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Into the Valley of Death (film review)



“The brigade will advance.”

-James Brudenell, Seventh Earl of Cardigan

October 25, 1854  —  Balaclava, The Crimea


The Movie

The film, “Charge of the Light Brigade” (1968) struck me as being a lot closer to a genuine depiction of the events leading up to the epic charge, made immortal by Tennyson, than other productions.

The film is about the folly of war, and the poor state of the British Army and its leadership during the Crimean War (1853–1856). Britain had not fought in a European theatre since the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, and the army had become sclerotic and bound by bureaucracy. Tactical and logistical methodology had not advanced in forty years, and the whole ethos of the army was bound in outmoded social values.

The anti-hero is a relatively competent officer, Captain Louis Nolan (David Hemmings). A veteran of the British Indian Army, Nolan is unusual in the hierarchy of his day both for having combat experience and for having acquired his commission through merited promotion as opposed to purchase. As such he regards many of his colleagues, who are mostly aristocratic dilettantes casual about squandering their subordinates’ lives, with contempt.

The film incorrectly portrays its protagonist Captain Nolan at the center of the ‘black bottle’ affair, when Moselle wine was ordered for a guest rather than the champagne that Lord Cardigan had required. The wine was served in a black bottle, causing Cardigan to assume that the officers were consuming beer, a drink for enlisted men. The officer actually concerned was Captain John Reynolds. It became quite a flap. The uniforms in the film varied slightly from those worn on campaign too. But all in all, it may be said to be a fair representation of events.

The film’s depiction of the Battle of Balaclava shows the initial Russian attack on the redoubts and of course the Charge of the Light Brigade, but elides both the stand of the 93rd Sutherland Highlanders (the “Thin Red Line”) and the Charge of the Heavy Brigade. According to director Tony Richardson, the Heavy Brigade scene was filmed but later cut at the studio’s behest.


The Battle

10:45. “Lord Raglan wishes the cavalry to advance rapidly to the front – follow the enemy and try to prevent the enemy carrying away the (captured British) guns – Troop Horse Artillery may accompany – French cavalry is on your left. R Airey. Immediate.”

Having read the order scribbled down by Airey, Raglan summoned Captain Louis Nolan of the 15th The King’s Hussars, Airey’s hot-tempered aide-de-camp, to deliver it to Lucan. As he turned his horse to head directly down the escarpment, Raglan called after him, “Tell Lord Lucan the cavalry is to attack immediately.” 

Lucan rode over to Cardigan standing in front of his brigade. Both cavalry commanders knew the dangers of attacking down the valley. When Cardigan learned what was expected of his brigade, he questioned the sanity of the order as conveyed to him by Lucan: “… allow me to point out to you that there is a battery in front, battery on each flank, and the ground is covered with Russian riflemen.”

The Light Brigade had formed up in two lines. The 13th Light Dragoons, the 17th Lancers, and the 11th Hussars, formed the first line (the latter regiment was soon moved behind the Lancers to reduce the width of the front). Paget commanded the second line formed by the 4th Light Dragoons and the 8th Hussars. Once the brigade had moved off, Lucan would (according to the plan) follow with the Heavy Brigade in support.

At 11:10 the Light Brigade began their advance towards the Russians guns over a mile (~ 2 km) away. When the first line was clear of the second, the order was given to ‘Trot’. Initially there was nothing to indicate that Cardigan was not going to conform to Raglan’s intentions, and it was only after he had travelled some 200 yards (~180 m) that the enormity of the misconstrued order became apparent to the spectators on the Sapouné Heights. Instead of inclining to the right towards the redoubts on the Causeway Heights and the captured British guns, the Light Brigade continued towards Obolensky’s battery at the end of the valley but it was too late to do anything. Nolan was the first to be killed when he dashed forward ahead of Cardigan, either in an effort to force the pace, or, suddenly realizing the terrible mistake that was being made (and his part in it), in an attempt to change the direction of the brigade towards Raglan’s intended objective. Whatever the reason, Nolan was hit by a splinter from a shell fired from one of the guns positioned on the Fedioukine Heights.

When the proper interval between themselves and the Lights had developed, Lucan led the Heavy Brigade forward. The Heavies were also hit—Lucan himself was slightly wounded, and his horse hit twice – but these men would have suffered more casualties had it not been for the charge of the 150 men of the Chasseurs d’Afrique. The French cavalry had formed up to the left of the British position. When they had seen the Light Brigade cut up, Major Abdelal led an attack up the Fedioukine Heights to charge the flank of the Russian battery, forcing them to drag away their guns.

Lord Lucan, wounded – concluding that the Light Brigade would be wiped out before they reached the Russians at the end of the valley – ordered the Heavy Brigade to halt their advance and retire, leaving Cardigan’s men without support. Turning to Lord Paulet, he justified his action and his desire to preserve at least half of his cavalry division, “They have sacrificed the Light Brigade; they shall not have the Heavy, if I can help it.”

At 11:15, the eight Russian guns on the Causeway Heights opened up on the Light Brigade, whose front line was now more than halfway down the valley; for the next 400 yards (~365 m) the men also came under fire from the guns to their front. At a distance of 250 yards (~ 230 m) from Obolensky’s battery, Cardigan ordered his bugler to sound the ‘Gallop’. “And so we went through this scene of carnage,” reported Paget, “wondering each moment which would be our last … It required a deal of closing in, by this time, to fill up the vacant gaps.” Cardigan now ordered the ‘Charge’. Some amongst the gun crews now doubted they could stop the advance – they could now see the lowered lances of the 17th Lancers. Having fired their last shot of canister some of the Russian artillerymen turned to run; others, knowing the consequences of turning their backs on cavalry, drew their swords.

At 11:17, half of the original 250 men of the 17th and 13th reached Obolensky’s battery. Some of the survivors fought with the Russians and tried to capture their guns; others reformed into small groups and prepared to charge the Russian cavalry standing 100 yards (~90 m) to the rear. Ryzhov had expected to mop up any Light Brigade survivors but his hussars and Cossacks, unnerved by the British horsemen, panicked and wheeled to escape. “Some of the men fired on their own comrades to clear a passage for themselves,” wrote Lieutenant Kubitovich. “Our hussars were pressed as far as the Chernaya river where there was only one bridge by which they could escape.”

