Tuesday, November 11, 2008
There is the speaking about the value of defending Liberty and Justice, and then there is the acting upon it.
For all of those who are acting, or have acted, in the defense of our nation, and all that we stand for,
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Tuesday, November 04, 2008
Saturday, November 01, 2008
However I do think that the idea of trying to write consistently by word count, in a compressed period of time, without an attempt to edit as I proceed (but rather to edit later - or not to overedit my fiction as I initially progress, as is the truer case with me) is a very useful exercise. So in that sense I will be following the intent of this project. Anywhere the rules interfere with producing real quality in my efforts however, then I will be ignoring or modifying those rules. For instance I will not be working on the weekends. I have learned over time that the only real benefit to working six or seven days a week, at anything, physical or mental, is lowered productivity, lessened efficiency, ever decreasing enthusiasm, and your mind and body never lay fallow long enough to recover your full capabilities or exploit all of your potential fully. Recreation, relaxation, vacation, and rest are just as important to superb effort as are work, concentration, research, thought, exercise, training, and activity. (Although during the weekends if ideas occur to me or I need to make notes I will do that, I just don't do any real or formal work writing.)
But my novel will actually be written in about six months, I actually started in the first of October, I am averaging 500 to 1000 words a work day (I work Monday through Friday on the novel in addition to my regular work schedule), and at that rate I should have completed a 90,000 word novel (or thereabouts) by the end of March 2009, and with edits and rewrites I can expect to have completed the entire novel project by May to June 2009. I am so far about 9000 words into the work.
Then I will start marketing it by June to July 2009.
If not earlier through agent contacts.
I am also involved in other projects, such as the writing of short stories, I'm concurrently developing a script, and I have a couple of business and invention projects running as well, but this novel is one of my primary projects and one which I concentrate upon working on every workday.
The wife and I went to get our dogs their rabies vaccinations today. It was my Great Dane bitch and my American Superior puppy, who is about a year and 3 months or so old.
Last week we took our sire mastiff American Superior.
My two dogs towered over every other dog around.
Even here, in a rural area (though not nearly as rural as it used to be, even at the fringes) almost no-one had a real dog.
A few people did. I saw one with a pretty Siberian Huskie, one guy had a German Shepherd, though it was young and small, just a pup. One Mexican guy had a cross between a Rottweiler and a Pit Bull. It was kinda snippy but well behaved enough. It wouldn't have lasted long against Bart though.
Everyone else had these little yap-yap, nip-nip, tea-cup, I don't know what the hell they were dogs. Which is fine I guess but I kept wondering, what good are they? What use do they really serve?
From the amount of yapping they did they seemed pretty effective noise makers, but in a real fight I thought, one hard kick to the snout and the skull of these things would cave in like a house of cards. They seemed about as dangerous and useful as a bicycle horn at a monster truck rally.
My dogs were enormous by comparison.
The other dogs cowered from them but for most folks they were amazing and the belles of the ball. Kids ran up to them saying, "Gosh," ooing and ahhing, petting all over them and a few of the smaller kids asked if they could be ridden. (I don't let kids ride my dogs, even though my bitch and my sire could carry them.) Adults kept saying, "what are those?" "man they are big," and "good Lord, what does that thing weigh?"
Seeing the size of these other things though made me realize two things. People keep down-breeding the size of dogs til they are smaller and more useless than most cats. All they are really good for is cuddling on the couch with chicks like a cat. Which seems kinda shameful and downright counter-productive to me. the function of a dog, in my opinion, is not only as a pet, but also as a real companion to go in the woods with, to play, wrestle and fight with, and to serve as a faithful and fearless guardian for your family, friends, and neighborhood for when you can't be around in person. It's like people are breeding the purpose out of the animals simply so they can carry them around in their back pockets like they were some kinda weird, personal dwarf-child. I got nothing against that kinda dog as a pet, but if that's all your packing then it seems to me like you're shooting plastic pellets at potential bears when real trouble starts.
Secondly it made me realize how to a large extent so much of the territory around me is becoming suburbanized, urbanized, feeble and febrile. Urbanization tends to take all of the power, self-reliance, strength, and health right out of a people. And not just takes it out of the people, it seems to take it even out of the animals around them and the animals they choose to have around them. Like people are downbreeidng all sense of vitality and power right out of themselves merely for the extremely questionable benefits of urban convenience and urban conformity.
I got no interest in it myself.
Weakness, puniness, yappiness, being like everybody else in the herd (especially when the herd is headed downhill off a sharp cliff-face), and down-breeding.
No interest in it for myself, my kids, my lands, or my animals.
More empower, more strength, more self-reliance, more capabilities, not less.
Certainly not less.
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This is the first part of the rough draft of an extended essay I'm writing. It will be partially political but mainly about the unique nature of America and her culture and civilization, and what present events might entail about the future of the United States.
I intend to rewrite it, enlarge upon perhaps in six or seven parts then prepare it for publication and then to publish it.
History is full of ruined nations. Nations that rose upon their summer blush to heights of great and sometimes incredible power, only to fall back in winter to an early, quiet, or a continuously shallow, complacent grave. In the course and passage of history this is the way of things. The way things have always been, and the way they shall always be. Or is it?
Rome rose, benefactor of, and contender with, both the Greeks and the Jews, then fell, eventually in both the East, and the West, at the hands of barbarian hordes, yet in both spheres it gave birth to Christendom. Eventually Christendom rose from babe to maiden and gave birth to Europe. The peoples of Europe then in their various turns delivered up the Age of Exploration, like Christendom less a nation than a worldview of nations. And although Christendom is not thought of anymore as a political sphere of influence, it still exists, and in many ways is far more widespread and influential across the globe that at any point in her past.
