static, interference, intervention, intervene, get involved so as to alter or hinder an action, white noise, snow, fuzz, fuzzy, Fuzzy, ME

Thursday, December 30, 2004

What I have been doing the last week

I spent the week in Michigan at my parents' house. While they do have a broadband connection and it would have been fairly easy to provide updates, it was a matter of making time to do it. Christmas was spread over a period of four days because everyone couldn't be there at once. The 24th we spent with my Dad's family as we traditionally do. My brother Terry was there for a few hours but he had to leave to go to work. My parents and I went to Midnight Mass which was very nice as it always is, but the weather was really cold. The oldest of my sisters arrived at my parents' home on the evening of Christmas and we opened up a few gifts. On the 26th, we opened a few more gifts and went to visit with my mother's family. My youngest brother came back and came home to my parent's afterward. Terry left on the morning of the 27th and Marty came on the afternoon of the 27th when we were visiting my grandmother again. Marty left on the 28th and my sister and I left on the 29th. In the time between when my brother left and when I left, I spent some time with my friend Guy. I didn't get a lot of time to spend with him so I took what time I could.

On the drive back to Chicago, I stopped at a Hardee's for dinner. I had to try the Monster Thickburger. When I got there, I thought that I was going to chicken out but I got the Thickburger with all of the meat but without the bacon. It might have removed a few calories but it was still enormous and impossible to eat while driving. Having said that, while it was pretty good, because of its size, I don't think I will ever have another one.

The big story while I have been gone has been the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that devastated southeast Asia. At present count 117,000 people were killed and the number is expected to do nothing but climb. The United States, as a nation, has pledged $35 million and while that is more than any other nation, it's still just a small drop in a huge bucket. If I had a passport, I would try to volunteer my services with whatever I could do on sight. As it is, I guess I will just have to give money.

The numbers of dead in southeast Asia make Iraq look like a traffic accident. Not to lessen the 70 people that have been killed in December or the 1331 that have been killed over all, but there are thousands of Americans missing in southeast Asia and the number of Americans lost in this one event will probably rival those that have been lost over the past twenty months.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Preparing for Christmas

I got all of my Christmas shopping done (and my sister's Christmas shopping as well) yesterday. I also got all of my gifts but one wrapped. Today I had to run back up to my sister's place to get something that she forgot to give me. I also ran downtown to get some really good chocolate but unfortunately the store was closed for the winter. I came home, ate dinner and left again to drop off gifts for my friends. Tomorrow, I will have to pack and figure out how I will fit my stuff in my car around my sister's gifts and then comes the drive. If the weather is really bad, or if the traffic is really bad, I will wait until early Friday morning to leave. It will not take me 11 hours to drive 330 miles again.

The number of people killed in yesterday's explosion was reduced by five today to 14. It's still tragic and too many people have died in Iraq. As of now, 59 people have been killed in December and 1320 in total. Details can be found at Iraq Coalition Casualties.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Small thoughts

I went and saw a sneak preview of The Aviator last night. The movie was pretty long, almost 3 hours, but like all Scorsese films, it was a thing of beauty. I don't care for Leonardo DiCaprio but his portrayal of Howard Hughes was amazing. Cate Blanchett was brilliant (of course) as Katherine Hepburn. The movie portrayed Hughes as a tortured and driven genius. The movie didn't follow Hughes to his insane end but he definitely was on the road by the time the movie ended. I really have to say that I'm glad I don't have to live in his head.

The Salvation Army in Chicago has received about 10 gold coins this year. The tradition started in Crystal Lake in 1982 and coins have been discovered in buckets in 12 states every year since then. The coins are dropped anonymously and are usually wrapped in paper money to hide them. Many theories abound as to who the donors are but in my opinion, it really doesn't matter. This is a good thing especially since it is anonymous. The PR thats created helps drive giving for the Salvation Army, and this year they need it as they have been forbidden to set up buckets in several places.

I said on Monday that the deaths in Iraq seemed to have slowed somewhat. I shouldn't have said anything because today was an especially bad day. 19 people were killed and more than 60 were wounded when a there was a huge explosion in a mess tent in Baghdad. The cause of the explosion is under investigation. 64 Americans have been killed in December and 1325 have been killed in total. These numbers will undoubtedly go up as a result of this explosion. There were also four civilians and three foreign troops that were killed. Details can be found at Iraq Coalition Casualties.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

What a mess

So what happened this weekend? Christmas shopping for the most part although I did help my church assemble Christmas boxes for 150 needy families in my parish. It did help me feel better for all of the money that I'm spending on Christmas. Friday was our group Christmas luncheon, we ate at Retro Bistro and the food was fantastic. I had black pasta with goat cheese for an appetizer, cream of broccoli soup, Filet Mignon, and Creme Brulee. I also had about 3 glasses of wine. After that, I started my Christmas shopping. I am done shopping except for a couple of things that I can't get until Tuesday. Actually, that's not completely true, I could do the other stuff tomorrow, but there is a movie I want to buy for my brother (Shaun of the Dead) that doesn't come out until Tuesday. Except for my sister's stuff, everything I have is at least boxed. I still have some wrapping that I have to do. I went to my sister Tracy's house today and picked up her Christmas gifts. She's flying to Midland so they don't really have room to bring that which they bought and one of the gifts she bought, a jewelry armoire for my mother, barely fits in my car. It's going to stay there until Christmas morning because I had a hell of a time getting it into my car. My car is going to be filled when I go to Michigan.

As far as Iraq is concerned, the level of death seems to have decreased somewhat. "Only" 5 Americans (and one Brit) have been killed since my last report. This brings the totals to 43 Americans, 1 Brit, and 3 Poles that have died this month and 1304 Americans, 75 Brits, and 75 others in total. The numbers are still way too high.

