Thursday, September 27, 2007
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Of the Dem Presidential candidates, Hillary voted for the measure, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd opposed it, and Barack Obama missed the vote. On the GOP side, John McCain missed the vote.
Monday, September 24, 2007
We also had the first heavy rain that we’ve had here in Orange County in almost three months. I was certainly needed, but it sure made a mess of some places. A few mudslides in areas previously hit by fires; also, the beaches were in some places closed due to runoff from the drains. Sadly, some individuals and businesses use the storm drains to dump all sorts of nasty items. I also learned that Californians DO NOT know how to drive in the rain!
Saturday evening, Kristina dropped by for dinner and helped Donna set up her new laptop computer. It will be nice to have both of us online at once, instead of waiting for the other to finish with one thing or the other. Although, to be honest, half the time it’s Donna or me playing online Bingo, mahjong or video slots & poker.
Finally, we are down to 60 days and counting for our next cruise. Hard to believe that we are going to be taking our seventh cruise together to celebrate our eighth wedding anniversary. Man, where has the time gone?
Saturday, September 22, 2007
Read by Patrick Lawlor
All vets tell ‘sea stories’; at least that’s what we called them when I was in the Navy. I’m sure all the other services have a similar custom, but probably call it something different. They are not lies so much as retellings of events, which did happen, but as we remember them and not exactly as they may have actually occurred. After you’ve told them over and over again they become ‘the truth’ fixed in our memories as if they happened exactly that way. I’m not saying that the stories Crawford writes are not truthful, but we often makes changes to events after the fact. They either make us look better or we use the changes to make us able to accept things we did but may not like.
Crawford was a National Guardsman, who joined to help pay for college. Who would know that after 9/11 his nation would send him off to another country to fight? Weren’t Guardsman simply supposed to help out after natural disasters, and meet a couple weeks each year for training? Unfortunately, Crawford and his unit find themselves marching to Baghdad in the opening weeks of Operation: Iraqi Freedom.
These are not fun stories, although there is some humor to be found. It doesn’t even matter, in the end, how you feel about the war. Whether you favor the current policies, or think we should be removing all our troops tomorrow you’ll be touched by what Crawford has to say. He was there on the ground and saw first-hand how the faces of the Iraqi people turned from smiling to hateful. He took part in events that caused some of this change, but through no fault of his own. I know from personal experience that you never fully understand why you are ordered to do things, nor do you want to all the time. Still self-preservation and self-interest will move you to do as you’re told and think about it later.
As part of the assignment I’ve spoken of before, I picked up this audio book to sample something different. I like ‘war movies’ as much as the next guy, but generally don’t read stories of real war. Although I was a History major and read textbooks on various wars, I don’t make it a habit to read books written by folks who fought in them. Still I’m glad (if such a term fits here) to have listened to this 5-CD unabridged reading of Crawford’s book. I want to recommend it for those interested in such books. You can’t help but be moved by what happened to Crawford, his fellow Guardsmen and the Iraqi people whose lives crossed his. It will also reveal things the mainstream media might not tell and this current adminstration sure as hell doesn’t want you to think about.
Thursday, September 20, 2007
"Just shut up!" from me.
I'm going to say something which will offend many folks reading this, as well as civil libertarians everywhere.
I really don't care about the guy who got tasered. I'm sure it wasn't pleasant, but having been shot at and subjected to tear gas, I can truthfully say there are a lot of unpleasant things much worse.
Enjoy your fifteen days of YouTube fame and shut up, Meyer!
Wednesday, September 19, 2007
This is also from their website:
Founded in June 2004, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America is the nation's first and largest group dedicated to the Troops and Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the civilian supporters of those Troops and Veterans.
I had tried to explain this in my first two attempts, but for some reason only when I tried with little text did it come through.
You can also find this posted over on the Huffington Post and other sites around the ‘net. You can often see the IAVA Founder and Executive Director, Paul Reickhoff talking about the current situation over there on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. He is one of the ‘good guys.
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Friday, September 14, 2007
Thursday, September 13, 2007
This is the second book in the “Left Behind” series, which has become almost as popular as Harry Potter. I don’t know that all the folks reading the books buy into all of it, but I’m willing to bet the majority of them feel comfortable identifying with the main characters beliefs. This isn’t so much a book review as a few thoughts about the series and why it may be so successful. I’m putting it here rather than over on SHOT’S SHACK, because I try to keep that place free of controversy.
Those who know me are probably surprised that I picked this particular book, but I did have a good reason. The head librarian here feels that we have all fallen into a rut, at least in the books we read. As part of our ‘reader advisory’ training we all have to choose books (fiction or non-fiction), which we generally would not read.
I started with Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods”, in which Bryson talks about his attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail with an old friend. My inspiration there was my former co-worker, Michelle who is succeeding where Bryson failed. As I said in my brief talk about that book I don’t camp and I don’t walk all that much, so I’m fascinated by those who do. Actually, I was pretty active as a kid, often camping or sleeping outside several nights each summer. It wasn’t unusual for a three or four of us to hike or ride our bikes to the nearby forest and spend the day. I’ve also camped out in the California at least three or four times, that I recall, back when I was stationed here in the mid-1970s.
Back when I worked in New York I was frequently asked for books in the “Left Behind” series and its spin-offs. We generally tried to keep multiple copies available. My familiarity with the material came from reviews in the professional literature, as I wasn’t interested in reading the books, nor were any of my friends that I was aware of picking up the series.
According to Biblical prophecy, at some point those who have been ‘born-again’ shall be brought up to Heaven in an event known as The Rapture. There they will join with all the saints who have preceded them and reside in Heaven. After this those who have not been saved shall witness the coming of the Anti-Christ and suffer seven years of war and turmoil, The Tribulation, until Christ returns to reign on Earth for a thousand years. You can find a number of sites on the web that will explain this in sometimes differing detail, but this is as basic an explanation as I can give. Having been raised Roman Catholic I don’t recall this being talked about a lot back in Catechism, but we’re going back forty plus years after all.
The series features four people (an airline pilot, his daughter, a journalist and a minister) who are ‘left behind’ when the Rapture takes members of the families and friends. They come together to try and understand what has happened, only to realize that Biblical prophecy is happening. The books detail how this affects the main characters and the rest of the world, as things progress towards the final confrontation between Christ and anti-Christ.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that while a tad preachy, the books are enjoyable as fiction. If you can accept Harry on his broom, you can certainly go along with some of the mystical/spiritual happenings that take place during the story. The ‘good guys’ are flawed and make mistakes while the character of Nicolae Carpathia is nicely evil and manipulative as the Anti-Christ. The tale is a bit simplistic for my tastes and I felt that there was a bit of Catholic bashing going on. I can certainly see why the book won’t have many Jewish or Muslim readers as neither of those faiths are shown in a favorable light except for those members who realize their error and ‘come to Christ.’
I’m not so much going to recommend the book as I am going to suggest you might want to skim a few chapters just to see what so many folks are reading.
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Likewise, I will take a moment to reflect on those that were not so lucky. Their families and friends will always remember this day as well.
Spend time with your loved ones and be grateful for the moments you share with them today.
Saturday, September 08, 2007
this is the only clip I could find on YouTube which shows my hometown of Taftville. They feature the Taftville Fire Department, which is a volunteer organization.
Norwich, in the previous video, was where I went to high school and where my parents settled after selling the house in Taftville.
Here you actually pass by a factory I used to work in, the store owned by my Uncle George, an apartment I lived in with Betsey and other places that only a few people who read this blog will recognize.
I grew up driving these roads and before that riding my bike down those 'mean streets.'