GGMM Diplomacy Game: Spring, 1941

In the German city of Lüderitz, South West German Africa, Kaiserin Wilcox recieves the following letter:

My esteemed Kaiserin,

I write to you in some haste, as we find ourselves in tumultuous times. You have certainly heard that the powers of Europe are at war, and as yet, there is no formal alliance between any of them. Considering the state of affairs, it is imperative that you remain where you are. No force can be spared to escort you, and there is no guarantee of safety in the homeland. We of the National Science Party will properly manage things in your absence.

Sincerely, Colonel Rudol Von Stroheim

Von Stroheim, has, in a single paragraph, declared the National Sceince Party, his party, as the ruling entity in the German Empire. Kaiserin Wilcox is trapped in her own colony. Safe, prosperous even, but effectively exiled by her own advisors.

England’s exceptional Navy moves into the English Channel and North Sea, asserting its control over the ocean. Tension in the Balkans rises as many powers move into positions that threaten their current neutrality. France begins its movement into the Iberian Peninsula seeking aide from once great nations.

Orders Resolution
F Nap—Ion —> Succeeds
A Ven Holds
A Rom—Apu —> Succeeds

F Sevastopol—Black Sea —> Fails
F St. Petersburg—G.of Bothnis —> Succeeds
A Moscow—Ukraine —> Succeeds
A Warsaw—Galicia —> Succeeds

A Marseilles—Spain —> Succeeds
A Paris—Picardy —> Succeeds
F Brest Holds

F Edn—Nth —> Succeeds
F Lon—Eng —> Succeeds
A Lvp—Yor —> Succeeds

F Tri—Adr —> Succeeds
A Vie—Tri —> Succeeds
A Bud—Rum —> Succeeds

A Con—Bul —> Succeeds
A Smy—Con —> Succeeds
F Ank—Bla —> Fails

F Kiel—Holland —> Succeeds
A Berlin—Kiel —> Succeeds
A Munich—Bohemia —> Succeeds

GGMM Diplomacy Game: Spring, 1901

War in Europe seemed inevitable. The armies of each nation had prepared themselves for the on coming battle, one that would hopefully be short. However, a small group of leaders realized the danger there was in the instigation of war amoungst the powers of Europe. Premier du Croissant met with his adversary, Abdul Hamid of the Ottoman Empire. Putting aside their countries’ historically tenuous relationship, they discussed the danger that a total war across Europe presented to the people of both of their nations. Together, they called for the leaders of all of the other major European powers to meet and speak on what actions could be taken to avoid the outbreak of the great war. On April 1st, 1901 in the city of Marseilles a united European treaty was formed:

The rulers present here today have recognized the grave risk that a total war could bring to Europe. In order to preserve the peace and prosperity of the new century, by the obligation to the maintenance of justice and mutual respect here by agree not to take overt or covert military action against one another in the honoring of this treaty.


Sultan Abdul Hamid II of Turkey, King-Minister Benold Hanover of Britannia, Kaiser Otto von Cox of Germany, Prince Patrick Patsburg III of Austria, Tsar Nicola Laurence of Russia, King Mario de Spaghetti of Italy, and Premier du Croissant

April 1st, 1901

The Treaty of Marseilles was maintained for 40 years unbroken. But one by one, the rulers were replaced as the old royalty died off and were replaced by their children or another form of government entirely. The young blood of King-Minister Benjamin Hanover calls back to the ferocity of his Grandfather Benold, who was the first King to also take the seat of Prime Minister. In Germany, Kaiserin Emilie von Wilcox was appointed by her uncle as the successor to the empire after she demonstrated her tactical competence in Africa. King Mario Spaghetti Laurence of Italy and Tsar Ropa Laurence of Russia are both descendants of the houses of Spaghetti and Laurence, which were united through marriage after the treaty was signed. Abdul Hamid II died, leaving his wife Abida Hamid the sultanate until she remarried; an action which she seems to have no plan in sight for. Premeir Jamié du Baguette was elected on a promise to follow the democratic and cooperative values of Premier du Croissant. Only old Patrick Patsburg III still remains on the throne since the time of the signing of the treaty of Marseilles. The treaty will be tested in the fall of 1940, as each country begins to rearm themselves in preparation for warfare. . .

