American Sniper

Lets get the meta-analysis out of the way. This is a war movie. Stop analyzing it. It’s a bunch of idealists with guns going to a foreign country, killing a lot of people, and then wondering why they don’t feel good. Like I said, a war movie. Lets move on.

It’s a good war movie. Undoubtedly the best one about the Iraq War. But does that make it a good movie? A movie, just like any story, is good because it tugs on your emotions. American Sniper does not tug, or snipe. It takes a machine gun and blasts them apart. There’s a lot of death, and blood splatters, and shock value, and slow-motion flag waving with a lone bugle playing in the background. You will cry. Maybe you like that. I didn’t. Crying is fine, emotional manipulation I accept, but when it’s done by killing a lot of Iraqis, there I have a problem. The mere fact this sort of movie is seen as entertainment, I find offensive. And yes, American Sniper is entertainment, or at least tried to be. It’s big budget Hollywood fluff. He doesn’t even have a cover on his scope. It’s absurd to the point of comedy.

I wanted to like it, I really did, but American Sniper is so full of shock value and horror and death it’s impossible to use critical analysis. As soon as you start thinking, any value disintegrates as into a sandstorm. There’s a scene where a Bad Guy uses a drill to kill a little kid. It’s awful. Bad Guys (capitol G) are swarming out of a van directly into enemy fire, and people in the audience started laughing. Laughing. At guys getting machine gunned down. Is this a video game? The mere fact that some people treat it as such negates any respect I might give it. Those same people cheered when the opposing enemy sniper died. Cheering. At death. They were probably thinking “America, Fuck Yeah!”. I was thinking “How do you make a 2,000 yrd shot in an approaching sandstorm?”

As for the Oscar nod, I don’t see it. The directing, that is, the technical aspects of telling a visual story, was atrocious. It was supposed to be a sniper duel. Instead its endless scenes of people running around yelling and blood spatters and soldiers with Predator comic book symbols on them. Now someone is dying in surgery. Then suddenly we are in America and she’s telling him he’s got something wrong with him. Telling. Not showing. It’s George W. Bush era propaganda, a war movie about what we want a war movie to be. Shock for subtlety. Ambushes for angles. No cleverness, or originality, or the things that an Oscar should be.

Yes, Bradley Cooper did a great job acting. But when he dramatically takes off his helmet front-and-camera-center in a war zone, or pulls out his satelite phone in the middle of a firefight and makes a tearful call to his wife, I don’t really care how good the acting is when what you’re doing is ridiculous. Yeah, there was one good scene at the end where he’s crying in a bar. It doesn’t make up for the banality of his character who honestly seems like a simpleton. To quote him when asked to explain his motivations: “God, Country, Family”. Give me a break.

Yes, the visuals were impressively realistic but A) this was Hollywood big budget meaning they just hired a thousand extras and rented out a real bombed-out city somewhere in the middle east and when you think about it that way its not so impressive and B) when you’re talking about blood spatters or a desert or a city in ruins, it doesn’t matter how realistic it is, it’s still terrible or tragic or uninteresting.

American Sniper would have been good if it hadn’t been about Chris Kyle. If it hadn’t pretended to be realistic. If it had just been about some fictional sniper having some fictional sniper duel in some fictional war, and everyone watching it took it as a blood-spattered horror movie, it would have been fine. I would have given it an A-. Instead, people confuse it with the real Chris Kyle who sounds like he was kind of psychotic. They confuse it with the immoral Iraqi War. They confuse two minutes of crying or staring blankly at the TV as Post-Traumatic Stress. And because of that, I have to hold this movie to a higher standard.

Grade: B-

Daximation official launch

Official Launch of my pet project, Daximation! (*lame noisemaker sound*). I signed up and put links to it on sports forums until I got tired. Check it out. (www.daximation.com, duh).

Consider this a beta version. I need/want beta testers and feedback. If you know any coaches feel free to spread the word to them.

