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  • Archive for December, 2011

    “And the new sun rose bringing the new year.”

    Posted by Lexington Green on 31st December 2011 (All posts by )

    The stillness of the dead world’s winter dawn
    Amazed him, and he groaned, ‘The King is gone.’
    And therewithal came on him the weird rhyme,
    ‘From the great deep to the great deep he goes.’

    ***

    Then from the dawn it seemed there came, but faint
    As from beyond the limit of the world,
    Like the last echo born of a great cry,
    Sounds, as if some fair city were one voice
    Around a king returning from his wars.

    Thereat once more he moved about, and clomb
    Even to the highest he could climb, and saw,
    Straining his eyes beneath an arch of hand,
    Or thought he saw, the speck that bare the King,
    Down that long water opening on the deep
    Somewhere far off, pass on and on, and go
    From less to less and vanish into light.
    And the new sun rose bringing the new year.

    The Passing of the King, from Idylls of the King by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

    The strifes and sadnesses and laughter and joy and work and play and songs and silences of another year are now sealed up and put aside and stored away in the attic of memory. And now the new year with its prospects and menaces, its and tediums and discoveries, its old friends and new ones, comes faintly into view.

    2012 will be a contentious and eventful year. Be good to each other. Keep your sense of humor. Don’t personalize the political, and correct or avoid those who do. The personal is too valuable to be debased in that way. Be hopeful. Have gratitude. Fear God and dread nought.

    As another poet said, “luck’s a chance, but trouble’s sure.” And so they are.

    I wish all our ChicagoBoyz contributors, readers, friends, families, and all people of good will, a heaping portion of good luck in 2012 and a mere dash of trouble, just enough to flavor the dish.

    Posted in Holidays | 8 Comments »

    Why I’m not stocking up on 100w light bulbs

    Posted by TM Lutas on 31st December 2011 (All posts by )

    Contrary to Instapundit’s regular reminders, I am not stocking up on 100 watt light bulbs right now. That’s because Monday I plan to try and buy them after the toothless New Year’s dead line passes and they are “banned”. It will be an educational experience all around. If I find them stocked, well and good. I have regular retailers with the stones to do the right thing, offer a legal product despite the protests of the nannies. That’s a useful thing to know and something that ordinary people don’t have a chance to find out in the regular course of business with their retailers. As economic corporatism becomes more and more accepted on the left, this will increase in importance.

    I’m going to set aside enough time for this chore that I can have several calm conversations with managers at my local retailers in case they have been cowed or are on the other side. Those on the other side lose my business and I go into “name and shame” mode. Not only are these people siding on the side of the green fascists, they’re taking sides in a constitutional battle between the Congress and the Executive. If defunding a regulation doesn’t stop it from taking effect, what point the power of the purse? Those who have been cowed get to find out that they’re between a rock and a hard place and they might as well pick the option that at least gives them additional sales.

    Posted in Big Government | 29 Comments »

    Kazakhstan Landscapes

    Posted by Jonathan on 30th December 2011 (All posts by )

    Worth a look.

    (Via Brian Micklethwait.)

    Posted in Photos | 1 Comment »

    The Zombies, Going to a Go Go (1966) [Live]

    Posted by Lexington Green on 30th December 2011 (All posts by )

    This is a totally perfect Mod era go go party on some French TV show. I want to be 19 years old, skinny, and at this party.

    Posted in Music, Video | 4 Comments »

    Very Dangerous Legislation Moving Forward

    Posted by David Foster on 30th December 2011 (All posts by )

    Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, writes:

    This week, a bill that would create America’s first Internet censorship system is going to a full committee for a vote, and is likely to pass.

    He is referring to the “Stop Online Piracy” act and the related “Protect IP” act. Links to information and analysis concerning these bills, for which heavy lobbying activities are underway, here.

    This is dangerous stuff, and, as Tim notes, people need to be contacting their CongressCreatures now.

    Posted in Civil Liberties, Tech, USA | 9 Comments »

    Well, Why Not?

    Posted by David Foster on 30th December 2011 (All posts by )

    Admit Britain to NAFTA?

