In going through the few photos I have of Nagasaki, the other major bunch are of the hypocenter or peace park. That post will be a long one on history, with a lot of the photos from the park and my thoughts on the museum. However, today is just one shot. I came across this photo and I was shocked I had it. This is at the hypocenter. I had to go back and look it up, I was in Nagasaki in April of 2004. So this is Nagasaki in the Spring, 59 years after a nuclear weapon exploded right above this location. I’ll leave any conclusions and thoughts to you.
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.
So the latest urban gentrified hipster recreational activity is axe throwing. And so, um, uh, … what? Essentially people go to what is in any sense a bar/club, only while you get pasted you throw axes at wooden boards. Although it seems not all venues permit alcohol while you throw, I think it depends on the jurisdiction’s laws.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about the use of any kind of weapon and the proficiency that comes with it. Throughout most of human history, the ability to expertly wield (at a minimum) a small dagger was considered necessary to remain alive. Now we’re lucky if people can chop an onion. But I just don’t get why this is a thing?
First off, how is this even legal? In today’s bubble wrapped society this is one that somehow got past the government nanny filters. Is it like those infernal scooters where regulation just doesn’t address it? I suppose there’s no law that says you can’t run an axe club, but if you tried to open a throwing knives club I bet that’d be illegal. Or heavily regulated.
As a weapons example, the axes these clubs use most closely resembles the Francisca; the quintessential battlefield throwing axe first perfected by the Franks and later used to spread mayhem by other such warlike races such as the Vikings. It was essentially an attempt to break the deadlock that was the spear and shield wall warfare of the period. The age of the longbow and armored heavy cavalry came later, but for a few hundred years it was spears, shields, and axes; backed up by limited and essentially ineffective archery.
So if you’re throwing an axe at a club with your mates, this might be cool, but you don’t get the real experience. So we at TAP are here to help. We’ll open our own axe club. Let us know what you think. We always get lots of feedback to the posts on this degenerate blog.
Here are the guidelines:
– Intoxication is mandatory, as it likely was on most medieval battlefields; the customer may choose whatever beverage they desire, but before beginning, a BAC test will verify the customer is above the legal limit to operate a motor vehicle.
– Axe throwing will not be done individually, but in a group via the shield wall. The inexperience of the customer is irrelevant. Armor and shield will be used. Those who refuse or cannot wear armor or lift shield will be ejected from the venue without refund.
– Customers will submit to a short training rehearsal on shield wall tactics so as to experience abject suffering and shocking reality of being one minor cog in a mass of human meat meant for the medieval grinder. Training mistakes will be met with physical correction with a ferocity as determined by venue management and training staff.
– Actual axe throwing is conducted from the shield wall with environmental conditions necessary to fully simulate the medieval battlefield experience. Noise generators will produce human screaming and shouting at decibel levels prohibited for airport runway employees. The building’s heat will be at a level considered medically negligent to induce dehydration. Despite the level of intoxication, no substance fitting the proper definition of food will be offered to the customer. And so on.
– Axes will be thrown by the shield wall at wooden walls simulating an opposing shield wall. Customers will be ranked by the number of axe hits assessed by venue management as solid kills or crippling blows enough to have removed the target from the fight.
– Customers with the lowest scores would normally have become medieval battlefield casualties. To simulate this for the customer, before departing the venue they will receive a single bare-knuckled punch to the face via a former, jaded heavyweight boxer. Physical injury and its associated potential medical costs are the responsibility of the customer.
– Customers with the highest scores will receive free alcohol for the remainder of the evening, a refund of their fee (paid in gold coins), diligent (legal) attention and adoration from venue employees from the gender of the customer’s choice, ample roasted meats for consumption, and several musical templates which they can sing with their fellow high score patrons.
That is all. Please carry on. Enjoy your day!
Oh my, I have no life. How come I can remember a lunatic piece I wrote over four years ago but not when I last took mine doggy for a haircut? The BBC is (rightly) all over the Washington Post’s obit about how Baghdadi was just a misunderstood neighborhood religious tutor. But the BBC seems to have forgotten when it once referred to Hitler as just a poor failed struggling artist. Said this blog’s unhinged, dumb author (me) back in 2015:
I especially like how the BBC wraps their article with this one liner about Hitler:
“He went on to become Germany’s military and political leader from 1933 to 1945, launching World War Two and causing the deaths of millions.”
