Monday, July 30, 2012

Two Steps From Hell - Jump

Sunday, July 29, 2012

5 Creepy Things London Did to Prepare for the Olympics

On July 27, the London Olympic Games begin, and for 17 long days everyone on Earth will pretend to be interested in track. And for some reason, LOCOG (the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games), normally responsible for ensuring that all the events start on time and all poles are properly vaulted, have instead seized their chance to change laws, build urban fortresses, revoke civil rights and swamp the streets with enough high-tech weaponry for an Iron Man sequel. It's all in the name of anti-terrorism and public safety, of course, but the London 2012 Olympics will be the most sinister sporting event ever held outside of Battle Royale, thanks to stuff like ...

#5. Surface-to-Air Missiles ... on Apartment Buildings

At some point during the planning stages of this sporting event, someone in the fetid bowels of LOCOG headquarters stood up and said, "So, we've got the sod laid and ensured that we have enough seating and bathrooms. Now, how many rocket launchers do we think we need?"

That's right: To protect the London Olympics, they're installing high-grade surface-to-air missiles ... on top of residential buildings.

While other Olympics contented themselves with Tasers and stern, disapproving looks, LOCOG security hurtled screaming past the event horizon of sanity and started transforming apartment buildings into launch pads. Ostensibly, the missiles are intended for use against low-flying aircraft, such as suicide-bombing planes or those goddamn pigeons from Mary Poppins. But the residents of the Fred Wigg Tower, and several other soon-to-be-weaponized apartment buildings, probably take little solace in the fact that they'll be hosting Starstreak missiles 10 feet above their living rooms. Because even if the best case scenario plays out and missile flames don't burn their houses down, they'll still have to deal with collateral damage from an intercepted target. The remains of any stricken aircraft will have no place to fall but directly on top of residential London, gently dusting the inhabitants with a fine layer of fucked. That's all assuming, of course, that it actually works. The newest Starstreaks have zero combat efficacy data, rely heavily on operator skill and might be foiled by bad weather.

But what are the odds of bad weather happening in a place like London?

#4. The Biggest Military Buildup in London Since World War II

During WWII, there were warships docked on the river Thames, right in the center of London. It was a sobering sight, having those war machines looming over a major metropolis. But those were dark days, requiring drastic measures: There was also an operating Royal Air Force base in the capital back then, and all air traffic control was taken out of civilian hands and given to the Ministry of Defense. That's exactly the sort of thing we'd expect to happen during the largest, most destructive war in human history. That's not exactly the sort of thing we'd expect from, say, the security team at a Ping-Pong match.

But apparently the London 2012 Olympics features some seriously, awesomely dangerous new sports, because all of those things are coming back for the first time since the Blitz. During the games, 13,500 troops will be deployed in London just for the run time of the Olympics -- that's 4,000 more than they had on the ground in Afghanistan in 2011. And these aren't the across-the-pond versions of the National Guard or anything -- Britain's most badass commandos, the Royal Marines, will be checking tickets at the shot put and waving around those little parking attendant glow sticks. Also, fresh from its last deployment in Libya, the HMS Ocean will be docked in the Thames.

That's the largest ship in the Royal Navy. Not to mention all the fighter aircraft, helicopter gunships and pilotless drones clouding the skies. On land, sea and air, it will be what the British government calls "maximum" military presence.

For the Olympics.

It's often said that the Olympic Games are a platform for a country to show what it's proudest of off to the world. If that's true, then apparently London is that creepy kid from middle school who invites you over to his house to look at his knife collection.

#3. Empty Roads for the Rich

It's an unfortunate happening, no doubt chock-full of enough wacky shenanigans to staff a Rob Schneider movie, but sometimes athletes have missed their events at past Olympics. But not this year: London has designated special lanes in the city not just for athletes, but for Olympics officials, people working for sponsoring companies and, hey, what the hell, anyone else rich enough to buy their way in.

Not allowed behind London's velvet off-ramps, however, are ambulances carrying such trivial things as blood for donations and elderly people in need of dialysis. True, ambulances carrying people in need of emergency medical care will be able to turn on their sirens and use the special lanes if they absolutely have to, but unless you're firmly heading toward the light, you'll just have to sit in the unmanageable Olympics traffic with the rest of London.

Do try not to cough on any of the McDonald's or Coca-Cola employees as they zip past you, laughing and sipping champagne while bombing around their 39 miles of VIP roadways.

#2. Big Brother Is Watching You (You, Specifically)

In Great Britain, everyone is a film star. That's because, while Brits are only around 1 percent of the global population, they're being watched by 20 percent of the global CCTV cameras. That's more camera surveillance than even communist China. But it's not enough to just have one camera for every 14 people at the London Olympics. So LOCOG is not just installing more surveillance equipment, they're also making it smarter.

The city of London is being wired up with a new range of scanners, biometric ID cards, number-plate and facial-recognition CCTV systems, disease tracking capabilities, new police control centers and checkpoints. All of which will now be under a central control, and yes, that is exactly as sinister as it sounds. This means the cameras are capable of tracking beyond one location -- no more frantically checking every screen, trying to pick up somebody who's walked out of frame. Because the computer does that for you. It can now track individual human beings from camera to camera and plot their progress, location and habits on a live, constantly updating map of Your Business.

