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Post Info TOPIC: The Origins of the First World War.


Legend

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The Origins of the First World War.
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Having observed the voting pattern in last night's Eurovision Song Contest, I now understand much more clearly how it came about.

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Legend

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Unfortunately, and oh dear, I missed the wonderful Eurovision Song Contest. I have however found this documentary in which competing experts offer their opinions on the origins of The Great War:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uk37TD_08eA

"The vile Hun and his villainous empire-building" is suggested and promptly rebuffed by pointing out that the German Empire consists merely of a small sausage factory in Tanganyika. The best suggestion as to the cause of the war is that a "bloke named Archie Duke shot an ostrich 'cause he was hungry".

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Legend

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I find it difficult to express my gratitude to the previous two posters for the insights they have afforded into the causes of the Great War. Against my better judgement then, I shall try anyway.

Forum members will be distressed when once more I drag the discussion in the direction of those matters that are familiar to me. I can only apologise, I cannot surpass the sum of those things I know - but I am working on it.

Essentially, I am sure Baldrick was on to something about the ostrich. Were there sufficient ostrich plumes available the Australian Light Horse Brigades might not have been obliged to substitute emu feathers for their distinctive badges. Knowing the difficulty in obtaining emu feathers, I am sure the Central Powers felt they had no option but to react most robustly to the assassination of even a single ostrich, such was their concern to limit the fighting capacity of the British Empire. Ultimately, their strategy failed but is was " ... a damn nice thing, the nearest run thing you ever saw," to quote the victor of an earlier conflict.

How difficult is it to pluck the plumage of an emu? Well first you have catch it. Suffice to say that the inability of the Australians to secure stocks of plumes between the wars led to their reluctant mechanisation of the Light Horse in the second. That and having shot all their horses at the conclusion of hostilities in the first war (quarantine regulations).

A glimpse is afforded in How we lost the emu war. I don't recall the precise statistic but I believe it was approximately 6,134 rounds of .303 Mk VII ball per emu. Those birds have a hold on life that is quite uncanny, as our American cousins have found to their considerable cost in unrelated incidents over the years. To mention just two:

Police Shoot Emu: Claim No Choice
Emu shot by CHP - ah yes, see those fangs and know real fear.

The foregoing thesis has been broadly disseminated and has been mentioned by critics.

-- Edited by Rectalgia on Sunday 30th of May 2010 07:39:32 PM

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Commander in Chief

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Rectalgia wrote:


Forum members will be distressed when once more I drag the discussion in the direction of those matters that are familiar to me. I can only apologise, I cannot surpass the sum of those things I know - but I am working on it.

Hi Steve, don't apologise, I don't think any forum member will be distressed by your attributions: au contraire your theses are profound and nice to read.

EMU's: I have seen an ostrich farm in Flanders Fields. These beasts have that habit of putting their head in the desert sand when being panicked, don't they? As we all know, the Westhoek soil is of heavy sea-clay, and mostly wet. (this and the ruined drainage system were the reason why the Belgians didn't dig their trenches but built them of sand-bags called 'vaderlanderkes'). So life must be difficult for the poor plumed creature when danger is coming near. How did the beast get anyway on the marshy ground of the Old Continent? Are their eggs eatable and if, how long do you have to boil them, 10x4 minutes?

regards, Kieffer



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Legend

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Hi Kieffer,

There are differences between emus' and ostriches' behaviour - much of Australia resists anything being stuck into it and those are the parts mostly inhabited by emus in the present time. If an emu tried to bury his head he would be easy to catch but he doesn't and they aren't. So you see our problem. Have you heard an Ostrich "drumming"? They (males) make a very low-pitch but loud rumbling/thrumming sound that is almost unique - emus do that too. It is not good to be around them unprotected when they do that, like being around an elephant in musth - some fates are worse than death.

Yes, Africa is "the Old Continent" but I have stood in Australia atop fossilised coral reefs and it is 350 million years since they lived, I found a scrap of tabulata coral in the beach sand (no emus near) when I was bathing and such have not been in the oceans near here for 90 million years, and I used to drive every day past a stromatolite that was 2,500 million years old, they say.

To the best of my knowledge no-one has ever tried to boil an emu egg. For the first 50,000 - 55,000 years of human presence there was no pot big enough on the whole continent. There was possibly no pot at all (apart from those made from emu egg shells, thus the dilemma). They "blow" the eggs and eat the contents raw extracted through a small hole. Or used to, only Aboriginal Australians are allowed to do that any more, maybe they still do - carved emu eggs are still a small industry and I suppose those are emptied at some stage.

Steve

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Commander in Chief

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Hi Steve,

nope, I never had the pleasure of hearing the Emu drum. But  I heard a kangaroo hip-hopping, also on a Flemish meadow. It sounded like splash-bump splash bump as the meadow was green and wet. Every now and then a kangoroo lost control and slipped, which was (sorry dear animals) a funny thing to look at.
The Old Continent: I grew up in the strong belief that the OC was Europe, the Lower Countries to be more specific...

regards, Kieffer

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Legend

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Ah, my mistake about the Old continent then.  So far as mankind goes I thought of Africa. 

Talking of old men, anthropologists are (almost) agreeing now some ancient Australian rock paintings are showing the bird genyornis that were all dead and gone 40,000-50,000 years ago.  Now that was some bird.  Twice as high as an emu and eight times as heavy with a huge head and a beak that could crush coconuts with one bite.  If there were any coconuts in Australia then.  Hmmm ... about the right size to crush a human head.  But it was related to geese or maybe ducks though it probably ate meat.  Reminds me of a Donald Duck story "The Quack of Doom".

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Lieutenant-Colonel

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Ah yes the not at all famous Demon Duck of Doom (Its english translation is so much more fun than it is in latin). A creature almost as large as the Diatrymia (which frankly was probaly the 1st squash bomber - depending on which set you believe on its inability or not to fly - closely followed by the equally unknown Giant Haast Eagle - NZ's contribution, which need to climb a realy big tree or bigger cliff before plumetting on its prey as it is believe to have the glide ratio about like a 747 with engine failure!) but with something looking much more like like either an oversized eagle's beak or those funny South American top predators (flightless birds too) in thevperiod just prior to & just after the forming of the panama Issmus.

Interesting that almost all these bizarre & carniverous Birds seem to be Australian or Sout American? Think I might change my dating sites all to Russian sites for safety?

-- Edited by Brennan on Sunday 6th of June 2010 10:42:31 AM

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Hi Brennan, Steve...
I am from a teeny tiny country and myself (tall in length) feel psychologically small...
What can I offer you from the Old Continent: a genetic manipulated bull called Herman, which did not get the governmental permit to do 'the thing'?
Clone sheep Dolly perhaps?(Or was she British?) The sparrow that ruined the Guiness record of domino stones by sky- diving around in the special record hangar? And was shot, which roused the nation?

regards Kieffer

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Legend

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Brennan wrote:

...Interesting that almost all these bizarre & carniverous Birds seem to be Australian or Sout American? ...


No coincidence, they were both part of Gondwana until sometime well after the dinosaurs, both have similar climate and vegetation for most of the time. But the big birds survived/evolved much later in Oz. South America got some other really cool stuff though - giant armadillos for one. We got bunyips (the demon duck) and drop-bears (thylacoleo).
kieffer wrote:

...What can I offer you from the Old Continent: ...


You had aurochs and auks and cave-bears and Neanderthals (maybe still do), all sorts of things.

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Commander in Chief

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Hi Steve,
it's scary but Neanderthals is almost an anagram of the word Netherlands...only an intelligent Pithecantropus Erectus  sees that but I didn't want to hold that back for you!

best wishes, Kieffer




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Legend

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kieffer wrote:

.... it's scary but Neanderthals is almost an anagram of the word Netherlands...only an intelligent Pithecantropus Erectus  sees that but I didn't want to hold that back for you!


