Animadversions.

The weblog of Joshua Drescher

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Lostandfoundblog.

April 11th, 2007 · No Comments · Misc.

So I went through the Wordpress “saved but not published” bin. There’s a bunch of random crap in it - now-dead links mostly, but also some half-formed thoughts and posts I never got around to finishing. Sadly, this version of WP didn’t save the dates, so I don’t really know how the hell long ago some of these were written. I’m resisting the urge to edit and/or finish them to make them more presentable, but doing that would probably run contrary to the point of this exercise, so you’re getting the unfinished, unvarnished raw stuff:

Title:

It’s been a long couple of weeks - for better and for worse.

Foremost amongst the “worse” candidates is the passing of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, who I’m only now getting a chance to seriously comment on. You’ll forgive me if I do my best to channel the Good Doctor a bit. It’s a COPING mechanism, you see.

I suppose the best way to start is by admitting that it’s only bad for US - the leftovers, the new filth, the cowering, pale and sweaty masses. Yeah, bubba. It’s bad news for us.

You see, Doc knew what he was doing. He chose the right WAY (admit it - anything else would’ve been a let down). He chose the right WEAPON - one that got The Job Done without leaving a huge mess of gray matter splayed across the interior of the infamous Owl Farm. Big and brawny, with a bullet that wasn’t going to flatten on exit and drag half of his skull along with it. He chose the right place - his Fortified Compound, surrounded by family and friends. And, of course, he chose the right time. A dark time. A FEARFUL time.

The Good Doctor taught me two things:

1) Respect local politics. - It may not be glamorous, but it’s the hot spot where The Action begins and even the Freaks can make a decent run at the Prize.
2) Never, ever trust anyone who seeks power and then chooses to use it. - Not EVER. Not cops, not politicians, not Men of Influence and SURE AS HELL not journalists. Power doesn’t corrupt, any more than rotting meat turns you into a fly larva, but it draws corruption to itself. There are only three types of people - those wired to abuse Power, those wired to SUBMIT to Power and those wired to fight Power - tooth and nail.

This one (obviously) was written shortly after HST committed suicide over two years ago. From the tone, I was probably drinking red wine while I wrote it.

Moving on:

Title: CONAN! What is worst in DVD commentaries?

To mumble incoherently, to state the obvious, and to make fun of the gay people!

I picked up the “Complete Quest” Conan set on sale for seven bucks a few days ago. Before I begin - I must state that Conan the Barbarian is a really good action/fantasy film. It’s well made, well cast and features one of the best soundtracks EVER. So for $7, it’s a steal - and you get the significantly less awesome (and PG rated) sequel, Conan the Destroyer as well. Pick it up, regardless of what follows:

The DVD set features a commentary track for the first film with director John Milius and Ah-nold that MAY be the single most embarrassingly awful thing ever committed to disc. As near as I can tell, neither man has watched the film in years as they spend most of their time simply explaining what had been on the screen five seconds earlier.

I was basically writing this as I watched the movie with the commentary running. I don’t think I managed to finish, which probably explains the abrupt end. The portion I DID make it through was pretty bad. Short recap (from memory, as I’m sure as hell not watching it again):

Arnold makes fun of gay people numerous times, talks about how sexy all the ladies were, offers insightful nuggets like “I’m going to come ovuh the hill on a horse here” (on screen ten seconds later, he appears on a horse) and generally bores you to tears. I also think he was eating through the entire track. Or maybe chomping on a cigar. Milius isn’t much better (John Goodman’s character in the Big Lebowski is based on him, but is FAR more interesting), but I can’t recall anything specific about his portion of the commentary.

Title: New Years Questions

2006 is behind us and with it another year of War in Iraq. While the November mid-term elections made it clear that support for the War is waning, a surprisingly large number of Americans remain steadfastly behind it.

Over the holidays, I found myself having a number of curious conversations with a handful of people who - despite the scandals, the death-toll, the mounting violence, the growing pessimism of experts in and out of our military - continue to fully back our presence in Iraq.

On one occasion, I (perhaps rudely, as it WAS in the middle of a family dinner) pressed for an explanation of that position. I was disappointed (and somewhat surprised) to find that the substance of the defense was little more than a regurgitation of Tony Snow’s Daily Slogan Round-up with effectively NO conception of what any of those buzz-phrases actually mean. I was so stunned, that I found myself lobbing question after question with increasing ferocity in the hopes that I might find SOME part of the whole of the conflict that was properly understood. No luck.

Is it possible to convince a person to change their mind if their position is built upon a foundation of utter faith and no facts? How many of the 30 or so percent of Americans who still support the President exist within the seemingly unassailable fortress of complete ignorance?

Withered and depressed, I wound up stewing over this over the following week.

Eventually, I went in the opposite direction and started probing people who vehemently oppose the War. Sadly, a similar level of “belief-not-knowledge” seemed to dominate.

In the end, I found myself wanting to ask people on both sides who have strong feelings a set of questions that - at least in my opinion - should draw from pre-requisite knowledge that one must have BEFORE attempting to make serious decisions that impact the lives of millions of innocent people in a country half a world away.

I abandoned this post, as it was long and preachy and well… not good. I wound up posting this instead.

Notes to My Future Self

  • Making a series of unfocused, erratic connections - no matter how lengthy - is not a vision.
  • If you are angry at your subordinates, you are not in control of them.
  • Arbitrary declarations are not a form of insight.
  • Capriciousness is not decisiveness.

Copied from a notebook that I wound up shredding. One of the few bits that can see the light of day without me being chased around the castle with torches and pitchforks.

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