There are no more colonies or lands to explore or stake by ship or sea, yet Europe too still exists, and might even be mighty in our own day had she not squandered all her virtues in the countless and often ill-conceived and vice-filled wars of those squabbling tribes we moderns now call nation-states. The Age of Exploration that Europe fathered likewise gave birth to many things, including eventually the realms of the Americas and onwards from there to our present home, to the United States of America. What then will the United States of America give birth to? What will we bear and what will we parent? And will what America generates replace her, or merely continue on along beside her, she and her children running parallel and co-prospered through future time?
In the United States we often see ourselves as the culmination of the inexorable grind of the forces of historical progress. And so we are, although as with all things, all events, all ages, all nations, all peoples, we are as full with our own, and sometimes indistinct and unobserved flaws, as we are pregnant with untapped, unexplored, and unexploited potential. But we sit upon the pinnacle of history at this point in time, at this age of modernity. Uneasily we sit, but then again we have always sat uneasily upon the height of power, for we have a different view of the responsibilities, and benefits, and luxuries of power than most any other nation has ever had in the history of the world.
And because of this we are different, in many respects, in many important respects, than any who have come before us, be they Babylonian, Persian, Chinese, Greek, or Roman, or Jewish, or Frank, or French, or Italian, or German, or even Byzantine or British (those with whom we have shared the most in common politically and militarily in respect to our view of the world, and our place in it). Our work in history is different, is less easily defined, more nebulous, and yet in some respects more vital than any who have come before us along the path of recorded time.
We are Judeo-Christian in our spirit, Greek in our philosophy, Roman in our pragmatism and methods of administration and expansiveness, British in our technologies, German in our innovation and science, Byzantine (in both the good and bad senses of the term) in our politics (both internally and externally) and military capabilities and apotheosis of warfare, European in our laws, and unlike anyone else at all, ever, in the profound nature of the immense amalgamation of peoples, civilizations, languages, and ideas and ideals which formulate and comprise our culture. And yet within this body, this unlikely organism of various and assorted traits we are also, at our soul - wild-men, frontiersmen, people along the edge of the world. What can you say of such a people other than they are a marvel the likes of which has never before been observed, and that they are a danger unlike any other peoples who have ever existed?
Yes, the United States of America is indeed a danger. A real and persistent threat, even within the heart of the maelstrom of well-intentioned struggles we have sometimes created for ourselves. We are dangerous in the ideals we champion, dangerous in our construction, dangerous in our enormous capabilities, dangerous in our very nature. Danger is knit into our very blood, bones, and being. We were created from peril, fashioned from risk, birthed in enterprise, raised in conflict and competition, molded and tempered in challenge, and made to endeavor. We are the frontier of the future. The world did not create us from blind circumstance, and neither did the past, it is the future who is our father, and our mother, the as yet unseen horizon.
But with parentage such as this that does indeed makes us dangerous. Dangerous and foreboding, to our enemies, to our allies, and to ourselves. You cannot be a thing of danger and not give pause to the timid heart. This is the way of things. This is our way. The American Way.
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Yesterday I went running around the house. I live out in the country, way out in the country many would say, though it is not nearly as far out in the country as it was when I was growing up on these same lands. After my father and mother retired and moved to the city my wife and I bought the same home and lands on which I grew up.
Even though this territory is not nearly as rural as it once was, it is still bordered by forest on nearly every side. And so it is safe to say that it still remains a sort of rural oasis, especially from my point of view. Nevertheless even paradise has her serpents.
As I said, yesterday I went running, and after making the laps around the outer edges of the yard bordering the woods I had run about half a mile. Not quite that far but pretty close. About 3/8 of a mile is about as far as I can accurately reckon it with the instruments I have. Anyway I ran that distance in 3 minutes and 5 seconds. Not a huge deal you might say, and you’d be very right, when I was a kid I could run faster. About a mile in six to six and a half minutes, given the course, the roads, and how much of the length was uphill, etc. I ran a lot as a kid, and over long distances, and got very good at it. But later on I was seriously injured including breaking my lower back, and screwing my knees up, and after then running became torturous and eventually I gave it up. I still have trouble running and hadn’t done it much for nearly a decade or more. But recently I had taken up training with the P90X program (or my modification of it) and through that program I had built my back muscles up to the point, and had improved my general conditioning so much, that I had become curious if I could run again. I was throwing discus and my training had made that easy, and I was feeling little or no back strain from the effort. And even though I love throwing the discus, before my recent training the effort could often cause me back spasms. Not so recently though.
So over the past month or so I’ve been running, really running, and building myself back up again as a runner. At first all I did was jog, extremely slowly, letting my body get used to the pounding that distance running puts on your skeletal system, especially considering my age and my prior injuries. But every day I could run a little farther without strain, a little farther before the lactic acid kicked in, and a little faster and with slightly better form. And since I have been running in the heat of summer (usually around 2 or 3 in the afternoon), I was also daily improving my aerobic conditioning.
Which brings me back to yesterday. Well yesterday I went running with my stopwatch on, really running the course hard to see what time I could make. After running that hard and going that distance I was making good time all things considered, but I had to pull up short after going a little under half a mile because I took on a terrific cramp. So I stopped running, walked it off a bit, and then went and sat down on the trunk of an old tree that I had cut down last year and dragged to the edge of our southwestern woods by a mini-CAT. While sitting there huffing and puffing, with all of my systems returning slowly to normal I happened to glance down at my feet. Three inches from my right heel lay the coiled body of a large copperhead. (For my foreign readers, and for those not familiar with the breed, a copperhead is a venomous and mean snake with a powerful and very poisonous bite – one likely killed one of my very large dogs a while back, and he weighed the same as a small man.) I flinched and then stood up and as calmly and quietly as I could strode away but the snake was watching me the whole time and God only knows why it hadn’t struck me. It was a very fortuitous and happy accident, or God was watching out for me, or both, but if it had struck me and sunk those fangs in deep then chances are, given how hard my heart was beating from the run, how hot and sweaty I was, and how hard my lungs were working, it could have sent me into shock almost immediately. And I’m sure that the toxin from the bite would have raced through my bloodstream and to my heart extremely quickly and before it could have been counter-acted, at the very least causing long-term heart and tissue damage.
