Category Archives: Administrivia

Steering wheel Sunday

This is one of those days, the ones that are spent watching miles ahead turn into miles behind. Meanwhile, on the other side of the globe, a contract is to be signed today. Too busy traveling to read too much into it.

It does not help that your humble host is sick as the proverbial dog, but that’s why they made boxes of tissues and highway rest areas. Meanwhile, for the next few days some content has been queued to keep you all entertained.

UPDATE

“Sick as a dog” won and the drive, like the D-Day Invasion, was delayed 24 hours.

Sunday Road Readiness

In the coming week, it’s off to Florida to do battle with the gators and mosquitoes, then a measured drive up I-95 with stops in Fayetteville, NC for work and possibly in DC (yecch), Annapolis and Frederick, MD. There may be fewer posts than usual, and slower than usual response in the comments.

Today should be the Sabbath, a day of rest and reflection. Instead, it’s a day of frantic project-completion and travel prep, as Plaintiff II and Kid are going someplace completely different and need a drive to the airport. Naturally she did not pick any of the means of local departure, but rather an airport a long distance away in the middle of a state-sized Victim Disarmament Zone.

We regret the missing TW3s for the last three weeks, and yesterday’s Saturday Matinee is also indefinietly delayed. (It was just not coming together, and usually we have a couple spares in the can for a time like this, but not right now). It goes back in the queue for later polishing, when time permits.

We do hope to keep to the regular posting schedule this week, but it may not be possible.

Sunday… Duty

Death is lighter than a feather, but duty is heavier than a mountain.

– Japanese saying from the age of Bushido.

Today’s duty is a dire one, but it must be done. It’s a drive to an unpleasant city in an unpleasant state, to visit an elderly aunt (the family relationship is vaguer than that, but she fits that slot in the pantheon of relatives, more or less. The womenfolk understand it. We need not).

But it’s not a social visit, exactly. She is unlikely to know us. She is in hospice care, suffering dementia, and expected to check out soon. She has been non compos mentis for some years, and may have had a local attorney take advantage of her — at the expense of her heirs, who are not any of her American relatives, but nieces and nephews overseas. So we’re disinterested in that, apart from the principle of the thing.

We hate the way the bad and crooked lawyers ruin it for the other three percent, but we digress.

We have a great storehouse of memories of this warm and wonderful woman, and her ox-strong husband, laid low these twenty years by cancer. We would be content to remember her as she was, and as far as the lawyer goes, perhaps our information is wrong, and if it is not, he’ll get his in the end. They always do, and there’s no percentage in us intruding in the process.

So why are we going, on a visit we dread making, to see someone who will not see us back? Primarily, because duty is heavier than a mountain. She may not know us, but she may; and regardless, a prayer can never be wasted.

May you all have your wits about you till the end.

Note: in all the Memorial Weekend drama, this was not posted on Sunday as scheduled, but has been posted and backdated appropriately. We regret the error. –Eds.

Sunday Sturm und Drang

That was forecast in the weather, but is happening with life; instead of the forecast rainstorms, we have glorious, radiant sun.

Just the time for an assault of deer ticks on ourselves and Dog. Not to mention their six-legged distant cousins, the ants, which are determined in their multitudes to bring down the Manor, undermine the lawn, and annoy and irritate the householders.

We don’t believe in sharing a home with anything with more legs than us, with some small carved-out exceptions for Dog and Cat. (We are between cats. The wild calls, and around here, it then eats them). So we have called jihad upon the ants, and our wrath is terrible and our mercy nonexistent.

But they don’t care. They’re ants.

Ah, if ants were the only violence being done to the lawn. It’s also just the time for the jagged leaves and monster-clown flowers of several species of the evil genus Taraxacum to make their annual attempt to infect our fairway-like demense. Yes, it’s dandelion time, and our preferred method is to uproot them with this most excellent tool from Fiskars, which gets them 95% of the time (and the other 5% loosens them sufficiently that we can stick some fingers in the hole and pulle the thing out by the root). If you don’t get the root, you don’t get the plant, and in no time he’ll be partying with all his buddies and the whole senior class from Weed School.

Don’t know if we’d have bought the Fiskars claw for what they’re asking for it now, more than double what we paid, but most of that is probably the effect of the weak dollar. Box score: 557 dandelions pulled. (Yes, we’re quants around here).

And it is also the spring of our mechanical discontent. Just the time for the much-loved lawnmower to repeat its trick from last year and dump all its oil out of a crankcase seal. Result: stop with a clang, smoke of a fried engine emanating from the oil filler, probable bill: somewhere between an ACOG and an Elcan. (Yeah, we’ve been down this road before). For the next week or three while Dead Mower experiences a necropsy and the surgeon returns an estimate for its reanimation, we’ll be pushing a mower like Grandpater did.

