And y'all wonder why I freak about about Obama, Pelosi, Reid, and their agenda...
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press, or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Sunday, December 27, 2009
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
I haven't really posted about this before, but if you've been following my blog for the last year or so, you'll remember that my grandmother, who has Alzheimer's, has been living with us for the last year. Her condition deteriorated pretty rapidly over the three months I was in Europe, so it was something of a shock when I got home.
Anyway, to make a long story short, she developed a pretty bad cough over the last few days. Yesterday, she started running a fever and had incontinent diarrhea. so today my parents took her to the hospital this morning. They spent a couple of hours running tests, and it looks like she has pneumonia. They're keeping her overnight, but I get the feeling that she might be there for a while longer still. Either way, it's going to be a rough Christmas for us.
Please keep me and my family in your prayers.
Posted by Raptor at 5:35 PM
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Yep, that's a good four inches of snow on our back deck. And we're supposed to get upwards of 14 inches total by the time it's all said and done on Sunday night. That's more snow in two days than we've gotten, total, in the last five years!!! The talking heads on TV are already calling this the worst snowstorm in 13 years; remembering the Great Blizzard of 1996, I'm inclined to agree with them. Even better, it typically doesn't start snowing until January or February around here; I can't remember the last time we've seen so much as a flurry in December.
Meanwhile, in Copenhagen, President Obama has pledged 30 Billion Dollars over the next three years and at least 100 Billion Dollars by 2020... to combat Global Warming.
UPDATE, 2:10 PM: As of approx. five minutes ago, the latest forecast from The Weather Channel is calling for between 13 to 20 inches.
Al Gore... Paging Mister Al Gore... Please come to Philadelphia as soon as possible... The people there would like to have a little chat with you about your Global Warming...
Posted by Raptor at 1:35 PM
Friday, December 18, 2009
Well, I finally got around to watching Public Enemies, the film about John Dillinger that starred Johnny Depp as Dillinger and Christian Bale as FBI Agent Melvin Purvis. I had high hopes for this film, primarily because Michael Mann directed the film. Mann, in my opinion, is one of if not the best director in the last twenty years.
Sadly, I came away from the film feeling disappointed.
It was not the acting that bothered me. Far from it, both Depp and Bale delivered the stunning performances that you would expect from actors of their caliber. Bale absolutely shines as the dedicated yet way out of his league agent that is Purvis, whilst Depp captures the essence, if not necessarily the soul, of the legendary gangster. My only complaint here is that I don't think Bale's character was given quite enough time on screen.
Mann has recently become controversial for his cinematography techniques in the last few years, primarily because he seems to use a Steadicam less and less often in his films, which leads to a picture that can be quite jerky rough at times. While this doesn't bother me quite as much as it does other people, I do think the technique was overused in this film; previously, Mann had limited it to the action scenes and shootouts that he is famous for, giving them a realistic feeling of chaos and confusion. Here, however, it seems as if most of the film was shot without Steadicam, for no real reason that I can discern.
This leads me to another thing I found lacking in the film; Mann's famous shootouts. Michael Mann is famous for his realistic, heart-stopping action sequences, his two most famous being the infamous bank shootout in Heat and Tom Cruise's gunning down of the two muggers in Collateral. With the exception of the Little Bohemia shootout, this film was virtually devoid of the action that is Mann's trademark.
What bothered me most about the film was the character's. Traditionally, the character's in Michael Mann's films have had an incredible amount of depth to them, with back-stories so detailed and personalities so dynamic that they seem to be real people. Sadly, both Dillinger and Purvis lack this realistic depth. While they are not two-dimensional characters by any stretch, compared to Mann's other works, they feel flat, almost to the point of being uninteresting.
Public Enemies, I would have to say, is overall a good movie. Unfortunately, it is not a great movie, and it nowhere near the usual quality of Michael Mann's films. If you haven't already seen it, I would say maybe give it a watch if you like gangster films or are a fan of either Johnny Depp or Christian Bale, but avoid it if you're a Michael Mann fan, otherwise you will come away, as I did, sorely disappointed with both the film and Mr. Mann.
Posted by Raptor at 11:57 PM
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Just realized that I've made some plugs for a few people and/or organizations here on Raptor's Nest, which could potentially be viewed as violations of the FTC's new rules regarding endorsements.
Just to be clear, I am in no way affiliated with Larry Correia, Crusader Weaponry, Trinity Airsoft, or any other person/company I may have mentioned in the past. Yes, I own a copy of Correia's novel Monster Hunter International, but I paid for it out of my own pocket from Barnes & Noble (not affiliated with them either; paid full price for it). Likewise, I paid full price, out of my own pocket, for the airsoft gun I bought from Trinity Airsoft. That was over a year ago, I doubt they remember I exist anymore. And no, I don't own anything from Crusader (yet), but when I do buy a Partisan or their new Broadsword, rest assured that I will pay for it, full price, out of my own pocket.
This ends my long-winded, overblown disclaimer. We now return you to your regularly scheduled blog.
Posted by Raptor at 3:37 PM
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
- I found Cherry Dr. Pepper on the shelf in a restaurant today.
- Allen Iverson is playing for the 76ers. Again.
- Brett Farve is a Viking.
- Global Warming has (finally) been exposed as a bunch of bulls***.
- Obama is actually in favor of a troop surge in Afghanistan.
- My brother wears jeans on a daily basis.
Posted by Raptor at 3:15 PM
Normally, I love Gmail. Say what you will about Google and their politics, but out of all the web-based email providers I have experience with, Gmail is, IMHO, the best.
However, there is one thing about them that drives me crazy.
One of the benefits of Gmail is that it allows you to link to other email accounts and send/receive mail from those accounts. I have such an arrangement set up with an old Verizon E-Mail account that I never use anymore. Thing is, I still get loads of spam sent to that address, and every few six months or so, either Verizon or GMail empties its spam filter into my GMail inbox.
Guess what happened today.
I've spent pretty much all day cleaning out both my GMail inbox and Spam Filter. I swear, I've deleted over 200 spam messages in the last four hours, and they're still coming in!!! [CENSORED]!!!!! As I just typed that last paragraph,another one just popped up in my Inbox! Man, this is such a PITA.
Well, whatever. I guess all I can do is deal with it. Just needed to vent, I guess (God this is annoying.)
Well, Peace (or at least there will be when the flow of Spam stops)
Posted by Raptor at 1:53 PM
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
I know that my postings have been few and far between over the last two and a half months. I'm really sorry about that. Schoolwork, homework, planning for travel weekends, going on travel weekends, posting about said weekends over on Raptor's Roamings, and the like have left me pretty drained, both physically and creatively. What few creative juices I can generate have been almost exclusively devoted to the two story threads I'm writing over at We The Armed.
Fortunately (I guess), my Study Abroad program ends in about another three weeks, and I'll be back in the States the first week of December. So as soon as I get over my jet-lag, I should be back up and posting regularly (well, about as regularly as I posted before) once again.
Posted by Raptor at 3:06 PM
Friday, October 30, 2009
I’ve got the reach and the teeth of a killin’ machine,
with a need to bleed you when the light goes green
best believe, I’m in a zone to be, from my Yin to my Yang to my Yang Tze
Put a grin on my chin when you come to me,
‘cuz I’ll win, I’m a one-of-a-kind and I’ll bring death
to the place you’re about to be: another river of blood runnin’ under my feet
Forged in a fire lit long ago, stand next to me, you’ll never stand alone
I’m last to leave, but the first to go, Lord, make me dead before you make me old
I feed on the fear of the devil inside of the enemy faces in my sights:
Aim with the hand, shoot with the mind, kill with a heart like arctic ice
I am a soldier and I’m marching on
I am a soldier and I’m marching on
I am a warrior and this is my song
I am a warrior and this is my song
I bask in the glow of the rising war, lay waste to the ground of an enemy shore
wade through the blood spilled on the floor, and if another one stands I’ll kill some more
bullet in the breach and a fire in me, like a cigarette thrown, to gasoline
if death don’t bring you fear, I swear, you’ll fear these marchin’ feet
Come to the nightmare, come to me, deep down in the dark where the devil be
in the maw with the jaws and the razor teeth, where the brimstone burns and the angel weeps
call to the gods if I cross your path and my silhouette hangs like a body bag
hope is a moment now long past, the shadow of death is the one I cast.
