When you can't live without bananas

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Friday, September 05, 2003

Dashboard Jesus Kills Ohio Teen

CINCINNATI (EAP) - A Cincinnati teenager was killed yesterday when her plastic Jesus dashboard figure was driven into her chest by her car's airbag which inflated during an accident involving two other vehicles.

17-year-old Darlene Fulps of Cincinnati was apparently holding her Jesus figure close to her chest when she ran through a red light and collided with two other vehicles in a busy intersection.

"The air bag inflated and pushed the head of Jesus straight through her heart," said Tom Young, medical examiner at the scene of the accident. "If it wasn't for the plastic Jesus, Ms. Fulps would still be alive today."

"Air bags have saved thousands of lives, but in this case it actually took a life, thanks to Jesus," said police officer Graham Pryor, first officer at the scene.

Robert Fulps, Darlene's father and devout Christian man said "It was just our daughter's time to go, and we can't question the actions of God. My daughter loved Jesus and worshipped Him, and I think she's probably talking to Him in heaven right now."

"We gave our daughter the dashboard Jesus for her birthday last year, and she really liked it," said Mrs. Gladys Fulps. "It's too bad that Jesus ended up killing her, but we believe she's in heaven now, and we're happy for her, and hope to re-unite with her when we get to heaven."

"We're just glad our daughter had Jesus in her heart when she died," said Mr. and Mrs. Fulps.

More quotes:

"He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of any man I know." - Abraham Lincoln

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But, this wasn't it." - Groucho Marx

"He has the attention span of a lightning bolt." - Robert Redford

"They never open their mouths without subtracting from the sum of human knowledge." - Thomas Brackett Reed

"He inherited some good instincts from his Quaker forebears, but by diligent hard work, he overcame them."- James Reston (about Richard Nixon)

"In order to avoid being called a flirt, she always yielded easily." - Charles, Count Talleyrand

"He loves nature in spite of what it did to him." - Forrest Tucker

"Why do you sit there looking like an envelope without any address on it?" - Mark Twain

"I didn't attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it." - Mark Twain

"His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork." - Mae West

"Some cause happiness wherever they go; others, whenever they go." - Oscar Wilde

"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends." - Oscar Wilde

"He uses statistics as a drunken man uses lamp- posts ... for support rather than illumination." - Andrew Lang (1844-1912)

"He has Van Gogh's ear for music." - Billy Wilder

Monday, September 01, 2003

You were once my one companion
You were all that mattered
You were once a friend and father
Then my world was shattered

Wishing you were somehow here again
Wishing you were somehow near
Sometimes it seemed if I just dreamed
Somehow you would be here

Wishing I could hear your voice again
Knowing that I never would
Dreaming of you won't help me to do
All that you dreamed I could

Passing bells and sculpted angels
Cold and monumental
Seem for you the wrong companions
You were warm and gentle

Too many years fighting back tears
Why can't the past just die?

Wishing you were somehow here again
Knowing we must say goodbye
Try to forgive, teach me to live
Give me the strength to try

No more memories, no more silent tears
No more gazing across the wasted years
Help me say goodbye
Help me say goodbye

Sunday, August 31, 2003

Ed: In the vein of my last weekly post, the following few paragraphs will be slightly depressing. They are not, however, a gauge of my current mental state, but of that after SOC. They may also not be as lucid as my normal posts. If you wish, you can skip to the next block of text in this post.

I had SOC again on Thursday. I'm so outstanding that, from one point on, I had S4 on one side of me and my Senior Medic on the other. In fact, I just set a new SAF-wide record for SOC - a good 46 minutes plus!

If anything, I think I'm getting worse and worse at it, and mentally more fragile - and both the IPPT I had the previous day (with a tiring timing of 17:21 for my 2.4) and the rain, making the obstacles slippery, did not help. I've lost much of my confidence for the 'confidence' obstacles, so even though I managed to do them last year at 41SAR (before they renovated the place and made the course much harder), I can't do them now. This time, it was only with plenty of cajoling and attempts, and doing them the non-standard way, that I managed to clear the balancing beam, albeit crawling across - I don't think I've ever walked across, and the Jacob's Ladder (using my arms to support me).