The 11th Hussars now joined the mêlée. Colonel Douglass, with 80 survivors, charged and pushed other Russian cavalry back to the Chernaya. Paget’s 4th Light Dragoons were next to reach the line of cannon, engaging in some ‘fierce hand-to-hand encounters’ with the surviving gunners, before he too led his regiment after the fleeing Russians. Last to reach the objective were Colonel Shewell and the 8th Hussars. The regiment missed the battery altogether, except for few on the extreme left who went amongst the remaining artillerymen stubbornly resisting; but the bulk of the regiment halted behind the guns and formed up in line.

All the survivors of the Light Brigade were now behind the Russian guns in the valley, yet the turning point of the action was the realization that Lucan and the Heavy Brigade was not following in support.

Russian officers, noticing how vastly superior their numbers were, managed to halt their retreat near the Chernaya, and edge forward their men. The Russian lancer regiments waiting on heights were now ordered down into the valley to form a line behind the British (the 13th, 17th, and 8th on the right of the valley, the 11th and 4th on the left) and block their route of escape. Those watching with Raglan thought the Light Brigade completely lost, but unexpectedly the two groups of survivors managed to break through the Russian trap. Still far from the British line, however, they once again came under fire from the guns and marksmen on the Causeway Heights. “The truth must be told,” recorded Lieutenant Koribut Kubitovich, “that this fire hit us just as it did the enemy,” but admitted that, “The English fought with astounding bravery, and when we approached their dismounted and wounded men, even these refused to surrender and continued to fight till the ground was soaked with their blood.”

Most of the survivors were back at the British lines by 12:00; the whole affair had lasted no more than 20 minutes.

Of the 666 men known to have ridden in the charge (sources vary slightly), 271 became casualties: 110 killed (less than 17%), 129 wounded, plus another 32 wounded and taken prisoner. Additionally, 375 horses were killed.

The Thin Red Line (93rd Highlanders)

Add Title…




BMPT “Terminator”

It’s a heavy IFV, born out of the Russian’s experiences fighting Chechen rebels. The US is searching for an infantry fighting vehicle to replace the M-2 Bradley. It’s heresy to suggest that they look at the Russian entry for inspiration — but.


USMC Husky M-8478B

The Marines bought a number of Husky’s from South Africa, then license built them in the USA. They’re used for mine clearance.

I saw a Husky hit some HME on an MSR and it blew the the wheels and arm off and flipped the chassis up into the air about 40 ft. Hit the ground and rolled. The Marine got out of it and shook it off like a champ.

They are also used upon occasion as tanning beds when not operational.


Czech SOF Tatra 815

4×4 battlewagon, armed with 2x PKBs, 1x NSV and 1x AGS-17. There are a lot of warriors with egos. Would you really want people to learn that you were killed while riding in a Czech Tatra? Whatever happened, you wouldn’t want it on your headstone.


Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia

It is the fourth largest economic power in Latin America and home to the second largest Spanish-speaking community in the world, only behind Mexico.


A Family Miracle

Sean had long heard the story of a family tradition. His father, his grandfather and his great grandfather had all been able to walk on water on their 18th birthday.

On that special day, they would walk across the lake to their local pub, Murphy’s Bar, for their first legal drink.

When Sean’s 18th birthday arrived, he and his friend, Mick, took a boat and rowed out into the middle of the lake and Sean stepped out of the boat. He immediately sank and nearly drowned. He was only save by Mick’s quick action, wherein he was pulled back into the boat to safety.

Furious, confused, and sad, all at the same time, he went to see his grandmother.

“Gran, ’tis my 18th birthday. So why can’t I walk across the water, like my father and grandfather and his father before him?

Grandma looked deep into Sean’s troubled eyes and said, “Because they were all born in January, and the lake was frozen over. You were born in August, ye fookin’ idiot.”


Representational Shifts

With a general sense that election integrity is somewhere between unreliable, laughable and felonious, borrowing a line from Hillary at the Benghazi Hearings, “what difference does it make?”





Fishwrap Friday



The fish rots from the head down. True with fish and political systems…

RE: Floyd

Here is the omnibus count against all four officers for failing to render medical assistance:

On or about May 25, 2020, in the State and District of Minnesota, the defendants, DEREK MICHAEL CHAUVIN, TOU THAO, J. ALEXANDER KUENG, and THOMAS KIERNAN LAIIE, while acting under color of law, willfully deprived George Floyd of the right, secured and protected by the Constitution and laws of the United States, not to be deprived of liberty without due process of law, which includes an arrestee’s right to be free from a police officer’s deliberate indifference to his serious medical needs. Specifically, the defendants saw George Floyd lying on the ground in clear need of medical care, and willfully failed to aid Floyd, thereby acting with deliberate indifference to a substantial risk of harm to Floyd. This offense resulted in bodily injury to, and the death of, George Floyd.

Since when was it against FEDERAL LAW to fail to render medical aid (outside federal property)?  Or even on federal property?

Has anyone EVER been charged with that offense?

Would the Minnesota police officers be eligible for early release under the progressive California philosophy – since everyone is making this up as they go?



Some of the most dangerous places in America are its prisons (armed guards and security notwithstanding). The progs in California have the answer to safer prisons. They’ll release 63,000 prisoners onto the street to keep prisons safe. Why didn’t I think of that? If prisons are empty, they’re safe. It takes a 4 1/2 hat size to come up with a plan like that.

Of those who are set to be released, nearly 20,000 are serving life sentences.



Submarine Coms

The diagrams don’t reflect the way that US submarines communicate, but they do show options that other nations, presumably, are communicating.

Because radio waves do not travel well through good electrical conductors like salt water, submerged submarines are cut off from radio communication with their command authorities at ordinary radio frequencies. Surfacing to chat is like holding up an illuminated sign that reads, SINK ME.

A few nations have built transmitters which use extremely low frequency (ELF) radio waves, which can penetrate seawater to reach submarines at operating depths, but these require huge antennas. Other techniques that have been used include encrypted sonar and blue lasers.

In April 2017, NATO’s Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation announced the approval of JANUS, a standardized protocol to transmit digital information underwater using acoustic sound (as modems and fax machines did over analog telephone lines). It uses 900Hz to 60kHz frequencies at distances of up to 20 miles. It is available for use with military and civilian, NATO and non-NATO devices.


