BMEWS
 
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calendar   Wednesday - March 02, 2011

Found It

UPDATE, 3 years later: I have been contacted by a Frenchman, Marc P., who informs me that all the ammunition for this gun was French, and that the shell in common regular use was the #2 HE one. Wikipedia shows a slight difference between the French #2 HE shell and an American #2 HE shell, so their implication is that American made ammunition of at least one type did exist.

Marc also feels that ammunition would have been issued by plan and/or agreement. While I can’t disagree with that, I am confident that soldiers, Doughboys or Poilu, would have scrounged up whatever ammo they could find, regardless of any high level plans in Paris or DC. “Lend Lease” plus “nobody’s looking”.

Also, Marc informs me that the common name for the little gun was the “37”, even among French troops.

Ah, the mysteries of history.

*******************************************************************************************************************

Back when I was a small schoolboy, about the time that the dinosaurs were sucking down their last breaths, our school encouraged reading by selling us books on the cheap. Doubleday, Penguin, Pocket and several other publishers I’m sure, would get the schools to hand out order forms to us, with brief descriptions and pictures of the books for sale. Even for those days, the prices were amazing. 10¢, 15¢, 25¢ paperbacks, hardcover editions for $2 or something like that. The publishers sold the books in bulk, the school got a little slice for acting as middleman, and us kids pestered our parents for 2 to 5 bucks and were able to build our own libraries. This was long before that RIF program, back in the days when schools actually were underfunded and were always on an austerity budget. We had to make our own covers for our textbooks from grocery bags, and often had to glue the books we were issued back together so they’d last another season after we gave them back. Those were your textbooks thank you, and your folks (and your backside when dad got home!!) were responsible for keeping them in good condition.

These were the days before PC, when a boy’s interest in the military and it’s technology was not only allowed but encouraged. From all the books my brother and I owned, I can only remember one cover distinctly. It was titled something along the lines of The United States In World War One and told that story from a highly patriotic viewpoint. The red white and blue cover had this picture on it:


image



I never knew if those were soldiers or marines, or where the picture was from. I only knew that those were Our Boys, Over There, and that image has stuck with me my entire life. Once every second or third blue moon that image floats up in my memory, and, as I always do, I wonder what kind of little cannon those men were firing. I never knew. And I was one of the boys who devoured the entire C.B. Colby series - an author who wrote 93 books on hunting, camping, and militaria for children. Not only did our little school library have most of these books, which were little more than arms catalogs with pictures and descriptions, they kept them down on the lower shelves where small boys could easily reach them. Like I said, this was long before PC. But even the great CB never enlightened me on that one.

Today I found it. Our dauntless doughboys above are using the M1916 37 mm pack howitzer, a tiny little cannon borrowed from the French, who knew it by the simple name of Canon d’Infanterie de 37 modèle 1916TRP ( tir rapide, Puteaux ). Try getting that mouthful out when somebody is shooting at you.

image

It was a neat little gun designed for taking out machine gun nests and other small fortifications, and it worked rather well. Actually it worked much better once the Yanks got a hold of it and replaced the silly French solid iron bullet with a nice little exploding shell. Think of it as a 1 1/4 pounder. While the M1916 could fire off 20-30 shots a minute, it was range limited to about a mile because the gun didn’t have much elevation adjustment. But it wasn’t designed for that. It was designed to work like a giant rifle and save your squad. And it was designed to be used when you were face down in the mud. The whole gun is barely 2 feet tall and weighs only 240 pounds. 4 men can pick it up and run with it. With all the doo-dads attached, which include wheels, an iron flash hider, and a bit of armor shield, it’s still light enough so that one mule or horse can run all day while towing it along. All of this adds up to a pretty darn good idea, even if it was invented by the froggies. Take off the wheels and a front leg folds down, making a nice little tripod, which puts the gun even closer to the ground.

image

M1916 with all doo-dads attached

Note the top edge of the picture on the placard. It’s the photo from the top of this post, cropped.