Thank you from the Daximation Team (me)

Pretty dynamic webpage backgrounds

Ever since I wrote this post on dynamic backgrounds, I’ve been trying to accomplish the same thing with javascript, automatically, for a webpage.  It’s now possible thanks to a new css tag in town – blend-mode!  Firefox supports it, and Chrome does if you turn on experimental features.  Here’s pictures.

dynamicbackground2

dynamicbackground1

Here’s a fiddle: http://jsfiddle.net/bn8v5afa/1/

 

Here’s the code (I have got to find a better ‘show code in wordpress’ plugin


 
function dynamicbackground(repetitions){
 var repetitions = repetitions || 5;
 var thebody = document.getElementsByTagName("body")[0];
 var i;
 for(i=0;i<repetitions;i++){
 var randdeg = Math.round(Math.random() * 360);
 var randcolor = "#"+Math.random().toString(16).slice(2,8);
 //randcolor = "#f00";
 var randcolor2 = "#"+Math.random().toString(16).slice(2,8);
 randcolor2= "#fff"; //black
 //randcolor2= "#000"; //white
 var randstart = Math.round(Math.random()*30);
 var randend = Math.round(Math.random()*70) + 30;
 console.log(randdeg+", "+randcolor+", "+randstart+", "+randend);
 //create overlapping divs with blend mode 'difference'. looks really nice
 thebody.innerHTML += "<div class = 'generatedgradient' style='background-image:linear-gradient("+randdeg+"deg, "+randcolor2+" "+randstart+"%,"+randcolor+" "+randend+"%);'>&nbsp</div>";
 }
}

And a live page at: http://johnktejik.info/Portfolio/programming/blend3.html

Movie review time!

I’ve seen a movie most tuesdays this month.

Into The Woods:

Knowing nothing about this except weird people like it, I went into this movie with high expectations. Sadly, I was disappointed.

The acting was great, the story was interesting, the sets were beautiful, but a musical needs MUSIC. There wasn’t any. The songs were not really songs – as a friend put it, they were “sing-songy”. It was more chanting, not singing. The lyrics were more like poems full of two-word rhyming couplets. The instrumentals and melody were repetitious and darn near banal. I also felt the director didn’t have much inspiration – the songs took place on one set, the singers not moving. It had the feel of a broadway play, meaning it did not take advantage of the medium of film.

Halfway through the movie, there was a huge plot twist and most of the singing stopped and it became more like a typical movie. I’m curious to see if it is true to the broadway version. I will have to go see it when it plays at the Rhode in Kenosha in a few months.

Don’t get me wrong, none of it was bad, and if you’re a fan of musicals I recommend it, but with such big name actors and a large budget, I expected a lot better.

Grade: B

Wild

The book was in my estimation rated PG, maybe PG-13 for a brief sex scene, and was more about the Pacific Coast Trail than the character. In the movie, it’s rated ‘R’ and ‘wild’ refers to Reese Witherspoon’s life and story, which they made as crazy as possible. This is Reese Witherspoon like you’ve never seen her before. You’ll get to see Full Frontal Nudity Reese Witherspoon, Swearing-with-every-step Reese Witherspoon, Ripping-off-my-toenail Reese Witherspoon (Warning, its how the movie starts and it is graphic), Heroin-stoned Reese Witherspoon, and last but not least, Thrusting-Moaning, Back-alley-sex Reese Witherspoon. The Pacific Trail takes a back seat to the person. There’s some pretty scenery and a snake but this is a character piece, not a nature walk.

It’s worth seeing for one main reason – because its a gender piece, centered around her experiences with men, and what it’s like to be, to quote the hunter, a “pretty girl alone in the woods”. She screams and runs from caterpillars and snakes alike, but she’s never really afraid until she meets men. There’s several moments in the movie (that were not in the book FYI) that emphasize how scared she is of men. There’s nothing in the dialogue. The fear is communicated by body language and tone of voice. It’s subtly done. I appreciate the realism at the same time hating it. What’s she so scared of?

