::one small shoe thrown for man

15 12 2008

and another one thrown at that motherfucker for the whole world.




::keep your war on.

19 03 2008

Five years of war in Iraq.

I remember very clearly watching the start of the war on television. Seeing infra-red footage from the hotel balconies of the hundreds of journalists in Baghdad, seeing the bombs explode and hearing unconfirmed reports of civilians dieing. Excited updates from the embedded reporters, talking about leads on hard targets and troops carrying playing cards with the most-wanted memebers of the Iraqi government on their faces.

My son Liam was a week out from being born. I remember the apprehension I felt wondering how this would change his life, and the lives of so many other children born during this time. I feared the world we would give him, invading and occupying two Middle-Eastern countries at the dawn of the 21st century.

The war has been in his reality his whole life. His uncle spent a year in Iraq, served with honor and came back unsure how to cope with domestic bliss. His grandmother, a Major in the Air Force Reserves, spent 6 months in Afghanistan. She wrote out greeting cards in advance to all of her children and grandchildren, for all the birthdays and holidays, and instructed her husband on when they were to be sent. She also served with honor, and came home with inexplicable crying fits and a distance between herself and everyone around her that, nearly a year later, is wider than ever.

He takes notice of it on the news now, as well, and has questions about the war and what it means. Sometimes he reminds me of that old commericial for the Time-Life books on the Vietnam War.

“…Not a child’s question, but a question a child might ask…”

Maybe we’ll be able to order books or DVDs or some shit for them on the subject some day, paying for it all in easy monthly payments.

Speaking of paying for it all, according to NationalPriorities.org, California residents alone have spent over 66 billion dollars on the war since it started. To give an example of how the money could be otherwise spent, that could send 9,947,258 students in college to California for free. Maybe more, since one of the other costs of the war has been the tanking of the US and world economy. Then again, maybe less, because as I’m sure our fine President would point out, that kind of money poured into education would only make the US more appealing to all those illegal immigrants who sneak across the border and steal our best jobs.

Zachary, my oldest, turns 13 on Easter Sunday. He’s always been aware of the war. He has played games at school reliving the invasion and the capture of Saddam Hussein. In between making jokes about our Lord and Savior turning into a brain-eating zombie for his birthday, and jokes about bacon crucifix and scone effigy centerpieces, he has asked how old he will be when he has to go off to war. The answer is one I’m not ashamed to tell him.

If McCain is elected, he won’t turn 15 as a US resident.

It is a luxury I realize I’m very lucky to have. How many Iraqi children have died instead of turning 5? How many have experienced the terror of soldiers bursting into their homes and shoving rifles in their faces? How many have lost their brothers and fathers and uncles to shouting monsters who steal them away in the middle of the night?

So happy birthday, America. And happy birthday, Iraq.

Make a wish.



p.s. – To the five or so of you wondering where the fuck I’ve been? Got hit by a truck, laid off, into therapy, looking for a job, loving my kids, rebuilding my marriage.

It was a wee bit overwhelming, so the blog fell by the wayside.

::9/11 Remodeled

11 09 2007

I’ve been thinking about what I wanted to write for this September 11th for a week or so now. I’m sick to death of politics lately, though, and I really didn’t care to have an entry centered around the Surge or the Senate hearings with General Petraeus, or the latest stupid thing Dubya’s handlers are shaking their heads over.

You can’t talk about September 11th, 2001 without talking about Iraq, no matter how linked they aren’t, and I think anyone who’s read more than two entries is probably pretty clear on how I feel about George dubya.

And what if we disregard Iraq completely and force it out of the conversation like the redheaded stepchild that it is? Then we are left with talking about the new fascism: wiretaps, detainments, deportations, Gitmo, no-fly lists, and whether or not breast milk is a dangerous liquid that should be banned from flights.


So yeah, trying to think of something to say about 9/11 without talking about all that bullshit. Hadn’t really thought of anything.

I thought also about writing about how September 11th really effected me more than I thought it would in the months after that day. Like how every time I happen to look at the clock and see 9:11, I tense up and I feel a lump in my stomach. I don’t know the story behind that one.

I watched Flight 93 on cable the other night. I haven’t cried during a movie in years. Years, I tell you. And not because I try to be some tough guy jagoff who claims to not cry in movies, either. Wanna know something? I cry during TV weddings. Real weddings, too. Even if I don’t like one or more of the people doing the deed. But TV weddings get me too, every time. I don’t have to like them either.

Anyway, Flight 93. I cried, and I really, really didn’t expect to. I didn’t expect there to be such a portrayal of the fear and bravery and simple humanity of those people. I didn’t expect the terrorists to be somewhat human, and they were. To see their own fear of what they were doing was as painful as it was to see everyone else’s fear of what was being done.

