2005 brought my husband home from Iraq. If he has any say in it, this won't be the end of our family's involvement in the miraculous changes taking place in the Middle East. I'm glad to have him with me whenever I can, but I'm proud of him no matter where he is in the world.
2005 also brought Charlie into our life. We have good days and bad, but every day he gets a little better, and there's nothing like realizing the dog just stole an Italian sausage link out of the fridge to make you laugh.
2005 brought the hope that I might be published. I'm not holding my breath just yet, but it's exciting just to be asked to join in Blackfive's Milblogs book.
But 2005 also took something from me, something I miss every day. It's been six months since Bunker's passing, and I still think about him all the time. His absence is a big void in my blogosphere.
2006 will bring two PCS moves and a return to the US for our family. I'm anxious to get the adventures of this coming year started.
So long, 2005...
My glasses broke a few weeks ago, so yesterday the husband and I went to the shop to try to pick out a new pair. There's little I hate as much as trying to find glasses that don't make me look like a complete idiot. I put on one pair and turned to my husband, who immediately said, "Nah, they make you look like Glenn Reynolds." I didn't think it was possible to laugh so hard and so quietly in a tiny glasses shop. God, I love jokes that only bloggers will get.
(We were reminded of this comment when we pulled up the Instapundit today.)
It's been a while since I put up knitting content, mostly because I've been 1) making stuff that I can't talk about until it's given as gifts and 2) knitting an all black reverse-stockinette cardigan that makes me want to fall asleep or scratch out my eyeballs every time I pick it up, it's that boring. So I don't have anything good of my own to share, but I do have a photo that makes me feel giddy:
My husband has always been curious about how knitting works, but he's never had any interest in learning. But once I read At Knit's End and laughed that her husband had been knitting the same sock for years, I wanted my husband to try his hand at my favorite hobby.
Since he has no interest in making knitting his own hobby, I cast on for him and showed him a row of garter. He knit three rows on his own and then handed me the needles and said, "Yep, that's enough."
He was a really good knitter, one of my best students so far. He chugged along at a good pace, despite his surprising innate desire to purl (I've never seen anyone's hands instinctually prefer purl over knit). And I'm sure he'll never pick up another ball of yarn, but I appreciated his effort to learn my hobby.
And doesn't he look cute the way he's concentrating so hard?
Victor Davis Hanson's newest gem is called Democratic Implosion. The part that resonated with me:
Despite the stentorian intonation, Kerry’s new suggestions for what to do in Iraq simply outlined what the United States is in fact already doing: training Iraqis, providing protection for the ongoing constitutional process, talking to regional neighbors, trying to get the Europeans involved in the Middle East, and hunting down terrorists on the Afghan borders.
My husband always blows up at the TV when some naysayer pundit says that what we really need to be doing in Iraq is training Iraqis to take over the job themselves so we can go home. My husband arrived in Iraq in March 2004, and this policy was already in effect. Iraqi solders went everywhere with American soldiers, and after the Transfer of Authority that summer, the official policy was to let Iraqi soldiers do as much of the work as possible. My husband says that American soldiers often grumbled that taking the Iraqis along was too much work, that it was easier for them to just go on a raid alone than to drag the Iraqis with and help them learn how to do it. But the constant refrain in my husband's battalion was "Unless you want to come back for OIF 10, you'd better teach these Iraqis how to do your job."
The policy since Day 1 was to train Iraqis to protect their own country. My husband was already doing it nearly two years ago; why do all these pundits think they're offering a solution the military has never thought of?
(Also read VDH's The Plague of Success: "It is chic now to deprecate the Iraqi security forces, but they are doing a lot more to kill jihadists than the French or Germans who often either wire terrorists money, sell them weapons, or let them go." Heh.)
The Chicago Tribune put out the results of a study called Judging the case for war:
On Nov. 20, the Tribune began an inquest: We set out to assess the Bush administration's arguments for war in Iraq. We have weighed each of those nine arguments against the findings of subsequent official investigations by the 9/11 Commission, the Senate Intelligence Committee and others. We predicted that this exercise would distress the smug and self-assured--those who have unquestioningly supported, or opposed, this war.
The matrix below summarizes findings from the resulting nine editorials. We have tried to bring order to a national debate that has flared for almost three years. Our intent was to help Tribune readers judge the case for war--based not on who shouts loudest, but on what actually was said and what happened.
