Saturday, October 09, 2010


In the mid-eighties, San Francisco based Huey Lewis and The News had a string of hits. Hip to be square comes to mind, but this wasn't bad either.

Heart and Soul from the 1983 LP Sports, which proved to be their breakthrough album (they still exist today, btw). But Jesus Christ Almighty, how
eighties videos suck.

The Clash with Rock the casbah. From the album Combat Rock (1982), a successfull but also rather commercial album.

Needless to say, my favorite line is 'Drop your bombs between the minarets'. Lead man Joe Strummer (vocals, guitar) died far too early in 2002 of a heart attack, aged 50. His band had already broken up in 1985, after only 9 years of existence. Even so, The Clash were a highly influential punk band.

1982. Londoner Gary Numan, for some time known as the King of Electronic Pop, with Music for Chameleons.

Dunno if you ever heard or saw Numan. Despite his somewhat ghey appearance, at least in his heyday, the man reportedly slept with 500 vhimen. At some point, he married a member of his fan club, a certain Gemma O'Neill, with whom he has three children. Also, he seems to be an accomplished stunt pilot.

That's all for today. Nite, and may the farce be with you.


Friday, October 08, 2010


No comment.


Wednesday, October 06, 2010


Today, President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously, to Staff Sergeant Robert J. Miller, who, aged 24, fell in combat against taliban forces in Konar Province, Afghanistan.


This is the official narrative as taken from the US Army website:

"Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller, U.S. Army, heroically distinguished himself by exceptionally valorous conduct in the face of the enemy of the U.S. while serving as the Weapons Sergeant, Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3312, Special Operations Task Force–33, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force–Afghanistan, Forward Operating Base Naray, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

During the pre-dawn hours of Jan. 25, 2008, ODA 3312 conducted a combat reconnaissance patrol to Gowardesh, Afghanistan, to confirm or deny enemy activity and/or insurgents presence in the vicinity of Chen Khar in order to clear the valley of insurgent safe havens. This area was known to have several high- and medium-value targets massing and operating freely in the valley and three surrounding villages. The area of operations was also symbolically and strategically important because it was a Russian-era chokepoint, provided the enemy a tactical advantage due to its high ground and deep valley summits, and was a well-known insurgent stronghold.

Insurgents had prepared reinforced rocket-propelled grenade and small arms fighting positions with fortified overhead cover throughout the valley. They also amassed weapons caches comprised of RPGs, PKM medium machine guns, AK-47 assault rifles, ammunition, and food stores in the event of a protracted engagement.

The enemy’s confidence and morale was at a two-year high following a series of tactical successes against Afghan National Security Forces. The experience garnered from these battles, continued refinement of sophisticated tactics, techniques and procedures (including ambushes) and the expansion of insurgent forces in the region threatened the Coalition's ability to operate freely in this key terrain. Insurgents were confident in their ability to win any battle against Coalition Forces on their own terrain.

As the combined ODA and ANA convoy neared its objective, ODA 3312 was forced to halt twice to dismount and explode insurgent-emplaced boulders along its route. Staff Sgt. Miller and other members of ODA 3312 recognized this tactict as a potential precursor to an insurgent ambush and immediately heightened security. Recognizing the historical enemy tactic used to canalize and ambush Coalition forces, the detachment dismounted an overwatch element.

Staff Sgt. Miller led the overwatch elements as the threat of imminent danger increased. The rocky, snow-packed terrain, freezing temperatures and a fierce wind chill further exacerbated the ODA’s movement to the objective. The ODA’s only Pashto speaker, Staff Sgt. Miller took charge of the dismounted element and assembled partnered ANA forces to ensure they could move under cover.

Once ODA 3312 arrived at the target compound, Staff Sgt. Miller led the ANA and established security around the ODA’s ground mobility vehicles. After security was established, the team confirmed through the employment of an unmanned aerial vehicle that 15 to 20 insurgents were congregating and occupying prepared fighting positions in the targeted compound.

Maintaining his situational awareness, Staff Sgt. Miller immediately jumped into his vehicle's turret and engaged the enemy with its mounted MK19 40mm automatic grenade launcher.

From his vantage point in the turret of his vehicle, Staff Sgt. Miller expertly described the engagement area to the joint tactical air controller and identified insurgent positions by engaging them with his MK19.

