All good Americans know the significance of July 4, 1776 and December 7, 1941, but other than family birthdays and anniversaries, we boomers don’t have many of the dates of our own lifetimes memorized.

That said, just about every one of us knows two specific dates that have nothing to do with family milestones.

One is September 11, 2001.

The other is November 22, 1963. So long ago. So vivid still.

image host

Moving the Bills game seems to have been the right move. Get this: ” Orchard Park, where the NFL’s Buffalo Bills play, has picked up 77.0 inches in the last 48 hours”

Sports Update: the Bills will play Sunday – in Detroit!

Weird stuff: Buffalo Channel 4 Weather has confirmed 77 inches in Orchard Park, a southern suburb, but Tonawanda, a northern suburb, has received only three inches! Orchard Park is directly in line with the eastern shore of Lake Erie, while Tonawanda is just far enough north on the Niagara River that it is out of the direct path of the lake effect snow.

Per the comments, this turned out to be a hoax.

They are up 218-211 with six races still counting.

McCarthy was the overwhelming choice of the red team to become speaker, but that job is ultimately decided by a vote of all members, not just the GOP members. That would place McCarthy second in the line of Presidential succession

McConnell staved off a Scott challenge to retain his position as Senate minority leader. Schumer is safe in the majority job. The president pro tem of the senate, third in line to the Presidency, will probably not be Diane Feinstein, although she would be the choice if the Senate honored its tradition of picking the majority party’s senator who is longest in position. Senator Feinstein is 89 and noticibly fading. She would have been the first female to hold the job, but that honor will now likely go to Patty Murray of Washington.

“The label was originally introduced on Wednesday – but ‘killed’ by Musk just hours later.”

In addition to a rash of fake celebrities, “Fake accounts purporting to be big brands have popped up with the blue check since the new roll-out, including Musk’s Tesla and SpaceX. Drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co issued an apology after an imposter account tweeted that insulin would be free.”

538 now shows that the GOP is slightly more likely to capture the Senate. The forecast model moved the GOP from “51 wins per 100 simulations” to 55/100.

538 now shows Fetterman ahead by half a percent in Pennsylvania. No forecast or poll comes close to that kind of precision so the bottom line is – we know nothing.

Georgia is in precisely the same boat. 538 shows Walker up by a tenth of a point. There is a key distinction between Georgia and the other states in that a win on Tuesday does not mean an automatic Senate seat unless the winner exceeds 50%. Given a third party candidate and a virtual tie between the major party candidates, a December run-off seems like a strong possibility.

538 still has Nevada in the toss-up category, but it seems increasingly likely that Laxalt will win. 538 shows him winning 59/100 simulations, versus 41 for the Democrat. The problem here is that Sen. Masto (birth name Catherine Cortez), despite being Hispanic through her father’s side, has lost Hispanic support. In September she had a 19-point lead among Hispanic voters, and she now faces a 13-point deficit. A Laxalt win will most likely mean that the Democrats have to win both Pennsylvania and Georgia.

Another tale of woe from my youth. I gave this as a corsage to my prom date.

I guess it wasn’t that bad. She only had to be kept in isolation for three days.

Three days after they revived her, that is.

I guess it’s just as well I didn’t get into Vampire Academy. I probably would have screwed up and given my prom date a corsage of garlic and wolf’s bane.

“As of August 2022, the U.S. had 1.5 billion pounds of cheese in cold storage across the country. That’s around $3.4 billion worth of cheese.”

“A sizable portion of the stockpile is stored in a massive underground warehouse (a former limestone quarry) outside of Springfield, Missouri.”

If cheese ever becomes a precious commodity, Fond du Lac is the Dubai of the future. We’re building those skyscrapers now, on spec. We already have one that’s the tallest building in northern Wisconsin – nearly the size of a five-story building if you count the antenna, which admittedly comprises four of the five stories.

Cosmetics heir William Lauder is tearing down a $110 million, six-year old mansion in Palm Beach, because … money.

“At more than 35,000 square feet, the mansion was designed to feature 16 bathrooms, a gym, barber shop, theater, and library. Last year, the property reportedly sold to an entity tied to William Lauder, a billionaire heir to the Estée Lauder makeup fortune, for an astonishing $110 million. But the palatial estate is apparently not up to his family’s standards. On Wednesday, the town approved a plan to tear down the home — built just six years ago — to the dirt.”

“He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say ‘To-morrow is Saint Crispian:’
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say ‘These wounds I had on Crispin’s day.’
Old men forget: yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember with advantages
What feats he did that day: then shall our names.
Familiar in his mouth as household words
Harry the king, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester,
Be in their flowing cups freshly remember’d.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remember’d;
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.”

Shakespeare, Henry V (Act IV, Scene III),

It was on October 25th in 1415 that Henry V of England led his troops to a resounding victory over France at Agincourt, although the English were greatly outnumbered (perhaps 4-1; estimates vary), and fighting on French territory. Making victory even less likely was the fact that his troops were basically on foot, forced to confront armed and mounted knights.

