Friday, November 19, 2010

There is No Hope for Us

It seems like every step mankind makes towards progress: emancipation, universal suffrage, the designated hitter; it takes another step backwards. Even within the last few decades we've seen ethnic cleansing, unnecessary wars, and the continuation of repressive regimes that deny equal rights to their citizens. It begs the question as to whether humans are in any way evolving into more mature and peaceful beings; or if we are destined to retain our darker habits, like seeking dominance through violence and social stratification, and watching reality television.

Sometime in June this year, after the Israel/Gaza flotilla episode, I visited the Holocaust memorial in Berlin. I wish I'd done more to capture the worst of what I saw. On it's own, Hagen Daas trash and spectators casually walking on the pillars don't seem like apathy to the slaughter of so many people. But there were better ways to make this point that I failed to capture. I didn't take a picture of the guys laughing and drinking beers. They were the first scene of disrespect I encountered, so I didn't think to take a picture because I didn't realize I was in for a full day of it. Video would have been better for these teenagers at the bottom here. They were jumping from one side to the other, using the memorial as a high-risk jungle gym. Video would have also done more justice to the girls with the bright umbrella up top were laughing it up like they were on a modeling shoot. And video of the overweight Arab looking guys walking behind them, these guys made a point to jump up on all the pillars they passed and then looked around to make sure people saw they were doing it. That's what made me think of the flotilla episode because I racially profiled their disrespect to mean they were unhappy with Israel policy and used this minor desecration of the Holocaust memorial to make their point instead of channeling their anger in a more productive fashion. Nonetheless, it made me realize how we're all fucked. Every last one of us.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Weddings/Celebrations, or How I Really Hope l Don't Die Alone

I'm in the midst of wedding planning with the future-ex. We have gone through 18 different decisions and it looks like we've come all the way around and settled on number four. We've only been doing this back and forth, settling on a decision, telling people about it and then reversing ourselves for three months. It's really really exciting stuff.

We had initially planned a destination wedding, since we're already in Europe and it would be easy on us. But then my buddies Mark (pictured right) and Amy (not pictured but way out of his league) had their wedding in Greece and it was too incredible. The food, the company, the villa where we all stayed, the small restaurant with a patio where they had their wedding at sunset, it really was some of the most amazing time I've spent on this earth. (Only slightly behind the times I get stuck watching an entire season of a TV show or playing Civ 4 until 3 in the morning.) I don't want to spend too much time gushing over how great their wedding was because of the proper gender roles for males in the United States and all. But the point is it made me and the little lady realize that we shouldn't do a destination wedding. We could never pull it off. Their friends and family were all pretty wonderful and got along so well. And our families, well, they wouldn't, to a possibly disastrous degree.

So we're going for a get-in get-out, four hour, hope-no-one-we-love-does-anything-too-embarrassing type of wedding. The other good aspect of a four hour wedding is that it'll help us avoid thinking too hard about how we've let our friendships slide because we really never see or talk to these people anymore and how we're terribly, terribly alone in this world so this marriage better work out or we better have really caring children.

Anyways, we're going to keep it down to about 40 people so please don't be too upset if you're not invited. If there's one thing this wedding process has taught me is that I can't believe how many weddings I thought I would've been invited to but justifiably wasn't. Completely reasonable choices there everybody. We really don't know each other well enough to blow that kind of money on food and drinks. So I'm sorry I sent those letter bombs. In hindsight, that may have been an overreaction.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Season 2 of The Wire Could Help Us Win in Afghanistan

The second season of The Wire gets a bad rap from everybody I know. While it's not the best season (4 clearly is), it's under appreciated. My friends don't like it because it's not the gangster shoot-'em-up of the other seasons. This misses the point. The second season went to a dying-but-once-proud industry, the stevedores at the docks, in a dying-but-once-proud city. That enabled The Wire to make the show more than a look at the inner-city problems and focus on the dysfunctions of Baltimore as a whole; a city with a civil service that doesn't genuinely care about helping the public and a public that has few genuine employment opportunities for it's lower educated. The only hope they have to improve their economic lot is to steal stuff off of boats or get involved in the drug trade.

