Saturday, January 31, 2004

Grudge Match
Mao Zedong versus Chiang Kai-shek was a gurdge match, somehow Hu Jintao versus Chen Shui-bian just doesn't carry the same menacing overtones. And yet even today, there is a very real threat of armed conflict between the two Chinas, brother killing brother over the Strait of Taiwan. For more information, comsult ye olde Internet, your local library, or, best of all, read the first new issue of The Newsletter, available just in time for Valentine's Day.

To subscribe, contact:

Friday, January 30, 2004

I just got back from seeing Mystic River with my mom. I was the youngest person in the theatre by twenty, maybe twenty-five, years. I loathe old people, they are such sheep. Is it too much to ask to see one old lady without the standard issue puffy ball haircut? And these idiots compose and ever greater percentage of our population.

Who says a global influenza pandemic would necessarily be a bad thing...
Why do I keep thinking today is Thursday?
Mostly Harmless
As I learned from the Mountain of Love just moments ago, and confirmed with our friends at the Internet Movie Database (, there is a feature film verion of Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in preparation for release next year. By Milliways, this is perhaps the best news ever! (Not really, but it's still pretty good news.) The Mountain further alleges that the film may star the always brilliant Mos Def as Ford Prefect and the unparalleled Zooey Deschanel as Trillian. Great Scott! Oh, I couldn't possibly be happier.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 30
Today, I have no patience for this monstrosity on my lower jaw.

Odd, that.
Lord Hutton's inquiry was hailed by the BBC as the perfect way to settle the controversey surrounding BBC reporter Andrew Gallagher, Blair Government spokesman Alastair Campbell, the "sexing up" of a dossier on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, and suicide of Dr. David Kelly. Lord Hutton is one of the United Kingdom's most respected jurists; his reputation for fairness and impartiality was repeated praised in BBC broadcasts. Curiously, once his report was released, resulting in the sacking of BBC Chairman Gavyn Davies, Director General Greg Dyke, and Gallagher, they bitterly said the report was biased and incomplete. So, Lord Hutton was fair and impartial only as long as he ruled in your favor? Genuine class, those three.

Did someone mention Alec Guinness?
This is Shocking, Shocking
The Sardine must be denounced! She dared to compare the glory of the Hour That Nobody Wanted to the wretched debaucheries of frat boys. Ignorance is one thing, but this... this is shocking. Somebody organize some Red Guards, we need to have a good ol-fashioned denunciation meeting! We'll have Little Red Books and relentless self-criticisms and finally crush the capitalist roaders! Long live the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution! Well, maybe not, but this outrage cannot stand.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Well, I was hoping to work on the SPP (post a summary of the first story arc, reconstructed from my incomplete notes and what I remember; I'd have more written down or I would have made a greater effort to memorize it, but it was written down in the old Forums specifically so I wouldn't have to remember... shades of The Last Crusade), but the Forums won't let me log in. Curses!

La de la, lum de lum.

So, Neutral Man and I are IMing about Star Trek and the girl who just broke his heart.
Year of the Monkey
Chinese New Year was last week. The effects are being felt far and wide. The BTW logo is a monkey; clearly, this year we're unstoppable.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Zooey Deschanel Appreciation Day
Hang on to your hats, folks, this may be more than you can handle in one interview: Parker Posey interviewing Zooey Deschanel!

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 28
Four weeks and yet this misbegotten debacle shows no signs of abating. I've sort of hit a wall, as the hair doesn't seem to be getting any longer. However, by curling back upon itself, it does appear thicker and slightly less crappy.

When in Rome
Also, I gave in to my curiosity and looked it up:


*A.D. 68 "The Year of the Three Emperors"
Foreign Service Exam on April 24. It's go time.
Possibly the single best episode of Futurama? "Luck of the Fryrish," the episode in which we see Fry's relationship with his brother Yancy.

Possibly the single best episode of Cowboy Bebop? "Speak Like a Child," the episode in which we see the Beta video tape from Faye's past.

The moral? The present becomes the cherished past, take the time to appreciate where you are and what you have.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

V.F.K.... Again
Though I am socially liberal, I am a loyal Republican. Most of my friends are moderate to flaming liberals. One wonders if this is coincidence or a consequence of my love of arguing.
Vote For Kodos
With victories in both Iowa and New Hampshire under his belt, history would suggest that Senator Kerry will be the Democrat nominee for the presidency. John "The Patrician" Kerry vs. George "The Cowboy" Bush. It's funny how Democrats hate Bush for being born into money, but don't mind Kerry marrying into money. Senator Kerry is actually not a bad guy. Except for the fact that he bend whichever way the wind is blowing, he wouldn't be a bad president. Nevertheless, my boys are going to eat him alive. It's not that the Democrats aren't just as vicious as we Republicans, it's just... well, I defer to Charlie Pierce:

"The Republicans are grown comfortable with their political id. They set it right up in the parlor---or more specifically in the House of Representatives, where the wild things still do play and where the Republicans brought forward only the second impeachment ever of an American president simply because they had the votes to do it."

