Monthly Archives: February 2012

My Favourite Fictional Weapons

My Friends,
   I have been wrestling with ideas for what to write about for the last week and have a few unfinished drafts to show for it.  But I find I have been starting out on what seem like promising and introspective topics and hitting roadblocks the whole way.  The topics I want to write about very soon are “The Effects of Laws and Rules,” “The Wrong Way to Argue.””The Proper Way to Treat a Woman,” and “The True Power of Honesty.”  Rest assured I will endeavour to flesh out these topics in the near-future.
   However, in the meantime I feel some levity is in order.  One can’t simply ponder deep, existential questions and not take time to indulge in some more frivolous inquiries.  Having spent part of last evening watching Star Wars reviews on and discussing how episodes I-III could have been much better, I was once again reminded of how the lightsabre has always enchanted me.  This of course led me to think about my other favourite fictional weapons as well and compile a list which I will share with you now.
   **Note: The weapons listed don’t have to be implausible or fantastical, simply featured prominently in fiction.  Some are actual weapons used notably by fictional characters or are based on real-life equivalents.

Lightsabre – Star Wars Universe

   “An elegant weapon for a more civilized age,” the lightsabre was an obvious inclusion as it was the inspiration for this list.  With so many variants to choose from it is hard to pick a favourite incarnation, but Darth Vader’s red one gets point for…well, belonging to Darth Vader.  I’d like to think that as the human race advances its knowledge of superheated plasma and the manipulation of magnetic fields that we will one day be able to build these weapons.  I would rate the importance of lightsabre R&D somewhere above ending world hunger as far as global priorities go.

Tuco’s Custom Revolver – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

   After being double-crossed by Clint Eastwood’s “Man With No Name,” Tuco resolves to get revenge. His first order of business is to procure some heat.  After having his common wares rejected, the gunsmith pulls out the premium firearms for Tuco; “Remington, Colt, ____, Smith & Wesson, Colt Navy,  J____, another Remington…”  The list reads like an antique revolver enthusiast’s wet dream but Tuco remains unimpressed.  He proceeds to dismantle the guns and take the choice components from each to assemble his ideal firearm in what is one of the coolest scenes in the film.  And though he doesn’t fare too well in the final standoff with “Blondie” and “Angel Eyes,” he does manage to get some good killin’ in.

Cerberus – Dirge of Cerberus: Final Fantasy VII (PS2)

   This revolver is only a revolver in the loosest sense of the word.  While it has only three chambers to house three cartridges which are fired simultaneously with each trigger pull, somehow it can fire 18 rounds before needing to be reloaded.  When you can suspend belief to the point that you glaze over this glaring inconsistency, you can really begin to appreciate the elegance of this weapon.
   Since its a magical revolver, it just isn’t subject to the same rules other gats might be subject to.  Case in point: Magical charms can be procured throughout the game and then affixed to the weapon to affect its power, reload speed, weight and accuracy.  When completely decked out with these charms it is a gaudy, cumbersome affair but still kinda gets me hard.  Its kind of like a Tiffany & Co. tennis bracelet, but with bullets.

Green Shell – Super Smash Bros. (N64)

   The oft-underrated green shell is overlooked as one of the better weapons in the game because it can only be thrown, not used for melee.  However, it packs devastating power when it connects and can be ricocheted or even hit again while in motion to increase its potency.  Unlike other pick-ups in the game this one will not cover for your lack of skill, but instead will complement your mastery of a character’s fighting style.

Cougar Magnum/DD44 Dostovei – Goldeneye (N64)

Cougar Magnum
   DD44 Dostovei

   Based on the .357 Ruger Blackhawk and the Soviet TT-30 respectively, these two pistols were vastly different (the former being the much more powerful of the two) but were both more elegant than some of the larger firearms in the game.  If its not already glaringly apparent, I’m a bit gay for pistols, revolvers particularly, and I tended to prefer these two to the more powerful golden and silver handguns in the game for their realism.

