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December 17, 2005

Life at Argghhh! In Winter...

1st - The Lawn Tractor of Argghhh! in the assault.

Before. After.

I am my next-door neighbor's son's best friend. At least for the moment. I did both their walks, too. It took about 10 minutes to do the block and the driveway.


Then, because Cosmo is recovering from his Squirrel Fighting injuries and the Armorer has been remiss and not put out the Required Tribute... the Castle was assaulted today. By the Teenage Mutant Ninja Squirrels acting under the orders of their masters, The Songbirds of Argghhh!

The Interior Guard was all over the attempted break-in. The photo is from the BCR Labs, LTD security system here at the Castle. It highlights unauthorized intruders so they can be tracked when the crowds of pitchfork-wielding moonbats show up. Or out-of-control Denizens who need tracking (Neffi, JTG are *always* tracked).

But look at the horror that Cosmo's injury has unleashed!

To see the horror - go to the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry... if you dare.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Let's start a meme!

It's Saturday, traffic is low... I can be lazy.

1. Put about 100 bricks in some particular order in a closed room with an open window.
2. Then send 2 or 3 candidates in the room and close the door.
3. Leave them alone and come back after 6 hours and then analyze the situation;
4. if they are counting the bricks put them in the accounts department.

If you're still interested, hit the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Come Saturday Morning...

In a recent conversation with one of the Ladies of the Castle, I was informed of her newfound passion for bicycling.

I don’t remember a blasted thing about the rest of the talk, because I had an immediate flashback to my college days…

I was sorta-kinda dating a damsel named Judy, who attended an all-female school a few miles away. The campus was fairly expansive and her schedule arrangement required some fancy scrambling from building to building.

This is bullshDarn,” she thought. “I sure could use some transportation.”

Judy wrote to her dear ol’ Dad, explained the situation and casually mentioned that she needed a few hundred dollars to buy a junker modestly-priced compact car.

BullshAlas, honeybunch,” Dad wrote back, “your tuition is almost more than we can afford. But I’ve enclosed fifty dollars--go ahead and buy a decent bicycle. Besides, it'll save you the trouble of looking for a parking spot each time you go to a new class.”

Judy was less than thrilled with the idea, but she figured it was an improvement over her daily walk-a-thon. So, she took the fifty dollars and started downtown to the bicycle shop.

As fate would have it, there was a pet store right next to the bicycle shop.

And in the pet store window, gazing at the world with imploring eyes, was a cute little capuchin monkey, sitting next to a sign that read, “Sale! This cute little capuchin monkey and a year’s supply of monkey chow--only fifty dollars!”

Judy fell in love. “That’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen,” she thought.“ And only fifty dollars…hmmmmm…walking’s actually pretty good exercise…and finding a place to park the bike between classes will be a pain…and…and...”

And she went into the pet store and bought the monkey.

She was enthralled. The cute little capuchin monkey had impeccable table manners, it was playful and cuddly and adorable.

And it had a mild case of mange.

And inside of a week, it had a *bad* case of mange.

Judy was frantic. Fortunately, she was of a generation that still believed Father Knows Best.

She phoned her dear ol’ Dad.

“Daddy,” she sobbed. “All the hair is falling off my monkey--what’ll I *do*?”

Dad answered, “Sell the bicycle.”

UPDATE: I have *no* idea what attracted Don Surber to this, but follow his link, read the story and leave him a nice note. I've worked with the organization he's mentioned and they're great folks. Hey--Sarge B! You probably have, too...
by CW4BillT on Dec 17, 2005 | I think it's funny!
» Don Surber links with: Podcast: The Littlest Marine
» Don Surber links with: Podcast: The Littlest Marine
» The Business of America is Business links with: My First BlogAd

December 16, 2005

International Rulez of manhood.

Just sayin'. In the Flash Traffic/Extended Entry. Mostly work-safe. Except for Ry, of course, because of Ms. Thang.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

On this day in 1944...

