Acoustically Challenged

Here is something from my quirky side.  I drove past a VFW the other day and they had a sign for a band that would be playing there, Acoustically Covered.  Well, being in a sarcastic mood, I came up with a new name for a band, Acoustically Challenged.  Now, my mind being what it is, I could not let the idea alone.  I began to think of the possibility for a rock and roll band that did not use string instruments of any kind.  What would they be like?  Could they do so and be any good?  I don’t know but I thought the name Acoustically Challenged would be great for such a band.  So, I freely give this name to anyone who can pull off a rock band without any guitars or string instruments of any kind.

A Little Wisdom from My Favorite Narn, G’Kar

G’Kar: “We live for The One, we die for The One.” Interesting that you put all the emphasis on the second half of that sentence.

This quote comes from a scene in the movie “The Legend of the Rangers:  To Live and Die by Starlight”.  G’kar makes these statements during discussions about a Ranger who chose to retreat in the face of overwhelming odds instead of foolishly sacrificing his crew in a meaningless gesture.  The Ranger leadership were of the opinion that the Ranger should have fought to the bitter end because their coda emphasizes a willingness to sacrifice their lives for the protection of others.

G’kar politely reminds them that there are two parts to their oath and that the leadership is focusing too strongly on the latter half.  In point, G’kar is reminding them that by living, the Ranger in question may be of more value than if he had died out of an over zealous sense of honor.

Second Amendment to the United States Constitution:  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.

Well, I thought it might be interesting to look at another oft used quote where many people over emphasize one part in conversations.  G’kar would probably point out that we were only focusing on the part about infringing upon our right to bear arms in our public discourse.  Very little mention is made, in arguments, about the fact such ownership is pursuant upon a Well Regulated Militia.  In other words, citizens have a right to bear arms as part of a well regulated militia to be called upon in times of need to defend the country, not as a right to create personal arsenals to rival that of the local police forces or military bases.  Not as a catch-all Amendment for ownership and use of any and all firearms, including military grade weapons.

Now, before any Gun advocates blast me for daring to twist the meaning of the second Amendment, let’s consider why the founding fathers may have phrased the Amendment this way.  When the Constitution was created, the country was still in infancy.   The structures for creating and maintaining a regular army were not agreed upon yet as to the methods and strength so the militia were a vital part of the national defense.  However, especially at the time of our countries birth, there could be a threat to the government by these very same forces if they were allowed to become too strong, since not everyone was happy about the change in government from the Revolution.  America still had to prove itself worthy.  Basically, the founding fathers chose to ensure the continuation of the militia system through the right to bear arms but left themselves room to regulate the collecting of arms with respect to the maintenance of the militia.  They did this against the possibility of coups and civil war.  Unfortunately we did not avoid the latter but the former never happened.  Of course, living in an America as divisively split by the forces of intolerance, greed, and pride, where Politicians promote the use of “Second Amendment Remedies”, the chances of a coup seem much more likely.

So please think about the wisdom of G’kar when you talk about or spout off your thoughts on the Second Amendment.

Review: Death Gate Cycle

Courtesy of Amazon

I recently reread the “Death Gate Cycle” by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman and wanted to share my opinion of the series with you.  First off, I passed reading this series initially because I was afraid of the restrictiveness in characterization that books from the Dungeons and Dragons genre usually contain.  While it is possible to write good stories within the bounds of the genre, most authors try too hard to follow the dictates of the gaming world.  There must always be Dwarves, Elves, and Humans; each race has to follow certain characteristics; and the political dynamics of the races must be the same as in the game, which is essentially a Tolkeiness society.  Basically, the writers are so wrapped up in the minutia of the Dungeons and Dragons system that they rarely allow the story to breathe and come to life.

However, I eventually decided to give this series a try because I liked the covers and I am thankful that I did.  This is a thoroughly engaging series that grows wings from the second book onward.  While many people may underrate this series for the reason I have stated above, I would like to encourage them to take a second look like I did. Unfortunately, the first book may grate a little like a Dungeons and Dragons book with all the prerequisite Dwarf, Elf, and Human intrigues but later books will move into a wider realm of creativity.  You will still have to deal with these races throughout the series, but the authors are able to breath some much-needed life, humor, and soul into what would normally be carbon copy throw away beings.

The change in the nature of the series will become apparent after the second book “Elven Star” but it is the third book “Fire Sea” that made me a die-hard fan.  One of the main characters is forced to see a much darker side to his people than history portrays and the truths of his life become suspect to the point that he no longer trusts his own kind.  Most interesting is the costs to all for the greediness of eternal life.  I believe that, if you can make it through the first three books, like me, you will be hooked until the end.  Gods will fall and redeem themselves through sacrifice.  Hearts will change and bitter enemies will find common ground.  What more could you ask for?