July 15, 2007


One thing I've noticed since I've started trying to have a baby is how absolutely unfair the process seems at times. There are couples out there who have tried for years to have babies and would give anything for a child. And then there's these monsters:

A couple authorities say were so obsessed with the Internet and video games that they left their babies starving and suffering other health problems have pleaded guilty to child neglect.
Viloria said the Reno couple were too distracted by online video games, mainly the fantasy role-playing “Dungeons & Dragons” series, to give their children proper care.

“They had food; they just chose not to give it to their kids because they were too busy playing video games,” Viloria told the Reno Gazette-Journal.

Police said hospital staff had to shave the head of the girl because her hair was matted with cat urine. The 10-pound girl also had a mouth infection, dry skin and severe dehydration.

Her brother had to be treated for starvation and a genital infection. His lack of muscle development caused him difficulty in walking, investigators said.

I'm so mad I can't even think of anything else to say.

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July 13, 2007


VDH takes The Times to task.

Critics called for the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, a change in command in Iraq and at Centcom, new strategies, and more troops. But now that we have a new secretary, a new command in Iraq and at Centcom, new strategies, and more troops, suddenly we have a renewed demand for withdrawal before the agreed-upon September accounting—suggesting that the only constant in such harping was the assumption that Iraq was either hopeless or not worth the effort.

Amen to that. I had a discussion back in 2003 with a German friend who said we were wrong to go to Iraq without support from countries like France. I pointed out that the problem is that there was actually no possibility of getting France's support, that Chirac said they would not vote for war no matter what. They had already made their decision, no matter what we said or did. Same with the anti-OIF types at The Times: there's absolutely nothing we could do to ever get them to admit that Iraq is not a lost cause. So what's the point?

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The brother visit is going swimmingly. He just graduated college and is looking for a Big Boy Job, so he's content to sit around all day with me watching South Park and eating trail mix. Easy entertainment.

My husband was supposed to jump this morning, so the brother and I were going to head out to the St. Mere Eglise Drop Zone to watch. (Do they really not see how disturbing that name is? Talk about inauspicious. Husband and I were trying to come up with other examples: Omaha Beach Water Park, etc.) Anyway, I thought watching the jump would be the coolest thing you can do in this town, but naturally the Army didn't cooperate with my tourist plans. The husband got up at 3:30 for a 9:00 jump -- let's hear it for Hurry Up And Wait -- and then called shortly after 8:00 to say they'd run out of parachutes so he wasn't jumping today. So there goes my good idea.

Looks like more South Park for us.

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July 10, 2007


Some morning links before I head to the airport:

Mark Steyn: British bomb plot and Michael Moore-style health care

According to a report in the British Medical Journal, white males comprise 43.5 percent of the population but now account for less than a quarter of students at UK medical schools. In other words, being a doctor is no longer an attractive middle-class career proposition. That's quite a monument to six decades of Michael Moore-style socialist health care.

Incidentally, that was the exact same argument I tried to make at our office Christmas party in Germany.

John Stossel: Government is all about force

Government has nothing it hasn't first expropriated from some productive person. In contrast, the private sector – whether nonprofit or a greedy business – must work through persuasion and consent. No matter how rich Bill Gates gets, he cannot force us to buy his software. Outside government, actions are voluntary, and voluntary is better because it reflects the free judgment of creative, productive people.

And a great Mark Steyn quote from The Corner:

I want to bequeath the wonders of this earth to the next generation, but I worry that my grandchildren will never know the feeling that you've totally demonstrated your tremendous concern and commitment to taking action just by going to a concert and staying until halfway through the George Michael set when he started doing stuff from the new album.

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My baby brother shows up today for a visit. And by baby, I mean he's 25. But in our family, he'll always be the baby.


This will be the first time we've really spent any time together since I got married. I have him all to myself for a week.

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July 09, 2007


Last night's episode of Army Wives was much better, in my opinion. It really reminded me of military life and hit on several issues that Army families have to deal with, from the wife fixing a clog in the sink to the tug in a soldier's heart between his job and his family. I wrote about my experiences with a soldier's heart over at SpouseBUZZ.

