Now here's some destructive puppy behavior that we fully support!
(Saddam chew toy via Political Pet Toys. We get a real thrill out of seeing the dog attack that scumbag.)
I'm not getting much computer time these days because Charlie can't climb stairs, and when I do bring him upstairs he 1) chews on the computer cords or 2) thinks "upstairs" is "outside" and piddles. I'm trying to read stuff as fast as I can while he takes his little naps, but I'm finding it hard to concentrate.
And I miss Bunker a lot these days; I keep coming up with things I want to discuss with him.
Heh. Kelo is about to bite one of the Supreme Court justices in the butt. How deliciously crafty this proposal is:
The proposed development, called "The Lost Liberty Hotel" will feature the "Just Desserts Café" and include a museum, open to the public, featuring a permanent exhibit on the loss of freedom in America. Instead of a Gideon's Bible each guest will receive a free copy of Ayn Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged."
Dog rearing is moving along nicely. Over the weekend Charlie met his "cousin" (my husband's brother's dog) and managed to hold his own despite being a fourth of his size.
Last night we hit a milestone: Charlie slept his first full night! But both my boys were exhausted after PT...
And we just can't stop taking pictures of him.
It's funny that we wanted the Tibetan breed because we wanted a couch potato dog, but Charlie takes it to extremes! He's the only dog I've ever heard of who hates going on walks. When he sees the leash, he hides. When I try to get him out the door, he plants his feet and resists. What a hoot he is.
Via Amritas I found a fascinating old article about a challenge I'd never even considered: how do you write a message for 10,000 years in the future? This is the problem the Department of Energy is working on for warning about nuclear waste.
Designing a "Keep Out" sign that lasts for 10,000 years and still holds meaning is not an easy task.
After all, about 10,000 years ago, the Sahara was a fertile savanna, and humans were just beginning to put down their spears and figure out how to grow food. Ten thousand years from now, Earth could conceivably be populated by extraterrestrials.
There's another website chronicling the magnitude of difficulty in writing this message. It's a mind-boggling task.
There are things in this world that I hate to see. I absolutely hate seeing ignorant stuff like this...
I feel disgusted when I see blatantly racist stuff like this...
And Ted Rall consistently has the ability to make me want to puke...
But the beauty of our country is that people have the right and ability to say whatever they want, no matter how vile it may be. I may be filled with rage at the sight of these drawings, but I'm proud that my country is a place where anyone can speak his mind. When we're free to speak, we're free to seek the truth. Mark Steyn expresses this same pride in his recent article on flag burning:
For my own part, I believe that, if someone wishes to burn a flag, he should be free to do so. In the same way, if Democrat senators want to make speeches comparing the U.S. military to Nazis and the Khmer Rouge, they should be free to do so. It's always useful to know what people really believe.
Do I enjoy seeing this on the streets of Detroit?
Of course not, but I certainly don't want to ban it. I believe that when people are allowed freedom of expression, their uppance will come if others don't like it.
Again Mark Steyn:
Banning flag desecration flatters the desecrators and suggests that the flag of this great republic is a wee delicate bloom that has to be protected. It's not. It gets burned because it's strong.
That's the point: A flag has to be worth torching. When a flag gets burned, that's not a sign of its weakness but of its strength. If you can't stand the heat of your burning flag, get out of the superpower business.
Our flag gets burned because our country is important in this world. Go look at the montage of burning American flags around the world and feel proud that our country has had such an impact. A burning American flag is a sign of our strength.
My husband and I haven't made it to Berlin yet, but it looks like we might not get to see this Checkpoint Charlie memorial site. Apparently it's being bulldozed this 4th of July. I certainly don't understand why memorials to the Cold War are supposedly turning Berlin into "Disneyland". It's funny to me that it seems many Germans want to forget the past...while Americans are busy trying to build a why-they-hate-us at Ground Zero.
I just noticed that Red 6 is featured in the Stars and Stripes tribute to heroes.
I've been trying to get some reading done in the morning, and there are so many things I'd like to point out but don't have the time. Check out Conservative Grapevine and Varifrank as usual. I did have a chuckle at this article about Iraqi soldiers learning to complain:
The soldiers also are mad about what they call a $70 cut in their monthly pay. Soldiers, on average, earn $300 to $400 a month, they say. The reason, it turns out, is something nearly every American begrudges, whether a soldier or not. For the first time, the Iraqi government began taking taxes out of the platoon’s paychecks.
