30 September 2012

Year 2, Day 261 (A Refresh And Re-Start)

I arrived in Delavan, WI late last night, and by the time I get the trailer unloaded, then re-loaded, I will have a re-start on my logbook. I had planned on going out cycling tomorrow, but those plans are shot. I tried to do some minor maintenance on the brakes, only to end up breaking them. This frustrates me, plus (while scanning the different posts on Facebook) to see just how ignorant people really are concerning this upcoming election. I don't care if you are a Democrat or Republican - this next comment is an equal opportunity offender: stop defending your candidate! When is the last time you looked past the party affiliation and made a decision based on who is actually the best for the country?

To be honest, I hoped Obama would have made a positive difference, but he hasn't. Yet, people still swoon over him like Clark Gable. Are we better off now than we were 4 years ago? I think Kinky Friedman said it best several years ago when he ran for office in Texas (and I will paraphrase): There should be term limits of 1 election. If you can't do what you said you would in four years, then you need to go and perhaps the next guy will.

Then again, as I said a few dats ago, we are being played for fools; by the politicians, by the media, and by the activists & lobbyists. It's all a money game. Follow the money, you find the root of corruption.

Are you ready to go down that hole, Alice?

29 September 2012

Year 2, Day 260 (A Visit Long Overdue)

After picking up this load yesterday just outside of Philadelphia, I made my way across Pennsylvania for delivery Monday morning in Delavan, WI. Along the way I took a slight deviation from the route to do something I haven't done in a long time. I made a stop in a suburb of Pittsburgh to visit some dear friends, C.J. (whom I first met early on in the Marines) and his lovely wife, Lisa. I hadn't seen them in a very long time, C.J. and I calculated it to be about 10 years. Due to a variety of different "speed bumps" I was only able to stay for less than two hours. It was a great visit! C.J. and I speak on the phone periodically, but I don't always get the chance to stop by, due to different scheduling conflicts that go along with driving a truck. During our visit C.J. and I reminded each other of a few things from our younger years that the other had forgotten about (such as my "head roll" while we sang U2's "When Love Comes To Town"). I still remember when C.J. and I first met: it was the day I had arrived in Guam to report for duty at the Marine Barracks. The platoon I was being assigned to was on duty, and C.J. - being in a different platoon - was pulling augment duty, since my platoon was short handed. When the van pulled up, and I began unloading my belongings, C.J. walked up and, noticing my bass case, asked if I play bass. The rest, as they say, is history. We became very close friends... so close, we earned the nicknames "Hawkeye" and "Trapper" (him being the latter).

In the few times we are able to get together, it's as if we've never had the distance between us that we do. I still kid with him about him having more grey hair than I (especially since I am exactly 11 months older). I always appreciate our conversations on the phone, and am grateful and blessed of the hospitality they extend to me when I do come to visit. He is as blessed to be married to Lisa as I am to be married to Tikvah. I'm hoping to be able to stop in for another visit much sooner, and be able to stay longer... perhaps even go out for dinner.

I still think he looks like a middle-age Bart Simpson.

See you again soon, Trapper!

28 September 2012

Year 2, Day 259 (So Many People Without Sense Nor Focus, Part 2)

I had mentioned in yesterday's post that there were two things that disturbed me... well here is the second. Recently the President of Iran spoke at the UN. This, in itself, is nothing new. He's spoken there several times, and about the same issue: anti-Semitic vitriol. There are several things wrong with this; a) he spoke at the UN this past Wednesday, which was Yom Kippur (about as coincidental as protests in the Middle East occurring on 9/11, to protest an anti-Islam video that had been on YouTube since July); b) the photograph of Ahmedinijad:

This is the same photo that was not only run by the New York Post (did you notice he's flashing a "peace" sign all the while he's spewing hate), but was also used for an article in the New York Daily News

Now here is where I connect the dots between yesterday's post and this one: There is a backlash against Victoria's Secrets latest lingerie line, but silence concerning the above stated facts of Ahmedinijad's anti-Israel stance?! Really?! Ahmendinijad wants to see the total destruction of Israel, a.k.a. genocide - remember that word from the sickening events that developed in Rwanda several years back - where's the outcry now!! Israel has been behind the U.S. for many decades, yet, our current government CONTINUES to completely disregard Israel - and blatanly disrespect their Prime Minister - and continues to do NOTHING on the issue of Iran. Iran speaks in the UN: the masses are silent; Victoria's Secret come oput with new lingerie and you come unglued for no good reason! There have been more outcries of "racism" these past 3 1/2 years than I have ever seen before.

That's the problem with our society: we have become a bunch of spineless, over-sensitive pansies, while Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood are planning world domination... but many don't care, as long as they have a mindless cause to protest and their "reality" TV shows.

How's this: wake up and be a part of REAL reality.

27 September 2012

Year 2, Day 258 (So Many People Without Sense Nor Focus)

As I perused through various articles on the "inter-web" this morning, I noticed a couple of articles which disturbed me. The first being a news article, posted on The Huffington Post, about a blog piece first appearing on the Racialicious website. Apparently Victoria's Secret had come out with a Go East collection which had a model in Geisha inspired lingerie... the operative word being "had" as they have since pulled the line, due to backlash. Whether the backlash sparked the post, or vice versa, is unknown and, frankly, irrelevant. The author/guest contributor of the post just "happened" to notice the model was white (not Asian) then simultaneously dove on the "racist" bandwagon. She took offense by saying,

"I might have glossed over some of these pieces entirely–except the catalog descriptions had me reeling. 'Indulge in touches of Eastern delight.' Translation: 'Buying these clothes can help you experience the Exotic East and all the sexual fantasies that come along with it, without all the messy racial politics!'”

Perhaps she may have a point, that is, until I look at her last name: Jacinto. I served many years in the Marine Corps, and had deployed overseas several times... including Okinawa (and mainland) Japan. I have NEVER met anyone of Asian decent with an Hispanic last name. Because of that, she has lost credibility with me. If it was a Mexico or Puerto Rico themed line of lingerie, I could view her diatribe as legitimate.

