Wednesday, February 14, 2007

BEST and WORST of 2006

WHat So, I’ve had a little pressure to post my "best of list", and well, it’s mid-way through February, but what the hell. Here it is. Enjoy.

The Departed – Martin Scorsese’s epic remake crosses the tracks from the mean streets to the green streets with an Irish-American gangster film that will leave you guessing until the very last frame. It is an exercise in precise and intelligent filmmaking with a cast that becomes the characters they portray. Personality and the quick and unexpectedness of violence make this film shine even beyond its already solid script and perfectly streamlined aesthetics. Scorsese, for the first time, delivers a film that is accessible to modern filmgoers while never sacrificing his filmmaking integrity. A powerhouse.

Blood Diamond – Just as he has done in every film (including the aforementioned “Departed”) DiCaprio “becomes” his own character, alive and original in this politically themed actioner. Director Ed Zwick (The Last Samurai, Glory) continues to prove that he’s not a by-the-numbers filmmaker, providing us with a taught story, infused action sequences, a political message (albeit an unexpected one) and still manages to pull some outstanding performances from his cast, especially DiCaprio and co-star Dijimon Hinsjou. An excellent score by James Newton Howard rounds out this visceral experience, which almost feels like a throwback to a Bogart-esque era film.

Borat – I predicted this would either be huge or fall flat. I’m glad it was the latter. This surpassed even my expectations as THE comedy to see in 2006. Having already been a fan of Sasha Baron Cohen’s “Ali G Show,” I knew we were in for a treat from as a true comedian. Not only does he pull out the laughs, but, much like South Park, brings out the social commentary as well. It's like America being caught with its pants down and there’s nothing funnier than someone calling you out and making an ass out of you. The fact that Cohen was able to stay in character for so long and in so many real-life situations is a tribute to the man as a comedian. However, Borat doesn’t become a U.S.A. bashing film, but rather has fun with our own idiosyncrasies and giving us a character to cheer for even when you’re staring at his naked, hairy ass.

Apocalypto – Say what you will about Mel Gibson (what’s going on with all these actors I grew up with?) but the man is not only a talented actor, but now a three-times proven outstanding filmmaker. Building on the template he’s laid for himself with the classic “Braveheart,” Gibson takes us into another world, another time, and doesn’t preach history, but rather takes us on an action/adventure ride filled with culture, vision, and true cinematic flair. This is an original and exhilarating film and it never fails to give us a glimpse of something we haven’t seen on film before, weather it be hastily made blow darts from a poisoness frog or the ancient sacrificial ceremonies of the Mayan empire, this is something engaging and original. Gibson is a filmmaker to watch and I eagerly look forward to whatever he brings to the table in the future.

Casino Royale – Despite Brosnan being a great Bond, the previous outings (Goldeneye not included) felt a little overly kinetic and drawn out with not enough development beyond its toys and trinkets. Sometimes it takes starting over to get things right again (Batman Begins anyone?). And what a difference it makes. Daniel Craig brings a tough and chiseled presence to the Bond franchise, while also showing a more physically adept 007 as well. Roger Moore was always a little too stiff and Brosnan was able to pull off the stunts but never did any of them look as convincing as Craig. Giving us the first Bond tale ever was an excellent idea and invites an entire new audience to get into the mix without chastising them for not already being in the club. Some great action sequences from director Campbell, who has been here before (Goldeneye), and seems to be forming up into a very formidable action director. Depth, action, character, and freshness bring Bond back in a big way. Jason Bourne is no longer competing with a dinosaur.

Children of Men – Alfonso Cuaron’s epic tale of the near future, which shows what becomes of the world when humans can no longer have children, is probably the most visionary film of the year. Clive Owen is impressive as always, playing a drunk ex-activist forced into helping deliver a miraculously pregnant woman to a safe zone where, along with her child, can begin to repopulate the world. The supporting cast and characters are all outstanding and Cauron stages his world of the future in such a believable and realistic way that you have to wonder how he did it. The film feels almost like a fairy tale in its settings and oddball characters and yet is strikingly violent at times, giving it a darker edge. Watch for the continuous, uncut sequences that put DePalma to shame. This film is kinda brilliant.