It was cold in northern Europe in December, 1944. On this day, 61 years ago, things seemed to be going well. Then Feld Marschall Walter Model said, "Armee Gruppe B, angreifen, bitte" and things went south. Well, mostly west, actually. With the green or resting troops of the US First Army under LTG Hodges taking the brunt of the assault, things didn't go well this day. For anybody. And they all look so young.

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A lone decorated headstone stands beside 5,076 other headstones containing the remains of American World War II military veterans at the American Military Cemetery in Luxembourg. The site was liberated by the U.S. 5th Armored Division on Sept. 10, 1944, and a temporary military burial ground was initially established on Dec. 10, 1944. U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 1st Class Ted Banks

Update: UtahMan of The Pacific Slope found this the CMH pub I used for linkage:

Sorry to comment so soon again, but I just wanted to point this out
from that Ardennes history John found.

Read Chapter 14:

"A small group of stragglers suddenly become tired of what seems to be eternally retreating. Miles back they ceased to be part of an organized combat formation, and recorded history, at that point, lost them. The sound of firing is heard for fifteen minutes, an hour, coming from a patch of woods, a tiny village, the opposite side of a hill. The enemy has been delayed; the enemy resumes the march westward. Weeks later a graves registration team uncovers mute evidence of a last-ditch stand at woods, village, or hill."

And we don't know who they were.

You don't have to apologize for comments like this, trust me.

Sitemeter Readings, et alii...

Fuzzybear Lioness is just now recovering from the idea that her thoughts could have attracted 10k visitors in five months. And there's a mystery involved...
Well, okay, not a *huge* mystery, but a mystery nonetheless.

And another mystery visitor dropped in at AFSister's, but for a sadder reason...

Barb is becoming the blogosphere's premier meme magnet. Dunno how I missed getting tagged with this one (all GAs report to the Mess to charge your goblets!)...

Sarge B. has an interesting observation on the Coming Surprise he predicts for Election 2008.

*sigh* The shavetails over at the Officers' Club bumped the Castle in the Weblog Awards, despite a semi-decent last-minute surge (Barb must've figured out how to finagle the firewall).

Johnny Noonan dropped in to snerk last night--a pretty bold move on his part, considering that he's still at the bottom of the food chain, RLO-wise. But they've got some *yawn* mildly interesting things linked over there today, so if you're really, really bored...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

*sigh* Justthisguy reminded me that I've got some writing to do...

by CW4BillT on Dec 16, 2005 | Denizen Link-Fest!

December 15, 2005

Christmas Cards

The Armorer and SWWBO generally don't do Christmas Cards. Go to visit SWWBO's place and you'll see part of the reason. We appreciate the ones we get (Thanks, Flea!) but, we just don't do cards. This place is my card, I think.

This year, we made an exception. I keep meaning to post this, but reality keeps nipping at my toes. Jim C just reminded me.

I'm sure many of you are currently writing cards to friends and family. If you can, please send an extra one (or 10, or 20) to our American military heroes who are recuperating from wounds this Christmas season. Please enclose a short note thanking them for their service and personal sacrifice. They are the protectors of our freedom, and we must let them know how much they are appreciated. The address for this is -

A Recovering American Soldier
c/o Walter Reed Army Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20307-5001

Please pass this information on to others that would be willing to send cards.

It's All Relative

It's presently fifteen degrees (Fahrenheit; minus ten Celsius for the metricians) outside, which is a bit nippy for Jersey this early in the season.

Of course, Neffi's probably thinking, "Whiner." Geez--read on, MacDuff...

But while everybody around here's huddled around a nice hot cuppa and complaining about the sudden absence of global warming, I got to thinking--after we'd been in Bosnia a couple of months, we didn't even bother putting our jackets on until the ambient ambiance dipped below minus twenty or so.

