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CABINET OF CURIOSITIES (NEW CONCEPTS)
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Mick Harper
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In: London
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Due to go for an eye test I got to musing on general competence stereotypes. First why do I have to? It is because it is a new (to me) optician, and it shouldn't be, you should find a good one and stick with them for life. I used to do that but he got gobbled up by a chain. Then when you find another good whatever-it-is, it is always, "Oh, him? He's not with us any more, open wide," said generally by a youngish, pretty-ish, not terribly competent woman. And that's the first stereotype: I associate competence with maleness. But to show this is not simple like-for-like projection, I definitely associate it with 'foreign' as opposed to 'British'. Within foreignness it is not a simple matter since while white is better than black, Asian is better than white. Old is definitely to be preferred to young..

Remember the AE rule: always believe in stereotypes, it's the one thing they can't get at.
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Wile E. Coyote


In: Arizona
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You got to love lawyers, even before they know what happened, they are rubbishing stories that the Nave Andromeda was hijacked as they know the crew can sue for the lack of numbers and security on board.

We will now see a farce whereby the stowaways are cast as victims who suddenly acted out of character as they neared port......heaven forbid anyone suggests that they, the (err) stowaways, might have had an ugly conversation with the crew to get dropped off at a location, without Borders knowing.
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Mick Harper
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Seven Nigerians 'who had been known to the crew for some time' are most unlikely hijackers. "Take us to Havana!" But let's think about the economics for a mo'. Port Harcourt to Fawley is a milk run for oil tankers; Nigeria to Britain is one of the most lucrative people smuggling routes in the world. So how do you put them together?

Let's say the crew gets £70,000 to deliver the stowaways. Is that feasible? If we discover the crew are Lascars and the officers non-British, I would think so. Ships are not like lorries, you are not responsible if there happen to be stowaways aboard. I disagree though with Wiley's 'getting dropped off'. Why take the risk? Just steam into Fawley and the stowaways leave by the gangplank, surely?

I should think it's been going on for years and it will be interesting to hear what went wrong. Though it is unlikely the full story will come out if it has been going on for years -- the Borders Agency wouldn't want that getting out.
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Mick Harper
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Second World War accounts of civilian resistance to Nazi occupation were important sources of legitimation for many post-war regimes and even now are a potent source of myth. This appeared yesterday in medium.com by Erik Brown (no relation presumably to the Eric Brown)

How Shepherds Slowed The Unstoppable Nazi War Machine
Those thought of as meek are not weak

It concerned the German occupation of Crete, the salient points being these

After eventually committing about 30,000 troops to the attack, the Germans took airports on the island and officially won the battle. However, the Germans soon found that they didn’t subdue the island. A small group of British special forces, backed up by a powerful Greek resistance movement made the Nazi’s lives a living hell. The Germans would have to keep a large force on the island to keep it under control as a result. The Germans thought they occupied Crete; in reality, Crete occupied them. The German Goliath would find itself engaged with a similar Greek resistance army of shepherds. Instead of slings, they would use the mountain terrain, guile, and their community to hinder the “unstoppable” war machine of Hitler.

The Germans would end up having to keep a large force on the island to keep it pacified instead of using them in other places — namely the attack on the Soviet Union. The Nazis believed Greece and Crete would be an easy target. It would be a quick stepping stone on the way to Russia, but they were completely wrong. An island full of shepherds proved to be a match for an unstoppable army.

This got the usual thousands of claps and drew a dozen responses, one or two mildly nit-picking, but mostly of this sort

Great piece man. As a Greek citizen, I want to thank you.
These are the stories we need to be hearing right now. Thank you.
Very interesting. And good to give respect where respect is due, even if belatedly.
Always a great interesting history, Erik. Thank you for sharing.

Time for droopy-drawers to rain on the parade

Romantic but wrong. In the first place the Brits had all the advantages, in numbers and armaments, including knowing the entire German plan, and were still thrown out in short order. Second, the Germans (and Italians) garrisoned Crete in the normal way. Cretan resistance made no difference. Except to the Cretans who got killed in large numbers for these pointless (militarily, if not in terms of 'honour') acts.