The US Army kept this one for a number of years after the war, but like everything else the changing specifications eventually sent it to the great olive green scrap heap. It was always a low velocity gun, so it was not at all effective against any kind of armor. By WWII it had been replaced by the high velocity M3 anti-tank gun on the one hand, and on other hand, when things like Jeeps were invented, by the 75mm M1A1 pack Howitzer. The M3 had more than double the range of the M1916 and could kill light tanks, and the M1A1 had triple the range plus 10 times the boom power. But it wasn’t until the TOW style shoulder launched missiles of the 1980s that our soldiers would again have a small and accurate system that could deliver a significant explosive charge to targets a mile away, that they could pick up and carry.

sources:
an awesome page with great info and pictures
source of two great pictures
you can still buy ammo for it! Compare the size of the case against the one for the WWII M3
Wiki entry
check this one out: in 1931 the Army figured out how to shoot these things indoors, training on 30 foot ranges to save money!


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/02/2011 at 03:16 PM   
Filed Under: • Guns and Gun Control •  
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‘infected’ by Christian moral views” and prisoners asked how they like their stay.

OK, Back to serious bmews business .... like this.

Well it isn’t as tho it doesn’t happen in the USA as well.  I just wonder if it’s as badly hidden away.  I don’t see American papers, but I see USA sites and don’t see this kind of reportage. Maybe we’re smarter in America? 
I doubt readers here will believe that.
I’m still trying to figure out why this country sends kazillions in aid to India, a country that has their own space program.  Oh right.  Funded by who I wonder? Now that btw, India, has a huge number of billionaires.  Some damn smart folks there.

This isn’t about India anyway. I just happen to think of it again in relation to monies taken out of the Brit economy and spent elsewhere.

There’s a headline in the Mail this morning that says billions are being given to corrupt countries. Well I never. Really?  How long has that been going on?

An economist, the late Lord Bauer is credited with the following.

“Aid to third world governments is taking money from the poor in rich countries,
to give to the rich in poor countries.”

Want proof of that?

Take a look.

UK billions for corrupt countries as aid budget targets ‘fragile states’
By DAILY MAIL REPORTER

Britain is to pour billions of pounds of aid into the world’s most corrupt countries in a bid to tackle poverty, terrorism and illegal immigration.
International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell yesterday announced the results of a review of the aid budget – and revealed future funding will be focused on helping so-called ‘fragile states’.

But the beneficiaries will include many of the world’s most corrupt countries, raising fears that much of the money may never reach those it is intended for.
The biggest single recipient will be the failed African state of Somalia, which has been riven by civil war for years and is rated as the most corrupt nation on earth.

British aid to Somalia will soar by 207 per cent to £250million over the next four years, despite the state not having had a functioning government for two decades.

Other winners include Burma, ranked as the world’s second most corrupt regime, which will see its funding rise by 81 per cent to £185million over the same period, and Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, which will receive a 36 per cent increase in funding from the UK, receiving £353million over four years.

Yemen, which many observers describe as a failed state, will benefit from an 80 per cent increase to £305million.
Pakistan, which is blighted by corruption, will be given a 112 per cent increase and is on course to become the biggest single recipient of British aid, receiving £446million a year from taxpayers by 2015.

READ MORE

Pretty bad huh?  To be plainly and brutally honest with readers let me say yet again.
I don’t much care if any of those sub species starve. I don’t much care if they kill each other by whatever means. Not my business. In fact, the more of them that buy the farm, the fewer we have to support.  Are Somalis for example, anything to worry about, besides piracy?  And that could be dealt with by a govt. with the balls to consider the ‘G’ word, in the case of Somalia.  Or ‘N’ for Nuke. Which might equal ‘G’ so all would end well imo.

But this post is more about stupid spending and here a great example of bonehead spending of the citizen’s money.  Not that the spenders care a bean.

Have a look.  You might even laugh at this one.  Or perhaps not.


This won’t take long: £500,000 survey to ask prisoners if they like their life behind bars

By JACK DOYLE

Prison chiefs are to spend almost half a million pounds quizzing prisoners about their quality of life.

Inmates at almost half of the country’s jails will be asked if they feel looked after and how well they get on with prison officers.

They will be questioned on their washing facilities, whether they are allowed enough time on the telephone and if they sleep well.

The Ministry of Justice is to press ahead with the survey, an annual exercise since 2002, despite massive cuts to the departmental budget. It is expected to cost taxpayers an astonishing £449,000 – a 6 per cent rise on the 2010 cost.
The news comes as Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke faces the wrath of Tory right-wingers outraged at his plans to save cash by slashing the number of prison places by 3,000.

