Gnat went to a Halloween Party tonight. She went as a fairy princess. (Pix to follow.) I’m okay with this, but it took a while. I told my wife I am not too fond of the whole princess thing, since it’s based on an oppressive system of hereditary rule and serfdom. Why not have her go as Himler’s Receptionist? I demanded.

She knows me well enough to know that I am not serious. “She’ll be what she wants to be,” my wife said.

“Not if she wants to be a symbol of feudal privilege,” I said. “I’d be happier if she was a princess from a constitutional monarchy.”

“So that’s what she is.”

“Why the wings, then? She’s a fairy princess from a land where fairies have a constitutional monarchy? If you think that sort of thing is hard to hold together here on earth, try introducing magic and immortality into the mix.”

“She’s a fairy secretary of state, then. C’mon honey, let’s go!” And off she went in her gown, gossamer wings strapped to her back. She came back with a spider painted on her cheek.

“I asked if she wanted a flower on her cheek,” my wife said, “but she insisted on a spider.”

The kid gets Halloween. We went through the treat bag: plastic teeth, Bottle Caps (I had those as a child) Smarties (ditto) 100 Grand Bars (ditto) - what was this, the candy bag equivalent of a classic rock station? Now, it’s a Led Zep Power Hour, so get out yer Dots an’ Crows an’ Mike & Ikes! Made me hungry for a Chik-0-Stik just thinking about it. Then she held up a bag of Skittles.

Taste the wainbo! she said. And my blood ran cold. “Where did you hear that? “I asked. On the teevee, she said. Odd: we don’t watch much commercial TV. Only Disney, which confines itself to Disney propaganda. The mind of a child is made of glue, though - all it took was one or two viewings, and she welded the product name to the slogan. “Go tell that to Mom.” So she ran upstairs, found Mom, held up the Skittles bag: taste the wainbo!

“That’s right!” said my wife, equally astonished and appalled. Her First Involuntary Parroting of an Advertising Tagline!

I should bronze those Skittles.

Heh. Roger L. Simon, who is wise in the ways of the world, cautioned me against saying never. I should explain. When I said I’d never vote for those people again, I mean those whose default mode consists of turning the American people away from the war so they can get their committee chairmanships back. This isn’t necessarily a partisan thing - if I had the choice between a Democratic presidential candidate who was strong on defense (and by strong I mean just that, not the “strength” that comes from writing up interminable treaties with belligerent tyrants and believing that we’ll be safe behind a mound of paper) and an isolationist whackjob like Pat Buchanan, I’d chose the D pill in a second. It’s the Ds of the Daschle stripe who bug me, the ones who seem to think the Iraq invasion was something we did for kicks and grins, and didn’t have the same geopolitical or moral imperatives as, say, President Clinton’s decision to invade Haiti once Raoul Cedras kicked out the UN observers.

No,, I didn't have Cedras' name at the tip of my fingers; I googled. And found some interesting things. From the LA Times right before Operation Restore Democracy:
“The Clinton administration won rhetorical backing from Caribbean republics Tuesday for an invasion of Haiti, but came away virtually empty in its attempt to sign up allies for military action to restore ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to power.”

Sound familiar? Incidentally, In his September 15 address to the nation, President Clinton declared that "Aristide has pledged to step down when his term ends... [in 1996]."

And he did. But heeeee’s back! It’s interesting to note that on Aristide’s bio page, he has this line:

On October 15, 1994, President Aristide triumphantly returned to Haiti where he completed the last sixteen months of his presidential term.

No mention of how he arranged this triumphant return, incidentally. You’re welcome, pal.

Can’t stop the googling on this one. Found this, from Time:

PRESIDENT CLINTON asked aides at a National Security Council meeting on Haiti to prepare a comparison between a possible U.S. invasion of Haiti and Reagan's 1983 invasion of Grenada. Clinton wanted a study of forces needed, likely casualties -- and rationales used. After the meeting one official asked, half joking, " Are there any Americans in medical school in Haiti ?" Another answered, " No, but we've found two American dentists there."

Does this sound, well, odd to you? Imagine this in Time:

"President Bush asked aides at a National Security Council meeting on Iraq to prepare a comparison between a possible US invasion of Iraq and Clinton’s 1994 invasion of Haiti. Bush wanted a study of forces needed, likely casualties - and rationales used. After the meeting one official asked, half jokingly, 'are there any American dentists in Iraq?' Another answered, 'No, but we’ve found two American chiropractors there.'”

That anecdote would be the main talking point for a week. Joking about making up rationales? They’d be waving the articles of impeachment.

Googling the Haiti war is an interesting exercise, if only to revisit old fault lines. Thrill! as conservatives grumble that we’ve no business nation-building. Gasp! as liberals insist that the Armed Forces should be used to topple tyrants.

Update on Ultimate: I went to the store today, and talked to a nice clerk. She sympathized, but could do nothing. “That’s not really what I’d like to hear, though,” I said. I had Gnat with me, and I was being Nice Civil Father Slightly Sad At Ultimate Letting Him Down. “I’d like to hear that you realize you sold me a camera I can’t trust anymore, and that you’ll knock three-fourths of the price off a new one.” Or words to that effect. She said she’d talk to a manager.

Five minutes passed. She returned. “This probably isn’t what you want to hear,” she said. “But. We can let you have another one, and charge it to your card. Then you can have one for Halloween. When your other camera comes back you can return the new camera, and we’ll take the charge off your card, or you can buy it at a significant discount - but not so much that we lose money on it.”

“Actually,” I said, “that’s precisely what I wanted to hear.” And it was. That’s fair; that’s creative. Most important, it’s something they didn’t have to do. Yes, it took some nudging, but not that much. So they kept a customer.

There. That wasn’t so hard, now, was it?

Okay, back to work. Criminey: did the full boat this week; four newspaper columns, five count’em five bleats, AND book revision. I need a big long week filled with nothing. Stuffed with nada. Packed full of zilch from M to F. Dream on.

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