Thursday, September 27, 2007

Burma: The evening report

The latest from Burma this evening: Significantly more violence in the cities today, and a jarring decrease in the amount of hard news coming out. Bloggers and "citizen journalists" are still getting pictures and accounts out via the miracle of foreign proxies and sites hosted in other countries. But there's less and less making its way West than in previous days.

BBC has a somewhat insightful background piece on what's next for the junta. The short version is "we don't know", as this is truly uncharted water for all involved. Do the generals soften the line and make some gesture, empty though it may be, toward reconciliation? Or do they mow down another couple of thousand civilians and beat the opposition (further) back into the Stone Age?

There's no telling.

It is nice to see the international community, from the US to ASEAN to the ridiculous UN, making major noise about Burma. The US has frozen assets of the military elite - a nice gesture, but those clowns have their money stashed in too many banking havens for that to really matter.

ASEAN has expressed "revulsion" at events in the streets of Rangoon. This is pretty strong stuff from a body which has turned its head from all sorts of atrocities in its midst over the years.

The UN has managed to get special envoy Ibrahim Gambari signed up for a visit to Pyinmana. This is a bigger step than I expected from that useless talk-shop, and a bigger concession than I expected from Than Shwe. We'll see if anything comes of it.

Still nothing helpful from China or India. Shocking.

Rumors persist about the current whereabouts of Aung San Suu Kyi. The Brit ambassador told BBC that the number of guards on University Ave, Suu Kyi's street, lead him to believe she is still in her home. But word about town is she's been taken to the Burmese Lubyanka, Insein Prison (NOTE: This is an OLD link - it says Suu Kyi is there, and she may have been when the article was posted back in 2003. And, yes, I know what an appropriate name "Insein" is).

The protests are clearly comprised of disorganized civilians now. Raids last night on monasteries seem to have backfired against the government - the population is stirred up but good now. We'll keep our ears to the BBC and blog ground, and provide another update tomorrow.

Keep praying for the Burmese people.

Burma: The gloves are off

As reported on BBC late last night (and mentioned here at little CIT as well), Burmese security police kicked in doors at six or more monasteries around the country in the middle of the night, and clapped irons on hundreds of monks.
We thought last night that this could be the spark which sets the whole thing off. According to reports, it appears that's exactly what has happened. Huge numbers of people were in the streets by about mid-day on Thursday in Rangoon, and it's overwhelmingly regular folks, not monks and nuns (many of the monks are in the Cross-Bar Hilton at the moment).
The army has fired shots again, but there are not reports of mass casualties. What's up with this? With fewer monks to take rounds, you'd think the army would be less restrained in their use of lead - the army may be wary of killing monks, but they've never been shy about mowing down civilians.
The international community is still going bananas, for all the good that will do. Still zippo from China, the only country on Earth who has any chance of getting the junta to listen.
Take a moment today to pray for the people of Burma. May their efforts to throw off the yoke of despotism succeed, and may the cost be small...

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Burma: A bad day gets worse

Late word from the Golden Land, via BBC: Government troops have launched overnight raids on monasteries and have arrested bunches of monks.

This will either put paid to the uprising once and for all, or kick the Burmese people into rage-induced overdrive. Monks and monasteries are held in VERY high regard in devout Buddhist Burma. This may well have the exact inverse reaction to what the junta wanted.

Thursday, already dawned in South East Asia, is going to be tense, tense, TENSE in Burma.

Burma: A very, very bad day

Sadly, but not at all surprisingly, the Burmese army opened fire on peaceful demonstrators in Rangoon on Wed. At this point, information is scarce, jumbled, and not very reliable, but it appears at least five protesters were killed, several of them Buddhist monks.

In addition, it sounds like hundreds, also including monks, were arrested.

The government has imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew and has banned any public gathering of more than five people.

The UN is making the expected noises, but that toothless talk-shop will take no action. The Chinese, the only nation on Earth which has any clout with the junta, have remained mute on the subject. The international community either cannot or will not take any action on behalf of the people of Burma.

