*Looks at the article title*...*pause*...And people say the articles have nothing to do with the game...
For shame...We return again, once more seeking illumination...oh, whoops, I'm supposed to use my
mysterious voice when doing the "illumination shtick"...ahem...Once more do you seek to tread the
path to Illumination...Once more to walk in the steps of the wise...follow those who sacrifice all for
knowledge...I mean all...no cable...no PC Gamer magazine...only watching movies at dollar
theaters...I mean, that's sacrifice!...It takes like 3 months for good movies to get to the dollar theaters...
and they're always filthy...you half expect to find earwigs in the popcorn and ice cubes in the sodas...*pause*...
soooo, let's get on with things...
Before we get to the questions, there are a couple of issues that need to be addressed...First, in Ghand's
last article he made mention about my articles only coming out every three months...Quite frankly I was
infuriated by the comment and his blatant exaggeration...until I actually looked at the dates that I put
out my articles...Not wishing Ghand to be correct about anything, this article marks the beginning of
the Path to Illumination AUG-STRAVAGANZA...Every Sunday this month will see a new installment
of The Path to Illumination...It'll be a freakin' party...we might even get funny hats...but I'm not making
Second, there seems to been a rash of revealing photos in recent articles and news posts...Photos that
show things that have no place being displayed in public...Photos, the subjects of which push the
bounds of decency, delving into imagery that is simultaneously profane and nauseating...I am of course
referring to the revolting practice of showing what the PlanetDeusEx staff actually looks like...*shudder*...
I am here to provide a Consumer Reports type comparison (not associated with Consumer Reports) of
the three main contestants in the "Miss PDX Beauty Pageant" (note: none of the contestants are actually
women...we think...*pause*...If they are, they're really ugly...really ugly...*shudder*)
The first part of our contest is the "Online Alias" section...Here, we examine the digital manifestations of
PlanetDeusEx's intrepid (that might be insipid...we'll have to check) staff...
First up is Ghandaiah
Okay, but we all know what push-overs the NSF were...Not embarrassing, but not impressive...Next up is yours truly...
Okay, I've got the whole "Desert Prince" vibe going on...dashingly handsome...Got the look of someone
whose ready and willing to eviscerate an enemy when the situation calls for it...Next up is Despot's online
*stares*...that's just...I uh...*shudder*...just take deep breaths, everything will be alright...*pause*...
Okay, the next...*pause*...just block it out...pay it no mind...Yes, the next section is the "Real Life"
section of our contest (What?!? This isn't real life!?!)...Let's begin with Ghand...You first saw him in that
PDX staff meeting in that park in Denmark (check out Got Ghand: 21
for the story...Here he is again, in another park, looking surprisingly similar to the other photo (hmmm...)
Next up is the fearless (and pitiless) leader of PlanetDeusEx, following in the somewhat disturbing tradition
of having the site administrator photographed without his shirt on (don't ask me why, it might have something
to do with the Illuminati...)
Finally, is the selfsame author of this humble article series (said it with a straight face, Despot owes me
five bucks)...And I hope that this will provide some substance to my contention that the picture of me
Ghand has is altered in some way (most likely by the massive amounts of food I had eaten last Christmas
when the picture was taken...Taking a picture right after an office lunch, what was I thinking?!?)
For those of you who might be worried, those "bumpy" things on my arms are muscles...They sometimes
happen when you...you know...move...
There was going to be a swimsuit competition, but the GameSpy lawyers nixed the idea...Evidently they
felt that the massive convulsive fits that would inevitably caused by such images would result in lawsuits...
or at least some complaint emails that they would have to answer...For this reason we cancelled the
swimsuit section of the contest...though it seems that someone forgot to inform Despot...*shudder*...
With that out of the way, we move on to the questions, the reason why were here (other than the whole
"got nothing better to do" thing). Uh...not much else to say so...uh...if you've got any new questions
send them to me.
The first question comes from Steve (Nice and Simple)...Now, I'm not sure if he really is nice or simple,
but his question is...He asks,
What's one billion in Roman numerals?
For those who aren't familiar, the Romans (like most ancient people) did not have "numbers" as we think
of them (the numbers most of us use were an invention of the Arabs). Instead, the Romans assigned
numeric values to letters. For instance, "I" was 1, "V" was 5, "C" was 100, "M" one thousand...The last
two are examples of what was essentially abbreviation, the words for 100 and 1000 being "centum" and
"mille" respectively...Obviously this system is a bit cumbersome and quite nasty when you get into really
big numbers, like say, a billion...However, there is a way to do it...When a line is written above the
letter, it multiplies the value by 1000...Therefore, an "M" with a line over it would be 1,000,000..."M" is the
largest numeral the Romans used, so to build "one billion" we've got to use Ms with lines over them...
