You keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means.
Don't ask me to explain the title (quoted from?), it just seemed the right way to title this post.
My take on the Supreme Court's decision on Hamdan v. Rumsfeld is that it is not as good as the left would like to think.
First of all, the Supremes didn't say that the war was illegal (no matter what Cindy Sheehan says), they didn't say Gitmo was illegal (no matter what John Kerry and Nancy Pelosi say), and they didn't say that the US shouldn't be holding the detainees in the first place.
Poor Hamdan, his attorney probably is telling him that this is a victory, when in fact he's just taken 18 steps backward. There is nothing to stop the US from holding him indefinitely, without due process, until the end of the war. Whenever that might be. In fact, the Supremes might have just decided that this guy will die in custody of old age rather than get a chance to have his day in court. That sort of depends on the length of the war.
It is more likely, however, that Congress will take SCOTUS up on their suggestion and legislatively mandate the system that will bring these suspected terrorists to trial. But, even so, this did not buy Hamdan a trip to the beautiful slopes of Afghanistan and the embrace of his beloved leader. Nope. He gets to go back to his cell at Camp Delta and enjoy the hospitality of the US military awhile longer. In retrospect, not really a win.
And not much of a win for the anti-war left either. But, they are so desperate for wins they'll take what they can get.
No doubt many will take offense at what I am about to write, but it has never stopped me before, so why should I pause now, at this juncture?
Let us press on...
I am not sure if I am a pie-eyed optimist or a cynic. Let me explain.
Everytime I see a report like today's that suggests (in a judgement-is-in-all-that's-left-is-the-evidence-and-trial sort of way) that five US servicemen raped and burned the body of an Iraqi girl and then killed her family, I get this tickle in the back of my mind. The same thing happens when I read about the alleged incidents at Hamdania by the Camp Pendleton 8 or Haditha.
I almost am ashamed to admit it, but I am highly suspicious of the Iraqi claims. I don't doubt that people died in each instance. I just doubt the Murtha-approved Soldier/Sailor/Marine=Murderer partyline. Rather, I wonder if the recent spate of these "investigations" doesn't have to do with Iraqi Get Rich Quick schemes. You see, the US Government pays off these claims. If we accidently bomb your house, you can collect on Uncle Sam's insurance policy. So, I'm wondering if perhaps, just perhaps, all of these claims are exactly legit.
I mean, maybe some of them were aiding and abetting the enemy and have now decided to collect on their misfortune. And, it is also possible that the victims were killed by the insurgency, but the insurgency doesn't do death benefits. It is also possible that they were killed accidently by American forces in a genuine mistake.
But I refuse to believe that any of these cases were malicious murders at American hands. For one thing, we are far enough along in the Iraq War that if those sorts of things were happening, we wouldn't suddenly get a rash of them in a few weeks, but would have had on-going reports from day 1. The other reason I am doubtful is directly due to the length of the engagement.
We have reached the point where the men and women in Iraq are serving their second or third tours. If there were hotheads or psych issues, the military would have barred them from redeploying or they would have gotten out on their own.
I am suspicious, that's all. I'm not sure if that makes me a naive optimist or a cynic, but I don't believe our troops are capable of these sorts of malicious and heinous crimes. I could be wrong, of course, but my gut says that I'm not.
Today's topic for the Demystifying Divas and The Men's Club is a puzzler: Why is it that men don't speak when driving?
My Prince Charming does this all the time. We are stuck in the car for 2.5 hours and he says a total of maybe 20 words. Why is this? If I'm driving, I try to draw him out and talk about things, but if he's driving, not so much. It isn't like I'm looking for a lengthy discourse on Peace in the Middle East or a technical play-by-play on some NASA technology. We have so little time together, I wouldn't mind discussing the book he's reading or the movie he wants to see, or even Bunny Boop. Prince Charming just wants to drive.
I'd like to tell you that he doesn't speak when driving because he's concentrating on the road, but I don't really think that is the problem. For one thing, he knows where he's going. For another thing, if traffic is going to be bad, he puts me in the driver seat. He is a talented and capable man, so I have no doubt that he is physically capable of driving and talking as well as walking and chewing gum (but perhaps not all four at the same time -- driving and walking aren't compatible).
No, I think he stays quiet because it is his bubble time -- his time to think. I understand this idea. I do it when I'm brushing my teeth and in the shower. Of course, I could be wrong. It could be that he hates the sound of my voice and I'm slowly driving him crazy.
I spent some time this afternoon talking to a new old friend of mine. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It was odd, hearing the voice for the first time of someone you've known for a while. And yet, not so odd.
It felt like home. But, that's what good friends are like.
Come to Wisconsin anytime, hon. We'll show you a good time and some good food.
I write to you today as a mother of a member of the next generation about an issue that can not be allowed to stand as-is if our children are to inherit peace and freedom.
I speak, of course, of the systemic “leaking” of critical national security information. It seems that I wake each morning to find some new bit of treason on the news.
As American citizens, you and I have the right to expect that our government will enforce the law. Whether that is immigration law or constitutional rules of treason, the onus is the same: we must enforce the laws or else the country will disintegrate.
I am a reasonable person. I have a working brain and a good education backing me up. I find the so-called “leaks” of information regarding the SWIFT program and the NSA wiretapping of foreign-sourced calls to be nothing short of treason. In fact, even the term “leak” is offensive to me. A leak, by definition, is an accident. These “leaks” are little more than intentional disclosures of highly classified information by people who I suspect have a political axe to grind.
Personally, I don’t give a good damn about their politics. I am concerned with security. I am concerned with an on-going war against an enemy who doesn’t wear a clearly identifiable uniform or recognize the Geneva Conventions. I am concerned, sir, that a few journalists are more concerned with chasing Pulitzers than preserving the nation for my children. I will accept no apologies from people who knowingly put my child’s future at risk. I will not. I WILL NOT. I do not abide treason. Frankly, I expect a great deal more from every American than putting personal ambition and vendettas before national security.
And it is high time something was done about it. It is past time that some of these people learned about personal responsibility and were held accountable for their actions.
Let us consider, just for a moment, what would happen if I “leaked” information in my job, shall we?
In my past job, I was privy to information on several major companies. Had I leaked any of this information, none of which endangered national security but all of which was highly confidential, at minimum I would have been fired. The company I worked for may have lost business or even have been run out of business. But I understood the concept of confidentiality and personal responsibility. I’m no leaker.
In my current job, I am privy to all kinds of highly confidential information on individuals and corporations. If I leak information now, I run afoul of the CFTC. I seriously doubt they’ll let it slide. They would prosecute me to the fullest, as I would expect them to do.
So then, why are journalists and public servants held to a lesser standard? Sandy Berger can stuff secret material in his pants and socks and sneak it out of the National Archives; journalists and public servants can publish to the world our national secrets, and nothing happens? Excuse me sir, but this is fundamentally wrong. These people, by the very nature of the importance of their jobs, should be held to a higher standard than mine, not a lesser one.
The constitutionally protected freedoms of speech and press are not absolute. You know that as well as I. In fact, anybody who has had a Civics course knows that you can’t hide behind freedom of speech when you shout “Fire” in a crowded theater. In my mind, what these public servant “leakers” and their journalist/editor/publisher accomplices have done is far, far worse: they’ve put all of us in danger, whether you live in rural Kansas, suburban Wisconsin, Manhattan, or stand a post in Baghdad.
By all accounts, these two programs were perfectly legal and highly effective. By my measure, that makes the disclosures all the more egregious. We have too few tools to fight this enemy in the way that the UN and the West expects us to, always holding ourselves to a higher standard in the fight than our enemy holds to, so it is more than unhelpful when we are hemorrhaging information at every turn. Al Qaeda doesn’t need spies if they have the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and others. We might as well heft the white flag now if we aren’t willing to do something about the problem.
