Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Star

Star of wonder, Star of Night
Star of royal beauty bright
Westward leading, still proceeding
Guide us to thy perfect light.

Merry Christmas!

Fresh from the North Pole Toy Shop

Would it be Christmas without a few toys? I was pleased to receive my newest two toys on Christmas Eve -- delivered by that Jolly Old Elf, the FedEx man.

Sideshow Toys produced four action figures this year for their Highlander license. The newest additions are "Origins" figures of the two franchise heroes, Duncan MacLeod (above) and Connor MacLeod (below).

The figures are dressed in the traditional Highland great kilt. Sideshow always does an excellent job dressing their figures and these kilts match costumes worn on film. Connor's (below) is in the actual MacLeod tartan, although it did not really exist in the 1550 timeframe of the movie. Duncan's kilt is sky blue without any pattern at all. Believe it or not, this is accurate. Although tartan (not "plaid," but let's not get off track) is associated with Scotland, and was used by most Celts far back into history, weaving a Tartan pattern was more intensive and expensive. So plain fabric was at least as common as Tartan. Family Tartans, like MacLeod, did not come into existence until the 1800's, after Sir Walter Scott wrote several historical novels romanticizing the Highland Clans.

Anyway, the figures also come armed with authentic swords. Connor carries the MacLeod Family proto-Claymore which accurately depicts the weapon from the film. Duncan sports the basket-hilt Claymore he used in the '45 Rebellion when he stood in support of Bonnie Prince Charlie. (I may have to do a post on the word Claymore...)

These are great figures. I highly recommend them to Highlander fans, or as the basis for action figure geeks looking to do historical conversions. Sideshow's next figure is the movie's memorable villain, The Kurgan.

No, I don't know what they're wearing under their kilts.

More Dancing With the Stars

Just wanted to mention that if Tia and Stacy aren't enough to entice you to watch Dancing With the Stars, 70's icon George Hamilton will also be appearing. Suave never looked so tan...

Gratuitous Uzi Pictures

Want to know more about the Uzi submachine gun's history? Of course you do...

Share My Pain III

Sugar, sugar
She sits alone waiting for suggestions
He’s so nervous avoiding all the questions
His lips are dry, her heart is gently pounding
Don’t you just know exactly what they’re thinking
If you want my body and you think I’m sexy
Come on sugar let me know.
If you really need me just reach out and touch me
Come on honey tell me so
Tell me so baby
He’s acting shy looking for an answer
Come on honey let’s spend the night together
Now hold on a minute before we go much further
Give me a dime so I can phone my mother
They catch a cab to his high rise apartment
At last he can tell her exactly what his heart meant
If you want my body and you think I’m sexy
Come on honey tell me so
If you really need me just reach out and touch me
Come on sugar let me know
His heart’s beating like a drum’cos at last he’s got this girl home
Relax baby now we are alone
They wake at dawn ’cos all the birds are singing
Two total strangers but that ain’t what they’re thinking
Outside it’s cold, misty and it’s raining
They got each other neither one’s complaining
He say’s I sorry but I’m out of milk and coffee
Never mind sugar we can watch the early movie
If you want my body and you think I’m sexy
Come on sugar let me know
If you really need me just reach out and touch me
Come on honey tell me so
If you really need me just reach out and touch me
Come on sugar let me know
If you really, really, really, really need me
Just let me know
Just reach out and touch me
If you really want me
Just reach out and touch me
Come on sugar let me know
If you really need me just reach out and touch me
Come on sugar let me know
If you, if you, if you really need meJust come on and tell me so

I'm glad that's out of my system...

New Year's Thought

Life on earth might not have too may perks, but at least it includes a free trip around the Sun every year...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Satan Claus is coming to town

Even plush Cthulhu gets into the holiday spirit.

Santa Test Fires Sky Ninja's Present!

No Intro Needed...

Excuse me...
I need to wash my eyes out with hydrochloric acid.

Thanks, VAC. Thanks alot.

In case you're still shopping for my gift...

The Aston Martin Vanquish. "f... jrf."

Fashion Concious?

You're gazing at the hippest trend in combat zone fashion. The "Blackwater Gear" Combat Shirt from Crye Precision. You'll note the trim torso without bulky pockets. This streamlines the shirt for wear underneath body armor. It eliminates chafing too.
This is the Field Shirt, which incoporates extra pockets, and may be worn on regular duty or long patrols. Plenty of veldro for your identification patches, badges, and name tapes.

"Blackwater Gear" is a joint venture between the Crye Associates subdivision, Crye Precision, and the Blackwater Inc. provider of --ahem -- "Private Military Operations" services. (The old fashioned word "mercenary" is so passe.) Blackwater provides specialized security services and appropriate personnel for high risk duty around the world. As you might imagine, they have a rather large presence in Iraq. Now that they have successfully branded themselves as THE name in high risk security, they have decided to capitalize on the brand by slapping their name on tactical accessories.

That doesn't mean these things aren't good. They certainly appear to be extremely good, and several reviews have rated the clothing system as outstanding. They are probably a much better solution than the US Army's answer.

The first trousers are the Combat Pants, which incorporate knee pads and hardwearing cordura fabric.

The Field Pants are more traditional fatigue pants, and will eventually come in a less obvious khaki color.
This is an example of the matching load-bearing equipment. It follows the current trend in load systems, which is to move the load to the chest. The modern version of this arrangement was pioneered by the British operating in Northern Ireland, and took several decades before we Yanks caught onto the ergonomic advantages of this arrangement.

For those interested, all these items will be released in the distinctive Crye Multi-Cam camuoflage, and black, with selected items in khaki.

Note: Some of the sources on what Blackwater does are clearly biased against them. However, they do make interesting reading, and a likely to be reasonably accurate. But I make no promises.

