Sunday, September 10, 2006

Remembering 9/11

Note: Apparantly there's a problem with the live version of Project 2996...may have been overloaded. Here is the Google cached page for 2996.

" Wishing you were somehow here again . . .
wishing you were somehow near . . .
Sometimes it seemed if I just dreamed,
somehow you would be here . . .

" Wishing I could hear your voice again . . .
knowing that I never would . . .
Dreaming of you won't help me to do
all that you dreamed I could . . .

" Wishing you were somehow here again . . .
knowing we must say goodbye . . .
Try to forgive . . .teach me to live . . .
give me the strength to try . . .

These are lyrics from Andrew Lloyd Webber's Phantom of the Opera. One of the great things about music is that the lyrics can take different meanings based upon different people and different circumstances. And though the meaning of these words in their original context are not quite of the same meaning, I think anyone who's ever lost someone they deeply loved can understand the array of emotions conveyed by these words.

As we remember today, the 2,996 souls that lost their lives on September 11, 2001, these words seemed somehow more relevant to me. It's easy to get caught up in the processes of rebuilding and memorializing what happened that day. It seems ever easier for politicians to use the events of 9/11 to generate political capital for their own benefit. Yet, let us not forget that 2,996 is no mere statistic; no ordinary number. 2,996 represents 2,996 people...real and actual people who had real and actual lives with real and actual stories to tell. That is what today is about. Remembering the PEOPLE...not just the event. As part of that rememberance, I am proud to be participating in Project 2996...a project that allows each of 2,996 bloggers to honor a victim of that day.

With that being said, it is my pleasure to tell you about a man named Jonathan J. Uman.

Jonathan was a managing director of eSpeed at Cantor Fitzgerald, a logical career given his fondness of computers and technology. Like all men, he was very fond of his toys, which included a remote controlled boat for his pool, and his new Porsche, which he drove from his home in Westport, Conneticuit to his job at the WTC. He was also an amateur actor who enjoyed listening to Shakespeare.

Jon also had a wonderful sense of self-depricating humor. A friend commented on a memorial site that when Jon had made a mistake, he would, "...look around with that full-faced grin of his, shrug, and say, 'Hey, I'm only Uman.'" By all accounts (that I could find) he enjoyed life to the fullest. His zest for life was apparent to all those who knew him, and his greatest joys were his Wife, Julie, and children, Alex (now ~8) and Anna (now ~6). Jon was 33 when he died.

I reflected for a long time on the information I learned about Jonathan. It seemed the more I researched, the more I found in common with a man I'd never met. Part of that, I am sure, is the human need to find a connection...a pattern in an otherwise random equation. Still, his career in technology, his love for shakespeare, his self-depricating sense of humor, his love of "guy toys", the ease with which he seemed to approach odd or uncomfortable situations, his need to kick back and socialize, his affection and admiration for his wife, his love for his children. I guess if we look hard enough, we can find similarities with anyone. And maybe that's not such a bad thing. It allows us an opportunity to relate, if only on some basic level.

I can tell you that Jon was a good man. He was a good husband and a good father, and seemed to have had a positive impact on a great many people. I can say that I wish I had had the opportunity to meet Jon and his family. His was a life truly blessed, and I am truly sorry that his children must grow up without their father. It is my hope that they will still have an opportunity to know their father, through the stories of his life shared by family and friends.

With that, I'd like to share with you two messages left for Jon on his memorial site by his mother and father:

"My Dearest Son Jonathan, You came from deep within my being 33 years ago. You were and are my Gift from God and truly taught me unconditional love. You inspired me to be a good mother--to nurture you--to guide you- to encourage you-to stand by you--to appauld you and respect you. Wh shared a special connection. I smile when I think of all the amazing things you did and cherish our relationship. You had an incredbile spirit, confidence, and possessed an aura of sunshine. Everythig you touched turned to gold. You made all of your dreams a reality. My loving son, you are forever in my heart. I adore and miss you. Jonathan, you will always be apart of me. I love you. Your Mom (Wilton, CT August 4, 2002)"
My Dearest Son, Jonathan, I love you and am so proud of you for the joy that you brought to all those whose lives you touched. You were my hero, you were and are my hero. Your love of life, your sense of adventure, your spirit--will always be with me. From the time you were a little boy we shared the laughter, the late night talks, the garage full of grapefurits, the boxes of unsold calendars. It was an honored to be your best man. We have a bond that can never be broken. To you my son, I dedicate this poem: "Neither flesh of my flesh, Nor bone of my bone, But still you are, My very own, I will never forget ,For a single minute that you're in my heart, And will always live in it." Your Dad (Harvey Blomberg Wilton, Connecticut) 8/4/02 Harvey Blomberg (Wilton, CT )

I cannot imagine the difficulty, nor the strength required, to sit and compose such messages for one's own child. What it tells me is that there was a great love for their son, and a bond that cannot be broken, not even by death. It is very evident that his spirit lives on in the memories of his family and friends, and he will never be forgotten.

