Monday, August 16, 2010

Album Review: The Final Frontier

It's that time of the decade that a real metalhead waits for with baited breath day-in and day-out, knowing that each time this day comes may be the last, and the greatest. A new Iron Maiden album has hit the shelves: The Final Frontier. Already the title begged the question, "Is this the last Iron Maiden album?" Luckily, Steve Harris and company have repeatedly said that it won't be. These guys range from 52 to 56 years in age, and they sure as hell don't sound like it on tour - nor on the new disc.

I've actually had my hands on this since it leaked on Monday, and no, I don't feel bad about it. I've already bought it three times (iTunes LP, Mission Edition via Amazon, and pre-ordered the regular disc for average car/CD use), so, if EMI thinks I'm a thief, they can shove it. When it comes to a band with the utter quality and power of Iron Maiden, they definitely deserve my money. I'll pretty much keep buying everything they throw out.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Deadliest Warrior: Season 3, Episode 2

The Second World War-era United States Marines, the elite landing troops that wrested back control of the Pacific from Imperial Japan.

The German Fallschirmjäger, the battle-hardened paratroopers of Hitler's Luftwaffe, used to overwhelm Nazi Germany's enemies and defend her borders.

Who is deadliest?

George Washington's Tea Partiers

Friends, today, I'd like to remind you that the tradition of the left's tax-and-spend politics is not a recent tradition; it is in fact one that true, conservative, freedom-loving Americans have battled for over two centuries. You see, one of the things that George Washington did as President was to raise taxes when he decided to tax several luxury items that he considered distasteful. One of the prime purposes of President Washington's un-American taxation plan (they would have called it socialist but it's over a hundred years before the Communist Manifesto) was to alter the way people in the United States behaved and believed. This clear violation of the 10th Amendment was no more than a shady attempt to usurp states rights, disguising their intentions by telling the people of the United States that the money was needed to pay off the massive "debt" left by the Glorious War of Independence Against the Tyrant George.

A well-known liberal, Washington ignored the will of the people and chose to implement a form of taxation designed to conform behavior to progressive, liberal norms: he taxed whiskey. Like all people who hate freedom, Washington has a set lifestyle he wants Americans to live, and he had illegitimately abused his power this enact the tax. I don't know if you were aware of this, but Washington's Congress had only one party. Do you know what other country only had one party? That's right. Nazi Germany.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

New design!

Well, looks like Joé was right, and he was happy to help. He's designed this new...layout for me. Is it easier to read? Does it need new work?

Either way, thanks Joé!

I need your opinion.

Joé says it's too hard to read my blog, and that it's hard on his eyes. I have no problem with it - I prefer white on black. However, if a lot of people are having trouble reading it, I'd be more than pleased to investigate a change.

So, I need you to tell me: change the appearance of my blog, or is Joé whining?

California's Proposition 8 Overturned

Hoo boy. Here's the big news of the day: the hate-filled amendment to the California Constitution commonly known as "Proposition 8" has been overturned by Judge Vaughn Walker, the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. Judge Walker, a George H. W. Bush appointee, found in his ruling on Perry v. Schwarzenegger, that Proposition 8 violates both the Due Process and the Equal Protection clause of the 14th Amendment (learn more about the 14th Amendment here). Walker was expected to rule against Proposition 8, as California judges are not known for their approval of anti-gay legislation. However, the degree of his ruling is important, as I will shortly explore. Unfortunately, I am very concerned about the timing of this ruling, for a reason I will also explore.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Expedition to Undermountain: The Introduction

This passage is the description I gave my online party for the campaign they are about to embark on. I'm placing it here for future reference...and to share with all of you!

The City of Splendors; the Jewel of the Sword Coast; the Lord's City; all of these are nicknames for the independent city of Waterdeep, the largest in the North of Faerun. Built on a natural harbour, surrounded by a heavy wall, dominated by Mount Waterdeep and the castle above it, but protected most importantly by its famous inhabitants, Waterdeep is a city that can spawn a thousand and more adventures, without ever straying from the protection of its walls.

The city is rules by the mysterious Lords of Waterdeep, a cadre of sixteen rulers who, save one, rule in secret. The Open Lord of Waterdeep speaks for the Lords in all things, including foreign diplomacy; the current Open Lord is Piergerion the Paladinson, a famous holy knight who has been Open Lord for quite a long time. The other Lords appear, always, hooded, cloaked, and masked, and look like uniformly similar humans in splendid purple regalia. Though the names of the Lords are officially unknown, many whisper names like Mirt the Moneylender, Texter, and until recently, Khelban "Blackstaff" Arunsun, who removed his helm at a Lord's Dinner and announced his retirement as a secret Lord.

The Boondrunk Saints

I mentioned doing this on Twitter recently, and at least one person (Mark!) was insane enough to agree. The basic theory is that you watch The Boondock Saints, taking a drink of alcohol for several events.

You take one drink...
...whenever someone says fuck.
...whenever something religious happens.
...whenever someone drinks alcohol.
...whenever someone discusses rope.
...whenever Smecker (Willem Dafoe's character) makes fun of the Boston detectives.

You take two drinks...
...whenever someone is killed.
...whenever Smecker does something that could be construed as "fabulous".
...whenever someone uses a racial slur.

You finish your drink when...
...they kill the cat.

Nobody has ever made it through this drinking game. One time, Scott left the room to piss and returned to be informed he was back 32 drinks. Do you dare to dance with the Saints?

Legitimization of the Tea Party

The below was originally written for Politics and Pucks, Mike's blog. He was kind enough to invite me to do a guest post on the day of Blogathon. Because this was a guest post, it has none of my usual formatting. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

One of the very interesting responses to the Democrat Party's takeover of Congress and the White House during the 2006 and 2008 electoral cycles has been the emergence of the Tea Party phenomena amongst voters in the United States. As readers of this blog will know, the Tea Party isn't actually a political party, but a loose association of individuals who share openly the ideas that government is too big and oppressive, and especially, taxes far too much. I don't feel the need to delve into the extended history of the Tea Party - Mike's coverage of the movement has been more thorough than I could ever be - but I would like to go over their ascendancy from fringe movement to legitimate portion of the American right.

The Tea Party began as an embodiment of the concept that the government should reduce taxes and expenditure in order to restore power to the average American, and a popular patriotic symbol was chosen as the flagship of this movement - the Boston Tea Party of 1773. It is interesting, and apt, that these self-described patriots chose to name their movement after an event that was designed to lash out against legitimate government on a hypothetical and ultimately fictional basis while utilizing extreme racist overtones that precipitated a violent event. The two Tea Parties have shared interestingly similar paths of development, though of course, I hope the end result differs.