Thursday, July 28, 2005

Even Australian Swimsuit Models Get It!

Wow! Even glamorous swimsuit models in Australia understand what is at risk for their country and others. God knows that Libs don't get the logic. Maybe they simply need an explanation presented in this fashion!

Take Back the Memorial Update

Taken verbatim from the email update I received, below is the update on activities being launched to Take Back the Memorial.

Fifteen Major September 11 Family Organizations Announce Two New Initiatives

New York, N.Y., July 27, 2005 - Fifteen September 11 organizations representing the majority of the families of victims lost in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 today announced the launch of two new initiatives that will help America ‘Take Back the Memorial’ at Ground Zero.

Campaign America ” is the way that concerned communities across the country can show their support to “Take Back the Memorial.” Concerned citizens are encouraged to download the Campaign America Resolution found on the Take Back the Memorial website and present it to their local city or town councils for consideration. Municipalities which have passed the resolution, will be listed on the Campaign America Honor Roll. The passing of the Campaign America Resolution by communities across America will send a powerful message that this is America’s 9/11 Memorial, and American communities will not stand for the International Freedom Center and Drawing Center being located on the World Trade Center site.

The “Offline Petition Drive” is an extension of the widely successful online petition. Currently the online petition has garnered over 36,000 signatures including nearly 1900 family relatives of September 11 victims. The offline petition will reach supporters without easy access to the internet. We encourage supporters to print out the Petition kit and instructions (available on the website) and gather the signatures of friends, neighbors, and co-workers.

The Coalition of Family Member Organizations
Advocates for 9/11 Fallen Heroes
Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund
Coalition of 9/11 Families
Fix the Fund
Give Your Voice
9/11 Familes for a Safe & Strong America
9/11 Familes for a Secure America
September 11th Families Association
September’s Mission
Skyscraper Safety Campaign
Voices of September 11th
W. Doyle Support Group
WTC Families for Proper Burial
WTC Family Center
World Trade Center United Family Group

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Listen In!

Media Alert:

Our friend Daveed Gartenstein-Ross is making an appearance on Battle Line with Alan Nathan on Radio America tomorrow night (July 27) from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. EDT, discussing world politics. Listen in at this Audio link.

This appearance is a regular one. Alan Nathan has "World Debates" panels on his show every Wednesday, featuring experts from various backgrounds who discuss world politics. Gartenstein-Ross is one of his panelists every week in the 5:00-6:00 p.m. slot. One of the other regular 5:00-6:00 p.m. panelists is Buzz Paterson, who was one of the "nuclear football" carriers during the Clinton administration and is the author of Dereliction of Duty.

Friday, July 22, 2005


I just ran across this while looking at the SkyNews website in search of the latest news on the hunt for terrorists in London. As happened here after the 9/11 attack, there is now at least one official site where you may post your condolences to the people of Great Britain, the victims and their families online.

PS: Check out the polling results on SkyNews' website, in particular the question "What's most important to you? Your: nationality, religion, or ethnic group" -- I don't find the results too surprising but I think some of our Liberal friends will...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Anti-Terror Policing

After the terrorist attacks in London on July 7th, it seems that a majority of Brits were saying "ah well... we were expecting it sooner or later." They were resigned to the expectation that they wouldn't be able to stop such attacks on civilians if the terrorists were determined to hit them. I understand where this attitude comes from in a free society. We're not used to having to defend ourselves in our daily lives against such things.

Daveed Gartenstein Ross has written an article for FrontPage Magazine, "Toward Intelligent Anti-Terror Policing," in which he proposes a new paradigm for anti-terror policing that will maximize our chances of breaking up terrorist attacks while avoiding an undue burden on society.

I, for one, would like to see his recommendations implemented in the war against Islamo-fascism. Most Americans would find this intelligent "anti-terror policing" less threatening than the threat of a bomb blowing them up on the way to work...

Informal Survey

I don't have any survey software in place for this but comments would sure be appreciated! The question is this: would you read a book about one woman's misadventures in life? I'm thinking a title like "Ms. Adventures" with a subtitle of "one woman's search for meaning."

Basically, I'm contemplating writing a book about a woman who has not conformed to the stereotypical life: she has no kids, divorced twice, and has a number of misadventures in dating, mating, and life in general. I think it would appeal more to women but am curious if anyone thinks it might be worth a read...

