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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Thursday, July 31, 2014

And does anyone remember Chris's #1 rule for deer?

Here, I'll remind you:

Does pose.

These were from Friday night- fuzzy because of the "low-light" function.  She was just around the bend coming back into the woods from the south loop.

She's one of our old white-tail friends from a couple years ago, like the two bucks we saw the other day.  Unlike the black tails, the whites aren't near so skittish.  She was on one side of the trail, her fawns on the other in thicker cover.  She never moved at more than a saunter until we got done taking pics.  Then she ended up on the other side of the woods and posed for more.

Just to clear up ambiguous geographic terms, here's a three year old's attempt at "maps by paint."  Green is the woods outline; gray is the trail system, including the loop and a dotted line for an animal trail that we use to cut across sometimes.  Blue is the creek.  1 is where we took these pictures, 2 is the world famous "spot", 3 will take you to the bridge, 4 is the big tree where we cut through when the grass near the woods isn't so high, 5 is where the bucks were a week or so ago, and the 6 at the end of "dead tree road" is the barn.  To the right of the woods is soccer fields, to the left is meadow and the medical park.

Right before these pictures by a day, Laurie and Scrappy and I had seen the fawns at play along the river, way off map.

But Wednesday afternoon, Scrappy and I REALLY got close.  We ran into them in the meadow- On the map, draw a line from the direction arrow to the "1", and where it intersects the trail is where this came about:

Twenty to thirty feet away from each other.  I call this picture, "Captain Oblivious".

The fawns basically froze in place, but the doe watched us and ate grass like we were part of the family.  We took our pics, I thanked them  all, and we left- and they never moved.  God, do I love white tails!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The rest of the week in WWI- Now you can do what you want

                                 War is mainly a catalogue of blunders.
                                                                 Winston Churchill  

When Kaiser Willie woke up on the 30th, he read the final telegraph from Tsar Nicky and knew he had been lied to- a knowledge confirmed once Pourtales' message about his last meeting with Sazonov arrived.  They had lost precious days in war prep to Russia- and likely to France as well.  After an initial tirade, he calmed down somewhat and wrote a reply to Nicky with the help of Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg, that included:

" role as mediator... will be endangered, if not ruined... the whole weight of the decision lies solely on your shoulders now..."

Army chief of staff von Moltke had also seen the two telegrams, along with the frightful news from his ally Austria that his counterpart Conrad was planning on war plan B- which was mobilization against Serbia alone.  Thus, if war broke out, Germany would be responsible to save Austria to the detriment of the Schleiffen Plan.  The prospect frightened him enough that he burst in on Bethmann and the Kaiser uninvited, demanding that "imminent danger of war" be declared.  At this point it was still important to show that Russia was the aggressor, and he was shot down.  In a snit, he goes off to try to at least stop one problem- he wires Conrad to enact "plan R":  mobilization against Russia first.  Conrad shares the missive with his boss Berchtold, who says, "  Who rules in Berlin- Moltke or Bethmann?"  With that, Moltke is ignored in Vienna as well.

The question of rule was a tricky one all over Europe at this point.  In Russia it had devolved to the Tsar against the war party.  And the man with the best cards in hand was also the biggest liar of the bunch- Sazonov.  At one moment he holds out to German ambassador Pourtales the ephemeral olive branch of negotiations with Austria on the basis of Austria "dropping the most objectionable demands" of Serbia.  He then becomes the point man in the battle to convince Nicky to re-sign the order for general mobilization.  He spends an hour convincing the Tsar of Germany's evil intent- and at 4 PM the Tsar signs the order.  Sazonov quickly gets the news to Army Chief of staff N.N. Yanushkevitch- and remembering the night before, tells him, "Now you may smash your phone."

In France, it was a battle between the military and the pacifists in civilian government.  Notified of Russia's mobilization orders, Army chief Joffre is told to "cover the frontiers" with the army- but staying at least 6 miles from the borders to avoid the "hint" of aggression.

Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened.

By Friday morning the 31st of July, Germany was on tinterhooks, waiting for some proof of Russian mobilization so they too could mobilize.  But the proof would prove difficult to get- even though by this point, 16 hours had passed from Russian general mobilization and 12 since the French "border covering."- as Moltke was advised that the border had been "hermetically sealed".  About 10 AM, Britain's ambassador Goschen arrived to talk to Bethmann, and Bethmann tore into him when he tried to protest Russian innocence.  Less than an hour later, a telegram from Pourtales told them that Russian mobilization had been declared; soon later, the Kaiser signed the Imminent danger of war papers.

Now the day devolved into a series of panicked diplomatic initiatives.  French ambassador Cambon had come to Sir Edw. Grey seeking a British commitment- and Grey, still unwilling to fight the "little Englanders" who wanted nothing to do with war, suggested it might take a German invasion of Belgium to get Britain to commit.  The Germans continued to work the Austrians to negotiate, and Britain to stay neutral.  And to set the cherry on the dessert of the day, Austria declared general mobilization- but in typical Austrian style declared it not immediately, but for Tuesday the 4th.

Saturday morning dawned with the demands of Joffre for mobilization- a position made more acceptable when France's Italian ambassador informed the Cabinet that Italy's foreign minister had promised neutrality if Germany moved first, and if France and Russia "showed restraint".  This was wise counsel, but less wise things had already occurred in the wee hours in London.  Right around midnight, London received both a message from French President Viviani claiming German troops had made two crossings of the French border the night before; and also word that Bethmann had gave Russia a 12-hour ultimatum to stand down.  Arthur Nicholson was wakened- but instead of going to his sleeping boss Grey, he went instead straight to Prime Minister Asquith.  Together, they put together a message to the Tsar to please stand down, which they woke King George V to sign, told German ambassador Lichnoswky that they were sending it, and actually got it sent at 3:30 AM.

