Sunday, April 30, 2006

A Sort of Homecoming

Mostly Sunny - Hi 100 Lo 73 for Baghdad, Iraq
Rain - Hi 59 Lo 51 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: A Sort of Homecoming,


I arrived home Saturday from a business trip down to the Gulf Region. Because of my early flight, I slept most of Saturday. Michael and I both decided that we had to have Chinese for dinner. Michael worked until 9:00PM so I was going to drive the 25 minutes one way to pick up P.F. Chang's. Yummy!! All right, so I get there... but wait one second... I check my bag... no credit check book... what the...??? Oh, I remember when I went south, I pulled all my credit cards and check book, and they are all sitting on the counter in the kitchen, of course.... total embarrassment. I called Michael... It was 9:00 PM... He'd meet me at P.F. Chang's in 15 minutes....

The fifteen minutes I had to wait there gave me an opportunity to reflect on my previous 3 days. I spent the latter part of the week down in the Gulf Region. I stayed in New Orleans and traveled to Pascagoula, Mississippi, 120 miles east of the Big Easy. If you have read my blog for any period of time, you know that New Orleans is one of my favorite places on the planet. I love the people, the history, the music, the food, the daiquiris...

As I stood there, contemplating my embarrassment, I started doing what I normally do in crowds, watch and observe people. Directly behind me I watched a table of about 14 or 16 kids having dinner. The young men were all dressed in tuxedos looking somewhat uncomfortable in their pumps, yet proud of the fact that they were looking so handsome. The young ladies were dressed in formals, some not knowing how to walk in the shoes they purchased for this wonderful occasion. I surmise that the fathers of these daughters were all having heart attacks... God give strength to the Dads.... The kids all looked gorgeous and beautiful... Eyes shining, all enjoying the moment, toasting each other and taking snapshots to help remember the night. This night was one of many nights they will enjoy... their senior year in high school... their next big moment... graduation....

Then, in my minds eye I went back to what I saw in Louisiana and Mississippi. Ghost towns, where there is nothing... House payments are still required on a slab of concrete and trash... The devastation was incomprehensible to fathom. This is what I saw:

  1. As you fly in to New Orleans, you notice all the blue roofs. As you get closer you realize that the roofs are in need of repair and the tarps are keeping out the weather.
  2. The French Quarter is fine. The area of town that most worried about survived... Not everything is open yet, but things are coming back. Daiquiris and Hurricanes from Pat O'Brien's is still an option.
  3. Not everything is open.... everywhere in the Gulf Region... Due to a lack of employees. If a place is open, it might be on limited hours... Dying for a Quarter Pounder? Get there early and be prepared to drive 20 miles. Wanna see a movie? Good luck. Go to the mall? Which one? I can't tell you how many malls and shopping centers we passed that were completely vacant. Stores that are open may have a limitation of how many folks they will let enter. Need groceries? OK... better get there, 'cause they only let 10 folks in at a time... Why? Only one person on the cash registers and one other person working in the store...
  4. The coastline between New Orleans and Pascagoula is non existent- That's about 120 miles... My understanding is that Alabama and Florida are just as bad. Nothing is left except for.... nothing... nothingness.... Gulf Port, Biloxi, Ocean Springs, Pass Christian... nothing... I understand why the media doesn't spend time there... it just doesn't transfer well to film or video... Showing vacant lots that have been cleaned debris or people... it simply doesn't make for good tv- no before and after pictures... because all the picures went with the house.... Schemers and whiners and looters make for good tv.
  5. A customer of mine drove me through Pascagoula. There we drove down to the East Bank and looked at a street where old Antebellum style homes once sat... some of the homes dating back to the late 18th and 19th Centuries. Trent Lott had a home here. There is nothing left except a few bricks indicating where a fence once was. He lost everything.
  6. It has been 8 months since Katrina and Rita. The folks that are back, are resilient. They aren't the complainers and whiners. When I was visiting in Mississippi, the resentment towards the folks from New Orleans was unpalatable yet understandable. When the media only shows the whiners and complainers... that is bound to make an impression.
  7. The Audobon Zoo only lost one animal... an otter. The aquarium didn't fair so well.
  8. Everyone I spoke with from cabbies to servers to my customers- engineers, buyers, managers- no one was complaining... All wanted to get things back to normal. All wanted and needed to share their personal story and I wanted and needed to listen. The American people are an amazing breed. We are. Honestly. There is so much compassion in the people of this country. I think by far, most would give the shirt off their own back when someone else is suffering. Most like to be quiet about it... no fan fare... but the vast majority of people I spoke to in the Gulf Region wanted to say Thank You... One gentlemen went so far as to give me names of folks from Kentucky just in case I recognized any of them. He said, "Y'all are mighty fine folks up there in Kintucky. I might have to come up for a visit and show my sincere appreciation. And y'all Yankees up there in Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio.... mighty fine folks... y'all are mighty fine folks, yes, indeed."
  9. Normal - a cabby from India wanted to argue with my travel partner, Tony about Barry Bonds... He wanted to talk baseball and defend the steroid eating guy... (Tony is a Yankees fan... Barry ain't on Tony's list of favorites - fohgitabooutit).
  10. You have to go beyond the highways to see the devastation... You can see glimpses, but it doesn't give the complete picture.... No one was exempt from the flooding and hurricanes... if you lived in it's path... You pay/paid the penance. The 9th Ward was bad... but so was Lakeshore, the Garden District...

So, I think about the kids down south that were starting their school year... I remember how important my friends were to me at that time in my life... People didn't get to say goodbye to each other... Everyone did what they needed to do... So, trivial things like Homecoming dances and plans for Prom and dress shopping just didn't happen. It was no longer a priority. Graduating with your classmates... what classmates? Of all the things that mother nature did to these people... I am sorry that it stripped them of good times and happy moments...

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:

New Orleans Jazz Festival

City of Pascagoula, MS

Politics of a Patriot

Reformed Chicks Babbling

Alabama Improper

Below are pictures that I took Wednesday evening. Before you look at them, please understand that these photos do not begin to show the sheer volume of destruction. As far as your eye can see---- that is how much destruction there is. The other thing is, each picture has so much detail it is hard to absorb everything, but a few things to look for and remember...

-waterlines can be seen on the houses

-holes in the roofs where people escaped their homes.

-Spray painted notes on every home. A lot of them will have large Xs- on the top is the date the house was searcehdd, the left side is the the person or organization that did the search. right side and bottom are the number of bodies and dead animals found. Note some of the dates...

-Personal messages to family... often this was the only means of communicating that people were safe.

-The FEMA trailers... Countless villages of FEMA trailers. They are small... Imagine living there while your home is being worked on... I spoke with one woman and her husband is bunking at a FEMA trailer in the parking lot of the company he works for. She and her daughter and youngest son are living in a trailer on their property. The oldest son is living with an aunt. They are doing what they can to restore their own home as much as possible while they wait for a contractor and workers... The woman works evenings and the kids stay with her sister while she is gone. They have made a makeshift living room outside.

-The pictures do not allow you to hear how quiet it is... no birds... no little critters... very eery.

- The pictures do not allow you to smell. The smell of decay is still intense. Walking into some of the abandoned homes although, I found them to be gutted the smell of mold and mildew was just disgusting....

-You can click on the pictures to enlarge.

"A Sort Of Homecoming"

And you know it's time to go
Through the sleet and driving snow
Across the fields of mourning
Light in the distance

And you hunger for the time
Time to heal, desire, time
And your earth moves beneath
Your own dream landscape

Oh, oh, oh...
On borderland we run...

