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Saturday, April 30, 2005

It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood...

Or it will be when the sun comes up, I guess. I finally managed to get my oil changed and a new coffee maker (the one that Helen gave me for Christmas bit the dust). I'm supposed to go to training on Monday, but rumor has it that it's going to be canceled or postponed... for the third time. Helen remains as beautiful as ever and is getting ready for finals. It's sometimes hard to believe that she will graduate in only a little more than 2 years, and at other times it seems like an unbearable eternity. But whether it seems bearable or everlasting, she's definitly worth it, however long it takes. No news today, my brain is shutting down. I'll have to post some after I sleep today. For a really good collection of links, check out my best friend's blog at katanna.blogspot.com Take care...

Friday, April 29, 2005

Mother's Day...

"She looks well to the ways of her household,
And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Her children rise up and bless her;
Her husband also, and he praises her, saying:
'Many daughters have done nobly,
But you excel them all.'"
--Proverbs 31:27-29

Yes folks, it is the Day that commemorates the countless immeasurable sacrifices that your mother made to make your life better and even possible. My mother, for example, has suffered from multiple sclerosis for most of my life, but has still raised 6 children. Before I was born, my mother was a police officer and served in College Station. She left that job when she became pregnant with me and not long after that, she decided that she would stay home to raise and school me. I do not know how badly her MS affected her when I was born, but I do know that it has become worse with each child. The disorder causes her immune system to attack her own nervous system and no one knows why. This disorder can manifest itself in a variety of ways, but my mother, in particular, experiences extreme fatigue and increasing difficulty walking, and the sysmptoms are exaserbated by heat and stress. Living in central Texas and having boys as her first 3 children certainly neither kept her out of the heat nor calmed her nerves. Despite this obstacle, my mother has 6 children, of whom I am the oldest, and has homeschooled all of us at one time as well as fostering 3 additional children. She is a licensed counselor and regularly provides services to interview families about their suitability to adopt or foster a particular child. She also has quite a talent for editing and has taught me all I know about the technical aspects of writing and grammar.

My mother's favorite things to teach us were patriotism; doing the right thing even when it was hard; doing a hard (strictly utilitarian) thing simply so that we could say we did; not to watch too much TV; how to treat girls; to do what must be done, whether it's your job or not, even if you weren't told to, even if it's hard; and that you shouldn't be rewarded for doing what you're expected to do.

She always encouraged me to do what I needed to do, but she never praised us for doing what was expected of us. She always sought to protects us, but when we resisted her protection (not wearing shoes outside) she was a firm believer in letting us learn from our own mistakes (I still haven't lost my toes yet ;-P ). I remember her staying up late to clean up the kitchen, even when she could hardly walk. The only time that she went to bed before any of us, was when I finally got a job and began to work until 2 in the morning. I will always think of my mother when I eat dark chocolate, it is the peace offering that we children would hoard for the time when we knew our end was surely near and that it would be at the retrobution of our dreaded and beloved mother. It never saved us from any consequence and we usually thought better than to insult our judge with a bribe, but when the time for offering came, it was usually after the judgement had been meted out and we needed to make ammends.

I will never forget the look of admiration on my mother's face when I graduated from Marine Corps Boot Camp in October of 2003. The only other time that I have seen such admiration on her face is when she told me about how my younger brother had drunk an entire can of soda in less than a minute and then belched for 24 solid seconds. I can't remember any other time that she approved of such crude behavior. I'm sorry I missed it, Tim, it must have been good.

I think that my mother always did wish that she could have had nicer things and a better place to live, but I know that she gladly set that aside for the sake of her children. The thing that infuriated me the most about my mother, and still will the next time it happens, is what she wants for Christmas and her birthday. "Mom," I would say when the time came around. "What do you want me to get you?" And she would invariably give the same frustratingly irritating answer: "Obedient children." ARRRRGGGHHH!! Lowes and Home Depot are fresh out of those, Mom! Gosh, could you ask for the moon or something? How am I supposed to get you obedient children? I'm not even married yet! We were certainly the bane of her existance; we were her greatest pain and her pride and joy. I know that for every time that she wanted to snatch us bald-headed and string us up by our toenails, for every time that she stayed up at night praying that we would survive her wrath for another week, there were a hundred times that she thanked God for her children and gave something up so that we could have a better life. I hope that one day, when she has finished her life-long career of home-making, I can take care of her as well as she has taken care of me.

