May 30, 2011

Video: Trailer: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

Six Boys and Thirteen Hands

Each year I am hired to go to Washington, DC, with the eighth grade class from Clinton, WI where I grew up, to videotape their trip. I greatly enjoy visiting our nation's capitol, and each year I take some special memories back with me. This fall's trip was especially memorable.

On the last night of our trip, we stopped at the Iwo Jima memorial. This memorial is the largest bronze statue in the world and depicts one of the most famous photographs in history -- that of the six brave soldiers raising the American Flag at the top of a rocky hill on the island of Iwo Jima, Japan, during WW II.

Over one hundred students and chaperones piled off the buses and headed towards the memorial. I noticed a solitary figure at the base of the statue, and as I got closer he asked, 'Where are you guys from?'

I told him that we were from Wisconsin. 'Hey, I'm a cheese head, too! Come gather around, Cheese heads, and I will tell you a story.'

(It was James Bradley who just happened to be in Washington, DC, to speak at the memorial the following day. He was there that night to say good night to his dad, who had passed away. He was just about to leave when he saw the buses pull up. I videotaped him as he spoke to us, and received his permission to share what he said from my videotape. It is one thing to tour the incredible monuments filled with history in Washington, DC, but it is quite another to get the kind of insight we received that night.)

When all had gathered around, he reverently began to speak. (Here are his words that night.)

'My name is James Bradley and I'm from Antigo, Wisconsin. My dad is on that statue, and I just wrote a book called 'Flags of Our Fathers' which is #5 on the New York Times Best Seller list right now. It is the story of the six boys you see behind me.

'Six boys raised the flag. The first guy putting the pole in the ground is Harlon Block. Harlon was an all-state football player. He enlisted in the Marine Corps with all the senior members of his football team. They were off to play another type of game. A game called 'War.' But it didn't turn out to be a game. Harlon, at the age of 21, died with his intestines in his hands. I don't say that to gross you out, I say that because there are people who stand in front of this statue and talk about the glory of war. You guys need to know that most of the boys in Iwo Jima were 17, 18, and 19 years old - and it was so hard that the ones who did make it home never even would talk to their families about it.

(He pointed to the statue) 'You see this next guy? That's Rene Gagnon from New Hampshire. If you took Rene's helmet off at the moment this photo was taken and looked in the webbing of that helmet, you would find a photograph...a photograph of his girlfriend. Rene put that in there for protection because he was scared. He was 18 years old. It was just boys who won the battle of Iwo Jima. Boys. Not old men.

'The next guy here, the third guy in this tableau, was Sergeant Mike Strank.. Mike is my hero. He was the hero of all these guys. They called him the 'old man' because he was so old. He was already 24. When Mike would motivate his boys in training camp, he didn't say, 'Let's go kill some Japanese' or 'Let's die for our country.' He knew he was talking to little boys.. Instead he would say, 'You do what I say, and I'll get you home to your mothers.'

'The last guy on this side of the statue is Ira Hayes, a Pima Indian from Arizona .. Ira Hayes was one of them who lived to walk off Iwo Jima . He went into the White House with my dad. President Truman told him, 'You're a hero' He told reporters, 'How can I feel like a hero when 250 of my buddies hit the island with me and only 27 of us walked off alive?'

So you take your class at school, 250 of you spending a year together having fun, doing everything together. Then all 250 of you hit the beach, but only 27 of your classmates walk off alive. That was Ira Hayes. He had images of horror in his mind. Ira Hayes carried the pain home with him and eventually died dead drunk, face down, drowned in a very shallow puddle, at the age of 32 (ten years after this picture was taken).

'The next guy, going around the statue, is Franklin Sousley from Hilltop, Kentucky . A fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. His best friend, who is now 70, told me, 'Yeah, you know, we took two cows up on the porch of the Hilltop General Store. Then we strung wire across the stairs so the cows couldn't get down. Then we fed them Epsom salts. Those cows crapped all night.' Yes, he was a fun-lovin' hillbilly boy. Franklin died on Iwo Jima at the age of 19. When the telegram came to tell his mother that he was dead, it went to the Hilltop General Store. A barefoot boy ran that telegram up to his mother's farm. The neighbors could hear her scream all night and into the morning Those neighbors lived a quarter of a mile away.

