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|Saturday, December 24th, 2016|
|Wednesday, November 9th, 2016|
|Regarding the election
"Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard." -- H. L. Mencken
|Wednesday, October 5th, 2016|
|Idiots, idiots everywhere
Courtesy of reason.com come these three tales of complete idiocy:
First, in Iowa, a room-temperature IQ prosecutor has charged a 14-year-old girl with sexual exploitation for taking pictures of herself
-- pictures that would be able to be broadcast on TV:
A 14-year-old Iowa girl, "Nancy Doe," is facing sexual exploitation charges for taking two sexy pictures of a minor and texting them to a boy at school.
The minor in question is Doe, which means the Marion County prosecutor has essentially threatened to brand her a sex offender for taking and sending pictures of her own body.
Making matters significantly worse, the pictures in question can hardly be described as child pornography, Doe's family argues in its lawsuit against Marion County Attorney Ed Bull. In one photo, she was wearing boy shorts and a sports bra. In the other, she had removed the bra but her hair was fully covering her breasts.
Doe's own parents described the pictures as "less 'racy' than photographs they see in fashion magazines and on television every day." They wonder if she could have been prosecuted for taking a picture of herself in her swimsuit—such a picture would have probably been even more revealing than the alleged 'sexts.'
At least the parents are standing up against this and suing the douchebag.
Second, in North Carolina a black man was arrested for the horrific crime of sitting on his mother's porch:
The encounter between Travis Cole, a white police officer, and Dejuan Yourse, a black man sitting on the porch of his mother's house in Greensboro, North Carolina, starts calm and friendly but ends with Yourse lying face down on the front lawn, restrained by handcuffs and Cole's knee on his shoulder, complaining that "you tried to beat my ass for real." The senseless escalation of the interaction between Cole and Yourse illustrates how even seemingly mild-mannered cops can be clueless about the indignities they are inflicting on innocent people yet supersensitive to any perceived questioning of their authority. That double standard is compounded by a legal system that fails to hold cops responsible for the crimes they commit when they make bogus arrests.
In the 16-minute body camera video of the incident, which happened last June, it is easy to identify the point at which things start to go south: about eight minutes after Cole arrives with another officer, C.N. Jackson, in response to a report of a possible attempted burglary. That is when Cole pokes Yourse in the chest and orders him to sit back down. Yourse, who has repeatedly suggested that a neighbor named Charlie can verify his identity, is heading for Charlie's house when Cole makes it clear he is not free to go.
Yourse has not done anything illegal, and at no point during the encounter does Cole or Jackson seem to think he might actually be a burglar. "Usually if someone is trying to break into a house, they're not gonna sit on the porch" in broad daylight, Cole notes, and as Yourse points out, "the address is on my ID." Cole says he believes Yourse when he says he is "just sitting here, chillin', waiting on my Moms," who has the key to the house. Cole even speculates that "somebody outside the cul-de-sac" must have called the police, since anyone who lived nearby would have recognized Yourse. Although Yourse's mother is not answering her cellphone, Cole says it's not necessary to bother the neighbors. "I believe you," he says. "You have your ID. You told me your name. It matches up."
Yet Cole stays and continues to grill Yourse—about his prison tattoos, his possible outstanding warrants (Yourse says he has none), even the pronunciation of his last name. Yourse tolerates it all with a smile. But after Cole prevents him from leaving the porch, he starts to show his irritation. "Why are you doing this?" he asks. "Why are you talking to me like that?" Cole seems genuinely puzzled by Yourse's anger at being treated like an intruder on the porch of the house where he grew up. "Dejuan, relax," he says. "What's going on? I didn't do nothing." Yourse responds, "I didn't do nothing either." Cole wonders why "you seem a little animated," as if there must be some explanation other than the treatment he is receiving from Cole. "I'm just trying to prove to you I live here," Yourse says, "and you start looking at me like I'm lying." He says he is upset because "a cop is on me in my own house, and I ain't did nothing."
All the charges were dropped, because the prosecutor actually had spare neurons to rub together.
