Saturday, March 05, 2016

That yearly update...


So this is where I plug something in that serves as a place holder for doing something with this blog. Anything at all. As always fairly esoteric mix of my life in the last year. But FINALLY we've got some pics of the knuckle heads doing what they do.
 Basa slobbers something fierce. If you want to read about his namesake you can actually find it here. It's like Ole Yeller except with Turks playing the part of the rabid coyote. Or Austrians, I forget which. Suffice to say they're being dicks.
 BAM! On point. This is what it's all about.
 We were taking a water break between passes in a milo field. Lady Bird is not only a true love bug but also my star in the field.
 I took an Adult Onset Hunter (AOH) [not to be confused with the AoH] up deer hunting this year for his first time. As I had my deer tag for a late season plains hunt I toted my shotgun along and nabbed a couple of blue grouse along the way.
Just a view from the side of the mountain. This is the best part of hunting.
 My friend was successful in his quest for a deer. As a thank you for sighting in his gun for him, taking him to "my spot", helping him haul his doe out five miles, and then butchering it on the spur of the moment when the freezer he was storing it in died he gave me some meet. This is what I did with it. That's backstrap and it was delicious.
 Opening weekend for pheasant in Kansas at a fertilizer depot where some family members work. That's the old man and the primary son. Lady Bird is inspecting the rooster my brother nabbed during a massive flush.

This was our kitchen when we were out in Kansas. Lets review the items because why not?
McBarrons Navy flake pipe tobacco (for me)
Dogtra e-collars
Collapsible water bowl for the dogs
Couple of rooster feathers beneath the Colt .45.
Colt .45 revolver
Crisis of Russian Democracy by Richard Sakwa (we will be returning to this later)
Knife steel (goes with another pic)
A National Geographic magazine.
Normal smokes (for my brother)
Latex gloves for cooking.
And I almost forgot the American made Melton brand wool mackinaw jacket with game bag. We tend to hew towards a very traditional style and when we roll out one could almost be forgiven for mistaking us as hunters straight out of the 1950's. Pump guns are acceptable though wood stock is preferred while the new fangled autos are looked upon with distaste. We all shoot Winchester 101s. My brother has my dad's old one and the old man and I shoot new ones. Though if I ever "make it" in life (whatever that means) I have my eye on a Winchester model 23 which is essentially the 101 in a side by side format. For us growing up toting around bolt action 20 gauges or 870s from the 1920s the 101 was "the" bird gun that we salivated after. So when the time finally came for me to get a "new" gun my dad stepped in and gave me a new gun as part of my inheritance. Now even as I note that we are disdainful of autos I was fully prepared to buy a Mossberg pump or semi auto simply due to the my economic realities at the time (recession with a young child at home).

These are the knives my brother brought with him for a long weekend trip. Just the knives mind you. not including all the pots and pans and other utensils he brought to a "fully" stocked cabin. I must confess that having a highly skilled chef for a brother is both a blessing and curse. When we have time and space (in the trucks) you will never eat better but genius with a penchant for perfection is difficult to wrangle into a fixed timetable. Which for a man such as myself whose life is guided by productive man hours and tight schedules the lack of time management can literally make me pull my hair out. Oh but when there is time...perfection.

Alright well that's a pretty place holder. Certainly nothing of consequence or depth but...meh. Actually come to think of it, this isn't esoteric at all. It's just pictures and notes from hunting camps over the course of the season. But I suppose...

Monday, August 17, 2015

Stupid people make my head hurt

The above statement really has nothing to do with this post, but is more just a general observation. I suppose I should do something around here. Though I've been saying that for almost a decade, even when I posted things semi regularly. But there are a few things in the works. I'm about wrapped up with Richard Sakwa's book Frontline Ukraine, which will get a full piece here as even Chekov has tapped out of the debate and the CLR is just too full of goddamned loud mouth commies to make it worth the effort. And I say that but I'll probably put something up, if only to annoy the people, I always annoy.

Recently Malcolm has some insights into the Corbyn phenomenon which are as interesting as they are unflattering, worth reading and something that shines new light on the issue.

