It isn't about the weapons...

First of all, my deepest sympathy and condolences go out to the German families and community that experienced the horror of a multiple murder in one of that country's schools today.

That said, I have to make the none-too-original point that some of the strictest weapon-control laws in Europe failed to stop this terrible crime from being carried out.

To the dismay of many of my more progressive pals, with whom I agree on lots of other issues, I am in favor of as little government control of guns as possible. I never want to live in a society where only the police and the military have access to guns. Also, I grew up in the 1970s and 80s in a very rural area of Tennessee, where every farm home had a shotgun and/or rifle or two hanging on a rack on the living room wall. These guns were not locked up and my childhood friends who lived in these homes no more would have considered taking their parents' guns down and messing around with them than they would have decided to drive their father's tractor onto the front porch.

Since becoming a parent myself, I've had to decide how to handle the gun play issue. I wrote an essay about it which you can read here.


Saudi Women

Saudi women are only marginally better off (at least they aren't impoverished or without food and medical care) than Afghan women are and yet we happily welcome members of the Saudi royal family to the U.S. without saying a word about it. The women of Saudi Arabia belong to the men in their family, body and soul. They must stay veiled. They cannot read or write about what they choose. They cannot travel without permission from the men in their family. Their marriages are arranged and often against their will. They can still be stoned to death. Some Saudi women are still circumcised. Girls as young as 13 are given over as brides to men old enough to be their grandfathers and who already own many other wives. The practice of any religion other than Islam in Saudi Arabia is totally disallowed.

If you are interested in learning more about what it is like to live as a woman in modern Saudi Arabia, you might start with this book. And here is an interesting FAQ compiled on Saudi Arabia since 9/11.


Well, DUH...

From a story at Yahoo Health:

"Similarly, men who dubbed themselves primarily as "househusbands"--about 10% of participants--had an 82% higher 10-year death rate than men who worked outside the home. "

Women have been telling men for decades that staying home with little kids is one of the most challenging, stressful jobs imaginable. Apparently for some men, unused to the rigors of changing 45 diapers a day, refereeing 28 arguments over small pieces of plastic toys, and preparing more than a dozen meals and snacks ( most of which will remain only half eaten) in an eight hour period, this stuff can actually kill them.


Classy Action Suits

My husband has come up with a great name for the band he and our ten year old son keep threatening to start: "The Classy Action Suits." I love it.
I just saw one of the funniest things...

I was watching Fox News, to which I am inexplicably addicted, during one of its midday shows with Linda Vester and Shepherd Smith. The two anchors seemed genuinely irritated as they introduced a skit that Saturday Night Live had apparently done this week spoofing Vester and Smith's show. Vester suggested that her producers were actually taking both of them to task for behaving on air in a way that would give SNL any material. Anyway, so they roll the tape of the skit and it's really funny. It's centered around Fox's obsession with the upcoming Blake murder trial and how the network is continually trying to make parallels between it and the OJ Simpson trial. It included a hilarious bit by Darrell Hammond doing his new, best impersonation of Geraldo Rivera.

When the SNL bit was over, Smith and Vester shifted uncomfortably in their seats and stumbled through some dialogue about how the SNL players didn't look anything like them (!). I couldn't believe how seriously they seemed to be taking it. After a moment they seemed relieved to turn their attention to the "real news."

First story up? An interview with their on-scene reporter covering Robert Blake's arraignment in L.A., during which the guy repeatedly compared the upcoming trial to the O.J. Simpson trial...



My friend Jeannie and are are eerily alike. We are the same age and we both have three children of about the same ages. We both got married in our very early twenties. She is a writer/editor and so am I. I have edited her when I was a producer with Oxygen Media and before that she gave me some truly budget-saving assignments when she was the editor of Minnesota Parent magazine. We both consider ourselves essayists, first and foremost. We even sold a book proposal together (which was later killed by the publishing house) She's a better writer and a lot skinnier than I am though ;-)

Anyway, in the past two years, our lives have taken some interestingly divergent twists and turns. Jeannie is now an editor with the new Minneapolis magazine, The Rake, and you can read what she has been up to in her latest fabulous essay.

A few weeks ago my 6 year old daughter, Jane, decided to cut of her bangs -- all of them. I literally shrieked when she showed me what she had done. It looked AWFUL. Jane is a beautiful child. Really! I'm not just saying that because I am her mama. She has very striking features for such a little girl. Huge brown eyes and Angelina Jolie's lips, plus olive skin and black hair. Obviously, she doesn't look one whit like me. But anyway, her self-inflicted haircut looked especially awful in combination with her dramatic features. And the rest of her hair didn't help either. She is constantly wanting to grow it long -- and it had gotten pretty long -- but she refuses to take care of ot or let me mess with it much. So it often hangs there, stringy and unkempt.

Yesterday I told her that we really had to do something with her hair. She began to wail and gnash her teeth and holler that she didn't want to cut it. I begged and begged and finally we came to a compromise. She agreed to let me get her hair cut and I agreed to let her get her ears pierced, which she has been begging to do. So off we went to West Hills Barber Shop to get her hair cut and Henry's trimmed up. I showed the stylist a picture of an Ashley Judd haircut and she started cutting.

The finished product is absolutely adorable. She looks like a cross between Audrey Hepburn and Edie Sedgwick (both at age six, of course). Within the first few hours after having it cut, several people actually stopped us while we were out and about to tell her how cute her haircut is.

Well, she hates it. Hates it. She has complained about it non-stop since we did it and periodically bursts into a yelling fit and insists that she is not returning to first grade on Monday unless we buy her a wig. She went to sleep last night crying for a wig and then woke up this morning talking about her need for a wig. I hate to be unsympathetic, but I can only tell her so many times in succession that her hair will grow. Secretly I plan to lobby her hard to stick with her adorable Mia Farrow-circa-Rosemary's-baby look because it's just great on her and we won't have to battle over hair care.

If you have any suggestions for convincing a kid to like a new haircut and stop her from rolling around on the floor and insisting at the top of her lungs that she needs a wig, please let me know.