I'd taped the National Memorial Day concert on PBS last night, and just finished watching it. It was very well done, and I will admit I was near to tears, or in tears through a great deal of it.
Charles Durning, the actor (recipient of the Silver Star & the Purple Hearts), recounted his D-Day experiences, part of which was remembering dying comrades using their bodies to shield him and others. There was also a large segment dedicated to the wounded of war, focusing on those from the Afghansitan and Iraq theaters. There were many servicemen in the audience who were without arms and legs, many of them still in bandages. Then the performed Ave Maria to the accompaniment of the names of those killed in Iraq and Afghansitan being projected on to the dome above the stage.
The concert finished to the singing of God Bless Amercia, and there were those wounded men, missing arms and legs, standing up, some with the assistance of a friend, to sing along with everyone else. There was one Marine in particular, in his starched and pressed uniform, missing his left arm, and both arms still in bandages, standing ramrod straight, belting out God Bless America for all he was worth. You can't see that and not be moved and humbled by the sacrifice of our armed forces.
The San Francisco National Cemetery at the Presidio is the one from my childhood memories of honouring our war dead.
"Almighty God, we remember this day before thee thy faithful servant, and we pray thee that, having opened to him the gates of larger life, thou wilt receive him more and more into thy joyful service; that he may win, with thee and thy servants everywhere, the eternal victory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
The Old Faithful Inn turns 100 this June.
It has survived fire, earthquake, and visits by thousands of tourists. But a century after the Old Faithful Inn first opened, this Yellowstone landmark remains as much of an awe-inducing spectacle as the namesake geyser that erupts reliably just outside its windows.
I'm a big fan of old hotels, and this one is tops in my book. If you ever have the opportunity to stay at the Old Faithful, take it. You won't regret it.
I was sent this via email, and wanted to share it here:
"You've probably seen the bumper sticker somewhere along the road. It depicts an American flag, accompanied by the words 'These colors don't run.' I'm always glad to see this, because it reminds me of an incident from my confinement in North Vietnam... Then a major in the U.S. Air Force, I had been captured and imprisoned from 1967 to 1973. Our treatment had been frequently brutal. After three years, however, the beatings and torture became less frequent. During the last year, we were allowed outside most days for a couple of minutes to bathe. We showered by drawing water from a concrete tank with a homemade bucket. One day, as we all stood by the tank, stripped of our clothes, a young naval pilot named Mike Christian found the remnants of a handkerchief in a gutter that ran under the prison wall. Mike managed to sneak the grimy rag into our cell and began fashioning it into a flag... He made red and blue from ground-up roof tiles and tiny amounts of ink and painted the colors onto the cloth with watery rice glue. Using thread from his own blanket and a homemade bamboo needle, he sewed on stars. Early in the morning a few days later, when the guards were not alert, he whispered loudly from the back of our cell, 'Hey gang, look here!' He proudly held up this tattered piece of cloth, waving it, as if in a breeze... When he raised that smudgy fabric, we automatically stood straight and saluted, our chests puffing out, and more than a few eyes had tears... Now, whenever I see the flag, I think of Mike and the morning he first waved that tattered emblem of a nation. It was then, thousands of miles from home in a lonely prison cell, that he showed us what it is to be truly free."
--Leo K. Thorsness, recipient of the Medal of Honor
We just got back from a matinee of Van Helsing. Very enjoyable movie! It took me back to many weekends as a child when I'd watch old Dracula, Frankenstein, & Wolfman, movies. Definitely worth the price of the ticket and some popcorn! I'd wanted to see it because it was like an old fashioned monster movie, and to see David Wenham (Carl) but I have to admit that Richard Roxburgh totally stole the film. It isn't easy playing a role like Dracula that isn't cliche or over the top, or both, but he managed to make the character his own -- not to mention he was more than a little sexy :) All good things in a movie!
I have the news on and they just finished showing Kerry with some WWII vets droning on about how "this isn't a day for politics". And yet, in the crawl, there are quotes of Kerry's where he says that the dedication of the memorial highlights the alliances we made in WWII and how we need to rebuild those alliances that Bush has shredded. (paraphrasing)
We keep hearing about how Kerry talks out of both sides of his mouth, and he's managed this time to do it all in one day! Does he have no shame?
And just a note to Mr. Kerry: Britain was our major ally in WWII and Germany was the enemy. And then there were the French -- we pulled their bacon out of the fire in case you'd forgotten.
"... fought by the modest sons of a peaceful nation."
So said President Bush at the dedication of the WWII Memorial.
Nin got off early, which means I don't have to sit here till quarter to seven! So, going home, freshening up, then going to have Japanese food with the maternal unit, the sibling, and the NinjaPiglet. Sake here I come! If I have enough, I may treat you all to tipsy blogging when I get home.
If you're going to go buy donuts and make a big production out of the fact you are, even asking me where the store you want to get them from is located, it would be polite to at least offer me one when you get back.
Yes, this actually happened. They bought donuts for the four of them alone to eat. Just like the old days when they'd send someone to buy coffee for everyone in the warehouse -- except me of course. I'm just the monkey girl that works in the office, not one of the techs chosen by god, and therefore not worthy.
Sometimes, even after 13 years here, they still really tick me off. I think next week I need to buy donuts to place near my desk, not offering to share at all.
According to Sidney Blumenthal, a one-time adviser to president Bill Clinton who now writes a column for Britain's Guardian newspaper, President George W. Bush today runs "what is in effect a gulag," stretching "from prisons in Afghanistan to Iraq, from Guantanamo to secret CIA prisons around the world." Blumenthal says "there has been nothing like this system since the fall of the Soviet Union."
In another column, Blumenthal compares the April death toll for American soldiers in Iraq to the Eastern Front in the Second World War. Bush's "splendid little war," he writes, "has entered a Stalingrad-like phase of urban siege and house-to-house combat."
The factual bases for these claims are, first, that the US holds some 10,000 "enemy combatants" prisoner; and second, that 122 US soldiers were killed in action in April.
As I write, I have before me a copy of "The Black Book of Communism," which relates that on "1 January 1940 some 1,670,000 prisoners were being held in the 53 groups of corrective work camps and 425 collective work colonies . In addition, the prisons held 200,000 people awaiting trial or a transfer to camp. Finally, the NKVD komandatury were in charge of approximately 1.2 million 'specially displaced people.'"
As for Stalingrad, German deaths between January 10 and February 2, 1943, numbered 100,000, according to British historian John Keegan. And those were just the final agonizing days of a battle that had raged since the previous August.
The absence of proportion stems, in turn, from a problem of perspective. If you have no idea where you stand in relation to certain objects, then an elephant may seem as small as a fly and a fly may seem as large as an elephant. Similarly, Blumenthal can only compare the American detention infrastructure to the Gulag archipelago if he has no concept of the actual size of things. And he can have no concept of the size of things because he neither knows enough about them nor where he stands in relation to them. What is the vantage point from which Blumenthal observes the world? It is one where Fallujah is "Stalingrad-like." How does one manage to see the world this way? By standing too close to Fallujah and too far from Stalingrad. By being consumed by the present. By losing not just the sense, but the possibility, of judgment.
CARE FOR language is more than a concern for purity. When one describes President Bush as a fascist, what words remain for real fascists? When one describes Fallujah as Stalingrad-like, how can we express, in the words that remain to the language, what Stalingrad was like? And while I'm at it, when we call Shimon Peres or Yossi Beilin or now Ariel Sharon a "traitor," how much more invisible do actual traitors become?
George Orwell wrote that the English language "becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." In taking care with language, we take care of ourselves.
Read it all here.
From this week's SciFi Wire comes the news that, "Warner Brothers has bought the film rights to Piers Anthony's fantasy novel series Xanth, to be produced by Wolfgang Petersen and David Benioff, Variety reported. A Spell for Chameleon is the first book in the series, which will see its 30th installment published next year."
I'm not a Discworld fan, but Nin is -- big time! But this interview with Terry Pratchett, discussing the next Discworld novel, "Going Postal", tickled me, especially this bit:
"People in the U.K. are familiar with the title concept, though it isn't quite the same here. Because a beneficent government has seen to it that only criminals can have guns in the U.K., it's not so easy to get hold of a pump-action shotgun and walk into work with it.
(via SciFi Wire)
This guy offers up what he thinks Asians think of Americans.
We'll just go with this one:
5. Four more years of Bush or not, Asians still believe in us long term.
Gee, isn't that special?
Police on Wednesday arrested five men suspected of violating immigration and other laws as part of an investigation into an alleged senior member of the al-Qaeda terrorist network who spent time in Japan.
