< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://echo9er.blogspot.com" > Echo9er: December 2004

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Happy New Year!

I don't know how much work I'll put into the Blog over the next couple of days, so I thought I would wish ALL a Happy New Year.

Reflecting on 2004, I realize it was a good year. I got a promotion. I enjoyed my job. I got a new job, that I enjoy as much as I did the previous job. My health has been good. I am exercising more and even enjoying it. I really owe my good fortune to my family. They keep me in line and honest.

All-in-all, it has been a good year. So, what's in store for 2005? I don't know, but I shall try to improve on the previous year. With luck, and the good Lord willing, 2005 will definitely be better.

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Bringing the Fallen Home

I received this yesterday via email from a long time friend. It is a story he received and I just had to post it here to share with all of you. Please pass it on as you see fit. This is a story that will not or has not been seen in the media.

(From the original sender)
I received this from "Bo" Burwell, a friend that served with me with Special Projects US Navy some years ago. Bo left the Projects to return to the Teams. I caught up with him years later retired in Florida.

This will bring some tears. Very sad, indeed...May God continue to bless the United States Marine Corps for all it has given to the nation...Lancer

Gentlemen, I just wanted to share with all of you my most recent Air Force Reserve trip. As most of you know, I have decided to go back into the Air Force Reserves as a part time reservist and after 6 months of training, I have recently been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel and have been fully mission qualified as an Aircraft Commander of a KC-135R strato tanker aircraft.

On Friday of last week, my crew and I were tasked with a mission to provide air refueling support in order to tanker 6 F-16's over to Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. We were then to tanker back to the states, 6 more F-16's that were due maintenance. It started out as a fairly standard mission - one that I have done many times as an active duty Captain in my former jet - the KC10a extender.

We dragged the F-16's to Moron Air Base in Spain where we spent the night and then finished the first part of our mission the next day by successfully delivering them to Incirlik. When I got on the ground in Turkey, I received a message to call the Tanker Airlift Control Center that my mission would change. Instead of tankering the F-16's that were due maintenance, I was cut new orders to fly to Kuwait City and pick up 22 "HR's" and return them to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

It had been a while since I had heard of the term "HR" used, and as I pondered what the acronym could possibly stand for, when it dawned on me that it stood for human remains. There were 22 fallen comrades who had just been killed in the most recent attacks in Fallujah and Baghdad, Iraq over the last week.

I immediately alerted the crew of the mission change and although they were exhausted due to an ocean crossing, the time change and minimum ground time in Spain for crew rest, we all agreed that it was more important to get these men back to their families as soon as possible.

We were scheduled to crew rest in Incirlik, Turkey for the evening and start the mission the next day. Instead, we decided to extend/continue our day and fly to Kuwait in order to pick up our precious cargo. While on the flight over to Kuwait, I knew that there were protocol procedures for accepting and caring for human remains, however, in my 13 years of active duty service, I
never once had to refer to this regulation. As I read the regulation on the flight over, I felt prepared and ready to do the mission. My game plan was to pick up the HR's and turn around to fly to Mildenhal Air Base in England, spend the night, and then fly back the next day. This was the quickest way to get them home, considering the maximum crew duty day that I could subject my crew to legally and physically. I really pushed them to the limits but no one complained at all.

I thought that I was prepared for the acceptance of these men until we landed at Kuwait International. I taxied the jet over to a staging area where the honor guard was waiting to load our soldiers. I stopped the jet and the entire crew was required to stay on board. We opened the cargo door, and according to procedure, I had the crew line up in the back of the aircraft in formation and stand at attention. As the cargo loader brought up the first pallet of caskets, I ordered the crew to "Present Arms". Normally, we would snap a salute at this command, however, when you are dealing with a fallen soldier, the salute is a slow 3 second pace to position. As I stood there and finally saw the first four of twenty-two caskets draped with the American Flags, the reality had hit me. As the Marine Corps honor guard delivered the first pallet on board, I then ordered the crew to "Order Arms" - where they rendered an equally slow 3 second return to the attention position. I then commanded the crew to assume an at ease position and directed them to properly place the pallet. The protocol requires that the
caskets are to be loaded so when it comes time to exit the aircraft - they will go head first. We did this same procedure for each and every pallet until we could not fit any more.

I felt a deep pit in my stomach when there were more caskets to be brought home and that they would have to wait for the next jet to come through. I tried to do everything in my power to bring more home but they I had no more space on board. When we were finally loaded, with our precious cargo and fueled for the trip back to England, a Marine Corps Colonel from first battalion came on board our jet in order to talk to us. I gathered the crew to listen to him and his words of wisdom.

He introduced himself and said that it is the motto of the Marines to leave no man behind and it makes their job easier knowing that there were men like us to help them complete this task. He was very grateful for our help and the strings that we were pulling in order to get this mission done in the most expeditious manner possible. He then said -" Major Zarnik - these are MY
MARINES and I am giving them to you. Please take great care of them as I know you will". I responded with telling him that they are my highest priority and that although this was one of the saddest days of my life, we are all up for the challenge and will go above and beyond to take care of your Marines - "Semper Fi Sir" A smile came on his face and he responded with a loud and thunderous, "Ooo Rah". He then asked me to please pass along to the families that these men were extremely brave and had made the ultimate sacrifice for their country and that we appreciate and empathize with what they are going through at this time of their grievance. With that, he departed the jet and we were on our way to England.

I had a lot of time to think about the men that I had the privilege to carry. I had a chance to read the manifest on each and every one of them. I read about their religious preferences, their marital status, the injuries that were their cause of death. All of them were under age 27 with most in the 18-24 range. Most of them had wives and children. They had all been killed by an " IED" which I can only deduce as an incendiary explosive devices like rocket propelled grenades. Mostly fatal head injuries and injuries to the chest area. I could not even imagine the bravery that they must have displayed and the agony suffered in this God Forsaken War. My respect and admiration for these men and what they are doing to help others in a foreign land is beyond calculation. I know that they are all with God now and in a better place.