It wasn't till 11 that Grey finally- if not completely- woke up, and he sent another lackey, secretary Sir William Tyrell, to go talk to Lichnowsky.  And somehow or another, he managed to convince Lichnowsky that if Germany refrained from attacking France, Great Britain would guarantee French "passivity" in a German war with Russia.  Grey now had to deal with his own people.  He gathered Churchill, Asquith, and a handful of others and asked them to follow him in declaring their resignations if the "little Englanders" succeeded in getting "no intervention for ANY reason".  It was the one line in the sand Grey could, or would draw- either war was on the table, or the British government would fall.

The next "blow against the empire" came in the early afternoon in Paris, when the German ambassador asked if France would stay out of a Russo-German War.  President Viviani was sent to tell the ambassador, "France will act in accordance with her interests."  Which was an official way to give an unofficial no.  The ambassador pressed for a less ambiguous answer, which only pissed off the peace-seeking Viviani; and when he returned to the Cabinet, he ceased his opposition and by 3:30, France had become the third nation to declare general mobilization.

The ball was not in Berlin's court- and they had already fumbled.  The problem was that Bethmann declared to Moltke that mobilization required a declaration of war- and that because one of the first phases would be seizing train crossings in Luxembourg (which Germany administered anyway) to keep them out of French hands.  Two days later, the army would cross into Belgium.  It was a semantic point, and it was hamstringing Germany's ability to prepare.  Nonetheless, Germany became the last nation to declare general mobilization about 5 PM.  No sooner had the word went out than Jagow came bursting in with Lichnowsky's message about Tyrell's promise in Grey's name.  Willie was delighted- it meant he could fight a one-front war with Russia!  But Moltke protested.  The German war plan was so intricate, so precise, that to turn the whole force of the army east (when most of it was pointed towards France) was next to impossible.  The Kaiser raged at Moltke ("Your Uncle {the late Field Marshall and predecessor in the position}would have given me a different answer!" ) Moltke was ordered to stop any border crossings, and telegrams were rushed off in response- Bethmann to Grey and Willie to Georgie.

Even as this was going on, the whole debate was being set to naught because Pourtales had been instructed to give the declaration of war to Sazonov at about this very moment.  Three times, Pourtales asks if Russia would give Germany a satisfactory answer to the twelve hour ultimatum.  Three times, Sazonov says no; the last time, he says, "I have no other answer to give."  Legend says the two men broke into tears as Pourtales gave him the declaration; then followed up with a twenty minute shouting battle over whose fault it was.  Now it was war... but there was one last measure of stupidity that had to play out.

About 8 PM in London, Grey is summoned to Buckingham Palace by Georgie, who had just received the Kaiser's telegram.  Confronted with a promise he had made that Britain could never have kept (mainly because of Grey's own playing fast and loose with everyone), Grey claimed that there "must have been a misunderstanding..."  And that's just what Georgie sent back to Willie.

Just after going to bed, Willie got the return cable.  He got up, called Moltke, said, "Now you can do what you want", and returned to bed in dejection.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Martin World News

ITEM:  If the author seems to be shifting uneasily in his chair, it's because I may be heading towards round two of "shoot the rock out of that little thing?!"  Bear with me.

ITEM:  Tune in Wednesday for Part II of This Week In WWI- this time it's WAR!

ITEM:  How's this for irony?  A tree planted in an LA park in 2004 in honor of the late George Harrison died this month- of a Beatle beetle infestation!

ITEM:  And now, on top of giant inflatable ducks, there are giant inflatable toads in China.

But there seems to be one little problem:

China's censors seem to have banned internet reports about a giant inflatable toad floating in a Beijing park, amid mockery on social media comparing it to ex-president Jiang Zemin.
References to the 22m (72ft) toad unveiled in Beijing's Yuyuantan Park last month have vanished from all major news portals, and a story on the Xinhua news agency site is now unavailable, Channel News Asia cites the AFP news agency as saying. One paper - the official China Daily - dismisses the toad as a "poor attempt to replicate the success of an original work", but fails to mention the still-powerful Jiang - who was nicknamed The Toad during his 13-year rule.

ITEM:  The US House of Representatives got banned from Wikipedia last week for "disruptive edits."  Apparently some juvenile staffer with nothing better to do (like his/her JOB)  has changed certain entries such as:

-Donald Rumsfeld is an alien lizard who eats Mexican babies;
-The Kennedy assassination was Castro's doing- as well as all the moon landing conspiracy theories;
-Media site Mediaite is "sexist transphobic".

ITEM: Democratic senator John Walsh of Montana, who already got a tainted Masters degree from US Army War College by copying huge chunks of his thesis from sources he didn't credit- has now copied the all-the-rage condition to blame it on.  He's blaming it - partially- on PTSD.

The Democrat also said he was dealing with the stress of a fellow veteran's recent suicide.
Walsh said he made an unintentional mistake and did not intend to plagiarize.
"I don't want to blame my mistake on PTSD, but I do want to say it may have been a factor," Walsh told The Associated Press. "My head was not in a place very conducive to a classroom and an academic environment."
A spokesperson for Walsh's campaign said the apparent plagiarism was "unintentional."
"There were areas that should have been cited differently but it was completely unintentional," Lauren Passalacqua said in a statement.

I'm sorry, but I don't buy that.  You plagiarize because you don't have an original contribution to make after you've gathered everyone else's work.  Frankly he should have led with this:

"What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?"  At least then he'd be plagiarizing a fellow Democrat.

