Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Latest on Hurricane Frances

Looks like the National Hurricane Center has amended their prediction to Jacksonville on Sunday.

Confusion About Vietnam

Let me say at the start that I am not well versed in the history of the Vietnam war, so what I say is just conjecture.

I've read some of John Kerry's "The New Soldier" on line.

It contains the testimony of Kerry in front of Congress in 1971. As I read through his words, I remembered the zietgeist of the country's youth in the late 1960's and early 1970's. Yes, I was all of 13 in 1969, but I remember the anti-war movement, the Hippies, the drug culture, rock and roll, etc. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me in my old age (48), that what we saw at that time was an overindulged youth gone hedonistic. Just do whatever feels good. After all, dying in a war doesn't feel good, so why do it?

What I did notice in Kerry's book is that his "Veterans Against the War" was a small group, in comparison to the number of soldiers that fought in Vietnam. In other words, they were a minority. Those who actually confessed to war crimes were numbered 150 with "very many" other highly decorated veterans thrown in. I'll take the 150 and leave the "very many" to the side. These are the 150 who met in Detroit and had what sounded like a mass sharing session about the horrible things they'd done. 150 hardly makes for a majority. In addition, there is a poll done at the end of the book. It is a poll to show what type of demographics are covered by those who joined the "Veterans Against the War" movement. The poll was done among 1000 Veterans who were protesting on the Mall in Washington. In one interesting question, the results showed that a great many were students, while an even greater number were unemployed. Why didn't those who were unemployed take advantage of the GI bill and get a college education?

Kerry makes a lot of blanket statements about racism in the military, unemployment among the vets (note that the unemployment numbers that were very high were only documented among the bunch of 1000 demonstrators), crimes committed by soldiers, etc.

However, the group he represented was perhaps a few thousand strong; not a majority.

Now I'm going to go out on a limb. In the 60's and 70's America had the draft. 34%
(according to Kerry's poll of 1000) of those who joined "Veterans Against the War" were drafted. The rest enlisted. When you draft, you get what you get. You don't necessarily get the cream of the crop, or those who are committed to the war they are going to fight. In the early 60's, a new generation grew to young adulthood that had been spoiled rotten by their parents. This is the generation that indulged itself with no holds barred. This is the generation that produced "Veterans Against the War". This is the generation that had a lot less "cream of the crop" than that of WWII it seems.

I'm thinking those 150 who confessed to war crimes would have committed crimes right here in THIS country had there been no war. I'm thinking the few thousand who joined with Kerry and Fonda were self-indulgent, self centered ne'er-do-wells anyway. If there had been no war, these would have been the ones who were in trouble with the law, drank too much or drugged too much. Instead, they went to Vietnam and got in trouble there.

The only problem is they were recognized as legit by Congress. They got some people with power and money behind them, like Kerry, to represent them. That's like all the population of those in jails getting their own Congressman and Special Interest Group.

What really astounds me is that this small group dared to say it represented ALL the Veterans of America, all the youth and EVERY AMERICAN'S opinion about the war in Vietnam at that time. That since they represented the WHOLE country, that Congress should honor their wishes, as in "government by the people." Um.....government by a couple thousand losers...at best, government by a couple thousand misguided, hormonal youth?

Very interesting reading, anyway. I recommend it. For myself, I'm going to pore over the Internet and the local library until I'm comfortable with my take on Vietnam history. I've already made up my mind about Kerry - dangerous loser.

Monday, August 30, 2004


You just can't trust what you THINK are your loyal followers anymore.

MTV thought that the Kerry daughters would be a popular attraction since everyone knows that the MTV audience are all Democrats....

Well, surprise surprise!!

Evidently MTV got their demographics a little wrong - OR - they didn't count on the anger of those who just want to be entertained, having politics shoved down their throat with their fun.

If the Left doesn't have an agenda, if the Media isn't hand-in-glove with the Left and promoting that agenda ad infinitum.....I'm Santa Claus......and in case you have any doubts - I'm NOT Santa Claus


There are some mistakes that we make in life that are so profound in their consequences, they are like ripples from a pebble tossed in a stream that go on and on and on until death. You never know or can expect what permutation they might take. You may even get to the point where you think you've got it beat, you've slipped through the cracks - the pain can't find you anymore, you're free. And then, like a kick in the gut, one of those ripples comes back, more like a giant tsunami, to engulf you again.

