Civilization Calls
Friday, December 26, 2003
  I've moved

I am now at Come on over, and have a look around!

On my way out, I'd like to thank the support team here at Blog*Spot. They were all great, very responsive, and quite knowledgeable on the very few occasions in which I had any difficulty at all.

I've enjoyed my time at Blog*Spot. I highly recommend it for anyone looking to start a blog, who's also low on funds. Even the premium services are quite affordable.

I've moved because the good folks at Munuviana invited me over. I like the space very, very well, love the service, feel very welcome among a group of exceptional writers, and love the results of The Bartender's hard work on my new template. Give him a ping at HammerHead Blog Design for your blog template, today!

  John Rhys-Davies at NRO

It's linked everywhere, but I wanted it for myself, so I could read Mr. Rhys-Davies' comments over, and over, and over again.

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Since I shan't be around until Friday, I wanted to take an opportunity to write something:

I want to wish all my friends, new and old, a very Blessed Yuletide, and a Merry Christmas. In the depths of winter, when it seems that the light has receded and that the darkness is rising, the Lord is reborn! The Sun returns! Let us rejoice at the sight of the winter sun, dawning with a new day and hope for mankind!

With somber celebration of this holy season comes the understanding that we also need to have some fun. With this in mind, and to get the holiday cheer flowing, I'd like to make a couple of recommendations: First, Brian Setzer's Boogie Woogie Christmas, available on Amazon, is a great album! It's true that his voice needs more smoke and whiskey to pull off the blues, but he has an angle on that Big Band sound. The remix of "It's Cold Outside", featuring Ann Margaret, makes the whole album, and I loved his finger-popping rendition of "The Nutcracker Suite". My baby likes it. I give it a 7 out of 10.

Also, I'd like to share this awesome little recipe for eggnog.

Tastes just like Grandma's did.

Don't forget to keep an eye on the jolly fat man tomorrow, while he makes his annual global circumnavigation.

Most of all, take a moment to let your loved ones know how much they mean to you. Share a smile with a stranger. Give and receive great big hugs and drink deep of the spirit of the season.

To our heroes, who are still in the field overseas; you are not forgotten. All our hopes, our prayers, our blessings and best wishes flow out to you in an unconditional stream. You are our heroes, and we love you.

Merry Christmas.


Monday, December 22, 2003
  Be Prepared, But Not Fearful

With the holiday season approaching, intelligence channels have received word that terrorists groups would love nothing more than to hit us over Christmas and New Year's. So, they raised the national alert level to "High."

What does this mean? Head for the hills? Point the finger at Bush and snarl, "This is all your fault?"

Nope. It's just advising us that it might be in everyone's best interest if we're all a little more observant for a while. Be on the lookout for suspicious packages, unattended briefcases or computer cases, or anything out of the ordinary in your locale. It just makes sense, anyway. Thieves often take advantage of the harried inattentiveness of most Christmas shoppers. It just makes sense to be totally aware of your surroundings, and avoid giving off the vibe of "victim".

Without going hysterical, don't be afraid to report anything or anyone suspicious to your local law enforcement. Use common sense, though. It is possible that the guy in the yellow truck with the swan emblem on the side is jst your new Schwan's delivery guy. But it doesn't hurt to look closely, anyway.

That's why the alert has been raised. To the extremists, hitting us during Christmas would be a coup, because it is a holy season to us. Also, it could be easier to slip a dangerous package through during a time when it isn't unusual to see boxes sitting on the doorstep, waiting for the homeowners to get home to take it inside.

Also, with more people traveling, it would be conceivably more simple to leave a briefcase or laptop case unattended in an airport. Really, most of us start filtering out many of the sights and sounds during the holidays--it's a form of human coping. If we didn't, the stimuli could become overwhelming. So, it's important to make a mental note to just be more aware. Trust your instincts. If something really looks off, let someone in authority know immediately.

Also, it never hurts to be prepared, just in case. has suggestions on preparedness. Discuss the various scenarios with your family to make sure that everyone is on the same page.

Again, don't panic, but do be aware. It can be what separates the survivors from the victims.

  Quake in Central California

Via The Drudge Report, and MSNBC.

A magnitude 6.5 quake has hit the central California coast at 11:16 this morning. The epicenter was pinpointed somewhere north of Cambria, in a previoulsy unknown fault. Two poor souls were killed, there have been several injuries, and the power is still out in some places. Public services are working on it.

More as it becomes available.

  Of Note: Forward progress in the War on Terror

I just read some interesting stories in CENTCOM press releases. I hope you don't mind if I quote directly, and highlight the facts I find relevant:
From release number 03-12-54, dated 12/22/2003:

AR RAMADI, Iraq--Soldiers from Task Force "All American" continue missions aimed at assisting local Iraqis in the reconstruction effort and to stop violence in the Al Anbar province.

