These people are of suberb congressional timber
In Mexico, the city of Villahermosa has outlawed private indoor nudity because they're concerned that nekkid people walking around in their homes may walk past a window and be seen.
The best quote comes from a member of the opposition, Rodrigo Sanchez: "I have no idea how you detect the naked"
Song of the day
It's been a long time since I blogged any music so here goes. Unfortunately I don't know the name of this song, but I do know that it's by Buddha Bar who's music is usually described as something like "jazz/chillout."
Here it is: track-07.mp3
If that link doesn't work, go here and wait a few seconds, it'll give you a link.
Remembering what Christmas is all about (or how I learned to stop worrying and love the sun god)
I'm getting a little sick of hearing christians whine that they want to put the meaning of Christmas back into the season. They don't have a clue about the true meaning of Christmas.
The word itself is a Roman Catholic word meaning "Christ's Mass", which obviously means holding a mass to remember the death of Christ, which is kinda an odd way to celebrate his birth, but whatever. The only thing that Christmas has in common with Christ is the word. To find the real origin of Christmas you have to go back to a time before Christ's birth.
In the days of B.C., the Roman church was the church of a true empire because, like Rome itself, to keep afloat it had to bring in new members from the conquered lands. Thus it would open it's doors to anyone in the empire who wanted to enter, no matter how different or barbaric, and as long as they came to the Roman church they were allowed to bring almost any customs they had with them. It is here that we find all of our "holy" Christmas traditions all brought together in a year end orgy of celebration to honor the pegan sun god.
The Romans noticed that December 22 marked the shortest day of the year (solstice), and decided that the sun Saturn was dying on that day. But never fear, they knew Saturn would rise anew in three days to bring in another year of longer and longer days. So sometime around December 17th they started a big party called Saturnalia and they kept at it for about a week or so. Since the empire was such a melting pot of so many different cults and religions, they had many customs which ended up being celebrated all at once in honor of the sun god, and other gods as well.
Later on Christians decided that December 25th would be a good day to celebrate Jesus' birth, but they kinda forgot to do away with the traditions of worshipping other gods on that day, and those traditions are precisely what we celebrate today. In fact, I would be surprised to find a Christmas tradition which isn't related to worshipping some other god. Even the giving of presents wasn't based on the gifts of the three wise men. It was done every year in Rome during Saturnalia.
Did you hang a wreath? If so, you carried on the tradition of the dendrophori, the Roman priests of Saturn, who carried them in processions in worship of the sun god.
Did you put up a Christmas tree? Don't go to church to ask forgiveness for putting up a pagan phallic symbol for worshiping the yule god (later Santa Clause) and the sun god because the steeples on churches are also phallic symbols descended from pagan temples.
Did you deck the halls with bells of holly? Holly was used by witches to symbolize the menstural blood of Diana, the Queen of Heaven, or if you were a witch, the Queen of Witches.
Did you put lights on your house? You must have been pleading to the gods during solstice in hopes of bringing the sun.
Did you kiss anyone under the mistletoe? Mistletoe was thought to bring fertility because the white berries symbolized the semen of Saturn. People believed that the gods would enter their body and make them fertile by kissing under it.
Did you burn a yule log? If you did, you made a symbolic sacrifice to the pagan fertility god like the Druids used to do.
"Happy birthday Jesus! We're gonna worship a bunch of idols and pagan gods to celebrate, hope you don't mind"
Does anyone really want to put the true meaning back into Christmas?
I hate it when I'm right
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - An explosion ripped through a mess tent at a military base near Mosul where hundreds of U.S. troops had just sat down to lunch Tuesday, and officials said more than 20 people were killed and at least 57 were wounded.I've been predicting a large strike like this for over a year. Actually I was predicting a barracks bombing that took 100 or more lives, so I'm damn glad I wasn't right about that.
A military spokesman said 19 of the dead were American soldiers, which would make the attack the deadliest single strike against U.S. troops since the start of the Iraq war. A radical Muslim group, the Ansar al-Sunnah Army, claimed responsibility.
