May 31, 2004

In Memory


I searched through my archives for an image for Memorial Day, and I thought this one would be fitting. It's not military, but it's from the funeral for Captain Vincent Brunton of Ladder 105 in New York City.

Brunton died in the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11.

Our present military, all volunteers, are fighting for our freedoms even now. I pray that we will not take them--or their predecessors--for granted.

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May 28, 2004

What's old is new

This morning, I shaved off my beard of 6 months. So now my upper lip feels like it did after my first shave way back in junior high. And I have only a small farmer's tan to work off. ;-)

...and a wife who can't stop smiling at me. (She didn't mind the beard, but she's got to get used to my new face.)

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Goosebumps II

A family at the church we've been visiting has been praying for a long time for the wife's elderly mother to get saved. She has been cold to the Gospel in the past, but lately she's been coming to church and taking notes. Last weekend, the pastor and his wife visited her on Saturday, where she made a profession.

She asked pastor not to say anything to anyone. So at the end of the Sunday morning service, while we were out of town, she came forward to make her decision public. Her daughter, who is the pianist, saw her move immediately and stopped playing the invitation hymn.

Of all Sundays to be away!

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Goosebumps I


Last weekend we celebrated our anniversary with an overnight trip to Virginia Beach. We spent an afternoon at Sandridge Beach, thanks to advice on a less-populated beach from JBO.

Then we had dinner at a special eatery. The next day, we rose and found a geocache not too far from our hotel. Then we spent the rest of the day at Langley AFB at the Airpower over Hampton Roads airshow.

There we saw the USAF Heritage Flight (pictured above), which featured 50 years of Air Force planes. Clockwise from the top: WWII-era P-51C associated with the Tuskegee Airmen; modern F-15; Korean War-era F-86; and WWII-era P-38. This P-38 is the plane "Glacier Girl" which was found in a glacier, disassembled, and rebuilt to flying condition. (Do a Google search to learn more.)

The planes made several passes, wheeling and soaring in perfect formation. The show was closed out with a classic Thunderbirds program.

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May 26, 2004

Three years ago today...

...Darla and I were married. Seems like such a short time, but also a long time (in a good way). We have lived by faith and grown as a result. I think some of my past blog posts reflect that. (I hope they have, anyway.)

Last weekend we took a quick weekend trip to celebrate our anniversary. I hope to post on that later, when I have a little more time.

So, for any of the single readers out there...I hope this post doesn't discourage you. Instead, be wise when your time comes. Choosing the right mate is a crucial decision.

• Prov. 18:22
• Prov. 19:14
• Ecc. 4:9-10

For those soon to be wed, remember to live selflessly. That will smooth out a lot of wrinkles.

Posted by JRC at 04:55 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

May 20, 2004

Light... the end of the tunnel.

I've been incredibly overwhelmed of late with work and side projects, but I'm nearing the end of busy-ness. The Lord is good.

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Now, THAT's baseball!

If you're at all tuned in to the sports world, you probably already know that Randy Johnson hurled a perfect game this week. I've been so snowed with other things, I'm not sure what day it was...

I'm an Atlanta Braves fan (with Diamondback fans in the family), but I would have loved to be in Atlanta to watch that game. And I would have definitely been one cheering him on. As much as I'm a Braves fan, I'm more a fan of the game of baseball.

I'd love to see a no-hitter or a perfect game in person some day. Preferably for my team, but that's a minor detail. I doubt I'll get the chance while covering high school and and Valley League baseball.

(That's not a slam on the players I'm's just a fact. I've seen some really exciting games already.)

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Sweat the small stuff

Great Associated Press story on Bible proofreaders in Georgia. The article's pretty straight-forward, and the tone's not condescending.

Read it here: Yahoo News: Bible Proofreaders Sweat the Small Stuff

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Iraq trip

No, not me. But my cousin. He's been there for a few weeks, and he'll be there another month or so. He's a civilian executive involved with security/rebuilding projects. He'll be well-protected by armor, civilians, and military but please pray for him anyway. He's away from his wife and two kids. It's not his first time in a hotspot, but this trip is a pretty big deal.

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May 15, 2004

Some advice

truck wreck.jpg

If you're ever a trucker, heed warning signs -- especially on mountain grades. Last week, I headed out at 6:30 a.m. for a truck wreck. Guy was evidently going around a downhill curve to fast and flipped. It was the fourth truck to do so at that spot.

No fatalities, but both occupants of the truck were taken to the hospital.

