Thursday, June 29, 2006

Friday's weird eBay auctions

well I am not done the book I was figuring on finishing today. I have been wandering around eBay and came across some goofy auctions. So I might as well share. I'm not associated with any of these.


Break up Card

Single fulltime dad of 2, return to church for year something tells me not even the United Church would consider this acceptable.

Professional Air Guitar, slightly used phenomenal sound

My Space in Heaven

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Voting is the work of the Devil

or at least according to this "Christian" homeschooling mother of 10[apparently getting headaches or crossing her legs isn't an option]. She had this to say when asked what would be the one thing she would change.
I would remove women’s suffrage, and I might even consider making voting rights tied to property ownership.

So presumably this means that women would be not allowed to own property either. Here's some more from a response to some questions from visitors.

About woman’s suffrage…I think it’s a matter of covenantal thinking and headship. If womenar ebiblically to be under the headship of husbands and fathers, then those men are to represent the household when it comes to voting. Pieter was a judge at a polling place in a recent election here, and he told of several couples that came in who were registered for different political parties and ostensibly cancelled out each other’s votes. I think Nickey has a point about women who are heads of households for various reasons, but Deborah’s exception notwithstanding, men are to be the elders sitting in the gates, guiding public affairs; yet we find Christian women today having no compunctions about running for political offices and seeking leadership as “ministers” of governmental affairs. I’m obviously not against women having opinions or giving godly wisdom and counsel in certain spheres, but I believe that the feminization of both the church and the political realm is related to the increased
involvement of women through voting and policy decision making. As for property ownership: I thinkthta the welfare state has become such a problem because of the ability of people to vote themselves largesse; property owners are often much more rooted and less likely to vote for politicians who advocate the theft of their property, thus creating a much more stable economy and society. Others have written extensively on this, but that’s my controversial position in a nutshell.

Not too sure about the property owner business after all the members of the assembly in the Athenian democracy were property owners and they certainly were willing to involve themselves in harebrained schemes. The invasion of Sicily for one. Never particularly understood the argument about stability equaling land ownership. Although I'm sure the counterargument would involve mention that the Greeks were pagan after all.

Took a quick glance around and notice that apparently two of her offspring want to end up in the U.S. Air Force. Something tells me a female commanding officer is going to have a lot of paperwork to fill out about these two little gems, if there anything like Mom. Insubordination to start with.

As an interesting aside the British suffragettes often would use terrorism to make their point.

Stolen technology bites back

check out this link to the saga of a stolen Sidekick. Apparently there are some built-in features that meant that when it was used the original user was able to get all their information so it of course went up on the Web. Seems to be a happy ending the police eventually got involved and arrested the "Crew". Now it's up on auction on eBay. With a portion of the money going to charity.

Considering all the stories about how technology is out to get us this was kinda neat.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Glitter revenge

now this is creative. Although I suppose somebody receiving this is going to end up freaking out and calling the biohazard people. Sadly I can't really think of anyone who deserves this sort of treatment. Which is surprising considering I'm known as "Mr. Cranky".

Let Harry's deathwatch begin

with the news that JK Rowling is going to be killing off two characters in the last book in brings up the question of whether Harry will be one of them. This would of course be the ultimate way to stop any talk of sequels but it would be quite the kick in the teeth.

there still is no news on a book title. Besides that the article talks mostly about the upcoming movie which just started filming.

And yes I'm talking about counterinsurgency and Harry Potter on the same blog shocking I know.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Only? Two years of high school

was wandering around some blogs when came across a job opening for a bookshelfer at a library. Was rather amused to read this in the requirements.
Minimum two years of High School required.
Which begs the obvious question of why they would have to have great 11. What magical qualities does grade 11 have that allows one to carry around books all day? Anyone have any ideas?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Public Library weeding all right by me

today was our public libraries used book sale. I managed to pick up about a dozen books. Mostly military history and an orphaned volume of Sir John A. McDonald's letters [unfortunately only volume II]. This led to me wondering about how the weeding process gets done. Here are some interesting links.

weeding libraries library deaccessioning deaccession contains some interesting links to various libraries policies

Weeding the Library Collection interesting page of resources includes the handbooks used by some libraries.

