McChrystal Meltdown

Not sure if it’s really news that a general is unhappy with the White House, but it does say something about the general’s character that he would be vocal, public and disseminate his views through a magazine that thinks Kurt Cobain is, like, still fucking awesome!

The Rolling Stone article, in which General Stanley McChrystal and his staff are disparaging of the President, Vice President and others, is most interesting for how much it reveals the level of dumbass insipidness of those military masterminds. Here’s an excerpt pulled from a CBS news article online:

In the piece, McChrystal and his staff’ openly mock the vice president:

“Are you asking about Vice President Biden?” McChrystal said. “Who’s that?”

“Biden?” said a top aide. “Did you say: Bite Me?”

Ha Ha! Oh, man, you fuckers are hilarious! Only a truly TOP AID could come up with “Did you say: Bite Me?” HA HA! No wonder they’ve risen so high in the military machine!! The writer probably slipped a couple of sweet brownies into the morning buffet to get those cats to be so damn funny.

But just maybe McChrystal wants to be fired, because seriously, who would want the job to win the unwinnable war in Afghanistan? We could bring the entire population of Texas (W along with them) down on Afghanistan and those people would fight until the last Afghani stood (which would probably be after the last Texan did). They’ve cut their teeth on many an army and with the poverty, opium, religion, zealotry, Taliban and terrain, no outside army has a virgin’s chance at a suicide bombers’ convention there.

So really, what is the best thing that could happen to McChrystal right now? He gets the fuck out of Afghanistan and retires to a life of fishing and maybe, just maybe, writing sweet jokes for Jay Leno.

Just Add Punchline

One of Ohio’s best-known landmarks, a six-story-tall statue of Jesus burned to the ground this week after being struck by lightening. Formally titled King of Kings, the 62-foot statue is popularly known as “Touchdown Jesus” because of the figure’s raised arms.It has stood in the front of the evangelical Solid rock Church in Monroe, A Cincinatti suburb, since 2004. …

That is why Muslims don’t allow statues of Allah. Lightening.

Wasted. Time.

While it’s never particularly bothered me I’ve always wondered why I have no interest in video games and frankly very little in any visual media (movies, television and the like). Over the years, I’ve chalked it up to attention deficit disorder, too many books in grad school, too many recreational drugs, too this or too that. I tried again recently – we bought a Wii, which I can tell is really cool – but I realized as I played that I’m unable to suspend disbelief beyond where I feel like I’m just manipulating pixels a little bit. I don’t feel like I’m actually bowling, playing tennis, or whatever else it conjures for me. Sometimes I also feel like the field of vision is too narrow – I’m constantly aware of my peripheral vision and therefore distracted from the game or whatever else the screen features.

It’s not a bad thing, necessarily, not everyone will be turned on and tuned in to the same things. Pity, however, I’ve not taken all that extra time and done anything productive with it – written that novel, learned to really play the guitar or piano, remodeled the attic. Putzing around the house, listening to music, the occasional magazine or book read, doing laundry is about all I have to show for all that extra time. It’s a wash.

we’re the eighty

Quite possibly the greatest misperception in modern America is that the right and left – republicans and democrats – are all that different. There are those – specifically the news media and political parties – who foster that misperception for totally self-centered and self-righteous reasons, whipping us all up into a constant series of whacked-out frenzies. But the truth of the matter is that we, the people, are being played like angry, ignorant puppets by puppeteers (and profiteers) who find it all rather enriching and no doubt funny.

Sit down with any reasonable republican or democrat and talk. You will find that they have almost the exact same ideas, beliefs, experiences and concerns about life, love, family, safety, and so on. Even if you pick a hot button issue – higher taxes, increased military “presence”, abortion – and drill down, you’ll still find 80 percent similarity and 20 percent disagreement.

If the spectrum ranging from raging “fascist” to useless “hippie” were 100 yards long, 80 percent of Americans would live between the 40 yard lines. Yet the media would lead you to believe we’re about ready to go to civil war.

That’s because the loud mouths benefit from our misconstrued anger. What political party in the world can win without demonizing the other? How can any biased news outlet be profitable without creating an army of biased listeners?

