Limited Connectivity Until Wednesday Or Thereabouts

There are some issues that are interfering with the connection between the physical Hall and the virtual one. Enjoy yourselves, as usual when I'm away; hopefully we'll get it sorted out the middle of next week, when our ISP can arrange a technician to drag himself way out here.


The enduring fascination of war games must be the use of a model of a complex interaction to examine the myriad ways the process can play itself out.  This WaPo article describes the modern incarnation of a coffee-table war-gaming tradition that flowered in the early 80s, dropped off a bit, and has experienced a resurgence with the ability of widely dispersed enthusiasts to connect via the Internet.

My own dear husband has designed a Civil War game (Cedar Mountain) that is now in the pre-sale period, where it must attain a certain number of orders before it will be officially launched--and it's getting there slowly.  He plays games by email with co-enthusiasts all over the world.  The games employ physical maps and counters, but the players can execute them long-distance, just as chessplayers might do.  It's a wonderful aspect of worldwide instantaneous connection.  It's also, as it turns out, a good way to become a whizz at graphics software.  Whatever did we do without PCs?

We once spent a vacation driving up and down the Shenandoah Valley, locating battlefields that were never turned into parks.  My husband can be annoyed by hamfisted cinematic portrayals of battles the same way I am whenever they attempt to portray any aspect of life in a law firm.

Friday Night AMV

Anime Music Video that is.

Grim once asked "Where are the Beethovens today?" I think my answer was that one had to look to music for movies these days.

Or, our young Beethoven is mucking about editing up things like this:

The Anime is called "Black Lagoon". It has, of course,  no redeeming value, and is, of course, all the more entertaining for that.

"On the Right"

Motes, beams, boys.
The rise of “politics as warfare” on the Right, accompanied with militarist rhetoric, is one that my Democratic Strategist colleagues James Vega and J.P. Green and I discussed in a Strategy Memo last year. We discerned this tendency in the willingness of conservatives to paralyze government instead of redirecting its policies, and in the recent efforts to strike at democracy itself via large-scale voter disenfranchisement initiatives. And while we noted the genesis of extremist politics in radical ideology, we also warned that “Establishment” Republicans aiming at electoral victories at all costs were funding and leading the scorched-earth permanent campaign.

All I’d add at this point is that it’s not terribly surprising that people who think of much of the policy legacy of the twentieth century as a betrayal of the very purpose of America—and even as defiance of the Divine Will—would view liberals in the dehumanizing way that participants in an actual shooting war so often exhibit
C'mon. 'We have to pass the bill so you can find out what's in it,' 'I won,' Rules for Radicals, 'This war is lost,' the IRS targeting conservative groups, Fast and Furious....

There's a war coming, maybe. Maybe it's already here. But don't lose sight of the fact that, if we do find ourselves at war, it's a war you wanted all along.

States Against The NSA

Those guys at the Tenth Amendment Center have an interesting suggestion for states that don't like what the NSA is doing. The Federal government controls the NSA, but the states control the water...
When fully operational, the NSA facility is expected to require a staggering 1.7 million gallons of water every day to cool down the computers harvesting information on people worldwide. That water is supplied by the Jordan Valley Water Conservancy District, a political subdivision of the state. Without it, the facility cannot function.

Accidents Happen


American Foreign Policy

Mac Owens is not impressed.

How Should A Woman Appear In Public?

A survey of several Muslim nations by Pew. The top-line is interesting, but scroll down for the percentage answering that women should be allowed to choose.

The Gates Book

Initial reports suggest we're going to be pretty angry.

There is a letter of dubious authenticity but clear and understandable feeling. The circumstances of the day are not out of line with the contents, but it is so perfectly expressed for our time that one doubts it could be real. Probably it is false; as far as I can tell it dates to a French-language book from the period of the mutiny of the 1er REP of the Foreign Legion. Yet in a way it is more dire if it is a product of our time than of ancient Rome.
"We had been told, on leaving our native soil, that we were going to defend the sacred rights conferred on us by so many of our citizens settled overseas, so many years of our presence, so many benefits brought by us to populations in need of our assistance and our civilisation.

"We were able to verify that all this was true, and, because it was true, we did not hesitate to shed our quota of blood, to sacrifice our youth and our hopes. We regretted nothing, but whereas we over here are inspired by this frame of mind, I am told that in Rome factions and conspiracies are rife, that treachery flourishes, and that many people in their uncertainty and confusion lend a ready ear to the dire temptations of relinquishment and vilify our action.

"I cannot believe that all this is true and yet recent wars have shown how pernicious such a state of mind could be and to where it could lead.

"Make haste to reassure me, I beg you, and tell me that our fellow-citizens understand us, support us and protect us as we ourselves are protecting the glory of the Empire. "If it should be otherwise, if we should have to leave our bleached bones on these desert sands in vain, then beware of the anger of the Legions!!"
It's not just Afghanistan, of course.

Sir Run Run Shaw

He's most famous for Kung Fu films, but also produced Blade Runner. You can see his name in the fine print on this trailer.

The trailer is terrible. It's a wonder anyone went to see it. Good they did, though.

Rest in peace.

The Glories of Black Iron

Against last night's cold, we hung up blankets to wrap off the main living room where the iron stove is. I went ahead and shut off all the water and drained the pipes, so there was no danger from freezing -- that's how we used to do it when we lived in the mountain cabin, which froze whole months of the year. The fire inside the iron stove kept us all very warm, except the horses who are quite capable of handling far colder weather than this polar blast. They got extra hay and a ration of grain to help keep warm.

Today I decided to roast some pork in the oven because that's an all-day, low-heat process. It's helped to fill the house with a bit of warmth, as well as some wonderful smells. Once it was finished, I made some honey-wheat bread from scratch, with a bit of cinnamon just for the smell of it baking.

Black iron, in the stove and the roasting pan, has made this shock of cold a great deal better. That and some of the firewood I spent so much of last year laying in, of course.


It's bound to work better than what the State Department and the White House have had going lately.

"Harmless" Pranks

I'm definitely going to do #9 one of these days.

More hate speech

Here someone goes again, making moral judgments that equate ordinary human behavior with disgusting habits like bestiality--or, in this case, pedophilia.  (Wait, is pedophilia still eligible for disapproval, or is that hate speech, too? )  Somehow, though, I doubt anyone's going to call for a boycott of Morrissey on the ground of his targeting carnivores with intolerance and judgmentalism, even though my carnivorous nature is not a choice, I was born that way.

It would be interesting to know what he thinks about abortion.

The monetary leap for freedom

I suppose they'll be cracking down on bitcoins soon.  It's the unregulated Wild West out there!  (These people always talk as if the Wild West were a bad thing.)

The things we find to complain about

Almost every day I see an article explaining why some group or another has no choice but to become obese.  Here's an article about how farmers are too rushed and stressed to eat anything but junk food.  It takes too long to wash the dirt off the greens!  We have to eat donuts instead!

I eat good food, I think, but that won't keep the weight down if the volume is too great in relation to my meager caloric needs.  Is that my society, or me?


This is what happens when you let states try out different things:  people get ideas about what works best, even if that means changing a lifetime of prejudice.