It Is the End…


I started this blog back in 2008, during the Presidential primaries. Since then I’ve blogged at least a little on almost every subject you can think of, and had a generally good time doing it.

Originally I did daily blogging, but beginning last year, I faltered, and started to miss days here and there. Then finally came the time where I missed articles on a regular basis. This is only the third article for the entire month of December, for example; a month that ends shortly.

And so…I am done. The blog is finished. I might still publish the occasional special article here and there (live-blogging the SOTU, for example, or the debates and election results), but I’m done blogging regularly, and I suspect months will now go by without anything new. Consider this, I suppose, less of an Andrew Sullivan move, and more like the plans Roger Ebert had just before his death. “A leave of presence” he called it.

I’m also largely done writing articles and reviews for various websites. I’ve enjoyed doing it over the years, but the time has come for that to end. It’s become way more like work and a lot less like fun.

But fear not; I will still be around in some form. For example, I’m starting a blog to review Big Finish titles. I have no idea how often it’ll be updated, but take it from me: writing a review a week is way easier than writing an article a day, and I’m pretty sure it won’t devolve to me just posting up random videos.

So there you have it. Sic transit Blogging with Badger. Thank you everyone for reading over the years! Your comments and feedback were always welcome and wonderful, and I’ll miss those way more than just about anything else.

Stay badgery!

A Pavlova for You


My signature dessert at parties has, of late, become the pavlova. It’s a wonderful dessert with origins in New Zealand. I’ve often had people ask me how to make one. So check this video, which is where I learned how, and enjoy! Happy Thanksgiving!

 

And one word of advice: in the pavlova base, don’t use powdered sugar. It just…doesn’t work.

This Is Worth Seeing


Continuing my new goal of largely posting positive things,  here’s this.

How Not to Respond to Terrorism


The French are attacking ISIS, as we all expected them to. Well, at last those of us who know history, and know that the French military has always been a force to reckon with. Anyhow, they’re bombing the shit out of the targets in Syria, and will no doubt kill a large number of ISIS personnel.

129 people were killed, so far, in the attacks in Paris, which is terrible. But how many more innocent people are dying as a result of the response? I’m willing to bet the number ends up being a lot more than 129, but, hey, it’s their fault for living in Syria and not trying to get out, right?

Attacking someone violently who has hurt you feels good. It makes you feel powerful and superior. It’s also a terrible idea in general, and a really terrible idea in cases like this. I mean, what, you surely don’t think that ISIS launched these attacks saying, “No, the French won’t attack us. No one will.”

No, they launched the attacks hoping to get exactly the kind of response that they’re getting. They want the violence. They want the death, and giving your enemy what they want is generally a bad move. The French attacks on them are a great publicity coup, and will help mightily in recruitment. You doubt me? Put yourself in the shoes of a 20 year old Syrian man whose mother was killed by a French bomb and tell me you wouldn’t want revenge. Hell, you’re probably just some American sitting at your desk reading this, and you already want revenge against ISIS. Now make it even more personal.

Violence begats violence, because of course it does. We have to stop lashing out militarily when bad shit like this goes down. It never works, it kills a lot more innocent people (100,000 plus in Iraq as a direct result of our invasion and the fallout from it), and it’s a waste of time and money.

You know what would be far better? Leading by example. Showing the world that we’re the better man by not using our military and simply showing how terrified we are, and what a bully we are. No, preach peace, preach justice, keep the military away from it all, and treat it like the crime that it is. Arrest those responsible, when you can, try them, and imprison them.

I’ll admit, that’s difficult in a situation like this, where ISIS was inspiring/directing from a distance, but even with this kind of situation, the best should do is support local opposition to ISIS. Even then we have to be careful. Historically it’s rather embarrassing, after all, when the dictator we prop up fights back against people wanting democracy and uses weapons we gave him to do so. So to when someone sees their village flattened by weapons that are stamped with, “MADE IN THE USA”.

But we can fight ISIS and the like in other ways, such as various economic means, plus isolating them as much as possible from the rest of the world. We can also continue to be vigilant and do our best to stop any terrorism here by Americans or from people overseas.

I know this is lots less sexy, and slower, and far more uncertain, than invading countries, bombing cities, and otherwise bullying our way around the world. But I’m willing to take that over the certainty of more violence, where the only “certain” things are more death, and more terrorists.

A Funny Conversation


In the interest of people being cheered-up, I thought I’d share the content of a conversation I had with a co-worker recently.

ME: 3 and 5 aren’t prime numbers.

HIM: What? Yes, they are.

ME: No, they aren’t. Because you can add 3 and 5 together to get 35.

HIM: What?

ME: Yeah. Any two numbers that you can add together aren’t prime.

HIM: But that’s all numbers.

ME: Right, that’s why we have imaginary numbers. Those are the only ones that are prime.

HIM: …

ME: Look, it’s not my fault if you don’t understand how math works.

HIM: …I hate you so much.

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Things to Be Genuinely Happy About


I was going to write up a blog article about the attacks in Paris, and then I thought…no. It was a bad thing, and France’s response is going to play right into the hands of ISIS, just as our responses always do.

So instead of that, I thought I’d share a few fun, happy things that I’ve found out over the last week.

First off, and this is pretty much limited to a small group of people who will be made happy by it, Cloud Striffe is coming to Super Smash Bros.

