A certain Silver Star recipient former tanker Indian type is in the car headed our direction. It's been two years since we've seen him, so it should be a good day. Too cool.
My husband and I had a roaring good laugh at this article on Drudge: Singles will check out eligible candidates at Obama rally. It's not really that funny -- if I were single, I too would rather meet someone at a political rally than a bar -- but some of the quotes were just hilarious.
Even the invite for the event reads like a singles bash:
"Hope hits the Big Apple! Join us at Jay-Z's 4-0/40 Club on Thursday as we ride the winds of change from the hottest rally in New York. Move to the music, socialize with friends, and let your voice be heard as we celebrate with audacity."
Lindsay Schaeffer, 25, may even skip the rally for the nighttime bash.
That cracks me up. Why would someone waste time on the silly politics when she can just skip ahead for the hook-up scene? I want to date an Obama supporter, without all that pesky Obama stuff killing my buzz.
One ardent Obama supporter (who declined to give his name because he works in politics) says he'll attend both the rally and the after-party, and he doesn't expect to be going home alone.
He's confident for a reason.
"Let's face it: Leftie girls are easy," he says.
Lorie Byrd invited me and other local bloggers to a gubernatorial campaign event for Fred Smith. We bloggers got free admission to this fundraiser and were treated like bigwigs. In fact, real bigwigs were locked out of Senator Smith's home while he talked to us bloggers. It was a real treat.
By now you know that I usually feel like a kid at the grown-ups' table when it comes to these blog events. I'm just happy to be taken seriously at all, especially since my blog has basically devolved into talking about knitted octopi and...um...other uninteresting crap. I like using my blog to talk about my opinions and values as much as the next person, but I am not so in touch with the actual implementation of policy, especially at the local level. I am rather a dunce at that sort of thing. Plus, with moving around every year or so, I've never really participated in local politics. So Wednesday when I was surrounded by bloggers asking Sen. Smith good questions about his campaign, I sure felt like I didn't belong. But I did what I think one should do in such situations: shut the hell up and let the smart people talk.
After I listened to Sen. Smith talk about his ideas and experience, my mind couldn't help but wander to what a strange thing politics is. I have never met a politician before, so I couldn't help but analyze the situation. Sen. Smith probably can't ever just have a normal conversation with people. He must constantly expect questions about policies and projects. He has to carefully think about every single thing he says. I can look like an inexperienced jackass in his home, but he sure can't. The whole idea seems so weird to me. He's supposed to be prepared and infallible, seven days a week.
And yet, he doesn't have that Bill Clinton vibe. That's what I normally think of when I imagine the archetypical politician, the selling-ice-to-an-Eskimo type of guy. Fred Smith didn't have a toothy grin and a golly-shucks attitude. I personally thought he was intimidating. I didn't feel at ease on that sofa in his living room, and I wondered why I was feeling so stupid sitting there. And then I remembered something: I usually feel stupid in the company of great men.
Likeability is a big factor in politics. As I sat there with Fred Smith, I realized it shouldn't be. Whether or not you like someone has no bearing on how effective he'd be as governor. He doesn't have to be dripping with honey if his ideas are sound. It's better to have a no-nonsense man in charge than a used car salesman type. I'd rather have him have a plan for the state than be able to effectively kiss a baby. And most of his ideas and the vision he lays out on his website seem pretty sound. I like his stuff. I like that he said that the government should be "good stewards of my money." I like that he said he wants to run for office as a businessman, as if he's marketing a product. More things in government should be run like a business, in my opinion, where results count more than intentions do.
I'm looking forward to hearing more about Fred Smith.
Sen. Smith's guest of honor for the evening was Lee Greenwood. I got to meet him and talk to him a little about my husband's service. (More evidence that people still think I'm a teenager: when he heard I was a military family, Lee Greenwood asked me how long my father has been in.) I got to tell him about how we wanted to perform a rendition of his "God Bless the USA" in a talent show when I studied in France but the school wouldn't let us because they said it was jingoistic. Stupid France. Mr. Greenwood was super nice in person and a lot of fun in the concert he gave after the meet and greet. He even made a mention of my husband and me during his concert, which was such a nice thing to do. When he says he supports the troops, he darn sure means it.
It was so nice to be invited to this campaign event. I'm always excited to be surrounded by fellow right-wingers! And I think it's really cool that Sen. Smith reached out to bloggers and gave us the royal treatment. I look forward to following his campaign.
More recaps of the night from the other bloggers:
Inner Banks Eagle covers the Blogger Conference, the reception in Fred Smith's home (complete with photo of me and Mrs. Smith!) and the Lee Greenwood concert
Red Clay Citizen
Spinning the World in the Right Direction
You have to check out this seagull thief.
