the alfmeister

a figment of reality's imagination

Archive for the tag “war”

Friday Funny…don’t mention the war…or is it Macbeth?

Just for you, Mantis, sunning it up over yonder seas…I fear it may be too early for a beer or many, although it is never too early.

So as you internalise a really complicated situation inside your head, enjoy…


This material has been plundered without permission from You Tube without intent to breach Copyright. Any attempt to say otherwise will result in loss of privileges. Furthermore, I wish to apologise to my Germanic friends and beer makers for any possible offense. If any Scots were insulted, too bad, get fucked.


Book Review; The Digger’s Menagerie…

the-diggers-menagerie-mates-mascots-and-marvels-true-stories-of-animals-who-went-to-warBefore heading away on holiday to spend some quality time with the wife and kids I got a bunch of books out of the library to read…so pretty much sealed the fate of the holiday. Well, no, not really, I just love to read and also (before you start flaying me alive) had plenty of fun with the family.

So this was the first book I read while away which I wasn’t sure if I would get into; I love animals, no doubt being some sort of Dr Doolittle myself, and I love books on war too. However combining the two didn’t grab me, but this book is a very good read.

While the title (in full, “The Digger’s Menagerie – Mates, Mascots, and Marvels – True Stories of Animals Who Went to War) suggests it is a historical account of Aussie fauna doing its bit against evil and tyranny it does also drop the odd tale of famous animals from other nations, amongst them an American dog famous for sniffing out a German soldier and then chasing him down on the run, Napoleon’s Poodles (yep, you heard right), ‘Unsinkable Sam’, the survivor of no less than three sinkings at sea and so on.

Starting with the Boer War this is a very good record of the cost that our four-legged and winged friends also paid in the theatre of war – the stats of Aussie’s sought after horses in Sth Africa and WWI are shocking to say the least, the life expectancy (if they survived the trip) was less than six weeks alone. And those that did survive were left abroad due to Australia’s tough quarantine laws.

Pigeons had it tough too, used extensively in WWI and II it seems that both sides not only had a Pigeon Corps, but an anti-Pigeon Corps ranging from a barrage of rifles to trained falcons to bring them down in flight. The humble pigeon, the bane of town councils the world over is actually a remarkable bird. Second fastest in flight, it is also able to navigate its way by following actual roads and junctions!

The book continues into Korea, Malaya, Vietnam and finally into Afghanistan and Iraq where the horses and pigeons have moved aside for the most adaptable combat animal – the dog. As an owner of two dogs I am well aware of just how clever they can be, and trained right we see them as disposal experts, drug sniffers, guards, and rescue animals, but the thought of them actually being faced with enemy fire, being blown apart by mines or shells, or shot as spies can be beyond belief – we make a conscious decision to fight war, what choice do they have? However, unlike with previous wars, of late Aussie restrictions on overseas travel has allowed dogs of war to return home, to be repatriated with families after retirement. The anguish as handler and mutt are separated is traumatic, if necessary, and it is this bond between man and beast which makes this book…

A good, easy read, a recommendation for any animal lover.

Friday Funny – Spike Milligan and ‘the grovelling little bastard”

Perfectly put…



I love Spike, always have…ever since I heard “Badjelly The Witch” on Sunday morning radio I fell for that quirky, imaginative sense of telling a story which alienates some and sucks in others. I read his Silly Verse and later owned and read, (and re-read) his war memoirs (which are as sad as they are funny). He was an artist, of sorts, his etchings bordering on the insane yet always gut-wrenchingly hilarious. Then there is The Goons and his movie and TV appearances (The Muppet Show, and his skit with Parky highlights).We share a birthday (although he is older than me) and depression, and the ability to make or lose friends by attempts at humor.

I am flabbergasted he never received a Knighthood like his contemporary Harry Secombe. Still, he would have likely turned it down, or as this clip shows, had it taken off him…you cannot script funny like this.




From Wikipedia;

The Prince of Wales was a fan, and sent Milligan a congratulatory message on a live TV program honouring Spike in 1994. The comedian proceeded to call the prince a “little grovelling bastard”, causing a predictable stir.[33] He later faxed the prince, saying “I suppose a knighthood is out of the question?” It was not; in reality he and the Prince were very close friends,[32] and Milligan had already been made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1992 (honorary because of his Irish citizenship). He was made an (honorary) Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) in 2000.

Book Review; The Titanic Secret by Jack Steel

Strictly speaking I am not a Titaniac but I have watched and read a lot on the world’s greatest disaster and so was looking forward to getting through this book. A mix of fact and fiction the story follows a British and American spy aboard the RMS Titanic on here maiden voyage. They are planted there to tail and dispose of three Germans who have in their possession a plan to have the US side with Germany in a pre-emptive war against Britain and her Empire.

It makes for a great plot line once you can get your head around the fact that it was pretty damned unlikely and of course history has taught us otherwise, but in a race against time the agents live and love life onboard the world’s greatest liner which of course, unbeknownst to all, is about to keep a date with a pretty large chunk on ice in the middle of the Atlantic.

Taking the pending iceberg out of the story the plot throws in a curve ball in the fact that disaster or not, Titanic was never destined to reach New York and it is this side story that I found to be the gripping and well told. I was finding it harder and harder to keep with Alex and Maria (the spies) in their cat-and-mouse game with Voss & co (the baddies) as the constant references to “bad omens” about the trip and ‘damned English’ attitude to everything was winding me right up.

And as one would expect, the story could not help but make some sort of love interest occur although thankfully not as obvious as Jack and Rose in the movie.

This book was only published this year so is as new as one could expect, not that it matters considering the Titanic sunk 100 years ago, and it will appeal to a lot of readers out there. But for me I found the plot line too predictable and the ending (as so many of my recent books have done) was amateurish and unfulfilling, but that’s just me.

Doesn’t the author’s name seem like that you would expect in a spy novel?

Book Review; 101 Crimes of the Century

By Alan Whiticker

Now and again I have a need to read grisly books based on fact. No idea why, it’s not like it sates a deep dark desire I may harbour, or to give me ideas for my own havoc on the world but like a train wreck there is a part of our human psyche that needs to shocked, needs to witness repulsion, and most of all, needs to feel insecure.

This book did just that and did it very well. And further to that it does it in a way that you are not required to read through scores of forensic notes nor the drivel associated with psychologist and psychiatrist’s about why people do the unthinkable things that they do…and while it covers 101 actual crimes, each crime is well versed within a couple of pages each giving history, the crime itself, and sometimes aftermath.

Yep, if you want to be aware of some of the most horrific crimes in the last hundred years then this is a good place to start. It will never serve as a reference to a school project of uni degree but it will certainly give you a rundown on some of history’s more notorious criminals.

Read more…

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