Sunday, August 29, 2010

Blogging May Well Be Light...

...on account of I think I'm going to pick up a new hobby:
Special rules govern the bagging of gators. Hunters are not allowed to use guns. Instead, they may use a pole, spear, bow and arrow, or rod and reel to catch the animal, then use a bang stick — a pole with an explosive charge on the end — to dispatch it point-blank before bringing it into a boat.

Might have to modify the rules a little bit, and throw out the whole "bang stick" schtick.After all, if you got an M4X and a Dead On annihilator, you don't need the bang-stick

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Structure Always Trumps Function

Now, see, this is the hallmark of an adaptive, flexible (and no, it's not the same thing, smartass) and learning organization. You need to solicit bottom-up input and ensure that your way of waging war has not become stratified or ossified. Like this guy. The good Colonel noted some deficiencies that seemed rather absurd in a war-zone, and brought attention to it.
Good for him! I'm sure his feedback will be considered valuable input in increasing organizational efficacy and efficiency. Thank God we've got an Army/DoD in which free-wheeling debate, constructive criticism, and organizational awareness are a preventative palliative against group-think and lock-step (goose-step?) organizational culture.
Man, I sure am glad that we've gotten beyond the pettiness and bald, blind ambition that subordinates the national interest to cheap individual agendas and unit chauvinism.
Nothing but totally kick-ass professionalism here! We are ready to...
Oh, they fired the guy. No shit.
I don't mind higher ups being self-serving, willfully blind pricks. Well, I do mind. But I can live with it as long as I can slide by/under/thru and still get the mission done. The thing that kills me, though, is the whole self- circle jerk about how organizationally great we are, when in fact we are, as a group, vain, vapid, and venal.
Some days, I want to suck-start my 9mm.

Il Bambino


Not just for the similarities in their rather generous physiques, my own mental moniker for NJ Governor Chris Christie is Il Bambino.
The guy has the poise, confidence, and stunning ability to deliver that is typified by Ruth's predilection for generating home runs in white-knuckle situations. And, too, I think I can see the shroud of legend ready to wrap around Christie.
Chris Christie stands out as a politician that is worthy of the name.
Politicians themselves try to make a dirty word out of politics. Every time a politician's opponent brings up a perspective on an issue that he doesn't like, the politician squeals that "we're playing politics with the issue."
Hey, Asshead, politics is how we resolve issues without resorting to bloodshed. Politics is--or should be--the honest attempt by people of good faith to move forward on a contentious issue while maintaining a civil society. Why should "playing politics" be a bad thing? You're side is doing shit I don't like on a certain issue; I want to use that issue to illuminate the fact that your values, beliefs, and and philosophy of governance is diametrically opposed to mine. Seems to me that crying "playing politics!!" is the first refuge of a scoundrel. So, whine-weasel, if we don't settle our differences by "politics," how then do we settle them? Cutlasses at dawn? I'm kinda sorta good with that, but I've got an unhealthy kamikaze twist to my personality. I'm relatively sure that most constituents of our constitutional republic want their principally- based differences settled in a peaceable, rational manner. So, is there a better means than "politics?" Is there any reason that "playing politics" should be ignoble? I would submit that it's far better than "playing cutlasses."
Anyway, the Babe had the ability to crush home-runs without regard to the situation, the home field, the temperance or volatility of the crowd. Hitting home runs was what he did; all else was superfluous.
Kind of like Chris Christie; Christie is there to reform NJ state government. He's not there for aught else. So, when he gets on the stage, he crushes 'em home in a manner that reminds me of the Sultan of Swat ("reminds me" in a 21st Century, YouTube kind of way). There's him, the bat, the ball, and the fence. Questions about anything else are superfluous.
Observe how, when Christie and his administration swing and whiff, Christie accepts all responsibility, puts the whole thing in context(1 erroneous page in an application of 1,000+ pages), and then drives home the point.