I can't wait until Iraq is back on her feet.
A Charlie update: He's now lived with us for a week and is doing much better. Most of the crying has stopped, and he sleeps through the night (except for when we take him outside). He went on his first walk yesterday and after he finally stopped imprinting on me, he had a blast! We started working on "sit", which he enjoys because he gets a treat when he does it. I don't guess I'll throw him out the window after all...
Our dog is driving us a little batty. We're trying to crate train him, which means we're getting very little sleep. Charlie, on the other hand, apparently doesn't need any sleep at night and instead prefers to pass the time howling and yelping. He keeps pooping in the neighbors' yard instead of ours, he has destroyed the boxes we put in to make his crate smaller, and he thinks that moss and weeds are the best food around.
It's a good thing he's cute, 'cause he's about to get thrown out the window!
We got our puppy yesterday! So far he's doing really well: he's learning his name and has already gotten the hang of "come". And even though we only got about three non-consecutive hours of sleep last night from all the whining, we still love him to death.
Now Charlie and I are off to practice crate training...
We were careless once, and thousands of people died. Let us not make the same mistake again.
Thus ends Varifrank's post. (Erin, you're gonna like this one.)
Two years ago we had just moved to Germany. We had no house and no car, and since we'd gotten "lost in the system", we had no income for two and a half months. Last year we were thousands of miles apart. Here's hoping that our third anniversary works out a little better than the previous two!
What was this guy thinking, giving an anti-US graduation speech to soldiers and their family members? If you're taking classes in Europe, you must be a military ID card holder, so every single UMUC student is connected to the miltary in some way or another. The faculty, however, is a different story altogether, which explains why he got supportive emails from faculty and boos from students in attendance.
Why do these commencement speakers keep using graduation as an open soapbox for talk on the war? All grads want to hear is attaboys and words of wisdom as they leave college. They want Chicken Soup for the Soul, not MoveOn.org at their ceremony.
I don't even know what to say about this story: Grieving 9/11 Widow Spends Almost $5 Million. Glad to know that all the money we donated to 9-11 funds went to a good cause, right? Perhaps I'm a part-owner of one of this woman's $5000 purses.
At least I had this story to read afterwards and restore my faith in humanity: A long shot in more ways than one brings a town to tears
My in-laws are visiting, so I haven't been sitting at the computer much. This weekend we went to Nuremburg and spent some time at the Dokumentationszentrum Reichsparteitagsgelande, which is a heck of a name for the Nazi Party Rally Grounds. To be honest, besides a few details, we didn't learn much at the museum, but I did get to see footage of Nazi rallies and photos of Hitler's adoring crowds. And walking through the museum, I couldn't help but think of the travesty that is modern comparison. Googling "Bush Hitler" brings 2,140,000 hits, including a website that tracks Bush=Hitler comments. ("Saddam Hitler" only brings a third as many hits, despite the fact that if we have to compare someone to Hitler, as all are wont to do these days, Saddam fits much nicer in my eyes.) And seeing things like this t-shirt and this German website about how much Bush is like Hitler make me absolutely sick. Even worse are the websites where people claim that Hitler was better than Bush.
As I walked through that museum, I grew angry at both the past and at the present. But time revealed the true horrors of 1930s Germany, just as I believe time will vindicate the early 2000s someday. I just wish we didn't have to wait that long.
My mom sent me an excellent email forward today:
Why English Teachers Retire Young
Actual analogies and metaphors found in high school essays
1. Her face was a perfect oval, like a circle that had its two sides gently compressed by a Thigh Master.
2. His thoughts tumbled in his head, making and breaking alliances like underpants in a dryer without Cling Free.
3. He spoke with the wisdom that can only come from experience, like a guy who went blind because he looked at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it and now goes around the country speaking at high schools about the dangers of looking at a solar eclipse without one of those boxes with a pinhole in it.
4. She grew on him like she was a colony of E.coli and he was room-temperature Canadian beef.
5. She had a deep, throaty, genuine laugh, like that sound a dog makes just before it throws up.
6. Her vocabulary was as bad as, like, whatever.
7. He was as tall as a six-foot-three-inch tree.
8. The revelation that his marriage of 30 years had disintegrated because of his wife's infidelity came as a rude shock, like a surcharge at a formerly surcharge-free ATM.
