Another Church Revisit - Karol and I have settled on three possible churches. We have decided to rotate between them until one seems right for us. Today we attended Church # 2. I will say, they have a great organ! It can really rattle the rafters.
Today was the start of Advent. Ken Collins' web site explains Advent as, "Advent originated as a period during which converts prepared themselves for baptism through instruction, prayer, fasting, and reflection, much like Lent. The length of Advent varied from three days to six weeks—six weeks being approximately 40 days, the length of time that Jesus spent in the wilderness preparing for His ministry. Advent consists of the four Sundays preceding Christmas. If 24 December is a Sunday, it is the fourth Sunday in Advent until sundown, when the liturgical day begins, then it is Christmas Eve."
One of the hymns we sang this morning was "O Come, O Come Emmanuel."
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.
O come, Thou Wisdom from on high,
Who orderest all things mightily;
To us the path of knowledge show,
And teach us in her ways to go.
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
From depths of hell Thy people save,
And give them victory over the grave.
O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
O come, O come, great Lord of might,
Who to Thy tribes on Sinai’s height
In ancient times once gave the law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
O come, Thou Root of Jesse’s tree,
An ensign of Thy people be;
Before Thee rulers silent fall;
All peoples on Thy mercy call.
O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.
Apparently this song has been sung at the beginning of Advent since the 9th century. Although, presumably, it was sung in Latin at that time.
There were about 140 people, counting the choir, in attendance. I'll give the pastor credit, he is enthusiastic. When the congregation is singing, he walks up and down the center isle enthusiastically leading the congregation in the singing.
His speaking style is very similar to my own. He speaks very fast with many gestures. Even so, they have one thing that rather puts me off. When they sing the Glory Patri and the Doxology, they and the choir turn and look up at a picture of Jesus mounted high on the wall behind the stage. To my mind, it comes perilously close to worshipping a graven image.
I know I may seem to be picking nits here, but I have become very sensitive to this. Locally some people have erected a statue and shrine to Padre Pio. I frequently drive by it, on my way to one client. When I go by, it is not unusual to see people praying to the statue! Sheesh! When I see that, I'm reminded of Moses coming down off the mountain and finding the Israelites worshipping the golden calf.
As I read it, the bible is pretty explicit in these sorts of things. No! objects built by the hand of man can hold no supernatural power.
The current war in Iraq. Adam Yoshida has an interesting blog about the progress in the current struggle in Iraq. He says we are winning and Iraq should be pretty well pacified by May of next year. From his mouth to God's ears. He does make a very good point in that the media will always paint the worst case picture. But in the battle that just concluded, I'd say the terrorists took it on the chin. They lost that one, depending on who's count you use, 46 to zip.
I've been thinking about these attacks and wondering if the US troops are playing a cat and mouse game with the terrorists and if this was a trap for them. To do it right, they set out a convoy that looks like an easy target or set up a situation that looks tempting to attack. In reality, they are prepared, anticipating the attack. Then, when it comes, they decimate the enemy. This was used to great effectiveness in Vietnam.
Still Excited by Bush's Secret Mission - I know I get overdone on some things. I just have a couple more things to say about Bush's trip and then I shut up about it.
Just yesterday I mentioned how I felt this, along with other things he has done, shows that he is not one to just play it safe. On the news they said the president was asleep 20 minutes after takeoff. Asleep! I'll bet you none of the reports that went with him were asleep. I would have been wired the whole way there and back.
Jim Angle, of Fox News, was one of the reporters that went on the trip. You could tell by the way he described the trip that it was a thrill and a half for him. When Air Force 1 came in for a landing at Baghdad, they came in lights out in a very steep circling decline to mess up anyone trying to shoot them down with a shoulder fired missile. Landing at night without landing lights is really not that big of a deal. You just judge your height from the feel of the runway lights.
It was a almost like a scene out of the movie "Independence Day."
Here's what one of the Iraqi bloggers had to say about it.
"Yes GWB, though the visit was brief, it was very meaningful. We know that you have come, not as the President of an invading nation, but as the friend who wishes to renew commitment to our people, and as long as your intentions are what you have repeatedly said (and we don't doubt your sincerity), the land and the hearts welcome you.
It gives us pain that the visit is so short and that the masses cannot in the present circumstances come out to give you the welcome that you deserve, but the day will come, the day will come (God's Willing). Yes the day will come when the millions will come out to welcome the best friend that the Mesopotamian people have ever had, and he will be amongst the most devoted and allied people that America will ever have.
The bones in the mass graves salute you, Avenger of the Bones."
Karol and I got our flu shots yesterday. According to what I read, the flu shots are 50% to 60% effective against getting the flu. That means it cuts your chances of getting the flu by 50%. It takes two weeks after the flu shot before you have built immunity. Apparently the immunity is short lived, as it is gone after a year.
A study in the September issue of the Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences concludes that if you take nutritional supplements it improves the effectiveness of the flu shot. In another study, they found that people who exercised intensely three times a week also got better protection with the flu shots. By intensely, they define enough to work up a sweat.
I don't think I'll be able to get Karol to work up a sweat. She hates to sweat. She says sweat is yucky.
It was COLD today. Well not cold maybe, but nasty. I don't think the temperature went over 45º and the wind was at about 45mph. As I said, nasty.
VERY Bold Move - The more I think about 43's secret mission to Baghdad the more I feel it adds to what I have observed about the man. The very fact that it went off without a hitch speaks to the ability to maintain security. This was a mission worthy of the SF guys.
Secondly, it also speaks to the character of W. This is not a shy and retiring man. You would not want to sit across the poker table from him. I think you'd shortly find all your chips on his side of the table. The Baghdad mission was a VERY gutsy one and it's not the first time this president has chosen to be bold.
Think back to the 2002 elections. The president went out and risked his political capital to campaign for Republicans. That was a politically risky thing to do. Had they lost, his political clout would have been greatly diminished as it would have been a repudiation of him. But he gambled and won.
