I've reactivated this blog because of all the posting I did about Hurricane Katrina. I'm currently posting at Shira bat Sarah


It's Time

It's time for me to say goodbye to Blogger. Too many things i couldn't do that I wanted with it and the trouble of trying to backup my blog led me to the decision.

Hope to see you there!

I have moved!


Shabbat Shalom! 4/14/06

Moving on Up

To the east side.
To a deluxe apartment in the sky.
Movin on up
To the east side.

I'm moving! Not me personally but my blog! It's still a work in progress but check it out and let me know what you think!

Thoughts by Seawitch

Thanks to Patrick and Kati at It's A Matter of Opinion who set-up everything and patiently help me when I delete code that I need.

I'll probably still be posting at this site. Old habits die hard and this one may become a hurricane only blog. Not sure yet. I'll have to wait and see.


Pier at Biloxi Small Craft Harbor

It might have been easier to just say midnight!



President Bush will be speaking at the Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College commencement ceremony which will be held on May 11.

Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College was the largest two-year college in the state before Katrina struck Aug. 29. It has eight locations in Stone, George, Harrison and Jackson counties.

The campuses suffered tens of millions of dollars in damage, and the college's enrollment of 10,400 students dropped by about 3,000 after the hurricane.WLOX

Weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit, the invitation was sent to President Bush. This is such an honor for the graduates and for us on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. President Bush will be speaking at three other commencements: May 6 at Oklahoma State University, May 27 at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., and June 19 at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, which was attended by Bush's outgoing White House chief of staff, Andrew Card.

The enrollment at MGCCC dropped after Hurricane Katrina. A lot of the students lost their homes. This is such a boost!

The commencement ceremonies are to be held at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum. The tradition continues. The Coliseum has been holding area commencements since it first opened in 1979. There was some doubt that damage from Hurricane Katrina could be repaired in time for the ceremonies. One by one, our traditions are coming back.

All I can say again is WOW!!

Chag Pesach Sameach!

My first Seder was enjoyable. It was a community one. There were people from my congregation, the Methodist Church which provides us with a shelter to hold services until the shul can be repaired, and volunteers who are helping the Mississippi Coast recover.

Turns were taken to read the Haggadah and most shared stories from prior Passovers. The funniest was the young adult who shared how when he and his siblings used to fight over who was going to be the simple son, the wicked son, etc.

At my table were two officials from FEMA. One of the women has been on the Mississippi Coast since September and the other since December. They help cities wade through all the regulations. They seemed hesitant to say who they were with. FEMA has been receiving a lot of flack. I told them I was grateful that FEMA was down here and thought that given the scope of the disaster from Hurricane Katrina, FEMA did amazingly well. When you figure that 400,000 people from the Mississippi Coast were directly affected, the response of FEMA has been extraordinary. When you factor in the 1.5 million from the New Orleans area, it becomes mind-boggling at just what FEMA had to contend with.

Comparisons were drawn between the Passover and Hurricane Katrina. Both were life-changing events. After Katrina, it is very easy to imagine what it must have been like when everything had to be packed up and taken in a hurry. The questions must have been asked then as to what to take. What is essential? What must be left behind? What will the future hold? Will any be lost? These questions run through my head every time a hurricane threatens.

Like the first Passover, I learned that food, clothing, and cash are essential on your journey. The most precious items were my family, my pictures, and my genealogy research. They were taken. Everything else was left behind. Like in that first Passover, I still do not know what the future holds for us on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. But like Moses and the Hebrews that passed over into freedom, I go with faith in G-d keeps His promises. That the future holds a land of milk and honey. It might take us almost as long as the 40 years to recover, but there is faith and hope. That is the essential truth of Passover, hope for a new life away from whatever keeps us as slaves and that G-d will lead us to a new land.


More Passover

Laurence has a guide to Passover at IMAO

The IDF may have miscalculated a little.


Oy Vey!

A little Passover humor.

Moses was sitting in the Egyptian ghetto. Things were terrible. Pharaoh wouldn't even speak to him. The rest of the Israelites were mad at him and making the overseers even more irritable than usual, etc. He was about ready to give up.

Suddenly a booming, sonorous voice spoke from above:

"You, Moses, heed me ! I have good news, and bad news."

Moses was staggered. The voice continued:

"You, Moses, will lead the People of Israel from bondage. If Pharaoh refuses to release your bonds, I will smite Egypt with a rain of frogs"

"You, Moses, will lead the People of Israel to the Promised Land. If Pharaoh blocks your way, I will smite Egypt with a plague of Locust."

"You, Moses, will lead the People of Israel to freedom and safety. If Pharaoh's army pursues you, I will part the waters of the Red Sea to open your path to the Promised Land."

Moses was stunned. He stammered, "That's.... that's fantastic. I can't believe it! --- But what's the bad news?"

"You, Moses, must write the Environmental Impact Statement."


I like to to check out the value of my blog at Blogshares. It's an on-line fantasy stock program featuring blogs. Mine usually provides an ego boost. Not this week!

Date Price
15:40 10 Apr 2006 B$11.31
09:26 09 Apr 2006 B$10.10
09:24 09 Apr 2006 B$9.18
23:41 08 Apr 2006 B$8.50
23:07 08 Apr 2006 B$27,951.94
23:07 08 Apr 2006 B$25,181.93
12:42 08 Apr 2006 B$23,102.69
23:52 06 Apr 2006 B$21,391.38
23:52 06 Apr 2006 B$19,446.71
16:58 06 Apr 2006 B$18,345.95

Talk about a blow to my ego. Does this make me narcissistic?

Mama Cats

Being an animal lover and more specifically a cat lover, I've always had a cat or two. At one point, when I was a kid, I had 12. Now I'm content with just 3. Being around so many cats all the time, you learn a few things about them. A mama cat will fiercely protect it's young. I would have to be extremely careful as to how I approached the cats after they had their litters. Some would start purring and others would start growling, hissing, and glaring at me.

All of the cats I have now are spayed or neutered. But I still remember the thrill of watching the mama cats give birth when I was a kid. And when sometimes things would go wrong and one of the kittens died or was stillborn, the mama cat would spend a lot of time with it. Then she would realize it was no more and her cries carried grief.

But after the kittens had grown, the mama cats would start the process of emptying the nest as it were. They would spend less time with them and stop nursing. Eventually, they would start swatting at the kittens. Almost as if saying to them you are grown now, leave me alone. Oh, every once in awhile, I would spy one of mama cats grooming her grown kitten.

Why a, I thinking about this? Because I think humans go through the same process when their kids are growing up. You spend 24/7 on your kids when they are infants and toddlers. Then they start branching out on their own and you keep a sharp eye on them in their childhood years to ensure they come to no harm.

Once they hit the teenage years, they start pulling away from you and you from them. Eventually, at least in my case, when they hit a certain age (19), you become more inclined to letting them fend for themselves. In other words, my son asks the question more and more frequently, "Are you cooking supper?". He eventually stopped asking the question and started fixing his own food. See, I'm content with a spinach salad with tomatoes and feta cheese. He wants a more substantial meal. He is becoming quite the cuisine artist. I used to feel pangs of guilt about not cooking the meals that he had become accustomed to while growing up. But then I realized, my willingness to allow him to fend on his own is akin to the mama cat letting her kittens know they are able to fend for themselves.

I still cook the pot roast, the steaks, the big meals at least once a week. Far from him suffering at the lack of meals prepared by me, he is thriving. That either means my cooking has been atrocious all these years or I've taught him well how to fend for himself.