It reminds me of the "controversy" that arose back in 2005 concerning Florida State University's use of a Seminole warrior as its mascot, and the NCAA putting them on a list of colleges using imagery “hostile or abusive” towards Native Americans (note: the NCAA did NOT have any Native Americans involved in this "decision" during this proceeding). There was one member/activist of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma who supported their action, but he was pretty much overruled by their Chief. Many members of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma AND the Seminole Tribe of Florida had said they were honored that their history was being recognized. August of 2005 saw the NCAA remove FSU from the aforementioned list.

To be continued...

26 September 2012

Year 2, Day 257 (Yom Kippur)

Today is Yom Kippur, translated in english as Day of Atonement. A day that we reflect upon the past year's events within our personal lives, seek forgiveness from those whom we may have done wrong, forgive those who may ask for it, and seek repentance from HaShem, our G-d. It was first implemented by the command of HaShem in Vayikra (Leviticus) 16:1-34, which is also one of the readings we have on this day. For those who are unaware, HaShem is Hebrew, which translates, literally, as "The Name". In Judaism, many (like myself) hold The Lord's name (one of many) in such high reverence, that we address Him as such, instead of speaking out His Holy Name. One of the spellings of His Name is referred to as the tetragrammaton (י-ה-ו-ה). This, when one comes upon it in Scripture, is read simply as HaShem, or it is even permissible to speak it out as, "the yod-heh (י-ה) as joined with the vav-heh (ו-ה)." Not to be misled, though, this is the same G-d that you study in the Bible, whereas Allah (in the quran) is not.

Yom Kippur is also spent as a day of fasting and praying. Anybody who has taken part in such will agree that the praying is easy, the fasting takes some discipline and devotion. For us, fasting is more than choosing one thing to refrain from eating and/or drinking, especially on Yom Kippur. On this day, we fast from all food and drink. Though, much like the Sabbath (and Yom Kippur is also observed as a Sabbath), exceptions can be made. If one has health issues where fasting could be detrimental, they are permitted to eat or drink (whichever would prevent danger of the health issue). In Judaism, life is precious.

The fasting has been relatively easy, though it proves much more difficult as I drive by restaurants. Though I continue to look to HaShem for the strength and endurance to carry on. Fortunately, I do not have a job that requires strenuous activity. I bless HaShem that He has given me the strength to carry on, as I will also bless Him at the end of this fast.

May you all be blessed!

25 September 2012

Year 2, Day 256 (Things Will Get Very Ugly, Very Soon)

We are in mid-September, but it's easy to see how things may end up at this November's elections. I'm not referring to who will be elected or re-elected (whichever case applies), but among "we the people" who will be taking part in the voting process. It seems the Obama supporters have completely bought into the Socialist agenda, hook, line, and sinker. Election time is supposed to be when the American people come together to choose a candidate who will be good for the country, yet just about everywhere I turn, the support for Obama is quickly getting to the brink of violence. That is not saying that Romney is the better choice. Clearly that is not the case. Think about this for a moment: 4 years ago, the Presidential seat was between Obama and McCain... Romney was bumped out of the nomination weeks before. He was not adequate enough then, what makes him adequate enough now (Trust me, McCain was not the better choice)? In my opinion, it comes down to this... we, the American people are being played like cheap hookers. We are being served a plate of horse manure and told it's a T-bone steak... and we are believing it! 4 years ago, Obama was propped up as the "Golden Child" with McCain being "chosen" to oppose him (the media "propaganda machine" was also "helpful" in this too). Romney, then, might have defeated Obama then, but he didn't fit in with the larger plan. Now that Obama has been in office for nearly 4 years, he has been able to "tickle the ears" of his minions, and they have fallen for every word! Now that Romney is in the running this time around, he can be defeated, because Obama has been "built up" by the propaganda being fed to us by the media and other political organizations.

The Obama supporters have fallen into step just like Germany during the rise of The Third Reich. If you happen to be one of those that will get ravenously defensive at anything negative that is said about Obama, then you have just proven my point. In closing, let's see if you can look through the haze of propaganda, and clearly see how biased the media truly is by watching this recent clip from CNN, concerning Israel, free speech, Jihad, and Sharia Law.

24 September 2012

Year 2, Day 255 (I Relate With Sir Bob Geldof)

I was up this morning at 0-dark-thirty delivering the rest of this load. I have never been a big fan of the early morning deliveries, and today was no exception. My pre-plan has me picking up in Macungie, PA, which is just outside Allentown, and this, as it turns out, is a very light load heading to Delavan, WI for Wednesday. Because of being up so early, I'm most definitely in need of some coffee, and seriously considering going the intravenous route.

I am glad we are getting into Fall, with Winter soon to follow, especially since the past week and a half I have slept with the truck turned off, as well as the APU, then waking up with a slight chill inside the cab. That's the kind of weather I enjoy the most. So now, before I make my way to Wisconsin, I must have myself a little breakfast.

23 September 2012

Year 2, Day 254 (I Like This Weather)

The weather coming across Ohio and into Pennsylvania was quite rainy, but very cool. These cooler temperates fill me with anticipation as it means that Winter is drawing near. It's nice to be able to sleep at night with the truck AND the APU turned off, then waking in the morning with a little chill inside the truck. There are people who prefer the hotter weather. I don't mind hot weather, just so long as it's a dry heat... it's the humidity I can't tolerate. I'm of the opinion that when it's cold, you can always put more on... when it's hot, there's only so much you can take off - then it becomes illegal in public venues.

Within the next couple of months I will really look forward to heading to the northwest region, to gander and awe at the snow on the mountains (and closer to the roadway). Until then, I just patiently wait... and wait... and wait...