Via Powerline, I just learned the true and horrifying story of Kwanzaa.
For many of this country’s citizens, the mantra has been, as we were taught in social studies it should always be, whether or not I voted for this President, he is still my President. I suspect anybody who had to give him that benefit of the doubt stopped doing so last week. I suspect, also, a lot of his supporters, looking ahead to ‘08, are wondering how they can distance themselves from the two words which will define his government, our government: New Orleans. For him, it is a shame, in all senses of the word. A few changes of pronouns in there and he might not have looked so much like a 21st century Marie Antoinette.
The problem with reading a science book written in 1979 is that you want to know what has happened since. Sagan kept bringing up wonderfully exciting things that made me wonder what we've learned in the past 25 years. Some things I knew had not come to pass -- such as the bittersweet missed opportunity of a rendezvous mission with Halley's comet -- but other things I have been trying to research to see what we've learned since.
This is how it came to be that I felt a great excitement and inner peace for 24 hours. I learned of the oscillating universe theory.
I've never been a person who thinks much about the meaning of life or why we're here. I've always found more solace in thinking that I'm a small being in an ever-changing cosmos, that there's nothing more special about me than some long-extinct triceratops. I find peace and comfort knowing that the universe is far more complex and wondrous than I could ever comprehend, and that my life is inconsequential in the big scheme of billions of years. This thought that my life is but a blink in time helps me cope with seemingly monumental stressors in my life: high schoolers, deployments, the fact that the coat I wanted from Land's End is discontinued. All of this pales when I think about what has come before and will come after me.
In 1979, Carl Sagan said there was not enough evidence to rule out an oscillating universe. This would mean that the universe could continue a series of collapses and big bangs, in a neverending accordion squeeze on the cosmos. And I liked that idea. As I lay in bed, I imagined another go-round for the universe, with planets at different distances from their stars, possibly fostering new and different life forms. Or not. I imagined the cosmos as a big game of Yahtzee, then laughed that maybe God really does play dice with the universe. I felt excited and at peace, and I wanted to learn more.
So does learning that there's probably not enough matter in the universe to cause a Big Crunch make me disappointed? A little, but I'd rather know the truth. I suppose it doesn't even really bother me that the universe appears to be speeding up and eventally all stars will flicker out and cease to be. If that's what really will happen, then I can accept that.
But boy, did my mind do cartwheels at the thought of an oscillating universe. That was a great feeling, even if it was short lived.
Varifrank has a post of denbestian length, appropriately titled Where is this all going?
Pericles thinks I'm being unfair in lumping together regular anti-OIF Democrats with the likes of Michael Moore and Cindy Sheehan. I guess he might have more of a point if Michael Moore hadn't sat in the VIP box with Jimmy Carter at the Democratic National Convention. Michael Moore is embraced by Democrat leaders, as Judicious Asininity points out:
DNC Chairman Terry McCauliffe praised Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, as this article by NRO's Byron York makes clear. And McCauliffe wasn't the only ranking Democrat to praise the movie:
In addition to McAuliffe, other Democrats at the Washington screening included Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle, Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, Montana Sen. Max Baucus, South Carolina Sen. Ernest Hollings, Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, New York Rep. Charles Rangel, Washington Rep. Jim McDermott, and others. Harkin told the Associated Press that all Americans should see the film. "It's important for the American people to understand what has gone on before, what led us to this point, and to see it sort of in this unvarnished presentation by Michael Moore."
Michael Moore isn't nearly as fringe as Pericles apparently would like him to be. Pericles is right that Cindy Sheehan hasn't won the hearts and minds of big-name Democrats, but small-fry Democrats love her and say things like:
Fortunately, the grassroots of the Democratic Party do not agree with Kerry and Clinton. They want the troops out of Iraq. Many claim that this rift between the party grassroots and the D.C. Democrats is a fundamental identity crisis. They see the party as having no legitimate direction. No heart. No soul. They are right.
If Democratic politicians had a soul, they'd be standing shoulder to shoulder with Sheehan's supporters at candlelight vigils across the country. But that won't be happening anytime soon. The Democrats in D.C. aren't even sure Sheehan's actions are justified. They aren't even sure that her son died for an unjust cause.
