Friday, December 26, 2008

Shoeless in Iraq

As everyone knows, George Bush was attacked by an Iraqi journalist toting two lethal shoes. How the man, Al-Zeidi, was able to smuggle those shoes into the press conference is still under investigation, however authorities suspect that he might have done so by a method known to many as "wearing the shoes". Apparently, he did not have to enter the room through airport security.

In an official statement issued by the Iraqi government, Al-Zeidi stated that the attack was planned by the infamous terrorist, Al-Maliki. Al-Zeidi's family is claiming that his confession was coerced. One would tend to believe Al-Zeidi's family, as one would have to wonder exactly how much planning would be necessary in order to throw a pair of shoes halfway across a room at a nearly 6' tall man. However, according to the new Iraqi government, this was a planned and unnerving attack.

Really, people, we need to take this very seriously.

Apparently, during the elaborate planning of the attack, Al-Maliki and Al-Zeidi debated the best type of shoe for the attack. First discussed was the use of military boots. However, Al-Zeidi decided against using his boots for that purpose. When asked why, Al-Zeidi responded, "No... these boots were made for walking."

Stilettos were discussed as well, however, neither Al-Maliki nor Al-Zeidi could produce a dress that matched. Sandals were considered too flimsy and unable to cause enough damage. Flip flops? Pahh. Those aren't even shoes!

See. This attack did take some planning.

Where will this all lead? Well, according to top secret sources, there is a joint effort between the Iraqi government and the CIA to find this new cell of terrorists, known now as the "Slipper Cell", equal in infamy only to the "Loafer Cell", which was a threat earlier, but due to a lazy disposition, they never actually achieved any of their goals. Neither cell is as dangerous as the "Stiletto Cell", which is made up of pure young women willing to die in order for their soles to enter into the highest level of heaven, also known in fashion circles as "Paris".

With fashion implications like these, it's easy to assess that this cell most certainly has ties to Italy.

One of the scariest aspects of this attack is the availability of weapons. Once upon a time, shoes were a pricier purchase, but now these weapons can be bought almost anywhere, and authorities believe that this greater availability will only exacerbate the threat. As such, additional security will now be added to stores such as Payless, Walmart and Target. There is also talk about having security clearance before purchase, and a 24 hour waiting period placed on anyone after choosing which shoes they decide to buy. Needless to say, many impecunious husbands are applauding this measure.

In the meantime, people must be willing to express some type of pride and patriotism at the agility of our out-going president. Boy, can he duck. Obviously, that was never considered in the original planning of the attack.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Brothels, Protesting by Laziness, and Corruption

Several months ago I heard a knock on my door. I opened it to see my neighbor's 10-year-old-daughter standing there clinching a catalogue, a pen and some sort of registry list. I knew then that I had lost. It was a school fundraiser. So, within a few minutes, I had flipped through the catalogue and found the thing I most wanted (ie had any inclination at all to buy, since nobody ever actually wants the junk that places sell for fundraising), which was a subscription to "Time" magazine. After receiving our first issue, I realized that I had made a great choice. Blog fodder! So without further ado, here is my commentary on things international:

First off, in Geneva, we learn that too many children die from unintentional accidents. I would tend to agree with that. However, what I think is wonderful is that somehow the "World Report on Child Injury Prevention" thinks we can decrease these unintentional accidents. If they're unintentional, then how do we stop them, as I would tend to think that "unplanned" would fall into the equation as well. Also, I read, once, that annually over 1000 adults in our nation hurt themselves with a mattress or ceiling. Now, if we can't stop adults from getting hurt by the ceiling, then how will we prevent children from getting hurt in unintentional accidents? Aside from using seat belts -- which if you can get people who aren't Americans to use seat belts I'm pretty impressed with you -- how can we prevent "unintentional accidents"? Maybe in Geneva this is a good discussion, but not here in the USA where people are already way too overprotective of their kids.

Another tidbit from Europe comes from Amsterdam. I had the honor of being in the Amsterdam airport the very week that they opened their first airport brothel. It had the effect of making me think, "ewwww" the entire time I was there, and want to use a disinfectant wipe on anything I touched or sat on. Unfortunately, I didn't have a disinfectant wipe, so I just paced for several hours.

Anyway, according to Time magazine, "Citing its brothels and marijuana cafes as havens for crime (NO KIDDING!!! -- my words, not Time's), city officials in the Dutch capital have unveiled a $50 million plan to replace half of them with restaurants , galleries and hotels. Officials hope to broaden the city's appeal and make tourists feel less embarrassed about visiting."

I wonder if this little bit of information will be brought up the next time someone wants to discuss how it "works in Holland" in regards to the legalization of marijuana and prostitution. Somehow I doubt it. In the meantime, the Dutch get to pay for the $50 million plan to replace those brothels and cafes, and many more travelers get to go through Amsterdam thinking "ewwww".

Leaving Europe, I want to point out that, according to Time, the Italian government is putting up $65 million dollars to purchase 200,000 wheels of Parmesan cheese to help the ailing cheese makers of Italy. The cheese will be donated to charity. That got me thinking about the auto bailout in the US. I think if it was a cheese bailout we'd all feel better about it. Then we could all get free cheese. I guess GM could give everybody a free Chevy, but that's just like being given cheese, and since you can't depend on it, and you also can't eat it, it's just not worth it.

