Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Watching Morning Toons....

I tell you, having days off certainly lets you see quite a few interesting shows that you'd normally overlook. (Especially since I don't have kids, and hence don't monitor the shows for the really little kids.)

Cartoon Network has been running a weekday morning show for little kids for the last few years. Tickle is the current name of the block. Peculiarly, the channel runs perpetual parental humor hints at the bottom of the screen. (This part is called Tickle U, and they must be getting a grant for it. Still, I suppose they may be a blessing to really harried young parents.)

Following up on Krypto the Wonder Dog, Alan Burnett has another little kid show -- Firehouse Tales. This pretty much tries to be an American Bob the Builder or Thomas the Tank Engine, except with CGI. I can't tell you how charming the firetruck characters are, with their big googly eyes! But what really strikes me is the exaggerated realism of the backgrounds. It's set in Burbank and surrounding areas, and even I, who visited Burbank all of once, can often tell the exact street that the trucks are traveling by the landmarks. Furthermore, just like in the real LA, the trucks have to take the highway every five minutes to get everywhere. There are tons of ramps and tunnels as well as surface streets, and always, the mountains rising up into the wide Californian sky.

There are a lot of tiny little shows with short segments, too, like the African art-styled show Yoko! Jakamoto! Toto! features the eponymous characters (a bird, an armadillo, and a monkey, respectively) having adventures in which the only conversation consists of saying one of the above names in various tones of voice. It's actually a lot less annoying than Pokemon or Teletubbies doing similar things, and it's clearly for the really young.

Gerald McBoing Boing is a cartoon about a kid who communicates with the rest of the world solely through making sound effects noises. (This is actually pretty cute, too.)

Little Robots looks like stop-motion, though I guess it must be really good CGI. It's about a bunch of little toy-sized robots living in a junkyard, who have built a little town out of junk and spare parts. They apparently live under a dome, and hence have a machine to switch from day to night. The details are really charming.

There's several more shows, but I'm a bit too lazy to watch or describe them all!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Candidate

My younger brother, Kevin O'Brien, threw his hat into the ring yesterday. He's running for Ohio state representative in the 70th District (Beavercreek, Fairborn, Xenia, and Bath Township), as a Democrat.

This puts him up against Kevin DeWine, the majority whip over at the statehouse. Who is also, of course, a member of the DeWine political family.

I don't live in the 70th District anymore, and I'm a registered Republican anyway, so I can't help him much in the primaries. My parents are of course conservative Republicans also, so neither can they. But whatever I can do for my brother, I'm plan to do.

To be honest, Taft's crew of Ohio Republicans aren't conservatives either, for the most part, and they've been doing a lousy job of being Republicans or state servants. It is probably unfair to paint every Republican in office with this brush, but I'm not the only Republican who feels mad. So quixotic as it all seems, there still could be a chance. If nothing else, it'll certainly be interesting to see what happens.

So I endorse my brother's candidacy to anybody out there who happens to be interested. He's a moderate Democrat, but he's a pro-military, pro-guns, and pro-life moderate Democrat!


Something that's been bothering me is an attitude I've been seeing lately. There are a lot of people in this country who, though perfectly willing to accept the good results of military action, are also unwilling either to serve in the military or to support the troops in any way (or in any way beyond lip service). The military is a job too dirty or declasse for them. When extreme pacifism is put into this package, things get worse. Soldiers are not just seen as of some lower class of people, they are also seen as having a lower standard of ethics.

It shouldn't surprise anyone that people like this can't tell the difference between "soldiers should be folks who, if need be, can hunt and kill people without being disabled by it" and "soldiers should be psychopaths".

Now, most people in the military don't let this bad attitude stop them from doing good service. Some emphasize the honor and love inherent in doing for those who wouldn't do anything for them. Some reach for continuity, as repaying the deeds of the past and building for the future. Still others see themselves as the "sheepdogs" that stand between peaceful sheep and violent wolves. But there are some who seem a little too fond of the idea that they are there to do dirty jobs, to sacrifice themselves and even their own souls for what others will not do.

This last is just buying into the idiots' point of view, albeit from the opposite side. The point of having citizen soldiers is the same point as having citizen police -- they do only those things which their fellow citizens would also do, if they had to. If a job is too declasse or dirty for you to do, it's also too dirty for you to hire anyone else to do.

I readily acknowledge that there are jobs that require more skill or physical strength or even courage than I have. I'm perfectly willing to let other people do those things. But I don't want soldiers to have lower standards of ethics or morals than mine -- I think they should have higher ones (at least where their profession is concerned), because their job is dangerous and deals with ethical problems in a very direct way.

If people have blood on their hands in self defense or just war, then they've done nothing wrong. Their souls are clean. But if people have blood on their hands from committing injustice, they're not serving their country or the military profession very well. You can't do a bad thing for a good reason and expect it to turn out well.

I don't want anyone to think their job is to commit sins to save me from dirtying my soul. If a job is too sinful for me to do, nobody should be doing it.

I realize this is a very simple point of view. But there are some things we can't let get too complicated.