Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Monday afternoon

Very busy on Saturday/Sunday. I got a set of coveralls, and worked with the guys, installing the equipment. Hot, and dusty, but I enjoy it very much. The work here, will help the American forces come home sooner. Been feeling rundown, I have some kind of virus, I went to the medical clinic, and he gave me some tablets.

In Iraq, you have a whole new "family" of bacteria, and germs, which you ingest everytime you breathe or eat. I drink only bottled water, but you still get bacteria, from the environment. Without going into too much detail, I have had to keep a straight line for the men's room. You have do drink extra clear water, just to build up your fluids.

Since we are ahead of schedule, today is a bit slow. Wednesday is my scheduled day off, but I am on call, so I will probably have to do some work, I don't mind. Work is very good here, and I want to remain in Iraq for some years, if possible.

We got a very bad duststorm on Sunday. You could not see 100 yards. All of the helicopters were grounded, so it was quiet and spooky. Imagine the worst fog you ever saw, and everyone wearing surgical masks, that is Iraq in a duststorm.

Last afternoon and evening, the sky was pretty clear,we thought the storms were behind us, but the air is getting dustier by the hour, and we will probably face the storms for the next two days.

Just found out, about the tornados in Suffolk VA. I worked in Suffolk 2001-2002, and I lived in nearby Franklin. I really liked that job. I supervised 5 cable TV systems in two states, and some days I drove 300 miles in one day. I was on call 24/7, and I got a lot of call ins. Cable TV is an interesting industry.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Writing to me directly

I posted my email elsewhere on the board. If anyone is interested in writing me directly, please send email to:


I am always delighted to answer any questions, if you leave a question or comment, and you want a direct response, please leave a return email address. I will not disclose either the question, nor the address.

Another Hot Saturday

This morning started out fairly cool. I got up at 06:15am, and ate a small breakfast. I drove over to the junkyard, and picked through some equipment racks, that had been stacked in a pile. I recovered some parts, that may prove useful.

By 10:00am, it was getting hotter, so I just started drinking more water, and trying to keep cool. In this climate, you have to drink 3-4 quarts of water per day, just to keep even with the perspiration. I used to take extra salt tablets, but I think I have enough salt in my system, because we eat so much canned and processed food here. The dining hall has packets of powdered gatorade, if you need to keep your electrolyte balance up.

Keeping clean in this dusty hot environment is a challenge. I keep a bottle of hand sanitizer on my desk, and I use it frequently. There are plenty of places to wash your hands, and with the solar heat, the water is always hot. I got one of the Iraqis to give me a haircut last week. He did a tolerable job, but I just hope he keeps the electric razor properly sanitized, so that he does not spread head lice. The Iraqis are great people, but they do not practice Western standards of personal cleanliness and hygiene.

When I was at Al Asad air base (Aug 2005-Nov 2006), I kept my hair very short. In this climate, and this dust, and the outdoor work that I do, a military haircut is more serviceable.

The work flow here goes in "waves", there will be a large amount of work, and we are all very busy, and then there will be some days, where there is very little to do.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Back to work

I have decided to hold off on most postings. Life in Iraq, goes on. My scheduled day off is Wednesday, but I work if needed. The mornings are warm, the heat really builds up in the afternoon. Nights are warm, but I can sleep without the air conditioner. The camp is getting television cabling installed, and we will have TV in the trailers. The dining hall gets CNN, and couple of English TV stations. If you want to give up TV, this is the place.

I am very impressed with the food here, the dining hall is excellent, but some of the guys hop over the American side, and eat with the troops in the Army dining hall. There are some fast-food operations, Burger King, Pizza Hut, taco bell, Popeyes, etc. I ate the Popeyes chicken one time, it was excellent.

I am very impressed with the men I work with. They are all kind, and work hard. I have been in Iraq for two years, and I never worked with Iraqis before.

For the record- I am not in the "green zone", I am out in the boondocks, in a very safe area. I am forbidden from traveling to Baghdad, I have no wish to go there at all.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Freeze on new postings

I have decided to freeze any new postings, on the situation, and delete all comments. I do not wish to embarrass anyone. I will read all comments, but in the interest of fairness, I have decided to hold all comments from publication.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Comment policy further clarified

Once again. This is MY blog, and I have the final say on what is posted. I intend to publish ALL views, both for and against. I want to be fair, and present a balanced view of the situation.

I normally require ALL posters to list their name (or handle). If you are man enough to make a comment, you should be man enough to list your name (or handle). I will, often publish "anonymous" comments, if the contents of the comment are of interest to the readers. But the final say, on what goes on this blog, begins and ends with me. I reserve to right to edit, publish, or reject ANY comments for ANY reason, or for no reason.

