I've noticed a dropoff in the number of comments lately. I wanted to take the opportunity to spur you all on to speak up! Probably the part of blogging I enjoy most is the chance to talk to my readers, and examine the issues raised in the light of their experience. If you agree but have a different take; or you disagree; or you just want to think some more about an issue and want to ask questions: by all means post comments!
Since I'm calling for comments, I thought it would be wise to repost the comments policy. I adopted it from the sadly-defunct Texas Mercury, a fringe publication but one whose bold assertion of well considered and unusual ideas I always enjoyed:
As we see it, modern society has all the important ideas of life exactly backwards: we are completely against the belief in sensitivity and tolerance in politics and raffish disregard in private life. The Texas Mercury is founded on the opposite principles- our idea is of tolerance and polite sensitivity in private life and ruthless truth in politics. Be nice to your neighbor. Be hell to his ideas.Comments failing to uphold those principles run the risk of being deleted without warning. In the year and some months since I adopted that as the policy here, I've added one additional point: hit-and-run comments, as well as anonymous comments, will generally be deleted. If you're a regular here, and willing to stand up and fight for what you believe, you can say pretty much anything that isn't a personal attack on a fellow reader. If you're just wandering through, or unwilling to leave your name (even a false name you'll stand by will do, e.g., "Grim"), pass on. This is a hall, and regular readers are honored guests not to be troubled by cowards.
The second announcement is that I have some new links on the sidebar. I've restructured the links to include an entire section on gun and knife work, plus bloggers who concentrate on those things. If you have suggestions, please let me know. I won't be posting commercial links (i.e., not even to Smith & Wesson firearms), but will post links to places that teach about the safe and effective use of weapons; forums for enthusiasts; and societies founded to teach or preserve historic techniques.
Bladework sites are harder to find, as there are not nearly so many enthusiasts for knife and sword teachings as there are firearms enthusiasts. However, I heartly suggest you visit the Schola St. George, an organization teaching historic Western martial arts. These, which have all but died out, are every bit as impressive as the more-familiar Eastern martial arts. The latter survived because warfighting as a practical matter did not evolve as fast in the East, allowing living masters to survive into the 20th century. The great Western swordsmasters died out a century earlier, when warfighters no longer needed their skills, and the abolition of the duel caused what remained of Western swordfighting to turn into a sport with rigid rules. A living art requires a vibrant engagement with change.
For those of you who would like to learn the old styles, however, a few reconstructionists attempt to bring them back and keep them available. The Schola has a number of links to allied groups, and you may find one in your area. (I'm looking at you, Sovay.)
Finally, I've added a link, under "Other Halls," to the blog of frequent commenter Wilde Karrde. Anyone else who comments regularly and well, and who has a blog I've neglected to link, please let me know by email and I'll be glad to add you. Karrde appears to be a mathematician by training. The world needs more such. My own ability barely escapes basic geometry, algebra and probability theory... indeed, some would say it doesn't escape them. Still, I have a genuine respect for anyone who can master the field. There are few better examples of intellectual treasure than the understanding of mathematics that humanity has built over the centuries. It underlies every real accomplishment in the sciences, and more than a few in the arts. Give him a read, and see what he has to say.
UPDATE: Congratulations to JarHeadGRANDDad! See the comments.