December 31, 2011

Farewell 2011, Welcome 2012!


Yet another year is about to pass into the history books, taking with it 315 posts (including this one) here at The Pond.  What were the highlights of the past 12 months?

In the world of Formula 1, everything got going by... not getting going.  First, Robert Kubica suffered a hideous accident during a rally race, nearly severing his hand.  Multiple surgeries over four or five months allowed him to recover use of his body, but his racing career may be over. Then the Grand Prix of Bahrain was cancelled due to the "Arab Spring" revolutions, and the country's heavy-handed methods of dealing with it.  Pirelli took over as the tire provider for F1.  Just before the season began, Jenson Button took the 2008 McLaren MP4-23 around the Mount Panorama circuit in Australia, providing us with The Greatest F1 Picture Ever.  The season started in a way that we'd soon get used to: Seb Vettel ran away and hid after the first lap, eventually winning by a comfortable 15 second margin.  At the second race weekend  in Malaysia, there was a rash of tire-related problems, included the worst flat-spot ever.  Oh, Vettel won again, too.  China brought us one of the best races of the year.  It started off with Lewis Hamilton's McLaren spewing fuel all over his pit stall and having to go to the grid with its rear covers removed.  Then his teammate, Jenson Button, tried to make a pitstop in Red Bull's box... one of the funniest moments of the year.  It ended with Hamilton passing Vettel for the eventual win towards the end of the race, to boot.  The Turkish Grand Prix saw a record number of pit stops (80, a number that would fall later in the season) and another win by Vettel.  He won in Spain, too.  Qualifying at Monaco brought us a nasty accident, with Sergio Perez slamming into a barrier sideways.  He suffered a bad concussion that kept him out of two races.  The race itself was shaping up to be a nail-biting race to the finish between Vettel, HWMNBN and Button... and then a red flag put paid to all that.  Vettel won.  Canada brought us the Race of the Year, despite half of it being run behind the Safety Car due to torrential rains.  It was also the longest F1 race ever, clocking in at 4 hours and 14 minutes in duration.  Button won after he pressured Vettel into a mistake on the final lap.  SPEED brought us "Seat Swap" two days later, where Lewis Hamilton and Tony Stewart traded cars for a few laps around Watkins Glen.  Vettel blew the rest of the field away in Valencia, the least interesting race of the season.  Ferrari got a win at Britain as HWMNBN brought his steed in ahead of the Red Bulls.  No worries though, as Vettel made an appearance on Top Gear where he set the fastest lap of all F1 drivers around their track... and came across as a really likeable young man.  Bastard.  Hamilton was victorious in Germany, while his teammate won in Hungary.  It was actually a good race at Budapest, aided by rain for only the second time in the Grand Prix's history.  Button won that one, too.  These three races were the longest stretch during the season where Vettel didn't win.  For some reason, Spa brought with it ennui and angst, and it took me a solid week to actually do a (sorta) F1 Update!Italy brought another Vettel win, as did SingaporeButton won in Japan, but it hardly mattered as Vettel wrapped up the Driver's Championship with a second-place finish.  Much to everybody's shock and surprise, Lewis Hamilton took the pole at Korea, the first (and only) time a Red Bull wasn't at the top of the grid all season.  Vettel still won, his 10th victory of the year.  The race weekend was marred by the death of IndyCar driver Dan Wheldon.  The F1 Circus had their first ever race in India, while the first practice session drew only the second liveblogging attempt here at The Pond.  All of that nearly paled in comparison to the announcement that a second Grand Prix will be held here in the USA starting in 2013.  Abu Dhabi saw Vettel retire for the first time all year, and Hamilton took advantage for his third win.  Finally, Vettel set an all-time F1 record with his 15th pole position in Brazil.  Mark Webber got his first win of the year at the last race, taking advantage of a "mechanical problem" on Vettel's car.  After the season, Mumbles Raikkonnen signed with Renault-to-be-Lotus, adding a sixth World Champion to the grid for 2012.