I’ve rambled this far and all I’ve really said is that I can’t think of what to say and terrorism is bad.

So anyway.

I got home from work, and went out into the front yard with the two little boys to give The Missus a break for a little while, and all of a sudden Liam decided he wanted to ride his bike. We got him a bike back in March for his 4th birthday, and he’s been a little intimidated by it. He’s only ridden it 2 or 3 times. I don’t want to force the issue and make him learn to ride it. There’s no fun in that. And learning to ride your bike should be fun, so he’ll do it as his own pace.

But today he wanted to ride his bike. So we got it out and washed off the dust and cobwebs, cleaned the helmet and pumped up the tires. Off we went down the street and around the block.

He was very tentative at first, not wanting me to take my hands off the handlebars, and letting out a little whimper with each teeter onto the training wheels. I convinced him he needed to take his eyes off his feet and look where he was going shortly before we got to the corner. Which, being able to see it, he rounded like a pro.

He got a little further, sped up to the point where I let go but stuck close, and then suddenly shouted out, “Yeah for me! I’m doing it! I’m steering!”

I gave him some encouragement of some kind, and then, he said it.

What did he say, you ask?

Almost shaking on the bike with excitement and frothing at the mouth, Liam said:


And I’ll be damned if he’s wrong.

We continue loops around the block for over an hour, with him sometimes having as much as half a block lead on me on looking back.

So fuck September 11th, 2001 and all of it’s tragedy and fascism and machismo and death.

September 11, 2007 is the day my kid decided to learn how to ride his bike.


the best day ever.



::justice denied

30 12 2006

I hope the world doesn’t see the speedy execution of the criminal Saddam as some illusion of justice being served.

A criminal Saddam Hussein may have been, but he was no worse than others that the United States has fostered and continues to foster throughout the world.  No doubt the criminal George is pretty proud of himself these days.




10 10 2006

There is no more half and half in the office.

I am reduced to the indignity of using hazelnut creamer.



::extraordinary rendition

19 09 2006

Mister President–

I think I need some clarity on this.

Say you’re a Canadian citizen, and you’re travelling home to Canada from a trip overseas.  Your return trip takes through JFK International, where you have to catch a connecting flight.  Say you’re getting off your plane and you’re on your way to you connection when you get arrested kidnapped in the airport. 

Let’s go on in this scenario and say that you’re held for two weeks by officials working for the United States government, and during that time you’re not allowed to call any of the following people:

  1. Your wife back home in Canada
  2. Your lawyer
  3. The Canadian embassy or any member of the Canadian government. 

Let us also remember, in this hypothetical situation, that there are treaties between the Canadian and US governments dealing with just this sort of thing, and that the treaties spell out that you should be able to, at a minimum, get in touch with 2 and 3 on the list above. You’re a good Canadian who knows a thing or two about what your government does, and you’re aware of your rights.  No one seems to care.

So let’s say you’re held in the US for two weeks, after which time the CIA decides to put you on a plane and fly you to Jordan, and then drive you to Syria, where you are turned over by the CIA to the Syrian government.  The Syrians hold you for a year, during which time you are repeatedly tortured.

When the US government is asked about you and your whereabouts, let’s say they deny ever having heard of you.  For a year or so.  Then they refuse to say where you are or what has become of you.

But let’s say the Syrians can’t get anything out of you, and they give you back to the Canadians, who spend the next two years smearing your name and calling you a terrorist. 

Then all of a sudden they realize that you’re not a terrorist, you’ve never had terrorist sympathies, and you’ve never done anything wrong.  Unless of course, being of Arab descent while travelling through US airspace is wrong.  And it very well may be. 

The Canadians issue apologies, offer you compensation for the money you’ve lost and the slander  you’ve suffered, and genuinely try to make up for their part in the horrible injustice that’s been done to you and your family.  The United States, on the other hand, summarily dismisses without comment the lawsuit you filed against them.

Bullshit, right? 

That’s just another liberal bullshit conspiracy story that never happens.  We are saving the world for democracy here, people. 

We are the guys in the white hats.

Tell that to Maher Arar.  The bullshit story above is his story, and it is true.

But hey, there’s a war on, right?  And every airport, bus stop, train station and intersection is part of the front, right? We are all players here, we are all soldiers. 

This is tragic, this is sad, this is a terrible injustice, but would which would we rather have–a few mistakes, a few people tortured when they shouldn’t be, or another 9/11?  That’s how the logic goes.  There is collateral damage in every war.

Wrong.  If this can happen to one person, if the government can blow off treaties and laws and common human decency when dealing with a Arab Canadian no one is likely to care about, it can happen to anyone.  You or me, in New York or Kansas City, citizen or no. 

Am I paranoid?  Am I a conspiracy nut?  I don’t think I am.

What’s stopping it from happening?

Who knows that it hasn’t happened already?