Why My Husband is Wonderful

Today I washed and dried my husband’s iPod with his shorts. He didn’t fuss. But that is not why he is wonderful.

Kidding around, he told my youngest that “since your mom washed this, I thought I would give it to you.” My youngest’s eyes lit up. That is not why my husband is wonderful.

But when my son was disappointed, when his face fell because it was a joke, when he left the room… My husband said, “God would repay him for that.” And then he said, “I could go at lunch tomorrow and get him an iPod.”

That is why my husband is wonderful. He recognized that he disappointed his son and was willing to make it good.

The Tipping Point – names

The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell has a discussion of the Connectors, people who know everyone. To determine who would fit on the list a number of names were chosen randomly from the New York City phone book. Then folks were asked how many people with this last name they knew who would also know them. The “know” only meant could identify the name when seeing the person.

After typing out the list of names in the book to find out how many average people know, I thought that there is a disparity in the names and the general population. I thought so when I first read the list and I think so even more now.

There are way too many Jewish names for the percentage of Jews in the average town in Texas. Shoot, any town in Texas.

And that, I think, would make those taking this test in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut have higher numbers than those down here. When I was in high school I went to school with Cohns and Cohens and Feinsteins and Weinsteins and Levines. I wouldn’t think one of those names would come up in my church directory now. (Larger population size in the church.) Let’s look. Nope. Not a one.

Just for giggles, in the area phone book there are
3 Cohen
4 Cohn
1 Feinstein
1 Levine
1 Weinstein

In contrast, there are
53 Gomez
120+ Clark
120+ Garcia

0 Moy
0 Guglielmo

Just a thought, but it may be that you would do better on this list if you were in the city from which the list was taken. (In this case, NYC.)

Roman Roads

Although the research I’ve done says that Assyrian roads were the earlier roads, and much like Roman roads, this was interesting.

Stretching 535 miles across modern-day Albania, Macedonia and Greece, the stone-paved road made the going easy for charioteers, soldiers and other travellers. It was up to 30 feet wide in places and was dotted with safety features, inns and service stations.

Built between 146 and 120 B.C. under the supervision of the top Roman official in Macedonia, proconsul Gaius Egnatius, the highway ran from the Adriatic coast in what is now Albania to modern Turkey, giving Rome quick access to the eastern provinces of its empire.


A central partition of large stones protected charioteers from oncoming vehicles, with similar barriers on the verges.

“This prevented chariots, wagons and carts from skidding off the road,” Tsatsopoulou said.

She said drivers held the reins with their right hand and wielded their whip with the left, so the Romans made drivers stay on the left to avoid the lash of oncoming riders and keep road-rage incidents to a minimum.

from icWales via Mirabilis

Old Gardens…

and carrots. Yellow and white carrots. No orange ones. Yellow and white carrots were the carrots of the 1600s.

“Fennel seeds boiled in water are beneficial for those who have the shivers,” from a 1620 herbal book.

Typical, too, of the time is an arched allee, in this case covered with honeysuckle.

Renaissance garden grows tells it all.

God and Repetition

Our pastor said, in my favorite sermon, that maybe God didn’t just set the sun and moon and stars in motion. Maybe the earth doesn’t turn because of natural laws. Maybe every morning God says to the firmament, “Do it again.”

Do it again. Just like the joy a child has. Do it again.

That gave me a new appreciation for sunrise. And for God. And for our pastor.

Repetition and Little Kids

“If you think about the world of a preschooler, they are surrounded by stuff they don’t understand– things that are novel. so the driving force for a preschooler is not a search for understanding and predictability,” says Anderson. “For younger kids, repetition is really valuable. They demand it. When they see a show over and over again, they not only are understanding it better, which is a form of power, but just by predicting what is going to happen, I think they feel a real sense of affirmation and self-worth. and Blue’s Clues doubles that feeling, because they also feel like they are participating in something. They feel like they are helping Steve.”

