And therefore, I share this video with you:
This has been a terrible week, mankind has lost two great thinkers. First, Christopher Hitchens passed on and today, Václav Havel followed.
Václav Havel, dissident, playwright, politician, leader, central figure of the Velvet Revolution. Few people have shaped post-Cold War Europe like he did. Few have been held in such high regard by so many, no matter if friend or opponent.
The world has lost a great man today, one who touched the lives of millions across a continent and gave them hope for a better future.
Mr. Havel, you will be sorely missed!
„RichardDawkins: Fox News Viewers Know Less Than People Who Don’t Watch Any News: Study – – – Huff Post Media – http://t.co/dZHwWU1T http://t.co/QEeujK2B“ —http:
And some people keep wondering why sarcasm, despair and some light misanthropy are among my favourite hobbies…
Today is Armistice Day. In the US it’s Veterans Day and Remembrace Day in the Commonwealth nations.
In Germany it also marks (for reasons that have elduded me since forever) the beginning of the Carnival Season. It starts November 11th at 11:11 am (that is 11/11, 11:11) .
Why I bring up the Carnival Season in this context? Well, because the History of War seems to be an endless awful carnival with more or less the same main participants in ever changing combinations.
To stress this point:
This is what things looked like during the Boxer Rebellion:
and this was the situation during the Great War:
I skip World War II since most of us are still somewhat aware who fought whom from 1939-1945. Although I have to say, I have met some students at Hill-Murray during my student exchange in 1988 who thought the Allies landed in Normandy in 1944 to (and now please hold onto your seats):
Beat the Russians out off Germany.
Yes, you read that one correctly…
Anyway, since 2001 the War on Terror has been going on and the following nations are involved in Afghanistan:
and in general:
Do you notice anything? Yes, the allies became enemies became allies again. If you expand this further back into the Napoleonic Wars, it becomes even more confusing.
Anyway, my point is: The former enemies have been allies for longer than they have ever been enemies.
Between around 1950 and 1990 the Warsaw Pact and NATO were mutual scarecrows and „evil“ (which was a particular strange situation for the Germans on either side of the Iron Curtain) and now?
Most of what used to be the Warsaw Pact is no in NATO and the EU… How many of you still remember the time when we would have sent everyone to an insane asylum who would declare „Oh, the Berlin Wall will be down in two years and Poland and the Baltic States will be members of NATO soon after“.
History is fickle and sometimes stranger than fiction.
So, please be so kind and remember:
Other nations have veterans, too. They only did their job and their nation have been your nations allies for over a generation in some cases. Ande believe it or not: Their veterans are also humans. I sometimes get the impression, this is actually forgotten rather quickly.
And also remember:
While especially the British and Americans are particularly proud of their veterans, it was the Russians who did most of the fighting and the Russians and Poles who did most of the suffering.
For the Poles, it was particularly bad, they simply went from one oppressive regime to the next. Keep that in mind!
The Soviets definitely wanted to go, though, the equipment was ready and some of it had also been tested. It would have been feasable for Soviet cosmonauts to walk on the moon. I think they would have doubled their efforts if the first American mission had ended in disaster.
As far as the hardware of the Soviet Manned Lunar Program is concerned I am especially impressed by their LK Lunar Lander (LK for Lunniy Korabl – Lunar Craft):
The similarities between it and the American lunar landing module are striking. It is rounder and looks a bit more organic compared to the US model but the overall configuration is the same. Function begats form. Since the design teams behind both landers were well aware of the tasks their lander had to perform and the limitations of the available technology, it is obvious they came up with similar solutions. Thus, the landing modules look alike
A bit like the BF 109 and the Hawker Hurricane only with far higher (no pun intended) goals and far more andvanced technology, obviously. Well at least the LK lander gets a cameo appearance in the movie Apollo 18.
It really is too bad the Soviets gave up after the Americans succeeded, it would make the history of manned space flight so much more interesting, had they made it to the moon, too.