I am obliged (yet again) for your observations Kieffer. They (Neanderthals) had, on average, larger brains than "modern" men and were stronger/differently muscled (even a little Neanderthal kid could do a one-hand "chin up" to an overhead bar, probably carrying his big brother too), they were more robust in bone and muscle generally and apparently less incapacitated by pain than are we. Far superior for the old stone age, one would think.

But something seems to have happened in the head of modern men maybe 70,000 years ago and suddenly they became more competitive than the Neanderthals who seemed better equipped for the lifestyle up until then. Some quirk of abstract thinking or of language skills and/or of social organising, or of reproductive success (my favourite), it is still unclear. But maybe there is just a little of them in all of us still, that is not ruled out, nor would it be a shameful thing. More shameful by far if those marvellous old ones died out entirely and we moderns were responsible.

Of course the nasty propaganda posters and cartoons of the Great War would have us liken the opposition then to even more remote types of people. But no need to go there, it is hurtful and unnecessary to recapitulate such things in detail here I think, they were the product of a different time and circumstance and nothing to be proud of even then.

But we still caricaturise those opposed to us to this day. I guess it is hard at first to kill unhesitatingly without hate and it easier to hate someone you have first dehumanised. But that corrodes the spirit, you know? I think that is why war veterans find it helpful (when they are ready) to visit the countries of their former enemy - to be reassured of the common humanity.

Maybe the Eurovision Song Contest actually helps in this general way too. But I sort of doubt that. laughing.gif

I go now to think some more about reproductive success.

Steve

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Rectalgia wrote:

 


...I am obliged (yet again) for your observations Kieffer. They (Neanderthals) had, on average, larger brains than "modern" men ...

Thank you! The brains...Lloyd George called Lord Kitcheners brain a light-house...a big light shining followed by deep darkness...for me, I literally grew up in the shadow of a light-house, and never had the courage to climb these scary ladders to the top. Did I miss something by not doing that? Don't think so! Other dare-devils told me in every detail how great the panoramic view was and how interesting the lenses, so why see it myself? You don't have to break a leg to feel how painfull that is, my mother said. Wild speculating now, but may be that's a reason why modern men left the Neanders behind...
Looking forward to your repro-success evaluation!

regards, Kieffer


 



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Legend

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Hi Kieffer,

Ah yes, Lord Kitchener - just the face was enough for the message.

But the Neanderthals were risk-takers too, the healed injuries to their bones reveal it. Life (and war) of course are not games but they obey game-theory rules. A big one is that taking considered risks will always win over more conservative play in the medium and long term.

Sure there may be short-term losses but the peaks will outweigh the troughs many times - and wins against other more conservative players are less risk than those against less successful risk-takers. Nothing to gain climbing the lighthouse stairs? Fine, the risk is not worth it if the attainment has no value. But when something is to be gained and there is competition then mostly the meekest must lose.

Even playing solitaire on the computer, taking risks results in higher scores. Well, I cheat and get even higher scores again - maybe that shows a further principle.

Regards,

Steve

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Brigadier

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This year, the Netherlands sent a Neanderthal to the Eurovision Songfestival (again) and ended up as the worst performing country over the last seven years...
Next to that, us Dutchies have a history with odd birds, with the Dodo in the first place. (and they didn't even taste that good according to historical sources).
Luckily, we got the opportunity to stay out of the Great War; something we should also do at the Eurovision.
Still trying to figure out however how the extinction of the Dodo could have triggered World War One.
confused.gif

Michel.


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Legend

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Hi Michel,

I bet the Dodo tasted better than the Great Auk (or even the lesser ones) yet *somebody* ate all those too. There are some hungry people in the Old World. I think the Eurovision contest is designed to cure that. Maybe some forgotten regiment used the Dodo plumes in their hats? That would make things difficult for the bird.

