Cindy, Go Home Now

Cindy Sheehan is a grieving mother. But she has turned that grief into something bitter that has tried to make people forget that her son, Casey Sheehan, fought for his country proudly and that he died believing that his country was worth fighting and dying for. Cindy Sheehan has made the statement that our country is not worth dying for. Cindy, our country is worth dying for and your son believed in his country. Go home and leave him in peace.

CJ at Soldier's Prespective has a link to a great video that shows her hypocrisy and her grandstanding.

Watch this video from Sparks From the Anvil.

Linked: Knockin' On The Golden Door


Some Days

Have you ever had one of those days in which you are just mad at the world for no reason? Today was one of those for me. A few years ago I would have snapped at everyone but I've learned it just makes you madder. So I managed to get through this dreary day and came home and relaxed for awhile. Played around with Photostudio for awhile and liked some of the results. I would like Photoshop and downloaded the 30 day trial version a few months ago but the price tag is just a little too much especially when I have my eyes on a new camera with better and interchangeable zoom lens. I missed a great picture of a red tailed hawk the other day because I couldn't get close enough.

That put me into a good enough mood to call another of my Dad's cousins. He is a sprightly 91 year old! It's hard calling family out of the blue when you don't know them but he was more than welcoming. His was able to confirm that my grandmother worked for a newspaper in Bloomington Illinois. He also told me that she was a secretary for Adlai Stevenson, not the one who ran for president but his father. And I also learned she was a pianist. She died in 1943 I believe though I still haven't been able to find the exact date nor the circumstance.

Such are the interesting tidbits that family history is made of. I had known that my grandfather had joined the Army when he was 17. He was told he would be a pilot. This is 1922, think bi-planes. He did learn to fly, something which I never knew about him. The only problem was, once he did learn to fly, the Army being like it was then, assigned him the duty of repairing the wings of the planes. They were made of fabric so he spent his time sewing! Not being the glamorous pilot as he wanted, he let out how old he really was and was given an honorable discharge.

My Dad's cousin was able to tell me so much. Some I had deduced from the information I had at hand but it is still good to have confirmation. The best thing is his son is also doing genealogy research and I should be receiving more information in the mail.

Some days you just don't know what to expect!

This Would Be Funny

The following story would be a funny way of dealing with a long commute if it didn't point out what the woman of Saudi Arabia have to go through.

Four Saudi women teaching in a remote village school have married their driver so they can live closer to work, Al-Watan newspaper said on Monday.

The newspaper said the women from Al-Baha province in south-west Saudi Arabia were impressed with the man's "good morals" and decided to marry him and live together in the village where they teach -- avoiding a tiring daily commute.

They were married in a short ceremony, and have agreed to pay the driver a share of their monthly salaries, Al-Watan said. Women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, while men can marry up to four women according to Islamic law. Yahoo News

There are so many injustices in this story. Women cannot drive. Men can marry up to four wives. Women must be accompanied by a male at all times. A man can divorce a wife anytime he wants to but a woman cannot divorce her husband with the same ease. A woman must wear a veil because Islam considers every part of her to be sexual in nature. Ah, Islam, the protector of womens rights!

Linked: Elmer's Brother He has a nice round-up of other bloggers informative posts.

Trying My Best

I am trying my best to forget that this is the third month since Hurricane Katrina destroyed my Mississippi Gulf Coast. But it is futile. The 29th of any month for now will always bring me back to August 29. I have been through two major hurricanes before, Frederick in 1979 and Elena in 1985. I have been through Georges. Yet none of these come close to searing in my brain the awesome power of nature. Until Katrina hit, I can honestly say that I had never been terrified before, scared yes, terrified no and there is a difference. Three months on and I can still hear the howling of the winds and see the debris flying in the air and the terror of wondering if the roof was going to come off.

The scenes of destruction in the places I love are printed indelibly in my mind. I don't need pictures to recall what the streets looked like as I made my way home from the shelter of my sisters house. The downed power lines, the trees all over the place, the houses so terribly damaged, the dazed looks of people coming out of their homes, the circuitous route I had to take, the fear of what I would find when I did get home, the worry about my son, all of these things are freeze framed in my mind.

Time has not stood still as one might expect. I have found strengths that I never knew I had. I have found the courage to face my demons and what I am most fearful of, the loss of my job. Though the first few weeks were in doubt, my job was in intact at very reduced hours. I had hoped to be able to post some pictures yesterday on the start of construction on the plant, but like all things down here, time has a different meaning. But I'll leave you with a sequence of pictures showing the progress that has been made.

The plant the Saturday before Katrina struck

August 29, 2005, Central Ave, the road leading to the offices and plant, courtesy of J.D.

The plant days after Katrina struck, courtesy of J.D.

The plant a week after Kartina struck

The plant last month, all the scrap metal has been cleared and the slab awaits it's new building

Progress is being made. Slow though it is at times. The memories of that day are still as fresh as recalling what I had for breakfast a little over an hour ago. You learn to cope with the phone service that is still messed up, the problems with banking that are still ongoing, the mail delivery service still being hit and miss, the traffic lights that suddenly stop working for a couple of days, the long, long lines anywhere you go, and the traffic jams. You learn a lot about patience. You cope by having a sense of humor. Like the other day, I was at an old bridge that is now used as a fishing pier to take some pictures. I couldn't take any though because I was laughing too hard. You see, a fisherman that was there had positioned himself under some power lines. These power lines held dozens upon dozens of commerants and the inevitable happened. One had a call of nature and it landed on the hapless fisherman's head. He was laughing just as hard as I while doing all sorts of contortions to clean himself off.


Progress in the Condemnation of Terror?

The European Union and members of Mediterranean states meet to hammer out an anti-terrorism code. The Mediterranean states participating were Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and senior delegates from Egypt, Algeria, Israel, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Tunisia and Morocco.

In the two day summit, Arab insistence that "violence" was allowable by those under "foreign occupation" was overcome.

Still, participants praised the anti-terrorism code, which reiterates the "total condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and our determination to eradicate it." It also declares terrorism is a "global challenge" requiring international cooperation to stop.
The anti-terrorism code of conduct commits the EU, Israel and its Arab neighbors to "prevent terrorists accessing money and weapons, to disrupt their plans and disrupt their networks and to bring them to justice by strengthening international cooperation."

The response to terrorism must be "proportionate and solidly anchored within international and domestic legal frameworks that ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms," it also says.Yahoo News

I'll believe the Arab countries commitment to this when they voice condemnation upon suicide bombers, Qassam rocket attacks, and drive by shootings in which Israeli citizens are the victims and targets.

One thing I was happy to see was that the European Union is going to link more directly it's financial aid to the Arab countries democratic and economic reforms.


USA Presbyterian Church and Hizbullah

Hizbullah is a terrorist organization that has been behind terrorist attacks from Buenos Aires Argentina to the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia. They are a major backer of suicide bombers and are actively involved in supporting terrorists financially as well as being the planners behind numerous attacks. They speak of peace to delegates from the Presbyterian Church and even families of 9-11 victims and yet continue to be the force behind terrorist attacks.

The following is an excerpt of Hizbullah policies provided by the Jewish Virtual Library:


Hizballah has consistently tried to paint itself as a moderate national liberation organization aimed at introducing the Islam that is confident in achieving justice, as well as introducing the Islam that protects all human rights. It tries to portray an image as a group who would rather not commit acts of terror, but must for the benefit of the Arab world.

After expressing written statements against terrorist attacks, the Secretary General of Hizballah, Hassan Nasrallah, communicated to a Lebanese audience at a memorial for a Hizballah suicide bomber that we must continue the path of resistance and the path of the First and Second Intifada.

How can the Presbyterian Church delegates meet with these degenerate murderers who advocate the killing of innocent people? How can they call for divestment in Israel when the majority of suicide bombing attacks are aimed at Israeli citizens?

