Sunday, February 29, 2004


I'm already over there and posting, so swing by when you have the chance. And update your bookmarks (grumble, grumble) when you get the chance! The new address is the neat and clean www.tryingtogrok.com

See you all soon.

Saturday, February 28, 2004


For those of you who think I only get a laugh out of parodies of John Kerry, here's an Australian article that takes a shot at everyone and had me giggling at all of the candidates. (via Pixy Misa)

And the Chief has words on his return from Iraq that we should all read.

I plan to spend the rest of the day working on figuring out my new blogsite, so I won't be around here much, but hopefully March will come in like a grokking lion.

UPDATE 1046:

Dang. I should've been reading this HTML book for the past month. I have no idea how to do any of this. My problem is that I want it to be perfect before I invite any of you over there, but I'm not sure perfect is going to happen today...

UPDATE 1106:

Well, been working for 20 minutes and I still haven't figured out how to change the font. I think Bunker should reevaluate his opinion of my smarts.

UPDATE 1258:

Quick break for lunch finished. I'm chuggin along now. Moveable Type takes longer to republish than Blogger though.

UPDATE 1339:

Mouse just stopped working all of a sudden. Had to log off everything and restart computer. #%@&!!!

UPDATE 1441:

Ha, that's the name of a worthless UN resolution. I'm getting there, but I could use some help. Anyone know how to shift my sidebar from the left to the right?

UPDATE 1451:

OK, what the hell is going on? My mouse won't work again and I can't click on any links. I'm just opening and closing browsers. This sucks.

UPDATE 1503:

I've hit a gumption trap, so it's best for me to just shut 'er down for a while. I've emailed Pixy Misa with a couple of questions, so perhaps tomorrow I can finish up and everyone can be invited on 1 March.

UPDATE 2229:

Whew. Done. One more day on Blogspot and then I make the move...


...Warning! Unbecoming military rant follows...

Why does rank make people crazy? Why won't the junior enlisted soldiers believe that my husband grew up in a run-down suburb of St. Louis instead of in the lap of luxury? Why do wives of junior enlisted soldiers keep telling me that I can't understand how hard their life is because my husband is an officer? "You just don't know what it's like." Maybe by that rationale I should go to the Lieutenant Colonel's wife and tell her she just doesn't understand how hard it is to be me. Oh wait, nevermind, that's a bunch of bull. Her husband went back and forth to Iraq for months before the actual deployment, and he left on the very same plane as my husband. I also know that the Captain has meetings in Kuwait at 0330, and the FSG hasn't slept in 36 hours. Though all of our husbands sleep in the same tents, wait in the same lines, and wear the same 100 pounds of IBA, they do have different duties and jobs, so I personally find it very easy to understand that a Colonel's job is harder than a LTC's, which is harder than a Major's, and so on down the ranks (with FSG being somewhere around CPT). I understand that rank is an important hierarchy in the military, but that certainly doesn't mean that I can't understand someone because her husband's enlisted. That's crap.


Yes, I know wives from all shades of the spectrum: those officers' wives who look down their noses, those officers' wives who make you feel completely comfortable from day one, those enlisteds' wives who like you for who you are, and those enlisteds' wives who walk into your office and whose faces fall when they realize they have to ask you for help. It takes all kinds. But it's our husbands who do the job, not us, and these prejudices are ridiculous. If you're nice and personable, I'll be friends with you no matter what's on your husband's lapel.


Vi LGF we find an answer to the burning question: When is it OK to rape a jihad slave?

Nevertheless, the wisdom underlying the permission granted by Shariah to copulate with a slave woman is as follows: The LEGAL possession that a Muslim receives over a slave woman from the “Ameerul-Mu’mineen” (the Islamic Head of State) gives him legal credence to have coition with the slave woman in his possession, just as the marriage ceremony gives him legal credence to have coition with his wife. In other words, this LEGAL POSSESSION is, in effect, a SUBSTITUTE of the MARRIAGE CEREMONY. A free woman cannot be ‘possessed’, bought or sold like other possessions; therefore Shariah instituted a ‘marriage ceremony’ in which affirmation and consent takes place, which gives a man the right to copulate with her. On the other hand, a slave girl can be possessed and even bought and sold, thus, this right of possession, substituting as a marriage ceremony, entitles the owner to copulate with her.

Forget a marriage amendment; we'll just adopt Shariah. Then we have legal possession as a substitute for a marriage ceremony and all this debate melts into air...


Friday, February 27, 2004


Why is it that 15 minutes drags on like an eternity when things are slow here at work, but it passes in the blink of an eye when you get a call from Kuwait?

I'm so stupid; I cried on the phone. I haven't cried since the day he left, and I've been so good about being strong. I don't even know what happened, we were laughing about the camels crossing the road in front of his convoy and then I just lost it. And I wasted our time on the phone with my stupid tears and then his phone card ran out and we didn't even get to say goodbye.

I'm so mad at myself right now. How childish...


Thanks, Tim.

It's funny that when my husband calls and has finished talking about everything that's going on in Kuwait, his first question for me is "how's the blogosphere?" And I need more than fifteen minutes to tell him about all my wonderful "e-friends": the e-friend I talked to on the phone for two hours, the e-friend who writes a whole post just for me, the e-friend who struggles with her duty as an American while she sends her Marine boyfriend off to Iraq, the e-friend who offered to teach me to golf, and the e-friend who is going to help me set up my new blog page this weekend.

I couldn't ask for a better set of friends, of the e- variety or otherwise.


I don't want to harp on one issue, but Amritas sent an email with interesting thoughts about the marriage amendment that I thought deserved sharing:

Now that I'm calmer, hours later, I can say that Bush is probably sticking to his beliefs. Maybe this isn't the political move I thought it was. Let's be nice (quite unlike me) and suppose he is being sincere and not opportunistic. The problem is not so much his beliefs (I don't believe in forbidden opinions) as the proposed abuse of the Constitution to make his beliefs into law. The precedent he's setting is horrifying. What if some Kucinichy future President and his Leftist buddies decided to 'amend' (!) the Constitution to suit *their* beliefs? The Anti-War Amendment? Gah.

Reusing *the* phrase, the Constitution is America's legal 'common ground'. We can't mess with it on a whim. Even extreme Leftists pay lip service to the Constitution. I haven't memorized the Constitution or anything, but when I look at it, it blows me away, not because it's sacred - it's man-made - but how many other men were writing something like it at the time, in an era where tyranny was normal? And it still holds up today, though America has changed so much since then (and for the better - no backwards time machine for me!).

I couldn't have said it better.

AH HA...

This is why my husband hasn't called...

The convoys left for Camp New York in groups of 20 to 100 vehicles. Some soldiers found themselves skipping a night’s sleep Monday or Tuesday as they waited for their vehicles or had to drive them back to camp.

Still, their work was far from finished.

Bunker puts it like this:

For those of you with no real concept of logistics, consider moving an entire city of 150,000 from one location to another. You must move their businesses along with basic household goods and vehicles. And you must replace this population with another of like size. While you are doing this, criminals are trying to pick off easy targets and you must continue to keep them under control.


I was thinking about two things last night before I went to bed.

1. My co-worker's mother shook Hitler's hand. I'm amazed she even told me this story, because it's not often someone would admit something like that, but it's actually a knitting story. Her mother knitted boxes and boxes full of socks and hats for the German soldiers when they went into Russia, and when Hitler came to Munich, she and another woman presented him with the boxes. He shook her hand and thanked her for her service. Wow.

2. I was reading The Gulag Archipelago and thinking about Belarus. Do you ever have one of those moments where something clicks that you've never thought of before, and you can't imagine why it took you so long to put the pieces together? Solzhenitsyn spells it Byelorussia, which made me think of the German WeiBruss, which both include the word "white". I never noticed that in Belarus because the spelling was so off, but it seems so obvious now. Duh.

And is that where white Russians come from? Ha.

This book is really interesting. I dare anyone who thinks the Patriot Act is killing democracy to read this book, where the first person to stop clapping at a tribute to Comrade Stalin, after 11 minutes of straight clapping, was sent to the gulag. Or the woman who happened to walk past a truck full of bodies. Or the man who had doodled on a newspaper photo of Stalin. All of them gone.