Tolerance for Diverse Opinions?

I may have flunked one of my last assignments in diversity class... maybe I'm just being a Nervous Nellie, but I was awfully honest with my views on this class! To frame this properly, I'm in the last week of a 9-week online Diversity class. We have a "discussion question" (which actually contains a number of questions in a paragraph) to answer right before our final project.
This is just a snippet of the number of questions included in this assignment:

"What information about diversity in America has helped you better understand or relate to specific minority groups?"

For some reason, I feel like sharing my answer to this question. Well, probably because it is my answer to this question that is likely to get me in trouble grade-wise...

"I didn't find anything new about relating to other cultures, races, and ethnicities simply based on the class textbook and activities. To be quite honest, I found the focus on oppression and blame scattered through the textbook to be unproductive and extremely slanted. I think the textbook should be titled "Races, Ethnicities, and Genders Oppressed by the White American Male." (I hope that my honesty is not considered unproductive to my assignment; I simply think it needs to be said.) The book focused solely on the United States for some reason. Frankly, I'm surprised. There was so much oppression of races by the British white men that was not included -- the East Indians, the Irish, and the Scots. While we're at it, why not discuss the oppression of white people in other countries? Why not include the oppression of Christians in the Middle East? For an alleged study of diversity, the textbook we used for this class was too narrowly focused on the "evils of white America" to be very educational. There are other evils in diversity as well that weren't even touched upon. If this comment can be forwarded to whoever selects textbooks, I'd sure appreciate it.

Throughout my 41 years of life, I have been fortunate to live a life that includes many different cultures, ethnicities, and races. I have learned a lot from many new friends from different backgrounds along the way. If the goal of studying diversity is to motivate people to drop prejudiced thinking and embrace other cultures and races, I believe the study needs to be focused on how humankind has struggled together over history and how very much diverse races actually have in common. Even though the class focuses on statistics and hypotheses with regard to population, immigration, power struggles and race, it has been my experience that focusing on similarities -- rather than who oppresses whom -- actually brings the goal of diversity to life. Only by finding common ground do we begin to truly get to know another individual."

I suppose we'll see if diversity of opinion is tolerable in online universities based on the grade I receive. There were other questions involved as well but my answer to that part of the assignment is likely to get me in trouble if there's no tolerance of diverse opinion. There was another part to this assignment where we have to research the projected population diversity in the year 2050. Basically, what I found is that Hispanics will surpass blacks as the second most populous group in America then. So, my answer to this question might also get me a demerit or two:

"How can America best prepare for the changing diversity of its current and future citizens?"

"So what does this mean to the American effort to embrace diversity? In the world of academe, I believe that it simply means that, possibly for a while, the oppression perpetrated by white men against black slaves and Native Americans will finally get put to rest in the textbooks; while the new evil will become the oppression of the Hispanic people from wars against Mexico to our intervention in Nicaragua. I hate to write that but, unfortunately, I believe that "diversity" in the world of academe will never be about the commonalities of humankind. It will always be a study of oppression perpetrated by white Americans against other races.

If I might be so bold as to suggest a better way to handle the preparation of the next generation of Americans for the changing face of America in 2050, I suggest that we begin to teach Spanish as a required course in all high schools throughout the United States as well as requiring all new Hispanic immigrants to learn English within the first three years of their stay in the U.S. As the Hispanic group becomes more prevalent in our society, I believe the dominant group of people (white Americans) will begin to embrace and celebrate this race. After all, we have many things in common: a belief that hard work will make a better life for our families, a desire to achieve the best life possible, a religion that embraces a Higher Power, and a special place in our hearts for our families (old and young). I hope that diversity takes this turn. It would be wonderful to see races, cultures, and ethnicities brought together by their commonalities rather than blame-setting and a belief that old "crimes" cannot be forgiven in the name of moving forward as a civilized society."

I'll let you know how this turns out. I may or may not receive any comments from the instructor as this is an exercise shared in the main classroom. He may choose not to take me to task in the group setting. If he does, it will be in the grade and that comes out next week sometime. I'll keep ya posted!

Cloudy Musings

This may seem an inane little post to anyone who has lived his/her life constantly in the same geography; however, some of you may feel this one as deeply as I do. To me, today's observation was not just curiosity at work, it was a reconnection with my home.

