this not worry me?" A Doonesbury quote for the ages.
My favorite thing about OBL's demise: OBL's demise.
Regarding the Sunday, May 1st strip. Best. Simpsons homage. Ever.
I love the Flashbacks page, a treasure trove of lost gems waiting to be rediscovered. Today we revisit a moment 35 years ago, before the Jimmy Thudpucker's benefit concert for Ginnie's campaign fund. Jimmy contemplates the possibility that if the sun-bleached Santa Monica rock junkie vote could be harnessed, then Sonny Bono might become governor of California. Little did we realize Trudeau's prescience, that Sonny Bono, of all people, would eventually be chosen for a elective office, not as governor, but as the Mayor of Palm Springs, and later as Representative for California's 44th district.
I wish there were an option on your current Straw Poll for those of us who think the (reported) murder of bin Laden is hideous. Nothing pleasing about it.
Think again Earl! The only 'enemy' of Duke ever mentioned in the strip (aside from his time as a zombie) is Zeke!
Thank you for letting us catch up on Doonesbury history with the Flashbacks feature. I read it every day!
The irony just hit me. Doonesbury's previous Straw Poll was about the value of cursive writing, lamenting that the teaching of it may be dropped from some schools' educational objectives. Meanwhile GBT makes a very good living not just printing, but doing so in those pesky, annoying ALL CAPS.