John Hawkins posts that Katie Couric is still blaming her failure on the fact that the world can't handle her being a woman. Puh-lease.
Look, you can't have it both ways. You can't say that the country is progressive enough to hire you for the biggest news job ever but not progressive enough to watch you do it. CBS is in it to make money, and Hawkins is right: they wouldn't have hired you if they thought you couldn't pull in ratings. They were wrong. But it's not because they're sexist.
God, that's what I hate about women. They want to be thought of as completely equal, able to do any job that men can and bristling when anyone even suggests they can't. And then when they fail, they say it's because they're a woman and it's different. Either it's different or it's not. It can't be that you are just as good as a man when you're successful and then held back by your gender when you fail.
Male anchormen have come and gone, and none of them get to whine that they failed because they were men. Stop blaming your problems on the viewing audience. And stop viewing everything in the entire world through the lens of your gender. No one cares that you have a vagina; they only care that they don't like to watch you reading the news.
Jay Tea wins quote of the day:
People who rejoice in their tax refunds are fools for thinking that "the government gave me money" instead of "the government borrowed all this money from me, then returned it with no interest."
Why do I hate the beach, you ask. Well, it combines three things I hate independently: water, sand, and sun. I like to look at the beach, and an hour there would be nice, but after several hours I was ready to get the heck out. I'd rather spend time in a salvage yard. And I just really hate the feeling of baking in the sun. You could put a chicken breast in the oven at 100 degrees, and in a couple of hours it'd be cooked. That's what you're doing to your skin, people! The thought of it entirely creeps me out; I feel myself baking like a chicken in the oven. Gives me the willies.
I got up at 0300 on Wednesday and left the house late. So I sped the hour and a half to the airport, and by "sped" I mean "drove three miles over the speed limit." I was so freaked out that I would miss my plane, but I'm even more scared of getting a ticket.
I made it in time.
On my second flight, some girl in front of me tattled to the stewardess that she didn't like the way I stowed my bag in the overhead compartment. Instead of asking me to shuffle some stuff around, she went and told on me. So they made me check my bag through. So silly.
I crocheted the entire way to Honolulu, much to the hilarity of my rowmates. They looked at me like I was the biggest dork ever, but I got six more squares made for charity. I crocheted for six hours straight.
Honolulu made me laugh. The entire place looks like a joke, like someone set up a movie set for me to walk through. It's so Hawaii that it looks absurd. Also I love that these are the restroom signs:
Both my bag and I made it to Kauai, where CaliValleyGirl picked me up and took me around to meet people until I couldn't keep my eyes open. The next morning, I awoke to what can only be described as screams from zombie victims. I later learned it was roosters. I have never heard such a sound in my life. That island is filled with roosters, gangs of them roaming the streets and howling at 0430 every morning. Unreal. Roosters are to Kauai what squirrels are to normal cities.
Thursday was the rehearsal and dinner. We did the shopping for food and booze in the morning; I had never seen $1200 worth of groceries before! I put together shish kebabs while CaliValleyGirl and company were at the church. We crashed after a fun night and I promised not to keep her awake. Because really, the best part of the trip was that Cali let me share a room with her while I was there. I was the last person to share a bed with single Cali. It was like giving her away! I thought that was a pretty good honor, and I told anyone who would listen. They probably all think I'm a lesbian now.
Friday was wedding day. While the wedding party was getting hair and makeup done, a nice German boy escorted me around the island so I could actually get some photos of Hawaii.
I returned to the house to do one more chore before the wedding: refill the lighter fluid in the tiki torches around the reception tent. Yeah, the problem is that used tiki torches are covered in soot. Thirty minutes before the wedding, I was black up to my elbows. I looked like a car mechanic the whole rest of the day.
I made it to the wedding ceremony only to sit behind the tallest guest in the joint. I barely saw anything of the ceremony, but I was so glad to snap this photo as the happy couple made their way to the limo.
We went back to the reception tent, where Cali's good decorating taste really shined through:
Another huge thrill was that I got to sit at the head table! Imaginary friend, my butt; I rated tip top! Too cool. Dinner was delicious, the entertainment was awesome -- I learned I really, really like traditional Hawaiian music -- and the evening passed into night. Everyone became really surprised that Sarah can actually dance. We lingering few put the happy couple in the limo again and went to crash.
Saturday I spent my last day in Hawaii at the beach. I don't care how beautiful it is, I still hate the beach. I can't stand it. But luckily neither can one of Cali's cousins, so he and I sat and chatted while I knitted. I took a lot of crap for sitting under a tree in Hawaii knitting, but I coined a new saying: "I'd rather go home with a sock than a sunburn." After the beach, I said my goodbyes and made my way to the airport for my 2340 red-eye flight.
