Potvin Newsly

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My Workout Clothes

Filed under: Reasons to Not Re-enlist — Jill Hater @ 1:08 pm
Tags: , , ,

[Note from the Author:  Yeah, I’m still “gone away” on my mission, but I’m actually able to access the interweb for 10-20 minutes at a time.  I had already written this some time ago so I figured I’d post it now.

I like to workout or exercise when I can. The problem is, in the Army, there is no working out or exercising. There is only “PT” or, when actually pronounced in length, “Physical Training.” Now, one might think that a phrase as indistinct as “Physical Training” might be applicable for any sort of training that involves anything physical; That’s true, but in the Army, Physical Training really just means working out, but don’t call it that. Also, don’t call it “Physical Training,” call it “PT.” If you actually say “Physical Training” other people will look at you like you’re stupid.

To help soldiers survive while doing PT, pretty much every unit in the Army makes the soldiers wear a special piece of equipment, called a “PT Belt.” This belt reflects photons into an onlooker’s retina and prevents the onlooker from hitting the soldier with his or her automobile. Other units may require a road guard vest instead of a PT belt; This supposedly has the same effect.

Below: “PT Gear”

PT Gear
This equipment is so effective that nothing bad has ever happened to anyone who was wearing it… Ever.

But the fun doesn’t end with just the required equipment; As with all other mandated activities in the Army, there is a set uniform. For PT, this is the Army Physical Fitness Uniform (APFU), also sometimes called the Army Improved Physical Fitness Uniform (IPFU). The two names exist to ensure that soldiers can never correctly answer the question “What is the name of the Army’s physical fitness uniform?” when standing before a promotion board.

The uniform has many strengths, but describing them with mere words seems insufficient. A visual aid is necessary.

Army “Improved” Physical Fitness Uniform

I’m glad I’ve only been around long enough to see the “Improved” Physical Fitness Uniform and not the “Desperately Needs Improvement” Physical Fitness Uniform.

As for proper wear of the uniform, please refer to Army Regulation 670-1, or the picture below.

Proper Wear of the APFU/IPFU - Giggidy

Monday, January 14, 2008

My Life Hates Me

Filed under: Hate,Reasons to Not Re-enlist — Jill Hater @ 9:07 pm

I almost never post twice in the same day; It’s sort of an unwritten rule I have.  But this is an exception.  For about the next seven days, I will go and do “stuff” and be separated from the whole of the internet.  Luckily, with the Onion’s Our Dumb World being loaned out to me, I will not be without funny.

This is basically a note announcing an involuntary, albeit short, hiatus from posting.  Also, no email will be responded to for about the next seven days.  I might be on tomorrow, and may be able to make a post, but that’s about it.

Perhaps worse than falling out of contact with the known world and getting behind on my postings is that I will likely miss the NFC championship game this Sunday, which features the New York Giants at the Green Bay Packers.  Now I am a Packer fan and it has been precisely ten years since their last appearance in the semifinal round.  Therefore you might think this only happens about once per decade.  You’d be close to accurate.

If the Army forces me to forgo seeing this game, I will add it to my list of things that I will never forgive the Army for doing.  In addition to all of that, I feel that I will be spending the week doing little more than wasting my time.  If something productive does come of this, I will be shocked to no end.

There’s little else to say, other than I am reasonably upset.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Fight for the Platypi

The mighty platypus; We all know about this creature, or at least know of it. It is often referred to as the duckbilled platypus, but this is more cumbersome of a term than simply platypus. Also, it’s stupid, because no other forms of the platypus exist. It’d be different if there was also a mandibled platypus in addition to the duckbilled one. Then I could see somebody using the mouth-shape as a characteristic of identification. But really, it’s fucking pointless to say “duckbilled platypus”. Do you say “duckbilled duck?” No, you will always say “Darkwing Duck.” Eat shit, Daffy.