ITEM:  Speaking of Democrats, Allen West did them a great service by giving them a top ten list of "why I vote Democrat."  To wit:

10. I’ll vote Democrat because I can’t wait for college football season to be delayed or cancelled because the student athletes are union employees.
9. I’ll vote Democrat because I believe oil company’s profits of 4% on a gallon of gas are obscene, but the government taxing the same gallon of gas at 15% isn’t.
8. I’ll vote Democrat because I believe the government will do a better job of spending the money I earn than I would.
7. I’ll vote Democrat because Freedom of Speech is fine as long as nobody is offended by it.
6. I’ll vote Democrat because I’m way too irresponsible to own a gun, and I know that my local police are all I need to protect me from murderers and thieves. I am also thankful that we have a 911 service that get police to your home in order to identify your body after a home invasion.
5. I’ll vote Democrat because I’m not concerned about millions of babies being aborted so long as we keep all death row inmates alive and comfy.
4. I’ll vote Democrat because I think illegal aliens have a right to free health care, education, and Social Security benefits, and we should take away the Social Security from those who paid into it.
3. I’ll vote Democrat because I believe that businesses should NOT be allowed to make profits for themselves. They need to break even and give the rest away to the government for redistribution as the Democrats see fit.
2. I’ll vote Democrat because I believe liberal judges need to rewrite the Constitution every few days to suit some fringe kooks who would never get their agendas past the voters.
And the Number One reason I’ll vote Democrat is:
1. I’ll vote Democrat because I think that it’s better to pay billions for oil to people who hate us, but not drill our own because it might upset some endangered beetle, gopher, fish or frog.

Were it me, I'd have dropped the "death row" from "death row inmates", bump 2, 7, and 4 to 1, 2, and 3, and maybe add a caveat that the NCAA made their own bed in how they treat "student-athletes", but other than that, I'm good.

ITEM:  And because we can't do MWN without drunks:

The Gainesville Sun reports 48-year-old Joseph Carl had been drinking and drove into a vehicle stopped at a red light. He got out of his truck without putting it in park and began banging on the window of a woman's car. When the frightened woman drove away, there was nothing holding his truck in place.
The truck rolled into Carl. A police report says he was taken to the hospital where he was treated for fractures in his hand and foot.
He's charged with DUI and DUI property damage. It isn't known whether he's obtained a lawyer.

Do I need to note the connection between a road rage incident completely FUBARed and yet another MWN story from Florida?  No?

ITEM:  You've heard of people who are described as having a "toothy smile".  How 'bout THIS toothy?

Doctors in India have extracted 232 teeth from the mouth of a 17-year-old boy in a seven-hour operation.
Ashik Gavai was brought in with a swelling in his right jaw, Dr Sunanda Dhiware, head of Mumbai's JJ Hospital's dental department, told the BBC.
The teenager had been suffering for 18 months and travelled to the city from his village after local doctors failed to identify the cause of the problem.
Doctors have described his condition as "very rare" and "a world record".

"Ashik's malaise was diagnosed as a complex composite odontoma where a single gum forms lots of teeth. It's a sort of benign tumour," Dr Dhiware said.

The good news is, that's over 200 teeth he won't have to have braces on...

ITEM:  An interesting article connected to the upcoming Scottish referendum on independence listed ten European areas who are watching what happens for its effect on their OWN plans.  Most of them a good poly-sci head like me already knew about- Catalonia and Basque areas in Spain, Flanders in Belgium.  But one I didn't recognize was Padania.  I had to ask, WTH is Padania?

Separatists in the north of Italy have long called for an independent state made up of several of the country's wealthiest and most populous northern regions, sometimes referred to collectively as Padania.
Economic imbalance is key to demand for northern self-rule, since many in the north see themselves as "exploited" - not getting back what they pay in taxes, and (as they see it) subsidising the poorer south. 

So, boiling this down, the wealthy Italian north tried for 60 years to unite Italy as one country.  Finally successful in 1871, they soon discovered, "Ey, all the paisans south of Roma are bums!"  So, instead of spending the last 140 years teaching them to fish rather than giving them fish, NOW they want to get rid of them.  I got a better idea- move the northerners down to Napoli, let the southerners take over up north, and THEN give the northerners independence.  Thank God that could never happen in Obama's America, huh?

ITEM: For our liberal and libertarian friends (if I haven't offended them away by now), this will be a shock.  Everyone else may smirk and ask, "Geez, already?"

Officials at Denver homeless shelters say the legalization of marijuana has contributed to an increase in the number of younger people living on the city's streets.

Legal MJ contributes to homelessness.  Who'da thunk it?

ITEM:  Finally, a story a friend of mine sent me:

Russian scientists say that Moscow stray dogs became much smarter. The four legged oldest human’s friends demonstrate real smartness such as riding the Moscow metro every morning to get from their suburban places of living to the fat regions of Moscow center. Once they arrive to the downtown they demonstrate different new, previously unseen for the dog skills. Those skills can include “the hunt for shawarma” for example, the popular among Muscovites eastern cuisine dish. This hunt scene can be seen as this:
Regular Moscow busy street with some small food kiosks. A middle-aged man buys himself a piece of hot fast food and walks aside chewing it without a rush. Then just in a second he jumps up frightened – some doggy has sneaked up on him and barked out loudly. His tasty snack falls out from his hands down to the ground and the dog gets it. Just ten minutes later, on the same place, the teen youngster loses his dinner in exactly the same manner. The modern Russian dogs are on their urban hunt.  “This method of ambushing people from their back is widely exercised by Moscow dogs”, saying A. Poiarkov, working in Ecology and Evolution Institute of Moscow. “The main point here is to define who would drop the food scared and who won’t, but the dogs are great psychologists they can do it better than us”.

Among some more amazing skill those Moscow dogs are the ability not to miss their stop while going on the subway train. Biologists say dogs have very nice sense of time which helps them not to miss their destination. Another skill they have is to cross the road on the green traffic light. “They don’t react on color, but on the picture they see on the traffic light”, Moscow scientist tells. Also they choose often the last or the first metro car – those are less crowded usually.
It’s funny but the ecologists studying Moscow stray dogs also tell the dogs don’t miss a chance to get some play while on their travel in the subway. They are fond of jumping in the train just seconds before the doors shut closed risking their tails be jammed. “They do it for fun, just they have enough food”, they conclude.

