Saturday, May 31, 2008

175.5 Pounds

I'm almost there. Almost there to my goal of being 175 pounds. I think I'm doing really well at reaching it. It probably won't happen for a couple more weeks. I know I only have a pound to go but at my office in the next week we'll be celebrating two people's birthdays. We also celebrated one this week. It means lots of unhealthy food to eat. I'm not going to not eat but I'm going to not eat too much (well that's the idea anyway). That might be a tall order.

With the goal so close I think I'm going to have to change it. I think getting down to 170 or close to it is the next goal. But I still need to be eating. That's especially true now that I'm working out so much. My trainer reminded me of that. He said some people can sabotage there progress because they don't eat enough calories to reflect the new condition of their body. I found this out when I was training for the AIDS Rides. I seemed always to be hungry and I was eating more food because of all the training rides I was doing. The problem was that once the ride happened I didn't cut back on what I was eating and so I gained weight.

I'm trying to think of the last time I weighed so little and it is a good five years or more. I think 170 is a good new goal or as close to it as possible. I will really start concentrating on that after next week passes. Who knows if I'm careful and don't pig out too much I might stay right around 175.

In other news, my trainer is out next week. He's going to Spain. So I'm on my own with working out. I'll probably do a greatest hits routine. I'll take something from the last few workouts that we've done. I can't match the pace that Randy sets for me but I'm going to try and get as close as possible to it.

Tomorrow I'm going to try and go for a 40 mile bike ride. I fixed the odometer. The wire to the computer was loose. It looked like it was connected but I guess it wasn't pushed all the way in. I found this out when I was filling the tires with air last weekend. I moved the bike in just the right way that the wire came completely off the computer. I just stuck it back in and it was all set.

I was going to go on the ride today but it is supposed to rain later in the day. Also my next door neighbor had a party last night and I was not able to get to sleep as early as I wanted to. So I'm just as glad I decided to go on Sunday.

I have to say that overall I'm very pleased with the progress that I am making. Having a trainer makes such an incredible difference. I know I'm in much better shape then when I started this at the end of January. I actually have muscles in my arms that you can see!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Distrubing News from the Army

A very disturbing report out from the Army this week. Here's a story about it in USA Today and also from the Post.

There has been a record number of suicides reported in the Army. It's the highest since the Army started counting in 1980.

From the Post article:
"We see a lot of things that are going on in the war which do contribute _ mainly the longtime and multiple deployments away from home, exposure to really terrifying and horrifying things, the easy availability of loaded weapons and a force that's very, very busy right now," said Col. Elspeth Ritchie psychiatric consultant to the Army surgeon general.
The incredible strain the wars are putting on our troops is simply unacceptable. It once again shows the whirlwind we are reaping from the lack of proper planning by the Bush Administration in every aspect of this war.

About the only good thing that can be said is the Army has recognized the problem and is aggressively taking steps to try (try being the operative word here) to combat this issue:

The efforts include more training and education programs for troops and their families. Officials also have hired more mental health workers, increased screening to measure the psychological health of soldiers and worked to reduce any stigma that keeps them from going for treatment when they have symptoms of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress and other emotional problems.

It seems once again we have failed our soldiers. It seems once again this administration in particular has failed them. Thankfully this administration's days are numbered. Let's hope the next one will immediately take steps to really and truly support our troops.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Learning as We Go

This from our president on Iraq. A couple of stories on his speech at the Air Force Academy. From USA Today and the Post.

Here's the quote I was referring to:

Today, we're helping emerging democracies rebuild under fire from terrorist networks and state sponsors of terror. This is a difficult and unprecedented task -- and we're learning as we go.

I think the point that should be added is the Bush administration is learning as it is going. I think it needs a remedial course because it is so far behind the curve it is pathetic.

Bush goes on:

we learned from hard experience that newly liberated people cannot make political and economic progress unless they first have some measure of security.

