Monday, November 30, 2009


Well, it's been quite a few days, has it not?

Let's begin with the couple who committed a home invasion of the White House during the Indian PM's state dinner. This is what it's come to, folks. So desperate to get on TV that we will consider gate crashing a White House event WITH CAMERAS in tow. No shame. Now while the Secret Service gets a foot put up its ass and thanks god it was only two loser Bravo TV wannabes who got past the clearly lackluster security, we can all look forward to these shameless asshats on our TV justifying their unjustifiable actions. It does make you wonder something, though: why are they not in jail? What if it were, say, you and I who just decided to walk in? What if we were, say, three teenage black kids? Would we be fielding offers from ABC--or would we be incarcerated somewhere already? Hell, the balloon boy's parents got served! Why not this couple? On the other hand, perhaps we should thank them for apparently waltzing through a security system that, were it in a Nicolas Cage movie, would make me snort with laughter, like, oh yeah, we're just supposed to believe the White House Security Gate just waves him in because he's dressed up fancy! Apparently, Nic Cage knows from security...

Let's now move on to the animal who killed four Seattle-area police officers. How was this man on the street? I know; his sentence was commuted by Mike Huckabee because he was 17 at the time of the commutation. Another part of the reason? The suspect, Clemmons, said he'd changed, and Huckabee and Judge Marion Humphrey--both ministers--believed in giving second chances. It's a tragedy from every angle, all the more so because it was preventable. This is disgusting and horrifying and truly tragic. I wonder how many other issues of law in Arkansas were decided on similar biblical principles.

For the frequent fliers among you, this little nugget of nastiness from the FAA: Not to worry about those parts causing rare mid-flight engine shutdowns on Boeing 777's. We had ordered them grounded, but since the replacement parts are hard to get, we'll let them fly till 2011. Enjoy those pretzels, folks.

And on a completely different note, some pics from Afghanistan, showing our servicemen and women doing some amazing work. It puts my little rant here in stark contrast to the real work these folks are doing. Thanks to all of them. Let's hope Obama has some good news tomorrow night.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Martha Speaks

Martha Stewart nails it on Sarah Palin. Somebody keep this lady drinkin' because she is speaking my language. Last week she was all up in Rachael Ray's grill about not being a real cook (thank you) and this week smackin' it down on Palin. I loves it!

Welcome to the Dollhouse

I read with interest and annoyance the following article in the Wall Street Journal by Megan Cox Gurdon:

It asks, "Do Our Dolls Have to Look Like Us?" and answers--big surprise from the WSJ--"Naaah." The author's point is that adults try to politicize dolls (not black enough, hair too straight, etc), whereas kids just want to play with them; therefore it is ridiculous that the toy companies are jumping through such hoops to bring diverse dolls to market. What's amazing is that the author cites two seminal studies demonstrating the negative effects on children of color when given only white dolls, but she still arrives at the same conclusion: What a pain! Why bother!? And the best, a line that said something to the effect of: "my one black friend growing up loved her Skipper and Barbie dolls!" Of course it's not a problem then, because you know ONE BLACK PERSON who had fun with Barbie! That must mean that ALL black people are just like your friend, being as how she's representative of an entire group of people by virtue of her blackness. Gimme a break.

Listen, I get what she's saying up to a point. Adults can get wiggy about stuff that goes over the heads of kids. But to then extrapolate that to conclude that dolls don't really have to look like a kid because--hey--the author's white kid just loooooves her Kaya Native American doll (whom the author calls an "American Indian")! So if white kids love dolls who happen to be of another race, why can't kids of other races just get on board with white dolls, huh? Well, they can. They've been doing it for hundreds of years. Hundreds of years up until only the past, say, five to eight years, if we're discussing widely-available mass-produced dolls. Readers will recall my quest--in Washington DC--to find a doll for Bambina that was even slightly more colored than alabaster, and this in 2005 in a major city. It was not an easy task. No, Ms. Cox Gurdon, it's not that people of color can't get on board with white dolls; that's been done. It's that, as the white parent of a white child, you will never walk into a store and ponder why NOT ONE doll in the entire building even remotely resembles your child. And again, you will ask, "Well, why does it matter?" And, again, as the white parent of a white child, you will not understand my answer when I say, "Because I have seen my daughter's face when met with a doll that Looks Like Her. I have seen the spark of recognition. I have seen the pride. I have seen the excitement that this perfect mirror image of herself has been placed in her grasp."