It may not be right and sure as hell isn't fair, but we're going to eat Kerry alive with just two little words, "Massachusetts liberal."
I'm almost to the end of Star Trek: The Next Generation. This afternoon after class, I watched "Journey's End"; I may be ill.
Ignorance and Intolerance in the Name of the Lord
On the way here, I was listening to The Diane Rehm Show on NPR. Diane's guest was the Reverend Pat Robertson. Rev. Robertson made some interesting points. For instance, our forefathers (from his tone, he meant back in colonial days) respected the sabbath by not participating in commerce on Sundays; in his opinion, we should do the same. I feel it necessary to point out our forefathers also thought it Christian and moral to own slaves, and to deny most people the right to vote. (In my family, ages 53-22, there are five of us, but only my father could vote. My mother and sister - a lawyer - would be disqualified because of their gender, while my brother and I, both white males, would be excluded as we are not property owners.) If you insist we should blindly ape out ancestors, Reverend, you must be more thorough, or run the risk of hypocrisy.

Also, he feels that the United States, as a nation, should acknowledge our Christian cultural heritage the same way Islamic states do. Saudi Arabia is officially acknowledged as an Islamic state, the new formal name for Afghanistan is the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. I am sincerly impressed with Rev. Robertson that he feels we are morally superior to Muslim countries and that we are distinct and better, yet at the same time we should use their practices as an example to shape our own. It is impressive that a man can so strongly believe in two such contradictory beliefs.

Days like this, I understand why the Mountain is an atheist.
Some would say that reviving The Newsletter on the slim hope that such a pathetic gesture could possibly catch the attention of and impress Zooey Deschanel is foolhardy. Some would say that, but not me. Now that kind of crackpot theory, that's exactly what we mean when we say "Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter."
When in Rome
I can never remember, is it





I mean, yes, I know I could just look it up, but where in that entirely sensible plan is there a waste of time post? Huh? See, that's the Mike Wilson difference, I'm always three steps ahead.

Monday, January 26, 2004

When in Rome
2004: MMIV

2000: MM




1517: MDXVII


1215: MCCXV

1066: MLXVI



Yeah, dude.

Non-Teenaged Politics
Today, my mom and I were debating the merits of the doctrine of preemption. She agrees that it is a good thing that Hussein is no longer in power, but she feels uncertain about the war. Huh? The only way to remove him from power was the war; thus, it was the means to an end which she says was good. Of course, I've gotten use to my mom's positions not standing up to even the most trivial investigation. She's a smart woman, but sometimes she refuses to think. (Of course, she thinks President Clinton is a saint for not doing anything to al Qaeda afte the African embassy attacks; so, go figure.)
Sweet merciful crap, Ron Marz is returning as the writer of Green Lantern! Ron Marz! Ron Marz is the genius who wrote the first seventy-five issues (six years) of Kyle Rayner's reign as Green Lantern. To date, he is the only writer who understand Kyle as a character; the others constructed him as some manner of pale Hal Jordan-imitation or a whiny, self-righteous rave kid. Fools! Fear not, though, Ron Marz will set things right! This is the best comics news in forever. Woo hoo!

Sunday, January 25, 2004

Many Endeavours, One (Easily Distracted) Mind
a) school: I don't know if this is a good idea or a bad idea, but it's what my parents want me to do, and since I'm living in their house, I feel a certain obligation to indulge their wishes.

b) The Newsletter: If memory serves, producing one's own newsletter, no matter how intriguing the ideas, chews up quite a bit of time. That said, in preperation for the revival I've been studying the thirteen month run of the original and I cannot adequately express how happy those twenty-two issues make me. The Newsletter is joy.

c) The Space Pirates Project: We suffered the setback of the loss of all our records when the Forums rebooted, but I do not want to see this august project wither. I really think the tales of the crew of the pirate starship Scarlet Narwhal will one day make a really sweet cartoon show. Coming not necessarily soon to a television near you.

Teen Titans!
I cannot say enough good things about Teen Titans. This is a seriously good show. Behind all the truly funny jokes and anime-isms, it is a serious story about the Titans having to grow up in order to thwart their dark nemesis, Slade (voiced by the great Ron Perlman). Robin, Starfire, Cyborg, Raven, and Beast Boy. "T-E-E-N, T-I-T, A-N-S, Teen Titans, let's go!"
This is Mike, El Commandante of the Rebel Black Dot Society, now broadcasting from my own computer. HAL seem to be working fine and after some initial difficulties, the router is behaving. Excellent.

Spirit has been upgraded from "critical" to "serious" condition. Horrible play on words: Would it be good or bad if Spirit was in Sirius condition?

