Sunday, November 27, 2005


What color?

The day is Red, red for violence, and blue because it was cold.
Another day complete and with it more lives are over as well.

Desire can lead to regret and time marches on as all things end.

Come now child, open your eyes, the world is far from perfect and the edges are raw and ragged. Let it go and come back when you are ready to see.


Trevor said...

Some lives ended today and others began. Desire can lead to regret, but it can also lead to fulfillment.

The world is far from perfect, but it can still be a wonderful place. It takes a lot of hard work and often there are tears.

Stay safe.

spcoon said...

keep on keeping on

Anonymous said...

some people are beginning the think, and say, "this war is going badly". i dont know who to believe anymore. is everything okay there in iraq?

Snag said...

Interesting. It made me think of Buddhism, which says that it is desire that leads to suffering (although it also acknowledges that people will desire).
Thoughtful piece, Zach. It used to be I like work that was simple and direct. I've become more appreciative of pieces like this that really cause my mind to roll over so many tangents by using only a few words.
Thanks for waking my brain up this morning.

Anonymous said...

What the buddhists got wrong in my view was the conclusion that desire was to be avoided because it led to suffering. If you avoid desire and thus suffering you also avoid joy, only when there can be no joy does it make sense to strive for Nirvana. So sayeth anonymous.

Kate said...

When they talked about "desire" they meant desire for permanence, not necessarily desire for love and friendship (though this is interpreted by a lot of Buddhists differently). We don't want things to change. We don't want to die, and we don't want our loved ones to die, but we will and they will too. This fact leads to our suffering. We desperately want things to remain the same (and do I ever know this from my own experience!) but of course nothing does. The zen I've studied says that instead of fearing change we should accept it. The "suffering" comes from our inability to accept that all life is change and permanence is a myth. They say we should see it for what it is and live with it, therefore freeing ourselves of the endless cycle of disappointment (aka suffering) when things change anyway. As for "nirvana," zen teaches that it is here right now and if we just wake ourselves up from the delusion of permanence we'll see it. But I'm no zen master and I'm no Buddhist scholar. This is just what I've discovered from my own nascient zen practice.

So yes, Zach, another thoughtful and thought-provoking piece. It's almost over! I'm so happy for you. Soon you'll be home with your family. Not a day too soon, I know.

Take care --

Anonymous said...

Kate: Oops, didn't mean that as an insult to Buddhists in general. I was far to simplistic with that statement (as you cleared up by explaining that it was probable not all desire was ment by 'desire'). Also, I am a whatever floats your boat type person. If it helps you and doesn't harm anybody else, then it is as good and wholesome as PB&J on wheat toast.

My comments were really related to the philosophy of Buddhism I read when studying the history of India. While I do recall some passages related to material and personal desires (such as love etc.) what I read was in no way complete nor was any of it recent. I am not an expert and I don't know anything about modern beliefs.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am also probably subconsciously bitter because I once had a Buddhist landlord that was a total prick.

In any case, my apologies and thanks for the info.

Snag said...

I'm sure there are many more buddhist pricks out there aside from your landlord, so no problem here. Not to diverge too much from Zach's subject (although it was thought provoking at more levels for me than maybe he intended) but Kate's got a pretty good angle on it, but really it is whatever works for you. I also understand the "desire" to mean wanting it just like we had it in the past. We want everytime to be just like the best time that we remember rather than enjoying what we have right here, right now or at least experiencing it for what it is rather than what we want it to be. I guess we all need to work out what that means for us.

Kate said...

Anonymous, please don't apologize. I was not remotely insulted by anything you said.

I'm not sure if I'm a buddhist or not. I think the lesson of zen to accept change and therefore free yourself to love those around you now instead of regretting not loving them after they're gone is a good one, but then it's not unique to zen. Carpe diem after all! It was this idea of desiring nothing to change and then regretting living in the past (or in a fantasy future) rather than in the present moment that I took from Zach's "desire can lead to regret." I don't know if that was his intention or not.

