Tuesday, May 29, 2007

On Second Thought

After writing that last post I looked to Black Five to see what he had to say. And Grim put me in my place.

I've said a lot of bad things about Sheehan in the last couple of years. Most of them were generated from the outrageous headlines that she caused worldwide that portrayed our Country in a bad light. A lot of the cynicsm that surrounds my views of the American political system come from close to the same sources as hers. And in the end, especially after reading what I just did, I feel bad.

I'm debating taking down that last post--something I have never done and have kept myself from doing, even when I didn't like what I had wrote.
Cindy Sheehan is a grieving mother. I sympathize entirely with the motivation. I cannot imagine what the loss of my son would do to me; I would be grateful to the world, I think, if it refused to judge any action I took for at least a year or two afterwards. And so, applying the Golden Rule, I shall refuse to judge her. I hope she finds the peace she needs.

I have no use for those who are using her to further their ends -- nor those who are so heartless as to speak ill of her, in the depth of her pain.
Yes, I know she was a radical before the war began. That means nothing. She is a Gold Star mother, and so she is due a full measure of kindness from us. May she find her peace. May those who are trying to use her get what they deserve. As for those who have sneered at her character -- no one asks you to approve of her, or what she thinks, or how she feels. All I ask is that you let her rage, and pass on, without judgment. That, at least, is only what we should want for ourselves if, under an evil star, we should find ourselves brought to her fate.
Lastly, I was pretty busy yesterday and didn't have time to write. Black Five also has a fantastic post about Memorial Day. Read it here.

For Once We Agree

And so comes the end of an unbelieveable headache era. After making life relatively miserable for troops worldwide for years (well, ok, not miserable--just annoying), she's finally going home.

Cindy Sheehan is quitting.

In her "farewell" speech, she actually brought up, ahem, some good points. Please wait while I take another shot of Jack.

Ok. In the end, it appears that we have some common views. No, not things that have changed on my end since the beginning, just things that she finally realized after embarrassing herself for the last two years.

"I've been wondering why I'm killing myself and wondering why the Democrats caved in to George Bush," Sheehan told The Associated Press while driving from her property in Crawford to the airport, where she planned to return to her native California.

"I'm going home for awhile to try and be normal," she said.

Yeah, good luck with that one. At least she acknowledges the "not normal" part of her life.

Sheehan criticized "blind party loyalty" as a danger, no matter which side it involved, and said the current two-party system is "corrupt" and "rapidly descending into with nary a check or balance: a fascist corporate wasteland."

"Casey died for a country which cares more about who will be the next American Idol than how many people will be killed in the next few months while Democrats and Republicans play politics with human lives," she wrote.

Couldn't have said it better. Pessimistic? Cycnical? Yeah--the country's changed a bit in the last decade.

And lastly, the one thing that I've known all along about her, and she would have saved a marriage and a lot of time, effort, and money had she just thought about this and kept her yap shut:

"Good-bye America ... you are not the country that I love and I finally realized no matter how much I sacrifice, I can't make you be that country unless you want it.

"It's up to you now."

Monday, May 21, 2007


Some great words from Rudy Guilliani's commencement address at my Alma Mater:

The Cold War took years, but we prevailed, and it will happen. And on that day, because you’re going to achieve it, your generation will take its place
beside the greatest generations in our nation’s history. Our ideas of freedom,
democracy, respect for human rights, respect for human life, and the rule of
law—these are the principles that the human heart and the human soul yearns for. These are gifts that are given to us, not by government, not by men or women. These are gifts that are given to us by God. They’re the principles along with the strength and skill and valor of the men and women like The Citadel graduates of 2007 that make me completely confident that we’ll win the terrorist war on us. We will win. We will prevail.

