Saturday, October 31, 2009


Today is Halloween and this year is a lot different from last year. Last year was the first time I ever answered the door for trick-or-treaters. While we didn't get more than 5 the whole night it was still alright. This year we knew we wouldn't get any because we live in the middle of no where (a small, dirt, mountain road.) The weather this year has been good for a scary holiday like Halloween. It was dark/gray, windy (around 40 mph) and rainy - just like all good horror movies. Despite the weather, I am doing what I like to do on Halloween - watch movies and eat candy corn.
Halloween has become popular around the world over the years. Ireland, Scotland, Canada and the United States have celebrated Halloween for at least 100 years. Halloween became popular in Mexico in the 1960s and in England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Austria, Denmark and Belgium in the 1990s - due to the spread of the holiday on American movies and TV shows. I guess not everything from the US is "bad."
I have a friend in Germany who wrote me that she gets lots of trick-or-treaters every year and this year was no exception. I can't blame children around the world for wanting to celebrate Halloween and get free candy.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Survivor Samoa

I saw the show last night, but didn't get a chance to write til now. This week was good. They made Shambo the leader of their tribe so the men can kick out all the other women. Shambo is clueless and just thinks the men believe she will be a good leader because she was in the Marines. It does seem that all the women left in this game - on both teams - are just plain dumb. They follow whatever the men tell them to do - even Shambo after she was made the new leader.
There is nothing new in that the one tribe sent another person home. I really wish Jason and Russell would be kicked out. I am not excited about this season and mainly watch it because there is nothing else on Thursdays at 8 pm.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Matthew Shepard Act

From Wikipedia:
"Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act"

Congress passed this act on Oct 22, 2009 and President Obama signed it on Oct. 28, 2009. It also expands a 1969 Federal Hate Crime Act. Whether you think gay marriage should be legal or not (which is a major topic around the country right now) I don't think any sane person will object to protecting gay, lesbian and transgender people from hate crimes and those that do object are probably the ones who would commit the hate crime anyways. I don't understand why it took 40 years for this extended bill to be made. At least now it is legally included and hopefully the police and others will work to protect every person whether they are gay, straight, man, woman, black, white or anything in between.
There are still many countries in the world where homosexuality is illegal and can result in prison (Jamaica) or even death (Iran.)The world should work together to make being homosexual legal everywhere. You may not agree with what homosexuality stands for, but every human deserves certain basic rights and being gay or lesbian should be a right and not a privilege (or even illegal.)
Homosexuals should be allowed to marry, adopt, serve in the military and live under the same laws as heterosexuals do. I am not personally gay, and see no concrete reason why homosexuals shouldn't be equal under the law as everyone else.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


AmeriGas (our Propane Company) called when the guy was going to come to the house and I specifically told him that we wanted him to test the generator to make sure it worked and will turn on the things in the house we want when the power goes out. He asked me if I had an electrician or if it would be just him and me and I told him it was just me. An hour later he came to the house and looked over everything and said he didn't do generators - he said several times that we would have to get an electrician to come and do it. He was looking over the directions when I asked him why he had told me on the phone that he could do the test if he couldn't. He said he couldn't guarantee the work and that we needed an electrician. I then asked him once more if he could do the test - when he said "no" I said to him "Then please get out of my house."
I immediately called AmeriGas and the woman who answered said that the guy has worked for them for many years. I told her that he had told mom and me that he couldn't do the generator test and so was no good for us. She then gave me the manager and he was saying that if the guy at my house didn't know how to do something that it couldn't be done. I listened for a while and after telling him I wasn't paying for the service call since he had done nothing I hung up.
The contractor, called right after and I told him what happened and then said that we were very sick and tired of paying people who didn't know how to do the generator and hung up. I have decided I will never deal with him ever again.He has done nothing but make things up and then "forget" things when it is convenient. I talked to my mom and she also said she didn't want to use him again. He keeps calling and leaving stupid messages, that I don't answer. Needless to say, the contractor has lost a lot of money - we were going to use him to build a generator next summer - but we will find someone else next summer.
I called Home Depot - where we got the generator - and after waiting 15 minutes for the Hardware Department to pick up I called them again and asked for the manager. The manager gave the phone to a guy and I asked him for the number of the people they use to have their generators installed. I got the number and called the company. I told him everything and that we wanted him to both check over all the electrical work and test the generator. He could have come this Friday but we are busy all day. Then we will be in Virginia. So the guy will come Nov. 6th at 11 am. He said he will check everything over and we will have to sign a paper saying he isn't responsible for the old work - then he will fix whatever needs to be fixed and will do the test.
I can't wait til all this is over. I just want to stay home and not deal with anyone - especially contractors.