He wants greater use of community punishments in place of jail sentences.
His opponents say this will allow more offenders out on the streets and lead to more crime.

Details of the Measuring the Quality of Prison Life survey were released under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.
Academics will question around 6,000 inmates at nearly half of the 138 jails in England and Wales.
The survey is in addition to regular checks carried out under the £3.6million prisons inspection regime.
Cushy enough? Ministry of Justice are continuing with the survey despite the cost - and cuts to the department budget

Each jail also has an independent monitoring board comprising members of the public who can enter sites without permission to check prisoners are not being mistreated.

Inmates will answer 128 questions, indicating how much they agree or disagree with a series of statements.

These include ‘Personally, I get on well with the officers on my wing’, ‘I am treated as a person of value in this prison’ and ‘This prison is good at placing trust in prisoners’.

Other questions will cover whether inmates have opportunities to relax and ‘be themselves’.

Prisoners are even asked if their stay ‘feels like a punishment’.

more

You couldn’t make all this up. And you surely wouldn’t dream of this one.

Click on it for the whole story. 

During the case, the Equality and Human Rights Commission argued that children risk being ‘infected’ by Christian moral views.


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 03/02/2011 at 11:50 AM   
Filed Under: • CULTURE IN DECLINEDaily LifeGovernmentUK •  
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The Knight, the dog in the canal and tulips

I had a whole page of really serious stuff all ready to be posted, then Christopher beats me to the site with his funny Si-Fi thing and the … gay unicorn?
So how the heck was I gonna post the really maddening thing I had ready, right after his very good post?

I thought of posting some eye candy but that wouldn’t do. Maybe after this. Don’t know. This is so many years old I can’t recall how far back except to say it pre-dates hippies by many years.  This was the beatnik era. It was written by a very bright and funny kid named Bill Hartley, of Hartford, Ct.
I referred to him as Wild Bill Hartley.  Wish I still had his other stuff. He wrote good poetry as well.  Many moves over many years and I’ve lost much over time. How this survived I’ll never know. But it always tickled my funny bone.

It has no title.  So I’ll just call it …

THE KNIGHT
By Wm (wild bill) Hartley

The young knight gazed intently at the animate speck in the distance.  His eyes were aching from the long vigil.  In those days there was no fine art or specific procedure for lookouts.

Blinking and rubbing his eyes, young Sir Lancelot allowed his eyes to wander over the countryside.  They drank in the sight of the canals carving patterns in the monotonous flat plains.  Presently they returned to him and he scooped them up and returned them to their respective sockets.  He breathed deeply of the fresh spring air, savoring the sweet smell of the tulips.  Lancelot LOVED tulips.  He had loved tulips for as long as he could remember.  His mind drifted back slowly through the years then stopped with a jar on the bank of his eleventh summer of being.

He was sitting slumped in a chair listening to the teachers steady drone punctuated by an occasional gasp from his mother.  Parts of the conversation drifted through into his private limbo.

“saw him actually fondling that tulip as though it were capable of returning emotion.”

“but he’s always been such a profound boy; perceptive beyond his years.”

“nevertheless, we can no longer allow him to influence the other children.  I’m afraid you’ll have to find another school for him.”

They don’t understand he thought; my love for tulips is not a childish whim.  It’s a thought out rational decision that no basis in something as unstable as emotion.  Tulips are beautiful but not vain; they emit a wonderful fragrance but not to the point of paining the nostrils.  Best of all, they’re inanimate, ready to receive love, and give beauty and fragrance in return, without any demands like some of the girls he’d seen at school.

Poor Olaf:  his parents must have been must have been guided by the divine when they tagged him with such a dullard name.  For over a month now he’s been following Karen Kringle around like a puppy, showering her with his prized possessions and keeping clean, and watching his manners when she was around. 

Lancelot hated Karen.  Things could never be the same between Olaf and himself again.