Every few years we are whipped up into a frenzy about this or that election and then over the next few years our lives – in terms of how much the elected have affected us – change almost imperceptibly. You can rage at their votes, or comments, posturing or affiliations, but they’ve ultimately (usually) had zero measurable actual impact on you or your family’s lives.

If America as a nation swings left or right, it would be the limp swing of a hammock-ed fat man in a light breeze. Think Mussolini right; Castro left. We’re two same colored, same gendered, same cultured dudes from the same town in the same college fraternity who married sisters. We’ve got issues, but we’re almost exactly the same, and if we ignore them when they don’t matter – despite what the news media and political parties lead us to believe – we’ll live together in mostly perfect harmony.

I got a business. I work with pubs and dems. We’re all the same. So stop bickering. And stop listening to the news media (until it gets crucial and what they say actually matters to you and yours) or political parties (be not a pub or dem, but a voter; be a voter).

If a politician has some lapse that seems immoral, unethical, ugly and horrible, but ultimately affects you and your family not one iota (outside the media “attention” it receives), then let it go. If your favorite radio personality tells you the other guy in the other party on that “other world” – ha ha – is out to destroy you, your family and what you believe in, stop believing. Any decent and brave pub or dem would pull any other dem or pub (respectively) out of their burning Prius or SUV (respectively).

Dumbass republicans. Pussy democrats. Whatever.

We all love our planet, our world, our country, our states, cities, towns and neighborhoods; our family and our kids.

We’re the 80.

Let’s be quiet and proud. Let’s ignore the 20 until they say something important. And they rarely, rarely do.

bumper sticker

Your patriotic sticker makes me love America more.

A bit cynical here on Memorial Day. However, I pulled up next to a guy with a Marines sticker on his car on my way back from the grocery store and yelled, Thank you! He just smiled and kind of mumbled, You’re welcome. Humble soldier, indeed.

Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers

Listening to ZZ Top’s Tres Hombres LP and going back in time to the 10 year old with his sweet new album and feeling cool and old and Waiting for the Bus All Day and Jesus Just Left Chicago and staring at the pics of them like I did back then big fat headphones wrapped firmly around little head and that spread of food in the middle fold and lamenting the fact they are so defined by those fucking beards now. Once hell raisers now hair follicles. Really?

This does, however, remind me of just how awesome they were – add to the aforementioned songs, Move Me on Down the Line, Beer Drinkers & Hell Raisers, La Grange… There’s not a rock band in the world that gets it that wouldn’t give their collective left nut to have made that album. Smart, clean, simple, straightforward rock and roll. Have You Heard?

mexican feast!

Crystal, Beware

Over the years I’ve been a great fan of American Idol. And for me it came to fruition with Adam Lambert. Most every week he blew my mind and I’m saying that talking about a fucking talent show on network TV – for the most part lots of fun and silliness, but over time ultimately artistically void. Some stars were made by it, but nothing that would have come within a million miles of my musical radar had they not been on the show. But Adam Lambert was different. He grabbed hold of the show and made it his own. You could see it in the eyes of the judges, there was a sense – no matter if they liked it or not – that they were no longer the judges at all. Maybe because you cannot judge someone who is going on about their own way, not despite you, but despite anything. “This is who I am and you can judge or not. Whatever.”

So he doesn’t win, and that’s no surprise; in fact, that is just what you’d expect. It’s a popularity contest for the love of god and can we trust art to popular vote? Of course not. It’s certainly valid in what it proves, but what it proves is entirely debatable.

But then with all that seeming integrity behind him, he led with his album For Your Entertainment. An homage apparently to the most popular pop songwriters and whatever dreck they’ll throw together for him right quick. A complete reversal of his old self – and for the love of god, his old self was boldly defined right there in the middle of the machine, where most “artists” fold like a pair of deuces. And yet now he becomes part of the machine and creates an album that so reeks of Lady Gagarbage that it stinks, horribly. Waste. Of talent.

He had an almost Freddie Mercury voice leading him. Had he found a partner songwriter and gathered a band and took his time and made an amazing record, he might have … might have what? Blew my mind. But then again who cares what blows my mind. I only hope he cares about people’s minds enough to reverse a bit, and blow em right quick. That Idol iron is only hot for so long.