During the past 24 hours, the 82nd Airborne Division and subordinate units conducted 229 patrols, including 79 joint patrols with the Iraqi Border Guard and Iraqi Police. The soldiers also carried out seven cordon-and-searches and several raids. These operations resulted in one Iraqi being killed, three being wounded and the capture of 96 terrorists."

I repeat: 96 terrorists captured. Ninety-six.
Just in case anyone missed that: NINETY-SIX terrorists CAPTURED.

"Paratroopers from 1st Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment conducted three cordon and searches aimed at killing or capturing terrorists involved with financing and recruiting foreign fighters in Fallujah. The operation resulted in the capture of 14 enemy personnel and the confiscation of various small arms weapons. All captured personnel and equipment were evacuated for processing."

An excellent day's work. Truly, these folks do get more done in the space of a morning, than civilians do in the space of a day.

"In the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment's area, elements of all four regimental squadrons began Operation Rifles Fury, a series of raids to kill or capture anti-Coalition Forces and destroy terrorist training camps in the Rawah area.

The operation was initiated with the regiment conducting 17 raids today. Forces encountered resistance to entry in one target location and used a door breaching charge to gain access to the target through a reinforced steel door. The blast resulted in the death of one Iraqi female and injuries to two other females in the house. These actions are currently under investigation. During the operation, eleven high value targets were captured and 70 other individuals were detained for questioning. Iraqi Civil Defense Corps troops established and maintained traffic checkpoints with 1st Squadron, 3rd ACR as part of the operation."

I'm sorry that the women were injured and killed. I pray for their peace, and hope that the brave shaheed who hid behind them find out what hell is like. It may be sooner than they think.

"Soldiers from Task Force "All American" continue to foster a positive relationship with the people of Al Anbar. Coalition Forces remain committed to providing a secure and stable environment in Al Anbar Province."

This is a quagmire, huh? Funny. I thought "quagmire" was all about being forced to a standstill. Seems to me that Coalition forces are making more headway every day. "Quagmire" is kind of losing its effectiveness as a media watchword, isn't it?

Then, we've also this, posted today. Release Number 03-12-55 apprises us of the following:

AR RAMADI, Iraq--Soldiers from Task Force "All American" continue missions aimed at assisting local Iraqis in the reconstruction effort and stopping violence in the Al Anbar province.

During the last 24 hours, we conducted 204 patrols, including 25 joint patrols with the Iraqi Border Guard and Iraqi police. Soldiers also carried out 16 offensive operations. During these operations, there were 40 enemy personnel captured and a variety of weapons confiscated. There were eight soldiers wounded, of which one was evacuated to the 28th Combat Support Hospital. Seven were not seriously injured and expect to be returned to duty."

Get well, soon. We're thinking of, and praying for, each and every one of you.

"We denied entry to 160 personnel into Iraq at the Trebil border crossing because they lacked proper documentation. No one was denied entry at the Ar Ar, Husaybah, or Tanif border crossings.

Last night in the 3rd Brigade, 82nd Airborne Division's area, paratroopers continued combat operations to kill or capture anti-coalition forces in Fallujah. Soldiers conducted multiple cordon and searches throughout the night and into the day to capture personnel involved with financing and recruiting foreign fighters in Fallujah. The operations resulted in the capture of 25 enemy personnel, three of which were targeted individuals, and the confiscation of various small arms including a box of C4 plastic explosive."

Which means that there are fewer fascists and weapons on the street, which means that they can't harm one of our men or women. Well done!

In the 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division's area, a local sheik turned in a wanted individual to soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment of the Florida National Guard. The individual was suspected of selling black-market weapons and gas and financing a previous attack directed against the mayor of Ramadi."

Huh, and all the Iraqi chieftains hate our guts, and want us gone, hmmm? Nothing more I can do besides laugh derisively.

"This afternoon, a convoy from 307th Engineer Battalion was attacked by an IED near Habbanniyah. One soldier received serious injuries to the head and has been evacuated to 28th Combat Support Hospital. Three others soldiers received minor injuries in the attack and were treated at Forward Operating Base Ridgeway."

Heal quickly. Heal completely. We're thinking of you and praying for you. Bless you all.

"Soldiers from Task Force "All American" continue to foster a positive relationship with the people of Al Anbar. Coalition forces remain committed to providing a secure and stable environment to the Al Anbar Province.

Quagmire, eh? Huh. Mainstream media and left-wing politicians must be using a different dictionary.

Our troops are wining, despite disinformation and propagandizing.

Friday, December 19, 2003
  New Blog Showcase: Pragmatic Conservatism by Dan K. O'Leary

Here's my vote, for the post, "Bush, Saddam, and Howard Dean".

It's sweet, and to the point. Moreover, he hit a nerve somewhere, because he gets to deal with a troll. This blogger does it with an aplomb that left me smiling.


No, I won't be changing the template today. I tested, and hated it.

Change is good, but this time, it'll come later.