Thursday, February 26, 2004


Iraq is not only dangerous and stressful; it also affects your personal life. From an article on military marriages via Tim:

At a recent "chaplain's brief," where the military tries to prepare its soldiers for reintegration to the world, the officer in charge cited Army statistics that indicated 30 percent of the spouses believe deployment harms their marriages. The Army's Judge Advocate General Corps statistics put the divorce rate among soldiers as comparable to the civilian rate about 50 percent.

Being deployed, then, obviously doesn't help. Scott DeFlippo said four soldiers in his unit alone are going through divorces during the deployment.

"I have a friend [another soldier] who married a German girl," DeFlippo said. "He went to Afghanistan, then here. His parents sent him a letter and said his wife had taken their two boys and gone back to Germany."

When we attended our Marriage Enrichment briefing, I was skeptical that anyone really would get divorced during the Iraq deployment. That is until I received a letter from a friend who has been in Iraq for seven weeks and has already had two of his soldiers get letters asking for divorces. Seven weeks. Out of 52+. That's a bad start.

David brings up an article in Germany about the suicide rate among soldiers. Unfortunately it's a fact of life, and I'd consider us lucky that only 22 servicemembers have succumbed to the stress and pressure of deployment. (But David reminds us that the servicemember suicide rate is still lower in Iraq than the rate of German Bundeswehr soldiers in Germany. And the civilian population in France.)

Our soldiers in Iraq have so much stress, both personal and family-related, and they all take this stress on in order to protect us civilians and make the world a better place. Bless them.


I read Tim's blog nearly every day, so I don't know how I missed this post from the weekend. He addresses the suicide rate with a simple reminder: the rate is quite low for a group carring loaded weapons at all times...


A laugh-out-loud mock interview with Lieutenant John Kerry.


I had planned on devoting this weekend to moving over to my new blog site, but this broken comments deal was the last straw. I can't wait to make the move now.

Reader Ruth emailed an interesting comment that makes sense to me:

I am sorry there is so much emotion being spent on this. I am not denigrating the emotion but it does make me sad. As I see it the real issue is judges making laws. Bush did say this should be put to a vote of the people. This is really the only way to have a national vote on any issues that are not elections per se. Unfortunately this issue came up in some very irrational ways, judges making law and mayors making law, and now even county clerks making law. Something has
to give, someone has to step up to the plate and be unpopular to stop the trend. We have a 3 part government but one of the parts is taking on more and more that it was originally given. I understand the real love that gays have for each other, that is there even if there is no liscense or a ceremony. I just wish it was not being made legal by
judicial fiat.

And blogger Rob Bernard says that Bush and Kerry want the same thing, but Bush is taking all the heat for it.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004


I promised myself that I'd get in bed early tonight, which is easy since the comments are busted and I don't have anything new to read and digest. More tomorrow perhaps.


I've compiled quite a round-up of the Marriage Amendment below, but Amritas reminded me of something important. He dug up my old post on common ground (I swear he keeps better tabs on my posts than I do) that I read again. I also went to the Lileks link again, and I started thinking about common ground as it applies to this new amendment.

I've read just about everything everyone on my sidebar has to say about this new amendment. Suffice it to say that we vary in our opinions on it. Some of us are for it. Some of us are against it, but for a variety of reasons: not wanting to change the Constitution, not finding it necessary to change marriage for a small percentage of the population, not wanting the government to meddle in marriage, and so on. Our feelings today vary, but do we have common ground?

Here's my take on marriage: I just don't care much. If two people want to get married, I don't much care. I've tried to think about which marriages would bother me, and they're not the usual slippery-slope ones that people cite when you bring up gay marriage. I don't care if same-sex couples want to marry. I don't care if cousins want to marry. I don't care if two uninvolved business partners want to marry simply to join their assets. I don't care if three Mormons want to marry, as long as they're all fine with the arrangement. I would think it weird if someone wanted to marry his dog, but whatever. Dennis Rodman married himself, right? There are only two things I would like to see prevented. The first is some 40 year old marrying a 12 year old; thus I think there should be age limits. The second is green-card marriages, where people marry simply so one of them can become an American. I don't like that idea at all, but that's a personal opinion and I still don't want a constitutional amendment preventing it. Those are the only two marriages that I personally would oppose, but only the first one should be law.

So do you and I agree on this? Maybe not. I don't even agree with my mother on this issue, and she's the one I count on for politics since my husband left. But can we find common ground? Can we talk about why we think differently or why we disagree on the fundamentals of a marriage amendment without resorting to name-calling and bickering? I think we can. I think we bloggers can work through this.

Some have encouraged me not to throw in the towel based on something that's a drop in the pond compared to terrorism. I agree, but the Constitution is the bedrock of our society and the whole reason the terrorists hate us in the first place. We're free from the government control of our daily lives that they cling to in order to maintain a "pure" society (in their eyes).

At least we're supposed to be free from it. Today I'm not so sure.


Since the comments are busted, Bunker emailed me the following comment:

You are absolutely right about seeking common ground. Unfortunately, this is an issue that brings out the worst in all of us because of the emotion involved. That has to be stripped away to come to any clear conclusion, but some will not do that because emotion is all they have in defense.

We have to look at what marriage is. It is an emotional and spiritual commitment between two people. Period. Its legitimacy has sometimes been used for other reasons, as when a princess was married off to secure an alliance, or when someone has used it to acquire a green card. Both of those are political uses of a social contract. Neither is really marriage.

Civil unions are not marriage. It doesn't matter whether the couple are man and woman, or man and man. Marriage is not a civil issue. If it were, most marriages prior to the 20th century were void, and we are all bastard children. Prior to that, a couple wanting to get married visited their local priest, rabbi, or pastor, talked it over with him, and scheduled a ceremony to express their commitment in front of family and friends. Or, they simply held their own ceremony without any church involvement. Some simply lived together, which is where the concept of common-law marriage comes from. Culture dictated that these people were married. When you and your husband got married, you also included a ceremony for a civil union by signing your marriage license.

In my view, homosexual couples who commit themselves to one another through public ceremony are doing nothing more than what they are free to do, and what heterosexual couples do as well. Neither has a right to get married.

Unfortunately, government got involved. After all, there was money to be made by licensing marriage, and a level of cultural control. Once that happened, people began demanding restrictions on marriage such as age, race, and number of spouses. All these were codified rather than being dealt with within society and culture.

Then we got even more government involvement with inheritance, employer responsibilities, tax rates, etc. None of which was good. Sure, it did some good for certain individuals, but not for society overall. And that is what the Constitution was written to provide for, "the Common Good."

The issue is not whether gay couples can marry. They have already been doing it for years. What they want is government sanction of a civil union, something that will give them access to benefits provided by the government-benefits which are probably unconstitutional to begin with.

There is no need for an Amendment unless the government wants to define Civil Union. Government can't determine marriage because that institution exists in people's hearts.



I was afraid this day would come.

Andrew Sullivan is a British-born homosexual Catholic whose blog reflects this problematic triangle of beliefs. He's extremely intellectually honest and strives to adress homosexual issues not emotionally but logically. Today he says that his support for the President has always been about defending the Constitution from Muslim fanatics who want to destroy our freedoms. This war was the most important issue, even trumping the Republican party's uninclusive stance on homosexuality. However, all that has to be re-evaluated in light of this proposed new amendment, which is troubling since it seeks to constitutionally prevent freedoms. Sullivan has received scores of emails from homosexuals, heterosexuals, friends, and foes who are all concerned about the future of marriage in our country, in one way or another.

Personally, I don't think the US is ready for gay marriage. In time people might accept it, but I don't think 2004 is the right time. But I vehemently oppose amending the Constitution for this. Vehemently. I don't care what anyone thinks about homosexuals on an individual level; we should all be outraged that the President has proposed constitutionalizing oppression. And you all know I love this President. But at a time when fanatics in the world want to kill us because our society represents freedom and tolerance, we're considering preventing the possibility that someday Americans might be ready for homosexuals to marry? A constitutional amendment on marriage is a step backward in our nation's progress.