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July 08, 2007


Mary Katharine Ham has lots of jokes about an article on the French eating at McDonald's.

"We hate it and go to it. It's our paradox," a journalist for the French magazine Challenges, Alice Mérieux, said. "We're very anti-American in principle, but individually, if you're going to the movies and have to eat in 10 minutes, you go to McDonald's."

Yep, I saw this in action. When I was in my French language class, a Hungarian, a Czech, and I did an expose on McDonald's. We went around our French town and interviewed folks about their thoughts on McDonald's. Naturally, they all thought it was a despicable place with disgusting food. And naturally there was always a line out the door and onto the sidewalk.

What I thought was especially interesting was that the Hungarian and the Czech didn't really get the concept of the difference between fast food and restaurant food. I had to explain to them that Americans do indeed eat at McDonald's, but we don't consider it Fine Dining. We actually do have sit-down restaurants that we eat at. For them in their home countries, the price of McDonald's was the same as the price at a sit-down place, so the distinction was lost on them. They thought we considered McDonald's the same thing as a fancy restaurant. So at least I can say that I dispelled one misconception during my year in France: I taught a Hungarian and a Czech that McDonald's is not classy.

Of course, this is coming from the girl who ate at Steak n Shake for her senior prom...

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This is hilarious:


Found at Chic[k]pilot

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July 07, 2007


A stinging quote from Matt Sanchez:

When Time magazine interviewed a bombmaker claiming to be responsible for “rising American casualties,” they forgot to ask the “sophisticated and tenacious enemy” the tough questions like, “What’s your exit strategy?” or “How broken is the insurgency?” “Could you define victory?” or even the most basic, “Why are you doing this?” The fact that the press demands accountability from one side and offers servility to the other is a very cunning strategy to win an asymmetrical war.

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July 06, 2007


Yes, yes, sweet, awesome, holy crap.
We just bought tickets to attend Stitch N Pitch at Busch Stadium. That's right, knitting and baseball acting like they're peanut butter and jelly. Too cool. We'll be going with my friend and her mom, the awesome lady who taught me to knit ten years ago, and a girl I met through my knitting class here whose husband is deployed. She's flying from Montana; we're coming from both coasts to converge on the StL for the best idea to hit baseball since the hot dog.
Best idea we've had for a vacation since we followed Feasting on Asphalt.

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Last night I finished reading Under the Sabers: The Unwritten Code of Army Wives. It was a fascinating book and a very compelling story. I now understand where a lot of the material for the TV show Army Wives is coming from, and I got a lot out of the book. But I can't help but feel that the title is a misnomer. Even the new title -- Army Wives: The Unwritten Code of Military Marriage -- doesn't quite fix the problem.

The book traces the lives of different Army couples from right before 9/11 to the start of OIF. It centers heavily on the five murders at Fort Bragg in the summer of 2002. In this sense, it's more like Fayetteville's In Cold Blood than just a book about Army wives. It's the story of gruesome murder, with information and insight on the military intertwined.

I came away from the book with the same feeling as when I read While They're At War. There may be some valuable insight into the military in the book, but the stories themselves are quite atypical. The average Army wife isn't an active anti-war protestor, nor does she get stabbed and burned alive by her husband. The average Army wife just takes care of her kids and her household while her husband is away. Most of what she overcomes is molehills, but it's a minefield of molehills spread out over years. But I guess that doesn't sell books. These fantastical stories are a vehicle to give people a peek at military life, but it seems a bit dangerous to me to name a book about murder, adultery, and horror as the "code of military marriage."

I liked the book, don't get me wrong. But just like Truman Capote's tome shouldn't be used as a guidebook to visiting Kansas, neither should this book be all you know about military life.

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July 05, 2007


Interesting article on Scooter Libby, sent by Oda Mae: Bush Got It Right... Unlike Mr. Clinton

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Frank J's Brief History of the United States of America is worth a chuckle.

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Watch out, Vera Bradley; I'm quilting my own bags now.


I love my new sewing machine.