As a result of his superior tactical skills, he positively marked the enemy while simultaneously describing the area to the JTAC. Without his expert marksmanship and accurate description of the area, the JTAC would not have been able to provide accurate grid locations for close air support.

As noted by the team’s JTAC, Staff Sgt. Miller’s involvement in the employment of CAS was largely responsible for the accuracy of four 30mm strafe runs and the emplacement of three precision-guided GBU38 munitions on the objective. As a result of his efforts, two A-10 Warthogs and two F-15 Strike Eagles dealt lethal effects onto numerous enemy positions and disrupted their ability to maneuver.

As Staff Sgt. Miller continued to neutralize numerous insurgent positions, his MK19 sustained a catastrophic malfunction, which eliminated it for the duration of the battle. Without hesitation, Staff Sgt. Miller quickly transitioned from the MK19 to an M240B machine gun mounted on the rear of his vehicle and continued to effectively engage the enemy.

Understanding the peril of the battle and the composition of his force, Staff Sgt. Miller moved from his firing position and began emplacing ANA soldiers in positions to provide overwatch, detect movement from the high ground, observe the rear of the patrol and provide security to the flank of the ground assault. His actions provided security for his team and enabled them to maintain their focus on enemy targets. Once ample security was established, Staff Sgt. Miller re-engaged the enemy.

During a lull in fire, Staff Sgt. Miller dismounted his GMV a second time to repair a malfunctioning Carl Gustav 84mm recoilless rifle.

Upon completion of the initial contact and CAS, the ODA commander directed a dismounted patrol to conduct battle damage assessment and a post-CAS strike assessment of the destroyed insurgent positions. Sensing the need to provide the ANA additional assistance, the ODA commander charged Staff Sgt. Miller with the responsibility to lead the partnered ANA force in an advisory role.

With the proficiency of an already-proven combat leader, Staff Sgt. Miller briefed the ANA platoon leadership on the scheme of maneuver onto the objective in their native Pashto language. Staff Sgt. Miller established rapport and instilled confidence in the ANA platoon leadership and its soldiers despite being partnered with the ANA platoon only 30 minutes prior to the mission.

Again, because of his tactical prowess, leadership and command of the Pashto language, Staff Sgt. Miller was selected as the point man for the dismounted patrol comprised of an Alpha and Bravo team from ODA 3312 and 15 ANA soldiers. He led the patrol with his M249 squad automatic weapon across the Gowardesh Bridge toward the target area.

During the movement, Staff Sgt. Miller continually reinforced proper patrolling techniques as well as repeatedly adjusted and corrected the ANA rate of speed. Realizing that the engagement area was located in the mouth of a small, extremely steep and narrow valley that created a natural choke point, Staff Sgt. Miller directed the ANA to disperse from a file into a modified wedge.

As Staff Sgt. Miller and the lead element of the patrol entered the mouth of the narrow valley, they confronted an insurgent hiding behind a large boulder. Refusing to surrender, the insurgent leaped from the boulder yelled, “Allah Akbar!” and began firing on the lead element from approximately five meters. Staff Sgt. Miller stepped forward to return fire and killed the insurgent instantly.

This contact initiated a near-ambush from a company-sized group of insurgents. The insurgent forces fired on Staff Sgt. Miller’s patrol with multiple PKM machine guns, RPGs, and AK-47 assault rifles from distances of less than 25 meters.

The patrol was completely vulnerable, in the kill zone and without cover in a complex ambush with insurgent fighting positions located to the front (East), the left (North), and the right (South).

It soon became evident that numerous insurgents occupied prepared, elevated and hardened fighting positions in the mountain rock with overhead cover along the North and South valley ridgeline. Insurgents on the valley floor to Staff Sgt. Miller’s direct front, left, and right were fighting in defilade and possessed ample cover and concealment necessary for the employment of overwhelming fires on the totally exposed patrol.

As enemy fire erupted from the high ground, Staff Sgt. Miller called out the contact report to his team members and his detachment commander located behind him. He simultaneously engaged multiple insurgent positions from a distance of approximately 15 to 20 meters.

In the face of devastating insurgent fire, the ANA located directly behind Staff Sgt. Miller broke formation and bound away downhill and out of the kill zone, leaving Staff Sgt. Miller alone and with no support in the open terrain.

