Sunday, July 31, 2005

Why he writes "I"

"I see them bleed, I see them die, I see them cry for their friends, and then I see them go right back out there on missions, and I see them caring for Iraqi people and killing the enemy. I feel the fire from the explosions, and am lucky, very lucky, still to be alive. Everything here is first person." - from Glenn Reynold's interview of Michael Yon

If you're not already familiar with Michael Yon: Online Magazine, read the interview first. When done many still won't know who he is.

Do you recall the photograph of the the little girl, blooodsplattered and dying, cradled in the arms of the Marine after a terrorist blast in Iraq?

That's Michael Yon.

Not affiliated with any media organization, Yon has been writing since January about what he sees in Iraq. And he doesn't file copy, either. Whether it's the soldiers he's with or people he's spent time with in remote villages, Yon puts it up -- complete with photographs he's taken with his falling-apart camera -- at his blogspot site.

Blogspot? Yep.

And it's not always easy reading, but danged well worth it.

Saturday, July 30, 2005


Like all of you I'm sure, I have one email address that only a certain, select few know and use. That doesn't mean I don't get spam through it, but my ISP siphons off the bulk and what's left then goes through a spamkilling application that divides my email into two folders: One recognizes the sender and passes the email into my INBOX; the other collects everything else.

I also have a filter set so that files over a certain size won't download at all. They'll just stay on my ISP's server. I check the server site once a week or so just to make sure there's nothing there or hung-up in it.

I don't get tons of email through that address, but into my second day of not even getting a single spam through it?

So I checked the server site. A friend had sent me a HUGE .wmv file which he'd either sent twice or more likely, my ISP -- who was doing "maintenance" at the time -- had saved it in a spool and sent it again. The same friend had also sent another, much smaller .wmv file.

The reason why nothing was getting through was because for the first time ever, my mailbox had not only reached but exceeded full capacity.

Once I'd saved the files and deleted the emails, the backlogged emails started coming through. About 200 of 'em.

When my mailbox had reached capacity, my ISP had sent an email to tell me that my mailbox was full.

Since my mailbox was full when it bounced back, my ISP sent an email to tell me that my mailbox was full.

Since my mailbox was full . . .

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Have you seen her?

Christmas Ghost is asking bloggers for help in the early June disappearance this 17-year-old girl in Marin County, California.

Please see his post for additional information.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Judge Roberts' upcoming Senate hearing . . .

. . . as portrayed by the sadly too accurate Wuzzadem.

Safe journey . . .

. . . and may God speed you home.

Later: By now, after all these years I've got it down to a science. I watch the liftoff on television and once the tower's cleared, I know I have between three and five minutes (depending on the trajectory) to go outside and stand in the front yard before the trail (or the spark of light if it's a night launch) appears over the treetops in the distance, between the house and the old oak in the yard across the street. If the sky's clear.

Some of the pre-liftoff TV commentary today mentioned how clear Florida's skies were. Not so. Unlike yesterday when it was blue overhead, today there's a leaden gray haze. I knew I wouldn't see anything but I was outside, anyway, like I usually am.

If I can see I'm saying "Go baby, go!" mixed with my personal prayer. The latter only when I can't see a darned thing.

It used to be that everyone in the neighborhood went out. Then shuttle launches became commonplace and like television coverage, they had other things to do.

I don't know that I'll ever lose the wonder I always feel. The amazement. The fear. Then again, I know I grew up in a different time.

Many today have never known a time in their own lives when there weren't astronauts. My 25- year-old son's experience is limited to shuttles. Mercury, Gemini and Apollo, to him, are only names in history books or the subject of movies like The Right Stuff or Apollo 13.

Heck. My brother is pushing 50 and he never understood, either. It's not his fault. It's not anyone's fault. They were just born too late.

I was staying with Mam-ah after my brother was born until Mom came home from the hospital. The radio is a-buzz with the news that "The Russians" had successfully launched into orbit an "artificial moon."

I don't know that I knew what orbit meant, but I knew what the moon was. And the idea that "The Russians" (Whoever they were, but I think I knew they were important. We had to play this game of hiding under desks at school because of them.) had made another one was an amazing thing even to my young mind. It also explained to me, very simply, why everyone — in my grandmother's house and on the radio — seemed so excited.

A new moon! Another one! It might be "artificial" but . . .

I'm not certain I knew what that word meant. More likely I asked Mam-ah, the Queen of Crossword Puzzles, and she explained.

Back then (and for many years after for other first satellites) the times were announced when you could, if the night was clear, spot one passing overhead in the sky.

Mam-ah took me outside that night long ago, pointing. Trying to get me to see.

