Nuadha's Tale

Ignorance can be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it. -Thomas Jefferson

Monday, December 30, 2002

Damn it!
Lost a long post to blogger oblivion. Too tired to retype it. Good night.

Sunday, December 29, 2002

The Draft
Were coming, Father Abraham, three hundred thousand more
We leave our homes and firesides with bleeding hearts and sore
Since poverty has been our crime, we bow to thy decree;
We are the poor and have no wealth to purchase liberty.

-"Song of the Conscripts"; a song circulated in 1863 in New York and other cities. (Via Howard Zinn's " A People's History of the United States.")

Carla and I went with friends last night to see "Gangs of New York." As a history buff, I sat through the movie in awe. Never before have I seen a movie protray the darker sides of American history so accurately. Last night and this morning I went through some of my books and did some internet searching to try and find out how accurately they protrayed one of the events of the movie, the New York Draft Riots of 1863. I've found a few minor inaccuracies in the movie, but for the most part this movie was dead on. (For those of you who have seen the movie, the battle between the Bowry Boys and Dead Rabbits occured in the 1850's not the 1840's so it couldn't have been 16 years later, but since this was a completely fictional story with just the backdrop of real history, I think we can let them slide on that.)

While searching on the internet, I found this page on the legality of the drafts and how to legally decline service. I don't know how accurate it is, but I think it is of interest, especially if any of you know draft-eligible young men who could someday find themselves called to fight an unjust war.

Now....for those of you have seen the movie...let me explain something that they did not make clear enough in the movie. The Civil War was not about freeing the slaves. It, like most wars, was about money. Do you really think the capitalists that funded the war gave a lick about slavery? These are the same people that worked people to death in their factories while paying them next to nothing.

What they cared about was expanding their influence into the southern states and the markets that the southern economy had and of course they did not want to compete with the plantation owners who in effect had free labour. They needed the south and they needed the war so they went to Lincoln, who spent much of his career fighting for the capitalists both as a politician and as a lawyer. Lincoln did declare the emancipation proclamation, but he did so at the pressure of the abolitionists after the southern states had already seceded from the union. The emancipation proclamation carried no weight at all towards freeing the slaves, but it did quiet the other half of the Republicans political base. Meanwhile, the government did just as it was shown in the movie, they forced the poor to fight a war that would benefit the rich.

The saddest thing about the anti-draft riots was the fact that the rioters, mostly poor irishmen, turned much of their anger towards the growing black community. Conditions were already bad in New York before the war started. Irishmen were the working poor and would work 18 hour days for pennies and now to make things worse their were black refugees flocking to the northern cities taking many of the jobs that striking employees had left in an attempt to better their conditions. Unemployment in those days was a death sentence in a way it is hard for us to understand now. There were no soup kitchens or government programs to help the poor. There was only starvation. So there was a deep anger in the Irish towards the blacks that was completely misplaced. They were both exploited and used by rich Americans wether they were the Northern capitalists or the Southern plantation owners. They should have been marching through the streets together, but instead the Irish used them as a convenient target for their anger. The illusion that the war was about freeing the blacks divided the two groups. The working class of New York, wether they were Irish Catholics or German Protestants, resented being asked to fight and die for a war that was not theirs. They chanted saying such as "Fight for Uncle Sam, not Uncle Sambo!" The blacks wanted a new beginning and a chance for the one thing that the white working class of the north had that they did not, the illusion of freedom and they had come to New York seeking it. At least in New York they could have the hope of better tomorrows.

Friday, December 27, 2002

How can a company better compete against K-Mart and increase their profits? Cheat their already underpaid workers out of overtime.

Thursday, December 26, 2002

I couldn't keep my mouth shut.
Carla and I had Christmas Eve dinner at her brother's house. After eating and opening presents we were sitting, drinking beer and talking to the family. Our neice mentioned that she had been thinking of going in to the army and Carla's brother (one of her uncles) was telling her, "You need to realize that going in to the army isn't just a free education. They turn you in to a soldier. They teach you to be a killer....not that there's anything wrong with that. We'd still be proud of you....but you'd have to learn to kill....not that there's anything wrong with that."