There is something somber about Zach's post, but then I think that's often true when you look at things deeply. I know when I do I discover that things are far more complicated than they first appeared and there's something sad about that. If only everything could be simple and everlasting! I remind myself that actually there would be no beauty if everything was simple and everlasting. And of course it's just not the way it is so it's really fruitless to desire the impossible.

I think Snag's right. We want things to always be as they were when we were happiest. Sometimes we spend so much time doing that we leave no time for creating happiness today. I've desired things to be as they once were so deeply that it's made me hurt. This year more than most, actually. I can imagine Zach has too. I know my husband has. It's hard not to be overwhelmed by regret.

Anonymous said...

Try to accept the things you can not change.

Change the things you can.

Pray for the wisdom to know the difference.

Anonymous said...

Come home. You are worthless . To consider you a soldier is a joke.Time for this web site to bite the dust. Fini

Anonymous said...

what goes around, comes around..........


In 1932, more than 20,000 World War I veterans marched on Washington in an attempt to obtain benefits from a government that felt no need to compensate them for their service. President Herbert Hoover called in the military and drove this "Bonus Army" out of town at the end of a bayonet.

Bayonets aren't pointed at us anymore but they might as well be because the federal government is once again committing a tremendous injustice.

There is an outrageous backlog of more than 760,000 claims currently awaiting adjudication for compensation and pension, education, or are on appeal -- a backlog that's almost 64,000 claims higher than last year.
Add to this, starting in January, prescription co-payments for several million affected veterans in Categories 2-8 will rise from $7 to $8, a 14-percent increase per prescription per 30-day supply that could force many veterans living near the poverty line to choose between food and medicine. The VA, which expects to gross close to $300 million over the next three years from the decision, also raised the annual out-of-pocket expense cap for Categories 2-6 veterans to $960, an increase of $120

News about the construction of a National Armed Forces Physical Rehabilitation Center at Fort Sam Houston, Texas, was met with mixed emotions. The issue isn't about the construction of a new, state-of-art facility that will provide enhanced rehabilitative care to wounded servicemen and women. The issue is that the 65,000 square-foot, $30 million center is being funded by a nonprofit organization. This partnership is troubling because it sends a signal to our military personnel that our nation can't afford to care for your wounds when you return home from battle without outside help.

During the current legislative year, the Department of Veterans Affairs had underestimated their fiscal 2005 and 2006 health care budgets by billions. The current budget shortfall is causing VA medical centers and clinics across the country to take drastic measures to reach Sept. 30, the end of the federal government's fiscal year. Some are shortening hours, not filling employee vacancies, or are not accepting new patients. Others have resorted to prescribing less expensive medications, or have replaced expense temporary staffing with less expensive, less skilled employees. One billion dollars is a huge mistake, one that shows a lack of candor and accountability on the VA's part, and one that does a tremendous disservice to military veterans who, above all other citizens, are responsible for every freedom we enjoy today. This is a mistake that never should have happened. Now it'll take an emergency supplemental to correct the mistake this year and possibly next. Congress' recommendation could give appropriators a blueprint to focus more on reducing the federal deficit than helping disabled military veterans. The administration's budget is troubling in many ways because it's an obvious attempt to balance part of the nation's deficit on the backs of a disabled and aging military veteran population.


Anonymous said...


ignore the freakin' anonymous who called you worthless.

this people will only consider you as a solider when you bow to their dear leader's mantra.

will you be back home b4 x-mas?

Melinda said...


I only recently stumbled upon your blog, but was quickly moved by your writing and soulfulness. I am glad to hear that you will soon be home; I pray that your heart and soul will follow and heal quickly. I continue to hold you, your colleagues, and affected family and friends in thought and prayer. Time will be the judge of of the sacrifices made, but know that they are recognized and you are supported in your path.

God speed.

Anonymous said...


Do you have a blog of your own? I'm pretty new to this blog-what are your demographics? What is the Iraqui view on Afghanistan?


Kristen said...

