Yikes, it's been three months since I started new thoughts of the day. There's no schedule; I cap one and start the next one by feel. But three months is a long time. The last one is stuffed. I delayed starting a new one because of several posts, such as my OIF FAQ
, that I wanted to keep at or near the top of the main page. They've been pushed down since, though.
R.I.P. Robin Williams
, July 21, 1951 - August 11, 2014. Williams was great. I liked him best as a dramatic actor and better as a subdued comic actor than a hyperactive improvisational comedian. My favorite Williams role is teacher John Keating in Dead Poets Society
R.I.P. Joan Rivers, June 8, 1933 - September 4, 2014.
Grantland's Saturday Night Live 40th anniversary series
. See the feature on the late, great Phil Hartman
at a Thomas Ricks article. Offering advice
on the case for OIF. Giving away
the OIF FAQ at QandO.
The US Embassy in Libya has been totally evacuated
amid battles between rival militias. Obama's Libya intervention was touted as his alternative-to-OIF showpiece. What a disaster.
UAE and Egypt vs
Qatar and Turkey in Libya.
Kurds want help
from the US to fight ISIS but the State Department is scuffling while saying no. Update: The West is slowly coming around with direct support to the Kurds, air strikes on ISIS, and Maliki is out.
of ISIS recruit, propagandize, and fulfill traditional wife/mom household role. They are serious people on a serious mission who believe the West is weak in character, frivolous and trivial.
WaPo Marc Thiessen: George W. Bush was right about Iraq pullout
Columbia Professor Stuart Gottlieb
: Blame The Obama Doctrine For Iraq
by Nadia Schadlow
about Obama's failure to use the military to build the peace. (h/t
Byron at bigWOWO again displays
the contradiction between his advocacy of resolute American liberal leadership and opposition to President Bush's resolute liberal leadership. He asks what the US should do about Putin's actions in the Ukraine and ISIS
. I called on him to help set the record straight on OIF with the OIF FAQ. Let's see if it makes a difference. I might incorporate my comments in the thread as an answer section in the OIF FAQ.
Laying out my updated explanation
for OIF at Neo's.
Professor Nacos issues
a call to action vs ISIS and I call her out, and again
A good summary
of our choices facing ISIS by zenpundit.
Ambassador Ryan Crocker on the ISIS crisis
Columbia Professor Austin Long discusses
the potential of the airstrikes on ISIS.
Columbia Professor Jeffrey Sachs advocates
an exclusively soft-power approach to ISIS.
I rebut Jonathan Turley's claim that the anti-ISIS strikes are unConstitutional here
Video of Columbia SIWPS panel, ISIS in Iraq, Syria, and the United States
Columbia has a Program on Peace-building
: (DOD) A broad term that encompasses multiagency and multinational crisis response and limited contingency operations involving all instruments of national power with military missions to contain conflict, redress the peace, and shape the environment to support reconciliation and rebuilding and facilitate the transition to legitimate governance. Also called PO. See also peace building; peace enforcement; peacekeeping; and peacemaking. Source: JP 3-07.3 (source
The Army Capstone Concept
sounds interesting. It matches my prognostication
for Columbia ROTC.
Book Review: The Betrayal of American Prosperity
is thought-provoking because it holds two of my core political beliefs in direct conflict where I've held them to be collaborative parts of the same set: a strong America leading the free world. If I must order the two values, then I'll follow the same order that I apply to individuals. A man must first be a better man in order to make the world a better place. America must first be a strong healthy nation with a strong healthy economy, culture, and people in order to be a sustainable, resilient, effective leader of the free world.
The wholesale narrative strategy in activism is based on the evolutionary concept of paradigm shift. Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park
, pp 383-384:
"Paradigm shifts" Harding said. He knew about paradigm shifts. For the last two decades, they had been the fashionable way to talk about scientific change. "Paradigm" was just another word for a model, but as scientists used it the term meant something more, a world view. A larger way of seeing the world. Paradigm shifts were said to occur whenever science made a major change in its view of the world. Such changes were relatively rare, occurring about once a century. Darwinian evolution had forced a paradigm shift. Quantum mechanics had forced a smaller shift.
