Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Texas, amirite?

Dwight emails news from the Lone Star State:

Deputies with the Harris County Sheriff’s Office say a homeowner shot a man suspected of peeping and inappropriately touching himself outside of his 10-year-old daughter’s window.


“She looks over at the window and this guy is at her window,” the girl’s mother, who does not want to be identified, told KPRC 2. “I can’t say that he tried to take my daughter’s innocence away -- he took my daughter’s innocence away.”

This mother heard her daughter scream and she and her husband rushed out of the house with guns to confront the man. They are both licensed handgun carriers.


The couple followed the man to the Valero gas station across the street. As the 10-year-old’s father went inside to tell the clerk to call 911, his wife stayed outside with the suspect.

“He is wrestling with me, with my gun, and I’m like, ‘I’m not going to let you get my gun, you are not going to kill me or shoot me,’” she said. “My husband just said he heard a ‘ca, ca,’ but by that time the guy had already grabbed me, got my gun and pulled it on myself.”

That is when the woman said her husband shot the man. 

Now IANAL, and think that justice was served here, even if it was rough justice.  Actually rough justice might be exactly what this sort of situation calls for.  But Miguel questions whether this is a deadly force situation.  It seems to me (remember IANAL) that the parents escalated the situation that resulted in gunfire.  Like Miguel, I hope that no charges will be brought.

But everyone should remember that a CCW permit is not a Justice League membership card.

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Regarding the Miami Beach building disaster

OldNFO has some pertinent info on rescue.  He's been trained in this sort of thing and offers background info.

DiveMedic also has an excellent post about this, from the perspective of a trained Search and Rescue paramedic.

Both are pessimistic on the chance of more survivors.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Weather forecast: Hot, hot, hot!

Just remember: fourteen states set high temperature records in July and August of 1934.  Two states have set high temperature records in the last ten years (while three set low temperature records in the same period).

My forecast: no new state wide high records will be set in the next month, despite all the excited chatter that you'll hear.

But that doesn't change the fact that it will be hot, hot, hot.  Hey Bustah!

Sunday, June 27, 2021


Why did the banana put sunscreen on?

It was starting to peel. 

Turn, turn, turn 4.0

I made Christmas ornaments on the lathe today.  Need to paint them Christmasy colors, but it was interesting to make round shapes, and long pointy shapes.

The points originally pointed towards each other, as part of a single piece of wood.  When I cut them apart I used the table belt sander to point them off.  I also have to screw eye hooks into the top (once they're painted).  Then I can hang them.

My neighbor is a very good teacher for turning wood, and the local wood shop is outstanding.  I have to say that this is a lot of fun.

Classical music in cartoons

I post frequently about how classical music has fled the wasteland that is the concert hall and taken up residence in Hollywood.  For a brief, glorious period it also showed up in children's cartoons.  I grew up n these, and dare say that some of our readers did as well.

Most famous were the Bugs Bunny cartoons like "The Rabbit of Seville".  But this adaptation of Franz Liszt's Hungarian Rhapsody is very entertaining.

I posted a couple years back about how Franz Liszt was bigger than The Beatles, back in the 1840s.  Big enough to get into cartoons.

Saturday, June 26, 2021


Why was Karl Marx teased by his classmates in grammar class?

He couldn't capitalize. 

Friday, June 25, 2021

Did you ever want a Broomhandle Mauser?

While I haven't shot one, I have seen one in person at the first New England Blogshoot many moons ago.  It's pretty cool.

Well, if you want to get one, Dwight found where you can find it

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Who was the last Roman Emperor?

Yesterday's post about Roman numbers didn't quite scratch my Pedantic itch, so here's another.  One of the really interesting things about history is that there are multiple answers to most questions, even questions that seemingly are straight forward.  I mean, the Roman Empire existed, and was ruled by an Emperor.  At some point, the Empire no longer existed and so there must have been a last Emperor, right?

Simple.  Except maybe not so much.  Let's look at things.

Romulus Augustulus.  The traditional date for the fall of the Roman Empire is 476 AD when the barbarian chief Odoacer deposed the boy Emperor Romulus Agustulus (the "Little Augustus").  That's his face on the coin here.  Romulus seems to have been pensioned off to an estate in Campania (south of Rome) where he lived out the rest of his days in peaceful obscurity.  Compared to the violent end that most Emperors had met for the better part of a century, we can imagine his gratitude at his good fortune.

But things are never as simple as this.  Romulus' dad was the general Orestes, who had chased off the previous Emperor, Julius Nepos.

Julius Nepos.  Nepos is typically listed as the penultimate Emperor, being deposed in 474 AD.  But he fled to the Adriatic coast of what is now Croatia, where he lived on, plotting his return to power.  This was inconvenient to Odoacer (to say the least), and so Nepos was assassinated in 480 AD, ending the line of Roman Emperors.

