I’m getting ready to leave for my away mission tomorrow. I have canceled all my outstanding buy orders in the market. Blogging will be light until my return this Saturday.
Spring is starting to bring our back yard to life. The hedge now has a squared-off look to it and the grass has a nice lush green color. Karol’s tulips are blooming. You can see them on the left side of this picture. You can also see the Dogwoods just starting to bloom. I took this picture about 9:30 this morning.
This morning I got my bi-weekly haircut. Then I drove down to the inspection station and got Dasher-1 inspected. That took about an hour and a quarter. It passed.
I drove to the dealership and got the oil changed. They were having a celebration of their fourth anniversary in business. The oil change only costs me $10. I also got a free hot-dog.
The dealership has a computer they let you use. While waiting for them to do my car, I used it to log onto the computer in my office and checked my emails.
Then I drove to Boscov’s, a local department store and got three blouses for Karol for her birthday. Home Depot is right next door so I stopped in to pick up a few items.
On the way home, I stopped at the business of someone that does computer hardware and networks. They are moving into a new building so I thought I’d stop by and say hi. We frequently collaborate on projects.
Upon reaching home, I got out my very long electrical cord and the hedge trimmers. I gave my hedge its first cut of the season. My hedge trimmers are on their last legs. It was a good time to try to straighten out some of the non-linearity’s that have snuck into the hedge over the last few years.
Then I got out the edger and edged the year. With the electrical cord strung out across the yard, I figured it was a good time to clean up. I pulled my blower out of the basement and cleaned up all the trimmings and edgings.
Then drove to the auto supply and picked up some car wash and wax materials. I washed my car. I really like the way it feels washing a car that has recently been waxed. The wool mitt I use just glides across the surface.
That was it I was out of time. I took and bath, Karol, and I went down to the Red Lobster for dinner.
I’m tired and going to bed.
Please notice the poster asks not what can you do to bring the troops home. It asks, "What can you do to save the lives of men like this AND win the war?"
I love spring. After the cold dark days of winter, the longer warmer days are a delight. The world is coming back to life. The dogwood buds are opening and the buds on our azaleas are swollen and starting to show color.
It also means yard work. Although it is certainly inconvenient, I like how the yard looks right after I cut it.
Every time I cut the grass, I use a freshly sharpened blade. I use a VERY sharp blade. I have found it really improves the quality of the cut. It mower even SOUNDS different, when I use an extremely sharp blade. The mower sort of hisses through the grass.
After fertilizing the grass last weekend and then getting four plus inches of rain (more tonight), I cut the grass tonight. When done, it looks really nice. The grass has a lush dark green color. It looks like a green carpet.
It gives me a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. I am a visual person. I like to be able to SEE the results of my work. I have found that to be one of the reasons I like doing reports for clients. When I print them out, they can look clean and give the client information, not just data.
It looks like I need to cut my privet hedge the weekend. It’s also a lush green color and it’s starting to look a little fuzzy. It’s loosing the sharp lines of a neatly manicured hedge.
I would also like to wash both cars and give them a second coat of wax to take them through to the fall.
Patrick Moore, one of the founding members of Greenpeace has since left the movement. He left the organization, became chairman and chief scientist of Green Spirit, which is a consulting firm that works for sustainable development. Here’s what he says:
"Enough time has passed to take stock of the impact that the environmental movement has had on nature and mankind, and that record is decidedly mixed. There's no doubt that the environments of wealthy, developed countries are considerably healthier today than on the first Earth Day. Air and water are cleaner, human life expectancies are longer, forests are abundant and growing. Developed countries have wanted improved environments and they've been wealthy enough to afford them. But the story is much different elsewhere. Indeed for much of the rest of the world, conditions are worse than they should be. Ironically the very movement that made its presence felt in rallies across this country in 1970 and that thrives in the developed world today must shoulder much of the blame for the developing world's sorry state. It is impeding both economic and environmental progress due to an agenda that is anti-development, anti-technology, and in the final analysis, anti-human."
I have a client installation going on right now. For the most part, I rather enjoy these. I like interacting with clients, solving problems on the fly. I think I’m a chaos junkie. I find that working in the midst of chaos focuses my mind. I like to think that when others are running and screaming the sky is falling, I remain calm, solve the problem, and bring peace to the situation.
Read this from one Iraqi going through hell. My question is, what should the US do?
This is my daily ‘routine’ thoughout 35 years; wars, meaningless death of innocent people, armed people terrorizing us, relatives and friends get killed or disappeared, close gunshot or explosions awaken me from sleeping, our laughs and talks get lost amid sounds of jetfighters in the sky and noise of tanks in street reminding me where I’m I and where I live. It seems that it’s not allowed for me to live a normal life like others do.
I believe in the bright future ahead but I’m upset now and I came here to write and release some of my frustration. I can't bear it alone. why me? Why my country? All that we need is a moment of peace. I really need it now. Why should I bear it with my people? When will it be over and when can we live in peace at last?
The hardest thing is that I have to fight more, and I will, but God, please give me the strength. Why should I be strong while watching others run away; Spain, Honduras, Thailand, human organizations, the UN and all the others who want (and it’s their right I must say) to avoid the dangers. But why did they disappoint us? Why abandon us in this moment when we really need them? Will they come back when conditions improve? Most likely, but who will need them then!!? We don’t need doctors and engineers. We have enough of those and large numbers of Iraqi doctor, teachers and engineers are working abroad. We do export minds, and some of those have returned and are doing their job and some are on their way back. We need political, financial and military support, and once we get rid of the terrorists, WE will show you what we can do, and we will not forget those who helped us, they will remain as friends and allies, that’s from a political point of view. As for me, they will remain as my real family, my brothers and sisters.