Third, a Columbia University student, now that he has graduated, tells the story about how he was reported to the university's "Gender-Based Misconduct Office" for the horribly offensive crime of calling himself handsome:
You would think students instructed to report to the Gender-Based Misconduct Office had committed serious transgressions. Its name conjures images of creepy guys harassing and violating women.
Columbia University graduate Benjamin Sweetwood claims he did nothing of the sort. He got in trouble for doing something completely inoffensive: he referred to himself as handsome in a class.
"Now I've graduated from Columbia University, I am finally ready to reveal a dark and shameful secret I have kept buried for almost two years," writes Sweetwood in a recent article about his experience. "I, Ben Sweetwood, committed 'gender misconduct' while a student at the above mentioned institution of higher learning."
According to Sweetwood, the incident happened in his Chinese class. He was supposed to say something in Chinese, and that's what he picked. The professor later told him she thought it was a funny remark, but one student had complained. That was just the beginning:
Later that day, my advising dean emailed me to say, "The University's Gender-Based Misconduct Office contacted us because they received a complaint about your behavior towards your Elementary Chinese II professor. It is important we meet to discuss this as soon as possible." I responded in a defiant tone, denying any wrongdoing, though I agreed to meet the next day.
Then again, Columbia is where Mattress Girl
was able to slander another student with impunity, so they're a known offender of logic and rationality.
|Monday, July 4th, 2016|
So I bought a used cd off amazon, listed in "good" condition, mostly because no new ones were listed. Total cost: $4.20, including free prime shipping.
What arrives in the mail? A cd still in its original intact shrinkwrapping.
Yeah, I'd say that counts as good condition.
|Friday, June 24th, 2016|
Dear United Kingdom,
It'll be fun having a summer Independence Day holiday. You can trust us on this one.
-- Love, the United States
|Tuesday, June 21st, 2016|
|The Week The Nominees Died: a piece of future political fiction
IMPORTANT NOTE: This is a piece of fiction. All attributed quotes are fabricated, and this should not be interpreted as any type of threat whatsoever.
July 8 (AP) -- The Presidential race is in a state of chaos just weeks before the Republican and Democratic National Conventions after the deaths this week of both parties' presumptive nominees, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
Hillary Clinton died this morning in a Miami hospital after suffering a stroke following a fundraising speech Wednesday night in Fort Lauderdale. Yesterday evening, paramedics were called to the Trump Tower after Donald Trump collapsed due to a heart attack. He was pronounced dead two hours later at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Funeral services have not been announced for either.
In a press conference this afternoon, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus said, "This is why we hold conventions, to handle contingencies such as this. I have confidence that our delegates will choose a candidate that represents the Republican Party well and is capable of winning in November." Earlier, he called several former candidates to gauge their interest in the now-wide open convention, including Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich, and Jeb Bush.
On the GOP side, all of the former candidates have been tight-lipped about their prospects and the death of Donald Trump; not surprisingly since all of them are interested in gaining the support of Trump's supporters, and Donald Trump had insulted all of them on the campaign trail at one point or another. Ted Cruz tweeted a simple "Rest in peace, Donald Trump.", while Marco Rubio tweeted "Sympathies to Donald Trump's family in this dark hour for them."
Pundits, however, were all too eager to fill up that space. Charles Krauthammer opined "You have to think that Ted Cruz is the favorite at the GOP convention; he spent a lot of effort to get delegates favorable to him selected for the convention, back when it looked like he might be able to hold Trump to less than 1237", while Bill Kristol said "You can't really blame Ted Cruz for not having a lot to say about Donald Trump's death; the man insulted his wife and said his father helped kill JFK. It's not his style, but he would have been well within his rights to tweet out the clip of Jack Nicholson's Joker saying 'I'm glad he's dead'."
In comparison, Donald Trump's final tweet yesterday afternoon, just a couple of hours before his death, read "It won't matter which loser the Democrats run against me, I'm going to Win and we'll MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!".