Most people will never visit Kazakhstan


High Angle of Attack

Wars and Rumors


Barbary Wars – The Derna Campaign

After marching 500 miles from Egypt, U.S. agent William Eaton lead a small force of U.S. Marines and Berber mercenaries against the Tripolitan port city of Derna. The Marines and Berbers were on a mission to depose Yusuf Karamanli, the ruling pasha of Tripoli, who had seized power from his brother, Hamet Karamanli, a pasha who was sympathetic to the United States.

The First Barbary War had begun four years earlier, when U.S. President Thomas Jefferson ordered U.S. Navy vessels to the Mediterranean Sea in protest of continuing raids against U.S. ships by pirates from the Barbary states—Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, and Tripolitania. American sailors were often abducted along with the captured booty and ransomed back to the United States at an exorbitant price. After two years of minor confrontations, sustained action began in June 1803, when a small U.S. expeditionary force attacked Tripoli harbor in present-day Libya.

In April 1805, a major American victory came during the Derna campaign, which was undertaken by U.S. land forces in North Africa. Supported by the heavy guns of the USS Argus and the USS Hornet, Marines and Arab mercenaries under William Eaton captured Derna and deposed Yusuf Karamanli.

Lieutenant Presley O’ Bannon, commanding the Marines, performed so heroically in the battle that Hamet Karamanli presented him with an elaborately designed sword that now serves as the pattern for the swords carried by Marine officers. The phrase “to the shores of Tripoli,” from the official song of the U.S. Marine Corps, also has its origins in the Derna campaign

During the Cold War

Balao-class submarine USS Stickleback after being struck by USS Silverstein. During a simulated torpedo run on Silverstein, Stickleback lost power and broached approximately 200 yards (180 m) ahead of the destroyer escort. Silverstein, which holed the submarine on her port side. Stickleback‘s crew was removed by a torpedo retriever and at 18:57 on 29 May 1958, Stickleback sank in 1,800 fathoms (3,300 m) of water.

Note the Dates


The Norman Expansion

With England conquered, Norman expansion continued in Italy and the Mediterranean under the impetus of individual initiatives. Several Norman aristocrats, hired as mercenaries by the Byzantines, seized in the eleventh century Sicily, southern Italy, 11th-12th century.

The Fall and Rise of French Seapower

French Dreadnaught, Provence


Book Review

This blog’s readership understands that seapower is one focus of Virtual Mirage, and that praise is dolled out along with criticism when it is due. The book being reviewed, “The Fall and Rise of French Seapower: France’s Quest for an Independent Naval Policy 1940-1963”, by Hugues Canuel, published by the US Naval Institute Press, begins with the Second World War and ends in the Fifth Republic.

The Fall and Rise of French Sea Power explores the renewal of French naval power from the fall of France in 1940 through the first two decades of the Cold War. The Marine national continued fighting after the Armistice, a service divided against itself. The destruction of French sea power at the hands of the Allies, the Axis, and fratricidal confrontations in the colonies continued unabated until the scuttling of the Vichy fleet in 1942.

Twenty years later, Charles de Gaulle announced a plan to complement the country’s nuclear deterrent with a force of nuclear-powered, ballistic missile-carrying submarines. Completing the rebuilding effort that followed the nadir in Toulon, this force provided the means to make the Marine national a fully-fledged blue-water navy again, ready to face the complex circumstances of the Cold War.

Hugues Canuel demonstrated that the renaissance of French sea power was shaped by a naval policy formulated within a strategy of alliance closely adapted to the needs of a continental state with worldwide interests. By doing so, the reader has cause for reflection on 2021, where the same thing is happening. It’s not in the book, but that’s one reason this book is important. History repeats and by understanding the situation in the Fifth Republic, we can better comprehend what we see today.


Narco Seapower: Realities and Rumors




It’s Cincode-Mayo, commemorating the Battle of Puebla, and celebrated in the US – but not so much in Mexico. There will be tacos eaten, Corona and Negro Modelo downed by the case. So how are we celebrating here at Virtual Mirage? A roast beef sandwich, side of coleslaw, and a Diet DP. I had chicken tacos last night for dinner…


And a discussion of Narco Subs





The cartels have built and operated the first commercially viable submarines in history. They are made to meet the requirements of the mission at hand and to operate profitably.


Some are caught, most make it through – or enough to make it financially profitable to keep making them.


The majority are low-observability surface skimmers.

The cartels learn from their mistakes.


There is a rumor

Russian 865 – Piranha

The rumor is that the narcos bought a Project 865 Soviet Submarine from the Russian reserve fleet. Only two 865 boats were built, MS-520 and MS-521. I don’t know which one of the two was purchased – about 15-16 years ago.  They docked it in Guaymas in a specially built facility. Not really a sub pen, but sort of a “beach house” that extended into the water and housed the boat. It would be loaded, would leave in darkness and submerge and travel through the Sea of Cortez and north along the shore to disgorge its cargo through two torpedo tubes. Pangas (small open boats) picked up the cocaine when it floated to the surface off the Orange County/San Diego County coast.

The original crew was Russian, but was replaced by Mexicans in time and it experienced operational problems and a lack of spare parts. Russian mechanics remained in Mexico to work on the submarine.

The 865 displaced 390 tons submerged, was 92.5′ long and drew 17′. It was rated for a maximum depth of nearly 1,000′, but operationally, they kept it near periscope depth because it was mechanically unsound. It traveled at about 7 kn/h, which is very slow, but it was a full displacement submergence submarine and it made the trip such that it paid for itself in a few trips.

Customs/Border Protection and the Coast Guard reported the presence of the submarine and US Naval assets reportedly tracked it. The Navy didn’t sink it, but reported their activities through classified channels.  US operatives attempted to have the Mexican Navy (SEMAR) sink it, but they declined, allegedly.

The diagram above, illustrates that it drew a lot of water in a dock. Dredging was allegedly required to build a channel for the submarine to reach the facility in Guaymas.

If it truly existed, I have no idea what the fate of the Narco/Russian 865 Class boat was. I expect that they sank it dry somewhere off the coast where a diver could get to it and lock in if they needed to. Rumors were that the boat became too unsafe to operate and the cost to repair it became prohibitive. The cheaper narco-subs (see top of this blog) took its place.

Conspiracies Abound




Does the path of the Oreo lead to the Holy Grail? 


