“The real problem is not that we are different, nor that we disagree and have conflict. It's that most of us automatically view conflict as something negative rather than as a tool God can use to help us better understand ourselves and one another.

--Robert Ricciardelli”

Friday, April 27, 2007

Out of the Mouths of Bears...

(...here's a little soemthing to laugh your way into the weekend with...)

An atheist was walking through the woods and said to himself, "What majestic trees! What powerful rivers! What beautiful animals!"

As he walked alongside the river, he heard a rustling in the bushes behind him. He turned to look and saw a 7-foot grizzly charge towards him.

He ran as fast as he could up the path. He looked over his shoulder and saw that the bear was closing in on him. He looked over his shoulder again, and the bear was even closer. He tripped and fell on the ground.

He rolled over to pick himself up but saw that the bear was right on top of him, reaching for him with his left paw and raising his right paw to strike him.

At that instant, the Atheist cried out, "Oh my God!"

Time stopped…The bear froze...The forest was silent.

As a bright light shone upon the man, a voice came out of the sky.

"You deny my existence for all these years, teach others I don't exist, and even credit creation to cosmic accident. "Do you expect me to help you out of this predicament? Am I to count you as a believer?"

The atheist looked directly into the light and said, "It would be hypocritical of me to suddenly ask You to treat me as a Christian now, but…perhaps...You could make the BEAR a Christian?"

"Very Well," said the voice.

The light went out…The sounds of the forest resumed.

The bear dropped his right paw, brought both paws together, bowed his head, and spoke:

"Lord bless this food, which I am about to receive from thy bounty through Christ our Lord, Amen."

Thursday, April 26, 2007

04/26 Morning Report

The Pendleton 8 are getting vindication. For those who don’t know, these are the marines accused of indiscriminately killing Iraqi civilians after their Humvee was hit by an IED. Following the facts as laid out in the article, the media has blown this all out of proportion, based on an edited piece of propaganda. The insurgents deliberately set a trap, to video US troop actions, and use it to inflame public opinion. And, because of media hype, and knee-jerk reactions from politicians, innocent soldiers are being robbed of their honor.
(…I’m with Star…

Murtha and the media may want to forget about the Haditha Marines, but if we let them than we are just as guilty as they are of working against our Troops and against this country!
…we need to hold them to the truth once again…like “Jamal Hussein”…like faked AP photos…)

(…by the way, Blue Star got it from My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy..I just give a BIG h/t to both of you…)

Have you wondered why there are not more moderate Muslim voices speaking out? Then you should probably read this. I agree our perception of “a moderate Muslim” is probably way off base. But, there are some pretty interesting clues here.
In light of such situations, a number of non-Muslims and Muslims alike yearn for "moderate," peace-loving Muslims to speak out against the violent acts sometimes perpetrated in the name of Islam.
Now that is an pretty straight forward beginning. And, it accurately states a desire among many peoples. There is only one problem with this article. It never addresses this statement. It does say that “orthodox” is a better description than “moderate.” And, I will grant the point, for now. But that wasn’t the issue. And it isn’t the question. Why do more peace loving Muslims not speak out against the violence?

The question many people are asking is why do the “peaceful Muslims” not speak out against the violent ones. This writer’s answer?
But to be a "moderate" Muslim also implies that Osama bin Laden and Co. must represent the pinnacle of orthodoxy; that a criterion of orthodox Islam somehow inherently entails violence; and, consequently, that if I espouse peace, I am not adhering to my full religious duties.
That is not really a true statement. “Moderate” does not mean one gives up, or compromises, on the tenants of their religion. It does mean you speak out against what you believe is wrong according to your beliefs.
The term moderate Muslim is actually a redundancy. In the Islamic tradition, the concept of the "middle way" is central. Muslims believe that Islam is a path of intrinsic moderation, wasatiyya. This concept is the namesake of a British Muslim grass-roots organization, the Radical Middle Way. It is an initiative to counter Islam's violent reputation with factual scholarship.
It seems to me that walking in the middle way means raising your voice against injustice, which is what the world is looking for non-violent Muslims to do. The world needs a moderating voice from the Muslim community, and we are looking to the “moderates” or orthodox community to hear one. Why is there so little being said by that community?

