Today, lest we forget, is Battle of Britain Day. The date of remembrance commemorates the defence of the British Isles by the Royal Air Force against the German Luftwaffe throughout the summer of 1940. Some background: Hitler needed to wipe the RAF out in order to invade England, something he was unable to do despite overwhelming superiority in both pilot experience and numbers of aircraft.
On Sunday, 15 September 1940, the Luftwaffe launched its largest and most concentrated attack against London in the hope of drawing out the RAF into a battle of annihilation. Around 1,500 aircraft took part in the air battles which lasted until dusk. The action was the climax of the Battle of Britain.
It’s hard to imagine swarms of planes advancing across the English Channel day after day for months on end to do their very worst, but it happened, 72 years ago. Canada’s contribution to the battle was significant. Our top scoring ace was one Flt Lt H. C. Upton, who shot down 10+ German planes. Over 100 Canadian pilots flew Supermarine Spitfires and Hawker Hurricanes in “defence of the realm” during this time. 23 of these were killed in action. Our country officially commemorates the battle on the 3rd Sunday of September (tomorrow), but since Scout seldom publishes on Sundays, we’re doffing our caps now and raising a glass.
The clip above is from a film called First Light, adapted from a wonderful memoir by former Spitfire pilot and Battle of Britain veteran Geoffrey Wellum (language NSFW).
(via Laughing Squid) ”Smoking Weed With the President is a conscious rap song and recently launched fundraising campaign by Richard Williams (aka Prince Ea) of Make Smart Cool that aims to bring awareness to the marijuana legalization issue. Funds raised in the campaign will go to making a ‘professional and educational music video’ of the song.” It’s still a tidy effort. It would probably have more traction if it was Will.i.am’s follow-up to “Yes We Can”, but that dude is probably busy being a hologram somewhere. Note that Harper hates hip hop and thinks marijuana was created by the devil on a Sunday, so don’t expect the powers to be convinced up here.
The greatest thing about the American election cycle? It’s the return of Get Your War On! Press play on the video above for a fantastical taste of two lovers theoretically entwined at the Republican National Convention.
These three buttoned-up dudes explaining the dangers of masturbation to deaf Jehovah’s Witnesses are really feelin’ it. What’s missing is a sexy soundtrack, not to mention a woman.
Cute as fuck: when skateboarding first arrived in New York City in the 1960′s.
Venice is sinking: Terrence Malick’s new film To The Wonder booed by critics at Venice Film Festival.
A comedic history of internet spam.
The latest marketing initiative from Absolut is a limited edition vodka bottle (a run of 4 million). The new
product packaging will become available at airport bars (and other shit holes) around the world this October.
Covers of Where magazine subtly reveal the publication’s ethos.
In Singapore, the Diner en Blanc mass secret supper organisers went too far with their control-freakiness by disinviting local bloggers and telling people what they could and couldn’t bring to eat. Still, from a business perspective and as a social experiment in population control, it remains a wonderful idea: let’s make it ridiculously exclusive, host it in a sterile environment, have everyone dress up head-to-toe in white, subject their enjoyment to a bunch of stupid restrictions, have them pay good money to bring their own food (seriously), and get them to ejaculate in unison with sparklers at the end of it all to celebrate their participation in a masturbatory spectacle that has no meaning. Ka-ching! Pure genius, and we (together with our media) fell for it hard.
Unrelated: the why of not wearing white after Labour Day:
By the 1880s, in order to tell who was acceptable and who wasn’t, the women who were already “in” felt it necessary to create dozens of fashion rules that everyone in the know had to follow. That way, if a woman showed up at the opera in a dress that cost more than most Americans made in a year, but it had the wrong sleeve length, other women would know not to give her the time of day.
Barack Obama becomes the first President to make alcohol in The White House. His kitchen crew releases its beer brewing secrets and recipes.
Bonus: new JPL panorama images put you in driver’s seat on Mars.
The government of New Zealand has announced that it will withdraw its small troop contingent (145) from Afghanistan as rapidly as possible after three soldiers were killed in a roadside bomb attack outside Bamiyan last week. This chilling video shows members of the 2/1 RNZIR Battalion acknowledging the return of their comrades’ bodies to their parade grounds with a traditional Haka war dance.
A new book called Barack Obama: The Story has the skinny on the President’s glory days as “that dude” at every party’s weed circle…
“Barry also had a knack for interceptions. When a joint was making the rounds, he often elbowed his way in, out of turn, shouted “Intercepted!,” and took an extra hit. No one seemed to mind.”
Moral: if you love freedom and hate terror, bogart that joint.
(via) Take a moment and sympathize with all the local science geeks who had yesterday’s shit weather kick them in the shins with steel-toed meanie boots. Why you so rain, clouds?
