Friday, December 29, 2006

Happy New Year!

I wish everyone a Happy New Year that wants one.

Modigliani_Young Redhead Girl in an evening Dress

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Merry Christmas

This is a Christmas card I made especially for all my friends. This White Pine is my Christmas tree. The tree is in my backyard next to my garden and is about fifty feet tall. This tree used to be a favorite place for my Labrador Retriever get some shade while he watched me work in the garden. I have many other White Pines and other types of Spruces and Firs but this tree is special so I thought I'd share it with my friends.

Merry Christmas to everyone.

Christmas Bells

"I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along
The unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Till, ringing, singing on its way,
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime
A chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

Then from each black accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound
The carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn
The households born
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

And in despair I bowed my head;
"There is no peace on earth," I said;
"For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead; nor doth he sleep!
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men!"

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Happy Hanukkah

National Menorah

To all my friends,

I wish you a Happy Hanukkah!

Monday, December 18, 2006

During the Holidays

Last Friday, December 15th marked the beginning of the celebration Hanukkah. It is also referred to as the “Festival of Lights”. I learned all about Jewish holidays and traditions when I was just a child in grade school. One of my first friends outside of my family was Jewish and I quickly realized that they do not do the same things as my family did around the Holidays but since I was so young and my parents were good people I was able to learn many of the things that my Jewish friends did differently.

Fast forward to adult life and time spent in the military. I saw the hate that was displayed for people of Jewish faith up close and personal at some of the slave labor camps that were used during World War II when I visited Germany in the 1970’s. Later I saw the hate live when my travels took me to the Mediterranean and the Middle East.

I don’t like to bring these things up when my friends are celebrating one of the most joyous of holidays but recent events have forced me to say something in support of my friends and to condemn the actions of those that espouse and attempt to spread their hate.

Last week, just before the beginning of Hanukkah a convention was held in Tehran, Iran sponsored by a man that is known for his hate of people of the Jewish faith. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran held a conference to express a denial that the Holocaust happened in Europe during World War II. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad invited special guests that are also known haters and deniers of the Holocaust such as David Duke the former head of the KKK and a former Louisiana State Senator. Former president (choke) Jimmy Carter was invited even though he declined the invitation. Mr. Carter has become a very vocal critic of Israel and that can be OK, no person, country or leader should be above criticism but Mr. Carter has the idea that Israel must bend to the point of making its borders indefensible which is just wrong.

There’s no more talking about defending the people of the Jewish faith it just has to be done so that another holocaust cannot happen. I have said and I will continue to say “if the Muslims will lay down their arms and talk peace there will be peace” I also believe that if Israel lays down her arms Israel and her people will be exterminated by the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, David Duke with people like Jimmy Carter turning away so that he can say he did not see it happening. That is exactly how the perpetrators were able to make the holocaust happen Mr. Carter!

Shalom uv'racha leYisrael

The Divine Image

To Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
All pray in their distress;
And to these virtues of delight
Return their thankfulness

For Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is God, our father dear,
And Mercy, Pity, Peace, and Love
Is Man, his child and care.

For Mercy has a human heart,
Pity a human face,
And Love, the human form divine,
And Peace, the human dress.

Then every man, of every clime,
That prays in his distress,
Prays to the human form divine,
Love, Mercy, Pity, Peace.

And all must love the human form,
In heathen, Turk, or Jew;
Where Mercy, Love, and Pity dwell
There God is dwelling too.

William Blake

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Icon and Inspiration

Jeane Kirkpatrick

Yesterday, December 8th 2006 Americans lost a true icon of strength and an inspiration for freedom and democracy. Jeane Kirkpatrick, former United States Ambassador to the United Nations during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan died at the age of eighty.

Jeane Kirkpatrick was the first Democrat to attain a Cabinet rank position in the Reagan Administration when the president elect named her on December 22, 1980, to be the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, the first woman to hold that position. The
professor turned diplomat promised to resign if she could not in good conscience represent the policies of the administration, but Jeane Kirkpatrick quickly became one of Ronald Reagan’s most loyal and effective spokesmen in the U.N. and around the world.

A story that was told by her husband; “He and his wife, who was U.N. ambassador at the time, were strolling around Manhattan when a truck pulled up besides them. The driver, whom they never seen before, looked at Jeane, smiled, stuck out his head and cheered, 'Give 'em hell, Jeane!’ I remember that Jeane Kirkpatrick well.

I was just returning home from an overseas deployment with the US Navy and President Reagan named Mrs. Kirkpatrick as the ambassador to the United Nations and I thought to myself” I hope this is better than what we’ve been doing because there is no respect for us in United Nations or the rest of the world with this person we have called “President” for the last four years” (referring to Jimmy Carter and his useless administration). The American Embassy hostages in Iran were still being held and there was new hope that Mr. Reagan was not going to sit idly by wringing his hands and hoping the Iranians would be nicer to us and just let our people go.