I have always considered platypi to be the plural form of platypus. Recently, it has come to my attention that this may not necessarily be true. Indeed, as I typed it two sentences prior, my word processor underlined it as a misspell, indicating that it may very well not be a word. Is this the case?

I certainly hope not. In addition to platypus, there exist other words that I change from “-us” to “-i” to indicate plurality, namely cactus and octopus. Fuck yeah; we all know (or should know, less you be ignorant or stupid) that cacti means “more than one cactus” and that octopi means “more than one octopus”.

The process of pluralizing nouns is something I find quite interesting (in relation to how boring the rest of the shit in English class was). Adding to this is my pretty high self-regard when it comes to using words correctly. I have chastised people in the past for misuse of words, and likewise, my pride is dealt considerable blows when I find myself in error, or it is identified as such by one of my peers. But no worries here, I am nearly dead certain on how to pluralize all three of the words in question.

Once upon a time, there was a man, who in dealing with me, somehow entered upon a conversation concerning cacti. This man was quite confused, and considered cacti to be singular and cactus to be plural. I could only think two things: 1) He must be thinking cactus is plural because it ends with an “s”, or 2) He must be a fucking dumbass. #2 was definitely the case, but it may have been in combination with numero uno.

Thinking quickly to fix his error without much embarrassment, I went into damage control. “Surely he must know that octopus is singular; It is far too common to be misunderstood in such a manner.” I presented this to him. “Well, sir, I mean, octopus means just one octopus, whereas octopi means more than one octopus.” Without hesitation, he disagreed. Now I was confused, flustered, and angry. Above that, I was frustrated. This was no mere mortal man (by army standards), he was a hero, a legend to behold indeed. He was, in fact, a Lieutenant Colonel.

Fuck. How much can I stomach? Normally this would be the time I would castrate his ego and leave him staring back at his own naked ignorance. But I am a dog in the army, and, as such, a dog will not bite a man, nay, an outstanding man, without repercussion. Negative repercussion.

Did I stand up for my mores? Did I swallow my pride? Find out next week on “This Is One of the Many Reasons I Hate the Army.”

And we’re back. On last week’s episode we learned that Lieutenant Colonels can be illiterate English-butchering fuckwads. And now, the exciting conclusion.

Yeah, I just fucking agreed with that guy. I stand by my decision. He wouldn’t have gotten anything from it anyway, and my life is probably more comfortable now because of it. If I felt like I could’ve made a difference or positive impact… Fuck, I probably still would’ve agreed with the dumbass. Is that bad? Maybe. At this point, in this place, sometimes staying under the radar is just the way to go. And right now, right here, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ll wait until I move on.

Back to plurality. Like I said, I wanted to destroy this guy for mangling word identification, but uh, was I actually wrong the entire time?

I was doing nothing one night not too long ago, and hence I was searching Wikipedia quite randomly. I came upon an article concerning echidnas. Now, if you don’t know, echidnas are one of the most primitive mammals, and they lay eggs. One of the only other mammals that lays eggs is the platypus. So, obviously, I hit up the platypus article next.

Now I’m thinking about how the platypus is just weird as fuck. But, I love the word platypi, because it’s one of my favorite ways to pluralize words. It just sounds cool, okay? Wikipedia thought otherwise, however.

As it turns out, there is no universally accepted word for “more than one platypus”. Scientists generally use platypuses or just simply platypus to indicate more than one. Wow, I am the fucktard. Oh, wait, hold on just a second. I continue to read, and the article does indeed mention “platypi”. Good, it’s going to agree with me. Reading, reading, reading… Hmmm. Says here that platypi is actually a colloquial term, and is technically Dog Latin. In case you are unfamiliar with the term Dog Latin, let me explain. It is the degradation of genuinely Latin words that are borrowed into English; Fucked up in English by trying to modify them. In other words, it’s like Engrish, except we’re the dumb ones. Or, maybe just me, since I thought it was correct all this time.

Well, remember what I said about dealing a substantial blow to my pride factor? Mang, that shit was tough to read. I have to know if this is the case for my other two pet words.