That is the question. And it was not answered here. Once again, it seems the “orthodox” voice remains silent, emboldening and empowering the violent through inaction.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

04/25 Wednesday Hero

This Weeks Soldier Was Suggested By Sunny Kay

Col. Cyril Richard
Col. Cyril Richard "Rick" Rescorla
68 years old from New York City, New York
16th Air Assault Brigade, Parachute Regiment (England)
Platoon Leader of 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) (U.S.)
September 11, 2001

Col. Rick Rescorla is a multiple time hero. In 1957 he enlisted in the British Army and began training as a paratrooper with The Parachute Regiment of the 16th Air Assault Brigade. He went on to serve with an intelligence unit in Cyprus, a paramilitary police inspector in the Northern Rhodesia Police (now the Zambia Police Service). When his military career ended in England he joined the Metropolitan Police Service in London. But he found the paperwork too boring and quite at the behest of a friend who encouraged him to join the United State Army. Which he did.

In 1963, Rescorla enlisted, with his friend, in the United States Army. After he completed basic training he attended officer training school and was assigned as a platoon leader in the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).

He was shipped to Vietnam and participated in the Battle of la Drang. While in Vietnam, he was given the nickname "Hard Core" by his men for his bravery in battle.

In 1968, Resorla became a U.S. citizen and continued his service in the Army Reserves until 1990 when he retired. In 1985 he joined a financial services firm, located in the World Trade Center, as security director.

In 1993, when the WTC was bombed, Rescorla was instrumental in evacuating people from the building. Afterwards, he enacted a policy in which all employees of the firm practiced evacuation drills every three months.

September 11, 2001. Rick Rescorla was supposed to be on vacation getting ready for his daughters wedding. Instead he was at work covering a shift for one of his deputies so that he could go on vacation. When American Airlines Flight 11 hit Tower 1, Rescorla ignored officials advice to stay put and opted instead to put his evacuation drills to use. While evacuating the 3,800 employees of his firm in Towers 2 and 5 he kept reminding them "be proud to be an American ...everyone will be talking about you tomorrow" and sang God Bless America over his bullhorn. When Flight 175 struck Tower 2, Rescorla had already evacuated most of the employees from his firm as well as many others from other floors. He then went back in, despite being told he needed to evacuate himself. The last known words anyone heard him say were, "As soon as I make sure everyone else is out". Tower 2 collapsed with Rick Rescorla last seen heading to the 10th floor looking for more people to help.

As a result of his actions that day, all but six employees of his firm made it out alive. One of those being him and three others being his deputies who followed him into Tower 2, Wesley Mercer, Jorge Velazquez, and Godwin Forde.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by going here.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Kid Fun

If you have ever wanted...uummm...needed...a reason to NEVER leave young children unsupervised...here's a couple of good ones...

(...yeah they may be staged...or photo shopped...but who cares...just enjoy...)

04/24 Morning Report

New York City Mayor Bloomberg wants to charge an $8 fee to drive into the city. I have to admit, it is a creative idea. Not new. But definitely creative. I will also admit that NYC needs to something abouthe pollution.

Saying that he would not spend his final term in office “pretending that all is fine,” Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg made a series of Earth Day proposals this afternoon to improve the environment of New York City, including charging a new congestion fee to drivers who come into parts of Manhattan during peak hours during weekdays.
That was one of 127 initiatives he proposed. He is apparently trying to get the city in compliance with the Kyoto Accords. This should do wonders for the local economy. The cab drivers will love it, since as I understand it (..correct me if I’m wrong…please…) I doubt the subway system will be able to carry the load. Which could mean less business would be conducted in the city, possibly causing some companies to move elsewhere. No matter what, it will be interesting to see how much of this turns into just so much political confetti.
(…say…you don’t suppose he’s just positioning himself for higher office do you?...no…couldn’t be…he wouldn’t do that…would he?...(

Meanwhile, China announced “internal goals” to cut global warming emissions. One of the principle arguments against the Kyoto Accords has been the exclusion of the new industrial countries from compliance—like India and China.
Beijing has for the first time disclosed internal targets to fight global warming but these, even if officially adopted, are as unambitious as a similar U.S. goal, analysts say.

(…so, the Chinese plan is as bad as the US plan…I wonder who will get worse press?...)