Arrested were Islam Mohamed Himu, 33, a Bangladeshi residing in Toda, Saitama Prefecture; Bangladeshi Ahmed Faishal, 26, of Kawaguchi; Kane Yaya, 41, a Mali national living in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward; construction worker Syed Naseer Syed Gaffar, 32, an Indian national living in the village of Higashi, Gunma Prefecture; and Md Muktar Hossain, a 29-year-old Bangladeshi living in Kawaguchi.
The arrests were made during searches of more than 10 locations in Tokyo, Saitama, Kanagawa, Gunma and Niigata prefectures that included the homes and offices of foreign Muslims living in Japan.
It was recently learned that Lionel Dumont, 33, a French national of Algerian descent believed to be a senior al-Qaeda member, lived in Japan until September. He made telephone calls to these locations after he left Japan and before his arrest in Germany in December.
It is the first time that Japanese authorities have arrested people believed to be tied to key al-Qaeda members.
The rest of the article here.
"Group Uses Film to Promote Global Warming"
No kidding? There's a group that thinks global warming is a good thing!
It's now open for registration. Great event that I can personally recommend :)
Porsche drivers are less faithful than any other group of car owners, with almost 50 percent of them cheating on their partners, a survey published in German magazine "Men's Car" has revealed.
Among German men, Porsche drivers were the least faithful, with 49 percent admitting infidelity, followed by BMW drivers at 46 percent. Among women, Audi drivers were the least reliable, 41 percent admitting to affairs.
The most faithful group were owners of Opel-Vauxhall cars, with only 31 percent of male and 28 percent of female drivers in Germany having committed adultery.
The Orcas killing the baby Gray Whales during the whale watching sail here in Monterey Bay made Rush today.
Oh, and here's a link to the local paper's report on it all.
Wanted to share this post of Michael Graham's from The Corner this morning:
SHUT DOWN ALL THE AIRPORTS--NOW! If I understand Mr. Moore and co. correctly, President Bush is responsible for the deaths in the World Trade Center and Pentagon because he didn't act on intelligence reports at the time.
Those intelligence reports went something like this:
"U.S. officials have obtained new intelligence deemed highly credible indicating al-Qaida or other terrorists are in the United States and preparing to launch a major attack this summer, The Associated Press has learned.
The intelligence does not include a time, place or method of attack but is among the most disturbing received by the government [in three years], according to a senior federal counterterrorism official who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity Tuesday."
This is an AP report from TODAY. So if the Bush-bashers are right, why was Logan Airport open this morning? Shouldn't the president have grounded all commercial air traffic right now?
And if he did, can you imagine the reaction?
So tell me again, Mr. Moore--why was 9/11 President Bush's fault?
It's that day. The day the theatrical version of Return of the King comes out! Something to hold me over till the extended, real, version comes out :)
There's a Bush protest meandering its way past the pharmacy I work at.
I am so tempted to make my own sign and go protest the protest.
But, I'll probably end up in a fight and I don't want to go to jail for beating people up...
I just received the 2004 Federal Poverty Income Guidelines with my monthly update for state-run insurance billing. Ever wonder if you're at poverty level?
These are the guidelines effective April 1, 2004 till March 21, 2005.
1 Person in Family: $1,552 month / $18,620 year
2 People in Family: $2,082 month / $24,980 year
3 People in Family: $2,612 month / $31,340 year
4 People in Family: $3,142 month / $37,700 year
5 People in Family: $3,672 month / $44,060 year
6 People in Family: $4,202 month / $50,420 year
7 People in Family: $4,732 month / $56,780 year
8 People in Family: $5,262 month / $63,140 year
9 People in Family: $5,792 month / $69,500 year
10 People in Family: $6,322 month / $75,860 year
For each additional person, add: $530 month / $6,360 year
I told my supervisor that he either has to let me have a kid or give me a raise... He's pondering the situtation.
Roberta got us to do one of those Old West pics this weekend. Starting with me on the counter, moving clockwise: Roberta, my brother Glenn, and Nin. The other pose we did you can find here.
.... The 14-year-old face of the "Harry Potter" movies is getting too old to play the part, so his role may eventually be recast with a younger actor, producers admitted yesterday.
The same goes for the other young "Potter" stars, Rupert Grint (who plays Ron Weasley) and Emma Watson (Hermione Granger), both of whom are also 14.
"There will come a point when one, two, or all three of them will move on," said David Heyman, who has produced all the Potter films, including "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban," which opens June 4.
"I don't know when that will be — with the fifth, sixth or seventh movies — but it's inevitable."
Radcliffe, who will turn 15 on July 23, is now two years older than his character, and the age difference will just get bigger, because Potter only grows one year older in each successive movie and producers haven't been able to keep up the pace.
And I say, so what? Lots of young actors play parts younger than themselves. Off the top of my head, Alexis Bledel who plays Rory in Gilmore Girls is four/five years older than her character, and Amber Tamblyn who's 21 plays a teenager on Joan of Arcadia. And what about Alyson Hannigan? She's 30, so she was what, 22 when Buffy started? Those are just the ones that come to mind immediately, but I know there's more.
I've been freakishly busy, therefore, no blogging. The weekend went well, but was exhausting. Roberta had a good time, much was seen and done. More later. Nin has a pic up on her blog from the festivities.
I'll try and catch up tomorrow, promise!
Oh, and before I run away: Thanks, John!
Mrs. Smash reports that D.G. came through her surgery just fine. Good news to start the weekend with!
Okay, for the first, and probably the last, time I had a 1000 visit day! Thank you, Bill Cosby!
Yes, I know it was just search hits, but it says 1000, and I'm enjoying every last drop of it :)
I'm quietly working (Well, quietly goofing off anyway) and I hear one of the pharmacists around the corner from my terminal say, "The government can spend billion of dollars in Iraq, but they can't provide adequte medical care."
Where in the constitution, the document our whole country is founded on, does it say that every American is entitled to medical care?
But, the constitution does cover protecting this nation.
Granted, I feel sorry for the guy who can't really afford his chemo medication because it isn't one of the few drugs covered by Medicare, which is how the above comment came into be... Argh. I'm so pissed I'm not coherent.
I'm going off to kick some empty boxes.
I would go car jack some people in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, but I can't because I have to do other stuff... (That game is really great as stress relief. I don't try and beat the game, just steal cars and run people over... Die, Pixelman! Die!)
Via my buddyette, TamTam:
Well, Bertie's flight was canceled, so now we're heading to San Francisco for a 10pm p/u instead of San Jose for an 11pm one. Not too much difference in the wash. But she'll have no luggage till SUNDAY!! So Nin and I are going to stop at Tarjay on the way out tonight and get her a change of clothes.
Fun, fun, fun!
Blogging will be light to nonexistent this weekend since my friend Roberta is flying in from Boston tonight. There will be much mirth, revelry, and painting the town red! Well, at least pink :)
Should I take pictures?
Tell me about it!
Ever go out with someone only to realize your date's a hybrid car-driving environmental activist, when your philosophy is, hey, you only live once? Or the other way around?
I signed up for Emode's Ematch over a year ago, and this guy, with whom I was supposed to be 90% compatible with, turned out to be a pacifist. Our first phone call was during the first days of the Iraq war. Talk about a mismatch!
Words to live by, folks. Trust me.
That's right, it's Friday! And you know what that means!
Quick recap: if there's a blog post you read this week that you'd like the rest of us to read, put a link to it in the comments. Later, I'll add the links to the body of this post. If you have a blog, I'll add your link along with your reccomended reading link, so you get something out of it too :)
And this week, I'm keeping the twist from last week: along with your link, tell me what your current favourite song is.
And to start things off, I'm starting the list with a late entry from last week:
David offers "The OTHER Court-Martial".
And here we have Debbye's link, "Now where's my ballpee'n hammer?" & her song choice is, "Thunderstruck (any live version)" by AC/DC.
Starting about 7pm last night, I started getting dozens of hits searching for the Cosby remarks I'd posted earlier in the week. It's now only 9am and I've already 350 visits, 140 in the last hour. To give you an idea, my average for a whole day is something like 225.
Freakin' nuts! This must be what an Instalanche is like, huh?
Update 530pm: Lordie! I think I'm going to break 1000 today. I'm at 991 as of this moment.
No, not a surprise, I know.
New York - The FBI has disseminated to 18,000 law enforcement agencies an intelligence bulletin advising police officials to be on the lookout for suicide bombers attempting to strike inside the US, TIME's Elaine Shannon reports today on TIME.com. The lightly classsified bulletin, headlined "Possible suicide bomber indicators," and circulated earlier today (May 20) via the FBO's secure Law Enforcement Online (LEO) Intranet, warns local badge-carriers to look for obvious signs of trouble - people wearing heavy, bulky jackets on warm days, smelling of chemicals, trailing wires from their jackets - and, as well, more subtle ones, such as tightly clenched fists. Someone who never shows his palms could be gripping a detonator rigged to go off when a button is released. "If you shoot him, you're still not safe because his hands relax and the bomb explodes," says a counter-terrorism official, TIME reports.
