Saturday, December 28, 2002
As a service to the Lapine-American community, I take requests. A reader requested an adoptable bunny in Las Vegas. The HBS
doesn't have a Las Vegas Chapter, but the Internet Lost and Found
has one LV bunny available.
If you're looking for an adoptable bunny, the HBS has plenty of regional shelters. Bunnies can fly on planes. I have, and it's no sweat. Bunnies fear pouncing foxes and swooping hawks. We can handle gas turbines, trust me on this one.
For the sake of convenience, here is a pair of available bunnies in nearby Colorado
Chance was found by Boulder animal control, a three week old baby all alone, with a broken front leg. He had to be bottle fed, and the leg repaired as a bird's would be, he was so tiny. Our guess is that his mom was a rabbit who had been dumped, subsequently had a litter of babies, and that the nest was savaged by a predator, leaving nothing behind, but little Chance who had probably been tossed aside, and missed. This little white and black fellow (behind Dasher in the photo) has grown into a very friendly little guy, who is now paired with Dasher. Dasher is close to a year old, Chance, still a youngster.
If two bunnies aren't your speed, follow the link and browse the singles pages.
If you don't live in Denver, adopting these bunnies (or bunnies from any other shelter) will set you back:
~$50 Purchase price
~$75 Airline cargo fare
~$50 Cost of cage
~$10 House Bunny Handbook
~$10/month Cost of newspaper subscription (cage liner)
~$15/month Cost of Bunny Chow
~$5/month Cost of Timothy Hay
~$? Whatever you spend to spoil your bunnies
Bunnies live 6-10 years (if they're lucky). Sorry to go actuarial, but I would like to scare off the lightweights. Bunnies are excellent pets. But they're still 'exotic' pets, and until bunnies are more popular an owner's manual is essential.
Arsenal of Democracy
Sorry, no theme weekend folks.
I've come down with a bad case of jingo-hangover, and can't explain why. I still think the United States is the best thing that ever happened to the world, and I love being American. We're in the driver's seat and we get to pick the radio station. We get to watch the best TV and movies first (considering we make them, it's fair). And while we were slow to pick up on the whole Las Ketchup
thing, we're usually the ones starting trends, not following them. P.J. O'Rourke puts it best:
"We're the baddest-assed sons of bitches that ever jogged in Reeboks. We're three-quarters grizzly bear and two-thirds car-wreck and descended from a stock-market crash on our mother's side. You take your Germany, France, and Spain, roll them all together, and it wouldn't give us room to park our cars. We're the big boys, Jack, the original giant, economy-sized new and improved butt-kickers of all time. When we snort coke in Houston, people lose their hats in Cap d'Antibes. And we've got an American Express credit card limit higher than your piss-ant metric numbers go."
"You say our country has never been invaded? You're right, little buddy. Because I'd like to see the needle-d**ked foreigners who'd have the guts to try. We drink napalm to get our hearts started in the morning. A rape and a mugging is our way of saying 'Cheerio'. Hell can't hold our sock-hops. We walk taller, talk louder, spit further, f**k longer, and buy more things than you know the name of. I'd rather be a junkie in a New York City jail than King, Queen, and Jack of all you Europeans. We eat little countries like this for breakfast and spit them out before lunch."
(Holidays in Hell)
Maybe he overstates the case a little bit, but he's basically right. If we wanted to sit atop Olympus and hurl thunderbolts down at the little countries for spite or for plunder, nobody could stop us. But we don't, and we won't. As Bill Whittle wrote:
For the first time in history, a nation powerful enough to rule world has simply refused to do so. It is a moral and ethical choice we make as a people. More than that; it is data. It is evidence.
They're both right. Anyone can see that the US is a special country -- possibly unique. Ben Wattenberg calls us 'The First Universal Nation
.' By that he means we're the first country to have a little bit of all the world's people included. But are we really a nation? The word has tribal connotations, and as far as I can tell there are no American tribes. Except, of course for the tribes of American college kids backpacking across Europe. When they bump into each other, the tribal association is obvious.
The USA isn't the place where a tribe squatted until the Treaty of Westphalia. It's an idea, maybe even a meme: leave your tribe behind, get wealthy and happy and forget about the rest of the grief-stricken world
. No wonder America is so compelling to some and maddening to others.
