Saturday, December 16, 2006

Why Middle Eastern Muslims deny the Holocaust

Los Angeles Times op-ed by the illustrious former Dutch Member of Parliament, Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

I wish I could say that what Ms. Ali says in her op-ed essay is a surprise, but I find that it isn't. I didn't specifically know that knowledge of the Holocaust is suppressed in the Islamic world, but now that I have the knowledge, I find that I fail to be shocked.

So Islamic theocracies don't teach their citizens about the Holocaust, call it a lie, which causes both the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Mein Kampf to be bestsellers in many Arab countries, and teach the former as fact in their schools. I knew about the popularity of Kampf and the Protocols already, which is a large part of why this revelation wasn't particularly surprising.

And that's scary. It's frightening that so many in the Arab and Muslim worlds are avid readers of Hitler and of anti-Semitic fabrications (that have been known to be such since the 1920s), but knowing that they could read these, particularly Mein Kampf, which details Hitler's plans, and then not accept that Hitler would, in fact, kill millions of Jews, shows a frightening form of doublethink. Arab culture and failing Arab governments wishing to distract their citizens from their failures blame the Jews for their ills, saying that a group of people that Muslims worldwide outnumber by 75 times is wholly bent on the destruction of Islam and is on the brink of bringing it about, without setbacks. This is creating such an awesome hatred of Jews and Judaism that the citizens of those Arab states simply will not believe the historical fact of the Holocaust, even when it is presented to them in all it's unholy horror.

And that, dear readers, is what's most frightening of all. An entire culture is convinced that it must destroy an entire other culture in order to survive. That is a recipe for war eternal.

Germany to jail gamers

Like I said in my introductory posts on this blog, I am, among many other things, a gamer; that is to say, I play tabletop and video games as a hobby. I consider this a normal, non-harmful thing and an enjoyable social activity.

Which is why stuff like this really pisses me off.

Evidently, we did too good a job of pacifying Germany after the Second World War. The Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle, their ratings board, is evidently so emasculated that they won't rate games that feature violence of any kind, even violence against zombies. While not giving a rating doesn't officially ban a game, it does mean it cannot be sold in most stores in the country.

But evidently, that's not enough. Noooooooo, now the states of Lower Saxony and Bavaria want to toss people who commit "cruel violence on humans or human-looking characters," along with the developers who make the games that let them do so, directly to jail, do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

This is a disgrace. Such restrictions on the freedoms of expression and association should not be perpetrated by any government, and a Western democratic government has no excuse.

In response to this treatment of their industry, the German game developer Crytek is threatening to relocate to a different nation. Good luck with that, Crytek. Far Cry isn't exactly my favorite game, but you guys deserve better.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Hugo Chavez to try to remove term limits on his office

Seattle Times, Bloomberg

Venezuela's president, Hugo Chavez, recently won reelection with 63% of the vote, giving him his second, and under Venezuela's current constitution final, six year term in office.

But that's not good enough for him. He's following through with his pre-election threat: He is now moving to remove term limits from Venezuela's constitution so that he can be reelected continuously.

I don't care whether you're left, right, up, down, or center; screwing with your country's constitution to suit your needs once in power is an idiot, power-grabbing thing to do, especially when done as a step towards implementing a failed economic and political system. His efforts are failing already, if a move to devalue the bolivar again is any indication. When you have to actually make a law banning your citizens from buying foreign currency to prevent outflow of capital, then maybe it's time to rethink your economic situation.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

North Korea pisses me off

Okay. On most days when I decide to post to this weblog, I try to post my opinion and analysis of important current events, and to do so with a level head. On those days, I try to stay objective and offer rational discourse. Today is not one of those days. Today, I'm posting a rant. General warning: This post contains profanity.

Pyongyang Chronicle.

How dare the North Koreans? How fucking dare they? Kim Jong-Il's government is literally starving the North Korean people, even instructing them to breed fucking rabbits for food, and now they go and not only tell their citizens that they have power and heat when they clearly do not, they tell them that we the people of the United States are not only without power ourselves, but are stealing oil from South Korea and causing thousands to freeze to death? The gall of the North Korean propagandists is just fucking appalling. Seeing this and yet being unable to do anything about it is possibly one of the most frustrating things I have ever faced, and this does nothing but rub it in.

And what's worse? The people buy this. It's drilled into their heads from birth that North Korea is the most prosperous country in the world, and that all others are far worse off. And what's even better? There are people over here, in the United States, who like North Korea. I've heard it said. If you're one of them, click here. Fucking Communists...