And don't think you can get away in a lucky fog or sudden drizzle. CCTV isn't nearly as effective on days when it rains (which you'll remember from our hilarious accidental missile explosion joke earlier is every single day in London), so new thermal imaging technology is being introduced to the CCTV cameras. And not just to watch for suspicious terrorist behavior, like excessive hand wringing and sinister mustache twirling -- they'll also be used to prosecute people selling counterfeit Olympics goods.

That's right: They're arming Big Brother with Predator vision just to stop people from hawking unauthorized Wenlock shirts.

Because there's such an insane demand for merchandise of that adorable angry amorphous robot with the all-seeing eye. Kids just can't get enough of him; he's like Dora the Explorer ... if she were furious, a robot and always watching you.

#1. Berlin Wall 2: Wall Harder

The organizers of the London 2012 Olympics have surrounded the stadium with a wall, which is, yeah, probably not entirely in the spirit of nations crossing borders to come together as one world community. But it's just a stupid wall, right?


Except that it's 11 miles long.

Oh, also it's electrified; touch it and you will get a 5,000-volt shock.

And it's a uniform six meters in height across its entire length, more than two meters taller than that puny one in Berlin.

And it's going to be patrolled by those 7,500 Royal Marines, unmanned drones, 55 dog teams, 900 day/night surveillance cameras and 1,000 armed U.S. diplomatic and FBI agents on special assignment.

Which probably doesn't seem like that big of a deal to you, until you remember that these Olympics are not being held in an empty field 200 miles from society. They're right smack in the middle of one of the largest, most populated cities on Earth. Which means that the giant, imposing, electrified and locked down Barrier of Death that comprises one of the most militarized borders in history, rivaling even the DMZ and the infamous Berlin Wall ... runs right through your quaint little jogging path.

Read more: 5 Creepy Things London Did to Prepare for the Olympics |

Monday, July 09, 2012

Rules to remember in life

1) Forgive your enemies but remember the bastard's name

2) Money cannot buy happiness but it's more comfortable to cry in a Mercedes than on a bicycle

3) Help someone when they are in trouble and they will remember you when they are in trouble again

4) Many people are alive only bacause it's illegal to shoot them

5) Alcohol does not solve any problems, but then again neither does milk.

Feel free to add your own at the comments ...

Sunday, July 08, 2012

In 200 BC by Constantine Cavafy

"Alexander son of Philip, and the Greeks except the Lacedaemonians--"

We can very well imagine
that they were utterly indifferent in Sparta
to this inscription. "Except the Lacedaemonians",
but naturally. The Spartans were not
to be led and ordered about
as precious servants. Besides
a panhellenic campaign without
a Spartan king as a leader
would not have appeared very important.
O, of course "except the Lacedaemonians."

This too is a stand. Understandable.

Thus, except the Lacedaemonians at Granicus;
and then at Issus; and in the final
battle, where the formidable army was swept away
that the Persians had massed at Arbela:
which had set out from Arbela for victory, and was swept away.

And out of the remarkable panhellenic campaign,
victorious, brilliant,
celebrated, glorious
as no other had ever been glorified,
the incomparable: we emerged;
a great new Greek world.

We; the Alexandrians, the Antiocheans,
the Seleucians, and the numerous
rest of the Greeks of Egypt and Syria,
and of Media, and Persia, and the many others.
With our extensive territories,
with the varied action of thoughtful adaptations.
And the Common Greek Language
we carried to the heart of Bactria, to the Indians.

As if we were to talk of Lacedaemonians now!

Στα 200 π.Χ. του Κωνσταντίνου Καβάφη

«Αλέξανδρος Φιλίππου και οι Ελληνες πλην Λακεδαιμονίων --»

Μπορούμε κάλλιστα να φαντασθούμε
πως θ' αδιαφόρησαν παντάπασι στην Σπάρτη
για την επιγραφή αυτή. «Πλην Λακεδαιμονίων»,
μα φυσικά. Δεν ήσαν οι Σπαρτιάται
για να τους οδηγούν και να τους προστάζουν
σαν πολυτίμους υπηρέτας. Αλλωστε
μια πανελλήνια εκστρατεία χωρίς
Σπαρτιάτη βασιλέα γι' αρχηγό
δεν θα τους φαίνονταν πολλής περιωπής.
Α βεβαιότατα «πλήν Λακεδαιμονίων».

Είναι κι αυτή μια στάσις. Νοιώθεται.

Ετσι, πλην Λακεδαιμονίων στον Γρανικό·
και στην Ισσό μετά· και στην τελειωτική
την μάχη, όπου εσαρώθη ο φοβερός στρατός
που στ' Αρβηλα συγκέντρωσαν οι Πέρσαι:
που απ' τ' Αρβηλα ξεκίνησε για νίκην, κ' εσαρώθη.

Κι απ' την θαυμάσια πανελλήνιαν εκστρατεία,
την νικηφόρα, την περίλαμπρη,
την περιλάλητη, την δοξασμένη
ως άλλη δεν δοξάσθηκε καμιά,
την απαράμιλλη: βγήκαμ' εμείς·
ελληνικός καινούριος κόσμος, μεγας.