The war with Iraq is another example. He did not stick his finger into the wind and try to determine which way it was blowing. Instead, he decided what he thought the right thing to do was, sold that idea to the country and the world as best he could, and then did the deed.
He said to the world, "Here's what I think we should do and here's why." In the end, he won some converts and he lost some. But he didn't let it incapacitate him. It was, "We are pleased to have those that are with us on-board. We will remember those that helped us and those that didn't."
Then he acted.
I call that leadership.
So when W wins re-election next year I suggest you keep your seat belt fastened. It will not be a boring ride.
I came across this on the web and thought I'd share it with you.
Twas The Night Before Christmas
He lived all alone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give,
And to see just who in this home did live.
I looked all about, a strange sight I did see,
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by mantle, just boots filled with sand,
On the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.
With medals and badges, awards of all kinds,
A sober thought came through my mind.
For this house was different, it was dark and dreary;
I found the home of a soldier, once I could see clearly.
The soldier lay sleeping, silent, alone,
Curled up on the floor in this one bedroom home.
The face was so gentle, the room in such disorder,
Not how I pictured a United States soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I’d just read?
Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?
I realized the families that I saw this night,
Owed their lives to these soldiers who were willing to fight.
Soon 'round the world, the children would play,
And grown-ups would celebrate a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
Because of the soldiers, like the one lying here.
I couldn't help wonder how many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve in a land far from home.
The very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.
The soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice,
"Santa don't cry, this life is my choice;
Fight for freedom, I don't ask for more,
My life is my god, my country, my corps."
The soldier rolled over and drifted to sleep,
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.
I kept watch for hours, so silent and still
And we both shivered from the cold night's chill.
I didn't want to leave on that cold, dark, night,
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.
Then the soldier rolled over, with a voice soft and pure,
Whispered, "Carry on Santa, it's Christmas day, all is secure."
One look at my watch, and I knew he was right,
"Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night."
I was reading another blogger and, although he considers himself an atheist, he stated that Judaism and Christianity have done much good in the world. Parenthetically I am reminded of Mahatma Gandhi when he said, "...I don't reject your Christ. I love your Christ. It's just that so many of you Christians are so unlike your Christ."
Anyway, back to my original comments. This atheist blogger thought that Judaism and Christianity had done much good in the world. The questions that immediately pops to my mind is, why does he conclude that? You can only judge good from bad if you have some standard. For example, I cannot tell for certain that a wall is level until I put a level on it.
Christians would say that what is right and what is wrong come from God. Atheist would poopoo that. I figure they can figure out what is good and what is bad without God - in a moral vacuum so to speak. What I think is really going on is, Christianity, and its moral code, has so pervaded western culture that we take for grant what is right and what is wrong. We are in cultural hypnosis.
Let us not forget the world BEFORE Christianity. An example was the "noble" Aztecs. Here's a brief description by Peggy Noonan.
The Aztec--their common name as a people was Mexica--were a formidable people, gifted, brave, strong, cultured, bloody and fierce. A religious sense touched nearly every part of their lives, from art (their sculpture was largely religious) to sports (games named after the gods) to medicine (illnesses and wounds had to be healed through appropriate prayers). They built vast temples.
But their religious feeling included, or was in time hardened into, something else, a culture of brutality. Human sacrifices were made to the gods, the most common being self-sacrifice, with men, women and children giving blood. The most brutal involved an enormous number of victims sacrificed in cold blood--hearts ripped out of live victims, beheadings, incineration. For many years there were, historians estimate, 250,000 victims a year, of whom perhaps 20,000 men were burned alive during a four-day religious ritual.
Why were such a cultured people so bloody-minded? Because they thought their gods demanded it. "The common religious foundation of all the Meso-American peoples," Octavio Paz has written, "is a basic myth: the gods sacrificed themselves to create the world. The mission of man is to preserve the universal life, including his own, by feeding the gods with the divine substance: blood. . . . The dual nature of sacrifice appears very clearly in Meso-American myth: the gods shed their blood to create the world; men, to keep the world, must shed their blood, which is the food of their gods."
Today we call that behavior brutal, savage. They called it "good" perhaps even noble.
So I ask again, how does an atheist decide what good is? I submit, he cannot.
I finished getting the front end of my car aligned. The wound up swapping the front and rear tires. Now it tracks true. Just the way it should. In retrospect, since I bought the car from a dealer, I should have had them align the front end before I took possession of the vehicle. next time I will.
My car has about 102, 000 miles on it. At 105,000 miles it is due for a timing belt replacement. I am NOT looking forward to that.
Mission Accomplished - Returned from the mission last night. I glided into home base about 2205. I was a little concerned that traffic might be nasty. Although the turnpike was heavy, traffic moved well. The traffic report said there was a 1-mile backup at exit 1, but I get off at exit 3. Once I got to Route 55 headed south the road was virtually disserted. I was quite surprised. At that point I set the power at 2,700 rpm, engaged the auto-speed, sat back and enjoyed the ride.
My evaluation of the wheel alignment is, it's better but not correct. Where it previously pulled to the left, it now pulls to the right, but not with as much enthusiasm as before. Depending on the road camber, it sometimes tracks nearly straight. I'll take it back and see if their can finish the job.
The new battery in the cell phone was VERY apropos. On Tuesday afternoon I was on the cell phone with UPS tech support trying to diagnose a technical problem in the UPS WorldShip software at the client site. I was probably on the phone for over an hour or better with this one support person. She had me doing this and doing that. None of it helped. Then she said that we had exhausted what she could do and she was sending me on to the next level of support. This time I got someone that seemed to know exactly what the problem was. He had me cleared up in two minutes. Would that I had gotten him first. But you have to go through their support levels.
I'm reading another book. It's called "Become A Recognized Authority In Your Field In 60 Days or Less!" by Robert Bly. I've just started it, but so far it makes very good reading. Maybe I'll figure out how to make some decent money.
VERY good news on the economic front. Upon a closer inspection, the government has decided that the last quarter grew 8.2% instead of the 7.2% previously recorded. I had expected the number to be adjusted downward NOT upward. I saw this on the web Tuesday night. But the next morning CNN did not mention it. And they say they're not biased.