On the Democratic side, President Obama released a statement this morning: "Hillary Clinton broke down barriers all her life. No other First Lady has ever been elected to Congress or served as a Secretary in the Executive branch. She will be missed." Rumors have been swirling of Vice President Joe Biden hastily trying to assemble a campaign team together, even before Hillary Clinton's passing this morning. Bernie Sanders released a brief statement saying "Given that I'm the only candidate to have been voted on through all the primaries, it would not be fair to the millions of voters that voted for me for the party to pick someone that hasn't been part of the nomination process." Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz refused to take sides, saying "I don't know what's going to happen. We'll figure it out at the convention."
The reaction of the pundits to the situation that the Democrats are in has been mixed. Juan Williams said "Joe Biden needs to start making the case right away that he's the best option for the Democrats to win in November. The delegates don't want to go full Bernie, but if Joe doesn't make his case, they may feel they have no choice." James Carville said "It will be interesting to see if Elizabeth Warren tries to step into the ring now with Hillary's absence; she's the only one other than Biden and Sanders that has enough national stature to make a case to the delegates for the nomination."
One delegate to the Democratic National Convention, who agreed to go on the record as long as their name was not used, was less optimistic. "Most of the delegates don't want to go full Bern, but what's our other option? The Democratic version of Jerry Ford?", referring to Vice-President Biden. In contrast, a Republican delegate, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said "It's a good thing that Trump died before the convention instead of after. Can you imagine us all trying to support the presidential campaign of Bob Corker? It would have been a bigger disaster than Trump's campaign was."
|Saturday, June 18th, 2016|
|You might also like: Avengers, Age of Ultron
When you click on Info on programs on DISH, one of the things it puts at the bottom is "You might also like:" with five (occasionally fewer) other movies or shows that it thinks are similar enough to what you've clicked Info on that you might also be interested in those shows, too.
However, it seems that DISH really, really, really
likes the recent movie Avengers: Age of Ultron. Not only does DISH list Avengers: Age of Ultron under "You might also like:" for pretty much every program under the categories Action, Adventure, Fantasy or Science Fiction, but also for all kinds of movies that don't have any apparent connection to Age of Ultron at all. Even more curiously, it's listed first every single time. Here's a list of some of the movies with no obvious Ultron connection that I've collected so far:
27 Dresses (romance/comedy, 2008)
Let's Be Cops (comedy, 2014)
Guarding Tess (Nicolas Cage, 1994)
Seven Pounds (Will Smith, 2008)
The Intern (Robert de Niro, 2015 comedy)
Graffiti Bridge (1990)
Gotta Catch Santa Claus (2008)
Peggy Sue Got Married (comedy, 1986)
Summer School (1987)
What If (Daniel Radcliffe, 2013 romantic comedy)
Shaun the Sheep Movie
The Longest Ride (drama, 2015)
Music and Lyrics
Paper Towns (Nat Wolff and Cara Delevingne, 2015 comedy/drama)
The Secret Of My Success (Michael J. Fox, 1987)
Big Eyes (Amy Adams, 2014)
42, about Jackie Robinson (2013)
Intolerable Cruelty (George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones)
A Thousand Words (Eddie Murphy, 2012)
The Brady Bunch Movie Current Mood: Avengers: Age of Ultron
|Wednesday, May 4th, 2016|
|Saturday, April 30th, 2016|
So I took a bunch of Donald Trump quotes out of wikiquotes and ran them through emacs M-x dissociated-press with a -1 parameter (one word overlap). Here's some of what came out.
I'm conservative, and even very conservative. But I'm quite liberal and getting much more liberal on health care and other things. I would certainly implement that. Absolutely... There should be a controversial statement and somebody, I think it was Dennis Miller introduced me, he was doing like an analysis of me, he was doing like an analysis of me, he was doing like an analysis of me is that I am very rich.