9. The little boat gently drifted across the pond exactly the way a bowling ball wouldn't.
10. McBride fell 12 stories, hitting the pavement like a Hefty bag filled with vegetable soup.
11. From the attic came an unearthly howl. The whole scene had an eerie, surreal quality, like when you're on vacation in another city and Jeopardy comes on at 7:00 p.m.instead of 7:30.
12. Her hair glistened in the rain like a nose hair after a sneeze.
13. The hailstones leaped from the pavement, just like maggots when you fry them in hot grease.
14. Long separated by cruel fate, the star-crossed lovers raced across the grassy field toward each other like two freight trains, one having left Cleveland at 6:36 p.m. traveling at 55 mph, the other from Topeka at 4:19 p.m. at a speed of 35 mph.
15. They lived in a typical suburban neighborhood with picket fences that resembled Nancy Kerrigan's teeth.
16. John and Mary had never met. They were like two hummingbirds who had also never met.
17. He fell for her like his heart was a mob informant and she was the East River.
18. Even in his last years, Grandpappy had a mind like a steel trap, only one that had been left out so long, it had rusted shut.
19. Shots rang out, as shots are wont to do.
20. The plan was simple, like my brother-in-law Phil. But unlike Phil, this plan just might work.
21. The young fighter had a hungry look, the kind you get from not eating for a while.
22. He was as lame as a duck. Not the metaphorical lame duck, either, but a real duck that was actually lame, maybe from stepping on a land mine or something.
23. The ballerina raised gracefully en pointe and extended one slender leg behind her, like a dog at a fire hydrant.
24. It was an American tradition, like fathers chasing kids around with power tools.
25. He was deeply in love. When she spoke, he thought he heard bells, as if she were a garbage truck backing up.
26. Her eyes were like limpid pools, only they had forgotten to put in any pH cleanser.
27. She walked into my office like a centipede with 98 missing legs.
28. It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall.
I've been avoiding the computer because it makes me too sad, but I know Bunker would've been one of the first people to tell me to get back in the saddle. It's just depressing when I scan my list of links and momentarily think "oh, I wonder if Bunker's written anything new?" and then the lump in my throat returns. But something caught my eye that I wanted to write about, so I'm gonna cowboy up and keep blogging.
John Kerry is stupid.
Well, I mean, if everyone is going to say that President Bush is stupid, then they should say the same about Kerry because they had the same grades in college. Actually, it appears that Kerry's are maybe even a shade worse, so it's no wonder he didn't release these records until after the campaign.
If Bush is a moron, what does that make Kerry?
MORE TO GROK:
Kerry is also a dog.
Last night I had the chance to go out to dinner with CaliValleyGirl and The Girl. We talked about how much blogs have affected our lives, and I commented on how close you can get to someone you've never met. You were definitely one of the people I meant, because you've left a big footprint in my life. Just before dinner, I picked up that copy of The Federalist Papers that you inspired me to buy, and I thought that I'd like to start reading it but that I'd probably need your help wading through its density. You are still registered as a user on my blog. I just blogged about you on Friday, and I was waiting to talk about what I've finally grokked about medals with you.
It took me an hour just to stop crying after I read Slice's post. Well, that's not true, because I haven't even stopped crying yet, but at least I've calmed down enough to gather myself. I'd give anything to have you back for one more day so I could tell you everything else I want to say, but at least I know that I've already told you the most important things. Last Father's Day, I emailed you and told you that you felt like a second father to me, that I learned from you every day and that I cherished our blog-friendship. This Father's Day you won't be here to hear it again, but I promise I will be thinking of you again on that day. I'm glad I told you once how important you were to me.
There are bloggers like Den Beste or Whittle that I wouldn't even have the guts to talk to. But I would've easily walked up to you and given you a hug. You were a real person in my life, not just somebody I read on the internet.
There's but a handful of people in my life it could hurt this much to lose.
You know, the email you sent me this week meant so much to me, when you told me that it was cool that I was staying home and not worrying about building a career. But you know what? I deleted it. I don't know why I did that. I guess I thought there'd be plenty more emails where that one came from.
I just wish I could write you one more email to tell you how sad I am that we don't have any future together. I was going to make you the chicken lasagna alfredo you were drooling over the other day, maybe in exchange for helping me with The Federalist Papers. I was going to move to Texas and join the Texas Blog Ring you started, and you were going to teach me to enjoy golf. I hate golf, but I was really looking forward to playing with you.