One of the more interesting news tidbits I found was "Calling in Gay". I have no idea if this actually happened as it was set for December 10, and I did go into work that day. However, an Internet organized movement to protest California's ban on same-sex marriage was to happen that day. Millions of people were supposed to "call in gay" to work and not show up.

Now, that's responsible! Not stand outside and protest, or gather petitions or write letters to the editors, or even write on a cheesy blog! People are just supposed to call in sick and not work. I guess the idea is you can protest by staying home in your jammies, reading your novel, playing video games... Wow. I think that must say something about our culture that there are people out there that actually think this is a form of protest rather than second rate relaxation!

Of course the other question that it raises is that if you're gay, does that mean you're sick and can't work? Hardly a message I would think that anyone would want to send. There's a fine line between clever and ridiculous, and they are clearly on the ridiculous side of the line.

My favorite, though, is Governor Rob Blagojevich, of Illinois. If you looked up the definition of crook in the dictionary, you'd see his name next to it. The allegations (which are backed up with taped phone conversations and other such physical evidence) include: conspiring to solicit bribes from many people, including the future President of the US, extortion, forcing the Tribune Co. to fire editorial writers in exchange for a tax break, and even threatening to revoke millions in funding for a children's hospital if they didn't contribute to his campaign.

Of course, he's claiming he's innocent. Of course.

What I think would be a just punishment for the Governor would be that he be forced to live for 5 years in a country where corruption of his type is the norm. However, he wouldn't get to live there as a governor, but as an ordinary citizen who has to live under the rule of crooks like him. Now, that would be justice, however, I'll be just as glad to see him spend the rest of his life in jail.

Not surprisingly, there is involvement with the Service Employees International Union. This is the same union that my husband was forced to join, and that sent a representative to my home late one night (when I was alone) who lied to me and told me he worked with my husband. He then tried to get me to tell him who I was going to vote for. So, it's not surprising to me at all that the SEIU is alleged to be considering Blagojevich's idea of creating a "nonprofit" organization that could pay his salary if he picked the "right" candidate for the Senate seat (ie a union supporter) and then retired from politics.

Well, at least we can be comforted with one thing. According to Time, "Blagojevich whined that Obama's people were 'not willing to give me anything except appreciation.'"

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Story of Jacob, Esau...And Monica?

Pictured here, you see our newest family member.

What? You say you don't see anything? Then have you no imagination? That, my friend, is a picture of Monica. Our newest family member. Monica is the latest in a string of pretend friends that our youngest daughter, Nappy, has created. First there was her entourage (or what I liked to refer to as her Greek Chorus). That consisted of 2 brown bears, 1 polar bear, 2 frogs, an elephant and a little man named Mister Helen. They went every where she went, commenting, agreeing and supporting Nappy in all her endeavours.

Then came "tiny mommy". Tiny Mommy was only about 6 inches tall and just hung around for general support and comfort. Tiny Mommy also, often, didn't agree with real Mommy, but I'm sure Nappy had no real agenda with that.

Now, though, we have Monica. Monica is Nappy's dear older sister. At first she was 9 years old. The next day she was 96. Then 17, 24, 40 and 44 respectively. Though her age might change with the wind, her personality doesn't. She does anything Nappy asks of her, no matter what it is or how Nappy asks. If Nappy yells at Monica to clean her room, then, well, Monica jumps to it without a complaint.

For days, all I heard from Nappy was how wonderful Monica was. I learned how Monica always understood Nappy, always did exactly what Nappy asked and would spend her days doing nothing but complimenting Nappy. So, when Nappy needed some help with something, I responded with the obvious.

"Why don't you have Monica do it for you?"

"Mom," she replied with a slight roll of her eyes, "Monica can't do that. She's just pretend!"

When does fantasy stop and reality start? Apparently when you need help opening the lid of a metal tin can.

At any rate, Monica has been with us now for about a week. She's gone to the Boy Scout's Christmas Tree Sale, but left early because she got too cold (wimp!). She was late to a tea party because she had a fever (sure -- I think she's really just anti-social). And, she doesn't attend meals where there are mushrooms present. But, in general, she's always with us, conveying her opinions through Aly.

I might find this a bit odd, but I had a pretend friend when I was young. Her name was Honey and she was from Mars. Before you start laughing at me, remember, I didn't name her or make up her story. It's just how she introduced herself to me.

So, life with 6 kids has been interesting. We've also had a change in identity. Meet Jacob and Esau:
They may look like the Ballerina Princess and Green Bottle Boy, but really, they reflect a much more ancient story.

See, Green Bottle Boy had a camera. A nice camera. One that used to belong to another family member but was then passed on to him. Ballerina Princess wanted that camera because she loves to take pictures. The problem was the so does Green Bottle Boy.

So, last night, she goes strolling into his room swinging a bag of Christmas candy given to her by one of her teachers. The aroma of the chocolate made the mouth of Esau-- I mean Green Bottle Boy -- water. Within minutes, he had traded his camera for two small milk-dud sized pieces of chocolate.

"Uh...*****," I asked him, "don't you think that was a little foolish? You love that camera, and to replace it would cost at least $100."

"Oh no, mom," he replied, "That chocolate was really yummy."

Now, I'm not even sure where to start with this, because he really thinks it was a great deal. So, in the meantime, I'm going to just find out what Monica thinks about it all.

After all, she knows best.