Archive for December, 2006

U.S. Toll in Iraq Surpasses That of 9/11

So. Freakin’. What?!

It’d be an interesting study to see if, during WW II, ANYONE kept tabs on when US casualties exceeded that suffered at Pearl harbor?

This statistic might only have relevance if the attacks on Afghanistan or Iraq were billed solely as retributional, or an eye-for-an-eye.  Which they weren’t.

Otherwise, it’s just a catchy tagline, another imaginary “grim milestone” designed to infuse further controversy in an already tragic enough situation.

Wherefore arteth thouest?

Posted: December 20, 2006 in Blitherings

Ah yes.  Wizarded off into the great unknown, beset by all manner of yuletide greetings, and such.  Visiting the States for the Christmas Holiday.  Er, I mean, uh, excuse me.  The values-neutral non-religion specific observance of the traditional cultural exchange of gifts in observance of a general sense of goodwill towards our fellow men, er, I mean, human beings, and the unrestrained celebration of capitalistic excess.

 Or something.

Yes, I’m staying with the inlaws, and betwixt all the glad-handing and enforced social niceties amongst the many and varied friends, relatives, and various hangers-on, I’ve got little time to break free to add to this quaint, if dubious, venture I call a blog.  As a matter of fact, I should be helping the Imperial Wife wrap an appalling number of gifts and stuffing a distrubing number of stockings even now, and quite honestly expect her heavy tread upon the stairs any moment as she wonders just where the HECK I’ve been and what in the WORLD I’m doing?!

So, suffice it to say, fair and generous reader, that blogging will be light and scattered throughout the coming week.  Hopefully I can break free to pen some vague and rambling missive at 11:45 pm some night, but given the sheer magnitude of the hordes poised to descend on this housing in the coming days, I hold out little hope for success.

Pray for patience, forbearance, and an abundance of wine and heavily-spiked egg nog.

A little old, and I don’t know if this is for real, but if it ain’t, then it oughta be.  And I think maybe a few of OUR politicians oughta take it to heart as well.

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“Three Cheers for Australia” (circulating the Internet)

Muslims who want to live under Islamic Sharia law were told on Wednesday to get out of Australia, as the government targeted radicals in a bid to head off potential terror attacks. A day after a group of mainstream Muslim leaders pledged loyalty to Australia at a special meeting with Prime Minister John Howard, he and his ministers made it clear that extremists would face a crackdown. 

Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, hinted that some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular state and its laws were made by parliament. “If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you,” he said on national television. “I’d be saying to clerics who are teaching  that there are two laws governing people in Australia, one the  Australian law and another the Islamic law, that is false. If you can’t agree with parliamentary law, independent courts, democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country, which practices it, perhaps, then, that’s a better option,” Costello said. Asked whether he meant radical clerics would be forced to leave, he said those with dual citizenship could possibly be asked to move to the other country.

Education Minister Brendan Nelson later told reporters that Muslims who did not want to accept local values should “clear off”. “Basically, people who don’t want to be Australians, and they don’t want to live by Australian values and understand them, well then they can basically clear off,” he said. 

Separately, Howard angered some Australian Muslims on Wednesday by saying he supported spy agencies monitoring the nation’s mosques. Quote: “IMMIGRANTS, NOT AUSTRALIANS, MUST ADAPT. Take it or Leave It.  I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Bali, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Australians.”

“However, the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the ‘politically correct’ crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others. I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to Australia. However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand. This idea of Australia being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity we are Australians, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture has been developed over two centuries of struggles, trials and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom. We speak mainly ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language.” 

“Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language! Most Australians believe in God. This is not some Christian, right wing, political push but a fact because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture.”

“We will accept your beliefs and will not question why, all we ask is that you accept ours and live in harmony and peaceful enjoyment with us. If the Southern Cross offends you, or you don’t like “A Fair Go”, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don’t care how you did things where you came from. By all means keep your culture but do not force it on others. This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this. But once you are done complaining, whining,  and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our Christian beliefs, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great Australian freedom, ‘THE RIGHT TO LEAVE’. If you aren’t happy here then LEAVE. We didn’t force you to come here. You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted.”

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Word!

As night draws to a weary close, day first flutters its heavy lids.   Dawn only just now begins to hint at the horizon with the barest smear of pale, powerless light held close against the dark line of distant hills.

It is hot here.  And not just the hot of a typical dog-day afternoon, but an oppressive blanket of wet, heavy heat that clogs the pores and bears down on you with the weight of a thousand unsought woes.  Some jungle critter, a bug of dubious purpose or relevance, heralds the coming dawn with a sudden deluge of sound, filling the tree tops with an undulating wave of noise as, by the thousands, they follow some unheard cue and are brought to life as one giant organism.  It is like “The Wave” at a football stadium; the sound, dim in the distance, rolls inexorably toward you until it washes by like a cataclysm.

And then all is silent…until the next time.   It is as though it were some giant weapon which, once fired, needs time to recharge; but the next volley is as inevitable as the tide.

