Monday, May 2, 2011

Osama Bin Laden

Osama Bin Laden is dead. He was utter scum, and I believe the world is a better place without him. However, now the entire country is celebrating and acting like a decade of unnecessary death, destruction, and unwarranted murder at the hands of OUR government was justified and the correct thing to do. Was killing this one man worth losing more than twice as many Americans as were killed in the initial attacks? Is the fact that it took a DECADE to find a guy who was living less than a mile from an American military base something to celebrate? Is celebrating the death of this man all that different than the way he celebrated when the towers fell on that dark day?

The man wasn't Hitler. He didn't have a massive army, or dangerous weapons, or allies, or ANYTHING that made him a threat. He resorted to terrorism because terrorism was all he had. The fact is that the entire purpose of his initial attacks was to get us to react EXACTLY how we reacted. They couldn't hope to hurt us on our own soil, so they lured us to theirs. The loss of life on September 11, 2001 was a great tragedy. Our reaction to it as a country was an even greater one. The moment we began attacking foreign soil to get to him, we became, in the eyes of many, the very monsters he claimed we were. Now, a decade later, we have lost so many lives in the name of this War on Terror that any victory feels hollow to me. I can’t say for sure that we would never have lost them if that war hadn’t been started, but I believe that we wouldn’t have. If our enemies had more effective weapons, they would have used them. If they could have killed more than 2600 people they would have. The fact remains that on that day, they did their very best to cripple our country, and they succeeded only in wounding us. Far more damage has been done by our continued pouring of resources into conflict after conflict than was done in that initial battle, and all attempts by the Taliban since to do more damage to America have failed to even come close to the same level of destruction caused by those original attacks. We pose a far greater threat to ourselves than they ever posed to us, and that is EXACTLY what terrorism is supposed to do. They won that battle.

Now, as we sit here, having finally accomplished the killing of the man who started the mess, we could, as a country, use this moment to back away, to stop overexerting ourselves in a war against a concept that by its very nature is unstoppable, but no. Our government is already talking about this as if it's not over. They're already saying that we have lots more work to do. They're already prepared to commit even more time, money, and LIVES to a cause that serves no purpose for America, while we continue to ignore real potential threats. Will they go ahead with this, or will they make the saner choice? Only time will tell, of course, but given the past, I think it’s fairly easy to guess. I'm glad that the families of those who died finally have some closure, but this is NOT a good thing for our country. Instead of learning that blindly lashing out at anyone who hates us is foolish and destructive to everyone involved, we will become even more committed to throwing ourselves into senseless violence. I'm not playing Devil's advocate. I hated the man as much as any of us. I don't want to debate this, and I'm not trolling, but... no. I'm not happy at all.

There is a country on this planet that has rampant crime, poverty, disease, and an upper class that lords over it all in decadence and luxury. This country is constantly swinging its weight around, and despite being far from perfect itself, it has decided to pass judgment on other people’s ways of life. It reaches far and wide, having the sheer audacity to impose occupation and demands on countries that it has nothing to do with, and all under the guise of helping. We, the American citizens, have the power to stop this country in its tracks without ever firing a single shot or losing a single life, if only we stand up for what is right. We now live in a world where the price doesn’t matter as long as the goal is accomplished, and where death and destruction and hatred are celebrated in the streets. We claim to be purveyors of freedom, helping less fortunate parts of the world find peace and prosperity, when on our own soil, people are still murdered EVERY DAY for being different in such small ways as skin color and who they fall in love with. This is not only hypocritical, it’s utterly disgusting. At this time, we have no right to claim superiority over anyone, much less a society that is only as wrong as we once were ourselves.

Today, almost everyone in the country is celebrating the death of a villain. I’m mourning the seemingly fatal disease infecting the country I grew up loving and believing in. I beg you, as a man who loves his country, do not raise your glass to the death of this man. Do not celebrate this as a victory. Instead, hang your head in memory of his victims. Let this be, instead of a celebration of violence and revenge, a time to reflect on what we have done in the past as a country, and what has been done to us in return. Would they ever have hated us enough to attack had we not been so smug as to meddle again and again in the affairs of other countries? Would they ever have been so opposed to us that they were willing to die to make us suffer had we not been so arrogant as to think that we had the right to decide how the rest of the world ran? I don’t know. Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20, and those things are unchangeable, fixed in our past. The future, however, is ours to mold. We can either take this time to reflect upon the mistakes of the past, learn from them, and change our course while we still have time, or we can keep heading, and sail our ship into territory we know for a fact to be hostile and dangerous.