Back to the subject of so much political confettit (…althought his is a much more serious issue…), the Democrats are still trying to set final dates for getting out of Iraq. And, they are still trying to manipulate it via funding allowances. Now, I admit that decisions must have review and end points. It’s true of business, the military and of government. But knee jerk reactions and arbitrary dates are not the solution. Trying to force the issue just because you don’t get your way is no good either.
(…I guess the Democrats think they own the bat and ball and get to make their own rules…based on popular opinion polls, of course…)

Speaking of Iraq, it seems that Prime Minister Maliki may be on the way out. A stronger central figure might be a good thing right now. There is just one problem—all right, there’s two.
A political adviser to al-Maliki, whose term ends in 2010, said that the prime minister has no power to pass laws by himself. "We can only ask, push, the (parliament) to approve," Sadiq al-Rikabi said.

Al-Rikabi said there is no viable alternative to al-Maliki as prime minister. "Suppose he resigns," al-Rikabi said. "Then what is the solution?"
It’s a great question. Without power to make decisions, what can a government leader do? And, with al-Sadr trying to get the US out, and gain control for himself (…and possibly Iran…or maybe “Greater Iran”…), Maliki’s departure could create bigger problems.
(…on the other hand…it would leave the Democrats in a pretty strong position to finalize and complete a total cut and run…and I hate to admit, but it might be necessary to do it at that point…)

Monday, April 23, 2007

04/23 Morning Report

Here’s a follow up on my April 18 report. Which is worse? According to the New York Times, the options are Bad air, or bad water. It seems that not only is there mounting evidence that bio-fuels may be more damaging than advertised, now it seems hydroelectric power may be causing the same sort of problems.
(…and I’m supposed to believe the liberal, leftist Al Gore wannabes because…?...)

Of course, this goes right along with the Canadian government announcement that meeting the Kyoto Accord standards could cause a deep recession.

Mr Baird told a Senate committee the only way the government could meet its Kyoto commitment was to impose costs on the entire economy and, in effect, "manufacture a recession".

A steep rise in natural gas prices, electricity and petrol, driven by the additional carbon price of generating fossil fuels, would have a huge impact on the cost of running a business and would lead to a 25% increase in Canada's unemployment rate by 2009, he said.
(…well…ok…Baird is a conservative…but, shouldn’t someone get a clue that maybe…just maybe…conservative concerns may be right?...)

In more strange news of the left, it seems the EU is now going to explain why groups are listed as terrorist organizations. The reason? To avoid having decisions overturned.
Europe's second-highest court last year annulled an EU decision to freeze the funds of the People's Mujahideen, the armed wing of France-based National Council of Resistance of Iran, for failing to give it a fair hearing or adequate reasons.
Let me see if I have this straight. An organization known to be fomenting violence, gets their funds restricted. Then they are set free of those restrictions because no one explained why they were applied. Now admittedly the NCRI is against the Islamic fundamentalist regime in Iran, but how will this standard be applied to groups like al-Qaeda?
(…I can see the lawyers lining up over this right now…how about you?...)

Of course, there seems to be a great placating of Iran going on these days on the left. There were reports of Iranian weapons being used against coalition and Iraqi security forces. There was even a display of those weapons to Congressional representatives. Now, it seems the Iranians are arming the Taliban in Afghanistan. Of course, that would be a rather strange turn of events.
For Iran to support the Taliban would also represent a considerable change in policy. When the Taliban were in power in Kabul, Shi'ite Iran threw its weight behind Taliban opponents, such as the warlords of the Northern Alliance, who were the key to ousting the Taliban after the 2001 U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan.
But, put into the context of destabilizing the region (remember the Iranians also considered invading Afghanistan), the move would make sense.
(…what was the Russian adage…”the enemy of my enemy is my friend”…not to mention the age old rule of divide to conquer…)

Sunday, April 22, 2007

04/22 Hockey Notes

Do you ever wonder what came out of all those trade deadline deals? Well, they didn’t help the Thrashers very much. ESPN had this summary of all the deals. Meanwhile, looking back at some prior thoughts, Sports Illustrated had this list of players and games to watch by Alan Nuir.