It just depends on what you're used to--f'r instance:

( F / C )
+50 / +10
· New York tenants try to turn on the heat
· People from New Jersey plant gardens
+40 / +4
· Californians shiver uncontrollably
· Alaskans sunbathe
+35 / +2
· Italian cars don't start
+32 / 0
· Distilled water freezes
· DoD deploys 10th ID from Fort Drum, NY, to Guantanamo Bay
+30 / -1
· You can see your breath
· You plan a vacation to anywhere in Florida
· Politicians begin to worry about the homeless
· Alaskans eat ice cream
+25 / -4
· Lake Erie water freezes
· Californians weep pitiably
· Dog insists on sleeping on your bed
+20 / -7
· New York water freezes
· San Franciscans start thinking favorably of L.A.
· Green Bay Packers fans put on T-shirts

More in Flash traffic.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

December 14, 2005

A little historical stuff for the day...

Hey - old airplane guys - izzit me, or is this just a cool picture? A-12 Shrikes in the Phillipines before WWII.

Heh. Anti-aircraft gunnery... the hard way. I really find it interesting that they kept their pantel (panoramic telescope, used for laying the gun for direction, 'dial sight' to a Commonwealth soldier) on the gun (the thing sticking up in front of the guy crewing the piece). There *is* a way you could use that sight to reflect lead... but a ring-and-bead sight would be better.

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Last, but not least... ain't tanks a mighty fine thing? As long as they're yours?
And is it just me - but given the range and power of the 120mm gun, don't they seem to have very thin barrel walls?

Hosting provided by FotoTime

Don't forget to Vote For Us! We're not gonna catch those punk El-Tees at The Officer's Club unless you guys quit voting for Matty (who is untouchable at this point) but we're neck and neck with that Lawyer at Intel Dump.

H&I Fires

CAPT H sends this along - things may well be changing in Canada. Nothing earth-shattering, just, change.

Conservative Leader Stephen Harper promised to significantly boost defence spending, part of a strategy to empower Canadian military to become more self-reliant.

"To be truly sovereign, we must be able to deploy our forces and equipment, where they are needed, when they are needed," he said Tuesday, speaking in Trenton, Ont.

Harper said it's a national embarrassment that Canada has had to rent Russian-made Antonovs or hitch a ride on U.S. C-17 transport planes for overseas missions.

"To put it bluntly, hitchers may get to their destination but they don't get to pick the route and timing," he said.

He also proposes to bring back the Paras, officially disbanded after an incident (the murder of a young man) in Somalia. The Canadian government's reaction to the incident in Somalia was one that some here in the US would have liked to have seen after Abu Ghraib - rather than just punish the individuals who did wrong and look at TTPs and oversight, we should have disbanded the MP Corps.

You can read the whole thing here.

Speaking of the Canadian Military... "Oops We Did It Again" (the Press, not the Canadians)

Commander Salamander has a post up about warriors who don't feel the need to practice being miserable - yet somehow still get the job done. Oh, there's something naval-y in there too, something about riverine warfare or somesuch.

Big Dog's Question of the Day revolves around the Death Penalty and the late Mr. Williams, formerly of the Crips, vice unborn children. While the Big Dog's post itself is fairly plain jane, the comments are interesting. And I'm not knocking the post - if what you want is discussion, you have to leave something open to discuss! If I try to do it all in one post, all y'all just read it and move on. Boooooring.

For those of you who follow such things - you'll be happy to know that the Patton Museum at Fort Knox *will not* be moving to Fort Benning when the Armor Center moves there as a result of the Army's realignment of schools. Scott is all over it. Army museums, based on the way they are funded, tend to be tied to units and functions (i.e., the history of a branch) and or units - and tend to move with the units (note the changes at Fort Hood as units have cycled there, for example). Kentucky didn't want to lose the museum, and fought for it. Hmmm. Even though Knox is closer than Benning - I get to Benning a lot more often than I get to Knox...

If you *ever* played Army as a kid... Craig Shoemaker will have you wetting your pants.

Kat is going to take us on in our own demesne! Kewl! Of course, Kat hasn't found a local conversation she *isn't* interested in... I'd join that one, except I simply haven't the time.

Sergeant B has been doing a little Moonbat Hunting.

Over at Fuzzybear Lioness' place - skip the post, go directly to the comments! We *used* to have fun like that at the Castle. I see the party moved west...

