August 19, 2006


Let me just say that I loathe myself for falling into that age-old trap of trying to lose weight a month before your high school reunion. I can't believe I'm playing that dumb game, but I am. I'd like to consider it Incentive, since I know I need to get better at exercising anyway, but I feel like it's more like Panic than Incentive. So I've been working out, probably my second least favorite thing to do behind getting a sonogram.

Don't you hate when you go to the gym and get on the machine next to SuperWoman? It's happened to me two weekends in a row. I'm not sure men care so much, but the first thing a woman will do is look at her neighbor's screen and compare. And the girl next to me goes harder, longer, and farther than me. By a long shot. I feel like Rocky Balboa if I can do 30 min, but this girl does an hour at a faster pace. And it's all I can think about the whole time I'm exercising: all the excuses for why I haven't decided to deal with the 20 lbs I've gained since high school until a month before it matters.

Plus I'm a liar. It's probably more like 25.
God, I hate exercising.

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August 18, 2006


Yes, death penalty, please.
Hershel Morgan can rot in hell.
Jessica Curless was my brother's good friend.

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Bring the troops home now!

From Germany.

As if I haven't said this often enough, our posts in Germany are a huge waste of money. I just came up with another reason why.

Remember my heater in Germany? The one that kept our house at 80 degrees, whether we liked it or not? We didn't have to pay for that heater. Nor did we have to pay for electricity, water, gas, garbage, or anything else. Well, now we have to pay for those things, and I am appalled at how expensive they are. And how much we got away with in Germany on the government's dime.

We now have 1100 sq feet and a gas/electric bill of $130. We keep our house a disgusting 80 degrees now too because we don't want to pay for more. And I can't help but cringe when I think of all my neighbors who opened their windows in the winter because it was too hot in our houses in Germany. Think of all the money it cost our government to pump heat into houses where you can't control the thermostat, houses with an additional 500-600 sq feet. Man alive. Think of all the times we had every light blazing and the TV running all day long. We never had to deal with the consequences of our electric habits.

I told my husband last night that we're going to start lighting this house with candles. I'm far too tight to shell out $130 for electricity. And it will only get worse when we buy a house.

Why, oh why, don't they have thermostats in our houses in Germany?

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Hooray for the new pension bill!

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As of today, we're here because we want to be.

Last night, my husband and I realized that today is his four year anniversary of being in the Army. If he had wanted to get out, he would've skipped this course and we would've coasted the rest of our time in Germany until today. And today we would've been civilians.

It's strange to think about, really. But it's also kinda fun to know that we're now here not because of an obligation he made when he was 19, but because he chose to stay. Pretty cool.

And I couldn't help but remember CaliValley's rant...

And the misery we endured when my husband couldn't start the Army right away. How poor we were then! But it makes where we are four years later all the sweeter. The Army's been good to us.

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August 17, 2006


The joys and headaches of the internet. From Robert McHenry:

[What we have here is] the dissolution of categories, the collapse of hierarchy, that used to help us navigate information in a way that Google cannot. Time was, we understood that what is written in a scholarly monograph is different from what is written in a reference book, which is different from what is written in an informal essay, which is different from what is written in a news bulletin, which is different from what is offhandedly jotted down, which is different from what is scribbled on the bathroom wall. Different in intent, different in style, different in reliability. And not only did we understand that they were different, we could tell which was what, usually at a glance.

When the world wide web took off, I was finishing high school and starting college. We were told we could not use internet sites for research papers because they were unreliable: any old guy could write any old thing on the web. But now I think we've come full circle; I trust Charles Johnson infinitely more than I trust Dan Rather. News reports are full of lies and fake photos. Academic papers insist that Neil Prakash is a dentist. How can any high schooler or college student wade through this mass of bias and nonsense to write a paper for school? And how can any teacher decide which sources fly these days?

Thank goodness I'm done with school.

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August 16, 2006


Mom and brother are fine, of course.
More tomorrow; we have House to watch.

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August 15, 2006


My mother and brother are flying between two big American cities tomorrow. I talked to my mom on the phone today and said, "Well, I love you, just in case." And though we were joking about how they're more likely to be hurt on the way to the airport, and how security will be tight tomorrow, I still got a lump in my throat. And it focused my laser beam even more.

