Thursday, January 27, 2011
In both cases repressive governments tried in vain to maintain control of their populace. Alas, media from abroad and internally helped thwart their actions and the governments fell one by one. Not exactly the classic Domino Theory, but the similarities are obvious.
The example of democratic reform in Iraq certainly must be seen as playing a huge part in this play. Until the invasion, occupation, and reformation of Iraq it was widely accepted as fact that the Middle East wasn't ready for democracy, that theocracy would continue to hold sway. The Iraqi example has allowed the blinders to be pulled from the eyes of the Arab youth and other downtrodden peoples of the Middle East. Nobody will be sending GWB a thank you card, but that is where they should be sent. The strategic foresight to push for real and lasting reform politically and economically provided the example of possibility so needed in that benighted region.
What I wonder will the long-term effects be? The fall of the USSR seemed at first the "End of History." How wrong that was. On the other hand, the Middle East could hardly become more dangerous and unstable than it has been these last five decades. If BHO (and by extension HRC) play their cards right they can be seen as a savior to the Egyptian people, and real and lasting progress will be possible. I'm not holding my breath though. This is just as likely to be another "reset" button or DVD fiasco. Still, one can hope.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
In week one, GB grits out a win over the pressed-into-service dog-killer himself, M. Vick. If Kolb had played all game the score would have been much more lopsided.
Ryan Grant is now done for the year. Brandon Jackson does a good job replacing him and GB does exactly what was expected, crushing the Bills. What makes this happy day even happier were the losses by Dallas and Minnesota. Apparently Purple Jesus is 40 years old. Who knew? Clay Matthews continues his evolution into a machine tht destroys offending players. The special teams, kickoff returns especially, continue to improve. Bulaga was in at LT from late in the second half; has Chad Clifton started his last game for GB?
Looking ahead to week three, GB will be playing the Bears. GB will have to do a better job of stopping a running team equipped with a Marshall Faulk-style running back. The Packers will be able to handle Chicago’s passing game. Offensively GB should eat up the Bears. GB’s running game won’t terrify anyone, but with Rogers et al leading the way and commanding defensive adjustments, there should be running yards available.
Prediction: GB: 31 CHI: 17
Clay Matthews: 2 sacks and continued dominance. The man is an engine of destruction.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
My experience leads me to agree with the author of this article. I especially like the admonitions of caveat emptor regarding “gun shop guy” in the article and comments.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
How to buy milk. If you read all the way to the end of the article, the sarcasm thickens; an excerpt from step six: “Carry it home in a bag because it will make your hands cold.”
I had to double check, thinking that I was on The Onion’s website, but no.
My prediction was GB 31, PHI 13. If Kolb had been the starter all game I think that the final score might very well have been just that. We'll see how GB fares against the Buffalo Bills. Frankly the Bills suck and GB should just hammer them (knocking on wood.) We'll see.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
It has taken nine years, but a serviceman will both earn a Medal of Honor and be breathing when he has it draped around his neck. He's not from my old outfit, but is a paratrooper so close enough. Well done and don’t earn another one if you can help it. BTW, it seems one must be a paratrooper to know how to properly wear a beret. Usually the misshapen floppy black beret perched upon the skulls of the hapless and misbegotten appears as nothing more than the result of an unfortunate landing site of a worn, windblown, black sock.
I can't help but notice the official White House blog has BHO's picture associated with this story. I suppose the purpose of the WH blog is to help us all love our dear leader more, but still...
Wednesday, September 08, 2010
“I want a doctor to take your picture
So I can look at you from inside as well…”
From the song “I Think I’m Turning Japanese” by The Vapors.
The Packers offense isn’t a chimera, and will put up ridiculous numbers throughout this season. There isn’t anything else that can be said about them.
