Saturday, April 30, 2005

She made me do it ....

Jackie Gallagher-Smith by lpga hosted by photobucket.comI came across this item when I was perusing the sports wires. Apparently the former caddy of LPGA golfer Jackie Gallagher Smith is saying the she seduced him to get pregnant, making him "an involuntary sperm donor." He is now suing her for an untold amount of damages.

Caddy Gary Robinson alleges that the golfer, who has been married since 1992, used him to get pregnant. The suit says Gallagher-Smith, who gave birth last month, put him in the position of being an unwitting sperm donor. He says that he cannot find a job, especially in the LPGA and is trying to make it as a professional golfer.

He's 26 and she's 37. They were both adults (well chronologically at least) when the alleged sexual relationship occurred last year. Robinson says that Gallagher-Smith told her husband and that he forgave the two of them. But he is still suing her for "emotional pain and suffering."

What about the emotional pain and suffering of her husband? Did you forget that part or did that not make the leap when you entertained the idea of making money off an affair you had with your boss? Or were you indulging that young man fantasy of being with an older woman.

But nobody forced this guy to have sex. He wasn't raped. Assuming his version of events is even true, it appears he went into it with eyes -- and apparently trousers -- wide open.

And what about the child? Florida law says that a child born into a marriage is deemed to be the result of the marriage and therefore DNA testing cannot be forced and Robinson has no legal right to the child.

Gallagher-Smith's attorney Edwin Belz said the caddy is trying to extort money out of her. For her part -- because she was pregnant -- Gallagher Smith has not played on the tour this year and has made no money. He has one career victory and career earnings of about $1.1 million.

Honey, can we talk....

AP Photo of Jennifer WilbanksSo Jennifer Wilbanks had cold feet. She didn't want to go through the situation of a 14-person wedding party, and all the other b.s. that goes with a wedding with 600 guests. Now CNN has weighed in with all the experts and pundits and other idiots talking about why she did it. Can you imagine?

"She put her family through hell, she put her friends through hell, she put the community through hell, she should be ashamed, she has lied to authorities and we are calling it a mistake. That's what one "expert" Pat Brown a criminal profiler said on CNN. She said Jennifer did it to get the attention.

Have you ever tried to host a wedding with that many people in it? Maybe Jennifer and her fiancé should have talked about things before she went jogging. But her family thought she was dead or kidnapped (a story she made up) but what she was most was scared.

But this offers her fiancé a unique opportunity: to express forgiveness. But he's also got to be thinking whether this was such a good idea to begin with. Not to mention the expense of the wedding -- caterers, the church, the minister, the gown, the ring, the brides maid(s) dresses, the rented tuxes, the cake, the flowers, the photographer or videographer, the reception, and all the other bulls*** that goes with a modern wedding.

Here in Washington, the average cost of a wedding is $25,000! It's like putting on a freakin' Broadway show. But her fiance, John Mason, says he has no hostile feelings towards his once and future wife. But he does have a wedding story to tell the grandkids.

Look for the media lizards to milk this for all it's worth. There will probably be a "Law and Order" episode on it or maybe "Without a Trace."

Friday, April 29, 2005

Operation Truth

Operation Truth is a blog written by people who served in the Iraq war. It features issues that concern them -- and us -- in the war on terrorism. It also talks about something that is just a shame to our country:the lack of sufficient armor for HUMVEES.unarmored Humvee from Operation Truth blogYou might remember, when Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld visited there a while back he was confronted in Kuwait by a reservist who asked basically "why do our humvees not have enough armor?" The secretary's answer was typically evasive. The problem remains.

