Monday, May 30, 2011

Brothers in Arms

It's Memorial Day, a day to celebrate our dead. I've been listening to Best Of Dire Straits & Mark Knopfler: Private Investigations . One of those songs is "Brothers in Arms", which some have claimed is the best song ever.

"Best" is a hell of a superlative, and I'd be reluctant to describe any song in those terms (though of course "When the Levee Breaks" is the greatest rock song ever). Mark Knopfler's quiet, meditative voice, thoughtful lyrics, and enveloping guitar instrumentals do make "Brothers in Arms" one of my favorite songs. It's certainly an appropriate song for today.

These mist covered mountains
Are a home now for me
But my home is the lowlands
And always will be
Some day you'll return to
Your valleys and your farms
And you'll no longer burn
To be brothers in arms

Through these fields of destruction
Baptisms of fire
I've witnessed your suffering
As the battles raged higher
And though they hurt me so bad
In the fear and alarm
You did not desert me
My brothers in arms

There's so many different words
So many different songs
We have just one world
But we live in different ones

Now the sun's gone to hell
And the moon's riding high
Let me bid you farewell
Every man has to die
But it's written in the starlight
And every line on your palm
We're fools to make war
On our brothers in arms

Those who have served in the armed services know a special kinship. We train to do terrible things- wage war, take the fight to the enemy, endure privation and long absences from friends and family- to do a great thing. Protecting our families, country, and way of life is a great thing, and a honor. In the process, strong bonds are formed, some forged in the fires of war.

We can believe that war is noble, which, though there may be nobility in some things, is not true. We can also believe that the existence of war is sad, though it's really truer that interpersonal violence is just a fact of existence.

In any case, honor those who have gone before...and those who will join them.

Stay in and Win

I've posted some thoughts about my recent Combatives training on Seek Cover. Combatives: FM 3-25.150 is the official hand-to-hand system the US Army has used since 2002.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Thunder Gods, Hot Wheels and Men of Light

I haven't reviewed any movies for a while, so I thought I'd knock a few out.

Tron. Jeff Bridges once again reprises his role of genius lost in a data universe. There are pretty lights a-plenty, action and eye-candy, and Jeff Bridges plays the same character he's played in numerous movies ("You're messin' with my Zen thing, man.") Unfortunately, the storyline doesn't make a lot of sense, but that's not really why you'd watch this, is it? 3/5 stars.

Thor. Relative newcomer Chris Hemsworth plays the Thunder God perfectly. Sir Anthony Hopkins and Natalie Portman perform admirably, as usual. Action. Thunder. Beefcake. I didn't expect so much of this movie to be set in other "realms" than Earth, but the movie was still fairly enjoyable, anyway. 3.5/5 stars.

Fast Five. Vin Diesel, Paul Walker, and Dwayne Johnson together. What could go wrong, right? Hmph.
If you don't watch these for the (heh-heh) storyline, you'll probably enjoy it. Cool cars, speed, explosions. And Diesel and Johnson fight. I'm going to be a little generous because I'm just happy Dwayne Johnson isn't in a Disney movie for once, and give this 3/5 stars.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Way of All Flesh

Just over 24 hours ago, I heard the news that Osama Bin Laden was dead. Some part of me is still trying to grasp that. Killing OBL was something that needed to be done, and I hope some people find a measure of peace in knowing of it. But nothing's really changed. There's still a war on.

Looking back over the past century of so, it seems the US has rarely gone more than a few years without being embroiled in some conflict, often for years. Believing that the nature of people will suddenly change is futile, so even if the combat zones we currently inhabit were evacuated of US service members, it is likely we will be fighting again shortly.

I do not see any dramatic reduction in the threats we as a country will face in the near future. I hope I am wrong.