Or did it?  Odoacer packaged up the Imperial Regalia (crown, robes, etc) and sent it to the Emperor Zeno in Constantinople along with a note saying basically that the West didn't need a new Emperor and that Odoacer would govern the West in Zeno's name.

I hear some of you muttering about what the heck "Emperor Zeno" was.  Well, he was a Roman Emperor.  You see, after the death of Emperor Theodosius the Great in 395 AD, the Empire was divided in two.  One part was the western provinces that we just saw fall to barbarians, but the eastern half kept on as a going concern.  In fact, it kept on going for another thousand years until Constantinople fell to the Ottoman Turks.  This is a lot better argument for the real last Roman Emperor.

Constantine XI.  There really wasn't much left of the Roman Empire by the 1400s.  While the Romans were famous for their ability to take a punch, they had taken a lot of punches in the 1000 years since Romulus Augustulus.  Constantinople was the best fortified city in the world but the times were changing.  The Turks had cannon which were new, and among these cannon was the biggest ever constructed up until that date.  The cannon battered the famous Theodosian Walls of the city until big gaps were punched in them, and then a massive Ottoman army swept the few defenders - including Constantine - away.  This was essentially the end of the Empire, as the Ottomans replaced Roman law with their own law codes, and Roman social structures with their own.

If you really pinned me down, I'd say that Constantine XI was the last person who was indisputably Roman Emperor.  But there is an Honorable Mention category for the Eastern Roman Empire, just like Julius Nepos gets honorable mention for the west.

David Komnenos, Emperor of Trebizond.  When Constantinople fell to the Ottomans in 1453, little slivers of the Roman Empire still remained free.  The one of these that lasted the longest was the Empire of Trebizond (a city on the southern coast of the Black Sea).  This was ruled by David Komnenos, a descendent of the Komnenos family who had been Emperors 300 years previously.

But there was no standing up to the Ottomans, or their cannons.  Trebizond fell in 1461 AD, and David got pensioned off (like Romulus Augustulus) to an estate in Adrinople.  Unlike Romulus, he didn't end his days in peaceful obscurity, but was rather executed for a plot against the Ottoman Sultan in 1463.  And so passed the line of Roman Emperors for good.

Err, or not.

Andreas Palaiologos.  One of those slivers of the Empire that briefly survived the fall of Constantinople was the Despotate of Morea in Greece.  It was ruled by the nephew of Constantine XI until it was swallowed by the Ottoman Empire in 1460 AD.  The son of its ruled (and the grand-nephew of Constantine XI) was Andreas Palaiologos, who fled to Italy.  He styled himself the "Emperor of Constantinople" by blood descent - although of course he had no Roman lands and more or less bummed a living from the Great and the Good of Italy.  He ended up selling his rights to the Roman throne to French King Charles VIII in 1494 which ends our story with a whimper rather than with a bang.

But we're still not (quite) done, although by now we're well into the obscure.

When the Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II conquered Constantinople, he took not just the Roman lands but the Roman title as well.  He styled himself not just Sultan, but also Kayser-i Rûm (Caesar of the Romans).  The Ottoman Empire was a true empire; rather than a nation-state of a single people like we are used to today, it was an empire of many peoples ruled over by a Sultan.  The Ottomans had a Millet system where individual subject peoples were allowed their own court system (limited self rule for day to day activities).  Their former Roman subjects were part of the Millet-i Rûm (Roman Millet) and the Sultan was the Caesar that ruled over the.  Looked at this way, the Ottoman Sultans were the Roman Emperors, by right of conquest.  

This is actually not as dumb as it sounds.  The Romans had changes of location, language, and religion before.  The old Italian Emperors who spoke Latin and who worshiped Jupiter, Greatest and Best gave way to eastern Emperors who spoke Greek and worshiped Kristos Pantokrator under the Orthodox Rite.  A Turkish speaking Emperor who worships Allah isn't really much different.  Which would lead us to the last Roman Emperor.

Mehmed VI.  This is a photograph of a Roman Emperor (well, at least under this pretty obscure view).  Mehmet VI was the last Ottoman Sultan who ruled until 1922 - only 99 years ago.  He was deposed by Ataturk and lived out his days on the Italian Riviera, dying in 1926; maybe this fate wasn't so different from little Romulus Augustulus.  He did have a son who outlived him (Şehzade Mehmed Ertuğrul, who died in 1944, but nobody seems to have considered him a pretender to the throne, so we can just wrap this up here.

I'm pretty fascinated at the idea of the Roman Empire lasting in one form or another all the way to the 20th Century.  Certainly some of the inhabitants of land that was annexed into the Greek Kingdom in the first decade of the 20th Century considered themselves not Greek, but Roman i.e. subjects of the Millet-i Rûm.  That would make Rome a going concern for around 2500 years.

Yeah, they could take a punch.