P.J. O'Rourke once said (not verbatim until I can find a source):
America is like an eighteen year old girl, and the rest of the world are like thirteen year old boys. They have a huge crush on us, and are infuriated when we pay them no notice.
[update: Pat Berry posted the verbatim quotation in the comments. Thanks!]
And Tom Wolfe is famous for his bon mot:
"The lead dog is the one they always try to bite in the ass."
I think that, and not our friends in Israel, explains why the Mohammedans won't leave us alone. And in the future, any group with a grievance will try to get our attention, no matter if we have no dog in their fight. Which leads to the funk-inducing question I cannot answer, but put to you to see if you can:
Can the United States afford not
to rule the world?
We have already Americanized a fairly large portion of the world: North America, Germany, Japan, Panama, the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Hawaii and a bunch of places I'll omit for the sake of brevity. Another large portion of the world will probably seek membership in our country club: the Anglosphere, the EU, India, South East Asia and South America. But it's the parts of the world we cannot persuade where I wonder whether we might as well invade and preempt trouble.
Jonah Goldberg asked a similar question (and answered it himself, ha!):
I think it’s time we revisited the notion of a new kind of Colonialism – though we shouldn’t call it that. I don’t mean ripping off poor countries. I don’t mean setting tribes against one another and paying off corrupt "leaders" to keep down unrest. I mean going in — guns blazing if necessary — for truth and justice. I am quite serious about this. The United States should mount a serious effort to bring civilization (yes, "Civilization") to those parts of Africa that are in Hobbesian despair. We should enlist any nation, institution or organization — especially multinational corporations and evangelical churches as well as average African citizens — interested in permanently helping Africa join the 21st century. This might mean that Harvard would have to cut back on courses about transgender construction workers. And it might mean that some churches would have to spend more time feeding starving people than pronouncing on American presidential candidates.
Of course, he wrote that in the long, lost era before we had the timer counting down to the A-Bomb detonation in Washington DC. Today the case for pre-emption is much, much stronger. Especially if you live between the zones of first and second degree severity
(20kT ab.), as I do.
For our own protection we may have to preempt one rat's nest every couple of years, until the rest of the tyrants are cowed into submission. And isn't "submission" a loaded term? It's positively imperial. Oh well, if you're going to be smeared as imperialistic, you might as well get to enjoy the perquisites.
On the question of preemption, we're damned of we do, and damned if we don't. The only silver lining I can find is that if anyone tries to challenge us, they would most certainly be damned if they did. No question.
As longtime readers know, I'm reading Victor Davis Hanson's Carnage and Culture
. He argues that the things that make the Arsenal of Democracy so powerful aren't the flying lasers and fighting robots.
Western civilization has given mankind the only economic system that works; a rationalist tradition that alone allows us material and technological progress; the sole political structure that ensures the freedom of the individual; a system of ethics and a religion that brings out the best in humankind; and the most lethal practice of arms conceivable.
(Carnage and Culture, paperback, p. 455)
Western armies, as products of free societies can only be defeated by other Western armies. Just by being yourself, a member of the longest-running lollapalooza in the whole free world, you contribute to the society which spawns the most powerful means of diplomacy by other means.
And that's why today's AoD selection is you.
Friday, December 27, 2002
This special bunny is available only to you lucky residents of Illinois. Meet Missy:
Heaven is snuggling up to soft, sweet Missy. She has short rex fur, softer than velvet. She loves to have her velvety nose stroked and kissed; she relishes the love and care given her. She enjoys rearranging the newspaper in her cage and munching on hay in her litterbox.
Oh she's a sweetie alright. And look at those markings: she looks like a horse! Considering that bunnies are Lagomorphs
and not rodents, she's taxonomically closer to horses and cows than she is to squirrels.
If you adopt her, watch out for those ears -- they could put an eye out!
Arsenal of Democracy
Today's fighting robot doesn't actually fight. You're thinking: oh goodie, another example of wasted defense spending
, right? Trust me you're going to like this robot, folks. And frankly I'm getting tired of the hoary old cliché of wasteful defense spending. If these AoD posts serve only one function, it is to illustrate that the money is definitely not wasted. Just look at all the neat stuff it buys!
I found this robot with the help of Boing Boing
. It's under development by iRobot
, the company that brought you the autonomous vacuum cleaner
. 'Roomba' has a cousin in the service named Fetch
, who works with his friends to create a distributed web of mine-clearing robots. I love spin-off technology. Cleaner carpets brought to you by DARPA!