I am officially running for president of the corruption and the scandal... We don't want to have defensive and health care? If you can't get rich dealing with politicians, there's something which should never be allowed to repeal it and replace it. We have no borders. Our vets are very tough, but I think they could be made tougher. And where they really have to health care. I believe in universal health care. I believe in universal health care. I believe in whatever it takes to make America great again. And there is a very big problem this country has is being politically correct stuff. I mean I could have said absolutely, yes. In fact I went a step further. I said I didn't see Swedish people knocking down the World Trade Center. It was very interesting. I thought that was extremely disrespectful to the thousands upon thousands of people very well. I've had a great success in my life. I think the world would unite if I were the Chinese. I've made a lot of hate in the Koran.
I think that I would be a lot of different things. A lot of people are saying that and a third time, you know? Those tunnels, bing, boom, right under the toilet, bing boom, right up. It's pretty picture you dropping to your knees.
If Hillary Clinton can't sink three-footers anymore. And, I hate it. I am a traditionalist. I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but I love beautiful women, and so powerful and so great that we'll never have to use it. Nobody's gonna mess with us.
We're going to be too greedy.
You can't con people, at a lot of different things. A lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening. And it's got to stop and it's got to stop and it's got to stop fast.
I am officially running for the money. I've got enough, much more than I'll ever see that? Where I'm conservative, and even very conservative. But I'm quite liberal and getting much more liberal and getting much more liberal on health care and other things. I really say: What's something there that teaches some very negative vibe. I mean things. I really say: What's the purpose of the United States and we are going to make our country great American citizens. I have great respect for all those who serve in our military including those that weren't captured and he should know better than anybody what the Veterans need, especially in regards to the World Trade Center. It was very interesting. I thought that was going to be made tougher. And where they really have to be made tougher is yet another all talk, no action politician who's who.
Some people have an ability to negotiate. It's the purpose of a country if you're not going to have to health care of our Veterans. I want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN especially for those that serve to protect our freedom. I am fighting for our country great again! I don't know if that's from the Koran. I don't like being defeated. I don't do it will be so strong and so powerful and so many fabulous friends who happen to be very controversial but actually it was very well received. I think people want the truth. I assume, are good people are saying that and a lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying that and some, I assume, are good people are saying that and a great uniter. I think that I would have great diplomatic skills. I think that's some place. Now I don't know if that's from the Koran. I don't know if that gives people like me a great advantage.
You can't kid yourself. But they say they don't care about their lives. You have to be very controversial but actually it was very well received. I think people very well. I've had a great success in my life. I think the world would unite if I have great respect for all those who serve in our military including those that weren't captured and are also heroes. I want to strengthen our military and take care of our Veterans. I want to MAKE U.S. manufacturing non-competitive. Must be a loss?' And I'll say no, we're not sending their best from the best.
I don't do it for the money. I hate it. I am a traditionalist. I have so many fabulous friends who happen to be gay, but it's very hard to define, it's very hard to separate because you don't my daughter, perhaps I'd be allowed to take out their families. They care about their lives. Don't kid yourself. But they say they don't care about their lives. You have to take care of your sick in the country, forget it, it's all over South and Latin America, and it's something wrong with you.
I think that I am officially running for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.
I don't know. I have featured and will always continue to feature my name prominently in all my life. I hate it. I am a traditionalist. I have so strong and so, you have two views. You have the view that the Koran is all about love and then you have the view that the Koran is all about it, right? But anyway. I have an idea: Put him on the fourth floor this time, right? No more, no more than Mexico. It's coming from all over South and Latin America, and it's how I get my kicks.
Well, it makes as much sense as anything else the man says.
