North Korea, Guam, and nuclear war

North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong Un has threatened to send four mid-range ballistic missiles over Japan and drop them within 18 to 24 miles of Guam. This development takes me back to the days of my youth.

After joining the Air Force at 19 and attending electronic warfare systems tech school, I was assigned to the 3rd Tactical Fighter Wing at Clark Air Base in the Philippines. I spend three long years there. Our mission was North Korea. Everything we did was aimed at going to war against North Korea.

Our forward operating base was Osan Air Base in South Korea. If war kicked off with North Korea, we would deploy to Osan. We were required to have a mobility bag packed at all times containing four sets of uniforms. They would hold drills were we had to report to work with our mobility bag. They were supposed to inspect it to make sure it was actually packed, but I don’t think they always did.

We would also deploy to South Korea on a regular basis, usually once a year in February for Team Spirit. We would stay up to six weeks at a time living in tents. One year I remember going in October for ten or so days.

I got into scuba diving while stationed in the Philippines. There were some really fantastic dive spots in the Philippines, but they were far from Clark Air Base. It meant I could only dive on three-day weekends. I wished I could dive more often. Ideally, I wanted to be able to dive every day. It was then that I began thinking about Guam. If I were stationed on Guam, I could theoretically go diving every day.  Being that I was stationed overseas, if I volunteered to go to another overseas assignment, I would get rewarded with 30 days paid leave to use between assignments. Plus, if I volunteered for Guam after the Philippines, I would supposedly get higher priority with my assignment after Guam.

I changed my dream sheet, the Air Force document on file that listed our preferences on assignments, for duty on Guam.

I got my wish. My “dream” was fulfilled. I finally left the Philippines in 1988. I was assigned to the 43rd Bomb Wing at Andersen Air Force Base. I was stationed there for over two years and I loved every minute of it. I got to work on the B-52, something I loved. When I was stationed at Clark Air Base, I worked on the F-4E and the F-4G Wild Weasel. The F-4 was a pain in the ass to work on. If anyone ever tells you they loved working on the F-4, they are lying. I hated the Philippines and I hated working on the F-4.

I loved Guam and I loved working on the B-52.

Guam was fantastic. Not only was the scuba diving better than the Philippines, it was a lot more accessible. I didn’t have to wait for 3-day weekends to go diving. I could go every day. Sometimes I did. I worked the flightline until midnight and would often go diving after work with some of the guys I worked with. Once you get into night diving, it’s hard to get back into daytime diving. In the pitch black with a high-intensity dive light, the colors really pop.

The Philippines was a third-world cesspool. Guam is the United States.

It makes me angry to hear Kim Jong Un threaten Guam. I’m tired of North Korea being a thing. It should have ceased to exist when the Soviet Union fell. It’s 2017. We shouldn’t still be burning calories dealing with North Korea. If North Korea launches missiles towards Guam, we should just nuke it from orbit and be done with it. Should we first wait for North Korea to use one of its nukes on us? To destroy an American city?

No thanks.

Geek Chic, maker of $30,000 gaming tables is out of business

Geek Chic, a company that custom built high-end tables for tabletop gaming has closed up shop.

I never understood to point of these fancy gaming tables. They seemed totally unnecessary to me. I played a lot of Dungeons & Dragons back in the day without even using a table, let alone one hand carved by blind monks from a single piece of endangered hardwood.

When I was in the Air Force and stationed overseas, we would normally get together in someone’s dorm room on the weekend and we would sit on the floor and play.  We didn’t need a fancy table or fancy chairs. We only needed dice, graph paper, pencils, sourcebooks, and our imaginations.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against playing tabletop games on a table. I just don’t see the need for a special table, especially when that special table costs so much. What’s wrong with a normal dining room table? They cost a lot less and they’re a lot more practical.

I have no idea why Geek Chic went out of business, but I’ve got to believe the marketplace only has so many customers willing to spend a fortune on a fancy gaming table, especially when a regular table works just fine for playing tabletop games. That’s kind of the whole point of the name, tabletop gaming. It’s not called expensive custom-built tabletop gaming.

I would think that once you build someone one of these tables, they will never need one again.

I blame Wil Wheaton

Professional pretend geek Wil Wheaton uses a Geek Chic table on his terrible Internet show Tabletop. That in itself probably lost Geek Chic a customer or two. At the very least it probably made people think twice before placing a down payment on one of these fancy tables. I know when I discovered Wil Wheaton owned the same Mitchell & Ness hockey jersey that I did, I couldn’t sell mine fast enough.

Geek Chic, maker of $30,000 gaming tables is out of business - Bent Corner
Professional pretend geek Wil Wheaton. He’s the one on the left.

Instead of getting an expensive fancy table for playing games, Wil Wheaton should have put the money into a new sofa. Tabletop is filmed at a porn studio. The sofa he and his guests sit on has appeared in porn movies. Who knows how many diseases and sexual pathogens are on that couch. I only hope he cleans the weapons-grade HIV off before his guests sit down to have a chat with him. I don’t care if Wil Wheaton sits in weapons-grade HIV. It’s the guests I worry about.

Devils wear throwback uniforms in loss to Capitals

The Devils may have lost to the Capitals 5-2 Thursday night, but they looked like winners on the ice with their spiffy red, white, and green throwback uniforms. The uniforms were part of a retro tribute night in honor of their original owner, Dr. John J. McMullen.

Devils wear throwback uniforms in loss to Capitals - Bent Corner
The official logo of the American Hockey League Utica Devils.

