The Wrong Surge

I highly recommend reading The Wrong Surge by Lawrence Kaplan; published in The New Republic originally, I’m linking to this off-site reproduction because TNR has pesky registration. TNR also did an interview with Kaplan that’s worth reading. “The Wrong Surge” also provides good background for this Newsweek article: “In For the Long Haul” by Michael Hirsch. Lastly, another TNR article that may or may not require registration: “A Different Country” by Peter Beinart.

These articles confirm what I’ve thought since Bush’s announcement of the 20k troop surge: it’s too damn little. Before the invasion General Eric Shinseki predicted we’d need hundreds of thousands of troops in Iraq… the White House scoffed (Wolfowitz & Rumsfeld in particular). Army secretary Thomas White was fired for defending Shinseki. Four years later this administration has been forced to eat crow and admit that Shinseki was right all along. We currently have a bit over 150,000 troops in Iraq. General David Petraeus, now in charge of US forces over there, has estimated we’d need 120,000 to take Baghdad alone. So what does Bush suggest? 20,000 to Iraq total, though most are going to Baghdad (the one place in Iraq that Kaplan argues we can’t realistically win anytime soon). Since Congress and the American people are highly unlikely to support more than doubling our troop levels in Iraq, where does that leave us?

One last note — in Kaplan’s article you’ll notice the repeated discussion of al-Qaeda in Iraq. You win +10 points if you understand why this is deeply, tragically ironic.

GG Solitaire

Oh noes!!1! Solitaire’s no fun when the Jh randomly changes into a second Ah. To the right is me mid-drag: note that it let me play the 2h on either Ah. DIASASTER. My gaming days are over.

  • Scary Mary Poppins Trailer, ie Mary Poppins re-cut as a horror flick.
  • Similiarly: Toy Story Requiem
  • The World’s Longest Diary aka world’s first uber-blogger.
  • Stupid Drivers – sorry I don’t have a more descriptive title, just go watch.
  • 40 Facts About Sleep You Probably Didn’t KnowAight I’m starving and need to eat, I have more chewy bloggity caramels for you later. Soon, very soon, I will present my Best Music of ’06 list for your honky-tonk-lovin’ asses.
  • Breece D’J Pancake + Kevin Keck

    Breece D’J Pancake (pictured right ->) was an up-and-coming young writer 30 years ago who killed himself with a shotgun at age 26. What he left behind was The Stories of Breece D’J Pancake, published posthumously in 1983. Today I stumbled upon The Honored Dead, a short story from Pancake that I’d recommend for your Sunday reading.

    I also wanted to mention an essay by Kevin Keck that I came across a few weekends ago. I found it via a Largehearted Boy feature on Keck’s book Oedipus Wrecked, an apparently quite-dirty chronicle of the author’s sexual misadventures. One of the chapters is titled “Cherry Picker” and Keck wrote an essay for LHB about some of the backstory and context (follow all that?). I haven’t even read the chapter (or book) this is based on but I thought the essay was really great and was quite affected when I first read it. With permission from LHB and the author himself, I present for you a slightly-NSFW-but-really-good-untitled-essay by Kevin Keck:

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    Post-Adderall Binge

    An Adderall binge has opened my eyes to the impracticalities of my previous two life options. I’ve scratched both in favor of the plan I’ve asininely named Life Option C. The new goal is to build a hot air balloon from scratch and stock it full of jellybeans and Calvin and Hobbes comics in preparation for a momentous trip around the world. Construction of the aerial contraption is accomplished solely using knowledge and instructions gleamed from Wikipedia. This turns out to be my undoing, as an unfortunate typo in the online encyclopedia results in a fatally flawed burner system. The whole thing is engulfed in flames somewhere over the Atlantic and I am never heard from again. There is no greater way to seal your awesomeness for all of history than by disappearing in/over a major body of water.

    I hit the jackpot in Barnes & Noble tonight – it was a very productive visit. To me, visiting a bookstore is like an archaeological dig to unearth relics. I just sort of root around looking for nuggets to take home: names, places, events. I don’t so much “read” as “explore,” jotting down everything as I go along. It often leads to wonderful rabbit holes of information — much of the good stuff saved for when I get home to teh internets because that’s when it gets really good. The most actual reading I did was of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. There are actually some pretty shocking images in there. I’m reminded of a past Cedars poll in which a vast number of Cedarville students still believed global warming was a hoax.