22 September 2012

Year 2, Day 253 (A Good Sabbath, A Sweeter New Year)

The weather has been getting cooler (which I enjoy) and the Sabbath has been blessed! As I make my way to Pennsylvania, I reflect upon the year that has just passed and what I can do to make this new year one that HaShem would bless. With Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement) approaching, I search my memory to try and purge my life of past sins and establish forgiveness, not just a forgiveness/repentance between myself and my G-d, HaShem, but also with my fellow man. Repentance is something that, for a long time, people have either dismissed or addressed with a lackadaisical attitude. However, in the years that I have been studying Torah and Jewish traditions, I've discovered that repentance/forgiveness is some that should not be handled in folly. It is something that shapes who you become. A forgiving heart grows a joyous spirit. That is something that I deal with continually and I hope the attitude of forgiveness doesn't revert back. Daily stress can be a hindrance to the process, even a distraction from forgiveness. But if we focus on the things that are most important (such as creating a joyous atmosphere around us), it develops into something that becomes "second nature" to us.

So if anyone has become bothered by anything that I have posted here, I do sincerely - and deeply - apologize. This blog is not meant to offend, belittle, nor derate anybody, but rather (and I hope this goal is reached) to bring awareness - hopefully an awakening - to things I have observed within the world as we know it. Should I offend you at any time, I encourage you to let me know, either on this blog (I always publish legitimate comments, but delete the spam), or via email (some of you have my phone number, so that's ok, as well). You will always receive a prompt, professional response.

May you all be blessed!!

21 September 2012

Year 2, Day 252 (Music Is Not What It Used To Be)

Recently, while talking about music, my wife mentioned that I need to get "up to date." When on the road, I tend to listen to a lot of 70's rock, and 80's New Wave, with a few tunes mixed in from the 90's and 00's, mainly because they were songs that stood out for me. I've always maintained a couple key positions that I have come to learn about music and people. The first being that the style of music you listened to the most while you were in high school is the style that will stick with you for the rest of your life. For me, that was New Wave/Alternative (which is now referred to as "Classic Alternative"). The other position I've held is the the music industry has gone down hill over the past couple decades, with no sign of recovery. I have tried to get "up to date", but, honestly, what's out there doesn't cut the mustard. However reluctant I may be, I decided to take Tikvah's advice... perhaps music has changed.

In the past few days, I've been listening to the satellite radio stream playing the current hits, and there are a few out there that have caused me to sit up and take notice... not many, but a few. One such song actually became popular by way of a YouTube video (isn't that the way it's going nowadays?), and at first listen, I noticed (as with most "music" out there now) that it's nothing more than synth programming looped in repetition. After hearing this song a couple more times, I realized that it's underlying rhythms are infectious... about as infectious as "Party Rock Anthem" (and, actually, the two would blend great together). That song is "Gangnam Style" by an artist from Korea who goes by the name PSY:

Another song to note is one that Tikvah shared with me on Facebook of "Too Close" by British up-and-comer, Alex Clare (who's music for this song was recently used in a commercial for Microsoft Internet Explorer). Musically, it does use some current technology, but it's not overwhelming, and even adds to the lyrics, which, themselves, actually have substance and content (the video is pretty cool, too).

After listening to "the hits" (a term which, I feel, is being used loosely), I've come to realize a few things. One is that the music industry is putting music out there not entirely geared for radio airplay, but for the club scene. I say that, because those that are considered the latest hit, all seem to have the same steady kick rhythm (for the non-drummer, that refers to the bass drum) and all seem to be just a few BPM (beats per minute, a term common among D.J.'s) off from a perfect sync. After all, they have to make easy for the D.J., right? I was what you would call an "old school" D.J. The difference nowadays is that D.J.'s perform their gigs on computers. Not to take away from the technology, but the trouble there is it takes the fun out. All they have to do is pick out the songs they want to play, in the order they want them played in, and the program will do the beat-mixing for them. Back when I was spinning, we used turntables and vinyl records. We actually had to know the music (i.e. what songs have a similar tempo, what could blend well, etc.). With the turntables, there was a lever for adjusting pitch. If your incoming song was too fast or too slow, you could make the adjustment before you fade it in. We also did something known as "beat mixing" which was the art of mixing from one song to another without losing the dance beat... and was always fun, yet challenging.

For the most part, my theory is still intact... music today is not the same quality; there's no content, no structure, and more importantly, nobody is being groomed for longevity... the industry just wants what they can make into the "next big hit." I don't care for "Pound The Alarm" by Nicki Minaj, I can't stand "Whistle" by Flo Rida, and if we can get rid of Autotune, we might even get rid of a few no talent hacks in the process. Autotune is ok - if used sparingly, but when it's used throughout an entire song (Owl City does this), it gets old... QUICKLY.

Before I forget, one other good song (one of the few) is the recent offering by Train, called "50 Ways To Say Goodbye". I've never really been a big fan of theirs, but this song is catchy. It has the same steady kick beat to it (as most do, which I just mentioned), but it also underlies it with a Mariachi flavor, which gives it a unique feel. One more thing about that song (and Tikvah pointed this out... I must be rubbing off on her), try singing along to it, but instead of Train's lyrics, use the lyrics from "The Phantom Of The Opera" (yes the musical).

Go ahead... I dare you.

Shabbat Shalom!

20 September 2012

Year 2, Day 251 (Fire The D.J.'s And You Stop The Spin)

Pretty recently, a man whom I know through social media (though we haven't yet met in real life) and I engaged in a pretty good conversation, which actually sparked this post. I won't reveal his real name, so let's call him "Mike" (that's seems a common enough name). Mike and I were discussing what's going on in the Middle East, more specifically between Israel and Iran. He views Israel's Prime Minister Netenyahu as being "war hungry" toward Iran. I feel differently. Here's a few differences between the two: PM Netenyahu has never called for the destruction of Iran, Ahmedinijad has called for Israel's destruction... on many occasions... in many different forums (to include the U.N. General Assembly, right in NYC); Netenyahu was never involved in taking American hostages, Ahmedinijad has (remember 1978-79?); Israel has nuclear weapons, Iran wants nuclear weapons (they key difference here is Israel has them for possible use in a defensive measure, whereas Iran has already made it known they want nuclear weapons to destroy Israel. But you know it wouldn't stop there, Iran would further use the weapons against other "infidel" nations... which definitely would mean the U.S.

