Sunday morning music

The advent of so-called “progressive rock” in the late 1960’s and 1970’s added a whole new category to modern music, which spurred innovation and excess in almost equal dimensions.  It was my musical milieu of choice in my younger days, and many of the groups and performers of that era remain standard-bearers in my personal collection.  (In other words, I’m a stick-in-the-mud, musically speaking.  Yes, guilty as charged.  Get over it!) One of the super-groups of that time was Renaissance, from Britain.  They combined elements of the hippie culture, drugs, folk music, rock, and even orchestral, classical influences, making them almost

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Saturday snippet: the opening battle of the Red River War in 1874

Today’s snippet is taken from the autobiography of legendary Western scout and Indian fighter Billy Dixon, as recorded by his wife during the last year of his life, and completed by her after his death in 1913.  It’s titled “Life of Billy Dixon, Plainsman, Scout and Pioneer“. Dixon (shown below) was one of the great figures of the Indian Wars and the Old West. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his role in the Buffalo Wallow fight of 1874, shortly after the events narrated here (one of only eight ever awarded to civilians).  Due to his status as a civilian scout,

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Rodentiferous!

Orkin’s annual survey of the “rattiest” US cities was released a few days ago.  It makes interesting reading. Orkin released its Top 50 Rattiest Cities list today, and for the fifth consecutive time, Chicago takes the top spot. New to the Top 10 cities this year are Minneapolis and Atlanta, holding the eighth and tenth spots, respectively. Orkin ranked metro regions by the number of new rodent treatments performed from September 15, 2018 – September 15, 2019. This ranking includes both residential and commercial treatments. 1. Chicago 2. Los Angeles 3. New York 4. Washington, DC (Hagerstown) 5. San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose 6.

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Flatness is as flatness does

Courtesy of a commenter at Alma Boykin’s place yesterday, I was led to this informative (?) article. In a survey conducted by the American Geographical Society, almost a third of all respondents said that Kansas was the flattest state. Some people even call it “flatter than a pancake.” But what does science have to say about that? The first, and only, study that we know of that directly compared the Sunflower State to a pancake was done by a trio of geographers in 2003. For their tongue-in-cheek analysis, they acquired a pancake from IHOP, cut out a sample slice and made a topographic

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Ridiculous!

I had to laugh at an article headlined “The 25 Most Absurd Job Titles In Tech“.  Examples include: Innovation Evangelist Dream Alchemist Time Ninja Security Princess Software Ninjaneer There are plenty more at the link.  Go read, and boggle your mind at the pretentiousness of it all! Peter

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It’s a bittersweet feeling . . .

Two Russian Tupolev Tu-160 strategic bombers are paying an official visit to South Africa at present.  They landed at Waterkloof Air Force Base near Pretoria yesterday.  Here’s video of one of them on final approach, escorted by two South African Air Force Hawk trainer aircraft.  I know the area where the photographer was standing very well;  I’ve stood there myself more than once, watching aircraft arriving and departing. It was a bittersweet sort of feeling for me to watch that video, for two reasons. The first is that, back in the days of my active military service, any such Russian (i.e. Soviet) aircraft showing up within

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Ukrainegate in a nutshell

I think Robert Bridge does a good job of summarizing our current political brouhaha. Just as Russiagate was a conspicuous effort on the part of the Democrats and their lapdog media to deflect attention away from the contents of Clinton’s emails, not to mention the identity of the leaker (as opposed to the ‘Russian hackers,’ that is), Ukrainegate is a desperate attempt to focus attention on a harmless phone call between two state leaders so as to bury the news of corruption at the highest levels of the Obama administration, up to and including not only Joe Biden, but former Secretary of

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Pain can do that to you . . .

I was saddened to read that a Belgian athlete has chosen euthanasia as the only way she could see to end her pain. Belgian paralympian Marieke Vervoort, who won gold and silver medals in wheelchair racing at the 2012 London Paralympics and silver at the 2016 Rio Paralympics, died by euthanasia Tuesday, officials said. Vervoort, 40, suffered from incurable, degenerative spinal pain. She said in an interview in Rio de Janeiro three years ago that she only got about 10 minutes of sleep some nights and described the pain that caused others to pass out from just watching her. She said sports

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A serious warning about firearms security

It’s long been the practice among security-conscious firearms owners to obscure the serial numbers in any photographs of firearms they put up on the Internet.  This is because unscrupulous characters have been known to note the serial numbers, report “their” firearm stolen (with that same serial number), and claim the loss against their own insurance policies.  The insurance company/ies then keep the firearm on the stolen property lists, and if there’s ever an inspection (for example, you’re stopped while driving, and the policeman checks your firearm serial number against his database), you may find yourself in trouble.  Alternatively, if you

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