Saturday, December 29, 2007

The War on Terror will keep on keepin' on

Anglo-American Ambitions behind the Assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the Destabilization of Pakistan
This was Pakistan’s 9/11; Pakistan’s JFK assassination, and its impact will resonate for years.

Contrary to mainstream corporate news reporting, chaos benefits Bush-Cheney’s “war on terrorism”. Calls for “increased worldwide security” will pave the way for a muscular US reaction, US-led force and other forms of “crack down” from Bush-Cheney across the region. In other words, the assassination helps ensure that the US will not only never leave, but also increase its presence.

The Pakistani election, if it takes place at all, is a simpler two-way choice: pro-US Musharraf or pro-US Sharif.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Pope: I only look possessed.

Pope's exorcist squads will wage war on Satan | the Daily Mail
The Pope has ordered his bishops to set up exorcism squads to tackle the rise of Satanism.


Each bishop is to be told to have in his diocese a number of priests trained to fight demonic possession.

The initiative was revealed by 82-year-old Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican "exorcistinchief," to the online Catholic news service Petrus.

"Thanks be to God, we have a Pope who has decided to fight the Devil head-on," he said.

Perhaps Mr. CreepyPope could start by using those squads on himself.

The Pieces

2008 approaches, preceded by a deep sense of foreboding, and I don't think I'm alone. Not totally, at least. Like an impending storm that you feel before you see, it approaches, and hosts of tiny voices deep inside your cells begin warning you that unless you find some shelter you're going to be inconvenienced in a very big way. Sliding down the slope towards the Sarlac (look honey, a Star Wars nerd trying to write! Thats cute....) with little to hold onto but sand.

That's really just a poor way of describing in a short paragraph how I feel about the geopolitics of it all. Another several posts for another several days--I'd rather refrain from politics or anything "geo" for now. I only mention it to bring up how this particular aspect of the current foreboding (can I shorten that? Maybe with a capital Forbode and magically turn it into a noun. The Forbode.) has a strictly external quality. It hovers in the outer periphery. There is another quality to it, though, as well. It's more internal, as though something is hovering underneath you and is ready to rise. Any walls you try and erect around yourself won't matter in the least, and any methods of intervention you try and stage will be for naught.


About four months after arriving at my first base, we received the news that we were deploying. As soon as I heard it, I didn't want to go. Not because unfamiliar places suddenly seemed utterly frightening, that part of the deal was worth looking forward to. There was the sudden feeling that something was going to happen and that Saudi Arabia wasn't going to be a very good place to be when it did. Naturally, walking up to my bosses and informing them of this "feeling" wasn't going to change a thing, so off I went.

Four weeks or so passed and everyone had, for the most part, adjusted. Taking a dump so close to another person, and by close I mean separated by only 6 inches of partition cloth, no longer seemed quite as strange. Who knew that forgetting what it was like to be cool, or clean, or alone, would become so normal, or that it would happen so quickly? That you would swear Fanta came directly from a divine bosom, or that a girl you might have previously described as "hammertime" is now "kinda hot"? Ah, the strange and disconcerting qualities of human adaptation (and desert queens)....

As I barreled from my tent to walk the 200 yards to the toilet, I ran into the First Sergeant who was closing in with a very businesslike look on his face. He abruptly got my attention, and after confirming that I was the guy he was looking for, told me I needed to get to a phone. My grandmother had died. He then proceeded to ensure that I wasn't harboring any illusions. No, I could not go back for the funeral. That sort of thing is only for direct family, and a grandparent doesn't fall into that category.

I knew it. I knew I had known it.

Again, it's not like I could have stayed behind and I knew that, but it was upsetting to know that I hadn't (or was it, couldn't?) recognized it. It was only in that moment that it dawned on me that the feeling was no different than the one I carried with me as I left for tech school. At the time, I simply thought the sense of foreboding was the knowledge that I was going to get dumped by the girl with whom I was (at the time) madly in love. I didn't want it to happen, knew it would, and eventually it did. However, during the same period, my grandfather died. I could remember wondering at the time if this foreboding had to do with both things or just one, and if it was just one of them, which one? Standing in the desert in front of the FS in the white hot sun of the early afternoon, I had my answer.

Another piece of who I was up to that point had fallen away, and all I could do was look. My grandfather was a large piece, and grandmother was a still larger one. I had much to look at.


Last night I was speaking to my father on the phone when the feeling returned. He was relating a few stories about when I was very young, a ritual to be expected with a new child joining the ranks. Indeed, how else will the common folk be able to determine what traits made it through the gene lottery? It was on the tail end of a story about me leaving a load all down the hallway that it returned, strong enough to momentarily cause a loss in my train of thought.

