Archive for August, 2010

War Is Over (V-I Day)

August 19, 2010

I can’t believe the war in Iraq is essentially over.  It was done with a minimum of embarrassment, but also with a minimum of violence.  This was the longest war in the history of our nation, spanning one third of my life.  And now, thankfully, its done.

Its strange to think that some people have turned this pullout into a polarizing issue.  Forget about that.  Our troops are home, and they performed admirably abroad.  I don’t think the decision to go to war in Iraq is divisive anymore.  The most progressive Liberals will tell you that they would probably never have given the President the ability to go to war unimpeded had they known it would have taken this long, and cost so much money, and so many (not considering other wars) young lives.  The staunchest Conservatives will tell you that it might have worked a little better under different circumstances, better strategies, etc.  But what links those two viewpoints is the recognition that it was time to leave.  I congratulate President Obama on effectively ending this ordeal with such little fanfare, and so quickly.

It lasted a whole nine years.  At times, it seemed that things were going well.  I remember how proud I was (even though I had not supported this particular war) when the ecstatic Iraqis began destroying statues of their deposed dictator.  You could tell in their eyes that this was their Berlin Wall crumbling, albeit with a much less certain future.  We had used our immense military power to take down a truly evil man.  If only the elements that brought him into power were more easily destroyed.  The nation was too divided for a quick reconstruction, and changing the hearts and minds of a whole country was not feasible given the amount of time that America generally allows before demanding results.  These are all lessons to be learned, and in this case relearned.  But everyone deserves a little blame.  So everyone should be elated.

Maybe, in time, the infrastructure that we have built, including a semi competent police force, military, and just upgraded amenities in general will allow for a generational shift toward peace in that nation.  I have always believed that the more money and resources that a nation can gather, along with a free government that oversees injustice in commerce or in civil rights, are the keys to building a more humane society.  In short, the happier and more motivated that Iraqis become, the less they will fight with one another and other nations.  Hopefully, we have done enough.  The story is not over yet.

This clearly was not a war in the sense that WW II was a war, with huge death counts and international uncertainty.  It was, however, something that was becoming more and more of a black cloud.  And now, this issue has been laid to rest.  It seems as if our country was spiraling under the weight of war, recession, and unrest.  This was a step in the right direction.  When I heard the news, I got that warm patriotic feeling again.  My patriotism was not gone, rather it was restrained.  It was akin to the feeling that a parent has when their child spends a week in detention.  They still love him with all their heart, but they aren’t exactly singing their praises for those seven days.  But detention is over.

We pray for those that we have lost, and remind them that it was not a sacrifice in vain.  For those of us that are here right now, rejoice.  Our nation has dealt with issues that dwarf this war over the course of our history.  And just like this one, it took years for life to improve.  Congratulations everybody, we are on our way.  And I love this country.