Mercy, Responsibility, and Virtue: A Comparison of the Philosophical Beliefs of J. R. R. Tolkien and Marcus Aurelius

Mercy, Responsibility, and Virtue

A Comparison of the Philosophical Beliefs

of J. R. R. Tolkien and Marcus Aurelius

Although J.R.R. Tolkien and Marcus Aurelius come from different cultural backgrounds, they share many of the same thoughts on how to live a virtuous life. Both Tolkien and Aurelius believe in a conscious will within everyone, that even those undeserving of mercy should be given it, that one’s control only extends as far as how they respond, and living with virtue is more important than material success. Aurelius emphasizes tranquility in oneself, while Tolkien focuses more on one’s duty to others. The background of the two men will be given before the comparisons are drawn.

Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor in the second century, notable for being considered a philosopher king by both his contemporaries and later historians. Aurelius often wrote down his thoughts to himself. Long after his death, these thoughts were compiled into a book called Meditations, which is considered one of the defining works of the stoic philosophy. Stoics believed that the external circumstances should be divorced from one’s complexion towards their situation. To a stoic, the only things a man has control over are his thoughts and actions, not the circumstances into which he is placed.

J. R. R. Tolkien was a medieval historian from the mid-nineteen hundreds. He is best known for The Lord of the Rings, an epic story about unlikely heroes journeying to destroy a great evil. Tolkien was a devout Christian, and although he had a distaste for direct allegory, he still evoked his Christian values in his story. In a letter, Tolkien once wrote “The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.” (Tolkien, Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, pg. 175) Because of this, much of the Middle-earth legendarium reflects Tolkien’s view on the world and one’s part in it, and can be examined to give insight on his beliefs.

The first belief shared between Tolkien and Aurelius was the belief in an independent will that governs one’s actions. In the Lord of the Rings, all sentient beings on Middle-earth are imbued with “The Secret Fire, a divine spirit which gives one free will and thought. This is identical to what Aurelius regularly calls The God Within”, from which one determines what is right and wrong and by comparison makes judgment. This belief that within all is a soul which informs people of morality and gives one the will to make moral choices is essential to the concept of responsibility for one’s actions.

In The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf explained to Frodo how Gollum went to Mordor and told Sauron about the Ring and who possessed it. When he heard this, Frodo lamented that it was a pity that Bilbo did not slay Gollum when he had the chance. Gandalf replied by saying; “Pity? It was Pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need. And he has been well rewarded, Frodo. Be sure that he took so little hurt from the evil, and escaped in the end, because he began his ownership of the ring so. With Pity” (Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, pg. 78). Gandalf makes it clear that Tolkien believed that forgiveness of others, regardless of how wretched they may be, is not only required for sake of the one receiving it, but also for the sake of the one giving it. Had Bilbo taken the One Ring as Gollum did, through murder, he too would have been corrupted by the Ring.

Likewise, Aurelius expressed that even those who are distasteful must be treated with kindness and mercy in the opening passage to his second book. “Begin the morning by saying to thyself, I shall meet with the busybody, the ungrateful, the arrogant, deceitful, envious, unsocial. All these things happen to them by reason of their ignorance of what is good and evil. But I who have seen the nature of the good that it is beautiful, and of the bad that it is ugly, and the nature of him who does wrong, that it is akin to me; not [only] of the same blood or seed, but that it participates in [the same] intelligence and [the same] portion of the divinity, I can neither be injured by any of them, for no one can fix on me what is ugly, nor can I be angry with my kinsman, nor hate him” (Aurelius, 2-1). Stylistically, this differs from Tolkien in the scale at which the conflict occurs. Tolkien’s example uses an extreme, dealing out death in judgment, to exercise the point of mercy, while Aurelius instead calls to a situation which one finds themselves in daily. Aurelius also stressed the importance of treating others with mercy for one’s own sake more prominently. He argued that when one allows another person’s negative attitude to affect one’s own, they harm themselves. Thus, one must instead treat them with kindness and hope that they too learn the nature of good and evil. In the end, the point both men made is the same; even those undeserving of mercy should be given it, for pity’s sake and for one’s own sake.