Value social "stability, trust, and cohesion
New York Times: The High Line Opens Its Third and Final Phase
officially on Sunday, September 21, 2014. The third section's "soft" opening to the public is on Saturday, September 20, 2014.
Bowlmor Lanes (300) at Chelsea Piers has kicked out
PSAL bowling. Stuy boys games have been moved way out to Astoria Bowl. I wonder how many boys team members, many of whom would be returning from last season, will drop out due to the harder commute. Stuy girls games are being moved more reasonably to Frames (formerly Port Authority Bowl). I wonder why the boys team couldn't make the same move. Logistics, I guess.
The formal version of perk, ie, extra benefit, is perquisite.
The adage about an overnight success that's a lifetime in the making is true. It refers to a natural phenomenon that plays out in many ways. A long process of transformation often only appears as small incremental changes, or may be hardly apparent at all, until there is a seemingly sudden large change, a breakthrough, like a volcanic eruption following a long build-up of magma. I baked crackling and potatoes in the Nesco today, which takes hours. The potatoes gradually browned and the pernil skin gradually hardened from the outside in. For hours, the changes were slow. Then within the last hour, the potato slices transformed into oil-soaked thick, crunchy potato chips and the whole pernil skin slab turned into crackling. The life lesson is sticktoitiveness matters because immediate returns on investment are not the norm.
An example of the mastery learning road to success is LeCharles Bentley
, offensive lineman guru
, who approaches his craft as a science and art.
Astros 2nd baseman Jose Altuve is told to sit
by his GM and manager to protect his 3-point lead in the batting title race, talks his way back into the line-up, goes 2-for-4, and wins the batting title by 6 points. Good for him. Win it on your feet.
from a 20-something who isn't actually a dad yet. Read it with a grain of salt, but it's worth noting anyway. (h/t
Elusive Wapiti: Men's Health: Guys Need to Cultivate Relationships
. The post draws from a study that showed the life outcomes (dependent variables
) of Harvard graduates (controlled variable) differed greatly due to childhood upbringing and relations (independent variables).
Japanese dystopian cult-classic movie Battle Royale
(2001) explores the same theme, namely that childhood characteristics are prologue to adult life. The 3-day Battle Royale on the evacuated island with 40 classmates, 2 dangerous transfer students, and elimination of their protective teacher is a microcosm of life's Hobbesian struggle. Former teacher Kitano is angered by his former students' disrespect for adults and in response to Mimura's question of "why are you doing this", sets the philosophy of the Battle Royale, "don't forget, life is a game, so fight for survival and find out if you're worth it". The theretofore seemingly harmless childish idiosyncrasies, relationships, fancies, prejudices, suspicions, etc, of the young teens instantly define their life-or-death judgements, decisions, and behavior on the island. The movie illustrates how what we are as children shape what we are as adults and our lives. Right before Mitsuki is killed, she says to the dead Kotohiki, "No one is going to save you. That's just life." As far as review, Battle Royale
was conceptually interesting and entertaining, but it was lighter fare - hokey with choppy composition and little character development - than I expected from the high praise for the film. The movie was less graphically violent than its reputation and the hokiness deflated the reputed disturbing social themes. The soundtrack is very good, reminiscent of Ennio Morricone. The movie's maudlin, manic tenor reminded me of Peter Jackson's Dead Alive
Sketch comedy mocks a beta "tosser" who is outclassed by a charismatic scarecrow and loses the girl. Except he really liked Jill and his heart got crushed. Nobody cares about his hurt, loneliness, and downgrade of his life; they used him with an utter lack of regret. Reminds me of the hello m'lady
sketch. Rather than fight for his honor, the beta left in a huff that incited barely a ripple of reaction from his 'friends'. Another sketch
from the same comedy team shows off the PUA technique of "negging", which strikes me as a technique borrowed from cult leaders.
