Tondar's Daily Rant

Prepare yourself for the writings of Tondar the Destroyer, Baron of Atlanta, Rightful Heir to the Throne of Spain, from whom all babies come. As his will be blogged, so let it be done.

Friday, June 06, 2003

DL WEEKEND

Since the Dark Lord will be Bamboozling me out of cash this weekend I will not be able to afford to go anywhere or do anything. But I will be spending Friday night watching the NBA Finals and drinking 40s of Magnum. If you wanna join me gimme a call on the phondar or at the hizzie.
CLINTON VS. BUSH 2004

Bill Clinton has been talking about repealing the 22nd Ammendment so he can run for a 3rd term. But what would happen if Mr. Clinton really could run against George W. Bush instead of his father in an election? Well Foxnews conducted a scientific pole of this hypothetical and found that Bush would win in a landslide. You can't call this biased. The numbers and questions are right there for everyone to see, fair and balanced baby, the people have spoken.
DARK LORD WATCH

The Darklord Denise has recently launched another of her "rent money" tirades. This coincides with the my renewed emphasis on my 401k and my upcoming vacation to New York next week. Hmmmm, yeah, I'm sure this has ALOT to do with a "lack of respect from the Dar." Most likely the Dark Lord saw that I was spending money on my retirement and vacation (since I haven't been anywhere since October) and she decided that she wasn't getting a big enough share if I still had money to spend on myself. But don't worry she only wants a "fair" portion, "just enough to wet her beak." Let it also be noted that she pulls this a month after Mother's Day in which I bought her nice gifts for once.

MONEY! It's a gas.
Grab that cash with both hands and make a stash.
New car, caviar, ripping off my son,
What else could be more fun?

Thursday, June 05, 2003

SETH ON THE DARK AGES

I think he is probably right about this one. An empire so grand would need a fundamental shift in government trigger its own collapse. I'm assuming that in 400A.D. the people didn't rely on mass agriculture as much as people in the 20th and 21st century...

"I'd like to comment a bit on your posted musings on the fall of the Roman
Empire, as that was kind of my favorite focus in history.

First, I think the bubonic plague theory is the least likely contributer to the
end of Rome. I remember reading a two page, coursepack article on this topic
once, but the only real evidence for a major plague in Rome was that the plague
comes in cycles. Cities really weren't packed in enough to breed a real bubonic
scare (the 14th century was so intense it went Pneumonic) and most of the empire
still lived in agrarian villas. Even a visit from the plague wouldn't have
lowered population enough to debase the empire.

With recent weather technology, pretty much every aspect of history is being
re-evalued through weather patterns. It's trendy, but with the Roman system, it
doesn't make much sense. In the late Roman economy, the local patron (like a
lord) would often change his production habits based on what the market was
doing. Hoarding to drive up prices was a big problem, and some people like to
link this to temperature shifts and production falloffs. However, Roman gentry
were notorious throughout their history for this kind of hoarding and
overproduction. Besides, most of the empire's food production was done in
coastal areas and in Eastern river basins (Tigris, Euphrates, Nile, Jordan,
etc.) which aren't affected as much by climatic change.

The China theory is by far the most astute. It's hard to differentiate between
the successive waves of Asian steppe nomads 'cause there isn't a whole lot of
difference between them. In China, the early Huns were definitely pushing other
groups westward. These horse warriors didn't leave very much historical evidence
of their coming, and Western sources often group them and local Persians into
"Scythians." By the late Roman empire, the Alans (or Aryans - tall,
blond-haired, blue-eyed dragon standard cavalry) had been pushed up to the
borders of the Roman empire to the point of repeated skirmishes with Roman
forces. Those that were defeated were often hired as mercenaries, given land
near a hot border (say, the Antonine Wall), and re-deployed to fight for Rome
(Lot was a border outpost in NE France, if you say the "The Alan of Lot" in
french you get L'alandelot or Lancelot, Camelot is the castle of Lot, Pendragon
means "Captain of the Dragons"). Germanics allied with them, but because Alans
were so malleable in their allegiances, these alliances just as often turned to
open warfare. Either way, it meant more Goths invading Roman land.

It was actually this border policy that played a big part in the fall of Rome.
This empire had always been very centered in its capital city, with military
power centralized and fuzed to political intrigue. Increasingly in the 4th and
5th centuries, more and more of the wealthy moved out of Rome to run their
villas without the attachment to Rome itself. With power moving into the
agrarian areas, the empire lost much of its infrastructure and Rome the city
lost much of its prominence.

Due to this substantial drop in funding, the Roman empire devised a new
defensive strategy that I liken to Nixon's "Vietnamization" of the Vietnam War.
Basically, a lord of any heritage (note: non-Roman citizens included) could be
given a plot of land on the border of the empire provided he used that land to
patrol his own borders.

It made the outland Roman lords as happy as Gross Point residents after the
passage of Bush's tax plan when they didn't have to pay huge taxes to defend
borders that they considered pretty far away. It turned out to be one of the
dumbest ideas in all of Ancient History. Those border lords, most of whom didn't
ever speak a word of Latin, were seriously undermanned and underfinanced even in
the strange incidents when they actually cared about defending the border.