As noted above, information coming out of Burma is scattered and sketchy. You can get a somewhat detailed overview of events from BBC or MSNBC (or any number of other mainstream news sites, I'm sure). However, blogs are turning out to be the best source of as-it-happens news, photos, and video. A few to peruse:

Ko Htlke
Burma Digest
New Mandala
Kachin News Group
Shan Herald Agency
Kaowao News Group

As we conjected yesterday, the streets of Rangoon and other population centers were blocked today, by soldiers and hired thugs. All were armed and at least some of those arms were used as they were in 1988.

Does it end here? What hits the Internet tomorrow? Is the Burmese population too beaten down to continue the effort, knowing more tear gas and live rounds await them? Or have they had it with the status quo? Has living in poverty amid vast natural resources finally pushed the average Oo and Tin to say, "Enough is enough"? Have the years of repression and fear sent the Burmese over the edge into out-and-out revolution?

I fear it ends here. A devoutly Buddhist nation, I suspect Burma and it's people do not resort to violence in the face of violence. And I don't know what the right answer is. I try to put myself in the shoes of the Ko-on-the-street, and I don't know what I'd do.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Burma: The military raises the stakes

After another day of marches in Burmese cities (the 8th, in case you're keeping score at home), several truckloads of troops and riot police filtered into Rangoon. Neither the soldiers nor the police dismounted - they stayed in the backs of the trucks and just let people take a look at them.

The message seems pretty clear: The army is in town, the populace has been warned. Another march tomorrow will be met by... what? Blocked streets? Arrests? Gunfire?

The government wants to see what kind of stones the protest leaders (whoever they are) have. How committed are the monks to their cause? The general population? Does the whole "Saffron Revolution" collapse, or are there enough people there who are willing to walk, unarmed, into who-knows-what?

Wow. There's really no telling what happens tomorrow.

What would you do in this situation?

Imagine you're some random, spare Burmese dude or dudette, driving a taxi or selling vegetables in the market. You clearly remember 1988, when huge numbers of protesters took to the streets, Ne Win's government fell, Aung San's daughter returned and emerged as a leader to be reckoned with, change seemed within reach, and the army showed up in trucks, much like today. Only, back in 1988, the soldiers did dismount. They formed lines, shouldered weapons, released safeties, and, staring down the barrel at their fellow citizens, they opened fire on command. And 3,000 people, random, spare Burmese dudes and dudettes just like you, died.

Now here you are, 19 years later (almost to the day). Protests are gathering steam. The army is in town. It's Wednesday morning in Rangoon. You get out of bed, have some tea, and look at yourself in the mirror. What do you do? Do you stay inside, play it safe, live with what you've lived with for the past 19 years? Or do you lace up the Nikes and step outside?

We all like to think we'd go fall in with our fellow citizens, hit the streets, and see it through. I'm not so sure I'd have that kind of courage...

Stay tuned...

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Mahmoud Show strikes out in Manhattan

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad didn't exactly charm the crowd during his scheduled appearance at Columbia University today.

After a shockingly cold introduction by Columbia President Lee Bollinger, who described Ahmadinejad as a "cruel dictator" who denied the Holocaust, Mahmoud was visibly pissed. He responded by calling Bollinger's comments an "insult".

Waaa waaa waaa.

Ahmadinejad went on to toss off laugh lines like "In Iran, we don't have homosexuals like in your country." He seemed surprised when the audience gave him a big old guffaw.

I had fears that our buddy Mahmoud was going to be greeted by the pointy-headed "intellectuals" at Columbia like a conquering hero. I'm very glad to have been wrong. Way to go, President Bollinger. You have restored my faith.

Burma: The China angle

An analysis piece on BBC this evening provides a bit of background on China's role in Burma's current crisis.

Nothing much happens in South East Asia without China having some say in the matter, and the Chinese specialize in maintaining relationships with pariah regimes (see North Korea, Pol Pot's Cambodia, and the current thugs in Burma as evidence). Mix in Burma's vast treasure-house of natural resources and Indian Ocean ports, and you will quickly see the Chinese have some serious matters at stake in the Golden Land.

And that doesn't even mention the prestige and image offensives China is currently waging in advance of next summer's Olympic Games.

However, so far, the Chinese have lost the power of speech, at least as far as their little Pyinmana buddies are concerned. There's zip, zero, nothing coming out of Beijing with "Burma" (or "Myanmar" for that matter) in the subject line.