Bob Owens is keeping an eye on the New York Times.

Oops. Failing to Follow The Script.

This is going to be a surprise to the faith-based charity I'm a board member of... heheheheheh. We'll have to take the guy out, though. He's divined the Truth!

Follow up...

Deb of Marine Corps Moms following up from this post:

After a whirlwind of a weekend, the boxes have been mailed and the living room is back in order. I mailed about 400 pounds of holiday treats - individual holiday bags filled with food, socks, and handwarmers; and boxes filled with stuff for the guys to share. They'll get beefsticks, cheese, some excellent chocolate, and other candy, plus hot chocolate and spiced cider mix and other stuff that seemed like a really good idea. It wouldn't have happened on the scale it did without your support and I'm so appreciative of your support. I'm hoping for pictures and I'll share. :-)


We'll hold you to the share part, Deb!

To all who helped, whether you told us about it or not, thank you very much!

Meanwhile, back in the "In" Box...

Every so often, I get an e-gram from one of my buds on the distaff side, usually one of the (several) female helicopter pilots I've known.

*Not* in the Biblical sense, thank you. I don't need to hook up with a female who's just as crazy as I am...

Hi, Bill!

We’ve finally moved into the 20th Century -- the local go-go joint finally held a “Ladies Only” night. So, naturally, Jamie, Peggy, Joan and I decided to go downtown to see what -- if anything -- we’d been missing by opting out of the three-hour drive to the various dens of iniquity in NYC all these years.

Peggy insisted we carpool. She said if anybody was gonna get lucky, she was at least gonna get a phone number out of it. By the way, I filched the matchbook she had *yours* written on out of her purse a few months back -- you owe me.

Anyway, we walked in the door and forked over our five bucks for the cover charge. The management could have changed bouncers for the night, at least -- Tim's a nice guy and all, but he's caught one too many barstools with his smile, if you catch my drift. And never-you-mind how I know who the regular bouncer is. A lady has to have *some* secrets.

So, we found four of the only remaining unoccupied barstools and sat down to watch the show.

Up onto the stage leaped the dancer, clad in a smile and not much else -- if his costume cost eight bucks, he paid a dollar a square inch for it.

Whoa. Instant hot flashes, and I’m not talking menopause, hon.

Jamie grinned, said, “Watch this!” and proceeded to casually waft a $10 bill next to her ear.

The dancer boogied over to us and she licked the ten-spot and stuck it to his butt cheek.

Peggy got into the action and pulled out a $20. She slowly waved it in front of her lips and when the guy danced over to her, she licked it and stuck it to his other butt cheek.

Joanie must’ve been in love. She pulled out a fifty and stuck it on her tongue.

Right about then, I started to get edgy about the way things were progressing, but when the guy danced over to her, she just stuck it to one of his butt cheeks.

My relief was short-lived. Seeing the monetary progression in our little foursome, the guy danced around a bit, then did a Mick Jagger sashay over to *me*.

Now everybody in the bar was focused on me, the guy was egging me on to top the fifty and my three friends were grinning knowingly -- I have a reputation (in the Harley store, anyway) for getting what I pay for.

My brain was churning as I reached into my purse.

The woman in me took over!

Uh-oh--I'd better put the rest of this in Flash Traffic...

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

December 13, 2005

"You don't have to be crazy but it helps" Dept.

AFSister briefed on December 10, 2005 10:27 PM

I'm coming to the realization that Huey pilots are all crazy mo-fo's, and ya'll must have worn out the GA's.

Heh. Some of us are crazier than others.

Larry is another 162d Alumnus. Some of the e-comments that have been flashing between us on the company net include

This reminds me of when I got shot down and lost the book I was reading, "Catch-22". Larry should not be over there unless he is crazy, and if he is crazy he should be sane enough to not be over there...Whatta guy!

Crazy or not, AFSis--you've gotta admit we're *still* babe magnets.

Ummmm--well, okay, some of us more so than others...

Guardian Angels

Those of you who know Carborundum know he's a little twitchy. He should be, he spent a career as Bill's Guardian Angel.

