Civil War – 31 January 1863 – not a routine day on the water

If you’ve ever been at sea for a significant time or been a sailor you know the art of the routine is of considerable importance.  Routine allows you to get done what you need to get done so you can do actual work, or have fun, or just stare out at the awesomeness of being at sea.

When the routine is busted is when things go bad.  During peacetime this can be bad weather, equipment breaks, some dummy does dummy things, etc.  War is of course when the routine is shattered by expected or unexpected action.

The Union blockade of the Confederate States was one of the most successful (and least appreciated) acts of the war.  By the time the war was halfway over goods might be 20 or 30 times more expensive in parts of the South.  By the end, the Confederacy was starving.

Making this blockade happen was the genius of many hands, but much credit is due to Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles.  But for the average Union sailor it was a boring slog of a routine, day after day, sitting off the southern coast watching mostly empty water, in an era where air conditioning didn’t exist.

So on January 31st, 1863 at least it’s not Summer, so the temperature is good.  But there’s a blockade runner’s dream in an early morning fog.  But it’s not a blockade runner the Union Navy has to worry about, the Confederates are coming out to fight:

Two Confederate rams, the CSS Chicora (Commander John R Tucker) and Palmetto State (Lieutenant John Rutledge) under overall command of Flag Officer Duncan N Ingraham, left Charleston Harbor in an early morning fog and attacked the blockading fleet.  The rams successfully destroyed the USS Mercedita (Captain Stellwagen) and the Keystone State (Commander William E LeRoy).  General PGT Beauregard commander of the Charleston district, claimed that the blockade had been lifted.  More Federal ship arrived.

Chicora and Palmetto State were modern ironclad rams, arguably two of the most dangerous warships then afloat.  Whereas Mercedita and Keystone State were wooden steam ships.  In order to blockade such a long coastline, the Union Navy had to rely on hundreds of old model wooden vessels which were fine for chasing down blockade runners but simply couldn’t compete with modern armored warships.

– The reality is the Confederacy didn’t have the industrial base to generate enough modern warships, and those they had were slowly and methodically run down and destroyed as the Union captured Confederate port after port.  Chicora and Palmetto State are exceptions in that since Charleston held almost until the end of the war, they lasted all the way until 1865 and were scuttled when Union forces finally took Charleston.

– So this was of course a very one sided battle, at least at the tactical level.  Mercedita was hit by gunfire and then rammed to the point that she surrendered.  Keystone State was disabled by gunfire afterwards.  Contrary to the above text, both ships would survive, be towed away, and continue service for the Union after repairs.  Chicora and Palmetto State would exchange gunfire with the rest of the blockade fleet before retiring.

– A one sided affair and a complete tactical victory for the Confederacy, it did nothing to change the overall scope of the war.  The Union blockade of Charleston remained intact.  Which is, of course, the purpose of an effectively executed blockade.

– All throughout the war are the scattered names of dozens of Union and Confederate generals who are just kind of there.  And even when they execute brilliant acts here and there, they’re still just kind of there.  They’re just guys.  And you ask yourself, why?  Beauregard was the co-winner of First Bull Run.  Why is he just kind of there for the rest of the war?  Well, it’s because of statements like this: ”claimed that the blockade had been lifted”.

– So if you’re some Charleston citizen, and Beauregard says the blockade is over, and two days later you look out over the water and the blockade is still there, you’d be certain that man was an idiot.  Here is a perfect example of Southern spirit over common sense.  Elan is not enough to win a war, and yet many of the South’s leaders (even those in the most key of positions) figured it would be enough to triumph.  It wasn’t.  The text above blandly notes: “More Federal ship arrived.”  Beauregard’s outlandish view of the war cannot compete with a Union war machine that can replace ships at will, no matter how many are destroyed.  And crewed by Union sailors who had one of the hardest, most thankless tasks of the war, but who completed their mission in the end.

Chicora and Palmetto State in Charleston harbor

dogs and cats make boring political statements

So the White House now has a cat. Because there’s nothing else going on in the world right now that should otherwise attract the attention of our nation’s leaders. But I guess it doesn’t matter. I bet the White House staff is so bloated there must be at least three people tasked with just taking care of the pet. After all, can’t have kitty’s litter box smell getting into the state dining room.

Dogs and cats are great, for us. Not for political theater. It shows unseriousness. Modern politicians are not normal people. If they were, they wouldn’t be in politics. So the idea that they are all somehow just like us little folk is kind of amusing and insulting.