In one post from Operation Truth, an Iraq War veteran wrote:
"...In Baghdad our vehicles we to be turned in for low armor, light skin HUMMVVs. We had been taking fire for some time and the vehicles were too unequipped for the missions that we performed. We lined our vehicles with sandbags and proceeded with our missions. Toward the end of our rotation in Iraq we were performing a routine TCP mission when a small truck swerved in front of one of our squad leader's vehicles and dropped an IED [Improvised Explosive Device, or roadside bomb]. It exploded immediately, tore through the sandbags, shattering both of the squad leaders legs and sending shards of metal into the head of his driver. That is just one example of many where an up-armored HUMMVV would have saved these soldiers from injury..." -- Futomara, an Infantryman who served in Iraq.

In the face of a lack of supply, the soldiers are having to jury-rig stuff call "Hillbilly Armor" from old vehicles (some of which were destroyed because they didn't have enough protection).HillBilly armor photo from With all the talk about sending care packages to our troops and making sure that they have what they need, and what we are doing for the Iraqi people, let's press our elected representatives to give them what they need to keep from getting killed.

The Congress acknowledged the problem. In the text of a bill on military appropriations (s.871) it reads:

(1) United States military personnel serving in Operations Iraqi Freedom have experienced significant shortages of critical equipment, such as body armor , aircraft survivability equipment, and armored trucks, including up-armored High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles. In many cases the shortages have lasted several months. For example, the individual body armor needed for protecting every member of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense civilians in Iraq was not produced and fielded until February 2004, 11 months after Operation Iraqi Freedom was launched. Shortages of armor for Army trucks still existed as of the beginning of 2005.(emphasis mine)

(2) Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom have taken a substantial toll on military equipment of the Armed Forces. The commanding general of the Army Material Command estimated in 2004 that the Army is wearing out its equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan at a rate that could be up to 10 times faster than the rate at which it wears out its equipment elsewhere during peacetime, and there are no significant reserve stocks of that equipment remaining. (again my emphasis)

(3) It is a solemn obligation of the United States Government to ensure that, whenever the Armed Forces are called into battle, the military personnel fighting or supporting the battle are provided with the safest, most effective technology and equipment.

So the Senate did the right thing and voted for more money. Read more at, but one of my senators, John Warner of Virgina, voted "Nay" while George Allen voted "Yay". Kind of makes me wonder what my vote will be the next time they come up for reelection. Image hosted by OperationTruth I have worked for the Federal Government for 16 years now. If I don't have what I need to do my job, I might miss an interview, or I might not be able to make copies, or might need new batteries. If the guys (and gals) in Iraq don't have what they need, they get their asses shot off. That's not right! D.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Chloe Capped the Bad Man!

24 logoChloe Capped the Bad man! Dweeby little Chloe on "24" whose main protest was "I'm not a field agent" caps the smack out of this bad guy hired by the terrorists to kill the girlfriend of one of their operatives. Chloe, little dweeby Chloe who is about as whiny and snotty as any federal employee I know and whose p***ing matches with Edgar are about the most realistic thing on the show, empties the clip at this scumbag and the show ends.

Another semi-realistic thing on this week's show was the President being a woos bag and ordering the Secret Service to go after Jack Bauer. The bad guys got away because of this little episode of Bureaucratic illumination, which was about par for the Feds. Most of the time the government seems to do the thing that costs the most and makes the least amount of sense.

But The season is drawing to a close and the black guy who used to be president is now back. That's where it gets to be fantasy. They don't call it the White House for nothing.

But hey, it's entertainment. It's not supposed to be real. Check out Dave Barry's take on the whole thing here Dave Barry's Blog

Later. D


MY WAR is a blog by a U.S soldier who is actually in Iraq. He gives the boots on the ground details and some interesting perspective that the nightly newsheads wouldn't dare to give. Check it out. Some of it is mundane, some of it is really good, but it gives a soldier's eye view of the conflict, and sheds light on what we don't know and what they won't tell us.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

E-mail the Pope!

Vatican LogoNow here's something that I never thought of doing. The Pope Benedict XVI has his own e-mail address. Not that that's really new. Apparently the former Pope John Paul II had one too. But can you imagine?

I mean what would you say to the Pope?

