Contextless Thoughts

I made some tweaks to the site that you will find throughout it.  I have finally added a search box on each page from Google that combined with Google Sitemaps should offer much better search results.  There is an improved navigational element which should make it easier to find stuff in the top left corner and some improvements in the bottom navigation as well.  I know some of you hate the design but that’s okay…

  • Last night Wendy, myself and some co-workers took in Perogy Fest III at the Manhattan Ballroom.  There was five different varieties and over 12,000 perogies made in total.  The event was a fundraiser for Nashi, which works to divert children out of the sex trade in Ukraine and the money from the perogy smorg and auction went to support these projects as well as fighting human trafficking world wide.
  • I repaired a crack in my basement wall which isn’t that exciting but several people I have talked to about it have  cracks in their basement walls and have been asking me about this.  After reading all sorts of solutions, I took the advice from Ask This Old House and chiseled away any deteriorated concrete that I found.  This enlarged the crack from quite small to about an inch across (not all of it was bad but it came lose while chiseling).   After cleaning it all out, I decided to use aqua cement which is suggested for any cracks below grade, is waterproof (it will actually set in running water), and dries far harder than ordinary cement.  While it works great, you really need two people to install it as it sets so quick.  It worked well but I think we wasted about 20% because it dries so quickly.  It also dries harder over a month.  I’ll see how it lasts but I am impressed with the first couple of weeks.  It has been a slow melt so I doubt I will see much water coming through it even if I didn’t patch it so we may have to wait until next year.  Now I get to dig down and seal the outside of the wall this summer.  One tip that I have is that since it dries so hard, it is almost impossible to finish so don’t fill the crack completely with it and leave a bit for standard portland cement to finish with.  Using Weldbond will help with the bonding quite a bit as well.  I discovered Weldbond this summer and it amazing around the house.
  • I am reading The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer (Wikipedia has more and here is the complete text available online).  After watching a couple of documentaries this year that talked about how Hitler knew the war was lost in late 1942 and 1943 as did many of his generals, I was interested to read more.  Of course not so interested to do anything about it but now that I have a copy of the book, 1400 pages await me.  Once I get this book done, I want to read a Russian telling of the Second World War.  Does anyone have any suggestions for a good English translation that I can find?  If you do, let me know in the comments.

3 thoughts on “Contextless Thoughts”

  1. Panzer Battles gives a good background on the lifestyle of the Russian soldier. Also, it helps understand the Battle of th Bulge, and the mindset of the German High Command, once they realized the war was lost.

    The Unknown War Is pretty good. It may be on TV, if you search around, maybe in a library? Or e-bay.

    Stalin complained that America and Britain were slow to open a western front. He felt America and Britain were “Willing to fight the war down to the last Russian.” The US-Canadian population was about 140 million, while USSR and future satellites were over 200 million. Eisenhower wanted the postwar populations to be about equal, planning on losing about 2 million Americans, and forecasting a loss of 20 or 30 million Russians (and others living in the satellites). Somewhat gruesome; Americans have since “buried” this matter, which was tabletalk in the forties. But Russians were more forthcoming. I don’t know where to start researching this, but it would provide somne insight.

  2. That’s interesting and kind of scary and I read that somewhere else recently.

    The Bulge is kind of amazing to me and I don’t know why I never thought of it before. Even if the Germans won the battle, then what? They had to know the end was near and what was this doing?

    Wikipedia says this, “German dictator Adolf Hitler felt that his armies still might be able to successfully defend Germany in the long term, if only they could somehow neutralize the Western Front in the short term. Further, Hitler believed that he could split the Allies and persuade the Americans and British to sue for a separate peace, independent of the Soviet Union. Success in the West would give the Germans time to design and produce more advanced weapons (such as jet aircraft, new U-boat designs, and super-heavy tanks) and permit the concentration of forces in the East. This assessment is generally regarded as unrealistic, given Allied air superiority throughout Europe and the ability to intervene significantly in German offensive operations.” which is probably pretty accurate, it was wishful thinking by the Germans.

  3. Before WWII, Americans liked France and were neutral to nasty about Britain. Sort of the reverse of today. Hitler knew (actually Goebbbels knew) Germany could not trash France, but could pound the tar out of Britain. Parts of America with large Irish populations wanted America to fight alongside Germany, not Britain. Many Irish had ancestral farms and businesses confiscated, during the previous half-century. Sort of like Palestinians, today.

    As both a manufacturing base and a financial anchor, America was not a “world power”. We had the productivity of today’s Brazil, and the quality of today’s Korea. Not junk, but not the quality (and innovativeness) of Britain, or Germany. Germany depended on a soldier being three times more effective than the enemy, with weapons that were “optimum” (88 mm gun, etc.) However, Hitler underestimated the ability of America to transform farmers to factory workers; to transform construction managers to shipbuilders, and bury Germany with such a tonnage of logistics and materiel.

    Britain dominated world finance, (remember it was “lend”-lease!) more than the dollar today. America wanted more of a “committee” – a Europe made of three roughly equal economies – Britain, France, and Germany, a second tier of Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Scandinavia and Swiss, along with America. And, America wanted a choice of world trade partners, both financial and market-driven.

    Britain and Poland had scientific superiority over America, Bletchley Park gave the allies unlimited strategic superiority (but, as the Battle of the Bulge showed, not tactical superiority). Had Hitler not tried to micromange the west, and left the battles to leaders like Rommel, he could have prolonged the war another six months – long enough to B-29’s into Europe, and a nuclear attack on Berlin.

    (If you ever get to San Francisco, look me up, I’ve got some great tales about Russian P-39 pilots, flying in the US.)

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