Yeah, I’d say going two weeks with one-third of the house out of commission was worth it.
Did you have a good weekend? I had a good weekend. Didn’t do anything much, other than reassemble the house, do grocery shopping, attend two soccer games, ride 30 miles or so and finish stripping my oak table project. It’s amazing what you can get done when you close the laptop on Friday afternoon and say, “See you in three days, bub.”
I did see part of “Baghdad ER” on Friday evening, though, which left me in no mood to deal with what has become a hardy perennial of patriotic holidays in blogdom — some weasel telling me What It Means, and How It Must Be Honored. (That link takes you to a TBogg deconstruction of one such example, btw.) I have so little to say to these youngsters it can be compressed into one word: Enlist. I mean, just shut up about doing your part on the home front and hearts and minds and all the rest of it. If you’re so sold on this war, go see your uncle, raise your right hand and make the pledge.
This piece didn’t help, either. Warning: Very long. Very sad.
Forgive me, I’m cranky. It was a very hot weekend, and given the occasion, it had the effect of making every SUV that passed me on the road seem to coruscate. I’m thinking of ordering a supply of magnetic bumper stickers — no, those are too easily removed. Maybe, instead, the ones that go on with Krazy Glue. I’m going to save them for Hummers, which seem to be every third car on the road here. (It’s a proud GM product.) I try to stay evenhanded when considering SUVs; some of my best friends drive them, and many need them. Yes, really. But Hummers? They make my eyes cross with rage, this silly macho pretend Army truck with a kickin’ sound system. It’s like seeing a Vogue layout that puts Kate Moss in camo, one stiletto’d foot up on the running board, touting the hot new military-inspired looks for fall. Just…cross-eyed, I tell you. Anyway, back to my bumper stickers. I think I’ll order two. One will read, THIS VEHICLE RUNS ON THE BLOOD OF U.S. SOLDIERS and the other, IF YOU WANT TO DRIVE THIS VEHICLE, JOIN THE ARMY.
Maybe I should lie down instead. See if this passes.
Well, I have plenty plenty work to do today, and plenty plenty coffee to make the work go fast. In the meantime, a mixed bloggage grill:
Nathan Gotsch steps in to guest-edit Fort Wayne Observed for the next few days. His first big post is yet another story I didn’t see in either of the dailies, about a Fort Wayne girl gone bad, and then gone badder.
Once a craven weasel, always a craven weasel: Pat Robertson claims he can leg press 2,000 pounds. Slate sets us straight on what leg presses really are: Dropping your leg-press numbers in casual conversation is like bragging about how fast you can do the TV Guide crossword puzzle. Simply put, the leg press is an ego boost for the beginner lifter. There’s no easier way to move a large amount of weight.
I have no idea what this comic strip means, but just imagine it running in an American paper. “A Mexican shit bath?” Hmm.
OK, then. Off to clatter the keys for fun and profit. Let the comments be your playground.
Randy said on May 30, 2006 at 9:55 am
Remember when that doughy neo-con Jonah Goldberg (National Review Online) had it put to him a few months ago: enlist or shut up.
He stammered that it would be irresponsible of him to enlist, since he has a family (apparently the soldiers in Iraq are all swingin’ singles), and he’s a little overweight (hence the nickname Doughy Pantload), and he’s, well, too smart (and too upper middle class) for military service. He believed he was serving the war effort quite nicely from his den.
It was beautiful. In defending himself, he exposed himself for the “better them than me” dork that he is.
4dbirds said on May 30, 2006 at 11:00 am
My 19 year old son enlists in the army on June 15. I don’t want him to but he is committed. Well at least he’ll spend about 18 months in language school learning Arabic. G.W. will be out of office and hopefully we’ll be out of Iraq by the time my son is ready to deploy. Nancy, I’m a former army warrant officer and my husband a former army sergeant and we loathe arm chair commandos. So easy to be brave when your ass isn’t on the line.
brian stouder said on May 30, 2006 at 11:24 am
It is just as vacuous as when others label those with whom they disagree yellow-bellied, immoral cowards – unless they are sufficiently in agreement with the poster’s opinion of the war, and or personally served in the war. (and even then, people who clearly have served the nation for decades, and who were intimately involved in this war – such as General Franks – amazingly enough STILL get dismissed as hacks and lackeys!)
