Sorry So Quiet

Between work-bandwidth-suckage, interwebz troubles and frantically preparing for a much needed albeit short vacation, the little blog has been sadly neglected of late.

Things will be better when I return, I promise. Really.

In the meantime, amuse yourselves with one of the following topics:

Welcome Home Smitty!

The Awesome Admiral of the Afghan Seas is now safely home and safely ensconced on American soil.


Photographic proof (via The Other McCain):

The Dog Ate My Homework

Thanks, WordPress, for obliterating the fabulous post I’d written.  Lost, lost. I feel like Tootles in Hook.  The marbles are lost.

The Post IN Which I Admit MY Mortification

…and abysmal depth of embarrassment for smiling and waving at a young man in a restaurant today during the lunch hour, repeatedly…

Hmmmm… Let’s see. The glasses are the same. The face is the same. The plaid shirt is the same. Peek of ink under the sleeve… He pays his tab, gets up and walks by our table giving me the Dead Eye, and much to my dismay, turns out NOT to be Jason Pye.

Apologies all around. Deep, abject apologies to all involved. Sheesh, he must think I’m some kind of stalker or something…

As for my lunch partner, you can stop laughing about now, too.

Orange Vomit Bowl(s)

Too, toooo funny…

While my Dawgs attempt to pull out a win against some Directional Carolina team, this College Football weekend produces not one, but two Orange Vomit Bowls!

AUBURN (19) at CLEMSON – Saturday, September 17th at 11:00 a.m. – ABC

Do not attempt to adjust your television sets. There really will be that much vomit-looking apparel on display when Auburn visits Auburn With a Lake. What can you say about this match up? After rolling up a lot of points on Troy in their opener, Clemson struggled mightily against lowly Wofford in week two. Auburn on the other hand is the proverbial broken clock that is right twice a day. No matter how bad they look at times, they always seem to make the critical play, get every close and/or controversial call called their way and just generally fall bass ackwards into wins. I expect Auburn to win this one late on a field goal as time expires. The kick will be short, but will miraculously land on the back of a snow white dove that will carry it through the uprights. Bank on it.

TENNESSEE at FLORIDA (17) – Saturday, September 17th at 2:30 p.m. – CBS

Orange Vomit Bowl II of the week stops in Gainesville. At least the Gators will be mostly wearing blue. So far, Florida has taken beating up on hapless football teams to a new level in that they’ve played pounded Florida Atlantic and UAB. Tennessee has beaten Montana and Cincinnati. I thought Cincinnati would’ve put up more of a fight, but the Vols handled them with relative ease. At the very least, I imagine Tennessee will provide more of a challenge to the Gators than those other two combined. As much as I loathe Tennessee, I’m hoping they somehow pull this one out so ticket prices for the Bama game in Gainesville fall like a rock. C’mon Dooley!

Clean-up on aisle 5….

Hunker Down Larry #lookatthesugarfallingoutofthesky

Twitter was abuzz this morning that Larry Munson, retired legendary radio announcer of the Georgia Bulldogs, was gravely ill. UGA just released an announcement that Larry is recovering from a respiratory infection and is in stable condition.

I mean really Lord, how much more can a Dawg take this season? Those ugly uniforms, then the two disappointing losses. No, you can’t have Larry just yet. He has a birthday at the end of this month that is shaping up for as much celebration as the day Sherman made his final exit of our fair state. Not yet. Not yet.

Hunker Down Larry – you are in our thoughts and prayers.

In a Galaxy Far, Far Away…

NASA announced yesterday they have confirmed the discovery of a planet in a stable orbit around two suns.

The existence of a world with a double sunset, as portrayed in the film Star Wars more than 30 years ago, is now scientific fact. NASA’s Kepler mission has made the first unambiguous detection of a circumbinary planet — a planet orbiting two stars — 200 light-years from Earth.

Unlike Star Wars’ Tatooine, the planet is cold, gaseous and not thought to harbor life, but its discovery demonstrates the diversity of planets in our galaxy. Previous research has hinted at the existence of circumbinary planets, but clear confirmation proved elusive. Kepler detected such a planet, known as Kepler-16b, by observing transits, where the brightness of a parent star dims from the planet crossing in front of it. “This discovery confirms a new class of planetary systems that could harbor life,” Kepler principal investigator William Borucki said. “Given that most stars in our galaxy are part of a binary system, this means the opportunities for life are much broader than if planets form only around single stars. This milestone discovery confirms a theory that scientists have had for decades but could not prove until now.”

Both of the suns are smaller and cooler than our system’s sun. Kepler-16b is a gassy giant, approximately the size of Saturn and equally as uninhabitable. Think Hoth on a bad day.

