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Blogs Roundup

  • Robb is spreading around some Grade A wisdom.
  • Commander Zero has good advice on figuring out what is enough, and how it varies from person to person and from situation to situation.
  • Kathy reminds us that the Four Rules are there for a reason.  Failure to follow them can lead to tragedy.  She also has some good advice for safely assembling and disassembling during cleaning and maintenance.  I use one of our elevated tomato beds as a backstop when I do mine.
  • Peter has an interesting take on some of the furor over religious-minded people being forced to either provide services to gay couples who wish to get married or go out of business.
  • Joe is trying an interesting experiment.
  • Heroditus Huxley brings a smile to my face on a gray day.

Movie Quotes – Day 294

We gotta get outta here! We gotta get out! I gotta start packing, Your Highness! Only essentials, we gotta travel light. I’ll bring the guns, the weapons, the knives… And uh, how about this picture? I don’t know, I think I’m making a weird face in it… — Aladdin

There’s going to come that time when you have to get out of Dodge quickly.  Maybe it’s a flood or a fire.  It could be civil strife.  Heck, it might be your mama’s fallen and she can’t get up, and you have to get over there to spend a few days helping her out.  But the time to figure out what you need to grab and getting it together is not while you’re warming up the car.  Take time now to figure out what you need, where it is, and how you’re going to pack it.

And no, “I’m going to back up the truck and put the gunsafes and ammo boxes in the bed.” isn’t good enough.

Today’s Earworm

Movie Quotes – Day 293

I was hiding under your porch because I love you. — Up

This morning, I was woken up by a cold nose on my cheek.  No, it wasn’t Irish Woman commencing the annual season of body warmth thievery.  It was Moonshine, who wanted me to know that he was happy I had survived the night.  He wasn’t hungry, nor did he need to go outside.  Girlie Bear takes care of that when she gets up to go to school.  He just wanted me to know that he loved me.

Try and get that from your goldfish.  Heck, even Koshka only checks to make sure I’m breathing when she’s either cold or hungry.

News Roundup

  • From the “Kill It With Fire” Department – A scientist in Guyana recently encountered a rare “Goliath Birdeater” spider.  Apparently when the Lord created South America, he threw in spiders that are a foot in diameter, have bodies the size of a fist, two-inch fangs, and legs that click as they walk.  And people wonder why I prefer tundra to jungle.  I’m not freaked out by creepy crawlies, but when the bite of a spider is described as feeling like a nail has been driven into you, it’s time to nuke the site from orbit.
  • From the “Big Brass Ones” Department – A man in Fresno calmly walked into a burning home and saved one of its occupants the other day.  His name is not in the papers, but I just wanted to join the chorus of voices that sing his praise.  I hope that, if given the same circumstances, I would do the same.
  • From the “Go Figure” Department – A man, who authorities describe as a convicted sex offender, is being called a serial killer after the bodies of seven women have been found and are believed to be his victims.  Details are still coming out, but authorities report that the man admitted to at least three of the killings.  Huh, who would have thunk that a convicted sex offender would go on to do bad things?  If only those who commit despicable things to others could be kept off our streets, permanently.
  • From the “Getting Off Light” Department – A man in Tennessee is being paroled after serving 40 years of a 198 year sentence for a double murder.  It appears that he shot an entertainer when the victim came home and interrupted a burglary, then the murderer chased down and executed the entertainer’s wife in her own front yard.  But, as evidenced by testimony in his latest parole hearing, he feels sorry for what he’s done and the parole board believes that he is no longer a threat to society.  Basically, in exchange for some tools and a couple of guns, this guy killed two good people, at least one of them in cold blood, and he gets to breathe free air again because he says he’s sorry and won’t do it again.  As if I didn’t need another excuse to support the recreation of the American hemp industry.  This is a good case to show that a few feet of good hemp rope will solve a lot of problems.
  • From the “Why We Can’t Have Nice Things” Department – A pumpkin festival in New Hampshire got out of hand when a drunken mob decided to turn pumpkin rolls into automobile rolls.  Authorities are pouring over video of the incident to figure out who was involved and bring them to justice.  Sources tell me that those who are caught and convicted will be put to work cleaning up old, broken jack-o-lanterns and be fed on nothing more than pumpkin spice lattes and old marshmallow pumpkins.  In related news, a pumpkin festival in Pennsylvania climaxed when a 1,200 pound pumpkin was dropped 125 feet onto a truck, crushing it.  As someone who loves watching stuff blow up at Knob Creek, I have to say that I’m interested in the Pennsylvania festival’s take on fall festivities.
  • From the “Welcome Home” Department – The X-37B, an Air Force semi-autonomous drone, has returned from a 22 month flight.  During this deployment, the drone has conducted secret missions for the Department of Defense. Now that it is back at its home base in California, it is being briefed on new regulations on tattoos and piercings, as well as expected reduction in force efforts. Such things may force the UAV to find a job in the private sector, where it hopes to work as a traffic camera for the FOX station in Peoria.  No word yet from the Veterans Administration on whether the necessary repairs to the drone will be covered as “service related.”