Over the past two weeks or so, during my commutes from Louisville to Greenwood, I've been lulled by the landscape. It's nothing to write home about -- flatish land with lots of trees and billboards, a few scattered barns and horses, and some crops in the fields. A long, dull drive. Fortunately, I've found inspiration during these 2-hour drives in the cloudscape that has decorated my journeys home. I suppose it has something to do with the hurricane weather in the Atlantic/Gulf region lately. Whatever it is, the clouds have been simply magnificent!

It's been like Mother Nature was in an artistic mood and simply decided to paint clouds in the blue sky. I mean, not just clouds but cloudscapes. These are cloud banks with depth, form, and dimension. Lighted dramatically by the setting sun and spreading simply down to what seems to be the edge of the earth. The dramatic cloud banks that float in, crash about with thunder and lightning, and then disappear just as dramatically are nice; however, these are still, deep, and fascinating. A layer upon layer of lighted clouds that seem to go on forever. These are what I've missed most of my adult life while living out West. These clouds not only decorate the landscape, they give life its texture, tone, meaning... as if to say, "yeah so what? look at this!" It puts our miniscule lives into such perspective.

I lived in Northern California for 17 years. The whole time I was there I missed the summer storms of this area. I missed the changing skies, the changing weather. I learned to accept, as odd as this may sound, the brilliant blue skies of the West during the summer. The skies there are simple. There is no depth, no artistry at work. Just sunny, blue skies. I couldn't help but miss the artwork of Mother Nature herself while I was out there. Granted, no humidity but with that bonus came a demerit -- no interesting skies, no interesting weather. A day-to-day, predictable forecast with little suspense ever.

I wish I had pictures of today's cloudscape. (If I can ever remember to put my digital camera in the car, I'll try to post some cloud pics.) As I drove from Greenwood back to Louisville, I had to keep re-focusing myself on the road as the clouds distracted me. They were deep, layered, and lit in a way that made them seem to stack back upon themselves forever. They even seemed to come close to the ground, almost as if I might drive right off the edge of the earth. I am so glad to be back home and to find myself still filled with wonder at the artistry in the skies here. I have had that wonder, that love of Mother Nature since childhood. I suppose some things never change, thank God! It's a joy to be home again.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Get Healthy with the Gitmo Diet!

I just ran across this account of two colleagues (Sharon and Shana) who decided to see what the Gitmo Diet would do for them.

From their story:

"...After eating what the detainees ate for these past two weeks, we can say definitively that yes, the detainees at Gitmo do eat well. They eat healthfully. The quantities of food they receive are generous. Is it a gourmet diet? No. But it is better than the food served at civilian prisons and the food served to children at public schools..."

I really need to start getting healthy again; I just may give that Gitmo Diet a try!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Burn-out Update

Well, it's official. It's not just "Blogger Burn-out," it's plain old-fashioned burn-out. In the words of some crafty ad-writer decades ago, "I've fallen and I can't get up."

Too much low-level stress and not enough exercise, I suppose. Any sane person would immediately blame it on the recent job loss, the impending job hunt after my contract work is over, the car that is waiting to be repaired after its encounter with the tractor-trailer on the bridge, the long drives each week working away from home, the lack of some significant other, the constant homework as I play catch-up on a degree, or simply the lack of anything really positive lately. *sigh* Dull and depressing little ConservaChick. Pitiful, ain't I? ;-)

I'm familiar with depression as I've fought it most of my adult life. However, I hate recognizing that it's sneaking up on me again. It's almost like the difference between simply being aware that you're lying awake at night or being aware of the entire scene and knowing that while you're lying awake at night someone in the other room is sneaking toward you with malice. Scary, huh? Fret not, friends. This too shall pass... just needed to blog it out a bit.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Blogger Burn-out?

I noticed that my blogging has lapsed quite substantially over the past week or so. I'm come to the conclusion that the reason for this is that I'm tired. I'm tired of the same old BS from the Left. It gets discussed ad nauseum when it really is just tripe that deserves to be pitched in a garbage disposal and liquified beyond recognition. The air time this nonsense about Rove is getting is just ridiculous. Brilliant legal minds (some from the MSM no less) have analyzed this and found that there is no substantive proof that any crime was committed by Rove. If a crime was committed, it was by a yet unnamed source. Likely not Rove. And yet, over and over and over again, we are subjected to it on TV, in print, and on the radio. Would our respected Conservative on-air personalities/analysts just dump it off their to-do lists, please?