Crissaegrim: Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (PSONE)

   The Crissaegrim is quite simply the only weapon you need to find in the game.  Thankfully, the developers had the good sense to make it appear late in the story because when it is equipped you can literally mow down any ghoul that has the audacity to proceed in your direction.  On top its power, each push of the attack button actually causes it to hit seven or eight times in overlapping arcs.  Perfect for patricide against the Prince of Darkness. (ps you play as Dracula’s son in the game)

Battle Rifle – Halo 3 (XBOX 360)

   When I first played Halo 3 I thought this was simply a neutered, 3-round burst version of Halo 2’s fully-auto Battle Rifle.  However, the more I played, the more I came to appreciate it.  It really can dole out some serious damage and the burst fire compels you to make aimed shots instead of spray & pray.  In a hectic battlefield it is an excellent balance of speed and power.

Minigun – Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (PS2)

   An indispensable part of your arsenal when taking on police and military, this incarnation of the minigun scores over its Vice City predecessor by being fully aimable (sic.).  Seriously, I don’t think I ever barricaded myself into a fortified position and started picking off cops without this baby and a ton of ammo.

Ol’ Painless/Lincoln’s Repeater – Fallout 3 (XBOX 360)

Ol’ Painless

Lincoln’s Repeater

   While I played through most of the game with the readily-available energy weapons and power armor, I decided to tackle the expansions with simple combat armor and bullets.  Insofar as video games can be said to be satisfying, satisfying it was.  The “PYOOM-PYOOM” of plasma and laser weapons doesn’t do it for me like the explosion of gunpowder and the report of bullets streaking through the post-apocalyptic air.

M4 Revolver – Killzone 2 (PS3)

   A simple yet effective .357 magnum.  The number of revolvers on this list must be getting tiresome by this point but its my list so have a smile and Coke as they say.  This revolver makes the list not only for its power but its accuracy.  It fires true and as long as you can aim worth a damn it can take out Helghan scum from the other end of a multi-player map.  So effective is this weapon in fact that it has to be earned  to be used in multi-player.

Beer Bottle – Def Jam Vendetta (XBOX)


   Perhaps no picture is needed.  Basically, if your opponent was on the ropes you can pick up a bottle and smash it over their head for an instant knockout.  Far more satisfying than returning it for your deposit.
Lead Pipe – River City Ransom (NES)

   Among the game’s multitude of weapons, including a tire and rock, the lead pipe was king.  It did about the same damage as any other weapon in the game but unlike the rest it made a pleasant ping when it cracked off some fool’s head.

Plasma Grenades – Halo Series

   Like a persistent booger that you wipe on your girlfriend’s sleeve, this bad boy was sticky.  While it wouldn’t do too much damage when it exploded near an enemy, if you managed to “stick” it to someone when you threw it, their death was assured.

Castor Troy’s dual gold 1911s – Face/Off

   I think any young male who saw this movie jizzed their pants when they got a peek into Nicholas Cage’s box of goodies.  But more than the golden dragon money clip holding his Benjis and the profusion of illicit drugs, we were mesmerized by his matching pistols.  Anyone who saw this contemplated “terrorism-for-hire” that day.

High-Frequency Blade – Metal Gear Solid Series

  This weapon was only briefly usable in MGS 2 and completely unusable in MGS 4, despite being featured prominently in the beautiful cinematics, but its pretty much the ultimate in non-lightsabre sword technology (NLST), beating out Blade’s katana in Blade, and Squall’s Gunblade in Final Fantasy VIII.  Definitely looking forward to the upcoming MGS title focusing entirely on swordplay.
Flamethrower – Contra 3: The Alien Wars (SNES)

   There were A LOT of weapon power-ups in this game, and though it wasn’t the most powerful and had only a finite range, the flamethrower had a certain je ne sais quoi which made it the go-to implement for alien extermination.

Dual Enforcers – Unreal Tournament

   In a game chock full of devastating weapons (ie wire-controlled nuke) the basic pistol was my favourite when dual-wielded.  Its faster, secondary mode of fire (gangster style, pictured above), although less accurate, was what really sold me on it.  I don’t play too many video games any more but I have yet to see another game let me bust my gat sideways.  Things just ain’t the same for gangsters…
Anyhow, I could probably go on all night but I have to work tomorrow.  I hope this has made some of you catch nostalgia and who knows, I may even do a sequel.  If there is any egregious oversight (and I’m sure there is) please let me know what I missed.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo

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"My Mind is Workin’ Just Lke Them; The Rims That is…"

