I didn't save enough daylight -- 10/29/01
b I guess I must not have saved enough daylight while I had the chance this summer because it sure looks dark outside to me now.

I watched Band of Brothers last night (episode nine out of ten, I think I've missed one installment) and it made me think about those people who are complaining that the war against terrorism is taking too long -- imagine, more than three whole weeks of bombing and we haven't won yet! -- these must be people for whom Minute Rice takes too long to cook -- Look how many months and months and months we bombed and bombed before the D-Day invasion of Normandy -- and then followed months of brutal fighting across Europe.

Last night's episode showed the 109th Airborne finding a Nazi concentration camp... and the German civilians in the nearby town who claimed to have no knowledge whatsoever about what happened there. And I thought about the Taliban and the terrorists and the people in various Islamic countries who abhor terrorism and know nothing about bombings and hijackings and other terrorist activities, no, they know nothing at all... except they do manage to support bin Laden and his cohorts and they did cheer when the towers fell and they do so enjoy expressing their hatred of the West.

We are told we must stop bombing during Ramadan so as not to offend public opinion in the Arab nations that are friendly toward us. Oh? And just which Arabic nation is that? Saudi Arabia? They like our money and they like us protecting them from Iraq, but they have been supporting fundamentalist movements (including bin Laden's) for years. Bin Laden lost his Saudi citizenship because of things he said against the Saudi ruling family, not for any terrorist activity. I can see no moral distinction between the terrorists and the Nazi regime and I cannot imagine anyone being taken seriously in 1943 or 1944 if he advocated a halt in bombing German positions during Christmas or Easter in order not to offend fascists in Italy.

We must not bomb Afganistan during Ramadan... No, mustn't hurt the feelings of those thousands upon thousands of Muslims who cheered and celebrated the 9.11 attacks... And, by the way, where was the Islamic condemnation of the Pakistani fundamentalists shooting down in cold blood seventeen worshippers (and wounding many more) at a multi-denominational Christian service on Sunday? Okay, now tell me again about the tender feelings that might be hurt if we don't take a month off to allow the Taliban to import more weapons and improve their positions and also to allow bin Laden the freedom to launch more terrorist attacks. Yeah, sure, we need to be very careful about Islamic public opinion... lets return the compasion and good will shown by those thousands of Palestinians who danced in the streets with joy to celebrate the fall of the towers. (They weren't the only ones, there was rejoicing from Pakistan to Indonesia.)

The other day there was a news item about the head of the American Red Cross (Dr. Bernadine Healy) being forced to resign her position because of severe disagreement with many members of the board of directors. Some of this was about how to handle the funds raised for 9.11 disaster relief, but one of the points of contention was about membership in the International Red Cross. Apparently for the past two years the American Red Cross would not participate, nor pay $5 million a year in dues because the International Red Cross (to avoid upsetting their Red Crescent affiliates in Arab nations) kept refusing to allow the equivalent relief organization in Israel (Magen David Adom Society) to join. I had never know that; like a fool, I suppose, I had thought that the International Red Cross welcomed all nations and helped all people. I am angry to discover that they banned the Israeli organization just to please a group of Arab bigots and I am angry that apparently the American Red Cross for many years supported this outrage. I do know that, if the board of directors has their way and they activate American Red Cross membership in the International Red Cross, I could never again make a donation if I thought that even a penny of my contribution was making up part of the five million dollars they want to pay in support of such bigotry. (Thank you, Dr. Healy, for fighting this for the past two years.)

Yeah, guess I must not have saved enough daylight, darkness is descending...

I received a notice from the United States Postal Service today... it was very informative and helpful... did you find one in your mailbox today? It told me what should make me suspicious of a piece of mail... like if it's unexpected or from someone I don't know -- that would describe the bulk of my mail, letters from various banks telling me I'm pre-approved for a new credit card to which I am welcome to transfer all of my other credit card balances (duh, do I really look as if I'm dumb enough to go around charging thousands of dollars at credit card interest rates? Do I look irresponsible enough to go into debt to take a vacation? Sorry, banks, but [except for houses and cars] if I don't have enough money to buy it, I certainly couldn't afford to borrow to buy it!) or wanting me to borrow against my home equity to pay off credit cards (thereby spreading the payment out for years and years beyond the point where whatever I bought would be long gone and forgotten, except for the monthly payments)... so that takes care of much of my mail... Another reason to be suspicious is if the mail is handwitten (but I always thought a handwritten letter might be from a friend or a relative, one of those rare pieces of mail that isn't junkmail)... or if I can't confirm that the return address is legitimate (so we're supposed to attempt to validate return addresses before we take a letter out of the mailbox?)... or if it is marked "Personal" or "Confidential" (well, I guess that rules out opening those sweepstakes offers from Publishers Clearing House!).... Or if it has excessive postage (oops, sometimes when I want to mail a letter and all I can find in the desk drawer are 32 cent stamps and I don't have any one or two cent stamps -- how much is first class delivery this week? -- rather than wait days until I get a chance to stop at a post office or make a special trip three and a half miles each way to buy some new stamps, I'll just slap on two of those 32 cent stamps, so don't open any mail from me)... oh, and here's a clue I never would have thought of, if it is lopsided or lumpy in appearance. Okay. So what should I do with a suspicious piece of mail? Well, they've got a very important suggestion: "Don't shake it, bump it, or sniff it."

Be sure to remember that suggestion -- if you receive an unexpectedly lumpy and lopsided piece of mail, hand-written, with a return address you don't recognize, bearing excessive postage, sealed with excessive amounts of tape and marked "Personal" -- especially if it is addressed to someone no longer at your address (yeah, I forgot to mention, you're suppose to be suspicious of those letters as well) -- whatever you do, do not sniff that letter!

Thank you, U.S. Postal Service for finding a little humor in this situation. (I mean, they were writing that tongue-in-cheek, were they not?)

But last week we got a postcard sized piece of mail from the Coty company (I think they are some kind of perfume company, don't know for sure 'cause the junk mail is all in the recycle bin now) and it said that it was a sample of three different new scents and invited us to peel back the strip of paper and touch a finger to each of the three and sniff to experience these wonderful new scents. Hmmmmm. Do you think that someone from their marketing/advertising department may now be making a sudden career move?

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