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    Coexist October 9th, 2010

    You’ve probably seen the religious bumper stickers that read “Coexist” using religious symbols in lieu of regular letters. Here’s a variant of that.

    Coexist

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    HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO ME! September 18th, 2010

    Wow! Today, September 18th, 2010, marks the 6th year The World According To Carl has been in existence. In case you’re interested, here is a link to my very first blog entry which was made on September 18th, 2004.

    In Tribute To Touri Hamzavi Bolourchi September 11th, 2010

    In previous years at this time I, along with thousands of other bloggers, devoted our blogs to the memories of the victims of the 9/11 attacks via Project 2996. Each blogger featured one of the victims and created their tribute in whatever fashion in which they were inspired. The World According To Carl paid tribute to Touri Bolourchi and I am reposting that tribute in her honor on this solemn anniversary.

    Touri Bolourchi

    This blog is paying tribute and honoring Touri Hamzavi Bolourchi. Touri was a passenger on United Airlines flight 175 which took off from Boston, Massachusetts early on September 11th, 2001 with its destination being Los Angeles, California. However terrorists hijacked the plane and crashed it into the south tower of World Trade Center shortly after 9 am that morning. All 65 people on board were killed: 56 passengers (including 5 hijackers), 7 flight attendants and 2 pilots. Touri was not supposed to be aboard Flight 175, but she decided to stay a few extra days in Boston to stay with her daughter and two grandchildren while her husband, Akbar, flew home to Los Angeles on the flight she, too, had originally planned to take.

    Touri Bolourchi, age 69, was a retired nurse. She lived in Beverly Hills, California. She was born in Tehran, Iran. Touri met her husband, Dr. Akbar Bolourchi when she was a head nurse at the women’s hospital in Tehran. In 1979, she moved to the United States with her two daughters. Besides being an accomplished nurse, she spoke six languages: Turkish, English, French, Italian, Arabic and Farsi. As a nurse, educated in England and married to a doctor, she was determined to see her girls properly educated. Two years later, in 1981, her husband Akbar joined them. Her husband had a medical practice in Beverly Hills. Touri was fluent in six languages. After settling in California, Mrs. Bolourchi created a home filled with exotic decorative touches, spicy Middle Eastern food and books — in French, English, Farsi, Arabic and Italian — that she read obsessively, to herself and to her daughters, according to Roya Touran, her elder daughter. She loved cooking, especially for guests. Dishes requiring a dozen steps and two dozen ingredients did not faze her.

    “She would look through food and wine magazines,” Mrs. Touran said, “read through a recipe and just make it for guests. She was very courageous. And it always worked out.”

    She was in Boston visiting her daughter and two grandsons and had been there with them for two weeks. Her husband said she had not traveled to Boston for two years due to her fear of planes. He also said that two of her cousins died in airline crashes in Europe and Africa. She was survived by her husband, two daughters (Neda and Roya) and her grandsons (Bobby and Kayvon).

    Touri Bolourchi Memorial in Brentwood, California

    The memorial plaques for Touri Bolourchi shown above are located in Brentwood, California.

    Touri Bolourchi - A Segment From The Memorial Quilt

    The quilt segment in tribute to Touri Bolourchi is from the United in Memory 9/11 Victims Memorial Quilt.

    My sincerest and heartfelt prayers, condolences and thoughts go out to the family and friends of Touri Bolourchi, and to all of the other victims’ families and friends on this anniversary.

    Information contained in this tribute came from various online sources and also a profile originally published in the New York Times on June 30th, 2002.

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    Fast Moving Storm September 1st, 2010

    Wow! This video is impressive. However note the idiot standing next to the tall blue pole taking video with his cell phone. Anyone teach him about lightning?

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    Revisiting Katrina (Two DVDs And Two Books On Hurricane Katrina From A Mississippi Gulf Coastal Point Of Reference) August 29th, 2010

    Recently, my wife and I traveled to Biloxi, Mississippi to visit her sister. The coast has been recovering well from Katrina. With all the emphasis recently on the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, I thought I’d revisit a post from March of 2009. This covers DVDs and books concerning Hurricane Katrina from the perspective of the Mississippi Gulf Coast rather than New Orleans (which seems to be most common). WLOX-TV in Biloxi produced multiple DVDs over the years about Katrina and the subsequent recovery. I was hoping they would produce one for the fifth anniversary but have not seen anything.