My Friends,
   This was a significant weekend for me in that it was my last before I begin the process of preparing myself for aircrew selection tomorrow.  For those who don’t know, back in June 2010 I applied to transfer to the airforce as a pilot from my current position as an infantryman in the army.  I expected to get called in for selection the following April (2011) but I did not, and I began to doubt that I would get called in at all.  This was difficult for me because whenever I would see relatives they would constantly ask me how the transfer was coming along and I would have to explain time and again that these things take time.
  Meanwhile, while I waited for the air force to come knocking, I finished my B.A., got accepted into my M.A. program, and went for a little traipse around the globe.  I only bring up these things to illustrate that I had just about given up hope for my transfer and had kinda just gone on with my life.  In fact, I had even begun making overtures to career choices outside of the military, such as advertising.
   But just when I least expected, the transfer centre got a hold of me telling me to make sure my yearly fitness test was up to date or my application would be discarded.  Then last week they called demanding my high school and university transcripts and instructed me to book an aircrew medical.  Now the ball is most certainly rolling and I find myself more apprehensive than I thought I would be.  And for a few reasons.
   First of all, I had resigned myself to seeking my fortunes in other ventures.  But resigned is perhaps the wrong word.  Rather I was excited about some of the things I wanted to do over the next few years that I would not be able to do if living on a base in Alberta training to be a fighter pilot.  Now there is the possibility that I must put these ambitions on hold to pursue an avenue I long thought no longer available to me.
   Second, and related to the last point, I am very much in love.  I just spent better than three months away from my woman while travelling around the world and it taught me that I don’t want to be away from her for prolonged periods.  Instead, I want to go on my subsequent adventures accompanied by her.  Sure, I would have leave periods where we could make forays into the great unknown, and in a few years, when she is done school we could live together.  But over the next few years her plans involve being in the GTA for school, so if I do well during selection and actually get picked up to be a pilot we will have the strain of distance to deal with.
   The third and most troubling cause of my apprehension is my own world-view; I think that war and the militaries which fight wars are obsolete.  We as a people should be past war but we are not and by accepting a full-time position in the air force (assuming I pass selection) I would be buying into something I resent.  I have tried to rationalize this to myself by saying that it would be better to have me in the cockpit of a plane than someone else who may not exercise the same discretion I would in a tense situation, but I can’t escape the reality that I would be a war enabler to some extent.  This has really made me doubt my inclination to fly fighter jets in the first place, and I have thought long and hard these past few weeks as the transfer process looms nearer and nearer.
   Yet, bearing all of these concerns in mind I have decided to set out in earnest to pass selection and get the job I have been waiting for for two years and contemplating for much longer.  It may be a choice that is at odds with my convictions, but my strongest conviction by far is that life should be a daring adventure and I aim to rise to the occasion when called.
   For some reason I feel really dirty.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo

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With Apologies to Those K.I.A….

My Friends,
   While crashing at my sister’s place in Toronto this past weekend I happened to switch the TV to The Discovery Channel.  Naively I thought, “hey, I might learn something if I keep it on the discovery channel.”  How wrong I was.  The show in question dealt with the possibility of alien invasion and how the human race would fare.


When did we set the bar of what constitutes “discovery” so low?  The program took a pretty pessimistic view of our most likely first line of defense, nuclear weapons.

In the esteemed view of the Discovery Channel, any spacecraft fast enough to travel through space at high speeds would have to be built resilient enough (or have force fields) to withstand the impact of the tiny meteoroids it would inevitably run into throughout the galaxy.  These would apparently hit said ship with a force greater than our most powerful warheads.  Therefore, we have to assume that our warheads would be ineffectual.
  After painting this dim picture of our ability to defend ourselves with awesome explosions, the show hypothesized that mankind would still be able to attain victory* provided the aliens’ intention was to deprive us of our resources.