To anon above, why don't you re-read your own post before you criticize the intelligence of others. The spelling and grammatical errors in your own post only discredited yourself. How funny to read a critical assessment from a person who doesn't believe in capital letters or correct punctuation. Finish your GED, then try to sound educated. People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, much less boulders. I could go through and correct all YOUR mistakes, but I simply don't have the time to re-write your entire tirade. How does it feel to know we're all laughing at your own self-inflicted hypocrisy? You made my day you twit.

Puma said...

The level of vitriol and spitting malice directed towards soldiers who speak out the truth is directly proportional to the spitter's level of fear. They must indeed inhabit a world of terror: their own.

Anonymous said...


I bet you must be a very educated person then.(bullshit busted)

I'm pretty sure the above anon was mad, and taking his/her emotion into consideration, one would understand why soldier was wrongly spelt as "solidier".

I bet the "holier than thou" attitude that you possess put you where you are now.And, the ad hominem you used further justify the shit in you.

Have a great day bitch.Twit if you may.

Kristen said...

Ha! If you think that was the only spelling mistake in his rant, then it is you who is the fool.
Why is it that when hypocrisy is exposed, does it suddenly make the person exposing it "holier than thou" as you so flatly put it? And where exactly IS this place in my life you are assuming I am in because of that attitude you feel I am reflecting? If one is free to so openly criticize Zach's grammar, should they not be held to the same standards if not higher?
Since the post was later deleted and yours was left in its place, I'm assuming it was you who left it in the first place. Otherwise you wouldn't feel so compelled to hide behind anonymity, unless of course, you are a coward or a blog troll. Regardless of whether or not is was in fact your post, it was pretty gutless to remove it. If that anon person held strong enough convictions to post something like that, why bother deleting it unless they were too embarassed by my comment to allow further humiliation.
And I did have a great day, thank you.

Anonymous said...


If one is free to so openly criticize Zach's grammar, should they not be held to the same standards if not higher?
Since the post was later deleted and yours was left in its place, I'm assuming it was you who left it in the first place.

what is this? what are you talking about? who delete what?how? when?did i or any of the above anon ( many anons) make fun of Zach's entry? who are you scolding actually? are you another neo-con coming here to bitch just for the sake of bitching?

Kristen said...

Ok, this anon BS is too much. If I knew who I was "scolding", I wouldn't have to use the term "anon". I have no idea who you are or if you are even the person I was originally addressing. The Anon I addressed in my first post deleted his comment so everything could be taken out of context from this point on.
If you are the anon who addressed me directly below my last post, you know what I'm "bitching" about because you bitched about me "bitching" if that makes any sense at all.
And no, I'm not a neo-con. I'm a moderate.

Anonymous said...

this is the original anon you were talking about. you know, the grammar girl. thought id let you know i didnt delete shit. zach must have lost his balls for a moment and deleted my comment. what a great guy. hey its his site and he can do what he wants. just thought id say that you are worthless and never have anything insightful to say. i bet your fat too. yes, that was a grammatical error and i dont care because im not trying to sound smart. i am just talking here. and you are probably eating. youre probably alone and looking for peace as well. go find a boyfriend and leave ben and jerrys alone. if you have a man, im sorry for him. seriously you seem like the person who gets no fullfillment out of work so you have to come on here and try to sound smart. thats why there are so many anons that attacks you. because its easy and you are worthless. that is all. zach, please dont erase this until she gets the chance to read it and respond. cant wait to see what she has to say.

Kristen said...

Throwing those boulders again I see. What pearls of wisdom have you contributed to this blog oh wise, grammatically incorrect one? I merely pointed out the hypocrisy in your own comment. For someone who was once trying to sound smarter than Zach you sure do a shitty job of it.
Not that its any of your business (but since you tried to make such a point in insulting me, I'll humor you), but I am very happily married to another soldier in Zach's unit. Yes, I know Zach and his family and THAT is why I visit his blog. What is your excuse besides trolling for people to attack? Does it make you feel like a better person to berate someone else? Sounds like it is you who has the self-esteem issues. And you are half correct, I WAS fat. But since my husband has been gone and my fractured hip healed, I've lost over 50 pounds and am in better shape than I was when I got out of boot camp. That's right, I was in the Army as an Arabic linguist too and I'm working on my nursing degree while working another full time job and raising a baby. What have you done with YOUR life? I bet you work in some dead-end job sitting in a cublicle all day with dorito stains on your wrinkled white shirt. In any case it must be pretty dull if you have all this time to make baseless accusations against someone you don't even know. What a sad and pathetic existance you must live in. If fat jokes are the only weapon in your arsenal for defending your less than thought provoking statement, save it and grow up.

