Couldn't Have Said It Better

Keith Olbermann delivers a great Special Comment.



Via: VideoSift

Fresh Meat For The Meat Grinder

My youngest son has a big fascination with anything boxing related right now. The Ultimate Fighting Championship. Boxing. He and his friends even play this game called Ten Seconds, where they punch the crap out of each other for fun. I'm not entirely clear on the rules, but I do know it involves getting hit on the arm. I remember a similar game when I was in junior high. Sometimes, it escalated to a full on fight, as Terrance tells me it does when they play.

He has a friend who has boxing gloves and he tells me these stories about how they like to smack each other around and challenge other kids in the neighborhood. He says he even has a friend who trains for UFC type fights (although that story is not confirmed).

I've noticed he's attracted to the raw violence of it. The thrill of slugging it out with someone else. No technique or strategy; just throwing punches and seeing what hits. He often comments on why the boxers on TV just don't start swinging. I've tried to impress upon him how they call it "The Sweet Science" and how there's some strategy to it and a certain level of psychology. Its not just about how hard you hit, but where and how you can do the most damage- physically and mentally. He's asked me if I think he could become a boxer and I believe he can. Not the sport I'd like him to take up, but he'd do well at it.

Just the other day he told me that he'd done some boxing at school. Surprised, I asked how he got involved in that and he told me that the Army recruiters had come by and set up a ring. They divide them up into age and weight classes and award T-shirts and other prizes for the winners. He says that they also have contests on who can do the most calisthenics. When he was done telling me about it, I frowned and grit my teeth.

I asked him when this all took place. He said that they set up during lunch and that their gear is elaborate. Its not always the Army, he said. Sometimes its the Marines. From what I gathered, they use the ROTC group to find their way into the school. Anyone who wants to play their "games" can come in and participate, though. Not just ROTC kids.

The Marines send him a steady stream of propaganda. He never sees it as my wife and I have decided not to give it to him yet. He's having a tough enough time right now dealing with his school work and a part time job. He's recently expressed interest in continuing his love of cross country in college and then maybe joining the millitary. I like that he's talking more about going to college. No reason to derail that plan with millitary bullshit.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not against the military. I fully support the troops, but not the Iraqi war. Truman was right about the industrial, military complex. Sadly, it has grown beyond our control. And, talking to my youngest son, it's after everything it can get. Including our youth. Fresh meat for the meat grinder.

The military PR department is relentless. With so many of our boys being sent to Iraq and so many of them dying, they need to replenish the ranks. And what better way to do it than by appealing to a young man's sense of honor and duty. Of God and country. "Freedom isn't free" the stickers say. No, its not. I believe that it comes at a steep price. But I believe that the way we evaluate that price has changed.

It upsets me that the military is brainwashing our kids. They are not satisfied with the TV ads, the theatre ads and the magazine ads. Our schools are now becoming their fishing holes. A place to find the lost and misguided to give them "direction" and "purpose". They almost convinced Terrance to sign up early, to get a head start, before he even graduated from high school. Tonya and I squashed that idea before it took root.

There would be those that say, "Well, where are we suppose to get bodies to put in uniform?" "Who's gonna defend our country?" "Who will fight for freedom?" I hear ya. But lets put it into perspective. Lets stop to think who and what we're really servicing here. The United States has seen itself to be, for the lack of a better word, the "World Police." We rush into places were we find "unchecked aggression" and slap the natives around. And before we leave, we put up a base and tell em we're gonna watch over them. Its our job, I've heard it said.

So, we've crowned ourselves world watchdogs. That makes it okay to go into schools and spew this rhetoric on kids who are confused enough by their own feelings and thoughts that we have to push on them this crap about what their duty is? Its their duty to live their lives the best way possible. Its their duty to be the best individuals they can be. Not to strap on a helmet, ride a Hummer and leave their future smeared across some patch of sand somewhere on the other side of the world.