I'm developing a thought about news coverage. Since EVERYONE has their biases, I'm asking them to state them. I'd like to see every reporter and reporterette declare who they voted for in the last presidential election and where they stand on various issues. Yes, I know they have a RIGHT to keep that secret. But wouldn't you think that being the professionals they are (being facetious here), they would want to make a full disclosure so that the audience could make their own decisions on how "fair and balanced" a particular news program is. They could post their positions on various issues on their organizations' web sites. Slate magazine, to my knowledge, is the only "news" organization that has done this. Since all others seem to refuse do this, it makes me wonder what they have to hide.
I just got the word that Bush made a trip to Baghdad to speak to the troops.
"We did not charge hundreds of miles into the heart of Iraq, pay a bitter cost of casualties, defeat a ruthless dictator and liberate 25 million people only to retreat before a band of thugs and assassins," the president said, prompting a standing ovation and cheers.
He also had a message for the people of Iraq: "The regime of Saddam Hussein is gone forever," he said, and pledged the help of the United States and its coalition partners, saying "we will stay until the job is done. I'm confident we will succeed."
That was a very gutsy move. The secret service must have been going bonkers.
Here's a must read editorial that pays tribute to our brave troops now serving in Iraq and other places around the globe.
My client suffers from gout. It seems that many foods can aggravate his gout. He finds, as time goes on, more and more foods that seems to hurt him. Although he can take medication for it, the side effects are not particularly pleasant. They make him rather spacey.
I spent most of Wednesday doing a lot of reports for him in Crystal Reports. It's a pretty cool report writer. Although I have some basic skill with it, there is probably a lot more I could learn.
I just received my copy of the new Microsoft Office 2003 series. It includes Word, Excel, Outlook with Business Contact Manger, PowerPoint, Publisher, Access, FrontPage, Project, Visio, and MapPoint. I'll probably load it up over the weekend. I'm anxious to see how it does.
WHEREAS it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favour; and Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me "to recommend to the people of the United States a DAY OF PUBLICK THANSGIVING and PRAYER, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:"
NOW THEREFORE, I do recommend and assign THURSDAY, the TWENTY-SIXTH DAY of NOVEMBER next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed;-- for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish Constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted;-- for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge;-- and, in general, for all the great and various favours which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also, that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions;-- to enable us all, whether in publick or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us); and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
GIVEN under my hand, at the city of New-York, the third day of October, in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-nine.
(signed) G. Washington
Proclaimed by President George Washington in 1789.
T- 00:15 and counting - Launch is only a few minutes away. The countdown had gone without a hitch. We are go for launch. So as the vehicle switches to internal power, the main engines come alive, and I tighten my seat belt for the ride of my life, let me leave you with this thought.
What are you thankful for this year? May I make a suggestion? Why not write down all they things you have to be thankful for. I suggest you be as specific as possible. Do I mean that life is perfect? Not at all. It's just that life is such a God given gift, I believe we should cherish it and see all the wonderful things life can offer.
Gotta go. This bird is at 101% power and I need to either launch or abort. Lord willing, I'll catch you on the flip side. Please have a wonderful, grateful, and thankful Thanksgiving.
Another church revisit - Karol and I revisited a church we have attended before. It's a small church. The church only seats about 112, but since they only have 6o to 80 in attendance, the room doesn't feel so empty as we have seen in other churches.
The pastor's message was topical - about Thanksgiving. The service was almost exactly one hour long. Here are the words to one of the hymns we sang. I thought they bear repeating.
When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
Count your blessings, see what God has done!
Count your blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.
Are you ever burdened with a load of care?
Does the cross seem heavy you are called to bear?
Count your many blessings, every doubt will fly,
And you will keep singing as the days go by.
When you look at others with their lands and gold,
Think that Christ has promised you His wealth untold;
Count your many blessings. Wealth can never buy
Your reward in heaven, nor your home on high.
So, amid the conflict whether great or small,
Do not be disheartened, God is over all;
Count your many blessings, angels will attend,
Help and comfort give you to your journey’s end.
One nice thing I rather like about this church is that they serve coffee and snacks after the service. This encourages people to stick around for a bit and chat. In most churches they clear out after the service.
I washed my car today. I would like to have also vacuumed the inside, but not enough hours in the day. since I have never had the chance to photographically record both cars, I took pictures and posted them on my site. I guess you could say that Karol and I have his and hers Honda's. Although I bought mine with 90,000 miles on it, it is the nicest car I have ever owned and I still like to make it look at nice as possible. Since I bought it used, it means I have to make up for a few of the previous owners abused. Part of that is the wheels. As you can see from the photo's both cars have aluminum alloy wheels. They are clear-coated and along the rim the clear-coat is marred as you can see in this photo. I don't know if I can do anything to return them to original condition.
One other item is the hood. I guess it must have had quite a few stone chips in it. Upon close inspection, you can see where they used touch-up paint to fill in the chips from the paint. That was all fine and dandy, but they never went back over the surface and wet sanded it. I would do that myself, but I'm not sure I have the skill. You can really degrade the finish in wet sanding, unless you know what you're doing. Meguiars web site has a video on how to wet sand a finish to remove scratches. I have purchased some wet or dry 3000 grit sandpaper, so I may try a small section.
I am now on countdown until launch at about 1600 tomorrow for a two-day away mission. Dasher-1 has been washed and checked over. The tire pressures have been set to 31 psi. That's one pound over spec as I anticipate colder weather at the mission site. I will call the client tomorrow morning and go over the mission plan.
Early tomorrow I'm schedule for my bi-annual tooth cleaning and inspection. I have some sensitivity on the lower right side to report. We'll see what he makes of it.
Catch up day - Saturday's are catch up after the week. Got my hair cut and the wheels aligned on the Accord. I'm not sure they got it right. Before it pulled to the left. Now it seems to pull to the right. I'll be on the road the coming week so I'll get a chance to really see how good it is.