My husband said that if this issue ever came to the table he'd vote Libertarian in protest. Many of Sullivan's Republican readers have said they're reluctantly voting Democrat in protest. I don't know how many of us are out there who struggle with our vote based on this issue, but we exist and we have some serious thinking to do.


Beth also has more...colorful comments for the President.

RWN thinks that President Bush is doing the right thing and that the country is not split at all on this issue. He cites the stats of people who are opposed to gay marriage. Be that as it may, I will reiterate that this issue for me is not about marriage at all; if President Bush is personally against gay marriage, that's his business. But to amend the Constitution, a cherished document that we don't amend unless it's really necessary, for this issue is a mistake in my mind.

Judging from my comments section, I'm not doing a good job of expressing the fact that it's the constitutional part of this issue that bothers me, not the marriage part. So, when at a loss for words, I turn to The Best. I back his interpretation of this amendment.


Found this via Vodkapundit. Discount Blogger thinks it's a bad idea as well. One of his commenters, ben, makes an interesting point that hit home with me:

[Marriage is] Not a privilege. A right. And the best parallel we can draw here is with miscegnation laws. The majority of the country does not approve of gay marriage? The majority is wrong. Morally, as well as technically. I agree 100% with Stephen Green that the U.S. Constitution is designed to protect the minority from the majority.

In Pakistan, a majority of the population approves of the right of a male relative to murder his female relative if she has committed adultery or been the victim of rape. This is seen as a moral position, a cultural tradition with thousands of years of history, and supported by sacred religious texts.

In certain parts and provinces in Africa, a majority of the population approves of forced female circumcision.

In China, a majority of the population believes that girls do not have the same right to education as boys do.

In Vietnam, a majority of the population believes the country does not need more than one political party.

Opposition to gay marriage in the United States is based on cultural considerations, moral considerations, and religious considerations. I am enraged that my nation's Constitution should be used to record others' moral, cultural, or religious prejudices.

This was a huge mistake for President Bush. Kerry is unpopular on the left, and there are many Democrats who might otherwise stay home. But now these people would brave a chemical weapons attack to go to the polls and vote for Captain Kangaroo's mascot rather than George Bush. And how about the 1/4 of anti-gay marriage Americans who oppose a Constitutional amendment? Suppose this makes them happy?

Neither compassionate nor conservative. Makes me embarrassed to be a Republican.


My comments always disappear when I want to hear what readers have to say!
Email if you've got a comment.


Amritas wrote a lot and wrote it well. I can't even give you a sample because you should just read the whole thing.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004


I got a lot of flak a while back for a post I wrote on why I think Europe's overrated. If you read the comments section of Mike's post on American travel, you'll see that he too is taking a bit of flak. One commenter said:

You seem to have a nice life. Why do you have such a chip on your shoulder? That previous American exceptionalism post was a bit startling. I mean, look at it from the rest of the world's perspective. Here's an analogy. Say you have a neighborhood where there are some homeless people, some poor families, some middle class families, and some rich families. Then you have this huge estate. How do you think the other people in the neighborhood are going to view the estate people if they start telling their neighbors that they have this estate because of how exceptional they are. That they think they work harder, are more original, optimistic, whatever. It may be true but who the hell wants to hear it? I mean it's obvious how better off they are, why in the world would they want to cram it down other people's throat?

I hate to speak for Mike because I don't want to put words in his mouth, but I know that I personally have a "chip on my shoulder" because I see what's happening in this world and how the USA seems to be the only one (Coalition of the Willing too, they're cool) who wants to be part of the solution instead of the problem. In my eyes, the USA has done more recently for the future of our planet than Old Europe has, yet people continue to think that Europe is this magical place where everyone's so open, educated, and elite. Frankly I think that mindset sucks, because, as this commenter noted, many of them are hiding the fact that they know we're so much better off than they are. But tell that to the Americans I know who can't wait to leave the USA. I stand by Mike's post and the disdain he expresses for those who scoff at the USA.


Blueshift also writes about Mike's post.

Monday, February 23, 2004


My dad is a man of blunt wisdom, and he usually makes us laugh with his sayings. Last night on the phone he asked what I was doing. I said, "Nothing, just trying to cross another day of this year off my calendar." He came back with, "Well, it's just like eating an elephant: tackle it one bite at a time."

That's the best deployment advice possible.


Talk about irony..."An Armenian military officer attending a NATO Partnership for Peace program was hacked to death with an axe and a knife today by an Azerbaijani participant." (via Esotericus)

Dogs has a funny rant on voting.

And the Oriental Redneck posts some very unilateral photos from Iraq (via Baldilocks).


I take the Army very seriously. Perhaps to the extreme, but I think that there are some things that deserve respect and deference. I don't like when fashion trends include camouflage. I stopped my car in the middle of the road last week and rescued a house's flag that had fallen on the ground. I walked through the lines on the day of deployment and helped soldiers carry their duffels. I think our servicemembers and symbols deserve respect and honor. So when Vietnam veterans say that John Kerry didn't deserve any of his medals, it angers me.

Sunday, February 22, 2004


Chief Wiggles is home, and he has reflections on opposition and patriotism. Welcome home, Chief.

And a blogger met the President! And liked him! And it's driving Daily Kos' readers crazy!


I said a while back that the first plan I had made after my husband deployed was to travel to see the Koerperwelten exhibit in Frankfurt. Three other wives and I took the train there and went to the exhibit. Here's a brief summary of the theme of the exhibit from the website:

Until recently the privilege to view corpses and the human body’s interior has been confined to medicine students and anatomists in dissection rooms. It is only due to the invention of plastination that the general public is now also able to enjoy fascinating insights into the human body. The plastination technique thus made a considerable contribution to health education.
In 1977, Gunther von Hagens invented the plastination technique which marked the beginning of a second anatomical revolution. Andreas Vesalius who created precise anatomical drawings as early as in 1543 was the pioneer of modern anatomy. Since then human corpses have slowly disappeared again from the human eye with the establishment of medical schools. A taboo emerged.
Gunther von Hagens’ plastinated bodies obviously touch upon this taboo and trigger controversial reactions throughout the world. The high number of visitors, however, proves the general population’s need to learn more about the structure and functions of their bodies."

When we were waiting in line to enter the exhibit (for 45 minutes) I was imagining how cool this would be. I thought that it would be such an interesting thing to be a part of, since I had read that you can donate your body to this exhibit for plastination. I thought it was such a wonderful way to be a part of science, and I felt very detached from the science aspect and the human side. But after exiting the exhibit, I think my thoughts have changed a little.

I thought the exhibit was magnificent. It was extremely informative; I've never had such an understanding of our insides before, nor did I ever think I'd see things like placentas, gall stones, fetuses, tumors, uteruses, or an entirely separated human skin. The exhibit fueled my wonder for the human body and its magical order and complexity. But the exhibit left me a little sad as well. I looked at all of the bodies not only as science but as people as well. I found myself wanting to know more about each body as a human: where they were from, what made them choose to donate their bodies, how they had died, and how they would feel to know that millions of people have been looking at their insides. The pregnant woman made me especially sad, knowing that she couldn't possibly have died from old age and that her death and her child's were untimely. I found myself torn between viewing the exhibit simply as a learning experience and wanting to know more about the people who had donated their lives so that I could gain a better understanding of the human body.

It was the most thought-provoking thing I've seen in a very long time.


The husband waits and waits. And Ralph Nader's running?

Friday, February 20, 2004


Frank J has come up with some campaign ads that President Bush can run. But the time I reached the end I was laughing out loud. I like when he yells boo-yah at Kerry.


My husband has a bad habit of playing with his wedding ring. He twists it and flips it and it usually goes rolling and clanging across the floor. It's always falling down into his recliner or rolling under the bed. So he left it with me when he deployed, and I'm a hobbit again. I know that, just like Frodo, the longer the journey, the heavier the load will feel.

I can tell it with Tim. When I first started reading his blog, he ticked off the days with cute little analogies and funny comparisons between his life and his wife's. Then he started doing little German lessons each day. He's been more solemn lately, and this day two weeks ago nearly broke my heart.