Mike and I agree that we need to pull our troops out of the Middle East. I also think that our Government needs to stop meddling in the affairs of the Middle East especially since NOBODY in Washington has any clue about the culture NOR the mindset... and I will stress - they have NO CLUE!

During our diatribe, Mike had mentioned Bush never finding the WMD's. Let's look back in history briefly. First, then-President G.W. Bush, in the days & weeks following 9/11, was responding to the intelligence reports he was given by then-Director George Tenet. Tenet had been appointed the deputy DCI (Director of Central Intelligence) in 1996. At the end of 1997, the then-DCI, John Deutch abruptly resigned, making Tenet the acting DCI. Shortly after that, he was unanimously appointed, after then-National Security Advisor to Clinton, Anthony Lake, was blocked for confirmation, then withdrew his nomination for the position.

As you can see, there were a lot leech-lines to this cesspool known as "politics". Much like there were leech-lines with the WMD debacle. When Bush went to the U.N. to get the green light to send troops (which I don't think he should have asked the U.N., but rather told them what we were going to do... we were attacked!) into Iraq, there had already been dirty money being made due to the "Oil For Food" scandal. It's possible that some of that dirty money made its way into the pockets of certain U.N. Diplomats. It had already been discovered that Germany and France had business dealings with Iraq, under Hussein (another point of irony: it was also Germany and France who's opposing vote blocked the U.S. from sending troops weeks earlier). I'll put it this way: U.N. "sources" (probably directly tied to Germany and France) get in touch with Iraqi officials with the message (to put in non-Diplomat terms), "Something's getting ready to go down and we're are trying to hold off the dogs... whatever you have - make it disappear!" It sounds kooky, but when you consider that, on multiple occasions, when U.N. Inspectors were searching facilities in Iraq (stemming from the post-Desert Storm U.N. resolution treaty/agreement), it was almost laughable that they were denied access and run off by either Iraqi troops, government officials, or both.

Getting back to Israel... to put it in a nutshell: if our Government can't even protect our own people, then have no right to tell Israel not to defend theirs. Ahmedinijad is not only a danger to Israel, he is a danger to the world. Remember, we didn't realize how dangerous Adolf Hitler was until the world found out he had murdered millions before anything was done.

By the way, thanks you, "Mike" for the discussion. Did I miss anything?

19 September 2012

Year 2, Day 250 (A Change In Format)

As you may have well noticed, these postings are turning in a different direction. This will not be aligned to lean toward any political affiliation, as we already have more of those than we can shake a stick at. Instead, this will be one person's viewpoint, on our country's current state. We have a paradigm shift taking place, as I mentioned in yesterday's post, which isn't of a positive position. People are defending a candidate whom they support based solely on party affiliation. First of all, we live in a Republic, not a Democracy, so why are the election laws written in a way that does not sway in the best interest of the American people? The political system is set up and controlled in a way that only supports a two-party standard. Let's take our current situation. Many people (myself included) are uncomfortable with the choices we have - only two. If , on election day, we write in a candidate that is neither Republican, nor Democrat, our vote - regardless of whom it may be - will be used as if we voted for the incumbent, therefore our vote isn't really counted. Should we choose to vote for either of the two parties, our individual vote doesn't really matter, since it's the Electoral College that decides the election's results anyway. It seems that the Electoral College bases their decision upon their own personal preference anyway (and I'm sure I may get more than just a few rebuttals on this, which I welcome). I know I could be wrong on several things. If I am, I welcome the correction... but please be sure to offer facts.

Don't mind me, it's late, and I'm "shooting from the hip", as it were. One thing we all need to do is come together as a nation, put our differences aside, and choose a candidate that would best represent US, not their own interests, and not their party's affiliation, nor agenda. Remember, our first President, George Washington, 1) didn't really want to be President, and, 2) had NO party affiliation at all. Those are two rules we should apply for our next President.

Year 2, Day 249 (Are We The Pawns?)

Over the past few months I have noticed something that disturbs me, and I think it will only get worse as we draw closer to the Presidential elections. It is the growing trend of defending the candidates, when instead, we should be defending our country from the infiltration of a socialist agenda, as well as defending the integrity of the office of the President. Over the past 3+ years, I have seen Socialism rear its ugly head, while the bulk of society is busy being distracted by American Idol or Dancing With The Stars, or even keeping tabs on the progress of Snookie's pregnancy. The problems that we should be looking at are the facts that our Government has succeeded in taking over Health Care, the auto and banking industries, and the gradual downsizing of the strength - not to mention the benefits - of our once strong military. For our Government to continue its excessive spending, all the while we are seeing an unemployment rate over 8%, is not only irresponsible, but dangerous for our economic growth. BOTH parties, and their respective candidates, should be held responsible for this.

For one thing, it is NOT the Government's responsibility to take care of our needs and wants, yet we have relinquished that control to them. My family and I have never been on welfare (we applied once, but were turned down, then we never applied again).The last time I drew an unemployment check was in the early to mid-90's - nearly 20 years ago. There were times that we struggled, times where dinner was ramen noodles with cheap sandwich meat mixed in because that was all we could afford. The point is, there were two things that we grew stronger in: our drive to create a better life for our children, and our faith in G-d (the latter being the prime foundation for what we later became blessed with).

When we realize that in the larger scheme of things, we are being played - by both sides - like cheap fiddles... easy to manipulate, and disposed of when the desired goal is reached. Think about it: both Romney and Obama are tapping in to what moves us emotionally. They say what will capture our attention or tickle our ears, and call - in time - for a "consolidation of power". These were the very same things that were common among Hitler, Mussolini, and Roosevelt. The ideology of "spending our way out of the economic slump" were also common among those just mentioned. We are already in very tumultuous times. It's time we begin being loyal to our country, not the political party. They have already orchestrated and manipulated the laws for their OWN advantage, and have no regard for the American people, nor for the damage that will inevitably ensue.