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Sad commentary

extrication drill.jpg

A couple of weeks ago, I covered a pre-prom demonstration of an auto extrication put on by our local fire department and rescue squad. The state police and a medical helicopter took part as well. The demo was held at our local high school with the junior and senior classes looking on.

The moral of the story was: don't drink and drive after prom. Should we have to stoop to that level?

Posted by JRC at 09:27 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

May 14, 2004

On Abu Ghraib

Obviously the so-called prison abuse scandal is in the forefront with the national media. Bet has an interesting roundup on Dappled Things on the issue. I've been meaning to address this for a while now. But understand as I set forth my points that I don't agree with all that may have been done in the Abu Ghraib prison.

Bear with me as I make some points on the issue.

1. We are at war.

Look at the attacks carried out on Clinton's watch. Look at 9-11. Reference Nick Berg if you'd like, but I think there's something strange with that story. I'm not talking conspiracy, but I don't know that he should be a rallying cry. Nonetheless, we are fighting with fanatics who want to kill not just our troops, but our civilians.

Too many Americans have forgotten 9-11. If you don't live in a metro area, you still feel safe. You're isolated from the fears and reminders. You're safe in suburbia, walking your dog and mowing your lawn. But if you were (a) riding the NYC subway everyday; (b) trying to negotiate security checkpoints while driving into Manhattan; (c) walking past Ground Zero to get to your office, you would remember.

War is not pleasant. It is awful. But it is necessary at times.

Nobody said that the war on terror would be over in a year, two years. I remember hearing President Bush address the nation after 9-11. The speech scared me. It sounded like World War III--which may be true... He was solemn. He was truthful, saying this would be a long, difficult war. But how come nobody refers back to that speech when they talk about Iraq now? They make it sound like Bush promised a quick war on terror, like it should be done now.

War is not pleasant. It is people killing people. In this case, we're fighting to protect civilians on our soil.

2. Protecting our homeland requires information.

Our military and intelligence agencies are vitally interested in prying information out of captured terrorists and dare I say mercenaries fighting in Iraq and elsewhere. In the short term, they want to stop attacks on their troops. In the long term, they want to prevent another 9-11.

To do so, they cannot just sit down across the table from a captured terrorist and carry on a conversation. The prisoners hate us. They love their cause to destroy us. So they won't just play 20 questions and help us prevent future attacks.

Instead, our interrogators must break them down psychologically. It's probably not what you've seen in movies. It's not even the good cop, bad cop routine. The mind games may involve some things that aren't pleasant. I doubt they happen in your local police station house. But to protect American citizens, we need information.

That means the interrogators disorient the prisoners. They transport them in hoods to keep them from knowing their whereabouts. They deprive them of sleep. They leave lights on at night and turn them off during the day to confuse the body clock. They sit in the same room, just staring at the prisoner for days on end. They do things to play with the prisoners' minds. Eventually the prisoners break and begin to talk.

The prisoners hate us. They love their cause to destroy us. Interrogation is not Moe and Jim-Bob sitting down to coffee at Hardees on Saturday morning. It's war. War is not pleasant.

3. Al Qaeda has ties to Iraq.

Don't fall for the liberal line that Al Qaeda doesn't have links to Iraq. Throughout the Iraq conflict, reports have surfaced that show the ties. They hardly get any mention in the media, but the stories exist.

Just this month, Turkish authorities arrested a slew of terrorists plotting to bomb a NATO summit. They were with the group Ansar al Islam, a group that has operated in Iraq and has clear ties to Bin Laden.

Read the Reuters story here. Another article that I can't find now mentioned that the terrorists were going to return to fight in Iraq after the NATO Summit bombing.

Saddam's Iraq and Bin Laden have ties. We are at war with both. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. We need to have solid information from the captured fighter in these groups to prevent another 9-11.

4. This controversy is politically motivated.

It's not hard to see John Kerry using this to help his campaign. Bush is strong in the war on terror. He's a commander-in-chief. Kerry's crowd perceives a chink in the Bush armor with the prison scandal.

When Nick Berg's dad comes out and blames Bush for his son's death, the media eats it up. But I think there were enough factors in the Berg story to place the blame on an adventurous young man. I'm not making light. I'm just making the point that Bush is not to blame. The media should know that grieving people make some pretty irrational statements to help deal with a loss--the loss is anyone's fault but the victim.

Politics may not be war, but it's not pleasant.

5. Our troops need the proper tools.

The John Kerry's of this world would love to see Iraq become another Vietnam. They draw that comparison as often as possible. But just look at the facts and you'll see that's not the case. This isn't about winning a political office. It's about the welfare of our military.