I love you, Momma.

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Once More Unto the Breach, Dear Friends...

...Or close the wall up with our English dead!
In peace there's nothing so becomes a man
As modest stillness and humility;
But when the blast of war blows in our ears,
Then imitate the action of the tiger:
Stiffen the sinews, summon up the blood."
-King Hal (Henry V) in Shakespeare's "Henry V"

No better example have I read of my own feeling about war and conflict. Nothing is more becoming to a man than modest stillness and humility, but when war is inevitable don't run from it, rather face it with as much dignity and strength as can be summoned. Who ever said Shakespeare was out of date?

Another day draws to a close and I have yet to end mine. This is field day so I'll have to clean a little so that my roommate doesn't have to do everything. I'm quite ready to go back to my room and call the most beautiful young lady in the world. I have been missing Helen more than usual, lately. It has been almost four months since I saw her last, and it will be at least two more months before I get the chance to see her again. That's 25% of the time that we have been "dating," altogether. (By "dating" I mean to emphasize the fact that we are not dating by the colloquial definition of "dating," which is loosely (no pun intended) translated as "sleeping together until we find someone more interesting to sleep with") I tell you what, this long distance thing is tough, but it sure is worth it. I love you, Babe. In other news...

An Associated Press release reports that Iran plans to restart its uranium enrichment program if Euro talks fall through tomorrow. Iran has been negotiating nuclear program issues with the European Union since June of '03. Iran's nuclear program has been in increasing degrees of inactivity since March of '04 and has progressed to a complete shut down of all nuclear projects. France, Germany and the UK are calling Iran to make this shut down permanent, despite Iran's claims that the uranium enrichment program is for nuclear power only. Uranium that is enriched to a certain degree can be used to fuel a nuclear power plant, but is not useful for nuclear weapons; further enrichment, however, yeilds weapon grade uranium. While Iran has been asked to suspend all nuclear programs during the talks with the EU, none of the EU resolutions prohibit any member of the EU from developing a nuclear power program. In fact, France, Germany and the UK all have multiple nuclear powerplants in operation, but Iran is being asked to suspend their entire program. Perhaps, in light of the current situations with both Iraq and N.Korea, it is more feasible to completely suspend the nuclear operations within an unstable nation rather than to trying to monitor the nature of the programs.
Read the whole report here: FoxNews Article - Iran
I also used the EU website: Europen Union Notes - Iran

An Associated Press release reports that a British man who used to be a clothing merchant was convicted, on Wednesday, of trying to sell shoulder-fired missiles to a group that he believed was going to use them to shoot down commercial airliners. Hemant Lakhani was arrested during a sting operation that happened in April of 2003. The operation was covertly recorded and shown to the jury that convicted Lakhani. Through the course of the preceeding investigation, Lakhani agreed to sell more than 50 missiles after the initial sale. Three others plead guilty to money laundering and related charges in connection to this sting operation. Lakhani faces a possible sentance of 67 years in prison and up to $2.7 million in fines. He will immediately, however, forfeit the almost $100,000 that he made from the informant that posed as a buyer. Score another one for the good guys. I'm always glad when we get to hear about them.
Read the whole report here: FoxNews Article - Lakhani

An Associated Press release reports that a group of French and American researchers at Texas A&M University in College Station Texas have cloned a horse that they believe is the first successfully cloned equine in North America. The foal was named Paris Texas after the city in Texas, not after the movie. The foal was born on March 13, a month and a half later than a horse's normal 11-month gestation period. TAMU has also cloned the first cat, the first Brahma bull, and a disease-resisant Angus bull as well as many other animals.
Read the whole report here: FoxNews Article - Horse Clone

Anyway, more tomorrow. I hope this gives you a little info on current events.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Daily Update...

