August 31, 2006

BLAME GAME

MSN taglines are so danged catchy that I often find myself following their links. And today I found this hunk of baloney under the heading "Is your husband making you fat?"

When we live with other people, we tend to compromise our behaviors. On “Today’s Woman,” we look at whether your husband is making you fat. If you find yourself plopped down on the couch with chips in your hand at night or look in your cupboard to discover it’s filled with cookies, it might not be all your fault.

I find this paragraph so annoying that I don't even know where to start. First of all, if my husband enjoys chips or cookies and wants to use his hard-earned money to buy those items, I most certainly am not required to eat them just because they're in the house. (If you find your teen plopped down on the couch with a beer, is he free from blame because you were the one who stupidly had alcohol in the house and he couldn't be expected to control himself?) It is not my husband's fault if I choose to eat junk and then get fatter because of it; anything I have done to gain weight over the years is my fault and mine alone. I hate this constant blame-shifting. Suggesting a healty diet for both the husband and wife is a wonderful idea, but it's extremely condescending to target women by saying that it's probably their man's fault they're getting fat.

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August 30, 2006

WOAH

Wow. Did anyone just see Keith Olbermann ten minutes ago? He was completely off his rocker. I am taping the repeat at midnight because I missed the beginning of his diatribe, but apparently Donald Rumsfeld's speech got him all in a tizzy. I think he's just ticked because Rumsfeld went after journalism.

Anyway, somehow Olbermann managed to twist history so far into itself that he said Rumsfeld is the new Chamberlain and we're waiting for the new Churchill to step up. Oooh, I know, can Murtha be Churchill? Because that would complete the wacked out reverse analogy. Rumsfeld is Chamberlain? In what universe?

Olbermann made some pretty outlandish claims. While Rumsfeld said:

I recount that history because once again we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism. Today -- another enemy, a different kind of enemy -- has made clear its intentions with attacks in places like New York and Washington, D.C., Bali, London, Madrid, Moscow and so many other places. But some seem not to have learned history's lessons.

Olbermann sarcastically said, "This country faces a new type of facism indeed." Referring to the Bush administration. Olbermann actually had the gall to say that the United States is a democracy, "sometimes just barely."

Sometimes.
Just.
Barely.

Is he joking or insane? Just barely. Keith, if this were a fascist state and barely a democracy, you wouldn't have made it to the end of that rant. And you wouldn't make it to work tomorrow. For all your ridiculous talk about the Bush administration being omnipotent and fascist, I bet you still have your job tomorrow.

Lord, this diatribe was too good to be true. But you know, Fox is the biased one and the other networks are bastions of middleoftheroadhood. Blogging fun like this doesn't come along every day.

Rumsfeld is Chamberlain. Just wow.

I'll be checking OlbermannWatch tomorrow for their response.

MORE TO GROK:

I hit refresh one more time after I posted this, and the OlbermannWatch for today is up! Better commentary than mine here.

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BLOG IN-JOKES

I wonder if any other blog-intense family has arguments where one person says he's Israel and his wife is acting like Hassan Nasrallah? Or where someone admits that her reaction to his not handing her the spices fast enough was "disproportionate"?

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HEH

From now on, any time someone takes a photo of me, I want the Katie Couric treatment!

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FOR OLD TIME'S SAKE

Den Beste wrote a post on Israel's disproportionate response. What a man.

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August 29, 2006

BUSH JOKES

Many people have commented about the episode of Bill Maher's show where Christopher Hitchens gave the audience the finger. But no one has said anything about the other brilliant things Hitchens brought up. Really, I just couldn't get over how danged witty his jabs were; it always took the audience a second to realize they were being ridiculed. You should watch his performance here at The Malcontent.

Maher made joke after joke after joke about how dumb and religious Bush is. Seriously, he beat that horse. And I personally think Hitchens' best bit was getting fed up with it. At about ten minutes into the segment, he said:

I've been on the Jon Stewart show, I've been on your show, I've seen you make about five George Bush IQ jokes per night, there's no one I know who can't do it. You know what I think? This is now the joke that stupid people laugh at. It's a joke that any dumb person can laugh at because they think they're smarter, they can prove they're smarter than the President. Like the people who make booing and mooing noises in your audience.

My husband and I both agree that we will be relieved when Bush leaves office for the simple reason that hopefully we can put an end to the idiot jokes. No matter how many times someone points out that Bush's IQ is in the 90th percentile, probably slightly higher than Kerry's, no matter that Bush has degrees from Harvard and Yale, every yahoo with a computer likes to pretend he's oh so much smarter than Bush. I think Hitchens is right: people like to think Bush is stupid because it makes them feel better about themselves.