You really thought Putin ran this country?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday message- the run

Today I'd like to focus on 4 verses in Hebrews 12.  Verses that, even to non-believers, will make sense, about getting on to the goal.

These four verses eloquently put the main things that block us from our goal in perspective, and how to overcome them.  Here are the verses.

Heb 12:1  Therefore, since we also have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, putting aside every weight and [the sin that so easily ensnares us], let us run with patient endurance the race that has been set before us, 
Heb 12:2  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the originator and perfecter of faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 

Heb 12:12  Therefore strengthen your slackened hands and your weakened knees, 
Heb 12:13  and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame will not be dislocated, but rather be healed. 

Unpacking,  we see the first instruction is to "put aside every weight".  Weight in this sense means burden... and significantly, "every" means EVERY".  We struggle here because there are MAJOR things that we think we MUST take care of, because "waiting on the Lord" might not play out well at, say, the mortgage office; and minor things that we say, why bother God with that?  But when we become Christians, the only burden to carry is Jesus' burden.  Boiled down, worry keeps us from the goal- and we must set it aside, and FOCUS on the goal ahead.

Our second instruction is to also put aside "the sin that so easily ensnares us." KJV translates "ensnares" as "besets", and here it is a combination of three Greek words which indicate a runner being surrounded in his competition by competitors trying to stop him ON ALL SIDES.  We have distractions from the goal in every direction- some of them from the inside (the weights or burdens) and some from outside (the distractions that lead us off-track in all directions).

For a Christian, we have not only the clear goal of salvation, but several examples of how do do it- especially Jesus, who counted even death on a Cross one more thing to run through as he focused on the prize that lay at the end.

The third enemy on our way to the goal is enlightened in v. 12:12- letting our morale flag along the way.  In between these sets of verses, the writer reminds us that MOST of us haven't yet gone to the point of shedding blood as Jesus did- we have effort yet to give.  He also mentions that at times we are "chastened" by God, as a child is chastened by a father.  Sometimes the effort discourages us, sometimes it is the trials along the way.  What the writer wants us to remember is two-fold: one, that we can handle more than we think, if we try; and two, that the mere fact of troubles means we have GOTTEN SOMEWHERE.  If from Satan, then we must be going the right direction; if from God, that we have achieved the status of His Child.

The final stumbling block is the one we put before ourselves.  Along the way, we stumble.  But that stumbling only becomes injurious if we are OFF-Track.  If we take the straight, smooth trail that Jesus points us out- a path free of the distractions, the sin, the self-defeatism- we may yet stumble, but we won't "break an ankle" doing so.  We will be able to get back up and keep going, getting stronger as we go.

The main thing is a focus on the goal.  And like I said at the start, even a non-believer can profit from that.  But if you are a Christian, the goal is that much better- and worth the trials to focus on and run toward.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

This (half) week in WWI

(NOTE:  this week is packed with events.  Rather than have you read a novel in one shot, I'm going to split the post so you'll just have two paperbacks to deal with.)

If you have doubted whether a Higher (or Lower) Power might have been manipulating events leading up the trail so far, I submit for your approval the meeting on Sunday the 26th between German ambassador to London Lichnowsky (as we mentioned before, a man who desparatly wanted a neutral UK since he loved London life) and Sir Arthur Nicholson (Sir Edward Grey's chief lackey while the Foreign Secretary was on vacation).  Germany was by this time well aware that the Russians were partially mobilizing the four districts which abutted Austria (including Warsaw, which abutted Germany), and Lichnowsky came to persuade the British to speak to their Russian 'casual friends' about stepping down.  Nicholson lacked two things he needed to speak freely (but that didn't stop him):  direction from Grey and knowledge of the true situation in Russia.

Sir A. Nicholson... just a bit lacking.

And why didn't he have info from his man in St Petersburg?  Well, for one thing, Russian Ambassador Buchanan, as I've mentioned before, saw only what he wanted to see, and woke up every morning singing Everything's Coming Up Roses.  For another, Russian Foreign Minister Sazanov and French man-on-the-spot in Petersburg, Paleolgue, were lying to him.  They needed to manipulate British opinion so that the Brits would step up when the time came- and that meant Germany HAD to be the aggressor whether they were or not.  On the night of the 28th, Buchanan would trip over the truth when, after another misled meeting with Sazonov, he would complain to Paleologue that If they wanted British support, Russia would have to be careful, that Germany would have to be the aggressor.  Paleologue, who had to be smirking inside, replied, "That is what I'm always telling him."

So on the 26th, Buchanan had nothing, and thus neither did Nicholson- and neither cared.  To Lichnowsky's pleas, Nicholson made four big boo-boos.  First, He denied that even the partial mobilization that the Germans could prove were going on;  second, he declined to have his nation speak to St Petersburg because a) it would be "difficult and delicate" to tell a casual ally like Russia what to do since Austria was doing what THEY were doing, and b) because of a, no one would listen anyway.  Third, he naiively suggested that, as a neutral, Britain need only act when "active military operations began."  And finally, after pausing to blow the sand out of his nostrils, Nicholson threw away a Grey-sponsored plan to have Germany mediate between Austria and Russia (which no body liked BUT the Germans), to offer "plan B"  a mediation by the four great powers with the least stake in the situation- Germany, Italy (a German ally only on paper), Britain (a neutral only when convenient) and France (a bitter enemy).  Lichnowsky, as I said, was desperate- and as he wired the plan to a German government who would never accept it, he also wired acceptance of it to Grey, who was unaware he had offered it.

In the meantime, the German military was well past ready for Vienna to fish or cut bait.  Secretary of State Jagow wired their man in Vienna, and Austrian großen Käse Berchtold warning him that the only way to localize the war was for Austria to strike immediately.  Berchtold was more than happy to comply.  So he turned to his Army chief, Conrad, and asked how soon he wanted the declaration of war.