So I went inside, got my Mossberg 12 gauge, loaded four shells on the way back down and went out to where I had seen the snake. Part of it still seemed exposed, but barely, though I was also still having trouble seeing because I was not fully recovered from my run, and sweat was pouring down my eyes, and it was well camouflaged given the terrain and background. Nevertheless I let go with two blasts at where I thought the snake was most exposed. It had apparently though slithered under the log by the time I set to fire and I doubted if I had hit anything. It had apparently made a nest underneath the tree trunk, which was too big to move, but I stepped to the far side of the log and fired two more blasts at the area where it seemed most likely to have built a nest (the area I would have chosen had I been a snake). But I couldn’t really say that I had hit anything. I went out to the log three times later that evening, hoping it would show again so I could ambush and kill it, but, no such luck.
Today though, about eleven o’clock in the morning I went back out to the log and found it sleeping in pretty much the same position where it had coiled near my leg the day before. I went inside and loaded my shotgun and went outside, took aim, fired, and … nothing. Nothing at all. I cleared the shell and mounted another and fired, and … nothing. I tried two more shells with the same effect. It had been firing perfectly the day before but nothing now, even though I could hear the pin snapping against the shell. (I still don’t know why it wasn’t firing; I gotta take it apart later.)
Thoroughly angered and thinking I might miss my best shot, hoping it had not heard too much or at least had not realized what I was doing, I went inside and got my .38 revolver and my 9mm semi-automatic. I went outside to find the snake again and although it had flexed out lengthwise making it harder to shoot, it had not fled and seemed oblivious to me. I got within about six or seven feet, took aim with my revolver and shot. I couldn’t see exactly because of the grass but it slinked against the log and disappeared. When it was gone I could see blood on a leaf and knew I had scored. I kept firing at the small space between the ground and the log base hoping to scare it out. I heard some pine needles and leaves crunch and walking around the other side of the trunk and into the woods I found it coiled at the base of a small tree, apparently my first shot had mortally wounded it, nearly slicing it in half. (I am well practiced with my revolver but hadn’t expected to do it that kinda damage with my first shot – snakes are hard to hit with bullets, especially lengthwise.) Nevertheless I emptied the clip on my 9mm and kept firing til the body didn’t even twitch when taking rounds.
Then after a few moments I went and picked the corpse up and laid it out on the log. It was dead, it was female, and not only that several of my shots had dislodged baby snakes, maybe 8 to 10 of them. The lower abdomen was huge and swollen, filled with snakelets, and one shot had torn the placenta open exposing snakes about to be passed. So not only was she a big snake, and nesting within 30 yards of my house near the woodline, but she was about to brood all over the place. I could have counted on several very deadly babies cavorting around my rear yards.
Now personally, I don’t like to kill anything. I like life, I like living things, God made everything for it’s own purpose, and generally I agree with living and let living. But when I do run across something so dangerous that it needs a good killing I’m the first one to stay on that thing and to hunt it to the ground, and to kill it good and proper. To make sure it is dead, and ain’t never gonna hurt anyone else again. Had that snake hit one of my dogs, or God forbid one of my kids, it could have possibly killed them. Had it hit me after just running it could have killed me as well. Had it laid a clutch I could have had a whole mess of dangerous copperheads slithering all around my yards.
She was a pretty snake, for a copperhead (I don’t like the ugly head of those snakes though), good coloring, big, well camouflaged, and to tell you the truth I probably would have never noticed her had she not been so close to my leg (and that might very well be why she didn’t strike me yesterday, she was either preoccupied with, or worried about taking a chance with her young), not that is unless she had bitten my dogs or my kids. But she needed to be killed, especially filled with baby snakes, and once I discovered her I was gonna stay on her til she was finished. Nothing that dangerous gets away from me if I can possibly kill it.
So after I killed her I laid her body out on the tree trunk, took some pictures, then took my machete and cut the body into pieces, especially around the lower abdomen, making sure I had cut out and exposed all the little ones. Making sure that she wasn't close enough to still deliver something viable. A couple of times the lower part of the body coiled and twitched, but since one of my shots had snapped the spine I deduced that it might have been the young still alive in the body. So I hacked all of those out. Just to be safe.
It just goes to show you that no matter how tame you think your lands are, they are never really as tame as you expect them to be, and will never be any more tame than you allow them to be, or make sure they become. So I had a lucky accident and ended up taming my lands just that little bit more. Til the next time anyways.
Enjoy the photos folks.They’re free of charge.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
(This review and briefing contains spoilers. Caveat Emptor.)
Last week I started an absolutely fascinating book (as far as fiction goes) called God's Demon. It is by the artist Wayne Barlowe, and I wanted to read it for three reasons. First, I am familiar with Barlowe's impressive and unusual artistry, secondly because I wanted to see what kind of writer he would make of himself. And finally because I had read an interview with the man in a magazine about the book and it had intrigued me. I can't remember which magazine exactly but I think it was Realms of Fantasy.
I knew the book was coming out from the interview but had forgotten about it in the interval, and so when I happened upon it by accident in the library I got a copy immediately.
As far as Barlowe's skills as a writer go they are impressive enough, at times even very good, though he has obvious weaknesses as well. Nevertheless for a first book (and to my knowledge this is his first real book of fictional literature) the work is quite solid, especially for a work produced by a graphic artist. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those modern fellas who think artists should be artists only, or scientists scientists only, or priests priests only, or cops a cop only, or soldiers only soldiers, or bakers only bakers, or Geeks only geeks, for that matter. As a matter of fact I'm as far from that ideal as is humanly possible. My personal philosophy of life, and especially of being a free citizen of the United States, is that men and women ought to be as Renaissance and varied in their capabilities as possible, achieving as much as possible in as wide a set of (either related or disparate) fields of activity as possible, and going as far as talent, drive, motivation, skill, and training will take them.
