Archive for April, 2006

MAD, but effective

April 17th, 2006 — Wordman

For nearly fifty years, the concept of mutual assured destruction, whether official doctrine or not, has probably prevented the use of nuclear weapons in anger. Even during very close calls, knowledge that the result of a release would mean everyone’s death kept fingers off the triggers.

Some claim the MAD doesn’t work against “rogue states” or terrorist groups. After all, if New York evaporates in a mushroom cloud caused by a smuggled nuke, against whom are you retaliating? However, since MAD is more of a political weapon, I believe it can indeed be useful against both terrorists and “rogue states”. Since the point of Asteroid is to suggest solutions, however half-baked they may be, here is how this half-baked strategy would go down:

NETWORK ANNOUNCER: We interrupt this program for a special announcement.

Cut to image of presidential seal

WHITE-HOUSE ANNOUNCER: Ladies and gentlemen, the President of the United States..

Fade to shot of President sitting behind desk in the Oval Office. His countenance should be a subtle mix of “in control”, “forceful”, “grim” and “saddened”; however, if this speech was really made, it would probably be made by Bush, so we’d likely have to settle for his usual mix of “smirking” and “simian”

PRESIDENT: My fellow Americans…long ago, the Persian Empire spanned from India into Europe and Africa, host to one of the most advanced cultures of its time, bringing the world unmatched advances in medicine, chemistry and mathematics. Unfortunately, those times are long past and Persia has devolved into the fundamentalist theocracy of Iran, a false democracy, where opposition parties are banned from running for election.

Last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced “the start of the progress of this country” not with medicine or mathematics, but by enriching uranium, the first step towards production of nuclear weapons. Iran, claims that this technology will only be used for energy production. It is possible that they are telling the truth. It is more likely that they are not.

In the past, Iranian leaders have called for the death of America and its allies. They have taken our citizens hostage and taken the sovereign territory of our embassy by force. They continue to fund terrorism. There is much Iranian leaders could have done in the past decade to rejoin the international community, but nearly every action they have taken has instead been calculated to drive them further and further from the company of rational men and women. There are no doubt many Iranian citizens who oppose this stance, but so far they seem unable or unwilling to wrest control of their freedom from those who illegitimately claim to speak for them.

Therefore, while the United States and the international community determines how best to handle Iran’s nuclear program, I am today announcing a policy change in the way our great nation will respond should the unthinkable happen and a nuclear device is discharged on our own soil or abroad.

From this day forth, should an attack with nuclear or radiological weapons, or missiles capable of delivering them, be launched from Iran against any nation, particularly the United States or its allies, the response of the United States will be to immediately and without warning launch an attack that will blanket every square meter of the nation of Iran in nuclear fire.

Furthermore, the detonation of any nuclear or radiological device, anywhere on the globe, whose source cannot be determined will be assumed without proof to be an attack by a hidden alliance of North Korea, Iran and the greater Muslim world against the economy, security and people of the United States. This will invite a nuclear counterattack by the United States in which, along with the totality of Iran, the cities of P’y?ngyang, Jerusalem, Damascus, Cairo, Riyadh, Amman, Beirut, Baghdad, Kabul and Islamabad will be incinerated with nuclear weapons.

It is possible that countries like Russia or China will respond to this policy by creating a policy of their own threatening nuclear retaliation against the United States should it be invoked. This will, if it happens, require the United States to strike against those countries in kind.

Therefore, the result should Korea, Iran and the greater Muslim world fail to control those who would use nuclear weapons will be the destruction of all life on Earth, including themselves. A loose nuclear weapon will not be a righteous weapon of holy vengeance, but a death sentence for every living thing.

There are those who suggest that Iran is just waiting out this administration to be replaced by a new Presidency more like those they dealt with in the past. Mistakes of those administrations have led many in the Middle East to believe that our great nation is toothless, and easily backs down. They’ll assume that this policy will not be carried out by my successors. Such assumptions would be a mistake. Whatever their other perceived weaknesses, no administration since the development of nuclear weapons has ever hesitated to take an aggressive stance regarding nuclear weapons. Even the most peaceful of men will fight if the stakes are high enough, and the threat of nuclear weapons in the hands of a nation who both funds terrorism and has repeatedly called for our nation’s destruction is high indeed.