In conclusion, the Dear Leader, Kim Jong-Il can take his propaganda about how bad I have it and shove it up his ass, along with his entire government, economic policy, and ideology. That is all.

Man, I needed that.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Muslim lawmaker to take oath of office on the Qur'an

Ireland Online, USA Today

To summarize: Keith Ellison, newly elected to Congress and soon to be the first Muslim to take high federal office in the United States, wishes to take his oath of office on his own holy book, the Qur'an, rather than the Christian Bible. For this, he has come under fire from Dennis Prager, a conservative columnist and talk radio host.

For this, I have to say that Mr. Prager is, with all due respect, manufacturing a controversy where none should exist. His Townhall column, which may be found here, appears to be simple pandering to his normal audience. At least, that's what I should hope it is; I would hate to think that someone in his position should be so profoundly ignorant of his own country's actual laws.

Because yes, not only would requiring a lawmaker to swear in on the Bible be unconstitutional; it is factually incorrect to say that it is so in the first place. Several points:

First and foremost, the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution guarantees religious liberty without interference from the government for all citizens, even Congressmen.

Secondly, the oath taken is to uphold the Constitution, not the Bible. What the oath-taker's hand is on doesn't change the nature of the oath. If it did, officials would be sworn in on a copy of the Constitution, which I think would be a better idea anyway.

Thirdly, forcing someone to take an oath on a book he does not care about would, if anything, cause the oath to have less effect; traditionally, to swear upon something is binding upon the oathtaker to give that thing up should he break the oath; hence swearing on one's honor. Symbolically, forcing Representative Ellison to swear on the Bible would mean he was saying that he would give up the Christian faith if the oath were broken. Since he has already done this (he converted to Islam from Catholicism), such an oath would mean nothing to him, and have no hold on him whatsoever. This is the last thing that someone who wishes to see an oath fulfilled should want.

Lastly, and most damaging to Prager's assertions, Congressmen are not sworn in on any book whatsoever, Bible or otherwise. Newly elected and reelected Senators and Congressmen simply raise their right hands in unison and swear to uphold the Constitution in a summary mass swearing-in. They can bring in any book to swear on that they wish, or none if they don't wish to swear on a book. The occasional photographs that one sees of a Congressman being "sworn in" on a large Bible by another official are simply photo-ops; they pose for the picture and are done, the official swearing-in having already been accomplished in the House chamber.

Therefore, this is all much ado about nothing. Representative Ellison can bring his Qur'an to the ceremony if he pleases, and there isn't anything anyone can do about it, not that anyone should. He is free to exercise his religion as he sees fit while serving in Congress as long as it does not interfere with his duties as a Congressman, and those duties do not include swearing in on the Holy Bible.

Incidentally, it shouldn't: The Bible itself forbids the taking of oaths.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Lopez Obrador goes and claims Mexican presidency

AP, via Yahoo News

Well that's just great. Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has gone and proclaimed himself President of Mexico after losing the presidential election, demanding and getting multiple recounts, a ruling against him from Mexico's election court, and a massive political temper tantrum wherein his supporters jammed the streets of Mexico City with protests on his behalf. He has set up a parallel government to compete with the legitimate and duly elected government of Mexico in a bid to take de facto control of the country.

I don't know whether this illegitimate parallel government will gain any traction or not, but if it does, it could tear Mexico apart; they may even be facing another civil war. And it'll be happening on the doorstep of the United States. More on the situation as developments warrant.

Update: I missed this on my first reading of the news story. Obrador has vowed to stop the December 1st inauguration of the winner of the election, Felipe Calderon. I don't know what he means by that, but it can't be a good thing no matter how he plans on making sure it doesn't go forward.

Update 2, 11/22/2006: International Herald-Tribune

I can only say that it's a damned good thing Obrador lost, if this is his idea of policy. Instituting government price controls and basing those controls on matching prices in other markets with different market conditions is a recipe for economic disaster. The Mexican government might be able to mandate that businesses not charge more than they do in the U.S. for delivering the same service with greater difficulty, but they can't mandate that those businesses stay in operation when the costs start to sink them. No one runs a business when it's no longer worth it to him.

Charlie Rangel introduces draft bill, AGAIN

International Herald-Tribune

Well, dear ol' Congressman Rangel's at it again, putting a bill to reinstate the military draft before Congress. How this man keeps getting reelected in Manhattan, of all places, would be just beyond me, were it not for one factor: Tom DeLay, as Speaker of the House, actually scheduled Rangel's 2004 draft bill for a vote right before the election, the only way one of them would ever make it out of committee. Faced with the prospect of a vote on his own bill, Rangel did the only thing he could do: Show his true colors and vote against it.

