Tuesday, July 31, 2007

double whammy

7/31/2007 1:00:03 PM
An editorial column in the "liberal" "msm" New York Times about Iraq is getting a lot of attention. The question arises, can a word of it be believed?
After all, in war, the first casualty is truth. In this conflict, truth took a beating in the runup to battle, and has been hard to come by ever since. A complicating factor is the battle for public opinion in Amerika. Without the support of the public, the powers that be in Washington cannot sustain a war effort for very long. This struggle for public opinion is a feature of modern war that some seem to understand well (Israel comes to mind), and that the neocon morons that begat this struggle are oblivious to.
Of course, Halliburton gets paid whether we win or lose, and the Chinese investors buying chunks of our national debt are not interested in the freedom of the Iraqi people.
In a Vietnam flashback, the concept of "victory" is fuzzy, unless it is napalm in the morning. If Victory is setting up a government in Iraq that can function, without being a threat to American interests, that may happen in the next administration. If the idea is to get Sunna and Shi'a to hold hands, sing KumBahYah and roast marshmallows, we might have to stay until the 22nd century. If our objective is to destroy Al Queda (fight them there so we won't have to fight them here), then we may want to consult Zager and Evans about the year 2525.
Back to " A war we must jightJust might win". Perhaps I should turn my bs detector down for a while.
A second reading of the editorial leaves me with a sense that the management of the paper told the authors to write a positive piece, possibly to quiet criticism of the paper. Many paragraphs have a sentence or two, with a concluding third sentence that has little to do with the supporting statements. An example:
Everywhere, Army and Marine units were focused on securing the Iraqi population, working with Iraqi security units, creating new political and economic arrangements at the local level and providing basic services — electricity, fuel, clean water and sanitation — to the people. Yet in each place, operations had been appropriately tailored to the specific needs of the community. As a result, civilian fatality rates are down roughly a third since the surge began — though they remain very high, underscoring how much more still needs to be done.
It has been a while since I took predicate calculus. I just don’t see how a=b=c in that paragraph.
Iraq has been through a long national nightmare. The Ottomans, the British, the Baaths, and now the Ameikan/Al queda double whammy.
7/31/2007 7:00:55 PM
This business of working a real job and hobby punditing is not as smooth as it seems. I have decided on a new rule for this blog... If I cannot finish the post on my lunch hour, then it is not worth saying
There really isn't much to add. However groovy the killing gets, if Iraq doesn't get it together politically, we are losing. This is a patch of real estate without a democratic tradition, which has been ruled by foreign powers and dictators since the time of Sheharazade.
The one bit of concrete good news to come out lately is the Iraqi people getting tired of the foreign fighters, including Al Queda. It has been suggested that we are buying this "loyalty". It remains to be seen what will happen here. Incidentally, the United States just finalized an arms deal with Saudi Arabia and Israel. How many of those weapons will find their way to the fighting in Iraq? ( And would Israel get involved in all this Arab killing? Who says it hasn't already?)
A clue to how long we may need to be in Iraq was provided by this story. ( BTW, Kikoshouse is one reason I don't have a full hour at lunch to write):
The British army’s longest continuous military operation comes to an end at midnight tonight when responsibility for security in Northern Ireland passes to the police.
Operation Banner lasted 38 years and involved 300,000 personnel, of which 763 were killed by paramilitaries. The last soldier to die was Lance Bombardier Stephen Restorick, who was shot at a vehicle checkpoint in 1997.

Now, this was a visit to a region of the confederation. It was a district with a similar culture. The troops were there 38 years.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Three is a Crowd

The grim reaper pulled off a triple celebrity feature today.
Ingmar Bergman once directed a film where the grim reaper played a game of chess with a would be recruit. A darling of film snobs, and the consort of Liv Ullman, Bergman made some of the most relentlessly serious movies ever. At one time I really liked them, but haven't seen one in at least 28 years. He made some remarkable observations about the human condition.
Three of his films have won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film: The Virgin Spring in 1961; Through a Glass Darkly in 1962; and Fanny and Alexander in 1984.
Bill Walsh led the 49ers to three Super Bowl titles.
Once, N.B.C. was bidding on the Olympics.
At the time, they had a New Years Day bowl game triple feature (Like today, these things come in threes). So the presentation happened, and N.B.C. carried on and on about their coverage of the Sugar Bowl, the Rose Bowl, and the Orange Bowl.
They did not get the rights to the Olympic games.
After the meeting, a member of the International Olympic Committee confided to an N.B.C. guy that "your emphasis on the bowel games was in bad taste".
Tom Snyder had a unique show. Coming on at One a.m. after Johnny Carson, he discussed serious topics. He was a part of the seventies.
He also worked at Channel Two in Atlanta, WSB, on his way up the ladder. Bill Walsh’s 49ers played in the same division as the Falcons. Ingmar Bergman changed planes in Atlanta.
I don't know what the three connection is for Tom Tomorrow.
Spell Check Suggestions for this feature:
Ingmar- anagram
Bergman- bagman, bagmen
Liv- Iv, live, lie, lib,lid.lip, lit, Liz