The futility of the Democrats in Washington grows graver by the day.
They want an overthrow of their party and a major shift to the left. And I don't think it's "intellectually lazy", Pericles, for me to notice this. When John Kerry links to Daily Kos, it indicates acceptance of the "loony left".
Pericles says that "it makes it much easier for you to defend the war if you can depict everyone who opposed it as coming from the looney left", but I know that's not true. Many of my relatives (both my side and my husband's) don't support OIF. Many military wives I know don't support it either. Those people don't have a political reason for their feelings; they simply don't want people they love to have to die for someone else's country. I can get my mind around that feeling, even if I don't share it. They're a similar type of anti-war to Cindy Sheehan, to be honest, though I've never heard any of my relatives blame President Bush. They simply don't want there to be a war.
But people like Murtha and Pelosi are not in this category. They oppose this war on political grounds, and They. Blame. Bush. Just like Cindy Sheehan does. Just like Michael Moore does. Just like Pericles does, I think. Bush hatred has drawn all these people together, and they're all under the Democrats' tent, like it or not.
Think about everything you’ve heard about the conditions in Iraq, the role of U.S. forces, the multi-layered complexities of the war.
Then think again.
I’m a journalist. I read the news everyday, from several sources. I have the luxury of reading stuff newspapers don’t always have room to print. I read every tidbit I could on Iraq and the war before coming.
Everything I thought I knew was wrong.
Maybe not wrong, but certainly different than the picture in my head.
I liken it to this; It was real struggle for me to choose to see the Harry Potter movies. I had read the books and loved the pictures I had in my mind of the details I read. I didn’t need to see a movie; I had a movie playing in my head of exactly how I perceived the stories.
I had similar notions about Iraq, Mosul, the war and what exactly soldiers do. And it was handily shattered like glass today by a group of soldiers, half of them younger than myself.
She goes on to end with one of the most insightful things I've ever heard a reporter say:
I’ve listened to the soldiers and Parrish about the missing pieces of the puzzles that don’t reach home. My selfish, journalistic drive immediately thinks “Perfect. A story that hasn’t been told. Let me at it.”
But I have a slight hesitation; I need to keep balanced. I can’t be a cheerleader, even if I have a soft spot for the hometown troops, especially after the welcome they’ve shown me. I still need to be truthful and walk the centerline and report the good or bad.
But then I realize it’s not a conflict of interest. If I am truly unbiased, then I need to get used to this one simple fact; that the untold story, might in fact, be a positive one. It takes a minute to wrap my mind around it, as a news junkie that became a news writer. The great, career-making, breaking news stories usually don’t have happy endings; they usually revolve around disturbing news, deceit and downfall. Nasty political doings. Gruesome crimes and murders. Revealing secrets.
But I’ve come upon something that is none of those. Not this aspect of it. There are politics to this war and controversies and investigations. But there is another side.
There are heartwarming and heroic stories coming out of Iraq, and journalists are not "selling out" if they report this good stuff. It was a huge step for this embed to realize that maybe the stories that need to be told are the ones with happy endings.
They're making the driver's license test easier in USAREUR. I wonder if they'll still have the question on whether the car or the man with the donkey cart has the right-of-way...
I just found a photo from my husband's Christmas last year in Iraq:
I think this year's Christmas was slightly better...
Beth sent me a good article:
Howard Dean, Nancy Pelosi, and the rest of the "Island of Misfit Toys" gang believe with all their might that, if America will just leave Iraq, all the terrorists will magically disappear! They believe that the UN and the EU can somehow make Iran's weapons-grade uranium go away. And if we all just put down our guns and give Cindy Sheehan a great, big Christmas hug, peace on earth will surely follow.
The husband and I heard John Lennon's "Happy Xmas" song this morning. I remarked that the line "War is over / if you want it" is about the biggest idealistic pile of crap ever. Gee, if we just wish real hard, war will stop all over the world.
Of course, I've been ticked at Lennon ever since I read this, so I was ready for a fight when his song came on.
Last year I felt a little lame opening presents under the tree by myself, so this year was much more fun. We all had a merry Christmas...especially Charlie, who ate the nose off his brand new toy in under a minute.
We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.