Mission: Impossible 3 – On another “say what you will about so-and-so” note, Cruise delivers his best of the MI films in writer/director J.J. Abrams action-spy thriller. Starked in quirky originality and fast paced, cool-guy action sequences, Abrams brings freshness to his vision of the franchise (most likely the last with Cruise) and gives us the best action film of the year. All the elements for success are lined up here and everyone pulls their weight, making nothing less than a rock-solid entry into the action-spy genre. (See my lengthier review below).

United 93 – The most powerful film of 2006 undoubtedly belongs to “United 93”. Director Paul Greengrass (Bourne Supremacy) took great pains and measure to portray the final hours of the doomed flight in a realistic, honest, and non-exploitive way. Kudos to all involved in this film, from the actors that portrayed the passengers, the air control, and even the terrorists. It takes guts to make a film of this magnitude and it leaves a lasting impact long after the credits roll. (See my lengthier review below).

Little Miss Sunshine – The most fun and original film of 2006, this offbeat family road trip film is filled with family dysfunction and in depth characters to boot. What may seem like your run-of-the-mill road trip movie is actually a grown up coming of age story involving people of all ages. The hijinks throughout left me rolling with laughter and many performances moved me at the same time. (Wait…what does “move” me even mean). Many times I found myself predicting the worst but not feeling the filmmakers had the balls to pull it off…and then they did. Great stuff. This is a film you could watch anytime, which speaks volumes.
Hilarious and touching.

Déjà vu – Hey, I’m a Tony Scott fan, what can I say. The only time he ever did wrong was “The Fan” and he’s more than redeemed himself for that. The screenwriters cried about Scott changing the script and although I haven’t been able to take the Pepsi challenge on this one, the film felt on par with the best in the sci-fi thriller genre. Denzel Washington is at his usual best here, playing a cop that finds a way to travel in a limited amount of time to catch a killer. Fast-paced, fun, original (but not TOO much), and with the signature Tony Scott-isms that we have come to appreciate and love over the years make this film an absolute blast. Although clogged with some holes, this is still a great, fun, and clever action Sci-Fi film that hits all the right notes and then some. Added bonus: Harry Gregson-Williams score, another knockout from a composing genius.

Honorable Mentions:

Miami Vice – Michael Mann’s vision of the 80’s show was harshly judged and left to the slaughter, but thankfully critics and viewers alike are starting to recognize the vision that it is now that it’s on DVD, with a director’s cut to boot. Mann does not disappoint.

The Hills Have Eyes – The best horror film of 2006, French director Alexandre Aja takes this remake and jolts it to life with flinching violence and taught suspense. This is what good horror is made of. Although not perfect, this is still ten times better than the original and it’s great to see a horror filmmaker not play it safe for the sake of a rating.

Thank you for Smoking – Brilliance all around in this wordy caper about an exec, played by Aaron Eckart, that backs the tobacco industry. An excellent script is done justice by a stellar cast that showcases both the American tobacco industry, Hollywood, as well as many other organizations, and gives us a comedic social commentary that, for once, doesn’t preach to us, but rather tells it like it is.

Brick - Another notch in the murder/mystery genre for this top-rate film that unravels the mystery of a girls death with teenagers in a modern day setting but with 50’s era dialogue. Great stuff, and with the actors delving so deep into characters that are so out of the norm, this is a film that will leave you confused, interested, and engaged throughout. Joseph Gordon-Levitt proves that he is ready for the big leagues, giving a performance well beyond his "3rd Rock" days.

Over the Hedge – Now that Hollywood is churning out the Pixar-ish animated films at a dime a dozen, it’s come time to separate the good from the trash. Here, thankfully, is the good. Brilliant and vibrant animation brings the “Hedge” comic strip to life with a playful and adventurous story. What really tips the hat in the audiences favor is the voice actors that have a blast voicing their respective characters. Bruce Willis is particularly great as the lead character. This is certainly a “fun for all ages” kind of film, but seriously, I never thought I’d enjoy it as much as I did. Hopefully, my future children will drag me to more of these than to the millions of “Ant Bully’s” out there.

