The bulk of the Iraq conflict may be over, but the after effects of war and decades of oppression will linger for some time.In spite of the overwhelming generosity demonstrated by America's fighting forces, who graciously went so far as to provide some of the most inspiring and patriotic fireworks shows ever over Iraqi cities like Baghdad, things still aren't going so well for our adopted Middle Eastern son. Sure, we helped him overcome his problem with being oppressed by bullies, but he is still far from being out of the danger zone. Worse, we're still trapped on the infamous highway to the danger zone looking diligently for our appropriate exit. As the days go by, Iraq represents an increasingly volatile situation for the United States, which has completely failed to achieve the realistic goal of transforming the battered nation into a utopian society where a handful of simple coins gets you a hundred credits at the holo-arcade and all the precious moon juice you can drink in the zero gravity juice bars. Guerrilla fighters and other untamed elements of Iraqi society are doing an awfully good job of causing chaos and shining a negative media spotlight on the beleaguered U.S. occupational forces. I think it's probably safe to say that our soldiers there are probably not having a very fun time getting shot at. This update on the situation doesn't exactly make it sound like a picnic, and if it does, then it is most definitely a post-apocalyptic picnic.

The Americans are under increasing pressure as the guerrilla resistance has stepped up its hit-and-run attacks and is bringing more firepower and sophistication to the fight.

Unsure of who will shoot at them next, the U.S. forces have been involved in "friendly fire" attacks in which 10 civilians have been killed in the past two months.

"We are facing an adaptive, asymmetric enemy, and we, of course, are adapting and refining our tactics, techniques and procedures as well," Lt. Col. George Krivo, U.S. military spokesman, said Friday.

All of this causes a number of alarms to go off in my head, which is very strange and unusual considering human heads are not supposed to produce such burdensome beeping noises. While I'm at it, here is yesterday's Word of the Day:

supernumerary soo-puhr-NOO-muh-rair-ee; -NYOO-, adjective:
1. Exceeding the stated, standard, or prescribed number.
2. Exceeding what is necessary or desired; superfluous.

Putting these two pieces of information together, I can interpolate that the situation in Iraq is growing to be quite supernumerary in explosive potential! To further complicate matters, there is this timely report from our special friends at the BBC who may or may not be elves:

A Polish couple have been arrested after five of their babies were found dead, stored in a vat of pickled cabbage.

While that is definitely pretty hideous, it thankfully has nothing to do with today's update or the problems in Iraq. More relevant is this excerpt from the New York Times about a recent vehicular homicide in Baghdad:

BAGHDAD, Iraq, Sept. 22 A suicide car bomber set off an explosion in a parking lot next to the United Nations mission in Baghdad this morning, killing an Iraqi policeman and wounding 12 people.

This isn't the first incident of a car bombing in Iraq, and it certainly won't be the last. Many of these people can't afford basic necessities, yet they have money for exploding cars? I'm sorry, but even here, in the most wealthy and powerful nation in the world, I still have to drive a non-exploding Saturn. To add insult to my probably deserved injury, if I were to launch my car into an embassy or government building, all I would get is a totaled car, higher insurance rates, and the very sensationalized legal hassles that come from being dangerously insane. It's obvious to me that Iraq is a nation that needs to get its priorities straight. First, milk and bread on the table. Then, way down the list, like after getting the kids off to school, providing shelter, and scheduling routine eye exams, comes buying something vain like an exploding car.I obtained this exclusive satellite photo of the country in question from my friends at NASA.This all adds up to one unpleasant problem: Iraq is not an ideal tourist destination, not even for our armed forces. As things spiral further out of control, or at least refrain from spiraling further under control, it becomes very necessary for us to look for practical solutions to end this thing quickly. Because it seems that nobody in the world is qualified or willing to solve the crisis in Iraq, I have no choice but to take action and blow gently forth the winds of change from betwixt my worldly lips. Let my windy suggestions mature into typhoons of betterment, and rebirth Iraq as a mighty dynasty!

Prohibit Sales of Exploding Cars
I don't know if there are a ton of used exploding car lots around Iraq or if there is just a popular and active exploding car mod community, but really, there shouldn't be so many exploding vehicles. If the local and occupational forces don't outlaw exploding cars outright, they should strongly consider instituting an exploding car luxury tax to deter exploding car ownership. It wouldn't hurt if the Iraqi bureau of motor vehicles got involved too, and maybe required a special operator's license with associated fees to help either curtail the exploding car market, or at least pay for the damages it causes. If there is going to be lasting peace, there has got to be an end to this dreadful exploding car epidemic.

Send In California's Gubernatorial Candidates
With some 135 candidates competing for the honor of being Mr. or Mrs. California Governor, that creates a lot of wasted potential. California doesn't really need leadership as far as I'm concerned, nor does it need 135 people trying desperately to get elected. Iraq on the other hand goes through elected officials like candy, and still shows no signs of having a stable government. Therefore I propose that we take those 135 highly qualified and electable leaders and put them in charge of a special committee assigned to rebuilding Iraq. With all their myriad talents, which cover such areas as melon smashing and being a child actor to cocksucking and bodybuilding, Iraq is sure to turn a new leaf in no time. To help keep the world interested, the whole thing could be filmed for an exciting high-concept reality TV show celebrating human tragedy in grand fashion.