17 September 2012

Year 2, Day 248 (A Peaceful Day To Start Off A New Year)

I arrived just at midnight here in Clarksville, AR, though my delivery isn't until tomorrow. It turns out for the better, as today is Rosh HaShanah, the Jewish New Year. Unlike the Gregorian (or "civil") calendar that we commonly follow - which tell us it is the year 2012 - the Hebrew (or Lunar) calendar follows a different system of marking the years. According to Jewish tradition, the Lunar calendar dates back to when the ancient scribes and sages believe was the beginning of mankind. Therefore, the year we have just entered into is 5773... makes a little bit of a difference. There are still a few more weeks until the Torah study cycle begins again.

Anybody want to take up the challenge and join me in the weekly study portions? If so, let me know, and I'll be more that happy to share with you the weekly portions (especially if you are unfamiliar with them).

16 September 2012

Year 2, Day 247 (Look Beyond The Smokescreen)

Some interesting developments have occurred over the past few days. It's no secret that rioting and attacks upon our embassies and missions have been taking place in the Middle East. Somehow, this furor has been in "protest" over an anti-Islam movie on the internet. A few interesting facts:

1) this "movie" - which is actually very low-budget - was uploaded onto YouTube back in July, by its director, who goes by the pseudonym of Sam Bacile;

2) The present home of this director is in California;

3) Those who are "protesting" have, in the past, shown to be, not only well organized, but also computer savvy... so why such a delay in the "uproar"... such as to "coincide" with 9/11?

Another point to consider is that, in the aftermath of the attacks (and subsequent murders of diplomats and embassy staff), President Obama was quoted as saying,

"As we mourn their loss, we must also send a clear and resolute message to the world: those who attack our people will find no escape from justice. We will not waver in their pursuit. And we will never allow anyone to shake the resolve of the United States of America,"

Yet, last night (as reported by The Guardian) a man named Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, who is thought to be the director (or as the article says, the writer & producer) behind the aforementioned "movie" (a.k.a. Sam Bacile), was brought in for questioning by police in California. Not arrested, just brought in for questioning.


At around midnight.

Going back to the President's comment:

"Those who attack our people will find no escape from justice. We will not waver in their pursuit."

Last I checked, Nakoula did NOT "attack our people". The only crime that he can be charged with at this point is violating parole, for using an alias (he had been on parole stemming from previous charges of bank fraud). The article from The Guardian was also reference in a shortly followed blog post by Glenn Reynolds on the InstaPundit website. What I find very eerie - and some of you may call me paranoid - is that the photograph (shown in both of the above links) is of Nakoula being escorted by the police, whom, ironically enough, were wearing brown shirts (reminiscent of the Nazi regime). That may be a coincidence, but there have been too many coincidences with this administration, linked to Nazi-era Germany. If this develops into the direction I suspect, Nakoula could face more serious charges, or be extradited to the Middle East... which gives rise to the thought that Sharia Law may be one step closer to being embedded here in America. Again, so much for "separation of Church and State". Granted, the talk is that Nakoula filmed the "movie" in a way that its cast "didn't know what the film was about" and there were times of obvious overdubbing of some lines, but if what I mentioned earlier, that would set a new precedent... one we DON'T want... punishment for what can be perceived as blasphemy, especially if those offended are of ONLY one religion: Islam. We've seen the deteriorating of all other religions/faiths, while, at the same time, the building up of laws protecting Islam and Muslims.

Another blog of note on this subject is the recent posting by Mark Steyn of The National Review, which is quite scathing, but very much on target (both blogs were brought to my attention by the Facebook postings of Kevin Jackson of The Black Sphere website).

In closing, my wife - and a mutual friend of ours - posted something on Facebook that is right on the money:

"They will burn our flag, but they won't burn our currency."

15 September 2012

Year 2, Day 246 (Heading In The Wrong Direction)

I unloaded yesterday morning in Englewood, CO (in the Denver area) and just parked at the customer's facility in order to get a re-start on my logbook. This morning, I left out from there, had the trailer washed out (it was due, since I had just delivered a load of bagged rocks, and peat moss before that), then went just a few miles further to Henderson to get this load. I'm not too fond of this load for several reasons: a) it doesn't deliver until Tuesday afternoon (though I will be there tomorrow night), and, b) it's - in my opinion - heading to Arkansas, which is the wrong direction... but that's my personal preference.

It's been very nice being up in this region, and that's not just referring to the weather, though that has been quite pleasant as well. I've always enjoyed the peace and serenity that comes with traveling the western/northwestern areas. I find solace driving through the mountains and along the open roads... plus the traffic is much less of a headache to deal with. I'm especially looking forward to winter in the northwest. The snow just adds to the solitude... though my wife may disagree. Sure, there's more of a challenge driving a truck along snow ridden highways, but as long as you don't get too confident, everything will be just fine. I have had drivers pass me on snow-covered roads because I was going "too slow" for them. Yet, 15 - 20 miles down the road, I would see them stuck on the median, mainly because they were in so much of a rush, they lost control when they hit a slick spot.

Perhaps my return in this region will be soon... it makes for some pretty good posts.

... Ya think?

I hope you've had a pleasant and peaceful Sabbath.

I have (except for leaving the mountains behind).

14 September 2012

Year 2, Day 245 (I Really Enjoy This Weather)

While in Casper, WY the other day, I decided (since I didn't pick up my load until the next morning) to pull the bike out and go for a ride. This ride really kicked my butt, with several factors in play. First, my previous rides and been on hilly terrain (where I live), so I rode up the hills in low gear and coasted down the other side. In Casper, however, it was much more level, which meant I was constantly pedaling. There were other things against me. I had done some "self-maintanence" on my brakes some time earlier, only to find that I had adjusted the front brakes too much, and with sunset approaching, I didn't want to lose the available light... besides, I thought it would give me more of a workout. I got more than I bargained for. My route was just under 5 miles, which was a little short from my previous rides. Fortunately, the weather then - as today - was pretty mild and cool.

