Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Been a bit busy

So, I had decided to take a little break from blogging from the 11th until my birthday on the 16th, well a funny thing happened on the 16th. About a half hour after midnight the Irate Wifey wakes me up in more pain than I'd ever seen her. So it's off to the emergency room! Turns out her gall bladder hurts, but is showing no symptoms of anything. So, a CT scan, ultrasound, and hiediscan later, we're pretty sure it's her gall bladder, and no closer to knowing why.

That's basically been my days since then. She may very well be going into surgery tomorrow, coincidentally, her birthday. We'll see, keep her in your prayers if you would.

Poetry corner returns, also: Heroes

So, for those of you out there who watched Heroes last night, Mohinder's first closing speech was largely composed of one of my favorite poems.


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

-William Butler Yeats

One of the few poems I actually memorized in high school. Good stuff.

I'll blog more and explain my absence in an hour or two.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven years ago...

...On a beautiful September morning, a glittering arrow sailed through the clear sky. Millions of New Yorkers going about their business pause to look up, wondering about the low flying airplane where none should be.

On the far side of the country, a slightly younger, and vastly less mature, Aaron is trying to get his hearing test done so he can join the rest of his unit on liberty. His Chief sticks his head into the room.

"Turn the TV on."
"What channel?"
"Doesn't matter."

Chief stood there quietly, long enough for me to absorb the enormity of what happened.

"Get 'em back here, and get us ready to go."
"Chief, I don't have the authority or quals to..."
"You do today, get a move on. I'll have my duty pager if you need me."

So, as a twenty year old third-class I had to get forty people back from all over western Washington and take care of all predeployment preparations, all in just a few short hours.

Five days, and several lifetimes, later, I turned twenty-one. Hard birthday to forget.

"May God have mercy on their souls, for we will not."

Never again. Never forget.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hopping on a meme bandwagon...

A friend of mine who reads quite a few blogs, but rarely mine, suggested I follow a particular meme. Particularly, 'what's in my pockets.' I suspect this is because he's curious to know just how much I haul around.

Less than he was expecting, I'll wager. Unless, of course, I'm working...

Then I really am carrying a lot of crap.

Too bad I'm a lousy photographer.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Maverick/Barracuda '08

With trepidation I've been watching a few of the speeches from the Republican National Convention and, surprisingly enough, been rather impressed. Oh, I still have my reservations about McCain's domestic policies, but if he sticks to foreign policy and energy independence, he's just about got it all sewn up.

Palin's and Giuliani's speeches? Fergetabudit! They knocked 'em out of the park. From Sarah we get humorous, subtle, and light hearted jabs at the Obamessiah, all embedded in a message of smaller government, lower taxes, personal freedom, American values, and a better energy policy. Rudy's speech was an I'm-not-running-now-so-the-gloves-are-off beat down of hilarious proportions.

When I watched McCain's speech this morning, I actually regretted that my cold-blooded analytical nature prevented me from being moved like I could tell the audience was. I did, however, appreciate the speech in the same way I appreciate a Mozart piece.

Never thought I'd see the day where I expend creative energy to put John McCain in the big chair, but with his choice of VP he seems to be trying to win back the conservative base and that counts for something. What, we'll see, but something.

Little food for though, John McCain has spent more time as a prisoner of war, at the Hanoi Hilton no less, that Obama has spent in government.

As yet another service I provide...

Ahh, it's that magically part of the Olympiad again where you can't swing a cat by its tail without hitting a campaign speech. So, as a free service, Irate Islander industries has provided you with this tool to survive the season. Simply add at the appropriate time and suddenly all is well.

Of course, we didn't make it, we're just linking to it.


Because I'm just that rotten a person...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

"May you live in interesting times"...oh, we do

Here we are in the year of our Lord, two thousand and eight. Well into the third century of this great Republic, founded on the ideal that what you do matters and who you were born as does not.

If only our Founding Fathers could see us now.

I won't bother with the obvious, that's been well covered by those more talented than me. Instead, I want to talk about another aspect.

It started way before Sarah Palin. WAY before. Can anyone even remember the last Presidential election that was campaigned solely on the basis of the candidate's platform? Heck, there have been times when I wondered if anyone cared about the actual positions of the candidates. I know better now, but the situation has gotten no better.

So, now we come to Palin. She has been potential VP for a few days now and I've heard no criticisms of her politics yet. I have, however, heard a nonstop barrage of sheerly personal attacks. Everything from her being a vapid beauty queen, a bad mother because she went into politics (what about Hilary, Pelosi...?), and a hypocrite because her daughter is pregnant.

How's that work? She is pro-life and pro-family values, right? So, if she was going to be a hypocrite, wouldn't she have had her daughter very quietly get an abortion and cover up the whole thing?

'Ah', they say, 'but her daughter got pregnant at seventeen!' Okay, so? How does that matter even one little bit? First off, it was her daughter, not her, secondly everyone is human. She has certainly tried her best to respond to the situation as best she can and with candor. Which is far more than can be said for most politicians.

But she will continue to be the target of vicious personal attacks. Not because she is a bad person, under qualified (she is, in fact, more qualified that either candidate for the big chair), or a hypocrite. She is a target because she has energized a largely unimpressed conservative, pro-gun base to vote for McCain who likely wouldn't have otherwise, because she is a woman politician who has succeeded on her merits and not on identity politics, and because she does have experience as both an executive and in foreign relations. In other words, they are in a frothing rage because she was a good pick and dramatically increases McCain's chance for a win.

Many people, myself included, have already (it's like time is speeding up in the political world) noticed a very strong backlash from all this. People who could normally be relied to vote for the Democratic candidate are, in increasing numbers, telling their own party to go to Hell.

Way I see this playing out is a radical furthering of the marginalization of the extreme left as well as the party leadership from their base. Who knows? Maybe we'll see the stranglehold of the two-party system broken within our lifetimes.

Hey, even I can hope.