If you want pets in a position of power, let’s get insane:

– Lion: This classic fear based weapon on a chain next to the Resolute desk is a bit predictable but who cares, it’s a freaking lion

– Komodo dragon: Lost among the people’s fascination with this unique creature is just how vicious they are, they can be placed in the lap of unruly cabinet secretaries

– Sloth: Yes, sloths, are slothy, but they’re also surly assholes, they can hang from the rafters both inside and outside the White House and stare at people like they can see into their souls

– Panda: What better way to shine on America’s global competitor than to have a White House mascot that American commandos stole from the Beijing zoo

– Aquarium: A leader’s office isn’t complete without a big aquarium full of lots of fish, some of which eat the other fish, the tropes and stereotypes that could be uttered to visiting dignitaries are immeasurable

– Alligator & Crocodile: What’s the difference between these two? I’m 40 and I still have no idea, best to get both inside the building just to be safe

– Bald Eagle: Because, of course, it could sit on a perch next to the Resolute desk and Biden could feed it raw meat during his meeting with the Deputy Undersecretary of Machine Tools at Union #438

– Mosquitos: Put them in the broom closet (there’s got to be one even in the White House) and any staff member who accidentally breaks a plate has to stand in there for 15 minutes

– Alien: Actually clone the alien from Alien, and he can greet guests at the door and pose with them for selifes, American commandos will have to be on hand to put down anybody who gets the face hugger

– Grizzly Bear: Teddy Roosevelt would approve, bear can take over the South Lawn, he would forever have a higher approval rating than any White House occupant

Aww, just look at the cute kitty! He even has a ball too! Wow, our political leaders are just like us too! They love pets just like we do! Wow! There isn’t a chance in hell that they’ll ever constantly fail us all and think we’re all shit eating peasants!

El Paso – Franklin Mountain

El Paso is one of those few but not insignificant number of American cities that I’ve been to so much I feel like I’ve lived there when I actually haven’t. Work and fun travel will do that progressively over time. More than anything what drew me to El Paso was the people. I really miss working with those folks and their families a lot. I’ll probably never go there for work again, but whenever I find my way back to El Paso the people are always there.

Still, that doesn’t mean El Paso lacks for things to do on your own. In Franklin Mountain, El Paso has a hill that literally bisects the city, and gives it its name. It’s a good hike, and one that if done on a weekday has the always enjoyable trait of being one you can accomplish without seeing a single other human being, which always adds a nice poetic touch to the hike.

the always typical and delightful: I want to climb that.

I can’t remember what this small structure was, but I think it was a power company site back when such things were needed

east El Paso, it’s hard to tell in this shot, but this portion of the mountain has three or four feet of hiking room, with a very clear one way trip doom fall on either side of you, it was fun

words do in fact matter

A common theme on this degenerate blog for the past four years has been not what Trump does, but what covering Trump has done to the media. Trump has always had a clock running, and now it expires in two weeks. But those who cover him will still be here. And Trump has driven them insane. They’ve mortgaged their credibility to get one man, one guy, who’s soon to be gone.

The last few days the word “coup” has appeared in just about every publication I read. The idea is that Trump will attempt a coup in the next two weeks to stay in office. Do these folks really understand what they’re writing? Words do in fact matter.

According to my bookcase dictionary, a coup is:

“a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government”

Note the word: violent.

So when somebody writes coup, to me that means they think Trump is going to put the 82nd Airborne Division on the DC streets within the next two weeks and have them shoot people in the face. Really? Do they really, actually believe that? Because if they do, they’re literally bat shit crazy, insane.

Or, they’re using an explosive, irresponsible word to describe the back and forth of politics in our current toxic political climate. A political climate that isn’t going to get any better just because Biden drops his suitcase onto the White House bedroom floor.

They even got a bunch of former Defense Secretaries (most of whom are total losers) to sign a letter asking Trump not to do this “coup” thing. Do all these former Defense Secretaries think so little of the armed forces that they once led, that America’s armed forces are idiotic automatons who will do whatever Trump says without regard to their oath and honor? I guess the answer is yes. I guess?

Gee wiz, I wonder what’s going to happen to all these people when Trump’s gone and they have to live in the real world again. And not a world where they have a crayon drawing of Trump on the bathroom wall where he has devil horns they drew. I think they’ll have like a withdrawal, like they’re coming off some drug. Getting hooked on meth would have been wiser the last four years.

post election musings

– Apparently the highest percentage of the population in over a century voted in this election.  Still, it’ll likely come down to what 8K people in one State say.  Because the Electoral College is like having three of the 10,432 houses within 1 mile of yours get to decide where your dog can go to the bathroom.