The terrorists who attacked us on September 11 misjudged the character of
the United States of America. They thought that freedom makes us weak. They thought that democracy makes us decadent. They thought that our diversity made us easy to divide and conquer. It’s a mistake that tyrants have made in the past about America. All of these principles, all of these principles make us stronger. You are the leaders of the 9-11 generation and I believe that you and I have learned the same lessons from our history and from our past. Never retreat. Never wave the white flag of defeat. America doesn’t retreat. America advances.

I’d like to leave you with a memory from the September 11th day. It was
captured in the now famous photograph showing three firefighters covered in ash, raising the American flag over the rubble of Ground Zero. There were fires below their feet of 2000 degrees or more. Their actions echoed the photograph of the flag being raised over Iwo Jima a half century before. It looked very similar. In America, the heroic example of past generations are carried on and built upon by the next generation. When I saw those firefighters, I saw in their eyes, and I saw in their action the same thing that their fathers would have done or their grandfathers would have done in the same situation, and they did the same thing. In the face of being attacked, in the face of having their lives in jeopardy, in the face of watching their brothers and comrades die in front of them, what they said was, we don’t retreat. We don’t put our heads down. We don’t back up. We stand for something bigger than us. We stand for democracy. We stand for liberty. We stand for freedom. We stand for peace. And we’re going to put up our flag, and hold it there, and it is going to prevail, and it is going to wave as a symbol of freedom and democracy for us. And we don’t want to impose it on anyone else. We want to give it to them. Share it with them as a gift that isn’t ours alone, but a gift that comes from God. No one knows that better, no one understands that better than the graduates of this class. You’ve learned it. You’ve put it in your hearts. It’s been taught to you, and now we’re counting on you. We’re counting on you to be the leaders of the 9-11 generation, and if we’re going to count on you to be the leaders, I am very, very confident that we are going to prevail.

God bless you, and God bless America.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Mother's Day

Went right by it without telling the Mom's in the world to have a good one. I called my Mom, extremely late and in a hurry because our life didn't slow down just because it was Mother's Day. SW was due to leave to go handle some family business in Spain on Tuesday, and we were running around with that. Oh--and it was her birthday, to boot.

Then I read this from Velvet Sin.

I don't know how you guys do it. Being a Dad is awesome--from my list of occupations it's the best job in the world. But there's just something there in being a Mom that never reaches deep enough on the Dad side. It's amazing to witness first-hand, and devastatingly beautiful.

It's true, Mothers make the world go 'round. Dad's have their place, but I could never take SW's job.

Bless all of you, for all that you do.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Rage

I have issues.

The answer I usually get is "everyone has issues." But I think this one is a little different. I've had this issue for most of my adult life, but I only recently gave it a name--The Rage.

I don't think I have anger management issues, from an outward perspective. I think my issues are more internal--I've never acted out viloently (ok, there was that one time in High School that someone hit my sister with a twinkie on the bus). But it has gotten to the point now that I actually can feel it happening, as it happens. And I have a hard time controlling it.

Counting to ten and taking deep breaths doesn't work very well for me.

Usually there's a trigger--something relatively small, that sets the ball rolling. If everything becomes happy-happy-joy-joy afterwards, that trigger is still sitting there--I just can't tell for how long until it goes away. But I can feel it in my stomach, and as things continue to happen throughout the day The Rage takes me over emotionally. By the time The Rage is in charge, and I realize what is going on, I have a hard time reigning it in.

Let me give you an example.

I got tagged again to be the Director of the Op Center here just like I did a while ago. Same level of work, same level of responsibility, same amount of time devoted to it. Essentially, a no-notice torpedo of my life, since I wasn't supposed to do this again. After all was said and done, we handed out awards to all those that did the bulk of the work. Since I don't feel it is right to nominate myself for the award, I put in my guys who got recognized by the Big Boss, and they all got their awards last night. I figured my boss would do the same for me.


I was pretty pissed--not because I wanted an award, but because the guy that I had just sacrificed family time for could care less. So--this morning I was still a little edgy.

