Via Glenn at InstaPundit, I read this article about a high school in Florida that included a section in their yearbook on the students at the school who are also parents. Needless to say, people are up in arms over this supposed "glorification" of "teen pregnancy."

Leaving aside any questions of the advisability of having babies outside of a committed partnership, whatever the age of the mother and father, this irritates me. For starters, being a student-parent is damned hard work. I know because I had my first baby while my husband and I were still in college and my second baby while in law school. When my first baby was born, we were living on about 14K a year, and juggling baby, bills, and books was mind-numbingly difficult, even with family help. I can assure you that the women who are mothers and students at that high school are pulling off something more admirable and challenging than the girls on the cheerleading squad.

Second of all, I see modern American attitudes toward mothers under the age of twenty as a particularly nasty but acceptable cultural prejudice. Why is a seventeen year old woman with a baby automatically seen as some kind of social disease, but a 22 year old mother is not? These are not "teen mothers," any more than African American women are "black mothers" or women who work full time are "day care mothers." They are just mothers, like all the rest of us, giving birth to and trying to raise our children as well as we can. What if we started referring to all the 45 year old women who spend 25 thousand bucks on fertility treatments, only to end up paying some young woman to actually provide a viable uterus, as "vanity mothers," or "elderly mothers," or "crone mothers." I don't think this would go over too well.

There are many ways to be a good mother and many ways to raise healthy children. By most people's standards, I was in no way fit or ready to be a mother on that day in 1991 when my baby was placed in my arms for the first time. We were too young, we were too poor, we hadn't completed our education, our marriage was brand new and pretty unstable.... But because we were surrounded by people who both offered support and believed in our abilities as parents, we were able to rise to the challenge. And I have to say that we have managed to raise a pretty amazing boy who is now almost eleven years old.

There is nothing shameful about young motherhood. It isn't a dirty secret of some kind. We should get off of the backs of young mothers in this country. Age alone does not define a woman's ability to nurture and guide her child.


You may have suspected that you live in utter chaos at your home, but now you can be sure! The fab parenting 'zine (which I just discovered), Raising Hell has developed a highly accurate Chaos Coefficient Calculator. For the record, the Granju household Chaos Coefficient stands at an off-the-charts 1048576. It just went up with our son Henry's 11th birthday gift of an 8 week old American Staffordshire terrier puppy he has named Dixie Arlene Granju.
Remember "John Doe #2"? He was the guy who was originally placed with Tim McVeigh by witnesses who rented him his truck (bomb) prior to the bombing on Oklahoma City. Law enforcement even distributed a detailed sketch of the guy, but he was promptly dismissed as a suspect once McVeigh and his merry band of losers were arrested.

This morning one enterprising blogger, Bryan Preston has dugup that 1995 sketch of John Doe #2 and has posted it on his site next to an actual photo of arrested "dirty bomber" suspect, Jose Padilla. They do indeed look almost exactly alike.

But I have to admit that I became pretty suspicious of police sketches after I was robbed at gunpoint in 1987 while I was a student at the University of Tennessee. I described the suspect at length to the police artist, but when his sketch was generated and plastered around, the suspect looked exactly like an evil Amish guy...and nothing at all like the guy who robbed me ;-) He looked so much like an Amish farmer, that enterprising students started adding an Amish hat to the sketches around the campus.


Could arson on a large scale - leading to out of control wildfires - be used as a weapon by terrorists inside the United States? It seems to me that this would be a relatively easy, low-risk way for a handful of terrorists across the country to destroy lots of property and terrorize lots of Americans.
I have a new essay up on my essays page. It's about my decision whether or not to have an abortion after being told that my fetus was quite ill.
I am curious to know whether anyone else whose parents divorced after their children reached adulthood have the unsettling feeling that their entire personal history has somehow been erased. Anyone? Anyone?