It sure must have been more of a strain then was at first apparent when Olaf’s dog was found belly up in the canal.  The poor dog was a victim of a series of unfortunate circumstances.  Given a thousand years probably the precise series of events would never recur.  To this day no one can reason why that dog was up in a tree, imitating a cat.  Had he been content to be what he was, he would in all probability still be running around chasing bitches and biting people.  Conversely, if Olaf’s father had thrown a slipper instead of a wooden shoe, the outcome might well have been altered.
The blow from the shoe set off a chain of events that would have been humorous had not the end result been so tragic.  The fall from the tree was a sight to behold, likened to a graceful dive from a bridge when the diver tried to abort at the last second.  Having regained consciousness during the last few feet of the fall, the dog seemed determined not to lost it again. Shaking his head from side to side he half loped ,
half staggered out of the yard …. across the road …… into the canal.

It looked for minute as though the chill of the water had revived him enough to remain afloat until someone could fish him out.

Then the barge hit him and he wasn’t seen for a week.

Old Sam Smith (hell of a name for a Dutchman) spotted the unfortunate form floating belly up in the canal.  For a moment he didn’t recognize the bloated form.  Then recognition flashed in his eyes.  Then his eyes flashed at each other.
(have you ever had the opportunity to observe a cross-eyed idiot with zaps of electricity flashing from one eye to another? ) I say another instead of the other because Messr. Smith was endowed with a third eye.  This in itself was not so odd, for in those days one out of every few hundred was sported a third visual receptacle.  Old wives said that they were sent by whoever the god in vogue at the time was, to keep an eye on the wicked world.  Only Mr. Smith’s eye was perpetually cross eyed by itself.  This probably has some significance.  Anyway, by this time the dog was beginning to drift further away; so Sam jumped up, banged his head with his cane. Sam only had one leg, retribution perhaps. The blow on the head brought the three dogs into one image.

Sam lost no time in securing a pole and hook, and cast the line out to the poor (no, I guess poor is a poor choice of words. After all, the animal was dead by then.
But to get back to old Sam, the hook caught the dog somewhere between the nose and the chest.
The dog promptly deflated and sank, leaving an epitaph in the form of a rancid odor.

end


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 03/02/2011 at 10:15 AM   
Filed Under: • Humor •  
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Squaring The Turkey

There haven’t been any bowling post lately for a reason. I got tired of writing variations on “I bowled OK but our team got beat anyway” every week. Team Loser has been doing worse than the Mets or the Cubs in an off year. That’s bad. Last week we won just one game. The two weeks before that, none. One game the week before that, several weeks of no wins at all. You get the picture. I don’t think we’ve taken as many as four points since ... around Christmas? We’ve got such a lock on last place that, with 8 weeks left, even if we won every game from now until the end of the season we’d still be in last.

So last night our guy Joe didn’t show up, so our effective handicap got reduced by his absentee penalty. Thanks Joe. Thanks for calling ahead and lining up a sub. We were bowling the 2nd place team; their team average is roughly 175 points higher than ours. Every guy on their team has thrown at least one 300 this season. We were in for a slaughtering. Again. As usual.

So I didn’t care. Fuggedabowdit. So I just bowled. I’ve mentioned before how my game improves when I don’t try. Seriously, for me bowling is an inversely proportional activity. The less I do the better I do. Go figure.

During warm up I realized that the right lane was one board off from the left lane, so I did my best to remember that. I’m the lead bowler, so I started the first game and rolled a strike. And so did the rest of my team. Nice. Then I rolled another one. And another one. A turkey! Yay! Out on the approach going into the 4th I had a moment of doubt and figured I’d mess this frame up, but I talked myself out of that and threw another strike. Ham bone! Then I threw two more in the 5th and 6th. Nice. Never in my life have I ever thrown more than seven in a row, so the self-doubt came bubbling up again in the 7th. And I put it away again, and just relaxed and kept my head down and kept my eyes focused on my target ( the 7 board, about 15 feet out, even though I always throw inside that. This is because I don’t have binocular vision and I’m right handed but left eye dominant. So I target off to the right to compensate ), came through the ball, and threw another strike. Hell yeah. But I kept my elation hidden as was cool about it; you never tempt fate by crowing about your own success. At this point the rest of Team Loser is doing just a little over average, but enough so that we are holding on to our entire net handicap of 130-something. I was savoring the sweet sweet mental taste of a 150 in the 5th, which is a perfect score at the halfway point. I’ve only known that taste once before. [ in bowling, scoring a strike gives you 10 points plus the score of the next 2 balls you roll, so when you roll a big bunch of strikes each one earns you 30 points for the frame before the previous one. Thus a 150 is a perfect score in the 5th frame because you’ve rolled 7 strikes in a row, a 180 is a perfect score in the 6th frame because you’ve rolled 8, etc. ]

