Category Archives: Other

In the Graying Blues

Or greying blues.

I don’t know which vowel looks better.  I doubt, though, that Dorian would agree to being a Grey instead of a Gray.

The old street hockey team uniforms were once blue, but they’ve been turning greyer, no, grayer — neither of them look good — for many seasons.  Yes, my school has a street hockey team, just a dozen-years-old.

It doesn’t seem like a long time for a sport at a school, but when there are no balls to be thrown, kicked, struck with wood or passed around with hands, then it does seem odd.

My teammates and I believe the principal gets pleasure out of watching teenagers enclosed by protective gear (helmets, knee pads, wrist guards, elbow pads, and mouth guards) trying to play regular hockey without ice.  We don’t get into fights for random reasons, but a slide across the asphalt and our skin starts dripping.

It is not cold enough for ice.

And even if it were, I don’t think the principal would prefer to see his body-conscious male students fully covered by protective gear and needing a lot more dental insurance than the local orthodontists and insurance agents would care to negotiate prices for services categorized as for the teeth or for the body.

The last I checked, the teeth are part of the body.

Now, our uniforms are blue again. And I still don’t know if gray or grey is better.

Earl gray.
Earl grey.

What do you say?

TakakoGlory

This piece of flash faction came to me while listening to this mix.

Contemplating Romance Languages Again

Over the summer I wrote a post about words in French, Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese that are and are not cognates.  I’m doing it again tonight because I was curious about how to say “good-bye” in Portuguese.

SoHee2Ljicon

From left to right, French = Spanish = Italian = Portuguese. Words in blue are not like the others, words in green are not like each other at all, words in magenta are very similar to the others:

Au revoir = adiós = arrivederci = adeus 
Où est la toilette = donde estan los baños = dove sono i servizi igienici = onde estão os banheiros 
L’année dernière = el año pasado = l‘anno scorso = ano passado
La semaine prochaine = la próxima semana = la prossima settimana = semana que vem

Prends-moi = toma me = prendimi = leve-me
Je suis à toi = soy tuya = sono tuo = sou seu
Dis-moi = dime = dimmi = diga me
Qu’est-ce que tu as cherché = que has estado buscando = cosa stavi cercando = o que você tem procurado 

Les yeux bleus = los ojos azules = occhi azzurri = olhos azuis
Fermez la bouche = cierre la boca = chiudi la bocca = feche sua boca 
Tais-toi = cállate = stai zitto = cale-se 
Bon appétit = buen provecho = buon appetito = aproveite sua comida 
La fenêtre = ventana = la finestra = a janela
Sur la montagne = en la montaña = Sulla montagna = na montanha 

Je vois des étoiles = veo estrellas = vedo le stelle = eu vejo estrelas 
L’agrafeuse = la engrapadora = la cucitrice = o grampeador 
Le cinéaste = cineasta = regista = cineasta
La chanteuse = la cantante = la cantante = o cantor

 

We Mustn’t Build It or They Will Come

But build it we did and the enemy did come.

As many individuals who served in the American military believed, building an outpost at the bottom of a valley in Afghanistan was an absurd and terrible idea.  Even when respectful apprehension at the plan was met with agreement, the commands from higher pay grades and ranks superseded all forms of reconsideration.  Jake Tapper’s book The Outpost opens with the lunacy of building an outpost in a valley and not atop a mountain when he relates a conversation between “a young intelligence analyst named Jacob Whittaker” and his “superior officer, Second Lieutenant Ryan Lockner” in the “summer of 2006” (3).  Lockner gave Whittaker an assignment to create a visual aid for a morning presentation detailing the location of a new outpost.  After verifying that he had the correct information for its exact location, Whittaker confirmed that he could make the requested Power Point, “But sir…that is a really awful place for a base…it’s located at the base of a mountain peak…and flanked by a river on the west and another river to the north?”