Secrets of the Oreo Cookie

Now you know.


More from Business Insider

This and That

Babylon Five



There have been a lot of Space Operas

I liked the Vorlons in Babylon 5 because they didn’t say much. I also liked the actress, Mira Furlan, best known for her roles as Delenn on “Babylon 5” and Danielle Rousseau on “Lost.” She died in January of this year at age 65. She died from West Nile Virus, not from the more popular COVID plague.



For Michigan’s governor, the 645-mile pipeline jeopardizes the Great Lakes. For Canada’s natural resources minister, its continued operation is “nonnegotiable.”


Why are Masks Mandatory?

From the American Thinker

From the article…In this fictional example, you can begin to see what the ramifications of this policy would be.  Within weeks, the majority of Americans would stop wearing masks.  (Along with social distancing, and lockdowns, and getting the vaccine).  People would actually begin to associate non-masking people with safety, while mask-wearing people would signal danger.  The danger of the unvaccinated.

The government has just lost all control.  Do you really think these people will give up their newfound power so easily?  I’m afraid not.  I imagine that their Big Tech partners are working furiously building a mandatory vaccine passport system as you read this.  Until that is up and running, you can expect the regime to continue requiring all people to wear masks, especially those who have been “vaccinated.”


Future San Francisco Pizza Delivery


The Left Satirizes Itself

But they don’t think that they are stupid — they think that they are uber cool. It’s like the nerd that emerges from the restroom, trailing toilet paper from a shoe… every day. People tape “STUPID” on their backs and they wear it all day, basking in their wokeness.


Pushing the trend

From the people I’ve spoken to, the police have heard what the American people are saying through their mouthpieces in the media.


It’s time for some Maps

South America is home to the Andes mountain range where one of the highest mountains in the world are located. There is Acongagua – the tallest mountain outside Asia, Ojos del Salado – the tallest volcano in the world and Chimborazo – technically the closest place to space on Earth because it is located on the equatorial bulge.





Of Passing Interest




No, I’m not obsessed with Canada.  …but

The line dividing Northern and Southern Canada according to Statistics Canada.


Everything that’s free is paid for by somebody who works.



Moving to California was THE DREAM even 10 years ago.

Now it costs five times more to rent a moving truck to leave California as opposed to renting a truck and moving there. In fact, if you push it, you can likely rent the truck free of charge just to drive it there because the demand to leave is so high.

That’s how fast Democrats can destroy a state.

Furthermore I’m tired of our ancestors being compared to today’s migrants. Settling an undeveloped land, and building a civilization is not comparable to moving to a post-industrial nation and signing up for welfare and a free ObamaPhone.



I’ve been following the price of lumber. Do you think that I should sell my house for parts?


Do you need an 8 Shot Magnum?

Here’s the write-up.


I remember when Comedy was funny


Shark Art


MiG 21

Czech Air Force

A lot of people have uncharitable things to say about the MiG 21, but they were rugged and in their sphere of operation, they were effective enough.


Small Self-Defense Contraptions

I have no problem with brass knuckles. In fact, I like them. The modern variants are made of polymer and are also effective. I think that small firearms have their place.

However, when you combine the two and add a wonky little spike?

If you punch somebody with something like this little novelty weapon, would it break all of the fragile working parts?

Manufactured in the United States, inspired by Dolne’s Apache revolver – .32 cap and ball, underhammer percussion lock, brass frame and knuckle duster grip, blued steel rotating blade.


The defeat of Agincourt opened the way for the English conquest of Normandy.

Between 1417 and 1450 the duchy was under direct administration of the English, who planned to install a population of settlers. Resistance to the English was harshly repressed.

The Canadian Language, News, etc.



In the News

Microsoft founder Bill Gates, 65, to divorce Melinda, 56, after 27 years of marriage: The couple, worth $124 billion, announced the split in a joint Twitter post and say they ‘can no longer grow together’. I wonder if they will have to divide Twitter followers in the same way they’ll divide the loot?

Bill, as a bachelor, Bill will continue to focus on building better viruses and trying to block out the Sun (see The Matrix). Melinda will continue her physical therapy with the pool boy – or something.


Fox News: Mystery surrounds status of CNN’s Toobin after Zoom masturbation scandal.


Is LSP Headed for DOGECOIN riches …more here.  When interviewed by this blog as to why he went heavy into Dog Cryptocurrency (DOGECOIN),  LSP’s answer was as cryptic as the coin. Some speculate that there is a new Lambo in his future. Others have placed wagers that he’ll launch his new fishing yacht in Lake Whitney and clean out the striped bass.  Whichever way it goes, we expect him to remain humble, and invite us all to his new hunting ranch in Texas. He may buy the Brazos River instead. Nobody knows which way he will leap  when he cashes in. LSP has a family connection to Canada – some wonder if he will buy Manitoba instead? I’m pushing him to buy the Yukon instead but he rarely listens to me. The people in the Yukon know how to drink (see below).


In Canada the per capita sales per year of alcohol is $724. Here’s breakdown by province/territory


Do you Speak Canadian?

SOURCE – This is How Canada Talks.


And now, you know.


Walking through Life



Cow shoes used by moonshiners in the Prohibition days to disguise their footprints, 1924

If you walk through life, should you do it as a cow? I think not.


(why is “if” at the center of Life?)



This sort of reminds me of me, a long time ago… ok, if  I’d been in the Army, and I wasn’t. All the same, I think that a lot of people can relate. What use is a war if you can’t have a little fun before you die?





Does the Army have more fun than the Navy?

I attended a community meeting on Saturday. I sat in the front/middle because there were a lot of hard feelings and I wanted to be in the splash zone if things got nasty.  What’s wrong with that? The Chief Deputy Sheriff of the county where I live, looked at me as if he was worried. He was there to keep the peace, and sized up the people present. I got a kick out of his reaction to me… But I was the least upset. And in point of fact, I didn’t say a single word. Ok, I did say, “bullshit” once, but there were a lot of people saying that, louder than I was.

Community meetings, to test the mood of “We the People” are important.

It’s said – in the Northern Arizona Area – that the really hard ex-SF people live in compounds on patent land within the boundaries of  the national forest, and don’t wish to be disturbed. I think that the rumor is a bit overblown, but people do tend to leave us alone… until there is a public meeting and we have to leave our bunkers.



