Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Blame Canada
The title is from the song by that title in the South Park movie. It just jumped to mind when I read this article by Steyn. It is a good read, but I feel compelled to agree and expound at length.

It must be tough to be next door neighbor to the United States. They don't even get to be the problem neighbor usually. Ordinarily, that role is played by our southern neighbor. But what Steyn has to say about economics being the niggling point is true. The U.S.A. was greatly impacted by the discovery of Mad Cow in the U.S. and the closure of the Canadian border to cows was not unprecedented, nor was it not carefully considered before hand. The fact of the matter is that the cow in question came from Canada. That doesn't mean Canadian cows are bad, it just means some prudence is in order.

The problem, of course, is that the border closure costs Canadian cattlemen lots and lots and lots of money. Which is of course regrettable, but what do you do? The border wasn't closed without cause, afterall.

I have very good feelings about the Canadians I've met. I've never been to Canada, but I know they might resent being tied to us geographically and economically. Let us not forget how hospitable they were when all of those planes were diverted from US airspace to Canada on 9/11/01.

France is not bound by such constraints. They don't feel the economic power of the US standing by their side, so can be more vocal in their protests.

Which is all fine as everyone is entitled to their opinions. But economics explain a lot for both Canada and France.

I think I rambled there a bit.
posted by Phoenix | 11:53 AM | 1 comments

Land of Logic Void
I live in Wisconsin and many things about this state annoy me. Things like how natives of this state see no need to use turn signals on highways, interstates, in town, in the country or at all really. Things like the state's propensity to tax just about everything. Things like the very real lack of customer service that is habitual here no matter where you go.

Now obviously these are my opinions based on my experiences. No doubt there are places where you can get real service here. I just haven't found them yet.

But Wisconsin is also a haven for the most liberal of views. For example, take this conversation from a dinner party hosted by Prince Charming and myself...

Phoenix: Can you believe that the concealed carry law failed in the state legislature?

Guest 1: Thank god!

Phoenix: What do you mean?

Guest 1: I don't want people carrying guns in grocery stores. The people have spoken.

Phoenix: It didn't fail because of that. It failed because the bill's own sponsor didn't have the courage of his convictions. He was the deciding vote and he didn't want to court the wrath of the governor.

Guest 1: [speechless]

Guest 2: It is completely ridiculous.

Phoenix : Yes, I think it particular cowardly. If he were my representative, I'd be making sure he wasn't reelected.

Guest 2: What are you talking about? You shouldn't be able to carry a weapon concealed. That just leads to violence. Gun owners carrying guns around town will result in more dead people in parking lots.

Phoenix: Excuse me, aren't you a hunter? Don't you hunt deer and wild turkey? Are you an anti-gun hunter? [with obvious disbelief]

Guest 2: I don't think people should be able to carry guns.

Phoenix: So, it is okay for you to carry a gun for sport to kill an animal, but not okay for me to carry one to protect my life and liberty? Is that what you are saying? I own several guns and I haven't killed anyone. Are you saying I'm a criminal?

Guest 2: [speechless]

Phoenix: I am motivated in my opinion by nearly being raped. Have you ever been a victim of violent crime? Don't you think I should be able to defend myself from my would-be murderer or rapist? What about your wife? Wouldn't you want her to be able to defend herself? What about your daughter?

Guest 2: [still speechless, but now starting to sputter]

Prince Charming: [changing subject] More potatoes? Pass the butter please.

So there you have it. In Wisconsin it is okay to carry a gun and kill defenseless animals, but not okay for me to protect my life and liberty. Don't get me wrong, I have absolutely nothing wrong with hunting. Not at all. I just think my own life is more important than sport. I won't be victimized again!
posted by Phoenix | 9:12 AM | 0 comments

Kathleen is having a grand ol' time preparing for an invasion of the in-law kind. I laughed at her descriptions. So apt. Mine are more like locusts...but there you have it. Actually, I could have been reading words I myself had written. Very disconcerting.