But I also know that up until recently it was common for people to think in career and professional terms, even in terms of themselves, as specialists. That it was common among large groups of people, and still is among many, to think of themselves by "classification," niche, group, or for lack of a better term, clan or tribal association. And to think and respond to the world in this fashion in every conceivable way - professionally, by social group, by religion, and even by personality and persona. Much of our educational system has been geared to this feudalistic paradigm, you choose a specialty, a technical derivation of expertise and applied effort, then you follow "a career path," rather than setting out to "achieve great things." It used to be that great men and women in this nation set out to "achieve great and important things," and too often nowadays they set out to become mere professionals, or at best a minor league expertiste (similar in fashion and capability and influence to the modern “artiste”). There is nothing wrong with being either a professional or an expert, but contrary to modern opinion (and that’s all it really is, a commonly held Weltanschauung of mere current fashion) there is nothing so inherently great or impressive or grand about it that any particular person need limit themselves to becoming a professional or expert at some tiny or obscure field of pursuit, or even to a single field of pursuit with far wider applications and implications. Men should be limited only by their imaginations in the range of their enterprises, and if drive and will and capability are sufficient to their cause, not limited even by their own imaginations. Barlowe is an artist, and in my opinion a good one, but he needn't stop there, nor need any man conclude his attainments to any one field of accomplishment. Modern society may be in love with the idea of the expert and the technocrat, but no society ever became great, or remained long great based upon the accomplishments of men toiling away at small and obscure things and/or based upon the idea that men pursue some singular profession to the exclusion of everything else they might accomplish. Men do not become great by narrow and petty avenues of pursuit, and societies do not become great by encouraging narrowness of interests.
So I was glad to see Barlowe step outside his own normal venues of accomplishment and attempt a book of literature. But, aside from Barlowe being a good writer (he is not great, yet, but this is an early attempt, much practice will make him much better, and he is already a good writer and can on occasion turn a brilliant and even poetic phrase, and that’s already a fine achievement considering much that passes as fiction and literature nowadays), two things really fascinated me about the book. The first was the fact that Sargatanas (this name is an acronym I suspect) is an excellent example of the very Renaissance Ideal I was speaking about. He is extremely able and capable in a number of fields, administrative, as a military commander, as a source of inspiration to his people, as an organizer and politician, as a builder, and as a scholar. He is in many ways the proto-typical Renaissance Man (or in this case, Demon, or Angel). The second thing that fascinated me about the book was the fact of Sargatanas’ plan as he rules in hell.
Sargatanas decides to rebel against hell as Lucifer had rebelled against Heaven. But not just against Lucifer, whom Sargatanas early realizes was drastically wrong in both his assumptions and his actions, but against the very order of Hell itself. He plans to rebel against hell, overthrow of it what can be overthrown, and to take with him what demons and human souls he can and try to return to Heaven and achieve redemption, and reconciliation with God and his brother angels. (I have not read the entire book yet, and I am very dubious of his plan as he initially envisions it, or the fact of his being able to "earn his way back into heaven," but nevertheless the very idea is enormous and tremendous and fascinating, and certainly worth the effort from nearly any point of view. And it is after all only a book of fiction. It doesn’t have to be a workable plan; it merely has to be an inspiring and heroic one.) Interestingly enough the idea of Barlowe's novel roughly corresponds to a novella that I am writing, at least in general ideology and theme (though it differs greatly in details). In my novella Christ, near the end of the Millennial Rule decides that he will, against God's explicit commands, enter hell on a mission to free Judas Iscariot, and return him to himself as one of the Apostles. (It's only a fictional story folks; retain your emails and potential outrage for more important matters.) So I was very glad to see Barlowe address the idea of hell's rule being breakable, and beatable, in his work.
One of the truly amazing, brilliant, and ironic things Barlowe has Sargatanas do is to (re)create a chapel and shrine to God and Heaven (which they call the Above) in an underground area directly beneath his own palace in the city he founds on the river Acheron in hell. To reach heaven, or at least a sort of recreated version of it, Sargatanas goes to the underearth of hell to build his shrine. The implications are obvious and well reflect Milton's "the mind is it's own place, and in itself can make Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven." (My favorite line from Paradise Lost. You can tell both Milton, and Dante, two of my favorite poets, heavily influenced Barlowe.) But one thing about the quote above from Paradise Lost is that you cannot turn the phrase in English so that Heaven is the subject of either part of the quote. For if you “make a Heaven of Hell” then Hell is the real subject, and heaven is the adjective, and if you "make a Hell of Heaven," then by the very nature of that, you have spoilt Heaven (when perfection is spoilt it is by definition no longer perfection), and therefore Heaven becomes Hell and Hell once again becomes the true subject of the phrase. There is no way in English to render Heaven from Hell so that Heaven becomes the true subject of intent, it can only remain an object of remembrance (see the point of the Eucharist here, and the Passover Seder, words and words alone are wholly, and holy, insufficient to the task). So ever since I first read that phrase in Milton I have been personally seeking an alche-linguistic formula by which the phrase could be reversed, and Hell could be rendered and reshaped in language to become Heaven once again. That Heaven would become the point and subject of Hell. But I never found a real and working solution to Milton’s equation. Heaven, at least in language, does not infiltrate Hell as Hell infiltrates Heaven, even though in my opinion Heaven should be the far better skilled at the subtle arts of craft, and cunning, and clever infiltration. Though maybe that is more a fault of human language and lack of vision, than a truism of Divine provenance. Yet when I read what Barlowe had done, having his Demon physically reshape the underground of Hell into a Chapel of Heaven a sort of chill ran up my spine. And even though it was not a formulaic solution resolved in an equation of language, strictly speaking, it was nevertheless a brilliant literary solution, and if I had read the book for no other reason, I think, and I credit it with having at least in part solved my Miltonian dilemma. And I think it is the most high literary moment in the book, and a very high one for any literary work. One I will not forget, and a solution to that paradox I thank Barlowe for having presented. (And I have long years pondered this arduous riddle, but now I know and see the solution - “The mind is it’s own place, and in itself can break Hell, when Heaven enters in it.”)