Today's fighting robot doesn't clean carpets or hunt mines. It saves lives. Let's meet Bloodhound:
When Bloodhound arrives at the wounded soldier, it will notify the medic, and the medic will examine the casualty using the robot's sensors. Bloodhound's diagnostic sensors include video cameras, an electronic stethoscope, and two-way audio to communicate with a conscious casualty.
After determining the extent of the casualty's injuries, the medic will be able to treat those injuries using Bloodhound's medical payloads. Potential payloads include devices to stop bleeding (inflatable bandages, fibrin bandages, liquid fibrin sealants, Factor VII), intramuscular auto-injectors (which can deliver morphine, adrenaline, and nerve agent antidotes), and advanced diagnostic devices. Using these payloads, the medic will be able to stabilize the casualty's condition until a medic can arrive or the casualty can be evacuated.
On a personal note, I know someone who helped write the software for an earlier attempt at an autodoc. It was a robot cuff that would stabilize an evacuee's blood pressure and administer anesthetic. I was disappointed when our beloved Army didn't go for it, but after seeing Bloodhound I understand the decision.
Follow the link to see the prototype. And take a moment to laugh at all those prognosticators who said Star Wars would never work. The joke's on them: we're building medical droids!
That Santa, he gets around
Police in Harris County, Houston, are searching for a Santa who held up a toll booth.
The Father Christmas is accused of threatening a toll booth attendant with a gun and driving away with the contents of her cash drawer.
Chalk one up for the “naughty” list!
How does Santa unwind?
A windsurfing Santa has been arrested in the US after accidentally crossing the Canadian border.
But strong winds blew him off course and he ended up on the American side of the river where he was arrested by border patrol guards.
Santa is a better water-skier. At least he was when I saw him at Sea World.
Thursday, December 26, 2002
If you're a new reader, let me explain:
This web log has a few divers lodestars:
1. Highlighting the US Armed forces' transformation to laser-armed fighting robots,
2. Cheesy movies
(gotta love them),
3. Silly things in the news (fiction cannot compete), and
4. Bunnies, especially the adoptable kind.
Each day, this web log concludes by featuring a bunny who is either historically significant or available for adoption. With a loving family as my host, I'm set for life. Please forgive my special pleading; I'm trying to give something back to my community.
Today's bunny is Sadie:
This poor girl was completely declawed (how horrible)!
She doesn't let that stop her, she manages to skate-scoot all throughout her foster home.
Bunnies' nails are like a dog's nails: attached to the fingers and toes. But unlike a dog, bunnies don't have pads on their feet (just skin and fur, folks). Some sick, twisted freak amputated all her toes and now she gets by with whatever traction her furry feet provide. Imagine losing all your digits. And yet her will to live is so strong!
Like my warmongering readership, Sadie is a survivor. She's been through hell and back, and needs a loving patron. You folks know what to do.
Arsenal of Democracy
Sorry for the lame AoD yesterday, but rules are rules. Let's get back to basics: fighting robots (preferably with lasers). Since Strategypage
is featuring the Predator
on its front page today, so will we.
It's not really a robot (more like a fighting waldo), and its laser (designator) isn't going to give the Crossbow Project
any competition, but it's still the original fighting robot. This year's model has some nifty new features.
The Predator B (or RQ-1B) has been flying in the Balkans since April, 2001. This version can carry up to ten Hellfire missiles. The B version also has it's internal payload (of cameras and electronics) increased from 450 to 750 pounds. The B version will be able to carry a more powerful SAR radar, that can see details on the ground at night and through fog and smoke. SAR produces what looks like a crude black and white video of what it sees.
Ten Hellfires? It could plink two platoons of tanks on a single sortie! And it gets better:
Another option being investigated is equipping the Predator with Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. The U.S. Army has already equipped some of it's helicopters with Stinger missiles, so all the engineering work to transform a shoulder fired missile to one fired from an aircraft is already done. Army helicopters expect to use their Stingers to knock down other helicopters, as enemy fighters are rarely encountered over battlefields patrolled by the U.S. Air Force. But the air force is also thinking about putting 340 pound AIM-120 air to air missiles on Predator Bs. This missile can take down any aircraft currently in service.
How long until we mint the first robot ace?