|Sunday, March 13th, 2016|
|2016 NCAA men's college basketball tournament, flat-ASCII brackets
Flat-ASCII NCAA brackets for 2016:
1st Round 2nd Round Regionals First Four Dayton
March 17-20 March 24-27 March 15-16
1. Kansas --------\_________ Vanderbilt -------\_11S
16. Austin Peay ---/ (1)|_________ Wichita State ----/ Tue
8. Colorado ------\_________| | Holy Cross -------\_16W
9. Connecticut ---/ |_________ Southern U. ------/ Wed
5. Maryland ------\_________ | |
12. South Dakota State (5)|_________| | Final Four
4. California ----\_________| Thu/Sat | April 2, 4
13. Hawaii --------/ South |_________
6. Arizona -------\_________ Louisville | |
11. _______________/ (2)|_________ | |
3. Miami ---------\_________| | | |
14. Buffalo -------/ |_________| |
7. Iowa ----------\_________ | |
10. Temple --------/ (6)|_________| |
2. Villanova -----\_________| |
15. North Carolina-Asheville |_________
1. Oregon --------\_________ | |
16. _______________/ (5)|_________ | |
8. St. Joseph's --\_________| | | |
9. Cincinnati ----/ |_________ | |
5. Baylor --------\_________ | | | |
12. Yale ----------/ (2)|_________| | | |
4. Duke ----------\_________| Thu/Sat | | |
13. North Carolina-Wilmington West |_________| |
6. Texas ---------\_________ Anaheim | |
11. Northern Iowa -/ (7)|_________ | Thu/Sat |
3. Texas A&M -----\_________| | | (1) Des Moines |
14. Green Bay -----/ |_________| (2) Providence |
7. Oregon State --\_________ | (3) Raleigh |
10. Virginia Commonwealth (7)|_________| (4) Denver |
2. Oklahoma ------\_________| |
15. California State-Bakersfield Houston |_________
1. North Carolina \_________ | 2016
16. _______________/ (3)|_________ Fri/Sun | Champion
8. Southern Cal --\_________| | (5) Spokane |
9. Providence ----/ |_________ (6) Brooklyn |
5. Indiana -------\_________ | | (7) Oklahoma City |
12. Chattanooga ---/ (1)|_________| | (8) St. Louis |
4. Kentucky ------\_________| Fri/Sun | |
13. Stony Brook ---/ East |_________ |
6. Notre Dame ----\_________ Philadelphia| | |
11. _______________/ (6)|_________ | | |
3. West Virginia -\_________| | | | |
14. Stephen F. Austin |_________| | |
7. Wisconsin -----\_________ | | |
10. Pittsburgh ----/ (8)|_________| | |
2. Xavier --------\_________| | |
15. Weber State ---/ |_________|
1. Virginia ------\_________ |
16. Hampton--------/ (3)|_________ |
8. Texas Tech ----\_________| | |
9. Butler --------/ |_________ |
5. Purdue --------\_________ | | |
12. Arkansas-Little Rock (4)|_________| | |
4. Iowa State ----\_________| Fri/Sun | |
13. Iona ----------/ Midwest |_________|
6. Seton Hall ----\_________ Chicago |
11. Gonzaga -------/ (4)|_________ |
3. Utah ----------\_________| | | First Four Dayton
14. Fresno State --/ |_________| March 15-16
7. Dayton --------\_________ | Florida Gulf Coast\_16E
10. Syracuse ------/ (8)|_________| Fairleigh Dickenson/ Tue
2. Michigan State \_________| Michigan ---------\_11E
15. Middle Tennessee Tulsa ------------/ Wed
|Wednesday, March 9th, 2016|
|Bikini model Tamara Candy hired to research Islam's Sharia law
Yes, that is a real headline. In the middle of the ongoing nuclear dumpster fire that is the primaries (if you haven't read it yet, I highly recommend the Debate Scorecard of the Detroit GOP debate by Ace of Spades
, particularly the clown paragraph of the Donald Trump section, which is the funniest and most surreal thing I've read since Hunter S. Thompson died), I think we all can use some assurance that there are parts of the world that Are Not Completely Fucked Up, and this is one of them.
Yes, the Australian government hired a Libertarian bikini model (who also worked on Rand Paul's presidential campaign) to research Sharia Law. Personally, I think this is the greatest idea I've heard of in years; in fact I'd argue that only
bikini models should be hired to research Sharia Law.
The initial post I found about this is here
, but it has just the one picture.
So looking around, I found this article from Daily Mail
, which has a lot of pictures. Hooray!