In either case, I know my son is okay and will be okay. At the end of April, he'll be flying to Indiana to stay with his girlfriend for two months. He has said he'll be looking for a job while up there and if he finds one, he'll be staying.

I have sadness about this. For one thing, I'm fearful that one thing will lead to another and I'll be a grandma. I let him know that I consider myself too "young and pretty"(it's a standing joke, I've said this to him many times over the years to let him know when I don't approve of something, it's best to use humor) to be a grandma. He just laughs at me.

I'm also fearful that he will not go to college. But I've been teaching him about budgets and he knows that in order to get a job that pays well enough, he will have to go to college.

My actions about pursuing my own interests more and more over the last few years let's me know that he is ready to be pushed out of the nest. His actions say the same thing.

At this point, all I can do is hope and pray that he remembers all the things he has been taught and that his Dad and I have given him the resources necessary to fly off on his own. He'll make his own mistakes but he knows I'll be there for him.


I Don't Think This is True!

A survey conducted in the United Kingdom stated that women think about their body image more than men think about sex.

The survey of 5,000 women, conducted on behalf of Grazia, the magazine, found the average woman worries about her body every 15 minutes - more frequently than men think about sex -— while 29 per cent worry about their size and shape every waking minute.TimesOnline

Woman think about their bodies 4 times every hour? I don't think so! Yes, we may obsess about the weight gain after child birth and wish some things about our bodies were different. But 96 times a day is a bit much.

I do believe the data is skewed in this survey. What do you think?

General Thoughts for a Monday

Yesterday, in the spring cleaning, getting ready for Passover frenzy, I had some thoughts about it. I started reflecting on what my life would have been like if my Dad had practiced his faith and taught us what it means to be a Jew. I feel that I've been somewhat cheated because I'm in my mid-forties now and this will be my first Passover.

What would it have been like growing up in Chicago surrounded by my Jewish aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents?

I have always felt like my life was missing something. This missing part has led me to some bad decisions to which I accept full responsibility.

With each passing week, I become more part of Beth Israel's congregation and the more I feel the missing part being replaced by what my soul and heart have been seeking.

Maybe the newness of experiencing services, participating in new holidays, and meeting many people who seemingly have the same type of humor as me is responsible for this.

Perhaps the feelings I am experiencing now will wear off with time. But I don't think so. Some 20 odd years ago, when I became a Catholic there was not the same joy and feeling of belonging as there is now.

I have doubts and qualms about my decision to follow the faith of my forefathers. But those are mostly due to wanting it so bad that I'm afraid that I'll fail in some way.

My heart has always leaped when I saw pictures of Israel. I have always been more comfortable with my Dad's side of the family. And even though I just have the gist of the Hebrew I sing and pray during services, it feels natural.

So even though my body is weary from the spring cleaning that I combined with getting ready for Passover, there is a quiet joy and hope. I look forward to my first sedar.


More Katrina Heroes In Mississippi

There used to be several nursing homes close to the beach along the Mississippi Coast. Many were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. But no residents lost their lives due to the storm. That is because of the heroic efforts of the staffs of the nursing homes.

The American Health Care Association, representing nursing homes and assisted living facilities nationwide, has recognized South Mississippi's health-care staff for their efforts during Hurricane Katrina, including safely evacuating hundreds of nursing-home residents.

Staff from regional facilities nominated health-care providers for honors. The awards were presented recently at the site of the destroyed Miramar Lodge in Pass Christian, which also was recognized.

Others recognized:

Glen Oaks Nursing Center, Lucedale: Linda Cochran.

Covenant Health & Rehab, Picayune: Crystal Roberts.

Dixie White House, Pass Christian: Perkela Burchett, Melody Felty, Joyce Hooks, Susan Dahl, Evelyn Murray, Shawanda Petty, Bonnie Venable, Margie Henderson, Lisa Lee, Thelma Williams, Katrina Campbell, Michelle Knight, Tom Lange.

Dunbar Village, Bay St. Louis: Teresita Lane, Sharon Powell, Gloria Moran, Roy Lain, Linda Warren, Chiquita Dorsey, Shelly Tillman, Linda Johnson.

River Chase Village, Gautier: Shirley Phillips, Elizabeth Rene Kennedy, Fred Ousley.

The Boyington, Gulfport: Sandra Harris, Paul Pulsifer, Sue Helms, Essie Hunter, Bobbie Terry, Barbara Stewart, Matt Johns, Christopher Malloy, Connie Newell, Jacqueline Burnett, Darla Bradley, Janet Ryan.

Greene Rural Health Center, Leakesville: Sunday McLeod.

Sunplex Subacute Center, Ocean Springs: Katrice Smith, Lorene Ahammer, RoShonda Colvin.Sunherald

Ordinary citizens doing extraordinary deeds and saving the lives of hundreds who were in the nursing homes. I am so proud of my fellow Mississippians who had the courage to respond so well to the crisis. If it weren't for their actions, we would have lost many more lives in Mississippi.

The staff of the Dixie White House Nursing Home has always held a special place in my heart. Several years ago, they lovingly took care of my brother's wife while she was dying from a rare brain disease.

It's so good to see all of these local heroes being recoginized.

Things I have Learned

In the effort to rid my home of hamatz, I have learned a few things:

1) Cleaning out the junk drawer in the kitchen takes as much time as cleaning out the three cabinets that contain food items

2) Cleaning the oven and stove takes as much time as cleaning out all the cabinets

3) Just when you think you have it under control, your 19 year old son will insist he is hungry and will use the oven you have just cleaned

4) Using lemon juice and water to steam out the microwave can cause it to have a nervous breakdown if it's over 8 years old

5) Your son will think you're extremely weird if when you are taking breaks from the cleaning fest, you choose black olives to eat for a snack

6) Once the kitchen is finished, the rest of the house is a breeze

7) Your son will eat half of the Passover Matzos you have brought home

8) Even though a kind Bar Mitzvah and his father came down from New York bearing Passover foods for our congregation in Biloxi, I still passed up on the gefilte fish

Mission Translate: 04/09/06

This is the second mission. As before, if you choose this mission and succeed there are no rewards other than a job well done.

Mutil hori tentelapikoa da

Update: That was fast! I would have thought that Basque was not a well known language. Emanuel ben Zion of Jewish Nation guessed correctly!. It means "That boy is stupid".


Are bagels considered hamatz? While continuing to clean the house for Passover, I noticed I had plenty of bagels in the freezer. Since this is the only potentially hamatz item that now remains in my house, I have two choices. More really but these are the most realistic.

1) Eat them for the next day

2) Find some way to burn them

If I go with the second choice, how do you burn them? Or should I just feed them to the seagulls?


Global Warming?

With all those scientific reports saying that we are either heading into global warming or an ice age, I wonder where the following story falls?

In a tale reminiscent of the last Wallace and Gromit movie, furious villagers in northeast England have hired armed guards to protect their beloved communal vegetable gardens from a suspected monster rabbit.

Leeks, Japanese onions, parsnips and spring carrots have all been ripped up and devoured by the mystery were-rabbit -- prompting the 12 allotment holders in Felton, north of Newcastle, to hire two marksmen with air rifles and orders to shoot to kill.

"It is a massive thing. It is a monster. The first time I saw it, I said: 'What the hell is that?'" the Northumberland Gazette newspaper quoted local resident Jeff Smith, 63, as saying on its website (www.northumberlandtoday.co.uk).

He claims to have seen the black and brown rabbit -- with one ear bigger than the other -- about two months ago, and at least three fellow allotment holders say they have seen it as well.

