Same job, different uniform.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Greg will be driving the Big Red Car no more

The Wiggles are announcing this week that founding member Greg Wiggle (yes, he has a real last name, and it's Page, but that's moot. He's Greg Wiggle) is leaving the Wiggles.

Who will drive the Big Red Car? He's the lead singer, so who will be singing the songs? Will they be replacing him? Can Anthony, Murray and Jeff carry the show?

Does anyone who reads this blog care?

If the two-year-olds I babysit could grasp this concept, they would be crushed.

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So this is girlfriday.

I love this corner of the Internet.

At one moment, my sister-in-law is giving thanks for the showers of blessings in her life in the form of her precocious son and his worthy father. And the tiny little thing that is expected next Monday.

My youngest sister, without a touch of cynicism or dread, is telling us what a mixed bag babysitting is.

The other is hammering the fools who think, because they're black, it's okay to use the N-word.

Out of nowhere, Snarky dives in with a solemn warning about the impending removal of US troops from Iraq.

And I would like to give a shout out to my Aunt Suzie, who reads this blog so faithfully but only occasionally receives the courtesy of a reply email from me. Just knowing you're reading this reminds me how much I love and miss the California B's.

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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

History Lesson

One of the more curious things about history is that, despite the best efforts of a lot of stunningly perceptive people, we keep getting it wrong. We bollocks the lessons; we bilge the final exams.

George Santayana famously noted: “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” Not exactly, of course, but the point is that humans keep doing the same, stupid tricks and keep getting the same, stupid results. And we all know what you have when someone keeps doing the same thing, against common sense and general practice, somehow expecting different results; you have a textbook definition of insanity.

The war in Iraq is going badly, of course, partly because a whole lot of people think they have a whole lot of scores to settle, and partly because the coalition forces (read US Army) are not allowed to use sufficient force to counter force. They are not allowed to go into Sadr City, the hotbed of the Mahdi Army; they are not allowed to engage the insurgents in practical ways that sane soldiers who want to return home eventually would sort out for themselves if given the freedom to do so. No. US forces are largely handcuffed in their efforts to fix the problems they see, and when one of those problems is insurgency itself (solvable largely by violently killing the insurgents), you can easily observe the Donkeys sidling towards the door.

Iraq is not Vietnam, but we are making it into the same sort of trap. By and large, the people in Iraq want to live their lives with some certainty that their families stand a better than even chance of arriving home again at night safely. And that is not necessarily the case right now. But it could be. But the commitment we are going to need to make is less about ending up with the sort of government we wanted when we went in, than it is having a government capable of keeping its citizens alive and the Iranians and Syrians out.

The Bush Administration has squandered a pretty significant opportunity to remake the region; the gamble was profound and the payoff would have been astonishing, but the luck was bad and the individual moves were far worse. And yet, it is not unsalvageable at this point, either. The commitment has to be to the safety of the average Iraqi citizen, not to the government or the ally or the reporter holed up in the hotel. People want order and certainty, and they will accept pretty awful people in charge if they can get some semblance of that. Why not provide them with a good and resolute example of how to stop an insurgency in its tracks?

Again, Iraq is not Vietnam. This is a classic civil war scenario, not an invasion disguised as one. And while combatants hide among civilians in Iraq as happened in Vietnam, there are far fewer places outside of the cities to hide and use as bases; Iraq lacks Vietnam’s densely forested countryside. But a significant similarity is this: Ho Chi Minh understood that the US, like the French before them, would eventually tire of fighting in Vietnam because there was nothing, ultimately, in it for them. And the US has shown, time and time again, that it will cut its losses and leave when the going gets tricky. The insurgency and al-Qaeda are both counting on that happening again. And from the way a significant number of Democrats are talking, there will be an early move to do just that, as soon as they seat their new majorities in the House and Senate.

The only thing worse than not learning from history is learning the wrong lesson.

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Love is...

...when you record a football game for your husband but forget to change the VCR speed so the tape runs out in the third quarter, and when your husband is relaying to a friend why he missed most of the game, he says "The VCR messed up so I didn't see all of it." Sighhhhh...that's nice.

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Monday, November 27, 2006

These are the Days

I can't say I especially recommend the movie "Nine Months," which I borrowed from a friend, but if you ever have a moment to watch the very last scene I do highly recommend THAT. It involves a record player, a song by Van Morrison called "These are the Days," (which is lovely in that Van-Morrison-way that makes you wistful even for things you've never experienced) two parents, and their baby boy.

Since I am expecting to give birth to my second baby in one week and am fiercely in love with the first one I have, as well as the man with whom I had him, the song and the scene were very moving to me. As Morrison sings, truly these are the days . . .