Listen, I'm sick of looking at the news today and cruising through the sites of various and sundry moonbats. I'm taking a weekend (not like that isn't anything new). The last thing I'll post today will be my vote for New Blog Showcase. Coming right up...

  New template coming

I'm working on a new template. Just be aware: this site is going to tweak around, and may even look odd for a bit. But in the end, it'll be gorgeous. I promise.

Thanks for understanding!

  This'll kill off those conspiracy theories.

I have received exclusive evidence why it took so long to find So-damn Insane:

We were busily tracking Santa Claus.

  Happy Hunting!

You'd either have to have had your sense of humor shot off, or burned out, to not find this funny:

Brave Sir Banagor gives us the Hippy Hunting series of tutorials:
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV

Actually, I do know people who wouldn't find this funny. They'd think they were being oppressed. I think they should get over it.
AND avoid the coffee shops for a while.
At least until hunting season is over.

Thursday, December 18, 2003
  Den Beste and transnationalism

'"Unilateralism" is a term which the transnationalists have used pejoratively to label many of the actions of the US and its closest allies, who should instead of have embraced "multilateralism". Taken literally, the application of those two terms has been nonsense, since America had the support of many nations both in Afghanistan and in Iraq. But they're being used as code words, with new meanings. "Multilateralism" means submitting yourself to world governance and ignoring your own narrow self interest; "unilateralism" means a refusal to sacrifice sovereignty and an insistence on acting out of self-interest.'

Read entire.

  The people would like to see Saddam dead

But human rights groups say that his trial should be used to heal the country.

Note to human rights groups: shut the fuck up, already! You elitist snobs seem to think that you've got the angle into the human heart, but you know what? You rose-vision idiots know nothing.

Consider losing your entire family, violently. Consider watching the child you conceived and cared for get blinded by thugs while you're held, helpless to protect them. Imagine seeing the battered body of your daughter--if she was allowed to live--after Saddam's sons and thugs gang-raped her for hours. Imagine seeing your children and grandchldren, twisted in death thanks to the chemicals Saddam ordered dropped.

Shut the hell up, get out of Iraq's way, and let them prosecute and kill--yes, KILL--that son of a bitch.

  Ridgway gets 48 consecutive life sentences.

As glad as I am to hear that this animal will die in jail, and somewhat pleased at the thought that the other inmates probably won't treat him gently, I have a better idea:

Forty-eight .22 caliber hp's, fired from about 10 yards into his lower extremities: abdomen, groin, and legs. As the small caliber bounces around inside his body, liquifying his internal organs, he my get to know something of the horror and pain he inflicted upon his victims and their families.

It'd also cost a hell of a lot less then maintaining him in prison for decades to come. Although, the thought does occur to me that he may not have that long. Other inmates are notoriously harsh with cons who abuse women and children.

  Dirty Bomb suspect is not to be detained...

But he can face criminal charges by civilian authorities.

The article still focuses on the wrong thing. It talks about the legalities in detaining him, but forgets to really mention the crime: the asshole was involved in a plot to detonate a dirty bomb. There is a link to al-Qaeda, too: "The government said he had proposed the bomb plot to Abu Zubaydah, then al-Qaida's top terrorism coordinator. Zubaydah was arrested in Pakistan in March 2002." This was kind of mentioned in an offhand way in the article.

Oh, before you start thinking that the mean ol' government is picking on a stable, pillar-of-the-community kind of guy, he has a previous criminal record, too.

Hmm. He seems like a terrorist to me. But then, justice, like business management, doesn't seem to require native intelligence.

  Excuse me?

Found on the Drudge Report:
"I mean you can't believe a word Matt Drudge says," O'Reilly told the cameras. "Now you've got the Matt Drudges of the world and these other people, Michael Moore and all of these crazies, all right, no responsibility... that is a threat to democracy, I think." O'Reilly warned: "They'll just spin it and twist it and take it out of proportion every which way."


Seems to me that Mr. O'Reilly could use a nap.

  Charges to be filed against Jackson today

And here.

The county court has also returned his passport, it seems. Idly, I wonder if he'll try to make a break for it?

I'm sure he'd receive an amiable reception from France.


For Christmas morn, I'll be baking up a batch of these. Mind you, although the recipes presented are pretty close, they're nothing compared to the recipe my Grandmother left to me.

I ain't tellin', either. We've had our recipe since before we ever left Czechoslovakia, and if Grandma wouldn't even share the recipe with the ladies in her church group, I'm not posting it on the web.

But I might be convinced to send out a few of the finished product. For a price. Heh heh heh.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2003
  Apologize later?

As a parent, has anyone ever had one of those moments in which you thought, "That is outrageously expensive, but so cute?" Additionally, have you ever been tempted to just apologize to your spouse later for going ahead and splurging today, knowing that they're probably going to be pissed?

This is the source of my quandary.

What do you think? Isn't that one of the sweetest things you've ever seen? I think my baby needs to wear that.

