Friday, December 21, 2007

It's remarkable that prayer and fear adopt such similar poses...

As the year draws to an end I find myself thinking on the commitments I’ve made in my life. Can I maintain the ties that currently bind and do I have the strength to make more? We all desire things we do not have or think we might enjoy a different set of circumstances but without commitment they will never come to pass. I wanted to improve my writing and so I created this journal but even this simple pleasure demands more time than I have to give most weeks. The family I started with my beautiful wife appears some days to be a monstrous commitment; a thing with an appetite so great that by nightfall I am stripped of all my energy and patience only to be left with doubt and feelings of inadequacy. I worry that I take more than I give when it comes to the friends I have committed to and in doing so I take them for granted.

I am not quite forty but deep in my being I feel that my life is at its half-way point. My capacity to change seems diminished these years. In my wild youth change seemed to occur by choice but now change seems to take place due to circumstance and this unfortunately is a far less empowering notion. A commitment to change is invigorating because therein lay the seeds to self-improvement but a mandate to change underscores the ineffectual aspects of your existence, over time it can leave one feeling windblown and on dark days even victimized.

Such goth-ridden ennui!!! Surely this level of introspection will hasten the decay of my still delectable nards! Perhaps I need to commit to a change in perception? A re-invention of one’s world-view has always entailed a change of identity in my life. I am not the boy I use to be but what manner of man I am? Not young, not old, but already carrying baggage from both destinations, I am marooned in a duality of video games and RRSP contributions.

As I’m writing a co-worker just came by my desk and inquired as to where he might purchase a pipe to smoke his marijuana. What an excellent non-sequitur! I told him that bongs might be a nice way to inhale - or so I’ve heard, of course. He said a pipe is required, something he can stow in his car. I think it’s a sad story because if you’re going to smoke a bit of dope then you should certainly be doing it with a loved one nearby to laugh at - or so I’ve heard. Of course it’s or so I’ve heard. It’s always or so I’ve heard…

It’s such a silly society that has been constructed for us to inherit. Is that a benefit of aging? Shall we too get the chance to vote in stupid laws of our own? The Pope, Hilary Clinton, and a few other idiots have been publicly speaking out against video games. Why must every generation have its officially sanctioned tool of the devil? Does no one ever look back and say ‘geez that fad didn’t amount to much after all.’ Where the hell were these alarmists when Heavy Metal came on the scene, or the hippie rock of the sixties, or Elvis, or the god-damned Jitterbug? Remember when dancing the Jitterbug was going to turn you into a sex fiend? My grandfather and I had a good laugh when he reminisced over that one.

It’s always something but what I don’t get is that someone like the conspicuously awkward Hilary was no doubt doing her best trying to fit in while grooving to the then much-reviled Beatles and now she’s liable to become the President? Alice Cooper was and still is one of the most insane, blood-spitting rock stars out there but now he’s a semi-pro golfer who runs a quaint looking pub. Anyone familiar with Gene Simmon’s rise to reality TV stardom can plainly see that the tongue-lashing front-runner of KISS is nothing if not a doting parent and wise old jew these days. If you and Hilary Clinton loved kissing the sky with Lucy Diamond or whatever the fuck you kids did for kicks back then, why would you shit on its modern contemporaries today? You turned out just fine, didn’t you? Or is there something you’re not telling us?

Hey have I stumbled on the cure for my blues? Should I commit to nothing less than changing the world in order to give my life new meaning? It’s a thought that fills me with a sense of exhilaration, delusional though it may be. Will you, gentle reader, entrust me with this awesome and surely corrupting responsibility?

Don’t answer. This plane, I have landed it. It was a round trip, a full circle. Thank you for flying. Here’s some of the news I came across this week.

I’m no girl but this face looks like it could freeze a vagina!

President Vladimir Putin has been fairly elected as Time Magazine’s Person of the Year and why not? He’s been everywhere and rooting for him has been a guilty pleasure of mine these past twelve moons. Putin’s graceful slide into the uncontested rulership of Russia proves once again that effectiveness trumps morality on the world stage every time. Nuclear frikken poison people! Tom Clancy didn’t have the balls to invent it in one of his books and we were too afraid to even imagine such deviltry until someone critical of Putin died from polonium exposure. Another female dissenter was shot dead riding an elevator. Who on earth could shoot a woman? It’s horrible, it’s monstrous, it’s cold-blooded in the extreme… I imagine it takes some true grit however. It all sounds very Russian, don’t you think? Anyway I found this to be an interesting read and the pictures are great too.

Sure he’s a cold fish but he swims in a lake of money!

Thanks to Marc for this supplementary Putin article that follows the fortune he allegedly amassed. You can’t begrudge a Soviet-styled power broker a forty billion dollar pay-off now and then, can you? Most would but I got a thing for leaders who fashion themselves after James Bond villians.

I hate to say I told you so but really I never hate to say I told you so…

Surprise! The United States is deeply concerned over the prospect of failure in Afghanistan. They can’t bring in any more troops and so naturally their NATO allies are following suite. You see, the world at large would just love to transform the bandit-spawning narco-economy into something less scary but without the required (here comes that word again) COMMITMENT it’s just so much ass-wind standing in for foreign policy. We white people, it’s true we’re the most awesome people of all but I have to tell you that we can be pretty damn arrogant most times. There are in total around 40,000 troops in Afghanistan and somehow these übermensch were going to change the destiny of twenty-seven million people, a great many of them for which the words soldier and citizen are interchangeable because they have been at war with others and themselves for decades! It was, still is, and the history books will condemn it as pure delusion. One line says it all. Our Canadian government and its armed forces leaders need to read this one line and let it serve as a wake-up call. This comes from the U.S. Admiral and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs:

“In Afghanistan, we do what we can. In Iraq, we do what we must.”

I would not play basketball with that kind of partner never mind go to war! The Canadian soldiers who have died and their grieving families deserve way better than to have done so in a second-rate misadventure, a campaign of lesser priority.

In my mind it is an unforgivable sin of leadership to entrust your military with a mission they cannot complete. Military engagements are won by making a wish list of everything your forces could possibly need and then doubling it. The commitment to this plan of action was far too small and in doing so blood and treasure was pointlessly wasted, to say nothing of our reputation as an effective and serious nation. It’s simple really: If you don’t commit fully, then you just don’t go, you find an alternative course of action and you take military occupation off the table. Our government paid but a pittance of Afghanistan’s true price in order to cynically curry economic favour with an ally whose pretence for warfare is even faultier than our own. In this our government has failed us, utterly.

The C.I.A. is doing nothing wrong but they don’t want you to see it anyway…

This issue is making news but stuff like this has happened too many times lately for me to think anything will come of it. I’ll throw it up for posterity and continuity however. So the C.I.A. took videotapes of them torturing Al-Qaeda members but then they destroyed them. I don’t think there is any reasonable doubt that they were destroyed because the tapes captured some truly monstrous behaviour. Some say the White House said ‘don’t destroy the tapes’ and others say the opposite. Lawyers are counselling all concerned parties as to their responsibilities and culpability, which really says all you need to know about how morally ambivalent the U.S. Government has become. Look for even a shadow of strong leadership in this issue, you will not find it.

Adorable sounding physics lessons can be found on YouTube.

I’m going to download these physics presentations from M.I.T. professor Walter Lewin over the holidays. They sound really interesting!

The Reuters Pictures of the Year 2007

Reuters pictures of the year are always neat. The one above is from the collection and is of a Canadian soldier seeking cover just second after his location was shelled. A thousand words indeed.

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