Friday, November 18, 2005

A Brief History of the English Renaissance

1485 -- The Renaissance period in England begins with the Battle of Bosworth Field, in which Henry Bolingbroke (soon-to-be Henry VII) kills Richard the Third, who sold his kingdom for a horse, something like Esau and his birthright but not quite.

1489 -- The first pound is minted, a coin which will never be of the slightest use to anybody but continues to greatly annoy American cashiers when accidentally given in place of U.S. currency. Will be of still less value when England finally sucks it up and gets on board with the Euro like all the other European countries.

1496 -- England makes a commercial treaty with the Netherlands. No one has ever been quite sure why, since the Dutch are of even less use than the pound.

1497 -- John Cabot, in the interests of scientific exploration, discovers Newfoundland. Tragically, no one cares because while the Spaniards were busy discovering America, he has only discovered Canada.

1509 -- A syphilitic, lecherous old coot known as Henry VIII begins his reign, which some historians contend was even more prolonged and painful than that of FDR.

1515 -- Thomas Wolsey, Archbishop of York, is made Lord Chancellor of England. He was renowned and well-respected, mostly for his corpulence.

1517 -- The Protestant Reformation begins in Germany, but the English don't much care, as they historically don't much care about anything.

1521-- Henry VIII defends the Catholic Church against the assaults of the Protestants and is named Protector of the Faith.

1529 -- Henry VIII decides he doesn't much like being Catholic after all because it means he can't sleep with whomever he'd like. Begins to sever ties with the Catholic Church over this vastly portentous issue. Appoints Sir Thomas More Lord Chancellor.

1530 -- Thomas Wolsey, due to both fatness and being sick of dealing with the whims of syphilitic demanding tyrants, dies.

1532 -- Thomas More resigns from his post, also sick of dealing with the whims of syphilitic demanding tyrants, although not fat.

1533 -- Henry VIII divorces his nice Catholic wife and marries his mistress Anne Boleyn, whom history tells us had eleven fingers and three breasts. Pope Clement VII excommunicates him, informing him that sleeping with random women simply for the sake of bearing progeny is not a practice condoned by the Catholic Church.

1534 -- See Henry. See Henry fume. Fume, Henry, fume. Henry, irritated, declares himself Head of the Church in England with the Act of Supremacy, otherwise known as the "I-Can-Be-Pope-Too!" Parliament.

1535 -- Thomas More, wisely recognizing that Henry cannot be the Pope because there already is a Pope, refuses to take the Act of Supremacy. Henry has More sent to the Tower of London and his head chopped off, because that is what English monarchs do with people they don't like.

1536 -- Henry, grown tired of sleeping with Anne Boleyn, has her accused of witchcraft (Because having three breasts and eleven fingers didn't tip him off?), and summarily beheaded. Marries Jane Seymour, Wife #3.

1537 -- Jane Seymour, afraid of having her head chopped off, dutifully bears Henry a son and then dies to avoid further confrontation.

1540 -- Henry VIII marries Anne of Cleves, a German princess, due to political negotiations, but decides she looks like a horse and he doesn't want to be married to her. So he divorces her and marries Catherine Howard instead.

1542 -- But he doesn't much like her either, so he has her beheaded too.

1543 -- However, he does like the name Catherine, so he marries his final wife and third Catherine, Catherine Parr.

1544 -- Bored because he figures six wives is enough for any man, Henry VIII decides to invade France.

1547 -- Fortunately for Catherine Parr, Henry dies from the syphilis he has incurred from sleeping with too many women (In pace requiscat.) His young son is crowned King Edward VI.

1549 -- The Book of Common Prayer, and a consistent liturgical service, is instituted throughout England. This is basically a Mass but the English pretend it isn't.

1553 -- Edward VI dies and Lady Jane Grey is placed on the throne for a grand total of nine days until Mary, daughter of Henry VIII and his first wife and rightful heir to the throne, notices and gets understandably annoyed and deposes her.