Dancing Shoes

Surprise hit Dancing With the Stars is soon to return to network television. The bad news is: "Stars" is a relative term. Most of these folks are B-Grade at best, most are washed up and looking for a second chance.

The good news is: Two beautiful women may make it worth watching.

Actress Tia Carrere, know for Wayne's World, Wayne's World 2, and a sizzling tango with th Governator in True Lies will be appearing as one of the contestants. She's got a pretty good shot at the title based on her ability to heat up the ballroom with Der Schwarzenneger.

The second dancing hottie is World Wrestling Entertainment's Stacy Keibler.
Yes, this blonde bombshell is a professional wrestler. And yes, she probably could break you in half.
Some of you might like that.
Come on. You know you're going to watch now. Don't even try to deny it.
Can she dance? Well, she was a college cheerleader, and wrestling is mostly choreography... So I hope so.
So nice, we posted it twice.

Sweet Lord.

The Truth is Somewhere

The man ultimately responsible for the Roswell UFO flap recently passed away.

That's one way to get onto the "Naughty" List

Santa and his helpers

Share My Pain II

I couldn't explain why to save my life, but this has been stuck in my head for days:

Charles in Charge by Timothy Thompson - Charles in Charge Lyrics
New boy in the neighborhood
Lives downstairs and it is understood.
He’s there just to take good care of me, Like he’s one of the family.

Charles in Charge
Of our days and our nights
Charles in Charge
Of our wrongs and our rights

And I sing, I want, I want Charge in Charge of me.

Charles in Charge
Of our days and our nights
Charles in Charge
Of our wrongs and our rights
And I sing, I want, I want Charge in Charge of me.

I know, but a few shots of Tequila will make it go away...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


This weekend, I borrowed my brother's copy of Oliver Stone's Alexander: The Director's Cut. Frankly, I thought this foray into the sword-and-sandal genre wasn't half bad.
Now, a disclaimer, if you don't know already, the subject of this film, Alexander the Great, was another great gay warrior. There's even a good visual pun on the infamous historical witicism: "Aleaxnder was never defeated, except by the thighs of Hephestion." I'm sure you folks are beginning to wonder about me. But keep in mind, this is my brother's collection. I think he bought this to complete his Angelina Jolie videos.

If you're beginning to think all ancient warriors were all "men's men," well, keep your loinclothes on, in 2006 we'll see film versions of Beowulf and Tristan and Isolde, about warriors worthy of the name "swordsmen." (i.e. they dig chicks.)

Anyway, back to the point: this movie did an excellent job of making the military history portion accessible. Stone found a narrative technique to give the audience an aerial view of the battle lines -- important to understanding an era in which opposing armies truly did form up into cohesive formations -- and a dust-level view of the carnage to see how the individual fighting men of the day met each other.

If your mental image of the Ancient world is dominated by stark white marble columns, Stone also disabuses this notion quickly by demonstrating the riot of color and rich architectural heritage of the Persian Empire, and its influence over the invading Greeks. Along the way, Stone features cameo shots of several of the Seven Wonders of the World, as well as other notable Ancient landmarks: The Lighthouse at Pharos, the Library of Alexandria, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, etc. Heck, I think I even glimpsed a shot of the so-called Tower of Babel. Stone succeeded in the first rule of epic film-making: give the audience something they simply will not see anywhere else.

One interesting theme that runs as an undercut to this film is the idea of the clash of Western and Eastern Civilizations. When Ridley Scott released his Crusades movie, Kingdom of Heaven, last year, the critics made much about the Christian vs. Arab themes. Little was said about the culture clash in this movie. But the theme is unmistakable and the point is also undeniable: even without the two major monotheistic religions on stage, Eastern and Western Civilizations have always been rivals and competitors. Unfortunately, Stone doesn't really follow this notion through. He misses one of the great, even lasting, achievements of Alexander's short reign: he managed to successfully meld the two cultures together. Whe the Roman Legions marched into Asia a few centuries later, they found a remarkably high culture sharing much in common with the Roman Civilization. Had Alexander left a strong dynasty to follow him, Rome might have found a powerful, unified enemy rather than disorganized principalities. The center of Western Civilization might have shifted into Asia Minor and the whole of History may have been very different
There's a question historian like to argue in bars: is history the story of sweeping forces, or great individuals? Alexander is a case study for this question. There is no question that he was a "Great Man" with a unique vision and the skill and ability to impose it on others. However he was also the product of centuries of accumulated Greek wisdom and ambition. On the other hand, his own homosexual proclivities denied him an heir, so this one highly personal foible set in motion a dramatic downturn in his achievements. However, it also set the stage for the later Roman expansion, and a return to the split between East and West.

This was not a great film, but it was thought provoking on many levels.

Plus, the fighting was cool. Really cool.

Mmmm... Glock

Tan Like the Desert Sky Update

Word has come out that there may yet be life in the film version of Michael Zick's novel Tan Like the Desert Sky. Unfortunately, Benjamin Bratt has confirmed that he has bowed out of the starring role as Victor Castillo.

Occam's Broadsword will stay on this story to bring you the latest in news on this eagerly anticipated film.

Grey Knights

More from the world of Warhammer 40,000...
These bad boys are the Grey Knights Space Marines, a Chapter attached to the Ordo Malleus, the Daemonhunters of the Inquisition.
I know, you're asking, "What's that mean?" Who cares, they paint up real cool.

Still don't care? Fine. Keep scrolling down. I'm sure you'll find something you'll like...

A Very Merry Christmas

A little something to heat up your holidays.
The first person to make a joke about "opening packages" gets hit.

Festivus: for the Rest of Us