To the front of Staff Sgt. Miller’s position one PKM machine gun and five AK47s were inflicting devastating hostile fire on the retreating ANA members and the remaining ODA patrol. Understanding the potential for catastrophe, Staff Sgt. Miller boldly charged the enemy and accurately engaged the entire force with his squad automatic weapon, thus eliminating the threat.

With heavy fire from insurgent forces from all sides of his position engulfing him, Staff Sgt. Miller continued to engage at least four other insurgent positions, killing or wounding at least 10 insurgents.

The darkness of the night and limited visibility made Staff Sgt. Miller’s weapon, also the most casualty producing, the greatest threat to the insurgent ambush. The highlighted muzzle flash and the distinct sound from his SAW instantly marked Staff Sgt. Miller as an easily identifiable target.

Cognizant that his vulnerability increased with every burst from his SAW, Staff Sgt. Miller continued to engage the enemy courageously drawing fire away from his team and onto his position. Within seconds, Staff Sgt. Miller began receiving a majority of the insurgents’ heavy volume of fire.

Realizing that his team was pinned down and unable to actively engage the enemy, Staff Sgt. Miller, with complete disregard for his own personal safety, continued to charge forward through the open area engaging multiple elevated insurgent positions and purposely drawing fire away from his trapped ODA members.

Staff Sgt. Miller’s cover fire was so accurate that it not only provided the necessary cover to save his team, it also suppressed the enemy to the right flank of the patrol, to the point where they could not reposition from that direction against the ODA for the duration of the engagement.

His actions single-handedly provided the needed cover fire that allowed his fellow ODA members to maneuver to covered positions as the ANA broke formation and ran away from the kill zone.

During his final charge forward, Staff Sgt. Miller threw two hand grenades into fighting positions, destroying the positions and killing or wounding an additional four insurgents. Only when Staff Sgt. Miller realized his fellow team members were out of immediate danger, and in positions to support him, did he attempt to move for cover.

As he directed his fire to engage enemy positions above him, an insurgent shot him through the right side of his upper torso under his right arm; the area not protected by his body armor. Staff Sgt. Miller immediately turned toward the enemy and shot and killed the insurgent who had wounded him. During this time, Staff Sgt. Miller’s detachment commander also sustained gunshot wounds to his upper chest and shoulder.

The perilous situation forced the detachment commander to order the ODA to fall back to cover. Staff Sgt. Miller realized his commander was seriously wounded and that, as the point man with ODA’s only SAW, he had the highest potential to inflict the most casualties on the enemy. Again, with complete disregard for his own personal safety, Staff Sgt. Miller remained alone at the front of the patrol, so his team could bound back.

Ignoring the severity of his critical wound and still completely exposed to intense, direct enemy fire, Staff Sgt. Miller continued to low crawl through the snow, incessantly fighting uphill into the valley to engage insurgent positions to the East and South in order to draw fire away from his wounded commander and identify insurgent positions to his fellow ODA members.

Without his heroic efforts, his wounded commander would not have been moved safely out of the kill zone to the casualty collection point.

Throughout the engagement, the insurgent fire around Staff Sgt. Miller was so intense that his fellow team members could not see him due to the dust, debris, and RPG and small arms fire impacting around him. During the ensuing 25-minute battle, Staff Sgt. Miller was mortally wounded by a second gunshot to his upper torso under his left arm. Despite suffering a second and fatal wound, Staff Sgt. Miller remained steadfast and continued his selfless acts of heroism. He provided essential disposition and location reports of insurgent actions and he relentlessly fired his SAW until he expended all of his ammunition and threw his final hand grenade.

At the first opportunity, members of Staff Sgt. Miller’s team bound up to his position to render aid and recover him. Enemy reinforcements overwhelmed the recovery team with direct fire causing the team to seek cover. During the recovery attempt, the enemy’s precision was clearly evident as team members sustained multiple hits from small arms fire to their body armor and equipment.

Approximately an hour and 45 minutes later, a quick reaction force arrived, which allowed the ODA to lead a patrol back into the valley to recover Staff Sgt. Miller. As a testament of the enemy’s tenacity, the quick reaction force sent to assist with recovery operations sustained additional casualties from intense direct RPG and small arms fire. Because of the enemy’s dominance of the terrain and potential for loss of additional lives, the patrol was forced to use its second CCP and two MEDVACs.