1554 -- So annoyed in fact, that she has Jane Grey's head chopped off. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

1555 -- Mary then kills some Protestants and reinstates the Catholic Faith as the religion of the realm. She is known as Bloody Mary to history, because it is not nice to kill Anglicans, even if they are very, very stupid.

1558 -- Mary dies. Elizabeth I, who was Queen for about nine hundred years, give or take, ascends to the throne and starts butchering Catholic priests left and right, but for some reason that is okay, which is why we call her "Good Queen Bess". Catholic legislation is repealed.

1563 -- The Thirty-Nine Articles are published, definitively instituting Anglicanism as the religion of the realm, making the Church of England the first church in history to think it's Catholic when it's not. Fortunately, the Catholics know better, so no one is really fooled.

1564 -- William Shakespeare is born.

1567 -- Lord Darnley, whom no one really cares about until he gets murdered, gets murdered by the Earl of Bothwell. Then his wife, Mary Queen of Scots, makes a possibly ill-advised strategic move and marries her husband's murderer. The Scots are a bit down on the whole adultery-murder-remarriage thing, so she escapes to England where they are more open-minded about that sort of thing.

1584 -- Mary wants to be Queen, and conspires against Elizabeth.

1587 -- As is the usual fate of such aspirees, she is executed by the state.

1588 -- The Spanish Armada is defeated by the English fleet under Sir Francis Drake, which is in fact the only point in history that the English ever kicked the Spanish's butt at anything, so they like to make much of this point.

1597-1601 -- The Irish rebel against Elizabeth. The rebellion is squashed, so then they feel sorry for themselves and eat too many potatoes, which will eventually cause the Great Potato Famine.

1603 -- Elizabeth dies. James VI of Scotland, Mary Queen of Scots' son, is crowned James I of England. History does not tell us how he kept track of which Roman numeral to put after his name.

1604 -- James bans Jesuits and Puritans. The Church of England is also the only Christian church in history to persecute both Catholics and Protestants equally.

1605 -- Catholic conspirators, led by Guy Fawkes, attempt to blow up Parliament. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but they wind up getting found out and beheaded. The English resent him so much for his treachery that they named a holiday after him.

1611 -- The King James Version of the Bible is disseminated, under King James, who named the translation after himself to ensure history didn't forget that he was the one who oversaw its completion.

1616 -- William Shakespeare of Stratford-upon-Avon dies. People start to wonder if he really wrote his own plays, or if another man by the same name did.

1618 -- The Thirty Years' War begins, which surprisingly ended in 1648, so it was lucky they happened to name the war that.

1620 -- Puritans, being persecuted in England, go to America to find religious freedom and gold. Finding neither, they eat turkey instead and start a new holiday tradition.

1667 -- Paradise Lost, by John Milton, is published, a book so phenomenally bad that it ends the English Renaissance.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Science Vs Religion

“Darwin's Theory of Evolution appears to do away with God.”

Nobody has adequately explained that statement to me. Usually attempts to do so turn out to be answers to totally different questions, like what is wrong with evolutionary theory, or why I am an idiot for believing in God.

At its heart, the evolutionist’s typical answer to the question goes something like this: “Biological history is not short and static, but a cascade of creatures and forms over millions of years.” So far, so good, but this is then concluded by a mind boggling leap of logic: “And, thus, Evolution completely refutes Genesis, proving beyond a doubt that there is no God!”

In religious lingo, accepting such a poorly explained statement is called a leap of faith. But I am quite sure that’s a no-no in science.

Ask the same question to an anti-evolutionist, and they launch into a very long argument detailing all of the pitfalls in evolutionary theory. They line up every scientific factoid that contradicts evolution and use them to verbally make rubble out of Darwin's ideas.

While this makes for a very clever argument, the anti-evolutionist has failed to disprove evolution scientifically. That is just not how science is done. Science is done bit by bit, through blood, sweat, trial, and error. It is not accomplished through debating.

Regardless of the inherent errors on both sides of the evolution debate, the battle lines are drawn.