Of course she has white dolls she plays with. Of course she has black dolls she plays with. She likes them all. But when she was given the chance to get an American Girl doll, her first choice was Ivy Ling, the Chinese-American doll who is friends with white, blond Julie in 1974 San Francisco. She loves the Julie and Ivy stories and has her hopes set on a Julie doll as well, but when given the choice, she chose Ivy first. When she plays with and talks to Ivy, I can hear how the doll is a reflection of Bambina: "Oh, Ivy, you celebrate Chinese New Year just like we do; and since you don't celebrate Christmas in the books except with Julie's family, I think you celebrate Hanukkah like me. Welcome to our family!" And then Ivy becomes a doll to be dressed and undressed, taken places, and handled just as her other dolls of various racial origins are handled. But those tiny moments, those fleeting moments, when I hear my child speak alone with her Chinese doll, I get it. I get it in a way Ms. Cox Gurdon cannot get it.

We all want to see ourselves reflected in the important things of our world; it is a human need, as old as time. Western Christendom depicted Jesus as white with blue eyes. Completely unlikely and almost impossible for someone of that time and that place to look remotely white, but there he is: your Aryan Jesus of Nazareth, for the ages. I for one am glad that the toy industry is no longer telling kids of color that they don't exist, that they don't merit a line of production. You can slam marketing and product-pushing all you want. What I'm talking about is the fact that American Girl and Disney are acknowledging that their customer base EXISTS, that there is something powerful about imaginative play, especially when it acknowledges the personhood of the girl playing. That ALL girls of ALL races benefit when given a diversity of options and stories to imagine and build upon.

ps--This entire post leaves out my parental concern, at least vis a vis American Girl, that their Asian dolls are all light-skinned. Baby steps, I say. Baby steps.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Welcome, H1N1

And just as the blog was off to a decent-enough start, the Bambina has come down with the dreaded porcine influenza. It's officially unconfirmed because they don't test for it, but her symptoms are all consistent, according to the ER (which we just visited in the wee hours), with H1N1. Ragingly high fever, emphysema-like cough, and major body aches and pains to the point of tears. Oh, it's a fiesta here at Chez Haggis. A regular fiesta.

Since I only got my shot on Wednesday and am therefore not immune yet, I will most likely be next in line, followed by the BBDD who is screwed either way: he'll either be sick himself or taking care of us. Fan-f*cking-tastic.

I knew it was coming. One of Bambina's friends got sent home from school on Friday after throwing up and spiking a high fever. When his mom mentioned that it was not a stomach virus but..dunh dunh dunh!...H1N1, I knew that mess was in the mail. Well, the package arrived at 3am in the form of a screaming child with a 102 fever and unbearable stomach pain. The doctor said to ER her, they checked for pneumonia, found none but found bronchitis--and the flu.

So although I'm certain I'm already infected due to all kinds of normal contact, the Baby Daddy is downstairs with the girl since I am attempting to limit any further ingestion of her germs. Then he can sleep today and I'll take care of her, and then we'll switch again. Until the next domino falls...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Punching Out

Here are some links for you on this Friday afternoon:

First, Roy Keane, star Irish footballer discusses why the Irish are whiners about losing to France. He also, a couple of minutes in, takes out a guy whose cell phone keeps ringing. Fun TV--especially because Roy Keane is a hottie.

Next, a story on the ludicrous notion that Lou Dobbs will run for the White House or Senate. Oh, please bring that on!

In the "now that is giant balls" department, a woman organizes a fundraiser to help the victim of a hit-and-run. Only, she steals the money to pay the bail of the suspect in the hit-and-run. Stay classy, America.‘%20fundraiser%20%20misused

The final link's first paragraph says it all: "An eminent rabbi was so exhausted after three days of constant cocaine-fuelled partying with escorts that his pimp grew worried and cancelled that day’s supply of girls."

