Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Whiny Fussoids Have Landed - Chapter 1

The Whiny Fussoids recklessly exited their spaceship, the leader sliding on the slick stairway because the official regulations of the Whiny Fussoid Union required that he only wear socks with his uniform. He landed hard on his left hip, crying out in pain.

"You did it!" exclaimed the Captain, pointing to his second-in-command. His face was red and tears ran down onto his shirt.

"I did not!" retorted Number Two, who, in fact, had pushed the captain slightly in her rush to get to the bottom of the escape hatch stairway.

This light-hearted banter continued for some minutes until suddenly a large and hideous alien appeared, looming over the three space adventurers like a salivating schpixslapper.

It glared at our heroes and said firmly, "If this bickering doesn't stop, I'm turning off the computer."


"She pushed me!" said the Captain.

"I did not!" said Number Two.

"She's LYING!" said the Communications Officer.

"I am NOT!" Number Two exclaimed, and promptly burst into tears.

"Let's get you guys some lunch. I have sandwiches, crackers with pepperoni, star chicken. Which would you like?" the disgusting alien said.

The captain thought for a minute and said, "I want to go to the Burger Bar."

"Well, no," said the nasty, uncooperative alien, "We're going to eat here today. What would you like?"

Suddenly a chorus broke out.

"WEEEE WANT TO GO TO THE BURGER BAR!!!!" the crew members shouted.

"Ymnbahtipust'restrunt," whined the Communications Officer.

The alien, though ugly, cruel, and stupid, had dealt with this species of Fussoid before and knew that the preceding statement actually meant: You never take us to a restaurant.

"We went to a nice restaurant just the other day," retorted the alien, "and we're NOT going to one now. Now, what would you like for lunch?"

"YOU HATE ME! I'M NOT A BOY! I'M JUST A DUMMY!" screamed the Communications Officer.

Number Two rolled her eyes and said, "He always whines."

The huge and drooling alien went into the bathroom, closed the door, and banged its misshapen head against the counter five times. Then it came back out and said, "I'll make everyone peanut butter sandwiches. Does anyone want jelly?"

"I'm not hungry. It's my turn on the computer," commented the Captain, heading back to the spaceship.

The alien, seeing images of what painful injuries could be inflicted on the Fussoids with the dull butter knife in its ragged claws, said quietly, "You Will Eat Some Lunch Now. Get to the table."

The Fussoids, crying mightily and crazy with despair over the unfairness and inhumanity of the wicked, wicked alien, sat at the table. Eventually, each finished at least a majority of the sandwich provided by the nasty slave-driving alien.

"I'm through!" said the Captain.

"I'm through!" said Number Two.

"Akmfooo!" said the Communications Officer, who still had sandwich in his mouth.

"Okay, take your plates to the sink. Who's turn is it on the computer?" asked the alien.

Three voices cried out, "MINE!!!!!!!"

End of chapter one.

Mortal Kombat In The Church of the Holy Sepulchre

I missed this news from Sunday. In a rematch of last xmas's "broom and stone" tournament at Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, Greek Orthodox and Armenian Apostolic sect members went after each other again, this time, using their feet and fists! Police who intervened were more lucky; they were pummeled with palm fronds. There were no fatalities.

This violence stems from disputes over what is called the "status quo," an agreement originally established in 1767 to divvy up the Church of the Holy Sepulchre into pieces which were then passed out to various Catholic Christian sects.

From Wikipedia, which is so on top of things that this dustup is already included in their article:
The primary custodians are the Eastern Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, and Roman Catholic Churches, with the Greek Orthodox Church having the lion's share. In the 19th century, the Coptic Orthodox, the Ethiopian Orthodox and the Syriac Orthodox acquired lesser responsibilities, which include shrines and other structures within and around the building. Times and places of worship for each community are strictly regulated in common areas.

It looks as though the Protestant sects have been completely ignored! Perhaps they should start agitating as well. There are enough divisions among Protestants that everyone could get a square foot or so to keep clean and place donation boxes on.

I roll my eyes once again at religious ridiculousness.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Plagues and Pox

An e-mail I sent to my mom and MIL yesterday to describe the day's excitement:

Monday, April 21, 2008

This morning, after the kids and I took Nigel to the bus stop, we came home and were planning on going for a nice hike down to the ever-shrinking lake. I set everyone up for breakfast (they didn't want to eat before we took Daddy). As they were eating, I noticed that The Starving Child's spots, which we had noticed night before last, were redder and more extensive on his face. I looked under his shirt and they were all over his back as well. Last night, he had been complaining of a headache, but he said he felt fine today. He has no more fever, hasn't since Saturday morning.

