Monday, September 17, 2007

Six years later, and they won't shutup.

I was hoping I could ignore September 11th this year, but it's now September 17th and people are still talking to me about so I guess I'll take this time to finally say how I feel.

September 11th was a bad thing. Obviously. It's always bad when people die, especially in large numbers. But I can not stand the reactions to it, be it the smug superiority or the hushed reverence. Let's take some time to debunk some of the more common bullshit.

We never saw it coming!
In 1992 Osama bin Laden bombed a hotel in Yemen in an attempt to kill American troops, but only succeeding in killing an Austrian guest at the hotel and a muslim employee. In response he issued a fatwa, stating that anyone near his enemy becomes his enemy.

In 1998, he and Al-Zwahiri co-signed a fatwa stating it was the sworn duty of all muslims to kill all Americans and anyone near Americans.

In 1993 the World Trade Center was hit by a car bomb in its basement, planted by muslim extremists. Osama bin Laden is reported as announcing afterwards that he would attack the towers himself and when he did they would fall.

Prior to September 11th, muslim hatred of the United States grew more and more. Jihadist leaders, including Osama bin Laden, issued repeated threats and demands which were all ignored, leading to escalated threats and demands.

So when you say we never saw this coming, I'm forced to ask...did you think he was joking?

This was the greatest tragedy in world/American history!
If only Osama bin Laden would do it 100 more times then the number of deaths would be ALMOST equal to those from the Rwanda massacre. You know, that thing you never heard about?

To put it even more into perspective, we'd need ten 9/11 type events in one year just to equal the number of people who die every year from drunk driving accidents.

The 9/11 attacks were a drop in the pond. They were the worldwide equivalent of getting a bruise on the playground. And yet six years later you're still moping about September 11th like it was the single greatest horror in world history.

If you want to know just exactly how small it was, take a look at wikipedia's list of wars and disasters by death toll and remember this: September 11th only killed 2,752 people.

Bill Clinton never did anything to catch Osama bin Laden.
Untrue. Bill Clinton did a LOT to catch Osama bin Laden, he just didn't base his entire presidency on it like George Bush has. Osama was indicted by grand jury twice in 1998 following his fatwa and first few successful attacks on Americans and in 1999 was added to the FBI's Most Wanted Fugitives list.

In 1998 President Clinton ordered a freeze on all assets possibly linked to bin Laden and signed an executive order for his assassination, almost starting an international incident when a cruise missile attack failed to kill bin Laden but succeeded in killing 19 civilians. After multiple attempts at assassination and extradition failed, Clinton convinced the UN to impose economic sanctions against Afghanistan in 1999 until they released bin Laden to US custody.

Muslims hate America because they're evil/jealous/whatever other nonsense.
Nonsense. Muslims hate America for a good reason. Following World War II the western world became obsessed with boundaries and stability in countries. We went to the middle east and set up national boundaries, forcing rival factions who had previously kept to themselves to share countries, thus causing unrest. We overthrew their kings, threw out their entire way of life, and installed brutal, tyrannical puppet dictators loyal to us and armed them with weapons of mass destruction to use against their own people. (To quote Paul Mooney, when asked why George W. Bush is so sure Hussein had weapons of mass destruction: "Because he has the receipt.") To enforce the new boundaries we desecrated muslim holy ground by building military bases on holy sites. Finally, we gave their land and their holy city to a group of people who they have hated for thousands of years.

As if that's not enough, America is simply full of itself. There is a willful ignorance of the world around us. The mere fact that the bolded statements I've taken the time to debunk here are so popularly expressed that they needed to be debunked is proof of that. Our understanding of the world around us is based on ignorant speculation and propaganda, yet we still think ourselves the world's police force. How can we fix what we don't understand, especially when we can't even fix our own moral, spiritual, and economic problems?

And THAT - not evil or jealousy - is why a third of the world absolutely despises us.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Video Game Review: More greatest hits: Maverick Hunter X.

It's Mega Man X! The first one! Again! Yes, Capcom has gone back to its roots. Anyone who says "No, they did that in Powered Up." is going to make me really angry and I'll whine and cry and storm away and you'll be left going "What! What did I say!"

The entire game has been redone, although levels and enemies are mostly the same, all the sprites have been made into 3D models, and the backgrounds, while still flat, are now beautifully rendered. The game has also had lots of plot added, with cutscenes and boss speeches. And because I know it'll make the old fans like me happy, I'd like to report that gameplay has been left the same. And once you beat the game you unlock a short, 20 minute anime movie about X's days as a Maverick Hunter and Sigma's descent into maverickdom.

Also, Chill Penguin apparently has the voice box of Gilbert Gottfried. First Iago and now Chill Penguin. I'm beginning to suspect something.

If there's a con to this game it's that it's very short and the fact that it's easier than the original means that you'll likely beat it quickly, especially if you played the original as much as I did. To remedy this, Capcom took a page from HAL's book on extending playability by adding Vile mode, a mode where you play as Megaman's Boba Fett-lookalike enemy, Vile. Unlike Meta Knightmare, however, Vile mode has new cutscenes, redisgned levels, and a vastly different gameplay style which will make Vile mode actually worth playing through to the end.

