What animal can jump higher than a house?
All of them. Houses can't jump.
Getting out after 20 years gives Al Qaeda a propaganda victory, Ms. Cheney?
You know what wouldn't have given them a propaganda victory? Victory victory. Like 16 years ago. Too bad you don't know someone that could have helped pull that off, back then. Prolly shoula been 18+ years ago.
Prolly your Dad shoulda learned the lessons of Korea and Vietnam. I don't even mind all the treasure we spent (well, not much) but the lives and blood and PSTD and lost limbs deserve something better than "My political opponents are big fat poopyheads."
159 years ago (well, last week) this was the view for my Great Great Grandfather (photo credit: The Queen Of The World. Click to enbiggen):
The 7th Iowa was at the center of the line. This is what Great Great Grandfather would have seen looking to his right:
Peaceful today, not so much that day. This was the view the other way:
Then all hell broke loose. After 4 brutal hours, the 7th Iowa was forced back, regrouping at Grant's "Final Line" where they held the southern forces. Barely. Not all of the Union soldiers in the Hornet's Nest fared so well - 2,500 were surrounded and surrendered.
It was quite a feeling walking that ground today. Great Great Grandfather was a Kansas boy back when the war broke out. Kansas wasn't a state then and so he couldn't sign up, so he and his buddies went north to Iowa where they enlisted in 1861. He went all the way through the war - Ft. Donaldson, Shiloh, Atlanta, Savannah, Columbia, Bentonville. He marched in the parade in Washington D.C. and was mustered out.
On the drive back, The Queen Of The World wondered about all the men who died there. None of them have Great Great Grandsons to remember them, because the war took from them everything they had and everything they would ever have. I would quote from Abraham Lincoln's justly famous letter to Mrs. Bixby, but Mr. Lincoln is perhaps uniquely responsible for all those deaths, and that lack of descendents for all those men.
I also wondered on that drive back why I consider Grant to be a sympathetic character. Long time readers know my opinion of Mr. Sherman, but for some reason I can't shake a somewhat favorable impression of Grant. I need to do some pondering on this.
But like I said, it was a thrill to walk in Great Great Grandfather's footsteps on that battlefield.
The past isn't dead. It isn't even past.
- William Faulkner
Tam caught sight of a Citroen 2CV in the wild, which is pretty cool. But it was only one of the very many cool products to come from Andre Citroen's french autoworks, and highlights the importance of culture (both the corporate and national variety).
Let's talk culture. Andre Citroen was a graduate of L'Ecole Polytechnique, France's foremost technical university. It's influence there is sort of like what we would see here if MIT, Stanford, and Cal Tech merged. It's graduates have always been a big deal in France, and Citroen was kind of the poster child for that. He put his company on the map with the Traction Avant, the first unibody car (introduced in 1935). It's gorgeous exterior hides just how revolutionary its design was:
The unibody construction is unremarkable today, but this was 85 years ago. It meant that the car sat lower because there was no chassis platform. This lower center of gravity made the handling better, and the Traction Avant had a reputation as a getaway car beloved of gangsters of the day.
But there were two other innovations: front wheel drive (hence the name: "Traction Avant" means forward traction) and hydro-pneumatic suspension. This last is an alternative to leaf springs:
Here's where culture comes in. Hydropneumatic suspension is very clever, and much superior to springs - so much so that Rolls Royce licensed the design for its Silver Shadow, and it is used today on the British Challenger tank. However, it's complicated, with a lot of parts compared to a spring. This is both very French and precisely what you would expect from a Polytechnique grad. That culture (what The Queen Of The World calls "complicating a cornflake") is why the design remained mostly confined to France.
But here's a story from my young days. A friend's parents had one of Citroen's later models, the DS:
You could drive this on only three wheels - the dealer actually did this and was stopped by a cop who ultimately realized that there was no law against doing this. The car didn't even come with a jack - if you needed to change a tire you just raised the appropriate wheel off the ground using the hydropneumatic suspension.
It was entirely revolutionary, have superior results, and was overly complicated. In short, it was very french, and neatly sums up why those people simultaneously charm and irritate us here.
But there's no way to describe the engineers at Andre Citroen's company as anything other than genius. The 2CV, the Traction Avant, and the DS were revolutionary.
Here is a double helping of Dad Joke in celebration of Easter! If you're lucky you'll have kids (or grandkids) you can tell these to.
Why was the Easter Bunny so upset? He was having a bad hare day.
Why shouldn't you tell a funny joke to an easter egg? Because it might crack up!