And we'll have to use 1000 (that would "M") of them...So, It would be
...All with a line over it...Nifty, neh?...However, I can't imagine that any Roman source ever recorded a number
anywhere near that big...Maybe a temple record, but I doubt that those would deal with anything larger
than a few hundred thousand, if that...The largest number I can think of from Antiquity is Polybius'
description of the Battle of Ecnomus from the first Punic War. Supposedly several hundred thousand
troops were involved in that epic battle...That chronicle was written in Greek however, so unless it
was a Roman translation of the Greek, the numbers wouldn't have been written in a Roman style...
So, now you know how to write "one billion" in Roman numerals...That'll sure come in handy if you ever
need to describe Bill Gates or Warren Buffet to a 2000 year old Roman citizen...
The second question comes from Terry McG, he (or possibly she) asks
(A)What were the names of the Four major Japanese Aircraft Carriers and
(B)Name the order in which they sank
Terry also hoped that I would have to research this question. Well, since it is the second question of
this installment, I obviously did. Actually, I knew the first part, but Terry had to throw the second part
in, and that forced me to research the order in which the ships sank (Curse you Terry McG, you won
So, to answer the question, the Japanese Carriers that sank at Midway were the Soryu, the Kaga, the
Akagi, and the Hiryu, in that order. There literally have been entire books written about the battle, so I
can't go into it in too much detail (plus it's not really my specialty...I'm better on the Eastern Front than
the Pacific Theater)...But, to make a long story short, about 6 months after the attack on Pearl Harbor,
the Japanese were still on the offensive in the Pacific. However, the United States had caused an uproar
with the Doolittle raid on Tokyo and the Japanese command wished to press the offensive. They
eventually decided to attempt to draw the American main fleet, specifically the carrier group, north to
the Aleutian Islands (off the coast of Alaska) attack and occupy the mid-Pacific island bases of Midway
and Kure and then finish off the US fleet when it reappeared. However, there was a problem for the
Japanese...Namely, Allied intelligence had deciphered the Japanese codes and knew of the planned attack...
With the knowledge of the full plans of the attack, Admiral Chester W. Nimitz (A war hero named Chester...
what are the odds?) was able to ignore the attack on Dutch Harbor in the Aleutians, as well as maneuver
his forces past the proposed Japanese submarine cordon (not to be confused with a chicken cordon) into
a position north of Midway, awaiting the Japanese attack. The attack itself came on June 4th, 1942 as
the Japanese force came into range of the Midway atoll. The Japanese flight crews began to depart at
0430 hours, reaching Midway by 0600 hours. The Midway forces were not terribly effective in defending
the base, but proved effective enough to force the Japanese into a second attack...the very thing that
the US forces were waiting for...
The Japanese bombers left Midway airspace near 0700 hours, and the US Carrier group estimated that if
they launched their attacks between 0700 and 0800 hours, they would catch the Japanese carriers with
their planes on deck, their most vulnerable moment...About this time Japanese scouts had sighted the
American forces, but the carriers were not initially reported. Because the US carriers were not initially
spotted, Vice-Admiral Nagumo did not view the American force as a major threat and ordered his flight
crews to rearm with bombs for another assault on Midway. However, about half of the way through the
rearming Nagumo's scouts reported sighting the US carriers. Faced with opposing carriers, Nagumo
ordered the loaded planes (about half his force) to be rearmed with torpedoes as well as loading the remaining
unarmed planes with torpedoes. Because of the haste with which the reloading took place, the unloaded
bombs were not stored properly and the Japanese carriers became floating tinderboxes...This would turn
out to be a rather important factor...
(Fourth paragraph, we're almost done) Eventually, American torpedo planes launched from the three
American carriers at Midway (the Enterprise, the Yorktown, and the Hornet) were able to score several
successful strikes against three of the Japanese Carriers which, vulnerable due to the improperly stored
bombs, went up like Roman candles. The Soryu was the first to signal an abandon ship (by one minute)
at 1045 hours, the Japanese tried to keep here afloat, but she sank at 1920 hours. The Akagi was the
next hit, and she signaled her abandon ship at 1046 hours, but she didn't sink until around 0300 the next
morning. The Kaga sank before her, having signaled her abandon ship at 1700 hours. By midday, only
the Hiryu remained in the action, having been separated from the other carriers during the US attacks.
While the American forces turned their attention to her, the remaining flight crews managed to seriously
damage the Yorktown (it would later be sunk by the Japanese submarine I-168 during a salvage attempt).
