Sunday, January 30, 2011

The view from the lift

Whitetail Ski Resort in PA. Loving it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thank You For Your Service ™

Journalists have been pointing out the growing divide - the lack of common ground - between the military and the population for some time now - how we have so few people under arms, how they are becoming economically and more demographically separate from the country, how almost nobody knows anyone in the military anymore, but most recently Bad-Boy General turned Yale Professor Stanley McChrystal hit the nail on the head, if you ask me.

We need to re-capture or re-define what service means.

We are now a nation that lives in the context of entitlement and victimhood.  We're entitled to everything we want when we want it, and we're victims because the government, the immigrants, the Democrats, the Republicans, the Gnomes of Zurich, the Tea Baggers, the economy, the university intellectuals, the Christians, the godless atheists, fucking China  we are making it hard to have cheap resources, ridiculously high paying jobs, government-funded everything, cheap cell phones, mansions and a huge powerful caveman-bombing military while just wishing the money to pay for it into existence because goddammit we're the most heavily taxed undertaxed nation in the world!  We justify our sense of entitlement and sooth our sense of victimhood by doing two simple things:

1. Thanking the troops.  Thank you.  Thank you for your service.  Thank you for protecting my freedom.  Thank you for being there so I can thank you so now I can feel as if I don't have to do anything but continue to thank you and bitch about whatever group of people are bad Americans based upon what my favorite TV pundit posing as a good American tells me.  Now that I've thanked you and my well-being is in your hands, all I have to worry about is whether I should switch to Verizon or wait for the iPhone 5 to come out.  Thank you for keeping me safe enough to buy an iPhone.

2. Crying for the troops and their families and talking about how brave they are.  Because they are the real victims.  It's so sad that daddy has to go overseas and it makes me cry and I wish I could do something, but I need my iPhone and I've already thanked your daddy or mommy, so I'll just cry some more for you or maybe send you some money or some stuff so that I can feel better about the victim culture I live in because your are the real victim, having to get daddy's skull half blown off for iPhones.  And freedom.  Oh, and to keep those nasty turrrurrururuists from building houses of worship here in America.

DISCLAIMER - In case my poorly written attempt at sarcasm is unclear, read this.  Otherwise, skip to the next paragraph: My intent here is not to belittle what anyone in our armed forces or their families go through or imply that they are undeserving of understanding, respect and sympathy. Their task is huge and unforgiving and after 20 years of active service I know very well what we are involved in and what our families go through. Rather, I believe the ubiquity of the Support Our Troops® mentality points to a certain "hollowness" of many of its practitioners.

I will not go into the causes or reasons for this as there are many, and blame lays in industry, in government, in the populace, in the military - no corner of this society is untouched.

But McChrystal's message went largely unheard.  Because nobody wants to hear it.  But then again, most people can't relate to the General.

So maybe someone people CAN relate to can get the message across? 


There was an opportunity here.  An opportunity for Brokaw and Woodward, two well-known and thinking people to make McChrystal's point as well.  Both had an opportunity, but decided to link involvement to having sympathy and compassion for a small segment of the population vice the entire population thinking about how they could take ownership for this place instead of bitching at each other.

Once Oprah picks something, you know the branding is complete. Not only America's fighting men and women are no longer even remotely accessible or understandable to most other Americans, but they are finally a trademarked message that tells the rest of the country "You don't have to be invested in this place anymore.  You just have to feel bad for the troops." What a bunch of fucking crap.

The whole thought of what I'm getting at is pretty idealistic.  It'd take leadership in places where we don't currently have the right kind of leadership.  Just thinking that way probably makes me part of the problem.  So I'm going to do something about it - tomorrow, I am going snowboarding.

I may get one of these.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dead in the Water

Ha. Good metaphor for a blog invoking the name of the Great Old One himself.  After November's brief revival things again got bogged down as is wont with my job and the posting dried up pretty darned good.  So I made a New Years resolution (yeah, that's it!) to start writing again sometime before the end of January.  Sound like a good enough rationalization to wait this long to post anything?  Yeah, well piss on you if you don't agree.

In all honesty I have been meaning to start writing / blogging again.  The big question is whether or not to start doing so HERE.  The place has been mostly abandoned because, for whatever reason, it is not meeting any needs or desires of mine.

But I have a need/desire to write, and here is where I can write.  It's my own place, and I've had it for some time.  It has lacked direction in the past - really never had any - but it can still be whatever I want.  Or can it?

I remember back in November that Crummy was reminiscing about his own place and how it "violates all the rules" about "successful blogging" as far as theme, content, length of posts, blah blah blah.  Like I've stated about this place, he admits that he doesn't really have anything he writes about.  It's mostly blogging about himself - an exercise in narcissism.  I don't think Crum would take that the wrong way (please don't). All personal blogging is an exercise in narcissism, this is no exception.

The thing that he has - and the other good ones that I read or have read (Randall, Beach Bum, okjimm, splotchy, my cousin the rabbit wrangler, nunly, and even recently my old college friend wombat) all have one thing going for them - they have a certain context, some sort of intellectual or cognitive rug that really ties their rooms together.  I'm not sure I have that rug...or maybe some Chinaman came in and pissed on it.

I do know one thing - if I want to get that rug, or clean the piss off of it, I simply need to write, and do so regularly.  For now this place will have to do.

I'm just not sure this is what I want my writing to be, other than something I'm happy with.  I've thought about different ways I could go.  I'm guessing the thing to do is write them down - make a list of "Shit I'd Like To Write About" and figure out how/when/where I will.

But in the meantime I just need to write.   I can feel my brain atrophying.

So I'll call this a start.