He also makes brilliant use of some of the secondary characters such as Lilith, Beelzebub, and Hani, the seemingly hapless soul who desires his freedom from the tyranny of hell. I do not intend to spoil the overall plot or the eventual outcome of the war against Hell so I will end my review here, but all in all, I am much enjoying this work of fiction and can highly recommend this book. Get and read it.
You'll be sorry as hell if you don't.
By the way, you can see Barlowe’s impressive artistry at these sites:
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A very well-informed buddy sent me this article. I present it to you for your consideration.
The Telegraph - Aug 11, 2008
Georgia: Russia 'conducting cyber war'Russia has been accused of attacking Georgian government websites in a cyber war to accompany their military bombardment.
By Jon SwaineLast Updated: 11:53AM BST 11 Aug 2008
The official website of Mikheil Saakashvili, the Georgian President, was been under external control since shortly before Russia's armed intervention
Several Georgian state computer servers have been under external control since shortly before Russia's armed intervention into the state commenced on Friday, leaving its online presence in dissaray.While the official website of Mikheil Saakashvili, the Georgian President, has become available again, the central government site, as well as the homepages for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Defence , remain down. Some commercial websites have also been hijacked.
The Georgian Government said that the disruption was caused by attacks carried out by Russia as part of the ongoing conflict between the two states over the Georgian province of South Ossetia.In a statement released via a replacement website built on Google's blog-hosting service, the Georgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: "A cyber warfare campaign by Russia is seriously disrupting many Georgian websites, including that of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs."Barack Obama, the Democratic US Presidential candidate, has demanded Moscow halt the internet attacks as well as observing a ceasefire on the ground.
Last April the computer systems of the Estonian Government came under attack in a co-ordinated three-week assault widely credited to state-sponsored Russian hackers. The wave of attacks came after a row erupted over the removal of the Bronze Soldier Soviet war memorial in Tallinn, the Estonian capital. The websites of government departments, political parties, banks and newspapers were all targeted.
Analysts have immediately accused the Russian Business Network (RBN), a network of criminal hackers with close links to the Russian mafia and government, of the Georgian attacks.Jart Armin, a researcher who runs a website tracking the activity of the RBN, has released data claiming to show that visits to Georgian sites had been re-routed through servers in Russia and Turkey, where the traffic was blocked. Armin said the servers "are well known to be under the control of RBN and influenced by the Russian Government.
"Mr Armin said that administrators in Germany had intervened at the weekend, temporarily making the Georgian sites available by re-routing their traffic through German servers run by Deutsche Telekom. Within hours, however, control over the traffic had been wrested back, this time to servers based in Moscow.
As in the barrage against Estonian websites last year, the Georgian sites are being bombarded by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, in which hackers direct their computers to simultaneously flood a site with thousands of visits in order to overload it and bring it offline.The Shadowserver Foundation, which tracks serious hacking, confirmed:"We are now seeing new attacks against .ge sites - http://www.parliament.ge/ and president.gov.ge are currently being hit with http floods.
"Mr Armin warned that official Georgian sites that did appear online may have been hijacked and be displaying bogus content. He said in a post on his site: "Use caution with any web sites that appear of a Georgia official source but are without any recent news ... as these may be fraudulent."
The Baltic Business News website reported that Estonia has offered to send a specialist online security team to Georgia.However a spokesman from Estonia's Development Centre of State Information Systems said Georgia had not made a formal request. "This will be decided by the government," he said.
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This time the Russian bear is not in a fight with a bunch of small, helpless states supported by vague promises from the British Empire. This time the Ruskies are not in a fight with the Germans. This time they aren't poisoning men in secret under the table and trying to usurp governments by slipping toxins in their wine and employing the subterfuge of old women. This time you Russian sonsabitches are in a fight with a bunch of little states who know what you are, and are supported by the United States of America and NATO. You're not fooling anybody.
This time old toothless and worn out bear you fight with people who are free, who are gonna stay that way, and who are friends with nations who can do more than just beat you in a fight. We can wipe out your very reason for existing as government.
I got nothing against the Russian people (as a matter of fact I got a real affection for the Russian people going way back to the Soviet Union), nothing even against the Russian troops (used to know some Soviet troops and officers, corresponded with and liked em), but 'ware your asses Russian leaders. Cause if you don't then we'll be wearing your asses. I got no love for you animals and neither do a lot of folks, including those that surround ya, and where I come from we hang high sonasbitches like you, and we wear pelts made out of bears who think they are matches for men. We got a whole continent full of bear-rugs to prove it. You're not nearly as tough as you think you are, and your hide is not nearly as thick as you've deluded yourself into thinking. A thousand little bees all around you and your hairy hide is stung and crippled. A single determined, screaming, fighting eagle in your face and you're blind and helpless. We don't forget our friends, and we don't start fights with punk ass bullies, but we sure as hell finish em.
We got time, we're patient, and we know how to cripple and kill and skin wild beasts like you.
So, your day is coming grizzly men.
Your day is coming.
And when that day comes, we're gonna finish you for good this time, and your people are gonna turn and eat what ever is left. And then we're gonna set them free too.
Until then sleep well in the knowledge that we're out there waiting for bear.
Cause we are.
Friday, August 08, 2008
We owe you one.
