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Just this once

This year, Remembrance Day is 11/11/11. Also, it’s the 90th observance (I can’t make the math work on that, but the nice man who sold me an enamel poppy with “90th” on it told me so).

When the clock strikes 11:00 anywhere near Flanders Fields, you’ll all be tucked in your warm American beds dreaming your dreamy American dreams. Wait — eleven o’clock in the morning? Yeah, I probably will be, too.

So, why poppies on Remembrance Day? The corn poppy (popaver rhoeas) naturally grows on torn earth. We see them along the edges of the ploughed fields around here. In the blasted earth of the Great War, sometimes poppies were all that grew.

Anyway. Yes. Friday (6pm Weasel Blog Time) we will begin the next round of Laughing at Death. I just didn’t want that to be the only thing up here on Armistice Day. Didn’t seem right.


Comment from Mr. Dave
Time: November 11, 2011, 12:08 am

Uncle Tom got mildly gassed in WW1, Grandpa was there too. Texans, both. God bless them all.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 11, 2011, 12:12 am

Uncle B’s grandpa got mildly gassed, too.

Both of my grandfathers were the right age to serve, but neither did. One had a club foot. The other was the oldest child and head of the household (his father died young and he ran the family farm).

I know none of them are nice, but WWI was a *very* ugly war.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 11, 2011, 12:14 am

You could argue that the American Civil War was the first truly modern war — and a very ugly war it was indeed (not least because civil wars, like all family squabbles, are deeply nasty). But there’s something especially horrible about the Great War.

Comment from GregO
Time: November 11, 2011, 1:21 am

The Great War was godawful – people marched off willingly like they were going to a picnic from accounts I’ve read. Franz Kafka’s comes to mind… (“I wish them all passionately the worst.”) It was IMHO the downfall of Western European civilization. And that war achieved exactly what?

Killed Franz Marc, Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen http://www.warpoetry.co.uk/biogs99.htm#WILFRED%20EDWARD%20SALTER%20OWEN

And many others.

I agree the Civil War was the first modern war in the sense of marshaling logistical tools like the railroad to move masses of troops; “better” weapons, and European military experts came here and studied the US Civil War. Put it all together in WWI. Ghastly results.

Comment from EZnSF
Time: November 11, 2011, 1:57 am

My grandfather served in the WWI. PFC, 91st Division. He was 23. For as long as I could remember, he kept a huge dented brass artillery shell on the fireplace hearth. He said he got if from a German prisoner. I’m next in line to inherit it. I do have my uncles Japanese bayonet. He’s got the artillery shell. Will have to call uncle tomorrow.

Comment from PatAZ
Time: November 11, 2011, 2:07 am

When I was in sixth grade (back in the last century), I won second prize in a poppy poster contest. Two whole dollars. Made me so proud.

Comment from Oceania
Time: November 11, 2011, 2:20 am

Didn’t you Americans have to vote on which side to join on?


Comment from Mono The Elderish
Time: November 11, 2011, 3:11 am

Isn’t new zealand still a apartheid state?
Yes? Then shove it out yer arse. You guys have you own issues to work out. other than having to vote on entering a war. (which was before the nazi’s I must remind you )

Comment from Oh Hell
Time: November 11, 2011, 3:38 am

War sucks no matter which one we are talking about. But sometimes the alternative may be worse.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: November 11, 2011, 4:32 am

My grandfather’s brothers were both in WWI and I think about them every Veteran’s day largely because of this family story, still being told:

Somewhere in the early 30’s, while sampling a fresh batch of probition basement-brew, my (great)Uncle Plum started bragging about what a marksman he had been during the war. Unfortunately for his story, his brother had been in the same unit and decided to clarify the story a bit. True, Plum had been responsible for the deaths of many of the enemy. But this was, his brother claimed, more the result of his weapon than Plum’s abilities.

It seems that the unit had stumbled across an old French farmer’s muzzle-loading goose gun-reputedly 8 gauge or so. They started loading up the gun with powder from their rifle shells and then any damn piece of metal that would fit. Plum, being the largest fella in the unit was given the task of carrying this cannon. When the unit encountered a machine gun nest, everyone would lay down covering fire, and Plum would crawl up into close range. Then, on signal, he would jump up with the goose gun, and generally shred everything in front of him.

Impressive work, his brother said, but nothing you could call “marksmanship”. This remark made Plum (perhaps a bit tipsy?) so angry that he grabbed he grabbed a 30/40 kraig from behind the piano, marched up into the field above the farm and started shooting the neighbor’s sheep in their pasture 3/4 of a mile away. He got 3 or 4 before everyone decided to agree that he was afterall, dammit, a pretty good marksman and thereby get him to stop.