So, I jumped in and blew my cover of ever being one of them. I let them know what I believe

War is murder. It doesn't matter what causes the war and what ideology you believe your fighting for, when you pick up a gun and shoot another man, you are murdering him or her. Sure, you may believe that your fighting for the cause of good....but you can be damned sure that the other guy also thinks the same way and when you shoot him you've commited a sin just as heinous as he would have done had he killed you.

I don't believe in violence and I sure as hell don't believe in killing. I hope that I will live up to my ideals in my life, but I know I'm not that strong. If someone threatened Carla's life or the life of someone else I loved then I probably could kill. I don't know that I even have that strong of an attachment to my own life. I'd fight to protect myself but if I had to kill someone else to save my own life, I'd rather die. I'm not afraid to die....but I am afraid of losing the people I love.

...and that's it. Killing is an act of fear. Not bravery. To face an opponent unarmed with no intention to kill is far braver an act that picking up a gun to protect yourself.

My point is that if I am ever going to kill someone you better be damned sure that I'll know what I'm fighting for. Soldiers rarely have that luxury. They are told that the enemy is evil. They are sent to kill someone and they rarely know what...or who...they are fighting for. They are given abstract ideas like flag and country. There is talk of ideology...of democracy and freedom..but rarely do they see the truth.

War is murder...and the saddest part is that it's usually started for the same reason that most crimes are caused: Greed. Wether it is greed for wealth, land or power, the leaders of the wars aren't looking to start the wars to help out the common people. On the contrary, they use the common people...the masses to fight the war while in the end the common people come out no better than they were when the war started...that is..if they come back at all.

You want to be a soldier? Look at history. Look at the causes of wars and tell me if most wars couldn't have been avoided with just a little more communication or diplomacy between nations. Look at the soldiers that returned home from wars and tell me how many were really in a better place after the war. Most soldiers came home to short "ticker-tape" parade and then...nothing. The country forgot about them and left them to pay the higher taxes to pay for the war that they fought while the weapons manufacturers and other people who profit from war reinvested their new wealth elsewhere.

Most of you know, I'm a history buff and that I have an interest in Colonial America and the American War for Independence. I've read up on the battles, the major players, the events that led to the war and the events after the war....and one thing I've learned is that it was an unneccesary and unjust war of which little goodcame from. Sure...there was independence but we didn't need independence. The British were willing to work with us to avoid what they knew (and we knew) would be a bloody and costly conflict. But our founding fathers (whom I actually do respect) were not as willing to negotiate as they were to fight. There were horrible battle up an down the American colonies and in the end....nothing.

Democracy was nothing new. It was a way of life long before the Revolution and while the new United States was a slightly better form of democracy than the British Parliament it was hardly groundbreaking. What about the British taxes, you say? At the start of the war, Britian had already repealed most of the taxes against the colonies and Americans were getting taxed far less than any other British subjects. The tax they were charged was nothing but a symbolic tax. After the war, Americans have been taxed far greater percentages of their wealths than the British ever dreamed of and at one point shortly after the War a bunch of farmer's got together and rebelled. So, the government was re-hauled to make a more powerful government that could more easily crush any rebellions started by the working man. You see, it was OK for the working class to fight and die for rebellions that benefited the upper class but when they started to fight for themselves it was time to crush them.

So these same guys that fought in Washington's War soon found themselves disillusioned. They leave this out of most history textbooks, but most American soldiers never even got paid the money they were due for their service. Many of them lost their farms and all the little wealth they had before the war and never even got their basic pay and the dream that they fought for? Due to the voting laws in most states only landowners could vote and most of these men didn't own any land (they were poor, remember?). It wasn't until over a hundred years later that the United States of America even started to resemble anything close to a true democracy.

That is the life of a soldier. It's the same in almost any war. They fight for the rich men that fund the war and the cause of those men and they get little to show for it. There are few wars that can not be avoided..but first the so called leaders must learn to care. They must care more for the lives of the men, women and children they endanger than the advancement of their own personal goals. When we get people like that to lead us, we will rarely see wars and the world can finally become a better place.

