Here are some one liners...
Roll Out the Barrels. Here Comes the Polka! -- I talks about Lawrence Welk and the Ukrainians.
Escape from Kabul -- It's a massacre, actually.
In Other News -- Ether, psychology, and hilarity.
Roll Out the Barrels. Here Comes the Polka!Before disco was hot ([Click Here]), before the shame of Lambada, the forbidden dance ([Click Here]), before the Andrew Sisters made World War 2 fun ([Click Here]), there was the polka. ([Don't click here!]) Half-stepping into our hearts, the polka comes from Bohemia which is the modern day Czech Republic. It has come to the United States with the new wave of European immigrants, and it has really caught fire. The word polka means "half-step" and probably refers to the lively way that people dance to the music. The tunes are usually bright and happy and tolerable. Polka music must be tolerable because it will remain a major force in American music into the television era and even the Grammy Awards will keep a place open for the polka until 2009 when they will finally drop it as an awards category.         
Escape from KabulDid I say escape? I meant MASSACRE. A few years ago British forces took Kabul without a fight, but for the sake of diplomacy, they established their camp outside of Kabul rather than within the Kabul fortress. Unhappy Afghans began a guerrilla war. To control the guerrillas, the British pay off the various tribes in Kyber Pass and around Kabul, but the bribes are eventually cut off and complaints are ignored. Then the British commander is replaced by "the most incompetent soldier who ever became general". The Afghans rise in open revolt. Attempts to negotiate a bloodless retreat ends with the murder of the British negotiators under a flag of truce. After dithering, the commander of British forces agrees to terms for safe passage of British families. (If you look up "fool" in the dictionary, you will find a picture of Sir William Elphinstone there.) The wounded are left behind because the Afghanis have PROMISED to take care of them. Before the British are out of sight, the wounded are "taken care of". (See your dictionary again.) 16,000 men, women and children are out in the open, without escort and SLOWLY making their way toward India. A week later, Assistant Surgeon William Brydon rides into Jalalabad on a wounded horse. When asked where the army is, he replies "I am the army." 
In Other News
- William James is born. He will make the philosophy of Pragmatism popular and become America's first psychologist. 
- Ambrose Bierce is born. He will be the author of "The Devil's Dictionary", the source of many clever quotes on the Internet. Acquaintance, n. "A person whom we know well enough to borrow from, but not well enough to lend to."