Tuesday, November 18, 2008

History Repeats Itself Again

Those scrappy Somali pirates are at it again! Now they're taking on supertankers from their little dingys! Who are these pirates and why do their escapades sound familiar? I found a NYT story from September 30th that quotes a spokesman for the Somali pirates, Sugule Ali. He sounds quite the character with a good sense of humor. I don't think of Somalis as having a sense of humor, but if you're able to extract millions of dollars in ransom in cash from countries all over the world for simply boarding a ship and holding it hostage, you'd be looking on the bright side of life too. As Sugule Ali says in his interview, "You only die once." Well, that's reason enough to keep laughing all right.

Back in Thomas Jefferson's day the cool, hip pirates patrolled the Barbary coast of North Africa looking for prey. Though they have a cooler name, The Barbary Pirates, they've got nothing on the Somalis. The Somalis have the entrepeneurial spirit. Where they once just patrolled their waters looking for illegal fisherman to harass and tax, they saw an opportunity to make more money and seized the day. They appear to work only for themselves since there is still no formal government in Somalia. The money they earn is the money they keep. No government taxes redistributing their wealth! The Barbary pirates, however, worked for the rulers of their countries who received most if not all of the ransom money ponied up by the European Countries (and then America after we gained our independence.)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lem & Jack

Why the above photo of an old man and his dog? Today is Veteran's Day and this darling man, Lem, is a World War II veteran. How many of them do you come across on a perambulation across a cow pasture? We ran into him in Oxford as he was taking his daily constitutional with Jack, his stubborn and feisty Scottish Terrier. For being near ninety, he still had a twinkle in his eye, a spryness to his step, and a great sense of humor seen in his cheeky grin. He made a joke about moving to Oxford twenty some years ago on Independence Day, "That's July 4th to you folks." After chatting with us, he was on his way to the pub for a morning pint. A delightful man from a generation of gents we'll probably never see the likes of again.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Joys of Pregnancy

I refer to these as my Babushka legs. What's a Babushka? Go here or here to get an idea. I feel like someone encased my feet and ankles in a fat suit, but left the rest of me normal. Or as normal as a walking whale can be. I really can't complain since I have had no other problems of any kind this entire pregnancy. No morning sickness, no gestational diabetes, no preeclampsia, no placenta previa, nothing. Just fat ankles.

Hug a Marine

Today is the 233rd anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corp and I say God Bless Them! During this election many folks have said they're finally proud to be an American because Obama got elected. You may also have heard people say dissent is patriotic. What IS patriotic is being willing to die for your country to protect its freedom and liberty. That is the sort of patriotism that makes great story and inspires future generations. In my opinion, dissent for the sake of dissent does not inspire. Frankly, it makes me yawn. I'm proud to be an American every time I hear Marine Corp tales of heroism, courage, self-sacrifice and compassion. All of which are in play right now in the work the MC are doing in Iraq. Check out their website to learn about the people, the events, and the technology that make the Marine Corp one of the greatest fighting forces in our world. Now go hug a marine...if they'll let you.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Odd Encounter

As I was retrieving my library books from the reserved shelf an extremely tall man wearing a wool sherpa hat (it was 80 degrees or hotter that day), scarf (did I mention it was hot), tight black jeans, and large round glasses interrupted my progress. Now the guy didn't look weird (despite my description) but rather artsy - definitely a character. He asked for my help in directing him to the correct shelf. His glasses were old and the prescription wasn't strong enough for him to determine where the letter s was on the reserves shelf (he was currently looking through books under the letter f). As soon as he spoke, the name Ted Bundy flashed across my mind. His voice was deep and mellifluous a delight to the ears. It took me off guard and I thought, "this is how Bundy lured women to their demise." The desire to help someone in need who probably had a winsome personality turned off their normal defenses. In my case, it was just by the timbre of a voice. I could've been a victim that easily.

While chatting with the pudgy Hispanic librarian about my pregnancy, poor prescription guy comes up behind me. To no one in particular (since neither I nor the librarian are looking at him) he says, "my girlfriend is pregnant." I turn to him, smile, and say congratulations. To which he replies in a flat voice, "she's getting rid of it." Oh. I'm so sorry. He shrugs, "it's her decision." Then, "I guess that was too much information." I wanted to scream, "if YOU want to keep the baby tell her, it's not just her decision. FIGHT FOR THAT BABY. DON'T GIVE IN TO THE TYRANNY OF CHOICE!"

But I didn't. I just walked away.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

If this is global warming...

Today was perfect - rain, thunder, and even a wee bit of lightning. Normally we don't even get rain in November let alone those other treats. I can count on two hands with fingers left over the number of times I've heard thunder in the fourteen years I've lived in SoCal. If this is what we get with global warming, then I say bring it on!