I never met you, but I am going to miss you so much. I cringe at the fact that I had your phone number at the bottom of every email you ever sent to me, yet I never picked up the phone. Luckily though, I have the CD you sent me of your radio spot on the Lago show, so your voice can bring a smile to my face. And the next time I'm in Texas, I'm still going to visit you, even if there won't be any golfing that day.
I love you, Bunker. I'm glad you knew it; I just wish I could've said it before it was too late.
The Girl did this book thing, and I wanted to participate too...
1) Total # of books I own:
It took me forever to count: 528, not including field manuals.
2) Last book I bought:
The French Betrayal of America. It's not even here yet.
3) Last book I read:
Last book I completed was the highly practical How To Raise a Puppy You Can Live With.
4) Books I'm reading now:
I take 'em one at a time; still reading Once An Eagle (it's 1291 pages.)
5) Books that have been important to me:
Hmm, "important", not just "good"...To Kill a Mockingbird, The Fountainhead, Skinny Legs and All, Alas Babylon, Cosmos, Stranger in a Strange Land, This Is My Beloved, and not to forget Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (the book my husband was reading when I met him, the spark for our first conversation) and Lila (the first gift I gave to my husband, for which I received my first kiss from him.)
Since the end of OIF II, I have seen a lot of things happen with medals and badges and patches. I used to think it was cool when my husband collected ribbons, but now I am starting to see why Bunker said to throw 'em in a drawer and forget it. I've heard way too many stories about soldiers who deserved ribbons but didn't get them and soldiers who didn't deserve ribbons but got them. Platoon leaders and platoon sergeants spend an extraordinary amount of time not on deciding who deserves medals but working on the grammar and presentation of the citation. And I'm sure some have been approved over others just because someone's grammar was better. In just three months, I've become disillusioned with the medal process, which is sad because I think they should be something to be proud of.
I also thought the CCB was cool because I thought those who were not infantry deserved some credit too. Slowly I'm beginning to see what a mess it will be. Now it's a CAB, eligible to...um...everyone? How do you decide who is eligible? It's for anyone who engages or is engaged by the enemy; what a mess that's going to be to give out. Nearly everyone will get one, making the award virtually worthless.
Didn't anyone learn from giving berets to the entire Army in order to make everyone feel "more elite?" The very act of giving the beret to everyone devalued the beret itself. If you give a badge to everyone involved in ground combat, the CIB and the new badges you make up will all be de-valued. The very act of trying to make people feel more special will make them feel less special.
We're running out of drawer space; quit giving out more things to throw in 'em.
Right Wing News has a good round-up today. Just go to his blog and go down the grey list on the right.
It's not really possible to count how many words there are in the English language, but it's a lot. And many people agree that English has more words than most other world languages. Anecdotally, I remember noticing the problem when I was learning French and I wanted to distinguish between jump, hop, and leap; French only has the one jumping verb. There's no distinction in Swedish between winking and blinking, though I'm sure flirters would disagree.
English has plenty of words to describe everything quite accurately, which is why I get so angry when people start conflating the definitions of words. I'm mad that what happened at Abu Ghraib gets labeled as "torture" when we have the word "humiliation" to differentiate the two concepts. The word torture loses its specific meaning when it covers the spectrum, just as jump shouldn't cover both leaps and hops.
I've been especially mad this week over the misuse of the word "gulag" by Amnesty International. "Gulag" is a very specific word used to describe a very specific type of penal system. It is entirely not appropriate for discussing Guantanamo Bay.
The Jawa Report has a well-researched post about what exactly a gulag is. We have plenty of words in the English language to accurately define the differences between the gulag and Gitmo; let's use them.
You know what blogs are good for? Griping. So here goes.
My parents opened a bank account for me when I was a baby. They couldn't afford to sock away much, but all three of us kids had accounts that were to be used for college. Since I didn't need it for college, I got it as a wedding present, so I withdrew the majority of the money three years ago when I got married.
Guess what I found out today? That account, which has been open for like 25 years, went under "new management" in 2001. They charge an inactive fee when the account doesn't have any activity for a year. And guess who hasn't accessed her account since 2002? Guess who just found out she lost $240 to bank fees?
