20 Nov 2016

“Hamilton” Misbehavior



20 Nov 2016

Least Oppressed People on the Planet Boo Vice President

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Lois Lane, at Ricochet, found the behavior of the cast and audience of Hamilton toward the Vice-President-Elect disgraceful.

I was bothered when a friend sent me a text last night that said Pence was being booed by the audience in New York.

First, I know how much those seats cost. There is not a person in that group who is not part of an elite of some sort. They are the least oppressed people on the planet. Seriously. Least oppressed.

Second, I can’t imagine that even in New York, there are not Trump voters in that audience who paid their money, too, and just wanted to see the show without feeling as if their own political choices were being assaulted.

Third, it’s just rude to boo someone in a theatre. Seriously rude.

Anyway, after the show, during the curtain call, the cast decided to send out another message.

The man currently playing Hamilton read a note to Pence. It started out well enough.

He said the vice president was welcome at the show… (like, you know, anyone who can afford to spend as much on two hours of entertainment as most people pay for rent.)

However… (here’s where it goes wonky)… he hoped that Pence would understand the diverse group of actors were frightened by the Trump administration. (Frightened? Of what exactly?)

American values are for everyone, he said, and Pence should honor them.

The audience went as wild as people at a football game.

I’m sure this actor felt he was being courageous in some way, but this was not courage. He gave a lecture to a mild mannered guy from the Midwest who just won the support of more than 60 million other Americans… not Hitler. This was also in a room with an audience completely on his side.

Most tragic of all, this was an opportunity lost.

Though the real Alexander Hamilton could sometimes let his emotions push his actions, he was at heart a politician who understood power, and I think he would have placed his words with more care.

It would have been a million times better if the cast had rebuked the audience for their classless behavior… not Pence. It would have been amazing if they had said they were glad that he was there, and they understood our great country has a diversity of opinions… ideas. They knew from their own script that politics was a bruising endeavor, but they hoped for a united America moving forward.

Instead, they really did make it about complexion alone. And grandstanding. Which is a shame.

19 Nov 2016

Lena Dunham Flees to Sedona

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Anguished over the results of the election, Lena Dunham reneged on her promise to move to Canada, instead seeking consolation and spiritual advice from the vortices and red rocks of fashionable Sedona.


19 Nov 2016

Dennis Miller Gloats


“I always knew it would be delicious. I never knew it would be THIS delicious.” — Dennis Miller

Hat tip to Vanderleun.

19 Nov 2016

Statue of a King

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Sculpture of an Enthroned King, ca. 1230–35, Made in Lombardy or Veneto, Italy, Metropolitan Museum.

18 Nov 2016

Mystery of the Sea

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HMS Exeter

Science Alert:

The wreckage of six warships and a submarine that have lain on the bottom of the Java Sea since 1942 is now missing, and naval authorities are at a loss to explain the disappearance.

The vessels – including three Dutch ships, six British ships, and a US submarine – all sank during the Battle of the Java Sea in World War II, when allied forces suffered a huge defeat at the hands of the Imperial Japanese Navy off the coast of Indonesia.

The discovery was made during preparations for next year’s 75th anniversary of the battle, with the Dutch defence ministry the first to confirm on Tuesday that the wrecks of two of its ships – HNLMS De Ruyter and HNLMS Java – had completely disappeared.

A large piece of a third Dutch ship, HNLMS Kortenaer, has also vanished.

Shortly after, the British ministry of defence confirmed that HMS Exeter and HMS Encounter had disappeared, with much of a third vessel – HMS Electra – gone as well.

A US submarine, the USS Perch, is also missing.

Naval researchers used sonar to create a 3D map of the seabed where the shipwrecks once lay, and while the vessels are no longer there, the indentation they left on the sea floor is still visible.

While the cause of these disappearances hasn’t yet been confirmed, naval authorities are launching an international investigation, suspecting scrap metal salvagers are to blame.

Complete article.

17 Nov 2016

Handsome Dan XVIII

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Yale Bulldogs:

The Yale University Athletics Department today announced the arrival of its new mascot, Handsome Dan XVIII.