These are the days of the endless summer
These are the days, the time is now
There is no past, there's only future
There's only here, there's only now

Oh your smiling face, your gracious presence
The fires of spring are kindling bright
Oh the radiant heart and the song of glory
Crying freedom in the night

These are the days by the sparkling river
His timely grace and our treasured find
This is the love of the one magician
Turned the water into wine

These are days of the endless dancing and the
Long walks on the summer night
These are the days of the true romancing
When Im holding you oh, so tight

These are the days by the sparkling river
His timely grace and our treasured find
This is the love of the one great magician
Turned water into wine

These are the days now that we must savour
And we must enjoy as we can
These are the days that will last forever
You've got to hold them in your heart.

Van Morrison, from Avalon Sunset, 1989

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Saturday, November 25, 2006

The words every babysitter dreads hearing:

"I need medicine on my butt."


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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I normally wouldn't link to my blog...

...but I got into a conversation about this with JEB last night, and am curious how people weigh in.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Bye, Bye Buffy. Hello Wonder Woman!

Joss Whedon is writing and directing a big screen Wonder Woman.

Time stopped for just a second. Right there.


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Sunday, November 19, 2006

An early Christmas present for Brett at Blognostic, and his brother, Andy, brought to you by Bravo.

Here's something you can watch during the commercial breaks and half times on Friday.

Then come January, and there's a brand new season.

Happy New Year's for you.

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Be Gone!

Whoever has googled "O Holy Night terrible," can move along!

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Shaken, Not Stirred

I couldn't stomach the James Bond movies. Or. Let me rephrase that. Based on the clips I saw, I couldn't get excited enough about the franchise to watch one of the films all the way through.

Until Pierce Brosnan took over the iconic role. I've watched every one since (all of which, Tomorrow Never Dies excepting, were terrible).

I know die-hards prefer Connery or Moore, but they were too dull for my unrefined tastes. I find the older movies corny, unwatchable.

Daniel Craig is going to keep me coming back for more. At least once. If he's too much like the earlier Bonds, my interest may wane.

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Those who are interested; those who may have, let's say, this evening, raised the question about how a Christian might interpret and understand the Genesis account of Creation, might wander over to Ocular Fusion. There is friendly, potentially useful banter.

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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

If I were a Christmas Carol

Girlfriday's song pick is perfect. I remember her "Pageant" debut well. I was one of the few that actually did have a "small part!" And she couldn't be more right about the additional verses of these songs:

"And yet, beneath life's crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow,
Take heart, for comfort, love, and hope
come swiftly on the wing;
O rest beside the weary road,
And hear the angels sing"
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

"Led by the light of faith serenely beaming,
With glowing hearts by His cradle we stand.
O'er the world a star is sweetly gleaming,
Now come the wisemen from out of the Orient land.
The King of kings lay thus in lowly manger;
In all our trials born to be our friend.
He knows our need, our weakness is no stranger,
Behold your King! Before him lowly bend"
O Holy Night

All that being said, my favorite carol of all time -- as well as one of my favorite songs period -- is "O Holy Night." I know, I know, "Joy to the World" seems a more obvious fit, and it is a close second for sure. But I can be a little too melancholy for "Joy to the World" at times.

The emotional level of "O Holy Night" reduces me to tears almost every time I hear it. It's moving, but at the same time very hopeful. It's worshipful, and I love that. I love the picture of man "pining" in sin before Christ appeared "and the soul felt its worth." For those like me, who feel like they've hit rock-bottom before then been lifted to a mountain top, this song is especially meaningful -- it's the grace of God. I pray my life reflects the spirit of my carol...

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If You were a Christmas Carol, which Christmas Carol Would You Be?

Inspired by this post at Robin Lee Hatcher, I am pondering which Christmas Carol I would be and why.

O Holy Night moves me. Yes, even when Mariah Carey sings it.

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen and Good King Wenceslas are such jolly tunes! (Therefore, Christian men, be sure, wealth or rank possessing,You who now will bless the poor shall yourselves find blessing.) I thrill to the opening chords.

The problem is, most of us only know the first and second verses of Christmas carols. But the real magic lies in the additional verses. An example is the perennially overlooked "We Three Kings."

Myrrh is mine, its bitter perfume
Breathes of life of gathering gloom
Sorrowing, sighing, bleeding, dying
Sealed in the stone-cold tomb

Glorious now behold Him arise
King and God and Sacrifice
Alleluia, Alleluia
Earth to heav'n replies

But I digress. Which Christmas Carol am I?

When I was ten years old, I had a small part ("there are no small parts, only small actors") in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Never a girl who had trouble projecting vocally, they selected me for my "strong voice." I opened the scene with the first 11 words of O Little Town of Bethlehem and have been partial to it since.

A humble town harboring unspeakable treasure. Like an earthen vessel. Yes, that is my answer.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

Her birth certificate is proof that she's my sister.

But you wouldn't know it by meeting the two of us.

She's more gracious than I'll ever learn to be.

More kind hearted than I could ever try to be.

More afraid of spiders than I would ever want to be.

A better listener than I could ever pretend to be.

More like the kind of sister I want to be.

Happy Birthday, Lois. I love you to pieces!

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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Candybutt's the Word...

Pass it on.

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Hypocrisy thy Name is Human

The rules always change when it's our guy that's on the line. Or us.