I don't believe my mother-in-law likes me, you see. She has the way of saying things that hurt me deeply. Prince Charming contends that she is telling jokes...but you be the judge:

Scenario 1: Imagine if you will the newly engaged 29-year-old woman coming to her mother-in-law-to-be's home for the first time. Everyone wants to know about the wedding plans. Much chagrin over our very intimate gathering planned - and not to wed in a church! Quelle horreur! But none of this bothered me. Rather, it wasn't until one of her daughters mentioned that this would mean more grand-children some day that my jaw dropped. Mother-in-law's comment, "Well, I don't have any more room for pictures."

See, to me that just isn't funny. I read it as a rejection, that she isn't interested in any grandkids I squeeze out. But perhaps my newly-engaged sensibilities were too raw to fully appreciate the wit. Of course, any rejection of a grand-child by her is amazing as she clings to her current grandchildren like a barnacle on a boat. And just as annoying and drag-inducing. Suffocating, really.

Scenario 2: Prince Charming asks mother-in-law for the documentation she has been holding for some years on his life insurance policy. She asks why he needs it. (For a long, long time she has been the sole beneficiary.) "Well," he says, "I'm married now. I need to adjust things." Mother-in-law's reply in caustic tone: "MY LAST NAME IS __________ TOO, you know!"

See, I find that hurful, not funny. Again, I see this as a rejection of me.

Scenario 3: The first time I met the future mother-in-law was the Christmas before we were engaged. Prince Charming had given me a diamond necklace, heart shaped, and quite lovely. We exchanged gifts in private though, because neither of us wanted the full-on exhibition in front of the entire clan. At one point in the day, she asked to see what he had given me for Christmas. So I showed her mine. Then she showed me hers. Hers was a diamond solitaire. Nice. But she doesn't leave it at that. "Do you want to trade?" she asks. Flabbergasted and a bit surprised at this I give a nervous chuckle and say, "No, thanks, I think I'll keep mine."

Now, when this happened I didn't think it was funny. I thought she was perhaps making fun of me, but I didn't think a third-party impartial observer would think it funny either. I still don't. On the contrary. Now I think it was more of her nastiness. Girls don't trade diamonds they've received as a gift from people important to them. It isn't done.

Scenario 4: I have been married mere months to my Prince Charming when mother-in-law asks if we are coming "back home" for father's day. By now, I have come to the conclusion that it is best to let Prince Charming field these types of questions. He says, "No, if you remember, that's when Phoenix's mom is getting married." She gives me that look that says I have intentionally planned things this way to avoid a trip to her home and says, "Oh that's right. Again."

She's a petty tyrant. I tolerate her because she is Prince Charming's mother. But not by any stretch of the imagination do I like her. She's mean. Moreover, if she doesn't need any more grandkids...no problem. My family is such that they already (when they eventually arrive) will have 4 grandparents. Grandparents who will dote on them, spoil them, and not worry about making space for more pictures. I went to highschool. I recognize her taunts and manipulations for what they are. I'm going to give her what she keeps requesting: all the rope she needs to hang herself.

Can you tell that this bothers me? I know that it shouldn't, but it still does. Yet something else to put on my list of areas needing self-improvement.

So, I get the catty little comments. And I have come to learn that no matter what I do, I can't win. If I clean like mad in preparation for a visit, the house doesn't look lived in. If I clean less thoroughly, I "could've put forth more effort." If I make a meal, it ends up being too fancy and too much fuss. If we have brats on the grill...well, you get the drift. She doesn't stay at our house when she comes to the area. She always stays with the sister-in-law. That's where the grand-kids are afterall. And we like it that way.
posted by Phoenix | 8:30 AM | 0 comments

Monday, August 30, 2004
What happened to Summer?
Isn't it August? This has been the most unseasonably cool summer ever. Last week I noticed the neighbor's tree changing colors and losing leaves. It feels like late September. It hasn't been over 90 degrees here yet this year. So I ask again, what happened to summer? And where is all of this global warming I keep hearing about?
posted by Phoenix | 11:32 AM | 0 comments

Sunday, August 29, 2004
Back to Wisconsin
Well, we made it back home from our foray into the wilds of a social event with my family. A few things of note:

"Madge", the old sour-puss, was not present. Thank goodness.