But man is freer than all the animals, on account of his free-will, with which he is endowed above all other animals.Easter is a very old holy day, one of the oldest still celebrated. Things don't stick around that long if they don't speak to something deep in the soul. If they don't speak from an upwelling from some mysterious depth of great wisdom. The mystery, and the great strength of Christian doctrine is that it captures the human cycle of growth, middle age, and old age in a view of two gifts: Free Will and Grace.- St. Thomas Aquinas
No Noble Thing can be done without risk.But the other side of the coin is Grace. As the Child must go into the world to find his own place, so must the Man return from his journeys. We watch our children grow, and gain independence. Sometimes that independence causes friction, or worse. Sometimes the young adult becomes cut off from the old, because of careless words or foolish pride.- Michel de Montaigne
[God’s love] is at God’s initiative and choice; it isn’t given out on the basis of my performance. God’s gospel love is not wages that I earn with a model life; it is a gift. It is a gift that I cannot earn; more than that, it is a gift that I do not even deserve. God loves weak, ungodly, sinful enemies. The gift is the opposite of what I deserve. God ought to kill me on the spot. Instead, He sent His Son to die in my place.- David Powlison, Seeing With New Eyes
Originally posted April 24, 2011.
The Shield was another of the Fear's names. According to Laughter, it means he shields the seed of Abraham the way a man starting a fire shields the flame. When Sarah was about to die childless, the Fear gave her a son. When Abraham was about to slaughter the son, the Fear gave him the ram. He is always shielding us like a guttering wick, Laughter said, because the fire he is trying to start with us is a fire that the whole world will live to warm its hands at. It is a fire in the dark that will light the whole world home.- Frederick Buechner, The Son of Laughter
Did you know that this past February is the coldest in US history since 1894? This sure is some Global Warming. Compare and contrast: media coverage of this vs. media coverage of (hypothetical) warmest February in 127 years.
Quite frankly, this sums up Global Warming prognostication quite well:
I've posted before about the record high temperatures that were seen in 1936. As it turns out, that's only part of the story. 1936 was the year for "Climate Disruption" - and we've had 85 years of more carbon dioxide going into the atmosphere since then but haven't seen such record bad weather. Hmmmm ...
In non-climate dumbness, here's a list of the top 150 intellectuals. Color me unimpressed, although the biggest objection is the use of "intellectual" to apply non-perjoritively in this degraded age. I would have expected Arnold Kling to not put Joe Rogan as high as #1, or Thomas Sowell as low as #71. Hat tip: Chris Lynch who points out the list is silly.
No, not here - Tim Wolter has been at this for a decade and has some musings on the topic that strike me as worth reading. He also has an interesting recipe for a venison crock pot dinner and a post about baseball, fatherhood, and the sweep of time.
Plus building battlebots. He's a daily read for me.
Sometime today the odometer here will turn over 10,000,000 page views. This is a pretty humbling number and so ASM826 and I would like to say thank you very much for coming by here so often.
Kassia was a Roman noblewoman living in Constantinople in the first half of the 800s. Both beautiful and intelligent, she was included in what we can call a Medieval beauty pageant. The imperial court would sometimes have "Bride Shows" where noble families could present their daughters as potential brides for Imperial princes. Kassia was included in the bride show for prince Theophilos in 830AD, but the chronicles say that her sharp, sarcastic reply to the prince soured him on her beauty.
But she was the daughter of one of the leading families in the Empire, and so had avenues open to her that were not to most women of the day. She founded a convent in 843AD and became its abbess. Her education allowed her to write first poetry and then music - all of a spiritual bent, as you would imagine.
She wrote many, many hymns of which 50 survive to this day. Unusually, both the text and the musical score have survived. Twenty three of her hymns are included in today's Orthodox liturgy which is astonishing for any figure from the ninth century, let alone a woman.
This Holy Week you might want to ponder just how ancient our faith is, and the efforts that people have taken to preserve it over the centuries.
We aren't surprised when we see a great rock band or a great jazz artist that is from a different country, so why should we be surprised that there is great country music from all over the world. The Netherlands has a thriving country scene, much of which is in English but some - like this - in Dutch. Henk Wijngaard should know something about country - his half brother is Shania Twain's grandfather.
Now I don't speak much Dutch (Dank je) I really get the sense of what this song is all about. Night driving. Some themes - and some music - is universal.
