Monday, September 26, 2005

I get a kick...

What's up with the NFL? The toughest guy in the Eagles win over the Raiders is......the kicker, David Akers. He pulls his hammy and still has the guts to come in and finish of the PAT.

I suppose this also means our big mouth is better than their big mouth.

And, for some reason, I love this picture. ANybody who can laugh at himself is all right with me.

Five minutes is all it takes...

I do a lot of high pressure sales, so one of the things I like to do to blow off a little steam is take five-minute vacations. One of the places I do that is here.

The other day, I came across a thread that was sooooo beautiful, I had to post a link. Go ahead--take a five minute vacation.

Just some random stuff....

Rack him...
I thought I was having a bad day, until I saw this poor guy...

Weather or not....
Apparently, our weather has been stolen! I didn't believe it either, until I saw an article about Scott Stevens. An he's a weatherman, so MUST know!

When Irish eyes are smiling...
It looks like my people might be on the right track. I certainly hope so...

Interesting stats...
They say baseball is a game of statistics. Here's one I have NEVER seen:
Researchers charting emergency-room visits in that baseball-crazed city during last year's championship season found that ER caseloads dipped by 15 percent on days with televised, important games -- especially when the Sox were belting home runs and playing well. One more reason for people to be yelling, "Go SAWX!"

You just know...
...this one cannot end well. If they can't even punch a ballot, how in the world are they going to shoot the bad guy?

It's in the tea leaves...
Don't report "unhealthy" news in China. According to this article:
Under the new rules, which went into effect immediately after they were made public by Xinhua, any online news service found to be reporting false or distorted information could be fined up to $3,700.
Ummmmmmm...okay. Government controlled media is a bad thing! If I'm wrong, you can sue me.

Anybody out there making plans for Ramadan...
...might want to consider changing their plans, according to this report.

And remember...
According to my friend Joe, no matter how bad things seem, it could always be worse.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

I thought this was cool....

Cadence Cycling out of Manayunk, in Philadelphia, has a pretty cool intro on their website. Also, according to the New York Times, they're now giving away a month of training with each new bike purchase.

I say, "Well done!" Selling someone a bike and then showing them how to get the most out of it, and REALLY enjoy it, makes great sense.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Hardy, har Harrrrrrgh!

One of my favorite holidays is coming up! No, not Halloween. I'm talking about Talk Like a Pirate Day.Harrrgh...that's right, me mateys!!! On Monday, September 19th I recommend you celebrate Talk Like a Pirate Day! This site gives you a boatload of information, including advice, games, and links. Just keep the rum to yourself until after 5 pm.

Monday, September 12, 2005


Some of you are following the story of Tanya, which I started here.

We just received this letter from the church at Krichev:

Tink, hello!

Thank you for your answer. We are glad to receive letters from you.

Tink, you write about Tanya in your letter and we answer for you.

15 September we go for Tanya and try to do holiday for Tanya with big cake!

And we sure thing to give your kiss and your hug.

We ask her about clothes and boots and other.

We think that better if you send from America. Because in Belarus clothes and boots cost very much.

And personal care things we try to give for Tanya. When we meet with Tanya, we will speak about this. We want to help Tanya—your Belarusian daughter.

Tink, our friendship grows and we will know much about each other and Tanya and we will try to help this girl.

First, that we know --- Tanya very loves you. We understand this, when we met with Tanya first time.

We very want that Tanya will love Jesus! And we try to help her in this very important moment--- Jesus love Tanya and Tanya will loves Jesus!

Jesus helps Tanya to live. And we do that we can that Tanya lives better.

Tink, very beautiful to take care about people together!

Tink, we know that give mercy for people are very good for Our Lord!

We know that our meetings with you, with Tanya are God’s will.

We very want to do good and gladly for our Lord!

News from our churches.

Harvest is good. We dry out our harvest and keep in our cellar. In winter we will help people, who need.

Now we more and more work for water project.

And prepare for Christian concert.

We pray and wait new meeting with you!

And we believe that in next year we can to do more for Jesus!

Tink, say for us, please, your birthday? Because in our churches we celebrate every people with birthday. And give little present and pray all for person celebrating his.

In your birthday we want to celebrate you and pray for you.

We think that we are one big FAMILY!

Tink, please, send our best regards for your pastor Mark Webb, for Brad, Don, Jon and all, who pray for us and know us.

Thank you very much for your praying!

Let God Bless you!

Your sister in Jesus Christ Galina at the request of pastor Michail.

09.09.2005. friend's perspective.

Last year I got a call out of the blue on New Year's Eve from my best friend in high school. We hadn't spoken in years, but we picked up pretty much where we left off, in the way that only best friends from days gone by, and occasionally those with the grace of saints, can. He responded to my blog about 9-11 with his own perspective, as an officer in the United States Air Force. Further, he is stationed, with his family, in Shreveport, LA, and while he missed a lot of Hurricane Katrina, they have been touched more directly by the storm. I felt his response was very powerful, and I didn't want it to get lost on the comments page.

