Thursday, January 11, 2007

No surprises here.

Bush's speech last night was about what I expected. Nothing new, nothing concrete. More troops. More of the same. And a bit shout-out to his military commanders and staff for helping him to come to this new plan, ignoring that the ones that disagreed with this particular path were summarily dismissed after saying so.

It reminds me of that old saying: A crazy person is one who keeps doing the same thing but expects a different result.

The wrong way to bring about change.

Last week, Spencer Kim, father of the late James Kim, published an op-ed in the Washington Post about proposed legislative changes could perhaps prevent the same tragedy that his son, daughter-in-law, Kati, and two granddaughters experienced when they became stranded in the mountains of Oregon.

As much as Mr. Kim's piece moved me -- as did the seemingly senseless events that led to his son's death as he left his family in their car and set out on foot for help -- I can't help but feel that this piece is wrong. We should never, as a body of people, as a government, even as the grieving father of a lost son, legislate based on one event. Ever. Although the lives of the Terri Schiavos, the Megan Kankas and, yes, the James Kims of the world break our hearts and often make us wonder why the world can be so cruel, their singular fates should not be the basis of law.

I feel for Mr. Kim. Certainly knowing that hindsight is 20/20 is of no comfort. But even with the changes he proposes, he still cannot prevent someone misreading a map, driving late at night in bad weather or opting to go out and search for help in the bitter cold. And the other changes he proposes, though they may seem innocuous in the context of Mr. Kim's experience, may be leveraged in ways he never imagined.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Bush to address the nation tonight on new Iraq strategy.

So he plans to tell the world his plan tonight. You know, the parts that weren't already leaked to the press by his aides or Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

I'm sure, like the rest of the world, I'll tune in, expecting to hear something new and interesting but only hear things that were better said by CNN.

But this whole three week thing? That's a pretty aggressive timetable to toss 20,000 into the ring. One unit, maybe I could see it. But several? How will that work? I'll be interested to see how it all plays out.

If my marriage ends, I blame the Girl Scouts.

It's that time of year -- yes, Girl Scout Cookie madness. I got little girls knocking on my door, waiting outside the grocery store and stalking me at work with their cute little girl eyes and evil, calorie-infested cookies. So far, I've been pretty good. I bought one box -- and one box only -- and then left it at CPT Dick's office for him to share with his boys. And since then, though I've been tempted, I've managed to resist the siren's call of the Samoas (or Tag-a-longs, or whatever the hell they are calling them in your region).

But yesterday, all my hard work turned into naught when CPT Dick came home with not one, not two, but eight boxes of Girl Scout cookies. "I was ambushed!" he exclaimed, and sang me some song about how everyone brought their daughter's boxes in that day and once he said yes to one, he had to say yes to all. So now we have a lot of cookies. I'm willing to admit I wasn't totally horrified.

But there are only two boxes of my favorite, the Samoas. I like my chocolate-y, coconut-caramel cookies at room temperature. You know, so I don't break my teeth. But my husband prefers them in the freezer. But he pretty much just swallows them whole and doesn't have the teeth issue.

Back when we were first married, we would actually argue over something this mundane, with CPT Dick sneaking a box into the freezer when he thought I wasn't looking. But now, after so many years of marriage, we've matured and we decided that we'd put one box in the freezer for CPT Dick and leave one in the pantry for me. Too easy, right?

Last night, I decided that I would indulge in a cookie after dinner. But when I went to the pantry, I found my box not only open but missing all but two cookies. I walked to the living room with my almost empty box and asked my husband, "Did you eat all my cookies?"

He grinned sheepishly and then said, "Well, not all of them." I considered throwing the box at his head but didn't want to potentially bruise the remaining treats.

"I thought you preferred your cookies frozen!"

"Well, but I started to wonder if maybe you were right. I couldn't live with myself if they were better at room temperature! So I decided to test the theory empirically. And to do that, I needed an adequate sample size."

Bastard ate my cookies. And the ones in the freezer, too. And then to add insult to injury, he tells me, "And you know what? They are really good both ways!"

If any other Girl Scouts come calling, I'm hiding any purchases in the garage.

Typhoid daycare.

Last night, I spent some quality time with my son, allowing him to both ralph and poop on me at the same time in the wee hours of the morning. I'd like to say that it's some sort of mother/son bonding ritual, but no, it's the stomach flu, oh joy of joys, and my son picked it up at daycare. And I knew the precise second that he did, too.

Last week, one of the children in his classroom had a birthday. On those days, parents are invited to lunch for a birthday party with non-peanut, non-chocolate, non-sugar, non-icing cake (really -- and it's as good as it sounds). Across the table was a little guy who looked like he had a serious hangover. In fact, I would have made a joke about how he shouldn't have hit the Jager quite so hard, you know, if he wasn't, like, two.

