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Deficit of Attention is a blog about nothing which is a fancy way of saying it's about everything; politics, corporate life, religion, personal rants, you name it, I blog it.

Over There

Thursday, July 28, 2005
Watched Over There last night on FX. So far no one else has touched the Iraq War cinematically so how this first foray does will either encourage or discourage others.

I would have to give the show a B-. Of course, my liberal bias detector was turned on and it's sensitivity was cranked up to 10. The meter registered only about a 1 or 2.

The production values were good. In other words, the show looks really good. It looks like Iraq, complete with the great sunsets. But this isn't a show for the kids. Besides the graphic depictions of people having sex - not R rated but if you're watching it with your 13 yr old daughter you would feel uncomfortable. (I hope.) The language is pretty bad too. I expect that from any show featuring soldiers but I don't necessarily want my kids watching it.

I would've given the show a better grade but some of the plot is just a little contrived for my taste. For example, they figured out a way to feature woman soldiers and of course they are in a situation where it isn't practical to take them off the front line. Then one of the women gets a close call with one of the hadji's shooting at her at close range. You guessed it - he missed.

Then there's the guy who loves the Army and is nice to everyone as well as intelligent and sensitive. You just knew he was going to get whacked or get some horrific injury. (Note to TV Show producers: Just for once have the jerk that no one likes get the horrific injury.)

The show seemed to go out of it's way to shock people. There were a couple of shocking sights of carnage and an interesting one where a guy gets blown in half and his legs take an extra step or two. The desire to shock and the contrived plot undermined the show, but I still found it entertaining. Also, I have to admit, whether it's realistic or not, I still want to see some jingoistic American Patriotism. I want to see red-blooded Americans fighting for truth, justice and the American way.

I'll tune in next week and we'll see if it can rise above it's B- opening. It ain't Blackhawk Down but it'll do for now.

Words and Their Consequences

Wednesday, July 27, 2005
In Which GN Reveals How Little It takes to Produce Excitement in his Life:

Prior to becoming the blogger known as Grouchy Neocon, I was blogging more or less under my own identity. But that was quite some time ago...

About three weeks ago I received a call from a guy whom I shall refer to as Mr. X. Since I also happened to be casting about for a new job at that time, (and I still am) I was kind of excited about the call. Unfortunately, the guy didn't leave his phone number. He called again a week later and still didn't leave his number. Finally, after a few weeks he left two phone numbers.

I called the number and received a voicemail but the announcement didn't say the name of the person or the name of the company. Very suspicious.

I suspected some sort of telemarketer or aggressive sales type and promptly forgot about it.
Until last night when I received a message on the home answering machine. This time the guy said the name of his company. It turns out he doesn't work for a company. He works for the US Govt. and not just any branch of the US Govt. He works for Military Intelligence.

This is pretty exciting stuff. For some odd reason, probably having to do with some weird male need to be macho, I love military stuff and know far more about it than is normal for someone not actually in the military.

I was dying to find out what this guy wanted, but now that I wanted to talk to him he wasn't answering his phone. I had to wait until this morning to find out.

He was looking into some posts made on my former blog about some force protection procedures for military units overseas. He was especially interested in what a few of the commenters were saying. Apparently someone said too much and they were looking for that person.

I'm patriotic in the extreme. My pseudonym is "neocon" so I guess that would be a tip-off. Anyway, I offered to provide whatever information they wanted.

I'm a little disturbed by the fact that they are trolling blogs looking for secrets when there are probably a lot worse people to be rounded up, but that really isn't any of my business. For whomever they are after, words will have some consequences.

Return of The Dark Lord

Monday, July 25, 2005
In Which GN Dreads The Return of The Dark Lord:

The Dark Lord has convened a council of his minions tomorrow. He's back from vacation and I suspect he misses that feeling of being "King" over all he surveys. The Dark Lord loves nothing more than to be surrounded by his minions as they fawn over him, laugh hilariously at his jokes, hang on his every word and generally kiss his rear end. His minions, myself included, dread these little councils. Typically they are held once a month and everyone was counting on this one being cancelled due to the aforementioned vacation.

This is definitely not the highlight of my week. Ever since last month's meeting I've been vowing that I want to never attend another one again. With the prospect of August's meeting being cancelled I thought I had until the latter part of September to make that vow become a reality. In fact, ever since the Dark Lord left on his vacation I've been plotting against him, or at least plotting my escape from The Firm. In the Dark Lord's eyes, anyone daring to move on to other employment is a traitor, not only to the company but to him personally.

I knew I would end up facing him again sooner or later. (I just hoped it would be later.) If I get the opportunity I plan on telling him of my plans to leave, albeit under good terms. Still, it's difficult to predict the reaction I might get. The possible reactions range anywhere from having to clean out my desk that minute to offers of additional money and anything in between. The Dark Lord loves being in control more than anything. He knows he can get control in one of several ways and isn't hesitant to use whatever approach he deems best.