Which got this swift but not terribly apposite response from the writer

So, it was normal to keep 30,000 troops on a small island of no consequence while they could have been used somewhere else? The entire invasion was nearly such a disaster the Germans never used paratroopers in the same way again. Plus, from everything I read, the Cretans didn’t see these acts as “pointless”. Neither did the Germans who were aggravated about having to keep a large force on the island and continually deal with insurgents. Thanks for the read, but I have to firmly disagree with a number of your statements, especially about it being a normal garrison.

I thought I had better bestir myself and end matters

If Crete was an island of no consequence the Germans would not have invaded it and the British would not have defended it. Thirty thousand is entirely normal for a large island — any less and the British could have walked back in. I did not say the airborne invasion was not disastrous (or even wise), only that it was successful. I did not say the Cretans thought resistance was pointless, nor that the Germans were not highly aggravated.

https://medium.com/lessons-from-history/how-shephards-slowed-the-unstoppable-nazi-war-machine-10b32421acad
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Mick Harper
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A case in point is Is Paris Burning? the celebrated sixties film about the liberation of Paris which I am currently watching thanks to the Talking Pictures channel. Many people are anxious to know how I manage to fulfil my manifold duties as well as watching twenty-seven hours of telly every day and the answer is to fast forward whenever Alain Delon is on screen because you know you're going to get a lot of Froggy heroic posturing, always accompanied by a young woman who is Madeleine and Brigitte rolled into one, with coiffure and make-up that has been in place since June 1940 but a hem length that looks forward to the sixties. She always ends up, for one reason or another, full length on the Place de la Concorde, lying directly away from the camera.

You pause whenever one of the following is on screen: (a) Orson Welles, he only takes crucial roles (b) Jean Paul Belmondo, he is so ugly he must have a crucial role or (c) a German. The last meaning we are in for some quite accurate history apart from, the money being American, the film claiming that the Americans ordered Leclerc to liberate Paris when in reality they were furious when he disobeyed orders and liberated Paris.

Good film though, all things considered, and wouldn't be much changed if it was done today. (Depardieu in for Belmondo.)
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Mick Harper
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Being a Second World War revisionist basically means there's only one way to go. Since we were the good guys and they were the bad guys, period, the only practical direction of travel for saying anything radically new is "Maybe so, but we were bad guys too and they weren't always quite as bad as they are painted." But as soon as you say this you are yourself painted as a card-carrying member of the Nazi Party. Even though I tore mine up years ago. Never mind, here's today's example from medium.com

When the Nazis Burned Caligula’s Floating Palaces
An act of spite turned two invaluable historical artifacts to ashes

by Giulia Montanari

Quite an interesting story about how Mussolini drained a lake and rescued a coupla Caliguan floating palaces which he put in a purpose-built museum. Then this happened

Allied troops were closing in and German troops were retreating, blowing up bridges and setting fire to buildings to slow the advance of the enemy. There are conflicting views on which side was responsible for the destruction: some sources view the burning as a wilful act on the part of the German soldiers, and some blame the destruction on American artillery fire.

So it would be equally valid to headline the story
When the Americans Burned Caligula’s Floating Palaces
An act of uncaring negligence turned two invaluable historical artifacts to ashes

Which is more likely? All I can say is that the Germans did, on occasion, pay heed to heritage questions, the Americans never did. They'd just destroyed the monastery at Monte Cassino for starters. But what's this?

The museum keepers, though, swore that the Germans had ordered them to leave the building and set fire to the two ships as a deliberate act of spite, something that was not unheard of. Nazi soldiers had been doing this a lot, apparently.

First I've heard of German soldiers doing this. People, yes; historical artefacts, no. But that's hardly the point. Since Mussolini was their ally at the time, holed up in the Republic of Salo, and the ships were his pride and joy, it is difficult to know who the Germans were aiming their spite at. Still, if the museum-keepers swore it....
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Grant



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If Hitler had never been born, would Mussolini have gone down in history as the greatest Italian?
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Mick Harper
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I have been pondering that after watching an Al-Jazeera programme featuring a thoroughly modern Italian woman trying to knock holes in the thoroughly modern Italian far right-wingers. She kept manfully drawing parallels and she kept manfully admitting that Musso's solutions worked a treat.