The stop in Mildenhal was uneventful and then we pressed on to Dover where we would meet the receiving Marine Corps honor guard. When we arrived, we applied the same procedures in reverse. The head of each casket was to come out first. This was a sign of respect rather than defeat. As the honor guard carried each and every American flag covered casket off of the jet, they delivered them to awaiting families with military hearses. I was extremely impressed with how diligent the Honor Guard had performed the seemingly endless task of delivering each of the caskets to the families without fail and with precision. There was not a dry eye on our crew or in the crowd. The Chaplain then said a prayer followed by a speech from Lt. Col. Klaus of the second Battalion. In his speech, he also reiterated similar condolences to the families as the Colonel from First Battalion back in Kuwait.

I then went out to speak with the families as I felt it was my duty to help console them in this difficult time. Although I would probably be one of the last military contacts that they would have for a while - the military tends to take care of it's own. I wanted to make sure that they did not feel abandoned and more than that appreciated for their ultimate sacrifice. It was the most difficult thing that I have ever done in my life. I listened to the stories of each and every one that I had come in contact with and they all displayed a sense of pride during an obviously difficult time. The Marine Corps had obviously prepared their families well for this potential outcome.

So, why do I write this story to you all? I just wanted to put a little personal attention to the numbers that you hear about and see in the media. It is almost like we are desensitized by all of the "numbers" of our fallen comrades coming out of Iraq. I heard one commentator say that "it is just a number". Are you kidding me? These are our American Soldiers not numbers! It is truly a sad situation that I hope will end soon. Please hug and embrace your loved ones a little closer and know that there are men out there that are defending you and trying to make this a better
world. Please pray for their families and when you hear the latest statistic's and numbers of our soldiers killed in combat, please remember this story. It is the only way that I know to more personalize these figures and have them truly mean something to us all.

Thanks for all of your support for me and my family as I take on this new role in completing my Air Force Career and supporting our country. I greatly appreciate all of your comments, gestures and prayers.

May God Bless America, us all, and especially the United States Marine Corps.

Semper Fi


Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

You are What You Eat With

It seems unusual to find an article such as this on a Microsoft Office related site, but then again it is a Blog. This is interesting.

You are What You Eat - With


Old Food Tools

Even before we had Ron Popeil to provide our cutlery, there were knives, spoons, and later forks.

California Academy of Sciences:
The History of Eating Utensils

A History of Eating Utensils in the West:
A Brief Timeline

"Henry Petroski, in The Evolution of Useful Things, makes the argument that it is not so much that necessity is the "mother of invention" as that invention takes place in response to dissatisfaction at the shortcomings of an already existing way of doing things.The eating utensils we use and the ways we use them are the result of centuries of experimentation."
The Elizabethan Practical Companion

Medieval and Renaissance Eating Utensils and "Feast Gear"

Ron Popeil

"Born in 1935, he was for all practical purposes orphaned three years later when his parents divorced and he and his brother were shunted to a boarding school in upstate New York. The one memory of this period is of a Christmas when parents were taking their children home for the holidays. Ron peered through a window at the long, straight road leading to the school, hoping to see his father's car approach. It never did."

(via Unofficial Microsoft Office Stuff)

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Plain Language

Plain Language


Twaddle free

June 1, 1998


SUBJECT: Plain Language in Government Writing
"The Federal Government's writing must be in plain language. By using plain
language, we send a clear message about what the Government is doing, what it
requires, and what services it offers. Plain language saves the Government and
the private sector time, effort, and money."

The Plain English Network
Plain language can be understood by YOUR reader at first reading. It doesn't
mean writing for a certain grade level - it means organizing and writing for
your reader. Writing in plain language saves time and money for writers and

The Plain Language Center
Building Plain Language from the Ground Up

Introducing Plain Language

Plain language matches the needs of the reader with your needs as a writer,
resulting in effective and efficient communication. It is effective because the
reader can understand the message. It is efficient because the reader can read
and understand the message the first time.
Plain language produces clear, concise, and readable documents

And then for no reason, other than most writing is twaddle, here's a review of:

How Mumbo-jumbo Conquered the World:
A Short History of Modern Delusions
by Francis Wheen.

It's entitled: "Twaddle unswaddled".
Appropriate or not, it is fun to say.

(via Unnoficial Microsoft Office Stuff)

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Emergency Cufflinks

Via J-Walk.

I more of a "Golf" shirt (I don't play golf, but I can dress like I do) and slacks kind of guy. So when I saw this on J-Walk's site, I just had to post it. I think I'll ask for 3 for next year.

Here's an item that will most certainly be on my Christmas gift list next year: Emergency Cufflinks.

You have hired the DJ and pressed the shirt. The party starts in one hour but what's this...no cufflinks!

Party animals should never leave home without a set of our emergency cufflinks which are designed to nestle in your wallet next to the platinum card.

I can't even count the number of cufflink emergencies I've experienced.

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Sunday, December 26, 2004

Merry Christmas Mission

I wish I had posted this a couple of days earlier, but time slipped by me and I didn't get to it. I got this via email from my cousin. The real source was unknown to her, but the meaning is VERY clear.

It is a real shame that being a Christian has become such a crime in this "Politically Correct" society of ours. Lord help us all if someone is offended by a Christmas song or greeting. Well, I am with the writer of the following, and I say Merry Christmas to ALL.

I'm on a "Merry Christmas" mission and I'm in full throttle. My little yellow VW Beetle has turned into a Christmas billboard with Merry Christmas written across the back window. Yes, I've decided to trek off to work everyday on the public highways with a message that seems to offend people.

At stop lights, I even turn my music up a little louder, and to top it off, I sing along with it. Don't I know that stopping at a red light to roll my windows down only to share the joy of Christmas carols on public streets is a No-No? Don't I fear the Christmas Gestapo and those who would have me remove the written message from my car?