DC Sniper To Get What He Deserves

From Yahoo News:
"DC sniper Muhammad set to die by lethal injection"

This is only justice being done. I can not understand anyone who is against the death penalty (especially for crimes like: rape and murder.) What should we do with people who murder dozens of people? Put them in a nice prison and then let them out a few years later as though nothing happened (like the Germans did with most of the convicted Nazis after World War 2.) Doing that makes you just as guilty as those that killed.
The DC snipers not only killed many people in several states and DC, but caused panic for months. My parents were living in the are at the time and I can't even imagine what it must have been like for them. I know that had I put in the area at the time I would have been worried to get gas, go to the store or simply sit in my house.
I can only hope that the Governor of Virginia does not pardon him and that he gets the punishment he deserves. He killed many people before their time. His victims need to be remembered while we forget him completely.

Swine Flu Vaccines

I have heard a lot about nurses and doctors complaining about being "forced" to get the new Swine Flu Vaccine. First I need to state that no one is being forced to get the vaccine. Every person has free-will and decides whether or not they will do something. It is not as though we are tying people up and injecting the vaccine in them.
Many places are telling their employees that they either get the vaccine or they can't work. That is not forcing someone to get the vaccine - that is telling people what will happen if they decide not to get the vaccine. It is then up to that individual person to decide what they will do.
I personally believe that any person that works in the health care industry or the educational field should be told to either get the swine flu vaccine or leave. I understand that this vaccine is very new and many feel that it was "pushed" through trials too quickly, but many countries in the world are doing the same thing and so far it seems to be working (knock on wood.)
It has been found that pregnant women and young children get swine flu more than other people and teachers, nurses and doctors are the primary ones that come into contact with these "high-risk" group. If even one employee working with those at risk doesn't get the swine flu vaccine then they can expose countless others whether they know it or not. That is why only those employees that get the vaccine should be allowed contact with others.
If you don't like it or simply feel that the swine flu vaccine will do more harm than good - that is your right to believe, but either get the vaccine or understand that by not getting it it is all on YOU if you are told you can no longer work in that field. YOU have free-will and knew what would happen and so YOU are the only one that can be held accountable.

Pilots Grounded

From Yahoo News:
"FAA revokes licenses of wayward Northwest pilots"

I think this is a very good punishment. It shows all pilots and flight crew that if they do not pay attention to their jobs and put the lives of passengers in danger then they will not simply be "slapped on the wrist." The pilots were only paid to fly the plane and make sure the passengers are safe and these men did none of that. How come passengers can't use their laptops during the flight, but the crew is? I hope other pilots and flight crew get very scared from this punishment and think twice before they do something similar and put people's lives in danger.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Amazing Race

This week's show was pretty good even though they were still in Dubai. I thought it was funny that the Globe Trotter couldn't figure out how to read the watch - he was the only one who couldn't. The gold challenge was pretty dumb - I wouldn't have been able to do it with or without a calculator. I liked how most of the women did nothing but complain while the guys put the smoking things together.
I would have been furious if I was Mika's partner, Canaan, and she wouldn't go down the water slide. I saw Canaan try and push her down, but I think I would have given her a little kick in the back. It would have been better to listen to her complain about the kick at the bottom of the slide than fight with her to go down in the first place. She gave up in such an easy challenge - she could have just shut her eyes and gone down. It's not like she had to jump off a building or anything like that. Mika and Canaan are "newly dating" but I'm sure since Mika was acting like a little baby and gave up they are no longer going out. They were kicked out and I hope Canaan was smart enough to leave Mika in the Middle East where they treat woman not as 2nd class citizens, but as third class citizens (the first class are the Arabic men, the 2nd class are the Indian and Pakistani male workers and the third class citizens are all the women.) I have been to several countries in the Middle East - including the so-called "modern" ones and have seen first-hand how they treat women and there is no doubt that they are 3rd class citizens.
Next week it seems they get out of the Middle East and go to a new region. Hope the brothers or the father/son team pick up speed.

