Mossie Plans and Elite Wallpaper

Now, we don’t often get this lucky! And something completely different.

A priceless collection of technical and engineering designs for the World War II Mosquito aircraft has been discovered hidden in a factory days before its demolition. An engineer found more than 20,000 drawings on microfilm cards in the building at Hawarden Airfield in Broughton, near Chester on the Welsh side of the border with England. This is the only complete archive of Mosquito technical drawings known in the world, all of which were top secret classified material during and after the war. It includes plans for experimental models that never made it to the prototype stage, including one that would carry torpedoes to attack German battleships, a previously unknown photo-reconnaissance plane, and a “Mosquito Mk I, Tropics” model that featured a compartment in the rear fuselage for storing desert equipment. It’s a great stroke of luck that they were discovered by an engineer who had the knowledge to recognize what a massive historical treasure he had stumbled upon and saved it before the bulldozers came in to raze the old factory and everything inside of it.

There is nothing the British do not have. They have the geniuses, and we have the nincompoops.” His bitterness was informed by personal experience, as a Mosquito raid on a Berlin radio station where he had been scheduled to deliver a speech delayed him by more than an hour.

It was the remarkable wooden construction that shortened the aircraft’s lifespan so dreadfully. Plywood and balsa don’t last long, so while its metal contemporaries like the Spitfire survived for decades after the war, the Mosquitos degraded into nothingness. Production stopped in 1950 and any surviving stock was left to rot in storage. The last airworthy Mosquito in Britain crashed at an air show in 1996, killing both pilots. There are only three Mosquitos in the world today that can fly, one in Canada, the other two in the US.

The microfilm archive was donated to The People’s Mosquito, a charitable organization that seeks to rebuild a crashed Mosquito so that the aircraft that has been credibly described as “the plane that won the war” can fly again over England’s green and pleasant land. The technical drawings will allow them to reconstruct the plane to modern aviation safety standards while ensuring its historical accuracy.

The charity hopes to resurrect the remains of a Mosquito night fighter that crashed at RAF Coltishall, in February 1949, while serving with No 23 Sqn.

Ross Sharp, engineering director for the project, said: “As you can imagine, restoring an aircraft that is 70 years old presents several challenges, one of which is a lack of information on the building techniques, materials, fittings and specifications.”

“These plans enable us to glean a new level of understanding and connection with the brilliant designers who developed the world’s first, true, multi-role combat aircraft.” […]

[The People’s Mosquito chairman John] Lilley said: “No other aircraft has amassed such a remarkable combat record in so short a time, flying so many different types of mission and excelling in each one.

“Even today, it remains one of the world’s most successful multirole combat aircraft, and it was all British, made by men and women who only a few months earlier had been building furniture and mending pianos.”

Despite the great boost the discovery of the archive gives the project, they still have a long ways to go before restoration can begin. Money is the issue. The estimated cost of the restoration is £6 million and only a small portion of that has been raised. If you’d like to pitch in, the People’s Mosquito has some in its shop, with all kinds of perks and takes online donations.

Cache of WWII Mosquito plans found days before destruction

A most worthy cause, I think.

This is nearly as neat.

When Philip Schuyler (1733-1804) began building his estate near Albany, NY in 1761, he was determined to make it a suitable home for his growing family as well as for his stature as a gentleman of wealth and property.

Called The Pastures, the brick house was to be elegant and substantial in its Georgian symmetry, and sit grandly on eighty acres high on the hill overlooking the Hudson (or North) River so that visitors coming to Albany from New York City would be sure to see it first. Twenty-eight-year-old Philip wanted his house to be as impressive inside as it was commanding from the exterior, and while the house was being built, he combined a business trip to London with something of a decorating spending spree.

Unlike most 18thc wallpaper which was block-printed, or “stampt”, this paper was painted entirely by hand in tempera paint in shades of grey – en grisaille was the term – to mimic engraved prints. In fact, the entire scheme of the papers was an elaborate trompe l’oeil to represent framed paintings and cartouches, all custom designed for the walls and spaces they would occupy.

This was, of course, extremely expensive, and as much a sign of Philip’s deep pockets as his taste. The wallpaper he ordered featured romantically scenic landscapes by the Italian painter Paolo Panini, and was called “Ruins of Rome.” The “Ruins of Rome” wallpaper was so rare and costly that there are only two examples of it known to survive in America: in the Jeremiah Lee Mansion in Marblehead, MA, and in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, which has installed the paper taken from the now-demolished Rensselaerwyck, the home of Stephen Van Rensselaer II, also near Albany. (Yet all status and expense is a matter of degrees; the scenic wallpaper was inspired by aristocratic rooms like this one from Ditchley Park, Oxfordshire, UK, which features real Panini paintings in gilded, carved frames and Genoese cut velvet on the walls.)

