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September 23, 2005

Since June 2005 I have: 

Only days to go till I head out again on a couple months long adventure overseas. I have not stood still since I returned to the US in June.

Visited 17 US States
Driven well over 10,000 miles (This number only includes road trips over 200 miles)
Started a non-profit company
Printed and mailed hundreds of brochures
Turned 30 years old
Purchased one new set of shoes
Written 1,754 E-mails
Read 2,773 E-mails (not including spam folder)
Lived out of a suit case the whole time
Purchased two new laptops (only one for me)
Purchased 7.1 mega pixel still digital camera
Lost my digital video camera
Raised $500 for a family in need
Was interviewed by NPR
Was featured in a magazine
Got A’s
Gained at least 10 pounds
Ate fast food an average of once per day (see above)
Attended two weddings
Sailed my first 27 foot racing sail boat
Spun a truck around 5-7 times at 70 mph on I-35S and lived to tell the tale
Saw six movies in a theater
Had one flat tire at 2am in Montana
Bought four new tires in Washington
Had four oil changes
Slept a lot
Bought two new watches
Purchased three sets of airplane tickets
And way too much more……

Toxic hurricane rain 

So how much of the rain from hurricane Rita do you think is toxic sludge, sewer, petrol chemicals, the plague, oil, and other disgusting elements and diseases that it collected in the gulf due to the fact that it was pumped out after hurricane Katrina?

Thanks New Orleans for sharing your toxic shit with us in Texas. Mark my words, I believe this whole mess if going to have significant environmental and human consequences for years to come.

September 17, 2005

Show me another cat in a sink!

September 15, 2005

segway Posted by Picasa

I road my first Segway tonight in an undisclosed location deep under the earths crust in a laboratory delivery garage. I also checked out some anthrax DNA and stuff... fun fun!

September 14, 2005

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf have shaken hands at the UN.

"He asked me how I was. I asked him 'How are you?' And that's very good," President Musharraf told reporters. BBC

If it wasn’t for Katrina I think last weeks announcement that Pak and Israel had been talking would have dominated the headlines....as would this symbolic gesture. I laugh when I read it, but it is a huge move.

September 13, 2005

Israel and the entrench religion and state relationship. 

Read this whole story at BBC it’s worth it.

The problem is, the only wedding that is legally recognized for Jews in Israel is the Orthodox ceremony and this is a wedding service neither will accept.

Like many other secular Israelis, they find the ceremony archaic and humiliating
Only 20% of Israel's population are Orthodox Jews, yet the Rabbinate, the chief council of Orthodox rabbis, has ultimate authority over Jewish weddings, funerals and all other areas where religion and daily life come together.

Irit must declare she is a virgin, she must not talk during the ceremony and she cannot sign her own wedding contract.

"I respect Irit as my equal," says Eli. "I will not start our married life with a ritual that demeans her."

But Israel is one of only a handful of countries which still has no civil marriage, so there is no easy alternative.

Each year, while 30,000 Israelis marry with an Orthodox ceremony, 12,000 do not.
Some Israelis object to what they see as an alienating and sexist ceremony.

Others are seen as not Jewish enough by the Rabbinate. This would mean that their family has had too much intermarriage with non-Jews.

"It is not right," says Irit, "that the Orthodox minority should be able to impose their views on us like this.

"The problem is, we are a young country trying to figure out whether we are a religion or a nation and ultimately, what is a Jew?"

Holy crap! eBay bought Skype for $2.6 BILLION DOLLARS! WHAT THE HELL!?


September 12, 2005

There will be hell to pay for Katrina. 

"In my view, it is likely to have as traumatic an impact on American political life as the Great Depression of the 1930s. That catastrophe ushered in two decades of Democratic presidents - but even more, it reversed America's entrenched dedication to laissez faire Social Darwinism, a philosophy embraced by both major parties for 150 years.

