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 18, 2006

GULP

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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August 15, 2006

IT WORKED

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.

Posted by: Sarah at 10:36 AM | Comments (10) | Add Comment
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August 13, 2006

HUH?

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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August 11, 2006

DUH

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)

Posted by: Sarah at 06:12 AM | Comments (4) | Add Comment
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TV

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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August 10, 2006

UGH

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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August 08, 2006

STILL FESTERING

I've been thinking about what happened on The View for days now, and I can't seem to let it go. I heard that Barbara was mean to Elisabeth and Elisabeth was mean to Joy, so I decided to go watch it for myself. I really don't think anyone was mean to anyone. It was a discussion of the morning-after pill; these things can get heated. (I thought the things that commenters said about Elisabeth Hasselbeck on blogs were far worse, but most comment sections are a nightmare anyway.)

What I can't stop thinking about is the Hypothetical Situation that Joy posed to Elisabeth. When we debate abortion, why is it that someone always has to bring up the "12 year old girl who's been raped by her father or uncle"? As if this is the norm and these are the only girls who really need the morning-after pill. I thought Elisabeth was completely right to point out that if we're talking about offering this pill over-the-counter, then the target consumer is not really the rape and incest victim. But abortion is always framed around rape and incest. That's the Rocky Marciano of the abortion debate: "That's they one!" But less than 2% of women who have abortions say they do so because of rape or incest. So why do we always frame the debate around these 2%?

If you're pro-choice, you can't keep trying to trip up pro-life people by throwing in the rape and incest red herring. It's disingenuous. I think being pro-choice is a valid opinion, provided you state frankly that when you say everyone has the right to choose, that means Everyone: the girl who gets knocked up at prom, the married lady who forgets her diaphragm, and even the uppity lady who aborts two of her triplets because buying the big jar of mayonnaise is so middle class. If you have the right to choose and a right to your own body, then you get to choose all the time. Limiting the debate to rape and incest absolutely skews what is actually going on in abortion clinics.

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