Over at The Hockey News, there was a great write up on the trouble with officials. In the wake of the Islanders-Sabers goal reversal, it was an interesting discussion. (…check out this post over at Kukla’s korner for more on that…).
(…of course, from experience, I can tell that when it comes to penalties…officials may miss the first infraction…but they never miss the retaliatory one…probably better to just get over it…)

There seem to be some players in the NHL that think they can pretend to be minor leaguers. That seems to be what happened in Detroit when Flames back-up goalie Jamie McLennan slashed Johan Franzen. You can read ESPN’s take on it here. Here is what the Calgary Sun had to say about the game. And, in case you missed it, here is the video…

My take on it is simple. That is not a sign of a team that belongs in the playoffs. It certainly isn’t something an NHL player should be doing. One purpose of the minor leagues is to mature players out of that kind of behavior. Maybe it’s time for McLennan to go back down. He sure deserved a lot stiffer penalty than a mere five-game suspension.
(…thanks to Kukla’s Korner for the video link…and the Calgary Sun article…)

Well, not much to my surprise (…but probably no one else’s either…) my playoff predictions are proving to be pretty bad. Nashville lost to the Sharks. Pittsburgh lost to Ottawa. The winner of the Rangers-Thrashers series even looks like it could possibly survive the second round. New Jersey beat Tampa. Detroit beat Clagary. And, it looks like Dallas could actually end up winning against Vancouver. On the other hand, Anaheim and Buffalo both won their series.
(…hey…I got two of them right…a lot of fun, even it don’t mean nothin’…)

Speaking of not meanin’ nothin’, this was an amusing little PR blurb. With the Stars-Canucks series heating up reminiscent of the old Oilers-Stars series, Edmonton came out with news on the state of the team. It wasn’t really even a good PR statement.
(…some hockey folks have a lot to learn about audience appeal…just ask Bettman...)

Friday, April 20, 2007

Ask Your Pharmacist...

Do you have feelings of inadequacy?

Do you suffer from shyness?

Do you sometimes wish you were more assertive?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist about Tequila®.

Tequila® is the safe, natural way to feel better and more confident about yourself and your actions. Tequila® can help ease you out of your shyness and let you tell the world that you're ready and willing to do just about anything. You will notice the benefits of Tequila® almost immediately, and with a regimen of regular doses you can overcome any obstacles that prevent you from living the life you want to live. Shyness and awkwardness will be a thing of the past, and you will discover many talents you never knew you had. Stop hiding and start living, with Tequila®.

Tequila® may not be right for everyone. Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use Tequila®. However, women who wouldn't mind nursing or attempting to become pregnant are encouraged to try it. Side effects may include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, incarceration, erotic lustfulness, loss of motor control, loss of clothing, loss of money, loss of virginity, unexpected wedlock, delusions of grandeur, table dancing, headache, dehydration, dry mouth, and a desire to sing Karaoke and play all- night rounds of Strip Poker, Truth Or Dare, and Naked Twister.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

04/19 Morning Report

People have been complaining about “cheap Chinese goods” for years. Well, this BBC article is just more fuel on the fire. The huge rise is hazardous goods in the EU comes primarily from China. Isn’t that sweet? Want to read the dumb part of it all?

Ms Heemskerk said that the high proportion of Chinese goods among those withdrawn said more about the volume of imports from China, than Chinese safety standards.
So…these are hazardous items. But they are only hazardous because there are so many of them?
(…and they wonder why liberals are so frightening to conservatives…)

And, in related (…sort of…) news, the markets took another tumble today because of fears on the Chinese economy.
(…Imagine!...Cheap goods…produced in massive quantities…causing to rapid an economic growth…that affects everyone…who would have thunk it?...)