Hang in there, Tim. And when she gets back, I'm gonna do everything possible to meet the sweetest woman on the planet to return from Baghdad.


I've done well this week, not letting things get to me. Talking to my husband yesterday really cheered me up because he sounded so happy. But in perusing Tim's archives, this old post on the Military Roll Call really choked me up.

Thursday, February 19, 2004


The husband called me at work today, and he sounded really upbeat and happy. He said that they're not doing much in the way of training yet, so he's spending his time inventing duties for them. They do PT and have had lots of briefings on things like first aid. He's just making stuff up as he goes along. However, I was really proud of him for designing his own briefing on "Iraqi culture and language." He held a class on a brief history of Iraq, the difference between Sunnis and Shi'ites, and has forced them to memorize five basic Arabic phrases and identify numbers. The number system is different, so he wants them to learn numbers for reading license plates, for example. I think this is a wonderful idea, and I'm proud of him for organizing it and squaring his soldiers away, although the Captain's wife said, "oh, they hate him now!" Instead of watching DVDs, his soldiers are learning Arabic...


I wonder if anyone who comes here looking for nudie photos of that girl from Joe Millionaire actually stays to read? I get more hits looking for that foot fetish girl than referrals from anyone else...

Have I mentioned that I'm also ranked much lower than the German-language tribute to Tupac?


I just realized in my re-read that I used the phrase "real hardcore" to describe partisan bickering below. That makes the words real, hardcore, and foot fetish appear on my blog today. Don't worry; I googled that combination just now and I don't come anywhere near the top of the list.


Got a new button for Home Fires Burning today via Democrats Give Conservatives Indigestion (ha, what a name). What an inspirational site it is. It seems like a great place to go when you need a pick-me-up.


It seems I'm not the only one who feels like she's run out of stuff to stay lately. The Best is taking a break. It's understandable, really. He cranks out quality every day; I crank out drivel and find it exhausting. I hope he comes back refreshed and full of ideas. In addition, Dogs writes a funny post about what he's not blogging about. (He also has a hysterical post on Beavis and Butthead.)

Maybe we're all tired of stating the obvious. I've been reading A Long Short War, and most of the time my feelings range from "ah, yes, that's right" to "well, duh" to "hey that's a good way of putting it." But nothing has made me open up to a new line of thinking.

Andrew Sullivan linked to a graph a few weeks back of Amazon political book purchases. It shows the overlap of which books people are buying, and it's interesting to note that very few people are bridging the gap between Left and Right. I'm sure there are many factors here -- perhaps the biggest being that I might pick up a Lefty book from the library out of curiosity but I sure won't put $18 of my own money into Michael Moore's pocket -- but it is interesting to note how, as Sullivan words it, "hermetically sealed we are becoming one from another."

I've read Democratic Underground out of morbid fascination a few times. It wasn't until last week that I ever visted big-time Left blogs like Atrios or Daily Kos. What I'm finding is that we seem to be looking at each other and yelling the same things. "Why can't you just understand this simple fact?" "Why are you making our lives so miserable?" "Why won't anyone notice what the opposition is doing?" We say the same things...we just say them about completely different issues.

I'm now at the point where I can read Lefty stuff and not get mad. Perplexed and dumbstruck, but not mad anymore. My New Year's Resolution seems to be working. It's almost humorous to me these days just how ridiculous we all sound. Atrios comments on the fact that the President's visit to NASCAR inconvenienced people whose seats were near his suite. He concludes with "You know, this is one of those relatively minor things which, if it had been Clinton, would have been a national outrage for 3 weeks." It cracks me up because that was the exact same thing that many of us on the Right were saying when Howard Dean referenced the USSR. Rush Limbaugh: "'Oh, Rush, he clearly meant Russia.' Maybe, but what if George W. Bush had said this on the campaign trail?" We all think that the other side just doesn't get it, that the other side is ruining everything we've worked for, and that the other side, if allowed to retain/gain power, will lead us all to hell in a handbasket.

Has it always been like this? I tend to think it has, though I'm young enough that I've never really paid that much attention to politics before. We've seen the CounterRevolutionary's articles from post-WWII; people thought we should bring the troops home then too. I remember Clinton's affair being a big deal, but it was the week I left for France and I was simply mad that every French person I met wanted to ask me what I thought of Bill and Monica. And I didn't care, and mostly I remember people my age saying they didn't care. So to me, real hardcore partisan bickering is new. And it creeps me out.

Is there any way to find common ground? Has there ever been a President that everyone more or less liked? If President Bush remains in office, I don't know if I can take another four years of this. But if he doesn't, I honestly do worry about the war on terror and what will happen to my husband's mission and the future of our country. I personally feel that we're completely divided and beyond hope, but maybe some of you older wiser readers can assure me that our country's been through this before and will survive. Please?

I'm just tired of shouting into a cave. I post that Bush was not AWOL, and most of you go "well, duh", and it makes me feel silly. Maybe I should concentrate on blogging about the husband in Iraq, because in that area I can be an expert. Like Den Beste says: "I think I understand one of the reasons why Lileks mostly writes about his life and his daughter: he's the definitive expert on those things. I doubt too many people write to him and say, 'No, you're wrong! Gnat didn't actually say that.'"

Maybe it's the fact that my life includes sitting at the dinner table with friends who have their name and blood type markered onto their shirts, maybe it's that I can't escape foreign policy when it's my husband's job to enact it, or maybe it's only the new stress of living alone, but I just feel so damned weary these days. A tiny piece of me just longs to forget it all, shut off the computer, and learn to watch Buffy instead of blogging. I'm sick to death of conflict.


Why can't we all be more like LT Smash? He's open to voting Democrat, and not only did he solicit help in making a decision early in the game, he's asked some really good questions on issues like the war, Social Security, the environment, and Kerry's record. He's left emotion at the door and is really doing a good job of voting on the issues. I applaud him, as well as his commenters who have said that they wouldn't vote Democrat if their life depended on it but have still given him advice and support.


Amritas points out Iowahawk's love/hate test.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004


Vodkapundit is right: agree or disagree with President Bush, you always know where he stands.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004


Fun Facts About John Kerry
(Thanks, Annika)


My German co-worker commented today that there was a demonstration over the weekend at the Nuremberg airport against the troop movement. I tried to find some info on it, but there was nothing in English and my German isn't that good yet. So David came to my rescue. He found out that it was only about 100 people and that (his words) "the organizers came from Nuremberg and from Grafenwoehr, location of a military airport. The organizers said they fear that the Nuremberg airport would become a major hub for military transports. Also, they complained that they got no support from Nurembergs city leadership." I commented to my husband that morning that the Germans were going to be ticked. They were taking a commercial flight; can you imagine 300 soldiers (his Battalion alone) coming through the airport with M16s and pistols? I saw that demonstration coming from a mile away.


I went to Bunker Mulligan and he said I should go to Mudville Gazette, so I did. He was right. It seems Greyhawk found someone who can read the points system for the National Guard, and he reviewed President Bush's record and said everything was in order. I tend to agree with Greyhawk; why can't any of the major news networks find someone who awards points for the National Guard, have him on the show, and have him explain to the masses how it works and how the President fulfilled his duty? Because it's not edgy enough? They air old retirees jabbering their opinion on this and that rather than reporting facts on the news.


I'm taking care of a friend's car this year while he's down range, so I had to walk over to Battalion to pick it up today. I saw the Rear D's car in the parking lot and thought I'd pop in and say hi, but I couldn't find him. Just as well, since I was choking on tears by the time I left the completely empty Company headquarters. Not only do I miss my husband, but I miss all of the soldiers whose cars take up parking spaces, whose stereos blast from the barracks windows, and whose hunger make me have to wait an hour in line at Burger King. It's like a tomb around here.

On the walk over there I was thinking about my husband and how I don't talk about him enough. I was thinking about how wonderful he is and how no one here knows just how much I'm going to miss him.