My current stepfather spilled his drink all over the board game I spent 16 hours creating. I make up my own board games. Now you know. It really torqued me off. But I'm mostly over it now. Grumble.

Prince Charming has now seen the raw side of my family...and hasn't left me yet. It must be love. 'Cause those people scare ME.

All day Saturday was devoted to cooking. Once again my mother had planned waaaay too much food. She's famous for it. All efforts on my part to trim the menu fell on deaf ears. I wouldn't have cared so much if I hadn't been drafted for kitchen duty. The good news was that my guacamole and petit fours got rave reviews.

There are few things in the world better than room service and a late afternoon nap.

I would do anything to never have to see again a number of things that I witnessed this weekend. Stab out eyes! Stab out eyes!

In an incredibly distressing revelation I learned that my grandmother is endorsing "Josiah Bartlet" of The West Wing for President in 2004. Bloody irresponsible. Why she doesn't just vote for Scooby-doo is beyond me.

Yesterday I signed a petition. It seems some developer wants to build an apartment building at the end of my street. Now, I have nothing against apartment buildings, per se, having lived in a great many of them in 30 years. What I have against them is:

a. the negative impact on the value of our new home, the one we built a year ago
b. increased traffic in our very small town, leading to a busier commute for me to the office each morning
c. we moved 25-minutes out of Madison to avoid traffic, have a quiet little community/farming town
d. this little town doesn't have the industry to support that kind of development. They should build it in Madison!

small "a" argh.

Township meeting on Thursday. Must go be heard.

Got to see two of my favorite relatives this weekend. My cool aunt who lives in Kansas and my uncle who lives in Florida. They are young and fun. I also got to see my 16-year-old sister. I miss her now that she has her own wheels and is no longer hostage to mom's agenda. I see her far less. She's too cool to come see her old married sister. Which means I'm not cool. Oh well.

posted by Phoenix | 1:20 PM | 0 comments

Villain #1
“The Roiling Bowels of Customer Service”

Episode # 8956 – Two Year Replacement Guarantee

[Voice Over]: Previously, on “The Roiling Bowels of Customer Service”, our fair young heroine was finally finding a remedy to her ongoing problem with the malfunctioning DVD recorder gifted to her. Customer Service instructed her to send it back following 6 specific instructions. Our dutiful heroine followed the instructions to the letter, and, going one step further provided an in depth letter to the Customer Service Department identifying herself, the nature of the problem (aka symptoms), and three ways to contact her regarding the ongoing situation. Today…

[Fade In]: [Ring….Ring…Ring]

Customer Service Agent (answering phone): Hello. XYZ Technology [Company Name fictionalized for humor]. This is [unintelligible mumble].

Our Heroine: Yes, hello. My name is Phoenix and I am calling to follow up on the status of my replacement DVD recorder.

CSA: Do you have an order number?

OH: [matter-of-factly] No. I have an RP number issued to me by customer service to expedite the return of the item and the replacement of the DVD recorder due to the 2-year replacement guarantee.

CSA: I’ll take that number…

OH: It is R-P-4-5-9-8-2-2-0-0-0 [number fictionalized for humor]

CSA: [searching in a computer, clicking and tapping sounds] Ah, yes. This was purchased by a Mrs. Smith, is that correct?

OH: Yes. That’s right. Lulubelle.

CSA: And you say that you have sent us the unit? When was this? I do not show that we have received it.

OH: [beginning to feel perplexed, with furrowing brow] I shipped it on 7/12/04 via USPS. It was sent insured and I have a tracking number. The USPS told me it was delivered on 7/14/04 to your facility.