Yes, I am a sap. Why do you ask?

  They have given so much to us, now we have a chance to give back to them!

This list has been removed. I have received emails from concerned family members, telling me that this information has been used by mean-spirited scumbags to send hate mail to their family members.

Out of respect for these heroes, and out of respect to the families, the post is gone.

I deeply apologize to our servicemen and women, and to their families, for any harm that this has caused. I was merely responding to the request of parties who were concerned that our people might not be receiving the care that they richly deserve. I have a cousin serving over there, right now, and I was thinking of him as well, when I posted this.

It doesn't change the fact that it was the wrong thing to do. I take responsibility for the list's appearance on my site, and responsibility for deleting it.

Please forgive me.

Now, to the human filth that used this resource to abuse our troops: I had a whole curse prepared for you, but then I realized that you are already cursed. Swallow your misery whole, while you reap what you have sown.

For interested parties, Winds of Change offers useful ways to support our troops.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003
  And here I thought I was all alone.

Sir Banagor, knight errant in shining full plate, armed with a broadsword, and expert Huntsman of the patchouli-reeking denizens of cannabis glades, writes of Pagan Conservatives.

You thought you were surprised, good sir?

I thought I was all but alone.

  "Where is the democracy, where is the immunity that presidents enjoy?"

There was a time when the daughters of Saddam Hussein had my sympathy. It seemed to me that they'd been used as pawns in their father's megalomania. But now, I'm not sure that they're innocents at all.

Raghad holds forth in a little piece on

The sentence, "Where is the democracy, where is the immunity that presidents enjoy," especially made me shake my head.

First, Raghad, your father did not lead a democracy. He was a dictator. Allow me to present definitions from that might help you clarify the difference between the two:
n. pl. de·moc·ra·cies
1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
2. A political or social unit that has such a government.
3. The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
4. Majority rule.
5. The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.

1. The office or tenure of a dictator.
2. A state or government under dictatorial rule.
3. Absolute or despotic control or power.

OK, sweetie, which one sounds more like the form of government your father espoused? I'll give you a few minutes to think about it.

Also, a true leader does not know immunity. A true leader holds himself to the highest ideals, and makes himself most vulnerable to the exercise of law. A leader is an example in all ways. Answer me this: what did your father exemplify? Base your answer upon his actions while he was "president" of Iraq.

As far as the allegation that your father was drugged, it's preposterous; the desperate grasping of someone who will do anything to hold on to ground slipping out from beneath your feet. The world is tipping for you now, isn't it? But I'll tell you what--why don't you have an autopsy performed after he's dead? Analysis of his hair, fatty tissue, and blood should answer that question once and for all.

Anyway, here is how the US military works: we learn the location of a murderous despot who crushed a small country in his fist, sucking on its very life force like a vampire for decades. We move in, securing the perimeter, to make sure that he can't sneak off. We search the premises thoroughly, and get tipped off when we see a pair of minions sloppily running away. We search the area they were evacuating.

We find the bolt-hole concealing the murderer, and we move quickly to secure and cover the area, so as to minimize our losses if he comes out shooting, or chooses to toss something explosive at us. Then, we quickly open the door of the rathole, tensed and ready, just in case.

In this case, my poor, dear girl, your father cowered from the troops. He was armed, but did not give battle. He stated his name and said that he was ready to negotiate. He was taken into custody, and cuffed. The troops would not have drugged him. First, it is not the American way; second, sedating him wasn't necessary; and third, there wouldn't have been time, anyway. With Saddam taken, they would have moved to evacuate the area very quickly, suspicious of reprisal.

Speaking of which, where were his bodyguards? Where was his Republican Guard, his brave mujahedeen; the fedayeen? If he is still the lion you name him, the leader you revere, where was the defense by his brave warriors when we came for him?

They left him because they know he is no lion. He was an old madman whose time has passed. When it mattered, he did not martyr himself for the cause; he is no warrior of Allah. He is a coward, and now everyone knows it.

He was "immune", as you say, while he was president, but only because he ruled through fear. Now that his power has toppled, the people can see it for themselves: Saddam was a coward who could only lead when there were strong hands and backs to do his bidding. Alone, left to his own devices, he cowered from the men and women who came for him. Without others to bolster him, he was a moral weakling. In the end, even his charisma deserted him and we could all see the lowly serpent he is.

You do not want your father to be tried by the Iraqi people because you know that he will likely die if he is. You fear the idea because it means the loss of your own security. Tell me, Raghad, what is it you have to hide? Were you and your sister perhaps duplicitous in the murder of your husbands in 1996? Is it that you fear losing your financial security? Or, are you really a dupe; a poor lost child so brainwashed by her father's skewed reality that you cannot see that according to the morals of the rest of the world, he is evil? You are quick enough to appeal to the world to protect him. In order for that to be effective, you must first acknowledge our mores.

