The second try at the taxes was better, but not in a good way. A small payment to the feds became a small refund, but a large payment to the Hoosiers became a large refund, which means only one thing — I made a big mistake either the first or the second time, and now I get to spend at least part of tomorrow going over two 25-page tax returns, looking for discrepancies.
Maybe in the afternoon, I can have hemorrhoid surgery, too.
Fortunately, however, you can share in the day’s bloggage.
As my little girl gets older, a lot of parenting decisions that looked easy early on are becoming more…complicated. Take profanity, for instance. I’ve always followed a don’t-freak-out policy: Don’t swear in front of her (with rare exceptions, as when I break a nail below the quick), restrict her exposure to potty-mouth media, but when the occasional mortar shell penetrates the perimeter, I try not to panic. I’m a writer, and I figure one thing I can teach her is the power of language along its full range. And you can’t do that if you’re wetting your pants every time her ears are sullied.
My old neighbor Chuck swore like the Leatherneck he was, but always creatively, and always amusingly. His favorite all-purpose slur was “flatdick,” and I have to say, it’s an unappreciated gem. I wish I heard it more often on “Deadwood,” instead of the incessant f-bombs and the like. It’s one thing to frankly acknowledge that the 19th century was a nasty place to be; it’s quite another to litter your dialogue with so many potholes of profanity it’s nearly incomprehensible. (Poor Mr. Wu, a Chinese character who has to wear a pillbox hat and a pigtail and whose only English word is “cocksuckah” — no wonder he’s so crabby.)
So I was interested to read this WashPost story about the losing campaign against profanity on the playground, if only because I agree with the educator who observed, “There are words virtually disappearing from our English language,” O’Connor said. “When people are mad, what do they say? They say they are pissed off or [expletive] pissed off. No range. There is a big difference between being upset or livid. There is a big difference between irritated and infuriated.”
Or being f—ing infurated at some flatdick, I always say.
I have hopes for the future, though. Kate had dinner at the neighbors’, where roast chicken was served. In our home, roast chicken is known as Chicken With a Lemon Up Its Butt. I asked if she’d mentioned this at table, and was heartened to hear that she hadn’t, since she’d picked up on the fact that next door, it would be Chicken With a Lemon Up Its Bottom.
When I named my daughter Katharine, I knew I was choosing one of humanity’s oldest female names. I thought anything that has lasted since ancient Greece ought to have legs for her lifetime. (Unlike Nancy, which is the Gertrude of the 21st century.) I didn’t think of it as a “white” name, but that’s probably the luxury of being in the ethnic majority. What about “black” names? Read A Roshonda by any Other Name to get an economist’s take on it.
I didn’t know Andrea Dworkin died over the weekend, but I’m glad I know Susie Bright had something to say about it.
Finally, I knew my old pal Mark Brunswick was in Iraq writing about the Minnesota National Guard units there, but I didn’t know he was keeping a blog about it until he returned. I liked the entry on Easter Sunday in lovely Baghdad: Surreal moment of the day: Saddam’s Presidential Palace in the Green Zone in Baghdad. Easter Sunday. Poolside. Plastic bunnies and eggs and ‘Happy Easter’ signs tacked up all over the place. Muscular soldiers with tattoos lounging. Rick James’ ‘Super Freak’ blasting through the stereo speakers.
Saddam’s Presidential Palace now serves as home base for the U.S. ambassador, various generals and others. Its grandeur remains a testament to Saddam’s ego. The main mess hall is in the ballroom, as ornate and intricate a marbled room as you will find anywhere. It is said that sculptures of Saddam were everywhere inside the ballroom before the invasion, but there is not an image of him anywhere now.
‘Where did they all go?’ one soldier was asked recently.
‘Ebay,’ was his reply.