"Only at the stage when operations can begin," Conrad answered.  "Say, August 12th."  AKA two weeks from now.

As soon as Berchtold finished changing his underwear, he informed Conrad that the diplomatic situation "would not hold that long."

Also having an underwear malfunction at this point was German chancellor Bethmann-Holweg, who learned that the vacationing Kaiser Willie was coming home and ordered the fleet to battlestations in Kiel.  Bethmann tried to dissuade him, knowing that returning the fleet to Kiel would let everyone know that Germany was prepping for war- sort of.  He even suggested that since the Kaiser had learned about (but not seen) the Serbian reply by Wolff News Agency rather than official channels (because Bethmann was trying to keep him in the dark), he shouldn't overreact- to which the Kaiser replied, I don't need a news agency to tell me there is a Russian Navy that could have torpedo boats ready to sink our navy (and me with it) within hours.  "I have ordered the fleet to Kiel," he concluded, " to Kiel she shall go!"

So by the time Bethmann met Willie at Potsdam, he knew the chewing he was about to get.  In fact, he tried to resign on the spot.

"You have cooked this broth," Willie shouted as he turned down the resignation, "and now you're going to eat it!"  They went on to have a big pow-pow at Potsdam, with Bethmann carefully feeding Willie just enough to keep him happy without him wanting to call off the upcoming war.  Not only did he keep the Serbian reply from the Kaiser till Tuesday morning, he also left out through no fault of his own:

-that German ambassador in Vienna Tschirschky cabled him that Austria was preparing to declare war at the very moment;
-News from the man in Russia, Pourtales, that Russia had already started a partial mobilization;
-and last but not least, Lichnowsky was sitting on the news that Winston Churchill, First Lord of the Admiralty, had just ordered the British Navy to battlestations at Scapa Flow north of Scotland.

About this time, Grey returned from vacation, and he finally was tired of the Austrian jacking around.  He demanded that Germany begin immediate negotiations with Vienna to reel their ally in (without a reciprocal demand that Paris do the same with Russia, it is noted).  Had Bethmann consented to do this right away, it may have salvaged the thing.  But he knew that, and Berchtold knew it, and they both were going to try to derail it.

Tuesday the 28th, the Kaiser woke up and was finally given the text of the Serbian reply.  He knew it was a great basis for negotiating a face-saving settlement, and demanded his ambassador tell the Austrians to submit to the same German-mediating proposal that Grey had just sent to Vienna.  But because he didn't trust the message to telegraph- he had it sent by special courier.  In the meantime, Berchtold knew that he was soon going to be besieged by requests to mediate the dispute.  So he headed them off in the only way left to him.

At 11 AM, he declared war on Serbia.

The Serbs were so shocked, that they sent wires to the capitols of Europe asking if this was some kind of joke.  The Russians knew it wasn't, and guessed it was coming.  Before they could be notified, they'd expanded the "Period preparatory to war" to the districts of Omsk,Irkutsk, Turkestan, and the Caucasus- in other words, just about the rest of the empire.  All the while still lying to Buchanan about it.

Then Willie heard the declaration of war, and hit the roof yet again.  He told Bethmann to tell Austria to negotiate- even if they had to occupy Belgrade and other border regions to save face.  His intent was to use the Serbian reply to negotiate a settlement.  But Bethmann, who had only forwarded Grey's proposal to Vienna after adding that he only sent it to placate the British (leaving out that Willie wanted it as well), let Vienna know that HIS take on the Kaiser's demand was to take Belgrade and not give it back UNLESS the Serbs met all demands unconditionally.

By this point, Poincare and Vivieni returned from the Baltic, and immediately got an embellished version of what was going on from Russian ambassador in Paris Ivolsky.  They immediately declared their support of their treaty obligations to Russia, and began a partial mobilization of their own- albeit several miles from the German and Belgian borders, to eliminate any chance of Britain seeing France as an aggressor.  In Germany, the military now begged the government to initiate their own "imminent danger of war", basically the same thing Russia had done.  The difference- and a big one it was- was that the IDW meant that they would automatically go onto full mobilization within 48 hours.  So all that was approved was a "danger of war" proclamation, which was much more limited.  This kept the hope alive that the British could be kept neutral, while hamstringing their people in Russia from forcing the tsar's men to back down.

The night of the 29th (Wednesday) was a rocky one.  On the one hand, Willie and Nicky had just stepped to their virtual negotiating table.  A series of telegrams between the two trying to save the pice had begun just after Sazonov and the military convinced the Tsar to order full mobilization.  Grasping at straws, Nicholas saw in Wilhelm's replies a glimmer of hope at 9 PM.  At 9:40, he ordered the mobilization stopped, and the brakes were thrown on at 10 PM.  "I will not become responsible for a monstrous slaughter!"  He told his aides; but in allowing Sazonov free reign, he'd already crossed that bridge without knowing it.

It's more than just signing your name, Nicky...

At 10:30 PM, Bethmann called in British ambassador Sir Edward Goschen, hoping to take one more stab at securing British neutrality.  He had tried to convince Willie to turn over the German fleet to Britain to keep them neutral (reasoning a navy wouldn't be needed in a purely continental war) and got laughed out of the room.  So, with very few cards to play, he promised Goschen Germany would not seek territorial gains in France.

Unfortunately, he had opened a door for Goschen.  The Brit asked about France's colonies; Bethmann wouldn't guarantee they wouldn't be taken.  He asked about Holland; Bethmann told him if the enemy stays out of Holland, so will we.

What about Belgium?
Goschen had him cornered, because everyone knew about the Schlieffen Plan by now.  Bethmann answered the only way he could- that Belgium's integrity would be respected AFTER the war.  And thus, the German battle plan was exposed.  When he found out about the meeting soon later, Prime Minister Asquith was very polite in his assessment- "There is something very crude, almost childlike, about German diplomacy."  IOW, "These guys are EEEEDIOTS!"

