Weekend 413.0

Boom, boom, boom“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.” – George Orwell

(1) The Reckoning of the FBI Has Begun

(2) The Real Collusion Story (National Review)

(2a) Orwell On Trial: Was George Orwell an informer? The London intelligentsia is reeling from disclosures that the author of 1984 and Animal Farm gave a list of Communist sympathizers to a shadowy branch of the British government in 1949. (Vanity Fair)

Weekend 412.0

Quiet weekend. I took a look at my list of personal goals for 2018 (hastily drafted during my holiday sabbatical) and was frightened by the lack of progress.

(1) Route Plan Roll / London Cycle Map
(2) Japanese Illustrator Creates Beautiful Handbook of the Birds You’ll Find in Tokyo (My Modern Met)

Weekend 411.0

(1) Museum piece: a show at the Cooper Hewitt explores design and technology (Wallpaper*)

(2) Caricature: Or, Guston’s Graphic Novel by Chris Ware (The New York Review of Books)

Weekend 410.1 (AOE 3 / 2V3 / Yucatan War)

AOE 3This was an all out European showdown in the Americas on a map called Yucatan. The sovereign(s) involved were the British, Dutch, French, Spanish, and Portuguese. The British (red) were partnered with the Dutch (purple) while the French (yellow), Spanish (blue), and Portuguese (green) were allied. I’m going to organize the summary into three parts.

Opening: The British were in the northwest and the Dutch in the northeast. The French and Portuguese were clustered together in the southeast while the Spanish were in the southwest. This map is a long strip of jungle separated by two bodies of water (ships cannot navigate between the two bodies via canal). The Spanish built a fort in the west with a short supply line to the front in their campaigns against the British -and- it would remain undetected for more than half the game.

The French and Portuguese eliminated the Dutch quickly before moving east to join the Spanish. The British repelled 3 to 4 waves of attacks (some against multiple armies) but could not replace walls, towers, and military units fast enough. The construction of a dock and the commissioning of a fleet would prove crucial. During a brief lull in the French/Spanish/Portuguese waves, the British moved all 125/200 (62%) soldiers and colonists to the harbor for evacuation by ship -and- a deliberate all or nothing attack on the Spanish town center / settlement in the southwest. As the three armies converged on the British town center / settlement, orders were given for the fleet to set sail along the western coast of the Yucatan.

The French/Portuguese did not build fleets on the eastern coast of the Yucatan, but the Spanish did have some vessels anchored in harbor. The British fleet vastly outnumbered the Spanish fleet. The latter was quickly dispatched and the British were able to land all 125 soldiers and colonists. The landing and attack of the Spanish town center / settlement was a complete surprise since most Spanish units were in the northwest campaigning against an empty/deserted British town center / settlement. In the southwest, both British soldier and colonist participated in the attack. It was an absolute melee, but the Spanish rallied, aided by French and Portuguese reinforcements from the east. The British retreated to the harbor (for the safety of their ships and the open sea) having dealt a near fatal blow to the Spanish.

After the smoke cleared, more than 60% of the Spanish town center / settlement had been turned to rubble. The remaining structures were destroyed by the Imperial Monitor Sovereign of the Seas. The tattered remnants of the British army later re-landed to mop-up and build a trading post (although that small unit was defeated twice by an overwhelming number of French units).

Middle: The British army and colonists were adrift at sea after their first town center / settlement was razed by French/Spanish/Portuguese forces. There was some hope that the Dutch could be resuscitated so a decision was made to start a settlement (town center) in the northeast. The British landed in the northwest (site of their original settlement) and marched east. A new town center and second dock (harbor) was constructed on the eastern coast of the Yucatan. The new shipyard produced several vessels, including the Imperial Monitor Terror. The Terror indeed lived up to her namesake by sitting off the eastern coast and methodically bombarding the Portuguese settlement / town center for the duration of the war. She returned to port only once for repair and relief.

The new settlement grew quickly but soon attracted the attention of the French, Portuguese, and Spanish. The allies were rich with the wealth of the Yucatan (coin, food, and wood) and launched successive attacks. The failure to establish a town center with mills, plantations, stables, and livestock pens prevented the British from conscripting an army sufficient enough to repel repeated attacks. The Spanish also persisted, even though their town center / settlement had been reduced to rubble and returned to the jungle. The British were forced to abandon their town center / settlement (and Fort Pownall) for a second time, retuning to ships moored off the east coast.