Yep, Rangel doesn't want a draft, unlike Jack Murtha and Pete Straw, the only Congresscritters to actually vote in favor. It's a cheap political trick that he uses to try and get people to think that the Republicans are going to institute a draft. (Incidentally, Murtha and Straw, along with Rangel, are Democrats.) And it's worked like a charm; constant draft bills in the House keep frantic anti-draft groups operating and, in most cases, throwing money at Democratic candidates. (Mothers Against the Draft is one such group that I have something of a history with.)

In the end analysis, I can only say one thing to Mr. Rangel: Go to hell.

On a personal note, sorry for the lack of posts recently. I lost my job in October and am still looking for a new one.

And I should add that spambots are not welcome on this blog. So far there only seems to be one, but if the problem persists I'll just have to turn on registration.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Cuba, Venezuela call for democratization of the UN

Tell me, why am I laughing so hard that I'm in danger of falling out of my chair right about now?

There's all kinds of hilariousness going on right now at the summit of the so-called Non-Aligned Movement in Havana this week. First, as linked above, the world's dictatorships are calling to make the United Nations more democratic. As long as they don't have to do the same for their people, why not, right? One nation, one vote, no matter how authoritarian that nation may be internally, sure sounds great to them, I have to imagine.

In other news at the summit, North Korea blamed the United States for the lack of world peace yesterday, a truly hilarious proposition coming from a nation that refuses to formally end it's state of war with the United States even though the armistice that ended the fighting of the Korean War was signed in 1953. It has been over 50 years and there's still no peace treaty. Talk about your barriers to world peace.

But the best of all, I think, is when the summit declared that democracy is a universal value, but also stated that "no one country or region should define it for the world." So yeah, a republican form of government is great, as long as we get to employ Newspeak to redefine the term.

Here's a crazy idea: Let's democratize the UN. We can go about it like this: When a nation is democratized, they get to sit on UN councils and have a vote in the General Assembly. Until then, they get to have all the voting and participation rights their citizens have. How's that for a proposal, Fidel?

Monday, August 28, 2006

The government has been infiltrated by... Owls?

And now, for a brief moment of levity. Evidently, the government of Nassau County, NY has been infiltrated by the famous O RLY Owl. Link.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Iran inaugurates heavy water reactor

Oh joy. Just days from the deadline for Iran to stop enriching uranium, they fire up a reactor that produces plutonium as a reaction byproduct instead. Great. Now they can stop enriching uranium all they want; they can just churn out plutonium devices instead. Like that's so much better.

This has got to stop. Nobody, least of all Iran's regional neighbors, can afford a nuclear-armed Iran. The current regime compounds the problem, but there are too many factors that make a powerful Iran dangerous no matter what.

First, Iraq. The United States inadvertently did Iran a huge favor when it eliminated Saddam Hussein; we removed their biggest local military rival. Now the Iranians have a vested interest in making sure that Iraq remains unstable or, worse, falls under Iranian influence so that it can never again pose a serious military threat. A democratic, Westernized, and militarily powerful Iraq with the backing of the United States is the Iranian government's worst nightmare. Nuclear arms are a sure way to make sure Iraq remains cowed no matter what happens.

Second, Israel. Even without Ahmadinejad's standing threat to wipe Israel from the map, Iran has never been a friend to the only remotely Westernized state in the region, and never will be. A nuclear standoff there would be frightening, especially as it would be less likely to remain a standoff with the ayatollahs and their puppets in charge.

Third, Afghanistan. Much like Iraq, the Taliban was no friend to the Shi'ite Iranian government. The Iranians similarly have a vested interest in ensuring that Afghanistan never again presents a threat, which means that they exert destabilizing influence directly counter to Coalition and NATO objectives.

And we can't forget the direct enmity that the Iranians have for the United States. There's a reason the Swiss embassy handles all of our diplomatic business in Tehran, and it isn't because our own embassy staff is too busy enjoying the pleasures of the city's night life, if you know what I mean.

I just hope they realize that the more they do this, the more crosshairs military strategists paint on their facilities.

Friday, August 25, 2006

It seems I may owe France an apology

After seeming to back off of it's previous commitment of 2,000 additional troops for the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon (UNIFIL) under the UN ceasefire resolution for the Israel-Hezbollah conflict, lessening it's commitment to 200, France has once again changed it's mind and raised it's commitment back to 2,000 men. I had previously blasted the French government for chickening out in this post, and for that I apologize.