I'm sorry folks, but the only person I'm concerned about "offending" during this Christmas season is the Lord himself. LEAVE THAT MANGER ALONE! We've allowed the Baby Jesus to be kicked out of His lowly manger, and those offended by Christmas are still not happy.

I refuse to let this happen. I'm going to do my part to make sure "Merry Christmas" doesn't become extinct. Because like it or not, if the believers in Christmas don't take a stand now, it's gone forever.

Listen folks, the Christian community has been underestimated before; we will have to show ourselves again.

I walked into a Wendy's Restaurant the other day and was rather exuberant with my "Merry Christmas" greeting to the manager. He didn't have much of a response and I said, "Where's your Christmas spirit?" He said, "We're not allowed to use the words "Merry Christmas" when greeting customers. We can only say "Happy Holiday."

This morning I grabbed a quick breakfast at a Whataburger Restaurant. I noticed there wasn't a single decoration in the store. I asked the manager why they weren't decorated for Christmas. He told me the corporate headquarters decided not to send any decorations to any of their stores, and he didn't know why.

After I heard about all the Macy's and Federated Stores taking down their Merry Christmas signs, the Target stores not allowing the Salvation Army to "Ring the Christmas bells," and the many incidents of children, choirs, and bands not allowed to play or sing Christmas carols, I realized it was happening right here in my own little Texas town.

How can this be? Not Texas!

We do, however, have a store, Hobby Lobby, that plays nothing but Christmas carols during the season. On Christmas Day they run a full page ad in our local newspaper. That ad is not to promote the store, but uses the entire page to tell the story of Jesus' birth. Now that's taking a stand. We need to thank them.

When I saw a news report the other evening of children being taught new words to a song we've sung for years - "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" - I was saddened to hear "We Wish You a Splendid Holiday."

I know now that it's just a matter of time that the "Merry Christmas" greetings will be gone. Look around your town. Notice the "Holiday" greetings and not "Christmas." It's happening right before our very eyes.

Start singing the songs; go down the streets of America singing to your heart's content. Get some of those wash-off markers that these kids use to write on their car windows when they're rooting for their hometown football team. It's easy to do, and if a torrential rain washes it off, write it on there again.

We've got to get this message out. "Go Tell It On the Mountain . . . that Jesus Christ is Born." Sing it, speak it, be a billboard for our Lord.

The story of this "Baby Jesus" alone has brought about more goodwill at this time of year than any other day we celebrate. How can we sit back and allow Him to be snuffed out of our lives?

Is it Jesus, or is it His followers that the "offended" don't like? What kind of revulsion galvanizes one to campaign so vehemently against the mere mention of His name, the mere singing of a carol, or the mere visual of a sign that says "Merry Christmas?"

I can listen to my own boss at work use some of the vilest words and follow up with, "Excuse my French." I may cringe inside at his damning of God's name, but I tolerate it. So if you don't like me wishing you a "Merry Christmas," I'll say, "Excuse my joy." You may cringe that I celebrate the birth of Jesus, but just tolerate it.

I cannot be concerned that "Merry Christmas" offends you. If I'm not careful, the day will come when saying I'm a Christian will offend you.

I'm offended that you're offended. How about that?

When we get to a point that we can no longer take part in a tradition we hold dear, we have no choice; we either defend that tradition or we give it up to those who say NO. That's it . . . period. So, which will it be?

I'm not giving up my "Merry Christmas" joy to anyone. If I know of someone that celebrates another holiday during this time of year, I will be glad to wish them whatever holiday they want. Just tell me what it is and I'll shout it to the world and wish you a grand celebration.

Just give me Christmas. To you merchants: Stop being so hypocritical and "filling your tills" on the back of Jesus! Who do you think is the symbol of giving at this time of year? It was the wise men bringing gifts to the newborn Christ-child.

You want your coffers full, but have ordered your employees to take down all the Merry Christmas signs. If that's the case, I'll buy gifts at a place that understands my joy.

If you're worried about offending someone, you just did. The most recent Newsweek survey shows that 82% of Americans believe that Jesus is the Son of God. So, in trying not to offend a few, you've offended many.

It's okay to jump into the "Merry Christmas" spirit when it fills your cash register, but let's call it something else . . . and don't top giving . . . and don't stop buying. . . we'll just change the name and you'll never know the difference.

I know the difference and I'm feeling it greatly. It's hard not to be aware that townships across our country have actually banned the singing of Christmas carols because it might offend someone. And it's not just the religious songs; it's the secular ones too. No more "Jingle Bells" or "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" because they're associated with Christmas. Boy, aren't we getting sensitive?

If we're not celebrating Christmas for the hope it gives with the birth of our Savior . . . there is no hope!

I noticed a few years ago that we changed the name of Abraham Lincoln's and George Washington's birthday so as to be all inclusive regarding the Presidents. Hark, if we should recognize anyone as exceptional. Now it's called Presidents' Day.

Well, if we're going to be so all inclusive, next month I'll have to refer to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as Civil Rights Leaders' Day. We don't want to exclude great
Americans like Rosa Parks or Cesar Chavez, do we?

And to think that Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton might be left out.

We might need to change Mother's Day, Father's Day, and Grandparents' Day to All Parents' Day. Just lump them all together.

It sounds ridiculous, doesn't it? So what's the difference?

My freedom to celebrate Christmas in the tradition of the Christian religion is as much my right as it is your right to be offended by it. So what are we going to do? Did anyone hear me . . . what are we going to do?

Do we defend a person's right to go forward with a time tested tradition (how about 2000 years?), or do we defend a person's right to end it all because they're offended? As long as we live in this great land and have the freedom to express ourselves and what we believe in, we will always offend someone.

If we try to make everything right for everyone, we won't have anything for anyone.

May you always have Christmas in your heart!

