Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day 2010

Some thoughts.

I usually just treat Memorial Day as another holiday. For some reason this year I find myself thinking more about the meaning of the holiday. This morning one of the internet sites I monitor "The Big Picture" has a photo essay about Afghanistan.

I've heard talk about comparing Afghanistan and Vietnam. One comparison is that it has now exceeded the length of time we were engaged in Vietnam. A comparison that is very different is the number of lives lost in the conflict. In Vietnam many more lives were lost.

Another comparison that is very different is the mission. In Vietnam we were fighting a war against the NVA as well as the Viet Cong. In Afghanistan there is no group that corresponds to the NVA. Only a comparison with the Viet Cong and the Taliban can be made. That comparison is not very good either. The Taliban were thrown out of power at the start of the war while the Viet Cong were never in power.

Additionally we never had a clear exit strategy in Vietnam. Additionally, the political will to fight the war in the beginning was not clearly stated or understood, we basically 'backed-into' the war and at the end we most definitely 'backed-out-of' the war.

In Afghanistan we most definitely had a clear entry strategy, and that was to overthrow the Taliban because they harbored and supported Al Qaeda which in turn planned and executed the 11 September 2001 suicide attacks that took the lives of the airline passengers and the occupants of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The stated exit strategy was and still is to create a national structure in Afghanistan that does not include its support for groups like Al Qaeda.

My time in Vietnam was a very long time ago, over 43 years ago, but the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan do make me think of that time, long ago, especially on a day like today.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A New Ostovar Ceramic

Here are some pictures of our brand new "Terry-Turtle"

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Martin Gardner 1914 - 2010

I think I read every column of his in Scientific American. Here is a link to a page at that publication:

He lived a long a full life. And will be remembered by all who read his contributions to scientific education.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

My Personal (Autographed) Copy of ...

"The Life and Times of First Baptist Church, Wilson, North Carolina 1860-2010"

Dear Siblings,

My copy of "The Life and Times of First Baptist Church, Wilson, North Carolina 1860-2010" Arrived in the mail today (I took it out of the mail box just 45 minutes ago).

And if Chapter 17, "A mission is Born and a Ministry Ends" 1912-1916 (T. Williams Chambliss) is any indication of the quality of the rest of this book then this book will be widely read.

Both my youngest sibling and my oldest sibling are mentioned in this chapter.

I've not actually finished the whole chapter but have done a quick skim through it and it is a really nice read!

I will definitely bring it to the beach this summer.

Which reminds me that I have 'seven-presents' to give out at the beach this summer so don't let me forget to distribute them (not copies of this book but something else).

Your middle child sibling;


Saturday, May 15, 2010

15 May 2010 - A Ride On The ATT Bike Path

We got an early start and headed out for the White Oak Church Road entrance to the ATT Bike Path. This entrance is about six miles from the southern end of the trail.

The nice part of this entrance is that it is pretty close to the Chatham County part of the trail, and this part is paved! Wow we were really impressed with that part of the trail.

We continued on into the Durham county section (sadly not as well done as the unpaved part in Wake County) for a little while then headed back to the place where we got on the trail.

Here are the details:

Distance ....... 22.49 km
Average Speed .. 16.70 kph
Time ........... 01:23 hh:mm

And here is a picture when we crossed into the Durham County section, and a picture of the smooth section.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

01 MAY 2010 - A Nice Morning For A Bike Ride

This was a beautiful morning for a ride. I was going to just do the greenway but found it a bit crowded as I started making my way toward Shelly Lake.

So I headed up North Hills drive toward Crabtree Valley Mall and got back on the greenway and scooted under Glenwood Avenue. The greenway cuts behind the mall, but I left it at the "Crabtree Tavern" and headed up the hill.

This short connector to Blue Ridge Road is actually called Edwards Mill Road. Turns out this road used to dip down to the creek then back up the hill. Up the hill I went through the Glen Eden intersection and toward the top. Once I made it to the top of Blue Ridge Road at the intersection with Duraleigh Road I turned left. If I were to have turned right that would have put me on the path of my north Raleigh 50K loop ride.

But turning left on Blue Ridge at Duraleigh sends you down toward the NC Art Museum. I almost immediately turned right on to Macon Pond Road and headed over to the new Edwards Mill Road that cuts across to the RBC center. When I arrived at Reedy Creek Road I took a right toward Umstead State Park. There is a nice bike path beside the road but there were so many walkers and runners I kept to the road all the way to the park Entrance. Rather than trust my 'road-bike-tires' to the packed limestone paths in the park I kept on the road which becomes Trenton Road at that point.

Trenton road goes pas the 'back-entrance' to SAS. I wonder if I could ride through the campus and come out on N. Harrison, since there is a 'guard shack' there perhaps not. So, Trenton road continues on and where it ends at Trinity I turned right on Trinity and took Trinity all the way to the end, back at Blue Ridge Road.

Turning left on Blue Ridge at Trinity I head back toward the NC Museum of Art. At the museum I get on the greenway for a beautiful ride through the campus toward the 'belt-way-bike-bridge'. The campus is full of outdoor art and this is one of the high points of any bike ride that goes this way. Here a pictures I took at the entrance to the bridge.
Once across the bridge I decided to see if I could take a short cut through the Meridith College campus and I came out on Faircloth Street and turned left to cross Wade Avenue into the Ridge Road shopping center. Once through the shopping center I headed down Ridge Road toward Glen Eden.

At Glen Eden I turned right and made my way down to cross Glenwood Avenue. The road turns into Granville street and at the bottom of the hill I usually turn right on Pasquotank then left on Alleghanny then right on Yadkin and on to Davidson street and back home. Since my original idea was to do a greenway ride I decided to ride the east leg of the greenway and continued past Alleghanny and right on Orange then up by the golf course and down the hill to Beaufort.

Beaufort street near Root elementary school has a greenway entrance that just shoots you over to Lassister Mill Road. Once on Lassister Mill it is across Crabtree Creek and right onto the east leg of the greenway.

Once on the greenway I felt like I was near the end of my ride. Knowing that I had to ride back home (up the hill from Crabtree Creek) I decided to turn around at the gazebo on the raised walk-way/bike-way you enter after going under US1 on the greenway. Here is a picture of view looking out toward the water in the swamp.
When I headed back to Lassiter Mill I turned right on Beaufort street and headed up the hill by Root elementary. That was a 'slog' I was about out of gas at that point. I made it back home with a lot of climbing.

Distance ....... 44.83 km (about 28 miles)
Average Speed .. 17.30 kph
Time ........... 02:34 hh:mm

Here is the link to my 2010 MS150 ride (after 2010 the link is no longer valid).