The French, Portuguese, and Spanish sacked the new colony and razed the town/fort/docks. Once again, the British were adrift (left to the scourge of scurvy and cholera). The French and Portuguese paroled the coast on horseback which allowed the Caravel William to lie in wait. Once close enough, the William unleashed a succession of broadside barrages to great effect.

It took several days, but eventually the William secured the coast and the British landed a small group of soldiers and colonists. This group marched west and built a town center on the beach a half-mile from their original settlement. Once again the Spanish launched an attack on the new settlement, but this time the British used a hot-air balloon to trace the Spanish back to a fort hidden in the jungle. The Serapis was dispatched and a couple of salvos from her mortar reduced Fort San Francisco to rubble. The Spanish finally resigned.

The French and Portuguese resumed the Spanish campaign against the new settlement (third town center) but control of the seas on the western coast was too much and the Portuguese lost Explorers Don Cam and Henry Gomes in a series of broadside attacks.

End Game, Part 1: Control of the seas would prove the difference. While the Terror continued to strategically pluck critical buildings, the lone Caravel William established a beachhead at Tower Point. The French and Portuguese marched on Tower Hill but were soundly defeated by a unit consisting of Imperial Redcoats and Field Guns. This would be the last organized northeastern excursion by the French and Portuguese and the first time both those armies were felled by the British in an open non-defensive/open field skirmish.

End Game, Part 2: The British army started advancing for the first time in the war. Lord Howe was also building trading posts and forming alliances with the Mayans and Zapotec. The settlers, now unmolested in their northwest town center and settlement and northeast outpost, were producing coin, wood, and food abundantly. British supply lines could now be stretched and it was time to go on the offensive.

The British plan was to squeeze the French and Portuguese with three armies. The army in the southwest would push east against the French while two smaller units would advance from the northwest and cover any escape.

The French were desperate to breakout but were repelled in two significant battles at Gates Depot and Wolfe Pass. Some remnants of the French escaped (were not pursued by the British 3rd) but were crushed by a small garrison (and harbor ships) left at St. Edmund. The French resigned just as the first Imperial Field Guns were ripping into bone and sinew.

Upon the march, the light infantry will cover the front and flanks of the Line, seizing every commanding ground till the line has passed; wherever they may chance to fall in with the enemy they will stand their ground, and never retire to the Battalions, which shall always match up and support them.

The British 3rd and 4th pushed south and converged with the 1st just on the outskirts of the Portuguese town center / settlement. The Terror also pushed close to the shore from the east and kept steady pressure on the Portuguese town center. The garrisoned army and colonists made a frantic push west but the British Army (ranks now swollen with Elite Holcan and Champion Lightning Warriors) was being replenished by barracks and an arsenal close to the front. The Portuguese asked to surrender but the British refused until her army could secure the harbor and march on the town center with pomp and circumstance.

“Brother Soldier do you hear of the news,
There’s Peace both by Land and Sea,
No more the old Blades must be us’d,
Some of Us disbanded must be.”

Sources: The Pluralist and Old Solider by Tim Bobbin and ‘Loss and Recapture of St John’s Newfoundland’ by W. H. Fyers.

Weekend 410.0

(1) New York’s finest purveyor of pencils champions low-tech design (Wallpaper*)

Weekend 409.0

“When he [Rembrandt] painted The Return of the Prodigal Son, he had lived a life marked by great self-confidence, success, and fame, followed by many painful losses, disappointments, and failures. Through it all he had moved from the exterior light to the interior light, from the portrayal of external events to the portrayal of the inner meanings, from a life full of things and people to a life more marked by solitude and silence. With age, he grew more interior and still. It was a spiritual homecoming.” – Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son: A Story of Homecoming

Weekend 408.0

(1) Market news: painting of Richmond Hill has to stay in the UK (The Telegraph)

(1a) Richmond Hill in the Summer of 1862 by Jasper Francis Cropsey (Flickr)

“This is one of Cropsey’s most critically acclaimed panoramic landscapes painted in England. The view of the Thames from Richmond Hill, outside of London, was a popular destination for artists and sightseers. The subject had even greater relevance for Cropsey and his viewers in 1862. Richmond, Virginia–the capital of the Confederacy during the American Civil War–derived its name from a view on the James River that reminded its founder of his English youth. In this context and at this time, many critics read Cropsey’s painting as a comment on the sectional conflict then raging as well as a personal plea for reconciliation and unity.”

Weekend 407.0 (Caedite eos. Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius.)



2017 » 2018 (Stat Crux dum volvitur orbis)

“Our compartmentalized world, and the sterile values in it, are as the daily winter darkness compared to the long sweet late-day sunshine of spring shining in the windows of a liberated home. Once this spring penetrates the bones long accustomed to winter, it revives the shrunken heart, gives suppleness to arthritic limbs and joints, and infuses all with its hope.”