And with that, friends, I wish bid you Gut Shabbes!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Palin: Best Fiction Writer of 2009?

The Palin Train just keeps rollin' along! As a DNC memo said yesterday: If Republicans want to anoint SP as their standard bearer: "God bless." Although, my own personal patriotism and love for this beautiful country should preclude too much glee here, since anytime someone runs for something, they might actually win. And a Sarah Palin win for any office, much less the Presidency, would be a catastrophe unlike any before in our history. Here's a link to the first TWENTY-TWO fabrications in her book (half-way down the page):

As much as I have shredded John McCain in these pages for his choice of Palin, I was glad to see him yesterday finally come to the defense of his staffers who have been the victims of career assassination at the hands of Palin. I mean, if Palin is to be believed, Nicole Wallace convinced her to do the infamous interview with Katie Couric because Katie had "low self-esteem." If true, Ms. Wallace is unemployable in electoral politics. Having seen Ms. Wallace's work and seeing her appearance on Rachel Maddow's show where she called Palin's account, rather credibly, "fiction," I'm inclined to believe her.

In my writing class we talked at great length about the difference between non-fiction, creative non-fiction and fiction. We were to write non-fiction. If you could not remember a detail you were not to make it up; you were to find a way to make the lack of memory work in the story: "I don't recall the way she said it, but I left with the impression that I was to..." It lets you continue with YOUR truth, your memories of the event, without inventing quotes for others and without putting the veneer of fact on what is only a spotty memory. It respects the genre, and it respects the people in your story.

Compare Going Rogue to George Stephanopoulos' All Too Human. At the time ATH came out I was outraged that a White House staffer would reveal his conversations with the President. I refused to buy the book and cursed Georgie S a blue streak. But if you read the book (it fell open off my Republican colleague's desk one day...) you will see that it is based on his copious daily notes and his memos from the time of the events. It is a well-sourced book. Most importantly, where relevant, Stephanopoulos goes to great lengths to say, "These are my recollections of the conversation/the meeting/the argument; xy may disagree." So even though I was mad that he wrote the book (which now seems quaintly tame in comparison to other people's works published in the past decade), I was heartened to see that it was not a hatchet job, a score-settling or a work of creative non-fiction in which embellishments to the truth were acceptable. He was trying to be truthful to the events, the moments, and the people insofar as any human writer can do.

Going Rogue is its own animal. Why I think I find it so interesting, to be honest is that it puts Palin's political career and writing/TV appearance career on a collision course. If she runs for office, she will have to defend her record--which now includes this book. It's just rather breathtaking, is what I'm saying, for a person who seems to have aspirations for higher office to write a book whose facts are so easily discredited, and whose idea of interesting anecdotes includes this very classy nugget:

All I'm saying is that maybe the book will fall open off the shelf at my local bookstore today...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

As Good As It Gets

I'm at Dana Farber today for my now-ongoing GVHD drama. The crap news: I have developing skin GVHD, wherein the connective tissue and my skin are sticking to my muscles. So when I move my arm, a dimpled, tight-feeling line is visible where all these things that are supposed to slide smoothly over and around each other are getting stuck together. It's as beautiful-looking as it sounds.

But, now the good news: If I can stay on my current dose of immunosuppressives or less, I can travel to China to bring home baby sister! Woo Hoo!

Further good news: I'm getting my H1N1 vaccination in about 5 minutes, and there is no peace of mind like the H1N1 peace of mind, my friends. My doctor was totally fine with me getting any virus, any bacteria, but he said in no uncertain terms: "You really, really do not want to get H1N1. It kills people like you, and fast." So we've all just been waiting and waiting for a shipment, and it finally arrived for the good people of DF today...and I'm at the head of the line.

All told, I'm thinking this is a good day, even as I reflect on my new definition of "good" from, say, ten years ago. The threshold for "good" is far lower, but the joy in feeling it is far greater.
I'll take it. :)

All Things Palin

First, a good little blurb by Andrew Sullivan who, quite rightly, holds John McCain to account for the fact that we even know who this woman is. His point? No one else seems to doing it--and why is that? Why is no one asking John McCain to account for his clearly cynical and capricious and truly dangerous act of having Sarah Palin come *this* close to having her finger on the button?