Bush was speaking at the convention of the newspaper editors of America in Washington the other day. Here’s how he opened his appearance, "Tom, thank you for your invitation, members of the Politburo…I mean my fellow Americans."
They all laughed, but it was a small dagger in their side.
Here's some background on Al Faluja to keep in mind.
A) Why is it in the news almost every night? Because it is one of the FEW places in all of Iraq where trouble exists. Iraq has 25 million people and is the size of California. Faluja and surrounding towns total 500,000 people. Do the math: that's not a big percentage of Iraq. How many people were murdered last night in L.A.? Did it make headline news? Why not?
B) Saddam could not and did not control Faluja. He bought off those he could, killed those he couldn't and played all leaders against one another. It was and is a 'difficult' town. Nothing new about that. What is new is that outside people have come in to stir up unrest. How many are there is classified, but let me tell you this: there are more people in the northeast Minneapolis gangs than there are causing havoc in Faluja. Surprised?
C) Then why does it get so much coverage? Because the major news outlets have camera crews permanently posted in Faluja. So, if you are from outside Iraq, and want to get air time for your cause, where would you go to terrorize, bomb, mutilate and destroy? Faluja.
D) Why does it seem to be getting worse? Two answers:
1) This country became a welfare state under Saddam. If you cared about your well-fare, you towed the line or died. The state did your thinking and your bidding. Want a job? Pledge allegiance to the Ba’ath party. Want an apartment, a car, etc? Show loyalty. Electricity, water, sewage, etc. was paid by the state. Go with the flow: life is good. Don't and you're dead. Now, what does that do to initiative? drive? industry?
So, we come along and lock up sugar daddy and give these people the toughest challenge in the world, FREEDOM. You want a job? Earn it! A house? Buy it or build it! Security? Build a police force, army and militia and give it to yourself. Risk your lives and earn freedom. The good news is that millions of Iraqis are doing just that, and some pay with their lives. But many, many are struggling with freedom (just like East Germans, Russians, Czechs, etc.) and they want a sugar daddy, the U.S.A., to do it all. We refuse. We don't want to be plantation owners. We make it clear we are here to help, not own or stay. They get mad about that, sometimes.
Nonetheless, in Faluja, the supposed hotbed of dissent in Iraq, countless Iraqis tell our psyopers they want to cooperate with us but are afraid the thugs will slit their throats or kill their kids. A bad gang can do that to a neighborhood and a town. That's what is happening here.
2) We have a battle hand-off going on here. The largest in recent American history. The Army is passing the baton to the Marines in this area. There is uncertainty among the populace and misinformation being given out by the bad guys. As a result there is insecurity and the bad guys are testing the resolve of the Marines and indirectly you, the American people. The bad guys are convinced that Americans have no stomach for a long haul effort here. They want to drive us out of here and then resurrect a dictatorship of one kind or another.
Hey, America, don't go weak kneed on us: 585 dead American's made an investment here. That's a whole lot less than were killed on American highways last month. Their lives are honored when we stay the course and do the job we came to do; namely, set the conditions for a new government and empower these people to be the great nation they are capable of being.
Just one incident in the battle of Fallujah.
"We walked up to the third block past the vehicles and spotted a guy shooting at us from one of the rooftops," Conde said. "One of the gunners, Lance Corporal Matthew Brown, took that building out with his machine gun."
Conde, McKenzie and Cox kept searching for the enemy. They exposed themselves to fire because it was the only way they could get a good look at enemy's firing positions. As they pushed forward, Conde was able to take out two shooters, but then things took a turn for the worse.
"I was running, and I watched as I got shot in the left shoulder," Conde said. "I remember seeing a red mist coming from my back."
Even though he saw himself get shot, it didn't occur to Conde to quit fighting. "I didn't really realize I had been shot until one of the Marines said something," he added.
According to McKenzie, Conde fired several shots, killing a combatant, before falling to the ground. He then managed to get back to his feet and fire a few more rounds at the enemy before falling again.
"We helped him up so he could get to the corpsman to get bandaged up," McKenzie, a 22 year old from Bonaqua, Tenn. "We made sure to kill the guys who shot him."
The corpsman treated Conde, who only wanted to get his gear and get back to the fight. Conde's Marines were out there and he knew his place was alongside them.
"We stayed and fought until every one of the insurgents was dead," Conde said. Before the day was through, 3rd MAP also raided the house of a former Baath Party member and seized a large weapons cache.
Over the next few days, Conde's unit participated in several other firefights until the violence died down. All the while, he nursed his wound, not giving into the pain and refusing to leave his Marines.
Only when his arm went numb, making it difficult to hold his rifle steady, did he finally give in and step out of the fight.
Back at the camp here, Marines asked Conde why he chose to stay and fight even after being shot.
"I told them that I couldn't just leave the fight when I still could keep going," he told them.
But it his actions didn't surprise his fellow Marines.
"He always told us that he would lead us from the front, and that we would never do anything if he wasn't doing it too," Cox explained. "After being in that firefight with him, I will always know that he is true to his word."
Bush has just been through a terrible month and guess what? His poll numbers are up. We have the Richard Clarke book, we have a bad month in Iraq and Bush has gained points in the polls.
I like to listen to Rush, when I happen to be in the car, when he’s on the air. Few people have been as confident about Bush’s re-election as Rush. He makes a good point in characterizing John Kerry’s demeanor as less than inspiring.
Kerry’s only campaign tactic is to rip Bush. He has nothing positive to offer. He was recently interviewed n Meet the Press and asked what his position was. Tim Russert, the host, gave him a golden opportunity to state his position. Instead, all Kerry did was rip Bush.
It has been a challenging market. Two trades that I bought yesterday were sold today. All three markets are back below their 50 DMA’s. Today was a distribution day. The markets were down on very heavy volume.
Keep your powder dry.