"I do not believe that the power and duty of the General Government ought to be extended to the relief of individual suffering"
-President Grover Cleveland, 1877-

America has long been entranced by stories of fortunes made by hard work and perseverance without help from government. More tellingly many of them come true, truer in America than anywhere else. It is just that they are not the whole story. When people fail it leaves, exposed as a raw nerve, the question of moral duty in a civilized society.

So Social Darwinism has remained in the American psyche, sometimes submerged in the current, sometimes coming to the surface like a log in a fast-flowing river. Cleveland's sentiments might have popped up any time in the 1980s on Ronald Reagan's teleprompter. His remark that "government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem" was an echo of Cleveland and many presidencies thereafter.

The log came clearly into view again when turbulence in the wake of 9/11 led to the re-election of George W Bush. His instinct for low taxes and small government has been neatly encapsulated by the evangelical tax cutter Grover Norquist: "I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub."

Before Katrina, America's greatest natural disaster was another Mississippi flood - that of 1927 - which made half a million homeless. At the time Republican President Calvin Coolidge refused even to recall Congress to vote emergency money. He was so inactive that when Dorothy Parker, a few years later, was told he was dead, she asked, "How do they know?"

Two hundred people had drowned in the 1920s before the federal government intervened. It did so in the person of the Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover. Only three died after Hoover got involved. He waded in - literally up to his knees in floodwater - galvanizing everyone in six endangered states.

His vigour standing on the tottering levee amid the raging floods helped to win him the Republican nomination and then the presidency. He was called "the great engineer".

My judgment is that the log of Social Darwinism will disappear again under the toxic flood waters of New Orleans. The corpses floating face down in the muddy overflow from broken Mississippi levees are too shocking a sight for Americans of all classes and parties. They are too kindly a people. They will look once again for vigour and compassion in government, even at the price of higher taxes."

I doubt reality will be as dramatic as all this but it is an interesting story with some great comments read the whole thing at BBC
Americans have rallied to give an unprecedented amount of aid in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

They have already pledged around $587million more than initial donations for 9/11 and the Asian tsunami - according to a newspaper that tracks charitable giving.


$61.bn - US government
$587m - US donations*
*According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy

American lives are worth much more to Americans than normal human lives are. I would think that is a basic instinct to protect your own nationality but in America it is much more interesting because our “nationality” is made up of so many other nationalities, races, colors, cultures customs, etc…

September 10, 2005

Another road trip! 

I drove 6000 miles last month and I am about to add 1200 to that in one day! Its 1115PM and I am waiting on a truck to arrive. A friend of mine and I will be driving this truck to Arizona non stop. Yahoo says 17 hours, Google 19 hours, and Map Quest 15 hours… I wonder who is correct. The story on the tuck is it was rented by this chick who was given a promotion and she was moving to New Orleans, she got to Texas and apparently the hurricane and levy rupture lead to the destruction of her office. So she flew back to Arizona. She got to keep her promotion and salary increase but back to the old job. My buddy has a way of falling into these strange situations. So anyway. He is driving the truck back for them for a fee (which will help fund his upcoming trip to Pakistan and Afghanistan with me). I am along for the ride, to help and to visit my sister and another buddy of mine for a while. Now the only question is do we drive the Mexican boarder route through El Paso or the northern route through Santa Fe? Either one will probably suck.

I was really happy to get out of the car when I ended my last road trip, and now two weeks later I am back on the road (although I went on a short seven hour road trip in between). Soon I will be back to sitting in airplanes for hours instead of cars.

If I could have all the time I have spent in transportation back and all the money I have spent on communication back, I would have an entire new long life as a wealthy man.

September 07, 2005

September 05, 2005

Gift Deadline 15 September 2005 

The deadline for birthday entries is Sept 15th. If you have not gotten your entry in by now please review the below parameters and e-mail it to me ASAP. Thanks for your participation and this, your gift!

I would like anyone and everyone who has ever known me to write a "Chapter"
or a page or a paragraph about their experience of me. It doesn't have to
be nice or funny (unless it was) but it has to be a real experience or thought
you have had about or with me.