Gosh I don't know it seems to me a pretty easy concept to grasp. Something people have been saying for a very long time but that the Bush administration would not listen to. The need for more troops to secure the country. But oh no we can't do that. We have to learn the hard way. Yeah like getting hit over the head by a 2 by 4.

And once again the age old axium of the Bush administration we have to have patient.

I think it is easy to say we ran out of patient with these learning challenged guys a long time ago.

Mid-week Smile

Why is it that weeks with Monday holidays always seem so long. I've thought about it and I think it is because when you come back to work on Tuesday it is still the same number of days to the end of the week as if you'd worked on Monday. At least that's my thought. But here's something to bring a smile to your face.

Why do things just suddenly happen

I've been thinking about this lately because of a bunch of things that out of the blue just happened.

What happened to make the manhole cover get blown off on Friday. I guess sewer gas built up and kaboom.

It reminds me of something that happened last night. I woke up last night to go to the bathroom. I went back to bed and tried to get back to sleep. I had the window by my bed open. The blinds were down. There been a breeze for most of the night but all of a sudden the blinds were vibrating. When they vibrate they make a really obnoxious noise. It went on for ten minutes or so. I almost got up and closed the window. Each time I was about to that the blinds stopped making the noise. Eventually they stopped and I was able to go back to sleep.

Something similar has happened with my toilet. Sometime but of course not all the time after you flush it will just continue to run even after the tank has filled up. If you flush it again it will fill up fine and stop. Like I said some times when you flush for the first time it will continue to run but other times it will work just fine.

Makes you wonder why all of a sudden things stat doing things like that. I’m sure with the blinds the wind came at a slightly different direction or has picked up just a little. The toilet is a mystery to me.

One more thing comes to mind. When all of a sudden something falls off a shelf. Something that’s been on the self for maybe days, weeks or even months. Then all of a sudden it just falls off the self. Usually when this happens it’s something when it falls to the floor makes a mess. It’s always a jar of something or a can that’s lid is not on tight and instant mess.

Or if a lid falls off the counter how come it always seems the side with stuff on it hits the floor. Instantly making a big mess.

Anyway just some mid-week musings on my part.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Great Memorial Day Weekend

It can't get much better.

First off there were three days in a row with bright sunny weather. Two of the days were on the weekend no less. That's been a rarity lately. The best we get is one good day and it rains the next or both days are cold and rainy. The days got progressively warmer. I'd say today was a little hot.

Another great thing about it was I got two invitations to cook outs. I usually don't even get one but to have two was wonderful. They also were on different days.

The first invite was from Louise a woman I volunteer with at Food and Friends. This was to celebrate her birthday. It was out in Annapolis. It was not at her house but a friends of her's. Then weren't even there. It was a really great place. It was right on the water. I had a little problem getting there. The directions I had were good but the road signs were a little confusing. But I made it and had a really great time. I'm glad I brought a jacket along with me. It got a little cool once the sun went down.

The second cook out was at my friend's Mark's. I arrived a little early to help set up. I mostly opened up the condiments and took off the seals so people could use them. Once people got there I cooked the burgers and hot dogs. Mark has a gas grill but there were a lot of flames. I think the first set of burgers were rather greasy. There was a great selection of food. All sorts of salads and chips and dips. Also a great variety of desserts.

I'd like to say I didn't eat too much but that's not the case. But every once in a while you have to let yourself indulge. I just have to make up for it this week.

Today I got up early and went out on the bike. I fixed my odometer. The wire going into it was in just enough to look like it was connected but not enough to relay any information. The wire came completely out when I added air to the tires. I just reconnected the wire and it was back in working order. I went for a 31 mile ride.

I came back took a little nap. Then I did stuff around the house. I put in some plants. Did some cleaning, vacuumed and shampooed the living room carpet. I made some ice cream for a co-workers birthday that is this week. The vanilla came out ok but I tried to make another batch and the freezer bowl wasn't cold enough to make it work. I'll have to try again tomorrow night. I'm going to experiment with making chocolate. I'm going to use chocolate sauce instead of following the recipe in the book. I'm sure it will turn out great.

