Monday, April 20, 2009

Living the legend and other phenomenas...

As I was racking my mind for an interesting topic for this blog I realized I had to address Sgt. Logue's response to me asking her how she was doing the other day. I said, "how's it going, Sergeant?", and she said, "Living the legend, Specialist."

At that point, I'm thinking, Whoaah!, hey, that's not fair. She was so matter of fact about it with her business-like manner, leaving no room for me to say, "What the heck does that mean?, explain yourself, because I really want to know."

I haven't gotten around to asking her about it, I was only left with thinking about the legend, and thinking maybe she said it because she knew I would include her in a blog specifically about living the legend.

I can only speculate, but maybe living the legend means I'm living with legendary status because I'm in the Army during war times. 'Living the legend' seems just a tad too much for my tastes. I'm sticking with 'living the dream,' thanks.

But, all this 'legend' stuff does lead me to another subject, somewhat related.

I was surprised to see how much telling the Soldiers' stories has propelled myself into the limelight of the internet. Quite frankly, I didn't realize that after writing and photographing these stories, I would be building such a personal library for such easy access to the public. It didn't occur to me.

Each article is forwarded as a media release, so it is up for grabs for any website anywhere. I don't think I'm the only new Army journalist to be caught offguard by this procedure. I know there are others who did not realize all of what we write would be made available to any civilian press or institution. It's a great thing because it shows the military has nothing to hide.

And now that it's happening, I have to admit it feels good. But, it also feels a little awkward. Of course, I want my stories to be told so Soldiers get the credit they deserve. But, because of the state of the internet, it is only natural that the ego tends to get involved. Being able to tame the ego and write for the right reasons are the key elements in staying professional.

I have been fortunate so far, I have covered incredible stories with interesting subplots and interesting characters. I have written on Iraqi juvenile detainees, a military working dog funeral, an Army/Navy project that protects the base, a transportation company that left for Afghanistan and an engineering company partnering with Iraqi Soldiers on a heavy equipment worksite, just to name a few.

And for the most part, everything is available to view at anytime for anyone, just by placing a search on the internet with my name as spc. howard alperin.

It is an amazing time to be an Army journalist. Cheers.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Passover Seder to remember...

Wow, a night after leaving the rock concert that was President Obama at the al-Faw Palace, I was back in the same neighborhood for a Passover Seder.

It's a good thing the President came Tuesday and not Wednesday, or the Seder probably would have been canceled.

There were 40 Jews in attendance, all from various military branches and civilian contractors were there too. The Army, of course had the most military representatives. Interestingly, I sat between a female Jewish 1st Lt. of the Marines and the only Mormon at the Seder.

I can't say for sure the Seder from last night was as 'Hollywood' as the one I attended while at Fort Jackson last year. I met Paul Reubens, the actor famous for creating the Pee Wee Herman character there.

But, I really enjoyed assembling 'the unofficial' U.S. Military Yiddish Dictionary last night.
It took me a lot of chutzpah to come up with this list, and I hope it doesn't seem like a bunch of dreck. I will share some of the words, but not all of them, because then I might sound like a schmoe. I hope not to hear a lot of kavetching later on.

Putz, klutz, schlep, schmutz, faklempt, farmischt, tucus, meshuganah, mench, schmuck, schmeckle, schpiel, megila, noch, chatzke, cockamamie, schtetl, oy vey, oy gezalt, schmear, zaideh, bubby, and if you remember Laverne & Shirley, you might recall schlemeel and schlemazzle.

By the way, I heard the gefilte fish was pretty tasty, they ran out before I had a chance to eat any.