Also another hunting season is almost upon us and to say that I am anxious is an understatement. Forget March being a wasted month, July and August are surely a punishment for sportsmen of all kinds. Especially August, which is close enough to September to make thinking of anything other than bird hunting impossible which is just turning the knife in the wound. And before everyone talks about fishing. I like fishing too, but here's the thing. I don't need to make excuses to stand around and smoke a cigar. So I don't need to get up in the woods and with a bunch of other people and get eaten alive by mosquitos just to act Zen with a fishing pole. Give me fall and my dogs anytime. Seriously, give it three weeks from opening day and you won't see another soul hunting birds out east (except the hardcore ones and those I would like to think of as kindred spirits).

After nearly a full presidential lifecycle Fallout 4 is finally coming out. I would totally be a fanboy but I'm too broke to buy a PS4 so for now I'm just watching MrMattyPlays on youtube like everyone else wishing for more money (like every fat, broke American out there). Hell I haven't even played my PS3 for almost a year since the wife "organized" all the adult games into whatever blackhole she keeps for video games, fishing lures, and errant hunting gear.

So yeah that's it for now.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Are existential crises a first world problem?

I would assume so. At least in the way that Americans see things, because really most problems are people wishing they had more crap from China, wishing they were younger or wishing they got laid more. All of which while somewhat valid are really just people being whiny bitches.

So we're going to mix things up here for the long winter in which I will write nothing at all, for like years on end and yet not delete this thing, for some reason. I'm saying farewell to Slugger and Three Thousand Versts and saying hello to a few upland hunting blogs. The CLR and Malcolm are staying because well, they're fucking Malcolm and World by Storm. And while they don't play well in the same sandbox, they are both bad ass respectively.

I read a lot of books. Right now I'm reading about the rise and fall of the whig party in America and the Free Soil Party, good stuff all around. I also read a lot of upland literature. I certainly wish I did as much hunting of upland game birds with my dogs as I did reading about it, but que sera. I've got my Burton Spiller, George Evans, Horace Lytle, Ben Williams, Jim Fergus, the "A Rough Shooting Dog" guy whoever that is etc. That's on top of Pointing Dog Journal and the blog round up such Mallard of Discontent, Wingshot, and Uplandish among others. But really when things end or I want a good reflection on something I go back to Robert Ruark and his seminal work, The Old Man and the Boy. Maybe it's because my dad is getting older and I realize that his time is not only finite but also that his ability for outdoor pursuits is closing out at an alarming rate.

A side note here before we continue on to Mr. Ruark. Everyone wants they're dad to be the biggest, the best, the toughest etc. My son will be in for a quite a rude awakening when he realizes how mediocre I am at most things in life. I suppose we're all born to kill our heroes but still, never a fun reality, especially for the hero who needs killing. But my dad really was pretty spectacular. I'm not talking about kill shots at three hundred yards as if it were 50, not that uncommon. But his ability to knock down roosters at fifty yards with his full choke 30" barrel annoyed a companion so much that he said something to which dad replied that he would indeed shoot the next pheasant within twenty yards, but that it would count against the complaintant's limit not his. When the next birds were jumped he summarily dispatched the bird in a puff of feathers and held up what remained. As it was late season hunting he had his loads with 11/4 ounces of powder and number six shot. Between that and the fixed full choke what he handed for his partner's game bag was little more than wings and legs. When hunting doves he would have to offset his shot, which still flabbergasts me. He would draw a bead on the bird and then offset so as not to destroy the poor bird when he shot it. This doesn't even get into his waterfowling adventures which were his passion, but since I'm an uplander, not a waterfowler I'll save those for another day. Though as he noted to me he was also shooting 200-300 clays a week and reloading all of his shells in those days of heady freedom before kids came along. How he and my mom ever actually got married is still beyond because when we got caught butchering my deer in her kitchen a couple of years ago you would have thought we had been caught dismantling a human cadaver. Footnote on that sidenote, coming off of butchering this year's doe in the garage I discovered a sure fire way avoid talking about Jesus and my relationship with him. Apparently I am either already squared up with the good lord or damned to the eternal fires of Perdition as the soliciting evangelicals who canvassed the entire neighborhood gave my parent's house a wide berth. It made me laugh.

Ah yes, but to Mr. Ruark since the hunting season for birds is now over and the summer fishing lies ahead (I wish that either of those two moved me with the passion that the thought of it does, but real life does temper the enthusiasm just a bit), a thought from Mr. Ruark put a lot of it into perspective. I am not now, nor will I ever be a true fishing guy. My dad tried to teach me to fly fish and it never took, I am far more concerned about my mortgage(or shall I rephrase that better that I am simply not cut out for the zen of fly fishing) than tying flies but the endearing memories of my old man tying flies out of his old black suit case while smoking his Peterson pipe is quite the memory for me, but back to that quote,

"What I want you to do is set there and fish, and when the fish ain't bitin' I want you to listen and look and think. Think about heaven and hell and just how long is the hereafter. Look around you and don't take nothing for granted. Look at everything you see and listen to everything you hear, just like you were brand-new come from another world, and think about all those things and how they got there. Now let's fish."