CSA: Yes, Mrs. Phoenix. Can you give me that tracking number?

OH: Yes. It is…[reaching for document]…5-3-6-3-0-0-0-3-0-2-7-8-9-6-5-5 [number fictionalized for humor]

CSA: Repeating. That was 5-3-6-3-0-0-0-0-3-0-2

OH: [Interrupting] No, no. I say again: 5 – 3 – 6 – 3 – 0 – 0 – 0 – 3 – 0 – 2 – 7 – 8 – 9 – 6 – 5 – 5

CSA: I’m going to search that number to see if I can tell who signed for it on www.usps.com. [More typing and clicking sounds] Ma’am? I’m sorry but USPS shows no such package. I’ve checked it three times.

OH: Nevertheless, the USPS told me that it was delivered.

CSA: Yes, ma’am. One moment please. [Click]

[OH has entered the dubious and nebulous Land of Hold]

CSA: [Returning] Yes, ma’am. We have received it.

OH: [Relieved] Terrific! Can you tell me when the replacement unit was shipped? I have not received it.

CSA: [Bureaucratically superior tone] Yes, ma’am. We are not going to replace it.

OH: I beg your pardon? [Thinking she mis-heard the CSA] Did you say you are not going to replace it?

CSA: Yes ma’am. That is correct.

OH: [Becoming angry] But I had a replacement guarantee. We spent $87.99 on a replacement guarantee. Why aren’t you replacing it?

CSA: Yes, ma’am. We don’t carry that model anymore. We can’t replace it.

OH: [angrier] But you sold a “Two-Year Replacement Guarantee”. Moreover, the item comes with a “Quality Assurance Guarantee” certificate. Are you telling me I have no remedy? You no longer sell DVD recorders?

CSA: [grudgingly] Yes, ma’am. Well, we do have a newer model, but it is $100 more.

OH: [even angrier] We paid $87.99 extra for a “Two Year Replacement Guarantee”. Are you saying this doesn’t cover the eventual discontinuation of a model and its replacement with a newer and functioning model?

CSA: [as if speaking to a stupid child] Yes, ma’am. Well, $87.99 isn’t $100.

OH: [angrier still] But it’s a REPLACEMENT Guarantee. [Doing math in head she knows that $87.99 is roughly 88% of the additional cost of the new model. Our heroine is no dummy] What about this Quality Assurance Guarantee Certificate?

CSA: Yes, ma’am. I don’t know anything about the certificate.

OH: [becoming angrier to the nth degree over all the obsequious “Yes, ma’am”s] I am a Quality Assurance Manager. I know how this works. You now have a Customer Complaint and I expect Corrective Action.

CSA: Yes, ma’am. I don’t think we have a Quality Assurance Department.

OH: [dumbfounded, exasperated, and now pissed off (a new level of angry)] What do you mean? That this Quality Assurance Guarantee isn’t worth the paper it is printed on? Are you telling me I have no remedy?

CSA: Yes, ma’am. I don’t know anything about Quality Assurance. This is Customer Service. [OH becomes exponentially more dumbfounded and makes face at OBVIOUS stupidity of last statement] Of course, [in an appeasing tone] we are crediting the account that purchased the unit, and the price of the 2 year replacement guarantee.

OH: [Now at warp-speed anger level] I didn’t purchase it. It was a gift. How is this a remedy? It had a freakin’ REPLACEMENT GUARANTEE. THIS. IS. NOT. A. BLOODY. REPLACEMENT.

CSA: Yes, ma’am. But we can’t credit your account. Don’t you know this Mrs. Smith?

OH: [Struck dumb] Of course I know her! She’s my stepmother! You have completely missed the point.

CSA: Yes, ma’am. We are crediting that account.

OH: That’s not a replacement. [With emphasis on ‘replacement’] Where is MY remedy?

CSA: Yes, ma’am. We are crediting that account.

OH: What does that do for ME?

CSA: Yes, ma’am.