Lockner added, “And there’s no good road to get to it — they’re still building that…”

To which Whittaker responded, “And it’s an eternity away by helicopter if something goes wrong..Sir, this is a really bad idea…A. Really. Bad. Idea. Anyone we drop off there is going to die.”

Jake Tapper’s summary of the exchange between Whittaker and Lockner includes more information on the topography on the area that Camp Kamdesh (eventually renamed Camp Outpost Keating) would be built no matter how tactically nonsensical.  Orders were orders after all.

OTPST

I finished reading Jake Tapper’s book recently and loved it.  I experienced a substantial pang of sadness and “what the hell?!” afterwards because of current events.  So many lives lost, so many dollars poured into plans, projects, and good intentions that evaporated just like that.

I had wanted to write a blog entry about it after I’d rewatched the The Outpost (Rod Lurie, 2019) and re-read some of the passages in Clinton Romesha‘s account of being at Camp Outpost Keating when it was breached by the enemy….but, I didn’t feel like waiting any more.

If you’ve not seen the film nor read either of the books but would like to plunge into the triumvirate of texts, I recommend you watch the movie first, then read Red Platoon, and then read The Outpost.  Most of the book consists of establishing geo-political and historical contexts that preceded, facilitated, exacerbated what happened at COP Keating.  If you have seen the movie and read Clinton Romesha’s book (or have consumed just one of them) and you want a more compare-and-contrast reading experience of Jake Tapper’s book, then I suggest you read the final section, Book Three entitled “Enemy in the Wire: The End of Combat Outpost Keating”).

OutP  RPlatjpg

I do want to re-watch the movie soon and organize my notes and thoughts for a blog post.

And, the Atlanta Falcons were in merry ole London over the weekend for gridiron action against the New York Jets.  The Falcons moistened the Jets’ towelettes 27 to 20.  Final score.  Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

NFL 2021: Washington Football Team celestial-delinquents the Falcons

I tuned into Fox at the top of the fourth quarter today just in time to be delightfully surprised to see the Atlanta Falcons ahead of Washington Football Team (WAFT) 30 to 22.  Shortly thereafter, though, WAFT wide receiver Terry McLaurin made a touchdown.  Instead of a kick for an extra point, WAFT decided to go with a two-point conversion, which failed twice (a defensive offside penalty on Falcons linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. during the first attempt gave WAFT another chance).

At this juncture at the bottom of the fourth quarter, it was equally likely that both Falcons fans and WAFT fans would believe their team could win.  It was highly probable that the Falcons wouldn’t have to exert that much effort in keeping their small lead.  Even if the ball went back to the other team, there was so little time left on the clock to do much of anything offensively.  It was possible that WAFT’s defense could make an interception or the offense could get within field goal range.

Did anyone imagine that WAFT would win with a touchdown?  Oh yes.  They did, thanks to running back JD McKissic.  34 to 30.  Final score.

How was it that the Falcons were in a position to be in the lead through a good chunk of the fourth quarter?  Two WAFT extra points were no good (the first failure was in the second quarter and the other failure was in the third quarter).

Get game summary, stats, and play-by-play here.

lostlollijacketshoot14

Celestial Delinquent” happens to be the name of a song by Olivia Lufkin that came out in 2004.  I was listening to it when I was running errands earlier in the day and the lyrics made me realize how little consequential, structurally sound, and non-profit-driven changes there have been regarding the health of planet earth.  So many artists, scientists, and activists were voicing their criticisms and concerns decades ago et maintenant?  It just seems like we’ve become even more rotten celestial delinquents.

Here are the lyrics, bolded for emphasis.