Transformers 2 (2009)

I saw this movie for the first time. I had wanted to go see it when it was in the theaters, but wasn't able to so I pre-ordered it and have now seen it. I have to say that I think it is just as good as the first movie and that it can even stand on it's own. I liked Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox and think they both acted well and "played" off of each other.
I remember watching the cartoons when I was little and really loved them. We lived in Europe and had to wait til my grandparents taped a bunch of different cartoons and then mailed them to us. I still have some of the videos with the old cartoons from the 1980s on them - with the commercials.
I have a feeling that there will be a third "Transformers" movie and hope that it is as good, if not better, than the first two.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


I heard a guy on a TV show today say that he speaks Bulgarian as a first language but that he can understand Macedonian because they are "mutually-intelligible languages." That made me want to look up other mutually-intelligible languages and here's what I found:

^Of course these are vice versa ^

- Dutch to Afrikaans, Flemish, Frisian, Low Saxon
- Malaysian to Indonesian
- Bulgarian to Macedonian
- Cornish to Breton, Welsh
- Croatian to Serbian
- Danish to Swedish, Norwegian
- English to Lowland Scots
- Finnish to Estonian
- French to Walloon, Romansh, Occitan
- Portuguese to Galician, Spanish, Catalan
- Russian to Belarusian, Ukrainian
- Romanian to Moldovan
- Samoan to Tongan
- Gaelic to Irish
- Slovak to Polish, Czech
- Thai to Laotian
- Turkish to Azeri
- Zulu to Xhosa
- Ukrainian to Polish

I think it is very interesting that a person who speaks one language can understand another language without really studying it. Too bad that there aren't more mutually-intelligible languages with English.

Survivor Samoa

I thought this week was pretty good. While I know it is not politically correct to say this I thought it was good Russell was sent home. He was very bossy and didn't do that much for his tribe - regardless what they say. I only wish the other Russel would go home too. That guy is such a hillbilly looser and thinks he is so smart when in fact he is the smartest of the dumb on his tribe. I still have no favorite person I want to win.

Quebec Told Not To Discriminate

From Yahoo News Canada:
"Top court strikes down Quebec language law for schools; province vows to replace it"

I think it is about time that the Canadian Supreme Court took a firm stand against Quebec. It seems no other Canadian Federal Government Agency wants to "rock the boat" and do what is right. Quebec has been allowed to refuse English-language schools in their Province to many people even though English and French are the official languages of Canada.
I think English-speakers in Quebec Province should be allowed to receive their education in English (as long as they also study French.) I also think that French-speakers in all the other Provinces should be allowed to receive their education in French (as long as they also study English.) It should not matter what language you speak - English or French - or what Province you live in - Quebec or the rest of Canada - as long as you go to a government-funded school you should be allowed to study in your native language as well as the other official language as a foreign language.
Canada is constantly "walking on egg shells" whenever anything mentions Quebec because the Federal Government is afraid of having Quebec become independent and split the country in half. Quebec needs to realize that they would be worse off without the rest of Canada. The only hub for the Province is Montreal and while it is a very large city it couldn't substain the whole Province as a separate country.
I have family from Quebec and firmly believe that both French and English should be used throughout Canada - if they are going to have two official languages than this is the result - from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific. Neither the English-speakers, the French-speakers nor anyone else should be allowed to discriminate against the other.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Not Saying "Thank You"

