Monday, June 27, 2005

AdventureSam

Well, Sam aka Jungle Sam aka Afghanisam aka Adventuresam has come and left, and there is a hole in my heart that can only be filled by certain carnies, whackjobs, and 30+ cretins that act like 12 year olds. It's always good to be with the "crew". The "crew" is the 'generation' of guys that I was stationed in Hawaii with -- we're kind've a special brotherhood that where when we're together, everything is OK and natural. Sure, we bicker and get pissed off at each other, but we all share the same brain and always have a good time when we're together.

Taking Sam around Tokyo was really awesome. I like to show people around Tokyo because I know it fairly well, and know a lot of the good spots to take people to. It might sound kind've silly, but it's really one of the only major cities that I know well enough to do that in. I guess I know Kabul pretty well, but I would caution people against going there as there are few things to really see (aside from filth, poverty, and cholera), and I'm not there right now so it's kind've pointless. Kabul doesn't have much of a tourist industry I guess.

Here's a picture of Sam and me at Tokyo Tower.


If you're wondering whether or not that's a beer in Sam's hand, you probably don't know Sam. The answer is yes - he bought it at the convenience store at the foot of the tower and cruised around with it in the observation deck. Japan rocks cuz it doesn't have any open container laws, but the only people you really see walking around with booze are foreigners and homeless people. I think the foreigners do it more 'cuz they can. Americans like to do things because they can.

Sam's an easy guy to cruise around with because he's down to do anything, low maintenence, and likes to get shitfaced and talk to people. I don't really have to worry about him [much] when we go out, assuming I've taken proper measures to give him phone numbers and very explicit instructions on what to do if he pulls a ninja or chases after a butterfly and gets lost. Since we're not working with each other, I didn't get mad at him like I did every other day in Afghanistan, so it was very very non-stressful. God bless thee, AdventureSam.

Anyway, nothing too new to report... Work is going very well, and I've repressed the Japanese people I work with to the point that they do what I say and their new team leader likes me and has my back. Yippee! I don't have any tirades to go on at the moment, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

I am a Fascist.

So yeah, every so often in the news, there's something about THE DRAFT and everyone goes completely fucking bonkers. Sometimes it's almost as if the media is like, "Hey, have we mentioned anything about the draft lately?" and some dude in the back is like, "Uh naw, it's about that time," and then they mention it again, juuuust to keep people on their toes. Juuuust to instill the right amount of paranoia to keep people against hostile engagements with people who would chop off your head without thinking twice.

I find this interesting on a number of different levels -- I wonder what peoples' reasons for being against the draft would be, i,e. would they be based on an ideal or simple self preservation? They'd rather not be bothered? How many people would actually go, and if they did, how many of them would be malingering little bitches? In this day and age, how many people would decide that society had called upon them, and as someone who enjoys the benefits of society, it was time for them to make a little sacrifice of their own? What would the breakdown of socio-economic levels look like? Interesting stuff, I reckon.

Robert Heinlein has some wicked social commentaries in his books. His basic message is usually something like this: 1) The needs of the individual will never take precedence over the needs of society, 2) everyone needs to do their part, and 3) average individuals can do huge things when they work together and are creative. I'm sure there are a lot of other things in there too, but those are the 3 that I came up with just now. Anywho, in Starship Troopers (it's a good book, so don't bash it just cuz you thought the movie was goofy, which it was, but it still kicked ass in its own right), in order to be a citizen / vote / run for public office, you had to do national service. Here was the idea: People choosing the nation's leaders and people who actually were the nation's leaders had to be a part of something that was difficult to join, easy to quit, and required a person to have some serious perseverance for a selfless reason. If you quit or didn't join, you could enjoy the benefits of society, but you had no say in how society was run or who would run it.

OK, yeah, the book is fiction, and no bug creatures are hurling asteroids at our planet, but it's a pretty interesting idea - something that I think about a lot. I often wonder how practical it would be to have an enforced national service policy in the USA, keeping in mind that joining the Military is not the only way a person can serve their country. Jobs like being a teacher, public defender, cop, nurse, etc etc could count, and everyone would have to do, say, 3 years of "national service" in order to earn the right to vote and hold public office. Three years is not a lot of time. A person could graduate high school or college, do their three years, not get paid very much, then move on. It wouldn't even have to be like South Korea, where if men don't do their 2 years required service in the military, they can't get a job. You could get a job without doing national service, no problem. You could make a fuckload of money right out of college. But you would not be able to participate in choosing elected officials because you don't place a high value on doing your part. Maybe people who stayed on in their "national service" jobs could get pay raises, tax breaks, etc.. I think that after the system was in place for a while, it would be "self propagating' in a way. Maybe being able to vote would be a cool thing; something people would aspire to be able to do. Maybe the general attitude would be, "Well, I did my time, you need to do yours too, punk." Maybe it would motivate people to go out there and earn the privledge to vote. Taking part in the political process would require more than just words or casting a ballot - it would require a person to actually contribute and make sacrifices to assist society, and the act of voting would have a certain amount of credibility and self sacrifice attached to it.