Please include the following:

1. Date and Country we meet in (or as close as possible)
2. First impression of me, Last impression of me
3. What you thought I would do with my life back then and what you think I
will do with it now (or it will do with me)

You are writing the first 30 years of my life so keep it real. If you want
to write a chapter or two that is cool. If you want write a single
paragraph or sum me up in five words that is fine also.

September 01, 2005

Here are some snipits of my favorites: 

Thanks to all of you who wrote in…. to those of you who got a rain check…. I am still waiting!!!

Here are some snipits of my favorites:

Relationship according to his grandmother: That girl Travis gave the toilet seat to.

Here is a list of things about you which you might want to give to people you are just getting to know—kind of like an “oh—that’s why he did that” manual.

Travis needs to keep in touch with as many people as possible—Cancer Moon.
Travis accepts and listens to criticism and advice willingly, but rarely alters his plans in accordance with any new information received in criticism or advice.
Travis is afraid of spiders and doesn’t take kindly to other many legged creatures.
Travis likes to eat in the car.
Travis cheats at Monopoly as a “strategy.”
Travis has a poor sense of direction in the Western Hemisphere, but claims to “never get lost” in Asia.
Travis likes chick flicks.
Travis scopes out emergency exits in every public building he enters.
Travis likes to sit facing the exit in restaurants.
Travis tends to embellish his stories, resumes, official documents . . . etc.
Travis snores and should probably be checked for sleep apnea.
Travis likes purple and green
Travis’s aura is purple. (I just know these things.)
Travis believes in omens, but . . . refer back to #2 about criticism and advice and add omens.
Travis is a dyslexic Virgo with Taurus and Cancer tendencies, which makes him an analytical and stubborn problem solver who can’t spell.”

“Some people think that wandering the world is in search of something, some meaning, some purpose, some place to settle down and carve out a life. But for some of us the wandering is our purpose, is where we find meaning, it is what we are searching for, and the trail we carve is our life. Wander on Travis for at least another 30 years. Love from a fellow wanderer.”

“….and you made a big deal about the fact that this was my TENTH birthday and the end of my first decade and all and I remember appreciating how special you helped make me feel. “

“You were always friendly, a protective big brother, an extremely generous person who always went the extra mile for his friends. You were as concerned about injustices as you are today, albeit in a highly Evangelical framework at the time. You were someone who was very driven and motivated by his beliefs at the time, much of which I found hard to relate to given my anti-anything-too-bigoted-religious at the time (which was everything we were surrounded by!) “

“Truth is, my friendship with Trav has been a wonderful string of events. He's kind of like a brother. Who likes guns. And eating animals.”

“But most of all I remember Travis as a happy kid, enjoying himself, playing sports and being excessively loud and at the center of all attention!! I also remember him as charmer….hanging out with girls 2-3 grades higher than his own, which in school is the height success for any normal guy.”

“Travis is a friend one wants to have when your back is against the wall, a man with a big heart who does what he says. “

"MATE! you better start uping your self esteem, and figuring your self out fast! Your missing out on life... just seek Christ and say what you mean... so get in gear/prayer and always remember "Elsie was a fine cow"!" (written in my diary {by Travis} 12th September 92) Yes, we did have a few disagreements, quite a few, but somehow survived!”

“I learned a lot from Travir Henderson. First impressions of him were, um, 16 year old American with a flat top wearing jeans and a t-shirt. Last impressions... well I hope I haven't had my last impressions of him. The last time I saw him was in New Zealand at my wedding. I really had no idea what he would do with his life except that it would involve travel and possibly something to do with the American Government. I guess that part happened and the travel part is still happening. I think travel is in his blood. I hope that the values I saw in him still remain and that what he does with his life (or what it does with him) are strongly influenced by his desire to protect the vulnerable, his generosity, confidence, thoughtfulness about life, noticing the small things, organisation, and especially his passion to know God more.”