'The next guy, as we continue to go around the statue, is my dad, John Bradley, from Antigo, Wisconsin, where I was raised. My dad lived until 1994, but he would never give interviews. When Walter Cronkite's producers or the New York Times would call, we were trained as little kids to say 'No, I'm sorry, sir, my dad's not here. He is in Canada fishing. No, there is no phone there, sir. No, we don't know when he is coming back.' My dad never fished or even went to Canada. Usually, he was sitting there right at the table eating hisCampbell's soup. But we had to tell the press that he was out fishing. He didn't want to talk to the press.

'You see, like Ira Hayes, my dad didn't see himself as a hero. Everyone thinks these guys are heroes, 'cause they are in a photo and on a monument My dad knew better. He was a medic. John Bradley from Wisconsin was a combat caregiver. On Iwo Jima he probably held over 200 boys as they died. And when boys died on Iwo Jima, they writhed and screamed, without any medication or help with the pain.

'When I was a little boy, my third grade teacher told me that my dad was a hero. When I went home and told my dad that, he looked at me and said, 'I want you always to remember that the heroes of Iwo Jima are the guys who did not come back. Did NOT come back.'

'So that's the story about six nice young boys. Three died on Iwo Jima , and three came back as national heroes. Overall, 7,000 boys died on Iwo Jima in the worst battle in the history of the Marine Corps. My voice is giving out, so I will end here. Thank you for your time.'

Suddenly, the monument wasn't just a big old piece of metal with a flag sticking out of the top. It came to life before our eyes with the heartfelt words of a son who did indeed have a father who was a hero. Maybe not a hero for the reasons most people would believe, but a hero nonetheless.

We need to remember that God created this vast and glorious world for us to live in, freely, but also at great sacrifice.

Let us never forget from the Revolutionary War to the current War on Terrorism and all the wars in-between that sacrifice was made for our freedom...please pray for our troops.

Remember to pray praises for this great country of ours and also ...please pray for our troops still in murderous places around the world.

STOP and thank God for being alive and being free due to someone else's sacrifice.

God Bless You and God Bless America.

REMINDER: Everyday that you can wake up free, it's going to be a great day.

One thing I learned while on tour with my 8th grade students in DC that is not mentioned here is . . that if you look at the statue very closely and count the number of 'hands' raising the flag, there are 13. When the man who made the statue was asked why there were 13, he simply said the 13th hand was the hand of God.

Great story - worth your time - worth every American's time. Please pass it on.

May 29, 2011

A Visit to Waverly, Iowa

A Visit to Waverly, Iowa
Shortarmguy Diary Update for May 29, 2011

For Memorial Day Weekend, we drove down to Waverly, Iowa to see our old friend, Ron "Sugarman" Myers and his lovely family.  They recently moved here and have a beautiful new house that we were just dying to see.  They even let us inside which was nice.

The reason for their move was because Ron recently accepted a new job as Deputy Sheriff in Black Hawk County.  He just graduated from the police academy a few weeks ago and was tops in his class for driving skills and 4th in shooting.  We're real proud of him, but are also a little nervous to be around him since he now has the authority to put us in jail.

Krazy Kory also brought his family to town to spend the weekend with us.  Luckily for the rest of us, Kory is not an officer of the law.  Because if that were to happen it would mean our society has fallen into an unrecoverable state of anarchy.

The sun was shining so we headed to the Waverly Municipal Golf Course to hit some balls.  We have a lot of balls between us.

We used to get in a lot of trouble on golf courses.  But we can't do that kind of stuff any more since Ron has gone legitimate.  So now if things get a little out of control, Ron takes charge of things and beats the offender with his golf club.  Jason gets hit a lot.

I played in a foursome with the other men, while Miss Sheri took the boys to play in a group ahead of us.  The little guys are starting to get pretty good on the links!!

While in Waverly, we thought it would be a nice idea to stop by Miss Sheri's Alma Mater, Wartburg College, and tour the campus.  They sure do have nice bells here!

We stopped by the Music Building where I was shocked to discover that they actually had two pictures of Miss Sheri hanging on the wall near the choir room.  And these were like literally the only two pictures on that wall!!  I guess she really made an impression while she was at college for them to keep those pictures after all this time.  I mean, it's been like 50 years since she went to college there! 