In a continuation of yesterdays partial birth abortion discussion, the writers over at Conservative Thoughts had some more quotes from the political candidates.
(…not that there are any surprises in who said what…but they are worth reading…)

On the subject of political knee-jerk reactions, be very ready for an avalanche of such proposals in the wake of the Virginia Tech shootings. For those who wonder why nothing was done, you should read these musings from the Political Pistachio. Now, I admit he is on a rant here. But, check out the facts he posts, and consider what real solutions may be needed here—like teaching people responsibility for their actions.
(…kindly remember…in the commission of the shootings at Columbine High School some 30 existing state and federal gun laws were broken…plainly new laws are not what is required…)

On the subject of Virginia Tech, I cannot say how sorry I am that so many families are suffering due to their losses of friends and family right now. The prayers of my house and family go out to all right now. I know it isn’t much in the midst of this horrible situation, but one spark of good news came in this AP report:
University officials announced Thursday that Cho's victims would be awarded their degrees posthumously and that other students might have the option of ending their semester immediately.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

04/18 Morning Report

The “partial birth abortion” ban has been up held. And, I have to admit I am excited to see that type of ruling come from SCOTUS. Of course, the liberals are all lining up with the usual rhetoric. It’s “amazing” how the media all use the same quotes from liberal sources, don’t you think? The BBC, MSNBC, and the New York Times (paraphrasing), all used the same quotes like:

Ginsberg says: "In candour, the Partial Birth Abortion Act and the court's defence of it cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this court - and with increasing comprehension of its centrality to women's lives," she said.
"This ruling flies in the face of 30 years of Supreme Court precedent and the best interest of women's health and safety," said Eve Gartner of Planned Parenthood Federation of America.
No real surprises in their rhetoric. Many liberals are still very much in denial of the life of a “fetus”…uumm…baby…sorry got caught up that ridiculous PC stuff.

But, the important question is what is going to change? In other words, will this ruling really make a difference? Before you get mad at me for that thought, give it some serious consideration. You should also probably go read this. According to Mark Crutcher, president of Life Dynamics:
"We need to temper our excitement over something like this by the fact that this ban won't save one single baby," the pro-lifer cautions. "Every baby that would have been killed with a partial-birth abortion or a D&X, whichever you want to call it, will simply be killed with a D&E or hysterotomy or some other abortion method.”
That is a chilling perspective from someone on the Pro-Life side of things. Despite the legal victory, and the possibility it may signal a change, Clutcher’s peek behind the curtain indicates there isn’t may not be much real dispelling of the darkness, yet.
(...hearts have to change, not just laws...and, so far, we are the same self-centered culture we were before the ruling...)

Meanwhile, still on the subject of “not what it seems”, there was this BBC report that Ethanol cars may not be healthier. Can I be surprised? If I use an ethanol mixture then my gas mileage goes WAY down. Should I be surprised that it has other health problems?
A computer model set up to simulate air quality in 2020 found that in some areas ozone levels would increase if all cars were run on bioethanol.
Of course, this is just a continuation of the same statements made back in January of 2006.

(…ranks up there with Al Gore’s electric bill…doesn’t it…a little hypocrisy…mix in good PR…say…sounds like what the left says about Bush…doesn’t it?...hhhmmmm...)

04/18 Wednesday Hero

This Weeks Soldier Was Submitted By Anna

Chief Mast Sgt. John Gebhardt
Chief Master Sgt. John Gebhardt
Superintendent of the 22nd Wing Medical Group at McConnell Air Force Base

Have you heard of Chief Master Sgt. John Gebhardt? Maybe you have and maybe you haven't. CMSgt. Hebhardt gain some notoriety recently. Not for an action that he took on the battlefield, but rather for a picture(not shown because it is graphic) that was taken of him.

In 2006, CMSgt. John Gebhardt was photographed holding a little Iraqi girl that had been injured. Her family had been attacked by insurgents. Both of her parents were killed, along with many of her siblings, and she had been shot in the head and left for dead. But she was tougher than that. She was brought to Balad Air Base Hospital where she was operated on and ultimately saved. As you can imagine, it was an extremely hard time for this little girl. Her recovery was hellish. But when CMSgt. Gebhardt would hold her, she seemed to be comforted. He spent many nights sleeping in a chair with her in his arms. The picture wast taken by a fellow airman while CMSgt. Gebhardt and the little girl were napping. Said CMSgt. Gebhardt, "I'm sure that probably just gave her some inner peace that she could reach."

On a side note. This is why I started doing these Wednesday Hero posts. Because of people like Chief Master Sgt. John Gebhardt. It's soldiers like him that make me proud of our military.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by going here.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

04/17 Hockey Notes

Sad news in the hockey world. Gaetan Duschene passed away yesterday, at the age of 44.