That's an easy paragraph to write. You read it and you think, "yes, I suppose that's true," or "I hope I never do anything like that." But dive down into the sentence. Take each word in context and meditate on how it might actually feel to be a person who has brought this kind of punishment down on themselves. They can read this, but when they look away, the burden is still on their backs, the anguish still everpresent.

I have a family member that has suffered from this tragedy. And it involves children. If it only involves self, sometimes the disaster can be managed, even if it kills us, we can absorb it.

And it's a double tragedy because it involves that most famous and most ambigous of phrases, a "dysfunctional family." On a disfunction-o-meter, that can go from a rather comfortable 1 or 2 up to a mind blowing, suicide inducing 8 to 10. Where is our family? Somewhere on the meter around 6 or 7 perhaps, but to my relative, it is a solid 10. Having grown up with hatred - hatred toward a child!! - trying to negotiate the field of landmines that was their childhood, they were behind the 8 ball of life right from the start. Anguish from birth, mistake after mistake as an adult.......and now, in middle age, looking back over that panorama looks like Flanders Field. And the payment for the crime of these errors never ends.

I cannot tell you how much sadness I feel for this person, how much empathy. Let me tell you - any of you out there that think you have this life by the horns and you would NEVER do this or that......there but for the grace of God go ALL of us. "For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." Period. And, if in our youth, in our disfunctional, confusing youth, trying to solve an unsolveable problem even then - if we make that decision, the one that we cannot ever guess the price we will pay.....then God have mercy on us. He is the Only One Who will.

Hurricane Fears

Hey! Maybe this sucker will go back out to sea? It's going to come VERY close.......

Last night at Publix, they were already putting out extra water - and it was flying off the shelves. If you wait until the last minute to get supplies, there won't be any. Water and flashlights are the first things to go.

I sure don't want it to hit squarely over us, but I don't want it to hit anyone else either. I'm nice that way.

Friday, August 27, 2004


Since I live in South Florida, I do NOT look forward to this.

If this sucker heads this way, Charley's damage will look like a Sunday picnic. I KNEW I should've moved last winter.......

He's Gone

This guy had the BEST blog ever regarding the war in Iraq. But he came under the notice of his superiors and that was the end of that. I also work for a bureaucracy and I know what that's like. You can go on your merry way for years and no one notices or cares - and suddenly, Big Brother rotates His giant head and His big kleig light eye beams are on you like the naked bulb of an interrogator's lamp. Once that happens, forget it. Everyone around you could be doing the same thing you are, skirting the rules perhaps, cutting corners, but getting the job done - and they continue while you are used as an EXAMPLE for the Proper Procedures.

I do understand that a military blog is uncharted territory. In WWII, soldier's letters home had to run through a censor, who blacked out anything they felt was TMI. By the time the folks back home got the letter, it was a few weeks later, and looked like a checkerboard. Now there is Instant Messaging - no censor there - at least for now. Until Big Brother looks at that whole genre.

Unfortunately for us, He has turned His leaden gaze upon CBGTW's excellent blog. Past entries on the blog did not seem to me to give away anything important, but I also read the comments each day and some of THOSE raised eyebrows I think. In any case, while there may be other military blogs out there that haven't come under the Great Gaze yet, CMGTW has been silenced. At least in blogdom. I have a feeling he is writing, writing, writing even more now - and when he's back stateside, we're going to get some very interesting commentary. I can't wait!! In the meantime, Godspeed, CMGTW - stay safe and my prayers are winging your way.

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Sneakers on the Wire

I thought I was having an original thought today, but alas. I noticed yet again some sneakers tied together by their laces and dangling from a power line. And I wondered if this happens all over (and realized it does) - and what is the social significance of this? I googled "Sneakers on Wire" and came up with this piece, which ends up saying "I don't know".

Here's another possibility.

And last, but not least, this.

Bottom line - who knows? If we ever STOP seeing them simultaneously EVERYWHERE, then it's time to start worrying....


Need some entertainment of a stupid and mindless nature - I mean REALLY MINDLESS?

The Story of a Life

You want to read some ongoing brilliant outpourings of memory?
I can see a table near the entrance of Barnes & Noble......bestsellers.....great art cover......

Best of all - this lady is a "walking reader" or "reading walker" - whatever.......

Oh What a Blog!!

This lady is FABULOUS!! Read today's post - her "apology" to the Muslims.....oh YEAH.....

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

How Prophetic Was This?

I wrote this September 1st, 2003. Johnny Cash passed away on September 12, 2003.....

I saw Johnny Cash’s video today called simply, “Hurt”. It is brilliant, dark and so very sad.

This is a man without his compass, without his very breath, forced to continue living. I had only read about Johnny and June Carter Cash incidentally, in Christian biographies of other people, one of which is another aged giant, Billy Graham. They caught my imagination. I loved June Carter Cash and came to be more interested in her when she played a major part in Robert Duval’s movie, “The Apostle”. I knew she and Johnny were strong Christians and that alone drew me to see how they handled fame. There is a deeper dimension to a person who believes in Jesus Christ, there is a vibration in their spirit that transcends the limits of human life….you can see it in their eyes, you can hear it in their words; it’s like the smoke signals of the Holy Spirit. Another like spirit can read the signals and know the message, and there is instant familiarity that neither fame or death or distance can inhibit.

That’s the Christian aspect of June and Johnny Cash. But their real and unfettered personalities, based in their Southern upbringing, also drew me. The music is secondary, it’s the soul that matters. The music they made was just the expression of their souls anyway.

I knew June was the daughter of the great Carter family of Country Music legend, one of the pioneers of the genre. I love Country Music, the real stuff, that echoes of England and Ireland and the stark lives of the Appalachian settlers. It speaks of their faith; songs like “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” by June Carter’s mother, “I’ll Fly Away”, and “On the Wings of a Snow White Dove”, sung by Robert Duval in the movie, “Tender Mercies.” These are the tunes, sung for perhaps hundreds of years in one form or another, plucked on homemade instruments on the front porch of a rickety cabin on the side of a foggy, lonely mountain in the middle of the Appalachians.

This, and reading about their legendary love, how June saved Johnny from drug and alcohol addiction, how she led him to Christianity; told me that when I heard she had passed away, he would wither away, unable to bear the searing pain of her loss.

I’m thinking he won’t be with us much longer. Right now I understand he is working like a demon, compiling songs that have never been released that he and June did together. Perhaps this video is a cathartic of sorts…….

The video has quick shots of Johnny as a young, vital man, the monolithic “Man in Black”, battling his inner demons, comforted by the love of June. Johnny visits his birthplace, but the man who visits the simple, old house is still a young man himself, strong and tall, striding long, wide-shouldered. And like all of us eventually, he is now alone, his body a betrayer, no longer a reflection of his true spirit, something to be discarded and thrown away. How sad he is that she has left first, left him in this God-forsaken place alone.

There is something unspeakably tragic about the spoiled beauty of youth, the slow degeneration, the brilliant eyes and smooth skin becoming clouded and mottled; the easy strength of arms and back, lithe and quick, now bent and shuffling, slow. The eyes tell it – youth is hopeful, confident, beautiful. “There’s so much time…..” we think, and we blink and we’re so very much older.

The comfort a believer in Jesus Christ has, is eternity. These bodies, illusions of life, are shed, to sink back into the earth, and they are traded for a body that lasts forever. One that won’t get old and broken. And those we love who have gone before, like June before Johnny – they are waiting to welcome us when we come to join them. And then there will be no more of this darkness, this searing anguish called life…..and death.

If you wish to see Johnny Cash’s award winning video, here is a website where you can view it:


Old Broad Posted by Hello

Oh the Teen Drama Posted by Hello

Me at 7 - my favorite age Posted by Hello


Blizzard on 49 Fairlawn - early 1960'sPosted by Hello

Hey - I just realized I had a "blog" of types before when I put some writings up on the web. So I'm gonna cheat and copy one or two here - and the pictures I put with them.

SNOW DAYS - (written August, 2003)