At the ramp, I hesitated, and was asked the classic question, "Are you gonna do it?". After a while agonising, I said "No" and started to walk off, till S4 called my name. I turned around, collapsed and broke down. Later, after the SOC, we were doing the Swing Trainer since many had trouble with it. When it came to my turn, the Conducting Officer asked me to try hanging onto the bar for 3 seconds. After about 2.5, I lost my grip, fell face forward into the sand and broke down again.

So now I'm going to be taken out of SOC until I am "ready" (whatever that means). If the test of readiness is how much confidence I have, I think the day I gather up sufficient courage to walk the balance beam, traverse the Jacob's Ladder and jump off the ramp is the day that I will have the courage to defenestrate myself (or die in some other suitably attention-grabbing way, sew my eyes and other orifices shut or engage in some painful act), preferably for some sufficiently noble and laudable cause like world peace, world hunger, nuclear proliferation, the denial of retro-virals to AIDS patients in South Africa or the abolishment of conscription with no alternative. But then, if I had the courage to do those things, I'd rather have gone to DB for 5 years rather than debase myself, pollute my soul and betray my conscience.

SOC is supposed to train people mentally and build up their confidence. Though it was left unsaid, the cliched adage came to mind: "The best way to conquer your fear is to face it". I suppose, then, that a stint on Fear Factor would do all of us some good. If we should face our fears to conquer them, then those of us who fear dying should have a near-death experience (though those tend to have high fatality rates) or better still - kill themselves. Those who fear bankruptcy should give away all of their money and live penniless, those who fear losing loved ones should have them killed off, and those who fear losing their virginity should lose it. Ultimately, if we fear being surrounded by unfriendly neighbors and having our water supply cut off, we should invade Johor and secure our water forever, to say nothing of conquering our fear! These may not make much sense, but on further thought, you will find that they make sense in a perverted way, as with the original adage. It's just that people don't tend to think critically when trying to motivate themselves, for they prefer lying to themselves. Is it any surprise that the army puts so much stock on feats of purely physical and pseudo-mental natures that claim to train determindation and willpower, while doing absolutely nothing for more important realms like moral courage?

Nevertheless, SOC will continue to be conducted for the majority of Singapore Slaves. As such, I would like to suggest further activities to build confidence and mental strength:

- fire walking
- bungee jumping
- tightrope walking
- dashing across the road in front of a bus
- gambling with one's life's savings
- letting a rattlesnake bite you and injecting the antidote later

I think I can say goodbye to my long weekends. I have been told that I'm supposed to take them when 42 takes them, but then there's Saturday RT each week. If I took mine when 42 was in camp, it might be easier to escape the RT, but now... [Ed: I'm not making much sense.] At least I still have my Friday night stayouts. If I didn't even have those, I'd be under 42 for everything except pay!

During my IPPT, I was running my 2.4 very slowly, because I was tired, and there was SOC the next day. My S1 saw me running slowly the first round, so he can to run with me, while talking to me. Ever so slowly, he began to run faster each round, to try to trick me into running faster (though I *did* notice). In the end, I did 17:21, but was very tired and short of breath. Cunning and effective!

It's madness - there were at least 5 times as many people (>=35) involved in the conduct of SOC (marshallers, safety specialists, etc) as HQ Coy people taking it (7, all medics. adding in the Company Line, about 2-3 times). What a waste of manpower, especially on people like me who can't pass.

One morning we went down for 5BX at 5:30am, but no one came. After half an hour, just before flag raising, I was the first to awake from slumber, and woke the rest, who went for breakfast. I hope this happens more often :)

BMT in my unit is very weird. I saw some recruits doing the artillery drill and practicing file movement around my parade square, and apparently their Bayonet Assault Course is done in the football field.