The way home was uneventful, save the incident at dinner. I bought a hamburger and fries at some airport fast food place, and a pilot in line behind me bought two burgers and fries. The cooks called his number first, so he took the bag and offered me a fry while I waited. He munched on some fries and then started digging in the bag and realized there was only one burger in there. Um, oops. The dumb cooks had handed him my order. So this pilot, who was super nice and really not to blame, manhandled my burger and fries...and the cooks said, "Oh, sir, we're so sorry for the mix-up." They apologized to him! I couldn't decide if I was really ticked off or just too awestruck by the gall of it to be mad.
My last flight was two hours late in taking off, which is never fun at the end of a 22-hour journey. But I made it home in one piece and slept in late with no roosters to disturb me.
Hawaii was lovely. I didn't think I'd care one way or the other, but I did think it was beautiful. However, now that I'm home, I'm back to thinking that the grass is greener in my own backyard.
And we don't even have grass. Just weeds and dirt.
I know some of you are anxiously waiting for a long post on Hawaii, but I just haven't found the time yet. I have had knitting classes and trips to the grocery store and toilets to clean and my little brother passing through town tonight. And tomorrow I will be gone all day too, which will be a future blog post. I just wanted to let you know why you're still waiting.
I had really forgotten how nervewracking one's own wedding is.
CaliValleyGirl and fiance are hanging in there, both a tad frazzled about the whole event tomorrow. Most of their friends here are single, so I don't quite think anyone understands why they're so stressed. But I remember it well: wanting to puke for two days and feeling like nothing was going to get done on time. But it all magically does.
Hawaii is beautiful. But I sure didn't expect to wake up to a cacophony of roosters this morning. So odd.
My neighbor told me that all she had to do to finally get pregnant was take a nice, relaxing trip to Hawaii.
Plane ticket to awe-inspiring places like this? Check.
Romantic weekend of nuptials? Check.
Husband? Oh wait, crap.
Somehow I don't think this is going to work out for me...
Anyway, I'll be gone for a while, but I'll return with stories and photos and tales of changing planes four times in one day.
And here's a little tidbit for people in the travel-size industry: Will you please consider making products that one can actually take on an airplane? It's been over a year, so you'd think the market would've dictated 1.7 oz bottles. But no. Apparently I don't get to take contact solution or sunscreen to Hawaii. Thanks a ton. Big pointy metal knitting needles are fine, but not my sunscreen.
Rachel Lucas rips Sally Field a new one.
Via Oda Mae, who always finds the good stuff.
I've been working on some new preemie hats for next month...
You know how you're supposed to back up your files in case something ever happens to your computer? I have always been pretty good about this. A few years ago when we had to wipe out the desktop and start over, I burned everything to CDs. We didn't lose anything. But a few weeks ago, my mom asked me about a paper I wrote in college. I went to my back-up CDs to get the paper.
What happens when your back-up CD turns up broken?
I have no idea how this happened. It broke from the center hole outward, three inch-long cracks. And it was in a jewel case too. I just have no idea how it could've broken like that.
Everything's gone. All the papers I wrote in college and grad school. The poem I wrote that won a national contest. The 40,000 word journal I kept from my year in France. And probably many other things that I will gradually come to remember and mourn.
Is there any way to save data from a cracked CD? I doubt it, but some of you are more computer savvy than I.
I just really loved this article: Soldier Loses 160 Pounds in Order to Meet Weight Requirement
Especially this part:
Pfc. Trippany's father, an infantryman with 24 years of active-duty service, had a solution. She moved back home, started a special diet and began her body transformation.
"I did Jenny Craig for the diet and then for exercise I would walk four miles per day. My dad wanted me to keep a 3.6 mile-per-hour pace in order to keep my cardio up, so every day, for 17 months, my dad drove behind me in his truck while I walked," said Pfc. Trippany.
"My dad even moved the family refrigerator out to the garage and bought another refrigerator for the food I was allowed to eat and put that one in the kitchen. There was no way for me to sneak food as the family fridge had a key lock on it and I didn't have the code. So, I was really on lockdown."
I think that parents often need to let their adult children face their own challenges and tackle their own demons. The helicopter parent phenomenon is a little creepy. But I love the fact that, once she came to her father for help, he took her seriously and really helped her. He spent money for a new fridge and countless hours trailing her in the car because he loves her and wanted to help her reach her goal. She said she wanted to lose the weight, and dad busted her butt to help her do it.
I just think that's really good teamwork.
I started thinking about forgiveness the other day when I was in Blockbuster and happened to walk by a movie called Forgiving Dr. Mengele. It's about an Auschwitz survivor who learns to forgive the Nazis for the genetic experiments they did on her. Ouch.