Philippe Naughton Video:
Thursday, May 15, 2008
But a lot of the points he mentioned are things I've been politically pushing for years and years.
I especially like the idea of a League of Democracies, though for years and years I've been saying we should have a League of Republics and like minded nations (instead) as most of you know, rather than relying on the UN. As a matter of fact a League of Republics and Allies would make the UN obsolete if it functioned properly and would cripple lingering communists and despots everywhere.
I don't know. I'm like a lot of people I reckon, I don't really know what to make of McCain, even now, or exactly how to take him. And something about the man makes me uneasy, and always has. Psychologically and behaviorally speaking. But he's proven himself in the past and who knows, he may just end up being another Theodore Roosevelt. (Another man who was initially never expected to be President, another man of somewhat similar and radical and maverick background who became an absolutely fantastic and tremendously excellent and effective president. My favorite Presidents by the way are Lincoln, Washington, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ronald Reagan, in that order, though from time to time the order shifts a bit in my mind in favor of one man or another.)
And I know that when a man becomes President he operates differently from how he operates as a Congressman or Senator (Thank God) and this remains by hope with McCain. Despite having been a Senator for so long he will have nevertheless not been totally ruined and may yet rise above that unfortunate association. I'm still not thrilled with a former Senator for President, but since it looks like that is our national doom in any case, at least, I hope, a man who can rise above that sort of thing as a hawk can rise above a stinking carcass when he's had his fill of decomposing entrails.
In any case at least the man is talking a good game.
Now run John, run, and play like you really mean it. And if your achievements match your words, then hell man, I'll fight in your corner.
If only most other Republicans had those kinda balls.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
This is an extremely important development as far as I’m concerned. Petraeus is certainly the man for this job, for a whole host of reasons, not least of which is the astute balancing of resources by a man who knows that he has very real and competing interests in the proper execution of conflicts in both the present theatres of war and in preparing for the successful prosecution of any potential conflicts in future theatres of war.
But I am also very hopeful that his new influence will allow for the possible systemic realignment of leadership and training towards ever-greater force-wide integration of the principles of asymmetric warfare and counter-insurgency. We need a lot more officers (military wide) capable of this kind of thinking, and fighting ability, when needed.
I would also not be the least surprised to see recommendations from Petraeus, as well as implementable orders from his office covering wide-scale reforms in such operational functions as changing individual soldier deployment specifications, logistics, resource allocation, unit rotation schedules (I’m very much in favor of unit rotation instead of soldier and specialist rotation, with certain exceptions), intelligence gathering, and overall changes in theatre policy (especially and hopefully, Afghanistan.)
I am pleased thus far with the job Gates has been doing in his assignment and I’m looking forward to Petraeus as Commander of Central Command, though I know it will be quite awhile before the real turnover and real work begins.
The American military is changing, and mightily so. I suspect Petraeus is the man, as proven by his prior experience and adaptability and focus upon actionable success, for this job.
I don’t envy him this job. Not at all. Or the responsibility. But I suspect he is indeed the right man for this job.
I just have one question. Where are all of the left-wing
General Betrayus patriots now, and how come they’re not burning their bras at CENTCOM Headquarters? Maybe they’re afraid that with that many bras going up in smoke at once that their carbon footprint would be inexcusably heavy.
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Wednesday, April 16, 2008
I am not a Roman Catholic. I consider myself a Christian, and nothing more, yet nothing less. I am however very warmly disposed towards Orthodox and Greek Catholicism, while in many other ways remaining Protestant (Baptist to be exact), and yet in many ways I am also warmly disposed towards Roman Catholicism.
This is especially true as to many of her recent Popes. Both the popes of the last century, and of this century. I was a great admirer of John Paul, both during his life on earth, and in his power as a Saint, for so he was, and so he remains. After the passing of John Paul II I was doubtful, I fully admit, that any newly elected pope could give as good an account of the office as had John Paul.
And when Benedict was elected I have to also admit, I had my personal doubts about him as successor to the Great Seat. He seemed in many ways a far lesser man, less impressive, less great, less imposing, less sure of himself, less a better future for the Roman church, and less a better overall representative of Christ as an active force in the world.
But I was wrong. Very wrong indeed. I began to watch the man in action, saw his service, saw him overcome his own doubts in office, saw him overcome his own fears and shyness. I began to read his works and his papers and encyclicals, read several biographies of the man, listened to his presentations and speeches and dictates, observed his devotion. And by careful observation and meditation discovered him to be far greater in his strengths than infirm in his frailties.
He is a true agent of Christian reconciliation and reunification, he is compassionate and yet strong, he is a wise leader, a brilliant theologian (his Jesus of Nazareth may be the best book on Christology I have ever read in my entire life, and I very highly recommend it), he is bright and thoughtful, extremely well educated, an ardent defender of the faith, he is an excellent example for Christians everywhere of moral bravery, persistence, and dignity. He is a fine pastor, a superb priest, a careful shepherd and a dedicated Holy Father, and even if he never desired the office, God has used him well. He is also a friend of my nation and a fellow brother in Christ, an open and sincere and very good man, well disciplined and in command of his own soul, and although I do not always agree with him, I am very pleased and honored to have him as one of the chief representatives of the Christian Church within the world.
So, Happy Birthday and God bless you Pope Benedict. Thank you for your visit, it was well and mutually met. May your papacy be long and fruitful and may you accomplish and achieve much for God and Christ in this world, now and forever. Amen.
Hope springs eternal from the Fountain of Life.
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Tuesday, April 15, 2008
By Julius Dagonet Adair for the DisMissal
Last Updated: 4:10 PM
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Today former President Jimmy Carter met with several Palestinian leaders, including a member of Hamas. Following a brief and yet cordial embrace between the two men Hamas issued a press statement describing the meeting. “It was our pleasure to exchange mutual embraces of goodwill between ourselves and President Jimmy Carter. As most people around the world now know President Carter was the man truly elected in Florida, and unlike the criminal Bush, who has killed so many Palestinians and Iraqis, President Carter is the man who best represents the will of the American people. Like so many life-long Democrats President Carter understands foreign policy in a way few other types of people ever could.” The US State Department has declared Hamas to be a terrorist organization.
