Nov 13

Droned

I can say definitively that if my family and friends had been killed by US drones, I’d be doing everything in my fucking power to come kill as many Americans as I could any way that I could manage it.

The next great terrorist attack on the US, and there will be one, will be done by someone outraged by the wanton murder of the drone program.

Does anyone really expect anything else? Does anyone think that the drone killings in any way make the world better?

And do you really think there is no one like me in all of Pakistan, Yemen or Afghanistan? Unlikely. Highly unlikely.

Nov 13

Give an inch

One of my most hated activities — if not my most hated — is mowing grass and tending yards.

I’ve decided after our current lease is up, I will never do it again. If I have a yard, I will always pay someone to tend it.

The cost — whatever it may be — is worth it so I don’t have to do it.

Nov 12

Bad fic

What bad fiction do you like?

Me, it’s military fiction. Not that all military fiction is bad. It’s not, by any means. But I read the poorly-written, barely-literate stuff just as avidly as I read the exemplars.

It’s because I was in the military, and it all strikes a chord with me. And it seems that a lot of the worst writers actually know the most about the military – having served – and so their version of the military never has any ridiculous garbage like saluting indoors (in most circumstances) or a helicopter pilot magically knowing how to drive a tank.

I don’t see it as a guilty pleasure, though. I read what I want to read. The literature and the pleasure police will just have to fucking deal.

Nov 12

Photo

Two biggest highly-concordant truths I know about photography:

1) You miss every shot you don’t take.

2) A shitty shot is better than no shot at all.

Nov 12

Petrayed

I used to know David Petraeus professionally and personally (a little), and I am no fan of his – his political ambitions and astuteness always overmatched his martial skill – but I agree with this, that America’s fear of sex was what brought him down and really nothing else, or nothing relevant.

Background: I served with David Petraeus in the 82nd Airborne Division, which is a “required” command if one wants to advance as an officer in the combat arms, as it is a prestige unit.

He was a full-bird colonel brigade commander, and I was a military photojournalist. I have been on many morning runs and military jumps with the guy.

Nov 10

Justified

Why is this a problem?

I have no issue at all with hating racist, ignorant, stuck-in-the past fuddy-duddies who want to take away everything that is a marker of civilization and shatter everything into shards that creates a functional society. These are the people who want to keep Social Security and Medicare for themselves but make sure no one else gets it. Who deny global warming and disbelieve evolution. Who want to shove their 15th century religion down our throats. Who want women to be chattel once again.

Even though it doesn’t matter much – with global climate change and all – these people deserve to be hated because they are nearly everything substantive that is wrong with the world.

And if you protest that you are a Republican but aren’t a racist anti-science ladder-puller, why would you want to hitch yourself to such a regressive organization as the Republican party?

So, no, I don’t buy it.

I hate these people even though it doesn’t matter much. They deserve to be hated. I don’t give a shit about the validity of their viewpoint from their perspective.

The world would be better off without them.

Nov 10

Old tech

Now when I try to read a book in the dark, I’m a bit annoyed that it has no internal lighting.

Old tech sucks.

I understand the attraction of physical objects, but books are inferior in nearly every way to a good e-reader.

I remember 10-12 years ago when e-readers were new and the consensus was that no one – and certainly not the general public – would embrace e-readers.

Shows you how often the consensus is no better than a crack-smoking chihuahua.

Nov 10

Elected

When I aver that elections don’t matter much, here’s what I am thinking about.

‘‘For humanity it’s a matter of life or death … we will not make all human beings extinct, as a few people with the right sort of resources may put themselves in the right parts of the world and survive. But I think it’s extremely unlikely that we wouldn’t have mass death at 4 degrees.

‘‘If you have got a population of 9 billion by 2050 and you hit 4 degrees, 5 degrees or 6 degrees, you might have half a billion people surviving.’’

Most people seem not to realize that they don’t need to watch an apocalyptic movie to get a dose of eschatology – no, they are already living in a slow-motion cataclysm right now.

Human rights, drones, contraception, abstinence education and marijuana legalization will not matter one fucking bit when you are a refugee huddled in a canvas tent in the Yukon Province (as that’s the only place any crops will grow), starving and pestilent.

So, vote for Romney or for Obama. Vote for Santa Fucking Claus. It doesn’t matter. We will not do anything about global climate change, and it’s likely already too late anyway.

I was telling my partner that I am glad I am the age that I am right now. I got to have a good life. A very good life, really. Things won’t start getting really bad until I am old.

For those under 20 or so, and for the children being born right now? Life is likely to become a Road Warrior meets The Road living nightmare.

Nov 08

Dabbling

I’ve always dabbled in nearly everything. Probably always will.

In high school, both parents of a close friend of mine were doctors. The father, who was a cardiologist, would leave his cardiology journals around the house.

So I’d read them, not for any particular reason, but because they were interesting and I was bored. I read these journals for about a year. At first, I understood maybe half of what was in them. Then maybe 75%. After a year, I understood maybe 90% of what was in each issue.

Like I said, no reason. It was just knowledge and available and I thought it was interesting.

One day while I was around, my friend’s father came home from work and started talking to his wife about some new procedure that he was trying at work.

I’d been reading about this procedure for nearly a year – its implications and drawbacks – and was familiar with it.

So I said, “That new aortic stenosis procedure does seem promising, but sans development of better minimally invasive techniques, the risk of endocarditis might be too high and push mortality back to right where it would be due to follow-on infection.”

Ha. Never have I seen jaws drop so quickly.

Now I don’t know jack shit about cardiology. Reading a hundred cardiology journals does not a cardiologist make.

I just thought it’d be funny to make a cardiologist think I was moonlighting at some hospital Doogie Howser-style.

And it was. It very much was.

But I do like having broad knowledge, even if it’s not that deep. It’s much harder to get snookered that way.

And it usually means I can fool an expert for a few hours in quite a few fields, which also can be fun.

Nov 07

Progress

For the first time in history, a state has an all-female congressional delegation.

New Hampshire now has two female senators, two female representatives, and even a female governor — yet the world hasn’t ended.