The FBI bulletin also notes that suicide bombers may disguise themselves in stolen military, police or firefighter's garb or as pregnant women, TIME reports.
J.K. Rowling now has an official website.
.... She says the purpose of the site - which launched on Friday 14 May - is to give something to the fans to enjoy and be able to access definitive information.
And that's something they all seem to want, as by comparison popular fansites like The Leaky Cauldron get between 3 and 4 million hits a week.
She also said there should be some updates to the site within a couple of weeks.
The site has been in development for some time. According to JK: "I told the designers that I wanted to use my real desk as the home page, with Portkeys to take people to the various sections, and we worked out all the details together.
Found out via email yesterday that Nigel Bennett has been named artistic director of the Exodus Theater in Halifax. He's one of the nicest men I know, not to mention talented -- definitely a well deserved appointment. I'm very happy for him.
Scientists have completed the first comprehensive comparison of the genes of domesticated dog breeds.
The analysis of 85 common types—including the Pekingese, Great Dane, Border collie, and dachshund—found fascinating clues about how dog breeds are related to one another, and how they may have descended from ancestral dogs in different parts of the globe. Those clues, in turn, could increase understanding about early human migration.
The distinction found between breeds is much higher than the distinction between human populations on different continents, Kruglyak said. The variation is large enough that an individual dog's breed can be distinguished using its genetic sequence alone, he added.
The results revealed that an unexpected and geographically diverse cluster of breeds—including the Siberian husky, the Afghan hound, Africa's basenji, China's chow chow, Japan's akita, and Egypt's saluki—are most closely related to dog's ancient wolflike ancestors. "Dogs from these breeds may be the best living representatives of the ancestral dog gene pool," the researchers wrote.
The finding may back up claims by some experts that dogs originated in Asia and migrated with nomadic humans both south to Africa and north to the Arctic.
The ability to link these diverse African and Asian breeds to a common ancestor reveals an interesting correlation with patterns of human movement, commented Melinda Zeder. Zeder is curator of Old World archaeology at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and expert on animal domestication. "In this way, these modern breeds provide a map of human migration," she said.
Well worth reading all of it.
Ahh, the joys of Site Meter. Perusing my referrers and I come across a link to the Columbia Journalism Review's "Campaign Desk". Turns out they linked to my post of yesterday with the letter from Iraq that was in the Pine Cone. That's pretty cool -- IMHO at least.
Would someone create a ballet about the plight of illegal Mexican farmworkers.
Oh yeah, meant to mention: it's a 15 minute dance, and it got 6 whole pages devoted to it in our local lefty weekly rag.
And the cover!
So John Kerry's campaign theme is going to be: 'Let America Be America Again'.
So what's America now? Cheese? Or maybe America is Ceti Alpha 5, and we're actually surrounded by aliens (or those nasty little ear critters from "Wrath of Khan"). Heck for all I know, America has actually been a guy named Lewis who lives on the Maine coast collecting driftwood.
I hated the ending! Okay, it's likely we'll get at least a couple TV movies, but if we don't, I made up my own ending: Buffy and Willow and a bunch of Slayerettes show up to help them do battle with the baddies.
They killed off Wesley!! Not happy with that. Not happy at all, precious. Though I have to admit that Wesley had died inside, had seen and done too much. So I suppose his death -- since they seem to have to kill someone off all the time -- made the most sense.
But other than that, good ep!
* Spike reciting his poetry at the biker bar was excellent.
* Connor showing up with the comment, "You stop by for coffee and the world isn't ending?".
* Finding out for sure that Connor knew Angel was his father and being at peace with Angel's choice.
* Poisoning the Duke's "bottle".
* Bringing back Anne for that scene.
* "One of you has to betray me." Spike raises his hand.
Question: Did Angel tell Loren to kill Lindsay? I wasn't sure if he did, or if Loren decided to on his own, knowing Lindsay's future from when he heard him sing.
(and the category for this post is quite apropos)
Update: Jonah Goldberg comments in The Corner, "Am I wrong or did the final scene seem perfectly set-up for the calvalry-like arrival of the slayer army?". GMTA and all that. (follow the link to read his entire review)
More From The Corner: Jonah is posting some email he's gotten on the subject, and I had to share this bit, " Why does everyone have this thing about dragons? That is one spot that really upset me, Angel's closing line about how he wanted to kill the dragon. Just because you are big, winged, breathe fire, and have a taste for virgins, everybody is on your case. There is way too much anti-dragon bias in television, the movies and fiction in general."
Yeah! Dragons rule, and I'm tired of all this bigotry!
More: A Thank You note from LW.
And one last: WB has a lovely "Goodbye" poster for download.
I lied, one more: Jim Treacher runs down some favourite final moments, and includes one I forgot to put on my initial list -- Angel signing away the Shashu Prophecy. That one really got me.
Thanks to Andrea for the link.
So I won't. You can just follow the links.
Found this over on The Corner today:
Bill Cosby was anything but politically correct in his remarks Monday night at a Constitution Hall bash commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision. To astonishment, laughter and applause, Cosby mocked everything from urban fashion to black spending and speaking habits.
"Ladies and gentlemen, the lower economic people are not holding up their end in this deal," he declared. "These people are not parenting. They are buying things for kids -- $500 sneakers for what? And won't spend $200 for 'Hooked on Phonics.' . . .
"They're standing on the corner and they can't speak English," he exclaimed. "I can't even talk the way these people talk: 'Why you ain't,' 'Where you is' . . . And I blamed the kid until I heard the mother talk. And then I heard the father talk. . . . Everybody knows it's important to speak English except these knuckleheads. . . . You can't be a doctor with that kind of crap coming out of your mouth!"
The Post's Hamil Harris reports that Cosby also turned his wrath to "the incarcerated," saying: "These are not political criminals. These are people going around stealing Coca-Cola. People getting shot in the back of the head over a piece of pound cake and then we run out and we are outraged, [saying] 'The cops shouldn't have shot him.' What the hell was he doing with the pound cake in his hand?"
When Cosby finally concluded, Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert, NAACP President Kweisi Mfume and NAACP legal defense fund head Theodore Shaw came to the podium looking stone-faced. Shaw told the crowd that most people on welfare are not African American, and many of the problems his organization has addressed in the black community were not self-inflicted.
This is from our local Carmel paper, the "Pine Cone":
Editor’s note: There are more than 120,000 American soldiers in Iraq. To the big city news media, however, only a handful of soldiers are newsworthy — the ones who had something horrible happen to them, and the ones who did something bad to somebody else. In an effort to give a voice to the vast majority of the troops on the front lines, we have asked several local soldiers to send us essays about their experiences in the Iraq War. The first comes from a soldier serving in south Baghdad.
Dear readers of The Carmel Pine Cone,
My name is Captain Kevin M. Polosky and I am currently the Company Commander for A Company, 515th Forward Support Battalion. We are part of the 1st Cavalry Division, stationed out of Ft. Hood, Texas. I am a California native, having grown up in the Bay Area, and currently both my parents and grandparents are residents of Carmel. My company is deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, and we are stationed in southern Baghdad.
My company is unique in that we were set up with the sole purpose of deploying to Iraq and providing logistical support to units of the 5th Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. We were formed on 14 January 2004 and began putting vehicles on a ship on 23 January. I received around 200 soldiers from various units within the Division, all with specific jobs that will help provide the support the units in Baghdad need. We were forced to quickly come together as a unit, and my soldiers responded. They immediately began bonding and are now as close as any unit I have ever been affiliated with.
For the rest, click on "MORE"
We deployed to Southwest Asia on 10 March, and spent about two weeks in Kuwait preparing for the long move up to Baghdad. On 23 March we got the call to move forward and start the convoy up. Crossing into Iraq was a surreal experience. The border is nothing special, a small U.S.-presence, a couple of buildings and some barricades. There is no difference at that point in the terrain between Iraq and Kuwait, but when we crossed that border I knew things were different. A feeling came over me where I knew that we were in a totally different environment, and we had to be prepared for anything.
The convoy itself was a difficult mission. I led about 90 troops and their vehicles on that long march from Kuwait to Iraq. We spent most of the time on highways and I was amazed at how normal things looked. I was expecting to see just complete chaos; instead I saw what seemed to be everyday life. Vehicles driving up and down the roads with locals taking themselves to where they needed to go. There are military checkpoints along the route that served as welcome refueling and rest stops.
The convoy took about two days, but thankfully we all arrived safely.
