14 June 2009


After a few months in Iraq, Soldiers tend to gradually lose track of what day of the week it is. With no true weekends, and most days having the same repetitive grind, many Soldiers joke that it’s like the movie “Groundhog Day”, in which Bill Murray wakes up and discovers that he is reliving the same day over and over again.

A few of us, though, have compared the daily life in Iraq to that of a mythological character named Sisyphus. Sisyphus was doomed to Hades and forced to spend eternity rolling a rock up a hill, only to have the rock roll back to the bottom of the hill, causing him to repeat the act for eternity.

But even this doesn’t perfectly the boredom of the current temp job. Nay, I would say the level of boredom roughly equates to that of Persephone, the Queen of the Underworld, who apparently supervised Sisyphus as he pushed the boulder up the hill*. How asinine is that? Did she monitor Sisyphus’ lunch breaks for all eternity? Did she endlessly surf the Internet while Sisyphus worked? Did she fill out risk assessments and file OSHA complaints in case Sisyphus rolled the boulder over his foot? It sounds completely asinine. (If my replacement is reading this, please come back from leave soon)

Fortunately, to kill the boredom, I’ve found a few links for you to enjoy today. This took some work, since apparently it’s Sunday (I often lose track of days of the week), and no one posts good links on Sunday.

Link #1: If you liked the James Bond books by Ian Fleming, you’ll probably like “Devil May Care”, the latest entry in the 007 novel series by the new author, Sebastian Faulks. In this book, which takes place back in the 1960s, Bond’s investigates strange claims of a “Caspian Sea Monster” in the Caspian Sea off of Iran. (The “Department of Recycled 007 Plots” tells me that this is just like the “dragon” in Dr. No)

Bond discovers that the “Caspian Sea Monster” is actually an advanced piece of Soviet weaponry known as an Ekranoplan, a hovercraft which can cross the sea at over 300 knots (550 kph) and carry missiles--in this case, of course, nuclear missiles.

The “Caspian Sea Monster”, interestingly enough, was actually real. The Soviets actually did have a missile-carrying hovercraft capable of traveling at 300 knots, and tested it in the Caspian Sea. Operating at night, many thought that the craft was simply a “sea monster” and constructed legends around it, thus concealing its true purpose. Today, English Russia (where website surf you) carried a special on the 400-ton Soviet ekranoplan program, which is well worth a look.

Link #2 is about me. Yeah, I'm biased.

I've gotten a mention from the writers at a blog entitled “Omnivoracious”, which is a blog for people who like to read and like to talk about what they are reading. They creators of the blog appear to like my, erm, eclectic reading taste, which ranges from T.E. Lawrence to Tucker Max, Thucydides to Huge Titties (I swear that pun works better when read aloud).

One of the questions the author of the post poses is what book on my bookshelf begins with “RAIS”. The answer is “Raising the Bar”, an excellent book on military leadership by Don Vandergriff.

Omnivoracious is definitely going into my RSS reader, along with another other great blog about the Amazon Kindle, The Kindle Chronicles, which features a weekly podcast with interviews and all sorts of tech tips to improve the Kindle experience.

And, as a final note, I had my official US Army Birthday cake yesterday to celebrate the 234th birthday of the US Army. Did you?

*-Well, according to Wikipedia, Persephone supervised Sisyphus, but I have my doubts. I decided to leave it, as my entire three-line joke would have fallen apart if it was proven otherwise.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I realize that this is almost definitely the exact opposite of how you want to conceptualize your Sisyphus/deployment boredom comparison, but you could always look at it from Albert Camus' perspective.



I couldn't help but post this as I haven't lent so much as a thought to this freaken essay since sophomore year of college and I recall it driving me positively mad at the time. So, I thought I would share the love.