People who do not say "thank you" when someone gives them a present (whether it is for Christmas, a birthday or just because) not only are rude, but also very stupid. It takes only a few minutes to send an e-card, e-mail, telephone call, regular mail or on Facebook or MySpace and acknowledge that you got the present and that you appreciate the thought behind it. It doesn't matter if you like the present or not.
I sent a birthday present (by mail) three week ago and haven't heard anything - not even that the person got the package. I guess I can just cross him off my shopping list from now on. If he can't take the time to say "thank you" - when I took the time to research, buy and mail the present to him in the first place - than he's not worth the trouble next time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Christmas Shopping

I have finished all of my Christmas shopping. I know it is a little early, but I sent out e-mails to people (although there are some people I didn't ask and already had ideas for) and asked them to get back to me as soon as possible - some did and some didn't. I took the lists I was given and went from there. For the ones who didn't give me a list I made my best judgement.
I like to do my shopping (for Christmas and birthdays) as early as I can since I do all my shopping online and have to research the Internet for the best gift, then wait for it to get to me, then wrap it and re-mail or give it out.) This year I was supposed to be away for the majority of November and so wanted to make sure the presents got to me in October so there wouldn't be any issue.
I have tried to buy Christmas wrapping paper and cards (I love getting and receiving cards and take it seriously), but it seems this year all the stores only have Halloween items - when usually they have Christmas stuff out right after the "Back to School" sales. Most of my presents have to be mailed to friends and family in the US, Europe and Iraq and so I want to make sure I have everything mailed on time so the boxes get to their destination on-time and for a low postal rate.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Amazing Race

This week's show was pretty good. They flew to Dubai and had to deal with weather extremes. First they had to go through the desert looking for water and then go to the snow. I have been to Dubai (at the airport for 7 hours overnight) and didn't care at all for the airport or it's famed Duty Free Shops. The locals there also weren't that friendly. Of course I was in the airport and am not judging the whole country. I am just saying I have no desire to ever use Dubai Airport ever again.
Luckily, no one lost their passport this week on the show. I am glad that Lance and Keri were kicked-off since they were just very loud, annoying people. I still would like to see either the brothers or the father/son team win.

One Laptop Per Child

This is a program that hopes to give one laptop to every child in the world (as the name implies.) It seems that Uruguay is the first country in the world to achieve this goal and give one laptop to everyone of their primary school students. This is such a good program and I don't understand why many other countries aren't following Uruguay's example.
For many countries (ie the US, Canada, UK, Australia, Japan, Germany, etc) it would be so easy to make sure that everyone of their citizens under 18 has a laptop and yet they don't. Computers are no longer an expensive machine that only the few rich can afford. The very basic ones are pretty cheap and yet knowledge of computers is mandatory in today's society - both personal and professional.
Hopefully, other countries will see how successful it is in Uruguay and implement the same in their own countries. The more wealthy countries should go a step further and help the poorer countries. The Internet helps to make the world smaller and by making sure every child has a laptop will show them different cultures and help bridge the gaps in the differences and allow them to see the similarities.

Balloon Bust

From Yahoo News:
"Colorado sheriff: Runaway balloon saga was hoax"

I think this is very disgusting. Everyone watching felt horrible that a little boy was trapped in a balloon and didn't know if he would be ok. Then when he was found in his attic we all felt relieved. Now we learn that his family planned all of this so they could get more of their 15 minutes of fame (the first being on "Wife Swap.") I really hope that all the children are removed from these so-called parents and that the parents receive the maximum sentence of 6 years in jail and $500,000. These are the kind of people who deserve having the book thrown at them.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Buy American

I'm not talking about the purposed American Government policy of "Buy American." I am talking about the idea of ordinary Americans buying American-made products. In the past, American-made meant that it was cheap and would fall apart the minute you got it home and today it stands for something more solid.
I'm not only talking about buying things made in the US solely for patriotic reasons, but because when you buy American you help many aspects of the economy - the factories, retailers, etc. The products we get in stores today usually have "Made in China" stamped on them and while they may be cheap in price they also tend to be cheap in material.
Along with buying American-made products I am also for taking away tax breaks and low import taxes on US companies that out-source to other countries. If something is going to have the "Made in the USA" stamp on it I believe that it should be completely made in the USA - not just assembled here.
Many countries in the world have their own versions of "Buy American" so the US is not alone in trying to keep their economies growing from within. The European Union is a unique case in that it has either a "Made in the EU" stamp as well as having "Made in Germany" or "Made in the Netherlands" stamp on their products.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Fighting Snow In The Sky?