And I come back to forgiveness today with this headline: Amish donate cash to school gunman’s widow
I'm thinking about the virtue of forgiveness. I would imagine that, in those circumstances, one might feel the need to forgive in order to move on. But as an outsider, I don't really forgive any of those bastards.
But no one's ever accused me of being nice.
I've organized a knit-along. Anyone want to join us?
Something wonderful happened today. Someone who barely knows me did something very kind for me. And tonight, I feel like this.
To Sarah, the richest woman on the internet...
It really is a wonderful life.
Oda Mae sent me a link to a hilarious political cartoon.
Imagine if a more reliably sober-minded sort — say Zbigniew Brzezinski, David Broder — prophesied six years ago that in 2007, Bin Laden would still be at-large and giving televised addresses in which he offered generous blurbs for Noam Chomsky, touted global warming, expressed disappointment with the Democratic majority in Congress and championed a flat tax so low it would make Steve Forbes blush like John Ashcroft at a Pussycat Dolls audition. Most of us would have suggested that Messrs. Brzezinski or Broder should open the window when they cook their meth.
German co-worker was always leery of the US. She thought it was such a dangerous place. Of course, she was born and raised in rural Bavaria, and her only experience in the US was in her in-laws' run-down neighborhood in Detroit. I, on the other hand, know several families in the Midwest that don't even lock their front doors. Danger is in the eye of the beholder.
So which is the real US? Someone from rural Wisconsin will have a completely different idea than someone from the barrio in L.A. Neither one of these places is less real, but you might not even recognize them as the same country if you saw descriptions of them side by side.
So which is the real Iraq? Is it Erbil?
Or is it Baghdad?
It would be hard for an Iraqi living in either one of these places to give a good bird's eye view on what the country as a whole is like. Just like someone from Wisconsin would be lousy at describing the barrio. It's just really hard to do. And even harder to do when you're an outsider.
My husband had a pretty good understanding of what his sector was like in 2004-2005. But he's the first one to admit that that means nothing today. His experiences are outdated, and the same neighborhoods are quite different two years on. And even while he was boots on the ground, he had no experience whatsoever with what was going on in Basra or Tikrit. His view was microscopic.
I have been thinking about this a lot tonight, ever since I read Thomas Sowell's latest article, which begins with the brilliant line, "Sometimes I feel as if I must be one of the few people left in America who is not a military expert."
For example, all sorts of politicians have been talking about all sorts of ways we ought to “redeploy” our troops. The closest I ever came to deploying troops was marching a company of Marines to the mess hall for chow.
But people who have never even put on a uniform are confident that they know how our troops should be redeployed. Maybe this is one of the fruits of the “self-esteem” that is taught in our schools instead of education.
If my husband's information on Iraq is microscopic and outdated, I can't begin to describe Congress'. An overnight trip to the Green Zone doesn't teach you a lot about what Iraq is like. You'd be better off reading a book on Iraq than sitting in a Baghdad hotel.
But these days, everyone is a military expert. Nothing has made that more painfully obvious than this New York Times article on General Petraeus' speech.
Under the timetable embraced Monday by Gen. David H. Petraeus, the number of American combat brigades would decline by one-fourth by next summer, to 15 in July from 20 now, with the prospect of deeper, if as yet unscheduled, reductions to come.
But such a move would raise the question of how the United States can avert an increase in violence in Iraq while carrying out a gradual drawdown. One approach embraced by many lawmakers would be to modify the American mission to emphasize the training and advising of Iraqi security forces so that Iraqis would be pushed into the lead and a vast majority of American combat troops could be quickly withdrawn.
This proposal, which was offered last year by the Iraq Study Group, the bipartisan panel led by Lee H. Hamilton, a former congressman, and former Secretary of State James A. Baker III, has appealed to many Democrats and some Republicans who want to achieve a measure of stability in Iraq while shrinking the role of the American military.
But in his testimony on Monday, General Petraeus offered a very different vision. He proposed an American presence that would not only be longer and larger than many Democrats have advocated but would also provide for a greater American combat role in protecting the Iraqi population.
They may as well have started the article with "Most Americans we polled want to bring the troops home, but unfortunately some jerkwad named Petraeus is in charge and he doesn't want to listen to all of us." I mean, really. This is how they set up this article? "One approach embraced by many lawmakers"? As if they really have any clue what they're talking about. Didn't only one of the Iraq Study Group guys ever leave the Green Zone? They seriously set up this article about General Petraeus' speech as "Here's what we think is best but Petraeus disagrees." That is not only extremely poor journalism, it's oh so sanctimonious.