That is sound advice for anytime spent outdoors.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Move along, nothing to see here.

Seriously we're done.

Well maybe not, but probably yes we're done.  As if the lack of a post in over two years wasn't enough of an indicator for folks. You see here's the thing, raising a family is never easy, doing it in times of austerity for a regular fella even less so.  I'm also at the point where my dad's health is failing, my kid is hitting this wonderful age of four and I've got two spectacular bird dogs just waiting for enough training to point every pheasant and dusky grouse from the Utah state line to Hayes Kansas.  And since those things are my main priority I fail to see how keeping a blog on politics is even a desirable endeavor (leaving aside the feasibility factor). That being said I actually would like to  keep writing because I just love the written word and language/writing is like any other skill, you use it or you lose it. So yeah we're done but don't be surprised if things come back reincarnated somehow, but rest assured, I still very much loathe humanity.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Okay so instead of writing something meaningful after being accused of trolling on CLR and arguing with fundies on facebook I am posting all of my drafts because I still can't get my shit together and post a decent post.

Yeah the title really says it all. Not much of interest here, but if you're reading this then you already know that.


Wikileaks rehashes cables that state the obvious, and we're now supposed to believe that this is somehow new information on old news? I mean for fuck sake, we all know the Provos did the Northern Ireland Bank job, we all know Grizzly Adams denies being in the IRA, and we all know that when it came to negotiations the Provos punched well above their weight. But somehow we're revisiting these issues without digging deeper into them for a deeper understanding.

What picques my curiousity is not whether or not PIRA carried out the bank robbery, but why? This has been something that has been conspiciously overlooked in most analysis. Most commentators were falling over themselves to smear shit on Sinn Fein. But it's like trying to teach Brer rabbit a lesson by throwing him into the briar patch. The Northern Bank job and the execution/murder of Denis Donaldson raise some questions that I have not seen fleshed out elsewhere, so I'll do it here.

After the first failed hunger strike in 1980 Margaret Thatcher stated that the IRA had, "played its last card". Suffice to say we all know she was wrong. It was not because they won that particular fight, they did not, but they kept going for almost another thirty years (with varying degrees of "success"). The point is that "secret armies" do not have the ability to come out and argue a case in the light of day. Like the subaltern (I am truly annoyed that I even know that word btw), PIRA for all of its sophistication in military operations and criminal activity must act out in order to find a "true" voice. We must also remember that in years preceeding this action and in the years since, the Provisionals were/are accused multiple times of having "sold the family farm" so to speak due to their inability to continue the armed struggle. Political careers and informers forming the corner stone of this political analysis. The Provos went out with a bang in '98 in order not to go out with a whimper like the ETA or the FARC have since then. To me the Northern Bank job was a statement from the Provisionals, more to the Republican community than to the various governments.

Because doing a massive bombing or sending a few boys home in union jack draped coffins was most definitely too taboo circa 2005, an extraordinarily complex and unprecendented "operation" would send the message to both the dissidents and the respective governments that PIRA was most definitively still in "business" or at least capable of pulling off things that were head and shoulders above anything that the dissidents could do at that point in time (or even now for that matter). But like my ironical use of "malcontent" while hanging off of some rebar twenty foot plus up it was met with blank stares as the message was lost on those for whom it was intended. The dissidents simply dismissed the operation as more financial opportunism from the Provos. The governments viewed it as either a sign that Grizzly had no intention of changing his stripes or that he had lost control of the army. In either case something that was intended strengthen their position did the opposite. Also of interest in the wake of this and then the "official" winding up of the armed campaign was Sinn Fein's "asks" in return, which was the Irish Language Act. This struck me as quite a shift in stead of dealing with the bread and butter issues of "On The Runs". Not that they didn't try this along the way, but that the ILA was the major issue. I don't know, just a thought.


As for Denis Donaldson. His murder obviously raises many questions. Questions which quite frankly very few want answered, either in the Republican community or the security forces.