I kept my Zen state and threw a strike in the 8th, and broke my personal best record. Forget that 150 in the 5th feeling; 180in the 6th is sweeter. So is 210 in the 7th, which I found out when I struck again in the 9th. Nine strikes in a row. A turkey of turkeys; squaring the bird. Horry Clap! And then I realized that I was Almost There. Could I do it? Could I go all the way? Why not? I wasn’t nervous at all starting the 10th frame. I wasn’t thinking that I was on the very edge of throwing a perfect 300 game. At least I wasn’t actively thinking that, right at that moment. I think. But something inside said “let’s try for it” ... and trying is the wrong thing for me to do. Just as my arm was swinging past my offside foot I felt that something was wrong. My elbow bent in too soon, and I pulled the shot. 7 pins, leaving the 3-6-10. Crap. But more of an “Oh well” than a “#*&!!” because I was still in that Zen state. I shifted left 3 boards, threw my strike ball line, and made the spare, then casually threw another strike to finish the 10th, so I wound up throwing 10 strikes and a spare for a 277.

X X X X X X X X X 7/ X.

Which is the best game I have ever thrown, by 19 pins. And I won myself another exciting USBC refrigerator magnet award. And I’m quite pleased with that, even if the prize itself is a cheap bit of cardboard.

image

The 300 game? It will happen, someday. If I can roll 10 and a spare, then I can roll 12.

We won that game by 148 pins. The other team beat us in game 2; I went back to throwing strikes, but spared in the 2nd frame and a couple others, so I finished with a 193. I really really wanted to hit over 210 in that game, to put me in a good position to roll a 700 series, which is another bowling milestone I have never managed. But it didn’t happen. This time. We lost the 2nd game by about 100 pins. Our opponents were getting tired in the 3rd game, and the rest of my team finally woke up. That’s a good thing, because by that point I had lost the focus and had forgotten to keep my head down and my eyes on the target. So I messed up bad, and only threw a 161. We won that game, and actually got wood for the first time in I can’t remember when. 5 points for Team Loser! Woo hoo! And I finished with a 631 series, which is pretty darn good for me, but nowhere near the 700 I dared to dream of for half an hour. Someday!


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/02/2011 at 09:43 AM   
Filed Under: • Bowling Blogging •  
Comments (1) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

I won!

I don’t know if many of you are fans of Graphic Audio, but I’m here to tell you that I won a freebie GraphicAudio product. I have absolutely no idea of what they are going to send. Probably some product line that hasn’t been selling well.

But I’m on their email list and am a customer. Last week I got an email stating that the first twenty people who scored 90% on the quiz would get a gift from GraphicAudio. I took the test; it was about Anya Creed and the Rogue Angel series. I scored 100%. Not because I’d listened to the GraphicAudio books. I’ve read about 15 books in the series. I will say I was appalled to find out that the books were published, admittedly under another imprint, by Harlequin Romance.

Back to Graphic Audio. I highly recommend the Deathlands series. And the derivative Outlanders series. The Rogue Angel series is good, but I liked the books better. If there are any Simon R. Green fans out there, they did a very good job on ‘Blue Moon Rising’. Blue Moon Rising is hilarious while still being very serious. Our hero rescues the dragon from the princess. But that happens later. The first clue that this is abnormal fantasy is that our hero rides a unicorn. Remember, we’re talking about a Prince here. And remember what legends say about who can ride a unicorn? And did I mention that the unicorn is gay?

Regardless, at the end of the book our hero, Rodney, is no longer qualified to ride a unicorn! That’s the princess’ fault. But she and the dragon are still with him. The same dragon he rescued from the Princess. 