I refuse to believe that outing these secrets has not done damage to the war effort. Any weapon that your enemy doesn’t know you have is a useful weapon. As these particular tools were all about “information gathering”, I fail to see how these “leaks” don’t come under the very explicit heading of Espionage. Something needs to be done.
I entreat you, sir, to fulfill your pledge and “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic”. If you don’t, who will? My children’s future demands that we all do our duty. You need to hold these “leakers” and their enablers accountable.
No maybes, no ifs, no half-measures.
Find them. Prosecute them. And then let a jury of their peers hold them accountable.
Bunny Boop is now able to sit on her own unsupported. I am so proud, I could burst! I am very excited because this means that the photoshoot we have scheduled for 2 weeks from now will be able to have shots of her sitting up and being charming in addition to the belly and back shots.
I was, and am to this day, a Barbie girl. I didn't drag some baby doll around the house, but rather escaped with Barbie to her world on a daily basis. Some of my first sewing projects were clothes for Barbie. I loved her fashion, her furniture, her home and her cars.
I had a whole cast of Barbies that accumulated over the years (in fact I am still accumulating them). My first Barbie was the ballerina who had the crown in her head. To this day, she remains my favorite. Although, she quickly moved from her career as prima ballerina to Princess and ruler of a small European country. My Barbie was CEO of her own multi-national conglomerate. She was beautiful, intelligent, powerful, married to a wonderful man, and the mother of twins. She had it all.
But this article suggests that Mattel may be giving Barbie the axe. To me, this is a travesty and a mistake.
They want to kill her because of the success of the Bratz dolls. Have you seen these things? They are hideous! They look like bugs with their oversized heads, big eyes and lips, and overdone makeup. They are creepy looking! Proportionally speaking, they have huge heads and tiny little bodies. It isn't attractive.
I know what you are going to say. Barbie herself isn't exactly proportionally accurate. Even so, I would say that Barbie is a little more realistic. Barbie at least looks human, the Bratz dolls look like plasticized versions of some Japanese anime.
They don't look like any humans I've ever seen. See for yourself: Which is more attractive? Barbie or Bratz? Which looks more human? Which would you prefer your little girl emulate?
Barbie is all class. She has beautiful clothes and a nice smile. The world is Barbie's oyster. She can be a pop diva, a grunge rocker, or CEO of a Fortune 500 company. She can be a mother and a wife, a fashion designer or model.
The Bratz? They look like little more than vapid clubbing hipsters in loud prints and clunky shoes. What are they going to do? Drink a fifth of vodka in one sitting? At least when she falls over she won't hurt anything when she lands on her head.
As the adult and only toy-shopper in my household, I can tell you for certain that I'll never spend a dime on the Bratz dolls. I have looked forward all of my life to handing down my Barbies to my own children, along with the myriad Wedding dresses and haute couture I've gathered for them, not the least of which are the ones that my grandmother, my step-mother, and I sewed for them. Wake up Mattel! Don't kill Barbie. While I might someday add to our Barbie collection, I'll never buy a Bratz. They creep me out.
Besides which, does it occur to you, oh pencil-pushers of Mattel, that the girls who grew up with Barbie in the 80's and 90's are now having children of their own? Don't you think we'd prefer a brand we can identify with? Or, am I overthinking things again?
Well, you know, it is hard to go from palaces and feasts at the expense of the suffering Iraqi people to a spider hole and then a prison and trial. Giving up his cheetos too? Come on! That's too much to ask of such an esteemed, important man.
I worry sometimes about the hearts of our troops. We talk an awful lot about winning the "hearts and minds" of the Iraqis, but few seem to consider the hearts and minds of our own troops serving in our name.
How disheartening it must be to listen to the blather of Cindy Sheehan, Murtha, Kerry, the New York Times, Howeird Dean, Harry Reid, and the other idiots of the left. On one hand, they are losing the war and on the other they are committing atrocities against the innocent.
I, for one, am sick of it. I have faith in little in this world, but one thing I do trust is the men and women serving in our armed forces. They are professionals and deserve more than the treatment they get from most.
If I could send each and every man and woman deployed a big box of cookies, I would. You can bet I'd even go out of my way to make them their favorite cookies too. I don't know why they get the abuse that they do, but I for one respect, admire, appreciate, and love them.
Thursday? Again? Then I must tackle another hard-hitting question from the files of the Demystifying Divas and The Men's Club and do my part to bring about better understanding between the sexes.
Today's question: Hairy legs on girls vs. Hairy backs on boys...Compare and contrast
I am not a fan of an unshaved leg. Particularly my own. I feel sexier when my legs are cleanly shaved and lotioned. I would say that I am sexier when my legs are freshly shaved, because sexy is all in the attitude. I don't think that you have to be clean shaved everyday, though. In winter, when nobody is viewing your gams, I think shaving twice per week is adequate for most girls. In summer, however, I think you need to be a bit more on the spot with your Lady Bic. You don't want to scare the people on Main Street into believing that Yeti has come down from the mountains for a dip in the pool, do you?
Hairy backs are not particularly attractive to me. I'm not suggesting that a man go to the wax, however. I think that he should find a woman willing to put up with his fur. They do exist. If, however, his hair back there makes him uncomfortable physically or self-conscious in anyway, I would urge him to do something about it. I personally have a very thick head of hair on my head. It can build up a lot of excessive heat. I can't imagine trying to put up with that on my back. Not to mention the way your clothes would look over a tufted pile a la Teen Wolf...but even so, I think it is a personal decision.
To me, the two things are only alike in that they are both hair growing on bodies. Leg hair is a regular maintenance item while most men can safely ignore the few stray hairs growing on their backs. While I do not personally find the look of the hairy-backed "barely-evolved past the mouth of the cave" look, I understand that some women might. I also do not wish to impose my personal hygiene dictums on an entire sex who I personally prefer a little rough around the edges. That said, if you look like a character from Monster's Inc., we might need to have a discussion before you crawl into my bed.
Today I would like to Honor and Celebrate the departure of Dan Rather from CBS News (Crap Broadcasting Systems). Dan Rather was important in the 2004 Presidential Election because he skipped a few steps, bent a few rules, and went a bit too far over the line of fiction vs. reality in his reporting. I speak, of course, of Rathergate or Memogate.
As only the Phoenix can do, I will point you to the following poetic posts, written at the time, on the matter:
Special Notice to Pentagon on New Tactical Weapon Idea
For immediate deployment in Afghanistan:
Here is a little idea that came to me while I was brushing my teeth last night.
I recommend that the US deploy a tactical team of goats in Afghanistan. No, I am not kidding. It seems to me that goats would work pretty well in that mountainous region where bin Laden is hiding. I propose that we outfit each of these goats with a GPS locator and a minicam. Much like those roving unmanned aerial surveillance planes, the goats would surreptiously gather intelligence.
The way I figure it, a goat is a good soldier for this mission. First, his disguise is perfect (who suspects a goat of nefarious purposes -- a ram naturally has evil in mind -- but goats?). Second, as a hot meal on the hoof, so to speak, he is likely to come in contact with people in those mountains. Whether the goat becomes a meal or somebody's date for the night (okay, I suppose both are possible), opportunities do present themselves.
Suppose the goat is hunted and caught and prepped to be served in some fancy mountain picnic in honor of the wacko. We could send in a special dessert for his meal, something like a chocolate-covered daisy cutter perhaps? We would have a location and confirmation from the GPS and minicam. In fact, the minicam would continue to operate and send info home even after the goat had met the axe. In the case of the date night scenario, it would give us intel, pictures, and locations on some of the al Qaeda loyalists who are a little less choosy about their bedmates. They deserve a little something special too, don't they?
I think this idea is brilliant, if I do say so myself. In all honesty, I'm surprised that The Maximum Leader didn't think of it first. It seems like the kind of idea he would have...anyway, it isn't as though the idea is so laughable.