Slow blogging as I'm having some problems with my home computer.
UBL’s most recent tape is an interesting contrast to the Democrats rhetoric. What is one of the things UBL is complaining about in his tape? Halliburton!
What is the one thing Democrats complain about the most? Halliburton!
Halliburton employees are dying in Iraq, the Democrats are demonizing Halliburton and now UBL is siding with the Democrats in also demonizing Halliburton.
It looks like UBL and the Democrats agree on at least one item.
I came across this one-month challenge to agnostics and atheists and thought I’d pass it on.
Here’s the challenge. Every night say this prayer, “God, if you’re real, prove yourself real to me.” Then read three chapters from the book of John, in the New Testament. This will take less than 10 minutes.
The book of John is 21 chapters long. It’ll take one week to go through the whole book. In one month, you’ll have gone through the book four times. After one month, you can drop the exercise.
I realize that agnostics and atheists will be very uneasy to try this and will likely dismiss it out of hand. I therefore, ask those that call themselves Christian to try it.
Ah shoot. Forget it. I know you’re not going to try this. Just stick this in the back of your mind. Consider it food for thought.
It started raining last Sunday. Then it rained on Monday, then Tuesday, then Wednesday. Thursday morning I woke up to rain. But as I drove to Philly, the clouds cleared and the sun came out.
This morning, as I was moving the cars from the garage to the driveway, I inspected and then emptied the rain gauge.
Four point seven inches!
I guess it was a good idea to put down my lawn fertilizer last Saturday.
An American contractor in Iraq tells his story. It’s a long post, but I feel it's worth reading.
I pray American voters see that we must finish this one the right way. If we walk away now, we will be responsible for a lot more than the 2 million Cambodians and every last Montainyard that was murdered the year after we abandoned Indochina. Here is the reality I see everyday.
The Iraqi people as a whole…love us. You read it right…love us. Terrorists may hate us and radicals in different ethnic groups within Iraq may hate each other…but in general, the common Iraqi people, Shias, Sunis, Kurds, Chaldeans, Turkomen, all have one thing in common…For one instant in time, they have hope for their future and the future of their children…and that hope is centered around one group of foreigners…you guessed it…Americans…the good old USA.
There is very good news in the War on Terror. UBL is waving the white flag. He is offering to spare the Europeans if they will not help the US.
This can only mean one thing we are hurting him. Your enemy doesn’t ask for help unless he needs it. It has been almost 2 ½ years since 9/11. In that time, UBL has been unable to mount another attack on US soil. You can blame Bush or not, but on September 12, 2001, if you has said we would go 2 ½ years without another attack, almost everyone would have said that wouldn’t happen.
Instead of attacking the US, I think UBL is throwing all his resources into Iraq. He is sending his people up against the best-trained and equipped forces in the world. His people are being decimated.
Handover of sovereignty to the Iraqis will occur on June 30 as planned. The terrorists are doing everything they can to stop that from happening, but they will fail.
Iraq is coming back under control. Every since, what appeared to be a meltdown I have been worried about the future of Iraq. I think I have a little bit of the feeling people went through during WWII.
The advantage people had during WWII is they didn’t suffered from the 24/7 news cycle.
I’m now starting to feel a little better. The terrorists in Fallujah are surrounded and their days are numbered. The will surrender or die. The Marines, in the face of intense fighting are kicking butt. This from the Gray Lady.
“American forces killed more than 100 insurgents on Tuesday in close combat in a small village in central Iraq, Marine commanders said Wednesday... Marines fought house to house, roof-to-roof, doorway to doorway. They repelled attacks of machine-gun fire, volleys of rockets and repeated charges by masked fighters, Colonel McCoy said. Two marines were shot but their injuries were not life-threatening.”
An Najaf is surrounded in a ring of American steel. The Iranians poured $80 million into Muqtada al-Sadr and look what they got for their money. He is now negotiating for peace.
When the US military is out of site, the terrorists talk tough. But when they are forced to look our troops in the eye, the terrorists blink first. They have seen our troops in action and it scares the crap out of them.
Top that off with a CIC that does not micromanage. He just tells his people what the goal is, asks what they need to do the job and then lets them do it.
I had a quiet day in the market today. My one trade, ABAX, actually gained 3.6% today. All three markets have dropped below their 50 DMA. Most of my breakouts have failed. That is not a bullish sign.
None of my buy orders triggered today. No surprise there.
This appeared in the Boston Globe.
"He had a little scratch on his forearm, and he was holding a piece of shrapnel," recalled Kerry's commanding officer, Lieutenant Commander Grant Hibbard. "People in the office were saying, `I don't think we got any fire,' and there is a guy holding a little piece of shrapnel in his palm." Hibbard said he couldn't be certain whether Kerry actually came under fire on Dec. 2, 1968, the date in question and that is why he said he asked Kerry questions about the matter.
But Kerry persisted and, to his own "chagrin," Hibbard said, he dropped the matter. "I do remember some questions, some correspondence about it," Hibbard said. "I finally said, `OK, if that's what happened . . . do whatever you want.' After that, I don't know what happened. Obviously, he got it, I don't know how."
The Navy has a long standing policy of three purple hearts and you’re sent home early.
I had a somewhat uneventful day in the market today. One trade, RSYS, was stopped out with a 3.4% profit. It dropped, was sold, and then bounced back up. I may place another buy order on it, in case it moves higher.
Currently the only trade I’m holding is ABAX, which I bought at $22.80.
It’s time to pull the plug on the 9/11 commission. Instead of being a true research on how 9/11 happened and what we can do to prevent it, the commission has turned into a partisan hatchet job. The Democrats are doing all they can to hurt Bush and the Republicans are being their usual feckless selves.
