NEWS FROM THE HOME-FRONT...
Latest News and Updates
I had to take down all photos of my children and of Elisabeth. If you want to see my family photos, you can sign up for a Google+ account, then tell me your username, and I will manually give you access to my photos.
The most current family photos
are now up on my Picasa Web pages: http://picasaweb.google.com/PeterLairo. [This is no longer the case]
I've just uploaded the photos for June (well, up until
today) to my Picasa Web
Album. [This is no longer the case]
Important update! Please read.
I've been placing all our family photos on my Picasa Web pages because it is much easier for me to maintain and for you to use. I also have a blog called "Peter Lairo's blog" where I will be posting family news (and some other random thoughts) (also because it's easier that manually editing the HTML here). Please make sure to go to those two new places regularly (I plan to update the photos page at least monthly). Tip: Bookmark those pages now! ;-)
Dad now has his very own blog where he can easily write about anything he wants, and visitors can comment on what he wrote. Check it out.
Here's an interesting analysis on the differences between states that voted republican and states that voted democratic based on a range of characteristics, including wages, taxes, and energy costs: The Disjointed States of America
The graph that sheds light on many things:
A more scathing analysis of how people who vote republican are voting against their own interests: Red State Babylon
"If the blue states are sinkholes of moral decay, as right-wing pundits insist, how come red states lead the nation in violent crime, divorce, illegitimacy, and incarceration, among other evils? "
So, my longest vacation ever (5 weeks!) is coming to a close. We spent three of those memorable weeks in the US. Our stay there was defined by four major locations/events:
- First, we stayed a week in Oglebay, a beautiful resort in West Virginia, in a two-bedroom cabin, together with Jeanene and her family. Although Jeanene arrived a few days later and had to leave a few days early because Frederick was sick, we still had a great time together.
- Then, we drove to Vandergrift to stay with Barbara Horrell for a week. It was a very relaxing stay and Barbara was a wonderful hostess. Barbara made friends with Kassandra by doing handcrafts with her (drawing, cutting out paper). This week it was Kassandra's turn to get sick. She (and thus us too) stayed in the house much of the time. Fortunately, we did manage to visit Barbara Pinto's house. On the way there Kassandra remaked: "I want to live in Leechburg."
- Next, was the Galli / Lairo / Stefanini Reunion 2006 in Greensburg and Apollo. What can I say? It was GREAT: canoe ride, dinner, picknick, the Lairo breakfasts, and hanging out with family in the (limited) between times. WOW!
Our last week was spent with Jeanene
and her family in Washington, D.C. It was great to see
my sister after too many years. She has a wonderful
family and her two children seem as content as they can
be. They (almost) always smile cheerfully when you look
at them. Of course, we also visited some of Washington's
great sites: Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
(Kassandra loved the waterfall there), the Smithsonian
National Air and Space Museum (where Kassandra and I
watched a cool 3D IMAX movie showing men walking on the
moon), the Smithsonian Institution National Museum of
Natural History (where kassandra learned about cavemen,
dinosaurs, and mammals). We also drove or walked by
several other famous places, like the White house and
Capitol. Oh yeah, we also went into Jeanene's former
work place, the Department
of Commerce building - very impressive, VERY near
to the White house!
But the most important part of the visit was for Kassandra and Lilia to meet and get to know their cousins Frederick and Francesca. They seemed to get along well, so hopefully, this will be the foudation of a good relationship among them.
Back in Germany, we've had a few days to overcome our jet lag and settle in again. Even though the vacation was great, it's still good to be home again (no more squeaky floors!). :-)
If you enjoy the internet, and think it is an important part of information access, PLEASE read, then sign this petition:
Satire: "Rumsfeld: Iraqis Now Capable Of Conducting War Without U.S. Assistance" (The Onion)
While watching the bonus material, I came across this shocking bible passage:
"But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay [them] before me." Jesus Christ (Luke 19:27)
Would any sensible person believe in a religion whose "leader" said such a thing? I can only hope that either (a) I'm overlooking something, or (b) people realize that Christianity is not the answer to the meaning of life - before they get even more power.
Thunderbird 1.5 was released today. Thunderbird is a free program to read and organize your e-mail and is better than Outlook Express. Enjoy safe, fast, and easy e-mail, with intelligent spam filters, quick message search, and customizable views. Brought to you by Mozilla, Thunderbird makes email better. Check out the features, and see what is new in version 1.5.