Next, some emails from the campaign that show the increasing bad blood between the Palin and McCain staff, and show the ways in which Sarah Palin was "going rogue" by refusing to shake Paul Celucci's hand or to have a Senator ride along with her.

And finally, although I don't always love him, Richard Cohen sums it up, at least for me. Best line? She has a phenomenal favorability rating among Republicans -- 76 percent -- who have a quite irrational belief that she would not make such a bad president. What they mean is that she will act out their resentments -- take an ax to the people and institutions they hate. The Palin Movement is fueled by high-octane bile, and it is worth watching and studying for these reasons alone.

I will say one thing in her defense: Newsweek should have used a different cover photo. Yes, she previously had posed in her shorts for Runners World or whatever sports mag it was, but just to be consistent on what I'd have said had it been any other female in politics, I have to say that, at least on this one thing, Palin is right; that cover was sexist.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I'm Here, I've Got No Career, Get Used To It!

Such is my new mantra for all those parades and marches I'll be doing as a confirmed stay-at-home mom.

I came to the conclusion recently, as I managed to do no writing after my writing class ended, that the best way to be able to write write. To write anything. To write every day. To make myself write, even if its drivel. Because the process of writing something, anything keeps one's brain in writer mode and helps ensure that something will come when the need arises. I thought that putting the blog to the side would give me time to pursue my Capital W, Capital C Writing Career. It certainly did while my writing class was in session. I produced several really promising essay drafts, one of which I will be submitting to some journals in the near future. On the other hand, when the class ended, I got sucked into kindergarten drama, GVHD health drama, and a million other minor dramas that all somehow made me "too busy" to write. Then once I was too busy to write, the urge to write declined, the ability to write declined, and hell--the ability to competently read others' writing declined. It was not a good situation. So I finally gave myself a break: I don't have to become A Writer at this point in my life. I have genuinely full days doing my "mommy job" as Bambina calls it, most days to the point that I do not sit down once until maybe 4pm. I literally do not get my ass in a chair until the late afternoon. I eat while moving, I talk while moving, I am mostly always moving. So trying to create a writing career at this point is, to put it mildly, a bit daunting and ambitious.

Which is why I decided to simply be a mom who writes. I'll write this blog and that will inspire me to finish the essays and get them out. It will keep my mental acuity, it will ensure my sanity, and it will no doubt be done between the hours of 11pm and 7am. All achievable goals within the constraints of the job I currently have, which as moms know, is a 24-hour gig.

So--welcome back to my loyal readers (all 9 of you!). Welcome to new readers from NaBloPoMo (a rather porny acronym for National Blog Posting Month), and a hearty Welcome The Eff Back to my mom who never tires of being appalled by my "bad language."


Welcome to the new Star Spangled Haggis!

By which I mean, of course, the same old Star Spangled Haggis with different colors and layouts.

It seemed like it was time to update my 2004 design since, as I recall, that was the only design available when I started the blog. I hope the new font is agreeable and that I don't get those nasty letters from senior citizens that many of my charitable employers got demanding that everything be in LARGE TYPE on a white background. Any other complaints, you just forward along and I'll ignore them. :)

Kindergarten Competition

As many of you know, Bambina is now in kindergarten. (Sweet Bambina of babyhood, just 4 1/2 years does it happen? Where does the time go?) I recognize we are having a non-traditional transition to kindergarten due to Bambina's now-anxiety about my then-transplant. However, one of the things I realized while talking with her teacher and school psychologist is that Bambina is among the youngest in her class. They mentioned this fact, not as a hint that she should not be in kindergarten because she is clearly ready for kindergarten, but to emphasize that comparing her to other kids in the class is unfair and unwarranted. Why? Because she is not yet 5 1/2 and a good 80% of her class is already 6. Folks who don't really make it their business to know about kids (=me about 6 years ago) may not know that the developmental difference between 5.4 and 6.2 is HUGE. The grasp of fantasy vs. reality, the ability to communicate in groups, to navigate school hallways confidently, to grasp math and reading concepts: the delta between what a 5 year-old and a 6 year-old can bring to these concepts is simply enormous.