Opportunity has touched down safely. Go, dynamic duo! Also, because JPL is near LA, Governor Schwarzenegger was on hand. Holy shit, the Terminator is governor of California. What a time to be alive.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 25
The accuresed itching has returned. What the hell? My "beard" has now transitioned from being long, crappy-looking stubble to short, crappy-looking hair. Huzzah.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

My dad has not gone to work all week, citing illness. Yeah, I like how he's so sick he can stay up past midnight working on a war games project he won't even get to play until next Christmas. I like how he's so sick he can go back and forth between his study in the basement and the computer room upstairs consulting various reference materials. He's worked at AC/Delphi for thirty years; he has five weeks of discretionary vacation a year. If he wants to use those days because he just doesn't feel like going to work, that's fine. Just be fucking honest about it. Don't play for sympathy by pretending you're sick. Fucking jerk.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 23*
The scariest part of this mess is that I'm actually looking forward with anticipation to how this monstrosity will look in March. Now that's disturbing.

*I meant to post this sometime Friday afternoon or evening, but my father was bogarting the computer the entire time.

Friday, January 23, 2004

The longest I've ever been awake in one go is 42 1/2 hours. Thrice, I stayed awake for at least 40 hours. Perhaps I should endeavour to shatter those records, just for the hell of it. Why climb Everest? "Because it's there."

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Come on, Spirit. Pull through, little buddy.

I hate sleep. I like being asleep and I love going back to sleep after waking up, but I hate the fact that we have to sleep. I love staying up at night, yet I also love being up early. I hate getting up early, but once I'm awake, I love having so many more hours in the day. So, I'm just going to have to learn to live with less sleep. This'll be fun.

I missed another Zooey Deschanel Appreciation Day yesterday. Curses! It isn't that I don't appreciate Zooey Deschanel, I do, I really really do, it's just so easy to forget, especially since my dad's been monopolizing the ciomputer this week. I'm sorry. I promise, though, I've got a crackerjack surprise planned for next week's Zooey Deschanel Appreciation Day. You'll love it.

Los Lobos aren't a great band, but they're pretty good. And they are ideal background music.

Vote For Kodos
Yeah, I didn't watch tonight's Dem debate. I wonder if they all ganged up on Kerry like they used to do with Deanie, or if it's an every-man-for-himself brawl now.

The single best reason to watch the BBC World News: to actually hear some international news, since the American press seems to have a paralyzing fear of actually traversing either of the great oceans on either side of our continent. The second best reason to watch the BBC World News: Mishal Husain. Yummy.

The Newsletter
The Plate and I are in regular communication about the revival; so, I'm really more and more excited all the time. This is going to be awesome.

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

"Hey Julie, look what they're doing to me,
Trying to trip me up, trying to wear me down.
Julie, I swear it's so hard to bear it,
And I'd never make it through without you around,
No I'd never make it through without you around."
--Fountains of Wayne, "Hey Julie" from Welcome Interstate Managers

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 21
Wow, I've been doing this crap for three weeks now? Huh. Time flies. I trimmed my sideburns the other day, resulting in even less distinction between them and the "beard." Once the BBB is over, I've decided to sport a terrible mustache for at least another week. The only question is whether I'll retain the imperial with the 'stache or shave it off and start from scratch after the Massive Mustache Mistake is over.

No new episode of Star Trek: Enterprise tonight; it is being preempted by basketball for the second week in a row. Both The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine aired exclusively in syndication; both Voyager and now Enterprise were condemned to the ill-conceived UPN debacle. Sure, TNG and DS9 were occasionally preempted, but not with nearly the frequency at which Enterprise is disturbed. Gee, if new episodes debut at random times of Saturday, it seems no wonder that the ratings are less than stellar. The original Star Trek became the icon it is today in syndication; The Next Generation won all it's three bajillion Emmys in syndication. Star Trek works best in syndication. Paramount is killing it's own golden goose with the ill-conceived and poorly-executed United Paramount Network.

I like Enterprise, but I have a question: where are the writers who made TNG and DS9 great? Why are the only Trek vets alumni of *gag* Voyager? Where are Michael Piller, Ira Steven Behr, Robert Hewitt Wolfe, Ronald D. Moore, Rene Echevarria, Hans Beimler, and Bradley Thompson and David Weddle? Of singluar importance amongst that august group, where is Ira Steven Behr (mastermind of Deep Space Nine)? These are supremely talented people, Mr. Berman (Gene Roddenberry's hand-picked successor), far more talented than your current partner Brannon Braga.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Vote For Kodos
I have to tell you, I absolutely loved the first twenty minutes (the foreign policy part) of the State of the Union. I have to say I heartily agree with his argument about the internationalization of the occupation of Iraq. Since when is Europe composed solely of France and Germany? (And before I am denounced as a neo-con simpleton, I know more about foreign affairs over the last century than you do. Doubt me? Bring it, bitch, and I'll school you like nobody's business.) The president it at his best with a swagger in his step. Swagger: one of the best words in the English language, and also one of the best concepts.
Both for school and the revival of The Newsletter, my computer is being hooked. Dad says I have to figure out the Internet connections myself. *grumble grumble* I"ll let you guys know (as if you cared) as soon as I'm on my own machine.

