Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Hurricane Katrina Blogburst

Several blogs are dedicating Thursday to sharing links and information about Hurricane Katrina. Follow the links below to find places to contribute to the relief effort, and post for relatives unaccounted for.

I recommend donating to the Salvation Army

OTHER BLOGPOST DONATION LINKS:

Hugh Hewitt

Instapundit

Michelle Malkin

Craigslist Donations


MISSING PERSONS LINKS:

Craigslist--Post Missing Persons Here

Find Katrina--Post Missing Persons Here

WWL TV--Post Missing Persons Here

ALSO CHECK: WWL's ''I'M OK'' List to search for loved ones

National Next of Kin Registry

Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network

NowPublic Missing Persons Board

CNN's ''Reported Safe'' List


OTHER RELIEF AGENCY CONTACT INFO:

Hurricane Katrina Telephone and Web Resources from WLOX (Mississippi)


BLOG AND NEWS LINKS FOR UPDATES:

Interdictor's Liveblogging from New Orleans

Terry Teachout's Roundup

WWL News Blog--Updates as they come in on Katrina

USA Today Interactive Damage Map, Photos, Videos

WWL LIVE FEED (somewhat intermittent)

Live Scanner Feed (props to Farker MaritimeGirl)


PRAYER REQUEST:

Two friends of mine, Jeanne and Alex, have relatives missing in the region. Jeanne's mother and grandmother are missing in Mississippi, and Alex' grandmother is missing in the New Orleans area. We covet your prayers for the health and safety of those missing family members, and for them to have an opportunity to communicate with their family members here in California.

UPDATE: Jeanne has contacted me to tell me her family is now all accounted for. Please keep praying for Alex' maw maw.

UPDATE2: Saw both Jeanne and Alex last night. Jeanne's family, though all survived, have lost their homes. Alex still has not heard new of his family. This weighs heavily on their hearts, as anyone can imagine. Please keep them in your prayers.

Technorati Tags: flood aid, Hurricane Katrina

AP: Major Developments in Katrina's Aftermath

From the Associated Press comes this roundup of major developments in the Hurricane Katrina tragedy.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Links in Strange Places

I periodically check my Site Meter account to see where my visitors come from. Lately I have gotten most of my visitors via Instapundit. In the past few weeks I have received two Instalanches. One was on the topic of Christopher Walken's purported bid in 2008 for President, and the other on President Bush's popularity.

But today I think the reach of Impacted Wisdom Truth reached its apex. I am linked on a comment thread at Air America! Click here to behold this honor. Poster thesnotgreensea posted the URL to my Walken post.

Oh, the glory.

Slam That Spam

Take control of spam!

For my fellow Blogspot bloggers who are experiencing spam in your comments, a question: do you know about the feature in Blogger known as "Show Word Verification For Comments"?

This blog was getting spam until I enabled the “Show word verification for comments” feature. This Blogspot feature helps eliminate spam.

To enable the feature, go to your Blogger Dashboard>Settings>Comments> Show word verification for comments (dot the “show word verification…” option). Also, make sure you have the "only registered users" option selected for the "Who Can Comment"? option, found on the same page as the "show word verification" option. Allowing anonymous comments is of dubious value and is only an invitation for spam.

Then republish your whole blog.

This adds a feature that requires commenters to type in a string of letters they see displayed in a distorted JPEG of those letters. The spam-bots can read text but cannot read the distorted JPEG. If you want to see what I mean, go to any post on this blog and click on the comments link. Then click “post a comment” and you will see what I mean about the distorted JPEG and the requirement to type in the letters to add a comment.

I have not had one instance of spam since I enabled that feature. Consign that spam to the infernal regions where it belongs.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Singapore Swing Part XII

The last night I was in Singapore I decided to get lost. No, really--I intentionally got lost.

Singapore is a relatively small island and I felt safe there, so I decided to get away from the hotels and shops. One can take the subway/elevated train to almost anyplace on the island. I had spent the past several days dealing with our customer, eating in the hotel, walking near the hotel, and saw very little of the island itself. So off I went.

I had no plan other than literally to get lost. Oh, I knew I would be fine as long as I stayed within walking distance of the subway/elevated train. I say "subway/elevated train" because the station next to my hotel starts as a subway. Then the train climbs out of the ground and becomes an elevated train where one can view the countryside.

The point is, I had spent all my time around the business district, and saw nothing of the country at large. The hotel, restaurant, and shop personnel in the business district are unfailingly kind to visitors such as myself. But they all knew I was there to spend money. Not to impugn them in any way--that is what they are supposed to do. But I had not rubbed elbows with anyone outside of that bubble. All the pictures in my previous posts, with the exception of Sentosa Island, were all taken within a mile or so of my hotel; places I could get to on foot.