"I have seen it and it is bigger than a normal rabbit. It's eating all our crops and we grow the best stuff here," said retired miner George Brown, 76, quoted by the domestic Press Association news agency.Yahoo

Since a giant mutant bunny rabbit is involved, I'm leaning toward the coming ice age theory. My reasoning is that if small animals are becoming larger, it can mean only one thing: their bodies are evolving in anticipation of the next ice age. This theory would also explain why my cats shedding has been increasing over the years, their winter coats are anticipating colder weather. What do you think?


Shabbat Shalom!

Caption This

I was playing around with the slow-exposure on my camera. I took this a couple of nights ago. It's street lights taken with my zoom lens. I thought the shapes were interesting.

Coming to America

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door." Those words are inscribed on the Statue of Liberty.

The United States has long been a beacon to those who seek freedom. From the first colonists who sought refuge from religious prosecution to the American Revolution which was primarily fought for economic reasons(taxation without representation) to today's millions of Hispanics who seek to enjoy the economic strength of our country.

Throughout the history of the United States, waves of immigrants have sought the safety and liberty on our shores. From the Irish, to the , to the Italians to and to Jews, all fled their home countries either because of famine, economic hardships, or the very real threats of death because of their religion.

Many of those immigrants came legally but I'm sure that was quite a few who didn't. Most family histories in the US involve that aunt, uncle or cousin who snuck in.

The proposed legislation to grant illegal immigrants amnesty so they may to enjoy the benefits of living in our great country is not new. President Reagan did the same in the 1980's.

Where I live, we have a large population of Vietnamese. Like all new immigrants they initially faced discrimination and resentment. But they have now interwoven their unique culture with the one that had existed previously. So now we have a unique society that blends in Slovak, French, Vietnamese, African, and Southern culture.

The tide of Hispanics coming from Mexico, Honduras, and other Central and South American countries seems overwhelming. But part of their culture has already crept into ours. We celebrate Cinque De Mayo. We love Mexican food, salsa music and dancing.

The one thing I did not like seeing in those rallies held throughout the country was the disrespect shown to the American flag. The US is always changing and each new wave of immigrants lends it's history to our great country. And that is what makes me so upset at seeing images of the Mexican flag flying on the same pole as the US flag. It is wrong. We are not Mexico. We are the United States. One lesson that was learned by all the other waves of immigrants coming to the US: we are American first and our ethnicity is second.


Finding Beauty

Pelican diving - Biloxi Back Bay

An excerpt from:
Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
BOOK XI - A Song of Joys

O to have been brought up on bays, lagoons, creeks, or along the coast,
To continue and be employ'd there all my life,
The briny and damp smell, the shore, the salt weeds exposed at low water,
The work of fishermen, the work of the eel-fisher and clam-fisher;

I Made My Son's Day

As most parents of teenagers know, it's very hard to elicit a smile or laughter out of your teenager. This morning, at 6:00am my son was rolling with laughter as he knocked on my bedroom door. He was chortling so bad, at first I didn't understand what he was trying to tell me. Eventually between the belly laughs, he managed to convey the message.

Last night when I got home, I locked my car doors. It's not something I do very often but I was a nervous wreck when I got home. I had to give the right away to FOUR police cars who had their lights and sirens flashing. That wouldn't have been so bad but further up the road, they had pulled over the car they were chasing and with guns drawn, had two suspects laying on the ground.

Then when I pull into my street, there are a couple of more police cars. It looked like the police were searching from someone in my neighborhood. I locked my car doors and went inside.

The reason my son was laughing so hard was that when I locked my car last night, I locked my keys in it with the car still running.

I had just filled it up and I now know that leaving my car running in park for 13 hours uses a quarter tank of gas. Some things I just don't want to know!

Anyhow, my neighbor tried to help but was unable to. I called the police department and when an officer arrived, it took all of 5 seconds to unlock my car.

But still, it was nice to see my son getting so much enjoyment and having a good laugh before he went into work. (Sarcasm off)


To Slip the Surly Bonds of Earth

From the myths of Daedalus and Icarus to the flying machines of Leonardo Da Vinci, there has long been a fascination with flying. One of my dreams is to take flying lessons. In the meantime, I'll have to be satisfied with taking pictures of planes.

I shot this bi-plane today while at Biloxi Small Craft Harbor.Thanks to joe for identifying it as Pitt's S2A

"High Flight"

by John Gillespie Magee

[Magee was a fighter pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force when he wrote the following poem. He was killed at age 19 when shot down in the World War II Battle of Britain. The poem has been a favorite of pilots, and was carried to the Moon by several of the Apollo astronauts.]

Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds - and done a hundred things

You have not dreamed of - wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.

Up, up, the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or even eagle flew.
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untresspassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.

I took this shot of a C21 today.

The dream to lift the bonds of surly earth has come true for many.

The Ivy League

The Ivy League refers to the universities in the US that are supposedly the most prestigious and where you can go or send your children to receive the best education possible. That prestige is in a decline. Is it because of academic standards faltering? No, its because their political focus is so out of skewer.

Over at Beth's My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, I read Nail Yale.

It had a link to a Wall Street Journal article. Below is an excerpt that explains why so many are upset over Yale's decision to enroll a former Taliban spokesperson:

The second was when they learned that Yale had admitted Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, a 27-year-old former official of the Taliban, the murderous regime that harbored Osama bin Laden. Mr. Hashemi remains largely unrepentant about his involvement with the regime, whose remnants are still killing Americans. Last Wednesday brought word of the 139th U.S. soldier to be killed in combat at the hands of Taliban guerrillas, and yesterday, five U.S. soldiers were wounded when their armored vehicle struck a Taliban roadside bomb in Kunar province.

If you would like to voice your outrage about this matter, please sign this petition asking for the resignation of Mr. Levin, Yale's president.

Mr. Hashemi is apparently unrepentant about his role in the Taliban. If he had shown any remorse for his part in the Taliban and for the Taliban's brutality, perhaps there would not be so much outrage. The Taliban is still murdering. It is still trying men and women alike in Afghanistan. It is unconscionable for a person like Mr. Hashemi to be allowed in the US, let alone study at Yale. Whoever approved his Visa should be punished and investigated.

A Look At France's CPE

Mmkay, France wants to adopt a law called the CPE. Read Wuzzadem's post, Hey Pierre to find out what all the rioting is about. Spew alert.


Signs of Progress

I haven't done an update lately on the progress of the seafood plant I work at. Pictures tell the story better than I could.

This is what it looked like on September 9. Hurricane Katrina did not leave very much when she slammed into Mississippi on August 29.

I took this yesterday from the I-110 bridge. Today, the work crew started applying the metal skin. What a difference 7 months makes.

Getting Ready

For the past couple of weekends I've been preparing my house for Passover. This will be my first celebration of Pesach and I'm looking forward to it. Our congregation is having a community sedar on April 12.

Preparing your home, especially the kitchen is very labor intensive. My cabinets have been given a good thorough cleaning. The one thing that took the most time was the junk drawers. You wouldn't think that cleaning out the drawers would take the most time. Or at least I didn't.

It's surprising how much junk can accumulate over the years. I'm a packrat and tend to keep everything that I think maybe useful. I did organize the cabinets and the drawers as well.

The thing is, all this cleaning is helping me to focus my attention on the meaning of Passover. Why do we eat matza and get rid of hamatz? Why do we eat the bread of slavery and get rid of the bread of freedom?

One of the books that my guiding rabbi recommended is The Jewish Holidays by Michael Strassfield. In it, Passover is described as Feasting for Freedom. That is essentially what Passover is about.

