Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yeah, the other D-day!

Was Waterloo important? Yeah, I guess so, reluctantly. Really more like Napoleon equivalent of Eagles doing one more farewell tour, but still? I guess it was a major battle of Western Civ (why do you even use that term anymore?) just cause it was the total, decisive end for him.

Most important battles in Europe in the past thousand years. Battle of Hastings, Siege of Vienna, sure Waterloo, and D-day.

So why D-day Dave? All those other battles were decisive, while the 1944 Normandy invasion was hardly the end of a war. Well? It ain't like if D-day had failed we'd have gone home and let Hitler have his way. Probable that Berlin would have been nuked? Yep, likely.

What our boys managed on June 6, 1944 by succeeding in taking and holding that narrow strip of beachfront? They determined the future boundaries of the Iron Curtain. Had the invasion been another Dunkirk, would've taken at least six months to try again. Aside from the fact the A-bomb would've been about ready by then, and powerful constituencies would've been lobbying for its use? The Red Army was steadily marching west.

USSR only particpated in the European war, but they lost 7 soldiers for every US war death. They had a handful of really brilliant generals, I'd put in the same class as Lee, Rommel and Grant. But those guys, for all their brilliance, they saw soldiers mostly as cannon fodder. They didn't have the least qualms. So if D-day had failed, the Iron Curtain's boundary might have been Paris.

Stalin's guys were moving west. We had to move east because the smartest of our generals knew Hitler's end was a done deal, and Stalin was the next foe.

The reason Lee had his way with every Union General before Grant, is cause he always picked where to fight. Only mistake he ever made was Gettysburg, a place to fight that he didn't choose. In the same way, US generals involved in the European war were mindful where the next war would be fought.

That's why D-day was a pivotal battle. Success there determined the battle lines in the next war.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Tim Palchak Tim Palchak Tim Palchak

Oh maybe it's because of the Jackson story, or maybe if the gender of the victim was different? Had the offender been somehow associated with Christianity, oh yeah, you bet ya! But you must concede too Dave, the depravity of the story itself, makes it something unfit for the evening news.

Others can harrumph about why Frank Lombard's arrest isn't getting more airplay. There are after all, some who earn fortunes demonizing the media. But ya know Dave? Reinforcing opinions folk already hold, that's not journalism; it's pandering. Journalism is telling people what they don't know, or helping them see the mundane in a new light.

In an era when Bernie Madoff was stealing billions while dozens of elected and appointed officials looked the other way, it's important to think about who's awake at the switch. The FBI and Tim Palchak are still awake.

CSI makes crime fighting look exciting, clearcut and wrapped up in an hour. Catching child molesters on the internet isn't that way at all. TV shows depicting men arriving at a house where they thought to engage in sex with a teen, well those criminals are mostly amateurs. Besides, that's pederasty and its heterosexual equivalent. Pedophiles are in a different class.

A hardened, experienced pedophile is cunning, careful and patient. This is because their victims are pre-adolescent and don't have the least curiosity about sex. Even on the internet, with its pretense of anonymity, child molesters are skittish. It takes a lot of work to win their confidence and get evidence that will stand up in court. One false move and you've lost them for good. Then you have to go home, see your kids playing in the yard and know you let a creep get away. He'll continue to hurt children, and there's nothing you can do about it.

That's the kind of work Tim Palchak does, working with the FBI unit. Frank Lombard isn't even his first big bust so far this year. In the Lombard case it was a chain of busts that led to North Carolina. A pedophile was caught, then pressured for names and assistance.

The task of catching monsters goes like that. A man was molesting his adopted son, and invited others to do so. Now he's off the streets, thanks to Tim Palchak and his FBI colleagues.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Could Be...

Yeah Michael Jackson's dead, I got nothing to add to that. Well, except Congrats Marilyn Manson, you might now be the weirdest living American.