General Petraeus' grasp on Iraq is likely not perfect either, but it's probably as macroscopic as it gets. And they hired him to do a job -- assess what we need to do to win in Iraq -- and now no one wants to hear the results.
General Petraeus acknowledged that some military officers in Washington favored faster change in the American mission, but he said that his approach reflected his best judgment on how to cope with the violence in Iraq.
General Petraeus promised a more detailed discussion of the “post-surge” phase in March. But one point was made abundantly clear: if he has his way, in the next phase the United States will not rely largely on a program to advise and train the Iraqi Army while removing its own forces from the battlefield.
Translation: He says he's giving us his "best judgement," but it's not what we wanted to hear. Now, let's go write some more articles to try to sway public opinon so he doesn't have his way.
No one is going to have a perfect picture of what will bring absolute success in Iraq. Most Americans couldn't even tell you how to stop crime in their own neighborhoods, but all of us are military experts these days. And apparently all of us know better than Petraeus.
Nevermind that we've never even heard of Erbil.
AWTM wants me to post at SpouseBUZZ about 9/11. She said, "I think it is funny how Homefront6 describes the disbelief and sadness, you pride, and me disappointment today." She wanted me to show another perspective.
But I don't think I can do it.
Expressing pride on 9/11 is not the normal feeling, even if it is the pride of knowing that your family is working to make sure it never happens again. And, for me, any expression of pride has to come with an explanation rooted in politics. Because, sadly enough, 9/11 is still highly political. And SpouseBUZZ is not.
So I can tell you here that I feel good that, six years on, my anger is properly channeled and I've settled into a good pace on this marathon we're running. But I don't feel comfortable saying it there.
I just heard Herman Cain on the radio, asking callers to call in and say where they were on 9/11/01 and how it changed their lives. I started thinking about what I'd say if I called in. I've said all this stuff before on the blog, but it's worth summarizing today.
On 9/11/01 I was a stupid kid who didn't know a thing about the world. I hated politics, put my fingers in my ears any time someone mentioned Israel, and was shockingly naive about how deep the world's hatred for my country ran. I was at school that day and was annoyed that my fellow classmates all wanted to go home; I thought they all just wanted an excuse for a day off. New York was 800 miles away, so there was no reason we couldn't continue with our lessons. I was engaged to a guy in Army ROTC, and the severity of 9/11 still didn't sink in. In short, I was a complete idiot.
Today I started thinking that if 9/11 hadn't happened, my life would be quite different. My husband was slated to join the Army for four years of Finance. My guess is that he would've completed his commitment and taken his business mind elsewhere for more money. Certainly he wouldn't have stayed in and chosen to learn Farsi. We'd probably be somewhere in the Midwest, working and living like most of our peers.
Although I was too obtuse and self-absorbed to realize it at the time, 9/11 changed everything for me.
And 9/11 changed the blogging world too. Early in the morning of 9/11/01, Steven den Beste wrote a post about online gambling. Guess what he posted on the rest of the week, and more or less for the rest of his blogging career. If it weren't for the path that he and others like him forged, I might still be sitting with my fingers in my ears.
Without 9/11, I never would've learned to think.
Every year on this day, I spend some time refocusing. I remember my laser beam. But this year I feel pretty good, actually. I feel that my family is focused, that we're headed down the right path, that we will be useful to our country in the biggest struggle of my lifetime. My laser beam is intact, so today I will instead focus on remembering those we've lost, in NYC, in Bali, in Spain, in OEF and OIF. And daily in places that rarely get mentioned when people speak of jihad, like Thailand. This war is far from over.
From an article on MSNBC:
The total number of victims killed six years ago — 2,974 — includes 2,750 at the World Trade Center site. Forty were killed in Pennsylvania and 184 died at the Pentagon. Those numbers do not include the 19 hijackers.
As they damn well shouldn't.
MORE TO GROK:
The Swedes have a word that we don't have, a word for your degrees of separation with celebrities. If your brother's friend was a finalist on American Idol, then that's called a "Lassie" (Wikipedia explains why). That's probably my biggest Lassie, but I just discovered another one: a girl who was on study abroad in France at the same time as I was is now on that show Sunset Tan. I watched an episode -- and remembered why I hate reality shows; one episode is plenty -- just for kicks, and, um, yep...that's her. Whew, she grew up to be a spray tanner, so all is right in the universe.
So, what's your Lassie?
I missed this while I was on vacation a month ago, so forgive me for rehashing old news. But wtf?
Democratic presidential hopeful John Edwards on Thursday unveiled a plan that would increase taxes for the wealthy and create tax breaks for the middle class.
Among the proposals, Edwards would make long-term savings easier for low-income families with “Get Ahead Accounts” that would match savings up to $500 per year.