Oh, and if those aren't enough pictures for you, here's her Instagram page
Still not enough pictures for you? Never fear. This guy has posted every Playboy centerfold from 1953 through to the last nude one here in 2016
. You're welcome.
|Wednesday, February 24th, 2016|
Come on, Georgia. You're smart enough not to vote for that lying blowhard Trump.
|Monday, January 18th, 2016|
|CNN, run as always by knee-jerk leftists
So CNN today, for Martin Luther King Jr. day, decided to "debunk" some "myths" about him, including the one that he was a Republican. Did they talk to his niece, who has been credibly and with some authority advancing that narrative for a while now? No, they talked to ThinkProgress, a hard left outfit that would deny that Republicans are even human beings if they could get away with it. Next apparently for CNN: asking Boston Red Sox fans about the New York Yankees, Duke University students about the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Cincinnati Bengals fans about the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Fuck you, CNN. There are more left turns at CNN daily than there are in an average NASCAR race.
|Friday, January 8th, 2016|
|An Al moment
It was somewhat surreal today sitting in a waiting room and hearing within ten minutes of each other two different songs that were both parodied by "Weird Al" Yankovic on his most recent album: Royals/Foil and Happy/Tacky.
It's times like this where I really appreciate just how incredibly good Al is at what he does.
|Thursday, December 31st, 2015|
|Album review: Pink Floyd, The Endless River (2014)
First, if you don't know who Pink Floyd is, this review will be pretty much meaningless to you. Go buy and listen to at a minimum Dark Side of the Moon, and preferably The Wall and Wish You Were Here, and optionally Meddle, Animals, and The Division Bell.
Second, if you're the kind of person that takes albums to chop them up into their constituent tracks to shuffle into your iPod or other music device, this isn't the album for you. Pink Floyd after all is a band that makes albums, not singles. There is one way to separate this album into pieces, but I'll get to that later.
With that out of the way, I was astonished and gobsmacked to find out that Pink Floyd was putting out another studio album after it had been twenty years since The Division Bell. As it turned out, it was released the same day that Foo Fighters released their most recent studio album, Sonic Highways, and if you had told me that one of those albums would have more than twice as many tracks as the other (18 vs. 8), I would have been nearly certain that the Pink Floyd album would have the lesser number of tracks (since they have two albums with a total of 5 tracks and another two with 6), but that is not the case.
However, being Pink Floyd, yes, The Endless River has 18 tracks, but the first 17 are instrumental only, with the final track named Louder Than Words. Again, being Pink Floyd, the tracks all flow together, so separating out the album by its tracks doesn't really work. If you want to listen to it in less than all in one go, it is more or less in four pieces, which just happen to fit the four sides of vinyl that it was also released on. These pieces are tracks 1-3, 4-7, 8-14, and 15-18.
Also, this album wasn't recorded and released for the general public, it was targeted to the band's fans from its nearly half-century of work. You can hear echoes (pardon the pun) of lots of previous Pink Floyd albums on this one: the background voices from Dark Side of the Moon, the horns from Wish You Were Here, Stephen Hawking who was on The Division Bell makes another appearance (Talkin' Hawkin'), even a track named Autumn '68 referencing Summer '68 on Atom Heart Mother. That track in particular makes use of a recording of Richard Wright (who died in 2008) playing the pipe organ in 1969. That's just the kind of band they are, and it's breathtaking hearing them weave all this material together; a large part of it was recorded during the sessions for The Division Bell, for part of an instrumental album planned to be released at the same time, a concept later scrapped.
But it all came together for this album. If you're a fan of Pink Floyd, or a fan of albums in general, you should check this one out. It provides a very nice final bookend to the set of music that Pink Floyd has given us all, and if you already have more than a couple Pink Floyd albums, this one should definitely join them. Current Mood: zen nostalgia
|Tuesday, December 29th, 2015|
|Monday, December 28th, 2015|
|A fortnight after double hernia surgery
The worst part about having double hernia surgery wasn't the surgery itself. Nor was it the time leading up to the surgery where I'm literally pushing my guts back in and being very careful to not make it worse so I don't have to go to the ER. Nor was it the pain after the surgery where movement of anything other than my head or arms caused sharp pain in my gut for a week and a half afterwards. Nor was it the itchy stitches on my stomach, the diet of soup and pudding, not having played my pinball machines since November, or not being able to go to the theater to see the new Star Wars movie.