But it truly takes a simple man to think himself grand because he can make chimp jokes.

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WHEW

At least I'm not the only one who did a double take at the Ford Freestyle ad. There's not really anything wrong with it per se, but it was a bit jarring when I realized the family was divorced. A sign of our times?

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JUSTICE

So Saddam is being forced to watch himself on South Park. Perfect. May I remind you that I suggested this almost two years ago. I hope he's had to watch it on a loop for at least that long. Also he should have to watch "Do the Handicapped Go to Hell?" and the subsequent episode, "Probably."

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August 28, 2006

I LOVE BOOKS

More bookblogging, found at Most Certainly Not:

1) A book that changed my life
Atlas Shrugged, of course.

2) A book I've read more than once
Atlas Shrugged, of course (2x). Also Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (4x). Funny story about that one: My Swedish friend heard me go on and on about that book for years, and one day at her friend's house I looked at his bookshelf and nearly fainted. There was Zen och konsten att sköta en motorcykel. My friend immediately borrowed it and started it on the train. And after about an hour, she looked up at me with this exhausted look and said, "Thank god I didn't try to read this in English." And I don't think she ever picked it up again after we got off that train.

3) A book I'd take to a desert island
Maybe I should take Gravity's Rainbow so I have nothing else to do except figure it out! Who am I kidding though; I'd probably take Atlas Shrugged or Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

4) A book that made me laugh
I read Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe and Don't Go Europe! when we lived in Germany, and they both cracked me up.

5) A book that made me cry
I finished East of Eden recently, and I cried through most of it. I sat there in an empty apartment on a folding chair and wept for a week.

6) A book I wish had been written
I had an idea for a book once. I started it, but I kinda fizzled on it. I still like the idea of it, but I doubt I'll ever go through with it.

7) A book that should never have been written
That's a hard question to answer. Not anything on my shelf, no matter how much I loathe Marcel Proust. Um, The Protocols of the Elders of Zion?

A book I'm currently reading
I set down Gravity's Rainbow (I promise I'll come back to it) to read a certain book that arrived in the mail. More on that next week.

9) A book I'm planning to read
I got so many books the other day at Goodwill that it will be a struggle to choose which one comes first. Some on the list are Heart of a Soldier, The Way Things Ought to Be, Airframe, and Flying to the Moon (seriously, Goodwill must've known I was coming to put that one out.) I also still want to tackle Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis and Taking Science to the Moon. Still on the card are South Park Conservatives, The Wisdom of Crowds, and Diffusion of Innovation. My favorite birthday gift ever was when my parents took me to a used bookstore when I was 19 and told me to choose until my arms got full...

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HEALTH CARE

It's usually pretty easy to gripe about the military health care system, so I wanted to write and say that I had the most wonderful visit this morning. My doctor was so helpful and scheduled me for all sorts of follow-ups and treatments for various things. The whole thing -- from appointment to lab work to pharmacy -- took one hour. It was amazing. Yay for the people here at our hospital!

And I've lost ten pounds since I moved here too!

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August 27, 2006

BOOK QUOTES

Angie tagged me to do one of those blog things, so here goes.

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your Blog (Please include the book and author) along with these instructions.
5. Don’t you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.
6. Tag five people.

Well, the nearest book is the husband's textbook, Contemporary Strategy Analysis. Snooze, but here goes:

"The ability to share costs across different segments has been a major factor in automobiles where very few specialist manufacturers survive and most of the world's main car makers offer a full range of vehicles allowing them to share costs through common platforms and components. The analysis of a company's optimal segment range is similar to the analysis of diversification versus specialization. We shall return to this issue in Chapter 15."

Shoot me before I have to read any more. Thank heavens the husband understands this crap. The closest fun book is something on the shelves. The first one on the second shelf is probably more interesting to my blog readers: Culture Shock Germany.

"Attendance at state schools is free, as are some (though not all) teaching materials and resources, such as books. Compared to many other present day state systems, German education offers quality instruction and commendable results. At least as important when considering your child's education is that sending your children to a German state school is also one of the best ways to integrate them into German society."

That wasn't that fun either, was it? Let's try one last book, the first one on the fifth shelf, Another Roadside Attraction.

