"But war, in a good cause, is not the greatest evil which a nation can suffer. War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice – a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice – is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other."

Thursday, June 07, 2012

To say that things have been busy lately is an understatement.  Since my last post, I've gone through a high-level maintenance inspection, changed jobs to become the squadron logistics officer, and returned to 29 Palms, my favorite place in the Marine Corps, for a week of pre-deployment training which consisted primarily of sweating and getting gently scoured by 30 mph winds every day.  Today the rest of the squadron returns from the Stumps, and we focus on our next big event, which is sweating and getting gently scoured by desert winds on the other side of the world.

Oh, and we moved.  To our fourth house in San Diego since coming here in 2006.  And we did it by ourselves, which I will never do again nor recommend to my friends.  To my enemies, however: knock yourself out.  It's great exercise.

What I've enjoyed somewhat more than getting scoured and sweating has been watching our daughter grow, develop, and continue to ingratiate herself with the rest of the family, so that her plan of getting daddy to buy her a convertible as soon as she's potty-trained stays on track.  She started toddling around shortly after Christmas, and is now at the point that if one of us is careless enough to leave a chair pushed back far enough from the table, she'll climb it and be dancing on the table in the time it takes you to realize that her squeals of joy are no longer emanating from knee height.  Some parts of her are developing more quickly than others.  She was always a peanut and remains pretty low on her weight which is in the 30th percentile.  However, her HEAD is in the 90th percentile, so I guess she really does have the brains of the pair.  Perhaps she'll be an even greater criminal mastermind than her brother.  She's also been teething for seven months straight, with new teeth often coming in four at a time and showing no signs of stopping.  I didn't think there was any room left in her mouth for more chompers, but the new bicuspids that almost took my pinkie finger off when I tried applying Orajel corrected my error.  Anyway, for those who were familiar with the "Molly She's Our Number 2" song (to the sound of "Thomas He's Our Number One"), her theme song is now "Molly Big Head Little Body Lots of Teeth", to the tune of "If You're Happy and You Know It":

Molly big head little body lots of teeth
Molly big head little body lots of teeth
Molly big head little body
Molly big head little body
Molly big head little body lots of teeth

BTW, the above is copyrighted in case any other parents get some crazy idea.  Her vocabulary, if one is generous enough to apply the term, is also growing.  She can do a passable "hi" and "mama", and has the beginnings of "bath" (pretty much "ba"), and is working on "dada" (although "dada" sounds suspiciously like her "bath" repeated twice.  She'll get there).  And that other critter - Aaron, I think it's called -  has been doing well too.  He can read large chunks of his favorite books on his own, run a whole mile with me, and is finally coloring more or less inside the lines.  He's also the terror of the rabbit population in our new neighborhood.  When they come out in the evenings, so does he, and chases them into hiding until it's time for bed.  He has some new friends in the neighborhood too; there are several boys and girls close to his age that play in the grassy area behind our house, and their main source of entertainment seems to be getting on scooters and bikes and flinging themselves down the hill to see who can come closest to wrapping himself around a tree at the bottom.

In other news unrelated to any of the above, Game of Thrones is over for another season, and while I like much of what they've done - Tyrion, in particular, has been brilliant - they've also started a disturbing trend of straying more and more from the books.  I know George R.R. consults with the show, and some edits were required for brevity and keeping the cast of characters managable (no small task, as anyone who's looked at the family trees in the back of each book knows).  Others edits, however, seemed to have little to no rationale behind them.  I'll try to avoid spoilers, though anyone who's watched and/or read the books will know of what I speak.  For one, a couple of major male characters were turned gay with little discernable positive advancement of the story.  Dany's sojourn in Qarth bears little resemblance to the book (and I seriously doubt that the keeper of the only three dragons in existence would lose track of them so easily).  And the heart-of-gold prostitute that made her way from Winterfell to King's Landing in season one - and who exists nowhere in the book - keeps getting a large amount of screen time.  Doubtless it was hard enough cutting ancillary characters to keep the story straight; why are we interjecting characters who weren't there in the first place?

Now, I tend to be a purist when books I like are put on screen, so perhaps this is mostly in my own head.  But it bothers me when filmmakers adapt books that have a large following on their own merits, and think they can do better than the author who built the following in the first place.  I know, I know, the wavetops of the story are all still there, and film has its own strengths and limitations (strength: the battle of the Blackwater was AWESOME, even on the 3-inch iPhone screen I first watched it on).  But we've all seen movies and TV shows where the directors and producers stray so far from the source material that the only thing it has in common with the book is the title (looking at you, Starship Troopers), and this not only leaves a sour taste in the mouth of the book's fans, but potentially dissuades those who haven't read the books from giving them a try.  It would be a shame if this happened to the GoT franchise (even more of a shame if George R.R., who's still alive and kicking, lets this happen).  I'm cautiously optimistic - most of the actors are very good in their roles, and things like the dragons' rendering and the Blackwater sequence are glorious - and even with large edits, the story should stand (I'm pretty sure that the BIG EVENT of Storm of Swords will be impossible to ruin).  But GoT is really the only reason I pay extra to watch HBO.  I'd like to know I'll keep getting my money's worth.

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