I recommend you check out the manufacturer's home page
. And be sure not to miss their Photo Library
. General Atomics makes a whole family of flying robots. They've got pictures of the new Predator B, and you can see they've revised the tail section and upped the engine to a turboprop.
But the picture which caught my eye was this one featuring a Predator A and a couple of "finders."
A search of General Atomics didn't turn up any information about those "finders." My guess is they're beacons to be delivered to special locations which warrant further attention. Or maybe it's an expendable drone intended for battle-damage assessment. Either way, it's a flying robot carrying flying robots
. We are officially in flying robot heaven! So there can be no question about it: the Predator is the item of the day from the ever more robot-friendly Arsenal of Democracy.
Swinging, Singing Christmas
Indonesia's President Megawati Sukarnoputi has given the restive province of Papua what she called a Christmas present by singing the Sinatra classic "My Way."
Well she is President, so it's her way (or else). Why don't we elect singing Presidents? I want one too.
Speeding motorists in Tennessee have been allowed to sing their way out of trouble.
Clifford Jones was among about 55 traffic violators in the town of Columbia who were given the opportunity to avoid a ticket by singing carols.
A little too much dashing through the snow
Wednesday, December 25, 2002
Official Bunny of Christmas
(Bunny Christmas concludes on this web log
No contest, it's Alex:
No, he isn't unintentionally humiliated. He's just a good sport.
If you need more bunny Christmas, check out the official twelve days
(and pet shrine).
With Christmas concluded, who's up to a Boxing-Day themed Thursday?
Arsenal of Democracy
(Bunny Christmas continues on this web log
Is there anything in the inventory that is Christmas-bunny related? That's a toughie. Well Bugs did some USO tours, does that count?
Not Christmasey enough. Folks, I tried but couldn't find anything that met the three criteria:
I guess we'll have to fall back on my Christmas presents to fit the bill.
You throw one of those hardcovers hard enough, you could kill someone!
Amazon is Funny
(Bunny Christmas continues on this web log
You know it's time to delete all cookies
when you sign onto Amazon
, looking for a picture of Pat, the Christmas Bunny...
...and find that Amazon has generated a profile of you based on your browsing habits. And what do they think you want to buy?
There is another?
(Bunny Christmas continues on this web log
Google reports I'm not the only one with a bunny-Christmas themed website
Another similarly themed website
from a young lady with a hobby which we'll just say appeals to a "more select group." I really shouldn't, but it meets the criteria and you all like japanese anime costumes, right?
Freedom: ain't it grand?
Might as well make it a theme day.
(Bunny Christmas commences on this web log
Tuesday, December 24, 2002
Twas the night before Christmas and most thought it funny
to see trimming the tree a fuzzy little bunny.
Merry Christmas everybody. Let's wish for Peace on Earth, goodwill to all and a happy new year.
Arsenal of Democracy
The best part of the AoD (no, it's not the fighting robots or flying lasers) is its heart of gold. To be sure: it kicks butt better than anyone, but underneath it's a loveable softie who just wants peace on Earth...one ousted madman at a time.
If you're unlucky enough to live in a blasted dictatorship and the AoD suddenly kicks down the door, don't worry because the story's not over. Like all American stories, it will have a happy ending for you. We'll buy you a better door, and attend to other home repairs. We always try to leave a country looking better than we found it.
Even before the fighting stops, we're passing out the goodies:
Thanksgiving Day  with the traditional turkey dinner turned out to be a unique American-Luxembourg friendship event, where the people of Diekirch enjoyed very much that typical American custom. Needless to say that the children cherished the Hershey bars, chewing gum, and candies, whereas their parents invited the GIs to sample local specialties.
(Luxembourg National Military Museum)
Nobody else goes into battle bearing as many gifts and distributing as many candies as the AoD. Remember the Marshall Plan? Remember the Berlin Airlift
? Remember Operation Little Vittles
? (Good God, he's still at it
!). Remember the airdrops of Operation Enduring Freedom
? The propensity of the AoD to distribute its own swag is so grand, Peter Sellers even made a comedy
about it. Why does the AoD do it? Because it works
. And like Patton said, we don't like paying for the same real estate twice.
Not to go all Norman Rockwell on you, but the image of a Yankee G.I. distributing food to his former enemies is indelible
In honor of the generosity of the AoD, and as a tribute to its tendency to distribute gifts no matter the season, today's article from the AoD is the Hershey Bar
It’s a trap
A dog who was trapped in a bunny hole for two weeks managed to free himself after losing half his body weight.