On the Military History front, there's actually a Military History category now!  Just in time, too, because 2011 was a great year for those of us who dig that type of thing.  It all got rolling when I gave logistics vessels got some love by unofficially declaring the Cimmaron a "Hero Ship."  The Langley got a short history which was something I'd been meaning to do for a few years.  Reading Norman Polmar's "Aircraft Carrier, Vol 1" introduced me to something I'd never heard of, the LSTCV and the Brodie Device.  An offhand comment on another site led to the year's first major article, how an earthquake was the genesis of an aircraft carrier.  The only Pacific Q-Ship got a note, and I took a closer look at the damage the Yorktown suffered at the Coral Sea, and the "miracle" of the Pearl Harbor repair yards afterward.  I was asked what the actual reason for the Japanese attack on Midway was, which led to a reader completely missing the point of this blog.  The second major article, on the whole concept of battlecrusiers, came around at the end of June.  My favorite "Name This Mystery Ship" entry proved to be a tough one, but the pictures rocked.  The third major article fell into my lap and while a lot of the post was historical fiction, Harry's Life was a blast to write... and based on a true story.  Maybe.  Later information cast some doubt on some of the details.  Writing the post on the PBY Catalina was like pulling teeth, but still turned out to be pretty good.  A post on the Flight To Nowhere may have been the crowning glory of the year, both for the MilHist category and for The Pond in general.  The Battle of Midway Roundtable even picked it up, which had me walking on air.  Finally, the first two parts of a three-part series on which WWII fighter was the best came out.  Part I is here, and Part II can be found here.  Part III is still in the planning stages.  Still, that'll be a great way to begin 2012, right?

Then there was Anime.  While I watched a lot of shows, only one series caught my imagination strongly enough to get me to actually write about it.  To say that Rio Rainbow Gate! was an odd choice to do that is something of an understatement; to be blunt, it wasn't a particularly good show.  Indeed, my writeup on Episode 1 was vicious in my distaste.  But then something weird happened: I kept watching.  Next thing I knew, I was doing an episodic recap each week... and both hating and enjoying it!  The writeups are right here: Ep04, Ep05, Ep06, Ep07, Ep08, Ep09, Ep10, Ep11, Ep12 and Ep13.  That should have been the end of it, but the masochistic completest in me insisted I go back and do recaps of the two episodes I "missed' the first time around: Episode 02 and Episode 03.  THAT should have been the end of it, but like a venereal disease, Rio Rainbow Gate! was the gift that kept on giving.  The DVD/BD only Episode 14 came out, and the episodic writeup turned out to be the longest post in the history of The Pond, coming in at 4132 words.

Not a bad year, that.  And that doesn't even include things like the Saturday Night Tunage posts!  With any luck, 2012 will be as good or better... and more importantly, y'all will keep showing up to read them.  Couldn't do it without you folks, and I appreciate your time.

Now let's all go put on silly hats and do goofy things.

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December 29, 2011

F1 2012 Silly Season (ALMOST) Over!

It's been a while since I paid much attention to goings-on in the Formula 1 world, I know.  While I was having lunch with Ph.Duck today, he asked me to give him an update on the news of the Grand Circus... and I couldn't do it!  I've really kinda stopped reading up on F1 over the past month.  But no more!  Let's get caught up on the hithering and yonning of that form of motorsport that we love so much!

The biggest news is that the Silly Season is almost over!  22 of the 24 seats for the 2012 F1 season have been filled.  Only two teams still have open seats.  Shall we take a look at the driver lineup as we know it?

Unsurprisingly, some teams are running with the same drivers as in 2011.  Red Bull (Vettel and Webber), McLaren (Button and Hamilton), Ferrari (HWMNBN and Massa),  Mercedes (Slappy and Rosberg), Sauber (Gandalf and Perez) and Caterham-who-was-Lotus (Kovaleinninninnie and Trulli) have made no changes.  These choices all make sense.  Sauber's pair show promise (and Sergio Perez has enough sponsorship money via Carlos Slim to buy a team to boot), and Caterham-nee-Lotus' drivers are a great combination of intelligence and speed, perfect for a newer team.

