Since I'm still organizing myself to offer help (wondering if we'll be sending Hubs anywhere soon?) to those affected by the hurricane, I thought I might shine a little light on something that bothers me almost every day, but is punctuated by events like these.So many people spend so much time b*tching about the military and calling them everything from ignorant to baby killers. They protest the military...God, some loons are even planning to protest a Blue Angels demonstration on the East Coast scheduled to occur soon because they see it as a "recruiting ploy" (I'd like to see them set up shop to protest the military-sponsored NASCAR drivers some weekend....wee-doggies!)...and yet, who is tapped to mobilize and come to the aid of fellow citizens facing God knows what? The National Guard, the Coast Guard, Navy ships from Maryland, other military divisions, firefighters and police officers.There are so many deployed units from the affected areas, many with soldiers coming home in less than 6 months, with members facing untold devastation upon their return from war. Soldiers' Angels, incidentally, is mobilizing to help our military members and their families affected by the hurricane. More on that as it becomes available.My question is this--Where is Hollywood? Where are businesses like Amazon.com who collected millions in the wake of the tsunami? Where are all the people who jaw all the time about how selfish and removed Americans are from the world? This horrible tragedy is unfolding in our own backyard and yet, these usually overly vocal groups are staying silent. Amazing.I will say Germany has graciously offered a hand. And, a radio station owned by Mr. & Mrs. Stephen King held a pay-for-play day to raise funds for the hurricane victims.What I'm not surprised about is how, once again, there are men and women willing to wade into the danger. To many, it's just performing their jobs. To those of us who know and love them, it's them demonstrating the very reason we are proud to know them and privileged to love them. They are brave. They have a love for their fellow man regardless of his/her political affiliation, race, income level, or address. I know there are bigger fish to fry at this point, but I have to sweep out this kind of clutter to be able to move to higher forms of thought. Definitely planning on helping Soldiers' Angels in their efforts...again, I'll keep you posted.
We still have information about Noah for your use. Now, though, since I've gotten off my chest all the negativity from the observations of humanity's inhumanity earlier this morning, I'm trying to think of a way to help Americans who need us more than is now imaginable.If you are interested in helping, but wonder which charities might use your money most wisely, check out Charity Navigator for up-to-date and comprehensive information about individual charities and how they allocate your funds.Also, put on your thinking caps & try to be creative in coming up with ways you can link with those in your circle--family, friends, church groups, school groups, co-workers--and do something meaningful. People have lost their glasses. People's pets need to eat. People may not have a decent toothbrush. If you think of all the things you've done today & how impossible much of it would be with feet of water enveloping your daily life, you might come up with something HUGE.Put it in comments & let's get thinking!
A fellow Milblogger, and fellow Melinda to boot!, had this beautiful photo on her blog this morning & I borrowed it (hope that is okay, Melinda!) to remind you that Noah still needs to hear from you. I've given you the addresses where you can send a check/money order or just a get well soon wish. And, of course, the PayPal option remains for you in the right sidebar of this site.I am just overrun this morning with a mix of emotions in response to the situation in the Gulf Coast. I can't imagine the devastation because I haven't lived through anything like that. I also can barely relate to the desperation that the citizens must feel. And, as always, the US will be responsible for taking care of its own--no one will be rushing to our aid as we do for them and even those capable of raising millions (Live Aid, anyone?) are strangely silent when it comes to dealing with those in "the South". So, it's extremely important that you find some way to offer some assistance to those in need.Thoughts like those expressed above are on one side of my mind...on the other, I have these, less PC thoughts:Stop the damndable looting!