The Lottery Winner began to complain of a headache. He had spots and a fever last week, but they've all gone away. I gave him some Ibuprofen.

The Princess began to complain of a headache. She had complained last night as well, and even hurt so badly that Nigel gave her some Acetominophen at 4am because it was making her cry. I looked at her and her face is also covered in spots, as well as her back and her arms and legs. She had had a slight fever a couple of days ago, but nothing now. I gave her some Ibuprofen. She said it hurt so bad she wanted to lie down, so I told her to get her jammies back on and I'd make her a bed on the couch and she could watch Princess movies.

I explained to the boys that we would not be able to go for our hike today, but maybe tomorrow and started looking "chicken pox" up online. The boys started taking turns on the computer. The symptoms of chicken pox seem similar to the "headache, fever, spots" cycle we've seen, but the spots themselves are not nearly as large or gross looking as the photos showed. Still, it seemed likely they might just have it, since their school has been a breeding ground for it since mid-March (non-vaccinating parents - HATE 'EM). Plus, everything points out that some 30% of kids who've been vaccinated still get a very mild case if they're exposed. Our kids seem to win the odds lottery in just about everything, so I figured we'd just wait it out and see what happened.

Later, I found two ticks on Speck. Hooray. So I started looking up Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Don't worry, it's definitely not that.

Then, The Princess started saying, "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!", so I ran over to see what she was sorry about. She had thrown up all over her clothes and the comforter I had laid out for her and her pillowcase. We changed her clothes, I gathered up the bedding, found that the pillow was okay, since the barf was only on a corner, replaced the pillow case, put the comforter from her bed on the couch, got her blanket and settled her back down with the barf bucket nearby.

I went upstairs and used the shower thingie to rinse all the barf off and started the wash. A large load takes about 4 hours (no, I'm not exaggerating!).

About an hour later, I fixed lunch for the boys, and as they were eating, The Lottery Winner complained of a headache again, so I gave him some Acetominophen. I asked if his stomach was okay and he said it was. The Princess didn't want to eat anything, but the boys ate well.

About an hour after that, The Princess said, "I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" again. I ran over and she said, "I missed the barf bucket!" I had forgotten that she is famous for not being able to barf into the bucket, no matter how close it is to her mouth. Barf was all over her comforter, her blanket, the coffee table, the floor, and this time, all over the pillow itself. I got her cleaned up, cleaned the table and the floor before Speck could get into it, then gathered up the bedding and went upstairs to get a bath sheet-sized towel, a bedsheet, and a towel to wad up for her to lie on. I got her set up again and went up to rinse the barf out of the bedding and put it by the washer to start it when the last load ended (about 2 more hours).

About an hour later, I heard gagging noises from over by the litter box. TANG was barfing. I started laughing, sort of hysterically. Now, I'd been e-mailing Nigel with updates this whole time, and he had just written me back to say that he was considering staying at work for the night. (Ha ha, what a funny guy!) At this point, I wrote him back and let him know that he would be responsible for my suicide and would have to explain it to my family if he stayed. At any rate, I cleaned up the Tang-barf and as I put the paper towels in the trash, I heard The Princess say, "Oops."

I ran over to see what she had barfed on this time. Well, she said, "I forgot I was on the couch and I wet my pants." Yes, her panties were drenched along with the towel and sheet. Again, I began to giggle uncontrollably, in a hysterical manner. Nobody was here to slap me and snap me out of it. I went upstairs and got a new pair of panties, some wet wipes, a new tank top, a new towel, and a new sheet for her. Got her changed and set up again and took the new batch of laundry upstairs.

I wrote to Nigel to say that he should probably call the men in the white coats to come get me now. He hasn't yet responded; he's probably halfway to Lebanon by now. I think he will be safer and get more rest there than he would here tonight.

I'm beginning to wonder if we're experiencing the plagues of Egypt in honor of Passover. We've had boils and insects, and our water tastes funny since they've shut off the water system to keep us from accidentally eating breadcrumbs fishermen may have left in the lake; it's not blood, but it still tastes bad. I'm waiting for it to rain frogs and fire and have asked Tim to bring home some lamb-blood and a paintbrush, just in case.

