Thursday, April 18, 2019

Open Thread Thursday

Bivouac de Napoléon sur le champ de bataille de Wagram - Adolphe Roehn
As you might guess from the title, Your Humble Scribe is sans idée as to suitable ideas to spend a bit of time writing about. I thought about hand grenades, not throwing them but writing about them, but decided that to give that topic a thorough airing would take much more time than I am willing to commit on a Wednesday night. At least this Wednesday night.

There are some blogs which consist of no more than a sentence or two, perhaps a quote from some famous person, I like those - short, sweet, and to the point. But that isn't really in my nature. As a blogger I like to write long-ish posts, I can be terse in the comments, but not in my writing. Brevity may be the soul of wit (if you believe Polonius), but I tend to blather on at length. No, it's not always a good thing.

That being said, I have much to do and little time to do it, as Lex said, there are times when life gets in the way of blogging.

Hey, happens to the best of us...

While I don't find Nazis amusing at all, this is, in a weird kind of way.


Your mileage might vary...

I actually used it at work, minus the slap, on a colleague. For the coup de grace I got right in his face and barked the punch line at him.

Startled him it did, amused him it did, so he went home and used it on his son. Which upset his wife from what I'm told.

"Why are you yelling at him?" she wanted to know.

I guess she missed the first part, maybe you had to be there.

Speaking of grenades, I present the following for your comments, queries, and perhaps education/amusement. What's up with the pointy hats?


Blogging is hard...



Here's a thought - if you would like, leave a suggestion in the comments as to what you'd like to see me write about. I have done requests in the past. Or you could let me continue to thrash about when I am sans idée, that has to be somewhat entertaining. YMMV

50 comments:

  1. All I can think of, is makes them look taller, and more imposing.

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    1. That's part of it, though mostly in later years.

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  2. Grenadier. Now there's a certain bawdy song about the British Grenadier playing in my head.
    And from the first Death Race movie.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I8nonWmNhjI

    I will think about a wish list for topics.

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  3. Yeah, as depicted that’s less “joke” and more “criminal battery.” Probably don’t try that at the office.

    Clearly they wear those pointy Pope-hats because those are Holy Hand Grenades.

    That or, kinda like how animals have camouflage eye spots to mislead predators, one wears a hat with a giant bullseye on it to attract the bullets that would otherwise be aimed at one’s grim visage.

    Or it makes a convenient place to smuggle a bottle of hooch through inspection. Never discount latent alcoholism as a motivation.

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    1. The hooch smuggling did happen, though that wasn't the point. (Pun intended.)

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  4. Grenades..... Alamo Iron Works used to have a plant east of downtown San Antonio. Correct me if I'm wrong but they made most of the grenades used in WW2 or Vietnam, or..... I have a friend that went there on a visit in the early 80's and he said there were stacks of the cast bodies laying all over. Sort of like grapes in a bunch (investment casting??) That land is under the Alamo Dome now, and the once great Alamo Iron Works isn't melting iron anymore....

    Grenadier wasn't a vocabulary word at school... I was corrected from calling them Grenaders by one of my teachers. She was well read and a real teacher. I wonder if there are any of those left?

    Blogging IS hard... I have a tiny thing I try and work on, and it can languish for months, until I have a subject to write on. Man, you guys who have staff and post EVERY DAY are amazing to me....

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  5. I can SO see you doing the nazi knock-knock joke (without the slap). Definitely the Chris Goodrich I remember!! ;-)

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  6. If you get really desperate for material, you could always review my email dated 7/1/2017. In the meantime, here's another video. At least it will keep the rest of the kids occupied for awhile.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lo_irQ9bjzU

    Tutti Frutti.

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  7. When grenadiers first started being used, part of their drill required them to sling their muskets (fun fact: at that time, grenadiers were among the few solduers who were issued slings for their muskets). The act of slinging the musket was interfered with by the standard tricorn hat worn in the period, so grenadiers started cutting the brims off their hats. This was noticed, and then they started being issued a stocking-cap like headgear with a front pkate identifying their regiment. What with one thing and another (including the "more imposing" argument above), the front plates got taller and the solduers started fastening the trailing end of the stocking to the top of the plate. Eventually this "mitre-cap" was just manufactured in that shape, out of felt. So, what started out as a practical adaptation turned into a rather imoractical headgear, especially since grenadiers had long since ceased to use grenades by the mid-18th Century.

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    1. Jeez, and all this time, I thought it was because they had pointy heads!

      The Mrs and I are taking a ROAD TRIP! See y'all later in the astral plane!