Tolkien and Aurelius also agreed that one’s control can only ever truly extend over oneself, not one’s circumstances. Tolkien demonstrates this belief when Frodo and Gandalf were discussing the ring. Frodo remarked “I wish [Sauron arising] need not have happened in my time.” (Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, pg. 67), and Gandalf replied “So do I, … and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us”(Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring, pg. 67). Aurelius too believed that control lies only in how one responds to a situation, as this is a point repeated many times in Meditations. One example comes from the eighth book; “If thou art pained by any external thing, it is not this thing that disturbs thee, but thy own judgment about it. And it is in thy power to wipe out this judgment now”(Aurelius, 8-47).

Because Tolkien and Aurelius thought that one’s agency lies only in the choices they make, and not the outcome of those choices, both men concluded that one should live for virtue rather than live for worldly success. Unlike Bilbo’s adventure in The Hobbit, Frodo was left scarred by his journey. In The Fellowship of the Ring, Frodo was stabbed by one of the Nazgûl, using a wicked blade which poisoned him. While he was treated in Rivendell, and recovered for the short term, the wound never truly healed. He would often grow ill from it, and it tormented him for his all of his life after the War of the Ring. However, because of his moral conviction in taking the Ring to Mordor, he was allowed to find peace by leaving with the Elves when they sailed into the West. With this, Tolkien sought to make a distinction between earthly success and moral success. Although Frodo suffered greatly for his choice to become the Ring-bearer, his action was still virtuous and he was rewarded, as Tolkien believed that in the end there would be justice for those mistreated.

Aurelius said in his seventh book; “Everything material soon disappears in the substance of the whole; and everything formal [casual] is soon taken back into the universal reason; and the memory of everything is very soon overwhelmed in time” (Aurelius, 7-10). To Aurelius, living for the material would always end in sorrow, as nothing material is permanent, while living for virtue would satisfy oneself and leave one happy. This is best exemplified by the following quote; “Let fall externally what will on the parts which can feel the effects of this fall. For those parts which have felt will complain, if they choose. But I, unless I think that what has happened is an evil, am not injured. And it is in my power not to think so”(Aurelius, 7-14). Injustice was to be subverted by realizing that although the circumstances may have been harsh, it was not a reflection of one’s character and thus could not truly be considered evil. In either case, while physical success is not guaranteed, spiritual success is, so long as one acts with virtue.

The works of Tolkien and Aurelius are different in presentation but united in message. The historian told legends to inspire mercy, responsibility, and the courage to live with virtue, while the philosopher-king lamented deeply on how to live with these same values in day to day life. Living largely without influence from one another, they came to the same conclusion. Perhaps the similarities in the beliefs between these two wise men speaks to an unconscious truth in everyone, not unlike the knowledge of good and evil given by the Secret Fire or the God Within.

Works Cited

Aurelius, Marcus. The Meditations.

Tolkien, J. R. R., and Humphrey Carpenter. The Letters of J.R.R. Tolkien. Harper Collins, 2006.

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Fellowship of the Ring: Being the First Part of The Lord of the Rings. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004.

Other Works Referenced, but not directly cited

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Two Towers: Being the Second Part of the Lord of the Rings. Houghton Mifflin, 2004.

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Return of the King: Being the Third Part of the Lord of the Rings. Houghton Mifflin, 2004.

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Silmarillion: Epic History of the Elves in the Lord of the Rings. Houghton Mifflin 2001.

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit. Houghton Mifflin, 2004.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

And that means another year for the Semantic Gift-Swap!

Each year we hold a Christmas Gift-Swap, where each participating member gets randomly assigned another participant to give a gift to. The gifts given in the swap shouldn’t exceed the price of twenty-five dollars. If you want to join the gift-swap, just comment on this post or message me before the 20th of December, when I will post a list of who you will be buying for. All gifts should be delivered by January 6th (the last day of Christmas). If there are any issues during this event, just let me know.

Happy holidays!


By Bookworm’s Behest #1

It’s past three AM and the sleep I’m chasing is running away from me at full pelt. What better time to start that post series I’ve always planned to get around to?

Greetings, assorted gentlepeople! My name is Hovawart, and I will be your host for the night. As a rather voracious reader, particularly in the science fiction and fantasy department, I often find myself giving out book recommendations to friends. These recommendations tend to be the latest fantastic item from the shelf, and I find myself giving the same titles and sales pitches to a variety of people. I figure that I might as well consolidate my opinion into one place for all to see. If you are a friend with similar literary tastes to whom I’ve handed this, thank you for supporting my laziness. If you have happened to wander by this particular part of the internet by chance, I can only hope I will lead you to some gems.