I am a soldier and I’m marching on
I am a warrior and this is my song
my eyes are steel and my gaze is long
I am a warrior and this is my song
now I live lean and I mean to inflict the grief,
and the least of me is still out of your reach
the killing machine’s gonna do the deed,
until the river runs dry and my last breath leaves
chin in the air with a head held high,
I’ll stand in the path of the enemy line
feel no fear,
know my pride:
for God and Country I’ll end your life
I am a soldier and I’m marching on
I am a warrior and this is my song
my eyes are steel and my gaze is long
I am a warrior and this is my song
Just found this today. You can buy the song on iTunes, all proceeds from sales go to the Armed Forces Relief Trust. It's a worthy cause.
Posted by Raptor at 3:53 PM
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Star Wars Fan Films have, in recent years, become a dime a dozen. Unfortunately, about 99% of them are now pretty much crap. However, every once in a while, one pops up that is an truly excellent production. Like this one, which I stumbled across earlier this evening: Makazie One
Set in the Star Wars universe during the time period between Episodes III and IV, an elite soldier has been sent to track down and destroy a known threat to the Empire through intense ground battles and haunting imagery of death that surrounds the environment. The unsuspecting enemy to the new Imperial order has no idea what he is up against when the two finally meet for an action packed surprise ending. (Description from Vimeo)
Jaded now as I am against Star Wars Fan Films, I have to say that I enjoyed Makazie One. Give it a watch, see what you think.
Posted by Raptor at 5:11 PM
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Today, I went to a street carnival in downtown Salzburg. Predictably, I spent far too much time and money at the shooting range booths (most of which were surprisingly honest, considering they were Carnies). One of the booths had both handguns and long guns set up, so I tried my hand at pistol shooting.
The pistol I picked was a Hammerli P26, which is a CO2-powered replica of the SIG Sauer P228. All I can say is "wow" Seven out of ten shots into a hole just under and to the left of the bulls-eye. The pistol fit my hand like a glove.
I'm buying one, a real one, as soon as I can once I get back to the US.
13+1 rounds of 9mm (15+1 if I buy some Mec-Gar magazines, which are actually cheaper than the factory mags), which is plenty of firepower for most situations, and the pistol is compact enough to carry on my person should I decide to go the distance and get a CCW Permit. Plus, they can be had used (but in very good shape) for less than $600, and SIGs are famous for their near-absolute reliability.
I have seen my future... and it is full of awesome.
Posted by Raptor at 2:29 PM
Friday, September 18, 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009
NEW YORK – A government that is constitutionally required to offer each citizen a "useful" job in the farms or industries of the nation.
A country whose leadership intercedes to ensure every farmer can sell his product for a good return.
A nation that has the power to act against "unfair competition" and monopolies in business.
This is not a description of Cuba, communist China or the old USSR. It's the vision of the future of the U.S, as mandated by a radical new "bill of rights" drawn up and pushed by President Obama's newly confirmed regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein. Until now, Sunstein's proposal has received little scrutiny.
In 2004, Sunstein penned a book, "The Second Bill of Rights: FDR'S Unfinished Revolution and Why We Need It More than Ever," in which he advanced the radical notion that welfare rights, including some controversial inceptions, be granted by the state. His inspiration for a new bill of rights came from President Roosevelt's 1944 proposal of a different, new set of bill of rights.
WND has learned that in April 2005, Sunstein opened up a conference at Yale Law School entitled "The Constitution in 2020," which sought to change the nature and interpretation of the Constitution by that year.
Sunstein has been a main participant in the movement, which openly seeks to create a "progressive" consensus as to what the U.S. Constitution should provide for by the year 2020. It also suggests strategy for how liberal lawyers and judges might bring such a constitutional regime into being.
Just before his appearance at the conference, Sunstein wrote a blog entry in which he explained he "will be urging that it is important to resist, on democratic grounds, the idea that the document should be interpreted to reflect the view of the extreme right-wing of the Republican Party."
In his book, Sunstein laid out what he wants to become the new bill of rights, which he calls the Second Bill of Rights:
Among his mandates are:
- The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;
- The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;
- The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;
- The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;
- The right of every family to a decent home;
- The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;
- The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;
- The right to a good education.
On one page in his book, Sunstein claims he is "not seriously arguing" his bill of rights be "encompassed by anything in the Constitution," but on the next page he states that "if the nation becomes committed to certain rights, they may migrate into the Constitution itself."
Later in the book, Sunstein argues that "at a minimum, the second bill should be seen as part and parcel of America's constitutive commitments."
Dear God. It is not enough that Obama and his minions blatantly ignore the Constition. They now want to fundamentally alter it. The very document that dictates how our government must be run and guarantees us our liberty would instead give the Government absolute control over all Citizens.
Don't believe me? Think I'm crazy? Read the article again.
"The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation." So the government will give us jobs that we may or may not be qualified for, and possibly force us to keep that job even if we don't like it. Oh, and no one will have incentive to work anyway, because we would have "The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation." You'd get paid for your job even if you didn't show up to work ever. And you wouldn't have to worry about earning a living anyway "The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living." So the government would set the prices on anything and everything you produce, even if it costs you more to manufacture than the Government says you can sell it for.
I could go on, but I think (hope) that you get the idea. Basically, this new so-called "Bill of Rights" will allow the Government to control virtually every aspect of your life, including where you live, where you work, how much you are allowed to earn, what sort of medical care (if any) you are allowed to receive, etc. That is not a Republic. That is not Democracy. In fact, I daresay that it transcends even Socialism and Communism. This is absolute Totalitarianism.
And I will not stand for it.
This, ladies and gentlmen, is my absolute line in the sand. Should this "change" to the Constitution occur, I will not stand idly by and watch. I will not allow my freedom to be completely stripped away. I will not become a Subject of our Government rather than a Citizen of our Nation.
I say again.
This is my line in the sand. I stand before it, waiting for the Government to cross. And I know that I am not alone. I know that there are others out there, true Americans all, who are standing there with me.
We will not be disenfranchised. We will not have our rights stripped away. We will not become Subjects to a Tyrannical Government. And we will not back down. We will do everything, everything, in our power to protect the Liberty that our forefathers shed their blood to secure for us and our children. And we will not be silenced.
Posted by Raptor at 6:11 PM
Friday, September 11, 2009
I was in the 8th Grade. 9:30 AM. I had to go into the nurse's office to have my snack for my hypoglycemia. Right as I walked in the door, our principal came over the PA system and said that a small plane had hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center. I figured, oh, it was probably just a moron in a Cessna or something, or maybe it's foggy over NYC. I remembered having read something about a B-17 that crashed into the Empire State Building in the 40's.
Then the nurse, who was on the phone with her daughter, screamed "THEY BOMBED THE PENTAGON?!?" Right then, I knew that whatever happened in NYC was much, much worse than a simple plane crash, and that it wasn't an accident. I quickly wolfed down the rest of my snack and ran across the hall into class. Just in time to see recorded footage of United 175 go into the South Tower. We watched for maybe another ten minutes before my teacher had to force himself to turn the TV off so we could have some semblance of a lesson. He couldn't keep it off for long, and turned it back on at about 9:55. I watched the South Tower go down on live television. My teacher couldn't bring himself to teach any more after that; all any of us could do was watch. I saw the North Tower go down a half hour later.
The rest of the day is a blur. I remember speculating with my friends about what might be hit next. I remember coming home and watching the news with my family for hours, watching the planes going into the towers and the towers going down over and over again until I felt sick.