Thursday, December 16, 2004


The Volo Auto Museum of Volo, Illinois has decided to open the doors to their vault and auction off their Hollywood collection. Included in this is the car of the heroes of Aurora, Illinois, the Robins Egg Blue 1976 AMC Pacer with flames on the front fenders of Wayne and Garth. The car will be offered for $15,000. New, a Pacer went for $3500. Today, a Pacer in excellent condition will go for around $5600. This though, is Wayne's car dude! The car of the excellent rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody and Tia Carrere. Also in the auction, cars from The Fast and the Furious, the original Batman, the Gadgetmobile from Inspector Gadget, the robot costume from Robocop, and a prototype Shelby GT-500 convertible formerly owned by Carrol Shelby. Prices in the sale range from the Robocop costume for $5000 to the Shelby for $1.2 million. I'm going to have to get there before they're gone.

In Iraq today, there were no American soldiers killed. There have been 42 killed in December and 1299 total. Three polish soldiers were killed today which counts for the three killed this month. In total, there have been 16 Polish soldiers killed in Iraq. 149 Non-American soldiers have died before their times.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004


The following two stories may seem to be unconnected but I would say they are connected by peoples view of a violation of what they perceive to be a boundary. In the first story, Erika Cruz-Romero, an 11 year old El Salvadoran girl traveled by herself, to the United States and crossed the border away from an official border entrance after her mother and two half sisters disappeared. She was picked up by the border patrol when she crossed the Rio Grande. She didn't know her father's first name but she knew she had a grandmother in the area. After her grandmother was found, her father was found in North Carolina. While she is now living with her father and going to school, because she crossed the border illegally she may be deported. A hearing on her case will occur in the spring. To me, this is like the Elian Gonzales case in reverse. Elian lost his mother when he came to the United States illegally but his father was living in Cuba and wanted him returned. Erika came to the United States after she lost her mother. Children should be with their parents. A border shouldn't make a difference. Erika's father is only in the United States on a temporary visa. He has a hearing in March in order to try to make it permanent. While I would be happy to have Erika stay in the United States vice being shipped back to El Salvador, if her father has to leave, she should go with him.

I'm not sure if I mentioned the Red Tailed Hawk couple that were evicted from their digs at 927 W. 5th Avenue. The nest of Pale Male and his mate Lola was removed by orders of the co-op association after complaints about their mess, droppings and skeletons. The birds have been seen flying around the neighborhood in recent days lloking for a new home. After an uproar from the fans of the hawks that include residents of the co-op like Mary Tyler Moore, the co-op association has decided to let the hawks return with a modification to the twelfth story ledge where they had their nest. Nature is all around us and should have no boundaries. If a flower blooms in a crack in the concrete, it should be celebrated not removed.

And in Iraq two more Americans said goodnight. That brings the totals to 42 for December and 1299 for the war. According to our government things are getting better in Iraq.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Monster Thickburger again

With everything happening in the world, you would think that I could find something better to talk about than a hamburger. You would, however, be wrong. Yes, I am going to again talk about Hardee's Monster Thickburger. Chicago Tribune's restaurant critic, Phil Vittel, gave it a mostly positive review in a very humorous article today. I have to think though, that humor is the only way he could have gone because at 1420 calories, 107 grams of fat, and weighing in at almost a pound, the burger is just ridiculous. He described the monster thickburger as being to a sensible diet what a baseball bat is to a Hummel Figurine. Neither he nor his teenage sons could finish one. He stated that the burger may actually contribute to highway safety because there is no way someone is going to eat this on the road. The verdict was that it was a pretty good tasting burger with very flavorful meat. He also stated that Hardee's has won a convert, his son. Although thankfully, the nearest Hardee's is an hour away. While I liked Vettel's descriptions I keep coming back to a statement that a columnist from a South Florida paper made. He said that travelers should pass on the Monster Thickburger and eat light. Have a stick of butter instead, it only has 800 calories and 88 grams of fat. You could even wrap a stick of bacon around it.

Today in Iraq, three more people were killed which brought the total to 40 for December and 1297 for the war. It's a really sad thing that it can be said that more people will have been killed this month in Iraq than have been killed in three years in Afghanistan and it will only number in the top five deadliest of months since the war started in Iraq. This has got to stop.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Three Billy Goats Gruff

So there was this guy who apparently thought he was part troll. He had been living in one of the highest rent areas in Chicago, Lake Shore Drive. To drop the other shoe, he had been living in the drawbridge over the Chicago River for the past three years. He had a TV, a space heater, a microwave, and a playstation. If he needed to bathe, he used the sink in the bridgetender's office. He had built a shack inside the underside of the bridge. The "front door" was through a 12"x36" hole in a girder. If he had not decided to take in a roommate last year, he still would be living there. His roommate was caught in Streamwood last week with drugs and a stolen car. Like a good friend, he gave up his roommate trying to make himself look better. The troll was arrested after arriving home to find the police already there. He was cleared of any involvement in his roommates run but he was charged with criminal trespass to property. Now, the guy had been living there for three years. He didn't do any damage to the bridge and he wasn't hurting anyone. I have no problem with squatters that mind their own business but the city can't stand when people aren't paying rent no matter how little a person makes. Give the troll his home back.

I watched The Discreet Charms of the Bourgeoisie tonight. It was one Luis Bunuel's last and finest movies. It won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1973. The Internet Movie Database says that Bunuel was a friend of Salvador Dali and was a fellow Surreallist. While I could see some surrealism in the movie, I would also argue for Eugene Ionesco's version of Existentialism. Ionesco was an expert on the "Theatre of the Absurd" and Discreet Charm... while a very good movie, very definitely explored the absurdity of life.

It was a bad day in Iraq with 8 people killed which brings the December total to 37 and the war total to 1294. I was talking about absurd before, but this war is truly absurd.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

This weekend

This weekend was not as eventful as I had hoped. I started off Saturday morning going to sneak preview of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events to which I had received a free pass through The Onion. This is Jim Carrey's new movie which is based on a series of children's books and I have to give it to very big thumbs up. It's dark but very funny, akin to something Roald Dahl might write. There was a lot of action in the story but it held together very well and the world was timeless. Jude Law was great as the narrator. He used reverse psychology in his narration to draw you in (i.e. this is not a happy movie and if you want to see laughing and singing, you should leave now and proceed to theatre 2). Jim Carrey, plays the evil Count Olaf, the distant cousin of the three recently orphaned Baudelaire children, who is hell bent on getting their fortune.

