100 years ago, it seems that everyone all over Europe was itchy as all hell, and all that was needed was a tiny spark.

Enter stage left, a troop of idiots students* who figure that killing the Archduke Ferdinand would be a just dandy way of getting the sweetties they’ve been stamping their foot about all along. This crazy is well matched on the Archduke’s side, who after being narrowly missed by a bomb in the morning sticks around town instead of getting the hell out**.

And even then all would have been well for Franz Ferdinand had they not got lost to the tune of accidentally finding Gavrilo where he sat nursing a cup of coffee, a grudge and a gun.

Not that anyone much cared.

But Europe was spoiling for a fight, and the finger poking and name-calling and posturing escalated. Germany had a long-polished plan to invade France which, by all accounts, it didn’t really want to use at the time, but then France went and tweaked Germany’s tail and then the trouble started.

Or at least, that’s how we mostly see things. Because history is written by the winners.

Nevertheless, the result was major bloodshed. Would they really have done it had they known what the price would be?

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

100 years later, and there’s still no end to itchy idiots, military posturing or war.

Remember.

 

* Repeating myself, of course.

** In the finest tradition of some authors whose work I like, I will mention that the whole story is exquisitely explained on Wikipedia, for the low low price of free.





18
Apr
'13

Borepatch gets all lyrical.

Go read.





I just learned that Ann Rabson, co-founder of Saffire —The Uppity Blues Women passed away back in January.

When I grow up I want to play the piano like Ann Rabson.

 

 

 

 





The National Energy Regulator, NERSA, is holding public hearings on why Eskom should not more than double the cost of electricity in the next five years*. If anybody’s input is taken seriously, that would be a first for these kind of things**… or maybe I’m just cynical.

The difference between rich and poor, between developed and developing, is the availability of inexpensive energy. A kilowatt-hour is the same amount of work as a hard days labor by an adult. We’re rich because we have (or at least had) access to the hardworking servants of inexpensive energy. We have inexpensive electrical and mechanical slaves to do our work for us.

RTWT.

H/T to Claire.

* Because somewhere after 1994 they decided that maintenance was not as important as shiny new BMWs, so that got pushed out a bit until the system started breaking, and now they have to work overtime to catch up to where we were.

** There is a requirement for public consultation in all processes like this. There is however no requirement for actually taking said consultation seriously.





9
Oct
'12

So we saddled up the teardrop, and headed north, half past six one Saturday morning.

First sleepover was Grunau, a tiny little place known pretty much as an overnight stop where the great North road (B1) crosses the great West road (B3). I had booked (and paid for) the house-in-town advertised by Grunau Chalets, but when we got there they’d given that to someone else, banking on completing the new units by the time we got there… they didn’t.

So the kids slept in the teardrop, and management gave me a sixpack of beer rather than some kind of a refund. And since (1) we all slept over, so I got what I wanted in the first place and (2) beer places were closed (Namibia stops selling beer at 13:00, not 17:00 like I’m used to on a Saturday) all was good.

(Like the road, this post is a bit long, so here’s a cutline for you)

More »





17
Jul
'12

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72jJh_e6eeg

I grew up with this guy :-)





22
Dec
'11

My mother-in-law bought this vase from Maurits Lammers Antiques close to Rademacher’s outside George. She was told that it’s Satsuma, but not knowing anything about pottery I don’t know whether this is the case or whether it’s authentic (the price seems to suggest it’s probably not).

Well, it doesn’t say “Japan” anywhere, which suggests it might be original, but it also doesn’t have the cross-in-circle on the bottom, so…

Anyways, I’ve asked the nice people over at MetaFi, so answers will undoubtedly be found :-)





My favourite top cop, former head of Interpol, ex struggle hero and one of the architects of our Firearms Control Act, Jackie Selebi launched an appeal against his 15 year sentence. The appeal succeeded in keeping him out of jail for sixteen months, but now that his appeal ultimately failed, he needs Plan B.

A variation on a tactic which proved very successful for Schabir Shaik — make sure you are too ill for jail, know the right people, and beat up journalists who catch you playing golf, Selebi, who was perfectly fine on Friday, has suddenly been ill for a long time.

Time will tell if this little piggy’s status as “only one” is enough to keep him out of jail.





17
Jul
'11

So we made it back home from our USA trip. When we landed at Schiphol I turned on my cellphone, which started buzzing with 12 SMSes “SAPS message: Your firearm Licence Ref. 12345 has been finalized. Card can be collected at your DFO.”

Well, OK, fair and well, but I’m not waiting for 12 licences, I’m waiting for a whole lot more, and furthermore they’d only been in the system for two months so no way can they be ready?

Well, turns out they were ready, 28 of the 33 I had applied for. Of the remaining five, three are firearms I handed in during the amnesty, and I know they’re taking a different (and much longer) route, one they’re still thinking about (probably because it’s a semi-auto 22 rifle, and they don’t particularly like people having those) and one (a 38 Special revolver) got denied.

Yea, that’s right, 28 new guns including two 357 Magnums, a 45, a semi-auto shotgun… but not the 38 Special revolver. I guess the “yes” and “no” buttons are very close together on the system.

On the left, a Llama XA in 32 ACP together with my previously licenced Llama XXVIII XV in 22 and Star DKL in 380 ACP / 9mm Short. They’re +- 2/3 size Colt 1911 semi-clones.

To the right of that, a Star B (9mmP) and above it an Astra A-100 in 45 ACP.

Then, a Colt 1903 pocket hammerless in 32 ACP (this one was made in 1920 and isn’t nearly as nice as Tamara’s older models) and above it an Astra Cadix (22 Magnum, 9 shot) revolver.

The little pistol with the white grips is a Llama XVIII “Executive” in 25 ACP and is a lot more fun to shoot than you might think. Above and below that is an FN 1906 Vest Pocket in 25 ACP and an Astra 2000 in 22 Short.

The long barreled revolver is a Llama Ruby XXIV 22 target model.

The Browning 1910 (32 ACP) at the top right is in really good nick, as is the Astra 500 below it. The Astra 500 is an interesting piece — it’s basically a single-action Constable, and they only made 450 of them. Nice rescuing something like that from the cops’ smelters.

I ended up not shooting the A-100 or the 2000 because… I didn’t have ammo. For some reason, when packing, I thought the A-100 was 9mm and the 2000 was 25 ACP. Silly me.

And I only got three shots through the 1903 before the front sight fell off. Managed to find it, will have to make sure it stays put next time.

I also left two of my “new” guns at home — the Llama Comanche III ‘cos it was at the bottom of the safe and I didn’t see it, and the Marlin 1894 because (1) the firing pin is borken and (2) I don’t have any 38-40 ammo at the moment.

I’ll obviously have to repeat the exercise this coming weekend.

Also, another road trip to Witbank is indicated to fetch the other half of the guns from Classic Arms.

(Not pictured is the Ruger 96/22M levergun in 22 Magnum which I shot on the rifle range. Nice gun, will have to find a scope for it).

[Thanks to littlegun.info for the Llama Shooter’s Bible scans]





16
Jun
'11

Very nice airport. Great food, but expensive. R31 for 500 ml sport drink.

Also got probulated by first USA style scan. Tanya with the metal in her wrist is the only one passing the backscatter scan, rest of us got patted down as well.





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