– I never thought the Founding Fathers were infallible, despite knowing they built the best concrete to stand a nation atop ever.  However, the Electoral College and lifetime appointments for Supreme Court are among the more glaring dummy errors.  Anybody having a lifetime appointment to any government position is antidemocratic and has never really fulfilled the original purpose of keeping justices impartial.  The Electoral College was built for the days when only like 13% of the population was even eligible to vote.

– Good luck fixing either of these two obvious problems.  Changing the Constitution in today’s political environment?  Essentially, truly, impossible.  Anybody who says otherwise is promoting a pipe dream and needs to move to Oregon (see below).  You might as well fire a handgun into the ocean hoping to, “Take revenge upon all Fish for the crimes they’ve committed against humanity for the last 5K years.”

– The rest of Earth can still kiss my ass.  Oh, the Electoral College is dumb and America should fix it?  Kiss my ass.  Let anybody try and explain to you how Proportional Representation works in Parliamentary Democracies.  You’ll need a lot of beer, and the ability to laugh and mock at will.  Trust me.

– Think what you will about Trump, but the Democrats have only themselves to thank that he even exists.  They spent the last two elections putting up a pair of total losers who’d been in politics for the last 47 years and had zero real policies to offer.  When your only selling point to the voting populace is, “At least I’m not that guy”, then don’t be surprised when you can’t hook the average voter.

– Because of the above, and because the Senate and House remain divided, even if Biden wins expect him to accomplish absolutely nothing of actual value in the next four years.  Remember, America has a politics problem that goes well beyond what folks do or do not think about Trump.  These problems aren’t going to get solved, I’m so very sorry.

– People can now get fucked up on hard drugs in Oregon now.  Good for them.  I wish this rule applied everywhere.  Unfortunately we’ll still have to let America’s streets get torn up by a century of failed drug war policy before it’s all legalized in 2084.

– The tech freaks got their wish and California (the greatest bastion of hypocritical false values on Earth) voted to let the likes of Uber, Lyft, etc continue to treat their employees as non-union indentured slave labor.  Because nothing say big tech cares about you and the human race like dropping a cool $200M+ on lobbying cash to let a Paraguayan immigrant earn $3 an hour ferrying drunken tech bros back from their post IPO launch at the Ritz.

– Do you know who won your mayoral election (if applicable)?  Or even who your mayor is?  You should, they have 741% more influence on your life than the Prez does.

– Bad news, the TAP’s national ballot initiative to “Liquidate All Humanity, Cable News Employees/Networks, Flower Greenhouses, & Strip Mall Properties to the Sub-Atomic Level” was rejected in 49 States before even getting on the ballot.  It was then defeated by a 98% to 1% to 1% margin in Rhone Island where the remaining 1% was nothing but people writing, “What the hell is this nonsense?  Who the hell wrote this crazy, stupid shit?”

allying with the reaper

On a date a few months ago, I had a gal state to me in the first five minutes of meeting that she hoped Trump would die of covid.  That she was actively, hopefully waiting for it.  She said this while giggling and smiling, like she was describing her new kitty cat to me.  I’m sure she woke up this morning feeling a great big hug, it probably made her month.

To hear the way she said it back then, alongside the brazen, bare knuckled, hate filled way she described how she was going to help Biden win so she could become a political appointee, well, it kind of disgusted me.  I felt like I was talking to a ghoul, surely this kind of dark human soul only exists in fiction, it was so over the top.  Needless to say, I never saw her again by my choice.  But I always try and be a gentlemen about these things, and so these words did not exit my mouth on the way out the door:

a) “Love your neighbor.”

b) “By acting this way, there’s essentially no difference between you and Trump.”

c) “I don’t know how you sleep at night.”

To 83% of the media and pop culture and their followers, Trump is an evil man.  Not just a bad president, but a bad human.  And so I suppose it’s perfectly normal to a whole bunch of people to actively wish for his demise.  Kind of like how everybody would have been cool if somebody dragged a razor across Hitler’s throat in 1937.  But I just don’t agree with this kind of thought process.

1) Loving and respecting your neighbor is a hallmark of living a moral life, and generally speaking, helps you stay a good person.  Which should be a constant goal for any human being.

2) I thought the whole point of Trump being a bad guy is his actions are generally beyond the pale.  Well, to me, actively wishing for a fellow human being to die (except for Hitler, and probably Stalin, and Mao) is beyond the pale.

3) Most of the people preaching this thought process on social media, or the media, or to their friends, or to a guy they met eight seconds ago are like this because they are in fact no better than Trump.  They are in fact, just cut from the same cloth as every other hard core politico and their cultural straphangers all across society.  They act like this because generally speaking, they have no morals.  It’s not about society, or you, it’s about them and the power they want.  When all they care about is power, and they’re bereft of any kind of moral compass, allying with the reaper is a meaningless, routine gesture.