Those We've Lost

A reminder of what Memorial Day is all about.

Spec. Adrian E. Hike
Lost November 12, 2007 in Afghanistan

Staff Sgt. Carletta S. Davis
Lost November 5, 2007

2nd Lt. Tracy Lynn Alger
Lost November 1, 2007

Pfc. Rush M. Jenkins
Lost October 30, 2007

Sgt. Joshua C. Brennan
Lost October 26, 2007 in Afghanistan

Spec. Vincent A. Madero
Lost October 17, 2007

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Front Flowers Flourish

The roses in front continue to bloom out of control.

The yellow rose "bush" (I put it in quotes because it's more like a rose tree) has so many blossoms it is touching the ground. It will continue to bloom for the rest of the year. In fact I've had blossoms as late as December. The red bush will only have this one group of flowers and then just have leaves for the rest of the year.

I've put plants in all of my flower boxes. I've decided to cut back this year. Usually I put three flowers in each of the boxes. By the end of the season they are crowding each other out. This year there are only two per box. I got a couple more Geraniums for the front garden. I'm going to fill that in slowly in the next couple of weeks. I still have to dig up the Hyacinth bulbs. I've got about a third of them done. I was going to due more but I had a pesky bug that would not leave me alone so I gave up for the day.

Strange Occurrence

I was sitting at home last night watching TV. I heard a loud noise outside. It was a pretty loud boom followed by a thud.

It a first reminded me of someone shooting off fireworks. Then I thought it reminded me more of when I was growing up and kids would shoot off M-80s around the 4th of July. Then I thought maybe it was some sort of a car accident.

I opened my front door and looked up the street. Nothing seemed to be wrong in that direction. Then I looked the other direction. There's a manhole not too far from my house. There was smoke coming out of the hole. A large cloud of white smoke. The manhole cover was off to the side. That is to say no longer covering the manhole. There had been an explosion in the manhole and the cover had been blown off. As I said there was a loud noise and then a thud. The thud was the manhole cover landing on the street.

It took a little while for it to register that that was indeed what had happened. (This is not as rare as it might sound. This has happened several times in Georgetown only flames shoot out of the manhole as opposed to smoke, the covers are blown like 10 feet into the air and this happens in the middle of the day.) I thought maybe I should get a little closer and see what happened. I quickly thought better of that. After a minute or so I decided to call 911.

I reached them and explained the situation. They said someone would be out shortly. I wasn't sure at first who would exactly show up. However, about 10 minutes later, a firetruck showed up. They used their truck to block off the intersection where the manhole was. It is maybe 15 feet from an intersection. They stayed around for awhile until a utility truck from the electric company showed up.

I'm not sure how long they were out there because I went to bed. Around 10 am this morning another utility truck showed up and they're still out there working.

And that was my strange Friday night occurrence.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Rocking at the Gym

I'm back in full swing at the gym. My training sessions are going great. Last week Randy said I've progressed really well. He added he would have to come up with some new exercises to beat me down. Well Tuesday he came pretty damn close. We did upper body. Lots of work on the chest and arms and back.

I was so sore. How sore was I? Well, when I got to work, I had to use both arms to put my coat on the hook behind the door. But, and this is the important part, only my back was sore the next day. My recovery time is much quicker than when I started.

When I started, I was able to due the two training sessions during the week. But I was so sore I wouldn't go to the gym on Sunday. Now I can go and workout on Sundays. I usually do what I call a greatest hits. I take some exercises from each of the days and work them into my own routine.

Today was legs. I think I probably need the most amount of work on my legs especially my hamstrings which are really tight. We've worked very hard on getting them loose and getting more range of motion from them. I did a series of exercises that a couple of months ago I could not have done. Randy got a little choked up about it. He said I've made just great progress in a very short amount of time. That he really enjoys working with because I arrive on time, work hard at doing the exercises properly and have a great attitude (a little more on that latter). I was pretty proud of myself if I do say so myself.

Outside of the gym things are starting to fire on all cylinders too.

I have a good routine of riding the stationary bike. I doing it 2-3 times a week. I usually do it for about 30 minutes or so. I'm using my heart monitor to reach my target heart rate. Maintaining the target heart rate is a little harder than I thought it would be but I stay very close to the range. I'm riding my bike once a week. I'm averaging about 30 miles for each ride (once I have my odometer in place I'll have a better idea of just how far I go). My plan is to start riding to work in the next couple of weeks. I'd also like to see if I can add a spinning class but that might be a little too much.

I'm also doing well on eating. I haven't cut out all of the junk food but I've cut way back. My goal had been to get down to 175. I thought that would take some time to do but I'm hovering right around that now. So the new goal is to get down to 170. If I do that then well I'm not sure if there is a next goal or not. 165? That seems impossible but you never know.

Now back to what Randy said. When we were checking out times for next week, he repeated how much he enjoys working with me and how much progress that I've made. How great it is that I'm on time and have such a great attitude. He added that some people are not like that. There were a couple of other trainers in the room he agreed. They all had someone who'd come in with a bad attitude. To me that just makes no sense at all. I get there early because well I'm always early. I also get there early so that I can warm up before the training session starts. I don't want to waste my paid session getting warmed. And why would you possible come in with a bad attitude. What a waste that is.

I'm going to close by saying that I am extremely pleased with my progress. One of the big reasons for the progress is because my personal trainer ROCKS!!!!!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Odds and Ends

Charging for bags
American Airlines has decided that it will charge $15 to check a bag for a flight. I can what this will due to the amount of carry-on luggage that people bring on the plane. I suppose next they'll charge for a blanket or pillow. Maybe the air sick bag too. I realize of course that the cost of fuel is through the roof. But to nickel and dime people to death at some point in time people are going to decide they aren't going to travel any more. Then what will the airlines due.

In addition to charging for luggage, American plans to cut about 10 percent of its capacity. Fewer seats means they can charge more money for them. They also are going to be cutting personnel which means their service will suffer too. Seems like a no win situation for the passenger.

Gas Prices
I know this comes as a shock but oil once again hit a record high. I have to say I find it amusing the way the media, mostly the television, is covering this story. There is all this qualifying. Oil prices may continue to rise, gasoline may be heading for $4. You think so. I think you can say with a great deal of certainty that sometime probably by the middle of June the average cost of a gallon of gas will be near or at $4. Doesn't take much of a genius to figure that one out. So I don't understand why the media doesn't come out and say it.

There was the usual call the oil executives before Congress today.
All the politicians were making their speeches about how bad this is and how this is hurting people. I agree with that but how about some real leadership on solving the problem. Think if we could harness all of the hot air coming from politicians how much that could help the situation.

The thing is we are not going to solve this problem by berating oil executives. (I know it's fun to seem them squirm and it makes for good sound bites but ... ) We are going to solve it by coming up with innovate ways to save energy. That means involving all of the public in this effort. It means framing it in its proper contest. Our addiction to oil is a direct threat to our national security. So lets all get off our collective butts and start solving the problem. I'm going to be looking into getting a blanket for my hot water heater for starters.

A very sad day in the Senate

Very sad news about Ted Kennedy.

A sad day for this country.

Kennedy is a fiery partisan for liberal causes.

Yet, at the same time, he can work with Republicans to pass much needed legislation. He is from the old political school. The one that says the country must sometimes come first over party.

Sadly there seems to be fewer and fewer of these types of politicians around these days. We are the worse off for it.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dishwasher Dilemma

I have a dishwasher dilemma.

The thing is the dishwasher does not work. In fact it has not worked for about half a year or more. The reason I haven't replaced it is because I really don't use it all that much.