And no I don't think I'll be weeding my own library anytime soon

Friday, June 23, 2006

50th post

I've reached a landmark of sorts my 50th post. Interestingly enough according to statistics on average roughly eight individual visitors per post. Nothing particularly new happening around here. Can't seem to find any ratings for the second wrestling show on the sci-fi Channel. Chapters is trying to get rid of a lot of their paperback stock with a by three get a fourth book free sale so picked up some science-fiction.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Yes Virginia terrorism can be funny

take a look at these government signs with amusing captions. Well I guess the lucky thing is that they seem to have forgotten about the duct tape. Now we still have those color-coded threat levels. I'm sure it's just a matter of time till Harper gets his act together and we get them appear.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

History Detectives pestering experts since 2006

Caught a new episode of history detectives on PBS early this morning. This is what happens when I can't sleep. I liked this series before but am rather aggravated by its latest incarnation.

Two of the three stories essentially involved tracking down experts and pestering them for knowledge. Not exactly much actually getting into the nuts and bolts of archival research which is what the earlier episodes at least attempted to do.

One aggravating oversight from the last piece which was about the assassination of President McKinley. They were trying to track down information on whether a flag had been draped over the coffin. They had a regimental badge and a sharp shooters award. Inexplicably they made no attempt to either use the gentleman's name to get Army records or to lookup unit history which would have shortened the research needed to determine the same information. Namely that the unit was used as a honor guard at the place of burial prior to internment.

I will look at the next episode, probably because this time next week I won't be sleeping again.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Connie Chung can't sing

who would've thunk at Connie Chung really can't sing. Check out this video truly amazing. Have to give her credit for rolling around on the piano and those heels and dress.

Europe's Last Red Terrorists The Revolutionary Organisation November 17 by George Kassimeris

Europe's Last Red Terrorists The Revolutionary Organisation November 17 by George Kassimeris tries to explain one of the more curious situations in Western European terrorism. A terrorist group 17 November which has managed to pull off sophisticated attacks while avoiding any of their members being captured by Greek security police. They've managed his feet for over 20 years. But yet they are completely politically irrelevant. At least as far as Greek politics are concerned.

The blook is laid out in three parts the first which discusses the political background of Greek history since World War II. The second section describes 17 November's operations in detail and lastly the government response. The rather confused antiterrorism response of the Greek government is castigated for its incompetence however the author seems to have a grudging respect for 17 November and their record of success but he points out repeatedly that they are politically irrelevant being considered by the population to be essentially troublemakers.

in the book there's quite a bit of discussion of the Marxist thought of 17 November and other Greek terrorists. One could use a scorecard to keep everything straight but the authors ideas are relatively well laid out even considering this. An excellent book on a terrorist organization which gets little play in North America.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

BlogClicker test

I'm currently testing out BlogClicker to see how it works for producing Web traffic.

So far I'm relatively pleased it seems to do what it promises. The only major criticism I have at this point is that there doesn't seem to be enough pages loaded into the system so often within reading through 15 or 20 pages you start hitting duplicates. This can of course play havoc with your statistics.

I will keep you updated. I've used it for about three days now will see what happens after a couple of weeks.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Maybe I spoke too soon

Found something disturbing on the wrestling observer web site. The same one where I located quotes for earlier post.
The ECW TV show on Tuesday was the highest rated show in the 18-49 demo on Sci-Fi of the year, and the highest rated show on cable in its time slot.
Well maybe this show will last longer then I expect. I guess the question is how big the drop off in ratings will be next week. If there is a drop off of course. The wrestling fans certainly don't seem to be impressed.

The Winter War The Soviet Attack on Finland 1939-1940 by Eloise Engle and Lauri Paananen

The Winter War The Soviet Attack on Finland 1939-1940 by Eloise Engle and Lauri Paananen is one of the few books in English devoted to the Winter war the campaign between Finland and the Soviet Union in the early stages of the second world war. This directly led to Finland's involvement and the continuation war against the Soviet Union when Nazi Germany attack the USSR.

