Monday, January 23, 2012
Sunday, January 15, 2012
Between 18,000 and 25,000 land mines remain scattered about in the Falklands from the 1982 war. Further clearance work to remove some of those was to be done in 2011, but not sure if it was.
Virtually all of the surface area of the islands is used for sheep pasture. There is a penguin population, and many beautiful rare birds.
The article I was reading states that no long-term studies have been done as to the adverse affect humans living there have had on the rather pristine land.
Native grasses and other vegetation is heavily impacted adversely by the overgrazing of sheep.
Reindeer have been introduced.
Cats and rats and grey foxes have been introduced, having a detrimental affect on the breeding of the birds, which now mostly just live on the outer islands as a result.
Grey foxes. Rats. Feral cats. Overgrazing. I guess that about covers my opinion as to whether humans have had an adverse affect on the Falklands, despite the lack of long-term research. (I vote "yes".)
2008 population estimate is 3,140. That works out to about 7.96 land mines per human.
Friday, January 13, 2012
Not too long ago there was a commotion about sensitive government information being leaked to newspapers and radical blogs for publication. Much of this embarrassed the U.S. Government. The following was purported to be written to then president-elect Barrack Obama, 10 days before he was sworn in as President, briefing him on certain aspects of U.S. - UK relations. This confidential briefing summary to Obama is apparently from PISS. I can't/won't tell you where I got it, but I will leave its validity to your judgement. Seems pretty authentic to me, based on spelling mistakes.
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Essex is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East of England.
It is a home county.
Ceremonial counties are areas of England to which are appointed a Lord Lieutenant.
Home counties are counties which border London.
The office of Lord Lieutenant can be considered viceregal but is certainly not equivalent to Governor-General. A very spiffy uniform is usually authorized, however. He or she has no official duties between parades that I could find.
The county's coat of arms contains three Saxon seax knives on a red background.
Essex was once a kingdom, but was subsumed into the Kingdom of England and later became
just a county thereof.
Essex is home to the Dunmow Flitch Trials.
Famous people who were born in Essex include Dame Maggie Smith and Jamie Oliver, though at different times. Winston Churchill slept there once.
The motto of the county council is: "Essex Wonks".
That is all.
Correction: "Essex Works".
For extra credit, say the following really fast three times: The sixth sick sheik sucked on seven Saxon seax.
If anyone knows any other interesting things about Essex, or if you have any cute Essex anecdotes, please put them in comments. On soubriquet's blog, though.
Sunday, January 8, 2012
The British ex-pat community in the USA is a fickle group, at least when it comes to American politics. Most displaced Brits unexplainedly seem to be bedrock Republicans. But simply being Republican for them is not enough; their candidate must be female as well, it seems. I have no idea why this is so. Perhaps it is just a carryover from their childhood memories of their beloved Lady Thatcher. Of course, living now in the USA, their initial darling was the long-suffering Sarah Palin. Imagine, if you can, the sighs of hopelessness when the Teaparty First Lady said "Thanks, but no thanks," and tea no longer included Sarah.
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The sorrow of the faithful was somewhat abated when Michelle Bachmann entered the arena (at least the sorrow of the time-strapped ex-pat soccer moms in the Midwest.) Now imagine, if you can, the lamentations and gnashing of teeth in the heartland when Mighty-Mum Michelle bit the big one in Iowa. No, you probably can't quite grasp their angst, or even why the uprooted Brits loved Michelle in the first place.
To those of you who despair at having only the Bouncingly Benign Barrack family left to support, I would remind you that all is not lost on the ex-pat Republican front: Newt Gingrich is still in the running.
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Wednesday, January 4, 2012
Sunday, January 1, 2012
I would like to live in a world at peace, and in a world free of want - at least freedom from want for the basic necessities of life.
If that is impossible, I would like to live in a country, at least, which is at peace with the rest of the world and whose citizens enjoy those basic necessities of life. Add to that a large measure of personal freedom; I would want my government to be as unlike the government of North Korea as possible, for example. But may we see the errors of our ways.
If that is impossible, then let me, at least, live in a state and community which proactively care about the wellbeing of the people who live there and earnestly work to make things better.
If that is impossilbe, then let me, my own self, at least, keep the dream for these things alive in my own heart, and strive daily to do what I can to make them come true for those around me.
I wish you all a happy new year, a year which comes closer to these goals than the year before. Thank you for your company and your friendship.
Que la luz de la esperanza alumbre sus dias.