I've been having a nagging feeling lately that I wasted my education chances. I had excellent grades in high school, and I got a full ride to college. I could've done anything with my four years that I wanted to, and I had two paths I could've followed. I could've studied French, which was easy for me and fun. Or I could've studied physics, which I found extremely interesting but took more work and application of my brain. I chose French.
As I sit in Germany with no job, I realize that neither degree would've done me much good here. I only use French to write Christmas cards to my elderly French relatives. By the time we move to our next duty station, it will be time to start discussing plans for children, so I'll never have much going for me in the way of a career. I can't help but feel that if my degree is only going to end up being for my personal enrichment, then I made the wrong choice.
I always thought it was strange that European youngsters are pigeonholed into careers far earlier than we Americans are. There's really no such thing as an "undecided major" in Europe. But even though I waited until the ripe old age of 19 to decide my major, I still feel now at 28 that I should've chosen wiser. I chose French because it came so easily to me, and because it was the smallest major at my college, which would afford me more electives to play around with. I looked into the physics minor, but it turned out to be more hours than the French major, impossible if I studied abroad. So I let it go, and now I'm disappointed in myself.
28-year-old Sarah can't get President Kennedy out of her mind. I wish I'd chosen physics because it was hard. I should've worked and stretched my brain and forced myself to acquire new skills. I should've tried to do something I really wanted to do instead of taking the lazy route.
I should be an out-of-work physicist instead of an out-of-work French speaker.
I watched the Superman Returns trailer. OK. I'm too big of a fan of the originals to know how I'm going to react to the new movie. It looks too...um...good for me. I want my Superman in a technicolor suit, not a murkier gotham-city getup. I want my Clark Kent bumbling and my Lois Lane snotty. But we'll see; you know I'm gonna see it anyway. And if luck is on my side, we'll see it in the USA.
Some commenter said yesterday that America's far left is Europe's moderate. I thought of that today in passing while reading Broca's Brain. I think people look at the world quite differently depending on how they classify themselves. If you think of yourself as an American, you see the world differently than if you think of yourself as a Global Citizen, as it seems most Europeans do. And if you think of yourself as a citizen of the universe, as Sagan does, you look at issues completely differently. Thus when Sagan talks of global warming, he thinks all humans should work together to prevent Earth's habitat from being like Mars. When an American talks about it, he typically thinks about what is best for the US first. I think the label you give yourself says a lot about how you deal with The Issues.
I've been working on my relationship with Heidi for a year now. I've felt uncomfortable with the fact that the reason we became friends is because her husband was killed. I'm slowly getting over that, but today I was once again struck by how much I hate that our relationship is littered with eggshells.
I was writing something to her, and I wrote, "I am scared to death of" before I stopped and realized I had chosen my words poorly. Every time I write to her, I find myself backspacing over all sorts of stupid expressions: "I could've just died when I said", "that joke killed me", "I love her to death." I feel like some dumb sitcom character who stutters like an idiot because he just asked a blind girl if she saw something. When do you get over that? When will I stop having to police myself so I don't say something stupid? When will our friendship just feel normal?
Woah, you really can knit anything: prosthetics for a mastectomy.
Why Liberals Hate War (via RWN)
The Democrats can see the writing on the wall. They know that if we stick around and maintain our will there is no way we can lose this conflict. We shall prevail! And that idea is terrifying to the Democrats and the rest of the American left. Why? Because it shows that war CAN solve problems. That with our overwhelming technical skill we can invade and secure just about any other country in the world, and not only that, but we can get a democratically elected government in place within just a few years.
War never solved anything? My fat ass it didn’t. In the last four years two wars have liberated two countries, and we are in the process of getting those countries on their way to prosperity and self-sufficience. In terms of the cost of life, especially when you look at the numbers for previous wars, we have suffered quite a low number. While the death of any man or woman is tragic, they should be honored to the fullest for their sacrifice to this nation, and to the people of Iraq.
The Democrats and the left cannot have this. The US has been in the “lose” column for so long now, That’s been one of their main sources of political strength. They must prevent, at all costs, the US from getting to a point where this was can be chalked up as a win. If we get a win then we negate the rallying cry of Vietnam.
The Constitution of the United States of America is a greater achievement than the ancient pyramids of Egypt.