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    2. Okay, that just makes sense - the Cpt. Obvious part about the hats, not the juvat part about his experience with home grown mushrooms...

      I thought it was just an attempt to make a distinguishing headgear. Thanks for the info, Cpt. O!

      Once again, I am astonished by the depth and width of the knowledge base of the readers and contributors of this blog. Absolutely Homeric (said in a Barry Fitzgerald voice ala "The Quiet Man." Hey, juvat, have you and yours checked out this movie yet?)

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    3. Yes, surprisingly enough they can be. Go to Google (or Bing) and select images, then search on Ascot.

      Take note of the many impractical hats.

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  8. Hey AFSarge;

    I didn't put "Grenades" and "Grenadier" together until I got older and started studying history. WHen I was younger, I couldn't understand the reason for the funny pointed hat, they had no practicality. But as a youngun I didn't realize that back then, uniforms were not to be comfortable but to be imposing, and of course identify one side from the other.
    On a different note, don't mean to be crass since this is your house...but it is YOUR blog, you can blog about whatever catches your fancy from current events, to the "Matrix" type pitcher response yesterday in a baseball game out west..to some historical thingie that caught your fancy.to well types of outhouses....whatever floats your literary boat...so to speak :)

    P.S. Like I have room to talk...there are times I can't know what to blog about...

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    1. Same here on the grenades and grenadiers thing Mr G.

      You do find some good blogging topics, just sayin'...

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    2. Uniforms, and hats especially, also varied from unit to unit, and position to position, in order to impart info to friendly forces as to who one is and what one's job/responsibilities are.

      "Oh, look, it's a bunch of Hessians moving towards us."
      "How can you tell?"
      "Well, who else would have the testicular fortitude to wear those hats and get away with it?"

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    3. Well, yes and no.

      In the smoke of an old timey battle, you'd be lucky to see the guy next to you, let alone another unit. Prior to the development of actual uniforms, field signs were used, a sprig of fir tree, a piece of paper pinned to one's chapeau, once uniforms were developed, they soon lost their utilitarian purpose and began to be enhanced, mostly for the morale of the wearer. Tall caps and white cross belts might intimidate a rookie troop, the grizzled veteran knows that that big fellow will go down if pierced by shot, by ball, or by blade - regardless of how "pretty" he looks. Incidentally, certain Russian guard units kept their miter caps up until the First World War. For parade of course, not for combat.

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    4. Silhouette was important for troop ID during those 18th-19th Century battles. One of the reasons the British docked the taiks of their horses during the Napoleonic Wars was it made them instantly recognizabke at a distance. When they were redesigning the Heavy Cavalry uniform, Horse Guards asked Wellington his opinion on the matter. He replied that he didn't care what they wore, so long as it was distinguishable from the French. Naturally, they came back with...a Grecian helmet almost identical to the French one. Oh, well...

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    5. Even more important than colors!

      They did the same thing with the British Light Dragoons. They were issued a shako looked very much like that of the French Chasseurs à cheval!

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    6. OAFS at 1:31 - Yes, not identifiable on the field during the battle, but a lot of time was spent getting positioned, moving to, moving from, marching, drilling, etc. Even in the long and large battles, the clouds would move in and out.

      Heck, in modern battles, being shot and shelled tends to restrict one's view to who's next to one.

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    7. Remember the men were literally shoulder to shoulder, under the gimlet eyes of their officers and sergeants, in some armies those officers and sergeants were under orders to strike down any man who tried to turn away. Wasn't much chance of them wandering off. The uniforms, while nice, were often covered in mud. In reality, infantry were infantry, cavalry were cavalry, sometimes the uniforms were similar enough that you couldn't tell who was who (think Bull Run, Manassas if you prefer). Real uniformity was a long time coming.

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  9. Hah, grenadiers and their gear, what an explosive subject. You were bang on the spot with thinking up something new and unusual to light the fuse of our imagination. Heh.

    Yeah, this reminds me of the guy I knew in High School who thought carbines were named 'carbine' after 'Carbine' Williams. He was angry and unfriended me, back in the days when unfriending usually was accompanied by a punch, not an emoji, when I had to do my patented 'Mr. Wizard' routine and prove to him that the word 'carbine' existed long before Mr. Williams, and meant a reduced-length weapon suitable for artillerists or mounted troops or Carabinieri, and the origins of the word 'carabiner' (as the clip that mountaineers use to clip themselves to the line) was partially derived from the clip used to hold carbines to horse troops. He was unamused. I was unamused with the black eye. He went on to the Air Force Academy (more due to him being closely related to Toad, I mean, Ted Kennedy than his intellectual skills. Last I heard, about a year after he graduated, he was decorating some chow hall as an E2, having been dropped almost immediately after the first semester started.

