Saturday, March 04, 2017


John Cale with (I keep a) Close Watch. Album Music for a New Society (1982).

John Davies Cale, OBE, is a Welsh singer/songwriter, composer and record producer. In the year I was born, he co-founded with Lou Reed the experimental rock band The Velvet Underground.

Iggy Pop with The Passenger. From the album Lust for Life (1977).

If you did not know he was born as James Newell Osterberg, Jr., that he's from Muskegon on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, and that soon he'll be turning 70, you know it now.



Friday, March 03, 2017


About one hundred Belgian Special Forces and two C-130 transports are currently exercising in USMC Air Station Yuma, Arizona, of all places. Although it makes sense. Exercises like this are basically not possible in land-strapped Belgium. Via Aviation Week, 2 March:

"Belgian para-commandos are honing their skills during Exercise Belgian Beast in the Arizona desert Feb. 13 to March 12. Some 100 members of Belgium's Special Forces Group and pathfinders are practicing tactical air insertion from high altitudes wearing oxygen masks.

The drops are done from 12,000 feet, with high altitude, high opening drops involving opening parachutes after five seconds, allowing landings several kilometers away, while high altitude, low opening drops land in a smaller area.

After landing, the para-commandos conduct live firing exercises and tactical ground movement, as well as operating with joint terminal controllers for close air support. They are also doing free-fall paradrops while being filmed by cameramen from Belgium's Parachutist Training Center so instructors can give them feedback to improve their skills.

The para-commandos are being supported by two C-130s from the Belgian air force's 15th Wing based at Marine Corps Air Station Yuma during the exercise. When they are not dropping men and materiel, the C-130s and their flight crews practice low-level and night flying with night goggles, as well as landing on short desert strips.

The desert area around Yuma resembles some of the countries where Belgian forces have actually been deployed: Afghanistan, Iraq and Jordan. Unlike Belgium, it offers wider spaces to train and materiel can be dropped from high altitudes without the risk of causing damage on the ground. The wide open spaces allow Belgian paratroopers to obtain their qualifications much quicker in Arizona than they can in Belgium."

HALO, HAHO, stacks:

The venerable Hercules, pending the arrival of the Airbus A400M, is still the workhorse of Belgian Army air transport:

High altitude matériel droppings (HAADS - High Altitude Air Delivery System) are also exercised. According to "Peter", the droppings depend solely on the reigning winds, which differ from height to height. The goal is to deliver a crate within a 300 meter radius from the designated landing point, "but we haven't been able to do that yet".

Videos via the Belgian Army website.


Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Via Gatestone EU:

In the interview, Det Goda Samhället (The Good Society)'s Paulina Neuding interviews Gordon Grattidge, President of the Swedish Ambulance Drivers Union, on Sweden's no-go zones which, according to the world's First Feminist Government (hurrah!), do not exist.

Key exerpt:

Q “When you say [‘no-go’ areas], do you mean areas mainly inhabited by immigrants?”
A-“It’s usually so. Absolutely. Not excuslively, but that’s how it is today.”

Q “So there are more areas such as this and we will see an escalation of threats and violence?”
A -“That’s our experience and we receive reports from members, media and other parties. We see an increase definitely.”

Q “Violence and threat. Isn’t that when the ambulance should be there? Is it that dangerous?”
A -“It’s too dangerous to enter. We can be prevented from entering. We may be blocked from getting out. Vehicles can be sabotaged at the site. We can be exposed to physical violence. In seconds it can turn to attacks on our vehicles or against us personally.”

Q“Is it persons throwing rocks, for example?”
A-“It can be stone throwing and even worse. Hand grenades have been thrown at police so that is a great concern.”

And this just in, via Breitbart:

 photo grenade_attack_malmo_zpsq3ovjziz.jpg

"Police cordoned off a townhouse in Malmo’s Lindängen district after reports of an explosion that they believed to have been a hand grenade. One person has been taken to a local hospital with shrapnel injuries according to the authorities and members of Sweden’s national bomb protection were called to the scene newspaper Afton Bladet reports.

“We suspect that there was a grenade,” said police spokesman Calle Persson and added, “there are knowledgeable police officers on site who have concluded this after the object was found at the site and the damage to a person.”

“We examining the case as attempted murder because we believe that the hand grenade thrown with intent to harm. A man has been hit by shrapnel. But if the grenade was directed against him, in particular, I do not know,” he added.

Police say they were called Monday evening just after 9 pm after someone heard an explosion on the property which contains multiple residences.

The national bomb squad is expected to seal off the area and examine the scene for evidence of the cause of the explosion and whether or not any more potential explosive devices are still in the area."