And the Governor of SC has a mistress from Argentina (damned outsourcing!) but I'm sure that's getting adequate media attention without my involvement.

Oh, here's something? The US savings rate is now approaching 7 percent. How about that? See that's an 8 percent increase from 2006, when it was -1. Depending how the numbers are parsed, that means Americans are now saving nearly $1 Trillion per year.

OOOOH OOOOH Mister Kotter!!! What if this current recession really happened exactly like? House of Cards investment banks got their knickers knotted over sub-prime fiasco and of course housing market crumbled, just as US was heading into a mild downturn. In response, tens of millions began ammassing a "rainy day" fund, maybe for the first time in their lives, thereby pulling $75B per month in discretionary spending out of the US economy.

I could go a lot of places with that! Like for instance? The amount Americans are saving per year is now about equal to the "stimulus" package. It's pregnant with possibilities, but there's something more interesting here?

China's savings rate is 50 percent. So we save 7 percent of a $14T economy and they save half of $3T economy. With a slight increase in US savings rate, and modest recovery meaning GDP growth, we could be our OWN China!!! How about that? We could be in hock to ourselves!

The darkly amusing thing is that upon announcement of the new savings rate, stocks fell and economists predicted a longer recession. So Americans being more prudent in their purchases and having some money laid aside, that's good for America, right? But it's bad for the economy, right? How can such a thing be so, Mr. Bald Hillbilly know-it-all?

Well, I guess it means the economy we had was bad for America maybe, huh? This time around let's take our medicine. The recession may be several quarters longer as a result, but let's not go back to "prosperity" based on spending more than we earn?

Let's keep that savings rate between 7 and 10 percent. We should and can easily be our own China.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I will miss the Pyramid

Of course it ain't in the US media. Maybe Rush/Hannity/O'Reilly are already running with it though. As we grow older we accept what was always true, that nobody can keep up with everything. So maybe Rush/Hannity/O'Reilly are already on it.

But the english speaking press in foreign lands are all over it. Some intrepid lad has figgered the best way to save Flint, MI is to get rid of it entirely. Ahh, the sweeping beauty of non-linear thinking! Dan Killdee (shouldn't that be Killcity?) wants to bulldoze large swaths of Flint, letting them revert to greenspace where buffalo will graze, and of course Sioux hunting parties will quickly follow, I guess, I suppose.

So his ideas about saving cities by destroying them is a seed that has found fertile ground in the White House! He has a list! People who make lists, well you just got to respect that effort? And good old bad old Memphis is on the list!!!! That according to London's prestigious Daily Telegraph, and news organs not yet owned by Rupert Murdoch in other english speaking countries.

WOW and coolbeans! Where do I go to take bulldozer driving lessons? Which parts of Memphis shall we destroy first?

Sure, Memphis has long been corrupt, same as every other river town. The only thing that's changed in a century is the skin tone of the crooks. But I can't help wondering if the citizens of Memphis know they are on a tenative list, and do they want to participate in a glorious revolution that includes the end of their city?

Sure, I'd LOVE going down to what used to a depressed area of Memphis, and watch Sioux hunting parties pick off buffalo, who wouldn't? But what happens to the folks liberated by the bulldozers? Are they supposed to join up with the Sioux?

I've been to these places and life still thrives there, despite very hard conditions. Churches, daycare centers, barbershops and beauty parlors. Do the bulldozers know these people as I do?

I think not really. I think I know Memphis better than Mr. Killdee or our President do. Perhaps Memphis doesn't want to be saved by being destroyed. But that's just me.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Two in a row?

And Death, she said, "I didn't point at your servant, but merely raised my hand in surprise, seeing him in Baghdad, so far from Samarrah, where later tonight we have an appointment."
Appointment in Sammarah, Somerest Maugham

Negumi was a brilliant physics student doing post-grad work. Takes a whole different skillset to get by in the high desert though. She was lost in the NM mountains and would likely die unless somebody with the right skillset came and found her. So that's just what they did. Then the rescue helicopter crashed into a mountain.

