Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday that is observed on the last Monday of May (observed this year on 2007-05-28). It was formerly known as Decoration Day. This holiday commemorates U.S. men and women who have died in military service to their country. It began first to honor Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War. After World War I, it expanded to include those who died in any war or military action. One of the longest standing traditions is the running of the Indianapolis 500, which has been held in conjunction with Memorial Day since 1911. [source: Wikipedia]

In the course of your celebration of the beginning of summer this year, maybe you could take a minute to raise a glass or even bow a head and remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country. From the Revolutionary War through to the Civil War, where Memorial Day got its beginning, to the World Wars and even into the unpopular wars, Korea, Vietnam and now Iraq, the men and women who died in those wars deserve to be remembered. For one reason or another, they answered their nation’s call to service and then died in the course of that service. No great love has any man than to lay down his life for another [John 15:13].

I remember Lance Corporal Joseph B. Spence. Killed January 26, 2005.

I remember Petty Officer 1st Class Michael J. Pernaselli. Killed 24 April 2004.

I remember Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher E. Watts. Killed 24 April 2004.

I remember Coast Guardsman, Petty Officer Third Class Nathan Bruckenthal. Killed 24 April 2004.


[posted with ecto]

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I’ve been into photography since 1980 when I bought my first Canon AE-1. I loved that camera. I’m sorry I don’t still have it. In 1990 my photography equipment got stolen. I replaced the AE-1 with a Canon EOS 650 which I still have. When I was deployed to Kuwait I took the first digital camera I bought, a Canon A10 (I think). Digital photography is pretty cool. Digital film is cheap and persistent. Take as many shots as necessary and simply delete all but the best, sans the cost of developing. I still think that’s pretty cool.

However, storing your old skool photograph prints is pretty cheap and easy. Shoe boxes are pretty cheap. Acid free sleeves are easy to find these days and then you just need shoes boxes. Digital photographs are a little different. They have to be stored on drives, CDs or some other media. That necessitates some kind of cataloguing system still you can no longer simply flip through the prints in the shoe box anymore. It all seemed so cool. So cheap.

And lastly, digital photographs change the way we share photos with our friends and family. It use to be that we would drag our prints around and assail the unsuspecting with our latest photos from Greece or that beautiful niece. None of which anyone really wanted to look at. If you were unfortunate enough to be my friend, not only did you have to look at bad pictures, you had to listen to me tell the stories that went with them.

For years now I’ve been trying to store all the digital photos I’ve ever taken on my laptop. I wanted to have them all with me. I never looked at them all. I just wanted to know that I could look at them all if I wanted to. Of late, that has meant allocating over 20 gigabytes to something that I seldom actually used. Additionally, no one really wanted to gather around a laptop to look at photographs, even on the rare occasion that they actually did want to see the picture.

So, I finally broke down and paid the $20 for Flickr Pro account. Now I’m uploading all of my photos to Flickr. I uploaded the first batch today. The pictures from my deployment in 2004. I will be uploading more in the coming weeks. I have about 5000 photos but I’m not sure that I’ll upload all of them. Everyone has already seen the picture of the abominable snowman in a snow storm, right?


[posted with ecto]

Iraq’s government has lost control of vast areas to powerful local factions and the country is on the verge of collapse and fragmentation, a leading British think-tank said on Thursday (source article).

I think this is an interesting article. I do not necessarily agree with the conclusions drawn but the article points out a couple of things that are not being said often enough.

The article says that the Iraqi government is on the verge of collapse. While I believe that to be a true statement I think we need to remember that the Iraqi government is really still in the birthing process. The article points to the Iraqi government’s lack of influence over regions of Iraq as evidence that it is near collapse. However, one might also say that is evidence of a new government slowly gaining control of the territory within its boundaries. It is a question of perspective and spin. What happens next depends on many factors not the least of which is how much international support the new government gets.

The article also calls attention to the fact that Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey have vested interest in the internal conflicts in Iraq. Failure to ensure the establishment of a sound and secure government in Iraq is likely to lead to greater unrest beyond the borders of Iraq.


[posted with ecto]

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Darwin Awards each year celebrates stupidity by awarding those who kill themselves doing something stupid. The more stupid, the higher the award.

The gentleman in this story didn’t manage to kill himself. Thus, he does not yet qualify for consideration in this year’s awards. However, it seems certain that he will not die of old age.


[posted with ecto]

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Articles like this embarrass me as a Christian as they do Dan Kimball.
From what I gather having read two of Paul Proctor’s articles I have to conclude that Paul’s view is this. You preach hell, fire and brimstone every Sunday in a little whitewashed country church with everyone sitting in hardwood pews. The music is always a choir backed by either an orchestra or, if you can’t afford one, an organ. You sing your worship songs from a hymnal and those that can sing the harmony are a little further along in their spiritual walk. Christians strive to maintain good, peaceful relationships with other Christians but should not shrink from telling unbelievers what sinners they are. And if this results in one being unpopular or even reviled within the community, praise God that one is worthy of persecution.
I have to wonder if it has occurred to Paul Proctor and those like him that Christ’s harshest words were not for the ‘sinners’ of the day. Christ’s harshest words were reserved for the church leaders of the day. “You brood of vipers,” “you whitewashed tombs.” Those terms were not used in reference to the sinners of the day. Those terms were directed at the church leaders.
I have to wonder who the Pharisees and Sadducees of today are? Well, to be honest, I really don’t wonder that hard. I have an idea.

Mr. Howard’s comments on Christmas (related news articles) and its place in Australia are a refreshing breath of fresh air in a politically correct world. It is interesting to note that his opposition managed to find a way, convoluted as it was, to make politic hay.

I think Mr. Howard makes an outstanding point. Denying one’s own cultural heritage does not make that person more tolerant. Tolerance is permitting or accepting that other people believe differently. Hiding one’s Christian beliefs does not make them more tolerant. It appeases the intolerance of others thereby condoning intolerance within society.