Today I will be putting before you a book titled The Shadow of What Was Lost, written by James Islington. Though this was published all the way back in the ancient year of 2014, it somehow escaped my hungry gaze. It is a part of a trilogy, the second book of which I have yet to obtain and the third of which is yet to be published.


The Shadow of What Was Lost is high fantasy of the highest order; if that isn’t your jam, feel free to get off the bus at this time. The book is set in a world still recovering from a great war in which the near-godlike Augurs were overthrown and eradicated. Their servants, the Gifted, were spared only after they accepted to be bound by a code of laws that greatly reduced their power. The newest generation of Gifted individuals have been born under these laws and forced to live with the deeds of their ancestors, which they are quite understandably unhappy about. Things muddle along as usual until the main character, Davian, discovers that he has inherited the powers of the Augurs. A great evil is also awakening up north, but when isn’t it in fantasy?

I have already made my mandatory jab, but I hear what you’re thinking. “Hovawart, this sounds like the most bog-standard fantasy you could present, random capitalized words for titles and all.” You would be right, but only in terms of the setting. This author’s storytelling is simply superb. It may be a slight spoiler to say this, but he is extremely fond of writing in twists. You think you know where the story is going, predict the ending, are very comfortable in your cushy chair, and then he throws a vase at you. He doesn’t let up, either, continuing to escalate in terms of furniture until finally he’s put on a set of power armor and is chucking tables your way. The twists are earned each time, so they don’t feel cheap or as if they are coming out of left field, and they just keep coming. This book is a ride until the very end.

This probably doesn’t deserve its own paragraph, for I will have to be very brief to avoid spoiling something grand. This book is one of the very few works in general to have handled time travel exceedingly well. It deserves to be mentioned, but I will say no more on the subject.

After having mentioned the setting and the plot, such as I have, I feel I would be remiss not to speak of the characters. My next statement is a wide one and I have no intention of being held to it; one may either make good characters by building excellence in the present, or by giving them an excellent story. If I might elaborate, some characters, through personality and dialogue and the mystical arts of the author, feel as if they’re about to step out of the page and join you. Others have such fascinating backstories (or futures, when time travel is involved), that you can’t help but perk up whenever they enter the scene. The characters in this book were definitely the latter to me. I do not in any way intend for this to be taken as me saying that the personalities and dialogues are sub-par; far from it. One of the other main characters has lost his memory when he is introduced, and a significant part of his story is spent slowly piecing together what few he has left and discovering more. If his past were anything short of fascinating, it could be detrimental, but fortunately it is quite the opposite. I often felt myself wanting more of his past than was provided, and I suspect that his continued quest to find himself will be a large part of the books to come. Another character’s future incarnation is constantly tinkering and guiding events, leaving me excited to see how his present self reaches that point. I’m left wanting more of their individual stories, which to me is the sign of an engaging character.

I believe I have said all that comes to mind, so I will conclude here; this book’s masterful, suspenseful storytelling and intriguing characters mean that you should go pick up this book at your earliest convenience. As for myself, I will be hunting down the sequel in hopes of continued quality and more tables thrown at my head. I bid you all farewell, and I hope that you have an excellent week.

Conclave: The Creation of the Constitution

Every fortnight in the nation of Bernia, a conclave is held by the members of the Bernian Nobles. The purpose of this meeting is to vote on legislation and propose new legislation for the next meeting. Discussion of the legislation is held outside of these meetings, in the name of timeliness, but this often leads to larger schemes. The location of the conclave changes from province to province each week, with the host acting as a moderator for that conclave, as well as acting as a tie-breaker in the case of an equal count of votes from both sides.

Bernia gained its independence after the collapse of the nation of Catania in 1289. It soon became a prosperous mercantile nation due to its ideal position being nested in between Alpha Catania and Denizli. It not become a full nation until the First Conclave of the Provinces of Bernia in 1302, where a constitution was officially voted on by the Counts of each areas within the Bernian Region.

For those who were unaware, I am planning on running a political simulation roleplaying game, where the players put forth and vote on legislation every two weeks. On this post you may sign up to join the game as well as give suggestions on what should be included in the constitution of the nation of Bernia by leaving a comment on this post. You can send the idea to me in chat, but I ask you to please comment with the idea as well so that others may be able to see it and give their opinion.