I met him when he was a 19-year-old ROTC cadet, living in the dorm and drinking lots of Southern Comfort. He was both funny and smart; he was the only person I know who wants to discuss Sartre and Charlemagne when he's at a college house party. He made jokes like "I'm bleeding like a Romanov" and expected other college students to know that Russia's Czar Nicholas had a son who was a hemophiliac. (He complained at OBC that other lieutenants thought he was hysterical, but they never laughed at stuff he thought was funny.) His ability to memorize and remember names, dates, and foreign phrases surpasses any other I've ever seen. That's why he was the captain of his championship College Bowl team, he knows all his world capitals, he taught himself basic Arabic in six months, and he learned my entire father's family tree (all 56 of us -- Dad's the oldest of 13) on the metro train on our honeymoon. But despite his scholarly inner-self, our best friend here still says that my husband cusses more than any person he's ever met! He's been around tankers too long already, I guess.

Gosh, I'm really going to miss him this coming year. I'll miss him kicking my butt at Trivial Pursuit (though I'm still the reigning Scrabble champ) and finding articles for me to read online. I'll miss things like him cussing at T2's social agenda or interviews with de Villepin. I'll miss the way he knows every American President and state capital but has to be reminded daily where the mixing bowls go in the kitchen.

But thinking about all of these things makes me smile, so I guess he'll never be too far from my thoughts.

HE HE...

A scholarship only for white people...


And here's a new one: African-Americans offending Native-Americans.


The chickens are finally coming home to roost, as a racist once said.
And France is going to get it hard...

Suspect Oil Deals Were Norm Under Saddam (via LGF)


Yesterday when LGF wrote about Noam Chomsky and people in the comments started discussing Chomsky's linguistics, Amritas was right there as our linguistics expert, and he got a lot of traffic yesterday because of it. I'm glad for him, because that's how I found him in the first place, over the summer when The Best linked to him and I headed on over. I was hooked from then on, and I'd daresay he's even become a good friend since then. He and I exchange longer emails than I do with most of my old friends, despite his insane schedule. I'm so grateful to have met him via a link, and I hope others who hopped over from LGF continue to read his blog.

He sent me an email recently in which he said, "If this type of blogging has done anything, it's making the abstract real. Soldiers and Iraqis alike are now real people who matter to those of us who are a hemisphere away." I can't believe how simple and yet how true that statement is. Sometimes I find myself floundering when I'm trying to tell a story here about someone from a blog. I end up saying, "This...um...friend of mine whose wife is in Baghdad right now says..." or having a weirdo conversation like "I already know what the current military cartridge can do, First Sergeant" "Really, how?" "Well, um...this guy I know from South Africa shot a bowling pin...." I'm waiting for the day when someone looks at me really strangely and I have to explain the whole blogging thing. (I'm sure it will end up something like this.)

But I do consider you all friends, and I know more about gun laws, linguistics, golf, and Portuguese poetry than I ever could have imagined. I've gotten cards in the mail and offers for phone calls, I've got places to stay all over Germany if I want to see other posts, and I've now got more friends who agree with me politically than I dreamed possible.

Day Four of a fourteen-month deployment aside, I'm happier than I could ever have hoped.


I read this Mark Steyn article yesterday about how the media can't stop talking about Bush-was-AWOL but has completely ignored the Kerry-is-a-slut story. And today I found out he was dead on when my mom emailed to ask if I had heard anything about Kerry having an affair because she heard a snippet on the news and wondered what the heck that was about. We've known online for a week, but the media just gave a snippet today. I told her I'd find some info for her and post it here, so she can always head to Drudge and start from there.


The husband's getting sandstorms.

Monday, February 16, 2004


I got a wonderful wake-up call this morning from sunny Kuwait. He's doing just fine, and we got to talk for our full 15 minutes. Things are good there despite being a little crowded; the camp designed for 3000 is holding 11,000 right now. Yesterday he waited in line for over four hours to buy a phone card and a Mountain Dew! He's already run into his brother, whose tent is right nearby, so now he's looking for our other friends there. Shouldn't be hard; there are only 11,000 soldiers all dressed exactly the same...

Sunday, February 15, 2004


I just found out that my brother's best friend from elementary school, Matt Metzger, was one of the American Idol contestants this time around. He just rocketed past a girl I used to play soccer with to become the most famous person from my childhood.


I just got called by the FSG's wife and the LTC's wife.
The battalion is safe in Kuwait, but the lines for the phones are three hours long.
I hope my husband doesn't waste his time standing in one...


Here's a nice long article to pass the time: Krauthammer

And here are some things in the past few days that have ticked me off.

1. Moby
Apparently he thinks it's a good idea to spread lies about Bush around the internet so that swing voters might be persuded to vote Democrat. Lying to win. What are we facing in the build-up to November?

2. Practical Joker
Apparently someone thought it was a funny joke to pretend to be a Colonel and call a reservist's husband and tell him that his wife had been KIA in Iraq. For 24 hours, this man thought his wife was dead, before someone could clear it up for him. Tim's right, this prankster deserves to rot in hell, along with the crank caller who asked Darryl Kyle's widow on a date to the Cardinals game.


Uh no, turns out the husband is the dirtbag who'll be rotting in hell; he made it all up.

Saturday, February 14, 2004


Well I know what's right,
I've got just one life
In a world that keeps on pushing me around
But I stand my ground
And I won't back down...

It's our favorite AFN commercial; the Johnny Cash version of this song over photos of our servicemembers: Every generation has its heroes. This one is no different.

I did really well this morning. I didn't cry at all. Until I sat down four hours later to post and I started playing this song.

Yesterday morning my husband got promoted to First Lieutenant. I got to go to morning formation and pin his new black bar on his DCUs, and then the Company Commander "watered" his rank with champagne to "help it grow" in the future. He stood in the cold doused in champagne, and the countdown began.

We had less than 24 hours.

We went home and I did all that sewing, he packed and unpacked and repacked and shuffled stuff around and tried to figure out how he could get enough stuff for 14 months into one duffel back and one rucksack. We went to bed sad but promised each other we'd wake up strong.

He had to report at 0430, but I didn't have to be there until 0800. When he came back into our room to kiss me goodbye and I saw the pistol holster on his thigh, I knew it was for real. He left the house, and when I woke back up to get ready to go, I knew he wouldn't be back home for over a year. How long should I leave his dirty clothes sitting on the bedroom floor? When will I feel like cleaning up all the extra brown t-shirts and sunscreen that wouldn't fit in his ruck?

I went up to the gym to find an entire battalion of soldiers complete with Kevlar, IBA, and M16 rifles, plus mountains of duffels and rucks in the middle of the floor. We played the Army hurry-up-and-wait game for hours, but I must say that I was mighty impressed with how organized everything was run. Report here. Line up here. Get weighed here (he added 100 pounds with all his gear). Show your ID card here. Line up for your bus here. Sound off in alphabetical order as you get on the bus. And they were gone.

The First Sergeant was giving us a hard time this morning. "Both of you are going to cry like babies when it's time to go," he teased. So we were determined to prove him wrong. I got a kiss on the forehead and the husband headed to the bus. On the way out, another wife whose eyes were red commented how strong I looked. Her four year old son said, "I'm being strong too." We both agreed that he was a brave boy, and he said, "Yeah, Mom, you're just a big crybaby." It was the comic relief we needed. The hardest thing I did this morning was watch two little daughters start to cry when their daddy's name got called for the bus. How could I feel sorry for myself after seeing that?

On the way home, I got stopped at a red light, and a row of buses crossed my intersection. I counted: Bus One, Two, Three, Four, FIVE, and honked the horn. And there he was, waving to me out of the window of Bus Five. And like that, he was gone.

It's hard to really imagine how long a year is. One year ago this weekend the husband and I were eating our nasty old wedding cake and celebrating our anniversary (four years ago this Sunday was the day we decided to make the leap from being good friends to being a couple). When you realize we've only been married 20 months, it makes 14 months seem like it will never end. But we're lucky to have so many advantages on our side.

We live in a military community, where everyone is going through the exact same thing. All but one of the men on my street are now gone. Even my co-worker's girlfriend is gone. Everyone around me is in the same boat, and we can take care of each other and help each other through this.