As opposed to annihilation

In this scenario we could in fact booby-trap the resources the aliens are trying to rob us of.  The program then showed a scene of two human resistance fighters strapping dynamite to a tree (cause the aliens ships were sucking up our trees with their tractor beams for some reason) which was set to explode once inside the alien ship.  As I watched this scene (and the humans’ post-asploesion victory dance) I couldn’t help but think of the modern insurgents waging guerilla war in the middle-east against foreign interlopers (ps that’s us).  Well apparently I wasn’t too far off because they started interviewing senior American military personnel who advocated asymmetrical warfare (guerilla tactics) against aliens because they are demoralizing and are the best chance of victory against superior firepower.  To emphasize this they cited the success of Afghan and Iraqi insurgents against coalition troops.  
   Then it hit me, these same tactics which would serve mankind so well against the aliens are derided as cowardly whenever a coalition patrol gets hit by an IED or an ambush.  Not surprisingly, the most vociferous critics of the tactics of the insurgents are the soldiers who get hit by roadside bombs or worse, the friends they leave behind when they perish in an attack.  I know a few people who have lost close friends in attacks such as these and the last thing I wish to do is insult them by lauding the Taliban et al. for their resourcefulness.  However, I think a healthy respect for the enemy is due.  Far from cowardly, they are instead like the human survivors of an extra-terrestrial invasion, fighting the war on their own terms.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo

*Victory was defined as the side left with the most survivors by the end of the conflict


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"I Hate the Word"

 “Peace?  PEACE!?  I hate the word.  As I hate hell…all Montagues…and thee!

My Friends,
   Last night I had a round-table discussion with my woman and her parents about a great many topics.  At one point we talked about naughty language and my use of it and acceptance of its use by others on my facebook account.  Particularly, my woman’s mother, Bev, was concerned that people who knew me only superficially would formulate a negative opinion of me based on my use of profanity, and worse that they would judge her and her daughter negatively for associating with me.

 She had a problem with this image I reposted a week back and its unapologetic use of the C-word.
Unfortunately she missed the Star Wars joke which may have ameliorated her disgust.

This didn’t bother me too much, as I explained that if this hypothetical person got to know me they would probably like me, and if they wanted to judge me for my good-natured use of profanity then they probably weren’t the type I wanted to associate with anyhow.
   Now I don’t want to get into another rant about how people miss the point or message when they focus too much on the words used to convey it, as I had such a rant very recently in my post, “Don’t Judge a Book by RAPE BITCHES KILL PEOPLE” (2 February 2012).  Instead, I want to discuss how this conversation turned into a discussion about words which simply should not be used.  In addition to cunt, some other candidates for banishment were fuck, retard, faggot, and nigger.
  For the record I am very much against any kind of censorship.  Many of my opinions on censorship as it pertains to language specifically were inspired by Orwell’s 1984, and the Ingsoc government’s implementation of Newspeak.  There is a great line in Orwell’s essay on Newspeak which was included as an appendix to the edition I read, which states, “The goal of Newspeak was to limit thought insofar as thoughts depended on the words used to formulate them” (paraphrase).  By corollary I believe the opposite is also true; more words will lead to a greater ability to express more subtle and nuanced ideas.  For this reason we should not deride newly-created words and slang as bastardizations of once-pristine languages, but rather celebrate them as new evolutions of the language to express new ideas.

 “Crunk;” for when “crazy” and “drunk” simply aren’t expressive enough

    Similarly, the re-appropriation of words which have fallen into relative disuse must also be tolerated because they often express things in such a succinct way that to use other (perhaps less offensive words) would simply not get your point across.  A classic example would be the widespread use of the word gay to describe much more than homosexuality.  Still, the word gay is relatively inoffensive and can be used with impunity.  On the other hand, faggot and its derivatives are much harder to defend.  But really its such a perfect pejorative in the same way that gay is except that its more emphatic.  No other word really cuts the mustard when you want to describe the faggotry of bigots, furries, scientologists, newfags, etc.
   I could go on and on with examples of why we need certain words but that would be tiresome.  The main idea is that we need every word because each expresses something, but in a slightly different way than its closest synonyms.  Bill Maher and Seth McFarlane talk about this on this clip from Real Time.  At 3:39 Bill basically states my exact opinion on the matter, but much more eloquently so you should check it out.  In closing, I will say that words don’t have the power to oppress you any more than you let them.
Stay Thristy,
-Andre Guantanamo

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My Favourite Religion … inb4 Islam

My Friends,
   Inspired by my sister’s boyfriend Brian and his documentary club, I devoted Sunday afternoon to watching whatever documentaries I could watch for free on youtube.  First I watched a doc about “The Amen Break”.