You live in a home
With running water and a
Air conditioner and T.V
You have nothing to give and
You have nothing to say
So you sing-a-ling-a-long
Everything is alright
How can one person change the world?
I have to pay my bills
I gotta go to work
The earth is dying
I am so ashamed
We are all to blame
We must raise human consciousness

I want to be up high up with the sun
Disappear completely into love
I want to be up high up where I can
See the secret roads

All you selfish people
Who think of nothing but money
Realize how angry and stressed
You are all the time
When you’re angry you only see things
From a bad angle
That’s why you are going crazy
That why you feel like shit
You’ll never find true happiness
In this state of mind
I want to be up high up with the sun
Disappear completely into love
I want to be up high up where I can
See the secret roads

What’s most important is
Where we were born, where we grow
Where we live
Without Earth we are extinct
Instead of finding ways to live on other planets
We have to find a way to live on our own
Instead of spending so much money on sending space shuttles into space and making weapons for war
Why don’t we use it for making solar electricity, homes, cars, appliances *
Someone is going to have to give in
Somebody is going to lose money
But we can’t be greedy, we can’t be lazy
We have to learn to give and help each other
And rise about this world we created
Rise above fear
We need to share to save the human race
Take the human race into a higher vibration

I want to be up high up with the sun
Disappear completely into love
I want to be up high up where I can
See the secret roads

~!~

*Of course, we can do both.  We can keep exploring space as well as improve and expand alternative energy source infrastructure.  In terms of the automotive industry, there has been considerable progress in the kinds of consumer options available.  Think about the number of electric motorvehicles in existence in 2021 compared to 2004, but not everyone who’d want an electric car can have one because of any combination of the following factors:
~ It’s not in the budget.
~ They don’t live in a place where they can charge a car at all (or reliably or safely).
~ They want a CD player in the car and not a glorified tablet to the right of the steering wheel.
~ They already have a gas-powered car that has been paid off and is functioning just fine (and it probably has a CD player).
~ They use a gas-powered motorcycle for transportation and already know how to maintain it, so unless electric motorcycles aren’t cost-prohibitive to maintain and don’t require a ridiculous learning curve, they’re sticking to that which is cost-effective.
~ What if the power goes out mid-charge?

On that note, a gas pump can still work without electricity, but if power outage is widespread enough, it might not matter what form of power powers your power.

I concur, Darius the Great Deserves Better

I picked up Adib Khorram‘s Darius the Great Is Not Okay a year ago and read it over mid-summer.  The sequel, Darius the Great Deserves Better, came out in hardback a year ago and the paperback a few weeks ago.  I adored the first book, not only for its Bette Davis reference, but also in the way it presented the subjectivity of its title character.  Even when the “ums” became tiresome to read, I still liked Darius and felt really bad for how his classmates treated him.

DTGINO  DTGDB

Not Okay follows Darius and his family’s trip to Iran to visit Darius’s mother’s family, Deserves Better continues with the story after they’ve returned home to Oregon.  Darius goes from awkward, self-embarrassed to less awkward, but still a little self-embarrassed.  His “ums” decrease a tad — some of them are replaced with “that’s normal, right?”

Although the first book has better writing overall and addresses the topic of self-identity and multi-culturalism very well, the second book is more “fun” to read because there are more opportunities to separate from the interiority of the main character.  The reader can identify with his troubles without being in his head, even though he is the narrator.  There are also more provocations to talk at the book, at the characters, to say things like, “Because Darius, you like ____.”  And yet, some of the conversations between the characters, whether it’s Darius and his parents or Darius and his friends, pulsate with advice column material.  It’s as though the author came across an high school lit mag with the theme of “how to talk about XYZ with your family and friends.”

This assessment originates from the mind of someone who used Windows 3.1 on the first family computer.  If I were in junior high or high school right now, or even college, would my reception of these two books be different?

Fun fact: I read Randy Ribay‘s Patron Saints of Nothing after finishing Not Okay and waiting for Deserves Better on paperback to be released, and when I got my hands on the latter finally, I kept thinking about Randy Ribay’s book.  Both of the Darius books together generates the same emotional response as Patron Saints of Nothing in their exploration of coming-of-age narratives and themes around family dynamics and ethnic heritages.  Would their protagonists be friends?  Hmmm.