My second day shift has proven to be extremely uneventful, as usual. I have been able to find several very modern accounts of the Israeli-Palestinian history and the area. I should have something to write about next week, but that happens to be when I'm going to the fieldand I may be going to a month-long school right after that. We'll see. I've been glad to get my car back on base. I plan to go to Wal-Mart this evening, if I'm not too tired. I'd really like to get a microwave for our room, but I don't know where we'd put it. Not haveing a microwave has been one of the greater inconveniences of moving into another barracks. Helen had a Latin test today, and I hope that she did as well as I expect that she did. Well, that's enough for today. More news tomorrow.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Hello Again...

Well, back at work again. I'm on days this time, though. 3 more days and then at least 2 night shifts. After that is next month so I don't know, but I am still supposed to go to field training on the 2nd, fun fun. The post on Sunday got me thinking about the Israel-Palestine issue, so keep an eye out for "My Thoughts On the Israel-Palestine Conflict..." although it make take quite some time for me to finish it. In other news...

Barbarah Starr with CNN reports that US officials are now able to confirm that an individual who evaded US troops in February was in fact Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, head of the Zarqawi family in Iraq. A laptop was confiscated during this incident that officials are calling "a treasure trove of information." Also captured, was a top al Qaeda lieutenant. The computer confirmed direct links between Osama bin Laden and Zarqawi, believed to be the most powerful family in Iraq. While this does not directly link al Qaeda to the Hussein regime, it does confirm a very strong al Qaeda influence within Iraq.
Read the whole report here: CNN Article - Zarqawi

England's Reuters documented a incident between Prince Harry and the paparazzi. Apparently a press vehicle forced Prince Harry's jeep into dangerous driving conditions while he was on a safari in Botswana. While palace aides did call the Press Complaint Commission, no formal charges have been filed against the photographers. This is yet another installment in the saga between Prince Harry and the press. About 6 months ago Prince Harry got into a scuffle with a photographer after the Prince was hit in the face with a camera. Prince Harry is the son of Princess Diana, who was killed when her limousine crashed while being chased by paparazzi.
Read the whole report here: CNN Article - Prince Harry

Reuters reports that Europe's fastest computer will be employed in crunching extra terrestrial numbers. While groups like SETI rely on enormous dish antennas or a VLA (Very Large Array), this project will harness the data that is collected by 25,000 simple radio antennas. The project known as the IBM and Netherlands Foundation for Research in Astronomy (ASTRON) has built the supercomputer to process the massive quantities of data that will be collected by the antennas. ASTRON utilizes 12,000 PowerPC microprocessors to perform at a whopping 27.4 Teraflops, or 27.4 trillion floating-point operations per second. While ASTRON holds the title for fastest computer in Europe, the free-market world still has a very good lead on them. The fastest computer in the world is IBM's BlueGene, which nearly triples ASTRON's power at 70.1 Teraflops. The supercomputer will consume only 150 Kilowatts of power, which is considered economical for such a powerful machine. Wouldn't that be nice to play Halo2 on? Oh, and can you guess what OS it's NOT running?
Read the whole report here: CNN Article - ASTRON

There's another glimpse at my life and the life around you. Stay cool and don't forget to be fascinated by what's around you.

Monday, April 25, 2005

I Have Wheels!!

For those of you who have been following the saga of me and my car, I have finally paid the debt that I owe the Marine Corps and am now cleared to drive my car on Camp Lejeune. For those of you who haven't been following the saga, I was accused of traveling at more than 15 miles over the speed limit while on base. The posted speed limit was only 45 so don't worry, it wasn't like I was doing 90 or anything. And I was approaching a 55 mph zone, so that makes it even more not-so-bad, right? Well, 90 days of no-driving-on-base later, I'm back in the game. Yes, Helen my love, this is also the first day that I will never ever speed again.... no really, I promise. Anyhow, I've gotta work tomorrow so I had tter go to bed now. More news on the flipside. Until then, this is Cool Blue sayin' stay cool, daddy'o.....