I wasn’t sure whether or not I should post this. I know that many of you will be angry, and that I’ll receive negative thoughts from more than a few. I know that almost everyone who sees these words will know of my argumentative nature, and many will believe I’m going against the grain either for the sake of doing or simply because I enjoy arguing. That is not the case. I don’t want to argue, or debate, or even discuss this much beyond these words. I’m doing this because I grew up loving my country, genuinely trusting and believing that I lived in the greatest place in the world, and because now, that country, that land that I am patriotic about and love desperately, is wrong. It’s not only dying out, it has died. The Patriot Act was the first in a number of assaults on my perception of the country we live in, and the reaction to the death of one man was the final one. We have to stop this now, before it’s too late. We still have time to save this country, but not much time. Not much at all. Stand with me, and make our country free, truly free, for perhaps the first time. Let the government know that you don’t want this cycle of violence to continue. Enough blood has spilled.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Holy Shit, the Upper Peninsula is Awesome.

Well, I'm finally back from my epic vacation in the land of trees and lakes. That's right, the upper peninsula of Michigan, also known as the deformed flipper hand to the LP's mitten. WHAT a vacation. Over the course of this trip: I turned 24. Lauren learned a lot about rum. We discovered that Steve has no reverence for the dead. I tackled Steve down a sand dune. Some of us may or may not be various mythological beasts. I found out that no one likes shining but me; we did it anyway. I ate pizza out of an envelope. STARTER LOGS ARE IMPORTANT. Using a grill she is unfamiliar with makes Lauren a bad cook. We went to the Mystery Spot; I have yet to vanish. We learned that just because a man looks and sounds a little bit like Buffalo Bill doesn't mean he expects you to put lotion on. Steve talked to a biker. I trained under a waterfall. I found out just how out of shape we all are. We tried out a new game we are tentatively calling "tubthumping". MANY MORE.

The story I've chosen to elaborate on today is how I became a flasher. On maybe our third day out, we decided it would be a great Idea to head to Munising falls. For those of you who don't know, the falls are an old and beautiful part of the upper peninsula, and a place with great connection to us all. We stood in awe and wonder, enjoying the view every second and every step of the way. Shortly thereafter, we were on our way. Suddenly, Catherine guided us to a secluded spot; a waterfall with no guardrails preventing us from entering.

Suddenly, despite the cold, our path was clear. I walked through mud, through streams, and across gravel and rocks. Once I reached the other side, grinning, I shed my shirt, my shoes, and all of my precious electronics. Then, I got in. Standing beneath the waterfall was exhilarating, to say the least. It felt like someone was throwing sharp ice cubes at my head.

Getting out, the error in my judgment suddenly became clear; my pants were soaked, and we had a several hour ride back into town. As I trekked back to the van, soaking wet and barefoot, a plan began to form. In my mind, the logic was simple: Pants chafe when wet. Pants are wet. Therefore? Don't wear pants! Congratulating myself on my logic, I had Brian grab ahold of my pants, and then, when the coast was clear, I leaped out of them and into the van in one clean motion. Now in only my underwear, I sat in the back, where the windows were tinted, and tried to get comfortable. After all, the drive back to town would be short and simple, right?

We immediately got lost. After driving a good hour down the road we were supposed to go down, we discovered that it was blocked off for construction. A feeling of dread settled over me as the others made the fateful decision to turn down a side road, relying on the GPS to see us through. Now, this DID work... eventually. After another hour of twisting, turning roads, the soaked underwear I was wearing began to become incredibly uncomfortable. In an attempt to relieve this, I slid them down a little. Shortly thereafter, I discovered that, due to them being soaked and cotton, they were reluctant to come back up. Slightly embarrassed, and now completely naked, I covered myself a little more, and settled in for a long, strange drive.

Shortly after, I realized something awful; I had to pee. Not your average, every day run of the mill peeing, either. This was epic, adventurous, DANGEROUS peeing. I had to go THEN, or else risk peeing accidentally while going down a steep hill or something equally unpleasant. We discussed the matter briefly, and agreed upon a solution.

Brian's trench coat.

That's how I ended up naked in a forest save a trench coat.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I've been quite busy lately. Don't worry, though, I'm going up north in a couple days. When I return, I'm SURE to have numerous stories and entertaining things to post about. In the meantime, enjoy this important public service announcement from Willem Dafoe.