My real fear is that he'll say some jackass thing that reveals once again the depth of his arrogance and disregard for anyone but himself and I'll fly off the handle. My anger toward the Dark Lord has been increasing for quite some time. Letting loose with some choice names or way too honest opinions would be a disaster. For one thing, I could then be without a job. At the very least, I'm sure I would feel embarrased later and The Dark Lord would know he is totally in control. It's even conceivable, although highly unlikely, that I would decide to physically bash the Dark Lord's face into a bloody pulp. That would definitely not be a career builder.

If you're the praying sort, I would appreciate if you'd remember me in my struggle and especially tomorrow morning. I want to be wise in what I say and do. I want to be honest but in an assertive way that doesn't cause me to appear un-reasonable. I also want to represent myself and my beliefs in a way that brings honor to my family and my God.

I have a job interview on Friday and I really hope that goes well because it's past time for me to move on.

Standing on The Edge

Thursday, July 14, 2005
I feel like I'm standing on the edge...of something. Yesterday I felt like I was standing on the edge of a precipice about to tumble to the depths below. I spent the day alternating between feeling sorry for myself, feeling angry at my situation and just plain depressed. Today I feel oddly optimistic, like the edge that I'm standing on is really the verge of something great.

Yet my circumstances haven't changed one bit.

I've been struggling to develop a plan for what I'm going to do with the rest of my life - or at least the next few months of it. It all comes down to mastering my fear. Sometimes I can do that by looking logically at things and sometimes doing so only increases the fear. There are two bible passages that I've kept on my desk lately,

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Phillipians 4:6-8

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. James 1:2-6 (thanks ryan)

These passages have brought some comfort and I believe they speak the truth, but that doesn't mean I don't have bad days. If my faith is only useful when times are good, then it's really nothing but a hollow shell.

Today I was cleaning up my palmpilot a little bit. I came across something that I must've written during some interminably boring meeting. It's a list of what I consider to be "Marks of Greatness",
1 Integrity
2 Ingenuity
3 Perseverence
4 Humility (teachable spirit?)
5 Devotion to a cause greater than themselves (JC)
6 Compassion
7 Imperfection

I suppose most of these are common sense. They are the characteristics I look for in someone whom I think will aspire to Greatness. They're also traits I try to cultivate in myself. Smack dab in the middle there is Perserverance. Well, it's easier said than done but I'm trying.

I'm on the edge of something and I guess I'll figure out what it is when I get there.

The Man Hug

Tuesday, July 12, 2005
I came across an article titled, Men Hugging More But Rules Aren't Clearly Defined. It goes into all of the subtleties of men hugging. It even discusses the "hip-hop hug". It also gets into a sort of quasi hug where you shake the guy's hand and give him a pat on the back at the same time.

The types of hugs identified:

  • The Hip-Hop
  • Guys greet with handshakes of various styles, pull themselves in toward each other, then bump their inside shoulders.

  • The Half-and-Half
  • Guys greet each other with standard handshakes, then reach around each other's shoulders with their left arms and pat each other's backs.

  • The Bear
  • Guys dispense with handshakes altogether. When they greet, the left arm drapes over the partner's right shoulder; the right arm goes around the waist. The left hand usually pats the partner's back.

    The article speculates that men afraid of hugging are homophobic.

    I must be a really enlightened guy. Not because I'm out hugging everyone but because I have a gender neutral policy toward hugs. My policy is this, immediate family members get hugs - everyone else; men, women, girls, boys, etc.. get nothing. To be really honest, I'm a little hesitant about even hand shakes sometimes.

    If you want to Hip-Hop Hug one of your peeps, your boyz or your homeys that's okay with me just don't feel like you need to get me involved.

    No Place Like Home

    Monday, July 11, 2005
    I spent most of yesterday with the church youth group. We went to Inner Metropolis to pass out bag lunches to homeless people.

    When I first heard about this project I wasn't too thrilled. I tend to view the vast majority of homeless people as those who have a serious mental health issue, an alcohol and/or drug addiction, or as free-loaders who want to scam the system. Also, I didn't think they would appreciate the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

    Like many people, I've had it with left-wing types who think I should subsidize everyone's lifestyle choice regardless of how harmful it is to the individual or to society.

    Well, I still think that most homeless people have chosen their lifestyle and I don't necessarily feel any strong desire to help them, but then I'm confronted by the fact that my faith says I should help those in need. It also says to love one another.

    The homeless people seemed genuinely thankful for the bag lunches. No one preached to them. No one cast judgement on them. We just looked them in the eye, offered them lunch and spent a few minutes speaking and listening to them. I suspect we got more out of the whole thing than they did.

