26 June 2007

The Unfortunately Necessary Disclaimer for the Irony-Deficient
The following post, like many others of this blog, contains frequent use of a semi-humourous and patently hostile tone with some similarities to the personality of Eric Cartman. Those who are incapable of discerning a mocking, frivolous tone would be advised to seek out alternative reading material, such as the Wikipedia entry on NAFTA. Those who are prone to taking offence would be advised to consult their health insurance representative to determine whether a pine-cone-up-butt-ectomy is covered by their insurance plan.

Georgia Can Stuff a Peach Where the Sun Generally Declines to Radiate

So I spent all of yesterday in Atlanta, Georgia. Got up at 3 sodding AM in the morning, got on a plane that left at 6, and I managed to make it to the convention center around 10:30. Had a boring and fruitless cruise of the competitors' booths, and then had a fruitful and helpful lunch meeting with a software developer and business partner of ours (at a food court, no less). Very nice guy, and it is great to be working with him, so that puts a blemish on an otherwise uniformly rotten day.

Got back to the airport at 4 in the afternoon. Cripes! Not to interrupt my own thought, but my bally ears just popped. Right now. Tuesday afternoon. I really hate flying! But as I was saying, I spent the next, oh, say, 7+ hours at the airport as my flight was incrementally delayed hour by hour. Got home finally at 2AM, meaning the previous 23 hours were all consumed with travel. One more hour and I'd have been awake and on work business for 24 hours straight.

Now on to Atlanta. Or, Craplanta as it will now be known. Perhaps Asslanta if it doesn't offend too many people. Because if New Jersey is the Armpit of America, At-arsing-lanta is the Butthole. It is freaking hot there all the time, they do not believe in air conditioning apparently. It wasn't even that hot outside, but inside the airport and convention center, it was freaking hot.

The hostility I developed towards Craplanta probably had something to do with being marooned there, homesick, missing my wife, and worried that I was going to have my flight canceled while my contact lenses slowly dried up into shriveled little irritants on my corneas. I've heard Craplanta is a “beautiful city”. I suppose if you are comparing one stinking manmade heap of concrete and steel to another stinking manmade heap of concrete and steel, Craplanta is not as big of a festering, pustular eyesore as some. But I just see very little beautiful about most cities, as a personal preference. The simplest and poorest little acre of woods in the country is typically so much more aesthetically appealing than these gargantuan monuments of human tastelessness packed to the brim with churning masses of angry, sweaty pedestrians and reckless, dangerous cab drivers. No thank you! Keep your annoyingly pretentious museums of modern art, keep your music halls, keep your overpriced hipster restaurants, keep your dingy streets, keep your bums, keep your “nightlife”, keep your traffic and its ceaselessly raging din, and just keep your cities. It certainly isn't as cool to do so, but I prefer the country. Good Lord, it makes me seem like one of those shallow materialistic ignorant-drone types (Ed., for sarcasm-blind readers, please note mocking, sarcastic tone) to even suggest this, but I even prefer suburbia.

So, Craplanta, if we had met on better terms and circumstances perhaps I would not be so resentful, but if a man is marooned from his home on even the most utopian paradise of an island, it still will be but a stinking boil on the face of the ocean, compared with his own land. Kansas City, I could kiss you!

22 June 2007

Iran's Speedboat-based "Swarm" Naval Tactic

I found this interesting; the Iranians are placing their bets on the ability to "swarm" a larger vessel by deploying large quantities of small speedboats to simultaneously attack larger naval vessels.

Except for some misgivings I have about their use of anti-ship missiles (such as Exocet and others), I think this is a very flawed strategy on the Iranians' part. Torpedo boats were effective in this sort of sense 60 years ago, but nowadays with quality radar available, I can't see that these boats could get within a close enough range to pose any serious threat before being sent to the chilly depths of the sea.

If I were in the Captain's Chair at the Pentagon, this is how I would address this tactic. Develop a naval variant of the AH-64 Longbow Apache. This chopper was designed for tank hunting with the threat of a horde of T-72s pouring across the Iron Curtain into Western Europe. Why not get some use out of it now? An anti-tank helicopter would be ideally suited for "speedboat hunting", with a 30mm cannon, Hellfire guided missiles, and armor against small arms fire. Call it "The Fisherman".

The Iranians have a nice idea in theory, but I doubt it would be successful. Coordination would be too difficult, and it would probably end up being a kamikaze attack, except boats aren't fast enough to pull that off.
The NeufTown Entertainment Review

So, as you expected, I'm not going to blog about high ideals, political ideology, theological or moral concepts, or the great questions and challenges facing our nation and mankind. No! I'm going to blog about recent bits of entertainment that I found suitably amusing...sort of a “Neufertainment Tonight” but in blog format.