Once we arrived, we immediately began work. As stated earlier, my company’s main mission is support, and we started setting up all the things that we needed to support the troops. We established a retail fuel point, basically a gas station. However, instead of Fords and Chevy’s, we fill up tanks and Humvees. We established a water point, and began producing water. We basically have what would equate to a giant Brita, which turns dirty water clean. That way the water that gets used is fit for American soldiers. We set up a warehouse which is like the Army’s Wal-Mart. Units order parts, and they are all received in my warehouse. My soldiers then inventory them, sort them and issue them to the units. I also have about 100 mechanics in my company and they began fixing anything they could get their hands on. We can fix just about anything in the Army inventory, ranging from an M16 to a tank.
All of my soldiers have a second mission, which is convoy operations. We go out everyday in search of supplies that will help us better support the soldiers with whom we are stationed. Convoy operations are without a doubt the most dangerous thing we do, and we take it very seriously. Driving in Iraq is crazy. Unlike the highways, the roads in the towns have no lines. Vehicles make their own way with little to no concern for those around them. Our convoys end up turning into mini-Nascar races, but the professionalism of our soldiers ensures that the highest safety standards are always maintained.
My soldiers’ lives in Baghdad are definitely different then what they left in the States. They work hard, most of them pulling 16- to 18-hour days. There is a constant fear of attack, but at the same time a calming knowledge that we are prepared.
The conditions in our camp are great. My soldiers have a gym, a great chow hall and access to internet and phones. The lines are sometimes long, but most soldiers are able to contact home a couple times a week. We live in barracks that have power and running water, and most soldiers are able to watch DVDs in their room in their limited off time. The happiest time around here is mail call. We get mail about four times a week and receiving mail is without a doubt the event that lifts my soldiers spirits the most.
Whether it’s a care package or just a card, mail has a tremendous effect on my soldiers. So if you are asking yourself what can you do to show your support, sending some mail is the best way. If you would like to write to my soldiers, you can send letters or packages to:
A Company, 515th FSB
APO AE, 09310
Finally I just want to thank the American people for their support. No matter what your personal opinions are on the war, remember that we have soldiers over here everyday fighting for your freedom. These soldiers are making great sacrifices for their country everyday, so please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. And like the Toby Keith song says, “sleep in peace tonight,” knowing that my soldiers are over here, and will never quit until our mission is complete.
-- Captain Kevin M. Polosky, Baghdad
aka Shameless Self-Promotion & Blog Notes
I added a little text line under the banner as part of my effort to not devolve. In case you were wondering :) Needless to say, if you've never blogrolled or bookmarked me, you are of course invited to do so.
There will be another edition of "Lend Me Your Links Friday" on, guess, Friday! So start thinking about your contribution if you would.
A few people have asked me about my fanfic. The link is over on the sidebar -- Tales From The Darkwood. I have an archive with my fic and that of a few friends.
If you'd like to be a part of a group blog, and you're female, I invite you to check out Girls! Girls! Girls!. No blogging background required to join us in the madness.
Wasn't the last night's season ender awesome? I can't remember the last time I laughed so much. Kirk and his night terrors, and poor Luke at dinner. And what about the Luke/Loreli thing -- it worked! Normally I hate the Moonlighting/Remington Steele sort of pairing in a TV show, but wonder of wonders, they pulled it off to where I was going for the concept. That really surprised me. "What are you doing?" "Just stand still!" [snicker] And then the end where you go from laughter to tears. Loreli's disappointment in Rory was palpable. Totally blew me away.
Update: Nin comments.
Lip gloss + petting long haired kitty on your lap = cat hair floating up to stick all over your lips.
I knew this.
Anyone want to send me away for a few weeks?
It wouldn't hurt my feelings, I swear!
(my dream trip)
Just a reminder to send Mickey your doggy links for the next big Dog House Roundup -- aka Carnival of the Dogs.
There was a review for this book in my latest Megalitihic Portal e-letter. It came highly reccomended and I think I'm going to have to add it to my wish list! I love petroglyphs, cave art, etc. and this book looks like it would be quite interesting.
(found somewhere I can't remember)
Japan, that is.
Overall, this article in the Japan Times deals with what a foreign parent can expect if their child runs afoul of the law, but this particular bit talks about what you don't have the right to in Japan:
.... From what I've heard from consular officials, the police will treat you pretty much the same as Japanese nationals. But that doesn't mean you'll be treated well.
Suspects can be held for up to 23 days without being charged. Interviews with the police are not taped, and often take place without a lawyer present. Suspects may not make or receive phone calls. Visits are restricted and conversations are monitored. If a suspect needs to converse with a visitor in a language other than Japanese, permission for the visit will depend on whether an officer who understands that language is available to listen in. Bail is the exception rather than the rule and is almost never granted to foreigners. If convicted, foreigners generally serve their sentence in Japan.
The tough news for parents is that all this applies to juveniles, too. Police will inform parents when a minor is arrested, and are more liberal about parents visiting. But even if no charges are filed, your child is likely to remain in jail at least a few nights.
This story about merging a Roman Catholic school with another school in Scotland is just so odd to me on so many levels.
SCOTLAND’S leading Roman Catholic has written to council chiefs opposing plans for a mixed-faith primary school campus in Midlothian.
Cardinal Keith O’Brien said the Church would prefer St Margaret’s RC Primary to be redeveloped and not merged with Loanhead Primary on a single site.
Parents of children at St Margaret’s have also expressed fears that a mixed-faith campus would lead to playground trouble.
Plans for the mixed-faith primary campus are part of a £50 million private finance deal to upgrade Midlothian schools.
No point here really, just noting the oddness of it.
Now this is absolutely fascinating and one of those things that I'd wondered about happening eventually.
FOR years, kiltmakers have sold tartan to tourists with uncertain Scottish connections after making questionable decisions about the clan to which they belong.
But now scientists are mapping the genetic profiles of the different Scottish clans to allow those trying to trace their ancestry to discover whether their heart is Highland or actually belongs to Paisley.
A new company, called Crucial Genetics, which was set up by scientists from Glasgow University, has started building up a database of clan genes and is working with several clan societies.
So my mountain lion (assuming it's the same one) (which it probably is) is all over the news here. This article discusses residents demanding that Fish & Game remove her from their neighborhood. During a council meeting, a resident wanted to know why the kill had been removed. The answer gave me a giggle:
.... "If we're all supposed to feel comfortable because it's only killed deer, why take the carcasses away? You're only provoking it to kill again," said local resident Mary-Margaret O'Connell. "That's just pretzel logic."[emphasis mine ~ Ed.]
O'Connell said council members at Wednesday's meeting asked Pacific Grove police Lt. Tom Uretsky why the dead animal was removed.
"It's not PC to leave a deer carcass by the swimming pool at Asilomar conference center," he said.
(oh, and I'm getting search hits for "mountain lion pacific grove")
I took the BlogAds Survey and one of the sections had a list of 43 blogs that you had to rank how often you read them, if ever. Out of 43, I answered "never" to 30 of them, and the majority of those I'd never even heard of. I must travel the backroads of blogging or something!
Interesting take on original content, linking, traffic -- all that good stuff. It's certainly something I've pondered, especially after I've written some heartfelt bit of bloggery (like this) to nary a comment, and then get oodles of comments on what I thought was a throwaway quick-note. I've decided I'm just a lousy judge of my audience. Maybe I need to conduct a study! Think I could get a grant? Seriously, even though, yes, to a certain extent I write for myself -- both blogs and fic -- I'm also writing for "you". "You" the person who drops by once to never return all the way to the "you" that has me blogrolled and is a frequent visitor. No, it's not my job, but I do feel a certain obligation to make that click worth your while. Though whether I succeed on any given day can be quite the mystery sometimes. I've been doing this more than two years (yikes!) and I have to figure out that perfect formula. I think it's because what I write and what I write about, depends on my mood. You've got you "mood rings", I've got a "mood blog" -- you never know if I'm running red, green, blue, or black! Hopefully that means I'm not boring. No, I know, I'm not counting on it.
A hearty AVAST! to XRLQ for the link.
Sometimes, I think I should just shut the computer off. Just tabbing over to the Drudge Report was enough to put me off for the rest of the day. A picture of Michael Moore, smug in his triumph at making money off of lies, greets you, along with a headline that only confirms the hate and ignorance of the European & Hollywood entertainment class. And it's all downhill from there. All bad news all the time -- it's mentally exhausting.
While the Michael Moore types gloat and wallow in their hate, happy to be doing so, I get this prickling little feeling that they're the equivalent of those that would rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic. We're headed for something bad and they're helping push us off the cliff.
I should have stayed in bed, right?
HEART patients in Scotland are losing out to their English counterparts in a "national lottery" which sees them deprived of one of the best treatments available, a leading Edinburgh consultant warned today.
Dr Nick Boon, a consultant cardiologist at the new ERI, said that while up to 80 per cent of patients in English hospitals were offered the latest form of non-surgical treatment for angina, that figure fell to just 13 per cent in Scotland.
The new treatment, while more expensive, is said to be far more effective, making patients less likely to need to return for further treatment or surgery.