I will never forget that day.
I will never forget all those who died in the fires.
And I will never forgive those monsters who were responsible.
Posted by Raptor at 11:43 AM
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
My computer was acting screwy all afternoon. Running really slow, running really hot, refusing to reboot from sleep mode, crazy stuff like that.
Fortunately, I figured out what was making it do that (I think): I installed Skype on my system this afternoon.
Okay, before Skype comes after me for libel and defemation, let me explain what exactly happened. When I downloaded Skype, I also downloaded a Skype app for Firefox. Said app is apparently very big and memory intensive, so when I had Firefox running (which is pretty much all the time when my computer is turned on), it was sucking up about half of my laptop's (which is a POS, by the way) CPU power. I've disabled the app, and that seems to have fixed pretty much all of my problems. Not sure about the refusing to reboot from sleep mode, though, as that problem seems to pop up on it's own every few months....
Anyway, if you download Skype (which I absolutely love, by the way, and I'm not just saying that to appease Skype for the rest of the post) and you have Firefox, I would recommend immediately disabling/uninstalling the Skype app. Especially if you have a laptop.
And, on another note, I've just begun writing a treatment for a new story idea. Zombie Apocalypse told through a journal of one of the survivors. Leaning heavily towards turning it into a graphic novel. (Any artists out there?)
And on yet another note: I LEAVE FOR AUSTRIA IN THREE DAYS! W00T!!!
Posted by Raptor at 10:38 PM
Saturday, August 29, 2009
I've been planning on blogging about my adventures studying in Europe for some time, but only just now got around to setting up a dedicated blog for the task. It's called Raptor's Roamings, and you can check it out here.
Seven days and counting until I leave! Actually, more like six now! Can't wait!
Posted by Raptor at 11:34 PM
Thursday, August 27, 2009
I can't seem to stop raving about Larry Correia's novel, Monster Hunter International. It's just that good!
If you haven't gotten your hands on a copy yet, then stop reading the blog, shut down your computer, go out to your local bookstore, and buy a copy. Do it right now.
Okay, you did what I said and bought a copy? Good.
Now, before I get sidetracked by making threats to the people who didn't do what I say (I'll find you guys, btw ;-) ), I want to give a hearty congratulations to Larry: MHI has done so well sales-wise - it's currently sold out at Amazon (where it's rated 64th in the Horror genre) - that Baen Books, the publisher, has apparently decided to pick up even more of Larry's books, including MHI's sequel: Monster Hunter Vendetta as well as several other non-MHI books.
Congrats, Larry. Here's wishing you a long and successful career as a writer.
Posted by Raptor at 2:47 PM
Sorry that posting has been so light as of late. I'll be leaving for Alderson-Broaddus College in eight days for orientation, and flying out to Austria two days after that. But before that, I've still got a few things that need to be squared away, so I haven't really had time to update.
Anyway, I'll be posting pictures of my travels across Europe up once I get over there. Not sure at this point if I'm going to create a dedicated blog for the pics or just post them on this blog, but I'll let y'all know either way.
T-Minus 8 days and counting, people! Can't wait!
Posted by Raptor at 1:01 AM
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Came across this site on the interwebz today that I thought y'all might like.
Before I post the link, however, I must warn any vegetarians or vegans who might stumble across this: DO NOT CLICK ON THE HYPERLINK! YOU WILL BE HORRIBLY OFFENDED BY IT!!!!!
Okay, now that that's all taken care off, the rest of you can go ahead and visit The Cheese & Burger Society, and their 30 different mouthwatering cheeseburger recipes. Here's one example:
Okay, the screencap isn't working for some reason, but the site looks normal.
Personally, I'm likin' The Highwayman and The Mama Mia, but I'll probably wind up trying them all at some point.
Thanks to George "The Ogre" Hill over at WeTheArmed.com for finding this.
Posted by Raptor at 9:10 PM
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Found this randomly online today (one of the few videos I don't shamelessly ripoff of borrow from another site or blog)
We Are The Champions as sung by a group of Gregorian Monks.
Yes, you read that right. Aparently, these guys are called The Chant Masters, and they've got a whole album of Queen covers. Yeah, Another One Bites the Dust and Bohemian Rhapsody sound really weird when sang like this... but I still kinda like it.
Posted by Raptor at 2:54 PM
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
A while back, I did a sort-of preview post for a novel called Monster Hunter International, written by a gentleman named Larry Correia. At that time, Baen Books, had released the first seven chapters of the book free online. I liked what I read back then, and was eagerly anticipating the book's full release. Well, it hit shelves this past weekend, and I purchased a copy on Monday night. Finished it very early (read: 2:00 AM) this morning, and figured I'd write a brief review.
First of all, MHI is something of an action thriller. I am not easily impressed by action thrillers, having read multiple works by authors considered to be tops in that field; Clancy, Hunter, Flynn, Ludlum, and Cussler to name a few, along with countless wannabees whose books barely deserved to be on store shelves
Second, MHI delves deeply into the fantasy-horror genre. Vampires, zombies, werewolves, orcs, elves, that sort of thing. With the exception of the Lord of the Rings film trilogy, I'm not that into fantasy. And I extremely dislike the horror genre. That just doesn't float my boat at all. I've no interest in having the crap scared of me at all.
So, in light of all that, I can only come up with one word to describe Monster Hunter International: Excellent.
Actually, Excellent doesn't really cut it. Truth be told, I can't really come up with words to describe what I think about Correia's work, at least not without sounding like a raving, foaming-at-the-mouth fanboy. Which, truth be told, I kind of am.
Correia is, in my opinion, an excellent writer, especially considering that this is the first novel he has ever written. (I think; Larry, if you're reading this and I'm wrong, please let me know. At any rate, it's his first published work.) He does an excellent job at writing the requisite action scenes, but even more so at creating the multitude of unique - and quirky - characters in the book. Each central character, and even most of the secondaries, has a fully fleshed-out background and history; it's obvious that Correia didn't just say "oh, I need a new character for this bit," and whip one up and five minutes like so many other authors - even the big names - are prone to doing.
The story is also excellent, with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing and surprised throughout the entire 710 pages. Granted, there are a handful cliches and worn plot devices (none of which I will mention lest I ruin the plot), but those are few, far-between, and forgivable considering the otherwise-unpredictable nature of the plot. It is also a highly-engaging plot. Actually, maddeningly addictive might be a better description; I had to physically force myself to put the book down during the wee hours of the morning so that I could get a few hours of sleep before picking it up again.
Oh, and I before I forget, MHI is funny! Again, can't really give specifics lest I ruin it for you, but suffice to say that Correia's dry, deadpan wit had me almost fall out off my chair at more than a few points.
In summary, I can say with certainty that Larry Correia's Monster Hunter Intentional is without a doubt the best book I have read this year. You can find it on both Amazon.com and at Barnes & Noble's website, as well as at your local bookstore. However, I recommend buying online, as many stores are selling out of copies as soon as they order them. (no lie: the clerk at the B&N where I bought mine had to dig through the storage room to find a copy!) Also, I recommend buying a second copy to loan to your friends, as they won't want to give it back!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to start re-reading my copy. Yes, I know I just finished reading it the first time: it is just that damn good.
Posted by Raptor at 8:17 PM
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Friday, July 17, 2009
Courtesy of Today's Big Thing. Actually, it's Yesterday's Big Thing, but whatever.
Dunno if I'm ever gonna be able to watch Star Wars again and keep a straight face.
Thanks to nerdjedi for showing me the video.
Posted by Raptor at 8:41 PM
You know my novel I'm writing that I'm always blabbing on here, Save Grace? Well, it's being put on hold. Truth be told, I'd become too emotionally invested in the characters, and as a result was taking the story in a direction that I really didn't like. So I'm suspending work on it for a while. Still plan to have it done before I graduate, but that's a ways away, so I don't worry.