Thousands of years after the first Passover, it still calls Jews to freedom. While preparing by cleaning our homes, we are asked to get rid of the non-essentials and wash up. This is the physical act of preparation but it also calls for a mental cleaning up. It begs us to ask the questions of ourselves, what things or actions in our lives are keeping us slaves? What things do we keep in the corners that are holding us back?

You would think that spending hours cleaning up would be a joyless task. But it's not for me, at least right now. Because while doing all this cleaning, I was reflecting on the question of matza and hamatz. Matza is the bread of slavery but when Moses lead our ancestors out of Egypt, it became the bread of freedom. It calls us to freedom to this day. Three pieces of matzah are eaten during the course of the feast, but the middle one is broken in two. The larger piece is wrapped in a napkin and set aside as afikomen(symbolizes the Passover lamb). Matzah is symbolic of the poverty of our lives while slaves in Egypt but also symbolizes the poverty in our lives to the things that make us slaves today.

Every effort is made to rid our homes of hamatz. No leavened bread should remain in our homes for Passover. Why rid our lives of the bread that usually denotes freedom? Why exchange the bread of freedom for the one of slavery? It's another reminder that Passover is the Feast of Freedom. We are to rid ourselves of the things that hold us back from G-d. Hamatz symbolizes the things that make us slaves today.

The two breads both become symbols of freedom and slavery. Giving up hamatz for 8 days calls us to enjoy the freedom that G-d has given us and to not let the things of freedom make us into slaves. Matza becomes the bread of freedom. It also reminds us of the pain and poverty that slavery causes.

I'm looking forward to my first Passover. The matza and the hamatz are the things that struck me the most in learning about this glorious feast. I'm still learning, please share your experiences.


Night Time Fun

I've been experimenting with my camera and trying to take some night shots. Some very interesting results. I need to get a tripod. I had the camera set to slow shutter speed but could not hold the camera steady. But these were interesting in how they turned out.

This one was of the moon the other night.

These street lights further down the road were turned into horses by my unsteady hand while shooting. Even the fog and the trees give it the appearance of dust being kicked up by horses galloping.

What do you think, happy accidents?


In a little less then 30 minutes, baseball season will have started for me. My beloved Atlanta Braves will be shown on Fox Sports South(replay). Each year, I hope that they will be able to break their habit of not making it past the division titles. Will this be the year?


If they are showing a re-play of a game, should they show the NASCAR racing that was shown during the rain delays? I DON'T THINK SO. Who wants to watch a bunch of cars going around in circles?

Don't You Just Hate It

...when you're at work and your boss expects you to work as opposed to surfing on the Internet?


Those who read my blog often know of my struggles through the years with clinical depression. I'll say it again, my belief in G-d and the love of my son kept me from the ultimate sacrilege of taking my life. Before I sought the help I needed, those were my defenses against those dark thoughts. They still are today.

This is why I'm continually writing about the horrors of suicide bombers. The name is a misnomer. They aren't committing suicide. They are committing murder. These people may have been coerced or chosen willingly to do this evil act. Whatever the case may be, they choose to commit murder and at the same time take their own lives.

The people who order them are just as culpable of murder as the person who commits the deed.

Homicide bombers are a perversion. They are not glorious defenders, warriors, or freedom fighters. They are anathema to very goodness of life. They have chosen the path of darkness.

They leave destruction and heartache in their wake. Their victims are not armed. They are babies, teenagers, grandmothers, grandfathers, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters.

Life is a very precious gift. I know this from my struggles. It outrages me that these homicide bombers are sometimes defended as freedom fighters. They are not fighting for freedom. They are part of a culture that seemingly glorifies death instead of life.

Every time I read about them, rather it's in Israel, Iraq, India, Bali, or other places in the world, I feel such heartache. All those innocent lives extinguished in a blink of an eye because someone made the choice to worship death instead of life.

The homicide bombers are a perversion. Labeling them as anything other aides in spreading their perversion.



Mission: Translate 04/02/06

A few days I discovered that some were reading my site through a translator. Not your usual translator but one that changing the words into the dialect that rednecks, pimps, etc., use. I was furious at first but when I actually read some of the translated posts, it was amusing. I had made some attempts to deny this site from accessing mine. But on further reflection, I've decided to play along. On a somewhat weekly basis I'm going to post a phrase or a word in a different language.

The goal of whoever reads this blog, especially those who love to read it through the translator site, is to identify the language and the phrase or word.

There are no rewards for this mission if you choose to accept.

The phrase for this week:

Förbannade hönsjärna!

Good luck!
Update: April 3 No one guessed the phrase. Drum roll please! The language is Sewdish. The phrase means: Damn chickenbrain!

Mark at Knockin' on the Golden Door provided some very amusing translations in the comments section.

Patrick at It's A Matter of Opinion guessed correctly that the language was Swedish.

D'Iberville Contrast

I've recently started communicating via e-mail with another photographer from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He directed me to his cousin's beautiful pictures of the Mississippi Gulf Coast before Hurricane Katrina hit. He has also sent some of his pictures that he took. He has graciously allowed me to use some of his photos on my site. The subject is Seymour's. It used to be a little bar, grill, and bait shop.

Several years ago, a group of us at work would exercise by walking across the I-110 bridge. Sometimes after the mile hike, we would stop at Seymour's afterwards to have a beer, lite beer of course.

Seymour's on Bay Shore Dr in D'Iberville MS before Hurricane Katrina. This was taken from the I-110 bridge. A lot of buildings, culverts, etc. had murals painted on them.

I took this shot three weeks after Katrina struck. The man in the photo is standing in the parking lot amid the debris of Seymour's.

Seymour's was a relaxing place to stop for a nice cold one. It's just one of the far too many places that were destroyed along the Mississippi Gulf Coast by Katrina. Just another way that life has changed down here. Seymour's is rebuilding.


Beau Rivage - Extended Video

Today, I came across more of the Beau Rivage video that was taken while Hurricane Katrina was making landfall. This version starts the Sunday afternoon before the storm came ashore. You can how placid the waters were. It also show the storm surge going up the I-110 ramp. I had driven on that ramp just yesterday.

The sound of the wind in the video made me uneasy. It brought back all too much the memories of those 8 hours that Katrina pounded the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Though I was about 20-30 miles inland, the winds were fierce.

Beau Rivage Extended Video


Shabbat Shalom!

Biloxi Sunset - behind Hard Rock Cafe


The rest of the media is showing pictures of the grieving family of the cowardly, murdering terrorist who claimed four lives yesterday in Israel. Do not call those terrorists freedom fighters. They are murderers and have no human decency. This terrorist was a member of Israel's so called peace partner, Abbas and his Fatah group.

Anyways, Israellycool has the photos that should be all over the news, the faces of the victims.

An act of loving-kindness, picking up a hitch hiker led to Raot Feldman (20) of Herzeliya, Shaked Lesker (16) and Ilana and Rafi Levy (both 60) from Kedumim being killed.

There is no morality in taking the kindness of strangers and then blowing them up. There is no glory or honor in strapping a bomb to yourself and then attempting to blow up innocents at the mall, night clubs, hospitals, hitchhikers, etc.

The acts of terrorist are inhuman and are not justified. Please don't suggest their evil acts are the only way they have to fight. The terrorists just want to kill as many Israelis as they can. There is no justification, there is no morality, and there is no human decency to their acts of murder.

The victims of these murderous attacks are not published by most of the media. You do not see their smiling faces before their lives are wiped out. You do not see their families anguish. Why?

Go look at the pictures on Israellycool's site. See the faces of humanity.

Bad News for Louisiana

... maybe good news for Mississippi. The Army Corps of Engineers states that it will cost a further $6 billion dollars to raise the protection of the levee system in the New Orleans area.