My son has expressed interest in the military. I can tell him that I'd rather he didn't, but ultimately, it's his choice. And I guess this is what I'm fighting for here. Choice. Because when you fill a child's mind with these obligations that don't belong to them, you take that choice away. To honor and protect his family, that's an obligation. As it is my obligation to honor and protect him. Its his obligation to find out what he wants out of his life and his obligation to chase that dream down. If it's the military, so be it, but he has to be given the room to make that choice on his own. Not guilted or tricked into making it. My parents gave me that choice and I want my son to have the same choice.

So many kids at his age have no direction or ambition. Their parents don't hold much sway in their lives and, for the most part, don't even care. They turn over their responsibilities to teachers, the television. At his age, I was just as confused, if not more so, by the miriad of choices and decisions I had to make about myself and about my life.

The military could be good for Terrance. Structure. Disipline. Order. As an adult, I wish, sometimes, that I had gone military, at least for a few years. But looking back on it, I'm glad I didn't. But that was my path to walk.

President Bush and his cronies would have us believe that we're chasing down terrorists. But we all know that story. He would tell you that its our duty to be in Iraq and to fight this war. This is not a war. Not like WWII was a war. We are not fighting Nazis. bin Laden isn't Hitler. Shit, he isn't even an Iraqi. This romanticized view of honor, God and country are out the door. This is a "war" of ideologies. The people we're fighting against- or for, depending on your point of view -are steeped in violence. This was has more to do with oil than with blood. And I'm expected to accept, nay, offer my son up to the alter of sacrifice because it's his duty? What happens if I don't believe in the cause?

I'm really angry about this. I'm pissed off that the Army or Marines or whatever branch of the fucking military are coming into the schools and cherry picking these kids for military service. And don't tell me they don't look for the most confused or easily led. Because that's half their enlistment base. The ones who don't feel like they have a future and buy into a dream that's later nothing more than a nightmare.

Am I wrong for wanting more than a rifle in my son's hand? Am I wrong for hoping that he'll find himself and his future in college instead of on patrol in some desert on the other side of the world? But I guess, ultimately, it will be his choice. I hope I can give him enough information to make the best one.

Until then, keep your minions out of the schools, Bush. I think you've done enough.


"Good Morning, Mongrels!!"

No, I wasn't calling anyone a mongrel. I was just watching Donnie Darko earlier. I had forgotten that great scene where Patrick Swayze goes to do a seminar at the high school and greets everyone with a big, robust, "Good morning, Mongrels!!!" The Mongrel, as it happens, is the school mascot. I laughed out loud at the theatre when I saw it.

Anyhow, the entire purpose of this post was not to ramble on about some damn line in a movie. I have another blog for that.

My eyes happened to wander to the index of the blog and I noticed that I had started in May of 2005. And crazy enough, my first blog was on May 23, 2005. It's been two years. Wow.

So, the Arrogant Bastard gargoyle greets you, beer in hand, hoping that if you read this with any regularity, you'll be around for a couple more years. I know I will!

Salud, dinero y amor!!


This Rules!

I got my name in lights with

Last Five, May 20, 2007

My iPod helps me put together ideas for scripts. I sometimes want to take an approach, like say, Steven Soderbergh in "Out of Sight" or "The Limey", or to try and blend them into the background like say, Martin Scorsese in "Mean Streets" or "Goodfellas".

But I think most songs fit into some soundtrack. About anyone. In any place. Here's some inspiration for today.

5. Like A Star - Corinne Bailey Rae
4. ...Dust - Elvis Costello
3. Bad Girl - The Detroit Cobras
2. The Drinking Song - Moxy Früvous
1. Desire - U2



When I made more frequent trips to Mexico to visit my family, I remember my grandmother telling me about what my mom was like when I was little. About how I could cough and she would freak out and rush me to the doctor. My grandmother says that out of all her children, mom's maternal instincts where the sharpest.