Movie Quotes – Day 292

When I come back, I expect to find you gone. Wait for me! — Arsenic and Old Lace

Communication is everything.  Be concise, be thorough, and be understandable.

100 Years On – Kindermord

If you’ve been in the armed forces, I want you to think back to what you and your comrades were like a few weeks into your initial training.  You’ve got some skills, but they’re fresh, shallow, and untested.  You’ve got a lot of enthusiasm, but no experience.  If you’re lucky, you have leadership that’s at least been there and done that.

Now, imagine that one morning you get up, get on a train, and head off.  You’re with friends, some of whom you’ve known all your life. The mood is almost joyous.  This is it!  This is what your weeks of training were for!  You’re off on the adventure of a lifetime.  You get to where you’re going, form up into ranks, and head off.  As you go, you can hear machine guns and artillery ahead of you, but then someone starts singing “Yankee Doodle” or “America the Beautiful”*.  The singing becomes a chorus as the entire unit, then the units on your right and left take up the tune.  Yeah, you’re a little scared, but you’re surrounded by friends, both old and new, and you know that if you stick together, everyone will be OK.  By the time you get to the battle, you’re all cheering and waving your guns in the air.

Then you get in range of the enemy.

Contrary to your training, staying close together and marching straight ahead is getting your friends killed.  Holes are rent in the ranks as machine gunners and the artillery spotters get their range.  Soon, your unit, newly formed from fresh faces that you’ve known all your life, is separated into the quick and the dead, and there are a lot of dead.

By the time this is all over, those that aren’t dead or broken beyond repair are well on their way to being hardened veterans

Just imagine that for a moment.

Now you know what happened when the German leadership threw what they considered their reserves, mostly half-trained recruits and ill-trained reserves, into the First Battle of Ypres.  The Germans sacrificed an entire cohort of recruits and reserves to keep the British and French from turning their strategic flank.

Now, let’s flip that to the other side.  You veterans out there, imagine the professionals you knew in the military.  Like the American, British, and other western armies of today, the British army of 1914 was made up of a generation of skilled, blooded, and professional soldiers.  After Ypres, that army was shattered.

The BEF incurred 56,000 casualties at Ypres, of which 8,000 were dead and almost 18,000 were missing.  Also, consider that while the rest were wounded, a pretty good percentage of those probably never returned to the front.  Remember that their strength at the beginning of the war was a maximum of about 125,000 men, and they had already fought through the meat grinder of the first three months of the war.  In a battle that lasted about a month, they lost almost half their combat strength, and they had already been bloodied at places like Mons, the Marne, and the Aisne.

At its peak, the U.S. Army had about 180,000 soldiers in Iraq. Imagine that in the space of a few months of fighting, that force had lost almost all of its fighting capacity.  Imagine that at Fallujah alone we had lost almost 60,000 soldiers and Marines. Imagine the experience and skills that would have been lost, not only to the fighting force, but also to our ability to lead and train the next generation.  What impact do you think that would have on our ability to fight and to our casualty numbers while their replacements are coming up to speed?

The First Battle of Ypres closed the front to maneuver warfare.  At a terrible cost, the British and French had succeeded in stopping the German juggernaut, rolling it back in places, and keeping it from attacking again.  The Germans had paid an equally horrible butchers bill to take some land and keep the Entente Forces from pushing them away from what they had gained.

What they had all gained was a form of warfare that few, if any, of them knew how to fight. The next four years would be drenched in blood as the British and French tried to push the Germans back across the Rhein, and the Germans tried to hold onto their conquests.

The “Race to the Sea” was over. Now, the real killing would begin.

*Insert patriotic song of your distinct flavor here

Movie Quotes – Day 291

I never liked a girl well enough to give her twelve sharp knives. — Scrooged

Do you trust her with your life?  I don’t mean your beating heart.  I mean your money, your car, your home, and your children.  If he can’t be trusted with the check book, can you trust him with the rest of your life?

Movie Quotes – Day 290

I have no idea to this day what those two Italian ladies were singing about. Truth is, I don’t want to know. Some things are best left unsaid. I’d like to think they were singing about something so beautiful, it can’t be expressed in words, and makes your heart ache because of it. I tell you, those voices soared higher and farther than anybody in a gray place dares to dream. It was like some beautiful bird flapped into our drab little cage and made those walls dissolve away, and for the briefest of moments, every last man in Shawshank felt free. — The Shawshank Redemption

There are some things that are beautiful whether you understand them or not.  You don’t have to understand the interaction of sunlight, atmospheric dust, and clouds to know that a Texas sunset is gorgeous.  You don’t have to be able to explain how the northern lights work in order to be in awe of them.   Sometimes, you just have to accept the beauty.

Today’s Earworm


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