We must be wary of anything that might limit our troops in combat zones. Kerry has a deplorable voting record when it comes to defense. Look at Kerry on the Record: Defense. If it were up to Kerry, we'd still be fighting with Vietnam-era technology. We need to give our troops the best tools they can have to fight the fight.

One tool is information. If the prison abuse scandal is taken to the logical conclusion that the media is pointing to, our information gathering tools will be severly damaged. We cannot let the liberal media's outcry about Abu Ghraib limit how our intelligence agencies play mind games. That's taking a tool from us and giving it to the terrorists. We cannot allow another 9-11.

We must remember that we are at war. It's not like we're dealing with a burglar here. We're dealing with people who hate us and want to kill us.

Pray about this conflict. Pray for believers in combat zones. Pray for believers in urban areas that live under the stress of another potential attack on our soil. Pray for our commander in chief. Our prayers are an incredible tool that we can wield on behalf of our troops and our country.

May God bless America and keep His merciful hand of protection on our fighting forces around the world.

Posted by JRC at 11:28 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BJA wins it all!

The BJA Mock Trial team has taken First Place in the national mock trial competition. The team has competed several times on the national level, and it's always been a big deal to reach that plateau. My bro, Michael, was on one of the national teams. This time, though, the team didn't just reach--they won! Always nice to see the alma mater do well. (Are high schools alma maters?)

Read about it on BJA's website.

Posted by JRC at 11:19 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 12, 2004

Trip to Greenville

Made a quick weekend trip to Greenville this past weekend. With my busy schedule and computer troubles, we weren't sure until the last minute that we'd even go. But we did, and we had a great visit. Time was so short that we concentrated on time with both families.

Sunday, we went down to Columbia to see Darla's brother Michael and his wife Deanna at Kennerly Road Baptist Church. That was a blessing. Also saw a few friends who are now living in Columbia and going to KRBC.

Also see a few acquaintances when we had dinner at Stax Omega on Saturday. Imagine that...running into Bojos there!

And I took advantage of my dad's hi-speed connection at the office to download updates and software on my reformatted computer.

Posted by JRC at 11:06 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Meeting some VIPs

Thursday of last week, our office got a fax that about a tour and news conference scheduled for the next day (Friday) in Shenandoah National Park -- about 15 minutes from our town. The Secretary of the Department of the Interior, Gale Norton, and the director of the National Park Service, Fran Mainella -- along with a few other VIPs -- were going to be showcasing a maintenance project in the park.

I was in the middle of writing an article on volunteers doing trail maintenance in the park, so I decided I'd check it out. Turned out, I was one of five journalists to show up. At first, there was only two of us. So we met the Secretary, the director, et al. The others arrived and we toured a restored building, then had a news conference.

(At the beginning, I found my pen had exploded, probably because of the higher altitude. Thankfully, I had my backup pen handy. And no ink on my clothes!)

Two of the five journalists left after the news conference, as did the Secretary. But the rest of us toured another project that's under way with the park's superintendent and Ms. Mainella. To get to the second location, we all rode in a 15-passenger van. One of the other reporters asked Ms. Mainella a few questions, but the other guy was silent. (He was late, so he didn't even know he was riding next to the director of the NPS.)

I've had the good fortune to visit national parks across the U.S., so I carried on a well-informed conversation with Ms. Mainella. I was also able to get some quotations from her for my story!

The whole experience was profitable -- and it's not everyday that you meet a member of the President's cabinet!

Posted by JRC at 11:00 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

On trojan horses

I'm finally back on my home computer after having to reformat my hard drive due to an invasion by trojan horses. I've got a slew of good posts waiting to get online, but I haven't had the time. Stay tuned.

If you're not aware of spyware/adware, read up on the pesky invaders on CNET or a similar site. Thankfully, my data is on a second hard drive, so I didn't lose important files.

After seeking expert advice on ridding my computer of the infections, I decided to wipe my computer clean to ensure I got everything bad off of it. It didn't help that anti-virus, anti-spam, and anti-trojan (AV, AS, AT) companies responded to the sample files I sent them with:

--"We haven't seen some of these yet."
--"Wow! You've got it bad."

Do yourself a favor and install Spybot's Search and Destroy or Adaware or a similar program. All are available through CNET. The most recent Norton Antivirus definitions won't catch adware. Norton Internet Security might, but read up on it first. If you're infected, I can point you to some helpful forums online.

Posted by JRC at 11:39 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack