Tuesday, March 17, 2015

An Evacuation Day Letter

March 17, 1776

An open letter to General Howe:

It has come to our attention while observing your military maneuvers against our army in Boston that you may not fully understand your position. Thus we are writing to bring to your attention to two features of the situation.

First, you could continue your action of evacuating your forces from Boston and relocating to Nova Scotia. This would be a great strategic victory for General Washington, boost morale on the colonial side, and serve to increase their support among the rebellious population.

Second, with end of the recent unfavorable weather, your position is strengthened should you instead choose to attack. While we understand your wish to avoid another situation like the recent battle at Bunker Hill, we feel that we should point out that you did win that engagement.

What this means is that while an attack would no doubt be costly, you could achieve victory here, potentially nipping the revolution in the bud and eliminating the General Washington as an ongoing threat to your control of the colonies. The next commanding general would be in a weakened position and a future colonial army would be unlikely to challenge British rule.

We hope this letter enriches your knowledge of the strategic situation and promotes understanding and clarity as your suppression actions continue.


The Tories 

Saturday, January 24, 2015

New Year's Resolution Post

Happy new year!

A little late you say? Well, who says that the year begins on January 1? Numa Pompilius? Why should I listen to that guy? Any day and every day can be a beginning, so you and I can celebrate the new year whenever we want to.

Every year, in late December and early January, we read about people who make resolutions, begin with good intentions, then stumble, fail, and quit. Gyms and churches see more people for a while. People try to renew, to walk a better path, and then slip off. And they don't get back on. Or they don't take a lesson from the mistake and set a better, more useful goal. They just slip back and wait until next year. I think that's a bit sad.

Every day is a new year. I know I'm sounding like a self-help guru here, and I don't want to, but the way people respond to small failures bothers me. People fail. All people fail. In the immortal words of Adam Savage, "failure is always an option." If you're not failing occasionally, you are not trying.

I know people who believe in a comparatively recent notion that in order for us to have a fulfilling life we must go through a singular experience, to be "born again" as a new person, renewed in our commitments and our faith. I don't think that's a very helpful philosophy. I think it better that we make an effort to be continually renewed, to start fresh as frequently as possible. Be born again and again and again.

So, what are my resolutions for this year, which begins today and runs until I say so? Same as usual, be a better version of me, read more, write more, engage more, experience more, stop doing things that are self destructive, do things that lead to health, growth, and renewal. My goals are the same. The resolution is to succeed.

See you next year. Whenever that is.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Glenn's Book of Quotes Number Thirty-Seven

"God will not make himself manifest to cowards" -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
That one is a good reminder for me.  After all, this guy is my spirit animal.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Winter Wonderland

How much am I loving this winter season? Oh so much. Did I love the coldest January in a century? Who wouldn't? Did I just love the long stretches of sub-freezing temperatures? Of course I did. And the snow, am I loving all the snow? Well, until today I wasn't so sure, but now I know, I love the snow. When the snow on my neighbor's rooftop let go all at once and crashed down on my head like a giant white hammer, all doubt was gone. I love the snow.

Sanity was a small price to pay.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Random Photo From Campus

Here's Dr. Tulip A. Cat, professor of applied chaos, discussing advanced mayhem theory with students in her office. Not long after this she demonstrated napkin tearing techniques and furniture assaulting.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Say Hello to Our Little Friend

Nobody knows, the trouble I seen . . .

Who is this jailbird cat, and why is she in the slammer?

Well, it's not exactly the slammer. It's the Animal Rescue League of Boston, and she's on the inside because she was living rough on the streets. And she was rattling her cage, looking for a home.

A box of . . . insert your own Schrödinger joke here.

So we brought a box home. When we opened the box, a little black and white cat began investigating every inch of our apartment (a/k/a The Secret Headquarters for World Domination).

What the . . . where am I?

After a while she began to settle down. She found the litter box, which was a relief for all of us. She found her new food dishes. She even began to play.


And then, eventually, this little wanderer began to settle down, just a bit.

This isn't too bad, actually.

It seems that The Secret Headquarters is now a home. Now all we have to do is to get her to tell us her name. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Ten Things You Should Never Buy on Black Friday

  1. Crack
  2. Things made by poor people being exploited by rich people
  3. Anything at Walmart
  4. C-4
  5. Coffee that has passed through the alimentary canal of any animal.
  6. Tickle Me, Elmo
  7. The Best of Nickleback
  8. Trust me on that crack one. The price really drops later in the season.
  9. Fertilizer of dubious provenance 
  10. Magic beans

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Some Things I'm Thankful For

This year I'm particularly thankful for the Red Sox. Who doesn't love a good Duck Boat parade? I'm thankful for Dustin "Scrappy" Pedroia and David "Cooperstown" Ortiz.

And speaking of Papi, I'm thankful for this:

Since this is football season, I'm thankful for Mr Kraft, Our Dark Lord of the Hoodie, and The Greatest Living American.

I'm thankful for what's left of our blue laws, so that when I hear that big stores are going to force their employees to work on Thanksgiving, I know that it's not going to happen here in the Commonwealth.

I'm thankful for my new place, The Secret Headquarters for World Domination, located here in The Hub of the Universe.

I'm thankful for the three life sustaining liquids, coffee, beer, and whiskey.

And cops. This year, most especially, I'm thankful for the cops.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I Love Rose Marie

It's true. I'm crazy about Rose Marie. Everybody knows her as Sally Rogers.

But not everybody knows how long Rose Marie has been in show biz. She started out as Baby Rose Marie and was big in the old radio days.

Some people couldn't believe that big voice was coming out of that little girl. And as she grew up she became a popular nightclub performer.

Radio, nightclubs, Vaudeville, records, movies, Broadway, TV -- Rose Marie did them all. One heck of an entertainer. One heck of a comedian:

And more than three decades after she first started singing for her supper she could still knock you out with a song:

Today is Baby Rose Marie's 90th birthday, and I love her still. Happy birthday Rose Marie, and here's to many more.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Terror of . . . Sheepnado!

If you're anything like me, and God help you if you are, you've probably asked yourself why Syfy (I still hate that spelling) made a movie about a shark tornado when they could have done a movie about a sheep tornado.

Oh. That's why. Right then, carry on.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy 4th

Hey kittens, happy 4th.  I've been thinking about the 4th a lot lately, and this being the 4th I thought it might be a good time to write about it.  You know the 4th don't you?  It goes like this:
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Now that's a wonderful thing.  Our Constitution, our supreme law, contains within it a clear restriction on the power of government that guarantees that the people of our land will never have to worry about the abuse of the great power that we, the people, put in the hands of our political, judicial, or military leaders.  Since all of the people who serve in those branches of our democracy take a sacred oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution, it would be quite extraordinary if this crucial set of individual rights were ever violated.

Our private business is ours and we never have to worry about "Big Brother" looking over our shoulders.  Any time the government peeks into a citizen's private matters you can be sure that such peeking is done for a good reason, and that this reason has been carefully considered  and found to have a probable cause, and that even then the search must be limited to only the things that are described in a legally sworn warrant.  This is a very high standard indeed.

Oh, I know.  It's just words on paper, isn't it?  Haven't totalitarian states often claimed similar "rights" for their citizens, legal fictions that were more propaganda than protection?  Of course.  The old Soviet Union had a constitution too:
Article 54. Citizens of the USSR are guaranteed inviolability of the person. No one may be arrested except by a court decision or on the warrant of a procurator.
Article 55. Citizens of the USSR are guaranteed inviolability of the home. No one may, without lawful grounds, enter a home against the will of those residing in it.
Article 56. The privacy of citizens, and of their correspondence, telephone conversations, and telegraphic communications is protected by law.
Article 57. Respect for the individual and protection of the rights and freedoms of citizens are the duty of all state bodies, public organisations, and officials.
Citizens of the USSR have the right to protection by the courts against encroachments on their honor and reputation, life and health, and personal freedom and property.
Just words.  Didn't mean a thing.  But here in the U.S. of A. things are a bit different.  Not only does every public official vow to defend our rights, but our citizens will not stand by and see those rights violated.  Imagine, if you will, that we found out that our government was spying on us -- that data about all of the emails and phone calls of every citizen was being collected by a secretive agency.  Imagine that this was not based on any probable cause.  Imagine that the specific area of the search was limited to being everyone and everything.  And then suppose that this was all approved by a secret court, a Star Chamber, if you will, that had tried us all and found each of us to be suspect.  Such a thing would clearly be a violation of our most fundamental rights, and Americans would never stand for it.  We would rise together, hold mass protests, demand hearings, and work to set things right once again.  That's what makes our system work.  The Constitution is only as strong as the will of the people to keep it strong.  If that should ever waiver, God help us all.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Word of the Day: Basabasa

I'm reading a book called African Market Women by Gracia Clark.  It's a collection of interviews that the author, and anthropologist at Indiana University, conducted with seven women who were or had been entrepreneurs in the Kumasi Central Market in Ghana. While it's interesting to read the words of these Ashanti women reflecting on their lives and world they live in, I could probably enjoy the book more if I had a bit more context.  Still, I do enjoy understanding little bits of this place.  My favorite discovery is the word basabasa.  Since English is a magpie language, I want to nominate basabasa as the next word we appropriate.