The book describes the political maturation that led to the outbreak of war as well as the defense tactics of Finland's forces. One thing I learned was that the famous Molotov cocktail was actually mass-produced by Finland's liquor board.

most of the sources drawn upon our translated this gives access to the English reader to information otherwise unavailable. A good book on a relatively an obscure campaign. The book could have perhaps been served by research in Finland's archives. I'm not sure if this was available in the 1970s when the book was originally written.

If you're interested in a story of this heroic defense take a look.

For more WWII book reviews Take a look at My World War II bookshelf.

For reviews take a look at My Insurgency/Counterinsurgency, Partisan and Guerrilla Warfare bookshelf.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Now that was a disaster, pro wrestling on sci-fi Channel

well the reviews are in and they aren't pretty. Apparently the wrestling fans despised the wrestling show on the sci-fi Channel. Check out some of these reviews. I guess this great experiment isn't too long for this world.
I just got the Observer [newsletter advertised on the site] today and read the part about how Sci-Fi suggested storylines where ECW wrestlers went in to alternate dimensions. I thought, thank God they're not going to do that as that would surely be an induction in Wrestlecrap waiting to happen. Then I saw this show. Alternate dimensions don't sound quite so bad to me anymore.
hmmm wrestling in other dimensions that could be interesting.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Torture just doesn't work

Torture Awareness Month

the apparent and systematic human rights abuses in the war on terror make no sense from a military perspective. Basically if one actually does get information it can be either be a wildly inaccurate [see Joseph Stalin's purges] or will end up in screwing you in the long run. For example in the battle of Algiers the French did manage to destroy much of the FLN's organization within the city. But when France discovered the tactics used the revulsion was enough to make the war's continuation all but impossible.

Yes I'm going to mention Sir Robert Thompson again because he's right. Governments that don't act like governments will be treated like one side of the Civil War not as a legitimate government.

Historical bookseller web sites

Came across this very neat entry that links two several pages of now famous web sites long before they were.

Interesting how the ancient versions were easily accessible and yet had a simplicity of design that modern pages don't with their title bars and other clutter. Unfortunately the era seems to be gone forever.

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Revolution in military affairs and other silliness

Came across this article which talks a good game about the RMA but doesn't get the job done. Let's take a closer look. A quick note beforehand most people don't realize that the concept of the revolution in military affairs is actually based on Soviet ID Marxist thought from the late 1970s. Kinda funny isn't it?
In the battle of El Alemain aproximately 50,000 troops died in 12 days of fighting, while in the two wars for Iraq and Afghanistan our troops have suffered far less and have conquered far greater numbers than the Afrika Corps troops who lost.
Say " hello" to a strawman.. Remember that of course medical technology has improved substantially since World War II. Casualty numbers are naturally not terribly useful for analyzing military engagements.
Five hundred years from now students in military academies will still be studying these conficts, these engagements, these strategies, and these tactics for they will all certainly still be relevant.
actually military academies don't study much military history and when they do it tends to be very recent military history. If the argument is that counterinsurgency will still need to be taught then I'll give him that but I don't think that Cobra II is going to be on par with Caesar's Gallic campaigns.

I once sat through a class given by an Air Force officer discussing theories of their power. He pointed out that in Iraq the Army was essentially used to hold the Iraqi forces in place so that that the Air Force could attack the concentrated enemy. This is the same as Hammer and Annville tactics used by Greek generals in the Hellenic era. Just the hardware is changed. One reason I think the RMA is such a bizarre concept. The only other real "revolution" the gunpowder won. Was a glacially slow one taking several hundred years.

The RMA argument says nothing about counterinsurgency. Military's that do specialize in one form of fighting off and get beat by someone who takes a different tack. Yes Vietnam is a perfect example of a military geared towards fighting mechanized forces on the European planes getting beaten by peasants with AK's. And yes for you American chauvinist out there to Soviet invasion of Afghanistan also would qualify.

