Archive for September, 2009

Afghanistan in 60 Seconds

Posted in All things political, Comedy on September 30, 2009 by klogtheblog

When he was running for President, Barack Obama called Afghanistan the necessary war, in contrast to Iraq. He had to say that to win. Americans might not like being in two wars simultaneously, but if we don’t have any wars going on we feel a slight malaise. Iraq has slipped into a slow boiling civil war as we always knew it would, and we’ve stopped caring, just as they always knew we would. Afghanistan, however, follows a different pattern.

Afghanistan (The name is the Pashtun word for “Mordor.”) is known as “the place empires go to die.” There has been intense lobbying at the Afghani board of tourism for a new slogan, but no dice so far. The Afghanistan invasions of Alexander the Great, Britain, the Soviet Union and (in the least recounted and geographically most ill considered invasion) Peru all eventually met with humiliating defeat and withdrawal. The Afghan’s secret is digging into a rocky terrain no one would ever live in if they weren’t too busy killing invaders to think about it. Really, if we just pulled out and legalized heroin everyone in that country would probably emigrate to London. Then a bunch of goats would take up arms against all invaders.

General McChrystal has issued a gloomy assessment of the Afghan conflict, dooming it to failure without the addition of 40,000 more troops. McChrystal is widely respected, but not infallible: he was behind the disastrous marketing in the late 80’s of McChrystal Light, a powdered beer marketed to the Irish as a Pentagon pacification program.

So now the choices are stark. It’s either “all in, or all out” as several commentators have said, even though there aren’t the troops to go all in, and no one’s really suggesting we withdraw all our troops, making that formulation an oversimplification of mongoloid dimensions. It could be argued that we would have to go all out to go all in, or that we have to go all in order to get all out. Or we could focus on the actual logistics of war rather than the linguistics of spin. You like that logistics/linguistics thing? Pretty smart, huh? I must know a lot about Afghanistan.

Joe Biden wants a scaled back approach using predator drones, because nothing wins over a population like death from above delivered by flying robots. Secretary of State Hillary might be more hawkish, but she shrouds her opinions in State-speak, popping B complex vitamins and watching her cholesterol, in hopes of running against this war, which will no doubt still be raging in 2016.

The one person it’s hard to read is the President himself. He talked tough on Afghanistan in 2008, while being an anti-war candidate. The public’s sick of the war, especially Democrats, but any downsizing of the mission will be relentlessly portrayed as weakness by the opposition. This is the same opposition that was behind a six year and counting distraction in Iraq, which killed a ton of people all because W had daddy issues, so that opposition is as qualified to argue foreign policy as a retarded gerbil with rabies.

In a long neglected war where the options all look bad, how much will politics affect a decision about human lives? Can we leave the women of Afghanistan to the mercy of the Taliban? Does the corrupt and ineffectual Karzai government merit the investing of nation building? Would a resurgent Afghan Taliban undermine nuclear Pakistan’s gains against the Pakistani Taliban, or are those two Taliban’s on two different missions?

Will Obama be taking a political hit for the sake of our soldiers, dying for a pile of rocks, or will he be abandoning a vital mission for political expediency? Personally, I trust the guy to make the right decision. I also don’t see how anyone could know what the right decision is. So let’s go back to linguistics. Obama should “Go long and go low.” Someone needs to set some sort of strategy to that phrase. I don’t know what it means.

— Dan Kilian

The Line

When The Xylem Flows Beware!

Sardines

Posted in Fiction on September 29, 2009 by klogtheblog

We huddled under the old dinghy, trying not to giggle.  There were six of us – Laurie, Jeff, Sylvia, Mike and Mike, and me.  John was It so he had to look for us.  There were some dried up white cocoons in there and a fair number of millipedes and armadillo bugs had scuttled off when we crawled into our hiding spot.  Sylvia was right next to me and I could smell her apple shampoo mixed with the damp wood and soft pine needles under us.