Wow. We really live in a country where a presidential candidate wants to take money that belongs in the earner's savings account, launder it through the government tax system, and put it in the savings account of someone who didn't earn it.
What I hate about Republican candidates is that they never seem to cut through the euphemisms. There's always a way to rephrase what Democrats want to do that makes them look bad. All you have to do is point out that someone worked hard to earn that money, and the government took it away and put it into someone else's bank account. If you get someone to admit that that's what he wants to see happen, you reveal something about his character and values. If you let him call it pretty things like Get Ahead Accounts, you let him frame the debate. Republicans need to refocus things like this on the taking of the money and stop letting Democrats focus on the giving of the money.
John Edwards wants poor people to take home rich people's money. That's fine if he wants to start passing out his own hundred dollar bills, but it plain stinks when he wants to force the whole country to participate.
The Germantown administration on Wednesday defended its firing of three theater workers who tied stage-rigging ropes into hangman's nooses.
"I've seen plenty of stagehands whittling their time away by tying all kinds of knots," said Bob Hetherington, chairman of the department of Theatre and Dance at the University of Memphis.
"If they were trying to send a racial message of any kind, the fly system of a theater would be the last place anyone would see it."
But someone did see the nooses.
Another city employee, an African American, complained of a hostile work environment when he saw the nooses.
Laraway gave The Commercial Appeal his account of what happened.
"I was working with a gentleman I had never worked with before and we were talking about how to tie different knots. I asked him if he knew how to tie a bowline and he said yes. Then I asked him if he knew how to tie a hangman's noose, and I showed him.
So some people are sitting there with a bunch of rope, comparing different ways of tying them. Naturally, that makes them racist.
Geez Louise, have we completely lost touch of all common sense in this country?
Today's I-can't-believe-they-actually-wrote-that line comes from (who else) Agence France-Presse in an article about Michael Moore's new anti-Bush movie:
Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Steve Earl, Rage Against the Machine's Tom Morello and Joan Baez break up the film with musical interludes.
Pop singer Cat Stevens, "who couldn't be here tonight" because he found himself on a US no-fly list after changing his name to Yusuf Islam, got a nod.
The egregious statement is bolded so it can sink in for a minute. Do they really think we're stupid enough to swallow that cause and effect chain? Cat Stevens was flying all over the place and then changed his name and accidentally got mistaken for a terrorist and now can't fly? Balderdash! Cat Stevens changed his name back in 19freaking78. He hasn't been Cat Stevens for nearly 30 years. And he's on the no-fly list because he's suspected of contributing money to Hamas, not because his name has the word "Islam" in it. And nice use of the phrase "found himself," as if the action were agent-less. He "found himself" on the list, instead of performed actions and made statements that had the authorities looking in his direction. It's all just a big snafu, right? Poor Cat Stevens just accidentally can't fly anywhere now. Mean old Bush.
If that isn't the biggest whitewashing of why Yusef Islam couldn't be in Michael Moore's movie...
AWTM's son got a little upset at kindergarten the other day:
However, the other day upon picking Sir Rowland up from school, his teacher stopped me to tell me Sir Rowland was a little upset over one of the little girls t-shirts. It read. Girls are Smart, and in parenthesis said (boys are not). This upset Sir Rowland to no end. He was very upset, and made his teacher tell the little girl, that he a boy, was indeed smart.
One of my major pet peeves is t-shirts with suggestive and/or snotnosed punk sayings. What kind of person buys this crap for his child, let alone for one as young as a kindergartner? I think it's shameful enough when I see preteens wearing baloney like the "I may not be on time, but I'm worth the wait" shirt I saw a while back, or the kid in my neighborhood with the "Respect Me!" shirt. I was thankful to see an article at Slate a while back called Lolita's Closet: Unbearably Trampy Back-to-School Clothes. At least I'm not the only one who thinks that the teen shopping section is ripped right from the South Park "Stupid Spoiled Whore" script.
I know every parent on the planet, at one time or another, has uttered the words "my child will not wear that," but I seriously mean it. My child will not wear shirts with disgusting and degrading slogans. Period. Because I'm the mom, that's why.
MORE TO GROK:
My husband made a good point after hearing this story. He wonders how it would've gone over if a boy in the class were wearing a shirt that says that boys are smart and girls are not. Or, heaven forbid, insert a race or ethnicity. What would the teacher make of a "Puerto Ricans are dumb" shirt? Always curious about double standards...