Hope you enjoy!

Draco Blackstone.


History With Snark – Vol 1, Issue 7

Welcome back, esteemed readers, to a seventh issue of History With Snark!  We’ve come a long way… or, well, I have.  I’ve been unfortunately too busy to continually find the obscure to give to you, but today is your just-before-Christmas treat!

Today, I want to talk about another hero of the Polish Army (maybe that’s Volume 1’s theme… Germany and Poland), General Stanisław Maczek (stah-nyee-swav mah-chek)*.  Maczek was the commander of Poland’s only armored division during World War II, never losing an engagement in the 1939 invasion of Poland.

Maczek was born in Austrian-controlled Poland in 1892 and studied Polish philology at Lwów University.  During this time he was part of the Polish Rifleman’s Association, where he acquired basic military skills. At the outbreak of World War I, Maczek was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army.  He was deployed to the Italian Front and gained experience in mountain combat — the only Polish commander to do so during the war.  Initially an NCO, he was a lieutenant by the war’s end.  With the formation of the Republic of Poland, he left the Austrian army and joined the Polish Army.  He fought in the Polish-Ukrainian war with distinction, leading a motorized unit under the 4th Infantry Division.  The idea was taken from the Germans during World War I… Given what came next, though, it seems like they should have taken the idea for tanks instead.

By the outbreak of WWII, Maczek was a full colonel and commander of the 10th Motorized Cavalry Brigade, armed with only light tanks, tankettes (which are kind of like sports cars for tanks but not nearly so high-performance), and eight heavy cannons.  On the first day of the war, the brigade faced the entirety of the XVIII Army Corps and managed to protect the southern flank.  He soon battled the 2nd and 9th Panzer Divisions and the 3rd Mountain Division, though he had the assistance of a few border guard battalions (you know, the guys who keep the Mexicans out?).  Maczek used the terrain to his advantage — unlike most of his opponents, he had fought in the Alps in the last war and already had valuable combat experience.  He translated this infantry skill into his current situation with tanks and reduced the Blitzkrieg’s pace to less than ten kilometers per day.  Compare that to France, where Rommel achieved 322 kilometers in a day.  To be fair to these Germans, they were not Rommel… but Maczek was certainly not French.  His brigade was ordered to retreat as the entire northern sector collapsed.

Maczek continued operating in western Poland, covering for other units to escape to the interior.  When the Soviet Union invaded Poland on September 17th, this operation was abandoned and he was ordered to cross into Hungary (Hungary was aligned with the Axis but neutral until November 20, 1940).  By the end of the September 1939, the brigade had lost half of its men, but it had not been defeated in battle and is considered the only Polish unit that did not lose a single battle during the invasion.

Maczek traveled to France with several other Polish units, forming a Polish Army-in-exile in France to defend it from the Reich.  Here, he was promoted to brigadier general and given command of a military camp in northern France.  He wrote a detailed report on his experiences with the Blitzkrieg and gave suggestions on how to defeat it, but the French did not read the report and provided Maczek with obsolete vehicles — months after he arrived.  When Germany invaded by going around the useless Maginot Line (seriously, using Belgium to replace your fortifications? I thought that failed in the first war.), Maczek was provided with all the equipment he asked for and immediately deployed.  Because they had no time to learn how the new tanks worked, Maczek took only his best men and formed the 10th Armored Cavalry Brigade (named after the original), leaving the rest to train with their new equipment.  The brigade was assigned to the 4th Army in northeast France, near Reims.  They were ordered to cover the 4th Army’s left flank, but their size and weaker tanks hindered their effectiveness and they were forced to withdraw.  Maczek’s brigade attacked the German-held city of Montbard with great success, but the French defense had already collapsed.  Perhaps if they had read Maczek’s report, they would have successfully repelled the German attack.  Stranded in the open and out of fuel, the brigade destroyed their vehicles and retreated on foot.  Some of them joined resistance groups in France and Belgium, but Maczek and many of his men made their way to London to join the other Poles that had assembled there.