However, while I can't accuse France of reneging on it's commitments, I can say that Jacques Chirac doesn't quite realize the task before the peacekeepers, if he considers the 15,000 troops called for in the resolution "excessive." If anything, 15,000 won't be enough. If the force is to do anything at all, it must be robust.

I must give him credit, however, for pushing for robust rules of engagement for the peacekeepers. All the troops in the world won't help if they aren't actually allowed to do anything to restrain the people they're supposed to be pacifying.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Hilarious video re: the Reuters fake photo scandal

I'd been leaving the whole deal with Reuters and other news agencies faking photos from the Israel-Hezbollah war alone because it'd already been done to death by the bigger blogs before I got back to blogging. (I especially like the analyses done by zombie, found here and here.) But the Jawa Report recently put out a video that I found too great to pass up, so here it is.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

84 Hollywood celebrities sign statement condemning Hamas; Islamists call for harassment

On August 16th, 84 Hollywood celebrities signed a statement saying that they are "pained and devastated by the civilian casualties in Israel and Lebanon caused by terrorist actions initiated by terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah and Hamas," and ran it as a full-page magazine ad. (You can read the full statement with signatures here.) Almost immediately, one Akram Awad researched the addresses of the signatories and posted them in a call to action on his blog entitled Bonsoir | يسعد مساكم: ActionAlert :: Nicole Kidman Shame on You!, calling for his readers to write the celebrities en masse to tell them that they are wrong, and that all the ills in the Middle East are, in fact, the fault of Israel.

Now, I don't usually involve myself in celebrity dealings outside of their jobs (that is to say, I watch movies), but this is too funny to pass up. Jules Crittenden almost immediately fired off an editorial in the Boston Herald calling for Israel supporters to go to his blog and use his list to mail the celebrities to thank them for their stance. As I think this is a positively wonderful idea, I'm posting this to add what little exposure I can to his plan. Go forth, and write letters of appreciation. I'm going to do mine now.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Iran to continue uranium enrichment

Well this is just great. Not that it's a surprise. Iran has refused the UN's incentive package in favor of enriching uranium suitable for nuclear weapons.

With negotiations still pending, there is some hope that Iran's statement that a halt to enrichment is "not on the agenda" is a bluff in an attempt to gain a stronger bargaining position, but given that Iran's government is crazy, I wouldn't bet on it. The only question now is what does the world do about that?

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Okay, I'm back. For real this time.

Well, after a brief scare in which HP gave me the wrong tracking number and managed to convince everyone (themselves included) that they'd shipped my computer to Albuquerque, it came today. I'm back, this time for sure.

It's late and I'm tired, so I'll only put in a little bit about the late conflict between Israel and Hezbollah. (I promise, barring major new developments, I'll start harping on something else soon.)

I'm sorry to say it, but strategically Hezbollah won. Just barely, and in such a Pyrrhic fashion that they can't stand to "win" like that again, but the so-called "Arab Street's" expectations are so low by now that merely surviving against Israel for more than a couple weeks is seen as a massive victory, and that perception is enough of a boost for Hezbollah to make it worth it to them. Tactically, Israel won every battle, but in the end none of it's objectives were achieved. Hezbollah is not disarmed, it is still present on the Israeli-Lebanon border, and the kidnapped soldiers whose capture sparked this whole thing were not recovered. And to top it off, the real losers in all this were the Lebanese people, bombed back into Third World status after Hezbollah used them for cover.

And in the meantime, France is chickening out after promising to lead the UN peacekeeping force, outdone by an order of magnitude by Bangladesh in troop numbers committed. Good luck to the Lebanese army in disarming Hezbollah. I sincerely hope that this turns out all right, but as usual the prospects seem dim.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Be back soon

Ordered a new comp yesterday. I'll be back to blogging when it gets in, though not for very long before I take yet another four days off to go to GenCon. See you then.

In the meantime, here's to Israel kicking Hezbollah right in the bollocks. But do try to not shell the crap out of villages hours after the rocket launchers have left, mkay?

Friday, June 30, 2006

...or not.

My apartment's kitchen caught fire on Saturday morning. I lost my computer to all the soot floating around. I'll make yet another "I'm back" post when I get a new comp.