Today is the birthday of two great composers, Johann Sebastian Bach and Modest Mussorgsky. They had very different styles but one thing they had in common is their influence on 1960s and 1970s rock. First Bach, where Procol Harum basically ripped off Air on the G String for Whiter Shade of Pale:
Next Mussorgsky, where Emerson Lake and Palmer did an excellent reprieve of Pictures At The Exhibition:
The Queen Of The World and I are on the road, on the Florida panhandle in Navarre. This is the place where we had the motorcycle accident a while back. We're staying at a place that is less than a mile from where I dumped the bike.
All in all, I'm enjoying this visit a lot more than the last one.
But being on the road calls for road music, and I find myself surprised that in roughly 700 (!) country music posts I've never posted country music's greatest road song. Take it away, Willie.
Borepatch and I occasionally have a half baked idea that we pound into a decent post. All of you who stop by here are kind enough to read our attempts. We bump along and one of the best things you can say about our blog is that we haven't quit. I would like to think we are just good enough to be able to recognize a real writer when we meet one.
Brigid is one such writer. Not because she has published books, but because she can take words and bring them together into art. If you don't read anything else on the internet today, you should follow this link and go read Brigid's latest post at the Book of Barkley
We gave her a set of keys to the place a while back. I'm hoping she cross-posts the whole thing here.
I've been posting Blues for basically as long as I've been posting, but somehow I never posted Little Walter. This is pretty strange because I love me some Blues Harp and Little Walter is arguably the best Blues harpist who ever lived. Certainly he's the only harmonica player inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. This song was his first #1 hit on the Billboard R&B chart, and to date is still the only Blues harmonica instrumental to ever chart #1.
His life was kind of a Blues song. Hard drinking and fighting went along with his musical talent, and that's what did him in at the far too young age of 37. You wonder what other music he would have made had he lived a little less roughly. But maybe it was the whole package, and living gentler might have stilled his muse.
Happy St. Patrick's Day! This is my traditional Paddy's Day post.What is the "Classical Music" of Ireland? It's not (Italian) Opera, or (German) symphonies, or even an (English) homage to Ralph Vaughan Williams (who studied under an Irish music professor) "countryside music" in the concert hall. Instead, we find something ancient.
Today is the Ides of March, the 15th of this month (each month has Ides on various dates). While we look at the Romans as the greatest engineers and organizers until the 18th century, we then jump to the conclusion that they were rational in an Enlightenment kind of way. They weren't. Rather, they were kind of like a combination of Nuclear-Reactor-Brainiac and Management-By-Ouija-Board*.
The Ides themselves are a great example of this second thing. Their months didn't really start at day 1 and count up the same way that our months do. Well, they kind of did, but you need to break out your Ouija Board to really understand things. The Romans didn't count forwards, they counted backwards from three fixed points in the month: the Nones (usually but not always the 5th of the month), the Ides (usually the 13th but was the 15th in March, May, July, and October), and the Kalends (the 1st of the following month).
The Ides were sacred to Jupiter, Greatest and Best, and so this was a solemn day. Thus in Shakespeare we hear Julius Caesar warned to beware the Ides of March. Plutarch wrote that on his last ill-fated journey to the Senate house, Caesar saw the soothsayer who had warned about the day. Caesar joked, "The Ides of March are come;" the soothsayer is said to have replied "Aye, but not gone." Shakespeare cribbed a lot from the ancient authors.
Except that's not what the ancients said about that event. Suetonius says that Caesar spoke in Greek - Kai su, teknon? This was a very common expression among educated Romans, and was often used in various plays but Kai su is generally translated as "You too". That was the formal translation but it was commonly used as "Screw you". "Teknon" is generally translated as "child" but also was understood as "punk".
So Julius Caesar basically was telling Brutus to get bent. At least if you believe Suetonius.
* This is one of the things that make the ancient Romans endlessly fascinating.
The Queen Of The World finds cool stuff. Stuff like this: World War II "Sweetheart Grips":
The good folks at Pew Pew Tactical have a great page up about this:
I so want some of these for my commander length 1911. Maybe with a picture like this:
Gentlemen, there's no fighting in the War Room!
- Dr. Strangelove
Hey, there's no playing country music in Nashville!
Lord Almighty, is there still some country music in Country Music? It seems that there is, although you won't find it in Nashville. Instead, you'll find it in places like Americus, Kansas where hopeful singer/songwriter Savanna Chestnut works a day job while she tries to break into the country music scene with her quirky, funny, and refreshingly traditional songs.
I like this a lot, and hope that Miss Chestnut finds the success that she deserves.
Lawrence does the research so that I (we) don't have to.