OH: [Now at nuclear-level 88 pissed off] Okay. Answer me one question. Can you tell me why nobody there saw fit to contact me regarding the disposition of this unit, even though Customer Service asked for my address and I gave you my phone and email? Why did nobody contact ME?

CSA: [still bureaucratic monotone] Yes, ma’am. The people who open those packages do not have access to our customers.

OH: [Resigning to the fate of single-handedly waging the war against outrageous stupidity] [Snort] Fine. I want you to know that I am greatly and deeply distressed and dissatisfied with your inability to stand by your “two year REPLACEMENT guarantee” and your obvious lack of any Quality Assurance.

CSA: Yes, ma’am.

OH: Thank you.

[Click. Call ends.]

[In our heroine’s head: Now, how can I get my $22.15 back for the postage and insurance that they mandated on the return? ARGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I’m going to have to write them a nasty letter. Request the $22.15. It isn’t the money. It’s the principle of the thing! Bloody shouldn’t call it a bloody ‘Replacement Guarantee’. It is no such thing. Maybe call the Better Business Bureau. The freaking unit was a new item at Christmas. It’s been discontinued already 8 months later? REEEAAAALLLLLYYYYY. Perhaps there was something systemically wrong with the model? Hmmmmm. Seems to me that in the world of next generation electronic goods selling a replacement guarantee implies upgrading to a newer model if necessary when the original model has gone defunct before the end of the guarantee term. ARGH!!!!!!!!!!! And...in fact looking at the fine print of the Replacement Guarantee, one finds the following statement, "XYZ upon receipt of th item will replace it with a brand new product. Should a product covered under the XYZ Quality Assurance Guarantee no longer be available, XYZ will replace the original item with a similar or enhanced item." Well that seems to specifically cover my issue!]