Renault, which is now Lotus, not to be confused with Caterham who was Lotus, has brought former F1 World Driver's Champion Mumbles Raikkonen back into the sport.  He'll be teamed with young Lettuce Grosjean, who we saw for a half-season in 2009... where he failed to impress.  However, the past two years have been kind to the Swiss-born Frenchman.  He was Pirelli's prime tire-tester in 2010, and he won the GP2 series championship in 2011.

Force India is bringing back one of their 2011 drivers for the new season.  The surprise is that it ISN'T Adrian Sutil.  Instead, we'll be seeing another year of the Paul di Resta Experience.  He'll be joined by Nico (The Incredible) Hulkenberg, who we last saw sitting on pole at Interlagos in 2010 for Williams.  In 2011, he was FIndia's reserve driver, so he'll just step right in.

During the 2011 season, both Toro Rosso drivers (DJ Squire and Seb Buemi) were rumored to be losing their seat at one time or another.  It was assumed that only one would be axed to make way for up-and-comer Jean-Eric Vergne.  While it's true that Vergne has taken one of the seats, both 2011 drivers got it in the neck.  Teaming with Vergne will be Daniel Ricciardo, who we saw with HRT for the back half of 2011, taking over from Narain Kittylitter.  To me, this is the biggest surprise so far.  Both DJ Squire and Seb Buemi are good enough to drive in F1, and like Hulkenberg last season, both are deserving of a drive.  To date, neither have one.

Virgin is changing their name for 2012, becoming Marussia F1... and in case you're wondering, Marussia is Russia's first sports-car manufacturer.  Tim O'Glockenspiel will be returning for the 2012 season.  He'll be joined by French rookie Charles Pic.  Pic finished fourth in GP2 last season, and reportedly looked good in the New Driver's Test at Abu Dhabi... good enough that he was given two full days behind the wheel, instead of the day-and-a-half originally scheduled.

Williams is the first of the teams that still has an opening.  Pastor Maldonado, who drove with the team in 2011, has one drive locked up.  The seat held by Rubens Barrichello last year is the one that remains open.  His contract has expired, and Williams hasn't shown any interest in resigning him.  With Adrian Sutil, DJ Squire and Seb Buemi still on the market, they're guaranteed a talented, experienced driver if that's the way they want to go.  They could also go for a sponsorship-heavy newbie driver, which might be for the best.  There were reports of funding shortages last season for Williams, a sad state of affairs for such a legendary F1 marque.

Finally, HRT has the other free seat.  In the offseason, they signed Pedro de la Rosa (aka "Pete Rose"), who will be 41 as the season starts, to be their lead driver.  To be blunt, this is probably the greatest off-season move of any team... including the return of Mumbles Raikkonen.  Pete Rose, who we last saw in a one-off appearance for Sauber at Canada in 2011 (filling in for the severely concussed Sergio Perez), has a reputation for being the World's Greatest Test Driver, having filled that position for McLaren for most of the past decade.  He's also had a few half-seasons as a full-time driver, most recently in 2010 with Sauber.  He'll be a great fit with HRT, who needs an experienced, skillful wheelman if they're going to catch up to Caterham and become a "real team."  Their second seat will almost certainly go to the driver with the biggest wallet.

Two seats, many many drivers: it's like a multi-million dollar game of Musical Chairs!

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December 28, 2011

Now It Can Be Told

I have a confession to make.  To most of my readers, I am a duck of high good fair okay I haven't killed anybody today acceptable moral standing.  Except for my strange fascination with Rio Rainbow Gate! of course.  I try to avoid swearing, both online and in real life.  I've generally succeeded in not being a jerk.  However, like everybody else, there is a dark secret that I've kept hidden from The Pond's readers.