We also have the advantage of being optimistic about our country's military goals and mission. My husband and I support our President and this war in Iraq, we believe the War on Terror is very real and very important, and we think that his service to our country is an honor and a duty that he is proud to fulfill. I can't imagine what this year would be like if we didn't believe that we were sacrificing for something as important to us as our country's future.

And finally we both know that the real news from Iraq is not what you see on the TV. We know that progress is being made every day, progress that leads us one day closer to a democratic Iraq and a more secure future in the Middle East. I know where to read the real stories from soldiers, through blogs and Stars and Stripes, and I have my own personal eyewitness on the ground right now to provide me with an honest opinion of our presence in Iraq.

As I watched the soldiers get ready to go, I couldn't help but think about how amazing they are. They are about to spend a year of their life doing a job that might bring lots of danger and only lip-service respect, yet you could feel the excitement in the air. There were some tearful goodbyes with families, of course, but I didn't hear any grumbling at all. I saw smiles, heard jokes, and shook lots of hands as I said my goodbyes. I'm so proud of every last one of these young men that my heart could burst.

Every generation has its heroes. This one is no different.

Friday, February 13, 2004


Wanna know how NOT to spend your last day before deployment? Getting promoted. Because that means all your insignia has to change on all of your uniforms in one day. Which means your wife has massive sewing to do. And you know what's impossible to get straight? Rank on the soft cap. I had to rip that stupid black bar off the cap four times and sewed through my fingernail before I got it right. Grrr.


But now that's he's gone, I'd intentionally sew through my finger again to get him back...


We're getting ready to go to formation this morning; the husband is getting promoted today. But I saw this and had to make one small comment.

Anti-Semitism is so prevalent in some of the housing projects that ring Paris and other major French cities that “it’s become infused into the language,” according to Barbara Lefebvre, a history teacher at a French public school.

“Just about every week I see students in my class - where there are no Jews - insulting each other by saying, ‘Stop it, you Jew.’ Or ‘No, you can’t borrow my pen, it’s not yours, Jew.’ Or if their pen is broken they’ll say: ‘What’s wrong with my pen? It’s a Jew.’

”When you point it out, they say, ‘This is just a way of speaking.’"

The most shocking thing I saw when I lived in France was a pastry called a nigger head (a tete de negre), a marshmallow rolled in chocolate sprinkles. A society that openly displays a sign in a bakery advertising such an offensive name for a sweet is more than likely going to have issues with race.

More on this later...

Thursday, February 12, 2004


Sometime in the middle of the night between Friday and Saturday.
Is it worse to leave on Friday the 13th or on Valentine's Day?


Celebrating 9/11 at the FBI (via Amritas)

The second half of The Bleat (I mean, read the first of course, but the second is where it's at...)

a letter from a retired Colonel who served in the Guard with President Bush (via lots of people)

You'd be better off without a college degree...and a bank account instead. (via Joanne Jacobs)

And CD takes his school paper to task for an irresponsible editorial. This type of editorial is so common on college campuses.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004


I have gotten lots of emails lately that have not received responses. Please know that my mind is just a little scattered right now and that I will reply to everyone starting, oh say, next week. When free time is plentiful. Just know that I'm not ignoring anyone, nor do I not appreciate your comments. I'm just prioritizing things differently this week.


On the DU today there was a thread about where to move if Bush gets reelected. I think that's a great idea; if you don't like where you live, then do something about it. Great. People suggest Canada, UAE, Germany, and Finland. About Finland one person says "It's progressive and rich. Apart from the crazy taxes and prices it's a very nice place to live in."

I'd add to crazy taxes and prices the interesting system of income-based fines. Their speeding tickets appear to be based on income, so if you're caught speeding, your fine is a percentage of your income. That's how a Finnish millionaire got hit with a $217,000 speeding ticket yesterday. I can't even find the words to express how that makes me feel; it galls me to the very core of my being.

(P.S. And wow, there's a thread on DU where someone is looking at 9/11 photos and imagining seeing missiles being fired at the tower before the plane hit. Weird-o.)


Hilarious. Top Ten Ways Bush Can Raise His Popularity

And Porphyrogenitus addresses a reader's question about why intellectuals are stupid enough to believe things even a truck driver can see are false. It's an interesting post.

And Blueshift has comments related to my rant last week about polite blogging, as well as the story of a real-life War Games incident. How about a nice game of chess?


As Instapundit says, this is a huge admission by ABC, that "the Washington and political press corps operate with a good number of biases and predilections." Like the Lieutenant's story said yesterday, the media is only looking for stories that fulfill their predetermined interest. And like Nelson Ascher said months ago, "Don't write about stuff you know nothing about without at least doing some research."


IraqNow has an interesting take on this: when a network agrees with Ann Coulter...


In the beginning I was too busy paying attention to Dean and Clark, thus I haven't really given much thought to Kerry. But I'd better start paying attention to things like this photo of him with Jane Fonda (via Parkway Rest Stop) or the fact that Kerry wrote an email to Iran saying he'll repair the damage President Bush has done. I need to start paying attention now.

Reading LT Smash's latest post was a good start.

In the meantime, I've still got a handful of CDs left, we finally have a bit more information about the deployment, we got his promotion all worked out (he'll get promoted this week instead of next), and now we're just playing the waiting game. He'll be gone for sure by Monday.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004


I just took a fun little trip back through the blogosphere trying to find the original article that David Bernstein of the Volokh Conspiracy mentioned when he wrote Europe and Canada vs America. I think I have it all worked out chronologically.

First, some guy named Hellie (whose blog advocates 1. impeaching President Bush, 2. giving money to anti-Bush organizations, and 3. protesting "unfair presentations of progressive positions" in the US media...) wrote a post about the difference between the Right and Left:

The goal of the right wing is to perpetuate and worsen a system in which a small number of people control obscene quantities of wealth and power at the expense of the vast majority, whereas the goal of the left wing is to distribute wealth and power more broadly. For short, the goal of the right wing is perpetuating and increasing injustice, whereas the goal of the left wing is increasing justice.

I didn't just make that up. There's even more.

Then some other blogger named Leiter just copied the whole thing to his blog and said at the end:

All this strikes me as exactly right, but it is guaranteed to drive the right-wing morons in the blogosphere beserk...which should be fun. Benj: get ready to be smeared! (Note to right-wing smearers: please read Hellie's whole post before you begin fulfilling your role as perpetuators of injustice.)

Then there was lots of arguing and Hellie tried to explain his position again, then Leiter weeds out the crap and posts the thought-provoking comments, and then a blogger named Tom Smith posts:

Benj Hellie has replied to his numerous critics of his argument that right wing pundits are to be doubted more than left-wing pundits. The problem with the young professor's argument is pretty apparent. It rests squarely on a big, fat empirical claim that he seems not to think is an empirical claim, or is so obvious as to be beyond contention. Namely, that there exists some obvious alternative to standard mainstream American political and economic ideas -- economic freedom, political and religious freedom, relatively small government, etc. etc., which would, first, be better for the vast majority of American humans and second, would be supported by the majority, at least if they were not caught fast in the grip of false consciousness.

To this Leiter responds with statistics about life expectancy, infant mortality, accidental deaths, literacy, and poverty comparing Sweden, France, Germany, Canada, and the USA and concludes that "it should be obvious that the average citizen is better off in the social democratic nations than in the reactionary U.S."

So now we reach the Volokh Conspiracy, where David Bernstein disagrees. His three points: 1. Canadians move south a whole lot more often than Americans move north, 2. the US's military spending to keep Canada and Europe under our umbrella vastly affects the US's and Canada's statistics, and 3. health care differences are often exaggerated because "the U.S. in fact has a quasi-socialized health system, in the sense that the government pays most (yes, most!) of the health care costs (from Medicare, Medicaid, and the Veterans Administration) and is responsible for a good chunk of the remainder (through tax subsidies, mandates to insurance companies, mandates re emergency care, etc.)."

So it was an interesting journey back in time to try to piece together this thread.

HE HE...

My new favorite quote on current Republican spending: Republicans, so desperate to appear "compassionate" or not out to eat minority babies cooked in tobacco leaves under the flames of burning books, keep giving in to more liberal demands hoping they'll get a little credit and that Democrats will then also give in a little.