Every sane person is (by definition!) anti-war; the presumption should always favor avoiding death and destruction, yes? We can surely all agree on that point.
Yesterday on C-SPAN, I watched the live coverage of the wreath placement at the Tomb of the Unknowns. It was followed by a replay of a ceremony conducted in April at George Washington’s Mt Vernon estate, where eight soldiers were awarded purple hearts. As a 4-star Army general went down the line decorating these service people, I was taken by a woman in one group who was struggling mightily not to cry too much (but she had to keep wiping both eyes, as she kept her mouth firmly clenched shut). She was an attractive, older woman. Was she the soldier’s mom?
Anyway, the general and the photographers moved past that group, and then one could see that the soldier had no left leg; his combat wound occurred in January of this year, in Iraq.
The band did ruffles and flourishes, the ceremony came to an end, C-SPAN lingered for a moment or two more, and that was it.
Truly – pictures that conveyed more than thousands of words could.
By way of saying, Memorial Day is about much, much more than whacking your (supposed) political opponents – left or right (although presumeably it will always be used for that, too)
Danny said on May 30, 2006 at 11:31 am
I agree, and by way of taking this a step farther, I encourage any of you who have the means to support the troops in real, tangible ways. One of the ways we found was about ten of us at work got together and adopted a platoon. They appreciate anything and need just about everything: reading material, soap, foot powder, insect repellent (None aerosol), alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, lotion, baby wipes, sunscreen, hand towels, shoe shine kits, mouthwash, gatorade packs for the canteen. So we send several care packages a month with loads of stuff. We even sent a few nice cordless drills and screw drivers so they could build a rec center for themselves and I think to help with a school for the locals.
4dbirds said on May 30, 2006 at 12:40 pm
Hum, if it makes you feel better to send some chapstick and to tout “the schools, the schools” so be it. The army is accepting enlistees up to the age of 42. If you’re under that age, I urge you to join. Your country needs you.
4dbirds said on May 30, 2006 at 12:44 pm
“Every sane person is (by definition!) anti-war; the presumption should always favor avoiding death and destruction, yes? We can surely all agree on that point. ”
Really? Then there are a large amount of insane people in charge of this country.
Jim from Fla said on May 30, 2006 at 2:10 pm
“Every sane person is (by definition!) anti-war; the presumption should always favor avoiding death and destruction, yes? We can surely all agree on that point. �?
I have a hard time making that case that Franklin Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Jefferson were insane. Yet all took this country to war for a just cause.
I would suggest that every sane person (by definition) views war as a last resort.
brian stouder said on May 30, 2006 at 2:19 pm
“Really? Then there are a large amount of insane people in charge of this country.”
Leaving W aside, Senator Kerry and Senator Clinton joined many other members of congress in casting a difficult vote in 2002. They (and others) make a pretty good case that the president botched things – but still, they cast consequential votes in favor of pre-emptive war. I suppose one COULD make a case of a sort of prevailing national mood in those days in the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks (although I don’t think it was “insanity”!)
Leaving the current war aside, still it is sane to avoid war –
even as FDR certainly was not “insane” to ignore the isolationists and go to war in the early ’40’s.
By way of saying –
take a breath, 4d.
Danny said on May 30, 2006 at 2:25 pm
Well, I mentioned the schools in an offhand sort of way, but if it serves your purpose to mischaracterize my comment, I guess it’s what you must do. As for the making me feel better part, it does not, really. It’s about making someone else feel better. Hopefully, receiving some small comforts from home, while they are very far away in a very hostile area brings some respite. But, no, I am under no delusion. My small efforts are really not worth much, but it is all I have to offer. Thanks for pointing that out.
