Foreign policy primer

Stop me if you’ve seen this.


Requires Flash.


Waiting at a light this morning, the air clear, the city grey, marveling at how European everything looked, hoping nothing would bounce out of the dumpster on the back of the truck in front of me when it took off, I checked out this woman walking past on the sidewalk. Not for long; at the moment my attention briefly focused on her, she leaned over and blew her nose farmer-style, shook some off her hand, and continued on her way.

Last night, I tried to sell Gamma a de-lousing as a beauty treatment. It’s times like that when I wish I could wave my hand and make my children gullible and naive for the duration of a bath, you know? But, alas. Much screaming. Much, much screaming, in fact. Wow, in fact. We washed with the louse shampoo: shut your eyes, no, yes, hold the washcloth over them, no, yes, what’d I tell you, I warned you. We rinsed with vineger. No vinegar, yes vinegar, it loosens the nits and they de-stick and come out, no, yes, no, I’m not a salad, then quit acting like a salad, no, yes. I then shampooed with baby shampoo to sort of neutralize the aromatic goings on. Washed the brush as well as possible, brushed, went through everything with a fine-toothed comb, no, yes, hang on just a second almost done, no, yes, we’ll give you a cool hairdo, okay.

Had to repeat the hairdo, and improve upon it, at breakfast time this morning. You look cool, let me see, let me go look in the mirror, gah finish your toast I don’t want toast what do you want I want a Kaiser roll with smoked salmon okay here you are now finish that and brush your teeth we’re running late.

Her sister examined the hairdo. K3wL, futuristic, she said.

All your friends in Kindergarten will be envious, I said. She decided then that she didn’t want to wear glasses, to avoid minimizing the overall beauty package. Your glasses are great, I said. All the kids will want glasses. No, yes, look, see, you look fantastic with the glasses, okay I guess so, whew.

Now my scalp itches again.

Something with G.

“Honey, wake up. There’s some guy here to see you, something with G.”
“Just get up. He’s waiting in the kitchen.”
[goes to kitchen]

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Etymological question

Where’s the expression “cockeyed” come from?


It just occurred to me that the proper spelling is not “knitwit”. Doh.

Are lice a taboo topic where you come from? I’d never given them, nor their influence on the language, much thought until forced to do so by recent events.

Nitwit, nitpick, etc.

Gamma’s Kindergarten lady just called and said they’d checked the kids for lice again, just to be sure and found no live ones on her, but did see a few nits in her hair and was it okay to spray her. Sure, I said, spray her. Who cares if it’s a neurotoxin, as long as it kills lice, man.

Agenda for tonight: bathe Gamma, wash her hair with special shampoo, give a special beauty rinse with vinegar to dislodge any remaining nits, find the fine-toothed nit comb and somehow convince this long- and tangle-haired girl to let me apply it.


“What’s wrong?”
[Shakes sleepy head.]
“Wah, the gas went out of my balloon over night.”
“Oh, you poor thing.” [Big hug. Wipe tears from her cheek. She got a helium balloon at the Protestant costume party yesterday.] “Eat your cereal. Or would you like toast?”
[Shakes head again.]
“Maybe we should take a look at your balloon.”
“You know, this is a common phenomenon with helium balloons. They’re a little porous and the gas leaks out overnight. Let’s try cutting off the string and see if that helps.”
[Skeptical look.]
[Child and big sister watch dad cut string, release balloon, which sinks oh-so-slowly to floor.]
“Well, that’s a little better, heh. Let me try one more thing.” [Rubs balloon on shirt, sticks it to wall.]
“Yay!” [She tries sticking balloon to various places on wall.]
[Big sister goes back to brushing her hair.]

Later, saw Teddy-Bear Guy in traffic again. He’s about 35, sandy hair, rides in the back seat of a beige compact car driven by a woman in her 50s. He looks straight ahead and holds a medium-sized teddy bear to his lips. There is a “handicapped” decal adhered to the rear window of the car.

I wonder if the tortoise is still hibernating. She’s in a box in the cellar. I should check on her.