Do Not Pray For Easy Lives, Pray to be Stronger Men

Well it's time to wrap up another year. We're still in a recession. It's getting worse, not better for most of us and I'm now back on concrete. But I have a job, (for now) so fuck it. But on to a deadly serious topic, video games. There were a bevy of great/solid games that came out this fall alone. I've got one semi-video post under my belt and it's odd that in my second outing I'm speaking almost exclusively about sequels to those games. This is in my mind indicative of the creative bankruptcy of the system in as mush as once they find a franchise that sells, they milk dry. Think about Ocean's 11 circa the Rat Pack visa vie the multiple sequel reincarnations of modernity to get where I'm coming from. That being said there's no reason not to enjoy the often time solid sequels.

First and foremost is the Treyarch follow up to its last output of Call of Duty: World at War, and following on the footsteps of the incredibly disappointing Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. . that mini game alone justifies the sixty five dollar expenditure. A solid solo player campaign and a revamped multi-player experience just make one feel less guilty about forking over the cash. Though the truth is that I've had to ask for this game for Christmas as I can't justify the expenditure right now. That really does bring a tear to my eye, but since I've lost 2.00+ an hour I need tighten the belt a bit, and be an adult (something which I despise btw).

But something folks need to understand is that the undead have the ability unite man kind, as well as eating their flesh.

Seriously, this game even has something for Garibaldy in as much as Castro gets a role in the mini-game.


On another note. As a rule I dislike modern remakes, and when my dad told me that they were remaking True Grit I about flipped my lid. Seriously I was about to start screaming when he told me that Jeff Bridges was to reprise the role of Rooster Cogburn. This calmed me down enough to say, "well maybe I should google the trailer to find out more". While I was doing that I asked who would replace Glenn Campbell as the Texas Ranger. When the answer came back, "Matt Damon" I gave an approving murmur. After I watched said trailer and saw that it was the Coen brothers who were making this film I was hooked.

Now technically the Coen brothers are doing an adaptation of the novel, but who the fuck are they kidding? Seriously? Your're going to do a remake of the novel whose orginal film adaptation won John Wayne his only oscar and whose memorable line, "fill your hands you sons-a-bitches" is a classic of Western film and then tell me it's about the novel not the film? I'm calling bullshit on that one. But it still won't dissuade me from going to see the movie.


Also out this year is a follow up to Fall Out 3, entitled Fall Out: New Vegas. While specifically not a sequel and developed by a different company it uses the exact same game engine as Fallout 3. Though new complexities such as a factions systems allows you more flexibililty than just the old morals systems (ie you can only do some things if your moral ranking is low or high enough). The setting of the game in the west allows for throw backs to the orginal franchise and the inclusion of the New California Republic. Now I never played any of the original franchise so am unfamiliar with the many of the nuances


I'm trying to work out the bright side of being kept up at two o'clock in the morning by a fussy toddler. If you're drawing a blank too, then you're good company because I would much rather be sleeping. But you can wish in one hand and shit in the other and see which gets filled first right? So I'm up.

Pearse Doherty has finally been elected to the Dail for the Shinners and actually managed to overshadow Gerry's parachute drop into Dundalk. Interestingly enough though not altogether shocking considering the constituency Pearse was handily elected over all others. There are many reasons for his electoral success which don't need to be repreated as they are irrelevant to our conversation here. What did strike me as interesting was Doherty's stance on abortion. Now everyone knows SF famously has a fence post up their ass on this issue, not nessecarily because is trying to pander per to both camps but (IMO) because the party itself is deeply divided on this issue.

Now this post isn't meant to be about abortion, right, wrong, or indifferent, but it is a great jumping off post for what has been on my mind. And what has been on my mind is the question, what defines rural proggessivism? Again, not sure if that's a word, but no one contested it last time out so I'm running with it. Personally I am pro-choice, coming from a pro-life stand point. That last line may need clarification, I am personally pro-life, but feel that it is not up to me to make life altering decisions for other people so say make your own choice and live with the consequences. I can't even get smug because I remember when my wife was pregnant that the doctors told us due to her ethnic background that she was at increased risk for a Down baby. Before the tests came back telling us our boy (we still didn't know the sex at that point) was healthy we had a scan and listened to the heartbeat. At that moment it hit me that my wife was carrying a living being inside of her and I told her later that with all of my fears and uncertainties (which had grown exponentially after realizing that everything they had abstractly warned us about could in fact be very real) that I couldn't give my support to stopping that little heart beat. And that is why I am pro-choice. Because at that extremely personal moment I could not imagine anyone else telling my wife and I what to do.