Doyle* said Kepler-16b almost certainly will not be the last double-sunset planet discovered by the $600 million Kepler mission. When the numbers all added up, “I didn’t feel like it’s the end of 20 years of searching … it felt like the beginning of something” he said. “I predict that in the next couple of months, we’re going to have some more.”

But time’s running out for Kepler. Boss** noted that the current mission plan calls for the telescope to be “out of business one year from now.” That would be a shame, Boss said, because it looks as if it will take longer than expected for Kepler to get the data to identify Earthlike planets in Earthlike orbits around sunlike stars – which is the mission’s prime objective. The reason for that is that the readings from alien suns are unusually noisy. “It turns out that most stars are not as quiet as the sun,” Boss said. (Signs of the Times/Science & Technology)

* Laurance Doyle of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, who served as discovery team leader and paper lead author
** Carnegie Institution astronomer Alan Boss, a member of the team for NASA’s Kepler mission and paper co-author

Kepler concentrates on searching for Earth-like, inhabitable planets in the constellations Cygnus and Lyra. To date, 21 planets matching the mission criteria have been found. Years of hard work and research have culminated in a fascinating discovery. Alas, these dark days everything falls prey to budget cuts Imperial entanglements.

The full research paper paper was published Thursday in Science (subscription required).

More on the Kepler Mission here.

Graphic via NYT.

The Circle

At first, when this band of misfits we call candidates for the Republican Presidential nominee began their their merry jaunt across America, I thought the next year would be spent watching the world’s most excruciating game of Red Rover. Or maybe Duck, Duck, Goose.

At any rate, for me at least, that circle just got smaller. Streiff at RedState explains why.

Ten Years Later, III

Charlie at PeachPundit:

There is merit to a cathartic exercise for all of us to collectively remember and relive the shock, horror, and bundle of emotion that poured through confused and frightened Americans on September 11th, 2001. The day now stands alongside November 22, 1963 and December 7th, 1941 as times when Americans were collectively shocked into new realities of the world around us. The day was transformative, and it changed us.

Less focus, however, is paid to where we stood as a nation when we awoke on September 12th, 13th, and the days and months that followed. For a brief moment in time, the word United in United States of America meant something more than it normally does. Partisanship was set aside for decisions on what the country needed to do in order to begin repair, to seek justice on those who orchestrated the cold blooded murders, and to ensure that the country would not face such atrocities again.

To fully appreciate the spirit of unity in the days that followed, we must remember how divided the country was the morning the planes took off. We were less than one year from a bitter and unprecedented re-count in a Presidential election, with many Americans still claiming the Presidency of George W. Bush illegitimate. The Senate had been under Democratic control for less than 4 months, as the Democrats were able to convince Jim Jeffords of Vermont to switch parties. The partisanship was bitter and tense. On the morning of September 12th, however, it did not seem to matter.

“Our last funeral” at HotAir:

The next major anniversary will be a generation removed from the attacks, with the average college student having been born a few years before or after but in either case having no recollection of what happened. It’ll have to be explained to them, and some of us who endured it won’t be here to explain. I spent last night grieving at the thought that young New Yorkers are already watching footage of the planes hit the towers and feeling no electric charge of familiarity; in a way, the World Trade Center to them will be what the Polo Grounds is to me, a landmark from a lost New York but never part of their own template of where they grew up. When asked where the attacks happened, they’ll say “where the Freedom Tower is.” We live in the same city, but we don’t really.

This is, then, our last funeral in the sense that it’s the last that’s truly “ours.” The shared experience, already slightly diminished, will soon begin to erode in earnest, and while people will never forget, increasingly they won’t exactly “remember” either. Count yourself lucky that you have memories of the world as it was before, not because it was better but because it’s gone. Others aren’t so fortunate.

Ten Years Later, II
Ten Years Later

Happy Birthday Obi!

Long-time readers know that my brother was part of the inspiration for this little blog. His nickname is “Obi”, hence I am “Obi’s Sister.” How many times do I need to explain this?

Today is my little brother’s birthday. But this one has a big, fat, “0” in it.

Take heart, dear boy, you’ll live through it. Besides, who else in our family has their own Lego character? I mean really…

May you have a glorious day and continue to “avoid Imperial entanglements.”

We can all see 2012 from our spaceport.

Picture of the Day

From Dan Tague, h/t Trog.

Ten Years Later, II

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
He leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul:
He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil;
my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
(Psalms 23: 1-6)

Ten Years Later.

Ten Years Later

This day, ten years ago, would you have imagined the horror the next day would bring? Like Gerard, I’ve been trying to recollect that Monday in 2001.