Speaking of Vile mode, anyone who still doubts the sexual orientation of...well, pretty much anyone involved with the X franchise ever and thinks one or two of them might be straight, will be shut up right quick when they get a look at the...loving detail put into Vile's ass. And since Vile's stand animation has his back to you when facing right (opposed to X who turns his back on you when facing left, which you rarely do) you'll be seeing an awful lot of Vile's ass. Don't think I'm happy about that.

All in all, Capcom actually did a VERY good job. Hey, say what you will about Capcom. Lord knows I have. But I've always said that they are NOT incapable of producing quality work, they just rarely choose to do it. They tend to lose sight of their goals and let their games slip into stagnation quite often (ie. look at the huge gap in quality between MMX4 and MMX6), and their worst games have been truely horrible. But there's two sides to every coin and their good games can in fact be counted among the greatest games of all time.

It's just too bad most of their effort went into VILE'S ASS.

KR Rating from The Future: [5] GREAT

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

What pole?

The second most hilarious thing about this picture is that the name of the boat is the Temporary Insanity.

The first most hilarious thing about this picture is that the name of the boat is the Temporary Insanity II. Did you wrap the first one around a pole too, jackass?

I know, I know, there's the obvious question: are jackhammers worse than the cigarette she's puffing on. The saddest thing about this picture, though, is that this was taken just a few blocks from my house.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Top 5 List: What I've Learned That the Villains Haven't.

5. The arms race will never work in your advantage.
As soon as you come up with a weapon that the heroes can not stand up to their tech team will come up with something even better that you can't stand up to. The trick is, don't go bigger, go different. Awesome is hereby defined as someone who leads the heroes through a vast dungeon filled with fire and lava, then after they've got enough energy resistance to make themselves practically immune to fire, hits them with LIGHTNING for instant death.

4. The size of the force against you is inversely proportionate to how scared you should be.
If Saddam Hussein could fuck with the UN for years there's no reason to call a red alert when they come after you. Movies and real life have taught us that the heriarchy of effectiveness goes from Masked Vigilante to Secret Agent to Navy Seal to Suspended Officer to Detroit PD to LAPD to FBI. By the time you've got the UN or Interpol involved an old woman in a wheelchair with a cap gun is a more formidable opponent. The true threat to you is not the army, but a small force infiltrating your compound and killing you in your sleep.

With that in mind, let's work on your security. Ventilation systems should be too small for a human to fit through. The door should not be guarded by idiots who let in anyone wearing the right uniform, but a DNA scanner which can determine 100% who is and isn't one of your guys. Finally, security cameras should be everywhere in your compound. They should face the correct way at all times and should be shielded against electromagnetism and whatever other clever devices the enemy has.

3. You're better off as a human.
Be it Voltron, Power Rangers, or any other show where humanoid villains assume giant monster forms, it's always the same. They're almost always winning when they decide to take giant monster form. At that point the fight usually lasts about 30 more seconds before the villain's horrifyingly brutal death.

Here's another thought. When Voltron Force assembles, or the Power Rangers form the Megazord, that's when you get OUT of giant form and then fly your tiny ass over there, get inside, and blow them up with a nuclear bomb or something. Those giant robots are packed with weapons that can kill giant enemies, but nothing against tiny ones. Seriously, haven't you seen Star Wars? Also, they probably won't even look for tiny you. They'll be looking around saying "Stay tight, gang. He must've turned invisible. He's right nearby, I can smell it! Hey, what's this? He's on the Megazo--" BANG!

My realizing this does, however, make me exactly as smart as the Green Ranger. One of the few good villains out there.

2. Your underlings are not mooks.
I know it might not be evil enough, but your underlings would be more loyal if you didn't view them as expendable. Also, it would be cheaper and more effective to keep one group of hirelings kept up, healthy, well-equipped, and well-trained, rather than just hiring on meat puppets by the truckload. Replacing your workforce with robots or zombies may solve the first problem (loyalty), but it exacerbates the second. Zombies are known to be weak and easily burned. Also, they stink and tend to rot and fall apart. Well preserved, a zombie might last you a month. And robots? The construction of one robot alone is the same as a year's upkeep for 100 humans. And that's not even counting the upkeep for said robot which is even more than a person would cost.

Also, on the topic of Star are all the Storm Troopers terrible shots? Really, how? THEY'RE CLONES. They're genetically engineered in a lab. You can give them ANY TRAITS YOU WANT and you chose to make them completely skilless with the only weapon you give them? That's RETARDED. (Also, aren't they cloned from the best shot in the entire galaxy?)

1. When your enemy has racked up a monstrous body count before you, a non-violent resolution is usually in order.
Maybe Superman and Batman have codes against killing, but when you're going up against a foe who has a history of all his villains dying in humiliating and ironic ways, you don't want to invoke the fight-to-the-finish unless...well, never. You WILL DIE. If you're nice enough not to actively seek the hero's death he might return the favor. I'd mention something about movie action heroes like Rambo or Steven Seagal (I use the actor's name because I can't think of any of his characters' names and let's face it, they're all the same anyway) but they'll probably kill you anyway.

I'd actually like to see a plotline in a strip like Dick Tracy or Phantom where the villain, rather than fighting to the death, just suddenly dropped his gun and surrendered, just so I could watch the hero stare dumbfounded. The bad guy could probably just escape right there as the hero tried desperately to figure out what to do in this situation.