Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Saturday, May 28, 2005
This is a photo (click here for the story) taken by Michael Yon, a freelance journalist in Iraq. Now, were I a person to vote for the Pulitzer Prize, I'd have my winner. It's quite extraordinary how few people have seen this photo. When I first found this picture, I just stared at it for a long time. I tried to hold back tears imagining myself in Major Bieger's place. I was able to get in touch with Mr. Yon and Major Bieger's wife. I told them to pass along to the major that I'd let him hold my babies anytime and that I hoped he and his men returned home as soon as their job was done. The work our soldiers, sailors, and Marines are doing overseas can never be appreciated enough. I hope that any of the few people who stop by this site will take time to thank those who serve our country this memorial weekend.
Update: I found the emails I sent after I found this photo.
I'm sure you're going to be flooded with emails, but I had to write. I was brought to tears seeing the photo of him and the Iraqi girl. Tell Major Bieger and his guys that we know why they are there. I hope he can get home when his job is done and be able to hug his own kids soon. Thanks for your sacrifice to keep our nation safe.Matt FennellyDetroit, MI
Thank you so much for your e-mail Matt - that was very kind of you. The support has been overwhelming and we can't wait to get my husband home either. The soldiers know why they are there and I think the picture will show America the same. We care for these people. Have a great day and thanks again.Amy Bieger
Just wanted to say thanks to you guys. It must truly be hell there. Tell that Major he can come over and hold my kids anytime.
I will actually tell the Major that this morning! Thank you for the kind words; they are GREATLY appreciated!Michael
Posted by Critical Matt at 11:03 PM
Friday, May 27, 2005
"Skunk" Baxter - Steely Dan guitarist turned missile defense whiz.
The guitarist-turned-defense-consultant does regular work for the Department of Defense and the nation's intelligence community, chairs a congressional advisory board on missile defense, and has lucrative consulting contracts with companies like Science Applications International Corp., Northrop Grumman Corp. and General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. He says he is in increasing demand for his unconventional views of counterterrorism.
"We thought turntables were for playing records until rappers began to use them as instruments, and we thought airplanes were for carrying passengers until terrorists realized they could be used as missiles," says Mr. Baxter, who sports a ponytail and handlebar mustache. "My big thing is to look at existing technologies and try to see other ways they can be used, which happens in music all the time and happens to be what terrorists are incredibly good at."
One of Mr. Baxter's clients -- General Atomics' vice president Mike Campbell -- likens him to a "gluon," a term drawn from quantum physics that refers to the particles binding together the basic building blocks of all matter. Contractors and policymakers say Mr. Baxter can see past bureaucratic boundaries and integrate information drawn from a variety of sources, though some who have worked with him say he can also be a self-promoter.
Mr. Baxter can speak the acronym-heavy vernacular of the professional defense consultant, but he would never be mistaken for one of the hardened ex-military men who fill the ranks of the industry. He rarely wears ties, is fond of self-deprecating jokes, makes frequent popular-culture references, and peppers his speech with casual profanity. He also often appears on VH1 music retrospectives.
Still, he's careful not to discuss current or past projects that might be classified and keeps to a punishing schedule. One morning recently, a black government-issued sport-utility vehicle picked him up outside a Washington caf� as soon as he had finished breakfast and whisked him to a Pentagon agency for nearly 12 hours of meetings. That evening, he traveled to Ohio's Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for several days of briefings and meetings. He flew 230,000 miles last year, and makes a point of dissolving brightly colored packets of vitamin supplements into his drinks to stave off illness.
Mr. Baxter, who joined his first band when he was 11, began studying journalism at Boston University, but dropped out after a year in 1969 to begin working with Ultimate Spinach, a short-lived Boston psychedelic rock band. He moved to California a short time later and became one of the six original members of the avant-garde rock group Steely Dan. He quit the band in 1974 and joined the Doobie Brothers, helping to remake its sound into a commercially appealing mix of funk and jazzy pop. Mr. Baxter left the group in 1979 after a long tour in support of its most popular album, "Minute by Minute."
Posted by Critical Matt at 9:40 PM
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Some songs recently overheard being playing at Brian & Michelle's house:
Burning Down the House, It's Getting Hot in Here, The Roof is on Fire, Let Me Stand Next to Your Fire, Smoke on the Water, We Didn't Start the Fire (har har), The Unforgettable Fire, World on Fire, Chariots of Fire, Hot Hot Hot, Some Like it Hot (yar), Heat Wave, The Heat is On, The Heat of the Moment.
And some recent movies seen near the DVD player:
Ladder 49, Backdraft, Some Like it Hot, Up in Smoke, Streets of Fire, St. Elmo's Fire, Gunsmoke, Farenheit 451.
Posted by Critical Matt at 12:36 AM
We purchased a new toy for Declan the other day. As you can see, he's quite taken with it. He imitated using a weed wacker with a stick and the wah nuh nuh sound, so we decided to get him this toy. It makes the exact same noise as a real one and has a lighted cord that spins like real line.
Posted by Critical Matt at 12:27 AM
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Here's a photo taken by Jenna's parents the other day. Their property runs up against the Polly Ann trail in Attica. Motorized vehicles and dumping (obviously) are prohibited. They heard what sounded like an ATV pulling a pallet full of shingles and you can see what the A-holes did with their garbage. Hopefully we'll be able to track down the culprits.
Posted by Critical Matt at 11:44 PM
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Well, the kids are sleeping. Jenna just laid down, and I'm watching Futbol Picante on ESPN2. It's safe to say that hockey has yet to return.
Meeting update: If you scroll down a bit, you'll see my comment about meeting with the sales manager for the great lakes and possibly opening an agency. The meeting went great. I took a 'test' and scored higher than about 90% of anyone else that has taken this test that extrapolates out into percentages for success (there were a lot of graphs explaining all of this)... I'm preparing to complete a market survey and put together my business plan. It's a bit daunting. I'm not worried about being successful, but having a company tell me they're going to loan me a few hundred thousand dollars does make my scalp itch. The short take to explain the loan is that it becomes a gift if you hit certain sales goals. Anyone need life insurance? So, I need to start looking for office space, and after my initial research, a tax shelter and a carribean island to incorporate in...Updates to follow.
Posted by Critical Matt at 10:42 PM
Monday, May 16, 2005
Monday, May 09, 2005
Due to popular demand (1 comment), I'm updating the blog. The news has been slow and boring, and I've been working around the house alot, so not too much time to blog.
If you have a broadband connection, pick up Konfabulator. It's a neat desktop enhancement that can put anything you want on the desktop.
Let's see. I've got some photos I'll upload later. I may be opening an agency in Lapeer for Nationwide and getting out of the claims side of the business. We'll see. I have a meeting with the Great Lakes Sales Mgr tomorrow. Revenge of the Sith looks awesome and I don't care if I'm labeled a geek.
Farewell for now. By the way, it's going to be 80 and sunny today, so I feel sick and called in and took a day from work.
Posted by Critical Matt at 10:23 AM