Thisby Thestoop and the Black Mountain

It’s fair to say that I read a good number of books children’s books. Having kids of my own, I like to pilfer their shelves from time to time. In our house, we like to stock “the classics” as a sort of quality guarantee. Since children’s books became a genre there have been writers who have tried to cash in on the children’s market as a way to make a quick buck with little effort. Reading “the classics” means that you get the best books from every era without having to wade through the formulaic twaddle, most of which has mercifully been forgotten over the years.
It’s a different story with modern children’s books. Picking up a new children’s book means taking a chance on wasting your time, and the modern children’s book publishing machine loves tried and true formulas. After the success of Harry Potter we got books about schools for magical/mythological/specially talented kids who are sorted into groups based on their personalities. After The Hunger Games took off, we’ve have had m…

Insanely Awesome Soldiers

Most great heroes throughout history share two characteristics; they are courageous and they are brilliant. However, it is the thin line between courage, brilliance, and sheer insanity that characterizes the most awesome heroes of all. So, in light of this fact here are my

Top 5 Most Insanely Awesome Soldiers

1. Hannibal Barca (Okay, it's your first command. You're stationed in neutral territory. What should you do first? If you answered, "Siege and burn a bunch of neutral cities, march your entire army with elephants across the Alps, and launch an all-out invasion of Rome, all completely contrary to your original orders," then you might just be Hannibal Barca. If you succeed in demolishing THE ENTIRE ROMAN ARMY several times, then you're definitely Hannibal.)

2. Leonidas (Are the politicians taking too long to decide whether to join with the other city-states against Persia? If you're King Leonidas, then the solution is clear. Take the 300 soldiers under your direct command, join up with 700 Thespian soldiers and proceed to take a stand against an army of (according to Herodotus) 1,700,000 men. And you'll also be able to hold them off FOR THREE WHOLE DAYS! During the whole process be sure to tell lots of witty jokes about how you're all going to die.)

3. Jack Churchill (If you take a claymore, longbow, and bagpipes into battle against the forces of Edward I of England, you might be William Wallace. But if you take a claymore, longbow, and bagpipes into battle against the forces of Adolf Hitler, then you can only be Jack Churchill. Bonus points if you lead your men into battle by playing bagpipes while simultaneously tossing grenades, use nothing but your claymore to capture 42 Germans and a motor squad, and escape from two POW camps by simply walking away. At the end of the war you'll probably say, "If it wasn't for those damn Yanks, we could have kept the war going another 10 years." Then you would probably retire from the army and become one of the world's greatest surfers.)

4. Audie Murphy (If you're a 5'5'', 110 pound guy you can't do much in battle right? Well maybe not until your best friend is shot right in front of you while surrendering. Then you might pull out your gun and kill every enemy in the machine gun nest, take their gun, and proceed to kill every Nazi in sight as well as taking out two more machine guns. Then later when you and eighteen men are up against 240 German soldiers and six tanks, you might rush out alone, jump into the turret of a burning tank destroyer, and proceed to use its .50 caliber machine gun to destroy all six tanks and mow down all the German soldiers, then leap from the tank destroyer before it explodes.)

5. Horatius Cocles (The Clusian army has routed the Romans. The Romans are fleeing for their lives on a bridge across the Tiber followed closely by the enemy. What should you, a junior officer in the army, do to stop the enemy from getting across and overrunning Rome itself? Answer: If you're Horatius Cocles, you stand at the bridge and HOLD OFF THE ENTIRE ENEMY ARMY SINGLE-HANDEDLY while your fellow soldiers retreat in panic. Then when everyone's across you shout back for the consuls to destroy the bridge, and start using dead bodies as shields as you fight. Finally, when the bridge is gone, you plunge into the Tiber River in full armor and swim to the other side where you emerge riddled with sword and spear wounds and still holding on to your weapons.)

Honorable mentions: Alvin York, Alexander the Great, Turner Ashby


Rose said…
This is my favorite top five yet. :D I would probably have to agree with you on all of them, although I might exchange Horatius Cocles with Alexander the Great. They guy's not even 30, and he's built a fake island to lay siege to Tyre (if I'm remembering correctly), named several cities after himself (or his horse, which makes him all the more interesting), and has conquered a huge chunk of the known world. But the top three on the list...those guys are definitely awesome. :D
Erica said…
Have you been reading But yes, this is completely awesome. Which is why I don't complain in fiction and movies when people manage to survive impossible odds. Because it happens anyways.
Rick said…
It was hard to leave Alexander out. I actually had him in the picture, but replaced him at the last minute. It came down to the fact that, though he was incredibly awesome, I wasn't sure he was insane enough to include in the top 5. (Also because I'm jealous that I'm turning 30 this year and haven't managed to conquer even a small town yet.)

Also Erica, I did read about Audie Murphy and Jack Churchill at Cracked. That was hilarious! But I got the idea to do this top 5 from another website which does a weekly bio of these types of people.
Rose said…
Haha I see.

(And what was the website that did those bios, may I ask?)
Lexi said…
How could you forget Fabius!!? Or Scipio!? Or Napoleon!? Mr. Davis...I am disappointed in you:P