– Francis Kline, Lovers of the Place: Monasticism Loose in the Church

Christmas 2017 Sabbatical (P2)

(1) Yes! Yes! Yes!

(2) How Washington, D.C., Built a Bike Boom (CityLab)

(3) The Most Expensive Mile of Subway Track on Earth (NY Times)

“Along with interviews with contractors, the documents reveal a dizzying maze of jobs, many of which do not exist on projects elsewhere.

There are “nippers” to watch material being moved around and “hog house tenders” to supervise the break room. Each crane must have an “oiler,” a relic of a time when they needed frequent lubrication. Standby electricians and plumbers are to be on hand at all times, as is at least one “master mechanic.” Generators and elevators must have their own operators, even though they are automatic. An extra person is required to be present for all concrete pumping, steam fitting, sheet metal work and other tasks.”

(4) Three songs to start 2018:

(a) Angus & Julia Stone – Nothing Else

You just wanna grow old, sit still while everybody else runs
In the meantime, tell me your star sign
I’ll make something up ’bout how you have to fall apart to really be someone

(b) Crowded House – Don’t Dream It’s Over Live
(c) Bobby Darin – Once Upon A Time

Christmas Eve 2017

“The monastic tradition has seen and done almost everything in its long history. Its most lasting achievement, however, has been to chart the royal way of holiness for the entire Church.” – Francis Kline, Lovers of the Place: Monasticism Loose in the Church

The men saving history from ISIS: In the face of danger, a pair of padres are finding and protecting ancient religious books and manuscripts from terrorists (60 Minutes)

Christmas 2017 Sabbatical

A placeholder for all the stuff cluttering my mind and desk over this holiday sabbatical.

“Taming the heart requires a sense of place. It roots not just the mind to a set of principles, but also the body to a piece of land.” – Francis Kline, Lovers of the Place: Monasticism Loose in the Church

“If you live long enough you will eventually find yourself a stranger in the land you grew up in.” – Scott Stallard, Bermuda Back in the Day

(1) I am just a Boxer by Roger Crombie (Bermuda)

(2) Tube etiquette via Cyril Power and the British Museum

(3) Quote from The Man in the Castle by Philip K. Dick:

“Then he opened the bag and lifted out his new possession for inspection in solitude, here in this little grass and path park of old men.”

(3a) Quote from The Rule of St. Benedict:

“…without an order from the abbot, no one may presume to give, receive or retain anything as his own, nothing at all–not a book, writing tablets or stylus–in short, not a single item, especially since monks may not have the free disposal even of their own bodies and wills. For their needs, they are to look to the father of the monastery, and are not allowed anything which the abbot has not given or permitted.”

(4) Is this as good as it gets? (Fairfield County Catholic, Pg. 16)

(5) Quote from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig:

“In its place grew that old feeling I’ve talked about before, a feeling that there’s something bigger involved than is apparent on the surface. You follow these little discrepancies long enough and they sometimes open up into huge revelations.”

(6) Crowded House – Don’t Dream It’s Over Live (HQ) (YouTube)

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Belmont Arena Rendering(1) Belmont Arena Renderings (NHL)

(1a) Statement from NYRA President & CEO Chris Kay regarding Belmont Park and the New York Islanders (NYRA)

(2) Belmont Park from the Limestone Photo Archives (Flickr)

(2a) My reaction after the press conference (YouTube)

(3) TWA Hotel

(4) Queens Museum (Adopt A Building)

See what I did there with the 1 and 1a (Come on horse racing fans!)?

Weekend 406.1

Spire and Bell Tower“It towers above the polis like Notre Dame in Paris, but it is not a church building with a spire, cross or bells. Its architecture is monumental, evidently holding thousands of people, but it is not like a stadium open to the elements, or a convention center with a nondescript bulk. By its very color on the skyline of the city, you know it is different–feminine patina greens and browns with greys and pinks bespeaking an altogether special stone, not quarried locally, and adorned with copper. It is a building that immediately poses questions even as it decorates the urban center.” – Francis Kline, Lovers of the Place: Monasticism Loose in the Church

Weekend 406.0

(1) Oregon bike tax is coming: Here are a few quirks in the law and how shops feel about it (BikePortland)

(2) Lawrence Solomon: Ban the bike! How cities made a huge mistake in promoting cycling (Financial Post)

File Under: The Grinch Who Stole Christmas or Bah Humbug