    Interestingly, the Carabinieri's badge is... a grenade (old school round ball with lit fuse.)

    And, fun thing about early grenades (European, which meant they actually worked, rather than Chinese which were 'meh' in power) was the training to cut the fuse to the right length while carrying a long length of lit match-cord (and keeping the cord smoldering) and lighting the fuse of the grenade, and then throwing the grenade (all the while holding a bag of grenades and a lit match-cord) so as to have the grenade blow up pretty close to it's arrival at it's intended target (a little late being much better than a little early) in order to avoid premature explosions or having the damned thing (the grenade) get tossed back. (Whew!) I used to crack up a guy in the SCA who also did Rev War when, during boring functions, I'd mimic swinging a match-cord, reaching into a grenade pouch, cutting fuse, looking, cutting a little more fuse, putting knife away, swing match-cord again, light fuse, toss grenade at the boring functionaries blathering on about something boring, and then turning ass-to-blast away. Or playing 'hot potato' with him with said imaginary grenade. Imagine if you will, a Norseman, a Norman, and a follower of William the Orange tossing around an imaginary lit grenade and trying to pull the fuse out of the imaginary grenade. (If you think I ever got the stink-eye from Mistress Harcout for these actions, well, duh!)

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    1. 2nd paragraph should read "Last I heard, about a year after he graduated High School..." Said person did not graduate the AFA.

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    2. I have been known to walk by a conference room chock full of blathering idiots and mimic pulling the pin, releasing the spoon, and then tossing the imaginary grenade into said conference room. Draws laughs from former military, puzzled looks from civilians.

      Much fun.

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    3. As to your 2nd paragraph, I got that from the context. AFA graduates are never E-2s, not even after a RIF.

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    4. "...room chock full of blathering idiots..." "Draws laughs from former military..."

      If that draws laughs, some of them are likely not blathering idiots but in there not of their own free will.

      Thanks for the post.
      Paul L. Quandt

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    5. There have been days when, bored witless, I have drawn my wheel-lock pistol, loaded, primed, wound, cocked and shot myself, in front of everyone.

      Or, drawn my wakizashi, wrapped the blade partially with a piece of rice paper, cut myself open, dropped the blade, reached in, grab a loop of intestine, wrap it around my throat, and then choke myself to death, or toss offending loop over nearest branch or object and hang.

      A bored Beans is a dangerous Beans.

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    6. PLQ - I meant people observing my antics from outside of the conference room.

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    7. Beans - Yes, quite the mental image that.

      Needs more cowbell.

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  10. The hats made you look taller. Stupid, I know, but it's a thing all along in history.

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    1. I won't argue with a Marine when it comes to uniforms. The Corps has always understood that topic better than the other services.

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  11. I may have to try that Nazi knock-knock joke with (not-so) Mini Me next time he's in full teenage smart-ass mode. I swear I was never that irritating at his age. My parents and siblings may have a different view on those years.

    And just for Juvat's enjoyment, I learned last weekend what to say when the current airline heavy iron and former ANG F-4, A-7, & F-16 pilot says "Your airplane" when you're flying together. In my case, at least. "Yes sir, my airplane, sir." and try to remember how to fly stick and rudder after ten years off seemed to suffice. 'Twas a good day.

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    1. Good for you. Yes, a positive response to confirm taking control was required (and made sense). Glad you had fun...yes, jealousy is rearing its ugly head. Although Mrs J and I had a great day also. More to follow.

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    2. Aaron - The joke is great fun on the unsuspecting. Glad to hear that you've made it back into the cockpit!

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    3. juvat - There's a tale I'm looking forward to!

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  12. Didn't they keep extra lengths of slow match in the hat, to keep it dry?

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    1. In the illustration above, the object on the facing greanadier's crossbelt is (I beleve) a brass match-case, for just such a purpose.

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    2. Scott, you're thinking of pirates, see Captain Obvious' comment.

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    3. Cap'n O - That's exactly what that was for.

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  13. Somehow this comment became a Cranky post??? Have no idea how and had to delete...anyway,

    Best Nazi joke ever!! Are their any other Nazi jokes? Still this was the best one ever.

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    1. I'm sure there are others. But that one is a favorite.

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    2. I meant are THERE any, just in case the grammar Nazi's are lurking

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    3. joeh: Ve know vere you liffe, you vill be punished.

      The OGF

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)