Monday, 28 May 2007

Happy” Memorial Day?

Today we stopped by a local mall. The missus needed to make a return of some merchandise to Nordstrom, and we took in lunch as well. While waiting for a table at our eatery of choice, I caught the end of a conversation where an unidentified woman told her equally unidentifiable conversation partner, “Happy Memorial Day.” in closing.

Happy Memorial Day?

Are you serious?

There was a time in this country when Memorial Day was treated with the solemn respect it deserves. When businesses actually closed for the day (as was Costco, we learned, when we stopped to fill up the gas tank), instead of having Memorial Day Weekend Sales™. (The irony of my making this statement while having engaged in a small bit of consumerism on this day is not lost on me.)

People made efforts to remember those who have fallen in service to our nation, for this is not a “holiday”, but rather a day of mourning. It is sad that so many have had to give their lives in the cause of freedom, and we should be graciously thankful those who have died were willing to make the sacrifice in our stead. They deserve our utmost respect, which does not translate to saving a few bucks on jeans and cosmetics.

Notably, they are not deserving of someone wishing another a “Happy” Memorial Day, for the occasion is not one of happiness but remembrance. How many of us even pause for a moment’s reflection today? How many of us participate in any sort of remembrance ceremony, rain or shine, today? How many of us set aside time to go to a local cemetery and clean the grave sites of fallen servicemen, to lay flowers and plant flags?

We, fellow countrymen, owe a debt that we can never repay, yet it is a debt we should nonetheless honor. You may feel otherwise, but I can’t help but feel that said honor does not come from shopping and failing to acknowledge, even in passing, what this day truly is about. It comes from remembering the fallen, honoring their memories, praying for their families and sharing in their grief at having lost their beloved so young. Because so many of those lost are young. Such has it always been, and such it is likely to always be.

War is a terrible, terrible thing. Yet it is often a necessary thing, and we should be thankful there are those willing to fight, and to die. Remember our men and women who have given their lives. Offer a prayer of thanks, if you are the praying sort. Treat this day with the solemnness it deserves.

The Chance To Say Goodbye

I did not get the chance to say goodbye
To shake his hand, look him in the eye
To offer for his service my thanks
For what he did on the Rhine’s banks

Or in Hue city, Berlin, or Khe Sanh
Paris, Baghdad, Iwo Jima, Okinawa
Tripoli, Italy, the Belleau Wood
Croatia, Chosin, or the skies above

Or in the waters deep, or atop the oceans’ waves
Slinging missiles, marking the Unknowns’ graves
Delivering the mail to a far-out firebase
Medevacing out those with injuries of the worst case

I did not get the chance to say goodbye
To shake his hand, look him in the eye
To offer for his service my thanks
For now all I have are these words in this place

—Christopher Turner, 27 March 2007

posted at 5:55 PM in armed forces , liberty
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links for 2007-05-28

  • Pick the way you want to raise funds. No selling products. No door-to-door if you don’t want to. Walk-a-thons, read-a-thons, you name it.
    (tags: charity)
posted at 9:20 AM in links
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Tuesday, 22 May 2007

links for 2007-05-22

posted at 9:24 AM in links
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Thursday, 17 May 2007

links for 2007-05-17

posted at 9:20 AM in links
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Wednesday, 16 May 2007

links for 2007-05-16

posted at 9:21 AM in links
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Monday, 14 May 2007

Dear American Soldier in Iraq

Dennis Prager:

Dear American Soldier in Iraq:

There are a few things you should know about how tens of millions of us back home feel about you and the fight you are waging. These things need to be said…

What has happened is that many Americans, for all sorts of reasons—some out of simple fatigue, some because they do not believe that war solves anything, some out of deep loathing for the present administration—do not believe that what you are doing is worth doing. You know that what you are doing is worth continuing…

You know that you are fighting the most vicious and primitive ideology in the world today. It is the belief that one’s God wants his followers to maim, torture and murder in order to spread a system of laws that sends societies back to a moral and intellectual state that is pre-civilization. You know that the war you wage against these people and their totalitarian ideology is also necessary because a society unwilling to fight for its values does not have values worth sustaining…

We see you as the best and brightest of our society. Even The New York Times, one of the mainstream media publications that do not understand the epic battle you are waging, acknowledged in an article by one of its embedded correspondents that few Americans of your age can come close to you in maturity, wisdom or leadership abilities. It is unfortunate that the battle for moral clarity and moral courage in America is as divisive as the battle for freedom is in Iraq. But that is the nature of the world we live in. And it has ever been so…

You probably knew all this. But you need to hear it anyway.