UPDATE 25 June 2021 10:24:  Toirdhealbheach Beucail leaves a comment pointing to the Principality of Theodoro in the Crimea which held on until 1475 AD.  This would make its Prince Alexander the claimant for last Emperor, rather than David Komnenos.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Dad Joke LXXXXI, and a digression on Roman Numerals

What word is always spelled wrong?


And now the digression.  A couple folks left comments to the last Dad Joke pointing out that I used an unusual formulation for the number 90 - this is typically written XC, using what is called "Subtractive Notation".  Here, the ten ("X") is subtracted from the hundred ("C") to denote 90.

However, the Romans were not consistent in how they represented numbers, and there were alternate methods.  I used "Additive Notation" where each ten ("X") is added to the fifty ("L"): 50 + 10 + 10 + 10 + 10 = 90.

There are a bunch of examples of additive notation - Gate 5 on the Colosseum is labeled "IIIII" instead of "V".  To add to the confusion, Roman inscriptions often use both notations - on the Colosseum, Gate 44 is labeled "XLIIII".

And it wasn't just Romans who did this, either.  Here's London's Admiralty Arch.  1910 is represented here using additive notation instead of the more typical subtractive (MDMX):

And this discussion doesn't touch of the really weird and obscure ways of constructing numbers.  To close out a really, really pedantic discussion, I'll end by pointing out that Microsoft Excel has a function to make Roman numbers for you.  ROMAN ( ) will convert your number to roman notation using one of five different notations, so 499 can be representer as CDXCIX, LDVLIV, XDIX, VDIV, or ID.

Like I said, things get really weird, like the 22nd Legion using "IIXX" which caused confusion that we've seen in inscriptions (the stonemason was apparently an educated man and "corrected" the number to "XVIII".  If you want to read about something really weird today, the Wikipedia article will take you down the pedantic rabbit hole.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Security Smorgasbord, vol. 13 no. 2

Here's a collection of security news I found interesting (and horrifying).

US nuclear weapon bunker security secrets spill from online flashcards since 2013

Details of some US nuclear missile bunkers in Europe, which contain live warheads, along with secret codewords used by guards to signal that they’re being threatened by enemies, were exposed for nearly a decade through online flashcards used for education, but which were left publicly available.

The astonishing security blunder was revealed by investigative journalism website Bellingcat, which described what it found after “simply searching online for terms publicly known to be associated with nuclear weapons.”

The flashcards “detail intricate security details and protocols such as the positions of cameras, the frequency of patrols around the vaults, secret duress words that signal when a guard is being threatened and the unique identifiers that a restricted area badge needs to have,” Bellingcat reported.

No doubt the education battalion was up to date on gender pronoun policy, though.

Food giant JBS Foods shuts down production after cyberattack

JBS Foods, a leading food company and the largest meat producer globally, had to shut down production at multiple sites worldwide following a cyberattack.

The incident impacted multiple JBS production facilities worldwide over the weekend, including those from the United States, Australia, and Canada.

JBS is currently the world's largest beef and poultry producer and the second-largest global pork producer, with operations in the United States, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and more.

This story is a little old but underlines the importance of having food on hand for potentially extended emergencies.  Which leads us to the next item ...

How Cyber Safe is Your Drinking Water Supply?

(Spoiler alert: not very)

The Water Sector Coordinating Council surveyed roughly 600 employees of water and wastewater treatment facilities nationwide, and found 37.9 percent of utilities have identified all IT-networked assets, with an additional 21.7 percent working toward that goal.

The Council found when it comes to IT systems tied to “operational technology” (OT) — systems responsible for monitoring and controlling the industrial operation of these utilities and their safety features — just 30.5 percent had identified all OT-networked assets, with an additional 22.5 percent working to do so.

“Identifying IT and OT assets is a critical first step in improving cybersecurity,” the report concluded. “An organization cannot protect what it cannot see.”

It’s also hard to see threats you’re not looking for: 67.9 percent of water systems reported no IT security incidents in the last 12 months, a somewhat unlikely scenario.

Security in the water purification infrastructure isn't an afterthought - it hasn't been thought of at all.  You should have a plan for a week with no water, and you really should have a plan for two weeks with no water.  Err, and food.

The Army wants to be sure teleworkers aren’t letting smart devices in their home listen in on any government work.

In a May 25 memo, Army CIO Raj G. Iyer laid out mandatory procedures remote workers must use to mitigate leaks of official government information. They apply to all military components, civilian employees and contractors.

Effective immediately, the memo states, the remote work environment for all approved teleworkers must free of internet-of-things devices. That includes more than 70 types of devices, from Bluetooth speakers, fitness trackers, smart kitchen appliances, TVs and gaming consoles and home security systems. The memo makes particular mention of personal home assistants – like Alexa and Siri -- from Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple and others. 

Well, yeah for sure.  Alexa, are you listening to secret nuclear missile training?

