Archive for May, 2007

Pulling Out Is Hard To Do

May 28, 2007

Here it is, another Memorial Day.  For a change, I’d like to turn on the news and see more dead televangelists than dead soldiers.  Alas, as I’ve been reminded constantly for the last forty years, You Can’t Always Get What You Want.

The news coverage lately has focused on Congress wanting to pull the financial plug on the Iraq War.  If our national polity were a sitcom, we would find out that Mr. Bush doesn’t know how to balance his check book and the nosy neighbors, Mrs. Pelosi and her dullard husband/submissive, Mr. Reid, have decided to teach him a lesson.  The episode ends with everyone hugging and countless lives being saved.

Or not.

It does remind me of a class I took about the Vietnam War.  Back in the mid-Eighties, many people looked at the Rambo movies as having the same historical gravitas as a Ken Burns documentary.  Every single guy in the class was about to be commissioned as an Army officer, and had to take the class as part of the required course of study.  Many of these guys had fathers who fought and/or died in Vietnam.  The professor was a unrepentant West Coast leftie who delighted in bursting the preconceived notions of his students.

The inevitable clash of cultures happened on a daily basis in the classroom.  Most of these guys were either business or physical education majors.  Having to think on their feet while arguing was not something they were prepared for.  Mostly, they had to memorize laundry lists, bullet points and bold-faced glossary terms in their fields of study.  It was like they had trained to fight a mechanized infantry war in Europe, but wound up fighting a guerilla insurgency in South East Asia.  But, I digress.

The debates in class would go something like this:

Student:  We would have won that durn war if’n the politicians in Congress had let us.

Professor:  How did the politicians stop us from winning the war?  Didn’t they control the military’s purse strings?  How exactly did Congress prevent the troops from “winning”?

Student: [Angry denunciation of the material covered in the textbook.  Change of subject to something like, say, the US won every battle it fought.]

Professor: [Sarcastic Inquiry as to where the student came about his facts and if he could find a source that substantiated any of his claims he should let us all know about it.  Completed the quote about US battlefield victories by saying, “That may be true, but it is also irrelevant.”]

Student:  That’s not how I heard it?

Professor:  Who did you hear it from?

Student:  Um, my dad told me it was all Congress’s fault.

Professor eyes roll 

Me:  Funny, I heard it was your dad’s fault we lost.  (I could be a jerk back then.)

So, here we are decades later and looking at the same argument.  This same guy who got all pissed off in class is now a Major or a Lt. Colonel.  He will be able to tell his children that the reason we lost the war in Iraq is that Congress wouldn’t let us finish the job.  No amount of fuzzy-headed college professors will prove him wrong.

We need to find a way to get out of Iraq with the least amount of bloodshed.  Here’s my plan.

We offer Muqtada al-Sadr and whoever else can’t play nice over there a huge sum of money.  If there is anything those folks respect it is filthy lucre.  Let’s say ONE HUNDRED MILLION DOLLARS! They get the cash deposited in a Swiss Bank account if they refrain from violence for six months.  That means their whole group and any other affiliated groups.  It brings a level of peer pressure to the whole affair.  If you know that Khalid’s little scheme of car bombing a market is going to cost you a giant pile of cash, you may be motivated to stop Khalid.  They don’t get a dime until the six months is up.  Any acts of violence in their sphere of influence that goes down before the six months is up, starts the clock all over again.

This will give us time to get the country up and running, with a semblance of stability and the ability to claim victory and get out.  Once we are gone, they can go back to killing each other.  As is the tradition of their One True Religion Of Peace.   Let those fuckers go ape as soon as the last American plane is wheels up and headed West.

So that we don’t wind up funding terrorism, we either Welsh out of the deal and leave them with nothing (and like it) or we scam them out of the money by selling them a bunch of defective weaponry through third parties.

If it means fewer families have to learn what Dulce et Decorum Est Pro Patria Mori means, so be it.  I’m pretty sure that’s what Memorial Day is supposed to be about.  Not only is it what this country wants, but what it needs.

Advertisements

Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One…

May 25, 2007

I hate travel team baseball.

It isn’t that we are having to go out of town THIS week for it.  Although, in the near future much money will be pissed away on petri dish-like motel rooms, over priced fuel and meals at Golden Corral Steakhouses.  That will all be soon enough.

Can we not find teams to lose to around here, without having to drive three fucking hours and stay in the Bates Motel?  Being on a travel team doesn’t mean you are playing more competitive ball.  It means your parents are dumb enough to buy into the whole travel team hogwash.  Plus, write a check.  If you can write a check, your kid can also play travel team ball.

I think the thing that is really pissing me off is that this weekend, we are privileged to shell out fifteen bucks a head for a weekend pass to watch our eldest child (who went 3 for 3 tonight with two doubles) play baseball in what was formerly the Dharma Initiative Mosquito Breeding Research Station, now known as the Donelson Sportsplex.

That’s thirty damn dollars to watch kids play baseball.  It doesn’t cost that much for good seats at a Sounds game.

Does it make me a bad parent to actively root for our team to lose, so I can go home earlier?

