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Use Your Magic

The MonkeyBlog is typically a place for ranting and raving.  For today though, in light of the holiday season, I’d like to take a break from that for a kinder, gentler sort of post.  If you prefer the usual, rude fare, I’d suggest you skip this one and head over to my last post, “Eff You, Joe Buck.”

I’d like to tell you a story about something that happened to me a couple of years ago. 

My wife likes Kermit the Frog.  She always has, ever since she was little.  Oddly enough, I can actually do a passable imitation of Kermit’s voice.  So, from time to time, I do it to make my wife smile. 

A couple years ago, I had an idea.  I went out and purchased a Kermit puppet so that I could have Kermit drop by our house to pay my wife a visit.  It’s goofy, but I figured she’d get a laugh out of it.  So, one day, I brought the puppet home and surprised my wife with it.  That’s when something magical happened.

As the puppet came to life in hands, my wife suddenly became a little girl again.  Her eyes lit up, and a look of wonder spread across her face as she watched Kermit’s every move.  She even exhibited a child-like shyness that rendered her almost unable to speak until I (Kermit) prompted her by saying it was, in fact, okay to talk to the frog.

In those few, brief moments, when my wife became a girl who was meeting her childhood hero, I felt as if I possessed some wonderful magic.  It was terrific. 

This may seem like a silly little story, but it’s actually one of my fondest memories in recent years.  It was only later that I realized that the “magic” that I had that day is something that we all possess.  To unlock it, all you need is the desire to touch someone else’s heart.

So, this holiday season, I’d encourage you to find ways to use your magic to touch someone else.  You don’t have to save the world; sometimes it’s the little stuff that matters.  Just try to remember — whether it’s someone close to you, a stranger in a crowded mall, or even a jerk like Joe Buck — each person you meet is a fragile soul who wants to love and be loved. 

Happy Holidays.

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Loose Lips

In an effort to appear strong on terrorism, our government has adopted a strategy of trumpeting every single bit of news they come across.  Every arrest.  Every suspected plot, no matter how vague.  I guess the idea is to brag about everything to show how successful our “War on Terror” is.

I have a few problems with this approach.  First and foremost, it looks as if we’re actually in the habit of shooting off our mouths, even when we probably ought to keep it to ourselves.  Consider the recent announcement by the CIA that we had infiltrated Al Qaeda’s network.  That seems like something that we might not want to broadcast.  Don’t you think that makes Al Qaeda more likely to aggressively root out any potential moles? 

Or how about the fiasco with Mohammed Naeem Noor Khan, the computer geek they caught in Pakistan.  By identifying him, we exposed the identity of a key source whose contacts with Al Qaeda honchos had yet to be fully exploited.  This was seen as a huge intelligence blunder by many observers.  According to Juan Cole, a Professor of History at the University of Michigan (who also happens to be a specialist on the Middle East):

The outing of Khan, probably the most important asset the U.S. has ever had inside al-Qaeda, is a huge disaster and a setback to attempts to finish off the top leadership of al-Qaeda

Hmm.  Not so good.

This pattern of talking too damn much actually goes all the way back to 9/11.  On the day of the attacks, Senator Orrin Hatch leaked important information from intercepted Al Qaeda satellite phone conversations.  Shortly after, Al Qaeda abandoned that form of communication completely, much to the dismay of intelligence professionals. 

Aside from tipping our hands about sensitive intelligence, there’s also another major problem.  It’s the constant stream of non-specific, yet terribly frightening rumors of planned attacks.  Frankly, I don’t see the value of these “warnings.”  Oddly enough, it reminds me of a line from the movie Men in Black.  In that film, Will Smith’s character, after learning of an alien plot to destroy Earth, decides that discretion is no longer important.  Tommy Lee Jones plays his older, wiser partner who brings him back to his senses.  He says:

There’s always an Arquillian Battle Cruiser, or a Korilian Death Ray, or an intergalactic plague that is about to wipe out life on this miserable planet. The only way these people can get on with their happy lives is that they do not know about it.

Seems like Agent K could teach our folks a thing or two about keeping things under their hats. 

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Don’t Call It a Blog

So, I’m going to succumb to the temptation and start a blog.  I never liked the term blog; it always seemed faddish and faux hip to me.  Plus, everybody calls everything a blog.  I once saw a blog defined as follows:

“A web site of personal or non-commercial origin that uses a dated log format that is updated on a daily or very frequent basis with new information about a particular subject or range of subjects. The information can be written by the site owner, gleaned from other Web sites or other sources, or contributed by users.”  [techtarget.com]

Frankly, I feel that definition is far too broad to be useful; by those standards, CNN.com is a blog.

So, call it whatever you want.  I’ve got some shit to get off of my chest.  However, I suspect calling it the “gettin’-shit-offa-my-chest” section of the site might be off-putting.

In any case, stay tuned my captivating* commentary!

(*No guarantee of actual captivation.)

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