Presbyterian Church USA, headed by Father Nihad Tu'meh and with Robert Worley as its spokesman, visited southern Lebanon at the invitation of Hizbullah, and met there with the terrorist organization's commander in southern Lebanon, Nabil Qawuq.
Delegation spokesman Robert Worley said: "We do not wish to defend the U.S. administration. We all elected the Democratic Party against the Republican Party. Rest assured that we will return to the U.S. in order to continue our activity for peace, and we want to hear about the charity activities and the cultural and social activities organized by Hizbullah in south [Lebanon]. The Americans hear in the Western media that Hizbullah is a terrorist organization, and they do not hear any other opinion. They know nothing about the party's concern for the people of the south. We have suffered much pressure on the part of Jewish organizations in the U.S. because [of our help in] divesting corporations working with Israel. We want Jerusalem to be a united city, just as we encouraged the Palestinians and the Jews to work for peace, and we demanded that our administration adheres to this position." [5] MEMRI

Does Mr. Worley realize that the so called charity activities are screens to raise money to continue suicide attacks against women, children, old men, old women, infants, and teenagers in Israel? Hizbullah is responsible for a lot of deaths of innocents, not just Israelis but Americans. He makes the statement that President Bush's administration does not recognize the work Hizbullah does for the people in south Lebanon. The reason President Bush doesn't recognize the so called works of Hizbullah is because it is a terrorist organization seeking ultimately the destruction of Israel by any means necessary and that they were behind the attacks on the Lebanese barracks which killed American soldiers and the attacks behind the US Embassy in Lebanon during the 1980's.

Suicide bombers and those groups like Hizbullah who fund them should not be supported in any manner. Hizbullah is a group of cold blooded killers and Presbyterians should really question what their church is doing in their name by divesting from Israel and by meeting with terrorist groups such as Hizbullah. There is no way this can be whitewashed by saying that Israel is oppressive to Palestinians. This is the second year in which Mr. Worley has meet with this terrorist group. There is no justification for supporting depraved murderers who strap on their deadly explosives and kill people while they're at pizza parlors, on a bus, by a hospital, or whatever is targeted. There certainly should be no justification if the victims are Israelis. Terrorism is terrorism whether it occurs in Israel, London, Madrid, New York, Beslan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Chechnya, India, and numerous other places. Groups like Hizbullah should not be supported either by meeting with them or financially.

Linked: Right Faith


Congress We Need Help Now

The following are a mix of pictures I've taken in Gulfport and Biloxi after Hurricane Katrina. These are but a small sampling of the number I've taken and from just a few areas. I took some yesterday and realized that I could continue to take pictures of the destruction day after day and still they would only give to someone who hasn't seen it with their own eyes only a small indication of what we are facing as far as rebuilding. Progress in some areas is measured by how much debris has been picked up. In other areas, businesses and homes have already had repairs made. But along the immediate Coast, the progress is seeing the debris piles disappear.

There is a debate going on in Congress over the budget. I know a lot of people are concerned about the budget deficit and want to see spending trimmed. I would usually be among the first to say yes, don't pass the budget until more cuts are made. But this time around the budget debate is holding up much needed funds for us to rebuild and repair major highways. Unlike Louisiana, our governor has a realistic request of around $40 billion to help our recovery efforts in Mississippi. The money Mississippi needs can be allocated out of existing funds without adding to the budget deficit. They are part of the emergency funds already earmarked and would not affect by very much what is already in there.

There are two bridges that need to be rebuilt and one that needs much needed repairs. Highway 90 is a major thoroughfare that links all the Coastal cities from Pascagoula to Waveland. It is washed out in places.

Windjammer Condos on the left and the Beau Rivage on the right.
The condos will more than likely have to be torn down. The Beau Rivage has set-up an re-opening date of August 29, 2006, the one anniversary of Katrina. Biloxi

I had to include a shot of my favorite watering hole when I was in my early 20's. The Upstairs Downstairs, Biloxi

Cars and houses ended up in the oddest predicaments. Off Water St, Biloxi

I used to go to this church when I was a child. First Baptist Church, Hwy 90, Gulfport MS

The feel and smell of thousands of books was wiped out in 8 hours of pure destruction. Gulfport Main Library, Hwy 90

Bikes also ended up in weird predicaments. In front of the slab of where the White Cap Restaurant used to be. Gulfport Small Craft Harbor, Hwy 90

A note to clean-up crews. A live bait shop next to the boat launch ramps at Gulfport Small Craft Harbor

Sunset, D'Iberville

Clicking on images will enlarge them

Linked: Knockin' On The Golden Door


Mindless & Cruel Custom

In Pakistan, the custom of vani was supposed to have been outlawed in January. Vani is the settling of disputes by 'marrying' girls from the offending family to men from the supposedly aggrieved clan. It still exists but some girls who were forced into this cruel practice are fighting back. One such girl, Amna, a woman now, was given to the gift of education to fight it as were her sisters.

Amna was 'married' at the age of 10 and her 'husband' asked that she come live with him when she received her degree.

Amna and her sisters problems started when her uncle supposedly killed a member of the clan she is was forced into marrying into. Her and her sisters as well as many women in Pakistan are forced to pay for the crimes committed by their male relatives.

Amna's troubles began when her uncle was alleged to have to murdered someone from a neighbouring clan.

The aggrieved party asked for the five girls in marriage in order to forgive and forget the murder.

Her father, Amna says, was powerless at the time to stop the deal.

But he chose a novel defence - he decided to educate his girls so they could fight the tradition themselves.

"It was primarily his support that encouraged us to raise our voice," she says.

"Sajida is my father's favourite and the most outspoken among us.

"But all of us had vowed that even if our father buckled under pressure, we would rather commit suicide than to go with our husbands."

One can sense her resentment when she talks about the village maulvi (cleric) who performed the child marriage ceremony.

"He should have known that Islam does not permit such practices," she says.

And she is convinced that her only ally in this dangerous situation is education.

Her village has two schools but they are used, in her words, "to keep cattle".

That was why her father, Jehan Khan Niazi, an accounts officer with a local government department, took her girls to the neighbouring district of Khushab for their schooling.

"I had no option at the time I agreed to give my daughters in vani," Mr Niazi told the BBC.

"The village council gave me only five minutes to decide and that too under the shadow of a gun," he says.

"Even the maulvi told me that the only way to save our lives was to accept the decision of the jirga. Maybe I was a coward, what else can I say?"

Meanwhile, Amna says her family are in peril.

"But I would rather die than to succumb to this mindless and cruel custom." BBC News

Even though their father was forced at the point of a gun to sacrifice his daughters under the cruel and mindless vani, he did give them a weapon in which to fight when they became older: education. Two acts of courage, a father that educated his daughters and the daughters for fighting. I wish them well. They're going to need a lot more courage in the days ahead. For even if and when Amna wins her battle against vani, in a Muslim society, she is still not considered equal and will have to face many the Sharia laws that are staked against women.

Linked: Elmers Brother , a round-up of different bloggers, some very interesting reads.

Memories of Dad

Today my Dad would have been 74. It's the second birthday of his to go by since his death. The pain of his loss is still there. He was the one member of my family that knew what was in my heart when I was talking to him and understood me as no other. We shared a love of books, mainly history and science and would discuss them. He introduced me to the world of classical music.

He had a great many faults but always seemed to make up for them with his great sense of humor. I still remember the times he would do the cooking. His specialty was chicken cacciatore. There would be pans galore as he created his masterpiece and it was always a treat when he would cook it.

He loved Victory at Sea and would have the volume set so high, the windows would vibrate and you could hear it from the road. He and his Seabee buddies used to have great parties, usually at our house. One Halloween, they decided to have a scavenger hunt and enlisted us kids to help find the items. That was a lot of fun. The barbecues on the beach were also a lot of fun.