Yesterday The Queen Of The World was feeling well enough that we went to the beach. The nice thing about living here in Florida is that we're only about 20 minutes away from there. It rained yesterday and so despite being a weekend day in High Season, there weren't many people there. It was awesome.
There is something about the ocean, something that has inspired artists since there were artists. Maurice Ravel was one of many who fell under the Sea's spell. He wrote a series of compositions for his fellow "Hooligans" (Les Apaches) who were bound and determined to break all the musical rules in the first decade of the 20th century. This is one of those. It is often called "Impressionist" although it seems he hated that term. But if the chapeau fits, right?
There is a timelessness to the sea, especially when experienced on a deserted beach after a storm.
P. S. Happy Birthday, Maurice Ravel!
This always made me laugh. You probably want to click through to the Czar of Muscovy's old post to see what kicked this off. Oh, and it may be that in the picture my Lautrec is Toulouse ...
Originally posted 16 February 2011
Photoshop courtesy of #1 Son. Did himself proud on this one.
Well, I actually disagree with P.J. O'Rourke, who she quotes:
"Populism is a lie and a logical sophistry. The very idea of the “struggle of the haves against the have-nots” presupposes the zero-sum fallacy that only a fixed amount of good things exist in the world, and I can only have more good things if I take them from you." -P.J. O'Rourke
Now O'Rourke is a smart guy so it's very interesting what he left out of his piece - because what he left out sets up a straw man for him to knock down. Silly populists! Don't you know that you're getting in the way of the march towards a history so bright we'll have to wear shades?
Except that's not how it's worked out over the last 40 years, is it? Public policy has focused on a very specific set of preferences - environmental regulation, free trade, and open borders. Each of these has had two consequences. First, it has led to massive off-shoring of manufacturing to east Asia in particular, padding the bottom line of corporate America and leading to a lot of great high paying government jobs for Ivy League graduates like O'Rourke. Second, it has hollowed out the working class and the towns they live in. Not for nothing is it called the "Rust Belt".
This isn't an issue of mechanization and productivity reducing employment. Rather, it was an explicit choice (by both political parties) that U.S. Government policy should encourage factories and their high paying jobs to be located elsewhere than in the U.S.A.
And now Mr. O'Rourke wonders, mystified, where all this populism came from all of a sudden. And look at how cynically he phrases the issue: "I can only have good things if I take them from you" - when that's precisely what corporate America and O'Rourke's swell Ivy League buddies did to working class America.
They have made out very well financially on the destruction of industrial America. O'Rourke knows this - after all, he hails from Toledo Ohio.
And so to "populism", by which O'Rourke no doubt means "Donald Trump". I posted about this dynamic way back in the summer of 2016, when I linked to a post by the blogger who went by the nom de blog Archdruid. The Archdruid posted what I thought was all you needed to know to understand what was happening. This bit is most relevant to O'Rourke's rather pathetic strawman:
The result in both countries [UK and USA] was a political climate in which the only policies up for discussion were those that favored the interests of the affluent at the expense of the working classes and the poor. That point has been muddied so often, and in so many highly imaginative ways, that it’s probably necessary to detail it here. Rising real estate prices, for example, benefit those who own real estate, since their properties end up worth more, but it penalizes those who must rent their homes, since they have to pay more of their income for rent. Similarly, cutting social-welfare benefits for the disabled favors those who pay taxes at the expense of those who need those benefits to survive.In the same way, encouraging unrestricted immigration into a country that already has millions of people permanently out of work, and encouraging the offshoring of industrial jobs so that the jobless are left to compete for an ever-shrinking pool of jobs, benefit the affluent at the expense of everyone else. The law of supply and demand applies to labor just as it does to everything else: increase the supply of workers and decrease the demand for their services, and wages will be driven down. The affluent benefit from this, since they pay less for the services they want, but the working poor and the jobless are harmed by it, since they receive less income if they can find jobs at all.
At this point I must point out that I'm a member of that salary class, and have done very well over the last 30+ years. However, my chosen field (Computer/Network Security) sure doesn't seem to have taken away any working class jobs - and my upbringing leaves me infuriated by O'Rourke's sneering. And even more so by his seemingly intentional blindness to the consequences of the policies he advocates. This song brutally exposes what he can't be bothered to cast his eyes upon:
These people are our neighbors. They are our fellow countrymen. Are their dreams for the future of less import than our own? Should public policy in this country crush those dreams? Is there a reason why public policy should preference Palo Alto over Toledo?