I have heard some extremely progressive people eloquently argue their beliefs both for and against abortion. To top that off we have Malcolm reminding us of the elected representative's responsibility to their constituents. I also think that many leftists have a particularly urban centric world view.


Who stepped down where?

Okay so I go pheasant hunting Friday and the whole world goes to shit. I mean seriously, WBS's "I didn't see that coming" is a fucking understatement. Gerry Adams standing for the Dail is seriously a raised octave "What the fuck?". I thought about simply commenting on CLR but it's gotten to say the least, a little bit weird.

Recovering from the initial shock it does connect some dots. MMG being Deputy First Minister, GA's insistence on representing SF in the 2007 debates and his fixation on the leftist Southern body politic. It also fills out the real politik within SF. Replacing Our Beloved Leader for West Belfast MLA is a former Hunger Striker. By contesting a rural constituency adjacent to NI, SF seems to be acknowledging their own limits in as much they are realistically looking to eat at the edges of FF's support base being as how Labour has squeezed them out from the urban left. This is interesting I would be looking for a shift from hard core Labour supporters to SF as they are the only party in the Dail to fundamentally oppose the government approach of austerity. Any left types supporting Labour are likely to be as disappointed by Labour as progressives/liberals/leftists in America are by Obama. But to be fair to both Gilmore and Obama, neither are selling themselves as leftists, only "moderates" looking to correct the "excesses" and "mistakes" of the previous administrations.

While leftists in the ROI and NI are busy picking apart SF's left wing credentials they would do well to note that SF are (to the best of my knowledge) the only party in the UK or the ROI to fundamentally oppose the austerity programs of the respective governments. And by the only


Haven't seen alot of analysis on the elections up North so far and this annoyed me. I mean fuck David Cameron, Tony Blair 2.0. And while I'm happy that Labor didn't totally melt down the fact that the rich got richer and poor got poorer during the Nu Labour administration kind of grates on me. Also I'm not a liberal so while I appreciate the social democrat aspect of the political spectrum the fact that both state houses and the governorship are controlled by Democrats hasn't stopped the contractors from locking us out in order to force an eight dollar pay cut on us. Kind of crossing threads there so we'll get to the point.

Baby Doc looks poised to take over the leadership of the DUP after a blind siding dethronement of the cuckold king, Peter Robinson. Both PR and Gordon Brown have to be feeling a bond of empathy as after years of loyal service they are both essentially defenestrated at the first Westminister election as head of their respective parties. Junior's main claim to leadership seems to be having kept the family feifdom, well in the family. But I have a hard time seeing him as leadership material and if the anti PR vote was largely influenced by the all too cozy relationship between the DUP and property developers. How is Junior going to rehabilitate that image? Other than the E. Belfast upset the DUP monolith plows on to almost total hedgemony of unionist NI. The UCUNF project lays in ruins, which is about where it started though not before much hype from the "Tory boy bloggers quintet" threw some smoke into things. Either they're still drunk trying to drown out the sorrow of it or too busy eating crow to comment at this time. But we'll get back to them later.

The upcoming DUP leadership battle. The top two are of course Nigel Dodds and Baby Doc. It's odd, both and neither of them are leadership material. I mean one could easily follow the flow of events up to this juncture and place them at the helm, but taking a step back you really wouldn't say if I was to pick a man to lead the totally dominant unionist party of NI...etc. etc. But this is where we find ourselves. I remember the last election where I was following the prospects not of Nigel or Peter, but of their wifes and how their battles for the Assembly would impact the leadership struggle. So it is odd after paying so much attention to things like that to see it all come down to 5 pounds and a butcher boy. Makes you scratch your head sometimes. So as I was saying, Baby Doc has fended off the the attack on the right flank from Jim Allister, but Nigel can point to fending off an attack from Gerry Kelly on the center. As Garibaldy pointed out last night over at CLR he says that the Provos have missed their chance but I have a hard time believing that. I don't think N Belfast is going into play anytime soon, but I think it will become a far more contentious set as the housing crisis in the estates comes to a head. I feel this constituency will become the face of the "Greening" of NI. More than the failure of a unionist unity candidate west of the Bann, the encroachment of nationalist into previously hardcore loyalist areas will be mark an entry to a more contentious stage in NI politics. Especially considering all of the centennial stuff coming up in the next few years this seems to be something that will come up but has not really been talked about at all. If MM does indeed pull off the feat of becoming FM I find it almost impossible to believe that a situation where nationalist families languish on waiting lists while "Protestant" houses sit empty and in decay. Not that Nigel has been a push over in the past but this development could lead to a much rockier relationship for the Assembly at Stormont and in my mind colors the upcoming fight for the DUP leadership.