Eric Oliver said...
I was at work. A news channel was on in one corner of a nearby conference room. A co-worker was the first to tell me to come see what was on TV.
I went in to see the south tower in flames on some news channel, and I remember sitting there thinking, "How the hell did someone hit that tower? It's perfect flying weather; clear and a million! It had to be someone that meant to hit the tower, there's simply no other explanation..." I also remember watching the flames licking upward and the choking smoke boiling out from all sides and commenting, perhaps to no one in particular, "There is no way anyone above that is going to survive..."
I remember the camera shot was from a long way off. So, it was tough to judge depth--very much the way the pitcher looks like he is almost standing on home plate when the centerfield camera is being used.
As I watched that greatly foreshortened view, I remember seeing a plane seemingly flying from the norteast toward southwest in the background. When I saw it, I thought "huh?!? They haven't stopped air traffic in the area?" I assumed it was inbound for landing at Newark, but it just seemed incomprehensible to me that ATC would be allowing aircraft anywhere near that area in the wake of such a disaster.
I guess something else in the room distracted me for just a moment, and I looked away, but I was suddenly brought back to sharp focus by a reporter shouting "Oh my God! There has just been a tremendous explosion! It appears that there has been another enormous explosion in the tower."
They continued on for several minutes, talking about how this must have been one of the fuel tanks exploding--something they apparently had been discussing as a possibility before I tuned in.
I'm not sure when they or I figured out the truth: we had seen the plane heading into the north tower.
I know I figured it out at some point because I remember calling my wife (who was irritated by something that morning when I called, but I don’t remember what), telling her to turn on the TV, and then telling her I probably wouldn’t be home for dinner that night. My job on Sept 11, 2001 was to do communications planning as a member of Air Combat Command’s Crisis Action Team.
My wife's car was at the shop that day to have its shocks replaced, and it was time to pick it up, so I left work. As I drove, I was listening to an NPR reporter who was talking to another reporter at the pentagon. The pentagon reporter was talking when she was interrupted by the first reporter and asked: “We are just now hearing reports of smoke at the pentagon. Are you seeing any smoke?” The pentagon reporter said “No, everything appears to be normal”, and after a brief exchange, went on with her story. Before she finished her story, she was again interrupted. There were additional reports of fire at the pentagon. Did she see or hear anything? Still the same. Nothing she could see was out of the ordinary. So, she continued. She was another couple of minutes into her story when she abruply stopped, paused for a moment and then said “Okay, we are now getting evacuation instructions over the public address system. Apparently, there is a fire somewhere and we are being told to evacuate.”
I remember continuing the drive thinking, “those towers may fall; that would be disastrous”, and I remember feeling more helpless than I ever want to feel again.
I remember showing up at the shop in uniform and all the attention I attracted. I remember one gentleman saying “I wish I wasn’t so old, so I could sign up and put on a uniform too.” A second said “Every generation has their ‘Pearl Harbor’. This is this generation’s; they’ll have no problem recruiting for the foreseeable future.”
As I drove back toward work, the first tower fell. I heard the NPR broadcast. The reporter sounded as if he was about to cry as he described it all too picturesquely. I figured it was only a matter of time until the second one went too. I found a new, even lower, feeling of helplessness.
At some point that day, I remember hearing that there was still at least one plane that was unaccounted for. I was back at work at Langley Air Force Base, VA by that time, and there were rumors the plane was headed for us: Headquarters, Air Combat Command. It made sense to me. The pentagon had already been hit. The towers had been hit. If you wanted to make a big statement, what would be more fitting than to fly a plane into the headquarters of the mightiest combat air force in the world?
We went to THREATCON DELTA. Security Forces and civil engineers were racing everywhere setting up hasty defenses and hardening facilities as best they could. I was worried, but not scared, and I certainly didn’t feel helpless anymore. If they were going to bring the fight to us, we were at least going to make it a bit harder on them.
After the Flight 93 hit the ground, I was sent home to rest. We were going to 12 hr shifts, and I was going to be pulling the mid shift on the Crisis Action Team that night. I ended up pulling the mid shift for many months after. I didn’t pull my last 12 hr mid shift until March of 2003.
That year and a half of my life is mostly a blur, but one happy moment sticks out in my mind. A few hours into my shift on 13 Sep 2001, an ice cream cake appeared. It was my birthday. I had completely forgotten, but my beautiful wife, Patricia, had not. She couldn’t come into the secure area where we were working, so she had passed it to my boss, Monica Kopf, who surprised me with it. It was a very bright spot at a very dark time.
The story should end here, but it doesn’t. Monica Kopf now lives in Biloxi, MS. She was a commander of a technical training squadron at Keesler Air Force Base on August 29th 2005. She took a direct hit from Katrina. When I finally got hold of her to ask how she was doing, she wrote:

Eric – thanks for the email. Go figure, I’ve lost my house, my motos, my squadron (they sent off all the students) and basically my office because of the fema etc guys…. It’s been an emotional week…. Hanging strong tho’ for the most part – I have some quiet moments where I’m a bit thin on the veneer but…

Kev is great – he evacuated (thank God) and he took the dogs of course. He was going to stay but I couldn’t stand the stress I told him – I couldn’t take care of everyone at work AND worry abt him and the dogs simultaneously.