Vote For Kodos
Man, Deanie has gone fuckin' nuts. John Stewart compared his little rant to Gollum; on Around the Horn, they called him "Macho Man" Randy Savage. Wild.

The Republican (Forces of Evil)
President George W. Bush of Texas

The Democrats (Cheese-Eating Surrender Monkeys) post-Hawkeye State
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts
Senator John Edwards of North Carolina
fmr. Governor Howard Dean of Vermont
fmr. General Wesley Clark of Arkansas
Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut
Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio
Al Sharpton of New York
Representative Richard Gephardt of Missouri
fmr. Ambassador Carol Mosely Braun of Illinois
Senator Bob Graham of Florida

Monday, January 19, 2004

Good names for a band: Mars Attacks!, The Warbirds, Warbird, The Red Menace.

It should be noted that Dr. Robert Atkins, inventor of the Atkins diet, died last year. Dr. Atkins lived what he taught: he followed his own diet. He died at age 72. Average life-expectancy is 77.2. Ha!

Also, anyone else notice that the Atkins symobl is a red "A"? Rather bold, methinks, for them to promote themselves via the scarlet letter. Hawthorne would be proud?

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 19
While here yesterday, the Mountain of Love said my "beard" is doing better than he thought it would. He is growing his beard in preparation for a role in Don Giovanni. As he sometimes calls us "Super Wilson Bros.", he said that in March, at the opera's performance, we shall be "Super Beard Bros!" To this I replied that there is nothing super about these abominations.
Soong-type Androids
in chronological order of construction
Julianna Tainer

Sunday, January 18, 2004

Hooray, the Mountain's here! Good news, his soul is going to haunt me after his death. He may be an atheist, but at least he has a solid philosophical framework for the afterlife.

Star Trek: Enteprise Season 3 To Date
"The Xindi"
"The Shipment"
"North Star"
"Carpenter Street"
"Chosen Realm"
The Romulan Bird-of-Prey seen on Star Trek: Enterprise is almost perfect. All it is lacking is a large predatory bird painted along the lower hull. I hope that there will be further appearances, and that these appearances correct this glaring oversight.

Black Dot
I am El Presidente of the Rebel Black Dot Society. Judging by the results of a preliminary Google search, the Rebel Black Dot Society is far more active than those jerks in the Black Dot Soceity. Either that, or the wiley bastards have gone underground. Hmmmmmm. No matter, their fate was sealed long ago.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Vote For Kodos
I didn't have any strong feelings about Wesley Clark until just a moment ago; I was cruising his official page and discovered that he has been endorsed by Michael Moore. Ye gods, Clark must be stopped! Death to Michael Moore!
Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 17
See, here's the problem. There is no connection between my either my mustache or my imperial and my beard proper. Mustache looks "okay." Imperial looks great as always. Beard looks "okay," but there is no landbridge connecting it to the 'stache. It's not that those hairs are still too short, there are simply no hairs there.

Dan the Man came up today and we watched some Excel Saga. Ho ho, that is one seriously messed up show. No Space Butler, but still plenty of just plain bizarreness.

There really needs to be a store called the Bizarre Bazaar.

Friday, January 16, 2004

Do you know how cold it is? It's so cold that I'm wearing my Finnish big fur hat. You all know me, I'm a big, fat, bearded weirdo, I never wear hats. I hardly ever need to. My body features an incredibly efficient heat retention system. Yet, it is so blasted cold outside that I'm wearing my ridiculous-looking fur hat and, if it weren't for the skywalks at school, I probably would have put the liner in my parka. All that said, it's downright balmy here compared to what those bastards in the northeast are experiencing.

I love Winter. It's so cold outside that I'm having to wear my hat, but that should not be misinterpretted as a complaint. I love the cold. I love the snow. I only wish it were cloudier, damn the accursed Sun. (Again, all that said, I pray the Almighty looks after those without adequate shelter.)

Hey Ya? Hell no!
I used to like the song "Hey Ya." It's stupid, but catchy and irresistably fun. That was of course before the Mountain declared it the single greatest triumph of all Mankind, the best song ever, and the central theme to his life. I swear to Bog the next time I hear that fucking song I'm going to scream.

In better musical news, I think my favorite song off The Man Comes Around would have to be "Sam Hall":
"My name it is SamHall, it is Sam Hall
My name it is Sam Hall, it is Sam Hall
My name it is Sam Hall and I hate you one and all
I hate you one and all, damn your eyes!"