The east bank of Orleans Parish is already financed for levees that would meet certification by 2010, according to government estimates. But more than $3 billion in improvements are needed to bring Algiers, eastern New Orleans, the Lower 9th Ward, east and west Jefferson Parish, St. Charles Parish, Belle Chasse and Lower Algiers to the appropriate protection levels. Another $3 billion would be needed for Plaquemines Parish. Times-Picayune

The question is rather or not to fund the levees. The New Orleans region is sinking due to a combination of raising sea levels, subsidence, and lack of sediments to replenish the marshes and bayous that surround New Orleans. The map below shows the level of erosion expected in the future. I found it via this post by Confederate Yankee.

The red areas indicate the shoreline that is expected to be lost. New Orleans appears to be inudated.

There are oil refineries, pipelines, and other businesses related to the gas and oil industry on the Louisiana coast that shows up in red on the above map. Must of those areas too are expected to be lost in the future.

This is why it maybe good for Mississippi. Chevron announced that Pascagoula Mississippi has a 90% chance of a refinery being located there. Plans are also in the works for a liquefied gas and an oil pipeline.

Pascagoula is already the site of major shipbuilding companies. It is also better protected than Louisiana's coastline while still providing fast and easy access to the Gulf of Mexico. It's close proximity to Mobile also is advantageous.

Perhaps oil and gas executives are studying that map provided by LSU and see the writing on the wall.


A View From Work

Joyce Kilmer. 1886–1918


I THINK that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Things That Make You Go Hmm

Does anyone have any suggestions for this: Psyclops?

The link goes to a translator site and a person can translate a site into skinhead, pimp, smurf, aussie, cockney and redneck. I wouldn't have a problem with this, but it copies everything from my site: photos, links, and comments.

There are things such as creative rights.

Translate this:







A Reminder

... not to become to big-headed over my photos. A commenter directed me to the galleries of a fellow photographer along the Mississippi Gulf Coast. His photos are extraordinary. I linked to of his galleries on my side-bar. The first is S. Martin Before & General Gallery. This gallery includes photos that capture the beauty of the Mississippi Gulf Coast before Hurricane Katrina hit. It also includes photos from across the country and photos that will be of interest to those in the military.

The second gallery is S. Martin's Post Katrina Gallery. It includes photos from along the Mississippi Gulf Coast and New Orleans.

I'm still learning. But looking through the pictures I took last year to the ones I took yesterday, I see an improvement.

This is another shot of the osprey flying close to where I work. I hope y'all agree.

Red County, California


Not a Hippie!

I am 24% Hippie.
So Not a Hippie.
What? Am I a Republican? Why did I even bother taken this test?! I guess I’ll back to my George W. Bush fan club and tell them I just wasted 10 minutes of my life. At least I don’t stink, man.

This one says I'm Repbulican. The one I took to see if I was White Trash says I'm a Democrat! I'm so confused. Need to go meditate awhile. Does anyone have any patchouli they can spare? Hey man, are you a hippie?

Senryū for Spring

Pretty white flowers
Why do you make me sneeze
Every spring

by seawitch

7 Months

It's been seven months since Hurricane Katrina hit the place I call home. Things are slowly improving. Telephone crews and power crews are still all around. I saw a power crew from Canada just the other day. Sewage and water lines are still being repaired. The housing situation, at least in Mississippi, is better. There are FEMA trailer parks in just about any area that can hold more than ten. You find them in the oddest places at times. I walked through my brother's neighborhood again. FEMA trailers stand next to the slabs where homes once stood. You cannot miss the trailers. They are every where. One of my neighbors has three in his yard. Zoning laws be damned! You can't protest when your fellow neighbors have no other choice.

The rebuilding is outpacing the clean-up. But there is so much still to do. I don't have a lot of patience and I want it done now! But then you meet people like the fisherman I was talking to Monday afternoon. You share stories back and forth. He tells you his house was condemned and demolished because of the storm surge. You both talk about the piers that have been turned to rubble. And you talk about how beautiful it all once was and then the guy who lost everything says with confidence we'll be back, better and stronger. It's just going to take awhile.

One of the handful of boats moored at the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor had a name that says it all.

Patience Biloxi, Gulfport, Long Beach, Pass Christian, Bay St Louis, Waveland, and the other cities along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

Sometimes, you can find great comfort from sharing your story and listening to what another has to say. My constant prayer has always been give me patience and make it quick. I'm already preparing for the next hurricane season as are many others. One thing, does anybody know of a good and viable solar generator that can be used for TV's, radios, etc? Or a reliable water purifying kit?

I'm An Expert

... according to this test I took. It had 19 pictures from around the world and had to identify the famous building/feature. It seemed too easy and I only hesitated on two. They were from South America. Try it and see what you think. Around the World in 80 Seconds.


You scored 89% Recognition!

It looks like we have quite the expert here...you must have a lot of world knowledge or perhaps have travelled a fair bit. Very impressive! Since you recognized nearly every place, I trust you enjoyed the sites.

How many experts are out there? Share your results.



I finally managed to snag some great shots of a jet from the air force base. I have no idea what it is. Take a look and let me know.

It's been identified as a C-21A thanks to an anonymous commenter. Thanks!

Silence is Not Always Golden

As a commenter stated in a previous post, all too many times humans act like pack animals. Afraid to stand out and speak up against injustices. One such injustice that filled most of the world with horror was Abdul Rahman. A man who because of his convictions who converted from Islam to Christianity. Not a remarkable thing in most cultures. It usually affects mostly family members. I have an uncle who is a Christian fundamentalist. When I told him over 20 years ago I was becoming a Catholic, he told me I was going to burn in hell. He didn't threaten to kill me. Instead he's been praying for me all these years. I've been praying for him too. He is the only family member that I have not told about my decision to follow my heart which has lead to Judaism. The main reason is when any family talks to him, it usually leads to an hour long discourse about religion and all are wrong except him. It's difficult to hold a conversation with someone who is so closed minded.

I respect my uncle. He is following what he believes and I'm following what I believe. In both of my decisions, I did not have to worry about a law which states that I could be beheaded if I chose to leave a religion. I did not have to worry about being declared insane because of my decision.

All too often in Muslim countries, people who convert from Islam to another religion face the same threats as Abdul Rahman, death or declared insane. Why is this? Is Islam so fragile that it cannot abide anyone who leaves it?

Richard Cohen has a very opinion column in today's Washington Post called Unfathomable Zealotry. He questions the silence of the Muslim majority while acknowledging those brave souls who have spoken out. The following is one paragraph that stood out. The rest of the column is good and well worth the read.
Then comes the Rahman case and it is not a solitary crazy prosecutor who brings the charge of apostasy but an entire society. It is not a single judge who would condemn the man but a culture. The Taliban are gone at gunpoint, their atrocities supposedly a thing of the past. In our boundless optimism, we consign them to the "too hard" file of horrors we cannot figure out: the Khmer Rouge, the Nazis, the communists of the Stalin period. Now, though, this awful thing returns and it is not just a single country that would kill a man for his beliefs but a huge swath of the world that would not protest. There can be only one conclusion: They were in agreement.

Around a month ago, the Muslim world was seething over the publication of some cartoons. People were killed and embassies burned. Muslims were demonstrating in massive numbers and boycotting Danish products.

To me, a cartoon that is satirical of a religious leader is far less offensive than the fate of a soul who has been led by his convictions to another religion. Where are the massive demonstrations in the Muslim world over the fate of this man and the others like him?

G-d leads each one of us to him and there are many paths. Why should a human being face death or being labeled insane over this?