Somewhere a bunny is laughing his poor fool head off.
Nutballs back in the news
Remember these guys?
People living near the Belgian national airport spent a night in the departure hall because they say it's quieter than their bedrooms.
Neighbours of Brussels Airport are protesting about planes flying over their houses at night.
Guys, nobody is forcing you to live near the airport. Besides noise is nothing. You have bigger things
about which to worry.
Monday, December 23, 2002
Meet Smokey and Sandy:
(Portland, OR Adopt-a-bunny
Smokey is a gray neutered male and Sandy is a tan spayed female, each weighing about 3.5 lbs. They are a quiet, slightly shy pair of sweet rabbits who were rescued from the wild by concerned neighbors. We are not sure of their age but are guessing they are about one year old. Both need a quiet home with an inside exercise pen where they will be given sensitive attention by their humans. They will give you wonderful companionship.
(Portland, OR Adopt-a-bunny)
These guys are lucky to have been released into the wild and to have survived.
All pet bunnies are European Bunnies
(even if we stand up and salute the colors or bleed red-white-and blue). We cannot breed with American Bunnies
and we don't even speak the same language. Euro-bunnies burrow underground. American bunnies live in tall grass. Plus pet bunnies just don't have the training to survive more than a few days outside. Releasing a European Bunny into the wild is capital punishment. Nature is red in tooth and claw. And because of that, I am ever grateful to live in the domestic servitude of mankind. It beats a painful death at an early age. Plus you people are too darn funny to watch. Vanity, thy name is mankind.
Smokey and Sandy know what I'm talking about. They've been into the wilderness and survived. These two know the value of a safe house and a loving family. I've no doubt they'll find one, and you can be sure that family will be blessed with two outstanding and grateful pets.
Arsenal of Democracy
Today, Strategy Page
is featuring a story about a new system for guiding precision-guided munitions onto moving targets. The technology looks a bit Rube Goldbergesque
, (and will make extensive use of the Internet-T
) but if it works then not even the fleet of foot can stop us.
Let's have a look at the Affordable Moving Surface Target Engagement (AMSTE
The AMSTE program will investigate the concept of leveraging the recent advances in sensor technology to provide an affordable solution to precise moving surface target engagement. The fundamental concept to be investigated is to use a network of ground moving target indicating (GMTI) radar and synthetic aperture radar (SAR) systems to provide a precision fire control tracking solution on moving and intermittent surface targets. These sensors provide all-weather capability, and the use of multiple GMTI sensors provides the required precision targeting. This precision fire control tracking solution will be provided to update low-cost, precision guided munitions in-flight for precise engagement of a moving surface target. The goal of the AMSTE program is to develop, investigate, and evaluate technologies leading to affordable architectures for destroying specific land, littoral, and water-moving targets.
Think of it as tank-plinking, to go.
Mind you, it is already possible to engage moving targets with plain old Paveway III's
, as a young lady nicknamed "Baldie" (WSO, 391st Fig. Squad.) proved from the cockpit of a Strike Eagle
The war gave the crews opportunities to stretch their skills, to try things they had never attempted during practice. Two Fish and Baldie were midway through a sortie when an AWACS assigned them an important target, a convoy of trucks. Baldie estimated the speed of the vehicles to be 100 miles an hour. ("How fast would you be driving down the road if you knew that an F-15 was trying to kill you?" she asks.) She made a rough calculation of where the trucks would be when the bomb reached the road, and cleared Two Fish to pickle. Guiding the GBU with her laser, teasing it along with her hand controller, like a kite at the end of a string, she put it right through the lead truck's front grille.
"You have just been killed by a girl," Two Fish said.
I recommend reading the full article
from the Atlantic. It's by Mark Bowden, and you know he never disappoints. Not to get too far off topic in today's AoD, but Bowden asks the $25K question: how do the crews fly ten hours missions without toilet facilities? Answer: not easily.
