Saturday, September 16, 2006


This is not a story about Matthew Costa and Justin Brady. This is a story dedicated to Justin and Matthew. I didn't know them. After reading about them, I would have liked to have known them, but now it is too late. They both died tragically in a boating accident on the Niger River in Mali. Matthew was from my home state Connecticut (and somehow his death has profoundly effected me) and Justin was from Oregon. Both young men were Peace Corps volunteers. It is evident to me both young men cared about the condition of the world and those inhabiting it. It is also evident to me if we had more Matthews and Justins we would certainly be living in a far far different and MUCH BETTER world.

So to Matthew and Justin I say thank you for your hearts and thank you for your service to the

What this story IS about is children. Children forced into doing such horrid things one cannot even imagine. Children forced to give up their education, their homes, their families and their lives. Children who cannot ever possibly recover from the nightmares that they have lived. CHILDREN OF WAR.

Did you know there are at least 43,000,000 children from at least 30 countries, who, because of war have been prevented from going to school? Did you know their schools have been either destroyed or commandeered and their teachers driven out OR killed? Did you know in 2003, more than half of armed conflicts had children under 15 as combatants? Did you know that in just ONE country alone, the "Democratic" Republic of the Congo, more than 5 million children between the ages of 6 and 11 are out of school and more than 6 million under the age of 17 have NEVER been to school?

War leaves 43 million children without education, study finds

Save the Children

Did you know that even when families are helped with money to assist with their children's schooling, that money sometimes doesn't get used for schooling? Oh, it's wasted on things like groceries and seeds to plant so the family can actually LIVE.

Cut Off, Gazan Economy Nears Collapse

Few here are using the United Nations grants for school. The Abu Reziqs are
carefully investing the rest of their relief money. More than $20 went straight
to the local grocer, Tamam said, as a down payment on the credit extended to the
family, which still owes more than $200. About $11 went to buy the ingredients,
including two chickens, for the couscous dish that Tamam and her daughter,
Fatma, 29, are making early this morning, kneading relief agency flour in big
aluminum bowls, pouring in relief agency oil, rubbing the flour over a screen to
get the right consistency.
The result will serve 15 people, Tamam said. “We
want to feed the people who helped us with the land,” she said, and some of
their neighbors, even worse off than they.

Did you know in Uganda (and I am imagining it as one of THE most evil places on earth) the people are willing to forgive and forget the perveyors of this evil in order to get on with their lives? Did you know children there are forced to not only pick up arms and fight against their own brothers and sisters and uncles and aunts and mothers and fathers BUT they are forced to "slice off lips and pound newborn babies to death in wooden mortars, as though they were grinding grain". Can you even fathom something like that? Did you know the leader of this mayhem, Joseph Kony has over 60 ABDUCTED child brides?

Uganda Peace Hinges on Amnesty for Brutality

"I would like you to give a message. Please do your best to tell the world what
is happening to us, the children. So that other children don't have to pass
through this violence."
The 15-year-old girl who ended an interview to
Amnesty International with this plea was forcibly abducted at night from her
home by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), an armed opposition movement fighting
the Ugandan Government. She was made to kill a boy who tried to escape. She saw
another boy being hacked to death for not raising the alarm when a friend ran
away. She was beaten when she dropped a water container and ran for cover under
gunfire. She received 35 days of military training and was sent to fight the
government army.
The use of children as soldiers has been universally
condemned as abhorrent and unacceptable. Yet over the last ten years hundreds of
thousands of children have fought and died in conflicts around the world.

Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers

I could keep on linking article after article. There is no need. What there IS a need for is us putting an end to war. War here or war there. War that the United States is fighting or war in a country we have never heard of. Our children have to be protected and cherished NOT made to fear and fight. Our children should be the Matthews and Justins of the world. They did something. They cared. And as I said and as I know, thanks to Matthew and Justin the world is just a tiny bit better for their having lived in it.


Friday, September 15, 2006

don't eat fresh bagged spinich

of course i had a salad yesterday at work that had fresh spinich in it.

Spinach tainted with E.coli sold in Conn.

(Washington-AP, Sept. 14, 2006 Updated 10:25 PM) _ An outbreak of E. coli in eight states has left at least one person dead and 50 others sick, federal health officials said Thursday in warning consumers nationwide not to eat bagged fresh spinach.
The death occurred in Wisconsin, where 20 others were made ill, said Dr. David Acheson of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. The outbreak has sickened others -- eight of them seriously -- in Connecticut, Idaho, Indiana, Michigan, New Mexico, Oregon and Utah.
In California, state health officials were investigating a possible case that could be linked to the outbreak and warned consumers not to eat the produce.
FDA officials do not know the source of the outbreak other than it appears to be linked to bagged fresh spinach. "We're advising people not to eat it," Acheson said. ..........