This is the closest to a news article that I could find on what's going on with Army supplies in Afghanistan. But that article, like me, doesn't precisely get to my point. The goods that those trucks we're carrying on their way to Afghanistan went through the ports at Karachi. And a lot of the goods going through Karachi are connexes carrying Soldiers' personal gear. These connexes are getting pinched at an alarming rate. At the claims conference I just went to, we were given instructions on how to prepare Soldiers for recovering the value of their lost items, because it's almost a guarantee that a good percentage of Soldiers will have their stuff stolen.

So this is where the second season of The Wire comes in. If only the Taliban, warlords, or sticky-fingered Pakistani dockworkers could watch some pirated DVDs of season 2, they could see that they're not much different from the lower-educated working poor of the United States. We also have people who were born and raised where the opportunity to succeed was stunted because of poor socioeconomic conditions that were then exasperated by a corrupt and inefficient government. We too have people seeking to improve their lot by stealing from cargo containers or selling drugs. And once our enemies see this, maybe they'll empathize with us. Maybe this empathy will move them away from killing us, and allow our Soldiers to establish a more peaceful regime; a regime that doesn't tolerate terrorists and has more rights for females, even if that regime isn't much more democratic and is ridiculously corrupt.

At the very least, here's hoping that season 2 of The Wire becomes better appreciated. God knows with the laptops, flat-screen televisions, and DVDs that have been stolen from our connexes, our enemies have the opportunity to watch it.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

We Never Got Around to that Mob Justice

I just read The Big Short. Thanks for sending that Moms. The book made the financial panic from a few years ago fresh in my mind. You know, the one where the douchebags walked away with their millions, jobs, and positions of financial and political power despite needing billions of no-strings attached taxpayer money to keep their industries alive.

So this rekindled my rage. Impotent, impotent rage. And I was wondering if anyone wanted to get some pitchforks and burn down some mansions in Connecticut? I'm pretty sure it would make us all feel better. And God knows those guys never got what was coming to them. I'll be in the area next June. Please let me know.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Boast Post

I just maxed my push-ups and sit-ups on my last PT test. An anecdote in Where Men Win Glory says Pat Tillman couldn't do that in a PT test he failed before Ranger school. So I guess that means I'm more hardcore than Pat Tillman, if you ignore the fact that he passed Ranger school, saw combat, and played in the NFL, which I will.

I scored a 288 out of 300 on the physical test, a physical test that is used as a metric in evaluating JAG attorneys. So this is good news, since the more push-ups and sit-ups I do then the better lawyer I am. It's all very exciting.

Friday, August 13, 2010

I Just Can't Quit Pat Tillman

I don't know why. Maybe it's because I'm still fighting the battle over the mendacity of the Bush Administration, especially as it relates to one of the most unjust and unnecessary wars this great country has ever fought. Or maybe it's because I'm an Army lawyer, and we didn't do the greatest work in the 15-6 investigations and deep down I wonder if I would have done any better if I had been in that position. Or maybe it's because I'm honorable and I value the truth for its own sake, and I respect what Pat Tillman sacrificed and it's unbelievable how his sacrifice was betrayed by his country. God I hope it's just that last one.

Regardless, there's an article in the Huffingpost. The upshot of the article is that there's a movie on Pat Tillman coming out. And for some publicity, the makers of the movie released two of of Pat Tillman Sr.'s letters to the Army. These letters are incredible. They got me all fired up about the handling of Tillman's death again. As Sr. lays out, it seems almost impossible that there was not an organized cover-up. This was one of the messages of Krakauer's book, although Krakauer placed the blame on the Bush Administration's desire to distract from Abu Ghraib in an election year. Man, I can't wait for that movie. Here's hoping that movie will allow more people to finally accept that the Bush Administration was one of the worst things to ever happen to this country. Maybe then we won't elect those who remind us of them to a position where they can do our country so much damage. (I'm talking about you Sarah Palin.)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It's Almost Like I've Accomplished Something

It's so exciting to get back into this blogging business and have one comment in my last five posts (thanks Pops). In the paraphrased words of Kilgore Trout, it's like I'm opening a window and making love to the world with my writing here.