Superman Returns A devout (which doesn't mean I loved the character just for the sake of it) Supes fan, I felt this film did great justice to the character (while still taking some liberties) and brought Superman back to the masses, but ultimately failed todeliver on the action front. Director Bryan Singer (X-Men) has promised a more action-oriented sequel and thankfully so. At – least he got us on track, now it’s time to get down to business.

World Trade Center – The second entry into the 9/11 accounts is no less powerful and thought provoking. Your heart rate will beat at an abnormal rate and your mind can’t help but linger back to that day and reinvigorate those emotions as you watch Oliver Stone’s well made, and well-acted chronology of two trapped police officers inside one of the fallen towers. Emotional and powerful.

The Protector (a.k.a. Tom Yong Gong) – Amazing. That’s the only way to describe Tony Jaa’s martial arts choreography in this kinetic and eye-popping action film that follows a man tracking down his baby elephant. No, seriously. The action scenes go on for 15 minutes or longer at a time and some of them with ZERO cuts, which leaves you in awe of Jaa’s abilities and presence. A force to be reckoned with.

Rocky Balboa – Everyone loves an underdog and I think that Stallone moreso than his character of Rocky plays that role here. Many and eye was rolled when mention of another Rocky film was made, but Stallone has proven himself to still be a formidable writer, actor, and director with this final entry into the Italian Stallion’s tale. Filled with great monologues and a fitting wrap up to the franchise, this film could be watched after the original Rocky and stand alone as the only sequel to the film. Great work and a great comeback for Stallone.

Babel – Interwoven stories of the confusion, violence, and fear that is caused when people of different languages and cultures collide, Babel is a strong and scary film, which certainly doesn’t encourage you to travel abroad (but seriously, WHY would you want to go to some of these places?) but also dives deeper into the emotional distress of not being understood and how victims are created out of this confusion as lives are shattered as a result. Nail-biting throughout.

Little Children – Todd Fields gives his second film another bout of originality, this time featuring a voice over that reads from the book throughout the film it is adapting (got all that?). A smart and talented cast round out this film about the secret lives that supposed “ordinary” people lead and the repercussions of them. Much like “Babel” this is a film that you can’t predict and you can only imagine the worst, but you may be surprised by the actual outcome. Kudos to Thomas Newman for another great score.

Inside Man – The smartest heist movie made since David Mamet’s “Heist” is a another nod to Denzel Washington and Clive Owen respectively. A tight script and unpredictable story is given an urban feel, both with suspense and comedy, as Spike Lee takes a break from preaching and takes a stab at filmmaking. Entertaining, solid, and unpredictable. The way a good heist movie should be.

Give me my time and money back

Bloodrayne – Made with a SVHS camera crap.

Ultraviolet – Who thought Matrix-style action could be made boring? Who thought that even Milla Jovovich could be just as bad?

Slither – Waste of talent and potential. Teases us with a genuine entry into the horror genre and turns out to be more of the same.

The Benchwarmers – Holy fuck, please, I’ll tell you anything you want to know, just don’t make me watch “Benchwarmers” again, PLEASE!!”

Scary Movie 4 – Hang it up. It’s done.

American Dreamz – Message to Paul Weitz. You made American Pie. Also, your political views have the resonance of an MSNBC headline story that you read after checking your hotmail. Thanks for the garbage. We’ll clean it up.

The Sentinal – How the fuck did Jack Baeur get boring? Keifer Sutherland took a wrong turn out of “24” and stumbled onto this paycheck with Michael Douglas trying to be an action star again and forgot to do anything new or original. Don’t forget your caffeine pills for the action sequences.

Silent Hill – The director of the awesome “Brotherhood of the Wolf” decides to quit making cool shit and give us some extremely Unhorrifying crap that severely disappoints due to the talent involved. Back to the drawing board, kids.

