Confidential to George W. Bush

Dear President Bush:

Please, please, for the sake of international relations, stop calling Russian Prime Minister Putin “Vladimir.” The disrespect is astonishing. Not to mention the idiocy of the following statement: “Vladimir and I agree there shouldn’t be any nucular weapons in Iran.”

Well, hell, if you and Vlad agree, then let’s take a pull on a long cold one and go shoot us some prairie dogs, y’all.

Help Wanted

Quick, does anyone know how to say “Tonka Joe” in Italian? “Tonka Giuseppe” is all we can think of, but our charming Italian houseguest only shakes his head. Perhaps in despair.

Actions vs. Words

Here’s a shout-out to Doc in the Box, a Corpsman in Iraq who’s also a blogger. Thanks for the comments, Sean!

Doc’s fly-by through MomBrain has me noticing those magnetic “Support Our Troops” bumper stickers you see everywhere. Can I go out on a limb and say these bumper stickers are stupid? The $3 you spend for a magnet doesn’t support troops – it supports the business that sells it. Then you put the magnet on an oil-guzzling SUV that supports America’s dependence on countries like Iraq.

We mean well. But I think these bumper stickers are mostly a guilty knee-jerk reaction to what happened to the men and women (including my Dad) who fought in Vietnam. Those who opposed that war also opposed the people who fought in it. That’s a nice way of saying we screwed the troops. We also spit on them, threw things at them, and said horrible, nasty things about them. This time around, we want everyone to know we’re not confused. War bad, people good.

“Support” is a funny word – a noun and a verb. But in the context of supporting our troops, it’s a straightforward verb – an action word. Action = doing something. If you do indeed support our troops, what are you doing besides putting a cheap magnet on your car?

If any of you troop types read MomBrain, please leave a comment and let us know what we can do to support you, regardless of our feelings about the war. Everyone else, don’t stop with a Hallmark bumper sticker. Leave a nice comment on a soldier blog. Donate phone cards. Send a care package. Write an email. Donate frequent flier miles. Visit Defend America to find out how. But do something.

Entertaining With Style

Here at Hotel MomBrain, we are doing our best to entertain an Italian gentleman. At least, I think he finds us entertaining. His English is more than passable, and he has the charming manners of most educated Europeans. But he and the Little Guy are dancing circles around each other. For one thing, the language barrier is higher: the Little Guy’s English is also only passable, and he insists that our Italian friend is actually from Texas, because he has an accent. He also sees any adult male as a potential playmate.

MomBrain: Would you like red wine or white wine with dinner?
Nicola: Een my reegion of Eetaly, we dreenk onlee the wine that ees red.
Little Guy: Excuse me, Nickel-a.
Nicola: Yas?
LG: I have push-ups!!!
Nicola: What are the poosh ups?
LG: You can have one!!!
MomBrain: It’s a kind of ice cream.
Nicola: Ah. Een my reegion of Eetaly, we do not eat verrry much ice creem. But I would like one heeere.
LG: Great!!! After we eat push ups we can play with Bumper Bot!
Nicola: (looking bewildered) Ah. That sounds verrry great.
MomBrain: More wine?
Nicola: Yas, pleeez.

Blogging Angst

So here’s the deal. When I blog a lot, I don’t write much. And when I write a lot, I don’t blog much. Blogging and writing draw from the same well, and unfortunately my well just doesn’t refresh that quickly.

Writer’s Digest interviewed me about MomBrain, which was heartily gratifying (check your newstand in June). But one of their questions really made me think: “Why are you giving it away on a blog when you could be selling it as a column?”

The short answer is: I ain’t no ho. I do it for love, not money. In 20 years of writing books, magazine articles, essays, and reviews I have only once seen a letter to the editor about something I wrote. And that was because I made a math error in a software review. Imagine it: Innocent, dimply-cheeked MomBrain added wrong, and a flood of pimply-faced geek boys broke the magazine record for letters when they checked my math. (Hello? Get a life!) Oh – and once I got a piece of hate mail that called me a “scum-sucking smut monger.” That one arrived at my home. Thanks for the feedback!

Apart from that, nada. Writing for publication is like shooting an arrow into a black hole: you have no idea where it lands or how it’s received, only that it doesn’t come back. A $500 check definitely eases the pain, but hey – there’s that ho thing. Just leave the money on the dresser, and use the back door please.

Blogging is entirely different. No money changes hands. But I get comments. E-mail. Links. I know where my posts land, and I know how they’re received. I have a much stronger connection with my readership – and isn’t that worth something? Blogging just earns a different kind of compensation than writing for publication.

I genuinely believe this. But the part I didn’t tell the interviewer is that I like money, too. Sometimes I want to put on my fishnet stockings and do a bump and grind for cash. Everything has a price, and in the last two weeks I’ve been selling it left and right. I am nothing but a Hoochie Mama, and that’s alright by me. For now.

Oh, oh, oh

MomBrain has suffered a grievous loss. Somehow, while reorganizing my writing files, I deleted my “Ideas” document. It’s gone. Ffffffft. Into the ether.

I started this document 20 years ago. It has the name of every remotely intelligent person I’ve ever met and could possibly interview for any reason. It has every good and bad idea that’s ever occurred to me during my insomniac wanderings. It has many titles and beginnings – of essays, stories, articles. It has bullet points like “pop tart” and “sleigh bell” that I long ago forgot the significance of, but was afraid to delete. It’s the grist for my mill. And now it’s gone.

I did what any sensible person would do and immediately ripped open the Oreos bag. After it was empty I started pouring cereal. When that was gone and I was feeling sick to my stomach, I played sixteen games of Bejeweled. Now I think I will take a sleeping pill and knock myself out. Tomorrow, the reconstruction begins.

This wouldn’t feel so awful if I weren’t so SELF-ABSORBED and NARCISSISTIC. But hey – I’m a writer, a blogger, and a mom. Navel-gazing is my specialty.