If you know the source of this writing, please let me know so I can give proper credit.

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

On Death

Well, the day after Christmas, and I had a thought about Death. According to Death Clock, my personal "Day of Death" is March 5, 2041. Since I listed my "Mode" as Optimistic, I guess this would bear out that I will die when I am in my early 90's. I LIKE that thought. Of course, if my mode is Pessimistic, I have been dead since November 12, 1995, or October 3, 1996, yuou pick and decide.

The whole exercise is rather ridiculous. The computer CANNOT predict your Personal Date of Death anymore than you, or your spouse, or your Doctor can. I guess the thing too keep in mind is that you must maintain a certain healthy lifestyle (I have stared to change my life style late in life) in order to meet the long term goal -- Long Life.

So, check out the Death Clock if you must, but don't let it dictate your life. There is only ONE BEING that can predict your Personal Day of Death, and when you run out of OH OHs, you will know it.

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

My "Ridiculous Item of the Day" -- 12/23/2004

A few days ago I posted a "Ridiculous Item of the Day" The "Kill Me First Dress Code" via Michell Malkin.

Today, Michelle has a follow-up post, "Air Rage." It's rather long but still a very good read.

It makes me wonder, "What are they thinking?"

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Outdated Brewskis Used To Feed Iowa Cows

I heard this story while listening to Paul Harvey News today:

NORWAY, Iowa -- This brewski's for Bessie.

In hopes of raising a better bovine, eastern Iowa farmers are spiking their cattle feed with beer. Cattleman Robert Miller said the cows like the beer so much that they don't want to eat their feed dry.

It started about a year ago when a Cedar Rapids beer distributor, Fleck Sales, contacted Fisher's Feed and Fertilizer in the town of Norway.

The owner, Jack Fisher, said Fleck Sales asked if he would be interested in free beer that had outlived its shelf life to use as cattle feed. Fisher took them up on the offer.

Researchers say the outdated beer has vitamins, minerals and proteins that are good for the cows. It's commonly used in cattle feed in Japan and Canada.

Of course, giving beer to cattle could give a new meaning to cow-tipping.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(via KIROTV)

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Be Prepared if Santa Decides to Sue You

This is funny, but sad at the same time.

By Michelle Malkin · December 21, 2004 05:37 PM

...for feeding him fattening Christmas cookies, the Center for Consumer Freedom cheekily suggests leaving a "Christmas Cookie Liability and Indemnification Agreement" by the tree.

By signing it, Kris Kringle agrees not to sue you on the basis of:

1. your failure to provide him with nutrition information and a list of ingredients (the "Grandma's Secret Recipe" clause);

2. your failure to caution him of the potential for overeating because cookies taste “yummy” and are provided at no cost;

3. your failure to offer "healthier" cookie alternatives (e.g., tofu bars);

4. your failure to warn him that cookies may be habit-forming and/or irresistible; and

5. your failure to notify him that eating way too many cookies may lead to even greater levels of obesity (the "Sanity Clause").

"Of course, Saint Nick has always been obese. Still, you never can be sure where the next frivolous lawsuit will come from, so insisting that Santa sign a waiver before he chows down may be the only way to protect against being hauled into court by a greedy legal Grinch,” said Center for Consumer Freedom Senior
Analyst Dan Mindus.

Get your copy here.

(via Michelle Malkin)

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

A Soldier Tribute

As we continue preparations for Christmas and the New Year, I once again think of those unable to celebrate and be with family and friends this year.

This is a wonderful tribute to our soldiers in harms way. The music is moving and the photos speak volumes. Please visit and keep our Military in your thoughts through this Holiday season and the comming year.

(via Townhall)

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Monday, December 20, 2004

What is YOUR Secret Christmas Name?

Did you know tha Santa assigns a "Secret Christmas Name" to everyone? I didn't. Thanks to J-Walk, I found out that my Secret Christmas name is: Smiley Brandy butter-Gnome. So what about the rest of the family? My wife is Lucky Brandy butter-Helper. My son is Tumbleflump Brandy butter-Gnome. My daughter is Cutie Brandy butter-Gnome (maiden name) or Cutie Kissy-Gnome (married name). Finally, my son-in-law is Lucky Kissy-Pixie.

This is the way it works.
When we are born, Santa needs to know who we are and where we live. Because we all use so many different languages and have different names it gets really confusing for poor old Santa Claus

Just type your name here to find your Secret Christmas name.

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Weird Products from Japan

Recently we saw men craving the Japanese "Lap Pillow"
Man rests his head on lap pillow, Japan (12/14/04 AP Photo)

Then the lonely japanese women got the "Boyfriend Pillow".
(Via KIRO TV) (Via Les Jones)
Boyfriend pillow with arm-like shape designed for single girl, Nagareyama City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan. (09/28/04 AP Photo)
Posted by Hello
Between lonely Japanese men needing a "Lap Pillow" and lonely Japanese women needing a "Boyfriend Pillow" one would think these "Lonely" people coud get together and . . .

This from the country that gave us the Japanese "Breast Scarf".

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Friday, December 17, 2004

My "Ridiculous Item of the Day" -- 12/17/2004

By Michelle Malkin · December 17, 2004 11:25 AM

Secularists in Vermont have demanded that a state-run veteran's home take down a cross decorated with red, white, and blue lights. Employees at the Vermont Veteran's Home had put the large cross atop a gazebo to honor local Vermont Guard troops who left last month for a tour of duty in the Middle East. After trustees of the home ordered the cross removed, local residents banded together and found an alternate location for the tribute.

Here's the story in the Bennington Banner, a follow-up, and outraged letters from residents.