Last night we did the standard ritual of trying to force Princess to do her homework, essentially wasting the entire night and getting behind on keeping the house clean. When I loaded her into the car this morning, her backpack was open and I looked inside. No homework. When I asked her where it was she said she didn't know, and we were too late to get it. Small item.


As I lectured her on the sacrifices made by her Mom and I and blah blah blah, I drove them to school. I could feel The Rage raring up and getting ready for business. Traffic was slow getting there, so we were late. As I jogged across the parking lot with Princess and Cowboy in tow, the volunteer Mom manning the gate saw us coming, knew we were late, and swung the gate shut when we were ten feet away. The Rage stretched its arms, cricked it's neck, and got busy.

After getting them into their classes, even later since we had to go the long way around, I drove off to work even later than I already was. A school bus stopped on the other side and threw it's lights on. The car in front of my sped right through it. Rather than "I guess they're late, too" The Rage's answer was that they were somehow jeopordizing the lives of my kids, even though they were in school and don't take the bus anyway. As I crept through the tiny town where I live that is packed with about 500% of the people it's designed for, some teenage freak in a civic that sounds like a constant fart when its driving cut me off in traffic. This is where the "control" comes in on my part, and why I haven't been enrolled in Anger Management classes. Had I not had control, I'd be in jail for vehicular homicide right now.

The list goes on. The reason I'm bringing this up is that The Rage has ruined many a weekend, when I haven't been able to realize what is going on and I generally become an asshole for the whole 48 hours.

It's driving me, slowly, out of my mind.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Oh Crap

Please. Someone stop the pain.

Our dream car before, and for the first couple of years after, we got married was a Dodge Durango. Not the new ones, which we don't like much--but the ones that came out around 1999. Within days of arriving back in the US we bought one. In the past six years we've put 110,000 miles on it. We love it.

Our family's getting too big, so we've been feeling that we need something new. Something that carries 7-8 people. Something that sounds an awful lot like "minivan" but somehow translates to "gay" whenever we discuss it.

Last year the DUrango had a problem overheating. We brought it to the trusty Dodge dealer here, and after 8 days and $1100, they pronounced it "fixed." It didn't overheat as fast anymore, but if we parked for a half hour or so with the AC on the temperature would climb. Last week we figured out that we needed new brakes, so we brought it in to have them replaced. As a side note, I mentioned that the work they had done last year appeared to still need some work and wondered if they could check it out. They did, and told me that it was the radiator module (whatever the hell that is) and it would cost $650 to replace. I told them hell no--we'll just avoid parking for long durations. New brakes installed, we headed home for the weekend.

While driving home two days later, the car overtemp'd. Bad. Like swerve to the side of the road bad. With SW, Princess, Cowboy, Odie, and Mom-in-Law aboard in 92 degree heat. We eventually had to get it towed back to the dealer. I was pissed.

After checking it out, we were informed that the engine block had cracked--probably as a result of the overheat. Total fix? $6400.

So--we made the decision to buy a new car. We looked at the Dodge Caravans last night. I was amazed at how bad these guys were--ignoring SW the whole time, and practically begging us to stay there, even after we told them that we were going to shop around regardless of what car we bought. We didn't even like the caravan, anyway. Too gay.

So we went to Honda, to check out the Odyssey's. On top of a night-and-day sales department when compared to Dodge, these machines were exactly what I was looking for if I'm forced to drive a minivan. I've been pumping myself up for over a year to get into a minivan, but I still felt like a complete idiot when sitting behind the wheel of this thing, even if it did look like the Starship Enterprise on the inside. After two hours of looking, the Honda guy told us to go look around and he'd see us when we got back.

In the meantime, we're down to one car--which results in me driving several hours a day to haul the rest of the family to work and school.

So I think we're buying one tonight. After hoping it would never happen, I think we'll be minivan drivers by midnight. We're going to check out the Toyota versions, and maybe the Saturn dealer, but in the end I'm pretty sure we'll be in the Honda.

I'm finally going to be a soccer mom.