For some reason they wrote this line in a non-dominant, weak voice; like Hitler was just some disgruntled toll booth operator who spray painted his bosses’ car.
How about this instead, BBC:
“He went on to brutally acquire the title of Germany’s military and political dictator from 1933 to 1945, attempted to conquer Europe and committed cultural, physical, and emotional genocide against tens of millions. Nobody misses him.”
Why does this modern newspaper writing style surprise anybody? It sure doesn’t surprise me. The modern elite (which includes the media) is all about the grey. Moral equivalency is a supposed virtue now. Good/evil, black/white, are for bigots and losers. Monsters aren’t meant to be hated, they’re meant to be understood.
It’s tolerance and understanding for all! Except, for those who voted for somebody they didn’t, or for somebody who says something online about [insert anything here] that they disagree with, or if they’re fans of the Houston Astros, and so on.
In the year 2176, Big Brother will murder one-billion people. The joint BBC/Post obit headline for him: “I love you.”
PS: goodbye false caliph, you piece of shit, nobody will miss you
This weekend democracy protestors in Hong Kong were sighted singing the Star Spangled Banner while asking Trump for help against the Giant Octopus that is the Chinese Communist Party and its turncoat Hong Kong underlings.
I’m not entirely sure this the best move. I even wonder if the Commies inserted these people as a fifth column to make the protestors look like foreign agents instead of shopkeepers and airport baggage handlers who don’t relish the idea of being black bagged to Beijing on a dark night’s moment’s notice.
But if these folks are legitimate, they might do well to look at Afghanistan, or Syria, or Iraq, and wonder if America might perhaps not make the best of allies to ask for help at this current moment in world history.
In any event, our plucky freedom lovers were promptly tear gassed for their trouble. Guess what, the gas canisters are Made in America. Here’s a shot of an expended canister lying on the Hong Kong streets.
Here’s the BuzzFeed article on the background of dirt poor folks struggling to make a living on minimum wage in rural Pennsylvania as they poison their own bodies so the stuff they make can poison others in various foreign lands. If you’re a dictator, nothing says quality in the misery tools you employ like Made in America! Just ask your Yemini neighbor.
Gee, thank God BuzzFeed is on the case, otherwise nobody would know. I guess the New York Times and Washington Post are too busy looking at Twitter and admiring themselves in the mirror. We gotta rely on BuzzFeed for help here, geez. Gee wiz.
I think this tale is quite the perfect encapsulation with just about everything that’s wrong in America right now. Of course, at the end of the article it says Congress is on the case. There’s gonna get it fixed! [cue laugh track]
Cheers! From our country, to yours.
So a twelve year old has recently suggested we nuke hurricanes. The news outlets of course went to reason and logic to countermand something that’s probably just best ignored. But we at TAP contain within insanity that knows no bounds:
1) Even if nuking hurricanes doesn’t work, why not just do it anyways, just to give it a shot? It’s only ocean out there, most of the ocean’s biomass is near the shores anyways, so let’s give it ago. What could go wrong?
2) Even if nuking hurricanes doesn’t work, why not battle weather where we can? If a hurricane can take a nuke and keep going, I bet you a big tornado can’t. Lots of room on all those plains to take a nuke blast.
3) And take the burning Amazon, it’s perfectly reasonable to get mad and preachy at Brazil for doing what Western nations did for most of the 19th Century, but putting out fires is easy. You just nuke the forest to remove the trees which fuel the flames. The forest firefighter doctrinal term is a ‘controlled burn’, only this time with a nuclear weapon.
4) The positive effects of lethal radiation are underrated.
5) Nuke work. Come on, you know you want to.
6) Nuke the Moon. Don’t get mad at me, the Moon started it, it’s time we finish things for good.
7) I don’t get why the zombie apocalypse thing is a thing. In reality, the war would be over in eight seconds because we have nuclear weapons whereas the zombies can’t use tools our ancestors wielded 30K years ago.
8) It would probably greatly benefit humanity to gather all celebrities and politicians onto a big boat, tow it out to sea, and then nuke it. Twice.
9) In all these stupid superhero movies, nuclear weapons give them super powers. I should go out into the desert with my own backpack nuke and give this a shot. What could go wrong?
10) I think if aliens are watching us they’d be baffled at how we’ve somehow managed to not use a nuke in nearly 75 years. Maybe we don’t all collectively suck as much as we think we do.
11) Did they ever nuke Godzilla? If so, did it work? I’m not 100% familiar with these films so I’m not sure. I’m sure they did, and that it didn’t work, which is dumb. After all, dude’s not immortal.