You can find contact information for the Vermont Veteran's Home here. The trustee who led the drive to take the cross down is Arthur Farris. E-mail the veteran's home at jminer@vvh.state.vt.us

(via Michelle Malkin)

Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Weird Headlines

Well, we've had "Deep-fried Twinkies"and other such delicacies. Now we have "Deep-fried Mars Bars". Seattle's KIRO TV reports on their Web Site, under the title "Weird Headlines," the following story: Deep-Fried Mars Bars A Favorite In Scotland.
Like the Loch Ness monster, the deep-fried Mars bar has often been regarded as a Scottish myth. But a study published Friday in a medical journal confirms that Scots consume thousands of the battered bars each week, and that more than a fifth of fish and chip shops - which specialize in deep-fried food - sell the strange sugary delicacy.

Read the whole story here.

(via KIRO TV)

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Do you want to send something to the Troops?

Books For Soldiers looks like a good way to send books and DVDs to the troops.
Books For Soldiers is a soldier support site that ships books, DVDs and supplies to deployed soldiers and soldiers in VA hospitals, via our large volunteer network.

Check out the site. For other options point your browser to Soldier's Angels, Spirit of America, and Any Soldier.

(via Blackfive)

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

My "Ridiculous Item of the Day" -- 12/16/2004

I am growing SO tired of the Politically Correct mentality that is so pervasive today. Here is a story that reflects the PC mentality and also demonstrates the "Victomization" of many today. As one of the comments in Joe Kelly's Blog states. . .

This mom is only offended by this ridiculous song because she chooses to be offended.

Here is the story from Michelle Malkin:

By Michelle Malkin · December 16, 2004 05:17 AM

Didja see this? From Onalaska, Tx.:

The lyrics of a satirical Christmas song are brewing controversy at a local school. One parent says the words are racist. School officials in the town of Onalaska say it's just a big misunderstanding. The song is called "Leroy, the Redneck Reindeer." There are no direct references to racism in it, but one mom says discrimination is embedded in the lyrics. And she wants the song out of the school pageant.

The song is supposed to be performed by the third graders at this year's Christmas pageant at Onalaska Elementary School. Parent Jennifer Scott said, "I think it's ignorance, number one. Number two, it's very racist." Scott is outraged about the lyrics.

"They're just disrespectful, and I don't agree with the school choosing that particular song for their Christmas pageant," she said. A portion of the lyrics say, "Santa wrapped his bag with a Dixie flag, he was having the time of his life."

(Hat tip: Joanne Jacobs and Tongue Tied)

Update: Bill Faith at Small Town Veteran, is fed up with P.C. He posts and defends the controversial song's lyrics. Joe Kelley has similar thoughts.

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Pierced Eyeglasses

I've seen this in a couple of places. All I can say is "NO WAY!"

The idea of hanging eyeglasses from a piercing or a combination of piercings or even transdermal implants is something that a lot of us have toyed with...
Again, all I can say is "NO WAY!".

Posted by Hello

(via J-Walk)

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

My "Ridiculous"Item of the Day


By Michelle Malkin · December 15, 2004 08:54 AM

Can you imagine if an al Qaeda bureaucrat had ordered the 19 Sept. 11 terrorists to wear "I heart Osama" T-shirts when they embarked on their murderous flights?

No idiot would send his men on a covert mission wearing clothes that would so blatantly give them away, right?

Wrong. Meet Federal Air Marshal Service Director Thomas Quinn. The man in charge of our in-flight cops, who are supposed to be spying secretly on would-be terrorist hijackers, refuses to allow his employees to dress undercover. Quinn insists that air marshals abide by military-style grooming standards and a rigid business dress policy regardless of weather, time of year or seating arrangement. He wants them to look PROFESSIONAL...

That's the subject of today's column here. The rank-and-file marshals refer to the stupid dress code as the "kill-me-first dress code," which benefits no one but the terrorists. The Federal Air Marshals Service is a disaster under Director Quinn, and the dress code is the tip of the iceberg, according to insiders.

The Washington Times weighs in here.

The National Border Patrol Council documents Quinn's witch hunt against whistleblowers here. Annie Jacobsen has more here on the idiotic dress code.

The Federal Air Marshals Association calls for Quinn's firing here. So does the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association here. FLEOA released a devastating and detailed critique of the Quinn regime in April here (PDF file). (FLEOA president Frank Terreri, a vocal critic of the dress code and other dangerous FAMS policies, was suspended from his job by Quinn in October.)

Memo to President Bush: How shall I put this politely? FIRE THOMAS QUINN.

UPDATES: Lots of interesting feedback pouring in from travelers, marshals, other airline and government employees...
I am a DOD Career manager/employee. I used to wear my hair very short, and dress in either a sport coat and tie, or even a suit while traveling on Official Business. No longer. I looked too much like an Air Marshal! People even asked my if I was an Air Marshal! I certainly looked "out of place" dressed well, and sitting in Economy Class. I dress like everyone else now. Levis, golf
shirt, sneakers etc. It's not hard to ID the marshals, and if I can do so, no doubt the enemy can too.
As a former Air Marshal, I worked for 2.5 years under the Quinn regime and I was so disheartened and disgusted by what I saw. So many of us left good jobs and families right after 9/11 to go and train to become air marshals out of a sense of duty. That sense of duty was ultimately ridiculed and berated to the point where many of us had to leave.
I'm a FAM and your article is RIGHT ON. The messed up thing is that Quinn and his folks, such as spokesman Dave Adams (nicknamed Baghdad Bob), will insist that there is no dress code, that it's each individual field office who dictates it, yet we all have the blazers.
I'm retired from the military, and know the value of sometimes disseminating false information to the enemy. That may be what is happening here. If the dress code for Air Marshals is emphatically publicized as professional attire only, that may make the terrorists less likely
to look for marshals who are, in fact, dressed undercover in "violation" of the "official" dress code. Just a thought to consider; I have no idea if this is truly the plan.
And my favorite comment so far from Ethiopundit:

I can't help but think that this must be a clumsy effort at misdirection or misinformation on the part of security officials. Even for a govennment bureaucracy - the idea of dressing up airplane security guards in uniforms is too much.

