daily archive: 03/16/2006
As much as I love games, I don't think I'd want to play StreetWars: Killers
. In this game, you're basically stalking a stranger in order to hit them with a water gun and get them wet. It sounds fun (and childish) but I'm not crazy about the idea of two hundred strangers having my photo, my home address and my work address and stalking me with pretend guns, or people involved in some killing fantasy hiding in my yard at night, waiting to hit me with a water pistol. Call me a chicken, but I think I'll stick to my computer games.
The game, called StreetWars: Killer, is an elaborate version of hide-and-seek, an update of older assassin role-playing games. It is played on city streets by scores of participants armed with water guns. For weeks, they stalk, pursue and ambush in the hopes of being the ultimate — and dry — hit man.
The game is poised for the leap from the margins to the mainstream: Earlier this month, a "CSI: NY" story line intermixed real murder with a fictional StreetWars-type game. And Aliquo, the game's co-founder, says he's in talks to steer the game into a reality TV show.
StreetWars began two years ago in New York and, in addition to the November game in San Francisco, has also been played in Vancouver, Canada; and Vienna. A new game, with more than 200 assassins, was to begin early today on the streets and in the buildings of Los Angeles (details at http://www.streetwars.net ).
Although it may be hard for most to see a serious threat in squirt-gun-toting adults who refuse to grow up, the game has picked up a wide range of critics, including New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who suggested last year that Aliquo "could use some psychiatric help."
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Newt Gingrich defends the QDR
An interesting, articulate, and convincing defense of the product of the Quadrennial Defense Review
by Newt Gingrich. I did now know about the "individual replacement system" that Schoomaker ended.
This effort to craft a change-oriented QDR has to be seen in the larger context of change throughout the Defense Department. The fact that Gen. Peter Schoomaker was brought out of retirement to impose Rumsfeld's vision on a reluctant Army is the best example of the determined, systematic change involved. Schoomaker has become the most single-minded Army modernizer since George Catlett Marshall. As Army chief of staff he ended the individual replacement system, dating to 1917, which everyone knew was destructive to unit cohesion but no one had had the will and determination to replace. Ending the practice of heedlessly moving individual soldiers in and out of units has produced the highest level of unit readiness in modern history.
The Army has shifted from 11 unwieldy World War II-type divisions to 77 rapidly deployable brigades designed for modern war. This makes it more deployable, more usable and more effective. Army modernization is being extended by the creation of more Special Operations units and the Marine Corps is being turned into a more effective organization for what I call "the long war against the irreconcilable wing of Islam."
The Navy and Air Force have continued to shift toward unmanned vehicles, more effective power projection and more sophisticated capabilities to contain and deter China. The shift toward unmanned vehicles alone would have been considered dramatic a decade ago. The development of new submarine capability is a powerful tool as Chinese imports and seaborne trade increase.
In terms of reshaping the Pentagon, the largest and most comprehensive base closing in defense history was recently completed; it will yield billions in savings. Under Rumsfeld's leadership, the Pentagon has also reconfigured forces from Europe and Korea into more usable and effective form. Furthermore, these changes have been made while increasing the amount of training and cooperation undertaken with our allies.
At the Pentagon, the creation of the National Security Personnel System -- which is being challenged in the courts -- is historic and vitally necessary to the effective use of resources for national security. The fact that it has been opposed by every labor union in the Defense Department is one indication of how thorough and far-reaching it is.
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Federal judge dismisses gun suit, invoking new law for first time
The repeated attempts of gun-grabbers and enemies of the Second Amendment to try to eliminate guns by suing their manufacturers for the actions of criminals led the Congress to pass, and President Bush to sign, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act last October. That law has now seen its first application
by a federal judge, directly demonstrating the need for the law in the first place.
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Take it easy with the gevalt
Larry Derfner says it's hard to reason with people when they're afraid (*ahem*) especially when those people are Jewish and see their worst fear come true: with the rise of Hamas, antisemitism, militant Islam, and Ahmadinejad's rhetoric, to many it looks like a return to the Nazi era.
It's understandable why people, and not just Jews, would make such an equation. After all, Iran, Hamas, al-Qaida and the like are definitely proto-Nazi in their ideology, in their designs for the Jews and everyone else they hate. The wish lists of today's Islamists and history's Nazis do not differ in any important way.
Now read the "but" part: Rattling the Cage: Hallucinations of Hitler
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European doctors call on US to stop force-feeding Guantanamo detainees
Unbelievably, in the name of medical ethics, 250 medical experts from seven countries have signed a petition
urging the US to let hunger-striking terrorists die, because “they have the right to refuse treatment”.
I agree about letting them die (only if their intelligence value is exhausted, of course), but mine is out of spite, not a refined European sense of medical ethics.
