A supreme commander?

February 13, 2007

The real-time strategy game, or RTS, is a pretty venerable genre in computer gaming, in which the player commands an army versus the computer. Although these games arguably began with Westwood Studios’ Dune II, many gamers were introduced to RTS via the second, more popular generation of these games, which included Westwood’s sophmore effort, Command and Conquer, and Blizzard’s Warcraft. Both were real gems: Command and Conquer had delightfully campy movies in between missions as well as great MIDI techno music, which made commanding little pixel men incredibly compelling and visceral, while Warcraft was artful, featuring an engrossing story and lavish detail, both of which have become synonymous with Blizzard’s productions.

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concatenation?

February 13, 2007

While I’m pleased to say that my posts are usually more logocentric than phallogocentric, even I have my vocabulary failings. [btw, a good discussion in class today on the word for ‘vocabulary’ in Hebrew–otzar milim. otzar milim is a direct calque for the German worschatz, both translating literally into English as “treasure of words.” I guess the closest we have in English is “word bank” as a bank is a place that steals people’s money to make treasure. 2, nay 3 dollar ATM fees? It’s past time we elect Al Franken President, perhaps the staunchest opponent of ATM fees extant.]alfranken_whynotme.jpg

So it’s really a rare occurrence when I go through any book in English–even an academic work–and find more than 2 or 3 words that confuse me. Woe is me that today I found such a work. The best (or worst) of these words, and the one that got me to pry myself away from Mosley’s stimulating work on Jewish autobiography is, “concatenation.” I have no good guesses. Let’s try parsing it:

con (together or with) + caten (?) + ation (indicating nouns of action, usually from Latin via French)= doing something together with caten.

Actually, my parsing would have worked perfectly if I had known that a “catena” is a chain. Concatenation is “Union by chaining or linking together; concatenated condition,” or “the action of chaining together” as my word-regenerator would have given.

Unfortunately, I have no way of concatenating the first part of my post with this next part. Last week, I railed against Studio 60, calling for sweeping changes with the show. While this week, regrettably, placed our heroes further in the depths of their idiotic love stories, Sorkin managed to begin exploring his dark past via-Matt’s-dark-side-which-was-actually-Danny’s-dark-side. Confused? Danny and Matt work for NBS because Danny failed his drug test, and Matt’s a nice guy and only wanted to work with his buddy. Sorkin, has had many a drug problem in his day, and that part of the fabula was clearly autobiographical. But it gets better: Danny had a weird relationship starting with a woman who seemed a lot like Maureen Dowd, an old-Sorkin fling, while Matt has his romantic imbroglio with Harriet who resembles another Sorkin flame, Kristin Chenowith. Sorkin, however, seems to be confused as to which character representing Aaron Sorkin is doing which thing done by Aaron Sorkin, and has decided to have Matt Start poppin’ pills instead of Danny. Such are the dangers of writing a show populated by characters who are representations of various elements of your self.

Will solipsists ever learn? Hopefully I won’t lose myself in dailysalad/Dash Hammerskjold representation.

A monkey, sitting in his monkey place, saw some ants on the ground. They looked appetizing, so the monkey ate the ants. Then they were gone, and the monkey was the approximation of sad.

Then the monkey noticed that the ants were coming out of a whole in the ground. Then, ibiteyoureyes spelled ‘hole’ the right way. Then the monkey noticed a stick next to the hole. The monkey masturbated. He forgot all about the ants and the stick and the hole.

Sixty-five years went by. A different monkey found himself in the very same situation as the previous monkey, as fate would have it, in the same monkey place. Also as fate would have it (fate always gets what she wants, and, yes fate is a woman) the same stick lay by the hole. The second monkey masturbated.

But monkey-lust did not thwart evolution for a second time. This monkey got to thinking. In doing so, he became a man.

The monkey saw the stick, and he saw the hole. Having just fantasized about what he would like to do to his sister the she-monkey, he was able to imagine the process of using the stick to dig at the hole. He used the stick to dig at the hole. Ants came out with the stick. He ate the ants…and became man. Technology had arrived to save the world from the awful perils of its natural order.

Fast forward a bit. Man invents email. Then, the following occurs:

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2008 Watch: Barack vs… Tom?

February 13, 2007

It happens every primary. The front runner(s) get all the attention and media legitimacy. Inevitably, one of the ignored candidates throws a tantrum and/or overreaches to establish themselves in the first tier. Ladies and gentleman, we may have our first big credibility overreach of the 2008 cycle:

Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack has challenged Senator Barack Obama to a debate. Vilsack hopes to face off with the Illinois Democrat before union activists in Iowa later this month to talk about “central issues confronting America.”

No other candidates, just Barack and Tom, mensch vs mensch. Who needs the front runner, or any of the various other candidates who are at least as credible as Vilsack? Governor Vilsack is such a forgetable figure, in fact, that I’m not even going to bother adding his picture to this post. In fact, I could refer to Vilsack as “Guy Whitey Corngood” for the remainder of the post and probably nobody would know the difference. But the story gets stranger:

Vilsack is scheduled to participate in a debate sponsored by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in Carson City, Nevada, on February 21st.

Obama is skipping the debate, saying he’s committed to campaigning in Iowa that day.

Vilsack suggested that he could fly to Iowa after the Nevada debate to attend a similar forum in Iowa with Obama

Ok, sure. Obama is missing the Carson City, NV debate, so Vilsack just wants to make sure he gets a chance to face off with the senator from Illinois. One problem: the Nevada event isn’t a debate. It is a candidate forum, so Vilsack would not get the chance to engage Barack there regardless.

Our take? The only thing this lends credibility to is the conspiracy theory that Clinton got Vilsack to run just to run interference for her.