Things like this are why rotary aviation GA's are so twitchy.


I suspect GA's are behind this, too.

H/t, Jim C.

BTW - Don't forget to Vote For Us! We're not gonna catch those punk El-Tees at The Officer's Club unless you guys quit voting for Matty (who is untouchable at this point) but we've got a shot at that Lawyer at Intel Dump.

Oh, what the heck, let's make this a General Purpose Aviation Post.

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

by John on Dec 13, 2005 | Aircraft
» Fuzzilicious Thinking links with: Lex isn't Gonna Like This...
» ROFASix links with: Join the Mile High Club for $34,000?

December 12, 2005

Castle Artillery Pr0n

And now for something completely different, (ok, not really for longtime visitors), from the stocks of the Castle Armory. Since people who hide behind things but still want to sneak up on you (or even jump up, run at you and stick you with long pointy-things-with-sharp-edges really suck, people (i.e., artillerymen) thought up Shrapnel. In this case, a very specific artillerist, Major General Henry Shrapnel (though he invented it, I believe, when he was a mere Lieutenant).

So - from the Armory Holdings, a used WWI French Time/Impact Fuze. Of a type originally developed in 1889, this particular version is the 24/31mm Modele 1915, sitting in the nose of a 75mm Shrapnel round, seen here disassembled (albeit an empty round with none of the cool fiddly-bits).

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This is how you normally find them... with the nose of the projectile attached. In WWI, true shrapnel rounds (vice fragmenting HE now that the fact is that *all* fragments are called shrapnel) were essentially one-use mini-shotguns delivered over the target, where a small black powder charge in the base blew out a small plate, upon which were stacked lead or steel balls. The nose blew out, and the balls scattered like shot from a shotgun. Unlike the shrapnel rounds from the Civil War era, which suspended the balls in a matrix and then blew the whole round into pieces. Now when you read a WWI memoir that talks of the little puffs of white smoke from the shrapnel... you'll know what it means. It doesn't mean standard HE bursting in the air.

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Since you rarely see these old "beehive" fuzes intact, here are two - one ready for putting in the shell, the other with its lead foil protective cover. The cannoneer punched a hole at the appropriate time mark (there is a spiral powder train in the body of the fuze) so that when the round was fired, flame from firing would flash around the projectile as it left the muzzle, finding entry at the punch mark, igniting the powder train. Hence the lead foil cover - the flame exposure is very brief, so the powder has to catch quickly and must thus be protected from moisture. They also had an impact component, that series of pointy-things inside of springs running down the middle, as shown in this cutaway drawing:

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Here's a graphic cutaway from a Victorian-era Brit ammunition manual that shows what these rounds generally looked like. This particular round in the drawing didn't have a "blow-away nose" like the round in the Castle holdings - it just blew out the brass fuze, which being a softer metal, shears out before the threads on the baseplate of the projectile did. If it was a "burster" type round, the central tube would be filled with powder - here it's a flash-tube to convey the flame from the fuze-function down to the charge in the base.

Here is a photo of three Brit rounds from the 1890-1914 era. The two on the left have bursting charges in the base - you can clearly see the brass flash-tube running down the middle to the charge in the base. The one on the right has its bursting charge up top - meaning it probably blows out the base or shatters the round. Shattering the round is most likely, since the balls would not have near the velocity (and would have a much greater dispersion pattern, which can be good or bad depending on the way the target infantry is arrayed). I'm guessing that one didn't last long in service.

Lastly: Don't forget to Vote For Us!

To close this completely - you can see some of these fuzes larger cousins on the "ready rounds" in this engraving of French Artillery from WWI, with a 155mm on the left, and a 270mm Mortar on the right - the rounds for that monster are fitted with the Beehive fuze. The engraving is from a book published just after the war, and is in the Holdings of the Castle Library.

December 11, 2005

It's been a long year...

...and we've been diggin' in your pockets a lot. Believe me, I know. I sit on the board of a large charity (no, not United Way) and we're seeing the impact of donor fatigue this year.