4dbirds said on May 30, 2006 at 2:43 pm
I must have touched a nerve. A little guilt out there? Sorry guys but you don’t get a pass from me. I’d had SCUDS fired in my direction. I come from a family of service. Service in the military, Peace Corps and Public Health Corps. So do millions of other Americans. If the following doesn’t apply don’t worry. As Brian says “Take a breath”.
At some point in your life, you could have taken a detour and spent a few years in service to your country or to others. You can try to justify your non-service but it is what it is. Others inconvenienced themselves, put themselves in harm ways while you didn’t. You are getting a free ride. You can still put your life on hold for what you believe in. If you’re too old to enlist, you can go to Iraq and Afghanistan working for a contractor or for a charity. IF you REALLY believe you would do it. Nothing in this world would hold you back, IF you REALLY believed. But you don’t, so you sit at home and find ways to make yourself feel better about others spilling their blood. Atrios said it best on his blog.
“The willingness to send others off to die for a misguided war because you wet your pants after 9/11 is called “cowardice” not courage.”
Danny said on May 30, 2006 at 3:27 pm
Wow, it is sooo good to have someone else around here who is as much of a rectitudinous pain-in-the-ass as myself. I was really getting lonely. LOL!
Dorothy said on May 30, 2006 at 3:31 pm
The NYT piece was long and sad, but thank you for posting a link to it, Nancy. I read the entire thing this morning. I know Butler a little – my Aunt Peg and Uncle Johnny lived in a couple of different homes in that area over the last 40-50 years. I spent a week at their first Butler house in 1964 when my baby sister Janet was born. That was the first time I ever had Rice Krispie Treats!
That makes me a little sad, considering what the article was about. What a different world we are in now…
mary said on May 30, 2006 at 4:10 pm
In that world we had the draft, and not too long after 64 came the real escalation of our involvement in Viet Nam. We could have learned something from that, and I guess we did. Maybe not the right things, though.
Bush says he’s learned to not say things like, “Bring it on.”
Dorothy said on May 30, 2006 at 4:25 pm
Yeah I saw that on the news and immediately thought “It’s a little late for that, now, isn’t it?” He’s quite the visionary, isn’t he?
brian stouder said on May 30, 2006 at 4:58 pm
One will read, THIS VEHICLE RUNS ON THE BLOOD OF U.S. SOLDIERS and the other, IF YOU WANT TO DRIVE THIS VEHICLE, JOIN THE ARMY.
I will never be able to afford a Humvee, but if I could afford one – it would be for “weekend driving” – much as some people go out in a cigarette boat and burn “the blood of US soldiers” for no useful reason at all, other than enjoyment.
Maybe a similar sticker for the stern of such craft, advising the offender to ‘join the Navy’, eh?
Danny said on May 30, 2006 at 5:42 pm
I’m with Nance on the Hummer’s. I cannot look at them without getting a little cross-eyed. Although, I’m sure there are plenty of people who can afford them, they seem so ostentatious and ill-conceived on so many levels that it makes me think, “Hey, there goes some jerk living beyond their means. Follow that H3 to the next foreclosure!”
Maybe a similar sticker for the stern of such craft, advising the offender to ‘join the Navy’, eh?
Uh, or ‘Join the Navy, Coward!’ as someone here might say.
mary said on May 30, 2006 at 8:46 pm
I think Pat Robertson only said that stuff about leg presses because Madeline Albright said she can leg press 600 pounds. Pat needs a Mexican Shit Bath, if you ask me. I don’t know what that means either.
Scout said on June 1, 2006 at 9:24 am
Hummers piss me off too. Not sure why, except they are symbolic. A behemoth, super sized, thumbing of the nose and a high decibel neener neener to the little people they can so easily roll right over. I get the same reaction to them that I do when I see or hear the voice of the ultimate symbol of our country’s decline, Junior Bush. The Hummer is the vehicular poster child for the “as long as it benifits me” crowd.