I saw Nihad Awad from CAIR on TV last night, talking all that "terrorism has nothing to do with Islam, religion of peace, jihad is a personal struggle" nonsense. I remembered that baloney today when I read these harsh words on Ace's post:

Although I've usually been careful to use the preferred term "Islamofascist" as most "resepctable" commentators do, with the occasional sloppy slip-up, as a means of distinguishing peaceful, loyal Muslims from the terrorists--

I'm dropping that practice, as of today. Until the Muslim community can demonstrate it is, in word and deed, as opposed to the slaughter of its fellow citizens as true citizenship in the UK, US, Australia, etc., demand, I'm not pretending we have an "Islamofascist" problem anymore. What we have is a Muslim problem.

If the Muslim community wanted to eliminate terrorism, it could do so within a month.

As it's not part of the solution, it's part of the problem, and it's time to judge it as such.

I'm mad that my mom can't get on a plane without thinking the worst. I'm mad that terrorism has worked on me, that I'm scared today. I hate that after five years of this junk, I have little but contempt for the Muslim community.

Hand me my needles; I need to do some serious aggression knitting.

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August 14, 2006


I clicked on a link to Uncle Sam Ate My Baby blog because of the hilarious name. What I found was a wonderful thing called 2996. It is a project to honor those who died on 9/11; participants research a victim and post their tribute on the fifth anniversary. I signed up for a person immediately. They still need about 1200 people to participate, so if you have any interest in this project, please go to 2996 and sign up.

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Every knitter has stuff in her closet that she hates. Lots of people rip those garments out and start over or move on to something else, but I just leave the loathed garment in my closet and wish a magic fairy would come make it all better for me. So far no luck.

Inspired by a Knitty Gritty episode, I have decided to fix some problem knits. The highest priority was the first cable sweater I ever did. I blindly followed the pattern and completed the entire sweater, only to find that the torso was about 5 inches too long for my liking. If it were the 80s, I could've thrown on a belt and made a mini-dress out of it. Sigh. I wore the sweater a couple of times out of obligation, but I never liked it.

So this past week I did the scariest knitting thing I've ever done: I cut the bottom off with scissors and knitted new ribbing on, eliminating several unwanted inches. Which meant picking up stitches out of cables. Yikes.


I don't know if you can really tell from this before and after photo how much length I lost, but it was quite a bit. I lost a little blood, sweat, and tears in the process too. But now I have a sweater that I will actually wear, instead of one that looks nice from a distance but never leaves the closet.

I told myself that I don't want to move on to new projects until I am happy with the ones I have. That means I've got about four or five sweaters to either rip out completely and salvage the yarn for something else, or to fix somehow. Probably rip out, in all honesty, for they're such a waste of yarn.

Off to tackle another monstrous garment...

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Instapundit is organizing the debate over whether people would prefer a McCain/Lieberman ticket or a Giuliani/Romney. Personally, I think that's just wishful thinking. I think a lot of the right wing of the blogosphere (certainly the sites I frequent) are more libertarian than most Republicans are. I personally don't think we're going to get any of these people on the ticket. And I guess I'm fine with that, because I keep thinking about what Hugh Hewitt said in his book If It's Not Close, They Can't Cheat: "If you walk away from politics because you can't have everything your way, you are helping the people win who are least like you and most opposed to your views."

Many people in the comments section at The Wide Awake Cafe said they'd sooner sit at home than vote for either McCain or Guliani. I hope they're exaggerating, because staying at home is the same thing as voting for Hillary (or whomever). Please don't stay home. For god's sake, think about it. If you're such a serious social conservative that you can't vote for Guliani because of his abortion stance, or you're such a fiscal conservative that McCain-Feingold makes you sick, think of the alternative. Would you rather have Guliani or McCain in office and disagree with some of the stuff they do, or have Hillary in office and disagree with all of it?

Again, I really don't think this will be an issue because I (sadly) don't think these men can make it out of the primary. But for heaven's sake, just cowboy up and vote Republican, no matter who the guy is. Don't stay home and be a martyr.

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August 13, 2006


So two nights ago, I had the strange realization that my husband could deploy again in the near future. When he returned from Iraq in March 2005, the thought of the next deployment seemed far off. He moved to Finance, where there was no chance of him deploying with that particular unit. Then we were coming here for two courses, with obviously no deployments either. We still don't know where we're moving in December, but the other night as we were getting ready for bed, I suddenly had the thought that he could go to a deploying unit. Oh yeah, deployment. It was a strange realization that's hard to put into words: it wasn't fear, sadness, or anxiety; it was just a feeling of "oh yeah, I forgot that was a possibility." So, yeah, I forgot that was a possibility. We've been extremely lucky so far that he's only gone once, so we'll just have to wait and see what's in store for us at the next duty station. Wherever that is. Seriously, can we find out soon? The movers will be back before we know it.

