Saturday, February 28, 2009

In service to Service

There's never been a better poet than R.W. Service. So here's one for you Bobby:

I am a man quite frugal
I love to save money using Google
I search francais online
For all of my wine
Then toot my own Bordeaux bugle.

Going Home


Well, I've made it back to North America...finally. Got stuck on a Canadian transporter that got stuck in the Suez Canal. When she finally got unstuck, little to my knowledge, the Captain decided to spend a few months in Marseille for repairs.

Having no money, I had to stay put. Getting tired of waiting, I figured I'd better earn some euros so I could catch a flight back to Makiniwik. Without a janitor there at the airport, the place has probably become filthy. Pilots are the worst for wiping their shoes. They get off their plane, walk through the field, and then track the mud through the gate and passenger arrival area.

Thinking on that, I decided to do a little janitorial work in Marseille. Not being conversant in the dominant language, I was forced to find outside work. Wouldn't you know it, the French still wipe their shoes before entering a building--good manners!

They call 'em gratte-pieds and they need someone to clean them regularly. Here's a few pics of the things after I cleaned them.

Will tell you how I got across the ocean in the next post. Meanwhile, I'm stuck in a Quebec town just outside of Montreal. Need help to get back up North.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Leaving Kandahar

In my search for the owner of the moose mitt, Canadian military officials informed me of an epidemic of gloves being lost in the Canadian north. As my tour of duty here in Afghanistan is coming to an end, I volunteered to assist the Canadian military in their time of need.

It seems that there has been a lot of talk about separation amongst the francophone soldiers—they say that children in Montreal are always being separated from their mitts and gloves.

And it is with this in mind that I have volunteered to take a special assignment to reunite Montreal kids with their handwear.

I have been informed that I must carry a Quebec identification card with me on this particular mission. They say I will have to pass a French test in order to get my card. Luckily, Francois Lafleur has been able to give me a crash course in that language. Maintenant, je suis depart a Montreal. A bientot.

P.S. I've been told by American officials that I will have to ship out by ship. (see map I plucked from a National Geographic magazine)I'm not familiar with any ships leaving from Afghanistan, so I may have to take a train to the nearest port. Being geographically challenged, I'll let you know where I end up. Over and out for now.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Calling all Canadian bloggers

If you recognize the kid's glove shown above please send me an email ( so I can return it to its proper owner. I found it in the Kandahar NCO mess hall.

I think it(the glove) might have come from a Canadian soldier because of the moose. American moose generally are more militant.

Also, inside the glove was a Canadian nickle. You'll never guess what rodent those Canadians put on their 5 cent pieces? A beautiful beaver.

I guess when soldiers go to war they carry keepsakes to remind them of their loved ones.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Kandahar all clean, almost

Whoah, have I been busy!

Since arriving in Kandahar, I have been called upon to do some very important janitorial work.

First, I was enlisted to tidy up the military receiving area—it was a pigsty. The floor was scratched from all the dusty bags and rifles and boots. That took 2 full days to tidy up with my crew of 6 former Taliban. They are really good workers. Of course, they're under house arrest and are serving their time under my command.

Once I got that area under control, the non-commissioned officers' mess was.......a mess. I don't know how they can put up with insubordinate cleaning. I guess in times of war, you put up with less than ideal conditions. Not me though. I had that kitchen and eating area sparkling in less than a week. Big area—serves about 300 at a time.

Next, my work was noticed by some higher-ups in the Afghan Janitorial Union. They asked me to give a talk at their monthly meeting and trade fair. Of course, I obliged. Here is part of the address I gave, translation was provided.

Dear fellow Janitors and Janitoresses,

I would like to thank you for inviting me to give a talk today in this country that could use a whole lot of tidying. There can be no doubt that janitorial service will be the backbone of this fine nation once all the fighting stops. Dirt knows no borders.

Let me repeat, dirt knows no borders and Afghanistan has many porous dusty borders. Now, I have been advised by military command to avoid the political, but I can't resist. Why? Because freedom of speech and mopping are fundamental elements for liberty and cleanliness.

