Thursday, August 18, 2016

Doofus Doofbourne

Mr. Brexit, what went on in your head?
Oh, Mr. Brexit, do you think you're brain dead?
Your oration to me lacks all logic
With the derp of it all
You tirades are full demagogic
Yeah, you're gonna lose hard this fall

Friday, August 5, 2016

Pokermans


So through the night rode Paul Revere;
And so through the night went his cry of alarm
To every Middlesex village and farm,---
A cry of defiance, and not of fear,
A voice in the darkness, a knock at the door,
And a word that shall echo for evermore!
For, borne on the night-wind of the Past,
Through all our history, to the last,
In the hour of darkness and peril and need,
The people will waken and listen to hear
The hurrying hoof-beats of that steed,
And the midnight message of Paul Revere.

That is the closing paragraph of a poem written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in 1860, describing the famous events of April 18, 1775, when Paul Revere (and William Dawes) road out to warn the colonial army that British troops had landed and were about to march into Massachusetts. Many children know the folklore, with Revere riding through the streets shouting "The British are coming, the British are coming," although certainly events have been embellished over the years.

Most people are unaware of Jonas Cattell. In October 1777, Cattell was arrested for violating curfew in Haddonfield, NJ, and spent a night in jail. The British occupied the town, along with many Hessians, German soldiers employed by the British army. While incarcerated, Jonas overheard Hessian and British soldiers discussing a surprise, early morning attack on Fort Mercer, which sat on the banks of the Delaware River across from Philadelphia, PA. Cattell knew the area well, so upon his release, he ran ten miles along backroads and trails from Haddonfield to Fort Mercer to warn military leaders of the impending attack. He arrived much earlier than the Hessian forces, and due to the advanced warning, the Americans were able to defend the fort despite being outnumber three to one.

Fort Mercer was situated in what is now known as National Park, NJ. The Red Bank Battlefield Park is not a national park, despite the name of the town, but one open for public use and recognized for its historical significance. For those reasons, there are many memorials and landmarks throughout the park, which act as Pokémon GO gyms and PokéStops. Pokémon GO, as you must be aware, is a mobile game which allows players to try and find Pokémon characters in real locations, using GPS in the game. Players can train their Pokémon and battle in gyms, and they can visit PokéStops to get free items. People can also choose to turn PokéStops into lures, which draws out Pokémon to the area, thus making them attractive and popular to individuals playing the game. In other words, it draws a crowd.

There are so many Pokémon GO relevant areas that the park is filled with hundreds of people every weekend. People from all walks of life are outdoors, enjoying nature and interacting with people they may not otherwise and being a part of a semi-organic, unscheduled community event. As with anything popular, there is a backlash against the game, with many people bemoaning people playing the game, as if it is some sort of personal affront. The game doesn't hurt people to play, and it doesn't actually affect you whether people play, so if you feel like typing up some rant, maybe do yourself a favor and step outside and get a breath of fresh air like all the Pokémon GO players who rankle you so. Who knows, you might even be standing next to a Bulbasaur.

  art by dandr0id

Saturday, March 5, 2016

It's a Kind of Magic

Last night I dreamed about my cat, who passed away in September of last year. In the dream, he was as I remembered him, but smaller and in better health, without his asthma. I was overjoyed that he was back, and times were good.

But dreams are fleeting; they cannot last. The world was as it was. It would be nice to believe it was a message from beyond, a love note to let me know he is doing well and would see me again. That would require belief in things not explainable by science, unproven by the facts, and supported only loosely on spiritual ideas that are at best from the realm of philosophers and at worst the notions of madmen and con artists.

I would like to believe in magic, but it's hard not to think about the sleight of hand.

As America approaches electing a vain, short-tempered, delusional reality show star with a tenuous grasp on reality to be in control of the military (and the nuclear launch codes), maybe I'll find out soon enough what's on the other side. Before I do, I would be hesitant not to acknowledge that Highlander, the cult 80s classic about immortals who fight each other with swords trying to decapitate each other and be the last one to survive, turns 30 years old on Monday, the 7th of March. It has its flaws for sure, but it's a really fun movie with the right state of mind, as explained here (although I am aflutter with Lambert's performance, which made me believe he was a good actor for years longer than I should have). Considering I have evolved over the years into ostentatious film snob, it might seem odd that I love this low budget science fiction fantasy adventure (and the 80s had a lot of them), but we all have that soft spot for that one movie that hits all the right notes for you.

Thinking about watching Highlander 30 years after it hit theaters has raised my spirits. No matter how much we've lost and how much we will lose, the best advice is still - don't lose your head.