I'd work for the guy in a heartbeat.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Candidate # 2 Deserves Your Vote; Do More Than That

Starbuck passes on to vote for Candidate Number Two.
Please, do.
The guy was shot four times in the head during the Ft. Hood massacre, and lived. Now, a new car would help him and his fiance try to achieve a reasonable facsimile of a normal life.
Good on ya if you vote.
Now, do more than be a point-and-click do-gooder.
According to the narrative for Candidate Number Two:
Because this candidate wasn't injured in Iraq, and because he was shot on a US Army base by another soldier, the Army doesn't recognize his injuries as combat related, so the army/government doesn't offer the support or help for them that a soldier injured in Iraq or Afghanistan would have received.
The vehicle they have is a small car that she has to cram and twist and push his wheelchair into the backseat. It sits down low to the ground so it is hard for him, being 6-1 to get in and out of. They wanted to get something bigger but know that they can't afford to get anything right now. A bigger vehicle would make life a bit easier; it would be very much appreciated.

Our government does a lot of stuff it shouldn't. Help influence them to do something they should. Write your local congressman, and your senators, and get them to weigh in on making this right. Reach down in your itty-bitty, mustard seed sized, purple Kool Aid pumping heart and take five minutes to square away not only this young troop, but all the others wounded at Ft. Hood that may be running into bullshit obstacles because they weren't in a "combat zone" when they caught the mail.
My own letter to my congresswoman is excerpted here, cut and paste if you want:

I am writing you today to implore your help for an anonymous Army Soldier. On the internet this evening, I saw a free-car lottery from Woodhouse Auto Family. Basically, this business gives away a free car to those in need. Because, in these trying times, there are so many needy, they post the stories of the free-car candidates on-line and people vote on who recieves the free car for the current free car giveaway extraveganza. Kudos to the Woodhouse Auto Family for pitching in, but in the current crop of candidates, one sticks out. (http://www.woodhouse.com/difference/vote.htm) Candidate #2. From the Woodhouse website:
This candidate was at Fort Hood, TX Army Base Soldier Readiness Center checking in after returning from a second tour in Iraq. He was 5 days away from going to Officer Candidate School and pursuing a long time dream of becoming an Officer in the army. That all changed that day when one man that this candidate had never met, came in and started shooting. The gunman's goal was to kill as many Americans as he could and then take his own life.

This candidate saw the laser pointed at his head and was shot 4 times.

An American Soldier, shot four times in the head during the 05 November 2009 massacre, is one of the candidates for a car that will help him as he tries to heal up, complete his physical therapy, and resume--to the extent he can--a normal life. However, I was extremely distressed to read that:
Because this candidate wasn't injured in Iraq, and because he was shot on a US Army base by another soldier, the Army doesn't recognize his injuries as combat related, so the army/government doesn't offer the support or help for them that a soldier injured in Iraq or Afghanistan would have received.
The vehicle they have is a small car that she has to cram and twist and push his wheelchair into the backseat. It sits down low to the ground so it is hard for him, being 6-1 to get in and out of. They wanted to get something bigger but know that they can't afford to get anything right now. A bigger vehicle would make life a bit easier; it would be very much appreciated.

Ma'am, is this true? Are the soldiers wounded, broken, and traumatized by Major Hasan's murderous shooting spree unable to avail themselves of the best treatment and recovery therapy that the Department of Defense has to offer because of where and by whom they were shot?

On the website, the soldier is anonymous. But I would ask you to look into this in order to ensure that all the victims, all of the patriots who put on the country's uniform and were in a Deployment Processing Center, are taken care of, supported, and rehabilitated with the best our country can offer. That they were shot at Ft. Hood, Texas rather than somewhere in Iraq or Afghanistan makes them no less casualties of the war on terror.

Thank you

Thursday, August 19, 2010

This Is So Cool...

...and I'm so glad it didn't come out before my son left for college; I had enough problems with bottle rockets and potato guns.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

So, Where Exactly Is Starbuck?

We're sure that Starbuck is actually in Europe, right?

Because reading this I'm a little afraid that he's kitted up as a Stormtrooper, performing deeds of derring-do in Miami.

AAARRRGGGHHH!!!! Or, "It's Clobberin' Time!!!"

Y'know, there's a lot of good that can come from reading heroic fiction--even if that fiction's a comic book. My parents used to let me read comic books because, then, at least I was reading*.

Now, we've got some junk science headshrinkers that are saying that comic book heroes, particularly as portrayed in popular movies, are bad for young men's development.