After the movie, I thought that I was going to wrap gifts at the Border's in Schaumburg in order to benefit Rainbow Hospice, a non-profit that provides services for terminally ill patients and their families. I thought that I was going to do this but I never heard from anyone as to when I was needed. I did go there to investigate, but it appeared as if it wasn't happening.

Today, I spent the day with my sister and her family. Once they let me in, I had a good time. The kids were sleeping and she and her husband were in the basement looking at the work that was being done to finish the basement so they didn't here me for about 15 minutes. I spent some time talking with Paul, my brother-in-law, until he had to leave on a business trip to New York and then helped my sister with dinner and played with my nephews until it was time for them to go to bed.

Four more people were lost in Iraq this weekend to bring the total to 29 in December and 1286 for the war with 1006 of those being combat fatalities. While a few of our military are killed every year during peacetime due to accidents and disease, under normal circumstances, it would be less than the 280 that have been killed in the 21 months of the present war. I also haven't been mentioning the approximately 10,000 men and women that have been physically wounded. That number also fails to take into account the thousands that will be mentally scarred while having to deal with battle. This also doesn't consider the families of the military that have been sent to Iraq. While almost 1300 people have been killed, the casualty list is far higher.

Friday, December 10, 2004


Pres. Bush's nominee for the Director of DHS, Bernard Kerik, has withdrawn his name for personal reasons. On paper, I don't think that I had a tremendous problem with him. He was a former New York City Police Commisioner and he had financial interests in Taser International who had done $6.2 million in business with DHS and was looking to do more. He had said that he would avoid conflicts of interest (unlike other members the executive branch). My thought is that he realized that it may not be possiblr to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest and also he wanted to be his own man and didn't think that that was going to be possible with the present administration.

On a completely different note, a Somerset woman who was using an old stone sculpture that her husband had found in a quarry as a gravestone for her cat, Winkle, has found that it was a Saxon sculpture dating from the 10th century and recently sold it for 200,000 British Pounds ($383,200). A local potter and historian, Chris Brewchome, noticed it and guessed it was valuable because the image of St. Peter that was on the sculpture was tonsured. The potter has stated that he will make a new stone for Winkle.

In Iraq today, 6 people were killed, which brought the total for December to 25 and the total for the war to 1282. Combat deaths passed 1000 this week and are now stands at 1002.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

November Casualties in Iraq

I said in my last post that my next post would list the November casualties in Iraq. It is my next post and I'm going to list the November casualties in Iraq. As far as the casualties in December, 3 more people have been killed which brings the total for the month to 19 and 1276 for the war. The soldiers that were killed in November are as follows:

November 3: Sgt. Charles Joseph Webb

November 4: Lcpl. Jared P. Hubbard, Cpl. Jeremiah A. Baro, Spc. Cody L. Wentz

November 5: Sgt. Carlos M. Camacho-Rivera

November 6: Pvt. Justin R. Yoemans

November 7: Lcpl. Sean M. Langley, Spc. Quoc Binh Tran, Spc. Brian K. Baker

November 8: Cpl. Nathaniel T. Hammond, Lcpl. Shane K. O'Donnell, Lcpl. Branden P. Ramey, Ssgt. David G. Ries, Spc. Don Allen Clary, Lcpl. Jeffrey Lam, Lcpl. Joshua D. Palmer, Cpl. Robert P. Warns II, Lcpl. Thomas J. Zapp, Ssgt. Clinton Lee Wisdom, Spc. Bryan L. Freeman

November 9: Maj. Horst Gerhard "Gary" Moore, Com. Sgt. Maj. Steven W. Faulkenburg, Lcpl. Juan E. Segura, Cpl. William C. James, Ssgt. Todd R. Cornell, Sgt. Lonny D. Wells, Sgt. John Byron Trotter, Msgt. Steven E. Auchman, Ssgt. Russell L. Slay, Lcpl. Abraham Simpson, Spc. Travis A. Babbitt, Lcpl. Nicholas D. Larson, Lcpl. Nathan R. Wood, Sgt. David R. Caruso

November 10: 1st Lt. Dan T. Malcom Jr., Lcpl. Erick J. Hodges, Ssgt. Gene Ramirez, Lcpl. Aaron C. Pickering, PFC Dennis J. Miller Jr., Cpl. Romulo J. Jimenez II, Ssgt. Michael C. Ottolini, PO3 Julian Woods, Lcpl. Wesley J. Canning

November 11: Lcpl. Justin D. Reppuhn, Cpl. Peter J. Giannopoulos, Cpl. Theodore A. Bowling, Spc. Thomas K. Doerflinger, Ssgt. Theodore S. "Sam" Holder II, 2nd Lt. James P. "JP" Blecksmith, Lcpl. Kyle W. Burns, Ssgt. Sean P. Huey

November 12: Spc. Raymond L. White, 1st Lt. Edward D. Iwan, Lcpl. Nicholas H. Anderson, Cpl. Jarrod L. Maher, Sgt. Morgan W. Strader, Cpl. Nathan R. Anderson, Cpl. Brian P. Prening, Sgt. Jonathan B. Shields, Lcpl. David M. Branning, Lcpl. Brian A. Medina, Sgt. James C. "J.C." Matteson

November 13: Cpl. Kevin J. Dempsey, Sgt. Byron W. Norwood, Spc. Jose A. Velez, Lcpl. Benjamin S. Bryan, Lcpl. Justin D. McLeese, Lcpl. Victor R. Lu, Capt. Sean P. Sims, PFC Cole W. Larsen, Lcpl. Justin M. Ellsworth, Sgt. Catalin D. Dima

November 14: Cpl. Nicholas L. Ziolkowski, Lcpl. George J. Payton, Cpl. Andres H. Perez, Cpl. Dale H. Burger Jr.