I'll be there
I'll be there...
A high road
A high road out from here

The city walls are all pulled down
The dust, a smoke screen all around
See faces ploughed like fields that once
Gave no resistance

And we live by the side of the road
On the side of a hill
As the valley explode
Dislocated, suffocated
The land grows weary of its own

Oh, oh, oh...on borderland we run...
And still we run
We run and don't look back
I'll be there
I'll be there

I'll be there tonight...I believe
I'll be there...somehow
I'll be there...tonight

The wind will crack in winter time
This bomb-blast lightning waltz
No spoken words, just a scream...

Tonight we'll build a bridge
Across the sea and land
See the sky, the burning rain
She will die and live again

And your heart beats so slow
Through the rain and fallen snow
Across the fields of mourning
Light's in the distance

Oh don't sorrow, no don't weep
For tonight, at last
I am coming home
I am coming home

Have a great week everyone!

--P.S. I will proof this later and make corrections to the things that are blatantly wrong. Blogger has been giving me fits all morning... I need a cup of coffee...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Cathy, I'm your father....

oh... great.... I should have freakin' known....

Your Daddy Is Darth Vader

What You Call Him: Pa, but my brother prefers to call him SD.

Why You Love Him: You don't love him, you just love calling him "daddy" - uh no... not really...

I'm off for the next few days... going away on business.... of which Friday night includes a crawfish boil... yum!

See ya Sunday and please behave. Stop by Michael's and keep him company while I'm away.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Post Script: LCpl. Justin D. Sims

"[...]But those present soon realized that this service was different. For on this day the quiet streets of Taylor Mill are suddenly filled with the awesome sound of “thunder.” A sound which overwhelms all else. The sound is coming from a group of over a hundred motorcycles from the group Patriot Guard Riders Most of these motorcycles is proudly displaying an American Flag . The license plates on these motorcycles reveal they are from 5 different states and almost all counties in Kentucky. Each of these motorcycles is ridden by a man or woman with a combined look of respect, reflection, pride, honor and loss on their faces, mixed with the tears flowing from many of their eyes. Each of them is wearing a tag over their heart which states “Proudly riding in honor of LCPL. Justin D. Sims.” [...]

Sim’s mother, at the height of her grief, taking the time to walk up the hill of flag bearers, hugging and personally thanking each one. I could still feel the her hot tears on my cheek. [...]"
For the complete mission report, go to Patriot Guard Riders.


Go here for a moving slide show.
Hundreds Honor Marine

Photos By Ernest Coleman/the Enquirer

Sunday, April 23, 2006

A Marine's Prayer, Lance Corporal Justin Sims

Partly Cloudy - Hi 95 Lo 73 for Baghdad, Iraq
Partly Cloudy - Hi 70 Lo 51 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Fragile, Sting


Michael, The Dark Celt replied via email to last Sunday's post with the following comment on snakes and I wanted to share...

"[...] Anyway, regarding your comment on why soldiers pose with dead snakes... I never really thought of it but, you know what, I'll be damned if you aren't right... it has and does happen frequently. I wonder why? Maybe it's in a soldier's or American's subconscious. Maybe, in an indirect way, American soldiers are merely echoing what their forefather's did during the American Revolution with the whole, "Don't Tread on Me" thing. [...]

To be sure, the snake or serpent has always represented evil. Maybe soldiers like to have photos taken with dead snakes because it's symbolic of defeating the enemy. Consider, for a moment, St. Michael - the Archangel... almost every image or painting you see of St. Michael, he's stomping the almighty hell out of a snake. The snake, of course, is Satan. St. Michael, by the way, is the patron saint of U.S. Army paratroopers. And what about St. George and the dragon? St. George is the patron saint of the U.S. Army infantry. Now, as far as I know, there ain't any dragons around.... but there is an abundant supply of snakes. A grunt in the field, holding aloft a dead serpent... couldn't that soldier subconsciously be emulating images he's seen of St. George? Saint George with a newly slain dragon 'neath his feet?"

