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Member since: Sat Sep 24, 2011, 10:36 AM
Number of posts: 16,443

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Soldier, Ask Not

Soldier, ask not - now, or ever,
Where to war your banners go.
Anarch's legions all surround us.
Strike - and do not count the blow!

Glory, honor, praise and profit,
Are but toys of tinsel worth.
Render up your work, unasking,
Leave the human clay to earth.

Blood and sorrow, pain unending,
Are the portion of us all.
Grasp the naked sword, opposing,
Gladly in the battle fall.

So shall we, anointed soldiers,
Stand at last before the Throne,
Baptized in our wounds, red-flowing,
Sealed unto our Lord - alone!

(Gordon Dickson)

-- Mal

Computer game about... fire watching?

DemoTex ought to find this interesting...


-- Mal

My First Riot

In 1974, the Philadelphia Flyers won the Stanley Cup, and riots broke out all over the greater metropolitan area. My little village outside of the city experienced one of its own.

I generally try to avoid such things, but it was a lovely Spring night, I was 18 and had nothing better to do, and the riot was taking place only a few paces from my front door. So I went out to join, and fancied for a moment that I had gone back in time to VE Day.

There was considerable yelling and screaming, and milling about. I saw many people drinking something hidden in brown paper bags, possibly some peculiar weeds were being smoked as well -- it was 1974, after all. One young man, bereft of nether garments, climbed a lamppost and began shaking his finger at us all. Or perhaps it wasn't a finger, I blush to say. Strangers were embracing and kissing each other. I myself was granted a hug from a pretty young thing I never saw before or since, and I was still wearing trousers. It was grand and high-spirited chaos.

Down the street, the police were gathering to form a line to make us disperse. They had brought out the Black Maria -- a Chevrolet van not unlike the ice cream truck I was driving that season -- and the two patrol cruisers that were all my small community possessed. They were wearing their normal equipment, and carrying no shotguns, sniper rifles, or automatic weapons. Kevlar, in 1974, was a novel and expensive invention, and SWAT teams experiments confined to the great urban areas. I remember exactly how they began to move us along. "All right now, you've had your fun, it's time to disperse." They moved forward up the street, and the crowd, willy-nilly, "moved along" with a will. There was no tear gas, no rubber bullets. I doubt they were in the budget. Somehow, though, they dispersed us with only a few good-natured grumbles. Myself, being an 18 year-old smart aleck (totally unlike the 58 year-old smart aleck I am today), loudly asked a friend as we passed one officer, "I wonder what the penalty for loitering is." The officer, deadpan, told me it was 30 days or 150 dollars.

Well, that was a world ago, and a world apart from Ferguson, Missouri, and a celebration of a sporting victory is not of the same nature as an outraged protest over excessive police violence. And our communities were worlds apart as well: I lived in a 100% solid working-class white neighborhood. Indeed, I found out later that one of the police dispersing me was a guy I knew in high school. I wonder, sometimes, how our riot would go today. Much as we liked to grumble about our police -- we used to brag about how "tough" they were, in much the same way as we bragged about how bad our potholes were in winter -- yet there was a sense of community binding us all. They weren't our enemies, and we weren't theirs. We'd just had our fun, and now it was time to go home.

-- Mal

Florida Girl Makes Varsity High School Football Team

A little light news for the weekend. I regret I can't post pix, but my cousin in FLA tells me the granddaughter of some friends has made the varsity football team for the Dunedin Falcons. It should go without saying that she's the only girl on the squad, and probably in the conference.

Oddly enough, this doesn't even seem to have made the local papers. Which is encouraging, in a way. If a girl making the football team isn't news, then that means it's normal, right?

So, maybe we should all give a hearty "Go Dunedin!"

-- Mal
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