--I didn't agree with the willy-nilly lawlessness in LA or Iraq for that matter and I certainly don't agree with it in New Orleans. I've never seen anything more disgusting or ignorant than mobs of people breaking in to their neighbors' businesses and stealing things that they have no use for and whose value will be ruined simply because these idiots not only have no place to live, they also don't have a storage facility to house electronics, etc. Stealing is wrong...period. I'm not saying if I found myself in a desperate situation where I am responsible for feeding my girls that I wouldn't find myself walking out of an abandoned supermarket with some water, cereal, bread, diapers and canned goods after leaving an IOU on the counter. What I can tell you is that no one has use for a widescreen TV or a need for a Rolex in New Orleans today.A police officer was shot in the head yesterday by looters. Unfortunately, the police haven't been shooting back, leaving business owners and neighbors to fend for themselves against armed gangs of thugs--some of whom apparently armed themselves after robbing a Wal-Mart of its guns and ammo. A prison in the flooding area has been overrun by the prisoners and hostages have been taken.And, the staff and 100 children locked inside Children's Hospital fear for their safety after looters have been gathered outside, attempting to break in and emergency crews and law enforcement have been unable to respond.And, of course, the media has joined in to show us all the looting because it makes good TV. For many, it will become a statement of race or seen as a condition of race. It puts an ugly face on the city of New Orleans and it's worth noting it isn't a racial issue, but a cultural one. The culture that encourages and rewards this type of behavior has been present in New Orleans for a long time and exists across this nation in all kinds of places. But if you look at those who are working so hard to help their neighbors, save lives, and locate survivors, you'll see people from all different races and stations of life banding together to make this rescue effort successful. It's those Americans you should be conscious of when you decide how much you can be helping. Find Your Listening Ears--Whatever their reasons for not leaving, citizens of New Orleans are now being evacuated in a mandatory fashion. If they survived the initial storm or subsequent flooding and if they can be reached in time to be saved, these folks did nothing more than put countless people at risk by deciding to try and "ride it out." Granted, there were countless people who for physical, mental or financial reasons might have desired to leave and couldn't--perhaps their neighbors didn't even offer to help them--but by their own accounts, there are lots of people who just stayed...some because they didn't believe the level of danger, others to try and protect their property, and still others because they have lived through other hurricanes without much incident.The problem, in my mind, isn't that they stayed. This is a free country. People make decisions about what to do in their own lives every day.My problem lies in that now, after they are met head-on with what nature can do and the fact that the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center weren't playing, there are multitudes of people impatiently waiting their rescue...first responders must now put their lives in danger over and above their normal calling to save people who could have left, but who chose not to do so.I guess to me, the futileness of that gamble is devastating so many families and will potentially do so for so many more whose loved ones will be charged with finding and evacuating those who made a decision to stay.Are you seriously blaming this on the President?--I almost drove off the road today listening to some of the commentary on a syndicated "urban" morning show from the hosts and from callers in regard to the President's role and response to the hurricane. Here were some of my favorites:"If we were able to go into Iraq on what we thought was gonna be there, then why can't we get to these people faster? We have people without toilet paper down there! Why can't we go in and drop toilet paper and water to them?"--This is one of the most moronic things I've ever heard. First, I refer back to my previous paragraphs as to why law enforcement and first responders are having trouble finding/reaching people not to mention broken gas lines and downed power lines making it so dangerous.Second, have you watched the news at all, jackass? Just where in the hell would you suggest we "drop" toilet paper and water? And, frankly, I could think of lots of ways to wipe my arse without toilet paper, but in the mess those folks have, figuring out where to take a crap without contaminating my living space or being contaminated by others' waste would be my more prevalent concern."When Florida had their hurricane, they would have already been declared a disaster area by now...I think this is just politics because of Bush and his brother."--Let's review: Florida was already a disaster area when a hurricane hit because there were a total of four hurricanes in a row and after one made a mess, it just made sense to leave the disaster proclamation on the table. And, I'm sure it was the evil cult of Bush that conspired to get Hurricane Katrina to barely touch Florida and ravage the Gulf Coast. Are these people serious?It is amazing to me that in a time of a natural disaster, there are still people who will choose to take potshots at politicians and governmental leaders rather than digging in to their wallets or using their time to find how else they can help. Lord forbid anyone take responsibility for their choices and actions and move on from there...oh, no! Let's just blame our life's station on another human being we don't even know because in doing so, we never have to rise above the embarrasingly low level of performance we've resigned ourselves to every day. What a waste of life & breath! Get a grip. Get a job. Get a life.