More troops in theater are not needed to destroy any assault the insurgents can mount, their sole purpose if they were sent would be to patrol, support, and suppress. That would create inescapable dependencies from the Iraqi army, and make the standing up of those units take much longer.

unless of course the Americans stay for the long haul. I realize it would be politically impossible but the only real solution is a generational one. Something like the transformation of Turkey by the Young Turks would be necessary. Or they could always do what they're doing in Afghanistan and sneak out the back door and hope nobody notices. "Let NATO handle it".
Haditha-like incidents, whether it’s a propaganda ploy or real, would increase as more American troops entered theater.
propaganda ploy? I don't believe the Marine Corps tends to sack officers and charge others when the enemy makes a propaganda ploy. Or for that matter the commandant of the Marine Corps sends out a message telling everyone to wake up and act like Marines

Guantanamo suicides

Article on suicides at Guantanamo.

It goes without saying although I'll say it anyway that supposedly the camp is to extract useful information from these people. If they commit suicide you don't get much information out of them. Although at this stage in the game I'm not sure how much more one would be able to squeeze out of them. After all some of them have been there for years at this point. It's rapidly becoming time to charge these people or release them.

Swordfish The Story Of The Taranto Raid By David Wragg

Swordfish The Story Of The Taranto Raid By David Wragg describes one of the forgotten battles of World War II the attack on the Italian Mediterranean fleet. When the attack is mentioned it's usually described as a precursor to the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor however as the book describes it the Japanese were already war gameing the assault on Pearl before Taranto.

The description of the attack itself actually takes up a relatively small portion of the book. The book spends most of its time laying out the controversy over Naval aviation in Britain between the wars. There also is a detailed history of carrier development in the UK. Great detail is given to describing the backgrounds of the air crew that were involved in attacking the Italian ships in their biplanes.

An excellent work on a relatively forgotten battle. Considering the author's description of the battle this would make an excellent movie for Hollywood. A night assault lit up by flares and AAA.

For more WWII book reviews take a look at My World War II bookshelf.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

This is what happens when you do counterinsurgency right

I saw this story before but recently came across a new link to it. So decided to post it. This is what happens when you do effective counterinsurgency. Most of the gun nuts hate this sort of thing because it means that military force is not all powerful. Exactly what Sir Robert Thompson talks about so much in his books.

As for the authors assertion the biased media would not report on this this story or much like it was reported on by CNN.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


Anyone else wondering if the ratting out of al Zarqawi was an internal purge by bin Laden?

Friday, June 09, 2006

Scotland's Black Death The Foul Death of the English by Karen Jillings

Scotland's Black Death The Foul Death of the English by Karen Jillings one of those areas which for some reason seams to be passed by in history books. The effect of the Black death on Scotland. In most books on the Black death Scotland is barely mentioned the author attempts to remedy this.

This is social history which I'm not particularly fond of however this book describes things in am interesting manner avoiding much of the mindnumbing statistics that seemed to be in vogue these days.

One of the key points of her argument is that the Black death was not the disease that it has been thought of four many years. This evidence when it first came out seemed to be very sketchy but the author makes a good case for it.

An interesting book which will hopefully spark more discussion on the topic.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

al Zarqawi dead but insurgency remains

with reports of al Zarqawi Al Qaeda's leader in Iraq being killed by a airstrike it begs the question of what does this do for the insurgency?

More than likely it won't make that much of a difference. It will probably result in some confusion in Al Qaeda in Iraq's operations for awhile but the insurgency will keep going. For the most part it is after all homegrown and the involvement of al-Qaida is not intrinsic to its success in its operations against the Americans and the Iraqi government.

This will also be an opportunity for local al-Qaida commanders to make a name for themselves.

Unlike in most classic terrorist organizations the diffuse chain of command means that al-Qaida in Iraq will still be able to function against the counterinsurgency.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Why War? Ideology, Theory, and History by Keith Nelson and Spencer Olin

Why War? Ideology, Theory, and History by Keith Nelson and Spencer Olin was published in the late 1970s which perhaps makes it surprising that it is so useful. The book discusses conservative Liberal and Communist theories of why wars erupt between countries. After analyzing the world views of various theorists the book delves into how they analyze the outbreaks of World War I and World War II. I've been through several international relations political theory courses but found the authors definitions of the various topics more illuminating than all of that time sitting in class.

Interestingly enough to work at that the authors for the most part site are written by the same people who were in the syllabi for the courses I took nearly 25 years later. Only some of the titles have changed.

