Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Is there pigmentophobia?

So there's all this craziness about Mylie Cyrus's Vanity Fair shoot, which is really no big deal. It's a portrait, whatever. Anyway, so after all this talk about her being "topless" (it's a back people), it got me thinking about what really bothers me about Vanity Fair...which is the fact that the magazine is apparently allergic to pigment. I realize these may not be scientificially representative, but they were the first ones I found when I googled Vanity + Fair + Cover:

Monday, April 28, 2008

Go green, it feels great!

So, I have TV at the hotel I'm in...might have mentioned it before. Anyway, last night, I almost threw a brick through it, but luckily there were no bricks in sight. You see, there was a special on "green living" on HGTV that was the biggest crock of green-shit I've ever seen.

Between the crappy fake-green ideas on the actual shows were even worse commercials where companies tried to sell anything they could and call it "green". For example, Coca-Cola T-shirts made out of partially recycled bottles!! The girls selling the shirts said something like, "If everyone buys one, it's like we recycled 1 million bottles!" Um...no, it's like we bought a million extra shirts for no reason, and that's not like recycling anything goddamn it! Or some company selling cleaning products but using methane gas from a landfill to power their products, "It's like saving oil!" Right, it is...and instead of oil, it's not like, it literally is, flushing barrels and barrels of pesticides and chemicals into our water.

Not to mention the fact that the goddamned show told people to buy buy buy, thus creating more waste. What's "greener" I ask, buying new green sheets and throwing older non-green ones out, or just keeping your old sheets because you already have them and there's nothing wrong with them? Hmmm....

Also, there was never any mention of the simplest green thing anyone can do...changing my lifestyle in order to consume less, create less waste and take less energy in. Oh well. At least we can say our generation coined the term "green-washing" when everything has gone to hell.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


I've spent the weekend here in Arizona with my mom and it's been amazing. We went to Tombstone and had ice cream and sandwiches then went to Bisbee. We went through some antique shops and pointed out all the things that reminded us of my Grandfather's house and saw some local artists. We drove around looking at houses and getting flyers of some that were on sale, imagining what it would be like we were able to afford one and live there. We had some drinks at the haunted hotel and watched the Padres win against the Diamondbacks in the twelfth inning and then headed home. Today, we just sat around watching TV and enjoying each other's company until we met up with the Gomez twins, two girls I had been friends with in high school, for dinner. The four of us reminisced for a while and caught up (we are, all three of us, now in the Army). At the end of the evening, we were walking to the car and Vickie stopped and said she had to share something with my mom...

She told my mom that she remembers the first time she came over to the house and my mom and dad were curled up on the couch in a blanket watching TV and how she had always wanted that for herself. She has since gotten married and she and her husband do that themselves. My mom cried and I gave her a hug...but it was nice. It was nice to remember how things were and know that, even for someone who didn't know my dad as well as some did, the little things are still remembered.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Foudner's Day in pics...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

So yesterday me and my friend are driving home from work and I call an old friend who I am soon to see. We are "shooting the shit" and, I tend to cuss a lot. As I'm on the phone, my friend (the one in the car with me) calls his mom, unbeknownst to me. I continue on with my conversation and laugh and cuss and otherwise carry on. After I hang up, he (the one in the car with me) says, "Thanks. that was my mom."

I point out that I had been on the phone a good five minutes before he called his mom, so it's not really my fault...he disagrees. I think everyone can agree that I wasn't in the wrong here.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


The Americans did not Americanize us--they were merely one step ahead on the road towards a global civilization with a standardized style of living which, whether we like it or not, is beginning to emerge all over the world. For we live in a state of cultural osmosis where influences percolate across the porous frontiers, native traditions wane, and the movement towards a uniform, mechanized, stereotyped culture-pattern has become irresistible.
~Arthur Koestler, The Lotus and the Robot 1961

Monday, April 14, 2008

Good News...