So there’s this guy with a bow stalking her, right? He’s crass, she’s terrified. But why? She’s pretty and a novelty and is his lack of manners really that scary? I appreciate that scene for showing me how making personal comments will be interpreted as a threat, but at the same time hating the guy for being so crude and the girl for being so afraid. Same with when the guy in the pickup truck gives her a ride to get some food. He comes across as bad, music cues and all – until he mentions his wife. At that point Reese Witherspoon visibly relaxes and the rest of the scene is friendly and calm. It’s accurate yet cringe-worthy. Even a less-dramatic scene where a Ranger brings her coffee and calls her pretty is laden with implications and debate, because she just ignores him! She ignores the nice guys and gives attention to the creepy ones.

Why is life like that? Why all the tension and fear and miscommunication? I tried to mention these concerns to both my sister and my friend Sarah and they didn’t seem to get where I was coming from. I felt sorry for the guys and they had no idea why.

Grade: A-

The Hobbit, Battle of the Five Armies:

Typical Peter Jackson/Lord of the Rings fare. Have you seen ‘The Two Towers’? It’s like that – one big battle – except smaller (dwarfs, you know). The atmosphere was grey and cold, and the amount of one-on-one battles were excessive. I realize they were trying to mix it up with extra characters, and supposedly some of them were based on other ‘lost tales’ written by JRR. Tolkein and published by his son, but point is, it was excessively long and violent. I want more Smaug and his silky voice, and less dwarfs!

Like the first Hobbit movie, this story could and should have been told in half the time. The Thorin going crazy bits were boring. The funny dwarfs were more or less absent. The most interesting character was the Regent’s servant, who wasn’t even part of the book. And sadly, my favorite scene in the entire book, the scene where Gandalf appears with a flash in the middle of the armies to stop the fight, was not included.

Grade: B-

Hunger Games 3, part 1, Mockingjay

Everyone’s seen this, so I’ll keep it brief. It’s okay. Jennifer Lawrence carries her weight, but unfortunately they didn’t give her much to do. It’s all wandering around battlefields and bunkers, listening. Typical Hollywood big-budget fluff. My biggest disappointment was that it did not copy the style of the book. The book was bad, but it at least tried something the movie did not – to be original.

Grade: B

Interstellar:

Already reviewed it. If you like sci-fi (or Mathew Mcconolly – he did good), its worth seeing because of some of the fantastic ideas like time warping near a black hole or a planet full of nothing but shallow water, or that totally kick-ass transforming robot – but beyond that, I don’t really recommend it.

Grade: C+

Introducing Daximation

With the end of soccer season, I have found myself with a lot of free time.  Well, I always had a lot of free time, but I occupied my mind with next practice, or game, or upcoming refereeing.  Physically I would just read (Demanding, I know  :)
But reading isn’t cutting it any more. So I decided to start a new project.  The goal was to animate my website (the one you are reading).   Researching various animation techniques led to javascripts built-in animation, and the canvas element.  So I decided to create an animation program.  Something simple.

Turns out canvas is great for drawing, but not so much for animation, as there is no ‘state’ of a canvas.  It cannot contain or keep track of what you’ve already drawn.  The only way to animate is laboriously erasing the screen and redrawing it each frame (yes I know thats what animation is but canvas did not have that functionality built in).

This led to reading about SVG.   SVG = Scalable Vector Graphic.  The standard has been implemented for at least ten years, and I remember reading about when it was introduced.  Even as a kid on my old windows 95 machine I tried loading a SVG on my website and it didn’t work.  But as of 2013, SVG is working on today’s browsers.  If you had firefox during that year (with automatic updates turned on), you saw the version numbers jump from 5 to 20.  Why all the major releases?  Some of them were for SVG.

Bottom line is, the new <svg> tag in HTML provides for a rich and flexible way to draw and animate (with the <animate> tag) right on a website.  It uses the inbuilt graphics chip on the motherboard (Finally) to provide smooth and interactive animations, something that was never possible before without the use of Flash.  But now, anything that you could make as a regular program can now be written in javascript and used online.  Google has realized this for a while now.  :)

And so, I created an SVG on a website.  I had code from my <canvas> attempt that let me draw shapes, and the logic was the same, so it was easy to copy that over to SVG.  A day or two of poking around with the <animate> and <animateTransform> tags (Another guide here) and I had some animation going.