Dr Boon, one of Scotland’s leading heart specialists, blamed the huge difference in the treatment given to English and Scottish patients on the different NHS funding systems in the two countries.
The treatment has been approved for use in Scotland, but is still relatively rarely used because health boards are not providing the funding, said Dr Boon.
In England, where foundation hospitals see the health service run on a competitive, business model, funding is being provided in many hospitals.
"It has not become a post code lottery now, it has become a national lottery," said Dr Boon.
I bought "Master & Commander" on DVD Friday, and as I was prying off the damned security tape (three sides of blasted tape that won't come off without gouging the plastic!) I looked at the back and am surprised to see there's no special features. I get it open, look at the menu card, and nada. No commentary, no featurettes, nothing. How weird is that for a big budget motion picture these days? I'd been hoping for something like Pirates of the Caribbean did chronicling the ships they used. What a bummer.
The internet is a wonderful thing when you're planning a jaunt! I've spent a fruitful afternoon going over selections for July, when my mum and I go on our birthday weekend trip -- this time to Shasta, and for October when Nin and I go on vacation just prior to LCA. We're going to go to the Tucson area this time before heading to L.A. for the auction.
KISS bass player GENE SIMMONS has angered the Muslim community after labelling Islam a "vile" culture on a live radio interview.
"Extremism believes that it's okay to strap bombs on to your children and send them to paradise and whatever else and to behead people," he said yesterday (May 13).
"Your dog, however, can walk side by side, your dog is allowed to have its own dog house... you can send your dog to school to learn tricks, sit, beg, do all that stuff – none of the women have that advantage."
Simmons also warned that the West was under threat, and that the Untited Nations didn’t work, adding the West must "speak softly and carry a big stick".
"This is a vile culture and if you think for a second that it's going to just live in the sands of God's armpit you've got another thing coming," he said. "They want to come and live right where you live and they think that you're evil."
My most recent choice would have to be, "Chase me ladies, I'm in the cavalry".
How's that? Heh.
About 3am, this morning I was scared awake by a scream. Heart racing, still bleary from being abruptly thrown from a sound sleep, my brain tried to sort out the sound -- not just a scream, but something that sounded like a woman screaming. As I'm getting out of bed, I hear the same scream three times in rapid succession. Now I'm getting freaked. What the hell is it? It does sound somewhat like a woman screaming, but I realize whatever it is, it isn't human. Crap! It's a mountain lion! That bit of trivia surfaces in my brain from somewhere, that mountain lions hunting can sound like a woman screaming. As I walk past my window, I can hear the same "scream" except now its very faint and far away, like a siren is as the ambulance speeds past you. That cat was moving fast!
I open my door, and start heading down the hall, and there's Daisy in full hunt mode. That just confirms that it was a mountain lion to me. Daisy is a mutt my mum rescued, the vet thinks she's part Springer Spaniel, Black Lab, and Bull Dog. Nin, who had a Springer Spaniel has often commented on how many Springer Spaniel behaviors Daisy exhibits when she's in "hunt mode". She loves to flush game from the bushes, though in her case it's flushing the cats down the hall, and she points, and she does this snuffling thing. I've only ever seen her do it when we've had alerts that there are mountain lions in the area, and I take her word for it when she does the snuffle. That's what she was doing this morning, not barking, but at alert and snuffling. The cats in the living room, I could see in the shadows, were sitting up staring at the window.
So all this activity wakes mum up, but since she's on the other side of the house, she didn't hear anything. But she confirms the "screaming" as a mountain lion. Several reports of the one seen in Pacific Grove -- where the cat is leaving its kills of deer in people's yards -- have mentioned the sound.
Now mountain lions in the area aren't unusual. We live in a fairly wooded area, that along with Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove, make perfect mountain lion haunts with lots and lots of deer to eat. To the south, you hit the borders of the Los Padres National Forest, over the other way is Carmel Valley which is very sparsely populated hills and oak trees, with more cattle than people. so every year the there are one or two mountain lion sightings, A few years back, mum insisted she saw one sunning itself at the top of our path one afternoon. since Daisy had been doing a lot of snuffling over that time period, and there had been one sighted in the area, she probably did. But this particular cat seems to be a lot more active than the norm. A lot more sightings and "hearings" being reported, and kills in yards. But let me tell you, reading about a mountain lion and hearing that scream are two very different things! Needless to say, it was a while before I fell asleep again!
(and in one fell swoop, I have a Carnival post for both cats and dogs!)
Tomorrow is Armed Forces Day.
"The heritage of freedom must be guarded as carefully in peace as it was in war. Faith, not suspicion, must be the key to our relationships. Sacrifice, not selfishness, must be the eternal price of liberty. Vigilance, not appeasement, is the byword of living freedoms." ~ General Omar N. Bradley on Armed Forces Day 1950
Thank you & God bless each and every one of you who have served our country.
It's that time again, so lend me your links!
Quick recap: if there's a blog post you read this week that you'd like the rest of us to read, put a link to it in the comments. Later, I'll add the links to the body of this post. If you have a blog, I'll add your link along with your reccomended reading link, so you get something out of it too :)
And this week, a twist! (Hey, if Survivor can do it...) Along with your link, tell me what your current favourite song is. Why? Do I really need a reason to be odd?
On To The List:
I don't know how I missed this one. Very amusing!
A hearty AVAST! to Jen for the link.
I've placed my vote for Rupert, and now to avoid Survivor Bloggers till the show airs here on the West Coast. As my boss said, "I'm going home now to see Rupert win a million."
And now I'm going home!
I read this origianlly when it was sent to an email list I'm on. It had no link, but I found the original source here.
The upshot is that apparently the President has asked for a meeting with the Pope, and he can expect to be scolded.
I have issues with this, I really do. One, I've never understood why United States Presidents visit the Pope. I could see it they were Roman Catholic, but that isn't usually the case. If they're going to go calling on the Pope, then what about the leaders of other people's religions? Or do only Roman Catholic citizens merit their President visiting the head of their church? I, for one, am getting a little tired of it.
Two, the comments by this Cardinal just set me off:
"The United States must also stop and I think it has the strength to do so. It must re-establish respect for human beings and return to the family of nations, overcoming the temptation to act on its own," he said.
"If it does not stop, the whirlwind of horror will involve other peoples and will lead us ever more to the abyss," said the cardinal.
Cardinal Laghi said he is certain that the Holy Father will repeat to Bush "the advice I gave him, which he decided not to heed. Now we see how wise it was."
We need to re-establish our respect for human beings and return to the family of nations?? Excuse me? How dare you preach to us! I'm sorry but this just has me fuming. Bad enough this Cardinal thinks he has the right to treat our country and our President like naughty children who don't know any better, but President Bush just gives these people more ammunition by asking to meet with them. It gives them a sense of justification, like he's some sort of damn supplicant. I don't care what the Pope thinks, any more than I care what the Dalai Lama thinks!
[insert blogger Lamaze exercises]
Lachlan fills me in on some news I missed on MT, version 3, and the big load of cash you need to get it. Whoa! I have too many authours on the three blogs we have to even qualify for the most expensive personal edition. I'd have to get the $600!! professional one. Lordie! I don't mind paying for MT, but $200-$600 is a little rich for my blood. And I don't get why the number of authours on one blog matters? What's it to them, I guess I'm asking.
Well, this version will suit me fine for the forseeable future, and there's lots of options when I need to switch. I just hate having to learn yet another blogging system.
Seems there was a poll done on what one word is most used to describe President Bush, and Kerry. Since I was on the phone, I didn't hear all of the segment on the radio, so I don't know what the results were. So here's my "one word":
President Bush: steadfast
John Kerry: untrustworthy
And how about "one word" for some favourite bloggers?
More later as time permits.
Citizen Smash has links to three messages from Iraq that you should read.
Debbye's blog is one you should have on your daily read list, you really should. I always find news and insight there I don't find anywhere else. But if you aren't reading her regularly, may I suggest you read these three posts:
My horoscope has some wise words today:
The small stuff is just that: small stuff. Take a break from the nitty-gritty.
Prime Minister Paul Martin says he believes Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and they've fallen into terrorists' hands. Martin said the threat of terrorism is even greater now than it was following the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, because terrorists have acquired nuclear, chemical and biological weapons from the toppled Iraqi leader.
"The fact is that there is now, we know well, a proliferation of nuclear weapons, and that many weapons that Saddam Hussein had, we don't know where they are," Martin told a crowd of about 700 university researchers and business leaders in Montreal. "That means terrorists have access to all of that."
If you were horrified by what that small group of men did with a knife and a video camera, ponder what they yearn to do with highly efficient chemical agents, nuclear material or future nanotechnology. There is no exit strategy in Iraq, merely victory or defeat in the first or second round of a lifelong, messy epic battle - civilization vs. those that wish to destroy it. It's going to be ugly, it's going to involve defeats and it will not be politically expedient. Pick sides and fight, feel free to examine and question tactics, but don't for a second think that ignoring the war or withdrawing from individual battles will make its consequences disappear.