Another day, another stack of CDs to rip, another 24 hours closer to deployment. Sigh.

Stuff to keep you occupied:

Philosophy, Not Policy: Why Bush isn't good at interviews (Via LGF)

Weapons of Mass Hysteria: If anything, the war was about 100,000 corpses too late (via Tim)

A Lieutenant's Story: Interaction with the media in Iraq (via Vodkapundit)

Let's Rid the World of Fences (via Bunker Mulligan)

Race only skin deep: SJ students discover genetic link (a very cool science experiment via Joanne Jacobs)

(Hi, Kate!)

Monday, February 09, 2004


The husband and I had a lovely but much too short weekend; on a whim we went with a group to a casino in the Czech Republic. Now we are just trying to tie up loose ends and make sure that he's all packed and ready to go; he leaves sometime at the end of the week. My jobs today include ripping about 100 CDs to MP3, getting his insignia sewn onto his IBA, printing photos for him to take, 50 pages of German homework, lunch, and dinner. Oh yeah, and I have a cold.

Hence blogging will be light...

In the meantime, check out this advice from Americans Anonymous (via Merde in France), Kim Du Toit's comparison of President Bush and New Coke, and the story of a librarian who should've watched the Chef Goes Nanners South Park episode (via Joanne Jacobs).

I'll be back soon.

Saturday, February 07, 2004


The thing about being in the military is that the President is your boss. Your Commander in Chief. All of the military under him, General to Private, follows his plan. Regardless of politics. Regardless of who the President is.

I was already thinking about this before I read Nelson Ascher's new post, but I too wonder what might happen if Bush loses. Kerry (or whoever) will become my husband's boss. He will start making the decisions, and it will directly affect my husband's job.

And it might also directly affect me as a blogger. As a more-or-less member of the military, I too have a duty to respect and obey the President's plan, regardless of whether it jives with my political ideas. And while my husband is morally and legally bound by his Army Values, I too am emotionally bound to live by that same code.

I personally believe that every American should respect the President. That respect should come from knowing that the President has one of the hardest jobs on this planet, and from knowing that the decisions a President makes keep him up at night, turn his hair grey, and are an enormous emotional burden. No matter who the President is or what his policies are, we as Americans should at the very least recognize that the job of leading our country is a difficult one, and one that deserves respect.

So no matter what happens next year, I as a military wife will be bound by my own understanding of Army Values to respect and support the President. But in the meantime I will continue to hope for a second term for President Bush, because I think the war on terror, my primary interest in this election, is far from over.


Once again by clicking on random blogger blogs, I found something worth noting. I'm not providing a link because we don't need to give this guy more traffic, nor do I want people from my blog going over there to harrass him. But I've learned that people say some very interesting things when they think only people who agree with them are reading:


Today's Lie Of The Week:
"If I had been there, presented what I have seen as the record of the intelligence estimates, I probably would have come to — not probably — I would have come to the same conclusion that the political leaders did." ---David A. Kay, former chief weapons inspector in Iraq
I have literally no access to international intelligence. Most of my intelligence comes from my genius wife. And yet, I knew in 2002 that Iraq was no danger to our country, that it had no nuclear weapons, much less "weapons program activities". Does Kay feel that anyone with a semblance of intelligence will actually believe him? Plus, his grammar really sucks.

Interesting. I don't know what this guy's wife does, but he seems awful sure that he's in the loop with Iraqi weapons programs. No room for even considering it? And what's with 2002; was this guy unsure before then, but come Jan 1 he became a believer?
(P.S. It's completely unfair to comment on someone's spoken grammar. Low blow, dude.)


He links to this article and then says about Wal-Mart:
If anyone reads this and CONTINUES TO SHOP AT WAL-MART, may they rot in hell with all the wealthy, white, racist, Republican, union-busting, corporate CEO's who bought our state and federal governments and are methodically shoving this once-proud nation into the gutter of oblivion. Shopping at Wal-Mart is equivalent to purchasing bootleg or stolen items, or kicking in the stomach every employee of every company that pays low wages just to stay competitive as a vendor for W-M. Wal-Mart is the ultimate manifestation of corporate and consumer greed. Deal with it and shop somewhere else - it's not like there's a dearth of stores in this country.

Oops, I kicked a lot of people in the stomach over Christmas! Seriously though, I can't figure out how the link lead him to talk about Wal-Mart, though I admit I didn't spend a whole lot of time digging through it. But I guess I'm going to rot in hell...


I generally think those quizzes where you find out which American Revolutionary Hero / B Actor / cartoon character you have most in common with are pretty silly, but this one takes the cake.

Which America Hating Minority Are You?

I love the little cartoon photo; your choices are Michael Moore, a professor, Osama, and a hippie. Which one are you? Holy crap.

Friday, February 06, 2004


I'd have sworn I'd written before about supporting our troops, but I can't find it if I have. At any rate, I'm often irritated by the but that follows that phrase (as in I support our troops, but...). I appreciate that people don't think my own husband as an individual is a baby killer or a monster, which is usually what they mean when they start that sentence, but I can't help but think they use it as a buffer just so they don't sound heartless. I'm against the war sounds much softer when you preface it with I support our troops, but. But what does it really mean to support our troops? Sometimes I have a good laugh when I see signs with that slogan. We saw one on a car dealership right outside Ft. Knox that made my husband laugh: "They most certainly better support our troops; they're their main customers!" There's also one of those signs on a building here on post that always makes me laugh, as if the on-post youth center would be anti-troops! When buildings on-post jump on the We Support Our Troops sign bandwagon, it seems that all deep meaning has gone out of that phrase.

LT Smash has two posts about what it means to him to support our troops.
During my recent deployment to the Middle East, I received numerous letters and emails expressing support for our efforts, but not everyone was quite so positive. Some people actually wrote to tell me that they “supported me,” but went on to rant that I was merely a “pawn” in a game that I "couldn’t understand,” and other such patronizing nonsense. That’s the kind of "support" that I can do without, thank you very much.
I can partially understand his point here, for I have gotten emails from people who have casually mentioned that they don't support the war but that they hope my husband is OK. That's nice to hear, but it still sorta stings.

LT Smash points out that we have an all-volunteer military and that the troops are committed to winning the war. If you don’t share that goal, then you are not, by definition, supporting them. People in his comments section disagree, but Smash points out two different definitions of supporting the troops:
Your definition would appear to be "wish them good health and hope they come home safe."
My definition of "support" is a bit more robust than that. In my world, "supporting the troops" also means letting them know that you appreciate the sacrifices they are making, and believe in the cause they're fighting for.

I tend to think that the first definition should be an understood, that no human would wish that soldiers should be injured or die (though some of the posts on Democratic Underground might suggest otherwise). Therefore, it's not worth broadcasting, just as I support cancer patients or I support the disabled seem inane. I'd agree with Smash that the second definition is the one I see in that phrase, and I believe that definition is much more important and the one that makes a difference. Unfortunately, it's probably not the most common definition intended when people use the phrase I support our troops.

HE HE...

Scrappleface counters the Bush-was-AWOL-ers with Kerry, Edwards Went AWOL from Senate.

And Ali is an up-and-coming Iraqi satirist in his own right. He explains how much worse life is without Saddam...

(Thanks, RWN, for the heads up.)


Semi-Intelligent Thoughts needs five more hits to make it to 5000 before he wakes up this morning. Can we push him over the mark?


I found this article via Tim, and I read it with great interest because I know PFC Wolf, the soldier in the second photo. We arrived here at the same time, and he was my favorite student in our Headstart class, a week-long integration program into Germany. I used to joke with my husband that I was going to get PFC Wolf to help me build a bed for our guest bedroom. He left for Iraq shortly after Headstart ended, and I'm really happy to hear he's back here safe and sound. He was such a sweet young man.


I finished The Demon-Haunted World this week and there was one passage that really struck me since I've been thinking about mean people lately. Sagan says: Imagine that you enter a big-city taxicab and the moment you get settled in, the driver begins a harangue about the supposed iniquities and inferiorities of another ethnic group. Is your best course to keep quiet, bearing in mind that silence conveys assent? Or is it your moral responsibility to argue with him, to express outrage, even to leave the cab -- because you know that every silent assent will encourage him next time, an every vigorous dissent will cause him next time to think twice?

