October 28, 2005

LETTER

My husband hates to write, and the only thing worse for him than composing at a computer is writing with a pen. He didn't write me much from Iraq, but when he did, I knew he had forced himself to sit down and do it. That's touching.

Absence really does make the heart grow fonder, and I think deployments can sometimes bring out the best in a relationship. Mrs. Greyhawk found a letter from a husband in Iraq to his wife. It's positively breathtaking. You just have to see it to believe it.

UPDATE:

I swear I have never laughed so hard as I just did. I asked my husband if he had read the letter and -- right hand on a Bible -- he said, "Yeah. Was he talking about a chicken or a rooster or something? Man, there's a lot of them walking around Iraq. And how did he mail a bird to his wife? I don't get it."

My husband, the romantic.

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FRUSTRATED

As I started reading Baldilocks' post In Search of a Survival Plan, I was thunderstruck. By a completely unoriginal idea.

The concept of the Vietnam War—rather than the actual war itself—was shaped by the media of that time and today’s overwhelming Democrat, leftists, "anti-war" media is attempting, with some success, to shape how the American public thinks about this war.

I've talked to my mom extensively about her generation. I guess it's not hard for me to understand that many people her age think all wars are Vietnam. They lost friends, they sat anxiously and waited to hear the lottery numbers, and they unfortunately participated in America's only half-assed war. I'm sorry they had to go through that. But Iraq is not Vietnam.

When the Guif War started, I was in 7th grade. I saw it on TV and ran to my room, scared out of my wits. I wrote in my diary OH GOD WE'RE AT WAR and went on to write that we would all die. It's hard not to laugh at myself now, since I know I was imagining trench warfare and blitzkrieg. I had no concept of war. Heck, I still have no concept of war, try as I might. I've talked extensively with my husband and his friends, trying to get a sense of what they did in Iraq. But I have managed to figure out one thing, the thing that hit me when I read Baldilocks' first paragraph.

If Iraq really is as bad as the media says it is, why don't I know any soldiers who concur?

Why does Red 6 say that it was "the best year of his life"? Why did my husband's unit softball team love to get together and rehash their "so there we were" stories? Why does my husband think that going to Iraq was the most important and meaningful thing he's ever done? And why does he feel so down in the dumps about being home? If Iraq really is a quagmire, shouldn't he feel relieved?

The soldiers I've talked to think that Iraq was meaningful. They think it was fun, boring, and scary all at once. They think they were helping both Iraq and the United States by being there, and they were proud to serve. Some have already gotten their fill and others are itching to get back, but they all believe a soldier should soldier.

So why don't I feel like the media or the general public groks this?

I think it's sad that my mom says she feels like she has to defend my husband because he wants to continue to contribute to the War on Terror. She says that her friends and extended family simply cannot comprehend that my husband and I are not horrified by the thought of Iraq. And we're just not. If he raised his hand today and volunteered to go back, I'd be extremely proud of him, because I think the only way to win this thing is to see it through to the end, and I'd rather have someone as smart and capable as my husband to lead the way.

My husband is strong enough to go back, and I think it's important enough to let him go. That's why it's so frustrating that the TV is filled with Cindy f-ing Sheehan all the time. That body count and gloom and doom reporting is demeaning to the soldiers who want to see this war through to the end.

Sometimes I get the feeling that the media is as uninformed as I was at 13. Their reports read like a page from my diary, where the sky is falling and we're all gonna die. But "if I got my news from the newspapers also I'd be pretty depressed as well." Thank goodness I have soldiers to give me the straight story.

Maybe some journalists should come have dinner with us and Red 6. Except I doubt he and my husband would let them in the front door...

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SWEATER

I'm working on a very time-consuming sweater these days. Size 4 needles, sportweight yarn, lots of little stitches. About 42,000 of them so far, and that's only the back and half of the front. At five minutes per row, 312 rows so far, that's about 26 hours of knitting put into the sweater. That's two and a half seasons of Dallas. And I'm only halfway done.

