Sunday, May 20, 2007

My Butterfly Effect

I took this picture a few days ago. I had come to a stop, on the drive home from work, and I noticed this butterfly, a Monarch.
Every Spring, I watch for them, as they travel back to the North, just as I do every Fall, when they make their way through Texas on the way to Mexico for the Winter.
I am a cancer survivor and they remind me of the brevity and beauty of life.
The average life span of a butterfly is 20 t0 40 days. I believe that the Monarch butterfly may live as long as six months. I'm not sure. I once thought that my own life might not last anymore time than that.
After my radiation and chemo treatments were over, I had new hope and a new appreciation for life. That first spring, after my treatments, was remarkable for it's beauty. The trees were budding in beautiful shades of green against a deep azure sky. The fields were blanketed with spring flowers and, visiting the flowers, were the butterflies. New life was everywhere.
I have seen things, in nature, in finer detail and more vivid hues, ever since.
Monarch butterflies effect me that way.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Former American Soldier Wins Prize for Book Based on Blog

May 14 09:51 AM US/Eastern
An American soldier's graphic account of his deployment in Iraq, detailing the firefights and frustrations of frontline life, has won a prize for books based on blogs, organisers said Monday.

Colby Buzzell's "My War: Killing Time In Iraq", the winner of this year's Lulu Blooker Prize, grew out of an online journal which he started in 2004 while serving as a machine-gunner based in Mosul, northern Iraq.

The blog ran for just eight weeks before being shut down by the US military, but by then it had been widely picked up by the media and publishers offered Buzzell a book deal when he left the army in 2005.

His uncompromising style, peppered with profanities and misspellings and inspired by authors such as Hunter S. Thompson and Kurt Vonnegut, gives readers glimpses of military life that rarely emerge from official sources.

One entry, entitled "Men In Black", related a street battle as US soldiers were hunting down those responsible for firing mortars at their base.

Buzzell, 31, described being ambushed by a man "dressed in all black, with a terrorist beard" shooting an AK47 machine gun at him.

"I heard and felt the bullets whizz literally inches from my head, hitting all around my hatch and making a ping, ping, ping sound," he wrote.

Just afterwards, "all hell came down around us" as "everywhere started unloading on us," he added.
"I kind of lost it and was yelling and screaming all sorts of things, mostly cuss words. I fired and fired and fired and fired at everything," he wrote.

After the battle, Buzzell confided his fears of having inadvertently shot innocent people to a senior, who told him to "put all the things that bother you and keep you awake at night and clog your head up into a shoebox, put the lid on it and deal with it later."

"I pretty much started blogging just out of boredom," Buzzell told AFP.

"I was bored in between missions but over time I realised it was therapeutic, it helped me to live out a lot of feelings."

He added that the US military was getting tougher with bloggers as levels of discontent with the Iraq war were increasing.

"A lot of soldiers over there don't want to be there, they want to get home, so if you have soldiers saying it's not going well, they will get a sense of that and I think the military is kind of scared," he said.

His book, which has been translated into seven languages, beat 109 other entries from 15 countries to win the 10,000 dollar (7,383 euro) prize.

Other frontrunners included "My Secret: A PostSecret Book" by Frank Warren, which features a collection of postcards on which people confess their most closely-guarded thoughts.
Here is a link to Buzzell's 'Men in Black' video. It is an outstanding, very well done video and worth seeing:

Thursday, May 10, 2007

A Religion of Peace?

I have tried to avoid commenting on Muslim radicals, not wanting to appear predjudiced against Islam. I firmly believe that every human being has the right to practice their individual belief. I'm sure that every religion has it's fundalmentalist radicals. But, I can think of no religion, other than Islam, that urges it's children to behead or kill. as in these two stories:

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) - Hamas militants have enlisted the iconic Mickey Mouse to broadcast their message of Islamic dominion and armed resistance to their most impressionable audience—little kids.

How can anyone say that this is our fault, that we are creating terrorists? Do you hate anyone else so much that you would turn your sons and daughters into killers?

Global Incident

A friend of mine, alerted me to, a website that posts "A Global Display of Terrorism and Other Suspicious Incidents" on a map. The site is updated every 420 seconds. Highlighting an icon give you the information on that incident. It is a very intriguing site and worth a visit.

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