Friday, July 25, 2008

Brats and Crybabies

I'm reading a new book: 13 Cent Killers: The 5th Marine Snipers in Vietnam by John J. Culbertson. And I'm enjoying it. So here's an excerpt from pgs. 56-58. The quote is from Ho Chi Minh himself (ever heard of the Ho Chi Minh Trail? Well, that guy). Minh was discussing the Vietnamese war (that's 1967, folks) with General Giap, a ruthless and brilliant strategist that had successfully routed the French from Vietnam in 1954, and was doing a good job of keeping Americans off-balance. Giap had brought up "the American body politic and its timidity and the lack of faith and patriotism expressed by American college students."

This is Ho Chi Minh's response:

"'The Americans are only interested in the 'commerciality' of their venture. They lie to their soldiers about our intentions and say that all Southeast Asia will fall to Communism.... The American industrialists grow fat like the greedy blood-bloated louses they are. We will let them feed, and when they have had their fill, they will go away and gloat over their profits. The American public is slow to learn, but not stupid. The cowards in their universities and the news media will infect the people with hopelessness and panic. You must give the Americans many casualties to unsettle their determination. Our people will suffer greatly, but we will hide the losses and the enemy must never discover how close to victory he is even now. Our soldiers are being beaten in every battle, but they understand the hardships and will do their duty. Yet the Americans, for all their reckless bravery, forget their duty. Hold the course and we shall prevail. I am certain of it!'

...Giap recognized that the American soldiers and Marines had shown implacable bravery time and again against the best troops he could muster. Giap scratched his chin and wondered how a country that produced such deadly Marines and Rangers who seemed to fight his soldiers for the mere sport of warfare could also produce the spoiled brats and crybabies that filled the halls of America's colleges and universities. Giap finally decided that there was little moral conscience or patriotic leadership at hand. .... For a people with no faith and little courage, personal greed and the love of money would always dominate the requirement for self-sacrifice and loyalty."

I could draw parallels to the US in 2008 till my head spun, but I couldn't say it any better. Ho Chi Minh understood this country better in 1967 that most of our own citizens do today.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

id's, ego's, super-ego's, so what?

Someone recently commented that they're always amused at how serious and cynical this blog is when I'm so light-hearted and funny most of the time. I got a good laugh out of it, and even compared the tone of the blog to the title of the blog, but then I got to thinking: could it be that this little aspect of my life is an outlet for my cynical side? Probably.

So then I started thinking about the breakdown of Freudian psychology; you know -- the id, ego and super-ego? And then I got to thinking "so what?"

Fact is, everyone -- in literature terms -- is a dynamic character full of multi-facets. If I were funny all the time I'd be boring to myself if no one else.

To that end though, I almost need to apologize to my readers. For if all you see here is my cynical side, then you're seeing me through a narrow lens. However, if I got all sappy or goofy, you'd wonder why this blog were "jaded" at all.

So in reality, you just wasted two minutes of your life that you could've spent looking at porn to read this little introspection without a point. However, you came here wondering if there'd be anything new to read, and now you know. So hold onto that for your silver lining, and see you next time!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Big D and and egos

It seems that some people cannot get along with their exes to the point of insanity. I get that divorces are rough, unpleasant things that cause strife, stress, and tension. I really do get that.

What I do not get is how you can spread your legs/unzip your fly for someone and create a child, and then act like such an infant yourself when it comes time to separate. If you have children and are getting/have gotten a divorce, can you not be big enough to act like responsible grown ups in front of and for the kids?

Come on people. "Hey, it's my weekend with lil' Johnny, so I'll swing by about 6 pm on Friday" isn't a big deal. Why must the childish exes act like it's the end of the known world? "Oh, I can't talk to my ex. He'll/ she'll just have to drive up and honk the horn." Get over yourselves. This is the same person you once loved enough to create a child with. Now love your kids enough to give them as much emotional stability as a divorce can possibly offer and pretend to get along with your ex. Please.

I was a child of one of those divorces where my parents couldn't be in the same room with each other. I was afraid to ask them both to my high school graduation. I was terrified to ask my dad to walk me down the aisle because my mother was going to be at the wedding. I planned separate visitations for each of them to see their own grandchild so they wouldn't run in to each other.

Honestly, my dad's death has freed me up from a lot of that ridiculous stress/nonsense.

And quite frankly, parents who do that to their kids SUCK. If you're one of those parents, you're as big an ass as my parents were.

My suggestion: act like your kids are as important to you as you say they are and do right by them.

*note: victims of abuse are exempt from this little rant. In that case, keep yourself and your kids as far away from the abuser as possible unless and until you are ordered by the courts to allow visitation.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Grand Canyon

It's a big hole in the ground, that scientists believe to have been carved by the Colorado River and its tributaries, with none of those rivers being any wider than they are now.

It's hard to stand at the edge of the Grand Canyon and imagine this itty bitty trickle of water some mile down carving that whole thing. The rocks seem sturdier than that. I even have a hard time imagining the whole thing being filled to the brim like a large lake that drained out leaving those formations.

I believe that the Grand Canyon would be even more impressive from inside the canyon. The only ways to do that include rafting the river, hiking, or riding a mule down. All of those take prior planning; we just left I-40 and drove on up.

As it is, I have some neat shots from the South entrance to the state park at mid-morning. I've seen the photos indicative of how different the canyon looks at different times of the day. These two are from 8:30 am to 10 am.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Carlsbad Caverns

I took these with ambient light and no flash. So if that last one isn't perfectly crisp, you know why.

The "entrance" to Carlsbad Caverns is an 850 feet walk down through several small rooms. Then the big room, the guided tours, the bottomless pit, the restaurant that serves sandwiches and chips, the souvenir stand, the restrooms, and the elevator back out of the place.

The day we were there, the restaurant ran out of sandwiches. We could choose between some half-dozen varieties of Gatorade, water, or coffee. The only thing to eat was a snack bag of Fritos. So much for my great idea of eating in the cave.

Even so, dragging my four year old to the bottom of this big cave turned out pretty well. He got a little cranky after two hours and all that walking, but the kid held up. What does he remember? The restaurant with the Fritos. Good thing I took photos.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Happy 5th of July

I'm late with my merry wishes.

It's because I spent the 4th barbequeing, eating watermelon, chasing kids, lighting sparklers, making s'mores, and standing on a pickup camper shell to peer over a privacy fence to watch fireworks.

Hope everyone else enjoyed the 4th as well.