Thursday, December 20, 2007

Pallywood

This is Pally-wood. To my eye, much of what we see on the news is clearly staged. Protest signe in Bali that are all written in English, for instance. But then, most protests ARE staged, that is their nature. But what about those remarkable middle of the battle scenes like those intrepid news reporters are getting from, say, Palestine?

I welcome your opinions on this video.

video

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

How the news works

We find in the headlines today that Iran stopped working on their nuclear bomb four years ago. Great. Personally, I find it scary that ANYBODY has the capability for destroying the world. I personally have no problem with the assassination of anybody in charge of such a program. But thats just me.

An eye for an eye until everybody's blind....


Lordy! Lordy! Lordy!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Malta Stones....


A monument to the monks of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in Prague.
More stones are on my other blog site.....http://www.southtowerarmouringguild.blogspot.com.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Left and Right brain dominance


On the blog
they discussed the fact of left and right brain operation....the dancer in the pic above is animated, and spins either left or right, depending upon whether you are right or left brain dominant. As intersting as the idea of dominance is, I use both halves of my brain when I fight...assigning proper tasks to whichever side is most appropriate at the time, quite consiously!
With meditation before and after every single class, I have found this to be quite easy, and it has improved my fighting considerably...or perhaps better to say, it has improved my adaptability to cope with changing circumstances, both on and off the field.
No great hairy assed mystery here...anybody can do this, and should. It isn't unleashing the beast or anything like that, and has nothing to do with concious-unconscious minds so beloved of psycho-therapists and hypnotists. Perhaps it is merely putting names to processes which people have been doing for years. However, hundreds of man hours have devoted to discovering the use of what amounts to two separate brains in one body and why it is so.
I suspect a good self understanding of this situation in your own mind would result in great benefits.

LEFT BRAIN FUNCTIONS

uses logic

detail oriented

facts rule

words and language

present and past

math and science

can comprehend

knowing

acknowledges

order/pattern perception

knows object namer

eality based

forms strategies

practical

safe


RIGHT BRAIN FUNCTIONS

uses feeling

“big picture” oriented

imagination rules

symbols and images

present and future

philosophy & religioncan

“get it” (i.e. meaning)

believes

appreciates

spatial perception

knows object function

fantasy based

presents possibilities

impetuous

risk taking


I have suspected that the observed phenomon of people talking to themselves is a manifestation of the two parts of the same brain working together to create a single mind.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

World War 1

The old front lines.....the stone in front says...."The Devonshires held this line, they hold it still". The mass graves (identifiable by the crowded together headstones) that you see in the picture below were the actual trenches the men fought and died in.

General Directions:
Mametz is a village in the Department of the Somme, 6.5 kilometres east of Albert. Devonshire Cemetery is 800 metres south of Mametz and is situated on high ground some 450 metres west of the road from Albert to Peronne (D938), 6.5 kilometres from Albert.

Mametz was within the German lines until 1 July 1916 when it was captured by the 7th Division, and Mametz Wood, north-east of the village, was cleared on the days following 7 July. The 8th and 9th Battalions of the Devonshire Regiments, forming parts of the 7th Division, attacked on 1 July 1916 from a point on the south-west side of Albert-Maricourt road, due south of Mametz village, by a plantation called Mansel Copse. It was there, on 4 July, that they buried their dead in a section of their old front line trench. All but two of the burials belong to these battalions.
Casualty Details: UK 163, Total Burials: 163

Friday, November 02, 2007

Tombstones...

Some fascinating things onold tombstones!
In a Thurmont, Maryland , cemetery:
Here lies an Atheist, all dressed up and no place to go.
==============================
In a London , England cemetery:
Here lies Ann Mann, Who lived an old maid but died an old Mann. Dec. 8,1767 =============================
In a Ribbesford, England , cemetery:
Anna Wallace The children of Israel wanted bread, And the Lord sent them manna. Clark Wallace wanted a wife, And the Devil sent him Anna. ===============================
In a Ruidoso, New Mexico , cemetery:
Here lies Johnny Yeast... Pardon me for not rising.
===============================
In a Uniontown, Pennsylvania , cemetery:
Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake.Stepped on the gas instead of the brake.
================================
A lawyer's epitap h in England :
Sir John Strange.Here lies an honest lawyer,and that is Strange.
==================================
On a grave from the 1880s in Nantucket , Massachusetts :
Under the sod and under the trees,Lies the body of Jonathan Pease.He is not here, there's only the pod.Pease shelled out and went to God.
==================================
In a cemetery in England :
Remember man, as you walk by,As you are now, so once was I As I am now, so shall you be.Remember this and follow me.
To which someone replied by writing on the tombstone: To follow you I'll not consent ... Until I know which way you went.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Monday, October 08, 2007