I thought that if it happened it would be a turning point in the war. Now I'm really not so sure. Everyone in the world, even Bush, seems to agree that things aren't going very well over there, but everyone is impotent to change anything. Bush seems so set on this policy of training Iraqis to take over the security that we ourselves, with our almost unlimited resources, can't provide, that it's hard to see him changing the plan.
Poor Bush. If he just hadn't started his 20 year drinking binge in the 60s he'd realize that we tried this in Vietnam. It didn't work then, and it's not going to work now.
The DHS is not so S
An audit of the Department of Homeland Security's system controls for remote access has found an alarming absence of configuration guidelines and several unpatched software products that put the DHS at risk of malicious hacker attacks.Well, no duh. Remember about a year ago the DHS threatened to take over the IT security for large companies in the United States if they didn't do more to secure their computers. Ironically a week later the DHS got an F in computer security in a government test. Seems they still don't have a clue how to set up secure network boxen. And why should they? They're chartered to do pretty much the same thing that several new government beaurocracies are being created for, so as long as somebody's got it covered they're ok.
People who are willing to rely on the government to keep them safe are pretty much standing on Darwin's mat, pounding on the door, screaming, 'Take me, take me!' - Carl Jacobs, alt.sysadmin.recovery
You probably noticed that a few days ago, I think Friday, the United States wrote off over 4 billion dollars of Iraqi debt. This debt, like the war itself, will, of course, be paid for by the American taxpayer, just like all the debts we wrote off when saddam was in power.
And Blockbuster Video wants to turn me over to a collection agency for 6 bucks in late charges? WTF? I'm paying for this goddamn war and this is the thanks I get?
drudge is at it again
drudge has this headline up: "BACKSTAGE CONTROVERSY AFTER NBC DEPICTION OF LIMBAUGH..."
I thought maybe some semi-reputable person at NBC like Tom Brokaw had called Limbaugh an extremist during a newscast or something, but it turns out one guy who works at Saturday Night Live got pissed because a skit on the show depicted limbaugh "passed-out in vomit from drug abuse."
Of course a mudslinger like drudge doesn't pass up the chance to blame it on the darn liberal media. Notice how it's an "NBC depiction of limbaugh", as if it wasn't just a stupid joke on a comedy show but the entire network was making a statement. And you gotta love drudge's objectivity in the story, er, nonstory; "The crass montage which aired on NBC..." As opposed to the crass montage that is shown daily on drudgereport.com?
But this nonstory is funny on so many levels. First, limbaugh used to tow the conservative line by saying that anyone with a drug problem only had themselves to blame. There was no compassion or anything. I'm not very touchy feely whenb it comes to druggies myself, but I wouldn't go so far as to attack rehab programs like limbaugh. Of course, once his drug problem was exposed he became a victim and conservatives found a lot more understanding for him than they would anyone else.
Yet, if you read the story you'd note that the person who was upset with the skit wasn't mad because it was limbaugh, they were upset because they didn't like drug addiction being turned into a joke. In other words, they were upset for a reason that most any conservative would call "liberal".
But I say limbaugh had it coming. He makes a living belittling others. If you don't bend over backwards to be a yes-man to him, he'll just call you a stupid liberal and hang up and go into a rant when you can't say anything.
He's mocked the Abu-Gharaib abuses, he belittled John McCain's military service as well as Al Gore's when he himself avoided serving in Vietnam for the pathetic excuse of "anal cysts". He even mocked drug addicts at the very same time he was addicted to drugs. This is a guy who called 13 year old Chelsea Clinton 'the white house dog'. Pretty big man isn't he?
So somebody made fun of the fat prick, oh boo hoo. Poor wittle victim.
My opinion is that it's a damn satire show for cryin' out loud. I've been offended by SNL once or twice just like everyone else in the world, but it's just a stupid comedy show so who cares? Plus, he had it comin'.
Why did Helms Deep fall within hours?
If you're like me, and God I hope you're not, you're a cynical bastard who smirked and said "they had it coming" as you watched the defence of Helms Deep crumble in the span of one night in Lord of the Rings, the Two Towers.