Vice takes us to Bogota to check out “The Devil’s Breath”, a South American flowering plant that, when treated chemically in a way similar to cocaine, creates Scopolamine, a drug that renders (when it doesn’t kill) one outwardly sober but incapable of resisting the will of others.
The first few days in the country were a harrowing montage of freaked-out dealers and unimaginable horror stories about Scopolamine. After meeting only a few people with firsthand experience, the story took a far darker turn than we ever could have imagined.
Fascinating and horrifying. Three cheers for no thanks.
Many money quotes, beginning with: “What I want to offer people is truth and authenticity. I think celebrity, as we all know, is a vapid, vacuous, toxic concept used to distract people from what is actually important, and in this case it’s the treatment of people with the disease of addiction.” More.
Sad news this morning. Maurice Sendak, author of Where The Wild Things Are and In The Night Kitchen, has died at the age of 83.
Despite its wild popularity, Mr. Sendak’s work was not always well received. Some early reviews of “Where the Wild Things Are” expressed puzzlement and outright unease. Writing in Ladies’ Home Journal, the psychologist Bruno Bettelheim took Mr. Sendak to task for punishing Max:
“The basic anxiety of the child is desertion,” Mr. Bettelheim wrote. “To be sent to bed alone is one desertion, and without food is the second desertion.” (Mr. Bettelheim admitted that he had not actually read the book.)
“In the Night Kitchen,” which depicts its young hero, Mickey, in the nude, prompted many school librarians to bowdlerize the book by drawing a diaper over Mickey’s nether region.
But these were minority responses. Mr. Sendak’s other awards include the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award and, in 1996, the National Medal of the Arts, presented by President Bill Clinton. Twenty-two of his titles have been named New York Times best illustrated books of the year.
His childrens books had already long ago joined the pantheon of greats. Now, so does he. There, we imagine him befriending Shakespeare, poking fun at Herodotus, causing shit with Hemingway, Seuss and Thompson, and randomly yelling “Let the wild rumpus start!”
(via) Actress Kate Beckinsale and her friends ask Republican Mitt Romney and his friends to take away their right to choose in a novel media campaign (sorta NSFW).
After Kony 2012 boss Jason Russell’s apparent breakdown in California a few weeks ago (he went screaming naked in the streets), the organisation has just released a new 20 minute film – Kony 2012 Part 2: Beyond Famous – detailing Invisible Children’s progress in raising awareness about the evil
Gargamel Joseph Kony and his cat Asrael the LRA. Have your salt grains at the ready. Though Kony is indeed a massive asshole, TDW reminds us that Invisible Children isn’t a charity, but rather “a private interest group that allocates the overwhelming majority of its budget (nearly 70% in 2011) toward travel, compensation, administration, fundraising, making movies, and lobbying celebrities and Congress to support its central aim: direct foreign military intervention in Africa.” The new film is as well-made as the original, but as a consequence of the negative fallout surrounding the original, it’s hard to find it anywhere near as compelling. Will it have the same reach/impact? It’s hardly a day old, and quickly approaching a million hits. Cue internet backlash in 3, 2, 1…
The campaign to make the Joseph Kony famous in 2012 is underway, and we’ve never seen anything so worthwhile trend so suddenly and enormously. Kony is the religious extremist leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, a Ugandan rebel group roaming central Africa with the aim of establishing a state ruled by the Ten Commandments. He has forced an estimated 66,000 kids to fight for him and has displaced some 2 million people in several countries, some of the world’s poorest. He’s been indicted for war crimes, but he’s still at large. The ace up his sleeve? No one with any power to interrupt his assholery has stepped up to stop him. This campaign aims to change that.
If it works, it will likely be seen by future historians as a watershed moment in the annals of how we deal with very bad people. World governments only commit to “police actions” if it serves the interests of either their supporters (ie. big oil) or their national interests (ie. big oil again), a fact that has allowed folks like Kony to carry on unmolested. There’s nothing in the rulebook that says citizens can’t kick and scream about issues they care about, and that’s never been more true since the advent of social media. If we want Kony’s days to be numbered, we’re the ones holding the calendar. If a big enough stink is raised, Kony will be brought to justice.
What can you do? For starters, watch the film above if you haven’t already, and think about joining thousands of Vancouverites at the Art Gallery at 8pm on April 20th. Details on the gathering here.
Freaky. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s new toy is a robot cheetah that can run faster than any human. Its military brief is to “chase and evade”, which is totally comforting. Think it won’t happen? DARPA throws us some pretty weird curves that have stuck, like the internet. So…yeah…robot cheetahs! Via BoingBoing:
[It] needs neither to see nor scent you to know where you are hiding (because you’re screaming).
Now continue about your business.