"[The cockroach] is the most primitive of winged insects and its fossils (found in the rocks of Upper Carboniferous) are the earliest known. No other creature has lived on this Eearth as long as the roach. That's rather an impressive record for the repulsive little geek."

That'll do nicely.

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August 26, 2006

BE PREPARED

Yesterday I stopped in at Goodwill to check out their book section. I left with tons of books, including fifty cent copies of What to Expect When You're Expecting and What to Expect the First Year. I've heard these are popular books for pregnancy reading, and I didn't want to pass up such a good deal when I know I'll want them someday. Anyway, they caught the eye of the girls working the checkout counter, who got really excited for me. I realized it's a tad embarrassing to be explain that you're not pregnant but you're buying books about pregnancy.

Of course, anyone who knows me well is probably laughing, because they know there's no way on earth I'll get pregnant until I've read both books cover to cover and used different highlighters to color-code important information within. My husband and I are the ultimate planners. We spent months researching the type of dog we wanted, for pete's sake. My husband did so much research on our Mazda5 that he knew more about it than the salesman (an advantage which helped him get it at invoice). Right now he's been spending all his free time making intricate spreadsheets comparing different mortgages and the time value of our money to see how we can save $300 over the next five years. We're pretty intense people when it comes to Decisions That Affect Our Future, but heck, we even consult Consumer Reports to decide which dishwasher soap to buy. So while it might've seemed funny to the girls at Goodwill, those who know us aren't shocked that I bought pregnancy books for the baby we'll probably have in 2008.

Which is actually starting to freak me out a little. In Germany we always said that we'd wait until our next duty station. That was two PCSes away, so it seemed safe. But now we move in just over three months, and the reality of "we're buying the house where we'll have our first baby" is starting to freak me out. It's not going to be anywhere near Angie, and she's supposed to be my nanny!

I better start reading those books soon...

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August 23, 2006

SMELLS

I've heard that the best human sense for recall is not sight but smell. I got a new air freshener for the car today that was supposed to smell like "fresh cotton." Either I was misinformed as to what cotton smells like, or this air freshener should've been labeled "old timey bottle of Bayer." I instantly thought of my MuMu. She always kept aspirin and Mentholatum by her bed. What's interesting about the nose is that I didn't really remember that my grandma smelled like aspirin until I smelled that air freshener. And though Bayer is not the best smell for the car, I think I will keep it. And think of her when I drive.

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JUST NASTY

Did you know that Fox News Channel reporter Steve Centanni and freelance cameraman Olaf Wiig were kidnapped in Gaza? Maybe not, since all we hear about on TV these days is John Mark Karr. But according to some TV critic guy named Bob Lawrence, this may be more than just an oversight:

Fox has deliberately set itself apart from other news media. Starting at the top with Roger Ailes, the Fox sales pitch has been to deride other media, to declare itself the one source of the real truth, the sole source of ‘fair and accurate’ news reporting. As a result, there’s not a reservoir of kinship or good will with Fox on the part of the rest of the news media. You can’t keep insulting people and then expect friendship when you need it.

They’ve made it a policy to keep a distance between themselves and the rest of the media, far beyond the usual competitive spirit, so that’s where they are: at a distance.

So you mean I was right to make the snide comment a week ago that no one would care because the journalist was from Fox? I thought I was being overly snarky, but I guess life is stranger than parody.

I'm with Cold Fury:

So howzabout we make a little deal: since you and your liberal-media playmates find yourselves unable to muster enough patriotic spirit — or, for that matter, simple human decency — to bother concerning yourselves about the fate of a couple of fellow American journalists because their politics may not mesh with your own, from here on out, American soldiers (the overwhelming majority of whom violently disagree with your politics, which I think we can safely infer from your snide and heartless comment) will no longer be expected to go out and rescue your sorry, worthless asses when the terrorists you’re so busy propagandizing for get tired of putting up with your ass-kissing sycophancy and decide you’d be more useful as hostages instead.

In other words, if partisan politics means that much to you liberal-media jackholes, and you’re that closed-minded that you can’t even rise above your own petty liberal dogma to scrape up a plugged nickel’s worth of fellow-feeling for your American colleagues no matter who they work (or voted) for, then you have no right to expect any when you find yourself caught in a steel-jawed Islamist trap of your own devising.

If the North Kosanese getcha, don't expect any help from your "countrymen"...