I mean I can think of a few things. But can you imagine what it would be like to get an e-mail from the Pope? Would you think it was spam?

Let's say you're going through your e-mail box. "Mmmmmm. Okay, save on mortgages, grow hair, meet sexy singles -- and Greetings from the Holy See." That would be different.

Would you ask the Pope what kind of German sausage is his favorite? What kind of beer does he like? What's his favorite piano music? And how would you open it? Holy Father, Your Holiness, Dear Benedict, Yo Ben? And would you use slang like LOL or put those little emoticons in it? I mean this is an e-mail to the Pope! It's almost like e-mailing God. Now when HE gets an e-mail address, that's the end.

For those who are curious, the English version of the pope's e-mail address is: The Italian one is is:

Friday, April 15, 2005

Fire in the East

Icon of Christ by Orthodox Church of North AmericaSo I have been reading and hearing some about the Eastern Orthodox Church, particularly their emphasis on experiencing God face to face rather that theoretically or intellectually. It has started me thinking about exploring some of what they know, and seeing for myself whether the East might hold some of the secrets that the West has been searching for.

Part of this stems from my Church history studies this semester. The course has looked at both the Western tradition (Clement, Justin Marytr, John Chrysostum, Augustine, Luther, Thomas Aquinas, etc) and at the Eastern tradition (Cyril of Jerusalem and others). I have to say, my heart has tended toward the pneumatology of the East, rather than the neoplatonic intellectualism and scholasticism of the West.

The appeal that Eastern theology has to me is that it is more experiential than theoretical. I attend what could be called a mixed-bag church. We have some Pentecostals there, we have some folks from liturgical traditions, we have some folks who are Baptists or Episcopalian or Presbyterian. It is a loose conglomeration of traditions. But there is no real hierarchy other than there is a pastor, and what is called a design team, which seems to me to be a borrowing of corporate terminology for the more traditional "elders board" or "vestry" that other churches have.

But what we don't have is a tradition. We don't have 1,000 or more years of the way things are done to fall back on. From my church history studies, that seems to always have been the tension - between the more stable, established, hierarchical church and the more spontaneous, less structured, independent type of church.

There are good and bad things with each. In the hierarchical church, sometimes the fire of newness is missing because it "conflicts with our tradition." So some of the freshness can be lost because we become unable or unwilling to change.

In the independent church, some of the accountability of the liturgical church is missing. There is a safety if you like in having to answer to a superior. Even Pope John Paul II wanted to enter the monastery at least twice in his career, but he had a bishop who steered him away from that idea, and more toward academic and ecclesiastical pursuits.

Liturgically, our church has a sort of tradition (we start by singing, then there are the creeds, then the scripture, then announcements, communion, more singing, offering, and then sermon). It is not written down, but it is "what we do."

-Musically most of the songs are the type one would hear on a "contemporary Christian" station -- Matt Redman, Darlene Zscech, Third Day, Paul Baloche, Michael W. Smith -- performed by a five-piece group with the senior pastor leading the singing. Sometimes people really enter into worship and other times it's like they are just watching, not really entering into the sacredness of what is going on.

And sometimes I find myself longing for the hymns I used to hear in the Episcopal Church -- (Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence, etc) or even for some of the cantillation of scripture High Churches favor. I also like the smell of incense and anointing oil - they remind me of the sacredness of what we are doing.

Our pastor has been teaching a lot about silence and solitude and how they are necessary for spiritual growth. I think it might be interesting to have a church worship service where there was no music, no PowerPoint, we didn't lower the lights, no videos, etc. We just gathered, and sang what God had put on our hearts, and expressed in that moment what the Holy Spirit was saying - either through scripture or intuitively. Or maybe we could sing the psalms like the desert monks did long ago. I just think it would be neat to practice some of the silence he has been talking about corporately.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Spring has sprung...

Washington Monument with cherry trees (c)dbyrdAnd that means lawn work. As far as I am concerned, "yard work" is two four-letter words back to back, which makes it doubly bad. Cornelia loves working in the yard, even if her back does hurt most of the time. But the end result is enjoyable, while it lasts.