Upon a little research, I was fascinated about the origin of this particular trail I took. It is part of the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy, which has converted old railroad branches to bike and walking paths (you can find out more about them at the above link), and have "rail-trails" in many states.

The Flying J truck stop (where my truck was parked) was just a short distance away from the mid point of the trail. I took Wyoming Ave north, to just the other side of I-25, where I entered the trail. At that point, the trail was still a dirt path, but once I headed west to Walsh Dr., was where it became a paved trail. I continued west on that and turned around between Lincoln and Grant streets. Needless to say, it was a harsh - but fulfilling - workout.

May your Sabbath be blessed with much joy and peace...

Shabbat Shalom!

13 September 2012

Year 2, Day 244 (Have We Really Become So Jaded?)

The other day there were multiple protests/attacks on our embassies in the Middle East, more specifically, Egypt and Libya. Ironically this occurred on 9/11, yet our inept media outlets, such as CNN, even have the audacity to ask if the attacks were related?! Not only were they coordinated with one another, but with the date thay were to take place. In Egypt, it's reported that Ambassador Anne Patterson did not permit the Marine guards to have live ammunition. In Libya, Ambassador Christopher Stevens and several others were killed in the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. What infuriates me is that our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, actually made the statement that Libyan citizens were "carrying the Ambassador to the hospital." Just because she is clueless about Middle Eastern culture doesn't mean the rest of us are. I have not gone to school and studied their culture, but I do have a better understanding then the majority of people I know.

I'll let you in on how I've come to this basic level of understanding: the Bible. For Christians, and their pastors, in America - which has their origins from a European mindset, but deeply rooted from a Greek/Roman cultural mindset - and study from the Bible - which was written in a Middle Eastern mindset - yet expect it to make sense, is not only absurd, but also futile. For example (and this will shed some light on current events), for the Libyans to drag the body of Ambassador Stevens through the street is not only an insult, but the severest form of disrespect and desecration. It's in the Old Testament.
Muslims demanded that we honor their religious practices when Osama bin Laden was killed. The Muslims are not stupid. They are not even brilliant. But they use against us what we ourselves fail to use: common sense. They know we have a predominately "politically correct" society; they know we want to "honor" other religions and not offend them; they know that we have judges, lawyers, and lawmakers that are sympathetic to the Muslim religion, and want to be sure they are afforded certain leniencies in a court of law, that the rest of us would be fully prosecuted for. The Muslims know all of these things... and exploit them! Think of the states whose courts allow for Sharia Law exemptions. So much for separation of Church and State.

There is a reference I have made in the past when talking about the U.N. making resolutions against Iraq (and Saddam Hussein) in the years following Desert Storm, and I think it still holds true today for us. Many of you remember the Looney Toons cartoons. There is one where Bugs Bunny is confronted by Yosemite Sam. Bugs draws the line in the sand and tells Sam, "I dare you to cross this line!" When Sam does, Bugs draws another line and repeats the same words, the process is repeated several times.

We are Bugs, the Muslims are Sam.

Only this time, Bugs Bunny is the one that will fall off the cliff.

12 September 2012

Year 2, Day 243 (Back From Canada)

I made my way into Canada on Sunday, having had the glitches ironed out through the broker concerning customs. There were a lot of motorists on the road Sunday, especially making my way through Ft. Macleod, Calgary, and into Edmonton. One thing I did notice was, even though there was a lot of traffic, there wasn't very many traffic backups. Even when I came back through Edmonton at 1600 (MT), there were no traffic jams. The weather was quite nice as well. The past few nights I haven't turned on my APU, and wake up the next morning with a slight chill in the truck.

There was one traffic backup last night as I came into Lethbridge, but I had heard about that a few hours earlier. The situation that had occurred was there was a major fire in that area and - as I had heard when I was south of Calgary - that highway AB 3 was closed going into Lethbridge from the west side. However, once I had made it down there, it had been opened back up. I don't know very many details of the fire, but I had heard that a couple homes and farms were lost. Fortunately there were no casualties being reported, but I do ask that you will keep in prayer those who lost their homes.

11 September 2012

Year 2, Day 242 (Remembering A Tragic Day)

11 years ago today tragedy struck our nation. It was on this day in 2001 that we all heard the terrible fate that had befallen the Twin Towers in New York City, and most importantly, the innocent lives that were lost as a result, both from the attack on the towers, and the ongoing war in the Middle East that followed. We all know this is the day memorialized as 9/11, but, sadly, many still need a reminder. Should we have sought out those parties responsible? Yes! Should politicians have been given a say in military operations and tactics? Absolutely not! The late Senator Ted Kennedy, early on, referred to our Middle Eastern military operations as "George Bush's Viet Nam." That (in my opinion) inevitably set the ground work for what became the Viet Nam of our generation. Just take a look at the similarities: both wars were ripe with political influence and agendas; both lasted longer than was necessary, and - more importantly - both told the military forces what their jobs were, then prohibited them from doing that job. The difference between the two is that we lost far more troops in Viet Nam than we have in the present cycle.

What should have started as retaliation with righteous indignation has become nothing more than socialist politicians using the military troops as pawns in their sick little game, then blaming others because their agendas didn't pan out the way they wanted, or their pockets didn't get lined as much as they hoped. It's also unfortunate that the socialist leaning politicians come from both "sides of the aisle". It seems that the only time Democrats and Republicans truly work together is to block another political party from getting into the game.

We have a Presidential election coming up in a few months... one in which we really don't have a qualified candidate to choose from. Romney hasn't released his tax statements? So what... Obama has sealed important government documents that prove an injustice had been done ("Fast & Furious" ring a bell?). Obama won't release his college transcripts? Big deal... "RomneyCare" was the basic model for what is now referred to as "ObamaCare" (do you really think Romney would overturn something that pays homage to his own "brilliance"?).

Thomas Jefferson once said, "A revolution every 50 years makes for good government." When was the last time we had a viable revolution? This coming from the same man that also said. "When the government fears the people, there is freedom... when the people fear the government, there in tyranny."

