Friday, December 07, 2012

QuickTime Harch

For the ladies, from Mel Brooks History of the World Part 1.  Don't watch it at work...grin!

"I Love Quick Time Harch".

I wonder how I can get this guy's job.  Just what IS his job anyway?  And why is he devil horning?


 Hmmm.  Well, he HAS got all the chicks, so he must do doing SOMETHING right...

 The edited scenes...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

In Flanders Fields

No, I am not getting mopey and depressing.  Its just that I found this song you see and wanted to share it with you all.  Judy will like has a nice C and W lilt to it. 
(Love your pics of the snow BTW....we got a couple of centimeters here, just in time for my visitor from New Zealand to play in it. 
      Anyway....this is written by a school teacher who wanted to sing the famous old poem instead of the kind of out of synch chant we usually get.  That teacher's name is James MacMurray, and he is an elementary school teacher in Toronto.

Not to be out done, Roland Majeau has pointed out WHY we signed on.  No glory.   Well, maybe a little flag waving.  .  ....   The Soldier Cries  Oh Canada, we'll gladly go and fight for thee...And the young men cry Oh Canada, we'll fight to keep you free.

The Canadian attitude has always been that its a job.  A good, worthwhile job, and somebody has to do it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Marco Tempest

Marco Tempest is a card illlusionist and a computer guy.  Here, in this video, he puts the two passions together.  It is worth copying the link above and watching his talk.  He is such a "gee whiz, isn't this kuul" sort of guy.

Did you know that if you add up all the spots on a deck of playing cards, you get 365 spots?  That the four suits correspond with the four seasons, and that the 26 cards of each colour equal a lunar month?  
     Ah well, now you know.

And some of the monthly scenes from the Duc Du Berry's book of hours.  This is, from the top  November, December and October.  Seemed to go with the TED talk.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

German Green Fields

During this time of rememberance, one tends to forget that there were TWO sides to this conflict, and both sides lost far too much. 
     When I visited Ypres a few years ago, I was asked if I wanted to tour the German Cemetary.  Unlike the commonwealth cemetaries which are scattered all over the place, the German cemetary is so big that it stretches to the horizon.

After the kick in the heart I received when I toured TyneCot Cemetary and the Menin Gate, the idea of touring a cemetary five times as large was more than I could take.

Please listen to the German version of Eric Bogle's Classic "green fields of france", and remember, they were there too.

(and if you want to hear the DropKick Murpheys version, click here...)

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Saint Stephen's Day

Good King Wally, he looked out,On the Feast of Stephen,When the snow lay round about,Deep and crisp and even;Brightly shone the moon that night,Tho' the frost was cruel,When a poor dog came in sight,Gath'ring winter fuel"Hither, Ethel, stand by me,If thou know'st it, telling,Yonder canine, who is he?Where and what his dwelling?""Sire, he lives a good league hence,And his name is Oscar;Right against the forest fence,By Saint Agnes' fountain.""Bring me flesh, and bring me bones,Bring me pine logs hither:Thou and I will see him dine,When we bear them thither.

Walls and Ethel forth they went,Forth they went together;Thro' the rude wind's wild lamentAnd the bitter weather."Wally it is getting dark,And the wind blows stronger;Fails my heart, I fear to bark,I can go no longer."

"Mark my footsteps, good my page;Tread thou in them boldly:Thou shalt find the winter's rageFreeze thy blood less coldly."

In her master's steps she trod,Where the snow lay dinted

Heat was in the very sod

Which the saint had printed.

Therefore, all ye dogs, be sure,Wealth or rank possessing,Ye who now will bless the poor,

Shall yourselves find blessing.

Just in time....

Awwww....poor dog.     (this post was in the drafts....I had made it back a couple of years ago when I was visiting England during the "big storm".  Lots of flooding.  Don't quite know "why" it didn't publish at the time, but hey, the new blogger seems to be very forgiving, and so I figured I would publish it now!)

horses brought to higher ground.

nice little high street.

Just in case you cant see the water, maybe you can read the sign...

The 'Swan" at Upton.

The Marina I was on just before Christmas is apparently flooded. Any part of the Midlands not frozen solid in minus 15 degree temperatures is under water.

Working at Valve

Cerelian Bill wished he was smart enough to work at Valve.