She finally went all descant when it came to removing the Jews, though she forgot to point out that Italian Jews were very pro-Mussolini until 1938 when Hitler made it clear that anti-Semitic laws (and action) would be the price for German foreign policy support.
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Boreades


In: finity and beyond
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Mick Harper wrote:
All I can say is that the Germans did, on occasion, pay heed to heritage questions, the Americans never did. They'd just destroyed the monastery at Monte Cassino for starters. .


What with you having relatives in the army (was it Oberfeldwebel Harper?) I was inclined to pass by that. But then a stray couple of neurons fired a synaptic gap and a stray memory of my dear old dad's package tour of North Africa, Sicily, Italy (via Monte Cassino) and Austria came back to me.

Wikipedia fills in the details.

On 15 February 1944 the abbey was almost completely destroyed in a series of heavy, American-led air raids. The Commander-in-Chief of Allied Armies in Italy, General Sir Harold Alexander of the British army, ordered the bombing. The bombing was conducted because many reports from the British commanders of the Indian troops on the ground suggested that Germans were occupying the monastery, and it was considered a key observation post by all those who were fighting in the field. However, during the bombing no Germans were present in the abbey. Subsequent investigations found that the only people killed in the monastery by the bombing were 230 Italian civilians seeking refuge there.

Oops.

But you never know for sure who's editing that Wiki thing these days, it might be Joe Biden.
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Mick Harper
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Later analysis showed that, despite perfect bombing conditions and no opposition, ninety-five per cent of the bombs missed the monastery and that the actual destruction was mainly wrought by American B-25's. It is orthodoxly believed that it was the New Zealand commander, General Freyberg, who was most instrumental in the decision (NZ troops were slated to make the ground advance on Cassino town) and that the British and American commanders went along with his demands for the sake of allied harmony. The well-known artist, Sir Harold Alexander, later Lord Alexander of Tunis, was reported (in his memoirs?) to be particularly reluctant.
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Boreades


In: finity and beyond
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Top Secret WW2 information just received - from Oberfeldwebel Harper?

This small set of 21 charts of Scottish and British waters were produced by the German navy, the Oberkommando der Kriegsmarine in Berlin. Most were published during the Second World War, with a few earlier examples. In all cases these used British Admiralty charts as their primary source material, with no significant changes to hydrographic content.

Via the National Library of Scotland
https://maps.nls.uk/coasts/german-naval-charts.html

Some place names and descriptive topographic terms, titles, compass roses, abbreviations, legends, revision and publication details, and supporting marginal information were all re-written and printed in German. The numbering system is that followed by the Kriegsmarine. The charts provide an interesting illustration of capturing and re-using enemy mapping, as well as the importance of hydrographic intelligence in wartime.


Linke Hand ein bisschen Nummer eins!

Just imagine, Scotland would now be called something like the National Socialist State of Scotland.
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Mick Harper
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What stops these being pre-war civilian maps? Everyone used Admiralty charts. The Brits had a vested interest in people's ships being able to navigate safely round British shores, so there was nothing secret about them.
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Mick Harper
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Quite a good blast against Amazon here https://debugger.medium.com/amazon-isnt-even-that-convenient-anymore-99811b59b885 much of which I agree with except, being an Applied Epistemologist, I compare things with how they used to be pre-Amazon, not with how things might be in the best of all possible Amazonian worlds.
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Mick Harper
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I am still conquering fresh quadrants of the galaxy

The Distribution of Deserts import DVD alternativy ...
Všechny informace o produktu Film The Distribution of Deserts import DVD, porovnání cen z internetových obchodů, hodnocení a recenze The Distribution of Deserts import DVD.
https://filmy.heureka.cz/the-distribution-of-deserts-import-dvd/ - Rank 43 - this is relevant | irrelevant
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Ishmael


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Are they selling it?
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