November 15: Cpl. Marc T. Ryan, Lcpl. Jeremy A. Ailes, PFC Isaiah R. Hunt, Lcpl. Travis R. Desiato, Lcpl. Bradley L. Parker, Lcpl. Shane E. Kielion, Sgt. Rafael Peralta, Lcpl. James E. Swain, Cpl. Lance M. Thompson, Capt. Patrick Marc M. Rapicault, Lcpl. Antoine D. Smith, Lcpl. William L. Miller

November 16: PFC Jose Ricardo Flores-Mejia, Lcpl. Louis W. Qualls, Spc. Daniel James McConnell, 1st Lt. Luke C. Wullenwaber, Ssgt. Marshall H. Caddy, Sgt. Christopher T. Heflin

November 17: Lcpl. Michael Wayne Hanks

November 18: Lcpl. Luis A. Figueroa, Sgt. Joseph M. Nolan

November 19: Lcpl. Demarkus D. Brown, Lcpl. Michael A. Downey, Lcpl. Philip G. West, Lcpl. Dimitrios Gavriel, Cpl. Bradley Thomas Arms

Noveber 20: Spc. David L. Roustum, Lcpl. Joseph T. Welke, Sgt. Jack Bryant Jr., Cpl. Joseph J. Heredia

November 22: Spc. Blain M. Ebert, Cpl. Michael R. Cohen

November 23: Sgt. Benjamin C. Edinger

November 24: Sgt. Nicholas S. Nolte, Spc. Sergio R. Diaz Varela

November 25: Lcpl. Jeffrey Scott Holmes, PFC Ryan J. Cantafio, Cpl. Gentian Marku

November 26: Lcpl. Bradley M. Faircloth, Pvt. Brian K. Grant, PFC Harrison J. Meyer, Lcpl. David B. Houck, Lcpl. Jordan D. Winkler

November 27: Lcpl. Joshua E. Lucero, Spc. Jeremy E. Christensen, Cpl. Kirk J. Bosselman, Sgt. Michael A. Smith

November 28: Lcpl. Adam R. Brooks, Ssgt. Michael B. Shackelford, Lcpl. Charles A. Harrison Jr., Sgt. Carl W. Lee, Sgt. Trinidad R. Martinezluis, PFC Stephen C. Benish

November 29: Sgt. Christian C. Engeldrum, PFC Wilfredo F. Urbina, Spc. Daryl A. Davis, Spc. Blake A. Magaoay, Spc. Erik W. Hayes

November 30: Sgt. Pablo A. Calderon, Sgt Jose A. Guereca Jr.

Details on these soldiers can be found at Iraq Coalition Casualties.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

In Short...

Today would have been the day in which I would have documented those that were killed in November. The problem is that there were 136 people killed in November and typing these names would take a considerable amount of time. While I feel slightly guilty about not following through, I will definitely do this tomorrow. As for tonight, I will just say that I went to my monthly book club meeting at Panera Bread in Schaumburg where three of us discussed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time. It was an interesting book, a murder mystery of sorts, thats told from the view point of an autistic teenager. The first person point of view absolutely draws you in and does give what others have said is a very good view point of what it's like to be autistic.

In Iraq today, 3 more people were killed, which brought the total for the month to 19 and the total for the war to 1276. Details can be found at Iraq Coalition Casualties. Tomorrow, November will be documented and December will be documented in the first week of January.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Ghost Cane revisited

My majority of my comments tonight were going to focus on the Turner Prize, the U.K.'s most prestigious and controversial art prize worth 25,000 pounds. I will talk briefly about it but I have to talk again about the ghost cane. The Turner prize was given to Jeremy Dellar, a 38 year old self described party planner who was told in his youth that he couldn't draw or paint and was refused entrance into art school. The work that he submitted seems to be the tamest work the Turner has awarded in recent memory. His submission, called the History of the World, was for lack of a better term a multimedia presentation. It included a wall painting with phrases like acid house, miner's strike, and brass band joined by lines, photographs of memorials that he has set up to people he feels passionate about, and two videos, one of a Spanish street procession and one of interviews he did in Crawford, TX including a woman who served Pres. Bush a hamburger. Previous Turner prizes have included an empty room with a single overhead light that switches on and off every 5 minutes and a painting of an African Virgin Mary festooned with cow dung and butterflies made of photographs of female genitalia.

Now for the ghost cane. As I mentioned last night, a woman was auctioning off her father's cane to convince her 5 year old son that the ghost was going with it. Her father had died at home of cancer and was gettiing irritable at the end, occasionally poking her son. The media frenzy has prompted bids to $15,000 for the cane. The bidding for the cane is now over but a look on Ebay reveals several copycat ghost canes using very similar language, a ghost cane of candy, a ghost of a cane with a free thumbtack, and a ghost Carhartt jacket. The woman selling the cane was selling it for her son's well-being and was going to buy him something nice with the proceeds. With $15,000 she'll be able to buy her son something really nice and also get a good start on a college fund.

In Iraq today, 3 more people were killed. Which brings the total of Americans killed in Iraq to 1273 and the total for the month to 16. In October 2004, there was a drop in the number of casualties. I will guess that it was because of the upcoming Presidential election. If the number of soldiers killed in Iraq went up yet again, the Pres. would have had a hard time telling Amurikans that things were getting better and it was just dead-enders and Al Qaida doing all of the fighting. A terrorist is just a freedom fighter from a different perspective. The number of soldiers killed in October 2004 was 63 and the names of these people are as follows:

October 1: Sgt. Jack Taft Hennesy, Sgt. Michael A. Uvanni

October 3: Sgt. Christopher S. Potts, Sgt. Russell L. Collier, Ssgt. James L. Pettaway Jr.