This is where Miss Sheri lived on campus.  We didn't see any pictures of her here, but I'm sure they're around.

We spent Saturday night re-visiting many of Miss Sheri's old college hangouts.

We did have to follow one of our gang's oldest rules, though.  When Jason starts taking his clothes off on the dance floor, it's time to go home.

Crazy Emails for May 29, 2011

Article: Assailant Suffers Injuries From Fall

A Yard in Tacoma, Washington

A Yard in Tacoma , WA

For years many have passed this house and marveled at the floral display at 3725 No. Vassault St. in Tacoma . Last year there was no display and we had wondered if the Asian man who owns this house was ill. This year the display was back in force and we stopped this past Sunday to photograph it. We went up to the owner and told him how much we had enjoyed his garden all these years and he invited us to tour his creation. We found the backyard to be as beautiful as the front. He is Vietnamese, shy, very soft spoken, and speaks very little English, so we couldn't discuss too much with him about the garden.

View from the street, which always catches our attention.

As you can see a lot of the flowers are in pots. I guess this is so they can be changed easily.

The front of the house is not neglected,either. I wonder if he takes the pots in at night to keep them from being stolen.

Here is the master gardener! I wish we could have communicated. I will print up some of these photos and give them to him.

Look at how precise the hanging pots are lined up.

Entrance to the backyard.

And here is the backyard. WOW!

A hand shows the size. It is hard to believe this is one man's work and I believe he must work on it every day, all day long.

What an accomplishment!!

The Queen's Visit to Ireland

Video: Scariest Commercial I've Ever Seen!

Joplin Tornado - Common Persons/Uncommon Valor - St.Johns Hospital Doctor


St.John's Hospital Doctor

Sent: Friday, May 27, 2011 7:39 PM

To: All City Employees

Subject: Joplin... PLEASE READ.....

To all,

My wife works for Sisters of Mercy, which is the company that owns St. John's Hospital. She sent me this attached document that an ER doctor wrote in reference to the Tornado in Joplin. I felt like everyone should read this...

45 Seconds: Memoirs of an ER Doctor from May 22, 2011.

My name is Dr. Kevin Kikta, and I was one of two emergency room doctors who were on duty at St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin, MO on Sunday May 22,2011.

You never know that it will be the most important day of your life until the day is over. The day started like any other day for me: waking up, eating, going to the gym, showering, and going to my 4 00pm ER shift. As I drove to the hospital I mentally prepared for my shift as I always do, but nothing could ever have prepared me for what was going to happen on this shift. Things were normal for the first hour and half. At approximately 5:30 pm we received a warning that a tornado had been spotted. . Although I work in Joplin and went to medical school in Oklahoma, I live in New Jersey, and I have never seen or been in a tornado. I learned that a "code gray" was being called. We were to start bringing patients to safer spots within the ED and hospital.

At 5: 42pm a security guard yelled to everyone, "Take cover! We are about to get hit by a tornado!" I ran with a pregnant RN, Shilo Cook, while others scattered to various places, to the only place that I was familiar with in the hospital without windows, a small doctor's office in the ED. Together, Shilo and I tremored and huddled under a desk. We heard a loud horrifying sound like a large locomotive ripping through the hospital. The whole hospital shook and vibrated as we heard glass shattering, light bulbs popping, walls collapsing, people screaming, the ceiling caving in above us, and water pipes breaking, showering water down on everything. We suffered this in complete darkness, unaware of anyone else's status, worried, scared. We could feel a tight pressure in our heads as the tornado annihilated the hospital and the surrounding area. The whole process took about 45 seconds, but seemed like eternity. The hospital had just taken a direct hit from a category EF-4 tornado.

Then it was over. Just 45 seconds. 45 long seconds. We looked at each other, terrified, and thanked God that we were alive. We didn't know, but hoped that it was safe enough to go back out to the ED, find the rest of the staff and patients, and assess our loses.

