27 October 2009

The Heart of the Matter

"I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States' presence in Afghanistan," begins the resignation letter submitted last month by U.S. Foreign Service Political Officer Matthew Hoh, who served as Senior Civilian Representative for the U.S. government in Zabul Province. "I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy," he continues, "but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end." Hoh, by the way, is a former captain in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Why and to what end. Have you heard a single journalist put this question to President Obama at a news conference or during an interview? Neither have I. Yet it's the essential question that must be asked--and answered satisfactorily--before a single extra soldier or Marine is deployed to Afghanistan. In fact, if this question isn't addressed, we should insist that all our forces be withdrawn from the country immediately.

22 June 2009

Don't Try This at Home

As everyone has now learned, the actor David Carradine did not lose his life by suicide, as early reports from Thailand, where he was working on a new film, seemed to suggest. No, it turned out that Carradine, 72 years old, was most likely engaged in an act of autoerotic asphyxiation at the time of his death, an activity that ought to be considered an unsafe sexual practice, according to The Stranger columnist Mistress Matisse, a professional dominatrix whose specialty is, of course, edgy sex play. In her latest column, aptly titled Control Tower, MM reminds us that "self-bondage can be risky in itself, but any time someone's oxygen is restricted, death becomes a possibility." She quotes Jay Wiseman, author of SM 101 and an authority on breath play, who clarifies the risk: "I know of no way whatsoever that suffocation or strangulation can be done that does not intrinsically put the recipient at risk of cardiac arrest."

So there you have it: death by cardiac arrest resulting from an elaborate masturbatory practice involving ropes, suspension, and cut-off breath. What a way to go.

18 April 2009

SEALing the Deal

In the wake of the daring rescue of Capt. Richard Phillips from the Somali pirates who hijacked his merchant ship, the Maersk Alabama, in the Indian Ocean, taking the captain hostage, I suggest a new promotional slogan for the US Navy SEALs, whose snipers' chilling accuracy--in 3-foot swells, no less--brought the episode (and the pirates' lives) to an end.

Here's the slogan: 3 bullets, 3 bodies. US Navy SEALs: We get the job done.

SEALs may be the best-trained Special Operations Forces in the world. Their completion of this mission reminds us to be grateful they're on our side.