Thursday, November 30, 2006

"Justified Homocide"...huh?

So, I had an interesting experience today.

Dropped off some work to be done at a sub-contractor's today, and popped into the office to drop off a purchase order with the secretary. On her desk was a copy of The Kite Runner, a wonderful book a friend of mine recommended I read while both of our boyfriend's were deployed to Afghanistan.

And I commented to that affect. To which she responded: "Is he back?"

"Yep!" (Me, elated.)

She, slightly coldly: "Thank goodness, he's lucky he made is back alive."

(Me, slightly puzzled, since well, Afghanistan is not as dangerous a mission as, say, Iraq. It's getting there, certainly, but it's not that bad. And secondly, it's kind of a weird comment. Like he had to escape from there.)

She continues: I don't support "all that."

I ask: Do you know anyone in the military?

She: No.

Me: Oh...(interested, but not quite wanting to bite the head off of one of our subcontractors.)

She: Yeah, I just don't support "justified homicide."

Me: (wanting to laugh spitefully, but I restrained myself.)

Things I could have said, but didn’t:

Yeah, I was appalled by 9-11 too.
Yep, Taliban and al-Qaida were/are a dirty bunch.
Oh, so you believe in “unjustified homicide?” Or just what kind of homicide do you believe in? Or would you never believe that anything is worth dying for/killing for?

But instead I just decided to grin and bear it. I felt bad for not saying anything.

I recounted the story to my boyfriend, and he just laughed at the absurdity of what she said. But I still feel like I should have stood up and said something.

How does one act in such a situation?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I forgot to mention... my last post, that my nieces were almost oblivious to the f-word and the real s-word. I was dropping those left and right when they were here, and they wouldn't even flinch. But shame on me if I said "heck" or "stupid."

I found this very strange. It was like they were living in some complete naivity, and then had some whacked sense of what was a "bad word."

When I sign my (hypothetical) kids up for school I am going to shy away from those having strict policies about "no playing war," no pretending to play with gun, and some warped "bad word" policy etc. That certainly won't prepare them for the realities of this world.

Kids say the darndest things...

My nieces were here for Thanksgiving.

They always amuse me.

I was alone in the car with them coming back from the park, when I smelled a smell that is best described as, shall we say, "fart-like".

So I asked: "Did one of you guys fart?"

Niece #1 (7 years old): I didn't.
Niece #2 (5 years old): No, you did (to her sister). Because I never toot and lie.

Oh, from the mouths of babes. I about nearly died.

I recounted the story later to my boyfriend who was back at the house, and he told Niece #2 that she had a very good policy, and that he too never farted and lied, and it was good to be proud of one's farts. She was proud as punch. That made me laugh even more.

The next day we were in the car with Niece #2, who had fenagled it to go to the restaurant in our car, while her sister went with the grandparents and parents. So I was saying something to my boyfriend and used the word "stupid". Now over the course of the week I had learned that there are a lot of words that my nieces aren't allowed to use at school. You won't believe this, but "darn" is one of them. And "stupid" too. It's funny, because the nieces will go: ooooh, she said the "s" word...the one that rhymes with "ooopid". then I had about had enough of their school's stooopid policy of forbidding all these words.

So I said, "okay...well, next time you are really angry with someone at school, and you want to call them stupid, but can't. Call them a communist. No, even better, a fascist. Wait, no a Democrat."

Niece #2 was gleeful: new words....bad words...bad words she could use.

So she asked: "Can I call them a Democrat-face?"

"Uh, huh" I replied.

"What about a poopy Democrat?"

"Oooh, even better."

My boyfriend just shook his head and said I was being very naughty. I started to feel a tiny bit shameful about it, but still found myself to be very clever.

We got to the restaurant, and Niece #2 blurted out: "Auntie taught me some new words in the car."

Me: *deer in headlights look*

Luckily Niece #2 is very forgetful, and I pretended to be engrossed in convo with my bf, so the topic blew over...phew. Otherwise I might have been in some hotwater with my sis-in-law.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Soldier's Last Wishes: Go Party in Vegas

The LA Times is really surprising me lately. They have a lot of stories about soldiers, and some even on the front page. This one, like many others, will make you cry, but also smile.