Oh yeah, we’re cooking for 5, or 7, or some number like that. Pork roast and lots of veggies in the slow cooker. The pork inoculates us against Islam.

We’re still working on the ticks and the ants…

This Sunday is Mothers’ Day

Even for you Marines, who hear “mother” and begin groping for the missing half of the word…

Hope that those of us who still have our moms do something thoughtful for them today, and those of us who do not, bide a moment and warm yourself with a kind thought or a golden memory, and share it, perhaps, with your living family members.

That was the week that was: 2014 Week 19

That was the week that was TW3A day late, a dollar short, again, this is the Week 19 TW3, backdated. Later today we should be backfilling the last two.

It has been a routine blogging week, we think, and expect the stats to say that.

The links to this week’s posts will all be live when the post goes live, or soon thereafter. Enjoy!

The Boring Statistics

Our article count was a normal 26, same as last week’s. Word count was also a fairly ordinart 18,000 or so, down from nearly 23,000. We had seven posts that broke the long-post threshold of 1,000 words, but none of them were over 2,000, or even very close (our highest was 1,630 words). We had ten posts under 500, and four of them were under 100. That’s more short posts than usual.

The mean and median post sizes were 686 and 657 respectively; if the median and mean are close it suggests that there isn’t a big imbalance among the posts that are not close to the central tendency.

We will break 500 blog posts for the year next week, but didn’t get it done this week. That’s a lot of posts.

Comments are a decent 129 at our delayed press time, down from last week’s 166.

As ever, thanks for commenting!

Most Commented Post of the Week

Our most commented post was our first Poly-Ticks post: Poly-Ticks: We’ve failed to criminalize gun ownership, let’s demonize it instead!, with 22 comments, and nothing else was really close. The runner-up was The Medicine that Sickened, the story of Lariam (Mefloquine), with 13 comments (all comment counts include our replies). Five more posts got at least 10 comments each.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week:

We hope you enjoyed this week’s content. We enjoyed bringing it to you!

Here’s how we did on last week’s promises:

We had the same promises as usual, the same ones we make for next week.

  1. We still owe the Bull and Greek posts.
  2. We did make our minimum posting rules.
  3. We could have done better on tech posts. We need to link a couple of them on the Best Of page.
  4. We published a really interesting (we think) WWWW, and we did get the Matinee up on time. The TW3, a day late. Meh.

For Next Week

Our goals are unchanged:

  1. to catch up the long-festering back posts mentioned above, now back up to just two features (Gerald Bull, and the Greek Insurgencies). We wrote before that “We’re really serious about the two posts that finish the Greek series, but they’ve been harder than we expected.” Boy, that’s a fact.
  2. We have a couple of tech/historical posts in the hopper, too.
  3. to post three times a day, six days a week, of which:
  4. one gun-tech or -industry post and one SOF, UW, or war-related post up daily. The other post and any extras are “free fire.”
  5. a WWWW, on Wednesday.
  6. a Saturday Matinee, and a TW3 before the week ends at midnight Saturday.

The draft queue is now up to 260… we are doing something very cool and gun related, and we can’t blog about it, and it’s killing us. But we can’t talk about it, and that’s that.

See you with a TW3 on Saturday! And before then, several posts a day. Hope you enjoy them.

That was the week that was: 2014 Week 18

That was the week that was TW3This is the Week 18 TW3, backdated, and, to tell the truth, truncated. At the publication of this file the Week 17 TW3 is still hanging fire.

The links to this week’s posts will all be live when the post goes live, or soon thereafter. Enjoy!

The Boring Statistics

Our article count was a normal 26, same as last week’s. Word count was a higher than average  23,000. We had eight posts that broke the long-post threshold of 1,000 words, but none of them were over 2,000. We had six posts under 500, and none of them were under 100. That’s far fewer short posts than usual.

The mean and median post sizes were 877 and 772 respectively; the higher mean than median suggests that there were more longer posts than shorter ones.

Comments are 166 at our long-delayed press time, although they didn’t change significantly after about two days from the close of the week. The previous week showed a high of 201.

As ever, thanks for commenting!

Most Commented Post of the Week

Our most commented post was A Rangerette Roundup, with 16 comments, and runner-up was More on Suomi Magazines, with 13 comments (all comment counts include our replies). Three more posts got at least 10 comments each. It always pleases us when a technical post like the Suomi Mag post draws a lot of comments, even more when the comments include corrections and sources of further information, as they did this time.

