On Patriotism

Here are my thoughts on patriotism – in a time when people think that patriotism equals rabid war-mongering, or blindly following elected officials based on their idealogy. Patriotism != any of those things.

Here is what I have to say about that – some day I will work this into a speech – please feel free to quote me, but please attribute the quote to me:

“Administrations come and go, interpretations wax and wane, but it is to America herself, her promise – her ideals – her very foundation, that you pledge your patriotism.” – Anne P. Mitchell, Esq.

In Praise of Older, Less Perky Breasts

If you are easily offended, you should probably skip this post. Of course, if you are easily offended, you probably aren’t reading a blog called “Mange Merde” anyways. Unless, of course, you don’t have access to a French-English dictionary.

I like to think that I still look reasonably good, and in relatively good shape, for a woman of my age. (Of course, I also like to think that Tinkerbell and the Good Humour man are my next door neighbors, and that the owls really are what they seem, so clearly what I like to think has no bearing on reality.)

Anyways, yesterday, as I was looking at myself in the mirror, I contemplated whether I might want to get my breasts lifted at some future point in my life. Because, you know, clearly they have not gotten with the “looking reasonably good for their age” program.

I didn’t give that thought a second thought until today, when I was again looking at myself in the mirror (hey, I was brushing my teeth, alright?) when I suddenly thought “why on earth would I ever have thought of having them nipped and tucked?” (Mind you, I was never seriously considering it, it was just a passing thought, but the ludicriousness of that passing thought struck me nonetheless.)

These breasts have nursed two children through a combined total of seven and a half years!

They have eased babies and toddlers through bumps and scrapes. They have comforted our son through a badly broken arm. They have kept an infant quiet through entire movies.

They have lulled my children to sleep for more than 2,500 nights (top that, Scheherazade!)

They have given both of my children the absolute best start in life.

Fix them?

Hell, no. They’re not broken! And I’m darned proud of them.

The Most Discriminated-Against Class in America: White Males

“Why are there American Girls books, but no American Boys books?” asked our son last year.

Of course, I couldn’t give him the real answer: “Because, son, you belong to the most discriminated-against class in America: white males.”

If you disagree with that statement, you must either be one of those brainwashed womyn, or one of those men who has assumed the mantle of male guilt which was foisted on you by – yes – one of those womyn.

Because any man who has been through the family law system, or has been counselled at work about all the various things which used to be – you know, pleasantries – which can now get them sued for sexual harassment, or who has even the most rudimentary of observational skills, will tell you: men are horribly discriminated against now.

And if you are a man who can’t claim membership in some minority group to buy you some sympathy – to give you a nationally-endorsed permission slip – you have no excuse at all.

How out of hand has it become?

A few months ago a 6-year old boy was suspended from kindergarten for putting his finger inside a female playmate’s waistband.

Think that would have happened if a girl had done it? Or the waistband had belong to another boy? How about if a girl had done it and the waistband had belonged to a boy? Nope.

How about John Wayne Bobbitt? When wife Lorena gave him the unkindest cut of all, jokes abounded – talk radio, Letterman, Leno, you name it. Everybody was making jokes about the fact that his wife cut off his organ and threw it out the window.

Now imagine what would have happened if roles had been reversed, and he had cut off one of her breasts and thrown it out the window. And if a single talk-show host – or someone at the water cooler – had dared breathe a joke about it? Talk about a lynching waiting to happen. Why is it funny when a woman dismembers a man?

Because, you know, men are disposable.

But women are sacred, and need special treatment.

How sad that the true equality for which the original women’s movement worked so hard has now been perverted into a form of gender-based merit system which infantilizes women more overtly than ever did the old systems. Because now women apparently need special dispensations just for being women – while men are just, well, bad.

As a nation we have been brainwashed into believing that girls need special treatment, while boys need, well, special treatment of another, darker kind.

Or, as an article in USA Today put it, “Girls get extra school help while boys get Ritalin.”

In some schools 10% or more of the boys are on Ritalin, and nationally 80% of the children on Ritalin are boys.

Because they have a “disciplinary” problem.

Their problem is, of course, that they have a Y chromosome.

It’s as simple as that.

All men are potential rapists. Boys? They are just disciplinary problems who haven’t realized their rapist potential … yet.

And nobody ever seems to question an “American Girls” product line, but boy oh boy would there be an outcry against an “American Boys” product line.