Friday, September 10, 2010


Have you ever had that special kind of sick that seem to be slow acting? Like, you drift in and out of a fog of nastiness that just makes you feel confused and foggy and kind of like you've been drinking, but with none of the fun parts? I've been drifting down that icky sea for about a week. In between bouts of confusion and my body being unable to decide if it's feverish or below standard temperature, I've had strange moments of clarity. I vaguely recall eating, and I know I took several tests yesterday, but I honestly have no idea how I did. Or even what classes they were in. I bring this up in reference to one fact: I've been sucking at blogging this past week. Rest assured, to my faithful followers, what few of you there are, I hope to be back on form before long, and with one doozy of a post. Until then, please enjoy this photo of a dirty, possibly nude Thomas Jane with an improvised machete made out of a paper cutter:

Thursday, September 2, 2010

My Brief Time As A Player of CIty Of Heroes

Sometimes, I second guess myself. I start to think, "Dude, Kyle, a billion people LOVE Twilight, maybe its not attrocious." Or, "You know, Kyle, maybe this whole 'rap' thing isn't a scourge." Or even something foolish, like "Kyle, you would look really AWESOME if you went back to the Hawaiian shirt with a tie style!" I'm always wrong to do it. Those instincts are right the first time. Which brings me to today's point: Massively Multiplayer Online games.

"Psst. Kyle. It's your brain. Maybe MMO's are fun!" My brain woke me up with that today. I told it to go away, because I felt sick, and had a terrible headache. "NO, seriously," my brain insisted. "Linda said you could have a free trial of City of Heroes. TRYYYYY IIIIIIIIIIIIT." My brain is an insistent little prick, sometimes.

So, today, whilst sickly and migrainey, I decided I should try out City of Heroes. So, I used the Free Trial code my dear friend Linda gave me. I waited for several hours, patiently, for it to download and install. I booted it up, and within twenty minutes rediscovered why I hate MMOs so bad.

It's not that I don't think they can be fun. It's not the graphics, or lack of story. It's not even the soul-deficient/mind bogglingly stupid/scary people that sometimes tend to play them. It's the fact that no matter how new my computer is, no matter how old the game is, and no matter how good my internet connection is, they are ALWAYS CHOPPY.

No amount of fiddling with settings, updates, or patches seems able to prevent this, with ANY MMO, and I've played several. I can carefully adjust things for hours, find just the right settings, and the whole damned thing still shudders like Michael J. Fox in a damned earthquake. (Sorry, Kat.) It's like the entire game is DETERMINED to be slow motion, but doesn't quite know what slow motion is.

It took me a minute total to turn my character in the direction necessary to progress. He continued to turn for a full five seconds after I let go of the button. I then had to repeat in the other direction, and I let go early in the hopes that adjusting my timing would help. It didn't. Now he stopped right on time, thus STILL not pointing the correct direction.

Maybe I'm missing something. Maybe there's some fundamental thing I'm doing wrong that the whole rest of the universe understands. Maybe I'm just touchy because of the terrible headache the gods of ouch have bestowed upon me. I don't know. I intend to ask Linda about this issue later. I'll keep you guys posted if I turn out to be making some kind of grievous error, but somehow, I doubt I am.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Oh ERROR! In my haste to complete my Batman list, I screwed up BIG TIME. I completely forgot about an episode that is easily my favorite of all time, though it's easy to see how, as the episode had little to nothing to do with Batman himself. SO now, the REAL #1:


This episode is why I like westerns. Taking place mostly in the wild west, this incredible episode was a stealthy way to build an entire episode around DC comic's dark cowboy character, Jonah Hex. In it Rh'as Al Ghul recounts his wondrous tale of how he came face to scarred face with the man long ago. It was a wonderful episode, full of action, twists and turns, and yet another opportunity to see that not every action taken by a Batman villain is for evil purposes.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The Batman

So, lately I've been watching the Batman animated series, and I have come to the conclusion that Batman is even more awesome than I thought. The writing on that series was top notch, and it had just as much if not even more to do with the rebirth of Batman from the silly Adam West era to the dark, powerful era as the Tim Burton film. As such, I've decided to write a top ten list of my favorite Batman Animated series episodes.

10. Almost Got 'Im

This one is a classic. A bunch of villains, hanging out playing poker. The Joker, Two-face, Penguin, Croc, and Ivy all swapping stories about the time that infernal Batman got away. It's FULL of jokes I have never forgotten to this day ("It was a big rock..."), as well as some genuinely interesting villain plans. Add to that the origin of the giant penny in the Batcave, and you have one hell of an episode.

