Monday, September 10, 2007

The Week in Review

Dave’s Been Awarded a Purple Heart

The latest breaking news is that my friend Dave Huntoon has been injured in combat and has been awarded a Purple Heart. Here’s his report:

My injuries are as follows: Two shrapnel wounds to my right rear flank. One piece of shrapnel is deep near my hip, and too small and deep for remove. One piece of shrapnel removed from my back tricep, straight through the arm. One piece of shrapnel that went in my back right shoulder and next to my lung, also too deep and small to remove. I guess I wasn't a pansy, and my doubts were wrong...every medical professional was absolutely right to get me out quickly, and knew something might be bad. My lung was bruised as well.

My body armor had saved my life (I still want to see what it looks like), and the shrapnel had only managed to penetrate me in the gap where my arm came out of the armor.

I’m deeply grateful that he’s alive and that the wounds are not serious. I’m very deeply aware that this happy result is by no means guaranteed. George Bush, meanwhile, is meditating on his post-presidency. Here’s a blurb right out of the Guardian:

“I can just envision getting in the car, getting bored, going down to the ranch,” he says. He also has big plans for making money. “I’ll give some speeches, to replenish the ol’ coffers,” says Mr Bush, who is already estimated to be worth $20m. “I don’t know what my dad gets - it’s more than 50-75 [thousand dollars a speech], and “Clinton’s making a lot of money”.

Swell guy, ain’t he? Bush, “feet up on his desk, munching on low-fat hotdogs, tells Draper of the loneliness of the US commander-in-chief.” What noble sacrifices our president makes on our behalf. How can I emulate such a worthy role-model? I know! I'll play more Civ!

Back in Civ World

My 1956 victory over China has left me in quite a bind. That bind goes by the name of Babylon. No, I’m not talking about the gay nightclub in Queer as Folk or the Texas town of phantom miners in Carnivale. I’m talking about the Babylonians, ruled by Hammurabi, depicted above in his striking post-modern attire. Usually, the Babylonians are no problem at all. They tend toward perfectionistic development and, as a result, lack a powerful military and can easily be annexed. But, if they are far enough away that I can’t deal with them early on and if they don’t have many hostile neighbors, then they can grow to be an economic and technological powerhouse with the military to match. They went nuclear in the mid-‘70s. It’s 1992, now and I’m just learning the secrets of fission. I’ve spent most of my time since the China war retooling my military to keep me from being vulnerable and trying to drag my new Chinese provinces out of the medieval age.

My situation is further complicated by Babylon’s recent completion of the United Nations. Whenever Hammurabi feels like it, he can call an election for Secretary General. Now, I’ve never broken a treaty and have sold lots of luxuries to the little AI nations. Knowing this, the minute the UN was completed, I started making gifts to everyone, including the remnants of China. So far, Hammurabi hasn’t called an election. My guess is the AI’s strategy is to go for a space race victory.

My northern ex-Zulu provinces are nearly industrialized now. The completion of my Forbidden Palace at Jugular Thrust Big Bear has guaranteed a highly productive north. I am fortunate that both the Chinese mainland—

—and the oilfields of New Beijing—

—are relatively near both of these capital cities, making possible, eventually, a moderate decline in their corruption. I don’t know how much that can really pay off in real terms, however. In fact, at the present, in an empire of 72 provinces, I am losing only 537 gold pieces a turn to corruption, out of a total income of 2,629 gold pieces a turn. Shockingly, a corruption rate of some twenty percent is actually negligible by Civ standards. In contrast, some 47 percent of all revenues are being funneled into research. I divert some 70 percent of actual tax revenues to research, paying for things like my military “off-budget” by selling luxuries to the decadent AI players. My little luxury tax on the AI pays out nearly 70% of the cost of my military, which is the second most powerful on the planet. I routinely deny such pricey exports to my own whiny people. Such pampering just makes them weak. Work and war are the only true salvation. Pass the low-fat hot dogs, please.

