As usual, this month has been filled with delightful gatherings, dinners, and parties. I have loved this time of year since I was a child, whether in the form of wintry, white Christmases in rural Virginia, or sunny holidays in southern California, set to Christmas music by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and David Brubeck. Christmas with a baby brings a new twist, because she is seeing everything for the first time, including Christmas lights, sparkly ornaments, candles, glowing decorations, etc. After having celebrated Christmas annually for over 3 decades, it’s fun to see how see a little person experiences the festive details as a newcomer to this planet.

This year has been no less busy than before, and we even had a wedding to attend in Los Angeles, among the other usual festivities. My boss was excited I can drink again, and we took a shot together at the company party (tequila for me, Fireball for him). I was offered the Fireball, but had to refuse. Fireball spells downfall for me; the sugar in that “whiskey” is death in liquid form. I don’t think I’ve ever had a shot of Fireball and not had severe regrets. On the other hand, bottom shelf house tequila never tasted so sweet, after an extended absence.

This is indeed the time of year to enjoy a nice glass of Cabernet, along with a winter-flavored Belgian, and new IPA’s. Still, I’m careful not to get too drunk because taking care of a baby while hungover sounds like total hell. Speaking of hell, Vale will go to church for the first time on Christmas Eve, and we hope she does not catch fire at the threshold.

This is not to say this holiday season has been without its bumps in the road. I was graced with mastitis round 3, more antibiotics, and all the accompanying frustrations. While Vale has slightly backed down from her insistence on eating only while lying down, the combination of this predilection, along with a distaste for the bottle, and dislike of eating with a cover draped over her face, makes feeding her in public or at social functions somewhat of a nightmare. For this reason, I’m sadly inclined to pass on a visit to Irvine, and a night out at Korean BBQ, and instead will opt to indulge at home, where wine is plentiful, and breastfeeding is easy.

Another first for this holiday season: This is the first time in 11 years we have not gone to get a tree together (Vale was a milk monster and we were running out of time, so Kyle had to go get it himself).

Robert E. Lee: Douchebag of Epic Proportions

I came across this disgusting post today. Of course, you never know whether quotes are accurately attributed on the internet, but it appears D’Souza did in fact say this in an interview:

“Historically illiterate” sure sounds elitist and incisive, but you know what’s fucking worse than being “historically illiterate”? Just being the regular old type of illiterate. Hey Dinesh D’Souza, have you ever heard of like, a dictionary? He may have missed the entry, but “integrity” is defined thus:
the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.
Synonyms include honesty, probity, virtue, morality, decency, sincerity, and righteousness. It would seem to me, perhaps a “historically illiterate” woman, that a man whose loyalty to the state of Virginia caused him to lead a fucking army to wage a war in support of two causes he allegedly opposes is literally the exact opposite of someone who has “integrity.”

Do people even listen to themselves when they say retarded shit like this? Hey, this Nazi really is against murder, but he murdered a bunch of Jewish people, because you know, loyalty to Germany and such. Of course, obviously very much a man of “unimpeachable integrity.” And if you disagree, you’re definitely historically illiterate.  

It’s not because I am a “historically illiterate” leftist that I feel this way. I grew up in Lee’s home state of Virginia. I’ve been immersed in all the fun confederacy stuff, including plantation tours, visiting Lee’s house, touring Stonewall Jackson’s house, etc. While I sincerely enjoyed and appreciated those historical lessons, believe me when I say I’ve heard to no end that Lee really hated slavery and didn’t even want to secede but DERP DERP LOYALTY TO HIS HOME STATE. That fairy tale sounded plausible to a TEN YEAR OLD but then you know, I grew a brain and realized it was bullshit logic. It may be a legitimate point to make about moral dilemmas a man may face in his lifetime, or the ethical quandaries entailed in war, but it is inaccurate to herald Lee as man of great moral resolve. If loyalty to your state causes you to compromise two of your (allegedly) closely-held values, you are by definition NOT someone who has particularly strong moral principles. 

Putting petty issues of definitions and logic aside, Wikipedia provides an enlightening account of Robert E. Lee’s attitude toward three of his slaves, who escaped but were forced to return to Arlington:

Wesley Norris himself spoke out about the incident after the war, in an 1866 interview printed in an abolitionist newspaper, the National Anti-Slavery Standard. Norris stated that after they had been captured, and forced to return to Arlington, Lee told them that “he would teach us a lesson we would not soon forget.” According to Norris, Lee then had the three of them firmly tied to posts by the overseer, and ordered them whipped with fifty lashes for the men and twenty for Mary Norris. Norris claimed that Lee encouraged the whipping, and that when the overseer refused to do it, called in the county constable to do it instead.
 “Unimpeachable integrity” indeed.