October 5: Ssgt. Richard L. Morgan Jr.

October 6: Pvt. Jeungjin Na "Nikky" Kim, Spc. Jessica L. Cawvey

October 7: Spc. Morgen N. Jacobs

October 8: Sgt. Andrew W. Brown, Ssgt. Michael S. Voss

October 9: PFC Andrew Halverson

October 10: Pvt. Carson J. Ramsey, PFC James E. Prevete

October 11: Sgt. Pamela G. Osbourne, PFC Anthony W. Monroe, Ssgt. Michael Lee Burbank, PFC Aaron J. Rusin

October 12: Cpl. Ian T. Zook, Capt. Dennis L. Pintor, Spc. Michael S. Weger, PFC Oscar A. Martinez, Lcpl. Daniel R. Wyatt, Spc. Christopher A. Merville

October 13: Spc. Jaime Moreno, Maj. Charles R. Soltes Jr., Lt. Col. Mark P. Phelan, Lcpl. Victor A. Gonzales, Spc. Jeremy F. Regnier, 2nd Lt. Paul M. Felsberg, Spc. Ronald W. Baker

October 14: Spc. Bradley S. Beard, Ssgt. Omer T. Hawkins II, Pvt. David L. Waters, Spc. Josiah H. Vandertulip, PFC Mark A. Barbret

October 15: Spc. Alan J. Burgess, Cpl. William I. Salazar, Spc. Jonathan J. Santos, Sgt. Michael G. Owen, Lcpl. Brian K. Schramm

October 16: Capt. Christopher B. Johnson, CWO William I. Brennan

October 18: Spc. Andrew C. Ehrlich

October 20: Sgt. Douglas E. Bascom

October 22: Lcpl. Jonathan E. Gadsden

October 24: Lcpl. Richard Patrick Slocum, Sgt. Dennis J. Boles

October 25: Cpl. Brian Oliveira

October 27: Ssgt. Jerome Lemon

October 28: SFC Michael Battles Sr., PFC Stephen P. Downing II, Spc. Segun Frederick Akintade

October 29: Sgt. Maurice Keith Fortune, Pvt. Kevin Thomas McHale

October 30: Corporal Christopher J. Lapka, Lcpl. Travis A. Fox, Lcpl. John T. Byrd II, Sgt. Kelley L. Courtney, Lcpl. Jeremy D. Bow, Lcpl. Michael P. Scarborough, PFC Andrew G. Riedel, PFC John Lukac

October 31: 1st Lt. Matthew D. Lynch

Details on these soldiers can be found at Iraq Coalition Casualties.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Ghost Cane

Today's post will be relatively shorter than my posts have been of late because I didn't really do anything today and the only thing I saw in the news that really struck me was the story about the woman in Hobart, IN who was selling her father's walking cane on Ebay which may or may not contain her father's ghost. Ebay has said that they will not pull the auction because the woman can actually deliver something substantial. From their point of view, it's the cane with a really interesting story that's being sold and if the buyer wants to believe that they are also buying a ghost, that's up to the buyer. As of this morning, there were 72 bids on the cane with the top being $487. She will buy something nice for her 5 year old son, who has been afraid to move around the house since her father died last year. Her thought was that getting rid of the cane will get rid of the ghost.

The total in Iraq has risen to 1270 today with the deaths of two more Americans today. 13 people have died in the month of December. The month that I will be documenting tonight will be September 2004. 80 people were killed in the month of September which brought the total for the war over 1000 to 1058. The soldiers that died in September are as follows.

September 1: Spc. Joseph C. Thibodeaux III

September 3: Lcpl. Nicholas Perez, Capt. Alan Rowe, 1st Lt. Ronald Winchester, Lcpl. Nicholas Wilt

September 4: PO3 Eric L. Knott

September 5: Sgt. Shawna M. Morrison, Spc. Charles R. Lamb, PFC Ryan Michael McCauley, Ssgt. Gary A. Vaillant

September 6: Lcpl. Michael J. Allred, PFC David Paul Burridge, Lcpl. Derek L. Gardner, Lcpl. Quinn A. Keith, Lcpl. Joseph C. McCarthy, Cpl. Mick R. Nygardbekowsky, PFC Devin J. Grella, Capt. John J. Boria, Spc. Brandon Michael Read, Lcpl. Lamont N. Wilson, Ssgt. Elvis Bourdon, Spc. Tomas Garces

September 7: Spc. Clarence Adams III, Spc. Yoe M. Aneiros, 1st Lt. Timothy E. Price, Spc. Chad H. Drake

September 8: Spc. Michael A. Martinez, Spc. Lauro G. DeLeon Jr., Sgt. James Daniel Faulkner, PFC Jason L. Sparks

September 10: Spc. Edgar P. Daclan Jr.

September 11: PO3 David A. Cedergren

September 12: 1st Lt. Alexander E. Wetherbee, PFC Jason T. Poindexter

September 13: Spc. Benjamin W. Isenberg, Ssgt. David J. Weisenburg, Lcpl. Cesar F. Machado-Olmos, Lcpl. Dominic C. Brown, Lcpl. Michael J. Halal, Lcpl. Mathew D. Puckett, Sgt. Carl Thomas, Cpl. Jaygee Ngirmidol Meluat, Cpl. Adrian V. Soltau, Ssgt. Guy Stanley Hagy Jr.