First off, Shakespeare in the Park, or "Free Will". We went for the first time last year, to see "Henry V", which is probably my favourite of his works (how can you not love a play that climaxes with plucky, outnumbered English infantry kicking the living snot out of a horde of arrogant French chivalric knights?). This year it was the McDonald's of Shakespeare, the Bud Lite of Shakespeare, the Velveeta of Shakespeare: Romeo and Juliet. We went last night, and it was actually quite good! A bit of a downer in the second half, you might be surprised to hear. But the gentleman who played Romeo was the same guy who played Henry/Harry last year...a role in which he was eminently more likable. Romeo is just an annoying character, a melodramatic teenager with rich parents that would have been better off getting a job, than spending all his days pining, wailing, and gnashing his teeth over whatever female his hormones happen to be targeting at the moment. As my wife points out, he's rather like Wodehouse's “Bingo Little” character, an interminably shifting character apt to profess the most extreme undying, woeful, and unrequited loves for a girl, only to turn on a dime and do likewise for the next thing to cross his path sans a Y chromosome. I rather liked Bingo, because at least he was cheery and we weren't supposed to identify with him, we were supposed to laugh at Bertie's exasperation at dealing with such a vacillating, emotional fellow. I suppose that is Mercutio's role? Speaking of, good lord, you never quite “get” how bawdy these plays are until you see them. Somehow when a lecherous, drunken character delivers a line (to roaring laughter) complete with hip thrusts, it puts a bit more of an off-colour nature to some of the lines!

On to more specialized (read: less interesting/appealing) bits o' entertainment. First off, and I've been meaning to write copious praise and adulation of this film for several weeks, but the film “Zulu” has skyrocketed to being one of my all-time favourites. It is based in South Africa in 1879, and chronicles the incredible and unlikely defence at the Battle of Rorke's Drift, following on the heels of the tremendous Zulu victory/British defeat at Isandlhwana. This particular film is a thousand times better than the later “Zulu Dawn”. It is silly how many times I have watched this film in the past couple months.

Thomas Pakenham's “The Boer War” is a good volume for history buffs. I've taken a tremendously long time reading it, because I keep it at work and take about 10 minutes at most to read it, on the occasion that I am eating in the lunch room. So it has been a while. It is exhaustive, and quite easy to lose track of names and places, but it remains a very interesting history that puts much-needed context behind my introduction to the Second Boer War, which was the movie “Breaker Morant”.

Anybody have a Martini-Henry taking up space in their attic? I've got $20 and I'll gladly take it off your hands!

Well, it was worth a shot.

Oh, and I found out that the Lee-Enfield No4MkI that I purchased (WWII British rifle) is unsafe to fire. It has an extreme headspace issue, meaning it has too much space between the bolt face and the chambered cartridge when the bolt is closed, which can cause ruptured cases and general bad things for any human faces that might be right there in close proximity to the bolt (such as the face belonging to the individual aiming and firing the rifle). The wonderful historical value notwithstanding, I don't wish to have a bolt implanted into my eye socket, that would just be a bad day. After informing them what my gunsmith told me, the swines that sold it to me insisted it was safe, and that all Lee Enfields were like this. I did my homework, and they were very, very wrong. They offered to take it back, but I decided against it for the following reasons:

1. I would have paid for the rifle ($130), shipping ($15), FFL transfer fee ($25), gunsmith safety check ($25), and return shipping ($15+), and the only thing I would get in return is the rifle cost; I'd have to just eat the rest.

2. I have sort of an adoptive spirit with these guns...even if unsafe as a shooter, they are great pieces of history for a collector, and I felt somewhat attached to this poor, sick rifle.

3. Having this rifle unmodified would give me a standard, stock No4 for collection purposes (I was planning on mounting a scope and using it as a precision rifle).

4. If I returned it, they would just sell it to someone else since they refused to acknowledge there was a problem. I don't want someone blowing their head off with this gun; at least it is safe with me as I know not to shoot it.

There you are, I've justified not returning it. It'll just go into retirement, like a war horse retiring in its later years to green pastures.

07 June 2007


Edwin R. Hall, 26, from Olathe, KS

Hats off to the police for catching this sorry bugger so quickly. We'll see if federal charges ensue.

06 June 2007

Do You Know This Scumbag?

Wanted for questioning involving the Kelsey Smith case in Kansas City. He's not officially a suspect yet, but from initial evidence he exhibits suspicious behavior, and he has not come forward yet to turn himself in (unlikely he could still be unaware he is wanted by this time).

Rushed judgments are a poor idea on the battlefield, and an even poorer idea in civilian justice, but if ever there were a proper candidate for Rule Three-Oh-Three, this may indeed be him.

Got a box with your (as yet unknown, but give us time) name on it, buddy!

In more practical terms, if you know this at-best-stupid-prat-at-worst-evil-monster, call the TIPS hotline, 816-474-TIPS (8477).