As many of these lords were recently conquered enemies, the damn Aryans being
the worst at this, they often invited their Germanic buddies along too. They
didn't bother with the Roman paternal system, didn't pay taxes, and sure as hell
weren't keen on converting to Christianity. Some of the horsier groups would
keep invading even after they were granted land, preferring the nomadic life to
a sedentiary existence.

This border policy, the decentralization of the empire, and a string of rulers
more incompetent than George W. Bush all eventually led to the fall of Rome. By
the mid 400s, the empire was in such disarray, a few goths sacking Rome was more
of a symbolic gesture than a major historical event. By then, most Roman regions
were self-governing and many had converted their patron figure into a bishop.

Remember, however, that the Eastern Empire continued to thrive all the way up to
the Ottoman Empire. It was the West, which was pretty much a podunk shithole
throughout Ancient History, that experienced what we now call the Fall of Rome."

Good point. And just think it was one year ago today that I was exploring Constantinople, capital of the Eastern Empire and its crown jewel, Hagia Sophia.
BIG BROTHER

There won't be much posting over the next few days. My boss is working in the cubicle across from mine so it will be dangerous to leave the blogger open while I work. I guess that leaves me with nothing else to do except work. Blarg :(
GAME 1

Last night was Game 1 of the NBA Finals. San Antonio ended up winning by twelve points which they should have done. Tim Duncan is too much for New Jersey's jabroni bigmen to handle. But what I have problems with is the NBA on ABC. ABC really drops the ball when it comes to ALL broadcasting but has never been so apparent as when they took over NBA coverage. First their team of Tom Tolbert and Bill Walton needs to hit the road. They could hire Seth and still not be so wrong in their broadcast. It took 11 seconds into the first quarter before I dropped my first "SHUTUP BILL WALTON!" Second, Bill Walton is an idiot that cant read statistics. He kept going on and on about how San Antonio had the leagues best defense. This is just flat-out wrong. San Antonio has the Leagues 3rd best defense behind Detroit and New Jersey. Yes, this man is an idiot, but somewhere along the way they should have corrected this problem. Right now ABC sports is about as reliable as the NYTimes and BBC. Third, the theme music sucks. I loved the old NBC music. It brought to mind visions of MJ, Shaq, Magic, and Isiah. The ABC music is some jazzed up techno crap that reminds me of the Styx song "Hip-hop-cracy" (yes, it's as bad as it sounds). On top of that their halftime guest was sucky ole Lisa Marie Presley. In 2001 NBC had U2 live from Boston playing "Beautiful Day" and "Where the Streets Have No Name." Now, it is difficult to top U2, but Lisa Marie?! Why scrape the bottom of the barrel for Michael Jackson's career excriment? They would have been better off going with 10 minutes of an extended "Macarena" mix. At least that would have been funny haha instead of funny-haha-you-suck.

Bottom line: The NBA on ABC is an abomination and should not exist. Let's just hope that their contract will expire soon.
SOMEBODY REALLY LIKES BILL AND TED

Everybody loves a guitar hero. But what about air-guitar heroes? Well luckily there is the air guitar world championship in Finland. Probably the best part is that the contest is used to promote world peace. I'm pretty sure this line is taken out of "Excellent Adventure..."

"The purpose of Air Guitar World Championships is to promote world peace. According to the ideology of air guitar playing all war would cease to exist and all bad things would disappear if everyone only played air guitar."

Unfortunately America doesn't have an air-guitar competition. That is the real reason for war with Iraq. But luckily there is a group trying to change all of that. Yes, party on dudes!

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

NOT ANSWERING THE PHONE: FIRM BUT FAIR

The policy will continue to remain in effect for the next week.
DARK LORD'S TICKETS

The Dark Lord has extra tickets this weekend to go to the Civic Theatre here in Grand Rapids. The play is "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare," though I don't know how they will complete it all in one 2-3 hour play. But she has been nagging me to go with her and Big Ed. I'm not really keen on it but if I can't find anything better to do than I am down. So if anybody is interested email me and lemme know. It will at the very least be something to do.
OFFICE CUTIE LETS HERSELF GO

When I started here there was this really cute girl that worked on the second floor. She started about the same time as me and I'd often run into her on my MANY daily trips to the bathroom. Well, Ole Tondar isn't sure what's going on but he's very dissapointed. It seems that in the time since she has started here she has really let herself go. She must have put on about 30 lbs mostly in the hips and butt. This is dissapointing because she still has a cute (if now kinda chunky) face, but as a total package she has dropped from about a 3.8 to a 3.4 on the GS Scale.
SPAM CLUB UNDERFIRE

Like the American Congress the British Parliament has tackled the issue of unsolicited emails, AKA: SPAM. But unfortunately, not everybody knew to which spam the legislation refferred. Check out this quote...