The Olde English Bulldog was born on Sept. 23, 2016, and is a true New Englander, coming from a breeder in Maine. He was part of a litter that included a brother and five sisters.

Yale athletics conducted a national search for the next mascot after the passing of Sherman (Handsome Dan XVII), who was a beloved figure on the sidelines at games, and served as the most famous mascot in college sports for more than nine years.

Going into the search process, the athletic department was aware of current breeding concerns of English bulldogs. Chris Getman ’64, the caretaker of four Yale mascots, recommended looking for an Olde English Bulldogge – a larger, stronger, and healthier version of the breed that got its name herding bulls.

Handsome Dan XVIII will now attend a training school befitting an Ivy League icon before assuming the arduous role of big man on the Yale campus. Yale fans will be able to follow him on Instagram @HandsomeDanXVIII and Twitter @HandsomeDan18.

The new keeper of the mascot is Kevin Discepolo ’09, a former lacrosse player who is now Yale’s Assistant Athletic Director of Facilities, Operations and Events. Handsome Dan XVIII will come to work at Ray Tompkins House, and Discepolo will take Dan on daily walks around campus, as well as to the many contests hosted by Yale.

“It’s an honor to be involved with such a long-standing Yale tradition,” said Discepolo. “For over a century, Handsome Dans have provided excitement for Yale students, faculty and our fans. While this puppy might be the cutest mascot in college athletics, or rather the most handsome, I’m confident he will grow into a strong and courageous bulldog who will inspire our student-athletes for many years.”

The history of Handsome Dan dates to 1889, when Andrew Graves ’92S, a football player and rower during the days of Walter Camp, first named Yale’s mascot. The Bulldog tradition began a few years earlier, in 1890, when Harper, a champion English bulldog, was brought to football games to inspire the athletes.

Full story.

Finally some good news out of Yale.

17 Nov 2016

Childhood Gun Ownership in the UK Before WWII

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Major collector Peter McManus, in his One Man’s Gun Quest — 50 Years of Gun Collecting, describes the economics of his first gun.

When I was about 13 I was given my first firearm: an 1860 .577 Enfield military muzzleloading rifle, though I never use that as a rifle with a solid bullet.

So this was a new dimension!

I made my own gunpowder, using potassium chloride, not potassium nitrate (don’t do it!). A quarter pound cocoa tin served as a powder flask.

The bowl of a clay pipe was an excellent powder and shot measure and another quarter pound cocoa tin was used as a shot flask.

Shot, however, was a problem! Lead shot was used when pocket money would run to it but many other alternatives were tried: I experimented with D. I. Y. lead shot but it was pear-shaped and irregular in size: Not satisfactory at all. How to make it? You don’t want to know as it could be dangerous!

Tin tacks were good, but expensive! Gravel was tried, but without success: don’t bother with it! Used ball bearings: okay, but difficult to obtain. For wadding I used a wodge of rolled up newspaper: a thick one over the powder charge and a thin one over the shot charge to hold it in position.

Percussion caps? Couldn’t afford them! The alternative was a pair of paper caps, as used in toy guns, wedged into the hammer. This was surprisingly effective, most of the time, though you could occasionally get a hang fire.
Hang fires were not good! You would pull the trigger, hear the caps fire, but fail to ignite the charge. As you took the gun from your shoulder it would belatedly go off! Potentially dangerous, of course, but no harm was ever done.

My parents ran a guesthouse: Stella Maris, 34/35 West Parade opposite Rhyl Pavilion. On one occasion I decided to fire a clay marble at the back gate of Stella Maris. It would, I reasoned, be bound to shatter on impact as the marble was far too small for the board. Only a light charge of powder was used but, to my horror, the marble went straight through the gate. Virtually no one was walking by at the time but was the kind of experiment I never repeated.

My understanding is that we cannot even buy caps in America anymore.

16 Nov 2016

Remy Responds to SNL

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16 Nov 2016

Time For the Left to Love Checks and Balances

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Kevin D. Williamson, with a certain unholy glee, predicts that the Left will not love living with its own precedents.