Carter expressed his many thanks for the warm reception he received by the Palestinian leaders and said that he was moving on to meet other leaders of Hamas when the opportunity presents itself later in the week. Speaking at an off-camera press conference arranged by Palestinian television Carter declared his appreciation. “Since arriving here I have been showered with wine, flowers, and chocolates. And they don’t even drink here. I feel like a real Queen of a Man.” Potential Democratic Candidate Hillary Clinton expressed interest in meeting with the leaders of Hamas only if she were promised in advance plentiful shots of rum, whiskey, and tequila. Barak Obama however announced his immediate desire to meet with any leaders of Hamas or any other terrorist group at the first available opportunity and with no restrictions on what is discussed. He did however say that he would ask any terrorist leader with whom he met if it was wise to cling to guns and religion because this was likely to alienate voters in more goat conscious desert and rural areas. “Nevertheless,” Obama continued, “I think most terrorists should continue to stubbornly stick to their previous positions so as not to lose advantage with their base. Al Qaeda means the base you know, and if you lose your base then how can you scare little white women walking down the street? It just isn’t possible. You’ve got to keep your Mojo for when it can do the most good.”
Carter seemed to agree with this assessment and while being questioned by American reporters he grabbed his crotch several times. At one point the room fell silent when an American reporter asked Carter how he felt meeting with a man who was accused of having been responsible for the murder of over two dozen American citizens? Carter responded by saying, “I didn’t see him kill anybody, did you see him kill anybody? It’s just like on the streets of Tupelo when they accuse the bearded man of doing all of the raping and killing and such without any real DNA evidence. We’ve got to stop all of this hatred of the bearded man. It’s just plain ignorant!”
Barak Obama released a statement saying that he understood the plight of the bearded man but that bearded men should not cling to their facial hair out of fear of the baby-faced Mexican. And Hillary Clinton, asked if she feared the bearded man said, “Emphatically not! I am not now nor have I ever been a bearded man. I just drink hard and shave often, that’s all. I think it’s elitist and condescending to say that just because a woman curses a lot and has many obvious masculine traits that she is someone for the electorate to fear. If anything I think I meld the best traits of my husband with the best traits of Paula Jones after the nose job. Any terrorist would love to bag me, of course, but they would also be very afraid to snipe at me. They know I’m not afraid to launch a missile or two.”
Later in the day President Carter stopped by for a taping of a popular Palestinian children’s television show. Carter was both entertained and amused as he watched a puppet show in which several Jewish soldiers were killed by a child puppet in an explosive vest, and puppet women lamented how Americans are causing them to starve while they grow fat off the blood of Iraqi babies. The show ended with several Fatah puppets being executed by firing squad and a rousing chorus of “Allah kill the thieves.”
After that Carter stepped outside to join a street riot already in progress, then finished off his schedule by firing an AK-47 in the air at passing Israelis predator drones, and neck-lacing and burning alive a Palestinian collaborator. Carter concluded his first day on the ground by calling for international observers to monitor the next election cycle, and for UN intervention in Jerusalem. “It’s time,” he said, “to give the city of peace back to the people by forcing the UN to take control of it.”
Asked what he would do for an encore Carter replied, “I’ve already thought of that. I’m going to fight my way into Gaza and tell the Jews, ‘Tear Down this Wall!’”
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We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
Our dried voices, when
We whisper together
Are quiet and meaningless
As wind in dry grass
Or rats' feet over broken glass
In our dry cellar
Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;
Those who have crossed
With direct eyes, to death's other Kingdom
Remember us--if at all--not as lost
Violent souls, but only
As the hollow men
The stuffed men.
From “The Hollow Men”
I saw a Man Unfinished, he bled labors by the score
A thousand times a million, an infinity of chores,
I thought to ask him "why do so, what is the pressing need?"
But I could not his flesh to find; above, below, beneath,
It seems that he was shrouded wrapt by nothing more than words
So everything essential always less than more occurred,
I left him lost a'wandering to find a path much clearer
And found instead a Finished Man a'staring in the mirror...
Article on UM Study
I more or less completely agree with the results of this study, as well as the reasons they conclude that multi-tasking is counterproductive. I learned a long time ago, by developing a set of complex time management schedules for my work and other activities, that multi-tasking, as the term is commonly employed, is actually detrimental to true attempts to become more productive, or to maintain a higher state of productivity over a long period of time.
Now I don’t disagree with the idea of multi-tasking per se, with the idea of accomplishing a number of related, or even entirely different tasks, basically simultaneously, or at least in a fluid fashion. But I do disagree with the modern impulse and common methods of multi-tasking that seem to be pursued and executed throughout all levels of our society and culture. The truth is that nothing really productive ever gets done, as I have learned through hard experience, until things get done in their entirety. Until things are both begun, worked upon, and finally successfully concluded or completed. One cannot be engaged in a dozen activities at once and expect to complete any of them successfully, or even most of them with any real degree of accomplishment. The one absolute ingredient of true success is to finish what you start, in the very way that a thing needs to have both a head and a tail to know both where it is headed and from where it originated. A half of a man is no good to anyone, and a half-resolved task or an inconclusive result or an unfinished project is about as useful as the left half of a man sans his right half.
So the only true method of productive success is to finish what you start, and to concentrate upon the task at hand until it is concluded. And far too often the person, the corporation, and the organization that is heavily involved in multi-tasking is simply taking on ever greater loads of work and effort without ever decisively completing that work or effort which needs most to be focused upon and concluded before moving on to the next task. To achieve what is true, and good, and lasting, you must complete what is unfinished. This is as true of the man, as it is of the project, or the case, or the invention, or the endeavor, or the war, or the economy, or the nation, or the enterprise. What is left to rot upon the vine is of value only to the birds of the air and the scavengers of the earth.
