Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Oh, furtheluva ...

In today's news, we discover the poignant case of young Broderick Lloyd Laswell, currently in durance vile in the Benton County Bed and Breakfast over in Arkansas.

Young Broddy's pitiful tale of woe and despair begins when he -- allegedly -- helped to beat and stab a a man to death before -- again, allegedly -- burning the victim's trailer house to the ground in an effort to conceal the crime.

As the best laid schemes o' mice an' men are aft wont to do, things went all agley, clues started turning up, people started confessing, that kind of thing -- and Young Broddy wound up getting heaved into the county clink.

Now, puir wee Broddy claims to have weighed in at a svelte 413 pounds (that's not a typo -- four hundred and thirteen pounds) upon intake into the facility -- although, to be fair, the jail staff maintain that he was a waifish 382 pounds (that's a '3', followed by an '8' and a '2') when they got their paws on him in September of 2007.

Well, come April of 2008 and our puir wee lambikins is a downright skeletal 308 pounds (that's twenty-two stone for my Cross-Pond Readers) clinging desperately to his six-foot frame.

This, of course, is an injustice too grievous to be borne, so he has manfully presented his concerns to senior jail staff.

Senior jail staff, in the height of their cruelty and barbarism, have informed Young Broddy that he is receiving an average measly pittance of 3000 calories a day!

Since the average Western diet -- eaten by a lot of people who, you know, work for a living -- is between 2,000 and 3,000 calories a day, anyone can see the grave injustice, the damnable cruel inhumanity that is being heaped onto the frail brow of Young Broddy.

How the poor, starving (three hundred and eight pound) skeleton managed to file a lawsuit against the County minions to battle this cruel and unusual punishment (lost a hundred pounds while waiting for his Capital Murder trial to begin! Oh, the humanity!) is a shining example to useless parasitic bottom-feeding scumbag critters everywhere.



Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Oh, that's nice, that is.

By way of RobertaX, we learn of a "Thank You" campaign for those of us who might be a bit on the shy side.

Very, very cool.


"Secret shoppers" or "Mystery shoppers"

That old scam is making the rounds around here, and -- as usual -- people are still falling for it.


There is a legitimate job known as a "mystery shoppers" used by retailers throughout the United States. These are company employees unknown to the store workers who come into the store incognito, make purchases and then send a report to the Head Office on the cleanliness of the store, competency of the employees, courtesy shown and other things.

Basically company stooges and snitches.

The scam plays off on this.

In contrast to most of his ilk, the Secret Shopper Scammer doesn't usually use auto-dialers, mass e-mails or bulk faxes. What he
does do ... is take out advertisements in the "Help Wanted" section of the local paper -- or has someone nail adverts to the local telephone poles -- "Part-Time Job!"

So, the poor pigeon calls the number in the newspaper and the friendly person on the other end asks them if the pigeon would do the company the greatest of favours and just check on the customer relationship aspect of the local business.

They've heard nothing but good things about the store! But, you know corporate VP's and all that .. and, oh, silly me -- we'll compensate you for your time!

So, the pigeon figures, "What the hell"; answers some questions and pretty soon the first compensation cheque arrives in the mail -- maybe a thousand, three thousand, whatever. Let us say it's for 500 USD.

As per instructions from the scammer, the pigeon either deposits this cheque into his bank account or cashes it, then hies himself to the local corporate store.

Once there, the pigeon takes diligent notes regarding cleanliness, friendliness, everything the scammer asked for -- ah, but the store offers Western Union service. Obviously, this must be checked also.

However, the scammer is courteous! It would be too much to ask for the pigeon to cough up his own money to check the Western Union system -- therefore, about half of the initial cheque is forwarded to Corporate -- the best way to check to see if the system works. So, the victim deposits $250 US in the Western Union system -- to be withdrawn anywhere in the world, by anyone with a proper code.

The rest of the cheque received by the victim is, of course, his salary.

The victim goes home, files a report with "Corporate HQ" -- along with the Money Retrieval Code (it is their money, right?) and is happy as a clam at high tide with his part-time job.

Unfortunately, the cheque is bogus -- or, worst case scenario -- forged.

When the cheque bounces -- and it will -- the bank will try again. Then they'll come to get their money back.

