Young Fortinbras

For Hamlet’s plot till now, see Hamlet So Far.

Thus much the business is: we have here writ
To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras—
Who, impotent and bedrid, scarcely hears
Of this his nephew’s purpose—to suppress
His further gait herein, in that the levies,
The lists, and full proportions are all made
Out of his subject; and we here dispatch
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltemand.
Hamlet Act 1. Scene2.

Act 1. Scene 2 (Continued). Claudius is not happy. I know he was happy a Wednesday ago. Guess a king has the right to change his mind. He is king, and that is one of the kingly prerogatives.

Young Fortinbras, nephew to the king of Norway and son of the former king, is on the warpath. He’s got an itch. He’s got it bad. Besides, he has something to prove. To show he can kick some butt. That is one way for Forte to prove he would make a terrific king.

This is the Middle Ages. Everybody is Middle Age crazy in those days. Warrior kings are considered saints. Don’t think so. Just look at St. Charlemagne, St. Louis (not the town but the king), St. Edward the Confessor and St. Alfred the Great. I can hear Tony the Tiger saying, “Heeez GRRREEET.”

Anyway, Claudius calls in his Ambassadors to Norway, Cornelius and Voltimand. No, that is not He-who-must-not-be named. The two bow and kowtow before His Magnanimousness.

Claudius sings a pickin’ and grinnin’ song:
Oh, Cornelius. Oh, Voltemand,
To Norway We’re sendin’ you.
Tell that king and tell him well
He’ll be in a lot of screw-you
If he don’t tell Young Fortinbras
Not to get his panties in a wad.
He’s a huffin’ and a puffin’
Like he’s some young almighty god.

There’s a new sheriff in town.
We’re the Baddest Wolf around.
If he don’t let things be
We will blow his house down.

Think our brother was really bad?.
We’re three times worse than he was.
Wherever We ride, the snow melts.
When We decide to show our claws
Goliath would run away scared.
You Philistines ain’t got a chance
We’ll melt Norway and take her down
And make you Norwegians dance

Well, Judgment day is a-comin’
Our wrath like a volcano blow
Our patience is a runnin’ out
Soon We’ll be sending Norway low
But We are a generous man
Fortinbras can stretch his muscles
On the Germans and the Cassocks
And make the Poles his vassals

Voltemand and Cornelius say a quick, “Yes, Your Magnanimousness.”

Claudius responds, “And don’t you forget it.”

The Battle of As Samawah

Today I am re-posting a fellow blogger’s post called “The Battle of As Samawah”. It is long piece based on his experiences in Iraq. Don Gomez is an Iraq war veteran and member of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America. He blogs at “Carrying the Gun”. Here’s what it is like to be at the front lines in a war where there are no front lines.

Carrying the Gun

March 28, 2003. Night time. Warm air. Kuwait International Airport. The screaming roar of engines disorients as we hobble towards the anxious planes sitting in the dark. Distant city lights twinkle in the gaseous exhaust. I imagine a Kuwaiti family, somewhere out there, sitting down for dinner.

Fuck. I’m already sweating in my brand new camouflage chemical suit. It’s bulky, hot, and scratchy.

We waddle forward. I’m upset that I’m not wearing a parachute. For months, we trained to parachute into Baghdad airport commando-style in what would later become the greatest-mission-that-never-happened. Now, our commanders tell us we are going to instead simply land on some captured airfield in southern Iraq. The details are unclear. Were we going to roll out of the back of the aircraft, guns blazing? Would the enemy be there, or was the airfield secure?

I shuffle up the ramp and drop my heavy rucksack filled…

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