One Couple's Stumblings Through Parenthood and Marriage

Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween Cartoons

Crusade History Highlights

In my research surrounding the events that led to the Third Crusade (q.v. Richard the Lionheart, etc.) I have come across some very interesting stories and facts. Here are a few.

1) On the morning of the day before the Battle of Hattin, in which the Christian field army was destroyed by Saladin's Muslim army (July 1187), there were a number of ill-omens that devasted morale among the Christian soldiers. One involved what was described by a French chronicler as a 'half-mad Muslim woman." She began cursing the Christian army. In response several soldiers attempted to set her on fire to stop her ravings. She would not ignite. So, one soldier took matters into his own hands by taking his axe and "cleaving her head in two." Wow. I'm not sure what to make of that. The word 'charity' doesn't come to mind, though.

2) Following the Battle of Hattin, Saladin offered an option to the Templars and Hospitaller knights; convert or die. Most of them (around 230) chose to be beheaded, but the records show that a few Templars did 'convert' on the spot. In face, some 40 years later, a Templar was listed as the head of the garrison in the Muslim city of Damascus (Syria). The thought of converted former Templars serving in the Muslim ranks is very intriguing - good story line possibilities.

3) Every city in the Holy Land eventually capitulated to Saladin in 1187 - save one. Tyre. This large coastal city successfully withstood several sieges, one of which was led by the sultan (Saladin) himself. One of Saladin's secretaries, who was keeping a chronicle of the events, made note that one Christian champion in particular earned the tremendous respect of the sultan. He was described as a Spanish knight who led several sorties out of the city gates to fend off the Muslim attacks. He wore all green and had stag antlers attached to his helmet. I would have loved to have met this guy. What a great image. I wonder what came of him when he went back home?

An awful note on penguins.

This was just forwarded to me by Ian Tillman. Previously, I had thought that penguins were largely harmless and comical creatures. How wrong I was. This is the text from Ian: "Here is an example of penguin mischief. Every year several lives are lost to penguins and penguin related violence. This is mostly do to penguins playing violent video games and dungeons and dragons. It sends them into a murderous rage! The poor walruses...well see for yourself. "

If my sources are correct, these penguins had just been playing a video game called "Grand Theft Artic." We must put a stop to such senseless killing.

Friday, October 28, 2005

What is it about penguins?

Would this picture be half as funny if it weren't a penguin?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Communism Quotes

Here are some great quotes on communism. Thanks A & G, Wikiquotes, and Mom!

"The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries." - Winston Churchill

"How do you tell a communist? Well, it's someone who reads Marx and Lenin. And how do you tell an anti-Communist? It's someone who understands Marx and Lenin." - Ronald Reagan

"The years ahead will be great ones for our country, for the cause of freedom and the spread of civilization. The West will not contain Communism, it will transcend Communism. We will not bother to denounce it, we'll dismiss it as a sad, bizarre chapter in human history whose last pages are even now being written." - Ronald Reagan

Monday, October 24, 2005

Dad & Julia Triumphant

Here is a candid photo that was taken of Julia and I. We had just flown in and had landed at a pumpkin patch in Clayton, and Christine was there to take the photo. I apologize for my triumphant pose, but I was deep in thought as I pondered the wrongs I had just righted.
Julia is smiling because she always likes it when I take her flying and crimefighting.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Some Highlights from Oliver North

Last Thursday I was at an 'evening with Sean Hannity,' with Oliver North as a guest speaker. He made some really touching and interesting points in his speech.

1) In January, 2005, just prior to the elections in Iraq, North interviewed one of the governors of a southern Iraqi province. North asked the governor whether or not he thought the elections, and resulting government, would work. The governor replied, "Yes, because women are going to vote. No woman who endures nine months of pregnancy, gives birth to a child, then feeds that infant at her breast will vote for a government that will teach her child to blow himself up. She will vote for a government that will give her child something to live for, not die for." That gave me goosebumps when I heard it.

2) We shouldn't say that our dead soldiers have given their lives. No, their lives were taken from them. Our soldiers aren't out there to die; they want to live and come home to their families. That is what makes their supreme sacrifice that much more important.

3) He showed a photo he had taken with his own camera. It was taken in April, 2003, as U.S. troops were moving into Baghdad. In the photo we could see Baghdad in flames in the background, with U.S. Marines and tanks heading toward the city. North took the picture from the inside of the helicopter he was riding in. It had just been forced to land due to heavy damage taken by enemy fire. In the foreground of the photo, a Navy Corpman was carrying a wounded soldier over his shoulders to the medics inside North's helicopter. North described the situation as follows (paraphrasing, of course): "This Navy Corpman was carrying his fourth wounded soldier into the helicopter; the other three he had already rescued were lined up on the inside of the aircraft. As he set down this last soldier, the medics forced the Corpman to sit down as well, and gave him an IV. The corpman had been in combat for over three weeks, with little sleep, only one ration a day, drinking 3-year old bottled water, in 110 degree heat." At this point North said, "Look at the soldier the Navy Corpman is carrying. What do you see?" We looked closer and saw that the wounded soldier was wearing black jeans - he was an Iraqi soldier. "Yes, that is an Iraqi soldier he just rescued - one of the enemy. Well, we got our chopper fixed and headed toward the nearest trauma hospital. As the Navy Corpman carried the wounded Iraqi soldier out of the helicopter, he was spotted by an embedded reporter from another platoon. The reporter called out, "Can't you see, idiot? That's an Iraqi." The Navy Corpman, after days of exhaustion, reached his boiling point. He shouted to the reporter, "Can't you see, @$$hole that he's wounded? We're Americans. That's what we do." " Oliver North had it all on tape. It was amazing. He wanted to highlight how profoundly compassionate and giving our troops are - how unique they are in human history.