The British government, skeptical of the Poles’ usefulness, had planned to use their army as the Scottish line of defense — that is, to defend Scotland after England and Wales fell.  Maczek’s arrival changed these plans and Władysław Sikorski, the commander of the Polish army-in-exile, convinced the British government to provide Maczek with the newest tanks, including the legendary Churchill and M4 Sherman.  Maczek was still held in reserve, but this was because the British intended to use him as a powerful weapon in the upcoming Normandy invasion.  Maczek’s 1st Polish Armored Division arrived in the end of July, 1944 (after the initial danger of landing had passed — why waste your best men before they even reach shore?) and was attached to the First Canadian Army.  Maczek tore through German lines, achieving victory after victory.  In one daring battle, the 1st Polish Armored Division surrounded and destroyed fourteen SS and Wehrmacht divisions.  He went on to liberate large portions of Belgium and, at no small cost to his own forces, liberated the Dutch city of Breda without any civilian casualties.  For this, the people of Breda created a petition that resulted in Maczek being made an honorary citizen of the Netherlands.  It was his division that accepted the surrender of Wilhemshaven, a massive German naval base.  Two hundred vessels were capture along with the entire garrison.**  The Poles remained part of its occupation force until 1947.  At the close of the European Theater, he was promoted to major general and received command of all Polish forces under the British military.

Oh, and just in case you thought Polish people were allowed to get happy endings:  after the war’s end, the People’s Republic of Poland (Russia) stripped Maczek of his citizenship, forcing him to stay in the UK.  The United Kingdom, for their part, did the right thing and denied Maczek combatant rights or a pension. The great general was forced to take up work as a bartender in a hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland, just to pay bills and take care of his chronically-ill daughter.  Despite this, he still had a strong relationship with the people of Breda, and when the mayor of Breda heard of Maczek’s situation, he made an appeal to the Dutch government to give the man a pension.  The government quickly came to a decision and awarded Maczek a secret allowance appropriate for his rank.  On top of this, the public held a fundraiser to get him enough money to cover his daughter’s medical costs.  Despite him never serving until the Dutch flag, it was they who cared for him most.

Because of the tensions of the Cold War, the government of the Netherlands could never publicly reveal that they were paying a former general of the Polish Republic: Communist Poland would have been outraged.  In addition to this, it would call into question Britain’s failure to deliver a pension to one of their own officers.

In 1989, the last Prime Minister of Communist Poland issued a public apology to Maczek and in 1994 the Republic of Poland presented him with their highest honor, the Order of the White Eagle.  It didn’t acknowledge all the crimes of the Communist regime, but it’s a good step.

On September 11, 1994, Stanisław Maczek died in Edinburgh.  He was 102.  Per his last wishes, he was laid to rest in Breda, next to the fallen soldiers of the 1st Polish Armored Division.  The division and its commander are still remembered every year on Liberation Day in Breda.

Okay, so maybe he got a happy ending.

Emblem of the Division



*I’m not going to attempt to guess the emphasized syllables in his name, though I feel as if they’d be on the second and first syllables, respectively.

Polish is a West Slavic language, relating more to Czech and Slovak more than Russian.  Although it was traditionally an important diplomatic language between Central/Eastern Europe, after the Second World War the dispersion of Poles led to many speakers in places like Britain and United States. Poles constitute the largest Slavic ethnicity in the States, though until 1918 the Polish state did not exist and most Polish immigrants were classified as Prussian, Austrian, or Russian.

Two notable Polish-Americans are Kazimierz Pułaski and Tadeusz Kościuszko, who led Patriot armies in the Revolutionary War.  Any place in America named Pulaski is named for him.  Kościuszko returned to Europe, where Napoleon soon created a tiny puppet-state of Poland that Kościuszko detested.  After Napoleon’s fall, he attempted to create a Polish state with Tsar Alexander, only to discover that the Tsar’s planned “Poland” was even smaller than Napoleon’s, and he left for Switzerland — you know what, I’ll make him the subject of next week’s issue.

**Wilhemshaven is still a German naval base today, and it operates a pretty cool museum with some warships on display, discussing German naval history from the 19th century-onward.  If you’re interested in naval history and happen to have that kind of money.  I know I don’t.

Knight Semantic Christmas Gift Exchange!

Hello and Merry Christmas, my fellows. How are you enjoying the holiday spirit?

Anyone who is interested may join the Knight Semantic gift exchange, where everyone who enters gets assigned someone else to give a gift to. If you are interested in joining, please drop a comment here or PM me and I’ll add you to the list. The deadline for entry is the 20th, and all gifts should hopefully be about before the end of the month.

Hope you all have a merry Christmas!