"Lord Renton asked: "Will the Minister explain how it is that an inedible tinned food can become an unsolicited email, bearing in mind that some of us wish to be protected from having an email?"

Can't you just hear Lord Renton in his "Oasis is the greatest band ever" voice asking the Minister to explain the difference between the meat and mail. Also I think he is being a bit hard on Hormel. Spam isn't THAT bad, at least it's not pickled feet or sheeps' balls for crying out loud.
TONDAR TO EUROPE

After September 11th, British Prime Minister Tony Blair has stood by America. Because of this, Tony Blair has elevated Britain to the second most powerful country in the world and most powerful in Europe. Here's what the Heritage Institute has to say about the future of European unity. Instead of the idea of a European super-state that can challenge American power it looks like Britain will push for unity throughout all of the western world (United States included), working together to stop terrorism and promote freetrade. In addition, this idea is much more plausible than the Franco-German dominated superstate that forces smaller countries in Europe to surrender their autonomy to Brussels. As much as Germany and France enjoy forcing their ideas on others, European unification needs a more multilateral approach. Spain, Italy, and Eastern Europe may wish to disagree at some point without fear of sanctions, and they will need the autonomy to do so.

Tuesday, June 03, 2003

TONDAR VS. THE LIAR ROUND III

So ole Tondar had the second meeting, and third encounter with "The Liar" last week. In round I she forgot to hang up the phone and announced that she was lying. In round II Tondar fell victim to policy and was almost forced to help the liar turned the tide against herself. This time she has been released from rehab where she claims to have completed her treatment in a lightning paced 30 days (yeah, I don't think so Drunky McBoozey). The meeting began with her chatting it up with me when she decided to tell me some of her life-story. Not exactly "Forest Gump," but it was still entertaining. Highlights include: "I don't have any of my real teeth. These are all fake." "While I was in rehab this time I figured out what happened to me when I was a child that forced me to drink all those years." "I have difficulties dealing with my emotions."

Well after a few minutes we got down to business but we then hit some bumps in the road. First off she doesn't qualify for free money since she was "discharged" (or ranaway) from rehab so quickly. Secondly, she has used up all her found stamps for the next 3 years. Unless she opens her baby factory she will not be getting free government money until December 2005. After this she became upset. After that Tondar became apathetic and left. With any luck I have knocked her back into the downward spiral. Bottoms up babe, only booze is going to fill that foodstamp shaped hole in your life that Tondar created. In fact, knowing that your life sucks more than mine is the only thing that motivates me anymore. And by the way: consider yourself Tondarred.
WHERE'S COLUMBUS?

Ever wonder where Christopher Columbus was buried? Well obviously somebody has, because Spanish scientists have gone to the trouble of digging up his body to make sure it's him. Now yes, this is a great bit of trivia, but is it really worth disturbing somebody's final resting place. This could set a troubling precedent of examining the remains of all of historys' great men.
JAMES ON THE DARK AGES

"I was told three different versions of the fall of the roman empire, the age of migration, and the dark ages.
the first theory is that the roman empire was severely weakened by the bubonic plague. some historians speculate that it is cyclical and had ravaged the roman empire, leaving them underpopulated and ripe for invasion from the east.

The second theory is that weather patterns tend to shift over the centuries. one big piece of evidence for this is a painting from early renaissance era that depicts people skating someplace where that normally doesn't happen. i forget exactly, but i'm sure frank would remember those details. with colder weather, crops would yield less harvest and Rome would be weakened from the inside and an easy target for invasion.

The third theory is that china decided to push the pesky horsemen away, and began a ruthless campaign to push them away from china. the horsemen (mongols or huns, i forget) push west, and each wave of invaders (ostrogoths, visigoths, lombards, vandals, etc) migrated into the roman empire because they were being pushed west by the horsemen, precipitated by china. so their claim is that china caused the collapse of the roman empire."

This is a very interesting and important subject because if it weren't for the Dark Ages we would be about 1,000 years more advanced than we are right now. After the fall of Rome, progress did not really continue until the Renaissance began in 15th Century Italy (the same place where progress was haulted a thousand years earlier). Civilization is pretty fragile and it's important to know what caused the Dark Ages because we could very easily be one volcanic erruption or mass epidemic away from chaos, famine, and global displacement.
THE DARK AGES

I was driving to work this morning and a thought crossed my mind: "How did the Dark Ages begin?" Well when I got to work I did some online research and stumbled upon this website. It's a little old and comes off a little on the crackpot side but it traces the beginning of the Dark Ages to a South Pacific volcanic erruption that changed global weather patterns unleashing famine, barbarian migration, and disease. Some of the links off the main page are worth a look too.
MISSING IN ACTION

Sorry I haven't posted anything for a while. I decided to take some time off so I could concentrate on buying a plane ticket to New York. I will be leaving next week Wednesday 730pm and returning Sunday night 930pm thanks to expedia. It took some wrangling but I got a good deal considering I only wanted to miss a limited time of work. So if anybody is in the market for a vacation email me and I will send you to some good sites.