Vote For Kodos
The Republican:
President George W. Bush of Texas

The Democrats:
fmr. Governor Howard Dean of Vermont
Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts
Representative Richard Gephardt of Missouri
fmr. General Wesley Clark of Arkansas
Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut
Senator John Edwards of North Carolina
Representative Dennis Kucinich of Ohio
Al Sharpton of New York
fmr. Ambassador Carol Mosely Braun of Illinois
Senator Bob Graham of Florida

Thursday, January 15, 2004

The Newsletter Strikes Back
The line-up thus far:
Jim Platte, "The Hot Plate"
Zach Nie, "Verbal Herpes"
Brad Dupay, "The Raised Eyebrow"
Kevin Stermer, "Best Damn D.P. In Hollywood" (cartoon)
Mike Wilson, "The Last Angry Man"
Contributors will include:
David Wilson, "Is It Too Much to Ask?"
Jon Mace and the amazing world of science in "Ask the Professor"
Mike Alber, "Jery's Kids"

If you are interested in subscribing, email your address to

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 15
The weirdest part about this entire misbegotten enterprise is that no area itches more than the ends of my "shit-stache." Right above each corner of my mouth, my skin is very sensitive, you could even say red and irritated. Being a member of Real Can of Yams, I suppose I have no choice but to leave it red and irritated. *sigh* Gods below, what sort of band has "leave it red and irritated" among its lyrics?
You know something's not quite right when President Hu of China is easier to work with than President Roh of South Korea.

Red Star Over China
Research the lives and careers of the following 20th century Chinese leaders:
Hu Yaobang
Zhang Ziyang
Hua Guofeng
Deng Xiaoping

I finished Wild Swans and I still cannot say which event was the greatest tragedy of the 20th century: the Great Leap Forward or the Cultural Revolution. In simple numbers, the Holocaust pales in comparison to either of them.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Note to self: though they may be the coolest shoes in the world, Chuck Taylors are nigh useless in the Winter. Or, more specifically, they are fine on cold days, but lousy for trudging through snow. Of course, I have to teach myself this lesson three or four times each Winter. Hee hee.

Zooey Deschanel Appreciation Day
The glorious Ms. Deschanel, in addition to being a fine thespian, is also a gifted singer and performs around Los Angeles as one half of the cabaret act, If All the Stars Were Pretty Babies. Plus, she's gorgeous both blonde and with her natural black hair.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Sweet, the "Lost City of Atlanta" episode of Futurama!
Everything sucks. Reel Big Fish has a song (and a compilation) titled "Everything Sucks." It is about everything sucking, because they are a cheerfully pessimistic band. (Their song "Good Thing" is disturbing in that it appears to be a non-ironic ode to how good things can be. Creepy.) By contrast, though they complain about adult oppression, MxPx is an upbeat band. They aren't pollyannas, but them seem happy and joyful. Therefore, it seemed out of place when I learned a song off their latest album is titled "Everything Sucks." What? That doesn't sound like the MxPx I know and love. Fear not, though, friends, all is well. The song is titled "Everything Sucks (When You're Gone)"; it's about missing your girl when she's way. I love both bands when they are who they are. In both cases, everything rocks when "Everything Sucks."

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 13
Now that we've reached lucky number thirteen, BBB updates will be scaled back from daily to every other daily. It's not a beard, but it's something.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Hurray, new episodes of Teen Titans! Starfire, the most beautiful woman on two planets.

Today, I was reading about the Cultural Revolution, specifically abouts the Red Guards and the fall of Liu Shaoqi. The price of free will is that God lets us make these kinds of mistakes. Sometimes, I think that price is too high.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 12
Today, two bits of somewhat good news. a) It is nice to see my imperial slowly but surely returning to its former glory. b) The line between my sideburns and my "beard" is beginning to blur. Just beginning, mind you, but at this point any progress is welcome. (Trust me, sports fans, there is a fate worse than reading these posts: actually living the nightmare.)

The Newsletter is back. The first issue comes out in one month, just in time for the feast day of Saint Valentine. If you wish to subscribe, email me your address at
The heater is broken in French Hall. And by that I mean it's stuck on high, resulting in an interior temperature in the mid-80s. Oh, I am really not happy about having to go back in there this afternoon.

In other news, I lied, there is no other news.

Vote For Kodos
And excellent reminder from Time to Deanie or any of the other Democrats. The next time they speak about "restoring America's alliances," they would do well to remember the famous, if cynical, words of Lord Palmerston, "Nations have no permanent alliances, only permanent interests."
It's not that I don't play video games, I don't even like video games. Yet, several times a week I find myself watching Tech TV's video game review show X-Play. Why? Because I am absolutely entranced by Morgan Webb; I am enchanted by her. Oh, Morgan....

The Very Model of a Modern Major General
United Federation of Planets
Starfleet uses a naval-based rank system:
Fleet Admiral
Commodore (in disuse by the 24th century)
Fleet Captain
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant (junior grade)
Chief Petty Officer
Senior Chief Specialist
Crewman (various grades)

Romulan Star Empire
The Romulan Guard also uses a naval system, with a Roman twist:

The Tal Shiar (the KGB), by contrast, uses a military (army) system:

Klingon Empire
The Klingon Defense Forces use a hybrid naval/military system:

Cardassian Union
In a lovely change of pace, the Cardassian military (no known formal name) uses a homemade system:

Breen Confederacy
Those wacky and mysterious Breens also use a homemade system, of which we have only one example:

Sunday, January 11, 2004


Thirteen days until Opportunity's landing. Vaya con Dios, little Opportunity, do us proud just like your brother, Spirit.