I like that Michael... it makes sense to me... although when I said something to Kyle and apparently he never posed with a dead snake when he was active military... so that blows my theory...


So, Friday evening after a long painful day at work, my buddy, my pal, Kyle and I attended the visitation of fallen Marine, Lance Corporal Justin Sims.

Did either of us know him? No. Why go? This young man gave the ultimate sacrifice. The least I can do is show up and pay my respects.
Funerals at best is a sad occasion - a time when folks can reminisce about the good times... at worst it is a time when you see loved ones fall to pieces with heartache so great, you believe they might never recover.
Attending a visitation or funeral for a young soul is particularly painful and heartbreaking.

Look at Justin's face. Justin was only 22 years old. Justin was only 26 months old when President Reagan gave his speech about the Space Shuttle Challenger. "We will never forget them, nor the last time we saw them, this morning, as they prepared for the journey and waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God."

Look more closely. The photo they gave us at the funeral home, shows that Justin had piercing blue eyes... A handsome, gregarious man. He signed up for The Corps, knowing full well, where he could end- yet that was never even a consideration.

Look yet even closer. According to his mother, Alma - being a part of the Marine Corps was a life long dream.

Look beyond the dress blues... this is a man, who loved his life... loved his family, loved his wife, loved his friends. He knew what he was doing. He knew that being in Iraq and fighting terrorism there is a far better thing.

When we arrived, young men and women were in dress blues. The funeral home was packed. In speaking with one woman, she stated that the line had gone out the door. We walked into the parlor where Justin's coffin was covered by the American flag. On either side of him on guard were 2 Marines in dress blues. I said a prayer. We moved from room to room, several folks had done memory boards with pictures from happier days. One was done by his widowed wife. We have widows now.... she is only 22... In the adjoining room, members of the MCJROTC were standing at attention. There were pictures of a younger Justin from high school when he was a member of the MCJROTC.

Flowers were everywhere and were sent by everyone... the cards were just snapshots of the love people had for this young man. In lieu of flowers, someone sent a platter of chicken wings from Applebees with a tall neck beer... better days... good times...

Kyle and I made our way about. Kyle was calling out and embracing every man that had on the uniform and calling out "Semper Fi" to them. Kyle spoke to a young man and asked if he could point us in the right direction of the parents. The young man rounded up the father first. Kyle embraced him and said something in his ear. I don't know what he said, but tears welled up in my eyes. It was then my turn... I don't remember what I said, except that I was sorry for his loss- that I'm sorry that he had to endure this pain. (what a dumb thing to say...) The young man then took us to meet the grandmother. Kyle instantly hugged her and said something in her ear. Grandma wasn't crying. She was one tiny petite tough as nails cookie. She was watching everyone. She then reached out and embraced me.... she hugged me! She thanked me for coming. At that point I remember asking for the words from Him and He gave them to me. I told her that I was so sorry that she lost her grandson. I thanked her for the sacrifice she and her family has made. I thanked her for the courage and bravery of her grandson. The young man, who I can only assume was a family member waited quietly and when we finished speaking with Grandma, led us to Alma, Justin's mother. The young man introduced us and Kyle without hesitation hugged her and they embraced for a very long time. She started to weep. Kyle and she were both speaking to each other. As I watched them embrace, I remember feeling my own tears going down my cheek. I didn't try to stop crying. I just let them fall. It was then my turn. I asked Him for the words again. I hugged her, she thanked me for coming. I thanked her for her sacrifice, I thanked her for her son and his ultimate sacrifice. I told her that I was so sorry that she had to feel this much pain and sorrow. The whispered conversation ear to ear seemed to go on and on. She hugged me and I hugged her the way I hug those I loved dearly. You know what I mean? Tight and unguarded... We then all talked about many little things- the funeral details... things to keep the conversation going- small talk... thank goodness Kyle was there... I suck at small talk... She then started to weep again. She had one of Justin's dog tags on a chain around her neck and she started touching it. She then started laughing and said, that if Justin were there, he'd kick her a$$ for being all weepy. She told us he loved the kids in Iraq, she told us that he wrote her about all the good work they were doing in Iraq and that it is right thing to do. Justin's mom is one tough woman. She wanted to make sure we understood that. Alma wanted everyone to know that her son loved his country, loved his family, loved The Corps and he was proud to be part of an elite group fighting the bad guys....

