Charity sees the need not the cause.--German Proverb
Okay. Way back in June, my son marched me up to Best Buy and demanded that I pick a DVD player as a Father's Day present. In addition to the new high-tech toy, he purchased Saving Private Ryan so that I'd have something to watch on my new DVD player. Never one to fall head over heels in love with the newest and most expensive high-tech toys, I finally got around to grabbing my second DVD three short weeks ago. What movie did I pick? The Sum of all Fears. So, during the past couple of weeks I have seen the City of Baltimore nuked again and again on video. Yesterday the feds announced that they had raised the national threat alert status to "high risk" or code orange. In their opinion, a major terrorist attack on our soil may be imminent.
So, with visions of mushroom clouds already dancing in my head coupled with the latest news that the feds think we might come under attack any day now, where did Larry and I travel to today? You got it! Baltimore. No, I wasn't worried, but for the very first time since the 9/11 attacks, I found myself in a city large enough to be worthy of a major terrorist attack. This was a wake-up call of sorts. Basically, we live in a city that is certainly not insulated from the threat of terrorism, but so far down on the pecking order that if terrorism ever came to Wilkes-Barre; we'd probably die from shock, rather than any wounds we suffered. In Baltimore, life goes on as usual even though the possibility of a calamitous event is not beyond the realm of possibilities. We passed under numerous electronic signs that asked folks to call a "1-800" number if they observed anything of a suspicious nature all along I-695 and I-95. In Baltimore, those folks realize that they reside in what may become the front lines in the war the terrorists declared on us.
In Wilkes-Barre, where we would never, ever expect the terrorists to strike, what are we doing while WWIII rages on? Well, not too much. We launched an emergency radio station. And if mass death ever came to our screwed-up city, we'd be lucky if we could even find the keys to the Coal Street Pool's former snack bar where WPUU is located. We refitted an old truck with the latest Radio Shack gear and called it an Emergency Muckity-Muck Communications Command Center, or something completely stupid. Oh, and we bought a soda pop trailer and filled it with supplies that are top secret. I could tell you what's in that joke of a trailer, but I'd have to kill you afterwards. Mayor's orders. He spent the money to acquire it, but we're not allowed to know what's inside of it. We also sent our fire chief to some monster of an anti-terrorism seminar, but in two short weeks, he'll be rolling up the hoses with the rest of the grunts. In other words, in this city, we bought a bunch of needless junk and generated a few useless press releases in the process. We also trained a guy to be our chief anti-terrorist, even though he's never proven that he could extinguish a structure fire without first losing the entire structure.And...AND!...our city's response to any possible attacks from terrorists has been and would be coordinated by a boy who spent $5 million to erect a large hole. In Wilkes-Barre, the defenses put in place to protect us against future terror attacks is enough to make Baltimore attractive as a future home.
When I arrived back at the adobe this afternoon, I finally got around to reading my copy of today's Voice. Being a typical Monday morning newspaper in this city, there was no local news of note. Just the usual human interest stuff. But, some boob, who's letter to the editor's I refuse to scan, again made the ridiculous argument that Saddam's capture was somehow a tainted event, that we're losing the war on terror and that GW invaded Iraq for "...oil wells or saving the honor of an ex-president." The dumb-ass actually posed the question, "Why haven't we found Osama bin Laden?" Let's see here. Assuming that he's not being consumed by worms, my guess would be that the reason we haven't found him is beacuse he went into f**king hiding, you moron. And this quote is beautiful, despite it's abject cluelessness:
We all know there never were any "Weapons of Mass Destruction." All there was of interest to Bush was oil and his need to enact revenge for his daddy's loss losing the first Gulf War."
We know that there were never any WMDs in Iraq? Maybe that's because Saddam used them all on the Kurds and the Iranians already. We attacked Iraq for oil? Gee, what an original thought on his part. GW's daddy lost the first Gulf War??? Now, that's a new one. Who knew? Maybe if I watched enough CNN I'd somehow believe that the 100 hour ground war resulted in a loss for the United States military and GW's daddy.
The only reason that I even mentioned this afront to my intelligence is because today I was struck by the fact that Larry and I might actually be driving through our next "ground zero" and then, when I arrived back here in good ole Culm County, I was confronted by a thoroughly detached, know-it-all, "I hate Bush" asshole.
If this asshole resided in Baltimore, rather than Edwardsville, I'd bet that he'd be singing a completely different tune. Especially if he had bought a copy of The Sum of all Fears. Some folks who feel completely insulated from the chaos and needless death need to start thinking in terms of them or us. Or at the very least, take a ride through Baltimore. While the Bush haters should be hating the folks that wish to kill as many of us as they can, they continue to go on hating the man defending us with an unbridled passion that confounds me. They spew the sum of all that CNN has taught them and they cannot be allowed to sway the public's opinion in any way.
The 2004 Presidential election is going to either end up putting a serious crimp in the activities of the terrorists, or it's going to end up crimping our very way of life. Be sure to register to vote.
Any-freaking-way! Larry and I drove 407.3 miles today to deliver all of the goodies you folks sent my way for the kids dealing with abject poverty in Iraq. Larry said to me at one point during the return trip, "Ya done good," but I don't see it that way. I say, "Y'all done good." Yes, I first mentioned Operation Give when none of you's had probably ever heard of it, but today's trip would not have been necessary if you folks didn't feel some amount of compassion for the poor kids that frolic under the statues erected to honor their billionaire mass-murderer of a tyrant. We done good.