If we look to the Bible for answers, they are there, but just the ones that concern our salvation. The Bible answers the "Who?" question about creation and it answers the "Why?" question about creation, but it does not concern itself with the "How, exactly, did He do it?" question about creation. The How question is not strictly necessary for salvation, so it is not in the Bible. That question is left up to our God-given intellects to find the answer to.

Could it possibly be that both sides of the divide possess at least part of the truth? Could it be that God created the universe but in a much more imaginative and complex way than we have yet to realize? Could it be that this evolution idea gives us a very rough approximation to begin understanding how God created everything? I am a Roman Catholic, so I am already quite comfortable with vast yet contradictory statements (like the Trinity, or the Resurrection). I think we will eventually find out that the two ideas, evolution and creationism, are not so contradictory after all.

Unfortunately, this is not the case with most people on either side of the controversy. And history will go on repeating itself as long science and religion continues with this 'tragic mutual incomprehension', to quote Pope John Paul II. Both sides will continue to trade off, one playing Galileo, the other playing the 17th century-style reactionary oppressor.

But let us endeavor to open our minds instead. Let us abandon our narrow little points of view and attain a higher view-point. Only a handful of anti-evolutionists are actually scientists. Most do not really know that much about science. These folks should exert themselves to delve more deeply into the difficulties and details of the hard sciences (pull out your old college algebra text if you have to and start there). And as for the other side, they should find a Bible and READ it. And if they think they have already read it, they should RE-READ it. Only this time they should read it with AN OPEN AND CONTRITE HEART, BEFORE THEY ARE CAST HEAD FIRST IN TO THE UNQUENCHABLE FIRES OF HELL AND BURN THERE FOR EVER AND EVER AND EVER!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Review of Concert from 1995

Concert Report
University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra
William Hudson, Conductor
Thursday, November 16, 1995

The symphony orchestra performed four pieces at this performance. They included, Brahms’ Academic Festival Overture, Opus 80, Matthew Halper’s Stalin’s Wake (1994), Schubert’s Symphony No. 8 in B Minor, “Unfinished,” and Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 4 in G Major, Opus 58.

The orchestra consisted of a variety of instruments including those from the Chordophone family (violin, viola, violoncello, bass, piano, and harp), the Aerophone family (flute, oboe, english horn, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet and trombone), and the membranophone family (Tympani, and other percussion instruments). The members of the orchestra wore black, and sat according to their instrumentation. The audience was very attentive, and the music was played well. In my opinion the concert was a success.

Brahms’ piece was my favorite of the four performed. The majority of the music was smooth clear, and flowing. At times there was a strong and apparent beat to the music, while at other times it was too fluid-like to recognize an apparent beat. In either circumstance, there was a noticeable meter to the piece. The tempo was basically stable. It stayed the same throughout most of the performance. One of the most interesting aspects of the song to me was the melody. The melody was passed along throughout the piece to different instruments. I enjoyed this continuity through the music, with slight changes to maintain interest. The music was not dance-like, but seems to have been composed for the sole purpose of listening.

The second piece was one which I must admit, I did not particularly enjoy. The music was very programmatic, portraying many thoughts and emotions. I like to have the opportunity to develop my own thoughts and emotions from a piece of music. The piece was eerie, being played in a minor key with a chromatic harmony. To me it almost seemed irritating, an unpleasant sound. There was no apparent beat, which disturbed me not being able to tap my feet to the music. I did however notice a fairly consistent 4/4 meter by watching the conductor. The composer was successful in his attempt to achieve emotion in his piece. The music increases in tempo while the intensity rises, and decreases in tempo while the depression increases. I did not hear any apparent repeating themes in the piece, perhaps this is why I did not particularly enjoy it. There was no real type of continuity, and it lost most of my interest.

Overall, I enjoyed the entire performance. It was worth having one piece I did not enjoy, that enabled me to listen closely, and distinguish my preferences of the music with which I had not been familiar with prior to taking this class.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I Just Flew Back From Arizona, Boy Are My Arms Tired!

On a recent trip from Baltimore, Maryland to Tucson, Arizona, that was supposed to be by way of Chicago Illinois, I realized that airlines are actually quite different from one another. This may not be news to some of you road-warriors with oodles of air-traveling experience. But for those of you that travel only occasionally, my experiences may be of interest.