Tyranny is upon us... most just haven't opened their eyes to it.

10 September 2012

Year 2, Day 241 (One Month Until 20)

On this day next month, my wife, Tikvah, and I will be celebrating 20 years of marriage. In this day and age, that is a big accomplishment, considering there are many marriages that don't survive 20 months. We've had a lot of ups and downs, as many relationships do, but the most important thing that we've had that had given us a strong bond is by putting G-d in the center of our marriage. It was He that brought us together. It was He that has prevented us from a divorce we were facing many years ago. It was He that has strengthened our love, companionship, and respect for one another.

I have already planned a little romantic getaway for that weekend, of which I will be home the day before our anniversary. We will stay at a quaint little place in Eureka Springs, AR, though I have a few surprises lined up for her that she doesn't know about yet. We really haven't had a little getaway in quite some time, so I'm looking forward to this... as is she.

Just last week we were talking about the upcoming milestone. I asked her how she has put up with me for so long. Naturally she replied that I'm not that difficult to live with, and she, at times, can have her moments (though I've yet to see them). Pressing a little more, I asked her how she's put up with me all this time.

"I really don't know."

"Has the wine been any help?"

"A little."

Yeah, we have a really good relationship (no sarcasm intended).

09 September 2012

Year 2, Day 240 (The Peace Of The West)

I have driven a truck for many years. In the recent years I have come, with few exceptions, to dislike the east and the south, for most of the same reasons. For the most part, the traffic get pretty horrendous, and the people are - mostly - rude. At one time drivers in the metro New Jersey areas were some of the most rude... now I think that Atlanta has given them a run for their money. Driving out west has a different set of challenges and circumstances. L.A., for example, does have some crazy traffic, but you know (if you've been through there with any frequency) when and where it will usually occur. I've even seen traffic back up in the Seattle area, but it get nowhere near as bad as the east.

The west, however, does offer a lot more solace, a lot more open road... plus driving through the mountainous regions are pretty awe-inspiring. There have been times where it has taken less time to get from the east side of Denver, to I-25 north, up to the Colorado/Wyoming state lines (the distance of about 100 miles) - including traffic and the occasional work zone - than it would to take I-95 north from Elizabeth, NY to the other side of New York City, which is about 1/3 the distance.

Some drivers try to steer clear (no pun intended) of the northwest in the winter months, while I look forward to it. I find it very beautiful to drive through the valleys, surrounded by the snow covered mountains. It's very breath-taking.

What are YOUR preferred areas to travel?

08 September 2012

Year 2, Day 239 (This Is My Kind Of Weather)

When I arrived in Tulsa on Wednesday, just before midnight, it was in the upper 70's/lower 80's; but when I shut down in Colby, KS early yesterday morning, it was in the mid-60's. The temperatures became gradually cooler from there, being in the low 50's in Sheridan, WY, where I parked early this morning. It's plain to see I had been able to make some progress yesterday, but was slightly delayed from the afternoon traffic in the Denver area. I'm running a bit tight on time, but I think I'll still be able to make my delivery on time Monday morning.

I've never been up to Edmonton, AB before, but after speaking with a driver that had, chances are my next load will come out of Alberta and deliver later next week in Denver. Either way, I will have to squeeze in a 34 hour re-start sometime soon.

This, so far, has been a lovely Sabbath, even though I am having to work. When I was in Minnesota earlier in the week, I had purchased one of the Banana Walnut breads from the store that stocks Amish goods, and have been snacking on it periodically.

It's pretty good, and it washes down well with milk.

Oh yeah... I also had Starbucks.

07 September 2012

Year 2, Day 238 (Still Some Ground To Cover)

I left from Tulsa around 1900, a bit later than I had hoped, but I still got underway. I hoped to make it at least to Limon, CO, but only made it as far as Colby, KS. The upside to that is I'll be able to leave from here with a cup of Starbucks. I'm in the process of pre-scheduling a few extra posts since I'll be in Canada for a few days, this way TRS keeps its daily posting format. The weather in Colby is quite different than that of Tulsa. The other night Tulsa was in the upper 70's/lower 80's, but here it's in the mid 60's... so I know i'm going to enjoy the further travels up north.

Sabbath has come upon us once again, unfortunately I won't have the luxury of shutting down, since this load is due in Edmonton, AB on Monday morning. As my Rabbi once told me, to violate the Sabbath in the service of providing for my family is acceptable... it falls under the "sanctity of life". Either way, I will be looking forward to the peace that comes with the Sabbath, even though I am unable to rest in it. May your Sabbath be full of joy!

Shabbat Shalom!!

06 September 2012

Year 2, Day 237 (Heading Up To Canada, Eh?)

I finished the trip to Russellville, AR yesterday afternoon, with an interesting trip through a winding and (kinda) steep route.

The route is AR 7, from Harrison to Russellville... a state road that takes you through Jasper, which may well have been the setting for the movie Deliverance. I was fortunate to arrive at the customer and be able to drop & hook. What was unfortunate was that the trailer had some recent damage to it. I made sure I reported it and emailed some photos to the night dispatch crew, a.k.a., covering my tucas. Being as I was able to drop & hook in Russellville meant that I could head to the customer of the load I had been pre-planned on, in Tulsa. Sadly, it's not going up to Woodinville, WA/Burnaby, BC (that load picks up tomorrow), but I am heading to Canada. This load will have me going up to Edmonton, AB for Monday morning. I've never been to Alberta, so this can only mean one thing: another coffee mug for my collection (won't my wife be pleased... and that was intended with all possible sarcasm).

I'm going to try to come up with a few stories to blog about, then schedule them to auto-post, since I won't have access to my phone while I'm up there (and that could be a few days).

Let's see how that works out.

05 September 2012

Year 2, Day 236 (Road Food For The Road Scholar)

Many years ago I had discovered a nice little gem of an eatery. I was making a delivery in southeastern Minnesota, when I happened upon a little restaurant right off the interstate, which was owned and operated by Amish. What was very memorable about this little place was it was quaint... and they served home churned butter. As I was making my way back through Minnesota today, I found that same little diner... now what was the name of it...

