Wednesday, December 5, 2007


It's Advent, folks!

Well, Advent started a few days ago, but you knew that, right?

What's that? You are unfamiliar with the Advent season? Been a awhile since Sunday School for some of you, perhaps?. Well, good ol' Mr. Gunfighter is here with a wee reminder.

The Advent season marks the preparation for the celebration of the birth of Christ. Coincidentally, or maybe not so coincidentally, it happens at the same time of what most people refer to as the Christmas season.

In different faith traditions, the season of Advent begins on varying dates, but in the Lutheran tradition, Advent starts on the first of December... just a scant few days before my birthday... not that I am hinting at any of you.

I'd never do that.

Right... Advent.

From Wikipedia (which explains this so much better than me):

Christians believe that the season of Advent serves a dual reminder of the original waiting that was done by the Hebrews for the birth of their Messiah as well as the waiting that Christians today endure as they await the second coming of Christ.

This is a particularly important time in the church year, and during Sunday services in many churches (and certainly in Lutheran churches) a favorite Advent hynm is sung... that's the one you can hear now, if your volume is up and I embedded properly.

It is called "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel!"

It's a big favorite of mine.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Don Imus Thing (pt. 2)

So, Don Imus has returned to the airwaves.

I have to tell you this, his return leaves me cold.

I know, I know, he said bad things. I know. I know he is an ass. I know that I would never invite him to my home for dinner because I think he is a boor.

I get it. You already know how I feel about the subject of his comments if you read part one.

Listening to the callers on C-Span's Washington Journal, yesterday, I get the feeling that a lot of people understand WHY Imus is back on the air.

If you are one of them (and I am sure you are not... all of you are much smarter than me), I am going to explain it in very simple terms. Are you ready?

Here it is:

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It's because he makes lots, and LOTS of these for his employers.

It really is a matter of simple math. The majority of the people who would call themselves fans of that assclown are people that wouldn't stop listening to his program because of those stupid comments vis a vis the Rutgers women's basketball team. Advertisers? They like controversial people... as long as their controversies don't reflect negatively on them.

So... what, then?

Imus makes money for those who would pimp him out. Isn't that the American way? Imus is popular, and some people want to listen to him spew... so what? Let them listen.

Let's not get too worked up over it, ok?

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Starship Troopers

When I was a kid of thirteen, I read a book that had a great, and lasting, impact on me. It was a book called "Starship Troopers" by the late Robert A. Heinlein.

You might be familir with that title as the reult of the REALLY awful movie of the same title that came out several years ago.

Well, this book was initially written as a serial for a science fiction magazine, and was otiginally published in 1959. The novel, set in the not-so-far-off future was about a war between earth and an alien species called the Arachnids... or "Bugs".

In this future, in which there was a planet-wide government, only veterans could vote. The rest of the citizenry enjoyed all o f the blessings of a free society, but the franchise was only extended to those who had actually laid their asses on the line to defend the planet.

An important thing to note in this novel was that while only veterans could vote, active duty soldiers could NOT vote.

The book was really a treatise on the realtionship between government and the goverened, as well a a moral philosphy play.

You can read a much more detailed description of the book and the politics behind it, here.

In any event, as a boy, the book had a large impact on me.

When I was growing up, I was already predisposed to military service because my dad was a career military man, and my brother joined the Air force when I was 13, but this book went deeper than just some sort of literary recruiting pitch formilitary service.

In chapter ten (I think it's ten), a drill instructor gave the young soldiers in his charge a class on tactics when a recruit asked him why they were being trained in tactics of a bygone era, when they (and the enemy) had all sorts of more dangerous weapons. The sergeant replied:

"you've got it all wrong, son. There ARE no dangerous weapons. Only dangerous people. That's what we are trying to teach you here, to be dangerous... to the enemy. So dangerous that if you only have one foot left, you'll still be able to kill the enemy if he gets too close" (I may have some of those words wrong, but that is the gist)

This passage and others, set me on my way. They were the beginnings of my indoctrination in the warrior culture.

I first read that book in 1976.

I have had three copies of that book in my life, all regularly re-read.

It's still important to me.