19 Jan 2017

Robert E. Lee’s Birthday

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This photograph was taken in late February-early March 1864 by Julian Vannerson. Lee is shown in the Confederate colonel’s coat he habitually wore and the photograph certainly supports the diarist Mary Chesnut’s description of the General as “cold, quiet and grand.”

Robert Edward Lee, the greatest American military commander of all time, was born January 19, 1807 at Stratford Hall Plantation, Westmoreland County, Virginia.

19 Jan 2017

British Sports Cars

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Old Joke:

Why do the British drink warm beer?

Because Lucas made the refrigerators.

19 Jan 2017

Own Your Own Air Force

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Task and Purpose:

An outfit called Raptor Aviation based in Port St. Lucie, Florida, is unloading 20 light-strike aircraft, upgraded French Fouga CM.170 Magisters, custom built in the 1950s for the Israeli Air Force. Known as the Tzukit, this is the jet fighter the IAF trained its pilots on until 2010, and the model even played a role as close support aircraft in the Six-Day War. The plane has a “single midwing, two cockpits in tandem, three-point landing gear, and V-shaped tail assembly,” according to the listing. It also comes equipped with a liquid oxygen system and an anti-collision feature, which could really come in handy since you probably have no idea how to fly one.

But really, how hard can it be?

The whole lot can be yours for just $200,000.

Admittedly, these planes have seen better days. But the lot comes with a ton of spare parts. A little tune up and you’re good to go.

Think about it. No more sitting in traffic, dreaming of running down protesters. No more flying commercial with all those crying babies, obese seatmates, shoe bombers, crazy-flight attendants, and all the other rabble. Need a little vacay? Pop over to the Vineyard or the British Virgin Islands, and bring a friend (there’s two cockpits!). And for anyone thinking of seceding from the United States, a fleet of fighter jets is sort of a must.

So forget the fishing boat. This is your destiny. They call you “Maverick” — wild, dangerous, unpredictable, arrogant. You fly by the seat of your pants. There’s a bandit on your tail. You’re on a highway to the danger zone, and Kelly Mcgillis won’t leave you alone. As long as your ego isn’t writing checks your body can’t cash, you’ll have nothing but clear skies ahead.

Read the whole thing.

19 Jan 2017

Avalanche Buries Spa Hotel in Central Italy

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Some News Service:

PENNE, Italy (AP) — Rescue workers on skis reached a four-star spa hotel buried by an avalanche in earthquake-stricken central Italy Thursday, reporting no sign of life in the building even though two survivors found outside said more than 30 people had been in it when the snow struck.

As heavy vehicles tried to reach the Hotel Rigopiano to help with the rescue, criticism mounted over the response to the four quakes, one a magnitude 5.7, and days of unusually heavy snowfall that have blanketed the region. Accounts emerged of hotel guests messaging rescuers and friends for help Wednesday, with at least one attempt at raising the alarm rebuffed for several hours.

“Help, we’re dying of cold,” one couple wrote rescuers from the hotel, according to the ANSA news agency. …

When rescuers on skis arrived in the early morning hours of Thursday, they found just two people alive: Parete and another guest, Fabio Salzetta. There were no other signs of life, according to a video of the interior shot by rescue crews.

Salzetta had also sent a message out: “Some walls were knocked down,” Corriere della Sera reported. And: “I’m outside with a maintenance worker but you can’t see anything of the hotel, there’s only a wall of snow in front of me.”

Civil protection authorities said that 30 people were missing. ANSA quoted a rescuer as saying that there were fatalities, but details weren’t immediately available. Just one body was reported removed from the hotel by late morning Thursday.

18 Jan 2017

The Left Needs Trump

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18 Jan 2017

45 Years Later

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18 Jan 2017

Yasujiro Ozu (1903-1963)

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18 Jan 2017

Job Opportunity

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Telegraph:

An extremely rare job opportunity has opened for a hermit in a stunningly beautiful cloister perched on a cliff in Austria.

But the successful applicant for the unpaid position must be prepared to live without electricity, running water, or the internet, and must be able to cope with the possibility of being shot by a jealous local.

Municipal and Catholic officials in the Austrian town of Saalfelden are looking for someone to live in a nearby hermitage built into steep cliffs characteristic of the Salzburg region that borders on Germany.

Applicants should be independently wealthy or have another job as the parish website says the position does not come with a salary.

And because the 350-year-old hermitage – one of the few such places in Europe that is still in use – is unheated and sits at an altitude of 4,600 feet, it is only inhabitable between April and November.

“There is no classic job description for a hermit,” the parish conceded on its website. Despite the potential hardships, the parish is confident it will find the right man, who according to local priest Alois Moser should be a “a person at peace with himself.”