    Ok, link dump:

  • Black Friday 2006 – list of ads by store. Except for Best Buy, but you can find theirs here.
  • Flickr set: Michael Hughes’ Souvenirs – cool photos of souvenirs at the tourist site they’re from
  • Photos of people playing video games
  • The Book of Clones and Possessed Children
  • Crazy dice stacking video
  • KFC’s enormous new logo, as seen from space + time lapse construction vid
  • Terrible Paintings – “Take home some really shitty art.”
  • NewsweekDecline and Fall: Where the Republicans Went Astray
  • Why Heroes kicks Lost‘s ass
  • Christopher Stratton has three profiles of Christian artists who don’t suck, namely Sufjan Stevens, David Bazan, and Jeremy Enigk.
  • Kleine-Levin Syndrome etc

    Wow so much good news already this week: both Kevin Federline and Donald Rumsfeld are out. They ought to team up and go on tour.

    Howard Dean on Election ’06: “BOOYA!” Funny, but he’s still a donk. You know I’m not particularly happy about the Democrat pwnage, but not because I actually support the RNC. Change can just be frustrating sometimes: we’ve gotten so used to Republican Evil® and now we have to re-adjust our outrage to accomodate Democratic Evil®. To paraphrase an old philosopher, anybody wise enough to govern us wouldn’t be dumb enough to run. I mean both parties in America are virtually indistinguishable. Nothing horrific and nothing fantastic will result from the congressional shift of power. Politicians will still lie, cheat, steal, and generally do their best to ensure their upper-crust way of life is not disturbed.

  • TIME’s Best Inventions of 2006 – YouTube FTW.
  • Teh internets
  • Check out Last.fm – I signed up for this eons ago but came back this week only to discover they’ve really ramped things up and are working hard on a Web 2.0 type of service.
  • Kleine-Levin Syndrome can keep people asleep for weeks. OMG I have this. No, seriously. Speaking of my decrepit old body, my back gave out this week: buckled while I was brushing my teeth of all things and it hurt like a bitch for a few days. Less achiness today but I still don’t understand how my young spine just randomly decides to occasionally stop supporting my weight (I’m too fat, obv).
  • Xanga FTL

    Tip o’ the Day: do not download Firefox 2. Cory raved but after I installed it all my bookmarks were gone and tabs (among other things) were acting really wonky. I immediately reverted back to FF 1.5.0.7 and will stick with it until Mozilla releases a FF 2 version that’s actually ready for public use.

    Also: On “The Glut of Personal Blogs” – apparently a response to an article in CIU’s campus paper, but even if you skim the text there’s an interesting chart at the bottom that compares Cedarville’s Xanga use with that of other Christian colleges.

    Breathing Earth

    Willum bought season 2 of the The Office so it was a good Dunder-Mifflin evening here at our little yellow box. Dish Network came today as well which is long overdue — also came with 3 months of HBO free so that’s positive.

    Breathing Earth — in the 12 hours I’ve had it up some 75,000 people have died which is bizarre when you think about it. Also, over a dozen countries have yet to emit 1000 tons of CO2, the same amount the USA emits in just 5.4 seconds. NH SUVs, GG OZONE LAYER.

    RIP Steve Irwin

    You know for a couple days I’ve been trying to think about what to say about Steve Irwin and I’m coming up short. It’s like Timothy Treadwell’s death: sad and tragic but not exactly surprising. I mean Steve was filming a documentary on deadliest sea creatures and one of them killed him… what more needs to be said.

    It feels like Baguio outside, though I realize this description means nothing to many of you. Still some of you know exactly what I mean and know it means more than just the temperature. This is made more exciting because I may possibly be going back to Baguio (and Manila, and Bangkok) for Christmas after 5 years away.

    Just two links for now:

  • 8 lottery winners who lost their millions
  • Christian right has hijacked his faith, evangelical says – I have this book on reserve at the library (also: Rebels on the Backlot). Looking forward to reading them.
  • Dropping out, moving away

  • NPR interview with Joan Didion
  • Story of a big RPG ponzi scheme + another account of the same scam. Whee for hyper-reality fun.
  • “Clever advertising” photos
  • Some colleges evicting suicidal students
  • The L Curve – a tour of US income distribution
  • How To Dropout by Ran Prieur
  • An Inquiry into Living While Walking the Roads of America by Jeffrey Sawyer
  • An Island to Oneself by Tom NealeSpot any trends? See if you can figure out what’s been on my mind lately (Hint: the last three links).