That's for public consumption. What, we wonder, are the Chinese saying to the Burmese generals behind the scenes? Having been through similar circumstances way back in '89 themselves, and having screwed the PR pooch in the biggest possible way, I sorta doubt they're urging Than Shwe and his minions to gas up the armored divisions.

But, you never know...

As for other international reaction, apparently President Bush is set to announce a whole new set of sanctions against the Pyinmana thugs tomorrow at the UN. Before you start hollering, "Its not enough!", ask yourself what the US can really do here.

It's hard to shake the feeling that things are building towards a climax way over yonder. Have the Burmese people had it to the point where even violence isn't going to stop them? I sure hope we don't find out, but it's hard to see how else it goes down..

Burma: Uh oh, this may get ugly soon

Monday in Burma saw still larger protests in all major cities. An estimated 50,000 to 100,000 monks and civilians marched in Rangoon, making for the largest anti-government demonstration seen in the country since 1988.

Amidst the mass marches, the government is showing signs of abandoning the restraint it's shown so far. Brig Gen Thura Myint Maung, minister for religion, warned elder monks to reign in the younger, more militant clerics who are leading the movement, saying action would be taken against the monks' protest marches "according to the law if they cannot be stopped by religious teachings".

Tuesday (already underway on the far side of the world) may be showdown day in the Golden Land. Stay tuned.

By the way, we keep referring to events of 1988 as a watershed moment in the history of Burma. For the full story, this Wikipedia article does a pretty good job of summing up events around what is known locally as the "8888 Uprising" (it got started on Aug 8, 1988, or 8/8/88).

Suffice it say here, the Burmese have been down this road before. Just when it looked like progress was being made, the army and government thugs went crazy in a way the '68 Chicago PD never even contemplated, killing an estimated 3,000 civilians.

As a bit of background, here are a couple of YouTube clips with a bit of narration (mostly in Burmese, I'm afraid), telling the story of that tragically failed bit. From a few students to huge crowds of marchers, the strangest version of Dust in the Wind you'll ever hear, and the start of Daw Suu Kyi's activism, well, you'll get the idea...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Burma: The crowd grows, and the Buddhist nuns join in

Yesterday's events in Rangoon, where Daw Aung San Suu Kyi was permitted to emerge from her home and greet the protesting monks, has drawn quite a bit of coverage in the international press. Consensus seems to be that the junta is waiting for these protests to die down on their own. We'll see how that works out, as the monks seem to be in it for the long haul.

Another day of peaceful protest in Rangoon and other population centers saw two notable developments:

  1. The protests became significanly larger, with Buddhist nuns joining the monks and some regular folks in marches.
  2. For the first time, the monks called their protests an "uprising".

We'll be carrying a daily update, and there's now a somewhat complete set of links to the left where you can read more.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Burma: Protests continue, Suu Kyi greets the monks

In what is beginning to look like a Saffron Revolution, Buddhist monks in Burma today staged their sixth consecutive day of peaceful protest in Rangoon, Mandalay, and other Burmese cities and large towns. As with the five previous days, there was no violence.

A couple of VERY noteworthy items about today's activities:
  1. The protesters were allowed past police roadblocks to file past Aung San Suu Kyi's lakeside home/prison. Suu Kyi herself was allowed out of the house on to the porch or front yard. She prayed silently with the monks, appeared to be in tears, but did not speak.

  2. The number of people involved in the protests has grown daily. Today's estimates from BBC are 2,000 marchers in Rangoon, and up to 10,000 in the religious center of Mandalay. This, in a country where protests involving 15 activists have been newsworthy in the past.
We'll keep our eye on MSNBC, BBC, and the US Campaign for Burma, and will try to stay on top of what may be the biggest story in Burma in 60 years.

Friday, September 21, 2007

And while we're on the subject of Burma

Go check out the US Campaign For Burma and Human Rights Action Center's YouTube channel. The latest celeb to make a plea for Burma is Jim Carrey, who has actually got two videos on the page.

Watch, read, and donate some dough. It's not going to change the strategic balance of the Free World, or solve our dependence on oil, but the clarity of right and wrong on this issue is as vivid as anything has been in the past 50 years.

The most triumphant return of... FOOTBALL FRIDAY

Don't worry about it being Week 4 in the colleges and Week 3 in the pros. It's time to resume this most popular CIT feature.

I'm so excited.

Enough Pointer Sisters references. Onward!