Running with Scissors – Fuck this gay opus on Augusten Burroughs life. I’m sorry, but this is an exercise in homosexual boredom. Plus, perfect opportunity to show Evan Rachel Woods tits. But, the protagonist is gay. Even Brokeback Mountain gave us some gratuitous female nudity.

Eragon – Piece of crap Harry Potter wannabe without a SHRED of originality.

We Are Marshall – Holy melodrama and disgustingly bad wardrobes, Batman. This is just plain achingly sappy and dull. Waste of celluloid.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Power to the (i)Pod, People!

Yes, yes, I’ve been gone for…a while. Get over it. To throw out the old clichés…I’ve been so busy, it’s been crazy, or, one of my old faves, I just haven’t had time…

Well, those all apply, but I’ll also add in that I’ve been lazy and unmotivated to knock out a blog. SO sue me.

So, I can imagine that we’d all like to hear about how many people I’ve killed and how many bombs I’ve dodged and “what’s it like” style questions, but, for the purposes of OPSEC (Operational Security) and to keep me in the good graces of UCMJ (Uniform Code of Military Justice…jeez, I’m gonna have to do this a lot) I’m going to abstain from the gory details and stick to what I can talk about.

So…what can I talk about?


Let’s start with the ipod video and the digital revolution in general and how it has affected this deployment (Oh, yeah, I’m in Iraq…in case you’re just passing through…yes, yes…at war…no shit).

So, what is a digital revolution you ask? Well, it’s not the fucking Matrix if that’s what you’re thinking. Rather, it is the movement of all information and technology from paper to computer.

And nothing is more affected by this than one of the most widely used types of entertainment by United States Army personnel: PORNO.

Yes, gone are the days of rolling up that copy of Swank you scored out of the men’s shitter three days ago (it wasn’t THAT tattered), stuffing it down your pants and awkwardly moving your way to the port-a-john for a little personal attention that can only be found in the privacy of such a place.

That means whacking off, people.

Anyways, instead of rolling up that magazine and taking the risk of getting caught by your peers and ridiculed for the obvious when you are seen with an unnatural bulge inside your shirt, you can now easily stuff a small device, roughly the size of your wallet, deep into your cargo pocket and make your way to the port-o-john without any problems at all.

And WHOA to the imagination! The possibilities!

Forget about dragging a DVD player or a laptop into that motherfucker, let alone a magazine. It’s all on the ipod! I’m talking full PORNO movies in DVD quality (granted, the screen is like a plasma TV for a mouse, but still, we’re flexible). DUDE. The revolution is here.

This is all made possible by the ingenuity of some genius out there that has created some awesome software that allows you to burn DVD’s onto your ipod. So, not only do you have pocket porno, you also have full-length movies. Seriously. Are you getting all this?

All information travels through thumb drives and external hard drives. Every soldier, large and small, has a damn external hard drive. And on every one of these hard drives you will find a massive amount of porn, no doubt put together by the devil himself to create the ultimate digital media library of sin that will absolutely secure you a spot in hell.

The file sharing is immense. I have little doubt that you will find the exact same files on every external hard drive. From the lowest ranking private to the battalion commander, I’m sure that Amateur Creampies Volume 2 is sittin’ pretty on every one of these guys drives.

And so be it!

Let it be known that we were all briefed that pornography was BANNED in Iraq. You could not bring it and cannot have it.

Seriously. Did they forget that they are sending MEN away for a YEAR? (Okay, and a few chicks…but that’s a whole other topic…we’ll get there) Away from women and weekends and strip clubs and wives and chicken wings and beer, etc? And you’re gonna take away his right to masturbate, too? Are you fucking kidding me?

In that same brief they advised we use condoms while in country.

Uhhhh, did I miss something? How is it you can use condoms but you can’t look at porn and take care of business with Mrs. Rosy Palm (oh yes, she’s married). Does that mean that it’s okay for the OVER 50 percentile of men that are MARRIED to have an extramarital affair as long as they use a condom but they can’t jack off to some amateur creampies Volume 2??

