Shortarmguy's Emails That Made Me Think
On this page, I will post the most inspirational material I receive on any given day. So email firstname.lastname@example.org the best stuff you get. Life can be darn tough sometimes and every now and then you might need a little happiness booster. I'm hoping this page may accomplish that. After you read a few of these, you can push back from your keyboard, throw your arms in the air, wave them back and forth and scream "I'm glad to be alive!" If this happens to you, please send pictures and I'll post them here!
Sunday, September 11, 2005
It is settled wisdom among journalists that the federal response to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina was unconscionably slow.
"Mr. Bush's performance last week will rank as one of the worst ever during a dire national emergency," wrote New York Times columnist Bob Herbert in a somewhat more strident expression of the conventional wisdom.
But the conventional wisdom is the opposite of the truth.
Jason van Steenwyk is a Florida Army National Guardsman who has been mobilized six times for hurricane relief. He notes that:
"The federal government pretty much met its standard time lines, but the volume of support provided during the 72-96 hour was unprecedented. The federal response here was faster than Hugo, faster than Andrew, faster than Iniki, faster than Francine and Jeanne."
For instance, it took five days for National Guard troops to arrive in strength on the scene in Homestead, Fla. after Hurricane Andrew hit in 2002. But after Katrina, there was a significant National Guard presence in the afflicted region in three.
Journalists who are long on opinions and short on knowledge have no idea what is involved in moving hundreds of tons of relief supplies into an area the size of England in which power lines are down, telecommunications are out, no gasoline is available, bridges are damaged, roads and airports are covered with debris, and apparently have little interest in finding out.
So they libel as a "national disgrace" the most monumental and successful disaster relief operation in world history.
I write this column a week and a day after the main levee protecting New Orleans breached. In the course of that week:
More than 32,000 people have been rescued, many plucked from rooftops by Coast Guard helicopters.
The Army Corps of Engineers has all but repaired the breaches and begun pumping water out of New Orleans.
Shelter, food and medical care have been provided to more than 180,000 refugees.
Journalists complain that it took a whole week to do this. A former Air Force logistics officer had some words of advice for us in the Fourth Estate on his blog, Moltenthought:
"We do not yet have teleporter or replicator technology like you saw on 'Star Trek' in college between hookah hits and waiting to pick up your worthless communications degree while the grown-ups actually engaged in the recovery effort were studying engineering.
"The United States military can wipe out the Taliban and the Iraqi Republican Guard far more swiftly than they can bring 3 million Swanson dinners to an underwater city through an area the size of Great Britain which has no power, no working ports or airports, and a devastated and impassable road network.
"You cannot speed recovery and relief efforts up by prepositioning assets (in the affected areas) since the assets are endangered by the very storm which destroyed the region.
"No amount of yelling, crying and mustering of moral indignation will change any of the facts above."
"You cannot just snap your fingers and make the military appear somewhere," van Steenwyk said.
Guardsmen need to receive mobilization orders; report to their armories; draw equipment; receive orders and convoy to the disaster area. Guardsmen driving down from Pennsylvania or Navy ships sailing from Norfolk can't be on the scene immediately.
Relief efforts must be planned. Other than prepositioning supplies near the area likely to be afflicted (which was done quite efficiently), this cannot be done until the hurricane has struck and a damage assessment can be made. There must be a route reconnaissance to determine if roads are open, and bridges along the way can bear the weight of heavily laden trucks.
And federal troops and Guardsmen from other states cannot be sent to a disaster area until their presence has been requested by the governors of the afflicted states.
Exhibit A on the bill of indictment of federal sluggishness is that it took four days before most people were evacuated from the Louisiana Superdome.
The levee broke Tuesday morning. Buses had to be rounded up and driven from Houston to New Orleans across debris-strewn roads. The first ones arrived Wednesday evening. That seems pretty fast to me.
