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Man on the Moon

The Moon landings were faked up on a Hollywood backlot, right?

What a load of utter tosh!

It astounds me that anyone would prefer to believe that something which would have had to be kept secret for so long by quite a large number of people (people moreover, cinema technicians etc, not truly invested in the “deceit”) would not have leaked by now. But it hasn’t leaked.

And why hasn’t it leaked?

Because it would need proof of such a conspiracy to fake.

And there is none.

And why the desire to deny the endeavour and the expertise which went in to the making of man’s greatest adventure, not to mention the sheer bravery of the men who made the voyages? Buzz Aldrin was quite right to take exception to the guy who accosted him, a guy who has not one thousandth of the guts and integrity. What is it about some folk that they cannnot rejoice in others’ achievements but must find some way to denigrate them?

And the Soviet Union did not claim that the US Moon landings did not happen – which as a propaganda coup they most certainly would have – because they knew perfectly well that they did. (Compare that to now, when Russia does claim that things that happened didn’t and things that didn’t, have. And so, too, does POTUS, T Ronald Dump.)

Besides, some of the experiments the astronauts placed on the Moon are still sending back data, even fifty years on.

So, raise a glass and drink a toast to a magnificent accomplishment, a demonstration of humans’ ability to perform amazing feats of focus, cooperation and enterprise.

It’s just a pity we gave up on that enterprise so soon.

Arctic Convoy Memorial, Lyness, Hoy, Orkney

Almost the first thing you notice making your way out of the ferry terminal at Lyness on Hoy, apart from the last remaining oil tank servicing what was the naval base there and the building housing the Lyness Naval Museum is two flags and two upright stone markers.

This is the Arctic Convoy Memorial. Some of the convoys’ ships sailed from Scapa Flow.

Memorial from road:-

Arctic Convoy Memorial, Lyness, Hoy, Orkney

Memorial Plaza:-

Arctic Convoy Memorial, Lyness, Hoy, Orkney Plaza

Memorial Dedication:-

Arctic Convoy Memorial Dedication

Russian Inscription and Flag. (I note that the flag, strictly, should be that of the USSR):-

Arctic Convoy Memorial, Russian Inscription and Flag

Russian inscription:-

Arctic Convoy Memorial Russian Inscription Close-up

British Inscription and Flag:-

Arctic Convoy Memorial British Inscription and Flag

British Inscription:-

Arctic Convoy Memorial British Inscription

Antiques?

On Saturday (9/11/13) I was once again at an antiques fair at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Edinburgh.

One of the items for sale was this impressive object:-

Life Size model of Stonewall Jackson

A life size model of American Civil War Confederate General Stonewall Jackson. Yours for £600!

Also for sale was this extremely ancient piece of technology:-

Antique Computer?

What? Computers are antiques now?

Also some Soviet iconography:-

Soviet Memorabilia

Two models of the USSR memorial to space exploration, a huge badge in the shape of a Soviet tank plus a tower of some sort.

Hitler’€™s War by Harry Turtledove

Hodder, 2010, 496 p.

The usual fare from Turtledove. This time the altered history is that World War 2 starts in 1938 – though the actual Jonbar Point seems to be when Spanish General Sanjurjo survives his aeroplane flight from Portugal to Burgos to head up the Nationalist army in the Spanish Civil War which continues long after it did in our history as, after a failure of the talks in Munich two years later Hitler declares war on and invades Czechoslovakia. Major differences are that Poland then becomes a German ally, the invasion of France is not swift enough (apparently due to the early German panzers not being quite as effective as their later 1940 counterparts would be) and Japan eventually attacks the already war-embroiled USSR in Siberia.

The viewpoints are many, but hardly varied as the characters are as cardboard (or as functional) as always, or there simply to outline the war’€™s progress. The writing is as annoying as ever with its repetitions of information we already know. Particularly irritating was the observation that someone or other didn’t like some aspect of warfare “one bit” occurring again and again.

The reading is easy though; something I felt I needed after Gardens of the Sun. I don’t think I’€™ll be following the rest of The War That Came Early series though. There’€™s now another four of the beggars!

Natural Quarter-Finalists?

With the event looming ever nearer, let us examine the record of “one of the favourites for the World Cup.”

1930: Thought it was beneath them/couldn’t be bothered.

1934: Thought it was beneath them/couldn’t be bothered.

1938: Thought it was beneath them/couldn’t be bothered.

1950: Discovered it wasn’t. Quite the reverse.
Eliminated in first round, famously, in Belo Horizonte, losing to USA 1-0.
An omen? (Also lost 1-0 to Spain.)

1954: Quarter-final, lost to Uruguay 4-2.

1958: First round play-off. Lost to USSR 1-0.

1962: Quarter-final, lost to Brazil 3-1.

1966: Downhill, with a following wind, a suspicious late switch of semi-final venue, not to mention a compliant Azerbaijani linesman, (take a bow, Tofik Bakhramov) drew in final 2-2 with West Germany, then “scored” twice in extra time.

1970: Quarter-final, drew 2-2 with West Germany; lost 3-2 after extra time.

1974: DNQ!

1978: DNQ!

1982: Drew 0-0 in second round (effectively the quarter-finals) not only with West Germany but also with Spain. Eliminated.

1986: Quarter-final, lost 2-1 to Argentina (or, if you like, to the hand of God.)

1990: Semi-final! (which they only reached because Cameroon couldn’t be bothered to sit on a lead.) Drew 1-1 with West Germany after “best goalkeeper in the world” cannot take two steps backwards at a free kick. (1-1 aet.) Lost on penalties.

1994: DNQ!

1998: Second round. Drew 2-2 with Argentina. (2-2 aet.) Lost on penalties.

2002: Quarter-finals. Lost 2-1 to Brazil. Yet another “best goalkeeper in the world” couldn’t stop a lobbed free kick.

2006: Quarter-finals. Drew 0-0 with Portugal. (0-0 aet.) Lost on penalties.

Out of seventeen tournaments only one final – and that at home.

Six no-shows, two first round failures, one (or two) second round exits, four (or five) quarter-final defeats, one loss at the semis stage.

It’s obviously going to be a skoosh, lads.

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