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TOILET HUMOR

Our toilet has officially turned into a European toilet. Maintenance has been out twice already to plunge, snake, and grumble, but the water simply won't suck down the hole; it just stirs. Last night I was trying to think of a joke I could make about it, so I tried to come up with something that doesn't belong in a toilet. I laughed out loud and teased my husband, "Honey, you really need to stop shoving Korans down our toilet."

It's funny when the first thing that comes to mind when you think "what could clog a toilet?" is the Koran...

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August 22, 2006

BWAHAHAHAHA

It's the new "Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy!"

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SOS

Oda Mae --
I don't know if my emails aren't reaching you. At least one got kicked back. Anyway, I need your address to send your bear to you. See if you can email it to me.

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THE WRONG THING TO READ AT 3 AM

Charlie threw up at 0315, and I couldn't go back to sleep after we cleaned it up. I thought some internet would help, but clicking on this Amritas post in the middle of the night just made my head reel even more.

He says, among many other things:

Instead of focusing on over there, we should remember what we can do here. Specifically, tighten the borders. Minimize Muslim immigration.

But noooo. We want more 'security'. More war in East Ameraq. No attention paid to the Muslims that continue to stream into the West. We whine about the jihadists among them when it's too late - when they're already here - often with citizenship. What does that say about us? We want to be warriors, bravely defending our fortress - while we leave the back door wide open. Why? Because we also want to pat ourselves on the back for being free of bigotry. Aren't we wonderful?

I can't find anything there I don't agree with. Amritas has gradually come to see the war in Iraq as the wrong move, which I can respect because I've followed his thought process, and nowhere did it involve ideas like "no blood for oil" or "Bush is Hitler". Common ground goes a long way. And when I read things like the segment of Diana West's article he quoted, I find myself agreeing:

I wanted to make the world - that part of the world from which terrorism mainly springs - democratic, and therefore, safe.

Over the past few years, then, the United States has supported fledgling democracies in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Palestinian Authority ... But the fact is, when these peoples have spoken, what we have heard, or should have been hearing, in the expression of their collective will is that the mechanics of democracy alone (one citizen, one vote) do not automatically manufacture democrats - if by democrats we mean citizens who believe first and foremost in the kind of liberty that guarantees freedom of conscience and equality before the law.

On the contrary, each of these new democracies has produced constitutions that enshrine Islamic law.

This, as I understand it, is a big part of why Amritas feels we made the wrong move by going into Iraq. I can appreciate this argument, since I have fretted about the same thing in recent times. My husband and I worry constantly about the seven signs of non-competitive states, which I think wholly applies to the Middle East problem.

That said, I still see good in our presence in Iraq. Varifrank reminds us this week that Iran could've easily armed Hizbollah if Old Iraq had been in the middle to cooperate.

Even though there's a whole website dedicated to me being the world's biggest war cheerleader (yep, it's still up and running), I have never said that I have all the answers. I, like Amritas, simply fear and even hate Islam. But I don't know the best course of action for defending ourselves from it; I just know I'll support whatever it takes to get them to leave us alone.

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August 21, 2006

NICE

An ode to grown-ups, by James Lileks.

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August 20, 2006

GRAVITY'S BURDEN

Last night we watched Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Meh. It wasn't that great, but it's easy to finish a so-so movie; it's only two hours of my life. However, I am struggling with applying the same concept to the book I'm reading. I've already sunk countless hours into Gravity's Rainbow, and I can't decide if I want to keep going or throw in the towel.

I've never not finished a book (well, except once, but I felt guilty for 15 years). I always think that there's got to be something of value in most books, so I hate to quit them. Maybe the good part is at the end, and I'll never know. But it's bad news when you're on page 140 of a 760 page book and every page feels like a chore.

Has anyone else read this book? Is it worth it? There are whole companion books dedicated to this monster; doesn't it seem like any book that you need two other books and several websites to understand is a bit ridiculous? When the Wikipedia entry starts "The main narrative thread (insofar as there is one)", that's not a good sign. Nor is the fact that the book was suggested for a Pulitzer and rejected by the board because it was "unreadable."

And I thought I'd type out a passage for you to mull over when I googled it and found that Photon Courier has written about the same passage. Because it's his favorite. The one that was practically my breaking point. Sigh. I know he's read my blog once before; maybe he can urge me to keep going in the book.

I will point out that he cut the passage way down though. Perhaps even he was daunted by a 16 line sentence.

At what point do you cut your losses with a book and move on? Or do you keep trudging through and hope that the end of the book brings enlightenment or at least satisfaction in knowing you didn't give up?

I don't like to quit books. But I also don't like dreading picking it up.

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