Since neither of the two top contenders are really that dominant I think that the supporting cast will play a dispaportionate role in the process. Wilson, McCrea, and especially Donaldson are going to play a big role in garnering the support of the rank and file which are quite disparate. I especially see Donaldson leveraging his support to move up into the upper echelon of the DUP in return for his support of a candidate. Because lets face it, the DUP may be the house that Paisley built, but the additions that made it what it is today are due to the defections of massive numbers 0f UUP voters along with their totemic "leaders".

The UCUNF thing. Well I think we all had a feeling it would end like this. The aforementioned bloggers (some of whom I actually like) created enough hype to make it interesting, but in the end the DUP machine rolled them over. The question now is where to for the UUP? The civic unionists among their number will have a hard time making a go of it since in their first outing they supported the first pan-prod candidate in what, 25 years? If I'm not wrong I believe that the UCUNF lash up was for Westminster only, not the Assembly. Being that Cameron now has his hands full with the Lib Dems I don't see him spending too much time propping up a party that is not only of no use to him.


Write with the door closed, edit with the door open...


Why I'm putting up a post about the Claudy bombing while intentionally avoiding Slugger

Over the past day or so the pic plastered over the BBC website has a blown up grainy black and white picture of a priest who may or may not have been involved with the 1972 bombing in Claudy, Co Derry. While purposefully avoiding Slugger I did of course venture over to Malcolm's Home Service and read his pieces on this tragedy and "new" revelations. However while over on the World Service Side (from which I jump to the Home Service site) I did read the tidbit entitled, "The lessons of justice for Claudy", with the feeder "Why is Claudy left forgotten and angry while Catholic Derry is elated by the Bloody Sunday report?".

Since I never posted anything on Bloody Sunday let me take a moment to digress. Claudy is "forgotten" because it was a massacre perpetrated by an amateurish (at the time, and that's important to note btw) grouping of avowed terrorists with little to no regard to public opinion and the democratic process. Versus a non-violent gathering of citizens demanding their rights within the state that claims jurisdiction over them only to see them murdered in broad daylight by an elite grouping of the Army. Something like Kent state, only alot more fucked up. I know everyone up to and including David Cameron makes the comparison to the provos, but the fact is that the only thing that would be comparable would if at some point the Free State or the ROI had shot down a grouping of Protestant marchers who were demanding their rights as Irish citizens in a very public way and then given medals to those forces which shot down unarmed civilians in broad daylight. That's the equivalent, to argue anything else is as sad as Chekov's post about the movie Hunger*

*It is odd as when I saw Hunger (some time later when it came out on DVD) I did not come away feeling that it was a political film at all. Very much a visual tour de force, I felt the content while apparently "accurate" according to "relevant" sources was nothing close to being a propaghanda piece for republicanism. I should also note that I was not impressed by one shot eighteen minute (IIRC) conversation conversation about the hunger strike between the actor playing Bobby Sands and the priest. I struck me as a rehashing of the activist nationalism (cue the allusion to the Church as some sort of outpost of non-violent liberation theology) visa vie militant republicanism argument, only with alot of chain smoking. Which to my mind is a false dichotomy, but that is neither here nor there. My point is only that an otherwise intelligent and entertaining blog chose to take an "easy" way out.


On Hungary

As with so many other things in this blog. Instead of taking initiative I've sat on my ass until moved by some outside force. In this particular case the agent that put a body at rest into motion was O'neill over at A Pint of Unionist Lite. It has been the second time I've seen the Hungarian election referenced and the first time I've seen the fight with Slovakia discussed. So certainly hat tip to O'neill on that one. That being said I not only have to disagree with much of what O'neill says but I also feel I must call him to task for striking a tone condescending superiority.