You know what I love remembering? One of the things I love to think back on is snow days. The whole mystery of snow falling and the way it hushed everything, even danger (or so I thought). My dad would always turn the heat down at night. Down to maybe 55 degrees. Then, upstairs, we’d all go to bed under thick quilts and 2 or 3 blankets, with our windows open an inch or so, and our doors shut. It would be so quiet. No cars would be out in the snow. We lived on a quiet street in a small town anyway, so traffic was never much of an issue.
Perhaps when we all went to bed there would be no hint of snow. As a teen I never watched the news or the weather forecast, so I was never forewarned of snow – it was always a sweet surprise. I would go to sleep under the usual circumstances, and then, perhaps around 2 or 3 AM I would wake up. I’d open my eyes and notice right away how light my room was. There were no streetlights near our house, so that would not be the reason – those were farther down the block. In the small bedroom where I slept, there were two side-by-side windows that took up at least half of the outside wall. My sister had made ceiling to floor drapes that could be opened or closed to any degree, and I usually closed them just enough to frame the windows on each side. There were white, light, breezy sheers underneath the drapes and covering the windows – but they were transparent. In the middle of a snowfall night, the whole room would glow white. The snow outside fell until it covered the blacktop driveways and macadam road, covered the brown grass and bare tree branches – with a cascade of reflective white. The snow on the ground would reflect off the snow falling from the lowering clouds, and an ethereal light would pervade my room. Snow day. No doubt about it.
But first, I would crawl out of bed, clasping a blanket around me for warmth, my feet icy on the cold wood floor…..and I’d throw open the window and lean out and join myself with the snowdrops. There would be no wind, no sound. If, in the distance, a dog barked, the sound would be swallowed up, dulled, no echo, under the thickness of white flakes. If I thrust my hand out the window, the flakes would lazily float onto my skin, their delicate intricacy melted by my body heat.
The whole world seemed so safe under that blanket, so protected, so soft. Of course I knew better, but at 3 AM on a snow day eve, it was magic to imagine it so.

What Is So Hard To Understand???

What is it about this phrase that is so difficult to grasp?

" Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. "

Congress shall not PROHIBIT the free exercise thereof ("thereof" meaning religion, of course). And, oh by the way, Congress shall not abridge the freedom of speech. So if that speech has to do with one's religion, then no law is supposed to limit the free exercise of said religion, or to abridge the freedom of speech ABOUT that religion.

This man is taking a lot of chances. He is exercising his right of free speech, and he is NOT violating the rights of others in the process. He has the right to make people uncomfortable. Those people do NOT have the right to use their discomfort to stop his freedom of speech.

Principal McKee is not specifying his God, or prosyletising his students and/or staff. He is merely not editing God out of his speech about his daily experiences. Even if Mr. McKee were Islaamic (and I am NOT pro-Islaam), he would be within the bounds of the first Amendment AND the bounds of good taste. As long as he doesn't try to force his beliefs on someone else, he should be free to speak as he does.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

OK - Am I On The List

of most recent updates? Hmmmm? Is anyone going to come see my blog? Sigh.

Morning Ride

Every morning I take the same road to work. First, let me tell you that I grew up in a rural area - the Catskills in NY - and I do NOT like big cities, except, perhaps, to visit. I also love animals and birds. My husband and I are avid birders.

Anyway, now I live in a city. (My ex-husband moved me here.....nuff said) A city that used to be rural many years ago, and still has a few "country" looking areas left. What do I do? Try to find them in my living and driving areas, and make sure I choose THOSE routes rather than heavily travelled thouroughfares.

So.....every day I take the same road to work - it's a little connecting "back" road kind of thing, in an area that used to be all farms and horses and many acre homesteads. There are still some left, but they are disappearing rapidly.

On this little 2-mile-long road things are changing. There used to be a ranch style single story home raised up onto the second story
(a building technique used in places that flood a lot, like in the Keys). It was on several acres of brushy land, full of palm and other types of trees. There were always two barking hound dogs that chased along the front fence, and there were Egyptian geese that perched on the roof of the house, along with other assorted ducks - even some peacocks. The front of the house boasted a front porch with chairs to sit and watch life go by, and couple of semi-beat up pick ups parked on the grass to the side. It was lovely. It had been there for at least 40 years - that's my guess. All kinds of birds and wild parrots frequented the trees there.

One morning a couple of weeks ago, I saw the bulldozers. The dogs and the pickups were gone. A sign had been planted out by the road "Coming Soon!! Distinctive Estate Homes!!"

Crap. Another piece of the old, gentler times gone. I bet the problem was that the original owner didn't make much money, and couldn't make necessary improvements to the old house. But, since land prices here are going sky high - your house can be worth $10,000. more at the end of any given month - he was sitting on a gold mine - the ability to retire and live in a nice new house somewhere else. So he sold to the Evil AntiChrist Developers, tucked tail and ran. His neighbors across the street, still living on the same types of property and in older homes, are fingering their thin wallets, perhaps. Thinking, "gotta get outta here".