His accusers have the right to confront him. Let him be tried by those he hurt the most. Does the Koran not tell you that the wrong-doer owes a debt to those he wronged, and that he must endeavor to make it right? What about the laws of balance? How many men has he killed? What about the directives of a life for a life?

You hope that trying him in an international court will save him; that this type of legal proceeding will see him freed. This is a vain hope, Raghad. The United Nations was not really involved in this fight from the first. There was no real legal requirement to do so. Either way, the world knows what he is. Everyone, including his warriors, saw him cower from the Coalition fighters. If he did not fight, why should they? Moreover, why should they flock to a coward who went to ground like a rodent when the fight turned against him? Whether through execution or assassination, the days of Saddam Hussein are numbered.

I suggest you try to redeem yourself.

Ethne gives us not only two excellent pieces today, she also provides us with a link to Iraq the Model, wherein progress has been underscored.

Additionally, in his post entitled "Confusion", Zeyad provides us with excellent reasons why Saddam must be held accountable to the people of Iraq.

Monday, December 15, 2003
  Watch the Dems backpedal!

My friend, Ethne, has a great capture of statements made by the Democrats regarding Saddam's WMD program made before 9/11.

Just another thing to make you sit back with a satisfied smile and take another slow swallow of scotch.

Hypocritical asses--the lot of them.

  Saddam's capture: a coda by Lileks

James Lileks says it so perfectly:
"I’ve read all the nutball far-left sites worrying about the worrisome worries – does this help Dub? Was it all faked? Surely America will see that the man paraded before the cameras was a soy-based simulacrum cooked up in the Halliburton labs? It’s amusing to troll the fevered swamps, but nothing they say matters in the end. The history texts will note that Baghdad fell on this date, Saddam was captured on that date, and the events between the two events will fill up a paragraph at best. Cruel but true. This was a big event, but there are bigger events to come."

  Broken, and we rejoice.

Late as ever, I know, but only because I spent yesterday dancing around joyfully. By now you all know: They got him. Our troops captured Saddam Hussein.

I'm not going to go on and on about it, though, because those who suffered most under that pig-eating son of a whore have the most right to celebrate about it:

The Mesopotamian: "Before this, I prayed the traditional prayers of thanksgiving. That I, and the Iraqi people should see this day! This, surely, is the mother of all days for us. The heroes of our valiant Pesh Mergas, and the heroes of the U.S. Fourth division have done it. Now is the time to unleash the Iraqi Counter Terror; now is the time to go for the kill. Let us go after them. Don’t lose this moment. They want to recant and live in equality with the people? they have a chance - otherwise they will have to go..."

Zeyad at "Healing Iraq" is capable of compassion--the sign of a great heart: "I don't know what got into me but I really felt sorry for the man. For the first time in years he looked so human. He was just a typical helpless 66-year-old Iraqi at that moment. I stared hardly at his eyes and tried to convince myself that this was the same man who destroyed Iraq and sent millions to their deaths. I found myself talking to the screen "Why did you have to do this to yourself?", "Why did you have to put us into all of this?", "Why didn't you fight back or at least kill yourself to spare us these images?".

Sam at Hammorabi: "...It is a victory for the victims of his regime and the righteous people of Iraq and the WORLD at large."

Fayrouz has some stern words, following his thanksgiving and long-deserved celebration: "P.S. Samira (Saddam's second wife): I'm sorry, you will get no more phone calls from your loving husband. I hope you choke on the $5 million he stole from the Iraqi people and gave you before the war started. I hope you enjoy your day like the rest of the world."

Ays at Iraq At A Glance shares joy: "I don’t know what to say.. I am confused.. no … I am very happy.. I am very happy.. .. I am very happy.. .. I am very happy.. .. I am very happy.. .. I am very happy.. .. I am very happy..
This is the end of tyranny.. congratulations .. a great day.. for Iraqi and all the good people.. share us our great day.. I can’t express my feelings.. thanks to the coalition forces and all the honest people who helped in that great operation….thank you thank you thousand times.."

From each one of these excellent blogs are a host of other links. If you ever once doubted our reasons to fight this fight, you must force yourself to have a mind open enough to go read for yourself, and see what a good thing we have done by helping the people of Iraq.

The work is really just beginning, now. My friends, I promise that I will do everything in my poor power to make sure that our lawmakers understand that we must continue to stand by you while you regain your feet. Once you have your bearings, and a democratic government that suits you, we will leave you to it, and be your friends always.

May the God of your people bless and hold you forever.


Thursday, December 11, 2003
  December 11, 2002 at 8:41 a.m.

Happy Birthday, Baby Girl.

You won't be old enough to understand this for some time to come, but this is just another of several letters your Daddy and I have written to you.

You are one year old today.

At 6:30 in the morning on this day last year, your Daddy and I arrived at the hospital. You were a breech baby. The midwives hadn't discovered this until two days before. It isn't their fault. Your father and I were so confident that everything was going well that we declined the third trimester ultrasound.