Guess who the bank -- or the defrauded citizen -- is going to get their money out of?

The scammer? Whom the pigeon only knows as a friendly voice a the end of a phone line -- which coincidentally is actually a VOIP number -- no, the scammer is well into the wind by now, and probably overseas.

Nope. The pigeon now owes the bank the $500 dollars. Or thousand, three thousand, however much. And, if the cheque was a forged one, he also faces criminal charges.


Don't fall for this one, folks.

For information on this, and other scams, visit


I'm glad someone else is paying for these ...

In other news, according to the fourth Myers-Briggs Type Indicator Test I've taken in the last twenty years, I'm still an INFP.

Yay, me.

That, and 45 cents will get you a cup of coffee.


Saturday, April 26, 2008


By way of MattG, who caught it from Lady Tam, I have been tagged for a meme.

Ah, well. It beats thinking.

Let us see here:

1. Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more.
2. Find page 123.
3. Find the first five sentences.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

Hmm. Page 123 is a diagram titled "Palm-Up Slash Against Lowline Target". Okay, we'll go on to 124 -- "Palm-Right Slash Against Lowline Target"; page 125 is a diagram of a "Palm-Left Slash Against Highline Target" and 126 is blank.

Ah-hah! Page 127 has sentences!

"The technique Shearman used against Bishop clearly follows a military technique called flourishing. This technique, normally associated with the backsword or saber, is based on a series of angles from which cutting attacks may be delivered. The flourish is accomplished by delivering one angle of attack after another in a flowing pattern."

The book: "The Fighting Tomahawk" by Dwight C. McLemore.

Meh. I tag whomever wants to play.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Pooblick Skooll Eddicayshun

My brother from another mother currently serving in the Sandbox sends us this little gem.

I am going to assume that it refers to the upcoming Olympiad to be held in China. The picture was probably taken during some kind of Get The Hell Out Of Tibet rally.

One can further assume that the person who made the sign not only has no clue about history, but said person also can't be bothered to fact-check his/her assertion using Google -- or a sodding library.

Allow me to gift you with a hint, you complete and total tit: when your sign is either a) monumentally incorrect; or b) a complete lie -- and those people who actually know better are going to disregard anything you have to say from that point on. If you can't get your basic facts straight, your conclusions are going to be equally sloppy.

Yes, the Games of the XI Olympiad were held in Berlin in the summer of 1936. Adolf Hitler officially opened the Games, and Joseph Goebbels actively used them to promote and further National Socialism.

And what -- I feel -- is worse, is that by actively turning a blind eye to history, you not only come across as a ignoramus, but you are robbing yourself of the rich experience of History itself.

By remaining ignorant of History, the person who made that sign has no clue about the triumphs of Jesse Owens and Cornelius Johnson -- both Africa-American athletes who defeated Hitler's "superior Aryan athletes" fairly and squarely in front of witnesses for gold medals.

The person who made that sign has chosen to remain blind to the courage and sportsmanship of Lutz Long -- the German star athlete who not only gave Jesse Owens the advice which allowed Owens to beat Lutz in the long-jump, but was the first to congratulate the African-American athlete after his win and walked arm-in-arm with him back to the locker room.

I feel pity for you, Mr. Sign Maker, in your self-imposed, child-like ignorance.


However, like any other child, I also feel that you should be gently scooted over to the kiddie table and ignored until such time as you can educate yourself enough to prove that you can be taken seriously in the company of adults.

You twit.


Monday, April 21, 2008

LawDog Word of the Day


Actually, this is a word I picked up from Reno.

"Dork-light" is the affectionate term referring to the low-profile LED flashlights that clip directly on to the bill of a gimme hat, thus allowing for hands-free use.

They are incredibly useful, small, out of the way and provide a decent amount of useful light. I hope that the inventor of these little gadgets made a bloody fortune.

However, despite the incredible utility of these lights -- and, trust me, I wouldn't trade mine for all the tea in China -- I have the feeling I look a bit of a dork when I clip it to my hat brim. Thus, the name.



As yet more evidence (as if you needed more) that my sense of humour is a bit ... off, I present the latest thing to absolutely kick over the old giggle box:

humorous pictures

I have no idea why that picture is so bloody funny, but I've been snickering for ten minutes.