I saw one officer sweeping his office at 10:30pm one night. This must be the first time I've ever seen an officer doing area cleaning, instead of bullying his PA into doing it, but then he's one of the more exceptional officers in my unit. When I related this anecdote to someone else, he told me about the time when he was the duty clerk, and the duty officer swept the Ops Room while he watched TV. Heh heh.

In 46SAR, people from obese BMT who pass IPPT get a day off. Those who get Silver get 2 and Gold, 3. This is by virtue of obese passes for IPPT contributing 10 times the points to the Best Unit Competition (BUC) than normal people. In 42SAR, however, there's no similar incentive. Bah. [Ed: Not that it'd motivate me anymore but, still.]

Bingxun is being posted to 42 SAR. HAHAHA. As they say, "Welcome to 42SAR. You die. All die!"

Words of the wise: "The army exists as a fom of alternate emplyment to those unable to work with people with a brain and a spine"

Melvin can read my scrawling, probably due to his training as an MOPA. Time to make my writing more messy!

I was at a hospital, and saw that the one year anniversary issue of Seventeen was out. I then remembered that I last bought it when its first issue came out, so I decided to buy the anniversay issue! Sadly, they've removed the hilarious section where they get this cute looking guy to profile himself, and some girls decide whether they'd want to date him (and as someone remarked at the time, the girls look much worse than the guy). Maybe it was too offensive for "Asian Values" (bah).

Nevertheless, there was this amusing section where teenagers sounded off on the other gender:

On Girls:
- "Some girls think they can do anything. Like those who think they can play sport. Stick to the baking, my dears."
- "I have a friend who likes to play volleyball but she's not very good"
- "Girls seem to think they're good at playing therapist and helping people solve problems"
- "They can't park for nuts. And they drive really slow. Except for my mom - she kicks my dad's ass"

On Guys:
- They think they're really cool walking down the street, in their baggy jeans. But they're really not"
- "Guys think they are so good-looking"
- "Guys' jokes tend to be more dirty"

Just for the heck of it, I entered an army friend for a Seventeen competition (sponsoring him to the tune of $0.30). Maybe he'll win some girls' clothes or makeup. Hehe!

A few people were wondering why I bought Seventeen. Well, if girls can read FHM, I reckon I can read Seventeen. Hahaha.

Apparently the LTA spends $42,000 a month removing illegal notices from bus stops, overhead bridges and similar places. They claim it's hard to catch these people, but they can just pretend to be looking for tuition for their son, and then clap the irons on the prospective tutor when they meet up!

More New Age management junk: Walmart calls its employees "associates" who "[share] in the company's prosperity". And of course, Singaporeans are being urged to learn from this - if you can't pay your employees decent wages, why not indulge in meaningless, cost-free measures!

Some of us went to Swensens, but they screwed up the bill, so we got some stuff free of charge (though it wasn't very good). Hah!

In Isetan, I saw this girl in a spaghetti strap who'd tattooed something on her breast. Funky idea! Maybe I should get one on my butt so people won't complain so much in bunk.

Since I got enslaved, pirated CDs have been becoming harder to find. Now, though, there's a stall at the pasar malam at Jurong East MRT with what must be 10 tables of games (more than I've ever seen), including some very old ones - I saw Age of Empires, - Xbox, PS, PS2 and PC (applications too). They'll be open till end October too, though I think they'll be raided before then. So if you want to stock up - notwithstanding my horrible luck, where 6/7 of my CDs did not work - go support local enterprise (as well as keep a viable alternative open for those without broadband and a CD burner)! At the same time you'll be leeching supernormal monopoly profits and evading daylight robbery, while generating plenty of consumer surplus (especially considering most who buy pirated games would never buy the originals even if the pirated ones were not available). But do remember to buy some originals now and then to balance it all up.