And here's some (rare) good news: City of Tulsa thwarts ransomware attack

Most residents of Tulsa are being prevented from paying their water bills after the city shut down its computer network as a security measure following an attempted ransomware attack, a city official said Friday.

The attempted breach was stopped before any personal data was accessed, city spokesman Carson Colvin said. Tulsa detected malware in its network May 6 and immediately started shutting it down to prevent hackers from accessing anything sensitive.

“It didn’t get far enough into the system to get personal data,” Colvin said.

The primary effect of the shutdown — which could last from several more days to about a month — is payment for city water services, either online or in person, because the city cannot process credit or debit cards with computers inoperable.

Residents will have five days after online payments are again possible to pay their bills without penalty, Colvin said.

The city said Thursday that police and fire responses continue, but issues such as uploading police body cameras are slowed because of the computer shutdown.

Mayor G.T. Bynum on Thursday said the hackers told the city to pay a ransom or else it would publicize that it had broken into the network, but Bynum said Tulsa didn’t pay and instead announced the breach on its own.

Well, mostly good news.  Well done, Tulsa.  Oh, and you know what also is great to have after a Ransomware attack?  Good backups.

Monday, June 21, 2021


ASM826 put a new quote up on this blog's header:

Tho’ much is taken, much abides; and though We are not now that strength which in old days Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield. 
- Alfred Lord Tennyson

This is from Tennyson's poem "Ulysses" and is one of his three most famous pieces.  Here is Sir John Gielgud reciting the prose that graces our header:

This was a great series of commercials by UBS, back in the late 1990s.  I very much doubt that anything like it would be funded by any current Marketing department, which explains the wretched state of modern marketing.

The poem is about the character Ulysses, from Homer's The Odyssey.  There's much to be said about this piece but I'll just leave it at if you like Kipling, this is a more refined Kipling.  Not for nothing was Tennyson Queen Victoria's favorite poet and the first writer ever to be raised to the peerage.

Interestingly, Tennyson was one of the first to have his voice recorded.  In the 1880s, Thomas Edison sent a crew to Europe to record the voices of the Great and the Good, (Tennyson among them) on wax cylinders.  I have a recording of the author reading his poem below.

One of his other two most famous works is "The Charge of the Light Brigade" which was brilliantly used in the film "The Blind Side":

I imagine that some of our readers could quote much of this from memory.  And here is Tennyson on Edison's wax cylinder reading the poem:

The third of his three most famous works is from an obscurely named poem, "In Memoriam A.H.H." which Tennyson wrote on the death of his best friend.  It became The Widow Of Windsor's favorite poem on the death of her beloved Prince Albert.  And while the name of the poem is obscure, I expect many of our readers could recite this verse from heart:

I hold it true, whate'er befall;
I feel it when I sorrow most;
'Tis better to have loved and lost
Than never to have loved at all.

It also popularized the phrase "Nature, red in tooth and claw".  It is an extraordinary poem, and I say that as one who doesn't much care for poetry.  You don't get to be Poet Laureate for 40 years without writing some good stuff.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Dad Joke LXXXX

Did you know that if you flip a canoe over you can wear it as a hat?

Of course.  It becomes cap-sized.

(Hat tip: The Queen Of The World, so blame her) 


Update: From a trip to the coast some years ago. We were launching the canoe for an evening paddle.


Elvie Shane - My Boy

Tomorrow is Father's Day.  There's a different take on this day than on Mother's Day, because there's a different take on fathers than on mothers.  The ideal of motherhood is unconditional love and nurturing; a common view of fatherhood is discipline.

As Robert Frost said, You don't have to deserve your mother's love, but you have to earn your father's.  That's a harsh way of stating the difference.  That view is as common as it is unfair.

Some men step up to that unconditional love, even when they still provide that discipline that children need.  Nowhere do you see this more clearly than with Step Fathers who raise their step children as their own.

My Son-In-Law the Chief is one of these men.  He loves his step kids like they were his own flesh and blood.  Quite frankly, this made a big impression on me when I first met him.  He's a good man.  Yeah, there's a country music song for him, written by a Step Dad.

My Boy (Songwriters: Elvie Shane, Russell Sutton, Lee Star and Nick Columbia)
He ain't got my smile, that don't bother me a bit
He's got somebody else's eyes I'm seeing myself in
I'm holding on to every moment, God knows I've missed a few
The day we met I knew I had some catching up to do

He ain't my blood, ain't got my name
But if he did, I'd feel the same
I wasn't there for his first steps
But I ain't missed a ball game yet
And that ain't ever gonna change
I could never walk away
Yeah, he's my son and that's my choice
He ain't my blood but he's my, he's my boy

It hit me like a train, the first time he called me dad
In a three stick figure crayon picture with all of us holding hands
His mama said, "I understand if it's too soon for this"
I didn't let her finish, I took it to the kitchen and I stuck it on the fridge, yeah