He taught us to respect our Mom first and foremost.

When we lived in Germany, while he was still in the Army, he would take us into the mountains in the spring to go blueberry picking and in the winter play in the snow with us. We would visit gashauses.

He was always just there and now he isn't. I miss him but the pain of his loss is tempered with sweet memories and the knowledge that his passing went so very peacefully. It may seem strange but I still talk to him.

Not Ditzy, Just Imaginative

You ever have those moments when you can't remember the name of the person standing in front of you? Or you can't remember where you placed your keys? Or in my case, always forgetting your house key? I have to keep my house key on a separate key chain from my car keys because I am inclined to lock myself out of my car as well as my house. I not ditzy, just highly imaginative, at least according to a new study.

People like me have trouble ignoring all that we see. We can't seem to block out all that visual input.

Researchers measured brainwaves as objects popped into the minds of the test subjects, who watched colored rectangles appear on a computer screen. In one experiment, researchers told the subjects to focus on two red rectangles and ignore two blue ones.

Without exception, one group had all the rectangles in mind, while another group of individuals -- who were already deemed to have high memory capacity -- consistently excelled at dismissing the blue rectangles.

"People differed systematically, and dramatically, in their ability to keep irrelevant items out of awareness," said study leader Edward Vogel of the University of Oregon.

Vogel thinks of this ability to focus as akin to having a thought bouncer in the brain, managing crowd control. The results, detailed in the Nov. 24 issue of the journal Nature, suggest ways to improve memory abilities.

"Being 'scatterbrained' is often a symptom of a hectic modern life in which we are often overcommitted, overworked, and inundated with information," Vogel told LiveScience. "Given such an environment, it would not be surprising if many of our important cognitive control processes become overtaxed and less efficient. Attentional training may be able to improve one's ability to bounce irrelevant information from awareness."

Imagine that

Not that the lack of a bouncer is necessarily bad thing.

"There may be advantages to having a lot of seemingly irrelevant information coming to mind," Vogel points out. "Being a bit scattered tends to be a trait of highly imaginative people."Yahoo News

I'll have to remember this the next time I have to call my son to get his house key or ask my neighbor to "break" into my house for me or call my brother to help me unlock my car. I'm not ditzy, just very, very imaginative.


A Day of Thanksgiving

This Thanksgiving is very special. For Hurricane Katrina has taught me the things to be truly grateful for. First and foremost is my son. I was so worried about him during the storm. He had stayed with his Dad and by some miracle, his Dad's phone was one of the two I could call after the storm had passed and was able to learn everything was okay and hear his voice. He said he had been trying to reach me during the storm. After that, I had no dial tone for two days and my cell phone wouldn't work either.

I am thankful that all members of my family were safe and we survived the storm in the shelter of my sister Debbies' house. I am thankful that my house suffered no damage.

I am thankful that all of the people I know in Mississippi and Louisiana survived. Many lost all, their businesses and their homes, but none died.

I am thankful that even though Gollott's Seafood lost its plant, its offices, and all its seafood inventory, my bosses have made the decision to rebuild and that we are in the process of rebuilding and I can continue to work even though the hours are reduced.

I am thankful that I always had running water which made going without power for 12 days bearable. Even though it was under a boil water notice, it made such things as taking showers and flushing toilets possible.

I am thankful for the power crews that came from all over the United States and Canada and restored power almost a month ahead of schedule.

I am thankful for the telephone crews that are still working so very hard to restore phone service. Most of the phone lines are underground and this actually makes repairing the phone network that much more difficult.

I am thankful for the policemen and firemen of the cities of Gulfport, Biloxi, D'Iberville, and all the other cities along the Mississippi Gulf Coast that stayed on duty even when they didn't know the status of their families and many learned that their homes had been destroyed.

I am thankful for all the policemen and firemen from across the United States who came and helped.

I am thankful for FEMA who had water and ice on the Coast within three days of the storm.

I am thankful for the National Guard Units from across the country who also have helped out.

I am thankful to Keesler Air Force Base and the Naval Construction Battalion Center who provided technical advice to help restore water and sewage utilities and repaired schools, cleared roads, and are still building temporary shelters in towns like Pass Christian and Waveland.

I am thankful that the government leaders of the Coastal cities, the State of Mississippi and the Federal government implemented plans in a timely manner that saved many lives and provided food and tarps for damaged roofs.

I am thankful for the generous outpouring of my fellow Americans and am humbled.

I am thankful for the many church groups, the Salvation Army, and the Red Cross who are still down here helping us.

I am thankful to live in the United States of America.

I am thankful to the military men and women who make it possible for us to live in freedom and protect us from harm and I am humbled.

I am thankful to be alive.

Those Who Came to Help

The tent city set-up at the airfield in Gulfport for some the National Guard units that were deployed to the Coast.

A POD( point of distribution), water, ice and food were distribued at these places and until the last week or two were manned by National Guard units. This is where I would receive MRE's(Meals Ready to Eat). I would drive through open the trunk and water, ice, and MRE's would be stuffed in there and then they would load the back seat.

A Red Cross volunteer from Michigan. The Red Cross trucks would deliver hot lunches and dinners to those in D'Iberville, Biloxi, Gulfport, and other cities along the coast.

Salvation Army volunteers. The lady on the right is from Canada, the couple in the yellow shirts from Kansas City, and the man on the left is from Virginia. They are now delivering hot meals in D'Iberville.

A Perfect Day

I might have to try my hand at cooking more often. The turkey was browned just right and so tender and juicy it literally pulled from the bones. The stuffing was just right and everything else from the broccoli and cheese to the peas and mushrooms in lemon butter sauce turned out well. Even my sweet potato casserole with the marshmallows on top turned out this time.

I has been a very good day. My son's brother and his girlfriend came over and we played Wheel of Fortune on PlayStation2. A lot of cheating went on which always makes it that much more fun.

Then they all left just in time for me to take a nice afternoon cat nap and then watch Operation Petticoat which starred Cary Grant and Tony Curtis.

A very good and perfect day and here's hoping that y'all had a great Thanksgiving too.


Read and Be Thankful

There's a post a Sgt. Hook's that left me in tears. Tomorrow as we celebrate Thanksgiving with our families, say a prayer for our men and women of our Armed Forces and their families. Go and read Home for Thanksgiving.

Memories of Cooking

It has been almost 10 years since I prepared a Thanksgiving meal. My son usually goes to his Dad's and I usually go to my sister Debbie's house. He asked me to cook a turkey this year since he's not going over to his Dad's for Thanksgiving. A lot of memories started flooding back to when he was between 3 & 5 and the rituals that were made in preparing the feast.

One of his jobs was mixing the ingredients for the stuffing after I had placed them in bowl. The only way to do it is by hand. He loved it and after he'd finish, he'd climb down the chair, make his hands into claws and try to touch my arms with his goo covered hands, all the while giggling.

His next job was to place marshmallows on top of the sweet potato casserole. The years he did, the top of the casserole was always lopsided because he usually ate more than he put on. Same with helping with the Waldorf salad.

These are precious memories and I'll always cherish them. Now I have to make a list of the things I forgot yesterday and try to make it to the store before the big crush starts.


Ah, Family

Having trouble getting your grown children to come over for Thanksgiving? Try this technique:

A man in Phoenix calls his son in New York the day before Thanksgiving and says,"I hate to ruin your day, but I have to tell you that your mother and I are divorcing; forty-five years of misery is enough. "Pop, what are you talking about?" the son screams. We can't stand the sight of each other any longer," the father says. "We're sick of each other, and I'm sick of talking about this, so you call your sister in Chicago and tell her."