This has to be one of history's fastest sieges. In our own world attacks on a citadel like Helms Deep could take months or years and were often won not by hordes of people jumping the walls, but with tunnels dug underneath to administer a coup de main or by the starvation of the defenders or like Jericho, through the use of spies.
Let's look at the construction of Helms Deep and find the flaws in it's fortification.
The first thing I note is it's poor location. Fortified structures have always been built to take advantage of the land surrounding them, thus any sane person would have put it on top of the mountain. If the construction didn't allow it should at least have been built several hundred feet up the side of it, yet Helms Deep seems to be built to allow easy access to the enemy.
The main building itself is a concentric construction with two wards and an inner keep. In english this means it has a circular outer wall, or ward, and an inner one, plus a "keep", the fall back location where people go as a last resort. It also has one massive tower which looks entirely useless.
Towers are supposed to be built along the walls to give defenders a good position for providing flanking fire at the enemy, yet the only tower this place has is the huge one in the back which has no real use except perhaps as a lookout location.
Another feature of note is the short wall stretching to the left of Helms Deep. This is where the bulk of the fighting took place in LOTR. The question is, why is this wall even there? It could not be expected to withstand any real assault, but it does give a decent location to harass the enemy. It seems that this wall was built as an outer flanking skirmish line to slow the enemy before the main assault on Helms Deep proper would begin. It's interesting to note, however, that this wall fell about the same time as the rest of Helms Deep. A wall like that shouldn't be expected to last very long, and the fall of Helms Deep proper only minutes later shows how poorly the entire structure was.
It would have been better if Helms Deep were constructed with towers along the walls where the elven archers and other swordsmen could reinforce the main building and fire on the enemy from protected elevated platforms rather than sacrificing them along the skirmish line where they were sure to be routed.
Another thing I note is the walkway leading directly to the front door. What the hell were they thinking? 'Hmmm, let's build a big citadel but leave one nice paved walkway leading up to the biggest door in the whole place, which, incidentally, shall be made of wood which shall be inadequate to withstand more than 10 hits with a relatively small ram.'
Perhaps one of the most important overlooked defence is that of obstructions. There is nothing to slow the enemies approach to the walls of Helms Deep. No moat or trench, no palisade, pointed logs or stakes, no abatis, caltrop, cheval de frise or trou de loup. No entanglements of any sort. These things are essential. They slow the enemy down and even kill many of them. Those that aren't killed or badly wounded are easy targets for the defenders. But none of these were utilized at Helms Deep. The approach couldn't be more hospitable for the enemy, just one big field leading right up to the wall, wide enough to accomidate the full width of the enemy line.
So why was Helms Deep so poorly constructed? One might surmise that Middle Earth fortification science hadn't made it very far yet, but one must note the evolution of such fortifications in the history of the real world. Though Europe is often thought of as the origin of castles and the like, Europeans were in fact many centuries behind the rest of the world.
While Richard the Lionhearted first introduced concentric walls to Europe at Chateau Gaillard in 1197, it was actually based on Byzantine engineering principles that had long confounded the awkward barbarians of Europe but which could have been found in the ancient city of Nineveh about 5000 years earlier. Nineveh was encircled with concentric wards, the inner wall being 120 feet high and 50 feet thick, but more importantly it also had 1500 towers. And that city was founded in 5000 BC and didn't fall until 4388 years later.
Obstructions have been used ever since walls started being used for defence. They're like a pair where and it's hard to think of either being built without the other. Some obstructions such as cheval de frise and trou de loup were products of the Mediaeval ages (obviously given the French names), yet so was the trebuchet and the crossbow which appear in the Lord of the Rings movies.
The abatis was in use during the days of the Roman Empire and towers were in use a few thousand years BC, yet the crossbow wasn't invented until the elenenth century and the trebuchet in the 13th, so don't tell me the people of Middle Earth hadn't figured out how to prepare fortifications that were several milennia older than their weapons.
There is no excuse for Helms Deep to be so poorly constructed, but there is certainly no mystery why it fell so rapidly.
As I said before, they had it coming.