Si Vis Pacem Parabellum

| Saturday, January 28 2012 |

Required listening.

Evidently Newt's huge surge in SC was a bit too much for the usual suspects, and as such the last few days have seen a pile-on of negativity tossed in his general direction. Can't challenge the Anointed One, nope. It got to the point that even Drudge was in the tank for the RINO establishment.

The best rebuttal I've seen or heard comes from Mark Levin.

posted by Mr. Lion @ 12:56 EST | comments (0)

| Friday, January 27 2012 |

THAT is how you make a film.

I'll be honest, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo was a film barely on my radar. Trailers suggested it was yet another yawn inducing heroine flick in a long line of, as Lileks once put it, that which hath Ellen Ripley wrought. I'm happy to say though, that Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a massive breath of fresh air, and contains every bit of what made Sigourney Weaver work in Aliens, and Uma Thurman work in.. well, everything.

Since Aliens and many films of the like, the heroine concept has become a farce, lending itself to so many Secret Agent Killer Chick films that are so overblown, so over the top so as to be an outright parody of the whole Girl Power movement that latched on to them. Aliens gave us stuff like Le Femme Nikita in that regard, which was all well and good. Though it wasn't long before we found ourselves at garbage like Salt and its spawn, featuring stick figure "actresses" who couldn't find a clue with a map.

In a nutshell, you can give some random twinkletits actress a prop gun and a stationary motorcycle on a film truck, but that's all you're going to have. I can suspend a lot of disbelief, but I'm sorry, I'm not buying in to the canned 120 pound girl with pipecleaners for arms beating the crap out of men trained to kill people, simply because the nonsensual feminist garbage drizzled over such film says I should.

And that is what makes Girl with the Dragon Tattoo amazing. Rooney Mara portrays one of the most deep, interesting and honest heroine characters I've ever seen. She's gritty, hard, and direct. There are no catch lines or bits to camera. In fact, she puts such realism into one of the more disturbing scenes in the film that I honestly had a hard time watching it, and I'm pretty much fine with just about every form of violence and blood and guts ever portrayed on screen.

Mara's character Lisbeth is not an amped up amazon chick. She's a slight, frail looking thing that you would feel sorry for if you didn't suspect she'd kick your ass if you did. And not physical asskickery, either-- the methodical sort. She sets the trap and lets the bad guy fall into it, at which point it's eye for an eye time, with more than a little flavor.

What makes the character Lisbeth believable, and interesting, is that she isn't screaming "I am Woman, hear me roar". No, when she screams, she doesn't actually say anything, but you know the depth of her emotion. It comes across as honest, and in many cases brutal. I don't doubt that Lisbeth knows how to ride a motorcycle, because it is very effectively portrayed as a part of her life. I don't doubt that she knows how to use a gun, because it is superbly implied. Every single thing about her character is an amazing tour de force of emotion and pain and reaction to both.

Lisbeth doesn't always kick the crap out of the bad guy. She doesn't always win the battle. She's made to endure some pretty horrible crap, and that is what makes the character amazing, and her revenge all the sweeter. That's why she works. That's why she's real.

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is just amazing. The story is great, the acting superb, and the technical details, for which I am a stickler, are very well addressed. Super-hackers do not use MovieOS. They use Macs. Infiltrating a network is not done with stupid panning shots over cable runs or by jumping through windows into server rooms. It is done realistically, and well. Information is gathered from a database, with SQL, not via "zoom in and enhance" nonsense. Hell, half the movie, and much of the suspense comes of a character sitting in a library archive flipping through reference material. But that's why it's good. That's why it's great.

Easily the best film I've seen in a very long time.

Oh, and the best part? No happy ending in the way sentimentalists would have it.

UPDATE: Shouldn't surprise me that Coop has great photos of the film bike.
posted by Mr. Lion @ 16:10 EST | comments (1)

| Tuesday, January 24 2012 |

What's wrong with this picture?

In a word: Everything.

