Weekly Funnies, Thanksgiving

Well. we made it through Thanksgiving it seems, on to Christmas.

And, of course

 

Thanksgiving in America

And so it is Thanksgiving again in America. It is the one specifically American holiday, and a religious one as well, in which we gratefully acknowledge the bounteous land He gave us. But you know, that is exactly what He gave us, a strip of undeveloped land along the Atlantic Ocean. The rest is a story of the use of God-given gifts and talents and hard work.

The First Thanksgiving

The First Thanksgiving

But so much of what we do is so very inherently dangerous, and we have made it safe.

For instance, I could walk into the Denver Airport this afternoon, and have lunch tomorrow in London. I will have a safe and pleasant trip (of course, more money will make it more pleasant, although not safer). But truly this is a miracle. How did it happen?

It’s the long story of man’s climb from, child-like beasts–to men and women who hold dominion over all they see, and the costs involved. But a couple of anecdotes can serve.

Back in the mid-30s Boeing built a bomber according to what they thought the Army needed, not what the RFP called for. It was a risky move but time was short and Hitler and Tojo were plenty scary. In fact, Martin’s B-18 which fully met the RFP won the competition and was pretty much useless. But the Air Corps guys also found some money to continue testing, and even build a few more.

Then disaster struck. Boeing’s chief test pilot took off one lovely day and flew straight into a stall. Killing all aboard, Destroying 299 amid rumors that it was too much airplane for two, let alone any pilot. It also very nearly killed Boeing.

It was a simple enough answer. The engineers feared the aircraft would beat itself to death on windy hardstands. So they designed a gizmo to lock the elevators while on the ground. It was clearly marked with that streamer known to every pilot, ‘Remove Before Flight‘. But it hadn’t been. That’s why all of us, from that day until the weekend after next, who do things that can kill you quick, work from a checklist, one reading it, and the other doing it.

Boeing 299 was the prototype of the B-17 Flying Fortress that carried the American Air War in northern Europe against Nazi Germany from 1942 until 1945. Could we have won without it? Maybe. The men who flew her simply called her (and still do) ‘The Queen’.

But you know, and I know that the flight I talked about above will be safer than walking out my drive to get the mail. And that is no accident, it is the result of a lot of very hard, amazingly unflattering work by a lot of people over the last hundred years.

If you’re the average consumer when you walk into a really good hardware store you’ll end up mightily confused, why on earth does anyone need 16 different ¼ nuts? Well, the answer is that that they do sixteen somewhat different jobs, within limits they can substitute for each other, although usually, it won’t be as good.

But the thing here is, you cannot (legally, anyway) use any of those nuts on your private aircraft, let alone an airliner. They might be fine, most likely they are cheap knockoffs of the real thing. And so, in the 20s and 30s NACA (later NASA) and the Bureau of Standards, (later NIST), standardized all this stuff, especially hardware and plumbing. It’s not used only in aircraft either, it’s the basis of the specifications for race cars, and for agricultural machinery, and in automotive as well.

The catalogs, by the way, are like page after page of spreadsheet output. How do you tell them? One they’re expensive, and second, they all have part numbers that start with AN- (which stands for Army-Navy) and sometimes now NSN which is usually the same spec but stands for NATO Stock No.

As always, Rudyard Kipling spoke for us grungy doers and movers. He traces us back to Martha who didn’t have time to listen to the Lord, because her work was never done. He had a point.

The Sons of Mary seldom bother, for they have inherited that good part;
But the Sons of Martha favour their Mother of the careful soul and the troubled heart.
And because she lost her temper once, and because she was rude to the Lord her Guest,
Her Sons must wait upon Mary’s Sons, world without end, reprieve, or rest.

It is their care in all the ages to take the buffet and cushion the shock.
It is their care that the gear engages; it is their care that the switches lock.
It is their care that the wheels run truly; it is their care to embark and entrain,
Tally, transport, and deliver duly the Sons of Mary by land and main.

They say to mountains “Be ye removèd.” They say to the lesser floods “Be dry.”
Under their rods are the rocks reprovèd—they are not afraid of that which is high.
Then do the hill-tops shake to the summit—then is the bed of the deep laid bare,
That the Sons of Mary may overcome it, pleasantly sleeping and unaware.

They finger Death at their gloves’ end where they piece and repiece the living wires.
He rears against the gates they tend: they feed him hungry behind their fires.
Early at dawn, ere men see clear, they stumble into his terrible stall,
And hale him forth like a haltered steer, and goad and turn him till evenfall.

To these from birth is Belief forbidden; from these till death is Relief afar.
They are concerned with matters hidden—under the earthline their altars are—
The secret fountains to follow up, waters withdrawn to restore to the mouth,
And gather the floods as in a cup, and pour them again at a city’s drouth.