      Originally posted on March 19, 2009

    Last week, my wife and I traveled to Biloxi, Mississippi to spend the week with my mother-in-law. We also took the opportunity to travel around the region visiting our old stomping grounds, revisiting some familiar sites and checking out new places. One such new place was Bay Books on main street in downtown Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. A small bookstore with two bookstore cats that love attention it has a nice selection of local authors which interested me. A small display table containing books and DVDs relating to Hurricane Katrina particularly interested me and I ended up purchasing four items from the table which I would like to highlight here.

    Mississippi Son

    First is the DVD entitled “Mississippi Son” a multiple award-winning documentary of stories of Hurricane Katrina as told by survivors from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The website for the documentary describes the film thusly:

    Shot in high definition on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, featuring never-before-seen storm footage, and scored with an original blues-rock soundtrack composed and performed by Katrina survivors, Mississippi Son (95 min.) tells the heartwrenching and heartwarming story of the people, the culture, and the future in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

    Born and raised in Gulfport, Mississippi, Emmy award winning L.A. filmmaker Don Wilson was deeply moved by the losses of his friends and family. In this film, he returns home to talk to those who lived through the hurricane and continue to deal with the aftermath of the storm.

    While the media has been focused on New Orleans, Mississippi Son reminds us that the Mississippi Gulf Coast was completely destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

    One-Eyed Girl

    The second DVD is entitled “One-Eyed Girl” and it is also a documentary concerning Hurricane Katrina from the viewpoints of survivors from Hancock County, Mississippi specifically in the Bay St. Louis/Waveland area which was considered part of “ground zero” when the storm came ashore.

    Both DVDs are poignant reminders of what Hurricane Katrina did and how the region is doing what it can to bounce back from the storm’s devastation. I recommend both DVD and each can be purchased via their respective websites.

    West Side Stories by Vicki Niolet and Betty Stechmann

    One of the two books is “West Side Stories: Before, During, and After on Mississippi’s West Coast” which consists of photographs and commentary by Vicki Niolet and Betty Stechmann. It is mostly photographs of the western end of the Mississippi Gulf Coast centering mostly on Bay St. Louis and Waveland. A lot of them are before-and-after photos showing the damage done by Hurricane Katrina. Some have accompanying stories as a historical document. Many of those locations in the photos are places of which my wife and I are familiar. Some are places I photographed as well during our first trip back to the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Katrina (several are posted on the blog entries about the visit).

    Katrina And The Forgotten Gulf Coast

    The other book I got is entitled “Katrina And The Forgotten Gulf Coast” by Betty Plombon and consists of stories from folks along the Mississippi Gulf Coast who survived the storm. There is a heavy frustation factor exhibited in the text originating from the facts that the media concentrated so much on New Orleans for so long, neglected coverage of the major damage and suffering and that the federal government seemed to have forgotten about the survivors of the storm in Mississippi. It also is somewhat bittersweet and in some places sad in the memories shared of what was lost forever due to the storm. But it also is uplifting and encouraging for it shows the determination to succeed and a never-give-up attitude of the residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the post-Katrina era.

    Both of these books I heartily recommend.

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    Gibbs’ Rules June 29th, 2010

    From my favorite current TV show, NCIS. Of course, being born and raised in the south, rule #9 comes easily for me.

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    El Caminito del Rey June 15th, 2010

    From the EHOWA website:

    El Caminito del Rey (English: The King’s little pathway) is a walkway or via ferrata, now fallen into disrepair, pinned along the steep walls of a narrow gorge in El Chorro, near Álora in the district of Málaga, Spain. The name is often shortened to Camino del Rey. The walkway has now gone many years without maintenance, and is in a highly deteriorated and dangerous state. It is one meter (3 feet and 3 inches) in width, and is over 100 meters (350 feet) above the river. Nearly all of the path has no handrail. Some parts of the concrete walkway have completely collapsed and all that is remaining is the steel beam originally in place to hold it up. One can latch onto a modern steel safety-wire to keep from falling, though it can’t hold much weight. Several people have lost their lives on the walkway in recent years; after four people died in two accidents in 1999 and 2000, the local government closed the entrances. To this day it crossing it has been banned. However policing is extremely minimal and many adventurous tourists still find their way onto the walkway to explore it.

    Here’s a video crossing.

    There is no way I would attempt that and I like heights.

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    24th Wedding Anniversary June 14th, 2010

    Today marks the 24th wedding anniversary of my wife and me. My wife and I met in college and were married shortly after I graduated. We give God all the credit, praise and thanks for our marriage. Since I work on Monday we plan on having the special anniversary dinner this upcoming Saturday (place still to be determined although we’re leaning towards Spring Creek Restaurant).