A better question -- which few journalists ask -- is why weren't the roughly 2,000 municipal and school buses in New Orleans utilized to take people out of the city before Katrina struck?
September 17, 2005
A CHILD'S PERSPECTIVE ON LIFE
"Out of the mouths of babes!"
September 11, 2005
Kids can be amazing!
BILOXI, Miss. - In the long, harrowing moments before Katrina crashed into the east side of this coastal city, a dozen family members, friends and neighbors piled into the only bedroom of a wooden house.
Then they waited, and some drifted asleep. Suddenly, the water rushed in. It came fast, penetrating every wall and window. They retreated to a living room that yielded no protection from the five-foot tide inside the house.
The babies began screaming, the adults panicked and, in that moment, 13-year-old Phillip Bullard began saving lives. Four adults and nine children, including himself.
Phillip swam and cradled the youngest, a 1-year-old boy. He floated the oldest -- all through the house, out a broken front window and into a boat floating down what was once Holley Street. He coaxed his twin sister to turn loose the side of the house, which she clung to in terror. And he took the hands of his mother and grandmother and guided them through the house, on a path made from sodden furniture.
They were willing to die, unable to swim and too frightened to leave their home.
'I just didn't want to see my family drown,' said Phillip, a seventh-grader who spent Wednesday in a shelter at Biloxi Junior High, which he normally attends. ``I was scared if I didn't keep helping, somebody would die.'
Phillip's story hopscotched across town. Folks quickly learned about the boy who rescued his family, a bright spot in an otherwise dreary day in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
'That little boy is a hero,' said Kenneth Brinson, who helped set up an outdoor community center near Main Street Baptist Church in the neighborhood where Phillip lives. Most of the day, Brinson cooked red beans and rice and smoked sausage for the hungry.
Phillip, a typical teenager who runs and jumps and dances and dreams, lives with his mother and grandmother on the east side of town, a collection of older A-frame homes in a mostly poor, mostly withered neighborhood. Almost from the very beginning, they knew the little house would fall to a storm with this kind of roar.
'I saw all the water and it was coming from everywhere. I swear it came through the floor,' said Vanessa Posey, 44, Phillip's mother. ``I started screaming and trying to get everybody up. I broke the window and tried to put the babies on top of the bar. My son did most everything else.'
CLEARED THE WAY
Phillip, a soft-spoken boy who said he knew he wanted to be a police officer or doctor before the storm, says he went under water to clear a path to the window and then got his 25-year-old sister, Yoshico Posey, out. He picked her first because she was the only other person who could swim and help guide the rest out of the house. They formed a rescue team. He carried or floated each person out the window; she passed them to a neighbor who was helping, or put them in a boat they found drifting by.
September 4, 2005
Just some darn good advice this week
1. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
2. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, their conversational skills will be as important as any other.
3. Don't believe all you hear, sleep all you want.
4. When you say, "I love you," mean it.
5. When you say, "I'm sorry," look the person in the eye.
6. Be engaged at least six months before you get married.
7. Believe in love at first sight.
8. Never laugh at anyone's dream. People who don't have dreams don't have much.
9. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt, but it's the only way to live life completely.
10. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling
11. Don't judge people by their relatives.
12. Talk slowly but think quickly.
13. When someone asks you a question you don't want to answer, smile and ask, "Why do you want to know?"
14. Remember that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
15. Say "bless you" when you hear someone sneeze.
16. When you lose, don't lose the lesson
17. Remember the three R's: Respect for self; Respect for others; and Responsibility for all your actions.
18. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
19. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
20. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.
21. Spend some time alone.
August 29, 2005
A boat docked in a tiny Mexican village. An American tourist
complimented the Mexican fisherman on the quality of his fish and asked how
long it took him to catch them.
"Not very long," answered the Mexican.
"But then, why didn't you stay out longer and catch more?" asked the American.
The Mexican explained that his small catch was sufficient to meet his needs and those of his family.