[On people from obese BMT and doing IPPT once in the unit] You all obese [people] pass, never get anything? [Someone: More training]

Eh Gabriel, you're sick. Why did you buy "Seventeen"? It's a women's magazine. It doesn't have pictures of girls, only of what girls do. [Someone: He wants to understand them better] [You bought it] Just for a tube of facial cleaner? *proceeds to open the magazine's wrapping and read it*

[On an instrumental rendition of Ave Verum Corpus] Hao3 xiang4 you3 ren2 da3 wan2 zan4, shi3 [Translation: It's like someone died after a battle] *salutes*

[Me: People always ask me to introduce RJ girls to them] Yah, I want to know RJ girls. Very chio. I looked at the past years' yearbooks.

[Someone: I want to know more girls.] I can introduce this girl to you. "Kimberly", she's Gabriel's friend. She's always online... I've never met her before, but I find her quite nice to chat to. [Someone: Is she the same size as Gabriel?] About the same size.

National [JC], the girls cannot make it.

[On the above] Because he's interested in JC girls. He's got a fetish for JC girls.

Gabriel, what school were you from? [Me: RJ] Before that? [Me: RI] Stay away from us, we're from ACS. [Ed: I should have said 'Chao Yang'...]

The army exists as a fom of alternate emplyment to those unable to work with people with a brain and a spine (sms)
CNN.com - Revealed: How RIAA tracks downloaders - Aug. 28, 2003

Dr. Laura Renounces Orthodoxy

Believe It, or Not - Americans are three times as likely to believe in the Virgin Birth of Jesus (83 percent) as in evolution (28 percent).

Congressional Report: The Bush Administration has manipulated, distorted, or interfered with science on health, environmental, and other key issues.

I wonder why I let Tim cajole me into listening to exceedingly queer things like Bartok's The Miraculous Mandarin: "At last she overcomes her reluctance and begins a hesitant dance, which gradually enlivens to a pitch of erotic frenzy, as the Mandarin stares at her. The girl sinks down to embrace him, he begins to tremble in feverish excitement. She flees from him, and he chases her more and more wildly. The Mandarin catches the girl, and they fight." Nevertheless, it does have some merit, and unlike his other works, does not make me want to smash my monitor, so I'll keep it.

Notes on Overture to Gillaume Tell (1829) - "Rossini was satisfied with second rate material when it would take too long to produce first rate material. His operatic overtures were frequently reused and hastily composed. Known for the breakneck speed at which he wrote operas, Rossini purportedly finished composing an aria in the time it took him to cook a pot of noodles. His most famous opera, the Barber of Seville was written in 13 days, and, as was usual for Rossini, the well-known overture was actually taken from another of his operas."

I was intending to play Medieval: Total War, but the CDs I bought yesterday don't work. Even after I took the trouble, time and money to buy a $18.90 (it has 10-20 mins of video clips for you to "adjust your TV" - so that's why it's so expensive!) DVD drive cleaner for my 5 year old and never-cleaned-before drive. *grumble*

Quotable Quotes (ala Lin Yucheng):

"I feel so miserable without you, it's almost like having you here." - Stephen Bishop

"He is a self-made man & worships his creator." - John Bright

"He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire." - Winston Churchill

"A modest little person, with much to be modest about." - Winston Churchill

"I've just learned about his illness. Let's hope it's nothing trivial." - Irvin S. Cobb

"I have never killed a man, but I have read many obituaries with great pleasure." - Clarence Darrow

"He has never been known to use a word that might send a reader to the dictionary." - William Faulkner (about Ernest Hemingway)

"Poor Faulkner. Does he really think big emotions come from big words?" - Ernest Hemingway (about William Faulkner)

"Thank you for sending me a copy of your book; I'll waste no time reading it." - Moses Hadas

"He is not only dull himself, he is the cause of dullness in others." - Samuel Johnson

"He is simply a shiver looking for a spine to run up." - Paul Keating

"He had delusions of adequacy." - Walter Kerr

"There's nothing wrong with you that reincarnation won't cure." - Jack E. Leonard
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