The idea then occurred to use this to draw tactical diagrams for my soccer team.  I had looked for diagrams for doing Goal Kicks but they were scarce.  I downloaded a program that made tactical diagrams and thought “I can do better than this!”

Two weeks later I had something that might possibly pass as a sports-animation program.  My task was done.  Time to quit.  But… I still had heaps and heaps of free time.  So I kept going, now with the idea of creating a professional-looking piece of software that I could maybe possibly sell.  I wanted it online, but no one pays for software online.  So it would have to be free, and run by donations.  First step: get a domain name.

I was puzzling over possible names, each one more boring than the last, when for whatever reason my soccer team’s pre-game cheer sprung into my head:  “Dax em!”.  They came up with that on their own.  It sounds a little bit like ‘imagination’ or ‘animation’, and so my new title was born.  Daximation.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you: www.daximation.com

Right now its still in beta.  I don’t know how to make it look good.  I also just spent the last week trying to get it to work on Internet Explorer, eventually to abandon the attempt when I realized the most basic of basic javascript commands, innerHTML, was not implemented.  After hours of puzzling it through (using innerHTML is at the core of my code), I didn’t see an easy way around it so I just said ‘screw it’ and now if you access the site using internet explorer it will redirect you to download google chrome.  :)

I will be working on Daximation on and off as the mood strikes me.  I need to go back to pen and paper and draw something that looks good.  Right now it seems too crowded, too amateurish.

To Be Continued…..

End of soccer season musings

It’s the end of the season at St. Joes.  I have bittersweet thoughts.  Bitter because it was the worst season of my career as a coach, with a 2-5-5 record and a dearth of goals.  I also spent too much time yelling for my comfort (Thanks Nico), and the sweetness of having my own team did not materialize.  Previous teams seemed very animated.  St. Joes just didn’t.

Then I realized I’m not very animated. The excitement wore off years ago.  Why was I doing this?  To score some goals?  Seeing some kids blossom?  It seems that can’t happen if I’m not super-excited.  If I’m treating this like a job, the kids are apathetic,

At this point my thought process breaks down.  Asking ‘Whats the point’ means facing the inevitable conclusion that there is no point to anything.  And this way lies madness.  So coaching becomes a routine.  ‘something to do’.  Getting outside, running around a little, maybe a sense of importance from bossing kids around.  That’s something, right?

Sadly, I can’t stop my thoughts.  They get petulant.  I start feeling sorry for myself – my team isn’t athletic, the mores of the school inhibit ambition, or it’s the other coach’s fault.  I think “If only I had been able to coach them from the start” (I only had four complete practice sessions of my own – what can anyone do during four practices?), or if I had been given more authority, or if Coach Berman hadn’t done all those lines and laps, my team would have run harder.

But aren’t those just excuses?  The bottom line is, if I were a good coach, I would have made those four sessions count, I could motivate them, I should have won dammit!  In all my years coaching KASL I only had 2 losing seasons, and both were very close to winning seasons – a difference of one goal.  Yes, one game, one goal.  Both years.  And now I get a ‘real’ team (a high school team) and I seemingly fail.  What happened?  What went wrong?  Are the kids just that bad?  Did I overestimate my abilities?  Am I not cut out for ‘the big leagues’?  Or is it my or Dave Berman’s coaching?

These questions keep me up all night.  I thought about it every day during the season, at every game, every practice where I had a moment free for introspection, and I’m still thinking about it.  I can’t figure it out, and it’s driving me nuts.  Maybe this isn’t healthy.  Maybe I should stick to basic drills, technique, stop pushing, stop trying so hard.

At this point in this post I’m just recording my thoughts.