Last June Ed and Jennifer came out for a visit. I ran the dishwasher three times while they were here. That just about equaled the number of times I'd run it for the entire year up to that point. I just don't use it. I find it much easier to just wash the dishes in the sink. It can take me up to a week to fill the dishwasher up.

But I'm starting to think it might be nice to have one. Every once in a while it would be great to just load the thing up and run it. It would be nice not to have to wash dishes every day. The problem is they are not all that cheap. Then there's the added cost of having it installed. I think it will probably cost about $500 to get one and have it installed. I'm not so sure I want to spend that much money on something I probably won't use more than once a month.

And that's my dishwasher dilemma.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Back to the Movies

Yes, I'm going back to the movies. I'm thinking this summer might turn out to be the same as last at least to where it comes to seeing movies. I saw like 5 or 6 in as many weeks.

This year I've seen two so far and there look like there's a good crop to see.

The first movie I saw was Iron Man. I saw it at the Uptown which is the largest movie screen in DC. The theater was built, I believe, in the 1930s. The screen is huge and the screen curves. It was a great place to see Iron Man. Actually it is a great place to see just about any movie. I thought the movie was great. A little different from the other comic book movies. The characters were actually developed. There were also some very humorous moments too. I did see the movie at night so I paid $10.

The second movie I saw was The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. I saw the 11:15 am show yesterday. There was in fact a 9:15 am show as well. The bargain matinee was $8.25. I think that's up a quarter from last year. I saw it in Silver Spring. I like this one too. In fact I thought it was better than the first Narnia movie.

So what's left to see? Well of course what will probably be the biggest movie of the summer opens on Thursday: Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skulls. I'm not sure I'll see it on the opening weekend because just about everyone will want to see it then. I believe it will be playing at the Uptown. If so, I definitely want to see it there.

I'm going to a couple of cookouts over the weekend so I might take the weekend off. Then again there's always Monday.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Morning Bike Ride

Here are some pictures from my morning bike ride. I went about 30 miles. I don't know the exact distance because my odometer isn't working. The clock works but nothing else. I'll have to get a new one soon.

This was a much nicer day than last Saturday. No rain. As you can tell just bright sunshine. I started riding around 6:45. About 45 minutes earlier then I'd planned. It meant that the bike path was pretty much deserted. It got a little busy on the way back. Lots of groups hitting the path. Several running groups and at least three bike groups.

I rode to a place called Bell Haven. It is a little south of Alexandria. I rode a little further than I did last week but not much. I wasn't sure how long my legs would last. I'd had a killer legs work out on Thursday. I didn't want to run out of gas and not have the strength in my legs to get back home.

It is supposed to rain tomorrow so probably no ride.

I need to work on riding into work a couple of days a week. I don't think I'll be doing that until after Memorial Day.

So far the rides have gone very well. No problems. The only thing I need to do is get the odometer. I'm hoping to do that in the next week or so.

Friday, May 16, 2008

The Air Blows Cold

They came and they fixed my air conditioner. Well actually they didn't find anything wrong with it. They seemed to think it was shutting off because the filter was too dirty.

They didn't arrive until about 4:30. The decided the best place to put the ladder up would be in the back. In the front of the house there are wires coming from the street. The ladder was aluminum so they thought it would be best to do it in the back. I'm very glad I suggested the 40 foot ladder otherwise they would not have been up on the roof at all. It took a little while for them to get up there but then up they went.

They told me turn on the air conditioner so they could check it. It ran the most of the time they were here. I'd say easily 30 or more minutes. It did not shut down once. I was told everything looked good. The freon was exactly where it was supposed to be and it was operating great.

They suggested changing the filter at least once a month.

So alls well that ends well as they say. I'm all ready for summer.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Tuesday Treat on Wednesday

In honor of spring and baseball season a couple of takes on that from Peanuts.

Still Waiting

I got a call from the air conditioning people. The dispatcher called about a half an hour ago saying that they were finishing up a job. They would be done in the next fifteen to twenty minutes. Then I was next.