Ah, well.



One of the genetic gifts I inherited from my Gaelic mother is red hair, light green eyes, and pale skin.

Now, when I say "light green eyes and pale skin" I don't think the average Gentle Reader quite understands the depth of the situation, so to speak.

Allow me to expound: When kiddie vampires start whinging about not being able to walk about during the day, daddy vampires point at me and say, "Hey, it could be worse -- you could be that guy."


If that wasn't bad enough, my doctor has me on Ramipril to control my blood pressure (hah!).

Guess what one of the possible side effects of Ramipril is? Quote -- "Ramipril may cause you to become sunburned more easily" -- unquote.

That, Dear Readers, is the bloody understatement of the decade.

Despite liberal application of 30SPF sunblock -- and the tactical use of thick overhead and side tree cover -- I'm burning to a crisp in twenty minutes or less.


The crappie have started spawning in the local lakes. Bass and catfish aren't too far behind, methinks.


I may have to upgrade to 40SPF sunblock under a 40UPF long-sleeved fishing shirt. Bloody damned hot in North Texas, but might be worth the thirty gallons of sweat per hour. Or maybe I can just start slathering on a nice thick coat of latex house paint.

Damn sun. Damn hobbies. Damn genetics.



Friday, April 18, 2008

Wal-Mart is dead to me.

We have learned that Wal-Mart has decided to jump whole-heartedly upon anti-gun mayor Michael R. Bloomberg's gun-banning bandwagon.

I must confess that in the past I've had my reservations about Wal-Mart, but in the last couple of years it has proven itself to be relatively convenient -- especially at four AM.

No longer.

For those Gentle Readers who may need a bit of backfill, Michael R. Bloomberg is the extremely anti-gun mayor of New York City best known for violating multiple Federal laws and compromising law enforcement investigations in his zeal to -- and this is a quote from Hizzoner:

“Now we have a duty as well, one that rises above all partisan politics, and one we will pursue relentlessly: And that is to rid our streets of guns, and punish all those who possess and traffic in these instruments of death."

Real big on "punishing all those who possess ... these instruments of death" isn't he? Notice that he doesn't bother to distinguish between lawful possession and unlawful possession -- because, to him, any possession of guns should be unlawful.

So, here's Wally-World, eagerly signing the dotted line on Bloomberg's "Responsible Firearms Retailer Partnership" -- which mandates ten things Bloomberg wants every gun dealer to religiously follow.

Most of these are vexing and irritating burdens upon lawful gun buyers, but since Wal-Mart is a private business, Wal-Mart has the right to do as it wishes with it's business -- and if it wants to videotape the face of everyone who buys a gun ... that is their right.

However, in true Bloomberg fashion, one of the ten points he wants everyone to worship violates Federal Law.

The violation of Federal Law is enumerated in point #2 -- the part of Bloomberg's Code of Conduct in which he develops a "computerized system to log crime gun traces". If someone buys a gun which turns up at a crime scene, then the next time that person attempts to buy a gun, the "computerized system" will recognize the buyer and deny flag the sale.

The only computerized source for "crime gun" serial numbers or "trace data" on crime guns is restricted -- BY FEDERAL LAW -- to on-going criminal investigations by law enforcement.

Unless Wal-Mart became an accredited Law Enforcement Agency when I wasn't looking -- the first time they access the ATF's trace data system ... they're going to be in violation of Federal Law.

That's Bloomberg for you. Why the man isn't being treated to an extended stay at Club Fed for his past flagrant flouting of Federal Law is beyond me, but he's obviously staying his course.


I'll never buy another thing at Wal-Mart. They have the right -- as a private company -- to get as silly-arsed as they see fit.

I, also, have the right -- as a private citizen -- to spend my money where I bloody well see fit -- and I will be damned if one single, solitary penny of mine will ever cross a threshold at a Wal-Mart ever again.

I have sent hand-written letters to Wal-Mart HQ expressing my dismay and contempt for this policy; and Monday I shall do so in person to the local store manager.

Bugger 'em all.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Oy ...

There I was, happy as a clam at high tide, not knowing that amongst the other birthday gifts someone had generously donated a case of stomach 'flu.

