Saturday, February 13, 2016

Antonin Scalia

Nobody — remember this — neither Hitler, nor Lenin, nor any despot you could name, ever came forward with a proposal that read, ‘Now, let’s create a really oppressive and evil society.’ Hitler said, ‘Let’s take the means necessary to restore our national pride and civic order.’ And Lenin said, ‘Let’s take the means necessary to assure a fair distribution of the goods of the world.’

In short, it is your responsibility....not just to be zealous in the pursuit of your ideals, but to be sure that your ideals are the right ones. That is perhaps the hardest part of being a good human being: Good intentions are not enough. Being a good person begins with being a wise person.

--Antonin Scalia, at a commencement speech in 2010

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Beautiful Theories

“It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”
--Richard Feynman

Saturday, September 26, 2015


Josh and Gwen were married at St George's, Metis Beach, Quebec, with about fifty guests from the US, Canada, Australia, and England. The celebrant was Rev Malcom Evans, assisted by Dr James DeBoe; Emma Dillon was flower girl, and Daniel Rees the bell ringer.

Reception at Jardins de Metis.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Tank Museum

Josh and I took the opportunity to go to the American Armored Foundation tank museum in Danville on Run Day, which is when they have a couple of vehicles power up and drive around the display area. (One was an APC and the other was a self propelled gun, not true tanks, but we got the idea). Not as many WW2 tanks as I had hoped for, but they had a number of interesting things. Items of note:

  • PzKpfw IV
  • tiny Dingo II scout car
  • slightly larger Ferret scout car
  • M1917 Six Ton Special light tank
  • Honest John missile, presumably without the 20kt nuclear warhead
  • Mk 41 15cm Nebelwerfer (it werfs nebels!)
They also had a variety of uniforms, unit badges, posters, paintings, and other memorabilia. 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Tangier Island

Diana wanted to see Tangier Island, so we drove across the Bay Bridge Tunnel and up the Eastern Shore to Onancock, a tiny little village on the Bay. We took the ferry, which is a converted oyster boat, which makes one round trip a day, to the island. We passed quite a few osprey nests on the channel markers; once we were away from land, there were a few fish, plus passing boats and the occasional small island.
The island is pretty much as described in Wikipedia, There's a house which has been converted to a museum on the history of the island and some of the notable residents (or servicemen who signed up and left the island), The main thing is that in one day, you probably can't see absolutely everything; but you can easily walk around the island and see a representative sample of everything. For instance, you can visit one seafood restaurant rather than all of them--but "seafood" is the only kind of restaurant you'll find, except for Spanky's ice cream parlor. Take bug spray and sunglasses and comfortable walking shoes and spend a day.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Great Dismal Swamp

Joshua, Diana and I went to the Great Dismal Swamp today. The auto tour road is closed on Sundays, so we walked a mile or so to the Underground Railroad Pavilion and back. ("Underground" is not the same as "underworld"). The Pavilion talks about the maroons ("escaped slave") and how they survived in the swamp--mainly by hunting, surreptitious trading with loggers, and stealing from local farms. 

There are bears and bobcats in the swamp, but we only saw dragonflies and butterflies.

We did, however, see a couple of pines which had been stripped of their bark for their whole height. We suspect that this was due to the Great Swamp Bear, a reclusive species of 40ft tall ursines. During the day, they stay submerged in Lake Drummond, with only their adorable black noses protruding above water. They feed on alligators, giant mutant catfish, and canoes ("crunchy on the outside, chewy in the center!"). In the evening, they slip from their aquatic refuge and roam the woods. They strop their claws on the pines, removing the bark and sometimes breaking the tree in half when they get caught up in some particularly contentious philosophical point, or when strands of fiberglass are stuck in their teeth.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

A Writer's Time

"The greatest part of a writer's time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book."
--Samuel Johnson