I am proud to have been a part of this effort by the 2996 project. I am proud to say to the world, "Jonathan J. are missed and you are remembered." Let us never forget that we are all still New Yorkers. Let us never forget that we are, all of us...Americans.

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Friday, September 08, 2006

Upcoming Posts

As the anniversary of 9/11 approaches, I am going to hold off on posting new material, likely for the remainder of September. The most important reason being that I would like to leave my post honoring Jonathan Uman first and foremost in the list for visitors to Project 2996 to read. I'm not sure that blogger supports "sticky posts", though if it does, I may post some new stuff. I encourage everyone who visits to read the memorials posted on the 2,996 blogs around the country as a way of remembering the people, and not just the event.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

How Is This News?

Ahh...a quick break in between projects. I open up Firefox and up comes Yahoo (mainly because it's reliable and I know I've got problems if it doesn't load). Anyway, I scan the "news" headlines quickly, and sitting right there, second from the top is:

Taxpayers pay for Bush's campaign travel [from the AP]

So, my first thought is, "Well, no fuckin' shit there, Forrest." I mean, seriously, does the media really think that people are that damn stupid? Do we really need to be told that trolling around the country on Air Force One costs money and we're footing the bill? I was under the impression that it was kinda obvious, you know.

So, I have to ask...How is this news?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Here's Throwing A Wrench Back At The Monkey

I just couldn't let this one go. Apparantly, a company by the name of Sprial Frog is creating a music download service that's free. read that right, FREE. It's an ad-supported download service that has managed to sign Universal Music Group based on a revenue sharing model. I came across this in the RAIN Newsletter and subsequently followed the link over to the Washington Post article.

What's that "thunk"? I think that was someone over at the RIAA collapsing in despair.

Blog Of Note

No, it's not mine. From time to time, I'll actually look through the "Blogs Of Note" on the Blogger home page, just to see what has managed to catch someone's attention. Today, I discovered Fireflies in the Cloud...and his Top Ten Stupidest "As Seen On TV" Products list.

Now this is just a good midday distraction from work that can't be missed.

Yep...We Called That One

As the JonBenet Ramsey case sprang back into headlines a few weeks ago, the guys and I had a conversation about the suspected killer, John Mark Karr, and how trulyplausible it was that he had indeed committed the crime. We figured that surely the investigating authorities had some compelling evidence to travel half way around the world to arrest this guy. However, after seeing him on the news...particularly his demeanor and his seemingly calculated responses, we concluded that the guy was a moron, attention-seeking freak that was living some type of sick twisted fantasy.

So, it comes as no surprise to us that the media played right along and graciously accomodated the fanatical desires of this supposed killer. It also comes as no surprise that the man, in fact, is not the killer...and that all the media hype served his ultimate purpose. It is times like these that people must truly wonder about the responsibility of the modern press and its incapability of separating itself from such tabloid-type topics.

For the past two and a half weeks, all we've heard about is report after report on this moron, his child bride, blah blah blah. How truly sad that this, a 10 year old unsolved case (one of probably hundreds of thousands across the US, I'll argue) was important enough to the press to overshadow the crisis in Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine; the devastation along the Gulf Coast; the wildfires burning in the West; and God knows what else.

Truly responsible reporting I must say [emphasis on the sarcasim].

Remembering Katrina - 1 Year Later

With all the news coverage since the 29th of August, 2005, there's really little point in reiterating anything here. I do feel, however, that many have forgotten that New Orleans was only one of many areas devastated by Hurricane Katrina. An area whose destruction should be equally credited to the failure of government at all levels over the past 20, 30, or possibly even 40 years.

