Wednesday, February 27, 2008

What we leave behind

Recently my mother moved from her home (my childhood home) of 40+ years into my grandfathers house. My current abode became the dumping grounds for all the sentimental memorabilia as well as the spare can opener and plastic bag holder that she chose not to take over to the new digs. I now am the proud owner of all the cards and letters that I wrote to her and my father over the last 30 years. All my baby stuff, clay pottery, artwork, schoolwork from elementary school and general unusable stuffs (20 year old coasters, a vase that I gave her for her birthday back in 1977) have been passed on to me. Don't get me wrong... I would never tell my mother that I felt somewhat slighted that she didn't want to keep any of this stuff any longer... but I have so little room for my own things that taking on these things really puts a strain on my storage area! It's not like I can throw any of these things away... after all, she kept them for so many years it would be like a slap in the face to just dispose of them... The worst part of all of this is that this stuff is just all of MY past. Nothing of my father or grandparents things. That stuff I would never even dream of parting with. My mother wasn't a pack rat but she did grow up in the depression era so there were drawers full of folded up used tinfoil, 35 empty coffee cans, 26 empty butter tubs w/lids, assorted sizes of construction paper, balls of twine in different lenths, well you get the picture. I was reading a post over at Bag Blog that got me thinking about what it might be like for my daughter in another 50 years when she has to go through whatever I've left behind. Will she realize that the black and white picture of Steve McQueen that I took out of a magazine, framed and hung on my bedroom wall is more valuable than the collection of postcards I've been working on for the last 10 years? What will she decide to do with all of HER report cards that I've kept for the past 17 years?

Excellent Post from Mostly Cajun

Mostly Cajun, All American and Opinionated: A History Lesson

By Raymond S. Kraft


Sixty-four years ago, Nazi Germany had overrun almost all of Europe and hammered England to the verge of bankruptcy and defeat. The Nazis had sunk more than 400 British ships in their convoys between England and America taking food and war materials.

At that time the US was in an isolationist, pacifist mood, and most Americans wanted nothing to do with the European or the Asian war.

Then along came Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and in outrage Congress unanimously declared war on Japan, and the following day on Germany, who had not yet attacked us. It was a dicey thing; we had few allies.

France was not an ally, as the Vichy government of France quickly aligned itself with its German occupiers, Germany was certainly not an ally, as Hitler was intent on setting up a Thousand Year Reich in Europe. Japan was not an ally, as it was well on its way to owning and controlling all of Asia.

Together, Japan and Germany had long-range plans of invading Canada and Mexico, as launching pads to get into the United States over our northern and southern borders, after they finished gaining control of Asia and Europe.

America’s only allies then were England, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, Australia, and Russia. That was about it. All of Europe, from Norway to Italy (except Russia in the East) was already under the Nazi heel.

The US was certainly not prepared for war. The U.S. had drastically downgraded most of its military forces after WWI because of the depression, so that at the outbreak of WWII, Army units were training with broomsticks because they didn’t have guns, and cars with “tank” painted on the doors because they didn’t have real tanks. A huge chunk of our Navy had just been sunk or damaged at Pearl Harbor. Britain had already gone bankrupt, saved only by the donation of $600 million in gold bullion in the Bank of England (that was actually the property of Belgium) given by Belgium to England to carry on the war when Belgium was overrun by Hitler (a little known fact).

Actually, Belgium surrendered after one day, because it was unable to oppose the German invasion, and the Germans bombed Brussels into rubble the next day just to prove they could. Britain had already been holding out for two years in the face of staggering losses and the near decimation of its Royal Air Force in the Battle of Britain, and was saved from being overrun by Germany only because Hitler made the mistake of thinking the Brits were a relatively minor threat that could be dealt with later. Hitler first turned his attention to Russia in the late summer of 1940, at a time when England was on the verge of collapse.

Ironically, Russia saved American’s butt by putting up a desperate fight for two years, until the US got geared up to begin hammering away at Germany.

Russia lost something like 24,000,000 people in the sieges of Stalingrad and Leningrad alone . . . 99% of them from cold and starvation, mostly civilians, but also more than 1,000,000 soldiers.

Had Russia surrendered, Hitler would have been able to focus his entire war effort against the Brits, then America. If that had happened, the Nazis could have won the war.

All of this has been brought out to illustrate that turning points in history are often dicey things. Now, we find ourselves at another one of those key moments in history.