The Psyche mission is a journey to Psyche, a unique metal asteroid orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter. What makes the asteroid Psyche unique is that it appears to be the exposed nickel-iron core of an early planet, one of the building blocks of our solar system.

NASA has selected SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, to provide launch services for the agency’s Psyche mission. The Psyche mission currently is targeted to launch in July 2022 on a Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.


White Privilage

A rural mother and three of her children living in a field near the Tennessee River during the Great Depression. March, 1936.




Captioned Photo (blog header): de Havilland Sea Vixen FAW2

It was the first British two-seat combat aircraft to achieve supersonic speed, albeit not in level flight. It was replaced in the fleet by the F-4 Phantom. The British called it the FG1, but it was still a Phantom.

I wouldn’t want to go to war in a Sea Vixen. Neither would I wish to take one supersonic. The British Admiralty had a similar take on it:

A Few Maps and So Forth



A Colorado Tornado Map (h/t Frank)

My preferred vacationing areas in San Juan, Hinsdale and Ouray Counties have been spared. I don’t personally take credit for that, mind you (not full credit)… I hope to be fishing in San Cristobal Lake at some point this summer, free of tornadoes.

You’ll note, of course, that WSF’s beloved Weld County has been beset by twisters regularly. I am not blaming Him specifically —  not specifically. You can make up your own mind.


In which sectors is China investing  in Africa, 2000-2017?




France at War

The sudden demise of Chad’s long-time president—followed by a military takeover—have raised questions about the continuation of its role as an ally in the battle against violent Islamism.


Global Linguistic Diversity

Sunday Sermonette

LDS Temple - Snowflake, AZ



Buddhist Temple, Austin, TX


There are LOTS of Feast Days

Today is the day of the feast of St. Wilborada. A martyred nun, born at Klingna, Aargau, Switzerland, she belonged to the Swabian nobility. When her brother Hatto entered the Benedictines at St. Gall, she went with him and worked as a bookbinder and lived for a time as a recluse. I can’t view it as a step up from life in the castle as a noble woman – but I’m just reporting this. I don’t have a lot of granular details.

Eventually, she desired to exist as a hermit and to be walled up as an anchoress**. Before the monastic leaders of St. Gall would acquiesce, she was forced to endure an ordeal by fire, which sounds none too pleasant. There is no telling why they did this. She was noted for her austerity and holiness. Most people who went through this ordeal died of their injuries. That she didn’t was one of the miracles required of a saint.

During the First Crusade, the mystic Peter Bartholomew allegedly went through the ordeal by fire in 1099 by his own choice to disprove a charge that his claimed discovery of the Holy Lance was fraudulent. He died as a result of his injuries. So much for THAT being the Holy Lance.

One of St. Wilborada’s visions told of her own martyrdom, which came to pass when invading Magyars of Hungary murdered her in her cell. If she had been walled up, she would have likely survived the attack and wouldn’t have ended up as a saint and martyr. So things worked out, I guess.

**An anchoress was a woman who was walled into a cell to live a life of prayer and contemplation. (The male equivalent was an ‘anchorite’.) Anchoresses were enclosed in their cells and had no way to get out. Food and water would be delivered through a hole in a wall and waste material would be removed by bucket in the same way. (riddle me this: would you ever get accustomed to your own smell?) Anchorites were turned out of their cells in England under King Henry VIII.  I can imagine that locked in a totally black place with sensory denial that you’d have some interesting dreams (see right).


The Italians cornered the market!


Wear Your Seatbelt

(The Bee) ATLANTA, GA—The CDC has issued brand new recommendations regarding the wearing of seat belts. Health experts there are now recommending people wear a seat belt, even when outside the car.

“This guidance is especially important if you’re in a large group of people at the park or an outdoor event,” said Dr. Stiku Pumybum. “Risk of collisions leading to bone breaks or concussions dramatically increase in large groups of people. Billions could die!”

When pressed regarding what gives the CDC authority to comment on seat belt usage, they clarified that these were simply recommendations based on the latest scientific research, for the sake of public health. When further asked how exactly a seat belt that’s not anchored to anything can protect anyone, they replied with a statement saying “SHUT UP IT’S SCIENCE!”

The Federal Government has responded with a nationwide seat belt order for all public parks, buildings, and sidewalks.

“I don’t know what’s so hard about this,” said Biden as his aides handed him a juice box and tightened his 5-point harness. “Just wear the dang seatbelt folks!”

Bob’s Quality Seat Belt Company concurred with the CDC findings and confirmed that new “outdoor seatbelts” are now on sale for $59.99.


On Liberalism

Liberalism is a dead end. The humanist “enlightenment” was a bad idea. Humanist anything is a bad idea, for man is not the measure of all things. Man is not even the measure of himself. Maximizing freedom for its own sake has given us clown-world. What matters is the Good, and laws that promote the Good. Letting each man define the Good for himself is modernist nonsense. We should repent of it.


From the Far Side


Fun with Captions








How Toxic?




The answer is: “pretty damned toxic”.

The US Navy identified the principle threat to the safety and security of the United States, and it’s not what you think. CDR Salamander cites the study that helps found the direction of the Defense Department going forward. …more here

Again, listen to his extended remarks. At a time when we need innovative thought, daring, and the creative friction that comes from contrasting solutions addressing challenges to our nation’s security, what do the three items above accomplish in support of that goal? Who do they protect? Who do they punish?

More importantly, what type of person does that kind of culture attract and promote, versus the kind of person that culture repels and rejects?


Professional Athletes

Many of America’s Special Forces are essentially professional athletes. For much the same reason that there are no female players in the National Football League, there are no females green berets or SEALS – but wait. Adding females, even unqualified females, would tend to reduce toxic masculinity in those male-dominated service branches. Until now, females were blocked because they were unable to meet very stringent standards – but the bar is about to be lowered.

(See article above)

Nobody expects to see females on the line in the NFL anytime soon.



I’m cool with running them down. Then again, I’m a toxic male.





Historical Drollery

The Pagans started May Day and then the Communists Co-Opted it for themselves.