But until then, I could never be a soldier.

The Return of Reaganomics

Issuing their 18th annual report on hunger and homelessness, the U.S. Conference of Mayors said emergency food requests climbed by an average of 19 percent in 25 cities surveyed, while requests for emergency shelter jumped by the same amount.

"The numbers continue a very disturbing trend. It's a national disgrace," said conference president and Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.

"We have to tell the American people the truth because few others in elected office talk about these issues. Housing should be on everyone's agenda. It's not on anyone's agenda," Menino told a news conference.
-From Yahoo News. More here.

The biggest news of the day.... here! Congratulations John and Kristen!

More from the Washington Post
Is anyone realy suprised by this?

Another reason to dislike Democrats
They take the same position on the issue of torture as the Republicans and the Nazis.

Bush Watch
Where's the compassion?

I hope that all of my friends had a Merry Christmas. I did.

Monday, December 23, 2002

Another Smallville Quiz.
They are the only relationship in the show that I'm cheering for:

Which Smallville 'Ship Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

The Blog
As you can see, I've changed my template. I decided to remove comments and all the extra stuff that seemed to maki it take longer to load. I also added a couple of links. For some reason, my blog has not been publishing any of my archives after September and I had hoped that this might fix that, but it didn't seem to work.

Anyways, if you would like to comment on anything I say here, feel free to email me at Nuadha_Silverhand at Yahoo dot com.

Who's your Smallville Persona?

brought to you by Quizilla

Metroid Prime
Carla and I exchanged Solstice Gifts this weekend and, amongst other things, she gave me Metroid Prime and the Gamecube to play it on. It's a great game.....almost too good. I'm thoroughly addicted and I've played it almost every free moment I have. Now my eyes are tired.

Letter by Commitee
I went to a meeting on Saturday for a group I'm involved in and I got a small taste of what it must have been like for the founding fathers to draw up the Declaration of Independence. One of the members had drafted a letter to send to some other groups and we were discussing changes that needed to be made. I felt that a few of the lines were objectional and stated so. (For one, the author of the letter used numbers and stats that he could not back up, like "we agree on 95% of the issues." Personally I don't believe in using made up percentages that can't be confirmed and suggested we say "a majority of issues." ) Well, we ended up debating the two small changes I suggested for about an hour. I think we ended up with a better product because of it (which can not be said for the Declaration of Independence) but I can see how a more important document could really lead to some fireworks. I know that during the debates over the Declaration, John Adams fought tooth and nail and was upset the whole time while Tom Jefferson was consoled by B. Franklin while his work was edited to pieces. Luckilly, all I suggested was a change of wording, so the author of this document was not nearly as offended.

I wish I could remember the story that Franklin supposedly shared with Jefferson during that time, so I could share it with you. It was a story about a Philadelphia Haberdasher who brought several friends over to critique is new sign and after making all the changes they suggested he ended up with a sign that just showed a picture of a words.

Zen and the Art of Video Games
So, I've been on this big video game kick for a while now. I've been playing a lot of classic video games (like a collection of Atari 2600 games I have for the Playstation 2) and I've been playing the new Metroid Games which I've been waiting for for years. (The last Metroid game came out for the Super Nintendo in 1994.) I finally beat Metroid Fusion for the Gameboy Advance this weekend. There was a really tough boss at the end of the game and it took me a while to figure out how to beat her. After beating the game, I realized what the difference is between most classic video games and newer games.

In classic games like Pacman, Asteroids and Robotron, the enjoyment of the game was in the challenge and the need to pay absolute attention to what was going on at the moment. There wasn't a real way to win these games as no matter how good you were you were doomed to eventuall die when you got to the level that was too fast or difficult for even you. So, the goal was just to play as well as you could and the reward for doing so was living a little longer. Players would have to play completely in the present moment in order to play their best.

Then...sometime in the 1980s, a new breed of game came out. These games weren't about playing for fun and hoping to beat your high score, they were about beating the game by meeting some goal (usually the defeat of some major villian, rescue of some damsel-in-distress or both). These game were completely goal oriented. Gone was the zen experience of living in the moment. The games were really about winning.

