Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Memory Dump


Prelude...

Blogging is hard.

First you have to come up with something to write about that a certain section of one's readership will enjoy. Hopefully that certain section is "all three of them." Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't.

Then, hopefully after coming up with a topic, you need to come up with a snazzy post title, something that will grab people's attention. There are a number of dirty tricks one can employ to get people to visit, but if it's a particularly tawdry ruse, they won't come back. The old "fool me once" thing.

Anyhoo, all that is simply the prelude for today's post, which I had originally thought to call "Flotsam and Jetsam." But that didn't fit. "Odds 'n' Sods" would have worked, but I've used that one before. Fairly recently as well.

Damn it! Digressed again. Anyhoo (x2)...

Act One...

I have had lots on my mind recently. The upcoming elections. My recent trip to my native lands. Dinner on Monday night...

Come again?

Yes, dinner on Monday night. The Missus Herself and Your Humble Scribe did gather with three old friends for to dine and to engage in witty conversation. There was our former pastor's wife, whom we like to call Miss Betty, as that's her name and adding "Miss" to the front just seems fitting. (And yes, whenever we give her a lift someplace I always think of Driving Miss Daisy. For Miss Betty never saw the need to learn how to operate a motor vehicle.) Sad to say that our former pastor himself could not be there as he passed back in 2008. He is sorely missed by all who knew him. A great friend he was.

The other two friends were a couple. Jeff and Maggie are originally from Jolly Olde England and used to live here in Little Rhody where Jeff was a pastor.

Yes, I seem to know a number of men of the cloth (one or two women as well) and no, it's not because I have lived the life of a rapscallion and feel the need to make amends at this late stage of my existence.

Though I daresay, it couldn't hurt...

Anyhoo...

At dinner we were all rather depressed about the state of the Union and the rather lackluster slate of candidates seeking to lead us into the future. So we stayed completely away from politics and turned to reminiscing about older, better times.

Speaking of avoiding politics...

Act Two...

Sometime back, Madame Mère remarked that my brother, Ye Olde Vermonter, had remarked that my blog was getting far too political for his tastes and that henceforth and forthwith, he would no longer waste his precious time coming here to read the ramblings of his older brother.

No, I didn't beat him about the head and shoulders for that remark. I do believe that that might have been something that might have earned him a thrashing when we were nobbut callow youths. Had I been prone to such behavior, back in the day as it were.

Truth be told, I too was getting sick of politics. I mean a fellow can rant and rave all day (and most of the night) over "just how bad things are" and all it will do is cause the already converted to nod their heads and say "Amen." Would my rantings and ravings convert the heathen to my way of thinking?

Nope. Not gonna happen.

So I, being convinced that my brother was (for once in his life) more correct about something than I was, backed off on the political posts. Found it refreshing I did. Did it cost me readers? No, at least not that I can tell.

When I mentioned this to Ye Olde Vermonter at dinner last Friday instant, he immediately did what he did back in the old days, that is...

"Mom!"

My Mother immediately sensed that somehow the middle of her three offspring had taken offense at something she had done. Or that perhaps I had slugged my brother (as he claims I was wont to do in days of yore) and he was appealing to her for justice.

He was somewhat annoyed that Madame Mère had told me of his feelings vis-à-vis politics on this here blog. Mom defended herself well and I remarked that I was glad to know what my readers did and did not care for as regards the topics I write about. Ye Olde Vermonter was somewhat mollified by this but I daresay that will perhaps be the last time he shares a confidence with our mater regarding this here blog.

From rumblings about the ancestral home I have discerned that both of my brothers and I are not, you might say, aligned when it comes to des affaires politiques. While I tend towards conservatism, there are times when my views seem, shall we say, a trifle too far to the right for some folk's tastes.

My brothers, I do believe, are slightly left of center. Not that there's anything wrong with that. (No really, I mean it. They are more liberal than I but they're not, as far as I can tell, raving Bolsheviks. I don't care for Bolsheviks. Sorry Bernie, but there it is.)

And there are days when even I can't tell if I'm being serious or not.

Entr'acte...