In the meantime, I've started work on a new story, called Ten Millimeter. It's based on the series of oneshots I wrote a few years back for The Hitman Chronicles. I don't have any serious plans to have this published, so I'm posting it up on WeTheArmed. The first two "installments" (for lack of a better word) are already up: you can read them here.
Posted by Raptor at 8:33 PM
Saturday, July 4, 2009
233 years ago today, the 56 members of the Second Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence, formally signifying our secession from the British Empire. These 56 men did not see themselves as extraordinary, nor did they expect to be hailed for their actions. They were ordinary men; farmers, businessmen, even smugglers. They were brothers, husbands, fathers. Men just like you and me. Yet they knew their action would be considered high treason, and that should their efforts fail, they would most likely be executed for their crimes. And yet they believed so strongly in the idea of a free nation, that they were willing to risk death to preserve that idea.
Those men are long gone, but their spirits live on. They live on in the hearts of the thousands of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who have served and are serving in our armed forces. These are not heroes, nor do they consider themselves to be heroes. They are ordinary men and women, from all walks of life. They are farmers, mechanics, office workers, salesmen, students. They are husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers. They do not see themselves as heroes. But they believe so strongly in what our great nation stands for that they are ready and willing to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to ensure that you and I remain a free people.
All Gave Some, but Some Gave All.
Never forget their sacrifice.
To all active and veteran military personnel, than you for your service and your sacrifice.
Posted by Raptor at 1:06 AM
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Yeah, I've been ignoring the blog again, I know. Life's been busy, though not crazy, thank God. The programs I signed up to volunteer at at the library started last week, and I'm spending lots of time practicing German for when the tutor comes. And when I'm not doing that, I'm either reading one of the 2-dozen or so books that I bought at a used book sale last month or else working on writing my own.
So, yeah, I know that not many of you are into guns, but I figured I'd put the word out about this anyway.
I'm a member of this internet forum called WeTheArmed.Com. For the past few months, a couple of the guys over there have been working to start up a company called Crusader Arms (now Crusader Weaponry) to produce high-end AR-15 rifles. Well, their efforts are now coming to fruition. They're still not able to sell completed weapons (.gov is being a PITA, apparently), but they are going to be selling upper recievers very soon. They've got 4 different models, which are going to be retailing from $800* (base model) to $1600* (top-of-the-line models). They'll initually only be offering rifles in 5.56mm/.223 Remington, but plan on introducing models in 6.8mm SPC and 7.62mm/.308 Winchester (and possibly 6.5mm Grendell) down the road.
Knowing what I do about guns, Crusader Weaponry is using some of the best components in the industry in their rifles, and for the prices they're asking, it looks to be a real bargin. If you're in the market for an AR (or any type of EBR for that matter), look these guys up. Their website isn't up yet, but you can find updates at Crusader News, MadOgre.com, and/or WeTheArmed.Com.
*UPDATE* Scratch that. The website is up. It's still a Work In Progress, though. Here's the link.
Guys from Crusader, if you're reading this, once I get back from Europe and find my own apartment, I'll almost certainly be getting a Partisan of my own.
*Note: Prices are for Uppers only. Complete rifles will be more expensive.
Posted by Raptor at 10:15 PM
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Did some minor tweaking to the blog. Just changed around the fonts for the most part. Kinda like it better this way (duh).
Still working on my first-person spontaneous fic (much to the neglect of Save Grace), which I've tenatively titled Raptor's Reckoning. Yes, I'm the hero. Actually, a cooler, more badass version of me is the hero. Believe me, I wish I could do all the things that the story-me can do.
Still not sure whether or not I'm ever gonna publish it, though. Still pretty close to Larry Correia's and Mike Kupari's work over on TheHighRoad, so it'll probably be one of those just-for-me things that I do from time to time. Of course, that's what More Than a Job/Justice Delayed/Save Grace and Codename: White Knight started out as, so who knows what'll happen.
Posted by Raptor at 10:56 PM
Monday, June 15, 2009
Okay, so, Sunday into yesterday, I came across and read this work of fiction online that had been written by Larry Correia (same guy who wrote Monster Hunter International [Great book, by the way, and the Baen version's up for pre-order on Amazon. /plug]) and Mike Kupari. Long story short, is was totally amazing, doubly so because it was written spontaniously on an internet forum with practically zero proofreading.
If you want, you can read it here.
Okay, so why does this make me hate being a writer?
Because this fic inspired me to write a similar story. Same method: spontaneously with only a little idea of where I want it to go (only I'm writing mine in MS Word rather than directly online). I planned to post it either in a blog or on another forum. Problem is, my story's plot is turning out to be similar to Larry and Mike's. So similar, in fact, that I'm afraid to publish it anywhere for fear of being called on plageriusm. (Larry, Mike, if by some chance you're reading this, I am really sorry!) And Larry and Mike plan on getting it published eventually. Which they should (it is that epically good!), but that sort of leaves me up a creek with my story. Guess I'm just not creative enough sometimes.
Ahh, what the heck. I need to concentrate on finishing Save Grace before I go to Austria next semester anyway.
Posted by Raptor at 11:05 PM
Friday, June 12, 2009
I recently came across a rumor which claims that Koenigsegg, a Swedish car manufacturer, has recently annouced plans to purchase Saab from General Motors.
Not familiar with Koenigsegg (pronounced Cur-nig-zeg)? Not surprising, seeing as how they're one of the hidden gems of the supercar community. Yep, you read that right: Supercar. They've been producing the CC-series of supercar (actually, it's more of a hypercar) since 1998
This is their latest model, the CCX:
If this is true, than it's really incredible. It's like Porsche buying Volkswagen. Oh, wait, nevermind, that already happened. Okay, so it's like Lamborghini buying out Volvo. Average-joe, everyday cars, only now with the genes of the fastest, most powerful machines on the road. Sweetness!
Posted by Raptor at 7:55 PM
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I just realized that I haven't mentioned this before!
Okay, big news here. I'm going to be studying in Austria next semester! w00t!
The program is a joint program between 5 universities, and is based out of Alderson-Broaddus College in West Virginia. I'll be staying in a historic Bed & Breakfast (I forget the name, sorry) in the heart of historic Salzburg. Yes, I know all about The Sound of Music, and yes, I will be watching the film before I leave.
In addition to Salzburg, we'll be spending a week in London, and 3-4 days travelling around Italy.
The best part of this program is that we only take classes for four days a week, and from noon on Thursdays until 10:00 PM Sundays, we're free to travel pretty much wherever we want in Europe. We're even given a 90-day EuroRail pass as part of the program! I'm already coming up with a list of places I want to visit!
I'll be driving down to Alderson-Broaddus on September 5, and we all fly to Salzburg on September 7. The program ends on December 3, which is when I'll be flying home. Can't wait!
I'm aiming to have Save Grace finished before I leave. I'm figuring it will be about 100,000 to 120,000 words long before I'm finished. Right now, I have just over 23,000 words down, so I gotta get crackin'!
Oh, and don't worry, I'll be blogging about all the places I visit, and there will be pictures! So stay tuned!
Posted by Raptor at 4:01 PM
The wildebeest stand by the waters’ edge, filling their parched throats with the river’s cool, refreshing water. They have no reason to be afraid; they don’t see or smell any predators nearby. No, all they see is just some tall grass and half-submerged logs floating down the river.
Of course, they don’t think they see me; to them, I’m just another log making my way downstream. Too bad for them I’m something far more sinister and dangerous than a simple piece of wood. Such simpletons, these wildebeest are, little more than walking sacks of meat. Nice, fat, juicy sacks of meat, just waiting to be feasted upon.
I’ve been drifting closer and closer to the heard for minutes now, though the painfully slow current makes it seem like an eternity. Fortunately, the wildebeest seem to be especially parched, and there are still many, many more of the beasts waiting to take a drink. There’s no hurry, though the pangs in my stomach make me wish the river was flowing faster.
