Monthly Archives: August 2012


The most overrated military of all time is — without doubt — that of Sparta. It took them over twenty years to defeat Athens in the Peloponnesian War, and only managed that due to (a) Athens arrogantly turning former allies into client states, none of whom were exactly happy over this turn of events; (b) lots of naval help from Persia; and (c) [arguably] a traitorous betrayal from the aristocratic bloc within Athens itself.

The “War Nerd” doubtless sums it all up better than I ever could, in his review of the execrable “300”.

The second most overrated military of all time? I’d have to say Nazi Germany. They seemingly ran out of useful ideas sometime in early 1942, wasted resources on crackpot nonsense like the V-1 and V-2 rockets, neither of which could carry more than a bucketful of actual explosives, and don’t even get me started on garbage like the “King Tiger” tanks, especially since they actually had a useful tank with the Panther.

Of course, the fact that Hitler basically checked out mentally at some point, that he let his subordinates run amuck building little empires of their own and so on didn’t help much. Instructive to note that the one place Stalin didn’t interfere with his generals with on the tactical front, while that was the one place Hitler actually did continue to keep sticking his beak in. And Stalin would have tolerated the chicanery of a Goering or Himmler for about twelve seconds, before they’d have found themselves with their hands tied behind their backs and bullets in their temples.

Sidenote: Clearly the most successful fascist regime of all time was the USSR under Stalin. The moment the magic wand of “socialism in one country” got waved the USSR certainly ceased being anything Marx would have recognized. (Though IIRC Engels started making some very odd pronouncements toward the end of his life.)






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Whenever I want to give myself a little chuckle, I remember the most famous screech from the orifice of Susan Sonhag, followed by what it was that actually killed her.

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Observation: There’s nothing quite like a Wal-Mart doughnut. As in, bought from their bakery department on the pretense that it was actually baked somewhere within fifty miles of said store.

But they’re really quite amazing. The “glaze” was clearly composed of sugar and something*, but unlike most doughnut shops, no attempt was made to cover the entire doughnut with it. In fact, the way each bit of “glaze” was blobbed on reminded me a bit of  the chunks of skin you can peel off  when a sunburn begins to recede. Not as to color, of course, but certainly as to shape.

And the doughnut itself seemed constructed entirely out of lard, with no taste of flour or whatever else it is one puts in doughnuts. And yet the doughnuts retained their doughnut-y shape, which would be a neat trick indeed from pure lard.

And I just finished the last of the six. Pure bliss. I think I now know how Huxley’s character’s felt as they started off on a Soma Holiday.

“By this time the soma had begun to work. Eyes shone, cheeks were flushed, the inner light of universal benevolence broke out on every face in happy, friendly smiles. Even Bernard felt himself a little melted.”


“..there is always soma, delicious soma, half a gramme for a half-holiday, a gramme for a week-end, two grammes for a trip to the gorgeous East, three for a dark eternity on the moon…”

* – I cannot even hazard a guess as to the “something.” I presume water, but the sugar in the glaze was so powerful it could have been ammonia and I doubt I’d have noticed.

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This is a test.

Theoretically this should post on the Ideology of the Cancer Cell Blog. I’m writing this on Windows Live Writer and bidding it a fond bon voyage with high hopes that it shall reach its destination.

However, If it doesn’t, well I shan’t be a whit surprised. But the various and sundry “improvements” at WordPress of late are driving me batshit crazy. (Or, more likely, crazier. Though given the way the English language is constructed it appears “batshit crazy” is the apex of craziness. I’m honestly not precisely sure what grammatical rules are violated to speak of “batshittier crazy” or “batshit crazier,” or, oddest of all, “batshittier crazier.” But none of them look quite right. That I’ll go by gut on.)  So, I wander back to the evil empire and see what I shall see.

And as I recall Softie actually did a 180° turn on this particular bit of freeware. Earlier versions worked, sort of, but did some very strange things to your posts every once in a while, apparently as a reminder of who is really the boss around here. Not all the time, or even most of the time. Just every once in a while for no reason I could ever figure.

Then they announced they were abandoning WLW altogether. People grumbled, but there was hardly a tidal wave of anger at the prospect, at least that I could see.  And then, out of the blue, Softie reissued/upgraded  it, solving a great many of the previous problems EXCEPT FOR:

  • Images from Photobucket or wherever can be dropped into the post, but thumbnails of the images cannot.  You get a nice l’il red “X,” in spite of the fact that WP does support thumbnails, and this is hardly rocket science HTML (I think? I know beans about HTML so I’m kinda guessing.)
  • WLW does not track post “tags.”  I think if you assign one to the post that is already included on the blog it works, but if you make up a new one it goes to the server in the sky, not into whatever shows up on WP.


Yup, as I suspected. Windows Live Writer(WLW) does “do” images via link from Photobucket or wherever, but gives you the “Red X” treatment if you try to post a thumnail via WLW.

I guess I’ll have to wait and see the actual post to verify whether or not the “Test” tag attached to this message survives. My life is full of such excitement it’s a wonder I can stand it.

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Theme Song for ‘Therapeutic Homicide’?

WTF is up with this page-splitting crap? Someone, somewhere actually considers this an improvement? Whatever. Haven’t heard this song in years,  but I suppose I should thank the non-entities to the North for bringing it back to mind.

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‘Therapeutic Homicide’ Yeeahhh, baby!

'Therapeutic Homicide' Yeeahhh, baby!


The Dying with Dignity commission of the Quebec National Assembly has issued its report after two years of public hearings, consultations with experts and visits to countries where there is now some experience with a range of options on ways of dying. (1) The commission and the Charest government deserve equal praise for their thoughtful report and their courage in addressing this controversial topic. The principal theme of the report holds that palliative care has come of age and is adequate to meet the needs of most dying people; however, it is underprovided, particularly in remote and rural areas. (2) A second important theme concerns “l’aide medicate a mourir”–medical assistance to die. On this subject, the report calls for a change in thinking, arguing that there will still be cases where suffering is great, irreversible and unrelievable, such that the only option is actively helping a person to die.

Document URL

Said URL is about as likely to work as I am, meaning not at all. But, damn, this is good stuff. “Therapeutic homicide” said with a straight face and not even a whiff of an oxymoron in the air.  Two thumbs way up. I know you can’t post full articles, which is just too bad, since the dance around the mulberry bush the authors do regarding consent is amazing to behold. Or rather, amazing that amongst all “blurp, blurp” of “deep concern” and “the continuum of end-of-life care” they never say “Yes, consent in some form will be required,” or “No, the decision about when and where and how therapeutic homicide gets done is purely a medical decision up to the patient’s doctor(s).”

“Therapeutic homicide.” I just love the way it rolls off the tongue.



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August 17, 2012 · 4:36 pm