I'm thinking I'm the last call for the day. I really do hope this is an easy thing to fix and won't take too long. I'm hoping for about two hours. It means the call won't eat into too much of my evening and it won't cost as much. It's $110 for the first hour and then $29 for each additional 15 minutes. So after the first hour it adds up pretty quick.

But I do have positive balance on the one credit card (left over from the big payment I made before going to London) and Petro owes me some money too (I called them yesterday and they are supposed to be sending it back to me). I foolish paid them a little extra money thinking they could fix the air conditioner. These are the people that don't have any tall ladders it seems.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for them to arrive soon and not take too long.

While I'm waiting I'm going through my pictures form London deciding which ones I want to get printed. Also doing a little work on them in photoshop.

Republicans go 0-3

The Republicans have lost the third special election in the House of Representatives. All three seats had been held by Republicans. They were in places that the Democrats should not have had a pray in winning. And yet they won all three. Here's the story about it in the Post. They won J. Dennis Hastert old seat, a seat in Louisiana and now the one in Mississippi. These are supposed to be strongholds for the Republicans. Bush won these areas easily.

Not a very good sign for the GOP in the fall. It means they will be playing defense. Defending areas that they shouldn't have too. It means less time, effort and money in those few seats that are considered toss ups. Also resources will probably not be spent in those seats that the Democrats won last time but tended to go Republican. Heather Schuler's seat in North Carolina comes to mind. The Republicans would have targeted him for sure but now they might spend their resources defending seats they already have.

The Democrats also have a lot more money then the Republicans. This of course may change as the general election gets closer. But it means, at least for now, the Democrats have a huge advantage over the Republicans.

And I'll add about time too.

Waiting for the Repairman

It's Wednesday again so that must mean another chance for the air conditioner to be repaired. This time my window is from 2-4.

I'm more hopefully with these people. They at least have a ladder which will reach the roof. I called them back after making the initial appointment and said I think it would be best to go with the 40 foot ladder. Better to be safe rather than sorry. It would also mean I would have to set up yet a third appointment.

The original appointment was for Monday but had to be rescheduled. The 40 foot ladder requires two guys because it is so heavy. As it turned out Monday it rained so the the appointment would have been canceled anyway.

I hope they get here at a reasonably time and it doesn't cost too much.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Thoughts on the Election so Far

Clinton has just won West Virgina big. This is based on exit polls; it seems no actual votes have been counted as of yet. But the result was never all that much in doubt.

Here are some thought I have on the campaign so far:

In general I’d say the media is very much against Clinton. If the media had had its way she would have dropped out before anyone voted in New Hampshire. I remember an opinion piece in the Post the morning of the New Hampshire primary. The subject was how Clinton could graciously withdraw from the race. Gee maybe we should let the voters decide that.

And at just about every stage of the primary process the talking heads stated how her campaign was over. Once again maybe we should let the voters of the country decide that.

Now does she stand a chance of winning at this stage of the game. No not really. But there are several contests to come and maybe just maybe the punditry of the country should let the primary process play itself out.

Here's another gem from the media. The democratic campaign is very nasty and divisive. What campaign is the media watching? This is tame by just about any measure possible. A divisive campaign is the South Carolina Republican primary in 2000 or Willie Horton or Swift Boat. Nothing has come close to those in this campaign. That is not to say that some people have not had their feathers ruffled. Or that there are not hard feelings between the camps and some of their followers. But there is plenty of time to heal over whatever wounds have been inflicted. After all the goal is to defeat John McCain.

The Rev. Wright stuff. Well I'm not even going to start on that.

In the next few weeks the time will come to close ranks behind Obama. Clinton will realize that. The goal will then turn to defeating John McCain. In the process the country will be making history on a very grand scale.

But then again the Democratic Party made history on on grand scale in the primary season. The two major contenders were a woman and an African-American. I have to say I did not think to see that in my life time.