Anyways, this post is really about my friend. Have any of you (and by you I mean my Pops) ever felt like you did something great through the accomplishments of others? And I'm not just talking about Lakers' fans here. I'm referring to my buddy who is clerking for Scalia in the 2011-2012 term. It's just effing incredible. I can't help but feel a little proud, even though I didn't do a damn thing. He always was the smartest one in our classes. And with this on his resume he'll never have to worry about employment the rest of his life. There probably is a downside to this somewhere. Like how he'll have to suffer silently while his boss reads out phrases like "well regulated militia" or goes all living Constitution for a one-off and says it violates equal protection to manually recount votes for Republican presidential candidates who 'legitimately' claim elections. But that's such a small down side. It's just pretty effing incredible and I can't wait to hit him up for a job and/or money in the near future.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Octopus Proves Everything we Thought about Religion and Science is Wrong

I'm afraid that people are unwilling to admit the full implication of Paul the octopus's predictions. In predicting the winner of games, Paul took longer to predict the winner in close matches. This shows that the final scores weren't just revealed to him. That closer games took longer to predict means Paul saw the future on some fast forwarded Tivo-like apparatus, and in those closer games he had to watch the game all the way to the end.

The implication of this is clear, with special talents and perceptions a sentient being can see the future. Perhaps it is not seeing. Perhaps it is simply understanding that time is but an illusion. Nonetheless, the fact that an octopus of all creatures is first to demonstrate this ability shows two things: modern science and the Judeo/Chrisitian/Islamic model of understanding the world is horrendously flawed. For both the JCI model and modern science completely rule out the possibility of a lowly invertebrate predicting future world events. For science, man is the dominant creature who contains the highest level of sentient functions. It looks like in that 95% of dark matter that science cannot currently comprehend, some entity is projecting World Cup soccer matches that humans cannot currently perceive. And for the JCI, there are but one God (or three depending on how you count that Trinity), a God who reveals his majesty to human prophets, not eight-legged ink producers incapable of profiting off this knowledge at a sports book.

So how does the octopus access this higher level of consciousness, one where future events are fast-forwarded? We cannot be sure. But the facts before us are starkly clear, this realm exists and it is possible to be accessed. This octopus has done so. It remains for the rest of us to discover it as well. The first one to do so gets crowned the new Jesus/Ace Rothstein. Here's hoping it is I.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Legal No-Man's Land

I came across this news story a few weeks ago. I couldn't blog about it then because the future ex-Mrs Fantastic was still in town and she's demanding of my time.

So the upshot of that article is that a US Army civilian threatened to kill his neighbor with an ax. The neighbor had been blowing a vuvuzela during a World Cup game. This threat took place in the city of Weiden, the lovely German city I live in. So coupled with that I'm also an attorney for the Army, I can offer insight as well as geographic proximity to this story.

Here is that insight: The US Army civilian is an a unique place legally. If the Germans do not prosecute a US civilian criminally then the civilian faces no criminal sanction. The US authorities may bar a civilian from post or from receiving a stay beyond a tourist visa. And of course those can be punishments and/or annoyances, but they don't go on your permanent record the same way a conviction does. The only blemish to one's permanent record is that a MP report is created with the civilian's name as the subject. If that civilian later seeks a job with the government the report will be available during the background check, making employment harder to come by. And of course, this civilian who threatened Germans with an ax may lose his or her current job. However, considering the amount of US civilians out here, especially the number of children to servicemembers, one does not have to think too hard about situations in which criminal acts may go unpunished, especially since this is a much more decriminalized society than ours. So if a crime is simply at a minimum level where the Germans do not care to prosecute, then even if an American district attorney or Army Judge Advocate would prosecute the case if they could, the US civilian will face no criminal sanction.

Any who, the main point of this post is that I was in a unique position to discuss this case a few weeks ago when it happened. That's Weiden on the right. The young Germans blow vuvuzelas all the time here and it's annoying enough to drive a person to threaten murder. And since I couldn't blog about this story when it happened I had to settle for comments on other websites, where I tried to make the points made above, although much briefer, on my new favorite website, Deadspin. But the authors/editors of Deadspin deleted two of my attempts to share these valuable insights. And what's even more enraging, is that something similiar happened at Gawker a week prior to the Deadspin deletions, except that at Gawker another commenter stole the joke I had made in a subsequent comment of his own.