Fortunately the neignbor was a pretty good guy, and for some undisclosed amount and the rest of the beer in the batch, agreed to forget the whole thing. However, his sister, Echo, wouldn’t speak to him for a week.

Stoatie isn’t the only one with a colorful family πŸ™‚

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: November 11, 2011, 4:55 am

Weasel, I forgot to compliment you on the beauty of your poppies, flowers that ease pain and bringers of dreams. Beautiful.

Comment from Deborah
Time: November 11, 2011, 5:04 am

My son is a veteran. I think I aged double for the seven years he was in the service. But I have a sweet sweet photo of him at a Remembrance service while he was stationed in the U.K.

Comment from enter sandman
Time: November 11, 2011, 8:57 am

Oceania, you dolt. We vote on everything, pretty much, when it comes to the future of the country. Going to war, like WW1, would have required such a vote. People favored both sides. We are not monolithic if you didn’t know. You are a dullard.

For what it’s worth my ancestors were the Edney Grays, the majority of the North Carolina 25th Infantry during the Civil War. I served two hitches in the Army. Pop was at Normandy. Runs in the family.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 11, 2011, 9:08 am

De nada, Some Veg. It’s a photo of poppies I stole off the web and ran through a P’shop filter.

Whaddya know…I’m up early after all. Don’t know why; bad dreams, I think.

Comment from Uncle Badger
Time: November 11, 2011, 10:50 am

I tend to agree with GregO about the profound effect of the Great War on European civilisation. Certainly it accelerated the breakdown of the class structure, which was central to it.

And while I’m about as far from Marx as you can get, I can’t help reflecting that I wouldn’t have enjoyed being part of the late 19th Century underclass.

Which was no reason to slaughter anyone, of course, but it was a remarkable unintended consequence of our ‘betters’ holding a war and insisting everyone come.

Comment from Sven in Colorado
Time: November 11, 2011, 2:32 pm

The wizened old vets from the local VFW are standing outside the Safeway selling their paper poppies. I always buy one and thank the rheumy eyed fellow for his service.

Weas, “Flanders Fields” reminds me of the opening stanzas of my favorite poem by my favorite bard, Thomas Hornsby Ferril

The Prairie Melts
The prairie melts into the throats of larks
And green like water green begins to flow
Into the pinto patches of the snow

I’m here, I move my foot, I count the mountains
I can make calculations of my being
Here in the spring again, feeling it seeing…

Three granite mountain ranges wore away
While I was coming here, that is the fourth
To shine in spring to sunlight from the north.

Comment from Redd
Time: November 11, 2011, 2:38 pm

It seems like it produced two extremes: Marxism and Nazism.

There is a brit documentary I saw not long ago but I can’t remember the name. French guy with a large format movie camera attached to a blimp filmed the battlefields. It looked like hell on earth.

Comment from Nina
Time: November 11, 2011, 3:09 pm

My father’s father served in WWI, and I have never heard a single story about that time other than the presence of one of those pointy German helmets that he brought back and which rattled around our house until I’m sure one of my brothers sold it for drug money. We just don’t have many of those family stories.

Comment from Ripley
Time: November 11, 2011, 3:20 pm

Crawls out of her lurking hole…

Armistice day was a delicate issue on my family for years. As was largely our habit, my family managed to serve on both sides in that war (and in the same immediate family at that). The US contingent never saw the front lines, the Germans, well, not so lucky…. we even had family interned in Germany for two years, though they stayed with relatives.

This is the war that really didn’t end until 1990 and the end of the Cold War (which ended with German reunification really). An avoidable, nasty, meaningless war and everything it set in motion haunted the world for four generations, and in many ways still does. The generals threw troops into battle to kill the other side until the very last minute, even though they knew the armistice had been signed, and the “peace” was equally nasty and vindictive. Also, anyone who thinks economic interdependency avoids war need only look at WWI. It wasn’t supposed to happen.

In the US, WWI — after 1917 — destroyed the cohesion of the German community, caused an identity crisis among many. It was used as an excuse among other Americans to curtail competition and settle old scores. Up until US entry, German Americans (and they largely married other Germans so they did set themselves apart, our family even though it had been in the US since the 18th century almost always married German nationals, sometimes even back in Germany) found a way to be loyal to the US and their ties to the Fatherland. They would raise big money for German/Austro-Hungarian Red Cross efforts, and for German war bonds, yet at the same time were fervently patriotic in their adopted homeland. The country entered the war largely because it was seen through the prism of London. Germans were attacked, beaten and killed in places like Chicago, businesses boycotted and closed. The again, Germans did commit acts of sabotage (blowing up munitions pants etc) which was why in 1942 FDR moved to intern aliens, though in the end Germans and Italians were mostly removed from the list. Some were, in fact, interned, though it’s no longer spoken of and they were not in great numbers.