Fascinating stuff. I always thought Sesame Street was too quick, too sectional. My husband, on the other hand, adored it. And my kids liked it. But my kids preferred Barney. And, you know what, despite all the hate of the purple dinosaur, I did too. Sesame Street was written, I said and it turns out it is true, for adults. Barney was not. It was written just for children. And that is why I liked it. I expect that is why the kids loved it and the adults, in general, hated it.

This quote is from The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. It was first published in 2000, but is apparently being read by different sections of the blogosphere than I read. My husband recommended it to me.

The Good News in Iraq

Here is a site you can go to and download the “week in Iraq” for the good news from Iraq.

I am thrilled with it, because it is in pages, which gives my brain a place to stop. It has pictures. Which I like. And it is written in sections which are whole in themselves. I’m not clicking through a lot of different sites.

So, while I doubt this is all the good news from Iraq in any given week, I like it. Go there. Get it.

Why is Recruiting Up?

Remarkably, units under the most pressure in Iraq are heavily oversubscribed for re-enlistment.

Recruits in July totaled 109 percent of the Army’s goal, the second straight month above target. In aggregate, the four services were 4 percent over (the Navy fell 1 percent short).

Every one of the Army’s 10 combat divisions has exceeded its re-enlistment goal for the fiscal year so far. The 1st Cavalry Division was at 136 percent; the 3rd Infantry Division at 117 percent. As author Ralph Peters noted, “This is unprecedented in wartime.”

The troops are not doing this for the bonuses – only 60 percent get re-enlistment money, and the great bulk of those are $12,400 a year or less. They are not doing it for loot and booty, to impress the old crowd back home, or to learn a trade.

They are risking life and limb because they care passionately about the job. We wonder what we have done to deserve soldiers of such devotion. They deserve all the best we can give them, in equipment, sound policy and honor.

This truth in reporting, even the side I don’t like–that recruiting is below wants for the fiscal year–is brought to you by The Boston Herald.

via Euphoric reality

Dirty Bomb at Houston Airport

Okay, there wasn’t. But last night, while four TSA folks turned the opposite direction, two women got out of line and picked up their suitcases and walked on. A passenger, waiting in line, said, “What? They’re special that they don’t get patted down?”

Instead of going after them, the TSA folks did…. nothing.

But, eventually, they closed the airport and called in all the police. (Which is how I heard the story.)

A was out at a dinner for women who had been working hard on a thankless project. K, her eldest, called and said, “Daddy wants to know when you are coming home. He got called up to go to the airport.”

Well, K is 19, so A is thinking, “All right. So B won’t be home when I get there. That’s okay.”

So she answers her daughter that they’ll be leaving in a few minutes.

Five minutes later, A’s phone rings again. “You haven’t left yet?” A is wondering why B is calling her. “Go get gas, if you can find it. Pick up five gallon jugs of water. Buy any canned goods you think we could use. I emptied out the front closet.”

A is wondering what B knows that she doesn’t, but he’s not telling her. This is only the second time in 7 years B has been called in to the airport. The last time was 9/11.

“Remember,” B tells her, “on December 7, 1941 everyone just thought it was an ordinary day.”

Turns out A hadn’t heard of the dirty bombs in the US. She didn’t know we’ve been receiving terrorist threats against our airports.

But, thank you, God, it also turns out that the two women were probably just two lazy, impatient women. I wish they had found them and been able to charge them all the price that the airlines are going to have to eat. Do you know that they closed incoming lanes for 30 minutes and outgoing for over 2 hours? Think how many schedules across the US were messed up because of that.

Two Marine Brothers: A Prayer Request

I teach with a wonderful woman and her husband. Their two youngest sons are in the Marines. Brett just arrived in Iraq today with a classified job that is very dangerous. Justin is at Camp Pendleton going through training and he collapsed on Wednesday and had to have surgery.

Please pray for both these young men. And their parents.

Why Was Pearl Harbor Attacked?

It was a war for oil. (A real one? Or was that just propaganda?)