To whit... I smoke.

I got into the habit in grad school.  It was the end of my first trimester (yes, three terms per school year, plus a summer session.  Weirdest damn thing I've ever heard, but there you are), and I was acing all my classes save for one: Theatre History.  In that particular class, it was going to come down to the final exam.  If I did well, I'd get an B in the class.  If I didn't do well, I'd get... something less than a B, be put on academic probation and perhaps have my scholarship and in-state tuition taken away.  The good news was that the final would be multiple choice and short answer.  The bad news was that it'd be 200 questions, cover the entire class, and you got 90 minutes.  Any questions not answered would be marked wrong.  And so the studying began.  Every night, on top of my already crushing homework load, I would devote large amounts of time to my copy of Brockett's History of the Theatre (though I believe it was the third edition, not the 10th), hoping to memorize the darn thing.  And when I say "crushing," I mean it.  My daily schedule ran something like this: 8am to 11am: classes.  11am to 12noon: office hours.  12noon to 1pm: lunch.  1pm to 5pm: scene shop/graduate assistantship.  5pm to 6pm: dinner.  6pm to Midnight: rehearsals.  Midnight to 3 or 4am: homework.  Obviously weekends were somewhat less stressful, consisting of "wake up: homework.  6pm: performance.  Midnight: party.  I'd get some more studying done on Sunday in between performances.  One night as I tried to shoehorn another chapter from another book into this routine, I took a cigarette from my roommate's pack.  It seemed to calm me down... so I had another.  The next day, I got a pack for myself... and it went from there.  When I came home that Christmas, Momzerduck saw me with a cigarette and wailed "it's all (her) fault!" for she smoked when I was young.  I pointed out that she wasn't even in the vicinity when I started and the blame was mine alone... and I kept smoking.

For the next 20 years.  Even after The Cardiac Incident, I smoked, though that did begin the fight to quit.  I eventually cut back to less than two packs a week, but I could never take that final step and quit completely.  Until now.  I am proud to say that I've gone 20 days without a cigarette, and while I still have the urge to light one up (particularly after dinner), I haven't done so.  Guess some good has come from that darn tooth extraction after all, because that was the impetus.  "Don't smoke or you'll get dry socket," the dentist said.  I got dry socket anyway, and he said "don't smoke or you'll make it worse."  It got worse anyway.  Then I realized it'd been 10 days so I just... didn't smoke.  I'm not going to say that I'm done with it, because I suspect it's a case of "once an addict, always an addict," but so far so good.

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December 27, 2011

Name This Mystery Ship X

No actual contest this time around, as this one would be too easy to brute-force, but nevertheless: Name This Mystery Ship!

Get it right, and you will gain the people's ovation and fame forever.  Get it wrong, and... uhm... nothing will happen.  So there!

UPDATE: Since nobody's gotten it yet, I'll just give the answer.  The ship pictured is CVE-123, the USS Tinian.  She was completed in just under six months, and was launched in September 1945.  She was never actually comissioned, sailing right from acceptance trials into the Pacific Reserve Fleet where she sat until 1970.  She was struck from the list on June 1st, 1970, and sold for scrap 18 months later.  The Tinian had never been a US Navy warship.

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December 26, 2011

Some Post-Xmas Thoughts

Now that the 12 Days of Duckmas is over and done with, I just want to chat about a couple of unimportant things.  Think of it as conversation over hot chocolate and scones... or a good reuben and a Sprite, if you're looking for something more dinner-like.

First up, I'm going to do something that almost never happens: I'm going to praise my broadband company.  I have no idea who they are, as my internet connection is through Pond Central's apartment complex, but a few days ago they sent us a flyer saying that they were going to perform "maintenance on our modems" that would take about an hour.  I can only assume that the maintenance was successful:

See, I used to max out around 170kB/s down, 25kB/s up.  That's fast enough to essentially stream a 300mb anime episode, more or less... a half-hour or so to download 24 minutes.  If there were two or more things downloading, you might as well go take a nap while they trickled down to your hard-drive.  But now?  That 650kB/s is actually a little on the slow side!  800kB/s has been common, or even faster when broken between two d/ls: I saw one file with 490kB/s with a second getting 440kB/s.  Uploads have been sitting around 100kB/s.  I just want to giggle about it, it's so much fun!