So essentially the entire point of this post is that I spend too much time making internet comments and checking on the responses, only to see the jokes stolen and the comments deleted. It's a ridiculous state of affairs. If it were not for the power of the Uniformed Code of Military Justice to punish me, I would ax chop every last one of them.

Hitler is More Evil than Lebron James, but just Barely

So Lebron James engages in an hour of ridiculous self-promotion and people on the interwebs completely lose their minds. Deadspin goes nuts, which is weird since they're so good at making fun of shit that needs to be made fun of and not the slightly annoying stuff that this is. Case in point, it's great when they go after owners of sports franchises who are truly insane.

But my God, a superstar athlete acts like an attention hungry man-child and the world goes crazy. Keep in mind that he's also trying to take the sting out of losing $30 million by raising his brand name. He was hoping to get some more endorsements and jersey sales but he miscalculated and came across like an ass. Yes it's douchey to be so self-important, but Lebron did arrange for the ad money from this spectacle to go to charity so are you really that mad? It's not his fault he lives in a saturated media culture. He's just using it for his own purposes. So he's self-centered. Whatever. He's not running for Jesus so can everyone just calm the eff down?

Anyways, my favorite overreaction has been by Bill Plashke. He called Lebron James crass, callous and a coward. To sum up Plashke's rant, he's basically saying Lebron James broke up with the city that loved him in the wrong way and that he was undeserving of this attention since he never won a championship.

Dealing with that first idiocy, really? You're outraged the guy made an announcement on TV? Maybe Lebron should have taken Cleveland out to lunch. Except that might be a little pricey to take out a few million people at once and he did just lose $30 million. Perhaps he should have done what the new media darling Kevin Durant did. Durant tweeted his decision to get the max contract from his home team. And now loyal is every sportswriter's favorite word, like an athlete is supposed to stay with a team no matter what. It doesn't matter how incapable the team is of ever winning a championship due to it's small market nature and bat-shit crazy owner. Loyalty is the new metric by which we measure athletes, not how much they desire winning.

But what's even more ridiculous is that Plashke is so enraged that he won't give Lebron any credit at all. He also wrote, "Don't buy the spin that, because he could have made a guaranteed $30 million more on a potential Cavaliers contract, James is leaving Cleveland only because he wants to win." Really? Then why is he walking away from that $30 million? Shits and giggles? So he can live a Buddhist life of austerity?

Bill never offers a reason why Lebron took less money. He just offers why Lebron couldn't win in Cleveland. Apparently Lebron "left because he didn't have the innards to take the final step with complementary players that the Cavaliers continued to acquire." So apparently Lebron didn't win because he didn't have the proper innards for winning. So the Cleveland roster was filled with players who could win a championship, if only Lebron's innards were built for said winning. Maybe if Lebron had a better gastrointestinal tract he could have stopped Manu Ginobli, Tony Parker and Tim Duncan from running all over a Cleveland team that had Daniel Gibson starting in a finals series. Or maybe a less immuno-deficient spleen could have made Ilgouskis or Varajo defend Dwight Howard one-on-one in 2009, preventing Orlando from swinging the ball around to their unguarded 3 point shooters. Or maybe stronger stomach acid could have dissolved Rajon Rondo and prevented him from throwing down Oscar Roberston style triple-doubles against an over-matched Cleveland back-court. Seriously, does anyone still think Cleveland team is worth anything? What happens when that team hovers at .500 and barely makes the play-offs next year? Will Plashke attribute their sucking to Delonte West's innards? Or will it force him admit that Lebron James is the best basketball player on the planet who made a pretty mediocre team one of the league's best and after 7 years of trying to win with a franchise that couldn't attract another legitimate player, Lebron has now done what every sports writer has always asked a super star athlete to do, to be less selfish and take less money and focus on winning a championship? Oh no it won't, cause loyalty is how we measure athletes now. We should pick athletes the same way we pick our puppies, that will put people in the seats and banners in the rafters.

