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M*A*S*H Reboot Struggles With Audience

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HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – The future is uncertain for a much-anticipated M*A*S*H* re-boot set in Afghanistan after the show hit minefields — and not the golf-course kind.

“The energy surrounding this project was amazing,” said Erin Curtis, the show’s producer. “Channing Tatum walked into the press conference already dressed as Hawkeye Pierce, in a red bathrobe over DCUs and a reflective belt. Every time we said ‘troops,’ ‘deployed,’ or ‘America’ the crowd kept giving a standing ovation. It seemed like we had a guaranteed hit on our hands.”

The producers introduced an all-star cast, featuring Chris Hemsworth as B.J. Honeycutt, Jonah Hill as Radar O’Reilly, Seth Rogan as Corporal Klinger, Benedict Cumberbatch as Maj. Charles Winchester, Tommy Flanagan as Father Mulcahy and special guest Tommy Lee Jones as Col. Potter. When producer Alan Alda announced he’d have a recurring cameo as counterintelligence nutter Col. Flagg, the applause wouldn’t stop.

“The first media question fell flat,” Curtis continued, “Variety asked, ‘How can the show have so many big-ticket actors?’ I told her that this was modern war, so all your favorite characters would rotate out every six months. That didn’t go over well.”

Taylor swift walked in next, her blond hair pulled into the signature top knot of Hot Lips Houlihan, to make the announcement that she would not only be playing Hot Lips as her first serious acting role, but that she’d be singing the Swedish-beat/country-sweet version of the M*A*S*H* theme song, “Suicide is Painless.” The crowd, including several top military officers invited to the roll-out, shifted uncomfortably in their seats.

“We knew that we were in trouble,” said Curtis, “So we screened the pilot to a focus group of OEF vets.”

Before the teaser was over, the group was already skeptical.

“Why do they have a still?” asked one member.  “Don’t they know that you can get that stuff from the French Compound?”  Others noted, “Or the ‘terps get hooch from in town,” and “My grandma mails it to me in a Listerine bottle.”

In the next scene, Hawkeye and Honeycutt launched a plot to sneak into the nurses’ shower trailer.

“That is clearly not ok,” one of the panelists said. “It’s like they’ve never been forced to sit through an EO or SHARP briefing.”

“Is this the big dramatic turn? Are we going to see their court martial next?” anonther panelist said.

In the shower trailer, Hawkeye and Honeycutt find Hot Lips and Burns in a steamy make-out session as Burns talks about his wife.  The show’s producers watched eagerly for the panel to react to the infidelity. They never did.

“We asked the group about how they would react to making Maj. Burns female, and they just shrugged. Exasperated, we got the idea that maybe we’d make Burns female and having a relationship with Hot Lips. They just shrugged some more. One participant, looking confused, asked if M*A*S*H* was still trying to be a comedy, or if we were just trying to be accurate,” said Curtis.

The pilot took a break from jokes about the nurses when choppers arrived. The nurses on the panel seemed frustrated.

“No, casualties like that go straight to Germany,” one said, as the other said, “Can we make it a scabies outbreak instead? Chronic bronchitis from the burn pits? Chlamydia?”

There is some hope for the show, however, after KBR stepped in to fund the advertising for the entire first season, which will heavily feature a plotline of Klinger trying to fight his medical discharge because the chow halls are so delicious.

BlondesOverBaghdad always lets someone else have the top block, because that's the selfless service thing to do. She'll go to Ranger School as soon as there's a 2-beer per day policy. @BlondsOvrBaghd on Twitter.

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Army

Are we dead or just in Kuwait?

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The following is an existential opinion-editorial written by your squad leader in Camp Buehring, Kuwait.

Guys, I have to come clean: I don’t think we survived this past deployment. I don’t really feel anything anymore. The color has run out of the world. All is awash in browns, grays, dust and burning, stifling, ball-sweat inducing heat. We must question our purpose, the point of it all. Are we dead or just in Kuwait?

Why are we here? Is there nothing other than absurdity in this bleached pan of our waking nightmares? Is there nothing more than watching how many Kuwaiti soldiers it takes to devour that foreign delicacy chocolate cake?