On Nov. 1, Waddell, a 25-year-old executive officer with 3rd Battallion, 7th Marine Corps Regiment, was monitoring a surveillance camera in Sangin, Afghanistan, when he spotted a man who had been identified as a bomb maker working with area insurgents. Two days earlier, a sergeant from India Company had lost both legs and a hand when a bomb detonated in their area of operation. The man spotted on the camera was believed to be responsible.

After receiving permission from his battalion commanders, Waddell ordered Marine snipers to open fire on the man, and he was hit. A group of Afghans rushed to the man, put him on a tractor and attempted to flee. Waddell ordered the snipers to hit the engine block of the tractor, disabling it so the man believed to be a bomb maker would not escape. The tractor was hit but no civilians were injured.

Then, about three weeks later, the civilians who helped remove the wounded man from the area were found to be teenagers.

As a result, Waddell was demoted from executive officer, and the battalion commander, Lt. Col. Seth Folsom, determined he had violated rules of engagement that governed when Marines could fire, and at whom. Folsom said Wadell "is not recommended for promotion" and "in violation of [combat rules] during an engagement." The report stated that "noncombatant local nationals" were in the area of direct fire and that "the engagement resulted in a damaged local national vehicle."

You have absolutely, positively got to be shitting me.

I have a better idea: The next time some piece of shit bomb maker blows up our guys, and we find them, send in an A-10 and turn him, his effing tractor, and anyone who aids said dirtbag into a pale pink mist. Y'think then, just maybe, "noncombatants" might be a little less likely to provide effing aid to the bad guys?

The only possible conclusion to draw is that the effing retards who drew up the rules of engagement in question actively want us to lose, and our guys to die.
posted by Mr. Lion @ 15:41 EST | comments (0)

| Monday, January 23 2012 |

Cars for Interesting People

Okay, Mr. Lion, so what car should I buy that won't offend your delicate sensibilities?

Well, I'm glad you asked. The sort of vehicle you drive says a lot about you as a person. It can also help you become a better person through cultivating an interest in driving, and the skills related to it. Some people, understandably, were not brought up to be gearheads. So, they bought a Volkswagen, because it wasn't a Camry. Or a Honda, because it was reliable. Fortunately, there is still hope, even if you have fallen into these unfortunate straits. So, here are ten cars you can buy for just about any situation you may need one for, that will identify you as an Interesting Person and quite possibly save you from yourself.

Whenever I suggest to a non-car-person that they buy a particular car, I get a lot of feedback. It isn't reliable enough. It's too expensive. It gets crap gas mileage. It'll break down and cost me a bajillion dollars to fix as I can't do it myself. Well, enough of that. Here are five new cars that come with a warranty and are dead reliable, cheap (for what they are) and economical (again, for what they are), as well as five used cars that can maximize grins per dollar.

New Cars:

1) Fiat 500

The 500 is everything the new Mini should have been, but isn't. For example it is small, simple, economical, cheap, and has not been adopted by any particular demographic that would ruin it. That may well happen in future, but it hasn't yet, so you can get in on the ground floor. The 500 starts at a paltry $15,500, which is crap all for a good economy car. For a few grand more, you can get the Sport edition, and for a few grand more than that, you can achieve the pinnacle of 500-ness and get yourself an Abarth, the 170 horsepower rocket-shoe that still gets ridiculously good fuel economy and has lots of space inside. Every 500 comes with a manual gearbox, so if you don't know how to drive this will be an excellent opportunity to learn how, and once you've done so you'll just be a better person.

2) Ford Focus ST

Is a Fiat 500 too small? Want something economical and fun that is built by the home team? Look no farther. For slightly less than twice the 500's price tag, you can get this awesome little rocket ship, which has four doors, a manual gearbox, and a turbocharger. What more could you ask for? Not much, let me tell you. You get 36 mpg on the highway and 250ish horsepower, in a car that doesn't look like it was barfed out of a soap factory. If you have a family that isn't comprised of teenage basketball players, this is a wonderful option.

