PSA: Soldiers’ Angels

During the holidays, there are people of all political, religious, and cultural backgrounds who volunteer to write cards to deployed soldiers serving in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, men and women who are doing a job most of us are unwilling or unable to do, and risking their lives to do it.

Whether or not you support the war, whomever you plan to vote for, those soldiers don’t just stop needing contact once the holidays are over. Many of them are mere babies – 18-22 year olds who have never been away from home before. Others joined the military to escape bad home lives, to earn money for college, to see the world, or because they really are idealistic.

Some of them have families who simply don’t write. Some have families who write them off because their own political beliefs are so strong they can’t embrace the notion of supporting a family member without supporting the war itself.

If you know me, you know that I’m usually on the left side of the political spectrum, and can probably assume that I fall into the category of “Love the solider, not the war.” Nevertheless, I’ve got two adopted soldiers (my previous three all made it home safely), and am on a team of people who write weekly letters to new soldiers each week as well.

If the idea of providing a piece of home, in the form of a weekly note or card is something you can get behind, if you can afford $20 or so a month to send a care package of cookies and personal items (you can even order them online if you don’t have time to hit dollar stores and stand in line at the post office), please consider joining Soldiers’ Angels, and adopting a soldier.

This organization works with individual soldiers, whole units, chaplains, medics, and k-9 divisions (you can even adopt a solider/dog team in some cases). Personal politics are checked at the door, but members support each other through personal challenges as much as possible.

And the soldiers are incredibly grateful for undemanding contact from home.

Wired Redux

So it’s been three months since we ditched comcast and our DSL line in favor of AT&T’s Uverse, the fiber cable– based internet/television connection bundle. Mostly it’s been good.

The good:
Lots more channels than we had with ComCast, a DVR that records 4 channels at once (or 2 HD channels, but since we don’t yet own an HD TV this isn’t crucial). Two other cable boxes bundled in the main price. A fourth for $5/month. And TiVo mostly works with the non-DVR boxes. Of course, when we do have one, all we have to do is call them and tell them to enable those channels. No additional installations. Also, we didn’t bother, but had we thought about it, the boxes could run on Cat 5 inside the house, instead of Co-Ax.

The not so good:
About once a month we have to manually re-sync the television boxes or they lock. And AT&T kind of sucks at telling people when there will be a planned outage (as there was around one this morning, when, granted, most people aren’t awake, but we don’t keep “normal” hours.).

The tricky:
Fuzzy found this out on day one. If you want upload/download speeds to scream, you set up an On Demand movie. Since it all uses the same lines and capacity has to be opened wide to download digital content, you reap the benefit of a faster-than-you’re-paying for connection at those times.

And the channels? I kind of like the Sleuth and Chill channels when I’m in the mood for mysteries or horror.