E was told, in Algebra II of all places, that the reason the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor was because the US had the Japanese surrounded and the Japanese could not get any oil. R had a conniption about this interpretation.

So, I went online to find what I could about the reasoning behind the Pearl Harbor attack. I knew that I’ve always heard it was because we were helping the Chinese. (For those with a spotty view of history, this was before Mao took over and Communism became the government of China.)

The most on topic source so far, a UK school essay, says:

After World War II started Japan grew angry with the U.S.A. because they were helping China by sending them war supplies. Japan didn’t like this because China was the main target of Japanese attacks. As a result of this Japan decided to take a “peace” trip to the U.S.A. . They made the trip in November of 1941. During this “peace” trip Japan made three proposals to the government. These proposals were, to stop aiding China, to stay out of Asian affairs, and to begin shipping oil to Japan right away or Japan would attack the U.S.A. . President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the government of the United States didn’t carry out these proposals.

So, oil was involved. The Japanese wanted oil. But, according to this, that was not the single reason why the attack came. The main problem seemed to be that, by aiding the Chinese, we were siding with their enemies. “The friend of my enemy is my enemy.” Of course, our not shipping oil made us an enemy also.

By defeating the Pacific Fleet, the Japanese expected to force us to stay out of their war. According to The Pearl Harbor Day Page:

The prevailing belief within the Japanese military and political establishment was that eventually, with the then expected German defeat of Great Britain and Soviet Russia, the United States’ non-involvement in the European war, and Japan’s control of the Pacific, that the world power structure would stabilize into three major spheres of influence:
1.) The Empire of Japan controlling East, Southeast, and South Asia and the entire Pacific Ocean.
2.) The combined powers of Germany and Italy controlling Great Britain, all of Europe, Western and central Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.
3.) The United States, controlling North and South America.

This is also the reasoning from a Charlotte, NC school report. Short and sweetly, A the school report says:

The Japanese attacked for mainly one reason, to rid the United States threat in the Pacific Ocean so Japan could easily conquer all the island nations (Ienaga 135-136).

The source quoted is Saburo Ienaga’s book The Pacific War, published by Random House in 1978.

However, I found some answers at the faqarm which are much more in line with what the teacher said in Algebra II. The only problem with that is, this is much like Wikepedia and depends on the due diligence of whatever random readers came here to leave answers. There were three for my title question.

Japan was somewhat of a power hog, and wanted all the power that they could get. They thought that by bombing Pearl Harbor America wouldn’t have time to react.

There are many reasons as to why Japan attacked Pearl harbour but there is only one major reason which is to do with American intervention in Japanese affairs. One of these was where the U.S. prohibited exports of steel, scrap iron and fuel to Japan because of the takeover of northern Indochina. Another reason was when Japan took over the rest of Indochina and the US once again took action. This time they made oil unavailable to the Japanese, making both their air force and navy completely useless. Because of all of this invention by America, the Japanese military decided that they had to get rid of the Pacific fleet because the Americans would surely intervene and cause them more trouble. Once this was done they could start their war plan to take over Burma, Malaya, the East Indies, and the Philippines.

It is also worth mentioning that both America and Japan had joined the war effort on rival sides prior to Pearl Harbour, though America had not of course declared war. Japan signed a mutual defensive pact with Germany and Italy in September 1940 and the Lend-Lease Act tied America to the Allies from March 1941.

I found a Navy history site which develops a bit more on the “war for oil” argument. (Oh, I couldn’t help it. It was so appropos.)

The United States, which had important political and economic interests in East Asia, was alarmed by these Japanese moves. The U.S. increased military and financial aid to China, embarked on a program of strengthening its military power in the Pacific, and cut off the shipment of oil and other raw materials to Japan.

Because Japan was poor in natural resources, its government viewed these steps, especially the embargo on oil as a threat to the nation’s survival. Japan’s leaders responded by resolving to seize the resource-rich territories of Southeast Asia, even though that move would certainly result in war with the United States.