I close to twenty lengths to the shore. The wildebeest still have no idea that I’m even in the same river that they’re drinking from, much less that I’ll soon be right on top of them. I’ve been scanning the herd, deciding which of the wildebeest will have the unlucky pleasure of becoming my lunch. I think I’ve spotted the perfect candidate; a rather large specimen still waiting for its turn to drink. This one obviously is lacking in brains, even for a wildebeest; it’s been passed by at least three of his fellow herd-mates while waiting ever-so-patiently for its turn. Even if the stupid thing does detect me, it will be far too late. Perfect; if this pathetic animal ever gets enough brain cells working together to get itself down to the river, it will be the one I snatch.
I close the distance to ten lengths. My quarry finally realizes it’s been passed over and makes several whines and grunts in protest. The rest of the herd ignores it, waiting for it to just take its turn already. Finally realizing that its complaints won’t get it anywhere, the stupid thing shakily walks over to the riverbank and begins to drink. Perfect.
I slowly move my tail back and forth, moving to within five lengths of my prey. Then I go dead still, letting the current push me the rest of the way to the bank while I tense my entire body in anticipation of the coming strike.
Some of the herd begins to sense that something is not right, and they begin to nervously back away from the river. My quarry ignores them, either too thirsty to leave or just too stupid to sense the danger; I’ll bet on the latter. The herd begins to moan nervous warnings, but the simpleton ignores them. My eyes are locked onto it, not wavering for so much as an instant. I draw closer and closer to him, seconds away from the kill.
At the last second, it senses that something is wrong. But by then it is far too late. I’m right next to him.
I explode out of the water. It shrieks in terror and tries desperately to get away, but my jaws clamp down around its throat like a vise. My heavy body throws it off balance, brining him to the ground. I hear the sound of leg bones snapping. It struggles wildly against me, too scared or too stupid to realize that death is inevitable. I’m not in the mood for games and violently jerk my body around into the death roll. I feel its neck snap like a dry twig. Immediately, it stops resisting, and I drag it under the water to finish the job.
By now, the rest of the herd has fled, stampeding away in terror. Doesn’t matter to me, I got what I came for. This meal will quickly be consumed, and just as easily forgotten, but there will be another herd. There always is, and with it will come another meal. One always does.
This was written about a year ago for my Advanced Writing: Short Fiction course. Got a B+.
Posted by Raptor at 9:00 AM
Monday, June 8, 2009
Saturday, June 6, 2009
65 years ago today, over 150,000 Americans, British, Canadian, and Free French landed on the shores of Normandy, France. Over 10,000 of them, most of them Americans, were either killed or wounded. It was the largest amphibious invasion in history.
WARNING: The following video clips contain graphic material.
Every man who set foot on those beaches was a hero. Thanks to them, the Allied Forces were able to liberate Europe from the tyranny of Nazi Germany. Never forget their sacrifice.
Posted by Raptor at 1:01 AM
Friday, June 5, 2009
If you get an email from anyone, even people you know very well, saying that they've sent you pictures from something called :Tagged, DO NOT OPEN IT! It activates a program, possibly a virus, that goes through your address book and sends duplicate emails to everyone in your address book. My mother got hit by this today and I almost did as well. We don't yet know what, if anything, the email/program/virus does. I'll post back with updates if/when we do. In the meantime, if anyone gets an email remotely like the ones we got, DO NOT OPEN THEM!!!!!!
Okay, courtesy of Thernlund over at WeTheArmed.com I've just learned that the emails are not malicious. Well, not really. It's a viral invite to join a social networking group called Tagged. All it does is send invite emails to everyone in your address book. You can read more here. So it's nothing to worry about, just really annoying.
T, if you're reading this, thanks again.
Posted by Raptor at 6:24 PM
Monday, June 1, 2009
Normally, I don't do personal posts, but I really feel I need to get this off my chest.
The reason I haven't been posting much recently is because, well, life has been pretty crazy. My grandmother, as some of you may know, had a car accident about six months ago in which she suffered a brain bleed. She's been living with us ever since. The accident and resulting injury really exacerbated the dementia - we think it's Alzheimer's - that she'd already been suffering from. Adding to the situation, my grandmother's always had a really stubborn personality. Not a great combination.
I don't really want to go into details, but the week or so before last was really, really rough. Kinda blew up on Memorial Day. Everybody just reached their limits at the same time. It was bad.
I've been spending most of the past week out of the house, running "errands" and writing my novel. I'm over 22,000 words now, and the plot's really starting to pick up, so that's good, I guess. I know it's not the best way of dealing with the situation (it's like a grieving process that never ends), but I've been having a really hard time with the whole situation since it started back in November, and I was a complete wreck the week before Memorial Day. Honestly, I think I was close to cracking up. Getting away is the only thing I've found that lets me relax.
The whole thing's affected my blogging, as you've no doubt noticed. I have to be in the right "mood," if you will, in order to blog, and I haven't really been feeling it lately. When I am in the blogging mood, I'm usually hopelessly behind on current events, so there's really no point in posting.
I don't know how long this is gonna last, but I'll try to stay on top of things blog-wise. Right now, if you all could keep me and my family in your prayers, I'd really appreciate that. Thank you all.
Posted by Raptor at 11:15 PM
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Preventative Detention. A separate "legal regime" to ensure the new system works.
Under this new "law" (and I use that word in the absolute very, very loosely), you can be imprisoned solely on the theory that you might commit a crimes. There will be no trial, because there has been no crime committed. You can remain incarcerated indefinitely, for having done nothing. Only because some bureaucrat somewhere feels that you might be a threat.
Are you scared yet? I'm terrified.
Posted by Raptor at 5:28 PM
Thursday, May 21, 2009
On one otherwise normal Tuesday evening I had the chance to live the American dream. I was able to throw my incompetent jackass of a boss from a fourteenth-story window.
Now, I didn't just wake up that morning and decide that I was going to kill my boss with my bare hands. It really was much more complicated than that. In my life up to that point I would never have even considered something that sounded so crazy. I was just a normal guy, a working stiff. Heck, I was an accountant. It doesn't get much more mundane than that.
That one screwed-up event changed my life. Little did I realize that turning my boss into sidewalk pizza would have so many bizarre consequences. Well, technically, he did not actually hit the sidewalk. He landed on the roof of a double-parked Lincoln Navigator, but I digress.
My name is Owen Zastava Pitt and this is my story.
So opens Monster Hunter International, a novel by Larry Correia. This book is now on the top of my must-read wish list. You gotta hear how I heard about it.
Last year, I was cruising around the internet when I across various plugs for a book called Monster Hunter International. It was a self-published work by a guy named Larry Correia. All I knew about it was basically about a group of Monster Hunters. Fantasy/Horror isn't usually my thing, though, so I ignored it at first.
Eventually, I came across the author's blog, which has the first chapter of MHI posted. I read it, and was immediately hooked. Unfortunately, Correia having recently signed a contract with Baen Books, the self-published version was out of print. Curses!
Anyway, the Baen version of MHI hits shelves in August, but Baen recently posted the first seven chapters online... for free! w00t! I highly reccomend checking the sample out. You can read it here.
Now I gotta wait three months for the book to come out so I can read the rest.
Posted by Raptor at 4:31 PM
Monday, May 18, 2009
I saw the new Star Trek film Saturday. I honestly don't know why I went to see it. Maybe it was because the ticket was free, maybe it was because I really didn't have anything better to do, maybe I just decided "what the hey?" and went for it.
I'm almost ashamed to say this, but I liked it. I mean I really, really liked it.
You have to understand, for me, this is big. I really, really, do not like Trek that much. Okay, parts of it, I flat-out despise. Said despised parts include most of the original series (which, honestly, would have been infinitely better without William Shatner), the early TNG episodes, DS9, and all but 2 of the movies. And don't even get me started on Enterprise.
But for some reason, I liked this movie. I don't know why. Maybe it's because it didn't have the campy, cheesy feel that the old TV shows and movies had. Maybe it was because that the characters actually seemed to know what they were doing. Maybe it's because there was a real, menacing villain. Maybe a combination of all three. I don't know. All I know is that I liked it.