The Week in Posts

Here’s the recap of our posts for this week:

We hope you enjoyed this week’s content. We enjoyed bringing it to you!

Here’s how we did on last week’s promises:

We had the same promises as usual, the same ones we make for next week.

  1. We still owe the Bull and Greek posts.
  2. We did make our minimum posting rules.
  3. We could have done better on tech posts. We need to link a couple of them on the Best Of page.
  4. We did publish a WWWW, and we did get the Matinee up on time. The TW3, a week and a day late. Meh.

For Next Week

Our goals are unchanged:

  1. to catch up the long-festering back posts mentioned above, now back up to just two features (Gerald Bull, and the Greek Insurgencies). We wrote before that “We’re really serious about the two posts that finish the Greek series, but they’ve been harder than we expected.” Boy, that’s a fact.
  2. We have a couple of tech/historical posts in the hopper, too.
  3. to post three times a day, six days a week, of which:
  4. one gun-tech or -industry post and one SOF, UW, or war-related post up daily. The other post and any extras are “free fire.”
  5. a WWWW, on Wednesday.
  6. a Saturday Matinee, and a TW3 before the week ends at midnight Saturday.

The draft queue is now up to 255.

See you with a TW3 on Saturday! And before then, several posts a day. Hope you enjoy them.

Sundaycompression….

That’s what’s going on around here today.

Last week, we had an entrepreneurship competition to judge, and a foursome of successful old (well, in our forties through sixties) curmudgeons sat at a table and weighed the presentations of five students selected from a longlist of nine based on written presentations. The presentations were all extremely good — head and shoulders above last years’, which were all good.

People who bemoan the youth of today must not be seeing the kids we’ve seen, either in the service or here. They’re as great as any generation, when they apply themselves, and they’re not shy about applying themselves. We were impressed to learn that one of the candidates had poor English just a few years ago and conducted an intensive english language program before starting his classes. The students before us were, in part, students who took a business-entrepreneurship class, and in part, students from other colleges with good ideas.

Four of the five shortlisters happened to be doing some kind of app development, and a couple of them had app ideas that we would use — and so would you. Every idea had a hole in it somewhere, and we found and worried at that hole a bit and saw how the young men and women reacted to that.

The jurors included a consultant, a life coach, a manufacturer, and a sales EVP, all of whom live startup or growth-phase enterprise every day. We’ll give each of the contestants some advice. Normally the top three win cash prizes, we had a tie and another special circumstance this year that required some creative planning.

We feel pretty good about it, overall. It’s good for the school, good for the business department to tie some of that theory into the real world of making real money, good for the kids, and frankly, it’s good for us, too.

So we will not get up to too much today. Tomorrow, the whirlwind starts again.

Easter Sunday

Once, a powerful nation raised this date — not this day – to a national holiday, celebrating the birth of its cruel dictator, and vowing millennial endurance. That nation is long gone; its treasured symbols have transited through a period in which they were objects of hate, deodands of a sort, to a new day in which they are the bloodless curiosities of collectors.

That nation expected to replace the worship of Jesus Christ, the nominal religion of most of its people, with the worship of a man. Today Christians worldwide celebrate the resurrection of Christ, and the enduring value of his message.

In the Sunday Telegraph, Daniel Hannan, the most gifted politician in the narrow field of oratory since the man who stood against the above-mentioned dictator, has an Easter message for all who would hear it:

A century on, we have inherited Kipling’s vocabulary, but not the world-view that sustained it. We still speak of the “sacrifice” of the fallen, but we use the word perfunctorily, doubting whether anything could have merited such slaughter. We find disquieting – even today, of all days – the explicitly Paschal terms in which the poet described the loss of a generation of sons:

“They bought us anew with their blood, forbearing to blame us.”

Well, perhaps it was because of Easter, or perhaps because of the centenary year but, coming back from Strasbourg last week after the final session of the current European Parliament, I decided finally to visit Thiepval, where my great-uncle, William James Hannan, is commemorated along with 73,000 other British and South African soldiers.

“It takes an effort,” Hannan says, “to recall that the patriotism of Kipling used to be much more common than Wilfrid Owen’s cynicism.” Hannan’s launch point for his Kipling reflections is the story The Gardenerwhich Kipling wrote after visiting Rouen Cemetery’s 11,000 Commonwealth dead, and being struck by “the shock of this Dead Sea of arrested lives.” The Gardener contains, bringing us full circle, a subtle and elegiac Christian message.

We are, here, imperfect exponents of our own religion, and have no wish to force ours upon you, whether yours is similar, different, or none whatsoever. That’s between you and, etc. May this day that means peace and renewal to us Christians bring that to all of you.