It was already August and we’d be going back to school in two weeks.  But for the short time between when John called Ready Or Not and the littler Mike sneezed and gave us away, we were safe and Sylvia’s arm was next to mine.  I could see her smile in the light that came through a knothole in the boat’s keel.  There was no schoolbells in that smile, no alarm clocks or buses to catch, no shivering on the track for first period gym class.  There was only coconut suntan lotion and beachsand and Nutty Buddies dripping ice cream down your fingers, and knowing that we wouldn’t kiss this summer but maybe the next, and that this was soon enough.

So I wasn’t too angry at Mike when John lifted the boat.  We scrambled out and ran laughing toward base, but Jeff got tagged.  I think John may have let Laurie get away because he liked her, or maybe because he had poison ivy and didn’t want to give it to a girl.  Which was more or less the same thing, back then.

–Steve Kilian

It Smelled Like Mint

Barnacles

In His Chamber

Posted in Art on September 28, 2009 by klogtheblog

face

–Dan Kilian

WWII

The Supreme Facts On Sotomayor

Self Portrait II

Posted in Art on September 25, 2009 by klogtheblog

selfportrait2

–Dan Kilian

Terminator: No Salvation

White Wedding

Self Portrait I

Posted in Art on September 25, 2009 by klogtheblog

selfportrait1

–Dan Kilian

My Obama Encounter By Jacob Bartelby, Intern to the Department of Health Bureaucracy Department Building 15

Return To Last Trip The The Well Part II

The Hall of IP

Posted in All things political, Comedy, Fiction on September 24, 2009 by klogtheblog

I had to pass a battery of tests at the training seminars before they let me out in public.  The Hall of Indigenous Peoples has high standards.  A series of earnest and engaging graduate students patiently drilled me in syrup harvesting, chowdermaking, and proper dialect.  I ran through these unfamiliar tasks, struggling to remember the names of landscape watercolorists and presidential family trees while boiling sap or shucking clams.

One day they dressed us in tweed coats and Birkenstocks for a dress rehearsal.  We marched out to the front half of a Cape Cod house they had trucked in and installed in the Hall.  It was situated between polyurethane igloos on one side and the fire-retardant thatched-roof huts of Equatoria on the other.  We were going to be dipping candles that day.  The instructor’s phoneband chirped and he stepped away to conduct his conversation.

One of the Eskimo group sat not far from us.  He seemed to be having trouble with his task, which appeared to involve threading a coarse line through a bone needle.  “Fuck, man, I can’t get this,” he muttered.  A grad student came over and told him to run the line across a block of seal-fat.  “OK, thanks,” he said, and then looked up and saw me staring.  He shook his head and said, “I’m not even Inuit.  I’m Aleut, and I was planning on going to Johnson and Wales to study hotel management.  What the fuck happened?”

The Reinstatement of Traditional Lifeways Act is what happened, I thought.  All across the continent people were being relocated to their ancestral places of origin based on their lineage.  In a way we were lucky.  The Act established the Hall of Indigenous Peoples at the Smithsonian, and we ended up here.  Better than being shipped off to Vermont, or God forbid Alaska.

–Steve Kilian

Demon Brand Choco-Mallows

Humanizing Death From Above by MQ1-178

Bless Me

Posted in Poetry on September 23, 2009 by klogtheblog

The unnecessary ecstasy of a sudden sneeze

Propels me backward in my rolling chair

Downstream through time — my pleasure’s messes

I leave before me in the future

*

I rocket into the past and out

Through the wall through the ceiling, the clouds in the sky

Peering down from the wheel, the amusement park

Looks fake, a child’s construction set

*

Backward! Faster! Physics be damned!

Through space I see the Earth below

And tail-lights on the cars ahead

Playing the story game, drowsy on Dramamine

*

Are we almost there? I fly on further

Earlier and earlier curiouser and curiouser

A baby is born, a smack and some wetness

Life erupts like a sudden sneeze

*

–Dan Kilian

Sawsquash

Six Song Selection: Radio Lives