Father Moser and Saalfelden mayor Erich Rohrmoser will pick the new hermit, who will be chosen more on the basis of personality than on career background.

The job ad did not specify that the future hermit had to be a Roman Catholic, just that he should have a Christian outlook and be ready to greet visiting pilgrims and locals.

A hermit is defined as someone living in solitude as a religious discipline.

But that will not be case in Saalfelden, where the successful candidate will have to greet and listen to the many locals and outsiders who come to appreciate the view from the hermitage and unburden themselves to the resident hermit, the ad explained.

The hermitage has been uninhabited since a Viennese pastor and psychotherapist left last autumn to return to his normal life after just one stint in the job. Before him, a Benedictine monk lived there for more than a decade.

Complete story.

Hat tip to John Brewer.

17 Jan 2017

Protesting is Well-Paying Occupation

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Ads in twenty cities are offering $2500 a month on top of $50 an hour to protest Trump’s inauguration. The advertiser calls itself “Demand Protest.” Federalist Papers.

Who do you suppose is supplying all the money? Soros?

————————————————-

Matt MacLean forwards this strange Tucker Carlson interview story:

Here’s how Tucker Carlson began the interview:

    “This is a sham, your company isn’t real, your website is fake, the claims you have made are lies, this is a hoax. Let me start at the beginning, however, with your name, Dom Tullipso, which is not your real name. It’s a fake name, we ran you through law enforcement-level background checks and that name does not exist. So let’s start out with the truth. Tell me what your real name is.”

Okay, let’s back up a second.

Carlson invited the man identifying himself as Dom Tullipso on his show to talk about this new group that’s popped up called Demand Protest. It says on the site, “When your strategy demands paid protest, we organize and bring it to life.”

A few sites picked up on supposed ads this group was passing around reading “Get paid fighting against Trump!” However, it seems pretty clear this is a hoax.

The back-and-forth between Carlson and “Tullipso” was kind of amazing, and this was the moment when Carlson realized he was witnessing performance art before his very eyes:

    “We are greatly, greatly supportive of national treasures such as Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, and Peyton Manning, and we really support their efforts to really get the truth out there, and in the case of the current client we have right now, uh, that client is, um, very interested in releasing the Roswell papers.”

Oh, and in case you’re wondering if the reference to Peyton Manning instead of Chelsea was a slip-up, he did it again a bit later, after he actually said, “We shifted from being against Trump to Trump about 30 minutes ago.”

But towards the end of the interview, even Carlson’s guest couldn’t help but admit his surprise that he was invited on TV in the first place. After, of course, he said this:

    “We are now supporting Trump in the hope that the Roswell documents from 1947 are finally released and put back into the hands of Fisher Stevens.”

The above linked an earlier story from this from The Verge which contends that the story is a hoax:

According to publicly available who.is information, although demandprotest.com attracted virtually no attention until last week, the domain name was registered last month. Despite having no discernible presence until after the election, the website claims to include an endorsement from an “unnamed” 2016 presidential campaign chair, who allegedly called the group’s work “astonishing.” The page also lists a “copyright” of 2015 to 2017 for Demand Protest, LLC., and claims to have been extraordinarily busy in that time, racking up 48 “campaigns” with 1,817 paid “operatives.” Phone contact information leads to a dead-end voicemail box, and the group did not respond to an email.

The story gained traction yesterday, and was picked up by conspiracy website Infowars — where, even then, it was met with some skepticism. (“It’s unclear if the DemandProtest.com website is actually legitimate,” the site’s story says.) Still, other conservative-leaning websites with reputations for inaccuracy have joined in. “BREAKING: Far Left Group Is Paying Activists a Monthly Salary to Stop TRUMP,” the Gateway Pundit blog blared.

Deeply weird. It is still entirely unclear what “Dom Tullipso” and “Demand ProtesT” are all about, but it seems clear that they are not a subsidiary of MoveOn.org.

17 Jan 2017

Application Essay That Won Entry to Five Ivy League Schools and Stanford

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Last Spring, Business Insider shared the application essay from young Brittany Stinson which got her admitted to Yale, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Dartmouth, Cornell, and Stanford.

Prompt 1: Some students have a background, identity, interest, or talent that is so meaningful they believe their application would be incomplete without it. If this sounds like you, then please share your story.

Managing to break free from my mother’s grasp, I charged. With arms flailing and chubby legs fluttering beneath me, I was the ferocious two­ year old rampaging through Costco on a Saturday morning. My mother’s eyes widened in horror as I jettisoned my churro; the cinnamon­sugar rocket gracefully sliced its way through the air while I continued my spree. I sprinted through the aisles, looking up in awe at the massive bulk products that towered over me. Overcome with wonder, I wanted to touch and taste, to stick my head into industrial­sized freezers, to explore every crevice. I was a conquistador, but rather than searching the land for El Dorado, I scoured aisles for free samples. Before inevitably being whisked away into a shopping cart, I scaled a mountain of plush toys and surveyed the expanse that lay before me: the kingdom of Costco.