Let’s break out the calculator and building blocks and put this one together…

Yep, results are in…it doesn’t fucking add up!

All right. I’m calm. Are you calm? Let’s continue…

So, Iraq. Yeah, yeah, I’m not gonna go into the political climate here, that’ll come later, and yes, I’ve got A LOT to say. Let’s talk about the actual climate.

Well, it smells like poop most of the time and there is trash everywhere and most of the people are friendly, but extremely lazy…so, yeah, it’s a lot like living in a trailer park. Sorry if I offend any of you that DO live in a trailer park…but seriously, pick up your trash, clean your septic tanks, and get a fucking job, because you don’t ever want to be compared to these people.

I’m all for these guys getting their shit together and taking their country back, but, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, it’s gonna take a lot more than U.S. involvement to do that. It’s going to take them getting off their lazy asses and taking the bitch back. There is a reason Saddam was in power for so long. It could not be more clear at this point.

Fuck, you just made me get political. Ah, well.

Anyways…compared to my prior deployment to Afghanistan, the living conditions are much, much better…the fighting conditions are much, much worse. So it goes. No, I’m not going to elaborate. Buy my book in a few years.

The advent of the webcam and Internet chat and our dependency and desire for the Internet in general has became an Army-wide campaign. While in Afghanistan we had about 6 DSN phones and 2 slower-than-dial-up computers for over 1400 soldiers to use. (Although, they beefed it up just before we left). Now, we have wireless Internet in our rooms. Now we can chat, see our significant other and flash our humps, bumps, and pointy sticks at one another and no one will be the wiser. For some, this is just like being at home.

Except there are bombs.

Most people work out and watch bootleg DVDs, which, thankfully are in abundance here. I don’t know what I’d do, being the movie FREAK that I am, without the beautiful presence of pirated DVDs. It is amazing how fast these guys get the new flicks. I’m talkin’ five to ten days and I will be watching Smokin’ Aces (along with all the other people present in the audience at that time). That’s pretty badass for a guy like me. Even though it was recorded with a camcorder.

However, I have gotten quite lucky as of late, seeing as awards season sees the rush of Award Screener copies of movies deemed of such grace. This is splendid for me (did I just say fucking splendid?) and I’m able to enjoy these movies in DVD quality.

Another change for me was a jump in rank, which has taken me to a level I never thought I’d make it to in the U.S. Army. E-6 (Staff Sergeant) always seemed like such a big, unattainable rank when I first came in and looking back at the E-6’s that have come and gone before me, I now see that the difference is all in your own perspective.

The only real difference, aside from pay and position, when you move up in rank is the ability to tell people of the same rank to fuck off. That’s right, the true power comes in telling people that outranked you yesterday to go outside and play hide and go fuck themselves today. It can be a beautiful thing.

However, there’s a catch. The people that you really wanted to tell to fuck off, namely the E-6’s from years before that trained, led, and abused you as a young private are all either E-7/E-8 or out of the Army. So, you basically don’t get to relieve that built up angst on anyone but your own soldiers, which in turn keeps the cycle going.

I’ll tell you something about fate. Fate is the boss. Know it. Believe it. Own it.

The mail comes in lightspeed intervals compared to Afghanistan. There it was roughly every 2-3 weeks that mail would show up. Here, we get mail about once a week. What gets me, and constantly, is the attitude of my non-previously deployed soldiers who don’t realize how good they have it. I’ve heard things like, “We haven’t had mail in a week. That’s fucking bullshit,” to which I am shocked. I have to remind my cherry soldiers of their good fortune and explain it to them and as the words come out of my mouth I realize that I have become that NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) that you roll your eyes at every time he starts a sentence with “Back in Afghanistan…”

So, be it.