It turns out one of the commissioners, Jamie Gorelick, should be on the witness stand not on the commission. It turns out she was part of the problem. Isn’t having her on the commission like having the fox watch the hen house?
A recent ad appeared in Florida.
…And then there's Rumsfeld who said of Iraq "We have our good days and our bad days". We should put this S.O.B. up against a wall and say, "This is one of our bad days," and pull the trigger… Please make a donation of ANY amount of money you can afford and send it to John Kerry for President…
This ad is despicable. The authors should be prosecuted for inciting treason against the US government. I want to see them do the perp-walk.
Here’s the sad part. If someone did kill Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, there would be dancing in the streets. It would look just like Mogadishu after Blackhawk down. They’d drag their bodies through the streets if they could.
Their hatred is so great they really do wish the president and his team dead. That’s what this vitriol is buying. With a population of 250 million people, there are more than a few running around with a few loose screws.
Free speech has limits. You are not free to threaten anyone. You are not free to incite people to violence. Should some nut case decide that he’d be doing the nation a favor and kill the president or any of his team, I would hold anyone who engaged in this kind of hate speech as morally culpable.
My guess is these people would call themselves either atheists or agnostics. Atheists and agnostics have no objective basis for determining right from wrong. I guess we should not be surprised to see immoral behavior from Godless people.
It was a tough day in the market today. I had eight stop-loss sell orders bail me out quickly today. In general, all sales were between breaking even and losing 5.8%. One buy order triggered this morning, but then sagged. I wound up down almost 6% on that trade.
It looks like my cup-and-handle hypothesis might be false. Perhaps we’ll be looking at double-bottom formation.
Here are two new pictures of my grand-niece Nuriel Cook. She looks hale, hearty, and healthy.
Here's the PDB of August 6, 2001. So, do you think the president should have acted more pre-emptively?
Bin Ladin Determined to Strike in US
Clandestine, foreign government, and media reports indicate Bin Ladin since 1997 has wanted to conduct terrorist attacks in the US. Bin Ladin implied in US television interviews in 1997 and 1998 that his followers would follow the example of World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef and "bring the fighting to America."
After US missile strikes on his base in Afghanistan in 1998, Bin Ladin told followers he wanted to retaliate in Washington, according to a [deleted text] service. An Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) operative told an [deleted text] service at the same time that Bin Ladin was planning to exploit the operative's access to the US to mount a terrorist strike.
The millennium plotting in Canada in 1999 may have been part of Bin Ladin's first serious attempt to implement a terrorist strike in the US. Convicted plotter Ahmed Ressam has told the FBI that he conceived the idea to attack Los Angeles International Airport himself, but that Bin Ladin lieutenant Abu Zubaydah encouraged him and helped facilitate the operation. Ressam also said that in 1998 Abu Zubaydah was planning his own US attack.
Ressam says Bin Ladin was aware of the Los Angeles operation.
Although Bin Ladin has not succeeded, his attacks against the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 demonstrate that he prepares operations years in advance and is not deterred by setbacks. Bin Ladin associates surveilled our Embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam as early as 1993, and some members of the Nairobi cell planning the bombings were arrested and deported in 1997.
Al-Qa'ida members — including some who are US citizens — have resided in or traveled to the US for years, and the group apparently maintains a support structure that could aid attacks. Two al-Qa'ida members found guilty in the conspiracy to bomb our Embassies in East Africa were US citizens, and a senior EIJ member lived in California in the mid-1990s.
A clandestine source said in 1998 that a Bin Ladin cell in New York was recruiting Muslim-American youth for attacks.
We have not been able to corroborate some of the more sensational threat reporting, such as that from a [deleted text] service in 1998 saying that Bin Ladin wanted to hijack a US aircraft to gain the release of "Blind Shaykh" 'Umar' Abd aI-Rahman and other US-held extremists.
Nevertheless, FBI information since that time indicates patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings or other types of attacks, including recent surveillance of federal buildings in New York.
The FBI is conducting approximately 70 full field investigations throughout the US that it considers Bin Ladin-related. CIA and the FBI are investigating a call to our Embassy in the UAE in May saying that a group of Bin Ladin supporters was in the US planning attacks with explosives.
It was an active day in the market. Two stop loss orders triggered and five buy orders kicked in. Here are the results as the dust settles. I sold EZM for an 8.5% loss and IVIS for a 4.1% loss. I bought ALGN at $21.40, IMDC at $56.24, KCS at $11.49, SAFM at $41.74 and SSI at $38.40. Of my new trades, ALGN looks the most promising. It rose 9.8% on twice-normal volume. It seems to be a good-looking breakout.
Now if I can just make and keep a few bucks on this trade. IMDC on the other hand, just touched my buy point (enough to trigger the buy order) and then sank. I’m already down 4.2% on that trade.
I’ll be placing tight stop-loss orders on all trades tonight as well as moving up any existing stop-loss orders, if that stock moved up.
UPDATE: I just place two more buy orders. I ordered AACE at $31.75 and ABAX at $22.39.
I'm a little frustrated. I had seven more orders I WANTED to place, but not enough money in my account. It really bugs me that I can't use margin. That would allow me to place twice as many orders as I currently can.
My sister’s husband has referred me to Anne Catherine Emmerich. She was an Augustinian nun at the Convent of Agnetenberg, Dulmen, Westphalia, Germany. She lived between 1774 to 1824. During that time, she had extensive visions of the crucifixion and the events leading up to it. Whether or not these are true, not one can say, but it would appear that these might have been the source of some of the scenes in Mel Gibson’s movie. Here’s just one web site that talks about her.
Last week I received a call from a client. I will call Joe. I had not spoken to Joe for quite a while. Late last year I received notification from Microsoft that Joe had switched his affiliation from my company to another.
I was mildly disappointed, but that sometimes happens. I hadn’t done much business with Joe in more than a couple of years. So this call from Joe was a bit of a surprise.