Eventually, the Hiryu would be caught by Yorktown pilots flying from the Enterprise, damaged severely,
but still able to make 30 knots under the amazing efforts of her engine crew. Eventually, the fire
devouring the Hiryu reached the lower decks and the engine crew died at their posts, bringing the Hiryu
to a halt. She was abandoned at 0315, the morning of the 5th.
The Battle of Midway shifted the balance of power in the Pacific Theater and the Japanese would assume
the defensive posture for the remainder of the war. Thanks to Terry McG for the question, and for asking
the question I had to research, I salute you sir (or possibly madam).
This week's smart ass question comes from Ed Smith (I never tire of these wacky aliases!), and it is
actually quite clever. Ed (who I'm assuming is a guy, but who knows, ever seen Raising Arizona?
Edwina...will you marry me?) asked me
What is the question you cannot answer?
As I said, quite clever, but no cigar (they cause mouth cancer)...I actually can answer that question,
though I choose not to...it would ruin the fun...However, if you'd like a prize, you can finish off the pizza
in my fridge...no?...oh well, probably for the best...I'm not sure how long it's been there...*pause*...Is
it a bad thing when the box has begun to decompose?
Now boys and girls it's time for the GET SOME FREAKIN' CULTURE CORNER. Last week *cough*
we looked at a work from one of the greatest poets and dramatists in history, and Richard the Third,
while very nice is a little too cheerful...*pause*...get that?...Richard the Third, too cheerful?...good...So anyway, I decided to look at
something a little more depressing in this installment...This week's poem comes from one of the darkest
and most screwed up authors in human history (no, I'm not talking about Jackie Collins), Edgar Allan Poe.
This is my favorite of his poems, a somewhat disturbing ode to a lost love:
It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of Annabel Lee;
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
She was a child and I was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love
I and my Annabel Lee
With a love that the wingιd seraphs of Heaven
Coveted her and me.
The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me:
Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of a cloud, chilling
And killing my Annabel Lee.
But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we
Of many far wiser than we
And neither the angels in Heaven above
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:
For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In her sepulcher there by the sea
In her tomb by the side of the sea.
So beautiful, yet so creepy...kinda like Kylie Minogue...but not...*pause*...Ahem, before we get to
the quote contest I've got a new section to introduce...King Kashue Productions proudly presents
COMPLETE AND UTTER GIBBERISH AND ENTIRELY USELESS CARP!!!
No, I'm not going to be citing sections of Got Ghand?
But rather bringing you the most mindlessly inane garbage from around the Internet (Al Gore invented it
you know...) This week is the "Love Calculator", conveniently at www.lovecalculator.com
This amazing device can determine the compatibility of two people just by analyzing their names...I
figured I'd put the thing-a-majig to the test and see what the compatibilities of the PlanetDeusEx staff
members were (I figured that it would be cheaper than that State Appointed counselor...always showing
us those blurry pictures of butterflies and dancing ocelots...*pause*...) The results were...interesting...
A couple of things jump out right away...The first is that nasty 0% between Ghand and Winquman...
They're so polite to each other, you'd never guess it...The second is that Ghand and Winquman were the least
compatible overall...Now, Ghand you'd expect (myself also for that matter...after Gwog of course...You've
seen the picture, come on!) but Winquman?!? He always seems so congenial and European...I guess
you can never tell...However, there does seem to be a statistical anomaly that throws all of these highly
scientific results into question...Somehow, Despot is the most compatible among all of the PDX staff...
Now, I don't know about you, but that seems...well...like a giant-size pile of steaming **CENSORED**...
*stares*...man, I hate censors...Anyway, I was ready to let the love calculator advise me in all future
romantic liaisons, but after a statistical snafu like this one...well, it just shows that it can't be trusted...
(I am a bit bummed though...The Love Calculator told me that Jennifer Garner
and I were a 96% match...)
Ah, this week's *cough* quote contest winner is by all accounts a Purple Radish...don't worry, it's an inside
joke...For those of you on the outside, this week's *cough* winner is The Nameless Mod's
Trestkon, who correctly identified "Ninety Percent of Everything is Crap" as "Sturgeon's Law",
derived from the quote by science-fiction author Theodore Sturgeon; "Sure, 90% of science fiction is crud.
That's because 90% of everything is crud."
Congratulations Trestkon, your naked Ghand will be in the mail to you
quite soon...as soon as the tranquilizers set in...he's quite hardy for his size...four darts and he still managed to make
it into his office...We're waiting until we hear him snoring, then we'll break in...
Now is the part where I say we've got a new contest name, and then it gets lost or broken or something...
Honestly, I couldn't think of a funny gimmick this time, so we'll just move on and I'll try to come up with
something funny next week...cool with you?
**INSERT CONTEST NAME HERE**
Yep, there it is...Anyhoo, here's this weeks quote:
"The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing"