Read here to see how one man manages to manifest great ignorance and great arrogance at the same time.
It's quite an accomplishment.
I may comment further later, but right now I'm catching what time I can in this finite world to interact with my finite carbon-based evolved bipedal sibling's mid-range sentient carbon-based bipedal evolved offspring, as all of us could disappear forever from consciousness at any moment.
Alan at Theosebes has an interesting post about ancient Jewish burials in catacombs, a new discovery since previously it was thought Christians instituted the practice. If that kind of history interests you, check it out.
The part that amused me was this quote from the article he links:
"The extent to which Christianity has Jewish roots is a very widespread debate today and this research adds a new element to the discussion," he said.
"He" being a Rutgers professor, btw.
It's just bizarre to me that there would be a "debate" about the "extent" that Christianity has Jewish roots. This is rather like asking about the extent to which beef has an association with a Wendy's hamburger. About the extent of the association between cotton and an all-natural-fiber [cotton] t-shirt. Or the extent to which the US as a nation has English roots*. It's just seriously weird. I suppose some people have to have something to argue about or they feel they aren't accomplishing anything, but that doesn't mean the rest of us can't mock them.
* Don't start with me about the Indians, the other nations that were represented in what became the US at the time it became its own nation, or any other spurious meanderings. The United States as a nation was founded on Judeo-Christian principles as mediated through English history and common law evolution. Anyone who disagrees that this country has primarily English roots is just causing trouble. Yes, it's been altered - in some good ways and some bad - by the mix of cultures, histories and races of the American people. But that's the spine. Break it and we're done.
I've been chastised in the past via email and comments for speaking harshly of liberals and leftists who oppose the war on terror and offer some or a lot of cover for vicious, murdering Islamic extremists. Not all liberals are that way, they say, it's unfair. You're a conservative and just screaming a party line.
Well, no to all three. I have never said all liberals, or even all leftists, are that way - and I do make the distinction between the liberal and the leftist. And I don't even think that all those who are against the war on terror are by that fact giving cover to terrorists. I just don't think they're being very realistic about the threat, which is not the same as questioning their honesty, morality or intelligence. I know a lot of people who I consider exemplary on all three counts who disagree with me on the WOT, both liberals and conservatives. So it's not that either. But there are a lot of liberals and leftists who do give cover - just consider any of your garden-variety pseudo-intellectual Hollywood types like, oh, Sean Penn, George Clooney, Susan Sarandon, etc. And consider the leadership of the Democratic party as well as the nattering leftists in the US and Europe, whose primary solidarity is built on anti-Americanism arising from their own sick envy. I consider them the rankest hypocrites, demanding the freedoms and excesses of the West while succoring the fascists of radical Islam whose first activity on taking over any country would be to end the freedoms and excesses Western civilization provides. And finally, I'm not parroting a party line - I'm a lot harsher than the party line tends to be.
My position is very clear. What is intriguing is that in many ways it marches along with the thinking of prominent liberals and leftists in Great Britain in the wake of 7/7. If you think I am unkind, or harsh, or reacting in a knee-jerk way to both leftists and Islamic terrorists, then take the time to read the thoughtful words of these people whose social politics are in many ways diametrically opposed to mine - in other words, liberals and leftists (although not all quoted are of that political persuasion). Here's the site where the quotes originated, and here is a taste:
Peter Tatchell (Human Rights campaigner, London)
We are witnessing one of the greatest betrayals by the left since so-called left-wingers backed the Hitler-Stalin pact and opposed the war against Nazi fascism. Today, the pseudo-left reveals its shameless hypocrisy and its wholesale abandonment of humanitarian values. While it deplores the 7/7 terrorist attack on London, only last year it welcomed to the UK the Muslim cleric, Yusuf al-Qaradawi, who endorses the suicide bombing of innocent civilians. These same right-wing leftists back the so-called 'resistance' in Iraq. This 'resistance' uses terrorism against civilians as its modus operandi - stooping to the massacre of dozens of Iraqi children in order kill a few US soldiers. Terrorism is not socialism; it is the tactic of fascism. But much of the left doesn't care. Never mind what the Iraqi people want, it wants the US and UK out of Iraq at any price, including the abandonment of Iraqi socialists, trade unionists, democrats and feminists. If the fake left gets its way, the ex-Baathists and Islamic fundamentalists could easily seize power, leading to Iranian-style clerical fascism and a bloodbath. I used to be proud to call myself a leftist. Now I feel shame. Much of the left no longer stands for the values of universal human rights and international socialism.
Amen, brother. Say on.