A good rule of thumb is to assume that I am trying to be witty most of the time. Heavy emphasis on the "trying" part of that last sentence. While I can be serious, it goes against my nature.

Now where was I? Oh yeah...

Act Three...

I have been ruminating as of late concerning writing a post about the events and history surrounding the siege of Jadotville (in the Congo) in 1961. An event which Netflix has seen fit to produce a film about. Aptly named, The Siege of Jadotville. I enjoyed the film, though others of my acquaintance did not. Having read up on that battle (after having seen the movie and questioning its veracity, as I often do, for Hollywood and others of that ilk aren't really known for accuracy in their depictions of historical events), I wanted to address the film's accuracy and perhaps place it in its proper context. Historically speaking that is.

Well, well. Seems that this particular battle was just one part of a very complicated and controversial sequence of events playing out on the African continent in the early 1960s. After all, it was post-WWII, the colonial powers were exhausted from WWII, the peoples living under European masters were somewhat tired of that and were seeking to get out from under their colonial bosses.

Of course, the colonial masters weren't all that keen on letting go of things, they, being old school European types, rather liked the status quo ante bellum. As the Cold War was then "all the rage," the colonial types thought they might squeak one by the old United Nations and perhaps get back what they felt was "rightfully ours." As the United States and the Soviet Union were not exactly "playing nice" with each other and were rather distracted by all that was happening in Europe, the UN had the chance to show what it was capable of. (Editor's Note: The siege of Jadotville was in September of 1961, the Berlin Wall went up in August of that same year. To say the USA was distracted is a bit of an understatement.)

So the post on the siege of Jadotville is going to be delayed for a while. I want to do it justice. The Irish Army, in its first fight away from the Auld Sod behaved admirably at Jadotville. Truth be told, one Irish infantry company did indeed fight off over three thousand well armed (though ill-trained) native levies led by white, European (think French and Belgian) mercenaries. The Irish did not suffer any killed in action. The Africans cannot say the same, they did, verily, get their butts kicked.

Initial reaction, based on preliminary research, the film The Siege of Jadotville is an accurate depiction of what happened in one small part of the Congo back in the fall of 1961. What it could have used was better placement in its historical context. Of course, then the movie might have been unwatchable. Movie audiences shy away from long, complicated stories where they really need to pay attention.Well, modern audiences that is.

Postlude...

Blogging is hard.

Today's example is what happens when I try to cover a bunch of things in one post.

Yup, memory dump it is.

I even bore myself at times...



42 comments:

  1. All my kin on dad's side (except his younger brother) were educators. They voted straight democrat, no thinking required. I guess they did that back in dim history, and didn't feel the need to revisit their decision. Dad was a Texas peace officer. He didn't abide foolishness.

    That setup a memorable visit. We lived in Lubbock county then, and it was 4 hours to grandmother's house in Oklahoma. (She was never to be called grandma...{the only name I called her :D}) Everyone was there. It was gonna be great to see cousins from all over OK for the first time in years.... I think it was an election year (1972??) Our glorious reunion lasted 20 minutes. Everyone left, except us. Reminds me of that scene in "The Christmas Story" where the dogs at the turkey and all that was left was the smell.

    Dad was quite conservative, and his family were blindly democrat. That always made for the most amazing reunions.

    I will trust your judgment that familial harmony is important enough to avoid unpleasant, crucial discussions on the future of our country. Because, I NEVER saw that at home!!

    Take care and rest easy. (what are you looking at in that hat? I can't focus that closely anymore...)

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Conversations at family gatherings are rather like conversations in a Navy wardroom. Certain topics are avoided like the plague, not by law, but by convention. It's safer that way.

      That must have been quite the reunion back in '72. Twenty minutes? That has to be some kind of record.

      I'm checking that the inside of my hat is light proof. Apparently it is...

      Delete
    2. We had guests for dinner tonight. About 8 if I recall correctly. 276 of them are reliable democrats. I'm not sure about the other one. I am going to replace my 3"x 5" SMOD 2016 campaign sing that has lurked these last few weeke in my front garden with another tiny little sign thanking the countless good people of MetroParkCentralis who never disturbed it.
      I think I got too cynical in my dotage and expected the worst from people. They turned out to be people like me who looked, laughed and led their dogs away.