If true, it is a variation of the twisted logic from an old Cheech and Chong movie when they are arguing about how to dress their band.

Chong finally decides "let's have the kind of uniform where everybody
wears something different."

Another reader suggests a way we can support the air marshals--and improve airplane aesthetics at the same time:
[H]ow about getting all males to start dressing up to fly! If
the marshals are risking their lives and can’t look like us, we should hide them
by looking all the same! Plus I won’t have to sit next to some guy's armpits
hanging out of his tank top!...

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Bob Welch: A class clown makes the gift of a lifetime

It's stories like this that make me proud to be a Soldier!

www.registerguard.com © The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon

December 14, 2004
Bob Welch: A class clown makes the gift of a lifetime
By Bob WelchColumnist, The Register-Guard

When a secretary at Shasta Middle School was opening contributions to the school's Tree of Giving campaign earlier this month, one struck her as odd.

The check was for $17.04. A note with the check tried to explain it. But halfway through, the secretary stopped reading. The tears made the words too blurry.

The story begins in 1991 when Shasta teacher Zall Villanueva, who began the school's annual drive to contribute to Valley River's yearly fund-raising event, was teaching at Wyatt School outside Harrisburg. In his fifth-grade class, he had a student named Chase Whitham.

Chase, whose family owned a blueberry farm near the school, was the self-appointed class clown. He was the kid who once ate a peanut butter and jelly and worm sandwich - for a quarter. Who, while on recess one Halloween, had a student rush to get "Mr. V" and report that Chase had hurt himself.

"I ran out and there he was, blood on his face - fake blood, as it turned out," Villanueva says, chuckling.

Chase was one of those kids who'd be driving Villanueva nuts one minute, then making him laugh the next. True, nobody spent more time after school that year than Chase. But it's also true that, when Villanueva challenged the class to get involved in Valley River's Tree of Joy project, Chase led his team through the mall to buy a Christmas present for a needy child with the $25 he and other team members had raised by mowing lawns and washing cars.

"He was a good-hearted kid," Villanueva says.

"Mr. V was always trying to get the kids involved in something, to think of others," says Laurie Whitham, Chase's mother.

At the eighth-grade graduation ceremony, Chase thanked Mr. V for teaching him - and putting up with him.

Chase went off to high school, first at Junction City High, then at Marist. Villanueva later left Wyatt for Shasta. The two saw each other here and there.

Then, a few years ago, Villanueva heard that Chase had joined the Army, that he was headed for Iraq. He sent Chase postcards.

Chase, 21, was part of the Stryker Brigade in Mosul, Iraq. He sprinkled his service with touches of levity, was rarely without a smile and didn't forget Mr. V's challenge to think of others.

"His buddies told me there was one very quiet, withdrawn soldier who didn't speak much English because he was Laotian," Laurie Whitham says. "The guys called him `D.D.' Chase pulled him out of his shell. Got him interested in lifting weights, making him feel included. And he opened up and started speaking more."

Then it happened.

Last May 8, after a handful of hot, tired soldiers from the Stryker Brigade slipped into a murky swimming pool in Mosul, an electrical jolt suddenly shot through the water. Stunned soldiers crawled out. It was D.D. who noticed that Chase was missing. He jumped back in to save his pal. Too late. A pump had shorted out, sending an electrical current through a water pipe near Chase. D.D. survived. Chase did not.

After her son's death, Laurie Whitham met his Army buddies at Fort Lewis, Wash., when they returned from Iraq.

"D.D. said Chase had been like a brother to him," she says. "He risked his own life to try and save my son."

Haunted in the house by memories of Chase, she and her family moved from Harrisburg to Salem. And, meanwhile, she dealt with the utilitarian chores, such as paying off Chase's pickup and closing his bank accounts.

His checking balance was $17.04.

It only seemed right, Laurie figured, to send it to Mr. V and what's now called the Tree of Giving. It's what Chase would have wanted.

And so, taking out a pen, a mother gave away all her son had left to give.

Donations to the Shasta Middle School Tree of Giving may be sent to the school at 4656 Barger Drive, Eugene, OR 97402.

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The "One Trip to the Salad Bar" Workaround

Salad bar hacking

Picture 1-1 This is the best thing I've seen in a long while. Robyn Miller sez: "This is a photo from a Chinese PDF manual. The manual explains, via text and a lot of fun photos, how to cram as much food as possible on one of those tiny Pizza Hut bowls at the salad bar. They're only allowed one trip. My cousin lives in Beijing. When he goes to Pizza Hut, he says this is what most people are busy building." (Click image for enlargement)

UPDATE: Kurt Groetsch sez: "Two more photos of salad bowl extensions here and here. They made the rounds of the office when I was working in Beijing."

Gregory Lam sez: I have a friend of mine who currently lives and works in China, described the same phenomenon here. "I quote: 'For one price (I think it's approximately 20 RMB), you get a single trip to the salad bar. You get a medium-sized soup bowl to put your salad in. Of course, this is a challenge any structural engineer would love to take upon: putting the most salad you can in this small bowl. I saw people at the salad bar for 5-7 minutes just trying to force more and more salad into their bowl. The highest salad I saw must have rose 9 inches off the top of the bowl.'

"The reason is, Western food is quite expensive in China. Pizza Hut is actually considered to be upscale dining!"

(Originally posted 12/10/2004 at BoingBoing: The Directory of Wonderful Things)

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Remember Their Sacrifice

"Lord, hold our troops in your loving hands. Protect them as they protect us. Bless them and their families for the selfless acts they perform for us in our time of need. I ask this in the name of our Lord and Savior. Amen." Posted by Hello

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Poking a Little Fun at Starbucks

Those of you familiar with the Great Pacific Northwest are well aware of the Coffee lifestyle here. Well, the big product is Starbucks. This cartoon was sent to me via Cauleen. Enjoy it.