Sunday, April 24, 2005

Another Day on Camp Lejeune...

Here we are yet again. The day promises to be quite beautiful judging from the 2 seconds that it took me to open the door. Okay, okay, I'll open the door so I'm not completely "city-fied." I finally got a day off yesterday and yes, I did sleep the whole day... and night. Like I've said before, you get a little stir-crazy when you work all night an sleep all day. I'm hoping that I will be able to go to church today. The guy who I normally ride with is doing children's church this morning, so it might not work out. I am, however, getting my on-base driving privelages back on Monday so this is a very good thing. Monday is also the first day that I'm going to never speed ever again... no really, I promise...

Jane Roh of FoxNews reports that Zacarias Moussaoui has pleaded guilty to participating in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. While there are still many doubts surrounding this case, I think it will be another good step towards closure for the American people, if we can see this plea through to the end. Moussaoui has argued that his 747 flight training in a Minnesota flight school was not for the 9/11 attacks but rather for a wave of subsequent attacks. His training was for an attack on the White House. When a judge asked Moussaoui if he understood the implications of his guilty plea, Moussaoui replied, "I don't expect any leniency from the Americans." Well, there's a smart cookie right there. I guess it doesn't take a rocket scientist to fly a 747. But to his.... credit, he has apparently been in solitary confinement since his legal battles began 3 years ago. I guess that gives you a lot of time to think about the implications of a guilty plea. He is facing 4 charges that carry the death penalty as a maximum punishment. How about 3,000 counts of conspiracy to commit murder? Well, I guess he did only conspire once, but there are still 3,000 murders that have to be accounted for. In the end, I suppose that God will be able to offer the only kind of retribution. Well, it's probably enough that these guys get to the Judgement Seat and holler "Where're the virgins?!"
Read the whole report here: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,154273,00.html

An associated press release comments that settlers in the Netzer Hazani settlement on the Gaza strip will be celebrating their last Passover Seder meal today before being forcibly evacuated on August 15. Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz agreed to postpone the evacuation from July 20 and Prime Minister Ariel Sharon is expected to confirm the August date on Monday. The delay was requested because of a mourning period that ends on the 14th. The 14th of August falls on Tisha B'Av in the Jewish calendar. Tisha B'Av is a day that commemorates the destruction of the first (built by Solomon) and second (built by the Israelites who were returning from captivity in Babylon) temples that stood in Jerusalem. The primary concern for Palestinians at this point is that Israel will pull out the citizens and troops, only to isolate the remaining 1.3 million Palestinians in a plot of land that they control, but cannot leave. In fact, Palestinians are demanding control over the Gaza border, sea space, and airspace, as well as having the authority to act with military forces within the Gaza strip, which implies that this isn't default. If they have to ask for it then maybe Israel isn't intending to give it to them. I don't have all the facts, though. Watch for "My Thoughts on Israel-Palestine..."
Read the whole report here: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,154418,00.html

An associated press release reports that the parents of a 5-year old hooligan, who was handcuffed by St. Petersburg police, plan to sue the officers involved. An attorney says that he plans legal action against the Floridian officers after he provided a video tape of the incident to the press, which he obtained from police. I'm not sure what to say about this, really. I mean gosh, if this 5-year old is so unruly that it takes 4 officers (2 of whom were new and being trained that day) to take her down in a 5-point restraint, then by all means arrest the little snot, and find out what she's been eating too, because I want some of that! If on the other hand, these officers have stepped outside of their authority and common sense, then they owe my mother an apology. My mother was a police officer before I was born and hold a great deal of my respect, and even with MS she could still whip my skinny little butt any day of the week and twice on Sunday, if she needed to. I can understand trying to instill fear of the law in these little kids, but my gosh! Do you also want to further reinforce the disdain that most teen-aged kids have for the "popo?" The police ought to be the one organization that you can trust to help you out when you're in trouble. You ought to be able to believe that even if you are innocent, they're going to do their job well enough that they'll find out that you're innocent and send you on your way. As my dad pointed out, government is for a moral people, once we lose basic morals then the law is no longer effective. The law must become increasingly strict and powerful if they are to enforce order among a people who don't want order. Therefore, don't fix the government, fix the people.
Read the whole report here: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,154405,00.html

Well, there's a few stories for you, and my thoughts on them. Keep a lookout on "My Thoughts on Everything..." and you'll see some of this stuff coming out in a more refined form.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Oh the Humanity!!

