Saturday, November 7, 2009

Are There No Heroes Left?

First they got the Freaks, now they're on to Gladwell. Debunkers! Feh! (spits)
 WARNING: Long, really long. I couldn't finish it and now can't tell you what it says. Oh, well. I suppose I could take down the post since I've also discouraged myself. Think I'll go to bed instead.

The Night Witches

From Wiki:
The Night Witches (Nachthexen in German, Ночные ведьмы in Russian) was the nickname the Germans gave to the World War II Soviet Air Forces 588th Night Bomber Regiment, later called the 46th Taman Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment, a women-only combat regiment formed at the instigation of Marina Raskova and led by Major Yevdokia Bershanskaya.

From June 1942, the 588th Night Bomber Regiment was within the 4th Air Army. In February 1943 the regiment was honored with a reorganization into the 46th Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment and in October 1943 it became the 46th Taman Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment. [1]

The regiment flew harassment bombing and precision bombing[2] missions from 1942 to the end of the war. At its largest size, it had 40 two-person crews. It flew over 23,000 sorties and is said to have dropped 3,000 tons of bombs. It was the most highly-decorated unit in the Soviet Air Force, each pilot having flown over 1,000 missions by the end of the war and twenty-three having been awarded the Hero of the Soviet Union title. Thirty-one of its members died in combat.

The regiment flew in wood and canvas Polikarpov Po-2 biplanes, a 1928 design intended for use as training aircraft and for crop-dusting. The planes could carry only two bombs at a time, so multiple missions in a night were necessary. Although the aircraft were obsolete and slow, the pilots made daring use of their exceptional maneuverability; they had the advantage of having a maximum speed that was lower than the stall speed of both the Messerschmitt Bf 109 and the Focke-Wulf Fw 190, as a result, the German pilots found them very difficult to shoot down. A stealthiness technique of the night bombers was to shut the engine off near the target and glide to the bomb release point, with only wind noise to reveal their location.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Meanwhile, In The New Millennium...

Andrew Sullivan found this new Web site of cultural trends.
What would you put on your list?

Don't Say I Never Gave Ya Nothin'

As usual, click to enlarge.

Trivia O' Teh Day

Sheila Feeney led to Poodle With A Mohawk which led to Lynda Barry.
For a time, Barry dated public radio personality Ira Glass who moved to Chicago in 1989 to be with her.

Couldn't find Feeney, though.

Remember When

                            Sgt. Munley

the burning questions of the day were things like "We aren't ready for female police, firefighters, soldiers..."?

Consider today Sgt. Kimberly Munley, who shot the Ft. Hood shooter and was herself wounded.
And  of course, SPD Officer Britt Sweeney, a rookie who was quick enought to get off  four shots at her trainer's assailant after he was shot to death.

Never Watch Glenn Beck

You don't have to, Jon Stewart does it for you.

CORRECTION: I'm assuming the Beck schtick comes on eventually, this appears to be the whole show plus commercials. Enjoy, cuz I'm not messin' with the embeds on this show, it's always a pain.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Crunch, Crunch

Lost in the ethernet, I vaguely noticed a noise that sounded to me a little like ripping paper from over toward the front door.
Shorty and I had been up since 6:45, way too early for the big dogs from hill house to provide diversion. She had been out, watered and fed, had a good squeaky ball game.
Last I saw her, she was chewing on the rubber tire toy, a plastic bone at the ready next to her.
Next I saw her, there were no  paper mess worries for the Puppy-Formerly-Known-As-Shredder.
I had left a bag of apples just inside the front door. As it turns out, not only does Shorty like bananas, she is a veritable fruitaholic.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Everything You've Always Wanted To Know

about the health care bills, from TPM.
No, I haven't read it yet. What happened to those trigger thingies Clyburn was talking about last week, huh? That's my question.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Free Food! You People

all 12 of you or whatever, don't seem to like to comment. I'm sorry it can't be a real time conversation, but that's Blogger for ya.
Anyhoo, there's a new feature for instant feedback at the bottom of each post. Feel free to use it freely.
It's free.
Did I say free food? Cookies in the mail to anyone who reacts and then sends me an email (in my profile, to the right. Jeesh!) I promise I won't sell your email address. Or you can get a new FREE one. Google, Yahoo, whatever. Ya dude.

Election (Slow News) Day Entertainment

Venice's People: Canon 7D 24p from Philip Bloom on Vimeo.