They do not preach that their God will rouse them a little before the nuts work loose.
They do not preach that His Pity allows them to drop their job when they damn-well choose.
As in the thronged and the lighted ways, so in the dark and the desert they stand,
Wary and watchful all their days that their brethren’s ways may be long in the land.

Raise ye the stone or cleave the wood to make a path more fair or flat;
Lo, it is black already with the blood some Son of Martha spilled for that!
Not as a ladder from earth to Heaven, not as a witness to any creed,
But simple service simply given to his own kind in their common need.

And the Sons of Mary smile and are blessèd—they know the Angels are on their side.
They know in them is the Grace confessèd, and for them are the Mercies multiplied.
They sit at the feet—they hear the Word—they see how truly the Promise runs.
They have cast their burden upon the Lord, and—the Lord He lays it on Martha’s Sons!

Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving, we sons of Martha will be on the job, as usual, so you can be your usual selves.

 

Sunday Funnies, Fall of Romaine

And so another week, giving thanks and finding out that lettuce will kill you.  Beef: It’s what’s for dinner.

And a turkey shoot bonanza

Find the turkey. I’m sure it’s there someplace

Mostly, but not all, PowerLine, as usual

 

Happy Thanksgiving

April 30: George Washington becomes the first ...

April 30: George Washington becomes the first President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, in America is Thanksgiving Day. It is a day of celebration of what we have made of God’s gift to us all. Its history reaches all the way back to our Pilgrim forebearers, who felt called to thank God that they had survived the first year in the Massachusetts Bay.

Now it is a day of parades, football, serious overeating, and sleeping off that overeating by sleeping through the football on TV. But I think we all deep in our hearts do remember to thank “The Big Guy” for all we have, and the freedom to enjoy it.

President Washington certainly knew something about dark days, far darker than ours are today, and he (and Congress) thought it fit to remember the Author of our blessings. So should we.

From the Heritage Foundation

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington

That’s the reason for the day put as well as anyone has, ever.

My family’s traditional table grace is this

In the press of daily events, it is not always easy to remember just how good we have it. Perry Metzger at Samizdata sums it up well.

We live lives of such astonishing wealth that we scarcely notice it. Only a fool would rather be an Emperor in 1600 than a poor person living today. Compared to a king of several centuries ago, poor people in the developed world live in astonishing luxury. In the developed world, we eat fresh vegetables in midwinter, our homes are heated toasty warm in the winter and cooled and dehumidified in the summer, we travel in enormous comfort (no wooden wheeled carriages without shock absorbers for us, and indeed, we can fly to the other side of the world for a quite modest sum of money), our medical care is incomparably better, our beds more comfortable, our entertainment options beyond any potentate’s wildest dreams. This is true even of quite poor people, at least in developed countries.

Whence comes this bounty? It is not because of union organizing, or minimum wage laws, or the triumph of the proletariat over the evil factory owners. Indeed, a few centuries ago, there were few mass production factories to triumph over.

No, the source of this bounty is productivity, and the engines of productivity are deferred consumption being invested in improved infrastructure (that is, capital accumulation), improved technology, and specialization. Thanks to our better means of making things and the sacrifices needed to construct those means, productivity per worker is orders of magnitude higher, and thus there’s more stuff to go around.

Read it all, but realize this is the characteristic American achievement, that we have shared with all the world, along with the freedom to enjoy it.

It is indeed meet that we thank our God for our Blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving

Pictures of the Week, Thanksgiving Edition

Lest you think that picture is purely gratuitous, The American Spectator tells us:

Marilyn was descended from John Alden and Priscilla Mullins — arguably the two most famous Pilgrims to step off the Mayflower — through their eldest daughter and first child, Elizabeth. Marilyn was a seven-times-great granddaughter of the Aldens. But she didn’t know it.

But I would have run it anyway! 🙂

Not the Rolling Stones

A Polish soldier

And of course

As always, mostly from PowerLine and Bookworm.

Happy Thanksgiving

Today, in America is Thanksgiving Day. It is a day of celebration of what we have made of God’s gift to us all. Its history reaches all the way back to our Pilgrim forebearers, who felt called to thank God that they had survived the first year in the Massachusetts Bay.

Now it is a day of parades, football, serious overeating, and sleeping off that overeating by sleeping through the football on TV. But I think we all deep in our hearts do remember to thank “The Big Guy” for all we have, and the freedom to enjoy it.

President Washington certainly knew something about dark days, far darker than ours are today, and he (and Congress) thought it fit to remember the Author of our blessings. So should we.

From the Heritage Foundation

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington

That’s the reason for the day put as well as anyone has, ever.

My family’s traditional table grace is this

Now for something much lighter. You know these guys, we’ve loved them most of our lives.

 

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