Carlos Santos, PhD, of Arizona State University, also found that a boys’ ability to resist at an early age, the superhero machismo of being emotionally stoic, autonomous, aggressive and physically tough -- stereotyped images of masculinity -- were more emotionally stable, friendly and had better psychological health in middle school.


Uh-huh. And I'm sure these geeks define being in "better psychological health" as more able to cry, and more willing to give a buddy a hug when he's feeling blue.

So we've got a cabal of shrinks that is determined to disincentivize being emotionally stoic, autonomous, aggressive, and physically tough. Hey kids, instead of going to see the new Wolverine movie, we're going to do flower arranging!! Yay!!

First, I've spent a lifetime trying (and often failing) to matriculate and master stoicism, autonomy, aggression, and mental, physical, and moral toughness. Geez, not only do we need to put the kabosh on those movies, but we probably ought to round up and burn as many copies of Epictetus as we can find. Show me how, from a societal point of view, whatever values/attributes with which the shrinks would replace stoicism, autonomy, aggression, and mental, physical, and moral toughness, and describe how it would be better from both individual and societal perspectives. Life ain't an episode of Oprah Winfrey, schmuck-o.

Second, the movie lauds the old superheroes when they were confined to comic books, but denigrates their attributes when they show up on the silver screen. But here's the deal: these movies are popularly acclaimed or panned based on how true the screenplay stays to the hero depicted in the graphic novel. Scorn one, you've impugned the other.

Finally, I hope the shrinks know psychology and anthropology better than they do comic books.
...today’s aggressive, emotionally unavailable, detached and self-engrossed macho versions of superheroes like “Iron Man”, rarely address the virtue of doing good for humanity unlike the superheroes of yesteryear like Superman and Green Lantern.

Hey, dumbass, the Green Lantern turned bad and died an evil, genocidal maniac.

Know what I did this weekend? I went to see The Expendables with my son. And I'll guaran-damn-tee you that'll create less male behavioral problems than if we'd stayed at home watching Oprah.

*Yuh, a little hyperbole there; I read a lot. Mostly because we either didn't have a TV or didn't have any channels in English. Mostly.

On The Mosque At Ground Zero

It always amazes me, that I can (and, in a general sense, am) labeled as a right wing extremist because I think the Constitution is the best social contract ever written--or established--and that it should be followed.

So now, I'm amazed to find that I'm also a bigot. A xenophobic bigot, actually, because I don't think a mosque should be established at ground zero (don't give me any of that "two blocks away" twaddle; the damn building got hit with aircraft debris, that counts as ground zero). I know I'm not as deep a thinker as all my more socially attuned betters who have carefully considered the issue and decided that it's the sensitive, tolerant thing to do, and anyone who doesn't agree is a...what, take your pick: racist Islamophobe bigot neanderthal. Okay, guilty on the neanderthal bit.

But, I'm a neanderthal who speaks, reads, and writes pretty dinkum Arabic, in a pinch. A neanderthal with a degree in Middle Eastern Studies. A neanderthal who's logged waaay more time than most in the Middle East--and that's not counting combat tours, either. I've studied and written (in professional venues) a lot on cross-cultural communications with Muslims and Arabs, and more than a little on IO/Strategic Communications to boot. But hey, don't let that detract from my troglodytic conviction that, from a War on Terror (I know, we're not supposed to say that anymore) perspective, putting a mosque on or near ground zero is bad ju-ju. That's from a professional military point of view that doesn't take into account how heart-wrenching such an edifice would be to those (bigoted racist Islamophobes) who lost friends, family and loved ones on 9/11.

Yup, just me and my brother bigoted racist Islamophobes hold that opinion. Even if such brethren are, uh, muslims:
"What the citizens of the U.S. fail to understand is that the battle against the 9/11 terrorists is not their battle. It is a Muslim battle – one whose flames are still raging in more than 20 Muslim countries... I do not think that the majority of Muslims want to build a monument or a place of worship that tomorrow may become a source of pride for the terrorists and their Muslim followers, nor do they want a mosque that will become a shrine for the haters of Islam... This has already started to happen: [the Islamophobes] are claiming that a mosque is being built over the corpses of 3,000 U.S. citizens who were buried alive by people chanting 'Allah akbar' – the same call that will be heard from the mosque..."

Tuesday, August 3, 2010