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When a blogger dies in Iraq

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G’Kar of Obsidian Wings died in Iraq. His real name was Maj. Andy Olmsted. He left a post to be put up in the event of his death:

What I don’t want this to be is a chance for me, or anyone else, to be maudlin. I’m dead. That sucks, at least for me and my family and friends. But all the tears in the world aren’t going to bring me back, so I would prefer that people remember the good things about me rather than mourning my loss. (If it turns out a specific number of tears will, in fact, bring me back to life, then by all means, break out the onions.) I had a pretty good life, as I noted above. Sure, all things being equal I would have preferred to have more time, but I have no business complaining with all the good fortune I’ve enjoyed in my life. So if you’re up for that, put on a little 80s music (preferably vintage 1980-1984), grab a Coke and have a drink with me. If you have it, throw ‘Freedom Isn’t Free’ from the Team America soundtrack in; if you can’t laugh at that song, I think you need to lighten up a little. I’m dead, but if you’re reading this, you’re not, so take a moment to enjoy that happy fact.

Here’s to you G’Kar:

God bless, him and his family.

RIP, Sgt. Buddie James “Doc” Hughie

12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

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SoonerGrunt has been a good friend to me online. In honor of Memorial Day, I am saluting one of his friends, who died in February in Afghanistan.

LondonYank wrote a fine tribute. She also quoted soonergrunt’s email describing Hughie.

Sergeant James Buddy Hughie was killed in action on the 19th of February, 2006. He was a soldier in my company and a paramedic instructor in civilian life. He had been married for about a year, and was the father of a three-month-old boy. He was also my friend.

He was moving to the aid of a team of Afghan National Army soldiers that had become pinned down and wounded by sniper fire. He was killed by a single shot to the chest just above the top of his ballistic plate. He died instantly. I was home on leave when he was killed, and when we were notified.

Accounts vary, but most of the soldiers involved in the battle that day remember that when they heard that a man was down, they all thought “Doc Hughie will save him,” and “Doc Hughie will bring him home alive.”

He was an amazing soldier. He was an amazing human being. He had a great compassion for the Afghan people that he encountered. He was always volunteering to go on MEDCAP missions to deliver medical aid and supplies to the village clinics. He had forbidden the use of the term “Hajji” as a slur among his men. I will remember him more for his infectious laughter, his sense of comic timing and irony, and his practical jokes than anything else. You had to laugh around him. He’d find a way to make you laugh. Even the victims of his pranks and the butts of his jokes would laugh with him because, unlike most of us, his humor was never vicious or cruel.

The world seems a little darker with him gone.

Hughie, 25, left behind a 23-year-old wife and an infant son as well as many friends and family.

Dirty mother

First, watch this video of YoungTubersUnited on Earth Day 2007.

There’s some good tips.

As some of you know, I worked a second job as a junk collector for nearly two years until I had to quit due to an injury.

People would call the company and we’d go out and haul their junk away.

One of our goals as a company out of a practical matter and as an environmental issue, was to recycle as much as we could, either scrap metal, plastics, tires, computers, good furniture and clothes.

There were many times I recycled entire truck loads and nothing went in the landfill.

You wouldn’t believe the things people buy and then throw out because they didn’t want it: a brand new entertainment surround sound systems still in the original packaging; never worn clothing; furniture in perfect condition that they had lost interest in; stacks of lumber, uncut and straight as the day they came out of the mill (that came home with me and is now a large treehouse in the back yard).

Most of the customers lived in McMansions. They bought things apparently expecting it to make them happy.

But it didn’t. And there’s so many people out there who don’t care their consumerism is damaging the planet.

Here’s some of the comments posted in response to the Young Tubers Earth Day video [Note: profanity edited by me]:

doodyl9 (3 minutes ago)
woohoo for pollution!

AlterGames (2 minutes ago)
you people are such fags

bassist51 (1 minute ago)
F*ck You motherf*ckers you guys suck

rednbluematt (18 minutes ago)
Oh Pollution we love you!

F*cking treehugger hippies go cut your hair and wash.

That’s just a small sampling of what we’re dealing with.

If you intend to mark Earth Day, I make a suggestion you drive to your local landfill and take a look at it. To say we’re making mountains out of our spent consumerism is an understatement. And many of those items in there could have been recycled, could have put back into use, were not even needed. It took energy to produce the items and now they’re buried under other consumer debris. Energy that polluted the air and burnt fossil fuels in the production and transportation until it ends up as a man-made mountain and fine particle matter in the air.

So don’t buy what you don’t need.

Mother Earth is dirty and it’s up to us to clean her for if we don’t she’ll become even more ill and we’ll all eventually die.