I've been reading accusations directed at the Sali campaign for raising money from out of state. These accusations are hurled by Grant's supporters. That is, supporters of the Democrat running in the First Congressional District.


Democratic candidates in Idaho in general, and the 1st CD in particular, survive on out-of-state money, largely because they've had a hard time relating to voters (who subsequently won't give). Mr. Grant, unlike his predecessor Dan Williams, seems to have overcome this problem, but my online buddies should reconsider their attack in the future. Grant's fundraising patterns were an anamoly.

But, what the heck. What did the numbers look like?

Sali outraised Grant by about $366,000. OpenSecrets is reporting that 70% of Sali's money came from out of state donors while 17% of Grant's did. (These are unitemized contributions, or contributions over $200.)

I don't know why so many out-of-state individuals contributed to Sali's campaign, though I have a guess. He probably hired a professional fundraiser who aggressively campaigned using targeted direct mail--largely out-of-state. If this is true, we shouldn't be surprised at the response. Conservative Republicans were scared and he is a staunch right-winger who rallied the troops.

Individuals contributed 58% of Sali's total contributions. Grant received 64% from individuals. That's not a big difference.

PACs and other party committees account for 39% of Sali's total contributions. For Grant, PACs account for only 13%. We're shocked and dismayed. Special interests bought and sold this election! No, they didn't.

(It might be pointed out here that 93% of Grant's PAC dollars were contributed by labor groups (according to That didn't get much attention, and it's not hard to imagine why.)

First of all, PACs are investors and Idaho is not a safe bet for left-leaning PACs. PAC fundraisers are competing for the same pool of limited funds that every candidate is competing for. They have to be strategic in their use of donor's money. Historically they haven't supported Idaho candidates running on the Democratic ticket. If you don't believe me, take a look at Jim Hansen's PAC contributions. (I'll save you the trouble. It's more than $199 and less than $201.)

Secondly, PACs represent a broad array of interests and are regulated. Contrary to what you might read, Club for Growth did not make or break this election. While they can run independent advertising campaigns, their monetary contributions (depending on how they are registered) are limited to $5,000 per year, per candidate.

On the flip side, left-wing fat cats may have wised up to the fact that donating to Democratic congressional candidates in Idaho is a waste of money.

Either way, the money doesn't win the election and out-of-state donors can't vote. Idahoans still chose Sali.

And his opponents need to be cautious about accusing Idahoans of being backward, narrow-minded or duped. You don't win elections by insulting your voter base.


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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

It is raining outside.

I haven't been minding the rain.

I just voted. I need to change my polling place, since I've moved, but I like going back to the same place every year. I even stopped by my friends' house--the ones who live close by; the ones I think about whenever I vote. He was there, but she wasn't. I called her and left. Tomorrow I'm going to watch her son recite some Shakespeare.

Even in little ol' Idaho we're wrestling with the big questions. I'm anxious to see how things turn out. Almost every race interests me. Every proposition does, too.

My phone is broken so I can't talk to anyone, which is what I usually do on Election Night. I am available on email but everyone is watching TV. Well, so am I.

Hey, there's Bill Sali.

UPDATE: "There are no guns; no one's life is threatened. Even if the lines are long." Larry Craig just said that.

ADDED: What is it about the presidency that feels so much weightier than Congress? I remember my mom crying when Clinton won the first time and talking to a friend of mine after Kerry lost to Bush in 04. She was devestated. But no one cries when the other party wins the House!

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Monday, November 06, 2006

It is the shortest posts that pack the most punch.

In just such a post, Dallas Boyd redeems himself. Read this little post and smile at the passers-by.

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Have you noticed the dwindling numbers of trick-or-treaters. There used to be so many. What keeps them away now? Fear?

Mike at Ocular Fusion thinks he knows.

We rarely know our neighbors. When we get out of our cars, we're on our phones. When we're leaving, if we're girlfridays who blog but shall otherwise remain nameless, we're in a hurry. Packed like sardines into pre-fabricated, self-contained villages, we're buried in gadgets designed to give us more time but we don't seem to use it to meet the souls that live 15 feet away from us.

Trick-or-treating is a final vestige of the good old days, such as they were. We've lost the art of being neighborly and I long to see it recovered. Halloween may have started as a foolish, sinister occasion to taunt homeowners, but let's let bygones by bygones.

When someone arrives at your doorstep, the transaction involves no text message, no email, no phone call. On Halloween it is a pair of earnest blue eyes and an unabashed desire for chocolate. We have candy and we want to give it to a human being who shyly, elegantly asks.

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I've been thinking. Some verses. From memory. In no particular order.

Bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.

Let God be true and every man a liar.

If our hearts condemn us, God is greater than our hearts and knows all things.

Love bears all things, hopes all things.

These three remain: faith, hope, love. But the greatest of these is love.

No greater love has a man than this: that he lay down his life for his friend.

Love your enemies.

With an angry man do not go.

Whoever would gain his life, will lose it.

Who is my neighbor?

What does God require of you to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God?

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