I was focused on the moon, the real one. I remember being so disappointed that after all of the talk about an "artificial moon," there wasn't an exact duplicate of the one up already up there, sitting right next to it.

All Mam-ah had pointed to was a small star slowly moving across the sky.

Monday, July 25, 2005


"Imagine that," said 82-year-old Rose (Noga) Houle. "All these years, from the very beginning, I thought I brought home a baby boy, so this a complete surprise."

More here.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Look what I made!!!

Yep, my very own license plate!

Joe has one just like it although I've seen others since I first spotted his ages ago.

I wanted one of my own sooooooooo badly, and now after working on it (wiping perspiration from sweaty brow) all day, I do thanks to this from the always demure and lovely Ogre.

Worked all day on it I did.

Saturday, July 23, 2005


Whether serious topics or humor, this week's Carnival of the Dogs at Mickey's Musings has a little something for everyone.

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Friday, July 22, 2005

Enlist Old Guys

Enlist Old Guys...
Written by an Old Guy...

I'm over 55 now and the Armed Forces say I'm too old to track down terrorists. You can't be older than 35 to join the military. They've got the whole thing backwards.

Instead of sending 18-year-olds off to fight, they ought to take us old guys. You shouldn't be able to join until you're at least 35. For starters:

Researchers say 18-year- olds think about sex every 10 seconds. Old guys only think about sex a couple of times a day, leaving us more than 28,000 additional seconds per day to concentrate on the enemy.

Young guys haven't lived long enough to be cranky, and a cranky soldier is a dangerous soldier.

If we can't kill the enemy we'll complain them into submission. "My back hurts!" "I'm hungry!" "Where's the remote control?"

An 18-year-old hasn't had a legal beer yet and you shouldn't go to war until you're at least old enough to legally drink. An average old guy, on the other hand, has consumed 126,000 gallons of beer by the time he's 35 and a jaunt through the desert heat with a backpack and M-60 would do wonders for the old beer belly.

An 18-year-old doesn't like to get up before 10 a.m. Old guys get up early every morning to pee.

If old guys are captured we couldn't spill the beans because we'd probably forget where we put them. In fact, name, rank, and serial number would be a real brainteaser.

Boot camp would actually be easier for old guys. We're used to getting screamed and yelled at and we actually like soft food.

We've also developed a deep appreciation for guns and rifles. We like them almost better than naps.

They could lighten up on the obstacle course however. I've been in combat and I didn't see a single 20-foot wall with rope hanging over the side, nor did I ever do any pushups after completing basic training. I can hear the Drill Sergeant now, "Get down and give"

And the running part is kind of a waste of energy. I've never seen anyone outrun a bullet.

An 18-year-old has the whole world ahead of him. He's still learning to shave, to actually carry on a conversation, and to wear pants without the top of his butt crack showing and his boxer shorts sticking out. He's still hasn't figured out that a pierced tongue catches food particles, and that a 400-watt speaker in the back seat of a Honda Accord can rupture an eardrum. All great reasons to keep our sons at home to learn a little more about life before sending them off to possible death.

Let us old guys track down terrorists. The last thing the enemy would want to see right now is a couple of million old farts with attitudes.

Via Hey Joe!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

"We did it!"

A Sunday afternoon, the month after I'd graduated from high school. I was supposed to be heading out the door to go to afternoon service with Mary who was waiting for me, but no way was I going to leave. Not until I knew.

Years before very proudly Dad had come come home to tell us he'd been selected to work on a project Grumman was bidding on. He'd be working long hours and if Grumman won the contract, even longer ones.

When Grumman did win, Dad did his part. We, at home, did ours.

Sounds silly I'm sure, but my contribution to what happened so many years ago today was weeding, and picking bugs and worms off the vegetables in the little garden in back, and then drowning them in a coffee can with two inches of kerosene in it.

Every year Dad put a garden in but with the hours he was working, he couldn't take care of it. So I did.

Dad never brought things home but sometimes it would escape. Like when somebody carelessly dropped a wrench and it went through the paper-thin floor.

Weight problems. How the heck could they possibly make "The Craft" any lighter than they already had?

Except for the television, the total silence in my house -- especially my father -- that Friday night of the Apollo 1 fire: Grissom, White and Chaffee. Gone. I knew their names not just because of newspapers or television coverage but because of Dad. Like all of the Apollo astronauts, they'd been to Grumman many times walking the production line talking to the guys who were working on the LEM. Getting their input. Talking to them all like . . . normal people, people who knew their jobs just as well as they did their own.