The ancient festival of spring included naked dances (Roman Festival of Floralia) around a Maypole, singing, and cake. (not necessarily in that order). Ovid wrote that rabbits and goats were released, and then caught and BBQ’d as part of the festivities. Later in Roman history,  Maiouma, was a nocturnal dramatic festival, held every three years and known as Orgies, that is, the Mysteries of Dionysus and Aphrodite and that it was “known as the Maioumas because it is celebrated in the month of May-Artemisios”. In 1889, May Day was chosen as the date for International Workers’ Day by the Socialists and Communists of the Second International to commemorate the Haymarket affair in Chicago. I have always suspected that the commies chose the day so that they could squeeze in an orgy with the comrades after marching for world socialism – they always embraced paganism as they do now.

When I was in grammar school, May Day was recognized but nobody ran around naked and we didn’t raise our fists and sing the Internationale. I didn’t know that it was a big deal in Russia back when I was in the fourth grade. Back then, we were still doing duck-and-cover drills anticipating the detonation of incoming nuclear missiles/warheads from the Soviet Union, so they weren’t popular.

(the Russian parade linked above was Party parade May 9, 2019, 74th Anniversary of the Great Patriotic War, so it’s not a May Day Celebration in the communist mold**).

**The Russian Federation is a Christian nation and the Soviet Union was not, so I doubt that they’d countenance the old pagan festival.


Understanding the Space Medium

This article first appeared on Virtual Mirage eight years ago. It’s as true now as it was then.

The space between Earth and the Sun is full of particles and at times there is more or less interstellar dust (that scientists refer to as interstellar clouds). Interstellar dust isn’t made up primarily of water vapor the way terrestrial clouds are, but the impact is the same. Less sunlight hits the planet when the solar system is traveling through a cloud.

Scientists, including University of New Hampshire astrophysicists involved in NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) mission, have discovered that the particles streaming into the solar system from interstellar space have likely changed direction over the last 40 years.

Scientists are now gaining deeper insight into the dynamic nature of the interstellar winds, which has major implications on the size, structure, and nature of our sun’s heliosphere — the gigantic bubble that surrounds our solar system and helps shield us from dangerous incoming galactic radiation.

The results, based on data spanning four decades from 11 different spacecraft, including IBEX, were published in the journal Science September 5, 2013.

“It was very surprising to find that changes in the interstellar flow show up on such short time scales because interstellar clouds are astronomically large,” says Eberhard Möbius, UNH principal scientist for the IBEX mission and co-author on the Sciencepaper. Adds Möbius, “However, this finding may teach us about the dynamics at the edges of these clouds — while clouds in the sky may drift along slowly, the edges often are quite fuzzy and dynamic. What we see could be the expression of such behavior.”

“Prior to this study, we were struggling to understand why our current measurements from IBEX differed from those of the past,” says co-author Nathan Schwadron, lead scientist for the IBEX Science Operations Center at UNH. “We are finally able to resolve why these fundamental measurements have been changing with time: we are moving through a changing interstellar medium.”

Journal Reference:
P. C. Frisch, M. Bzowski, G. Livadiotis, D. J. McComas, E. Moebius, H.- R. Mueller, W. R. Pryor, N. A. Schwadron, J. M. Sokol, J. V. Vallerga, J. M. Ajello. Decades-Long Changes of the Interstellar Wind Through Our Solar System.Science, 2013; 341 (6150): 1080 DOI:10.1126/science.1239925

There are a number of things that impact Earth’s climate, not the least of which involves the region of space that we’re traveling through. There are credible theories that man-made greenhouse gas is helping to avert an ice age. 15,000 years ago, the northern hemisphere was under 3,000 feet of ice.



Let’s caption it “white privilege”.



USGOV is phasing out the CH-53 without a suitable replacement. I like them. They define multi-mission and heavy lift, and when they are turned into MH-53 Pave Low Gunships, they have awesome capability. But they’ve been retired. Too long in the tooth.

They were replaced by the HH-60W Pave Hawk, which is much smaller (below).

$809,000 per Shovel-Ready Job



PLEASE STOP buying Chinese made products over the Internet. Look at the label, dig a little deeper if you must – but boycott Chinese goods.  — thank you.


This is not a GPS

This will work when your GPS battery is dead or the satellite network goes down.


How Much?

(Washington Examiner) President Joe Biden’s “infrastructure” plan is called the American Jobs Plan, but it doesn’t focus much on infrastructure and wouldn’t create many jobs. A more appropriate name for the $2.2 trillion proposal would be the “American Debt Plan.”

Former President Barack Obama’s “stimulus” bill, which Congress passed in 2009 with Biden as vice president, cost taxpayers a cool $278,000 for every new job added or saved, based on estimates from Obama’s hand-picked economists. Biden’s “infrastructure” plan might have trouble matching even that pathetic record. The plan’s overarching philosophy appears to be that the private sector doesn’t create jobs but government creates jobs.

Moody’s Analytics projects that Biden’s “infrastructure” plan would result in there being 2.7 million additional nonfarm jobs by 2030 at a total cost of $2,183,800,000,000. That works out to $809,000 per job — nearly three times as much as those under Obama’s failed “stimulus” bill. Yet Transportation Secretary Pete (Butt Guy) Buttigieg said that creating fewer than 3 million jobs at the cost of more than $2 trillion “is a great place to be.”


Fishwrap Friday



Friday Fish Creation

Some people prefer to eat fish on Friday. I know that there is a religious echo there but it doesn’t make much sense unless you’re going to eat cilantro lime shrimp tacos. Then any excuse is a good one.

Fishwrap Friday was a staple of this blog for some time. I am not quite sure how they differ from other blog posts since the content is all over the map.


Leon Trotsky aka Lev Davidovich Bronstein (1879 -1940), revolutionary and political theorist. The mugshots were taken at St. Petersburg police station after Trotsky was arrested for helping to organize the failed Russian Revolution of 1905. He was exiled to Siberia (again) but escaped.

Some say he was frozen, thawed and now hosts the TV series, Ancient Aliens.


Polishing off the Wounded

“‘How many men in your squad?’ asked the officer.

‘Fourteen, chief.’

‘Well, here, take these fourteen cutlasses; give one of them to each man.’

‘These are arms for murderers, not for soldiers,’ I exclaimed.

‘It matters little to me,’ said the officer, pushing me out the door, ‘and keep your opinions to yourself.’

No, I won’t keep these reflections to myself, and I’ll explain it to my comrades, the way it was clearly told elsewhere, that they were for finishing off the wounded and for killing prisoners.