Travel


I find it hard to disagree with most anything on this web site..oldamericancentury.org. If you go there, be prepared for some really hard hitting posters.
Don't say I didn't warn you.
Click to enlarge picture.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Loonie hits 30 year high.

Yesterday, for a few moments at least, the Canadian Dollar reached parity with the US dollar. Everybody seems to be walking around saying how darned good this is! Hey guys...if it wasn't for that pro American Canadian treasury official years ago who decided to "harmonize" the Canadian system with the US system, we would not not have such a simple and misleading bench mark! The two systems are separate, and often go their separate ways. It would be easier if we called out dollar the "Lira" or the "Pound", then there would be less call to compare the two economic systems.

A little history here...my business takes two aspects....the manufacturing of suits of armour, and the import and sale of swords and knives. Muddying the issue is that much of the materials I use to make the armour comes from abroad....but the savings on raw materials is negligable. When the internet came on stream some 20 years ago, I invested in web pages, and on-line sales seemed to be the way to go. Then, as more and more people got on line, the competition heated up, profits started going down. Then E-Bay started, and the phenomon of E-Bay stores happened, and profits went into a death spiral. The web pages have changed from being a sales medium to being a simple catalogue. I have not sold a sword or a knife on line for more than 8 years...and have simply stopped trying! Price corrosion has made it impossible to sell anything on line that anybody else in the world can sell for cheaper. Which is a fact of life, of course, but it means that dealer networks all over North America are dropping faster than flies in the fall! I still continued to bring in the products, and for 9 years, managed okay, but I used every bit of profit to build a manufacturing facility to take over when the inevitable crash would happen....which it did only a couple of years later when my main sales venue vanished.

It has taken about 8 years to build my armour production up to where it seemed to be doing well enough for me to say "this is a success". Most people who wanted my armour live in the US, and aside from competition from Pakistan, India, and China, sales were expanding 15 per cent per year. Then, about a year ago, the Canadian Dollar started rising and the Chinese Yuan stayed pegged at an artificially low rate. Sales have dropped in a death spiral. Again.

The news is not all bad of course....the low sales mean that I don't have to worry about paying employees....they are all laid off. The armour making shop is idle, but mostly paid for. I have time to mow my lawn, trim my hedges, build my blacksmith shop and decks. Train a new puppy, and go motorcycling and snorkeling. Maybe look into a career change...flipping houses or building choppers. Clean up those web pages, get rid of Canadian prices, and maybe surf the net to find out what my competition is up to.

There is an upside to this...but as usual, it will mean a major change in how I do business. Even though change is usually quite expensive, I am looking forward to it. Don't quite know what I'll be doing two years from now though!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Global Warming

EINSIEDELN, Switzerland (AP) - A librarian at this 10th century monastery leads a visitor beneath the vaulted ceilings of the archive past the skulls of two former abbots.
He pushes aside medieval ledgers of indulgences and absolutions, pulls out one of 13 bound diaries inscribed from 1671 to 1704 and starts to read about the weather.
"Jan. 11 was so frightfully cold that all of the communion wine froze," says an entry from 1684 by Brother Josef Dietrich, governor and "weatherman" of the once-powerful Einsiedeln Monastery. "Since I've been an ordained priest, the sacrament has never frozen in the chalice."
"But on Jan. 13 it got even worse and one could say it has never been so cold in human memory," he adds.
Diaries of day-to-day weather details from the age before 19th-century standardized thermometers are proving of great value to scientists who study today's climate. Historical accounts were once largely ignored, as they were thought to be fraught with inaccuracy or were simply inaccessible or illegible. But the booming interest in climate change has transformed the study of ancient weather records from what was once a "wallflower science," says Christian Pfister, a climate historian at the University of Bern.
The accounts dispel any lingering doubts that the Earth is heating up more dramatically than ever before, he says. Last winter - when spring blossoms popped up all over the Austrian Alps, Geneva's official chestnut tree sprouted leaves and flowers, and Swedes were still picking mushrooms well into December - was Europe's warmest in 500 years, Pfister says. It came after the hottest autumn in a millennium and was followed by one of the balmiest Aprils on record.
"In the last year there was a series of extremely exceptional weather," he says. "The probability of this is very low."
The records also provide a context for judging shifts in the weather. Brother Konrad Hinder, the current weatherman at Einsiedeln and an avid reader of Dietrich's diaries, says his predecessor's precise accounts of everything from yellow fog to avalanches provide historical context.
"We know from Josef Dietrich that the extremes were very big during his time. There were very cold winters and very mild winters, very wet summers and very dry summers," he says, adding that the range of weather extremes has been smaller in the 40 years he has recorded data for the Swiss national weather service.
"That's why I'm always cautious when people say the weather extremes now are at their greatest. Without historical context you lose control and you rush to proclaim every latest weather phenomenon as extreme or unprecedented," Hinder says.
Most historians and scientists delving deep into archives seek accounts of disasters and extreme weather events. But the records can also be used to obtain a more precise temperature range for most months and years that goes beyond such general indicators as tree rings, corals, ice cores or glaciers.
Such weather sources include the thrice-daily temperature and pressure measurements by 17th-century Paris physician Louis Morin, a short-lived international meteorological network created by the Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1653, and 33 "weather diaries" surviving from the 16th century. In Japan, court officers kept records of the dates of cherry blossom festivals, which allow modern scientists to track the weather of the time.
Early records often are only discovered by chance in documents that have survived in centuries-old European monasteries like Einsiedeln, or in the annals of rulers, military campaigns, famines, natural hazards and meteorological anomalies. In Klosterneuberg near Vienna an unidentified writer notes a lack of ice on the Danube in 1343-1344 and calls the winter "mild," while the abbot of Switzerland's Fischingen Monastery laments the late harvest of hay and corn in the summer of 1639 when "there was hardly ever a really warm day."
Scores of similar clues are pieced together year by year to determine temperature ranges, says Pfister, whose team of four uses old "weather reports" to work back as far as the 10th century.
Pfister has found that from 1900 to 1990, there was an average of five months of extreme warmth per decade. In the 1990s, that number jumped to an unprecedented 22 months. The same decade also had no months of extreme cold, in contrast to the half-millennium before.
Even in the last major global warming period from 900 to 1300, severe winters were only "somewhat less frequent and less extreme," Pfister says. Over the past century, temperatures have gone up an average of 0.7 C, which is often attributed to the accumulation of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere.
Global warming is one of the world's top issues today because of fears of massive hurricanes and flooding. For most of history, though, it was the fate of farms and the fear of famine that encouraged careful weather observation.
The Einsiedeln abbots - princes within the Holy Roman Empire until 1798 - were powerful leaders who ruled over large swaths of central Switzerland's mountainous terrain. Agriculture was the primary source of income for the region and natural disasters such as floods and avalanches posed an omnipresent threat.
Debts accrued and honoured, accidents, local conflicts and business transactions also fill Dietrich's accounts, "but most days start with the weather," says Andreas Meyerhans, who cares for the monastery's precious documents.
The diaries - written in German sprinkled with old Swiss dialect and margin notes in Latin - are "unique" because of the exceptional everyday detail they provide, Pfister says. He adds that centuries of weather records make it clear that people need to adapt when extremely hot or cold weather becomes more frequent. While the lives of earlier generations were ruled by the weather, "in the second half of the 20th century people slept and became completely unprepared for natural disasters, because they happened so rarely."
In Einsiedeln, Hinder reads from a barometer flanked by the Virgin Mary, and worries that humanity is in trouble.
"God still controls the weather," he says. But, he adds, people must do their part by taking better care of the planet.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

The Land of the Free.


Of course this applies to nations as well, but the irony is probably lost on most people.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Friday, August 24, 2007

I support the troops, etc. etc.RANT!!

(click to enlarge the picture)
Preface to rant..I was a soldier for 20 years. I served my country with honour and with respect.
Rant mode on....I keep watching the news, and see people who say "I support the troops but I don't support the mission". Like all sloganeering, this one carries a seed of truth which has grown out of proportion, and resulted in a complete reversal of reality.
Every soldier is there because he volunteered to serve his country. He is acutely aware that unlike some yokel who only votes once in a while, he is putting his "vote" out there every single day since his enlistment! More than any other person in the nation, he IS the government, he IS THE MISSION.

The nation that got invaded swore that there would be one dead soldier every day there was a foreign presence on his soil. They kept their promise. You gonna tell me that an army of Iranians invading New Jersey would not face the same, or greater? I thought so! And the Taliban over in Afganistan are proving to be a tougher nut to crack than we thought due to this somehow overlooked opium mafia which is supporting it!

And if you look at the statistics, you will likely find that because the boys in theatre are not allowed to drink, drive, or go boating, motorcycling, surfing, or any of a thousand other things which attract young, horny boys with active cajones that there are fewer casualties at the end of the year than there would be if they stayed in garrison! I feel for every mother that weeps for a wounded or dead son, BUT you can't keep these fellas down, they ain't momma's boys! They gonna raise hell.

Promotion possibilities are much more likely in theatre than back home pounding a parade square. And no, it is not because of casualties, (remember, there are fewer than when they are home!) but because they get a chance to show their stuff, let their supervisors see how good they are, and to show themselves just how darned good their training has made them! Personal development has its own price.


Rant mode off.

Ahhh, I feel better now. I just had to get this off my chest. I know, its hard to imagine that a soldier actually WANTS to do his job, and will happily do it for the real and perceived rewards. Men I know that learned welding, teaching, mechanics, computer technology, and believe it or not, film making from the military are always prepared to give back. The "Mission" as perceived by civilians is so vague, unfocused, and spun with political bias as to be nothing more than a straw man.
(I hope I am using that phrase right...grin! I hate using buzz words wrongly!)

email me at stag@southtower.on.ca if you disagree, or feel free to comment. I only delete spam comments! Or visit my blog yusefjournal.blogspot.com I just posted a bunch of pictures from my trip to Ypres which put things into perspective for me.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Men and women


The Difference Between Men and Women
Let's say a guy named Fred is attracted to a woman named Martha. He asks her out to a movie; she accepts; they have a pretty good time. A few nights later he asks her out to dinner, and again they enjoy themselves. They continue to see each other regularly, and after a while neither one of them is seeing anybody else.
And then, one evening when they're driving home, a thought occurs to Martha, and, without really thinking, she says it aloud: "Do you realize that, as of tonight, we've been seeing each other for exactly six months?"
And then, there is silence in the car.
To Martha, it seems like a very loud silence. She thinks to herself: I wonder if it bothers him that I said that. Maybe he's been feeling confined by our relationship; maybe he thinks I'm trying to push him into some kind of obligation that he doesn't want, or isn't sure of.
And Fred is thinking: Gosh. Six months.
And Martha is thinking: But, hey, I'm not so sure I want this kind of relationship either. Sometimes I wish I had a little more space, so I'd have time to think about whether I really want us to keep going the way we are, moving steadily towards, I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep seeing each other at this level of intimacy? Are we heading toward marriage? Toward children? Toward a lifetime together? Am I ready for that level of commitment? Do I really even know this person?
And Fred is thinking: ...so that means it was...let's see...February when we started going out, which was right after I had the car at the dealer's, which means...lemme check the odometer...Whoa! I am way overdue for an oil change here.
And Martha is thinking: He's upset. I can see it on his face. Maybe I'm reading this completely wrong. Maybe he wants more from our relationship, more intimacy, more commitment; maybe he has sensed - even before I sensed it - that I was feeling some reservations. Yes, I bet that's it. That's why he's so reluctant to say anything about his own feelings. He's afraid of being rejected.
And Fred is thinking: And I'm gonna have them look at the transmission again. I don't care what those morons say, it's still not shifting right. And they better not try to blame it on the cold weather this time. What cold weather? It's 87 degrees out, and this thing is shifting like a garbage truck, and I paid those incompetent thieves $600.
And Martha is thinking: He's angry. And I don't blame him. I'd be angry, too. I feel so guilty, putting him through this, but I can't help the way I feel. I'm just not sure.
And Fred is thinking: They'll probably say it's only a 90-day warranty...scumballs.
And Martha is thinking: Maybe I'm just too idealistic, waiting for a knight to come riding up on his white horse, when I'm sitting right next to a perfectly good person, a person I enjoy being with, a person I truly do care about, a person who seems to truly care about me. A person who is in pain because of my self-centered, schoolgirl romantic fantasy.
And Fred is thinking: Warranty? They want a warranty? I'll give them a warranty. I'll take their warranty and stick it right up their...
"Fred," Martha says aloud.
"What?" says Fred, startled.
"Please don't torture yourself like this," she says, her eyes beginning to brim with tears. "Maybe I should never have...oh dear, I feel so..."(She breaks down, sobbing.)
"What?" says Fred.
"I'm such a fool," Martha sobs. "I mean, I know there's no knight. I really know that. It's silly. There's no knight, and there's no horse."
"There's no horse?" says Fred.
"You think I'm a fool, don't you?" Martha says.
"No!" says Fred, glad to finally know the correct answer.
"It's just that...it's that I...I need some time," Martha says. (There is a 15-second pause while Fred, thinking as fast as he can, tries to come up with a safe response. Finally he comes up with one that he thinks might work.)
"Yes," he says. (Martha, deeply moved, touches his hand.)
"Oh, Fred, do you really feel that way?" she says.
"What way?" says Fred.
"That way about time," says Martha.
"Oh," says Fred. "Yes." (Martha turns to face him and gazes deeply into his eyes, causing him to become very nervous about what she might say next, especially if it involves a horse. At last she speaks.)
"Thank you, Fred," she says.
"Thank you," says Fred.
Then he takes her home, and she lies on her bed, a conflicted, tortured soul, and weeps until dawn, whereas when Fred gets back to his place, he opens a bag of Doritos, turns on the TV, and immediately becomes deeply involved in a rerun of a college basketball game between two South Dakota junior colleges that he has never heard of. A tiny voice in the far recesses of his mind tells him that something major was going on back there in the car, but he is pretty sure there is no way he would ever understand what, and so he figures it's better if he doesn't think about it.
The next day Martha will call her closest friend, or perhaps two of them, and they will talk about this situation for six straight hours. In painstaking detail, they will analyze everything she said and everything he said, going over it time and time again, exploring every word, expression, and gesture for nuances of meaning, considering every possible ramification.
They will continue to discuss this subject, off and on, for weeks, maybe months, never reaching any definite conclusions, but never getting bored with it either.
Meanwhile, Fred, while playing racquetball one day with a mutual friend of his and Martha's, will pause just before serving, frown, and say: "Norm, did Martha ever own a horse?"
And that's the difference between men and women.
I got this sent to me in an email. Ain't it the truth?

Monday, August 13, 2007

Pins

Why do I always go out with girls that wear these pins?





Friday, May 04, 2007

Helms






This helm was made for a fellow who is a member of the Adrian Empire. A live steel re-enactment group. Their rule is that you can't have an opening any larger than 3/4ths of an inch. This fairly standard helm therefore has a perforated grid of steel inserted into the eyeslot.


Fortunately, when the grid is placed really close to the eyes, it sort of blurs out, and believe it or not, you can see out of this helm, and not too bad either! The nice thing about it, of course, is that if there is not quite enough visibility, the client can drill more holes....the basic helm is strong enough to handle it.


Some folks have asked about the breathing holes....like, are they actually enough? Well, obviously, 10 half inch holes are bigger than your trachea, so you know the air will get down there, the problem is that a little cloud of exhaled carbon dioxide sits in front of your mouth, and gives your body the signal "hey, I can't get enough air!" Like most everything else about the martial arts, it is something you just have to get used to! It is actually no worse than snorkeling, and people overcome THAT with little problem.

But again, this face plate is a full 14 gauge, and is plenty tough enough to take more holes if the client wants to drill them.