Case in point: Mulch.

We often spend a small fortune on mulch at our local Southern States, and it never stays where you put it. The first time it rains, the stuff runs into the edging we put around the beds and then we have to either rake it back where it belongs, or pour more on top of the bed.

Meanwhile, there is the "cheap stuff" -- free mulch that has God knows what in it, but will cover the ground. We use this stuff but never next to the house! It is full of all kinds of goodies (including maybe termite eggs and other unpleasantness) so it goes away from the house.

Meanwhile, we have found something to handle the little ants that emerge from our yard every year at this time. (They usually make their presence known when you are brushing your teeth -- they love toothpaste!) My sister-in-law and her husband turned us on to antpro bait stations.Antpro ant bait system They look a little like the tee markers on a golf course, and they are bright green, but they work. Bad ants must die! They use something called "Uncle Albert's Super Smart Ant Bait" and it must be working, 'cause the little buggers aren't in the kitchen or the bathroom any more. It's the most fun I've had disposing of a household pest since I harpooned the mole in my back yard in March! Later y'all, the grass is growing as I speak.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Cherry blossoms Part Deux!

Cherry Blossum at Tidal Basin(c)dbyrdOkay so here's another cherry blossom photo. I took this with an Olympus digital camera set at "SQ1" and the original image was 1280 x 960. It was taken just about an hour and a half before sunset at the Tidal Basin near the Jefferson Memorial here in Washington and I did use the flash to compensate for the backlighting.I have more photos in the rest of this posting.

Like this one:
Blossum Sunset by DByrd Photobucket.comThis is one taken at sunset along the tidal basin. I wanted to get the backlight effect through the cherry blossoms, but I turned the flash off so I wouldn't get any specific person. The crowd was huge! There were people everywhere. There were people walking, there were people driving, there were people with children in strollers, there were lovers, there were parents, there were children running and playing. And a lot of them were right underneath the trees and it seemed like everyone had a camera!My Mama taught me that you don't walk in front of someone taking a picture but in this circumstance it could not be helped!

Image hosted by Photobucket.comOkay so this one is a tourist shot you see all the time on the postcards. But the light was so friendly on this one; it gave the whole basin a warm feel, so I took the postcard shot. I have never done the paddle boats. I don't know if they make you wear a life vest or if they are optional, but I have seen some of the stuff floating in the water of the tidal basin. Believe me, if you fall in, you would not want to stay in there very long.

Image hosted by Photobucket.comAnd while we're on the subject of tourist-type photos, I thought the light and the different textures in this one turned out pretty good. They weren't exactly as sharp as I had hoped, but the batteries were running down on my camera so the fact that I got it at all was pretty good. I love butterscotch sunlight. This is springtime sunlight, so it's not quite the same as October, but it was pretty close. The curves in this image are not too bad, either. The contrasts of the shiny dome and the rough stones of the American Indian Museum are nice too. Mostly I just wanted to capture the orange glow on the stones, and I'm pretty happy with that. Okay, so I have bored you with enough photos. I'm just so freakin' happy to be able to publish them again, I might have gone a little overboard.


Saturday, April 09, 2005

Cherry blossum Close up

Cherry Blossum Close Up April 9 2005This is what a cherry blossum looks like close up. Yes they are that pink and yes the sky was that blue. It was a gorgeous day today, but the streets are jammed with tourists! So now that youy have seen the flowers (and I will have other photos later) you don't need to come to DC to see them.But if you do come, be prepared to stand in long lines and take a long time in traffic. It was a mess today.

So the knot is tied

and Charlie and Camilla are now man and wife. Congratulations to HRH Prince Charles. All the Kings horses and all the king's men were there. But of course, not Fergie, the patron saint of those of us who have gone to Weight Watchers.

