Ah, the sweet smell of democracy. In just one day I have been called disgusting, a f***ing moron, banal, irrational, a typical leftist liberal, and condescending. All because I said a magnet was stupid.

I have deleted the anonymous comments to my earlier post, because this is my blog and I get to set the rules. And one of the rules here is that hit-and-run commenting is not allowed. But I have kept the comments from those who dared to stand by them, stomach punching as they may feel, because hey – I support freedom of speech.

We now return to our original programming.

Heaven on Earth

Waterlogged Seattle-ites know that when it’s pure sunshine and 60 degrees in early March, you just gotta get outside and kick it up. And so we are – going to brunch at a friend’s house on Vashon Island, which includes a ferry boat ride, a waterfront view, and short sleeves. Oh yes, my friends – MomBrain is doing the happy dance.

And since four-year-olds do not believe in brunch, the Big Guy has taken the Little Guy to IHOP for a funny face pancake. LG is wearing his Batman cape in case any bad guys show up. It’s reassuring to know we have a 3-1/2 foot superhero on our side.

Supporting Our Troops

Oh dear. It seems MomBrain has stepped in a bit of dog poop. Pardon me while I scrape.

In a previous post I called those yellow “Support Our Troops” magnets stupid, because they don’t support our troops as much as they support the businesses (and third-world sweatshop labor) that make them. But Nancy comments that, according to her local news, half of the revenues (not just the profit) does go to groups providing supplies for the armed forces. The balance goes to the cost of manufacturing, with just a little profit left over.

Oh – wait. That’s not dog poop. That’s bullshit.

While I would like to cover Nancy with smooches and hugs (she is after all the “N” of Sister N fame), I fear she has been duped.

The people who first dreamed up these magnets have donated $45,000 to troop support, according to their Web site. Let’s just assume that’s a big part of their revenues and leave them alone. The problem is that a jillion other people are also making and selling these things. Finding a manufacturer is as easy as a Google search, and I can sell them out of the trunk of my car if I want. Whether any of the proceeds get to the troops at all depends on the honor of manufacturer and the retailer. And I am afraid corporate America is not that honorable.

Here are some ways you can genuinely support our troops for less than the cost of a magnet:

Freedom isn’t free. But it costs a whole lot more than $2.99.


I am trying very hard to forgive George Bush. I do not enjoy being consumed by rage or contempt. And so I am trying to find a kinder, gentler way to regard the man who “leads” our country.

But it’s hard.

Forgiveness begins with understanding. But I do not understand the No Child Left Behind Act (nothing less than a hijacking of the American school system), the vigorous campaign to privatize Social Security, or cutting taxes with one hand while going to war with the other (which only leaves our troops unprotected and vulnerable – “Support Our Troops” indeed).

What’s more, I don’t think President Bush understands these things. I think he does what he is told. I think he lacks the intellectual energy to ask hard questions and consider complex problems. I think he likes his Daddy’s approval, and living in a nifty house, and calling world leaders by their first names.

This is my understanding. But it’s not making forgiveness any easier.

The Belch Heard Round the World

Around these parts, finding a good private school is a part-time job from October to March. Each one requires an essay, personal references, an IQ test, teacher recommendation forms, a parent interview, and of course a $65 non-refundable application fee.

We are at the very last and most frightening step – the child visit. I nailed the essays and I rock at parent interviews (fundraising, you bet!!!). But I cannot control what the Little Guy does in a strange and distant classroom while I am held hostage by perky teachers and bitter coffee in the library. I will tell you, though, that all the activity books and practice handwriting and adorable outfits mean nothing when your child has the alarming habit of belching like a sailor.

The burps, they just come thundering out. And all I can think is no one light a match. I tried ignoring it. I tried the good manners discussion. I tried the gentle correction. And just as the savage beast begins to be soothed, another belch rumbles out and everyone laughs. And it sets us back a week.

After today’s visit I asked him what he did, which is of course the only report I’ll get. All I know is he built two Tonka Joe thingies, heard a story about Hootie the Owl, and burped three times. And did you close your mouth when you burped? Yes, the first two times!

If only the ability to belch were a sign of giftedness. If only they could hook him up to a seismic scale and measure the earth’s movement when the rumbling begins. A 7.2 on the Richter Scale! Go to the head of the class!

Hold Your Applause

MomBrain will be attempting more frequent updates in the next few weeks. Why, you ask? It’s simple: I want to test a theory. Sister K says more frequent updates = more readers. I say more frequent updates = more tired mommies who just don’t have time to read everything so they give up in despair (i.e. fewer readers). So let’s give it a try, shall we? (And while you’re holding your applause, please do feel free to throw twenty-dollar bills.)

In Other News … We have bid ciao to our charming Italian houseguest. In less than two weeks he has managed to line up an apartment, furniture, a bike, and a bank account – all in a country where the money, language, and food are completely foreign. I stand in awe.

My personal theory is that we chased him out with the coffee. American and Italian coffee are two different beasts entirely, and after his first polite cup of dishwater at MomBrain HQ he’s been allergic to everything but triple espressos at McStarbucks. Polite refusals don’t stop MomBrain, though – I make dishwater every morning for him, press it upon him, and pretend that it’s fine, just fine when he refuses.