In WWII, pigeons were equipped with cameras to take aerial photos. I'm merely suggesting that we use a different operative. That's all. The fuzzie goat lovers don't even have to get up in arms over the deal. Circle of Life, people, circle of life. That goat would have been a "dinner" "date" one way or the other, afterall.
The fact of the matter is, I could have proposed that we also deploy these goats with a self-destruct mechanism: some charge that would kill everything in a 10-foot radius of the goat when a button was pushed from CentCom. But even I don't think that would be fair. Funny? Yes, in a South Park kind of way, but not fair to the goat. Sure, he might choose suicide when given the option of that or being Mo's date, but it would take an awful long time to train the goats to push the button and would take out too many operatives prematurely.
What do you think?
(Please don't ask me to explain just how this idea came to me. You would think I'm really weird if you knew. Of course, you probably think that already...)
For those of you not in the know, here is the backstory:
Several weeks ago, a website by the name of Truthout.org broke a story, scooping the MSM, that Karl Rove was about to be indicted in Plamegate. It got a lot of lefty panties wet, but the MSM never picked up the story. It wasn't clear why, but there were more than a few conspiracy theories about the Right-Wing Nature of the Press suppressing the story floating around out in the 'sphere.
Then, out comes the news that Rove will not be indicted. Truthout refuses to back down from the original story. Strange but true. Truthout has egg on it's proverbial face.
Fast forward to today's story. This article is written by a journalist by the name of Joe Lauria, who works freelance for a number of publications. It seems that he is unwittingly connected to the Truthout story. The details are very bizarre and I encourage you to read it.
The gist of it appears, however, that the author of the Truthout story committed fraud, perhaps identity theft, and at the very least trampled on the code of journalistic ethics to put out this story.
He gave his source the name of this other guy and a cell phone number that was one digit off of the other guy's. So the source can't now be sure who he spoke to. In any case, the liar is still standing by his story and claiming that some back-room deal was struck.
I can't be sure, but I have to say I don't think this sordid tale is over. I can also tell you I am not inclined to believe the ravings of a guy who factually obscured his own identity, portrayed himself as another journalist, and admits to doing anything for a story.
I wonder...is this to be be Jayson Blair and Dan Rather's journalistic legacy? A slew of "reporters" who make shit up in order to flush out another story, ethics be damned? If I did the equivalent of this in my job, the CFTC would come and put my butt in prison.
Do you really think that poking the tiger is the best idea? Are you just stupid? Is it beyond your comprehension that you are just some backwater Commie dictator with delusions of grandeur? You dress like a 90-year-old grease monkey, perpetually stuck in 1952.
The effrontery, the savagery, the unmitigated gall...
The Australian Army is being called in to confront the invasion of ... toxic toads.
Yes, you read that correctly - TOADS.
And here I was expecting more shenanigans from Al Qaeda or Wacky Kim Jong Il.
I get that this is serious to Australian ecosystems, but the story tickled my funny bone. The devil of it is, they do sound like nasty beasts:
The toads, Bufo Marinus, were introduced from South America into northeast Queensland state in the 1930s to control another pest -- beetles that were ravaging the sugar cane fields of the tropical northern coasts.
But the toads now number in the millions and are spreading westward through the Northern Territory, upsetting the country's ecosystem in their wake.
Cane toads have poisonous sacs on the back of their heads full of a venom so powerful it can kill crocodiles, snakes or other predators in minutes.
All attempts to fight the spread of the toads so far have failed.
Can kill a croc in a matter of minutes? Johnny, get your gun!
I review reader comments before allowing them to be posted, in case you were wondering.
I don't always allow them to be posted, for varying reasons. Sometimes they are simply spam. Me no likee the spam. Sometimes they are off-topic. Which is just weird and spam-like. Sometimes they are mean and I don't feel the need to participate in my own castigation. Sometimes they are idiotic and mean and suggest that the person clicked in here from a google and commented without a frame of reference - they didn't know that I was being sarcastic or kidding or know the backstory. Other times, you get people commenting on things on another site that you direct your readers to. Did they comment on the other original site? No. So, they don't get published here. If it is my work, maybe, but I'm not going to waste my time trying to defend someone else's joke. Call it Editor's Prerogative. I don't care. (Oh crap, now I've got that stupid Bobby Brown song in my head.) I'm not going to justify it further.
They don't call me a diva and a bitch for nothing.
Anyway, some yahoo googled in and commented on the name we gave our daughter. Told me I had given her a boy's name. To this I only say: Dude? If you knew my real name you might get a little more insight into why this doesn't bother me at all. Furthermore, regular readers who know her by her real name and not just "Bunny Boop" will find your suggestion that the name is gender specific ridiculous. It isn't like we named her John Daniel, after all.
So, just know that I'm not posting your comment, that I don't care a whole lot about your opinion on my daughter's or my name, and don't let the door hit you on the ass on your way out. Or do, I really don't give a shit.
I apologize to regular readers and new visitors who find this mild diatribe off-putting. Sometimes you just have to give a jackass a smackdown.
Before I get started, I want to explain the title.
"Happens" is something we used to say in my family when somebody was griping about something, playing up their victimization about something that was completely stupid. Think of it as a more polite way of telling someone to "suck it up." The shortened "happens!" is the abbreviated version of "It happens." You should know that I could write for a day and a half about the different tones and inflections that can be used with this one-word response and their varied meanings, from playful to downright nasty.
On with the rant.
I have said it before, but it bears repeating. There is no right that protects anyone against being offended. Only in some mindless utopia would this be possible. As long as humans have brains and use them (?) people will continue to think, speak, analyze, and interpret things on an individual level.
The notion that you can somehow protect against someone being offended is nonsense, but that is what the politically correct crowd would have us believe is the goal of civilization.
Let me illustrate my point. Imagine, if you will, you are sitting on a bus and the person next to you sneezes. Habit may compel you to say "Bless You" or "God Bless You." This, I have found, can get you in a heap of trouble.
Perhaps you are only making an attempt to friendly and polite to your fellow man, particularly since you are aware that you have a tendency to block out the outside world and live in your own head. What do you do, then, when it becomes obvious from the firestorm backlash that you have offended someone by pushing religion on them with your blessing? The sheer audacity of your pushing the divinity at someone! How dare you?
Now, suppose a few days later, after being properly put in your place on the religious overtones of blessing a sneezer, another stranger sneezes in an elevator. You know better and let the sneezer be free of your unwelcome comments. You think you have learned your lesson, but you hear through the grapevine that this sneezer commented to someone you apparently both know that you were rude for not saying "bless you" (what kind of cretin are you?) and seem to think you are soooo much better than everybody else.
Clearly, you are damned if you do and damned if you don't. Living in your own thoughts, you tell yourself, at least nobody got pissed at you over this silly crap. What good are other people anyway, you ask yourself? And then you realize you are doing it again, cutting yourself off from life and social interaction. What to do, what to do?
Should we just go forth stepping on egg shells and acting like asses never caring for another human, treating each other as little more than oxygen consumers, or would we be better just knowing that we were well-intentioned and their offense is their problem?
Here's another example:
When my father was in college (he loves to tell this story) he was on his way to class and running a bit late. A young woman was entering the classroom at the same time he was so he politely held the door open for her.
She jumped down his throat for treating her as a lesser being, once again putting the little woman in her place and showing his superiority. She railed at him vehemently, pulling out all the stops on her National Organization of Women, burn the bras talking points. My father is a big ol' softie and never means to give offense. Rather, his holding the door for her was a measure of respect and grace. This lady, and I use the term extremely loosely, pushed his buttons though, and he reacted to her outrage with a few comments of his own. Something about letting the door shut in front of her next time, I believe.
She made quite an impression, as you might guess, seeing as how it happened over 30 years ago and I've heard the story about 18 times.
Was he in the wrong? Was he stroking his male ego at the expense of a woman, effectively enslaving her to the dominion of man? I don't think so, and I'm a woman. Was I in the wrong for offering a "bless you" to a sneezer? Again, I don't think so.