    Happy Anniversary

    A couple of years ago I posted the following entry highlighting an anniversary card my wife bought and then added to in order to make the card extra special. I still have it. I thought it appropriate to revisit that blog entry from almost 2 years ago.

    -={0}=-

    Going through some stuff in our storage room, actually called a garage, I came across a pleasant reminder of my marriage to my wonderful wife. It’s an anniversary card my wife customized on our third anniversary. Well specifically our 3 and 1/12th anniversary.

    1989 Anniversary Card -- 3rd Anniversary
    My wife added 5-oclock shadow and bathroom stuff in the top part and “noise” in the bottom part reflects the noise made by some parakeets we had at the time. Noisy little suckers.

    1989 Anniversary Card -- 3rd Anniversary
    The “fight” in the bottom part of the page above is an in-joke. We were jokingly arguing if we were going to get a microwave oven or a parrot with the birthday money we got from our parents. We didn’t get either (already had a microwave oven my maternal grandparents gave us and a parrot was never in the plans anyway — we already had too many parakeets).

    1989 Anniversary Card -- 3rd Anniversary
    The top part of this page needs some explanation. Borelli’s was an Italian restaurant in Gulfport, Mississippi that had wonderful food but it was mostly cream based stuff and very, very rich. So rich that it made both of us miserable when we got back to our inlaws’ house. We never ate there again.

    1989 Anniversary Card -- 3rd Anniversary

    1989 Anniversary Card -- 3rd Anniversary

    1989 Anniversary Card -- 3rd Anniversary
    This was a pleasant surprise to find this old anniversary card. I showed it to my wife and it made us both smile. Again. I’m a hopeless romantic and this sort of thing really remains in my heart. We’ve now been married over 22 years now and I love her as much if not more than I did back then.

    -={0}=-

    When I initially wrote that we had been married 22 years. Now it’s 24. We have been married longer than we have been unmarried…er…pre-married?…uh…you get what I am saying? Next year will mark a quarter century of marriage. Wow! It just doesn’t seem that long. We may do something extra special for that anniversary but then again we may not. We just don’t know. A friend of ours wants us to take a cruise but getting enough time off from work for a cruise is difficult and neither of us want to take a cruise during the summer since my wife doesn’t handle hot climates very well. Since she is a college professor she gets a nice Christmas vacation each year so we may plan on that for 2011. But my sister-in-law wants us to visit her then. Oh…the conundrums we face. Whatever. My wife and I will figure it out as we go along. It’s worked well for us thus far.

    Memorial Day 2010 May 31st, 2010

    Memorial Day 2006

    On this Memorial Day, I’d like to quote the third stanza of “America, The Beautiful” written by Katharine Lee Bates.

    O beautiful, for heroes proved
    In liberating strife,
    Who more than self their country loved
    And mercy more than life!
    America! America! May God thy gold refine,
    ‘Til all success be nobleness, and ev’ry gain divine!

    In World War II, he whispered, I was wounded by a blast.
    As he began his story, reminiscing of his past.

    I was just a boy back then, I lied about my age.
    To get into the Army, and fight for the USA

    I love this country very much, it’s still the very best.
    And I would fight to keep it free, and safe from foreign pest.

    We won that war, and I came home, my wounds had healed enough,
    To reenlist with other men. The Army made us tough.

    Then a little flare up, in Korea called us out.
    A threat against our freedom, spreading fear without a doubt.

    There I caught a bullet, when I tried to save a friend.
    Another wound for Uncle Sam, they sent me home to mend.

    “Soldier have you had enough?” my Sergeant said to me.
    “Or do you want another tour, if ever there’s to be?”

    We would train and fight again, if ever it need be,
    Because we love America, we’ll fight to keep it free.

    It didn’t take too long, before my boys were off again.
    We were shipped off to a war, we thought would never end.

    I didn’t understand it much, if it was wrong or right.
    But, I was a US Marine, and my country said, “Go fight.”

    I never questioned orders, that were sent from up above.
    I did it for America, the country, that I love.

    I fought to keep my country safe, again, in Viet Nam.
    Then, wounded I came home again, a victim of napalm.

    My fighting days were over now, and, I had given all.
    But, some had given more than me, their names are on a wall.

    I am now well up in years, a Marine old and worn.
    I could only sit and pray, as I watched Desert Storm.