The INFP romantic rejection dilemma as a postsecret
. As in real life, the female reaction
in the postsecret community is unsympathetic. More red-pill postsecrets this week: this
Added to the reading list: Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius
is reputed to be a seminal work of applied Stoic philosophy. Follow with Seneca's Letters
(2009) is well-crafted with a seamless mix of CGI and practical models and a well-acted small, indie sci-fi set piece starring Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell opposite Sam Rockwell as Sam Bell 2, and co-starring Kevin Space as Gerty. The movie has touching background music.
(2013) is an engrossing tearjerker that depicts the incident
where a "total of 11 SEALs died that day in the War against Terror, in the biggest single loss of life for Naval Special Warfare forces since World War II." Eight soldiers, the crew of the CH-47 Chinook from the Army's 160th SOAR "Nightstalkers", died in the rescue attempt, too. The running battle is frightening to watch. The humanizing characterizations of the SEALs reminded me of the depictions of the Delta soldiers in Blackhawk Down
(2013) and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
(2013) are depressing in their portrayals of the social trap of futile, meaningless endeavors where individuals commit their lives but are used as mere pawns in enterprises run by and benefiting others. The Somali pirates made bad choices, but they were also their only choices. It shows that the situation in Somalia is unchanged from the Blackhawk Down
episode twenty years ago where warlords are at fault for the failed state.
The Hunger Games
is a catchy serial story that I'm tempted to read after watching the 1st 2 movies of the trilogy, keeping in mind however its premise is a schlocky tweenage girl-heroine action-romance fantasy, not a masculine action-adventure-intrigue fantasy. All the boys love Katniss and the world revolves around her. The setting works, Katniss is a plausible heroine, and the Hunger Games are a cool concept, but in terms of the Mockingjay rebellion against the Capitol, she and the Hunger Games themselves are assigned a social-political impact that seems unrealistically out of proportion.
(2014) the movie was a disappointing hack job of a favorite book. I can't say how much fault for the clumsy interpretation is due to the director and how much is the medium. The director's commentary emphasizes that funding, including the bankruptcy of a visual effects company, was a big problem. Perhaps, an animated series would work better to allow a proper telling of the story. Along with the ham-handed storytelling and characterizations, the movie is unfaithful to the book. At least the Starship Troopers
movie made no pretense of faithfulness. The anti-military/anti-war premise of the movie distorts the theme of the book. In Card's telling, war comes with terrible costs, but they are necessary costs to prevent worse things than war. In Hood's telling, war and everything associated with war are the worst things and there are no such things as an intolerable enemy and war as a foundational step for peace. The contrast is the Atlas Shrugged
movies, which were also made on a shoestring budget, but are loyal to Rand's themes.
(2012), Kick Ass 2
(2013), and All Is Lost
(2013) are solid movies. Looper
is a well-told story except for its suspect ending. Kick Ass 2
shares the Batman
ethic of the harder right and emphasizes the need to connect with your inner unique, heroic identity. All Is Lost
shows the importance of staying calm, competence, working a problem, and working through your mistakes.
(2014) is a glossy professional product all-around with a straightforward story using a standard heroic arc for Sonny Weaver Jr, played by sports-movie staple, Kevin Costner. The paternalism of the movie is appealing. It tugged some tears out of me.
2001: A Space Odyssey
(1968) is a sci-fi, special effects masterpiece. Its deadpan dialogue and disciplined pace straddles a line of tense and boring. Gravity
(2013) also has nice sci-fi special effects. Some parts were questionable. I wonder what force pulled Matt Kowalski away from Ryan Stone at the ISS; he seemed to float lazily once unclipped. Why is the orbiting debris field chasing Stone to the ISS and Chinese space station which presumably have different orbital altitudes, or else they should have been hit on the 1st pass that destroyed the Explorer shuttle. Did Stone's impossible transit from the Soyuz to the Tiangong using a fire extinguisher and without an oxygen line imply she only dreamed her escape just she like she dreamed Kowalski's return? Why would the Tiangong drop into the atmosphere? Shouldn't the Shenzhou be buoyant for water landings? Could they have salvaged Sharrif's oxygen pack?