Posted by Hello

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

What does Your Zip Code Tell About Your Neighbors?

Marketers use the Zip Code to target specific demographic groups. So, you can do a Zip Code Lookup, enter your Zip Code, and see what is where you live.

Here is what I found for my Zip Code (Mayberry-ville and Shotguns & Pickups says it all):

33 Big Sky Families
20 Fast-Track Families
37 Mayberry-ville
32 New Homesteaders
51 Shotguns & Pickup

The segment known as Shotguns & Pickups came by its moniker honestly: it scores near the top of all lifestyles for owning hunting rifles and pickup trucks. These Americans tend to be young, working-class couples with large families -more than half have two or more kids- living in small homes and manufactured housing. Nearly a third of residents live in mobile homes, more than anywhere else in the nation.

Demographics Traits:
Ethnic Diversity: White, AmInd
Family Types: Families
Age Ranges: 25-44
Education Levels: High School
Employment Levels: Blue-Collar, Farm
Housing Types: Homeowners
Urbanicity: Rural
Income: Lower Middle

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Portrait Illustrator

As one keeps surfing the "Net", one finds all kinds if things to do.

This site allows you to pick different objects/body parts to create a likeness. The resulting "Icon" allows you to use it on MSN Messenger (perhaps anywhere else for that matter).

Here's what I came up with.

Signing off!! Until next time, Illl see ya on the Blog!

Friday, December 10, 2004

TGIF: December 10, 2004

A lecturer, when explaining stress management to an audience, raised a glass of water and asked, "How heavy is this glass of water?" Answers called out ranged from 20g to 500g. The lecturer replied, "The absolute weight doesn't matter. It depends on how long you try to hold it."

"If I hold it for a minute, that's not a problem. If I hold it for an hour, I'll have an ache in my right arm. If I hold it for a day, you'll have to call an ambulance. "In each case, it's the same weight, but the longer I hold it, the heavier it becomes." He continued, "And that's the way it is with stress management. If we carry our burdens all the time, sooner or later, as the burden becomes increasingly heavy, we won't be able to carry on."

"As with the glass of water, you have to put it down for a while and rest before holding it again. When we're refreshed, we can carry on with the burden." So, before you return home tonight, put the burden of work down. Don't carry it home. You can pick it up tomorrow. Whatever burdens you're carrying now, let them down for a moment if you can." Relax; pick them up later after you've rested. Life is short. Enjoy it!

And then he shared some ways of dealing with the burdens of life:

* Accept that some days you're the pigeon, and some days you're the statue.
* Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
* Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.
* Drive carefully. It's not only cars that can be recalled by their maker.
* If you can't be kind, at least have the decency to be vague.
* If you lend someone $20 and never see that person again, it was probably worth it.
* Never put both feet in your mouth at the same time, because then you won't have a leg to stand on.
* Since it's the early worm that gets eaten by the bird, sleep late. The second mouse gets the cheese.
* Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.
* When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane.

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

The MegaPenny Project

A few years ago someone sent me a link to a website that allows you to manipulate a photograph of A Seattle Waterfront so you can see what it looked like from 1907-2002. This is really cool, but there was another link I thought was very interesting. The MegaPenny Project.
Have you ever wondered what a billion pennies would look like? This award-winning exercise in visualizing huge numbers might help. People regularly talk about millions of miles, billions of bytes, or trillions of dollars, yet it's still hard to grasp just how much a "billion" really is.

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Today -- December 8, 2004

Today's Quote:
Old age isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative. Maurice-Auguste Chevalier
Today's Definition:

primogeniture (audio:). Continue to definition at The American Heritage® Dictionary
Born on this date:

December 8, in 1542. Only child of James V of Scotland. Mary Queen of Scots

(via Bartleby.com)

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Remembering Pearl Harbor

By Michelle Malkin · December 07, 2004 07:54 AM

From the White House:

On a quiet Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, more than 2,400 Americans were killed in the attack on Pearl Harbor. On that day, life changed in America, and the course of history was altered forever.

Our citizens reacted to the attack with firm determination to defeat tyranny and secure our Nation. This enterprise required the commitment and effort of our entire country. At the height of the conflict, the United States had ships on every ocean and troops on five continents. In all, more than 16 million Americans wore the uniform of our Nation. They came from all walks of life. They served honorably and fought fiercely. At home, millions more contributed to the war effort, laboring for victory in our factories, on farms, and across America.

Today, we honor those who fought and died at Pearl Harbor, and we pay special tribute to the veterans of World War II. These heroes hold a cherished place in our history. Through their courage, sacrifice, and selfless dedication, they saved our country and preserved freedom. As we fight the war on terror, their patriotism continues to inspire a new generation of Americans who have been called to defend the blessings of liberty.

And Pearl Harbor vets speak:

Pearl Harbor vets worried by coverage of Iraq war. . . "Don't take this personally, but get the damn media out of there,'' said Donald F. Tabbut, who was a young Navy seaman sleeping in Hawaii when the bombs began falling Dec. 7, 1941.

'Not much interest:' Pearl Harbor vet sees attention to Dec. 7 attack fade. . ."I've talked at schools and clubs and I've found that there's not much interest. I guess people don't really care. It was too long ago," according to Gilbert Goodwin, who was aboard the USS Curtiss.

One of the reasons for the lack of interest is mind-rotting political correctness. Remember when the movie Pearl Harbor was released three years ago? Asian-American activists protested that vividly reminding audiences of the Japanese attack might stoke hate crimes. John Tateishi, head of the Japanese American Citizens League complained: "No matter how much we look to the future, we keep getting dragged back to Dec. 7. This movie does that -- pulls us back to that attack."