I look forward to the general election.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

State of the Military?

Here are a couple of stories regarding the state of the military. They don't paint a particular bright picture of what is going on.

The first one is from a couple of weeks ago in USA Today. It involves the use of stop-loss by the military in this case the army. This means that a soldier can have his enlistment extended to increase army troop levels. From the article:

Soldiers affected by stop loss now serve, on average, an extra 6.6 months, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said. Key leaders at the small-unit level — sergeants through sergeants first class — make up 45% of those soldiers.

We're not talking a small amount of time here. Also the extension of duty often happens in a combat zone. It's not like they are shipped State side. "For the 3rd Infantry Division, which is responsible for a portion of Iraq south of Baghdad, about 1,500 of its 22,500 soldiers is serving under stop loss, according to Maj. Alayne Conway."

The reason for all this is of course the lack of proper planning by the Bush Administration on the way the war in Iraq would be played out.

The second story is also from USA Today. It's about the condition of army barracks that are soldiers are forced to live in. This all got started when a father of one of the solders video the conditions at Fort Bragg. This is where his son got to live after coming home from Afghanistan. You should follow the link in the story and watch the video. It will really make you angry.

Let's see peeling paint, missing ceiling tiles, water fountains that have been removed but the pipes to the fountain leak in sewer gas, a bathroom that backs up and we're talking about inches of yellow water on the floor (guess what that's from). The list goes on. There was a promise of new barracks for the soldiers at Fort Bragg but that never happened. Seems to me the least we can do for these brave men and women is give them a decent place to live before they go off and risks their lives again in Afghanistan or Iraq.

From the article:

The Pentagon says the proportion of recruits who remain in the service is 15% higher at bases with high-quality housing. That sentiment led Peter Singer, a military expert at the Brookings Institution, to wonder why it took one soldier's father to prompt the entire Army to action.

"It's sad that it took a YouTube video to cause the military to face what is a serious issue that affects morale and retention," Singer said. "That's not how the system is supposed to work."

But more and more that seems to be the way the system is working. Someone other then the military brings the issue out in the open. Then people are falling all over themselves to fix the problem. The mess at Walter Reed immediately comes to mind.

It is not entirely all the military's fault. The military is involved in two wars. For the average person Afghanistan and Iraq doesn't have any impact on them at all. Maybe, if there was a little more impact, people would be more concerned about how the soldiers in the military are being treated.

Frogs at National Geogarphic

I'd read this was a great exhibit to go to. It certainly did not disappoint. Just amazing. National Geographic has some really great exhibits.

Frogs at National Geogarphic, Part 2

The following pictures show the most poisonous animal on the face of the planet. Yes, it's a frog. I was certainly surprised. They have incredible bright colors to draw attention to themselves so they will not be eaten. Other frogs that have no poison have also adapted this coloring to fool predators.

Frogs at National Geogarphic, Part 3

I never realized how colorful frogs could be. The blue one almost looks like it is fake.

Frogs at National Geogarphic, Part 4

This was a really great exhibit at National Geographic. Today was the last day and I'm very glad that I got to see it.

The Rose Bushes Flourish

I guess there was a great deal of rain while I was away. I know there's been a couple of huge down pours since I've been back.

The front rose bushes are just going crazy. The yellow one is more like a rose tree then an bush. I need to cut it back rather substantially. From the rain and all the flowers it has been pretty well flattened to the ground. Once this group of flowers is gone I plan to do some major surgery.

The Little Flower that Could

This is the little flower that could.

This petunia is left over from last year. See my post about them going strong from last November. I was weeding out the area a couple of days ago. Actually it was on the day the air conditioning people decided not to show up. I noticed a flower. It took me a moment to realize just where it had come from. I pulled out the weeds around it and gave it some water.

I'd decided this year not to plant anything in back. But it looks like I will have flowers after all. It will be interesting to see how well it does. I might just plant one more so it has some company.