Saturday, December 30, 2006

Band of Gypsies - New Year's Eve - Fillmore East

December 31, 1969. I was 16, and it was my first New Year's Eve out. I took my girlfriend, Ellen, to a Chinese restaurant on west 8th street in the Village and then walked over to the Fillmore East. I knew we were going to see Hendrix, but didn't know what this Band of Gypsies thing was.

Of course, I had expected to hear all the great songs from Are You Experienced and his other albums. But this was something new and different. Funky and surprisingly optimistic. Less flashy, more focused on the music.

We saw the early show, so it's not the one on the album, but essentially the same set. They did throw in Foxy Lady, and Buddy Miles did Them Changes with every band he played with.

After the show, we made it to Times Square for midnight and then went up to Central Park to catch the end of the WNEW-FM party hosted by Zacherle.

Hell of a night and hard to imagine I did all that at the tender age of 16. I think there was some making out, too; at least I'd like to remember it that way! She was a great girl, and the only one I ever had a bad break-up with. Funny how I still regret that so many years later.

Part 1:


I've always thought Band of Gypsies was great stuff, and although they were a band, it was still mostly about Hendrix. All the sadder that he didn't live to keep evolving his music.

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Friday, December 29, 2006

Dang me.
Dang me.
They oughta take a rope and hang me.

- Roger Miller

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Sunday, December 17, 2006

What Jews Do on Christmas

I mentioned to a Christian friend that I was planning another typical Jewish Christmas -- Chinese food and a movie. He looked at me with amazement. Indeed, he has Jewish friends that do this, but he never realized it was a "thing."

There's a great Dim Sum restaurant in Denver called The Empress. Last Christmas we went at noon and there were about 250 Chinese and 50 Jews. Can't remember what movie we saw after. Absolute perfection would be a new Woody Allen flick!

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

I'm Not Making This Up

from Britney Spears' web site:

After seeing her snatch -- and man has it been magnified -- I would thank God for any underwear she'd acquire.

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The ISG Report

I've never been asked to join a commission analyzing and making recommendations on how to fix a broken war. But I have been asked in business to find solutions to urgent problems. And I can tell you, there is never the luxury of taking nine months to get this done as the Iraq Study Group did.

The result is "a report overtaken by reality." as George Will writes today. Read it.

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Tuesday, December 05, 2006

melted away

By that time, the prewar intelligence had proved inaccurate. No Iraqi units changed sides, and the number of surrendering forces was small. Iraqis had sacked Army garrisons, and entire divisions had melted away.
- Washington Post

The Iraqi Army was conspicuously absent, for example, in the Hurriya neighborhood, where rampaging Shi'ite militias damaged Sunni mosques and allegedly immolated worshipers. In Hurriya and elsewhere, many Iraqis reported that the Iraqi soldiers either melted away when the militias arrived — or worse, stood by and watched as they attacked Sunnis.
- Time

One of the more interesting lessons of the Iraq war was the nearly complete collapse of the Iraqi army. This was largely forgotten until recent media criticism along the lines of, "why wasn't the Iraqi army kept together for peacekeeping duty." The reason was simple; the Iraqi army simply melted away before Baghdad fell.
- Strategy Page

The Iraqi Army suffered from poor morale, even amongst the supposedly elite Republican Guard, and entire units simply melted away into the crowds upon the approach of occupation troops.
- Al Jazeera

Sectarianism has defined some forces, too, as Shiite militiamen and Sunni insurgents infiltrated the ranks. During times of unrest, entire units have simply melted away, rather than face down Shiite gunmen during a 2004 uprising in Najaf, south of Baghdad, and Baghdad's Sadr City slum, or Sunni militants during fighting that year in Fallujah.
- Christian Science Monitor

When the insurgency erupted in 2004, the soldiers either melted away or switched sides altogether, and in the growing religious tensions that have opened since, they have too often been identified with sectarian interests.
- The Telegraph

The idea was that they would carry out suicide operations as part of Saddam’s strategy to hold the capital and to weaken the Americans, as what Saddam imagined would be a siege of Baghdad began. Instead, the Americans arrived much more quickly than he had imagined. His army did not hold the line, and Baghdad fell, to all intents and purposes, without a fight—with the exception of sporadic opposition from Baath Party militia, isolated military men, and these jihadis in roving bands. Then they melted away; I remember seeing them melt away on the morning Baghdad fell.
- The New Yorker

But there is something of a puzzle. Where has the Iraqi opposition gone to? The Republican guard has not put up the expected levels of resistance. Maybe this is an indication of how badly they've been hit from the air, perhaps it has just melted away to take up further positions closer to Baghdad.
- Daily Kos

Razzaq, 40, is a native of Diyala province, a mixed Sunni-Shiite area northeast of Baghdad. He graduated from a military academy in 1986 and entered the Iraqi army as an officer during the Iran-Iraq war, which raged from 1980 to 1988. He says he was not destined for the top ranks of Saddam's military. A cousin had been executed by the regime, and Razzaq never joined the ruling Baath Party, an essential step to ensure promotion.During the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, his infantry unit was in Kut, a town south of Baghdad. Razzaq says his unit melted away in the face of U.S. forces without firing a shot. "We didn't waste one bullet," he says. "We just put on civilian clothes and left."
- USA Today

The study acknowledged that psychological operations did not lead to the mass surrender of Iraqi forces as many Army leaders expected. Rather, most regular Iraqi military forces did not stand and fight, but melted away before coalition attack.
- Army News Service

On MTP [Meet thge Press], National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley pointed out that the Rumsfeld Memo, reportedly calling for a course change in Iraq, is actually a laundry list of options the SecDef was asked to compile, not a set of definitive policy recommendations. Hadley said that we had planned on their being more Iraq forces intact after the war, but they "melted away." He seemed to be saying that the Administration had a plan to use the Iraqis in uniform when it has long been a contention that Bremer simply dissolved the Iraqi security forces.
- Red State Network

I understand now: We had a strategy, and it melted away.

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