Sold American

May 24, 2007

Throughout the various stages of our lives, we all have someone we consider to be our best friend.  While I was in the Army, John D. Stephens was my best friend.  I don’t have the bandwidth to start telling the stories from when we were soldiers.  My kids will hear most of the stories eventually and will get tired of them all ending with, “Hilarity ensued.”

Most of the major events of our post-war* lives ran parallel.  There’s a certain Lincoln/Kennedy similarity to it all.  Hell, we started our blogs within a few months of one another without knowing it.

He runs a blog called Isoglossia.  It’s a fancy term for some linguistic thingy or something.**  Anydamnway, JDS is living on this Isoglossia, which may or may not be melting, over in Slovenia.  He teaches English to people who will eventually use it against us.  His site is full of pictures of his handsome children, beautiful wife, old buildings and humorous road signs.  If it were any funnier, you would need a diaper and a Wet Wipe Warmer.

His blog is up for one of those blog awards that look fucking awesome on a mantle, bookshelf, toilet tank, in HTML.  I believe he should win so that we may claim to have unfairly influenced foreign elections.   I’ll let Mr. Stephens make his Jerry Lewisian plea to you directly:

I will get straight to the point. Through what is obviously some sort of clerical error, our website, www.isoglossia.com, has been nominated for an honor awarded by A Fistful OF Euros. This is a reasonably widely-read and -respected Eurocentric blog/news site, so we’re pretty agog at having been one of only five sites nominated in our category (“Best Expatriate Weblog”).

You may have already seen my recent self-promoting post on the topic, and maybe you’ve even already voted. We would be happy to see the prize go to any of the other sites in the running, but of course we’d be happiest of all to see it go to us. The odd thing is that while some categories are attracting large numbers of votes, ours is a relative backwater. This makes it conceivable that we could snatch victory from the jaws of defeat  — we started off dismally last and are currently in a reasonably healthy second place. As it stands now, if just a few dozen additional people cast their votes for us we could edge out the Parisian leader. So anyone you could get to vote for us through word of mouth, cheerleading blog post, or forwarding this email message could make all the difference and save me from having to get all sour-grapesy about the faux glory of What Could Have Been.
This is where you come in.  Get yer ass over to this site and vote immediately.   If you don’t, the Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys will have won.
* By “post-war”, I mean six weeks in Kuwait a year or so after all the shooting had stopped.

**I know what it is, but part of our comedic chemistry is that I play the uneducated rustic type who uses his ignorance as a cudgel.  Not much of a stretch, I know.

Just Speculatin’ on a Hypothesis

May 19, 2007

The other night, I laid Sarcastro, Jr. down in his crib after last call.   He likes to wake up just in time to get in a bottle of formula before the bar closes.  This causes the sleepy bartender to be extra grumpy.

So, it was about two in the blessed a.m. when I put my head on the pillow and started to drift off.  You know that sleep purgatory where you are awake enough to hear yourself snoring?  That’s where I was.  All of a sudden….

BOOM! 

The whole house shook like a bomb went off.  I flew out of the bed.  The Mrs. opened one eye and asked what the hell was going on.

This being Antioch, it could be anything.

I looked out the front and back of the house.  Nothing.

Being that I was already annoyed that the Little Formula Mooch already woke me up, I wasn’t interested in investigating it further.  My shit was fine.  I’m going back to bed.

Then the sirens started.  For maybe the next thirty minutes.  By now, The Mrs. is wide awake.  I am half-way back to Little Nemo’s Slumberland when she starts nudging me about the siren activity.

“Dammit, woman, this is Antioch.  Of course there are sirens.”

Come to find out, a house that is about a par-5 (with a slight dog-leg left) from us blowed up real good.

The official story is that the guy smelled gas, woke up the family and they jumped out the second story window, like John McClane off the Nakatomi Tower, as the house exploded.

What if that story isn’t true?

I don’t know nothin’ about nothin’.   I don’t want to add to the misery of people who have lost everything.  I’m just adding a fictional and wholly imaginary bit of speculation to this story.

What if the guy, upset after an argument with his girlfriend, filled the house with gas in a failed suicide attempt?  He chickens out at the last minute and goes upstairs to get them out of the house.  He flips on the bedroom light switch.  A spark created by the electricity hitting the switch causes the whole house to go up.

He comes up with a plausible story to explain how he knew to get them out of the house.  He wasn’t feeling well and slept on the sofa.  He awoke to the smell of gas and heroically got everyone but the family cat out in the nick of time.

The gas company is at a loss to explain what happened as they can’t find a leak.  The community bands together to help these people out in a huge outpouring of charity and giving.  The manipulative tear-mongers at Extreme Makeover: Home Edition come out to build them a new Super House.

All the while, the guy knows the truth.  He isn’t a hero.  It eats away at him.  He begins to worry that people will find out his shameful secret.

How far would someone go to cover that kind of lie?

So What?

May 14, 2007

File the following stories under “Who Gives A Shit”.