I just got this email in my offical army email system. I don't think I'm not allowed to post it, but then again, I haven't registered that I keep a blog anyway, so, if "the man" is watching, someone let me know to tell him. Anyway, here it is:
To Our Soldiers and Families,
Today, President Bush announced his decision to return to twelve-month deployments in the CENTCOM theater for active Army units. The President's decision reflects the improved security situation in Iraq – one made possible by your unwavering commitment and willingness to sacrifice – as well as the recognition of the impact of extended deployments on Army Families and our readiness. Today’s policy change will help reduce that strain as we continue to grow the Army and restore balance.

The Army will reduce “Boots On the Ground” time to no more than twelve months for all active component Soldiers deploying to the CENTCOM area of operations after 1 August 2008. Soldiers deploying prior to 1 August will complete their scheduled deployments.

The return to twelve-month deployments does not change the Army’s dwell time policy. This policy is intended to give units time to properly reset and allow Soldiers, Families, and friends to reconnect.

You have chosen a most noble profession. With your Families standing with you in support, you have borne the increased stress and burden of this war for our Army and our Nation. A grateful Army and Nation thank you.

Keneth O. Preston
George W. Casey, Jr.
Pete Geren

Mad props to civilian friends who know the three at the bottom even though I left their titles off...more mad props to anyone who knows which of the three I had breakfast with...and a special prize to anyone who knows what my reaction to said breakfast was. And, if anyone wants to go out and have a drink come mid-Nov '09 when I come home, let me know (sure, planning my return before I leave may be bad form, but why not?)


I do not like mustard, or, always thought I didn't like it. I remember eating it as a boy, growing sick of it, having a bite of a sandwich with mustard and thinking it was horrible and made me want to gag. Then, I found myself eating other things--stuffed mushrooms, pineapple and chicken salad, delicious sandwiches and others--all of which had mustard. I went to the sandwich shop and tried again, just a dab, and now, put it on most of my sandwiches.

Religion, it seems, is my mustard of faith...hmm, as I type that, I recognize the whole mustard seed parable probably doesn't fit, but who would have thought mustard would come up twice when discussing the soul? You see, religion and faith to me have always been more like floating a river than driving a car. I am along for the ride, and, for anyone who's ever floated a river, you know you can get stuck in the rocks or be swiftly taken to one side even on a short stretch of river. It's all the same river, but it's little choices you make, even subconsciously, which guide your trip.

I have begun attending Mass again at a horrible little parish down the street. The Priest is always different as there is a shortage of Priests in the area and the homilies are rarely inspirational. The choir is full of old men and women who know neither tone or pitch...but specialize in volume, and the decor is straight out of 1970 (whomever makes those tacky grape and bread panels that Catholic Churches seem to love, please, for the love of God, stop).

However, I went with my friend Nick for the first time in a while before he deployed to Iraq. I didn't need the misilette because, like riding a bike, you never forget. And, thankfully, the Mass rarely changes. Despite the bastardization of the Gloria and Kyrie, the song can only ruin the sound, but not the meaning and it feels good to be there again.

I don't know what I believe about Catholicism, or if there is any of it I believe, and yet, when I say the Creed, I feel as though I am saying it in truth. Many Saints (not that I am one) have confronted the disconnect between belief and desire to believe. Saint John of the Cross penned the Dark Night of the Soul, Saint Therese claimed to have never felt God, and Mother Theresa wrote of her well known doubts, so at least I'm in good company.

At the same time, I read this well written article about the Pope on Slate. After decrying the state of American politics in my last post, it is good to know there is a man who is deftly navigating global politics in a way that is inspiring (even when we disagree with every decision he makes).

Technically, Catholic means Universal. Maybe I'm just biased because I am Catholic, but truly, is there another religious leader whose decisions must take into consideration more variables than this man? The Dali Lama, the Mormon Prophet...even the head of the UN, none of them have to take into consideration more various peoples, ideas and realities than this man. It really is true that the mantle he put on as Pope is also a cross to bear, for there is no relief from the life he leads but death. Anyway...that kind of came out of nowhere, but I thought I'd share it.