    So proud of our boys over there, who stood for what is right.
    Freedom is the battle cry, the reason why they fight.

    Young soldiers fight for liberty, protecting freedom’s bliss.
    Old Marines dream of by-gone-days, while fighting loneliness.

    We were heroes in our day, he said, and then he sighed.
    Forgotten in some VA home, and all my friends have died.

    I never ask for anything, just wanted to live free.
    But, if you read this story, there are many just like me.

    Who fought to keep our country, safe and free from every foe.
    Only to come home again, and have no place to go.

    Sadly, when the limelight fails, heroes fade away.
    Some men fight the silent battles, ’till their dying day.

    Please remember what it took, and what we had to pay.
    And join with us remembering, on this Memorial Day.

    Memorial Day is special, it is not just summer’s start.
    The reason that we have this day, should be etched on your heart.

    Lives were lost, and young men died, to keep this country free.
    So, take a moment on that day, to meditate with me.

    Remember all those valiant men, and women who fought for,
    The lifestyle that you now enjoy, because they went to war.

    —James A. Kisner

    Memorial Day

    Memorial Day Poem
    Kelly Strong

    I watched the flag pass by one day,
    It fluttered in the breeze.
    A young Marine saluted it,
    And then he stood at ease..

    I looked at him in uniform
    So young, so tall, so proud,
    With hair cut square and eyes alert
    He’d stand out in any crowd.

    I thought how many men like him
    Had fallen through the years.
    How many died on foreign soil
    How many mothers’ tears?

    How many pilots’ planes shot down?
    How many died at sea
    How many foxholes were soldiers’ graves?
    No, freedom isn’t free.

    I heard the sound of Taps one night,
    When everything was still,
    I listened to the bugler play
    And felt a sudden chill.

    I wondered just how many times
    That Taps had meant “Amen,”
    When a flag had draped a coffin.
    Of a brother or a friend.

    I thought of all the children,
    Of the mothers and the wives,
    Of fathers, sons and husbands
    With interrupted lives.

    I thought about a graveyard
    At the bottom of the sea
    Of unmarked graves in Arlington.
    No, freedom isn’t free.

    Memorial Day - Arlington Cemetery

    Memorial Day
    by Michelle R. Christman

    As we stand here looking
    At the flags upon these graves
    Know these flags represent
    A few of the true American brave

    They fought for their Country
    As man has through all of time
    Except that these soldiers lying here
    Fought for your country and mine

    As we all are gathered here
    To pay them our respect
    Let’s pass this word to others
    It’s what they would expect

    I’m sure that they would do it
    If it were me or you
    To show we did not die in vein
    But for the red, white and blue.

    Let’s pass on to our children
    And to those who never knew
    What these soldiers died for
    It’s the least we can do

    Let’s not forget their families
    Great pain they had to bear
    Losing a son, father or husband
    They need to know we still care

    No matter which war was fought
    On the day that they died
    I stand here looking at these flags
    Filled with American pride.

    So as the bugler plays out Taps
    With its sweet and eerie sound
    Pray for these soldiers lying here
    In this sacred, hallowed ground.

    Take home with you a sense of pride
    You were here Memorial Day.
    Celebrating the way Americans should
    On this solemnest of days.


    Michelle R. Christman
    USMC from 87 – 91, Desert Storm Veteran

    Arlington
    composed by Jeremy Spillman & Dave Turnbull

    I never thought that this is where I’d settle down
    I thought I’d die an old man back in my hometown
    They gave me this plot of land
    Me and some other men for a job well done
    There’s a big white house
    Sits on a hill just up the road
    The man inside he cried the day they brought me home
    They folded up a flag and told my Mom and Dad
    We’re proud of your son

    And I’m proud to be on this peaceful piece of property
    I’m on sacred ground and I’m in the best of company
    I’m thankful for those thankful for the things I’ve done
    I can rest in peace, I’m one of the chosen ones
    I made it to Arlington

    I remember Daddy brought me here when I was eight
    We searched all day to find out where my Granddad lay
    And when we finally found that cross
    He said, son, this is what it cost to keep us free
    Now here I am a thousand stones away from him
    He recognized me on the first day I came in
    And it gave me a chill when he clicked his heels and saluted me

    And I’m proud to be on this peaceful piece of property
    I’m on sacred ground and I’m in the best of company
    I’m thankful for those thankful for things I’ve done
    I can rest in piece, I’m one of the chosen ones
    I made it to Arlington

