Archive for January, 2014
27 Jan 2014

Sidewalk Evangelism

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27 Jan 2014

Must Have Been the Drugs

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27 Jan 2014

The Impracticality of Pacifism

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The current fashionably-left-wing Pope on Sunday conducted a little ceremony in which two children, a little boy and a little girl supervised by the Holy Father himself, released a pair of white “doves of peace” from a window in the Apostolic Palace.

Nature clearly abhors this kind of nonsense, because the Pope’s doves were promptly set upon by a seagull and a jackdaw who chose to look upon them, not as symbols of peace, but rather as a free lunch. There was an obvious lesson for Pope Francis in all of this.

Washington Post story

The Independent story


27 Jan 2014

Sir Adrian Carton de Wiart, VC, KBE, CB, CMG, DSO

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photograph by: Cecil Beaton

Wikipedia:

Sir Adrian Paul Ghislain Carton de Wiart VC, KBE, CB, CMG, DSO (5 May 1880 – 5 June 1963) was a British Army officer of Belgian and Irish descent. He served in the Boer War, First World War, and Second World War; was shot in the face, head, stomach, ankle, leg, hip, and ear; survived two plane crashes; tunnelled out of a POW camp; and bit off his own fingers when a doctor refused to amputate them. Describing his experiences in World War I, he wrote, “Frankly I had enjoyed the war.” …

Carton de Wiart was thought to be a model for the character of Brigadier Ben Ritchie Hook in Evelyn Waugh’s trilogy Sword of Honour. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography described him thus: “With his black eyepatch and empty sleeve, Carton de Wiart looked like an elegant pirate, and became a figure of legend.” …

Carton de Wiart was born into an aristocratic family in Brussels, on 5 May 1880, eldest son of Leon Constant Ghislain Carton de Wiart (1854–1915). By his contemporaries, he was widely believed to be an illegitimate son of the King of the Belgians, Leopold II. …

In 1891 his English stepmother sent him to a boarding school in England, the Roman Catholic Oratory School, founded by Cardinal John Henry Newman.

From there he went to Balliol College, Oxford, but left to join the British Army at the time of the Boer War around 1899, where he entered under the false name of “Trooper Carton”, and claimed to be 25 years old.

Carton de Wiart was wounded in the stomach and groin in South Africa early on in the War and invalided home, and his father found out about him leaving college. His father was furious but allowed his son to remain in the army. After another brief period at Oxford, where Aubrey Herbert was among his friends, he was given a commission in the Second Imperial Light Horse. He saw action in South Africa again and on 14 September 1901 was given a regular commission as a second lieutenant in the 4th Dragoon Guards. Carton de Wiart was transferred to India in 1902. He enjoyed sports, especially shooting and pig sticking.

Carton de Wiart’s serious wound in the Boer War instilled in him a strong desire for physical fitness and he ran, jogged, walked, and played sports on a regular basis. In male company he was ‘a delightful character and must hold the world record for bad language.’ …

By 1907, although Carton de Wiart had now served in the British Army for eight years, he had remained a Belgian subject. On 13 September, he took the oath of allegiance to Edward VII and was formally naturalised as a British subject.

He went on to fight in WWI, winning the Victoria Cross, and returned to active military service again in WWII, despite being over 60 years old. He retired to Ireland at age 71, where he subsequently devoted his energies to fishing for salmon and shooting snipe.

He is remembered, and his awards are pictured, at the Royal Dragoon Guards web-site.

Hat tip to Andrew Stuttaford.

26 Jan 2014

Lost

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Hat tip to Selvish Soup.

26 Jan 2014

Poor Smaug

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26 Jan 2014

WWI

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Russian Cossacks -provide friendly hospitality to a German Prisoner of War.

The original source seems to have been a Russian postcard.

Via Madame Scherzo.

25 Jan 2014

Now Living in My Outhouse

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Eastern Screech owl (Megascops asio).

I noticed that the one remaining door on our unused, and long-neglected, outhouse had become open recently. Yesterday, when returning from running an errand, Karen found the culprit who obviously somehow opened that door. It was a Screech owl, who has evidently taken up residence. Karen managed to grab a photo with her cell phone, and put our new neighbor’s picture up on her own blog.

That outhouse was used once briefly a very long time ago, when a major storm knocked out the power for days and days. No power, no well. No well, no flush toilets in the house. My father, at one point, repaired it and had it in excellent order. But we had not visited the farm for over a decade until recently, and a lot of the outbuildings need repairs and a fresh coat of paint.

25 Jan 2014

A Bit Slow to Reload

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A Very Strange Volley Gun,

Patented and produced in 1837 by Henry Harrington, this bizarre volley features 37 barrels which fired a .22 caliber bullet. Each barrel would have had to be loaded by hand with loose powder and bullets. All of the barrels discharged simultaneously.