Notorious for its oversized portions and dollar­fifty hot dog combo, Costco is the apex of consumerism. From the days spent being toted around in a shopping cart to when I was finally tall enough to reach lofty sample trays, Costco has endured a steady presence throughout my life. As a veteran Costco shopper, I navigate the aisles of foodstuffs, thrusting the majority of my weight upon a generously filled shopping cart whose enormity juxtaposes my small frame. Over time, I’ve developed a habit of observing fellow patrons tote their carts piled with frozen burritos, cheese puffs, tubs of ice cream, and weight­loss supplements. Perusing the aisles gave me time to ponder. Who needs three pounds of sour cream? Was cultured yogurt any more well­mannered than its uncultured counterpart? Costco gave birth to my unfettered curiosity.

Whole thing.

It’s easy to see why it worked. Her essay is glib, facile, flashy, and self-confident, hot stuff for a high school senior. Yes, it’s kind of weak on substance, but glib, facile, and flashy is what our elite schools are all about.

She decided to go to Stanford.

Hat tip to Matt MacLean.

17 Jan 2017

Breckenridge, Colorado

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Piled-up snow provides easy access to rooftop for a fox family. CBS Denver

16 Jan 2017

Circle B Bar Reserve, Polk County, Florida

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Yesterday, an estimated 12-footer.

16 Jan 2017

Head of Dog From the Acropolis

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Late Classical Greek Marble Head of a Dog

Marble, Late 4th century B.C.E., Attic

W. 24 cm.

The most famous example of a dog carved in marble in Greek art is an example from the 6th century BC found at the Acropolis in Athens. This dog is thought to have been presented to the goddess Artemis of Brauronia, and its sharp gaze and figural handling all give a sense of tension to the form which looks as if it is about to leap up. By contrast, here the dog’s ears lie flat, there is a somehow immensely pettable quality to this dog, who is shown with a gentle somehow pensive gaze.

There was a remarkable practice of building stone steles in graveyards from the 6th century BC onwards in Greece, and developing from their simple styles seen in the early period of this practice, by the 5th to 4th centuries BC they had expanded into multi-figured scenes. Images of the deceased and his beloved dog frequently feature in these graveyard scenes, and it seems likely that this marble dog’s head was originally part of such a scene.

16 Jan 2017

Army Spent $350 Million to Pick a New Handgun Without Result

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My solution: M1911A1 Semi-Automatic .45 ACP.

Task and Purpose:

The Army’s troubled program to buy a new standard-issue handgun for soldiers was the subject of renewed debate on Capitol Hill.

During Thursday’s confirmation hearing for retired Marine Gen. James Mattis to become defense secretary in the Trump administration, Republican Sens. Joni Ernst of Iowa and Thom Tillis of North Carolina took turns criticizing the service’s XM17 Modular Handgun System (MHS) program, a $350 million competition to buy a replacement to the Cold War-era M9 9mm pistol.

At a time when Russia is upgrading its service rifle, “we continue to modify our M4s [and] many of our troops still carry M16s, the Army can’t even figure out how to replace the M9 pistol, first issued in 1982,” Ernst said.

The senator, a frequent critic of the program who in 2015 retired as a lieutenant colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard, said she and others would joke while in the military that “sometimes the most efficient use of an M9 is to simply throw it at your adversary.”

Ernst blasted the Modular Handgun Program’s many requirements. “Take a look at their 350-page micromanaging requirements document if you want to know why it’s taking so long to get this accomplished,” she said.

She also mocked the stopping power of the 5.56mm rifle round. “Our military currently shoots a bullet that, as you know, is illegal for shooting small deer in nearly all states due to its lack of killing power,” she said.

Tillis went even further by showing up to the hearing with the pistol program’s full several hundred pages of requirements documents wrapped in red ribbon. “This is a great testament to what’s wrong with defense acquisition,” he said, slapping the three-inch-tall stack of paperwork.

In response, Mattis said, “I can’t defend this,” but added, “I will say that at times there were regulations that required us to do things.”

Coincidentally, Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley was asked about the program earlier in the day at a breakfast sponsored by the Association of the United States Army. Milley was tight-lipped about the effort but hinted the service is making progress.

Beretta, FN Herstal, Sig Sauer and Glock are reportedly still competing for the program after the Army dropped Smith & Wesson from the competition last year. We’re hoping these gunmakers will help shed more light on the status of the program next week at SHOT Show in Las Vegas.

Hell, I’ll solve their dilemma for them for half of that.

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