Monthly Archives: December 2012

RUSH: From “Finding My Way” to “The Garden”


Spurred on by seeing Rush for the first time (finally!) in October 2012, I have since listened to the entire Rush catalog (largely during early morning dog walks); a hugely rewarding activity, indeed.

And, not surprisingly, some cool, absorbing and, at times, touching and poignant music to listen to while one is out under the stars and various phases of the moon.

Are you a Rush fan?  If you haven’t gone through their whole catalog like this, go do it.  I recommend it.  There are bound to be periods that you didn’t pay as much attention to, and it’s neat to listen through to it all and consider all of those periods as just cool parts of the whole thing.  They do dress better now.

Are you not a Rush fan?  Give it a try, you may well find some wonderful nuggets.

Timely, given their induction into the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame.


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Filed under Canada, Music



Friday, December 21st, was International Rush Day!  Hope you had a good one!  21/12.  You get it.  Music from Rush’s classic album located here.

A deluxe edition of the album has been released in 5.1, featuring a very cool graphic iBook by Tom Hodges.

Attention all members of the Solar Federation!  We have assumed control.

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Filed under Canada, Music

Lake Banook panorama


A lovely dog walk along Lake Banook near my home in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia; here’s a panorama of the lake from the southern side.

Banook is part of the Shubenacadie Waterway, the lake and river (and canal) system that cuts across the province of Nova Scotia from Halifax Harbour to the Bay of Fundy.

Yesterday, +9C and sunny.  Rather uncommon and pleasant weather for December 22nd.  😎

iPhone 4S photo.

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Filed under Canada, Halifax, Life, Photography, This and That

The Battle for Spain


Recently completed this excellent account by Antony Beevor.  A truly and amazingly complex conflict, one that was so tragic and brutal, and one that had long-lasting impacts for the world (and for Spaniards, of course).  What began as a revolt of the generals, turned to a civil war, and then to a proxy war between the totalitarian powers.  In so many cases, firing squads and firing squads.

I had wanted to find an objective, ‘what caused it and what happened and what were the impacts’ type book, along the lines of McPherson’s “Battle Cry of Freedom” which tackled the US Civil War, and this came highly recommended (and it did not disappoint).

Certainly, Orwell’s “Homage to Catalonia” (which every human should read, and which I must re-read) spelled out the Moscow take-over of the republican side, but Beevor really tells the tale here.  But also the Nazi and fascist support for the nationalist side.  In an odd twist, I didn’t know Göring was running arms to the republicans throughout the war!

But within and beyond the outside forces, the battle within Spain by so many disparate groups who tried to form an allied front, particularly the republicans.  It gets confusing, with the various anarchist and socialist groups vying for power, not to mention the involvement of the International Brigades, but Beevor handles it well.  Some sympathetic, others most certainly not.

Still, as it’s been said, the Spanish Civil War was perhaps the only conflict where the history was written by the losers.  Certainly, life after the war in Franco’s Spain was tightly controlled and not about to tell its tale.  So, it’s important to sit back and take an objective look at what happened.  Lots of interesting stuff here, including information the Beevor has uncovered from archives in Moscow.

Anyway, put it on your “to-read” list.  One of the better history books I’ve read.  Some reviews at the London Book Reviewthe Guardian, and the Sydney Morning Herald.

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Filed under Books, History

Pearl Harbor ~ the ‘Allies knew’ meme

With the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor recently past, I am often reminded of different claims that the allies (Churchill or, particularly, Roosevelt) knew about the attacks, yet did nothing to stop them because, you know, they just wanted war and death and blood and global imperialism by having the US fleet destroyed, etc.  Thankfully, there are some objective historians who can present the facts as they are, as Ron Hegelmo does here.

As for claims that Japanese messages should have been decoded, Hegelmo notes:

Duane Whitlock, unlike Mr. Nave, was there, on Corregidor, working on the Japanese codes. “I can attest from first-hand experience that as of 1 December 1941 the recovery of JN-25B had not progressed to the point that it was productive of any appreciable intelligence,” stated Whitlock-“not even enough to be pieced together by traffic analysis….It simply was not within the realm of our combined cryptologic capability to produce a usable decrypt at that particular juncture.”

 In the early 1990s the U.S. Navy transferred all its cryptologic archives from Crane, Indiana to the National Archives in Washington. This includes 26,581 JN-25 intercepts from 1 September to 7 December. All of these are available for public review. Frederick Parker, who studied 2413 of these intercepts, argues in the film that had they been read at the time, they would have provided clear evidence of the impending attack on Pearl Harbor.

 Rusbridger and Nave, in their book, claim they were read, but offer no evidence.

Well, here is the evidence: The 2413 pre-Pearl Harbor intercepts had been decrypted by Navy cryptologists after the war while they were waiting to be mustered out of the service. While Parker makes a strong circumstantial case that the attack would have been discovered had these messages been read, cryptologists at that time would not have been looking just at the 2413 intercepts; they would have been looking at all 26,581. Would they have been able to discern the relevant information from all that noise?

As for the Churchill as warmonger meme that inevitably pops up from time to time, you cannot do better than reading the response to such claims from way back in the summer of 2004 in Finest Hour (issue 123) by Michael McMenamin, in which he tackles many other inaccuracies raised by certain far right and far left critics.  So, read from the link below if you’re interested.

Finest Hour 123 can be found here in PDF form among many other excellent past issues.

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Filed under Americana, Churchill, History

R1b-L1335 ~ a Scots modal genetic marker

Just tested positive for the R1b haplogroup genetic marker, or single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), L1335.

Researchers are thinking this one represents the Scots modal.

Recently, I had tested positive for DF13 which was a downstream (i.e. more recent) marker from R1b-L21 (L21 representing, more or less, a good part of the Bronze Age move of peoples from NW Europe to the British Isles).  The modern L21 distribution is here.  With the age of L21 being maybe 3500-4500 years old, the DF13 mutation followed along fairly close after that, so it still represented a fair portion of the L21 group.

Six subclade markers from DF13 (the big six) had been identified recently, and I was negative on all of these, remaining R1b-DF13* until these most recent results.  Now, I am R1b-L1335.  😎

You can check out this pin-map at FTDNA to see how the various R1b groups are shaping up.

Will have to update my Genetic Ancestry page and probably give it a bit of a refresh when I get the chance.

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Filed under Genetics, Scotland