But that's just one of the things that makes my mother the greatest.

She is, for example, an accomplished seamstress. For a long time, I remember her making all sorts of clothes. She made me two costumes, from scratch, for two parties. The Batman costume was awesome. It was tailored after the Adam West incarnation of Batman. The cowl was incredible. Tailored to my fat, round little head. With the tiny ears and the drawn in eye brows.

The Superman suit she made me years later- I posted a picture of it several weeks back -was also a sight to behold. The "S" was perfect. The cape was awesome. And I even had a pair of red boots to go with the whole outfit.

I have her to thank for taking me to the movies all those times back home in San Luis Potosi. When we lived in Nuevo Laredo, it was just she and I. We were waiting to get our permanent resident status so we could join my dad. Even then she managed to get me to the movies.

My mom was an accomplished runner for many years. She's got a bunch of trophies to prove it.

She has given me encouragement and believed in everything I did. No matter how hair-brained the scheme of mine was, she would find a way to help me make it happen.

My mom came from a big, traditional Mexican family. She is one of four women in a family of nine. My grandmother, another incredible woman, raised her nine kids alone after my grandfather died. The majority of my mother's siblings are teachers. My mom became a cosmetologist. There are pictures of my mom doing people's hair when I was still residing in her belly. Throughout the years, my mother has built a steady and loyal customer base. She's worked in several salons, but her dream has always been to work for herself. And she has. She has many of my drawings hung up in her one chair salon.

She baked me cakes for my birthdays and mended my clothes when I ripped them. Traditional staples of a mindful mother. And though it all, no matter how bad things got, I never saw her falter. I never saw her fail at anything. Everything that woman set her mind to do, she did.

I can't imagine what my life would have been like without my mom. Without her love, her devotion and her endless support. She's never asked for more than our love and a phone call from time to time.

So I dedicate this blog to my mother. Without whom I would not be here today. Obviously.

I've included a picture of my mom with my grandmother at my grandma's house in Mexico.

I love you mom!!!


Just Breathe

I've been in a weird place for the last few years. My confidence levels have been erratic, at best, and I honestly haven't felt much like my old, confident self.

Making movies helps in that respect. Its a world where I feel I have the most control. Despite scheduling conflicts, weather woes or technical difficulties, I still feel the most in control.

For those that know me, I can be quite...animated, when I'm fired up. My wife call it "dramatic". I think its me being a Mexican.

But at work, its different. At least at my current job. I've been quiet. Very quiet. The quietest I've ever been. Office politics are a strange beast and in my new work environment, they don't lend themselves well to some of my thinking. I have a big mouth and its likely to get me in trouble.

There are people here who speak their mind. To a point. They'll say what needs to be said and be bold. To a point. I think most have the same feeling about it that I do. You can't be too vocal or someone will get their feelings hurt.

Wait, I work in a newspaper. I'm a journalist. Journalists get their feelings hurt? What the fuck is that about? When did this fucking business start getting a bruised ego?

I've held my tongue a lot since I've started to work at my current job. I've held back a lot. Its tested my level of patience and of will. I don't think anyone is ready to hear what I really have to say. So I'm trying to figure out a way to do it without pissing too many people off. Or hurting feelings. Ugh.

The prevailing ethic around my job is to complain about you indirectly. Or complain about you to anyone else but you. If there's anything that just pisses me right the fuck off is that. If you have a fucking problem with me, just tell me. How does that help me? And wouldn't you rather hear it from the source. My supervisor for the section I work for two days a week informed me that several people have been "concerned" about how I handle the pages I design. Who? Who the fuck are these people and why didn't they express their concerns to me?

Biting tongue. I'm biting my tongue. I need to find a constructive, nice way to handle this. My response, right now, is to growl and bite. That's my warning.

Patience really is a virtue.


I Rant Therefore I Rave | Designed by Techtrends | © 2007-2008 All rights reserved