4) Oliver North also gave some funny advice. He wrote up some 'rules of engagement' for men who would date his daughters and for new son-in-laws. Here were some of the funnier ones:
- Husbands, decide now. Do you want to be right or do you want to be happy?
- Use tender and sweet words - you never know when you will have to eat them.
- There are two rules when it comes to arguing with women. Neither of them work.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Justin to A & G: You Suck!

Last night my mom and I attended an 'Evening with Sean Hannity.' It was a small venue - the Radisson Hotel Sacramento - with no more than a thousand in attendance (it was sold out). In fact, we were seated only ten rows back from the outdoor stage. The event was hosted by my favorite morning talk show hosts, Armstrong & Getty. The other speaker was Ollie North. We had a great time. Both North and Hannity gave great talks (more to come on that later). But I really enjoyed my boys, A & G. After Ollie got off the stage, A & G came back to introduce Sean Hannity. Armstrong began complaining that no one had come out to heckle them yet. He said that he understood if the sleeper hecklers were waiting for Hannity, but that they would really appreciate a good 'you suck.' On an impulse, I lept to my feet and shouted at the top of my lungs "YOU SUCK!"
They laughed, the audience laughed. In short, I was hilarious. At the end of the event I was able to meet Jack and Joe (A & G). They were real nice guys, very friendly and genuine. I was thoroughly impressed. I asked Joe to sign their picture for me as follows:

When I walked up to Joe, he looked at me and said, "Oh, you're the 'you suck' guy."

Pretty much, I am their favorite listener, and will forever be in their hearts. Keep that green-headed monster of jealousy down, children!


Are Arabs Anti-American?

Here is an article that Alan forwarded to me. Quite an insight on American-Arab relations. Thanks Alan.

Here is a snippet from (though I recommend you read the whole text):

by Amir Taheri
New York Post September 30, 2005

... America is by far the largest pole of attraction for Arab foreign investment at all levels, from public-sector funds to small private savings accounts. The most conservative estimates put the value of Arab assets in the United States at over $4.5 trillion, which puts the Arab countries just behind Britain, Japan and Holland as the biggest investors in the U.S. economy.
The United States is also one of the top three trading partners of virtually all Arab states. In fact, many U.S.-made goods (cars, for example) that don't sell anywhere else still enjoy robust markets in Arab countries.
Then, too, America has been the No. 1 foreign tourist destination for Arabs since the 1980s, and has remained so despite restrictions imposed on Arab visitors after 9/11. Arabs from all walks of life and of all political sensibilities also love to send their children to study in America. And when it comes to seeking medical treatment, no country competes with the United States in attracting well-heeled Arabs.
If she takes time to stroll in Arab capitals, Hughes would be struck by the ubiquitous presence of things American. It is possible to spend a holiday in most Arab capitals without moving out of the orbit of American-franchised hotels, restaurants, tourist services and banks. A stroll in modern shopping malls would reveal a population wearing American-style clothing, including baseball caps, with Motorola mobile phones pressed to ears, as New Orleans jazz plays in the background. She could sip one of those coffees the choice of which requires a PhD at a Starbucks, or indulge herself in a Hagen-Dazs of her choice.
More than 70 percent of what's broadcast on Arab TV stations (including those regarded as "obsessively anti-American") is U.S.-made; 80 percent of the films shown in Arab cinemas are made in Hollywood. There are more than two dozen English dailies, all using the American version of the language. Go through them, and you see that much of the content comes from U.S. agencies and syndication services ...


Ian Tillman has used his mad skills to create a possible icon for me to use on ragingwombat. I don't know that it necessarily captures the essence of what I am trying to do here, but it comes close. What does everyone think?

I am just amazed that Ian was resourceful enough to find our president in his Texas denim actually holding a wombat on the Whitehouse lawn. I never even knew that President Bush felt any affection for our Australian marsupial allies.

Three cheers for Ian.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Donald Sutherland: Bush will destroy our lives

Here are some words from Jack Bauer's father.

Choking back tears, COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF star Donald Sutherland warned this week: President Bush "will destroy our lives!" The star of the new ABC drama, which follows the first woman President of the United States, lashed out at the real White House during a dramatic sit down interview with the BBC. Sutherland ripped Bush and his administration for the war and Hurricane Katrina fallout. "They were inept. The were inadequate to the task, and they lied," Sutherland charged. "And they were insulting, and they were vindictive. And they were heartless. They did not care. They do not care. They do not care about Iraqi people. They do not care about the families of dead soldiers. They only care about profit." At one point during the session, Sutherland started crying: "We stolen our children's future... We have children. We have children. How dare we take their legacy from them. How dare we. It's shameful. What we are doing to our world."

- - - -

I came across some hilarious comments on this from several different groups:

- Does anyone actually understand what he was saying? Or was this just Bush Hatred Syndrome run amok?

- "We're back to burning books in Germany," Sutherland said of NBC's editing out of Kanye West's comment on Bush during a hurricane relief telethon.Yes, Kanye West is certainly equivalent to Freud, Einstein, Thomas Mann, Jack London, and H.G. Wells. You betcha. The real question here is why anybody, anywhere, takes notice of anything these entertainers say that is not scripted for them.

What's next? Matthew Fox complaining about airline safety? James Spader commenting on tort reform? Mariska Hargitay making statements on the constitutional implications of revising the Miranda warning?