Frantic, the son calls his sister, who explodes on the phone. "Like heck they're getting divorced," she shouts, "I'll take care of this," She calls Phoenix immediately, and screams at her father, "You are NOT getting divorced. Don't do a single thing until I get there. I'm calling my brother back, and we'll both be there tomorrow. Until then,don't do a thing, DO YOU HEAR ME?" and hangs up. The old man hangs up his phone and turns to his wife. "Okay," he says,"they're coming for Thanksgiving and paying their own way

The joys of family and holidays.

A Marine Hero

Staff Sergeant Jerod Murphy earned the Thomas V. Fredian Community Service Award for helping to rescue 200 in Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina struck. He is with the 4th Amphibious Assault Battalion based in Gulfport. He and his team of 4 others rescued 130 people on Biloxi's Point Cadet hours after Katrina had subsided. The next day, 70 were rescued from Pass Christian's Henderson Point.Article: SunHerald

Murphy was also the first from Mississippi to receive the Purple Heart after he was wounded in Iraq. He was shot in the elbow near the town of el Sharta in March of 2003.

He is also very active in Long Beach, coaching soccer, football, and Marine Corp martial arts.

Mississippians love our military. They help so much down here not just after hurricanes. A big majority participate in community service activities. But the most recognition they gain is after the hurricanes. Thank you Staff Sergeant Murphy and all the others who have helped Mississippi recover.



I have read this at several sites already but am still outraged about what happened to milblogger Grey Eagle's. She blogs from Iraq and had set-up a tribute to soldiers who had fallen in defense of freedom.

Just to explain, as it seems to be a big question. When I add a new soldier to the tributes script/program it prints to the website "you have been hacked....Bush lied..." no matter what I type. So while it does not seem to have affected what I previously did, I cannot add anymore soldiers to my tribute. I can delete, but not add. But there have been many offers to fix or rebuild the website, which I hope to accept their offers and never have this happen again.

She just wants the freedom to post what she has to say and to honor the men and women who have died. I cannot understand the sickness of the hacker or hackers who did this to her site. There are people who are trying to help her straighten out what the hackers did and a lot of people have left comments in support of her. Please do the same. She shares them with the others in her company.

Linked: The Right Place

More Pictures You Won't See in the News

Michael Yon's latest dispatch from Iraq are pictures that many will probably not see. They are a photo essay of the good things our military are doing over there. Iraqi kids love American soldiers.

Trouble With Fairies

Imagine that you are a developer in the United Kingdom. You've invested money and time into a piece of land and want to build homes on it. You are all set to start building and are in the process of removing a large rock, one that you plan to use to place the name of your development. Then you are confronted with an environmental issue. This one doesn't involve an animal or plant that is near extinction. It is involves ethereal fairies. That's right fairies as in Tinkerbell. It seems the villagers of St Fillans are afraid that the removal of the rock will upset the fairies that live under it.

What's a developer to do? Build the houses around the rock, of course. All the plans had to be changed to take into account the villagers concerns.

The Planning Inspectorate has no specific guidelines on fairies but a spokesman said: Planning guidance states that local customs and beliefs must be taken into account when a developer applies for planning permission. Mr Salter said: We had to redesign the entire thing from scratch. Read the rest: Times Online

I am sure the developer is hoping the fairies will spread some fairy dust next month so construction can begin without any wee mishaps.

Liars Beware

There is a new tool to help those that would lie to commit fraud or terrorism for that matter. Israel has come up with another handy invention that is currently being used in Russian airports and Britain uses the technology in banks and insurance companies.

It's a lie detector and unlike other models has a high accuracy rate. It can be used in many areas for along with high accuracy, it is also very fast.

A new voice analysis system developed by Israeli company Nemesysco and used to detect suspicious passengers, drug smugglers, and terrorists has been recently installed at the Moscow airport.

The system, nicknamed "the hidden magician," has already enabled Russian airport security staff to identify and arrest attempted contraband smugglers, and Russia is now considering the option of installing the technology at all of its border stations and points of entry.

The system operates on the basis of a specialized program that can detect the presence of stress, fear, and anxiety in a person's voice, along with other factors.

The system can quickly perform mass analyses, and can be used on buses and trains, where passengers would only be required to say their names.IRIS

Seems like it would be a good idea to have some of these at bus stations, airports, and train stations in the US. It would be a lot faster than the current bag searches that are done in New York's subway stations.


A Trip to Gulfport Beach After Hurricane Katrina

It's official. I am now a law breaker. Using instructions that my brother gave me, I was able to sneak past the barbed wire and the roadblocks to reach the beach in Gulfport. Right now I feel relief that I was able to visit another of my favorite places and where I had spent a lot of my childhood. Right now I don't feel anything other than that. Maybe I'm becoming immune to scenes of destruction or more likely the tears and nightmares will come later.

As with the pictures from Porter Ave in Biloxi I tried to get the same angles for the after pictures.

Check Point Charlie on Hwy 49(that's what I call it)

Entrance to Gulfport Small Craft Harbor at the edge of Jones Park. The campers are from out of town construction or clean-up crews.

Moses Pier. The before picture was taken the day before Katrina struck. The water was already 4 ft above normal.

Gulfport's Harbor Master

Gulfport Yacht Club. You can see Marine Life in the background.

Urie Pier. I used to just sit on this pier. My Dad did the same before he became too ill. One time I caught a red fish that was 1 inch below legal length. I had to throw it back. Game warden was standing behind me.

The name of the boat in the foreground is All That's Left. Katrina left behind nothing.

I feel that same numbness I had after Hurricane Katrina hit. I just wish people could have seen how truly beautiful my Mississippi Gulf Coast was before that b@tch demolished it. I have more pictures of the destruction around Gulfport Harbor.

I saw herons, pelicans, ducks, even Canadian geese. I did not see any seagulls though, which is strange. The feel of the wind while at the beach soothed me as did the salty air. The breeze was gentle today. The smell of the salty air brought back good memories. I know that we'll rebuild. There were signs of life.

Blue Heron

These ducks seemed peeved because I was paying too much attention to

this handsome fellow. He seemed to pose for me or he knew his name was Duck even though he's a goose(thanks felis).

(Clicking on the images will enlarge them)

Book Report

One of the books I bought last Saturday when I went to Mobile was Choosing A Jewish Life by Anita Diamant. Last year I spoke to some of my family about my desire to convert and they are supportive and unsurprised. I have been reading other books and thought I was doing things backwards in converting but in this new book I am reading I have learned that this is actually one of the things a rabbi will do, assign you books to read about the Jewish life, Jewish history, and Israel. I've been doing this for years.

Last year I took down all the Christian symbols I had in my home and gave them to my sister. This year, I am going to celebrate Hannukah instead of Christmas. I think this is going to be the most difficult part. Christmas has always been an intergal part of my life and my family life. No more Christmas tree! I discussed it with my son and he has no problems with this. I'll be letting my family know in the next couple of weeks.

I don't know how to go about preparing for Hannukah but I will learn. One of the things the book mentioned was that a potential convert should start participating in Jewish holidays and though I don't yet have a rabbi to guide me, I'm going to proceed.

My heart actually leapt when I learned I have the Right to Return to Israel because my grandfather was Jewish. I found about it while reading a post at If I forget thee....

4A. (a) The rights of a Jew under this Law and the rights of an oleh under the Nationality Law, 5712-1952***, as well as the rights of an oleh under any other enactment, are also vested in a child and a grandchild of a Jew, the spouse of a Jew, the spouse of a child of a Jew and the spouse of a grandchild of a Jew, except for a person who has been a Jew and has voluntarily changed his religion. MFA

Those words, "If I forget thee oh Jerusalem" have always spoken to me in ways I cannot articulate.

Next up, finding a rabbi to guide me and learning Hebrew!