The war -- over and over and over again we are making the logical and sane case that YES, Iraq had connections to Al Qaeda; YES, the war was warranted and justified, even if we didn't find WMD in Iraq when we finally got there; and YES, anecdotally speaking, most intelligent human beings support the march of freedom that was catapulted into the headlines of this decade by the plottings of one insane Islamo-fascist named Bin Laden. Do we need to keep beating this dead horse? Seriously. Do we? Even the lunkheaded Leftists know that we are just allowing them to suck the life out of us with repeated nonsense when there are more important things to attend to. How about raises for our military men and women? How about privatizing Social Security (sorry Bill Kristol, I totally disagree with you on this)? How about making tax cuts and the Patriot Act permanent? How about a flat tax? How about getting Conservative judges on the Supreme Court and Circuit Courts? How about securing our borders? How about paying attention to substantive issues for a change? How about we stop letting the Left drive OUR agenda for a change?!

And so, I think I've got a bad case of the blogger blahs. How many times can I express outrage at the Left and pride in our Brothers and Sisters at Arms? How many times can I explicitly and implicitly state my feelings on the same old issues?

So, instead, I've been provided with a nice little diversion courtesy of CBS (believe it or not). I am now officially hooked on Rock Star: INXS. It is now my guilty pleasure, and you, dear readers, are hearing my confession. I'm absolutely hooked. I am in awe of the talent of the 15 contestants on this new show. They are charismatic and hugely talented. I miss INXS and Michael Hutchens. I still find it hard to believe that it was over 20 years ago now that my step-daughter at the time (Kelly) introduced me to their music. At 12-years-old, she was head-over-heels in love with Michael Hutchens. She even cried when he cut off all of his curly locks and began to wear glasses... she hated to see him throw aside his heart-breakingly romantic rock star look for the more intellectual look. I would imagine that, wherever she is today, she's watching this show too, dreading the inevitable replacement of the rock star she loved.

At any rate, don't expect too many keen political commentaries from me (as if there usually are keen commentaries on my blog!) for a while. Until we give up this constant ping-pong with the Left over the same old issues, I doubt I'll have much new to say. Maybe an update or two on my favorite "rock star" as the show progresses though! ;-)

Two Minutes of Silence Tomorrow (7AM EDT)

I am relieved to have just heard from a dear friend who works in London. Fortunately, he was nowhere near the various sites of the terrorist attacks last Thursday. He had a bit to say about the cowards who killed innocent Londoners but I'd like to share what he observed on the the subway:

"On Monday I went into the tube for the first time since the explosions and it was eerie. I noticed something was missing - chatter. People were very silent and very pensive and understandably apprehensive."

Evidently, there is a plan for two minutes of silence tomorrow at Noon GMT (7AM EDT). The text of an email that is being circulated throughout the UK about observing the two minutes of silence is below. I will take those two minutes out of my day to share their silence. I hope you all will too.

"At 12 o'clock noon this Thursday there's going to be a two minute silence to remember the victims of the bombs which exploded a week earlier, during rush hour last Thursday morning. Buses will stop, businesses will stop, everything still for two minutes.

It's a gesture of compassion and sympathy and remembrance, but also maybe a gesture of defiance - and so there's a thought that wherever we are, we should go out on to the streets, and observe the silence there, in public.

The whole of Britain, standing on our streets, which we will always own and defend, in silence.

Please pass this on to everyone you know."

Glad you're unharmed and still spitting fire, Reebs! Thanks for the insight.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Bob Geldof "Interview"

I just ran across this short film clip of some Indymedia twit attempting to opine and disguise it as an "interview" regarding Live 8. Nice response, Bob! hehehe

Interesting Perspective

From FrontPage Magazine:

"Al-Qaeda’s first strike in the West in 16 months killed 40 people; Last month, Coalition forces killed more than that many “insurgents” in one day. They also arrested more than 900 terrorists, including Zarqawi’s “most trusted aide” and many other top al-Qaeda operatives, killed more, and even freed one of our own hostages during the two-week-long “Operation Lightning.” (Last week’s “Operation Sword” netted more terrorists yet.)"