This is not a prediction that my father will die this year, although it's hard not to at least fleetingly think such things based on the past and the fact that my diabetic father is gorging himself in that direction as fast as he can go.* It is largely useless to try and specifically determine such things.

*And no, this sentence is not revealing as to the source of the foreboding or some subtle way of saying that I'm scared of losing my father and am not sure how to deal with it. Just so we're clear.

I've heard and read a lot of people who, when speaking of loss, describe an emptiness left behind. If anyone had asked at the time my grandfather or grandmother fell away from my life, I very well may have said the same thing, but I think I would have been wrong. When such a piece falls away, we are so focused on it lying there that it is assumed that only emptiness remains. It is not. It is you, who you are, left bare, without the protective and supportive shell that once was. Many times it is petrifying and largely incomprehensible.

Something inside me says that I'm about to see more of myself. All I can do is look. It is all I need to do because when I look, I understand, and that makes the falling pieces more of the revealing they are supposed to be rather than the dissembling they seem to be.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A banner week for Idaho

First, the newest "heroes" that will be serving, protecting, and causing PTSD.

[Academy Head] Black says, "Our class president was ex-military. It slipped in."
Oooh, ex-military. Well, why didn't you say something sooner? Aaaah, those wild and crazy stormtroopers, always with their jokes. Boys will be boys. Funny stuff, and not frightening in the least.


Where were you during the Great Tater Tot Fire of '07?

Good god...

Sweet Cinematic Relief

Finally, a couple of tiny lights shine through the dark pool of cinematic swill.....

The Lives of Others--An excellent story that takes place during the 80's in East Germany, and gives a glimpse of life underneath the watchful eye of the Stasi. A calm yet powerful look at the surveillance state and the people struggling underneath its massive weight and scope. A well-spent 2 1/2 hours.

Juno--Thank You for Smoking was a decent show, but Jason Reitman knocked it out with this one.

No big drawn out reviews, just a hearty recommend on both.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Apprehension, Xanadu, and the Baby Jesus

Tonight, the world will witness something not seen in at least a decade.

I will enter a church for Christmas Eve service. It's true.

Don't worry, it's not like I was Slain in the Spirit while buying chips or anything. The in-laws wanted us to come, and being filled with the Christmas, X-mas, Holiday, Kwanzah, and Hannukah Spirit, I have assented. The church not being of the Hellfire and Brimstone persuasion helps in this regard, but it would be dishonest to say that I'm not a bit apprehensive about the whole deal. Churches in general just creep me out, they always have, mostly for the ritual and the show that so many are insistent on being part of. It seems like just another one of the "extra" church events where the really good ones can show up to get some extra credit from Jesus.

I'm not saying this one will be like that, and in fact I doubt that it will be given its non-denominational, universalist bent. But like I said, given where I come from, apprehensiveness still whispers, a little behind and to the left (it's difficult to say if that's the devil or the angel on my might just be schizophrenia--heh).

Also joining us will be Grandmother-in-law, which may represent the toughest challenge of the evening. I must follow the One Rule: Don't say "fuck" in front of Grandma. This is more difficult than many might think, since Me Driving=Everlasting String of Profanity in most cases. It's my coping mechanism, it makes me feel better. However, I'm determined to internalize it this evening, although this may cause me to let loose a string right in the middle of service, which leads me to wonder....if such a thing happened, could I get away with it by saying I was channeling the Holy Ghost and he is very, very angry with all of you?

Yeah, somehow I doubt it too.

I'll have to make sure that they're aware that they should be happy I didn't wear my 'Jesus Shaves' t-shirt and commit Most High Sacrilege. I love that t-shirt, and am of the mind that Jesus loves it as well, but the prevailing wind over the past few centuries is that Jesus does not have a sense of humor.

Seriously, if we're created in His Image, doesn't it follow that he would find the humor in the solemn absurdity of the War on Christmas and Other Assorted Very Serious Issues bandied about by the Christian Soldiers this time of year? I'd like to think so.

I'm going to assume that he also understands and won't hold it against me that I may have to scrounge a Xanadu before the festivities. Many might hold that The Most High frowns on the use of prescription drugs, and I think that may be correct, at least where dependency on them is concerned. However, I think he would understand their spare use in order to usher in a more relaxed and worshipful experience, and to prevent the saying of "fuck" in front of Grandma.

The Baby Jesus doesn't want that, and frankly, neither do I.

(Holliest and Jolliest Christmas wishes to all--The Heads)