I have never been afraid to fly, and thanks entirely to my moderate dieting success thus far, I find coach seats are not as horribly small as they used to be. I have never flown first class, and as my body shrinks I find my desire to do so shrinks as well. I am still a fan of large seats, were they available, unfortunately, unless you are willing to spend far more money than a sane person would, you will be stuck in little, intimate seats. The airlines with which I am recently familiar are Southwest, Continental, AirTran, and American. I have flown coach on each of those airlines this calendar year (2005). On each occasion I was on what I would call a medium passenger plane. They have all been jets, either Boeing or Airbus, and in each case, the coach area had either 3 seats on each side of the center aisle, or 2 seats on one side and 3 on the other.

The trips I have taken have all been from BWI (Baltimore-Washington International) Airport. The Continental flight was the first one I took this year, it was to San Antonio Texas ultimately, but involved a stop in Houston. I flew the same route on the way back. The flight was pretty eventless, everything was on time going there. On the way back, the ticketing-bag check lady hand wrote something on my bag check slip, and my bag was sent to the wrong place or arrived in Baltimore late, I don't remember exactly what happened, but I do remember being pleased that the airline took a report and delivered my bag to my house the following morning, free of charge. I live about an hour and a half from the airport, and that's with no traffic, so I was impressed, and happy with the results of the bag issue.

Continental served free soda, and a bag of pretzels. I remember being disappointed that I did not get peanuts, as I love peanuts. I suppose though, that with the state of peanut allergies these days, pretzels are a safer snack on a crowded airline, so while I was disappointed, I also understand the possible reasons for the snack choice. Overall, I was pleased with my experience on Continental, they provided the service I expected from an airline. Their delivery of my bag to my house after the mixup on my way home was better than what I expected, I feared I would have to wait at the airport for my bag to arrive, or come back to the airport to pick up my bag, in which case I would have been quite angry about the bag mixup. So, Continental came through, and by virtue of their delivering the bag and being so pleasant about the issue, came out surpassing my expectations.

My next trip was back to San Antonio, again from BWI. This time I flew on Southwest. I had always had the impression that Southwest was a budget airline, and so my expectations were low. When I try to figure out why I had that impression of Southwest, I think its because their ads tend to be focused on their prices, leading me to assume that they were less focused on customers and comfort. That assumption was wrong. Southwest was every bit as comfortable as Continental. The seats and coach area were just like any other airline I have flown. Two things about Southwest stand out in my mind, after having been their customer. First, the method of boarding was very unconventional, and unique. Because this was my first time flying Southwest, I did not know what to expect with regards to boarding, I assumed it was like any other airline, so I arrived an hour or so before flight time and then sat in a seat at the gate. Not until it was about to be boarding time did I look at my ticket to see what seat I was assigned, so I would know when they called my row to stand and board. I had noticed people sitting on the floor by the boarding area next to posts marked A, B, and C. I looked at my ticket to see that I was in group C, no seat was noted. I looked at the post marked C and began to realize that there was a big line of people at group C, which is the last group to be boarded, and due to my lack of experience with Southwest, I was now going to be one of the last people in group C to get on the plane. This meant, because Southwest does not assign seats, it is first come, first served, I got a really bad seat. I learned my lesson, and on my return flight on Southwest, made sure I got to the airport earlier, and was therefore put in group B. I then went right to the boarding gate and sat on the floor by the post marked B, so I was one of the first people in group B to board the plane. I had a very good seat on the way back.

The second thing about Southwest that stands out is their snack. Southwest served soda and juice just like Continental. But rather than hand out pretzels or some other small bag of snack food, Southwest really impressed me by handing out a snack box. Inside the box were goodies such as graham crackers, and Oreo's. The box contained a few other things, and remarkably, included a tiny bag of peanuts. I was, deep down, ecstatic.