It is like the sound of a hundred sticks ratcheting across a hundred picket fences, all at once.  It’s almost like a strange kind of warfare, as if they are using the only weapon they have to repel the human invaders on their domain.  Like some Chinese human wave or Banzai suicide charge, the sound builds to a crescendo until is slams against the bulwarks of my consciousness.

As always, though, the attack is repelled, and the sound fades back into the distance like a spent ocean wave, slithering back over the sand with nothing but a faint hiss and a few foamy bubbles to mark its passing.

It would be strangely hypnotic if not for the piercing cacophony of it all.  It is almost as if the trees themselves are making the noise, crying out about some brutal violation. 

But it’s really only just bugs.  Really.  Noisy.  Bugs.

Rain…

Posted: December 7, 2006 in Creative Writing, Random Thoughts

The sky flashes a brief electric blue as the lightning dances across the leading edge of the approaching storm.  But, like a technicolor silent film, there is no accompanying sound; the storm is still too far away for the thunder to be heard, instead spending itself vainly against the unbreachable distance between it, and I. 

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Rain now, splashing and splattering in fitful bursts, the drops so warm in the humid jungle air that you can scarcely feel them as they hit your skin.  The air is thick with moisture, so thick it feels like there isn’t quite enough oxygen in each breath you take. 

The rain is falling like half-imagined static across my vision as the streetlights turn each drop into a hazy, indistinct suggestion rather than a decisive commitment to precipitation.  The faint yet pervasive hiss of the drops striking the corrugated tin roofs is an inescapable background of white noise that clings to my ears like some diaphanous shroud.

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Thunder now, growing louder, as though someone were rolling a bass drum half-filled with rocks down a long flight of concrete stairs.

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The rain has arrived in full, but still without any driving force.  It seems to fall out of simple obligation, rather than with any real fury or sense of urgency.  It drums on the roof with a vaguely frenetic patter, sounding for all the world like a handful of dried kidney beans shaken in an empty coffee can.

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A hundred coffee cans now as it quickens its pace.  Suddenly water is everywhere in great, cascading sheets. 

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And then, just as suddenly, all is quiet again, as though someone crimped the hose to God’s sprinkler.  Rain, then silence.  Rain, then silence.  A strange, undulating rhythm of anticipation and release.

The Voices…..

Posted: December 5, 2006 in Blitherings

I think I begin to understand how some people go crazy.  Not because of some inherent chemical imbalance, a traumatic brain injury, or some single event so emotionally traumatic that it shatters their grip on reality.

The other way.  The slow, errosive way.

It comes from regret.  Those little snapshots of emotional pain that we all carry around with us, carefully buried, hidden out of site.  Only, sometimes, they don’t STAY hidden. 

 They start to peek out around the edges.  They start to bleed over into our waking consciousness, sometimes like the sudden stab of a sewing needle so sudden and unexpected that it makes you gasp out loud.

But it starts to happen more and more.  Thoughts from high school, junior high, childhood, college, early adult.  Little slips, or casual sins.  Mistakes, flubs, inadequacies or regrets about the time you did when you shouldn’t, or didn’t when you should.

And then one day, your brain begins to so fear these little flashes, these little pokes and prods at the underbelly of your guilt, that it begins to try and hide.  It starts to try and make the bad noises go away.  It begins to construct a new reality, one where I don’t have remember the past, or place expectations on the future.  It begins to close valves and shut switches, dogging down hatches and pulling in the gangplanks.

It makes a nice, safe, cozy little cardboard box for itself, and there wraps itself in discarded blankets and old newspapers, rocking quietly and gently back and forth, humming a silent, buzzing melody that helps drown out the noise.  It’s cool, and quiet, and dark.  No one gets in, no one gets out.  But its safer that way, better.

Right?

Best Post EVER!

Posted: December 3, 2006 in Blitherings

Guidelines For A Platonic Friendship 

Shamelessly stolen from Jeff Harrell’s RSS feed.  Which means he, in effect, stole it from someone else.   Who apparently attributed the source to someone else.  Which means, of course, that we are about four-deep into non-attribution, which borders dangerously on implicit plagiarism.  Like that’s ever stopped me before.

Oh, and it’s true.  Every. Damn. Word.

Fer Example:

11. No asking for man favors such as furniture moving, yard work, or car trouble help. I don’t like to waste displays of extreme masculinity on women who have decided not to sleep with me. In a pinch you can bribe me to do man chores with beer. Please hand me the case as a gift versus doling them out one at a time from your fridge. That keeps it strictly business. 

Listen up you women.  This here article is the fah-reaking GOSPEL on man-friends.

Lest there be any confusion.

Yada Yada Yada.

Posted: December 1, 2006 in Blitherings

I deleted yesterday’s post.  I really was just curious who might be wandering by, but I wasn’t meant as a play for sympathy or anything. 

I write because I love to write.  It’s in the blood, I guess.  I write HERE because I  think it’s fun to spring my bizarro ramblings on an unsuspecting public.

 That being said, I’ll likely be incommunicado for the next week or so supporting an Exercise.  So, first I encourage you to drop by, now I’m saying don’t bother.

What a doofus.

:)