From the Moscow Times:
"Luzhkov Takes Snow Fight to the Sky"

This just seems like something from a Science Fiction book. I don't know how effective it will be to shoot things into the clouds to stop the snow from falling down. If it works it would greatly help Moscow, but if it doesn't work than it will make Luzhkov and Moscow the laughing-stock of the world.

Auschwitz On Facebook?

From the BBC:
"Auschwitz launches Facebook Site"

I'm not sure how I feel about Auschwitz being on Facebook. I mean Facebook is supposed to be a social-networking site to bring people together. While I do believe that people (especially children) need to be taught about the importance of the Auschwitz Death Camp - where 1 million people including men, women and children were murdered - I don't think Facebook or MySpace or any site like these is the correct place to educate people about the horrors of Auschwitz or the Holocaust.

DOT Vs The Airlines

From The Wall Street Journal:
"Cracking Down on How Airlines Treat Travelers"

I am so glad to hear that the Department of Transportation is starting to investigate airlines and their policies. For too long the Federal Government has looked the other way while airlines openly treated passengers as cattle and anyone who stood up for their rights was labeled a terrorist and silenced. Whether it is how an airline checks people in, treats them in-flight, treats them when they are stuck on the runway, deals with their animals or deals with missing bags there needs to be more governmental insight and control. People will only take being treated badly for so long before they start refusing to fly and then the airlines will complain and ask for a governmental bailout. If airlines willingly started treated everyone and their property as people (and things) than more people will fly and everyone from the airlines, airports to the passengers will be happy. It is only too bad that the airlines only consider to change when they are threatened by the government.

Once A Cheater - Always A Cheater!

I will never understand why people in relationships cheat. If you fall out of love with someone than there is a simple answer: break-up or divorce your boy/girlfriend, fiance/fiancee, husband/wife and then you you will be legally and morally free to have a relationship with someone else.
Cheaters are a disgusting group of people who deserve to never fully enjoy their life. Some cheaters grew up watching their dysfunctional families cheat and/or divorce (sometimes once and sometimes several times), others do it because they are only children who have never been told "no" and others do it because they lived in a "tight-box" and then the "box" was open and they went wild. Regardless, of the reason a cheater is nothing more than a person who lies and thus should never be trusted.
Society today accepts people who cheat and that is just plain wrong. Whether they are President, Governors, talk show hosts, businessmen or just "regular" people if society treats them like the scum they are than maybe people will think twice before cheating.
The only people you should feel sorry for are the ones that were cheated on (including kids.) Everything should be done to help these - the victims - regain their lives and move on. Nothing should be done to make it easier on the cheaters.

All Isn't Well With Wells

I had an appointment scheduled today for 8-8:30 am to have a local well company come to my house and chlorinate the water in my well. We just had a new water filter installed and was told by that company to get the well water chlorinated so that the filter could keep the "fresh" water clean. So I looked online and found a well company. I even talked with the guy for a while about what they would do, etc.
I waited until 9:30 am (an hour after they were supposed to) and asked the woman why no one had come to my house. The woman put me on hold and then came back and said that she would have someone call me back. I told her that I expected something done right away since I had already waited an hour. The woman put me back on hold and when she came back on she said that there was a water emergency and that took priority. I asked her why no one had called me and let me know and she tried to give me excuses, but couldn't think of one. I asked her if someone would still be coming to my house today and she said she didn't know. I told her that her company obviously didn't care about their customers and that I was cancelling the appointment and hung up.
I then looked up some other companies and called them. The next company I called a guy answered with "Hello." I asked if he was from the well company and he said he was. I told him what I wanted and he said that I could save money by just doing it myself. I hung right up on him. If he didn't want money then I wasn't going to argue with him.
Finally, I got a hold of another well company. The guy said he could come today and that he charged $95 an hour. It turned out that he was the same guy we had come to fix some things back in March when we first moved into our house. He did come and did everything in 1 hour. Then I got the bill. The guy forgot to mention that he charges from the minute he leaves his company to the time he gets back. So I not only paid for the 1 hour he was at my house but also the 1 hour it took him to get to my house and the hour to get back from my house. I will start looking for another well company just so I am prepared for the next time. I don't think I should have to pay for travel time. If it is too far for them then they just shouldn't do the job.
I do not understand why people continue to treat customers or would-be customers so poorly. It is the 21st Century and no paying customer should ever settle for sub-par service (or no service at all.) I do not know why these things tend to happen to me, but people need to know that I am not one to back-down or "settle" - especially if I am paying for something.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Survivor Samoa