Of course, as is the nature of that kind of thing, I didn't discover this gift until about, oh, zero-bloody-dark-thirty in the Ay Em.

There I was -- happily involved in an intricate little dream involving the Doublemint Twins, a large amount of marzipan frosting, several gum drops, and a ring-tailed lemur in a umpire's uniform -- and I'm suddenly sitting bolt upright in bed, cold sweat everywhere, absolutely certain that I've just heard HAL 9000's redneck cousin announce:

"Total, Ah say, total containment failure in fahv ... fower..."

Somewhat confusingly, at the same time I was thinking that that sodding lemur needed his eyes checked, because I was clearly safe at third.

Come to think, there may have been some mild delirium issues.

"Ah ain't kiddin' none," continued the voice of BUBBA 9000, "Ah'm talkin' Biblical [deleted] now ... three ... two ... seconds to total containment failure ..."

Followed by an ominous bubbling rumble from somewhere betwixt my brisket and my fourth point of contact.

Bedclothes went one way, pillow went the other, and I'm high-stepping for the khazi quick, fast and in a hurry, snagging a handy trashcan on the way by.

Got there just in time to assume the position -- and I'm here to tell you that BUBBA 9000 is a master of understatement.

An unknown length of time later, and I'm blearily trying to understand how it could be anatomically possible for one human being to jettison that much stuff -- even using multiple exits -- without tossing out a major organ or two in the process when, hey! I'm face down on the floor!

Not a clue as to how I got there. Or how the hell my leg wound up wedged across the top of the toilet tank.

My first thought was to decide that I had either 1) managed to evacuate my spinal column during the height of the performance ... so to speak; or 2) I'd given myself a stroke.

Fortunately, my faithful feline companion, Ittycat, had followed me into the room and was sitting next to my head.

"Run, Ittycat! Get help!"

Ittycat sneezed sedately, rendering himself cross-eyed, and causing the painting of the bathing baby in the washtub mounted over the towel rack to crash to the floor.

"Go tell Chris I'm in trouble!"

Ittycat reached out and gently patted me on the face with a dainty paw. This is, I have discovered, Catspeak for: "Excuse me, but are you going to be much longer?"

Well, either that or, "Fall down again, funny human!"

I glare at Ittycat.

"Stupid cat."

Ittycat blinked big (slightly crossed) gold eyes at me. Translation: "This floor is linoleum. It chills my toes. Ah, a handy ear to sit upon. Ta, ever so."


Now, the LawDog Theory of Emergency Medicine states that the seriousness of your medical condition is directly related to how embarrassed you're going to be when the paramedics tell the story of how they found you.

Face down on a bathroom floor? Check.

Cat sitting on head? Check.

Dancing yellow armadillo boxer shorts? Check.

Oh, yeah. We're past stroke and well into Ebola territory here.

I feel around the general location of my temple, grab Ittycat gently and set him on the floor, where he curls his tail around his toes and burbles happily; then I drag myself up the front of the bathroom cabinet to stare woozily into the mirror. I stick out my tongue at my reflection. No deviation.


"She sells sea-shells down by the sea-shore." No slurring, no more than the usual amount of spray.


I shade my left eye. It dilates and constricts as per usual. The right eye does likewise.


From the floor next to my left knee comes a sound somewhat like the detonation of a SCUBA tank, and I look to see Ittycat on his back, blinking at me in mild feline astonishment. His eyes, I note, are crossed yet again.

"We gotta do something about your allergies."

Since I have obviously not given myself a stroke, I pull meself to my feet, hit the requisite lever on the khazi, stagger three steps, fall back into bed and pull my pillow over my face with a groan.

Ittycat, of course, promptly hops onto the pillow with a contented trill, curls up and goes to sleep.

This, Gentle Readers, is exactly why Lassie was a dog instead of a cat.


Monday, April 07, 2008

Public Service Announcement

I thought that this was common knowledge, but apparently I was mistaken. Ah, well.

Folks, if you can find Coca-Cola that's been made in Mexico that particular bottle of Coke has been made with real sugar instead of corn syrup.

In other words, if you fondly remember the taste of pre-1985 Coca-Cola, go to your local Mexican grocery and find the Coke marked, "Hecho en Mexico".


I thought everyone knew this.