    I don't have to agree with their lifestyle choice but I am expected to show them love and compassion. It was a really good day.

    Faith, Blogs and George Washington

    Wednesday, July 06, 2005
    So there I was, working like a busy little beaver. I was typing away at something when I thought, "hmm...better check my email then it's back to work." I checked and saw a message from someone I haven't heard from in a while. He recommended, this blog so I checked it out... 45 minutes later and I haven't gotten back to work yet. (Try it for yourself, but on your own time not the company's.)

    The Dark Lord requires constant service whilst thou is in his employ - or something like that. Besides, my protestant work ethic is really kicking into overdrive right now so I'll probably be compelled in a few short minutes to not only get back to work, but to work faster to make up for the time spent procrastinating. It's the same little internal force that helps me to keep the lawn mowed to a reasonable height and not to park junky cars on the front lawn.

    I guess it's a good thing.

    I just finished reading 1776. It's pretty interesting but if you don't have time to wade through it I can give you the short version. George Washington basically got his butt kicked by the British for most of the year and then right at the end of the year he managed a small victory over some Hessians at Trenton. That small victory ended up being a much larger PR victory and the rest, as they say, is history.

    In a few short weeks I'm getting ready to cut myself loose from The Firm and its Dark Lord. I don't have another job yet so I'm going to be done buying books for a while. I'm also going to have to forgo a lot of other nifty little pleasures that the employed get to enjoy; things like health insurance and food.

    I'm really scrambling right now to find some other type of gainful employment. There are a few possibilities but mostly it's going to be a white-knuckle summer.

    I've been told that you're not supposed to test God, but I was doing just that the other day. I said to myself something like, "God, let's see how much you really care about me. I'll do my best to get another job, but I'm really hoping that you bless those efforts. If not, well, I'll still believe because there is just no realistic alternative, but I'll be pretty discouraged." (When you're dealing with God it's not like you can threaten to do anything. He holds all the cards.)

    The Wife has faith, both in me and in God. I'm really hoping that neither of us lets her down.

    Back to work!

    The Absence of Magic

    Friday, July 01, 2005
    In Which GN Ponders the Mechanistic Nature of The Universe:

    Observation of the world around me tells me a couple of things. First of all, whoever created (presumably God) all this is pretty amazing. I think it takes a monumental act of faith to believe that it all just evolved without any kind of higher being. Secondly, this world runs almost exclusively according to natural laws set in motion at the beginning of time.

    Drop a cup and it will fall to the ground 100% of the time. Step out in front of a speeding semi truck and you'll end up dead 100% of the time. The Bible states the importance of natural laws when it points out that what a man sows he will reap. It states the same type of thing, in various ways, throughout the book.

    But the Bible says some other things too. It tells us to "pray without ceasing". It tells us to have faith that through the resurrection God will disrupt natural laws. It also tells us to seek His will and guidance in our decisions. But if we are to seek His will, if prayer changes things, what happens to those natural laws?

    I've come to the conclusion that God doesn't give a shit about where I work, where I live, what kind of car I drive or any of that situational stuff. He doesn't care about what I am but who I am.

    There are some implications to holding this type of view. If this view of God is true, then we ought to stop seeking His will for specific situations. If we are engaged in the process of sanctification - striving to be who he wants us to be - then we should feel free to do anything that is in our minds to do. Of course, His general will for us still holds true. For example, we aren't free to murder our next door neighbor so we can marry his wife.

    We can stop worrying about His specific will for us and work instead on being who he wants us to be. We can stop expecting that he'll help us out of a bad situation since he's more interested in how it develops our character than in addressing it. We can stop searching for signs that tell us that God wants us to do such and such and instead work on achieving it in the real world with the skills and gifts given to us.

    You might say, "The bible gives numerous instances where God intervened in the natural order of things to work His will. How can you say He doesn't do so now?"

    I imagine that God does work supernaturally in this day and age, but it appears to be a very rare event. One of the things that makes the Bible so special is that it is the story of exceptional events. It was specifically written to tell us of supernatural events throughout history, but that doesn't mean those types of events are the norm.

    There are some problems with this view of God though. What happens to a "personal relationship" with Jesus when it seems that He holds the world (and you) at arms length? Where does prayer fit into this whole thing? If natural laws hold sway, is there really such a thing as providence?

    Needless to say, I'm feeling very discouraged right now and it's possible my thinking is being influenced by my feelings. It's possible that God is much more active than I give him credit. There's someplace in the Bible that talks about how his eye is on the sparrow. Well, I've seen plenty of sparrows get hit by cars. If God is really all that active and involved in the world outside of those natural laws He's established, then I'm not seeing it.

    I'd love to be wrong about this, but I can't see any other logical way to explain it. If you can prove to me otherwise, then go for it... I dare you. In fact, I double dog dare you.