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Looking for Buddy Holly

7/26/2007__9:43:00 PM
The original plan was to go to McDonalds, get dinner, and come back and write something to post. There were no pressing issues. The blatherings of Neal Boortz are boring, as is the progress I am making on a picture. The habit of posting is good, and I shouldn't let a minor annoyance like nothing to say stop me.
First, I decide to walk to the school and recycle some newspapers. That led to a stroll up a nearby street, to investigate some things people had thrown out...I found some nifty pink plastic storage boxes a couple of days ago, and thought I saw something on my way home today. The walk was not productive, but I began to realize how much I was enjoying walking in the July twilight listening to the crickets.
Were the crickets talking about me? Or, was it wondering when Buddy Holly would return?
I get back to the house, and realize that McDonalds could wait, that visiting with the crickets was just too comfortable to pass by. If I go north up the street, I risk running into an impossibly chatty neighbor. While I sometimes enjoy his company, I just wasn't in the mood to listen to his stories for a half hour before I make up an excuse to get back up the road. So I go south.
Before long, I see two humans and a dog, and realize that I know them. When one mentions that I haven’t seen you since I don’t know when, I tactfully don't mention that it was at the visitation for her father.
I am wearing a t shirt with a map of Texas, courtesy of an airport gift shop in Midland. This leads to a discussion of Texas, and a general agreement that we wouldn't want to live there. Another time I was wearing this shirt, and another neighbor pointed out where he had grown up. Tonight, this prompted the comment that "I didn't know he was from Texas".
I discussed the last time I had seen a tomboy who grew up with us. It was at the Krystal on Buford Hiway, and at least thirty years ago. I saw a semi familiar face, and she said “you don’t know who I am” “no” “YOU CREEP” . I immediately knew who I was talking to.
After a few minutes, the two humans decided it was time to go in their house.
I continued down one street, took a left, and walked past a mass of kudzu. The crickets noted all of this. Did you hear about what Peggy Sue did now?
While the trees are pretty, and provide shade, they get in the way of sunlight for gardens. This is an issue with my backyard vegetables. Passing a McMansion, I was struck by how much open space there was, and how much direct sunlight he got. And all he grows with it is lawn grass.
Before long, I am back home, cranking the car, and it is 9:19. I get up at 6am, and I like to sleep. In other words, the day is essentially over.
For the crickets, the day is just beginning.

Monday, July 23, 2007

cults and critters

Squeal (Neal Boortz) was back from vacation today, and in rare form. The Mike Vick saga was still the rage, and he got his chops in. Unlike many subjects he rants about, I agree with him on this...mostly...and the rhetorical overkill was highly entertaining.
Then the subject shifted to Islam. It seems as though Squeal referred to Islam as a cult, and some of its believers were offended.
It is a thin semantic line between cult and religion. Squeal did some "research", and read a list of characteristics of a cult.
I was struck by how many of those characteristics apply to Jesus Worship.
America is a Jesus mad country. There are Muslims here, in addition to every Religion known to man, and a few known only to beast.
While I do not deny the threat of Radical Islam, I must say that the Muslims I have met have been great people. And while there are good Jesus Worshippers, the hateful loudmouths have made the greatest impression on me.
The situation is different in Europe. Here, the Muslims are mostly prosperous and well educated. In Europe, there are lots of poor immigrants , doing the dirty work of keeping a country going. This is a breeding ground for radicalism.
The Middle East is another story. There is a an oil rich elite, and millions of poor people. This is another breeding ground for radicalism. Then there is Israel.
Israel is a sore spot to the Muslim world, and is often seen as an American client state. This gives the rabble rousing clerics plenty to scream about. While I suspect that radical Islam would be with us anyway, the presence of Israel makes it much worse.
The occupation army in Babylon does not help.
When you look at the cauldron of the last 100 years...two world wars, the third reich, the evolution of an oil based industrial economy, the rise of Superpower America and Israel, the location of oil on Muslim land...Radical Islam is a logical result. Of course, this does not make it right, or mean that it is less of a threat.
It is just that Jesus gets shoved in my face every day. While Islam may be the greater threat world wide, Jesus Worship is a much more vexing issue at home.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