So, bearing all this in mind, do I annex Egypt? It’s a small, but choice territory and that bitch Cleopatra can get on my nerves with her laughable invasion attempts. It’s like dealing with pesky mosquitoes. Perhaps it’s time to demonstrate how to really invade someone else’s empire to her. It would be great fun to tutor her in war. On the other hand, the may make me unpopular enough to swing a UN vote to Hammurabi’s side. The Chinese already despise me and still, laughably, get to have a vote. I can’t be sure of the Vikings, but the Americans rather like me. Moreover, Hammurabi may be building spaceships while I fight. Egypt is too small to get me up to the 70% of the world I’d need to gain a domination victory. I don’t think I’d have time to conquer more in time for the end of the game.

On the other hand, I can make a last minute push for technology. The mainland has several fully industrialized cities. I can begin to divert their productive power to generating new revenues, which could allow me to increase my research prowess significantly. Perhaps I’m not too far behind Babylon to win the space race. That solution sounds to have a better chance of victory, but has none of the panache of annexing Egypt. If I’ve already lost the game to Babylon, shouldn’t I at least have the satisfaction of this brilliant new war? If I must lose, shouldn’t I lose with classic neo-conservative panache? Think of all the artificial men and women who can die at my whim. I need to get some low-fat hot dogs, damn it. How better to relish the loneliness of being emperor?

Football’s Back!

The Pack won yesterday, although it was a really ugly win that highlighted the fact that we have no offense. Our leading scorer this season is Mason Crosby, our new kicker. Ted Thompson, the Packers general manager did absolutely nothing to bolster the offense this season. Nothing, nada, the big zero. All evidence suggests that we’re going to suck this year. It’s kind of hard to make do without a running back.

So why doesn’t Ted Thompson give a shit about the offense? My theory is that he wants Brett Favre to go away. Some of you may recall Kirk’s analysis back in February of the Packers’ rebuilding situation. To quickly summarize his point: The Packers offense has much potential but needs about three years, after which it might well be a contender. Favre, in contrast, is declining and is going to continue to decline. Favre can’t run that show, because he’ll have delined too far when the team has peaked. But how much less will it be worthwhile to have a rookie Aaron Rodgers calling the shots three years from now? QB is among the hardest positions to learn. Rodgers needs experience now to be ready then. From Thompson’s viewpoint, Favre needs to get out and Rodgers needs to go in, or the Packers will have to acquire a QB via free agency. That will be pricey and Thompson isn’t really in the mood to shell out for talent. He seems pretty committed to growing it at home.

So Thompson wants Favre to retire. Problem: he can’t say so. Why? Because Thompson plans to keep on living in the state of Wisconsin. Everyone loves Favre in Wisconsin. So far, precious few love Ted Thompson. So Thompson can’t fire Favre. Indeed, firing Favre before Favre wiped Dan Marino’s name off the record books would be monstrously unjust in anyone’s eyes. So what does he do? He ignores the offense until Favre gets the picture and gets out of the picture on his own. We’ve all seen how well that’s been going. But I bet Favre retires at the end of this year. This year, maybe when Vernand Morency comes back, things might pick up a little. Maybe we don’t suck as badly as last season. I mean, we didn’t lose to the Bears 26-0 as our season opener this year. But the Packers will not trade for a running back, at least not until Favre retires.

See, Dinur? Ted Thompson is your hero. And George Bush the Younger is mine.

Not that I’m bitter about any of this, mind you. 'Cause we all know that I'm the paradigmatic example of detachment. I wonder if we have any low-fat hot dogs in the fridge?


Dinur said...

Please give Dave my best wishes (and no, I don't care if he barely remembers me =P). So far my 3 seminars have run the gamut - had 1 really strong one, 1 so-so one (today), and 1 G-d-awful one. I'll tell you in more detail when we talk next.

Cuphound said...

Hey, Dinur--

The Niners, like, didn't lose. You must be euphoric!



Dinur said...

That was a perfect legacy game for Bill Walsh, because I don't think his offenses would have looked that inept for 3+ quarters. That being said, 1-0 ain't too shabby =)