He ain't my blood, ain't got my name
But if he did, I'd feel the same
I wasn't there for his first steps
But I ain't missed a ball game yet
And that ain't ever gonna change
I could never walk away
Yeah, he's my son and that's my choice
He ain't my blood but he's my, he's my boy

He's Saturday morning cartoons
He's "Hey, can I sleep in your room?"
He's bigger than the plans I had
He's making me a better man

He ain't my blood, ain't got my name
But if he did, I'd feel the same
I wasn't there for his first steps
But I ain't missed a ball game yet
And that ain't ever gonna change
I could never walk away
Yeah, he's my son and that's my choice
He ain't my blood but he's my, he's my boy
Yeah, he's my, he's my boy


Thursday, June 17, 2021

Best Governor in the Republic

Ron DeSantis is sending Florida Law Enforcement to help police the border in Arizona and Texas:

Gov. Ron DeSantis pledged to send Florida law enforcement to the southern border in response to calls for help from Texas and Arizona as they try to manage the record-breaking number flow of migrants.

Florida law enforcement officials including Highway Patrol, nine different sheriff’s departments, and members of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, will travel to the southernmost counties of Texas and Arizona to secure the border. 

Boy, he's making the current Administration in Washington D.C. look pretty useless.


One thing about living in Southwest Florida is that people come here from all over.  At the dog park this morning I was talking to one of the other owners who works at a very high end resort on the beach.  She said two things that were very interesting:

  1. Even though we're past High Season, they are packed.  There's a high proportion of folks from Michigan, and a bunch are down here house hunting.  The common thread is that they're all sick of the Governor there and are looking to get out.  These are all high income types - the ones who can pay $6,000+ for a week at the beach.
  2. One of the guests she was talking to is a doctor at a big Pennsylvania hospital.  He said that there are 40 babies in the NICU, and the prognosis for all of them is poor.  The common thread was that their mothers all got vaccinated.  He says that the Press won't touch this story but he hears from doctor buddies elsewhere that they see this too.

So California is facing another drought this year.  What the stories you will read in the Press won't tell you is that the California State Water Board is draining the reservoirs.  Why?  To "restore the fish".  Here's a quote you won't run across on CNN:

“In the last 14 days, 90% of Delta inflow went to sea. It’s equal to a year’s supply of water for 1 million people.#ManMadeDrought,” Central Valley farmer Kristi Diener said.

Will the last taxpayer to leave California please turn out the lights?  We're trying to be Green ...

Lastly (and probably most importantly), if you stop by Glen Filthie's place you might want to pass on the brownies ...

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

You're on your own

The neighbor who has been teaching me to turn wood had a fall yesterday.  He's in his '80s and has Parkinson's so this wasn't a big surprise.  He called us and I went over.  The problem was that his legs were tangled up and I couldn't get him up by myself.  The other guy who he calls to help was away from home, so we called 9-1-1.

We called 9-1-1 four times.  The first three got a recording that "all operators are busy" and to stay on the line (we got disconnected each time).  Finally we got through and the Paramedics took him to the hospital.

This got me thinking about what happens if the Electric Boogaloo comes - you'll be on your own.  You should think about what your plan for emergency first aid will be.  Probably there are some classes that are available, maybe at the local community college.  I need to think about what those might be.

But the bottom line is that if the Electric Boogaloo comes, my neighbor is probably a gonner.  He won't be the only one.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Dad joke LXXXIX

Why did the snowman name his dog "Frost"?

Because he bites. 

Turn, turn, turn 3.0

FredLewers asked a question on my last postWhat kind of wax are you using?

I'm using Iddo Kimball's Wood Rub.  You can apply it while your piece is still on the lathe, after sanding.  The heat from the friction with the cloth melts the wax into the wood.

I don't have any relationship with the vendor, but my teacher thinks it works well.  It is so far.

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Turn, turn, turn 2.0


Le bol est finis.  I added a thin coat of wax and am hoping that the South Florida heat on the lenai will melt it in a bit.

We have a bunch of blanks that we got this weekend.  I need to figure out the next project (either a slightly personal salad bowl, or a much bigger family salad bowl).  And to OldNFO comment - there was a metric ton of wood shavings.  the bowl started as a square blank and so I had to round it off.  The blanks we got this weekend are round so there should (hopefully) be less cleanup.

Oh, and if you're into wood turning, I can recommend Steve Parker's Wood Turning Blanks web site.  

Turn, turn, turn

I have a neighbor who has a lathe, and who is teaching me to turn wood.  Here's my first effort - a candlestick:

Today I'm going to try to make a bowl.  It's an interesting process, and makes a HUGE amount of sawduct and wood shavings.

Friday, June 11, 2021


I used to have a job digging tunnels under ground.  It was really boring. 

