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So you're a billionaire with fantasy money to spend, leafing through an Architectural Digest magazine.

If you can have a house in four or five cities, which cities/countries would they be in?


Something home, something warm, something food, something Europe?

Different strokes for different folks. In the centre of the action, or a more obscure place? How about a treehouse?

Is it important to fit in with the local culture?



There will be a different approach to the treehouse for a period of time. The good news is some projects will be completed, no longer procrastinated. The bad news is it will be presented in an annoying, slow, incremental way.

These projects are 1. the Vietnamese game 2. modified Omaha Beach 3. Trips and Treats - England 4. alternate archeology. Two possible secondary things are a note about newspaper comics deprecated, and an introduction to the long-procrastinated Movie Blips.

Games and Puzzles



Isn't that a nice picture? That's my kind of early education.

This is a blockade game I discovered relatively recently. I call it "the Vietnamese game". A blockade game is where each side moves until one side can not move.

This can be hard to nail down. Complicating things is gahn chess, involving capture, in the mix. Meanwhile people are using the Vietnamese language.



This has a rules explanation of sorts, starting at 1:54.

Players take turns moving a piece, until one player can not move and loses. If you move a piece and it goes between two adjacent enemy pieces, they are flipped over and become yours. If an enemy piece becomes completely blocked as a result of your move, the piece is flipped over and becomes yours.

This is a nice game. I'm tickled by it, for now. I would describe it as cute. The Vietnam thing is certainly part of it.



Omaha Beach


I used to be fascinated about figuring out a better way to do the storming of Omaha Beach, triggered by watching Saving Private Ryan. Now I have a new view of what the German defenses were like and what happened. So the three solutions will have to be modified.

We'll start by taking a refreshed look at what the German defenses were like.

Some videos:

historian comments about mg42s in Saving Private Ryan

How accurate was Dog Green From Saving Private Ryan at Omaha.

Bunkers. Some tanks.

How Accurate is Saving Private Ryan? - WW2 D-Day Special

I should look into some timing issues.


This key video is a long talk about German defenses. Guns pointed down the length of the beach, not out to sea. I haven't yet nailed down whether "guns" includes machine guns, and this bugs me. Maybe a little of column A, a little of column B. Apparently more casualties were caused by the various types of artillery, not machine guns.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. There is a picture out there showing a a smaller-calibre artillery gun I believe on Omaha Beach. It is in a simple slit trench on a bluff, no top cover, and it can shoot out the open end of the slit trench. The slit trench is at an angle so that it can shoot down the beach. You can not see the position, let alone shoot at it, if you are facing south.

It's well known that the duplex drive tanks had a disastrous time trying to land. However, the other type of tanks later did better.

There was not as much anti-aircraft as expected. Hindsight is 20/20 (Wouldn't they already know that from previous bombings?).

I believe they did use ginger for seasickness.

integrated fire support


Say goodbye to the infantry fire support teams. If there are such teams, they are not going to be using bazookas.

fingers / fists



the real world solution






In 1941 the genocidal Nazi regime in Germany aggressively invaded the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (U.S.S.R., commonly called the Soviet Union). Taken off guard, the Soviets took huge losses in the first few months, for example 320,000 captured in the Bialystok-Minsk pockets, as the Germans plowed forward toward strategic targets. The U.S.S.R.'s huge space dragged things along, the populous Soviets gathered fresh new forces, a tough winter eventually kicked in, allies contributed their bits, and the Soviets became better at conducting war. They eventually won, making the lion's share of effort, or at least sacrifices, to defeat Nazi Germany.

But there is something that might fall between the cracks. Soviet forces initially faced disaster and took huge losses for a reason. This was because of Joseph Stalin's decisions, and clearly so. His army was placed in positions very close to the borders, making it easier to have them surrounded. More importantly, in spite of various warnings he stubbornly refused allow his army to go on alert and respond to the Germans, because he had an agreement with Nazi Germany at the time and did not want to upset the applecart. After the invasion Stalin, far from showing leadership, was rather stunned and missing in action. It was, after all, his fault.

A couple of things I read in the past:

In Czarist times, the people at the top referred to the peasants as black people.

In the past, when Russians were sent off to war it was treated like a funeral.



Russians figuring out where their borders are.


Music, film, television


I've wanted to do movie blips for quite a while. This is little comments about movies. Certainly not reviews, not a rating, not a trivia dump, but just a note or two about some aspect of a film or television show. Short.

After several decades the much-loved book The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was made into a film released in 2005. I brought a towel with me in the theatre. I was not thrilled by the film (I wasn't dancing in the streets after reading the book either). The film did not have any scenes that grabbed me. I'm not saying the film is bad. It's not like it isn't worth watching. But ho hum.

Actually there was one little scene I appreciated. There was was a space equivalent of an airport, with aliens in line. This was people in costumes, looking like people in costumes. Not a big deal, but I appreciate the original approach.

Food and Drink (mostly drink)


What would it be like if Trips and Treats went to England?

Is England a country, nation, or state? That's so confusing I'm not going to answer it. But here is a Venn diagram.


porky pies

Our family was in England so long ago that we had fish and chips, wrapped in newspaper. I like to think I can still remember the smell (I am allergic to fish). While fish and chips was the national dish of England, that honour has since passed to chicken tiki masala.


jellied eel

A slimy limy. You could have some homely haddock. And if you're in the mood for something amphibian

toad in the hole

My mom used to make this, and I have good memories of it. I haven't had it in a long time, but I happen to be making it as we speak. Comfort food. There are inevitably different recipes.



I've bought this more than once, for various Steve reasons. Interesting packaging. In Canada we have a Big Turk bar, but I've never had it.

The 15 Most Important British Sweets Every American Must Try


Best British Sweets to Try When You Travel to the UK

Fancy some rhubarb and custard?

13 Candies You Can Only Get In The UK

41 British Candy Favorites

Long list of chocolate bars. Includes Fry's Turkish Delight, as well as Milky Bar.


The Guardian has a longwdinded article about crisps (potato chips), illustrating the difference with Europe.

19 Uniquely British Crisp Flavours To Try

some non-English


17 Most Popular Drinks in England (Alcoholic, Soft & Hot)

15 traditional English drinks that will give you a taste of Britain

Non alcoholic. I had Robinson's blackcurrant from Britain the other day. Strong. Blackcurrant is tricky in North America.




I recently got into what I call the alternate archeology scene.


In the past Erich Von Daniken had his Chariots of the Gods book. People have long speculated about how the Egyptian pyramids were built. Nowadays the History Channel has scandalously presented pseudoscience rather than history. YouTube has videos portraying all kinds of theories about our ancient past. I used to see thumbnails for videos about the Annunaki, whatever that is. There were thumbnails for videos about giants, with photoshopped pictures, and that just screamed clickbait for gullible people. There were weird skulls.

I don't want to support clickbait pseudoscience for gullible people. We're living in an age where misinformation is a serious problem for society. I always figured there might be something to these proposed explanations for ancient mysteries, but finding out was not on my agenda.

I saw Graham Hancock and Randall Carlson, with their assertions about what happened some twelve thousand years ago, on the Joe Rogan show. That opened the floodgates.