But as long as I'm here, Hamas evidently wants a war with Israel. Do they actually think they can avoid getting curbstomped by the country that defeated Egypt, Jordan, Syria, and Iraq at the same time and in less than a week?

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Friday, June 23, 2006

Well, I'm back

After a significant interruption in Internet access, I'm back. I should be updating regularly again now.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Got an Xbox!

My brother, roommate, and I went in and split the cost of a used Xbox off of Ebay, with ten games including Halo 2. WOOT! In a related note, I probably won't be online quite so much for a few days. ;)

That is all.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Hamas declares war

Reuters, ISN

Well, bloody hell. Hamas' new Interior Minister has all but declared war on Israel, not only stating outright refusal to arrest any Palestinian for "resisting the occupation," but declaring intent to coordinate his security forces with Palestinian terrorist organizations. This means open war with Israel. You'd think Hamas would have learned this was a bad idea from the examples of Syria, Egypt, and Jordan in 1967, but it seems that they have not.

Mahmoud Abbas is continuing his attempts to further the peace process, but it seems that the PA parliament's new ruling authorities (and, as the PA is run on a parliamentary system wherein the parliament appoints the Cabinet, his own ministers) are determined to wreck any attempts at peaceful coexistence. How long before the return of open attempts to push the Jews into the sea? As I said when Hamas won the elections, this won't end well at all. I would take credit for calling it, but that's not a very difficult feat.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Mmmmmmmm, tax time.

Well, Tax Day is precisely one month from yesterday. (I'm a procrastinator. So sue me.) On Tax Day, I plan to have a long rant about the complexities of the tax code, arising from me having just done my taxes, which, yes, I have yet to do. To preview: The damned thing needs to be simplified. Big time. The only problem is how to do it without throwing out the mess and starting over... if that isn't what needs to be done in the first place.

Look on the bright side. On the other side of all those tax forms is probably a refund of some of the money the IRS has been screwing you out of for the past year.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Arizona National Guard ordered to Mexican border

Associated Press

'Bout damn time. The border is about as effective as a seive. I just wish a border state governor had grown some balls sooner. Border security is essential.

Of course, I've been told Phoenix can't function without illegal immigrant labor. My solution to that: Expand legal immigration while locking down the illegal crossings; make it easy to come get a job but hard to bring in drugs or other criminal enterprises.

I'm just waiting for the inevitable shootout between Guard infantry and drug smuggling Mexican army units.

Chinese Communist Party members take censors to task

Well, a friend of mine asked me to render my opinion on this a couple weeks ago, and I suppose late is better than never. (Sorry about the lack of updates; this is directly due to my current lack of reliable Internet.)

New York Times (registration required to view)

Several members of China's Communist Party, including a former propaganda chief and a former secretary to Mao, have circulated a joint letter condemning the recent forced shutdown of the popular Chinese newspaper Freezing Point by the party's Propaganda Department. (Yes, the government agency is actually called that.) The letter did not reference the recent censorship of Google China or Beijing's other online censorship campaigns.

This is significant not because of the protest itself (Chinese editors and reformists have been protesting censorship for years, sometimes at the cost of their own freedom), but because it is in fact senior Party men who are doing the protesting. This could indicate that the winds are changing in China; if Party officials are attempting to curry favor with the reform movements, then it could mean that they feel threatened by them, which is wildly significant. If my (admittedly cynical) interpretation is correct, and they're doing this out of what they perceive as their self-interest rather than a sudden libertarian change of heart, then it means that Communist control is seriously weakening in China to the point where several of the Party's core members feel that their chances are better opposing the Party than standing silent.

Let's all hope so.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

...and chaos ensues.

Melbourne Herald Sun, USA Today

Well, chaos did ensue, but not immediately from the source I predicted in my last post. Evidently, a Danish newspaper ran some political cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed in the course of criticizing the violence of Islamic extremists. Those same extremists decided to object to being characterized as hyperbelligerent thugs by... acting like hyperbelligerent thugs, torching embassies (without regard to what country the embassy was from, as long as it was Western), attacking U.S. military bases, and threatening to continue if the Danish government did not apologize, evidently due to a failure on their part to comprehend the nature of a free press, that is to say, the government is not responsible for it.

The basis for all this offense is supposedly that depicting the Prophet is blasphemy. Of course, there are two problems with this:

1.) The cartoonists in question are not Muslims and do not claim to be so far as I am aware, and therefore can't very well be held guilty of apostasy against Islam. Of course, not being subject to Islamic law is something that your average jihadi doesn't comprehend.