With that said, if you walked into the living room and found the dog munching away at your sweater, wouldn't you try to hit him with a loaf of mozzarella bread too?

(I don't think he did anything I can't fix. Luckily he was chewing at the armhole, so I'm sure I can hide that bit. Oooh, was I mad though. And now I have teeth marks all over my needles.)

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October 26, 2005

BEDTIME

Ever since I wrote about my school dreams, I haven't had any. I have, however, participated in a plane crash, a bizarre conversation with a girl from my Brownie troop, and a Chinook ride to Taco Bell with my husband and Mike Penca. (RHS alums: I have no idea why Mike was with us. Haven't thought about him in nearly ten years.)

I've always hated bedtime. When I was a kid, I could never fall asleep. I'd read entire books, play games with a flashlight, and count up into the thousands. I was always that kid who was the last one awake at slumber parties. My husband and my best friend from college had a good laugh when they shared stories about how I could talk for hours on end at night. They've both fallen to sleep as I've droned on and on.

Lately I've been having trouble sleeping again, and nothing can help me. I took some NyQuil for my cold at about 7PM the other night and then got up again at 11 and took another dose. Even that can't put me out! And then when I finally do sleep, I have these ridiculous dreams that stress me out, like plane crashes.

My husband thinks I'm insane. The best part of his day is when he puts his head on that pillow. But I wish there were some sort of pill I could take to make 8 hours disappear and make myself feel rested without actually getting into bed.

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SAD JOKE

I'm sick and tired of people picking on Condoleezza Rice for not being black enough. Powerline cuts to the core of a very depressing and demeaning op-ed about how Rice just doesn't get it. According to Eugene Robinson, she was too busy playing the piano to understand racism, and she lives in this Fantasy World where people are judged by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin, which apparently is a bad thing.

Last night I caught an episode of The Chappelle Show that I'd never seen before. It included a "race draft", a humorous take on sports drafts where different races chose multi-racial people to belong to their group. (For example, Tiger Woods was drafted by the black race, defining him once and for all as black.) When the white group came to the podium, they drafted Colin Powell. The black race said they'd negotiate a trade: they'd throw in Condoleezza if they could have Eminem.

I know it's just a joke, but it's a shame there's an element of truth to it. It's sad commentary that the black race would rather embrace Eminem than Rice and Powell, two of the most educated and powerful people on the planet.

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October 24, 2005

SNIFFLES

On Friday, Charlie started getting a runny nose and red, itchy eyes. Then he passed it on to me Saturday afternoon. We're both a little under the weather today, so it looks like I'll be lounging on the couch watching Dallas for the afternoon. Read Varifrank if you need something to pass the time...

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October 22, 2005

SON OF A...

This article (via Beth) about an Iraqi who trains suicide bombers is just too disturbing for words. I think it's disgusting that Time magazine sat down with this guy...

Al-Tamimi met with TIME in two interviews spanning five hours. He agreed to meet with us after members of the TIME staff approached Iraqi contacts who are close to the insurgency, in an effort to gain information on the ways in which suicide-bombing networks operate.

...but hopefully some good can come of it and someone in the military can learn to identify these dry runs and practice sessions. Still, it's a little too eerily like the North Kosanese issue for me.

Here's my favorite part of the article:

He is so proficient at facilitating suicide bombings that he says his own brother and sister have asked to be considered for "martyrdom operations." He gave them some basic training but advised them to find other, less drastic ways of serving the insurgency. "A suicide bombing should be the last resort," he says. "It should not be a shortcut to paradise."

Let that be a lesson to anyone who thinks being a suicide bomber is honorable. If it were that freaking honorable, al-Tamimi would be proud to help his family members to paradise. But apparently al-Tamimi scruples don't prevent him from making his son into a monster:

He has told his son that he is too young to become a martyr but says he recently taught the child how to make roadside bombs and how to fashion a rudimentary rocket launcher out of metal tubes.

