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Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Tuesday links

Happy Cinco de Mayo - some history, art and a brief video. And here's an illustrated history of Tex-Mex food.

Seven Of The Most Beautiful Botanical Mazes On Earth.

Man on trial for attacking lawyer attacks new lawyer in court.

ICYMI, Monday's links are here, and include the NSA banning of the Furby, what happens to someone when they get tarred and feathered, lots of chicken related links for International Respect for Chickens Day, and a map of what each state has more of than any other.

Happy Cinco do Mayo

Badges? We ain't got no badges. We don't need no badges! I don't have to show you any stinkin' badges!

~Treasure of the Sierra Madre (Alfonso Bedoya bandit character)*

Mexico: where life is cheap, death is rich, and the buzzards are never unhappy. 

~Edward Abbey (attributed) 

Today is Cinco de Mayo, Mexico's great national holiday and the anniversary of the defeat of 6,000 French soldiers by 2,000 Mexicans at the battle of Puebla in 1862. After Mexico had defaulted on its bonds, Britain, France, and Spain made a joint naval demonstration to compel payment. (Embroiled in its own Civil War, the United States was too preoccupied to object.) When negotiations opened, the British and Spanish departed, but France decided to seize on the opportunity to conquer the country and impose Napoleon III's brother-in-law, Maximilian, as emperor.

Édouard Manet's The Execution of the Emperor Maximilian (1867)
is one of five versions of his representation
of the execution of the Mexican monarch
Despite the Mexican victory at Puebla, the French eventually prevailed, but by 1867, Maximilian had been overthrown and executed, his demise the subject of a memorable painting (1867-68) by Eduard Manet now in the National Gallery, London.** Some decades later, ruthless Mexican president cum dictator Porfirio Diaz (1830-1915) noted,

"Poor Mexico, so far from God - and so near to the United States."

* N.B. John Huston's classic movie, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (1948), starred Humphrey Bogart and Tim Holt in a stark tale of greed in the southwestern desert. It won three Academy Awards, and the phrase quoted here has become something of a cult incantation, though most often in the form,

"We ain't got no stinkin' badges..."

** Maximilian's body was later repatriated to Austria, and his sarcophagus can be seen today in the Kapuzinergruft in downtown Vienna, along with those of many other famous Hapsburg monarchs.

Here's a brief History Channel explanation of the holiday:

Based on Ed's Quotation of the Day, only available via email. Leave your email address in the comments if you'd like to be added to his list.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Watch this 5 year old boy perfectly recreate Bruce Lee's famous nunchaku scene

Bruce Lee fans, you'll love this kid :

Like even cheesier martial arts movies? Check out the evil ninja vagina bubbles from hell:

Monday links

May 4th is International Respect for Chickens Day: here are lots of chicken-related links to help you celebrate.

Not as interesting as chickens, of course, but May the Fourth (be with you) is also Star Wars Day. Related: a nice collection of Star Wars propaganda posters.

That time the NSA banned the Furby.

Map: What Does Each State Have More Of (Per Capita) Than Any Other?

What happens to someone when they get tarred and feathered?

Inside The Fed's Cold War "Doomsday" Bunker.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include Willie Nelson's personal brand of marijuana, a 19th century seal fur g-string, and a 102-year-old dancer watching, for the first time, film of herself performing.

Map: What Does Each State Have More Of (Per Capita) Than Any Other?

Not surprisingly, here in Virginia we have more private sector jobs dependent on federal contracts than anywhere else - we benefit from DC's increasing sucking of all the resources out of the provinces. 

Click here to embiggen

via Daily of the Day

Friday, April 24, 2015

Friday links

Tomorrow, April 25th, is ANZAC Day - the Battle of Gallipoli was 100 years ago: history, quotes, film and the inevitable Lego re-enactment.

Country music star Willie Nelson has announced plans to roll out his own brand of marijuana.

ICYMI, Wednesday's links are here, and include the Earth Day co-founder who killed (then composted) his girlfriend, a gallery of great mullets (including Peter Dinklage in a mullet, with a laser cannon), the strange bitter battle of where Toledo was located, and the design history of the zip-lock bag.

They shall not grow old... Lawrence Binyon's "For The Fallen"

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.***

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

- Laurence Binyon (1869-1943)

("For the Fallen")

April 25th is ANZAC Day - the Battle of Gallipoli was 100 years ago

Ship after ship, crammed with soldiers, moved slowly out of the harbour, in the lovely day, and felt again the heave of the sea. No such gathering of fine ships has ever been seen upon the earth, and the beauty and the exaltation of the youth upon them made them like sacred things as they moved away... 