Civilization has really jumped the rails when common courtesies such as these are taking offensively. Gestures meant to be polite recognitions of another person should not be construed to mock, enslave, or push an agenda. I suggest that the sorts of people who would overreact to such niceties have no manners themselves and are likely to live miserable lives, seeking their own victimization at the hands of every person they encounter.
Me? I'd rather live in a society where strangers say Good Morning and Hello to each other, where children are taught to respect their elders and say please and thank you. I want adults, as well, to mind these social niceties, do be polite and respectful in their discourse with each other. I think we'd all be happier if we were a bit nicer to each other.
Snapping at someone for saying "Bless You", whether they put God in front of it or not, is ridiculous, childish, and makes you look like an ass. I'm sorry, but it is so.
If we constantly go around trying not to offend anyone, we will offend everyone. You won't be able to speak for fear of leaving someone out and causing offense or telling a story that offends someone or even using a word the etymology of which offends.
It is senseless. And I'm sick of it.
If you are offended, I suggest you internalize it for a few months before berating someone for trying to be polite. Or, you can accept my invitation to get over yourself.
1. What time did you get up this morning? 5:00 AM 2. Diamonds or pearls? Both, but mostly diamonds. I love the sparklies. 3. What was the last film you saw at the movie house? The DaVinci Code. 4. What is your favorite TV show?Currently on? NCIS. Ever? Alias. 5. What did you have for breakfast? Cherry PopTart and milk. 6. What is your middle name? Dawn. 7. What is your favorite cuisine? American - Steak & Potato 8. What foods do you dislike? Anchovies (hairy fish? come on!), Liver, Brussel Sprouts, Gooseberries. 9. What kind of car do you drive? Jeep Grand Cherokee 10. Favorite Sandwich? Reuben. 11. What characteristic do you despise? Hypocrisy 12. Favorite item of clothing? My baby pink cashmere sweater. 13. If you could go anywhere in the world for a holiday where would you go? Home or San Antonio. 14. What color is your bathroom? Turquoise and White 15. Favorite brand of clothing? I'm not sure I have one, but if I did it would be Eddie Bauer. 16. Where would you like to retire? The farm. 17. Favorite time of the day? afternoon 18. What was your most memorable birthday? My 16th. My friend put a 15 foot sign in my driveway that said "Honk to wish Phoenix a Happy Birthday" and another friend got me a dozen roses. 19. Where were you born? Elkhart, KS 20. Favorite sport to watch? In person - high school hoops. On TV - College Football. 21. What are you wearing right now? Capris and an Eddie Bauer shirt. 22. What star sign are you? Sagitarrius 23. What fabric detergent do you use? Tide with Bleach 24. Pepsi or Coke? Coca-Cola 25. Are you a morning person or a night owl? I refuse to answer this question on the grounds that I am a new mother and I am always at the same setting: Alert. 26. What is your shoe size? I used to be a 7.5, but since the baby I'm an 8. 27. Do you have any pets? I have a husband and a baby. That's plenty. 28. Any new exciting news you'd like to share with your readers? The markets are in the toilet. 29. What did you want to be when you were little? a CEO. 30. What are you meant to be doing today? Working. That's what I'm doing, can't you tell?
Oriana Fallaci is an Italian writer and reporter. She is on trial in absentia in Italy for -- get this -- insulting Islam.
As though a religion can be insulted!
As though free speech is not a right recognized by the Italians!
Ms. Fallaci currently resides in New York where she is 70-some odd years old and suffering from advanced cancer. She is not what you would call diplomatic and her written words, notably in the two books The Rage and The Pride and The Force of Reason, have earned her death threats from Muslims. Why? Because she makes plain and points out the inherent hypocrisy in Europe over the onslaught of Muslim immigration that she feels threatens Europe's existence and the creation of what she calls Eurabia.
She contends that contemporary immigration from Muslim countries to Europe amounts to the same thing—invasion—only this time with “children and boats” instead of “troops and cannons.” And, as Fallaci sees it, the “art of invading and conquering and subjugating” is “the only art at which the sons of Allah have always excelled.”
Muslim immigrants—with their burkas, their chadors, their separate schools—have no desire to assimilate, she believes. And European leaders, in their muddleheaded multiculturalism, have made absurd accommodations to them: allowing Muslim women to be photographed for identity documents with their heads covered; looking the other way when Muslim men violate the law by taking multiple wives or defend the abuse of women on supposedly Islamic grounds.
... According to Fallaci, Europeans, particularly those on the political left, subject people who criticize Muslim customs to a double standard. “If you speak your mind on the Vatican, on the Catholic Church, on the Pope, on the Virgin Mary or Jesus or the saints, nobody touches your ‘right of thought and expression.’ But if you do the same with Islam, the Koran, the Prophet Muhammad, some son of Allah, you are called a xenophobic blasphemer who has committed an act of racial discrimination. If you kick the ass of a Chinese or an Eskimo or a Norwegian who has hissed at you an obscenity, nothing happens. On the contrary, you get a ‘Well done, good for you.’ but if under the same circumstances you kick the ass of an Algerian or a Moroccan or a Nigerian or a Sudanese, you get lynched.” The rhetoric of Fallaci’s trilogy is intentionally intemperate and frequently offensive: in the first volume, she writes that Muslims “breed like rats”; in the second, she writes that this statement was “a little brutal” but “indisputably accurate.”
Whether you agree with her or not, you have to see a glimmer of truth in her arguments. Europe is no longer a place I would like to visit simply because of the hypocrisy she describes. The mere fact that she is on trial is testimony to the correctness of her position. Where is the "justice" for her against those who call for her head on a platter? Isn't that offensive too?
You simply can't have freedom of speech if you can't "offend" ideas and religions. It doesn't work that way. She isn't calling for an uprising and genocide. She doesn't suggest a plan for you to murder your Muslim neighbor. Rather, she points out some uncomfortable truths and what happens? They put her on trial. It is a gross miscarriage of justice that someone who is brave enough to speak should have her feet held to the fire for it. Do you see what I mean?
You aren't really free if you can be insulted but not insult your insulter. It is a double standard and that is what fear, multiculturalism, and political correctness breed.
"When I was given the news," Ms. Fallaci says of her recent indictment, "I laughed. Bitterly, of course, but I laughed. No amusement, no surprise, because the trial is nothing else but a demonstration that everything I've written is true." An activist judge in Bergamo, in northern Italy, took it upon himself to admit a complaint against Ms. Fallaci that even the local prosecutors would not touch. The complainant, one Adel Smith--who, despite his name, is Muslim, and an incendiary public provocateur to boot--has a history of anti-Fallaci crankiness,and is widely believed to be behind the publication of a pamphlet, "Islam Punishes Oriana Fallaci," which exhorts Muslims to "eliminate" her. (Ironically, Mr. Smith, too, faces the peculiar charge of vilipendio against religion--Roman Catholicism in his case--after he described the Catholic Church as "a criminal organization" on television. Two years ago, he made news in Italy by filing suit for the removal of crucifixes from the walls of all public-school classrooms, and also, allegedly, for flinging a crucifix out of the window of a hospital room where his mother was being treated. "My mother will not die in a room where there is a crucifix," he said, according to hospital officials.)
See what I mean about hypocrisy? He is free to write exhorting others to murder her, but she must face criminal charges for insulting a religion. Excuse my language, but this is fucking nuts!
The freedoms of the West are being used to destroy us. Our good nature and acceptance of others are being used to infiltrate and decimate our way of life.
There will be no burka for this girl, I warn you right now. Our way of life is under attack and if you can't see that, I pity you. I fear that the worst will come to pass and Europe will become part of the greater Arab caliphate. This will dominate my child's life as the world goes to war for a third time, with Australia and The US (and perhaps the UK if they are spared in time) uniting once again to pull Europe from the clutches of another tyrant. Once again, American blood will be spilt on the French, German, and Italian shores because of Europe's inability to learn the lessons of the past. If you appease a tyrant, he wants more. He will never stop wanting more.