Nin is plugging my brothers photography, and while I could do that too, it's easier to just link to her post on the subject!
The pic she has up is my current work wallpaper.
According to an email from Walden's Books, I can save 30% on Bill Clinton's memoirs if I order now!
Oooooh! I'm all atremble at the news.
Since t-shirt babes are all the rage right now, I got to wondering if I wasn't missing out on the wave of the future. Maybe I need a t-shirt hunk for A&C. Huh? Ya think? It might spice things up, add a certain allure, to the environs.
Of course, I need a t-shirt first, but that's just a pesky detail!
If I see a banner ad for Shrek 2 one more time, I shall scream, I tell you, scream!
There, that feels better.
(I couldn't stand Shrek the first time around and just wish this one would be released so the ads will stop)
Nice article at NRO by Robert Alt on his chance meeting with some Christians in Baghdad. A small excerpt:
Walking down a busy street in Baghdad several weeks ago, I came across an oasis, a reservoir of precious fluid in the middle of an arid desert. Vulgar souls might denigrate it as a "liquor store," but such insults are hurled by those who have never tasted the water of Islay after traversing dry and sun-scorched Iraq. As I stood there surveying my prize, the shopkeeper asked me a common question: "Amerikee?" "Yes, I am American," I replied. His eyes lit up. "Me Christian! Me Christian!" he exclaimed. A friend of the shopkeeper then entered. A brief Arabic exchange followed, during which I heard the familiar "Amerikee," preceding the friend's exclamation, "Me Christian!" In a land of Islam, I had stumbled upon a refuge of Christendom.
I asked where my newly found brethren went to church, but "church" was not an English word they understood. In my struggle to conjure another term to convey this idea, I asked where they prayed — all the while accompanying my words with miserably executed charades. This seemed to register, and I was quickly whisked through the marketplace, then through the back streets, and ultimately to a gated brick building. There I was greeted by a man accompanied by a young boy of around nine. The boy smiled and asked my name, following which I asked him his. "Joseph," he replied. Not Samir, Ali, or Muhammad as I had expected, but Joseph. There was little doubt left that I had indeed found Christians.
This was my giggle of the day. I followed the link from Master of None, started perusing the comments, and did a very sharp double take/up scroll when I realized I had just read my name on a list of potential marriageable candidates. As honoured as I am at being in such august company, and as much as I admire SDB, I must remove myself from consideration as I'm too old to fulfill the object of this enterprise: multiple offspring (I think I read 1/2 dozen at some point!)
It was an honour just to be nominated.
Do you ever have one of those days where work starts out and you're ticked off within the first five minutes? When certain of your coworkers seem to just be trying to get a reaction from you and get you to explode?
Sometimes, I just get really tired of the all the litlte mind games. I'll do my job, you do yours, and just leave me alone in between.
And it's only Monday....
Equal time for our furry friends. Today, it's Carnival of the Cats and it's full of kitty goodness.
I decided to try posting some of my fic on fanfiction.net. It turned out to be a great way to kill a few hours! Now if I could just start writing again. Fiction that is. Something about blogging seems to have sucked out the ability to write fiction. Maybe my brain can't switch gears between the two styles of writing.
I should probably actually do something.
.... To woo the older audience, Jerry Pokorski, executive vice president and head film buyer for Pacific Theatres and the ArcLight Cinemas, is programming a slate of 60% mainstream movies and 40% "independent" films at the ArcLight and the Grove. And, starting this week, people will be able to watch movies, drink in hand, at the Grove's "over-21 auditorium" — the first in the state licensed to serve hard liquor. No kids allowed.
"In the summer, it always seemed [the over-40s] were taking a vacation — a huge disservice to the audience and a missed opportunity for the business," Pokorski said. "This is probably the first year we can say we've hit the adult audience as well."
The multiplex in Laughlin, NV is like this. My brother and I saw a movie there one vacation, and it was a nice change.
Michael Williams reports on MECHA finally being denied funding on a CA campus. Here's hoping it's just the beginning. Long time readers know that MECHA is one of my hot button issues, so any bad news for them is a cause for celebration.
|Doctor Unheimlich has diagnosed me with|
|Cause:||lack of sausages|
|Symptoms:||aggression, going bump in the night, talking like a pirate|
|Cure:||eat more polystyrene|
I had sausages but a week ago.
There you go.
(have I mentioned lately how much I like Kenny Chesney?)
(Prepare t' be boarded!)
Friday, I wondered about the twisty way Kerry's mind works when it comes to him being able to rationalize his stance on the abuse of the prisoners in Iraq versus his admission of acts he committed when in Vietnam.
This pretty much sums it up IMHO:
Nin had to work today, and then she's going to see "Hell Boy", so what would I be doing but blogging?
Brunch Report: It was goood! and Glenn bought a half flat of strawberries too, so he cut some up and soaked them in champagne, mum made a sponge cake, and the strawberry shortcake was mmmmmmmmm!
I really need to get those Horatio Hornblower DVDs. I saw the first movie yesterday, I saw the last one first a few months back, and I've seen one from somehwere in the middle.
Paul is still out and about as his blog slowly disappears into nothingness.
Allah has been on a freakin' roll this week.
I really do love Alison Krauss.
Maura decides to open up about her chronic health problem, and she does it with grace and humour. Having a chronic health condition myself, I admire her for her honesty.
Over at Girls! we're discussing cooking and swim suits.
D.G. is nearing her second blogiversary! Happy Day, sweetie.
Rachel shares my passion for jasmine. Jasmine & sandalwood -- two of my favourite scents. (and it's so nice to be able to link to a Rachel post again!)
There's already a LotR Trilogy Boxed Set ready to go.
Me, I'm waiting for the super-duper-extra-extended-complete-till-they-add-even-more-stuff edition that I'm sure is to come.
This cracks me up. As an Iron Chef fan, all I can say is "Allez Cuisine!!"
A hearty AVAST! to Deb for the link!
We decided to treat ourselves today and have a family brunch. Mum's making the biscuits and gravy, I'm making my cream scrambled eggs and cooking up the applewood smoked bacon I got last week from the smokehouse, add some mimosas and we're good to go. (not to mention pots of tea) (and my able assistant, Nin)
Check out the very first ever "Carnival of the Dogs"!
And an added bonus Carnivalette here.
And while you're visiting, check Mickey's site for how you can adopt a needy pet.
I'd like to apologize to Deb for not apologizing before she apologized.
Errrr... something like that.
Oh, and that post about "Wild Thing" from earlier today -- I'm really sorry about that too. And singing ABBA songs to Nin just to drive her insane.
Today, Kerry "dismissed Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's apology for U.S. abuses of Iraqi prisoners and said the responsibility lies with the commander in chief." according to this report.
Does anyone else think this is just bizarre? What I mean is that by John Kerry's own admission he participated in atrocities against the Vietnamese, and yet he thinks he should be President. But George Bush, on the other hand, shouldn't be President because Iraqi prisoners were abused by military personnel. Seems to me, that by Kerry's own logic, he's unfit to be President. Wouldn't it be like one of the soldiers in the photos -- let's say the woman with the cigar -- running for President twenty years from now?
This is making my brain hurt. I shouldn't be serious on a Friday afternoon, me thinks.
Update: Since this is one of Kerry's favourite soundbites in wanting Rumsfeld to resign, you should head over here for what "the buck stops here" really means.
I've missed a few weeks, so I think today is a good day to start this up again!
Quick recap: if there's a blog post you read this week that you'd like the rest of us to read, put a link to it in the comments. Later, I'll add the links to the body of this post. If you have a blog, I'll add your link along with your reccomended reading link, so you get something out of it too :)
And now the list:
I could have gone another twenty years without needing to hear "Wild Thing" again on the radio.
.... Let’s get something straight: we will not win the “hearts and minds” of the Muslim world. From what I can see a significant number of them have black hearts and minds rotten with inherited centuries of Jew-hatred and resentment of the way the rest of the world has passed them by in their self-imposed cultural and spiritual prison.
Read all of "Abyss"
Does John McCain have some sort of grudge agaisnt Rumsfeld? I'm listening to this questioning on the radio, and McCain is just hammering at Rumsfeld like he's his mortal enemy. Very unpelasant.
Lord, now Kennedy has started pontificating.
Jonah Goldberg's latest:
Because it is required to repeat the obvious as if it were catechism during feeding-frenzy moments like this, let me say again: The abuse of Iraqi prisoners depicted in those now world-famous photos is an outrageous scandal and the perpetrators must be punished.
O.K., now can I say something else?
CBS should be ashamed for running those photos.