Islam says that is respects other religions but the silence in the Muslim world over Abdul Rahman appears to give lie to that. Islam cannot be a respecter of other religions if so many of adherents cannot or will not protest peacefully for the right of someone who has decided to leave the religion of Islam for another. Silence is not always golden.


The Trouble With Kids Today

What is the biggest problem with kids today? Their enthusiasm and the speed at which they work makes you feel old. Take the group of 40 students from St Olaf's College in Northfield Minnesota. They worked around 5 hours cleaning up the area close to where I work. About 130 came down on their spring break to help us out here in Mississippi and over in Louisiana. It makes you feel good about the future of our country when young hands are so willing to help out. I spoke with Thomas and he asked me to talk a little about the history of the company I work for and to describe the losses of many of our employees. I'm not a very good speaker but the kids were polite and clapped.

After their lunch break, I took this group shot.

Climbing the trees was one way to get the debris out of them.

They stayed busy.

It was hard work but they worked as a team.

The pile of debris that could not be put in bags.

I was glad to meet these kids. I was able to thank most of them personally for coming down here to help us. It felt good to see the area clean again and the trees without their drapes of plastic and wood. They did a great job.

Linked to Basil's Picnic 2006-03-28

Different Part 2

Last night I watched two movies. The first was Charly.This is a story of a man named Charly who is retarded. An operation is done to raise his IQ. It succeeds for awhile. I believe the most poignant scene in the movie is when Charly is at a bar after his operation. There is a bus boy that is retarded. He has a tray full of glasses and drops them. Everyone in the bar starts laughing at him except for Charly. He knows what it's like to be on the receiving end of the laughter that can cut through you like a knife. He goes and helps the bus boy pick up the glasses. The other people stop their laughter.

What prompts people to laugh at another's expense? There is a certain amount of cruelty involved in it. The thing about Charly even before the operation was done, he was always striving to learn. It's a good movie about the human spirit. It also stars one of my favorite actors, Cliff Robertson.

The other movie was Awakenings. It's about a group of patients in a mental hospital who are catatonic because of and earlier encephalitis infection. Dr. Sayers, played by Robin Williams, tries a new drug, L-Dopa and the result is miraculous for awhile. But what struck me this time about the movie was the man who had Tourette's Syndrome. I had never really noticed him in the other times I had watched this movie. Perhaps it was because I had written about my son's Tourettes just a couple of days before.

It made me start to think that if he had been born in the 1960's, would he have ended up in such a place? It just shows how perceptions about diseases such as Tourettes were and are still misunderstood. Thankfully new and more research is coming to light about the different diseases that affect the brain. It also makes me believe more and more that many of the diseases such as Tourettes are the result of viral and other infections.

The important thing is that because somebody is very different does not mean they need to be feared or ridiculed. The struggles that they face are a testament to the human spirit and soul.

Missing Link Found?

For years scientists have been searching for the missing link. The one that ties Homo erectus and modern humans. One such link may have been found in Ethiopia.
The hominid cranium found in two pieces and believed to be between 500,000 and 250,000 years old "comes from a very significant period and is very close to the appearance of the anatomically modern human," said Sileshi Semaw, director of the Gona Paleoanthropological Research Project in Ethiopia.

Archaeologists found the early human cranium five weeks ago at Gawis in Ethiopia's northeastern Afar region, Sileshi said.

Several stone tools and fossilized animals including two types of pigs, zebras, elephants, antelopes, cats, and rodents were also found at the site.AP

Exciting news. The story of Lucy, discovered in 1974 enkindled in me a fascination on the origins of man and evolution. It's fascinating to read about the discoveries made in our human ancestry and how we are so alike to the other animals that populate our earth. It's also fascinating to read about what makes us humans so different from other animals. Say what you will, the discoveries of human evolution jusreinforcece my belief in G-d. Questions arise to what made man use fire. How did they learn to make clothing? Who was the first to bake bread? Why use fire in cooking at all? Did human sexuality lead the making of civilizations? Or was it the ability to farm grains at will and to raise cattle, goats, sheep, etc?

These questions all started in me when I read further about the discoveries being made and the pursuit of the missing link. The questions are endless and some may never be answered. But one thing is for certain, something prompted Homo erectus to walk erect and that led to modern man.


Float on Spring Winds

Biloxi Back Bay

Spring Greeting
by Sidney Lanier

All faintly through my soul to-day,
As from a bell that far away
Is tinkled by some frolic fay,
Floateth a lovely chiming.
Thou magic bell, to many a fell
And many a winter-saddened dell
Thy tongue a tale of Spring doth tell,
Too passionate-sweet for rhyming.

Chime out, thou little song of Spring,
Float in the blue skies ravishing.
Thy song-of-life a joy doth bring
That's sweet, albeit fleeting.
Float on the Spring-winds e'en to my home:
And when thou to a rose shalt come
That hath begun to show her bloom,
Say, I send her greeting!


I was reading this post at ArmyWifeToddlerMom and it has given me the courage to speak about raising my son who has Tourette's Syndrome. My fear is that our struggles will be ridiculed.

Tourette's Syndrome has many symptoms, the most famous being those who shout out profanities. My son's Tourettes is not like that. His is a combination of head and shoulder movements with vocalizations, usually in the form of humming, throat clearing, and others.

His is very subtle and does not interfere too much. But when he was going to school, there were trips to the principals office and conferences with teachers while he was in elementary school. Sometimes his movements would involve touching others on places like shoulders and so I would have to teach him to direct it another way. I did not try to suppress it, just taught him to touch the wall.

The neurologist who diagnosed him recommended Haldol. I choose not to go this route. He was only 6 years old when diagnosed and I did not feel it was appropriate for him to be taking such a strong drug.

The one thing that used to bring me to his school often was the periods when he would mimic his teachers ceaselessly. Yes, that is a symptom of Tourettes. I'm not talking about a few minutes here and there. I'm talking minute after minute, day after day. He would do the same to me. He was very good at it too! He had the voices and mannerisms of his teachers and me down pat!

The hardest thing was the realization that the parents of his classmates did not want their children to associate with him. How do you prepare your child for something like that? I taught him that he was a child of G-d. That there was no one else on earth like him and he was unique. He reveled in it. He was in the advanced learning classes and should have been in the gifted students program. In his 6th grade English class, he had to write an essay about himself.

His teacher pointed it out to me during the school's open house. In it, he wrote how it was good to be different. For him, standing out was a gift. I marvel at his courage. He still faces many hurdles and yet he faces each one with a grace and dignity that is awesome to see.

Sometimes, the Tourettes will disappear in a child's teenage years. His still remains with him. But he works through it. He has a good job, friends, a girlfriend, and hopefully soon will be going to college. He still likes being different.

The hardest thing I had to deal with was guiding him and teaching him how to handle rejection. That was the most painful thing of all. When kids are different and stand out, people generally try to avoid them. There was a lot of frustration and pain through the years because of this.

I am humbled by the way he has matured and overcome the obstacles in his way because of the Tourettes. Sometimes I forget to tell him. I just know he has the courage of a lion and I'm humbled that G-d gave me such a child to raise. It has it's drawbacks but the rewards far outweigh all. His brightness, his unique views, his sense of humor, and his mischievousness are all gifts that I'm honored to see on a daily basis.

When something goes awry in a persons brain, it is often classified as a mental illness. There is such bad connotations with a label like that. There is some speculation that Tourette's and other mental disorders such as depression are the result of viruses that affect RNA. One likely candidate isBorna viruses. There is so much that needs to be learned about what are classified as mental illnesses. If these illnesses are the result of viral infections, should they even be classified as mental illness? I don't think so. More and more studies are coming to light that mental illnesses are biological in character and not necessarily the result of some supposed deficiency in one's character.