I didn’t mean to end this diary on such a down note. I was going to describe how we’re taking our daughters to a park for a picnic.

Here’s The Pixies with a song appropriate for Earth Day

I was swimmin’ in the Carribean
Animals were hiding behind the rock
Except the little fish
But they told me, he swears
Tryin’ to talk to me


Lots of commentors at Big Orange Satan recommend Free Cycle. Other many good suggestions in the comments there.

Ghost yacht found adrift at sea

From Australia’s Courier-Mail:

A GHOST yacht found drifting off the north Queensland coast had computers running and even food on a table ready to eat – but no crew, puzzled emergency services say.

The 12-metre catamaran was first spotted by a coastwatch aircraft on Wednesday near the outer Great Barrier Reef after leaving Airlie Beach on Sunday.
A rescue helicopter identified the yacht overnight and confirmed there was no one aboard.

Police have confirmed three men are missing.

Emergency Management Queensland spokesman Jon Hall said crews were puzzled by what they found because “everything appeared normal”.

Mummified hand becomes family heirloom

From The New York Times (via last night’s Colbert Report):

For more than a century, mummies and other artifacts have been taken out of Egypt, sometimes with its government’s permission, sometimes without. In recent years, Egypt has pressed foreign museums to return some important items.

The Egyptian mummy’s hand was expected to go to the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! organization, but it lost to Anders Karlsson, a gallery owner in Santa Monica, Calif. Mr. Karlsson, who paid $4,500, said that he would not put the hand up for sale, that it was going to become a family heirloom.

“Hopefully,” he said, “it doesn’t have any bad seeds attached to it.”

It was the only item in the auction not available on eBay because the Web site has limitations on the sale of body parts.

The hand was traced to an antique dealer in New Jersey who got it from the British Museum. A New York collector then acquired it in the 1960s, said Mr. Herskowitz, the Chait gallery’s natural history director. He said it was acquired before Egypt enacted a law prohibiting the export of its cultural heritage.

Environmentally friendly coffin

Coffins made out of recycled paper.

Stylish looking too.

Sleep disorder turns man into Mr. Hyde

From BBC:

A quiet night’s sleep is not an option for Derek Rogers or his wife – because he turns from a mild-mannered “Dr Jekyll” by day to a “Mr Hyde” by night.

Mr Rogers, 70, from Bedford, has a rare sleep disorder which causes him to become violent when he sleep-walks.

Bit of irony he’s named Mr. Rogers.

Storm sucks paraglider 32,000 feet up

From the BBC:

Ewa Wisnierska says she felt like an astronaut returning from the Moon
A German paragliding champion has survived being sucked into a storm that pulled her higher than Mount Everest.
Ewa Wisnierska, 35, who lost consciousness as she soared skywards, was covered in ice and battled hailstones the size of oranges.

She was pulled 9,940m (32,612 feet) above sea level in the storm near Tamworth, in New South Wales, paragliding officials said.

A 42-year-old Chinese man, He Zhongpin, was killed in the tornado-like storm.


“There’s no oxygen,” Mr Wenness said. “She could have suffered brain damage but she came to again at a height of 6,900m with ice all over her body and slowly descended herself.”

Ms Wisnierska says she felt like an astronaut returning from the Moon as she landed.

“I could see the Earth coming – wow, like Apollo 13 – I can see the Earth,” she said.

She was sure her chance of surviving was “almost zero”.

“I was shaking all the time. The last thing I remember it was dark, I could hear lightning all around me,” she told Australia’s national broadcaster, ABC.

I meant to post this when it happened, but it sat forgotten in my drafts folder. Wonderful tale of survival for her.

1897 ‘airship’ tale remains alive

Alients Ate My Buick has the tale of a Victorian-era “airship” sighting that refuses to die even though the original author had admitted it was a hoax long ago. Reminds me of the story of The man who shot Liberty Valance.

El Camino De La Muerte en Bolivia

Highly recommended scary TV viewing on, of all places, The History Channel.

Travel high into the Andes to a road that has more deaths per mile than any other byway in the world. This steep and bumpy road plunges almost 2.5 miles in the four hours it takes to drive it, and those who choose to make the journey will endure an often extremely narrow path that hugs the mountain as it snakes through dramatic, verdant scenery. Twisting between waterfalls and rocky overhangs, the road is unprotected, making near death an almost constant travel companion. A fatal accident every two weeks is not uncommon, and by 1995, the road was commonly referred to as world’s most dangerous road.

They were saying in the program that the locals believe the road is haunted and some ghosts wander the road, beckoning travelers and enticing them to drive off the road for no reason.

There are some people who actually bike this road!

There is no way in Hades you would get me up there. I had a hard enough time watching it on TV. I have a hard enough time going up to Big Sur.

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