And who knows, maybe it would have had a galvanizing effect on efforts for building a permanent moon base by one or both sides.
Alas, now the US does not even have a manned space program anymore… How times chage…
Personally I think the politicans of the recent decades lack a certain something. But then maybe the presidents we consider heroic and badass today were just regular guys and acquired an aura of the superhuman through the course of history.
Well, recently I came across the marvelous artwork of SharpWriter on DeviantArt and he has some very impressive visions of really hardcore badass Presidents of the United States:
And here are some more:
George Washington the Zombie Slayer:
Franklin Delano Roosevelt in full battle armor:
And here is one I actually object to, since Bigfoot is an endangered species (or how else would you explain the scarcity of sightings), I see no reason of cutting one down with an automatic weapon (yes, I am aware of the story how Teddy Roosevelt got his nickname, in case you wonder):
And to finish this entry, here is some Warhammer 40,000 related art by SahrpWriter, Leman Russ, Primarch of the Space Wolves and namesake to one of the most awesome tanks ever envisioned:
And before I forget, SharpWritere’s Art is also available for sale, at very reasonable prices. Check it out.
Hmm… This entry is actually longer than I thought…
John Glenn, a living legend, celebrates his 90th birthday today.
In case you actually do not know who John Glenn is (please feel really ashamed):
He is the first American to orbit the earth and also, and far more impressively, the oldest man ever to go into space. In 1998, when he was 77 years old, he was on STS-95.
To say this again, this man was in space, on board Space Shuttle Discovery when he was 77! And you think you are too old to do a few things? Forget it. This man did away with „I am too old“ once and for all.
Here are two official mission photographs:
From the Mercury Mission with Friendship 7:
and here is the one from 36 years later, when he went again, this time in a Space Shuttle, as mentioned earlier:
Apart from his distinguished career as a NASA astronaut, John Glenn was also a combat pilot in World War 2 and the Korean War and a Democratic senator and he has been a married to his high-school sweatheart since 1943! What a giant of a man.
So today, let us all raise our glasses and toast John Glenn, a living legend!
I guess it would be futile of me, going into great detail about this momentous event. Most of my readers will be familiar with it and have also seen this iconic photograph before:
Quite obviously it is „Into the Jaws of Death“ by Robert F. Sargent.
If you have never seen it before
a) under which rock did you grow up?
b) you have now.
Although I must admit, to my shame, I was unaware of its title until an hour ago. Maybe I heard it before but forgot.
As was pointed out before, the success or failure of Operation Overlord decided the fate of Europe to a far greater extend than was readily apparent at the time.
If Operation Overlord had failed, Hitler and Stalin would most likely have slugged it out amongst themselves, at least for quite a long time and this would have meant that either one or the other authoriterian dictatorship would have dominated Europe. Of course, there are more nouances to this point but you get the idea.
To get to the point of the headline:
I know people who faught on both sides of the beach. British and German, to be precise. They all felt the same. Everybody wanted to go home, everybody thought they were right, everybody was scared. The Germans at least were glad they were serving in the West.
So today, let us remember the veterans of Operation Overlord, and let us remember both sides. After all, the enemies of those days have been allies now for two generations. Yes, history spins strange tales…
I for my part have to be especially thankful Operation Overlord was a success, I am part of a British-German family.
I hope you are aware that slavery is still a very real problem on this planet in the 21st century. What’s even worse, there is quite a trade going on trafficking children. Children are trafficked for the explicit puposes of forced labour, prostitution and other forms of exploitation.
To raise awareness for this unbearable situation, Kevin Eslinger is currently working on the movie Nickel Children.
This is the trailer, beware, it is rather harsh:
The situation in reality is often far harsher than what you can see in the trailer.
You can make a difference now and support this project by donating to it at Indigogo: http:
Also, please spread the word by tweeting this article and liking it on facebook; and join the official Nickel Children Facebook Page.
Thank you for your support!