A Visit to Edgewater Mall

Edgewater Mall sits on Hwy 90 at the waters edge. It was heavily damaged by Hurricane Katrina and Edgewater Village Shopping Mall which is adjacent was gutted by Hurricane Katrina. So it was with great anticipation that upon learning Edgewater Mall was reopening, I left to do some shopping.

My first stop was Sears which is one of the stores closest to the beach. I was shocked when I went in. Imagine walking into your local Sears store and seeing nothing but a vastness with here and there small corners of clothing, shoes, and other items. It had no men's clothing and very few women's clothing. The sales clerks were apologetic about the scant offerings but hey at least they are open.

Edgewater Mall has approximately 100 shops. There were maybe ten open. I was anticipating going to Walden Books but alas it was closed and there is nothing but empty floor space and sheetrock that is waiting to be painted.

The were only about 6 stores that were fully stocked and they were on the northern end of the mall furtherist from the water.

It will be a long while before the stores at Edgewater Village will be able to open. I was hoping that just maybe Books A Million would be open since it was at the northern end. But no go.

The southern end of Edgewater Village Shopping Center


Trekkie I Am!

One of my bosses always accuses me of having a Star Trek uniform in my closet. I am a devoted Star Trek for the original and Captain Picard is a better captain then Captain Kirk. (Heresy to some!) Therefore I wasn't too surprised by the results of this quiz:

You scored as Enterprise D (from Star Trek). You have high ideals and know in your heart that humanity will continue to evolve into a better people. Now if only the borg would quit assimilating people.

Enterprise D (from Star Trek)


Nebuchadnezzar (from The Matrix)


Moya (from Farscape)


Millennium Falcon (from Star Wars)


Serenity (from Firefly)


SG-1 (from Stargate)


Galactica (from Battlestar: Galactica)


Bebop (from Cowboy Bebop)


Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com

Which crew do you belong to?

New Views of Biloxi Beach

This afternoon I went to one of my favorite haunts. I wanted to see what Hurricane Katrina had done to it. I've spent many happy hours on the Porter Ave pier and walking along the boardwalk that used to go around the I-110 loop toward the Beau Rivage. I could spend a day there and never get bored. From listening to the yarns the fishermen on the pier would tell to the tourists, to watching the boats coming in and heading toward the Biloxi Small Craft Harbor, to the pelicans, and to just people watching, it was always changing.

Below are some before and after pictures. The pier is gone as is most of the boardwalk, the beautiful historic homes that used to grace the beach, and the beautiful white sands are now stained by the debris.

I tried to shoot the after pictures from the same angles as the before. I could only approximate the one for the Biloxi light house as the pier I took the before shot is gone. The same for the shot of the Beau Rivage. I took the before while on the pier.

It felt good to have grains of sand in my shoes but I had a lump in my throat when I saw what Hurricane Katrina had done. Clicking on the images will enlarge them.

The sunset had the colors of the rainbow in it. I take it as God's promise that He is with us always and that He has craved us in the palm of His hands.

Linked: Carnival of the Magnolias IV hosted by Everyman Chronicles. There is a diverse selections of posts to choose from.


You would think trying to have a lunch date with someone wouldn't be to difficult. I had to revise that premise yesterday.

The first time he came for us to go, I told him I had to wait for my Mom to pick up my house key and we should be able to leave in about 30 minutes. And why did my Mom need my house key? Because the blue roof put on her home after Hurricane Katrina started shredding during the winds we've been having the past couple of days. Then power was lost to one side of her house and it's in the 50's during the day and the low 30's at night. We are experiencing a cold snap.

He comes back in 30 minutes, still no show on my Mom. I can't leave without giving her the key. He waits patiently while I attend to last minute reports needed by the company's insurance agent. Another 30 minutes pass, still no Mom. I suggest he go and pick us up something and we can eat it at the office.

He does and the rest of the people in the office are kind enough to leave without it being suggested.

In the meantime, I call one my bosses sons to see if he knows of a contractor who can go and help out my Mom and sister. He couldn't find anyone but came in and said he would go and fix it himself for them. It still brings a lump to my throat about the generosity he showed. But my sister had got in touch with the people who do the blue roofs and they are to be at there today to recover the roof.

After lunch, I called my sister and she said she couldn't get any electricians to come out and check on the problems they're having. I call one of the electricians our company uses and he said he could be at their house in 2 hours. He was and he fixed the broken braker that was causing the problems.

So many people are willing to help out people they don't even know. As far as another lunch date, possibly.


Neon Lights & Flood Maps

The recovery after Hurricane Katrina is gaining momentum in Mississippi. Today all but three casinos have announced their plans to reopen or rebuild. The three exceptions are Casino Magic in Biloxi and the Grand Casinos in Biloxi and Gulfport. The Mississippi Gaming said the three casinos stated they were not far enough into their plans to make any announcement. I hope that means they'll reopen and add their neon lights and make the Coast glow again.

Below is a partial list of the casinos that plan to reopen by December or within two years:
Imperial Palace plans to reopen its casino Dec. 20 and is already running holiday-themed advertisements to herald the occasion.

Isle of Capri Biloxi plans to reopen Dec. 26 with a gambling floor inside its new hotel.

The Palace Casino plans to reopen on Dec. 30.

Beau Rivage plans to reopen on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Aug. 29, followed by its new golf course in the autumn of 2006.

Boomtown Casino could potentially open with a new barge within six months.

Casino Magic Bay St. Louis will open its golf course in mid-December and could possibly open a casino in nine months.

Copa Casino will reopen with a new land-based facility in about two years.SunHerald

It's good to see so many casinos coming back by December. The Coast's rebuilding efforts will be spurred on and in fact are progressing at a good rate. There is one thing that is holding back some rebuilding though. Cities are holding back rebuilding permits until the new FEMA flood maps are posted. These maps are to be posted tommorow. But some things are anticipated:

FEMA has increased flood elevations by 3 to 8 feet along the Coast. Building to those elevations, whether local governments require it or not, will protect structures in future floods. Current maps are outdated and, FEMA says, understate flood risk.SunHerald

There is concern because while the new maps will increase the flood elevation by 3 to 8 feet, there are still many areas that were affected by Hurricane Katrina's storm surge that will not be covered. With a 20 to 40 foot storm surge that slammed across the Mississippi Coast, many areas that were flooded were not listed on any previous floodplains and will still not be with the new FEMA maps. Many people are considering buying flood insurance just in case.

Justice Reaffirmed

Some how I missed the first decision made by the Mississippi Supreme Court on October 13 to deny bond to Edgar Killen. That despicable member of the degenerate Klu Klux Klan who played a direct role in the murders of three civil rights workers, James Chaney, Michael Schwerner and Andrew Goodman in 1964. I was disgusted when Judge Gordon released him on bail.

Attorney General Hood filed to have the bond revoked and once again the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled that there was problems with the bond and has denied it.

Edgar Ray Killen, the former Ku Klux Klan leader convicted of manslaughter for orchestrating the 1964 slayings of three civil rights workers, has again been denied bond while he appeals his case.Clarion Ledger

Killen is a hate filled man and should spend the rest of his unnatural life behind bars. He was responsible for cutting the lives of three people short and no leniency should be shown to him because of his age or for any other reason.

Linked: Check out the other posts for this week.Homespun Bloggers Best of the Week 11-21-05


Ayaan Hirsi Ali, an MP in the Netherlands, is very outspoken about Islam and received death threats after her work with Theo van Gogh on Submission. van Gogh was killed by an Islamist.

The film Submission dealt with the life of a woman under Islam and caused an uproar.

The plot centred around a Muslim woman forced into a marriage against her wishes, who was then beaten, raped and punished for falling in love with someone else. BBC News

She is working on another movie now. She and van Gogh had co-written the script to this movie in 2004, months before he was stabbed to death. It is called Submission II and deals with the treatment of homosexuals under Islam. This will more than likely cause more death threats against her.