OK, so I'm sure there are people that would read the aforementioned madness and flip-the-freak-out. I'd like to hear reasons why it's fucked up or fascist or blahblahblah. I'm not talking about logistical problems, administrative problems, etc, cuz I know that would be a complete nightmare, especially since if it WERE implemented a lot of people would be looking for ways to get out of it but still maintain the right to vote.

Your thoughts?

Friday, June 03, 2005

"...Our God is an Awesome God," aka "...Durp!"

Durp. It's the sound a stupid person makes when they decide to have a random utterance. DURP. I guess it could also be an acronym. Distinctively Under-evolved (and/or) Retarded People.

So what's this have to do with "Our God is an Awesome God!"?? Well, I saw someone driving with a plate in their back window that said OUR GOD IS AN AWESOME GOD, and the only really good response I could think of was "...durp." Ok, anyone who reads this page and actually knows me knows that I'm card carrying not-believer-in-any-spiritual-horse-pucky, but I'm gonna go ahead remove that from the matter at hand. Let's analyze the saying "Our God is an Awesome God" as objectively as possible.

  • Point 1: No shit
    Main Entry: awe‚ÄĘsome
    Pronunciation: 'o-s&m
    Function: adjective
    1 : expressive of awe
    2 : inspiring awe

    You couldn't really be a God if you weren't awesome. I mean, is there a God of being bad at stuff? Even then, the God would be so fucked up that it would inspire awe, right? Could a god be so mediocre that he would inspire awe? Anyway, it's not like someone is gonna put a sign in their car that says, "Our God is a Pedestrian God!" or "Our God is a pretty regular God". Which, oh shit, brings me to the next point:

  • Point 2: Doesn't saying "Our God is an Awesome God" kinda imply a comparison?
    Uh oh Spaghetti-Os, you're a monotheist, remember? It seems to me that "An awesome God" says that there are other Gods, but this one is wicked cool compared to the other ones. May as well say "Our God is an Awesome One." Would anyone ever say "Our Earth is an Awesome Earth"??? As opposed to what, the shitty Earth on the other side of the solar system? I guess that's what happens when hilljacks make up religious songs.

  • Point 3: Stop oppressing me please
    Key Word: "OUR." "Our" implies "Us," and in order for there to be an "Us" there has to be a "Them," and then "Their." Inclusion vs Exclusion. Why not just say "God is Awesome." Here's why: Group cohesion is strengthened by a common enemy, either real or imagined. Oldest trick in the book type thing. That itsy bitsy 3 letter word (Our) is more powerful than most people would give it credit for. Even more deadly is it's wicked twin brother, "Us." It's amazing to sit and think about how many people have been (and will be) slaughtered based on the meaning locked in those two lil letters. A-mazing.

    So what, is the person cruising around with Jesus stuff on their car trying to convince me of someting? Even if I weren't a Christian but believed in God, it would be hard to deny that any God is pretty awesome. I might think the whole Tsunami thing was kind've a dickhead move, but he/she/whatever'd still "inspire awe". Either way, why tell me this? Is the owner of the car insecure about their standing in God's eyes that they feel the need to put a sign in the window? "Jesus Flash". Does God give a shit? Is it gonna affect God's next Election Campaign?! I should put a sign in my window that says, "Your God is a Sucky God." People would come up to me and say, "What's that supposed to mean!?" and I could say, "Oh, I was talking to Muslims and stuff. You Christian? OK, you're cool." "Our" implies "Your" as well, right? (Or "Y'allz" or "Yuns") To people who believe in a different faith, being told "Our God is an Awesome God" is just a passive aggressive way of saying "Your God is a sucky God." I have more respect for the person who says the latter. :)

    Maybe I could make a sign that says, "I believe in God. I believe he's a real shit head, too. But I also believe his Son died for my sins so he has to let me in when I die. Who's more powerful now, bitch?"

    I'm so going to Hell.