[Fade Out]
posted by Phoenix | 1:09 PM | 1 comments

Friday, August 27, 2004
All the Cool Kids Are Doing It
1. Your name spelled backwards: Xineohp
2. Where were your parents born? Mom in Chicago, IL; Dad in Elkhart, KS
3. What is the last thing you downloaded onto your computer? Virus Definitions
4. What’s your favorite restaurant? The Sunbird in Colorado Springs, Casa Bonita in Denver, or locally Fish Tales in Lodi or The Ocean Grill on the Capital Square (Madison)
5. Last time you swam in a pool? my wedding day
6. Have you ever been in a school play? yeah...in middle school. I was a camper.
7. How many kids do you want? 2
8. Type of music you dislike most? Rap
9. Are you registered to vote? Yes, but in Wisconsin you can register at the polls, so I'm covered either way.
10. Do you have cable? Yes and DSL internet too
11. Have you ever ridden on a moped? Motorcycles yes, mopeds no. However, when I go to visit my sister in Bermuda I expect I'll have to.
12. Ever prank call anybody? No, but I've received a great many hang-ups.
13. Ever get a parking ticket? Three words: College Campus Parking
14. Would you go bungee jumping or sky diving? Are you kidding? I'm working up the nerve to go hot-air ballooning next month.
15. Farthest place you ever traveled. Frankfort, Germany
16. Do you have a garden? Yeah. We built a house a little over a year ago. This Spring we went mad landscaping.
17. What’s your favorite comic strip? Get Fuzzy.
18. Do you really know all the words to your national anthem? Of course!
19. Bath or Shower, morning or night? Definately every morning, but also at night when I'm feeling icky.
20. Best movie you’ve seen in the past month? 13 Going on 30. Hey! I liked it. It was funny.
21. Favorite pizza topping? Sausage & black olive but Prince Charming no like olives. So we always skip the olives. Small price to pay.
22. Chips or popcorn? neither, thanks anyway.
23. What color lipstick do you usually wear? Daily I wear Burt's Bees Lip Balm in Raisin, but my favorite is a pretty pink by Chanel.
24. Have you ever smoked peanut shells? Do what now? Is my naivete showing again?
25. Have you ever been in a beauty pageant? Afraid not.
26. Orange Juice or apple? What am I gonna do with it? I prefer drinking orange and cooking with apple.
27. Who was the last person you went out to dinner with and where did you dine? Prince Charming. We went to Rex's.
28. Favorite type chocolate bar? The next one. I really like stuff with caramel.
29. When was the last time you voted at the polls? 2002.
30. Last time you ate a homegrown tomato? Saturday
31. Have you ever won a trophy? I received one when I graduated from High School for my scholarly efforts
32. Are you a good cook? Very good. And I bake too.
33. Do you know how to pump your own gas? I'm a farm girl, there's no limit to the things I know how to do.
34. Ever order an article from an infomercial? No. But my grandma does and she buys them for me. So I've got lots of that littering my cabinets.
35. Sprite or 7-up? no opinion.
36. Have you ever had to wear a uniform to work? They wanted me to, but I insisted that it would be more professional if I didn't, and my name on the name patch would conjure up images of strippers...so I opted out. It was tough enough being the only female member of management without adding more grief. Besides, those fibers were nasty. And I like to do my own laundry, thank you very much.
37. Last thing you bought at a pharmacy? Birth control.
38. Ever throw up in public? Gross. Definately not.
39. Would you prefer being a millionaire or find true love? Already have the love, and could easily spend the money.
40. Do you believe in love at first sight? Yes, but I also believe in love before sight, but that's a very long story.
41. Ever call a 1-900 number? Again, no.
42. Can ex’s be friends? I used to think yes, but now I am firmly in the No column. I'll write about the 8-year-late apology some other time.
43. Who was the last person you visited in a hospital? My brand-new nephew Jared on his birthday.
44. Did you have a lot of hair when you were a baby? No, but it came in quick and I've had way too much ever since.
45. What message is on your answering machine? All I have is voicemail and it says "I'm not answering so leave a message and I'll get back to you."
46. What’s your all time favorite Saturday Night Live Character? The Church Lady
47. What was the name of your first pet? Blackie
48. What is in your purse? Sunglasses, pens, 3 checkbooks, wallet, Burt's Bees lip balm with and without Raisin tint, cell phone, palm, female things, and a calculator.
49. Favorite thing to do before bedtime? Yoga
50. What is one thing you are grateful for today? That it is Friday at the market has closed. Finally.
posted by Phoenix | 12:22 PM | 1 comments

To all of those linking over from my blogmom's site, Welcome! Pull up a chair and make yourself comfy. There aren't too many frills yet...but I'm working on it. I'm only in up to my ankles so far, but I'll be in the deep end very soon. In the meantime...use a coaster please and leave your shoes by the door. I hate to vacuum.
posted by Phoenix | 12:05 PM | 0 comments

Who do you invite to your Fantasy Dinner Party?
Prince Charming and I like to entertain. A lot. Football parties, murder-mystery parties, casual drinking parties on the deck, dinner parties. Give us a reason, any reason, and we'll break out the fancy toothpicks.

So last night as I was packing for our weekend in Chicagoland, I got this stuck in my head. If I could invite any six famous people to dinner who would it be? And...if I could invite any six fictional characters, then who? So, after considerable thought, these are the people who have made my invite lists. I have tried to balance the male/female ratio as all good hostesses do, but that is not necessary.

Real People invited to Dinner:

1. President George W. Bush
2. J.K. Rowling
3. Rudy Guiliani
4. Jennifer Saunders
5. Jim Carrey
6. Jennifer Garner

Fictional Characters invited to Dinner:

1. Harry Potter
2. Olivia Joules
3. Bucky of Get Fuzzy
4. Scooby Doo
5. Veronica Lodge
6. Goldy Bear Schulz, the caterer/sleuth

Long-dead Figures from History invited to Dinner:

1. Winston Churchill
2. Cleopatra
3. Genghis Khan
4. Marilyn Monroe
5. Dwight Eisenhower
6. Mary, Queen of Scots


posted by Phoenix | 9:26 AM | 1 comments

Foreign Policy by Bumper Sticker
On my drive home yesterday, I saw the funniest bumper sticker I’ve ever seen. I don’t mean funny-ha-ha in a fraggle rock kind of way either. It was warped, anti-logical, insipid, and ill-informed. Of course, the primary sticker was made worse by its companion piece, but I’ll get to that in a minute.