Now a new chain of thoughts – Am I arrogant for thinking I can turn any team into a winning one?  Am I crazy for thinking about this so much?  Am I stupid for thinking there is an answer?  How do other people deal with these questions?  Do they even deal with them?  Other coaches I observe don’t seem to beat themselves up.  If anything they seem more arrogant.  Just today I had a coach give me a hard time about “How was that push a foul but the other one was not?”  Don’t they realize how human I am, how human they are, how human everyone is?  Where’s the introspection?  How can they ever learn?  Am I that way, failing to see obvious answers to simple soccer problems?  Am I just the oblivious coach yelling at the referee in my head?  Excetera, excetera, excetera.  An endless loop of endless thoughts ad nauseum.

I shove it away.  Maybe shoving these deep thoughts away are causing me to avoid simple questions!  For example, the problem of swinging at the ball and missing.  (It happened last game – the other team got an easy goal because our sweeper swung and missed at what should have been an easy kick).  The obvious answer is “Get your body behind the ball.”  Obvious, right?  So obvious something is wrong.  Kicking the ball, almost by definition, requires leaning to one side.  Do I really expect someone to throw their body into the ball when they can just as easily kick it at their side?  When its easier to kick a ball at your side?  I think of all the times I haven’t ‘got my body behind the ball’.  I think of the times I did and still missed – the ball bounced under my foot.  Does the simple saying “Get your body behind the ball” lead to people not controlling the ball?  To them not kicking the ball?  To the other team stealing the ball?  Is this why my team sucks!?  Omg have I been teaching it wrong all these years?!  Am I teaching everything wrong??  Arrrrggg stop stop thinking so much!

There’s much more, so much more about formations and enthusiasm and the role of tactics vs hustle in a team; is there such a thing as a sucky team, is their speed a fixed thing, are they always going to be slow; is motivation the only thing a coach can bring to the team, is that related to enthusiasm; and more.  But the catharsis that is writing shall sate the thought demons, at least for now, and so I bid you, dear blog, adieu and good night.

Drawing on SVG element

I could not find any tutorials on how to do this, or examples, and the only thing I could find that did the same was a huge program with tons of code to wade through (SVGedit). It’s very easy to draw on an SVG element, right in your browser.

You will need:

JQuery
An SVG element in your HTML

The basic idea is:

Get the SVG element.
Get the Mouse Coordinates.
Create a PATH element dynamically in the SVG.
Then use getAttribute() and setAttribute() on the path.

Here’s the code:


var isdrawing = false;
var currentpath;

function getlocalmousecoord(svg, evt){

  //calculate mouse coordinates
    var pt = svg.createSVGPoint();
    pt.x = evt.clientX;
    pt.y = evt.clientY;
    var localPoint = pt.matrixTransform(svg.getScreenCTM().inverse());
    localPoint.x = Math.round(localPoint.x);
    localPoint.y = Math.round(localPoint.y);
    console.log("mouse at " + pt.x + "," + pt.y  + " (global)  "+ localPoint.x + "," + localPoint.y+" (local)");

    return localPoint;
}

var svg = document.getElementsByTagName('svg')[0];
$( document ).ready(function() {
    console.log( "Jquery ready!" );

//grab the first SVG element on the page
var svg = document.getElementsByTagName('svg')[0];  /*http://stackoverflow.com/questions/4850821/svg-coordinates-with-transform-matrix  */

//Mousedown event handler
$('svg').mousedown(function(evt){
   isdrawing = true;
    var localPoint = getlocalmousecoord(svg,evt);
    var newElement = document.createElementNS("http://www.w3.org/2000/svg", 'path'); //Create a path in SVG's namespace
    currentpath = newElement;
    newElement.setAttribute("d", " M " + localPoint.x + " " + localPoint.y ); 
    newElement.setAttribute("fill", "transparent"); 
    
    newElement.style.stroke = "#f00"; //Set stroke colour
    newElement.style.strokeWidth = "5px"; //Set stroke width
    svg.appendChild(newElement);