I cut the grass today and then washed Karol's car. I would like to have washed my car too, but there just isn't enough daylight this time of year to got all the things done that I need done.
I bought a new battery for my cell phone. The one I had was down to only giving me about 30 minutes of talk time. I got a new one over the web for about $25. The instructions that came with it said it needed to "broken in." They recommend completely draining and recharging it three times. Then I should be able to recharge from only a partial discharge. I guess even Lithium-Ion batteries need some special care.
I came across this and thought I'd pass it on. It is both powerful and moving. It may be a little slow to load.
I'm thinking about migrating this blog to Moveable Type. I've checked with my host and it appears they meet all the requirements to install Moveable Type. My only concern is, does moveable type have a spell and grammar checker?
Hired out for the 5th and final day - The long week is over and now comes the second most important thing I do in my business - bill the client! What is the first you ask? Cash their check!
This was a little different experience than most of my engagements. It was more like being an employee. I'm not sure, if they offered me a job there, that I'd want to work there. Trapped in one of those cubicles, I think would be the death of me. Yeah, I sometimes get a little weary of driving all over creation. But after two days in the office, I feel like I need to get out.
I pat myself on the back. The ole Armstrong charm still works. After a very brief period of time, they treated me nearly as if I had worked with them for two years. That was part of my goal. When I meet someone, I want to make them feel like we have been friends for years. I want to be as non-threatening and inviting as possible. I concentrate on my people skills. My goal is to someday be able to charm the brass off a doorknob - that's a joke.
What I want to be able to do is, to be able to strike up a friendship with perfect strangers. I believe that a huge key to being successful is working with people.
Countdown to New Away Mission - I have an away mission scheduled for next week. I plan on leaving late Monday evening and returning late Wednesday night. I will be visiting my favorite client. He buys lots of my services, pays his bills promptly, and is very nice to work with. It doesn't get any better than that.
Wayne Newton is in Baghdad. I saw Wayne Newton on Fox New this morning. He is in Baghdad with his band and the Dallas Cheerleaders. They are entertaining the troops in Iraq at a very dangerous time. According to the Fox New guy, Wayne Newton spends every thanksgiving with the USO, entertaining our troops overseas. I was rally taken aback. I had no idea Wayne was such a patriot. Baghdad is a rather dangerous place and he is there to support our troops. You can't ask for much more than that. My hat is off with a very low bow to Wayne. He is my kind of guy.
Free Will - Let me try out some more R.C. Sproul on you. It is generally accepted that we have free will. That means we are free to choose God or to reject him. Thus we are responsible for turning our backs on him.
But, as RC points out, just what is free will? Is free will being able to do what we please at that point in time? Being able to do what we please means being able to do whatever attracts us most.
Now some would argue that they do not do as the please as when they do chores like laundry. But I would argue, even though you don't want to do the laundry, you do it because you value wearing clean clothes more that watching TV. That means, that at the time you make that decision, you are more inclined to wash clothes than watch TV. You are doing what pleases you most. Even though it might not seem like it.
If free will is doing what either pleases us most or we value most highly and fallen Man has a heart that rejects God, then how can fallen Man freely choose God?
Now it has been pointed out to me, who put those desires into Man's heart? For that I have no answer. I'm still teasing out this knot into a straight string. I don't have the whole argument thought out yet. Perhaps I'll Email my Sister's husband, Ned. He may an answer.
Hired out for the 4th day - Not matter what I do, it seems to take about 90 minutes to drive to this office. Still, I enjoy working with the people. I've also had the time to go through my R. C. Sproul CD's again and I've started back through my Tony Robbins CD's.
Let me see if I can speak about some of R. C.'s theology. In his series he talks of three types of theology. They are...
Pelagianism - This view was espoused by the monk Pelagious. He lived about 410AD in Rome. He held that Man is sufficient within himself to come to redemption without God's help. This is generally thought of as an anti-Christian view. Because if Man does not need God to be redeemed, then why did Christ have to die on the Cross?
Semi-Pelagianism - This view holds that while Man can decide whether or not to accept Christ, God does part of the work in redeeming Man. This view holds that God is necessary for redemption, but Man an do some of the work himself. This is a largely accepted view today.
Augustinianism - Developed by St. Augustine also around 415AD, it held that fallen Man is so depraved that he is incapable of redemption. It holds that God must do all the work on the sinners heart to redeem him. This view as later expounded on my Martin Luther and John Calvin. It frequently goes under the name of Calvinism.
R.C. Sproul is an ardent believer in Augustinianism and that is the theology he lays out in his CD's.
The Iraqi bloggers make fascinating reading. If you're not reading them, you're missing a window into the Iraqi mind. Here are a couple of exerts.
In talking about the anti-war/anti-Bush demonstrators:
But I see there were not as many of you as before. Yes, at that time, we all had our misgivings and fears about the surgery. Yes indeed, it was scary. But the surgeon had no doubt and he knew that he had to operate, and he did and it worked. So now what do you want? That he leaves the patient still in critical convalescence, to the mercy of the germs and microbes and goes home to watch TV and sleep in comfortable bed.
But enough of this and to cut a long story short. As long as America and her allies choose the side of the oppressed and downtrodden, as long as they remain on the side of the people, they will be invincible. When Might is coupled with Right, then expect great historical transformations.
As U.S. soldiers prowled this sprawling city hunting insurgents this week, they appeared unaware of another battle being waged under their noses: pro- and anti-Saddam Hussein graffiti artists duking it out in a battle for public opinion.
Thousands of slogans in the Arabic script snake across acres of gray walls that line city squares, apartments and office buildings, a perfect canvas for the outpourings of a population intoxicated by new freedoms.
Hussein loyalists shout their yearning for the deposed dictator - "Saddam will come again" - followed by the coda on the same line from a detractor: "Through my behind!"
Hired out for the 3rd day - It a long drive to the consultant I'm subcontracting to. I had heavy rain on the way home tonight. For a while it was a real frog strangler. I opted to take 206 home instead of the turnpike. It turned out to be a good choice. 206 had relatively light traffic. It still took 90 minutes to make it home.