The more people that know about these studies, the better the understanding of those like my son who suffer from Tourettes and people like me who suffer from clinical depression.

I originally posted this on Friday. I have made a few clarifications about the nature of my son's dis-ease and added some studies on some of the causes. I had researched Tourettes thoroughly when my son was diagnosed and 15 years ago, there was only one study linking Borna virus and viral infections to Tourettes, depression and others. It's good to know that more and more studies are being done that shows the links between viral infections and brain disorders. Perhaps, in time because of research such as this, the stigma of such afflictions will fall by the wayside.

Don Surber linked with Short Arm, Big Heart

Pyjamas Media linked.

An Observation

This morning, I was saying the Morning Service and practicing my Hebrew(very badly, though it is getting better). I noticed something odd. My birds and my cat Frisky were following along and paying very close attention. My other cat Smokey was ignoring the whole thing. Do you suppose the two birds and Frisky might be Jewish?

Posted as humor!



A year ago today, I wrote my first post. Over this past year I've written many posts about our armed forces, what I perceived to be the evils of Islam, politics here and there, and Israel. But since August 29 or more correctly September 9(the day my power came back on), this blog has been primarily an outlet for me in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It is also turning into a photoblog and my reflections on coming home to my Jewishness.

Hurricane Katrina was and remains one of the most life-changing events I've ever experienced. It has caused me to rethink what my priorities are. I've had to face challenges in my comfortable world and face up to the reality of who I am, a woman who was scared by the storm. My world is a lot less comfortable than it used to be. I'm not talking about material comforts, I'm talking about the reality of having to face issues that I wasn't ready for.

I'm still not sure if I'm going to remain on the Coast. So much has changed and many are making the decision to leave. The whole flavor and feel of the place I call home is going to be going through big changes in the years ahead. I don't know if I have to courage to live in a place that is so changed or if I have the courage to move on to a totally different city, state, or country.

Whatever the future holds, I hope I'll be ready.

This past year of blogging has been a wonderful experience. I've met people from across the country and the world.

Basil linked with Picnic 2006-03-26


Shabbat Shalom!

Back Bay Biloxi

Who to Better Understand?

Not many people can truly understand what happened to my beautiful Mississippi Gulf Coast when Hurricane Katrina smashed into it on August 29. You have to see it to understand the magnitude. But you also have to live down here and live through the aftermath in order to better understand. Perhaps those in Indonesia who lived through the devastation done by the tsunami are the ones who can best understand. I can understand the damage that was done during the tsunami but cannot comprehend the 230,000 lives that were lost.

It is fitting that nine Indonesian survivors and recovery experts will be visiting two areas that suffered a great deal: D'Iberville and Pearlington. Both of these Mississippi small towns had 65% or more destruction.

The Indonesians are coming to help with Hurricane Katrina recovery, to share their knowledge and to learn more for when they return to a region still piecing together tsunami-struck communities.

Dr. Sari Mutia Timu, a general practitioner who was one of the first doctors in Banda Aceh after the tsunami, will be among them. So will survivor Muhammad Nazif, an Acehnese man who now oversees the credit union and small farming in his village.

"These nine from Indonesia will have a better level of what's happened here than volunteers who come from New England or elsewhere in the U.S. who haven't experienced the same level of magnitude, even though they may not speak the same language or have the same cultural background," said Kathryn Renton, manager of the Presbyterian Disaster Assistance Volunteer Village in D'Iberville.Sunherald

We had the benefit of evacuating before Hurricane Katrina hit. The Indonesians did not have that luxery. Hopefully, that has now been remedied. You cannot stop the walls of water but the technology exists so that all can evacuate, whether it's a hurricane or a tsunami.


I'm A Brat!

You Are Bobby Brainy

Ultra competitive, you will do almost anything to win. From pull ups to pool sharking, you're very talented.
And while everyone is aware of your victories, they still (affectionately) consider you to be a little brat!


By the Sea

Gulfport Beach - Small Craft Harbor

The Sea and Me

Charlotte Mair

I stand face into the wind
harvesting full essence of sea breeze
captured by her beauty

Sea gull circles calmly above
...and there
a war torn log creates a chair
in conversation with icy
hands of her water
encircling unclothed feet

I feel as one
as an old seafarer
returning to port
for last call - - complete

Seizing the view
Mother Sea commands
liberty is then taken
to catch winds at bay
saturating my mind
with visions
crystalline mists
frothy soft tides
etchings that lay
engraved in shores by day
sun-jewels aglow
giving sweet repose
enriching my life
in the peace
of great beauty

Sea gull circles calmly above
...and there
a war torn log creates a chair
in conversation with icy
hands of her water
encircling unclothed feet

I feel as one
as an old seafarer
returning to port
for last call - - complete

Seizing the view
Mother Sea commands
liberty is then taken
to catch winds at bay
saturating my mind
with visions
crystalline mists
frothy soft tides

That's All We Need

FEMA has been largely criticized for not providing temporary trailers for those whose homes were destroyed in Louisiana. Perhaps the problem is not with FEMA but with local officials in Louisiana who have not been approving the sites for those trailers. It has come to light that FEMA wants to move some of those Louisiana families into Hancock County Mississippi. That is a very bad idea. Hancock County is still reeling from Hurricane Katrina. There is still only one grocery store open and only a three gas stations are open in the whole county. So far, 404 families from Louisiana have been moved into Hancock County.

People in Louisiana have been long complaining about the slowness of receiving FEMA trailers but it's not the fault of FEMA officials. It's the officials such as New Orleans Mayor Nagin. It's telling that Mayor Nagins office had this to say:

In Orleans Parish, mobile homes can be placed in parks. Before FEMA can establish a new mobile home park the agency would need approval from New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. A spokeswoman in Nagin's office could not say whether any new sites have been approved.Sunherald

Contrast this with the response of officials in St Tammany parish:

That same goal seems to be shared by officials in St. Tammany Parish, La., where Suzan Parsons, a parish spokeswoman, said leaders want trailers placed on private property so residents can be close to their neighbors, instead of living in large group sites.
"We have changed our zoning to allow up to two trailers on a single piece of personal," she said. "We thought it was better to have communities and neighborhoods stay together."

So whose at fault for the lack of FEMA trailers for Louisiana residents? FEMA or the local officials? In the Mississippi, Harrison and Hancock officials have rezoned areas so the FEMA trailers can come in and provide some shelter for the people of these counties. There are stories that FEMA trailers are just waiting in places across the South to be moved into Louisiana. The hold up is not with FEMA. It's with those officials in Louisiana who have not done the job of rezoning. And it's Mississippi that appears to be having to suffer the burden of caring for more people then it can handle. It is still bad down here. There are still shortages of just about everything and we cannot handle the influx of people being sheltered from Louisiana.

The officials of Louisiana, especially Mayor Nagin need to start doing more than just complaining about the federal government. Concrete decisions need to be made. Mississippi is a poor state and still reeling from Hurricane Katrina. It cannot effectively provide for sheltering those from Louisiana. We are swamped with helping those 68,000 families whose homes were destroyed. Louisiana officials get off your butts and help your people!!

Linked to Basil's Picnic 2006-03-22


Flying Proud

One of the great things about living in a community that has an Air Force base and a Seabee base is that you get to see sights such as this:

It was almost directly overhead and banking when I took this shot. I believe it's a DC-10.I can identify birds better than planes. Thanks to an e-mail from Mike, he identified it as a C-130.