The American asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"
"I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, and take a siesta with my wife. In the evenings, I go into the village to see my friends, have a few drinks, play the guitar, and sing a few songs . . I have a full life."
The American interrupted, "I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you! You should start by fishing longer every day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch. With the extra revenue, you can buy a bigger boat."
"And after that?" asked the Mexican.
"With the extra money the larger boat will bring, you can buy a second one and a third one and so on until you have an entire fleet of trawlers. Instead of selling your fish to a middle man, you can then negotiate directly with the processing plants and maybe even open your own plant. You can then leave this little village and move to Mexico City, Los Angeles, or even New York City! From there you can direct your huge new enterprise."
"How long would that take?" asked the Mexican.
"Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years," replied the American.
"And after that?"
"Afterwards? Well my Friend, that's when it gets really interesting," answered the American, laughing. "When your business gets really big, you can start selling stocks and make millions!"
"Millions? Really? And after that?" said the Mexican.
"After that you'll be able to retire, live in a tiny village near the coast, sleep late, play with your children, catch a few fish, take a siesta with your wife and spend your evenings having a drink or two and enjoying your friends."
And the moral is:
Know where you're going in life... you may already be there.
August 21, 2005
Desert Flowers on the east side of the Carrizo plain, in the Temblor Range (about 50 miles due west of Bakersfield, California). Someone said it looks like God spilled his paints...
Perfectly Logical Questions
1. Ever wonder about those people who spend $2.00 apiece on those little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backwards: NAIVE
2. Isn't making a smoking section in a restaurant like making a peeing section in a swimming pool?
3. OK.... so if the Jacksonville Jaguars are known as the "Jags" and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are known as the "Bucs," what does that make the Tennessee Titans?
4. If 4 out of 5 people SUFFER from diarrhea...does that mean that one enjoys it?
5. There are three religious truths:
a. Jews do not recognize Jesus as the Messiah.
b. Protestants do not recognize the Pope as the leader of the Christian faith.
c. Baptists do not recognize each other in the liquor store or at Hooters.
6. If people from Poland are called Poles, why aren't people from Holland called Holes?
7. Do infants enjoy infancy as much as adults enjoy adultery?
8. If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?
9. Why do croutons come in airtight packages? Aren't they just stale bread to begin with?
10. Why isn't the number 11 pronounced onety one?
11. If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn't it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked, and dry cleaners depressed?
12. If Fed Ex and UPS were to merge, would they call it Fed UP?
13. Do Lipton Tea employees take coffee breaks?
14. What hair color do they put on the driver's licenses of bald men?
15. I was thinking about how people seem to read the Bible a whole lot more as they get older; then it dawned on me ..they're cramming for their final exam.
16. I thought about how mothers feed their babies with tiny little spoons and forks , so I wondered what do Chinese mothers use? toothpicks?
17. Why do they put pictures of criminals up in the Post Office? What are we supposed to do, write to them? Why don't they just put their pictures on the postage stamps so the mailmen can look for them while they deliver the mail?
18. If it's true that we are here to help others, then what exactly are the others here for?
19. You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive.
20. Ever wonder what the speed of lightning would be if it didn't zigzag?
21. If a cow laughed, would milk come out of her nose?
22. Whatever happened to Preparations A through G?
August 14, 2005
Amusing facts for the soul
of all greeting cards are purchased by women.
A common name for pincurls is also spitcurls because woman sometimes wet their hair with their saliva before curling it.
Actress Jamie Lee Curtis invented a special diaper for babies that has a pocket.
Barbie's boyfriend Ken was not sold in India until recently because it clashed with the traditional arranged marriage.
Every second, two Barbie dolls are sold somewhere in the world.
Barbie's full name is Barbara Millicent Roberts.
Children who live in homes that are heated with wood are more likely to develop respiratory illnesses than children who don't.
In 1902, the coat hanger was invented Albert Parkhouse who was frustrated at the lack of hooks available to hang up his coat at work. His company thought it was a good idea and patented the invention and unfortunately, Parkhouse never received any money for his idea.
