My time at Fort Bragg is quickly coming to an end – next week will be heading up to Rochester to go house hunting. Very excited for this next stage and the more we read about Rochester, the more it seems like it will be fitting home for us. Here are my thoughts for this week:
1. YEMEN CIVIL WAR: This is one of those fascinating news stories which has been getting less press than it deserves. Yemen is a mess of a country – riven with factions, little to trade with the world, and an ecological and demographic disaster. The only thing it has going for it is its geographical position next to a major waterway and next to Saudi Arabia. Given their history and their complete inability to fix their problems (if history is to be a judge), the only sane thing to do with this country is to stay away and let it sort itself out. However, that is easy for us to say and nations like Saudi Arabia and Egypt (neighbors to Yemen) take a differing view vis-à-vis a proxy of Iran dominating the country - hence the Air War which the Saudis are leading. The problem with it of course is that an air campaign is going to be insufficient to eject the Houthis – you have to have a credible land force to ally with to force the issue and that doesn’t really appear to exist. Saudis are going to HAVE to go into Yemen at some point if they want to meet their objectives but given the history of the last time a foreign country went into Yemen to establish order against the Houthis (Egypt ’62-70), it will be ugly. Regardless, this is going to be an interesting story to watch over the next several weeks – as interesting as anything happening in Iraq/Syria.
2. POSTMODERN JUKEBOX: I recently discovered this band – it has been around for a while so it is me that evidently missed the boat. PMJ is the brain child of Scott Bradlee, a long time musical guy who put together this band which does weekly covers of popular pop/rap/rock songs done to Jazz. There is no set lineup for PMJ but rather enlists some of the most talented jazz sings to contribute – many of the songs are done by female Jazz artists and they are incredible. I have always had a thing for torch singers and this really scratches the itch for me. Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and the ilk mistake spectacle for sexy and frankly much of their antics come across as tawdry and unappealing. Give me Robyn Adele Anderson in a black dress on a dark corner stage at a nightclub singing ‘Sway’. That is worth a thousand Mileys. Below is Robyn singing a klezmer version of ‘Talk Dirty’ by John Derulo – she even does the 2 Chainz rap in Yiddish!
3. ECLIPSE PHASE: It has been awhile since I have done a tabletop gaming session – I have a professional life that currently preludes me from that path and I don’t really have any friends close by to game. I still occasionally buy sourcebooks – not to play but to serve as inspiration for my other hobbies, like writing! My current obsession is with a game called Eclipse Phase. As a gaming system, it is nothing remarkable – but the source material they have put together is the most detailed and best realized version of the future I have seen in recent memory. It takes place a couple hundred years in the future where transhumanism has really taken grip – the fantastic is routine. Add on top of it Earth has rendered uninhabitable by rogue AIs and humanity’s group on the Solar System is beset by dozens of problems internal and external. The writing is top notch and if you are into reading deeply involved sourcebooks – you can’t go wrong here. Many of their books are freely available online, check them out.