Vote For Kodos
Because my boy* Deanie is on the cover (the marketing ploy worked!), I bought the latest issue of Time magazine. The article on Deanie wasn't very interesting, but they had a spread of photographs taken at El Presidente's ranch in Crawford, Texas. The spread was titled, quite amusingly, "...Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch." Within, I found my favourite picture of the president: he is wearing a heavy flannel shirt with a black T-shirt underneath, gloves, charcoal jeans, a huge Texas-sixed beltbuckle which reads "George W. Bush," and sunglasses. He is holding a well-used chainsaw and appears to be clearing underbrush. I like this picture because the president looks much more comfortable in jeans than he ever does in a suit; in a suit, he always looks like he can't wait to get out of it and into his jeans. He can't wait to get back to the ranch. I like that picture because I like George W. Bush. I do not like many of his policies, but I like the man. I would like to have him over for dinner at my house.

*By "my boy," I mean that I sincerely hope Dr. Dean wins the Democrat nomination for the presidency. I do this because I believe he would continue the fine tradition of George McGovern, Jimmy Carter ('80), Fritz Mondale, Michael Dukakis, and Al Gore and lead his party to glorious defeat this November.
Well, I know a lot more about the Ottoman Empire than I did this time yesterday. Woo hoo! Yay, knowledge!

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 11
Gah, I can't believe I have to go out in public looking like this. I can't believe I have to go to Mass looking like this. It'll all be worth it, though, once all the world has to bask in the horridness of my beard. Bwa ha ha ha ha!
A quote from Matt Pearce, head coach of the Grand Blanc High School Boys' Swimming and Diving Team, "Shit man. I've been killing them. They hate it, and I love it, man." Pearce was the assistant coach way back when I was on the team; back then he seemed to own forty-seven different Phish T-shirts. I'm so proud of the cruel tyrant he's become. Seriously.

Things I need to know more about (this is by no means a complete list)
a) Tamerlane
b) 19th century Mexican and Latin American politics
c) plotting a novel
d) how to live a health life and drop dead suddenly at age sixty
e) the Crusader States
f) Chinese history pre-1900
g) the USA PATRIOT Act (unbeknownst to most people, PATRIOT is, in fact, an acronym)
h) *shudder* Victorian literature
i) the Great War
j) the House of Hapsburg
k) the state of ska in 21st century America (there have to be good bands out there I haven't heard of, there just have to be)
l) how to trick a girl into liking me
m) the details of the Maastricht Treaty

That kid Raycroft you plays goalie for the Bruins? Man, he's killing me.

Tom Brady on the other hand, I love that guy. (On a related note, fuck Drew Henson.)

Vote For Kodos
We draw ever closer to the bizarre, Tammany Hall-esque exercise called the Iowa caucuses. What is it with those people? Why are they so terrified by the idea of *gasp* elections? Freaks.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Yesterday, I looked over a writing sample for Skeeter. (I was checking it for spelling, duplicated sentences, just giving it a once over.) Oh dear Lord, it was one of the most mind-numbingly boring things I have ever read, which is saying a lot, since I have a poli sci degree. Legalese is the worst language on Earth, because it endlessly turns back on itself; no other language spends as much time to say the same thing in so many different ways. Gah, it's dreadful. Obviously, this reinforces my desire to not attend law school, but it also raises the question: if not law school, what am I going to do with my life? I am twenty-four years old. It is well-past time to become *sigh* an adult. That doesn't mean I have to suck, like most adults do, but it is time to be a man, to make my own way in the world. Now if only I knew how to go about doing that....

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 10
The crap on my face is almost beginning to look like hair.

Friday, January 9, 2004

Per request of Daddy Dylweed, The Mountain of Love.
Okay, what the fuck?! From school, I was able to read (and comment upon) Skeeter's blog. But, here at home, I cannot get the page to update; it is stuck on New Year's Eve and the page will not refresh. Why in the high holy hell not? I fucking hate computers. I cannot wait until we switch over to femputers.

Red Star Over China
Your homework for the day is to research and identify the 20th century Chinese leaders listed below. Once you know who they are, email me and, if you're correct, you'll get a gold star. Or perhaps a red star would be more apropos.
Comrade Liu Shaoqi
Comrade Peng Dehuai
Comrade Lin Biao
Comrade Zhou Enlai

Turning Japanese
In the Star Trek universe, almost all Asians appear to be Japanese. Among the five series, there are five prominent Asian characters*, both regulars and recurring characters. Four of those five would seem to be either Japanese or of Japanese descent:

Hikaru Sulu - Star Trek
Keiko O'Brien (maiden name: Keiko Ishikawa) - Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Alyssa Ogawa - Star Trek: The Next Generation
Harry Kim - Star Trek: V'Ger... er, Voyager
Hoshi Sato - Star Trek: Enterprise

So, that's four Japanese and one Korean. There aren't Chinese in the future? Or Cambodians? Or Thais, Vietnamese, or Filipinos, et al.? Nothing offensive is meant by this, it's just an oddity I noticed the other day. Of course, I'm not helping the situation with my constant dmeands for more Daniel Dae Kim.