September 14: Sgt. Jacob H. Demand, Maj. Kevin M. Shea, 1st Lt. Tyler Hall Brown

September 15: Lcpl. Gregory C. Howman, Lcpl. Drew M. Uhles

September 16: 1st Lt. Andrew K. Stern, Cpl. Steven A. Rintamaki

September 17: Cpl. Chrisopher S. Ebert

September 18: Sgt. Thomas Chad Rosenbaum, PFC James W. Price

September 19: Sgt. Brandon E. Adams

September 20: Spc. Joshua J. Henry, Lcpl. Steven C. T. Cates, Sgt. Foster L. Harrington

September 21: PFC Nathan E. Stahl

September 22: Ssgt. Lance J. Koenig, Sgt. Benjamin K. Smith, PFC Adam J. Harris, Sgt. Skipper Soram

September 24: Lcpl. Ramon Mateo, Sgt. Timothy Folmar, 2nd Lt. Ryan Leduc, Lcpl. Aaron Boyles

September 25: Spc. Clifford L. Moxley Jr., Spc. Robert Oliver Unruh, Spc. David W. Johnson

September 26: Capt. Eric L. Allton

September 27: Spc. Gregory A. Cox, SFC Joselito O. Villanueva, PFC Kenneth L. Sickels

September 28: Sgt. Tyler D. Prewitt

September 29: PFC Joshua K. Titcomb, Ssgt. Mike A. Dennie

September 30: Spc. Allen Nolan, Spc. Rodney A. Jones, Ssgt. Darren J. Cunningham

Details on these soldiers can be found at Iraq Coalition Casualties.

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Nine FM

Today was less adventurous than I had planned. I was going to volunteer at the Child Serv Holiday Gala at 700 N. Michigan. Child Serv is a child well-being agency that provides services at 20 sites in the Chicagoland area that originally started as an orphanage in Lake Bluff affiliated with the United Methodist Church.We were going to work the silent auction but as the Gala was cancelled, that didn't happen. I did do some Christmas shopping and I happened to run into my friend Sharon but as it was while she was working, we didn't talk much.

I have been listening a lot to a radio station that calls itself Nine Fm. Their tag line is "We play anything" and I have to say that really seems to be the case, there is no other radio station around that includes Frank Zappa, Aretha Franklin, Daft Punk, Tim McGraw, Steve Miller Band and Modest Mouse in their play list. There does seem to be some variation from DJ to DJ but they all mix things up and it is really cool. I think that the only songs that I have heard more than once are "Sweet Home Chicago" by Eric Clapton, and "Such Great Heights" by The Postal Service. I've been listening quite frequently so this is a real surprise. I will continue listening.

And now for the daily update on the war on Iraq. 3 people have been killed in the last 24 hours which brings the total to 1268. The Pentagon has announced that they will be raising the troop strength in Iraq to 150,000 for the next several months to cover security for the elections scheduled for January 31. This brings the troop strength higher than any other level in the war. I am of really mixed emotions about this. I disagree with the idea of the war and don't think we should be there. I do support the individual soldiers on the ground. I think that a greater troop strength will increase security for individual soldiers but I don't think that increasing troop strength by a total of 12,000 over the entire country will make much difference. I expect that between 80 and 100 soldiers will be killed in December and I think that January will be another especially bloody month. The month that I will be documenting tonight is August 2004, the month that it became obvious that troop casualties were increasing month by month. 66 soldiers were killed in August which brought the total to 978. The soldiers that died in August of 2004 are as follows:

August 1: Spc. Anthony J. Dixon, Spc. Armando Hernandez

August 2: Spc. Justin B. Onwordi, Sgt. Juan Calderon Jr., Cpl. Dean P. Pratt

August 3: PFC Harry N. Shondee Jr., Capt. Gregory A. Ratzlaff, Sgt. Tommy L. Gray

August 4: Gsgt. Elia P. Fontecchio, Lcpl. Joseph L. Nice

August 5: Sgt. Moses Daniel Rocha, PFC Raymond J. Faulstich Jr., Sgt. Yadir G. Reynoso, Sgt. Donald R. McCune

August 6: Lcpl. Larry L. Wells, Spc. Joshua I. Bunch, Corporal Roberto Abad

August 7: PFC David L. Potter

August 8: Lcpl. Jonathan W. Collins, Civilian Rick Ulbright

August 9: Captain Andrew R. Houghton, Pvt. Lee Martin O'Callaghan

August 11: Ssgt. John R. Howard, Lcpl. Tavon L. Hubbard

August 12: Capt. Michael Yury Tarkavsky, Pvt. Marc Ferns

August 13: 1st Lt. Neil Anthony Santoriello, Lcpl. Kane M. Funke, Lcpl. Nicolas B. Morrison

August 14: SFC Jeroen Severs

August 15: Spc. Marc Anthony Zapata, PFC Fernando B. Hannon, PFC Geoffrey Perez, PFC Brandon R. Sapp, 2nd Lt. James Michael Goins, Sgt. Daniel Michael Shepard

August 16: Sgt. David M. Heath

August 17: Lcpl. Caleb J. Powers, Spc. Brandon T. Titus, Spc. Paul David Trevor Thomas

August 18: Lcpl. Dustin R. Fitzgerald, Spc. Jacob D. Martir, Sgt. Richard M. Lord, PFC Henry C. Risner, Sgt. Harvey Emmett Parkerson III

August 19: Cpl. Brad Preston McCormick

August 20: 1st Lt. Charles L. Wilkins III, PFC Ryan A. Martin

August 21: PFC Kevin A. Cuming, Gsgt. Edward T. Reeder, Cpl. Nicanor Alvarez, Sgt. Jason Cook, Lcpl. Seth Huston, PFC Nachez Washalanta

August 22: Cpl. Christopher Belchik, 2nd Lt. Matthew Stovall

August 23: Ssgt. Robert C. Thornton Jr.

August 24: Lcpl. Jacob R. Lugo, Ssgt. Donald N. Davis

August 25: Lcpl. Alexander S. Arredondo, Spc. Marco D. Ross, Spc. Charles L. Neeley

August 26: Cpl. Barton R. Humlhanz, PFC Nicholas M. Skinner

August 27: PFC Luis A. Perez, Spc. Omead H. Razani, Lcpl. Nickalous N. Aldrich

August 28: Sgt. Edgar E. Lopez

August 29: Airman 1st Class Carl L. Anderson Jr.

August 30: Ssgt. Aaron N. Holleyman

Details on these soldiers (and civilian) can be found at Iraq Coalition Casualties.