South Carolina (+16.5) @ LSU - I'll admit Steve Spurrier is a far better college coach than he was an NFL coach, and I'll further admit he's got the Gamecocks (uncomfortable) well along on the road to respectability. But (you knew that was coming), this is LSU. Those boys from the swamp play a bit of defense, and their offense ain't too shabby either, cher. This one looks like a blowout to me.

Georgia (+3.5) @ Alabama - What a glorious Redneck Game of the Week this one is! If you're a fan of SEC football, Southern hospitality, and a unnaturally small gene pool, this one is for you. Give me that Crimson Tide to cover, and recycled #8 Budweiser shirts over the new #88 Amp merch by about 4 touchdowns.

SMU (+21) @ TCU - No one outside of Dallas/Ft Worth, and precious few in the area, give a rat's patoot about this one. Poor SMU. You will never see the NCAA hand out the Death Penalty again. With all that said, SMU does seem to give TCU a bit of a tussle every year, and 21 points is a bunch. TCU wins easily, but not that easily.

Michigan St @ Notre Dame (+12.5) - It makes me smile to see both Notre Dame and Michigan suck so hard. Think NBC is diggin' that TV contract about now? Touchdown Jesus is taking Yom Kippur off. And speaking of Spartans, did you see 300...?

Rice (+38.5) @ Texas - I'm a Burnt Orange kind of guy, but what on Earth has Texas done to deserve 38 points against ANYONE? I don't doubt the 'Horns win, and by a bunch. But 38? I'll take some of that, please.

Penn St @ Michigan (+3) - Do the Wolverines play games on the road anymore? Just wondering. What used to be a classic is now a snoozer of the highest order. How much worse can it get in Ann Arbor? Quite a lot, I think. the thrashing continues at the hands of the Nittany Lions and the eternally overrated Joe Paterno.

Florida Atlantic @ North Texas (+6.5) - Todd Dodge is going to turn that Mean Green program around, and they may one day be the Florida Atlantic of Texas, but not yet. Anyway, since they tore down Frye St., Denton just isn't the same.

Boston University vs. Josh Beckett's 20th win - Dude should have been a Ranger.

Look forward to next week's Football Friday, when we resume taking shots at A&M.


Detroit (+6) @ Philadelphia - Don't look now, but Donovan McNab has lost it. I can't tell if he's still recovering from last year's injury, trying to avoid this year's injury, or has just lost the touch, but he looked BAD on Monday night. And while you're not looking, Detroit sorta seems to be going in the right direction. I know, I know. It's Detroit. And one of their wins came across the truly horrible Raiders. I still think I like the points here.

San Diego @ Green Bay (+4.5) - Norv Turner can't screw up a team this badly this quickly, can he? I mean, he needs more time to completely knock the wheels off a team as good as San D? Right? And who the heck does Green Bay have? The Chargers have to cover this one, don't they?

Tennessee (+4) @ New Orleans - One thing I can definitely predict is that ESPN will show us approximately 45 minutes worth of Rose Bowl highlights during Monday's telecast. The Vince-vs.-Reggie Bush angle will be so overplayed that you'll be drooling on yourself by the time a burnt-orange-and-white-clad Vince scampers into the end zone. As for this game, New Orleans has to win it. Going 0-3 will just reaffirm the bad mojo that's hung over this franchise for the past 25 years.

NYG (+4) @ Washington - Oof. Both of these teams are bad. The NFC East is easily the most overrated division in the league, every year, and this year anything the Cowboys might have (which remains to be seen) is more than offset by the stench coming out of East Rutherford and Landover. Someone has to win, I guess, but neither of these teams are going anywhere this year. I suppose I'll take the points to go with the Dramamine.

Dallas (+3) @ Chicago - On one hand, here's a potentially great offense (I'm not a believer quite yet, but you do have to like what Romo, Garrett, & Co have shown so far) against one of the top 3 defenses in the league. On the other, you've got an inept, Rex Grossman-led offense vs a very, very suspect defense (I'm sorry, but last week's domination of Miami proved nothing - Trent Green has no business being a starting QB anywhere). I can't really believe I'm saying this, but I think the Cowboys can score on the Bear defense, and I don't think Chicago's offense could score 14 points on Frisco Wakefield High School.

