Friday, December 28, 2007


I saw a couple of interesting things from and about the troops over the holidays. One was an interview with a soldier who was talking about what he called, "this war." He was ordering an omelet for breakfast, maybe a Burger King and shake for lunch, and a steak at night; then, they would go on patrol. Sure beats Vietnam, where C-rats were the constant. What he was attempting to convey, I think, is that we're in a different kind of war and even those fighting it are confused.

I don't doubt there's been progress made in Iraq in terms of violence reduction but even the "everyman," General Petraeus, covers his posterior and warns of uncertainies. (Thank you General for that insight). Over the long haul, I don't see how our present strategy can work--we are not going to stay in Iraq forever. Our main source of pride now are the Sunni types who were our enemy and now our friends: get the insurgency on your side is the first rule of the counterinsurgency manual. We've done it but have a Shiite government that I doubt is going to put aside generations of distrust and get in bed together. I wish they would but a scenario as one of many, none of them good, is out and out civil war.

A definite observation is that Iraq, in addition to looking more and more like Vietnam, operationally, is looking more and more like Vietnam in terms of benigh neglect. Iraq is not the main topic of conversation among a public that is only partially interested anyway. Mostly, it has moved from a headline to page three, much like Vietnam did as a war until the anti-Vietnam posturing captured the media's attention. And, then it was not on the war but the anti-war. The Vietnam war and the warrior were mostly forgotten or at least put on the back burner.

Iraq is quickly becoming a war of casual interest by the general public. A good clue is how little the Presidential candidates are making Iraq an issue--either getting out or the future. They're reading the minds of the public. Less and less are they questioned about their stands concerning the war. These are hints. This is not good.

Thursday, December 20, 2007


Few movies have I seen hyped this much. The Little Miss Sunshine of this movie season. I don't think so. I didn't like it at all and I've been asking myself why. All the critics loved it but I never listen to them. I don't want anybody even listening to me about this or any movie. Just opinion. I think one of the problems with me is that the movie trivialized a very important subject--teen pregnancy. And, the movie worked its message without those who are suppose to know better or at least have an idea, saying anything.

The characters were appealing, relatively speaking. This sixteen year old is the world's most clever bored teenager. She and her nerdy boyfriend decide sex is better than video games and she ends up pregnant. This is essentially all we know on the pregnancy issue. And then we go into this period of telling the parents who are at once accepting and clever in an odd sort of way. The Dad is a heating and air conditioning repair guy who is on occasion a common sense therapist even if he doesn't know it. The wife, step-mother of Juno, is equally clever, witty with the ready comments. She is a "nails" person, meaning she has a fingernail salon. (And, does nobody but me think it's a little odd that some writer came up with a comment from a teenage protester at the abortion clinic, who is Asian, that the fetus has fingernails). We doubt the step-mother is related to reality as everybody knows only the Vietnamese can run "nail" salons (at least in California). The step-mother verbally abuses a hospital technician who is trying to be empathic to Juno; and, we think that is funny. Give me a break.

The most empathic one to me and I'm sure that I'm the only one in the Universe who sees it this way is the Jason Bateman character. He is the husband of the adoptive mother character, Jennifer Garner. She is very good and for the story line, anal retentive to the max. Bateman goes from cool character to cad in milliseconds. A buddy of mine said he is merely a Peter Pan type, never growing up. Plus, this is the second time of late when I have seen men like Bateman castigated simply because they didn't want to be fathers. I actually read one critic's account that Bateman's character was a pedophile.

The book's author, on whom the story is based, says, not so, as written. She may be the best story with a movie of her life, i. e. stripper.

With a slight bit of psychobabble, I think one of the reasons that I feel so strongly is something that only recently happened to the son of a friend. And, this isn't subjective but fact as I have been fairly involved in the situation from afar but have read the official documents. My friend's son, a ne'the well 21 year old and his buddies who are all into dope and are having a party. At some point, a sixteen year old shows up. According to all involved, sex is way down the food chain. The uninvited female sixteen year old says she is 18, nobody thinks anything about it. At some point during the night when all the dope heads are passed out, she climbs into bed with the ne'the well son of my friend. They have sex. The girl goes home and when confronted by the stepfather concocts a story of rape, sex, all the related issues. My friend's son is jailed. The girl recants the story and admits it was her fault. I'm not making this up: makes no difference, this is the law, she was sixteen and under age. My Friend's son gets 3-6 years for being stupid.