After the initial chitchat, Joe said, “I made a mistake.” I responded, “Welcome to the club.” Joe replied, “Let me tell you what happened so I don’t sound like a complete schmuck. I had another Great Plains dealer that had been calling on me for some time. One day he called to say that Microsoft was having a special price for me to upgrade. I called you and you quoted the same price. But since he had asked me first I felt compelled to go with him and I did.”
“We have the new Great Plains installed, but we have not converted our data. My concern is I don’t think he has your knowledge.”
I replied, “My I make a suggestion? Why don’t I stop out and see what you’ve got and where we need to take it?”
With that, we made an appointment for Monday – tomorrow.
I hung up the phone with mixed emotions. I recognized the emotional cost of that phone call. It’s nice to have clients recognize the value I offer and come back. By the same token, I felt stupid for losing him in the first place.
Sometimes I forget that one of my jobs is to stay in constant contact with clients so they know I am here to service their needs. I try to email them regularly, but I don’t think that is always sufficient.
I just finished cleaning up the comments in my web log. A couple of spammers have recently hit my blog. They have bots that automatically post comments into my blog. These comments contain web addresses.
Their goal is to take advantage of Google’s search technology. Google rates web sites with many links much higher in its search engine. By posting their web address to the comments in my blog and many others, these people hope they will get a better response from the Google search engine.
I downloaded a Plug-in for my blog called Blacklist. It supposedly blocks many of these attacks. But more importantly, it allows me to easily clean up after being spammed. I’m no web programmer so installing the Plug-in gave me trepidation.
At first it didn’t work. But the fellow that created Blacklist said in the Readme that perhaps I needed to set my permissions properly. I couldn’t figure out how to do that so I contacted my web host.
I use cphosting for my web hosting. They charge me $48 a year to host my web site. That gives me 50 MB of space. Currently I'm using about 35MB. I have always been very pleased with their tech support. I relayed my situation to them and they changed the permissions for me and showed me how to do it myself.
Then my Blacklist Plug-in worked fine. So now, my blog is free of some very nasty comments.
My blog is in Movable Type 2.64. Version 3.0 is in beta testing right now, and it appears they have done much to resolve the spamming problem. I’m looking forward to upgrading my blog to MT 3.0, when it is released for production.
I cut the grass for the first time Friday night. I put the mower blade on the grinder and put a fine edge on it. When I sharpen a mower blade, you can almost shave with it. I find it really improves the cutting. The mower even SOUNDS different when cutting the grass with a razor sharp blade on it.
Then I lowered the mower as low as it would go and went over the whole yard. That was some work as the yard has some small bumps here and there left over from the freezing and thawing cycles though the winter.
You can see I have some sparse vegetation near the driveway. I’m going to have to wait for this fall to over-seed that area. I put down fertilizer today as they are predicting rain for tomorrow and Monday. In another week, I’ll be putting down my crab grass preventer.
The picture above was taken with my Canon PowerShot A60. It is three shots stitched together. There is a big circular thermometer on the tree. I used Paint Shop Pro to take remove it.
Karol and I finally went to see Mel Gibon’s “The Passion” today. The following are my thoughts on this film in no particular order.
I have read extensively on the film and I think I was mentally prepared for the brutality of it. Although after the scourging, Jesus was lacerated and dripping with blood from head to toe, I don’t think the film portrayed the effects of the scourging accurately. When you look at the tools the Romans were using to beat him, the marks on his body UNDERSTATED the effects. From other things I have read, I would say the film UNDERSTATES just how mutilated his body was.
The acting was excellent all around. All the characters seemed believable. Part of the problem of reading so much about the film before going is I was mentally taking the film apart in my mind instead of completely experiencing it. I was also comparing my recollection of scripture with what Gibson was putting on the screen.
I thought the character of Satan was a nice touch. You can’t tell if he’s male or female. In addition, he looks so clean, almost innocent.
I didn’t understand why the two Mary’s were mopping up Jesus’ blood after the whipping. I think it has something to do with Jewish tradition, but I’m not certain.
I was looked for anti-Semitism, but I didn’t see any. Caiphas does not come across to me as pure evil. He more reminds me of some fire-and-brimstone Christians I have seen. It’s his way or the highway and God is on his side. He stands in self-righteous indignation and pushes Pilot to condemn Christ to death. I guess you could say what Caiphas did was truly evil.
The Roman soldiers come off the worst. They were beyond evil. They seemed like demented barbarians. They enjoyed Christ’s suffering. The more pain they could inflict, the better they liked it. They made the Nazi’s seem like pussycats.
Gibson did not make this movie to convert the agnostic or atheist and I don’t think it will. There is not attempt to prove the existence of God, man’s fallen nature, and his destiny to a very warm place. You really need to know the story in the first place to accurately follow the movie.
I thought the actor that played Jesus was a smidgeon on the plump side for Jesus. Jesus walked everywhere he went. He probably ate sparingly. I would expect him to be quite slender.
I have read that the Arabs have gotten wind that this movie shows Jews in a bad light and they are getting permission from the Arab governments to show the film. This could be one of the most serendipitous things to come out of this movie. Any Moslem that views this movie, if he looks hard enough, will find something for which to condemn the Jews. Just like the Bush haters blame Bush for bad weather. A warped mind will see what it wants to see.
However, they will also be confronted with several things the movie depicts.
1) There are no Palestinians in the movie. Why? Because there weren’t any back then. All you see in this movie are Jews and Romans. This movie gives the Jews claim to Israel substance. But the Arabs won’t see that.
2) Christ was crucified. Although the Koran accepts Jesus virgin birth, they deny he was crucified and they certainly deny his resurrection. This movie depicts in graphic detail his crucifixion. It also, briefly, shows his resurrection.