I'm so mad I could scream, but there's no one to scream at. I've never touched that account before my wedding, and I don't even get balance statements for it. It's a fluke I even found out about it now. I thought about emptying all the money out when I got married, but my parents thought it would be good to keep the account open. They didn't know anything about this new inactive fee; they've had an account there for decades too! The girl on the phone sounded sorry for me, but she said there was nothing she could do about it. I'd better go warn my brothers to check on their accounts.
So there goes lots of money down the toilet. Fantastic. You know what's the biggest load of bullcrap ever? A savings account where you lose money because you don't touch it. Don't ever open one of those for your kids.
Only two weeks until we get to bring him home...
You tell 'em Greyhawk...
I suppose it's possible that there are toilets capable of [flushing a Koran] in Guantanamo, in the same sense that it's possible that the Texas Air National Guard was using Microsoft Word in the early 1970s. To caveat my own opinion, however, I note that anything is possible, Inshallah.
That reminds me of a Futurama line my husband and I like to repeat:
Professor: "Is it true that stem cells may fight the aging process?"
Scientist: "Well yes, in the same way an infant may fight Muhammad Ali, but--"
Professor: "One pound of stem cells please!"
Amritas points to an article about "a Los Angeles school board proposal to require all high school students to take college prep courses." One paragraph caught my eye:
Campbell pointed out that some of the students excel in the school's culinary and performing arts classes. But because most of those classes don't qualify as college prep courses, she worries that students will miss out on those subjects.
I missed out on several things in my high school because I was taking college prep. I sure would have benefitted more from typing and computer classes than chemistry! We didn't have culinary classes, but I would've liked to take one.
Know what I do now that I'm an Army wife with two degrees? Cook and type.
I have a friend here on post who quit college when she decided to get married. While her husband was in Basic and AIT, she went to cosmetology school. She makes way more money cutting hair in her home than I did teaching college English. She has a skill that's marketable no matter where she moves, while I'm stuck because apparently I need a PhD to do what I want to do. It wouldn't even have to be in anything related to teaching college English; I just have to have the piece of paper that says I studied something.
So I'm a housewife who cooks and types instead.
I guess it suits me just fine though. If I had it to do all over again, I would've studied mechanical engineering like my dad. I always loved physics. But at least the way things are now, I'm not too bummed to be locked out of a job that only paid me $800 per month in a system that was extremely frustrating. Moreover, I don't necessarily think that Army wifeing and careers go hand in hand. My first loyalty is to the military and my second is to my own job prospects. Not surprisingly, being an out-of-work professor fits easily with our PCS rotation :)
I had five Varifrank blog entries to catch up on today, and I can't say which is my favorite. You just need to go to his blog and start reading from the top. Make sure you go all the way down to "I got your desecration right here pal" if you haven't already read it.
I can point out a certain bit that made me chuckle: Varifrank's advice to the EU constitution writers...
First, get an Englishman to write your constitution. It worked for us; it can work for you too! President Valery Giscard D’estang? What were you thinking? For gods’ sake, the French can write 2000 pages on the various color of apples without breaking a sweat. Its not getting them to talk that’s the trick, it’s getting them to shut up. You don’t put a Scotsman in the kitchen, you don’t put a Frenchman near a pen and paper, its one of life’s little rules.
I know exactly what he means, for I've been forced to read Marcel Proust.
One of the most depressing blogs out there is Babalu Blog. I swear every time I go there, I feel like crying, and today is no exception. Val Prieto got to talk with a Cuban who's visiting the US. Commenter Kathleen summed up how I too felt after reading this story: "All this time we've been saying how fidel has ruined Cuba, turned it to shit. The truth of it makes me weep. I can't think of a word in English, or Espanol that expresses how much I'd like to see castro gone. What can we say to this visitor? Yes, we know what has happened to your country, how much your people have suffered. Sorry, the world just doesn't care. Sometimes I'm truly ashamed to be human."
By the way, did ya'll see what Red 6 managed to do to his hand? He called me all calm too: "If we need to go to the emergency room, do we go first to the American clinic or straight to the German hospital?" "Who needs the emergency room?" I asked. "Me," he replied, cool as a cucumber.
I remembered that phone call when I read this post by Not Deskmerc. If we had been living in England, none of this would've ever happened.
Tanker Schreiber shared a good article with me: The green card mercenaries