My knowledge of HTML is limited at best. I did, however, want to make you aware that after HOURS (literally) of putzing around, I've been able to add a link to Noah P's Wounded Warrior Fund via Paypal into my sidebar. There are two "donation"buttons that go to the same place simply because when I take away the code for the top button, the print calling attention to the second button becomes smaller and that's not what I want!Anyway, I was able to add a photo of our handsome soldier--is that the grin of a much younger, mischievous kiddo or what?!--as well as the link that will take you to his Wounded Warrior Fund.This fund will help defray the cost of his parents as they travel to see him and stay overseas, as well as any other costs that the military will not cover given that his injuries are not life-threatening (thank God!). Soldiers' Angels are playing an instrumental part in this fund and Noah's parents have said that anything donated to Noah's fund that isn't used will be turned back to Soldiers' Angels and the Wounded Warrior Project.
If you don't have a Paypal account, but you'd like to help with a check or money order, you can mail it to:
Noah P Wounded Warrior Fund
Wells Fargo Bank
825 Miller Valley Road
Prescott, AZ 86301
You may not feel compelled to click that button, but I certainly hope that you feel compelled to spend the 37-cents it would take to mail this brave young man a card or letter to wish him a speedy recovery. Just use this address:
Noah P Wounded Warrior
1042 Willow Creek
Prescott, AZ 86301
I have faith that each & every one of you reading this today will take the time to send him a card or, if you can, to help defray the costs facing his parents as they travel to be with their son.
M1 took dance for a little over a year inside her daycare. Every Friday, a dance school would come and teach classes. I thought the concept was brilliant--the company had no studio, but rather went to different daycare centers and schools in the area. Her dance class experience culminated in her first and only recital on June 5th of last year--the day Hubs left for train-up. NOT my best day by far. But, M1 shone. She was flawless in her performance. Her dad & I both practically cried (well, I did cry and he almost did) and we were both on our feet to lead a standing ovation for a difficult song and dance routine to "One!" from 42nd Street.For months now, her gymnastics teacher has been inquiring about M1's dance class status. The basic tone of those conversations is that if M1 isn't taking dance, she should be because she appears to have some natural talent there. In my attempts to avoid having an elementary schooler without a Franklin Planner, I had been trying to stick to one activity at a time.I did a little digging though and found out that the city's ballet also has its own ballet school. In addition to the classes held downtown at the theater, they have two satellite locations. One of those is not too far from work and M1's school and they had a convenient Ballet I class time. So, I've enrolled her in their 34-week dance semester. Wow...that's a committment!They are very prescribed in what the students wear. The color of the leotard depends on the class level and they girls are not permitted to wear skirts with their leotards so that the instructor can see their form at all times. They also only allow "visitors" to class on certain days of the year. And, much to M1's dismay, there is no recital at the end of the year. She told me it makes her "feel good" to be on stage dancing or singing for people. She also doesn't understand that if she scores a part in the ballet company's annual performance of "The Nutcracker", she will not have the lead. She's pretty ambitious!I lucked into finding a powder blue leotard at Target. I need to find some pink tights...I accidentally bought "footless" when I wanted footed. And, we need to pick up a pair of pink ballet slippers this week. Unfortunately for us, the "Dance Shoppe" that we were referred to is only open Friday, Saturday and Sunday (???) and she'll be leaving town with her dad later this week...so it's off to Payless, I suppose! Looks like Thursday nights will be crockpot nights from now on unless Hubs gets home in time to start dinner. We're packing alot lately given that the girls are sometimes in the car when dinnertime rolls around! Looks like I'm going to have to become more creative!Sometimes I miss living closer to home and our small town, rural lifestyle. But then, when I look at all the things M1 loves to do and that she's able to do because of where we live, I'm thankful we didn't move back home. I don't intend to become a stage mother, but I do intend to offer her the chances she wants to take--if she thinks she can be famous or she wants to audition for performances, why not? I love to see her dreaming big and not feeling like she doesn't have a chance because she lives in the boondocks. It's fun to see her trying new things and bravely going in to new situations where I might have feared to tread at her age.