Relocate Iraq's Oil to the United States
Since a majority of Iraq's problem stem from its vast reserves of oil, it's only logical and humanitarian that we relocate all of it to a neutral location, such as the U.S., to ensure that it can no longer be used as an excuse or leverage by those opposed to our involvement in the Middle East. With the specter of greed removed from the Iraqi situation, other countries will feel less disgusted about getting involved in the rebuilding process.

Give Long Speech About Personal Responsibility, Invade North Korea
Let's face it – personal responsibility is a big part of becoming independent and secure. Iraq is never going to grow to be a man if we're constantly babying it with free economic aid, policing, and civil services. The sooner we give Iraq a stern talking to about learning to live on a budget, to not party too much, and to concentrate on school, the sooner we can get all our troops out of there. Once Iraq is out of the way, we can get about the important business of invading North Korea. It might not seem logical to invade North Korea now, but when you consider that it opens the doors for another "M*A*S*H" series and a renaissance for Alan Alda's sagging career, it suddenly seems like the most important move we can make. Iraq is seriously holding Alan Alda back – just one more way the American people, particularly American citizen Alan Alda, suffer unduly from all the troubles in Iraq.

Officially Change Name of Iraq to France
Of all possible solutions to avoiding the looming threat that Iraq will evolve into another long and arduous Vietnam fiasco, this one is the most practical. What does it entail? Simple, first we legally change Iraq's name to "France." It doesn't matter that there is already a country called that, because as far as I know you can't trademark a country name. Then, immediately following the name change, we pull all of our forces out in one crazy getaway. After that, the entire world will see poor France, embattled Arab nation with serious economic and political strife, then look disapprovingly at the real France, with its stability and suave demeanor. The real France, not wanting to look bad, will have no choice but to step in or risk looking like it has no control over itself. It's the ultimate con, I know, but if we pull it off with precision timing and grace, no one will be the wiser.

While it could theoretically be argued that I am a huge idiot and therefore unqualified to make suggestions about how to govern a foreign body, I feel very strongly about the suggestions I have put on the table. I may not have the political experience of Henry Kissinger, the Pope, or possibly Jimmy Carter after being exposed to gamma rays and cursed with uncontrollable rage, but I don't think I'm too shabby for a novice. In fact, I feel pretty good about the peace and stability I just helped bring to this world. You might say my work goes hand and hand with today's Word of the Day:

deus ex machina DAY-uhs-eks-MAH-kuh-nuh; -nah; -MAK-uh-nuh, noun:
1. In ancient Greek and Roman drama, a god introduced by means of a crane to unravel and resolve the plot.
2. Any active agent who appears unexpectedly to solve an apparently insoluble difficulty.

You can thank me with flowers (provided they are masculine in nature) and donations.

A Movie? Get Right Outta Town!

Hey folks and folk-substitutes! This is Ben "Greeknail" Platt with a review of another movie that really wasn't quite up to snuff. This time the culprit goes by the name of "Voodoo Tailz," and my hatred toward it is largely irrational.

I have issues with this movie. I think it's best to get that out in the open from the start. Let's start from the top, shall we? The movie is called "Voodoo Tailz." I have no problem with the "voodoo" part, but the "tailz" kind of irks me. First of all, people who pluralize words with a "Z" should be banned from using the English language in public ever again. Aside from propagating the sort of linguistic stupidity that makes me afraid to open any email that isn't from my parents or a royal banker from Nigeria, it's just unnecessary. It's not like there's a movie called "Voodoo Tails" already out there whose producers are just waiting to sue somebody. I checked. So really the "Z" can only be justified as writer/director Daniel Zirilli trying to urban up his crappy movie so it will have more appeal to the kids of today, what with all their hip hop and their rap and their drive-bys. Then again, there's always the chance that the misspelling is unintentional. After all, the word (with proper spelling) is "Tails," as in the long furry things that like to hang out around animals' asses. But there aren't any animals in the movie. Well, that's not entirely true. There is a cat in one shot, and one of the characters makes a reference to a cat a minute later, but it turns out he's speaking proverbially. So there really isn't anything in this movie that has a tail, let alone multiple tails. No werewolves or giant lizards or anything like that. The description on the movie's package would love to have you think that the girls are being chased by a creature of some sort - "But someone, or something, is stalking all three of them" - but when you actually watch "Voodoo Tailz," it's pretty clear that it is, in fact someone. So "Tailz" doesn't make sense. That makes me think that Daniel Zirilli actually meant to call his pet project "Voodoo Tales," or at least "Voodoo Talez," meaning stories of voodoo. That would sort of work, because at a few points throughout the movie, a couple people actually do tell some stories about voodoo. Not good stories, but stories all the same. What I'm trying to get at is that this movie couldn't even get its own title right, and that does not bode well for the rest of it.

That's right, I spent an entire paragraph just talking about why the title pisses me off! If you want to get a sense of the actual plot, you're going to have to read the review.

– Josh "Livestock" Boruff (@Livestock)

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