A few months later I found myself flying from BWI to Tampa Florida. For this flight I took AirTran. I had never heard of AirTran before. I guessed that it was either an airline that had changed its name for whatever reason, or a newish budget airline. I am still not really sure where they came from. I flew coach on this roundtrip as I did on the others, and found AirTran to be about the same with regards to seat comfort. They boarded the traditional way, like Continental. They served soda and a little bag of pretzels like Continental. One thing stood out in AirTran's favor though, and I don't know if this is true of all their planes, or just the two I flew on (one to Tampa and one back from Tampa), they have free XM Satellite Radio built into the arm rest. They even gave out free headphones. The headphones they gave out were the jam-it-in-the-ear, and hope they don't fall out kind. I don't really care for those headphones at all, and would almost rather listen to nothing than use them, but I did use them for a little while just to try out the service. The arm rests have little buttons built in that allow you to change the radio channel and adjust the volume. On the way to Tampa, the seat I was in had broken buttons that would not allow me to change the station up, only down. Luckily the seat next to me was empty, so I plugged into that arm rest and was able to channel surf till I found something decent to listen to. On the way home, I kept my big comfortable cover-the-ear headphones handy, so I did not need the little ear-canal destroying green things. It was most enjoyable.

Only a week or two after my trip to Tampa, I found myself on a no-notice work-emergency trip to Tucson Arizona. I booked Tuesday afternoon and flew out Wednesday morning. I had my roundtrip booked with American Airlines. I expected American to be like Continental. Things went badly however, early on. I got to the airport around 8am for my 10am flight. I checked my bag, and had a hot dog for breakfast (my flight to Tucson connected through Chicago, I figured I might not have time to eat lunch). I then went to my gate and waited for the plane to board. About 5 or 10 minutes after the plane was supposed to be boarding the man working the gate announced that the mechanics were getting a diagnostic code during their checks indicating some valve wasn't working properly. He indicated they were following some troubleshooting steps and that we would have more information shortly. This began a cycle, where every 5 to 10 minutes we would hear someone tell him, over his walkie talkie, that they would have more information in 5 or 10 minutes. Because my connecting flight in Chicago provided me about 1 hour between arrival in Chicago and departure for Tucson, I became worried I might not make my connecting flight. I was the first to approach the counter, to see what could be done, just in case our plane was going to leave too late for me to catch my connecting flight. Yay me, I thought. I was being pro-active. The man at the counter, who by this time was far more upset with the mechanics and people working on the airplane, than any of the customers were, checked his computer and booked me a later flight from Chicago to Dallas, where I could catch a plane to Tucson, just in case. As I was finishing up, a lot of other customers realized now was a good time to be worried, and they got up and formed a line, to begin rebooking their flights, and getting their checked bags moved. The man at the counter began calling someone, on his phone, and through his walkie talkie, every couple minutes asking for help, as he now had a pretty large line of people to deal with. He never got any help. My wife called me, and we talked about my flight options. She obsesses over my flights whenever I travel, as she is afraid of flying, and well, you know how that goes. She informed me there was a flight to Dallas in about an hour, and there were lots of flights throughout the day from Dallas to Tucson, this would clearly be a better option for me than a crazy layover in Chicago. In fact, this would get me into Tucson about 4 hours earlier than what the man at the counter did for me. So, I quickly went to get back in line, which was now very very long. In the process, I told a lady near the front of the line, who had earlier told me she was also going to Tucson, which option was the best. I proceeded to wait in line for over 45 minutes before getting my turn at the counter. At this point they were boarding the original plane to Chicago, some 60 or more minutes late. I kept shouting, every 10 or so minutes, toward the man at the counter "will they be able to get our bags off and on to another plane?". I overheard the counter man talking to people working on the airplane getting people's bags off, and moved to other flights. At one point, when I was 3 people from my turn at the counter, the people grabbing bags and moving them to other planes spoke to the counter man through his walkie talkie, asking if there were any more bags to move off the plane, they wanted to lock up the cargo and get ready to take off. I said yes, very loudly and clearly, I was going to Tucson and wanted my bag changed to go through Dallas. He heard me, and told them, through the walkie talkie, yes there are more bags to move. I was now next in line, there were maybe 3 people left behind me. Some guy finally showed up to help at the counter. I went to him and he took care of rebooking me, but he did not even try to get my bag moved to my new flight. I told him what had happened and he just shrugged and told me to file a claim in Tucson and they would deliver my bag around midnight, to wherever I was staying. I was MAD. How hard is it to get back on the walkie talkie and ask if they can get one more bag. There were at most, 3 of us left changing flights, this would have delayed the plane what, 5 more minutes? I was furious. I tend to be the type though, that does not explode and start swearing at people until I get my way, instead I just take my business elsewhere in the future, and bash the company mercilessly on the internet. I did shake my head, give a nasty look, and throw my hands up in the air as I walked away in obvious disgust.