Kieffer might help us. Or James (who started this whole thing and then leaves us to flounder). Those of us far away find these matters hard to understand. Where I come from is precisely opposite (antipodean to) the Bermuda Triangle. I am even a long way from the New World too (a little less if we take short cuts - we call that 'circumcising the globe').

It says in Psalms and in the Book of Matthew too that the meek shall inherit the Earth. I bet when they do someone comes along to "make them an offer they can't refuse." Game theory again I think - but I can't find chapter and verse exactly.

Regards,

Steve.

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Hi Michel,

yes, the Dutch are responsible for the Dodo genocide, but...they didn't eat them theirselves, they let them eat as they 'hired' many hungry sailors, Hessians mainly.
As they hired Scottish to fight their little battles, and Swiss too. The latter stayed for quite a while, and weren't the easiest to deal with: the last Swiss regiment went home reluctantly in the 19th century, but only after they got an offer they couldn't refuse, in money. And talking about Hessians: the Dutch royal dynasty, the Nassau's were Hessian, guess who their neighbours were...

Dodo still lives on in an old children book as a character called Dappere Dodo.
For Steve, who is reading this with great interest: Brave Dodo! To be honest here, Dappere Dodo was a bit of a schlemil as far as I can remember...

Steve, I can't find that biblical chapter either, but I guess you're quoting is right. At least the meek will inheret something (hope that oil leak is stopped by then) , the Neanders are gone. Michel is having a point: some of their grand children still exist, losing song contests or climbing lighthouse stairs but one thing is for sure: the Neanders didn't invent the safety belt!

regards, Kieffer

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Legend

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This evangelical atheist had better get you off the hook... It's from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5 where Jesus -

"5:1 And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he
   was set, his disciples came unto him:

5:2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying,"

"5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth."

(King James Bible)

Regards,

Charlie


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Legend

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Ah, now I am having some contrary thoughts. First the Dutch ate the Auks, then they ate the Dodos. All flightless birds! Did they then invent the aeroplane to go after the rest of the avian race? And the seatbelt (contrary to assertion)? It is hard to do a victory-roll in an aeroplane without seatbelts when (for instance) celebrating the capture of another sea-gull. We need the truth of these matters, the secret archives.

P.S. Thank you Charlie, now Kieffer will be re-assured.

-- Edited by Rectalgia on Wednesday 9th of June 2010 07:51:26 AM

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Amen Charles, Amen!

but I must confess...I forgot to take the bible with me when I moved to the Babylonian capital. All I have is a Koran, a present from a sweet Maroccan lady who just wanted to show that 'it isn't that bad as all people say nowadays', and 'though I was a Christian' she was truly convinced that I am a 'good' man, which was a 100% correct conclusion of course.

Steve, we still have the quail waggling around. And we still eat them, at least it's eggs.
I do not, I have a big appetite and a small purse, as they are only served in exquisite restaurants. The sea-gull, it is uneatable and one many species, the albatross, was mainly protected by superstitious belief: it brings misfortune to ship and crew when bringing them down. Victory rolls in aeroplanes without seat belts: can be done with the canopy closed.
My G..d, when will this ever end? Poor PDA-Phil, we must apologise to him, giving him loads of work when he transmits these writings to the new landship site...

regards, Kieffer

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Legend

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kieffer wrote:

...The sea-gull, it is uneatable and one many species, the albatross, was mainly protected by superstitious belief: it brings misfortune to ship and crew when bringing them down. Victory rolls in aeroplanes without seat belts: can be done with the canopy closed.
My G..d, when will this ever end? Poor PDA-Phil, we must apologise to him, giving him loads of work when he transmits these writings to the new landship site...


The inedible seagull? That is why they are taken in through the propeller - the Dutch then being the inventors of the food blender as well. Is there no end to this recital of secret inventions? But in that case the effort might have been better spent on advancement in dentistry. Still, that is retrospective wisdom only.

