Monday, November 23, 2015


Guys.  Guys.  And yes, I'm addressing you of the male persuasion.  I have something important to talk about.  Something vital to your health and sanity, and to that of those you love.  It's time for us to talk about your monthly visitor.  Your regular unwanted guest.  Your period.

You don't have one, you say?  My, how disappointing.  Well, I know how easy it is to trivialize something to which you cannot relate, so I'll do my best to put it in words you can understand.

Let's start by preparing the womb--I mean, your testes.  For the purposes of this experiment, your testes will be known as the Human Development Chambers (HDCs).  Every four weeks, your HDCs begin the process of interior decoration.  They're hoping to welcome a live-in guest, you see.  They put up soft, squishy wallpaper and install even softer carpet.  They spend three whole weeks making everything perfect for their guests' arrival.

When the fourth week comes, your HDCs are shocked to realize that no guest has landed on the doorstep.  They become angry, and in a fit of rage they begin ripping up the carpet and slicing off the wallpaper.  They hack it, they tear it, and they begin sending it down the Evacuation Tube (along with a lot of blood) straight into your underwear.  Congratulations!  You've just gotten your period.

You can expecting this state of ranting and dropping chunks of wallpaper down the tube to last for approximately a week.  Of course, you're still expected to work and carry on as usual.  Stick that pad in your underwear and go about your day with a smile, pretending you don't have several pounds of tissue and blood building up between your legs.  Don't forget to use the bathroom at least every two hours, so you don't have any unfortunate leaks and spoil your favorite jeans!  And you might have to change your sheets three or four times.

With all this turmoil happening in your lower regions, naturally your brain gets irritable and distracted.  You forget things.  Your lower back aches in sympathy.  You scream at your significant other for forgetting to buy chocolate.  And whenever you express anger or frustration--even if it's totally justified--your friends wink knowingly at each other and brush it off with, "Is it That Time again?"  If you dare to mention your condition to your female friends, they respond with, "Gross!  Don't talk about that!" or, "Whatever; it's just a period.  All men get them."

When the tirade from your HDCs is finally over, you breathe a sigh of relief.  Don't worry, though--they'll start decorating again right away.  And since the whole cycle takes four weeks (not one month), you can expect it to happen thirteen times every year for approximately thirty years of your life.

There are a couple of ways to avoid your period, of course.  You can go in to a clinic and have your reproductive system surgically removed, but then you run the risk of being rejected by potential life partners who want children.  Or, you can allow yourself to get pregnant.  You might even think that being pregnant is totally worth not facing a bloody mess every four weeks.

So you get little babies growing inside, and for the first few weeks you don't notice much.  Then suddenly, dear God, you are starving like you haven't eaten in fifteen years.  You gobble everything in sight, and then you realize that your body won't tolerate it.  All the food you ate comes right back up.  You can expect this to go on for about three months, while your HDCs (and their protective covering) grow to the size of potatoes.  Your jeans don't fit, and you start wearing sweats a lot.

For the next three months you're mostly okay on the nausea front, although you're still eating enough for a Tyrannosaurus Rex.  The doctor tells you this is normal, although your HDCs have now swollen to the size of cantaloupes.  Even your sweats don't fit now.  You have to buy special clothes which are freakishly expensive, and everyone comments on how "cute" you are.

The next three months see your HDCs increasing to the size of jumbo watermelons.  "How is this even possible?" you wonder.  You worry that your body won't be able to support the weight.  You need yet more new special clothes, and your significant other groans as they take out their wallet.  "More clothes?  Can't you make do with what you've got for the next two months or so?"  You try to make them understand that you genuinely can't fit into anything, so unless they want you to go out in public naked or wearing a blanket muumuu..

