Vitriol
© 2002 by Andersen Silva (9-4-02)

The war machine springs to life,
  Opens up one eager eye,
Focusing it on the sky,
  As ninety-nine red balloons go by...

The (W)alker-(A)rmey-(R)umsfeld machine, that is.

Darius, king of Persia, invaded Greece two and a half millennia ago, angered by its aid to some Ionian cities revolting against the Persian empire. He was confident of Persian superiority and an imminent victory, and yet his larger army was beaten back at the legendary battle of Marathon, suffering disproportionately large casualties. His son, Xerxes, desiring to avenge his empire and his father, decided to amass an even greater invasion force and take the Greeks himself. And his attempt was defeated as well. The stand at Thermopylae, where 300 Spartans and a few hundred other Greeks held off thousands and thousands of Persian troops for a full day, is also legendary, and while these Greeks were eventually overcome and slaughtered, their actions allowed the rest of the army to regroup and prepare. The invaders burned Athens, but they too were finally driven back without having conquered the Greeks.

And now it's 2002, and a man probably not Xerxes' equal seems determined to finish his father's business. Not that Bush Sr. was the equal of Darius, and I certainly don't give Saddam and his loyalists as much credit as I give the Athenians, the Spartans, and their fellow Greeks. But there are lessons in history. Xerxes too refused to listen to cautionary words from one who knew better. And while the invaders did burn Athens, striking an emotional blow as well as a physical one, Alexander the Great later wrought his vengeance by burning Persepolis in his conquest of the world.

I wonder how much of Dubya's belligerence is his own, and how much of it actually belongs to Dick Cheney, or Don Rumsfeld, or others. I wonder, too, if it's meant as more of a diversion from the fact that the 'war on terrorism' hasn't netted any overwhelming victories, if in fact Saddam isn't going to be used as a scapegoat, in place of the elusive Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar. We need to hang somebody, or so the good ol' boys seem to think.

Don't get me wrong. Saddam Hussein is no prize among human beings, and he has definitely tried to acquire weapons of mass destruction in the past, and he may well be trying still. And yes, it is better to prevent the initial use of such weapons than it is to count the dead after stopping someone from using them again. But thus far, if there is conclusive evidence of Saddam's possessing or working on possessing these terrors, it's not been shared. With such compelling evidence, the U.S. could convince the United Nations Security Council that immediate action was necessary. And that, like it or not, is the course we must follow. No single nation, however righteous or powerful, has the right to dictate how any other nation should conduct its business. This idea of democracy as opposed to autocracy has only survived to be implemented in modern states because twice (at least) the ancient forebears of Western civilization beat back the invading foes.

So, the United States can play the part of freedom-loving Greece, and grit its teeth and hold fast to its democratic and anti-despotic ideals, letting the people, all the people, decide what is to be done about Hussein; or it can instead become a 21st-century Persia, enforcing its will upon the rest of the world with violence, the whims of one man rippling throughout the empire. Only we know, though Cyrus, Darius, Xerxes, and the rest of the Persian kings did not, that the Persian empire would fall in its time, too, and Greek science and philosophy and literature influence the world to this day.
  - A