Those early aeroplanes had no canopies, it was one big step down from the inverted cockpit. Limiting velocity for the human form in spread-eagle configuration is said to be 120-140 mph. I think that is too great even for Bibendum the Michelin Man, once meeting the earth (or even water). Ha! "Nunc est bibendum!!" There is risk-taking for you, drinking and driving - like Cognac and gunpowder - but what admirable joie de vivre, what élan, what style!

Um, there is no pressing need to relocate this forum (it is quite separate) - that would be for convenience only. And to regain some moderator control (but surely not for this thread which is most serious business). The Landships site is the urgent thing.

Regards,

Steve

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Commander in Chief

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Steve....

Bibendum would have had some serious problems in modern high pressurized aeroplane cabins.
And bumping on the ground: there's that sad story of the Berliner twin sisters trying to commit suicide, totally depressed as they were during the Depression in the 20's.
They did the jump covered in bed mattresses and 'survived'. They wanted to die but had some concerns about the pain. As we all know, Depression and inflation had anything to do with the Versailles treaty so we might go direction ww1...but now Dentistry is brought up and I must reply: as soon men started to bite the red meat, their teeth started to deteriorate. Eating sea gulls, food blended or not wouldn't be healthy anyway but many sailors had the habit of chewing tobacco, a prophylaxis unexpected, killing bacteria and giving the surgeon a hard time as sailors molars are tight fit in the jaw.
And erm..Steve, the Dutch did not invent the blender and certainly not in the emperical way you painted. Assuming such things is really risk-taking...

regards, Kieffer

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Legend

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Blessed are the Greeks? How very curious.

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Legend

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kieffer wrote:

....but now Dentistry is brought up and I must reply: as soon men started to bite the red meat, their teeth started to deteriorate. Eating sea gulls, food blended or not wouldn't be healthy anyway ...


But Kieffer, sea gulls are WHITE meat. I think the Semillon Savignon-blanc blend is the recommended wine. And red meat ... here Sam Neil tells us all about it - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBhdqrdN4zg. So you see, if Homo habilis (or maybe Homo rudolfensis as the little girl says) hadn't eaten red meat we wouldn't have our giant brains today. I think a little white Burgundy goes with crumbed brain very well, or maybe even a soft Merlot. Sam is a Kiwi (another flightless bird) you can trust him implicitly. What would you prefer, a brain or teeth anyway? That is easy to answer ( a 'no-brainer'), especially if you invest the necessary monies in dentistry.
PDA wrote:

Blessed are the Greeks? How very curious.



Indeed, they taught the world they better look the gift-horse in the mouth. More games-theory.

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How can I take this Forum seriously when I read post like these, how come there is no mention of  Newcombs late arrival to the emu/ostrich  hunting party, they only turned up when they thought  Greater Croughton might hunt their birds, Newcombs blacksmiths realised there was money to be made as well.

There was a radio series that covered more recent history of the Old World,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Blighty_on_the_Down

Got to go, nursey tells me it's time for my medicine. 

-- Edited by LincolnTanker on Wednesday 9th of June 2010 04:00:50 PM

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Hi Chris!
Sorry to hear you're still on medicine, is that because of the "ringing bells somewhere in the Balkan"?
Me, I can't take these posts seriously either, but as a Man with a Mission I, or we, have to struggle on to bring the Lost Souls back on topic again!

PDA, yes, Greeks, yes yes...they have a lot of sheep over there. Meek is 'mak' in Dutch or "Lammfromm" in German, meek as a lamb so to speak. "Mekkeren" or German "Meckern" is the funny sound these woolly characters produce. In Germany you'll be send of the playground because of "Meckerns" that is to discuss some arbitrary items with the referee. Steve would have had a great carreer playing in the 'Bundesliga'.

Steve, I'll deal with you later my dear Australian friend...as a Modern Man I have to prepare dinner every night for the wife so I am off..

regards, Kieffer

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Legend

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LincolnTanker wrote:

How can I take this Forum seriously when I read post like these, how come there is no mention of Newcombs late arrival to the emu/ostrich hunting party, they only turned up when they thought Greater Croughton might hunt their birds, Newcombs blacksmiths realised there was money to be made as well. ...