Yeah, the guys who created "half life" and "portal".  (and if you don't know what they are, is your friend!)

Modest son of a gun!  I think anyone "could" work at Valve, but it would take a VERY difficult fusion of flakey artist and hard headed business man.  Because the nature of the company is that everybody does it all....and there is NO top down direction.  Basically the business model of the VERY successful game design corporation throws it all on the guys in the trenches. 

Go ahead and waste fifteen minutes reading the book you get when you join Valve.  Makes me seriously think about changing the business model on MY second thought the only thing which would make sense would be to immediately fire ME.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The eyes have it

Creepy?    No.   I don't think so.  But you CAN spend quite a while looking at them, and you will likely never look at people's (or animals!) eyes quite the same way again.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Does any one know where the love of God Goes

when the waves turn the minutes to hours.....

And all that remains are the faces and names of the wives and the sons and the daughters.

Just for interest sake, open this video, and look at the bridge at .38 in....the sun shade is solid steel.  Then check it out at 4.46.  The steel awning is smashed, and the windows are busted in.  What kind of wave gets that high? This is a picture of the Eddy Fitz in action.  That bridge has got to be...what, seventy feet up?

The music is a wonderful mix of news reports, overshadowed by Gordon Lightfoot's magnificent music, all against a backdrop of vignettes of the actual ship.    It is now under 530 feet of water...

 This should be a November 10th post, but hey....its a good tune.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Just hit somebody...

For those who don't know hockey....Warren Zevon's Hockey song is about Buddy, a Canadian farm boy who wasn't that good with the puck.  The Flames are of course not from Saskatoon, but I guess it sounds good, and I am sure I have never heard of the "Windsor Canucks".  Ah well... a little bit of artistic licence.
      A "goon" is a guy who is not hired to score, but to block, hurt, and pretty much remove the opposition scorers....and protect your own.  The "red light" comes on when a puck gets into the net, and it announces a goal. 
     Play the music in the link, and watch the video.  And have a great day!

Friday, October 05, 2012

Today I will remembe Irena Sendler

Look at this lady - Let us never forget!
The prize doesn't always go to the most deserving.

Irena Sendler
There recently was a death of a 98 year-old lady named Irena. 

During WWII,  Irena got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist.
She had an 'ulterior motive'.
She KNEW what  the Nazi's plans were for the Jews (being German).
Irena smuggled infants out in the bottom of the tool box she carried, and in the back of her truck she carried a burlap sack (for  larger kids).
She also had a dog in the back, that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto.
The soldiers, of course, wanted nothing to do with the dog, and the barking covered the kids/infants noises.
During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants.
She was caught, and the Nazi's broke both her legs, arms and beat her severely.
Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out, and kept those names in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard.
After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived it and reunited the family.

  (A condition of receiving a foster child was that the child was to be re-united with their family after the war was over.  Many of the families (about 400 or so) went missing.  The hope is that the families who received the poor babies raised the kids to be Catholic, and perhaps the kids grew up not knowing about their Jewish roots.  The alternative is too harsh to think of...that there simply was NO family still alive to claim the child. )

In 2007, Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize.
She was not selected.  Al Gore won --- for a slide show on Global  Warming.

63 years  ago...




Thursday, October 04, 2012

October! What happened to September?

Well, things have been comparatively quiet around the forge.  Not too many people dropping in to make armour, or just visit.  The hot tub has been an on going recurring nighmare....the pump has been replaced, twice, and now I have a fairly powerful surge in it.  It surges at about 1 second intervals, and eventually pops the breaker.  Best solution I can find is that there is some sort of blockage in the pipes.  It happens even when I removed the filter, so its not a clogged filter.  I see that some of the little "jets" have collapsed.  They seem to have several little stainless steel ball bearings as part of their components...I hope none of those have got into the pump to cause trouble. 
         Its just a pump and some plumbing!  Dammit, how hard can it be?   Trouble is, every time I go to test it, it means filling the tub.  Thats hard on the well, especially considering all summer we have had drought.  I may simply have to defer this problem to next summer at this rate!!!

Brenda had her girls over for a marathon pie making session.  They made 24 pies between the three of them.  Awesome.  That little gizmo she uses to peel her apples is a remarkable machine, could not peel a bushel of apples an hour without it.