This is great on several levels. First off, he’s always been a favorite character of mine (even while sulking constantly. At least he isn’t Squall). Plus he reminds me of someone I used to be involved with back about 15 years ago, and that’s no bad thing.

But also this is a great turning point for the relationship between Nintendo and Square-Enix. Back in the day, when they were just Square, they were going to developing Final Fantasy VII for Nintendo’s SNES successor system. That didn’t happen and things got…ugly. The bottom line is that for a very long time, there was nothing on any Nintendo system that was made by Square. That began changing a few years ago, and now we’re getting the culmination of that change, and that pleases me.

Of course, I’d be more pleased if Square-Enix could turn out a non-crappy FF game, but let’s not go insane here.

Another thing to be happy about? A resolution to a certain plotline in Doctor Who. You can read here for details, though be aware, Spoilers, ahoy!

You say you want some good news that doesn’t have to do with geek stuff? Pft. Fine. Ok, how about this? Polio is about to stop being a thing. This is excellent news. It stopped being a thing in the USA before I was born, with the result that I’ve only ever once met one person who was younger than me and who had had polio. In his case, he was raised in a Romanian orphanage, so…yeah. Polio was probably the least of what he had.

For those who want to continue to carp on vaccines and how terrible they are, let me remind you that because of vaccines, smallpox is on the ash heap of history and it’s quite likely that polio will soon be there, too.

Let’s turn to some happy political news. Trump is flaming out at long last. Carson is…well, just fucking weird. He’s leading in some key polls, but he won’t go anywhere in the long run. At this point, I’m willing to lay down money, though not much, that Rubio will be the nominee, which I’m sort-of ok with. He’s still more conservative than I’d like, but at least he’s not insane, and I can easily see him enjoying a nice, four year, caretaker term as president.

Of course, I still think that the next president will be Hillary Clinton. She’s really trouncing Sanders in the polls now, and barring something extremely unexpected, she’ll be the nominee. She’s a stronger candidate than any of the Republican set, and so I fully expect her to win.

Then of course, we have this to look forward to at the end of the year.

Yeah, I know we’ve been burned before, but it looks like this could really be an excellent movie. Disney rarely has any mis-steps, especially when it’s something this major, so hopefully it’ll be spectacular.

Lastly, here’s a cheerful little video with Jeremy Clarkson.

Oh, and in addition to all of this, you can, I suppose, focus on the fact that even now, the world is more at peace than ever before, poverty is decreasing, education is increasing, and the world is a pretty fucking amazing place to live in right now.

The Great Butchery


97 years ago today, World War One, that meat-grinder of a generation, came to a halt, with 38 million people dead or injured. It was the worst war up to that point in history, and the levels of sheer brutality and waste stagger the mind even today.

Of those 38 million, 17 million died. That’s over the course of four years and change. That’s approximately 11,000 people per day that were killed. That’s more each and every day than the total number of soldiers the USA has lost during the War on Terror. That means every five days, the allies lost the same number of soldiers we lost during the Vietnam War.

The First World War was a terrible, pointless affair, best summed-up in this exchange from Blackadder Goes Forth.

Baldrick: The thing is: The way I see it, these days there’s a war on, right? and, ages ago, there wasn’t a war on, right? So, there must have been a moment when there not being a war on went away, right? and there being a war on came along. So, what I want to know is: How did we get from the one case of affairs to the other case of affairs?

Edmund: Do you mean “Why did the war start?”

Baldrick: Yeah.

George: The war started because of the vile Hun and his villainous empire-building.

Edmund: George, the British Empire at present covers a quarter of the globe, while the German Empire consists of a small sausage factory in Tanganyika. I hardly think that we can be entirely absolved of blame on the imperialistic front.

George: Oh, no, sir, absolutely not. [aside, to Baldick] Mad as a bicycle!

Baldrick: I heard that it started when a bloke called Archie Duke shot an ostrich ’cause he was hungry.

Edmund: I think you mean it started when the Archduke of Austro-Hungary got shot.

Baldrick: Nah, there was definitely an ostrich involved, sir.

Edmund: Well, possibly. But the real reason for the whole thing was that it was too much effort not to have a war.

George: By Golly, this is interesting; I always loved history…

Edmund: You see, Baldrick, in order to prevent war in Europe, two superblocs developed: us, the French and the Russians on one side, and the Germans and Austro-Hungary on the other. The idea was to have two vast opposing armies, each acting as the other’s deterrent. That way there could never be a war.

Baldrick: But this is a sort of a war, isn’t it, sir?

Edmund: Yes, that’s right. You see, there was a tiny flaw in the plan.

George: What was that, sir?

Edmund: It was bollocks.

Baldrick: So the poor old ostrich died for nothing.

Sadly the ostrich wasn’t alone, and by the end of that episode, had plenty of company.

World War One doesn’t loom large enough in the American consciousness, and that’s a shame. We like to remember our clear-cut, wonderful victories, like in Revolution, when we beat the British, World War II, where we beat the Axis, and the Civil War, where we beat…well, other Americans.

But World War I is different. On paper, the US and the Allies won. But in reality, no one won that war. Millions dead, billions of dollars wasted, huge swathes of land devastated, nations destabilized, and the stage set for World War II: Adolf’s Revenge. It was a pointless, terrible waste, and maybe, just maybe, if we focused on this war and it’s outcomes more often, we might be somewhat less eager to rush into the next war.

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