Has life been reduced to watching other living, breathing service members — not merely our own, but the entire Western world’s — go on real deployments? This can’t be Hell, can it? Hell does not have a gym or an MWR. (Or does it?)

I’m certain Hell has better chicken wings.

Was it Kierkegaard who once said, “we shall not decide which life fights the good fight most easily, but we all agree that every human being ought to fight the good fight? Unless of course they’re sentenced to this godforsaken desert by the Military Intelligence Readiness Command?”

Trust me, that was purely rhetorical.

I’m pretty sure this place was the last thing Camus saw flash in front of his eyes before the crash. We are condemned to be free, but what is the nature of this freedom? Condemned to roll our laundry into balls repeatedly, like some modern Sisyphus?

The freedom to complain about internet lag or the sheer lack of Black Panther on haji disk? Was life ever more meaningless?

Wait. That’s why I can’t remember Iraq. That was a lifetime ago, when we believed in COIN and David Petraeus. We are assigned here. This is life now. Somewhere between smelling a burn pit here and the meth back in Fort Huachuca.

We aren’t dead, but we are in hell.

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Army

Cleveland Browns relieve 1st SFAB in Afghanistan

“Oh, thank God,” said Brig. Gen. Scott Jackson, the outgoing commander of 1st SFAB.

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KABUL, Afghanistan — The Cleveland Browns relieved the 1st Security Force Assistance Brigade of its mission of training Afghan security forces under Operation Resolute Support, a spokesperson for U.S. Forces – Afghanistan announced today.

The Browns, who until Thursday had not won a football game since Dec. 24, 2016, arrived in Afghanistan on Saturday for a seven-month tour.

“These boys certainly know a thing or two about winning,” said Lt. Gen. Austin Miller, the senior U.S. commander in Afghanistan. “I can’t wait for them to show these Afghans how it’s done after 17 years [of not winning].”

The Browns take over a mission to train, advise, and assist Afghan military and police units, which will now fall under the purview of Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson.

“Oh, thank God,” said Brig. Gen. Scott Jackson, the outgoing commander of 1st SFAB.

The effects of an all-volunteer, professional football-playing force were immediately felt, according to defense officials, with particular praise given to the Browns’ rejuvenated offense and downfield aerial attack with quarterback Baker Mayfield under center.

“He’s certainly better than Tyrod Taylor,” said Cpl. Steve Higgins, a native of Twinsburg, Ohio.

Still, Mayfield, selected first-overall in the 2018 NFL Draft, was later sacked for a complete loss after a Taliban sympathizer slipped past his offensive line on Sunday.

“It’s critical for us to protect the quarterback, and there’s really no excuse for what happened out there today,” said Jackson.

The Browns suffered additional casualties after a reconnaissance team was struck by an improvised explosive device. Two players have been placed into the NFL’s concussion protocol and will not be expected to patrol next week, while the other three have been placed on Injured Reserve for the remainder of their lives.

“We can always improve on special teams,” admitted Jackson.

Moreover, the Browns’ leading wideout, Jarvis Landry, has been suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy after indulging in a Hemland Steamer.

“What’s a Hemland Steamer, you ask?” said Jackson. “It’s basically where you pack a fat lip, snort a line of pre-workout, and then insert a Rip-It-soaked tampon in your rectal cavity.”

“I hear it’s very popular with the Marines,” he added.

Despite the initial challenges and hurdles the Browns have faced since taking over security and supporting a self-sufficient Afghan populace, leadership is cautiously optimistic.

“We’re very hopeful that we can get at least a first-round and a second-round draft pick out of our losses,” said Jimmy Haslam, the Browns owner. “Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

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‘War (What is it good for)’ singer admits war actually quite good for boosting economy, creating jobs

He admitted in his private notes that there were some technical inaccuracies in the lyrics.

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LONDON — Nearly 50 years after the release of his counterculture number one hit “War (What is it good for),” unearthed notes from singer Edwin Starr’s estate reveal that he actually believed war was “quite good” for boosting the economy and creating jobs, sources confirmed today.

Although the song, written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong in 1969, was one of the most popular anti-Vietnam War songs of the era, Starr admitted in his private notes that there were some technical inaccuracies in the lyrics.

