Sunday, December 02, 2007

Weekend Skimming

Still out of focus because of family matters, the last day or two of blogging/reading have been a welcome escape.

(My observation is that the worlds of home and work are like a see-saw. Most of the time I go to work because I have to pay the rent. I have learned to make the best of it by appreciating and enjoying the people, business and other activities that go along with what may be one of the world's most tedious vocations: the food business. There are times, however, that life at home is so frustrating that it is a welcome escape to go to work. It's often the only place in the world where I have any real control over what's happening. That's not because I was in management, although that helps, but because the rules are easy to know and follow. Whatever happens you know what to expect. Even when eveything goes horribly wrong there are ways to deal with it. And mostly everyone understands, even the customers. If there is a fire in the kitchen or a patron passes out in the dining room it messes with everyone's experience, but like a car crash on the expressway, everyone seems to put up with it and get on with their day. At home, that is often not the case. Whatever went badly wrong does not fade into history. It can ferment and corrupt the best of relationships for hours, days, or weeks. In some cases years can pass and it never goes away. The effects of substance abuse, for example, can make anyone greatful to get out of the house and go to work. You get the idea. Usually I am able to balance these two worlds, but in my post-retirement life the world of blogging and online reading have replaced the workplace as my alternative world. That's what I meant by the opening line of this post.)

After a day or two of reading here are a few items sticking in my head.

►Deborah White is beginning to mistrust Barack Obama because he's using Republican talking points. She keeps her finger on the Liberal political pulse because that's her job (she works for the NY Times, you know) and I think she may be right. But since I'm not bound by professional identifiers as a textbook Liberal I am more open to what he may be doing. I think he's not running for Nominee as much as he is running for President. Go read her column and my comment and see what you think.

►Since a year or two ago I have been keeping up with a soldier who is now serving a second tour in Iraq. He has a gift for using the mother tongue that defies description. (Caution: profanity ahead...just be prepared.) He didn't blog much, but his description of a memorial for a fallen comrade brought tears to my eyes as well as his. Time went by. His blog stayed quietly in the aggregator. The recently he resumed blogging. If you want to know what a regular young soldier has to say and get a genuine feel for what life is like in the military, this is a good place to go.

I've come to pretty much adopt the arabic word Insh'allah. I use it when things don't really go the way we expect, like stupid army shit happening? Insh'allah. The word itself is deeply rooted within the Muslim religion, I suppose it's translation loosely means the will of god, or god's will. From what I've read, in Arabic culture, the word itself is used in 3 ways. In Iraq, from what I've gathered and understood, they use it as a form of hope, like hopefully none of my men in my company will get hurt, Insh'allah. Or when things go wrong, Inshallah...God's Will. The third is the the most unique to me. In Iraqi culture, and maybe even the rest of the Arab world, saying no is regarded as rude, so instead so saying no, they say insh'allah. In essence, if it happens it happens, if not, then not. Insh'allah.
thing that constantly blows my mind even though I know it happens all the time is the amount of pending divorces in my unit. So-fucking-many. One of my guys check out his wife's myspace only to find a picture of her and another man together as a profile picture, one other guy's wife is moving to colorado all of a sudden and took all the money, funny thing though, is that he's only pissed off because she's taking the dog too. It sickens me the fucking weak willed women, abandoning their husbands because they're, like they're the only ones? It's bullshit. That's why however long I'm in the Army, I will refure to be married. I won't be the one who says "It'll never happen to me" and then see my wife ruin me. I'd never recover.
I'm really interested in Islam, I mean, I'm not a religious person at all. I'm a firm believer of karma, but religion in general is just an interesting subject, especially Islam. It's very unfortunate that most Americans are too lazy or too scared to learn about the truth of Muslim people and learn about their culture and their history, rather than be bullied around into being scared of it. In the time that I've been here I've gotten to know our Iraqi Army Soldiers, they live with us here at our PB, eat with us, sleep with us, patrol with us, smoke with us, and joke with us. They are some of the kindest, most genuine people I've ever met. They are a true representation of the Average Iraqi and true muslims.

It's a long post flowing straight from the heart. Read the whole piece to know the context of these excerpts.
And be sure to read about Cigarettes.

One of the Aqoul group picked up this...

Marjorie, an expatriate blogger in Qatar who often tackles social and religious issues, brought my attention to that country's first survey of violence against women. Not only had nearly two-thirds of women polled been beaten, over two in five believed they deserved it.

I want to make a comment, but don't know where to begin.

►One more piece is still in my head but I can't recover the link. Condi Rice was at this week's Annapolis convening of principles from the ME in yet another attempt to advance the peace process between Israel and the Palestinians. With the best of good intentions, I'm sure, she used herself and the experience of black Americans in the Civil Rights movement to illustrate how deeply she related to the peace process. Unfortunately, her remarks pissed off both sides. [See the next post. Max Boot was not the source I read, but his take on Rice's...can we say contribution? the Annapolis meeting echoes what I read.]

►I haven't done all my homework yet, but at first glance Edwards' ideas look good. This is from Roger Payne's blog. He is one of the Duck of Minerva group.

PART OF EDWARDS' PROPOSAL - Create universal retirement accounts that would require employers to offer savings plans for workers who can't access pensions. Edwards said the first $500 workers save would be matched dollar-for-dollar with a tax credit that would be paid for by capital gains taxes.

PAYNE'S COMMENT - Those retirement accounts would be mobile, allowing workers to change jobs without losing their pension plans. Paired with a universal health care plan, these mobile new entitlements would provide a real increase in financial security and employment flexibility for American workers.


Anonymous said...


I once heard a very unique idea. Cancel Congress's health care coverage until they can come up with and inplement a plan for all of us-including them. It won't happen but we can dream. Rock on luby's


Hoots said...

I heard the same thing. Only problem is the initiative has to come from the very people who would be doing the cancelation.

The simplest idea I have heard: Medicare for everyone. That leaves the private sector alone (except for the administrative nightmare of billing, coding and collecting) and solves the portability problem.

I'm just glad finally to see a serious public discussion. It's only about fifteen or twenty years overdue.