    And everytime I hear twenty-one guns
    I know they brought another hero home to us

    We’re thankful for those thankful for the things we’ve done
    We can rest in peace, ’cause we are the chosen ones
    We made it to Arlington
    Yeah, dust to dust
    Don’t cry for us
    We made it to Arlington

    Memorial Day

    A Soldier’s Farewell
    by John J. Rigo

    It is time to say goodbye.
    I can see my sadness in your eyes.
    Is this the goodbye kiss that will aways
    be in your memory?
    Press closer to me,
    imprint my soul with your being.
    Please do not look into my eyes,
    the sadness will always be there,
    until we are one again,
    in our happiness.

    TAPS
    by Major General Daniel Butterfield

    Fading light dims the sight,
    And a star gems the sky, gleaming bright.
    From afar drawing nigh — Falls the night.

    Day is done, gone the sun,
    From the lake, from the hills, from the sky.
    All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.

    Then good night, peaceful night,
    Till the light of the dawn shineth bright,
    God is near, do not fear — Friend, good night.

    Memorial Day - The Tomb Of The Unknown Soldier

    Twenty One Steps
    by Thomas Holmquist

    Arlington where our unknown soldier lies
    The place to honor those who gave their lives
    Those that died that generations be free
    May we remember them through eternity

    This Unknown Soldier guarded day and night
    By the choice of a few and with all their might
    To show mankind their respect and dignity
    To those who defended our lives and liberty

    Twenty one steps, he takes twenty one steps
    Eyes locked in honor for the soldier he guards
    And twenty one seconds before he turns
    To honor the soldiers who never returned

    Twenty one steps until the end of time
    For our lost soldiers we cannot find
    They gave their lives for you and me
    The price paid to preserve our dignity

    So let’s take twenty one steps, just twenty one steps
    Lock our eyes in honor for our soldiers that died
    And think for twenty one seconds about their sacrifice
    To preserve our freedom and our children’s lives

    SUPPORT THE TROOPS

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    My How You’ve Grown April 17th, 2010

    Corsair's Flash Survivor 32gb flash driveBack in the mid 80’s soon after my wife and I were married, we received our very first personal computer; a hand-me-down IBM PCjr. I can’t remember how large the hard drive was (I seem to remember it not having one) and I seem to remember the modem was either 800 or 1200 baud. I do remember that it couldn’t run Windows so when I decided to create my own website, I had to teach myself HTML programming, type the HTML out manually and upload it to the website. Then I had to go to a friend’s house to check on his better computer which COULD run Windows to see what mistakes I made. Then I’d go home, fix the mistakes then repeat the process. It too months for me to build a simple personal website that way. We used that computer until it finally started to have issues that couldn’t be fixed so we purchased our own personal computer from a locally owned computer shop. We had it built custom with what we wanted that we could afford. It was nothing fancy. No bells and whistles, but we were thrilled that it has a 2400 baud modem and a 40 meg hard drive.

    Friday I received in the mail a flash drive I ordered via Amazon.com. It is called “Flash Survivor” and is made by a company called Corsair. It fits in the palm of my hand and has 32gb capacity.

    Sometimes my mind goes off on unusual tangents and when I was taking the flash drive from the packaging I decided to figure out mathematically just how much larger in capacity this flash drive is compared to the old bulky 40 meg hard drive I once had.

    Crunching the numbers, I found that this little flash drive which fits into the palm of my hand is approximately 820 times larger in capacity that that old bulky 40 meg hard drive.

    Amazing.

    My how have you grown!

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    Boy Scouts of America Celebrates 100 Years March 18th, 2010

    For whatever it’s worth I am an Eagle Scout (Class of 1981) from the Choctaw Area Council in south Mississippi. So I am proud to put this video on my blog.

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    The Old Tablecloth Trick Multiplied By 100 March 9th, 2010

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    Simply Amazing January 29th, 2010

    CHOP CUP from :weareom: on Vimeo.

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    Chew Toy? January 13th, 2010

    Trish's dog chewing Christmas cap

    A scene from post-Christmas 2009: one of my sister-in-law’s dog deciding to make a chew toy out of a Santa hat.

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    Got A New Computer December 22nd, 2009

    Our old computer was on life support so we had to get a new one. The new one is running Windows 7 which seems to be stable but keeps some of my older programs from installing. It’s been a frustrating couple of days installing programs. Hopefully will be blogging more often in the near future.

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