Several years ago, Doc at I Am Right blog was posting away, and doing a good job, too. Then he and his wife adopted a little boy and he mostly retired from blogging to be a dad. Until last week, he'd not posted anything for a year. And then.... he had an announcement.
His wife is pregnant!
After a long time trying, they had chosen to adopt, and are very happy with their little boy. But as it seems often happens, once they settled in with their chosen child, a same-DNA child decided to make an appearance. They're both thrilled, and Doc wanted to share it with his friends in the blogosphere. I'm pleased that he counts me as one of those.
Babies seem to be the theme this year. My sister's son, Brandon, and his wife Stevi learned earlier this summer that they will be parents of twins, sometime in early December (and it being twins, quite possibly in late November). Then a little later, my brother Alan and sister in law Traci learned they would have a new baby in January 2006. It's all very exciting - except for Traci and Stevi, who are doing all the work and feeling sick as a dog a lot of times. They're excited, but it's a tempered excitement, at least for now.
And, just as an add-on note, if you wondered where the posts were for the past week, they were non-existent because I was in Kentucky visiting family. I spent a lot of time working on my sister's powder room off the kitchen, which had old ugly wallpaper from the previous owner. We rented a wallpaper steamer and took off as much as we could, given that the contractor had glued the stuff straight on the wallboard without primer. Then we sanded it down, spackled thither and yon, sanded again, wiped it all down with a damp sponge, then primed it. Most of it we covered with primer twice, using the oil-based KILZ primer, since some of the wallpaper didn't come off. She wanted to live with the primer for a bit, which was fine because it just looks like bright white paint. She's deciding whether to just paint it or whether to put up a textured paint or a textured-looking treatment of some kind (like sponge painting). The deciding factor may be how many bumps and lumps make themselves evident under the primer.
So that's the latest news in the Cornett family too. I'm now cranking on a newsletter I need to write ASAP, so posts won't be heavy on the page this week either. But some. There's always too much going on for me to be quiet for long.
I grew up with a hunter in the house. My dad started hunting as soon as he was old enough to hold a gun, and he's been at it ever since. In fact, he's like a kid at Christmas when he gets ready for hunting season. And when he's not hunting... he's fishing. And that's not a bad thing, although sometimes my mom thinks so, at least a little. One of his biggest hunting buddies is his brother Landis, affectionately known by most as Scrappy, a moniker given to him many years ago by - unsurprisingly - my dad, who is older by over a decade. Recently when my brother was in Kentucky, he took a photo of the two intrepid gunmen with the fruit (er, animal?) of their labors.
The turkey is the one with the feathers, btw. I realize that you may only be able to see faces, feet and hands, but I assure you both men are fully there - they just have on camoflauge.
And yes, that's a joke. A common one in our less than original household.
As an aside, I'd like to point out that I grew up with guns all around. There was a gun rack in the hallway with usually four or more long guns in it, and then two or more handguns tucked away in a drawer somewhere. My dad keeps them elsewhere now as a guard against thieves, but he never thought he had to keep them away from us children. He did put them in places that would take some effort to get to, and he did keep the ammunition separate. But I knew where both were. I was never even tempted to mess with them, and that's significant, given that I messed with nearly everything. Why not guns? Because my dad made the point from the time I can remember that we were NOT TO TOUCH THE GUNS unless under his supervision. Any time we did touch them, he was right there and telling us what to do and what not to do. Jokingly pointing one at someone, even if we knew the gun was unloaded, was not allowed and sharply corrected if even discussed. He said, always treat it as if it's loaded even if you just unloaded it. I remember many times seeing him walk with a shotgun open and hanging over his arm. He followed his own rules meticulously, and that made an impression too.
I know children get into things when they're told not to, sometimes even because they're told not to. But I think the vast majority, if properly trained around guns, aren't going to go there. When you're raised to understand that you only point a gun at something you want dead, it makes an impression.
About 18 months ago I moved to Alabama from New Jersey, giving my brother's address in Alabama as my forwarding address. After I moved into my own place, it took me a while (okay, about a year) to get around to putting in a change of address with the USPO to send my mail to my new home address instead of to my brother's. That's when it got weird.
Someone entered the change of address as for all people at my brother's address, not just me. I began getting my brother's and SIL's mail. But it didn't affect all their mail; they're still getting their most important bills and things. I'm getting one of my SIL's magazines, and a lot of junk mail for both of them. I don't quite know how that came about.
I talked to the very nice man at the local post office - I'm convinced if he was in charge of things, this wouldn't have happened in the first place. But he isn't in charge of this, so he says he can't fix it. Probably 75% of the mail I get now is for them.
Then it got weirder.
My parents have lived in the same place in Kentucky since I was five years old. They haven't moved. Not even briefly. In the spring of this year, my brother started getting Medicare and other junk mail for our Mom. Huh? We finally decided that somehow it had gotten confused because she had purchased a gift magazine subscription for my SIL. Still stupid, but not flatly incomprehensible.
That was reserved for... today.
I got a mailing from AARP for my Dad!
He doesn't buy gift subscriptions. He stays off as many radars as he can. He is not associated with my domicile in any official or unofficial way, to my knowledge. And yet I got mail for him. Today. In my mailbox. In the middle of a stack of credit card applications for my brother and SIL.
I've not gotten random mail for other people, nor have I gotten any "Cornett" mail addressed to someone not in my family. So there's a boundary established somewhere; there's some company that has my Dad's birthday and my address in some way associated, and they've sold it on a list to AARP.
It's just really really really bizarre. And a tiny bit frightening. I've been assured by assorted People In The Know that the big info aggregatiing companies out there (credit card companies, courtesy card issuers, etc) really could care less about the specific details of a specific person's life. But if they're not sorting things on some very minute basis, how would a letter for my Dad find it's way to my mailbox, 7 hours drive away from his home of 40 years? The only place I know where his address would be associated with mine might be as an emergency contact. And who would collect, much less sell, addresses from emergency contacts, associated with the person who listed them?
It hurts my head, it really does. I don't anticipate any genuinely negative impact from this annoying yet amusing mixup. But it does make you pause and think.
Always a dangerous proposition.
I'm thinking Al Qaeda.
Most people are.
We'll see what Britain is made of now. Are they Italian or American?
My heart and prayers go out to the injured and the families of the dead. It's truly tragic. And it has to stop.
UPDATE: Wretchard at The Belmont Club explains what probably had to happen for the simultaneous attacks to occur. WABC Radio in NYC is reporting that an Al Qaeda group has claimed responsibility. Let's all pause to recover from the sheer shock of it being Al Qaeda.
UPDATE 2 - 6:42 a.m. Central time: WABC Radio in NYC reporting that London officials say four explosions, and more than two fatalities. Apparently one of the stations - I think Aldgate - suffered either a stronger or more effective blast than the others, and has more casualties.
UPDATE 3 - 6:43 a.m. Central: Sky News reporting Al Qaeda-linked terror group taking responsibility; two London hospitals reporting 185 wounded thus far.
The blown up bus is so torn apart it would be odd if no one in it was killed; either no one was in it, or the people in it were away from the blast area.
UPDATE 4 - 7:02 a.m. Central: This link includes a series of screen shots about the attacks in London; start here and go forward.
SSgt Marvin E. HernandezGarcia is both an American and a Marine by choice, and his transparent delight in both is moving; we would be a better country if all of us felt about America like he does. Don't miss his Indpendence Day message:
04 Jul 2005:
I tried to e-mailed something that I had been working on in the last week or so. I was trying to send it before today, July, 4th. However, I was engaged in other matters. Nevertheless I dedicated some time to finish what I wanted to say to so many of you that have supported me and all of us serving in this Theater of Operation. I hope I don't bore you with the following. If I don't make sense on some things, it is probably because I was thinking a thousand things and I wanted to write them so fast. So, please bear with me.
As we celebrate the 229th anniversary of our great nation's independence, I wanted to thank the people that are behind me. I know that the given rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that all Americans (and those that live in our country) enjoy nowadays were borne of the courage and determination of the sons and daughters of the American Revolution. Time after time our great country has been put to the test. We have overcome adversity not because we sat around and waited to see what would happen next. We have become the great country that we are today because so many brave men and women have taken that one step that puts them in harm's way. From our country's infant days to our present, time after time we have proven that we will defend an protect our beloved constitution. I prayed to God for those that came and went before me to defend the red, white and blue. I have had two very important moments in my life besides family moments: The day that I sworn in to join the United States Marine Corps on 12 January 1995 and the day that I sworn the Oath of Allegiance to the United States becoming an American Citizen: "that I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same...". I am a man but in both occasions tears of pride were in my eyes. I even get goose bumps to this day when I listen to the National Anthem or any patriotic songs. It is the US Constitution that is the very backbone of all Americans. No matter what political party we belong to. No matter whether or not we agree with policies that our government creates and enforces. No matter if one thinks whether or nor we should be fighting in Iraq or anywhere else. At the end of the day we come back to the very beginning of Our Constitution or better known as Preamble: "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." That's why if you read in between the lines we can see that we won't just defend our country when it gets attacked as it was on September 11th, 2001. Sometimes we have to take it to foreign soils to protect what our country stands for.
I could go on and on about all the things that I would like to write about but I have to close with the paragraph that closes our Declaration Of Independence: "We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do." Please reflect on that. We, the great great great great grand kids of the American Revolution and those of us that chose to be Americans and are now serving in this far land salute you and thank you for everything you do for us in our beloved country. As you dine or wine this day, take a moment to reflect on those that given their lives for us. They wanted to serve their beloved country just like we are doing now.
Today after I came back to base camp, I was greeted by a couple of Iraqi interpreters. They told me in their broken English "Happy Independence Day". I was so choked up with pride and I replied back "Happy Independence Day to you too, my friends". They gave me a big smile and went on their way. We are making a big difference here. The news don't show all the progress we make every day but little by little we are winning the Peoples' hearts.
I am so proud to serve in the United States Marine Corps. I am so proud to be an American. I am so lucky to have you all supporting what I and all my military brothers and sisters are doing. Thanks for supporting our efforts to win the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people. Thanks from the bottom of our hearts.
Just like the Marine Corps Commandand wrote on his Independence Day Message: Let's embrace the last line of the Declaration "and mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor."
Thank you, God Bless and Semper Fidelis
The left would have you believe that he is either a thug or an imbecile. I think he is among the best of a wonderful country. You will notice that he considers himself a descendent of the Founding Fathers, no less a part of this country just because he came to it some 200+ years into the great experiment. I think he's more right than he probably realizes - he is a direct philosophical descendent, the same kind of man that made the US a country. As long as we have men like him, our country will succeed.
UPDATE: The reason Marvin is in Iraq.
04 Jul 2005
I apologize that it has been so long since you have heard from me. We here at HARDROCK ALPHA 1/15 are still kickin butt and taken names! I have spent the last 2 months healing my back from the firefight that my buddy was killed in but am now back on patrol. I would like to thank all of you for your letters of encouragement and sympathy threw those troubling times. We are a tight group of men and have come through it strong. My only complaint would be with the media and some of your fellow Americans. All the media has been drilling into the publics head is the deaths of the American soldiers over here. They neglect to show the good that we bring to this country. So now they protest this war and get angry at our president. I realize that it pains you to read about our deaths. As you no I had a good friend of mine die right in front of me. But I still believe in what we are doing here and would die defending Iraq if necessary. We are making this country safer by the day and by doing so we are making America safer. By the American people asking us to pack up and come home they are asking that my friend and many heroes like him die for nothing. I for one cannot allow this. One of you sent me a letter with an April calendar inside. The calendar had something good that has happened in Iraq for every single day of that month. We are doing a great deed over here. I personally see the faces of children, women, and men that are very greatful that we are here. We are a blessed nation and must use those blessing to help others. If we leave now this country would return to how it was and America would look weak and be in more danger than ever. We are just staying here long enough for Iraq to build an army that can protect its own country and that takes time. So stand by us and our President a little longer for the good of Iraq and America. And as before if you have any old DVD's, Playstation2, or Xbox games we could sure use those. Thanks again for all of your letters and packages of support. I love you all and appreciate it more than you will ever know. God bless you and yours and stay safe. Go out today and make somebody smile and enjoy the freedoms that we happily supply.
Spc. Robert Butler
For more from Spc. Butler, go to AnySoldier.com, Butler, Spc. Robert. July 4, 2005.
From AnySoldier.com, Maj Ronald Tootle, Marine based in Camp Fallujah, Iraq:
02 Jul 2005:
As you prepare for this holiday of celebration of our independence, I hope that you each take a minute or two to reflect on what you are actually celebrating. I have had a lot of time over the past few (read five) months that I have been here in Iraq to reflect on what independence actually means. I will share these with you all now.
