December 16, 2001

Tom Clancy - The Bear and the Dragon

Praise for Tom Clancy - A few days after Sept. 11, I bought Tom Clancy's novel from 2000, The Bear and the Dragon, as a relatively painless way to learn the current state of American war-fighting technology. It ends with a detailed description of how 21st Century American air power pulverizes a Chinese armored invasion of Siberia. I finished it and said, "Okay, we're obviously going to crush the Taliban from the air. No problemo." (My biggest worry then became that the Taliban would hand over Osama to us before we could devastate them, which we had to do in order to encourage the other regimes to not allow anti-American terrorists to operate from their territories.) Thus, I was incredulous when so many pundits decided around Nov. 1st that the Taliban were winning. "Don't they know anything about our current air power? Don't they read Tom Clancy novels?" A week later, of course, the fearsome Taliban threw down their weapons and ran for the hills. The answer to both questions about our commentariat I realize now is "No. They didn't know anything about military technology and one reason was because they hold Clancy in contempt." Well, now the joke's on them.

Why have so few rock groups been racially integrated?

Why have so few rock groups been racially integrated compared to jazz bands? After all, Benny Goodman featured an integrated orchestra in the Thirties. Before the civil rights revolution, black and white jazz musicians put up with all sorts of nonsense in order to play together. When Charlie Parker's band toured the segregated South in the Forties, they told local sheriffs that their white trumpeter Red Rodney was actually a black man named "Albino Red."

Christmas vs. Winter Solstice Holiday

Christmas vs. Winter Solstice Holiday:

Q. I'm a Multiculturalist Pagan. I want to celebrate the shortest day of the year at the exact same moment as all the indigenous peoples on Mother Earth. Exactly when will that moment occur?

A. Never. Unlike Christianity, pagan religions are local. This causes practical problems for politically correct American pagans who want to use the seasons of the sun to commemorate the unity of humanity under nature. Their problem is that nature treats humans very differently depending upon where they live. For example, while Dec. 21 is the shortest day for the Inuit (i.e. Eskimos), it's the longest day for Australian Aborigines. And for Africans living on the equator, it's just another twelve-hour day like all the others. In truth, Winter Solstice celebrations are (gasp) Eurocentric! Or, to be precise, "Nordocentric."