That said, here's one more. Give up a sixpack. C'mon.

Please forgive the mass e-mail. I've never done it before but this is for our deployed troops. For the last 3 months, volunteers all over the country are making sure that our Marines receive a touch of home for Christmas. We've sent over 12,000 hand sewn Christmas stockings filled with food, games, socks, handwarmers, and other useful items. In addition, we've sent boxes filled with candy, beefsticks, cheese, DVDs, board games, and other things for the guys to share. For troops stationed on the Syrian border and who have been eating MREs for 7 months, we sent pancake mix, syrup and griddles, so that the Battalion Commanders could throw a pancake feed for their Marines. Little things, compared to what they're doing for us. We have no corporate sponsors and we are funded through the donations of parents and military supporters.

On Friday, I got an emergency request from an Army contact who has been in contact with the 1107th AVCRAD, a company of 250 soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their MWR dollars didn't come through and they are facing a bleak holiday. If I priority mail packages tomorrow, there is a high probability that they will get them by Christmas. I've received $500 in funding from a couple of parents, and that might be enough to mail part of the packages. But, I still need to buy the stuff to put in the packages. While I won't have individual Christmas stockings, I do have holiday decorated Ziploc baggies and am trying to fill 250 today. If you could put out an appeal to your readers to help fund this final request, it would be so appreciated. If folks want a tax deduction, they can hit the Paypal button at the Marine Corps Family Foundation site.

[The Armorer recommends you skip that one (unless you're going large) and choose the next option.]

If they don't need a receipt, they can use the Paypal button on my site: Marine Corps Moms. Those funds would be immediately available to me instead of waiting. (Connie holds the checkbook for our foundation and she's out of town until next week.) I've been using my own money, thinking that I can fundraise later, but I think filling this request is going to exceed what I can do personally. Each of you have readerships on your websites that I will never achieve. If you could link to the following post on my site:

Click right here.

or just mention it on your site, I would so appreciate it. And, I'll let you know how it turns out.

Deb Conrad
Proud Marine Mom

Yer forgiven, Deb.

Cmon - help a Marine Mom help a Dogface soljer. I guess the emphasis there is on... Mom.

And don't forget - despite hurricanes, Voice-activated laptops, tsunamis, tornadoes, floods, and the war... the needs that exist day-to-day in your community are still there. Locally, the Salvation Army is at 1/3 the level they were last year for Bell Ringing. The charity I work with spent our reserves to meet this years needs (hey, that what it's for!)

Remember one advantage of giving over letting the government handle it via taxation... the money you give to local agencies stays local. Just sayin'.

C'mon, a sixpack-equivalent of brew or soda ain't gonna kill ya. In fact, if you truly sacrifice and pass on it... it *might* do ya some good!

Me? I'm giving at least a 12-pack of Newcastle Equivalent.

Update: I put my money where my blog is. So did SWWBO (two separate donations, too). How about you? And as far as I can tell- the receipt here should stand up to an IRS question.

C'mon Denizens. Pony up. Shame me for being cheap. But prove it. Like this.

Dear John Donovan,

This email confirms that you have paid ( $25.00 USD using PayPal.
Payment Details

Transaction ID: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sales Tax: $0.00 USD
Total: $25.00 USD
Item/Product Name: Marine Corps Moms
Buyer: John Donovan
Message: Here ya go, Deb.



And Deb Insta-Responds:

Thank you so much. I'll use the $25 to buy more handwarmers - the guys love them and your donation will buy about 550 hours of heat. In the mountains of Afghanistan, that's one of the best gifts you can give. :-) Have a wonderful Christmas.

Deb Conrad
Proud Marine Mom

by John on Dec 11, 2005 | Something for the Soul
» Voteswagon links with: Last Minute Help for the Troops…Please!
» The Gantry Launchpad links with: Christmas for the guys overseas
» The Gantry Launchpad links with: Christmas for the guys overseas


Wonder how *this* will get spun?

Jonah's link doesn't seem to work. Try this one.

Rodger Young.