Supertoys Last All Summer Long And Other Stories of Future Time by Brian Aldiss

Supertoys Last All Summer Long : And Other Stories of Future Time by Brian Aldiss seems to have been published to take advantage of the movie release of AI. The title story and its sequel contained in this book were the basis for the film. The stories themselves are excellent however I cannot say the same for the rest of the volume. Most of the stories seem to be half finished. They stop suddenly without any real sense of conclusion. Short stories of course do not tend to have long drawnout conclusions but in this collection the stories tend to stop dead.

That being said the collection is well worth picking up just for the two supertoys stories. An introduction by Aldiss talks about his experiences with Stanley Kubrick. Apparently he was quite the difficult creative partner. Interesting reading.

For more Science Fiction and Fantasy book reviews take a look at My Science Fiction and Fantasy bookshelf.


I'm scratching my head over this article. Which rambles on about the "problems" in the terrorism investigation in Toronto. Supposedly there are inconsistencies in the story but the article doesn't really talk about any besides finding some quotes which believe the arrests are politically motivated. As Flit pointed out on June 5 that this case and the counterfeit visa case are different. Skepticism is of course a good thing and everyone is presumed Innocent but knee-jerk conspiracy charges without any real evidence makes one a joke.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Doesn't Harper have speech writers?

as this article rightly points out apparently PM was forced to dig out the same platitudes as another right-wing leader. And I don't mean Churchill that man could speak.

OK I'll give you that Harper is better than Martin at public speaking but really is that saying much?

Monday, June 05, 2006

now this should aggravate the brown shirts in our midst

here's Gwynne Dyer's latest column scary thing is that he's right not that it matters these days. It could get pretty ugly up here for a while. We shall have to see.

A kind of 9/11 did happen in Canada. The largest casualty toll of any terrorist
attack in the west before 2001 was the 329 people who were killed in the
terrorist bombing of Air India Flight 182, en route from Toronto to London, in
1985. Two hundred and eighty of the dead were Canadian citizens. Since Canada
has only one-tenth the population of the United States, it was almost exactly
the same proportionate loss that the United States suffered in 9/11.It was
immediately clear that the terrorists were Sikhs seeking independence from
India, but here's what Canada didn't do: it didn't send troops into India to
"stamp out the roots of the terrorism" and it didn't declared a "global war on
terror". Partly because it lacked the resources for that sort of adventure, of
course, but also because it would have been stupid. Instead, it tightened up
security at airports, and launched a police investigation of the attackThe
investigation was not very successful, and 21 years later most of the culprits
have still not been punished. But Sikh terrorism eventually died down even
though nobody invaded the Punjab, and nobody else got hurt in Canada. The US
would have had to lean on the Afghan regime quite hard to get the al Qaeda camps
shut down after 9/11, but that, on the whole, would have been the right reaction
to that attack, too. And nothing more.

There's been quite a bit of talk on some message boards none of which I'll dignify with a link basically saying that it's time to send the Muslims all home or worse. The British didn't obliterate the Catholics after the Gunpowder Plot.

Scottish Battles by George Forbes

Scottish Battles by George Forbes is an excellent introduction to Scottish military history. The book describes battles that took place against the Scots from Roman times to the rising of 1745.

I don't know much about this area of military history so the book was an excellent addition to the collection. It lays out in detail the political background to the battles. this is often something that is lackingin military history. The assumption is made that you know why they are fighting. This book is highly recommended.

Four Scottish history I've also reviewed Scotland's Black Death The Foul Death of the English by Karen Jillings

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Allusions of Safety

with the news that Canadian police have foiled a terrorist plot with three times the explosive involved in the Oklahoma City bombing it should make Canadians realize that we to are involved in the West fight against radical Islam.

So far there's been no word about the targets involved only that they were in southern Ontario and not Toronto's transport system. We'll have to wait for further developments.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Monongahela 1754-55: "Washington's Defeat, Braddock's Disaster" by Rene Chartrand

Monongahela 1754-55: "Washington's Defeat, Braddock's Disaster" by Rene Chartrand describes this campaign which is probably most famous for George Washington's involvement prior to the American Revolution. The campaign is set out in typical Osprey style. Chartrand tries to balance British and American historians who often launch ad hominem attacks against the French and their allies for their unruly behavior. He tries to show why the French had trouble controlling their allies actions.