Moments later, a dejected Lichnowsky wired Bethmann, basically saying that from a conversation he'd just had with Grey, there was no way the British would stay completely neutral.  At 5 minutes of three AM on Thursday, Bethmann again wired Berchtold, this time in sincerity, to accept Grey's plan of German mediation.  But it was too late for that.  At 1:20 AM, a frustrated Nicky wired Willie that Russian mobilization had been proceeding since Saturday; ten minutes later, an exasperated Sazonov told German ambassador Pourtales that stopping Russian mobilization against (at least) Austria was "no longer possible."  Maybe the whole thing might have been avoided if they just went to bed at a decent hour.

Jim!  You should try Sanka!  It's caffeine free!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Time Machine week 14

Today is July 25, 1972.  Today word of the infamous Tuskegee Study was published from a whistleblowers' report by the Washington Star.  For those not in the know, this was basically a blind study on syphilis in poor black populations which basically gave "free treatment" and free burial to those who agreed to be examined, tested, and eventually autopsied- but not treated (though they didn't know that).  It started in 1932 with 399 active syphilis subjects (and 201 non-cases), ran through the point where 250 of them were told they were sick in 1942 when they tried to join the armed forces ( and the CDC tried to keep them from said treatment), past 1947 when it was proven that penicillin would have cured them But they didn't get any), past the sixties when several in the government and the project tried to get CDC to shut it down, right up to when the expose forced their hand 40 years after it started- and save for that, would have kept going until all subjects had died and been autopsied.  As it was, 325 of them had died- 128 by syphilis or complications thereof- 40 wives had been infected, and 19 children had been born with it.

On the other end of the spectrum, George McGovern's running mate Elliot Richardson admitted TO having treatment- for mental issues.  He was successfully treated, and McGovern was ready to keep on the ticket- but the now-predatory press, having whetted their appetite on Nixon's blood, would circle and bite until Richardson stepped down on his own.

That's okay, buddy... I wouldn't have voted for you anyway...

Welcome to Time Machine for the week of July 25, 1972- the week that saw Bread's Guitar Man, the Bee Gee's Run To Me, and Uriah Heap's Easy Livin' all hit the charts for the first time.  This week, a six degrees with a new top ten song; a tune that would've made you happy to go to bed, back in the day; and the Top Top Ten from 1965- which includes no less than FIVE British supergroups!  Lie down on the couch, and let's begin...

I think this week we'll start with the top 40 debuts, and they start with the one I warned you would be here this week- last week's biggest mover in the countdown, Sailcat's Motorcycle Mama.  Next up is a tune I don't know from a singer I know quite well.  She was an associate member of the Rat Pack long before becoming Serta's Perfect Sleeper- Miss Joey Heatherton.

Joey makes the chart with a remake of a song Ferlin Husky took to #4- and #1 country- in 1957.

Rod Argent makes the top 40 this week at 37, up six, with Hold Your Head Up.  It's the late great Jim Croce at 34, up a touchdown and extra point (AKA 7 notches) with You Don't Mess Around With Jim.  And the high debut this week is one notch higher- moving from 44 to 33, the Carpenters with Goodbye To Love.  And speaking of high, this week's biggest mover within the countdown belongs to the disreputable Gary Glitter and his sports arena anthem Rock And Roll, Part 1- 36 notches from 97 allllllll the way to #41 this week.  

Next up, I believe (without checking my arcane stats) that this week's feature on the Top Top Ten- from the first week of May, 1965- was the first one cut from the top ten by year.  As I mentioned in the tease, it has 5 British supergroups, not to mention a lady from the Martin Hall Of Fame!  Here we go:

10- The Last Time, Rolling Stones.  Sure it was, if you don't count the next 21 top tens and 8 #1s.

9- Ticket To Ride, The Beatles.  A comment I saw on the Youtube video of this made a very correct statement for us old timers- every Beatles song you hear is your favorite of theirs- until you hear the next one.

8- Go Now!, Moody Blues.  Their first big hit- and almost their last, before Days Of Future Past remade their career.

7- I'll Never Find Another You, the Seekers.  Have I mentioned I love Judith Durham lately?

6- Count Me In, Gary Lewis And The Playboys.  Gary, with all the help and the overdubbing, beat out Elvis and Sinatra for Male Vocalist Of The Year for 1965 on Cashbox.

5- Tired Of Waiting For You, the Kinks.  Believe it or not, this is the one pre-Lola song of theirs I remember from when it came out.  I was 3, but I knew what I liked.

4- I'm Telling You Now, Freddie and the Dreamers.  This group actually had three songs on the hot 100 this week- including Do The Freddie, which was also on the charts by Chubby Checker for some odd reason.

3- The Game Of Love, Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders.  The way I get it, Wayne's mind was already bent by this point...

2- I Know A Place, Petula Clark.   Me too, my dear.  Me too.

Just lead the way...
  Annnnnnnd #1 this time around...

....Herman's Hermits with Mrs Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now, the clean-up list before we get to the top ten.  On You Peaked, we have a pair of tunes- Elton John's Rocket Man sputtered out at 11 last week, and Aretha Franklin's All The King's Horses got thrown at 20.  And with two new top tens, we have two droppers- Outa-Space (4 to 16) and Song Sung Blue (7 to 26).

And with the start of the top ten, I bend the rules to allow an up-and-coming to get the six degrees, and it climbed 7 spots TO #10 this week- Looking Glass with Brandy (You're A Fine Girl).

The lead singer of Looking Glass was one Elliot Lure- who would leave the band to go on to a career in the music of movie soundtracks.  The rest of the band:  Keyboard Larry Gonsky, Bass Peter Swervil, and drummer Jeff Grob ( under the pseudonym of Joe X. Dube), recruited a new singer named Michael Lee Smith and became the Fallen Angels.  When Gonsky left, he was replaced by a dude that had been with the Stories  (after Brother Louie hit the top) named Richie Ranno.  At this point they renamed themselves Starz, and on their second album they cracked the top 40 at #33 with this:

It would be their only trip past #66 on Billboard, though, and Smith would go on to join another hard rock group named for it's leader and his brother.... are you ready for this?

... the band was Rex; the brother Rex Smith, would would be known most famously for the decidedly un- hard rock You Take My Breath Away.  This was in 1976, and by the time Rex had went limp  soft, Michael had reformed Starz- with Dube the only Looking Glasser left.  And to my best report, they are still together.

Back to this week's top ten:

The Eagles climb one to #9 with Take It Easy.

As does Donny Osmond with Too Young.

As does Michael Jackson with I Wanna Be Where You Are.

Zooming into the ten a strong 7 to #6, Gilbert O'Sullivan with Alone Again Naturally.

Luther Ingram moves a spot to 5 with If Loving You Is Wrong, etc.

Jimmy Castor finally starts dropping, from 2 to 4 with Troglodyte (Cave Man).

Wayne Newton slows down so the kid can catch up, just a pair this time to #3 with Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast.

The Cornelius Bros and Sister Rose pull into the runner up spot with Too Late To Turn Back Now.

And at #1 for a second week..................

Yes, that's the Cornelius Bros and Sister Rose.  But why them?  Because, you never get the same act twice on the #1 picture, or later on we'd have 8 weeks of Debbie Boone.  Also, why are there TWO sisters?  Because Cornelius Bros and Sister Rose and Sister Billie Joe was just too clunky.

.............  Once again, Bill Withers and Lean On Me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, another one is in the can!  See you next time!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The North Turkey-trots

With some time off, it was time to get in a day trip for me and faithful Indian companion Laurie.  (Insensitive remark to native Americans?  Sue me.)  We chose a State Park in Ohio called North Turkeyfoot, a wilderness area that is part of (despite being on the other side of the Maumee River from) Mary Jane Thurston State Park.  Basically a public hiking and hunting area tucked into a river bend, just on the far side of Napoleon.  It was on a road that was "Closed, local traffic only" due to construction, but we found a little tucked in parking spot just before the road actually closed, and off we went.

If you follow the little yellow line from here, you'll see the path we took- a path I looked at on this very map last night, but failed to memorize EXACTLY....  As you see, shortly after we took off, there's a creek you can cross, and an old steel truss bridge to cross it on.

Look a little sketchy to you?  Well, one side was marked, "Bridge unsafe", and the other had this nice instruction...

So we wisely deferred, heading on down the trail towards what I then thought was the "chin" of the "smiley face" that the trail system made.  Little did I know we were still in the "cheek."  Within a couple minutes, we hit a spot where a big tree had fallen on the trail, and you had to take a "walk-around" to keep going.  Just on the other side of the walk-around, something moved...

It was a dozen or more TURKEYS!  They ran ahead and peeled off into the undergrowth, never to be seen again.  So on we went, enjoying the cool air, the usually shaded sunshine, and the nicely kept trail... that began to get a little shabbier as we went.

We then reached the point where the creek joins the river, which I thought must be the bottom of the chin (and was actually the corner of the mouth).  So we went on, figuring we were headed towards the road, checking out the river, watching a pair of big hawks circling above (hawks, not vultures, BTW), and fighting through ever-growing amounts of spider webs across the trail.

Then, when I thought were weren't far from the road (and were actually still heading for the bottom of the chin, the trail just stopped.  As in, "went from 8 inch tall weeds to 4 1/2 foot tall weeds".  So we turned around.  But I was still reasoning we were about "bottom chin" at the unsafe bridge, so we then took the "Redfox Trail", which I thought would lead us right back to where we parked.  Scrolling back up to the map, you'll note that it was actually going to take us TO the bottom of the chin, i.e. exactly the opposite way I thought.  And of course, by this time Laurie had to go pee, and it was getting critical I get it right.  Ooops.

About halfway up (down?) the trail, I spied something I had to check out.

If you can't read the top, it says, "Byth Anna, wife of David Edwards- died May 5, 1859- aged 35 y, 2 mo., 23 d"  Until I posted this, I had misread wife and not seen 35 y, so thought it was the grave of a 2 month old child.  In fact, the woman interred here was the mother of this brood of children:
Hannah C.

It wasn't a graveyard, it appeared to have been a lone grave, marked off by rocks, once in a garden on the property of David Edwards, but now in the middle of a jungle.  Further up, a trail led to a post which I took to be the remaining gatepost into the garden.  

Soon after, I caught sight of a small well.

Shortly thereafter, we reached the end of Redfox Trail, and I learned that I was totally messed up in my direction.  I assumed the left trail was the other end of the trail that died, (correctly) and figured that the right would have to lead eventually to our car, ( as it turns, it would have took us to a trail that would have, had we took it).  But after a couple dozen yards of ever increasing weeds (and exponentially increasing spider webs), I took the better part of valor (listening to Laurie for once) and retreated back down to Redfox trail, and thence to where we KNEW where we were at.

(BTW, the Laurie going to pee problem was resolved at the T... and I don't think it was a very popular decision on my part for her to do so.)

Thus it was that we were soon back to the car (after what Laurie estimated was just over two hours), and we went to go have lunch in Napoleon.

Me and Bobby G's son.
After a meal that would have been an excellent dining experience HAD the guy that seated us told our waitress we were there in plain sight, or IF any waitress would have looked up from the two tables that they served or the four they bussed to see us sitting there with menus, before a little old lady who hadn't even looked our way the entire seven minutes finally grabbed a waitress by the shirtsleeve and headed them our way (just as Laurie was grabbing another dumbfounded waitress, who had not only spent most of those seven minutes working at a register station in our direct line of sight, but walked past us twice bussing one of those four tables.)  Still, a mushroom and swiss burger that juicy covers a lot of sins.