Speaking of fun...

I haz a Skyrim!  Blogging might be somewhat light.  Okay, lighter.  I've played a couple of hours so far, and even at "medium" graphics settings, it's gorgeous.  Or more correctly, it is on those rare occasions when there isn't a blizzard going on.  Which is cool in and of itself, as weather was NOT a part of the game's predecessor Oblivion.  I've sank maybe 300 hours of playtime into Oblivion, and I can easily see myself doing the same with Skyrim.  Once I get a little bit of the game under my belt, I'll do something a little more formal for The Pond than this, but initial reactions are "wow" and "holy crepe!"

Okay, that's all.  Back to Skyrim for me... after I eat something.

UPDATE:

This is the most beautiful game I've ever seen.

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December 25, 2011

The Twelfth Day Of Duckmas 2011


I can't really add anything to that. 

Another Duckmas season has come and gone.  The Flock have already opened their gifts and are busy doing what duckies do on Duckmas morning: having a breakfast of freshly baked rye bread and orange juice (duckies love orange juice).  Their party gives me a chance to sneak off and wish you, my readers, happiness and security for the coming year.

And ducks.  Lots and lots of ducks.

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December 24, 2011

God Mode / NoClip

Imagine, if you will, that you have the ability to travel back in time and space to one location during World War II.  You will not be able to influence events, nor will your presence be noticed, but you will be able to see and understand anything you'd like in that location.  Even if you don't know the language being spoken, you will know what's being said, what's being written, so on and so forth.  You will, for all intents and purposes, be the ultimate historian.  You can travel, but only as far as conveyances of the day can take you: if you wanted to see the bombing of Coventry from the air you can, but it'd be from one plane only.  If you want to observe the Marianas Turkey Shoot, it can only be from one p.o.v. (though you could start on an aircraft carrier and "board" a plane, even a fighter).

Perhaps unsurprisingly considering my personal interests, I'd choose the Battle of Midway.  More specifically, I'd choose to station myself on the bridge of the USS Hornet, just so I could find out what REALLY happened leading up to the "Flight To Nowhere", and what occurred afterwards.  I'd probably jump into Stanhope Ring's SBD to find out his reactions and to see his heading choice.

My second pick would to be onboard the Akagi on June 4th, 1942.  To see the events of Midway unfold from the standpoint of the Japanese would be nigh-on invaluable.  My third choice would be May 27, 1941, onboard the HMS Rodney, to witness the sinking of the Bismarck, and to see if the Rodney really did torpedo the German battleship.

So what event would you choose?

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The Eleventh Day Of Duckmas 2011


Did you know it takes 49 minutes to wrap a rubber duckie?  I know that sounds unlikely, but that's how long it took to get the purple devil duckie ready for this picture.  Fortunately, wrapping easy, simple shapes, like boxes, tesseracts and klein bottles takes much less time than wrapping a duckie, so I should be able to get everything ready for Christmas.

I don't know about you, my readers, but I do have a little tradition when it comes to gift-wrapping.  I do it late on Christmas Eve, mug of hot chocolate (complete with immersed candycane) at the ready, whilst listening to WGN-AM out of Chicago.  In the past, the overnight team has a high school choir in the studio with them, so I wrap while they sing and banter.  It just occurred to me, however, that I won't be able to do that this year, as the overnight show is only on weekdays, and they have someone else on the weekend.  Woe is I.