These men had come from all parts of the British world... They had said good-bye to home that they might offer their lives in the cause we stand for. In a few hours at most, as they well knew, perhaps a tenth of them would have looked their last upon the sun, and be a part of the foreign earth or the dumb things that tides push. Many of them would have disappeared forever from the knowledge of man, blotted from the book of life none would ever know how, by a fall, a chance shot in the darkness, or alone, like a hurt beast, in some scrub or gulley, far from comrades and the English speech and the English singing.

~John Masefield (wiki) (Gallipoli)*

Damn the Dardanelles. They will be our grave.

~Admiral Sir John Fisher (to the Dardanelles Committee, 1915)

Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives... You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country. Therefore rest in peace. There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side now here in this country of ours... you, the mothers, who sent their sons from faraway countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace. After having lost their lives on this land, they have become our sons as well.

~Mustafa Kemal - Atatürk (wiki) (tribute to the ANZAC dead, 1934)

Map of the battle - larger version here
April 25th is celebrated in Australia and New Zealand as ANZAC Day, commemorating the key participation of the Australia-New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) in the ill-fated Allied assault on the Turkish-held Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915 during World War I. This was one of the first large-scale amphibious invasion of modern times and the first major military operation in which Australia and New Zealand participated on behalf of the British Empire. As a result, the Gallipoli campaign was perhaps the key  defining event for Australia's nationhood, as it was in a sense for Turkey's also. Turkish Lieutenant-Colonel Mustafa Kemal, the hero of Gallipoli's successful defense, later became the founder of modern Turkey, adopting the name "Atatürk" - father of the Turks.

Today much of the Gallipoli Peninsula is a Turkish national park with over 20 cemeteries lovingly tended by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. We visited there several years ago on ANZAC Day, taking a bus with a dozen or so others, mostly Aussies, from the nearby town of Canakkale to tour the cemeteries and battlefields. The tour guide read the Ataturk quotation above, along with, as is typical, the fourth stanza of Lawrence Binyon's For The Fallen:
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
Followed, as is also typical, by "Lest we forget..."
The Making of a Legend, The Landing at Anzac Cove by Lambert
The visitor can not help but be struck by the stark, natural beauty of its steep, scrubby, deeply-gullied terrain and sadly moved by the remembrance of the tens of thousands of men on both sides who lost their lives there in a futile clash of empires - only a few miles across the "wine-dark sea" from the ruins of ancient Troy. Of that earlier struggle, Homer wrote in book XIII of the Iliad,

"It is not possible to fight beyond your strength, even if you strive."

* N.B. John Masefield was the Poet Laureate of England from 1930 until his death in 1967. He served as a medical orderly on the Western Front in World War I and later wrote Gallipoli to counter German propaganda seeking to exploit the British defeat there.

The most readable account of the Gallipoli campaign remains Alan Moorehead's venerable history, Gallipoli, from the late 1950s. Also, the 1981 Australian movie of that same name, starring the young Mel Gibson, is an excellent evocation of both the horror and exhilaration of those times. There's a more recent movie, apparently, but I'm not familiar with it, and Mel Gibson.

Several years ago, Peter Jackson restored and aggregated quite a bit of contemporaneous Gallipoli film:

Here's a 9 minute documentary:

And, as seems inevitable these days, there's a Lego reenactment of the events:

There's a good article on the centennial at The Guardian, and much more at the Australian government's site.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Start your day with a palate-cleanser: 102-year-old dancer watches, for the first time, film of herself performing

"How did it feel seeing yourself?" one woman asks Barker. "Making me wish I could get out of this bed and do it all over again," Barker responds.
Great story via Mashable - watch the video below:

When 102-year-old Alice Barker strutted in the chorus line during the '30s and '40s, personal video was something only found in people's dreams. 

Fortunately, with the help of David Shuff and Mark Cantor of Jazz on Film, Barker was finally able to see her younger self dance for the first time.

After a watching a few videos, Barker got right back into the swing of things.

"How did it feel seeing yourself?" one woman asks Barker. "Making me wish I could get out of this bed and do it all over again," Barker responds.

Read the whole thing at Mashable - they also have address information for Ms. Barker, should you wish to write to her.

Wednesday links

Happy Earth Day! Here's the story of the co-founder who killed, then composted, his girlfriend.

Scythe Versus Weedwhacker.

The Strange, Bitter 19th Century Debate Over Where Toledo Was.

Here's Peter Dinklage in a mullet with a laser cannon, plus a gallery of great mullets.

The West Virginia town that's radio silent - the Quiet Zone.

The Surprisingly Complex Design of the Ziploc Bag.

ICYMI, Friday's links are here, and include photos from the 1950 gutting/re-building of the White House, the part-time jobs of superheroes, the 92 year old who rammed a mugger with her mobility scooter, and a gallery of animals licking windows.