Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

“Are You Sure Those Are Mosquito Bites?”

Sorry for the silence, I had the iPad with me, but it is complicated connecting, uploading, getting it all right . . . and I just didn’t have the time.

We had one of the best Thanksgivings, ever. The weather was gorgeous, the setting was perfect, and the company was delightful. The food was copious and delicious (photos will follow).

We were staying at the beach, at our old favorite, the Sunset Inn. I had noticed a few little bites as we were eating, but no big deal, and I put on some repellant and went on with my life. When we got back to the beach, I started itching. And scratching. What had seemed like little bites were growing red and irritated. I had brought Benedryl gel with me, a Godsend for a mosquito-magnet like me, and I got to work immediately.

We took a drive to Apalachicola for lunch the day after Thanksgiving, and drove out to St. Vincents National wildlife refuge and St. Joseph’s state park, part of the national birding trail. Last night, I treated more bites.

Today, back on Pensacola, AdventureMan took a look at me and said “Are you sure those are all mosquito bites?”

No. I know mosquitos love to bite me, but other things love to bite me, too.

“Those look like chigger bites,” he added.

I don’t even know what chiggers are. All I know is that whatever bit me – and I was stupid, and wearing a skirt and short sleeved t-shirt, so there was a lot of bare skin to bite – bit me a lot, and today, I am suffering, and not so silently, either.

I thank God for his creation, and I also wonder about some things, like mosquitos, chiggers and slugs – like what was the point?

November 24, 2012 Posted by | Florida, Health Issues, Holiday, Living Conditions, Pet Peeves | 8 Comments

Ten Shot While Kuwaiti Youngsters Are ‘Just Having Fun’

As AdventureMan and I read the Pensacola News Journal, we often wonder if we knew what we were getting into. Shootings in Pensacola are frequent. Killings, by gun, by beating, by knife – are equally frequent. Pensacola has one of the highest violent death rates per capita in the nation. Just this week a 72 year old man shot a preacher at his church because he thought the preacher was having an affair with his 69 year old wife. He then tried to enter the child care center where she was caring for small children, still with his loaded weapon. The paper quotes his wife as saying he has mental health issues.

What are people with mental health issues doing with loaded guns???

My Southern friends ask me if we more strictly regulate guns, how will they protect themselves, that the ‘bad guys’ will still have guns. Right now, they can protect themselves, they also have the right to shoot to defend their property? I can’t answer. All I know for sure is that the more people who carry guns, the more likely guns are to be used when the instinct strikes, whether it is a real threat or a perceived threat.

And then – there are these Kuwaiti teens, shooting passers-by, and when arrested, still carrying the shotgun used, say that they were ‘just having fun.’

KUWAIT: Jahra detectives, in cooperation with criminal investigation detectives, have arrested two Kuwaiti 17-year-old juveniles on charges of misuse of a hunting gun, which resulted in the shooting and wounding of 10 people in Jahra area. Police received several reports of pedestrians being wounded after they were shot by unknown assailants. Following an investigation, the juveniles were arrested with the gun still in their possession. They confessed to the shootings, claiming they were only having a good time. The teens were sent to concerned authorities. Later, Ministry of Interior officials called upon citizens and expatriates to watch their children and prevent them from behaving in ways that might cause harm to others, as the parents could be held liable for their children’s acts.

By Hanan Al-Saadoun, Staff Writer
Kuwait Times

The link refers to ‘hunting gun misuse.’ Because they are Kuwaiti, and because they are young, they are unlikely to have any severe punishment. They are likely to be released into the custody of their parents. Where were these parents when their children wounded ten innocent people? What lesson do these young men, 17 years old, learn if they can shoot ten people and be charged with ‘misuse’ of a weapon?

The only good thing I can think of in this case is that these youngsters had so little self-discipline that they never learned to shoot straight, thus no one was killed. They weren’t just lacking in any compassion for their fellow human beings, they were also bad shots. (I’m from a hunting culture. That’s an insult.)

September 8, 2012 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Civility, Community, Crime, Cross Cultural, Cultural, ExPat Life, Interconnected, Kuwait, Law and Order, Living Conditions, Parenting, Pensacola, Pet Peeves, Rants, Safety, Social Issues, Values | 4 Comments

Deepwater Horizon Spill and Hazards

On the front page of today’s Pensacola News Journal is a report by the Associated Press saying:

BP Missed Big Hazards, report says: Focus on worker safety obscured other problems.

HOUSTON – BP and the drilling contractor that operated the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon were so focused on worker safety they didn’t do enough to prevent major hazards, such as the 2010 rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico that killed 11 people, federal investigators said yesterday.

Excuse me? Does that make sense to anyone?? So concerned with safety that 11 people got killed because they overlooked SAFETY problems?? I thought I must be crazy, but the report goes on to say the following:

The panel listed a litany of problems large and small they had already uncovered even though it has not received all of the records from Transocean, the drilling contractor that has challenged the board’s right to investigate the offshore incident.

Among the panel’s findings:

• BP and Transocean’s “bridging document,” designed to align safety procedures between the companies, was generic and addressed only six safety issues, but none of them dealt with major issues.

• The companies didn’t have key process limits or controls for safe drilling.

• There were no written instructions for how to conduct a crucial test at the end of the cementing process, one that ultimately was misinterpreted by the crew after it was conducted several times, each time differently.

• Similar concerns about too narrow a focus on personal safety were raised after an explosion in 2005 at BP’s Texas City refinery that killed 15 people, but few of the panel’s recommendations were implemented on the offshore rig.

“It’s always puzzled me why a company like BP … that has major resources available … is involved with two of the biggest accidents,” said John Bresland, a member of the board who is wrapping up his second five-year term and was involved in both investigations.

The drilling company doesn’t want to cooperate, and doesn’t think the federal government has the right to investigate? The company so focused on worker safety had an agreement with the drilling company that only focused on minor issues? NO key processes or controls?

What is wrong with this story? From this story, it is clear that worker safety was never a focus of BP. BP had another blowup with 15 deaths at a Texas refinery resulting from safety processes that were too narrowly focused, and now they are saying they are too focused on worker safety, and that is why they have so many worker deaths?

I guess, following the same reasoning, that the Deepwater Horizon blowup, which killed sealife, is still blackening beaches, which has created a tar carpet along the ocean floor, created birth defects among birds and mammals, and will create havok for a lifetime to come, all that resulted from BP’s excessive concern for the Environment?

Is this craziness? That kind of communication just makes me crazy.

I don’t care how much they end up paying to universities, groups promoting tourism, people who lost work, wildlife organizations, etc. as a result of the Deepwater Horizon explosion. You have to see that whatever they are paying is to buy silence, to buy complicity, to keep us from complaining too much when problems associated with the explosion continue to – literally – surface. Their money is to co-opt us. No matter what they are paying, it is too little.

July 25, 2012 Posted by | Bureaucracy, Character, Communication, Community, Cultural, Customer Service, Environment, Financial Issues, Florida, Lies, Living Conditions, News, Pensacola, Pet Peeves, Rants, Safety, Survival, Technical Issue, Work Related Issues | Leave a comment

Pet Peeve: Parking Ignoramus

There is all the space in the world . . . what is he thinking?

April 11, 2012 Posted by | Pensacola, Pet Peeves | 2 Comments