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Welly hits the books

Nothing going on today, so how about a kitten update?

Welly will be a year old just about a month from now. I think he has a lot of growing to do still. Either that, or he has a stupidly inappropriate tail. Honestly, it looks like it belongs to some other cat. Or maybe a snow leopard.

He and big cat get along famously, though Welly takes the lead. He’s a much more assertive cat.

He’s also a total sweetheart. Honestly, the two cat we have now are the best natured cats I’ve ever had. They don’t even play rough.

We are blessed with kitties.

p.s. He’s a chicken chaser, though.


Comment from gebrauchshund
Time: August 20, 2020, 10:18 pm

Maybe it’s just an artifact of the camera angle or sumpin’, but…

Holy cow look at the size of dem feets!

Yeah, I think he’s still got some growin’ to do.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: August 20, 2020, 10:31 pm


“Small angry dogs” are so cute! In your case he’s almost certainly NOT going to be ‘small’.

But I wouldn’t want two, then there’d be two of them at Zero:Darkthirty demanding I get up, feed them, and snuggle with them on the couch.

At least the dogs have the decency to look at me at 4:30 and mumble “What the hell! The sun’s not up dad! Get back in bed!”

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: August 21, 2020, 3:57 am

Empire of the Clouds is on my book bucket list. I’ve heard good things about Hamilton-Paterson’s knowledge, enthusiasm, and skill as a writer. I hope what I’ve heard is accurate!

Now, if you could just ask Welly nicely if he could kindly please not wipe his butt on a good book… (-:

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 21, 2020, 10:07 am

It’s confession time, Uncle Al. The books which the beast was sprawled upon were mine, so, Empire of the Clouds?

I found it via a BBC Four TV series which loosely followed it. I enjoyed both but with the usual reservations about anything produced by the BBC (the all too visible agenda). Sadly, the book wasn’t free of that, either.

The history of the British aviation industry is a sorry one – meddling government, atrocious management, recalcitrant workers – so pretty much the story of British industry as a whole post WWII, but with added extra government attention and ‘help’ due to its military and strategic importance.

I suppose, in a sense we got where the USA is now a lot earlier (the 1960s) – an industry dominated by just one or two names, which had once been populated by many innovative and dynamic enterprises. Douglas, McDonnell, Convair, Grumman, de Havilland, Avro, Handley Page, Vickers…. ours forcibly marched down the aisle by bureaucrats incapable of ordering the correct quantity of toilet paper for the Boy Scouts, let alone masterminding a strategic industry. Yours? I have no idea but I bet I know what’s going to happen. Eggs… basket… Boeing.

The author explores all this and clearly knows his stuff, however he suffers from the prevailing mental attitude of the post war British ‘elite’ – what they call ‘managed decline’. It’s a philosophy quite independent of the usual Left/Right paradigm and is still to be found among our mandarins: ‘the old country’s not what it was, best let it all go and just try to control our descent, which will be inevitable’.

It’s what drove our cowardly retreat into the disaster that is the EU and has been the theme tune accompanying the destruction of many once important and strategic industries (nuclear, chemical and engineering among them).

Hamilton seems to think the loss of our aircraft industry was inevitable. I think he is wrong. That aside, its worth reading, if only as a salutary lesson about what happens when government thinks it can micro-manage an economy.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: August 21, 2020, 1:04 pm

I have always been fascinated by how the cultures of different nations impact their engineering and manufacturing.
The Germans always over-engineer obsessively. The most famous example is their WWII field guns. The firing mechanism had something like 47 parts. The American equivalent had 11.

The French, of course, admire the unusual, as one would expect from a people who tried eating snails. The Italians prize elegance and prioritize that, with function secondary.

The Americans? Big, cheap, and flashy, and buy a new one new year after it breaks, buddy.

The Japanese really do lack in originality but what their culture prizes is refinement. Their engineers work on ways to improve the original. Imagine if the Japanese repainted the Mona Lisa!

And the British…. the British do (and still do) the finest pure research in the world. However, they are utterly pragmatic to the point of madness in manufacturing. Their famous example of that is the first Austin Healy sports car, the 100. A lovely design with a great engine. When it came time for the transmission though, the decision was -not- to design a new one, but to use an available one. The best available one …was from a tractor. Hardly very refined. Further, as you’d expect from a tractor transmission, first gear was way too low, only good until perhaps 10 miles an hour. They could have changed the gearing but instead pragmatically elected to install a small steel plate on the gear shift so that the driver couldn’t select first gear.

And, so as Uncle Badger says above, British designs always have breathtaking potential and nose-holding performance. It just something in their blood and history. TheBritish Empire literally covered the world, and after exposure to all the cuisines of every nation, chose Fish and Chips and Toad-in-the-hole.

As a man who always wanted a 60’s Jaguar but never had the courage, it makes me weep.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 21, 2020, 2:54 pm

In fairness, Some Veg, the British car industry needed no government assistance in its bid for oblivion (though it received it, anyway, naturally!).