May you burn in hell, al-Tamimi.

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TOTAL

Tanker sent me a link to an article about the perceived risk of investing in France. It reminded me of something that I forgot to share a few weeks ago. Someone recommended an international mutual fund to us, so my husband looked into it as a possibility. That is, until he saw that Total was one of its top holdings. "Guns, tobacco, and other vices are no problem," my husband said. "I'd invest in those in spades. But I refuse to invest in French oil companies." Despite protestations that Total is a very lucrative market -- well, no kidding: Saddam treated them well -- my husband put his foot down and said that we're not buying into that mutual fund. I was awful proud of him.

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THE NEED

Amritas writes about how the need for a foreign language can be an indicator of success (I'm really oversimplifying his post here; it's much more interesting in its entirety). One of my friends emailed me last week. We haven't talked in a while, which became obvious to me when she said, "I imagine your German's probably awesome by now!"

Before I moved here, I couldn't understand how people could be stationed in Germany or Korea and come home not speaking the language. Now I completely understand this. Until you see how a military community operates, it's hard to really imagine it. My Swedish friend bought me a German paperback book as a gift when she came to visit two years ago. At the end of her weekend here, she apologized for giving me the book, saying that she didn't realize how American my life still was, even though I was smack dab in the middle of Europe.

We speak only English all day long. We spend dollars at our stores, where we can buy 110-volt appliances and Region 1 DVDs. My husband and I don't have any German friends except for a few wives, most of whom speak English quite well and sit around moaning about how they'd rather be in Kentucky where they could go to Walmart at 10 PM. We don't need to speak German.

That said, we try to speak it whenever we're out on the town. We do just fine with our restaurant and department store vocabulary. Sometimes we get the Rolled Eye Treatment from German shopkeepers who'd rather conduct business in English anyway, like last weekend when I started giving someone my address in German and she looked at me like I was speaking Chinese. I sighed and repeated the exact same thing in English, at which point she finally wrote it down. The Germans in our area don't want us to speak German, so it's an uphill battle with the girl in the train station who begged, "Can you please just speak English so this will go faster?" when I tried to purchase a train ticket in German.

We're perfectly capable of learning German. I learned French and Swedish just fine, and my husband taught himself basic Arabic, for pete's sake. But the motivation just isn't there, because the reward for speaking German on the economy is rolled eyes and groans. So why bother?

(This is not to excuse those people who rave on and on about how much they loooove living in Europe but don't even bother to learn how to order food from a menu. I hate when we run into those types when we're out on the town. If you want to homestead here permanently and be a Squatter after you retire, then learn freaking German, you boors.)

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EXCUSES

I made the mistake of reading this CaliValleyGirl post right before bed. I can't get it out of my mind, and the more I think about it, the angrier I get.

I'm not 100% sure what I think about the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. I don't think gay soldiers are any less worthy than straight ones, but I do know there are a significant number of anti-gay soldiers (if my experiences teaching college classes here on post are any indication), and "don't ask, don't tell" is a way of protecting gay Americans who'd like to serve their country. It's perhaps not a perfect policy, but it's the best we've got right now.

What I know for a fact though is that "don't ask, don't tell" certainly isn't an alternative to conscientious objector status. That's what happened in the case of the gay Marine highlighted in CVG's articles. This man is not a champion for gay rights, though the glowing tones of the articles would like you to believe he is. He wasn't caught sleeping with a man and forced to leave the service. His commander and unit seemed to like him. Leaving the Marines was his choice and his alone.

This Marine wrote a 7-page letter to his commander stating that he won't be used as a tool of the Bushitler Oil Junta and kill kids for Halliburton in an Illegal War for Missing WMDs, oh and by the way, P.S. I'm gay. He used his victim status to get out of responsibility. He didn't want to go back to Iraq because he hates the president (enough to imply that he'd rather kill the Bush administration than terrorists), so he came up with the perfect way to get out of his enlistment: The Gay Excuse. Thus, they reluctantly kicked him out for being gay -- because he told without being asked -- and now he travels with Cindy Sheehan and is hyped in gay publications for being a pioneer for gay rights in the military.