Friday, December 03, 2004

A payday in December in Chicagoland...

I didn't see anything in the news today that struck me and nothing spectacular really happened in my life today so there won't be a lot to say besides the daily details about the Iraq war. My work day was very slow as many days in December are. The one thing of note was that a couple of friends and I went out to Culver's for a long lunch. After work I went downtown and ran a few errands. I ended up going to see Marshall Field's Christmas Windows. This year they did Snow White: Fairest of Them All, the Brothers Grimm's version of Snow White. It was a little creepy like many Grimm stories are. The window artists spend all year getting ready for their one month show and it shows. The windows were very cool if a little creepy. I then went to Christkindlmarket, Chicago's international Christmas craft market, at the Daley Center and looked and had dinner. The rest of the night has been spent going through my email and emailing friends.

Now for my daily detailing of the Iraq War (as opposed to the "War on Terror" which I think is just as ridiculous and unwinnable). 5 people were listed as having been killed in the last 24 hours which brings the total for December to 8 and the total for the war to 1265. The month that I will be documenting tonight will be July 2004, the first full month of "free Iraq" when the Coalition Provisional Authority which could also be known as the United States gave control to the provisional government which the US appointed (Can you say puppet?). 54 soldiers were killed in July which brought the total to 912. The soldiers that died in the month of July are as follows:

July 1: Sgt. Kenneth Conde Jr., Sgt. Christopher A. Wagener, Lcpl. Timothy R. Creager

July 2: Ssgt. Stephen G. Martin, Lcpl. James B. Huston Jr., 2nd Lt. Brian D. Smith

July 5: Lcpl. John J. Vangyzen IV, Cpl. Dallas L. Kerns, Lcpl. Michael S. Torres

July 6: Lcpl. Justin T. Hunt, Cpl. Jeffrey D. Lawrence, PFC Rodricka Antwan Youmans, Lcpl. Scott Eugene Dougherty

July 7: Sgt. Michael C. Barkey, PFC Samuel R. Bowen

July 8: Spc. William River Emanuel IV, Spc. Sonny Gene Sampler, Spc. Joseph M. Garmback Jr., Spc. Jeremiah W. Schmunk, Sgt. Robert E. Colvill, PFC Collier Edwin Barcus, Spc. Shawn M. Davies

July 10: Cpl. Terry Holmes Ordonez, Ssgt. Trevor Spink, Sgt. Krisna Nachampassak, PFC Christopher J. Reed

July 11: SFC Linda Ann Tarango-Griess, Spc. Dana N. Wilson, Ssgt. Dustin W. Peters, Sgt. Jeremy W. Fischer, Sgt. James G. West

July 13: PFC Torry D. Harris

July 14: Cpl. Demetrius Lamont Rice, PFC Jesse J. Martinez

July 15: Ssgt. Paul C. Mardis Jr.

July 16: Lcpl. Bryan P. Kelly

July 17: SFC David A. Hartman, Spc. Craig S. Frank

July 19: Sgt. Dale Thomas Lloyd, PFC Charles C. "C.C." Persing, Flight Lt. Kristian Michel Alexander Gover

July 20: Spc. Danny B. Daniels II, Cpl. Todd J. Godwin, Ssgt. Michael J. Clark

July 21: Lcpl. Mark E. Engel, PFC Nicholas H. Blodgett

July 22: PFC Torey J. Dantzler, Sgt. Tatjana Reed

July 24: Lcpl. Vincent M. Sullivan, Spc. Nicolas J. Zangara

July 27: Sgt. DeForest L. "Dee" Talbert

July 28: PFC Ken W. Leisten, Lt. Col. David S. Greene, Gsgt. Shwn A. Lane

July 29: Spc. Joseph F. Herndon II

Details on these soldiers can be found at Iraq Coalition Casualties.

Thursday, December 02, 2004


The most requested online definition was a word not even in the dictionary. Editors have planned on including the word blog, a shortened version of web log, in their 2005 update in both print and online editions. It is defined as a website that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks provided by the writer. Someone who visits this site would probably know this though. A word generally takes about 20 years to make it into the print edition but their have been a few words such as AIDS and SARS that have made it early. The other words in the top ten for this year were: incumbent, electoral, insurgent, hurricane, cicada, peloton, partisan, sovereignty, and defenestration (how did that end up on the list?) The election, the hurricanes, the Tour de France, and the plague of locusts in northern Africa make sense, why is the word for getting thrown out a window so popular?

And now for the update for the Iraq war. Two more people were listed two have been killed in November which made November the deadliest month of the war with 136 killed. Three people have been killed in December so far. A total of 1260 Americans have been killed in Iraq so far. In June of 2004, 42 people were killed which brought the total to 858. The names of the soldiers that died in June of 2004 are as follows:

June 1: PFC Markus J. Johnson

June 2: Cpl. Bumrok Lee

June 3: Lcpl. Todd J. Bolding

June 4: 1st Lt. Erik S. McCrae, Spc. Justin W. Linden, Sgt. Justin L. Eyerly, Sgt. Frank T. Carvill, Spc. Christopher M. Duffy

June 5: Sgt. Humberto F. Timoteo, Spc. Ryan E. Doltz

June 6: Sgt. Melvin Y. Mora Lopez, PFC Melissa J. Hobart

June 7: Sgt. Jamie A. Gray, Lcpl. Jeremy L. Bohlman

June 8: Capt. Humayun S. M. Khan

June 9: PFC Thomas D. Caughman

June 13: Spc. Eric S. McKinley

June 14: PFC Shawn M. Atkins

June 16: Maj. Paul R. Syverson III, Sgt. Arthur S. (Stacey) Mastrapa, Spc. Jeremy M. Dimaranan

June 18: Spc. Thai Vue, PFC Jason M. Lynch

June 19: PFC Sean Horn

June 20: Ssgt. Marvin Best

June 21: Lcpl. Juan Lopez, Ssgt. Gregory V. Pennington, Lcpl. Deshon E. Otey, Cpl. Tommy L. Parker Jr., Lcpl. Pedro Contreras

June 22: 1st Lt. Andre E. Tyson, Sgt. Patrick R. McCaffrey Sr.