Comedic Value Game of the Week - Cleveland @ Oakland - On the other hand, Frisco Wakefield could probably pound either one of these teams. Which fans annoy you more - the Mad Max-ripoff artists in the "Black Hole", or the idiots in the dog masks?

Go (insert your team here)!

The tensest of times in Burma

The political landscape in the Golden Land, fragile and tense at the best of time, has become more unstable than at any time since the 1988 uprisings which led to the (never honored) most recent national elections. The story is this:

Back in mid-August, the benevolent SPDC (State Peace and Development Committee - the polite name for the fascist thugs and drug dealers who comprise the military junta which essentially owns the country) decided it would be a good idea to raise the heavily-subsidized price of fuel by about 100%. Like most fascist thugs and drug dealers who happen to own entire countries, the SPDC "generals" are completely tone-deaf and out of touch with reality, so they didn't foresee their decision becoming an enormous sore spot for the population.

It did.

Protests by activists and members of the opposition party, the NLD, started almost immediately. The military, yawning, dispersed most of the protests with tear gas and violence, then started arresting the usual suspects; the same tactics used to smash protests of all sorts for the past 20 years.

But, this time, the protests didn't stop.

This time, some regular people began joining the protests. Not many, but some.

And then the Buddhist monks joined in. Not some, but many.

The protests continue, daily, and will likely continue for a while. The monks are saying they'll keep protesting until they have "wiped the military dictatorship from the land of Burma".

Like I said, a while.

This is unprecedented.

Protests in the past have usually been small affairs comprised of known activists and NLD members. They've been simple for the junta to stop. A few gas grenades to clear the streets, then a night or two worth of kicking in doors and clamping irons on activists' wrists, and voila, the protests end.

Monks are not so easily swept aside. Monks are revered by the populace and, its worth noting, the rank-and-file of the conscript army. Door kicking at monasteries and iron clamping on monk wrists will not be tolerated by the average U and Than on Rangoon streets. The thugs in the jungle capital of Pyinmana are afraid of the monks.

This one might (MIGHT!) be different.

What can you do to help? Write your elected representative, write to the UN (stop laughing first), maybe the most effective step: Go to and join. It's not much, but it all counts.

Russia: Now ruled by spies

A very interesting post on Bruce Sterling's Wired blog regarding the new ruling elite of Russia.

In the past 100 years, the rulers of Russia have included delusional, inbred royalty; psychotic criminals; ponderous bureaucrats; dynamic world-changers; drunken populists; fantastically wealthy, business savvy gangsters; and now spies.

Ex-FSB head Vlad Putin has stocked the government with former KGB and FSB officers. He's been slow, sure, and methodical in doing it. And now he's completed the job.

Is this better or worse than any of the previous groups?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Entertainment industry doom 1978

From Boing Boing today: Here are a couple of YouTube videos which present an entire 60 Minutes segment in which Harry Reasoner investigates the impact of the newly-arrived VCR/videotape home entertainment industry.

A (somewhat) youthful Jack Valenti appears, prediciting the direst of consequences for the movie industry if piracy isn't stopped immediately.

The funny part is Valenti's tone was exactly the same right up until his death in April, despite the HUGE amounts of money Hollywood made in the VCR days.

Blue Man preschool

Two of the three founders of Blue Man Group have opened a preschool in NYC. The Blue Man Creativity Center will permit students to have "moments of unbridled exuberance".

My six-year-old (seven this weekend) has moments of "unbridled exuberance" all the time. They are generally followed by me cracking open a bottle wine, or the hard stuff. Depends on how "exuberant" he gets...

Diet Coke vs. Coke Zero

We had a brief discussion today at work regarding the differences between Diet Coke and Coke Zero.

Both are zero-calorie soft drinks from the Coca-Cola boys (and girls), but there is clearly a taste difference between the two. Our discussion started by stating these obvious facts.

Well, no question need go unanswered in this Age of Google. A quick search reveals to us the facts:

  • Diet Coke is the sugar-free version of New Coke (remember that failed bit from the 80s?).
  • Coke Zero is the sugar-free version of Coke Classic.

I am a fan of Diet Coke over Coke Zero, while I prefer Coke Classic over New Coke, which doesn't really follow given the revelation above.

That may have more to do with the power of marketing and advertising (and my weak-minded susceptibility to them) than anything else...