292 dogfight

The picture in progress since April is now finished. In honor of the week's top story, I am going to call it "292Dogfight".
I will be back to endless wordmongering before long. There is not a whole lot to say today.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

rankin blank part two

The big story on the news continues to be the Michael Vick saga. Laura Ingraham got me laughing this morning by blaming the whole thing on "hip hop culture" Does anyone know the color of the co defendants in this case? If they were white, they could be influenced by HHC, but it wouldn't have the same cachet as blaming a black man.
Hip Hop Culture. I see a lot of that, and not always in the way that these msm types like Laura Ingraham would have you believe. Looking back on my days with the Professional Jesus Worshipper, I saw a thug mentality. Or maybe, a thug who turns into a whining tattletale when he doesn't get his way. Maybe that is what hip hop culture is.
Herman Cain is filling in for Unka Neal this week. He thought that Mr. Vick was a bad example for youth...which is what they used to say about Joe Namath. He didn't say much about it though, mainly focusing on the economy.
Economics is a case where nobody really agrees on anything, and you can make arguments in any way you (or the people who pay you) want. Now, on a certain level the economy is good now. I can't help but be troubled by the budget deficit, the loss of manufacturing jobs, the trade deficit, the addiction to foreign oil, and the medical industry raping amerika. The list goes is long, but if Herman Cain says the economy is great, then it must be.
Back to Michael Vick, and then I have to go back to work. The last radio whiner I heard today was Mike Gallagher. He was deploring the media and their rush to judgement on Mr. Vick.
Now, this is true in a court of law...a man should not be judged guilty without a fair trial. But, this is a matter of celebrity culture, and how we put athletes on a pedestal.
Mike Vick has been found wanting as a quarterback, and I am convinced the falcons would be better off without him. But, the owner of the birds, Rankin Blank, saw him as the player who would make the franchise. He made a bad mistake.
The media created Mike Vick. They saw an exciting player, and a potent sales force for (hip hop culture again) sneakers. What the media creates, the media likes to destroy. I suspected all along that he had feet of clay, and recent events may be supporting my suspicion.
So, it really doesn't matter if he is found guilty or innocent. The damage has been done, both to his endorsement career and his football skills. The quarterback position is a leadership role, and Mr. Vick has been found wanting in this capacity before. When he runs onto the field and the fans are booing, that will not help.
There is an image that comes to mind. In the preseason a few years ago, Mr. Vick was injured. When he was released from the hospital, there was a picture of Rankin Blank pushing his wheel chair. While this was a clever photo op, and got lots of publicity for the team, I sensed at the time that something was wrong, that the owner of any enterprise does not need to be photographed pushing the wheelchair of his employee. Mr. Vick seems to have an ego out of control, and Mr. blank needs a big share of the blame.
I am home now, and have another thought on Mr. Vick. This is a new type of scandal, and one that is much less acceptable to most people. Sex and gambling are things that most people do. Money laundering and tax evasion are technical crimes that most people do not understand, and have a tough time getting worked up over. But there are millions of dog lovers in amerika and once the pictures and stories started to get out, people were outraged.
As for the "innocent until proven guilty" routine, this is not a typical crime. With a homicide or a robbery, there is always a chance that someone else did it. This dogfighting thing is the result of an ongoing investigation. While his high priced lawyers may be able to get him off, there is a sense here that he probably is guilty. Of course, the trial will tell the tale, and people should not rush to judgement. The matter of his image is something else. The damage to that was already severe.

Spell check suggestions for this feature:
unka- bunka, unique
Namath- nametag
defecit- defect, deficit, defacate
herman- he-man, sherman, german, hormone, heroin, hermit, sermon, vermin, wherein
cain- can, chain , cabin, coin, chin, gain, lain, pain, rain, vane, cane, china, chair

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

will you have fries


I have gotten into the habit of talking to G-d while waiting at the red light next to the big chicken. This has been a source of amusement, and a good rhetorical device. It is not to be taken seriously, as I found out this morning.
I was thinking about some incidents involving my parents, who are both deceased. When I got to the big chicken, my question was " Is mom ok? How about dad?"
The big chicken rolled its eyes and opened and shut its beak. No obvious answer was forthcoming.
Now, I have suspected for a while that the business of dead people is something that the living cannot comprehend. The best thing to do is trust in G-d to take care of you and your loved ones.
Now, needless to say this is contrary to the teaching of Jesus Worship. And Jesus Worship is contrary to me.
Is it a good idea to expect messages from G-d to come from a 55 foot tall sheet metal bird? Is this any worse than using a book compiled by a catholic committee in the third century?
No, and no.
So I went on with the rest of my morning. The concept of the big chicken as the modern oracle of Delphi seemed less and less plausible. This is probably for the better.
Unless the question is, do you want regular or extra crispy?

