The eleventh hour of the eleventh day…

… the guns on the western front of “the War,” soon to be called the Great War or the World War, fell silent. Fighting in the east continued for another four years, and more if you count the Russian Civil War.

When I was younger, Veterans Day was about veterans and the First World War just happened to end on November 11th. Which is also the feast of St. Martin of Tours. I seem to remember parades, or I might be mis-remembering, because the weather didn’t favor parades in November. Continue reading

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Hiawatha – 2018 Edition. “Liawatha” by Tom Kratman.

I wrote 4000 words on Merchant and Empire yesterday, and the end of the book is in sight. My brain is fried, therefore I present a little something by Col. Tom Kratman. Language warning for the poem, so it is below the fold. Yes, it is very political.

The Song of Hiawatha is a 19th century epic poem based on actual mythology from the Indians near the Great Lakes. Although people make fun of it, Longfellow’s poem is a great story, although the ending is a little strange for modern readers. It, and Evangeline have been parodied many times.

However, during this election season, the poem serves as a wonderful setting for, well, you’ll see. The opening of the original’s second section: Continue reading

Dog in the Car: A Rant

So there I was in traffic, waiting for the light to change. The SUV beside me caught my eye. The driver had her window down a little, and was letting a lap-dog stand on her chest and the steering wheel, looking out the windshield.

Later that day, I did a double take because it appeared that a mastiff was driving. No, but he was leaning across the driver, peering out the open window. Continue reading

Day of Atonement

Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, began at sundown on the 18th. This is the gravest of High Holy Days in the Jewish calendar, one of those days that even people who rarely set foot in the synagogue make sure to get a seat ticket for. Not unlike Christians and Easter and Christmas, a Jewish friend assures me. It is very, very serious, and marks the time when men must examine their souls and apologize and make amends and atonement for the sins committed against G-d. Believers should have already asked forgiveness and apologized to other people they might have sinned against. Continue reading

Heroes, Duty, and the Tester

Mild rant follows.

I do wish the media would quit abusing the word hero. At least half the time, probably nine-tenths of the time, what the reporters breathlessly call “a hero” is a man or woman doing his or her duty, as the individuals are quick to point out. That duty might be very high risk, but the people are trained and equipped for just that thing. I admire their skill and bravery, and their actions are often heroic, but within the call of duty.

It is when someone goes far, far beyond their duty that, according to what I was taught, they become heroes. Continue reading

September 11 Once More

None of my students were alive on September 11, 2001. It feels odd to type that, because to me the 9/11 attacks are current events. Granted, part of that is being trained that anything that happened less than thirty years in the past is “current events, political science, and popular memory” as one grad school professor phrased it. But I can clearly recall Sib’s voice on the phone, telling me to turn on the radio because “Your world just changed.” Sib was right, just not in the way either of us expected. Seeing Air Canada tails sticking up over the terminal building at the airport where I was working at the time was, ahem, surreal to put it mildly. Continue reading

The 0600 Garbage Truck: Services and the State

The city where I live provides garbage removal. At the moment, we have nice, large dumpsters in the alleys behind the houses. The city provides four per block, at least in my neighborhood. If you have big things that need to go to the dump, er, sanitary landfill, you put them curbside and call the city. They fetch them within 48 hours. We have dumpsters in part because of our frequent thirty-five mile an hour winds. When a downstate consultant recommended switching to curbside pick up of the little plastic bins, people laughed in the city commission’s face and asked if the consultant cared to chase down thousands of wind-blown rolling bins.

The down side is that the trucks start work at 0530. Continue reading