Summer's ending again. River Flicks Big Hit Wednesdays
wrapped up this week with Captain Phillips
(2013). Last night, Family Fridays
finished with the classic, Wizard of Oz
(1939). Wizard of Oz
is a well-crafted classic and I'm glad I watched it on a relatively large screen. However, Dorothy's lesson learned that "if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard; because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with" bothers me; I don't know what the quote means. River Flicks was a riveting part
of my life last summer; not so this summer. My attendance has been sporadic. Of the 7BHW-7FF movies, I watched all of 1-1 (Aug 20 Captain Phillips
, Aug 22 Wizard of Oz
), most of 2-2 (July 9 Iron Man 3
, Aug 6 Lone Survivor
, July 18 Ghostbusters
, Aug 15 Smurfs 2
), some of 2-1 (July 16 American Hustle
, July 30 The Lego Movie
, Aug 1 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
), missed 1-3 (Aug 13 The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
, July 11 Despicable Me 2
, July 25 Ghostbusters II
, Aug 8 Groundhog Day
), and 1-0 was rained out (July 23 This is the End
). The highlight was the group that dressed up as the Ghostbusters with fully detailed costumes. I regret not going to more showings and not arriving early - before show-time - to the movies I attended. Whatever my interest in the movie of the night, the value of the experience derived not from the movies themselves, but from the pleasant, relaxed communal mood, summer event park setting, and the fellow audience, especially the young families and pretty girls. I'm sad Rivers Flicks is over, and I'm depressed that the same thing that added significant value last summer was negligible this summer. It's the shifting, ever-changing impermanence of life.
Tonight, I caught the closing act, Big Sam's Funky Nation
, of Blues BBQ
, the last event of Hudson River Park's summer evening series. Most significantly, I spoke (briefly) with the conscientious, competent, taut, gray-eyed, dark copper-colored Shirley-Temple-curly-haired girl on the HRP crew who I saw at all the River Flicks showings I attended this and last summer. Apparently, the crew worked at all of the HRP summer evening events. If I had but known - oh well. I asked and she confirmed her hair is naturally curly. She graduated from college this year. Working for HRP as a seasonal employee was her summer job for the last 3 years. She was the only returning member from last summer's crew and expects this will be her last summer working for HRP. So I accomplished that mission on literally my last opportunity to do so. I don't know her name or anything else about her, but I would recognize her hair anywhere; I haven't seen hair like hers on anyone else.
is a trove for the sports fan who has internet access but not cable television.
I liked the young edition
of Team USA that won the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain. It was a deep, versatile team with active, defensive bigs and high-scoring guards. The team defense was vigorous and the team offense scored in spurts. Team USA regularly started games slow, pulled ahead by halftime, then blew out the opposing team in the 3rd quarter. The half-court offense began the tournament rough as usual for Team USA, but improved enough to look cohesive if not sophisticated by the end of the tournament. The offensive philosophy reflected the current trend of 3s and scoring at the rim with less emphasis on mid-range scoring. Kyrie Irving shined as a lead guard on offense. Derrick Rose looked explosive but couldn't hit on lay-ups
let alone his jumper. Kenneth Faried showed the value of his energy game as a defender and offensive rebounder. Klay Thompson showed off his well-rounded game on both ends. Steph Curry and Anthony Davis were serviceable on offense and defense, respectively, but underwhelmed their pre-tournament expectations. James Harden and DeMarcus Cousins fulfilled their expectations. Unfortunately, the most anticipated match-up of the World Cup, US vs Spain for the gold medal, was derailed when Spain lost to France in the quarter-finals. France then lost to Serbia in the semi-finals, though defeated Lithuania in the 3rd-place match to win the bronze medal. I believe the US tournament formula of good defense and offensive spurts would have been enough to defeat Spain.