So I jumped on the subway and just let my whims take me to places and off of the subway/train. I achieved my goal, something that I had never experienced before that time, and have never experienced since: for four whole hours, I was the only Caucasian within range of my own eyesight.

Here is a shot of the subway station (click for larger):

The subway stations are kept immaculate. Like, eat off the floor immaculate. The green tint in the photo is caused by the fluorescent lighting in the station.

As I traveled on the train, I was the recipient of many, many stares. Two reasons:

1) Singapore is not America. In America, kids are taught that it is rude to stare at people. Not so in Singapore, apparently. Not that there is any moral absolute governing that particular behavior; it just took me a while to get used to it. As an American, when people stare at me, I wonder what is wrong. Check the front of the shirt and fly; and think, what are they looking at?

2) What they are looking at is a white man out and about where they do not normally see any. I was an oddity. What is he doing here? I had a related experience in Michigan many years ago. I moved to California in 1988, and had spent very little time with people outside my own race. A few years later while visiting my family in my hometown of Battle Creek, Michigan, I made a trip to Meijer Thrifty Acres. I was standing in the dairy section of the store, when I had a sudden strange feeling: something is wrong.

I stopped, looked about, and realized what I was sensing. I was surrounded by people and everyone was Caucasian. After spending a few years in multicultural Los Angeles, I was used to being surrounded by Hispanic people, Asian people, and people of many other different races and cultures. Being in that store surrounded only by Caucasian people felt strange.

But I digress. Here is a picture of the interior of the train on which I made my excursion (click for larger):

I had been traveling for about an hour, just drinking in the sights. The train arrived at one of the main hubs of the subway/train system, and I disembarked there, at a large substation. I had decided to get off the train and follow the crowd to wherever they wandered.

The crowd led me to a bazaar, about a quarter-mile away. The physical arrangement of the bazaar was unlike anything I had seen in America. One walks down a paved sidewalk and then between buildings. On the other side of the buildings is an open courtyard. There were two rows of buildings, with roll-up doors. I would liken it to a self-storage facility in America. Picture two buildings facing each other, with a row of roll-up doors along each building, with a courtyard in between the buildings. The doors were all open, and each "storage space" had a small shop plying various wares.

One shop was selling incense; some selling food; about everything one could think of was available. On my way out of the bazaar, I stopped at a booth near the entrance. There were three teenage kids manning the booth, which was selling good luck charms for the upcoming Chinese New Year. They got quite a kick out of me being there. They were amazed, as were the people on the train, that a Caucasian man was in their neighborhood. The kids spoke perfect English, so communication was not a problem.

I purchased about twenty small trinkets, and they are in the bag that the girl in the photo below is holding. They were inexpensive; I think they were less than twenty-five cents (US) each. I am holding a larger charm, which cost about eight dollars (US). I love the look on the girl's face, with the thumb pointing towards me. You can see the laughter on the faces of her brothers in the background.

The photo:



(I had to host that last picture outside of Blogger. The first two I uploaded to Blogger directly and I apparently exceeded some limit).

Anyway, click here to see a larger version of the picture with the kids at their booth.

The charm that I am holding is below. Click for larger version.

After I made off with my goodies, I returned to the hotel via the train. I slept my last night in Singapore, grateful for the experience. The next morning, I packed, boarded a taxi to the airport, and flew home to Los Angeles by way of Taiwan. I was glad to be home, but the memories of that trip bring a smile to my face to this very day.

Return to Home Page


All photos Copyright 2005 by Impacted Wisdom Truth

Updated 1/15/06 to embed charm photo.

Singapore Swing Links

This post is a compilation of links for my "Singapore Swing" posts. Back in January 1997 I made a business trip to Singapore for a former employer. This collection of posts is a travelogue of my visit.

Singapore Swing

Singapore Swing Part II

Singapore Swing Part III

Singapore Swing Part IV

Singapore Swing Part V

Singapore Swing Part VI

Singapore Swing Part VII

Singapore Swing Part VIII

Singapore Swing Part IX

Singapore Swing Part X

Singapore Swing Part XI

Singapore Swing Part XII

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Thrill Is Gone

...at least it is for Professor Bainbridge. The Professor's post is one long strident diatribe against Bush's supposed multiple peccadilloes, from not reducing the size of government to the increasingly unpopular Iraq war. I do not disagree with everything Bainbridge has to say, but a few things made me think, "now, wait a minute."