Quote of the Day: Tailgunner edition

Tam has a very interesting post about jet bomber tail gunners:

The number of gun kills from defensive gun positions on jet bombers is truly tiny. More dudes have driven dune buggies on the moon than have scored a confirmed gun kill from a jet bomber.

Go read the whole thing that starts in 1916 and ends in the Vietnam war.  And a scan of the Borepatch archives looking for something else turns up this comment from Aesop about when Hollywood stars weren't a lot of dirty traitors:

Was doing an Internet wander the other day. Cary Grant's WWII service consisted of making movies, like Destination: Tokyo, about a US submarine tasked with infiltrating Tokyo Bay to secure weather and other data for the upcoming Doolittle B-25 raid. He later made Operation: Petticoat, in a somewhat lighter vein, and the boat used in several scenes during the movie, made in Key West in 1958 was the Archerfish. There was a picture of the Archerfish tied up alongside several other boats in Tokyo Bay for the WWII Surrender Ceremony, alongside the sub tender Balao. Serving aboard the Balao was one Seaman Bernard Schwarz. You might know him as Tony Curtis. The next time Curtis, Grant, and Archerfish were together was making Operation Petticoat.

Lee Marvin earned his Purple Heart for taking a 7.7 round through the butt offshore from Saipan, and was later shot again in the foot.

At a prior invasion at Tarawa, a former coast guardsman later commissioned a Lt j.g. in the Navy won a Bronze Star with combat "V" for using his landing craft to pick up a total of 47 Marines while under intense shore fire, in the surrounding waters from sunk or grounded landing craft. His name Was Eddie Albert, from Green Acres, The Longest Day, and The Longest Yard.

Jimmy Stewart, originally joined the Army Air Corps as a private. Taking additional flying lessons (he was already a rated pilot before the war) at his own expense, he was discharged to accept a commission, eventually working his way up to a full colonel and wing commander of a B-24 wing. While in command of that wing, one of the men under his command was a young radio operator, eventually staff sergeant, named Walter Matthau.

Ermes Borgnino did 10 years' service in the Navy starting in 1935, leaving as a gunner's mate first class. You know him as Ernest Borgnine, Academy Award winner, commander of the PT 73, and Lee Marvin's commanding general in The Dirty Dozen.

The PITA colonel who kept trying to bust Lee Marvin and his unit in Dirty Dozen was Robert Ryan, who in real life had been a Marine Corps drill instructor at Camp Pendleton during WWII. Marvin had been previously busted down from corporal for being a screw-up; Ryan was in all probability a sergeant when he was discharged.

David Niven had graduated from Sandhurst (the British version of West Point), resigned his commission and left the military to become an actor, but returned to Britain once war broke out to serve as an infantry and later a commando officer during WWII. One of his best and lifelong friends, assigned as his batman, which was the only way a Lt. Col. and a private could be seen together in the British Army, was Private Peter Ustinov.

Victor McLaglen, 1935 Academy Award winner, and frequent sidekick with and the other half of the epic fight with John Wayne in The Quiet Man, had served twice in the British Army, first as a member of the Guards Regiment at Windsor Castle, until he was kicked out because he'd only been 14 years old when he enlisted trying to get into the Boer War. He re-enlisted (legally) when WWI broke out, and served as an infantry Captain in the Middlesex Regiment with service in the trenches of France and the Middle East. At one point he was also heavyweight boxing champion of the British Army, and between his illegal and legal enlistments, he was a boxer, wrestler, and Winnipeg police constable in Canada.

Don Rickles made it to seamen first class in 2 years' service on a torpedo boat tender during the war. Just after WWII, Gavin Macleod, from Love Boat, Operation Petticoat, Pork Chop Hill, The Sand Pebbles, and the always-negative-waves Moriarity in Kelly's Heroes, was serving his time enlisted in the Air Force band. 

That's just off the top of my head. They were all better men than the current crop of pampered Hollywood princes, and made of much sterner stuff.

But the all-time best WWII war story was delivered by WWII USAAC fighter pilot and flight instructor George Gobel, who never left Oklahoma during the war, and pointed out to Johnny Carson, Bob Hope, and Dean Martin, that that's where they must have needed him , and reminded everyone that while he served there, "there was not one Jap aircraft got past Tulsa, and we didn't even have guns in our aircraft".

And never forget that Christopher Lee was The Real Most Interesting Man In The World.  And when I say he was the most interesting man in the world, I mean Chuck Norris shut up and listened when Christopher Lee spoke.  Men strode the Earth in those days.

Tagged badass because, well, you know.  And that applies to Frederick Libby, SSgt Sam Turner, Jimmy Stewart, Lee Marvin, Eddie Albert, David Niven, and Sir Christopher.