It's kind of amazing how fast the Twelve Days of Duckmas has gone this year.  While much more challenging than normal due to the lack of winter weather (and I'm probably the only person in Duckford complaining about the lack of snow), I think it's turned out okay.  Hopefully you've gotten a kick out of it; the Twelve Days is just about the only time of year I can really be artistically creative, so I enjoy it quite a bit.  Even if it does disrupt normal blogging here at The Pond.

Big finale on Sunday... see you then!

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December 23, 2011

The Tenth Day Of Duckmas 2011


Lack of snow gotcha down, Binky?  Have I got a solution for you... Insta-Snow!  Just add water and voila!  A lovely snow-like substance... except in my case, because I bought a cheap knockoff ("Insty-Sno") and ended up with a not-as-lovely slush-like substance that eventually ended up looking like well-packed snow.

Y'know, I have to admit that I was surprised at how much it looks like snow "on camera".  However, I am saddened to announce that Insty-Sno did a number on my blackbox setup, and I had to throw it in the dumpster.  Not like that's a big deal or anything... it's just a cardboard box with posterboard lining the inside, I can recreate that at will.  The old setup was pretty worn out anyway.

If you want to see what this picture looked like from a different angle, just click "more"!

more...

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December 22, 2011

The Ninth Day Of Duckmas 2011


"Eight wings!  Eight freakin' wings!"
The annual sojourn to the local shopping mall!  I can state for the record that, at least in Duckford, the whole shopping frenzy is alive and well.  On an aside, I'd like to say "hello" to Stephanie, the young lady who cut my hair Wednesday night.  Good job, it looks great... or at least as "great" as my hair ever looks.

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December 21, 2011

Dental Obnoxiousness Pt III

As you may remember, a couple of Fridays ago I had a tooth pulled.  As those sorts of things go, it went rather smoothly.  The tooth nigh on ejected itself from my mouth, the dentist barely having to pull on it.  As I mentioned previously, I should have realized that this augured not well.  The first setback was the diagnosis of dry socket and the attendant discovery that my oral surgeon was related to the Marquis de Sade.  After that little incident, the toothless socket seemed to be healing well.

But then on Monday I came home from work and washed my face.  As I was scrubbing away with the sandpaper and metal shavings I use as a exfoliant, something in my mouth... hurt.  Sharp pain, like a thumbtack had just been stuck into my gums.  Of course, I tried it again... same thing, but with a twist!  Suddenly there was a fluid in my mouth that hadn't been there before.  I expectorated, and what to my wondering eyes did appear but a gooberful of blood, as if I'd bitten a reindeer.  Now don't get me wrong, it's not like I was gushing blood, and it's not like the pain was particularly bad (I have worse pain in my knees every morning), it's just that after the dry socket experience, I was getting a touch nervous.  That night, when I yawned there was also pain.  The next morning, washed my face, same thing.  Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiighhhhhhh.  Once I got into the Duck U Bookstore, I called the Marquis de Ntist, explained my plight, and they said they could get me in today. 

Of course, I scurried over.  After explaining what was going on in my mouth (emphasizing in no uncertain terms that the socket was perfectly fine, hadn't hurt since last week and please don't do that to me again I beg you), he took a look into my gob.  The first words he said were "the extraction site is healing well."  Yay for me!  Pulling the tongue depressor out of my mouth, he then asked if he could "feel the place where it hurts."  Well, yes, I suppose so... that's why I was there, to make sure everything is okay. 

And then I realized what I had just agreed to.  Before I could say "wait, I reconsider," he had his hand in my mouth, put one of his fingers right where the pain came from... and pressed down hard.   

I'm beginning to think that he doesn't like me much.

After my eyeballs stopped bouncing around the room, he told me what was going on.  If I understood him correctly (which I wouldn't bet upon; there was a rather loud ringing in my ears at the time), there's a ridge of bone that supports the teeth just above the jaw.  When a tooth is extracted, sometimes this ridge will irritate the gumline in the vicinity of the site.  From the inside.  In effect, pressure on the site from yawning (tightening the skin of the cheek above the site) or from washing my face (pressing down on the site) is pushing the gums against that ridge of bone.  Try placing your arm on a sawblade, then leaning on it.  Yeah, it's just like that.  Nothing can be done about it, eventually there'll be enough scar tissue involved where it won't hurt anymore... or the edge of the ridge will be worn down enough that it won't hurt anymore.