Excuse me?

I'm sure there are plenty of gay soldiers who are serving honorably. I'm also sure there are plenty of straight soldiers who'd love to have the easy-out of The Gay Excuse. But getting yourself intentionally kicked out of the Marines for being gay doesn't make you a hero. Using your victimhood to shirk the oath you took doesn't make you a champion of the gay community. You found the easy way out and took it, friend, so don't blame your plight on the Marines or George Bush or anyone but yourself.

If you truly believed that "banning gays in the military is archaic and stupid," as you said, then you wouldn't use that ban as an excuse; you wouldn't cheapen your integrity just to get what you want. Don't act like you Spoke Truth To Power, when all you really did is get out of the military on a technicality. That's despicable.

But at least you got to make out with some Iraqi boys, right?

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October 21, 2005

NIGHTMARES

Besides the dog, who drives me absolutely batty with his chewing and barking at construction workers outside our house, I don't really have any personal stress in my life right now. I don't have a job, I don't have any kids, and my only responsibility is to make a nice dinner and keep the house tidy. So why do I keep having the most stressful dreams?

Practically every single night since the beginning of September I have dreamed about school. Last year while I was subbing I used to have the Sub Nightmares all the time, and they started again about a week before I subbed in September. (Those are the ones where you show up and the teacher hasn't left you any instructions and you have to come up with something to teach all day.) But even after I quit subbing and haven't gotten called in a month, I have continued to have the nightmares. Sometimes I'm the sub, sometimes I'm a student, and once I was college roommates with one of the high school girls I abhored. Two nights ago I was back in high school: I forgot my locker combination and was late to physics. (For some reason, it's always physics when I'm the student, but at least I get to see all my high school buds and even Action Bruce -- jealous, Curt?) Last night I was a teacher trying to teach Moby Dick. No idea why. A few weeks ago I had to teach refraction of light through a prism.

So if I don't have any real stress in my life, why do I keep wigging out in my dreams? Why the constant forgot-to-do-my-homework panic when I don't have anything like that going on in my real life? I don't think that all dreams need to mean something, but I'm in class nearly every single night these days. I wake up all agitated, and I have this Reverse Reality thing going on where I have to calm myself down in the morning and remind myself that my real life is much less stressful than my sleep. What's the deal?

Sheesh, why can't I just build a go-cart with my ex-landlord?

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READ IT, FOR IT IS GOOD

The Killjoy Nation

And apparently my friend's husband is a blog reader too. Well, if he's reading today, Happy Birthday to you...

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October 20, 2005

GEEZ LOUISE

I just sat down to email my cousin and wish her a happy birthday. Here's what Charlie did while I was on the computer...

charmin.JPG

That white thing is the toilet paper, still attached to the wall in the bathroom. Can't take my eyes off him for a minute.

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LINKS

The Iraqis voted again over the weekend, and look whose picture they took with them for strength and support. Those of us who follow news from Iraq -- and not just the garbage the AP feeds to us -- remain optimistc about Iraq's future.

Saddam Hussein went on trial yesterday. Did it even make the news? We've got hourly updates on DeLay and Rove, but apparently the Butcher of Baghdad is old news. Powerline reminds us to watch the media to see who will get "more favorable treatment in the American press, Saddam or Tom DeLay, Karl Rove and Scooter Libby?"

And out of Turkey, we get the following report (via LGF):

The survey was conducted in the conservative south-eastern city of Diyarbakir. It questioned 430 people, most of them men. When asked the appropriate punishment for a woman who has committed adultery, 37% replied she should be killed.

Twenty-five percent said that she deserved divorce, and 21% that her nose or ears should be cut off.