Years later sitting in the kitchen on a cold linoleum floor Christmas Eve listening with complete wonder, feeling deeper chills, to the magnitude of Genesis spoken by astronauts circling the moon. Perhaps for the first time I understood my father's pride because his work on the LEM had helped to make it possible.

Air and Space Museum,
Washington, D.C.

July 20, 1969

Mom standing behind me, Dad sitting on the corner of the couch. Except for the television, everything was quiet. Through success or loss, like Dad we'd learned to discipline our emotions.

Until ...

"The Eagle has landed."

Mom totally lost it. I wasn't much better.


I'd never seen tears in my father's eyes before and it wasn't until Mom's funeral almost 20 years later that I ever saw them again.

Standing up, all he kept repeating was, "We did it!"

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Norma tagged me with the question "What's on your nightstand?

My nightstand is mine. It's old. Something Hubby spotted broken and tossed when he was into a refinishing eons ago. Maybe 12 by 12 and three foot high and put back together again, it's real-wood solid.

On its top is the remote control to the TV in the bedroom I'm seldom awake long enough to watch.

The first shelf below the nightstand's top holds various stacked things: awards, testimonials, commendations, framed stuff. Things from my former life as a civil slave. Except for throwing it all out, I don't know what else to do with that stuff except stick it there. And I don't throw it out because some of it still brings back good memories.

The next shelf down has the book with aerial surveys and soil analysis, and my folder with the flood-prone zones and . . . well, lotsa other stuff on the 15 acres in the next county that Hubby and I bought 10+ years ago.

So far, the bottom shelf has remained empty.

Monday, July 18, 2005


The Wonderdog turned 5 yesterday, but the date doesn't really mark his birthday although that's the way we think of it.

Five years ago yesterday:


To: Recipient List Suppressed
From: doyle
Re Wish us luck!
Date: July 17, 2000

Earlier this year we gave Lucky, our 17-year-old black Lab, his freedom. That left Tank, Lucky's 8-year-old yellow son, alone (without another dog) for the first time in his life. Knowing Tank's not built that way, months before I'd asked Doc — our dog vet — to keep an eye out *after* Lucky was gone for a Lab that needed a good home.

A week after we buried Lucky, the phone rang. Another one of Doc's regular customers had found a Lab-mix lying on the side of the interstate. Perhaps 18-months old, he had numerous, severe lacerations and both of his front legs were broken.

With no collar, there was no way to find his owner. Animal Control and the Humane Society would, of course, be contacted to see if anyone reported a missing dog but if no one had *or* no one came forward . . . were we interested in him.

To make a long story as short as possible, Starbuck — he was given that name by hospital staff because of the small, misshapen star on his chocolate chest — will be in his new home full-time starting this afternoon. His new home, of course, is ours.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Hurricane Dennis - aftermath

Charles at Eye of the Storm (who apparently never sleeps) finished his non-stop updates of Dennis just in time to begin his non-stop updates of Emily.

Pensacola Beach Blog, who signed off on July 10, returned on July 12 and has been providing information on the local situation -- the good and the bad -- since.

Larry in Sarasota shares an email he received: You might be a Floridian if: .

Guest bloggers have been and are still filling in for Ward -- who at least has power again -- at Operation Enduring Service.

And via Boudicca, her father -- The Great Omnipotent One -- provides his hurricane perspective.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

I hate these things!

Who am I? I'm . . . Elrond!

A stern yet benevolent organizer who often knows best, your wits are keenly fixed on aiding efforts you deem worthy.

Now at this last we must take a hard road, a road unforseen. There lies our hope, if hope it be. To walk into peril to Mordor.

Elrond is a character in the Middle-Earth universe. has a short biography.

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?


Thursday, July 14, 2005

Quotable Quotes

"My thanks to the hundreds of people who sent me birthday greetings recently. Despite my 75 years, I usually feel pretty much the same as I did 30 years ago. On the other hand, I didn't have to take a bunch of pills and visit medical specialists to feel that way then. Today I feel like an antique car that is being kept in running condition by high-priced mechanics." - Thomas Sowell


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Picture this?

Curmudgeonly & Skeptical


Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Without a scorecard

You can't keep track of the players without a scorecard, and that's especially true with the ongoing investigation into the United Nation's scandal-ridden Oil For Food Program.

In her New York Sun article yesterday, Claudia Rosett adds another name to the tangled web of corruption: Fakhry Abdelnour.


Although Benon Sevon is still on the payroll (which means he's still supposedly protected from testifying by diplomatic immunity) as an "advisor," the UN stopped paying his legal fees when it was found that "Mr. Sevan, in soliciting lucrative oil allocations from Saddam's regime on behalf of a Panama-registered private company, African Middle East Petroleum, had engaged in "'a grave and continuing conflict of interest.'"