In 1924, Kleenex tissues were originally designed as a cold cream remover.
The best time for a person to buy shoes is in the afternoon. This is because
the foot tends to swell a bit around this time.
Stannous fluoride, which is the cavity fighter found in toothpaste is made from recycled tin.
Teflon is the most slipperiest substance in the world.
Teflon was accidentally discovered by scientist Dr. Roy Plunkett while he was conducting a coolant gas experiment in 1938.
The Food and Drug Administration says the most common injury from cosmetics comes from scratching the eye with a mascara wand.
The most expensive bra is the Red Hot Fantasy Bra that is made by Victoria's Secret. It is worth $15 million, and has more than 1,300 precious stones. The bra is delivered in a secured truck by security guards.
The oldest documented footwear found was a 8,000 year-old sandal found in a cave located in Missouri, USA.
The most expensive perfume in the world is Parfum VI, which was made by Arthur Burnham. A 4 inch bottle which is covered with diamonds and 24-carat gold costs $71,380.
The only king without a mustache in a deck of cards is the king of hearts.
When telephone companies first began hiring telephone operators, they chose teenage boys for the job. They switched to women because the teenage boys were wrestling instead of working and pulling pranks on callers.
A person uses approximately fifty-seven sheets of toilet paper each day.
A headache and inflammatory pain can be reduced by eating 20 tart cherries.
A women from Berlin Germany has had 3,110 gallstones taken out of her gall bladder.
A world record 328 pound ovarian cyst was removed from a woman in Galveston,
Texas, in 1905.
Being lactose intolerant can cause chronic flatulence.
An average adult produces about half a liter of flatulent gas per day, resulting in an average of about fourteen occurrences of flatulence a day.
Children who are breast fed tend to have an IQ seven points higher than children who are not.
Constipation is caused when too much water is absorbed in the large intestine and the feces become dry.
Close to fifty percent of the bacteria in the mouth lives on the surface of our tongue.
Girls have more tastebud than boys.
In 1914, a skin cream was created called "Dr. Bunting's Sunburn Remedy." A customer claimed that the cream had "knocked out his eczema." The name was then changed to what we know now as Noxema.
Lack of sleep can affect your immune system and reduce your ability to fight infections.
It takes about three hours for food to be broken down in the human stomach.
Ninety percent of the population has an innie belly button.
People have the tendency to chew the food on the side that they most often use
Some people start to sneeze if they are exposed to sunlight or have a light shined into their eye.
Studies have shown that the scent of Rosemary can help in better mental performance and make individuals feel more alert.
The eight most popular foods to cause food allergies are: milk, eggs, wheat, peanuts, soy, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish.
The lining of the a person's stomach is replaced every 36 hours.
In twins, there is a great chance that one will be left handed.
There are 50% more males that are left handed compared to females.
66% of home based businesses are owned by women.
In an average lifetime, people spend four years traveling in cars and six months waiting for red light to turn green.
The Dutch people are known to be the tallest people in Europe.
The big toe is the foot reflexology pressure point for the head.
Men are four times more likely to be struck by lightning than women.
Men are more likely to be colorblind than women. About one of out of 12 men are colorblind.
On average, Americans spend five times more of their time in their cars than they do on vacation.
Thirteen percent of the human population reside in deserts.
On average, a disposable diaper can hold up to 7 pounds of liquid.
On average, the life span of an American dollar bill is eighteen months.
An office desk has 400 times more bacteria than a toilet
Approximately 60% of the water used by households during the summer is used for watering flowers, and lawns
Two out of five people end up marrying their first love.
Women are four times more likely to have foot problems than men. .
Women who are romance novel readers are reported to make love 74% more often with their partners than women who do not read romance novels.
The average person falls asleep in about 12 to 14 minutes.. so much for the novel :)
Women smile more than men do.
August 6, 2005
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