Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Outlook for tuesday

Grey nothing day

best slap on a fake smile crank up some tasty tunes and stare blankly out the window

I can see a tree

Monday, April 26, 2010

A multifaceted day

The Gunner's Lament

A Maori gunner lay dying
In a paddyfield north of Saigon,
And he said to his pakeha cobber,
"I reckon I've had it, man!

'And if I could fly like a bird
To my old granny's whare
A truck and a winch would never drag
Me back to the Army.

'A coat and a cap and a well-paid job
Looked better than shovelling metal,
And they told me that Te Rauparaha
Would have fought in the Vietnam battle.

'On my last leave the town swung round
Like a bucket full of eels.
The girls liked the uniform
And I liked the girls.

'Like a bullock to the abattoirs
In the name of liberty
They flew me with a hangover
Across the Tasman Sea,

'And what I found in Vietnam
Was mud and blood and fire,
With the Yanks and the Reds taking turns
At murdering the poor.

'And I saw the reason for it
In a Viet Cong's blazing eyes -
We fought for the crops of kumara
And they are fighting for the rice.

'So go tell my sweetheart
To get another boy
Who'll cuddle her and marry her
And laugh when the bugles blow,

'And tell my youngest brother
He can have my shotgun
To fire at the ducks on the big lagoon,
But not to aim it at a man,

'And tell my granny to wear black
And carry a willow leaf,
Because the kid she kept from the cold
Has eaten a dead man's loaf.

'And go and tell Keith Holyoake
Sitting in Wellington,
However long he scrubs his hands
He'll never get them clean.'

James K Baxter

Bring our troops home from Afganistan Mr Key

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Gordon Campbell On our unhealthy fixation with Gallipoli

Gordon Campbell » Blog Archive » On our unhealthy fixation with Gallipoli

At the post-Cabinet press conference last Monday, Prime Minister John Key had to field a range of official and personal questions from the press gallery about Anzac Day. Had he ever been to Gallipoli? As a young man on his OE, had he wanted to? Would the Icelandic volcano prevent him getting to Gallipoli this year? Would he be going to the Australian service? Would they be coming to ours? Would we be inviting them to ours? Etc etc.

What the line of questioning signaled – beyond the attempt to crank up a diplomatic incident out of whether our Anzac mates are slighting us, on this most sacred of days – is that Anzac Day is becoming increasingly synonymous with Gallipoli. Is that really such a good thing? In recent years, we have been told that the young are turning out in increasing numbers for Dawn Service commemorations. What message – if any – are they taking away from what happened at Gallipoli?

The reason the questions seem worth asking is that the fixation on Gallipoli – which, we are told, has immense birth-of-national-identity significance for this country – may be obscuring all the other military efforts made by New Zealanders down the decades. Some of those involvements (such as Vietnam, and the Falklands campaign) were highly dubious. Lest we forget, the Gallipoli campaign was a military failure – both initially, and in the aftermath of Chunuk Bair a few months later. It was a campaign marked by the usual WW1 combination of blunders by commanders, needless sacrifice and bravery on both sides.

The carnage at Gallipoli pales into insignificance only by comparison with the death toll in the WW1 trenches of France and Belgium. The Anzac spirit may have been forged at Gallipoli and a sense of nationhood thereby created out in the colonies. Both these things would have evolved anyway, without the body count. Even so, the reason why New Zealanders and Australians were fighting the Turks at Gallipoli in the first place – and thereby experiencing this alleged blood awakening to nationhood – was because they had answered the call of Empire.

Therefore on Anzac Day, shouldn’t we be celebrating the sacrifices made at Gallipoli with a reasonable helping of historical anger at the mentality of the colonized – a mentality that delivered so many young New Zealanders up as cannon fodder to a series of inept British commanders? Drive around this country and you can see the toll written on all the war memorials in our provincial towns and hamlets. No doubt, many New Zealand soldiers marched bravely into the slaughterhouse during WW1. Yet the lasting message of Gallipoli should surely be that such sacrifices must not be made out of blind obedience to our political and military leaders – here or elsewhere, then or now.

Bravery is to be admired in whatever circumstances. Yet if we are to celebrate those who made such sacrifices in the defence of this country, I’m not sure WW1 is the best war to remember, ahead of all others – because it was so clearly the product of Great Power designs and machinations. WW2 on the other hand, was a far more justifiable conflict, in that it was largely a response to an attack by forces that were demonstrably evil, and intent on our destruction.

More to the point, WW2 was also a conflict that offers New Zealand a very good example – the two battles at El Alamein in 1942 – where our forces played a major role in first stopping the Nazi war machine in North Africa in its tracks, and then sending it in headlong retreat. “It may almost be said,” Churchill later wrote, “Before Alamein we never had a victory. After Alamein we never had a defeat.” North Africa was also one of the few military theatres in WW2 where the German commander (Erwin Rommel) enjoyed the personal respect of his opponents.

So… enough of the Gallipoli fetish. Surely, we can commemorate those who served, without being required by a bogus patriotism to suspend critical judgment altogether. It really would be a disaster if New Zealanders came to treat Anzac Day as an occasion to honour unquestioning obedience to authority, and to extol personal sacrifice, per se. Lets leave that kind of ceremony to the Aztecs.

In El Alamein we have a useful example – a victory even – worth commemorating. Namely, that it is sometimes necessary to take up arms in defence against evil, but that an enemy such as Rommel need not be de-humanised in the process. I know, that is the same message that New Zealanders and Turks have come to embrace at Gallipoli commemorations as well. The trouble is, the Anzac Day fixation on Gallipoli has inadvertedly put every other theatre of war in which New Zealanders have been involved in the shade. War risks being sentimentalized and glorified, in the rush to sanctify Anzac Cove.