3) Jesus’ teachings. His message of forgiveness and love are powerful messages.
I hope that every Moslem sees this movie. It won’t make them hate the Jews any more than they already do. I think on a scale of 1 to 10, they're already at a 10.
But it will give them a message they would not otherwise get a chance to see. If this movie gets wide distribution in Arab countries, I believe it will be, to coin a phrase, “the camel’s nose under the tent.”
UPDATE: Does anyone have any idea why Gibson put the raven in the film? What was that all about?
Elizabeth Menegon, sister of Army Special Forces reservist Maj. David Menegon, rushes toward her brother, who has just arrived, at the Old Greenwich train station in Greenwich, Conn., on Wednesday. He had been deployed to Iraq for 14 months.
Mel Greer, Greenwich (Conn.) Time / AP photo From Army Times, 4/2/04
More spring flower pictures. Karol thought they were Star of Bethlehem flowers. I’ve checked and they’re not. She has quite a patch of these things and then multiply every year. They’re getting into our neighbor's yard. I conclude then that they spread through seeds.
But we don’t know what they are. Do you happen to know what they are? If you do, could you let me know?
Condi and Bush make a great team. Bush is a master poker player. He holds off putting Condi in the public until his back is against the wall. All his enemies think this time they really have him.
Then he reluctantly serves Condi up to the Democrats and she has them for breakfast. They gave it their best shot, but she blew them out of the water. She made whimpering fools out of them. She chewed them up and spit them out.
The 9/11 commission is a farce. It is nothing more than an attempt by the Democrats to politically damage the president.
What is the Democrats worst nightmare? It’s not Bush winning re-election. That’s a foregone conclusion and the Democrats have already reconciled themselves to that.
The Democrats worst nightmare is Condi Rice running for president in 2008.
Some more buy orders kicked in today. I bought EZM at $20.40, NFLX at $37.00 and ULBI at $23.15. NFLX and ULBI stayed above my buy points, but EZM sank and I’m down 6.6% on EZM. None of my other holdings were sold. I now have six trades in play.
I’m looking at a graph of the S&P 500, the Dow and the NASDAQ. All three markets have traced out a VERY bullish cup-and-handle pattern. I would not be surprised to see a big jump in the market any time in the next few days.
I think the train is getting ready to leave the station. When that happens, I want to be on board.
I placed the following buy orders tonight.
Things have been busy here. You know I can't say much about it. However, I do know two things. One, POTUS has given us the green light to do whatever we needed to do to win this thing so we have that going for us. Two, and my opinion only, this battle is going to have far reaching effects on not only the war here in Iraq but in the overall war on terrorism. We have to be very precise in our application of combat power. We cannot kill a lot of innocent folks (though they are few and far between in Fallujah). There will be no shock and awe. There will be plenty of bloodshed at the lowest levels. This battle is the Marine Corps' Belleau Wood for this war. 2/1 and 1/5 will be leading the way. We have to find a way to kill the bad guys only. The Fallujahans are fired up and ready for a fight (or so they think). A lot of terrorists and foreign fighters are holed up in Fallujah. It has been a sanctuary for them. If they have not left town they are going to die. I'm hoping they stay and fight.
This way we won't have to track them down one by one.
This battle is going to be talked about for a long time. The Marine Corps will either reaffirm its place in history as one of the greatest fighting organizations in the world or we will die trying. The Marines are fired up. I'm nervous for them though because I know how much is riding on this fight (the war in Iraq, the view of the war at home, the length of the war on terror and the reputation of the Marine Corps to name a few). However, every time I've been nervous during my career about the outcome of events when young Marines were involved they have ALWAYS exceeded my expectations. I'm praying this is one of those times.
I see three salient points in this letter.
1) Bush is not a micromanager. You can thank his Harvard MBA for that. He is the quintessential manager. He believes in finding the best people he can and then getting out of their way and letting them do their job. My take is Bush is results oriented, not task oriented.
2) This country is blessed with the finest young men and women in uniform on the face of the planet. Where do people with such professionalism, patriotism, and dedication come from?
3) Pray for their safety and their success. Pray frequently, pray fervently, and pray as the beggars we are. I have no personal link with God. I do not know his mind on the Iraq war. But, perhaps if enough people beseech God with enough intensity their prayers will be answered. Let me remind you of this passage from 1 Samuel 1:12 of Hannah praying to God that her womb would be opened:
As she kept on praying to the LORD , Eli observed her mouth. Hannah was praying in her heart, and her lips were moving but her voice was not heard. Eli thought she was drunk and said to her, "How long will you keep on getting drunk? Get rid of your wine."
"Not so, my lord," Hannah replied, "I am a woman who is deeply troubled. I have not been drinking wine or beer; I was pouring out my soul to the LORD . Do not take your servant for a wicked woman; I have been praying here out of my great anguish and grief."
Eli answered, "Go in peace, and may the God of Israel grant you what you have asked of him."
Hannah later became pregnant and gave birth to a son – Samuel.
Scott Konig makes two excellent points in relation to the action in Iraq. Here’s what he says.
With twelve Marines killed in fighting on Tuesday and numerous more wounded, things are definitely getting ugly – but this is our kind of ugly.
What our troops have been dealing with over the past several months has been the type of low-level insurrection that can slowly but gradually sap the strength of an occupying Army, forcing them to remain constantly alert and severely impacting morale. It’s very difficult to fight back against an enemy that plants remote-detonated bombs on the side of the road, or launches hit and run strikes against lightly defended targets.
But it’s a much simpler problem to deal with an enemy who fights in the open, as the Sunni militia in Fallujah and Sadr’s “Mehdi Army” have been doing in the past week. These forces may be able to temporarily seize public buildings, as recently happened in the southern Iraqi town of Kut, but this will only serve to provide us with easy, fixed targets to destroy.