I am inexpressibly delighted that the sturdy burghers of Newcombe have decided to come over and join the fray (better late than never). Dab hands with the Lewis-gun are they? We could offer Brens if only Brennan would spring the spare barrels that unaccountably ended up across the Tasman in Aotearoa/the Shaky Isles/New Zealand. (C'mon Brennan, you guys don't need them any more, you already ate all your large flightless birds including all eleven species of Moa and you don't need Brens for the poor little tiddlers of the other types that still hang on.)

Unfortunately they (the Newcombites) are not permitted to bring their own armaments through Her Majesty's (Australian) customs control without a Firearms Importers Licence and even then they would not be permitted to either use them or to sell them. That includes toy cap guns and pop-guns unless fitted with the distinctive red barrel cap (refer Regulations for precise Pantone colour) that cannot be removed - also the ballistic knife. No doubt sling-shots and other neolithic armaments could be constructed from indigenous materials on arrival but the boring logistical details can be sorted out later, the important thing is "all hands to battle-stations," figuratively speaking (Navigation Regulations actually prohibit weapons of any sort on Australian ships but that's okay, Emus and ships operate in mutually-exclusive territory).
kieffer wrote:

...PDA, yes, Greeks, yes yes...they have a lot of sheep over there. Meek is 'mak' in Dutch or "Lammfromm" in German, meek as a lamb so to speak. "Mekkeren" or German "Meckern" is the funny sound these woolly characters produce. In Germany you'll be send of the playground because of "Meckerns" that is to discuss some arbitrary items with the referee. Steve would have had a great carreer playing in the 'Bundesliga'. ...


I am gratified at your (sadly misplaced) confidence in my sporting prowess my dear Kieffer (I suffered red meat deprivation as a boy) but I must caution care about mentioning the ovine species in the presence of Her Majesty's (New Zealand) subjects - they have the conviction that they own all the world's sheep, just haven't gathered them all together yet. Precisely as the Masai with cattle and bankers with money. But we still love them ki te mutunga.

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This is Derby of The Sherwood Foresters. Or Derby II, or III, as Derby I died a classical sheeps death. He fell into a well, drowned and so he met his Maker. His Maker? Yes, according to the local padre animals have a place in Heaven too. Well may be not all, but sheep & lamb most certainly were amongst them.
Derby: 6 months' training (handler too). On the program: marching, turn/halt to the sound of the band. Monthly shampooing and dried with a hair dryer.
Personally, Derby isn't my favourite kind of sheep. To much horn, (no I will not make the joke), the showing-of type.
As many others, with 4! horns or horns like a spiked French bayonet. My points are for the "Skudde" sheep, as I favour the meek and small. It's from Eastern Prussia, only a 1000 still exist, it's very meek (and of course near to extinction), very small and very cute.

regards, Kieffer



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Commander in Chief

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The Inniskilling Fusiliers' goat...tin hat on, ears down.
Don't know his/her name, could be a foundling, left on its own or forgotten in the chaos of the battle zone.

Kieffer


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Legend

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The British army was ever practical - edible mascots. Well, perhaps not "ever", I think it is something they learned fighting Napoleon's generals on the Iberian peninsular. It is recorded one brigade alone rounded up 500 head of mascots in a single day on their way to invest Badajos. Okay, I just made that up, but it could be true. Anyway, that (Badajos) is where young Harry Smith found and won his good Lady Wife, she whose name is commemorated as "Ladysmith" in the names of sundry towns thoughout the Commonwealth. It would be ungallant (not to mention inaccurate) to proclaim her a mascot - here is a sketch of her, La Doña Juana Maria de Los Dolores de León, enough to make a lion weep indeed.

Here is an AIF mascot - http://cas.awm.gov.au/item/RC01916. As can be seen, edible, if at all, only in extremis or a little short of that. I think Harry Smith, 104 years before, had the better of it.

