Happy Memorial Day. Now Pay Attention.

From the Schlock Mercenary Open Letter.

Today, May 31st, is Memorial Day in the United States. Originally the day was set aside for visiting the graves and the memorials for those fallen defending our freedom, but with so many people getting the day off of work it ends up being spent kicking off the summer with barbecues, boating, and the assorted consumption-in-excess that marks pretty much every other American holiday.

I’m not saying don’t have fun. I’m just saying that now would be a good time to think about why you’re ABLE to have fun. There are soldiers in harm’s way today, right now, and they’ve earned a moment of your reflection, meditation, or prayer.

I just got back from a week in a foreign country. In my travels over the last decade I’ve seen parts of the world where freedom has been very recently earned, and is a little more cherished, a little less taken-for-granted than it is here at home.

They say that God helps those who help themselves. By extension, “God Bless America” isn’t going to happen unless we give a little bit of thought to blessing her ourselves. So please, take some time today to think about the freedoms you enjoy, to give thanks to those who’ve made that possible, and to consider what you can do to make this a better place for all of us.


NOT the next Reeses Peanut Butter Cups

Yesterday I found Kiki (the 9-year-old) dipping pork-rinds in a bowl of what looked like cream cheese. Since I often eat them with french onion dip, and since I love fritos with cream cheese, I dipped one and prepared to pop it in the ol’ cake-hole.

Sandra: “That’s not cream cheese. That’s cake frosting.”

Me: throws the pork rind in the sink in a panic “Cake frosting? Kiki, what are you DOING?”

Kiki: “Daddy, they’re GOOD this way.”

There you have it. I’ll not vouchsafe pork-rinds and cake-frosting for you, but my 9-year-old will.


Jet-lag reset

Right now it’s 5:15am back in Joburg, which is where my biological clock thinks I live.

Earlier this evening (here in Utah) I spent an hour or so walking around outdoors, with the sun still visible in the sky, in order to convince my internal alarms that bedtime was still a few hours off, rather than several hours ago.

Come midnight I’ll be doped up on Excedrin PM (diphenhydramine citrate — an antihistamine whose effects on me taper off sharply after 10 hours)… my goal is to punch the biological clock’s reset button smack-dabbity hard, skipping any real jet-lag entirely. I expect to sleep until 10am tomorrow, even if I have to retreat into a darkened basement room for the last four hours of my nap, thus getting a good night’s sleep, AND making up for the sleep lost both in transit and in the time change.

They say something about “the best laid plans of mice and men,” but I forget exactly what it is. No worries. This plan involves lots of “laid” (don’t go there) and exactly no mice, so nothing can possibly go wrong.

–Howard “famous last words” Tayler

I’m back…

So tired.

I thought about sitting down and writing a travelogue. I thought better of it. The only part worth telling is the last leg of the flight, where I sat next to an “unaccompanied child,” in this case a five-year old named Destiny who needed a big, helpful friend more than I needed sleep, but I’ve already told all the details to Sandra.

Sooo tired.

I need to stay awake, though. Right now it’s 12:30am in Johannesburg. If I take a nap, I’ll be back up at 1am, and nobody wants that.

Sitting here in front of the computer is uncomfortable. In the last 36 hours I sat for at least 30. My fat bottom is one big coach-class bruise.

In other news, I’ve gained 6 pounds.


Writer, Illustrator, Consumer