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

quite a gimmick these 'pastors' got goin' here

but hey, who am i to judge (you can't see me but i have a wicked smile on my lips)

Starving Jesus Hits Storrs
'Forty Days Of Nothing Tour' Inspires Christians

Gary Parkosewich
Posted: 9/12/06 J.R. Mahon has been chained to a pew for the past month without ever nibbling on a breadcrumb.The pastor of the Christian anti-pornography organization, who also brought National Porn Sunday to UConn last fall, stopped at St. Paul's Collegiate Church at Storrs on Sunday as part of the Starving Jesus Tour. The day marked the 36th of the 40-day trip touring 40 different cities nationwide.Mahon, along with fellow pastor Craig Gross, who was absent from the Storrs stopover, says they have been fasting throughout the entire ride. No food, except for a steady diet of juice and water.In the midst of this tour, Mahon has chained his ankle to a scratched-up wooden church pew, as a means to symbolize what he says is the lack of action the church takes in helping its community. The tour in Storrs also featured a short showing of Dave the Horn Guy, a recent contestant on the NBC show, "America's Got Talent."............

Monday, September 11, 2006

stop by the new britain museum of american art today september 11th

Graydon Parrish, The Cycle of Terror and Tragedy: September 11, 2001, 2001-2006, oil on canvas, 8 x 18’, Charles F. Smith Fund and the family of Scott O’Brien, a native of New Britain, who died in the attack.
and remember those lost

Art museum to host 9/11 exhibit
By: Scott Whipple , Special to Imprint Newspapers
NEW BRITAIN - New Britain native Scott O'Brien was in the World Trade Center Sept. 11, 2001. He was there to set up a computer software trade show exhibit on the 106th floor.
The last communica-tion from him was a telephone call to his wife, Kelly and his two children. He told them he was waiting to be rescued.On Sept. 9 and Sept. 11 the New Britain Museum of American Art will mark the fifth anniversary of 9/11 with events commemorating O'Brien and the attack on the World Trade Center.The museum has acquired an 8 x 18 foot oil painting on canvas, "The Cycle of Terror and Tragedy: September 11, 2001" now on view in the museum's new Chase Family Building. The painting by Graydon Parrish of Amherst, Mass. was funded by the museum and family of Scott O'Brien. The O'Brien family has been involved in the New Britain school system for years. Scott's father was a principal for 35 years; his mother, an elementary school teacher; his sister is a special ed teacher at New Britain High School; his twin brother teaches school in Hamden.Parrish will offer his personal comments about his work on Sept. 9 at 4 p.m. The painting took four years to complete. A reception follows his talk, which is free with museum admission.On Sept. 11, the museum will offer free admission to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can view the painting and reflect on the significance of the day. Normally the museum is closed Mondays...........

the new britain museum of american art

Sunday, September 10, 2006

part of the title of the courant article is

marines don't cry

if they don't on the outside, i think they do on the inside

On The Ground With Charlie Company: Arlington National Cemetery Stoic In Devotion `Marines Don't Cry'
By JESSE HAMILTON Courant Staff Writer September 10 2006 ARLINGTON, Va. -- Marines don't smile.It's strength they want to show now, as they stand in this field of white marble markers. Strength for Cpl. Jordan Pierson. Strength for his family. Utterly unruffled.So they watch without expression as their friend's casket is prepared for the grave. They stand, their mirror-polished shoes on Arlington National Cemetery grass, the brass buttons on their dress blues shining, each face a solemn mask. The way they were taught."Marines don't smile," one of the Marines from Charlie Company had said that morning at the hotel.Not that there's any cause to smile here, in one of the country's most somber places, where markers bearing the names of the latest conflicts have filled new swaths of land in the five years since 9/11. The Marines stand behind a crowd from Connecticut and greet the rifle volleys with stoic faces. They don't flinch at the 24 notes of taps, which wrench a fresh round of sobs from Pierson's friends and family.Most of the Marines in the group volunteered to drive more than 300 miles for this hourlong ceremony. They didn't have to be here. But it was an easy choice. Of course they want to see this to the end. Pierson deserves it.So, these Marine reservists from the Plainville-based unit - most of them kept back from the company's deployment to Iraq for medical reasons - stand as symbols and reminders for Pierson's people. This is what Pierson was, their quiet presence shouts. He was part of something serious and had won a place in a fraternity that makes a try at transcending death.The Marines, who don't smile.But of course, they do............

connecticut's war dead

matthew costa

someone who volunteered for PEACE. i didn't know him, but i'll bet i would have liked him

Peace Corps Volunteer From Cheshire Dies In West Africa

CHESHIRE, Conn. -- A Cheshire man volunteering with the Peace Corps in West Africa has died after he was electrocuted in a boating accident there.
His funeral is scheduled to take place Sunday in Hartford.
Matthew Costa, 24, a 1999 graduate of Cheshire High School, was killed Sept. 3 while sailing on the Niger River in the nation of Mali, his family and Peace Corps officials said this week............