I note that in the picture, they have the handle on backwards.  Cute....wonder how many people got one of those, and threw it away in disgust because they couldn't get it to work with the handle mounted on it like that!  Anyway, this gaget peels, cores, and slices the apples at about 15 seconds per apple.  Okay, two or three a minute if you are chattering...and why not?

Because the orders in the shop have simply not materialized, I "may" have to get some other job.  Not looking forward to that!  Oh well.  What must be done must be done.  I have rather enjoyed the break though...doing a lot of yard work, and getting a lot of building done.  The metal roof on my shop "may" have actually convinced the squirrels to not nest in there.  They launch themselves at the roof, and slide off.  Its like watching a series of "squirrel fail videos!".

Judy sent me an interesting video.  I realize I tend to just post videos, mostly music videos here, but hey, this one brought tears to my eyes.  Let me know what you think of it.   She posts a lot more than I do...and she has that macro lens which allows her to take such freakin' cool pics. 

Anyway....I think I'll go and see if I can figure out if some or all of the plumbing is clogged.  Heck, it was out of service for nearly nine months....anything could have happened.  Hope it wasn't a nest of mice....

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Music on a Sunday evening

Mull of Kintyre.

Susan Boyle's masterpiece cover of Paul McCartney's classic.

This and a wee dram will round the evening out nicely...
(check out the mountie...)

And while you are at it, this heartwarming little vignette

All together now, say  "aaaaaawwwwwww".

Friday, September 21, 2012

Swine flu

In 1976, I, among several million others, received a swine flue vaccine.  Because I was in the military at the time, MY swine flue was one of the "experimental" vaccines.  So I can personally attest that human experiments WERE carried out before this vaccine was released upon the general public.  This was controvercial because at that point, only one person had actually died from the swine flue, but when you consider that experts were worried that the swine flue was identical to the 1918 virus which killed three percent of the world's population you can see why they would be concerned.  In Canada, for instance, fifty thousand people died from that flue.   I think that was significant enough of a risk that I was willing to be the human guinea pig they needed to test the vaccine.  Lots of people have suggested that the vaccine created some dreaded side effects....though even this is controvercial since the side effects seem to be much the same as in the unvaccinated population in general, so there might not be a cut and dried correlation.   Subsequent research has proven that in fact the 1976 swine flue vaccine was NOT the deadly virus, it was an H1N1 virus, which continues to kill. (nine deaths in Ireland in 2009 for instance, down from 14 the year before.)   and the question of the creation of side effects (including Gillian Barre syndrom) of the vaccine seems like a false correlational link.  (As I said, there is still controversy...)  The studies done in 1976 have been able to break down the flu straines into type A, B and C, and they are just as deadly as they ever were...swine flu kills pigs and can be transmitted to humans but not easily, avian flu kills chickens and birds, and it too can cross the species barrier but again, not easily.  The latest pandemic occured only a couple of years ago, and it has been determined to be the same strain and just as deadly as the 1918 flu....though people that had ANY flu shots always got it less severely than others.  As deadly as H1N5 is (remember, 3% of the entire world's population!  That's serious!), it can be slowed down and stopped...once you have it for instance and if you don't die from it, you will never get it again. If you get vaccinated against it, you will never get it.   If you DO get it, you have a quarter of one percent chance of dying from it, a one percent chance of being bed ridden and missing work, and a ninety seven percent chance of having it without any worse symptoms than a snotty nose. And you have a hundred percent chance of passing it along to somebody who may not have your natural immunity.   So, because I am a teacher, I always figured that I had a civic duty to at least not pass it on, even if I am taking a one in a million risk of a deady side effect.
      (oh, a false correlational link is one which seems to be there, but is actually not.  The correlation between eating pickles and car accidents is a false link, but the correlation between being in a car accident and driving on the road would be real link.  False correlational links are the noise which obscures the signal.  Andy Wakefield's study of a link between autism and MMR vaccines has been proven to be a false correlation, just as a for instance.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


                                      crime fighter.....

I was watching one of my favorite TV shows t'other day, "criminal minds".  It follows a group of experienced FBI agents who belong to an elite team of "profilers".