Anonymous said...

Kristen, I think you are giving anon too much credit when you say he has even a dead-end job. I think its probably 1. A minor and 2. A minor who's first language is not English. Of course thats how I always imagine trolls .. the vast unwashed legions of foreign children just discovering the joys of the internet equivalent of the prank call.

Kristen said...

I gave him/her too much credit when I actually responded. Now s/he thinks I give 2 squirts of piss about their know-nothing opinions. Isn't that the primary objective of all internet trolls? To evoke a negative response from the readers? Oh well. If/when they respond again, I hope they won't expect me to pander to their self-esteem issues again.

Willy said...

I am sorry that my firat comment on this site will not be on a subject or derivative written by the blog author but instead directs attention to the comments of idiots of any or all political persuasions.

Please recognize that responding to personal attacks of the weak minded only fills space with useless words and draws further remarks which also fills space. The jabber is boring and has the effect of killing consideration and discussion of the issue at hand.

If you think I am criticizing you then understand that I don't think it right that I expect more of you than you expect of yourself.

CivicConnections said...


The best commentary I’ve seen. Ever!

mary-lous's guardian angel said...

marylou and nothingnew are examples that, in usa, nothing's new. the experiment has already failed.

muriKins been beating up on weaker peoples since day 1. read bury my heart at wounded knee, or a hundred other accounts. open your eyesto the genocide wrought by your SUV's, strip malls and walmart suburban sprawl. live by the sword, die by the sword.

"an all volunteer army"? yup. filled from the ranks of the southern, uneducated, unemployed or morally deficient. or just plain mean. love them skinhead looks on all the now-a-bit-portly west point grads running the "liberation process" around the world. mr snag from mi, how many O7's or higher go out on patrol, walking, with the likes of sgt zach and the all volunteer army? could marylou be helpful in falloojah as a cheerleader for our troops? contact your local recruiter, ma'am.

do any of you ever wonder what the little old ladies, and the young wives and religious groups did all those years between 1935 to 1944? in ole uncle germany? "but they're our husbands, brothers, neighbors, etc; and them damn pollacks attacked us anyway!" was it "tough fro them", rationalizing the concentration camps (guantanamo), the disappearing acts (rendition) the glorious speeches of their leaders (mission accomplished butch, chaingang, goebbels (rice, mengele, bolton, etc etc etc) as the wind carried the stench of burning flesh from the crematorium to their well kept homes? was it difficult for these damsels when the schools, hospitals, and infrastructure all went to war mode? (nola, fema, epa, etc etc etc). these "ladies" were surely proud of the "sacrifice" of their menfolk. could they also salute "la resistance" in france and elsewhere?

was it difficult for them l'il ole ladies, and young ladies, living a lie, repeating over and over to themselves the same old sad platitudes (we were attacked, fox news)? were they helpless to do anything except hide behind the propoganda and dummy leaders as their country went done the tubes?

see any parallels today in the late great usa?

nothingnew is 100% right; nothing's new. butchKo's usa and clingtongs usa has already failed. you are now more angry, afraid, rationalizing and distrustful than ever. the experiment was unsuccessful. before too long, your money will be worthless, the fields will produce no food, another culture or people will buy up all your homes and property and, just so you can eke out a living, put you all back to work tilling the soil, or in sweatshops to be, outwardly, more like the slaves you already are. ying. yang.

every cloud has a silver lining. it'll be the best of times for the next generation of WHITE peoples to be singing and composing their 21st century, post-DU blues............ you've tons to be proud of muriKins.

sgt scott and all the rest, muriKins, iraqis, palestinians and jews, keep safe and go home to your families with peace in your heart. you all are capable of much gentler behavior. even you marylou.