The sticker that caught my eye said “Peace is Patriotic!” Now, I could go on a 3-day rant about how THAT just ain’t true, but I’m just going to hit the highlights here. Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines a patriot as “one who loves his or her country and supports its authority and interests.” Synonyms include “loyalist, flag-waver, and guerrilla.” The most important of the definition lies in the two words authority and interests. “Peace”, while an admirable goal and to be sure the best environment in which to raise children, does nothing to support authority or defend a nation’s interests. Did peacenik policies avert disaster in the Cuban Missile Crisis? NO. It was JFK’s threats of war that turned the tide. Did “peace” end the cold war, crumble the Berlin wall, and bring forth the collapse of the Soviet Union? No. Did peace keep Hitler at bay? No. If anything, it taught us that appeasement is not the answer unless you want to speak German and aren’t Jewish or a member of some other less-than-desirable demographic. (Just to be clear, I am paraphrasing Hitler’s policies in that last statement, no opinion of mine.) Did peace bring freedom to the United States of America? Again, no.

Patriots are people who defend, fight, bleed, and give their all for the betterment of their nation and their people. To me, anyone can be a patriot so long as they are promoting our nation’s right to be. Those people who make jet fighters, those who sell jeans at The Gap, those who work on Wall Street, and those standing a post at Gitmo or in some forward area are all patriots. Those people are creating the tools to keep us strong, maintaining our dominant global economy, or putting themselves in the line of fire. However…while dissenting is your right as a member of a free people, suggesting that peace is patriotic is drivel. It is much the same as that common call to “Make Love, Not War.” What nonsense. Love doesn’t keep your enemies at bay unless you are infiltrating the bad guy’s inner circle under the guise of some member’s lover…and I call that spying. Spying is an act of …WAR.

We must not forget that we are at war. We didn’t fire the first shots…but we will damn well fire the last. Those who suggest that peace is the answer cannot fully understand our foes. When you live 2000 miles from the site of the first casualties in this war it may be easy to argue that we have no business seeking out terrorists where they hide. However, this is nothing but self-delusion. Americans are everywhere in the world. Freedom is more than a state of mind. It is a vicious and unending struggle. You can’t stop fighting for freedom, lest you wake up one day and realize you aren’t free. We are at war. We must protect our very right to exist. Our foe sends children (and I don't mean 20-year-old adults) to die in order to end our lives. You can’t stop this sort of tactic with “love” or “peace”. Peace is not patriotic, no matter what the bumper stickers say. We fight for the right of peace.

I warned you that I could go on all day.

What makes the first bumper sticker more bizarre was its companion, namely “Kerry-Edwards 2004.” Now, I follow politics closer than most, but I’m not what you’d call an expert. However, even I know that John Kerry voted in support of military action in Iraq. And since then, he has stated that even now, knowing what he knows now, he would still go into Iraq. How does that fit in with the policy of peace? It doesn’t. If peace is the underlying mantra of your life, Howard Dean is your man. You can still write him in, you know.

It is this sticker that makes me believe that some people are just reacting emotionally and are forgetting their history. We must remember, if you don’t indicate to others that you are willing to fight to keep what you have…they won’t hesitate to try to take it from you. This is true on the playground, true in life, and true on the world stage.

I wish for world peace too, but tempered with sanity and reason. Twelve years of sanctions didn’t bring the Iraqi people peace and our pilots patrolling the no-fly zones would attest to no peace for them either. I would like to close by quoting a chick flick starring Sandra Bullock called "Miss Congeniality". In the interview phase of the competition she is asked what she wants and she says, “World Peace…and tougher penalties for parole violators.” There is no peace without war. And there can be no freedom without struggle.