Watching Fox News this a.m. all focused on Hurricane Katrina and what will happen when it makes landfall, striking Mississippi and Louisiana. It appears the city of New Orleans could well be in for a big problem given that it is shaped like a bowl and all the water than comes in has to be pumped out as runoff does not naturally occur.They are expecting 25 FEET of water and for the electricial grid to go down...making pumps rely on diesel fuel. People are fleeing on clogged highways which, by the way, are ALL headed out, not in. Inbound lanes have been redirected to allow more people to leave at once. Others are packing themselves into the Superdome and preparing to ride out the storm there. In 1913, our city suffered under a HUGE flood and the photos from that, though black and white and grainy, are still stunning. Water touching lamps on lamp posts, only the tippity tops of buildings visible. I worked in the Archives of the university where I now teach. We have actual log books kept by the Marianist brothers who opened their doors to citizens during the worst of the floods since the school sat atop what amounted to a hill at that time. People's names, recorded in their own handwriting, serve as a testament to those who faced real, live death in the face.I imagine the coverage from Louisiana will resemble these photos in the coming days and that is really sad. 175-mile-per-hour winds, walls of water and lots of people loaded into places like the Superdome will be factors in this yet-to-hit-land hurricane scenario. And, as with most of the weather disaster scenarios, whether or not this catastophe comes to pass depends on the fickle path of a weather phenomenon names Katrina.I honestly hope they don't make some poor newsperson stand outside as the buckets of water heap themselves into New Orleans, breeching the levees. I mean, we all know what rain looks like, don't we? And, the reports they do at night are ridiculous...you can't see anything anyhow!It will be all Katrina, all the time.
M1 enjoyed her fair share of video stimuli when she was a kid. When I took a shower or in the quest to have dinner on the table, I would rely on 30-minutes or less of singing, dancing and learning delivered by familiar characters.M1's hand's down favorite was Elmo. I liked Elmo before she was born and she was introduced to him first and most often. It wasn't long before M1 could spot Elmo from 50 yards out and she could ask for him by name. She also developed a real love affair with Emeril LaGasse for awhile, because she thought when they said, "Emeril Live is next!" on the Food Network she thought they were saying "Elmo Live". Emeril eventually won her over with the "Bam!" and she'd watch him without expecting to see her favorite little red monster in tow.M2 had a different experience with videos and characters. Her introduction to TV didn't occur until closer to her first birthday. And, when it did, she was all over the Baby Einstein series. I became hooked too because her ability to take in what she was seeing and remember it. Everything from early words, to colors, to body parts (in English, Spanish and French) to numbers...Baby Einstein had us covered.It wasn't long, though, before she started to like more character-oriented shows and I wondered if our ridiculously overstuffed box of kid videos in the garage might have a second life cycle with M2. I was not disappointed at all when she immediately latched on to Blue's Clues.I think I actually missed Blue and Steve (I realize there is some new guy named Joe living at Blue's house now...but, in our household, Joe is "He-who-must-not-be-named") and I know I missed the music. There is no time like Mail Time, after all.I'm not crazy about the girls watching the shows in real-time on the networks, especially Nickelodeon shows. The commercialism and marketing that is force fed to the pint-sized set through those vehicles is staggering. But, a commercial free look at a show that asks kids to watch for three clues and then decipher what the little blue dog is trying to tell his owner, is good, clean fun.And, the girls and I all love "Blue's Big Musical Movie" which features a wonderful performance by Ray Charles as G-clef. I miss Ray. And that won't change.As it stands now, though, I don't have to miss Blue and Steve anymore.