3) Ford Mustang GT

Who doesn't want a Mustang? Communists and hippies, generally, and if you're reading this blog you probably aren't one. $30-odd grand gets you an American icon that today is as good as anything made in Europe at twice the price. $40-odd grand gets you the Boss 302 with some extra ponies that your kids can sell in 40 years for a bajillion dollars, though even in base GT form, you get 400 horsepower, entirely competent handling and brakes, and looks to die for. It's also completely practical as an every day car-- I once crammed two living room chairs and an end table into the back seats of a coupe, and had room for two bodies in the trunk. Don't ask.

4) BMW 1M Coupe

If you want one, you'll have to order one quick before they're gone. Once you do, you'll have an instant classic that will likely appreciate in the very near future. You'll pay $6-7,000 more than the Boss 302, and for that you'll go slower. However, you will have one of the best handling, most fun to drive coupes ever created by man. The 1M is everything a BMW rocket-coupe should be, a theme they have lost to a degree with ever increasing electronic gadgets and driver aids. The 1M is not that. You get 335 horsepower from a relatively small and economical i6, a pair of turbos, and a great manual gearbox. If you have concerns about being a "BMW Person", fear not. The idiots buy stripper 3-series cars and SUVs, and none of them are likely to even know BMW makes this car.

5) Nissan GT-R

If you can't drive a manual, and have no desire to learn, well, my sympathies. There is, however, an option. The 500-odd horsepower rolling video game from hell, the Nissan GT-R. While there is a lot to not like about this car if you're a purist, the simple fact of the matter is that it's a very fast, relatively practical, fun car to drive. Your check book will feel the pinch to the tune of $70 grand, but for that you'll get a car that accelerates off the line faster than just about anything with a warranty, is largely bomb proof and reliable to the point of insanity, and still subtle enough to fly under the radar if driven with a degree of sanity. It's AWD system makes it reasonably usable in the winter months, should you live in the snow belt, with the proper set of tires. And it's flappy paddle dual clutch gearbox means even your wife can drive it, if you're not man enough to teach her to drive a manual.

Previously-enjoyed cars:

Some people give me crap when I suggest a used car, though the simple fact of the matter is, if you're on a budget, or just want something that isn't hampered by eleventy billion stupid safety and economy regulations, the used market is about all you've got. So, here we go:

1) Toyota Supra Turbo

Produced from 1993-2000, and imported in the US through 1998, this is a cult car that very few people outside the "car thing" know or understand. It is a legend for good reason-- it is simply the biggest bang for the buck, most overbuilt, generally awesome car to ever be built and sold for under $50 grand. Back in the 90s, Japan was deep into a horsepower and technology war. Honda gave us the NSX. Nissan gave us the GT-R. Mazda gave us the twin-turbo RX-7. Toyota smoked them all when they gave us the Supra. While these are getting difficult to find in good, unmolested condition, they are still out there. And while 320 horsepower might not seem like a huge amount these days, a large part of the Supra lore is that its stock performance can be increased to well in excess of 800 horsepower in many cases with simple bolt-ons. If modifying cars isn't your thing, it's still an amazing car to drive and own even in stock form, and in 20-30 years you can expect them to appreciate to fairly ridiculous degree. A good example can often be found in the $25-30,000 range, with prime examples going for $35-40,000. Considering that's about what they sold for new, on the high end, the investment value of the car should be immediately apparent.

2) BMW E39 M5

The E39 M5, produced from 1998-2003, is another cult car, and for good reason. It remains one of the best full-size performance sedans made in the history of the world. It has timeless looks, having been made before BMW was Bangle-ized. It has amazing performance, from its 400 horsepower 5L V8. It has a wonderful, manual gearbox, plenty of space for four or even five adults, and space in the trunk for several bodies. They're dead reliable, reasonably economical, and all around great cars. Good examples can be found for as little as $25,000.