For eight years, Democrats celebrated the aggrandizement of the already inflated presidency left to Barack Obama by George W. Bush. You remember the greatest hits: “If Congress won’t act, I will.” “I have a pen and a phone.” “Elections have consequences.” And, my personal favorite: “I won.”

Somebody else won this time around. The pretensions of the imperial presidency are going to haunt Democrats for the immediate future, but they’ll quickly rediscover their belief in limits on the executive. While they’re rediscovering old virtues, they might take a moment to lament Senator Harry Reid’s weakening of the filibuster, an ancient protection of minority interests in the less democratic house of our national legislature. They might also lament Senator Reid’s attempt to gut the First Amendment in order to permit the federal government — which in January will be under the management of Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and — incredibly enough — President Donald Trump — to regulate political speech, deciding who can speak, about what and when, and on what terms. Perhaps they’ll thank those wicked “conservative” justices on the Supreme Court for saving basic political-speech rights. If they are smart, they will rediscover federalism, too, and the peacemaking potential of a school of thought that says in a diverse nation of 320 million souls, there is no reason that life in rural Idaho must be lived in exactly the same way as it is in Brooklyn or Santa Monica.

Read the whole thing.

16 Nov 2016

Nuked Too Much, or Not Enough Department

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Japanese Museum of Rocks That Look Like Faces.

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

15 Nov 2016

“Did You Ever Kill Anybody, Father?”


Frank Holl, Did you ever kill anybody Father?, 1883, Private collection.

Sold by Christies London 17 June 2014, GBP 74,500 (USD 126,426).

“She is holding what appears to be a British Pattern 1827 Rifle Officer’s Sword or a Pattern 1845 Infantry Officer’s Sword.”


I asked the same question as a child to my father, who had served in the Third Marine Division on Guadalcanal, Vella LaVella, Rendova, Guam, and Iwo Jima. He looked embarrassed, paused for a moment, and replied: “Oh, you know, we were all shooting at them, and they were falling down, and you couldn’t tell who had hit them…”

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

15 Nov 2016

Good News

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Brad Avakian went down to defeat for re-election in Oregon. Back in July of 2015, Avakian ordered the owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa, a family-owned bakery in Gresham, Oregon, to pay a lesbian couple $135,000 in emotional damages for refusing to make a cake for their wedding, hitting the bakers as well with a cease and desist order to stop speaking publicly about their motivation for refusing service. The owners had cited their Christian beliefs against same-sex marriage.

Even Oregon’s Deep Blue State voters would not return him to office.


15 Nov 2016

Cows Stranded by NZ Earthquake Rescued

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Science Alert has videos.

Helicopter footage captured over the demolished farmlands outside the New Zealand town of Kaikoura has revealed the fate of three cows after Monday’s devastating magnitude 7.5 earthquake.

The three cows – including one very chill calf – managed to huddle together on a small patch of grass, as everything around them crumbled to form a tiny island.

“It was clear that the cows had slipped down on this big chunk of land,” Newshub camera operator Chris Jones explained. “The cattle had obviously ridden these islands of land, and there’s this group of cows suspended 20 feet [6 metres] in the air.”

Jones estimates that the island is between 50 and 80 metres across.

While the trio would not have lasted long stuck on such a small area of grass, their owner counts them as lucky to have found a safe place amid the chaos.

The Kaikoura farmer, who has chosen to remain anonymous, told Newshub he managed to save 14 cows in total (including these three), but did lose a few in the destruction.

“We did lose stock, there were stock losses, but the whole hillside fell during the earthquake and we had a lot of stock on there – we don’t know what we’ve got,” he said.

“It was very steep limestone bluff covered in lovely pasture a week ago and now it’s all in the gully.”

The good news is that while the cows had to stay put for a day while the safety of the area was assessed, they’ve now been rescued, and the internet can breathe a sigh of relief that our favourite cow buddies are in safe hands once again.

Complete story.

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