So why this giant age gap? Well, in some cases the kids legitimately missed the age cutoff for our town. So, for example, if the cutoff is September 1st, and your kid turned 5 last September 3rd, guess what? Your 6 year old is now in my 5 year-old's kindergarten class. Fair enough. In other cases, the kids were held back because they really were not kindergarten-ready, socially or academically, and truly benefited from a year of Transitional Kindergarten at a preschool. However--in some cases, parents held their kids back, even if they met the age cutoff, in order to give their kids an edge in school and sports. Yes. You heard me right. Some parents, even knowing that their kids are ready for kindergarten, are holding them back so they will be smarter and physically bigger than their peers. What's the big deal, you ask? Well, as my teacher friends tell me, it pushes academic learning down into kindergarten, kindergarten learning down into preschool, and creates social issues like the ones faced by Bambina in her class, where the teacher is trying to manage the learning and behaviors of both just-5-year-olds and truly "mature" 6 1/2 year olds.

The difference was obvious at Halloween. The 5 year-olds were dressed as princesses, fairies, dragons, (Bambina = Wonder Woman). The 6 and ups were dressed as Hannah Montana, soldiers, Darth Vader, the creepy-faced mask from Scream. That little costume parade at school was a visual representation of where these kids are, and how they are all across the board. I help out in the class sometimes, and the social differences are staggering. The six-plusses tend to clique more, and they are definitely on the leading edge of making fun of others and knowing what is on TV after 6pm, ie Hannah Montana, ICarly. The fives are still very much, "Hey! That's not nice! You are not being a good friend!" and liking SuperWhy.

So what's my point? My usual: I don't like that. And I think if your kid is eligible and ready for kindergarten, his booty should be sent to kindergarten where he belongs, hockey or soccer scholarships to college be damned.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Ultras vs. Intel

Here's an article about how Intel may close its Jerusalem plant because ultra-orthodox Jewish Israelis are staging disruptive protests because the company is open on the Sabbath--and is allowing Jews to work on the Sabbath if they so choose.

You can read the article, but my major question to the Ultra-O's is this: If Shabbat is so holy and intended only for rest and study, why the hell are you standing outside a factory yelling and marching on the Sabbath? If your asses were in temple or doing what else you're supposed to be doing (ie, observing the Sabbath), wouldn't you be unable to be at the protest?

Just wondering.

The Bow Heard Round the World

Oh yes, our America-hating President is at it again: greeting foreign leaders according to protocol, to the incandescent rage of the moronic American Right.

To be fair, he didn't do it exactly right in the photo of him with the Emperor; too low, not from the waist. But he did it perfectly correctly with the Empress just seconds later and later on at Suntory Hall. Anyone seen those photos? It's running on Japanese TV. The errors on both sides are pretty well summed up here:

Again, it is simply ludicrous to say that because the POTUS bows (however inartfully) to another foreign leader, he is somehow BOWING to that leader. Aren't we smarter than this? After all, here is avowed socialist pinko America-hater Richard Nixon not only bowing to, but clinking glasses with his Chinese counterpart as Pat Buchanan (circled) looks on. So if Obama's unamerican for bowing to a sovereign, what was Nixon for bowing to a Communist? Come on now. Surely you guys can find something else--something worthwhile--on which to disagree with Obama? There's a list of stuff to hate (says you); you don't need to drink the haterade on this. Everybody move on, now. Isn't there a Kenyan birth certificate to be unearthed?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

John McCain: What Hath You Wrought?

You know you are a lunatic when even Fox News has to fact-check you. I'm looking at you, Sarah Palin.

This tidbit reveals that Sarah Palin--our almost Vice President--wondered aloud at a speech why the words "In God We Trust" had been moved to the side of our dollar coins instead of front and center, implying that our Kenyan Muslim Savior-King's White House was behind this terrible disrespecting of the Supreme Being.

Turns out the changes were made in 2005. Back when Bush was president. This woman is a joke. The only problem is, there were probably hundreds of senior citizens and half-wits listening to her who now are telling everyone they know that Obama hates God and is secretly changing our currency.

I still blame John McCain.