"Like a bomb went off. " That's the only way that I can describe what we saw next. Patients were coming into the ED in droves. It was absolute, utter chaos. They were limping, bleeding, crying, terrified, with debris and glass sticking out of them, just thankful to be alive. The floor was covered with about 3 inches of water, there was no power, not even backup generators, rendering it completely dark and eerie in the ED. The frightening aroma of methane gas leaking from the broken gas lines permeated the air; we knew, but did not dare mention aloud, what that meant. I redoubled my pace.

We had to use flashlights to direct ourselves to the crying and wounded. Where did all the flashlights come from ? I'll never know, but immediately, and thankfully, my years of training in emergency procedures kicked in. There was no power, but our mental generators, were up and running, and on high test adrenaline. We had no cell phone service in the first hour, so we were not even able to call for help and backup in the ED.

I remember a patient in his early 20's gasping for breath, telling me that he was going to die. After a quick exam, I removed the large shard of glass from his back, made the clinical diagnosis of a pneumothorax (collapsed lung) and gathered supplies from wherever I could locate them to insert a thoracostomy tube in him. He was a trooper; I'll never forget his courage. He allowed me to do this without any local anesthetic since none could be found. With his life threatening injuries I knew he was running out of time, and it had to be done. Quickly. Imagine my relief when I heard a big rush of air, and breath sounds again; fortunately, I was able to get him transported out. I immediately moved on to the next patient, .an asthmatic in status asthmaticus. We didn't even have the option of trying a nebulizer treatment or steroids, but I was able to get him intubated using a flashlight that I held in my mouth. A small child of approximately 3-4 years of age was crying; he had a large avulsion of skin to his neck and spine. The gaping wound revealed his cervical spine and upper thoracic spine bones. I could actually count his vertebrae with my fingers. This was a child, his whole life ahead of him, suffering life threatening wounds in front of me, his eyes pleading me to help him.. We could not find any pediatric C collars in the darkness, and water from the shattered main pipes was once again showering down upon all of us. Fortunately, we were able to get him immobilized with towels, and start an IV with fluids and pain meds before shipping him out. We felt paralyzed and helpless ourselves. I didn't even know a lot of the RN's I was working with. They were from departments scattered all over the hospital. It didn't matter. We worked as a team, determined to save lives. There were no specialists available-- my orthopedist was trapped in the OR. We were it, and we knew we had to get patients out of the hospital as quickly as possible. As we were shuffling them out, the fire department showed up and helped us to evacuate. Together we worked furiously, motivated by the knowledge and fear that the methane leaks could cause the hospital could blow up at any minute.

Things were no better outside of the ED. I saw a man man crushed under a large SUV, still alive, begging for help; another one was dead, impaled by a street sign through his chest. Wounded people were walking, staggering, all over, dazed and shocked. All around us was chaos, reminding me of scenes in a war movie, or newsreels from bombings in Bagdad. Except this was right in front of me and it had happened in just 45 seconds . My own car was blown away. Gone. Seemingly evaporated. We searched within a half mile radius later that night, but never found the car, only the littered, crumpled remains of former cars. And a John Deere tractor that had blown in from miles away.

Tragedy has a way of revealing human goodness. As I worked , surrounded by devastation and suffering , I realized I was not alone. The people of the community of Joplin were absolutely incredible. Within minutes of the horrific event, local residents showed up in pickups and sport utility vehicles, all offering to help transport the wounded to other facilities, including Freeman, the trauma center literally across the street. Ironically, it had sustained only minimal damage and was functioning (although I'm sure overwhelmed). I carried on, grateful for the help of the community. At one point I had placed a conscious intubated patient in the back of a pickup truck with someone, a layman, for transport. The patient was self- ventilating himself, and I gave instructions to someone with absolutely no medical knowledge on how to bag the patient until they got to Freeman.

Within hours I estimated that over 100 EMS units showed up from various towns, counties and four different states. Considering the circumstances, their response time was miraculous. . Roads were blocked with downed utility lines, smashed up cars in piles, and they still made it through.

We continued to carry patients out of the hospital on anything that we could find: sheets, stretchers, broken doors, mattresses, wheelchairs-anything that could be used as a transport mechanism.