But all is going swell in Sweden! Lofven and Bildt say so!


Monday, February 27, 2017


Worth your time:

He's got a good piece over at Townhall:


"I do not write these words lightly, and there is not an ounce of mockery or, God forbid, hatred in my heart when I say that Caitlyn Jenner is a man wearing a dress. I am simply speaking the plain and obvious truth, as politically incorrect as that truth might be right now. But with transgender issues dominating the news these days, and in light of Tucker Carlson’s epic takedown of Democratic leader Zac Petkanas on national TV last week (specifically, discussing gender-related questions), it appears that now is as good a time as ever to state some things clearly.

So then, to avoid all ambiguity: No, you do not get to choose your gender; no, gender is not determined by the level of your personal enlightenment (as Petkanas alleged); no, your gender does not change simply because you announce that it has changed; and no, it is not good science to allow people to change their sexual identity on their birth certificates. In fact, there is nothing scientific about that at all.

This being said, I do not minimize for a moment the very real struggle of precious little children who struggle deeply with their gender identity, nor do I deny that many children (and adults) report that their lives are more stable and fulfilled when they identify as the opposite of their biological sex.

I do not minimize the traumas through which Bruce Jenner (or others like him) has lived, nor do I claim to be able to relate to those traumas personally.

And I do not make a spiritual judgment about someone who struggles with their gender identity, as if this struggle somehow made them into the vilest of sinners. Why should that be the case?

Again, my goal is not to belittle or disparage, and as loudly and clearly as I can, I proclaim God’s love for all of you who identify as transgender, reminding each one that Jesus died for you just as He died for me and that God has a good and godly purpose for each of your lives.

You are not defective any more than I am defective, and every human being on the planet is broken in some way and in need of a Great Physician.

But because I care enough about the transgender community to speak out, even though I’ll be branded a transphobe and bigot, I’m going to state things with clarity and conviction here, reminding us that the emperor has no clothes (as Carlson rightly did on Fox last week). And I’m going to encourage parents and policy makers, counselors and pastors, educators and activists, along with all those who care about their trans-identified friends and family that: 1) there is no settled science confirming transgender identity; 2) we still know very little about many operations of the brain, including those related to what is now called gender dysphoria (previously known as gender identity disorder, or GID); 3) studies continue to indicate that the vast majority of children who identify as transgender do not do so after puberty (even if many ultimately identify as gay); 4) there must be a better way than our current approach to treating gender dysphoria; 5) it is unfair to impose the struggles of less than 1 percent of the population on the rest of the population, especially on impressionable kids; and 6) gender distinctions should be celebrated and appreciated, rather than branded patriarchal or heterosexist or the like..."

As they say, read the whole thing.

Also Dr. Brown's punchline at the end:

"And remember: Caitlyn Jenner is no more a woman than Rachel Dolezal is black."


Sunday, February 26, 2017


The magnificent Baptism of Christ, by François Rude (1784-1855), in the Chapelle des Fonts baptismaux of the Église de la Madeleine. The church is situated in a commanding position in Paris's eight arrondissement, famous for the Arc de Triomphe, the Champs Elysées and the Place de la Concorde...

 photo Baptism_of_Christ_Francois_Rude_zpstolqnr1p.jpg

... but actually, this is the wax model, dating from 1838, while the real thing in marble is in the Louvre, more precisely in the Département des Sculptures. Rude completed that one in 1841.

The Baptême du Christ is spectacular, but so is the building it is in (okay, the wax version): the La Madeleine church:

 photo La_Madeleine_zpsxcnks28h.jpg

If it does not look like a church but rather like an antique temple, that's because it was originally conceived as such by Napoleon, who in 1806 declared that he wanted to erect a memorial for the army, in his words, a "Temple de la Gloire de la Grande Armée". The Emperor commissioned Pierre-Alexandre Vignon (1763–1828) to base his design on a Greek or Roman temple, and Vignon chose the Maison Carrée in Nîmes as a model to emulate. Existing foundations for a conventional church meant to be built on the same spot were razed, and work begun. After Napoleon's fall however, with the monarchy restored, King Louis XVIII decreed that it would be used as a church dedicated to Mary Magdalene. Before it was completed, Vignon died in 1828, and work continued under Jacques-Marie Huvé. Louis XVIII's successor Louis Philippe I however had yet another purpose for the now well-advanced building in mind, namely as a monument of national reconciliation. And in 1837, after railroads had made their entry on the continent, some even suggested the structure should be a railway station! But finally, in 1842, it was consecrated as La Madeleine church.