But this kid had big old bags under his eyes and a really flushed face. And after he shoved his face with a fistful of that not-creamy, not-tasty, very-unlike-cake goodness, he immediately upchucked it all over the table. He was practiced enough in the art by this time that he didn't get any on himself. I was impressed.

The teacher apologized as she cleaned up and said that B. just wasn't feeling so hot and then, under her breath, with a voice of pure evil, added that his mother couldn't be bothered to come get him. And then, after lunch, poor, little sick B., or Typhoid B. as I like to call him, picked up a ball and put it in his mouth. And after he was done making sure his contagion was fully spread on the object, he handed it to my son. It was all I could do to not spray them both with bleach.

So now Munchkin is running out of both ends. And remarkably, for having no sleep and having no absorbtion of any nutrients, he's pretty damn spry, wanting to torture Mama with the run-around-the-dining-room-table game. But you know, in my own exhaustion, I'm finding it kind of fun.

But that's because I've started a pool with myself -- without Munchkin's knowledge -- on how long he can run before the exertion causes his diaper to explode. Right now, odds are in my favor that we'll have leakage on or before the half hour.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Is it just me?

Or does anyone else find it kind of hilarious that the man behind Elmo is a rather studly African American brother? I really want to hear his real voice.
I also must wonder if he has trouble sleeping at night (I doubt it as he's probably lounging on $4000 sheets made with the ill-gotten gains of our children's Elmo addictions) knowing that parents everywhere are unable to get away from his furry red creation.
Of course, if my friend K. is right, Elmo is just a gateway monster. From there, kids move on to Barney and then to a host of other equally annoying characters.
I can hardly wait.

C'mon, already.

Various news agencies have been reporting leaks of Bush's alleged new Iraq plan. It is causing much angst within our little company, though I have grave doubts that our unit would be tasked to go. But who the hell knows? And that's the point, I guess. No one knows. And so the whole military -- or the families, at least -- are sitting on pins and needles wondering if 2007 will be another sandbox year. Hell of a way to start off January.

When are they just going to announce it already?

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Santa Angelina, my large post-baby ass.

This painting by Kate Kretz, Blessed Art Thou, has received a fair amount of attention in the press recently. It depicts Angelina Jolie as an angel, floating over a Walmart check-out line.
Can anyone explain why the world is so obsessed with this woman? And why the hell do people consider her a saint? Don't people remember what she was like before she became all Brad-ified?
I must admit, I do like this painting because of the ambiguity.
Frankly, I think it shows just how gullible we all are. We, America, are Angelina Jolie's PR project. And we're buying it hook, line and sinker.

Totally jumping the shark.

For Christmas, CPT Dick received "The Unit" on DVD from some well-meaning family member. He digs the show but often misses it since he works so damn much. Needless to say, he was thrilled. Me, well, not so much.

In general, I try to avoid watching any military-related movies or television shows with my husband, as he throws conniption fits and yells at the invisible man inside the TV when he thinks that the shows aren't up to his standards. He gets irate and after a while, I find it absolutely annoying. But the man conned me into watching the DVDs with him by telling me there was an FRG story line that I just had to see. And yes, I was stupid enough to fall for it. Why I thought that I needed more FRG crazy in my life is beyond me but anyway...

So we spent the better part of last week inside my own personal version of hell: a military TV show marathon with my husband, the man who can't let it go and just enjoy a journey into storyville when it comes to anything military. At first, I'll admit I liked the show. It's based on Eric Haney's book, "Inside Delta Force: The Story of America's Elite Counterterrorist Unit," which is a pretty good read. The combat scenes and situations are pretty good. But the FRG story line, oh man, it's even more pathetic than my real-life experience with it. But still, I kept watching because, for once, my husband wasn't screaming that the uniform was wrong or they were referring to some vehicle incorrectly. I figured there must be some more good stuff coming my way.

But then, I should have known, they jumped the shark. In the last few episodes, they tried to do too much. Infidelity, cut hair, locked doors, crazy Eastern European war criminals hellbent on revenge crashing a wedding reception on post, attempted rapes and real estate scams. I couldn't help but laugh.

CPT Dick contends this is all very possible, even plausible. I think it's total crap. It got to the point where I was thinking that I should suggest we watch "Patton" or "Das Boot" instead. And I might have even meant it.

All I have to say is I'm going to indulge in a "Scrubs" marathon once he goes back to work. And as I indulge in some Sacred Heart, Zach Braff zaniness, I'm going to appreciate that I'm not married to a doctor who might ruin my guilty pleasure.

On the existence of God.

Overheard at the PX:

"You know what would be cool? If, like, Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz were really lesbians. Like the crazy, kinky kind of lesbians that like to lick chocolate and shit off each other. And you know, if they made their own sex video and it was totally hot. And then, if that video got out on the internet or something and, like, I could download it for less than 10 bucks, I'm telling you, man, I'd know there was a God and he loved me."