Apparently Prince Phillip, the Royal Consort (don't call him the king, he's not CNN!) can't stand Sarah, so she was not invited. Pity.

I wonder if they would have invited Diana and Dodi if not for that unfortunate wreck. Probably not. But the Royal couple looked happy, and relieved, but now the British Press Sharks will have more blood in the water, but I think these two people actually love one another, so God bless them.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Anger test

Image hosted by Photobucket.comSo this is a test of the photobucket website that I am using to get around blogger bot which seems to have self destructed or something. This means that I can now post more pics, and I will give full credit to their author(s). This one I can't remember where it came from because it was so long ago.



Image hosted by Yea! It worked! This is a sunset photo I took over the Caribbean sea in February. So now the visual aids will return to my blog. I have no idea what was wrong with Bloggerbot, but got me around it. I was getting pretty bored with not being able to post photos.

Foul deeds will rise ...

though all the earth overwhelm them to men's eyes" (Shakespeare's Hamlet)

Eric Rudolph has agreed to plead guilty to four bombings, including the one in Centennial Park during the 1996 Olympics. I was in downtown Atlanta at that time, and I am glad to see this man brought to justice.

If you have seen the video of the bombing in Atlanta, there is a parking garage in the background of the explosion. I was pulling out of that garage when I heard what sounded like a "flash-bang" firework - the kind they set off to make a big noise. I remember thinking, "that was one of two things: a firework -- which it can't be because the park is full of people or it was a ..." then I heard sirens wailing and Eric Rudolph by AP Photosaw police running down the street.

I turned the car around, and went back toward the park. I spent the night doing interviews, man-on-the-street profiles, and trying to stay out of the way of the police, who pepper sprayed some over-zealous reporters who were -- perish the thought -- trying to get into the press center.

Rudolph was charged with three other bombings, including at an abortion clinic and at a gay-lesbian night club. Now he's going to miss the death penalty, and will spend his life on the taxpayer's dime. But thank God he won't be making any more bombs.

A study in contrast.

So I was struck by the contrasts today of Pope John Paul II's funeral and Prince Charles' wedding. In one we have a man who gave up his life for the service of the church and in the other we have a man whose lifeAFP image hosted by has been a series of tumultuous events marked by his fairy tale marriage to Diana, their subsequent divorce, her death in Paris and now his nuptials to the woman he was in love with all along, Camilla Parker Bowles (this is an AFP image of Charlie & Camilla). But both have a sense of hope about them -- maybe.Pope John Paul II by mean the Pope (this is a BBC photo of JP2 in his last days) is in heaven, and many are hoping he will be called John Paul the Great, an appellation that only two other men --Leo and Gregory -- have been given. He has the legacy of his leadership of the catholic Church, and he has entered into his eternal reward. I think its profile a safe bet that he heard "Well done, good and faithful servant" just a few seconds after he left us.

Charlie on the other hand is still here. He is set to marry the woman he was in love with from long ago, but did not marry reportedly because QE2 opposed it. Now Her Majesty will not attend the wedding on Saturday.

Now Camilla and Charlie have to confess their sins as part of the wedding. The soarée is supposed to cost somewhere around three million dollars (two million pounds).

The British press has been its normal merciful self, and there are some who think that this could signal the end of the monarchy in England.

But hey, Charlie has to apologize to Camilla's ex-husband, Camilla will be the Princess of Wales (Diana lovers aside) and William and Harry are still in line for the throne. And there is still hope for Charles. There is forgiveness for our sins, after all, even the ones done in public.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

I see you....

well I wish I could see you. I can't seem to get Picasa's Blogger Bot to upload any of my photos. Ever since the guy from the free site busted my onions about hotlinking to other sites, I can't get it to work. I wonder, did the guy do something to my blog so it won't upload my photos? Or are they just too big to load from a 56k modem? I'll have to try it at another computer and see.