The Devils wore the red, white and green uniforms from when they entered the NHL in 1982 until the 1991-92 season. When I was in the Air Force and stationed at Griffiss Air Force Base in upstate New York, the Devils’ AHL team was in nearby Utica. I went to a lot of Utica Devils games and was a huge fan of the old uniforms. They reminded me of Christmas, only without any sadness or crippling depression.

Perhaps I’m biased, but I think retro uniforms almost always look better than a team’s current uniforms.

North Korea threatens to nuke Guam and Japan over B-52 flights

Reacting to news that the Air Force is flying B-52 bombers over South Korea as part of military exercises taking place in the region, North Korea is ratcheting up the rhetoric directed towards the United States. The following statement was issued by the Supreme Command of the Korean People’s Army and carried by the country’s state-run news agency:

The U.S. should not forget that the Anderson Air Force Base on Guam where the B-52s take off and naval bases in Japan proper and Okinawa where nuclear-powered submarines are launched are within the striking range of the DPRK’s precision strike means.

DPRK is short for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It’s what awful little country calls itself.

B-52 bombers flying the friendly skies of South Korea is nothing new. I was stationed on Anderson Air Force Base from 1988 to 1990 and we flew training sorties over South Korea all the time. Perhaps they were just to incompetent back then to realize it. It is after all, North Korea.

I was stationed in the Philippines from 1985 to 1988 and every winter, we would have to deploy to South Korea for six weeks. We lived in tents and had to wear chemical warfare protection suits, flack vests, and helmets. Military strategists deduced that if North Korea ever were to launch a ground invasion into South Korea again, it would happen in the winter. The reason? Because then the rice paddies would all be frozen and not pose a problem for North Korea’s tanks. Considering that the first Korean war began in the month of June, I’m not sure the threat of a winter invasion made a lot of sense.

Rick Olney has passed away

Rick Olney 1954 – 2012

Comic book convention promoter Rick Olney has passed away. He was 58.

To say Olney was somewhat controversial in the world of comic book fandom is perhaps an understatement. He had run-ins with a good many comic book professionals over money, none more public than with comic book writer Gail Simone. It was the basis of a gigantic message board thread over at Comic Book Resources. At last count, the thread had over 53,000 posts.

Gail Simone

Personally, I took an interest in stories about Olney because I used to live near his area of operations, Herkimer County in upstate New York. I was stationed at Griffiss Air Force Base located in nearby Rome, New York back in the early 1990’s. It’s where I was reintroduced to the medium of comic books. I read comics as a kid and then somewhat got into it again while in Air Force tech school. Secret Wars has been released and the issues were going around the dorms.

Secret Wars

There was a comic book shop in one of the malls and I happened to see a poster of Spawn #1 in the window. I couldn’t believe how great the artwork was.  I went into that mall comic book shop and bought a couple comics. The following week, I went back and bought more. The week after that, I went back and repeated the process.

Olney is survived by a wife and five children.

The truth about cold weather football

I was reading about today’s NFC Championship game between the New York football Giants and the Green Bay Packers. The article mentioned it might turn out to be the coldest game played in NFL history. They say the temperature in Green Bay will be a balmy 3 degrees tonight at the 5:30 PM CST kickoff.

I’ve never been to Green Bay, but I did once watch a football game in the brutal cold. On January 15, 1994, I went to Orchard Park, New York to watch the Los Angeles Raiders lose to the Buffalo Bills 29-23.

Back in my Air Force Days

I was in the Air Force and stationed at Griffiss Air Force Base located in upstate New York. ESPN shows it was the 3rd coldest game played in NFL history. They show the temperature was zero degrees with a windchill of minus-32. I remember it being minus-40, but maybe it’s warmed up 8 degrees since then.

It wasn’t just cold, it was alien planet cold.

The worse part about watching a football game in the brutal cold is sitting in one spot for hours at a time, not moving. You are just sitting there. No matter how much you bundle up, you are going to get cold. The number of layers of clothing you put on only helps to delay the inevitable.

You will get cold and once you do, it’s impossible to get warm.

We had seats on the two-yard line, 13 rows up from the field. I remember things sounding different in the cold. The Raiders moved the ball and scored a touchdown. They then attempted an extra point. When the kicker’s foot hit the ball, it made a bizarre sound. It didn’t sound right. It didn’t sound like a shoe making contact with a leather football. The ball failed to go through the uprights and instead bounced off the crossbar. It sounded like a cannonball hitting the metal crossbar.

Buffalo Bills fans are stupid

I remember a Bills fan sitting in the end zone seating taking off his clothing from the waist up. His bare, pale flesh was exposed to the elements. Security grabbed him and took him off somewhere. I guess he wanted to get on TV. I don’t know if he got on TV, but his stupid stunt earned him a permanent spot in my personal memory banks.

Looking back at this photo, I wonder how many of these Bills fans are still alive and how many died in horrific snowmobile accidents.

I went to the game bundled in layers of clothing:

  • Los Angeles Raiders Starter pullover jacket
  • Air Force extreme weather parka
  • Sweatpants and long underwear under my pants
  • Air Force issued cold weather mummy sleeping bag

I’m glad I did. That said, it took me about three days to get warm.

The ironic thing about that game was how it contrasted with the prior Raiders game I attended. It was at the Los Angeles Colosseum where they lost to the visiting Cleveland Browns. I think it was the last road game the Browns ever won. The temperature on the field was 100 degrees and I walked away with a nasty sunburn.

Even though the Raiders lost the game, I was glad I went. It turned out to be Howie Long’s final game. He was always my favorite player.