Archive for January 3rd, 2005

Orwellian Angels in the Crossfire

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BAGHDAD (Reuters) – "Hi Sergeant, we hear there are clashes in Baquba.
Do you have any information on that?" screams the journalist down
a bad mobile phone line from Baghdad.
"Well Ma’am, MNF and ISF engaged with AIF, who were planting IEDs,
after coming under small arms fire," came the reply.

Confused? So was she. The history of warfare is written in acronyms that
cleanse the blood from gory wounds and strip the horror from bombs.

The Iraq war has spawned its very own alphabet soup of abbreviations and
battlefield buzzwords intelligible only to the military and war correspondents
trying to make sense of it all.

Many, like MNF, just make the longwinded multinational forces less of a
mouthful. Some, like IED, take the bang out of an improvised explosive
device — a makeshift bomb. Others, like AIF, or anti-Iraqi forces, are
part of the information war — the U.S. military uses the phrase to describe
insurgents.

Ready for a translation? "U.S. and Iraqi forces fought with insurgents
who planted roadside bombs and fired guns."

Long the exclusive lingo of soldiers on battlefields and generals in command
centers, the era of satellite television and instant Internet has brought
the bewildering jumble of military jargon into living rooms the world over.

From the hunt for WMDs to the search for HVTs, high value targets such
as Saddam Hussein, reporters "embedded" with U.S. military units
since the 2003 invasion of Iraq have brought the language of war and occupation
into the public consciousness.

The IED long predated the Iraq war, but as rebels get more creative, so
tongue-twisting variations on classics are born.

VBIEDs, or vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices, often spell death
for Iraq’s fledgling forces, who have borne the brunt of such rebel attacks.
They are better known as car bombs. If the bomber is still in the vehicle
when it explodes, it is an SVBIED — S for suicide. When the bomber straps
the explosives to his person,
he becomes a PBIED.

Since roadside bombs have emerged as the weapon of choice for insurgents
attacking U.S. patrols, the military has begun to "up-armor" its "soft" vehicles.
Sometimes soldiers harden their vehicles using odds and ends. This is "hillbilly
armor."

When American soldiers are hit, they are often "medivaced" to
the CASH, or combat support hospital. If they recover, they will end up
RTDed, or returned to duty.

If not they become Angels, a euphemism U.S. military doctors use for troops
killed in battle, and contender for Word of the Year 2004, the American
Dialect Society’s annual competition for the best new word.

from Reuters

Dozens of Women Strip Naked for Poet

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Pablo
Neruda
is the most widely read and revered poet to emerge from
Latin America. He was also a diplomat and heavily involved in progressive
politics, at one point being elected to the Chilean Senate. His most
famous book, "Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair" (1924) has sold
over
a million
copies
and he
won
the
Nobel
Prize for literature in 1971, two years before his death.

Still, we were somewhat dumbfounded by the following
news report:

Twenty eight Chilean women took all their clothes
off in the middle of a busy road in Santiago to pay homage to a poet.

The women posed in front of the house where famous poet Pablo Neruda
used to live. Photographer Rene Alejandro Rojas took the picture, called
Munvich, which means naked in Viking.

Mr Rojas told Las Ultimas Noticias newspaper: "We
did not have a permit so they had to take their clothes off very fast
and then put them
back as fast."

This brief item raises many more questions than it answers.
What is the relation between Neruda and naked women? Other than the obvious.
Did he fantasize about naked women in his poetry? Did women habitually
strip in his presence when he was alive? And, why Viking? Did Neruda speak
Viking? Is there even such a language as "Viking"? Was Neruda of Scandinavian
descent? Did he, like other South American writers, succumb to the myth
of
Aryan
superiority?
What kind
of permit
does one apply for in Chile to strip naked on a major thoroughfare?

Then there is the whole social phenomena aspect. Can you believe that this
happened in chilly, conservative Chile? Can you imagine 28 American women
stripping naked on Fifth Avenue in a tribute to Robert Frost, or even Allan
Ginsberg? If one naked nipple at the Superbowl was worth a million dollars
in fines, what would be the fine for 56? Hey, remember when it was the
Protestant countries that were progressive on social issues and tolerant
of eccentricities like this, and the Catholic countries were the seats
of conservative repression of carnal exposure? How times have changed…

Finally, what can the Dowbrigade do to inspire the same sort of demonstrative
tribute closer to home? We have always revered the female form; we practically
worship naked women in theory and in practice. Our "art", such as it is,
attempts to enshrine artistic images of what we consider God’s greatest
creation. Should our female fans, if there are in fact any out there, feel
inspired to a similar tribute to the Dowbrigade, please don’t wait until
32 years after we die.

(addendon: Some of these questions, and a translated quotation from Neruda’s “Ode to Naked Women” are answered in the comments to this posting)

from Ananova

Gay Secret Exposed

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From the Landover Baptist Church
“A True Christian Perspective on Local, National and World News”prosexual
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