The Gall

My favorite bit in the newly unveiled National Strategy for Victory in Iraq aka Plan for Victory, is not that it is three years too late; not that there is no Arabic translation of this Plan available; not that the whole endeavor is regressive; not that there are cute checkmarks next to lines such as “As the terrorists themselves recognize…”; not that the words ‘Islam’, ‘Muslim’, or ‘Rumsfeld’ do not occur anywhere [or “Enemies of the legitimate Iraqi government”]; not that we learn that there are 3 million cell phones in Iraq today when a June 2004 DoC report put the number at 315,000 [million likely but I nitpick]; not that there are eighteen core assumptions ranging from the sappy “like people in all parts of the world, from all cultures and religions, when given the opportunity, the Iraqi people prefer to live in freedom rather than under tyranny” to the scary “regional meddling and infiltrations can be contained and/or neutralized“; no, my favorite bit lies among the quotes at the end of each Strategic Pillar:

Strategic Pillar Six, “One of the most important ways to fight terrorism is to promote democracy, and one of the most important ways to promote democracy is the rule of law.‚Äù – Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, July 2005. That’s rich, no? [pdf].

Wrote David Denby at the end of his Syriana review in this week’s NYer: “…the taste of freedom has turned to wormwood and gall.”

Monday Matters

There must be a deep-boned tiredness that comes from working the field all day. Maybe that is what Gandhi wanted us to believe in. The soil under ones nail, the muscles stretched raw; a mind wiped clean. I haven’t the faintest. As a child, I went many a times with my Dadaji or my Chachji to our patch of land. I loved the bael gari [cow-cart] and the lunch by the TubeWell. I especially loved my uncles tales of fighting off bears and churails [or puchal paerey as they say in Punjab]. But, I was just a visitor. Clad in me Jordache jeans, no doubt [holy shit, they still exist]. I think wistfully of all that and the feeling that a farmer must get because I toiled in the digital farm all day. It just doesn’t hold the same satisfaction [or so I infer]. And the week stretches ahead of me. There is a ‘review’ due tomorrow. If the editor is reading this post, she is duly informed that it ain’t happening before friday. So there. My cold is not giving up without a fight.

In unrelated news, Land of Lime is up. If you know what is good for your soul, you will add it to your blogroll. You will also read the first post in the promising Sundays with Dr. Rajkumar series.

In related news, Seymour Hersh tells us about Bush’s manifest destiny in this week’s NYer. If I get to it, I will post more on it tomorrow.


A solitary Netflix has sat on top of my tv for the last month. It just sits there. Sometimes, it makes it all the way into the DVD tray. Maybe even the menu comes up. Maybe a few scenes play out. But, this is one movie that never ends because it never can begin. There is nothing wrong with movie. I really want to see it. However, as a patron of Netflix for the last three years, I am here to tell you the truth: If you don’t watch it in the first three nights, it will not get watched. I am not claiming this as a universal truth. Just truth in my world. I used to have the three-at-a-time deal. Nothing was more satisfactory, than the swoosh with which I would drop them in the mail. 1. 2. 3. Watched. Tagged. Shipped. Next! Like clockwork. I even would put the pithy two sentence reviews for my Netflix “friends”. Then, one or two discs started to lag. At first I thought it was all those French noirs. But, no. Alexander the Great got shipped back unwatched. Ok, I did TRY to watch it but even the promise of Angeline couldn’t keep me from getting violent after 9 minutes. I switched to one-at-a-time deal. One movie at a time. How simple could it get. Well. That was the end of netflix.

Futility rises because other movies, garnered from other sources vie for attention. Last week, I got really tired. I mean, I _was_ really tired. But I wanted to end this sad run of nights ended with nary a sign of unhealthy escapism. So, I sat and watched Guy Ritchie’s Revolver. What a pound of horse manure that turned out to be. Feeling despondent, I immediately turned to watching Layer Cake. The cumultive effect was that now I have twice as many accents to make my limey friends wince. A side note: Daniel Craig will make a fine James Bond, as long as he plays it sad. Sadly, neither of these movies were Netflixed.

I love the service. I will never be without it. But, it demands too much from me. Its passiveness infuriarates me. I hate the service. I will cancel it tomorrow.