Friday, June 15, 2007

June 15, 2007
Yesterday was supposed to be the hottest day, so far, of the year. 110 degrees in Phoenix. Probably five or ten degrees cooler here. There is significant difference between 85 and 95, but there is little to no difference between 105 and 115.

Watched half of "Gods & Generals" last night. Robert Duvall is much better as Robert E. Lee than Martin Sheen, but there's some mighty bad acting in this film, and I especially cringed at the overwrought Southern, religious angst in this puppy. They also seem to be fond of a special effects shot of guys rushing a cannon that goes off and flips the victims violently in all directions (I've noticed this stunt at least four times and I'm only half way through the movie). When death shots have no connection to the characters and are just random stuntment flipping around showing off, it ultimately drains the movie of any drama. I think the worst example of this I can remember was "Code Talkers" with Adam Beach and Nicholas Cage. They must have filmed 200 sequences of anonymous guys getting shot and blown up and after a while it's just boring and flat.

Speaking of flat, here's another two pages of red and black Apache sketches, culled from a couple old photos I found in my Geronimo stash, and the second page is from General Nelson Miles' autobiography which has numerous excellent lithos and woodcuts. Can you spot the Remington? Hint: the officer strutting toward the front lines, lower left:

Meghan flew to Springfield, Missouri this morning to attend the Western Writers of America Conference. Sue Lambert flew to Vegas to party with her old girlfriends. Sam's out with a sick dog, Joel's on vacation, the Brinks are in New York on Hearst business and Abby's on her way to Sea World and San Diego. It's just Robert Ray, Carole and I this morning. Nice and quiet.

Observations From The Poop Deck
Having studied the Big Dry Wash fight for several weeks, I have come to the conclusion that Arizona in the 1870s and 1880s was Iraq. We had an active insurgency coupled with a controversial pre-emptive strike to put all Indians on reservations and arrest suspected Al Qaeda, I mean Apache terrorists, I mean warriors, and send them to a secret prison in Florida without a trial or due process; tribal and ethnic warfare; revolving door military commanders; a "surge" of troops; a critical press that demanded justice for the poor souls who lived in the besieged areas; crooked contractors undermining the very people they're supposed to be helping; and last but not least terrorist tactics galore (mutilation of victims and shocking massacres on both sides).

It's been said the farther back you look, the farther ahead you can see, and if you want to continue the comparison between Iraq and Arizona, here's how the Apache Wars played out. The actual "war" lasted 25 years. Several presidents took a beating over the handling of "the problem." It took about fifty years for Indians to adapt to reservation life (I'm being generous), and it took about 90 years for them to assimilate into the larger culture. And, here's the good news, in the last ten years or so, they have found a robust, self-sustaining economy (casinos) and today most of the Indians in Arizona live in very nice, middle-class housing, go to school and are teachers, lawyers, artists, actors, pro golfers, doctors and writers. There has even been mutual assimilation with their conquerers adopting spiritual Native American concepts and idolizing their original primitive lifestyle.

Imagine your great grandchildren dressing in Al Qaeda outfits and quoting Al Sadr. Imagine their rooms with posters of Iraqi "freedom fighters" and reading books about how morally superior they were than their racist, war mongering grandparents. If history has taught us anything, that is the least of it!

So hang on America. We only have another 35 or 40 years to go in Iraq.

"Joy can be real only if people look upon their life as a service, and have a definite object in life outside themselves and their personal happiness."
—Leo Tolstoy

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