What pisses me off even more than an obviously penile impaired fella driving one, is when I see a fake boobed Barbie doll behind the wheel, cell phone pressed to her ear, trying to park her environmental poke-in-the-eye in a compact only parking space, and inevitably hogging three spaces. Nancy’s permanent bumper stickers are so called for at time like those.
I read with amusement the whole litany of previous comments regarding enlistment and troop support, which can be summed up as “Enlist!” “No, you enlist!” “I enlisted so everyone should enlist!”
The ultimate bloggage regarding troop support can be found here:
>The problem is, these yahoos have managed an ugly trick. They have turned criticism of the policies of Bastards in Suits into criticism of The People in Uniform Getting Shot At. This, of course, is completely wrong, as one can easily tell the difference between the Bastards in Suits and The People in Uniform Getting Shot At. One group is in Suits, and Not Getting Shot At, while another is in Uniform, and Getting Shot At. Please, try to grasp this. Not the same.
There is a flip side. Some people confuse supporting the Bastards in Suits for supporting The People in Uniform Getting Shot At. This is, again, ridiculous. If the history of modern warfare has taught us anything, it’s that the Bastards in Suits spend an awful lot of time working the kinks out of plans involving The People in Uniform dying unpleasantly. They often screw that up. When they do screw up, it is incumbent upon Bastards in Suits to suffer criticism and fix the situation, as by comparison The People in Uniform are suffering shattered skulls, missing limbs and death. Which is, on my scale, exponentially more traumatic than criticism.
Some people even seem confused on how we are criticizing the Bastards in Suits. The Bastards have a job to do. They are not doing it. Period. Tommy Franks recently trotted out the classic bit of misdirection, attacking critics of Donald Rumsfeld.
“I don’t care about your politics. I don’t. Don Rumsfeld is an American patriot.”
Yes, well, that’s lovely. But we’re not criticizing his patriotism. We’re criticizing his job performance. One of the great mysteries of the last six years was how and when the Bush Administration turned public policy into Special Olympics. “Oh, I know Donny knocked over all the hurdles, but HE LOVES THE RACE, so you SHUT YOUR FILTHY, CYNICAL MOUTH.” Jesus H. Christ.
The first war I read about extensively was World War I, where I encountered the magnificently British term “Lions led by donkeys.” If there’s a more apt description of our current thrill-ride, I can’t think of it. Here’s the thing: you folk on the other side of this particular argumentative aisle may like the Donkeys. You may trust the Donkeys. But never, ever forget the goddam difference.
Danny said on June 1, 2006 at 11:23 am
Here’s the thing: you folk on the other side of this particular argumentative aisle may like the Donkeys. You may trust the Donkeys. But never, ever forget the goddam difference.
Thanks, but the point is not that there are “folk here on the other side.” In fact, I doubt anyone posting in this thread is particularly happy with W at this point and certainly no one is playing “armchair commando,” and I’ve not seen it at any time on this blog’s comment reel. Which really makes 4DBirds comments just foolish and out of place. She is addressing an audience who is not here. As are you.
Scout said on June 1, 2006 at 4:14 pm
eat shit, danny. wasn’t arguing with anyone. merely pointing out some excellent bloggage that people here might like. get a life.
Danny said on June 1, 2006 at 7:47 pm
OK, I’ll get right on that (we like it in the form of tacos in SoCal).
But you are right, it was an interesting read. Didn’t mean to sound so crabby, but your excerpt was long enough (and skipped some parts of the original blog post) that I thought the last paragraph was yours and not the blogger’s. My bad.
Scout said on June 2, 2006 at 1:42 pm
apology accepted, danny, and thanks for it. sorry on my end for being profane. shit tacos, huh? with 5 cats and a dog in my family i could certainly cash in!
i did try to put an end thingy like this –