It was a bitter, divisive time.

Comment from Redd
Time: November 11, 2011, 3:47 pm

Here we go: BBC – The First World War from Above (2011)
There are copies on the internet for your viewing pleasure. You can see how beautiful the landscape is today vs. how hellish it was in 1918. The film does have a very rewarding sentimental twist in the end. The footage shows the pilot (a handsome devil) as he is flying the airship. Both he and his wife went on to join the Resistance and were captured and executed by the nazis. Their daughter, who was a baby at the time, finally gets to see her father 65 years later on film.

Comment from J.J. Sefton
Time: November 11, 2011, 10:40 pm

In Flanders Fields
by John McCrae, May 1915

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Comment from Oceania
Time: November 11, 2011, 11:52 pm

America entered the war in 1917 on April the 6th. The War ended on?? Yes indeed!
What were you doing in the three years since the start? Sitting at home an eating apple pie I suspect.

The Allies lost 5 times the total American casualities for WW1 on the Somme offensive alone. When the French remind you of this, it should be a giant hint to serve yourselves a extra large portion of ‘Humble Apple Pie’.

Since then you have started wars of territorial and expansionist resource directed aggression that have killed millions.

Just sit and think of those that you have snuffed out in Iraq, Afghanistan, and libya … current Libyan casualities sit at a rising 74,000 dead and wounded. You only lost 117,465 in WW1.

Comment from unkawill
Time: November 12, 2011, 1:08 am


Comment from unkawill
Time: November 12, 2011, 1:14 am

Why do you hate so much?
Would you rather be living under Communism, or Dar al Islam. Please inform me what war America started.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: November 12, 2011, 1:19 am

Be interesting to see a map of the troll’s opinions based on the statements it has made over time; admittedly, the idea of being the one actually charged with reviewing those statements and mapping them generates the “eeeewwww” response.

Oh, yeah. Coherence and explicability are not troll values. OK. Scratch the idea of a map. . .it would just be amorphous grey areas populated with question marks. I can create that on my own without the need for data points!

Comment from Sven in Colorado
Time: November 12, 2011, 1:48 am

Oceania is a holier-than-thou Kiwi who believes that his/her shit doesn’t emit a fragrance that draws the common house fly.

He/she is not worth the pathos the good Bards, Greek and Roman, Franc and Brit, would give to a Jack or Jenny.

Pathos or Pity ….

Pity? — Yes, I have pity for such a being whose whole life revolves around the cold instruments, unresponsive numbers, and that place where magic and faith and sweet creation are placed on a screen wire grid and burned into tasteless ash on a Bunsen burner.

May God have mercy on his/her soul.

Comment from Oceania
Time: November 12, 2011, 2:06 am

Wars that America has started? Surely you Jest?
I could go back to 1812, and operations against Canada and the Creek Nation. Nothing like a bit of Genocide to start the discussion off? How about every peace treaty and agreement with Indian groups that were destroyed?

Forwarding to the present era, we have involvments in South America, the Invasion of Iraq under false pretences of 9/11, the invasion of Afghanistan (when asked for evidence of Bin Ladens involvment in 9/11 by the Taleban Government – which there wasn’t – the US bombed) and lastly, the recent heavy involvement in Libya.

I do know about Libya, especially where the money and the gold has gone. After all, NZ SAS troops were facing off your troops outside Sirte.

Now we have the upcoming war with Iran … which should be a crowd pleaser.

If I have to watch another US dignitory swaggering at an Armistace Days Service again, I shall puke.

Comment from Oceania
Time: November 12, 2011, 2:21 am

Oh, and the other great American myth.
‘We saved the World from Communism.’

Total Bollocks.

Then we have the Spanish War, the Bay of Pigs … you are lucky you didn’t get nuked during the Bay of Pigs.

The only question now, is who is going to save the World from America?

A land of dodgy accounting practices, Fraud, Debt and a massive war orientated industrial military complex that your great great grandchildren will be paying off.
You have a higher % of GDP spent on weapons than the CCCP did when it collapsed.
You carry out more snooping and espionage on your own people than the KGB, have invaded and killed more countries and peoples than the NAZIs …

Yet Sven thinks that his shit doesn’t smell? I can smell it from NZ … the only question is will you have enough brains and courage to save Yourselves? Or will we be having future days off in celibration for the day America died?