I have just witnessed the most attrocious piece of television catastrphe ever to hit the CRT. Yes folks, even worse than "Kill Bill vol. 1," which remains #1 on my "Biggest Waste of Time" list only because I suffered through the full 2 hours. After only minutes of watching "Skyscraper" I was already retching in agony at the depth of sheer badly-made-movieness that I had stumbled onto. It was all I could do to summon the strength and mental constitution to change the channel. I am sorry to report that I have actually lost 5 points from my IQ in the last 20 minutes, just from thinking about the movie after I turned it off. For those of you in Rio Linda, I'm dumber now. But what could one expect to find at 2:30 in the morning on cheap cable TV? With such stars as Anna Nicole Smith (no, before she became a Guess! Jeans model.... long before, from the looks of it) who OH! has her very own magazine article! In the National Enquirer! Also starring Branko Cikatic! Who's most famous accomplishments are in kickboxing and tae kwon do (i.e. he's never done TV before or since). The most notable actor (if you want to call the others actors) is Richard Steinmetz who is the only one who actually had a few TV rolls under his belt at the time.

Anyhow, the point is that this is the very attrocity that MeMedia Productions (M@ Kelling), Perfection (Your's Truly), and Doesn't-Have-A-Name-Yet (Jacob Burow), are trying to beat back to the firey chasm from whence they came!! It was an agonizingly horrendous performance and production. Heck, a man with a paper brain attended by a crazed chimpanzee could make a better movie. (editor's note: the previous sentence is entirely arbitrary and fictional, any similarity to any people or events in this article is purely coincidence... for those of you in Rio Linda: No, that sentence doesn't refer to Me and/or M@) Well, I guess somebody's gotta make the B-grade action flicks, it's a dirty job, but somebody's gotta do it. Or not.....

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Howdy Y'all...

Here we are again, waiting for the shift to end. I've made some pretty extensive changes to my blog. I added 2 new blogs and divided my posts between them. We've got my opinions on current events and other social issues as well as various broodings and literature, called "My Thoughts On Everything." Then we've got a study of philosophy and emotions that is based on describing frozen instances in time, which I've called "A World of Places." The one called "My Life" is just that, it's where I will add chronicles to my life that I wish to share with y'all, both the cataclysmic and the trivial. For now, it's mostly mundane, but eventually something pertanent will happen and I'll write that down too. It is the mundane that defines our lives, though, not the cataclysmic. Peolple rarely make critical definitions of their personality when something drastic happens. The decisions that they make in the severe situations are determined by how they live in the mundane times. Hard times and difficult decisions don't broing out the good that people didn't exhibit on a day to day basis. Hard times and difficult situations wear people down to their most core values, those values that were defined when they didn't have to make the right decision but made it anyway. If you make the decision not to eat out when you can afford to, then when you can't afford to eat out, the decision has already been made. So, when life is mundane, do the right thing so that when the stakes are higher, the value system is already there.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Goooooooood Morning Vietnam!!

Well, here's my first journal entry. I hope you caught the reference to the movie "Good Morning Vietnam" with Robin Williams. Good movie. Nothing has happened. At all. I've been sitting here for 12 hours as I usually do and nothing has happened. Only 3 more nights and then I get 2 days off before I go to the field for training for a week. Helen's got a test today and 3 more before I get back from the field so I'm sure that she's going to be fretting about them a little. I really wish there were something I could do to help her out, but maybe she really is okay. Anyhow, 2 more hours until I go home to sleep. You know how stir-crazy you get when you sleep during the day and work at night for a solid week? Yeah...