Europeans are fond of pointing out that Americans have no concept of history, that our nation is just barely more than 200 years old. To that I say, "Oh yeah? Maybe you have too much history, since you keep forgetting the lessons it teaches."
My father taught me that the 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution exists to protect the 1st Amendment. It is no good to protect and guarantee the freedom of speech if you can not take up arms to demand that right. Do you see? If you go merrily on your way assuming your speech is protected until one day someone insists you face charges for having the gall to insult...what are you going to do? The only thing you can do is enforce your rights the old fashioned way - with bullets. The problem with this? Those appeasing crybabies in Europe handed over their guns a long time ago. That is why I think we really will have to bail their collective asses out again. The lack the will and the means of extricating themselves from the hole they've dug for themselves.
Do you need proof that this is really happening? Consider the riots over the Mohammed cartoons, the riots over reports of the Koran being flushed, etc. Is it really so far-fetched?
My immediate concern is for Ms. Fallaci, however. I have no doubt that she will be found guilty. Call me a pessimist, but I have that little faith in Europe's ability to reason and use common sense. So then, what do we do when Italy requests that the US send the ailing cancer-ridden Ms. Fallaci back to her homeland, poste haste, to face the music? If our country agrees to do this we will be enabling the very problem of which I write and which is so abhorent to our own basic beliefs. Salman Rushdie found safety, so perhaps we will protect Ms. Fallaci. But if we do, are we not in breach of certain international treaties and risk offending an ally in the GWOT?
I don't know. I only know that I am offended that Ms. Fallaci is on trial for exercising her right of freedom of expression. Who can I take to court?
Fallaci, a lifelong Leftist, lacerates Europeans for cheap anti-Americanism, and holds up the confident and decent patriotism of American citizens as something that shames the faux-sophisticates of the continent, whose ancestors used to know what love of country was. Fallaci is at her best tearing into the "masochists" of Europe, whose sentimental and self-hating worldview "reveres the invaders and slanders the defenders, absolves the delinquents and condemns the victims, weeps for the Taliban and curses the Americans, forgives the Palestinians for every wrong and the Israelis for nothing." Fallaci accuses them of having lost the confidence in the superiority of Western ideals, art, laws, and customs over Islamic counterparts, and of not wanting to face the reality of jihad, for fear of having to do something about it.
Canada is too fine a country, known worldwide for it's dhimmitude. It can't possibly be that they are torturing their terrorists! I refuse to believe it.
Tiny solitary cells under constant illumination, a mere 20 minutes of fresh air daily, and beatings at the hands of guards are indicative of the "torture" endured by some of the 17 people accused of plotting terrorist attacks in Canada, lawyers for the group said Monday.
The allegations of "cruel and unusual punishment" came as the court imposed a blanket publication ban on the legal proceedings, preventing the public from learning of any further evidence in a case of stunning allegations that has captured headlines around the world.
Please note that this article, were it written about alleged torture in the US or at Gitmo, would not use quotes around the word torture. As written, it reads as though the reporter seriously doubts the allegations and considers them a joke. If the reporter were writing about detainees in the US, rest assured that this distinction and doubt would not be so obvious. Rather, they would assume that the torture was going on.
Twenty-year-old terror suspect Zakaria Amara was beaten by a guard after he giggled because he felt ticklish while being searched, alleged Kolinsky, who said the guard pinned his client to the ground, drilled his knuckle into the man's cheek and said, "Is this funny?"
Tortured for giggling when tickled? Call Amnesty International! Where is Human Rights Watch? Oh, the inhumanity!
Many of the conditions outlined by lawyers are standard practice, said Community Safety and Correctional Services Ministry spokeswoman Julia Noonan.
That sounds like a culture of torture to me. Those evil Canadians. They are worse than Saddam!
"All our institutions are lit 24 hours a day," said Noonan, who added the lights are dimmed in the evenings. "For security reasons, we need to ensure that proper supervision is possible."
Yes, those nasty torturous guards won't give those poor boys any peace. They want to be able to see them. Supervise them. What an outrage!
Twenty minutes of "fresh air and/or exercise" is also standard, and the "standard dimension" solitary cells are expressly built for "one person."
That's barbaric! Can you imagine? Those evil Nazi-esque Canadians and their bloodlust. Shame, shame, shame. Have you no respect for human life? Only 20 minutes of fresh air per day, and the rest of the time those poor boys have to hold their breath. Reprehensible!
The 17 suspects face a variety of charges including knowingly participating in or contributing to terrorist activity, providing or receiving training for terrorist purposes and providing or making available property for a terrorist activity.
The maximum sentence for participating in terrorism, training and making property available is 10 years in prison.
I bet it will be 10 years before they even go to trial. They may not even survive to trial! They'll probably "commit suicide" in their cells. What a travesty! Those evil Canadians! And their evil empire! You know they've been subjugating their indigent populations since the beginning of time, right?
(Now that my tongue-in-cheek display is over, please know that I mostly like Canadians. I am merely making a point here. Terrorists always make claims of torture when captured. It is rule #1 in the terrorist playbook. But, when these claims are made about the US, the world press assumes that the allegations are true. Anywhere else? They don't believe it. So, this post is merely a little tit for tat.)
(Another note: I could have done the namby-pamby wussy thing and said, "Most Canadians are just fine. It is just the evil imperial government that is to blame.")
Growing up, I was forced to be at least semi-aware of the world around me. I voted for Ronald Reagan in the Weekly Reader poll, I wrote to the Reagan after his election to protest the fact that I was paying income taxes in grade school, and I made yellow ribbons for the neighborhood during the first Gulf War.
At no time, after I was old enough to talk anyway, was I unable to name the President of the United States. And, by the time I got to middle school, I was able to name the leaders of other important nations as well.
So, I am somewhat mystified when a teenager I know had to be schooled (by moi) on who certain major players on the world scene are.
She said: "Didn't Saddam die?"
I said: "His son's died, but he is currently on trial for crimes against humanity."
She said: "Are you sure? I thought he just died."
I said: "No. The guy in Iraq who just died in Iraq was Abu Musab al Zarqawi. The Leader of al Qaeda in Iraq."
She said: "I thought that was bin Laden."
I said: "No, bin Laden is hiding in a cave somewhere in Pakistan or Afghanistan."
She said: "So which one is the one who wants nuclear weapons?"
I said: "That would be the leader of Iran, Iraq's next door neighbor. That is a country led by it's religious leaders and not known for it's freedoms. For some reason, the religious leader's choices always win the "elections." Currently their President is a madman who says that there is no proof that the Holocaust happened and feels that Israel should be wiped off the map."
She said: "Hmmm. I could have sworn we killed Saddam."
I said: "Nope. He was hiding in a hole and we captured him. He went quietly, from all accounts. His sons went down in a hail of bullets, though."
She said: "Huh."
All of which made me very afraid. I don't expect her to know the intricacies, but the players in the news at the very least.
So not only do I feel old (see post on fashion), but now I'm wiser too.
Michelle Malkin is covering a story of a third generation Italian-American Philadelphia businessman who is taking a stand on illegal immigration.
Joseph Vento is the proprietor of Geno's, the home of the Philly Cheesesteak. Joseph feels that as the progeny of immigrants who entered the country and assimilated, learning English to do so, he should be able to expect his customers to speak English, or eat elsewhere.
Joseph has signs posted at his front door stating that "This is America -- When ordering, 'Speak English'" and "Management Reserves the Right to Refuse Service."
Kudos to him, I say, for taking this stand. However, a local city councilman by the name of Jim Kenney wants Vento to remove the sign requiring orders in English.
To which I say he is an appeasing pussy-whipped coward. Kenney wants the sign removed because it has "irritated some activists" and because Geno's is an "iconic institution."