I made the mistake of stopping on one of our new public access channels last night when I saw the CBC logo in the corner. Lord! Now my brother had told me that the PA channels were havens of left wing lunacy, but all I'd ever seen were bad seventies horror movies from Spain when I had channel surfed before. He was right! The "station" was calling itself "Free Speech TV" and they were airing a CBC show called "Counter-Spin". It was every loony left wing paranoid fantasy brought to life. The subject was what should Paul Martin tell George Bush about Iraq when they meet. As they worked thought the audience, I heard everything from the belief that since Bush was a Christian, the point of the Iraq war was to Christianize the Middle East, to it's about the Oooooooooooil, to an Iraqi Canadian woman saying that the women who were tortured and killed by Saddam didn't matter because it was an Iraqi matter. That got applause.
There were two official guests, one from something called Z net who was like a poster child for ANSWER, and a woman from the National Post, who while not a conservative by any stretch of the imagination, came off as the sane voice of reason in that group. After the break, they came back and started discussing missile defense. The Z net guy insisted it was an offensive weapon, the NP woman just stared at him in disbelief and then tried to reason with him and the audience. When she said that a terrorist could get their hands on a missile some day and use it, they laughed at her! She said that she hoped that the idea ended up being as funny as they all seemed to think that it was, but that it was a real possibility to her, and as a Canadian, living very close to the U.S.A., it was something Canadians should be concerned about. You can imagine the reaction she got to that.
That was the point I turned it off. Not relaxing TV before bed!
So, is it a sign you've made it in the blogging world when you suddenly start getting emails from folks wanting you to blogroll them? The last few weeks, I've been having that happen. For me, it's odd since I've never asked someone to link to me, and now I'm getting emails asking me to link to them. Why haven't I ever asked? I dunno, it makes me uncomfortable I guess. Like I'm being vain or immodest. I'm still boggled at how many people do link to me.
Anyway, this was supposed to be about my blogroll. My blogroll is like my bookmark list, only public. The blogs I link to are blogs I read *regularly. And I'm always adding and subtracting depending on my time and mood any given month. These days, I usually (though not always) discover new blogs either through following a link from a commenter, or a commenter on someone else's blog. If I'm not reading your blog, it isn't because I think you suck, honest. There's just so much time in day is all.
So I guess the upshot is: comment, participate, and if I find myself going over to your blog a lot, I'll end up adding you to my blogroll. The most recent example of that is Whomping Willow. She comments a lot on a couple of blogs I read regularly, and I kept finding myself clicking through to her blog from those comments pretty much every time. So on the blogroll she went.
I guess that about covers it.
* "regularly" being anywhere from every few hours to every week to ten days.
This was written by a
Marine Naval reservist who is a good friend of my longtime buddy Carolyn.
The marines, as you have no doubt heard on the popular press back home, have changed their posture within the town of Falluja. The press is characterizing it as a withdrawl, or even in some cases as a retreat, never failing to mention the number of dead in the area over some time period or other.
The mood out here is good, and the morale at Al Taquaddam (TQ for short) is upbeat. To a Marine, the words withdrawl or retreat are considered dirty words, not to be spoken aloud. I have the benefit from where I'm at to read the various intel briefs and the commanders brief, and I can honestly say that there is no withdrawl from Falluja of any kind. What has happened in the last few days could almost be seen as a breakthrough in our relations with the local population here at Falluja.
A former Army officer came to the Marine forces and offered his help. His idea was this-- to form a new branch of the Iraqi army, under the control of the Marine Expiditionary Force in charge of the region, and use this force to police Falluja on their own. He has and is actively recruiting former army officers and enlisted that were under his command, and has pledged his forces to route the same insurgents that are destabilizing he region that we have been fighting.
We've turned over a portion of the city to them, under our watch and very closely monitored to start, to see if it works out well. This has the benefit of beginning a stabilization process that could provide the means by which Iraq could become the self-governing democracy we envision for them. If this force can provide stabilization to the region, we can use our forces to get on to the business of building a country instead of fighting insurgents.
So it's certainly not as the press is characterizing it, but is rather a return to what we should have been doing all along, before the insurgents took the city. I think the bad guys will have a very unpleasant surprise when they challenge the new army. I also hope that the mistrust the people here have for the marines will be soothed once they discover that they do indeed have a say in their destiny.
I could never quite bring myself to take down Rachel's link from my blogroll. I just couldn't do it. She was one of my best blog buddies, and though I missed her blog, I missed being in touch with her when her email address stopped working even more. You can't imagine how stoked I was when I saw referrals in Site Meter from her blog a few hours back! As down as I've been today, Rachel being back is the one bright light in the day.
Dang, sweetie, it's good to see you again!
As my regular readers know, my 17 year old kittie, Kang, has been ill for a while now. About ten days ago, he lost the use of his back legs, so we would use bed pads in his bed, keep him washed and changed, hand feed him and such. But he still purred, still greeted me when I came home from work. Yesterday, he took a turn for the worse, I could feel his body temperature was lower, and he didn't react when I sat with him. Having been down this road over the last few years with Muffin, Tasha, & L.B. I knew he was slipping away and probably wouldn't last the night. I sat with him for quite awhile before I went to bed, crying, stroking him, taking to him, telling him I loved him. The other cats, and Daisy our dog, came over trying to comfort me. Finally, Kang made the first noise he had and tried to purr at me a few times. He was always the cat that had comforted me when I was sad -- he always seemed to know. I think he was trying last night to comfort me one last time.
I wrapped his little body up this morning for the trip to the vet. He'll be cremated and they'll return his ashes to us in a cedar box. One day, when I have my own home, I'll bury him with my other lost friends. As I wrapped him up, I remembered when he was still a young cat, not a year old yet. Kang always loved anything green -- flowers, plants, you name it, it wasn't safe. One morning, I looked up and here he was with a long-stemmed rose he'd snatched from its vase, and he had it between his teeth, running along with it, so proud of himself. The rose had to have been longer than he was. It was hilarious. So I think that his grave site should have a rose bush -- he'd like that.
I'm going to miss my little feral kitten.
Indy IV Likely Delayed Again (No, really?? Ed.)
The fourth Indiana Jones movie may be further delayed as principals Harrison Ford, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas have committments that fill their schedules well beyond the planned July 4, 2005, release date, E! Online reported. The fourth installment in the beloved movie franchise was initially targeted for release next year, but the script was sent back for a rewrite after Lucas decided he was displeased with the material, the site reported. Production is now slated to begin in 2005, with a release date in 2006.
Ford has signed on to star in The Wrong Element. Spielberg, meanwhile, will helm a movie dealing with the terrorist attack on the 1972 Munich Olympics and the subsequent films The Rivals, about the rivalry between 19th-century stage divas Sarah Bernhardt and Eleonora Duse, and The War of the Worlds, an adaptation of the classic H.G. Wells alien invasion tale, the site reported.
Lucas has been keeping himself occupied with Star Wars: Episode III, which is slated for release in May 2005.
(Also from SciFi Wire)
This from SciFi Wire:
TheForce.net Web site reported a rumor that Lucasfilm will mount a Star Wars television series in 2006, after the last Star Wars movie, Episode III, premieres in theaters in May 2005.
You know it's bad when you're cursing at the TV at 7am. But, damn it, I was fuming! It was the usual tag team interview -- one Republican former campaign guy, and one Democrats former campaign guy. The Dem was frickin unbelievable!
Here's a brief recap:
1) The abuse of the Iraqi prisoners is George Bush's personal responsibility, a responsibility he's trying to avoid.
2) The President shouldn't be campaigning because it's not "Presidential" and he should be in D.C. because he's "out of touch", and he should be dealing with all his failed policies.
3) He shouldn't be meeting with regular folk on the bus tour because he should be in D.C. because -- wait for it -- he's "out of touch".
I finally got to go to a Meetup! I'm signed up for nearly a dozen, but there's never been enough people or one geographically close enough to attend. This one was the Townhall one, and seven people RSVPed, though only four showed up -- though it just may be we never found them at the venue. We had a good time, it was Swing Night at the venue, Blue Fin, so that was kewl. (Didn't get to play pool though.) I went with Carolyn and Nin tagged along as my guest. Once there we tried to keep an eye out for anyone that looked like a "Right Wing Nut", but we ended up finding Margaret because I was shamelessly eavesdropping. The other member that we finally hooked up with was a very nice gentlemen who is an economist and a libertarian. We all seemed to get along well enough that we'd like to meet again, so it was a very fruitful meetup.
Mickey is going to be carnivalizing puppy blogging, so if you'd like to get in on the action, check it out!
Yeah, its been awhile, but I had to share this link to a Pirate Fashion store. They have some very nifty stuff.
A hearty AVAST! to Kel for the link.
Dave has landed in yet another new blog home and is looking for some insight from those of the Roman Catholic persuasion.
