stusegal: (Default)
Like most people from my generation, I have felt for a long time like I know the Kennedy's . . . almost like they are extended family.  Over the years, the decades, we have celebrated with them, and we have cried with and for them.

A viewer wrote in to one of the cable channels today, in response to the question "Just what is it about the Kennedy's?"  And I thought his/her answer was right on: 
"They were rich, handsome and famous, and all they ever cared about was helping people less fortunate than themselves".

I've never agreed with Ted Kennedy's politics, but I've always admired his determination and sincerity.  I'm glad to have been here to see our first "young" President elected, glad to have cut school one day to see Bobby on the campaign trail, and glad to have heard Ted's 1980 DNC speech.

With Ted's passing we have lost the family who can only be described as America's First Family, even in the hearts of conservatives like me.
stusegal: (VITO)
It is with great sadness we must say goodbye to our friend, Ingela Levett.

We met Ingela in the fall of 2002, when we adopted big Vito from Rawhide Rescue.  Apparently Rawhide went to NYC to get Vito from the Animal Shelter and brought him to NJ to find him a home.  He has been with us 6 years, is the sweetest most obedient dog you can imagine, and in 2006 he earned his Therapy Dog Certification  -  which allows him to go to the Hospice and Nursing Home to visit people.  (Nothing like a 140 pound bullmastiff to bring a smile.)

Without Ingela, it would not have been.  Without Ingela, the 2,000+ dogs she rescued between 2001 and today may have been euthanized in shelters.  Without Ingela, a certain autistic child I know might not have his furry friend.

Rashmika and I grew to know Ingela over the past 6 years.  She devoted every waking hour to Rawhide Rescue.  No matter how tired, or ill, she might be she was never too tired to rescue one more dog.

Ingela's devotion is what inspired us to do our annual "Ride For Rawhide"; how could we not help her to raise the money she needed to rescue and care for these dogs?

For a long time, I didn't really know Ingela had a life before Rawhide Rescue; I just assumed she had always done this.  I didn't know she was the Information Management Director at Bristol Myers Squibb, where she worked for 30 years; but when I learned that it made sense - the drive, the organizational skills, the people skills.  After retirement, she founded Rawhide Rescue.

Ingela went into the hospital a few weeks back, having been diagnosed with lukemia.  Apparently, in the hospital, she contracted a staph infection, then pneumonia, and passed away this morning.

Countless dogs and families are a living testament to Ingela's efforts.  I greatly admire the impact she has had on so many; who am I to judge, but it sure seems like a life well spent.  I will miss her dearly.

Ingela's Obituary & Funeral Arrangements
The family has asked for donations to Rawhide Rescue in lieu of flowers or other gifts.
stusegal: (VICTORY)
Yes, it has been 15 years today since the WTC was bombed - an event most seem to forget, even though 6 people were killed, and over a thousand injured.  I remember it well, for 2 reasons:
  1. The first, less important - in 1993 I was going through the WTC at least 3 days a week.  My memory of that time is vivid, and I am thankful I wasn't passing through as the bomb exploded.
  2. And more importantly, I am reminded of it every day as we suffer with the effects of the non-response of our administration. 
Our administration was so embroiled in its' own scandals and indiscretions that it couldn't seem to focus on the seriousness of the attack, nor even understand the implications of not responding decisively and with appropriate action.  In fact, had they responded with 1/10th the tenacity that George Bush was 8 years later forced to (yes, I know how we all feel about GWB, but he wasn't responsible for the WTC bombing) then we probably wouldn't be living with todays' mess.

Had the Administration done the right things I doubt we would have seen the attack on the Towers in 2001, and I doubt we would be in Iraq today.

As we listen to the Obama / Clinton debate tonight, and the later real Presidential debates, we need to be looking for the person who will, as JFK put it - be asking not what their country can do for them, but what they can do for their country.
stusegal: (Default)
I just saw Ron Howard’s film, In The Shadow Of the Moon   -  amazing, absolutely amazing!

A documentary using NASA footage, and contemporary interviews with the astronauts who actually went.  It’s been so long since the Apollo Missions ended that it’s easy to forget the towering achievement.  I just forgot that we sent 7 missions to the moon, and 6 times actually landed.

Now it’s been over 30 years since we achieved the greatest technological feats in history, and sad to realize that we have slid backward ever since.  (OK, so we now have plasma TVs and Humvees, but why hasn’t man walked on Mars?)

How much of the tech that we enjoy today was driven by the developmental needs of NASA?  Why haven’t we carried on?  - - Well, I think the only reason we ever went was the inspirational leadership of JFK (and I don’t want to make this blog political, but maybe its time for inspirational leadership again).

If you have forgotten, or maybe never known, of the courage, resourcefulness, drive, intelligence that went into the Moon landings, if you are unaware of the way it brought humanity together – then go rent Ron Howard’s documentary.  It's a really enjoyable look into an incredible past, and something of a wake-up call.

stusegal: (Default)

Probably very few of the attendees came in the way I did, on the PATH train from NJ.

Unbelievably, PATH has rebuilt their World Trade Center station  -  especially unbelievable as there is no World Trade Center, and absolutely surrealistic as the PATH train comes IN TO the giant hole which is Ground Zero.

As the train comes in, you realize you are IN the crater where the WTC once stood.  The photo below is taken from the PATH platform, which is about 40-50 ft below street level.  There are several layers of metal grids and screens, some fine enough as to not be picked up by the camera, protecting people on the platform from construction activities on the site, which is why there is a "hazy" look to everything in the crater.

To stand on that platform and look into that crater where once the WTC stood, that once-upon-a-time I would go through daily, and to remember how on many days I (a kid from a small town) would as an adult look up in wonder at those giant twin towers . . . . and now to see the enormous hole in the ground, the hordes of people like myself looking on with mouths agape, the giant "May We Never Forget" plaque at Engine Company #10 across the street  -  it just brings tears to your eyes and pain to your heart.

September 2011

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