As you may be able to tell, from the detail, as I write this, I am on the first leg of this trip, en route to Dallas, and then on to Tucson. The flight crew offered complimentary soda, and to my amazement, they are willing to sell, for $3, your choice of red or silver snack box. They do not have free (or I should say included) bags of pretzels, or peanuts. I am now quite glad I had the hot dog for breakfast, as I refuse to by one of those snack boxes on principle. Other than what I have written so far, American Airlines is the same as other airlines with regard to coach seat comfort. The flight crew, and pilot did each mention however that if one needs to use the bathroom, they need to use the bathroom in their "section". This means, if you are in coach, you must use the bathrooms at the back of the plane, in coach, you cannot go into first class and use their bathrooms. I had not heard this announced before on other airlines, so I don't know if this is a policy with them too. I was of course put off by it, probably due to my already being extremely unhappy with American.

It is now 2:00PM Eastern time, I will resume this story when something else eventful has happened.
...
I am now on the final leg of my return journey. Once again aboard an American Airlines plane. After the somewhat disastrous first leg of my trip to Arizona, I was able to catch a connecting flight out of Dallas to Tucson by imitating OJ (my wife's head is still perfectly intact), running through the airport. Dallas has an interesting train system that connects the various terminals. I got onto my connecting flight with about 8 minutes to spare. On the way to Arizona they served soda and pretzels. My bag was delivered to my hotel at about 3:30am that night, and everything worked out.

So here I am, on my way home. On the first leg of the return trip, leaving Tucson at 7:00am Arizona time, they served drinks and a granola bar. On my current flight, from Dallas to BWI, they are once again doing just soda and charging for snack boxes. Luckily I picked up a pack of mini-donuts in Arizona.

Assuming all goes well at the baggage claim, and my plane survives the trip to Baltimore, I would like to take a few lines to summarize what I have discovered about modern air travel. The comfort of all the planes and airlines I have flown this year, if you fly coach, is roughly the same. The check-in procedures and bag checking is all about the same. The major differences I find are in boarding methods, and snacks. Personally, I prefer the traditional boarding method to the Southwest method. But, I prefer the Southwest free-snack box to all the other snack options on any of the airlines I have flown this year. And the satellite radio on AirTran rocked. If you are going to fly somewhere, and you have a choice of which airline to fly, I hope my experiences make your decision a little easier.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Support a Soldier/Operation Air Conditioner

What We Do

"Operation AC has suspended sending air conditioners to our troops as of 9/1/05. We have a new Coalition Care package that we send to our troops.

This pack consists of the following items:

US TROOPS:
1 Pair New Altama Desert Ripple Sole boots
1 pair new socks
2 Under Armour Heat Gear T-Shirts
1 Gerber Tool
1 Set ESS- ICE Tactical Glasses
1 Personal Care pack


Coaltion Troops:
1 Under Armour Heat Gear T-Shirts
1 Gerber Tool
1 Set ESS-ICE Tactical Glasses
1 Personal Care Pack

The cost of this Coalition Care Pack is $216.95. All donations as of September 1, 2005 will go to these packs for every US troop who signs up on our site. In addition to this, we will adopt the US troop out to be supported during their deployment.

We also have the ability to assist other countries of the Coalition in addition to our own troops. In August we helped 380 troops deploying to Iraq from El Salvador with Coalition Care Packs. We have 38 Packs going to a new country in a few weeks.