April 2004 - The real final Vitriol, Howard Stern, Dubya, etc.
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March 2004 - Dining out with my baby, Virtual PC, and the end of Vitriol... or is it?
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February 2004 - Two weeks between jobs, three new songs, grabbing Panther by the tail
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January 2004 - Ice skating with Gina, sushi at my sister's wedding, war-riding, the pink slip
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December 2003 - Moving pains, goin' places with Gina, Christmas bells
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November 2003 - The looong month of October, finding an apartment, Ozzy's gone
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October 2003 - I'm in love with her and I feel fine, Boston, the Dalai Lama, apartment for rent?
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September 2003 - Andy, happy? it could happen!, taking time off from work, Ringo Starr, "Discworld," the blackout
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August 2003 - (W)here (M)ight (D)ose WMDs be?, gay marriages and the people who fear them, '80s metal bands, Computer Man to the rescue, Philadelphia freedom
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July 2003 - Boondocks.net is back!, rudeness on public transportation and elsewhere, "Hole in the Wall"
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June 2003 - Science fiction movies, where is Boondocks.net?, still no weapons of misconstruction...
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May 2003 - How 'bout them weapons of mass distraction, huh?, Def Leppard, Michael Palin, another Silva, wireless networking, and a damned good raspberry margarita
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April 2003 - They're still French fries, dammit!, a new guitar for Andy, music-music-music
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March 2003 - The buildup for, and the protesting against, war
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February 2003 - The destruction of the Columbia, the National Day of Poetry Against the War, hard and soft atheism, Pete Townshend, and the gift shop
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January 2003 - Christmas loot, "Swingin'," more war talk
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December 2002 - The year in review, moving again?!?, moving world leaders around, too
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November 2002 - "Scarlet's Walk" and Tori's penguin, jackasses, and killing in the name of...
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October 2002 - Boston, Aimee Mann, and Palpatine/Bush
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September 2002 - George Darius Bush and George Xerxes Bush
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August 2002 - Movin' out of Paisan-town, and far away from the Regal Beagle
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July 2002 - Church and state: you gotta keep 'em separated, Dubya still doesn't want to play nice with the rest of the world, John Entwistle's gone
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June 2002 - Movin' on from town to town, Dave Barry and the Rock Bottom Remainders
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May 2002 - Science fiction movies everywhere!, jail time for virus creators, Dubya finally learns to pronounce 'occupation,' Andy gets a promotion?!?
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April 2002 - Terrorism on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, people who don't interact with me or the Web site, "For Dana" to be released on a compilation CD
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March 2002 - Chip implants, the children of God and the followers of Christ commit murder in His name, ultranationalism American style
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February 2002 - Dubya says, "These pretzels are making me- ack!" Sharon continues playing Napoleon, and... the return of Foogar?
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January 2002 - Rob Zombie, Ozzy Osbourne, and other Christmas-related items, stealin' cars, karaoke!
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December 2001 - George meets his sweet lord, terrorists EVERYwhere!, Tomb Raider II finished finally, and the Segway, finally!
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November 2001 - Anthrax (the band), WSOU rocks - but for how much longer? and a minute of silence?
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October 2001 - Osama bin Laden and anthrax and the women who love them
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September 2001 - Governments and armies and the assholes who love them, more misspellings, and a large lack of feedback
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August 2001 - Dubya's isolationism, the Macedonians and Albanians search for peace the Israeli/Palestinian way, 2004 Olympics in Beijing
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July 2001 - Not the Sexiest Geek Alive, war (what is it good for?), murdering citizens American-style
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June 2001 - A dead hitchhiker, the Taliban, and an independent Senator Jeffords
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May 2001 - Joey Ramone's dead, and "Joey Ramone's Dead"
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April 2001 - Brazil (not the Terry Gilliam film), Dubya and carbon dioxide, Yugoslavia begins coming to its senses, Israel and the Palestinians still haven't come to theirs...
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March 2001 - New look for the Web site, upcoming vacation in Brazil!, the pig-headed Taliban, "Hannibal"
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February 2001 - Tomb Raider II, Dubya plays with his new toys, nature plays with El Salvador and India, and the inevitable Chechnya and Israel/Palestinians references
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January 2001 - Snow, a new year/decade/century/millennium, screen resolutions
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December 2000 - The iBook, "The X-Files," the Grinch, the pathetic turn of events in the U.S. elections...
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November 2000 - Got the iBook! the Village Parade, trouble still brewin' in the Mideast, the upcoming U.S. elections...
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October 2000 - Andy turns 30, the Middle East, the anniversary of the invasion of Chechnya...
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September 2000 - A random act of kindness, Great Adventure, new music, new iBooks?
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August 2000 - Palestine and the Israelis, Milosevic, Speight, and breaking the speed of light!
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July 2000 - Israel & the Palestinians, the missile defense shield, and (who'da thunk it?) Chechnya
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June 2000 - Um, Chechnya again, gun-totin' Charlton Heston, misspellings, and xenophobes
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May 2000 - Communism on the last May Day of the twentieth century, and Andy's life ("Don't talk to me about life...")
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April 2000 - Hold on, it's more Chechnya rantin', and an appeal on behalf of a friend caught behind red tape
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March 2000 - Hey, hey, Pinochet, Russia and China won't go away, "The X-Files," the American presidential race, and a prelude to vacation
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February 2000 - Again with the Chechens, and Elián, Pinochet, mp3.com vs. the recording industry, and snow
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January 2000 - Made it through January 1st, Syria and Israel, public transportation, and, er, Chechnya
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December 1999 - Indonesia comes apart, Chechnya (no shit), Seattle's burning, 'n Happy Xmas
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November 1999 - Halloween, my bad knee, Russians? in Chechnya?!? Buchanan and the Reform Party, NIN
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October 1999 - Hurricane on the East Coast, earthquakes in Taiwan, Turkey, and Greece, and Apple Computers
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September 1999 - I'm not getting you down, am I? I'd hate to think I was getting you down...

- - - the Dark Ages (reprise) - - -

April 1999 - the return of Vitriol, Kosovo, a foreshadowing of the Russian invasion of Chechnya (!), and Libya

- - - the Dark Ages - - -

September-November 1995 - the Underground Press Conference, a co-worker bites the dust, Rabin really bites the dust, Remington Bond, Win95, and the Sex Pistols
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August 1995 - the death penalty, the V-chip and violence in pop culture, and "TV Nation"
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June 1995 - Oklahoma City, 'zines, "The X-Files" and "V.R.5"
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March 1995 - I'm sick!, the space program (ha), alt.zines, "Star Trek" and "Voyager"
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February 1995 - the very first Vitriol! Newt Gingrich, political correctness, media overkill, Howard Stern, the Apple goon squad?
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