Tuesday, December 31, 2019

This is it, kids. The last day of the 2,019th Foul Year of Our Lord. Depending on how you measure these things, it’s the end of the 2010s as a decade. By the time we see each other tomorrow, it’ll be 2020 and we must ponder just what all that means.

Well,… not much, really. To me, anyway. I’ve never been one for holidays or “important days to remember”. I celebrate Christmas and Thanksgiving to make my family, mostly my mother, happy and my birthday is just another day to me. I know people who have “birthday months” and that has never made a lick of sense to me. I’m good with other peoples’ birthdays but had to set a reminder about the anniversary with the last girlfriend.

Same thing with New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. Apart from financial considerations that must be attended to, the Universe doesn’t really care how we mark our trip and the Sun, so neither do I. Couldn’t tell you where this impulse or lack thereof comes from, but by the time I reached college, New Year’s Eve was just another excuse to raise hell and get lost in the crowd.

With that in mind, I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. For one, if no resolutions are made, none can be broken. Mainly, though, if I want to make a change in my life, I don’t wait around for an arbitrary date and just do it. Like with this writing business. I’ve got no long-term goal with it or nothing I want to accomplish by this time next year. It’d be great if it started making money, but so long as I’m having fun, I really don’t care.

Granted, I have that option now and there’s no telling where I’d be if I had to make money with this. Despite the aforementioned antipathy towards the New Year’s celebration, it’s natural to take stock of things at a designated end. If I hadn’t moved home, I shudder to think where I’d be right now because I was going down fast before I left New Orleans. I was staying stoned to point where I felt nothing and was having no fun at all. Hell, I wasn’t even having fun getting stoned and that’s simply doing it all wrong.

Happy, though? Content, even? I don’t know. Resigned, maybe. I doubt I’ll ever leave this Hill again and, frankly, that’s not as horrifying a thought as it was 20 years ago. Really, apart from a little more money coming in and a decent connection, I don’t want for much anymore. I admit to still being in the melancholy mood I’ve been in all weekend, but I’m chalking that more up to Seasonal Affective Disorder more than anything else.

With that in mind, I don’t think I’ll be implementing the Project tomorrow. Frankly, I’m just not in the mood right now. Furthermore, I’m a little discouraged at the almost complete lack of feedback I’ve been getting. A couple likes on WordPress and comments from one of my Better Angels, which is all nice, but whatever’s dragging me down right now is sapping my will and making me broody. It will come, I think, but I want to have more enthusiasm for the Project than I do now.

With that in mind, let’s knock out a little News and call it a year. I guess we’ve all heard by now about the storming of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad by Iraqi protesters angered predominately over an airstrike against a group the Pentagon claims is connected with Iran. Kataib Hezbollah, a Shia-affiliated group, were blamed for an attack that killed an American contractor, so the U.S. launched an airstrike in retaliation, killing 25 and wounding 51. This caps off increasing tensions between Iraqis and American forces that are still there eight years after we declared victory in the Iraq War, which was totally necessary and good and worked out perfect, of course.

The response has been interesting. As noted, the Pentagon is blaming Iran’s influence which has been jumped on by Trump. He’s spent most of the day, when not freaking out about impeachment, wagging his mushroom in Iran’s general direction and promising to send more troops to a place where no one wants them. Some of his more feckless worshipers are saying he did this to show up Hillary and Obama over Benghazi, because they will never, ever let that go.

The move has come under a lot of criticism, as well, interestingly a rather solid smack from Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaiian representative, presidential candidate for the Democratic nomination, and this year’s version of Ron Paul. Claiming Trump’s doing the bidding of Saudi Arabia in his wolfishness against Iran, Gabbard criticized the move as another example of the administration’s “impulsive” and “erratic” foreign policy.

There is also been the suggestion that this gives Trump a chance to “wag the dog” to distract people from his impeachment and the upcoming trial in the Senate to determine whether he gets booted out or not. I’ve no doubt he’d put soldiers right in the mess, personally, and given his almost across the board incompetence it’s a little unsettling to ponder just how badly he’d handle this. He’s been shaking his fist at Iran almost from Day One, scuttling Obama’s agreement that halted Iran’s nuclear ambitions apparently solely out of spite.

When impeachment was looming over Bill Clinton’s head in 1998, he kicked up the regularly bombing of Iraq and was rightly accused of “wagging the dog”. Iran would be a different kettle of fish were the U.S. military actively engage them like Trump’s followers are masturbating over. For one, it’s not Iraq. People forget that we’d been regularly bombing the shit out of Iraq following the first Gulf Conflict in the early ’90s. Even then, when we finally went to actual war with the country, it took us almost eight years to “win”.

Iran, on the other hand, has not had the shit bombed out of it for nearly two decades and has been quietly building up it’s military the whole time. Furthermore, there’s the religious aspect to consider. Iran is mostly Shia Muslim, like much of the Middle East. Iraq was mostly Shi’ite, and was considered beleaguered in the Middle East back in the ’80s when we supported Saddam Hussein’s efforts. In short, the Iraq War was a goddamn murderous mess we had no business doing in the first place and had no idea what we were trying to accomplish in the second.

So who knows how it’ll work out. Maybe this is yet another day-long news cycle of lunacy that’s been Trump’s hallmark in office before he insults another city or screws up another trade agreement. It’s early yet and there’s wisdom in not declaring victory before the first gun is loaded. Given the mess that is the Trump Administration, though, I can’t imagine any sort of prognostication would be of any use. There’s no precedent for this dude and there’ll be no going back once he’s gone. People need to recognize that.

Ah, me. I’m in a dark mood, pay me no mind. Here’s a neat story about astrophysicist Ron Mallett’s lifelong attempt to make time travel to the past a reality. Good Old Games is giving away the game Tower Of Time for the next 12 hours. I played a little of it last night, and it’s worth it. Steam’s Holiday Sale last’s until Thursday and I’m thinking of picking up Age of DecadencePathway and Star Traders: Frontiers while the getting’s good.

And regardless of my own feelings concerning “special dates” in general, I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable New Year’s Eve and that 2020 is kinder on all of us than the last couple of years. Lord knows we could all use the break.

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