I’ve been trying to remember September 10 but it’s no go. I know what I must have been doing, but I don’t remember what I did. I kept no notes on that most ordinary of September days. I kept many notes on the day that followed and the days, weeks, months and years that followed that day. What I do know is that whatever might have followed September 10 was taken from us all that day never to be returned or recaptured only avenged. What I do know is that “justice being served” has no part in it, and never did.

I can, of course, assume what I did — what I must have done — on a routine Monday…

The WTC towers still stood that day.

Back in 2009, I wrote for a small and short-lived website, Atlanta Politics Online. The editor asked the contributors to outline their day, at the times, and our thoughts, for a 9/11 remembrance. I’m grateful it is still available, because it jogs memories of a world before it changed.

Photo by Richard Drew/AP

We were soon to know the nature of the new hell and we were all thrust into it without repeal. The days turned to months and the months turned to years and now we have turned around and a decade is gone. What might have been ours, for good or ill, in that decade was forever stolen from us. Stolen from us not — never doubt this — by one man alone, but by a host of savages and throwbacks spread around the world and here among us and dedicated to our destruction. A host that will use any means necessary to destroy this nation while this nation “serves justice” up in spoonfuls and creates “Rules of Engagement” with which to hamper those who would defend it with their very lives.

What the nation has become, through death by fire, bravado, war, forgetfulness, treason, and blunt stupidity could not have been foretold on September 10, but here we are — a lurching ship of state captained by a malicious hater of the American soil. That same captain, maddened by his own stunted heritage, will today disgrace the soil of Ground Zero. It is a difficult reality that has been dealt by the hands of fate; one that is still being played out. (Gerard)

NYC Mayor Bloomberg may have turned the tenth anniversary remembrance into nothing more than a photo-op, but as for the rest of America, we Never Forget.

Project 2996 remembers the fallen. For many, no remains were found. Their ashes were scattered in the wind.

In time, everyone had passed by as well and the street was empty except for the settling smoke. I looked outside the window where a small maple grew and noticed that its leaves were covered with small yellow flecks. I looked down at the sill outside the windows and saw the yellow flecks there as well.

At some point in the next few minutes it dawned on me that there would be no bodies to speak of found in the incinerating rubble across the river. I knew then — as certainly as I have even known anything — that all those who had still been in the towers had gone into the smoke and that, in some way, the gleaming bits of yellow ash were their tokens, were what they had become.

And I knew that all they had become had fallen upon us as we ran in the smoke; that we had breathed them in when the wind reached us; that they were covering the houses and the sills and the cars and the sidewalks and the benches and the shrubs and the trees all about us.

What they had become was what the wind without a storm had left behind. Now that it had passed everything was, again, silent and calm with the blue sky above the houses on Pierrepont Street in Brooklyn Heights beginning to emerge from the fading smoke as the breeze of the harbor shifted the plume away from us and moved it uptown, into Manhattan, leaving the Heights again as an elite enclave, above and to the side of New York City.

The yellow flecks stayed like small stars on the surface of everything in the Heights for three days until the first rains came on a late afternoon to wash them away. I walked out into that rain and back down Pierrepont to the Promenade where for months the fires would burn across the river. The rain came straight down and there was no wind. As I walked down the sidewalk I noticed the rainwater running off the trees and the buildings and moving down the gutter to the drains that would take it to the harbor and the sea. And that water was, for only a minute or so before it ran clear, gold.

Tomorrow, New York officially opens the National September 11 Memorial. Stunningly beautiful and serene.

In the footprints of the old Twin Towers are two square, below-ground reflecting pools, each nearly an acre (4,046 square meters), fed from all sides by waterfalls that begin just above ground.

They are bordered by bronze panels inscribed with the names of those who died there, at the Pentagon and in western Pennsylvania.

Four of those names are Georgians:

  • Claude Michael Gann of Roswell, whose tribute you can find here. Mike was recently remarried and attending a conference at Windows on the World.
  • Major Stephen V. Long of Georgia, whose tributes you can find here and here. Already a war hero, he was at his post at the Pentagon when it was attacked.
  • Maynard S. Spence Jr of Douglasville, whose tribute you can find here. He was on the 99th floor of the second tower.
  • Harshad Sham Thatte of Norcross, whose Legacy page is here. He worked for the same company as Mr. Spence, Marsh & McLennan.