The entire battle lasted nearly seven hours.

Post-battle intelligence reports indicate that in excess of 140 insurgents participated in the ambush, more than 40 were killed and over 60 were wounded. Staff Sgt. Miller is credited with killing more than 16 and wounding over 30 insurgents. His valor under fire from a numerically superior force, complete selflessness and disregard for his own life, combined with his unmatched ability to accurately identify and engage insurgent positions, allowed his patrol to move to the safety of covered positions.

Staff Sgt. Miller chose to remain in the fight and provide vital suppressive fires to his teammates in order to save their lives, while disregarding his own mortality.

Staff Sgt. Miller’s selfless acts saved the lives of his seven of his ODA members and 15 Afghan soldiers. As a result of Staff Sgt. Miller’s heroic actions, the Gowardesh Insurgency was dealt a crippling blow, decimating insurgent forces involved in the battle, and shattering their morale and confidence. Staff Sgt. Miller’s actions exemplify the honored tradition of military heroism and reflect distinct credit upon himself, Special Operations Task Force–33, the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force–Afghanistan, Special Operations Command Central, and the U.S. Army."

Here is the video of the ceremony:

God bless.


Monday, October 04, 2010


I realize I'm late to the party, but I can't help a little gloating so this thing comes up again, here, on DowneastBlog. I'm talking, of course, about the appalling 10:10 'No Pressure' video made by Richard Curtis, meant to instill in the broader public, beginning to suspect that MMGW and perhaps GW itself is the mother of all hoaxes, new fears about ecological disasters if we don't reduce our carbon footprint.

The video has been taken down on the organizations' website, but for those few among you who haven't watched it yet, here it is again:

In my opinion, by far the best column on the subject was The Telegraph's James Delingpole's:

Gillian Anderson, Peter Crouch [a tall footballer], Radiohead, David Ginola [a French footballer] and – above all – Richard Curtis, I salute you! You have just released a video which has entered history as the most emetic, ugly, counterproductive eco-propaganda movie ever made. Believe me this thing is going to go viral beyond your wildest dreams. But unfortunately that virus is ebola. (Hat tips: Barry Woods/Tom Dalton/Pete Hayes/Old Goat/half the civilised world….)

Here’s what the Guardian had to say, excitedly, when it previewed the video yesterday:

Had a look? Well, I’m certain you’ll agree that detonating school kids, footballers and movie stars into gory pulp for ignoring their carbon footprints is attention-grabbing.

It then goes on to quote one or two of the usual suspects, such as this light-hearted, “no we don’t really want to blow up schoolchildren for showing insufficient environmental zeal, that’s just our sense of humour, ha ha ha ha” little missy:

“Doing nothing about climate change is still a fairly common affliction, even in this day and age. What to do with those people, who are together threatening everybody’s existence on this planet? Clearly we don’t really think they should be blown up, that’s just a joke for the mini-movie, but maybe a little amputating would be a good place to start?” jokes 10:10 founder and Age of Stupid film maker Franny Armstrong.

What’s fascinating, reading this kind of thing, is seeing just how far removed from reality the green movement has gone. Kyoto is dead. Copenhagen was a flop. Cancun is going to make a mockery of all those green dreams about global carbon emissions legislation. And how do the environmentalists respond?

By force of argument?

By presenting new evidence which supports their cause?


By threatening to blow up anyone who disagrees with them.

And not just that: they believe this is actually an entirely reasonable and rather amusing position to adopt...."

Upon learning more about 10:10 and the creepy people behind it - take Franny Armtrong e.g. - and after watching 'No Pressure' again, and again... I was reminded of those marvellous words of wisdom by Thomas Sowell in his groundbreaking work 'The Vision of the Anointed':

'...What a vision may offer, and what the prevailing vision of our time emphatically does offer, is a special state of grace for those who believe in it. Those who accept this vision are deemed to be not merely factually correct but morally on a higher plane. Put differently, those who disagree with the prevailing vision are seen as being not merely in error, but in sin. For those who have this vision of the world, the anointed and the benighted do not argue on the same moral plane or play by the same cold rules of logic and evidence. The benighted are to be made “aware”, to have their “consciousness raised”, and the wistful hope is held out that they will “grow”. Should the benighted prove recalcitrant, however, then their “mean-spiritedness” must be fought and the “real reasons” behind their arguments and actions exposed....'

