Oh GOD said my daughter, not yet four.

"What did you say?"

She got the uh-oh look, and now I was in the thick of it again. How to explain that God is a bad word. If you know what I mean.

“We don’t say that when we’re mad, sweetheart. We say it in church, or when we’re praying, but not when we’re mad, because God doesn’t like that.”

So now God, that amorphous guy-in-the-sky concept, is suddenly Old Testament God, vengeful, toting up your errors.

“It makes him sad,” I added. “Because you’re saying it when you’re mad, not when you’re happy. Say ‘gosh’ instead. Or say ‘drat.’ That’s more fun to say.

Later that day I told her to put away her shoes, and she said:

"Oh, Gah-" quick look at me "– sh. I said gosh."

Later, at dinner:

"Oh God." I shot her a look. She held up her pink bear. “He said it.”

He doesn’t speak. He’s stuffed.

“I talk for him. But I didn’t say it.”

All children are lawyers at heart. Looking for the loophole.

Cold day. It should not be cold. It’s supposed to go below 30 tonight, which is a sin; it is supposed to go above 78 Wednesday, which is a little warmer than normal. The jet stream is a hopeless drunk, apparently. A good day nevertheless – my back is better, but still subject to flaming pain. Today we went grocery shopping, and Gnat fell asleep en route. I had to pick her up, and I could see all the stress distributed downwards to the base of my spine, just like weight being channeled by flying buttresses. But overall everything seems to be settling back into place. I remember the last time I screwed it up this bad: years ago when I did too much rollerblading early in the season. I not only pulled every wire in my back and legs, I bruised every inch of soft tissue below the navel, since I fell down about 47 times. My wife did fine that year, but later she wiped out and landed on the one part of body not shielded by high-impact plastic. That was an emergency room visit. Stitches. We don’t rollerblade anymore.

Forgot to mention something very cool from the weekend: spoke with Michael J. Nelson of MST3K fame; he was on the Northern Alliance show, and as much as I would have loved to elbow my way into the studio I have some small scraps of decency left, so I just called the show. Pleasure to speak with the man. The MST3K cast was probably the smartest group of comic writers (and actors) the medium has seen since the kinetoscope days. It wasn’t just the quality of the work – they trumped everyone else for sheer quantity, too. It was like a firehose that ran for seven years, and I miss it still. To this day you can play that last guitar chord of the closing credits, and I think “thank the first amendment, the teachers of America, keep circulating the tapes, and oh yeah, there’s one last short clip to come, bless ‘em.” I was driving around the ‘burbs toward the end of the interview, and someone called up to ask about a movie where the space guys’ rank seemed to be indicated by varied amounts of duct tape. I thought: Prince of Space. Krankor! Funny laugh. I did the laugh out loud in the car.

Haven’t seen that one in three, four years, but I remembered it. Couldn't quote you one line from the last six years of SNL, either.

This is just an odd story, for many reasons. It hasn’t gotten much play in the last week. It might not get play in the future because a confession in an Arab state often involves jumper cables.
The report says they intended to mix a combination of 71 lethal chemicals, which they said has never been done before, including blistering agents to cause third-degree burns, nerve gas and choking agents.

If it’s all true, then it would seem to indicate that they guys lack the tactical acumen. They have several goals: first, get the US out of the region. Second, destroy all the regional governments they don’t like. Third, conquer the world. If they were as crafty and canny as feared they’d take these steps in the proper order, but they appear to want to do #1 and #2 simultaneously, which is remarkably stupid. The US, in response to terror attacks in Iraq, will carefully attempt to convert the miscreants to jam, if that’s what it comes down to. But if the Al Qaeda et al hits Saudi Arabia and Jordon before achieving the first objective, they just get more grief: Arab governments are less likely to play nice. They’re more likely to disappear huge numbers of people, raze villages, apply cheese graters to your scalp to get confessions, etc. Your average Jordanian may be passively rooting for American defeat out of the usual stupid sense of solidarity, but take out 15 blocks in Amman and suddenly he wants something done against these guys. This may be the one thing that makes the Arab Street rise up: it gets leveled, by Arabs.

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c. 1995-2004 j. lileks