“While there are certainly many aspects of war I don’t like, my initial assessment that it is good for ‘absolutely nothing’ was a bit misguided,” Starr, who died in 2003, wrote in his personal diary. “I now realize that, despite war’s shortcomings, it plays a vital role in the economics of our country.”

Starr’s diary went on to say that when he initially performed the song in 1970, statistical data about job creation in the defense industry was not yet available. Nowadays, he said, defense giants like Lockheed Martin and Raytheon provide stable, well-paying jobs to thousands of Americans across the country.

“I’m still totally against the whole ‘death and destruction’ part of war, but from a commercial point of view it kind of makes sense,” the diary went on. “I would never have had the success I had if it weren’t for war.”

His diary went on to reveal more verses to the song that expand upon the various fiscal benefits of war which did not make the final cut.

“It ain’t nothin’ but a heart breaker,” goes the second verse, “but it is quite effective at reducing the bottleneck in entry-level civilian employment, oh-oo-oh yeah.”

“Lord knows there’s got to be a better way, whoa-oo-whoa, ya’ll,” Starr sings at the end of the song. “But, for now, war seems to lead to technological innovation and a sense of national unity and community involvement unequalled during most other periods in our history, good Lord, yeah.”

Dirty contributed reporting.

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Army

Former PT stud now lives in barn

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CLARKSBURG, W. Va. — A retired 82nd Airborne soldier who was once known for having the fastest two-mile run time in his battalion currently lives in a barn, horses confirmed today.

Thomas Chatterton, 32, of Clarksburg, entered basic training at Fort Benning in 2004, where instructors quickly noticed his speed and endurance on the track, said one horse who lives in the barn with Chatterton.

“We do three things around here. We run fast, eat oats, and we piss all over the floor. Anyone who wants to be a part of that, well, we’re happy to have you! Damn happy! We certainly don’t discriminate based on race, gender, orientation, or ability to take shits so big that a team of professionals has to come clean them up with snow shovels,” he said.

Chatterton got serious about running in middle school and remained dedicated in high school, according to his mother.

“Tommy was always a fast kid,” said Wendy Chatterton. “His 1600-meter time is still the state record for boys under 14. He went through the usual phases high school boys go through, you know. He grew his hair out into an enormous tail he could flap at flies, he slept standing up.”

She added: “I have to admit, though, we were somewhat surprised when he began soiling his pants wherever he was standing.”

Horses claim that Chatterton’s dedication has inspired them to be better competitors on the track.

“Tom’s an athlete through and through. Incredible focus,” said one horse who has raced with Chatterton. “Back at the barn, he’s the nicest guy you’ve ever met. But, the moment that gun goes off and all the other horses blow immediately past him, he’s all business.”

At 32 years old, Chatterton is a bit of an anomaly on the track, according to Crackling Thunder, a gray-spotted horse. Especially, he said, after a horrific trampling accident that occurred last year.

“The average life-span of a horse is about 25-30 years, so Tom’s really got guts to be mixing it up with these younger studs,” Thunder told reporters. “We take injuries pretty seriously here. They can mean life or death. After he got trampled that last time, I knew he was having some second thoughts.”

Video of the incident, which happened at the Hollywood Casino’s Charles Town Race Track near Charles Town, West Virginia, gained popularity after airing on America’s Funniest Home Videos, said one horse who was there.

“Oh, it was awful,” he said. “Here’s a competitor who only draws breath out of the love of the sport, and these jackals are putting slide whistle and boing-boing sound effects on the video of him getting trampled by 16 race horses charging at full speed? It makes me sick.”

Horses say that Chatterton wasn’t fazed by the incident, though, and his recovery has gone well.

Although he declined to speak to Duffel Blog reporters for this article, he did release a statement through his trainer, telling fans that any paper mail they send him is usually eaten or used as bedding by other horses.

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Army

Wow! This man was born on 9/11 and gets to fight in the same war it inspired

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Not every soldier is as lucky as Pvt. Jesse Butler, who just signed his enlistment papers on his 17th birthday and will get the opportunity to fight in the same war that the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks inspired.

Although Butler came into the world on a terrible day in U.S. history, he’s thanking his lucky stars today that he has the privilege of avenging that attack just like thousands of others that came before and after him.