The six-foot, 190-pound forward went on to play 1,028 NHL games, registering 179 goals and 254 assists. Duchesne also appeared in 84 career playoff games.
Not a bad career. He was appreciated by his friends for his laughter, and fun heart. He leaves behind a family, too. He will be missed by many.

In other news, I thought Crag McCaig’s column over at The Hockey News was a fun read. It puts some of the current match-ups in their historical perspective. And, it’s amusing.

Speaking of amusing…I got a few good chuckles from the Sports Illustrated “Truth & Rumors” section. It’s amazing to me how many personal gripes and rantings become commonly held beliefs on what is really going on. Of course, some of it is…well…you go read it.

And, as per the expectations (…at least on my part…), the Stars-Canucks series is turning into an old time Dallas-Edmonton playoff match up. But, according to Luongo:
Luongo said dislike between the teams is building.
That is according to The Dallas Morning News which is also reporting that Luongo is complaining of getting bumped around. He probably is. I only saw game one, so I can’t speak from knowledge. If he is…I frankly expect nothing to come of it. The officials are letting a lot of things go in the Second Season, just like they always have.
(…and, in the playoffs, that’s a good thing!...)
(…oh yeah…h/t to Kukla's Korner for the news link…I missed it here at home…)

I thought this was a big shocker. It’s the scoring leaders list. What’s shocking is where some of the team leaders are in scoring. Now, Sidney Crosby being at or near the top is no surprise. But, Stu Barnes leading scoring in Dallas? Tied for 10th in the playoffs? There are a bunch of surprises here.

By the way, I’m still holding to my predictions from last week. I still think, in the end all of us prognosticators are just spouting so much hot air. But, what hell…it’s fun!

Oh! Before i forget,speaking of predictions, if you haven’t kept up with who’s up for what trophy this year, Hradek has them all listed out over atESPN. There are some worthy candidates on the lists.

Monday, April 16, 2007

If You Can...

If you can start the day without caffeine,

If you can get going without pep pills,

If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,

If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,

If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,

If you can understand when your loved
ones are too busy to give you any time,

If you can take criticism and blame without resentment,

If you can ignore a friend's limited education and never correct him,

If you can resist treating a rich friend better than a poor friend,

If you can conquer tension without medical help,

If you can relax without liquor,

If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,

...Then You Are Probably The Family Dog!

(...by the way...thanks to everyone who has hung in here through tax season...it's finally over so in the next few days, I'll be returning to the old form...so stay tuned...)

Friday, April 13, 2007

The Retirement Dinner

A priest was being honored at his retirement dinner after 25 years in the parish.

A leading local politician was chosen to make the presentation and give a little speech at the dinner. He was delayed, so the priest decided to say his own few words while they waited.

"I got my first impression of the parish from the first confession I heard here. I thought I had been assigned to a terrible place. The very first person who entered my confessional told me he had stolen a television set and, when questioned by the police, was able to lie his way out of it. He had stolen money from his parents, embezzled from his employer, had an affair with his boss's wife, taken illegal drugs, and gave VD to his sister.

I was appalled. But as the days went on I knew that my congregation were not all like that and I had, indeed, come to a fine parish full of good and loving people.".....

Just as the priest finished his talk, the politician arrived full of apologies at being late. He immediately began to make the presentation and gave his talk. "I'll never forget the first day our parish priest arrived," said the politician. "In fact, I had the honor of being the first one to go to him in confession."

(...be honest...how many politicians are you wishing this would happen to RIGHT NOW?...)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

04/11 Wednesday Hero

This Weeks Solider Was Summited By Lt. Schneider

SSgt. Keith
SSgt. Keith "Matt" Maupin
24 years old from Batavia, Ohio
Army Reserves 724th Transportation Company
MIA Since April 9, 2004

Strength, perseverance and determination is how you would describe the family of SSgt. Keith Maupin. Because even though their son has been missing now for almost three years, his parents still haven't given up hope that he's still alive. Said his father, Keith Maupin, "I'm saying it ain't over till the fat lady sings and when she sings, I'm going to choke her. That's what I say. They're going to find Matt." His mother, Carolyn, was quoted as saying, "We're to keep our hope up. And praying until they can prove to us 100 percent either way. And that's what I'm going to do. And I realize we only have a 50/50 chance here, but I'm not going the low road. I'm going the high road"

