Dec 24, 2008


Whose birthday is it?
The initial J didn't come until much later. That sound was foreign to Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Not even English distinguished J from I until the mid-17th century. Thus, the 1611 King James Bible refers to Jesus as "Iesus" and his father as "Ioseph." The current spelling likely came from Switzerland, where J sounds more like the English Y. When English Protestants fled to Switzerland during the reign of the Catholic Queen Mary I, they drafted the Geneva Bible and used the Swiss spelling. Translators in England adopted the Geneva spelling by 1769.
And when was that exactly?
"In 2BC, Jupiter – the 'king of the planets' – met up with one of the brightest stars in the sky – Regulus, known by the Persian Magi as the 'little king' in the eastern sky.
"Nine months later, the same planet Jupiter, travelling towards the West, met up with Venus, known by the Magi as the 'mother planet'.
"The meeting of the king and mother of planets would have been highly significant – as was the timescale involved.
"To the naked eye, the planets would have seemed so close that they would have looked like one bright light in the sky."
Professor Larson believes it is this light – low down in the west of mid June of 2BC – which prompted the Magi to travel to Jerusalem where they met Herod, who, fearing a Messianic prophecy, pointed them towards Bethlehem.
He even asserts as the Magi travelled from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, Jupiter continued to move across the sky until it reached its "retrograde stage" – a well known astronomical quirk – when it appeared to "stand still" in the sky. He claims this happened on December 25.
If this theory is right, then the first Christmas really did occur on the day we have come to celebrate it on.
Others believe Jesus was born in late spring, and that early followers "superimposed" the celebration of his birth onto the "established" Roman festival of December 25.
Whatever, whenever. Merry Christmas.

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Wins and losses 

Compare and contrast: Christmas Baghdad-style versus Christmas London-style.

If the second story is too much of a head-scratching downer, just read the first one again. Ahhh... that's the stuff.

UPDATE: More losses. Like I said: read the first one again. I guess it says something when the new Islamic democracy is the happy Christmas story and the old European quasi-socialist Christian country is the bummer. As for Israel... well that's just par for the course these days, I suppose...

Dec 21, 2008


AC/DC are freaking rock gods. Right now I cannot hear a damn thing... and it was totally worth it.


Dec 17, 2008

To the shores of... wherever the hell the bad guys go 

The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution on Tuesday aimed at combating piracy along the Horn of Africa by allowing military forces to chase pirates onto land in cases of "hot pursuit."

Military forces from various countries, including the United States, are patrolling pirate-infested waters off Somalia, where attacks have surged this year. Nearly 100 vessels have come under fire, according to the International Maritime Bureau, and almost 40 vessels have been hijacked.
"The United States is part of an international effort," [Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice] said. "We do have naval forces that have been involved in this effort. What this (resolution) does is to authorize that the boundary of the maritime cannot become a safe haven boundary for pirates. What we do -- or do not do -- in issues like hot pursuit, we'll have to see ... case by case."
And somewhere... a MEU planning staff just rearranged it's calendar to squeeze in more raid training.

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Dec 7, 2008


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The USS Utah

Sixty-seven years ago today America found out in no uncertain terms that it was in a war that it hadn't wanted to acknowledge it was already a part of - something this generation became acquainted with on a September morning in 2001. May we have the vigilance and foresight to ensure that it never happens again.

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Ship's bell, USS Arizona

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The Wall, USS Arizona Memorial

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Marines of the Arizona

All pictures are mine, from a 2006 trip to Hawaii. H/T to the Jawas for the video.

Dec 3, 2008


Five years have I darkened your monitors with my very presence. Five years have I raved against madness here in my little corner of this digital nightmare, this giant series of tubes. Five years.

Been fun. Think I'll keep going.

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And yes, this crappy cell-phone picture of me out shooting last weekend is the best look you're gonna get at me. For now...

Dec 2, 2008

"I have a dream..." 

...that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."
Or, whatever.
The race to replace Barack Obama as Illinois' junior senator heated up Tuesday as Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., called on Gov. Rod Blagojevich to name a black man or woman to the seat.

By invoking race, Rush, who is black, drove a potential wedge between the prospective white and black contenders for the seat. Rush said it would be a "national disgrace" if Obama's seat were not filled by an African American.
Dr. King would be so proud.

Dec 1, 2008

A steel-belted radial amongst retreads 

This is shaping up to be the strangest, most... shall we say... eclectic Presidential Cabinet in modern memory. Between pulling in General Jones and keeping Gates at SecDef, we may just stave off massive debacle and heart-ache. Hillary at State, however...

But let's dwell on the hopeful stuff, eh? Money quote:

"Jones works friendly until friendly doesn't get it done anymore," said retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, who first met him during a 1991 humanitarian relief operation in northern Iraq. "And then you're dealing with a great big guy you really don't want to be on the opposite side of."

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