    The acronym even still works…”NA” could stand for “North Atlantic” as well as “North American.”

    via Neptunus Lex

    Posted in Anglosphere, Britain, Economics & Finance, Europe | 3 Comments »

    San Francisco 1906, before the earthquake and subsequent fire

    Posted by Ralf Goergens on 29th December 2011 (All posts by )

    A trip down Market Street before the fire, on April 15th, 1906:

    This is from the Prelinger Archives, which were acquired by the Library of Congress and also are part of the Internet Archive.

    Posted in Anglosphere, Architecture, History, Video | 15 Comments »

    Book Review: A Terrorist’s Call to Global Jihad

    Posted by Zenpundit on 29th December 2011 (All posts by )

    A Terrorist’s Call to Global Jihad: Deciphering Abu Musab al-Suri’s Islamic Jihad Manifesto by Jim Lacey (Ed.)

    Cross-posted at zenpundit.com

    Previously, I read and reviewed Brynjar Lia’s Architect of Global Jihad , about Islamist terrorist and strategist Abu Musab al-Suri. A sometime collaborator with Osama bin Laden and the AQ inner circle, a trainer of terrorists in military tactics in Afghanistan and an advocate of jihadi IO, al-Suri was one of the few minds produced by the radical Islamist movement who thought and wrote about conflict with the West on a strategic level. Before falling into the hands of Pakistani security and eventually, Syria, where al-Suri was wanted by the Assad regime, al-Suri produced a massive 1600 page tome on conducting a terror insurgency,  The Global Islamic Resistance Call, which al-Suri released on to the jihadi darknet.

    Jim Lacey has produced an English digest version of al-Suri’s influential magnum opus comprising approximately 10% of the original  Arabic version, by focusing on the tactical and strategic subjects and excising the rhetorical/ritualistic redundancies common to Islamist discourse and the interminable theological disputation. There are advantages and disadvantages to this approach.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Academia, Afghanistan/Pakistan, Book Notes, International Affairs, Islam, Middle East, Military Affairs, Philosophy, Religion, Terrorism, War and Peace | 3 Comments »

    Just Because I Like It

    Posted by David Foster on 29th December 2011 (All posts by )

    Minutes to Memories, John Mellencamp

    Posted in Music | Comments Off

    A great timelapse video

    Posted by Ralf Goergens on 28th December 2011 (All posts by )

    Via the planet5D blog:

    “Landscapes: Volume Two” by Dustin Farrell

    Landscapes: Volume Two from Dustin Farrell on Vimeo.

    If you have a fast enough computer, you might want to view it in full screen.

    You can find more timelapse videos by him here.

    Posted in Video | 8 Comments »

    Killing History

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 28th December 2011 (All posts by )

    It sounds like a perfectly impractical and even risible notion – to remove the Pyramids of Giza from the view of the righteous by covering them with wax. Good heavens, what would happen on the first hot day of summer, assuming such a thing could even be accomplished? A vast puddle of melted wax, I am certain. Stick a wick the size of a Titan rocket made out of cotton string in the middle, empty in a couple of truckloads of essential perfume oils and you’d have a scented candle the size of Texas, the eighth wonder of the ancient world and something that could probably fumigate most of the Middle East.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Afghanistan/Pakistan, Arts & Letters, History, Human Behavior, Middle East, Society | 20 Comments »

    St. Stephen’s Day

    Posted by Lexington Green on 26th December 2011 (All posts by )

    (Nativity scene at St. Peters in the Loop, Chicago.)

    (For Catholics, the Christmas season starts on December 25, and goes until January 9, this year.)

    Posted in Holidays | Comments Off

    What is on your Desk?

    Posted by Zenpundit on 26th December 2011 (All posts by )

    Cross-posted from zenpundit.com

    Time for a bit of lighthearted, blogging fun.

    I spend a lot of time reading and writing and I do so primarily within a specific environment – my home office. The space reflects the man, to some degree.