That, and thank you. Thank you very much.

posted at 1:08 PM in armed forces , liberty , national security
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Friday, 11 May 2007

On innovation

“I wish developing great products was as easy as writing a check. If so, then Microsoft would have great products.” —Steve Jobs, Apple, Inc. shareholders meeting, 2007

posted at 5:26 PM in quote
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Thursday, 10 May 2007

I’ve been all a-Twitter lately

Yeah, I know I’ve been pretty quiet on ye olde blog the past week. But I haven’t been exactly quiet in general. It’s just that I’ve been yakking it up, 140 characters at a time, over on Twitter. So in case you ever notice a lack of posting here, you may want to take a peek over there. Just for, you know, future reference. Sign up on Twitter yourself, and feel free to add me as a friend.

posted at 3:53 PM in Twitter
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Thursday, 03 May 2007

Happy to have been wrong

I am pleased to report that my fears yesterday were reassuringly calmed today, as both the battery grip and flash were delivered. Both have been attached to the camera and tested successfully. Hurray!

posted at 11:15 PM in that's life
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Wednesday, 02 May 2007

For the waffle-loving geek who has everything

Ladies and gentlemen, do you ever find yourself worrying over what to buy the geek in your life for their birthday, or your anniversary, or Christmas? Wonder no more. Just pick up the waffle iron that makes keyboard waffles.

Oh, yes, you read that right. Keyboard waffles.

[Via Lee via IM.]

posted at 9:05 PM in food , fun , tech
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I wonder if I should take bets

So the new flash and battery grip I ordered are both sitting in Mesquite tonight. For those of you unaware of Dallas metroplex geography, the center of Mesquite is roughly 35 miles from the center of the little burb I call home. I could drive over there in about 45 minutes.

Now, the last time I was expecting something of this magnitude—the camera for which these two items have been purchased—the item in question also spent a night in Mesquite. Then proceeded 121 miles south to Waco before then returning 121 miles to be delivered to me.

This couldn’t possibly happen again, could it?

Well, according to the Amazon status tracker, estimated delivery date is the 8th.

Yes.

The 8th.

posted at 9:00 PM in that's life
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Tuesday, 01 May 2007

ATPM 13.05

The May issue of About This Particular Macintosh is now available for your reading pleasure.

April showers certainly brought May flowers for Apple, notably the kind that grow from the branches of the money tree. Rob provides a rundown of Apple’s latest financials in this month’s Welcome. Wes has the blogosphere round-up on the latest digital rights hubbub, set off by the open letter by Steve Jobs to end DRM on music. When you’re already using the coolest computing system in the world, where do you go next? If you’re Mark, you start letting a robot clean your carpets.

Lee takes us through Photoshop’s bag of tricks concerning color, hues, saturation, gradients, and all sorts of other goodies you can tweak your photos with. In closing out her series on web accessibility, Miraz looks at the capabilities of Firefox and Opera. Matthew does some hacking on what is still my favorite Mac to have owned, the Cube, shoving a XFX GeForce 6200 graphics card into our beloved lucite box.

Lee shares some great photos he snagged at the 2007 AirFest, held last month at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida. And it may look like this month’s Cortland is having a severe case of schizophrenia, but trust us, it hits on several plot points of importance.

Miraz thinks Digital Photography Expert Techniques is pretty good, but badly missnamed, as it is about workflow after the fact of shooting photos, rather than during, the latter of which being what I would have thought from the title. Lee has a double-dose of reviews this month—I guess May turned out to be Lee Bennett theme month—looking at a pair of iPod accessories: the Dock Extender, which I am gear-lusting for; and the PocketDock Line Out USB.

Chris raves about the Elevator, Griffin’s replacement for the iCurve, which I used to use extensively. David uses Pando, which I’ve been following closely, but have not yet had a need to use. Ed closes this month’s issue out with a look at Yep, billed as “iPhoto for PDFs”. Personally, I store a lot of my PDFs in EagleFiler, but Yep certainly does look interesting.

As always, you can read this month’s ATPM online, as an offline webzine, a screen-optimized PDF, or a print-optimized PDF. We offer a variety of flavors for your consumption. Enjoy!

posted at 9:20 PM in Macintosh
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