Watch and you’ll understand

Then I watched part of a documentary of the tinfoil hat variety regarding the illuminati.

More than just a clever album title…

From there I watched “Sean”,

“Fuck the Police!” (Paraphrase)

which is essentially a 15 minute interview with a 4 and half year old San Francisco boy from 1970.  Finally, as I now write this I have a documentary about L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology playing in a separate window.

Nothing to do with Scientology, I just like me some volleyball ass

   This reminded me of something I have had on my mind for a while which I will now share:  Back in 1994, before I had ever heard of Scientology or Dianetics, I used to frequent the Orangeville public library.

Coming here after-school kept me off the drugs
…and a virgin ’til I was 18

I was attracted to the adult fiction section, and even though I didn’t feel ambitious enough to tackle some of the larger volumes I enjoyed looking at the covers.  Some of the most memorable covers were from L. Ron Hubbard’s “Mission Earth” series, A ten volume series, or dekalogy as he called it.  I was most intimidated by the first volume, The Invader’s Plan.

It was 600 pages and I was only in grade 5, but at length I withdrew it and finished it in a month.  I enjoyed it well enough I suppose but was more stoked to crush, what was at the time, the longest book I had ever read.  Never got through the rest of the series though.
   Fast forward to autumn 2008.  While serving in Kandahar, Afghanistan I happened to find the same volume in the Camp Nathan Smith library.  I set about reading it a second time and enjoyed it more this time due to the fact that I understood more of what was going on.
   What I found most interesting this second time around however was the introduction written by the author sometime in the 1980s.  As he explained it, the series marked his return to writing fiction after a prolonged hiatus (presumably administering his new-found religion).  He thanked his loyal readership and proceeded to explain his thoughts about satire and why it was an important genre to him.
   Although I didn’t think much of it at the time, these words came back to me sometime after during a conversation about religion.  It became clear to me what L. Ron Hubbard had been up to the whole time.

U mad, bro?

Scientology is a satire of religion in the grand tradition of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.  Too harsh of a criticism to levy at the great and true religion of Xenu you say?  I disagree.  Any theist who would dare poke fun at scientology or doubt its sacred origins would have to take a serious look at their own faith and the “facts” it was rooted in.  And what is satire if not something to make you re-evaluate your own position?  Also, as well as professing a love for satire in his other works, he foreshadowed the genesis of scientology years earlier:
“You don’t get rich writing science fiction.  If you want to get rich you start a religion.”
-L. Ron, trolling hard circa. 1948

   Don’t take this the wrong way; this is not intended as a negative allegation.  Instead I laud L. Ron for not only creating a masterful piece of satire, but for getting dollardollarbillsy’all.  That said, I don’t wish for scientology to be propagated beyond a certain point.  Satire or not, it is still a religion and has loyal adherents who, by virtue of believing in something are inclined to think less of and marginalize non-believers.  And when one group of believers gains enough clout, suddenly that “strictly metaphorical” commandment within their holy book, you know the one that says to smite non-believers, becomes a very literal instruction.  This is how atrocities happen.  
Not with a bang, but with litigation and star power

   So I think it is high time that we stop the disproportionate vilification of Scientology.  The notion that some religions are worse than others is erroneous; some are simply newer and therefore more radical, or older and more institutionalized.  Yes, there are well-documented cases of brain-washing, violence and criminal neglect associated with Scientology, but no more than any other religion throughout history.  For the time being I say we keep a watchful eye on it like we would any other religion.
And if it gets out of hand there’s always this guy

Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo

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Peer Review

My Friends,
   On a whim yesterday I decided to click the “next blog” link in the top navigation bar of the blogspot homepage.  It is essentially a “random blog” button as you never quite know where in the blogverse the button will take you.  While I never came upon the same blog twice in the course of my clickings, I did notice some trends.
   One such trend is that farmers like them some blogging; whether updating their readers on how the new calf is taking to the teat or posting the yield of their egg-producing hens, its all fair game for internet posting.  The Farmer’s Almanac of the future will be laboriously compiled from the postings of agriculturalists with an internet connection.
   Related to this is the garden/nature blog.  Horticulturalists and zoophiles also set up blogs which serve as monuments to their passions, and furthermore do so to the extent that I have yet to click “Next Blog” even ten times without coming to one such journal.  Quality varies but most seem quite good.  Still I find that in most cases the passion must be shared by the reader to really find the blog engaging.  Often this is because it is super-esoteric shit like pages devoted to the majestic blue-spotted Amazon osprey (I made that up but you get the idea).
   Finally, the most common type I have come across is the family blog or even the blog written about a kid by their parent.  I apologize in advance if this sounds overly critical but I have trouble co-signing this type of writing, especially the latter.  Perhaps its just written for the family, something like a time-capsule for posterity.  However, I take issue with people putting others out there as their sole blog-fodder.  If little Jimmy diarrhea’d all over you today that might make an interesting entry in your personal blog but the “Epic Diarrhea-ings of Little Jimmy Williams” seems like something that would get a little tired.
   ALSO, at one point I came across one such blog devoted to a child and the tagline read (paraphrase), “a blog about very happy and half-bald little boy.”  Basically the kid had some medical condition (dick cansir mayhaps?) and the parents were pimping it for e-sympathy.  Kill me if I ever resort to such disingenuous methods of generating readership.
   There were some gems out there though.  One that comes to mind is “Ukrainiana,” seemingly devoted to protest.  I only mention it because as of last night when I checked it there were some videos with boobies in them.

   I think I’m gonna check what else is out there periodically as I’d like to think that with so many productive minds at work there is bound to be someone out there whose writing speaks to me on some deep level.  But like every worthwhile find on the internet you gotta wade through the ocean of piss first.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo

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My Friends,
   A few weeks back I was riding with my younger brother and as he was driving we were listening to the songs bumping the joints on his ipod.  One group he is really into of late is Odd Future,

and particularly their frontman, Tyler the Creator.

I was aware of the group prior to this motorcar ride but he played me some stuff I hadn’t heard.  Specifically we listened to a few tracks from Tyler’s most recent album, Goblin (2011).  The songs he played were received well by me; haunting, grimy beats complemented by thought-provoking, if explicit, lyrics.  All in all, I resolved to download the album when I got home.
   Now perhaps I am a bit jaded as a rap enthusiast; I have listened to Necro, Ill Bill, a ton of Eminem, Cage, Apathy, etc…, and any shock I may have had to Odd Future’s raw lyrics has effectively been used up by these predecessors and others.  However, I could see how the uninitiated might be a little taken aback at first. But really, only a little taken aback.  After all, they’re not saying anything that hasn’t been said before in a song and they are certainly not using words that everybody hasn’t used before.  I therefore find it a little disappointing that I heard about the group last spring due to the controversy surrounding them rather than because of the merits of their music.
   It seems we as a society can’t seem to leave the issue of content in music/movies/video games alone.  It seems ridiculous to me that people still feel that expressions of the culture precede the culture itself.  If you’re gonna criticize lyrical content you have to criticize the societal conditions which produced the discontent leading to such lyrics first.  But a bunch of foul-mouthed black kids make a much easier target than society at large, so all too often the suppression of offensive free speech is the cause championed by so-called “do-gooders.”
   However, the unfair persecution of those who use cuss-words in music is only half of the problem.  The other half of the problem is that the cuss words are the only thing critics hear.  Its like when rapper Cam’Ron was on The O’Reilly Factor and Bill O’Reilly introduced him as a rapper whose album was about “pimping & bitches.”

Also a Satan-worshipper it would seem

The album in question, Purple Haze, did have its share of explicit content but to say it was about pimping and bitches isn’t just reductive, its wrong.  Still, I understand that Bill O’Reilly is simply a troll to incite conservative America and bait the liberals, so he said what he said for calculated reasons.  However, other seemingly more enlightened individuals have also made the mistake of prejudging as well.
   Back in the early 2000s for example when Eminem’s Marxhall Mathers LP was at the peak of its populairty and the subject of many news reports, my father caught a radio report talking about the controversy surrounding the album.  Without actually listening to it he stopped us before leaving for school one day and asked us if we knew Eminem.  When we said “yes” he told us we were not to listen to him anymore.  Thankfully, this was never enforced but the fact that he presumed to tell us what to listen to infuriated me, and not least of all because he hadn’t listened to the album and didn’t know what Eminem was all about.

