A clean, well-lit place to vent

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L. | Eureka Springs, AK | January 28, 2013

Thanks for linking to the Sandbox post NIGHTMARE in Blowback yesterday. When I got to the phrase "Suck it up..." I broke out in a cold sweat. My husband, a Vietnam vet, has used that expression periodically over the years. I did not know that it probably came from his military experience. This explains a lot. He is now suffering from Parkinson's Disease as a result of Agent Orange exposure, and every day is a battle of wits between the two of us. I know that his best physical defense is our twice-daily walk in the countryside near our home. He fights it. Every day. He wants to sit in his chair watching television. Every day. All day. He was offered depression meds and refused them. He said he doesn't want to be spaced out or dulled to the world. I shouted "DO I SEEM F***** 'SPACED OUT' AND 'DULLED TO THE WORLD' GOD DAMMIT??" (I take a low-dose depression med.) I think he's been "sucking it up."

Perry Rutter | New York, NY | January 28, 2013

I just finished reading Doonesbury from the very first comic up to the present. It's an incredible journey and wonderfully educational. As a child of the 80s I didn't learn much about the 70s or 80s in school and the 90s was when I was just starting to pay attention. Thanks for the hilarious, moving, human journey.

Alex | Brooklyn, NY | January 28, 2013

I've had some ideas for budget cuts for a very long time now:

1. TSA is to be eliminated.

2. War on Drugs is to be eliminated.

3. Eliminate plea bargains. All the plea bargain does is to hide how many people are being shoved into prison on trivial cases. If someone's done something severe enough to warrant arrest, then it warrants trial. Such a change would force the police to stop arresting people on nothing charges because juries would simply be far too needed for real crime cases. It would also reduce expenses for courts.

4. The U.S. military is to be reduced in size and budget by 90 percent. As we saw with 9/11, modern warfare is asymmetrical, and cheap for the smaller side to wage. All we do with a giant military apparatus is help the other side wear us down faster.

5. All military/penal/government suppliers will be required by law to make no profit. That's right. And all salaries (including benefits) are to be capped at twice the minimum wage. You want to supply toothpaste to the military? Then you'd better be doing it because you want to help the soldiers, not because you want to make some money.

6. The big cost saver: All elected officials are to lose their pensions and life-time health care upon completion of public service. They will simply have to make do with what all of us get: a lecture on how we should have saved more and pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps.

Roger Cooke | Burlington, VT | January 27, 2013

I've had a budget-balancing plan figured out for years: For each of his or her constituents, every representative should be required to specify $10,000 of cuts in his or her own district. I'm sure they'll be lining up on both sides of the aisle to embrace this eminently practical plan.

Marcia Doscher | Tampa, FL | January 27, 2013

And other ideas for cuts? How about all elected federal officials, i.e. the President, Vice President, and members of Congress, take a 10% salary cut for two years, starting now!

Linda Weinberg | Anmore, CANADA | January 26, 2013

The latest Sandbox post should be required reading for all political leaders, and for anyone who has had contact with a service person -- past or present. It was incredibly moving to me, but also very positive about healthy results from unimaginably awful events. 

Karen L. Hale | San Diego, CA | January 26, 2013

Twins aren't always early. Mine were full term, each weighing in at 6 lbs. Congrats, Toggle and Alex. Twins are a blast.

J.E.Q.P. | Pindimar, NSW | January 25, 2013

So Alex did wait until the second trimester to tell somebody; that dissipates my exasperation with her yesterday.

Mike Kushner | New York, NY | January 25, 2013

June 17th, the due date for Alex and Toggle's twins, will also be the 41st anniversary of the Watergate burglary. Coincidence?

Cindy | Phoenix, AZ | January 25, 2013

If everyone waited to have children until they were done with school, financially sound, and had a lifetime of common sense, our species would have gone extinct a millennium ago.

P.J.M. | Natick, MA | January 25, 2013

Oh, dear. Has anyone pointed out to Alex that twins are always, always early?

Judy Lenzin | Lausanne, SWITZERLAND | January 25, 2013

Everyone's commenting on how Alex and Toggle will do, but does anyone ever think about how the babies will do? They don't have any choice or say in the matter of their parents' careers, and sometimes it is a rude entrance into a hard world. "As soon as you're born they make you feel small, by giving you no time instead of it all..."

Pete | Hillsdale, NJ | January 25, 2013

It's possible that Alex's character flaws were passed down not just from J. J., but from her father, who as a parent griped about being inconvenienced on his bowling night.

Immaculata | Peoria, IL | January 24, 2013

I hadn't quite thought of Alex as Doonesbury's version of a contemporary Virgin Mary, but for the twins' sake I hope that's what she's drinking.

Jane Maze | Canberra, AUSTRALIA | January 24, 2013

Every indication about Alex and Toggle's relationship is that it is rock solid. Incidents like her not knowing the name of his school are where she gets to challenge the thoughtlessness her privileged background has unsurprisingly left her with, and grow ever more thoughtful and respectful, because she utterly loves Toggle. Alex does come from a background of financial privilege. She was a major contributor from childhood to the business that gave Mike and Kim a home with those beautiful mountain-and-water views, and I imagine some of the profits may be stashed away in a trust account for her, so poverty is unlikely. I do share the worry about her career, though.

Angie S. | Stafford, VA | January 24, 2013

Alex is gonna get that PhD and go on to greatness, 'cause Toggle's got her back, just like she has his. They've both been through some stuff and they know there will be ups and downs that will test them, but that only makes them cherish each other all the more. And that, my friends, is what a marriage is really made of.

Don Poole | Youngsville, NC | January 24, 2013

I don't want to bring you down, Toggle, but as the father of twins, I can say with authority that  rather than drawing a deuce you may have rolled snake eyes.

A.J.R. | San Francisco, CA | January 24, 2013

In 2003, I was told by a professor that as a married woman I wouldn't be considered for graduate studies in the lab because I would "just have babies, and be a waste of time." Now, as mother with a successful career and continued work in academia, I know first hand that the biggest barriers to mothers succeeding in that environment arrive not from their performance or promise, but other people's preconceived notions of what that mothers can accomplish beyond motherhood. My grandmother obtained a PhD while raising four children on her own, and went on to a successful career in academia. Also reference Jane Goodall, Marie Curie, Margaret (Canopy Meg) Lowman, Mirey a Mayor and many others. It can be done.

Emily | Ames, IA | January 24, 2013

It's about time someone with a sense of humor showed up to address "work-life balance" for ambitious, intelligent mommies...

Sam | Baltimore, MD | January 23, 2013

Congrats, kids! Motherhood is no barrier to continued success in life. Take for example, Marie Skodowska-Curie, the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences. She was the mother of Irène Joliot-Curie (another Nobel Prize in chemistry) and Ève Curie (a journalist who married Henry Richardson Labouisse, Jr. who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his founding of UNICEF). So, motherhood (and fatherhood) is (are) not the end of the world!