Sweetness and Light

Wake up at 5 am and gaze upon one of our little creations who had come into our bed in the night. Big two-year-old head, thin neck and skinny shoulders, breathing softly next to me. A small miracle with big attitude, quiet now, practically purring. I slip out of bed and into the morning on a walking meditation. It is one of those mornings after a stormy night where blue skies lead to a bank of black clouds to the east just covering the rising sun, giving a sense of great anticipation for the day ahead. Words like “creation” and “glorious” keep coming into my head as I try to concentrate on my body and breathing.

I remember how large a world “creation” was to a little boy sitting in Sunday school. “God in his Creation” was like a commandment in itself. The start and finish of all we knew. But I was a decidedly skeptical kid and it never took – that version of the universe. It wasn’t long before “creation” seemed a tiny word in relation to my very slow comprehension of a more scientific view of how the Universe unfolded. Creation by some deity in six days seemed tiny and suspiciously fictionalized up against 13 billion years of the incomprehensibly complex and unfolding of our, again, incomprehensibly large universe. The simplicity of the former was a great bore in light of the great mysteries of the latter.

Bill Bryson does a wonderful job of describing for lay people those mysteries in his book “A Short History of Nearly Everything.” I have the audio book and particularly enjoy his voice. He’s obviously brilliant and with a great sense of humor. Worth it for anyone interested in how science and the scientists of note have over time helped us understand and define the world in which we life.

Walking around Lake Como I am treated to one of those moments when the sun, still covered by the black clouds, manages to cascade some light over the edge. You’ve seen in depicted in hundreds of paintings over the years. It was often used to signify “God in His Heaven” and it does a great job especially in light of the fact that the sun was one of our earliest gods and probably the one that makes the most sense. It gives us life, keeps us alive under its gaze, and is there when we die. Our ancestors, before understanding much about the firmament, could only have wondered at its heat, where it goes every night, why it sometimes hides behind great black clouds that rain and throw lightening down upon us, why every so often, it obscures itself with a disk in the middle of the day. God in his Heaven, indeed.

Now I will go upstairs to awaken them little creations to a new and gorgeous day. We like to open the shades and say, “Look! It’s another day full of possibilities!” And we like to give each other loads and loads of ever-changing nicknames. Today I am going to call ’em Sweetness and Light.

the other shore

Keep a positive attitude even when the little things
manage to rear up and scream into your psyche.
(You let them.) These are small potatoes you
elevate to zeppelin status. Brain boring, bone
gnawing, growling – tiny things. How do they
make you growl, yip, and twitch?

Be good, and proud of it.

Let them take the path of most evil insistence and watch them march slowly and inexorably down into the inferno.

Hail the good, the diligent.
Cross to the other shore
while they run about
on this one.

Done Most For School

According to the Nation Brands Index the amount that President Obama has added to America’s “Brand value” is $2,100,000,000,000, aka two trillion one hundred billion dollars. And that’s ADDED to it so it’s got to be twice that, right?

So let’s sell it. Give the whole kit and caboodle (name, bald eagle, stars and stripes and whatever else) to the highest bidder, exceeding, say five trillion dollars. We’ll be flush with cash, can pay down our national debt and then rebrand to something else, something fresh. Be like Blackwater and just change your name as if nothing happened. Not that as a nation we’re as bad as Blackwater by any stretch of the imagination, in fact, if Blackwater were a nation they’d be much more akin to either Nazi Germany or Stalin’s Russia.

We’re the United States of America and whatever warts we have, we’re still faster, stronger, happier and cooler than pretty much any other country. Sure some countries might beat us in some things, but admit it, world, we get the “Best Overall” trophy as well as the “Done most for World” award when you think about cars, planes, lightbulbs, world wide web, personal computers and all that. If you could magically yank all of the inventions originating from the United States out from existence, we’d all be riding donkeys and writing with quills.

That is not to say I’m bragging. I invented none of those things. I just happened to be born here. Which brings me to something I’ve always believed: you know the kids in high school who honestly believed that your school was far and away superior to the other schools around town, the ones who practically wept at pep rallies? They’re the ones with great big flag stickers on their cars now. At some level they are convinced that their world, their existence, their country, their place and time, is the best of all possible worlds! God bless them. And God Bless America.