Thursday, April 22, 2004
I've been reading Mark Twain's On the Damned Human Race
and in it he talks about the American war in the Philippians as well as the German and British forays into China. He was writing in regard to efforts to "civilize" these nations and raised an interesting point. The hardships and horrors that the people of these nations had to endure, both monetarily and physically, were staggering and he questioned whether these people felt that they could afford the "civilization" that was being offered them. He writes,
"Chinese losses, 450 killed; ours, one officer and two men wounded.
... Can we [the natives] afford civilization?"
Our (new) goal in Iraq is to establish a democracy with an eye towards the actual goal of reshaping the middle east. We are so concerned with the resolve of Americans that we often forget that even more important than our resolve is that of the Iraqis. But when hundreds are killed in bomb blasts over there, we're concerned but we're really just glad that no Americans were killed. We had better start taking these dead Iraqis seriously if we are to pull this off. When does the big offensive and increased troop presence come? Only after the American casualties start mounting. Months of bombings and dead Iraqis wasn't enough, but rather only when our forces were taking heat directly do we decide that we need more. I'm not trying to lessen the impact of dead American soldiers, but we really need to start responding to the slaughter of Iraqis with the same intensity. In the end, their public opinion matters far more than ours. If America were ready to go the whole nine, but the Iraqis had had it, there is little doubt how the story would end.
posted by Kermit at 4/22/2004 09:24:00 PM
I keep hearing all this talk from Bush and the pundits about how we're not going to pull out of Iraq and how we've got to stay the course and show resolve and all that. But what gets me is that there are virtually no significant voices calling for a withdrawal of troops. To the contrary, most complaints have been directed towards our methods rather than the mission. But whenever the methods are questioned, the answer is usually in the form of a defense of the mission. I guess Bush looks better shadow-boxing with the virtually non-existent argument of pulling out rather that dealing with the problems that people have with his war strategy. This straw man of retreat is really getting in the way of any kind of serious discourse, at least within the mainstream media. And I think that the mainstream media is all that really matters because that's all that a vast majority of the people ever even half pay attention to.
posted by Kermit at 4/22/2004 08:38:00 PM
How much is that doggie in the window? (again)
After reading this editorial
in The Times
today, I got to thinking. Will I ever have to or indeed want to buy Airplane!
again. I ask because I had the film on video, and then I bought it on DVD. So I bought it twice. I may have rented it a couple of times as well. Vinyl used to be good enough for everyone. We all liked it and enjoyed it. But now, save for a few holier-than-thou DJs and novelty freaks, owning something on vinyl is almost like not owning it at all. If it's not available on CD, we hold on to it, but periodically check to see if and when it will be available on disc. Twenty years ago, that record was fine and we gladly paid $10 to get it. But the formats changed and the definition of "owning a copy" changed. The same can be said for video. So now we all say, "I have it on DVD/CD and I'll never need to buy it again. But I wonder. Most people probably felt the same way about their records twenty years ago. With video, due to the degradation inherent in magnetic tape, I can somewhat understand. But either way, as happy as we all are now with our discs, will we be buying Abbey Road
yet again in ten years? With the advent of computers, things may have changed as we can now move digital information around with no loss in quality, but nevertheless, there may be some next great thing hiding around the corner. I must say that with the arrival or MP3s, I now find CD's somewhat clunky. Only 80 minutes on a "big" 5 1/4" disc? In MP3 format, I can fit 10 times that at least. But just one year ago, I thought there was none better that the trusty CD. In twenty years, DVD will probably be gone and I will be buying Airplane!
again. And gladly at that.
posted by Kermit at 4/22/2004 05:04:00 PM
Glutton for punishment?
Then go here
. I got to 180 points and called it a day. Hat tip to mom for the tip.
posted by Kermit at 4/22/2004 11:08:00 AM
Tuesday, April 20, 2004
Saw Hidalgo last week.
posted by Kermit at 4/20/2004 11:38:00 PM
The 100 greatest Stand-up comedians?
Well Comedy Central has compiled a list of the 100 greatest comedians of all time
and I have to say that I disagree. The way I see it, it is a very good list of names but would have been better if they had simply put "in no particular order" at the head of the list because it is the order that is the problem. To give you a preview, I present their top ten:
1. Richard Pryor
2. George Carlin
3. Lenny Bruce
4. Woody Allen
5. Chris Rock
6. Steve Martin
7. Rodney Dangerfield
8. Bill Cosby
9. Roseanne Barr
10. Eddie Murphy
They almost got number one right, except that they made him number two. They were only off by one. Carlin is, in my mind, The Stand-up Comic. It's all he is. Aside from some lesser roles
in films and a quick but failed sit-com
he has been and continues to be a stand-up through and through. He still does about 90 shows a year and they are still good. The same can not be said of Pryor. I've listened to a lot of his stuff and while it's good, it just doesn't compare. Lenny Bruce is important for his influence, but his actual material? Well let's just say that many of the names below him are much better. My big Big problem is well, number 9. What is she doing there? Makes me mad. And while I'm busy disagreeing, Mr. Dangerfield isn't one of my favorites either. Steve Martin Neither. I'm going to think this over and make my top 10 or twenty and post them later. Till then, what are yours?
Oh and one last thing, guess who got number 100?
He deserved much better.
posted by Kermit at 4/20/2004 04:57:00 PM
Monday, April 12, 2004
Cat and I are on vacation in the lovely seaside town of Amterdam. It's fun. The dutch language is really quite interesting. It has the sound a cadence of English but different words. I hear people talking and I expect to understand but the words are all gooky. It has actually answered one of my lifelong questions, namely: What does English sound like if you don't know it? I've always wondered and now I know. By the way, the red light disctrict is weird. I knew it was there and stuff, but actually being there was a trip. It's a little surreal. I'll have more on this later. Well I'm off because they charge by the second on these computers. If your bored, go watch the cartoons at Odd Todd.
posted by Kermit at 4/12/2004 07:20:00 PM