      Delete
    3. Cynicism is something I am prone to. Over the past weekend my mother asked me if I believed anything I read or heard in the "news." I assured her that I mostly did not. I do believe the media tend to dramatize everything (for the ratings no doubt) which leads one to believe that the "other side" in politics has three heads and hates puppies. Often they are, like you say, ordinary folk who aren't much different than ourselves.

      Then again, there are evil people out there. On both sides.

      Delete
  2. Well as one of you three readers I'll say that as long as you keep blogging I'll keep reading. I learn something useful with each post. Also know that batting 1 for 3 over a long career is all but assured entry into the Hall of Fame. Keep up the good work.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Ooh, that's right .333 is an awesome average. It ain't Ted Williams, but it will do!

      Delete
  3. I understand the need for familial harmony. However, the stifling of conversation is a definite advantage when one uses words like diversity, social justice, or any of the myriad gun control statements. All of these things sound great on the surface, but the devil is in the details and rational, logical, unemotional (yeah right!) discussion of the topics is what is required in order to have an intelligent voting populace. To one side, of course, that intelligent voting populace is a bug not a feature.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Re: ...rational, logical, unemotional discussion... yes, I miss that.

      In my experience, many folks don't see the larger implications of where their belief-system will take them in the long run. While the idea of living in a "gun free" world seems nice, the criminals (who got that way by ignoring the law) pay no attention to the gun control laws. Why would they?

      The world has never been fluffy and nice, it has always had sharp edges and will continue to be that way until the Second Coming. (Speaking of which, there are days when I believe that event can't come soon enough to suit me!)

      Delete
  4. Wow, your keyboard runnith over. I like it.

    Paul L. Quandt

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  5. By the way, that makes four of us readers; does that exceed your limit?

    Paul

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heh, I might need to bring another keyboard on line to support demand.

      Delete
  6. Trying like hell to also stay away from politics I am. I still slip into an opinion from time to time hard to stop it is. (dang, your style is catching) I have found that stopping all political posts on Facebook has lowered my blood pressure a bit it has. (there it is again) Ok, that is the end of comment before I start digressing!

    Just keep posting, even memory dumps can be entertaining...they are.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's infectious I am.

      I don't remember when (or why) I started typing like Yoda. But fun it is.

      Delete
  7. Goodness, now you're up to five.

    PLQ

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    1. Second keyboard being brought on line, time to increase throughput...

      Delete
  8. "Movie audiences shy away from long, complicated stories where they really need to pay attention. Well, modern audiences that is."

    Modern AILO's shy away from anything which cannot be represented by a koobecaf meme or a 140 character twit-tweet. Thus the political climate and all its attendant problems, which will not be solved until millions of people are actually bleeding enough to put down their phones and fight back. At which point it'll most likely bee too late. Hopefully I'll be in the ground by then.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Koobecaf and rettiwt both drive me nuts.

      Koobecaf is loaded with self-proclaim experts and obvious trolls, though admittedly, I like the cat pictures. As to rettiwt (pronounced re-twit) it's too damn short of characters to be of any use. Hell, I'm just getting up to speed when I run out of space! Terse I am not, clever I am not. Nor are most of the people on rettiwt.

      I don't know where it will end, but to put it in terms an aviator might understand, we seem to be flying awfully low at the moment and the controls feel really sloppy. Controlled flight into terrain can't be too far off.

      I weep for what could have been.

      Delete
    2. Boy, I really let my grump off the chain there, didn't I? Sorry 'bout that. I can be so rude...

      Delete
    3. I find that releasing the grump can be very refreshing.

      You have done nothing which requires an apology.

      :)

      Delete
    4. Stump the dummy was easy today. Koobecaf and rettiwt got me. But, then again, I've got no use for those programs. Haven't logged on to Facebook in a very long time (years probably). As for twitter, anything that can be said in what 140 characters, doesn't need to be said.

      Delete
  9. I shall continue to read you, you frequently brighten my day.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Interesting that you should post about the siege at Jadotville. Just watched the movie a couple days ago, and found it refreshingly un-PC. It seemed to me to be a pretty straightforward retelling of the events without the "bad, awful white people" slant we've come to expect from the entertainment industry these days.