The Princess is now asleep, looking like a little angel. The boys are getting along perfectly, playing together. I think I am the only one who has a sort of wild look in my eyes. But I think we'll survive. I'll keep you posted!


Update e-mail:

In addition to that little tidbit, Nigel has shared with me some interesting news he discovered at the drug store tonight. He volunteered to go to the drug store to get some more Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen for the kids, since we're running through it like it's water lately. He asked the pharmacist or whoever it was behind the counter where to find it and she informed him very sternly that Ibuprofen is NOT KOSHER. He said, "Fine. I'll take two."

Gotta love it!

Rejoicing in Separation of Church and State

As I experience Pessach here in Israel, it has given me even more appreciation for the wall of separation between church and state in the US. US citizens should imagine these things being done for or given to a specific religious group of people, but not your own group, in your neighborhood/city/state/nation:

Taxpayer funded buses which segregate men from women, women being forced to ride in the back, sometimes even hidden by curtains from outside. These buses do not run on this particular religious group's deity-mandated special day, which is different from your own deity-mandated special day, regardless of whether or not you have another way to get to work.

Taxpayer funded welfare for full-time religious scholars, though not for scholars of your religion, including financial support for their deity-mandated large families, housing, food, tuition, etc. Imagine that as these families grow, they take more and more of your tax dollars for support, leaving little to maintain other needs.

Exemption from military duty to members of this specific religious group, where all other citizens are required by law to perform this service until age 40.

Laws preferring the particular deity-demands of this particular religious group, which restrict the minutia of daily life, even down to what foods you are allowed to buy and eat during particular times of the year/week.

Taxpayer funded maintenance of streets in areas where a particular religious group blockades said streets during deity-mandated times and dates, not allowing normal traffic through these areas and causing congestion in other areas. Said blockades are guarded by taxpayer funded military and law enforcement personnel.

Now, some of the Christians or other religious groups in the US may think this doesn't sound too bad. Note, however, that I specifically wrote above that the religion getting all the perks is NOT YOUR OWN. In addition, non-compliance with the laws can lead, not only to legal sanctions such as fines and what-not, but also to actually being beaten, stoned, or otherwise attacked physically.

Granted, the religion-based laws here in Israel are pretty moderate compared to, say, Saudi Arabia, and generally just make me laugh or roll my eyes. I usually don't need to go through blockaded neighborhoods to get where I want to go, with the exception of not being able to pick up my daughter after a sleepover one Saturday morning. I stocked up on bread and pitot before Pessach began. I have my Brita filter to take away the nasty smell and taste of the local well-water since the city water system has been shut off for Pessach.* I don't ride the buses. I have no desire to enter the neighborhoods/areas where I would be required to wear long skirts, long sleeves, and headcoverings.

Still, US citizens, consider if a religion NOT YOUR OWN made the laws in the US. Consider that they might start out kind of silly and just a pain in the ass. Then they might get a bit more stringent, maybe with less merciful punishments. Then, finally, they might get just plain draconian, with penalties of death for those who do not obey. And all funded and supported by YOUR tax dollars. Not such a pretty picture, huh?

I would ask all US citizens to CELEBRATE the separation of church from state. I would remind those who would sneak theocracy into our government that their particular brand of god may not be that of the majority forever. I would encourage everyone to read and learn about nations, now and in the past, which have used religion as a legal system and ask themselves if they would like to live in those nations during those times.

* True story: The mayor of Jerusalem has shut off the public water system because fishermen on the Sea of Galilee may have used leavened bread as fish bait. This fish bait may have gotten into the water, which is drinking water for the entire country. The God of the Jewish people has forbidden them to eat leavened bread during Passover. So we all get to drink and wash in local smelly, foul-tasting (at least mine is, probably most people have better wells) well water to protect us from having fish-bait breadcrumbs pass our lips.

Another fun fact, illustrating the caprice of religious laws: For many years, rabbis have railed against smoking among the religious. Their argument in the past has been that we are obligated to take care of our bodies because they were created by their God. This year, miraculously, one rabbi has finally, coincidentally JUST LAST WEEK, correctly interpreted some religious text and determined that tobacco products have LEAVEN in them and are therefore forbidden during Pessach. This despite rabbinical certification of the local manufacturers of tobacco products, who are crazy-pissed. It reeks of the same idiocy as when the LDS church's infallible leaders suddenly receive information from their God saying that the previous infallible leaders, who had received contradictory information from God, were wrong and that black people CAN join the Mormons!