On another note, Peter Jennings has lung cancer! What! Dude that is no good. He could barely talk tonight when he was telling everyone. He said it was from smoking. DUH!? You know, sometimes I see people at work smoking, friends of mine, and I want to tell them I will help them to quit cause I used to suck the weed myself, but I know it won't do any good. I mean these are colleagues, and yet they are killing themselves in pieces. But they have to want to stop. I know when I used to smoke when some well-meaning do-gooder would tell me all the reasons I should quit, I was -- shall we say -- not very receptive to their wise counsel.

It really is freaky how much death and dying has been prominent in the news. I mean in one week, we're talking about Terri Schiavo, the Pope, Frank Purdue, Prince Ranier of Monaco is on life support, and now Peter Jennings has lung cancer.

By the way, if you have not seen the Frontline on the Pope, get it and watch it. It is a very balanced treatment of the man, his theology, his faith, and his legacy. I watched most of it Monday night.

And I have to give a big Zoomba Zoomba to the North Carolina basketball team! Hurl 'em down you Tarheel Warriors!. Yee-hah!

Saturday, April 02, 2005


Soooooo... I learned a little something today. In my ignorance (and antiquated html training) I was linking this blog directly to the images that you see when it comes up. Come to find out that's a no-no! I found out through the rather abrupt comeuppance given me by a tech at one of the free photo sites from which I had gotten an image.

Apparently "netiquette" demanded that I post the photos to my own server, instead of "hotlinking" to theirs. OOPS! Crap! I didn't mean to steal bandwidth from anyone. I was operating under a 10 year old assumption, that you could just hit "properties" on a photo and copy the info into your html. NOPE. So the only photos on the blog for a few days will be my own until I can correct this problem. The last thing I need is to get sued by somebody.

Come to the Quiet

So I thought I would post a poem that I wrote this morning, Thursday, March 31st, 2005 after not getting enough sleep. Hope you like it. It's something that I believe God has been whispering to me for the past couple of years.

Come to the Quiet

Silence is loud!
And yet you call me to it.
Pull me away from the maddening

To listen.

“Turn off the music, put down the pen,
Come to the quiet and listen again,
For the still, small voice.
Mightier than the earthquake --
Or the wind or the fire."
Listen for the voice
that ignites the desire,
To know the one who calls to me.

“Find the time, make the date,
Come to the quiet and meditate,
Come to the silence,
for I have much to say,
much to share,
much to give.
True, you can live
The way that you have been -
until your life is spent,
Jaded and fagged
like a horse that’s run
One too many a race.”

But I have much more for you.

So come, make some space,
Come to the quiet.
And live!

Every man dies ...

but can every man - or woman - say that they lived the kind of life that really mattered? Now I don't want to get too morbid about things, but Pope John Paul reminds us that our life has to count for something. God gave us our life for His purpose, and we all have a destiny to fulfill.

I remember when John Paul II was shot in 1981. I had just become a Christian that spring and I was full of confidence that whatever I asked God he would give me. So I prayed for the Pope to recover. I remember standing outside an Assemblies of God church, praying with my mom, a couple of church members and the pastor about the shootings of President Reagan and the Pope. Both of them recovered from the assassination attempts, and now both of them have died.

But their lives left an indelible imprint on the rest of us. Whether you agree with their politics or their theology or not, they made an impact on the world. Their lives serve to remind us not to take life cheaply, to make something of it.tree in fog

John Paul fought the Nazis in WWII as a partisan. He helped bring about the downfall of Communism in Eastern Europe, first in Poland and then through Poland's example in other former Soviet bloc states. Eventually the Soviet Union itself collapsed. But it got started in Gdansk and Katowice and the folks in Solidarity saw in the Pope one who knew that Christianity involved not only spiritual beliefs, but also social justice and relief of poverty.

So this time makes me reflect on making a difference. Are we participating in life or are we spectators of it? Are we -- am I -- living the kind of life I would wish I had lived when it comes my time to die? Will there be any regrets, or will I look forward to leaving knowing that I have accomplished my purpose? Will you?