Homosexuality is not well tolerated under Islam.

Mainstream Islamic thought treats Islam and homosexuality as incompatible, and hostility to homosexuals is widespread in many parts of the Muslim world.

I salute Ms. Ali's courage to take on Islam and expose the brutality under which many women live under Islam. And her mettle shines through with this next endeavor. Not many people would try to pursue something like this after their co-writer has been murdered and while under death threats. Keep on writing and filming the truth about Islam. The world needs more people like you.

Linked: Open Source Media

Camera Help

Any suggestions on what to try when you keep getting a message on your camera that says your memory card is an unsupported card?

I've tried cleaning the card.

UPDATE: Problem solved. Memory stick was bad and a good excuse for doubling the memory size.


A Muslim Woman's Right in the Netherlands

The courts in the Netherlands have upheld a Muslim woman's right not to wear the hajib. Samira Haddad had applied for a job at the Islamic College of Amsterdam. When she was interviewed she was not wearing the hajib. She was asked if she was Muslim and when she said yes, the interview was terminated.

The courts in the Netherlands ruled that she had been discriminated against and that the college could not compel Muslim women to wear headscarves.

Ms Haddad complained to a local anti-discrimination body, but the school cited the Koran in its defence. She then took the case to the Equality Commission, which decided that the Koran was not legally binding in the Netherlands.Times Online

The Koran is not legally binding in the Netherlands! A mark for common sense on the part of the Netherlands' courts and an affirmation of woman's rights.

Breaking Up

I received this via e-mail from Billy G:

Revenge is a dish best served cold.Klingon Proverb Both letters appear to be computer generated and was originally a PowerPoint file. I liked it. Hope you enjoy.

Linked: Stuck on Stupid Trackbacks
Knockin' On The Golden Door

My Thoughts Exactly

Mark at Knockin' on the Golden Door posted about the very talented Yaakov Kirschen over 3 weeks ago and I had my first introduction to him. He is a talented political cartoonist and he has one today that expresses my thoughts about the arm twisting that was done by Condoleeza Rice in regards to allowing more freedom of movement of those of the PA.

Just when you think that President Bush and his administration are going back to their hardline on the terrorists that attack or attempt to attack Israel and her citizens on a daily basis: Bushwhacked

(Used by Permission)


The Pursuit

Eight years ago I started out on a journey to discover my family's history. It was and is an interesting pursuit that has taken many different and at times unexpected turns. The family names that I thought would be the hardest to track have in fact proven to be the easiest and those names I have been able to trace with the help of family members I've met via the internet who are doing the same genealogy research. A person who has helped tremendously is also doing research and we thought we were related because of the same family names but alas, it was a different family. But she had a family chart that pertained to my family and is invaluable. So, thus far, I have been able to trace one family name to the early 1800's and one to the 1700's. One side starts in Virginia before the War of 1812. The other starts at Tulchin Ukraine.

The woman who helped me trace a part of my Jewish roots also gave me the number of one of my Dad's cousins. She is a lively 93 year old woman and knew who I was right away. She was able to direct me to two of my great-uncle's children, one in New York and one in Chicago.

So the pursuit of family history is once more afoot.

Disabled Haloscan Comments

I have disabled Haloscan comments. I've had issues with them and that's why I went back to Blogger comments. All Haloscan comments that were on the main page have been copied to Blogger. At some point when I have loads of time on my hand, I may copy the Haloscan comments on the archived pages to Blogger.


Good News From the Land of the Pharaohs

Egypt has released blogger Abdolkarim. The Big Pharaoh reports:

Egyptian blogger Abdolkarim has been released after 18 days behind bars. He posted a short entry on his blog saying that he will tell us about what happened to him and that he thanks everyone who stood beside him even if he/she didn't share his thoughts. Of course, those who helped Abdolkarim include a lot of non-Egyptians who took the time to email or call the Egyptian embassies around the world.

I will keep you posted with his new entries.

Great news and great job by all those who e-mailed or called Egyptian embassies. Let freedom of speech reign!

Linked: Clarity & Resolve


Since I've been receiving a lot of hits from people along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, I've added links to videos of Hurricane Katrina's Storm surge in Biloxi, Gulfport, and Slidell. As soon as the site for the Beau Rivage storm surge video is up again, I'll add that one too. Many of these sites also have pictures taken after Hurricane Katrina hit.

Further down my sidebar, I have a Flickr photo album of pictures I took of the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the months before Katrina struck. I'll be adding more. If any Coastal residents would like to share their before pictures, I'll post those in the album also. You can e-mail me at navarone1978athotmaildotcom.

Going Around in Circles

Today, Islam religious leaders expressed their worldview on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Here's what one had to say.

Sheikh Riyad Salah, head of the Islamic movement in Israel has also been active teaching the tenets of Islamic revolution.

We are at the gates of the Islamic revolution, he proclaims in his sermons to Arab citizens of Israel. The global forces of evil will be eliminated from the world and the Islamic nation will remain in place in order to bring about the world Islamic revolution, with its capital, Jerusalem. Hat tip: Clarity & Resolve

While these words are being proclaimed for an Islamic revolution, and the establishment of an Islamic nation with Jerusalem as it's capital, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is scurrying hither and thither trying to broker peace in talks between the PA's Abbas and Israel's Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Once again, the question of border crossings is coming up.
"What is needed is some agreement on how to improve freedom of movement" for Palestinians living in Gaza, she said after meeting Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas.

Israel maintains tight controls on passage in and out of the narrow coastal strip that is home to more than a million Palestinians.
BBC News

Israel comes under almost daily Qassam rocket attacks and suffered another terrorist homicide bombing in Hadera that killed six Israelis on October 26, 2005. And recently, this:

But Mr Wolfensohn, who speaks for the UN, Russia, the EU and the US, added that there had been several incidents of explosives being smuggled in in trucks headed to Israel.

When a country is faced with calls for an Islamic revolution, rocket attacks, suicide bombings, and attempts at smuggling explosives into it, that country has no choice but to keep it's borders tight and restrict movement.
If Palestinians fight terrorism, and Israel works to improve the daily lives of the Palestinian people, peace is both hopeful and realistic.
Condoleezza Rice

The big if in this formula is if the Palestinians fight terrorism. That is the true road to peace, for the terrorism against Israel to end. I'll not be holding my breath.


Israeli Technology to Help With IED Detection

The majority of servicemen, women, and civilians killed in Iraq are the result of IED's, Improvished Explosive Devices. Israel has a lot of experience with IED's and has developed an item which could help us in Iraq. No specifics are given regarding how it works.

At the end of last month, Brigadier General Joseph Votel, a boyish-looking, tall and smiling American, made an urgent request to an old friend of his from Washington - also a brigadier general, but in the Golani Brigade rather than the Rangers - Nitzan Nuriel, the chief of the foreign liaison department of the General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces. So urgent was the message that the Pentagon didn't even update their military attache in Tel Aviv. Votel implored Nuriel to send him a top-secret item the IDF has
developed that could be useful in combating the improvised explosive devices (IED) used against U.S. forces in Iraq. IRIS

The Israelis have always been the true friends of the US in the Middle East. The swift response after the request was made by the US for their technology shows this. Let's all hope this will help in defending our troops against IEDs.

Some Very Good Questions

Islam is referred to as the Religion of Peace and yet the vast majority of the world's terrorist attacks are perpetrated by Muslims. Jihad Watch has questions asked by Dennis Prager in his LA Times column. Below is the first:

1) Why are you so quiet?