Unlike First Ypres 1914: the Graveyard of the Old Contemptibles by David Lomas this book does have a bibliography that can be used for further research on the campaign.

Execution-Style at Haditha

"suffered a total breakdown in morality and leadership, with tragic results." that sentence fragment seems to adequately some up the entire fiasco. Interestingly enough it seems that the Marines own intelligence units helped blow the whistle. Good to know that someone actually does read those reports after all.

Years Of Victory 1802-1812 by Arthur Bryant

Years Of Victory 1802-1812 by Arthur Bryant This is the middle volume in Bryant's trilogy about the Napoleonic wars. He is of course one of the more prolific writers of English history but always maintains high standards of scholarship. This book furthers that trend weighing in at nearly one quarter of a million words.

Unlike most Napoleonic history it instead of focusing in on Napoleon's activities or Nelson running around the Mediterranean the book primarily focus is on the activities of fee British government and people. There are references to the events and other locales but the British people and government are the major focus. I've been looking for this kind of book for a while and will be eagerly awaiting the other two volumes which are currently being processed by a used bookseller.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Counterinsurgency Pitfall

restraint almost cost me my life sets out a rather bizarre thesis that since the insurgents don't fight fair the government shouldn't be made two either. As Sir Robert Thompson points out repeatedly in his writings a government that does not maintain the rule of law does not deserve the name Government. When you lose your credibility you're finished. Then it is no longer a insurgency is a Civil War. And you will lose [see Vietnam and Algeria]. Unless the government is completely incompetent it will have all sorts of advantages that the insurgency will not. It should use these advantages.

With the Haditha Marine battalion

the AP has an interesting story up from one of its reporters who was with the Marine unit which was involved in the Haditha killings. there are some intriguing sections in the article.

Several Marines approached me and asked my opinion about a controversial incident during the Fallujah offensive in the fall of 2004.

A Marine from the battalion shot and killed a wounded, unarmed man in a mosque. The killing was videotaped by a cameraman and broadcast worldwide.

Several Marines wanted to know if I thought the shooting was justified. I hadn't examined the footage. I saw it in passing on CNN. I wasn't there, and I didn't claim to understand the raging hell the storming of Fallujah must have been.

But some Marines were eager to discuss the shooting, arguing that the Marine was entirely justified in firing at a perceived threat.

To them, it was a litmus test to identify those who understood combat. The Marine Corps agreed on some level, opting not to press charges against the Marine. Only one Marine in the battalion, in a private conversation, said he believed the Marine had done wrong by shooting the man.


Just a few miles from where the alleged massacre occurred, 14 Marines were killed in a bombing near Haditha on Aug. 3 last year, only a month before the 3-1 arrived for its third Iraq tour.

Minutes after the Aug. 3 attack, Marines covered the maimed corpses of their friends with cheap military blankets. A Marine officer later described to me the rage that immediately consumed his unit, swelled by the knowledge that local residents likely saw the men who planted the bomb that killed their friends.

But restraint held that day.

"We don't do that. We're better than that," the officer told me just a couple of weeks later.

He's right the Marines are better than that.

Lies Damn Lies and Murder Rates

Not surprisingly it didn't take too long for the chicken hawk nonsense about Washington DC being more violent than a Iraq to be debunked. the statistical sleight-of-hand seems rather silly when it is exposed.

The statistical garbage ignores the wider issue. Most violence in the United States or any other country is primarily perpetrated by people who know each other. The problem with a Iraq and Afghanistan is that those being killed are being targeted either randomly or because of affiliation to the police military etc. it's the randomness of the violence that is the danger for a counterinsurgency policy not to violence itself.

wrestling is science-fiction?

with the bizarre news that the sci-fi Channel in the US is going to be airing a pro wrestling show it leaves me with only one question. How long until the sci-fi Channel dorky's little brother space channel in Canada decides to pick it up also? my bed is by the end of the week. Are they seriously out of reruns already? Although the idea of pro wrestlers with laser beams is interesting.