These comments are not meant to disrespect. Those who died or who were wounded (in various ways) while at war with the Nazis in particular, deserve our gratitude. But we also owe it to them to be clear about when such sacrifices were needless in the past, and when they would be unnecessary in future.


Lest We Forget

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Eat well die young

'Too Fat' for Empire?
Military Generals Target School Lunches

School Lunches Blamed As More Americans Too Overweight To Join The Military

By Mary Clare Jalonick

April 20, 2010 "AP" - WASHINGTON - School lunches have been called many things, but a group of retired military officers is giving them a new label: national security threat.

That's not a reference to the mystery meat served up in the cafeteria line either. The retired officers are saying that school lunches have helped make the nation's young people so fat that fewer of them can meet the military's physical fitness standards, and recruitment is in jeopardy.

A new report being released Tuesday says more than 9 million young adults, or 27 percent of all Americans ages 17 to 24, are too overweight to join the military. Now, the officers are advocating for passage of a wide-ranging nutrition bill that aims to make the nation's school lunches healthier.

The officers' group, Mission: Readiness, was appearing on Capitol Hill on Tuesday with Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

The military group acknowledges that other things keep young adults out of the armed services, such as a criminal record or the lack of a high school diploma. But weight problems that have worsened over the past 15 years are now the leading medical reason that recruits are rejected.

Although all branches of the military now meet or exceed recruitment goals, retired Navy Rear Adm. James Barnett Jr., a member of the officers group, says the obesity trend could affect that.

"When over a quarter of young adults are too fat to fight, we need to take notice," Barnett said. He noted that national security in the year 2030 is "absolutely dependent" on reversing child obesity rates.

Recruitment isn't the only problem posed by obesity. According to the report, the government spends tens of millions of dollars every year to train replacements for service members discharged because of weight problems.

This isn't the first time the military has gotten involved in the debate over school lunches. During World War II, military leaders had the opposite problem, reporting that many recruits were rejected because of stunted growth and inadequate nutrition. After the war, military leaders pushed Congress to establish the national school lunch program so children would grow up healthier.

The program was established in 1946, "as a measure of national security," according to the original bill language.

Today, the group is urging Congress to eliminate junk food and high-calorie beverages from schools, put more money into the school lunch program and develop new strategies that help children develop healthier habits.

The school lunch bill, currently awaiting a Senate vote, would establish healthier options for all foods in schools, including vending machine items. The legislation would spend $4.5 billion more over 10 years for nutrition programs.

The Army is already doing its part to catch the problem earlier, working with high schoolers and interested recruits to lose weight before they are eligible for service, says U.S. Army Recruiting Command's Mark Howell. He added that he had to lose 10 pounds himself before he joined the military.

"This is the future of our Army we are looking at when we talk about these 17- to 24-year-olds," Howell said. "The sad thing is a lot of them want to join but can't."

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Arthur Russell - This Is How We Walk on the Moon

thanks to twitter chatter today I'm back in Arthur's land... choice

RIP Guru

After a lengthy battle with cancer, Gang Starr rapper Guru-- born Keith Elam-- passed away yesterday, MTV reports. He was 43. In March, Guru suffered a heart attack that left him in a coma for a brief period.

Something in the air?

I knew on Monday this was going to be one of them weeks.... and its sure shaping up that way... life your sure like to test us.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Malcolm McLaren

Malcolm McLaren, the former manager of The Sex Pistols and the man who claimed to have invented punk, has died aged 64.

McLaren died in New York this morning after a long battle with cancer.

His spokesman, Les Molloy, said the impresario had been suffering from cancer for some time and he expected his body would be returned to the UK shortly.

An unashamed self-publicist, McLaren gained notoriety as manager of The Sex Pistols who were propelled to number one in the charts with God Save The Queen in 1977. Having brought together the roguish band members he went on to become a household name in his own right, entering into the public spotlight again in recent years when he stood for the newly created London mayoralty in 2000. His policies included the serving of alcohol in libraries.

Having dropped out of art school - McLaren said the experience taught him "that it is better to be a flamboyant failure than any kind of benign success" - he made a first foray into music management in the early 70s after convincing The New York Dolls to employ him as manager.

The band flopped but the experiment, complete with red leather and Soviet style clothes, heralded the start of a career breaking ground in fashion and music.

McLaren, who was born in North London, frequently professed to leading the capital's avant-garde art scene during the 70s.

He opened a shop in fashionable King's Road 1971 with the with his then girlfriend Vivienne Westwood. The shop was renamed SEX in 1974 and quickly gained iconic status drawing in the "young, sexy, assassins" who would become the Sex Pistols.

The couple had a son, Joseph Corre, the co-founder of lingerie shop Agent Provocateur.

His reputation was carved by the success of The Sex Pistols and an eye for publicity stunts which would grip the British and American culture scene through the 70s.

McLaren also managed a number of other bands, including the Bow Wow Wow before producing his own records including the much-sampled track Double Dutch from the 1983 album Duck Rock.

He continued to be involved in the culture and arts scene up until his death, earning him in equal measure acclaim as a doyen of music and design and criticism as marketing of pop culture.


Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Bugger it I can't this out of my head

I have just under 1000 Cash songs and collaborations on the BobPod... and have been slowly working my way through them this last week whilst taking back the galaxy from the rebel alliance

So honey just keep smiling, like you do