This week's show was the same - as usual. The best part was all the rain. It seems the same old, same old continues to happen. The show is very predictable and getting pretty boring. It has been several weeks since the start of the new season and I do not have any person that I want to win. It doesn't matter to me who gets voted off. You would think that after so many seasons the show would try to make things more interesting to keep people watching, but it is the same basic islands, the same basic people and the same basic challenges. Hopefully, things will start picking up this season, but I doubt they will.

Snow Plowing

I am in shock! We just had two brothers (real mountain folks) who plow homes in my town come to our house and give us a price for them to do our driveway. They were supposed to come in the morning and didn't show up til around 3:30 pm - so I was mad and decided that they weren't reliable and would just have to use my new snow blower and do the work myself - something I am not looking forward to doing.
Then they came and said they were sorry for being late and we discussed what they would do and they said they would charge $25 per storm!!!!!!!! That is why I am in shock. We have a long driveway and even had a car turn-around added that makes it wider. I was expecting to pay around $100, since the thief we hired last February to clear the snow when we had closed on the house, but hadn't moved up yet, charged us $75 per storm and he even came twice for the same storm and double charged us.
They told us they would push the snow up our driveway, past our house and into the woods. They would only come plow if there is 3-4 inches or more of snow - which makes sense. Of course we agreed to have them plow our driveway. I still can not believe how much less we will pay ($50 less) than the first guy. I guess the first guy saw that we were in a hurry and were push-overs and now he not only lost the money from clearing the snow in our driveway this winter, but also many other jobs (since he is also a carpenter.) I don't know why people think they can get one over on me. I will fight tooth and nail for something on principal alone.

Internet - A Legal Right?

I just heard on the news that Finland has declared that Internet Broadband access is a legal right for all of it's citizens. I am not really sure if I agree with this. I guess if you are a small country like Finland and your citizens enjoy a high standard of living then adding Internet access to those rights is nothing. It just seems wrong to add Internet to basic rights when so much of the world do not/can not even afford food, shelter, clothing, etc. Maybe Finland should give a little more money to help these poor people around the world instead of focusing on making luxury items (such as Internet access) a basic right.

Parlez-Vous..... Another Language?

From Yahoo News:
"France Calls for Plan to Improve Language Teaching"

It seems odd that the French start learning another language at such an early age and yet many admit they can not communicate in that language. I have been to France many times and before I studied French I tried to say some basic phrases only to be made fun of or ignored. I even went over to French once with my high school French class (after only learning the language for 4 months) and found the English teacher at the French school could barely speak the language - how is she supposed to teach her students if she doesn't even know it that well? Hopefully, the French can create a good education plan that will actually work and the French will move away from the stereotype of refusing to speak English and instead will see that English is the only "World Language" and that if you want to communicate with others around the world you need to know and use English.
Just across the border in Luxembourg, children speak Luxembourgish as a native language and are taught certain subjects in French and others in German and then on top of that learn English as a foreign language. That's a total of 4 languages they learn. I know Americans and other native English-speakers aren't that good in learning a foreign language. I think that countries in the world need to do more to address learning English (in areas where English isn't a native language) and on the same note the English-speaking countries need to do more to encourage it's citizens to learn another language.