The only lesson this 11/11/11 is that Millions of people gave their lives for Freedom and Peace – and one country called America is presently fucking it all up for everyone.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: November 12, 2011, 2:24 am

No doubt I’ll regret this in the morning but, gee. I didn’t realize the troll was of Maori origin. Because, if it isn’t, there is something exquisitely humorous about its offering accusations of genocide, and adverting to the wrongfulness of any interaction between those of European ancestry and those of native American ancestry on the North American continent. Get a grip, hm? Oh, and, yeah. Proofreading is always a good idea.
Bin Ladens [see above]
Dignitory? Armistace?
Celibration? (Snort!)
Yes, I know that your response is “oh, I did that deliberately because it somehow enhances my credibility.” Nonsense.

OOOOOh, silly me. The troll of course doesn’t mean a word of any of it. It is just attempting to attract attention. In which endeavor it has succeeded, with my help. Apologies, all–as noted, I expect I’ll regret this in the morning! But every so often I am helpless in the paws of the muses of honesty, decency and accuracy.

Comment from Oceania
Time: November 12, 2011, 3:09 am

There is nothing wrose then selling miitakes is their?


Genocide in NZ? Urban myths at best, although there were intertribal butchery sessions, as fatty food is in shortage. Cannibalism still occurs here.

3 million Native Americans slaughtered – now that’s Genocide!

And you have the bad taste to say that 6 million Jews died? That little Torah classic never occurred as there weren’t 6 million Jews in Europe!

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: November 12, 2011, 3:42 am

Ooooooh! Nice! An impressive 4 typographicals. A complete refusal to understand the /nature/ of the discussion. Repetition of an ugly accusation. Denigration of its /own/ nationals. And a bit of denial about facts. Yup. Fatty troll. ‘K, folks, I apologize for my role in feeding it.

Comment from Oceania
Time: November 12, 2011, 5:31 am

Most accusations that are true – are ugly.
The Removal Act of 1830

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 12, 2011, 11:59 am

Eh. Sorry, y’all. Had I been awake, I would not have allowed our bridge dweller to load this particular thread with his special brand of ahistorical bullshit. Bit late now.

Oceania, you mustn’t learn American history from reading the signs our children carry in protest marches. They don’t know what they’re talking about either.

Comment from Redd
Time: November 12, 2011, 12:21 pm

And he’s a Holocaust desire, too? What a sick asshole!

Comment from Redd
Time: November 12, 2011, 12:54 pm

Whoops! desire = denier

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 12, 2011, 1:05 pm

I thought that was an odd choice of words, Redd. And yes, that’s what the beasts look like in the wild.

Don’t know if you’ve ever got stuck in a room with one, but as a rule, they don’t flat-out deny anything. Not at first, anyhow. It starts with “it couldn’t have been six million” and carries on to “they weren’t really gassed (they were worked to death)” — like, even if all their assertions were true, it made any difference.

Oh, only three million? Well, then!

Kind of like the Truthers (come to think of it, he’s one of those too, isn’t he?). There’s no there there. They just ask a bunch of questions and make a bunch of assertions that don’t hang together into a coherent narrative (or hang together in a coherent narrative that is mentally retarded).

Comment from Redd
Time: November 12, 2011, 1:31 pm

Unfortunately, Stoaty, I have had more than my fair share of exposure to those types of creeps on various internet forums.

Comment from Nieta de Bob
Time: November 12, 2011, 3:45 pm

Getting back on topic…

Captain and I spent a quiet Armistice day on a date. We saw Immortals, which takes the mythology of Theseus and sort of ignores it. So it was a bit disappointing. We forgot to observe our 1 minute of silence in the AM but I made sure to do it in the PM… it was stil 11-11-11 @ 11:11, just PM. πŸ™‚

I had a discussion with him about the poppies. In the states, if we sold poppies at the post office, in stores and all over the place as they do here in the UK, there would be ads on TV with stupid celebs sporting their poppies and saying things like Support our Fallen Heroes and then people would go out and buy poppies and wear them and it’d become more of a “cool” thing to do rather than something that is done out of thoughtfulness. Not so here, the wearing of the poppy isn’t something you do because it’s cool but because you want to, which is kinda cool. The poppy is now pinned to the back of my backpack and while people might stop wearing them after tomorrow, there mine shall remain, pinned to my backpack… because I can. πŸ™‚

Comment from Oceania
Time: November 12, 2011, 11:19 pm

I just find it terrible seeing US representaives gate crashing ceremonies (it started about 12 years ago and has progressively gotten worse) – it is somewhat unacceptable, given the recent military adventures, and contributions.

During the Great War, Americans sat at home, reaped huge war profits, then had to work out what side to support. When the war was almost won, they snuck in and pretended to contribute out of fear of being seen in the future as spineless.

Here we have the same wafting stench. No wonder the French don’t include you any more. Your contribution in blood to the Allies was – to coin one of your own expressions – irrelevant.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 13, 2011, 1:27 am

I hear an terrible droning, as of an bluebottle on an pane of glasse.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: November 13, 2011, 1:31 am


Comment from Oceania
Time: November 13, 2011, 11:35 am

Yes, but I’m paid to be here to prevent your first ammendment rights of freedom of speech and association.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 13, 2011, 12:46 pm

“Amendment” – counterintuitive as it is, the first M is on its ownsome.

Comment from Brendan
Time: November 13, 2011, 11:13 pm

It must be the American spelling. Just like Aluminium.

Comment from J.S.Bridges
Time: November 14, 2011, 10:41 pm

..I’m paid to be here to prevent your first ammendment(sic) rights of freedom of speech and association.

Unpossible anywhere in the known Universe:

1) No one of any description whatsoever physically outside the U.S. of A. can, no matter where located nor how situated, “prevent” any ordinary (nor extraordinary, come to that) U.S. citizen’s free speech and/or association, neither the possession nor the exercise of same, much less some random, screechy, ignorant, arrogant Kiwi-origin dweeb that can’t even spell or write properly, much less demonstrate possession of a live brain-cell count above two in number;

2) No known entity (aside from a few totally-insensate rocks) would be so bereft of intelligence as to actually pay said random, screechy, ignorant, arrogant Kiwi-origin dweeb to attempt any such “prevent” action, as to do so would be a)impossible, b)therefore pointless, and c)thereby a total, utter unpossibility.

“Unpossibility” being defined, of course as “impossibility to the 100th power, squared and thereafter cubed.”

Ms. Weasel, I really don’t mean this to be taken as a complaint, but more in the way of an observation – You really, really, REALLY need to begin attracting a better grade of troll – that altogether-clueless bint that styles itself as “Oceanic”, or some such, is loathesomely low grade, and is clearly unworthy of your otherwise-utterly charming blogginess.


Comment from LordFlashHeart
Time: November 14, 2011, 10:48 pm

Are you sure about that?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 14, 2011, 11:12 pm

Can’t be helped, J.S. There’s no such thing as a witty, intelligent, amusing troll…because that wouldn’t be a troll. Irritating is an essential part of trolling.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: November 15, 2011, 3:10 am

Yeah, I actually think Stoaty gets pretty good troll value for investment. All we have to do is poke it every so often to keep its attention focussed. OK, sure, occasionally it flares up into what looks from afar like a mushroom cloud, but it seems to burn off a lot of energy in those flares, so that the rest of the time it is just a nice, solid, prize-specimen blogtroll. Not to say that I wouldn’t love to see a troll meeting Stoaty’s description of her own days in that role (style and panache, was it?); but. . .this troll is but human. You can’t expect true excellence.

Comment from J.S.Bridges
Time: November 15, 2011, 4:02 pm

Irritating is an essential part of trolling.

Oh, by all means – that’s clearly understood, even goes mostly without saying. One should expect irritation from a troll; it’s their salient feature, and their only function beyond serving as chew-toy for the righteous poster and commenters.

It’s not irritation I mind so much; rather, it’s incompetence that I deplore. This “Ocean-whatever” piece of excrement simply fails to meet any sort of even minimal standard of competence. Despite its desperate maundering and muttering on divers topics – in none of which it, quite clearly, has any useful experience or factual knowledge beyond a thin skim no doubt cribbed from the likes of Wikipedia or even worse – it quite glaringly exhibits only the most miniscule level of sentient activity. In addition, it constantly makes crude and quite feeble attempts to divert undue attention to itself, mostly by means of queries referencing odd historical illogicalities, crackpot theories, and obvious fictions and fallacies. Finally, it commonly displays a near-total lack of any abilities whatsoever in spelling, grammar or syntactical construction. Altogether, a most incompetent parasitical beastie, indeed.

If, as many would have it, one’s strength may be measured by the strength of one’s enemies, this blog and its author are clearly deserving of a better, more competent and generally-engaging grade of troll. While, as Can’t Hark mentions, one cannot expect true excellence in a troll, at least a decent level of competence should be afforded.

There’s just not much of value to be derived from having such a low-end easily-ignorable gadfly around…

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