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    1. I share your opinion about the film TwoDogs. Appears to be an accurate telling of that tale as well.

      Delete
    2. Oh dear Lord, don't tell me you two know each other?

      (Not that that's a bad thing...)

      Delete
    3. If we're talking about retired USAF Colonel Dan, then no, I've just read his books. Great stuff! When I saw the name I wanted to paraphrase George C. Scott who may have been paraphrasing George S. Patton when he said in the movie (I'm paraphrasing here) "TwoDogs, you magnificent (bleep), I read your books!" You've got waaaaaaay more than three readers Sarge.

      Delete
    4. I use three the way the ancients used 10,000. Meaning a lot, but less than a crap ton. Metric or otherwise.

      FWIW, the book Patton allegedly read in the movie is shown as "Tank Attacks." In reality, the book Rommel wrote was Infanterie Greift An, meaning "infantry attacks." It was about Rommel's experiences in WWI, which were pretty intense. I knew that you would want to know.

      Patton might have read that. Who knows?

      Delete
    5. "Patton might have read that. Who knows?"

      Read it, he likely helped Rommel write it.

      Paul

      Delete
  11. One of my high school friends, a great many of which are either trending Bolshevik or weak in their fortitude to actually listen to an argument from the right, sarcastically commented on one of my many Face Book posts about "Her." He said "Thanks Tom, you really changed my mind on that!" I responded that I don't do it to with that in mind, I do it because I like posting.

    Keep on posting/blogging of a political nature when you feel it, despite the challenges, and with little concern about upsetting any familial apple carts. My friend might "unfollow" me, but your brothers can't "unbrother" you. Keeping it away from the dinner table might be in order, but The Chant is your table, and they don't have to sit there if they choose not to.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Personally, I love your Koobecaf posts. But I've seen some ruffled feathers in your neighborhood.

      Lately I haven't felt like posting anything political, for BP and sanity reasons. I'd also need to purchase a ruggedized keyboard and mouse as lately politics has two affects on me: depression at times, raving fury at others.

      Besides which, most folks in these parts already know my feelings on the current state of affairs.

      But if the mood strikes, it could happen. A political post that is.

      Delete
  12. Two thoughts (remote as they may be) on this post:

    1) Center is a relative location when one is perched on either end
    and
    2) Sometimes we can all be a little trying

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Sound observations Skip.

      Especially (2), in fact I am usually trying in that sense.

      As to (1), some some folks are so far to either end that they can't see the center from where they are. I try very hard to not be one of those people. (And there's that "try" thing again...)

      Delete
  13. I kept seeing these giant Os you were writing, converting them with my one eye that can focus, numbers and wondering which one of the Century series jets you were writing about and then I woke up, peered a little closer at the screen and figured you'd been at the brannaawhatevercoourt. If I have another day like this one I won't survive. Falling down the stairs hurt a lot more than it used to and it left all kinds of marks. I broke the door knob off at the bottom of the flight. (see? Air Force tie, mentioned "fllight""

    I may not blog for a couple weeks. Can I just say, OUCH!
    I was all set to post about Europe's mission to Mars today but I'm waiting and hoping for good news although, it probably didn't survive.

    ReplyDelete
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    1. I've had dreams like that.

      Sounds like you've taken a bit of damage. Take some time off, relax.

      Falling down stairs is never fun. I actually fell up the stairs last weekend. Wasn't nearly as painful as going the other way. Rather embarrassing though.

      Giant O's? You've planted a seed, I just need to see what springs forth.

      Delete
  14. If ever a consensuses was reached in my extended clan, someone would change their mind just to keep the uproar going. Irish descendants, won't fight for anything but will fight against everything.

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    1. The Irish do love a good fight.

      I'm a contrarian myself, love to stir the pot.

      Delete
  15. This. This is what keeps me coming back. Where else can one come for such a cornucopia of ideas so tastefully put. (Apologies to Mister Churchill for the ending preposition.) Keep it up and may the healing accelerate, those bags ain't gonna fill themselves yannow.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)