Apparently, the feelings of some crybabies and the fact that Geno's is a long-standing popular member of the community trump the basic rights of Vento to a) run his business as he sees fit, b) free speech, c) refuse customers, and d) free will.
Interestingly enough, these protestors plan to send people into the business expressly to order in Spanish to test what happens and, depending on events, sue Vento.
Which is just typical of those bastards and exactly why they don't get much sympathy.
Look, assimilation doesn't mean "sell your soul." You don't have to stop being of a certain descent or religious beliefs to be a United States citizen. There are very good reasons for having a common language, not the least of which is safety.
And it gives me a case of red ass when an elected official suggests that a legal citizen should give up their rights to accomodate a certain group. It is wrong and it sucks. If I were one of his constituents, I'd be sure to fire his ass come election day.
In my morning google, I uncovered this story of fantasies fulfilled.
Seven-year-old Connor Stasek, a first-grader at Union Elementary, became the school's Principal for the day when his parents won a silent auction. (Do click over and see him with his feet up on the desk.)
In a move that made him exceedingly popular with the students, Connor, or should I say Principal Stasek forbade homework for the day and added an extra recess.
The boy even came dressed for the job, which impressed kindergartners, wearing khakis, a button-down dress shirt, tie, and dress shoes.
My favorite part of the article?...
When asked by a reporter if he’s gotten any flak from the students, the young principal simply nodded no. In fact, he said, the job was less stressful than the daily grind of the first grade classroom.
“I don’t have to do all the class work and I can walk anywhere I want to,” Conner said. “I can do the announcements.”
It’s a job that carries its own freedoms. He could even boss the teachers around if he wanted, but there was no time for that. Milk cartons and ketchup packets needed to be opened carefully for kindergarteners. The job called for a principal.
Conner often found it difficult to find a few minutes to sit down during lunch before being summoned by his students at another table. The poor administrator only wanted a few moments peace.
The lunch break probably wasn’t the easiest part of the day for the young man in charge, but once the students returned to the classrooms he could get back to his Star Wars spaceships.
This story made my day. Admit it, it was your fantasy too, wasn't it?
For lack of anything better to do as I was falling asleep last night, I watched the pilot/series premier of Windfall.
Women my age will be delighted to find the eye candy of their youth on parade in this show. In fact, the big slimeball on the show is played by none other than Iron Eagle hero Jason Gedrick. At the namby pamby husband who may or may not get cheated on is played by Dillon McKay (scratch that -- Luke Perry) of Beverly Hills 90210. Which I find interesting because I can see Gedrick as the good guy and Perry as the bad guy, but whatever. It is probably best not to put too much thought into this.
I have heard, as have you I'm sure, about how winning the lottery ruins your life. This show appears to be all about that. Which, in the grand tradition of gawkers bottlenecks and trainwrecks means it will be a hit. People love to watch other people in misery (how else do you explain the popularity of reality television?).
It got me wondering what my husband and I might do if we suddenly became obscenely wealthy. Maybe I'm just flattering myself, but I don't think it would change us all that much. For one thing, I don't think it would send either of us looking for the exes in our lives. I'm sure that we would initially do some shopping and make ourselves and our parents more comfortable. I'm also sure that we would put down a nice chunk of change paying off the mortgage and sock away plenty for Bunny Boop's future education. I don't think either of us would quit our jobs, though.
I think it is more along the lines of we would find different work. Maybe we would start our own resort, like we've talked about in the past. Or maybe, we'd just keep it super quiet, continue living in our house and working in the same old places. I wouldn't mind going back to school and getting my MBA or going to culinary school. I would never fly coach again, that's for damn sure.
It sure is nice to think about, even if all of the data suggests that all that money ruins lives. Maybe it does, but I don't think it would ruin ours. We are more down-to-earth and investment minded; that kind of money would't go to our heads. Or so I tell myself.
That's the only title I can come up with for this post.
I know that what I'm about to say is a bit catty, but that isn't going to keep me from saying it.
It seems that The Dixie Chicks are having trouble with ticket sales for their new tour. The article reports that concert ticket sales have been lackluster in certain major markets. Interestingly, these areas include Memphis, Houston, Oklahoma City, and Indianapolis. Isn't that odd?
The heartland, the cradle of country music, well, can't stir up any interest for The Dixie Chicks. As they say, "That won't play in Peoria." Is it just me or is this a big flashing neon sign to the demise of the Chicks? The fact is, they aren't "pop" by any stretch of the imagination, no matter how many covers of Landslide they do. Their harmonys just don't play to pop music. A crossover isn't in their future. For one thing, pop music lovers despise country music for the most part. Sure, some country has crossed over, like Faith Hill, but she's more easy listening than country. She's more Anne Murray than Coldplay, if you know what I mean.
There is good news for The Dixie Chicks, however. Canada loves them and they sold out a show and added another one there. Which just goes to show that country music lovers are not as stupid as they are made out to be. If you insult them, they don't just continue buying your albums and concert tickets.
Maybe they should change their name to les poulets suicidaires.
Is this catty of me, the fact that I'm giggling out of control over this news?
Is it in his face ? Oh no ! That's just his charms In his warm embrace ? Oh no ! That's just his arms If you want to know if he loves you so It's in his kiss That's where it is It's in his kiss That's where it is
Couldn't resist quoting the Shoop Shoop Song, my apologies for bringing Cher to mind. At least I didn't do the I've Got You, Babe thing.
The question plaguing the Demystifying Divas and the charming men of The Men's Club this week is The Kiss. What do different kisses mean (lips, cheek, forehead, hand, and neck).
This question may be one of the easier ones for me to answer. To me, kisses are unambiguous. They are like a billboard to the soul, whether we are discussing les trois bises (forgive me if I'm misspelling the French air-kissing thing, my French is rusty) or the tongue down the throat thing.
Let me elaborate, because that is what these topics are all about: Elaborating and Enlightening.
Les Trois Bises, or the air kiss that is used by some as a greeting is merely that: a greeting. It is a friendly thing you do upon meeting a good friend or acquaintance. It is not something one ought to do with a stranger. It is more intimate and more friendly than a handshake, and less formal. I wouldn't expect to see this in a business setting, at least not in the US. To me, this kiss sends a message of "it is so good to see you again."
A kiss on the cheek is a more familiar. It is a quick hello or goodbye, good morning or good night, to a child or parent. The intimacy is between much closer relationships. This kiss is about real affection, but not a passionate or sexual man-woman affection, if you see the distinction. Although, I will leave open the possibility for a cheek kiss between two passionate adults as a playful act. To me, this kiss send the message, "I genuinely care for you."
A kiss on the forehead is more parental. You may kiss your child on the forehead as a way to send them off to sleepyland or before they head off to school. This kiss is acceptable to children from parents even when they get older because it is an act that defines the roles. The kisser is the parent and deposits a kiss on the child's forehead. The child is the receiver. This kiss says, "I love you, even so."
A kiss on the hand has two possible meanings. First, it can be a token of respect or deference when a gentlemen meets a lady. This gesture, I am sorry to say, has gone out of fashion except with older gentlemen raised to gentility and some lingering traces in The South reserved for more formal occasions. The second meaning is seduction. However, in the case of seduction, the kisses will start at the hand, not end there, if you see my point.
Which reminds me, "A kiss on the hand may be quite continental, but diamonds are a girl's best friend..."
For the last two, namely kisses on the lips and neck, it is difficult to claim that these are anything but romantic acts. If someone is kissing your neck, my hint to you is that they'd not choose to stop there. Moreover, lip kissing, whether perfunctory between a man and wife or much deeper between two lovers indicates the ultimate intimate relationship. It is not something that people engage in without an existing relationship or the hope of one.
To answer Bill's question, I have decided to be as thorough as I can possibly be, but should you have comments and/or corrections to make, please feel free to do so by clicking on the comments thingy. I am by no means an expert on the wife beater.
Bill wanted to know what exactly is a wife beater of the type that can be worn, not the type that actually pummels his spouse.