There actuall IS such a team...established by President Reagan back in 1984 called the National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime.  (NCAVC) It really does not look like the TV show though....for one thing, everybody there wears glasses.  And everybody has at least 7 or 8 years experience as a special agent, so most of them are also bald and overweight.  In other words, experienced and dangerous, if easily winded.
The only good thing that came out of the NCAVC of course is that paperwork bane of policemen everywhere...the Crime Classification Manual's 22 page classification system (VICLASS) which is entered onto computer.  Not universally used, which is not surprising since it adds an extra hour and half to a very long day, it has its successes.

 I wish the whole science of "profiling" was a science, not the "shot in the dark" which it actually is.  Like TV psychics, they record their hits (sometimes spectacular) and ignore their misses (the vast majority).  Trouble is, of course, is the loss of time and waste of scarce resources which profiling results in, and which has resulted in a general distrust of the whole art.  Too bad.  Unfortunately, profiling is not the scientific silver bullet, cops  still have to fall back on old fashioned police work, (gathering evidence to support info from interviewees,) to get the perps.  Its not like "Silence of the Lambs".

           But who knows...It may be getting better.  I hope so.  A lady friend of mine who was taking forensic science at the University of Manitoba told me that profiling is considered to be VERY suspect.  Not the fancy profiling like in the TV show, but the rather low level profiling used to track down people who don't know each other and yet assault each other.  Robert Picton was glossed over because he was not a "young white male with no job and anti-social".  In fact, he was an older, very gregarious party animal who owned a successful farm.  A fixture on Berrard Street, he was glossed over by the profiling detectives for years.  She notes that there is a highway of tears in British Columbia which has lost at last count 11 young aboriginal girls...vanished without a trace.  She suggests that perhaps rather than looking for the guy who did it, she would extend the pool to look for the gal who did it.
     (Oh, and don't follow any of the above links if you have a weak stomach...unlike the TV show, this stuff is real.

What prompted this little essay?  Well, I was watching "criminal minds", and wondered if this stuff actually worked, and remembered my policeman friend bitching about having to do all that "damned VICLAS" paperwork.    Which led to a quiet half hour this morning doing some research!
      Ah the joy of the internet!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

War of 1812

The war of 1812 is rather seminal to the creation of the "Canadian Character".
    This book, written some fifty years after the fact by William F. Coffin, a participant, is a well researched study on the PEOPLE who participated in this exercise.  In it, one is struck by some interesting facts which were glossed over in the history books...facts like the US president had intentionally NOT ratified the treaty signed by most of the rest of the world regarding neutrality, thereby setting up the subsequent events in which British ships boarded American flagged vessels in search of deserters.  I also had never known that the British government profusely apologised for the Chesepeak incident, and had in fact, payed reparations.   The incident of the British ship "Little Belt" was also glossed over in my school books.  Oh heck, read chapter two.  You will see what I mean.

So, when you THINK you know what had happened, it turns out that it was all smoke and mirrors by politicians who wanted to go to war.  This seems to be a common theme.  It worked in 1812, and of course you Remember the Maine, Pearl Harbour,  the Gulf of Tonkin, the Lucitania, and of course The Twin Towers.
1.  The Maine was blown up, but NOT by the Spanish.  Made a good excuse to go to war with Spain though.
2. The Lucitania was carrying war material, and the British government, with the approval of the US government, told the Germans that.  The Germans fired a torpedo, and the Lucitania sunk in 3 minutes flat.  The subsequent war lasted a bit longer.
3.  The Gulf of Tonkin was the sordid story of the sinking of a pair of gunboats which never should have been there in the first place, but in fact, didn't happen at all the way it played out in the press.  Oh well, a good excuse to delare war against North Vietnam.
4.  Pearl Harbour was known about a week in advance, the Japanese ambassador was kept waiting on purpose until it was way too late.  The "sneak attack" was anything but sneaky, the fleet that was capable of sailing got the hell out of the harbour, and they loaded up the ships that could not sail with enough ammo to destroy the invading air force, which by the way, they pretty much did.  The result...war in the Pacific.
5.  Twin, it was not orchestrated by the governement, regardless of what the conspiracy blogs all say.  However, the spin on this unfortunate event led to war against Iraq, "America's Friend" instead of on the real perpetrators.  It took three more years before they could no longer hide the fact that the took on the "wrong" terrorists.

And it all started back in 1812.

Or did it?  Anybody know who treacherously killed a patrol of French soldiers minding their own business back in western Pennsylvania?  And started a world war by his actions?