Affirmative Action bake sale at Texas A & M University. At this bake sale, white males will pay $1.00 for cookies, white females will pay $0.75, Hispanics will pay $0.50 and Black students will pay $0.25.
My take on the Iraq war? It's going differently and better than I expected. I expected all the different Iraqi ethnic groups to fight each other and for there to be chaos with us in the middle. That hasn't happened. For the most part, the Iraqis have been quite accommodating.
Yes there are some terrorists fighting us and some of Saddam's people still fighting, but I see our military adjusting their tactics and we'll eventually clean them up. It's going to be a very long time before Iraq is completely without terrorism. Just look at Saudi Arabia, can we expected Iraq to be more incident free that that? Not bloody likely.
Part of our challenge is, we won too easily. Our forces so effectively used Blitzkrieg against Saddam's people that they never had a chance to stand and fight. As a result, many survived that would not have. It'll take some time to kill them off, but eventually us and the IP will eliminate them or they will decide to maybe try democracy for a change.
We are currently involved in a great noble experiment in Iraq. If we can make Iraq into a free democracy, it will completely alter the political terrain of the middle east. Already Operation Iraqi freedom is paying a dividend to the Iraqi people. More people, especially children, are living than would have died under Saddam's rule that died during our conquest of Iraq. Under Saddam's rule, some 5,000 children a month died of malnutrition. That is no longer happening.
I still worry whether we will stick it out. This is one fight we cannot afford to walk away from. We are currently paying the price of our ignominious retreat in Vietnam, Lebanon, and Somalia. To leave Iraq without finishing the job would encourage every enemy around the world. This may well prove to be the single more important thing we do to world ensure peace in the 21st Century.
Hired out again today - Traveled 2+ hours each to way to Jersey City to train users on Great Plains Report Writer today. Started with four students in the class, ended with two. A lot of "drive time." Time to listen to my R. C. Sproul tapes, "Chosen By God." I like R. C. Not only is he very pleasurable to listen to, his logic is impeccable.
One Iraqi blogger has this to say about the current situation in Iraq...
Whats the use of reconstruction when you always have someone to destroy what was built. Unless there are some extreme measures and punishments against those responsible it is going to get any better. I'm going to repeat it again and everyday:
public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials, public trials,
public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions, public executions,
Those militants don't understand any language except the language of force. F___ human rights. Those aren't humans anyway. We desperately NEED to see some heads rolling. Believe it or not. Theres going to have to be some bloodshed for this to work. Bomb the hell out of Tikrit and Al-Awja. Massacre every last person of Saddam's tribe. Rape his women. Yeah. Let them taste some of what we have endured the last 30 years. I don't want to see my dreams ruined because of those trianglees. If the CPA doesn't want to do it, send in a force of IP and civil defense forces and turn your face the other way, they'll be more than glad to do it, believe me.
I'm not saying I agree with him, but shouldn't we try to understand him? Why does he feels this way?
And this from a little book entitled, "Memoranda During The War" by Walt Whitman. It is a compilation of his notes from about 3 years worth of visits to War hospitals in and around Washington D.C. from 1862 - 1865. Toward the end he inserts some interesting political commentary (mixed in with a variety of topics) that sounds as if it could have been written today. Here's the piece:
Attitude of Foreign Governments toward the U.S. during the War of 1861-'65
Looking over my scraps, I find I wrote the following during 1864, or the latter part of '63: The happening to our America, abroad as well as at home, these years, is indeed most strange. The Democratic Republic has paid her to-day the terrible and resplendent compliment of the united wish of all the nations of the world that her Union should be broken, her future cut off, and that she should be compell'd to descend to the level of kingdoms and empires ordinarily great!There is certainly not one government in Europe but is now watching the war in this country, with the ardent prayer that the united States may be effectually split, crippled, and dismember'd by it. There is not one but would help toward that dismemberment, if it dared. I say such is the ardent wish to-day of England and of France, as governments, and of all the nations of Europe, as governments. I think indeed it is to-day the real, heart-felt wish of all the nations of the world, with the single exception of Mexico--Mexico, the only one to whom we have ever really done wrong, and now the only one who prays for us and for our triumph, with genuine prayer.
Is it not indeed strange? America, made up of all, cheerfully from the beginning opening her arms to all, the result and justifier of all, of Britain, Germany, France, and Spain - all here - the accepter, the friend, hope, last resource and general house of all - she who has harm'd none, but been bounteous to so many, to millions, the mother of strangers and exiles, all nations - should now I say be paid this dread compliment of general governmental fear and hatred?.......Are we indignant? alarm'd? Do we feel wrong'd? jeopardized? No; help'd, braced, concentrated, rather.
We are all too prone to wander from ourselves, to affect Europe, and watch her frowns and smiles. We need this hot lesson of general hatred, and henceforth must never forget it. Never again will we trust the moral sense nor abstract friendliness of a single government of the world.
140 years ago, the US experienced the same international hatred we have now. It turns out the US has no true friends. Only friends of convenience. Hat tip to InstaPundit.
For those who cheer American defeats in Iraq, let me offer this one to you. Iraqi insurgents recently badly disabled an M1A2 Abrams tank. They did it by putting three anti-tank mines, one on top of another, in the road. The 70-ton tank struck the mines and was rolled over an embankment. Two of the crew members were killed. Now let me pour some cold water on your glee. The M1's fire suppression system worked as billed. There was no internal fire and none of the ammunition inside cooked off. American technology saved the lives of the other crew members.
Bush's positive numbers are at 57% and slowly rising. Bush is higher at this point in his presidency that either Clinton or Reagan at the same point in their presidencies. Deans still looks like the nominee as Dean contracts are selling at $0.62. His closest rival, Gephardt contracts are only selling for $0.12. I still predict Bush to victory in '04 and the Republicans to pick up seats in both the Senate and the House.