I thought that all of the characters had been nailed down perfectly. As soon as you saw/heard a character for the first time, you knew that's who it was. I especially liked Karl Urban as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy: he has the character down perfectly.
The story was also pretty good, although there is the requisite Trek "junk science" (Red Matter) that is never really explained, though it doesn't really feel forced or unnatural. Likewise, the pre-requisite cliches and tribute lines ("Live long and prosper," "Dammit, I'm a doctor, not a physicist!" "I'm givin' her all she's got, Captain!", etc.), none of them feel forced or fake. In fact, the whole film feels quite natural, as it were. The one cliche they didn't have (and I didn't miss) was how ineffective the Enterprise's phasers are: the ship kicked @$$ and took names in this film.
The way I see it, if you like Sci-Fi, and if you're a caual Trek fan, then you should see this movie. If you're a hardcore Trekkie, you might not like it. But see it anyway. 'Cause like it or not, it's a really good movie. And I still can't believe I think that.
Posted by Raptor at 5:26 PM
Thursday, May 14, 2009
The Dark Knight Meets The Man of Steel.
That's the new book I'm reading. Bought it yesterday at Barnes & Noble. It's called Enemies & Allies. It's one of those Batman meets Superman stories, only this one is set in the late 1950s, at the height of the Cold War. So it's (really) a combination of a Superhero novel and a Cold-War thriller. Which, I'm not ashamed to admit, are two of my favorite genres. It's also written by Kevin J. Anderson, an award-winning science fiction writer.
I'm not very far into it - Batman and Superman haven't even crossed paths yet - but I'm already hooked. I definitely recommend it for anyone who likes either superheroes or a good mystery or thriller... or both.
Posted by Raptor at 7:36 PM
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
So much for getting back on a regular posting schedule. I thought that once school let out, I've have tons of free time on my hands. Yeah, right. Turns out I've been pretty busy around here. Couldn't find a job, so Momma Raptor and Papa Raptor have me doing odd jobs around the house. I'm getting paid (theoretically at least, so that's good, I guess.
When I'm not working, I'm spending most of my time on my novel, Justice Delayed, which is now titled Save Grace. Yes, there's a legit reason for the change (and not because I thought it sounded cooler), but I can't tell you without giving away a major new twist in the plot. I've also come up with a new ending, as well as a pair of potential sequels.
So, between working and writing (I aim to have the first draft finished by September), I haven't really had much time to devote to the blog. Maybe that will change, but maybe not. We'll see.
Posted by Raptor at 11:12 PM
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
I apologize for not posting anything for the last few weeks. It was finals week last week (and this week too). I just moved back from campus yesterday. Feels weird being home to stay for the first time since January.
Anyway, long story short is that I'm back, I'm done with school, and regular posting with my usual content will resume shortly.
Posted by Raptor at 10:40 PM
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
I'm sure that by now most of you are aware of the two reports from the Missouri Information Analysis Center and the Department of Homeland Security that have been in the news over the past few weeks. Both reports detail what each agency feels qualify persons to be potential "Right-wing extremists." The first report singles out pretty much everyone with a conservative viewpoint while the second singles out veterans in particular.
Why? Why are the people who love our country most, people who have sworn an oath to defend it and shed blood for it, now being labeled as threats to that country?
Because we know too much, because we love our country and the Constitution, and because we are willing to fight to defend it.
We know what the Constitution says, and we know that what those in power now are doing is blatantly in violation of the Constitution. We know that they are abusing the powers laid down for them by the Founding Fathers and assuming even more powers, often usurping those powers from state and local officials.
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.Tenth Amendment to the Constituition of the United States
- To maintain a standing army
- To collect direct taxes (not indirect [income] or retroactive taxes)
- To conduct foreign diplomatic relations and trade
- To maintain a postal system and highway system
- To implement a system of currency
- To declare war
And we know this. And we will do everything in our power to stop them from continuing on this course of action. Which is why they consider us a threat.
This accounts for conservatives, but why veterans in particular? Because, upon entering the service, each soldier takes an oath to "protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, both foreign and domestic."
The vast majority of soldiers are, like myself, conservative, and they take that oath to protect and defend the Constitution very seriously. Those in power know full well that what the Constitution is an obstacle, perhaps the only obstacle, keeping them in check, and they know that we know it to.
Worse, because many veterans, as well as many active-duty soldiers, take the oath that they took so seriously, they will not obey unlawful or unconstitutional orders, orders -like forcibly disarming U.S. Citizens - that those in power might one day need them to obey.
Finally, veterans possess military training and combat skills (ironically given to the very ones who now consider them threats), which means that they will be quite dangerous should they be forced to actively resist when those in power move to further curtail our freedoms.
For those in power, for those who issued those reports, I have this to say. If you are right, if we really are threats, it is because you made us threats. You have done things that are in blatant violation of United States Law, and you realize that we are aware of this. That is why we are threats: because we know what you are doing, and we will not let you continue to do it.
Posted by Raptor at 9:57 PM
Monday, April 6, 2009
You Are a Sports Car
You're a wild one! You love thrills, and you tend to be very impulsive.
You never quite grew up, and you have a very youthful spirit.
You're flashy and are a total showoff. You love to be noticed.
You are eager to take risks. You can be reckless at times... you feel immortal!
Saw this one coming a mile away. Considering my current dream car is the new Lamborghini Gallardo LP560-4 Spyder...
Posted by Raptor at 7:07 PM
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Sorry about the lack of postage. I've been both busy as heck and sick as a dog for the last few weeks. Anyway, the workload has dropped off and I'm pretty much back to normal. So, without further ado...
Get a load of this. General Motor's CEO, Rick Wagoner, has been forced to step down at the insistence of the Obama Administration.
And I qoute from the article: "A White House official told FOX Business that Wagoner was asked by the Administration to step down as a precondition for the company to continue to get help with its restructuring."
The government is dictating orders to a publicly-traded, publicly-owned company. What right do they have to do that? This coming on the heels of Obama insisting that those AIG executives return the bonuses that they had been contractually bound to receive. What right does the government have to do this? Answer: None. And yet they are doing it anyway. In fact, Treasury Secretary Geithner wants to expand his department's power so that it will be able to regulate "non-bank enterprises." What exactly are those? He wouldn't specify, saying only that strict government control-not oversight, but control-is the only way to save the economy.
Government control over business? That's socialism.
It gets worse. A report that was released last week by the Missouri Information Analysis Center says that anyone who is pro-gun, anti-abortion, Christian, knowledgeable about the Constitution, supported independant candidates in the last election, or displays certain historic flags, should be considered part of a right-wing anti-government paramilitary militia. I'm not making this up. You can read the actual report here.
So, in other words, if you display the slightest amout of conservative or libertarian leanings, the MIAC and Missouri Highway Patrol feel that you are a terrorist. I've read reports, which I will try to locate again, that people who have displayed the flags mentioned in the report and who have Ron Paul bumper stickers have actually been arrested in Missouri and charged with possession of anti-government materials.
This is frightening, people. Government taking control of formerly-private and public enterprises. People who disagree with the government and exercising their First Amendment Rights being labeled as terrorists and arrested. A lot of people I know who used to be apathetic about the situation are running scared. One is scared enough that he has actually expressed interest in buying a rifle and stocking up on ammunition, and he used to be one of the most anti-gun people I knew!
Times are changing, people, and changing quickly. This is not the country I was born in anymore. I want that country back. So should you.
Posted by Raptor at 10:06 PM
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Straight from BBC News:
The worst-case scenarios on climate change envisaged by the UN are already being realised, say scientists at an international meeting in Copenhagen.
In a statement outlining their six key messages to political leaders, they say there is an increasing risk of abrupt or irreversible climate shifts.
Even modest temperatures rises will affect millions of people, particularly in the developing world, they warn.