I don't know exactly why they are called "wife beaters," but this term appears to be the name for a piece of male underwear. It is the sleeveless undershirt, normally in white, that has big openings for the arms. Sometimes they are ribbed and are worn snug to the torso. Other times the fabric is more thin and cotton t-shirt-like and, when stretched over a beer belly, will begin to sag unattractively.
This is the same garment that is stereotypically seen stained with axel grease or fried chicken grease, depending on the genre of the film.
In any event, it is not a garment to be seen by the public anymore than you would want your slip peeking from under your skirt, bra strap sliding out from under your shirt, thong creeping out from under your jeans, or jock doing whatever unsightly things jocks do. It is an undergarment and, by definition, is meant to worn under something else. It is not, under any circumstances, appropriate or respectful clothing for a graduation ceremony. Or any ceremony, for that matter.
Graduation this weekend was not just filled will ill-bred cretins.
Oh, no. It was also an opportunity for me to enter the Twilight Zone.
Let me explain. Ours is not the typical family. My 18-year-old sister is really my half-sister. Her father was one of my three (to date) stepfathers. I love her, but until this summer we haven't been very close because she was born when I was 14. Much of my teenage years were devoted to her care, but when she finally was old enough to engage in real conversations, I was already away at college, then engaged in my career, and now an old married woman.
My other sister, aka SpySistah, as regular readers know, is living "quietly" in the island nation off the coast of the Carolinas and traveling internationally all too frequently to be just the actuary she claims to be. Riiiiiight. We believe her. Sure we do.
After the graduation ceremony, we all gathered at my mother's house for a little celebration. And this is where the weird part started. At this party were my mother, her current husband (#4) who I can't trust because of certain casual and illegal behavior that he has indulged in (very long story), my crazy grandmother with the propensity for speaking without thinking, my half-sister's father, his new live-in girlfriend, my husband and child, and my crazy Aunt.
The clocks were melting all over the place.
They were all being polite to each other. The atmosphere was jovial. The air was filled with laughter and conversation. They were talking about the good ol' days when they were all family. Grandmother and ex-stepfather talked about how they used to be drinking buddies until Grandma introduced him to Mom and how he liked Grandma as a drinking buddy, but not so much as a mother-in-law. At one point in the evening, my mother and my ex-stepfather were heard trading the following words:
Stepfather (to sister): I believe your mother is going to help you pay for the computer.
Mother: That was before I didn't get the last child-support check. Ha, Ha, Ha
SF: You are still trying to take all of my stuff! Ha, ha, ha
M: Yes, yes. I took it all and it was fun! Ha, Ha, Hahahaha
SF &M: Hahahahaha
I was standing there, mouth open like a wide-mouth bass out of water. No one else seemed in the slightest bit weirded out by any of this.
Not when camping stories were being told about mom peeing on the tent of my ex-stepbrother. Not when camping stories were being told about my other Aunt getting shnockered on peach schnapps and not finding her way back to the campsite. Not when my Aunt mentioned she was still taller and better looking than Stepfather.
The whole thing had me feeling that I should have started drinking for this party the week before. Maybe then it would have seemed normal to me. Current Stepfather and Ex-Stepfather chatting. Mom and Ex-Stepfather's new girlfriend discussing their grandchildren.
I can't explain just how bizarre it all was. It was more than worlds colliding. It was freakish only on cable-television or in the mind of Hitchcock. I kept looking over my shoulder for the arrival of the birds, or the four horsemen.
It seriously creeped me out. My Ex-Stepfather only had cake because I made it. That's crazy talk. He has no reason to like me! I'm the one who caught him cheating with the bimbo in the basement on Christmas Eve!
Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh! Make it stop, make it stop.
I'm going to go curl into a ball in the corner, rock back and forth, and mutter incoherently now. Please ignore me.
Friday afternoon, Prince Charming, the Princess, and I loaded up and headed down to the Chicago suburbs to witness the graduation of my youngest sister from high school.
Now, before I get into this, I want to tell you what my own graduation from the same high school was like, so you can properly appreciate the foundation of the coming rant.
My graduation from Dundee-Crown was an event. It was held at Poplar Creek, a local outdoor open-air auditorium for summer rock concerts. There were 351 students in my graduating class. At this venue, there was plenty of seating and every seat had an excellent view of the stage. Should seating run out or guests want to make a hasty retreat, there was a grassy spot in the back where people could stand and watch or sit on blankets. Even so, they would still be able to see the goings-on.
So imagine my disgust when I drove 2.5 hours to watch my sister graduate at Carpenter Park, a nice park that used to host the local Jamboree Days (it may still, I'm just not sure), but doesn't offer much in the way of seating, stage accomodations (unless you are a jug band), sound system, or crowd control. We showed up to the venue 45 minutes early and found that we were about 8 hours late. Traffic was impossible, crowd control was non-existant, and seating was hodge-podge. Who has every heard of a BYOC Graduation (Bring Your Own Chair)?
And that's not all!
My mother had brought chairs for all of us, so we unfolded them and picked a free spot near the edge instead of treking our gear through the masses and upsetting many. Then we sat down.
But, this was apparently unwise because it meant that we couldn't see anything. In the grand tradition of fuckups, the police who were working crowd control failed to make sure that the late-coming unwashed masses respected those of us who had arrived early and come prepared. In essence, this mob was allowed to stand in front of the rest of us in lawn chairs and completely obscure the view of the stage. Not a soul behind them could see. And, of course, at this point we were trapped. We couldn't very well move somewhere else as the ceremony was already underway and that would be rude to the people who could see. We couldn't stand up ourselves, either, as that would be rude to the people behind us. What a pickle. Even so, I decided that the only thing I could do was to stand up long enough to watch my sister get her diploma, a grand total of 1 minute, maybe.
And I felt guilty doing that much!
But the crowd of people who were above the general rules of conduct and courtesy couldn't be stopped. We tried sending the cop over there to get them to sit down, but he was unable to get anything done. So were the school administrators. It was a nightmare. The crowd of seated people were not happy and finally started shouting "Down in Front!" to the rude standing people. Oh, I should have mentioned. They weren't just standing, they were also talking, laughing, guffawing, and making so much noise you couldn't hear the speakers. It was exceedingly vexing. Finally one of the dolts in front says to the general area behind him, "What? You can't see?" He moved two steps left and said, "How about now?" Then came the deafening roar of an answer, "NOOOOOO!"
So, he moved another step left, but since there were at least 40 people in front of him it did no good whatsoever except to piss people off further.
For our part, we decided it was ridiculous to stay if the school didn't have more respect for people than that, so we packed up our gear somewhere in the middle of the "M's" and left. I should say that since my sister's class had over 600 people in it, this was staying for a large majority of the ceremony.
But that's not all. Oh, no!
In addition to the large number of incredibly rude people, there was also a general lack of appreciation for the grandeur of the event. It was more like Woodstock than a graduation. I saw a man wearing a wife-beater, for cripe's sake! People were running around in the middle of the ceremony, walking in front of and between seated polite viewers, barefoot and acting like it was half-time at a Mamas and Papas Concert. I was appalled! There was no request for general courtesy from the administrators of the event. No request to "hold your applause and celebration until the end." It was out of control. People were not dressed in deference and respect. They were behaving like asses at Happy Hour. It was revolting. They were disrespectful to everyone else there, but more importantly they failed to respect the graduates themselves.
I pride myself on being capable, on my accomplishments.
I don't expect to know anything, but I don't stop myself from doing things because I lack know-how. I'm a gather intel, come up with a plan, figure it out for myself kind of gal.
Particularly, that is, when it comes to the domestic arts.
I completely reupholstered our living room furniture and made a valance for the living room picture window to match. It took me 4 months, but I finally finished.
When I wanted to make petit fours like we used to have at Rush parties, I searched and searched for a recipe, but found nothing that could be duplicated in my kitchen. So what did I do? I spent 6 weeks coming up with my own recipe that would work. And, just for the record, they were fabulous.