    In the mean time, lots of Friends, Bob Dylan, poker, and tomorrow, a meeting with Dr. Heath.

  • Little Bit of This & That

    Some dude named Brady built a home-made flamethrower… you know, just in case he needs to pillage a conquered village later in the week.

    Remember The W’s and their song “The Devil Is Bad?” It earned them a RIAA-certified platinum record for being on the Wow ’99 compilation (sadly, I’m guessing 70% of my readers have owned that very disc). Valentine Hellman, the W’s sax player, decided to try and play the platinum record with amusing results. I’ve decided that anybody who’d put their Dove awards above the crapper is alright by me. I’d love to hear more about his days trapped in the CCM underworld.

    How much money would it take for you to kill a puppy with your bare hands? Best video I’ve seen in a while.

    I grabbed desktop wallpaper from this site that has a few good photos of Philippine beaches. Might see something you like if you’re pinoy.

    Lastly, a few funny poker shirts

    Sometimes I’m a dork and notice philosophy in pop music that, probably inadvertently, serves as a nice slogan. For example:
    The lyric “There is no you, there is only me,” from the chorus of “Only” by Nine Inch Nails pretty well sums of solipsism.

    Or contrast these two:
    Essentialism: “Be Yourself” by Audioslave
    Anti-essentialism and/or existentialism: “Make Yourself” by Incubus

    Ninjas, Zombies, Blogs, OH MY

    Two books for Kurt Fraser:
    1. Real Ultimate Power: The Official Ninja Book by Robert Hamburger
    2. The Zombie Survival Guide: Complete Protection From the Living Dead by Max Brooks

    Two people with crazy books due out soon: Tucker Max and Maddox.

    Make sure you check out this collection of tsunami videos. Also, what does 225,000 look like?

    Attack of the Blogs – Daniel Lyons top-notch journalism on ‘dem scary blog-thingies. In any other context you’d think this was satire.

    Sucks to suck at suicide: Suicide Mistaken For Halloween Decoration. Which reminds me, my barkada’s Fall/Harvest/Halloween party is Saturday evening. Should be a scaretastic night.

    “Think radio sucks? You’re not alone. Indie band Hanson talks about music revolution” and the importance of college radio.

    Chuck Klosterman is a very funny guy. He’s also proven to be way to addicted to TV. As for his books, I’ve read much of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and hope I can get to his other work soon.

    There’s only one word to suitably describe these next two videos, but sadly it’s quite demeritable so I’ll have to settle for “CREEPY” – David Blaine ripping out his heart and Criss Angel walking through a glass window

    Lastly, seems USA Today ‘accidentally’ gave Condi ‘demon eyes’ in a doctored photo. Oops.

    Colbert Report Debut

    You know, you really ought to be reading Jordon Cooper every day if you aren’t already. Two good things from him today: James McDonald’s ‘critique’ of the emerging church movement (part 1, part 2) and a heads-up on The Great Giveaway: Reclaiming the Mission of the Church from American Business, Parachurch Organizations, Psychotherapy, Consumer Capitalism, And Other Modern Maladies

    You know what doesn’t suck? The Colbert Report on Comedy Central. Though last night his audience booed pretty loudly, and understandably so, when he called Rosa Parks “over-rated.” Black Max at The Daily Kos is not amused, while Alessandra Stanley at the NYT gives a glowing review.

    Multiple people have been linking to this amusing eBay auction of a pair of leather pants, posted – as it turns out – by a very funny humorist who runs Banterist. Browse his site – some good, funny writing there.

  • Dallas Theological Seminary is giving away free coffee mugs – I don’t necessarily recommend the school, but hey free’s free, right?
  • The Mr. Angry and Mrs. Calm illusion
  • De-animator is a fairly typical Flash shooter to waste time with.
  • Unemployed Loser hopes to make a million
  • Disturbing Search Requests tracks the bizarre way people find sites.
  • Al Roker, intrepid weather reporter.