Thursday, June 23, 2005

Technically, it's Thursday.

It's late, I'm kinda tired, and the tag at the back of my neck itches. That sounds like a perfect set of reasons to talk about fighting dirty through history. There's a lot of groin popping in literature, if you know what to look for.

My first example comes from the collected romances of Chr├ętien de Troyes from around the 13th century. You have to realize that the world was absurdly different back then. Men wept on eachothers' shoulders when they parted, war was the accepted, constanst, state of affairs, they didn't have the Late Show.

An Arthurian Romance (so called because they usually involve the big man or one of his knights) usually had three elements; the knight's horse, his sword, and his woman. He would start with some combination of these three, and have to strive to acquire the third. Sometimes he'd lose one or more of the three and have to reacquire them. I don't know if it's significant that two of the three relate directly to fighting and only one to sex.

Anyway, one of these stories begins with a young knight out hunting (on his horse). As I recall, he's hunting a stag. Unfortunately, calamity strikes and he receives a wound to his thigh. I'll let you know right now that that's a euphemism for groin. We know this because his mysterious leg wound in no way hampers his ability to fight later in the story, and because the only way his wound can be cured is by the touch of a woman. Appropriate, because this young man was notoriously unmarried.

Anyway, he gets in a magic boat and rescues a woman trapped in a tower married to an old man who, we are again euphemistically told, needs Viagra. Some things change, some things don't. By the way, most Arthurian romances involve dashing young men stealing the wives of older men. Gawain & Lancelot, for example. Lancelot's story [The Knight of the Cart] almost got Chr├ętien punished by the church for showing Gwinevere as an adultress. At least Gawain, the perfect knight, had the decency to kill the poor bastard first.

Actually, this is an interesting reflection of a situation that persisted for most of our history. Women had an unfortunate tendency to die young, often in childbirth. Men had a tendency to not be worth marrying until they were older and had accumulated some real estate and wealth. So most brides were taken up by older men, which left the landscape awash with unmarried young men, many of whom spent their entire lives preparing for war. This was an age of conflict, remember.

So you get a bunch of horny young men with weapons and nothing to do... The result should be easily predictable. "What dost thou rebel against, young master?" "What hast thou got?"

Why do you think Norman knights conquered Sicily? They had nothing better to do. And they couldn't get away with that sort of back home in Western France. Why do you think people were so eager to send knights off to Jerusalem? Because they were wreaking havoc on the countryside at home; better they do that sort of thing to the heathens.

Anyway, back to thigh wounds. They show up all over the place, because everyone was imitating the best selling book of all time. The first recorded instance of anyone getting a shot to the meat and two veg occurs in the Bible. Jacob wrestles with an angel, who "knocks his thigh out of joint". "The mighty sinew there shriveled." Jacob doesn't have any more kids after that fight, and most Biblical figures are fecund out the wazoo. That angel fought dirty.

Let's face it, there's really nothing new we can bring to the table concerning fighting. They knew how to knock each other about back in the day.

I'm sure my Uncle Ben can correct me all over the place on this post.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

The Religious Right

Is it just me, or is it disingenuous for the religious right to claim they're being persecuted while at the same time justifying any action on their part by pointing out that Christians are a majority in the nation?

Of course, just because Christians form a majority doesn't mean that the religious right forms a majority. Small-minded reactionaries aren't yet a majority in America, I hope. The fact is that every politician out there kowtows to the vocal, extreme minority of his party, and the Republicans long ago allied themselves with the RR.

All this adds up to a small minority having undue influence over a small majority. Because the Republican can't afford for that vocal minority to defect, they have to keep feeding them. It's like riding a tiger; it'll get you where you're going, but you can't get off once you get there.

As for the claims of persecution; don't be fatuous. It's not persecution to keep you from doing things to me. YOU are allowed to pray in school; don't try to make me do the same. You don't have to have gay sex. You don't have to not believe in god.

This country was fatally weakened when small, fearful men betrayed the country's principles and added religion to our coinage and pledge of allegiance.

This country is majority Christian. This country's majority has always been Christian. That does not make it a Christian nation, unless you're willing to extend the concept that this is a white nation, founded for and by the past and present majority of whites, from which principles we have most definitely strayed.

Saturday, June 11, 2005

This is astounding.

Check this out. This guy can DANCE.

It's the second video, the "Eric Fenn - Sketches" video.

They played the music fast to film him dancing to it, then they slowed him down to play the music normal speed on the video.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Let's Emigrate

"Domestically, Britain was very divided on the American Civil War. There were economic issues, ideological issues, and moral issues involved and different segments of the British population were on opposing sides. So any intervention in the American Civil War would have caused a huge political crisis in Britain.

Strategically, Britain knew that the United States and the Monroe Doctrine worked to British advantage. Occupying the United States would have been a huge expense and would have forced Britain to either allow other Europeans to occupy their own shares of the Americas or to assume the burden of keeping them out. Either option would have stretched British resources and made Britain the target of more foreign resentment."

I just read this in a thread about why no one attacked the US during the Civil War (think about it, why wouldn't they attack a small country with rich economic resources in the middle of a crisis?).

My thought, on reading this, was "and that's why the US will do nothing when China, in the next few months, invades Taiwan."

We're too heavily involved elsewhere, and China owns too much US debt.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


I should teach people how to drive. For a year, I worked as a pizza delivery guy, getting paid decent cash to drive like a maniacal asshole. I was given permission to drive the way I did by the police. One time I passed a K9 unit. The sedan behind me, heartened by my example, did the same, and was promptly pulled over.

I saw every example of bad driving there is. I encountered the worst of inattentive morons and inconsiderate pricks. I've been rear-ended, flipped off, honked at for using my turn signal. I know how to analyse a driver's attitude and destination in a few moments and predict all future driving behavior from that.

In other words, I know all the ways there are of fuxxong up, and all the ways to compensate for mistakes in others. It may come as a surprise, but I'm one of those slow drivers that are content to use the right-hand lane.

And I'm willing to yell at students and get their attention. I've the sort of fun arrogance that gets responses.

I rule.

Damn, that sort of thing feels good.