Last night, I had another major achievement. You should know that I have achieved some acclaim for my baked goods. Cakes, Tarts, Tortes, Crisps, Cupcakes, Pies, Bread, Cookies...I have a cookbook full of success stories. But, I've always been a bit cowed by piping bags and the cake decorating arts. They have always seemed so intricate to me. And, you may not realize it, but frostings, icings, and the like can be extremely fussy.
But, I really want to develop this skill and hone it because I'm a mommy now and I want to bake and decorate Bunny Boop's birthday cakes. (And make her Halloween costumes, too, but that's another post.)
This afternoon, my teenage sister graduates from high school. My mother is throwing her a party. She is having the food catered, but I offered to make the cake.
And I did. I baked a beautiful two-layer cake and spent a couple of days researching decorating techniques on the web (which is rapidly turning into my sole information source). I was going to make an attempt, but I didn't want to turn out junk as the event is important. I have seen my neighbor decorate cakes, though, so I didn't feel completely adrift.
Speaking of which, have you ever seen a professional decorate a cake? It is amazing! My good friend and neighbor can take the blank canvas of a well-frosted (with base coat) cake and make it look fabulous with embellishments in less than 15 minutes. She used to do it for a living, now she owns a bakery.
So, I knew that there was no way on earth I could compete with that, but I needed a plan. A plan that played to my strengths, but that also challenged me. I have done some work, of course, like these cupcakes, but that was without a net and more off-the-cuff for a kid's sport-themed birthday party. This is more serious.
I am pleased with the results. I did leaf borders falling over the top edge and bottom of cake ( a la Martha Stewart), additional leaves climbing like ivy on the sides, words, and the dreaded roses.
It took me 2 hours (with folding of laundry, emptying of dishwasher, and feeding of baby included). My leaves look pretty good. The design concept was a winner. My words look good, if a bit unparallel. My roses? Are you at all familiar with Buttercream? Egad. It is like trying to work with hot lava. It was a bit tricky. My roses could be better. Instead of looking like the perfect hothouse roses, they look more like wild roses.
I will post a picture tomorrow or Sunday. Then you can tell me how much I suck.
But, I'm going to keep working on this. Maybe I can rope my friend into lessons if I do the baking...
My teenage sister was complaining last night that she didn't have anything to wear to graduation. I went into my closet and pulled out a really cute floral off-the-shoulder babydoll and above-the-knee dress that is super cute. I urged her to try it on. It fit and looked beautiful.
However, she took it off and informed me that "nobody wears that kind of floral anymore", as though I am some doddering grandmother trying to force her into Buster Brown shoes.
I was more than a bit offended. I don't blame her for wanting something new, I'm just offended because of how she portrayed my age. I'm 33, not 83, for cripes sake.
The dress is cute and she looked hot in it. I even thought the off-the-shoulder aspect would appeal to her inner tramp. But no. I'm an old fuddy-duddy. Sign me up for polyester, elastic, and unisex slip on shoes, I guess.
All of which segues into another gripe on fashion.
Why is it that nobody makes anything but trendy crap anymore? Weren't the 70s plenty the first time around? Do we really have to relive the fashion nightmare of that decade for another decade?
I am sick unto death of the low-riding hip-huggers, the chenille, the macrame, and the sloppy flower-power look. I feel a bit of bile rise up over what passes for daily casual wear these days. Too-tight tees and jeans with a bit of thong showing, bras showing, super-thin t-shirts with inane slogans, short-shorts that aren't acceptable as a swimsuit coverup...ARGH!
I am a preppie, I admit it. I like clean lines and crisp pleats. I like fabrics that breathe, small prints, and leather handbags and shoes. I am stymied when I try to go shopping, because it seems that if you aren't a lesbian mountain climber or a whore, you are SOL. I count myself as neither of those, thank you very much.
I have searched the globe for a replacement pair of sandals like mine that are a bit too worn, but nobody makes them. Not even the company I bought them from.
I have searched for a pair of soft twill pleated shorts, like my favorite pair, but no one makes them anymore.
I have searched the globe for a replacement for my Ralph Lauren "Big Oxfords" that after 10 years have holes in the elbows, to no avail.
What is a preppie to do? I should start my own clothing line, I guess, but seeing as how I lack celebrity status, I might have trouble getting it off of the ground.
Pisshammers. It sucks! The world of fashion has abandoned me and I am no longer cool, according to teenaged wisdom.
I'm not saying that my wardrobe is nothing but preppie plaids and headbands. I have other items too. I have a feather boa, for goodness sake! I have skirts that conjure flappers and others that conjure more romantic eras.
I'm just tired of this 70s crap. Even the 80s would be better!
It turns out that I am going to be Director of the CIA. At least, that's what Christina seems to think. Who knew that writing the SpySistah Chronicles and seeing through the obvious cover stories offered by my real life SpySistah would qualify me for such a distinguished career path?
I was a bit worried, at first, about the confirmation hearings. After all, I have zero anticipation that the politics of personal destruction will have changed any in the Senate in 2026, but not to worry. Christina has promised to represent me at the hearings. You should never go in front of the Senate without a lawyer, in my opinion.
Actually, the blogosphere is a veritable breeding ground for the soon-to-be-famous and other types of breeding grounds too...
Silk is going to have a castle full, and have to keep up with Nugget too. Amelie is going to win not one, but two Nobel Prizes. Kathy has a string of best sellers and one movie in production. And Phin is hosting Miss America.
If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck...
This week, the lovely ladies of the Demystifying Divas and the raw male power that makes up The Men's Club are tackling the subject of cheaters. More importantly, we are attempting to help you identify before-hand habitual and potential cheaters.
That would be cheaters with reference to relationships, not people who steal money from the bank when playing Monopoly.
I wish that I could say that I had no experience on this matter, but alas, I do.
The only way I can help you identify a cheater or a would-be cheater is to outline the following:
1. Are you aware of a history of cheating on his part? If so, trust me, you can't change a man. You have to love him as he is or let him go. If he is a cheater with a history of breaking hearts, nothing you can do will stop him. He can't help himself. He is compelled to love no one but himself and his goal is to spread his seed far and wide. If you know he has cheated, save yourself the trouble and walk away.
2. Does he treat the rules of life with a casual manner? I'm not talking about speeding or something like that. I mean, does he have his own fake boot for his car so that he never has to pay for parking? Does he come up with schemes to cheat local stores and service providers? Does he make it his life's work to work every angle and get something for nothing? Does he treat every transaction and encounter like a game, where it is up to him to bring home the victory, at any cost, in the last two seconds of the game? Does he take a penny from the "Take a Penny, Leave a Penny" cup all too frequently, but never leave a penny? Is he selfish and put himself always before you? Does he act as though he is entitled to all the good that life has to offer, even at the cost of everyone else? Does he commit acts of petty theft? Does he cheat in other aspects of his life, pawning off the work of other's as his own? Is he habitual liar, lying about anything and everything, for no apparent reason? Does he tell fantastic stories about things that have happened to him that portray him in a glimmering light that seem to outrageous to be true? Is he the kind of guy who would take a dollar out of a blind man's cup, but leave a dime so that it would clink in the bottom? Does he try to run a scam on the dry cleaner or paper boy? I think you get the idea.
Here's the thing. You have to judge the man by the sum total of his behavior. Don't overlook the small stuff, either. He may be a perfect gentleman to you and treat his mother like gold, but if he would steal from a blind man, he could be a cheater.
In my experience, this type of person is self-centered and obnoxious. If he isn't decent to those around him, honey, eventually he will stop being decent to you. I'm not talking about occasional rudeness, but everyday concerted machinations intended to enrich him, monetarily or otherwise, at the expense of others. When this guy gets his pockets full, he'll be looking to shed his pants. Rest assured, this is the guy that is always looking for the BBD - Bigger, Better, Deal.