Senate investigators noted they had "acquired significant evidence" that rather than simply soliciting business from Saddam on behalf of AMEP, "Sevan himself was the recipient of the lucrative allocations" - receiving an amount that based on Iraqi documents the Senate subcommittee estimated at $1.2 million.
Sevon either solicited oil allocations from Saddam on AMEP's behalf or used them to launder the oil allocations he, himself, had been given. Maybe a little of both?

Fakhry Abdelnour owns AMEP.

His cousin is former UN secretary general Boutros Boutros-Ghali.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Dennis's Eye Approaches Florida Coast

Northwest Florida Radar - National Weather Service

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Hurricane Blogging

Still no rain here and trust me, I'm not complaining. The air feels like it weighs two tons and the sky to the west is getting darker signaling Dennis's northward movement even though it's off Florida's west coast and we're on its east.

From Key West Mary Stella is celebrating that although the weather got wild, Dennis didn't hit them head on. Oh, and a little thing like still having power, too.

Those in castro's Cuba weren't quite as fortunate. Commenters at Val Priesto's Babalu Blog are sharing information as it becomes available, as is Robert at The 26th Parallel.

Boudicca isn't actually gone. She's evacuation blogging complete with updates Situation Reports she's posting on behalf of The Great Omnipotent One.

Kathy Kinsley at On The Third Hand who is also linking to Florida Bloggers, points to an entry from Tree Hugging Sister. Please follow the link.

Hurricane Bloggers

Checking online reports during last year's hurricane season, I stumbled across my first Florida Blogger reporting on local preparations, evacuations, weather conditions and linking to others in the state who were likewise reporting. When one stopped blogging either because they'd evacuated or had lost power, others not only continued providing news from their own area but in several cases, filed reports they'd gotten over the telephone from those who'd had to shut down or were cut off.

That's one of the reasons for the list of Florida Bloggers in my sidebar.

It's cloudy here with a steady breeze but then again, I'm not in Dennis's path. No rain yet but we should start getting some later today with a lot more tonight and tomorrow.

Boudicca, who lives in South Florida did the smart thing when the evacuation order came in. She's "Gone".

Joe, who like me is out of Dennis's path, links to and explains a tracking map developed and used by the Navy.

Pam, who says she's always hated the name Dennis, remembers another monster storm, and it isn't any of last year's.

Eye of the Storm, as always, is on top of every advisory issued.

And Perla in Pensacola Beach waits.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Not good


I'm in Northeast Florida and not in its path. I'll leave the fancy projections to people who know what they're talking about but I feel very comfortable making this prediction:

With the size of this hurricane and its strength, even over here we're gonna get wet

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Attacks on London

Updates from BBC

UK Weblog Aggregator

Via Florida Cracker and Little Green Footballs

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

A Deficit of Decency

Some of the blips describing Zell Miller's A DEFICIT OF DECENCY mislabel it as an expansion of his keynote address at the 2004 Republican Convention. Although it does include that period, it's a continuation of his New York Times best seller A NATIONAL PARTY NO MORE (The Conscience of a Conservative Democrat).

Part memoir and part text book, Zell's (I know I should refer to him as Senator Miller, but somehow that just doesn't seem right.) 2003 New York Times bestseller warned his fellow Democrats that the party he'd been a member of his entire life was committing systematic suicide by making itself completely irrelevant to what once had been its core: Ordinary Americans. He was hoping they'd listen. A DEFICIT OF DECENCY picks up from there.

Himself a former Georgia governor, Zell had accepted an appointment by Georgia governor Roy Barnes to finish the term of Senator Paul Coverdell who'd died. Once in Washington, D(oesn't) C(are) as he calls it, Zell quickly became disgusted with how it works.

Instead of doing what's right . . . what's decent on behalf of the people they are elected to represent and the country as a whole, once there too many become focused on one goal: reelection. Their chances for future employment are enhanced through securing campaign contributions for themselves and the party, and toeing the party line without fail.

During an interview in late 2003 when asked who he'd be voting for in the 2004 election, Zell announced his intention to vote for George W. Bush and explained why. And as he expected, Zell instantly became the pariah of the Democrat party. The letter he received from Jimmy Carter, which is quoted in full, is especially revealing.

Zell takes us with him through his Keynote Address (both the version he delivered and the original that was cut back because of time constraints are quoted in full) at the Republican National Convention from its beginning when he was first contacted by the Bush Campaign to its delivery, and after the criticism heaped upon him and it his worry that he'd done damage rather than helped, the relief he felt when he learned days later how positively it had been received by voters.