2.) Muslims don't seem to have much of a problem with such depictions in other places, at least when they aren't critical of Islam.

Of course, the irony is delicious.

And also of course, the Onion called it years ago.

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Hamas wins Palestinian Authority election; chaos to ensue


Well, this is a lovely state of affairs. Known and acknowledged terrorists who hold as their primary principle that Israel should be pushed into the sea and not dealt with as a sovereign nation are now in charge of the Palestinian territories. Hamas, the organization best known in the West for blowing the hell out of Israeli civilians, has won parliamentary elections in the Palestinian Authority, exceeding all expectations (including their own, I gather) and gaining a majority government instead of the expected strong minority and coalition government. (For those not familiar with proportional representation in parliamentary systems, and hence the concept of coalition government, click here.)

To be fair to the Palestinian voters, Hamas is also known within the Palestinian territories as a provider of several social services, and the votes of many were influenced more by opposition to the corruption of the former ruling party, Fatah, than for any particular support for Hamas, but they are still a terrorist organization that Israel (rightly) will not negotiate with until they fundamentally change their charter and methods, and hence the election results will destroy any attempt to move the peace process forward. In fact, this puts Hamas in the interesting position of being a ruling government engaged in multiple acts of war against Israel; if Hamas' armed wing continues terrorist operations after the Hamas-led government takes power (as I have very little doubt they will), then Israel would have every right to consider such activities as acts of war and respond accordingly. "Accordingly" involves declaring war on the Palestinian Authority, with all of the actions that such a declaration entails. In short, the West Bank and Gaza would be completely occupied again in a remarkable hurry should the most likely scenario play out.

Some pundits, reporters, and world leaders have expressed the possibility, even the expectation that Hamas might change it's ways now that it has gained legitimate power. And pigs might sprout wings and fly tomorrow. Hamas leaders have stated that they will not alter their positions one whit from their extremist stance that precludes negotiation with, or even the existence of, Israel; nor will they renounce terror tactics.

I wish the very best for all involved in this, but I cannot help but think that the Middle East is in for yet another war.

About me

Well, I suppose I should introduce myself, after a fashion.

As my partial list of interests in the previous post probably shows, I'm a gamer (of the tabletop pen-and-paper variety as well as more conventional computer gaming), a music student (bassist, to be precise), and political junkie. I do my level best to keep up with current events, and try not to form concrete opinions on something without thoroughly researching that thing first. I used to maintain a blog of sorts at my web forum, found here, though I updated very infrequently.

To address those interests in order, my gaming specifically consists of vast quantities of Dungeons & Dragons, a game I thoroughly enjoy and incidentally inspired the name of this blog (or rather, one of my characters did); some Halo and Halo 2 on other people's X-boxes, and several real-time strategy PC games, including Dawn of War and Warcraft 3. In D&D, I'm most fond of playing paladins, a preference that partially reflects my general outlook on life.

I am, as I mentioned above, a bassist, and a reasonably accomplished one if I do say so myself. I play in both the jazz and classical styles, though I got my start in bluegrass and actually started reading for bass from treble clef parts and guitar chord lines. Before taking up bass, I was a trumpet player of enough skill to sit at the top of the trumpet section of a state championship marching band (Forest Park Marching Rangers, Indiana class D champions, 2001 to be precise), but lost my ability to play over the course of having braces. I am also a bass singer.

Politically, I'm all over the map; if one was to take an average of all my positions on various issues, the result would probably be center-right (as most of those online political tests make me), but that isn't nearly the sum total. I suspect that I'll be making many politics-related posts over the course of my sojourn in the blogosphere, and know that I'll be making one or two today, so I'll let my positions come out there rather than make this the Longest Blog Post Everand ensure that no one reads it thereby.

One other note before I go on to my next post: In keeping with the blog title, I do tend to ramble and have rather purist viewpoints on a lot of things. Just remember, patience is a virtue, and I will eventually get to the point... and if you disagree with that point, I just may decide to smite you.*

*This last comment was made entirely in jest.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Grand opening

This will be a mixed bag sort of thing. I'm not one to write much about my personal life aside from ranting when things suck, so this will mostly follow news, politics, and things that interest me, such as gaming developments and the wonderful world of music and music education. This is probably just as well, since blogs about people's personal lives (with a few notable exceptions) tend to suck mightily.

For now, guest replies will be accepted by the blog so that people don't have to sign up if they just want to leave a comment, though this will change quickly if I get a lot of spam. Enjoy reading. Or don't. Not like it makes a difference to me anyway.