The thugs who perpetrated the horrendous attacks yesterday on innocent Brits know that, for them, Iraq is an open, bleeding wound that threatens to suck the life out of their jihad. Londoners (and all civilized human beings in the fight for freedom) must know that, no matter what happens to us on our own soil, we are still taking a heavy toll on these lunatics in the Middle East. Let's not lose heart; if we do, the terrorists have won. I feel the spirit of Sir Winston Churchill must still be speaking to all who would dare to stand up to and defeat this evil...

"Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."
-- Sir Winston Churchill (Speech, 1941, Harrow School)
...More wisdom from Sir Churchill, thanks to the Quotation Page.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

My Condolences to the People of Great Britain

This morning, my jaw dropped to the floor when I turned on the national news. I am still somewhat shocked as I follow the news of the terrorist attacks in London. My heart goes out to all the people of the UK. My prayers are with the families of the dead and the wounded.

Today, the UK has been attacked at its heart on its soil just as we were on Sept. 11, 2001. If the terrorists think that the UK will fold its hand in the fight for freedom in the Middle East as Spain did after the attacks on Spanish soil, I do believe they've got another thing coming! It is now more important than ever that we stand together and face down this nightmare called Islamo-fascism. Be assured the United States of America stands with our British friends.

History will one day record that the world became a safer place because free nations refused to back down and give in to terrorism. God bless and keep the people of the United Kingdom. Our prayers are with you all.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Searching for Diversity

I should probably be posting about my disagreement with a recent article by Bill Kristol in The Weekly Standard but I'm in no mood right now for that. Instead, my funny bone was tickled a little while ago while browsingthe traffic stats for my blog on Site Meter. A lot of traffic hitting my blog over the past month is coming from folks searching on "define and characterize minority groups."

I had to chuckle and shake my head in disbelief. As those of you who stop by regularly know, I'm no fan of Diversity class. I'm simply trying to finish my BS in Computer Science online and certainly don't need any indoctrination into oxymoronic Lib-speak. I get enough of that out on the street during Protest Warrior missions! The posts I've done related to those types of topics are not exactly what the instructors at University of Phoenix or Western International University will be hoping to see in an essay.

Interestingly enough, I've been contacted via email a few times for tips on the meaning of "affective prejudice." I had to wish those folks well in their understanding of it because mine was pretty simple: someone of a certain race/ethnicity does something bad; you begin to dislike that race/ethnicity for the actions of others. Most intelligent human beings know better than to blame a whole race for the actions of just a few individuals. Maybe Bubba and Skeeter need to be taken to task occasionally by Robert "KKK" Byrd but, for the most part, the rest of us are a tad smarter than that.

In the Diversity textbook, we are taught to label and group people by exactly the characteristics that we are told promote prejudice! This class is nothing short of liberal "logic" that has no use in today's society. So to all the folks doing their college work online, please know that I wish you all the best in your studies. If you're Conservative like me, you're probably pounding the Pepto Bismol with every essay you have to write. Hang in there... I've only got two more weeks of this nonsense to go; if I can do it, you can too!

Restoring my Faith

I did it. I did that thing that everyone tells you is a total rip-off. I ordered magazine subscriptions from two enterprising young men who knocked on my door six weeks or so ago. Both were about 18 years old and said they were trying to earn money for college. One, a black kid from Virginia, was "in training" with the more outgoing Hispanic from California. They shook my hand and were quite respectful of my time and managed to find the right level of salesmanship required to sell me.

Now, I admit, I was a little hesitant. I don't consider myself an easy mark (unless you start talking about romance, in which case I'm a total sucker). I've heard for many years about the scam of buying magazine subscriptions from people peddling them door-to-door. These young men sat down and told me what they wanted to do with their lives. The Hispanic kid said his mother had been in jail for narcotics violations but she encouraged him to work hard and not follow in her footsteps. They seemed very bright and full of promise.

Maybe it was the remark made by the Hispanic kid about Conservatives ("We almost always get welcomed into the home by Conservatives. It seems like they're happy to see us out working to make money.") or maybe it was the confidence with which they told me their plans for their futures. I don't know. All I know is that I bought. I bought charity subscriptions for two local children's hospitals and one for myself.

My faith has been restored in doing good things for kids trying to get ahead as my first issue of Popular Mechanics arrived today. Fellas, wherever you are, thanks for restoring my faith in helping people who are willing to work hard for their own futures!