Our brilliant forefathers got it right the first time, and it was the very first time, because they were inventing the wheel. The Constitution of the United States serves as the foundation for the world's oldest democracy today. Consider that: This country that Europeans regard as so young and immature is by far the oldest and most stable democracy in the world. Consider France: it followed suit and threw away its kings shortly after we did. Then came the emperor Napoleon. France is on its fifth republic (fifth constitution) today. We got it right the first time.
Now let's put ourselves in Europeans' shoes. How do you think they're going to react? Are they going to acknowledge this brilliance that puts their own stupid and immoral feudal system to shame? I don't think so.
The clout of female voters has been transmuted into a strangely pervasive inattention to the legitimate needs of boys and men. While there remain grating sources of unfairness to women, the community is in the process of steadily creating a new legal and educational structure that generates new gender unfairness: 90% of the victims of Ritalin and similar drugs prescribed for schoolkids are boys; but even drugged they perform less well than girls. A 2005 study at Yale found nationally that even in prekindergarten boys are nearly five times as likely to be expelled as girls.
What is going on in this country?
Of course those who can do the work should receive the rewards. However, the broader question is: Who defines the work and evaluates it? The drastic occupational and familial situation of especially minority males suggests the urgency of a hard review of this issue. Were females the victims of such apparent sex-based unfairness, the legal paper attacking the matter would cloud the air like flakes of New Hampshire snow. But since it's only males . . .
-- Here's what multiculturalism gets us: Iran saying that we need to be "more tolerant" of their view that the Holocaust didn't happen. Give me a freaking break. It's not possible to be more tolerant of blatant falsehoods. But that's what our trend towards "accepting all views" has gotten us.
-- I enjoy thinking about generational differences. The other day I was flipping through Redbook and found a shockingly graphic article about how to get it on in the shower. Like detailed descriptions of who should place which body part where. Whenever I come across articles like that in regular old "mainstream" magazines, I always have the same thought: What would my grandmothers have thought if they had come across the same article back when they were my age? It brings me a good laugh to think about naughty shower articles being published in 1939.
-- (via Cold Fury) Thomas Lifson takes Howell Raines to task for saying "He [George W. Bush] adopted the full agenda of redneck America." It's amazing what Respected Journalists can get away with as long as they aim their hatred at white men.
I think most people on the left think that we right-wingers love Fox News. Fox is always trotted out as the one example of ultra-conservative views, and several times when I have repeated something I read online, people have said, "What, did you hear that on Fox?" when they don't believe me. For the record, I know many right-wingers who don't like Fox. My husband and I enjoy watching Forbes on Fox and Cavuto on Business, but that's about it.
I personally see very little difference in the way Fox reports the news. For example, on Iraqi election day last week, the Fox reporter said, "This is the day Bush has been waiting for...", which really burned me up. Why not the day the Iraqi people have been waiting for, or the day the world has been waiting to see, or the day the American public, or anything but always placing the emphasis on Bush? Fox is just as crappy, and it drives me nuts. In fact, the day after Iraqi election day, my husband sat down and checked all websites of the major networks. MSNBC, ABC, CNN, they all had that stupid freezing rain as their top story. My husband said, "I bet Fox got it right," as he typed in the URL. Nope, they also went with freezing rain, though at least the Iraqi election was the second story; the other news sources didn't even have it on their main pages.
Therefore, I wasn't that surprised to find that Brit Hume on Fox only ranks as slightly right of center on that new media study from UCLA. Fox isn't nearly as far right as people like to pretend.
Take a few minutes to read the results of that study. They seem to have done a good job trying to filter out bias in their study. Interesting stuff.
Get. The. F. Out.
This season, America celebrates a holiday whose premise is that God himself came to Earth -- and was given the death penalty. Tookie Williams died at Midnight on the Feast Day for Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of God and patron saint of the Americas. How fitting that the GOP and the Religious Right lobbied for the execution -- and that Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Catholic whose church opposes the death penalty, made the final decision.
Celebrity executions, from Jesus to Tookie Williams, have whatever meaning human actions give them. And the meaning of Tookie's? That the Religious Right, that bastion of politicized pseudo-religion and hypocritical power-grabbing, pronounced its own spiritual death by shouting hosannahs for his execution -- as it has done for the anonymous dead before him.