The husband and I had a talk tonight, about going to war, about being left behind, about duty, honor, and glory. I shed a tear, we shared an embrace...and then we watched 300. It is such a fitting thing, to watch 300. And nothing gets to me like Queen Gorgo's speech:
I am not here to represent Leonidas; his actions speak louder than my words ever could. I am here for all those voices which cannot be heard: mothers, daughters, fathers, sons - three hundred families that bleed for our rights, and for the very principles this room was built upon. We are at war, gentlemen. We must send the entire Spartan army to aid our king in the preservation of not just ourselves, but of our children. Send the army for the preservation of liberty. Send it for justice. Send it for law and order. Send it for reason. But most importantly, send our army for hope - hope that a king and his men have not been wasted to the pages of history - that their courage bonds us together, that we are made stronger by their actions, and that your choices today reflect their bravery.
We are made stronger by their actions.
Miss Ladybug writes a nice post explaining her take on an article about why we need the draft. She does a good job of explaining her side. I have one thing to add about this part in the original article:
Consequently, we have a severe talent deficiency in the military, which the draft would remedy immediately. While America’s bravest are in the military, America’s brightest are not. Allow me to build a squad of the five brightest students from MIT and Caltech and promise them patrols on the highways connecting Baghdad and Fallujah, and I’ll bet that in six months they could render IED’s about as effective as a “Just Say No” campaign at a Grateful Dead show.
First of all, my husband just whooped MIT's butt at that Fast Money MBA Challenge, and he went to a state school and chose to be in the Army. So I'm thinking he could do just as well at "patrols on the highways" as Ivy Leaguers could. Hell, he would do better since he wants to be there instead of being forced to be there; I don't care how smart you were at school, if you don't have the drive and desire to apply your brain power to a problem, you ain't gonna fix it either.
But secondly, and here's my real contribution, smarter doesn't always make you a better soldier. My husband likes to tell one anecdote: The guy in their company with the highest ASVAB score, so presumably the smartest soldier, was the one my husband had to put in jail in Iraq. The best soldier they had, the one everyone wanted to work with, was the old gangbanger.
There are plenty of smart people in the military; I'd rather talk to Jack Army about the Middle East than anyone at Caltech. But book smarts isn't always what the Army needs, especially if it's been forced to be there. Somehow I get a little giggle imagining this Marine corporal trying to organize a squad of drafted Ivy Leaguers. I'm not sure it'd go as swimmingly as he thinks it would.
Love My Tanker does a good job of fisking this article. I will just point out a few things, less diplomatically than she does.
"I don't know one military family that is still together or anything like they were before the Soldier in the family went to war," 30-year-old Mylinda, whose husband was among the first Marines to be deployed in Iraq, told AFP.
We're still together and exactly the same as we were before. Only better. My husband has matured as a man, as a leader, and as a citizen. He is a far better person for having been to war because he now understands things that most of us only know from books. If he's changed at all, it's for the better. Me too, for I had to spend a year being self-reliant, not whiny, and strong.
"Now, you have boy scouts fighting over there. They get kids out of high school, put them in boot camp and then send them to fight.
"When they get out, all they know how to do is kill someone."
Yes, my husband now knows how to kill someone. He also knows how to talk to people about electricity, gas shortages, getting along with their neighbors, and training to be soldiers themselves. Because he went to war, he changed career paths and now is learning to speak their language so he can continue to talk to them about how to make their countries better. Talk to them. If he was just going to kill them, he wouldn't need to waste six months learning to speak their language.
My husband is a better person because he's been to war, and we're a stronger couple because of it. Better. Maybe you could interview someone like us next time.
FbL points out that this article got picked up at Islam Online under the title "Unseen American Victims of Iraq." Great.
After fussing and fighting and needle-breaking and ending up with a mere fourteen inches of thread left, the quilt is finally finished.
I wrote about the making of an heirloom over at SpouseBUZZ.
I am so happy about this project.
I saw this today and my heart just melted because, you know, we have a Charlie too.
Soldier looking for way to get his dog back from Iraq
He's got pictures of this cutie on his blog.
Two witty observations about the Larry Craig fiasco:
When a scandal involves a Republican, his or her party affiliation is mentioned in the lead. When it involves a Democrat, party affiliation typically is mentioned deep in the story, if at all.
But media bias is not the main reason why Republicans suffer more from scandals. Democratic voters expect Democrats to steal on their behalf. Lawmakers are judged on the basis of how many goodies from the federal treasury they can shower on their constituents.
Instead, Sen. Craig copped a plea. Because of that, he should disappear from public life as swiftly as possible and embrace full time the anonymity he cherishes in his sexual encounters. Not, as the left urges, on grounds of "hypocrisy" – because he's a "family values" politician who opposes "gay marriage" yet trawls for rough trade in men's rooms. A measure of hypocrisy is necessary to a functioning society. It's quite possible, on the one hand, to be opposed to the legalization of prostitution yet, on the other, to pull your hat down over your brow every other Tuesday and sneak off to the cat house on the other side of town. Your inability to live up to your own standards does not, in and of itself, nullify them. The left gives the impression that a Republican senator caught in a whorehouse ought immediately to say, "You're right. I should have supported earmarks for hookers in the 2005 appropriations bill." That's the reason why sex scandals take down Republicans but not Democrats: Sex-wise, the left's standards are that whatever's your bag is cool – which is the equivalent of no standards.