It is even worse for women. The Air Force has been working on the concept of a woman's urinating in a cockpit for several years now, and if Baldie is a fair judge, it has not yet solved the problem. Poor Baldie. (Her nickname comes from the fact that she is married to an F-16 pilot and thus "bangs a Lawn Dart driver": BALD-D.) Sitting just a few feet in front of or behind a male flier, a woman is forced to disrobe in an immodest series of contortions, exposing her hands and hindquarters to the stinging cold, and then has to negotiate a funnel attached to a bag. It's little wonder that Baldie became known as the "super camel," for her holding ability. ("I did sprint to the bathroom a few times the second we landed," she says.) Bowel movements? Too horrible to contemplate, and no accommodations whatsoever. The bowels are easier to regulate, of course, and during the Afghanistan campaign Imodium became a staple of the Bold Tiger diet; but dining on not always familiar food in a foreign land has been known to create digestive emergencies that can confound even the strongest over-the-counter medications. One flier earned the nickname "B-nok," for "buck naked over Kuwait," when seized by a call that had to be answered. He relieved himself into a small cardboard fast-food container with the jet on autopilot. Most of these fliers can strip, crap, and fly all at once—a proud accomplishment. These are not the kinds of skills they package in the "Go Air Force" pitch.
Gives new meaning to "holding pattern."
With any luck, AMSTE will be just the thing for our flyboys and flygirls. If they can engage both stationary and moving targets, they'll get the job done sooner, and will head home earlier to answer the call. Now you can see why AMSTE is such an urgently
needed addition to the AoD!
Feet Taste Like Chicken
Mary at Exit Zero
writes about Senator Patty Murray sticking her foot in her mouth
. Here's an excerpt from Murray's self-inflicted speech:
He's been out in these countries for decades, building schools, building roads, building infrastructure, building day care facilities, building health care facilities, and the people are extremely grateful. We haven't done that.
Most people are making comparisons, and drawing their own conclusions. But if you ask me, the comparison shouldn't be to Lott
, but to Schott
Everything you read, when he came in [to power] he was good...They built tremendous highways and got all the factories going...Everybody knows he was good at the beginning but he just went too far.
(Anti Defamation League)
Major League Baseball imposed sanctions
on Marge Schott when she said nice things about an evil madman. Do the Democrats hold their Senators to a higher or lower standard?
POLICE are hunting an armed robber who raided a shop dressed in a full Santa Claus outfit yesterday.
The cowardly crook hid behind his festive disguise as he threatened staff with a knife before stealing thousands of cigarettes.
His accomplice - who was not dressed up - helped him carry out box after box.
(The Daily Record)
Staff at a Scottish supermarket were left confused by a crate load of singing sandwiches.
Tesco launched the world's first singing sandwiches last week. When the packet is opened, the sandwich bursts into song.
My sandwiches never sing. What rip-offs.
German president Johannes Rau wants the word Luftwaffe removed from official aircraft used on government business.
President Rau instead wants Bundesrepublik Deutschland (Federal Republic of Germany) written on the fuselage of official Airbus planes.
Mr Rau's inspiration is the US president's plane, Air Force One, which is emblazoned with the words United States of America rather than US Air Force.
Yes, that’s what’s painted on our VC-25’s, but what does everybody call them? Back to square one, I’m afraid.
Sunday, December 22, 2002
(Winter Solstice Sunday concludes on this web log
Snow-themed belligerent bunnies. Too much to ask?
Here's everything you wanted to know about Arctic Hares
Hares will form groups of 100 to 300 animals. While some rest and feed the others act as guards. Hares are able to survive the Arctic winters by huddling together in snow drifts, under bushes or behind rocks. Arctic hares usually follow the same paths every time they look for food.
When alarmed they rise up on their hind legs to look for danger and then bound off very quickly . Hopping up on their hind legs like a kangaroo, they can reach speeds of 64 km. per hour. The hare can swim across narrow streams.
Hares may fight. They box, scratch and snap at one another but they do not bite.
Those fighting hares are awesome. Best theme-bunnies ever!
(Winter Solstice Sunday continues on this web log
A snow-themed Sunday just wouldn't be the same without a mention of the world's most ubiquitous snow man.
(Washington Speakers Bureau
You asked for snow, I hope you realized at the time what that entailed. Tony is a hoss, and you can visit him every weekend all year round.
Best snowman ever?
Arsenal of Democracy
(Winter Solstice Sunday continues on this web log
What do snow and the AoD have in common? This one is too easy. It's the fighting ski patrol vehicle.
