Thursday, December 29, 2011

This Date In History

via Iconic Photos

London Blitz: December 29th 1940

Seventy years ago, the Germans started the Blitz more or less out of frustration, without clear planning, as a sequel to the Battle of Britain. During the first half of the summer of 1940, the Luftwaffe focused on dominating British airspace, in preparation for a possible landing, and its bombardments were limited to airfields and other military installations. On 24th August, more or less by accident, a pair of Stukas dropped the first bombs on central London. Churchill seized the opportunity, and in ‘revenge’, 80 RAF bombers pounded Berlin. Hitler was infuriated. Nearly 600 German bombers came back during the next two weeks to bomb English cities, factories and airfields.

Then, at 5 p.m. on 7th September, the first major attack on London began. On that sunny afternoon, 348 Luftwaffe bombers crossed the English Channel, and for the next two hours ignited the city with incendiary bombs, the docks being their primary target. That same evening, the Germans were back, raining 625 tons of high explosives on working class neighborhoods in the East End. The Blitz went on for 57 consecutive nights and then spread to other cities in the U.K. In ‘Second Great Fire of London’ on the night of 29th December 1940, nineteen churches, thirty-one guild halls and all of Paternoster Row, including five million books went up in flames.

By the time the Blitz ended (as Luftwaffe diverted its planes east for the attacks on the Soviets) on May 16th 1941, more than 43,000 people had died in the strategic air raids. Writer Harold Nicolson compared himself to a prisoner in the Conciergerie during the French Revolution: “Every morning one is pleased to see one’s friends appearing again.” Yet, the English, being the English, just got on with it stoically. In stubborn, indignant fashion, the life went on. A survey taken during this period found that weather had a greater impact than air raids on the day-to-day worries of many Londoners. In his magisterial history The Blitz: The British Under Attack, Julian Gardiner observes, “egg rationing produced more emotion than the blitz.”

Thus predictably, most well-known of the countless photos taken during the Blitz did not depict carnage and chaos, but rather an extraordinary tale of survival and defiance. The above photograph featured on the front page of the Daily Mail, captioned as ‘War’s Greatest Picture’, was taken from the roof of the same newspaper’s Tudor Street offices by Herbert Mason two nights before (on 29th December). St. Paul’s Cathedral was surrounded not only by fires and smoke that fateful night, but an incendiary bomb did drop inside the Stone Gallery. During the Blitz, the importance of the Cathedral was so much so that Churchill insisted that if the church were to be bombed, all fire-fighting resources be directed there, and that “At all costs, St Paul’s must be saved.” The Daily Mail echoed this sentiment in the text accompanying the photo that the image is “one that all Britain will cherish – for it symbolises the steadiness of London’s stand against the enemy: the firmness of Right against Wrong”. To that effect, the editors at the Mail decided to crop the photograph quite liberally, to take out the gutted remains of houses in the foreground.

Interestingly, but not surprisingly, the photo was telling quite a different story on the continent within days. The Berliner Illustrierte Zeitung announced that “Die City von London brennt!”, and gleefully informed its readers that the conflict with England too was approaching its endgame. For Germans, the photo, with the blazing foreground ruins included, depicted nothing more than the centre of “britischen Hochfinanz” burning in London’s biggest blaze since “Jahre 1666″. Photographs never lie indeed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

I love this photo....


I love this photo. So many “historical” daguerrotypes show solemn faces (which makes sense if you only have a few photos taken in your life!) But you can practically hear the laughter in the last frame.

I do not know who these people are.  I hope this isn't "faked" in any way.  I don't think I have ever seen one of these daguerreotypes with ANY sort of emotion.  I can't recall any of the older photos from The Farm showing ANYONE enjoying themselves.... definitely not to the degree these two are...

via Twyst

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Total Recall Narrated By Arnold

I didn't stay with this long.  I am not usually a fan of audio commentary on a DVD.  I like the text ones that accompany the Star Trek movies.  I found the audio on Ocean's 11 as funny as the movie itself.  More often than not, commentaries are...overwhelming.  too many people talking...too inside.

This one, however, has Arnold just basically TELLING you what you are seeing on the screen.  Awesome.

via Fist of Blog

Friday, December 23, 2011

Comic Book Crossovers....

They're the best there is at what they do...and what they do is prevent cold and damp from reaching your feet, even in the most hostile of environments.

(The Little Stuffed Bull had a whole Wolverine related post tonight...this was my favorite....)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

This Date In History

From the address given by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt at the United States Capitol, Washington, D.C., on December 8, 1941:

"[On] December 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.The United States was at peace with that nation, and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific."

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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Lazy Saturday

I was tired last night.  Played a VICIOUS game of "Keep Away" with the kids in all three of my classes in the afternoon and then a BRUISING loss in our Broomball game last night (complete with a pre- and post-game gathering).

I thought I would sleep in today, however, I did not.  Woke up at 6:11 AM (which is about 20 minutes later than a weekday.) So now I am in my "Man Cave" with this

on in the background and entering all of these

plus a few other eBay and ComicCollectorLive lots into my comic book data base.  Doubles will either go to The Squid or Lee.

The only thing on the agenda for today (besides reading comics as much as possible) is a birthday party and getting the Christmas tree!


Friday, December 2, 2011


We have not officially given up on Community....but we are close.  Some of the story lines became either too unbelievable or too frustrating to follow.

However, Topless Robot discovered this tidbit a little while back...

"Please note that these three scenes come from different seasons. Meaning someone uttered the word "Beetlejuice" once per season on Community. And if you still aren't sure why this is awesome, please look at the window behind Annie when she says the third "Beetlejuice." 

As Community creator Dan Harmon tweeted, ""The Easter egg that took three years to hide. Our show is TOTALLY ACCESSIBLE.""

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