As Americans, we generally have the opportunity to do what we want, when we want and where we want. There are not many restrictions that are placed upon us. We have the opportunity to get some of the best education in the world, if we choose to. Our job market is booming, if we chose to work. There are a plethora of churches of numerous denominations, if we choose to worship. We can live anywhere or nowhere, if we choose. Our choices are limited only by our imagination and desires. All of these have one thing in commonâ€¦we have the choice. We believe in the rights as outlined in OUR Declaration of Independence.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
Because we took a stance to proclaim that we will not be governed anymore, we fought to lay claim to self rule. We will lead ourselves and, right wrong or indifferent, in order to create a new world. For 229 years, servicemen and women have fought to maintain that independence around the world. From major theater and Global wars to little skirmishes we have shed blood in war so that we can maintain those unalienable rights for our families in the present and guarantee them for our future generations. For 229 years we have celebrated that date by having cook-outs, family outings and watching fireworks (gotta love the rockets red glare) but for the second time in the past three, I have not been there to celebrate with you. I, along with 30,000 of my Marine brothers, have been out, forward-deployed to a far off foreign land ensuring that you can continue to enjoy mom, apple pie and the American way. Since we, II MEF, have been here in Iraq (Officially since 27 March) our death toll has been 93 KIA. 93 Marines, Soldiers and Sailors who will not be coming home to share in the celebration of freedom with their families. They died doing what they believe in, serving the stars and bars and creating a better life for these people over here. The majority of the Iraqi people support us and they want what we are dying to give them; the choice to be who they want to be instead of what others tell them they have to be. The choice to an education regardless of gender. The choice of having a choice.
I was asked the other day by one of our many supporters back in the states why we are over here? Here was my answer, posed in the form of a question:
Would you rather me be over here, ensuring your rights of freedom or at home trying to win them back?
I love you all, miss you terribly and look forward to seeing you each again in the near future. Enjoy your 4th of July celebrations, drink one (or more) for me, rejoice in your families and friends and if you see a service member, thank him or her for their duty, their sacrifice and their patriotism.
Amen, and God bless and protect you.
To see the rest of his postings, go to July 2 and find Tootle, Maj Ronald.
One of the most useful traits in life is adaptability. In fact, if you don't adapt well, you're not going to have a very happy or productive life. All of us have areas where we adapt very well, and areas where the very thought of adapting makes us want to take our toys and go home. If we're actually pushed into adapting in that nerve-racking situation, we're at risk of going into severe depression and possibly even thumb-sucking dissociation with reality. A sign of maturity is when those hyper-locked positions are few and far between.
One of mine has been chocolate.
I don't always need chocolate. Sometimes (please sit down before reading this next bit) I don't even want chocolate. In fact, I get sick of chocolate and everything else is a pleasure, until... I need chocolate again. Then only chocolate will do and I'll keep eating things until I manage to hit on chocolate, no matter what other goals I might be trying to achieve (for example, not eating chocolate). It's best in those situations just to succumb immediately, while the saltines box is still full, the cereal sits unmolested and the peanut butter shows nary a fingermark. Trust me, this is the voice of experience here.
Tonight while driving home from a friend's house I had a hankering for a DQ Blizzard. Each one has enough calories to haul a starving family of four back from the brink of death for a full three days, so I don't get them very often - three, maybe four times a year. Tonight I wanted one. I'd been eyeing the DQs on my various routes for weeks, so I knew it was time. I pulled into line, and waited 10 minutes to place my order - medium sized Heath Bar Crunch Blizzard, please. The voice seemingly acquiesced and said, $3.51, please drive around. It was a busy night, the Friday night of Independence weekend in Alabaster, Alabama, so it was another 15 minutes before I actually pulled up to the window. He got my $3.51, I got my Blizzard. Mmmmm... I could taste the chocolate. I put away my money, settled my purse, pulled back into traffic, opened the lid of the Blizzard, filled up a spoon and...
... got a mouthful of banana, pineapple, coconut and ice cream.
THEY HAD GIVEN ME A TROPICAL BLIZZARD!!
Oh, it was touch and go there for a moment. It's a good thing nobody stopped cold in front of me because I was deep in chocolate deprivation land. How could this happen? How could I anticipate a chocolate-type Blizzard for almost a month and wind up with banana in my mouth? If I'd have had a sleeve of saltines with me, I'd of finished them right there, just pondering the horror of it. Then I thought, Susanna. You're always thinking at DQ, why not try another flavor? You know, you really like pineapple. How great is ham and pineapple pizza? And coconut? What's not to love about a Mounds? or those coconut bars that are just sugar, coconut and food coloring, that you used to eat all the time? And banana... well, it wasn't an overripe banana, so... think of the potassium!
Right there, at the wheel of my Sentra, at 9 p.m. on a Friday night in Alabama, I adapted. I ate that tropical Blizzard, and I enjoyed it. Yes, I did.
And I've not prowled for chocolate yet. (I make no promises for tomorrow*.)
* Except for one - if I do have chocolate, it won't be a Blizzard. I won't be anywhere near a DQ, and besides, the yen is gone for another three months.