Aircraft, shipbuilding, chemicals and general engineering all benefitted from copious amounts of government ‘help’, which is why they are no more.

Quite how we can have gone from having built the world’s first commercial nuclear power station to the point when we are asking the Chinese to build us one of theirs, is beyond me.

There isn’t enough piano wire in the world…

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: August 21, 2020, 5:36 pm

Do the British make good pianos then?

snicker snicker

Why go with wire when a good cheap hemp rope will do the job. My Irish/Scots/English ancestors can explain all that.
As an added plus with rope, the dance between Heaven and Hell lasts longer if you hoist the object of your affection to lofty heights, rather than quick drop them from a lofty height.

It creates a much deeper impression for observers when the dance lasts longer you see, and after all, it’s about making an impression on others as yet not involved as it is about rewarding the deserving for their efforts.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 21, 2020, 6:18 pm

I am not a prejudiced badger, durnedyankee, so if you say hemp is the better choice, I shan’t object and I’m sure we can still find some knocking about the place.

I do think we should use lampposts, though, perhaps the ones lining the Mall in London, and then display the heads on London Bridge, if only for the sake of tradition.

Blair first… then the rest.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: August 21, 2020, 6:32 pm

You know I USED to think ‘drawing’ meant they stretched you betwixt 4 horses aimed at the “by” points on the compass.

Imagine my surprise. I’m trying to decide which is more fiendish.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: August 21, 2020, 6:50 pm

I’m looking at the kitty picture again here.

Are y’all sure that cat is all cat, and not part jackrabbit? Look at those back legs!

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: August 21, 2020, 9:37 pm


You know I USED to think ‘drawing’ meant they stretched you betwixt 4 horses aimed at the “by” points on the compass.

I believe you’re thinking of “quartering”.

The statutory penalty for high treason was for the malefactor to be “hanged, drawn, and quartered”. The sentence wasn’t carried out in that order, though. The traitor was “drawn” to the place of execution by being placed on a plank or wooden panel and dragged behind a horse or horses. He was then “half-hanged” meaning hanged until nearly but not quite dead. He was then brought down, emasculated (owie!), disemboweled, beheaded, and then separated into four pieces (“quartered”).

This was only for men. Women traitors were to be burned at the stake.

I’m sure this gave one pause before dissin’ the king.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: August 21, 2020, 9:43 pm

@Uncle Badger:

Douglas, McDonnell, Convair, Grumman, de Havilland, Avro, Handley Page, Vickers… ours forcibly marched down the aisle by bureaucrats incapable of ordering the correct quantity of toilet paper for the Boy Scouts, let alone masterminding a strategic industry.

Those bureaucrats got a good start back in the 1920s. One has only to take a look at the govt’s brilliant execution in the design, construction, and maiden voyage planning and execution of the R101 dirigible. Then take a look at the privately designed and built (but govt-funded) R100.

Comment from Uncle Al
Time: August 21, 2020, 9:53 pm

@Uncle Badger — One last note about govt totally fscking things up. Back in 1979, Bill Kurtis put together a documentary called The Flying Wing: What Happened to It? In it, John Knudson Northrop, in his last interview, explains what the Dept of Defense did to the U.S. aircraft industry. Also interviewed are multiple test pilots and aviation industrialists. Worthwhile watching!

Spoiler: The govt ordered all existing airframes of the XB-35 and YB-49 destroyed and sold for scrap. Only the wooden prototype N-1M exists and is on display at the Smithsonian.

Comment from Mark Matis
Time: August 21, 2020, 10:17 pm

I would suggest that “One Shot Paddy” is the ideal solution.

Done properly, they never know “who dunnit”. And it puts a true “fear of god” in those remaining!!!

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: August 22, 2020, 11:46 am

Thanks for the link Uncle Al.

We had the same thing happen here when the government scrapped the amazing TSR2 – smashed to pieces and sold for scrap. It’s the bureaucrats equivalent of salting the ground, I suppose.

Comment from durnedyankee
Time: August 22, 2020, 5:19 pm

As I understood it, you don’t ‘hang’ till your dead.
You just wish you were.

Then, I thought ‘drawing’ was when they sliced you open, attached your internals to a device, and ‘drew’ them out of you.

After which they sliced and diced and sent your quarters to the various compass points in the realm.

I am entirely willing to be wrong about that of course, because I’m much more in line with Mr. Matis’s suggestion of a bolt from the blue fired by “One Shot Paddy”. It’s a bitch having to look over your shoulder every time you go out in public, and makes for pleasure of being a member of the elite far less enjoyable.

Uncle Al – the internet check indicates the ‘drawing’ as you depict it is correct.

THEN , you’re hung, disembowled, your parts most private are removed and consigned to a tree in Rutland (for you Blackadder fans), beheaded, quartered and then dispatched to the 4 corners of the realm as an object lesson for others (without your private bits, because they’re up in that tree in Rutland).

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