Here's the basic scene with the Bateman character: Juno shows up unannounced while Bateman is home alone: they chat and rap about music, lots of symbolism going on. She shows up one more time and literally appeals physically to him for comfort. They hug. He awkwardly announces his plans to leave his wife. Why? Why at that point? We don't know but his character is forever trashed.

I especially disliked how the movie trivialized abortion. Planned Parenthood is the exact opposite of the clinic in the movie. Oh well, it is a movie and the great thing about movies is they can make anything happen they want. 2 parachutes.

Friday, December 14, 2007


When Barach enlisted Oprah, I lost "faith" with him. This is one of those "ah hah" moments in our culture. Are we truly the celebrity worshiping people that we seem to be. Some 40,000 or so showed up for Oprah. What is it about so many of the American people that they would do this. I wouldn't walk across the street to see Bono, Oprah, the President, whoever. But, I surely am in the minority.

I am amazed. What is it? I don't get it. Even my daughters are reading People Mag. And, I must admit that when I get Sunday's Parade, I am always turning to the personality page of the magazine. I say again, what is it about us that would make us such celebrity worshipers? For instance, is Oprah's opinion better than anyone else?

I often feel that I have to be careful when I say something about Oprah: she is black and a woman and if I had any desire to be PC, I would be violating PC big time. Please. And, what other dynamics are at play here? Why would Barach Obama choose to do this? And, what about Hillary? I would think that she would feel really put out: isn't Oprah a champion of women in general? Hillary is the only woman in the race. So, can we say that if you have an African America, Barach, and a woman, the AA wins out?

What is this? My brother who has been in politics his entire life has a view that sounds slightly racist, maybe? But, interesting. He says something like, "anytime you have a black in a race, all blacks will vote for a black." He gave this advice to another brother who was running for office against several others. He lost! Guess what--there was one African American in the race. My brother lost to him.

I don't know nor have a clue about all the dynamics but I think that as a possible Barack supporter, I'm now switching. Why? Well, someone who is into celebrity worship simply is not going to get my vote. This letter to the editor of an unnamed newspaper said it best: I am paraphrasing:

Oprah Winfrey's decision to endorse a presidential candidate is not simply misguided, it is dangerous. This is not voting by reason. It is rather voting by a mindless mass of individuals being shamelessly manipulated as part of a cult-of-personality movenment.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Recently, a friend and myself were discussing Iraq. He is a retired infantry officer and feels pretty much as I do: HOPELESS. Because we both feel so helpless, we posed the philosophical question: at any point, would it have made any difference had someone "stood up" even though the Commander in Chief appears to have been settled into a "don't confuse me with facts, I have my mind made up" mentality.

My friend named two who could have made a difference in his opinion: Colin Powell and Condaleeza Rice. I will have to admit that I've never been much of a fan of Colin Powell. And, the reason is pretty subjective. I was stationed at Forces Command in Atlanta, Georgia when he came to visit. At that time, he was a big wheel, like Chief of Staff of the Army or Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He spoke to the troops and laced his talk with ample profanity. Not that it was a big deal. However, had he not been black, somebody in the hierarchy would have crucified him. Regardless, if you look at the history of Iraq and especially Condaleeza Rice's role of National Security Advisor and now, of course, Secretary of State--the opportunity was there. These two have had a chance to effect history and they did not.

Why? Well, I'll have to leave that to history. But when they had a chance to go in another direction on Iraq, they either denied or were fooled: in Condi's case, I think she is so loyal to the President and as someone has suggested, his alter ego, that she simply folded.

Whatever, the "yes sir, yes sir, three bags full" of Powell and Rice have not served us well.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007


Occaionally, someone asked me how did the "girlfriends" get started? Well, we really didn't just get started. My buddy, Michael, whom we call, Rolex Mike, is the best at building relationships or should I say, making them as anybody I've ever seen. He knows everybody and one of his goals in life is "putting peoople together." His constant refrain is, "You should meet so and so."

All the "girlfriends" I've met through Michael and with all his chancanary, adinfinitum, he gets lots of slack. A unique character that almost goes beyond description. In fact, I can't begine to describe him. On his birthday, we decided to roast him in various ways. Here's a collage we put together.