Says Bainbridge,
"The second problem is that the fly paper strategy seems to be radicalizing our foes even more. For every fly that gets caught, it seems as though 10 more spring up."
I see this as a logical fallacy. "It seems" is a pretty thin basis for a conclusion. Bainbridge offers no support for the notion that "10 more spring up" is a result of this war strategy. Perhaps just the opposite--those that are "springing up" are simply revealing themselves because they have an opportune target, and that target receives nonstop international media scrutiny. Are more terrorists being created, or are we just hearing more about existing ones?

Bainbridge's logic is like saying, "whenever police hold a prostitution sting operation using decoy officers, arrests for prostitution go up. Therefore prostitution sting operations are sexualizing the public and leading to more prostitution." Please.

The fiercest bug-zapper in the world, the US Military, has taken out tens of thousands of terrorists on account of our operations in Iraq. Are we to believe these individuals became terrorists simply because we showed up, or could it be that we are simply giving existing terrorists an opportunity to come out of the closet? I am giving Bush the benefit of the doubt on this one, since there is not a valid counter argument--at least not from Bainbridge.

As for the supposed Bush failures on the domestic issues he cites, has Bainbridge forgotten the tax cuts? Limitations placed on partial birth abortions and stem cell research? What about Bush's conservative judicial appointments, the ones Bush has managed to get approved, anyway?

I do agree with Bainbridge, to a certain extent, in criticizing the growth of the federal government under GWB. Was Bush 43 supposed to, in only five years, undo decades worth of entrenched Democrat-created bureaucracies? Even Eisenhower lamented how little impact he as President has upon the federal bureaucracy. No, I agree, we have not gotten everything we wanted from George W. Bush. I wonder how we would have fared under eight years of Al Gore.

Bainbridge sounds less like a cogent evaluator of circumstances and more like a victim of wounded naiveté. The honeymoon is over, Professor. Now lets look at things realistically, not expecting unbroken bliss and perfection, and get on with the hard work--disappointments and all.

The first step to total failure is a failure to believe.

Props: La Shawn Barber

UPDATE: via Lucianne: Afghan raids 'kill 100 militants'

UPDATE: A cordial welcome to readers of Instapundit. Please Check out my Greatest Hits section for more good reads. And many thanks to Glenn for the link.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Discovery Knocks On My Door

I could not sleep, knowing that the Space Shuttle Discovery was going to land this morning.

Having caught a news update around midnight PST saying that the shuttle landing in Florida had been scrubbed, I knew they would land in California. Still, I tried to go to bed. After tossing a turning for about a half-hour, I decided to get up and watch the shuttle coverage.

There I was, leaning on my left elbow watching ABC News, wondering if I would hear the double sonic boom that I used to hear when the shuttle landed at Edwards AFB in the early 1990's. I was kind of hoping to hear it.

The flight trajectory map shown on TV stunned me. They used to fly in over Los Angeles and then onward to Edwards. However, in the light of the Columbia disaster, NASA decided not to fly the orbiter over densely populated areas. Instead, it would fly...

RIGHT OVER MY HOUSE.

Well, not precisely, but certainly close. The big question on my mind is, will I be able to hear that double sonic boom at my house?

Back to watching the TV. Charles Gibson is interviewing some expert about something or another. OK, they are about one hundred miles out, at about 87,000 feet, and...

BOOM! BOOM!

Question Answered. At 5:03am PST my old friend, the signature double sonic boom, rattled my house. It is a very staccato sound, like someone pounding on a door with their fist in rapid succession. Except it is loud enough to wake everyone within fifty miles.

Welcome home, Discovery. Congratulations to the crew and NASA for putting America back in space and home safely again.

UPDATE: Pyromaniac, whom lives about twenty miles from me as the crow flies, reports on his wake-up call.

Monday, August 08, 2005

NASA Scrubs Shuttle Landing for 24 Hours

Watching NBC affiliate Channel 4 here in Los Angeles...

The NASA flight director for the Space Shuttle Discovery could not "get comfortable" with the "unstable" nature of the weather at the landing strip in Florida. As a result, the landing has been waved off for 24 hours.

The shuttle has three possible landing sites in Florida, California, and New Mexico. Failing the primary landing site in Florida, my sense is that the California site would be preferred over New Mexico. To my knowledge, the shuttle has never landed in New Mexico, but California landings are familiar.

In the late 1980's and early 1990's I worked in Tarzana, California. During that time the shuttle would land in the Mojave Desert area north of Los Angeles. When the shuttle made its final approach, a double sonic boom could be heard in Tarzana (and the whole San Fernando Valley, for that matter).

I applaud the caution of Mission Control for waving off the shuttle. The last thing we need is a case of "home fever" causing an accident. NASA pays the flight director for one thing in particular--his judgment. I believe he made the right call.