Thank you, Alma.

Articles and Links about Justin:

Patriot Guard
Courier Press
Cincinnati Enquirer
AP weblog

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:

I only have one link this week, because I haven't had much computer time this week. but go check out Diane and read this one by her... a portion of a speech given by Teddy Roosevelt... pretty poignant stuff...


Capt B. continues to write.

Jedi Master Rob shares his experiences on Earth Day.

A Marine's Prayer

Almighty Father, whose command is over all and whose love never fails, make me aware of Thy presence and obedient to Thy will. Keep me true to my best self, guarding me against dishonesty in purpose and deed and helping me to live so that I can face my fellow Marines, my loved ones, and Thee without shame or fear. Protect my family.

Give me the will to do the work of a Marine and to accept my share of responsibilities with vigor and enthusiasm. Grant me the courage to be proficient in my daily performance. Keep me loyal and faithful to my superiors and to the duties my Country and the Marine Corps have entrusted to me. Help me to wear my uniform with dignity, and let it remind me daily of the traditions which I must uphold.

If I am inclined to doubt, steady my faith; if I am tempted, make me strong to resist; if I should miss the mark, give me courage to try again.

Guide me with the light of truth and grant me wisdom by which I may understand the answer to my prayer.

So, this week, when I get whiney about how much I detest my job... I'll remember Alma and the week she is having....

Have a great week everyone!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Big Nasty Teeth

Weird week, emotionally draining... My grandfather is out of the hospital. He is fine, we just don't know what is wrong with him... know any good doctor's in the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area?

The gal that has cut my hair the the past 18 years is close friends with the family of Bryan... The families vacationed together... I watched her get emotional while cutting my hair... I can't deal with anything emotional for the rest of the week... Therefore, I'm checking out now...

And now for something completely different....

When looking at the picture below, does anyone besides Michael and me think of Monty Python and the Holy Grail and the cute little bunny rabbit....???

That's the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set eyes on!

Look, that rabbit's got a vicious streak a mile wide! It's a killer!

He's got huge, sharp... pointy teeth... He can leap about. Look at the bones!

I *warned* you, but did you listen to me? Oh, no, you *knew*, didn't you? Oh, it's just a harmless little *bunny*, isn't it?

photo courtesy of AFP/File/Michael Urban

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Chicago and Back Home Again

Partly Cloudy - Hi 96 Lo 70 for Baghdad, Iraq

Scattered Strong Storms - Hi 75 Lo 57 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Gloria,

Saturday's Bonus Song: Sweet Home Chicago,
Eric Clapton


In last Sunday's ramble, I mentioned Sgt. Michael O'Rourke. Some of you may also remember Michael as the soldier that needed words of encouragement back in November. You can read that post here--- SGT. O'Rourke saw all your comments and was very appreciative. He was home in Cincinnati for a visit a couple of weeks ago. Here are a couple of photographs Michael gave me permission to post. Take a good long look at the children- those beautiful faces. Today is Easter. Keep these smiling faces in your prayers. Michael, I'm proud to know you and again, thank you for your service. Michael, I do have one small question... Why is it that every single serviceman I know has at one time or another posed with a dead snake? I'm serious. My grandfather, father and uncles all have posed with a dead snake... I don't get it. Please explain this....