Anyways, I do have some last minor points. For anyone who says the Florida tax laws make up for walking away from $30 million then you are an idiot. Ohio taxes income above $200,000 at 6%. And for you mental retards who would say such a thing let me do that math for you: Lebron is losing around $28 million by going to Miami. (Of course this doesn't compare property or sales tax but I can't imagine they make up for that final $28 million in a significant way.) Secondly, saying Lebron didn't win a championship so he's undeserving of attention ignores how overrated championships are when evaluating the talent of players in team sports. How good a player is is neither sufficient or necessary for winning a trophy. Should Steve Kerr get an hour on television to talk about how he landed ass-backwards onto amazing teams to win 5? Or maybe Kobe would like to talk about how he wanted to leave the Lakers in the beginning of 2007, you know, because there wasn't enough talent around him to get him out of the first round of the playoffs? Is that the type of intestinal fortitude Plashcke is talking about? Whining about not having enough talent and then having your GM steal Pau Gasol for a ham sandwich in one of the most unfair trades in the history of mankind?

So in conclusion, people are ridiculous and get angry over ridiculous things. And for some reason the media turns against a person and then creates arbitrary standards on how to evaluate their new darling. I cannot wait for the day that Kevin Durant tweets or updates his facebook status or pod casts his trade demand to a contender.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I Don't Even Believe in Jebus

Here's a pic of a giant Jesus statue before it caught on fire. It made me think of some hi-larious jokes. Too bad I already emailed these jokes around, so the five people who read this blog have already read them. But my dad hasn't, so here they are again.

1. that jesus had it coming

2. wait, large metal objects attract lighting? who knew.

3. don't worry, in three days there will be a new giant jesus statue.

4. definitive proof that the apocolypse is coming.

i'll be here all night people.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

So You're Saying We're Going to Take a "Wait and See" Approach on the Revolution?

I've been following this health care debate closely. Pretty entertaining stuff. And I came across a pretty funny post at Redstate.

So with passage of this health care legislation looking imminent, this Redstate poster wants every one to know that now isn't the time for a revolution. He thinks it best to work within the system. How nice. He's so reasonable.

So we've gotten to the point where if you disagree with legislation passed by a majority in the house and 59 senators then you have to cajole other people on your side not to violently overthrow the government. Well, at least for the time being. I mean, now we're just talking about reducing future deficits by over a trillion dollars and making sure insurers can't disqualify you for preexisting conditions. But maybe if we had a non-profit insurance option that is funded entirely by private premiums but administered by the government, well then we'll get the blood running in the streets.

Anyways, while trying to post these comments at Redstate I noticed that they only accept opinions of people who agree with them. Which is also nice and reasonable of them. So unfortunately I won't get to challenge their view points directly. Instead I'm going to post some crazy Google search terms in the hopes that some of them will come across this post:

Obamacare, death panels, tyranny, Rush Limbaugh, revolution, kill this bill, Obama is the anti-Christ, I hate those I predefined as my enemy so even when they propose sensible legislation that doesn't drain the Treasury like the Medicare Prescription Drug Act that I supported I completely lose all sense of proportion and start talking about revolution in the name of the Founding Fathers even though their revolution set up the process that is being followed here, Sean Hannity has good hair, deem and pass.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Short Story

So I'm posting a short story of mine here. I tried to post it way back when but gave up when it wouldn't work. Not this time. I won't be discouraged this time. (Unless no one likes it. Then I'll be really discouraged and probably alternate between self-pity and self-aggrandizement and do ridiculous stuff like send my friends emails with a link to this old gem as a coping mechanism.) Any who, here it is:


“Yes it’s true, but I don’t like talking about it. Can we drop it?”

“I don’t mind you doesn’t bother me.”

“Let’s just drop it.”

“Fine...but just know that I don’t care. We’ve all done things that we’re embarrassed about.”

“Yea, I know. It’s just that this was one of those things that I really didn’t want you to know about it. It’s sooo embarrassing.”

“I know, Baby...but it’s knowing these things that make relationships stronger.”

“I don’t know about that...”

“Of course, Honey. You can’t truly love someone unless you know about them completely.”

“I don’t know... I think there still are some things you should keep from each other.”

“Really? You’re keeping things from me?”

“No... It’s just that you can’t see someone completely and still love them...”

“Well...maybe at first...I do agree that you got to be careful at first...uh...but, uh, but not forever...wait, maybe you’re...”



“What were you saying?

“I wasn’t.”