Contrarienne O' Teh Week


n 2007, Moira Cameron, a soldier with a distinguished 22-year military career serving in Northern Ireland and Cyprus, was named Britain's first female Yeoman Warder... a Beefeater. Unfortunately, she has also been the target of sexist workplace harassment by several of her 34 fellow Beefeaters, all of whom are supposedly mature forty+ year old veterans. This has led to two Beefeaters being suspended with an additional Beefeater currently under investigation. Equally unfortunately, Rupert Murdoch's Sun is adding to her humiliation, while Reuters has put the "Ha, ha!" in harassment by filing the story in their "humorous" Oddly Enough category


Thank You, HBO

They're re-running Angels In America. My favorite scene (if I have one, they're all my favorite scenes) starts at 1:44.
"I'm sorry you're psychotic but try to make an effort. Pull yourself together and take a deep breath," lost Mormon mother Meryl Streep to street person Emma Thompson.
"In the new century I think we will all be insane," Thompson comments.

I also watched Towelhead. Highly recommended.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Story O' Teh Week

I know it's only Monday, but Gene Weingarten's tale of old Harry is about as good as it gets.
While Harry lacked the wiliness and cunning of some dogs, I did watch one day as he figured out a basic principle of physics. He was playing with a water bottle in our backyard—it was one of those 5-gallon cylindrical plastic jugs from the top of a water cooler. At one point, it rolled down a hill, which surprised and delighted him. He retrieved it, brought it back up and tried to make it go down again. It wouldn’t. I watched him nudge it around until he discovered that for the bottle to roll, its long axis had to be perpendicular to the slope of the hill. You could see the understanding dawn on his face; it was Archimedes in his bath, Helen Keller at the water spigot.

That was probably the intellectual achievement of Harry’s life, tarnished only slightly by the fact that he spent the next two hours insipidly entranced, rolling the bottle down and hauling it back up. He did not come inside until it grew too dark for him to see.
Gus used to sit on the front porch practicing his many barks. I can only assume he was also listening for pertinent responses from the surrounding neighbors, learning their language and educating them on his.
He also used to amuse himself for hour (no, not hours) tossing old carboard, old towels, old anything into the air and catching it. Our only other dog refused to play with him and refused to allow him to keep any dog toys, stashing them instead under his bed.
He's nine now and shows no signs of slowing down, although he seems resigned to the fact that he cannot outrun the new dog with very short legs. He lopes after her, but refuses to really run, having learned that executing one of her hairpin turns will make him fall and feel ridiculous.
He does not allow the other big dog any toys of her own either, and he buries his extra treats on the property, while she follows far enough behind to undig them just as he used to do to his predecessor alpha dog.
Inspired by the puppy, he has become somewhat interested in Frisbees, but has no idea why any dog would retrieve anything. Except rocks. Sometimes he brings those back.
He has his big balls outside and the Giggly indoors, which has become much more interesting since the arrival of the puppy and her infatuation with indoor squeaky balls.

Two weeks ago, he killed some neighbor's chickens that had been running freely for years, so now he is kept close and in touch, a practice he is grudgingly growing accustomed to.

No Left, No Right

on this issue highlighted today by Nicholas Kristof.  Just the relief of human suffering.
The new hospital is part of a grand vision to eradicate fistulas worldwide by building 40 such hospitals in the world’s poorest countries. The plan, drawn up by Dr. Wall, would cost $1.5 billion over 12 years and operate as an American foreign aid program.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Understatement O' Teh Day

We need much faster growth.
Paul Krugman, NYT Blog, Nov. 1, 2009

Loneliness Of The 2 Percenters

That's the percentage of people who will opt for the public option. Not that they don't matter, but ...
"The public option is a significant issue, but its place in the debate is completely out of proportion to its actual importance to consumers," said Drew Altman, president of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. "It has sucked all the oxygen out of the room and diverted attention from bread-and-butter consumer issues, such as affordable coverage and comprehensive benefits."
But insurers still don't like it. Guess why? And they're right. You'll hear a lot of progressive criticism that this whole reform package is nothing compared to what it could be. Damned right. And will be.
I, personally, am glad Obama is an incrementalist. Is he going to make mistakes? He didn't promise us a rose garden.
While a government plan might start out modestly, insurers fear that Congress could change the rules later, opening it up to all people and setting take-it-or-leave payments for hospitals and medical providers, instead of negotiating, as the House bill calls for.

Take A Deep Breath, It's Sunday

Death star or jellyfish? You be the judge.


The bloodybelly comb jellys sparkling display is from light diffracting from tiny transparent, hair-like cilia. These beat continuously as a form of propulsion. In the deep sea, the jelly is nearly invisible; animals that are red appear black and blend into the dark background.

Friviality Friday