*I am not counting children, though they make the situation even more Nihon-o-centric: Demora Sulu - Star Trek Generations; Molly O'Brien - Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine; Kirayoshi O'Brien - Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Apparently, it's a very Asian day. Fitting, as I'm reading Jung Chang's Wild Swans and last night I caught the last half of Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story on TV.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 9
I look horrible. As I feared, I simply do not have hair on my cheeks. I have nice sideburns which, were I so inclined, I could grow into gnarly muttonchops, but from my sideburns to my chin, the hair sticks to my jawline, not daring to venture further north. Blast! As far as the underside of the jaw, though, I'm all set. Neckbeard, here I come.

Thursday, January 8, 2004

There has been a great deal of discussion of late about Pete Rose, mostly initiated by interviews he has done to promote his new book. All I know about Pete Rose is that he brought shame and embarrassment to baseball, and for that alone he should be given a medal. Way to go, Pete, America needs more men like you! If we all work together, we can end baseball as a major sport in this country. Keep the dream alive.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 8
Today, my faith is waivering. I don't even want a beard. I mean, I'm curious to see what it would look like, but I have every intention to going back to my old look as soon as possible. Why the hell am I even doing this? I look like shit, I feel dirty, and about the only good thing I can say is that the itching is not as bad as I'd anticipated. This is bullshit.
With the exception of the Mountain of Love, who has been unusually prolific, no one is posting this week. Damn it, I'm getting bored. Come on, people, I demand to be entertained. Or at the very least amused. No, no, strike that. Amusement is better than entertainment.

Wednesday, January 7, 2004

Klaatu barada nikto. "We do not claim to have achieved perfection. But we have a system, and it works."

Before Everything & After by MxPx. Liz Phair by Liz Phair. American IV: The Man Comes Around by Johnny Cash, may he rest in peace. Everything to Everyone by Barenaked Ladies. Blink-182 by Blink-182. Well, I guess four out of five isn't too bad.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 7
This sucks. The itching has not yet begun in earnest, but I feel icky all the time. At least I cut my hair today, which always makes me feel better.

Tuesday, January 6, 2004


Yeah, so I'm taking out the trash (not the kitchen trash, all the trash; tomorrow's trash day! Hurrah!) and my dad comes downstairs. I left the TV on ABC because I was going to watch I'm With Her at 8:30 (this was about 8:15). Dad changes the channel and then marches upstairs. Upstairs, he was watching a different program. So, he comes downstairs and changes the channel of a television he isn't watching and then, in a different room, watches an entirely different channel. What on Heaven or Earth could possibly make that a rational plan? How does that make sense inside anyone's head? "What the fuck?!" does not even begin to approach the inexplicable nature of this act. I mean, I mean, COME ON!

There are days I wish I was Jewish. This situation definitely calls for an "oy," but I'm a ruddy-faced Limey-Scotch-Mick Catholic and, let's be frank, I cannot pull of "oy." I sound like the very model of a modern major toolbox.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 6
Yeah, not really much itching today; that's good news. On the other hand, I look like poo. Still, any mistake worth making is worth making huge.

Monday, January 5, 2004


Space... is awesome.
Back to school. This is weird. I don't know the campus, I have no friends here, and I have pervasive sense that I'm a complete loser. This may not be the best idea, but it'll keep the parents off my back.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 5
And now, the itching begins. Bog, I hate this.
I may not like Nick Saban, but I actively despise Bob Stoops; so, in agreement with a handmade placard at tonight's game, "Geaux Tigers!" (Also, I've always wanted to name a cat Phydeaux.)

Sunday, January 4, 2004

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 4
All I want for Christmas is to get to shave. Aw, crap.

Oh-five-five-oh-five-oh. Hey, that's cool.
Mars Attacks!
Sweet, NASA has received a signal from the Spirit rover! Woo hoo! Unlike Britain's Beagle 2, our rover works. Make no mistake, I love the Brits, but the chode in charge of Beagle 2 is a) in league with the Europeans and b) was engaging in some pretty venomous trash talking before his baby turned out to be a dud. Piss off, you wanker! Or, if you rather, "U-S-A! U-S-A!" No, no, that's not right; in the immortal words of Richard Nixon, immortalized in the plaque left behind by the crew of Apollo 11, "We came in peace for all Mankind." There's little reason to believe we'll ever hear from little* Beagle 2, but I hope we do. Also, I wish a successful landing to Spirit's brother Opportunity in its January 24 landing.

*Beagle 2 is roughly analogous in size to the American Sojourner rover, the cute little guy who trucked around Mars in the Summer of 1997. Yeah, six years later, while the ESA was trash talking about finally catching up, we were building bigger, badder, and better rovers: Sojourner and Beagle 2 are each the size of a kitchen microwave, Spirit and Opportunity are the size of friggin' golf carts! Yeah, that deserves a chorus. "U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!"