On the subject of freedom of speech, I just want to say that Afghani mops are some of the finest mops I have ever used. None of this cheesy synthetic plasticized crap that we Americans are forced to use because of the petroleum lobby that rules Washington. No sir. Afghani mops are real natural rope fibers that hold water better than anything found in the U.S. of A.

You should be proud of the Afghani mops. And you should likely swing those mops forcefully to remove the neo-colonial military force than has soiled your proud country.

But I digress. Let me return to the subject for which I have been invited to speak upon: The proper removal of army boot scuff marks.

You've all seen them, long black streaks that are left on your marble mosque floors. Yes, there is a need by the military-industrial complex to replace those heels and soles with soft white rubbers. But until that day comes, it is our responsibility to do our best to remove the scuffs with care and attention.

One of the best solutions I have found is a number 16 Eberhardt rubber eraser, made in Germany. Starting at the centre of the scuff where it is usually widest, I carefully trace the scuff; rubbing gently, but firmly. Then, I spread a thin line of horse wax along the removed scuff to ensure that the floor is protected where the eraser has worked.

You will never know that an American soldier's foot has tread upon your sacred floor.

[At this point, I was given a 30-minute standing ovation. I was overwhelmed by their appreciation. Not wanting to ruin my success, I stopped there. Two or three hundred janitors then rushed to the podium to shake my hand.

I feel like I am contributing to the recleaning of this nation.]

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Would you like an Afghan, Stan?

Hello America,

You're not going to believe where I am. I've been posted.

Let me explain.

It started like this: I was having coffee with Makiniwik Airport maintenance man, Stan Drover. In walks a Colonel from the airforce. We get a lot of military men up here, so it wasn't too unusual.

He says, "Would you like an Afghan, Stan?" At least, that what I thought he asked.

Stan uses Afghans when his team of Huskies are tired from clearing the runway. Stan's one of those eco-freak-hippy-types who likes to conserve fossil fuels and so, uses a dogteam to clear snow from the runway.

Well, Stan didn't volunteer an answer when the Colonel asked the question, so the Colonel asked again, "Would you like an Afghan, Stan?"

Stan remained quiet.

I've been hankering to own a dog, so I says, "I'd love an Afghan."

The Colonel says, "Come with me soldier." So I go with him expecting a puppy.

Next thing I know, I'm on a plane with a group of NATO soldiers going who knows where.

I catch a nap, and before I know it we're landing. I look out the window. Here's what I see...

Kandahar International Airport, Afghanistan. No dogs in sight.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Is this your glove, George Bush?

No, not that George Bush, and nooo not George Herbert either.
I am talking about George Keeler Bush who flies in here every week or so.

He was complaining about how warm we keep the pilot's lounge, which incidentally doubles as the staff room here at Makiniwik Airport. I keep the room warm because I get cold feet and I spend the better part of my work day here. Now, you might think, "Ahha, Jorg spends 60% of his work day lounging in the staff room, that no good for nothing janitor..."

But that ain't the story. I usually have paperwork to do. Yes, lots of paperwork.

First, I have to count toilet paper rolls before I fill the washrooms. I could do this in the stockroom, but it ain't heated much. So, I pull up a chair and...count rolls. Then I mosey over to the washrooms and take an inventory. Thens I come back to the staff room, grab a piece of paper and make a tally of how much paper was used, how much new goes in, and how much is left. It's the academic part of the job, so I takes my time.

Well, this week I was interrupted by George K. Bush's complaining and had to start counting over again. That's why I think the glove posted today might be George's. As he was gripin', he took off his coat.Glove might have dropped at that moment.

I was too busy to notice, I hate getting distracted when I'm working.

First he was complaining about the heat, then he got talking about global warming. I just tune out when people talk about that. I put insulation all around the staff room and ceiling to keep the heat in. So don't blame me for contributing. I'm not guilty.

But when George said "You are wasting oil by keeping the pilot's lounge hellishly hot."
I responded, "You ought to know a lot about hellishly, because your plane burns a helluva lot of oil on takeoff."

"Don't know about that, Jorg, but the price of fuel keeps going up. Must be declining supply."

"Growing demand."

"Declining supply, I read it in the Makiniwik Tribune."

We argued for the better part of an hour, before George took off to take off.

Though I've always known he's missing something, next time he drops by I'll ask George if he's missing something vital.