Let me ask you a question. Consider what life would be like if you were born Jewish. Please just think about it for just a moment. Nearly the whole world hates Jews. Why? Before the Holocaust there were 18 million Jews worldwide. Today there are 13 million. Everywhere they go, they are persecuted. Why?
Hired out today - This week starts a week in which I am subcontracting my services to another consultant. Although I don't charge as much, it is still money in the door.
The Iraq war weighs on my mind. I feel the nobleness of our cause, but worry the press will lose the war for us. I am reminded of Vietnam, but not in the way that most people might think.
The specific incident that comes to mind is the Tet Offensive. The press reported this as a failure of American forces in Vietnam, when it was the exact opposite. Yes the fighting was fierce and we took many casualties. However, for the Viet Cong it was a disaster. After the Tet Offensive, the Viet Cong ceased to be an effective fighting force. They were virtually destroyed. The were replaced by the North Vietnamese Army.
Our enemies in Iraq closely monitor the press reports in America. Every time the President is criticized, our enemies cheer and are encouraged. They see American's resolve weakening. They see a repeat of Somalia.
I pray they are wrong.
Another Sunday, Another New Church - Karol and I tried another new church this morning. Upon exciting, we both agreed we can cross this one off our list. One hour and 40+ minutes!
I guess the pastor was really getting into it as near the end, he said he could just go on and on. At that point, he had already been going on and on. I feared he was going to continue. But I guess he took mercy on us and we were released from captivity.
It was a "contemporary" service. But I can handle that. I just don't clap. You see, I'm clapping impaired. I don't have a sense of rhythm and, if I start to clap, I get out of cadence with every one else. So I figure, why bother.
My sense is, this is a very experiential church. By that I mean, it places heavy emphasis on emotional experience. Apparently a lot of people like that type of service, as the church is growing and a couple of years ago went to two services on Sunday morning.
The pastor has no mental discipline, when it comes to speaking. What I could utter in one sentence, he would likely take 10 minutes to describe. But perhaps that goes with the experiential type of service. If the goal is to have an experience, then you likely want a long service to make the emotional connections.
After 30 minutes of singing, he preached for 40 minutes. I could have taken his talk and honed it down to 10 or 15 minutes. He also had the mannerism of closing his eyes as he was speaking. Perhaps he didn't want to look at the audience. But since he was pacing back and forth in front of the congregation, I kept waiting for him to crash into something. Alas, he managed to avoid all obstacles, even with his eyes closed.
After his 40 minuet talk, he sat down to the piano and I thought that maybe we were going to sing another song. Nope. It was a second sermon. Only this time, as he spoke, he accompanied himself on the piano. That way he could use the sound of the music to empathize his points. Where other people might pound the lectern, this fellow chose to make more dramatic notes on the piano. He's a pretty good piano player. I could tell, as he kept his eyes closed a lot. Anyway, we went on like this for another 30 minutes. In that time we also sang a couple of more songs.
I looked around and no one looked particularly fidgety. I guess they are all used to it. Who knows, we may have caught one of his shorter sermons.
One other thing that rather disturbed me was his theology. He extolled the congregation to behave righteously. Which was OK. But one of his reasons for doing so, was so that God could act through us. That rang alarm bells in my head. Although God may use me for his purposes, he DOES NOT NEED ME. God is completely sovereign. To say that God needs me to act righteously so that he can accomplish his purposes is, in my mind, blasphemous.
Christmas Music - A local radio station, WBEB 101.1 FM has started playing 100% Christmas music. I was pondering the popularity of Christmas music. I think that even the pagans like it. I think it's popularity is due, in part, to its upbeat theme. Christmas is a time of good will to all. I feel the prevailing personality of America is optimism. This country was founded on people coming here to make a better life.
I like to think of myself as an optimist. I like to use what I call Ted Armstrong's version of Murphy's Law.
Nothing is as easy as it looks.
Everything takes longer that you expect.
If anything can go wrong - it will,
At the worst possible moment.
People will let you down,
when you need them most.
But I will still prevail!
Skyscrapers - Here's a neat web site. It compares the world's 10 tallest buildings.
Karol takes her bears out of hibernation. Karol took her bear slippers out of storage. They were in hibernation for the summer. They come out in late fall and stay out until spring comes. She has named them Cindy, that's the one on the left, and Mindy. Mindy is the one on the right. You can tell their names as they have either a
"C" or an "M" on one of their feet. The soles of the slippers were getting a little worn and needed some repair. She has repaired them and now they are good to go. They were a Christmas gift several years ago, but she still has them.
Mission Accomplished! - Launch took place as scheduled at 13:30 on 11/12/03. The trip was uneventful and I made good time. Used a power setting of 2,900 to 3,000 rpm most of the way. I pulled into the hotel around 16:00 hours, checked in, dropped my luggage in the room and then headed to the client site.
Upgraded client's software to Service Pack 2 and then upgraded the software client on all stations. Then we went out to dinner with client and back to hotel.
The next day prove a little troublesome. Apparently a patch I had loaded the night before was causing some problems. This kept us from entering material received in to the warehouse into the computer. Repeated communications to Microsoft continued to bear no fruit.
The next day, now Friday, the problem still existed. The client was getting a little anxious, as was to be expected. Then about mid morning one of the techs at Microsoft sent me a SQL script. I ran it as per their instructions and, voila, the problem was fixed. The client was greatly relieved.
I've also been working on a report for them to help them to determine how much of what item to order. Inventory control is always a balancing act. Buy too much and all your money gets tied up with stock in the warehouse that never sells. Buy too little, and they you don't have it to sell when the customer calls to buy it.
We were working on using past sales data to help us determine how much to buy. One of their concerns was, suppose in one month they sell a huge amount of an item to one customer. That sales is not expected to be repeated. Well, you wouldn't want to use that sale to predict future sales. I think we arrived on a solutions that may have some value. It's hard to do any statistical work when you only have three to six data points.
At 19:30 hour Friday night, as I went through my prelaunch countdown and the main engines were coming up to full power, I called Karol to tell her I was leaving and would be home in a couple of hours. Traffic proved to be a bit thicker on the way home. I used a power setting of about 2,600 rpm most of the way home. Dasher-1 glided into a landing at home base about 22:00 hours.