Another compare and contrast to “the Stan” is my ability to whore myself out with my artistic abilities. Back in Afghanistan (see what I just did there?) I designed the battalion t-shirt and coin and also became the go-to-guy for any signage that was needed around the FOB (Forward Operating Base…where troops live on deployments…drrrrrrr). On any given day I had planks of wood being tossed my way and told to decorate. Like junior Picasso lost at war I did my duty (that really makes no sense) and turned these battered pieces of wood into works of art.

Now, once again, my abilities discovered, I have taken to creating…mouse pads. Oh yeah, you heard me right…big, bad, mothafuckin’ mouse pads. You know you want one, so shut up. However, remember where we are now. We’re in the digital revolution and part of the digital warrior’s kit is a mouse pad. And now, with the exploits of one SSG Shirey, they can have their very own, Photoshop-vomited design of such complexity and awe that you will no longer surf the net, but rather stare at your hand over that mouse, getting lost in what lies beneath…

Yeah, so they’re gonna be like five bucks. While supplies last.

Anyways, a task not so much fun, but certainly honorable, is designing prints for the fallen. Thus far I have done two and intend to do as many as are asked for the departed and their families. The Brigade is planning on building a memorial site on Fort Richardson in honor of these soldiers and I have been kind of thrown into the process. Although I’m not sure to what capacity I’ll contribute yet, I believe it a worthy cause, and am honored to be a part of it.

I have already designed the intro to the web page and hopefully it will draw in some folks. Obviously it is being used to raise money to build this memorial site. I have no doubt it will bear fruit.

Whoa, someone got on a serious note! Dude, we came here to laugh and be amused…I know, I know. However, and I do believe it gives reason to why I haven’t written as much, the realities of this place are enough to stop you in your tracks and turn your focus to your job. And I mean REALLY focus.

Which brings me to my next topic.


…Okay, who’s still here? Let’s get a count…you in the back, put your hand up higher. Okay, everyone’s here. Good. Let’s get started.

So, just as in Afghanistan, I do my best to make it to services. Those not in the know, yes, I am a Christian. And I do say, “fuck” a lot. I didn’t say I was perfect.

The thing that I find somewhat hilarious is singing in services. Now, at a real church in the United States we can fake sing all we want because there’s always some 50-year-old lady who yodels like a country western singer and outshines any of us that would be the laughing stock of the American Idol tryouts. But, not in Iraq, where the underachieving singers are now center stage.

I’m such a bad singer that I’d be on the highlights portion of Reality Show Clip Time on E!’s “The Soup.” I shit you not. I shatter glass and make dogs howl. I induce labor, vomiting, and hives when you hear my singing voice break the surface. I’ll Photoshop, write, draw, direct, oh, and kill, my way to the top, but I will sing in the lowly bowels of hell before I make a difference with my voice of song.

However, it has become evident that I do not suffer alone. Remember when you were a kid and you had to go to choir? Oh, you didn’t go? Oh, you didn’t go to church? Well, let’s get our uncomfortable silence out of the way while we all quietly judge you…

Anyways, back to choir. I was in choir as a kid. I was made to go and it wasn’t all bad and my balls hadn’t dropped yet, so I was like Christian Bale in “Empire of the Sun” only not in Japan and not in a concentration camp. Okay, so I had nothing to do with Christian Bale.

I sang though. And I sang low, people. When I say sing, what I really mean is “mumble.” However, to look at me, you’d think I was in the fucking Vienna Boys Choir. I was sure to over exaggerate every motion; all the while the only thing coming out of my vocal chords was the subtle chirp of a dying mouse.

Which brings me back to now. Looking around the room, I see that we never stop doing that as kids. We just get bigger, fatter, hairier, and older and we keep faking it. Yet, somehow, some way, we manage to get those two to five people that aren’t faking it and are able to pull us out of harms way and allow our low grumbling to pass for the real thing.

Another way to keep things interesting and also create a historical account of my journey is through photos. Again, back to the digital revolution..."Back in Afghanistan..." I used throw away cameras and used only about six. The rest of the photos I have from that deployment were collected from everyone else who was smart enough to bring a digital.