Since the first Israelis were targeted for death by Muslim terrorists blowing themselves up in the name of your religion and Palestinian nationalism, I have been praying to see Muslim demonstrations against these atrocities. Last week's protests in Jordan against the bombings, while welcome, were a rarity. What I have seen more often is mainstream Muslim spokesmen implicitly defending this terror on the grounds that Israel occupies Palestinian lands. We see torture and murder in the name of Allah, but we see no anti-torture and anti-murder demonstrations in the name of Allah.

There are a billion Muslims in the world. How is it possible that essentially none have demonstrated against evils perpetrated by Muslims in the name of Islam? This is true even of the millions of Muslims living in free Western societies. What are non-Muslims of goodwill supposed to conclude? When the Israeli government did not stop a Lebanese massacre of Palestinians in the Sabra and Chatilla refugee camps in Lebanon in 1982, great crowds of Israeli Jews gathered to protest their country's moral failing. Why has there been no comparable public demonstration by Palestinians or other Muslims to morally condemn Palestinian or other Muslim-committed terror?

The other well-reasoned questions were:
(2) Why are none of the Palestinian terrorists Christian?

(3) Why is only one of the 47 Muslim-majority countries a free country?

(4) Why are so many atrocities committed and threatened by Muslims in the name of Islam?

(5) Why do countries governed by religious Muslims persecute other religions?

These are very good questions and the reasoning behind each question is well thought out. These questions are very challenging to Muslims and should be. There is no justification for committing terrorist acts whether they are aimed at Israelis, Russian school children, New Yorkers in office buildings, Spaniards catching trains, Englishmen boarding buses, Buddhist farmers, Indian school girls, Muslim girls killed in the name of honor, or Jordanians at a wedding. Nothing justifies these acts of terror committed by Muslims. The above questions are valid and should be answered.

Somehow I don't think they will be.

Go ye forth, (whether equipped) lightly or heavily, and strive and struggle, with your goods and your persons, in the cause of God. That is best for you, if ye (but) knew. Quran 009:041

Unlike most major religions, Islam has not yet reformed and a lot of it's practices and Sharia laws are still based on 7th century Saudi Arabia.

Linked: Knockin on the Golden Door
Jack Lewis

Which One Are You?

I found this fun quiz while reading the Captian's Quarters site. Being a big fan of the Lord of the Rings and fascinated by the Elvish, my result doesn't seem surprising:


To which race of Middle Earth do you belong?
brought to you by Quizilla

At the Captain's, I was the lone Elvish in a sea of Rohirrim's and Numenorean's. There was one little Hobbit. Which one are you?

A Job Well Done!

This past week, military and civilian bloggers held a fund drive for Project VALOUR-IT. The initial goal of that drive was $21,000.00. That goal was more than quadrupled!! Without the mail-in donations and the corporate matching funds counted, a total of $88,333.44 has been raised!

A job well done goes out to Fuzzilicious who organized the fund drive. Another job well done goes out to Carren and Chuck Ziegenfuss. Even as Captain Z. is in the hospital recovering from a recent surgery, he talked to the Secretary of the Army about Project VALOUR-IT. And Carren appeared on MSNBC's Connected Coast to Coast.

A great job was done by all the bloggers who participated and those who passed out flyers. And a very big thank you to all those who donated and made this fund drive such a success. Job well done!!


A Trip to the Real World

I went to Mobile today to get a caramel frappuccino and some books. It was a nice escape from the destruction of Hurricane Katrina that surrounds me in Coastal Mississippi. It was nice to see trees that weren't leaning at angles ranging from 15 degrees to 90 degrees. It was nice to see trees that weren't sawed in half or uprooted by the winds. It was nice to see roads that weren't lined with piles of debris. It was nice to see roofs that weren't covered with blue tarps. It was nice to see businesses that didn't have 45 minute checkout lines. It was nice to be able to browse and sit awhile in stores that didn't have the smell of mildew, mold, paint, or new sheetrock. It was nice to see traffic lights that worked at every corner. It was nice to know that no matter which direction I went in Mobile, I wouldn't be confronted with road closures due to bridges being out or major highways being washed away in places. It was nice to see roads unlined with signs from contractors offering their roofing services.

A trip to the real world was nice and I had an enjoyable time. But leaving Mobile, and heading back west, the destruction crept up on me slowly and brought me back to my surreal world, where the pine trees no longer have green fronds but red ones. Where the majority of roofs are blue from the tarps. Where businesses are trying to operate with roofs damaged. But it's home and I believe that we'll soon rebuild. Even now I can hear the sounds of hammers as siding is being put onto a home It's just seems so daunting at times.

Time for a Road Trip

I'll heading out to Mobile later. I hear they actually have places that are still standing.

For those that really want to know how old I've turned today, take the women's life expectancy for the US that was published back in the beginning of this year, divide by half and add four! But I'll be 39 and holding.

Linked: Basil's Brunch 11/12/05

You Think an Insurance Company Would Believe This?

You have the little mishaps in your car, the fender benders, knocking down lights at your exe's, etc. Then you have to call the insurance company. I wonder what it was like for this guy in Greece who had to report that an ostrich jumped on his car.

A runaway ostrich that eluded police caused severe damage when it attacked a Mercedes car during a three-hour rampage.

"Somehow it got out of its pen. We sent two patrols after it, but in the meantime it caused some damage to the bonnet and bumper of a Mercedes before we caught it," a police official in Cyprus said.

The ostrich caused considerable damage when it pounced on the car, the daily Phileleftheros reported.

The ostrich is the largest of birds and can weigh at least 400 pounds. It is also the fastest creature on two legs and can run up to 43 miles per hour;

"It took us more than three hours to catch it," the police official said. Yahoo News


The Little Things

I never realized how much the little things in your life matter. The little things in my life have been upended since Hurricane Katrina. I know am lucky because my home is undamaged, I have a job and all my friends and family are safe. But damn, I would like a large caramel frappuccino from Barnes & Noble!! Hey, I am greedy. I want my Barnes & Noble open now instead of the beginning of the year!! Nothing better than browsing through all the books and like the impulse buyer I am, taking home a few sci fi books. I don't think there is a single bookstore open on the Coast! I know I can order online but it's not the same.

Another little thing, or maybe it's not so little, is the freedom of movement. Two months later, and still there is the barbed wire that runs across the railroad tracks in Gulfport and Long Beach. The railroad tracks are parallel to the beach and about 1/2 mile from the beach. There are access points where the National Guard checks id. That means I still can't take my ventures at Gulfport Harbor and beach.

In this world, I have to call ahead to make sure a store is open. I have to wait until vendors who I know are located in the worst hit places call before I can send payments that are due from August. My company's bank still doesn't have the capability to let me know if a check has cleared if that check was written before August.

The little things add up. But there are a few little things that are signs of progress. The traffic light at the I-110 exit ramps in D'Iberville have been working for a few days. All the debris that was washed up on the median along I-110 was cleared away this past week!!

But most importantly, the FEMA trailers are really starting to pour in. Where once was an empty space where a home once stood, there are now trailers. My company is set to start rebuilding the seafood plant by the end of this month. And today, the cooling units in the cold storage were turned on!! The only complaint I have is still no plans to rebuild our offices. They aren't serious about converting one of the semi-trailers into an office, are they?

It's hard to realize just how much the little things are a part of your life until they are gone. And I still want a caramel frappuccino from Barnes & Noble.

In Honor of Veterans Day

Image hosted by Photobucket.com


It was the Veteran, not the reporter,
who has given us the freedom of the press.

It was the Veteran, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It was the Veteran, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to fair trial.

It was the Veteran, not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to demonstrate.

It is the Veteran, who salutes the flag,
who served under the flag,
and whose coffin is draped by the flag,
who allows the protestor to burn the flag.