Also, if you're up north of the Mason-Dixon line where you might be a touch shy of decent
mercados, Coke will bottle properly-made sodas for Passover. Look for the yellow capped bottles in April.

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled blog reading.


But, but, but ... they're greedy!

Whole bunch of folks who ought to know better (ie. politicans) are whinging and moaning about oil companies these days.

Seems that a whole bunch of our elected Congresscritters think that oil companies making a profit is somehow eeee-vil, and by Vishnu they oughta pay higher taxes!

You know, the whole wealth redistribution thing.

Well, being an oilfield brat meownself, seems I remember a study going around a couple of years back about who actually makes a killing in the old oil-field profit business -- and Google is Our Friend.

Between 1977 and 2004 -- adjusting for inflation -- American Oil made a profit of somewhere in the neighborhood of 643 billion dollars.

Over the same period of time (1977 - 2004) -- and adjusting for inflation -- tax revenues on the same product was somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.34 trillion dollars.

Allow me to repeat the salient points:

Oil company profits -- 643 billion

Tax revenue collected by the Government on gasoline -- 1.34 trillion.


So, let me get this straight ... oil companies making 643 billion on oil Is Bad.

The Government making Twice That Amount in taxes on the same stuff ... Is Okay.

You know, I'm an old fashioned kind of guy. Since the various State and Federal Governments are hitting the consumers for Twice The Amount of dosh that the oil companies are hitting us for, I figure any crimp on the oil companies ought to be matched 2-for-1 by the Government.

The Government hits the oil companies for 200 billion of those companies own profits, then the Gummint should have to slash the gasoline taxes by twice that amount.

Only fair.


Sunday, April 06, 2008

Things They Forgot To Teach In History Class

Yesterday, a co-worker and I got into a discussion regarding the origin of the word "grocery", whereupon, I opined that originally a "grocer" was one who received goods in batches of 144 -- 144 of anything being a "gross".

This led to Co-worker wondering how the hell anyone would arbitrarily pick 144 as a standard amount of anything.

I offered my opinion that it was for the same reason that many cultures use a base twelve system -- 12 signs in the Zodiac, 12 inches to the foot, two x 12 hours in a day, five x 12 seconds in a minute, same number of minutes in an hour, so on and so forth -- twelve is the highest number that can be counted to using one hand, and 144 is the highest number that can be counted to using both hands.

The blank look on his face was complete, total and final.


Take your right hand and hold it in front of your face, palm in and fingers spread. Take your right thumb and touch the tip of your right little finger and say "One". Touch the thumb to the tip of the ring finger and say, "Two". Tip of middle finger is "Three", tip of index is "Four".

Now, take your thumb back to your little finger and touch the middle section of the finger -- the part between the two joints -- and say, "Five". Mid-length of the ring finger is "Six"; middle finger is "Seven; and mid-point of your index finger is "Eight".

Everyone knows what to do next -- base section of the little finger is "Nine" all the way to base of your index finger, which is "Twelve".

If you grow up using this method to count things, twelve is a logical, elegant number to base your math on.

Now, let us pretend that you are a Babylonian merchant -- or an Egyptian scribe, or even a London greengrocer -- and you are present someplace where a large amount of thingummies that you own, or are in the process of owning, are being offloaded.

As each thingummy passes you, count on your finger joints as shown above -- and when you get to "Twelve" on your right hand, touch the thumb of your left hand to the tip of your little finger. Start over with your right hand -- and when you again get to "Twelve" on your right hand, your left thumb moves to the tip of your left ring finger.

If you continue this, the highest number of thingummies you'll be able to count before running out of finger joints is going to be twelve twelves. Or one hundred and forty-four.

A "gross" -- one hundred and forty-four -- isn't arbitrary at all. It's simply the highest number you can count to on your fingers.


"The Police are the Public, and the Public are the Police."

The title to this post is a quote attributed to Sir Robert Peel.

Known as the "Father of Modern Policing", Sir Robert was the man responsible for the creation of what many believe to be the first modern professional police department -- the Metropolitan Police Force in London.

Prior to Sir Roberts little experiment, the British in the 1800's had a strong antipathy for the idea of a full-time police department -- matter-of-fact, it was seen as a threat to liberty and a (and this is a direct quote from JP Smith): "...disturbance of all private happiness."