Henry had one important thing on his side – longbows. He had some 5,000 archers and they had plenty of arrows. He also had the ideal setting for his archers to confront the French cavalry. The battlefield was a narrow, muddy opening between two dense forests, basically the worst possible conditions for the French attacks. The mud impeded the French advances, while the dense woodlands made it impossible for the French to create flanking or rear attacks. The terrain basically funneled them into direct charges, straight into hail after hail of English arrows. The horsemen who successfully approached the English lines found that the archers were protected from cavalry charges by sharpened, outward-facing stakes. In the narrow opening afforded them, with piles of bodies to their rear, dense forests on either side, and thousands of well-sheltered English longbowmen in front of them, the French could neither charge nor retreat effectively. It was less a battle than a slaughter. The English were merciless. Historians estimate that the archers fired at least a hundred thousand arrows that day, perhaps as many as a half-million. The piles of French bodies were so high that it was difficult to identify exactly who did die that day. Some of their wives had to find out over time, simply from the fact that their husbands never returned. The bloodshed didn’t even end with the eventual French retreat. The English killed the vast majority of their prisoners, sparing only those of the very highest ranks. Henry even ordered the killing of some men worth ransoming.

Here is a concise description of the action:

Per Wikipedia:

“The French had suffered a catastrophic defeat. In all, around 6,000 of their fighting men lay dead on the ground. The list of casualties, one historian has noted, “read like a roll call of the military and political leaders of the past generation”. Among them were 90–120 great lords and bannerets killed, including three dukes, nine counts and one viscount, also an archbishop. Of the great royal office holders, France lost its constable, an admiral, the Master of Crossbowmen, Master of the Royal Household and prévôt of the marshals. 3,069 knights and squires were killed, while at least 2,600 more corpses were found without coats of arms to identify them. Entire noble families were wiped out in the male line, and in some regions an entire generation of landed nobility was annihilated. The bailiffs of nine major northern towns were killed, often along with their sons, relatives and supporters. In the words of Juliet Barker, the battle “cut a great swath through the natural leaders of French society. Estimates of the number of prisoners vary between 700 and 2,200, amongst them the dukes of Orléans and Bourbon, the counts of Eu, Vendôme, Richemont (brother of the Duke of Brittany and stepbrother of Henry V) and Harcourt, and marshal Jean Le Maingre.”

In contrast, Shakespeare contended that the English casualties amounted to 29 men, of which 25 were commoners.

(Cough. Cough.)

OK, that was a bit of bullshit, let’s call it chauvinistic exaggeration by the Bard of Avon. He was not a historian, but a literary man sucking up to the English monarchy. The English probably lost about 300-400 men, but only a small number of those were magnates. Exaggeration aside, it was one of the greatest military successes in human history, since it not only destroyed a numerically superior force and most of its key officers, but it humbled and weakened France so completely that within five years the French royals had declared that the English Henry was the heir to the French throne!

(He would die about two years after that agreement without ever having sat on that throne.)

More important than any of that to us today is that the victory inspired one of Shakespeare’s best monologues, as cited above and shown below. Ol’ Shakey often used his monologues to deliver melancholy, philosophical ruminations about the fragility of life, but this was different. It was a stirring call to action for country and brotherhood.

Or so he has said.

But he says a lot of stuff.

The existing management was planning to cut a quarter of the staff even if the acquisition failed, but Musk is tripling down on that! That’s a lot of money, because:

Twitter’s median compensation — the point at which half make more and half make less — is about $240,000 for all employees

When you add in the employer burden like FICA, it means the median cost to the company is about $300,000 per employee. I’m assuming that Musk is not going to fire janitors and receptionists, so the average for the dismissed employees will probably be higher than the overall average, perhaps far higher. I assume Musk will bring in a new turnaround team, and everyone in the current upper management team can start looking for jobs, because their stewardship created the mess in the first place.

And it is a mess. It’s not just the costs that are a problem:

“Twitter estimates that its monetizable daily active users (MDAU), defined as the number of users eligible to see ads, is 237.8 million, up 16.6 percent compared with the same quarter last year. But documents that have emerged in Twitter’s court battle with Musk point to far lower numbers, with Musk’s side claiming, using Twitter’s own data, that fewer than 16 million users see the vast majority of ads.”

So its costs are bloated and its revenue potential is exaggerated. As a result, one analyst has suggested that Musk’s $44 billion bid is four times what the company is worth!

“Recently Andrea Walne, a general partner at Manhattan Venture Partners, a firm that has invested in the deal, told Business Insider that she thinks Twitter is worth only $10 billion to $12 billion and that other partners were trying to get out. Musk himself said that he and his investors were ‘obviously overpaying’ for the site during Tesla’s earnings call on Wednesday. Walne did not respond to requests for comment.”

Here is the full article on WaPo, if you can get past their pay wall.

Sing along with me … “Mild Bruce Banner, belted by gamma rays…”

“The light from this ancient explosion brings with it valuable new insights into stellar collapse, the birth of a black hole, the behavior and interaction of matter near the speed of light, the conditions in a distant galaxy – and much more. Astronomers may not detect another GRB this bright for decades.”