Thursday, March 20, 2008

Books I'm Reading.




If you're looking for a book to pick up, I'd highly recommend any of these right now. They've been books I've been reading lately when I've been able to find some free time. Each one of these books is making me restless. You can actually download "Deadly Viper" for free here.

Maybe these books will challenge you as they're challenging me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Skate Florida.

I remember telling you that I love things that inspire me. This week the inspiration came from an e-mail from Joshua in Florida. Joshua's leading a team of long boarders and they're riding across the entire state of Florida to raise awareness and money for Buy Shoes. Save Lives. and our Preemptive Love campaign.

Right now they're planning on starting sometime in June and they're going to take the message of Preemptive Love and take it to the corners of Florida. What I love most about this, is that they told me that this is just the beginning.

Everything about this is preemptive. It's beautiful. Go check out their website here.

If these guys don't challenge you, I really don't know what will.

Monday, March 17, 2008

when a bomb explodes


This past week a bomb exploded outside of a well known hotel here in the city.

A driver had pulled up to the entrance of the hotel and detonated his car around seven thirty in the evening. The hotel is just up the hill from me and it seemed like everybody in the city heard the explosion or felt it rattle their homes. Nobody knows what exactly what happened because when it's all said and done, there's just a twisted piece of metal in the road surrounded by chaos. Some say it was an Arab trying to assassinate the chief of security that was on the second floor of the hotel getting a hair cut. Others say it was a Palestinian that was trying to kill the Jews that were on the first floor celebrating. More are saying that there's still one more car bomb out there and that they're frantically searching for it.

The hotel is famous in this city. It towers over every other building and at night it's lit up with brilliant green spotlights. It was eerie to see that no lights were shining that night. It's the hotel where we would have our BSSL meetings every week and where we spent the night so that we could watch the super bowl. Just last week I was in front of the hotel talking with one of the guards. Usually I just walk by after he looks through my bags but that day I decided to talk to him more. You could tell he was excited to have someone to talk to. He talked about his family, his job, how long he's been in the military and his thoughts about the city.

Over thirty people were injured and two people were killed in the car bomb, one being a security guard. I'm not sure who it was.

I can't imagine something like this being a part of your daily life. I can't imagine living in a city where you'd hear or see 3 or 4 car bombs a day. I can't imagine a place where the children run out and have games that they play in the aftermath of an explosion. These places seemed so far away when I saw them on television in America. They still seem far away.

We have it so good where we are. But this car bomb made me stop and remember the people in Baghdad, Mosul, Kirkuk, and Baqouba. Enough is enough. These people have seen extravagant acts of violence day after day.

It's time for peace. Isn't it?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

ha·lab·ja

ta·bun C5H11N2O2P

An extremely toxic chemical. Tabun is toxic within one minute of exposure. The number and severity of symptoms which appear vary according to the amount of the agent absorbed and rate of entry into the body. Extremely small skin exposure cause severe sweating and tremors accompanied with constricted pupils. Inhaled dosages kill in 1 to 10 minutes and liquid in the eye kills almost as fast. Most of what is known about lethal dosages of tabun are known from animal studies on monkeys.

sa·rin C4H10FO2P

Initial symptoms following exposure to sarin are a runny nose, tightness in the chest and constriction of the pupils. Soon after, the victim has difficulty breathing and experiences nausea and drooling. As the victim continues to lose control of bodily functions, he vomits, defecates and urinates. This phase is followed by twitching and jerking. Ultimately, the victim becomes comatose and suffocates in a series of convulsive spasms. Vapor concentrations immediately penetrate the skin and body. Death may follow in one minute after direct ingestion. It is estimated that sarin is more than 500 times more toxic than cyanide.

VX C11H26NO2PS

VX is one of the most toxic nerve agents ever synthesized. The average lethal dose is about 10 milligrams through skin contact or 20 milligrams if inhaled. Early symptoms of skin exposure may be local muscular twitching or seating followed by vomiting. Symptoms also include a runny nose, collapsing of the chest and shortness of breath.

sul·fer mus·tard C4H8Cl2S

Mustard gas is an extremely strong blister-causing agent. Mustard gas causes severe damage to the DNA and cells. Those exposed usually suffer no immediate symptoms. Within 4 to 24 hours the exposure develops into deep, itching and burning blisters wherever the gas came into contact with the skin. If the eyes are exposed they become sore and swell shut, ledaing to conjunctivitis and blindness. If inhaled, it causes bleeding and blistering within the respiratory system. Blister agent exposure over more than 50% of the body surface area is usually fatal.

Twenty years ago today, planes flew over the village of Halabja in Northern Iraq and dropped bombs loaded with the chemicals, tabun, sarin, VX, and sulfer mustard, killing over 5,000 Kurdish men, women and children.

I was three years old.