But most tools needed to cut global carbon dioxide emissions already exist.
More than 2,500 researchers and economists attended this meeting designed to update the world on the state of climate research ahead of key political negotiations set for December this year.
New data was presented in Copenhagen on sea level rise, which indicated that the best estimates of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) made two years ago were woefully out of date.
Scientists heard that waters could rise by over a metre across the world with huge impacts for hundreds of millions of people.
There was also new information on how the Amazon rainforest would cope with rising temperatures. A UK Meteorological Office study concluded there would be a 75% loss of tree cover if the world warmed by three degrees for a century. The scientists hope that their conclusions will remove any excuses from the political process.
Dr Katherine Richardson, who chaired the scientific steering committee that organised the conference, said the research presented added new certainty to the IPCC reports.
"We've seen lots more data, we can see where we are, no new surprises, we have a problem."
The meeting was also addressed by Lord Stern, the economist, whose landmark review of the economics of climate change published in 2006 highlighted the severe cost to the world of doing nothing.
He now says the report underestimated the scale of the risks, and the speed at which the planet is warming.
He urged scientists to speak out and tell the politicians what the world would be like if effective measures against global warming were not taken. He said that if the world was to warm by 5C over the next century there would be dramatic consequences for millions of people. Rising seas would make many areas uninhabitable leading to mass migrations and inevitably sparking violent conflict.
"You'd see hundreds of millions people, probably billions of people who would have to move and we know that would cause conflict, so we would see a very extended period of conflict around the world, decades or centuries as hundreds of millions of people move, " said Lord Stern.
"So I think it's very important that we understand the magnitude of the risk we are running."
He said that a new, effective global deal was desperately needed to avoid these dramatic scenarios - and the current global economic slowdown was in some ways a help.
"Action is rather attractive, inaction is inexcusable. It's an opportunity, given that resources will be cheaper now than in the future, now is the time to get the unemployed of Europe working on energy efficiency."
Lord Stern's views were echoed by Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen.
"Business as usual is dead - green growth is the answer to both our climate and economic problems."
"I hope the whole world will join us and set a two degree goal as an ambition of a climate deal in Copenhagen," said Mr Rasmussen.
You can read the article here.
I laughed out loud when I saw this, almost fell out of my chair too. Why? Because as I sit here typing this, it is 32 degrees outside. 32 degrees. The temperature at which water freezes. In the middle of March. It hasn't been 32 degrees in the middle of March here in years!
The worst-case scenarios for global warming are now being realized. Yeah, right. And I've got a bridge I'd like to sell you.
Posted by Raptor at 4:24 PM
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
...and the Attorney General decides that this should be the government's top priority?
Okay, now, please, don't misunderstand me. Voting, to me, is absolutely our most sacred right as Americans. But the VRA being under attack? Come on! The guys who are filing this suit are right. Times have changed. The 1960s was a long, long time ago.
Honestly, this is what really irks me about people like Holder. Someone does something that doesn't fit in with their agenda or political beliefs, and they cry racist. Somebody opposes one of their plans, they are labeled a racist. People vote for their opponent, they are said to have done so because they are racist. I voted against Barack Obama, so according to those people,I must be a racist (nevermind the fact that I would've voted for Conoleezza Rice in a heartbeat).
A few weeks ago, Holder called America a "Nation of Cowards" for not talking about the issue of race. There's a darn good reason for that: every time someone tries to talk about race, people like Holder jump up and shout "Racist!"
You want people to talk about the issue of race, Mr. Holder? You really want people to talk about it? Then put the race card away. Let all voices, not just yours and your friends', be heard. Let the past, and all those who suffered and died for the movement that opened the door for a man like you to rise to the position you now occupy, rest in peace.
Posted by Raptor at 9:02 PM
Monday, March 2, 2009
The Dow dropped below 7000 today. This is the first time that's happened in over a decade. This coming the same day that the Obama administration announces a plan to buy up debts and bad assets from banks and other companies, as well as investing another $30 billion in AIG.
Maybe it's just me, but has anyone else noticed that every time the Obama administration and/or Congress announces another stimulus package or bailout or something similar, the stock market tanks? Am I the only one seeing a connection here?
Think about it.
Posted by Raptor at 10:40 PM
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
Well, we're into the home stretch now. Less than 20 hours until the official start of Spring Break! (Actually, more like 17 hours, since I get out of class at 2:00). It's gonna be an easy ride from here on out. All of my midterms are over and done with (the ones before break, anyway), and my study abroad application is finished. Just need to hand it in tomorrow morning and it's over and done with. Hopefully I'll be blogging from Austria next semester!
It's pretty quiet around here tonight, what with nothing to do and all. Heck, my roommate actuallty went home yesterday! (Don't ask how that worked out, I have no idea.) Actually, this was pretty good. I was able to do something that I really haven't been able to do all semester: write more of Justice Delayed! I finished up one section and started the first part of the next section. I'm up to a hairsbreadth under 12,000 words, and I'm just now getting into the real meat of the plot. This sucker's gonna be epic!
So, on a different note...
iTunes is annoying me. Not the player itself, mind you. That works great (and has quickly trumped WMP as my default player). No, what's annoying me is the iTunes store. For some reason, I can't access it. Every time I try, it says that it couldn't access the iTunes store because the session keeps timing out. Ever single time, it does this. Which is annoying, because I have a list of songs and TV show episoded (Top Gear, of course) that I want to buy and a gift card that is very quickly becoming all but useless. Oy.
Posted by Raptor at 10:49 PM
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Sorry that the posts have been few and far between recently. It's been crazy as heck this week. Between midterms and trying to find a faculty reference for my study abroad application, I've been all but swamped. Too bad, because a lot of stuff has happened in the world that needs to be blogged about.
Fortunately, next week is Spring Break, so the posting rate should be back to normal soon.
Posted by Raptor at 7:01 PM
Friday, February 20, 2009
This is news?
No, seriously. This is really important news? #2 on CNN's Top Ten?
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?
With all the crap going on the world right now, they give a 300 word obituary to a dead cat, just because he belonged to an ex-President? Are you [censored] kidding me? Most humans don't get obits that are half that long! What the heck is wrong with you, CNN?
Oh, if for some reason you want to, you can read all about it here.
Posted by Raptor at 10:45 PM
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Tonight, I learned about the genocide that occurred in Rwanda in 1994. I did not learn about it from the media or from an advocate for the UN or some other organization. No, I learned about it from a survivor of the genocide, Bishop Alexis Bilindabagabo, who experienced the horrific 100 days firsthand.
I learned that the roots of the genocide went as far back as the 1930s, when Belgium took control of the country. I learned that it was they who first drove the wedge between the Tutsi and Hutu peoples, who before this had co-existed peacefully for centuries. I learned that the genocide was openly encouraged and even planned and directed by the government. I learned that the United Nations knew full well what was happening but did nothing to stop it.
I learned what evil truly is. I learned that evil is 1,000,000 innocent men, women, and children murdered – butchered – in 100 days. I learned that evil is a government who plans to systematically execute an entire tribe of people simply because they exist. I learned that evil is the rounding up of people into groups numbering in the thousands so that they could be slaughtered with grenades and machine guns and then finished off with machetes. I learned that evil is the using of rape as a condoned, encouraged tool in warfare.
I learned that Edmund Burke was right. He once said, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” The United Nations knew full well what was happening in Rwanda. They were fully briefed on the situation. They had the manpower, they had the means, they had the support, they had the firepower to stop the killing, and yet the leaders chose to place their own self-serving political agendas first and pretended nothing was happening. How can people like that then dare to call themselves good?
I also learned that God does still work miracles. I learned that Bishop Alexis faced death on an almost daily basis, and God intervened every time. I learned that even the heads of the Rwandan government tried to have him killed, and yet God spared him. And I learned that God was with him: every time the situation was desperate and he became hopeless, God literally spoke to him and renewed his hope.