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Does anyone else think it's mildly offensive that Comedy Central is running "Red State Weekend" with a lineup of Blue Collar Comedy shows and movies like Joe Dirt? They're billing it as a "weekend's worth of movies for 50.7% of the country's population." Yeah, because red states like Ohio and Alaska are so into mullets.

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Found this via Hud and CaliValley:
Gore isn't quite as green as he's led the world to believe

Kinda reminds me of the time Ben Affleck said he was thinking of running for Congress, and it turned out he had only voted once in the past 10 years, and not even in 2000 when he rode around with Gore trying to rock the vote. Sheesh.

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August 12, 2006


Are there any nutritionists out there who can answer a real question for me? How do you get dehydrated when you're on a liquid diet? That seems oxymoronic to me, but naturally I have no medical knowledge whatsoever. This is a real, actual, honest-to-god question. With only the tiniest pinch of smartaleckness because that woman makes me sick.

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August 11, 2006


Far be it for me to start talking about polls again, but let me throw a smidgen of perspective out there. The news shows are constantly talking about polls. There seems to be a poll for everything, from presidential approval to whether we should support Israel. And everyone acts like opinion polls mean something. Well, I got your poll right here:

Some 30 percent of Americans cannot say in what year the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks against New York's World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington took place, according to a poll published in the Washington Post newspaper.

While the country is preparing to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the attacks that claimed nearly 3,000 lives and shocked the world, 95 percent of Americans questioned in the poll were able to remember the month and the day of the attacks, according to Wednesday's edition of the newspaper.

But when asked what year, 30 percent could not give a correct answer.

Of that group, six percent gave an earlier year, eight percent gave a later year, and 16 percent admitted they had no idea whatsoever.

These aren't 17-year-old morons; these are grown-ups, people my parents' age, who have no idea when 9/11 happened. And we're supposed to care what people say in polls? Are they polling the same 300 dimwits who think 9/11 was an inside job?

I'd wager a lot of Americans still can't find Iraq, Israel, or Lebanon on a map. They don't know a Sunni or a Shi'ite from Shinola. Yet we call them and ask what they think about world events. Whatever.

(Poll link found via Hud)

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My family wasn't a big TV family. The only show I remember watching regularly with my parents was The Greatest American Hero. When I was six. I didn't really have time to watch TV in high school because I spent too much time on the phone. Man, I spent a whole lotta time on that phone. I didn't own a TV in college and was too busy there to care either.

When I got to grad school, I didn't know the difference between the networks, and I couldn't name a single thing that was on TV. But my roommate got cable. Her family was a TV family. And slowly, she began to teach me the joys of television. I was hooked. I used to walk around pointing out all of the things that I now know about the world because I saw them on TV. It was entertainment plus learning, and I soaked it up like a sponge.

Three years in Germany with a mere 8 channels of AFN was enough to get by on, but since we've been back, I've been feeding my love with a vengeance. What else am I gonna do while I knit teddy bears? (Oh yeah, remember when I said I was burnt out on knitting bears? I lied. I put the stuff away for two hours and then got it all back out. I've made like 5 more since.) Right now, I am completely obsessed with the National Geographic channel. And digital cable DVR. I record programs all the time, and every meal with my husband begins with me telling him everything I learned on TV.

But I have to stop taping the nature shows. I can't take it anymore. Why do they always have to write the narration from the point of view of the prey? Look at me, I'm a helpless sea lion pup, mere weeks old. Oops, I strayed too far from the group and I'm not strong enough to swim back. La di da. Crunch. That's the sound of a great white shark eating the pup whole. It's also the sound of my heart breaking. I've watched elephants killing men, the killer crocs of Uganda, black widow and funnel-web spiders, male dolphins enslaving females and killing their offspring on "Dolphins: The Dark Side", and the Mexican staring frog of Southern Sri Lanka. OK, not that last one. All of these animal shows are really starting to stress me out; I swear anyone who idolizes animals must not really know that much about them. I need to stick to taping shows about escape from Alcatraz and counterfeit money.

Anyway, TV rules. It can be a great learning tool and a source of hours of enjoyment. I also had a roommate who hated TV with a passion and thought that it sucked intelligence away from viewers. Unless of course they were watching a program about Ireland, in which case it was brilliant. For some reason, she had an Ireland fetish, and she even stooped so low as to watch Days of our Lives when they were in "Ireland", i.e. a different backdrop on the set. But no one ever accused her of being reasonable. I agree with Aunt Purl that folks who pretend that they're better than you because they don't watch TV need their chops busted.

