Apropos of nothing at all, here is a statement by Shouting Thomas, a regular commenter at Althouse. I focused on this, not because of any relation to the post he commented on, but it struck me that ST had a particularly wise wife-

My late wife, Myrna, hailed from a culture that never seems to entirely be at peace, the Philippines.

Her take on war reminded me of the environmental outlook on brushfires in the wilderness.

Myrna viewed blood lust as an innate, essential part of the human condition. Efforts to completely suppress that blood lust are doomed to failure, and ultimately produce a far worse result.

If you accept that brushfires are a part of nature’s scheme in the wilderness, the mammoth conflagration occurs less frequently. If you try to eradicate the brushfires completely, you only increase the severity and frequency of the mammoth conflagrations.

Violence and war have a purpose, else they wouldn’t exist. If you suppress your sanctimonious response for a moment and think about this, you’ll see that this is a Buddhist outlook.

I found that I have been in essential agreement with this for longer than maybe I realized. Though I am essentially a right-wing libertarian (small-l) with a large dash of social liberalism (seasoned by experience I hope) I’ve never had a problem with sublimating violence so that the real beast isn’t released. A lot of my fellow-travelers have railed against things like hyper-violent first-person-shooter games – I well remember the huge controversy about Postal when it was released- but I always felt it was better to release these impulses with fake blood in a fantasy world than to act them out for real. Hence football, hockey, and the Call of Duty franchise. Am I wrong?


Sticky Fingers

Have you seen me?

15,000 barrels worth of maple syrup have gone missing from a Saint-Louis-de-Blandford warehouse in Ontario. This wouldn’t be such a chuckle except that this is a really small town- some 900 souls- and a really really huge amount of maple syrup. From Bloomberg:

The puzzle is how the culprits managed to siphon off almost C$30 million ($30.4 million) of syrup. That’s the equivalent of 10 million pounds or roughly 15,000 barrels of syrup. And the stock didn’t vanish somewhere in the supply chain of a major city. It’s missing from a warehouse in Saint-Louis-de-Blandford, a tiny town of 903 people, according to the 2011 Census. They’re usually more focused on cranberries, whether it’s harvesting them or celebrating them in cranberry festivals.

So imagine the surprise when a “routine inventory check,” as the Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers (FPAQ) calls it, revealed evidence of a massive heist. Row after row of barrels were empty, filled with nothing but sweet-smelling Quebec air.

Now it’s the federation that has some explaining to do. These are the protectors of the sap, the maple barons who have an OPEC-like sway in syrup circles and represent some 13,500 producers. Along with handling bulk syrup sales and marketing, the federation is responsible for what it calls the “global strategic maple syrup reserves.” Much like oil reserves, those backup supplies are supposed to protect against the vagaries of bad weather and volatile prices. Last week, everyone thought Quebec was heading into the winter with 37 million pounds in reserve. More than a quarter of that is now gone.

Catch that? The “Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserves” have been most scandalously debauched, nay, ravaged in a most uncivilised manner! Heads must roll! Seriously, though- that is one sticky mess of syrup. If your waffles feel unwanted- if your flapjacks are naked- you know who to blame…

      Blame Canada!

Marine and Horse

Sgt. Justin D. Head, animal packing course chief instructor, excercises his mustang, Hondo, shortly after grazing. The animal packing course is the only one of its kind in the department of defense and teaches Marines and other military personnel how to effectively and efficiently work with beast of burden to transport munitions, supplies and wounded personnel to and from areas inaccessible to mechanized and air transportation. The course, offered at the Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center, teaches an introduction to animal packing, an anatomy of pack animals, animal packing techniques, casualty evacuation techniques, animal first aid and bivouac considerations. Photo by Sgt. Aaron Hostutler