The day before, the OB and midwives had tried to turn you in my womb through a process called external version. You wouldn't budge; you were quite happy with your little head nestled firmly under my ribcage.

We found out why the next morning, once I was stretched out on the operating table, and the OB worked quickly to deliver you. You were a big girl! At birth, you weighed eight pounds and thirteen ounces. You were nineteen inches long. The Doctors joked that you would have broken nine pounds if I'd been allowed one more meal before the surgery.

Our midwife, Susan, tried with all her might to dislodge you from your little nest. I guess you just snuggled into me, and pressed your head under my ribs. The OB, a great big mountain man, placed his hand on top of hers, and just popped you out. This served to piss you off. You came into the world with a hearty scream that brought grins and tears to everyone in the room.

At first, your Daddy hadn't planned to actually see you born. But the anesthesiologist nudged him, and he surprised himself by standing to see. Later, he told me that all he saw at first was baby butt, baby back, more baby back, and finally your head. You were still coated with vernix, and your face was screwed up with your rage in those first minutes.

That was our first clue that you have my temper, and I'm so sorry about that, Baby Girl. I'll try to help you learn how to master it without having to go through some of the rough learning experiences I've had.

Your Daddy stepped away from my side to be with you while the OR staff cleaned you up. He went with you to the nursery. I was busy getting sewn back up. Your Gramma was in the OR, and stayed with me with great big fat, happy tears running down her face. Gramma got to see you born. Remember that. It explains a lot of the special love she has for you.

Before they took you away, they let me see you. The original birthing plan had called for you to be placed on my chest immediately following delivery, but it wasn't to be. I couldn't even hold you in those first minutes. But your Daddy did. So I looked at your beautiful face, and blessed you, and told you that I loved you. I could barely see, I was crying so hard. But I could tell that you were incomparably lovely, and I gave my mother's heart to you.

Finally, in recovery, they brought you to me. You nursed for one of only two times from my breast, and fell asleep in my arms. I have to laugh at the memory, because your hands were already expressive. You fell asleep giving the lactation nurse the finger.

You and I spent four days in the hospital. Those days are kind of a blur, now. I was kept heavily drugged on the first day, and the second and third were sleep-deprived blurs. Your Daddy was in and out; mostly in. I think he went home to catch maybe two or three hours' worth of sleep at a shot. He just didn't want to leave us alone.

We were so scared at first. I realized that for all the children I'd watched over, I'd never taken care of a brand-new infant. You seemed so tiny, and I as afraid of hurting you. The most peaceful moments were when you and I napped together, our bare skin touching. You smelled so good. I was lost for hours at a time, staring at your flawless face, marvelling, hoping, and wondering about--oh, so many things.

Your hair was dark at first--a mark of your Czech blood from my side of the family, but it has lightened to a reddish gold. Your eyes, gunmetal dark at birth, are a merry sky-blue today. You have your Daddy's eyes, and my mouth and chin. You look positively elfin when the mood strikes you. You have graceful, expressive hands that, in those first days, resembled reposing buterflies. Your rosebud mouth is always sweet, even when you've scrunched up your nose to make faces at us.

I wanted so badly to do everything "right", according to the books. But my milk never came in. We tried everything. I worked with lactation consultants for weeks. I produced so little that your main diet was formula. At the height of my production, I was only able to produce four ounces in two days--that amount was one feeding for you, my Baby Angel: one.

At last, I gave it up. At least you'd gotten my colostrum, and whatever else I was able to give. You became a formula baby.

Then, the reflux started. We thought it was only colic, at first. I won't go into all the horrid details. We're celebrating today, not reliving old difficulties. Let's just say that you take those awful-tasting medicines for a reason, and that Mommy thanks the Gods every day for soy-based formula.

By three months of age, you were getting cereal in your bottle at night. You were a healthy girl! It was taking more than just formula to keep your tummy full. By five months, you were getting cereal at breakfast, too. The reflux subsided somewhat, but you still get a little urpy every now and again. Today, you are a seasoned finger-food kind of gal. You love toast, bananas, veggies, rice, potatoes, pasta, egg yolks and cheese. You love Macaroni and cheese, and Blueberry Buckle is the best dessert, ever. You still like cereal in the morning, but you'd rather feed yourself. Most days see you getting wheat toast, a boiled or scrambled egg yolk, and fruit for breakfast. You eat hearty lunches, but supper time is usually a bit of a struggle. I can't get you to eat meat, and it troubles me. I'm sure we'll work it out.

The only sorrow I have is that I have to work full time. That means that I see you for about an hour and half in the morning, and an hour and a half at night, before you go to bed. Your Daddy sees you even less in the morning, because he has to leave before we do. But I'm glad we found Karen, because she loves you almost as much as we do, and you have so much fun playing with your little friend. Daddy and I live for weekends and holidays, so we can spend whole days with you, either running around town, or snuggled in as a family, playing with you on the floor.

