December 1st, 2004


Interesting - but does it really mean anything?

The world never ceases to amaze me. Mayor Daley's son Patrick has apparently enlisted in the Army. As a paratrooper. Of course, nothing happens in Chicago without setting off political speculation (gee, kinda like the old home town that way, aina?) so people are already thinking Patrick is being groomed for higher political office. It wouldn't be the first time the Daleys arranged for some troublesome political sort to get exiled to Washington where they couldn't do any damage to the family business, though with Patrick's history of violent behavior it's entirely possible that the Mayor may want his boy someplace where the tendency to beat the crap out of people will actually serve a useful purpose. On the other hand...maybe Patrick looked ahead at the consequences of a career in business in a town where his father calls most of the shots, and decided humping an M-16 through the hills of Afghanistan or the villes of Iraq sounded a lot more attractive. He wouldn't be the first guy with a master's degree to put on a private's uniform and head off to war.

If you want to be totally cynical, of course, you can always look at this as a resume builder for an eventual run at the Presidency...maybe with the smarter Bush twin as his bride? Stranger things have happened in American politics.

Quick hits

I think Victor Davis Hanson is making a hard charge to pick up the Greatest American Military Historian championship belt dropped by Stephen Ambrose a couple of years before his death when a plagiarism scandal tainted the reputation of the man who had become known as America's most popular military historian. I read Hanson's Carnage and Culture earlier this year and was very much impressed; Ripples of Battle is equally impressive in its sacrifice of breadth in order to examine in detail the consequences of the battles of Okinawa, Shiloh and Delium. Hanson is especially gifted in his ability to tease connections to current events from the tangled skein of history, and shows with vivid prose the implications for Western Civilization of a nearly-forgotten battle on the frontiers of Athens, a battle not widely regarded as one of the more decisive clashes in the thirty-year agony of the Peloponnesian Wars. Very highly recommended.

Ai Yori Aoshi #6 is out now, and it looks like the Sakuraba family has some other ideas about who would be a suitable husband for Aoi - but Aoi and Kaoru have a new, surprising ally in their determination to stay together. I would have taken this plot line in a different direction, but that's just carping. It's cool the way it is.

Escaflowne just keeps getting better. I was going to space the three discs I rented this week out between Dai-Guard and Martian Successor Nadesico, but I couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next. Love triangles/squares/polygons! Giant mecha! Evil emperors! Alterations of fate and deliberate tilting of the Luck Plane! Brother versus brother conflict! Plus, kawaii catgirls! I still love Utena, but oh, you kid...