Yesterday our son, who objects to the idea of an “American Girl” series of books “because it excludes people”, which we have taught him not to do, told us, with a conspiratorial grin, “It’s ok, I get them back.”

“Oh, how do you do that?”

“I buy them and read them anyway.”

That’s showing them, son.

A Rant about Operation Amber Alert

This is a rant which has been a long time in coming.

That’s because I see it nearly every day. You see, I subscribe to the Operation Amber mailing list, and so I see each and every one of the Amber Alerts which go out.

That’s pretty amazing to think about, isn’t it? That there are Amber Alerts every single day.

And that’s the issue. And that’s what this rant is about.

Perhaps even the average citizen could notice it, but being a former father’s rights attorney, I particularly recognize it.

The vast majority..I mean the VAST majority of “abductions” being announced by Amber Alerts aren’t even “abductions” at all. Not in the sense that most people think. Heck, not in the sense that most people assume when they see those Amber Alerts.


The vast vast majority of Amber Alerts are about..wait for it… custody and visitation. And the children are in no danger whatsoever.

Yep. Another example of a custodial parent working the system to their advantage, and making the non-custodial parent out to be a lowlife good-for-nothing..in this case..criminal child abductor.

And another example of some power-grabbing custodial parent deflecting resources away from children and families who really need them just because they can. Just to show the non-custodial parent who’s boss.

As if they need to be shown that.

Don’t believe me? Sign up for the Operation Amber alerts. Look at the full text of each one. Notice how often the “suspect” is known, not a stranger, and how the last name of the “suspect” and the child are the same. [You can sign up here]

Still don’t believe me? Check out this “not an Amber Alert” from an Amber Alert website – in a rare case where the police actually declined to issue an Amber Alert for a domestic dispute (way to go, Mountain View, California), Operation Amber took the police department to task, and posted a web alert anyways:

Amber Alert Denied For International Kidnapping By A Father

Americas Amber Alert News Center (California USA NA) TAA – Mountain View police are asking for the public’s help in locating a 3-year-old boy believed to have been abducted by his father.

Salvador Garrido called the boy’s mother telling her he would not be returning the child to her Sunday as promised. He said he was in Mexico or on his way there with the boy, Gianmarco Garrido.

Gianmarco had been visiting with his father since Saturday with the permission of the mother, who has full legal custody of the child. Amber Alert was denied due to the lack of danger believed to exist by the Police.

This appears to be interference with child custody and international parental kidnapping. This should warrant Amber Alert due to the fact the father is about to endanger the child by making an illegal crossing into Mexico.

Crossing the border is considered a hazard event to adults by both governments. Allowing the father to not get DOT signs while he evades capture is wrong and violated the childs human rights. Gianmarco and his father may be traveling in a car similar to a black ‘93 or ‘94 Nissan two-door 280Z or 300.

Gianmarco is 3 years old, 3 feet tall and weighs about 30 pounds. He has brown hair and brown eyes. Salvador Garrido, who also goes by Sanchez or Marin, is 30 years old, stands 5 feet 5 inches, weighs 140 pounds and has black hair and brown eyes.

Mountain View police turned the case over to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office this morning. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Salvador Garrido and his son is asked to contact Mountain View police at (650) 093-6395 or Deputy DA Julianne Sylva at (408) 792-2523.” [from http://www.teamamberalert.net/news/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=6960]

Oh puhlease. It’s a custody dispute. Yes, the father shouldn’t have taken the child out of the states. But the child is not with some stranger who has taken the child for evil purposes. The child isn’t even with someone who has taken them for evil purposes at all. The child is with..wait for it…

…one of their parents.

The vast majority of child “abductions” are, in fact, simply custody disputes. They belong in the courts. Not using up the resources and detracting attention away from, and desensitizing people to the plight of, those who really need them – children whom are in fact abducted by strangers or others who pose a serious threat. Though relatively rare, it is these children for whom a national Amber Alert should be issued, not those who are with one of their parents who decided to keep them a little too long during their visitation, or who are challenging the custody of the other parent.

On Performing Weddings

This is a post I have been meaning to post for a few months, ever since I had the great honour of presiding at the wedding of my daughter’s best friend, whom I consider to be something of an “adopted” daughter.