Saturday, January 3, 2004

Earth (pre-Federation)
S.S. Valiant
"The Expanse"-class

Vulcan (pre-Federation)
Star Trek: First Contact-class Scoutship
"Carbon Creek"-class Scoutship
"Breaking the Ice"-class Cruiser
"Shadows of P'Jem"-class Combat Cruiser

Andoria (pre-Federation)
"Cease Fire"-class

United Federation of Planets

Klingon Empire
D-series/D5-class, D7-class Battlecruiser
"Sleeping Dogs"-class Raptor
"Judgment"-class Bird-of-Prey
K'tinga-class Battlecruiser
B'rel-class Bird-of-Prey
K'Vort-class Bird-of-Prey
Vor'cha-class Attack Cruiser

Romulan Star Empire
"Minefield"-class Warbird
"Balance of Terror"-class Bird-of-Prey
D'deridex-class Warbird
Star Trek:Nemesis-class Warbird
Scimitar-class (Reman) Warbird

"The Jem'Hadar"-class Attack Fighter
"Ties of Blood and Water"-class Battleship
"Valiant"-class Battleship a.k.a. Jem'Hadar Super-Star Destroyer
"The Changing Face of Evil"-class (Breen)

Cardassian Union

Borg Collective

Ferengi Alliance
D'Kora-class Marauder

Tholian Assembly
"Future Tense"-class
"The Tholian Web"-class
Christmas should be lasting all year long. Early January is normally a pretty sad time of year, but this is the worst. My sister's back in DC (though, good for her), my brother's in Troy tonight and soon will be back in A2 (good for him), and back at the ranch we're taking down the Christmas decorations, which always makes the house feel empty. We took down the tree today for the purpose of boxing it up and putting it out in the shed before the snow falls tonight; we'll take down the rest of the decorations tomorrow. The current heat wave makes this nearly infinitely worse. Listen, it's January; so, everything is dead. Given that, wouldn't a bed of pristine snow be prettier than the sickly green of dead grass? Yes, it would. Fifty degrees in January is bullshit.

Everybody is so happy it's warm. What the fuck is wrong with you people? Would you be happy if it was fifty in July? No, of course you wouldn't. And as much as I loathe the heat, I wouldn't either. I want it to be hot in July and cold in January. Everything in its season, damn it. Is it too much to ask?

I don't know why, it might be the weather, but it feels like a million years since we returned from Texas. Those seem like the good old days. Weird. (Not being in Texas, but the 30th and 31st. Apparently, I miss 2003.)

The Trekkie Project
I want to make Guy Zach Nie! into a Trekkie. Right now, he's a guy who worships at the alter of Deep Space Nine, but I don't think he's quite a Trekkie yet. To that end, though, I've loaned him the latest two Next Generation movies, Star Trek: Insurrection (IX) and Star Trek: Nemesis (X), and encouraged him to watch Star Trek: Enterprise as it is broadcast on TV.

He has expressed an interest in sequentially watching The Next Generation even though I've warned him about the awful awfulness of the first two seasons. Methinks this bodes well for the future of the project.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 3
I never really feel clean with stubble. (Of course, what I've got barely qualifies as stubble.) I wish I could shave right now. I can't believe I'm going to go to Mass looking like this. As C-3PO would say, "How horrid!"

Friday, January 2, 2004

Yeah, today I went outside and couldn't see my breath. This weather is fucking bullshit. Where's the snow? Where's the ice? Where's the wind that slices through your parka like it isn't there?

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 2
I very rarely shave two days in a row; so, today is nothing unusual.

Thursday, January 1, 2004

Lloyd Carr's Keys to (USC's) Victory
1. Braylon Edwards playing like Braylon Edwards. It would have been an easy seven points on the first drive of the game, but good old Stonehands displayed his usual dexterity. Ah well, at least he's consistent.

2. The O-line. I want to own my own NFL team and hire each of these jerks, just so I can have the pleasure of firing their bloated, worthless arses. Thanks for not blocking anything all day, fuckers.

3. John Navarre ended his career at Michigan the way he played his career at Michigan: mired hip-deep in frustration and futility.

My sincerest wish is that Braylon Edwards listens to his raging ego and enters the NFL draft. He won't accomplish anything as a pro, but at least he'll be out of my hair.
My brother feels that it is important a man feels welcome in his own home; you know, not put out in his own castle. He believes in this principle so strongly that on New Year's Day, the greatest college football day of the year, he's watching a DVD with the volume set so high that I've been forced upstairs in order to hear the Purdue-Georgia game. Way to be, David.

Banzai Beard Bonanza: Day 1
I shaved today for the last time for a long time. "Lonestar, we meet at last, for the first time, for the last time." It's weird to shave without taking a shower either before or after. Well, we shall see how this debacle progresses.
When in my life have I ever been able to say "no" to Skeeter? New year, same as the old year. In a good way. Happy New Year, everybody.