A rose by any other name . . .

. . . would smell as sweet, according to William Shakespeare.  Clearly, he wasn’t thinking of Star Wars when he said that – unlike the parents of a hapless felon in Tennessee. The Force was not with Luke Sky Walker when he was arrested this week by Tennessee police, according to a report. Walker, 21, of Johnson City, Tenn., was arrested Thursday on a charge of violating probation, WJHL-TV reports … He was arrested in 2017 on charges of stealing 46 road signs with three cohorts, the Elizabethton Star reported at the time. There’s more at the link. Actor Mark Hamill played the character Luke Skywalker in

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Old-school etiquette

Via Gab comes this very useful illustration of a full table setting.  Click the image for a larger view. I don’t know anyone who uses full place settings any longer – they’re really a relic of pre-World War II fine dining – but the diagram is still useful with less extensive settings.  Simply leave out the items one lacks, and arrange what one has in the order show. So, if you’re ever in doubt about how to lay the table, or in which order to use the cutlery at one’s place, now you know. Peter

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Active shooter incidents and police response

Greg Ellifritz has noted a change in active shooter tactics, including setting up ambushes to catch responding officers.  Most of us aren’t police, but we can learn useful lessons from the history of active shooter incidents and how they’re likely to play out.  We can adapt our response accordingly, and hopefully keep ourselves and our loved ones from harm in the process. I was reviewing some of the recent articles about the Borderland Bar shooting in California.  During that shooting, the killer purposely stopped firing on the victims to set up an ambush to attack the police officers he knew were coming.  That’s

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Where was this guy when we needed him???

A link at SNAFU’s place showed me a fast, ingenious way to fill sandbags. When I think of the literally thousands of never-to-be-sufficiently-damned sandbags that I filled the hard way, bending over with an entrenching tool and scooping sand, earth, mud and rock into a bag that always flopped closed at the critical moment . . . I’m speechless with a combination of rage, envy and bitterness.  Why didn’t we think of such an ingenious device when we needed it?  (On the other hand, if we had, I’m not sure our NCO’s would have let us use it.  The old-fashioned way would probably have been

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Sunday morning music

I woke up this morning to find an e-mail informing me of the death of a long-time acquaintance in South Africa.  We were never close friends, but Tony did a lot of good work in that country at a very difficult time, and he and I shared a couple of pretty hair-raising experiences.  He was a good man.  May he find his reward in eternity. In memory of him, here are a couple of the songs he really liked, and would play over and over – sometimes to the point of being threatened with violence by the rest of us

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Puns on an interstellar scale

I laughed out loud to see Friday’s XKCD cartoon.  Click the image to be taken to its Web page, where you can read the mouseover text as well. The point, of course, for those who aren’t into astronomy, is that there are precisely three stars in the Alpha Centauri system.  The cartoon conflates that fact with three-star consumer reviews. I do enjoy it when practitioners of science, or medicine, or any other discipline, poke fun at themselves.  It lightens the air for everyone.  I still giggle at the memory of my sister’s midwifery training at Groote Schuur hospital in Cape Town, many decades ago.  At one

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Sometimes the jokes just write themselves

I couldn’t help laughing when I read that a man accidentally shot himself . . . in a rather unfortunate location, in more ways than one. The … incident occurred at around 6:30 p.m. after a semiautomatic handgun that was being held in the man’s waistband began to slip. The gun, which was not in a holster, discharged as he attempted to reposition it, the man told cops. The Arizona Republic reported when police officers responded to the gun shot the man was found in the meat section of the Walmart store with “survivable injuries.” Officers said they filed a report for

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Lost that “new vehicle” smell in a hurry, I guess . . .

A brand-new Airbus A321neo airliner, delivered only two weeks ago on November 14th, had an altogether too close – or, rather, too hard – encounter with the earth yesterday. A VietJet A321neo lost both nosegear wheels during a hard landing at Buon Ma Thuot, with passengers and crew evacuating via slides. Images … show the aircraft with emergency slides deployed and its nosegear wheels completely shorn off. One image shows what appears to be the remains of firefighting foam under the right engine cowling. The aircraft was operating flight VJ356 on the Ho Chi Minh City-Buon Ma Thuot route when the incident occurred during

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A treat for Peter Sellers fans, if you’re quick

I note that the 1974 Peter Sellers comedy film “Soft Beds, Hard Battles” is currently on YouTube.  I’ve no idea how long it’ll stay there, but if you haven’t seen it, it’s good for a giggle.  Wikipedia describes it as follows: Set in Nazi-occupied France, the story follows Major Robinson of the British Army. Installing himself at a Parisian brothel, he assists the French resistance and works with Madame Grenier and her girls who find themselves eliminating high ranking German officers (using ingenious rigged beds and killer flatulence pills) right under the noses of the Gestapo. The girls find themselves enlisted in the

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