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Why voting no longer matters

You look at the destructive policies that are being put in place and wonder what on earth the left is up to.  Places that have the most "progressive" governments are instituting profoundly anti-progressive policies, like eliminating advanced math courses in public schools, or eliminating charter schools.  Both of these benefit middle class or working class students - the elites, of course, send their kids to private schools.  You could as easily use the example of unions losing good paying jobs when pipelines and oil drilling permits are canceled.

So what gives?  I mean, it's obvious that these policies are destructive to income equality.  J.Kb has a very interesting angle on what is driving the insanity:

The elites love, above all else, having things and access to things that regular people don’t ...

The point of buying shit like that is the knowledge that people who didn’t go to the right finishing schools and then to Harvard and then do a brokerage firm on Wall Street can’t buy that stuff.

Moreover, what the elite hate more than anything else is that so much of what they had we can have too.


Cellphones and laptops used to be status symbols of the elite.  Think about Gordon Gekko in Wall Street talking on his cellphone in 1987.  By 1997, every middle-class businessman in Miami had a cellphone.  By 2007, cellphones were so ubiquitous that high school kids had cell phones, new homebuyers had given up landlines, and payphones were removed from public places.

Technology had democratized luxury and the elite couldn’t stand it.

Since then, the desire has been not just to own more but to make the rest of us own less ... 

That doesn’t apply to the elite, just to us.

Now add Kurt Schlicter's insight about anti-Trumpism:

The real reason the elite hated Donald Trump was not that he was an ideological conservative (he only sort of was) or that he tweeted mean things (they like mean tweets, just not ones directed at them). It was that Trump identified the failures of “the best and the brightest” and called them out. There is nothing these experts hate more than challenges to the authority they think they deserve.

He drew back the curtain so that everyone could see that the "elites" were anything but elite.  They cannot ever forgive him for that, and thus the rage.

Putting these together, we can see that the elites are furious at the idea that someone could challenge their authority, and determined that this will never happen again.  This is why these anti-progressive policies are being implemented everywhere: it's to tell the "non-elites" that they need to keep their place, or else.  Every Trump voter will be punished, to make sure a Trumpist rebellion never occurs again.  The punishments will be crude, and the cruder the better - to drive home the point of who's on top and who isn't (and won't ever be).

Back in November, I posted about the surprising crudeness of the election fraud:

What is striking about the fraud is the blatant clumsiness on display: the Democrats aren't even trying to hide the fact that they are manufacturing ballots in industrial quantities.  This is really, really interesting, and suggests that their motive is not simply to install their preferred candidate in 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  It suggests that the motivation is deeper, and darker.

Theodore Dalrymple studied Soviet era propaganda - the propaganda targeting not a western audience, but instead the populations of the Warsaw Pact.  He was struck by how crude it was:

In my study of communist societies, I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, not to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control.

I think that this is what they're after - showing the country that they can steal an election and there's nothing that we can do about it.  It comes from the same source that causes cities to remove statues of George Washington.  It's showing who's up and who's down.

The crudeness of it all isn't a bug - it's the primary point to these people, who believe that they have a fundamental right to rule.

The elites are determined that their opponents will be humiliated and impoverished forever.  Never again will they be laughed at by the unwashed masses.  Never again will the masses aspire to the elite's station.  The elites don't mind the masses hating them so long as they fear them.

That's why there will never be a free and fair election in the country again, at least if the elites get their way.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Dad joke LXXXVII

Why is it hard for someone from the south Pacific to sit still?

They are very Fijity. 

The greatest sports photo ever taken

48 years ago, Secretariat cleaned up the competition at the Belmont Stakes.

My opinion is that this is the greatest sports photograph of all time, capturing the essence of the race and the magnitude of victory.  Nobody needs to tell you that this was a record setting race (although it is a record that still stands to this day) - a picture is worth a thousand words.

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Dad joke LXXXVI

What's the difference between a dog and a Marine Biologist? 

One wags a tail and one tags a whale.

Here's why you back up your data

Lawrence has a very good overview of the attack that took down Amazon Web Services.   Him summary really gets to the heart of the risks that we face online:

The modern Internet is decentralized, widely distributed and pretty efficient, but its very decentralized nature means that there are more moving parts to break, and also more attack surfaces for hackers to exploit. Delivering rich content over the Internet (be it text, images, video or shopping) usually involves dozens, if not hundred of software pieces, protocols, companies, etc. for every web page served up. Any of them can go down. Network engineers design in as much redundancy as possible, but there’s only so much you can do. I worked for a company in 2020 whose computer testing lab went down because antifa rioters in Minneapolis physically destroyed a fiber optic cable.

All I can tell you is to keep multiple rotating backups of your most valuable data, because anything that can go wrong eventually will…

Yup.  This is why you back up your data.

Monday, June 7, 2021

This actually makes a lot of sense

Via Sal the Agorist.

Dad joke LXXXV

How many feet are in a yard?

It depends on how many people are standing in it. 

