Desierto norte de Chile

Saturday, July 29, 2006

An article worth reading ...

No matter where you stand in the theopolitical spectrum, I think this article from the NY Times is worth reading. Give it a glance, and let me know what you think. (I imagine you already know what I think about it).

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Here we go ... again.

First, a side note: Tropical Storm Beryl has formed off the North Carolina coast. Weak and moving northward, Beryl poses pretty much no threat to anyone. To emphasise this minimality, NHC has issued a tropical storm watch. I always chuckle at the trop storm watch, as its such a benign thing: lookout, in the next 36-48 hours, some weak winds might (we're not sure) come your way. That's essentially the gist. But, nonetheless, marine & fishing interests would do well to take care for the impending wind, wave, and rain.

Now, on to the meat of this post. In reading commentary of the "evacuation" of Americans from Lebanon this week, I'm shocked and saddened to hear - yet again - whines & complaints of tardiness and bad mothering on the part of the US government. In both the NY Times & Associated press articles, Americans are quoted as being angry with the speed at which their demands are being met. From the NY Times:
"American ... officials faced fierce complaints that they have moved too slowly to help their nationals leave."
From the AP:
"A cruise ship sailed into Beirut late Tuesday, delayed by an Israeli naval blockade amid fierce criticism that the U.S. effort to evacuate 25,000 Americans fleeing Mideast fighting had lagged behind Europe's."
Again in the NY Times:
"And many Americans said they were distressed to learn they would have to pay their own evacuation costs."

I don't really know what to say. I mean, you travel to Lebanon, a war breaks out, and your complaining that the embassy is moving too slowly to get you to safety? (Maybe there's something to be said for the comparison to European nations, although my quick tally from the Times article is 340 Americans evac'ed so far, 1000 French, a few hundred British, and a few hundred 'other'. USA isn't exactly lagging too far behind.) Even without the comparison, WHAT DO YOU EXPECT??! Again, a) you have left the US shore. Consider thyself at the mercy of your host country! b) it's LEBANON! war on-and-off for the last 5,000 years. c) as I recall saying after the Wilma fiasco in Cancun, the US gov't is not your momma. It doesn't swoop in to cover your wounds and make everything better if you get in a tight spot. I would hope that most of the 5,000 reported Americans who wish to leave Lebanon are very grateful of the assistance of the embassy. Probably the Times & AP reporters are embellishing for sake of the story, as I really do find it hard to believe there's a sense of widespread anger like was reported. (For those who haven't kept up, the airport runways have been bombed [so no planes], and most of the major roads have also been bombed [and the others arent altogether safe for travel] ... basically you're in for the long haul).

My advice to these folks is this: enjoy your time in Lebanon, eventually you'll get out, but prepare for it to cost a bit more than otherwise. And finally, realize that while you can leave, the Lebanese citizens are staying and must deal with the continuing threats.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Austin was great!

This past weekend I got to visit Xinan and Jin in Austin. It was my first venture south to the capital of the Lone Star State, and I admit the city lived up to its billing. From the nightlife along 5th and 6th streets, to the group of weekend joggers along the Colorado River, Austin is a pretty cool city! Xinan and I joined some friends of his at Vicci on 5th street Friday night for a little techno / latin dancing (which was pretty sweet), and on Saturday after our a.m. jog, we drove south to San Antonio and visited the Alamo & Guadeloupe river. Saturday night Jin prepared an excellent "hot pot" dinner for us and 3 of her Chinese friends from business school, and then we played hold'em poker into the night. Sunday we enjoyed dim sum (Chinese food brunch), then watched Italia take l'Republic 5-3 in PKs in the FIFA World Cup finals. Here are four photos: of Xinan and me in front of the Alamo, me in Texas, Xinan and Jin in front of the UT business school, and me at Daryl Royal Memorial Stadium reminding American football fans everywhere to "saw 'em off".

Friday, July 07, 2006

"Darfur is Dying"

Found this crazy flash-player video game called "Darfur is Dying". It's like Oregon trail, only happening now. My people kept getting kidnapped & raped as they tried to get to the water pump. Then I retreated to the refugee camp but my girl got diarrhea. Check out the game: It's interesting for sure.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

... Colorado!

We are back from Colorado!! Gerson, Nilza, Docri, and Olga (from Angola, at OU studying English) and me -- the five of us drove NW to Chaffee County, camping in the Arkansas River basin and hiking the Collegiate Peaks. We had a FABULOUS time! Here are a few photos. Stay tuned; more info to come . . .

** Captions are above the photo **

Gerson (on the sign), Docri, Olga, Brad, and Nilza -- in Colorado!!

The Collegiate Peaks!

Me at the treeline of Mt. Yale (~ 12,000 feet). (Yale is in front of me. I dont know what mountains are behind me. And yes, that is snow in July).

Me, Olga, and Gerson at "Olga's Summit". She didnt go all the way to Yale's summit, but did make 13,000 feet!

Gerson and I, top of Mt. Yale. 14196'. Amazing!

The three amigos, back at the trailhead (do not be deceived, we are exhausted.)

The summit's just up there. Trust us.

Early a.m. breaking camp, 03 July. We tented at the Arrowhead Campground, Buena Vista, Colorado.

My 2nd "fourteener", Gerson's first.

Whitewater rafting on the Arkansas River. Excellent adventures had by all!

Heck yea, on the Arkansas River!

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