So, if you're reading this today, August 29th, 2006, please take a moment to remember not only the victims in New Orleans, but also remember those communities along the Louisiana coast such as Buras and Slidell; and those in Mississippi such as Bay St. Louis, Waveland, Pass Christian, Jackson, Hancock, Gulfport, Biloxi and elsewhere who's own tragedies have been eclipsed by the scale of the disaster in New Orleans.

Here's to the "forgotten coast" and to all the victims of Hurricane Katrina. May you be spared the fear, anxiety and uncertainty of this and future hurricane seasons; may you be prosperous and secure as you rebuild your futures; may you be blessed with the kindness of family, friends, and strangers; and lastly, may you be strong for those that have lost and for those who still have so far to go.

You are not forgotten.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Recipe - Quick Prep Seasoned Green Beans

If, like me, you find yourself rushing around at dinnertime trying to figure out what to feed the family, I have a quick and simple recipe to jazz up those green beans that seem to find their way to the dinner table quite often.


  • 2 Cans Green Beans (I use Green Giant or Del Monte)
  • 1 can Swanson (or your favorite label) Chicken Broth
  • 1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
  • 4 Strips of Bacon
  • Kosher Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper


Begin by emptying the entire contents of your 2 cans of green beans (water included) into a 3 quart saucepan/pot. Next, add the 14oz can of Chicken Broth, plus 1/2 can (about 7oz.) hot water. Next, add the garlic, kosher salt and pepper. I use about 4 pinches of kosher salt, and about a teaspoon / teaspoon and a half of black pepper. This can be adjusted more or less to your taste. Set your burner to medium-high and cover the green beans.

Now, place 4 strips of bacon on a microwave safe plate and microwave on high for about 2 minutes 30 seconds (you may need to adjust this time. I use a 1200watt microwave). You may want to cover the bacon with a couple paper towels. What you're doing is partially cooking the bacon. Once the bacon has been partially cooked in the microwave, add it to the green beans. (You can also add the grease from the plate for extra flavor, if you like). Now, boil the green beans over medium-high heat for about 35 minutes. If the rest of your meal is not quite ready by the end of that 35 minutes, set the burner for the beans to medium-low / low and simmer until ready to serve.

Prep Time: ~ 5 to 6 minutes
Cook Time: ~35 minutes
Servings: 4

The great thing about this recipe is that it adds tons of extra flavor and seasonings to an otherwise boring side dish, and with the exception of an occasional stir, can be neglected while you are preparing the rest of your meal.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Like A Rock...Only Dumber (Nope...Bush Is Not Alone)

For those of you unfamiliar with Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, you're in for a real treat. It turns out that idiot presidents abound; it's not just an American phenomenon. An unedited interview of Ahmadinejad with Mike Wallace was aired on C-Span, and Vital Perspective was kind enough to publish the transcript online for the world to see.

So, for those of you who missed it...have a read.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Yep...Sounds Like Texan Logic To Me.

From an article in the Christian Science Monitor:

There are good guys, and there are bad guys, and the role of the United States is not to manage negotiations between them but to facilitate the bad guys' defeat.

This was an estimation of the Administration Line on Middle East Conflicts. No, the President didn't actually mumble these words (though it definitely sounds like something one would hear coming from this president), but it does seem to be a fair statement based on current foreign policy. I did find myself wondering why more was not done to limit the conflict in Lebanon. This article opened up a line of thinking I had not previously indulged, and it scares me to think there are still two more years in this term.

Anyway, have a read. Oh, and I'll leave you with this lovely tidbit from my Aunt.

Donald Rumsfeld briefed the President this morning. He reported to Bush that 3 Brazilian soldiers had been killed in Iraq.

To everyone's amazement, all of the color ran from Bush's face, then he collapsed onto his desk, head in hands, visibly shaken, almost whimpering.

Finally, he composed himself and asked Rumsfeld, "Just exactly how many is a brazillion?"

I know, I's a shameless jab...but it perked me up during the midday slump so it's automatically awarded "must share" status.

Social Darwinism in Modern Times

Here's a group of kids for whom procreation would not be in the best interest of society. Apparently inspired by rapper E-40 in a music video, "Ghost Riding the Whip" has become one of those internet phenomenon affecting stupid teenagers (and sadly, some "adults") everywhere.

See the GMA report for more background information. Additional videos can be found here on YouTube.