SSGt. Maupin, who was PFC. Maupin when he was capture and has since received two promotions, was reported MIA when his fuel convoy came under attack near the Baghdad International Airport. Along with Maupin was Sgt. Elmer Krause and seven employees of U.S. contractor Kellogg, Brown & Root. All of whom were either rescued or escaped. Seven days later, on April 16, Al-Jazeera aired a video tape of Maupin in which he was forced to admit that he was went to Iraq unwillingly. Then on June 28, 2004, Al-Jazerra reported that PFC. Maupin had been executed by a group calling themselves Persistent Power Against the Enemies of God and the Prophet. But no concrete proof has surfaced either way.

His parents have created a website called Yellow Ribbon Support Center if you would like to check it out. And while most in the media have forgotten Keith Maupin, Wednesday Hero hasn't.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by going here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

04/10 Hockey Notes

OK…The Playoffs are here! And, what better way to start them off than good old Eddie Belfour in trouble again.
(…reminds me of the beginning of his end in Dallas…wonder how long Jacque Martin will keep him around after this…)

Well, back to the subject at hand. ESPN has their breakdown on the match-ups. If you’re interested, here is their pole on how you think the teams will do. Not to be left out in the cold, Sports Illustrated has their playoff power rankings.

And, for no particular reason, other than I just want to sound off, here is my take on the first round.

Eastern Conference

Sabers/Islanders: Sabers (…duh…), probably in five games.
Devils/Lightning; I think the Lightning will take this one in a long series.
Thrashers/Rangers: I have no idea. But, I doubt whoever survives will make it through the second round. I would like to see Atlanta win it, though
Senators/Penguins: I suspect this one is a toss up. Personally, I’m hoping for Pittsburgh. And, I think it will be decided in seven games.

Western Conference

Red Wings/ Flames: They both came into the playoffs kind of flat. I think this will go seven—probably to the Flames.
Ducks/Wild: This is a tough call. But, I think Anaheim will take this in six or seven games.
Canucks/Stars: If Dallas gets healthy, they could win it…otherwise, Canucks have it. (…either way it should look like a Dallas/Edmonton series…)
Predators/Sharks: I think Nashville will take it, but it could go either way.

My personal opinion on who takes the Conferences?

In the East:

Buffalo beats Tampa (…handily…) while Pittsburgh beats the other winner. Then, Buffalo trounces the Penguins for the East.

In the West:

Calgary loses to Vancouver, and whoever wins the Ducks/Nashville series takes the West.

And, the Cup winner for 2007?

Buffalo Sabers

By the way…for the record…I really don’t care if I’m right or wrong. The second season is under way, and that’s what really matters.


Monday, April 09, 2007

Dead Duck

(...one more week of tax season...and I can get back to real blogging...in the meantime...)

A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgeon. As she
laid her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird's chest.

After a moment or two, the vet shook his head sadly and said, "I'm so sorry, your duck, Cuddles, has passed away."

The distressed owner wailed, "Are you sure"?

"Yes, I am sure. The duck is dead," he replied.

"How can you be so sure"? She protested. "I mean, you haven't done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something."

The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room, and returned a few moments later with a black Labrador Retriever.

As the duck's owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom.

He then looked at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head. The vet patted the dog and took it out, and returned a few moments later with a cat.

The cat jumped up on the table and also sniffed delicately at the bird from head to foot. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and strolled out of the room.

The vet looked at the woman and said, "I'm sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100 percent certifiably, a dead duck."

Then the vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman.

The duck's owner, still in shock, took the bill. "$150!" she cried. “$150 just to tell me my duck is dead"?

"The vet shrugged. "I'm sorry. If you'd taken my word for it, the bill would have been $20, But with the lab report and the cat scan, it's now $150.”

Saturday, April 07, 2007

04/07 Fundamentals of islam

For those who believe in the separation of church and state, and think that Islam is inclusive—at it’s fundamental level—read this:

A controversial Texas imam who at one point participated in a "tribute to the great Islamic visionary" Ayatollah Khomeini, has offered a prayer to open the state Senate that excluded both Christians and Jews

"Oh, Allah, guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom you have favored, not of those who have earned your wrath or of those who have lost the way," prayed Imam Yusuf Kavakci of the Dallas Central Mosque.

