I’d like a coffee table and a firefight, please.

I wonder if Riad Q. Citizen in Iraq would like to know that a great deal of US servicemen/women over there have websites about their tour of duty in Iraq with pictures and comments and all that.

Like it’s a vacation or something.

I know it’s not a vacation. They know it’s not a vacation. It is weird none-the-less.

Days gone by, you wrote a letter and it took a month to get there and was out of date by then. Now, war correspondence is on demand. In addition it includes visual aids. And requests to send more McNuggets, the platoon is running low.

I can understand families’ desires to stay in touch and informed of the well being of loved ones, it’s just weird. Reading about the fire mission of someone the same way one browses for VARV cabinetry on the IKEA site. Seems to marginalize the underlying reality, that there’s a freaking war going on. People are dying and atrocities (and war crimes?) are being committed.

At least Sgt. Jack’s site has Flash 6 though.

A foreign military rolls into the US, takes over and then sends pictures and amusing anecdotes back home about it while we wait in line for a job. Or bread. Or medical treatment. I dunno, doesn’t sit right with me.

I get the impression that from some folks now that Bush won, everything is back to ‘ok’. For the Kerry folks, they are worried about whether or not the voting machines were unplugged in Ohio. People sit and ponder these thoughts as they drive to Walmart to get their copy of HALO II or a Bratz Treehouse for their kids for Christmas.

Meanwhile over in Fallujah right now there’s kids cowering in corners, wondering if when they finallly are able to get their wounded mom or dad to the hospital if the hospital will still be standing.

Seems to me we are continually taking our eye off the ball.

No matter what guy-in-a-blue-suit is in the White House now, I, and most other Americans (don’t get me started on the fact that people tend to overlook those in need here at home, that’s a whole ‘nother diatribe) will be able to go to bed tonight – on a mattress, no less – and sleep ok – heartburn from the Pizza Hut delivery not withstanding.

The interesting thing about this blog stuff is that I can stop in the middle, save the file and come back to edit later without posting. The previous paragraph is where I had stopped yesterday. I just re-read my ramblings and sometimes I think I should just delete the junk. I go on and on and I complain, I satirize, I philosphize – but I offer no solutions, no ideas. I’m the first to admit this. In fact this is perhaps what frustrates me the most. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO. There’s hundreds of organizations and foundations waiting to take my time and money. Everyday one or another of them turns out to be no good. Where does my money really go? I could give my time, but hey, who has any of that anymore? I did the one thing I thought could make a difference and voted – and it didn’t.

I feel like I should be doing some good, I want to do some good, but have no idea where to focus my energies. I’ve read in places that alot of people focus on one area that they are passionate about. Is that like picking your favorite child? Like “oh, these people are suffering over here, and these people are too. There’s injustice here AND there. Um. Eeny meanie miny moe. I choose this cause. Somebody else will have to help those other people – my fight is with these.” What if nobody helps those other people?

There’s no simple answer, of this I am sure, but you are welcome to stay tuned as I try and find an outlet for my activist energies. I’ll keep you posted.

My 3 year old is smarter than me.

So my daughter Julia, has been blowing chunks for the past 3 days. That doesn’t make her smarter than me. That part will come later – and if blowing chunks made you smart, I’d be designing rockets right now.

We took her to the doctor and she was diagnosed with a ‘tonsil infection’. I think that is really just code for “she’s sick, but we’re not sure why. Please leave now and here is some antibiotics so you don’t go away mad.” Ironic really since she’s scheduled to have her tonsils out next wednesday. Now the infection of the tonsils threatens that very proceedure. Convoluted, I know, but then again so is healthcare.

So yesterday after trying to have a piece of toast, and having it subsequently rejected by her innards, Julia retired to her perch on the couch.

So after consultation with Lyn who has endured the past 3 days of intestinal outbursts as well as the teething of ‘l’petit castor’ Emma who is chewing off table legs and constructing a dam in the basement, we determined that – for the big kids at least – it was ‘pizza night’. The call to Domino’s was made.

Julia overheard the call and perked up, noting, “I LOVE PIZZA! Can I have some cheese pizza, pluuuuhhheeaaze?”

After being informed that I didn’t think this was in the best interest of the health of her insides as well as the condition of her pajamas, she insisted.