I like the new games, but playing the collection of Atari games (Activision Anthology) made me realize lately that those old games has something that the new games are missing. I couldn't figure out what it was that made them different until I was completely frustrated at my inability to beat Metroid Fusion. Now I know.

I heard on NPR about a year ago that the BBC was funding a study of the chemicals that are released into the brain when people play video games and they found that the best video game players get a release of the same chemical that is released by Buddhist monks in deep meditation. This chemical is also the chemical that is found in athletes who are in "the zone," that state of not thinking about the game, just playing the game. I heard this and I knew this was right. I've been there before with a few video games (mainly Super Smash TV and the Street Fighter games) where I've been in "the zone." It helped me make sense of why so many people are so addicted to sports and what I should be striving for in meditation. I have been shown enlightenment. Who though it would be shown by Nintendo?

Saturday, December 21, 2002

German Goth

brought to you by Quizilla
(Via Djinn)
Damn it! Djinn gets a song by my favorite band ever (Sisters of Mercy) and I get some song I've never heard of and wouldn't understand if I heard it. Stupid test.

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Two Towers
It lived up to the hype.

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

I've started training for my new position. I've a few weeks of training ahead of me. It's pretty cool because its all new. The work I was doing in my old department was so far removed from my new department, that I've known little about this stuff.

For those of you who are curious: I'll be going to Washtenaw Community Colege starting in January. I'll start off with one class...either a math or speech class. With my new work schedule, I'll be able to take the class in the morning. I don't need many more classes to complete an Associates and then I'll transfer to Eastern Michigan. At this point, I'm planning to major in Political Science.

Saturday, December 14, 2002

In othe comic related news...
I picked up the newest issue of Superman (#189) because of it's cool cover. Inside was the coldest, meanest thing I've seen said in a comic in a long time:

Lana Lang to her husband, Pete Ross, as she storms out the door: "My whole life, my whole silly life, I've always just eaten what was put in front of me. I've always settled. Settled for second best-- -- in everything."

For those of you don't know, Lana Lang was Clark Kent's high school sweetheart and Pete Ross was his best friend. They were married in the comics years ago.

Back to School
I went to take an aptitude test for college this morning. I'm going back to college in January. The test was to give me an idea what level classes I should take. I was told the test takes an hour and a half to two hours. I was done in under an hour. The English sections were an extremely and I recieved nearly perfect scores. I wasn't concerned about my English. The math section, however, reminded me just how much I hate math. They were all equations and algerbra problems that I had been taught how to do once upon a time but have had absolutely no use for since. The last math class I took was in 1994. Eight years later, I'm looking at these problems again and only remembering how to so some of them. Math is really like a foreign language. If you don't use it, you don't retain it....but at least foreign languages are fun. (No offense to people who do find Math fun....) Needless to say, I did not score well on Math.

The Best Comic Book Ever?
After the test, I walked around the campus a little and looked at the library. I then drove over to Underworld Comics, a comic shop in Ann Arbor to pick up my comics. I haven't been there in a few months so I had a few issues of each title that I have them pull: The Spectre, Green Arrow and New X-Men. (What!? No Superman comics!? You read right. I may be a big Superman fan, but I rarely pick up the comics these days. They haven't been very good lately, so I only pick up the occassional issue that looks good.)

First thing after getting home, I caught up on The Spectre. The newest Spectre comic book series has been out for two years now and it just keeps getting better and better. The writer, DeMatteis has long been one of my favorite writers but this goes far beyond anything else he has ever written. The comic tells the story of Hal Jordan. Once, he was Green Lantern, He was a superhero and a member of the Justice League of America. After sacrificing himself to re-ignite the sun after it went out in the DC miniseries, Final Night, he was hanging around in purgatory. You see, even with that sacrifice, Hal still had some stains on his soul. Then, in another DC miniseries the old Spectre, Jim Corrigan, died. Jim Corrigan's Spectre was the manifestation of God's Wrath... a ghost that punishes murderers and other evil-doers. A replacement was needed and it had to be another dead guy. So, Hal Jordan was recruited.