OK... so I went on my first all girly girl mini vacation to Chicago. The girly girls... my mother in law- the beautiful and graceful Patricia, my sister in law- the lovely Susie, and my niece- the soon but not to soon gonna break all the boys hearts Aimee. The purpose of this trip was to see Wicked. WOW!!!!!! I'm saying it again! WOW!! I have never had so much fun going to a show- the sets, the costumes, the music, the cast... A top notch production. There were so many one liner zingers I can't begin to remember them all. What is Wicked? AH... wah... well, it's the back story of the witches of Oz....Is one born wicked? It is completely clever.... You also get to find out how Galinda ("with a ga"-you know her as Glinda) and Elphaba (you know her as the Wicked Witch of the West) met. Were they friends???? Hmmm.... you'll have to see the show. Honestly, if you can, it is truly a wonderful time. The Chicago cast was wonderful... I adored Fiyero (you know him as someone else, but I won't ruin it for you)... By the way, if you have read the book by Gregory Maguire, the musical is NOTHING like the book. NOTHING. Personally, I thought the book was weird... and it was just TMI....So, now a couple of photographs from the show, courtesy of Wicked, Chicago.

And, like I wrote... if you can... go see it... guys too... I know Michael would have loved this and when this comes back to Cincinnati, you can bet I'll be going to see it again...

Some of the other things we did while in the Windy City-- well, we shopped on Michigan Avenue- the infamous Magnificent Mile and did some serious damage to the credit cards... but please don't tell Michael. And can you believe this? I found a Sanrio store (queue Psycho music now) and came home with a shopping bag full of Hello Kitty stuff... What is wrong with me? Honestly...

We stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel on Michigan Avenue, across the street from Nordstrom's.... Besides shopping we visited Shedd Aquarium- very cool- I am now in love with Beluga Whales... how cool... We also went to The Art Institute of Chicago where I got to see my favorite painting by George Seurat, "A Sunday on La Grande Jatte". Going to the Art Institute is an all day event, but we only had time to spend a couple of hours there, so I chose the Impressionists/Post Impressionists galleries enjoying the likes of Renoir, Pisarro, VanGogh, Monet, Manet, Cezanne, Rodin, DEGAS- my personal favorite artist. I truly enjoyed walking through the galleries with Aimee. Looking at art through young eyes is a wonderful thing. Her favorite painting was by Harold Sohlburg. We even got to see a Chagall and a few pieces by Salvador Dali.

We visited the Navy Pier- what a great little touristy spot that is. We had a terrible server, but he was so charming, we couldn't help but like him. We had dinner at Ruth's Chris Steak House... yum... One night we had a stuffed pizza from Giordano's...yum yet again... That same evening while having cocktails we watched the sunset atop the John Hancock Building in the Signature Lounge. There are a million things to do in Chicago and we didn't even scratch the surface. The folks are wonderful in Chicago, service is impeccable, and all were friendly... Go if you get an opportunity... Michael and I will need to make the trek up there very soon...

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:

* Jedi Master Rob has been doing some redecorating at Beware the Dark Side. He has put together a wonderful post that provides all the Bible references of the Easter story.

* I couldn't resist this blonde joke about Easter courtesy of Joke Mail.

* She's back..... Go say hello.

One last thing... I know for most of you, I am sharing the obvious, but for those of you unfamiliar with the song or the band, Gloria by U2 isn't a song about a girl... Happy Easter.

I try to sing this song
I, I try to stand up
But I can't find my feet.
I, I try to speak up
But only in you I'm complete.

In te domine
Oh, Lord, loosen my lips.

I try to sing this song
I, I try to get in
But I can't find the door
The door is open
You're standing there, you let me in.

In te domine
Oh, Lord, if I had anything, anything at all
I'd give it to you.

In te domine

Have a great week everyone!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Remember to leave a light on...

Sunny - Hi 90 Lo 63 for Baghdad, Iraq
Sunny - Hi 57 Lo 49 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Didn't pick one-- Leaving Natalie Merchant, Wonder.