‘Well, my cutlass won’t be used for such crimes,’ I told them, and right in front of everybody I tossed mine onto the roof of an adjacent house.”

-from Poilu, by WWI French Corporal Louis Barthas

The word cutlass is a literal translation of ‘coutelas’ which in this case would refer to the long butcher knives issued early on in the war, as mentioned in a letter from the frontline c.September 1915:

“Met Balat. He also has a butcher knife, there are fifty of those per company. It’s a war of knives in the 20th century. What will we do with them ? Finish off the wounded of course. It’s awful what’s about to happen.” -Pvt. Georges Ripoull

A military knife – a coutelas – above, from that era. Also functional as a butcher’s knife. Either way you look at it, it’s harvesting meat. War is hell.


Bye Bye, Miss American Pie

The day the music died. On February 3, 1959, American rock and roll musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and “The Big Bopper” J. P. Richardson was killed in a plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, together with pilot Roger Peterson.


Mass-Produced Turkish Drone

The Bayraktar Akıncı (Turkish pronunciation: [Bayraktar Akıncı]) is a High-Altitude Long-Endurance (HALE) Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle (UCAV)

AKINCI drone armed tests – with MAM-T, MAM-L and MAM-C munitions, also Turkish made.


Why Should the Post Office Spy on Us?

The U.S. Postal Service admitted during a Wednesday meeting to spying on citizens with its law enforcement arm, claiming it worked with other agencies to track Americans’ social media posts.

Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale briefed lawmakers on the Oversight Committee regarding the program known as iCOP, or Internet Covert Operations Program.

Isn’t their job to deliver the mail? What am I missing? I realize that it’s now in Vogue to spy on American citizens who hold opinions different that Jo/Ho. I realize that if I question the 2020 National Election’s legitimacy that I’m viewed as an enemy of the State.

But why the post office?




Yes, it’s blog filler, but it’s also Friday…


Roomba Wars


Snack Time


General B. S.



Plague News

The famous/infamous Dr. Fauci (who is characterized as “America’s doctor” on CNN) made a statement last week that scientists found a variant of the plague that “evades the test”. He explains that you may be sick with an illness that presents with no symptoms, cannot be verified with a test to confirm that you have it — and because of this threat, you still need to wear your obedience mask.

Now that I think about the situation, it might be better for all of our sakes if YOU stopped breathing. Come on, take one for the team.



Historian Nicholas Lambert, author of the April Proceedings piece “What is a Navy for,” suggested defining “sea control” broadly as being “the free flow of commerce” as the highest objective in peacetime and, when necessary, in conflict.

There is a problem in America. I can’t speak to anywhere else, in that the man on the street has no idea where “stuff” comes from. That applies to food, fuel, building materials, clothing/textiles and just about everything. It’s not just where it comes from but the logistics train that exists to bring that stuff to the consumer.

Maritime transport is the backbone of international trade and the global economy. Around 80 per cent of global trade by volume and over 70 per cent of global trade by value are carried by sea and are handled by ports worldwide. Insuring that it continues to function is one key reason for the existence of a navy.

I know that I’m on a bit of a rant, and that I have bias toward navies, but seaborne commerce is something that Americans take completely for granted.


Arcane Information

I know that there is an expectation by some of this blog’s readers for this sort of critical information.

King Edward I appointed the first English admiral in 1297. He was Wilkiam de Leyburn, given the splendid title of “ Admiral of the sea of the King of England”. The Royal Navy has had admirals since at least as far back as the 16th century.

By the time of Queen Elizabeth I the fleet had become so large that it was organized into three color- coded squadrons: red for the admiral’s, white for the vice- admiral’s and blue for the rear-admiral’s.

Later, as the number of ships in the fleet grew further, and the squadrons into which they were divided became larger, three admirals were allocated to each battle fleet (based on the line of battle) – a full admiral in command in the center, a vice-admiral as his second in command taking the van (forward) and a rear-admiral as third in command in the rear. These ranked in the order red, white and blue and admirals took rank according to the color of their squadron.

Red squadron center (1596-1864):

Admiral of the Red, Vice- Admiral of the Red and Rear- Admiral of the Red

White squadron van/front (1596-1864):

Admiral of the White, Vice- Admiral of the White and Rear- Admiral of the White

Blue squadron wyng/rear (1596-1864):

Admiral of the Blue, Vice- Admiral of the Blue, Rear- Admiral of the Blue

Some officers were promoted to rear admiral, but to no particular squadron. They were known colloquially as yellow admirals.

In 1864 the organization of the British fleet into colored squadrons fell into disuse. The red ensign was allocated to the merchant navy, the Royal Navy adopted the white ensign, and the blue ensign was used by the naval reserve and naval auxiliary vessels.


We live in Dark Times


No Snow, Time to Go!

Changes to Naval Special Warfare (SEALs)



>>CAVEAT – this blog contains no classified material – I have no access to classified material of this sort. Information provided consists of open source information combined with conjecture. Don’t draw any conclusions from reading this.<<

(Associated Press) I encourage you to read the entire article, because it is a sign of the times.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Ten years after they found and killed Osama bin Laden, U.S. Navy SEALs are undergoing a major transition to improve leadership and expand their commando capabilities to better battle threats from global powers like China and Russia.

The new plan cuts the number of SEAL platoons by as much as 30% and increases their size to make the teams more lethal and able to counter sophisticated maritime and undersea adversaries. And there will be a new, intensive screening process for the Navy’s elite warriors, to get higher-quality leaders after scandals that rocked the force and involved charges of murder, sexual assault and drug use.

“Political reliability” including an adherence to principles of social justice are not the prime measure of whether officers will be given assignments within the teams or booted out.  Screening for political reliability was a key component for selection and promotion within the old Soviet Navy, modern Strategic Rocket Forces and today within the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s Navy (PLAN).  Adding zampolits/political officers to SEAL platoons who will continually assess that political reliability is part of the navy’s new plan for its special operations component. The political officers are to be fully qualified, but they will go through a “parallel training program” – possibly at NSA Panama City, FL**. It means that they won’t be fully trained…but will occupy ‘untouchable’ positions within the Navy’s Special Warfare architecture.