Such as it was at the time, we were told not to bring any "digital" equipment because it would all be destroyed in that climate. Which is, for lack of a better term, bullshit. Although, my portable DVD player did crap out on me, I was still able to use it by opening it up and fusing it together with baby wipes whenever I wanted to watch a movie.

I'm not joking.

Anyways, photos. Yeah. I take a lot of them. I am making up for the last deployment by overtaking photos. And, being the artistic crackhead that I am, I have taken on a new mission, which came to me in a vision while smelling poo on the streets of Iraq.


Yes, we all love and adore puppies. Except for people that like cats. Oh, and before I forget, yeah, cats suck. Yes, yes. Your pussy sucks. Sorry. It's true.

Anyways, back to puppies. Cute, lovable, adorable, puppies, rummaging through trash, dirty, homeless, abandoned, and left to the circle of life in Iraq. They're fucking everywhere! So, as we drive along, staring out the window, hoping to catch a glimpse of command wire or an IED before we get blown to shit, there is always the opportunity to see a cute, little, abandoned pup, digging through trash or lying dead on the side of the road.

Stop crying, you PETA person, or I'll smack you. I am going to save the puppies. Yes, you heard me right. Wait, wasn't I talking about photos and shit? Yeah, glad you're paying attention, so hang on.

Puppies of Iraq; wall calendar 2008. Oh, it's coming. I am on a mission to round up the scraggliest little pup-tarts Iraq has to offer, so adorable in their filthy cuteness, and slap them into the months of the year and served up at your local Fred meyer's or Target, where you can purchase a month-to-month look at what it means to be cute and living in Iraq. And also, you're a dog.

I estimate that this will cause a worldwide surge in animal-loving hippies to flood the borders of Iraq and begin sweeping up these little miscreants for salvation in the U.S. Animal rights groups unite! Now, is your calling! This is the ultimate mission! Pack your bags, we're going to Iraq to save the puppies!!

Here is how I imagine a one-sided conversation would go with the leader of one of these groups:

Hey, c'mon, get moving, we're running out of time!

What? Yeah, I know they're in Iraq, so what?

There's bombs there? And violence? They chop people's heads off? So? Oh, hey, I'm glad you said "Iraq", 'cause we don't wanna forget sunscreen.

These are puppies we're talking about here...Have you never held a puppy? Had him lick your face? Have him shit on your bath robe? Put peanut butter on your-look, that's not important. It's just-

Too dangerous? I thought you were dedicated to the cause. To save the animals of the planet. To give them a soft bed and a bowl of doggie cocoa puffs every morning and to play and frolic and toss a frisbee and kick when you're angry and dress it up in--

Okay, I'm getting sidetracked. Let me get this straight...You don't want to go to Iraq to save the puppies because it's too dangerous in Iraq. Does this mean that you'll only save puppies in "safe" areas? What kind of animal lover are you?? Have you ever truly loved an animal before?

And in their mad rush to get to Iraq, in their idealistic crusade to save the puppies, we will be rid of the animal loving hippies of the world, who dedicate their entire lives to the betterment of all other species but their own.

And then we can keep up the war mongering.

Okay, so I'm being harsh. I have nothing against animal lovers. I am an animal lover myself. However, I do think that those that put animals above people and dedicate themselves to a furry non-speaking creature of God (and I'm not talking about your crazy uncle), are very misguided and have alienated themselves from the rest of the human race. Yeah, dogs need love, but last time I checked, we haven't had a dog cure cancer or run for office.

So, aside from my current exploits on the job and political views on everything to do with this conflict, I hope you are caught up enough to continue your day with glee. My perspective on many things has “evolved” and I look forward to sharing them to whoever will listen. In truth, it doesn’t matter. I’m putting it out there no matter what.

However, if a tree falls in the woods…

…Squirrels are homeless and our animal activists have a new crusade.

I fully intend to get my blogging back on track, so those that are interested and want to come along for the ride, by all means, hop in, take the keys, take the wheel, and I’ll guide you with directions, because I’m drunk and a little out of it, but we’ll get there.