So, if you go through all these:

The US was upset with Japan for attacking China. So we aided the Chinese and shut down the supplies the Japanese had been getting from us. The Japanese came over in November 1941 and issued terrorist threats saying that they would attack us unless we ceded to their demands. These demands included leaving China alone, in fact, staying out of Asian affairs entirely, and sending Japan the resources they lacked, including oil.

Having a “don’t negotiate with terrorists” policy, we did not. They were angry. They wanted what they wanted, so they decided they had to attack us to get us out of their way.

Therefore, while the “we surrounded them and wouldn’t give them oil” was not quite accurate, it was much more in the ballpark than my husband (and I) originally thought.

You learn something new every day. (Or you ought to.)

Stephen J. Cannell

R called me Wednesday morning and said that Stephen J. Cannell had been on the radio and was going to be at Alamo Draft House that evening. Would I like to go? I said yes. I was thinking, “Hey, I actually know that name. Wasn’t he writing for Adam 12?”

So, we went.

It was a long drive out there. It’s on the west side of Houston and we’re NE. And the traffic was strong, though not bumper to bumper. (That was going the other direction.) –The interesting thing about the trip was we didn’t get home till 11:30 pm.

We arrived, went in, sat down. You can eat there–thank goodness. We ordered Abita Root Beer on tap. It was very sweet, without the twist I expect from root beer. But still good. We ordered and ate potato skins. Bland. The salsa with them was a bit sweet, not spicy. Then we had pizza. R’s is much better. But it wasn’t bad.

Eventually SJC began to speak.

He talked about making the A-Team. The big TV guy told him he wanted it to kind of be Dirty Dozen, Magnificent Seven, crazy guy chewing on feet, Mission: Impossible, and The Road Warrior. And the show is what SJC came up with. It was interesting.

He said that Great American Hero was a “super hero show.” And when they told him to do it, he said, “I’ll do it if I can have it be about the suit. The powers are in the suit.” So they said yes. And then, they left. The next powers that be were not as impressed with the idea of it being all about the suit. They wanted space aliens and monsters… He gave them that once. And, of course, the suit comes from a close encounter of the alien kind.

We watched a Great American Hero episode. Then we watched the A-Team pilot.

Then he answered questions. Someone asked him whether he always knew he would be a writer. He said that he has major learning disabilities, that he had failed three grades by the time he got out of high school…. But then he was at University of Oregon and he signed up for a Creative Writing class. He went to ask Ralph Salsbury, the teacher, about his grading policy, because SJC couldn’t spell worth a lick. The teacher said he wanted SJC to use all the words he knew, not just the ones he thought he could spell. (That night he used verisimilitude and excoriate.)

When he’d been in the class a while, he got a note: “Come see me during office hours.” SJC said he was used to teacher conferences, so he went with dread. Ralph Salsbury closed the door and said, “You are one of the best two students I’ve seen writing in the last 15 years of teaching. You have a God-given talent.”

He said he enjoyed writing novels, because he got to cover everything. But writing for TV was good too because he got to interact with lots of folks.

You pronounce his name “can-uhl” not “cuh-nell,” like I thought.

He wrote for or created and wrote some of my favorite shows:
The Commish
The A-Team
Murder She Wrote (You know, I can’t find a thing that says Cannell wrote on this, but the beginning scene in the typewriter is SJC’s from earlier shows, so he must have had some connection.)
Baa, Baa Black Sheep
Booker
Ironside
Hardcastle and McCormick

He also did The Rockford Files, which was my dad’s favorite show back when we got a TV in 1974.

SJC is now writing novels. He’s been writing one a year since 1996. They’re mysteries. They’re investigative police work.

I bought three copies of the first one, one for me and two for guys in Iraq. I should have just had him put his name on mine. He asked me about Bryan, where he was and when he’d be home. I don’t think I said that Donald was a Soldier. But one was for me, one for a Soldier, and one for a Marine.

And then I bought one hardback of his newest book.