Getting to Know the Prince of Wales Trophy

August 15, 2010

            As everyone knows, recently I was accused of starting a hoax that when proven true, became a source of shame for the NHL. The Great Prince of Wales trophy, which has been chosen to represent somewhere between 39 and 46 different achievements over the years was tarnished. But Wait.  Not so fast.  Read on to find out how this debacle was actually the result of much more MYSTERIOUS powers at work. We are talking about a trophy that is SO MYSTERIOUS, in fact, that no one knows what the hell it is. I think we are all sick of seeing the same old Stanley cup lifted by similarly “good” and “successful” teams. Every year its the same old thing. That, my friends is why the Prince of Wales trophy is the gem of the hockey world. There is no better way in all of sports to award a team for “maybe, POSSIBLY, eventually winning a championship.” It may not get all the press, or even a little, or besides this week, NONE, but that just adds more of that aforementioned mystery. 
                    In fact, it is also well known to have secret powers. Most notably, anyone that touches it will resign his team to failure at an astounding 50 percent rate. But if that team is labeled a scrappy team, with “nothing to lose,”and their captain goes ahead and lifts it in the air, it guarantees victory at that same astonishing 50 percent rate. Just think, 50 percent of the time, its 100 percent accurate. No need for a calculator, I’ve done the math. 
            As awe-inspiring and all-powerful as the trophy is, there is also a very distinct humility present. As human beings, we all realize that we are prone to mistakes and missteps. And in an attempt to mirror that same humanity, the powers that be decided to tarnish the all-controlling and god-like trophy with a few very subtle, almost undetectable engraving errors. If you look very closely, you can even see the typo that was written purposely this year. Someone took the words “Philadelphia Flyers”, and misspelled it “Washington Capitals.” Very clever. And how bout this nugget from the 1976 winner. During that period, the trophy was awarded each year to the “grooviest” team . The “Hoboken Disco Kings” were wrongly inscribed, instead of the “Harlem Jive Turkeys.” This, in fact, was the root of the current, barely noticeable, slight lack of racial diversity that is present at the current time. After all, Hockey used to be made up of primarily African Americans. But before you go blaming the “man,”like the Jive Turkeys did, take a step back and look at the whole picture. The NHL loves everyone of every (European) culture.
                ( Also comically included on the trophy was a team named the “Toronto Maple Leafs.” I’ve been on this earth for 27 whole years, and I have never, EVERY heard of a successful team with that name. Must be a prank.)
                 Just like the multimillionaire who engraves the Prince of Wales, I was never that good at spelling either. In fact, I remember way back during my learnin’ days, that certain English teachers had the same spelling problem as I did. More than a few times, they graded my papers and accidently spelled the letter “A” with things like “F” and “what is this garbage”, and even “You suck at school.” Its ok teachers, we all know you have a tough job, no hard feelings.
                I hope this informal entry about the greatest trophy ever conceived has been helpful. Let us praise the all mighty Gary Bettman and realize that it may seem easy at first to judge this situation to be a “f**kup” or “dimwitted mistake”, when instead it is a greater plan emanating from the inner soul of this miraculous trophy.
                And next time you see someone holding up the “boring” and “overhyped” Stanley Cup, just keep on walking. For deep down, we know our heart belongs to that marvel of a trophy, gleaming in the sunlight and resembling an urn full of Grandpa’s ashes sitting atop a stack of coasters from Outback Restaurant. May you always continue to inspire.  This trophy played a hoax on us all.
                 But how much more fame can this trophy achieve?  We shall see.
               I would also like to mention that the NHL has lovingly allowed me to have the Prince of Wales Trophy for a day, in light of the current media “overreaction.” I will detail how I spent the day in a later entry.  But lets just say for one day, I was the KING of Wales.  Only this time it was spelled “whales” and it was referring to fat, pasty girls with low self esteem. 
 *some or most or all of this might be bs


A Rest Stop, Not a Mile Marker (2010 Blackhawks)

August 12, 2010


(This was written right after we won the Stanley Cup Championship.  So its a classic.)

    We won, its official. Besides UNC College championships which I could only celebrate with myself, this is my first time at winning it all. Not only did we win, we carved a moment in time forever. This team will be legendary to everyone who witnessed. For at least tonite, politics, financial issues, racism, depression, or anything negative has been put to rest. Our city and all its inhabitants now have the right to cheer and honk their horns and smile at nothing.

    And maybe to some, sports dont make sense.

    Why arbitrarily root for a group of hockey players’ success?

     I would tell you this reason. Just like the people you work with, the people you hang out with, the people you see almost everyday become fixtures in your life, so do sports teams. They become a shared fixture in your life, and just as other fixtures, you wish them well. And when a team like this comes along, its easy to want the absolute best for them.

   Its for memories, bragging rights, exhilirating moments and a chance to be a kid again. Its shelter from life’s storm, and a reminder that even in an increasingly impersonal world, the best things in life are meant to be shared with everyone.

    Do you remember where you were,  who you were with, where you were in life?

I do. And I always will. Take a moment, folks. Take it all in.

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