That's the back story. That's where DeMatteis came in with the character. What he has done since has been amazing. At first, the series was just OK enough to get me to buy the next issue but amazingly the series has gotten better issue after issue. Today I read issues 23 and 24 and during the last 24 issues, Hal has transformed The Spectre's mission from being a spirit of Wrath to being a Spirit of Redemption and DeMatteis has transformed a decent comic into one of the best comic book series I have ever read (and I've been reading comic books for 20 years).

Why do I like this series so much? It manages to mix elements of traditional superhero comic books with the more "brainy" stories of DC's adult line, "Vertigo." Like Neil Gaiman's Sandman, The Spectre explores themes of theology, spirituality and symbolism while still working in some classic superhero themes and characters. A few issues back, there was a terrific issue dealing with reincarnation as Hal helped a friend and fellow spirit Abin Sur deal with a tough choice. He was offered teh chance to reincarnate as the daughter of one of his best friends but he feared the loss of his current self and losing the memory of all that he had been through. On the other hand this was a chance to live again. It's stuff like that which has made this series so interesting.

Thursday, December 12, 2002

Video Games
So what video game have I been obsessing over lately? Grand Theft Auto? No. Metroid Fusion? No. What game could possibly have pulled me away from playing those two great games? It's Activision Anthology! It's a collection of over 45 games that were published on the Atari 2600 by the company Activision. The most famous game on the collection is Pitfall but there are plenty more great games and they added the ability to "unlock" the ability to play the original tv commercials for the games and different game modes. The commercial for Ice Hockey with Phil Hartman was hilarious.

It just goes to show that true classics never lose their appeal. These games are ancient. The graphics and sounds are hideously outdated...but they have something that very few video games truly achieve: They are fun.


My work has sucked for months. I haven't blogged about it because I didn't want to think about it when I blogged. I would rather think of happier things like Gaming, Friends and our National Government. Yeah, it was that bad. I'd rather talk about politics because it got me less upset.

Things are about to change. I'm changing jobs. Starting Monday, I will be in Customer Service and I get to leave all the old crap behind.

Another Test

Take the What Should Your New Year's Resolution Be? Quiz

(Via Angel Mills, Double N and Arref)


I took the personality test that Jarrod and Kristen posted on their blogs. I took a more detailed version of this test way back in high school and I realized that I am no longer the Introverted person I was in high school. When reading the first set of questions which determine Introvert or Extrovert personalities, I had a real tough time deciding which fit better, while in High School I completely scored as an I. I think I scored about the same on the rest of the quiz, but I'm not sure. I know I was and still am borderline on the third set.

Anyways, Here are my results. They seem to describe me fairly well.

Ok. Ready? You like to chase the novel and complex. You have faith in your ability to overcome any challenges you face...highly independent...value adaptability and encourage and value change...

You need freedom for resist hierarchy and push against all odds to further your projects with your entrepreneurial can argue and find the flaws in any position...

How'm I doing so far? You rarely accept things just as they like to test new meanings and relationships..when you don't get what you want, you use your cleverness and ingenuity to bring people around to your point of view...when you choose a career, you tend to set flexible goals that allow you to incorporate new information and accommodate to new circumstances...

"Keep your options open" is your middle name... you like to explore the "road not taken." Your flexibility can look like indecision to others who don't have a clue about take advantage of realize potential of many things because of your ability to see connections and relationships between SEEMINGLY unrelated cannot be ordered around, but rather handle things best when they are *suggestions* posting more on the Storm Palace BBS you love excitement...

Competence is key to you.. you don't take advice or respect someone you don't see as want work to be're a relentless learner. Knowledge is important to use your enthusiasm to get others involved in your learn through give-and-take discussions and by questioning and challenging like challenging your teachers and colleagues...limitations are mere challenges to take initiative, and once the ball is rolling, you like to turn it over to someone else...

You like to organize logically and strategically....your work space might not LOOK organized, but underneath it all is a system that works for you. You like to have an need a job that allows you to be innovative. you like to take risks and open calendar for the weekend is really're often "in on the latest things..." like travel, 'cause it allows you to open up new vistas and horizons (corny, huh?).