I am also working on a picture now. I finished the geometric blobathan ( possible title), and even took a post partum look this morning and decided it was not as bad as I thought at first. Nonetheless, my next project will be a text picture.
Text pictures consist of a few words, with a border. I started these a few years ago when ran out of ideas. I was working closely with a professional Jesus Worshipper, which was a source of much heartache. The first slogan was "my beliefs are my business". It did my psyche good to produce that, and it was fun having that image on my desktop at work. I did a few more ...I compared Jesus to the body's shipping and receiving facility, I did one with a few cusswords, and there was "beware of clever tongue".
The project on the stove now is "Jesus Mouth". While I am no longer working across the room from the professional j.w., living in our Jesus mad culture is such a bother. And so much of it is talk talk talk, hence the phrase "Jesus mouth".
Now, I was thinking about some other five letter words that could fit into this scheme. While Jesus Saves is too much of a cliché (not to mention 180 degrees from how I see things), there was always Jesus Trust. That sounds a lot like a bank, perhaps the one where Jesus has his savings account.
There is always Jesus Truth, which would not be much of a change from Jesus Mouth.(TRUTH/MOUTH) This has a multiple meanings.... the worshipper can see Creflo Dollar screaming about salvation, where I know that the truth is Jesus=verbal abuse and humiliation. And the truth that worshipping Jesus is a violation of the first commandment.
And so it came to pass, I was coming back from Acworth, and I was stuck behind the red light at the big chicken. I asked G-d what should be the second word of my image.
The big chicken opened and shut its beak. I had may answer.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rankin Blank

So, Michael Vick was indicted for dogfighting. Maybe we can get rid of him and move the program forward.
The Falcons have been an embarrassment to the city ever since they were hatched in 1966. As an oldtimer, I remember the excitement of that first season, and the disappointment that quickly set it. In the forty odd years since then, the "dirty birds" have never but back to back winning seasons together. A football mad city has been deprived of it's birthright.
Once, a christmas shopper at Lenox Square left two Falcons tickets under his windshield wipers. When he got back to his car, there were four.
In the late eighties, Falcons owner Jed Clampett threatened to move the team if he couldn't get a new stadium. The first time the Atlanta City Council voted on the plan, the answer was no. A second vote a week later saw enough councilpeople changing their votes to get the Dome built. A hotel motel tax was enacted to pay for it.
Jacksonville soon got an expansion franchise, and is no longer on the market.
And so we go into the nineties. Deion Sanders and Jerry Glanville came and went. Coach Dan Reeves/Milburn Drysdale got the birds into the super bowl, but a defensive player was arrested the night before the game for soliciting a hooker. The game turned into a retirement party for John Elway.
By this time original owner Rankin Smith/Jed Clampett had moved on to that cement pond in the sky, and the "Five Smiths" put the team on the market. Home Depot big wheel Arthur Blank bought the team, and decided not to make orange aprons the new uniform.
There was great hope when Mr. Blank bought the team. At some point the Birds drafted Michael Vick, who created great excitement in his first season.
Now, Mr. Vick is an exciting player, no doubt. The marketing oriented Mr. Blank saw a national brand he could put on display, and offered Mr. Vick a nine figure contract.
Now we are stuck with the idiot. Unless Mr. Vick's contract has some clause about indictments/convictions, even if we don't play him, we still own him a pile of money. No way he can be traded, unless an owner even dumber than Rankin Blank wants a "hot dog" quarterback. Maybe Rush Limbaugh will buy a team.
After he got the big bucks, his motivation went bye bye. His passing and leadership qualities do not keep pace with his running, and one day soon he will slow down a step and not be good for running.
This all makes Mr. Blank's business smarts look less and less impressive. While side kick Bernie Marcus has built a highly successful aquarium (and no doubt gotten some nifty tax breaks in the process), Rankin Blank has given the bank to a dog fighter in the tank.
The best thing that could happen to the Falcons would be to ditch Vick, and build a boring team that wins games with defense and hard hitting. Mr. Vick seems to want to show his bite in Virginia.

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