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Maurice Jarre - The Theme to The Longest Day

The Longest Day was an all-star portrayal of D-Day.  And by "all-star" I mean "perhaps the most all-star cast ever" for a film.  It was so all-star that Richard Burton and Roddy McDowell who weren't cast begged to do a cameo - and flew themselves to Normandy on their own dime and did the cameos for no salary.  The actors thought that the upcoming 20th anniversary of the invasion was important enough that the big name actors only took $25,000 each to keep costs down - except for John Wayne who was mad at the director and insisted on his usual fee of $250,000.

"All-star" extended beyond the on-screen talent.  Screenwriting credits included Noel Coward and Erich Maria Remarque (author of "All Quiet On The Western Front").  And the musical score was composed by Maurice Jarre who was to get two Oscar nominations that year - one of which took home the prize: Lawrence of Arabia, which we've seen here before.

The score sounds a bit dated, because audience expectations have changed over the years.  Now the focus is on those who didn't come back, best exemplified by John Williams' Hymn For The Fallen.  Back in 1962 the focus was on the victory, and so the music was much more, well, martial.  But who's to say that they were wrong?  The Second World War was so big that focusing on the win, rather than the enormous number of losses seems a plausible approach to handling the emotions.  And it was this Republic's last war victory; seventy years of losses or draws can change a public's outlook.

Me, I'm willing to defer to the judgement of those who were there at the time.  It was their tribute to those present at that Day of Days.

Saturday, June 5, 2021


I cut my hand chopping cheese, but I think I may have grater problems. 

Federal Judge rules California's Assault Weapon ban unconstitutional

It seems that the Judge believes that the Constitution means what it says.  Pull quote:

Government is not free to impose its own new policy choices on American citizens where constitutional rights are concerned, California may certainly conceive of a policy that a modern rifle is dangerous in the hands of a criminal, and that therefore it is good public policy to keep modern rifles out of the hands of every citizen. The Second Amendment stands as a shield from government imposition of that policy.

 The ruling will take effect on July 4.  The Usual Suspects there say they will appeal.

Alan Jackson - The Older I Get

Long time reader and friend in real life libertyman emails to point out that Alan Jackson has a new album. 

Released last month, it's Jackson's first album in 7 years.  It also marks a milestone: Jackson has released albums in five successive decades ('80s - '20s).  I don't know if that's a record, but I don't know that it isn't.

Jackson needs no introduction unless you don't follow country music, but he's sold 75 million albums, received 2 Grammys and more CMA and ACM awards than you can shake a stick at.  He's been a perennial favorite of people who like the traditional country sound - both The Queen Of The World and I have listened to him for (mumble) decades.  Since I'm still in my prime, I plan to follow his music for more decades.

Quite frankly, it's nice to see this album.  I confess that I'm not a fan of the new Nashville Country Pop that fills the airwaves these days.  Jackson's new album is country music comfort food.

The Older I Get (Songwriters: Adam Wright, Sarah Turner, Hailey Whitters)

The older I get
The more I think
You only get a minute
Better live while you're in it
'Cause it's gone in a blink

And the older I get
The truer it is
It's the people you love
Not the money and stuff
That makes you rich

And if they found a fountain of youth
I wouldn't drink a drop
And that's the truth
Funny how it feels I'm just gettin' to
My best years yet

The older I get
The fewer friends I have
But you don't need a lot
When the ones that you've got
Have always got your back

And the older I get
The better I am
At knowing when to give
And when to just not give a damn

And if they found a fountain of youth
I wouldn't drink a drop
And that's the truth
Funny how it feels I'm just gettin' to
My best years yet
The older I get

And I don't mind all the lines
From all the times
I've laughed and cried
Souvenirs and little signs
Of the life I've lived

The older I get
The longer I pray
I don't know why
I guess that I've got more to say
And the older I get
The more thankful I feel
For the life I've had
And all the life I'm living still

libertyman, thanks for pointing this song out.

Friday, June 4, 2021

Dad joke LXXXIII

I once skipped school to go bungie jumping with some buddies.  We all got suspended. 

Home improvement pro tip

 Although I kind of want one and know people who could do it ...

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Quote of the Day: We're done with your nonsense edition

OldNFO wins the Internets with this:

I never cared about your political affiliation, until you started to condemn me for mine.

I never cared where you were from in this great Republic, until you began condemning people based on where they were born and the history that makes them who they are.

I have never cared if you were well off or poor, because I’ve been both, until you started calling me names for working hard and bettering myself.

I’ve never cared if your beliefs are different than mine – until you said my beliefs are wrong.

I’ve never cared if you don’t like guns, until you tried to take my guns away.

I’ve never cared about race matters, until you called be a racist for being white.

But, now I care.

 There's more.

Dad joke LXXXII

What did the tomato say to his friends when he was running late?

Don't worry, I'll ketchup. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Dad joke LXXXI

England does not have a kidney bank but it does have a Liverpool.