No harbor? No problem.

Since they couldn't count on capturing any harbors along the coast of France, Allied troops in World War II brought a couple along. At 600,000 tons apiece, they had to ship them in pieces (though this was before carry-on restrictions were really enforced).

Holy crap. With all the time I've frittered away watching the Discovery and History channels, you'd think I would have heard of this before.


Friday Afternoon Catblogging

Funny that dad mentions this to me on the official catblogging day.

So I missed the afternoon by a few hours, but click on the title link to see why Jersey cat Jack is not an ordinary mouser.

Click the link below to READ why Jersey cat Jack is not an ordinary mouser.


[Someone might mention to Newhouse, which owns the (nee Trenton) Times, Star-Ledger, NO Times-Pic, and several other newspapers, that its websites are horrible. Note that you can't find the pictures from the story or vice-versa. ]

The Bellagio Fountain, Reimagined

If I ran the National Endowment for the Arts, this is what I'd waste the taxpayers' money on.


Pardoning their French

While looking for the NYT article on the World Cup hosted by my favorite European culture, I found a piece on my favorite European language. (I wonder if Krempasky's crew are on to it.)

We are reminded therein that we have not yet stomped hard enough on the toe-hold this tongue has acquired in our own cherished nation:

SOUTH FREEPORT, Me. — Frederick Levesque was just a child in Old Town, Me., when teachers told him to become Fred Bishop, changing his name to its English translation to conceal that he was French-American.

Cleo Ouellette's school in Frenchville made her write "I will not speak French" over and over if she uttered so much as a "oui" or "non" — and rewarded students with extra recess if they ratted out French-speaking classmates.

Actually, this would make a great Simpsons episode parodying the immigration debate. Turns out the people of Maine even anticipated the Spanish Spangled Banner:

The State Legislature began holding an annual French-American Day four years ago, with legislative business and the Pledge of Allegiance done in French and "The Star-Spangled Banner" sung with French and English verses.

Sorry that there isn't a great picture to sum up this story.

How to make soccer interesting

Sometimes I have to give props to the New York Times, in this case the photo editor.

They do a feature story on the upcoming World Cup being played in Germany which concerns not the game but the sensitivity of the hosts to the anticipated homages by British fans to 20th century German history. If only American soccer had these kind of fan rivalries that frankly put to shame the Yanks-Sox conflict.

I saw this first in the dead-tree NYT, which fittingly featured a large version of the photo -- arguably the most definitive image ever in the history of British-German relations.

Do yourself a favor and read the article.