6.19.2004

Kerry or Bush?

It's like a girl getting to choose her rapist. Sure you get the honor of picking, but that doesn't change what's coming afterward.

I have to give kerry the slightest hint of the benefit of the doubt because at least he hasn't won and filled a cabinet with crooks yet. The current administration is filled with people that are as crooked as michael jackson's nose, only they don't even have the decency to try and hide it like the good king of pop.

It's possible - not very likely but possible - that if kerry wins he could pick a person or two with an inkling of integrity, based on the assumption that there are any out there in the body politic.

And so, on that basis we may retain some hope for this election. Out with 100 crooks, in with 100 unknowns. Statistically we should be better off taking that chance. We flipped all tails with this administration, a few heads are bound to come up soon if we keep flipping.

6.18.2004

What Bush should say

Paul M. Johnson Jr, the American Lockheed employee who was taken hostage by terrorists was beheaded. I haven't listened to Bush's response and don't want to because the Bush is a man who talks a lot but never says anything, but here is a quick look at what he should say:

"These terrorists do things like this to shock us, but I am not shocked. I wish I could say we will be able to track down the people responsible but it may not be possible. However, I will not let them win. I will not let them shock me. I will not let them shock America. I will not let America be frightened into lashing out blindly."

etc. You can see where it goes from there.

There are at least two things Bush just doesn't understand when talking about terrorism.

1) America has been scared shitless for almost three years and every time he talks about how terrible the terrorists are, they have won. It leads to people saying "I think we outta just nuke the whole damn place!", it leads to passioned hate instead of the solemn determination we need, it leads to Abu Ghraib.

2) He should say "I" every now and then in place of "America". The only time he does use "I" is when he's patting himself on the back for pushing through a few more billion dollars to some government program. I suppose his handlers do this so he doesn't have to take any responsibility for anything and to give the illusion that he speaks for everyone but he should be taking a personal stand as an example. That is what leaders do. They say "I'm not taking this beheading shit!" and people get behind them because they want to see a good fight. Bush says something like "America will show freedom to the people in the earth and over the sea and on the Iraqis" and people are left scratching their head asking what the fuck he is talking about.

6.17.2004

Historic general of the day: Jan Zizka

Jan Zizka was years ahead of his time when he created a tactical system based on gunpowder sometime around 1420.

Bohemians had rejected the Church and as a result Pope Martin V launched a crusade to hunt them down as heretics.

Zizka, who was in his 60s and blind in one eye, appeared in 1419 leading a few hundred peasants which he knew were no match for armored knights, so he marched them to an out of the way town called Tabor for a little training.

What emerged was one of the most effective and diciplined war machines the world has ever seen. The Hussite tactical system was based on armored wagons filled with men wielding crossbows and handguns and protected by pikemen and wheeled cannon. These "wagon forts" decimated the armored knights even when the foe held ten to one numerical superiority.

A lot of details have gone missing over the ages, but wherever Zizka fought there were usually more enemy dead left behind than Zizka had in his entire force to begin with.

Ironically, Zizka was wounded early on and lost his other eye. But his men were so well trained that he still led them blind.

Several crusades were launched over the years but it wasn't long before the Hussite reputation was enough to win the battles as the invaders cut and ran at the sound of the approaching wagons.

Though Zizka died in 1424, the system lived on for another decade until greed and politics led to many of Zizka's former officers being sent to battle Zizka's successor. Two armies, both using the same wagon forts, cannon and tactics met in Lipany in 1434 in a fratracidal duel that was the death of the system that had served them so well.

Afterward, many tried to revive or copy Zizka's tactics but none succeeded.

more on Zizka (google)

Updated for definitions:

Definitions which I should have given the firs time:

The term "Hussite" refers to people who rejected the church and became the targets of the crusades. The word is based on the name John Huss (or Jan Hus), who was a Bohemian (or Czech) priest in Prague's Bethlehem Chapel where he preached reformation against the corrupt clergy, a popular idea at the time. The good church took care of that problem by burning him alive in 1415.

Errata:
King Wenceslas IV, descendant of "Good King Wenceslas" was the ruler of Bohemia and played a central part in much of this.

Villa Straylight gets Gmail

Hate mail, marriage proposals, nude photos, your credit card numbers, and incriminating evidence can now be sent to villa.straylight at gmail.com

6.15.2004

The best Reagan joke

"Former President Ronald Reagan died last week at 93. Though he was known for his unflinching sense of optimism, he just couldn't stand another four years of George W. Bush."

National Lampoon news break on XM Comedy 150

6.14.2004

death

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I could not return, I presume,
So I will keep my name,
Among those who are dead with bows.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Inscribed with an arrowhead by Kusunoki Masatsura on a door of the Nyoirin-ji Temple in 1348, where it remains today.

6.13.2004

The Chronicles of Riddick

I survived the new Vin Diesel flick, The Chronicles of Riddick and, though it did suck, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I had it figured for one of those senseless action flicks where the hero is bigger than life, gets mixed up with the girl/love interest, makes a dumb joke after he kills 600 bad guys and klls the head bad guy in a dramatic ending.

Actually, it was all that, but it was still mildly entertaining.

This is my first Vin Diesel movie and I have to say he's pretty good. Vin Diesel is the next generation badass, and he's even more likeable than the old guys like Arnold and Stallone. He isn't a talkative smartass kind of hero and doesn't try to be funny, the humor is merely a side effect of the circumstances.

Unfortunately, instead of beautiful action sequences, we got close-up editing where everything takes place in a blur. There are a couple of nicely shot action scenes but they were only the quick ones where he kills an anonymous guy or two in about three seconds. The big important fights that take five minutes are shot in a blur that do little more than hurt your eyes.

I could have tolerated a no-brainer action flick and I could have enjoyed a good story, but this movie tries to do both and ends up doing neither very well.

Don't drag yourself across the desert by your eyelids to see this B movie, but if given the chance to see or not to see, flip a coin and if the coin decides you should see it, go ahead.

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