12) We have a garbage / plastic waste problem throughout the planet. Let’s just dig a huge ditch in the Australian outback and use that as the planet’s only landfill. And we just nuke it from time to time to clean it out.
13) Let’s face it, some countries probably should be completely annihilated with nuclear weapons. I’m looking at you Andorra, Isle of Man, Albania, Middle Earth, Belgium, Westeros, Bhutan, whatever.
14) And lastly don’t forget aliens. We’ll need to nuke aliens when they come for our beer supply. Granted, their ability to travel between planets likely means our nukes are completely ineffective and they’ll laugh at us from their bridge while they bat way our shitty technology, but it’d be a real cool blast for a few minutes. You know, before they began their assault. Bow and arrows, anybody?
What fun! Fireworks!
Depending on what bad news article you read this week, you probably got the wrong idea of what was going on in Jamestown. This is understandable when the goal of a writer, or television presenter, or whoever is not to inform you but to shape your brain, one way or the other. There is no history anymore, I guess, it’s just what can be used to shape contemporary politics. Well, sorry, everything is not a sound bite. History matters.
But when you look at the insanity of it, it’s quite wonderful in how depressing it is. It is (despite bad news) not the 400th anniversary of Jamestown. It’s the 400th anniversary of the establishment of the first General Assembly of Virginia. Some news articles have called this the birth of democracy in America. I’m not sure I’d go that far, but it’s a rough approximation.
Accordingly, Virginia went ahead and held an event. After all, the Virginia General Assembly can trace its roots to this original creation. So, if you were into history, and wanted to commemorate an event in today’s hyper insane world, why would you invite anybody of consequence? Instead, they went ahead and invited the most toxic president since Franklin Buchanan and Virginia’s governor (a guy who either has amnesia or is a liar or both).
Hmm, maybe instead, maybe just leave both those guys on the bench for this event, eh? Maybe not? Oh, they did it anyways? And it turned into a big political event and shitstorm? Gee, who ever could have foreseen that? Isn’t there like a firefighter who’s a mayor somewhere in all of Virginia. Like some guy who once pulled three urchins from a burning orphanage and as a farewell life tour he ran for mayor at 73? Get that guy to give the speech! For fuck’s sake.
What you have to remember about Jamestown goes beyond sound bites. Per the info garden of Wikipedia: “Of the 6,000 people who came to the settlement between 1608 and 1624, only 3,400 survived.” Hey anybody want to go to Antarctica with me, with some dogs and a sled, and we’ll set up a colony there and play with penguins. You’ve got a 43% chance of fatality within 15 years. Interested?
Jamestown was a failed business venture established on one of the worst sites for human habitation you could imagine. So much so that the original site was eventually abandoned completely. The only reason Jamestown survived was a sheer stubborn force of will and contempt for death which would serve the British Empire rather well (and also rather poorly) throughout its history.
By 1776, Virginia was the most populous and richest of the 13 colonies. Don’t think that didn’t come without a commensurate level of nightmare. Between disease, a challenged food supply, constant warfare, disease, and a health care system that still thought bleeding helped it’s a wonder anybody survived. Colonial America was many things, it was also a big meat grinder.
It’s worth remembering just how precious life was back then. Particularly when so many can’t see beyond the latest tweet. The act of establishing a General Assembly in the middle of a failed colony where everybody was walking death is quite the act of community. It’s a challenge to life itself, that despite all the hardships, they would survive and prosper. That they had a future.
Quite the gamble. But none of them could have done it alone. It’s worth remembering when everybody apparently hates everybody else that a sense of community is likely one of the only things that allowed them all to survive. In most ways, what America is traces its roots to these very early, first, dangerous steps. It’s worth our time to ponder it. Because we became that future.
One of the most striking things I find from D Day commemorations is the implicit understanding among most who attend that victory was not inevitable. I think it’s what makes the drama of D Day still so compelling after all these years. The letter of failure prewritten by Eisenhower, how Hitler slept late while panzers sat idle, the blinding courage that seized Omaha Beach before the day ended with elite Nazi infantry separating the Allied beachheads. It all could have gone very differently.
This (and the Eurocentric mindset that permeates a war that essentially began in 1914) makes D Day something more than say, the invasion of Okinawa. Depending on how you count troop or ship numbers, the Allied invasion of Okinawa can be considered the larger and certainly far bloodier affair. But victory in Okinawa was essentially inevitable. It was simply a matter of how many Allied and Japanese would die in battle (alongside a near tragic 50% fatality rate of Okinawan civilians).