Johanna was having a ball on her vacation, so she missed the flight to Paris. And nobody who boarded that plane ever landed in Paris. On a winding road in Austria today Johanna's car swerved into the path of an oncoming truck.

Now how is a bald hillbilly supposed to grasp these things? Negumi I guess might've managed to wander out of the desert alive had she not been rescued, I suppose. Or she could've had a long lingering death out in that country that hates humans. Really, coyote food is the statistical norm. Johanna though, what a creep-out there!

Had she made that Air France flight, there's an Austrian truckdriver who wouldn't be having nitemares, maybe for the rest of his life. Johanna got less than a week's delay in her appointment with the other side. Wonder why. Wonder why we think about things we'll never figger out Dave.

All I know is when they want you bad enough, they will come get you. And a lady missed her flight to Baghdad and decided to drive to Samarrah instead.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Snap goes the weasel

Well it was always gonna be something. You just never know though, right? I mean it's not authentically "snappish" unless the trigger is some strange little thing. Not like it ain't a target rich environment! But when you snap, it always has to be in reaction to a seemingly ordinary stimulus.

I know my culture is stark raving mad, nothing to do with the economy. Gay marriage is now the law in Iowa, and Doctor assisted suicide is now legal in Oregon. And in Tennessee, the combined effect of two pieces of recent lawmaking means? Well it means you can't smoke in a Nashville Starbucks, but you can carry a loaded pistol in there.

With all that to choose from Dave, it took the chirpy chatter of the CBS "Early Show" this morning to make your blood boil??? But there it was!

Something like, "And we'll have more on how a concerned woman helped solve the murder of a KY single mother".....SNAP!

Slowly I turned. Step by step, inch by inch. I reached for a chainsaw but there wasn't a chainsaw! I looked around for a sledge hammer (boy is my kitchen poorly equipped!) All I could find was a spatula. Slapping the evil TV with my weapon I shrieked furiously in tones audible only to dogs and Metallica fans, "NOT A SINGLE MOTHER NOT A SINGLE MOTHER!"

I'm sorry the KY girl got killed, and happy her killer was caught. But she wasn't a single mother, she was an unwed mother. A single mother is either divorced or widowed.

The steady erosion of words until they mean nothing. The inability of a culture to hold fast its moral paradigms. Lip service only towards those who flout the rules, and the helpless victims they produce. To quite broadly paraphrase Franklin, who was a bit of a randy lad himself but could turn a well honed phrase..."He who can neither hate sin nor love sinners should expect to find himself up to his armpits in both very soon."

Unwed mother is to single mother as cow is to unicorn.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Honoring D-Day

Steeped in myth, inseparable from the American identity. There aren't enough superlatives to do justice to what happened on this day. All I can say is I sure am glad somebody invented the Drive-in.

With all great inventions (spinning hubcaps, cheese in a spray can, etc.) there's a tendency to assume an organic process in these things we take for granted. So it seems like a big "Duh!" now, but amazingly enough there was a time in this great land when "Hey, let's park somewhere and watch a movie!" wasn't immediately obvious to Americans. All that changed on June 6, 1933. Richard Hollingshead, Jr.

Richard did brave work. The most important factor in Drive-in design was parking, so all cars would have good view of the screen. Richard nailed it first try, and his original lay-out became the template for all subsequent models. And that first Drive-in cost $33,000 to build; a hefty sum for those days, invested in a gamble.

The gamble paid off beautifully of course. It wasn't just that the price was more affordable than walk-in theatres in Depression era America. Big selling point was you could pile the whole family into the car, let the younguns do their usual entertainment which involved eye gouging, hair pulling and "He's looking at me!" That crap wouldn't play in a walk-in theatre, but it was just fine in the backseat of an Oldsmobile.

