Quick 2009 primer

Fascinating.

Top 10 Stories You Missed in 2009 this year, as rated by Foreign Policy. Seriously, read it.  It’s relatively short and absolutely worth your time.

A rare even-handed look at the conundrum in Afghanistan.

And, finally, a look at how pink ribbons have completely dumbed down our knowledge of women’s health issues in an article by Barbara Ehrenreich.  Politicians and corporations are still railroading science in this country, alas.

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It’s a yucky, icky world out there

I don’t like the world, right at this particular minute. Everything that’s gross and violent and scary is getting worse, and everything that’s supposed to be safe isn’t. Aside from the whole “poisoning ourselves with every single thing in our over-produced and over-consuming country,” the lead stories today include a decapitation on a bus, a video-taped torture death, and a preacher killing his wife and freezing her body. (Sorry, no links. I can’t bear it–I didn’t read ant of those stories. The headlines were enough.) I was going to let all of that go, but, a blogger I found tag surfing at wordpress, whose kids have developmental differences, went to the library and burst into tears when storytime made her feel that she can’t even do normal things with her kids. Cried in the library.

Dude, that’s not okay. Some days, this is not a nice place to exist. Neither is the third world, I know. But I don’t live there and don’t have the energy to empathize that far today. I really don’t. I know that my absolute darkest moments are diamond-laden sunlight compared to the lives of 99% of the people in this world. I’m sorry if my kvetching dishonors those living in war-torn, impoverished countries. But seriously, a guy can’t sleep on a bus without being stabbed and decapitated? wtf?

People have been asking me, while Spouse is temporarily working in a galaxy far, far away, how I’m faring as a single parent. And without taking more than a nanosecond to wallow in missing him, I know that having a spouse be away is nothing at all like being a single parent. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to raise kids by myself with the added sorrow/fear/anger/joy of a relationship that ended, regardless of how amicably. (‘Cuz there are a lot of those around, right? Amicable divorces? Sure.) I can’t imagine how hard it would be to lose not only a co-parent, but a person with whom you once felt friendly/safe/loved. (I don’t want to be presumptuous about other people marrying someone who makes them feel warm and fuzzy, for one minute of work in domestic abuse organizations makes you rethink what marriage means. Can’t imagine that, either.) While we’re at it, I can’t imagine how hard it would be to raise children while working two or three jobs (thanks, ‘country that has nice ideas about democracy but totally sucks in its priorities,’ for completely abandoning the working poor, for letting the minimum wage drop to a relative fifty-year low, for being an international embarrassment on family leave, for letting our public schools undereducate our kids while a big chunk of the country teaches belief instead of science, and for proposing that a minority view trump women’s health). I can’t imagine how hard it would be to work three jobs and raise children by myself, with child care I could barely afford. I can’t imagine how hard it would be to do any of that with a child who doesn’t fit a typical developmental profile.

So, no. It’s not hard without Spouse here. It’s a little quieter and a little cleaner. And our phone bill is a lot higher. And I stay up too late blogging. But it’s nothing compared to what most people do everyday.

It’s still a yucky, yucky world. We’ve gotten a damned good deal so far, seeing as how I didn’t marry a preacher who killed and froze me, I didn’t sleep on the bus for part of the ride, and I didn’t die while being tortured. And I didn’t sink into lonely despair because a librarian snapped at my kids’ differences.

So, I guess…happy, happy day?