No disrespect is intended by calling the Crucifixion a "celebrity execution." Quite the contrary -- the power and meaning of the Christ story as it was taught to me is just that: that God Himself would come to Earth anonymously and died despised and forgotten by all but a few, only to be redeemed on behalf of all. His celebrity came later, as a result of His sacrifice. The significance of the death lies in its affirmation of life, in the understanding of believers that it was an act of love -- love for life and the living.
Another Christmas is coming to the Americas, and another American is gone. If you pray, don't pray for him: pray for us.
Must...fight...urge to start swearing uncontrollably.
Tookie Williams was a murderer. He killed four people before my husband was even freaking born, and he's been wasting air ever since. He was a gangster and a thug, and I don't care how many dadburned children's books he wrote. He shot four people that we know of and laughed about it later. He never expressed regret for what he'd done, yet somehow he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. (Maybe Arafat will show Tookie his while they're both rotting in hell together.)
I clapped the day Timothy McVeigh was executed, and I clapped again Tuesday when Tookie was finally dead. Tookie may have "died despised and forgotten by all but a few", but he most certainly will not be redeemed, and should never be compared to Jesus.
The more I try to grok, the more I feel disgusted at mankind.
Tonight at the dinner table, the husband and I raced to finish each other's sentences as we both realized we'd read the same article and come to the same conclusion. The results of this ABC poll in Iraq are interesting all around, but the most striking thing was how they parallel the American experience. 70% of Iraqis say their own life is going well, but only 44% say that their country is doing well. That sounds almost exactly like something I heard Rush Limbaugh say on the radio a few weeks ago. He said he gets callers who, well, I'll let him say it in his own words:
"[Jack] Welch told Fox News Channel that President Bush has much to be proud of with regard to the economy, but he has to get out there and sell himself - and his accomplishments - to the American people to let them know about it. 'President Bush put a tax bill through that supported capital formation and risk taking,' Welch said. 'We’ve created 2 million jobs a year after the 9/11 attacks. That’s a remarkable accomplishment. Bush has to get out there and talk about it.' Despite the recent natural disasters, such as Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, the U.S. economy continues to grow, and the stock market seems to weather every storm.'" In fact, last week the stock market was -- well, not at a record high but, I mean, it was at ten seven, the Dow Jones industrial average at 10,700 something. "Welch certainly noticed" all this. "Most business people have noticed. Investors noticed. But, according to the recent polls – which show the president’s approval rating at its lowest level of his presidency – the majority of Americans have not been persuaded of the 'good news economy.'" Now, you know why this is. This is very simple. This is one of the most remarkable phenomena that I recall experiencing as host of this wildly successful program and it is this: We could be in the middle of an economic boom; I get phone calls from people, "Yeah, I'm doing okay, Rush. I am just doing fabulous. But I'm worried about my neighbors."
"Why are you worried about your neighbors? Is the Meals on Wheels showing up at their house every day? What are you worried about?"
"Well, I just see the news on TV and the economy's not doing all that well. People are this and that. I'm just worried about my neighbor."
"Well, do you know that they're doing badly or are you just worried about them?"
"No, I'm doing okay," and then there's some guilt associated with it. So most people's perception of their own economic circumstances are fine but all this negative news makes them think everybody else out there is, you know, eating dirt. They refuse to feel good about it because they think they're going to feel guilty.
I believe the same sort of phenomenon is happening in Iraq, that individual Iraqis feel they are doing well, but they keep hearing about bombs and insurgency, so they think the country is not doing well. I know it's not a perfect comparison, the US economy and the situation in Iraq, but my husband and I couldn't help but notice the parallel.
Anyway, the whole ABC poll is worth a read.
Does it get any better than Varifrank? I submit that it does not.
[The Western mainstream media] compares our actions at abu-ghirab with the saddam regime, as if being held in a compromising position by the ugliest woman from West Kentucky was anything like being killed, butchered and buried with a 1000 people from your hometown.
There's more, much more, on the virtues of propaganda.
There's just something that irked me about this paragraph in this totally finger-pointing article Lieberman's pro-war views concern Dems. I absolutely hate when "journalists" throw stuff like this in (italics mine):
Lieberman, who seems to relish his role as a maverick, is veering far from the Democratic script. His vocal support for the war, a stark and frequent reminder of the deep divisions among Democrats on how to end the war, makes him something of a marked man.