I learned that forgiveness is truly possible. I learned that over the last 15 years, reconciliation has been the top priority in Rwanda. I learned that Hutus and Tutsis are working together, side by side, to help the country heal. I learned that a man can truly forgive the people who butchered his mother, father, sisters, brothers, and friends. I learned that he could forgive them of the debts they owed to him and to reconcile himself with them.
I learned that in spite of all of the tragedy, there is still good in the word.
Posted by Raptor at 9:35 PM
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Well, I think I've gotten my entire music collection imported to iTunes (not sure as I had to stop after 11:00 last night). So far, I've only listened to a few songs, and I have to say I like it. In fact, I may even like it more than Media Player. It boots up faster than Media Player, loads each song faster than Media Player, doesn't freeze up for a second lime Media Player will do every so often and (maybe this is just me) it sounds better than Media Player too.
The only thing I like better about Media Player is the way it organizes Music. iTunes, no matter how you have it set, always seems to want to organize songs by Artist, which means if you have, say, fifteen songs on an album that's each by a different artist, you'll get fifteen different files of that album, each with a different artist in the file. Kind of annoying if you're looking for a specific song.
I'm gonna try out the iTunes store next. So far, so good (though it took 4 tries to connect). Let you know how that turns out. I understand that they now sell episodes of TV shows. Wonder if that includes Top Gear...
UPDATE: YES!!!!!!!! TOP GEAR EPISODES ARE AVAILABLE!
Posted by Raptor at 2:28 PM
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Okay, long story short, my last article for the school newspaper got recognized for outstanding work and I won a $15 iTunes gift card. Unfortunately, I didn't have iTunes, so such a card was worthless to me. Until recently, that is.
Yep, I took the plunge and downloaded iTunes. Looks pretty good so far, only I made one possible mistake: I had it convert my entire music collection into whatever proprietary format Apple uses. And I have several dozen CDs worth of music on my laptop.
This is gonna take a while.
Anyway, I'll post my initial thoughts later this week (very busy still), once iTunes finishes converting my library. Which, at the rate it's going, should hopefully be within the next 24 hours.
Posted by Raptor at 9:55 PM
Monday, February 16, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Happy Valentine's Day, everyone.
Guys, I hope you do something really sweet for your valentine this year. Ladies, I hope your valentine gets you something really special. And I hope whatever happens, your plans work out great.
As for me, I'll be spending some quality time in bed with my little Natalya.
By the way, "Natalya" is my Russian History textbook. (So get your minds out of the gutter already) I've got the mother of all history tests on Monday. I'm not kidding; were talking pre-Mongol Russia to Tsar Peter the Great, 20+ chapters, 1200+ years of material.
That's why I haven't been posting much lately, this past week is when the first round of tests and papers came due. Fun. Gonna be a long weekend.
Posted by Raptor at 12:01 AM
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Check this out.
Obama wants to "expand the membership of the National Security Council and increase its authority to set strategy on a wide range of domestic and international issues."
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? Domestic issues? The Security Council was created, as the article points out, to advise the president on military and diplomatic issues. Both of which fall into the category of FOREIGN AFFAIRS. The National Security Council was never meant to oversee and advise on domestic affairs, but now Obama wants to change that stance, for purposes that he can't/won't disclose.
This raises a few questions:
- Why does Obama want to expand the Council? As a follow-up, who does he want to add?
- What sort of "domestic issues" would the Council address? As a follow-up, how do issues like energy and climate change relate to National Security?
- How much authority would this new Security Council be given, and over what?
- Who will oversee the Council?
Posted by Raptor at 11:28 PM
Friday, February 6, 2009
Thursday, February 5, 2009
It’s your sophomore year, a Tuesday morning, just about 8:20. You’re in the dining hall, just finished breakfast, on your way to get rid of your tray and you have to hurry because you’ve got class in less than ten minutes and there’s no way in heck you can be late. Then you see her. She’s a sophomore too, though due to various events in your not-so-distant past that you’d rather not discuss, you’re over a year older than her. You’ve know her for the last year and a half (heck, she was in half of your classes last year), and she’s always been a friend. But right now you’re struck by just how beautiful she is, and for a split second you wonder if she might be the one.
You walk over. She says hi. You stammer back a hello. She asks what’s wrong. You stammer incoherently for a moment before finally gathering the courage to ask if she wants to go to dinner with you. She laughs quietly, asks if you’re serious. You tell her you are. She says she’d love to. You go out that weekend.
It’s your senior year. You’ve been dating her for the last two years. Graduation is coming up soon, and you’re scared to death. Not because of exams, of course; that’s all old hat by now. You’re scared because of what you’ve been planning for the last month. As luck would have it, both of you are in the same class together, and even better, she understands the material and you’ve been struggling with it. There’s an exam coming up, so you call her up and ask her to meet you in the library. She agrees. You’re already there, sweating bullets. You spot her walking in a moment later, and the butterflies in your stomach start flying around again. She walks up and asks you what you need help with. Instead, you pull the box out of your pocket and get on your knee. Her hands fly to her mouth. You open the box, and watch as her eyes fix on the diamond. You ask her. She says yes. The place goes wild.
It’s a year after graduation. The two of you are renting an apartment together. You both found jobs straight out of school: she’s a lab technician at a local pharmaceutical company, and you’re a technical writer for a nearby software firm. You’ve also been working on a novel for the past few months. But none of that matters right now. Right now, all that matters is her, a vision in white walking down the aisle towards you. She reaches the altar, and the minister leads her in her vows. You never remember reciting yours, but everyone says that you didn’t make a mistake. You slip on her finger, your eyes never leaving hers. The minister says the words, and you pull her into your arms and kiss her. Husband and wife at last.
It’s three years after your wedding. You’ve both been promoted and have your own little group of staffers working under you. Your novel was published a year earlier to rave reviews, and you’ve got a multi-book contract with your publisher. It’s your birthday. She says she has a surprise for you. She hands you a box covered in wrapping paper and tied with ribbon. You carefully untie the bow and slit open the wrapping paper, sliding out an old shoe box. More curious than ever, you flip open the box. Inside are a baby’s nightgown, bonnet, and a pair of baby bootees. It takes you a full fifteen seconds to figure it out, and then you throw your arms around her and bury her in a passionate kiss.
It’s six months after your birthday. It was a rough pregnancy; she was taking medications to keep from going into labor and was actually bedridden for the last month. Even now, it’s still three weeks early. You’re dressed in medical scrubs, holding onto her hand as she desperately pushes the baby out. In the last two hours, she’s called you names that would make sailors and Marines quiver in their boots, and you’ve begun questioning whether or not she’s going to let you live after this, because it’s you’re fault she’s in such pain in the first place. Another contraction hits, and she squeezes your hand so hard that you think you feel something break. And then you hear it; the quiet wails of a newborn taking its first breaths. The doctors suction the mouth and nose, clean it up a little bit, then hand it to her. Her anger is suddenly gone, replaced by an overwhelming joy as the doctor hands her her newborn daughter. Your newborn daughter.
It’s eighteen years after your daughter was born. You quit your job over a decade ago and are now a full-time novelist. She's just been promoted to Vice President of her company. It’s your daughter's high school graduation. As you watch your daughter walk across the stage to receive her diploma, you can’t help but marvel at how fast the last few years have gone by. Seems like just yesterday your little girl was learning how to walk. Then your not-so-little girl started bringing boyfriends home. Most were decent, but there were a few troublemakers. You set them straight pretty quick, though (Amazing what watching the father cleaning a shotgun will do to most boys’ attitudes) A dull roar brings you back to reality, and you watch as your daughter’s graduating class tosses their hats in the air. As you scan the crowd, she reaches over and kisses you on the lips, marveling with you on how fast the time has gone.
Her voice snaps you out of your daydream, and you turn and look as she walks past, giving you a shy wave. You wave back, then start towards the washroom again. You glance at your watch and curse, not realizing you may have just missed your only chance.
Posted by Raptor at 4:54 PM