Take care and thank you!!!!

As I pressed her to find out how she was really doing and what she really needed, she finally wrote:

homebuilders/salvage folks, lawyers for bankruptcy, financial guidance, money/donations.... also people who're willing to help tear out yucky stuff...

if you're willing to come work w/ me clearing my house out, i'll take the help.... the whole place needs to be gutted....

I am going to go down there the weekend of the 17th and try to be the bright spot in her very dark time.
I'll stop hijacking your blog now...thank you for letting me bloviate and purge

The last line is typical of my humble friend. Bloviating? I remember being in the midst of burying my Aunt, and at each stage of the funeral, we would get in the car (after the viewing, the service, the burial, etc.) one more major event unfolded. I was calling in to see if they needed me on the ground for reports anywhere near Philadelphia, or even to go to Washington, but our team was already all over it. When the plane went down near Schwenksville, our team was on the scene immediately.

It all seems like small potatoes compared to what Eric and his brothers and sisters in the armed forces were doing on that day, and continue to do today. I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say "Thank you" for doing the job that you do. I feel a whole lot safer knowing there are people like you out there protecting us, our families, and our nation.

Thank you brother.

Friday, September 09, 2005

9-11....Where were you?

It's one of those questions that every person has a rememberance. I was burying my Great Aunt, who was the matriarch of our family. At each stage of the funeral, more news came forth until it became apparent what was going on. My Aunt was a very firm believer in the Lord, and I think God may have called her home before these events so she didn't have to see them. I also think, if God gave her the power of an angel, she was up there protecting people, or more likely, holding them as they passed from our world to the next. Aunt Clara was like that. She probably had warm cookies waiting at the gates...

9-11 Coming up...

Two interesting thigs came across my desk today.

First was this e-mail:

THE PROGRAM IS THIS: On Sunday, September 11, 2005, please display an an American flag outside your home, apartment, office, or store. Every individual should make it their duty to display an American flag on this fourth anniversary of our country's worst tragedy. We should do this in honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11, their families, friends and loved ones who continue to endure the pain, and those who today are fighting at home and abroad to preserve our cherished freedoms.

In the days, weeks and months following 9/11, our country was bathed in American flags as citizens mourned the incredible losses and stood shoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism. Sadly, those flags have all but disappeared. Our patriotism pulled us through some tough times and it shouldn't take another attack to galvanize us in solidarity.

Our American flag is the fabric of our country and together we can prevail
over terrorism of all kinds.

Action Plan: So, here's what we can do...

(1) Let other people know about this. Take a moment to think back to how you felt on 9/11 and let those sentiments guide you.

(2) Fly an American flag of any size on 9/11. Honestly, Americans should fly the flag year-round, but if you don't, then at least make it a priority on this day.

Second, was the selection of a memorial for this site. My friend Brad rides his motorcycle a lot, and one of the more moving experiences he has ever had was at this field. I get a feeling similar to the one he described when I go here; you can feel the history, you can sense the power of what occurred in these places.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Thanks a Lott

One of the things I have been really worried about for this whole Hurricane disaster is "What will happen to Trent Lott's house? Will he be able to rebuild?" Well, this story has the answer.

"First, we're going to save lives and stabilize the situation," Bush said at the Mobile Regional Airport upon his arrival. "And then we're going to help these communities rebuild. The good news is -- and it's hard for some to see it now -- that out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic Gulf Coast, like it was before.

"Out of the rubbles of Trent Lott's house -- he's lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. And I'm looking forward to sitting on the porch," he said, referring to the former Senate majority leader who lost his 154-year-old family home in Pascagoula, Miss.

Thank goodness!!! I mean, let's put aside the grammar for a moment (Rubbles????) and consider he has yet to set foot in New Orleans. I have to think it is more than the "liberal media" taking advantage of the situation.

Monday, September 05, 2005


I have resisted writing about the disaster and devastation in Louisiana and the other southern states, in part because I am, like most people, speechless. Many people are equating this to 9-11, and the way in which the two events have awakened the national consciousness are very similar. One of the things that did strike me, though, is the incredible differences between the two events, especially as it relates to the response time of the government, and the general response of the people, especially in New Orleans.

The government has been slow to respond. There a plethora of reasons people are promoting for this, including everything from racism to general ineptitude within the government to a President who, like me, just doesn't know what to say. Regarding racism, I also found this interesting article. Still, the question remains as to why the government has taken so long to get to these people and help them?

Quite frankly, I don't even have the heart to go into the atrocities and general stupidity encountered in the wake of this horrible event. I remember the way New Yorkers banded together to help each other, and the direct opposition to the response of many people in the Katrina disaster just sickens me. There will be stories that come out about how people have supported and saved one another, but for now the news is not pretty.

If gas prices are going down, as per this article, someone should really tell the guy who puts up the prices at my local pump. A very long tunnel, indeed....