9. Feat of Clay

The first major villain reworking of the series is also one of the darkest and most disturbing. An actor, tragically disfigured, gets addicted to a non-surgical cosmetic, the side effects of an overdose of which turns him into the icky, twisted Clay-Face. I think this is when I first realized as a kid that if my parents ever really payed attention to the shows I was watching, they might not let me watch it at all. The visuals on Clay-Face are always stunning, as well.

8. Mad as a Hatter

Oh frabjous day! Caloo, calay! This is the first time as a kid I remember wanting the villain to find a way to win. The poor, lonely Jervis Tetch only wanted a way to his beloved Alice's heart. As a kid who got pushed around and had considerable lady troubles, I couldn't help but identify with the man. After all, what would you do if you had the power to control those who hurt you? Plus, top hats and Alice in Wonderland are the shit.

7. If You're So Smart, Why Aren't You Rich?

A video game designer is fired after being cheated out of his profits by his shiftless boss. In revenge, he builds an intricate full size maze in the form of the game and traps the boss inside. Once again, I identify with the villain. In this first appearance of the Riddler, I wanted to root for Batman, but the scummy boss was so nasty that it was difficult to do. This marks the only version of the Riddler I've ever seen that doesn't come across like some half-baked rip-off of either the Joker or Jigsaw ala the Saw films. Truly a milestone episode.

6. The Man Who Killed Batman

In this GLORIOUS episode, a barely dangerous racketeer apparently offs the Batman, only to discover that doing so was not in his best interests. Everyone in Gotham wants a piece of him, if not to prove they're tougher, then because they're afraid of him. Or in one memorable case, because Batman is the Yin to their Yang. That's right folk, the Joker himself goes after this poor wimp of a man, very upset that he's deprived him of his lifelong game of cat and mouse with the Batman. Hysterically funny throughout, this is truly one of the best episodes I've ever seen.

5. The Laughing Fish

The Joker invents a twisted fish with the same horrible smile on its face that he has. Eager for profits, the Joker holds Gotham City in a reign of terror, demanding a copyright and his legal share of the profits from every Jokerfish sold. This episode really showcased the twisted attitude the Joker could display, as well as just how creative his strange plans can be. It also echoed an amusing story from the comics.

4. Perchance to Dream

Batman wakes up in a reality where he is just Bruce Wayne. His parents are alive, he is engaged to Selina Kyle, and all is right in the world. So why is he so sure its wrong? A twisted and pulse pounding episode, I didn't actually see this one as a child, and it's a damned good thing. God knows how much more twisted I'd be if I had see this reality questioning piece of excellence.

3. Two-Face

Harvey Dent appeared in several episodes long before this one, and was an established character. That made his horrible transformation into Two-Face a real spectacle to see. Amazingly acted by all involved, this Two-Face story is rivaled only by The Dark Knight itself, and established a lot I have grown to love about the character. It also showed that characters in this series were not untouchable. People could get hurt, and could stay that way.

2. Harley and Ivy

The Joker and Harley Quinn have a falling out, and she ends up staying with Poison Ivy. Implied lesbianism much? Aside from the fact that two of the sexiest characters ever written spend half the episode walking around in men's shirts (That's what women do when they're alone, right?), this episode was INCREDIBLY funny, with gags including the Joker being unable to find his pants without Harley's help. Equally hilarious is Batman's completely offscreen unexplained escape act in Act 3. This episode is truly one of the best the series ever had to offer.

1. Heart of Ice

The recreation of Mr. Freeze in this animated series is by far one of the most well known. He went from a gimmicky, barely one-dimensional character to the single most emotionally gripping member of the rogues gallery. Here we see a man, not evil, but truly broken. After losing everything he loves, he puts himself through a frozen hell for vengeance, yes, but also in an attempt to restore himself and his wife. A truly deep and depressing character, we saw Mr. Freeze come back time and time again, given not only his own movie, but resurrected in the excellent series Batman Beyond. This dark, icy mirror of Batman himself was truly chilling, if you'll forgive the pun.

There you have it! My top ten Batman episodes are a real tribute to those who worked on them, most notably Paul Dini and Bruce Timm. Those men, more than perhaps any other, shaped my sense of right and wrong, and what the word superhero truly means. I can honestly say that without this series, I wouldn't be nearly the same man today. They continue to this day with their excellent DC animated films and the truly exceptional Batman video game series. If you ever have opportunity, check this series out, no matter how old you are. You won't regret it.