Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

This song was used in the movie We Were Soldiers. It is sung by Joseph Kilna MacKenzie in memory of his great-grandfather, Sargent Charles Stuart MacKenzie. According to the younger MacKenzie:

Charles Stuart MacKenzie was a Sergeant in the Seaforth Highlanders. He went to fight in France during World War One and was shot in the shoulder, the military sent him home to Scotland for treatment, where the surgeon wanted to amputate his arm. He immediately refused, stating that he had to get back to his men. During his time in hospital he was asked what it was like to kill 'the hun' (as the Germans where called then). He replied what a waste of a fine body of men.

On the steps of the hospital, the last picture of him was taken in his uniform. This picture hung in his home above the fireplace. On his return to battle, he and his men were engaged in fixed bayonet combat. To the best of my knowledge, and taken from reports of the returning soldiers - one of his close friends fell, badly wounded. Charles stood his ground and fought until he was overcome and died from bayonet wounds. On that day, my Great Grandmother and my Grandmother where sitting at the fire when the picture fell from the wall. My Great Grandmother looked, and said to my Grandmother "oh, my bonnie Charlie's dead." Sure enough a few days passed, then the local policeman brought the news - that Sgt. Charles Stuart MacKenzie had been killed in action.

This same picture now hangs above my fireplace. A few years back my wife Christine died of cancer, and in my grief I looked at his picture to ask what gave him the strength to go on. It was then, in my mind, that I saw him lying on the field and wondered what his final thoughts were. The words and music just appeared into my head.

Northern Ireland Soccer Mob Beats Catholic Man to Death

My God, people - haven't we gotten past this???

From an AP story at Fox News:

Militant Protestant supporters of a Scottish soccer team beat to death a Roman Catholic man in the latest sign of how sports rivalries inspire sectarian bloodshed in Northern Ireland, police and politicians said Monday.

Witnesses said more than 20 Protestant supporters of Glasgow Rangers, many of them wearing the team's blue-and-white jerseys and scarves, drove into a Catholic district of the town of Coleraine after Rangers clinched the Scottish Premier League championship Sunday.

...Kevin McDaid, 49, was fatally bludgeoned while his wife, Evelyn, and a 46-year-old Catholic neighbor, Damien Fleming, were both injured. Fleming was reported in critical condition....

The victim is, of course, a fairly non-political model citizen and father. Police make usual calls for calm:

The officer leading the murder investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Frankie Taylor, appealed to the Catholic minority in the town not to retaliate.

Taylor said the dead man had four children, did volunteer youth work in the town, and had been encouraging local Catholics to cooperate with Northern Ireland's traditionally Protestant police. He described McDaid as "a man who would do anything for anybody."

Ever been to a bar where there was a sign that said "No Leather", or "No Colors"? Well, in Northern Ireland, it's a little different:

Both (Catholics and Protestants) like soccer — but rarely root for the same teams. In international competitions, Catholics back the Republic of Ireland soccer team, Protestants the Northern Ireland squad. Many Belfast pubs refuse to admit customers if they are wearing soccer jerseys or scarves, particularly the rival Glasgow colors, because of the likelihood it will spark a fight.

So, the next time the Red Sox win the pennant I guess I should go to a Yankee neighborhood and, I dunno, burn the garden gnomes or something. Maybe even put a Red Sox hat on the lawn jockeys. But attack a man because he probably supported the team that finished second place? How long until the "Real IRA" or some other such self-appointed guardians of Catholics find a Protestant father minding his own business and beat/stomp him to death?

Effin' heathens - the lot of them.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Relay for Life

Regular visitors (both of you) may notice the Relay for Life graphic to the right and wonder what's up with that?

Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature activity. I know this is true because I just copied and pasted that line in form their website... Relay is 24 hours of fun and fund raising. It's a time to honor cancer survivors and a time to remember cancer's victims.

Relay starts with a survivor's lap - just current and former cancer patients once around the track. They are then joined by their caregivers for a lap, and then team members join in. For the next 24 hours teams will have at least one person walking or running.

After the sun goes down luminaria are lit. These are paper bags, sand in the bottom for weight, and tea candles. But they are in honor, or sadly, memory of specific people. Here's a picture I found on flickr from the 2005 Relay for Life in West Hartford:

Spelled out on the bleachers is the real reason we Relay.

Give till it hurts. Please.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

California water company insider steals $9 million, flees country

So the California Water Service Company needs auditors so badly they hire an H1B-type. Except there appears to be something funky with this auditor's computer privileges. At the very least this guy had waaaaay to much access for an auditor. And his credentials were still good after he resigned. From SC Magazine:

An insider at the California Water Service Company in San Jose broke into the company's computer system and transferred $9 million into offshore bank accounts and fled the country.

Abdirahman Ismail Abdi, 32, was an auditor for the water company, which delivers drinking water throughout the state and is located in San Jose, Calif. Abdi resigned from his position on April 27. Allegedly, that night he went back to work and made three wire transfers totaling more than $9 million from the company's accounts to an account in Qatar. Abdi was seen by a janitor on the night of the crime, according to the San Jose Mercury News, citing court documents filed Wednesday in the federal court at San Jose.

Now what would a good Presbyterian like Abdirahman want to go and do a thing like that? Now it's possible his motivation was the old fashioned greedy kind, but my thoughts do wander to that other possibility.

The water company claims to have worked with their financial institution to reverse the transaction and get the 9 million back in their account. Reading the story further revealed this stunner tucked in almost as an after thought (emphasis mine):

The local investigation also revealed that Abdi tried to book a flight to London on May 1, days after police searched his South Bay home. Abdi is not a U.S. citizen and was ordered deported to Somalia in 2005, the Mercury News reported.

So he was an H1B type... he just didn't actually have a valid visa. What the hell is the California Water Service doing? There aren't enough qualified American citizens or legal aliens to staff their Auditing department?

This is just great. They have scored the Trifecta of Fail:

1) Illegal Alien. `Nuff said.

2) This guy had a level of system access that an auditor should not have.

3) His access rights should have been terminated as soon as he was separated from the company.

Jerks and Idiots. I almost wish that they didn't get their money back. They don't deserve it...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Lufthansa teaches geography

How bad must others be if - percentile wise - I was only half bad? Not a bad game as far as advertising goes. This was part of a contest that has long since closed - but the game's still afoot.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Been busy

Between work, the kids' social calendars, their school stuff, etc., I havn't blogged in a while...  I'm percolating some original stuff, but for the time being, here's a video I saw over at Hot Air.

Holy Crap:

As Allahpundit put it, we already knew that Petraeus was a miracle worker...