I've had more trouble with this damn toof after it's been pulled than I ever did when it was in my head.

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The Eighth Day Of Duckmas 2011


A tree needs to be decorated and trimmed, even if there's no snow on the ground.  Right?

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December 20, 2011

Survival Of The Bloggiest

You may have noticed a distinct lack of anything interesting lately.  Part of that is because, well, I'm sort of tapped out on content-related items.  Yes, I know I've got the Part III of "Which Fighter Is Best?" to do, but that will require effort I'm not entirely ready to devote at the moment... but will soon.

You see, beginning at 130pm Pond Central Time on Thursday, December 22nd, yours truly will be on vacation for the first time since 2009.  I'll be off until January 2nd, and will be able to devote time and effort towards blogcare.  Unless I get Skyrim... then all bets are off.  Heh.

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The Seventh Day Of Duckmas 2011


Happy Hanukkah to all of The Pond's Jewish readers.  May you get lots of gelt and eat lots of latkes and pontshkes over the next eight days!  Mmmmmmm... latkes... there's very little as good as a latke with sour cream.  Excuse me while I drool.

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December 19, 2011

The Sixth Day Of Duckmas 2011


"Merry Christmas!  Out upon merry Christmas! What's Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books and having every item in 'em through a round dozen of months presented dead against you? If I could work my will, every idiot who goes about with 'Merry Christmas' on his lips should be boiled with his own pudding, and buried with a stake of holly through his heart."
-Ebeneezer Scrooge, from A Duckmas Carol.

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December 18, 2011

Hal Far Flight

One of the famous stories of World War II is that of the legendary defenders of Malta, Faith, Hope and Charity. As the legend goes, when Malta was placed under aerial siege by the Italians in June of 1940, there were only three British fighters to defend the entire island.  To make things even more grim, the fighters were obsolete Gloster Sea Gladiators, the last biplane fighter in RAF/FAA inventory.  These three planes managed to hold back the Italian Regia Aeronautica until the Germans got involved in early 1941.  It's a wonderful story, one that surely went a long way toward boosting British morale in those dark days of the War. 

Like many of those types of stories, there's quite a bit of... um... let's call it embellishment... involved.

more...

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The Fifth Day Of Duckmas 2011


If you wanted to whistle music from The Nutcracker as you look at this picture, I wouldn't blame you.

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December 17, 2011

The Fourth Day Of Duckmas 2011


If there's one thing that just about every college or university student can agree on, it's that the food in the cafeteria is never good enough.  I actually rather like the food service at Duck U, m'self.  Sure, it's no gourmet five-star restaurant, but it's good, tasty food with a wide and varied selection every day.  Nevertheless, it's probably written in the handbook that a college student has the god-given right to complain about the food at their school, and the student body at Duck U does so at every opportunity.  Breakfast, lunch, dinner, none of it is acceptable.

Except for the desserts.  Those earn universal praise.  Cookies, cakes, ice creams, donuts, scones (om nom nom!), puddings, and on and on... all of it made right there in the Duck U kitchens.  The ducklings are lucky, and they know it. 

There was a lot of "soooooo cute!!!"ing at the sight of the gingerbread duckies that day.  It was kinda funny, actually.

We got less than a quarter-inch of snow last night.  It's already melting away.

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December 16, 2011

The Third Day Of Duckmas 2011


When the snowducks begin to grumble, you know there's something big going down.

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December 15, 2011

The Second Day Of Duckmas 2011

Gotta keep the rain off the presents!

You can't tell from the photo, but it was raining to beat the band while I was taking this.

Rain.  Less than two weeks from Christmas, and it's raining!  Doesn't Ma Nature realize I have duck pictures to take???

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