Not bad for the colonies though, I reckon. From Recreating the 18thc “Ruins of Rome” Wallpaper in the Schuyler Mansion

Week in Review

Well, another week has passed, so let’s review. Most from Powerline.

Republicans, too!

You almost got this yesterday, but I decided to save it for today.

Your challenge this week is to discover where she carries her holster.

Minutemen on Guard

Well, I see the Norks have launched an ICBM. It was a test, or a demonstration, of course. It’s nice to see they are making so much progress, all the way up to what the Soviet Union was doing in the mid-fifties. That’s not to denigrate it, it could be a real threat, especially given their loony-tunes leadership. But technically for a nation state, it is trivial. It’s also pretty useless since it just has to be cheaper to pay somebody else to launch your satellites, and launching actual nukes…well, if you want to rule a sheet of glass from hell, it might be viable, otherwise, not so much.

In non-news, yesterday the US was planning to launch a Minuteman III test flight. I haven’t checked by am fairly confident they did, and it passed. After all, Minuteman first deployed in the mid-1960s and has been upgraded and its service life extended a few times. Warsclerotic has some details.

The US Air Force test-launched a Minuteman III missile, just days after North Korea fired its latest ICBM into the Sea of Japan (also called the East Sea). The US missile, carrying no warhead, is expected to hit a mock target on a Pacific atoll.

An unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) lifted off at 2:10am local time from the US Air Force North Vandenberg base, some 210km (130 miles) northwest of Los Angeles, AP reported.

The launch is said to “validate and verify the effectiveness, readiness, and accuracy of the weapon system,” according to Colonel Michael Hough, commander of Air Force Global Strike Command’s 30th Air Wing.

“Team V is postured to work with Air Force Global Strike Command to test launch the Minuteman III missile,” Hough said in a statement. “Our long history in partnering with the men and women of the 576th Flight Test Squadron shows that the Western Range stands ready and able to create a safe launch environment.”

This will be the fourth Minuteman ICBM launched from the Vandenberg base this year. The first 2017 test took place in February, involving a Minuteman III that traveled to the Marshall Islands, carrying a non-explosive warhead. Another test was conducted by the Air Force on April 26. Days later, a third test missile launched from Vandenberg base.

Nice to know they still work after all these years.

I saw some pictures the other day of a Nork parade, you know infantry goose stepping along, tank commanders saluting proudly, ridiculously vulnerable mobile missiles and all. My thought was, “Just what are you trying to prove, and to whom?” Everybody in the west understands that you could make a pretty ugly mess – while you commit suicide with your people, which is effectively what happens when you overtly attack the US. I suspect your people know perfectly well, even if they are wise enough not to say it, that building these toys to amuse yourself, is why you are starving your people. torturing them, killing them.

Or is it really all ego, “look daddy at my toys, they’re even newer than Uncle Sam’s!” Which they are, since we build tools to do a job, and I’m not sure anybody is convinced that Minuteman IV would be any real improvement, so let’s not waste the money.

Just an irrelevant question, anybody remember when we last had a strictly military parade in Washington? I’m thinking it was as the armies went home back in 1865, but maybe there was another one or two. Not very important, is it? The military itself, like the Minuteman III, is a tool, designed to do a job, the defense of the American people, which it does superbly. It’s not a toy to stroke the President’s ego, he gets enough of that without. We’ve got a few units for show, of course: The Honor Guard from the 3d Infantry, the Herald Trumpets, the Old Guard, things like that, but basically, the US Military reflects the US. Not much about show, but a whole lot about go, and do.

Suits me, and seems to suit most of us, very well.

Not “Would You Die for That?” but “Would You Live for It?”

Much has been written this week about the Miracle at Dunkirk, where the fate of the British Expeditionary Force was placed in the hands of the civilian boatmen of mostly southeastern England, back in 1940 after the debacle of the Battle of France. In not much of a spoiler, with heroic support from Royal Navy light forces, and the Royal Air Force, they saved 300,000 + men to fight another day. As most will know, many of the soldiers and many of the rescuers died, heroically, their face to the enemy. They stood for something, in the face of death, and that is why we celebrate them. My Scandinavian forebearers, who knew a bit about small boats in the open ocean would have called them Sagamen, men who were worth immortalizing, as an example of what we want to be. And so they were.

But for so many of us, this movie is so worth celebrating because it marks a return to what we grew up with, not completely, perhaps. [I haven’t seen it, just can’t convince myself to drive 300 miles one way to see a movie, but I will see it.] But it is again about those men, and in this case, they were men, and white British men at that, dying heroically for something beyond themselves. We don’t celebrate that enough anymore. After millennia as the foundation of our civilization, living for something, let alone dying for it, beyond our individual wants has become passé, or so our elites say.

As he often does, our own Fr Robert, in comments on the other day’s article about Sweden, asked this.