This is not to say of course that multi-tasking has no place or function or value to anyone. I am not drawing such a conclusion. What I am saying in contrast is that multi-tasking, as with the effort to resolve and complete any task must be undertaken in such a way as to foster real productivity and to lessen (or at least make easier) the workload, rather than to add to or burden the workload ad infinitum. And when things are left unresolved, and other work piles upon the load that is already hard to bear, then multi-tasking causes far more havoc than it resolves to ease.
Therefore multi-tasking, if it is to be a good and true agent working for the virtue of productivity and accomplishment, instead of being merely an operative vice of counter-productivity and unfocused and effete dispersal of effort, must also be well focused, meaningfully organized, and properly executed. In short it must be executed and employed in a logical fashion which allows small and unimportant tasks to service themselves so that the individual may work upon the important, demanding, even Herculean task unfettered by scattered focus or hamstrung by the thousand stinging wasps of nuisance toil. Put another way, many small things that are easily resolved may be competently multi-tasked or delegated, if the proper means or agents of execution may be found, but what is most important must be worked with diligent and focused effort until such time as the proper end may be brought to the necessary task. And only the determined man can conclude the indispensable effort.
For instance, at home I may, before my real work begins, feed and water the dogs, set the dishes to washing in the washing machine, apply the applications which will defragment or repair my computer files, and then set my workload in order while consulting my worklist for the day. All of these tasks may be accomplished in short order, either because they are minor jobs, or I am well trained in them and they are reflexive, or because they require little focus or because they are executed by machines. For instance if I set the dishes to washing or my computer to repairing itself while I am at more important tasks then those things can be done at the same moment I am accomplishing far more crucial work. While my computer repairs itself I may sit down with a pad and begin writing, working on an invention, examining the details of a case, making an analysis, or even conducting an experiment. The computer does not need me to watch it defragment itself or run a systems’ analysis. I am elsewhere at far more vital tasks.
But when I am at the vital task then I do not squander my physical, mental, or psychological resources by attempting to attend to many unimportant things in my mind at once. I set the small things to servicing themselves first, so that they may be executed while I work, and while I work I work undisturbed and focused upon the important things at hand. I do not answer the phone, unless I see the number and think it an emergency or really pressing (if it is important then the person will always call back later or leave a message, if not, it is not important – and truth be told most people constantly answer their home phone or far more stupid cell phones simply to give the illusion that they are either socially important or immensely busy, and the real truth is, the vast majority of people are simply not that important in any way and never will be, if indeed anyone is, or put another way, they are not so socially vital that the world cannot do without them – and the world certainly will one day - and not so really busy after all or they would not have time to be pissing away with handling phone messages all day like a secretary), do not allow disturbances or distractions, and try not to let my mind wander from the job to be completed. I work the thing until it is completed or until I can make no more progress at that time. In summary multi-tasking works only when unimportant things are relegated to the background or when unimportant tasks are executed in the background, and when vital efforts and projects are worked with absolute focus of concentration and drive until real progress is achieved. When real things are achieved and good progress is made that is true productivity. Everything else is a charade of effort and a façade of illusion. To do well a thing must end well, and to end well it must be attended until it is completed. You do not interrupt the birth of a child to respond to an email or make a post on a blog. You reason and decide upon the great things first, and there go your true efforts. Lesser things are for when, and if, you have the time to spare.
The modern impulse and habit of jumping from one task to another in media res and to extolling and orating upon the enormous numbers of tasks upon which one may make multi-fluid effort (and yet no concrete gain) is not only ridiculously counterproductive, it feeds the delusion that a man achieves much merely by being involved in much. (The internet is a perfect example of such a juvenile deception. It is akin to the teenage ideal that having many acquaintances either makes one a good friend or makes one truly important. The truth is that the internet is for the most part a huge waste of time that could be much more profitably and productively spent at other and far more significant and worthwhile tasks. My advice to you is, as soon as you finish reading this, get your lollygagging, web cruising, easily distracted ass off the internet and go do something really worth doing. And don’t come back here or anywhere else on the internet ‘til you have something really worth saying, or someone else has something really worth listening to, which I’m gonna tell you right now, personal egos aside ain’t nearly as often as most people deceive themselves into believing.) It is not what you are involved in that is the real consideration, it is what you achieve by what you involve yourself with that is the true measure of your productivity and progress. You cannot be all things to all men, nor can you achieve all things in all situations. Pick your battles; fight your wars to their conclusion, and disregard and dispose of those things that would consume your time and effort and achievement with much diffusion and delay. You cannot be a Finished Man if everything about you lies incomplete, and you cannot complete what must be done if all you ever do is balance the petty and the vital in the same set of unreliable scales. Some things you do may change the world, if you apply yourself aright and towards the right end, but the vast majority of the things you do are merely killing time, and by extension, the time you have to finish what is best, and what is best not to ignore. Do not multi-task yourself into a trap-like tesseract of obscurity and triviality. Take up the Herculean task, take up your cross and finish what you start, and cast aside the petty things for they will end as they began, unnoticed and inessential. You cannot build a Finished Man, urgent, vital, and worthwhile, upon the electronic screens of your computer, upon a blog found on the internet, within the confines of a video game, or through the measureless text files of your cell phone message box. All things artificial, artificially pursued, yield but the contrived and the unreal.
Men though are built by what they concentrate upon and by what they do, and far too often in our modern world by what they fail to do because they are too busy in their garden of infinite detritus to truly ever live. Live. Leave this place and go forth and truly live. You cannot find here what you will not attempt for yourself. And do not look for treasure in a horde of useless tasks.
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