Field Trip Prank Outrages Murfreesboro Parents

What would local news be without manufactured parental outrage?  Yes, your child was sobbing so hard you could barely hear your new attorney mention he is asking for six figures in imaginary damages.  Poor you.

These parents should be grateful.  It takes most kids until at least their early twenties to find out that other people in general, and authority figures especially, are assholes. Consider this an early lesson in life.  No charge.

Fire Destroys Hundreds of Acres on Ga/Fla. Border.

If you haven’t spent any time there, trust me, this can only be an improvement.  There’s a reason this was a buffer area between the colonies and the Spanish a couple of hundred years ago.  In a way, it still is.  It keeps the Mexican pickers down Orlando way.  They call the area, Tierra del Culos.

I do worry about Okefenokee Joe.

Bob Barker Ready To Die Retire.

I imagine that Hell is a place where The Price is Right is the only show broadcast on Hell’s TV station.  All day.  Every day. For Eternity.  Soon enough, Bob will be reunited there with Johnny Olson and Rod Roddy.  They are already rehearsing for the show.

If you listened closely last week, you could have heard them say, “Philip Workman, Come on down!”

Quit Buggin’ Me

May 13, 2007

I’ll start posting more when he starts sleeping through the night. He has a penchant for demanding food anywhere from 1 am to 3 am.

quitbugginme1.jpg

UPDATE: Granny Sarcastro chimes in, as she is prone to do, with a picture she prefers to the above one of the squalling baby.

As serene as a cranky Buddhist monk.

This is SOOO much better.

Dead Man Walking

May 12, 2007

Ed Helms as a vegetarian zombie.

I wonder if he shops at Wild Oats like the other vegetarians undead.

Update:  Zombie-American Chapter 2.

Random Saturday

May 5, 2007

I didn’t see any of the KY Derby.  Heh, “KY”.  Nope, today was chock-full of kid activities.

After the rained out Little League action, we went to one of the local houses of worship.  Seems that 9 and 12 decided they wanted to be baptized.  As this is the tradition among their mother’s people, it seemed like the thing to do in order to save their immortal souls from the eternal fires of damnation, or something.  I couldn’t help but think during the service that if we were Italian, a certain Moe Green would be taking one in the eye.  Or, if we were Jewish, people would be handing us envelopes full of money in recognition of the boys reaching manhood.  Instead, it’s Cinco de Mayo and I’m mostly sober and sitting quietly in a church.  There’s some irony to choke on.

As a present, I’ll give the boys a copy each of Christopher Hitchens’ latest work.  To them I’m an atheist; to God, I’m the Loyal Opposition.

Speaking of books that will make you lose faith in what ever deity you subscribe to, try out a dose of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.  Oprah’s endorsement nonwithstanding, this was a helluva a book.  By “helluva”, I mean depressing.  Like listening to Leonard Cohen while reading Sylvia Plath in the garage with the car running depressing.  Say what you want about the tenets of National Oprahism, but at least its an ethos.  Fucking nihilist book.  I recommend it highly, but you may want to up your Zoloft intake prior to reading it.   Where men cant live gods fare no better.

Wally Schirra died the other day.  That leaves only two of the Mercury 7 astronauts still alive.  Arch and Jughead.  John Glenn and Scott Carpenter.  Strangely, Wally died the same day I got my DVD set of From the Earth to the Moon back from my parents.  Weird.

I would rather watch either that miniseries or The Right Stuff a hundred times in a row that watch The Black Dahlia ever again.   I’ve seen better movies in the Army warning about the dangers of syphilis.  The acting in a syphilis prevention film is more nuanced and subtle.  The characters in syphilis prevention films tend to be more developed and believable.  Were it not for Scarlett Johansson‘s ample sweater meat straining against the delicate material of her wardrobe, there would be no reason whatsoever for this film to exist.  I would totally do Scarlett Johansson, but I’m afraid of getting syphilis.

Bringing The Funny

May 4, 2007

Lately, I haven’t had the time to sit and word vomit all over the computer screen.  Having a job sucks that way.  If only I had a job that didn’t expect me to perform tasks all day.  The perfect job would be where you could just sit in front of your computer and write about whatever you wanted and could take off to go to various “blog media” thingys in the middle of the damn work day.  You know, a job like Aunt B’s for example.

Speaking of The Aunt, here’s a semi-funny story.  Mrs. Sarcastro went out of town to visit my parents this week.  I called her and mentioned that Aunt B made the front page of the Tennessean.  Her reaction was, “Is there a picture of her with that new haircut?” 

It always does my heart good to know my wife is concerned with the pressing issues of the day.

In other news, this may be the funniest headline ever,

Skywalkers in Korea Cross Han Solo

Now Open – $10.00 Cover Charge

May 3, 2007

Sarcastro’s spiffy new WordPress digs are now open – here and When’s the Fun Part? – change yo’ links and blogrolls.

I still have some tweaking to do and reattaching of pics and fixing YouTubes over the next few days, but it’s basically ready to rock & roll, so have at it, people.

The Man Hisself will be along shortly, I’m sure.

– posted by Lynnster