I sat down here with the intent of writing some sort of post, but I have spent at least fifteen minutes just farkling about, so I am coming to the conclusion that an actual coherent post on a specific subject is not in me. All the same, I do feel the urge, like a chum salmon swimming through the barest purl of fresh water in the cold darkness of the Humbolt Current and feeling the neural spark of need to return to its natal freshet, to write something.
Sadly, the cool, sweet inspiration of blogging is not upon me.
Part of this is pure frustration. I cannot think of what earthly good I am doing talking about politics or military affairs. Based on the state of U.S. politics and foreign affairs we seem bound and determined to find a meatgrinder labelled "Return to the Gilded Age" and jam our collective (insert pendulous body part here, depending on your gender, dear reader...) into it. Better bloggers than I have pointed out the Madness of the Republic Party in insisting on a return to the social and economic paradigm of 1895, and the craven fecklessness of the other political party in refusing to shout "Fire" as the teabaggers set the social contract we have lived with since 1932 alight.
And the preceding post is a speaking example of my frustration with our supposed foreign policy. The U.S. 2012 is a de facto empire. A "soft" empire, but, still, we share a lot of similarities with the imperial Great Powers of history. So I think to just assume that we will NEVER intervene in places around the world where our "leaders" believe that U.S. interests demand or will benefit from military intervention is unrealistic.
But ISTM that our rationales for many of our more recent interventions has been increasingly iffy. Libya baffles me - what was the point there? Even a "successful" intervention, as it was organized, wasn't going to do anything but decapitate one side of a civil war. How we figured that would end well - when the OTHER side was a mixture of shambolic, vicious, and Islamic - completely eludes me.
I understand that there will always be mistakes - the government of the RVN probably looked no worse in 1965 than the government of Lebanon looked in 1958. But some situations are clearly impossible; look at 1983.
One the one hand you had a "perfect case"; Grenada was tiny, isolated, and weak. It was an irritant, no more, but an opportunity to remove that irritant with minimal cost, and it worked as planned.
On the other hand, Lebanon was clearly a mess; open intervention from untouchable foreign powers (Syria and Israel), an utterly incompetent "government", a multi-sided civil war that we were somehow going to "stabilize"...who the hell COULD have thought that was a good idea?
And ISTM that our recent run; A-stan, Iraq, and Libya - share a lot more with Lebanon than Grenada. Just seems like we've lost the ability to think coherently about how to parse these out, lately...and I have no idea how my writing anything more about this clusterfuck is actually "helping".
And here Sunday has drifted into Monday, and I'm still adrift. So I will turn to the last refuge of the outmatched blogger, the random free association. So.
My little girl had a birthday last month, remember?
For her birthday several of her little girl friends gifted her with Barbies. Those Barbies, I am proud to say, have already been tossed into the lascivious tangle of naked Barbies heaped in the bath toy cistern. The Girl is frou-frou in some ways, but Barbies are not one of them.
Although this particular Barbie made me grin;
Her Ponies are still cute. But they're cute in a smart, funny way. Pinkie Pie is delightfully, completely, nuttily utterly random, Fluttershy is painfully shy but occasionally mad butch, Rainbow Dash is waaaaay too cool, Rarity is the complete Drama Queen, and the other two pals are there to be the ballast. They can make me laugh until I cry, and that's pretty damn rare for me outside Young Frankenstein and a handful of old beach movies.
I mean, really?
Speaking of awesomely shit movies, we caught another kaiju movie the other day; Godzilla vs. Megaguirus.
(Reeeeally bit, just for the record, and I say this as a lover of kaiju movies and the Big Green Guy in particular, although I can't not mention the incredible "kaiju ferachio" scene where the G puts this ninja move on the evil Megaguirus just as the big meanie is about to spear him with his protuberant tail-stinger and clomps down on Mega's poker-pecker and...well, let's just say I winced at the big finish. Yeeowch.)But I can't just pass this one by without giving a shout-out to the leading lady, boss of the G-Graspers played by one 田中美里 (Tanaka Misato), and, specifically, her ears.
Because this gal has one frigging ginormous set of cranium fins. Seriously; this picture give you an idea but just doesn't do them justice. I shit you not, Ms. Tanaka has one prize-winning pair of earflaps.
Joe Bob says; check it out.Patty McGee, a giant of the early skateboarders and the first woman to make national news for riding the asphalt waves. The website at the link has this brilliant telephone commercial (remember when landlines actually advertised?) with Patty skating through the house.)