I gave her the obligatory “We’ll see,” never intending for a moment to actually give her any, figuring the allure will have worn off by the time said pizza arrived.

It didn’t.

With the doorbell came the exaultant screams of “PIZZA’S HERE!” and the scramble to get into her booster seat. By the time I paid for the pizza and brought it to the table, the foaming at the mouth had begun. I was in trouble.

I tried to stand my ground citing that it “was for your own good” and “it will just make you sick again…” No dice. The tears ensued. Lyn stepped in with ‘If she wants pizza, give her pizza.’

“But dear,” I protested, ‘What about the yaking and the mess and it’s no fun and blah, blah, blah…” After all, giving pizza to the sick child, this is bad parenting. What would Bill Cosby say?

My exasperated wife responded, “She’s been throwing up for 3 DAYS, everything is a mess at this point!”

The women win, again. Pizza is served.

She ate a whole piece.

We waited. Waited.

Minutes passed. Then an hour. The tense evening passed. Nothing. Julia played. WRESTLED with Emma.

“She’s going to wait until she’s in bed.” I said to Lyn. “That way she’ll get her pajamas AND all the bedsheets in one fell swoop.”

We put her to bed. Nothing. I slept uneasy all night – waiting for the call…

This morning, the light goes on in Julia’s bathroom and I go down the hall, fully expecting this to be the moment. I turn the corner, as she’s finishing using the bathroom. She turns to me and lights up, bright as a bell, and says “SEE DAD! I TOLD YOU the pizza wouldn’t make me sick!”

“Must have been magic pizza.” I said.

“Yea! Magic pizza!” she laughed and ran off.

Naive youth, 1 – Wise elder, 0.

So all of you out there who were cringing or bemoaning my lack of good parental sense back when I was giving her the pizza, well, she’s not blowing chunks now. She’s smarter than you too.

This morning when Lyn tried to give her toast for breakfast, she asked for cereal with – gasp – milk. Milk is not good for sick people. Lyn told her this to which she replied “Mom, listen to me. I’M ALL BETTER.”

So that’s taken care of. Julia’s apparently ok. Now I need to get Emma focused on firewood for the winter – I swear she eats more than she stacks.

Representative of everything that is wrong with the world.

Yesterday riding home from work, I couldn’t put air in my flat bike tire at the gas station because I didn’t have fifty cents.

They wanted fifty cents for air.

If it’s fifty cents for a car tire, my tire would have used about 5.

Is air a traded commodity on the NYSE now?

I need to get me some stock in water….or the newest trendy stock, dirt. I hear that’s selling through the roof. Dirt always sells, just ask anyone in the media.

A view into the handbasket.

So this weekend I get out for a bit of a trail ride at Wakefield for like the first time in at least a month. The weather is awesome, I’m havin’ a blast – I only regret I didn’t bring the dog – I thought there would be too many people out. Not the case at all, I’ve only seen 3 people.

30 minutes in – snap goes the rear derailleur hanger. For you non-bike geeks out there, this is the equivalent of dropping the transmission of your car in the middle of the road.

So, being that I have not brought any tools with me I sling my ride over my shoulder and begin what will be at least a half hour hike-a-bike home. I know what you’re saying, left your tools at home? I live right by the trails right? What could go wrong? I learned my lesson here. Hey kids, ALWAYS BRING YOUR TOOLS.

Anyway, on the way home I must have passed at least 15 people. All walks of life. 2 young guys riding mountain bikes. A dad and his kids, other folks. They pass me.

The guy CARRYING his bike. Would it not appear something is wrong? NO ONE asks if I need help, or offers tools. NO ONE.

After the first person passed me up, I laughed it off, and decided to make an experiment of it – I’d see just how long before someone asks. It’s not that it matters much, I was in a good mood and the walk home was minimal, I just wanted to shut up my cynical side. It didn’t work.

One guy finally asked if I was ok, but that wasn’t until I was about a stone’s throw from my house. And I had blisters on the tops of my toes from my soggy riding shoes. Not his fault – at least he asked.

Our society is going in a bad direction, people. This ‘look out for yourself and screw everyone else’ crap is only going to get us so far, and I’m not just saying that because my toes hurt.