My daughter’s friend – we’ll call her Judith, because, well, that’s her name – and her fiance had asked me if I would perform their wedding ceremony. They wanted me to perform it because they wanted it to be someone they knew, who meant something to them. To be honest, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, and there were times I felt like perhaps I should have thought twice before saying “yes”, but I was so very honoured that they wanted me, and had asked, and because it was Judith, of course I would do it.

Well, let me tell you that any reservations I had were absolutely for naught.

Performing a wedding turned out to be one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had.

I had no idea.

It is such an incredible honour to share such an intimate moment between two people. Not just to share it, but to be a part of it. This is a view which the wedding guests – the wedding party – even the bride and groom themselves don’t get. To watch two people, looking into each other’s eyes, tears streaming down their faces, as they dedicate their lives to each other – creating a new life together – to be right there as it happens, and helping them to get there….wow. It is just an absolutely powerful, amazing moment, and is an incredible privelege.

Later, I asked a minister friend of mine, with whom I am quite close and have known for many years, “How come you never told me how amazing this was??”, to which he just smiled (I assume – it was in email) and agreed that it is an incredible experience and wonderful privilege.

So you can imagine how honoured and delighted I was when Judith’s sister, Rachel, asked me to perform her wedding a few months later. And she’d even seen me perform my first wedding, and still wanted me to do it!

So that is what I did yesterday. And it was every bit as amazing.

I had to smile each time when the bride and groom thanked me; I think that they really didn’t realize what an honour it was for me (despite my telling them so, of course).

I’m hooked.

If anyone out there is looking for someone to perform their wedding….

Security Threat at Democratic National Convention Uncovered!

You may have heard that security was uber-tight at the recent Democratic National Convention in Boston, particularly given the current and heightened terror alerts indicating that there is going to be an attempt to disrupt the political process (maybe someone should actually float a viable candidate – now that would disrupt the political process!..but I digress…)

What you may not have heard was that the security forces at the DNC had to confiscate razors from several individuals.

And none of the individuals seemed to be acting in concert with any of the other individuals who were found to be carrying the razors.

More insidious, these individuals triggered no profile: they were not swarthy men, spoke perfect English with no hint of a foreign national accent, and, in fact, were dressed as members of the press.

In fact, they were members of the press.

According to the ultrahip Spencer Katt, who slipped it to yours truly, the DNC handed out press bags to members of the press, at their hotel before they wended their way over to the convention. Included in those bags, along with a box of…I kid you not…donkey and star Kraft Mac’n’Cheese, some beverages and some craisins, was…a Gillette Mach 3 razor. Perhaps they thought the Katt-man was just too furry, or perhaps they figured the press for a bunch of longhairs. Or, perhaps they just weren’t thinking at all, as they sent a flotilla of press armed with razors straight to the security checkpoints at the convention.

On the other hand…it is a novel approach to protecting the homeland – “Vote the Democratic Ticket: We’ll Give You a Well-Armed Press Corps”

Hey, they are everywhere, after all.

A Nation of Intellectual Pygmies

Listening today to the candidates for the upcoming presidential election, George W. Bush and John Kerry, each driveling their lackluster verbal pablum, it suddenly hit me as to just why our choices for President have been increasingly disheartening, disillusioning, and demoralizing.

We are raising a nation of intellectual pygmies.

People no longer choose the best candidate – they choose the least bad candidate. It’s like the junkie channel surfer, clicking desperately from channel to channel, hoping to find that one show which doesn’t suck too badly until they can repeat the process at the top of the hour.

So too our choices for president – we as a nation are now being forced to vote not for the best candidate, but for the candidate who will suck the least. Because these are men who offer sound bytes, not wisdom, and whose trade is in insults not intellectual discourse.

Blather, rinse, repeat.

And do you know why? It’s because you simply can’t get a good, classical education in America any more. Our candidates are but a product of the educational environment we have created, and what we have created doesn’t even begin to teach true critical thinking, philosophy, reflection, values and ethics.

We no longer value real scholarship.

We no longer train intellectuals.

Presidents past, and I mean way past, were men of deep thought as well as action. They were well-educated, well-versed, and well-rounded. They were deep thinkers.

The candidates of today have no idea how to be deep, critical thinkers. That is what made Clinton such an attractive candidate to so many – he was, in fact, one of the few intellectuals to run in modern day (and I say that as someone who did not vote for him).

We have created a nation of intellectual pygmies.

We deserve the president we get.