Εμείς· οι Αλεξανδρείς, οι Αντιοχείς,
οι Σελευκείς, κ' οι πολυάριθμοι
επίλοιποι Ελληνες Αιγύπτου και Συρίας,
κ' οι εν Μηδία, κ' οι εν Περσίδι, κι όσοι άλλοι.
Με τες εκτεταμένες επικράτειες,
με την ποικίλη δράσι των στοχαστικών προσαρμογών.
Και την Κοινήν Ελληνική Λαλιά
ως μέσα στην Βακτριανή την πήγαμε, ως τους Ινδούς.

Για Λακεδαιμονίους να μιλούμε τώρα!

Κωνστταντίνος Π. Καβάφης (1931)

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Waiting for the Barbarians by Constantine Cavafy (1864-1933)

What are we waiting for, assembled in the forum?
The barbarians are due here today.
Why isn't anything happening in the senate?
Why do the senators sit there without legislating?

Because the barbarians are coming today.
What laws can the senators make now?
Once the barbarians are here, they'll do the legislating.
Why did our emperor get up so early,
and why is he sitting at the city's main gate
on his throne, in state, wearing the crown?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and the emperor is waiting to receive their leader.
He has even prepared a scroll to give him,
replete with titles, with imposing names.

Why have our two consuls and praetors come out today
wearing their embroidered, their scarlet togas?
Why have they put on bracelets with so many amethysts,
and rings sparkling with magnificent emeralds?
Why are they carrying elegant canes
beautifully worked in silver and gold?

Because the barbarians are coming today
and things like that dazzle the barbarians.
Why don't our distinguished orators come forward as usual
to make their speeches, say what they have to say?
Because the barbarians are coming today
and they're bored by rhetoric and public speaking.

Why this sudden restlessness, this confusion?
(How serious people's faces have become.)
Why are the streets and squares emptying so rapidly,
everyone going home so lost in thought?

Because night has fallen and the barbarians have not come.
And some who have just returned from the border say
there are no barbarians any longer.
And now, what's going to happen to us without barbarians?
They were, those people, a kind of solution.

Περιμένοντας τους Βαρβάρους του Κωνσταντίνου Καβάφη (1864 - 1933)

Τι περιμένουμε στην αγορά συναθροισμένοι;
Είναι οι βάρβαροι να φθάσουν σήμερα.
Γιατί μέσα στην Σύγκλητο μιά τέτοια απραξία;
Τι κάθοντ' οι Συγκλητικοί και δεν νομοθετούνε;

Γιατί οι βάρβαροι θα φθάσουν σήμερα.
Τι νόμους πια θα κάμουν οι Συγκλητικοί;
Οι βάρβαροι σαν έλθουν θα νομοθετήσουν.
Γιατί ο αυτοκράτωρ μας τόσο πρωί σηκώθη,
και κάθεται στης πόλεως την πιο μεγάλη πύλη
στον θρόνο επάνω, επίσημος, φορώντας την κορώνα;

Γιατί οι βάρβαροι θα φθάσουν σήμερα.
Κι ο αυτοκράτωρ περιμένει να δεχθεί
τον αρχηγό τους. Μάλιστα ετοίμασε
για να τον δώσει μια περγαμηνή. Εκεί
τον έγραψε τίτλους πολλούς κι ονόματα.

Γιατί οι δυό μας ύπατοι κ' οι πραίτορες εβγήκαν
σήμερα με τες κόκκινες, τες κεντημένες τόγες·
γιατί βραχιόλια φόρεσαν με τόσους αμεθύστους,
και δαχτυλίδια με λαμπρά γυαλιστερά σμαράγδια·
γιατί να πιάσουν σήμερα πολύτιμα μπαστούνια
μ' ασήμια και μαλάματα έκτακτα σκαλισμένα;

Γιατί οι βάρβαροι θα φθάσουν σήμερα·
και τέτοια πράγματα θαμπόνουν τους βαρβάρους.
Γιατί κ' οι άξιοι ρήτορες δεν έρχονται σαν πάντα
να βγάλουνε τους λόγους τους, να πούνε τα δικά τους;
Γιατί οι βάρβαροι θα φθάσουν σήμερα·
κι αυτοί βαριούντ' ευφράδειες και δημηγορίες.

Γιατί ν' αρχίσει μονομιάς αυτή η ανησυχία
κ' η σύγχυσις. (Τα πρόσωπα τι σοβαρά που έγιναν).
Γιατί αδειάζουν γρήγορα οι δρόμοι κ' οι πλατέες,
κι όλοι γυρνούν στα σπίτια τους πολύ συλλογισμένοι;

Γιατί ενύχτωσε κ' οι βάρβαροι δεν ήλθαν.
Και μερικοί έφθασαν απ' τα σύνορα,
και είπανε πως βάρβαροι πια δεν υπάρχουν.
Και τώρα τι θα γένουμε χωρίς βαρβάρους,
οι άνθρωποι αυτοί ήσαν μιά κάποια λύσις.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...