“My first impression of you was that you would be someone who would leave an indelible mark on my life. Partly because you were just plain crazy. I remember the first time you pulled the keys out of the ignition in your little pickup truck—while we were on the freeway. Crazy, but fun. Plus I always felt safe with you. Call me crazy.
My last impression of you was that you are going to leave an indelible mark on your world.
I’ve always thought you would work to change whatever corner of the world you were in. You’ve got passion for life and for people and their causes. “

“ My first impression was “DAYAMN. If he weren’t so religious, he’d be fine!” Also, it was nice to have a neighbour who had been across state (and COUNTRY) lines, and didn’t have a yokel accent.”

“you have been one of our closest family friends for nearly 20 years, brotha. Glad to know you and am proud of the work you’ve done helping those in places with no advocacy. Oh, and let me iterate: if Tim gets hurt, don’t come back to the US, cause I’ll have every gang member in the greater Austin area on yoass.”

“Some memories and highlights of our times:
In Pakistan:
- cleaning up after a flood in Jalim (the water line was up to our friend Andy's eyebrows) Travis lying on the floor when he was tired of working.
- kids camp in Jalim with the peshawar crowd - the others were all scared of us!
- I always remember his answer to a question once at that camp - someone asked if he was my friend or my boyfriend - he answered "both".
- His endless supply of medicines, he gave me something once, I was sick all over the side of their car!
- The grenade episode in the bathroom...
- listening to and taping all his stories from his childhood
- drinking Dr. Pepper and eating corn chips in his air-conditioned house
- the flirting game (stone game)
- Beach boys on the way to swim at the Indus river
- Carols by candlelight at his house – he was wearing red long johns and carrying around a fire extinguisher!!
- Once when it was all fun and games until someone loses and eye (almost anyway) - this time it was him
- Cooling down in the children's paddling pool in his front yard
- my surprise 16th birthday when he had to make sure I turned up late... and it almost sacrificed our friendship!!
- Drawing ourselves on the wall of his basement room (each person as they left)

On the way to and in China:
- Resucitating me on the road to China...
- Being scared by the lion on the other side of the bars when we broke into a cage at a zoo to feed a neglected monkey (also China) I've never before or after seen him jump so high!!
- Being spat at by a watermelon seller...
- Riding a motorbike alongside an airport runway and stopping on a high cliff to spit over the edge

The years in between:
- posting all sorts of things, shells, stones, plastic elephant, coins, teddybears, tapes, videos, photos, and a golden rose
- a letter a day for the first month after we parted
- stacks of faxes, letters, packages, emails (usually all typed in capitals and with creative spelling)
- being told off by the boss of my first job when I spent my whole weeks pay on a phonecall with Travis

- Talking through the window while he was contagious with glandular fever
- Driving a big old car in the rain
- Pancake breakfasts in the mall
- Riding buses we always had to sit by the emergency exit and walking on the street he always took the side by the traffic.
- Becoming regular customers of Burger Wisconsin
- introducing me to burger King
- Eating in a different restaurant every night
- He often talked about buying land in NZ and living in a glass dome so he could sleep under the stars

Second time in NZ
- Playing paint ball, Travis wading through the river with his gun above his head - then later everyone decided to "get the yank!"...
- Riding the rapids in rubber tubes
- Sending him off hitch hiking and having a big fight about my favourite sunglasses that he tried to steal!
- Flying a barbie kite on the beach

Last impressions
The last time I saw Travis was when I drove him to Auckland airport - he was leaving after coming to NZ for my sisters wedding. Travis had always been a man with big ideas and big dreams. I always enjoyed dreaming up ideas along with him but didn't imagine if they could ever really eventuate (my favourite one was some sort of nomadic program travelling with Mongolian tribes). However, since I last saw Travis I kept getting surprised about where the next communication from him was from and what he was doing. I've now ceased to be surprised, in fact what would surprise me is if he contacted me from a 9 to 5 job where he slept normal hours and ate normal food!”

