From whence came the Taliban?
Afghanistan is a hard place- rough , mountainous and naturally airconditioned. Even the sheep are tough; when they run out of grass they' re reputed to go after snakes- you just don't get any tougher than that! (reference; Harlan, "The Man who would be King"). I think I'll leave my welly's at home if I ever go there.
The Afghani's have seen off every invader* and they've had them all, a real talent for annoying major powers being one of their more endearing national characteristics.
The Brits invaded while at the height of their imperium in the 19th century, but had to make a run for it in the end- 18,000 English and camp followers were slaughtered, just one was allowed to leave- by the principle that it's not much use making a point if the recipient power never gets to hear about it.
In the 20th century it was the Soviets- and they'd barely seen them off when the 21st century arrived- along with George Dubbya - but he had a damned good reason- under the Taliban, they'd banned kiteflying!
As it happens, George needn't have gone for a foreign adventure (one of the risks of having a standing army)** to show us he's on our side. The city of Buffalo (on Lake Erie) set up a city ordinance*** banning kiteflying in it's founding charter in 1832. I'd be watching out if I lived there, it can only be a matter of time until the barbarian is at the gates, so as to speak. Come to think of it, I will be in the vicinity later this month- but they needn't expect me to sign up with the militia and leap to the city's defence- being a kiteflier, a heathen, and, some would say, a barbarian, my sympathies are with the other side.
Actually this is not the only time that Buffalo has set itself up for an own goal. Like many cold climate centres, Buffalo is losing population like crazy to sunbelt cities. This demographic has paralled the increasing use of airconditioners- which permit enjoyment of all the good things that the tropics offer- like bikinis- without the enjoyees having to suffer from uncomfortable sweating. As a world changing invention, the aircon should be up there with motor cars, aeroplanes, computers and the remote control for TV's.
You've guessed it, the airconditioner was invented, in 1902 by one Willis Carrier, in Buffalo- well it wouldn't have been in Afghanistan would it!
* OK OK, except Ghengis Khan, but who ever did manage to say no to Ghengis?- not his numerous 'liaisons' that have left us with something like 12 million Genghis descendents, and still counting.
** When the US constitution was being drafted, a speaker memorably likened a standing army to an erect penis- "helpful for domestic tranquility, but can lead to foreign adventures."
***Funny language American; we'd call them by-laws, to me ordinances are explosive thingees that rain down from above.
Ashburton, June 1 '05
New things this month:
We're working on a foldup frame for the KiteCat so that users in those countries where there are width limits on roof rack carrying are not inconvenienced.
And we are close to releasing a purpose built motor unit for the KiteCat-light weight, inexpensive and able to be adequately water proofed just in case you're contemplating some eskimo rolls.
And the latest version (this week's) of the NABX buggy is even better - it's been under incremental development now for 6 years and is now by far the best buggy I and we have ever used- a very tight and tidy unit.
And there's a major breakthrough coming - the KiteSled- to complete the trinity (land, water, snow). I was going to showcase it this month but it's been pointed out that the original (and radical) principle that it's based on has far wider applications than just kite traction, so I'll think about this for a while longer before you can have a peek.
And one more thing; we've just bought 4 new sewing machines, so have 4 older industrial machines for sale.
Two are late model Brother walking foot machines with all the bells and whistles- computer control, thread snipping etc. $2,500 each.
One is an older non- walking foot Brother- but still has the computer speed control and thread snipping. $750
The last is an earlier basic non-walking foot Brother $250