Fallujah is now coming back under the control of the US Marines, and the Sunni militia have sacrificed a significant number of their fighters and weapons attempting to defend that town. Sadr’s militia, which does not enjoy the popular support of the Shiite majority, will undoubtedly suffer similar losses in Kut and elsewhere. Indeed, they might not ever recover from this campaign.
All US Marines and Army infantry receive extensive training on Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT). While fighting in cities and towns is often very difficult and costly, there is no military force in the world better trained and equipped to carry out such operations.
The enemy would have been much wiser to lay low for a few years until the Coalition finishes handing over the security operation to local authorities, who would likely prove to be a much easier force to defeat militarily. That they have not done so is an indication of their desperation to prevent the establishment of a viable, popular Iraqi government.
We all recognize that war is ugly, and the human toll over the past week in Iraq has been terrible. But as long as our national resolve remains strong, there can be no doubt that we will prevail in establishing a free and representative government in Iraq, and a model for democratic reform in the Arab world.
This email is from Joe Roche. He is a soldier serving in Iraq.
...Let me tell you, it is maddening to watch the news. Even now! I've told you this before, but I'll repeat it for clarity -- My unit, the 16th En Bn of the 1st AD, covers Sadr City and the bulk of the most intense areas of downtown, mostly east side of the Tigris. If you look at a map, pretty much everything north from the Palestine & Sheraton hotels north and east. My point is that my battalion is right in the middle of Sadr's challenge.
I would like to tell you a zillion things, but for the moment allow me to tell you that none of this here is a surprise or unplanned. We've been on these very current events for several months.
However, NONE OF THIS is the disaster bad news that you are seeing on CNN and others. Let me give you perhaps one of the best examples. A police station that we covered and set up last summer in Al-Shawla made the news yesterday because, SHOCKINGLY!!! it was attacked by two RPGs. Now, Amy, here is the reality....
Last summer that very police station was HIT 2-3 times every damn night for 20 consecutive days while my battalion and the 2nd LCR were working to secure it. In this current crisis, it wasn't even hit -- the RPGs flew over the bldg, and there were only 2 fired in one night.
Basically what I think is happening reminds me of Peter Breastrup's (sp?) book, The Big Story, about the press coverage of the Tet Offensive. CNN and most others are hold-up in the Palestine and Sheraton hotels (which my unit put the "blast deflectors" and hesco bastions around!) because they can't get around the city w/ us as they'd like. They get their two minutes on tv and make it seem like they are in the middle of Tet Two.
...Ok, I could go on. Just to give you a heads up, when Sadr is captured, there may be an initial explosion like happened after Israel took out Yassin. But it will pass and the most senior Shia clerics like Sistani will re-assert control.
I liken this to going in for an operation to remove a small cancer tumor. It is a painful and disruptive procedure, but it is necessary to make things better.
…getting an accurate picture showing the positive side of things is never more critical than now.
The French are taking a page from Bush's book and are starting to take pre-emptive action against terrorists.
The French had kept a group of Moroccan-born militants under surveillance for some time, but had no specific cause to arrest them when the police struck in dawn raids on Monday, seizing 13 men with suspected links to the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group.
A senior French official admitted as much on Tuesday, saying "There was no evidence they were preparing an imminent attack in France." The crucial factor was that they had traveled to Afghanistan, where they learned to use weapons and make explosives.
"When they come back, they have certain ideas and certainly a technical capacity for action," the French official said.
The new French counterterrorism motto, he said, is "Every time we discover a cell, we eliminate it as a pre-emptive measure."
The DJO I bought yesterday was sold today for a 5.1% loss. My buy order on RSYS kicked in today at $22.69. I’m looking to put a stop loss on that trade at $21.66.
There is some temptation to relate the current events in Iraq to the Vietnamese Tet Offensive. Here’s what happened during that battle.
After erosion of their position during 1967, the Communists threw all of their South Vietnam guerrilla forces into attacks in more than 100 cities across the length and breadth of the country. Most spectacularly, since it came before the eyes of the Saigon press corps, a 19-man sapper squad penetrated the U.S. Embassy compound. They failed to enter the chancery building, despite early reports, and the last of them was killed or repulsed after a six-hour battle.
General William Westmoreland appeared in the shattered compound to proclaim a great victory. His televised appearance came against a backdrop of destruction throughout the country, and the American elite decided to believe not the general but their own eyes. A widely cited Wall Street Journal editorial proclaimed that "the whole Vietnam effort may be doomed, it may be falling apart beneath our feet." Walter Cronkite turned against the war, editorializing on the need for negotiation. With this home-front reaction, Tet was the turning-point in the war, the anvil of Communist victory and American defeat.
Yet in fact, Westmoreland was right, subsequent analysts have uniformly concluded. The Communist offensive was decisively repulsed. There was no general uprising in favor of the North. The South Vietnamese army did not buckle, though operating at 50% strength because of imprudent holiday leaves. The indigenous Viet Cong were destroyed, leaving the rest of the war to be conducted by troops recruited in the North.
Several years ago, a preacher moved to a new city.
Some weeks after he arrived, he had occasion to ride the bus from his home to the downtown area. When he sat down, he discovered that the driver had accidentally given him a quarter too much change.
As he considered what to do, he thought to himself, you had better give the quarter back. It would be wrong to keep it.
Then he thought, "Oh, forget it, it's only a quarter. Who would worry about this little amount? Anyway, the bus company already gets too much fare; they will never miss it. Accept it as a gift from God and keep quiet."
When his stop came, he paused momentarily at the door, then he handed the quarter to the driver and said, "Here, you gave me too much change. The driver with a smile, replied, "Aren't you the new preacher in town? I have been thinking lately about going to worship somewhere. I just wanted to see what you would do if I gave you too much change."