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I kept wanting to watch the movie United 93, and my husband kept coming up with excuses why he didn't feel like seeing it. He wanted to watch something funny, he didn't feel like a movie tonight, there wasn't enough time before bed. Finally I flat-out asked him why he obviously didn't want to see the movie. He replied that he just didn't want to see anything made by Oliver Stone. Ah-ha. Mix up, honey, Stone didn't make this one; he made the other one. Problem solved, and we watched the movie a few days ago.

I don't blame him. I read the book Case Closed a few weeks ago, and all I could think of the whole time was that I spent money in the theater to see JFK when I was 13, and I actually thought it was true. I was just an idiot kid, and it was all up there on the big screen, for pete's sake, so how was I to know that Stone based that load of crap on "evidence" that had been debunked years earlier? The man is just dishonest to the core. I can't believe I wasted any brain cells thinking there was a JFK conspiracy.

So I love it that, even though Stone can twist and turn a story into anything but the truth, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad still won't let him make a documentary about him. Because

"It is right that this person is considered part of the opposition in the U.S., but opposition in the U.S. is a part of the Great Satan," Mehdi Kalhor, media adviser to the president told the Fars news agency.

Even folks who hate the US are still considered enemies with respect to jihad. Nice. It's a shame that lesson will likely go right over everyone's heads.

Looks like Oliver Stone will have to find some other story to twist up into bullcrap.

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July 04, 2007


Lileks posted for the 4th of July. I wanted to excerpt it, but 1) I can't even pick one part that's better than another and 2) if I excerpt it, you might not go read the whole thing.

Trust me, you're gonna want to read it twice.

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Neal Boortz hates the 4th of July.

Trust me, you don't want me to work on the 4th of July. I'll just go into one of my insensitive rants about how Americans .. most Americans anyway .. no longer have any real love of freedom. Security is the word today, not independence. Oh, to be sure ... we want to be free to chose where we work (as long as we don't have to negotiate our own salary), where we live, where we worship and what's for dinner. Beyond that ... all too many of us want to government to step in and relieve us of the responsibilities and consequences of choice.

Reading assignment? Sure .. I have one for you. Go buy the book "1776" and read it. Read how American patriots in 1776 marched across frozen ground without shoes --- leaving a trail of blood --- just to fight for independence from Great Britain. Today? See how many people you can find today who would make that sacrifice for freedom.

Will get the book. And will think about what freedom really means today.
But 4th of July for patriots is like Valentine's Day for soulmates: superfluous.

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July 03, 2007


Must read Michael Yon: Bless the Beasts and Children

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July 02, 2007


Over the weekend, we were very optimistic about taking a pregnancy test. We thought the fifth month just might be the charm. But if our pregnancy test had been an election ballot, we would've been looking at a dimpled chad.


That photo is not staged; that's my husband trying to figure out what in the heck was going on. One line means no, two lines means yes, but what does one dark line and one line that's barely perceptible to the naked eye mean? We wanted to find out if we were having a baby or not, and instead we got "Pat Buchanan."

Incidentally, if something is advertised as 99% effective, why does it need to be sold in two packs?

Another test and two more days later, and we're pretty sure we're not pregnant. I was on the phone with my mother, sniveling about how every month that passes brings more likelihood that my husband will deploy before this baby ever shows up, and my mother said the most perfect thing she could've said in this situation: She said that she would obviously do whatever she could to help me if my husband is gone when this baby comes, but that she wanted us to know how proud she is of us, that we've chosen a very difficult lifestyle and that she admires and respects us for making this family sacrifice for our country.

I thought about what she said later in the day, and I thought about the book report I wrote for SpouseBUZZ that morning, and I realized that she's right. We've chosen this life, and we can un-choose it any time we wish. But what we can't do is stick with this choice and then complain about it. Would I want to get out of the Army in order to have my husband here next year? No. So that's our choice. It's important to us to be in the Army, so it has to be important enough to stop complaining about the situation.

So if he's here, he's here, and if he's not, he's not. That's the way it has to be, and there's no sense in talking about it or dwelling on our so-called bad luck.

But can we at least get some better luck in reading those danged home tests?

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