With all four tracks driven at all times, the M973's large track area allows the vehicle to travel over deep snow and soft ground which would be impassable to almost all other tracked and wheeled vehicles. It is also amphibious, being propelled in the water by its four tracks. The M973 can negotiate such obstacles like soft snow, drifting sand and marshlands and can climb considerable gradients, swim without preparation and work in arctic cold or in tropical heat.
Oh, it's a little prosaic, but it keeps the enemy on its toes. With these sno-cats, no section of the battlespace can be written off as impassable. Otherwise, you're likely to see a sequel to Heroes of Telemark
. (And since that film hasn't been released to DVD, who knows: we might pull off another surprise).
The picture doesn't really do the fighting sno-cat justice. So I was googling around for better ones, and lordy lordy, it's a shrine to Air-Mech
! Check out the link, and after you've scrolled down about half way (and picked your jaw off the floor), check out the "BV-206" pictures. And be sure not to miss the "BV-206S (M973A2) for 101st Air Assault Division power point presentation." That site's going on the bookmark list for sure!
(Winter Solstice Sunday continues on this web log.)
If you're snowed in, what do you do? If you're like me, you watch a movie. Who watches the weatherman? You can look out the window to see if it's snowing. And if you can't get out of the driveway, who cares if school or work is officially closed? It is for you, anyway.
I was going to wait for Christmas to make the following announcement. But since peeking in the present closet is something of a tradition, go ahead and look.
In the left-hand column is a link to the world's newest bunny web log, written by yours truly. It's not quite finished, but close enough (btw., anyone know how to display archives one post
at a time?).
If you're like me and you like bad movies (and TV), you'll surely want to book mark the Belligerent Bunny's Bad Movie Shrine
. Now playing is a sci-fi classic from behind the iron curtain.
All your favorite movie reviews from this web log are also in there, so go ahead and drink in the bad movie nostalgia.
A word of warning
: until I can set the archives to display only one post at a time, this shrine's archives will be picture heavy
. Remember: it's not just a shrine, it's a rebus!
It's all about the snow
(Winter Solstice Sunday continues on this web log.)
Well I'll be! A snow shrine
Man, the internet has everything
(Pagan Winter Solstice Sunday commences on this web log.)
Everybody knows that the big holiday coming up on Wednesday used to piggyback on the feast of Yule and Saturnalia.
Interestingly, Christmas (and its attendant holiday, Easter) actually have roots in ancient beliefs going back tens of thousands of years. Many folk holidays and celebrations were absorbed into Christian culture in the early days of Christianity to make the new religion more acceptable. There was no consensus among early Church fathers over the date to use for Christ's birth. (In fact, as devout Christians know, there is no certain date for the birth of Christ. Current estimates based on historical and astronomical records put it at around February 6, 6 B.C.) A December festival to celebrate the birth of Christ didn't exist until the fourth century when Christians simply adopted the popular Yule celebrations for their own use. Roman churchmen favored the Mithraic winter solstice festival, which they themselves had adopted from the Persians called the Birthday of the Unconquered Sun. On the old Roman calendar, December 25 (not December 21) was the date of the winter solstice. The winter solstice was also the traditional date to honor the birth of the pagan Divine Child, and Norsemen celebrated the birthday of their lord, Frey, at the winter solstice. After much argument, Pope Julius selected December 25 as Christ's Mass, or Christmas, in 350 A.D.-in part to counter persistent pagan solstice rites, but also because people of the time were already used to calling it a god's birthday. (This proclamation was not without objection, however. The date was so controversial that eastern churches refused to honor it for another hundred years, and the church of Jerusalem ignored the date until the 7th century. And in an interesting twist, the fifth-century Bishop of Constantinople firmly believed December 25 was selected so Christians could celebrate Christ's birthday undisturbed while "the heathen were busy with their profane ceremonies"!)
(Carnegie Mellon University)
So let's toss a big ol' log on the fire and swap some pagan poetry
Hail, Great Mother, Arianrhod of the Silver Wheel, Star Goddess, Sky Goddess, Goddess of Rebirth, Full Moon Goddess. Hear our prayers on this, the longest night of the Dark Season.
Hail, East, whence comes the first solemn winter light each day, the gateway of the dawn. Hail, Guardians of Air, givers of morning breezes scented with snow, fir and cedar, spruce and pine, the evergreens that symbolize survival in the midst of death.
(Winter Solstice, by Glendowner)
There's more where that came from, by the way.