June 24: Capt. Christopher S. Cash, Spc. Daniel A. Desens, Ssgt. Chares A. Kiser

June 26: Spc. Jeremy M. Heines, Lcpl. Manuel A. Ceniceros

June 27: 1st Sgt. Ernest E. Utt

June 29: Sgt. Alan David Sherman, Lcpl. Patrick R. Adle, Cpl. John H. Todd III

June 30: Spc. Robert L. DuSang

Details on these soldiers may be found at Iraq Coalition Casualties.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004


Last night was a very long post that went all over the place, tonight will just be a few things both of which are politics. First, Tom Ridge has announced that he will be leaving as director of the Department of Homeland Security. I can't really say that I'm sad that he's leaving but I also can't say that it makes me glad either. He didn't have the polarizing ability that do Ashcroft or Rumsfeld or Cheney or Bush. Having said that he had the amazing ability to announce that we were in danger of attack every time something happened that made W look bad and still say with a straight face that DHS was non-political. He also was the one that caused the run on plastic sheeting and duct tape during his first year in office. Admittedly, being the Director of the Department of Homeland Security would be a very difficult job but I don't think it can be an effective post without combining it with intelligence. The way the government is working to form a new intelligence director will further Balkanize the intelligence community. There is no reason that we need 14 different intelligence departments.

And following on the political thread, Pres. Bush has finally decided to visit Canada. It has been billed as a move to mend relations but my guess is that it won't be doing anything. Bush thanked Canada for its support during the 9/11 tragedy and asked for more support in the "War on Terror". Canada is upset because of bans on Canadian beef in the United States (kind of like we're upset about asian bans on American beef.) Canada did not support our preemptive strike on Iraq because they rightly did not believe there was any danger. American media has tried to make the point that we protect Canada but a Canadian MP rightly brought up the fact that Canada is marching with the rest of the world. It's America that's isolationist not Canada.

The death toll in November rose to 134 which brought the overall death toll to 1255. One more person was confirmed killed in November. 134 deaths, while still a lot, fell one short of the deadliest month of April 2004.
The following month, May 2004, saw 80 people lose their lives, which brought the total, at the end of May, to 816. The names of the people who were killed in Iraq in May are as follows:

May 1: Spc. Trevor A. Wine, Sgt. Joshua S. Ladd, Ssgt. Oscar D. Vargas-Medina, Spc. Ramon C. Ojeda

May 2: PO2 Scott R. McHugh, Spc. Ervin Caradine Jr., Pvt. Jeremy L. Drexler, Ssgt. Todd E. Nunes, PO2 Michael E. Anderson, PO2 Trace W. Dossett, Capt. John E. Tipton, PO3 Ronald A. Ginther, PO2 Robert B. Jenkins

May 3: Sgt. Marvin R. Sprayberry III, Sgt. Gregory L. Wahl, PFC Lyndon A. Marcus Jr., Ssgt. Erickson H. Petty, Gsgt. Ronald E. Baum, 1st Lt. Christopher J. Kenny

May 5: PFC Jesse R. Buryj, Spc. James E. Marshall, PFC Bradley G. Kritzer, Cpl. Jeffrey G. Green

May 6: Ssgt. Hesley Box Jr., Cpl. Dustin H. Schrage

May 8: Spc. James J. Holmes, Spc. Philip D. Brown, Spc. Chase R. Whitman, Spc. Isela Rubalcava

May 9: Sgt. Rodney A. Murray

May 10: PFC Andrew L. Tuazon

May 11: Spc. Kyle A. Brinlee

May 12: Spc. Jeffrey R. Shaver, Lcpl. Jeremiah E. Savage

May 13: PFC Brandon C. Sturdy, PFC Brian K. Cutter

May 14: Com. Sgt. Maj. Edward C. Barnhill, Spc. Philip I. Spakosky, Sgt. James William Harlan, PFC Michael A. Mora, Sgt. Brud J. Cronkrite

May 15: Sr. Airman Pedro I. Espaillat Jr., Ssgt. Rene Ledesma

May 16: 2nd Lt. Leonard M. Cowherd Jr.

May 17: Spc. Mark Joseph Kasecky, Spc. Carl F. Curran, Lcpl. Bob W. Roberts

May 18: PFC Michael M. Carey, Ssgt. Joseph P. Garyantes, Spc. Marcus O. Nolasco, Ssgt. William D. Chaney

May 19: Michael C. Campbell

May 20: SFC Troy "Leon" Miranda. Cpl. Rudy Salas, PFC Leslie D. Jackson

May 21: Ssgt. Jeremy R. Horton, Lcpl. Andrew J. Zabierek

May 23: Spc. Jeremy l. Ridlen, Ssgt. Jorge A. Molina Bautista

May 24: Spc. Beau R. Beaulieu. PFC Owen D. Witt

May 25: Sgt. Kevin F. Sheehan, Spc. Alan N. Bean Jr., PFC Daniel Paul Unger, PFC Richard H. Rosas, PFC James P. Lambert

May 26: Lcpl. Kyle W. Codner, Cpl. Matthew C. Henderson, Cpl. Dominique J. Nicolas

May 28: Spc. Michael J. Wiesemann

May 29: Lcpl. Benjamin R. Gonzales, PFC Cody F. Calavan, Lcpl. Rafael Reynosasuarez

May 30: Sgt. Aaron C. Elandt, 1st Lt. Kenneth Michael Ballard, PFC Nicholaus E. Zimmer, Pvt. Bradli N. Coleman, Spc. Charles E. Odums II

May 31: Capt. Robert C. Sheetz Jr., Lcpl. Dustin L. Sides

Details on these soldiers can be found at Iraq Coalition Casualties.