And that's the story- until I started trying to put up pictures.  You see last night, I got a notice from Google, that they had tried to pull my autopay 2 bucks for picture storage but my card had updated.  No prob, just let me change the expiration date.  But whenever I tried to log in, it would just send me to a "Your browser is outdated page".  So I updated my I.E. to the latest one- through the link on Google's page- but oh, no, that wasn't good enough.  They weren't going to let me change my card, the lady I called told me, unless I downloaded Google Chrome and did it from there.

You who know me well know that is not the way to make friends with me.  I let her know that, sighed, and downloaded the damn thing, figuring it would thence remain just an obnoxious reminder on my status bar of an obnoxious way to get what you want.  Problem solved.

Well, almost, as Hank Jr. used to sing.

I learned as I began to tell you this story, that Blogger (Google's incestuous lover) won't let me post MY pictures to MY blog anymore, unless I do it on Chrome.  It will co-operate right up to the time you hit the "post selected" button- even act like it is posting the pic- but then, the post photos screen will NOT go away.  And no amount of begging/bitching will make it.

So there's TWO things I will have to do henceforth on Google Chrome.  A-holes.  But don't expect there to be any more things done on it that I can help.  Because, I don't like being forced to do stuff that I shouldn't have to.

C'mon, Chris, it's just Google Chrome...

(BTW, downloaded off the internet on IE.  So there!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The Mark Mellinger Update (and Zoo pics!)

NOTE:  If you can make it through the rant, there are zoo pictures on the other side!

In yesterday's post (published this AM) I told the story of a news article in which a man riding his motorcycle was run over by a car.  At issue in the article IMHO was the following paragraph a few lines from the end:

Police later found the driver of the car, Prionda Hill, at the Rally’s several blocks down the road from where she hit Oliveri.  She told police “she was driving and out of no where God told her that he would take it from here and she let go of the wheel and let him take it.” She’s now facing several charges. (From

And without further elucidation on the woman's fate or mental health- which you always seem to get in such stories- WANE reporter Sara Wagner finished with some quotes from the man involved.  Which of course led to fine comments like these from the area's atheist population:

Any moron who believes in an invisible skydaddy should be committed...

superstitions/religions are dangerous....

"guardian angel wings" come on: seeing jesus' face in toast is childish crap, and so is imbuing the supernatural into someones bruises
and yes, if his "guardian angel" was watching over him, why did this angel let him get smashed? paranormal nonsense...

Christian's beliefs have been putting others in danger since the beginning. No secret there...

 When you ride with God, you ride alone....

So my thought process was, why when a story NOT involving God in some fashion would generally finish with, "Police took the woman to X hospital for psychiatric observation", was it NOT part of this story?  Lazy reporting, Hidden agenda?  And it made me think of other questionable calls by of late.   Despite the presence of a responsible Christian as anchor and all-around good guy (Mark Mellinger, and not trying to be sarcastic there), WANE seems to be shifting the way of all flesh to the PC, the whole PC, and nothing but the PC.  So I put it to Mr. Mellinger like this:

The story that ran on the guy who got run over on his motorcycle ended with the part about the woman “being told by God” to let go of the steering wheel.  No mention was made of any mental health concerns or treatment for the woman.  This opened the door for all the site’s atheist fans to have a field day bashing God and religion.  Don’t you think that story should have had a coda to point out that this was not an indication of  the “delusion of religion” but rather it was the sign of a woman needing help?  I have to wonder sometimes how you justify your continued presence in mainstream media when your employer seems to be as big a proponent of the liberal “god-free” agenda as the rest of the MSM.  Just curious, like to hear your thoughts.

And the response:

Well, we just report the facts as given to us by investigators and the police; there’s no agenda. People are, within the bounds of propriety, free to say whatever they want on our ‘comments’ sections. Folks who are Christians or theists have every right to voice their opinions in that forum as well; we don’t police those sections very strictly regardless of the points of view that are expressed. I’m not sure if this is a satisfying answer for you, but that’s my take on it. Thanks for your interest and take care.


All The Best,

Mark Mellinger

I'll let you all make the judgment.  I wasn't real satisfied, but he did answer, and politely.  And he ain't lying about the "Not policing the sections very strictly"- I had to post a comment with a word I KNEW would get flagged to make them look at the posts of a dude making basically terrorist threats on a story about Ft Wayne having the best looking guys (if you can believe any of that).  Even then, they took away his posting privileges, but left his posts up under "anonymous".

In the meantime, zoo pictures!

Lynx was awake to greet everybody.

"What did I just get on my hand?"
"Heh heh heh..."

See the rainbow...

15 pictures at seal tank: 12 necks, a tail, and these two...

More chipmunks than peacocks these days...

Weekly meeting of headwaiter's union local 75...

Just call me Bob... (as in bobbing along...)


One of many friends Laurie made this trip...

Wildest, noisiest animals in the park.

Dingoes chillin'

You wanna piece o' me, suckah?

Laurie:  "It's not a butterfly, it's a booberfly!"

He stayed on Laurie's hand for about ten minutes listening to the Kangaroo lady.

The miracle of photographic zoom- we were nowhere near this close.

Biturong in a bowl- now at IHOP.

He was determined to sleep in the smallest slice of shade possible- just moved to this spot.

Serval- if you remember the Black Pines post, this is what they breed with a house cat to get the Savannah Cat.

Honey Badger be like, Y'all get lost, I be snoozing!

What's the oldest joke at the zoo?  Hey, what's Gnu?

That was a nice nap.  And now.... Mom? Dad?

Zoo guy:  "Sir, don't stand so close.  Only because his head weighs about 200 lbs, and he's too young to realize that and just swings it around."

Chris:  "How old is he?"
Zoo guy: "16 years."
Meh.  Teenagers.

Th-th-th-th-th-th-that's all, folks!