At the end, R said it was strange to go to a theater for dinner and to watch TV.

Two interesting sites I found while surfing for SJC:
Cannell’s Seminar on Writing
best general article on SJC I saw

Gun Fight Rules: Marine, Navy

Subject: USMC & USN RULES OF GUNFIGHTING
USMC Rules For Gunfighting During War

1. Bring a gun. Preferably, bring at least two guns. Bring all of your friends who have guns.

2. Anything worth shooting is worth shooting twice. Ammo is cheap. Life is expensive.

3. Only hits count. The only thing worse than a miss is a slow miss.

4. If your shooting stance is good, you’re probably not moving fast enough nor using cover correctly.

5. Move away from your attacker. Distance is your friend. (Lateral and diagonal movement are preferred.)

6. If you can choose what to bring to a gunfight, bring a long gun and a friend with a long gun.

7. In ten years nobody will remember the details of caliber, stance, or tactics. They will only remember who lived.

8. If you are not shooting, you should be communicating, reloading, and running.

9. Accuracy is relative: most combat shooting standards will be more dependent on “pucker factor” than the inherent accuracy of the gun.

9.5. Use a gun that works EVERY TIME. “All skill is in vain when an Angel pisses in the flintlock of your musket.”

10. Someday someone may kill you with your own gun, but they should have to beat you to death with it because it is empty.

11. Always cheat; always win. The only unfair fight is the one you lose.

12. Have a plan.

13. Have a back-up plan, because the first one won’t work.

14. Use cover or concealment as much as possible. The visible target should be in FRONT of your gun.

15. Flank your adversary when possible. Protect yours.

16. Don’t drop your guard.

17. Always tactical load and threat scan 360 degrees.

18. Watch their hands. Hands kill. (In God we trust. Everyone else, keep your hands where I can see them).

19. Decide to be aggressive ENOUGH, quickly ENOUGH.

20. The faster you finish the fight, the less shot you will get.

21. Be polite. Be professional. But have a plan to kill everyone you meet.

22. Be courteous to everyone, friendly to no one.

23. Your number one Option for Personal Security is a lifelong commitment to avoidance, deterrence, and de-escalation.

24. Do not attend a gunfight with a handgun, the caliber of which does not start with a “4.”

U.S. Navy Rules to Gunfighting

1. Adopt an aggressive offshore posture.

2. Send the Marines.

3. Drink Coffee.

via Aarghh!

Hawaii Imposes Price Ceiling

Hawaii is imposing a ceiling on gas. They expect some minor shortages. And that a few people won’t be able to buy gas.

I am thinking these people must not remember the 70s. Then we had plenty of gas, but the fear of the shortage sent everyone to the pump every day to keep their cars filled. And THAT caused a shortage. Do you remember the long lines? The empty gas stations?

I think this is a poor choice on the part of Hawaii’s government, but we’ll see.

Book Gone

Getting ready for the booksale was sapping. The woman who had run the sales showed me through everything for the last time. She helped for everything except the sale itself. While we were setting up, she lent me Deadline by Robert Alcorn. I put it into my box of books that I had purchased.

But, alas, I did not put my name on the box. Every book in there, though I had already paid for them, went back to the sale. Only one of them was around when I finally discovered the loss. Unfortunately, Deadline was not the one.

So I was frantic all weekend thinking I would have to call Karen and tell her I lost her book. But she and her husband Will, to whom I told the story first as Karen was out, laughed it off. She said I didn’t need to get the book as they’d read it. But I know they wanted it to lend out. So, I’ll be searching for the book and getting another copy of it.

Thank you, God, for people who can turn a personal disaster into something to laugh about.

It Hurts

My right ankle, which I sprained three weeks ago, hurts. My left ankle, which has a busted blood vessel, hurts. My knee, my leg, my behind, my back, my front, my neck, my head, my hands all hurt.

So, no more tomatoes, potatoes, mustard, eggplant… At least for a while.

The positive thing is that my period is being regulated much better.