There is a very dangerous minority in Islam that either has, or wants, and may soon have, the ability to deliver small nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons, almost anywhere in the world.

The Jihadis, the militant Muslims, are basically Nazis in kaffiyehs - they believe that Islam, a radically conservative form of Wahhabi Islam, should own and control the Middle East first, then Europe, then the world. All who do not bow to their will of thinking should be killed, enslaved, or subjugated. They want to finish the Holocaust, destroy Israel, and purge the world of Jews. This is their mantra and their goal. There is also a civil war raging in the Middle East - for the most part not a hot war, but a war of ideas. Islam is having its Inquisition and its Reformation, but it is not yet known which side will win, - the Inquisitors, or the Reformationists.

If the Inquisition wins, then the Wahhabis, the Jihadis, will control the Middle East, the OPEC oil, and the US, European, and Asian economies.

The techno-industrial economies will be at the mercy of OPEC - not an OPEC dominated by the educated, more rational Saudis of today, but an OPEC dominated by the Jihadis. Do you want gas in your car? Do you want heating oil next winter? Do you want the dollar to be worth anything? You had better hope the Jihad, the Muslim Inquisition loses, and the Islamic Reformation wins.

If the Reformation movement wins, that is, the moderate Muslims who believe that Islam can respect and tolerate other religions, live in peace with the rest of the world, and move out of the 10th century into the 21st, then the troubles in the Middle East will eventually fade away. A moderate and prosperous Middle East will emerge.

We have to help the Reformation win, and to do that we have to fight the Inquisition, i.e., the Wahhabi movement, the Jihad, Al Qaeda and the Islamic terrorist movements. We have to do it somewhere. We can’t do it everywhere at once. We have created a focal point for the battle at a time and place of our choosing . . . in Iraq, not in New York, not in London, or Paris or Berlin, but in Iraq, where we have done two important things:

First we deposed Saddam Hussein. Whether Saddam Hussein was directly involved in the 9/11 terrorist attack or not, it is undisputed that Saddam has been actively supporting the terrorist movement for decades. Saddam was a terrorist! Saddam was a weapon of mass destruction, responsible for the deaths of probably more than 1,000,000 Iraqis and
2,000,000 Iranians.

Second we created a battle, a confrontation, a flash point, with Islamic terrorism in Iraq. We have focused the battle. We are killing bad people, and the ones we get there we won’t have to get here. We also have a good shot at creating a democratic, peaceful Iraq, which will be a catalyst for democratic change in the rest of the Middle East, and an outpost for a stabilizing American military presence in the Middle East for as long as it is needed.

WWII, the war with the Japanese and German Nazis, really began with a “whimper” in 1928. It did not begin with Pearl Harbor. It began with the Japanese invasion of China. It was a war for 14 years before the U.S. joined it. It officially ended in 1945 - a 17-year war - and was followed by another decade of U.S. occupation in Germany and Japan to get those countries reconstructed and running on their own again . . . a
27-year war.

WW II cost the United States an amount equal to approximately a full year’s GDP - adjusted for inflation, equal to about $12 trillion dollars. WW II cost America more than 400,000 soldiers killed in action, and nearly 100,000 still missing in action.

The cost of not fighting and winning WW II would have been unimaginably greater - a world dominated by Japanese Imperialism and German Nazism.

The Iraq war has, so far, cost the United States about $160,000,000,000, which is roughly what the 9/11 terrorist attack cost New York. It has also cost about 3,000 American lives, which is roughly equivalent to lives that the Jihad killed (within the United States) in the 9/11 terrorist attack.

This is not a 60 Minutes TV show, or a two-hour movie in which everything comes out okay. The real world is not like that. It is messy, uncertain, and sometimes bloody and ugly. It always has been, and probably always will be.

The bottom line is that we will have to deal with Islamic terrorism until we defeat it, whenever that is. It will not go away if we ignore it.

If the U.S. can create a reasonably democratic and stable Iraq, then we have an ally, like England, in the Middle East, a platform from which we can work to help modernize and moderate the Middle East. The history of the world is the clash between the forces of relative civility and civilization, and the barbarians clamoring at the gates to conquer the world.

The Iraq War is merely another battle in this ancient and never-ending war. Now, for the first time ever, the barbarians are about to get nuclear weapons . . . unless somebody prevents them from getting them.