But it isn't just elections that Zell says reveal of A DEFICIT OF DECENCY. It's in our tax code, policies allowing illegal immigration, sports, the entertainment industry, education, the U(nited) N(uisance) . . .

I suspect that the only two that ever have completely agreed with Zell are Gus and Woodrow, his two yellow Labrador retrievers. Still, A DEFICIT OF DECENCY is a good read and a comfortable one.

Zell's tone and writing style make the reader, this one anyway, feel like he's having a conversation with you while you're sitting with him on the steps of his front porch. Not everyone is able to talk about how their life and family formed the basis for their views and, while sliding in occasional quotes ranging from Alexis de'Tocqueville or Bud Selig to Mother Theresa, make sense.

Zell Miller can, and he does it well.

You may not agree with him on everything, but you understand exactly where he's coming from.

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Monday, July 04, 2005

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Murphy's Law Enforcement

The bigger they are, the harder they fall. They also punch, kick and choke harder too.

The speed at which you respond to a fight call is inversely proportional to how long you've been a cop.

Tear gas, regardless of wind direction, will always blow back in your face.

High speed chases will always proceed from an area of light traffic to an area of extremely heavy traffic.

If you know someone who tortures animals and wets the bed, he is either a serial killer or he works for Internal Affairs.

Placing a gun back in a shoulder holster with your finger on the trigger will cause you to walk with a limp.

Flash suppressors don't really.

If you have 'cleared' all the rooms and met no resistance, you and your entry team have probably kicked in the door of the wrong house.

If a cop swings a baton in a fight, he will hit other cops more often than he will hit the bad guys he swings at.

Domestic arguments will always migrate from an area of few available weapons (living room), to an area with many available weapons (kitchen).

Bullet Proof vests ... aren't.

If you have just punched out a handcuffed prisoner for spitting at you, you are about to become a TV star.

Bullets work on veteran cops. They also work on weight lifters, martial arts experts, marksmen, Vice, S.W.A.T. jocks, and others who consider themselves immortal.

When a civilian sees a blue light approaching at a high rate of speed, he will always pull into the lane the cop needs to use.

You can never drive slow enough to please the citizens who don't need a cop, and you can never drive fast enough to please the ones who do.

Any suspect with a rifle is a better shot than any cop with a pistol.

From behind you, the bad guys can see your night sights as well as you can.

The longer you've been a cop, the shorter your flashlight and your temper gets.

You should never do a shotgun search of a dark warehouse with a cop whose nickname is "Boomer".

The better you do your job, the more likely you are to be shot, injured, complained on, sued, investigated, or subpoenaed on your day off.

If a large group of drunk bikers is "holed-up" in a house, the Department will send one officer in a beat car. If there is one biker "holed-up" in a house, they will send the entire S.W.A.T. Team.

Via Hey Joe!

Friday, July 01, 2005


I'm trying to think of something the United Nations has ever accomplished that didn't require massive assistance (either monetary or military and too often both) from the United States. And darn it, I can't think of a thing.

Of course, that doesn't keep the Kofi Annan or any of the U.N.'s other mouth breathers from claiming sole credit even if the UN is late coming in (as they were with the December 26 tsunami because they had problems getting reservations at 5-star hotels) or didn't do anything at all (like the way they enforced all of the resolutions they'd passed threatening Saddam's Iraq if he didn't comply with the last resolution they'd passed threatening . . .).

New day, no difference. The U.N. has repeatedly told Iran, Please don't play with nuclear weapons programs 'cause it will upset us and we'll have to smite you with meaningless resolutions, but only if it's okay with your trading partners Russia and China.

Kofi, in no uncertain terms, then explained to the U.S. and Great Britain the genius behind this latest ploy that only makes it appear that the U.N. is utterly useless.

"Action or inaction will have a great impact on future cases and on our efforts to promote nuclear non-proliferation," Annan said. A deadlock on Iran, he said, could embolden North Korea and future North Koreas.
Well, that sure clears things up. I feel so much better.


Then again, the U.N. really doesn't have time to worry about Iran right now. It's having more problems than it can handle with Haiti.

UNITED NATIONS, June 29 -- United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan asked the United States this week to consider sending troops to Haiti to support a U.N. peacekeeping mission beset by mounting armed challenges to its authority, according to senior U.N. officials.
What? Challenging the U.N.'s authority?

Officials said that similar requests are being considered for other countries, including Canada and France. "We want scarier troops," one senior U.N. official said.

The French?

But yeah. Ask your good buddy Jacques, Kofi.

We're a little busy right now.