  });
$('svg').mouseup(function(evt){
   isdrawing = false;
  });
$('svg').mousemove(function(evt){
   
  if(isdrawing == true){
  //calculate mouse coordinates
      var localPoint = getlocalmousecoord(svg,evt);

      var pathstring = currentpath.getAttribute("d");
      pathstring = pathstring + " L " + localPoint.x + " " + localPoint.y ;
      currentpath.setAttribute("d",pathstring);
  }
  });
});  //end of .ready

(Someday I will figure out how to preserve line breaks yet not wrap in wordpress)

 

Here is the working example:

http://johnktejik.info/Portfolio/programming/drawonsvg.html

 

USSoccer D license feedback

As for your main points, I thought I did them, but I guess I did them wrong. Do you think you could be more specific?
Specifically:

By soccer gear I assume you mean shinguards and socks? I didn’t know I needed to wear them, sorry, I will wear them next time. You wore khacki cargo shorts. Wear soccer gear as a coach. You don’t need shinguards but you do need look like a coach and not a parent
What wasn’t specific enough? How I can get more specific than escorting a player to the correct spot and demonstrating what they should do? You moved players and said cover, balance, support. You never showed them the angle to defend, discussed the amount of pressure, where the cover was or angle to move them and why based on the attacking players. You just repeated 1st defender, cover, and balance through the session and asked them who they are without any technical points.
The final freeze – I know that was on the attacking half, but the other team never got control of the ball near the back four. I kept waiting and it never happened so I worked with what I had. What should I have done differently? Keep waiting? (If I did that I picture you saying something like ‘find the freeze quicker’ or ‘everyone plays defense, even the forwards’ :( ) You need to be patient and stay on topic. Your topic was defending zonally so it needed to be in the defensive third with the defensive line.
Could you explain what you mean by ‘what angle to defend’, please? It could mean several things and I’m not sure how it applies to keeping players in a line/shape. Yes, this is why we asked you to attend the E license course so you would understand the basic concepts that are in the coaching buzz words with a better technical understanding. Angle to defend means which way you are pushing the attacker to go. Are you pushing them to the inside or the outside, right/left, is it a bent run so your teammates know where to cover and balance, is the cover player giving the first defender communication to angle the defense to certain side based on team shape or where the help is. The amount of pressure is it to contain or win the ball, compact as a team. Angle of coverage as the defensive line in the zone, moving as a unit
Same for ‘which way to defend as a unit’. Is this different than teaching pressure, cover, balance, or trying to get them to stay in a line? There is spacing between the line based on the amount of pressure on the ball and where the ball is for the defensive line. If the ball is in the middle, who applies pressure to the ball and what does the rest of the line do to keep shape and be compact. Who steps to the ball on the outside and what angle are they pressuring the player? How does everyone else on the line move to cover and support. Who do they cover? It depends on the position of the attacking team and the situation in the game. You never adjusted based on the attacking team just said “pressure, cover, balance” and moved players to spots but did not discuss where to cover with the attacking player, how close, how to see the ball and the attacker for balance.
5 W’s I’m pretty sure my coaching points answered most ‘W’ questions. Did I need more? Did I do it the wrong way? Was I supposed to be more explicit somehow, maybe ask the question myself, or quiz them?

I’m not trying to give you a hard time. Really, I don’t know what you’re looking for and any specifics you can give me is appreciated else I will end up making the same mistakes. Yes, we recognized this when you attended the D with Rick Ceh and myself. We have asked you to attend the E course because we believed you did not receive the information or did not completely understand it.

Rick Flores will attend the next session with you. Please choose another topic and send the lesson plan to him prior to the coaching session.

Misquoting Jesus and other books (Pat Tillman, World Cup, Writing, The Janus Report)

Completed several books this week:  Misquoting Jesus, Boots on the Ground by Dusk and Where men win glory (War and Pat Tillman), Eight World Cups and The World is a Ball (Soccer), Several Short Sentences About Writing and Bookmark Now, Coaching Youth Football, and something called the Janus report which was not what I thought it would be (it is just a collection of anonymous yes/no surveys about sexual behavior).