After placing my order - which was French Toast (made from their Apple Crunch bread) - they had served not the home churned butter, as I had remembered from before, but individually wrapped butter pats. Something was amiss... so I did a little investigating. Sadly, the Amish folks whom had previously owned it sold the restaurant, but the current owner (a dentist from Lewiston, MN) still does a lot of business with the Amish... to the point that the store upstairs (and some in the restaurant, as well) is packed to the gills with Amish made merchandise. Items such as noodles and breads:

There are also a variety of home bakes pies, as well as Amish handmade quilts (such as this Mariner's Compass pattern, which goes for about $1,300)

I almost forgot, I went there to grab a bite to eat. Unfortunately, the food looked so good, I had forgotten to take a picture, until it was almost too late.

The servers, Blanca & Leslie, were top notch. Despite still trying to catch up from the recent lunch rush, they still maintained a more than pleasant attitude, as well as a cheery ambiance in the restaurant. If you're ever in St. Charles, MN, the restaurant and gas station are off of I-90, at exit 233, then turn south... you'll see them on the right. The restaurant is usually open from 0600-2000 each day. You can also view their menu from the website, and free WiFi while you're there. Pop in for a meal... you'll be glad you did.

04 September 2012

Year 2, Day 235 (Leaving Wisconsin)

I was unloaded at Walmart in Tomah, WI at around 1900 yesterday. Afterwards I made my way to Black River Falls, WI (about 30 miles away) to send in the paperwork, grab a bite, and milk up a few things from the store (milk being very essential for cereal). Once all that was accomplished, I hit the road again to find the customer in Greenwood, WI, which is basically in the middle of somewhere. You know you're way out in the Wisconsin countryside when not only is the customer on a county road, but I encountered an Amish buggy just before I arrived (those Amish sure do stay up late... or maybe, get up early, as it was just after midnight).

This is supposed to be a light load, but I'll know for sure once I get loaded. I could go one of three ways on the routing. The quickest way is about 100 miles further, but the shortest way takes me through a multitude of small towns.

This is not an easy decision to make without the aid of coffee.

This is due in Russellville, AR on Thursday morning at 0430, which is not good. What is good is the fact that we have dropped trailers at that customer, so I may have a silver lining after all.

03 September 2012

Year 2, Day 234 (Soon To Head Back To Arkansas)

Having reached my 34 hour window for a re-start on my logbook, I began rolling this morning at around 1100. I made my way to Rogers, AR and did a drop & hook, then took off (but, of course, making a stop for Starbucks). Unfortunately, the trailer my load was on had an air leak on one of the brake chambers. I was able to get a quick fix from the road service that came out, only because - since disc brakes for a semi are still considered "new" - he didn't think the parts were in stock at their shop.

I made it to the rest area just across the Minnesota state line, which leaves me about 175 miles left of this run. Once I do get emptied this afternoon, I'll head to Greenwood, WI (basically out in the middle of nowhere) to load on Tuesday morning. This load will head to Con Agra in Russellville, AR for 0430 (UGH!!) Thursday morning. Yesterday turned out to be a full, yet productive, day, covering over 650 miles. I can kick back a little the next few days... sort of.

02 September 2012

Year 2, Day 233 (Food, Glorious Food!)

Yesterday, while I was getting a re-start on my logbook (and enjoying the Sabbath), I had put a wild idea into action. The other day I had done some shopping, and on my list I had written vegetables... so I started brainstorming. I had already picked up a pre-cooked smoked beef brisket, when this wild concoction began to form. So I wandered through the produce section to see what I could come up with. A week ago I was given several Roma tomatoes (most of which I had planned on using in a Pica De Gallo), I just had to figure out what else to use with them.

My mind suddenly went into "creative" mode (and, no, I wasn't shopping on an empty stomach). I found several ingredients to use. I chose not to use the potatoes for this meal, as that would have produced too much food. While the brisket was heating up in the crock pot, I went to work an my idea. My "Vegetable Medley" (as I have come to call it) consists of a couple slices of Roma tomato, red, yellow, and orange Bell Peppers (sliced), a couple slices of white onion (which I had already purchased for the Pico de Gallo), some Greek Kalamata Olives & green Olives (stuffed with garlic), almonds, then I drizzled it with olive oil, splashed it with red wine vinegar, then gave it all a little bit of salt, pepper, and some Mediterranean seasoning.

I also took some aluminum foil and fashioned it into a little pan, then placed it on top of the brisket, closed the lid, and let the crock pot do its work. When I went to put away & organize the last few select items from shopping, I realized I had purchased some sun-dried julienne cut tomatoes just for this idea... so I added a little to the already simmering concoction, which at this point was half done (better late than never). I let it all simmer for a couple more hours. Once I removed the lid this time, the aroma was very enticing.

Now that I've seen what my gastronomic mind created, I was more than ready to eat.

The pictures make it look delicious, but the end product surpassed what could be captured on the camera of an iPhone 3GS.

I really enjoy cooking!!

01 September 2012

Year 2, Day 232 (I've Decided To Get A Re-Start)

I arrived in Clarksville, AR at 0045 this morning, shutting down at the truck stop just across the street from Walmart. I've enjoyed the peace that comes with the Sabbath, and the time I spend in this week's Torah portion. Tomorrow, though, I'll take off and head to Rogers, AR to pick up the load that will next take me to Tomah, WI for Monday afternoon. I'll try to cover as much ground as possible tomorrow, so Monday's work won't be as bad.

Tomorrow's post will be one of a foodie style. I'm in the process of making a smoked beef brisket with vegetables, and, so far, the results are looking quite nice.

The weather has been back to the typical humidity that Arkansas is known for. Fortunately I have an a/c unit that works quite nice. It's not the heat I have a problem with, it's the humidity of this region. If I want to be in a sticky atmosphere, I'll go into a sauna, that that's not likely to happen any time soon.

Where ever you may be, stay cool!