Great news: Jeanene & Mike just had their second baby! Her name is Francesca. She was born on 7 January 2006 at 18:00 and weighed 3.2 kg. Now Frederick has a sister. Photos coming as soon as I get some.
Firefox 1.5 was released today. Firefox is a free web browser and is better than Internet Explorer. Firefox protects you from viruses, spyware and pop-ups. Enjoy improvements to performance, ease of use and privacy.
"People should be able to enjoy the power of the web without becoming experts in Internet and software technology." (Mitchell Baker)
"According to the Bushies, if the United States is holding a prisoner on foreign soil, our soldiers can still subject him or her to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment [...]. Does this make any sense, moral or common?"
A cool quote (by Ian Hickson):
"In general I don't like cameras; I find people use them to "keep a memory of" events to the point of not actually experiencing the event they are trying to keep a memory of in the first place. I'd rather just experience the event, and if one day I want to remember what it is like... do it again."
Lilia Lairo, daughter of Peter & Elisabeth, was born today, Thursday. Check out Lilia's very own web page (still in "alpha" stage!) for some cute baby photos and info on this special addition to our family. (Yeah, I know this announcement is way late - sorry)
So why are gay's rights such a big issue for Christians?
"Why do gay bashers selectively pluck Biblical quotes, then preach them as God’s word and as Law. Leviticus 20:13 does state homosexuality to be an abomination. However, Leviticus also states that one should not approach the alter of God if one has an eye defect. Exodus says selling a daughter into slavery is sanctioned, and those who work on the Sabbath should be put to death. Am I next for condemnation under God’s Law? Picking out those “truths” that suit your purpose and leaving the rest hanging, at least in my Pennsylvania hometown, is derogatorily known as “cherry picking”. (Alex Lairo)
I'm not very knowledgeable on the bible, so any informed counter-comments would be welcomed. I might even post particularly good ones here. Absent that, why not consider just letting gays have the same rights and protections as any other humans?
Kassandra's 3rd birthday party. Photos.
Jeanene & Frederick are visiting us in Germany. We finally get to meet Frederick and are enjoying our time with him and Jeanene. Of course I made some photos of Frederick.
The American people have chosen G.W. Bush to continue leading our country. To quote my favorite news-blogger: "I fear that this result will set in motion dangerous dynamics that even the relatively young among us will be wrestling with and contending with for the rest of our lives."
A conservative friend just told me that the Arab world was already against us and in chaos, and that the invasion of Iraq will have no significant repercussion. I think he's wrong. Time will tell...
OK, I need to vent some frustration. Here goes:
Some web pages and blogs I read regularly (and that you might want to bookmark) that document why we badly need a new president:
- Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall - I can't recommend this too highly.
- The Washington Monthly - Gotta love this quote: "The creeping Putinization of American life".
- Chris Nelson's Weblog - On the emotive side, but still insightful
Some must-read articles:
- Karl Rove in a Corner - This is alarming! Are we citizens or sheep?
- Truth and Unfit for Command Documents the lies of the "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" book.
- Sinclair Advertiser Boycott and BOYCOTT SINCLAIR
"It's no mystery that many votes in MOST presidential elections are for "the lesser harm", and that's quite appropriate for a democratic system. In a complex, plural society like ours, it is almost always true that only a minority will find any candidate perfect on the issues and totally exciting. Most of us judge the candidates according to a multiplicity of positions, and almost every candidate will be better on some, worse on others."
This cartoon is right on the mark. It illustrates the deceptive rhetoric of the republican party. No, the democrats don't "also do this" nearly to this dangerous degree:
I just put up a bunch of new photos of Frederick.
From a Washington Post article:
"A new Internet virus has surfaced that allows hackers to steal passwords, credit card numbers and other personal information when someone merely visits an infected Web site, government computer security experts warned this week."
The article concludes:
It boggles my mind why anyone would still be using Internet Explorer, but then Emperor George the Second did become President...
I just got back from the funeral of a long-time colleague and friend, Waldemar Skubatz. He had a fatal motorcycle accident while on vacation in Scotland. He was one of the kindest and gentlest persons I know; and I can't remember feeling this sad in a very long time. He was always very "private" and didn't take part in any of the office's "activities" (x-mas parties...). I was glad to see a very large number of colleagues and former colleagues at his funeral. It seems that people do recognize goodness, even though it may not appear that way during day-to-day life. I will miss him dearly.
