Monday, June 21, 2010

The Usual: Hawking, Waterloo, Abu Ghraib and Dick Dastardly

I guarantee you that I can beat you in a game of chess played on a Candyland board. That you might even take me up on it is the strangest aspect of it all.

In the distant future, the Statue of Liberty will be spoken of alongside the Colossus of Rhodes (whose face has been removed, so as not to offend any other wonders of the ancient world). Disinterested schoolkids will be teeming about the Jefferson Memorial someday, flitting through the colonial overlords "friendly tourists" on nifty little antimatter propulsion packs.

My belated point? The United States of America will be held in the same esteem as Rome, Athens and every other light held however briefly high in this otherwise darkened state of being. When each of those had to defend their ideals or convey their might, they did so against a known enemy. They opposed men who bore flags, wore uniforms and otherwise represented their faction. How quaint.

Leonidas' foe was not uneasiness. Wellington and von Blücher did not triumph over anxiety. Similarly, America should not be at war with terror. We are at war with radical Islam. You can preface the creed with whichever qualifiers you prefer, but the root remains the same. Its adherents stated objective is one-world government centered on Sharia law, with anything outside of this 7th century scope deemed unacceptable. Forget global warming or a coming Ice Age - the Dark Ages are at the gates and pounding ever louder.

Wait, strike that. The enemy is not simply at our gates; 2,976 innocents would tell you that the walls have already been breached.

Who was the U.S. to retaliate against? Hani Bleepin' Hanjour wasn't exactly wearing his Saudi dress blues aboard Flight 77. Boasting a constitution, existing as a republic, valuing the rule of law and whatnot, America has been compelled to conduct itself appropriately (Lynndie England notwithstanding). The enemy, meanwhile, wears no uniform and has no borders.

The answer? Outsource a slice of the wrath. Operating on behalf of private entities, the contracted combatants would not be bound by the same restrictions as U.S. soldiers. The gloves were indeed coming off and they would beat the enemy at their own game.

While unsettling on the surface, it is also reassuring. You don't fight the enemy's war, you make them fight yours. Why should the U.S. shoehorn its military operations into the framework laid by Al Qaeda (i.e., chess/Candyland)? As for "disproportionate response", I don't care if they strapped the U.S.S. Nimitz to a Predator drone and wiretapped Khalid Shaikh Mohammad's goddamn hot plate - I'm just glad they finally caught the bastard.

On a sidenote, the Status Crow correspondent we may or may not have dispatched to find Khalid's boss ran into some red tape. Allegedly.

At the end of the day, I'm just happy for the opportunity to believe what I wish, and maybe even appreciate a nice calf or neckline along the way. However soldiers wish to affiliate themselves to ensure this for me is as pertinent as, well, soccer.

There. I beat the horse well into rigor mortis.

Speaking of death, John Maine's right arm made the Times' obits today. Omar just sent Mejia back to Bingo to start again and Parnell got the call from Buffalo.

The standings struck me as odd. Not because the Mets are somehow in second place, but because the game has changed so much from when I was a kid. It's actually pretty surprising, and that's without including the sheer number of Amazin' uniform iterations. I'll spare you the "barefoot, uphill in the snow, both ways" angle and let you judge for yourself:

NL East: --
Atlanta: Formerly in NL West, played at Fulton County Stadium
New York: Played at Shea Stadium
Philadelphia: Played at Veterans Stadium
Florida: Didn't exist
Washington: Formerly the Montreal Expos, played in Olympic Stadium

NL Central: Didn't exist
St. Louis: Formerly in NL East, played at Busch Memorial Stadium
Cincinnati: Formerly in NL West, played at Riverfront Park
Chicago: Formerly in NL East, played no night games at Wrigley Field.
Milwaukee: Formerly in AL East, played at County Stadium
Houston: Formerly in NL West, played at the Astrodome
Pittsburgh: Formerly in NL East, played at Three Rivers Stadium

NL West: --
San Diego: --
San Francisco: Played at Candlestick Park
Los Angeles: --
Colorado: Didn't exist
Arizona: Didn't exist

AL East: --
New York: Played at the new-old Yankee Stadium (not the old-old one or the new-new one)
Tampa Bay: Didn't exist
Boston: --
Toronto: Played at Exhibition Stadium
Baltimore: Played at Memorial Stadium

AL Central: Didn't exist
Minnesota: Formerly in AL West, played at the Metrodome
Detroit: Formerly in AL East, played at Tiger Stadium
Chicago: Formerly in AL West, played at Comiskey Park
Kansas City: Formerly in AL West
Cleveland: Formerly in AL East, played at Municipal Stadium

AL West: --
Texas: Played at Arlington Stadium
Los Angeles: Formerly called the "California Angels"
Oakland: --
Seattle: Played at the Kingdome

What does it all mean? Obviously, the 2010 AL and NL Championship Series will consist of Oakland vs Boston and L.A. vs. San Diego. You heard it hear first! In other news...

"The Hobbit" has found another director.

Depeche Mode is being given the stage treatment.

I have interesting competition for Norah.

Wacky Races would make for an incredible big screen remake of a 1960's cartoon (in other words, please keep the Wachowski Brothers as far away from it as possible).

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