Would you like to support our troops?
It’s that same woman outside the same grocery store, sitting at the same folding table covered with the same pile of camouflage pens and toys and ribbons and bracelets, and flag pins and bumper stickers and decals. “Would you like to support our troops?” she says – a statement more than a question – and she waves her hand over the pile of schocky military-themed shit allegedly patriotic crap.
* Is this a private charity, and if so, what is its name?
* Will I find your organization listed on Charity Navigator and/or give well and/or GiveWell and/or CharityWatch and/or other independent organizations that vet charities for cost effectiveness and transparency and efficiency and efficacy of donation usage?
* Do you have a statement on your administrative overhead/costs? If not, can you tell me where does the money go? How much do you make on each plastic brimmed camouflage hat, and what percentage of the sale of this…merchandise…goes to “the troops,” and by “the troops” what do you mean….?
Those are the questions I thought to ask, but didn’t. Instead, mindful that I had things to do/places to be, I responded tersely, but truthfully. I paused at the table, looked at the WTF? collection of items, then favored her with what I hoped was an expression of genuine regret at the ignorant naiveté of her request, and not the disgust I felt welling up.
“No, sorry, but buying plastic crap made in China does nothing to ‘help the troops.’ ” 
Her eyes glazed over; she did not engage me further but didn’t miss a beat calling out to the next person exiting the store. So when I saw her last Wednesday night, doing her same shtick, it was good thing she didn’t catch me because I’d vowed if she ever solicited me again I would waste a precious ten seconds telling her that what our troops really need is our help in electing leaders who will not send our soldiers to fight senseless, strategy-less, endless, oil-dependency fueled wars.
* * *
Department Of That Which Defies Description 
When Mariya Karimjee was little, members of her family made a decision that would affect her entire life. Years later, she wants to know why.
Such a down-to-earth introduction to a mind-blowing, heart-rending and yet ultimately, I’d argue, triumphant story – a story that (surprise!) is not about the Holocaust. 
* * *
A Somewhat Happier Dose of Humanity; aka,
Department Of Making The Best Of Things Via Fun With Eggcorns
One of the few upsides of having an elderly, cognitively sketchy, memory-impaired parent, who is also hard of hearing, is having an exchange like that which I recently had with my mother .
Context: phone call with my mom, updating her re various family members.  She asked about my son, K, who is, I assured her, in a happy place. He’s working at a job he likes, renting a house with friends, and – bonus for us! – he took one of the cats with him. 
Moiself: “You may recall that MH and I have three indoor cats. The one named Tootsie – she’s with K, now.”
Mom: “I remember her. She’s the one with many toes. K took her? How nice.”
Moiself: “Yes, she’s living with him.”
Mom: “Oh, that’s a shame.”
Moiself: “Uh…what’s a shame?”
Mom: “That she’s an invalid.”
It took me a beat to realize, “She’s living with him” got translated as, “She’s an invalid.”
* * *
Department of And One More Thing
It can – and indeed has – been argued that living with any cat is like living with an invalid. A fussy, demanding, hard-to-please invalid.
* * *
May you be inspired to help – troops, or anybody – in ways that truly do;
May you appreciate the whimsy of eggcorns, no matter the source;
May you enjoy kind of pleasure that comes from foisting off a yet another household responsibility onto sharing a beloved pet with your adult child;
and may the hijinks ensue.
Thanks for stopping by. Au Vendredi!
* * *
 And yet, someone finds the strength to do so.
 Although it could be argued it is about another kind of Holocaust, wherein a group of people are abused solely because they belong to a certain category as defined by those in power.
 You could get the transcript, but I think there is more power in hearing the voices of those in the story.
 Assurances for the easily concerned: my mother has no computer access, doesn’t read my blog, doesn’t know that I write a blog, doesn’t know what a blog is….
 That is, repeating the same information during every phone call (and often more than once during the same call).
 Now, if only he would take one or both of the snakes….