Three decades later I was one of those miscreants in the back of an Oldsmobile. Such fond memories! My dad for some reason thought Jerry Lewis the funniest person on Earth. We never missed a Jerry Lewis film.

Fifteen years later I was a miscreant of different stripe, but still at the Drive-in. The fare on the screen was mostly Biker movies, Bruce Lee films, and Clint Eastwood spaghetti westerns. It was fun times, but most of the entertainment value was off-screen. We went to the Drive-in in packed vehicles, and yeah at times with somebody hiding in the trunk to avoid paying admission price. Once there, it was like, well, a good CCR song. People wandering car to car, some flirting but mostly just socializing. Barefoot girls in tank tops, leaned back on car hoods and talking too loud. It was largely things like, "Yeah I heard the Metal Plant's hiring too" or "New tires?" Doesn't sound like much now, but it conveyed we were a sort of ad hoc community, and cared for one another, as much as teenagers can manage to care about anything but themselves.

So tonight I go to the Drive-in!!!! 52 years old, better for it all, and able to savor the experience. I will kinda miss the whole eye gouging, hair pulling deal.

That other D-Day, well I have to see what all the other folks say, then pick them to shreds. That would be the 52yo equivalent of hair pulling, I suppose.
Thanks, Richard Hollingshead, Jr. for inventing the Drive-in!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sort of sorted out

It's stark stuff, and I'd rather do quadratic equations. Is there such a thing as justifiable homicide when it's not your life at risk, and the laws of man be damned? Yeah, I think so at times. Was this the case in the guy killing the Abortionist?

If it's extra-legal and it's justifiable, then to whom? To us other humans? Heck, history proves we humans can be talked into damned near anything. No, the term "justifiable extra-legal homicide" is meaningless, unless it implies Divine sanction or acquiescence.

You're not a Bible scholar (though you do know the words to the "Gilligan's Island" theme song so you have your priorities straight there!)but maybe the Bible can be used like math proofs to address this Kansas killing.

1.) Is God unchanging, and did God order that the Midianites be smited, meaning a whole bunch of killing? Yep, on both counts, according to the Bible. Logically, this means God still retains the perogative to direct humans to kill humans. Further, since the Midianites were a collection of individuals, it must follow that God can settle on one individual for a killing.

2.) Has God ever directed anybody to kill an individual? Not anywhere in the Bible, far as I can recall ("If not for the courage of the fearless crew"). God ordered Abram to sacrifice Isaac, but that wasn't ever going through, and was just to help Abram understand his own heart as God already did. Of course, must have been a swell experience for Isaac for a while there. Sort of the first ever "take your son to work" day, huh? Did God speak to David saying, "Go kill that Goliath dude"? Nope. So there's no math proofs ("the millionaire, and his wife") in the Bible that God has ever exercised Its logical perogative to order an individual to kill another individual by name.

3.) Applying it directly to the Kansas incident? Has the Creator, unchanging and until relatively recently interested in smiting Midianites, ever told anybody to do something then run away? ("The Professor and Mary Ann") I really don't think so. That's the kind of stuff would stick with you Dave, if you ever readed it. I just can't recall anything like "And God said verily thou shalt smite the Caananites, thou shalt smite them to the Nth degree of smiteitude, then, and this is the most important part? Thou shalt skeedaddleth pronto."

So the math proofs from the Bible ("here on Gilligan's Isle") seem to indicate either God wasn't in it, or God's been watching "Sopranos" re-runs and has adopted a new tactic.

Maybe the Kansas abortionist was only doing cases that actually involved the life of the mother, I don't know. Maybe he was taking all comers. Did God sanction his killing? Nope, not according to math.

Dang! I excluded Ginger, and we're all about diversity these days too! Well I always thought she was a big tease anyways, and besides? Something bad wrong with a woman who'd take an inexhaustible supply of lipstick and mascara on a "three hour cruise, a three (sounding ominous and portentious) hour cruise."