“ - a big and nearly bold boy/man opened the door and started speaking with an american accent. An american accent? With all these brits? I was not the only foreigner around. How great ! Physically, I immediately thought u were looking like the perfect average american. Too many burgers and coke may be? ;) Actually as Im french, I guess many stereotypes about americans got on my mind very quickly. Its was also the beginning of the Iraki conflict and our countries had different opinions about it.

the first time we really got to know each other in the evening later on at Ulrike's. She was living with italians housemates at this time and one of them, Antonio, was fooling her. He was making her pay a lot of money for the rent and when she was having problems, he was just pretending that everything was ok. Our first talk was about him and this is exactly when I first had a very good impression about u. I thought u were a brave and loyal friend to her when u said u could smash his face in and I liked it. It was a bit violent but It made me laugh and I was sharing the same opinion about him. If I were stronger, I would have loved to do it but u fit more the job than me ;) Then we started talking about the war in Irak and at this point, my stereotypes disappeared. Not the physical ones of course, u still look like an average american ;) but I discovered that looking like an average american doesnt mean that u think the same”

“Travis H is a mystery.

First meeting: At a remote missions base in the middle of a sparsely populated rural district in New Zealand.

First impression:
I remember Trav bed ridden with glandular fever. Him saying, "Slavery in America wasn't so bad" (a curious thing for an enlightened person to say).
American confidence, movie star good looks dressed up in Levis denium. A loyal friend (the kind of loyalty that would impress a Pakistani herdsman).
Beneath the John Wayne grit and guts exterior lurks a kind hearted, generous soul.

Last impression:
An airport farewell; Trav beats a hasty retreat (no fan of soppy, extended goodbyes). He pauses to do a blowfish kiss against a glass wall. It's only fitting that Trav should leave me with a smirk on my face.”

“recall one time I was watching you when your mom and Danny left. As they drove off you started crying and yelling. I got down on my knees to talk to you and you stuck your tongue out at me and yelled at me. It pissed me off so I picked you up by the shoulders and carried you into your room. As I walked through the door I scratched my left arm on a nail from the yarn-art on your wall. Setting you down I sternly said stay here. I wanted to spank you so bad and your mom had previously given me permission but I was too mad and didn't. To this day I still have a scar on my left arm just below my shoulder that reminds me not to punish in anger.”

“My memory of you will be about crossing the barrier and checking out "brown stuff" (Hash) and firing off rounds (AK-47) with Taimur while your oblivious mothers were buying cloth, and tazering us. I'll write as requested but no more of this dying at 22 BS”

“Some people think that wandering the world is in search of something, some meaning, some purpose, some place to settle down and carve out a life. But for some of us the wandering is our purpose, is where we find meaning, it is what we are searching for, and the trail we carve is our life. Wander on Travir for at least another 30 years. Love from a fellow wanderer.”

September 1975 (MCMLXXV) 

September 1 – Travis Henderson was born!
• September 1, the "Sinai II" Accord was signed. Israel ceded more of the Sinai back to Egypt, and returned control of the oilfields to Egypt. (Sinai I)
• September 5 - In Sacramento, California, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a follower of incarcerated cult leader Charles Manson, attempts to assassinate US President Gerald Ford, but is thwarted by a Secret Service agent.
• September 14 - Rembrandt's painting "The Night Watch" is slashed a dozen times at a gallery in Amsterdam.
• September 15 - The French department of Corse, comprising the entire island of Corsica, is divided into two departments: Haute-Corse and Corse-du-Sud.
• September 20 - End of term for Tuanku Al-Mutassimu Billahi Muhibbudin Sultan Abdul Halim Al-Muadzam Shah ibni Almarhum Sultan Badlishah as the 5th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.
• September 21 - Sultan Yahya Petra ibni Almarhum Sultan Ibrahim Petra, Sultan of Kelantan becomes the 6th Yang di-Pertuan Agong of Malaysia.
• September 22 - President Gerald Ford survives a second assassination attempt, this time by Sara Jane Moore
• September 30 - Hughes (later McDonnell-Douglas, now Boeing IDS) AH-64 Apache made its first flight.

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