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November 11th, 2011

shadowspar: Cap badge of the Royal Canadian Artillery: A cannon with motto: Ubique / Quo Fas Et Gloria Ducunt (RCA cap badge)
Friday, November 11th, 2011 10:25

I opted not to go to the Remembrance Day service today. Instead, as is my custom, I'll have a small private memorial wherever I am at 1100.

I remember that "supporting the troops" includes valuing and honouring them enough not to order them into battle save for the gravest of circumstances. War is a last resort to address an extraordinary problem when all other means are exhausted, and we do ourselves, our soldiers, and the rest of the world the gravest wrong should we think it otherwise.

I remember that "supporting the troops" includes doing everything in our power to help them and their families when they're injured or killed while serving. Just as sure as we put them into harm's way, we're responsible for what happens to them when we do.

I remember that "supporting the troops" includes making our military a supportive place for them to serve. Threats from without are enough to worry about without having to worry about threats from within.

I remember that the soldiers of old embarked on what they considered a noble enterprise, and were thrust into unimaginable hardship and suffering as a result. I honour their memory and their sacrifice by upholding the freedoms they fought for.

I remember that war is a consequence of us failing at the central tenet of basic humanity; at treating other people as fellow human beings; of recognizing our commonalities and reaching out to one another as equals and friends.

And finally I remember that Never Again is not just a catchphrase, but a call to action.

...and all that means so much more to me than a bunch of longwinded speeches by blowhard politicians who've never been there and likely never will.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

shadowspar: Picture of Rick holding a can of blue Jolt soda (jolt!)
Friday, November 11th, 2011 13:33

First thing. For those who use vim but might not have known about it: vim has a feature called digraphs which gives you a way to enter letters with diacritics (eg ä), symbols (eg ✓), and other characters that aren't on your keyboard. It does have its idiosyncracies, but it's fairly reasonable once you start to toy with it a bit.

How it works: first, enter the compose key, which by default is Control-K. Then enter the two characters of the digraph, and you'll get the single character that's defined in the digraphs table for that particular combination.

So, for instance:

  • Ctrl-K + o + -ō
  • Ctrl-K + e + :ë
  • Ctrl-K + c + ,ç
  • Ctrl-K + o + C
  • Ctrl-K + P + d£
  • Ctrl-K + 1 + 2½

The command :digraphs will show you everything in the digraphs table.

Last thing and the point of all that preparatory context above: there is a terrible problem with the set of digraphs as it ships with vim. Clearly the sequence < + 3 should compose to the character ♥, but it doesn't by default. To remedy this horrible shortcoming, add the line

digraph <3 9829

to your vim config file. (9829 is the unicode decimal identifier for the character ♥.)

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