I've thought a lot lately about that quote as it applies to politics (instead of science, Sagan's intended analogy). I generally keep my mouth shut for the sake of peace (and rightwingers hate peace!) and let people run their mouths all the time about how they don't like Bush and I never say anything because I don't want to make us feel uncomfortable. So I alone remain uncomfortable instead of everyone in the room feeling that way. Not a good trade-off sometimes. I guess that's the reason I started the blog; it was a place for me to say everything that I'm not comfortable saying in my office or to friends.

But the purpose of life is not always to be comfortable, and I've started thinking that maybe this is not a good way to live, because every time some Bush hater runs his mouth and doesn't hear dissent, he thinks it's OK to run his mouth again the next time. Maybe if they were aware that others don't always agree that Hilary Clinton should be President, or Bush is driving our country to hell in a handbasket, they wouldn't talk about it as if it were some obvious fact that everyone agrees on.

I tried it once recently, calmly and appropriately in my opinion. At someone's house we were looking at his DVD collection and he said, "Have you seen this, it's really interesting?" Bowling for Columbine. I swallowed my urge to drop the case on the floor and stamp on it, and tersely but simply said, "I'm actually not a big fan of Michael Moore's work." The husband breathed a sigh of relief, the host simply put the piece of trash back on his video shelf, and the point was made. Maybe I should try this more often, because I know with voting season around the corner, it's going to start coming up more and more.

Thursday, February 05, 2004


Tonight was an experience. We decided we were going to go buy a DVD and then go through the Burger King drive-thru to get dinner as a treat for our last few weeks together. Total time to buy the DVD: 10 minutes. Total time to go through the Burger King drive-thru: 62 minutes. Seriously. An hour in the drive-thru line. See here BK is the only drive-thru, and it's a one-lane road with curbs and grass on each side, so once you're in line, you can't change your mind and get out. So you're stuck, and for some reason there were only six cars in front of us, yet it took an hour. But don't worry; we were entertained by the trashy family in front of us. I generally try not to dispense parenting advice since I'm not a parent, but I think blasting Kid Rock lyrics out of your car while your four children are in there with you is not good parenting. I have nothing at all against people of a responsible age listening to Kid Rock, but I don't think children under the age of eight should be in the backseat while you smoke your cigarette and recite "Refused to give up quick / Now theres 10 million motherfuckers on my dick", nor do I think you should swear at the guy who hands you your food through the window. It was an hour I'll never forget.


Sorry for misleading you: this was an American family at the military Burger King. Usually Army BKs are known for being on the ball, but this one is not quite up to standard. They must've had 5 people call in dead or something last night; it was so frustrating.

The only German fast food I've been to here is McDonalds, and it wasn't really that fast either. Usually you have to place your order and then take one of those plastic numbers to your tableand wait, if you can find a table, that is. Once I got a Maxi-Menu (I have a real issue with ordering things named "maxi", but I digress...) and they had everything but the fries ready. He said he'd bring them out to me, and he never did. I finished the rest of my food, waited, and then went back up and stood back in line again to get my fries. Ugh. The McDonalds in France was the same story, plus it was the only thing open on Sundays, so that was a nightmare. On Sundays we used to walk the three miles out to the McDonalds out of town to avoid the downtown one. And I always thought it was odd that you could order a beer in the Drive-Thru...

Ah how I long for the days when Taco Bell had that count-down clock on the drive-up window, and if you waited more than 60 seconds it was free. How 'bout 60 minutes here?


Found via Annika: Our Republican President Was A DESERTER!!!
(Hint: it's not Bush)

And this photo caption contest had me in stitches.


I was checking my links to make sure they all still work, and I hopped on to my 100 Things. I noticed that the comments in the archives are now working (they weren't before) and I stopped to read them. Lo and behold there was a comment I hadn't seen yet, from a month ago, where someone whose fake email address is whatever@getalife.com said that my 100 Things is "arrogant bigoted babble." Arrogant? Maybe I'm missing the point of a 100 Things, but isn't it by definition supposed to be about oneself? That cracked me up. And why is it bigoted? Because I don't like the British accent? That's all I can come up with. Ha. Some idiot got mad that he wasted his time reading my 100 Things. He also challenged my abilities in Bulgarian, which is no big deal since I indeed do suck at Bulgarian, but I managed well enough to live there for two weeks in a rural town with five people who spoke absolutely zero words of English. I could understand enough to DA and NE and elicit smiles and "she understands!" from the Bulgarians. And I once knew enough to write letters in cursive cyrillic to these relatives as well. So up yours, buddy.

I guess I just don't understand the concept of going to someone else's blog and saying "you suck." I know people from my college years who have blogs, and I go there sometimes and absolutely cringe at some of the things they say. But I never comment, and I never fisk them here on my blog because I think that's rude. Blogging is supposed to be a civilized exchange of ideas, in my idealistic view. Published articles are fair game for fisking because the writer is being paid to write and therefore is different than some girl sitting in her house in Germany trying to grok the world. I guess I just can't understand why someone would bother to tell me that my 100 Things is arrogant. Oh well.


Emmie likens her blog to her online home, where you're not allowed to put your dirty feet on her coffeetable.


Where's Saddam? Has anyone else noticed that he's dropped off the face of the earth since the day they found him? Where is he? What's going on? Why do we know more about Janet Jackson's boob than Saddam Hussein's whereabouts?


After receiving a strong tongue-lashing from the husband's good friend, as well as incredulous looks from my brother, I managed to watch all three Terminator movies this month. I had never seen any of them, and I was surprised to find as I watched them that the stories had never been ruined for me. I knew shockingly little about the themes and plot, though I found the series illuminating for a few Southpark and Simpsons episodes. And I was glad to condense the entire 20 years between T1 and T3 into a month and cut out the agony of suspense.

So what did I think? T1 was good but with cheesy effects (It's '84 though, I'll give 'em a break.) T2 was good but a little preachy. (It was a little like watching Superman IV; I love the series but it hurts to see Superman go PC.) T3 was good but it was funny to see how explosions and car chases replaced the self-righteous dialogue from T2.

The message I took away from T2 is that humans are going to get out of hand and eventually wipe out their whole race. I'm not sure I like that message though. I'm reminded of a chapter in The Demon-Haunted World where Sagan talks about the vilification of the scientist in movies and TV: scientists are portrayed as "moral cripples driven by a lust for power or endowed with a spectacular insensitivity to the feelings of others." The message coming from T2 was that if we'd just left well enough alone, this would never have happened. If our scientists hadn't been so greedy and wanted to keep pushing, the machines wouldn't have been able to take over. But I think our desire to retard science and technology, for example with stem cell research and cloning, will also bring us trouble in the future. Should we abandon controversial paths of science that might bring us breakthroughs for improved quality of life? Should we refuse to forge ahead because we're afraid of getting out of hand?

Has anyone ever thought this hard about an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie before?

Wednesday, February 04, 2004


I. Am. Appalled.


Kim du Toit makes an excellent point today (#3) on voting. For those of you in Afghanistan/Iraq or getting ready to go there next week like a Certain Adorable Housemate of mine, make sure to make voting a priority. If you're in a leadership position, make it a priority for your soldiers, and if you're a soldier, suggest it to your commander. It's important. I don't care WHO you vote for, but our soldiers ought to be heard while they're over there. Square yourself away in plenty of time to get your absentee ballot over. As Hook says, that's an order.


Everyone else has been marking which states they've visited. I decided to do it because I'm ashamed of my map. Here's the European countries I've visited.

create your own visited country map
or write about it on the open travel guide

That basically leaves out Portugal, Slovak Republic, and Ireland (plus Liechtenstein).
Now look at my states.

create your own visited states map
or write about it on the open travel guide

Terrible. The only reason I have Nevada is because we went to Vegas before we left for Germany. That's one of the reasons I feel so "trapped" here in Europe; I visited most of these countries in high school and college. I wanted to spend some time traveling around the USA. And now I'm here, and I'd give anything to be visiting Montana or New Hampshire.

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