Look I know that Liberal Unionists like to buy into this idea that they've moved beyond "tribal" politics, but seriously to sit back half a continent away and pass judgement (not to mention making snide comments is bullshit). Here's a fact. No one outside of Hungary gives a shit that almost a third of her "children" were lost to her. This isn't some bullshit 14th century battle that was lost to the Turks (but yeah, Hungary has those too). This was a dismemberment of country that my grandpa was alive to see and understand before he came to America. And for a point of reference, I'm under thirty.

It's odd, my wife obviously has dual citizenship and my son will too. We have discussed for me being that not only am I married to a Hungarian, but that my grandfather also was a citizen. For me I say "maybe". Because for all of my bullshit, I'm 100% American (emphasis on the annoying "can" part).

Saturday, January 08, 2011

From My Cold Dead Hand Part 1.5

Critiques of American culture (guns and otherwise) on the tail of recent happenings...
(something I wrote the day after the Tucson shootings...)

In the wake of the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford I thought now to be an appropriate time to follow up on a post that I did awhile ago. This is in turn was from a post Malcolm did previously (I see he's already responded to the shooting) in which my comments do far more to stake out my position than any these posts ever could (the fact is that I'm always more collected in comments, responding than trying to craft an original post).

The story is obviously only half sketched at this point but so far it seems that six people are dead, twelve are wounded. One of the dead was a nine year old child. Representative Gifford is in critical condition etc. etc. The elephant in the room of course is the charged political climate and the seating of Tea Party backed politicians who have polarized the political atmosphere almost beyond belief. Perhaps that's an overstatement because I doubt anyone felt that something like this would happen. I have no doubt that whatever the shooter's political leanings he is a wing nut. But regardless of that, there can be no question of two things, one that the Tea Party folks are circling the wagons right now in order to deflect the already incoming political arrows and that two, politics crossed a Rubicon with the 2008 election.

From when an audience member asked McCain, "how do we beat that bitch?" (in reference to Hillary Clinton) to which he replied, "good question". The vitriol associated with the anti-Obama movement seems almost unprecedented. The continued likening of Obama to a socialist was pervasive and although it launched the second career of Joe the plumber any liberal can tell you that Obama is at best a centrist minded liberal. But then I've already lost the plot before I even started. The issue is not one of policy, it is one of psyche. The truth is that while we are most definitely in a real recession (trust me on that one), we are also, if I may paraphrase a badly timed quip, in a mental depression.
Back in '08 I posted up a piece when I was trying to actually keep this blog afloat (something I've long since given up). It pondered the growing disconnect between traditional constituencies and the new political realities we find ourselves faced with. In particular my last few paragraphs have come back to me as a barometer of the discontent from that time, which has only grown since then.

Forget the responses we've heard today and those that will be forthcoming. The fact that this was an isolated incident perpetrated by an what is apparently a single disturbed individual does not and cannot negate the fact that we as Americans are losing the commons threads that bind us together. And I'm not really convinced that anyone grouping is actively trying to undo those threads as much as there is a convergence of things that coming together to affect that particular end.
I've highlighted what I believe to be the "culprits" a number of times.

From Malcolm's linked post in 2009,

"All the things I mentioned in my last post play important roles and need to be taken into account when dealing with gun violence. Death of community, de-industrialiaization and the casualization of the workforce, the increase in individual alienation, and the ever increasing rate of obesity and mental illness all play a role in this debate as well as the ever polarizing rhetoric of the most vocal gun rights advocates. All have a part in this, (unfortunately) mostly American problem"

From my last post,

"the new libertarianism is not a harbinger of by-gone liberties and community, but actually the death knell of communities and democracy, as business is granted apriori status over civil society"

And from my first "FMCDH" post,

"the belief in American individualism as it feeds into the myth that everyman is an island which obviously feeds back into the failure of needing one another in a moral sense.

"I noted in my commentson Malcolm's first post (yes from over a year ago!) the problems that accompany gun violence are far more complicated and nuanced than either side would give credit for. Before pronouncing predetermined verdicts we must actually ask honest questions with and actually listen to the answers we get back. This is also an opportunity which will probably the only time ever that I quote Bill Clinton and cite him for something reasonable when he stated the obvious, "words matter". "


We'll leave it there.

Monday, January 03, 2011

In Memoriam: Pete Postlethwaite 1946-2011

This morning I saw the news on the BBC that Pete Postlethwaite had died. When I saw the link I didn't instantly recognize the name. When I saw his picture I knew him immediately. So I thought I would post these two short pieces from the 1996 film Brassed Off.

May he rest in peace