And what is so wrong with that? As Ken Masugi of the Claremont Institute wrote:

Pearl Harbor, the history, teaches us not to fear the burdens of freedom. Pearl Harbor, the film, would teach us that our diversity is a strength. Not quite so. Diversity is a challenge. Our strength lies, rather, in our common love of freedom and the insistence that everybody have it. But freedom also imposes conditions, often harsh, on those who would cherish it. That duty is what civilized nations forget and their statesmen are continually obliged to etch into the national memory.

Here are some photos of the USS Arizona/Pearl Harbor Memorial, an absolutely stunning shrine to all military personnel who died in the attack.

The little-known Niihau Island attack occurred a few hours after the Oahu raid.

Tom McMahon alerts us to an interesting piece on forgotten Japanese spy Takeo Yoshikawa.

Roberta Wohlstetter's 1962 book, Pearl Harbor: Warning and Decision, remains the definitive analysis of the intelligence failures leading up to Pearl Harbor.

Jeff Quinton links to National Geographic's memorial site.

This says it all about today. Check out the links, especially the USS Arizona. Nothing else to post today. I repeat my line from above: . . . Freedom has a taste the protected will never know.

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Today -- December 6, 2004

Today's Quote:

If we give, we are made rich. If we forget ourselves, we find peace. If we forgive, we receive forgiveness. If we die, we receive eternal resurrection. Saint Francis
Today's Definition: adumbrate

SYLLABICATION: ad·um·brate
TRANSITIVE VERB: Inflected forms: ad·um·brat·ed, ad·um·brat·ing, ad·um·brates
1. To give a sketchy outline of.
2. To prefigure indistinctly; foreshadow.
3. To disclose partially or guardedly.
4. To overshadow; shadow or obscure.
ETYMOLOGY: Latin adumbrre, adumbrt-, to represent in outline : ad-, ad- + umbra, shadow. OTHER FORMS:
adum·bration —NOUN
ad·umbra·tive (-dmbr-tv) —ADJECTIVE
ad·umbra·tive·ly —ADVERB

(via Bartleby.com)

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Go Dog, Go!

Do you not have the time that your dog needs for play? Are you too tired to give that undivided attention to Fido? Well, have I found the ideal playmate for you! Check out the Go Dog Go Automatic Fetch Machine
Your dog's a big ball of energy and you're well, not. But you can still give your pooch the exercise and playtime he deserves with GoDogGo. Think of it as your pet's own personal playmate--that's ready to play whenever he is. Just use the remote control to set the unit to your dog's own ability-- set launch distance from 15-30 feet and launch times every 7-15 seconds. Your dog's gonna love you for this!
Of course, you will probably have to train your dog to put the ball back. In the case of my dogs, the female has DADD (Doggie Attention Deficit Disorder), and the Male would just not be interested.

(via J-Walk)

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Free iPod Offer

For those who are so unlucky that the free iPod offer that I keep linking to is not available in their area, like myself, there is a free alternative:

Original Paper iPods Kieran Baxte

(via Albino Blacksheep)

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

The Arrival of Satan

Signing Off! Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh

Saturday, December 04, 2004

What "Class" are you?

Hmmm. I always thougt I was Middle Class. Funny thing is, I don't have (or would ever want) a Country Club membership.

You scored as Upper middle Class. Your determination have soared you this high, yet not high enough to enjoy the luxuries of the upper class. Your most valued posession is your country club membership which is kept framed in the office.

Middle Class


Upper middle Class


Luxurious Upper Class




Lower Class


What Social Status are you? created with QuizFarm.com

(Via J-Walk)

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Friday, December 03, 2004

TGIF: 3 December 2004

Thanks to my Brother for this one.

Smart Cat
A man absolutely hated his wife's cat and decided to get rid of him one day by driving him 20 blocks from his home and leaving him at the park.

As he was getting home, the cat was walking up the driveway.

The next day he decided to drive the cat 40 blocks away. He put the beast out and headed home.

Driving back up his driveway, there was the cat!

He kept taking the cat further and further and the cat would always beat him home. At last he decided to drive a few miles away, turn right, then left, past the bridge, then right again and another right until he reached what he thought was a safe distance from his home and left the cat there.

Hours later the man calls home to his wife: "Jen, is the cat there?" "Yes", the wife answers, "why do you ask?"

Frustrated, the man answered, "Put that son of a bitch on the phone, I'm lost and need directions!"

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

It Was Only a Matter Of Time

Makes me wonder why I couldn't think of anything so simple.

Over! That's my FINAL Answer!

Tilt-A-Roll A revolutionary new concept in toilet paper dispensing: Tilt-A-Roll.
Should toilet tissue be hung so it comes "over" the top of the roll or
"under" and down the wall? For many households this question can lead to a
heated debate. Argue no more! The Tilt-A-Roll lets each user decide "over" or
(Via J-Walk)

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

All Cereal, All The Time

This is really neat. Just think about combining this with Starbucks. What a concept.

The Ceareality Cereal Bar & Cafe. When you walk up to a Cereality, something immediately feels familiar. That's because we serve dozens of brand-name cereals (both hot and cold), just waiting to be combined. And ordering at Cereality is easy. Pick two cereals and a topping. Be creative. We'll mix it up, and then you add as much milk as you like.

(Via J-Walk)

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Rules of Shotgun

Once you get past the basic rules, some of these are quite funny. It also clears up some confusion, such as:
4) Early calls are strictly prohibited. All occupants of the vehicle (including the driver) must be outside of the building and directly on the way to the vehicle before shotgun may be called. Under no circumstances may a person call shotgun inside a building. For sake of simplicity, a garage is considered to be outside. Parking structures and detached garages are always considered as being outdoors, even if they are underground.
This one seemed rather obvious, but I have been in cars where people have puked in the back seat:
4) In the instance that one of the passengers may become so ill during the course of the journey that the other occupants feel he/she will toss their cookies, then the ill person should be given Shotgun to make appropriate use of the window.

(Via FourSixteen.net)

Signing Off. Until next time, I'll see ya on the Blog! drh.