While the last ten years have nurtured a resurgence of patriotism not seen in recent generations, there are those among us who would just as soon forget it all. A few weeks ago, a young 30-something of our acquaintance noted that he didn’t think anything should be done to remember 9/11, even though the anniversary fell on a Sunday, thus providing a perfect opportunity for a service centered on healing. “Why? What’s the point? Why does that matter now?” (Paraphrased) The young man’s apathy and utter selfishness still astounds me. If he (and the rest of his generation) is incapable of feeling any kind of empathy for those still grieving, then he (and they) can look forward to nothing but failure. But there are so many who feel the same. Refusing to accept evil at face value and instead projecting blame on such-and-such policies, Christopher Hitchens dismissively calls these naysayers “the intellectuals” and describes his own change of heart:

The proper task of the “public intellectual” might be conceived as the responsibility to introduce complexity into the argument: the reminder that things are very infrequently as simple as they can be made to seem. But what I learned in a highly indelible manner from the events and arguments of September 2001 was this: Never, ever ignore the obvious either. To the government and most of the people of the United States, it seemed that the country on 9/11 had been attacked in a particularly odious way (air piracy used to maximize civilian casualties) by a particularly odious group (a secretive and homicidal gang: part multinational corporation, part crime family) that was sworn to a medieval cult of death, a racist hatred of Jews, a religious frenzy against Hindus, Christians, Shia Muslims, and “unbelievers,” and the restoration of a long-vanished and despotic empire.

[snip…] So, for me at any rate, the experience of engaging in the 9/11 politico-cultural wars was a vertiginous one in at least two ways. To begin with, I found myself for the first time in my life sharing the outlook of soldiers and cops, or at least of those soldiers and cops who had not (like George Tenet and most of the CIA) left us defenseless under open skies while well-known “no fly” names were allowed to pay cash for one-way tickets after having done perfunctory training at flight schools. My sympathies were wholeheartedly and unironically (and, I claim, rationally) with the forces of law and order. Second, I became heavily involved in defending my adopted country from an amazing campaign of defamation, in which large numbers of the intellectual class seemed determined at least to minimize the gravity of what had occurred, or to translate it into innocuous terms (poverty is the cause of political violence) that would leave their worldview undisturbed. How much easier to maintain, as many did, that it was all an excuse to build a pipeline across Afghanistan (an option bizarrely neglected by American imperialism after the fall of communism in Kabul, when the wretched country could have been ours for the taking!).

And then, of course, don’t forget that those who wanted to kill us then, still want to kill us now. New York is now under high alert for a suspected attack during remembrance gatherings.

But back to those who want to forget. A few days ago, I was discussing my continued befuddlement at the young man’s attitude with my daughter. Long-time readers will remember she graduated from college last year after a frustrating and, at times, uphill battle staying in her major after a possibly devastating medical diagnosis. Despite her obvious gifts, I believe it was an inherited streak of galactic-grade stubbornness that kept her going and helped her to eventually achieve her goal. She said, (again paraphrased) “How can you expect him to understand struggle or loss? He’s never had to work for anything. He’s never lost a family member, had to protect someone he loved or even faced death himself. Until he does, he’ll never get it.” I am so proud of her that sometimes words just escape me. Tomorrow, in addition to remembering those that fell ten years ago, as a family, we celebrate a new chapter in her life. After all the affectionate names and titles she’s had here over the years, tomorrow she gets an official new one: “The Pianist.” And it comes with a paycheck.

“Contemplate the mangled bodies of your countrymen, and then say ‘what should be the reward of such sacrifices?’
Bid us and our posterity bow the knee, supplicate the friendship and plough, and sow, and reap, to glut the avarice of the men who have let loose on us the dogs of war to riot in our blood and hunt us from the face of the earth?
If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude than the animated contest of freedom, go from us in peace.
We ask not your counsels or arms.
Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you.
May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen!”
– Samuel Adams

Many of us will carry the grief that began that day to our graves. Peggy Noonan understands that hole in the America’s collective heart, as well.

They tell us to get over it, they say to move on, and they mean it well: We can’t bring an air of tragedy into the future. But I will never get over it. To get over it is to get over the guy who stayed behind on a high floor with his friend who was in a wheelchair. To get over it is to get over the woman by herself with the sign in the darkness: “America You Are Not Alone.” To get over it is to get over the guys who ran into the fire and not away from the fire.

You’ve got to be loyal to pain sometimes to be loyal to the glory that came out of it.

Fifth Place. There’s no ribbon for that.

Quote of the Day

When I want to cheer myself up, I head over to Yarn Harlot. There is hardly a chance of discussion of politics or policy or stupid politicians. Just yarn and knitted, yummy things way past my pay grade and stories of rooms full of people with sharp, pointy objects and lots of funny snark. Lately, we (meaning myself and Former College Girl Who Has a Gig Now) have been churning out baby things for friends having their first babies.

Stephanie is doing the same, but for a friend whose very late baby refuses to relinquish the pool (grumpy pregnant person joke – I was one of those a couple of times).

She warns against looking too much at Itty-Bitty Hats

…a book so chock full of extreme cuteness that it can give you an ovarian cramp just flipping though it. I recommend only occasional exposure.

Now she tells me…. ouch!

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