Islam, of course, teaches that Jews and Christians both have earned the wrath of Allah by failing to follow Islam, and also have lost the way by following the teachings of the Torah for the Jews or the Bible for Christians.
Doesn’t is eem kind of strange that everyone is terrified of Christian fundamentalists, but no one wants to recognize the threat of the Islamic ones right in out own backyard. From the airport group in Minneapolis to this Imam in Texas, the effect of Islamic fundamentalism is growing.
It’s important to remember that fundamentalism is operating at the basic, or root, level of something. To be a good ball player, you must learn and practice the fundamentals, that is the basics, of the game. If this is the basics of Islam, why is mainstream society so unconcerned?

Maybe reports like this one about what goes on in mosques should get a little more press...But, then, that would mean Iran's goodwill trumpeted by the media would be just so much propoganda. Wouldn't it?

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

04/04 Wednesday Hero

Maj. William D. Chesarek, Jr.
Maj. William D. Chesarek, Jr.
Royal Air Force's 847th Naval Air Squadron, Commando Helicopter Force

Maj. William D. Chesarek, Jr. has done something no other U.S. service member has done since WWII. On March 21 of this year, Maj. Chesarek was awarded the British Distinguished Flying Cross, by Queen Elizabeth, for saving lives and in recognition for his bravery during combat operations in Iraq. Maj. Chesark was assigned as an exchange officer with the Royal Air Force's 847th Naval Air Squadron, Commando Helicopter Force in 2005 and was the pilot of the RAF’s Lynx Mk7 helicopter.

On the evening of June 10, 2006, Chesarek was providing radio communication relay for British ground troops conducting a company-sized search operation near Amarah, Iraq. Listening to radio transmissions, he overheard that a vehicle involved in the operation had became disabled and a crowd of insurgents was firing small arms and rocket-propelled grenades at the company.

According to his award citation, "Chesarek elected to fly low over the area in an attempt to distract the crowd and if possible, to engage the insurgents." Because the crowd was so close to the ground troops, instead of engaging his machine gun, he "opted instead to provide bold, harassing, very low level flight over the area in an attempt to disperse the crowd."

You can read Maj. Chesarek's story in it's entirety here.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives so that others may enjoy the freedoms we get to enjoy everyday. For that, I am proud to call them Hero.
We Should Not Only Mourn These Men And Women Who Died, We Should Also Thank God That Such People Lived

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. If you would like to participate in honoring the brave men and women who serve this great country, you can find out how by going here.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Hero?....or Villain!

I found this over at One Man Bandwidth. He did a write up on Spiderman in China. Loved the cartoon. Then, I saw the quiz. Now for those who don’t know…there are actually two of them! Are you a super villain? Or a super hero…or maybe both? I took both…probably shouldn’t have…

My Super Heroresults:
You are Hulk
You are a wanderer with amazing strength.

Green Lantern
Iron Man
The Flash
Wonder Woman

Click here to take the "Which Superhero am I?" quiz...

My Super Villainresults:
You are Lex Luthor
A brilliant businessman on a quest for world domination and
the self-proclaimed greatest criminal mind of our time!

Lex Luthor
Dr. Doom
The Joker
Green Goblin
Mr. Freeze
Dark Phoenix
Poison Ivy
Click here to take the "Which Super Villain am I?" quiz.

So…who did you turn out to be?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Texas Women

Three men were sitting together bragging about how they had given their new wives duties.

The first man had married a woman from MINNESOTA and had told her that she was going to do dishes and house cleaning. It took a couple days, but on the third day, he came home to a clean house and dishes washed and put away.

The second man had married a woman from NORTH CAROLINA He had given his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes, and the cooking. The first day he didn't see any results, but the next day he saw it was better. By the third day, he saw his house was clean, the dishes were done, and there was a huge dinner on the table.

The third man had married a girl from TEXAS. He told her that her duties were to keep the house cleaned, dishes washed, lawn mowed, laundry washed and hot meals on the table for every meal. He said the first day he didn't see anything, the second day he didn't see anything, but by the third day some of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye, enough to fix himself a bite to eat and load the dishwasher.