I bet 37 .22 bullets coming his way would, at the very least, make the highwayman stop and think.

Mr. Harrington lived in Southbridge, Massachusetts, and apparently had a penchant for volley guns. He patented a percussion volley gun pistol, made in a variety of barrel lengths and configurations, in 1837. He also produced volley gun rifles in larger calibers. His productions are rare and expensive.

Hat tip to Ratak Monodosico.

24 Jan 2014

Sword-Related Japanese Sayings

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A great collection from Markus Sesko:

jigane ga deru (地鉄が出る) – Literally “the steel appears,” for example when a blade is polished so often that the shingane appears or the jigane shows more unrefined areas. As a saying, it means “to reveal one´s true character.”

Hat tip to John Antony Scott.

24 Jan 2014

The Fall of QuarkXPress

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It’s always entertaining to read about the corporate decisions which lost former industry leading products their place in the sun. Quark used to have a 95% market share.

Ars Technica:

Anecdotal evidence is not the best way to objectively study anything, but ask anyone what caused them to leave XPress for InDesign. Overwhelmingly, it all boils down to those personal stories of neglect that eventually eroded Quark’s appeal and made a potentially painful transfer to another product the lesser of the evils.

In 2001, Apple released OS X, which felt dog slow on existing hardware. Despite its inclusion of crucial publishing tech like AppleScript and ColorSync, it was definitely not production-ready. But OS 9’s failings are well documented—a bad font in an ad could literally cost you a third of your day dealing with system crashes. OS X’s single promise of Unix-like stability turned its other short-term problems with snappiness into non-issues.

Quark repeatedly failed to make OS X-native versions of XPress—spanning versions 4.1, 5, and 6—but the company still asked for plenty of loot for the upgrades. With user frustration high with 2002’s Quark 5, CEO Fred Ebrahimi salted the wounds by taunting users to switch to Windows if they didn’t like it, saying, “The Macintosh platform is shrinking.” Ebrahimi suggested that anyone dissatisfied with Quark’s Mac commitment should “switch to something else.”

It’s advice people apparently took—just not the way he meant it. It was likely that Quark saw increasing growth in Windows sales as a sign that the Mac publishing market was dwindling. However, what they were probably seeing was new users, not migration to Windows. I’ve heard about Windows-based publishing environments, but I’ve never actually seen one in my 20+ years in design and publishing.

Perhaps this seems like an overstatement, but desktop publishing was invented on the Mac. It would have been hard to find people more rabidly pro-Mac than people who were basically keeping pre-Jobs Apple afloat. So when a revitalized Apple needed all the help it could get, telling Mac designers to switch to Windows was all the excuse these creatives needed to think that the grass was actually greener on the InDesign side. Simply put, this was a crucial nudge for many.

Read the whole thing.

24 Jan 2014

Playing Ring-Around-the-Vehicle With a Polar Bear

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The human won, but pretty narrowly.

Daily Mail

24 Jan 2014

Take That!

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23 Jan 2014

Just a Few Years Down the Road…

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Ol’ Remus predicts what life will soon be like here on the farm.

There’s a rabid raccoon circling your livestock.

You go to your gun safe and enter your sixty-digit code, press the fingerprint-verification pad, put your eye to the retina reader, wait for the Instant Background Check, open the safe and get out the .22 single shot rifle, unlock the child safety lock and remove it, install the bolt in the rifle, take two rounds of ammo from your legal nine round supply, chamber the legal maximum of one round, enter the serial numbers of both rounds and their removal time on your web-based log. You close the gun safe, reactivate all the security and run out the door.

You dispatch said rabid raccoon. He was moving slow.

Back to the gun safe, enter your code, fingerprint pad, retina reader, open the safe, remove the bolt and store it, reinstall the child safety lock and replace the rifle, log the replacement time, verify the serial numbers of the expended rounds and close the gun safe. Then down to the State Police to turn in the fired cases, get fingerprinted, get a blood test and have an ankle bracelet installed.

Next day an official container arrives. You take the required raccoon parts from your freezer and the twelve-page notarized incident report, attach photos, an annotated map, your blood test results, the standard request for two rounds to be credited to your ammo allotment, and send it all in. Your ankle bracelet won’t be removed and your gun safe won’t be reopened until the incident report is approved. It’s just common sense.

Your case involves the taking of a cute animal for non-game purposes and so it wends its way through local, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies. A hearing is scheduled requiring your presence at a city three hundred and eighty miles away. Your name is now on the no-fly list so you drive. You make your case to the review board.

Read the whole thing.

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

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