Right. The 'mean-spiritedness of the recalcitrant' must be fought. By blowing them up, for instance. Rarely have econutters so blatantly exposed their true intentions as in 'No Pressure'.

The extreme leftist people behind this appalling 'movie' - 10:10's founder Franny Armstrong is an avowed Ken Livingston fan, to give just one example - may look like lunatics. But we should never forget they are dangerous lunatics. Madam Armstrong may make nothing of the blood splattering in No Pressure: "Clearly we don’t really think they should be blown up, that’s just a joke for the mini-movie, but maybe a little amputating would be a good place to start?” and "the five people blown up are but a blip compared to the hundreds of thousands dying from climate change"...

... but you better take these bozos at their words.

I reckon you recognize this guy?


Pim Fortuyn, murdered in broad daylight in 2002 in Hilversum, The Netherlands, with six bullets in the back and head.

But you may have trouble placing this guy:


Let me help you. Fortuyn's murderer Volkert Van Der Graaf. Vegan. Animal Rights Activist. Member of the militant environmental organization Vereniging Milieu Offensief.

A greenie.

They may look like fools, but they are dangerous.


Sunday, October 03, 2010


Saturday was a day with shitty weather but unbelievably, the weather broadcast for this Sunday was a warm (up to 23°C) and sunny 3rd of October, so I guessed this might just be about the last summer-like day of 2010, ideal for a day out in the Ardennes with wife and kiddos.

First off, a pic of the Meuse river, with to your right the principal rocks of the Massif de Freyr, very popular with Belgian, Dutch, British and Northern French rock climbers. The rock wall you see is the so-called l'Al Lègne, a 120-meter high nearly vertical wall of stratified limestone.


A pic from a bit closer up, on top of a grate. You can well see how through the ages the Meuse has carved this valley through the land, with the Rochers de Freyr nevertheless being so hard they forced the river to bend. The two lads had just finished climbing up l'Al Lègne. I don't know whether the lady did so too, but she sure had nice titties, pity there was no cleavage.


Uh, wait a minute. What did I just say? I was talking about valleys, right?

Okay, have some patience with poor old Outlaw, who still hasn't upgraded from his geriatric Nikon Coolpix 4800. I post this video just to annoy people.

Here, a better shot of the Chateau de Freyr, which is actually some kind of mini Versailles. Indeed, the park, with a.o. 300 year old orange trees, was designed by the famous landscape architect Le Notre, who also did Versailles' parks, and the Sun King himself, Louis XIV, stayed here. This Renaissance castle was in fact the summerresidence of the Dukes of Beaufort-Spontin, and their descendants, in their 20th generation now, inhabit it to this day.


Then it was off to another chateau, more precisely the Chateau de Walzin. Very interesting place, in fact. Chroniclers mention the existence of some stronghold on this very spot from the 11th century on. What you see right now is of course a neogothic folly built from 1850 on by a certain Alfred Brugman, and adapted in the thirties by a descendant, Frédéric Brugman. What stood here before was ravaged four times, and only the 11th century donjon is still there. Castles and chateaux have been peppered quite abundantly in this corner. Also nearby is the Chateau de Veves, another must-see.


When I had a closer look at my photo this evening, I saw that I should have waited a couple of more weeks, till some kind of Indian Summer turns the Ardennes into a red-green-yellow-brown carpet. When you take a pic then, yu get something like this (not my photo):


After Walzin the evening had set in, so we off to nearby Dinant, the "fille de la Meuse" [the Daughter of the Meuse - MFBB], for a wrapup of the trip in a cafeteria. There I took this pic of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, with Dinant's citadel behind it on top of the cliffs.


Here's another overview of the centre of this town of 13,000 people. I picked this photo from Wikipedia, we had no time left to cross the Meuse for a photo op from this angle. When you cross the bridge on foot, you might want to look out for a commemmoration plaque marking the spot where a young Lieutenant Charles de Gaulle was wounded in World War I. Speaking of World War I, long before the Waffen SS Dinant was subjected to teutonic fury, since in the opening days of the Great War, no fewer than 674 Dinantois were brutally murdered by German soldiers.


Dinant is also famous for being the birthplace of Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone.


And we conclude with a pic for the romantic souls. Again, not mine. Photographer's a certain Luc Viatour.


Good night.