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Posted by Christopher   United States  on 03/02/2011 at 09:00 AM   
Filed Under: • LiteraturePersonal •  
Comments (4) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

Breaking News

Nazi troops occupy Sofia


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Posted by Christopher   United States  on 03/02/2011 at 08:45 AM   
Filed Under: • History •  
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calendar   Tuesday - March 01, 2011

ok, since drew brought the subject up, and I was supposed to have snail mailed this last week …..

And I should NEVER have clicked on that link for IHOP in Drew’s post. I’ll not forgive him for that cruelty. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!
I LOVE IHOP !!!!  I want my IHOP ! Waaaaaa

sad_little_duck_crying_0515-1012-2300-1612_TN.jpg

( image courtesy of, http://www.pamsclipart.com/)

image

image

As Drew says .... pancakes here are a bit different and NOT a breakfast meal.  A couple of ppl we know came back from a Florida traip a year ago, aghast at the idea of our pancakes for brekkers. (breakfast) So I asked em if anyone forced em at gunpoint to partake.

image

imageimage


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 03/01/2011 at 02:31 PM   
Filed Under: • Fine-DiningUK •  
Comments (8) Trackbacks(0)  Permalink •  

Oy, such a holiday

It’s a Breakfast Food, M’kay?

Today is National Pancake Day




No, its has nothing to do with Saint Pancake

image

(thanks SondraK)



And it has very little to do with cute bunnies who can balance them

image



And while there may be a crowning of this year’s Pancake Princess

image

mmm, yummy pancakes!



Mostly it’s about charity




IHOP is giving out free orders of pancakes today in hopes of raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Stop in, eat up, and drop a couple bucks. Bacon and coffee not included.

Since beginning its National Pancake Day celebration in 2006, IHOP has raised more than $5.35 million to support charities in the communities in which it operates. While IHOP’s National Pancake Day typically takes place on Shrove Tuesday, this year, the company will host its free pancake event one week earlier on Tuesday, March 1 to build buzz and excitement prior to Shrove Tuesday. With your help, we hope to raise $2.3 million for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and other local charities!

Known also as Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, National Pancake Day dates back several centuries to when the English prepped for fasting during Lent. Strict rules prohibited the eating of all dairy products during Lent, so pancakes were made to use up the supply of eggs, milk, butter and other dairy products...hence the name Pancake Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday.


How about that one, lefties? A corporation getting involved in a Christian tradition in a Christian manner! I’m expecting protests, judicial fiats, and cries of racism to be all over the news.



An explanation of the title for Americans: in the UK they consider pancakes a dessert item. Seriously, the thought of pancakes for breakfast is anathema to them, even with a double side of bacon. Worse, they don’t even have proper Bisquick over there. Sure, they have something in that bright yellow box you can bake with, but it’s not the same. Peiper will attest to that fact; I’ve had to send him emergency supplies of the stuff.

On the other hand, England does do this holiday better than we do. Being Britons, with their great sense of tradition, they hold pancake races, and have done so for hundreds of years now. Since 1445 - long before Columbus came over here in his leaky little boat - they have been running about in public with pancakes. I’m assuming that those are actually fresh pancakes, and not the original ones from 1445, but with the English you never know.

Oh, you think this is another one of my “fake but accurate” posts, that I’m making up the sport of pancake racing? Ha! Surprise!

image
The annual pancake race in Olney


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Posted by Drew458   United States  on 03/01/2011 at 10:22 AM   
Filed Under: • Fine-DiningFun-StuffReligion •  
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On: 07/09/17 03:07



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Allanspacer

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Not that very many people ever read this far down, but this blog was the creation of Allan Kelly and his friend Vilmar. Vilmar moved on to his own blog some time ago, and Allan ran this place alone until his sudden and unexpected death partway through 2006. We all miss him. A lot. Even though he is gone this site will always still be more than a little bit his. We who are left to carry on the BMEWS tradition owe him a great debt of gratitude, and we hope to be able to pay that back by following his last advice to us all:
  1. Keep a firm grasp of Right and Wrong
  2. Stay involved with government on every level and don't let those bastards get away with a thing
  3. Use every legal means to defend yourself in the event of real internal trouble, and, most importantly:
  4. Keep talking to each other, whether here or elsewhere
It's been a long strange trip without you Skipper, but thanks for pointing us in the right direction and giving us a swift kick in the behind to get us going. Keep lookin' down on us, will ya? Thanks.

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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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