July 14, 2006


Dear Will,
OK, then by your definition, I'm old. I don't ever "pretend to get wild," and I honestly don't care whether the shows I watch or the music I listen to is cool. I have no intention of ever going to a club again in my life, and I can't ever remember what I liked about them in the first place. I'm far happier reading in bed at 9:30 than most club-goers and drug-takers are when they're out on the town. And it makes me snicker that you think I've let something "slip away": I am so looking forward to turning 30 that it'd make your skin crawl. But you have fun with your piggyback rides and drugs; I'll just sit here in my home with my maxed-out Roth and the teddy bear I'm knitting for charity and enjoy being old.

Oh, and I never drink Heineken, just Budweiser from the can.

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Mark Steyn on the fighting in Israel:

And the reality of this situation is it's nothing to do with Bush and Cheney. It's happening in India. It's happening in Israel. It's happening in Bali. It's happening in Russia. It's a planetary-wide problem, and it's nothing to do with Bush and Cheney stealing chads, or any of this other rubbish they go on about.

Go read it to find out how that paragraph fits. (Via RWN)

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Remember a few weeks ago when I wrote about being squeaky? Something funny just happened. My husband tried to settle his travel pay when we got here, and Finance mailed us a letter saying we owe the government $800. That certainly wasn't right, so he went in and tried to fix it. They came back with another letter that said that the Army owes us $600. That's not right either since we got a travel advance; in actuality the Army owes us about $50. My husband understands how this stuff works, so he went in and walked the Finance person through it. She called DFAS and they all agreed that the Army owes us something like $63. So a few days later we get a direct deposit for $675. Ha! My husband said that the system will work itself out eventually and take the money back, so it's not worth his time to go back in to the office and try to get the correct amount. In the meantime, he put the money in our money market so we can at least milk a little interest off it!

The government does the best they can, but their best is an idiot.

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Though I'm many days late and several dollars short, I wanted to weigh in on the "Cartoon Wars" episode of South Park, which I finally got to see in reruns this week. I read all about it in April when we were in Germany, but I realized I didn't fully understand the episode until I saw it for myself. Sorry if this is really old news for people.

Apparently at the height of insanity over the Danish Mohammad cartoons, Comedy Central told Parker and Stone that they couldn't show Mohammad no matter what. So they built an entire episode around Comedy Central's lack of backbone. They included this brilliant speech:

Freedom of speech is at stake here, don't you all see? If anything, we should all make cartoons of Mohammed and show the terrorists and the extremists that we are all united in the belief that every person has a right to say what they want. Look people, it's been really easy for us to stand up for free speech lately. For the past few decades, we haven't had to risk anything to defend it. One of those times is right now. And if we aren't willing to risk what we have now, then we just believe in free speech, but won't defend it.

At which point the people of South Park all bury their heads in the sand. Literally. Parker and Stone are not allowed to show Mohammad just standing there, but Comedy Central has no problem with Jesus pooping on the American flag.

Nothing I read about the episode back in April really did it justice until I had seen it for myself. I'm quite surprised that Comedy Central let themselves look like such tools. And I'm sad that once again Parker and Stone show the world for what it truly is.

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July 13, 2006


OK, time to vent. Remember when we went and picked up our car from the port a month ago? Well, I've been trying to register it for that long. We want to register it in Missouri like our other car is because we're only going to live here for five months. Calling the DMV is even more ridiculous than going there, but I thought I had finally figured out what we needed and I mailed everything in two weeks ago. We got it returned today marked "rejected" because allegedly we didn't show proof of insurance; they returned all the documents to us, including...the proof of insurance paper. I called this morning and was told "whoops" and that I should send it back. But now our temporary plates on our car are expired. Can I tell you how angry this makes me? Someone halfassed his job and now I have no car to drive around for another two weeks while they actually do the job they were supposed to do two weeks ago. And amazingly, some people in this country want the government to do more stuff in our lives.

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July 12, 2006


Scroll to the end: Lileks lays the smackdown on some douchebag who can't stand the American flag.

We're having company tonight -- my grad school roommate's parents are passing through -- so I need to work my tail off unpacking more boxes today. See you tomorrow.

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If the proposed memorial to Flight 93 goes through as planned, it will be a disgraceful, disgusting monument to the hijackers instead of the passengers. Reading this information makes me want to throw up. I left a comment on the memorial website; I sure hope that citizen action has some bearing on the final memorial, but for some reason I'm not holding my breath...

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July 11, 2006


One of our best friends from college is from India, and he's in Mumbai right now. I hope he's OK. I feel something special in my heart for India as a country, and I hate that this has happened.

And I guess I missed the memo that we were all going to start calling it Mumbai instead of Bombay. When did that happen? I guess at the same time we started calling Qatar "Cutter". Let me know when we're supposed to start calling Japan Nihon.

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I find it interesting that it's OK for a teacher who believes Bush orchestrated 9/11 to teach a class on Islam because that's "encouraging studentsÂ’ critical thinking by allowing analysis of even the most controversial ideas", but a science teacher who believes in creationism is considered kooky and ignorant. Isn't that kind of the same thing? Maybe we could get people who believe in the tooth fairy to teach dentistry...

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July 10, 2006


This article over at Hud's caught my attention, especially since I just finished gagging over Parliament of Whores. Imagine if we could get government to think before they spend!

So all the more credit to Mr. Lomborg, who several weeks ago got his first big shot at reprogramming world leaders. His organization, the Copenhagen Consensus Center, held a new version of the exercise in Georgetown. In attendance were eight U.N. ambassadors, including John Bolton. (China and India signed on, though no Europeans.) They were presented with global projects, the merits of each of which were passionately argued by experts in those fields. Then they were asked: If you had an extra $50 billion, how would you prioritize your spending?