Our great nation is the only country to have ever used nuclear weapons in anger. We have not had to use them since, blessed with rational adversaries. Iran has not done much to show itself as rational. It is my hope that they soon will, abandoning this pursuit of a technology that, in the end, won’t help them at all. But, while I hope, our nation’s nuclear arsenal will remain ready.

God bless you. And America prevails! And God bless the United States of America.

There is a chance of this strategy backfiring and uniting more of the Islamic world against us; however, at this point I’m not sure our reputation with the rest of the world could get much worse, after six years of steady bridge-burning. What do you think? Would this strategy work?

Easter turducken

April 13th, 2006 — Wordman

Most traditional holidays are syncretised perversions of even older traditions, which then get secularized into excuses to eat a whole bunch. Christmas falls, not coincidentally, close to the winter solstice, and borrows heavily from earlier winter festivals, featuring lots of gingerbread, candy canes, traditional hams and large family feasts. Thanksgiving, being largely a continuation of post-harvest feasts in Europe, has always been about eating. We have, of course, taken this to ridiculous extremes with turducken, a Thanksgiving dish prepared by…

…cramming a boneless chicken into a boneless duck, which is stuffed into a boneless turkey. Three kinds of stuffing are layered between the three kinds of meat and the monstrosity is cooked for a very long time. The end result, when cut, is a fantastic food rainbow that must be eaten to be believed.

Easter, which may or may not have been named after a pagan fertility goddess, falls conveniently close to the spring equinox, allowing the syncresis of rabbits, eggs and the rebirth of nature into a ritual about the slaughter and rebirth of God. Easter also now has been subverted into being about eating, though hasn’t yet been taken to the extremes of Thanksgiving turducken.

Until now.

Making Easter turducken is, fortunately, much easier than a traditional turducken, as it abandons all that pesky protein while fully embracing the empty carbohydrates and fat. While technically Easter turducken is a dessert and traditional turducken a main course, they should never be consumed in the same meal. That would be heresy.

As with traditional turducken, Easter turducken starts from the inside out. The core is formed with miniature Cadbury cream eggs:

Take an ordinary peep and make a large slit in the bottom, as deep as possible without going all the way through:

Stuff an egg into the slit, stretch the sides around it, and fold the peep’s tail down. Repeat with a few more peeps.

The outer layer finally makes good use of one of the more odious culinary travesties, the irritating hollow bunny. As a kid, nothing was more annoying that thinking you’d been given a huge block of chocolate, and it turns out to be empty. To get the egg-stuffed peep goodness into this abomination, first you must open the bottom. Anything worth doing is worth doing with power tools, so take a dremel and cut around the perimeter of the bottom:

Once the hole is made, stuff the now egg-bloated peeps into the bunny. Note that some hollow bunnies suck even more than others, and crack and fall apart really easily, so be careful. Once you’re done, put the bottom back on. The really ambitious might try re-melting the seam in the bottom closed with a crème brûlée torch.


Voilà, the loathsome hollow bunny is transformed into several thousand calories, as God intended. Many children wonder around Easter how it is that bunnies lay eggs. As a side benefit, Easter turducken illustrates clearly that this “theory” is wrong. Obviously bunnies lay chickens, which then lay the eggs. Mystery solved.

Now fully prepared, the Easter turducken can be eaten. There is probably some kind of psychological test about what part of the bunny you eat first. I always go for the neck. Since it is held together only by a cheap-ass hollow bunny, once you start eating your turducken, it will collapse rapidly. Be prepared for a mess.

Yummy. A guess at the nutrition information for a three peep turducken:


Nutrition Facts
Serving Size:
  1 Easter turducken • 98g

Amount Per Serving
Calories  456 Calories from Fat  158
% DV*
Total Fat  18g 27%
    Saturated Fat  11g 44%
    Trans Fat  0g  
Cholesterol < 15mg 4%
Sodium  74mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate  70g 24%
    Dietary Fiber  0g 0%
    Sugars  65g  
Protein  6g 11%

Enjoy your Easter turducken. And bring lots of paper towels. And maybe a bib. Let me know how your own turn out.