No, the worst part was not having a bowel movement for two full weeks, culminating with sixteen hours yesterday of feeling like I had a cue ball in my ass that Wants To Come Out Right Now but won't budge, instead just expelling some gas and small amounts of liquid and loose solids every hour or two, until finally at nearly 6am this log an inch and a half across and almost six inches long came out.
I still feel like a truck hit me, but on the positive side at least I'm feeling the closest to human that I have in a while. Yesterday was still a shitty day, though (literally; I went through four full rolls of toilet paper), and the Steelers all but playing themselves out of the playoffs sure didn't help any.
Maybe in a few days I can at last check out this Star Wars movie I've heard so much about. Current Mood: ugh
|Saturday, November 21st, 2015|
|Thursday, August 20th, 2015|
|Thursday, December 25th, 2014|
|100 years ago today: the Christmas truce of World War I
One hundred years ago, World War I was devastating Europe, and the battle lines had already stalemated and turned very bloody. But something happened the night of the 24th of December that year, that became known as the Christmas truce:
The Christmas truce was a series of widespread but unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front around Christmas 1914. In the week leading up to the holiday, German and British soldiers crossed trenches to exchange seasonal greetings and talk. In areas, men from both sides ventured into no man's land on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day to mingle and exchange food and souvenirs. There were joint burial ceremonies and prisoner swaps, while several meetings ended in carol-singing. Men played games of football with one another, giving one of the most enduring images of the truce.
In 2005, after the last survivor of the Christmas truce had died, the New York Times published this article
of excerpts of journals and memoirs of those that were there. Some selections:
It was a beautiful moonlit night, frost on the ground, white almost everywhere; and about 7 or 8 in the evening there was a lot of commotion in the German trenches and there were these lights -I don't know what they were. And then they sang "Silent Night" - "Stille Nacht." I shall never forget it, it was one of the highlights of my life. I thought, what a beautiful tune.
Then suddenly lights began to appear along the German parapet, which were evidently make-shift Christmas trees, adorned with lighted candles, which burnt steadily in the still, frosty air! … First the Germans would sing one of their carols and then we would sing one of ours, until when we started up "O Come, All Ye Faithful" the Germans immediately joined in singing the same hymn to the Latin words Adeste Fideles. And I thought, well, this is really a most extraordinary thing - two nations both singing the same carol in the middle of a war.
I shouted to our enemies that we didn't wish to shoot and that we make a Christmas truce. I said I would come from my side and we could speak with each other. First there was silence, then I shouted once more, invited them, and the British shouted "No shooting!" Then a man came out of the trenches and I on my side did the same and so we came together and we shook hands - a bit cautiously!
We shook hands, wished each other a Merry Xmas, and were soon conversing as if we had known each other for years. We were in front of their wire entanglements and surrounded by Germans - Fritz and I in the center talking, and Fritz occasionally translating to his friends what I was saying. We stood inside the circle like street corner orators. … What a sight - little groups of Germans and British extending almost the length of our front! Out of the darkness we could hear laughter and see lighted matches, a German lighting a Scotchman's cigarette and vice versa, exchanging cigarettes and souvenirs.
Eventually the English brought a soccer ball from their trenches, and pretty soon a lively game ensued. How marvelously wonderful, yet how strange it was. The English officers felt the same way about it. Thus Christmas, the celebration of Love, managed to bring mortal enemies together as our friends for a time.
Not everyone approved of this, however--
Cpl. Adolf Hitler of the 16th Bavarians lambasted his comrades for their unmilitary conduct:
Such things should not happen in wartime. Have you Germans no sense of honor left at all?
Merry Christmas to everyone and a happy new year. Current Mood: festive