Nonetheless, everyone -- from the man in the street to the last politician -- agreed that the old system of watchmen simply wasn't working. Matter-of-fact, the perception was that crime wasn't only rampant, but that it was sharply rising.

Enter Sir Robert.

In order to mollify those who believed that professional police were "a curse and a despotism", and secure their aid in creating his professional police force, Sir Robert Peel developed what became known as The Peelian Principles; which are considered to be the basic foundation for all modern policing:

1) The basic mission for which the police exist is to prevent crime and disorder.

2) The ability of the police to perform their duties is dependent upon the public approval of police actions.

3) Police must secure the willing co-operation of the public in voluntary observation of the law to be able to secure and maintain the respect of the public.

4) The degree of co-operation of the public that can be secured diminishes proportionately to the necessity of the use of physical force.

5) Police seek and preserve public favor not by catering to public opinion, but by constantly demonstrating absolute impartial service to the law.

6) Police use physical force to the extent necessary to secure observance of the law or to restore order only when the exercise of persuasion, advice, and warning is found to be insufficient.

7) Police, at all times, should maintain a relationship with the public that gives reality to the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police; the police being only members of the public who are paid to give full-time attention to duties which are incumbent upon every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.

8) Police should always direct their action strictly towards their functions, and never appear to usurp the powers of the judiciary.

9) The test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.

My academy devoted two days to the study of Sir Robert and his Principles of Policing. I am of the firm opinion that these Principles should be Gospel for every Peace Officer.

There are times, though, when I am forced to wonder if some of my fellow Peace Officers have even heard of the Peelian Principles.

And I guaran-damn-tee you that a whole bunch of politicians and police administrators (but I repeat myself) have never heard of #9.

Anyone who doubts this should listen to the next District Attorney, County Commissioner, Representative or any other critter cite the rising number of arrests as proof that their pet anti-crime law is working.



Tuesday, April 01, 2008


In 1894, John Moses Browning designed a slick little rifle for the new-fangled smokeless powder cartridges.

Called the Winchester 1894, it came to be produced in several different calibres, one of which was the 7,62 X 51R, better known around here as the .30WCF or just plain .30-30.

At the time, there was no guarantee that the 1894 would not follow the same fate as many other firearms of that period and just fade into a footnote in history -- but the gods of fire and steel did truly love John Browning, and that slick little lever-action rifle -- and its most fam
ous chambering -- became a commercial success.

The .30-30 -- and the rifle that fired it -- quickly became one of the most popular hunting combos not only in North America, but also in Europe, Australia and South America -- hence the European designation of 7,62 X 51Rimmed. It can be argued that the .30-30 chambered Winchester 94 is the most successful deer rifle ever made.

From 1894 until production halted in 2006, something in the neighborhood of seven million Winchester 94 rifles were made, in a spectacular variety of models.

I have a fondness for lever-action rifles, so when my friend Peter announced that he had a Winchester 94 with a 26-inch octagonal barrel for sale -- I raided the Play-Pretty Fund.

According to, the serial number places it as having been made in 1967 (the same year that I was born) and I wish it could talk. It has been used these last 40 years, albeit well-cared for, and as I run my hand along the innumerable scuffs and dings of honourable service I wonder about the story behind each one.

The buttstock has been replaced, although long enough ago that it has accumulated it's own share of scars, and I wonder what happened that would require a stock replacement.

Was this rifle a gift? Has it been passed on to a loved one? How many miles has it been carried, and where? Did it stay in the South, or has it seen other States, other countries?

I have other rifles, of stainless steel and black polymer, CNC creations with every conceivable technological advantage from cryogenic barrel treatment to cutting edge optics to titanium thingummies.

Truth be told ... Winchester buckhorn sights aren't the best in the world. Walnut and forged carbon steel isn't as light weight as some of my other rifles. And that 26-inch barrel is maybe a touch long for the cedar breaks and the mesquite thickets where I hunt.

I wipe a silicon rod-and-reel cloth along the magazine tube where the blueing has been rubbed away by several hundred trips in and out of a rifle scabbard -- and I really don't care.

This fall, I'm going to load it with some 150-grain "thutty-thutty" rounds and we're going to go write some more adventures into its history.