SHORTLY after Jeffrey "Toz" Toczylowski's last mission in Iraq a year ago this month, friends received a message.

"If you are getting this e-mail, it means that I have passed away," the missive said. "No, it's not a sick Toz joke, but a letter I wanted to write in case this happened."

The Army Special Forces captain, 30, said he would like family and friends to attend his burial at Arlington National Cemetery, "but understand if you can't make it." The message, distributed by a fellow Green Beret after Toczylowski's family had been notified of his death, added this: "There will also be a party in Vegas with a 100k to help pay for travel, room and a party."

Read the's worth your time.

Update: This is the email he prepared in the case of his death.

Dear friends and family,

If you are getting this email, it means that I have passed away. No, it's not a sick Toz joke, but a letter I wanted to write in case this happened. Please don't be sad for me. It was an honor to serve my country, and I wouldn't change a thing. It was just my time.

Don't ever think that you are defending me by slamming the Global War on Terrorism or the US goals in that war. As far as I am concerned, we can send guys like me to go after them or we can wait for them to come back to us again. I died doing something I believed in and have no regrets except that I couldn't do more.

This will probably be the longest email most of you have ever received from me. More that one of you complained on multiple occasions about my brief emails.

I have requested to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery and would like you to attend, but I understand if you can't make it.

There will also be a party in Vegas with a 100k to help pay for travel, room, and a party. I want you to be happy for the time we had, not the future we won't.

Never regret not calling, writing enough, keeping in touch, or visiting. I was always away and thought of you all as much, if not more, than you thought of me. Time keeps rolling and so should my family and friends. The only thing I ask is that you toast me every so often, because you know I'll be watching and wanting to be with you. Don't spend any time crying for me, because I'll bet you I am having a ball right now wherever I am.

I will look in on all of you and help whenever I can. I love you all!

'Tis the Season...Already?

I popped in OSH this morning to get some screws, and was kind of shocked when I saw Xmas trees up, and the cash registers decorated with garlands.

Then, driving in the car I listened to Feliz Navidad, All I Want for Xmas is You, and Jingle Bell Rock.

Can this be happening? Don't they usually wait until after Thanksgiving?

What do you think about taxes?

KC has posed the above question her readers. So instead of responding in the comments section, I have decided to post about it.

To me taxes are like going out to dinner with a group of people and deciding at the end of the meal to split the bill equally. Unless everyone has ordered exactly the same thing, some will be consuming more than they paid for, and some will be consuming less than they paid for. The person who decided to only have some soup and salad to save some money, might be a little ticked off with the person ordering the steak and lobster.

When this happens with me with my friends, I don’t mind that much, because firstly, I am also paying for the experience of going out to dinner with my friends (if I was only interested in the food, I would stay home and cook for myself), and secondly, sometimes I am the one who is consuming more.

But it doesn’t happen consistently. It is a give and take. I do have friends who are less fortunate than me, but they give to me in return in other ways.

Plus, I wouldn’t go out to dinner with someone anymore, if they consistently ordered more than they have contributed.

But with taxes, you don’t have that choice. You can’t change tables. And that frustrates me.

Another analogy: taxes is kind of like belonging to a homeowner’s association in a condo building. Everyone has decided to get together and make decisions about what needs to be done, and then everyone will pitch in. Projects are suggested, and the homeowners decide whether or not they would be willing to pay for that. For example, it has been decided that the building needs a new roof or the parking lot needs to be repaved. There probably won’t be any resistance to that, since this is obviously of communal use and everyone will pony up their share.

However, things start getting a little less communal, when a younger couple in the association suggests building a playground and sandbox for their kids. A swimming pool, an elevator, new landscaping for outdoors are all examples of quality of life improvements that could be made, but don’t necessarily benefit everyone.

The homeowners association works through these choices with their system of decision making. And the people have to live with each other, so there is some community involvement. The owners won’t approve beautification projects until the basics are covered. And they will only consent to something over and above what is necessary, if they know that they will get something in reciprocation. So perhaps older couples decide that they will agree to the extra expense of building a playground, if in return their suggestion for improved landscaping is also accepted. If not, they can always decide to see and move to Florida. But once again, we don’t have the choice. Unless we all went Atlas Shrugged on the rest.