“I’m really thankful for people like Jesse who are stepping up to serve this country at a time of war,” said Sgt. 1st Class Elon Rodriguez, his recruiter. “And in his specific case, the war is the same one he’s known his whole life.”

Butler will soon ship off to Army basic training where he’ll get physically fit and learn all kinds of skills that will serve him well in Afghanistan, which the U.S. has been fighting in since before people knew what an Apple iPod was.

(Although the “classic” Apple iPod was discontinued in 2014, the obsolete War in Afghanistan continued its production run to the present day).

Sources say it’s possible that Butler may be sent to Kandahar, where his father once served, or to Bagram, where his older brother is currently deployed.

Butler has told reporters he can’t wait to pass on his knowledge of the country and how to fight the Taliban to his own sons.

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Army

Deeply-broken Major looks forward to mentoring high-functioning Captains

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. — Army Maj. Greg Jordan, a twice-divorced functional alcoholic serving as the executive officer of the 39th Special Troops Battalion, is really looking forward to mentoring the two new high-functioning Captains assigned to the unit, sources confirmed today.

“I’ve been watching them, trying to make a careful consideration of where I can be of the most use of a mentor, and I think my job’s going to be easy,” said Jordan over a bottle of Military Special brand scotch in the apartment he never really furnished after his last wife left him.

“Take [Ryan] Cooper. On paper, he looks good. But I just heard him say, ‘this white paper that’s due tomorrow is an 80% solution, but getting it to 100% isn’t possible in the time. I’m going to go home and take the kids for a while so my wife can get a break.’ Yeah. Seriously. I’d still be at work right now. I’ll pull him out of PT tomorrow and talk to him.”

Capts. Cooper and Kelsey Wheatly spoke to reporters about their new rater on a recent interval run they planned after finding the pace on the unit run too slow to be challenging. “He really cares about mentorship,” Wheatly said of the major. “So much that he’ll pull you away from giving clear guidance to your subordinates so that he can tell you a story about when he was a captain.”

Cooper added, laughingly: “It’s fun because sometimes his stories last two hours and have no point to them. We call it ‘torMentorship.”

Jordan is excited to introduce a book list to his unit, mostly consisting of books he’s never read but saw on another list while roughly half are books he was assigned in intermediate-level education Army schoolhouses have long ago moved on from. None of the books are specifically applicable to the work the unit is doing or trying to do, but the mandatory meetings will be scheduled during the company training meetings his captains were planning on supporting.

If all goes well, Jordan plans to expand his mentorship by finding unit time to have the battalion’s toxic sergeant major mentor the highest performing sergeants.

“The Army is full of toxic leaders, but I can control the people I lead,” said Jordan. “You want to hear about toxic leaders, I should tell you about this major I worked for in Grafenwhoer. We were prepping to go out into the field, and…”

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Air Force

Nike apologizes for forgetting military monopoly on sacrifice

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BEAVERTON, Ore. — Nike has issued a public apology to the military community after creating an advertisement featuring the text “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” over a picture of a football player who is not a military veteran, sources confirmed today.

“We completely forgot that the only sacrifice that means anything is that of our brave men and women in uniform,” Nike CEO Mark Parker wrote in a tweet on Thursday, days after a backlash erupted over an ad campaign that featured Colin Kaepernick.

“I failed to remember that until I saw a meme where conservatives appropriated the image of fallen warrior Pat Tillman’s face in our ad instead of Kaepernick’s. It highlighted how mutually exclusive their two sacrifices are and emphasized the military monopoly on sacrifice.”

When reached for further comment, Parker also cited the success of images and videos on social media protesting Nike’s ad by showing service members cutting the Nike swoosh logo off their apparel.

“It’s a well-known fact that companies can’t bear to watch customers disrespect their symbol,” he told reporters. “To put it into perspective, it’s almost as painful for us to witness as it is for others to see someone kneel during the national anthem.”

Parker followed up with another tweet after his original apology was well received.

“Thank you for leveraging the image of a deceased hero to remind Nike and its leadership of the only manifestation of bravery and expression of patriotism, which is service in the armed forces. I’m sure Corporal Tillman would appreciate you speaking up on his behalf in a hotly debated topic like this.”

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Army

‘Trust me on Afghanistan’, says man no one trusts

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