My parents divorced last year after 34 years of marriage and that's how I have been feeling lately. It's hard to explain to anyone else -- sort of like trying to describe homesickness.
Sssshhhh!!!!! Don't tell him, but this is where I am getting my husband his father"s day gift this year. Just another example of all the cool stuff Knoxville, Tennessee has to offer that you didn't know about.

Speaking of father's day, I read Wendy McElroy's new column on the "father's rights" movement with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I am in agreement with a number of the movement's stated goals. On the other hand, I have personally known of a number of men who, angry that their wives have decided to divorce them, have attempted to punish their ex-wives by trying to get custody of their children. Their desire for custody has nothing to do with their interest in living with their kids and everything to do with seeing the mothers of their children suffer.

I interviewed a bunch of guys from the father's rights movement in 1998 for this article I wrote for Metro Pulse on Tennessee's mess of a custody and child support system. It's called Deadbeat Nation.


The headline reads: "Study Reports that an Active Fetus Can Disrupt Mom's Sleep.

This is news? This required a funded, peer-reviewed medical study?

Here is an interesting retrospective on the late Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn from one of my fave lefty publications, In These Times.
My husband loves Fiats. He's sorta obsessed with them, actually. He owns many, many of them. I'm not sure exactly how many. I like the convertible ones but the ones that look like a 1978 Datsun B-210 do nothing for me. Anyway, he now has a website devoted to his Fiat Accompli (get it?).
Have you ever wondered...

"Is La Leche League just a bunch of left-wing, co-sleeping, braless women who wear organic cotton sackcloths and nurse their freaky kids until they're in kindergarten?

Now you can get the answer to this and all your other burning pregnancy, breastfeeding, and parenting questions from the mama-diva, Roxanne Beckford Hoge in her wonderful "Ask Rox" advice column. Her equally informative husband, Bob, answers pressing questions on family life like this one:

"Why is it that whenever the mom gets sick, the dad manages to get even sicker within a day or two?"

in his own advice column, "Of Bob and Men"

I was glad to read Bob's answer to that last question because I have always wondered about this one myself. In fact, during my sister Betsy's recent 30 hour unmedicated labor and birth, my brother-in-law actually said to her at one point, "Honey, I know you're in pain and all, but man! my back is killing me today!"

This song, "When the Stars Go Blue," is so incredibly beautiful and erotic that I've been listening to it for days. In fact, we responsible adults had better not let any teenagers listen to it because it might, well, you know, turn them on or something.

By the way, I want to join a band. So if you know of a band in the Knoxville, TN area in need of quite a good girl singer, drop me an email. I plan to learn to play guitar soon, but at this point all I can offer is a good singing voice, good local contacts for getting booked, and a captivating stage presence ;-)
"Have you ever seen one of those documentaries on children's beauty pageants? You know, the ones that snarkily reveal a world
of heavily made-up tiny girl-children who all look a bit like Dolly Parton-meets-JonBenet Ramsey, each of them attired in
impossibly poufy polyester pageant dresses? You probably have, and I have too. What has always amazed me the most in watching or reading anything about children's beauty pageants has been the mothers -- women who, in the parlance of my native rural Tennessee, look like they were "rode hard and put up wet."

My newest Loco Parentis essay is up and you can read the rest of it HERE. After you read it, let me know what you think.
I have no idea why my name and web address were attached to this webpage featuring "open letter to John Ashcroft". Perhaps, you, like I, received it as a spam email last week, which is the sum total of my connection to the letter or the person who wrote it. If you have any idea what the deal is regarding how I came to have my info on this web page, drop me an email at I'm curious.


This is exactly the sort of thing that I thought only happened to me ;-)
The other day I actually responded to one of those spam emails we all get periodically in which a hapless African person needs a helpful American to help him transfer millions of dollars into the U.S. by offering up a bank account number over the Internet. I thought it might be amusing to see what sort of exchange would take place. But it turns out that someone else already did this and the results are damn funny.