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Corn Flakes: Anniversaries - Verdun, Zelda, And Me

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The Battlefields Of Verdun
The Battlefields Of Verdun
Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

There were three anniversaries yesterday I'd like to note:

  • Six-month anniversary of my heart attack
  • 30 years since the release of Zelda
  • The 100th anniversary of the beginning of the World War I Battle of Verdun

We were not taught nearly as much about WWI as WWII in our base education as Americans. WWII is the war that's seen as the war that put the United States on the world stage as a superpower while WWI is studied more thoroughly by Brits (and I assume, by other Europeans). WWI is skimmed, if that.

The time period is very interesting to me, say, from around 1890 into the early 1930s. Relevant to this web site, you have the foundation of football. You have an amazing period of innovation while at the same time an awakening of common people starting to realize that they had more control over their own lives than they'd previously realized.

WW1 represents a combination of hubris and stupidity on an unprecedented scale; what always strikes me whenever I read a book about it or see a movie is the willingness by leadership across the board to treat their own men as if their lives didn't count.

10 million young lives wasted - men run directly into machine gun fire because generals thought it would take time for the enemy to reload; men annihilated by distant artillery having never fired a shot nor having seen the face of their enemy; chlorine, phosgene, mustard gasses - it's not so shocking that mankind is willing to come up with ingenuous methods of killing, it's that countries were so willing to have so many die in futility.

That they were so willing should tell you something about the life of a common person in 1914; that their prospects were so limited it was not so difficult for them to romanticize war and charge off to a great adventure rather than live the lives that awaited them.

An excellent resource on WWI (especially if you don't like books) is available on the Youtube channel The Great War.

The Battle of Verdun was the longest lasting battle of WWI, 10 months in the making. In the end there were 300,000 killed, approximately 700,000 total casualties. Verdun was targeted by the Germans because it could be shelled by German artillery and because it held historical significance to the French in such a way that that Germans knew the French wouldn't surrender it easily and it would become a way to bleed the French white.

The Great War episode from youtube regarding Verdun has a quote the narrator states he found in Martin Gilbert's The First World War: A Complete History, the quote being accredited to historian Alistair Horne who wrote Price of Glory: Verdun 1916:

"Never through the ages had any great commander or strategist proposed to vanquish an enemy by gradually bleeding him to death. The macabreness, the unpleasantness of its very imagery could only have emerged from, and was symptomatic of, that Great War where, in their callousness, leaders could regard human lives as mere corpuscles."

The U.S. didn't enter the war until 1917. A common misconception is that the U.S. entered the war because of the sinking of the Lusitania, but that occurred in 1915. More likely it was the Zimmerman Telegram that put American sentiment over the edge. For excellent resources on those subjects, see Erik Larson's Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania, which was released this past year, and Barbara Tuchman's The Zimmerman Telegram. (While you're at it, just go ahead and get Tuchman's The Guns of August, which is about the outbreak of WWI.)

When WW1 was all over the powers that be negotiated their way straight into World War II; many realizing it at the time but unwilling or uncaring enough to do anything to change it. Paris 1919: Six Months That Changed the World is an excellent book on the Paris Peace Conference of 1919.

Then there's the video game Zelda which is much more pleasant subject than WW1.

May the Ocarina of Time be stuck in your head the rest of the day.

As for me, well, I'm still here.

Revisiting Verdun's battlefields | BrandeisNOW
Ninety-eight years ago, on Feb. 21, 1916, the German army launched an attack on a small amphitheater of hilly land in northeastern France. A ring of historic forts stood on the land, and German leaders believed the French would defend the forts so fiercely, the Germans would be able to “bleed the French army white” and turn the tide of the First World War to their advantage.

100th Anniversary of the Battle of Verdun |
Another legacy of the battle is the presence of millions of unexploded shells in the countryside surrounding Verdun. Although bomb-disposal teams remove approximately 40 tons of unexploded munitions each year, it is estimated that it will take several hundred years to completely sanitize the battlefield at the present rate of clearance. Especially hazardous are chemical rounds, which have retained their lethality despite the passage of time.

Big Ten commish has 'no reaction' as Jim Harbaugh defends Florida trip -
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told CBS Sports this week he has “no reaction at this point” regarding Michigan's spring break trip to Florida.

Mark Emmert questions Michigan’s spring break practices, doubts change |

According to current NCAA rules, the spring break practices are not prohibited, but the NCAA will reportedly meet in April to discuss a potential change in its regulations regarding the time student-athletes spend on athletics.

Note in there that Mark Emmert, a guy whom I don't particularly care for, makes the comment that if people don't like the fact that NCAA rules don't prohibit satellite camps that they should change them. This is... really to the point.

Fact is, the Athletic Directors bitching about the camps because they put more time commitments on student athletes are only bitching about it for the publicity. If they really cared about it, they would pass more rules about limiting the amount of time spent on athletics, but they're not going to do that because there really aren't that many of them that care about student athletes being indentured servants; at least not if it gets in the way of winning and them keeping their jobs.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh is the Donald Trump of college football - Orlando Sentinel

Harbaugh has become the Donald Trump of college football. He just wants to "Make Michigan Great Again." Until the rulemakers stop him, competitors will have to join him if they want to keep up. Ohio State will hold a "satellite camp" in Jacksonville this summer, presumably to impress potential satellite engineers who might want to play for Urban Meyer.

Someone had to write this. It's for all the web hits.

'Fallout 4' director wants EA Sports to bring back 'NCAA Football.' All in favor? -

The lack of a college football video game has left "a hole in my life," says Fallout director Todd Howard.

Wake Forest AD Continues to Alienate Fan Base With Delusional Comments - Blogger So Dear

When asked how he can convince the fan base that this is not a program in disarray, Mr. Wellman paused for several seconds before replying, "that's a good question Dan (Collins), and I think that each fan has to dig deep to determine/make that decision."

College teams becoming copycats as gap betweens haves, have-nots widens
“I think it’s making it much more difficult for us to compete,” said the crusty 66-year-old Long, who is entering his 17th year as a head coach. “I don’t think our fan bases realize the enormous difference between what they have as resources and what we have as resources.

Nebraska coaches stay busy with offers
Here’s a look at who the Huskers offered this week:

UNLV to hire Georgia State's Tony Samuel as defensive line coach | Las Vegas Review-Journal
On Tuesday, UNLV lost defensive line coach Joe Seumalo, who helped the Rebels make the second-biggest improvement in run defense in the FBS last season. On Friday, according to multiple reports, UNLV replaced Seumalo with Tony Samuel, who oversaw the nation's most-improved run defense last year at Georgia State.

Patience helps Huskers land Lamar Jackson
Despite the busy time, Stewart, who was one of the staff’s top recruiters for the 2016 cycle, took a little time out of his day to talk with about the players he helped bring in and how his secondary class came together.

Events And Stuff

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UNL speech team wins fifth consecutive Big Ten title | Local News - KETV Home

After two days of competition, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln speech program was named Big Ten champions for the fifth consecutive year.


I bet Northwestern is pissed.