Misquoting Jesus is a worthwhile read for anyone who has ever read The Bible.  Not only is it a personal account of one mans spiritual journey that is shared by many Christians today (including myself), it thoroughly yet succinctly details various mistranslations of the Bible and how they happened.  The quality of writing shines.  Highly recommended.  Grade: A+

Where Men Win Glory and Boots on the Ground were about Pat Tillman and ‘friendly fire’ in the Iraq/Afghanistan war.  Boots on the Ground by Dusk was by Pat Tillman’s mother and had an amazingly evocative first chapter or two.  Where Men Win Glory (A line from the Illiad) was by the author of Into Thin Air, the book that took away my desire to ascend the heights of Mt. Everest.  Grades: B+

Pat Tillman.  I had heard about the name way back when but never knew any details.  The authors make some damning revelations – General McCrystal’s memo to Rumsfeld saying “If the story gets out”, Rumsfeld denying getting it; the commander in Afghanistan flying to Iraq for one day, the day of Tillman’s death, and then saying he wasn’t there.  Commanders denying giving orders that their subordinates insisted they did.  Testimony changing after a commander asks the interviewer to ‘step out of the room for a minute’.  The guy who first opened fire on Tillman (Thus causing the rest of his team to follow his lead) getting a field promotion.  The initial investigation disappearing.  The lull in fire where Tillman came out behind the rock (He was screaming how he was on their side), where his own squad resumed firing, killing him.

The craziness that they document is almost beyond belief.  The commander in question assigning himself to lead the investigation.  Another commander calling Tillman “Worm Food” and not investigating because Tillman wasn’t Christian.  Yet another commander surveying the canyon where they got ambushed one day earlier, then ordering Tillman’s squad to travel in daylight and separate the squad, both which were against regulations.  The team leader ultimately got blamed – except he was retired!  Tillman’s diary was burned.  His armor stripped and destroyed despite orders to keep the armor.  Hospital records saying they ‘attempted CPR’ when Tillman was missing most of his head.  Dates changed, memos redacted, reports lost – It’s a mass of incompetence.  Those who say it’s a conspiracy are wrong – conspiracies are organized.

The books also have some non-Pat Tillman stuff.  Did you know the first US Soldier’s deaths of the Afghanistan war were self-inflicted?  Someone called in an air strike, but instead of dictating the enemy coordinates, he instead misread his instruments and reported his own GPS location.  It also injured the Afghani we were planning to put in charge of Afghanistan.  Oops.

Oh and Jessica Lynch, supposedly captured by the enemy, turns out the ‘enemy’ was actually trying to save her.  Her injuries were from a car crash, not from enemy fire.  She wasn’t in prison, she was in a hospital.  The Iraqis tried to drive her to an American base but were fired on at the gate.  A thousand troops were assembled to ‘save’ Lynch, instead they just marched into the hospital, took her out easily, and ignored the four other American ‘captives’ because they weren’t cute 19-year-old blond females.
I didn’t know any of that.  I thought she really was captured.  Now I know better.  It’s depressing how badly the media screws things up, reporting the first thing they hear from someone who couldn’t know the facts.

The other books were meh.  The soccer related ones were okay – well written, occasionally humorous, but mostly describing soccer games that happened long ago, which just doesn’t work well on paper.  I miss the World Cup.  Bookmark Now was a bunch of clever short stories about writing by writers.  Several Short Sentences About Writing I had already read years ago and forgotten I had read it.  It’s kind of a stream-of-consciousness thing about the mystery of self-expression.  It reminds me of Pascal’s PensesTeaching youth football was about American football and was full of jargon and code words I didn’t understand (I was hoping to study other sports’ tactics for my book).  And the Janus Report, well, the only thing I remember that stands out was that over 20% of men say they have ‘had a homosexual experience’, whatever that means (it was never defined).  I find that hard to believe, which is why I remember it.
Grade: Four Sandwiches.

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