January 11th, 2011


Walk with the animals

So thanks to the cold I've had (pretty much over, just occasional congestion) and the cold weather, I've been getting through the David Attenborough "Life of Mammals" series pretty quickly over the last month. For those of you who have animal geekiness, may I suggest you examine the "fossa," a native carnivore of Madagascar? "Is it a mongoose or is it a cat?" asks the research quoted on Wikipedia. It's all very interesting. Watching these things move is a bit terrifying, though - they look 100% like all they do all day is think about killing things, primarily lemurs.
I Miss America

So this is from someone I think is relatively intelligent: my dad

As you may remember I've booked a trip to Egypt with a side trip to Petra for the end of this month. It's part of my ongoing "season of indulgence." I was excited and made a little picture showing me at Petra and sent it to my dad. Here's his response:

I suppose that there is no way I could talk you out of going to a country ruled by Muslims, no matter HOW westernized they are? You will be an American Female, unaccompanied, and legally blind without vision correction. The idea of you, unaccompanied (even by a female friend), in the damned middle east, causes me some worry. By the way, the city/ruins look gorgeous. Bert says that they are of rose quartz.

My response: How very silly. Anyway, I've already been to Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco, so the warnings are all too late!

Dad: Yes but when you went to Egypt, Tunisia (love their food!!), and Morocco, did you not have J*** with you?

Me: Don't you think it's more dangerous for me to say be going to a congressional constituency meeting in the US? Seriously, do you even know any Muslims?

Dad: absolutely not. What happened in Tucson is an extreme rarity. In Muslim countries, suicide bombers, car bombs, and just random bullets flying around kill huge numbers of people, but since they don't count, and don't have MSNBC reporters flocking over them like flies on carrion, they never get written up. The United States is ALWAYS safer, but to go out in public is always taking a risk (especially in the Moslem countries and in the Republic of Mexico. How many people have died from suicide bombers in market places, bazaars, cafes, and the front doors of their Mosques, as opposed to the six in Tuscon? The Fort Hood massacre doesn't count as that was merely a Muslim "election Statement" stated in the usual way with the usual aftermath; the only DIFFERENCE being that THIS Muslim wacko was home-grown, not the run of the mill loser whose home country could/would be Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Baluchistan, Iraq, Syria, Kyrgistan (Sp), Pakistan, or the unfortunate Kurdistan. Countries whose standard of living, in the words of one Peace Corps volunteer, "Have to be seen and experienced in PERSON to be believed". Nope,, You're much safer in the United States than in any third-world pit. Although I will remind you that quite a few people were killed by cars in traffic accidents that day, Many more than were shot to death by a crazed gunman. And we didn't have a SINGLE car bom blow up in any public gathering space in the Continental United States. NOR did we have anybody blown up or under automatic weapons fire while on their way to worship at the house of their religion (unlike Egypt or Iraq where the words "Christian" and "Target" translate to the same thing in their dog-tongue).

He sends another email: Let me reply to that by asking, Have you ever heard of any Christians, wrapping themselves in a "suicide vest" and going down to the city market to blow themselves up to make a political statement? Your Father.

I reply: Really advise you to do some research about Jordan and Egypt and personal safety there especially in regard to travelers. If you think about it, Mexico is a Christian nation, so what does a country's primary religion really have to do with safety? Let me know what you find. Thanks!

Then I add: No, Christians just take guns and start shooting. How many gun
massacres have there been in the US just in the last year? Just think
about it! Here's the numbers just for school shootings, and there have
been many more workplace shootings (i.e.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/39089483/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/ and
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-10858000 )
(with a link to Wikipedia and the 11 school shootings in America in 2010)

Finally I add: About the "not a single car:" have you forgotten Oklahoma City already?

You seem to be getting your news from Fox and ignoring what doesn't fit in with your theory.

If you think a 43 year old woman needs an escort to travel, you're welcome to offer your services. I'm sure any conservative Muslim father would be equally uncomfortable with a woman traveling by herself.

Let me know what your Muslim acquaintances think about personal safety in Jordan, and what your research shows about safety in Jordan and Egypt.

Then, unable to restrain myself: I think if you did a little traveling you might have a better idea about what the rest of the world is like. You wouldn't believe how excited the cabbies in Morocco were about the US election and how it proved the US was really about democracy and personal achievement rather than how much money you had and who your dad was. Let me know when you want to get out of America for a while and actually see what the rest of the world is like. It sounds like you only hear what other people say and don't investigate things yourself. Just because you're over 60 doesn't mean you're too old to learn some new things and broaden your horizons.

(end conversation)

It's really just all very depressing. On the other hand, at least he's 3000 miles away.