The other interesting thing, to me, anyway, is how fragmented our culture has become since 1965. I mean, there are LOTS of skateboarders today; you see skateboards everywhere. But there's no broad impact on us, skateboarding, like so much else we do, is a subset of something and for some people - it's a little cul-de-sac of pop culture. By professionalizing and sleeking down and mainstreaming Patty's craft it seems a lot more...trivial. Does it, or is it just me? But I can't think of a skateboarder making the cover of People magazine or USA Today or getting his or her own commercial.
For some reason my hip has chosen to be vindictive today.
It always aches, at least a little, but that's pretty much a given when the ball-and-socket at the top of your right leg is fairly thoroughly rusted out. But some days it just seems to enjoy giving me a little extra kick in the ass.
And I mean that literally; my right quad, and hamstring, and gluteus, ache and burn like...well, like you'd think your leg muscles would feel when your bones decided to quit on you. And deep inside the little fucker roars and hammers and does its level best to make me sour and angry.
I think I'm starting to understand what chronic pain does to people. It's...difficult...to be happy and friendly when your ass is aching.
I learned as a kid, and have always believed, that difficulties and pain are to be endured, at best, with dignity and at least with silence. And, really, what good would a long whine of complaint do for me? There's nothing to be done, short of surgery, and that best left until this can not be endured a moment longer. And it's not to that point yet. The good days are decent and the bad days not unbearable.
But when the damn thing decides to be miserable it sure tends to make for a long, long day.
Mojo, too, has had a bit of a long day.
She managed in her usual undramatic way; fetching kiddos from school, entertaining, disciplining, feeding, and supervising the small ones until I got back from a long day at work. But then she pretty much folded, and was a wan shadow of her usual self until collapsing into bed.
You have to feel pretty tender towards a sleeper not to feel at the least, a trifle superior to them. Sleeping humans are not generally lovely objects. Movies lie; the most gorgeous woman and the studliest man are ridiculous in sleep; they snort, they twitch, their faces are slack and uninhabited, an open invitation for the waking being to feel a nasty little desire to tweak some part of them or play cruel tricks on them.
If we feel any sort of human empathy we feel no such pettiness in the presence of the Big Sleep of death. We are, most of us, silent, humbled, and belittled by the end of all things, the terminator of delights.
But sleep, the petty cousin of death, brings with it no such awe. A stranger sleeping is a hand waiting to be dunked in a pot of warm water, or a nose to be pinched, or at the very least a buzzing snorer to be afforded an irked glance.
But the sky changes when the sleeper is someone dear to you.
My little girl is a very neat sleeper. She is usually curled into a comma, her wild tousle of midnight hair at one end while the other is lost in the tangle of soft blankets she demands. She seldom stirs, and never, to my knowledge, makes noise.
The Boy, on the other hand, is a sprawl, all long arms and legs buried amid the mountain of stuffed animals that share his bed, or, rather, dominate it. He mutters and tosses, restless even asleep, his limbs moving in the slow locomotion of dreams.
My bride is neither graceful nor akimbo but, rather, like her waking self a very compact, purposeful sleeper. She has recently made a soft, plush throw for herself and is swallowed within moments of unconsciousness, a small bundle of warm blue velvet.
Tonight, though, her sleep is troubled; perhaps the effect of the cold medication, or perhaps some random uneasiness sparking the cold synapses inside her dreaming head. I sit with her for a moment, and speak quietly, and she settles quietly, whatever the trouble was receding, her breathing slowing and deepening.
For just a moment I sit beside her. All that is visible is the curve of her head, the perfect bowl of skull softened by her short dark hair, all scattered by her tossing and the shot-threads of gray shining in the light from the kitchen across the hallway. The faintest hint of jawline disappears into the welter of blankets and sheet below.
For that moment I'm seized by an enormous tenderness, a deep and passionate shiver of desire for her; not as a woman but as this woman, my wife of a decade and mother of our children, this woman sleeping next to me, her unruly shock of gray-black hair, her sharp nose and pale-fire eyes that are already beginning to look like her mother's at forty, her sure, short, slender fingers and skin like pale satin that tans poorly and burns like flash paper. With her touchy need for respect and the way she jumps and shrieks at sudden sounds, with her strength and her fears, her rough desires, her uncaring of the immediate and the transient, and her deep well of knowledge.
On the top of the blue plush blanket her hand twitches once and relaxes into the motionlessness of deep sleep, her fingers releasing the passing evening. As I turn to go she sighs, sinking into the smooth black river of night and drifting through the darkness towards tomorrow's daylight.