I remember Jeane Kirkpatrick at the United Nations telling the Soviets that shooting down the Korean Airlines jet was an act of aggression and that the only people in the world that did not know about this atrocity was the Soviet citizens because their government keeps them in the dark about what they are doing.

Yes, I remember Jeane Kirkpatrick as being a stalwart voice of strength and common sense that I admired so much. I have tried hard to carry on in my own way the things that Mrs. Kirkpatrick represented because I truly believe in those same ideals. Right now we are going to need another Jeane Kirkpatrick that can stand up to a weak and questionable Congress and a determined enemy that controls a large block in the United Nations. We will miss your strength and wisdom Jeane Kirkpatrick.

A Farewell

Flow down, cold rivulet, to the sea,
Thy tribute wave deliver:
No more by thee my steps shall be,
For ever and for ever.

Flow, softly flow, by lawn and lea,
A rivulet then a river:
Nowhere by thee my steps shall be
For ever and for ever.

But here will sigh thine alder tree
And here thine aspen shiver;
And here by thee will hum the bee,
For ever and for ever.

A thousand suns will stream on thee,
A thousand moons will quiver;
But not by thee my steps shall be,
For ever and for ever.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Day Which Will Live in Infamy-December 7, 1941

Fight_McClelland Barclay

Duty, honor, courage and love of country, the men and women of America went to war to avenge the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor by the forces of Imperial Japan. In the end Japan lost the war and the brave men and women that fought this war will always be known as the "Greatest Generation".

A Sailor's Prayer

Lord, as I stand on the rolling deck
To view the restless sea
With its wide expanse of darkened sky,
You seem so far from me.

Intrepid youth should feel no fear,
But I have a load of care
For the safety of our ship and men.
Lord, hear my earnest prayer:

That I be true to every task;
May no fault lie with me.
Whatever danger may arise,
As we sail the raging sea.

May I be calm and know that You
Can still the wind and wave,
And be assured in perfect trust
That You have the power to save.

When the moon sheds beams from a starlit sky,
I feel near to You again,
For the same moon shines on my loved ones, too,
And I thank You, Lord......Amen.

This poem was sent to Mark Bradley by his Father who was concerned about the safety of his only son.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Stop, You're Hurting our Ears!

Scream_Edvard Munch

Ever since the mid-term elections and democrats have gained a small majority in Congress we have been hearing all kinds of things that quite frankly, hurt all of our ears. The first thing that comes to mind and it sounds like the squeaky metallic brake pads on my pickup truck is the claim by the incoming Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi ” This will be the cleanest Congress we’ve ever seen and they will change the culture of corruption”. Oh paleeeease, when I hear words like that coming from someone like Nancy Pelosi I feel like my ears are going to fall off. It is almost too ridiculous to separate Mrs. Pelosi and the words “Culture of Corruption” when it was Mrs. Pelosi that backed Jack Murtha from Pennsylvania to be the House Majority leader, arguably the most corrupt man in Congress.

Then there was the imbroglio over appointing a Chairperson for the House Intelligence Committee. The person that stood in line of inheriting the job because of his seniority was a former Federal Judge that has the distinction of being one of only a few Federal Judges that have been removed from office through impeachment. This corrupt Federal Judge was impeached for bribery and the only reason he didn’t go to jail is the lawyer that represented this corrupt judge wouldn’t testify against him even though the lawyer himself went to jail for being a part of the scheme. That Congressman’s name is Alcee Hastings, a democrat representing the 23rd Congressional district in Florida. Alcee Hastings represents the same people that had so much trouble counting holes in ballot cards in in Broward and Dade counties during the 2000 elections. I suppose that should come as no surprise.

The next person in line for that all important and sensitive job of House Intelligence Committee Chair would normally have gone to the next in line which is a another woman democrat from California and her name is Jane Harmon. Ms. Harmon didn’t take a strong enough stand against the War on Terror according to Mrs. Pelosi so Mrs. Pelosi refused to appoint Ms Harmon. Ms. Harmon was backed by moderate democrats (if there is such a thing) for the position but that was not to be. Mrs. Pelosi has finally appointed a Texas democrat named Silvestre Reyes who in 2005 missed 94 votes in the House, the ninth most of any member.

This is some start for a Speaker and political party that claim to want to stop the “Culture of Corruption” in Congress. My only reaction to those words is “Stop you’re hurting our ears”!

A slant of sun on dull brown walls

A slant of sun on dull brown walls,
A forgotten sky of bashful blue.

Toward God a mighty hymn,
A song of collisions and cries,
Rumbling wheels, hoof-beats, bells,
Welcomes, farewells, love-calls, final moans,
Voices of joy, idiocy, warning, despair,
The unknown appeals of brutes,
The chanting of flowers,
The screams of cut trees,
The senseless babble of hens and wise men --
A cluttered incoherency that says at the stars:
"O God, save us!"

Stephen Crane