Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Today's Question:

Placing Suspicious (and partially hilarious) electronic devices around all of a city's bridges and tunnels as part of a marketing campaign: good idea or bad idea?

Debate.

--Patrick

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Looking Forward To It (Or: In Defense of Milkshake)

Milkshake of course being my nickname for Peyton Manning.

I haven't watched or read a moment of football coverage since the Conference Championships last Sunday. Twenty-four hour sports coverage, especially during the biweek preceeding the Super Bowl, is a double-edged sword. On the one hand it gives us something to do on our six hour Jet Blue flights from New York to Oakland. On the other hand, it gives literally hours upon hours of stories about Peyton Manning accomplishing what his father couldn't; Rex Grossman's role as the Bears' biggest weakpoint; Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith as the first black head coaches to reach the Super Bowl; Peyton Manning accomplishing what his brother never will; Rex Grossman as the Bears' greatest strength; Peyton Manning vanquishing his post-season demons; uncertainty as to which Rex Grossman will show up; Peyton Manning; the return of the Monsters of the Midway; Tony Dungy expulging his post-season demons; Peyton Manning as the greatest quarterback since reconstruction.

You get the idea. All across America, people have decided this season that they're sick of Peyton Manning. They're sick of his ads, his hype, and his constant presence in every NFL discussion on every major network. Well not me. Last week when most everyone everywhere was decrying another Patriots-Colts AFC championship game, I was happy to know that I was watching two of the greatest teams of all-time playing head to head in another epic game. I'm a Patriots fan, having grown up in New Hampshire, and at the end of the game when the Colts came back to win it on the last drive, I was happy. I'd watched my team lose in one of the greatest pure football games I'd ever seen. And even though all my friends in Chicago will never speak to me after this post, I was happy knowing Peyton Manning could finally win his ring.

The only reason people are sick of the guy, and this is my theory, is because his commercials are almost always followed by Chevy commercials paired with that obnoxious John Mellencamp song. When you watch one of the greatest regular season (and soon post-season) quarterbacks of all time poking fun at himself (who doesn't love "Let's go insurance adjusters, let's go!!), and the last thing you're left with is, "this is arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr countryyyyyyyyyyy" of course it's going to leave a bad taste in your mouth. This is the double-edged sword of overexposure in the twenty-four hour sports news cycle. Overexposure is the only thing anyone can really claim they dislike about Peyton, and that has hardly anything to do with him. He and Tony Dungy (the coach who made the frikkin' Buccaneers respectable, the frikkin' Bucs!) turned the perennial bottom-of-the-bucket-since-Unitas Colts into one of the greatest teams of all time, and they did it with hard word, preperation, and a team of guys who don't play ego (save one Idiot Kicker who shall go nameless.)

After watching the Colts and Patriots in so many clashes these past seven years, I stopped disliking the Colts as a rival and started respecting them as one. Don't blame Peyton Manning for the twenty-four hours sports news cycle. Make a vat of chili and watch one of the greatest QBs of all-time try to win one against one of the greatest defenses of all time, with the first two black head coaches to ever lead their teams to the Super Bowl watching on. Who would you rather have raise the Lombardi trophy next weekend, the goofy king of diligence of preperation, or Rex-cellence, who admitted he didn't prepare or play to win during the last game of the season?

It'll finally shut all the talking heads up, stifle the constant criticism that comes with falling one game short, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but, Go Colts.

--Patrick

The Language of Wartime

Two things happened today that got me worrying about the Neo-Con war doctrine again. The first was the revelation by Senators Chuck Hagel and Joe Biden that when the White House first asked the Senate for war-powers to invade Iraq, their original request was to allow the use of military force across the Entire Middle East, from Lebanon to Pakistan. This was followed by Bush's decree that US troops were to kill and/or detain any Iranian found in Iraq. This worries me, one, because Iran and Iraq are treatied allies who now share resources and people, and two, it could easily cause an international instant to provoke Iran in an attempt for the Bush administration to circumvent the Congress.

I find it both frustrating and fascinating the way in which language is used, and has always been used, to frame arguments and shift facts away from truth. The largely conservative idea that the truth of something and the facts of something are largely seperate is just a jumping off point. The debate over President Bush's descision to send more troops to Iraq (which he has done several times already in the course of the war, with no success) is a great example: Democrats use the word "Escalation" to describe it, and always in the context of the war. Republicans use the term "Surge" to describe it, and always in the context of Baghdad. On CNN the other night, a Republican Rep attacked Dems who were against increasing the troop level as "Blocking Reenforcments," a charge that plays both to the conservative language game and to the false notion that the left is against the troops.

And finally, with regards to both war and my own personal language. I'd said that the Pentagon's new super weapon was laughably G.I. Joe-like, and it is, and even still it's the wrong G.I.Joe-like direction to go in. The next generation of warfare is going to be largely urban and antiinsurgent. Our Pentagon Engineers should really be concentrating on building something like the A.G.P. from Destro's Genadiers. Seriously. That or B.A.T.S.

--Patrick

Thursday, January 25, 2007

News Roundup:

It looks to me that Pentagon Engineers used to play with the same GI Joe vehicles I did.
The Bush Administration has planned to attack Iran for Six Years now.
And speaking of the administration, Dick Cheney is delusional.

Also, if you weren't watching CSPAN today (seriously, right?) the banter between Senators Levin and McCain in the Armed Services Committee meeting over the escalation of US Troops in Iraq basically broke down into, "Bench marks!? Don't talk about benchmarks...you kiddin' me? Bench Marks?!"

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

I haven't written in weeks;

This past sunday, the Patriots and Colts played one of the greatest AFC Championship games I've ever seen; the 2008 Presidential field was blown open with announcements from Senators Clinton, Obama, Biden and Edwards, and Governers Vilsak and Richardson on the left, and Mayor Guiliani, Governers Romney and Huckabee, and Senators McCain and Brownback; and I finished a Camden Joy novel while preparing one of the most delicious white pizzas ever tasted. It's wonderful when so many disparate things come together to complete a weekend.

Also, the State of the Union would be three, four, maybe five times more fun to watch if Stadler and Waldorf from the Muppet Show were seated in the gallery with Mrs. Bush and Dikembe Mutombo. Not that Dikembe Mutombo didn't make all the pomp and golf clapping worthwhile.

It's been a rough-go the past month, which is why I haven't posted much. My commuter/racing bike was stolen, which set me back for a while, and ruined my birthday weekend. Christmas time was great, though, I miss New England and my family. I've been playing catch-up on mailing manuscripts and sending out my resume the past two weeks. I'm not a kid anymore, time to start moving my life forward.

--Patrick