Go say, "hi" and see if you can help him out. And go visit even if you have no thoughts on this particular matter. (pretty please?)
Quick! Someone do the Monty Python sketch!
I'm turning into one, a banana that is. My mum had pounds of over ripe ones from work and she's been making banana bread like there's no tomorrow. Guess what I've been eating for lunch and breakfast the last few days?
Since I know so many of my friends suffer from this:
Dr. Kim Mulvihill
Like millions of Americans, Manny Sanchez suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome.
"I was having pain at nights when I was sleeping," he said. "I started losing strength in my hand when I was picking up stuff."
Carpal tunnel syndrome is the number-one repetitive stress injury in America today. It happens when a nerve called the median nerve gets inflamed and compressed, resulting in tingling, pain, and numbness in the fingers and hand.
Sanchez popped pills and had cortisone shots, but didn't want to go through surgery. That's when he heard about a new device that can give relief without pain, surgery, or drugs. The device -- called a cold laser -- produces no heat, but is capable of penetrating deep into the tissues of the hand.
"The frequency of the beam enhances healing," said Dr. Reginald Bottari, a chiropractor. "And it reduces inflammation."
The device is FDA (news - web sites)-approved to treat carpal tunnel. While some of the medical data is conflicting, studies have shown that the laser increases blood flow, reduces inflammation, and reduces symptoms. One study conducted for General Motors had very promising results.
"They found that 75% ... were able to get back on the job," Bottari said.
The laser has no known side effects, but not all health insurance policies cover it.
This article in the Scotsman (free registration required) is about Britain joining the EU, but while they're at it, the anonymous authour (which is really odd for a newspaper piece, isn't it?) decided to take a few shots at America:
.... Because they just don't care. They can be whipped up into an occasional jingoistic frenzy by the irresponsible gutter press; they'll phone low-brow radio shows with inarticulate, half-formed non-opinions on how we're getting screwed by the snivelling, untrustworthy French (it's always the French...) - while secretly admiring their determination to stand up for their own interests - but they can't be bothered getting off their pasty posteriors to express their opinion at the ballot box. They'd rather blurt nonsense about pulling out of Europe to form closer ties to the US.
Yes, dear, the French are so trustworthy. I guess you haven't been paying attention to the oil for food scandal, or several other bribery and corruption scandals in France these days. But you probably don't want the facts to get in the way of your little screed. And yes, isn't it just silly that the other side thinks that strengthening ties to a country they actually share a cultural heritage with, and a history, is a good idea.
Then we get to the really juvenile part:
That's all we need. Sod bloody America. What have they ever done for us, apart from get us in a whole heap of trouble? OK, as they keep on telling us, they did save our faggy limey asses (© Americans on the internet, everywhere) a couple of times in the 20th Century (with oodles of help from the Soviet Union - what's the Russian for "faggy limey asses"?), but they've been dunking us in the brown stuff ever since.
The British people get nothing but honour and respect from me for what they suffered and how they fought during the years of WWII. They didn't shirk, they didn't falter, even during the worst of the Blitz. Something like 20,000 pets were euthanized because there was no food for their beloved companions, and even if there were, it was illegal to feed them anything a human could eat -- at that was about anything. Thousands of children were sent to America and Canada to keep them safe for the duration of the war. Can you even imagine what it cost the British people, "anon authour person"? Can you? You probably don't care one bit. To just toss that suffering and loss aside, like it was nothing, and using the terminology you do, speaks volumes about what's wrong with you, far more than you malign the sacrifice of Americans and Britons who gave everything to keep Britain free from Nazi tyranny. And anyway, what's the problem with a little Fascism to someone like you? You probably think the UK got what they deserved -- after all, they must have done something to engender so much hate from Hitler.
Pathetic that you can't marshal a logical argument for Britain joining the EU and have to rely upon cheap shots about the United States.
It's a good thing I know that voices like yours don't speak for all in the UK, or my heart would break at what's become of my mother country, and for those of my family that still live there.
Right now, I'm still seeing red after reading this tripe, so I'm going to go have a cup of tea -- from Scotland -- and think of Britain.
God Save the Queen.
(Editorial note: revealing some of my bias, my uncle was shot and captured at Dieppe and spent the war in a German POW camp. I never got to meet him because he died before I was born -- his health never recovered from his imprisonment)
I get an email newsletter from the Nugget in Reno, and through it, I discover that Night Ranger and Loverboy are still together (separately) and still touring. That's kinda scary.
If you're interested, Night Ranger (who will forever make me think of Michele) will be playing June 18-19, and Loverboy will be there May 14-15.
Once again, it's time to award the "temporally indeterminate" Silver Snickerdoodle of Excellence! This time stream's winner is the fresh and snappy "A Likely Story". I only discovered Rae's blog a month or so back, and its become one of my favourite reads.
The soundtrack CDs for The Lord of the Rings movies are going the way of DVDs, featuring "extras" not heard in the theatrical versions, Britain's "Empire Magazine" reported Friday. Composer-conductor Howard Shore told the magazine that plans are in the works for a nine-disk set of music from the film, eight of them featuring the music from the theatrical versions and a ninth featuring "rare unreleased music" with commentary by Shore. Shore also indicated that he's hoping that the DVD of The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King will also include a 45-minute documentary about the making of the Rings symphony and a performance with the Montreal Symphony. Shore, who currently is performing the symphony on a world tour, told Empire: "I don't think there's ever been a full concert piece of this size devoted to one particular film or series."
I've been looking forward to the movie "Troy" since I love epics, history, battles, etc, in my movies. The other plus being Orlando Bloom starring (don't care much about Brad Pitt either way). Today, I read this snippet from the FOX News entertainment critic:
Brad Pitt partied over the weekend at the new, hot Maritime Hotel and at Bungalow 8. Lots of girls, lots of fun, but no Jennifer Aniston. Pitt will open in "Troy" soon, in which, I have heard, Orlando Bloom steals the show two sandals at a time. ...
By request -- because I try to give my readers what they want -- a small selection of Bertie's Scottish jokes:
How many Scotsmen does it take to change a light bulb?
Och! It's no auw that dark!
A Scotsman is working at a sewerage. It's a warm day, so he takes off his jacket and drapes it over a handrail - where it slips off into a vast tank of poo! He's just about to dive in when his mate shouts "It's nae guid tae do that, the jacket's ruined"
He replies "Aye, ah ken, but ma sandwiches are in the pocket"
A Scots boy came home from school and told his mother he had been given a part in the school play. "Wonderful," says the mother, "What part is it?" The boy says "I play the part of the Scottish husband!" The mother scowls and says: "Go back and tell your teacher you want a speaking part."
Five Englishmen boarded a train just behind five Scots, who, as a group had only purchased one ticket. Just before the conductor came through, all the Scots piled into the toilet stall at the back of the car. As the conductor passed the stall, he knocked and called ickets, please!" and one of the Scots slid a ticket under the door. It was punched, pushed back under the door, and when it was safe all the Scots came out and took their seats. The Englishmen were tremendously impressed by the Scots' ingenuity. On the trip back, the five Englishmen decided to try this themselves and purchased only one ticket. They noticed that, oddly, the Scots had not purchased any tickets this time. Anyway, again, just before the conductor came through, the Scots piled into one of the toilet stalls, the Englishmen into the other. Then one of the Scots leaned out, knocked on the Englishmen's stall and called "Ticket, Please!" When the ticket slid out under the door, he picked it up and quickly closed the door
My buddy, Roberta, is such an ethnically insensitive person! She's sending me Scottish jokes!! Pages of 'em!
The absolute nerve!
Now I need to find Italian jokes...
[/ teasing mode on ]
I'd forgotten how icky "From Hell" is.
Not something to be watching while you eat dinner!
Homemade guacamole, homemade salsa, chicken quesadillas, and Nin's speciality margaritas.
I have to mention it because of Andrea. (yes, it's her fault)
I just changed my RotK calendar to May, and I'm greeted by this huge 1 1/2 page Frodo face. His eyes, Precious, are like lakeses! (better to gaze at girls with)
(this is the nicest of the LotR calendars they put out, IMNSHO)
Governor Ahmed Sani of Zamfara State, has ordered the demolition of all churches in the state, as he launched the second phase of his Sharia project yesterday.
Speaking at the launch in Gusau, the state capital, Governor Sani disclosed that time was ripe for full implementation of the programme as enshrined in the Holy Quran.
He added that his government would soon embark on demolition of all places of worship of unbelievers in the state, in line with Islamic injunction to fight them wherever they are found.
Somehow, I doubt we'll see a whole lot of outrage in the Western press.
So we met up with Peter last night, and went bar hopping in an effort to find someplace quiet enough to actually have a conversation. A good time was had by all (I think) and we got home in the wee hours of this morning.