I'm afraid this turned into a rant - that certainly is not directed at Tam. But the smug self-satisfaction of folks like O'Rourke - people who listened to their professors telling them that they were "the best and the brightest" and who actually bought into that malarky - they are really just showing the world that they're a bunch of dumbasses. Nice strawman, O'Rourke. Be a shame if someone knocked it down, amirite?
And at this point if you do not understand what is driving populism in this country (both the Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders versions) then watch that video again. And read the quote from O'Rourke again. Repeat as necessary. You will know that you understand modern populism precisely when the hair on the back of your neck stands on end.
Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever- Thomas Jefferson
The Queen Of The World is getting wrist surgery today. Hopefully they'll fix her up - the break is pretty bad.
UPDATE 4 March 2021 18:26: Successful surgery, likely going to be a long recovery. Oof, what a day.
Long time reader and some times commenter Tacitus was an ER doc. I emailed him a link to Divemedic's excellent post on gunshot first aid and asked if he had any thoughts from the perspective of the ER surgeon. This is his reply, posted with his gracious consent. It seems entirely sensible.
Treating gunshot wounds. A different perspective.
As a regular reader of Borepatch I read with interest the account of the recent “Blogshoot”. It sounds like a lot of fun. Afterwards our amiable host asked if I’d comment on the points raised by Divemedic, which were to some extent general First Aid but dealt specifically with what to do if someone gets shot.
I’ll start by saying that the advice was all good. EMTs in the field do a lot of little things so that by the time they get to my ER things are hopefully in as good a state as can be. But here’s my take.
And finally I’d say, don’t panic. Keep your wits about you and do the best job you can. It’s all you can ask of non professionals. And it can often make a difference.
In closing I’ll say thanks to all the Borepatchians who offered advice a few months back when I was researching deer rifles after becoming a first time hunter in retirement. I put your wisdom to good use and am happy with the first firearm I’ve ever owned. And yes, I do recite the rules of firearms safety as my mantra.
Man, that was fun! Thanks to everyone who came - final turnout was over twenty which is pretty awesome. Big Country has a good AAR posted already but here are the highlights from my point of view:
We are confirmed for the SW Florida blogshoot. The Queen Of The World is flying with one broken wing but will be there.
When: Saturday, February 27 at 12:00 noon until 4:00 PM.
Where: Manatee Gun and Archery Club, 1805 Logue Rd, Myakka City, FL 34251
NATO Secretary General wants solar powered tanks. [rolls eyes]
The comment there sums it up:
The stupid, it burns … an M1 tank gets 0.6 mpg. A gallon of diesel contains ~ 40 kWh of energy. A solar panel puts out ~ 1 kWh per day. A solar panel is about 17 sq. ft. You MIGHT fit four of them on an M1 tank without impairing the weapons and sensors. Then you’d need four Tesla Powerwall batteries, weight half a ton.With that setup, every ten days you could move your tank 0.6 miles …
Here's your sign.
Last night The Queen Of The World fell and broke her wrist. The break is bad enough that she'll have to have surgery next week. So far the Blogshoot is still on but I'm pushing the start time to 12:00 noon. This will cut the day a little short but I'll have to set up by myself and so it will take longer than planned.
Please check this space on Friday evening for any changes - I don't think we'll change anything but life sometimes speaks in its Outdoors Voice.
On the plus side, the local Doc-In-A-Box was actually a 24 hour ER, with X-Ray and all that sort of thing. They got her right in and splinted up. The splint is very cool - it is a big gauze pad that they put on her arm and bandaged over. in 15 minutes it was hard as concrete. The doc said that the moisture in the air is what causes the chemical reaction to stiffen it up.
Our very own Miguel has graciously offered to run the El Presidente drill at Saturday's blogshoot. For those of you not familiar with El Presidente, Pew Pew Tactical has a good overview:
“El Presidente” is a shooting drill originally developed by Jeff Cooper (remember the ) when he was training security for a South American president. The name came about when it was incorporated into USPSA/IPSC as a standardized stage.
Click through for more detail, but this looks like it will be a lot of fun. Miguel says to bring your sidearm (and holster if you have one) and at least two magazines (as if any of all y'all would bring only two ...)
Here's the venue info - if you haven't RSVP'ed , please leave a comment.
When: Saturday, February 27 at 12:00 noon until 4:00 PM.
Where: Manatee Gun and Archery Club, 1805 Logue Rd, Myakka City, FL 34251
Facilities: Some of our readers are bringing their betters halves (as am I) and the fairer sex will be relieved to know that there are proper, civilized facilities in the club house.
Cost: $20 per person to cover range rental and sundries.