As I finished up what I could do at St John's, I walked with two RN's , Shilo Cook and Julie Vandorn, to a makeshift MASH center that was being set up miles away at Memorial Hall. We walked where flourishing neighborhoods once stood, astonished to see only the disastrous remains of flattened homes, body parts, and dead people everywhere. I saw a small dog just wimpering in circles over his master who was dead, unaware that his master would not ever play with him again. At one point we tended to a young woman who just stood crying over her dead mother who was crushed by her own home. The young woman covered her mother up with a blanket and then asked all of us, "What should I do?" We had no answer for her, but silence and tears.

By this time news crews and photographers were starting to swarm around, and we were able to get a ride to Memorial Hall from another RN. The chaos was slightly more controlled at Memorial Hall. I was relieved to see many of my colleagues, doctors from every specialty, helping out. It was amazing to be able to see life again. It was also amazing to see how fast workers mobilized to set up this MASH unit under the circumstances. Supplies, food, drink, generators, exam tables, all were there-except pharmaceutical pain meds. I sutured multiple lacerations, and splinted many fractures, including some open with bone exposed, and then intubated another patient with severe COPD, slightly better controlled conditions this time, but still less than optimal.

But we really needed pain meds. I managed to go back to the St John's with another physician, pharmacist, and a sheriff's officer. Luckily, security let us in to a highly guarded pharmacy to bring back a garbage bucket sized supply of pain meds.

At about midnight I walked around the parking lot of St. John's with local law enforcement officers looking for anyone who might be alive or trapped in crushed cars. They spray painted "X"s on the fortunate vehicles that had been searched without finding anyone inside. The unfortunate vehicles wore "X's" and sprayed-on numerals, indicating the number of dead inside, crushed in their cars, cars which now resembled flattened recycled aluminum cans the tornado had crumpled in her iron hands, an EF4 tornado, one of the worst in history, whipping through this quiet town with demonic strength. I continued back to Memorial hall into the early morning hours until my ER colleagues told me it was time for me to go home. I was completely exhausted. I had seen enough of my first tornado.

How can one describe these indescribable scenes of destruction? The next day I saw news coverage of this horrible, deadly tornado. It was excellent coverage, and Mike Bettes from the Weather Channel did a great job, but there is nothing that pictures and video can depict compared to seeing it in person. That video will play forever in my mind.

I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to everyone involved in helping during this nightmarish disaster. My fellow doctors, RN's, techs, and all of the staff from St. John's. I have worked at St John's for approximately 2 years, and I have always been proud to say that I was a physician at St John's in Joplin, MO. The smart, selfless and immediate response of the professionals and the community during this catastrophe proves to me that St John's and the surrounding community are special,. I am beyond proud.

To the members of this community, the health care workers from states away, and especially Freeman Medical Center, I commend everyone on unselfishly coming together and giving 110% the way that you all did, even in your own time of need. St John 's Medical Center is gone, but her spirit and goodness lives on in each of you.

EMS, you should be proud of yourselves. You were all excellent, and did a great job despite incredible difficulties and against all odds.

For all of the injured who I treated, although I do not remember your names (nor would I expect you to remember mine) I will never forget your faces. I'm glad that I was able to make a difference and help in the best way that I knew how, and hopefully give some of you a chance at rebuilding your lives again. For those whom I was not able to get to or treat, I apologize whole heartedly.

Last, but not least, thank you, and God Bless you, Mercy/St John for providing incredible care in good times and even more so, in times of the unthinkable, and for all the training that enabled us to be a team and treat the people and save lives.


Kevin J. Kikta, DO
Department of Emergency Medicine
Mercy/St Johns Regional Medical Center, Joplin, MO

Jinx #204
Sgt. R. Juengst "Jinx", DSN #204
Patrol Division (B-Platoon) / SRT
St. Charles Police Department
1781 Zumbehl Rd.
St. Charles, Mo. 63303
Mobile (314) 713-5479
Office (636) 949-3322

Video: Hikers: Bigfoot captured on video near Spokane

Read More Details About The Video Here:

May 24, 2011

Video: Gotta Share! The Musical

Disappointment With Shortarmguy Over Recent Post: slam dunk Jesus??

I just received this email regarding this post:


I cant believe the Macho man picture. As a Christian man I'm really disappointed that you find humor in disgracing our Savior. I have enjoyed your site for a long time, but after viewing such a abomination I wont be back to your site. I'm sure you don't care anyway I'm just one person. My prayers are with you

R.L.J Kyoshi.
Mr. Kyoshi,
First off, I'd like to say Thanks for being a long time visitor to my site.
I really appreciate your feedback and am sorry to hear about your disappointment regarding this post.  Honestly, I debated if it was worth posting because I feared some people might find it offensive.
Ultimately, I decided to use the picture because I found it funny.  I didn't really think it was an abomination because I took it more as making fun of the guy who predicted the Rapture.  I found it crazy that so many people were paying attention to it. 
I also was a fan of Randy 'Macho Man' Savage and wanted to pay homage to him due to his unfortunate death last week.  I liked the idea of him "Saving the World" from the Rapture that was supposed to take place on Saturday.  I really didn't take it literally that he was attacking Jesus, but more that he was attacking the idiocy of the prediction and the society that gave it so much undeserved attention.
I hope you will reconsider your position about not visiting my site again.  I used poor judgment in this case and will do my best to avoid similar parodies in the future.
Your friend,
Todd Swank aka Shortarmguy

May 23, 2011

Sign: Bin Laden is Dead! It's Miller Time!

Take a look at this picture right here in Quincy, IL!!

Only a beer distributor would think of this!!

Headed to the Deer Camp

How To Make Your Laptop Go Faster

Movie Trailer: Green With Envy

I loved Jason Segel in Forgetting Sarah Marshall!

His new movie, Green With Envy, is going to be great!

May 22, 2011

Stearns Boy Scout Camp

Stearns Boy Scout Camp
Shortarmguy's Diary Update for May 22, 2011

On Wednesday night, we joined Troop 331 to do the Flag Ceremony at the Prior Lake Laker's High School lacrosse game.  I always think I look kind of funny when I do the scout salute, but luckily nobody in the audience threw anything at me.

We heard it was supposed to rain all weekend, so we thought it would be fun to join the troop for a couple nights of camping near St. Cloud, Minnesota. 
We had 16 adults and more than 30 boys along for the trip.  We were responsible for buying breakfast for the adults.  We thought we also were going to be solely responsible for cooking the breakfast.  Luckily for us, the other adults wanted the food to taste good, so they gave us lots of help.
The best part about camp is that the boys are completely responsible for cooking their own meals and cleaning up after themselves.  That's some behavior that we could really get used to at home!

We have some awesome chefs in our troop.  Avery's basketball coach, Mr. Malotkey, blew us away for supper with his dutch oven style chicken, rice, and two different desserts including the best peach cobbler I've ever eaten in my life.  If this is roughing it, then I'm a guy who likes it rough!

It rained most of the day, but we did have a couple of hours of sunshine late in the afternoon.  Mr. Zitzewitz helped guide us for a 2 mile orienteering hike where we had to use a map to find several points of interest.  I'm happy he has good navigation skills because if it would have been up to me, we'd still have several boys lost in the woods.

We were so proud of both our boys at camp!  They both completed their boards of reviews to advance to the next rank in scouting.  At this rate, we're hoping to be able to send them to military school very soon.

It rained about 75% of the time we were there, but it wasn't until late Saturday night that the thunderstorms started rolling in and scaring the life out of me.  Miss Sheri is very brave, though, and comforted me when I started freaking out.  Hey, I don't care if the other guys make fun of me.  I don't think it's a lot of fun when lighting and thunder start crashing down and I'm lying on a cot in the middle of the woods shielded by nothing more than a thin piece of nylon.  If she has to sing to get me to fall back to sleep then that's what needs to happen.

All that rain created a pretty muddy campsite.  We did everything we could to keep our shoes clean, but we pretty much failed that mission.

I did make a very exciting discovery when we were there.  While exploring the edge of our campgrounds, I was surprised when I stumbled across this incredibly shaped crop circle!  I couldn't believe my eyes!!  I have no idea what the aliens were doing in this exact location, but I'm going to send this photo to NASA for detailed analysis.  I'm sure those smart guys will figure it out.

Favorite Blog Posts of the Week

Elephant Road Rage

These photos are from Thursday, Feb. 17 by someone from Centurion in Pilanesberg game reserve, South Africa.  The guy in the white Volkswagen was trying to get past the elephant.