I think nearly every single family member I have wants Trump gone.  I always try and remind them to temper their expectations.  Whatever happens in November, by January America will still be ruled mostly by dirt bags who care only for themselves.  It’s just shuffling the chairs with a different type of parasite.  It’s been a complete team effort by both political parties to guide America into our current sewer.  But, no matter how much I hate those folks, I’m never allying myself with the reaper.

Civil War – 22 April 1862 – a visit from Uncle

The Battle of Shiloh was fought 06-07 April 1862 and was the first truly massive battle in the Western Theater and up to that point the largest of the war.  Its ferocity must have shocked the civilian population on both sides who even though the war was almost a year old probably still assumed somehow that massive bloodshed could have been avoided.

Instead, the stakes of the war and how strongly the individual soldier believed in their view of it shone through.  Entire units would fight nearly to the last man rather than retreat.  Men who were exhausted from the worst day of their lives yesterday, would show up today and do it all over again.  It wouldn’t be for the last time.

Two weeks later the Union Army remained encamped on their victorious battlefield at Shiloh.  Private Lucius Barber, then 22, was in Company D of the 15th Illinois Volunteer Infantry:

I was agreeably surprised one morning when I awoke to find Uncle Washington in my tent.  My friends had sent him down to see if anything was needed.  Although his services were not required, his company was very acceptable.  He stayed a couple of weeks with us and then returned home.  The roads were in an awful condition at the time and it was impossible for the army to move…

You’re in the bloodiest war in American history (though nobody knew that yet) and your Uncle shows up just to check on you.  Note a few things from this short passage:

– A walk (or he could have rode) from Illinois to Shiloh and a multi-week stay is not a minor amount of time, one wonders what, if any, employment Uncle Washington had

– Note that his friends, undoubtedly shocked by what they had read of the battle, sent Barber’s Uncle to check on him

– His friends were still at home, not yet enlisted in the Army, over the years this would have changed as the war turned into mass mobilization for both sides

– The roads were impossible for movement by armies, but apparently not by one Uncle checking in on his family

In wouldn’t be the last the war would hear from Private Barber.

Democrats fall into Trump’s trap

The headlines are about Ukraine, but make no mistake this is about the election and nothing more.  And the Democrats just fell into Trump’s trap.  Whether Trump did this on purpose or by accident (I have no idea) it is nevertheless reality.

Pelosi is now about to launch an impeachment hearing, which is the easiest way for the Democrats to permanently alienate 49% percent of the electorate for over a decade in one fell swoop.

What makes this worse is impeachment is a hopeless gesture.  The Economist did an article back in August that shows how with a divided Congress, a President (any President, of either party) can basically do whatever they want:

“The unwritten convention now says in effect that, if his skin is thick enough, a president is indeed above the law.”

So impeachment might help Democrats feel better, or feed partisan rage, but it will not help them win in 2020.  It accomplishes nothing of actual value.

Additionally, now the words Biden (the only actual serious Trump challenger) and Ukraine will go together throughout the campaign just like the word Hilary and e-mail did.  Do folks remember this, how much this helped Trump?  Apparently the Democrats forgot.  I guess?

Long time readers of this blog will be familiar with my utter contempt for both political parties and this shows why.  The Democrats are not Trump, but they sure never show they’re any wiser, or worthy of power themselves.  Here is a perfect example of why.

 

 

 

the spin cycle continues

I’ve probably been in that El Paso Walmart half a dozen times, but still: Kindly observe (again) another act of senseless evil by human scum(s).

Kindly observe (again) how said human scum(s) will now be given a platform by the shameless media to become famous and get their message out.

Kindly observe (again) how the political, business, entertainment, and/or educational elite express the same pointless platitudes without ever proposing any concrete solutions whatsoever thus ensuring its continuation for the next few decades at least.

Kindly observe (again) as the usual rhetorical bomb throwers use this event to justify whatever preconceived notions they have on religion, terrorism, guns, culture, and/or whatever and compete to see who can shout the loudest.

Kindly observe (again) as this spin cycle continues.

Kindly observe (again) that it will happen (again).

We recommend you do as I do, which is to not pay attention. For the average person on the street, it’s not even worth it anymore. You can’t change it, and you’ve got problems of your own to deal with each and every day as you live your life. This sort of thing is now as common as the changing of the seasons, and it’s not going to stop, so why bother expending your very valuable mental energy on it?

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Version #37 of 83 – Circa 2019

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Version #38 of 83 – Circa 2019