We have four options:

1. We can defeat the Jihad now, before it gets nuclear weapons.

2. We can fight the Jihad later, after it gets nuclear weapons (which may be as early as next year, if Iran’s progress on nuclear weapons is what Iran claims it is).

3. We can surrender to the Jihad and accept its dominance in the Middle East now, in Europe in the next few years or decades, and ultimately in America.

4. Or, we can stand down now, and pick up the fight later when the Jihad is more widespread and better armed, perhaps after the Jihad has dominated France and Germany and possibly most of the rest of Europe. It will, of course, be more dangerous, more expensive, and much bloodier.

If you oppose this war, I hope you like the idea that your children, or grandchildren, may live in an Islamic America under the Mullahs and the Sharia, an America that resembles Iran today.

The history of the world is the history of civilization clashes, cultural clashes. All wars are about ideas, ideas about what society and civilizations should be like, and the most determined always win.

Those who are willing to be the most ruthless always win. The pacifists always lose, because the anti-peace militants kill them.

Remember, perspective is everything, and America’s schools teach too little history for perspective to be clear, especially in the young American mind.

The Cold War lasted from about 1947 at least until the Berlin Wall came down in 1989; 42 years!

Europe spent the first half of the 19th century fighting Napoleon, and from 1870 to 1945 fighting Germany!

World War II began in 1928, lasted 17 years, plus a ten- year occupation, and the U.S. still has troops in Germany and Japan. World War II resulted in the death of more than 50,000,000 people, maybe more than
100,000,000 people, depending on which estimates you accept.

The U.S. has taken more than 3,000 killed in action in Iraq. The U.S. took more than 4,000 killed in action on the morning of June 6, 1944, the first day of the Normandy invasion to rid Europe of Nazi Imperialism.

In WWII the U.S. averaged 2,000 KIA a week - for four years. Most of the individual battles of WW II lost more Americans than the entire Iraq war has done so far.

The stakes are at least as high. . . a world dominated by representative governments with civil rights, human rights, and personal freedoms or a world dominated by a radical Islamic Wahhabi movement, by the Jihad, under the Mullahs and the Sharia (Islamic law).

It’s difficult to understand why the average American does not grasp this. They favor human rights, civil rights, liberty and freedom, but evidently not for Iraqis.

“Peace activists” always seem to demonstrate here in America, where it’s safe. Why don’t we see peace activists demonstrating in Iran, Syria, Iraq, Sudan, North Korea, in the places that really need peace activism the most? I’ll tell you why! They would be killed!

The liberal mentality is supposed to favor human rights, civil rights, democracy, multiculturalism, diversity, etc., but if the Jihad wins, wherever the Jihad wins, it is the end of civil rights, human rights, democracy, multiculturalism, diversity.

Americans who oppose the liberation of Iraq are coming down on the side of their own worst enemy!

Please consider passing along copies of this to students in high school, college and university as it contains information about the American past that is very meaningful TODAY — history about America that very likely is completely unknown by them (and their instructors, too). By being denied the facts and truth of our history, they are at a decided disadvantage when it comes to reasoning and thinking through the issues of today. They are prime targets for misinformation campaigns beamed at enlisting them in causes and beliefs that are special-interest agenda driven.

Raymond S. Kraft is a writer and lawyer living in Northern California.
(I got this one in the morning’s email…)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Castro Steps Down

I am back to work but struggle to use my voice on the 911 phone and over the radio. It croaks mostly, barely above a raspy whisper and I am prone to fits of deep chested coughing. I sound much worse than I feel. Half the radio room is out sick. I know it's because our room is enclosed, air re-circulating without benefit of fresh, and even with the precautions of Clorox Wipes, hand sanitizers etc. this viral crap is vicious, and unrelenting! I have a miriad of soothers with me, cough drops, Day Quil, Tea w/honey. I've been sucking down water as fast as I can to see if I can drown it out! Each day that goes by seems to bring some small improvement, but I am still having trouble getting actual "sleep". I just have to remind myself that I never really did sleep well before all this anyhow!
Breaking News....
Now that Castro is no longer in charge of Cuba, what will that mean to us? Raul Castro had long been his brother's designated successor. The longtime defense minister had been in his brother's rebel movements since 1953 and spent decades as No. 2 in Cuba's power structure.
The United States, determined to keep Castro's brother out of the power structure, built a detailed plan in 2005 for American assistance to ensure a democratic transition on the island of 11.2 million people after Fidel Castro's death. But Cuban officials insisted there would be no transition, saying the island's socialist political and economic systems would outlive Castro. So there you have it. It's soooo great there, they don't want to change a thing! Raul will run the country just like his brother did. End of story. Here's a little excerpt from the State Dept. website giving us a little insight on what lovely little Cuba is like....

"COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Cuba is a totalitarian police state, which relies on repressive methods to maintain control. These methods, including intense physical and electronic surveillance of Cubans, are also extended to foreign travelers. Americans visiting Cuba should be aware that any encounter with a Cuban could be subject to surreptitious scrutiny by the Castro regime's secret police, the General Directorate for State Security (DGSE). Also, any interactions with average Cubans, regardless how well intentioned the American is, can subject that Cuban to harassment and/or detention, and other forms of repressive actions, by state security elements. The regime is strongly anti-American yet desperate for U.S. dollars to prop itself up."

Oh yeah... book my reservations today!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Out sick

I have joined the ranks of thousands suffering with the horrible flu virus.... it's now day 5 and I still wish someone would shoot me. Be back as soon as I can....

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Random Bits

There is a theory that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here... it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable.
There is another theory which states that this has already happened.

The Ten Insights from Middle Age:
"You will learn lessons.
There are no mistakes, only lessons.
A lesson is repeated, until learned.
If you don't learn the easy lessons, they get harder.
You'll know when you've learned a lesson when your actions change.
"There" is no better than "here".
There is no absolute right or wrong, but there are consequences.
Your life is up to you.
Your answers lie inside you.
You'll tend to forget all this, but you can remember any time you want."

And from the Wizard of Oz:
"A heart is not judged by how much we love, but by how much we are loved by others.

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away."

Thursday, February 7, 2008

How Did I Miss the Class On This?

for more Shoe Knots
Please take a moment to stop over at Voice in the Night 's blog to offer support for her brother-in-law, a LEO who was seriously injured in a on-duty car accident.

Helping the Environment AND Decreasing the National Debt!

What do you think folks? We tax almost everything else.. why not this?

Plastic Bag Tax

Of course what I'd rather see is a biodegradable plastic bag. That would make more sense. I don't think plastic bags are going to go away... ie litter box liners, trash can liners, pooper scooper picker uppers use them and I don't see how that would be a pleasant task without them... Anyhow, check out the link/site, there's alot of interesting ideas floating around over there about all kinds of stuff. Some are a bit on the overboard side but if you've got an open mind and an interest in what the minds of men are thinking/inventing/doing this is a place to check it out.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Monday, February 4, 2008

I'm A Patriot's Fan

Congratulations to the NY Giants for their Super Bowl win.

A tough one to watch all the way through. Glad I was sleeping for the second half. (midnight shifts-ugh!) I probably would have had a cardiac arrest.

Another scientific quiz that's extremely accurate and very helpful!

You Are Betty Grable

The ultimate girl next door
You're the perfect girl for most guys
Pretty yet approachable. Beautiful yet real.

Take the quiz and see!
For you menfolk, you could try getting in touch with your feminine side or have your wife take the quiz!

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Sign Up for Earth Hour on March 29, 2008

Earth Hour

By the light of the silvery moon.....

Went for a quick walk tonight before heading out to work. It seems I'm not getting enough exercise in my life (desk job directly related to pants getting tight around the waist) so I'm making an effort to stay away from the snack machine and taking a brisk, daily walk whenever I can find 30 minutes to spare. (Double shift days are exempt!) I have to admit I'm feeling pretty good after taking the walk, and it gave me some time to be alone with myself and those thoughts that we don't always have time to listen to. My plate is pretty full these days with the daily routine; taking care of my daughter, and working on getting her into college by next fall, keeping up with trainings for work, maintaining relationships with my family, and somehow finding time to fit in a moment with a friend or two. Tonight I realized that I hadn't really been doing much for myself lately! As I walked down by the water, waves just cresting above the berm, I thought about how blessed I was, to have a job that I love, a great place to stay, a wonderful, healthy kid, a life that allows me to enjoy some of the simple pleasures! (except potato chips, doughnuts, Captain Crunch cereal and Twizzlers). Bring on the broccoli!