Weblog Archives




  Friday   September 3   2010

art theft

Stealing Mona Lisa
The shocking theft of the Mona Lisa, in August 1911, appeared to have been solved 28 months later, when the painting was recovered. In an excerpt from their new book, the authors suggest that the audacious heist concealed a perfect—and far more lucrative—crime.

The four bare hooks on the Louvre wall that once held the Mona Lisa.

"It was a Monday and the Louvre was closed. As was standard practice at the museum on that day of the week, only maintenance workers, cleaning staff, curators, and a few other employees roamed the cavernous halls of the building that was once the home of France’s kings but for centuries had been devoted to housing the nation’s art treasures."

 11:47 AM - link

military r us

The military is supposed to be under civilian control. They are supposed to answer to the President. It hasn't been that way for a long time which is why we are at perpetual war.

Civilian Control? Surely, You Jest.

"The principle of civilian control forms the foundation of the American system of civil-military relations, offering assurance that the nation’s very powerful armed forces and its very influential officer corps pose no danger to our democracy. That’s the theory at least, the one that gets printed in civics books and peddled to the plain folk out in Peoria.

"Reality turns out to be considerably more complicated. In practice, civilian control—expectations that the brass, having rendered advice, will then loyally execute whatever decision the commander-in-chief makes—is at best a useful fiction."

The Pentagon's Double Envelopment of President Barack Obama

"The "double envelopment" or pincer movement is a classic military maneuver that finds the flanks of the opponent under simultaneous attack from the opposing forces. The maneuver may have been used as early as the Battle of Marathon in the fifth century BC, and there are accounts of Hannibal using the double envelopment at the Battle of Cannae in 216 BC. Gen. Robert E. Lee used the technique successfully in the Second Battle of Bull Run in 1862, when the Confederate forces threatened the lines of communication between the Union forces and the political leadership in Washington. The German Sixth Army was a victim of double envelopment at the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942, and Gen. George Patton used the technique successfully against German forces in World War II.

"Now, President Barack Obama finds himself the victim of a political double envelopment in which the Pentagon, having ostensibly agreed to a strategy calling for discussion of withdrawal from Afghanistan, is already campaigning and planning for an extended stay. On one flank, the Pentagon is undertaking a huge base expansion program that will support a regional military strategy against Russia, China and Iran. On the other flank, the senior military leadership is walking away from any notion of even gradual withdrawal beginning in 2011."

 11:46 AM - link


Leica 'abandons' film cameras in shift to digital, lens crafting

" "Leica Camera has already ceased production of film cameras."

"This shocking statement emerged abruptly from Leica Camera AG owner Andreas Kaufmann at a lecture on May 30 organized by the Japan Camera Industry Institute (JCII)."

The end of an era. Leica was synonymous 35mm film photography. Not any more. At least Leica has successfully made the transition to digital. It's not like I could afford the Leica film cameras. My Leica was given to me by my Grandfather. Still sorry to see the film camera production end.

 11:36 AM - link


Collapse of Kabul Bank Points to Fatal Corruption of Karzai Government
by Juan Cole

"I write in anger. Not blind rage, mind you. A cool, searing, steady anger. I think it is a righteous anger. It is not consequential, but it is my reality. I am angry about the 1,172 US troops dead in the Afghanistan War, and all the other brave NATO and Afghan soldiers who gave their lives for a new Afghanistan. Because they haven’t gotten a new Afghanistan. They have paid the ultimate sacrifice for a ponzi scheme masquerading as a reformist government. And, as usual, you and I may well get stuck with the bill for the economic damage done by the fraud.

"The house of cards that is the Hamid Karzai government in Kabul may be falling before our eyes, as vast, globe-spanning webs of corruption, formerly hidden in shadows, have suddenly had a spotlight thrown on them. The crisis raises the severest questions about whether the Obama administration can plausibly hope to stand up a stable government in Afghanistan before US troops depart.

"As with the second phase of the Great Depression in the United States, the crisis begins with a run on Da Kabul Bank. Depositors took out $85 million on Wednesday, after a damning story appeared in the Washington Post. They took out another $70 million on Thursday. The bank, which owes $300 million, may now have as little as $120 million left in the kitty, though it had once been worth over a billion. But the problem is not just a run on one bank. Can Afghanistan’s whole financial system and economy emerge unscathed?"

 11:28 AM - link

recovering from a birthday

The day after my birthday (8-24) Katie (my daughter) and Mike (my grandson) arrived from Colorado Springs for a week.

I picked them up at the airport and our first stop was to visit my mom.

I dropped Katie and Mike of at her mom's. The next day we had a birthday lunch with Robby at Gordon's on Blueberry Hill and a late birthday cake and ice cream that evening.

The next day she was off to Olympia to visit friends. On Sunday we joined Katie and Mike at Robbys for a barby.

That's Robby. He's just finished his summer quarter finals. The next day Zoe and I drove Katie and Mike down to the airport. We stopped by Robby's so Katie and Mike could say good-bye. Just before we left the birthday presents from my Colorado family arrived and I opened them up at Robby's.

Check out Flying pigs at flickr for more of the story and more pictures. I only have Evan's up but I will be taking more pictures of all these fantastical creatures.

I've even been taking some pictures. I got my Kodak Medalist II back and it's now a 120 camera. I have 3 rolls to send in as well as 4 sheets of 4x5.

It's been 5 years putting the kit together. I only have two lens mounted. more to come.

 11:02 AM - link