20-pound bag of white rice, opened 17APR14, finished 28JUL14. That's 103 days.
I bought 8 ramen packs - 2x each of shrimp, oriental, beef, and chili flavor - on sale for a dollar and ate them over a week. I added carrots, spinach, okra, mackerel, tomato sauce, and ziti. Ramen gives me the off after-feeling of unhealthy junk food, but it's quick and easy to prepare.
On 05AUG14, I butchered a pernil pork shoulder that I bought in March with about 8 pounds of meat and skin. Picking clean the baked residual meat, fat, and gristle from the shoulder bone is a treat. This time, I divvied up the meat using produce bags and packed them into 1-gallon ice cream tub. Next step is to boil out some 1st-boiled bone broth, which is quality stuff.
Bananas make for a good savory ingredient. The banana oil provides a robust mellow sweet flavor. I used banana as a topping for pizza bannock with a thick vinegar-and-baking-soda bannock, Marzano crushed tomatoes, Essential Everyday sour cream, sausage, pernil, ginger, and garlic. I also added some banana chunks to a bachelor stew. Good stuff.
Turkey wing gives robustly flavored oil and the meat tastes good, but the meat and skin are tough. They need to be boiled or perhaps steamed. Baking by itself isn't enough, though perhaps baking after boiling may work. Dicing turkey meat into bite-sized chunks works well, especially for a sandwich.
Essential Everyday brand is good quality for a good price, like Shoprite. The sour cream is thick with good flavor, better than Best Yet. The creamy peanut butter is okay. I'm again devouring peanut butter and Smuckers grape jam like pudding.
Goya Spanish-style tomato sauce
is just like ketchup. I'll try it out as a base for bachelor stew.
59-oz Minute Maid grape punch is like the Minute Maid pink lemonade. It tastes like candy but doesn't dilute well so I drink it more or less straight.
Good meal: White rice with Luigi Vitelli rigatoni, 1 Idaho potato, and 1 carrot; Ships Ahoy salmon with Cabot sour cream, Tuttorosso tomato puree, ginger, garlic, and onion, heated in toaster oven and 1-qt mixing bowl; 2 chicken drumsticks with onions and seasoned salt, cooked in Nesco; Betty Crocker fudge brownie.
Ouch. 17SEP14. At the supermarket, the prices were raised on what have become staples in my diet. 16-oz bag Goya black and red beans were raised from $1.50 to $1.99. 15-oz can Sunny Seas mackerel was raised from $1.50 (often $1.25) to $1.99. 18-oz jar Everyday Essential creamy peanut butter was raised from $1.99 to $2.39. Ginger was raised from $1.99 per pound to $
3.99 per pound. I was jarred by the change in price for the beans last week and saw the other changes today. I expect I'll unpleasantly discover cost increases for other staples. There have been other recent significant cost of living increases in rent, utilities, and internet that are concerning and compelling.
I improvised knife-sharpening using the rough side and edge of a tempered glass panel, my Leatherman PST II's diamond-coated file, and bottom of a stone coaster. Of the 3 improvised whetstones, the PST II file is the only one that's purpose-designed to sharpen a metal tool. With my 2 dull long kitchen knives, KAI paring knife, Victorinox beak knife, Victorinox serrated knif, and Leatherman PST II knife, I either made no difference, honed but likely not sharpened the edges, or dulled the edges. The kitchen knives seem to be sharper, the paring knife seems to be the same, but the Victorinox beak knife seems to be duller. I dunno. Gray residue came off the knives with the PST II diamond-coated file and stone coaster, which says a difference was made - for better or worse, I don't know. Update: I watched a professional knife sharpener. She used an electric grinder, a diamond-coated plate, oil, a steel rod, and tested the edge by cutting paper strips. She used a 10-degree angle. She said she used the plate normally and reserved the electric grinder for duller knives. On the plate, she rubbed the knife edge back and forth, so not just 1 direction. She advised against using the Leatherman diamond-coated file for shaving off too much metal.
Labels: iraq, rotc, stuy, thoughts of the day