Just more material about the whole moral and spiritual loss in Europe, and now in unlikely places! Sad, very sad! Once again the word Apostasy comes to mind! Just where is the moral and spiritual force of European and historical, biblical Christianity?

I didn’t then, and don’t now, have the answer for him. But I wish I did. Anna Mussmann writing in The Federalist begins to define the problem.

Dutch politicians are considering changing euthanasia laws so that healthy people can die whenever they want. In an interview, the leader of the political party that introduced the bill said, “You didn’t ask to be brought into the world,” and explained that his party’s goal is to make euthanasia freely available to all.

The idea that death is a human right is gaining traction in the U.S., too. In fact, arguments that we should kill terminally ill infants are respectable enough for the New York Times. […]

Sadly enough, it is true. That leaves me with the question, “If you die for little or no reason, does that mean your life as well was of little import?” I fear the answer for many is, “Yes.”

After speaking of Scott and Amundsen’s race for the pole in 1911, she asks why we lionized Scott, who failed, and died, even beyond Amundsen, who succeeded.

After all, generations of British and American schoolchildren were reared on stories of the Spartans at Thermopylae, Joan of Arc, Nathaniel Hale, and, later, Martin Luther King Jr. Children were expected to learn virtue by seeing that courage transcends death, and that material prosperity is a poor fig in comparison to patriotism, faith, and self-sacrifice.

Yes, those educators of the nineteenth and early twentiety centuries sometimes demonstrated a weakness for sappy moralism. [And often rather purple prose!] At the same time, however, they understood that the way we view death shapes the way we view life. […]

The moral imperative to guide our own fate means that, most of all, we must never continue to experience suffering we cannot control. Ultimately, life is worthwhile only within the narrow parameters of our own happiness and success. This sad way to look at the world is also an opportunity.

We can talk to our neighbors about the differences between taking life and giving it up. Admiration of suicide and murder is unnatural. It isn’t entirely new—plenty of decadent cultures in the past also developed cultures of death—but it is still an aberration against natural law. In contrast, the sacrifice of martyrdom is something that tends to speak to even the most hardened soul. Even the bloodthirsty mobs of ancient Rome found their views of Christianity influenced by the sight of Christian martyrs in the arena.

The thing is, a willingness to give up life in all its sweetness is about far more than death. It is a witness that life is defined by something much bigger than ourselves or our circumstances. It is a witness to hope in eternal life. It is something our neighbors need to hear about.

Here’s a truth for you.

Some things are assuredly worth dying for: Faith, some of our countries, our families, there are some that you may believe that are different than those I do. They are also worth living for, even if your life is not optimal. But no rational creature, ever, anywhere, thought that because he thought somewhat differently about sex than his neighbors, he should kill himself. If anything that is a natural working out of Darwin’s Law, and the culling of the weak. Not that it isn’t real as Hell, itself. Back in the day, I had a few rounds of depression, and if I hadn’t had some really good friends…well, only God knows. But I didn’t really care, either way.

Strikes me that we’ve hit right into the midst of what used to be clichés, and for a reason. Starting with, If you are willing to die for something, are you also willing to live for it? And continuing on through to the one that I repeat so often –

If you stand for nothing, you’ll fall for anything.

Week In Pictures

Steve over at PowerLine, as always our source for most of these, comments that American politics increasingly resembles a kitchen blender running on high with the lid off. He’s got a point, and whatever was in that blender seems rather nasty. Still, we made it through another week.

I haven’t had a lot to say about Obamacare this week, seems like we’ve said it all so many times, doesn’t it? Still, it clarified that the GOP is not interested in doing what the country wants them to, so there’s that.

 

 

Does make me feel a bit sorry for the Capitol Police

 

In other news

 

But Hillary will never be President, so there is that.

 

 

 

 

Yep!

Doesn’t look like a winner to me, but maybe London is different.

Well, you decide

A really tough decision

Hmmm, Nope, leave this alone, Neo.

The Wise Ass

Well, kids, I overslept, without having anything prepared (yeah, the dog ate my homework) and we’ve been too serious around here lately anyway. So here ya go, from my friend  OyiaBrown.

A newlywed farmer and his wife were visited by her mother, who immediately demanded an inspection of their home. The Farmer had genuinely tried to be friendly to his new mother-in-law, hoping that it could be a friendly, non-antagonistic relationship.
To no avail, she kept nagging them at every opportunity, demanding changes, offering unwanted advice and making life unbearable for the farmer and his new bride. While they were walking through the barn, the farmer’s mule suddenly reared up and kicked the mother-in-law in the head, killing her instantly.

At the funeral service a few days later, the farmer stood near the casket and greeted folks as they walked by. The pastor noticed that when ever a woman would whisper something to the farmer, he would nod his head yes and say something. Whenever a man walked by and whispered to the farmer, however, he would shake his head, no and mumble a reply.

Find out more at Wise Ass!

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