Have you read Heinlein's Starship Troopers (vice the crap movie), and wondered, however briefly, the source of the music played over the speakers to the Mobile Infantry on the... Rodger Young?

No, they've got no time for glory in the Infantry,
No, they've got no use for praises loudly sung,
But in every soldier's heart in all the Infantry
Shines the name, shines the name of Rodger Young.

Well, click here. Now you know.

Sunday H&I* Fires.

In which we take aim at the Denizens, and whatever else strikes our fancy.

Castle Philosopher Kat, aside from being all over the comments this week with book-length opii (worth reading) found the time to do this - a Kansas City Regional Round-up about Local Soldiers and Doings. Damn fine effort, Kat. She also weighs in on saluting, respect for the flag, etc.

SWWBO also went to the movie, had a horrible week at work, and has apparently gone insane, as her grip on reality has weakened considerably.

Fuzzybear Lioness is doing some traveling, and is putting out a call for local bloggers to have some micro-blogmeets. She's studying monkeys (perhaps in anticipation of meeting some at blogmeets) and is getting her prized toy back!

Blogson Sergeant B. had a relative on the USS Oklahoma. At Pearl Harbor.

Over at AFSis's jungle hideaway - she has an update on the cool Christmas light display we linked to a while ago... and my prediction, sadly, came true. She also has a lexico-philosophical question.

Adjutant Barb has a good link fest of her own, and got tagged by a meme.

MSG Keith is visited by a Queen and a Meme.

The Snarkatron takes us for a little trip in Anthropology, and cleans out her closet.

Over at The Grand Retort, Sanger reviews a book he liked in the past - after re-reading. Hiroshima. Some of that review has splashed over into comments here.

Alan has a suggestion that's interesting. Attract traffic! From the trollbots of the Chinese Government. Much as we'd hate losing the other traffic we get from them, we'll survive. They're not buying ads. However much Alan might like us jumping on his bandwagon - he'd really prefer we visited his Beer Blog. After you've been fortified with that, return for some philosophy (which always goes better with booze).

Punctilious offers up recipes, while Rammer offers up a reason why the Internet Is Good.

Jack of Random Fate is also following Alan's land seizure story - and keeping an eye on its US equivalents.

Don't miss the caption contest, "Howard Gets His Wings" at In The Right Place.

And don't forget to Vote For Us!

Flash Traffic (extended entry) Follows... »

Goin' to the Movies!

Went to see The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe yesterday. A pox on the people who would virtually ban it because it "promotes" Christianity. Only if you, as a parent, go to the trouble of pointing it out will that be possible. Or if they see it later in life, after some serious exposure to Christianity beforehand (which is, reputedly, the effect Lewis was after). Puh-leeze. Even Polly Toynbee, of the Guardian, agrees with that - though I couldn't help but come away from her review with the thought the she sure is filled with a sense of self-loathing... given she hates everything that has made her what she is. Sad woman, there. Florence King without the class and insight. And Flo likes herself.

If you're an atheist you'll like the movie. So will your kids. And they won't suddenly don sack-cloth and dive into a pile of ashes, either.

The real reason I bring it up is the new trend in theaters! Phoenix Theatres has recently opened a venue in Kansas City, KS, at the Legends shopping mall at Kansas Speedway. State of the Art theaters (and they brought back the Big Screen! Yay!) with comfortable seating, didn't try to cram as many seats into a space as they could (smart, since most of 'em sit empty over time) - but the best part is VIP seating! Bar! Booze! No noisy kids or groping and groaning teenagers! Service at your seat! Tickets cost $9 more per seat... but to us, for good long movies - we'll spend that.

It makes the movie an event, however, in terms of cost. Definitely a couples thing. Cocktails, brews (to include my current fave, Newcastle), something-other-than-concession food (though you can have that delivered too) - and you don't have to stand in lines to get it.

The Majestic Theater at Zona Rosa does the same thing, with smaller screens but full meals from the Majestic Cafe available. No, I'm not shilling for these folks.

Downside? The Legends 14 serves... Pepsi rancid horse urine. Ick. Good thing they have a bar.