As if Lieberman is purposely trying to tick off Democrats. Ever consider that maybe he really does disagree with his party? Ever consider that he's standing up for what he believes in? Nope, he's just relishing the beat of a different drum. That's not reporting, that's editorializing. I hate the media.
The mystery knitting project is complete. Two years ago I made a wonderful DNA scarf for a friend of mine who got her degree in genetics. I was struggling to come up with an idea of a baby gift to make for her first child, born the day after Thanksgiving. I followed a link on Lola's blog to the most fitting gift I could ever imagine. Mine didn't turn out quite as nice as Kimberly Chapman's (I think my gauge was a little off), but I still think my friend's new daughter will like it. And that solves the mystery of the "black weiner-looking thing": it was the side strand of a DNA helix.
(P.S. The DNA scarf pattern is no longer available online, so I had to link to another knitter who made the same scarf. I poked around on his blog and found a delightful article about manly knitting during WWII. The Girl, I'm thinking of making another DNA scarf for myself -- wanna join me?)
Thanks to JCK for pointing out that I am in the running for the worth-a-chuckle category Best of the Top 3501 - 5000 Blogs, found here. And a hearty thanks to the 50 people who have voted for me and whoever it was who nominated me in the first place. You made my day.
(P.S. I noticed the competition is ecosystem-based. Can anyone explain to me how to merge my two blogs there? I have tried and tried, but I can't get tryingtogrok.com and tryingtogrok.mu.nu to be reflected as the same blog. Not that I want to move higher in the ecosystem...that would probably put me up against much stiffer competition!)
Hey, John Kerry...wanna see some of the kids my husband terrorized in Iraq?
This kid he terrorized by building a school for him...
This kid he terrorized by letting him wear his Wiley Xs...
This kid he terrorized by giving him a water bottle when it was 130 degrees...
The only thing my husband terrorized these kids with was his handwriting...
John Kerry, you're out of your element here.
I don't normally show knitting works in progress, but I'll give you ten bucks if you can guess what this is going to be...
Give up? You'll have to wait a few days to find out...
Reader Beth sent me two things...one outrageous -- Palestinians Unveil Monument Honoring Sheehan -- and one wonderful -- SewMuchComfort.org. The extent of my sewing is typically rank insignia, but if you're good at sewing, you might be a perfect candidate to make pajama pants that actually fit over prosthetics and splints for our recovering soldiers and marines at Walter Reed.
Amritas points out that the Sheehan thing is a joke. Whew. Though nothing surprises me these days...
When I lived in Sweden, I noticed that my friend had a bald eagle trinket on her desk. "Where did you get this?" I asked. "Maryellen gave it to me," she replied. "Ahhh," I said. "Who's that?" "Your fiance's mother!" my friend gasped.
Is it regional what we call adults when we're kids? When I was growing up, I never would've dreamed of calling adults by their first names. All my parents' friends, all the leaders of my clubs, every adult I knew was called Mr. or Mrs. In fact, I still think of most of my parents' friends as Mr. and Mrs. (Hi, Mr. Schultz!) I didn't even call my in-laws by their first names until my husband and I had been engaged for quite a while.
Tonight I started volunteering with the Girl Scouts, and I was mildly shocked that the girls call the leaders by their first names. I guess there's nothing wrong with that if it's the leaders' choice, but it struck me as a little odd, given that I can remember all my old Girl Scout leaders' names, but they all start with Mrs! I couldn't tell you those mothers' first names to save my life.
I've noticed that most people around her prefer to go by Miss + First Name, as in Miss Sarah. That's OK with me, being 28 and all, but don't any kids call adults Mr. or Mrs. these days? Or am I just a stuffy fuddy-duddy from Texas?
Remember those puppies who were born about two months ago? Well, Charlie got to meet little Elway this weekend. We managed to take a funny series of photos called Charlie Bullies the Newborn:
Scene 1: After several minutes of being oblivious, Charlie notices Elway has his bone
Scene 2: Charlie comes to see what he can do about it
Scene 3: Despite Elway's best efforts, Charlie gently pulls the bone away
Scene 4: Elway stands by dejectedly as Charlie reclaims his bone
Scene 5: Charlie is a victorious jerk
Despite the fact that Elway holds his own with my friend's 120 lb. dog, he was a bit timid around Charlie. We're hoping that they might do better together in a few more weeks, but from the look of things they may turn out to be friends after all...