The two of us had no idea of what to expect when we finally arrived at the Operation Give warehouse in Columbia, Maryland. I knew the operation was legitimate and all, but I had no clue as to how big it may, or may not be. I had hoped to be surrounded by forklifts hurrying past my shoulder, but instead, what we found was some donated square footage manned by a single volunteer. Norman North, who claimed to be a distant cousin of Oliver North met us and a FedEx delivery guy on the sidewalk as soon as Larry backed his van up near the front doors. He was an affable retired military guy, and completely likeable. He allowed me to wander through the facility taking pictures as I went. Then, he systematically explained the workings of the operation to Larry and I while we perused each room and it's contents.
I found it remarkable that a small band of unpaid volunteers would selflessly volunteer their time and efforts to assist children in another country, while the chair people of the largest charitable organizations that profess their undying committment to the poorest American children earn 7 figure salaries, fly all over the country in Leer jets and a probably employ big tittie girlies that can't type a lick as their secretaries. After wandering through this place, this completely grass-roots operation; I was pleased, almost thrilled that I had somehow found my way there, yet alone somehow managed to help to contribute to such a worthy casue. I'm not one for showing much emotion most of the time, but trust me; we done good and I felt good being able to be a part of it. We rode 407.3 miles today merely hoping to deliver a few smiles to Iraq and after making the trip; I now know our efforts were not in vain.
By the way, Operation Give will be accepting donations until January 24th and then the entire stash will be shipped to Baghdad by FedEx, free of charge, on January 27th. After that, the entire program will be in the hands of one Chief "Wiggles." We done good.
See that picture? The folks that e-mailed me and accused me of keeping all of these toys and whatnot for my amazing grandkids should consider leaping from a nearby bridge about now. Jerks!
I'm not sure if I heard him correctly, but I heard Norman say that a $10,000 donation amounted in pallets of foozball tables being delivered to the warehouse. In a country that worships soccer, can you even imagine the reaction those kids will have to those tables being delivered to them?
Basically, when packages arrive there, they are dumped and then sorted by categories. Some items such as books printed in English, CDs, items that require electricity or batteries are carted off to a separate room to be sold so that the cash can be forwarded directly to the kiddies in Iraq.
This room contained nothing but items that were already sorted and ready to ship to Baghdad. Each box had a bright tag taped to it which categorized the contents. Cars. Balls. Dolls. Crayons. On and on it went as far as the eye could see.
I took some e-mail grief from people that could care less about the Iraqi children and wondered why I wasn't working to bring some joy to the kids in our own area. If they had accompanied Larry and I today, they would have no doubt apologized for being so quick to question why we should help children that don't call themselves Americans. I hate to say it, but our children cry when their X-Box fails them, while Iraqi children cry for a lack of food, clothes, medicine, toys and breathing parents.
The kids in Wilkes-Barre will be fine. The kids in Iraq are another story.
I was inspired by Chief "Wiggles" pleas for help and very many of you answered the call for help. Y'all done good. Larry and I were merely the delivery boys, but it felt good nonetheless.
From the e-mail inbox:
'Twas 13th December, when deep in Iraq,
the 4th I.D. had a big enemy to track.
Saddam's stockings were smelly from months on the lam,
In hopes that Dean or Kerry would soon take command;
Our soldiers were nestled in their desert humvees,
Theyıd been told they were hunting Iraqi V.I.Ps;
And Saddam with head lice infesting his cap,
Had just settled down for an Iraqi-type nap,
When out on the farm there arose such a clatter,
He sprang from his shack to see what was the matter.
Away to his hideout he flew in a snit,
Tore open his pants leaping into the pit.
The searchlight on the dictator now caught in our snare,
Gave the luster of mid-day to his nasty wild hair.
When, what to our soldiers? wide eyes should appear,
But a bedraggled old dictator cowering in fear!
Beneath the dirty old beard and the lice in his mane,
They were amazed to discover that it was Saddam Hussein.
More rapid than eagles they called up old Rummy,
And he whistled, and shouted, and said, "This is yummy!"
"Now, Condi! now, Sanchez! now, Cheney and Bush!
On, TV! on Radio! and Free Republic! Letıs Rush!
To the top of the news! Get this video on!
Call FNC first! Then Dan Rather and Tom!
As a gloved doctor examined the smelly old goat,
he shoved a big wooden stick down Saddam?s nasty throat,
Around the world in a flash the footage it flew,
As the French and Russians gulped, wondering what we now knew.
And then, in a twinkling, we heard from our leader
as he confirmed the capture of the despotic bottom feeder.
As he concluded his announcement, they replayed the scene,
(We heard nothing from Clark and nothing from Dean).
Saddam was covered in filth, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all greasy, with ashes and soot;
A bundle of money he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler whoıd sold out to Chirac.
His eyes -- how they sagged! his dimples now pits!
His forehead was covered with curious zits!
His head was examined for vermin and lice,
shaved his face of the beard that was his disguise;
A large piece of wood was probed in his mouth,
(And we donıt even know if the gloved hand went South);
He still had a fat face but had lost his round belly,
His clothes were a shambles and his feet downright smelly.
He was skinny and drawn, the lying old coward,
And I laughed when I thought of the speech made by Howard;
But the spin of the media and a liberal talking head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
Dean spoke not a word; Kerry went straight to work,
And tried to get airtime; (sounds just like the jerk),
Bush kept it short, not given to prose,
And giving a nod, up the polls he rose;
He sprang back to work, to his team gave a whistle,
And to D.C. they flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, as he went on his way,
"Happy Christmas to all, and God Bless the USA!
God Bless the USA. Here! Here! BANG! BANG!
TWO MORE DAYS!!!