Since I had been fighting a cold with a mild sore throat throughout the mission, I went right to bed. All night long I could feel the sore throat, but woke up feeling a little better. Sleep can be a wonderful restorative. I felt a little spacey today, but I think the cold is leaving my body.
Today I had the oil changed in the Accord, then cut the grass, raked some leaves, edged the yard and then used the blower to clean up. I wanted to wash the car too, but it just got too late and was starting to get dark. I suspect I'm going to feel today's' exertions tomorrow.
Dean increases his lead. I checked the Iowa Electronic Market tonight and Dean stock is up substantially. Here's the rundown.
Rest Of Field $0.035
A week ago Dean stock was $0.55. Remember, one of these will pay off $1.00 when the Democrats nominate their man.
Karol's cousin feels Dean has a good chance of unseating Bush. I would, respectfully, disagree. My feeling is, not only is Bush going to win, but the Republicans are going to pick up seats in both the Senate and the House. There is even the outside change they could have 60 seats in the Senate. Should that happen, then Bush will be able to nominate ANY one he wants for a judge and the Democrats will be powerless to stop him.
The current Democratic infighting is starting to be very entertaining. I don't think Clark has a prayer. The man is reduced to repeating gossip he says he hears in the Washington cocktail circuit. That's not very presidential.
Terry McAuliffe is the current chairman of the Democratic National Committee. He was put there by the Clintons. Since his placement there, the Democrats have been on a loosing streak. I agree with Zel Miller, the Democratic party is becoming a minority party. Much as I'd like to see the Democrats evaporate, we need them there to keep the Republicans honest.
The Clintons keep getting in the way of the nine dwarves running for office. I think they're doing that on purpose. The Clintons WANT Bush to win in 2004. Bush has no heir apparent. That means the field will be wide open and Hillary will have her best chance to win the presidency in 2008. If a Democrat wins in 2004, then Hillary cannot run in 2008, but must wait until 2012. That gets to be pretty late in the game.
Dean has said that if he gets the nomination, McAuliffe is gone. I don't think the Clintons will like that. I suspect that Clintons pushed Clark into the race to head off Dean, but that failed. Clinton is a master politician, but he seems unable to transfer that skill to others.
This just in. The Weekly Standard reports on a leaked Pentagon memo that definitely links Saddam Hussein with Usama Bin Laden.
It's a girl! - or so they tell me. Just received an Email from my niece in Las Vegas. Here husband in in the Air Force and stationed at Nellis Air Force Base. She just sent a link to her ultrasound pictures and they tell me it's a girl. I couldn't tell, but if they say so, I'll buy it.
I think my sore throat is back. I'm going to bed and perhaps I'll be better in the morning.
T -00:30 And Counting - Launch is now only a few minutes away. The countdown is going smoothly.
3-Days underwear and socks - check (yes, I know it's a 2-day mission, but I like backup.
2 long-sleeved white shirts - check
Spare sport coat - check
Shaving kit - check
2 ties - check
Jogging shoes and clothes -check, the hotel has a treadmill
Extra shoes and khakis - check
Cell phone charger - check
Tire pressures at 30 Lbs - check
Burn files to CD - check
Refueling will take place in-flight
Houston we are go for launch.
● Transferring power to internal systems.
● Life support on.
● Main pumps on.
● Power at 104%.
● Dasher-1 is underway on a 2-day mission to improve the life and business success of another business trying to compete in the 21st century.
T -18:00 And Counting - Another away mission scheduled for launch at 1330 hours Wednesday. That should put me on-site at about 1630 hour and ready for work. Lord willing, I'll be home at about 2200 hours on Friday.
Here's a thought, would you take this pledge?
I hereby declare, an oath,
that I absolutely and entirely renounce and abjure all allegiance and fidelity to any foreign prince, potentate, state, or sovereignty, of whom or which I have heretofore been a subject or citizen;
that I will support and defend the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic;
that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;
that I will bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by the law;
that I will perform noncombatant service in the Armed Forces of the United States when required by law;
that I will perform work of national importance under civilian direction when required by the law; and
that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose or evasion: So help me God.
Do you recognize it? It's the oath of allegiance that all aliens swear to become citizens of the United States. What about the idea of making the oath a requirement for graduation from High School - for citizens of course? Or maybe for people when they register to vote?
A student at the University of Texas has compiled a political list on professors that teach at the school. It evaluates how well the professors overcome their own prejudices to teach their courses. Click here to view them. The only reason I bring this up is, I have a nephew that goes to the UOT in Austin. I wonder if the same thing is being done there.
More photo's from Chief Wiggles. Click here to view them. The Chief gave out toys at a hospital for physically and mentally handicapped children.
Here's a little fun thing my sister sent to me. You might enjoy it too. It takes really good concentration to do it right.
To read what may have REALLY happened when Jessica Lynch was captured, click here.
The pictures are up - I just posted some photo's of the 365th Jubilee Celebration. Click here to view them.
I'm paying for my two mile jog yesterday. My quadriceps are rather sore. Oh well, it'll pass. My goal is to get in good enough shape that my resting pulse drops below 50 beats per minute.
I tried to take some photo's of the eclipse last night and this was all I could manage. It's very disappointing. I just could not get the camera to focus properly. I tried to use the manual focusing, but it didn't seem to work right. I guess I need some more training.
There is another reseller which does the same thing I do and since I had some slack time, I offered to subcontract work for her. This offer was back in August, now she seems to want to take me up on it. We have been exchanging emails back and forth. She asking could I do this or that and me generally saying yes. I also gave he a better rate for an eight hour day or a 40 hour week. She says she wants me for next week, which would be good timing for me.
One other thing, she said she is looking to hire someone with experience full time. She asked if I knew anyone. When I get those kinds of questions, where someone is asking for someone with my qualifications, I always wonder if there is a little duplicity involved. I was a more than a little tempted to rise to the bait on this one, but passed - at least for now. I referred her to a friend that has been agonizing off and on whether to stay as a sole practitioner or throw in with someone else. The only point of contention I see is, he could be a difficult fellow to manage. He tends to be a little cynical.