A few weeks ago, I made a Kitty Carlisle reference when I was out on a first date. The guy I was with proudly told me that he does not own a television and (insert snotty tone of voice here) had not watched TV in over a year. Looked at me with one eyebrow arched.

Good grief. I mean it's fine if you don't watch TV, in fact I'd probably have a much smaller ass if I myself got out more, but I have about a real short fuse for people puffing up on Holier Than Thou, especially on a first date.

I guess I was supposed to recognize his utter superiority over those of us too weak and shallow to abstain from the TV, but all I just drawled out my best hillbilly accent to inform him, "You know they have them thar TV sets real cheap at The WalMart!"

Needless to say, he was not amused.
Needless to add, it was our first and last date.

P.S. Even though there was no National Geographic channel on AFN, I still learned a lot from TV in Germany:

1. Reading a book can make you a better pilot, especially if you want to be good at what you do.

2. You can't concentrate on raquetball if you're being sexually harrassed.

3. White frat boys who ask you for directions could be terrorists, and you'd never see it coming.

4. Even though OIF rotations are published in Stars and Stripes six months before they happen, you should never ever mention dad's impending deployment on a cell phone or IM.

5. Hamsters can park cars better than most humans in the Amberg parking garage.

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I heard a lot on the news yesterday about how Americans have forgotten about 9/11, and how this recently foiled terror plot should help us all focus. But apparently some people seem to have forgotten on purpose, because they don't believe we're fighting a war.


Hawkins is right that if this plot had been successful, if hundreds more people had been killed in planes this year, these would've been the first people to blame Bush and Blair. You can't win.

So everyone's mad. The Democratic Underground is mad that Bush is elevating the terror level for political gain. And the Council on American Islamic Relations is mad that Bush blamed the terror plot on, um, Muslims:

U.S. Muslim groups criticized President George W. Bush on Thursday for calling a foiled plot to blow up airplanes part of a “war with Islamic fascists,” saying the term could inflame anti-Muslim tensions.

U.S. officials have said the plot, thwarted by Britain, to blow up several aircraft over the Atlantic bore many of the hallmarks of al Qaeda.

“We believe this is an ill-advised term and we believe that it is counter-productive to associate Islam or Muslims with fascism,” said Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations advocacy group.

“We ought to take advantage of these incidents to make sure that we do not start a religious war against Islam and Muslims,” he told a news conference in Washington.

“We urge him (Bush) and we urge other public officials to restrain themselves.”

Yes, because you know that after 9/11, 7/7, Madrid, etc, white people went bonkers and started rioting in the street and sawing off Muslims' heads with dull knives. We really need to prevent this from happening again. I mean, it's just be a coincidence that all these terror attacks over the past five years have been perpetrated by Muslims. We can't really blame Islam for any of this. It's obviously "counter productive" to say that there's causation here; I guess it's just correlation. So we owe you guys a big apology, Hasan Akbar, John Walker Lindh, Richard Reid, Muhammad and Malvo, Mohammed Reza Taheriazar, and Naveed Haq. The fact that you are all Muslims is just a big ol' coincidence, and any attempt to associate you with Islamic facism would be a grave injustice. We beg your forgiveness that while you were killing people, we might've offended you with a label.

Sorry, my sarcasm-meter just hit amaravatian levels.

Maybe Malkin is right: it doesn't even do any good to call them "Islamic fascists", because that assumes that it's an outlying fringe. Check out her scary graphs.

Laser beam. Laser beam. Laser beam.
Deep breath.

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I had a dream the other night that I met James Lileks and I didn't like him. When I woke up, I wanted to beat up my subconscious. How could you not like this man, even in a dream? What was I thinking?

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August 10, 2006


This article via Hud reminds me of my thoughts a few weeks ago: What's Wrong With This Outfit, Mom? I always joke that my mom was lucky that baggy was in when I was young. Umbro soccer shorts and big t-shirts were all the rage; my only form of rebellion was an Avril Lavigne-ish phase where I wore my dad's pants when I was 18. Everything I wore was XL, to the point where a guy in college lifted me up and remarked that I was a lot lighter than I looked! My mom hated the sight of me in my dad's pants, but I daresay she was lucky I didn't dress like kids today (i.e. like a whore). There was a large group of high schoolers at the ballgame last week, and the husband and I kept pointing out things we'll never let our kids wear. He's adamantly against writing on the butt of girls' shorts; I stand firm against t-shirts with suggestive and/or snotnosed punk sayings, like the "I may not be on time, but I'm worth the wait" shirt we saw on a pre-teen at the game. Kids today are a mess.

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