So while we wait for Congress to get back into town and decide things on Syria, there's still other stuff happening in this great, big, beautiful world of ours.
In Japan, the rubber-suited monsters that brought international fame and recognition to its film industry are gradually fading into oblivion.
Now, when Hollywood makes tokusatsu-inspired films — like this summer’s “Pacific Rim,” with its giant robots, or a coming Godzilla movie — it relies on flashy computer graphics.
“One day, we looked around and realized that almost no one is making tokusatsu anymore,” said Shinji Higuchi, one of a handful of Japanese directors who still have experience in the genre, having directed three movies in the 1990s featuring the giant fire-breathing turtle Gamera. “We don’t want this technique to just quietly disappear without at least recognizing how indebted we are to it.”
Meanwhile, General Wesley Clark (ret.) has apparently put in an appearance at Burning Man. Man, I wish this guy had done better in the 2004 primaries.
There's a chance, however small, that on a full transfer of power, Afghan security forces might not fall apart like wet tissue paper.
It was their first return to the Pech Valley — a rugged swath of eastern Afghanistan so violent they nicknamed it the Valley of Death — since the American military abruptly ended an offensive against the Taliban here in 2011 after taking heavy casualties.
But the Americans, from the First Battalion of the 327th Infantry, had not come back to fight. Instead, their visit this summer was a chance to witness something unthinkable two years ago: the Afghan forces they had left in charge of the valley then, and who nobody believed could hold the ground even for weeks, have not just stood — they have had an effect.
The main road leading in the Pech is now drivable, to a point, and rockets no longer rain down constantly on the base the Americans had left the Afghans. Local residents said they felt safer than they had in years.
Of course, all is not rainbows and sunshine and unicorns. Some of the reasons behind this outbreak of peace lead to larger questions of its sustainability:
What is less clear is how big a role deals worked out with the insurgents might play in pacifying the area.
While most Afghan officers were reluctant to talk about any such compromises in the Pech Valley, one general — Gen. Nasim Sangin, the executive officer of the Second Brigade of the Afghan Army’s 201st Corps — briefly discussed a larger example of restrained military ambition, in the nearby Korangal Valley. General Sangin said the army had decided not to mount operations there because it lacked the resources and the loss of life would hardly be worth it.
“The Korangal, it is a good place for the insurgents,” he said. “It is not a good place for us.”
So what have you folks got on this fine Labor Day weekend?