So I'm sitting there waiting to get my haircut today and watching the news. Apparently both Obama and Clinton were giving a speech, although it was difficult to tell. Most talked of was reaction to Obama's comments of a few days ago (or however long it's been...without a TV it's difficult to tell how long ago "breaking" news happened) in which he claimed that some people are "bitter" because they've been left behind by the last few administrations. There was an image of Obama giving his speech, but you couldn't hear his words because the correspond ants were talking about what McCain and Clinton have both said about what he said. Then they cut off the correspondents to show Clinton and I got to hear her talk about the market and jobs a little, outlining the issues, and then she said, "And here is what I propose..."

I was on the edge of my seat...for a moment, one brief shining moment on the television that morning, I would hear, not a pundit, but a politician, saying what s/he believed and proposed. It was going to be amazing. Agree with her or not, I was just so damn excited to hear some real news. Suddenly, literally following the lines, "Here is what I propose..." her mike was cut off. The image continued to run for a moment as the commentator said, "We'll get back to you in a minute with highlights of what Senator Clinton says, but first, we'd like to re-cap what she said earlier about Obama in what has become an ugly debate."

Seriously? Seriously?? Come on...Maybe I was just too young to remember, but I can't imagine it has always been like this. It almost makes you pine for the days of Buckley and Vidal's faggot/fascist exchange. At least it was in their own words, face to face, and they were debating issues instead of someone else recounting what they may have meant when they said something a while back.

Sadly, I can remember when I was excited about politics. When I cared enough to read all about it, when I watched the news regularly to find out what was happening. Now it's a joke. A sad sad joke. And, the worst part is, it seems like the majority of people not only don't see it's a joke, but would rather keep things the way they are.

I hate to sound alarmist, but it feels as though those predictions that a democracy would eventually defeat itself by pandering to the lowest common denominator is finally coming to fruition. Let's hope whomever wins this election cycle has the strength of character and leadership to challenge us, as citizens and Americans, to better ourselves. Challenge us to be as great as we must be to keep the Country great, because if not, we might as well cash in our chips now.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


My roomate is listening to a thumping bass techno version of that song "when I think about you I touch myself"...everytime she sings the word "about" the schwa becomes a digitized high pitched "i-i-i-i-i"

Army Beats Navy | In Lacrosse (Photos)

It's always a good day when Army beats Navy and this weekend saw not one, but three Army victories.

Baseball is a perennial winner, and the first game of four was no exception this year. A surprising win came from Army's female outdoor track team who won for the first time since I've been following. The third win, for the first time in over a decade, was Army Lacrosse, who beat Navy at Michie Stadium on Senior Day...the best part is, the team was led by my friend, and fellow San Diegan, Justin Bokmeyer.

Go Army! Beat Navy!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Founder's Day...

I have taken on the task of setting up the Founder's Day tribute to fallen comrades. I didn't want to just post how people died as I felt it wasn't an adequate way to remember their lives and because it would be too depressing for what should be a happy celebration. I determined to get my hands on every Howizter (West Point's yearbook) of the years with fallen graduates, who now number 31. I got most of them and began to transcribe their cadet bios. Most were written by friends and are in the third person.

It is both uplifting and depressing. It's odd, to see their faces, younger than mine now, most of them, full of hope and futures. Their friends, all writing about the great people they were or what they would do in the future...but, I know they are now dead.

I copied Adam's with a heavy heart, having known him. I had forgotten that all he'd written was "ready to graduate". Adam, unlike me, seemed focused on becoming a leader his four years instead of enjoying the ride. I think his attitude was probably the more professional between the two of us.

The strangest thing I noticed is that, going back as far as the class of 1979, not much has changed. Bios all share the same inside jokes, happy times at the Firstie club, memories of meeting plebe year and going through the same trials. They may say "the Corps has [gone to shit]" but I seem to see a trend. The Corps hasn't done anything but stay the same, even as it changes. The Long Grey Line continues, and as for me? I'm proud to be a part of it.