Something About Racks

Mark at Knockin' on the Golden Door needs a little help. He just needs a few more comments at his post and he'll be e-mailed a picture a rack. I'm trying to help him out but I don't think the picture below is what he had in mind:

Taking the Time

I've have already taken 600 photos with my new camera. It hasn't quite been two weeks yet. Give me time, I'll take more! The photos have a clarity to them that is unmatched by my old camera. The 55m-200m lens allows me to take the shots I could only dream about before. The problem with playing the camera so much is I really haven't sit down and really gone through all the photos. I did that this morning. I'm going to spare you the publication of all of them but wanted to share a couple.

I've been trying for weeks to take a shot of the prey the male osprey brings to the nest. I'm not sure what the prey is but I'm sure his missus and the little hatchling will enjoy.

If you click on the image, you can see the spiral staircase of the Gulfport Main Library. The library has set up trailers in order to restore the historical documents relating to history of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. They were on the second floor of the library and were damaged by Katrina.

A quick vote, do y'all think my hobby is becoming an addiction?


Something Strange

Yesterday I couldn't figure out what was so strange about my son. It took me awhile to finally realize what it was. He was actually walking around, talking to me, reading, watching movies, and did not have the cell phone attached to his ear. I asked him if he had run out of glue. He has to be employing something to keep it attached to his ear. The cell phone bill came in. I didn't think he and girlfriend could top the 5,000 minutes last month. But they did. The phone bill had 7,000 minutes this time!

Celebration of Spring

Part I - A Prayer in Spring
by Robert Frost

OH, give us pleasure in the flowers to-day;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.
Oh, give us pleasure in the orchard white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.
And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.
For this is love and nothing else is love,
The which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends He will,
But which it only needs that we fulfil.


At Shabbat services Friday, we did not have a minyan. A brief discussion was held as to why. Most thought it was because of the supper and services held at a Presbyterian church in Gulfport with Hillel students. Others thought it was because of the slack usually seen after holidays such as Purim. Whatever the case may be, it gave me a chance to really hear the Hebrew and I was heartened to know that I can follow much better. It's been getting better week by week. I told someone last week that I feel a little lost sometimes but he said we are all a little lost.

But what struck me was the discussion on the Torah portion. The Torah scrolls are safe even though Beth Israel suffered suffered damage. They are not present in the Methodist church hall that we use for our services. Usually the leader talks about the portion. This week it was about the golden calf at Sinai.

It's wonderful which directions discussions can take. One person brought up how one of the readings during services say that we are to be witnesses to the Torah and the Torah was given to us. This led to how each generation of Jews makes this discovery for themselves and takes up the challenge of being witnesses to the Torah. It echoes throughout history. One brought up this echo is much like the Big Bang. Sounds of the Big Bang can still be heard today. The challenges and the gift of Sinai echo much the same and resonate among Jews.

I am still thinking about the discussion and how it relates to my own discovery. Four years ago I was a catechist teacher for 1st graders. I was at a class that all catechists must take to be certified. They were showing slides of a synagogue. Something reached out to me when I saw the bimah. The subsequent slides of pictures from Israel hammered the message home. I did not belong in a Catholic church, I belonged with the faith of my father, grandfather, grandmother, and cousin's.

I resigned as a cathechist and stopped going to Catholic services. I started reading about the faith of my father and felt I was coming home. Sometimes I'm still confused rather or nor I can call myself a Jew. I feel as though I'm one of the generation who reaching out to be a witness to the Torah but I have so much to learn!


Do You Ever Wonder

if government officials read your blog? I'm sure that not many read mine but from site-meter reports, I have seen that a few Congress critters have read it. Back in February I did a post called Considerations. It outlined a few ideas I had for evacuating the Mississippi Gulf Coast if we were to be threatened by another hurricane.

Some of the ideas I came up with were:

In the event of another hurricane heading our way, I offer the following suggestions for our emergency officials:

1) Use school buses to transport people out of the area

2) Open places such as Camp Shelby, the Jackson Convention Center, and other places inland that can hold large amounts of people

3) Make sure the people boarding the buses are aware they need to bring enough non-perishable food and water to last 5-7 days

In today's Sunherald, Governor Barbour addresses the the same concerns I had about the time it would now take to evacuate the Coast.

The governor said he expects many survivors who stayed on the Coast for Katrina will now be less willing to remain for another hurricane.

With the possibility of more vehicles clogging the highways, it will take longer for people to leave the southernmost counties. That, too, will drive the need for officials to issue earlier evacuation orders.

"It'll cost us money, but that's just what you have to do," Barbour said. "Better safe than sorry."

State agency leaders are working on a new disaster plan that will lay out the state's response for a host of events, from hurricanes to earthquakes to terrorist attacks.

The new plan must be filed by early May, and hurricane season starts June 1. The plan will cover everything from law-enforcement communication systems to hurricane evacuation routes.

Public transportation is not widely available in Mississippi but will become more important in the coming hurricane season because many Coast residents still have not replaced cars they lost in Katrina.

Barbour said the state does not plan to buy new buses for hurricane evacuations. He said school buses will be used, and they could come from school districts in any part of the state.

I don't seriously believe that the Governor reads my blog but it's reassuring that the officials of Mississippi are addressing the new needs in the event that those of us along the Coast will have to evacuate in case of a hurricane. It's also good that are planning for other disasters such as earthquakes. Northern Mississippi has fault lines that are connected to the New Madrid fault line and has suffered minor quakes.

Fake Concern

Remember this post that Cindy Sheehan did at Daily Kos back in September?

Image by SacredCowburgers Hat tip to Doyle at A Cool Change

She has no "moral authority". She did not stay very long at the Veterans for Peace March to New Orleans.
Activist Cindy Sheehan, who energized the anti-war movement last summer with her month-long protest outside President Bush's Texas ranch, joined the Gulf Coast marchers in Mississippi on Friday, but left early Sunday for events in Washington.NOLA

She must not have received enough news coverage and needed to move onto greener pastures.

Forget the Levees

Forget the levees in New Orleans. That is no longer the big issue of Hurricane Katrina. The big issue is the insurance companies and their attempts to rob homeowners of covered damages. This is becoming a very issue and it's one that is not receiving much coverage. The homeowners in Mississippi are being ripped off. There are allegations of claims being altered and homeowners signatures being forged. Those will be investigated. However, a homeowner is fighting back after the engineers report was altered to make it harder for them to receive damages due to wind.

Rimkus Consulting Group Inc is being sued. The engineer firm is accused of altering an engineers report that was favorable to homeowner and showed wind damage was a major factor in the destruction of their home. The engineer was hired by the claims adjustor. It is alleged that the original report was altered and then the engineers signature forged.

The insurance companies have been making record profits, even after Hurricane Katrina. Why do they have to attempt to bilk homeowners of covered claims? This is the real story. The levee issue is over and done with. Why aren't there reports about the abuses of insurance companies? Reports are being altered and signatures forged. This is the issue that needs to be addressed.


Beauty and the Beast

The Mississippi was blessed with so much beauty before Hurricane Katrina. The homes and buildings that were built in the 19th century gave the Coast a unique look. Katrina took most of those homes and businesses but the natural beauty is something that she couldn't take.

Friday was a beautiful day at the beach in Gulfport. I left work an hour early and spent most of it enjoying sights such as these least terns flying.

A little further down, the water is still littered with debris. It's not advisable to be walking or running in the water along this stretch.

Images like this Lutheran church are still common along Hwy 90.

There is still beauty down here. But there are too many images that show the destruction of the beast that was Katrina.