Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Parrots and Puppies

I've tried to keep the chronology in order here, but the travel reports will just have to wait.

We've started a fall Ultimate league here in Buenos Aires. The total number of teams has increased to four (welcome, Aqua!), which is a 300% improvement from a year ago. What progress! An entire season's worth of games are scheduled, and every Sunday there will be discs in the air and jugadores en la cancha. Finding a space to play is a challenge. We keep setting up in advance of casual futból matches which have staked out their corner of the park for years. But there's no city authority on where to play. We assume it's first come first serve, but because we're playing a totally wacko sport that nobody here has ever heard of, we're trying not to start fights. Our field this week was a bit narrow, and had a few holes (one of which I jammed my bad leg into during a pregame warmup - the knee survived!), but served us very well.
El equipo

It's such a friendly league, but there are a few... well, not bad apples, but people who could use a refresher on the Spirit of the Game. But this week we were lined up against Cadillacs, a team loaded with buena onda, so it was of course a game featuring great spirit all day. I hadn't been performing so great in the last few games, but I did OK in this one. Employing our new offense (a ho-stack), we were deep in a nail-biter with the each team mounting leads. Finding ourselves down 13-9, we rallied a bit, but it was too little too late. The Cadillacs beat us 15-13. Still, it was a fantastic start to the most organized Ultimate we've had yet. We line up against Aqua this Sunday.
Maybe it's time for a haircut... naaaahhhh.

I can't help but think that one day in the future, there will be a dozen teams or maybe more. We practice on Wednesday nights (which is getting a bit cold - even for me!), and at the last two, a 12-year old kid named Daniel has jumped in and run the drills with us. He was at first just intrigued by the plastic discs we were tossing around, but now he's putting on marks and making great cuts. If he keeps it up, he could be the best Argentine jugador by the time he's 18.

After the game, we retired to the local Choripán stand where I scarfed down a lomito (steak sandwich). Hunger and fatigue combined to keep me from thinking of taking a picture, but it was deeeelicious. Some loros (parrots) had congregated nearby because some kids had scattered leftover pan. They approached slowly, contemplating the best way to get all this pan into their bellies. It turned out that it wasn't too difficult. Each one grabbed a piece and flew up into a tree. The bread pieces were almost as big as they were. These are some well-fed parrots...
Whole lotta loros

Unfortunately he flew off the wrong way for a clear photo, but this is a loro, lunch in hand, heading home

See how happy this guy looks!

As promised in my last post, we've got puppies on the way, too. I don't know where this dog came from or to whom he belonged, but he was milling around the choristand also.



Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Definitive Note on Torture

I have been overly devoted to the recent debate surrounding torture committed by the US Government in recent weeks. I find myself ashamed of my home country for various reasons. First of all, torturing suspects is inherently wrong and not doing these types of inherently wrong things is something that America is supposed to be all about. It's why we exist. The rights of the accused are defended against this type of thing in the Bill of Rights - four times! Secondly, anyone who's not lying to save their own ass generally says that it is ineffective. It does not keep anybody safe as it generally produces false intelligence. False intelligences like, say, I dunno, WMDs and Al Qaida in Iraq.

But more than the fact that it was done, I am ashamed that nearly half of the American public thinks it was a good idea. They are siding with Dick Cheney. They are fools and don't care about what our country stands for. We must defeat them. My dad was an interrogator for the US Army in World War II. We didn't do this then, and I think it's pretty safe to say we were facing a more formidable foe. And as stated above, it doesn't freaking work and is against both international laws and our own.

The clearest summary I have come across regarding how and why this happened was published today by Andrew Sullivan. Check it out here. There is some speculation on his part, but all of it based on facts that are crystal clear. It sums up the whole dirty business. The quick, two-sentence summary: We tortured people so that they would tell us that Iraq and Al Qaida were connected so that we could invade, even though they were lying so that we would stop torturing them. How many US lives has this torture saved so far? 4,294 killed, over 30,000 wounded.

That's all for now. I promise to shut up about this until the evildoers are brought to justice. Please read Sullivan's post. It's the clearest summary you're going to find. I owe y'all some reports on vacations I took with Belu and a Big Red Ultimate update. The next posting will be parrots and puppies. I swear.

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