Master of Eminent Domain

And...beaten to it Popehat/. Another excellent post I was going to write on the Kelo v. New London decision. Having spent a great deal of time in New London, this case was of particular interest. You may recall it was the famous case of the US Supreme Court allowing the City of New London to take Mrs. Kelo's home on the basis of public interest (in this case, Pfizer was going to develop the land and return New London to its former glory). Yes, you read that right: the US Supreme Court allowed the government to take a woman's land and give it to a corporation. I'm sure it all worked out great, then, and New London is once again a beacon of light in Southeastern Connecticut!

Or not.

Afghanistanic Panic

I was going to write a post on this latest development in the Afghanistan troop (non)surge, but as always Newshoggers did it already and did it better.

It's pretty obvious Obama is between a rock and a hard place on this, which of course is the definition of his job. But still. I heard the morons on that Fox morning show pontificating the other day about how Obama is wasting time by not committing an additional 40,000 troops immediately, and if he'd done it sooner, the job could be done sooner, and how every minute he "wastes" is another minute Americans could be at risk. Blah blah. I'm sorry--you were hoping for a president who would rush 40,000 of our sons and daughters, fathers and mothers into a country with a semi-legitimate, fully-corrupt leader who has recently made all kinds of uncomplimentary remarks about the American presence in his country? Oh yes, Cheney, that's called "dithering" isn't it? Or. You know. It could be called doing the job correctly. Weighing the options. Seeing a shithole for what it is before you jump into it--or more accurately--issue the order to send 40,000 other people jumping into it, some never to get out. "But Obama needs to listen to the Generals!" Yes he does. But generals don't speak with unanimity (as this article proves), and no one is going to blame the generals if it all goes sideways. I guarantee you weeks of bellowing, frothing coverage of "the Afghanistan quagmire" on Fox, of Obama's incompetence, of his disregard for our soldiers, of his elite lack of knowledge of all things military. Those cats on Fox don't care about the military; they only care about ratings. Why else would they be cheerleading a rushed troop buildup in what is clearly a less-than-ideal situation?

Sending troops into harm's way is the most grave responsibility of the President of the United States. You can wish for the good old days of "We're gonna smoke 'em out!" followed by an immediate troop commitment, followed by a miserable conflict in which thousands of Americans are not "welcomed like liberators," but are instead killed. You go on with yourself and long for those days if you must. Me? I'll take the reality-based view instead: perhaps we cannot help a country rid itself of the Taliban if that country's leader is hated by his people, steals from his people, and doesn't seem too concerned himself with ridding his country of the Taliban.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

For Those Of You Keeping Score At Home...

...we recently heard from China. Baby Sister will be home sometime in early 2010! So you can all update your scorecards to reflect Haggis Family +1 = 4. :)

It has been a long wait, but one that has made this result possible. If she'd arrived in the fleeting 9 months it took for Bambina I would have been very sick and we'd have been unable to complete the adoption. If she'd arrived in 2 years, I'd have been just coming out of isolation and unable to really be a full-time mother to both girls. So we waited and waited--and the waiting was good. It caused me to reflect on how much of life can involve waiting, and on how much life can be sweet if we view the waiting as a necessary time rather than a punishment.

I think back to all the times I was waiting and praying and hoping for something but failing to realize that maybe I wasn't ready just when I thought I was. I wonder if God (or the universe or whomever) creates these fallow times in order to create some change in us that needs to occur before we can be ready for the blessing we're awaiting. Bambina has been struggling with kindergarten transition, generalized anxiety and a delayed (or right on time?) reaction to my transplant from 2 years ago. It has been a daily, hourly, minute-by-minute drama for all of us as her intellect has caught up to her memories. It's as though she has just figured out that what happened back when she was 3 was really, really scary and serious. And so she must process these feelings now, with us, her school and a child psychologist's help. I awake every day ready to go pick up my second daughter. But I view the wait as my opportunity and my privilege to ensure that my first daughter emerges from the situations of her young life unharmed and healthy. Bambina needs me right now, completely. And I know that the wait for Baby Sister is making it possible for me to focus totally on Bambina, as I need to. She's been through a lot of stuff in her 5 short years, dealt with separations and losses and feelings that most people don't experience till adolescence. So her anxiety is no mystery and no cause for shame. It's simply something we will all work through together and emerge stronger on the other side. While we wait.