And finally, finally the day arrives when your sweet little babies are to make their appearance.  You have the option of having a doctor slice you open and remove them, stitching you up afterward, or of pushing them centimeter by centimeter out the Evacuation Tube over the course of several hours.  You'll probably still need stitches if you choose the latter.  Whichever way you go, finally you have your precious little ones and it is so worth it.  Your insurance allows you a whole two days to recover in the hospital before you're sent home.  You know you'll have a few months before you have to face The Period again.  And then, with all your sensitive bits still swollen and aching, your significant other asks:

"So, how soon can we have sex again?"

Monday, November 16, 2015

World, My Heart Is Heavy

World, my heart hurts for you.

I'm sure by now, everyone knows about the terror attacks in Paris.  Most also know about the attacks in Beirut.  We are all hurting and saddened, with no clear picture of how we can change this mess.  May I first suggest that we stop the infighting?  It seems like every time I go on Facebook, I see posts along the lines of, "Sure, you care about France, but what about Beirut?"  As if we can't care about both at the same time.

I looked up the Wikipedia list of terror attacks this year.  There were far too many for me to post here, so I'll just stick with the November ones:

  • November 1:  Palestinian rammed his vehicle into Israeli soldiers in the West Bank
  • November 1:  Car bomb was detonated on a hotel in Somalia, opening it up; perpetrators then starting shooting and throwing grenades; Al-Shabaab
  • November 3:  Palestinian stabbed 3 people in Israel, including an 80-year-old woman
  • November 3:  Palestinian stabbed a 71-year-old man in Israel
  • November 4:  Sulemain Shaheen rammed an Israeli border patrol officer in the West Bank
  • November 4:  Suicide car bomb near the Police Officers Club in Egypt; Wilayah Sayna, affiliated with ISIL
  • November 5:  Suicide bomber attacked Qalamoun Clerics Association in Lebanon
  • November 6:  Unknown sniper shot two Israelis near Cave of the Patriarchs
  • November 6:  Baraa Issa stabbed an Israeli in the West Bank; member of Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades
  • November 6:  Palestinian shot IDF soldier in the West Bank
  • November 7:  Multiple bombs set off across Baghdad, Iraq; ISIS suspected
  • November 9:  Sulemain Shaheen rammed his vehicle into a hitchhiker station in the West Bank
  • November 9:  Palestinian woman stabbed Israeli guard in the West Bank
  • November 9:  Two Palestinians stabbed Israeli in a shop in the West Bank
  • November 9:  Two suicide bombers detonated in a village in Chad; Boko Haram suspected
  • November 9:  14-year-old suicide bomber detonated at a mosque in Cameroon; Boko Haram suspected
  • November 12:  Suicide bomber detonated in Lebanon; when crowds gathered, a second detonated; ISIL
  • November 13:  Gunmen ambushed & shot a family car with 7 passengers in the West Bank
  • November 13:  Attacks targeting Shiites in Baghdad, Iraq, including suicide bombing; ISIS
  • November 13:  Series of attacks in Paris, France; ISIS
This is the official list from Wikipedia.  I searched each terror attack in an attempt to verify these incidents.  Some look like the dates are wrong.  I've linked the articles I could find.

Some of these might not seem like much.  A shooting here; a stabbing there.  What's important to remember about all of these is:  The attackers had no personal issue with the individuals they attacked.  All the victims were merely members of a hated group.  Shiites.  Israelis.  Police.

Hate is in the world, and it's real.  Fighting amongst ourselves about which terror incident is worse, or who cares more about the tragedies, or whether or not we should do a French flag overlay on our profile pictures, does nothing but cause division.  It separates us instead of uniting us.

Mourn for the Paris victims.  Mourn for those in Lebanon; for the Shiites in Baghdad; for the family attacked in their car; for those in Cameroon; for the villagers in Chad; for all those caught in conflict in the West Bank; for the police in Egypt; for the Israelis; for those in Somalia.  When their stories are told, don't trivialize them by saying, "Yeah, but do you care what happened to this other group?"  All these attacks are important.  All are tragic.  They should not have happened.  It is not wrong to mourn one group at a time.

Let's stand united on this.  Terror is real, and arguing will only further its cause.