In recent years you may have read accounts of “political SEALs”, men who do a tour or two, are about to be bounced for being unqualified and end up on a Congressional staff or in some other job where their SEAL credentials enhance the reputation of the people they serve. That’s not what I’m referring to when I write of commissars/zampolits/embedded political officers. in a military context, a political commissar or political officer, is a supervisory officer responsible for the political education and organization of the unit they are assigned to, this being intended to ensure civilian control of the military. They report through a separate chain of command on the political reliability of officers. You can call them “embedded spies” if you like.

**In years past, Naval Support Activity, Panama City, was said to be the site for training non-line SEAL cadre from intelligence agencies, etc. Public Info: The United States Naval Support Activity Panama City, is located just outside Panama City, Florida. Among other commands, it houses Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division and the Navy Experimental Diving Unit.

The psychological tests are only half of the testing that is going on. Rumors have emerged – and who knows whether or not they’re true – that the Navy is testing SEAL’s testosterone levels. Too much toxic masculinity leads to behavior once prized, now rejected. They’re on the naughty list too and will be looking for other work.

There has been a trend for years to encourage more non-white males to make it through the Special Warfare training program (BUDS and beyond), and allowances were made for less than qualified people to “hone their sills in the Teams” rather than complete training at the top of the class. This will be accelerated in the effort to rid “white culture” from the SEAL’s.

Back to the AP article:

In recent years, SEALs have been involved in a number of high-profile scandals. One of the most well-known was the arrest of Navy Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher on war crimes charges that included murder of an Islamic State militant captive and attempted murder in the shootings of civilians during a 2017 deployment to Iraq.

Thus, the Navy is dumping somewhere over a third of the Special Warfare Officers (Designator 1130) and the CIA isn’t taking them into the Special Operations Division, because they were Trump supporters, and failed the psychological litmus test. Dealing with senior enlisted is being handled by dropping them into dead-end jobs where they can’t “infect” the political purity of the Naval Special Warfare program.

A lot of these people will find work in outfits such as Black Water, KBR, Executive Outcomes, CACI, Vinnell Arabia, ISOA, Titan, Northbridge Services, Frontier Services, Sandline, Olive Group Capital, MVM, Cubic Corp., etc. (Private Military Organizations) and they’ll make more money doing it. Essentially, all of the officers you might prefer remaining at NAVSPECWAR will be moving on.

It’s very woke.


You’ll see trends in Hollywood and the print media about rogue SEAL officers in the near future. Imagine that. “The Terminal List,” based on a thriller novel of the same name by author and former SEAL Jack Carr, pits Lt. Cmdr. James Reece (Chris Pratt) in the precarious situation of surviving an ambush in which all of his team members were killed. Coming to television next season.

How exciting.


Legio Patria Nostra



In a recent discussion of the French disaster at Dien Bien Phu, I mentioned that the French air dropped Mama Dai’s girls at the sight of the disaster to improve morale.

The French went so far as to issue a parachutist’s badge to the ladies who parachuted into Dien Bien Phu. The ladies marched out with the surrendered French as part of the garrison.

During the French Indochina War, the Bordels Mobiles de Campagne consisted of both indigenous Vietnamese prostitutes and Nailiyat (women from the Ouled Naïl people group in Algeria) prostitutes.

Bernard Fall (Street with No Name) wrote of them. “In Indochina, the B.M.C.’s function admirably well, and it made for a pleasant change in the monotony of an army convoy all of a sudden to spot a 2½-ton truck loaded with the Oulad-Naïl in their gaily colored Algerian garb, shouting jokes at the soldiers.”

Bordels Mobiles de Campagne or Bordel Militaire de Campagne (both abbreviated to BMC) were mobile brothels used during World War I, World War II and the First Indochina War to supply prostitution services to French soldiers fighting in areas where brothels were generally unavailable. General Patton wanted the same program for American troops, but it was shot down as ‘encouraging impurity’ among our American boys.

Mobile brothels organized by the army in this century consisted of large trailer trucks in which up to ten women would work nearly around the clock. A medic checked each soldier before entering to insure that he was not infected with a social disease.

The Foreign Legion still used them extensively but closed the last BMC on French soil, in Guyana, in 1995. The BMC in Djibouti operated until 2003. They were considered to be essential to maintaining morale – along with a wine ration.

The Ukranians are said to operate several BMC’s currently to keep soldiers from deserting.

Jo/Ho are working to decriminalize prostitution in America. If that happens, should we expect to see mobile military brothels deploy with American troops? Will the navy’s large surface combatants have brothels embedded in berthing spaces? If the navy does that, they’re going to have to issue rum rations, or just open a large bar that can service the 5,000 thirsty sailors assigned to an aircraft carrier.


Proxima Centauri

A flare from Proxima Centauri that is fully 100 times more powerful than any flare ever detected from our own star erupted from the surface. more here. Full power to the shields, Scotty.

Proxima Cen is a unique target given that it hosts a planet in the habitable zone but also produces anomalously powerful flares for its old age. Can a planet truly be habitable in this environment? It is clear that necessary pieces are missing from our current understanding of M dwarf flares in order to answer that question.

Once again, this link makes its way into the blog.


The Planet Uranus observed in the Infrared

Credit: Keck Observatory


US Taxpayers Pay People NOT to Work

(Zero Hedge) It’s a socialist wet dream. Business Insider spoke with Blake Casper, the franchisee who owns the fast-food restaurant in Tampa, who said the idea to hand out free money is an attempt to secure workers. He said he would do “whatever it takes to hire workers.”

“At this point, if we can’t keep our drive-thrus moving, then I’ll pay $50 for an interview,” said Casper, who owns 60 McDonald’s restaurants across the Tampa-St. Petersburg Metropolitan Area. 

Casper said McDonald’s business is booming, but a labor shortage has made workers harder to find. His problems are merely a reflection of a much larger significant labor shortage developing across the country as trillions in Biden stimulus are now incentivizing potential workers not to seek employment but to sit back and chill and collect the next stimmy check for doing absolutely nothing in what is becoming the world’s greatest “under the radar” experiment in Universal Basic Income.

At the moment, there are over 100 million Americans who are out of the labor force (of whom just 6.85MM want a job currently, and a record 94 million don’t want a job).


How Old were You?

This is a modern map, showing trends in the 2020’s. I was married in the 1980’s and I expect that the numbers were younger then.


Strap in First