We lost another local Marine...Lance Cpl. Bryan Taylor. He was a 2004 graduate of Milford High School. Just down the road from where I grew up. Go here for the article. I can't tell you how much this saddens me- another young man, his entire life ahead of him. Bryan had a calling, he knew what direction he wanted to take his life. He didn't take the easy road... No, instead Bryan enlisted and became a Marine. He knew what he faced- he did not enlist in a time of peace. He was one of the most noble of men... our bravest... our finest... He at the age of 20 had better sense of purpose than I do at 41. To take on that kind of challenge - pause and wrap your arms around that thought for a moment... set aside his youthful bravado... Bryan enlisted knowing what he faced... Bryan felt he could be part of change, of setting the path to liberty and freedom for souls that had been living under tyranny... In so doing, he gave the ultimate sacrifice of which none of us can repay.

The least we can do is to support our fighting men and women that are still over there. Don't forget them - support them... and be active in your support. There are countless organizations available, many are listed on my sidebar. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers... Pray for their families... In speaking with Sgt. O'Rourke, the news our soldiers and marines are getting about their efforts is there is little to no support back home. We can not lose the American people on this- if the hearts and minds of the American people are lost... then there is no hope. I don't believe that... it can't be... it simply can not be...

2004 April 9 - Just as Lance Cpl Bryan Taylor was probably in his final days as a high school senior and preparing for graduation, another young man- PFC Matt Maupin was captured. He was 20 at the time. Matt graduated from Glen Este High School in 2001. Glen Este is yet another school just down the road from where I grew up. My Uncle Steve, a retired Marine, graduated from Glen Este. We don't know where Matt is. We pray Matt is alive. We pray for Matt's family and ask God to comfort them. Today, as I go about my day, there is a handsome young man somewhere in Iraq, all alone and no doubt afraid. I will keep a candle lit and I will remember him and pray for his safe return and I ask you to do the same. We must keep hope alive. That IS our duty.

related: Matt Maupin listed at Wikipedia

And lastly to The Dark Celt: Welcome home SGT. Michael O'Rourke, Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran. It was an honor to speak with you the other morning. Thank you for your service, thank you for the sacrifices you and your family have made. As a defender of our nation, you saw things that can not be imagined. You did things that put your life in jeopardy. There are no words in the English vocabulary that can show you enough appreciation for what you and your men did for us and for what you did for the people of Iraq. Now it's time for you to get back to the task at hand and get back to your life, but with the satisfaction of knowing you were part of something bigger than all of us- that you were part of bringing liberty and freedom to the people of Iraq. My wish was to meet you face to face, but getting to speak with you on the phone will have to suffice for now. Now, go have a cigar and a Guinness.

Remember these men... Keep them in your prayers and remember to leave a light on for them.... They are doing thankless work. They keep us safe.

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:

Yellow Ribbon Support Center

Friends Working to Free Scott Speicher

Any Soldier

Operation Dear Abby

A Million Thanks

Semper Fi Fund

Friday, April 07, 2006

mentally preparing for vacation....

You Are a Classic Martini

You are a sophisticated drinker, who knows that simple quality is over-rated.
You're a knowledgeable drunk, but sometimes you're a know-it-all when you're blasted.

You should never: Drink and gossip. You tend to forget who's standing right behind you!

Your ideal party: Has a real bartender. But no one mixes a better drink than you.

Your drinking soulmates: those with a Chocolate Martini personality

Your drinking rivals: those with a Margarita Martini personality

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Capt. B is home

My favorite blogging Marine is home from Iraq and has spent a little quality time with the wife in St. Lucia. Needless to say I was ecstatic to see a post from him. Go check him out here and thank Capt. B.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

WAKE UP! Time to Ramble On!!