But with the federal government, there isn’t a sense of community. And because of this, there doesn’t seem to be much accountability either. And without accountability, there will be no results.

Does this make up a big part of why I am conservative? I would have to say that it probably is the main reason I am conservative.

I think that conservatives identify more with the government as a housekeeper, someone they pay to keep things organized according to their guidelines; while liberals see the government as a caretaker, someone they look to take care of things. And so when I hear someone saying that “the government should pay for that,” I actually hear “please open your wallet wider.”

To sum this up: I think taxes are necessary, but only for basic “housekeeping”: roads, school etc. But I think that once tax spending goes above and beyond mere housekeeping, conflicts of interest appear, unless of course everyone agrees on these extras. But they rarely do. And therein lies the problem.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Why am I not surprised?

I love this:

Poll: Most doubt Dems have plan for Iraq

More Americans rank Iraq as the top priority of the new Democratic-controlled Congress, but nearly three out of five say the party does not have a plan to deal with the war.

This is from the immediate gratification generation thinking along the lines of: "well, they couldn't possibly do any worse." Well, watch and wait.

Oh, and Murtha might be Pelosi's right-hand man? This gets better everyday.

The only thing I can hope for is that they mess things up so badly that it gives the Reps a better chance at the presidency in 2008.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Back to what's important

Great letter to the editor in this morning's Los Angeles Times:

Goodbye annoying, nasty ads, so long dirt-flinging rhetoric and farewell to the constant assault of pounding negative nonsense into our heads minute by minute, hour after hour and month after month.

Now we can go back to the really important ads: being brainwashed about being sick and needing every single pill that has been manufactured in the universe for illnesses we never even knew we had. Can't wait.

Monday, November 06, 2006


I saw “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan” on Friday.

I was surprised at how few people even knew who Borat was…but actually then again, not. Because if so many people knew Borat, the movie just wouldn’t have been possible. For those of you who don’t know, Borat is another one Sacha Baron Cohen’s alter-egos, you might be more familiar with Ali G.

The premise of this mokumentary is that Borat is TV journalist from Kazakhstan and he is traveling in the United States, meets and mocks Americans and reports back to his home country. I say mokumentary, but it is actually pretty close to a documentary, as the only two actors in the whole movie are Baron Cohen and the guy who plays his producer. The people he meets along the way think they are just part of some Kazakhstani TV show.

And the results are, well…painful. Most of the time painfully funny, and some times just plain old painful. I was actually exhausted when I came home from the theater, from cringing so much, and sliding down and up in my seat.

It is irreverent, politically incorrect and just downright offensive. But the movie is pure genius. It puts prejudice and ignorance up front (in the form of Borat) and it’s amazing to see how different people deal with it.

And there has to be one of the longest, funniest, craziest, not to mention hairiest, naked scenes in movie history.

Update: I definitely recommend this movie, but it is not for the weak at heart. I loved it, but I love The Daily Show, South Park, Ali G and all forms of political/religious/racial irreverence.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

"Conservatives have to be culturally bilingual...

...Most live conservative values, but do not hide from a culturally liberal world, where most networks, movies, and publishing enterprises operate from the left-of-center premises. Liberals don't have the same experience. When they turn on the news or open a bestseller, they see their own beliefs displayed."

Brilliant...that is pretty much what I was trying to hit upon in my Alabama post.

I read this little gem in a magazine I had previously never heard about before returning home: World. Good articles, and what I consider to be pretty balanced journalism. I read the above quote in a review for the book: A Red State of Mind: How a Catfish Queen Reject Became a Liberty Belle. I will type up the rest of the review for those interested:

Evangelical Nancy French humorously mines this red/state blue state divide. She grew up in Paris, Tenn. a small town best known for its catfish festival. When marriage took her away from Tennessee and plopped her in the middle of Manhattan, she began to learn that her Southern drawl signaled bigotry and backwardness to her new neighbors. The book is peppered with funny stories from Ithaca (where she was almost arrested for throwing away recyclable items) and Philidelphia, where she lived during the 2000 elections. Red-staters will enjoy this book, and blue-staters willing to endure a few barbs will find a window into the red-state mind.