Archive for December, 2007

Happy Zulu New Year

Monday, December 31st, 2007

I meant to post this a couple of hours ago, but could not get to it until now. I guess some sailors in the mid Atlantic will be turning the calendar over to 2008 in a few minutes.

For all you non-military types, Zulu is the equivalent of Greenwich Mean Time.  We are in Romeo Time also known as EST which is Zulu minus five hours.  So the New Year celebration would have happened at 7pm if I had been on my game.

All joking aside. I do wish all of my readers a very happy and safe New Year and many blessings.

Is The Graditude Campaign using correct sign language?

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

Below are the comments I left over at BigDaddyGib on this subject. I felt it was worth blogging about after finding other bloggers with similar concerns.

“I got an email on this at work last week. It is a great campaign, BUT it has raised some concern in the deaf and speech impaired community.

We use ASL (American Sign Language) in our home. Our three year old son Caden hears fine, but has serious problems with speech that are linked to a genetic defect. Due to my exposure to ASL over the past three years, I was puzzled when I saw the way “Thank You from the bottom of my heart” was signed in this campaign. Come to find out, the creator of the campaign did not do his homework. Due to some questions of those in the ASL community, the creator of the campaign has placed a message on “The Sign” link within his web site.

Don’t get me wrong. I think this campaign is great. I just wish the guy had done his homework BEFORE getting so well publicized.”

It appears that my gut feeling about this gesture seeming odd was right on the money. Some members of the deaf and speech impaired community have been all over Scott Truitt “The Gratitude Campaign” site owner like white on rice. There were some strong criticisms misleading verbiage on his web site that could make people believe that this gesture was linked to ASL (American Sign language). One of the more polite critics of how this gesture was presented is from Raychelle over at Rays of Raychelle. Raychelle has posted some detailed email exchanges with Scott Truitt.

Scott admitted in his responses to Raychelle that not everyone had been as nice on this subject:

“That is very helpful, Raychelle. I have been getting a lot of e-mails on this, and they are negative. I appreciate you telling me about the blog – I’m hoping that I can log on and clarify this a bit. The last thing we want to do is be disrespectful of the Deaf community – and I absolutely understand your concerns.” Source

Raychelle is not the only blogger following this story with concern over the impact it may have on the signing community. You can read more from lolypup, Kokonut Pundit.

The change made to his web site as a result of the concerns go like this:

“Please note that there has been some debate as to whether this sign is a recognized sign from American Sign Language. With the utmost respect to those who know and use ASL, we are currently consulting several authorities on ASL to come to a resolution on that issue. We will update this page with our findings. In the mean time we would suggest that you use this sign only to thank those who serve, and do not assume that who use ASL will recognize this sign.”

The campaign is certainly getting some press from the big fish bloggers and many others. Michelle Malkin, Black Five, WizBang, and Ace of Spades.

Deborah Feldman reported back in September from over at that Truitt “got the Seattle Seahawks to play it [The Gratitude Campaign video] on their jumbotron before the Seahawks-Bengals game. His hope is for the gesture to become so common, no one even remembers it took a “campaign” to get it started. Do you think it’ll catch on?”

Well Deborah, it looks like it did catch on. Now there are a few big questions:

Will this campaign prove to be damaging to the ASL community?


How do you tell difference between a troop returning from war and one that just left high school 12 weeks ago and has just graduated basic training?

and most importantly

Who is going to train the returning troops on what this gesture actually means?

Given the bad press on the war effort by main stream media and some bleeding heart liberal congress members, the troops could easily mistake this gesture as getting flipped off or something equivalent if it does not come with a smile or some other form of positive gesture.

Why don’t people just go up and say “thank you” with the God given communication skills they normally use everyday? It is the least we can do for a person who voluntarily signed their name to a contract with the US government to die for our freedom if necessary.

Huckabee or Thompson

Tuesday, December 4th, 2007

“I hope my friends will follow my lead and vote for Senator Fred Thompson when the polls open in 2008.”

Those were my words, but I am not sure I will be sticking to them. I wrote that at the end of a blog post on November 24th. Then I saw the debate and really liked what I saw from Huckabee and not so much what I saw from Thompson. Just call it a flip-flop if I pull in behind Huckabee. That’s fine with me because I am not running for office. Right now I am firmly on the fence. One of the questions that I had considered for asking Thompson if I had a chance was, “who would you vote for if you were not running and why?” I would like to ask Huckabee the same one and a few others.

I am confident that either Fred Thompson or Mike Huckabee will win the South Carolina Republican primary this coming January regardless of what the polls say. Out of all the front runners, these two most closely represent the southern conservative point of view in my opinion. I am pleased to see Huckabee gaining ground on the more liberal Republican contenders. Fred Thompson, definitely not a liberal contender, has been my favorite until recently mainly due to my belief that Thompson is more electable candidate. However, I value my Christian friends’ opinions and have looked closely at Huckabee as a result of some of them leaning in Huckabee’s direction. I am now much more on the fence during this primary election than I have ever been for any election. I am also more knowledgeable about the candidates at an earlier point than I have ever been.

One thing is for certain. I am not going to agree with any single candidate on all of the issues. None of them is a clone of me. ;-) I do believe that strong family values and a solid commitment to maintaining the security of this country are the most important issues at stake.

Gingerbread Train

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

See detailed pictures that show how we made this train

Gingerbread TrainOne of our family’s favorite things to do during the holidays is to bake. This year we plan to carry on the Christmas season baking tradition by creating the Gingerbread Train once again. Last year was our first attempt and it was a huge success.

There are plenty recipes on the Internet to for building gingerbread houses and gingerbread trains. We got our recipe and templates from FamilyFun Magazine. Their online version gives detailed pictures of the entire process in addition to the train part templates and a gingerbread recipe that will make enough dough for two train cars.

Here are a few recommendations that we think will make the project even more fun:

  1. Make extra train cars.
  2. Use different candy to decorate.
  3. Assemble the train on a movable surface.

In the event you prefer building a gingerbread house, check out Simply Recipes for instructions on How to Make a Gingerbread House.