Let’s break from animals and head for cactus. Yes! Cacti is the most common way to pluralize cactus. Fucking score. In addition to this, it is the grammatically correct way to go about business when following the rules of Botanical Latin. Grammar points, bitches. Disappointment accompanies my joy, however. In following Greek grammar rules, we discover that cactuses and cactoi are the correct terms. Fuck the Greeks. Cactoi does sound pretty cool, but it does not reflect well upon my argument. Cactuses is generally accepted, however, and so is just plain cactus. Man, fuck that. Cacti is the word I will use, and if you don’t use that word, then you will be labeled as a Greek asshole. Is that what you want? Byzantine, fuck thyself.

Okay, I consider the cactus/cacti battle to be won in my favor. A similar result with octopus will leave me at a respectable 2-1, whereas defeat will leave 1-2, and quite shamed.

To quote Wikipedia, “There are three forms of the plural of octopus; namely, octopuses, octopi, and octopodes. Currently, octopuses is the most common form in the UK as well as the US; octopodes is rare, and octopi is often objected to.”

What the fuck? Okay, so octopuses is the most common? That is SHIT! That is a stupid word. If and when I ever hear somebody utter that word, I will… Fuck, I do not know what I will do. Apparently it is correct, but it sounds so wrong. Like the “c-word”. I refuse to use it, and when people say it, I feel quite disturbed at my core. When people say octopuses? Same thing.

Tiny victories, me, tiny victories. Alright, it says octopi is in a secure second place, as octopodes is rarely used. However, I think that octopodes is probably more common that octopuses, but whatever. What is truly bothersome is that octopi is objected to; Incredible.

As it turns out, this may be just. To again quote Wikifuckia, “Octopi derives from the mistaken assumption that octōpūs is a second declension Latin noun, which it is not.” Oh shit, I always make that mistake. It’s so easy to get second declension nouns mixed up with first declension nouns, just as in English it’s easy to mistake the hesternal preterit past tense for the prehodiernal absolute-relative past tense. Typical rookie fuck up; my bad.

Technically, the word is Latinized Greek, not Latin. <sarcasm> Whoops. </sarcasm>  It is interesting to find, however, that if it were a Latin word, the plural form of octopus would actually be octopedes, much like milipedes or centipedes. Nice.

So, really what is this all about? Am I a pedant? Couldn’t be, I don’t even know what the word means. And that’s the true lesson here: You can’t truly be pedantic if you‘re unfamiliar with the term. Cacti, octopi, and platypi, now and forever

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Logistician Discrimination

Not long ago, someone else from my section and I were reading Stars & Stripes. Now, there may not be a lot of people who know what Stars & Stripes is, and for them I will elaborate.

Stars & Stripes is a well intentioned newspaper designed for U.S. service members assigned to overseas locations. Since we don’t occupy (read “assign soldiers in,” a less anger-inducing term) a lot of foreign countries that produce native English speakers, Stars & Stripes is usually the only paper that prints its articles in English. Thereby, it is the only newspaper of choice, and owns a monopoly on what the service members read (less they use the internet, ah ha!).

Stars & Stripes are usually abused by liberal non-military members of being too far to the right in order to cater to their military demographics. Also, they probably more so abused from conservative service members of being too far to the left in order to recruit more liberals to destroy America. In addition to all this, they are abused by me of being a half-assed publication, whose only worthwhile articles are usually those stripped from the Associated Press. Basically, everybody thinks they suck, we just read from them because we have no other choice, as pretty much no papers printed in the U.S. are willing to set up a press overseas for soldiers, sailors, and marines. Cool. Way to support the troops.