To be fair, some comments have been sent in, that are supportive of my position. These comments have contained really vulgar and disgusting remarks about people in masonic leadership positions. I feel, that in spite of our differences, and this sad situation, that we are all brothers, and we should treat each other with respect and kindness. I, therefore, have decided to delete all comments in support of my position, which contain objectionable and vulgar material, that is not in the spirit of Masonry.

I will NOT publish racist, bigoted, obscene, vulgar, lewd, or other objectionable material. I get all types of name-calling, and really disgusting comments sent to me. One man sent an entire page of "n-----" to me, every day for a week. If the fact that such disgusting comments are not published on this blog, is a problem for you, then that is your problem.

If your comments do not make it to the board, please try to remember the policies, which are clearly presented here. Blogs can be had for free, so start your own, if you like.

Letter from a friend


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Comment policy

This is MY blog, and I control ALL posts and comments. In the interest of fairness, I take a very liberal view, and I post nearly all comments, even those I do not agree with. Especially those I do not agree with, because I want all sides to be presented.

I get a large number of very bigoted and obscene comments. I once received a comment that was an entire page of "n-------". I once set the blog to automatically publish all comments, but the vulgar and obscene remarks just got out of hand. I had to put a stop to it.

In the interest of fairness, I normally do NOT publish "anonymous" comments, whether I agree with the individual or not. I feel that if a man has an opinion, he should have the manhood to list his name. However, I review ALL comments for publication, and if the anonymous poster has merit, and his comments will be of interest to the readers, I often publish the comment, regardless.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Masonic Temple construction underway in Baghdad! No Joke!

I get the most interesting E-Mails! This one arrived today!

Hello mate,

Sorry for the late replay we're busy for the last 2 weeks up in north building new school.

We're 5 personals planning to build the temple here in Baghdad we're not starting yet the construction we found the land but we're waiting for the right time, there is an old temple here in Baghdad and there is another one down in Basrah but every body knows the situation out in the red zone so we moving carefully.

deleted ( Logistic and property manager fordeleted owner )
deleted ( deleted owner )
deleted ( deleted partner )
deleted ( Owner of deleted company )
deleted ( Attorney )
We trying to coordinate with the Iraqi government to get the property certificate for this 2 temples if we not ganna get any answer we will start our own one.

There is couple question please:
1. we need to be a free masons, how and where we can do that ?
2. who can help us to build a temple here in Baghdad and did we need to get a permission from a specific temple so our temple be a Certified.

All of us we believe in free masonry and need some body to lead us there is lot of my friend they wanna convert but still waiting for the right time if you have answer for my question please replay if not let me know please so I can try a different way .


Cell: + deleted( Iraqna )



(Charles Martin's comments)

(Names, emails, and cell phone numbers have been deleted in this post. In some countries, people can be killed if it is known that they are involved in Masonry. I have the contact information for the men who are working to bring Masonry back to Iraq. If anyone has a legitimate need to contact the men, please send an email to me, and I will provide the information)


My comments:

I am bowled over, to find out that there are men in Baghdad, who are interested to become Masons, and build a temple here. There is not much I can do, I am out in the boondocks, and I am not permitted to travel to Baghdad.

I wish there were an international fund ,and "team", set up to assist individuals in getting Masonry into new countries. Sort of like "Habitat for Humanity" or "Constructors for Christ".

What do you guys think?

Nepalese New Years

We have several Nepalese Gurkah guards working for us here. Today is Nepalese New Years Day. They bought a goat, and brought him here to the camp. Then they took him out behind the chow hall, and performed a ritual slaughter. They first gave him a name "Osama Ben Laden", and then they held him down, and took a machete, and slit his throat, ear-to-ear. They took a steel pan, and collected most of the blood, which the Nepalese will use in cooking.

They are going to butcher the meat, and chop it into nuggets, and mix it with curry. Tonight, we will have a celebration, and eat curried goat meat and rice. There will be a stereo set up, and dancing with Nepalese music. The Iraqis will set up the hookah-pipe, and smoke flavored tobacco all night.

Life in Iraq! I love it!!!!

Comment from Ed, a Masonic friend and brother


Thursday, April 10, 2008

11 April

Not much to report. This is the best time of the year to be in Iraq. The days are warm, but the real heat of summer is still some weeks away. The nights are cool, I have to put on a sweater sometimes. The dining hall food is improving day by day. Today, I had an excellent shredded beef and green peppers on rice. I would really like to lose some weight here, I would love to go back to the USA thinner.

The work flow is just beginning. The work here is all unclassified, we install radio sets in Iraqi vehicles. But when there are no vehicles, we have to slow down.

A new American engineer arrived today, Merrill Evans, he seems to be a fine upstanding man. I hope he enjoys this lifestyle.

This is an interesting time to be in Iraq. I miss the USA, but I can cope with it here.