    Surveying my office space here at home, I noticed that my desk has begun, like a coral reef, to accrete various objects, oddments and curious like a layer of bric-a-brac sediment.  Some objects change, others stay forever.  Exclusive of papers, books, printers and a computer, here’s what my desk holds:
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Blogging, Diversions, Human Behavior, Humor, Miscellaneous, Style | 18 Comments »

    Christmas: A Parthian Shot

    Posted by Joseph Fouche on 25th December 2011 (All posts by )

    This post is an annual Committee of Public Safety Christmas tradition. From Wikipedia c. 2008:

    Before

    Before

    The metamorphosis of Saint Nicholas into the more commercially lucrative Santa Claus, which took several centuries in Europe and America, has recently been re-enacted in the saint’s home town: the city of Demre. This modern Turkish town is built near the ruins of ancient Myra. As St. Nicholas is a very popular Orthodox saint, the city attracts many Russian tourists. A solemn bronze statue of the Saint by the Russian sculptor Gregory Pototsky, donated by the Russian government in 2000, was given a prominent place on the square in front of the medieval church of St. Nicholas. In 2005, mayor Suleyman Topcu had the statue replaced by a red-suited plastic Santa Claus statue, because he wanted the central statue to be more recognizable to visitors from all over the world. Protests from the Russian government against this action were successful only to the extent that the Russian statue was returned, without its original high pedestal, to a corner near the church.

    After

    After

    Alas, poor Russia. So far from God, so close to the North Pole.

    Posted in Holidays | 15 Comments »

    Venite Adoremus

    Posted by Lexington Green on 24th December 2011 (All posts by )

    Merry Christmas to all of our contributors, readers, friends, families, and all people of good will everywhere.

    Venite Adoremus Dominum.

    UPDATE: The Pope’s Christmas homily is very good.

    Posted in Holidays | 6 Comments »

    Christmas wishes

    Posted by Helen on 24th December 2011 (All posts by )

    As we get to Christmas Eve over on this side of the Pond, let me wish everyone on Chicagoboyz a very merry Christmas.

    Posted in Holidays | 7 Comments »

    Merry Christmas!

    Posted by Ralf Goergens on 24th December 2011 (All posts by )

    I wish my fellow Chicagoboyz (who thankfully haven`t had me hauled in for being AWOL yet, although they have every reason to [I`ll come in from the cold sooner or later, but not just now]) and our readers a Merry Christmas.

    P.S: Don`t let the aniti-capitalist message of Charles Dickens` “A Christmas Carol” get to you.

    P.P.S: I missed Thanksgiving, so consequently also didn`t wish you all a Happy Same. To make up for my oversight, I`ll paraphrase Ludwig Wittgenstein in wishing you all the very essence of turkeyness for the rest of your lifes (if and when you want it, that is – I`ll leave coercion to agents of the state).

    Posted in Holidays | 11 Comments »

    The Outsiders (Netherlands), Daddy Died on Saturday (1968)

    Posted by Lexington Green on 23rd December 2011 (All posts by )

    RIP Wally Tax

    A vintage garage rock song with a whimsical sound, brutal Brechtian lyrics, psychedelic tinges, a harpsichord, and Wally’s harmonica solo at the end pushing it over the edge into awesome.

    Thanks to Carl Ortona for this one. And thanks to Monoman a/k/a Jeff Conolly for turning Carl on to the Outsiders so he could then spread the goodness.

    UPDATE: Ha. I forgot I already posted this one a couple of years ago. Senility. But I’ll leave it up since I like it.

    Posted in Music, Video | Comments Off

    Nork

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 23rd December 2011 (All posts by )

    I did a tour in Korea in 1993-94, which hardly makes me an expert on the place, seeing that I have that in common with a fair number of Army and Air Force personnel over the past half-century plus. Reading about the expected fallout from the change of régime-boss north of the DMZ I think of that tour now as something along the lines of being put into place rather like an instant-read thermometer: there for a year in Seoul, at the Yongsan Army Infantry garrison, where I worked at AFKN-HQ – and at a number of outside jobs for which a pleasant speaking voice and fluency in English was a requirement. One of those regular jobs was as an English-language editor at Korea Broadcasting; the national broadcasting entity did an English simulcast of the first fifteen minutes of the 9 PM evening newscast. I shared this duty with two other AFKN staffers in rotation: every third evening, around 6PM, I went out the #1 gate and caught a local bus, and rode across town to the Yoido; a huge rectangular plaza where the KBS building was located, just around the corner from other terribly important buildings – like the ROK capitol building. Once there, I’d go up to the newsroom – which was a huge place, filled with rows of desks and computers, go to the English-language section, and wait for any of the three or four Korean-to-English translators to finish translating the main news stories for the evening broadcast, correct their story for punctuation and readability, stick around to watch them do the simulcast at 9 PM, critique their delivery.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in International Affairs, Korea, Military Affairs, War and Peace | 11 Comments »

    Legacy Pasts

    Posted by Joseph Fouche on 23rd December 2011 (All posts by )

    Trees:

    Not by speeches and votes of the majority, are the great questions of the time decided — that was the error of 1848 and 1849 — but by iron and blood.

    Forest:

    There are members of the National Association – of this association that has achieved a reputation owing to the justness of its demands – highly esteemed members who have stated that all standing armies are superfluous. Well, what if a public assembly had this view! Would not a government have to reject this?! – There was talk about the “sobriety” of the Prussian people. Yes, the great independence of the individual makes it difficult in Prussia to govern with the constitution (or to consolidate the constitution?); in France things are different, there this individual independence is lacking. A constitutional crisis would not be disgraceful, but honorable instead. – Furthermore, we are perhaps too “well-educated” to support a constitution; we are too critical; the ability to assess government measures and records of the public assembly is too common; in the country there are a lot of Catiline characters who have a great interest in upheavals. This may sound paradoxical, but everything proves how hard constitutional life is in Prussia. – Furthermore, one is too sensitive about the government’s mistakes; as if it were enough to say “this and that [cabinet] minister made mistakes,["] as if one wasn’t adversely affected oneself. Public opinion changes, the press is not [the same as] public opinion; one knows how the press is written; members of parliament have a higher duty, to lead opinion, to stand above it. We are too hot-blooded, we have a preference for putting on armor that is too big for our small body; and now we’re actually supposed to utilize it. Germany is not looking to Prussia’s liberalism, but to its power; Bavaria, Württemberg, Baden may indulge liberalism, and yet no one will assign them Prussia’s role; Prussia has to coalesce and concentrate its power for the opportune moment, which has already been missed several times; Prussia’s borders according to the Vienna Treaties [of 1814-15] are not favorable for a healthy, vital state; it is not by speeches and majority resolutions that the great questions of the time are decided – that was the big mistake of 1848 and 1849 – but by iron and blood.

    Pop history sees the trees of “blood and iron” but misses the forest surrounding it: loss aversion.  This mental bias intensifies man’s fear of loss, making it a stronger motivator for action than any hope for gain. Since the brain is a narrative computer that discovers truth by linking the most of vivid facts together through the most vivid of events, loss aversion often shows up in the form of negative fables. While positive fables link together facts with events to show how x + y + z = gain, negative fables gloomily argue that x + y + z = loss.

    History, a game where the many try force square facts into round fables, often channels loss aversion as “no more” complexs.

    Consider:

    • No more Lehmans
    • No more Iraqs
    • No more Afghanistans
    • No more September 11ths
    • No more Srebrenicas
    • No more Rwandas
    • No more Vietnams

    Is every stand that anyone takes in private or public life is only a thin veneer stretched over a no more complex? If so, history is little more than one no more after another. Otto von Bismarck’s own history, a history that let him to bait the (classical) liberals of the Prussian parliament with provocative talk of “blood and iron”, was strongly motivated by one “no more”: no more Olmützs.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Personal Narrative | 5 Comments »

    Liver and Onions of the Gods

    Posted by Jonathan on 22nd December 2011 (All posts by )

    This was a great lunch, except for the corn, which was tasteless. But, overall, it was really good.

    The liver beguiled me as the Sirens beguiled Odysseus. However, unlike Odysseus, I lacked the strength to have myself lashed to the restaurant booth. That is what really happened in the Odyssey. The Sirens lured mariners onto treacherous rocks by creating a fragrant mirage of liver, onions and fries in front of them. Only Odysseus had the foresight to have himself tied to his boat’s mast, and to have his men’s nostrils plugged with beeswax so they wouldn’t be tempted by the fatal aroma.

    My only regret is that I didn’t take a picture of this before I started eating, but I was hungry.

    A lunch of liver and onions on a restaurant table. (© Jonathan Gewirtz)

    Cross posted on Jonathan’s Photoblog.

    Posted in Photos, Recipes | 13 Comments »

    Blackbird Among the Stars

    Posted by David Foster on 22nd December 2011 (All posts by )

    Today marks the 47th anniversary of the first flight of the SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance plane. Which reminds me of this well-written article by an SR-71 pilot, especially the following passage.

    One moonless night, while flying a routine training mission over the Pacific, I wondered what the sky would look like from 84,000 feet if the cockpit lighting were dark. While heading home on a straight course, I slowly turned down all of the lighting, reducing the glare and revealing the night sky. Within seconds, I turned the lights back up, fearful that the jet would know and somehow punish me. But my desire to see the sky overruled my caution, I dimmed the lighting again. To my amazement, I saw a bright light outside my window. As my eyes adjusted to the view, I realized that the brilliance was the broad expanse of the Milky Way, now a gleaming stripe across the sky. Where dark spaces in the sky had usually existed, there were now dense clusters of sparkling stars Shooting stars flashed across the canvas every few seconds. It was like a fireworks display with no sound. I knew I had to get my eyes back on the instruments, and reluctantly I brought my attention back inside. To my surprise, with the cockpit lighting still off, I could see every gauge, lit by starlight. In the plane’s mirrors, I could see the eerie shine of my gold spacesuit incandescently illuminated in a celestial glow. I stole one last glance out the window. Despite our speed, we seemed still before the heavens, humbled in the radiance of a much greater power. For those few moments, I felt a part of something far more significant than anything we were doing in the plane. The sharp sound of Walt’s voice on the radio brought me back to the tasks at hand as I prepared for our descent.

    Read the whole thing.

    Posted in Aviation, History | 12 Comments »

    Everything Old is New Again

    Posted by Mitch Townsend on 21st December 2011 (All posts by )

    One of humanity’s oldest forms of national economy is the “palace economy.” Under this system, the king would have the harvest brought into a central granary for storage. In Genesis 41, Joseph interprets Pharoah’s dream as predicting seven good harvests and seven poor ones, and says: “Let Pharaoh do this, and let him appoint officers over the land, and take up the fifth part of the land of Egypt in the seven plenteous years. And let them gather all the food of those good years that come, and lay up corn under the hand of Pharaoh, and let them keep food in the cities. And that food shall be for store to the land against the seven years of famine, which shall be in the land of Egypt; that the land perish not through the famine.”

    Egypt, Mesopotamia, Asia Minor, the Minoans, and the Mycenaean Greeks all had similar arrangements. It was a command economy, with subsistence farming as a base and the excess over bare necessity taken into the care of the government. Many examples of early writing are simply accounting records for the acquisition, storage, and disbursement of grain, wine, and olive oil. In theory, the stored food would be redistributed to the poor and, in times of shortage, to the people in general. In practice, it put the weapon of hunger into the ruler’s hands.

    Politically, the ruler was the representative and near relation of the gods, and was invested with divine attributes. That may or may not have included shooting 18 holes-in-one in a single round of golf.

    Is any of this starting to sound familiar?

    Good riddance to the god-king of North Korea. I hope his fellow god-king Stalin has saved him a seat by the fire.

    Posted in Economics & Finance, International Affairs, Leftism, Obits, Political Philosophy | 13 Comments »

    Angry Birds…

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 21st December 2011 (All posts by )

    … decorate for Christmas, at Chicagoboyz. Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Photos | 5 Comments »

    Get into the right gear. Always wear a safety helmet!

    Posted by Lexington Green on 20th December 2011 (All posts by )

    From Modculture.

    Posted in Anglosphere, Britain, Music, Transportation, Video | 5 Comments »