The bodies of Holocaust victims unearthed in September at Stuttgart Army Airfield will be reburied there on Dec. 15, a local Jewish leader said.
We took no oil — the price in fact skyrocketed after we invaded Iraq. We did not do Israel’s bidding; in fact, it left Gaza after we went into Iraq and elections followed on the West Bank. We did not want perpetual hegemony — in fact, we got out of Saudi Arabia, used the minimum amount of troops possible, and will leave Iraq anytime its consensual government so decrees. And we did not expropriate Arab resources, but, in fact, poured billions of dollars into Iraq to jumpstart its new consensual government in the greatest foreign aid infusion of the age.
I didn't see this particular reporter badger Laura Bush, but I did see some other reporter (don't remember her name or which network) annoy Mrs. Bush in front of the White House Christmas tree. I must say that Mrs. Bush is the height of class. This reporter asked her if President Bush is feeling nervous this Christmas because of Rove and Libby; Mrs. Bush deflected all of her family's complaints, saying that any Christmas is hard when we're at war and when loved ones are far. She refused to let the reporter bug her about politics and kept returning to praise of our troops and their families. I thought it was touching, but maybe Jessica Yellin took it as an invitation to talk Iraq and try to make Mrs. Bush look heartless. What a low blow.
I've never been a tattoo person because I have a hard time imagining that I would want something on my body for forever. When my college friend interviewed the local tattoo parlor owner for a paper she wrote, the #1 tattoo for 1996 was the Tasmanian Devil. Do you know any grandpas who would want that on their biceps? I remember vividly the man who came to do maintenance on my grandma's apartment: he had a naked lady tattooed on his forearm. I'm sure that sounded like a great idea when he was 18, but not so much when he was 60.
Still, I gained a better appreciation of permanence after I read the book 7 Tattoos. And I did get tickled knowing that the Fellowship of the Ring all got the same elvish tattoo. I suppose if a tattoo means something or represents an event, it's better than the Tasmanian Devil. But I will say that the most touching tattoo story I've heard comes from Iraq.
SheepDog asks where our Thomas Paines are. I agree with him that MilBlogs are handling that task quite nicely, but I'd also like to give props to Bill Whittle. His book, Silent America, is a rally cry for our time.
Tanker sent me a link: The Iraq story: how troops see it
And our friend Tim sent me words from Joe Lieberman, a sane man in a sea of crazies. Hard to believe he ran with Al Gore...
My neighbor moved over the summer, and she and I were instant messaging last night. She said that she had watched Barbara Walters' The 10 Most Fascinating People of 2005 program on TV, that is until it started to sicken her and she turned it off.
I love how celebrities can't get enough of themselves. (My husband is brutal to celebs, calling them "people who are attractive for a living".) Tom Cruise and Dakota Fanning fascinating? In what way exactly? The winner, the most fascinating person of the year, was Camilla Parker Bowles. Really. That's funny to me, because she's about the last celeb I'm interested in hearing about.
My neighbor was upset. "What makes Tom Cruise more fascinating than Sean Sims?" she asked. I know that's not the point of these stupid celeb-backpatting shows, but for regular Americans, the contrast can sometimes be rather striking. The last sentence of that article killed me:
Rounding out Walters' "Most Fascinating" list are "Desperate Housewives" star Teri Hatcher, Academy Award-winning actor Jamie Foxx and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice."
Really, how dare they lump Condi Rice with Teri Hatcher? Rice works her butt off as one of the most powerful people in the world; Hatcher pretends to be a slutty housewife for a living.
I told my neighbor about something I had seen on TV recently that had made me guffaw. Sharon Stone organized some benefit for Katrina victims, and lots of singers participated to raise money. I swear Sharon Stone started crying during her interview clip, saying what "heroes" these singers were. I laughed out loud. Heroes? For showing up and recording a song that regular non-millionaire Americans could buy to raise money for Katrina? That makes you a hero? I swear, celebs wouldn't know a hero if he bit 'em.
My neighbor replied to the Sharon Stone story: "That just means she has never really met a real hero before. She should talk to me, I live with one."