To this day, and I suspect for always, you have the power to steal my breath and stop time. I can lose whole chunks of day, just being with you. My favorite times center around your nap and your bedtime, because those are our snuggly times, when you'll rest sweet and heavy in my arms, getting dozy. I get to tell you stories, then, or sing to you, or just rest my cheek against your head when you want me to. There are times, already, when you'll hold my hand, until you get restless with fatigue, and want to lay down.

That, I think, has been the greatest of triumphs. Over the last couple of months, you've finally learned how to soothe yourself to sleep, and repose through the night. You're a busy little girl, and you hate to miss a thing. I think you've finally figured out that Mommy and Daddy don't disappear when you sleep, and that the world with all its wonders will still be here when you wake up.

You walk when you want to, have a few words down, ("Duude!" "Dah-dee! Dah-DEE!!" "Ma-mom."), play hard, love books, and give kisses and hugs when the mood strikes you. You're also a charmer who loves being the center of attention; you know how to turn the TV on and off, and would just as soon have your father surrender control of the remote to you (it'll never happen, lovey; Mommy has tried).

Your father and I love you madly. That's why we're sometimes stern. You're told "no", not because we're mean, but because we want to protect you and teach you about the world. It's a big place out there, and there are lots of people to be considerate of. Once you learn your boundaries, you can move freely within them, and forever be a graceful pleasure to be around.

Last night, I checked on you before Daddy and I went to bed. I always check you at least twice during the night. You usually sleep on your belly, with your butt in the air. It isn't unusual for you to grab a blanket and snuggle it underneath you, making me grab another to cover you with. It won't do to let you get chilled in the night.

It may just have been me, but there was something different about you last night. It made me reach out and touch you. You snuggled both a blanket, and your little plush buddy, 'Raffe. One leg of your PJ's had ridden up to your knee. Your lips were pursed, and looked like a rosebud. I stood for a couple of minutes, trying to figure it out.

Then it hit me. You were taking up more room in your crib. You're growing up. But I want you to know one thing: as you become a toddler, and then a child, then an adolescent and someday a woman, you will always be my Baby Angel, and every time I look at you, I will always remember my first sight of you, when I gave you my heart forever.


Wednesday, December 10, 2003
  I need a new keyboard.

I needed this laugh:

According to the Alaska Dept of Fish & Game, while both male and female reindeer grow antlers in the summer each year, male reindeer drop their antlers at the beginning of winter, usually late November to mid-December. Female reindeer retain their antlers till after they give birth in the spring. Therefore, according to every historical rendition depicting Santa's reindeer, every single one of them, from Rudolph to Blitzen, had to be a female. We should have known. Only women, while pregnant, would be able to drag a fat man in a red velvet suit all around the world in one night, not get lost, meet an impossible deadline, and do it all out of good will.

Anyone out there want to join me in a rousing, "AMEN"?


We had a portrait of our B. done last Saturday. I just got the prints back. She is so beautiful! I am so proud of her! Her birthday is tomorrow, and the changes she's gone through in the last year are just staggering...

I need to talk to S. to see if it's all right to scan and post the portrait here. We're protective of her identity as a general rule, but this picture is just too cute.

Honey? PLEASE??? Just this once?

  New Blog Showcase: Graphictruth
Nonetheless, a lot of people did vote for him on the assumption that he'd look out for their interests; good, solid, middle Americans who believe in the old fashioned values, smaller government and looking out for your neighbor while minding your own business.

Mr. Bush has broken his implied contract with these people and they should be mad as hell. Because they got themselves a Tax and Spend Liberal instead of the Republican conservative they expected.

What about tax cuts? Yes, he's slashed taxes. But the rising interest on our mushrooming deficit IS a tax on the whole economy. I'm not enough of an economist to compare the numbers, but I'm sure it exceeds the total benefits of the tax cuts.

That's a fact no fiscal conservative can honestly ignore, and the criticism is starting to mount. Conservatives are traditionally focused on civil liberties and fiscal responsibility; GWB seems to understand neither concern.

I vote for "Conservatives Falling Out With Bush?" at Graphictruth.

I quite agree with the thrust of the article. But I will not fall into rabid moonbat "Hate Bush" screeches like some others I might name. I take Heinlein's advice to heart: he's still the least of many potential evils.

  Nothing New Under the Sun.

Note to mainstream media:
Get some new chops. Your schtick stinks.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003
  Four Iraqi Girls Need Sanctuary Desperately

Via Misha, we learn that Chief Wiggles desperately needs assistance with getting four teenage girls out of Iraq. They are in danger from helping our troops root out terrorists and thugs.

Visit the link, read the story, call in your contacts. They need help.

Come on, blogosphere. Give a shout out--don't let them die. We know how the Islamofacists treat women.

Thursday, December 04, 2003
  Extended absence greeting, as it were.