Weird News - "DNA-Mutating Hot-Dogs"

A couple of rather interesting, if not bizarre subjects from You might want to rethink your position on hotdogs and testosterone.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Landing on Friday - 11 August 2006

A big shout out to Great Britian and Pakistan this week! (Yes, I said Pakistan). THANK YOU for your excellent work in distrupting the plot of these psychotic fundamentalist assholes! You have, in effect, saved all our collective asses and I, for one, am extremely grateful.

For more direct information on this week's terrorist plot, I have found one of the best sources to be the Guardian in the UK. Here is a timeline of the events of this week, along with in-depth background.

For me, this week's events are a clear reminder of just how vigilant we must be. When you account for all the stranded travelers, the missed flights, meetings...then you have the rippling effect this will have on air travel for some time, which spills over into other services sectors, such as hotels, car rentals...a lot has been and is going to be lost...and there were no casualties. Yet, you and I know that there will be another attempt...somewhere down the line.

I think this should serve to remind all the politicians of just what we're facing and that the "global war on terror" is not, and should not be, a political rallying cry for either party. Fighting terrorism and islamic extremism is a serious endeavor that requires cooler, more calculated, foreward looking and logical thinking. Political pandering is unacceptable. So, to all the Democrats and Republicans here...GET ON THE BALL! Stop bickering; stop kissing your constituencies' collective asses; START DOING WHAT IS IN THE BEST INTEREST OF THIS COUNTRY. That's something we haven't seen in a very, very long time.

(oh...and Estate Tax Cuts and Timed Withdrawals from Iraq are NOT in the best interest of our country. Any bleeding idiot can see that...why can't you?)

Anyway, on to a different topic.

I'll be posting a recipe over the weekend that's based on a recipe from Emeril Lagasse, but with some slight modifications / tweaks.

Peace Out!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

A Prayer for Ali Rmeity and all of Lebanon

Roughly 41 people died today in Lebanon during an Israeli strike on the southern Beirut suburb of Chiah. Among them, 15 family members of Ali Rmeity; a Lebanese man trying to do what was best for his family while maintaining some level of personal integrity. At present, Ali Rmeity, his wife Hoda, and his 9 year old son, Hussein, are being treated at the Mount Lebanon hospital near Beirut. Rmeity's injuries are not life threatening. His wife and son are still in critical condition. His other children, Mohammed, 22, Fatima, 19, and Malak, 16, along with his mother, father, 3 brothers and two sisters all lost their lives in the attack.

May God bless them and keep them, along with all the Lebanese who's lives have been taken during this conflict. May He welcome them into His kingdom and grant them everlasting peace.

I hold out hope that soon, these attacks, on both sides, will cease...and that the American, European and Arab governments will wake up from their ridiculous stupor, stop jockeying for position, and put REAL effort into ending hostilities. Whatever it takes.

We are long past the days of allowing Israeli retaliation to continue unabated. It has become painstakingly clear that over the past 2 weeks, they have serious intelligence failures that are resulting in needless deaths. Israel has the right to defend itself, as would any sovereign nation, but it should do so honorably and discriminatingly; something that increasingly appears to be impossible.

The fighting needs to end, and the governments of the free world that have talked the talk need to step up and start walking the walk.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Iraq The Model

Mohammad over at Iraq The Model has a very interesting take on the role of the Arab Media in Arab culture.

"...the media functions not only as a means to deliver news but had long turned into an effective weapon that is not the least interested in objectivity or factuality. The Arab media shamelessly sided with terrorism (or resistance from their perspective) and this propaganda machine funded by the evil powers in our region continues poisoning the minds of their Arab audience to feed the totally needless hatred towards the world."

His perspective is one that I personally share, and it wouldn't be too far a step to replace "Arab Media" with "American Media", depending on the topic of discussion. It all boils down to spin, snappy headlines, and what is in the best interest of the media. Media for the public good is a concept long since abondoned, and we are the worse for it.

On another note, Salam Adil of Asterism posted a perspective on Iraq The Model's blog about the Arab that was not up to his usual standard of clarity, and one that, for me, was rather disappointing for someone of Salam's intellect.

The Palm Jumeirah

Cool...definitely cool. An architectural wonder is an understatement. I'm not so sure this is the smartest way to spend money...but it is definitely one of those awe-inspiring moments of human ingenuity. Take a look.

For all the cubicle workers out there.

A co-worker forwarded this to me in an email and I found it to be quite entertaining. So, for all you cubicle workers out there...this one's for you.

It's an embedded windows media player, so you'll need to view the page in Internet Explorer to hear the song.