Bumper Stickers are a poor source for foreign policy pointers, I guess.


posted by Phoenix | 8:48 AM | 1 comments

Thursday, August 26, 2004
This Weekend's Survival Task
This weekend I must show great fortitude. It is my grandmother's birthday and Mom is having a black-tie affair to celebrate. Tuxes and gowns. Heels and nylons. Now, the problem is not my grandmother (at least that's not the subject of this post) though she is, shall we say..., an aquired taste. Rather, the problem is my grandmother's friends.

The last time I encountered this particular group of individuals was at the Kentucky Derby party. Mint Juleps all around, a drink not just for little old ladies! Anyway, these are some particularly opinionated people. I know. I fall into that category myself. But there is a huge difference between us and so I shall endeavor to explain.

First off, let me just say I tend to fall into the category of Conservative. I believe small government is good government. I am probably a Libertarian if everything is considered, but I call myself an Independent. Why? Because I think a lot and want to make decisions on issues, not because the party says so.

These friends of my grandmother tend to fall into the Liberal category. And I have no problem with that, per se. To each his own. However, I do have a problem with their antics and the pushy way that they behave.

I was raised to think things through. I was raised to discuss politics and learn from debate. A group of minds is always better than one working alone, etc. Blah, blah, blah. From a very tender age I was encouraged to have an opinion and to be able to back it up. That has made me who I am today.

At this party, however, I encountered a woman, let's call her Madge, who was doing her best to beat the opinion out of a "youngster".

Post derby, my cousin who is 15-some years younger than I, made comment on somthing somebody else said. I forget the opener. This young man's comment was something akin to "I support President Bush and the War on Terror."

Me? I was interested in his views as he is significantly younger than I and I like to know what people are thinking.

Madge? She said in a sharp voice, "That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard! You don't know what you are talking about! That man is The Hitler of the Millenium! You should keep your mouth shut until you are better informed!"

I admit it, I wanted to punch her. Not so much because of her politics, but because she was abusing this young man and trying to stifle his dissenting opinion. Her attack on him was personal and mean-spirited. Maybe at the age of 65+, 15-year-olds seem ill informed and inexperienced. However, I'm sure my cousin would find Madge to be computer-illiterate. In three years my cousin will be a voter and Madge will be no closer to discovering the electronic world. Who is she to judge? Is his opinion no less significant because of his age? What would AARP say if the shoe was on the other foot?

But I digress. I wanted to put this woman in her place...but I didn't. I have a hard time controlling my temper when I see injustices like this and I was a guest in my grandmother's home. I have been working for 2 years now on self-restraint and diplomacy. I wouldn't want to embarrass my grandmother by making her guest appear the idiot, so I waited until the offensive Madge left the room. Then I told my cousin that he was perfectly entitled to his opinion, that it wasn't stupid, and not to let Madge bother him.

But he won't be there this weekend and Madge likely will. I cannot be held responsible if she comes gunning for me! Daddy taught me to shoot my attackers, both literally and figuratively, though with different weapons of course!

Just give me one good reason and I'll debate her, but good.

(Names, of course, have been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty.)


posted by Phoenix | 3:11 PM | 0 comments

By way of an introduction...
I feel as giddy as a schoolgirl with her first crush. (Enter nervous twitter here.)

I freely admit that I am new to this blogging thing, but fret not! I will sort it all out in no time. I don't know how frequently I will post, nor what I'll talk about. There will likely be some current events and politics, quite a bit of ranting, a bit of poetry, personal anecdotes, and some humor. I aim to entertain and stimulate debate a bit. Beyond that, this is all just my own cranial sickness.

I'd like to make a bunch of promises, but I don't know if I can meet them yet...so, I'll hold off. Afterall, still kinda shallow on the learning curve here. We'll vanquish some villains soon though. You can count on that.

posted by Phoenix | 2:03 PM | 0 comments


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