Scary Carpentry

Gokstadt ShipDespite the examination of dozens and dozens of Viking long ships there is not one piece of wood with saw marks because the Vikings never used saws (apparently.)  Instead they split the planks from trees and flattened them with adzs and planes.   Why because a split and planed plank is very much stronger than a sawn one and so they could use thinner planks.  Thinner planks, lighter ship, lighter ship faster ship and Viking ships could reach fifteen knots.  Also the ship was light enough that the rowers could portage (with the help of crews from other ships) around rapids and over obstacles their victims erected to stop them.

Or so the theory goes.

Pictured is the Gokstadt ship. Here Really a work of art although an object of horror to those such ships sailed against.

Interested in the topic?  Buy Gwyn Jones’ History of The Vikings Here.


From The New York Post Today:

A state senator from Indiana is apologizing for a fat-shaming, “offensive” Facebook post that trivialized the millions of women who marched during national protests on Saturday as “fat women out walking.”

Fat Women WalkingMeanwhile you will recall the women walking labeled Trump a Nazi and a Fascist, accused him lusting after his daughter and assaulting any number of other women, called him a racist, a misogynist, a thief and swindler while accusing him of having bad skin and fake hair.

But none of the fat women are apologizing in turn.

How High The Bar

A brother of the Congregatio Fratrum Christianorum, before the order destroyed itself and it’s tradition of rigorous education by tolerating certain sinful proclivities among a tiny minority of its members (the same mistake the Boy Scouts just made), once told me a story.

The moral of which only gets more apparent, the older you get.

His was an English teacher, pounding away on his pupils year after year with Shakespeare, John Donne, Herman Melville, George Elliot and the like.  “But why” every class would sooner or later object “do we have to study these so-called great writers?  Can’t we just for once read something more fun and less difficult like Salinger’s Catcher In The Rye?”

His answer was always the same.  “We’re here for you to learn not be amused and besides we only have a limited time together.  Barely enough hours in the week to show you what the language is capable of and so inspire you in your own composition.”  

Isn’t that what education should be all about?  Teaching a child or an adult for that matter how high the bar is they may set for themselves?

And isn’t that what America is all about?  How high the human race can set the bar for itself?  That people can rule themselves if they want to?  Practice whatever religion they want to?.  Say whatever they want?  Get rich if they want to?  Run away and join the Indians if they want to?  Set all men free if they want to?  Go to the moon if they want to?

catherSo why we have to ask in the third century of this experiment which has changed the world we call America, have we decided, figuratively speaking, that the more moral choice is automatically the lower bar, automatically J.D.Salinger?  Instead of something to reach for.

Say like, Willa Cather reached for?

An American  woman who looks back at us over space of a hundred years, daring us to be as good in our own life’s work as she was in hers

Pride Goeth – Even Black Pride

Marylin Mosby the Black activist prognathic States Attorney for Baltimore in a famous press conference on the courthouse steps announced indictments against six police officers for a range of charges including murder after a Black prisoner (with a rap sheet a yard long) died in custody.  Obviously enjoying herself by feeding the flames of racism. Trying to make her bones as a national figure.

But there was one problem.  No evidence.  Not a scintilla.  Instead relying upon “Black Rage” the cops were to be tried in what amounted to Stalinist show trials.  But that didn’t go Mosby’s way and after four acquittals all the charges were dropped.

5.14.14- Marylin Mosby, candidate for Baltimore City States Attorney who is running against Gregg Bernstein. Portraits outside of the Baltimore City Circuit Courthouse. (The Daily Record/Adam Bednar)

5.14.14- Marylin Mosby, candidate for Baltimore City States Attorney who is running against Gregg Bernstein. Portraits outside of the Baltimore City Circuit Courthouse. (The Daily Record/Adam Bednar)

Yet Mosby preened because as States Attorney she had absolute immunity from either criminal prosecution or a civil suit for damages.

Yet it seems the witch, in addition to being arrogant, a race baiter and well, a bit thunder thighed,  is also stupid. Because at the time of the indictments she made the mistake of announcing that she was conducting an independent and parallel investigation as well to ensure that the cops were found guilty.

But independent and parallel investigators have no immunity and so Federal Court has just ruled  she can be sued in that role.  Which means the cops could wind up owning her house, bank account as well as her salary as States Attorney.




Val Kilmer

kilmer-valI have no special insight into Val Kilmer’s life.  But he’s been ill as you can see from this recent photo.  He’s also 57 years old something which I find it hard to credit.  I wish him well.  To me he deserved an Oscar for one of my top ten favorite movies – The Ghost And The Darkness an adaptation of the story of the Tsavo Lions (look it up) one of the most terrifying encounters with predators in the annals of man.

What are my ten favorite movies?

As Good As It Gets

My Cousin Vinny

The Ghost And The Darkness


The Private World Of Henry Orient


Lonely Are The Brave  (Kirk Douglas, Walter Mattau, Carroll O’Conner, George Kennedy and Bill Raisch as the one-armed barroom brawler who kicks Kirk Douglas’ ass – you’ll never see a cast like that again.)

The Outlaw Josie Wales (Chief Dan George is spectacular and is the main reason I like the movie as much as I do)

Sands Of Iwo Jima


Note: List subject to revision as bits and snatches of my memory return.

A Fatuous Anthropomorphic British Shark Expert

In an article in the Daily Mail about a shark watching jaunt (a couple of good pictures) off the coast of South Africa here a certain Joseph Butler (from the U.K.) tells us:

‘What I love most about this kind of photography, is breaking down people’s preconceptions about nature,’ …  ‘Although a 13ft-long, 1,700lb shark sounds like an unstoppable force of rage, they are in fact largely being decimated by humankind with our own selfishness and brutality.’

Why do these fatuous people insist upon lecturing the reader and if they’re going to do so why don’t their sentences work?  First of all “decimate[d]” means kill one of every ten and isn’t a general term for injure and secondly “unstoppable force of nature” is an extremely poor formulation.  Then there’s the fact that sharks aren’t simply abused and misunderstood creatures as he is apparently suggesting.  Indeed most people understand them very well.  They’re monsters who will eat you and from which you cannot escape if they catch you in water over your head.  People know that, even I know that and Joseph Butler the shark expert must know that too.

Jeez –  spare me from these anthropomorphic Brits.