Nuon Chea charged: Hell hath frozen over

Khmer Rouge chief ideologue and Pol Pot's right-hand man, Nuon Chea, has been charged with crimes against humanity by Cambodia's UN-sponsored genocide tribunal.

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia has had the 82-year old former KR #2 arrested in Pailin. Nuon Chea is the second prominent KR figure charged and arrested, as Kaing Guek Eav (the infamous Duch) has already been detained.

No word on the fate of Khieu Samphan or Ieng Sary, although it's widely speculated both are on the tribunal's list of five names to be charged. The tribunal is going to have to hurry, as both are circling the drain, health-wise.

After YEARS of delays, it's absolutely amazing to see charges finally being filed in Cambodia. Hun Sen has tried his very best to derail the tribunal, but one gets a sense of the importance Cambodians, and the UN for whatever that's worth, place on this process.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The RES-Q Wedge (and my wife) now online

My wife, the incredibly beautiful and intelligent Robynne Elkin MOT/OTR-L, now has a MySpace page, where she features the genius RES-Q Infant Reflux Wedge, which she co-invented with Dr. Craig Troop. Go check it out here.

In case you doubt my word on the "incredibly beautiful" part, here is a picture from this summer's family pilgrimage to the ancestral homeland of Vancouver BC. You can see more pictures on Picassa here.

A GREAT television commercial

No doubt, you've caught Nike's "Leave Nothing" football commercial by now. It features Shawn Merriman and Stephen Jackson, is directed by the GREAT Michael Mann, and features a rather stirring bit of music from the criminally-underrated Last of the Mohicans.

The commercial, in case you've been living under a rock:

And, for context, the music in its original incarnation. The absolutely spell-binding climax to Last of the Mohicans (rent this if you haven't seen it!):

OK, the link above is dead. This is too good not to repost:

Cowboy football: Return to the Dark Side?

Obviously, the NFL has spun up again. Part of the reason for my extended blogging hiatus has been my ambivalence about those Dallas Cowboys.

On one hand, Jerry Jones is still with us, and is more involved and obnoxious than ever (as evidence, see the YouTube post below). Terry Glenn is hurt and Drew Bledsoe is spending quality time with his 7-iron. No major changes have been made to the roster which was responsible for the end-of-season meltdown from last year. And Wade Phillips is still pretty underwhelming.

On the other hand, however, The Pear-Shaped Football Genius has turned his taciturn derision on idiot beer-drinkers in those inane Coors Light commercials. TO Owens seems to have become a model citizen. Terrence Newman, if he ever gets on the field this year, has a chance to become an all-timer. Jason Garrett is easy to pull for. And Tony Romo has turned into a sort endearing character.

Can I invest another year of bile on this team? Or am I getting sucked in?

You know, I think it's the latter. I may not have realized how much Bill Parcells contributed to my disdain. His absence alone makes it alot easier to get behind this thing.

So, here we are at 2-0. What do we make of this?

On offense, there isn't much to complain about. Romo is looking like the real deal and is handling himself well on and off the field. TO Owens cracked me up with his clandestine filming bit after yesterday's TD. Garrett's play-calling has been nothing short of genius. And everything is working.

Is this offense as good as it looks? Maybe, but I don't think it's really been tested yet. The Giants? Maybe the worst defense in the league right now. The Dolphins? Their D was on the field A TON due to their completely inept offense.

Chicago will tell us a bit more about the Cowboy O than anything we've seen so far.

And on defense, Wade Phillips' calling card? I think we got a better sense of this defense in Week 1 than we did yesterday. The Giants have a bit on offense. Miami has NOTHING. How does Trent Green still have a job? Why does he still have a job? That guy looks like he's thinking about his next concussion a heck of a lot more than what he's supposed to be doing out there.

Chicago won't provide much of test for the Cowboy defense, as Rex Grossman is every bit as bad as Green, with many fewer excuses.

Where does this leave us? For me, it's on the bandwagon, I suppose. I'm making an effort. It sure seems like, with the exception of the Patriots and Colts, there aren't any really good teams this year. Why can't the Cowboys compete?

So overdue...

Oy vey, have I been a crap blogger. If you can't tell, sometimes this thing turns into a giant albatross.

Well, I'm back for a bit. I hope some of you are still with me...