Fort Hood

Oh, good grief. I don't want to be a jerk, but can we please call this what it was? An evil person, misusing Islam, brutally murdered 13 people. There. I said it. The "I" word. How many talking heads are going to say that this was not about Islam? I mean, okay, it wasn't; not only. But had he been a graduate of Oral Roberts University, a teabagger and a member of some cuckoo Christian fundamentalist church, we all would have agreed that his psycho reading of religion was THE REASON for his attack. Why can't we just say the same for our Muslim attacker in this case?

I know. Not the post you expected from fat-headed liberal me. But, really. It does Islam no honor to be danced around in this manner. It does Muslims no honor to be patronized in this manner. This monster of a man used his religion as an excuse to kill people. It happens all the time. (Recall that Yitzhak Rabin himself was killed by a nutjob fundamentalist Jew). So why are we so skittish about saying so when it involves Islam? To my mind, just saying so doesn't dishonor decent Muslims at all. In fact, to pretend that somehow religion was not involved in this attack is the real dishonor, because it implies that Muslims are not full members of American society and somehow cannot be treated like everyone else.

So let's say it together: Nutjob people of all religions do terrible, terrible things to their fellow creatures created by God. Now let's work within and among our religions to root them out, shun them and shame them. Let us not let our religion be defined by the extreme, intolerant, evil, murderous thugs who inhabit our communities. Let's stand up, call them out, and--as President Obama so deftly said in his remarks at Fort Hood yesterday--ensure that they face justice:

"It may be hard to comprehend the twisted logic that led to this tragedy. But this much we do know - no faith justifies these murderous and craven acts; no just and loving God looks upon them with favor. And for what he has done, we know that the killer will be met with justice - in this world, and the next."

Veterans Day

Yesterday I was explaining to Bambina why she has a day off school today. I was trying to explain it in a way that made sense to a 5 year-old without scaring her (soldiers with guns! Fighting! Wars!). So I said this:

We honor veterans (like your BB was) because they protect us. Because they protect our friends in other countries. Because they make it possible for us to go about our business without having to worry. Because they spend lots of time away from their kids doing their jobs. Because they don't get to leave work early to come to their child's school event. Because they don't get to stay home when they have a sniffle. Because they don't get to sit around the breakfast table with their families every morning. Because they do a very hard job for not a lot of pay. Because they do the daily work to keep our country free.

I'll work on it for next year, but since her response was, "Well, that is an important holiday; should we send the veterans some American Girl dolls and candy to say thank you?" I think I did my job.

Thank you, veterans!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Easing Back In

...with links!

First, perhaps the funniest Twitter account ever created:

A 29 year-old lives with his 73 year-old dad. These are the things the dad says. I damn near peed my pants, specifically at the "Sometimes life leaves you a $100 bill on your dresser and you don't realize till later that it's because it f**&ed you."

Next, Just in case you're desperately interested in which celebrities have already had swine flu/H1N1.

And, in the "Everything I Touch Turns to Sh*t" department, I give you British PM Gordon Brown who misspelled the deceased's name in his condolence letter to the mother of a killed British soldier. And some other mistakes as well. About twenty, actually.

Stay tuned! In the meantime, here's one more from Sam, the dad who says sh*t: "I wanted to see Detroit win. I've been there. It's like God took a sh*t on a parking lot. They deserve some good news."

Monday, November 09, 2009

My Loss Is Your Gain

Don't look now, but it appears that The Haggis is back.

So--what has precipitated this earth-shattering event?

Did I finally publish that book?
Did I finally meet and seduce Ewan McGregor?
Did I finally score my actual age on that Real Age test, rather than being told I'm 52?
Did I finally admit an addiction to meth during my tennis career?

Sadly, no on all counts. But I did get prescribed some more prednisone! And long-time readers will recall that prednisone = insomnia + productivity. Ergo, I now have 5 or 6 extra hours a day to do what the experts call "stuff," one element of which is blogging.

I've missed you, friends. I've stifled many a rant over the past few months, having no outlet for their fury. So--let's begin again, shall we?