I won't be blogging for several days. I just wanted to let my few regular readers know that. I have shingles, it seems, and although I'm on the anti-viral medication already, I've a headache so blinding that it hurts to hold my head up.

The Dr. already told me that it is entirely possible that I'll feel this crappy through tomorrow, and that I souldn't expect to feel like doing much for a few days. He says that the headache should slack off soon, though. The good news is that my little B. has less than a 1% chance of getting chicken pox, thanks to me. (But yeah, I'm still scared about it.)

As soon as I feel better, I'll be back. In the meantime, I have no option but rest.

Take care.


Wednesday, December 03, 2003
  Recognizing Welchia in Ethereal Packet Captures.

Someone just Googled in, searching for instructions on configuring Ethereal for Welchia. It took me a some time spent noodling around in Etheral before I got it.

Basically, to filter out the ICMP traffic for perusal, the easiest, most reliable method is to just click the Protocol column header, and scroll down to see the ICMP packets, once the capture is complete. Otherwise, to set a filter (something I have mixed results with) click the "Filter" button in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. Add an expression, selecting "ICMP" and "is present". Then, accept and apply the filter. The Welchia worm is pretty recognizable. It looks like this:

11:47:47.576542 > icmp: echo request
0x0000 4500 005c 599d 0000 8001 970c a9fe 38a6 E..\Y.........8.
0x0010 a9fe bd54 0800 fa51 0200 a658 aaaa aaaa ...T...Q...X....
0x0020 aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaa ................
0x0030 aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaa ................
0x0040 aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaa ................
0x0050 aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaa aaaa ............

Symantec offers the tutorial, "Detecting network traffic that may be due to RPC worms".

Good luck.

  "An American Marine"

Via Blackfive, we get the story of a Marine who gave all, and finally received his dream of citizenship.

I warn you--it's poignant.

Thanks, Blackfive.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003
  New Blog Showcase: Ripe Bananas

Here's my vote for New Blog Showcase:
"Vegan Marshmallows Roasting Over an Open Fire" made me smile, because my husband's best friend is working on his master's thesis in the biological sciences, too. We've heard him voice the same sorts of questions, and similarly denigrate ecoterrorists.

Is that you, KOL?

  Deal With It.

Ripples got me thinking with a post about getting the behavior you reward. His particular anecdote has to do with the tenacity (and creativity!) of squirrels in the bin containing bird seed. It made me think of my daughter.

Last night, B. threw a hissy fit. Screaming, arching; throwing her little body backwards--the whole nine yards. She'd thrown the same fit, over the same scenario, the night before. You see, we told her that she cannot play with the doors on the entertainment center, for fear that she'll pinch her fingers.

What did we do when she lost her temper? We walked away from her. Within five minutes, she was happily playing by herself, with sanctioned toys. The entertainment center was forgotten.

Tonight, when she throws the same fit for being told, "no", we'll walk away again. I can almost guarantee that by tomorrow, when we tell her no, she won't lose her temper, and will leave the furniture alone when we tell her to.

Sure, we could put baby latches on those doors, and let her bang on them to her heart's content, but the point is to teach her that there are items in the house that are unacceptable for her use. Dealing with disappointment is an important aspect of life. We'd rather have her master that lesson now, while she's still very young, and head off any sense of entitlement further down the road, than have her feel confusion and frustration because "the rules" weren't made perfectly clear early on.

It's hard for us as well. The instinct to dash over and comfort your miserably sobbing child is a surprisingly strong one, but something that I, and my husband, shall have to master right away. But no one ever claimed that parenting is easy. On the contrary, lots of people tried to warn us when we decided to have a child.

The lessons that we give little B. now will form the foundation for many desirable traits further down the road. Anyone who feels that children merely exhibit good behavior naturally is sadly deluded. These lessons must be taught, hard as it may be.

I want my daughter to be happy, well-adjusted, well-mannered, considerate, and disciplined. I want her to know the pleasure of a circle of well-chosen friends. Lessons in coping, and in discernment, begin now, with something as small as the doors of the entertainment center.

Monday, December 01, 2003
  Valuable Addition to the Fight

I just got an email from my uncle. It seems that my cousin, career Army, is about to be deployed to Iraq. He wants to go. He's been chomping at the bit, awaiting his turn.

All I can say is that we're proud of you, Kevin. You joined the Army in order to serve and protect your country. Here's your chance. I know you. You're a good man. You won't let your buddies down. You're going to bring your toughness, your stubbornness, your grit, your loyalty, and even your great good humor to the fight against terror.

There are so many things I could say to you, and about you, right now. I could go on for paragraphs, talking you up, but it really isn't necessary. You know who you are. The rest of the family knows it, too. By now, your teammates know it better than anyone.

Now get out there and give those terrorist shitbags hell.

We love you.

Assuming "among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God" have entitled me. In other words, a weblog by a free woman who says what she thinks.

Glenn Reynolds Says
Proud Member of the Alliance

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