When the preacher stepped off the bus, he literally grabbed the nearest light pole, held on, and said, "O God, I almost sold your Son for a quarter."
Our lives are the only Bible some people will ever read.
It has been a very tough day in Iraq. American troops are bravely fighting intense battles. We have taken many casualties and we will take more, before this is over. I hate seeing Americans die in distant lands. However, much as I hate that, I’d rather see the battle on their terrain as opposed to ours.
We have the right people, the Marines, in place in Fallujah. They are professionals and they WILL pacify the city.
The fight in Fallujah, as I read it, is it a battle postponed from May 2003. The battle we expected then is happening now.
This Muqtada al-Sadr guy is going to be trouble. It appears we have much of ourselves to blame. From what I have read, we should have moved against him many months ago.
It appears we are suffering the sins of moderation. It is costing American and Iraqi lives.
My biggest worry is how the media will spin this. Will they put the worst face on it they can? Will they convince the American people to walk away from Iraq?
We cannot afford to loose Iraq. Terrorists all over the world are watching US resolve in Iraq.
A success coach I like to read and listen to is Tony Robbins. He claims there are four areas that really determine who wins the election. The characteristics are physical attraction; pleasing voice; can they move you emotionally; and are they congruent between what they say and what they do.
Here’s how I would rate Kerry and Bush.
Bush wins by a nose
Move you emotionally
Are they Congruent
I see Kerry as having all the pizzaz of an undertaker. But how would you rate them?
Three buy orders kick in today. I bought DJO at $27.05, IVIS at $27.78, and SCUR at $17.13. Sadly they couldn’t hold and I wound up down for the day. I’ll be putting tight stop losses on them tonight.
Tom McInerney and Paul Vallely are retired generals (Air Force and the Army), say the War on Terror, this is a battle of wills. During a visit to Baghdad, they were told by one young soldier that the war on terror can’t be lost on the battlefield; but it can be lost if the will of the American people falters.
I'm reminded of a quote from Winston Churchill
"NEVER, never, never, never, never, never, never give up."
I'm also reminded of the recent elections in Spain. I'm afraid the Spaniards are going to pay a painful price for that election. We are paying a painful price for our retreat in the Blackhawk down incident.
Evil is only repelled with overwhelming force.
After church services yesterday, I had several people, including the pastor; thank me for speaking out in his behalf. Several said they wanted to speak, but could not speak in front of a group.
I think I rather surprised most people. I’m just a quiet guy that sits in church and minds his own business. I made what I consider a strong case for retaining the pastor. I think the contrast of a mousey little guy like me making an impassioned speech surprised them and made more of an impact than I might otherwise not have made.
One lady asked me if I was a preacher. I assured her I was not. I thought the pastor seemed in the best spirits I had seen him since I met him. Of course his leg is not bothering him at all any more and I’m sure that helps.
The question now is what will the people who brought the case before the church do now. They were defeated, but I doubt they will give up. I expect a guerilla campaign against the pastor. A member of the prosecution gave Karol a hug on Sunday. She didn’t know quite what to make about that.
Perhaps I can use some of my world infamous persuasion skills to turn them around. That will take a one-on-one discussion. It might prove to be an interesting challenge.
It reminds me of this Irish blessing:
May those who love us, love us;
And for those who don't love us,
May God turn their hearts;
And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
May He turn their ankles,
So we will know them by their limping
I don’t know the people of this church yet. I have not developed the discipline to remember names well.
A recent study about out-sourcing computer jobs to other countries came to the following conclusions.
1) Offshore out-sourcing is expected to grow by 26% per year. It will go from $10 billion in '03 to $31 billion in '08.
2) Total savings to the US economy will go from $6.7 billion to $20.9 billion. It reduces costs to consumers, dampens inflation, lowers interest rates, and increases spending.
3) Many individual workers will loose their jobs do to offshore out-sourcing.
4) Net employment effect to the US economy, as been a net gain of 90,000 through 2003 and will grow to a net gain of 317,000 jobs in 2008.
The study finds that although some people will loose their jobs, other jobs in other industries will open up because of the cost savings. Offshore out-sourcing actually increases employment in the United States.
I can hear the cognitive dissonance already. Cognitive dissonance is what they call it when we a presented facts that dispute what we believe. When that happens our brain goes through a kind of convulsion while it tries to make sense of the situation.
In this case, I can hear you saying, "I don’t believe that. That doesn't make any sense. How can shipping jobs overseas result in an increase of employment in the US?"
I know this won't convince you right away. I only ask that you keep an open mind. Is it possible your belief about out-sourcing was formed from not having ALL the information? Could you be like the blind man touching an elephant? The blind man holds the elephant's trunk and exclaims, "It's a snake."
I finally have a little time and the market seems to be more bullish. I placed a bunch of buy orders tonight. Here there are.
About six month’s ago I lost a sale to a client. He was an existing user of Great Plains, but rather than upgrade to the newer version and Microsoft SQL server, he chose another software solutions.
Yesterday and today, I spent quite a bit of time exporting the data out so his new software vendor could import it into the new system. Although this is billable time and billable hours are always appreciated, I felt somewhat like a chump. It felt a little bit like I was contributing to my own demise.
In brief discussions with my contact at the client site I now know why I lost the sale to this competitor. My client is a small privately held firm. He’s not terribly big. He does about $16 million a year.
The owner happens to be Jewish. The owners of my competitor are ALSO Jewish. In conversations related to me by my contact, I am now quite certain the client chose this company because they are Jewish.
I just wish I had an inkling of this up front. I might have either saved myself some time or been able to make a different argument.
Dasher-1 glided into a landing at about 1800 today. The return trip was uneventful and I was able to maintain orbital velocity nearly the whole way.