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Flight of the Daks

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, a flight of 75 Dakotas (that’s C-47’s to us ‘Merkins) flew to Normandy today and dropped a cargo of paratroopers. It seems likely they won’t be able to do that for the 100th, so it’s a big deal.

Just to the West of us, sadly. We didn’t see nothink in the sky. But for all the plane footage you can stand, check out this excellent TwitchTV channel. They have hours and hours of behind the scenes (and in front of the scenes) footage of the prep and the flight. Badger House has resonated with the sound of aircraft engines all day.

Poor old Uncle B is an aviation nut and would love to have seen it go over. The picture is one of his from a couple of years ago. We crawled into this one and were astonished at how primitive the controls were. Not to mention the seats.

Those poor bastards, 75 years ago.

June 5, 2019 — 9:09 pm
Comments: 11

Fog of war


I don’t have any local insights on this one. We are, fortunately, nowhere near Westminster.

The map is making the rounds of Twitter. It supposedly shows people on Al-Jazeera’s Facebook(?) page reacting to the news, but why would it put the laughing faces and thumbs ups dotted around the map like that? That’s not how likes work.

Twitter also was first to report that the shooter was hate preacher Abu Izzadeen (born Trevor Richard Brooks of Jamaican descent in East London) and the first to report that Izzadeen’s lawyer says it can’t be him, he’s in jail. (Sure looks like the guy, though).

So basically all we know is four dead (including the, or a, attacker and a policeman), twenty injured and Twitter is an unreliable narrator.

March 22, 2017 — 8:15 pm
Comments: 13

Where are you, Winston Churchill?


Went to an airshow Saturday. There were several in the South of England this weekend. They do this so the Red Arrows (for example) can fly down the coast and do one show after another in one big go.

The picture is (part of) the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight. The RAF has one Lancaster bomber, one Hurricane and one Spitfire they’re keeping in the air and they fly them together to the various shows. People love them.

I hit up Wikipedia to find out when the Battle of Britain officially started and ended (answer: depends if you ask the Brits or the Krauts). I learned that it has the distinction of being (the only?) battle to be named before it was fought. Winnie named it in his “finest hour” speech:

What General Weygand has called The Battle of France is over. The battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilisation. Upon it depends our own British life and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of a perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour”.

Makes you nostalgic for a time when our leaders not only acknowledged a war for the survival of Christian civilization, but actually were on our side in it.

Anyway. Highlight of the day: watching a soldier teach a little boy to cock and fire a Glock, with his mother helping out. I could’ve wished for them all to show a little more barrel discipline, though — even if it was a dummy training weapon.

Low point: the little boy who ran up to his mother shouting, “Mummy, look! It’s one of those things cowboys wear to keep their guns in!” To his credit, he was super excited about it, but it was sad to see a ten-year-old boy who didn’t know the word holster.

Apologies to Uncle B for mangling his nice picture down to weasel blog size.

August 15, 2016 — 6:38 pm
Comments: 16



Within 24 hours, the people of Paris had jammed the blood donation centers and within 48, Hollande launched massive bombing attacks on IS targets. Give them their due; that was just right.

But, holy shit, when I saw the soft toys and the candlelight vigils roll out (especially across the US) before the bodies were even cold, I wanted to punch something. And don’t get me started on social media.

I understand people want to do something, and there ain’t much you can do from thousands of miles away. But that display of mawkishness, the déjà vu of useless gestures…honest to god, if the first thing you felt after the attack on Paris was sadness and not blazing anger, we’ve got a problem.

November 16, 2015 — 11:26 pm
Comments: 28


My parents divorced when I was about nine. My father had traveled a lot for years, so the difference in my daily life wasn’t great, but it did mean the occasional formal Day of Visitation with my dad.

This is one of the first movies he took me to. If you haven’t seen it, Tora! Tora! Tora! is a two and a half hour WWII epic largely in Japanese with subtitles. It’s possible a major film was released that year that would be more horrible and boring to a nine year old girl, but I kinda doubt it.

Anytime the damn thing is on TV here — and it seems to be once a month or so — Uncle B sings out, “Weaselllll! Your movie is onnnnn!”

Anyhoo, mojo recommended it as one of his favorite Memorial Day flicks in the thread below, so I figured I’d share. I can’t say as I’d recommend it to the little girl in your life.

Hope you’re all having a decent long weekend; we sure have.

May 25, 2015 — 8:03 pm
Comments: 21

Oh, *those* WMD. Sure, there were some of *those*

Okay, that NY Times article about chemical weapons today. Help me out here. They put this together from a bunch of Wikileaks stuff and some FOIA requests. It shows that US soldiers were finding chemical weapons regularly from 2004 and 2011 and some were hurt by them.

And the Times is scolding the government for downplaying the danger and significance of chemical weapons? WTF happened to “Bush lied, people died”? Yeah, they’re describing them as a bunch of old crappy weapons (and of American design, woooo!) but isn’t that entirely in line with what we expected to find and were told we hadn’t? Tens of thousands, by the sound of it.

And why did the military downplay this? Why did the government?

And why is the Times doing a bunch of original reportage on this now? Could it be that ISIS is closing in on this stuff and they want an alibi when the bad guys start lobbing chemical weapons around…?

October 15, 2014 — 9:21 pm
Comments: 18

Can he do that?

Tonight was the second and final night of my first aid course. I gave CPR to the dummy. I passed the exam. Still, god help you if you have a heart attack in front of me.

So, a quickie. I know we’ve subjected soldiers to dangerous experiments in the past. MK Ultra comes to mind. Standing close to nuclear testing, as above. I always thought these acts were mitigated because the military really didn’t know how dangerous they were when they went on. Probably.

I also assumed there’d since been…I dunno. Legislation or a regulation or something to allow soldiers to opt out of dangerous experiments not centrally important military service. I mean, those things have generated so much controversy.

So, how the fuck can we knowingly send thousands of soldiers into the middle of an epidemic hot zone for reasons not obviously vital to American security? I mean, that’s not what they signed up for. That’s not what the military is for, is it? Is there a mechanism to opt out? Also, by the way, it’s a really, really bad idea.

I haven’t seen anyone else asking this question, so I have to assume it’s an incredibly dumb question. But it’s mine and I’m asking it.

September 17, 2014 — 10:13 pm
Comments: 22


You know that itching, burning, apocalyptic feeling? Yeah, me too.

Not our leaders, though. It’s not just Obama — Call Me Dave is on vacation, too. And it’s just grand to see snaps of him on the beach in the middle of this unholy shitstorm.

I get the feeling these guys think if they act like this is no big deal, it won’t be. Because if they act like it’s a big deal, it will be obvious how badly they’ve misjudged the ‘Arab Spring’ from the beginning. And that would be too, too embarrassing.

As part of a radio feature about WWI the other day, the BBC reeled off all world’s current war zones. With the exception of Ukraine and the Koreas, every single one of them was a case of Islamists versus the world.

They got around having to admit this explicitly by blaming ISIS in one place, Israel and Hamas in another, unnamed Islamists in another, Boko Haram in another, “separatists” in another, “militants” in another. Without ever acknowledging what all those fights have in common.

Odin help us all.

August 11, 2014 — 9:39 pm
Comments: 27

Ugh. This day.

I don’t post an essay on September 11 any more. I’m as heartsick and angry as I was on this day twelve years ago, but I’ve already said everything I have to say about it.

This is just a bad topic for my silly blog, but I can’t ignore it, either. So, a non-post post.

Talk about whatever you like in the comments. If you want cheering up, poke this.

September 11, 2013 — 7:33 pm
Comments: 12

Osama bin Laden in a cowboy hat

Because that happened, apparently.

I sometimes wonder if bin Laden — squatting in front of the TV in his dusty compound surrounded by quarreling wives — would do it all again, just so. That can’t have been the outcome he was hoping for.

Me, I’ve just come home from helping to create another chicken lady. The woman next door has given her chooks to the woman four doors down, and I went to assist the settling in. All went smoothly.

We’re taking over, we sisterhood of chicken ladies, and there’s not much you can do but sit back and b’GAK.

July 8, 2013 — 10:46 pm
Comments: 24