-- Edited by Rectalgia on Thursday 10th of June 2010 05:33:59 PM

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Hi Steve,

there were at least two mascots who made carreer in the Peninsular War.
Poodle Sancho who's chef, a French officer, fell at Salamanca. Poor Sancho could'nt leave his masters grave, mourning and probably tear jerking day and night, so the Marquis of Worcester (nick name 'sauce' and this one I made up) took Sancho home.
Another poodle was taken prisoner at Vittoria, becoming the mascot of the Grenadier Guards. By the way, regimental dogs were paid as a soldier, but what did these canine do with pocket money? Ah, I know: at the end of the month you get paid but o surprise you have to pay for food and bedding so all is equalled out. Das ist des Pudels Kern!

regards, Kieffer


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Ah, poodle punning! Has it come to this? Ah well, the Marquess of Worcester, that would be Henry Somerset though I though His Lordship was the Duke of Beaufort by higher title. No matter, the titled Lords could afford inedible mascots, "The unspeakable in pursuit of the inedible," as they said of the fox-hunting class (the Dutch food blender had not yet been invented). Anyway, foxes make rotten mascots, they sulk.

Des Pudels Kern...

Des Pudels Fell ist weich und flauschig
Mit dicken Locken, warm und bauschig,
An Mandelaugen, Hängeohren,
Haben wir unser Herz verloren.

Yes, that is just the style of the "top brass". Meanwhile the poor old Light Infantry slept on the ground and if it was raining they smeared clay over their blankets to make them a little bit water-proof. Oh, the humanity! And they had fleas - not the poodle, the men.

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Commander in Chief

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I knew, I knew it...
...Dutch food blender...if you want to blend Dutch food you will end up with tomato soup, cheese porridge and mashed 'Deventer koek'. What that is I am not gonna tell you.
It's not good for your teeth, so now we're back on dentistry. First to use the tooth brush were as a matter of fact the military. It was already issued in the beginning of the last century. The tooth paste not in a tube: it was a powder. You still can buy it in very healthy green shops. It's salty. Many drafted country boy, teeth already as a 'bicycle parking rack' grinned at it, took it home and gave it his younger brother.

regards, Kieffer

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Commander in Chief

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...and to lighten up the conversation, a picture of a military shower.
I don't hope I'll get sued by placing pictures of nudy people on the net.
Don't know if they are French, German or Australian. Probably the last, as water is scarce in their own country, and now enjoying the luxuary of a proper bath.

regards Kieffer
there's a lot of water in the Low Countries by the Sea I can tell you

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Brigadier

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That would have been some show: having a mass shower, alarmbells ring and the entire regiment in the nude over the top, meeting the enemy halfway in the same condition still wet from their de-lousing shower....
Not really my cup of tea, but having an annual gay parade here in Amsterdam makes you think... what if... what if....
What if others thought of this before? What if Haig, Joffre and Ludendorff were rampant queers fantasizing about masses of naked young men? Could that have been the underlying cause of the Great War??!

Michel.


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Legend

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You might be onto something there Michel.

All the British generals no doubt attended the great Public Schools (which were actually private, as we know) as "boarders" from a young age, generations of them locked up with other boys, flogged and bullied by the Masters and the older boys, this is not a good outlook for developing unambiguous heterosexuality. And the girls, at their schools! - "For we are from Roedean School/Up school, up school, up school/Right - up - school!" And the admirals were even worse - in the Napoleonic era the British sent their budding officers to sea at age 5½ (cf Admiral Graham Eden Hamond) though they may have stretched that out to about 11½ in the generation or two before the Great War).

