June 2008 - petrostudio LLC
Today I’m going to do something I’ve never done before – I’m writing a book report. It’s funny, when we’re adults, and we read about books in the newspaper, on the web or in magazines, they are called “reviews”. But guess what? They are just book reports, like we all wrote in the 3rd grade.
Hopefully, we at least have better grammar now.
I’m a progressive, and Stephen Kinzer is obviously a progressive as well, but for the majority of his book Overthrow: America’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq, he remains largely centrist. Only later, when describing the current invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq does the rhetoric take a slightly more pronounced left turn. More on that later.
Most Americans probably think the concept of “regime change” is a fancy world first spoken on CNN or Fox News during the recent attack on and ongoing war in Iraq. Thus is the premise of Kinzer’s book. The facts he lays out show a continuous policy of regime change from McKinley to Bush, from the overthrow of the monarchy in Hawaii to present day, America’s last century has seen a continuous chain of interference in foreign affairs. And the common thread between most of these events, unsurprisingly, is business.
Cuba, the Phillipines, Honduras, Panama, Guatemala, Iran – the list goes and on and on. From expansion of the West’s almost imperialist influence in business, to the flagrantly obtuse and close-minded “Communist Menace” to today’s spreading of “western democracy”, America has continuously clouded truths in order to further our own agenda.
But this isn’t necessarily news. Anyone with a brain knows the current administration did not invade Iraq to free it’s people. And this is where Kinzer (and I, obviously) bend left. But can you blame us? Could you blame us if we bent right, either? Fact is, with the cool hindsight of history to examine the first 2 eras of expansion, from the 1890s to 1960s, it’s easy to be calm, collected and objective. But when reflecting on modern-day, ongoing events, it’s not so easy – our personal views tend to invade our objective reasoning.
But that doesn’t mean we are wrong. In fact, Kinzer alters his writing on these later events in another way than just leaning left, which helps make up for that fact – he describes the pitfalls that created the current problems. By the time we reach the September 11 attacks, Kinzer has laid out, plain as day, how we allowed such a thing to come to pass. In light of those events, precipitated not only by the Afghan conflict in the 80s but by a full century of practice, it’s all too obvious why we are mired in continuous and seemingly unending war today.
I would go so far as to say that this book should be required reading as foreign policy primer for any federally elected official. I feel better equipped as a layman having read this tome than most politicians we are asked to back every 4-6 years. Certainly our current leaders should read this, and our candidates presumptive.
They won’t. But maybe you will.
The answers to “why” have been staring us in the face for over 100 years. Trouble is, we haven’t been looking in the mirror. Thanks to Kinzer’s Overthrow, more of us can start.
So, I’ve been having this ongoing discussion (if you can call it that) with the “webguy” from Fossil. I’ve been trying to find out the battery model numbers for the watch I own. So I write him with that very question. And I get back – our watches are very sensitive… blah, blah… must be pressure sealed… blah, blah… we need to do the repair…:
So I write back and tell “webguy” that the watch is opened, and I just need the battery numbers (as I have lost one of them). I get:
Please provide us with the style number of your watch and we will be able to determine the correct battery.
Cool. Easily done. I write back the style number, found on the back case of the watch.
There should only be 2 batteries in the watch. If you are having trouble with the batteries, you may just want to send the watch into our repair center or take it to a Fossil store, where they can check the batteries and replace them if needed.
“There should only be 2 batteries in the watch. If you are having trouble with the batteries, you may just want to send the watch into our repair center or take it to a Fossil store, where they can check the batteries and replace them if needed.”
He actually QUOTED his previous email to me. Did he not think I read it? Fossil… so old, they can’t remember your question after reading it.
So I was ready to write a diatribe back to “webguy”. I even had my wife read what I had put together, about how there are 3 batteries in the back of the watch, hence the three holes that I just want to fill with batteries if you would only tell me what they are, and how I may not want to send the watch in to repair, as there’s nothing to repair, and that the batteries can’t be checked or replaced when there ARE NONE in the watch.
All that. But then, I got a wild hair across my ass. I called the Customer Service Center. And a woman there told me that the battery numbers were “397” and “SR726SW”. Wow.
Hey, “webguy”. Stop playing Super Mario Kart and do your job.
I know, I know. I should be overjoyed for the new iPhone 3G. I should be super excited, like during Macworld 2007, when the Burger and I were texting/phoning during the whole keynote, refreshing our browsers on Macrumors‘ live coverage (even though we weren’t supposed to) trying to get news tidbits before the other could, then proclaiming simultaneously “I’m buying one” and then later “fuck, June? Seriously?”
And we did buy one. We each dropped $599 when June 29th rolled around, and have never been happier. Then the price dropped, we got our refund, still happy. After all, we had our phones for months before anyone else – that’s the price you pay for being an early adopter.
And now, the release of the next-gen iPhone. And for $199! Hooray!
Except, it’s kind of a big WGAS? It’s 3G, and downloads 2.4x faster than Edge. Ok. I get that. It’s got GPS, and can track. Ok, well a year too late, since I already bought my GPS for my car anyway. (And there’s always the GPS for the PSP! Um… wait a sec…) Besides, I can get a general location from cell towers, anyway, with my current iPhone, so I have no “location” issues. Oh, but it’s more tapered at the edges – great, so it will wobble when I put it flat on my desk? Awesome! Other than that, I can count on less talk time in 3G. Fantastic!
The ONLY improvement that matters at ALL is the non-recessed headphone plug. This should’ve been there from the beginning, but since I already bought my headphone accessories for the current plug, what do I care?
So, basically, there’s nothing “amazing” about this iPhone. I just wish that journalists and other Mac fanboys would realize it.
The story here is iPhone v2.0 SOFTWARE which, I hate to point out to everyone, iPhone 1.0 owners get FOR FREE. All the new improvements are built-in with the software update, and only the features for which we don’t have hardware… oh, so GPS… only the FEATURE for which we don’t have hardware will not work.
So, Apple still makes the best Smartphone around. But they made that a year ago, and other companies are getting the hint. So I’m not dropping more money on the same tech (just cheaper) from a year+ ago. I’ll wait another year for iPhone 3.0… unless it just adds a cupholder or some other similar underwhelming feature.
For now, I’m still ecstatic with my original.