…he don’t know you like I know you Slim, noone does…

But more than infuriated I was embarrassed for him.  What he was betraying by saying this was complete ignorance and a willingness to be scared by reactionary fervor.  
   In any event, we went on listening to our music with impunity and some years later, my younger sister of all people played Eminem’s third album, The Eminem Show for him.  Specifically she played the track Hailie’s Song, which details Eminem’s long battle to get custody of his child.  As my dad had also been through a custody battle or two, the song resonated with him and he came to me some time later and told me that he had listened to Eminem and realized that he was just a guy and not the devil-incarnate.  All it took for him to come to this realization was to hear more than what was publicized on the news and to find a bit of the artist’s work which he could relate to.
   With regard to Odd Future, one of the song’s in their repertoire has a disclaimer/PSA before it urging white America not to take the song seriously or blame the group for anything negative that happens as a result of the listening to the song.  The song in question, Radicals, certainly sounds scary: ominous haunting beat, Tyler screaming the vocals and the other members screaming “KILL PEOPLE BURN SHIT FUCK SCHOOL” over the hook.  But after each round of the hook the beat drops out and Tyler talks to the listener giving advice, presumably the same advice he urged the listener not to follow during the disclaimer.  Some highlights are:
-“They want us to go to they schools and be fuckin miserable at they fuckin college studyin that fuckin bullshit.  Fuck that.”
-“Do what the fuck makes you happy.  Cause at the end who’s there? You!”
-“I’m not saying go out and do some stupid shit, commit crimes.”
-“Do what the fuck you want; stand for what the fuck you believe in and don’t let nobody tell you you can’t do what the fuck you want.”
-“Imma fuck a unicorn and fuck anybody who say I’m not.”
I think its ironic and appropriate that the disclaimer precedes such advice.  Ironic because the advice is positive, and appropriate because the advice is perhaps more subversive than all of their raps about murder, rape and torture.  Fortunately, the parents, politicians and pundits won’t hear this actual subversion because they’re too hung up on the use of the f-word.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo

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One Night in a Mental Institution

“Julie J. loves Amanda F.” 
-The Insane Scrawlings of a Madman
My Friends,
   Last night I officially ended the leave of absence which I had taken from the military to travel around the world.  I picked an interesting night start attending again, as this night we all boarded a bus and headed up to Hamilton’s long-abandoned Sanatorium for FIBUA (fighting in built-up areas) training.  Now sanatoriums were typically used for the recuperation of those afflicted with TB but apparently this one also saw use during its tenure as a crazy house.  Several of my comrades knew a guy who knew a guy whose mom used to do psych evaluations there, etc…  Whatever the actual use of the building it certainly bore all the earmarks of an abandoned asylum; heavily reinforced doors knocked right off the hinges, once austere and sterile rooms and hallways now littered with debris and broken parts of the ceiling, and an unsettling chill which befell you upon entering.  This last is not an attempt at hyperbole; it was actually a few degrees colder inside than it was in the unseasonably warm January night air.
   After leadership assured us that reconnaissance had been done and no zombies had been found we entered to begin the night’s training.  Things progressed as expected; some of the FIBUA doctrine had changed so I had new guys correcting me the whole night.  What I was struck by was how perfectly this real-life Arkham would have suited my purposes had I still been travelling; 
Artist’s rendering of where we were last night
easy to break into, overhead cover, and enough rooms so that I could give my “for real crazy” fellow squatters a wide berth.  Speaking of which, we encountered no squatters, just evidence of young vandals.  I found our pre-training briefing interesting in this regard as it mentioned the possibility of encountering squatters and instructed that we were not to bayonet them.  While such advice would seem self-evident to most normal people, you would be surprised what you need to explicitly outline for army guys.  
   I started thinking again about if I was sleeping in this place during my travels and a foreign army stumbled upon me while conducting training.  What kind of treatment would I be in for?  Not every army (including our NATO allies, as my former Afghan interpreters informed me) is as accommodating and live & let live as the Canadians.  And really, a homeless guy (or homeless pretender in my case) is an easy mark for any army composed of riled-up young males with weapons and a “kill kill kill” mentality which happen to stumble upon him.  And even if said homeless person was not treated roughly, it still must be an unsettling feeling to have the military bust into your home in the middle of the night.
Stay Thirsty,
-Andre Guantanamo


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