D Day is different, a great gambit, one of the most consequential risks in the history of war. Without it, it’s conceivable to consider the ideas of a separate peace with Germany, something less than total victory. A Europe and a world that would look very different. A massive failure of democracy against the worst of totalitarianism.
But to me, the seeds of victory lie in the differing systems at war, the different visions of humanity. Put in the bluntest of military of terms, the Allies win because democracy allows the battlefield flexibility of thought, leadership, and initiative required. Conversely, Rommel has to wait for a dictator to give him the most basic and common sense of tactical orders. One system was doomed to fail, to fall apart under its own contradictions. Something similar happens in the political realm with the Soviets Circa 1989.
So it’s a victory rightly celebrated, honored, and remembered. But I’m always given pause when considering these sorts of events. That was then, a generation guided by a singular purpose to keep their societies free. My own family was among them. How does that stack up with today?
Today speech laws in Britain can get you jailed if you publicly quote the “wrong” words of Churchill. Since that day the vaunted Allied coalition has lost more wars than it’s won, it will soon be in Afghanistan five times longer than it took to win World War II. 75 years after a war to preserve freedom across the globe, very few bat an eye when the Sudanese military guns down over 100 unarmed protestors; because they can, because they know nobody cares.
So D Day into what? I think a much narrower purpose than one would wish for. Perhaps less about freedom or democracy for the globe, but rather the very narrow goal for the planet’s Western powers to defeat the Imperial Japanese and Nazi threat that sought to supplant them. And then immediately after, to confront a Soviet threat that sought to do the same. If you don’t have nuclear weapons, eventually the very opposite Soviet and Western visions would have had to resolve their conflict in battle. But, the threat of mutual destruction left the Soviets to fall politically in 1989, albeit with a miserly amount of proxy wars that broke dozens of the planet’s other nations.
One out of every nine Americans wore a military uniform during this war. The equivalent number is if 30 million Americans were in the military today. Instead, there are more Americans in jail or prison at this very moment than are on active duty service. More Americans are likely to know their smartphone in greater detail than the most basic considerations of D Day. Whole sections of the modern culture think history has nothing to offer us at all, that it needs revision, or even destruction to rebuild society into something new.
It gives one pause, and a wonder about what D Day bought the world 75 years ago. A journey, into what? Toward victory, yes. But then what? That still, even today, is for us to decide. They bought us the chance we all have today. Today, as then, it’s up to us what we do with it.
One cannot deny Juan Guaidó’s guts, even bravery, at taking the stand he has. I still don’t know how this man is still alive. Any number of deliberate accidents could have occurred by this point, to him or his family. Maduro’s drug trafficking gang regime is not exactly known for its restraint, having already used live rounds against unarmed demonstrators and raping the family members of defector soldiers.
Nevertheless when Guaidó appeared on television yesterday calling for a coup, I had a bad feeling about it all. I felt he was overplaying his hand, reckless, and doomed to fail. Which is exactly what happened. Guaidó seemed to not understand the basic law of coups or war, you need guns and lots of guns. Guaidó had only a few dozen soldiers, who are now hiding in the Brazilian embassy. Leopoldo Lopez, another key opposition figure who broke house arrest to appear in yesterday’s video, went to the Spanish embassy. Guaidó’s whereabouts are unknown.
What did he expect to happen? Well, here’s the insanity of it folks. This was the “plan”:
1) The chief justice of Venezuela’s supreme court Maikel Moreno was supposed to declare “legally” that the Guaidó led legislature was the legitimate arm of the Venezuelan government. This is the point that Guaidó has made all along, that Maduro’s election is fraudulent and thus by the constitution Guaidó is the legitimate acting president.
2) Using this legal decision as his basis the Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez was then supposed to throw his weight behind the opposition and order the armed forces to shift their support to Guaidó. There are unconfirmed claims that other key regime figures such as the head of the domestic intelligence agency were also in on the plot.
3) It seems the key details of this plan were brokered between Guaidó, the coup plotters, and the US National Security Council. As in, John Bolton himself. We know this because Bolton laid out the plot itself in the last 24 hours, essentially explaining how the coup he engineered had failed. Bolton apparently still seems to think he’s a Fox News contributor and not a functioning government leader who should know when to keep his mouth shut.
