Saturday, June 25, 2011

Thoughts of the day

The typical NYC pedestrian face is tense, drawn tight, with a furrowed brow. Long term, do I want to live in a city that makes its residents look like that?

The baddest-ass TV character line ever: "Don't try and threaten me, Mulder. I've watched presidents die." Cigarette Smoking Man to Mulder, X-Files, season 2, episode One Breath. Here's the audio clip of the scene; the closest I could find on youtube is a clip from the same scene following the quote.

Black Swan and Nina (Natalie Portman) remind me a lot of The Machinist and Trevor Reznick (Christian Bale). An all-time creepy movie scene from The Machinist: Route 666.

I have a mixed reaction to the new High Line. The elevated park is a status symbol with plenty of modern design and novel and hip in a trendy gentrifying neighborhood. But its dimensions are too narrow to serve comfortably as a park and the decision to preserve the foliage on the tracks shrank the pedestrian space even further. The High Line is really a walkway that doesn't need many people to become crowded. Even when uncrowded, its location wedged among buildings makes for a cramped closed-in feel. The elevated tracks were there and a decision had to be made either to develop the space or tear down the tracks, so the decision to repurpose the space as a park is justifiable. But the elevated tracks wouldn't have been constructed, where they're located, in order to build a park. There is also growing concern in the neighborhood about overdevelopment, which the High Line is enabling. 9/29/11 add: AM NY story about the High Line effect harming neighborhood businesses despite initial hopes of boosting them.

From the movie Glory, the campfire prayer scene the night before the 54th Massachusetts stormed Fort Wagner. Matthew Broderick's Army Colonel Robert Shaw, the commander of the 54th, is a study in officership.

President Obama's 33K troop drawdown timeline for the Afghanistan mission makes sense. 33K (out of 100+K troops) by end of next year is reasonable. Afghanistan is not Iraq, either in nature or significance to the War on Terror (Iraq - long view of environmental reform; Afghanistan - immediate need to exterminate terrorists), and the expectations and goals should not be the same for both missions. That said, reducing the Afghanistan mission means also pulling the liberal peace-building threads of the mission. Hopefully, the troop drawdown accounts for the consequences to peace-building.

Liberal, peace-building COIN is expensive, murky and drawn out, and often not apparently effective, but in a Long War that is absent a definitive defeat in which the enemy takes total control of the space and populace (eg, Vietnam War), COIN may be necessary to secure the long-term political component in the broader strategic picture, even without sufficient tangible returns on investment.

My reaction at Professor Nacos's blog to the revelation from the raid intel that bin Laden believed al Qaeda was losing the War on Terror.

Know what it is as well as what it isn't. What it does as well as it what it doesn't. Creation can be a mess.

All That Jazz, the semi-autobiographical movie by Bob Fosse, should be watched by teenage boys as a learning piece about girls and relationships. The 1979 classic movie reinforces a by-now familiar dismaying lesson that is repeated in article 12 Reasons Women Can't Stand Nice Guys (see the youtube interview with the author, a self-defined "cougar"). xsplat offers sensible advice: Go through the Kubler-Ross stages of grief, DABDA (Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance), to clear-eyed acceptance of the death of romantic ideals (aka Utopian vision, indie film in your head), then learn to deal with girls clear-headed about self and them.

Kate Mulvey talks about her feminist life while bemoaning her belated recognition of the destructive lie of feminism. A later article by Mulvey sporting a different take. Links from here.

Taken In Hand is about wives who want their husbands to be the boss of their marriage as a traditional dominant Man. Interesting perspective because my relationship model has been equal partners in a team. I could be wrong. Atlantic article A Wifely Duty is an apt companion piece.

Interesting article by a Columbia J-school prof on the effect of DNA testing on legal paternity and legal paternal obligation. What's best for the child? What's best for the cuckolded not-biological father? What is the legal obligation of the biological father? How is choice factored? What about the individual wish of the child and father? Can the questions of custody and financial upkeep be considered separately? A complicated issue, a key one in men's rights.

It's a hard decision and a life decision - a fork in the road. Break down in order to free myself to become and build my life as an awakened man, the free realized me. But if I expunge my idealism, then what's left? Who am I, and what purpose, direction, and meaning do I have? Neo chose the red pill, but Cypher regretted taking it, and Quaid rejected it. Reminder: Neo chose the red pill from Morpheus in order to escape the Matrix, over the blue pill to stay as Thomas A. Anderson in the Matrix; I keep forgetting which pill is which, like I keep forgetting the 82nd Airborne is All American and the 101st Airborne is the Screaming Eagles. Neo took the red pill and won Trinity's love and found himself as revered, uniquely important, god-like powerful The One. Cypher took the red pill and became irrelevant and menial, his love rejected by Trinity, and bitterly watched her choose newcomer Neo, thus learning the Matrix was better for him. Quaid rejected the red pill and killed the pill bearer in Total Recall in order to stay as rebel Quaid rather than become ordinary Quaid or company-man Hauser. Don Quixote, knowing reality (red pill), deliberately chose to live as a dream (blue pill). What's better and right for me?

Congratulations, Judy. I'm not surprised you're going into psychiatry.

18-year-old swimsuit model Kate Upton does the Dougie. Add 2012: Cat Daddy and Peter Cottontail.

Best Gen-X rom-coms - 1996 Jerry Maguire and 1989 When Harry Met Sally? Dorothy Boyd (27-year-old Renee Zellwegger) and Sally Albright (28-year-old Meg Ryan).

Somewhat 'eh', but worth noting: How to Beat Negative Thoughts. The hypo of a mean-girls co-worker happened to me.

Eric

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