And so my little rural road, my little 2 mile long piece of "country" is rapidly diminishing, falling to the developers and their dull, cookie cutter, blow-down-at-the-first-big-wind, $500,000. homes - and the idiots that buy them and, unfortunately, inhabit them.

And with the new owners, come the new ideals. No trees, except palms. Lawns must be manicured and bushes well trained and trimmed. No room for birds or wildlife to hide.

And you know what is the saddest thing? The black capped parakeets and the pair of Pileated woodpeckers that I know lived there in the past, depending on the dead palm trunks for home and nest - they'll move too. To be replaced by the usual grackles and pidgeons.

I need to move to Montana, except I'm scared of the snow.

Lets See if This Works

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Final Post of Tody (yes, that's what I said)

I'm obviously tired, ok? So I'm leaving my honorable error up in the title.....there's a pity factor there, I just know there is. OK - I've messed with this template until my head is spinning - I mean - who's going to read this, eh? Anyway - I like the way it looks, except for a few minor things that I'm too tired to bother with now. I'm done. I may change the name though - or not.

This is the only picture I took of one of the buildings - the doors are opened and what looks like giant wheels of aluminum foil are to the left. This was far away, but enticing. Posted by Hello

Now For A Real Post

This past weekend, my husband and I went "urban exploring". If you google this phrase, you'll get tons of links to ..... you guessed it.....urban explorers - people, mostly young and spry, who investigate (read "trespass" or "break in") abandoned buildings in any given city on the planet. These are people after my own heart. I am a frustrated archeologist and explorer. I can think of nothing more fascinating than sneaking into an abandoned building and seeing what can be found.

We went to a site in the Everglades, off the Ingraham Highway (#9336) and turned off on a road called "Aerojet". On the left side is the nifty "Everglades Youth Camp" - actually a juvenile prison surrounded by high barbed wire fencing. As you proceed about a 1/2 mile down the paved road, there are lots of trees on the right, and on the left about 300 feet off the road, are abandoned concrete buildings, some of which are 2 stories high. There are lots of buildings spread out over acres, and the road that leads off to the left, towards them, is blocked. There are "no trespassing" signs EVERYWHERE, and of course, a piece of fencing is down (torn down) and easy access to the whole place is before us.

We did not go in.

We are not young. We do not have a gun. There was an empty white pickup parked where we stopped and no human(s) to be seen.

We do not want to go to jail. So we didn't go in. But we WANTED to REALLY REALLY REALLY bad. If we could just get a bunch of people to go with us, we would feel safer - except we would certainly be noticeable then......

We're going back. Until we have the chutzpah to trespass.

When we got home, we did mucho internet research and found out that Aerojet Corp purchased some 35 acres at that spot in the 60's.....they experimented with solid rocket boosters, with the idea of shipping them via water to Cape Canaveral for the Space Race. In fact, a whole canal was created that runs all the way to the Bay and under Card Sound Road. When you are on Card Sound Road (I read this, but have not seen for myself), you come to this canal, there is a bridge that opens up - and the question arises, "why is there a bridge like this on a small canal?" The answer is the Saturn V rockets that would have floated underneath, on their way to Aeroject in the Everglades.

The location never did well, they ran a few tests, never hired the employees they thought they would - and it all went down the drain.......Aerojet, who purchased the land for about $50.00 an acre, sold to the South Florida Water Mgmt. District for about $1.78 million - and the SFWMD is turning the area into a "buffer" area between Homestead/Redlands agricultural runoff and the Everglades National Park, directly to the south of the Aeroject site. It is already a place for hunters during the season, and is listed alternately as "Frog Pond" or "Lucky Hammock". Birders go there in the winter and many migratory species are reported there.

Well - that is our research....and there those buildings stand "to this very day."
The End


It worked. OK - I think I'm up and running......

Is This Going To Work?

I'm trying to use "blog this" - let's see if it worked, or if it is a debacle.

My Buddy Posted by Hello

Well...I Have A Blog

I was innocently registering to be qualified to put a comment on another brilliant man's blog, when I found that I was REALLY signing up for my OWN blog.

Imagine that.

How's about that name, eh? It just came to me. One of the Muses was sniffing glue, and at just the moment that her brain was getting ready to explode, she gave me the inspiration for the name......yeah.

OK - gotta go change the colors on this thing. They UGLY!!