3) Porsche Cayman S

Who doesn't want a Porsche? Idiots, generally. The Cayman was and is Porsche's answer to a hard-topped Boxster. The original pre-facelift incarnation was made from 2006-2008, and can be found in the $35,000-42,000 range depending on age, mileage and options. Some cars equipped with super-expensive options like the PCCB carbon ceramic brakes can go for slightly more still, but generally speaking that's the range. For your money, you get a surprisingly practical 2-seat sports car that is as true to the Porsche ethos of old as anything made in a while. You get 320 horsepower out of a yowl-tastic and torquey flat-six, a buttery 6-speed gearbox (unless for whatever silly reason you buy a tiptronic), and odds are many of the nifty technological creature comforts the cars come with. They're probably the most reliable entry-level exotic-ish car you can buy, and right now represent amazingly good value for your money.

4) Mitsubishi Evo X

If you're the sort of person I intend this list for, you probably have no idea what this car is or what makes it special. In short, this is a rally car, the sort of thing Europeans like to bounce around forests at 100+ mph. The Evo X is the tenth incarnation of the Lancer Evolution, built from 2008 to current, though it's entirely possible they'll be killing the car before much longer and either getting out of WRC entirely (which is the reason the car exists) or replacing it with a new iteration. If you live in the upper snow belt and need an all-year car with four seats, four doors and a bigish trunk, this is your car. On proper snow tires, like the Dunlop Wintersport M3, they are entirely unstoppable. SUVs, trucks, and quite probably snow plows will be in a ditch before this thing is, because it is designed to do the impossible. In the summer, on sticky tires, they're equally insane. The car comes in both the MR (flappy paddled) and GSR (Manual, awesome) form and can be had in either guise for around $33-35,000 used, or a few grand more for a shiny new one. For that you get 300 horsepower, great economy, and a car that will go anywhere quickly.

5) Jeep SRT-8

If you really, really, really need a SUV (and you probably don't), there's really only one worth considering that is anything like affordable. (If rich Aunt Martha just kicked off, get yourself a BMW X6M and call it a day) It's the Jeep SRT-8, which as SUVs go, is almost drivable. Unfortunately, it's got a slushbox. However, it's also got a 420 horsepower V8 and a 4WD system that'll allow it to rocket off the line to 60 mph in less than five seconds. Or "reasonably quickly" in Mr. Lion lingo. The suspension, while far from good compared with any car, is manageable and for daily driving, not terrible. While a shiny new one will run you north of $60 grand, they can be found on the used market for half that, or even less in high mileage incarnations.

So, there you go. Ten cars that will suit just about any family of four or five (unless you have teenage basketball players, in which case you're stuck with three), lug plenty of cargo even if you do have 12 dogs and a horse to feed, while getting good to awesome fuel economy at a price point that in most cases is less than what you'd pay for some generic and boring box with wheels.

So, if you have a crap car, get rid of it and go get a good one. Your fellow motorists will thank you (especially if one of them is me), and your children will grow up to be better people.
posted by Mr. Lion @ 15:23 EST | comments (0)

Cars for tards.

Here's a pretty good list of cars you should sell if you own for some odd reason.

The only changes I would make are to replace the Chevy Volt, that sell in fewer numbers than platinum-and-diamond tiaras, with the Lexus RX350-- a car that is universally driven badly by northeastern bluehairs desperate to reach the scene of their upcoming accident.

Exception also needs be made for BMW M-cars, which are generally driven by sane individuals who just like to drive fast. You may, of course, feel that 70 mph is a perfectly reasonable speed to travel in the left hand lane on an interstate. Your average M-pilot, though, will not.

A few additions of my own:

1) Any Hyundai, especially a SUV.

There's nothing wrong with a cheap, reliable car. However, there is something wrong with buying what amounts to the ugliest slice of plain cheese "car" you can possibly buy without importing something made in India. Purchase of a Hyundai suggests a total lack of interest in driving and/or cars, which means you will invariably suck at it. While there are exceptions, they're as rare as those who bought a Prius because they just wanted a small, economical car.

