Tuesday, January 11th, 2005


Remember folks:  Bush may get off on sending Americans to be
killed, maimed or mentally and socially scarred by their missions, with
no armor, no strategy and no reason, but at least they support the troops,
right?  At least BushCo & my own party, the Democrats, are
happy to work together to make sure that if you don’t get your ass shot
clean off preserving the future contents of the humble American fuel
tank then you can come home to a future worth fighting for,
right?  At least cuts to social spending are being balanced by
faith-based initiatives and private giving and private charity,
right?  At least people can escape abject poverty by joining the
military, gaining valuable job skills and experience, and back home the
economy’s in good shape so there are plenty of would-be employers
foaming to hire them, right?

Pcf. Herold Noel, 25, wasn’t expecting a parade.
But when he and his fellow soldiers from the Army’s Expeditionary Unit
37 arrived home from Iraq in Hinesville, Ga. they got what one might
call less than a hero’s welcome. Waiting for them as they deplaned were
local police officers. In their hands were lists of names of soldiers
with outstanding warrants, mostly for traffic and parking tickets left
unpaid while off fighting the war.

“I had a couple [of
unpaid tickets],” Noel recalls. “I told my family to meet me in the
parking lot and I went out the side door.”

According to Noel, several soldiers were hauled away in cuffs as their families looked on.

The scene was an ominous sign of things to come.

Welcome back

Noel,
who enlisted in the Army at 19, was part of the so-called “tip of the
spear” during the March 2003 U.S. invasion. His job was one of the most
perilous: hauling tank fuel on the frontlines all the way to Baghdad,
and then in Fallujah, where the heavy fighting never stopped. His rig
was so combustible that in the heat of battle his own tanks would turn
and run when they saw him coming.

Noel, who received
several medals for his actions, left Hinesville shortly after his
less-than-heartwarming homecoming, heading back to his native New York
City. The reception there was even more bleak. When he tried to apply
for public housing, he was told there was a freeze on new applications.
When he went to the city’s Emergency Assistance Unit, he was told there
nothing they could do for him either.

He is now homeless, traversing the city with his two-year old son, Anthony, caught in a so-far fruitless search for housing.

(more…)

Katastrophes took (and highly praised) owlmother‘s Tarot class last year.  Thus, the second I found an opening, I signed up.  The Boyf and I are taking it along with Suki
and a couple of other folks, and after only one session I can already
tell this rocks.  I learned a lot last night in terms of new ways
to think about the cards, their history, and within one short hour was
broken of the idea of only doing the one spread I really know and
mostly remember. 

I said when introducing myself that, like another student in the class,
I’d been reading for years but only considered myself so-so at
it.  I haven’t used a book in years, tending to go on my own
impression from the meaning of the suit and the art on the card. 
That’s cool, but sometimes I just don’t feel it.  The class is
going to give me something else to use, a new way of looking at the
cards and a new independence from one and only one way of doing a
spread.  Awesome
I plan to spend this week doing sample readings for Charles, using the
new ways of thinking about a spread we got just last night.  Double awesome.  Divinatory magic and random-plotline-generation here I come.

I cannot wait for next week. (more…)

OK, so the molasses gingerbread was a success.  I finished the
loaf late last week by having a peanut butter sandwich with the two
slices left.  WOW.  So good. 

Sunday I tried the chili cheese bread, which was, in my opinion, only
okay.  I experimented with the recipe somewhat but didn’t get the
balance I wanted.  Soon I will begin to branch out more
thoroughly.  I will put to test the manufacturer’s stolid
assurance that doubling spices or seasonings will produce no measurable
result. 

We shall see, Toastmaster.  We shall see. (more…)

Wow.  I mean, I was on the committee and all, but wow, even if I
say so myself.  The conference was awesome.  Banquet was
awesome.  Open bar?  That was awesome.  So were five
Manhattans.  So were standing around with Marcus, telling the
Tennessee Story and the How’s It Going Dracula Story.  It was so,
so, so fun.

I am so glad it’s over.  My hangover and my need to plan plan plan
are over.  And what I did was nothing like what Trina or Roberta
or other people were trying to organize.  I barely had to lift a
finger in comparison.  And I’m glad even that little bit of work
is over.

I had such a good time.  I saw Noe do interpretive dance.  I saw Casey fire-dance in the back yard.  Amazing.

I also discovered my superpower during the planning of this:  I
effortlessly get along with people in charge of catering.  Yay
me.  It’s not super-strength, but I’ll take it.

Now I can sleep again. (more…)