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Part XVII Departures and Arrivals
"He had the gun pointed at my chest and started walking towards me. His blond hair was cropped almost to the scalp and he had a long ugly red welt along the side of his skull. Then a woman stepped into the room and pointed a sawed off shot gun at me. The man pointed the gun at her and yelled something in a language that sounded vaguely German. She seemed surprised to see him and ducked behind the door. I took that opportunity to dive behind some crates. I heard a loud boom. The man barked what sounded like a curse and there were 3 sharp reports. Then there was a soft shuffling, it sounded like he was moving to a different position and two more shots. The shotgun roared again and after hissing a curse he answered. Footsteps retreated down the corridor. A few quick stealthy steps to the door and a shot fired down the hall. Then some metallic clacks that I assumed was him reloading a full clip of ammunition as he trotted up quickly to peer over the crates to check if I was still cowering. His shoulder was tattered and bloody and had a few small wounds in his neck and jaw, but he was grinning and with the gun still trained on me sidestepped to the tabernacle. I lost sight of him, but was sure he still had the gun pointed in my direction. The last thing was a brief rusty creak.
I was flying. The explosion brought the end of the world and the ringing silence. I had never left the state of bliss that I brought down with me from the Tree of Life. Even after the man with the gun had appeared, the Light was all around me, murmuring secrets in my ear to my everlasting delight. I did what I had to to save the poor vessel I had been, but now it was beyond my control or concern. The Light endured and we flew. But then the Light led me back. I got up on shaky legs. At that point the fragrant oil that had been poured out on my head was depleted at last, although the faint scent still lingers.
The man, who ever he was, was lying on his back and I'd rather not describe his condition. I could see that the scorched interior of the small vault was empty save a dagger. The design was familiar to any historian. It was issued by the Tottenkopf SS and this one bore the special insignia of The Rosenberg Kommando.
As I stumbled out of the room. I kept my mind calm by reviewing the chronology of the special SS misson to Salonika. Alois Brunner who Adolph Eichmann considered his "best man" was already infamous along with Dieter Wisliceny for sending Salonikan Jews to the deathcamps, and especially well known to art historians and scholars of Judaica for stealing their art and religious artifacts. He was the first I suspected. After I made my way cautiously out of the villa past the guard who was slain before he looked up from his German nudist magazine, past the scattergun that the woman had abandon in her flight. I then hid in my office and slept. When I woke I did some quick research online while cleaning out my desk. I had pretty much confirmed my suspicions about Brunner.
Then I despaired. Like many Nazis, he was rehabilitated by the CIA under the patronage of Hitler's top anti-Soviet spy, Reinhard Gehlen who would serve as head of German security between 1956-68. But the blood of forty three thousand Greek Jews, twenty five thousand French Jews and the children of Izieu cried out to heaven. When he became a political liability to German security, he sought refuge in Syria. The Israelis attempted to assassinate him twice and failed. Brunner it seemed was beyond my reach. I even considered asking a good friend from Jordan if he could help me get into the country but then I saw a more recent report that Brunner had been spotted in South America.
I realized that my labor was over. I resigned my position the next day by letter, settled my affairs quickly and that night was on a plane for the United States. I expect to be starting in a degree program here in the fall and I also have a research position to pay the bills. I'm sorry we never got to meet Matt. I'm grateful that I was allowed to play a part in your search. Yassou file mou Matthaios."
The connection broke before Matt could respond. In a quest framed by so many unfathomable mysteries, Psyche now passed into Matt's memory as one of the greatest.
Katia had become such a study in psychological shock that she sought complete isolation to recover. The dead guard had the key to his Fiat on the same tethered set of keys he kept on his belt. She drove to her hotel and quickly checked out. The car was abandon at the airport. She slept in the rental in a turnoff of the highway to Izmir just before the Turkish border.
She buying a new wig and outfit in Istanbul when she heard the report out of Salonika that an unidentified intruder believed to have garrotted a security guard had been killed himself by a bomb in the Villa Allatini. What her sense of doom lifted, and now she seemed to be the recipient of some incredible good luck. Now with the Jan truly dead, she could return to Greece. The woman would recognize her, but she already had the seed of a story about how she was a secret ally that finally had to come out of hiding to save them from Jan. She could finally be able to insinuate herself into the quest as Matt's would-be saviour. Yes, she would make it work.
Matt was in the air by dawn of the next day. A brief conversation with Arcy had informed him that arrangements had been made with sympathetic parties in Israel for a brief period of rest and rehabiliation. She was now the de facto liason for the entire group as Tim felt he was a security risk and Melchizedek was incommunicado somewhere in the Appalachian mountains. She sent him his reservation information for the Mount Carmel Spa Resort which was recommended by his Israeli contact as safe exclusive and very conductive to a pleasant and speedy recovery from his illness. It was also only a few minutes away from Haifa and The Technion, Israel's premier institute of science and technology. Apparently Matt was to meet with one of the faculty regarding some special equipment he would need for the next phase of the mission.
He was only to refer to the Israeli contact as "Devora", but the smartly dressed woman holding the "Mustang" sign had a familiar face. Matt realized as she spontaneously hugged him like a prodigal son that she was one of the lady commandoes of the Yehudit Unit. "You probably don't remember me, completely understandable, but you might as well call me Annie. We're so glad so see you are alright, and there is someone out in the car who can't wait to see you, you'll understand why..."
Annie's excitement was infectious, and his first thought was that he would see Shaka again. He would have asked if he could have gotten a word in, but was content to listen to Annie kvell about the spa until he reached the pickup area for arrivals. When he saw the balding man in a colonel's IDF uniform he was too stunned to speak.
"Shalom, Matt", said Uncle Allen.
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