The defense though, will be interesting to watch. Al Harris is out for the first six weeks on the PUP list, but he isn’t the corner that he once was anyway. The safety play will also be key early this season. Atari Bigby will be hanging out with Harris for six weeks and his replacement, Morgan Burnett is as green as the 9th hole at Augusta. If Tramon Williams has a good first six games in his absence look for Harris to come back as the nickel back. Speaking of green, Sam Shields makes Burnett look like a third-year pro. Raw is an understatement. Let’s hope that his superior athletic ability will be enough to keep him above water until Bigby is back. The defensive line looks like it should be strong this year, not top five or maybe even top ten strong, but up to the job of keeping the opposing linemen busy and off of the linebackers, the running lanes tight, and perhaps with some bonus pass rush against inferior offensive lines. The linebackers I believe will have a strong season as a group. The keys will be Clay Matthews following up his great rookie season, AJ Hawk becoming more than just a solid starter, and some pass rush and short zone protection from the other two starters.
Special teams as the old saw goes, haven’t been all that special lately. Everything about the kick return game, offensively and defensively, have been within reach of disastrous for years, and last season Mason Crosby only made 75% of his kicks. Not good enough for the NFL, but the coaching staff has confidence in him and didn’t even bother to bring in a camp leg for competition. The punting game…let’s not discuss that. I’ll just say that it can’t really get much worse so whoever it is they kept will be an improvement. The relatively low turnover among the team’s starters is a hopeful sign that the non-specialist special team guys will be improved this year. I hope.
Week One Prediction: GNB 34 PHI 20. Look for the game to be won with turnovers and defensive pressure.
Monday, September 06, 2010
Looking at these combat rations which are being fed to the troops of our allies, suddenly I don’t feel as horrible as I had remembered. MREs aren’t high culinary art, but look at what those poor bastards from the Ukraine and South Korea are wolfing down. Cultural relativity aside, those guys are eating mediocre dog food.It's been twenty years now since I've eaten an MRE in anger, but they don't look much different. Different menus, better food, more variety, but still the same stuff more or less. No military spends as much time as the US forces do, even disregarding this whole war on terror. The US Army has spent lots of time and effort creating better combat rations, and I doubt that better ones are made, cultural food preferences aside. I always remember that the French were reputed to have good meals but after looking at that photo, I'm not so sure.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I’ve been observing the contemporary fad, zombies, for awhile now. Their new compatriots the vampires and werewolves have also crawled into our collective consciousness’. What is behind it? I tried to explain a fad from my youth to The Varmint the other day: pet rocks.
She just laughed at me and said “Are you serious?” Truly, I was. Pet rocks were a pretty self-limiting contagion though. Zombies, vampires, and werewolves (ZVW) have a long, long, history, though. Many cultural groups scattered across the globe and through history have their own versions of ZVW lore. The monster in the dark. The monster that carries off the unwary, the unchaste, the unfortunate. Monsters have always had a place in our legends. Grendel surely wasn’t the first, and the sparkly vampires of Twilight intensely hypersexual Trueblood brood surely won’t be the last. They have always been there, just not so…omnipresent.
Jumping the shark, though? Daylight vampires seem to be a first step towards that. Vampires in the cheerful daylight are an absolute abnegation of what those monsters are. The Shadowspawn of S.M. Stirling’s A Taint in the Blood strike me as a much more realistic (if the word can apply) imagining of the ZVW mythos. The Shadowspawn see us as little more than cattle, and why should they? They rule the world from behind the stage, much as the sinister puppet masters that they are. The Shadowspawn owing to their very long lives are fossilized reactionaries who long for nothing less than the bad old days, hating the modern world very non-cordially. As a group they are immensely wealthy, powerful, and influential. They use those attributes for their own ends, as a dairy farmer milks or culls as he desires.
What does this have to do with the ZVW phenomenon slipping blissfully into that long night? I see the Shadowspawn of Sterling and the sparkly vampires of Twilight fighting for ownership of the new ZVW mythos. Perhaps not an existential crisis, but conflict regardless. If Stirling doesn’t carry the day, then sparkly vampires and their Disneyfied cousins will transform the monsters of our nightmares and legends into nothing more than the literary equivalent of Three’s Company. Charming, I suppose, but mindless fluff in any event. What I want to know is when can I get back to serious business, like Civilization V?