Michael Moore's newest movie Fahrenheit 9/11 seems to be a good movie about the dangerous and deceptive downward spiral the USA is on. International Herald Tribune: "'Fahrenheit 9/11' is not the movie Moore watchers, fans or foes, were expecting". Another quote: "Compared to his other films, there's little pranking or moralizing. Moore basically stays out of the picture: he doesn't have to indict the Bush administration, because with powerful and indisputable video, Bush and the rest indict themselves.". Judge for yourself, watch the trailer, then go watch the movie.
Here's an excellent article on why Microsoft has deliberately stopped improving Internet Explorer for over TWO years now: "How Microsoft Lost the API War". Very insightful and straight talk by someone who is definitely not a Microsoft-basher.
Mozilla Firefox 0.9 (browser) and Mozilla Thunderbird 0.7 (e-mail) were just released this week. If you are tired of pop-ups, viruses, and Spam; and are willing to give something better a try, then download these fine alternatives.
Jeanene & Mike's new baby Frederick Lairo Ryan has arrived! Welcome to the world Frederick! (photos coming soon)
There's some BIG NEWS about Jeanene on her web page.
Jeanene and Mike just bought a beautiful house in D.C. I wonder what will be next...
OK, finally a (minor) update. I fixed Kassandra's web page to properly wrap the photos for smaller monitors. Netscape 7.0 (final) has been released and it is an excellent browser and mail reader. Check it out and download it. OK, I gave myself a push (it's 4:30 AM) and added 4 recent photos of Kassandra - enjoy. :-)
A long-lost photo showing the very first official Lairo's and all their children together on one photo.
Kassandra's first official Passport photo.
I just put up 4 new photos of Kassandra.
Alex & Bernie will be in Florida from 26.02. until 15.04.
Mozilla Milestone 0.9.8 was just released. If you want an excellent browser and e-mail client, or don't want to use Microsoft's broken browser and gaping security hole of an e-mail client ("LookOut!" Virus Magnet), then this is for you.
Jennifer Lairo is now back in New Berlin, Illinois. If you want to say Hi to her, you can reach her under JenLairo@EarthLink.net. BTW, her birthday is 08.02.!
OK, last year we cut down a (very) large part of the tree in front of our house. It was simply way too large and was also causing a lot of tree-dirt (=leaves). Check out some photos of this monumental event.
Kassandra Lairo, daughter of Peter & Elisabeth, was born today, Tuesday at 2:27 in the wee hours of the morning. Check out Kassandra's very own web page for some cute baby photos and info on this special addition to our family.
Netscape 6.2.1 was just released. It actually aims to protect your online privacy; not undermine it like M$ Internet Explorer.
I just have to brag about this one: I finally figured out how to make the text color change when you hover the mouse over a link - YEAH.
New photo of Megan, Tina & Corey (bottom of page).
Yes, the "rumors" are true. Elisabeth is now 5 months pregnant. We don't know if it'll be a boy or a girl yet, but we do know one thing ... WE'RE GONNA HAVE A BABY !!! It's due the end of January (like her dad's b-day). We're both looking forward to our new and exciting roles as parents. I'll be putting up some "profile" shots of the-mother-to-be in a week or two. So check back here again later...
Congratulations to Tina & Corey DeRosear on the birth of their beautiful daughter Megan Marie
Elisabeth & Peter had one half of the tree in front of their house cut down. The other half is drastically trimmed. It simply got too big and made way too much dirt. Nevertheless, we mourn its loss. (photos pending).
The terrible terrorist attack in New York and Washington DC. Fortunately, Jeanene and Mike (and their friends) who live in DC are all OK.
Congratulations to Nickole Horrell on her Magna Cum Laude degree as "Associate of Specialized Medical Technology" from Allegheny University.
Unfortunately, we couldn't respond to the invitation on time because it was addressed to an outdated ZIP code (since 10 years!). It seems many family members still have an outdated address for us. Please see below for the correct address. ;-)
Congratulations to Jeanene & Mike on their wonderful wedding. Check out some photos of the wedding
Other Interesting Stuff
Some good programs (my favorites) for you here.