According to Professor Clark, basabasa is defined in the Akan, or Twi language, as:
Disorderly or sloppy, as an adjective or adverb.  The word describes action done at random or every which way, always with a negative connotation, and can also describe thoughtless or careless people.
How wonderfully useful. Consider --

This congress is completely basabasa.

This place used to be well kept but now everything is basabasa.

The new landlord is basabasa.

With so much uncertainty, our economy is basabasa.

They tell us that the air strikes are targeted, but they are completely basabasa (every which way).

There is no respect for the law, their decisions are basabasa.

You need to straighten up this room, it is totally basabasa.

A basabasa person like you will only waste the money.  You will treat it basabasa.

The shortstop's play was basabasa, so the runner advanced to third on the error.

I can't recall any other words that we have "borrowed" from the Ashanti people.  If anybody knows any, please let me know.  In the meantime, let's all begin using basabasa.  In an orderly way, of course.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Return My Love

Today we celebrate Richard Wagner's 200th birthday with his greatest work:

Ah, such genius.

While posting this I am, of course, wearing my most magical of helmets.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Oh That Wacky Royal Navy

There is no navy in the world that is quite as colorful in its seagoing nomenclature as Great Britain's Royal Navy.  Here's a little trick that I have.  Whenever I'm feeling a little blue, I know that I can always cheer myself up by jumping on the interwebs and looking at lists of RN ships.  Just imagine being a sailor on the HMS Dido or Porcupine, the Inconstant, the Arrogant, or the Terrible.  Then you'd be lucky, because you won't have to explain your duties on the HMS Tickler, the Plumper, or even the HMS Redbreast.  A very popular silly ship name is, of course, the HMS Gay Viking.

My personal favorite, my pick for the most ridiculous Royal Navy ship name goes to this one:

Ladies and gentlemen, the HMS Cockchafer.  Where the call of "all hands on deck" always met a ready answer.

This is my challenge to you, dear reader.  Can you find a Royal Navy ship with a more ridiculous name than Cockchafer?  I think not, but I challenge you -- mostly because I'm feeling a bit under the weather and could use a laugh -- see if you can come up with a more ludicrous ship than Cockchafer.

Heart of oak are our ships, jolly tars are our men,
We always are ready; steady, boys, steady!
We'll fight and we'll conquer again and again.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Scrambled Eggs

This is the greatest invention that no one has ever needed.  Now you can scramble your eggs inside their shells!  It's a culinary revolution.  It's "a new sensation in eggs on rice."  You know you want it.

Um . . . ew.

And, for no reason at all, here some eggs with Sir Paul.

And, for even less reason, some tossed salad and scrambled eggs.

Ah. Eggcellent.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Six Days Later

This has been a hell of a week in the Hub of the Universe.  I don't need to go over it all again.  Bombs, bullets, pain, fear, mutilation, death.  Then heroism, strength, compassion, unity, professionalism.  Finally, a victory of good over evil, followed by a wave of relief, jubilation, gratitude, and a renewed sense of pride in our old town.  Like I said, it's been a hell of a week.

What now?  That depends on who you are, of course.  Obviously the friends and loved ones of those who lost their lives will never stop feeling the pain of this.  The fifty-two people still in the hospital are not thinking about putting this behind them right now, especially the three people who are still in critical condition.  Officer Donohue, the T cop who took a bullet for us, is just now at the point where he can squeeze his wife's hand.  This hell has not ended for him.

The rest of us, however, are moving on.  As we should.  In the now immortal words of Big Papi, "This is our fucking city, and nobody is going to dictate our freedom."  These little twerps don't get to tell us how we're going live.  We are going to have parades with duck boats, we are going to root for our teams, we're going to walk around, look at the swans in the Public Garden, ride the T, drink Dunkin', and educate the world.  We're going to complain about it to each other and brag about it to everyone else.  Why?  Because we want to, that's why, and nobody can tell us otherwise.

Did they think they were going to stop that with bombs and bullets?  An entire city closed up shop and honored the governor's request to stay off the street so they could hunt these guys down.  An entire city was united behind our professional heroes to defend what was ours and to avenge our fallen.  They thought they were going stop us?

Right now, people are asking why.  Why did these feculent bastards do those terrible things?  The answer is no doubt important, but for most of us it doesn't matter.  Whatever evil ideology or dimwitted motivation twisted these losers into murderous monsters is irrelevant   They will not advance their cause one jot.  Boston will just keep moving, keep running, keep striving, working, studying, growing, and loving, in our own  way and in four million unique ways.

And no one can ever stop us.

We are Boston.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Glenn's Book of Quotes Number Thirty-Six

"Hide not your talents, they for use were made.  What's a sundial in the shade?" -- attributed to Benjamin Franklin
Can't add to Franklin.  Pithiness was one of his talents.