Monday, July 04, 2005

Happy Birthday, USA!

"Never in the history of the world has any soldier sacrificed more for the freedom and liberty of total strangers than the American soldier. And, our soldiers don't just give freedom abroad, they preserve it for us here at home.

For it has been said so truthfully that it is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press."

On this Independence Day, I'd like to thank Zell Miller for such a fine delivery (just eight months ago) of the truth. He said it so well and with so much passion. Not that he needed to remind any Republican of those truths. We are all well aware of what our military does for us every day. My most heartfelt thanks and admiration go out, especially today, to all of the fine men and women in the United States Armed Forces. For all you do, for all you are, you are examples to us all. Keep up the good work and stay safe!

Believe it or not, I'd also like to remember France for aiding us in our struggle for freedom during the revolution. In the current political atmosphere, it's ironic to think that the French came to our aid when we needed them. Granted, they had much to gain from our independence; however, it is doubtful that we would have prevailed without the aid of a foreign power. American during WWII, in turn, aided the French when they needed the aid of a foreign power. I refuse to remain pessimistic about the current status of our friendship with France. I feel sure that we will one day regain our old friendship. The tide seems to be turning against the current corrupt leadership there and it seems to me that the French people remember us as great friends even though many may deny it.

I am proud to be an American. We are one of the most generous and noble countries on the face of this planet. None of us should ever hang our heads in shame at anything we do; sure, we make mistakes occasionally, but we always take our own miscreants to task for failing to uphold the ideals that this country holds dear. God bless and keep this great nation for without her, this world would be lost.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

Cato Institute Takes Up the Good Fight

I was surprised to see mail from the Cato Institute in my pile of mail from this past week. I get mail from the RNC on a monthly basis, the occasional mail from the Reagan Ranch, mail from the Fund for Growth, and adverts for tons of Conservative causes and magazines but I've never received anything from the Cato Institute. This one was definitely on target though.

The fight for an ownership society has finally been taken up by bigger brains. Social Security reform is not dead, ladies and gents. The basic message is that Social Security reform is not about actuarial tables, it's about ownership. Dead on, Cato! Nice job.

Condi Gets it Right

There has been a lot of harrumphing from the Left that the US shouldn't try to impose our ideals of democracy on foreign countries; we should respect their culture. Well, for the Libs that may stop by for an education, let me just say that their concerns are well in hand by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. I just read the article "Reading Them the Riyadh Act" by Jonathan Karl in The Weekly Standard. And, this quote from the author's interview with her jumped right out at me:

"The United States has to recognize that even after democractic processes take place, places are not going to look like the United States in terms of social mores."

I'd say that our foreign policy is in good hands with Dr. Rice. She (and I'm sure the President as well) understand that democracy simply means that citizens have the right to decide their nation's fate. Democracy doesn't mean feminism, Liberalism, and other 'isms. It simply means that citizens have a voice. Nice job, Dr. Rice! You rock!

Happy Birthday, Dubya!

President George W. Bush's birthday is July 6th, y'all. Wish him a happy birthday next week!

Oh No!

I can't believe what I just found online... old pictures from my high school yearbook! EEEEK! If you happen to be privy to this blogger's last name, check it out. What a blast from the past! Thank God I finally had some dental work done AND lost the Farrah haircut (granted a few years past its expiration date). hehehe

Friday, July 01, 2005

Home Sweet Home

I can't even begin to imagine what it must be like for our servicemembers who are on deployment for months at a time... I spend a full week working and living up in Greenwood, Indiana and when I come home on Friday nights, I am so very happy to be home. My home is a very modest one-bedroom apartment replete with a fat grey cat named Iris. And yet, after a week away, I couldn't be happier to be home again.

I am fortunate to be able to board with my uncle in Greenwood through the week. He and his wife have a beautiful home (which is for sale, by the way) in an exclusive neighborhood. My room has a big-screen TV and a lovely sitting area and desk space. It's like staying in a 5-star hotel (without the room service) and yet somehow I can't wait to get back home each Friday night.

Life is like that, I suppose. Even if it's a cardboard box under the overpass somewhere, if it contains your stuff and you call it "home," you can't wait to get back to it. Simple pleasures. On this Independence Day weekend, I hope that all of our troops will be able to get that simple pleasure again for themselves very soon.