Written by Father Denis Edward O'Brien, USMC
All Gave Some - Some Gave All


Photo by Patrick at Clarity and Resolve

Words are not adequate for me to express my gratitude to the men and women of the Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy, Coast Guard, and the National Guard. You continue to honor our country's long tradition of answering the call of freedom and by Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom have given people long subjugated by oppressive and brutal regimes that wonderful taste of freedom. You continue to defend our shores against all threats. I salute you and humbly give you my thanks.

Great Job Carren!!

Carren Ziegenfuss did a great job on today's MSNBC's Connected Coast to Coast. Tony Maciulis, who interviewed her was very supportive and enthused about Project VALOUR-IT.

You can watch it here.

It's not too late to join a team. Click here to join.

Or, you can help out by passing out flyers which you can download from at John at Castle of Argghh.

Click on my sidebar to donate.

Happy Birthday to the US Marine Corps

UPDATE: Lt. Smash has some great stuff up for auction. Check out his War Chest

Added: The following links are various, bribes, incentives, whatever you want to call them:

Click here to bid for the honor of appearing in a A Day by Day cartoon.

Click here for a round-up of the auctions the Navy , Army, Marine, and Air Force teams have on-going. It also includes the auction for the Cox and Forkum cartoon they did for Project VALOUR-IT.

Congrats to the Army team for being the first to reach and exceed the $21,000.00 goal.

Congrats to our wonderful NAVY, team who has also met the $21,000.00 goal and as of 11/10/05 1:00am is again in the lead.

UPDATE: 11/10/05 The new goal for the Army and Navy teams is now $25,000.00. Let's kick into flank speed and beat the Army team on this goal.

Linked: Jack Yoest, his post tells you how to prepare for an interview with the media and how Carren Ziegenfuss did all the right things.
Thanks to WuzzaDem for posting about Project VALOUR-IT!
Dean of Dean's World has Joined the Navy!
Linked: Reasoned Audacity
Basil Breakfast 11/10/05

Civil War for the PA?

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas has problems. A lot of them. Not only are terrorists using official security agency cars to go about their deadly business, the officers of the security forces are in almost open revolt. Abbas received a letter from some of the officers of the security forces stating that they will use their weapons only against Israelis and suspected collaborators.

In their letter, the officers said they rejected pressure from Israel and the US to crack down on local militias.

"We are the soldiers of the homeland, not [US security coordinator] General William Ward," they wrote. "We are neither a branch of the Israeli Shin Bet nor members of a hired gang serving certain centers of power."

But what is perhaps most worrying, as far as Abbas is concerned, is the fact that the officers went on to stress that their weapons would be used only against Israel and suspected "collaborators."

Addressing Abbas, the officers said: "We urge you to get acquainted with what's really happening inside the security forces, which have begun disintegrating because of corruption, mismanagement and placing private interests above the national interests of the people, especially with regard to the state of lawlessness prevalent in the Palestinian territories." Jerusalem Post

It's ironic that the letter specifically mentions lawlessness since the PA security forces have been responsible for a large part of it. And of course, they just have to fall back on the old standby of blaming Israel and the United States for all their problems.

The letter also states, "These measures have led to dissent among the security forces," they said. "Unless you [Abbas] start paying attention to the situation, the Palestinian security forces will collapse, only to be replaced by armed gangs which the Palestinian Authority won't be able to control." I believe that is already the situation. That's tends to happen when you incorporate murdering thugs into your security forces. Chaos and lawlessness is the result.

Security issues are not the only thing plaguing Abbas. It seems he is have a wee bit of trouble with his new ambassador assignments. It's not the hosts country's who are causing the problems but some of the old ambassadors are refusing to leave and they are receiving backing from PLO leader Farouk Kaddoumi, who is in Tunis.

Until recently, Kaddoumi was in charge of all the embassies around the world in the capacity of his job as director of the PLO's political bureau. Kaddoumi sent a letter to the ambassadors instructing them to ignore the new appointments and to remain in their posts.

"I wish to inform you that [PA Foreign Minister] Nasser al-Kidwa does not represent the PLO and, as such, he does not have the power to make changes in the diplomatic corps," he wrote.

Things like having your authority to appoint ambassadors and your security forces in almost open revolt are bound to happen when your society's focus is on violence and perpetual victimhood. Things can only start to turn around for the people who the PA leads when they recognize that violence and the worship of those who perpetrate it must be stopped.



Neptunus Lex has a tribute to those who served in WWII.

Congratulations Are In Order

Go by and congratulate or give a big mazel tov to Dave at Iraellycool. It's a boy!

Foggy Nights

It's that time of the year on the Mississippi Gulf Coast when the fog rolls in.

Updates From the Mississippi Coast

MSNBC is the only major news online that I have seen that is still covering the the Mississippi Gulf Coast recovery efforts on a daily basis. They have daily updates from two towns in Hancock County Mississippi that are virtually gone. Bay St. Louis and Waveland suffered greatly from the 40 foot storm surge created by Hurricane Katrina. Downtown Bay St. Louis sits on a 20 foot bluff. They had twenty feet of water that came through and decimated this beautiful little town. Check out the day by day rebuilding efforts in The Towns


Should I or Not?

Received via e-mail:


I have just read your blog about Ahmed Ismail Khatib's death and donation of his organs.
I am a BBC World Service Producer and I'm looking for callers for a debate programme tonight. I work for World Have Your Say and this will be one of our topics. I was wondering if you would like to take part.

Please email me your contact numbers if you are interested and I will ring you further to disucuss.
Best wishes
Fiona Crack

Fiona Crack
World Have Your Say
BBC World Service

The post is Remarkable Act of Forgiveness.

Has any listened or participated in the BBC's World Have Your Say? If you have, please share your experience. Thank's.

Bras to Save the World

You have to hand it to the Japanese. They come out with some unique solutions. In an effort to stop global warming, Triumph, a lingerie company in Japan has come up with a prototype of a heated bra. It even comes with a boa and matching shorts.

The fluffy creation contains special pads filled with an eco-friendly gel that can be easily heated in a microwave or with a hot water bottle.

The design also includes a furry boa designed to double as a winter scarf.

Lingerie giant Triumph unveiled the bra months after PM Junichiro Koizumi urged Japan's office workers to ditch ties to save on air conditioning.

Being padded, the new bra packs a little more bulk than most regular designs, but the Japanese arm of Triumph insisted the look was more chic than sheep.

"We hope this will not only help prevent global warming but also provide a little fashion chic to the office," the company said in a statement.

The bra, which comes only in white, also features a pendant shaped like a chilli pepper dangling on its front. BBC News

Move over Wonderbra!! This new one not only adds more but will save the world! Gel paks, geesh.

Warnings from China

It has been speculated that China has been having a problem with terrorists. This past summer saw a bombing on a bus, in a cinema and various other places across China. Some speculate that the Chinese are using these terrorists acts to crack down on the Muslim Uighur community in the western Chinese region of Xinjiang. Surprising how the words terrorists acts and Muslims are strewn together, eh.

President Bush is set to visit Beijing in 10 days. The Chinese police has just issued warnings that there is a possibility that the 4 and 5 star hotels in China are being targeted by terrorists.

"The embassy has learned that Chinese police advised hotels that Islamic extremist elements could be planning to attack four- and five-star hotels in China some time over the course of the next week," the statement from the US embassy in Beijing said.

"American citizens visiting Chinese four- and five-star hotels should review their plans carefully, remain vigilant with regard to their personal security, and exercise caution," it added.

The statement did not specify whether the threat came from extremists inside or outside China. BBC News

I do not like the Chinese government. It is a totalitarian government that is brutal to it's people. However, I don't like terrorists either. Any group that thinks that people riding on a bus, going to the movies, shopping at a market, going to school, going to a nightclub, or sitting in a office building are legitimate targets are nothing but murdering, life hating, barbarians. Trying to justify their acts in any manner is unconscionable.