Speaking of cynicism, I recently received an email from someone that felt in a prior conversation they had sounded very cynical. Cynicism is very difficult to avoid. It seems the air waves are filled with it. In the current political climate, it pervades everything.
I blame Bush for this. It's completely his fault. It is his Texas drawl and demeanor that drives people up the wall. It is his unfailing praise of the United States that has people growling as snarling at their TV like a pack of rabid dogs.. It is his tireless defense of this country that has our "European friends" in a tizzy. The result is, nearly every comment that comes across the tube is a cynical statement about the president. And of course, you hear him responding the same way, don't you?
Few people can avoid the clutches of cynicism like I can. Few people have my ability to rise above the fray and be tolerate and gracious in the face of such coarse culture. What is even more amazing is how few also posses my humility. I don't understand why I haven't yet been nominated for sainthood.
Another Church Revisit - Karol and I revisited a church that we felt looked promising. The pastor still has the big grin on his face. I appreciate his smiling demeanor, but sometimes it makes him look mindless. He said there were many people missing because of the teachers convention. Apparently they have a lot of teachers in the church. This church looks like it could seat about 300 people, but about 40 to 50 were in attendance.
Part way through the service that have a "meet and greet" session. Even the pastor goes out into the audience to meet and greet people. I'm just not a big fan of these little sessions in the middle of the service. If the goal is fellowship, I'd rather they served coffee and snacks after the service. Then people could really chat and get to know each other.
These meet and greets are usually at the start of the service, but he had this one in the middle. Perhaps it was to break up the service and give it some variety or wake people up from their sleep.
As speakers go, he's not too bad. It seemed like he took more time than he needed to make his point. The sermon sort of wandered around and from time to time would come back to his point. By the way, the point of his sermon was about grace.
The age mix didn't seem too bad, although I'd say the over fifty crowd was still the largest demographic group.
This church has two services. A traditional one at 0845 and a contemporary one at 1100. 0845 is pretty early for me on a Sunday morning. That's the day I do my longest jog on. I just don't understand why they need two services. Why can't the two side compromise a little and worship together? The service could have a little of both types of music. Are the two sides so set in their ways there is no middle ground?
Howard Dean's stock is rising. There is a stock market run the University of Iowa that allows players to place bets on who is going to be the Democratic nominee. The price of any one candidate cannot exceed $1.00. Here's the current prices.
Rest of Field $0.04
You can see that Dean is far and away in the lead. These markets have been the most accurate prognosticators in the past. The way this currently stacks up is, if you purchased Dean stock at $0.55 a share and he winds up being nominated, you collect $1.00. That means you would almost double your money. But suppose you buy Dean stock and then Clark wins the nomination. Then you lose your total investment. There are currently over 20,000 contracts in this market.
This was started by a couple professors in the business school to teach students about how markets work. It's a cute learning tool that has become a very good predictor of election results. Markets frequently outperform other predictors as people put money on the line. It would be very interesting to create markets for other things.
I like the defense departments idea to create a market about the likelihood of a terrorist strike. I was disappointed that opponents chose to demagogue the idea. I their typical "I know best" bureaucratic manor, they chose not to think outside the box.
When we arose this morning, about 0730, the temperature outside was 30°. I'm afraid it's the end of Karol's Impatiens. Later in the day, I tool in my water timers that I had used all summer to water Karol's flowers. I don't want them to freeze solid and break. They're rather expensive.
It was a chilly jog, until I got warmed up. After the Doc's call yesterday I plan to get my mileage back up to 15 miles a week. I jogged a whole two miles this morning before church. I've got a few weeks before my next test so I'll be a good incentive to get me out in the cold morning air.
Andrew Sullivan compares JFK and George Bush and finds some interesting similarities. Do you think he has a point.
The backgrounds are similar: unruly scions of political families, young men who got their start in politics through pure nepotism. Their frat-boy garrulousness, their effortless patriotism, their family loyalties - it all works until you get to the moment when GWB gave up the wild life at 40 and JFK kept his going. But on policy, they're also much more similar than either the right or the left is comfortable conceding. They both came into office in a disputed election after a two-term president who presided over a major boom. President Kennedy fought an election on hawkish foreign policy; the current President Bush walked backward into hawkishness through the drastic orientation of 9/11. Both cut taxes and unleashed periods of economic growth. And both argued uncompromisingly for democracy across the world. Some boomers may also see in Iraq the same pattern as president Kennedy's early foray into Vietnam. I'd disagree strongly, but history will surely judge in due course. Perhaps more tellingly, both used powerful and moving rhetoric to assert the exceptionalism of the United States at a time when it was being attacked. President Bush's speech Thursday at the National Endowment for Democracy was perhaps the highpoint of this president's transformation into an old-style Democrat in foreign policy.
365 Years Ago - Karol and I went to the Swedish 365th Jubilee Celebration this morning in Wilmington Delaware. It commemorated the founding of the New Sweden Colony 365 years ago. Her Royal Highness Crown Princes Victoria of Sweden was there. Karol has Swedish ancestors from 1747. She is distantly related to the Rambo's. Rambo turns out to be a Swedish name NOT an Italian one. I will have some photo's on the web site so for you to look at soon.
It was a cold breezy day with nary a cloud in the sky. We dressed appropriately, however, and were comfortable. On the way over, Karol twice saw a Bald Eagle out the window of the car. I did not seem them as I was concentrating on my driving. On the way home, we stopped at Richman's for lunch and a dish of their famous ice cream. They DO make a good ice cream.
In general I am very unimpressed with royalty. I guess what really bothers me the most about them is they are NOT a meritocracy. They have influence ONLY because of their ancestry and birth. They did NOTHING to earn it. It stands in stark contrast to what America stands for.
I was struck by the same thoughts when we viewed "The Lion King." In the beginning we see the birth of a male cub lion and he is presente