OK, the snowman hat has a nose and the lion has a mane...
We just happened to find some show called Fast Money MBA Challenge, which was like Jeopardy for business students. We watched the first two rounds with students from MIT, Texas, NYU, and Columbia. My husband kicked their butts. It was so hot. He only got a couple of questions wrong and usually answered faster than the contestants.
And three words went through my mind endlessly, repeating themselves like a broken record: You're so cool, you're so cool, you're so cool.
Here's what happens every time I quilt:
1) Get everything ready and get hyped up to start the project.
2) Sit down and quilt the first row.
3) Go to start the second row; top thread doesn't catch and I quilt several inches before I realize I'm sewing without thread. Remove entire quilt from machine and rethread.
4) Start again, only to find that the second time I inserted the quilt, the bottom layer got a wrinkle in it.
5) Pop in a Futurama disc and spend 40 minutes tearing all stitches out.
6) Finally make second row.
7) Without changing a single thing, start third row and find that tension has completely changed and a big knot forms on underside of work.
8) Cut everything out, spend 15 minutes unquilting.
9) Take all thread out, rethread, try on actual quilt because I'm a moron: tension still berserk. 5 minutes of unquilting. Unthread, take apart every removable piece of the machine, blow on it like an old school Nintendo, put it all back together, try again, this time on scraps: tension fine.
10) Put quilt back on machine, tension goes berserk.
11) Grit teeth, clench fists, shut off machine and return to my knitting where there's no #$%& technology between me and my craft.
Total time spent: all morning
Total rows quilted: 2
If I didn't want the finished project so badly, I'd throw the whole thing out the window.
Ecofashion? I'm all for not being a jerk to the earth, but are we really calculating the carbon footprint of our back-to-school clothes now? Kids not only have to worry about looking cool; they now get to worry that their clothes are "grown with petrochemical fertilizers."
Hey Mom, when I wanted those Guess jeans in 6th grade, instead of telling me that I didn't need to wear a certain pair of jeans in order to make the right friends, maybe you could've said acid wash causes acid rain.
Did Ashton Kutcher really say that a man should dress to match his wife's purse? The only way my purse could match my husband is if I carried a purse made out of the tan ACU t-shirt. Or maybe something Cardinals themed.
I have been thinking about something for a long time now, but I never blogged it because the moment had passed and I didn't think it made sense to revisit it. But now that the moment has resurfaced, I may as well.
I had a friend who was a fellow French major in college. She started a blog several years ago and mostly talked about personal stuff in her life. But right before the invasion into Iraq, she wrote a post about how the US is a big bully in the world and how we should listen to France. And I Went Off. I wrote a huge diatribe about why we should tell France to feck off, etc. The blog is long gone, so I no longer know her words or mine, but I know I probably came off too harsh. I think it took her completely by surprise, and definitely not in a good way. But I was right, by golly, and she needed to know why she was wrong. And I maintained that I was in the right for a very long time.
But what my tiff with Allicadem taught me, a full four years later, is that I was a bonehead. I might've been absolutely 100% right that we rule and France drools, but I should've handled the situation far better. Either I should've kept my mouth shut, or I should've treaded far more lightly.
In relationships, there are more important things than being right.
I screwed up, and it's too late to fix that mess. But being on the receiving end of Allicadem's mess brought me a whole new level of perspective. And I came away thinking a lot about my old friend and how, when someone is speaking from the gut, it's not always the best time to tell her she's wrong. Maybe I will make a terrible mother and I don't know being pregnant from a hole in the ground, but it probably wasn't a good idea to say so. She had the right to say it, but exercising that right may be followed by an entire comments section gang-up. I had the right to tell my friend that France is worthless, but exercising that right put a serious unmendable dent in that friendship.
So I personally learned a lot from an ouch situation, and I've managed to take that grokking and apply it to a new situation. I wrote at SpouseBuzz that a friend of ours is getting out of the Army, and the wife is starting to wear me down with her vitriol. I got a lot of advice to speak openly with the friend and to tell her how I feel, but I do not think I will take that approach here. I don't need to be right anymore, and I don't need her to know that the Army isn't evil. She is the one who needs to talk, whether or not I think she's right.
I feel embiggened that I learned from a mistake I made four years ago, that I was smart enough to finally realize it was a mistake and to break the cycle before I did it again.
It feels good not to be right.