2) Any Mercedes SUV.

A Range Rover wasn't your thing. A BMW was just too common. So, you had your husband buy you a Mercedes, because you're just better than all the other wives. Which is why you alternate between veering between lanes at 90+ mph, doing 62 in the left lane, and shooting across gore points to exits at the last possible second. You're an important person! Much more so than anyone else on the road.

3) Toyota Camry.

Safety is important! Which is why you'll pull up beside a truck on the right, block it there, and pass it at a speed differential never to exceed 0.0005 mph. Because safety is important.

4) Honda Element.

You've got a family to move around, and that's just fine. But for whatever reason, you've decided to do it with one of the ugliest half-plastics around, designed specifically to attract the Pontiac Aztec owner. Sure, it's reliable, and economical. Why, it'll probably run for a thousand years without an oil change. It is also slower than a molasses waterboarding in January, has a propensity to find itself blocking up the fast lane, and, judging by the number I see wandering around lanes as though they're stuck in a pinball machine, completely unstable over 42 mph.

(Sorry, James.)

Via Mike.
posted by Mr. Lion @ 13:35 EST | comments (0)

| Friday, January 13 2012 |

On engineered outrage.

A few things strike me about pissgate-- first, unsurprisingly, and quite deplorably, is the media running it up the flagpole with just about as much manufactured indignation as they can muster.

Even though the bodies in question were previously an un-uniformed illegal enemy of our country. Even though said enemy were prone to beheading journalists on video, using houses of worship to stockpile ammunition and in many cases do outright battle from them while using non-combatants as cover. Even though they harbored, trained and aided those who carried out the most horrific attack on civilians in our nation's history. And even though they regularly blew up and maimed thousands of our troops using illegal methods of warfare. Pissing on their corpses? Well, that's just out of line.

All that is fairly unsurprising-- after all, most all members of the mainstream media want nothing more than for our enemies to win.

What is surprising, though, is the hand-wringing bullshit that immediately started dribbling out of the military powers that be, the very second the media started manufacturing outcry. This just won't stand! Why, after we shoot someone who's trying to kill all of us, we need to offer the dead the utmost respect. Just like they do for us. Right? ... right?

I'm well aware when the average joe on the street became a complete pussy. Likewise, there's little doubt when the media stopped wanting us to win wars. What I'm unsure of, though, is when exactly our freakin' military leaders became a collection of whiny little bitches.

UPDATE: At least we have a few sane people left in government.

“I have sat back and assessed the incident with the video of our Marines urinating on Taliban corpses. I do not recall any self-righteous indignation when our Delta snipers Shugart and Gordon had their bodies dragged through Mogadishu. Neither do I recall media outrage and condemnation of our Blackwater security contractors being killed, their bodies burned, and hung from a bridge in Fallujah.

“All these over-emotional pundits and armchair quarterbacks need to chill. Does anyone remember the two Soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division who were beheaded and gutted in Iraq?

“The Marines were wrong. Give them a maximum punishment under field grade level Article 15 (non-judicial punishment), place a General Officer level letter of reprimand in their personnel file, and have them in full dress uniform stand before their Battalion, each personally apologize to God, Country, and Corps videotaped and conclude by singing the full US Marine Corps Hymn without a teleprompter.

“As for everyone else, unless you have been shot at by the Taliban, shut your mouth, war is hell.”

posted by Mr. Lion @ 16:59 EST | comments (0)

| Wednesday, January 11 2012 |


Why do men go to strip clubs?

Well, after years of intensive research, I have concluded that it's because there are naked women there.

You're welcome.

posted by Mr. Lion @ 15:44 EST | comments (0)

| Wednesday, January 4 2012 |

Not quite.

You don't love men, you love romance novel goop conjured by other women.

Why does Instapundit link this stuff? And why do I click it?

posted by Mr. Lion @ 12:46 EST | comments (0)

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