We at Operation AC send our US Troops mostly anything else they ask for or need. We have been at this since June 2003 and we have adapted to the needs of our troops. We send them items they are low on in supply and just are a help to them. Please adopt a soldier or marine serving and help us with our effort.

Our soldiers are humble people and they only ask for what they need like the boots we send, the socks and glove kits, morale raising items and mostly matching them up with an American who cares about what they are doing. Our troops are volunteers and they are still serving in the same place - do not forget them. Many of the ones going back now are from OIF 1 and remember me from when we started. I'm still here and I promised I would not quit till the last one comes home. My son has been back now for a year and he works here with me now that he is out of the Army helping his brothers and sisters still serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is my hope that we make their existence in Iraq during their deployment as safe and as easy on them as possible given the job they are there to do.

After sending over 9,400 air conditioners since we started - we are happy we have made an impact on the situation there. Now we have to adapt to the ever changing need of our troops and the safety of the troops given the items we send. Logistics and Delivery of Air Conditoners is now a danger to our troops. i can not risk the lives of the civilians delivering the air conditioners nor can I put safety of our troops at risk by allowing the chain of custody of these electronic items to be compromised. We are gearing up for our Christmas Campaign - we are sending out new Altama Combat Boots, 1 Phone Card and a Christmas tree - total cost, $100 per service member. Please consider donating!"

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Frequently Asked Questions

"Do I send out the package or do I send it to Operation AC?
If you adopted a soldier or marine through us, send THAT SOLDIER your package directly. Packages sent to Operation AC will be sent to soldiers on our list. We just go down the list and send to the next in line.

How Do I ship out the package?
Packages should be shipped by US Postal service and you must take them to the post office. Send them PRIORITY MAIL as all the mail goes out of New York for Iraq and it goes pretty fast once it gets to New York. My average time for packages from Delaware to Iraq is 2 weeks. Letters take about 7 to 10 days. Remember, you are required to fill out a United States Customs form for your package so list everything you put in the box so you can fill out the form properly. You can generalize on the form so if it is food stuffs you can say "food items". There is helpful info on shipping to the troops on the US Postal System Website (click here).

How should the US Mail items be packaged?

Do not wrap anything in gift paper as the box may be opened and inspected. I would try to make the boxes large enough to carry easily our weight restrictions for our boxes are almost the maximum - 60 pounds and 108 square inches (add up the dimensions of all sides and must equal less than 108 inches).

What does an Adopted soldiers and marines receive from Operation AC?
Nearly every soldier who is Adopted out is on the list for new boots and is on the list for a new heater. If you write to your soldier and they need boots, tell them to log onto our website and put in their boot size under the "I AM A SOLDIER" page. We find out what they need and we go buy it and mail it to them.

What else can I send a soldier or marine?
These soldiers rarely ask for anything and they love to receive packages that they can share with their fellow soldiers. DVDs and movies are a great big hit. Especially the ones with the seasons of TV Shows, i.e. Sopranos, Law & Order and those shows that the entire seasons are on DVD. Don't forget our female troops - they will need feminine supplies because they can't get them where they are.

May I give his address to the HeadBlade people to send socks to my soldier or marine directly?
Yes you may give the address to the Head Blade folks (Todd Green). Todd sends items to us to send to the troops I will ask him if he can mail to an APO for you.

My packages and letters are coming back. I'm so upset what do I do?
At this stage of the war, watch the news for when there is troop rotation. The US Marine deployment is shorter, roughly 9 months. Army can be there for 1 year deployments. Don't worry, if your soldier is not on the casualty list he or she is probably just coming home finally. If you must look for the name, here is a link to the List of US Troops who have been killed in action by clicking here


If your soldier or marine does not answer you, remember they are doing a very difficult job over there right now. Perhaps there is difficulty for them to write, but keep writing to our troops. Email Kristine and she will give you a new soldier or marine to adopt. If you had boots returned, don't worry we can get you another soldier or marine with the same size foot. We have thousands of them signing up."