Mr. Lomborg grins and says that before the event he briefed the ambassadors: "Several of them looked down the list and said 'Wait, I want to put a No. 1 by each of these projects, they are all so important.' And I had to say, 'Yeah, uh, that's exactly the point of this exercise--to make you not do that.'" So rank they did. And perhaps no surprise, their final list looked very similar to that of the wise economists. At the top were better health care, cleaner water, more schools and improved nutrition. At the bottom was . . . global warming.

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July 09, 2006


We watched the World Cup game. France played better and deserved to win, but soccer is a game where nothing happens for 60 minutes and then a penalty kick means you're the best in the world, so whatever. But what on earth was Zidane thinking? What a bonehead...

Oh yeah, and I opened the "toys" box: it was scarves and hats and one lone coat hanger. Fun for the whole family!

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July 07, 2006


We've been having a blast trying to decipher the English on the outside of our boxes. I just found my cutting boards in a box marked "wooden plates," and last night we giggled to find that all our DVDs and CDs were marked "cassette taps"; we've decided that we're calling movies "taps" from now on. And I know I saw a box in our old house that was marked "toys," but I've yet to find it here in this house. I'm dying to know what we own that the Germans consider "toys"!

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July 06, 2006


I've been making my way through boxes all day. I just can't stand to have the house like this, so I'm working myself to the bone trying to get it all organized. Before we left Germany, I was too overwhelmed to go through our closets and get rid of stuff that doesn't fit or that we've had for ten years. I started doing that today, and the more boxes I open, the worse I feel. I have so much junk. We lived for two months out of a suitcase; I had something like seven shirts and five pair of pants, and that clothed me every single day. Now that I have boxes and boxes of clothes, I just feel wasteful and ridiculous. Why on earth do I have 14 pairs of flip flops? I've already re-boxed four boxes of stuff to send to Goodwill, and I'm trying to figure out what else I can get rid of. And I also realized that I've knitted myself to a very full closet; I have more sweaters and scarves/hats than I know what to do with. I need to do some give-away knitting for a while...

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July 05, 2006


Well, it's been one day and I've already got the CD cabinets alphabetized. The house is shaping up, sort of. There's still a lot to do, but at least we have the microwave out; leftovers have never felt so easy. We also spent a month watching a 14 inch TV, so now our 28 incher feels like the front row at the movie theater! And I am so looking forward to sleeping on a bed for the first time in a month...

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Our house is stuffed to the gills right now; our household goods finally showed up this morning. I have never been so excited to sit on a sofa!

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July 04, 2006


Today was a special day because our pup became an American. Since Charlie was born and raised in Germany, we have been joking since we got home that we should officially make him a citizen. So we chose today to have his naturalization ceremony. He raised his right hand and swore an oath of citizenship, which was uproariously funny at the time.


And because it was such a special day for him, we let him eat with us. Charlie got to eat a waffle and a hamburger! What a day...

waffle and burger.JPG

And then this evening my husband and I did the most American thing we know: we went to a baseball game. The Blowfish played a great game, and then they had fireworks over the stadium. I know we had fireworks on post in Germany, but these were close enough to smell! And it just felt so good to be in a stadium full of people wearing red, white, and blue and listening to Lee Greenwood. I couldn't wipe the stupid smile off my face the whole fireworks display.

4th of july.JPG

It's so good to be home...

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This is my first 4th of July in the United States in three years. I thought I'd write something this morning about how it feels, but I think I'd rather write at the end of the day. We have big plans to do the most American things we can...

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July 01, 2006


In the middle of this wonderful 50 Reasons Why It's Good to Be an American Man is a gem of an observation about Americans:

20. Low expectations. A few months ago I was outside a beer joint in Ecuador, peeing behind a blond horse named Gringa. Peeing behind his own horse nearby was an old friend, Enrique, who was in the middle of telling me about some unpleasantness he'd recently endured at U.S. customs in Miami. Officers there had refused to believe that a thirty-one-year-old banana republican earned enough honest bucks to own a vacation condo in Florida. Was he a narcotraficante? A terrorista? A narcoterrorista?! The interrogation concluded with an emasculating strip search, and the experience left Enrique thoroughly fed up with Americans. "I don't mean you," he quickly added. "You're different." For what it's worth, he's right: You'd never catch me rubber-gloving a rectum just because its owner looks a little Escobar-y. But my point here is that our rep has plummeted so low that it's almost impossible not to rise above it. Most foreigners, unless you're forcing them to play naked Twister or collaterally damaging their wedding parties, are pleasantly surprised by our lack of visible fangs. This has led to a happy paradox: While we're collectively in the toilet, we individually smell like roses.

Man, that applies to just about every conversation I've ever had with a foreigner.

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OK, I loved it. Kevin Spacey was perfect, the plot was good, and Lois was meh, but I never really liked Lois anyway. I thought some stuff was rather Smallville-ish, but I suppose that's inevitable. My heart ached for Christopher Reeve, but Brandon Routh did a good job, though there's no way on earth anyone could believe that Routh was supposed to be Clark Kent at age 35. But who am I to opine on the aging of Kryptonians? Overall, it was definitely worth the price of admission, and thank goodness it didn't come off as campy or multicultural or anything else I kept hearing about it.

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In my personal opinion, the UN has gone from being worthless to being downright disgusting.

The new UN Human Rights Council voted Friday to make a review of alleged human rights abuses by Israel a permanent feature of every council session.
The resolution requires UN investigators to report at each council session "on the Israeli human rights violations in occupied Palestine."

It seems the UN has its fingers in its ears too, but I'm not optimistic that they will grow out of it.

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