Sunday morning music

It seems only yesterday that we celebrated Christmas . . . but another year has passed, and the liturgical calendar has rolled around yet again. I don’t know about you, but I’m heartily sick of the ghastly versions of Christmas carols one hears in every supermarket and shopping mall (and over far too many radio stations) at this time of year.  As an antidote, here’s the Choir of Kings College, Cambridge, with their “Carols from Kings” album.  The track listing (time in minutes and seconds, followed by title) is as follows: 00:00:00 Once in royal David’s city 00:04:41 Rejoice and be

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Saturday Snippet: more hazards on the trail

Following my recent heart attack, I’ve found my writing activities severely disrupted.  Part of it is the sheer amount of time I have to spend on cardiac rehabilitation classes, seeing doctors, and other related activities.  However, much of it is due to medication issues.  I’ve been put on one of the most recent anticoagulant/blood-thinner medications, which is doubtless very effective at what it does, but also plain whups my butt!  It leaves me breathless, dizzy (particularly when I stand up too quickly), and exhausted if I try to work too hard.  (That may be intentional, for all I know, to stop cantankerous

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80 years of MiG fighters

The aircraft design bureau headed by Artem Mikoyan and Mikhail Gurevich, which has gone down in history by the amalgamation of the first letters of their last names as MiG, was formed on December 8th, 1939 – 80 years ago, plus a few days.  Today it’s the “Russian Aircraft Corporation MiG” division of United Aircraft Corporation of Russia, and is still going strong. To celebrate the anniversary, the company produced this short video highlighting several of its most famous designs, from the MiG-1 and MiG-3 fighters of World War II, to the MiG-15 that terrorized Allied aircraft during the Korean War, to the MiG-17, –19 and –21 of the Vietnam War era, to the MiG-29 that

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“Trouble in the Wind”

Earlier this year, authors Chris Kennedy and James Young partnered to bring to market a trilogy of alternate-history short story anthologies of combat.  They called it “The Phases of Mars“.  The first book, “Those in Peril“, dealt with the sea and naval combat.  The second volume, “To Slip the Surly Bonds“, dealt with aircraft and aerial warfare. The third and final volume covers war on land, and includes a story by yours truly.  It’s titled “Trouble in the Wind“, and has just been published.  In less than 24 hours, it’s already reached the #1 New Release position on Amazon.com in Science Fiction Anthologies. The

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You trust your local government at your peril

Wendell Phillips said in 1852: Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty; power is ever stealing from the many to the few. The manna of popular liberty must be gathered each day or it is rotten. The living sap of today outgrows the dead rind of yesterday. The hand entrusted with power becomes, either from human depravity or esprit de corps, the necessary enemy of the people. Only by continued oversight can the democrat in office be prevented from hardening into a despot; only by unintermitted agitation can a people be sufficiently awake to principle not to let liberty be smothered in

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If you allow “smart” devices to listen to you non-stop, you’re crazy

Yet again, we’ve been reminded that all these “smart” devices like Amazon’s Echo, Apple’s Homepod, and Google Home are a security threat to our privacy, and potentially even worse. … a quarter of Americans have bought “smart speaker” devices such as the Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod. (A relative few have even bought Facebook’s Portal, an adjacent smart video screen.) Amazon is winning the sales battle so far, reporting that more than 100 million Alexa devices have been purchased. But now a war is playing out between the world’s biggest companies to weave Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Alphabet’s Google Assistant, Microsoft’s Cortana, and Facebook’s equivalent service

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In memoriam: Marie Fredriksson of Roxette

I was saddened to read of the death of Marie Fredriksson, one of the duo who formed the Swedish pop/rock group Roxette in the 1980’s.  I enjoyed their music at the time, finding it a welcome distraction from some of the nastier events taking place in South Africa back then.  Britain’s Daily Express reports: Roxette singer Marie Fredriksson has died at the age of 61. The Swedish popstar co-created Roxette with Per Gessle in 1986 and was best known for her hits It Must Have Been Love, Joyride, Listen To Your Heart and The Look. Marie died on Monday morning after suffering from a long-term illness for 17 years.

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The IG report’s whitewashing of the FBI is statistically unbelievable

Karl Denninger points out that a statistical analysis of the Inspector General’s report on the FBI investigation into President Trump reveals that it’s fundamentally impossible. The IG report, after reading through a good part of it, states that seventeen “errors” were made by the FBI. May I remind you of an indisputable fact: Errors are randomly distributed. That is, let’s assume you intend to drive at 40mph.  If you make an error you will operate your car some of the time at 38mph, and some of the time at 42mph.  The errors, if they are actual errors, will be randomly distributed around the correct action.  Some of the errors will

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Not so fast on the Afghanistan analysis!

The Washington Post recently published a lengthy article headed “The Afghanistan Papers:  A secret history of the war“.  It purports to show how the US military lied to the public about the conduct of the war, and covered up important information. The former Naval officer who blogs as Cdr. Salamander was there at the time, and he has a rather different view.  He’s taken the time and trouble to write an extensive essay challenging the errors he sees in the Washington Post article.  I found it intriguing.  Here are a few excerpts from what is, of necessity, a very long essay. With

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“Government employees multiplying like rabbits”

That’s the title of a thought-provoking article at BizPacReview.  Here’s an excerpt. By 2015, the Bureau of Labor Statistics stated there were 80% more people employed by government in America than those employed in the manufacturing sector. And federal, state and local governments employed about 21 million people. By October, 2019, this number had risen to 24,421,000 government workers, if we include the 1.4 million military employees. Of this amount, 17.3% worked for the federal government, 21.9% worked for state government, and 60.8% were employed by local governments. The expanding federal government helps to explain why this country is running a federal

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