Evening Thunderstorms- Hi 78 Lo 60 for Baghdad, Iraq
Rain- Hi 68 Lo 59 for Northern KY, USA

Song of the week: Ramble On,
Led Zeppelin


I have too many things going on at the moment and I am overwhelmed by the length of my to do list, not to mention the loss of an entire hour! So this morning's edition is short. Just know that work (what a whining broken record I have become) is kicking me in the tail and I need to get ready for our trip to Chicago to see Wicked!--Our home is due for a serious spring cleaning and our gardens need some desperate attention. So, rather than ramble on I have some real work that must be tended. With that said, I hope that a little Led for the head will suffice.

Since Led Zeppelin made me think of Lord of the Rings, Lord of the Rings made me think about Elijah Wood... and I wanted to suggest a movie for you to watch- Everything is Illuminated, starring Elijah Wood.

A young Jewish American man endeavors to find the woman who saved his grandfather during World War II in a Ukrainian village, that was ultimately razed by the Nazis, with the help of a local who speaks weirdly funny broken English. -courtesy of IMDb

I believe it was a number of months ago that Hugh Hewitt recommended this movie. Since it is an independent... it didn't make it to the Cincinnati area... so, I patiently waited for it to come out on DVD. Michael and I watched it Friday night and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Please note, some of it is not suitable for kids. I have the book and have every intention of reading it, but have not found the time. The movie from what I gather takes one part of the journey as there are too many characters in the book. The movie has clean lines and the characters were charming. I will admit that the ending was unexpected, but in hindsight it makes perfectly good sense. I would have preferred to have seen this in a local movie house and then gone out for coffee afterwards to discuss it... Ah well... One side note... I will get the soundtrack and drive Michael insane...

Blogs and Links to Check Out This Week:

Proud To Be Out of Touch - Michael and I watched the Oscars--- For the record, we quit watching all those shows quite some time ago, but he and I thought it would give us some material to blog about... Well, not only did it give us something to blog about, but the words of George Clooney inspired me to create a new blog to honor those cultural elitists... I invited Michael and Jedi Master Rob to be partners in this endeavor and so far Rob has been the inspired one... He has already written 3 great posts... the first being the creator of the universe Rob loves so much... Go visit our new little blog and if you are interested in adding anyone to our "Hall of Shame", please let one of us know- We would love to have you as a guest blogger.

Sisyphus Today - Dorman is no longer in Iraq, but he is still in the service and he is currently stationed in Germany. Unlike many other military bloggers that have left combat, Dorman is still writing and sharing his experiences. Spend some time with him. Unsure why, but I've maintained a status of "lurker" on his blog... By the way, could someone share with me the different kinds of readers... What is a troll? Can't be good...

Repeal the 17th Amendment - Brian is a passionate patriot. His blog is no different.

BTW- What is going on with blogger? Where are the teenage wonder twins from The Rebelution?

One last thing, which character from Lord of the Rings Trilogy do you think the song Ramble On is about? My guess is that it is about Frodo, but then one has to surmise as to who the fair lady is... The Ring?

Leaves are falling all around,
It's time I was on my way.
Thanks to you, I'm much obliged
For such a pleasant stay.

And now it's time for me to go,
The autumn moon lights my way.
But now I smell the rain,
And with it pain,
And it's headed my way.
Ah, sometimes I grow so tired,
But I know one thing I got to do,

Ramble on,
And now's the time, the time is now
To sing my song.
I'm goin' 'round the world, I got to find my girl,
On my way,
Been this way ten years to the day,
Ramble on,
Find the queen of all my dreams.

Got no time for spreading roots,
The time has come to be gone.
And though our health we drank a thousand times,
It's time to Ramble on.

Ramble on,
And now's the time, the time is now
To sing my song.
I'm goin' 'round the world, I got to find my girl,
On my way,
Been this way ten years to the day,
Ramble on,
Find the queen of all my dreams.

Mine's a tale that can't be told,
My freedom I hold dear;
How years ago in days of old
When magic filled the air,
T'was in the darkest depth of Mordor
I met a girl so fair,
But Gollum, the evil one crept up
And slipped away with her.
Her, her....yea.
Ain't nothing I can do, no.

Have a great week everyone!