Falling in love happens when there's a good "fit" with another often know after the first meeting whether there's any "real potential"... you may not like to commit until that right person comes along...therefore you probably won't settle down don't like to lose at ANYthing you're a born enterpriser...

Things to be on guard for: you have a great fear of looking dumb or incomp- may tend to think you have the perfect solutions for problems, and may become competitive when others challenge you... you might start to think that you're the only one who's in on the truth of things, so you might not like to listen to the input of may have the tendency to overextend yourself as you jump in on lots of ideas without considering how long it takes to work 'em through... commit to too many projects? are a rebel.. you find it difficult to accept standard operating procedures.. and hate HAVING to follow exact rules or policies...learn to work within the system.

ENTP: "Each New Thought Propels"

So, I was thinking about that which founding father are you quiz where I came up as Thomas Paine (the author of "Common Sense"). A co-worker of mine who is also into history and in to politics and who I discuss these topics often with guessed I would be Tom Paine without even knowing who or how many founding fathers were in the quiz. I didn't quite see me as Tom Paine until just now. Reading this personality test, I kept thinking how well this would fit Paine.

Crazy Wisdom
Hello everyone. Sorry I've been so quiet.

I thought I'd share this. A friend and fellow gamer e-mailed me this:

> a member of another list-serve i'm on sent this in. it's hilarious.

> Anyway...
> Last night we were playing GURPS and I was like "I need to find a master
> the arcane" and the gamemaster said "where would you find someone like
> that?" I said "I would call Crazy wisdom (the local new age bookstore)and
> ask them"
> "They wouldnt take you seriously"
> So I dialed crazy wisdom...
> "Hello, I have kind of a weird question, I was wondering if you could give
> me the phone number of a master of the arcane?"
> "Uhm, what do you mean?"
> "well, I have this ancient mirror and I believe it may have some kind of
> supernatural or demonic qualities, I was just trying to research that..."
> "oh, hold on let me get you that number..."

If that's the same Crazy Wisdom in Ann Arbor, I told them to quit giving out my number!

Friday, December 06, 2002

What's Your Movie Dream Car?

by Auto Glass America

(Via Ginger)
Actually, I thought the Back to the Future Delorean's description fit me better.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Dark Dungeons
I found Chick's Dark Dungeons online. Your right, Ginger. Th one I posted the link to below is almost exactly the same except the one below actually managed to be even more ridiculous. Of course, I love how the Chick tract actually ends with an old-fashioned book burning.

He looks guilty....
So, I heard on NPR earlier this week that the Iraq inspections have been going well and they have found no trace of weapons of mass destruction. They then quoted Bush as saying that the inspections don't look good.

Today I read this in the Washington Post:

President Bush dismissed assessments that the inspections have started off well, including one from U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan on Tuesday. Bush told reporters at the White House that Hussein "is not somebody who looks like he's interested in complying" with the Nov. 8 Security Council resolution that calls for Iraq to relinquish any nuclear, chemical or biological weapons and authorizes unannounced searches of any site in the country.

We're going by looks now? Maybe this explains how he could choose Kissinger to lead up the 9/11 investigation. "Sure, he may be a war criminal who has a history of lying to the American people but....he looks honest."

I thought this guy was History major.
I understand the propaganda machines are cranked up in the international community that paints our country in a bad light. We'll do everything we can to remind people that we've never been a nation of conquerors; we're a nation of liberators.
-GWB, quoted in this article

Try telling that to the Native Americans, The Mexicans or The Spanish.

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

The protections of the Fourth Amendment are clear. The right to protection from unlawful searches is an indivisible American value. Two hundred years of court decisions have stood in defense of this fundamental right. The state's interest in effective crime-fighting should never vitiate the citizens' Bill of Rights.
-John Ashcroft, 1997 (Quote via Tom Tomorrow)

Monday, December 02, 2002

Evil Roleplaying Games
I'm most concerned about these evil roleplaying games.

It was completely natural for White Wolf to release a Demon game for the World of Darkness, but they gave the anti-rpg people a way too easy fuel.