“Yes you were. You trailed off there...What were you saying?”

“It’s nothing.”

“What do you mean it’s nothing? What were you going to say?”


“Don’t do this. I know what you’re trying to do.”


“You wanted to say something. Something’s on your mind.”

“’s just that you can’t reveal too much information in the beginning of a relationship... You’re right...”

“Uh., huh.”



“I don’t know...this is awkward now...”


“Ok, it’s just that... This conversation. And I don’t know, it’s got me thinking of something I hadn’t thought of in a while...”

“Uh huh.”

“Well, to say this the best’s’s just that I’ve killed a man.”


“Ha, now calm down... It’s not what it sounds like... It’s just...well...I don’t want to keep any secrets from you.”


“Ok, I can see you’re upset. Like I said, it’s not what it sounds like... It
was a few Christmases ago... You know my family goes to the bar on Christmas Eve?”


“Well I was driving on the way back…and I was a little buzzed... Everybody was pretty tanked. We were just having a good time like we always do... It's not like I was doing anything terrible. I was just driving a little buzzed is all."


"And then we were driving on this bridge, this narrow icy bridge, and I see a guy standing off the side of it...”


"And it was the holidays. You know how people get during the holidays. So I stop the car... And I get out, to see how he's doing...and he's just staring out, looking down at the water. So like I said I'm a little buzzed, and I inch closer and I think ‘ I'll probably be helping this guy out. If he really wants to do it but he's afraid. You know, he’s obviously alone, just probably too big of a coward to pull it off.’ So I push him. Like I said, help him out you know."

"Oh my God!"

"Yea, so I get back in the car, and drive home."

"Wait, wait. Wait, your family saw you do this?!?"

"Yea it was their idea. So anyways, we go back home, go to bed, wake up the
next day and open the presents and what not.”

“What do you mean it was their idea?!?”

“Honey, please, I’m in the middle of my story here... Anyways, so we eat the turkey, watch some basketball, and then later in the day we see it's all over the news, the story of the 'Falling Fiancée.'"


"Yea, crazy huh? Apparently the guy was out on the bridge to ask his fiancée to marry him. He'd made this enormous banner. That was the route they were taking the next day. And he'd pinned it to the bridge. But to pin it he had to climb over the railing, on the side. So, so like when I saw him, he wasn't going to jump, he was just asking his girlfriend to marry him."

“Oh my God!"


"Oh my God! Oh my God! That was you?!”

"Yea. Crazy huh?"

"Oh my God! I remember that. That was all over the news! And this whole time
they’ve thought it was just an accident! They thought he'd fallen...oh my God...that girl was so sad. She'd had her Christmas ruined...her life...everything."


"Wow...I can't believe it... This whole time, that was you, and no one has any idea."

"Yea, well...except for my family...and now you..."




“So you can see why I waited this long to tell you?”

“...yea...yea...I'm not sure I could have continued seeing you if I knew that earlier."

"I know! That’s my point…”

“Wow...I don’t know. I just don’t know what to think...”

“I know Baby. It’ll take some time...but I mean, don’t you sort of already feel closer to me?”

“I don’t know...”

“C’mon, just a little bit.”

“I don’t know.”

“C’mon Baby...just a teency, eency littie itty bit?

“He-he...ok, but just a little bit.”

“Ok Baby...(they kiss)...thanks know you can’t say anything

“Of course.”

“Not to anybody.”

“I said of course.”

“I know what you said, but you tell your sister everything…and you can’t tell her.”

“I won’t tell her.”

“Promise? ”

“God I promise, jeez. Relax.”

“Ok ok...It’s just you like telling her stuff.”

“I told you I wouldn’t.”




“Hey you got to promise me something though.”

“What’s that, Honey?”

“You got to promise that you won’t ask me with a banner. That’s so lame."

“Ha. You don’t have to worry. I got it all planned out. I’m going to ask you at a baseball game.”

“Oh God! No way! I’m saying no if you do.”

“Ha-ha. That makes it even better. Think how funny that would be for
everyone watching?”

“God you’re so weird.”

“You know you love that about me, Baby... (they kiss again)

“He-he...thanks Babe. But I’m serious. Don’t ask me at a baseball game.”