It's Friday and it feels like it! It actually felt around Tuesday that it should be Friday then, but if you give yourself enough time, the weekend will finally roll around...thank God! Tonight, we'll be watching the boys of summer and eating some ballpark food. Fingers crossed we're spared by any downpours!Before I go, I'd like to give you some material to digest until I can visit and post more. Here are some things that are getting my goat today:Bags of puke who choose Walter Reed Army Medical Center as a protest site: I don't think I can say this, what with the possibility that children will read this, in a way that will do my anger justice. Anyone who thinks it is okay to stand in front of a hospital holding a sign that says, "Maimed for a Lie", should not be surprised when a fully justified, angry mob descends upon him, beats him to a bloody pulp and allows him to choke on his own teeth and die. In fact, I'm fully ready to pony up bail money if that situation would present itself. I remember participating in a "Support the Troops" rally on a street corner opposite the anti-war protestors on their regularly scheduled, weekly sign fest. They just couldn't stand the fact that we were there. They attempted to stand in front of us. They were jealous when passersby waved at us with all five fingers and aghast when people actually stopped their cars and went to buy us hot chocolate or even pick up a sign and stand with us for awhile.One woman, who invaded my personal space, told me she could stand wherever she wanted...even if that was practically on my toes and in front of me. I informed her, in my pregnancy hormone laden state, that she had that right because people were willing to die to guarantee it for her. However, she was also taking for granted that I was a law abiding citizen who didn't make it a routine practice of shoving annoying old ladies in to the street ( as she was perched precariously close to the curb to be in front of me ). It wasn't long before she took her "I support our troops; I want them home" sign to the opposite street corner draped in UN regalia and the like.ANYONE who places themselves between a bus of injured soldiers and the doors to their recovery facility should, in my opinion, be subject to a gigantic hole in the earth opening & their trip to hell being expedited...no ID necessary, do not pass Go and do not collect $200.I don't want to give them unwarranted attention, but I think it is a travesty that this continues. If an organized counter protest is waged some Friday, I will take the day off work and be headed to WRAMC in a heartbeat.A Must See Labor Day Weekend: Set your VCR's. I missed the first broadcast of this because I was at home for a family reunion and the God-awful movie, The Whole Nine Yards, was on...no one seemed to remember I wanted to watch "A Company of Heroes" on Fox News Channel at 9 p.m. I'll be in the same company again on Labor Day weekend, but I'll remember to set my VCR so I won't miss it once more. This documentary focuses on India Company, which is a party of the 3/25th Marine battalion here in Ohio that took heavy casualties this past month.The Search Continues: Michelle Malkin is offering continuing coverage of the incident in Seattle in which two men reported to be soldiers just returned from Iraq being beaten down outside a nightclub. The perpetrators, videotaped by an onlooker, reportedly groped one of the victim's wives/girlfriends inside the club. I haven't watched the video. I don't have the stomach for that kind of thing--not because of the violence but because of the ignorance of those committing it...like they are in a video game or something...too stupid to realize what ignorant asses they really are. Of course, Seattle's liberal media and PC government officials have stated that the soldiers should have just "walked away"...um, I think they should have shoved the creep's nose into their brains and called it a day...as if it is the victims' fault. Of course, had the soldiers been able to use their hand-to-hand combat training to smash in the punks' skulls, I'm certain there would be public outcry...WHATEVER. People just need to keep their hands to themselves!Okay...going home now. I need some downtime before game time!
I have been anxiously awaiting Michael Yon's latest dispatch, "Gates of Fire". This guy delivers straight up, eyewitness accounts of what is happening in Iraq as well as in-your-face, sugar-free reporting on Deuce Four. If you haven't read Michael Yon before, today is the day as what I think is some of the best writing I've read in I don't know how long is posted for your perusing today.I'll be back to post about us later.For now, though, visit Michael Yonand be prepared...it will take you on the rollercoaster of emotion that is war and the brotherhood involved in that endeavor.
And, for those of you who have been talking to God about Noah this week, you'll be happy to read some news on him and his family.