Out in the Dominions we had no such traditions (well, the Canadians are a little different) so we had accelerated programmes. The culmination of the initiation into the Corps of Staff Cadets, Royal Military College, Australia (which institution barely pre-dated WW1 but shows the tendency I think) was for the initiate to be seated on a block of ice wearing little (if anything) other than a thoughtfully emptied chamber-pot on the head and reciting from memory the following Great Oath (as related by the late Air Commodore PG. Heffernan):

I swear by Hummdummick all tattered and torn,
That this evening I wish that I'd never been born.
I swear by the classrooms, the square and the shouse,
The stables, the gun park and the Commandant's House.
I swear by the nuts on the Hitchcock and Lewis,
By the soup in the Mess that old Edwards pours through us.
By the Marquis de One Nut, the Rigus Superbus,
By a DMA rampant, may he never disturb us.
By my pair of quit stirrups, Gallop and Terott,
By Easter, who boulches a lot.
By the tactical schemes we do under arms,
When we chase one another around Dad Mayo's farms.
By the expert on Crosleys and SPA roarer,
That after tonight I am one of the CORA.

(These words should not be spoken aloud lest they invoke the wrathful and haemorrhoidal spirits of long-departed Aussie Commodores, Brigadiers and Air Commodores.)

Now these things may be long-gone. For one thing thing there have been lady Staff Cadets for many years and none but the most prurient would imagine a lady arrayed as above - but the fact remains that for many years our military elite were thus conditioned. "As the twig is bent so the tree inclines," as the proverb says, but Virgil said it first I think. It is hard to imagine otherwise than that the combined carnal desires of all those "bent trees" might indeed have some bearing on the origins of the war.

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Legend

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Ooh, he really was a bit of a firebrand, Lloyd George, wasn't he.  I came across this spirited denial of British culpability in the war in one of his parlimentary speaches (1917):

It is a satisfaction for Britain in these terrible times that no share of the responsibility for these events rests on her.

She is not the Jonah in this storm. The part taken by our country in this conflict, in its origin, and in its conduct, has been as honourable and chivalrous as any part ever taken in any country in any operation.

We might imagine from declarations which were made by the Germans, aye! and even by a few people in this country, who are constantly referring to our German comrades, that this terrible war was wantonly and wickedly provoked by England - never Scotland - never Wales - and never Ireland.

Wantonly provoked by England to increase her possessions, and to destroy the influence, the power, and the prosperity of a dangerous rival.

There never was a more foolish travesty of the actual facts. It happened three years ago, or less, but there have been so many bewildering events crowded into those intervening years that some people might have forgotten, perhaps, some of the essential facts, and it is essential that we should now and again restate them, not merely to refute the calumniators of our native land, but in order to sustain the hearts of her people by the unswerving conviction that no part of the guilt of this terrible bloodshed rests on the conscience of their native land.

What are the main facts? There were six countries which entered the war at the beginning. Britain was last, and not the first.

Before she entered the war Britain made every effort to avoid it; begged, supplicated and entreated that there should be no conflict.

I was a member of the Cabinet at the time, and I remember the earnest endeavours we made to persuade Germany and Austria not to precipitate Europe into this welter of blood. We begged them to summon a European conference to consider.

Had that conference met arguments against provoking such a catastrophe that were so overwhelming there would never have been a war. Germany knew that, so she rejected the conference, although Austria was prepared to accept it. She suddenly declared war, and yet we are the people who wantonly provoked this war, in order to attack Germany.

We begged Germany not to attack Belgium, and produced a treaty, signed by the King of Prussia, as well as the King of England, pledging himself to protect Belgium against an invader, and we said, 'If you invade Belgium we shall have no alternative but to defend it.'

The enemy invaded Belgium, and now they say, 'Why, forsooth, you, England, provoked this war.'

It is not quite the story of the wolf and the lamb. I will tell you why - because Germany expected to find a lamb and found a lion.

I think I need to reconsider the thought I expressed elsewhere in the forum that Britain was inexplicably led from its customary generosity to the vanquished by her stern allies when it came to drafting and ratifying the Treaty of Versailles.  Obviously Lloyd George was sufficiently censorious of Germany all by himself!

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Corporal

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I thought it all started because someone lost that little key thing that one uses to open tins of sardines.

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