Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Why I Don't Write

I've been writing long enough, I think, for a worky-ass post about "process" that bores everybody to tears. So here goes.

There are three main reasons I don't write for long stretches - I don't like what I'm producing, I'm not getting ideas, or I am living too structured of a lifestyle.

The third issue is the toughest, and it tends to flow into the other two after a pretty short while. I work best in a strictly structured format when it comes to everything BUT writing, so if I want to run my life well, I need timetables and lists and charts and plans.

Writing is something completely different. My process is, shall we say, a disheveled process. It happens late at night while normal people are in bed, and it's characterized by a lot of pacing and absentmindedly leaving shit lying around.

And bourbon.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Night is My House

All my life I've been a "night owl," a person who hangs on to the day long after the sun (not to mention most other human beings) has let it go.

I once ran across another night owl's description of his affliction by a similar malady, but his speculation on the origins of the curse did not ring true to me. The author, Stan Goff, described himself as a bad sleeper, and thus he assumed that he clung to wakefulness because he feared the fevered night itself.

I sleep like a rock. It is the day to come that intimidates me, with its clocks and rituals and obligations. In the night we are free to tell the world to go to hell, as long as we can accept the bargain - at sunrise, the world comes back, and brings hell back with her.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Yglesias Gets is Right

Matt Yglesias makes a key point in this post about Iraq:

If tactics employed in Northern Ireland can be made to work in Iraq (and maybe they can) even though Iraq has ten times as many people as Northern Ireland does and even though Iraqis don't speak English and even though the sectarian violence in Iraq is undergirded by concrete fighting over valuable resources, then does this really seem like a wise strategic undertaking?

The reason you don't see this question being addressed in the mainstream is because of the convention of pretending that the United States military in Iraq is some sort of benign actor beset by violence it cannot explain or understand.

Everyone seems to have agreed that under no circumstances is the US military to be portrayed as what it, in fact, is: one of many belligerent groups in a multisided resource war.

Obviously the US is "the good guys" from our perspective because they are fighting on behalf of US interests, but in no sense are they a legitimate or constructive ordering force in Iraq. They are soldiers in a war zone, fighting against enemies. That's all they'll be until we pull them out. Pretending that they are some sort of Extreme Makeover - Dictatorship Edition contracting crew is killing people. We need to stop it.

Bills@Browns Preview, Part One

Adam: From the shores of Lake Erie, welcome to the NFL Week 15 contest between the Buffalo Bills and the Cleveland Browns. With me in the booth today is Gus Johnson, and I hope he's as excited as I am about, really, one of the first meaningful matchups between these two teams since the days of Bernie Kosar and Jim "Machine Gun" Kelly.

Gus: Ha HAAAAAA!!!!

Adam: All right. Let's jump right in and take a look at this matchup; two very different teams who have taken somewhat similar paths to this point in the season. Both have struggled against quality opposition but have usually taken care of business in games that they were expected to win.

Gus: We know from talking to folks in the Dawg Pound before the game that most everyone here expects the Browns to DEFEAT these visiting Bills, and keep their HOPES ALIVE for the National Football League playoffs.

Adam: And what most of the orange and brown-clad faithful here have been talking about is this Cleveland offense; it's Rob Chudzinsky's offense and it's a good one, Gus.

Gus: Good enough for number FIVE in the NFL in points scored.

Adam: It's a system that Chudzinsky developed while he was a tight end coach in San Diego coaching Antionio Gates, and so it leans heavily on the services of Kellen Winslow, Jr., who's been lighting up the league the last two seasons with his tough, athletic play.

Gus: And it's an offense that is based around the dropback pass, which is why it's been perfect for THIS MAN - Derek Anderson, the third-year phenom out of Oregon State. He's on pace to throw for over 30 touchdowns, and if he does so he'll be the first Cleveland QB to throw 30 since BRIAN SIPE did it way back in 1980. Why has Anderson thrived in Chud's Offense? Cause he's got a BIG ARM, and he knows how to use it, as he showed in his coming-out party in Week 2 against the Bengals.

Adam: It doesn't hurt that he's got one of the best young receivers in the business, Braylon Edwards, who's tough to cover deep and even when he is covered, he makes catches like these.

Gus: When the Browns do turn to the running game, they've got a good one, with Jamal Lewis, former Brown-killer for the Baltimore Ravens, now killing Browns opponents as he did to the Jets last week with this bruising run to put the game away.

Adam: None of it would be possible without the superior play of the offensive line, tied for second in the league in sacks allowed with sixteen on the year. And six of those sixteen sacks were in week one. The Cleveland O-line is loaded with talent, but no one outshines the rookie left tackle Joe Thomas, who went from being the best lineman in college football for the Wisconsin Badgers in 2006 straight to being one of the best tackles in the NFL for the Browns in 2007. It's a position the Browns have had trouble with going back a long way, but they feel like they've got it locked down long term now.

Gus: It's an exhilarating offensive football team to watch, and the staduim is throbbing with EXCITEMENT as we wait for the competitors to take the field.