4) What this means is the plan was never about soldiers fighting for Guaidó, or street demonstrators overthrowing the regime, but instead focused around what amounts to a palace coup where the main effort, the chances for any success, rested entirely on the personal decisions of hardcore Maduro regime loyalists.
That’s just about the dumbest plan I’ve heard all year. If that’s how this actually played out, then Bolton is an idiot. And Guaidó is either naïve, desperate, or stupid.
a) What would possess them to think that two of the most hardcore of Maduro loyalists in Moreno and Lopez were suddenly going to change hats, when their fortunes, their freedom, and perhaps their very lives depend on Maduro remaining on power?
b) Russia and Cuba have actual armed forces on the ground in Venezuela to support the regime. Their mission is to ensure the regime’s survival. For better or worse, the number of guns Bolton had on the ground is zero.
c) The Venezuelan armed forces and their paramilitary gangs have used live fire against unarmed civilians before. When this was always going to remain the case, and since Guaidó and Bolton essentially had zero guns of their own? So, … ???
Here is singular example of why one should not put their trust in the USA. Regardless of what political party happens to be in power, it’s not a wise bet. America’s enemies are serious. America is not. Bet on evil folks, it’s going to keep winning for a while.
I prefer my evildoers to be comical or true believers. These are the bad guys one can get behind.
On the comical end of the spectrum are Bond villains, Indiana Jones Nazis, or say Maduro (a bumbling idiot of a former bus driver who hangs onto power because his vice president and generals are addicted to drug trafficking money). There was actually a Venezuelan propaganda video where Maduro was driving the slums talking up his record and in the background is a building with graffiti calling for his downfall. Not only does Maduro fail to notice this, but they were actually stupid enough to leave this in after editing. Now that’s a level of comical dumb I can get behind in my bad guys.
On the true believer end of the spectrum I like my villains to mean what they say. This provides the clearest indication for the rest of us as to how one can conduct their lives. For example, Hitler shot his own wife and himself rather than be taken. Dude was pure evil, probably mostly insane, but at least meant what he said. Or take the currently popular Thanos (I don’t watch these movies but it’s hard not to know what happens) who follows through on his evil plans all the way to the end, and on multiple occasions, dies to the bitter end for them.
Contrast this to bad guys who are total losers, they neither provide comic relief nor the pleasure of a true bad guy. For example, take Stalin, for all his crimes (more bodies than Hitler) what he essentially boils down to is a coward. Granted, we must take the story with a grain of salt as the tale is from his daughter (who had a mixed relationship with him at best) but at the very end Stalin apparently dies in bed but as a broken man full of fear in his eyes at the prospect of death. Hey man, I get it, nobody wants to die, I’d be scared too. But when you clock a body count in the tens-of-millions, you’d better have more of a gut when your time comes.
Or take another example with our current human scum of the day in Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who is apparently still alive after five years of war. For those who aren’t aware, ISIS is finished as a landholding organization. What remains is a true stateless terror cell. al-Baghdadi made his name calling for an apocalyptic vision of his false view of Islam where the end was near and the apocalypse would rebuild humanity in a new era, his world. I’m paraphrasing but that’s what this guy sold to the planet. It was this vision that brought tens-of-thousands of foreign fighters from across the globe to fight for ISIS.
But oh dear, oh so sorry folks, because I guess al-Baghdadi didn’t really mean it after all. Shocker. If al-Baghdadi really believed any of that, he’d be a corpse in Baghuz either dead by his own hand or any number of lethal means from the Syrian Defense Forces or their Western allies. Instead he’s slumming it up in some false tent / film set like a total loser. I mean, just look at this guy, he looks like a roadside panhandler. All he needs is a cardboard sign with third grade handwritten scrawling: “unemployed false prophet/jihadist – need money – homeless veteran – please help – God bless!”.
It’s like bin Laden. For all that dude was and claimed to be, he died in a purpose built cult compound mansion surrounded by his PlayStation and his (ultra large) porn stash. What a total loser.
al-Baghdadi’s time is coming, it’s just a matter of when. But like bin Laden he’ll go out as a complete fraud. An evil man for sure, but one who was never comical, serious, or even competent. It’s a testament to the flaws of humanity that such pathetic creatures manage to mayhem as much as they do.
What’s the real lesson from al-Baghdadi’s brief, violent reign? That he was good at it? Or rather, as I believe, that his foes (the criminally incompetent Syrian and Iraqi governments) were just even more incompetent / fraudulent.