The survey group was small but the results are a reminder that "honour killing" - a practice where women are murdered for allegedly bringing shame on their family - still has significant support in parts of Turkey.

LGF has tracked honor killings for years. Never forget that this is what we're fighting against. Honor killing is the marriage of two of the seven signs of non-competitive states, a tradition that must be eradicated before Arab states can move forward.

And lastly, Powerline asks "Where is the outrage?" over the destruction of synagogues in Gaza. He quotes an editorial that reminds us that, unlike Peeing on the Koran-gate, this actually happened.

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October 19, 2005

HEH

pujols.jpg

Honestly, the second thing I thought when my husband shook me awake at 0530 (after thinking "Cool!") was "Poor Deskmerc..." I've never been very good at maintaining rivalries.

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HUH?

Last night I was listening to a radio program about the benefits of pet therapy, where they take nice doggies to hospitals to cheer up patients. The program said, "Pets are a great way to reduce anxiety."

Um, I'd like to negotiate a trade.

Yesterday Charlie looked me right in the eye and squatted to pee on his bed, ate the first ten pages of The Federalist Papers, and managed to chew a hole in the bag of dog food on the shelf so that he could sit under it and have food pour down into his mouth.

Reduce anxiety, my foot.

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October 18, 2005

UN

OK, here's what I don't get. The top google hits for a search on Mugabe include the phrases "Zimbabwe strongman", "descent into dictatorship", "people dying in Zimbabwe", and "Mugabe's terror campaign". He's banned from entering the EU, except for when he's invited by the UN, like he was Monday for the 60th anniversary of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization. So Mugabe, dictator of a country where "an estimated 3.8 million people" are starving, has this to say in front of the UN (via LGF):

Mr Mugabe used his speech to lambast President Bush and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, whose governments have been among his severest critics.

"Must we allow these men, the two unholy men of our millennium, who in the same way as Hitler and Mussolini formed [an] unholy alliance, form an alliance to attack an innocent country?" asked Mr Mugabe, apparently referring to Iraq.

"The voice of Mr Bush and the voice of Mr Blair can't decide who shall rule in Zimbabwe, who shall rule in Africa, who shall rule in Asia, who shall rule in Venezuela, who shall rule in Iran, who shall rule in Iraq," he said.

And what did the UN do after he went on this tirade that had nothing to do with feeding the hungry?

Some delegates to the Rome meeting applauded Mr Mugabe's condemnation of the Western leaders on several occasions during his speech and then at the end.

So a real life dictator goes to the UN to call Bush and Blair dictators? And people clap? The UN is such a joke.

Hey, Mugabe. Maybe you'd better look at your own tactics before you start pointing dictator fingers at others. I'd say "using violence and murder as an electoral strategy" is a far cry from Bush and Blair. But hey, you seem to fit in fine with the Oil For Food crowd.

Please, can we just end this charade that is the UN?

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WOW

Albert Pujols + bottom of the ninth = ecstatic husband and grumpy Deskmerc

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October 16, 2005

NEVER FAR FROM MY THOUGHTS

Dear Bunker,

Mrs. Sims believes her husband sends her signs from above that he is watching down over her. I was thinking about these signs the other day when I opened my email junk folder and found an email from "Mike" with the subject line "hello". I knew it was spam, but for a minute I had a warm feeling that you were sending me a sign, just to say hi.

I've been reading The Federalist Papers, just like we discussed. Boy, do I wish you were here to urge me on. Would you mind too terribly if I skipped ahead a bit? I'm wading through the letters about the Articles of Confederation, but I'd rather be reading about the Constitution. Is it cheating to hop ahead to the good stuff?

A few days ago, the husband and I were naming all the places we want to visit once we get back to the US. Coming to pay our respects to you is close to the top of the list.

I miss you.
Sarah

P.S. John misses you too. We had a good talk about it recently. You touched so many of us...

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CAN'T SLEEP

Hook is back!!!
Hanson's switched on.
Varifrank is a god.

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