Now that’s out of the way. Being in the middle east, I am forced to read the middle east edition. It came to the attention of another in my section (mentioned earlier) that a lot of the writers in “To The Editor” were from Kuwait. Now, I’m in Kuwait, and I really don’t even consider it being deployed. There’s only two things that truly suck about being here: No booze and slow-as-fuck internet. That being said, there’s not a ton of people stationed in Kuwait to begin with, especially when compared to Iraq and Germany. (Germany has over 60,000 service members, Iraq peaked with over 170,000 troops, while Kuwait houses a few tens of thousands.) He said “Somebody needs to write in to these guys and say ‘If you’re from Kuwait, enjoy the amenities and shut the fuck up.'” I said the person who writes that should be from Kuwait themselves, and should write “Stop publishing letters from Kuwait. Sincerely, Sergeant Douchebag, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait.” He laughed and said I should do that. Then I did. What follows is the letter I had planned to send into Stars & Stripes.

Dear Stars & Stripes:

It seems to me that an awful lot of the letters in Opinion/To the Editor are coming from people stationed/”deployed” to Kuwait. And I mean “an awful lot” in both senses; that is to say there are many of them, and they are all terrible.

Most of the letters from people in Kuwait are filled with complaints and do not really hold any significant value. Nothing is remarkable about them or their authors. They write little tedious nothings and they still get published. I think everybody stationed in Kuwait should simply count their blessings and shut their “pie holes”. Or maybe they should fill them with desserts, such as pie.

I don’t want to hear or read the expressed opinions of some logistics and administration “experts” located on some beachside Kuwait resort that they call a camp. Some people might say, “Well just don’t read that part of the newspaper then.” If only it was that simple. It’s not so much that these worthless notes from Kuwait appear in the newspaper; the problem is really that they take away space for letters from the warfighters.

Anybody with a high IQ who is reading this is agreeing with me right now. Stars & Stripes, we want to hear from infanteers, scoutsmen, and an assortment of knights who are all fighting from places like Baghdad, Karbala, and the 15th century. That brings up another point I want to make: flails are cool. Buy one, or three.

We want to get the opinions from these skilled warfighters. We don’t really care for the opinions of some lackluster logisticians. I’m not saying logisticians aren’t important, but when I’m reading about a war, I want to hear from the guy fighting it, not the guy who shuffles paperwork and fills trucks with food, fuel, or both. Yes, both jobs are critical and very important, but whose opinion is more important?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that the opinions coming from service members in Kuwait don’t count. They certainly do count. But it’s just like voting for the president: Sure your vote counts, but does it matter? I usually vote just so I can say, “Don’t look at me, I voted for the other guy,” a phrase which has been invaluable as of late.

Stars & Stripes, I can’t tell you what to do, but I can definitely give you some advice. The next time you get some cumbersome, tediously whiney letter from a service member in Kuwait who is overflowing with opinions, think twice about publishing it. They are probably just trying to feel important or get some attention.

A Concerned Logistician
Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

Now I gave a copy of this to pretty much everybody in my section and they liked it. They encouraged me. Even the people who I thought would be total douchebags and downers; they gave me praise, too. Then I took it to the Public Affairs Office. It’s suggested that any letters we send into the paper goes through the Public Affairs Office just to make sure it’s kosher.

Well, they thought it fucking sucked. The lady in charge told me “Uh, a logistician would find this offensive. They work very hard at their jobs, and they would be offended by this.” I pointed out how I mentioned the logistician’s job is just as important as the line-man’s job. She said “Yeah, uh, they’d find this offensive.” She kept pointing out how hard they work at their jobs, and how very important those jobs are, no matter how much I told her that I and my letter agreed with her. I also mentioned that the intent of my letter was to create irony by poking fun at people writing from Kuwait, not to poke fun solely at logisticians. This concept was beyond her. Way, way beyond.

Furthermore, she said The Command would be embarrassed by it. I would be an embarrassment to the command. Holy shit. With this she then warned “PAO will not endorse or support this. You still have to right to freedom of speech, but just be ready to accept to consequences coming down from the command regarding your letter… It will not be pretty, and you will not like it.”

So basically, you have the right to free speech; You just have to pay for that right, that’s all. Or at least I do.

Post Script: Why do people refuse to re-enlist again?