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August 11, 2003
OOGLAY HUSSEIN'S DIARYBy Ooglay Hussein
Well hello America, land of the free, home of the infidel, may you die choking on the fumes of your SUVs! A thousand other curses upon you from Ooglay, heir to the throne of Baghdad. "Hey, Ooglay," you are saying "now you are please to be taking some time to tell us of the mood in Baghdad. How is your Arab streets?" And I am gladly telling you this truth: everybody there hates you and also wants you to die but only because of georgebush so nothing personals.
"Hey Ooglay," you say, "glorious and beloved son of the light of the world, sword of Allah, trumpet of the prophet, why do you say 'there?' Are you no longer in your wondrous homeland? Are you not even now dipping your heated toes in the cooling waters of the Euphrates?"
No, I am telling you the will of Allah is a strange and wondrous thing, and I swear by my mother's purity I think sometimes I am moving about more then my father, who must sleep each night in a different house on the Champs-Elysees. Now as I am typing on a keyboard of a computer in California once again.
"Ooglay.." you say and I answer, "Shut up and listen or I cut out your wagging tongue!" And even as I am relating this story I know you are looking upon me with great anger in your squinty, beady eyes. So be it! Hear my story:
After filing my latest stories about the living Hell you have made of life in Baghdad I ordered a round of cool drinks to be brought to me at poolside in my luxury hotel. I was considering returning to the air-conditioned bar as soon as I finished downloading my e-mail to my laptop via the sat-link. Now there are many in Hollywood who know my e-mail address from the times I spent there shortly after the ending of the hostileness in my beloved homeland. Mostly I just delete these because they are "oh please come back I love and miss you Ooglay" type letters that I delete without looking upon because most of your stars are not so good looking when they are not in makeup with computer re-touching and most of the letters are from men stars and Ooglay is not that way. But one from Jewish girl I lived with for a while is catching my eye:
Dearest Oogie, Help! We need you! The Republicans have attacked our beloved Governor, much as they attacked your sainted father, and they are once again planning a regime change. You proved your abilities as a big-draw money maker at some of the fundraisers at my place this past spring, and we desperately need some of that fabled "Hussein Golden Touch" if we're to have any hope of averting this crisis. If our time on the beach at Malibu meant anything at all to you then I know you'll be here soon. Help me Oogie won kenoogy, you're my only hope! XXXOOOXXXBabsy P.S. Of course, you'll get expenses, a generous stipend, and 15% of the take. I've checked with the Times, charge airline tickets to their account.
Well to me this mostly makes no sense but you should know I am a heroic man of action who can't say no to a damsel in distress with a 7-figure payout involved. So before you can say "Allah be praised" I am flying Damascus to Paris first class and then to America.
But listen: It was all a big lie to get me here! Big money-maker scam! I tell you she meets me at airport and helps me bypass security and says "Thank God you've come! We sold out every plate at the dinner tonight and a special show at mi casa manana is also SRO"
I have no clue what she is saying but soon I am in Limo, jet lagged and dizzy though I am. "We're going to a studio." She says "The enemy is planning a big televised debate. Normally none of the TV execs would touch a Repub debate with a ten foot pole, but these guys are big draw. Arnie's still A-list, though God knows why. Probably for Maria's sake." She might as well be speaking Yiddish. All I am thinking is that nose on her would make a good hiding place for my father, his gold, and a pair of his most over-fed doubles.
Okay, soon we are in spotlight booth high above studio soundstage. Below is furious activity. I see men in suits on cell phones she says they are "talking to New York about ad time, this will be close to Superbowl money" whatever this means, while below are group of men arguing about their spot on stage and camera angles.
"What is this?" I say "These are not your enemy leaders?"
"Yes" she says.
"Okay that one is surely bodyguard for one other?"
"No that's Arnie. He's a frontrunner."
"Okay, at least he's not candidate. So there beside strongman, kicking him in shin, who is African midget? Who is old cranky man in wheelchair grabbing midget by collar and lifting him in air? This is good idea to have circus on TV with your debate. My father would televise executions the night before Iraqi elections."
And now is when I am thinking she is putting me on. "Oogie," she says, "these are the candidates."
And then I am laughing so loud that everyone stops and looks up for hearing me. "Come on, we gotta scoot!" She says and drags me out. She punches my shoulder as we run down the stairs "Quit laughing!" She says through clenched teeth.
"I can't help it" I say, wiping tears from my eyes, "this is first time I have actually seen your American Democracy that georgebush would impose on my people. The Kurds and Shia deserve it!" Then I am laughing out loud but just before we go out door I see man in suit sitting in corner on floor crying softly.
"Are you candidate too?" I ask, but he just starts crying loudly as Babsy smacks me with small clutch purse.
"Idiot, that's Darrell Issa." She answered, and pulls me out the door.
Never heard of him. California! What a country!
Posted by Ooglay Hussein / August 11, 2003 6:34 PM | Permalink
November 26, 2010
I think anyone who's ever pondered the "comment" option - once only available on blogs and bulletin boards, now ubiquitous on almost any web site - will appreciate this:
The so-called faculty of writing is not so much a faculty of writing as it is a faculty of thinking. When a man says, "I have an idea but I can't express it"; that man hasn't an idea but merely a vague feeling. If a man has a feeling of that kind, and will sit down for a half an hour and persistently try to put into writing what he feels, the probabilities are at least 90 percent that he will either be able to record it, or else realize that he has no idea at all. In either case, he will do himself a benefit.
That's wisdom from the past, captured for posterity at the US Naval Institute, shared via the web on the institute's 137th anniversary.
From their about page:
"The Naval Institute has three core activities," among them, History and Preservation:
The Naval Institute also has recently introduced Americans at War, a living history of Americans at war in their own words and from their own experiences. These 90-second vignettes convey powerful stories of inspiration, pride, and patriotism.
Take a look at the collection, and you'll see it's not limited to accounts from those who served on ships at sea, members of the other branches are well-represented.
I'm fortunate to have met USNI's Mary Ripley, she's responsible for the institute's oral history program (and she's the daughter of the late John Ripley, whose story is told here). She also deserves much credit for their blog. ("We're not the Navy nor any government agency. Blog and comment freely.") We met at a milblog conference - Mary knew (and I would come to realize) that milbloggers are the 21st-century version of exactly what the US Naval Institute is all about. Once that light bulb came on in my head, I mentioned a vague idea for a project to her - milblogs as the 21st century oral history that they are.
"Put that in writing," she said (of course - see first paragraph above!) - and here's part of the result.
Shortly after the first tent was pitched by the American military in Iraq a wire was connected to a computer therein, and the internet was available to a generation of Americans at war - many of whom had grown up online. From that point on, at any given moment, somewhere in Iraq a Soldier, Sailor, Airman or Marine was at a keyboard sharing the events of his or her day with the folks back home. While most would simply fire off an email, others took advantage of the (then) relatively new online blogging platforms to post their thoughts and experiences for the entire world to see. The milblog was born - and from that moment to this stories detailing everything from the most mundane aspects of camp life to intense combat action (often described within hours of the event) have been available on the web...
And et cetera - but since you're reading this on a milblog, you probably knew that. And you know that milblogs aren't just blogs written by troops at war, that many friends, family members, and supporters likewise documented their story of America at war online in near-real time, as those stories developed.
The diversity in membership of that group is broad, the one thing we all have in common is the impulse to make sense of the seemingly senseless, and communicate the tale - for each of us that impulse was strong enough to overcome whatever barriers prevent the vast majority of people from doing the same. Everyone at some point has some vague idea they believe should be shared - we were the people who, from some combination of internal and external urging, found and spent those many half hours persistently trying to write it down.
But where will all that be in another 137 years? Or five or ten, for that matter. That's something I've asked myself since at least 2004 - when I wrote this:
Membership in the ghost battalion has grown in the years since, and an ever growing majority of those abandoned-but-still-standing sites are vanishing. Have you checked out Lt Smash's site lately? How about Sgt Hook's? If you're a long-time milblog reader you know the first widely-read milblog from Operation Iraq Freedom and the first widely-read milblog from Afghanistan are both gone from the web. If you're a relative newcomer to this world you may never even have heard of them - or the dozens upon dozens of others who carried forth the standard they set down.
If you have a vague notion that something should be done about that, (a notion I've heard expressed more than once...) then you and I and the good folks at the US Naval Institute are in agreement. Preserving the history documented by the milbloggers is just one of the goals of the milblog project, the once-vague idea that we're now making real.
And it's a big idea, if I say so myself - too big to explain in one simple blog post, so stand by for more. Likewise, it's too big a task to be accomplished by just one person. So if you're a milblogger (and exactly what is a milblogger? is a topic for much further discussion on its own) I'm asking for your help. All I'll really need is just a little bit (maybe just one or two of those half hours...) of your time, and your willingness to tell the tale.
We've already made history, it's time to save it.
(More to follow...)
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