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100 Years On – Caporetto

Austrian and Italian forces had been fighting a bloody stalemate along the Isonzo River for several years by the fall of 1917.  This stalemate was broken by the 12th Battle of the Isonzo, more commonly called “Caporetto“, when several German divisions joined the Austrians in pushing the Italians back to the Piave River.

After an initial bombardment with hundreds of gas shells and mortars against the Italian lines, German and Austrian forces attacked the Italian positions along the Isonzo.  These initial successes were relatively easy, as many Italian soldiers had been forced to run from the clouds of poison gas from the initial barrage.  German and Austrian forces did not attack on a broad front, but rather rammed a spearhead of infantry down the center of the Italian positions.  This forced defenders on the flanks to give way as reinforcements were used to try to stem the onslaught.   Eventually, the entire Italian army was in flight, only stopping to take up new defensive positions when they reached the Piave, almost 100 kilometers from their original positions.

German and Austrian forces lost 70,000 men in the attack, while the Italians lost 10,000 dead, 30,000 wounded, and a staggering 265,000 taken prisoner.  In addition, thousands of machine guns and artillery pieces were lost in the headlong retreat.

British and French divisions were dispatched to Italy to bolster the new lines, but played no role in stopping the Germans and Austrians as their offensive reached the limit of its logistical support and petered out in front of the Italians’ new lines.  These units, which were needed for fighting in France and Belgium, stayed in Italy for the rest of the war.

Caporetto sent shockwaves through the political and military leadership of Italy.  For years afterward, recriminations about the debacle continued to dog the Italians.


  • OldNFO did an interview about the CalExit anthology yesterday.  Give it a listen!
  • The yearly fight against zombie leaves in the yard has begun.  So far, I’m winning.
  • You can take it as a sign of how good a neighbor I’m trying to be when I spend several hours raking, mowing, and bagging leaves today when there is supposed to be a windstorm followed by rain tonight.
  • Note to self – Paper money will hide very effectively in two inches of leaves.  That is, of course, until you run over it with the lawnmower.
  • Yesterday morning, I was up at about 7:45.  I fed the dogs and cats, made coffee, and put on some quiet music.
    • I had a choice of Vivaldi or John Philip Sousa.
    • Sousa just sounded right.
    • Irish Woman did not agree.
    • She also didn’t like the Chipmunks, which was what I put on after I shut off Sousa.
  • At 6:35 this morning, I was awoken by my darling wife because she and Boo swore they heard someone playing our piano.
    • She is now convinced we have a ghost.
    • I’m convinced this has more to do with John Philip Sousa than it has to do with spectral housemates.
  • Going to the grocery store today was an adventure in observing rude dumbasses.
    • I watched two older ladies having a bit of a tug of war over a box of “Thin Mint” breakfast cereal.
    • A young man, who must be either a raging assbite or legally blind, ran into a young mother with his cart as he was shopping for body wash.
    • I witnessed, and may God strike me down if I lie, a teenage girl spit on her mother in the dairy section.  The fact that the mother did not murder her right then and there tells me a lot about where we are as a society.
  • Reading the news this morning, I was struck by how many people are suddenly experts in light infantry tactics and the JFK assassination.


  • Tom’s Principle of Laundry – The number of loads of laundry done in a household is a geometric progression of the number of people living in that household.
    • The number of socks that need to be mated is a further progression of that function.
    • Don’t even get me started about towels and dishrags.
  • Not sure why this is, but the smell of beef stew meat cooking with good onions in beef broth always makes me feel like I’m home.
  • Looks like we won’t get any color out of our maple trees this year.  The leaves are going from green to yellow to brown and falling off in less than 24 hours.
  • Some folks never seem to realize that you can’t threaten someone with consequences they do not care about.
    • “I won’t vote for your candidate in the next election!”  Were you going to vote for them in the first place?
    • “I won’t support your bill in Congress!” When have you ever been brave enough to break from your party?
    • “I’ll never support your cause!”  Oh, like you really cared about free speech and gun rights to begin with?
    • “I’ll walk away from these negotiations!”  OK, we can walk away too, with all of our money.
    • “If you don’t continue to pay me to breathe, I’ll hold my breath until I turn blue!”  That’s been done.  Have you considered aubergine?
  • It’s amazing how many people want me to care more about their business than they do.
  • “Make them say ‘no’ three times” only means that I have an opportunity to fall from “firm, but polite” to “terse” to “rude”.


  • Boo and I went on a hike with his Cub Scout group this morning.  It was a beautiful morning, with lots of stuff for the boys to stop and learn about.
    • We had as many hikers at the end as we did at the beginning, so I’ll call that a success.
  • People who go to the hardware store to wander the aisles are just as infuriating as people who go to the grocery store to wander.
  • There are many times in life where someone asking “Why?” is appropriate and necessary.
    • Most of the past week has not been one of those times, both for me and for other folks in my life.
    • Somedays, I just have to remember that I was not put on this earth to break things down Barney style.
    • Also, as I’ve grown older, I’ve learned that I have to conserve how often I use my crayons to explain things.
  • I went out today to do four errands.  I proudly came home after completing all two of them.


  • The Tomato-Jalapeno jelly tastes really good, but it’s not setting up the way I want it to.  I recanned it with more pectin, and it is a bit thicker.
    • During recanning, between residue and steam, I lost a pint of jelly.  That surprised me.
    • I’ll give it a few days to set up before I declare it a failure.
    • Then again, it might go well with vanilla ice cream.  This requires experimentation!
  • I also made chili sauce from  the tomatoes and peppers we’ve been freezing all summer.
    • The total is 23 quarts of sauce out of two 14 quart batches of fixings.
    • Along with the 22 quarts of pasta sauce I made last month, that should last us until this time next year.
  • Pro-tip – When canning food, make sure the dogs don’t have access to the kitchen.
    • There’s nothing like trying to empty a glass quart jar full of boiling water and having a dog run between your legs.
  • If the rain stops, Boo and I will be pulling what remains of the garden out tomorrow so that we can start mixing mulched leaves into the soil.
    • It’s my hope that all of my kids know how to at least supplement their diets with home-grown vegetables by the time they get to adulthood.
  • I also have a large bag of daffodil bulbs that need planting.  My plan is to eventually have enough bulbs planted that we won’t have to plant flowers every spring.
  • Irish Woman and Boo had a fun weekend down in Florida.  I’m told that Boo performed well as a young wizard, and they both enjoyed a lazy day yesterday swimming around an artificial volcano.
    • From what Irish Woman tells me, it would have been hard to find a virgin in the area much older than Boo had a sacrifice been necessary.
    • Irish Woman’s new term – “Buttkini”.  You figure it out.
  • Boo spent a good portion of his weekend at Hogwarts.  What does he want to watch tonight when I offer him a bonus movie night?  Harry Potter.
  • One of the side benefits of sending the family away for a weekend is being able to watch my movies before 9 PM.
    • Get your mind out of the gutter.


  • Famous Last Words
    • I don’t need to wear rubber gloves when I cut up these jalapenos.
    • Washing my hands will get all the capsaicin off my hands.
    • That’s just nice, clean steam coming out of that boiling pot of tomatoes and peppers.
    • My eyes and sinuses will stop burning in a little while.
  • Irish Woman and Boo are off on an adventure.  Apparently they had to do their O.J. Simpson impression running across an airport to make their connection today.
  • Schedule for me while they are away:
    • Tonight – Jalapeno-Tomato jelly.
    • Friday – Researching walking routes through the Pamir Mountains and the governmental structure of the Parthian and Bactrian Empires. Laundry.
    • Saturday – Chili base and housework.
    • Sunday – Yard Work, cook dinner, and pick up the family.
  • I spent about half my day trying to prove a negative.  I think I may have made a career out of doing that.

Dinner Tonight


1/4 to 1/3 pound leftover beef roast, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
2 cups beef broth
1 cup warm water
1 medium white onion, finely chopped
1 bell pepper, deseeded and finely chopped.
1 jalapeno or serrano pepper, deseeded and coursely chopped.
1 cup pearl barley, dry.
1 1-pound bag of frozen mixed vegetables
Salt and pepper to taste

Combine broth, water, beef, onion, and peppers in a medium saucepan.  Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Turn off heat and add barley.  Allow to steep in broth for 30 minutes.  Prepare mixed vegetables per directions on package, drain and add to soup.  Turn heat back on, low, and bring back to a simmer.

Serve with bread.  Makes two to three servings.

Coming Soon!

While I was at LibertyCon this year, OldNFO mentioned that he was considering expanding his short work “The Morning The Earth Shook” into a compilation of short stories about CalExit.  For those of you with a healthy, full life away from the ugliness of politics, CalExit is the movement to take California out of the Union and stand it up as its own country.

So, as I sat in a dark theater watching a panel, an idea got to me, and I started sketching it out.  Once I had it lined out and drafted, I sent it along to Jim, and it’s going to be included in his anthology.


Seeing the works of the other authors in this, I’m humbled to be included.  Jim says that he expects for it to be ready for publishing in a few weeks.  I’ll keep y’all updated.


DaddyBear's Den

20 years ago, American warriors were fighting for their lives, cut off and low on ammunition, food, and water.  Some were already dead; others would die from their wounds before a relief column could get to them.  18 Americans would die in the dust of Mogadishu on October 3 and 4, 1993.  The bodies of heroes Randall Shughart and Gary Gordon were drug through the streets as trophies, and western press obligingly flashed images of the macabre parade for all to see.

In honoring these men, we need to reflect on what we should learn from their sacrifice.  Mogadishu should have been a wake-up call.  Our opponents are not civilized nations, such as Germany or the U.S.S.R.  We are facing, for the most part, a poorly trained, but highly motivated, mob of barbarians.  They will give us no quarter, yet will use our own willingness to offer it as a…

View original post 302 more words


  • My morning started with my youngest son walking around the house in his underwear singing “One eyed, one horned, flying purple people eater”.
    • I’d blame it on his mother, but I distinctly remember being that age and walking around my house, in my underwear, clucking out “In the Mood” with my brothers like the chickens on the Muppet Show.
  • Let’s say you have 50 tasks, which are somewhat related to each other in a couple of ways.  If you do a little analysis, you can group them into either ten batches of five or five batches of ten.
    • My co-workers gave me 50 batches of 1.
  • It’s amazing how quickly somebody stops complaining about something when you point out that they are the ones who created said problem in the first place.
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