Another Missing American

From Yahoo News:
"Curacao seeks help in case of missing US diplomat"

I do not understand what is going on in the Dutch Islands of Aruba and Curacao. First Natalee Halloway goes missing in Aruba several years ago and has never been found and now an American diplomat in Curacao. I have been to Aruba and know what a very small island it is. While I haven't been to Curacao I have seen maps of it and it is a lot smaller than Aruba. How can people go missing on such small islands? The only real answer is that they are no longer on the islands (dead or alive) and are probably in the ocean. It seems that the Dutch-controlled islands are not the safest place for American citizens. These are not places that usually have high crime rates so any crime is a big deal and it just happens that Americans are involved in both incidents means there is something more going on. Americans beware!
I didn't care for Aruba. The people were arrogant (not the down-to-Earth islanders you find in the Bahamas.) The sun and heat were nice, but there are so many other islands to that have the same and much nicer people.;

The Greatest Battle

I just finished reading this book and have to say that it was really well written. It is about the Battle of Moscow in 1941 and what the author states is the "greatest battle of World War 2" (also called the Great Patriotic War in Russia.) I have been to Russia - including Moscow - many times and know that every Russian town/city has a monument to the war and those that fought and died - an estimated 27 million Soviets died during the war with 9 million of them being soldiers.
The author, Andrew Nagorski, shows why he believes the Battle of Moscow is not only the greatest battle of the war, but also the turning point. Had Moscow fallen to the Germans it would have opened the rest of the country (not already occupied by the Nazis) to be over-run. Moscow was the capital and "headquarters" of the Soviet Union and to loose it could have led to the collapse of Stalin's Government and the end of Communism - which may not have been a bad thing - but that would also have meant the Nazis were winning - which would be a very bad thing.
One item that I was surprised to learn about from reading this book (and looking it up afterwards in other places) was the chaos that hit Moscow in October 1941 when the Nazis were within sight of the city. I had always read (and heard from Russians) that things remained calm throughout the war - even when all hope seemed lost. It would only make sense that people would panic when the threat of a foreign invasion of their city or even country was upon them especially when you see the government and all the factories, etc fleeing the capital for safety.
Every person who drives on the main highway from Sheremetevo Airport to downtown Moscow has seen the monument near the Ikea that shows the furthest advance of the Germans to Moscow - and it is pretty close.
I don't know if the Battle of Moscow should be considered the turning point of the war - even in the European Theater - but do believe it is a major, epic battle that could have altered the war if the Germans had captured Moscow.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Meteor (1979)

I just got done watching this movie and have to say that even though it is from the 1970s and I had heard that it wasn't very good I thought it was pretty decent. It has Sean Connery and Natalie Wood and of course there is a little bit of a romance between them. I think the special effects of the movie were good considering that there wasn't much to work with in the '70s (it sort of looked like "Star Wars" in some of the parts that dealt with space.)
As with most disaster movies New York City was destroyed. I am a big fan of disaster movies and just don't understand why they always seem to hit NYC or the East Coast of the United States. I guess these movies are American made and American audiences just wouldn't care if cities in the rest of the world were destroyed (on screen that is.)
I thought the relationship between the US and the USSR was shown just as it would have been in the late 1970s (it was the end of Detente - when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan.) To have Natalie Wood play the role of a Soviet scientist/translator was pretty interesting considering that she was born Natalia Nikolaievna Zacharenko (Наталья Николаевна Захаренко in Russian) to two Russian parents. I could understand when she spoke Russian in the movie, but can not tell if she had an accent when she did or not.
This is the kind of movie that you can watch in two hours and not be completely bored while at the same time not be completely excited (over the special effects or script.) It is one of those movies you watch and not have to think much about - during or afterwards.

First Post

This is my first entry on my new site. For earlier posts check out my old blog at: . I am not finished organizing my new blog yet, but have added some new features (such as a poll question, web cam from around the world, etc.) Let me know what you think about the new site and what I should add/delete from it.