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AUGUST DIARY: Hot Young Women At Rifle Ranges; "Anti-Racism" Oath At Rite-Aid; Woke Math; ETC. (12 ITEMS)
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In Antiracism We Trust

Walking up to my local chain drugstore, I saw a two-panel notice that I hadn’t seen before, pasted on the inside of the automatic glass door.

Left panel, blue letter on white:

To our customers, team members and loved ones whose lives have been affected by discrimination: You will always have a home at Rite Aid.

Right panel, white letters on blue:

“LET ME BE CLEAR: RACISM, INJUSTICE AND INTOLERANCE HAVE NO HOME IN THE RITE AID ORGANIZATION OR IN OUR COMMUNITIES”

The quote is attributed to Heyward Donigan, President and CEO of Rite Aid.

“A home”—what? So I can bring a sleeping bag and crash in the Rite Aid storeroom?

“Our communities”—what? You mean the neighborhoods where you are located? How, exactly, shall you police “racism, injustice and intolerance” therein? Foot patrols? Video surveillance?

How long will it be before oaths of allegiance to the Church of Antiracism will be compulsory for any kind of paid employment? (I mean, other than on the faculties of our universities, where such oaths are already compulsory.)

I pledge allegiance to Black Lives Matter, and to the world for which it stands, one community under Antiracism, indivisible, with free stuff and social justice for all, except white supremacists.

How long before witnesses in our courts of law swear their oath on some Antiracist tract?

How long before annual sessions of Congress are opened with Antiracist prayers?

How long before Antiracist slogans are printed on our paper currency and inscribed on the lintels of our public buildings?

How long, O Lord, how long?

Buying ammo

I thought a trip to the range for some rifle practice would be in order. I don’t know any better than you do what will happen this November 3rd, but I want to be armed and ready for the worst. I’m low on ammo, though, so off to the local gun store.

They wanted $43 for twenty rounds of .303—more than two dollars a round. Say what? My Lee Enfield is somewhat of an antique, I know, and I don’t mind paying premium for the ammo, but that’s ridiculous.

Me: “Two dollars a round? That’s a bit steep, isn’t it?”

He: “You’re lucky we have any in stock. We can’t get deliveries. Something with the factories.”

Me: “Is demand higher than usual?”

He: “Yep, that too.”

Me: “How about actual guns? I’ve been reading about record sales. You been seeing that?”

They, in smiling unison: “Oh yeah!”

I went on the internet, easily found some .303 at one-third the store price; but for purchasers in New York State they’ll only deliver to a federally licensed dealer.

Emailed the only friend with an FFL. He’s a Late Silent like me, though, cutting down on his commitments, and has given up the business, he told me.

Back to the store. $130 for sixty rounds. Grrr.

The guns of August

So off to the range. Business was good here, too. This was midday on a sunny August Wednesday. Brookhaven Range has thirty-six stations for rifles at 100 and 200 yards, twenty-two stations* for 25 and 50 yards. When I arrived there were four parties waiting to shoot at 100 yards. One told me he’d been waiting half an hour. I waited twenty minutes for a 50-yard station.

This seems to me a good sign. Citizens aren’t just buying guns, they’re learning to use them.

Would the range require a mask? I wondered as I drove in. Yes, they did, according to a notice at the entrance.

Compliance was patchy, though. There was a twentysomething couple at the station next to mine. He wore a mask most of the time; she didn’t wear one at all, just went bare-faced the whole time I was there. The range officers didn’t seem to care. (And I was pleasantly surprised, not for the first time, to note how many hot young women you see at the range.)

At first I tried shooting with a mask on, assuming that the range officers might be less tolerant of me than they were of Suzy Creamcheese in the adjacent bay. I couldn’t make it work, though. For one thing, the mask messed up my breathing rhythms somehow. In shooting, as in swimming, you have to breathe right.

For another, my glasses kept fogging up. The ingenuity of man seems not yet to have devised a breathing mask that doesn’t fog up eyeglasses. How on earth do surgeons manage in the OR, stitching veins and nerves together with fogged-up glasses? (I asked a medical friend. He: “The surgeon has a nurse standing by him just to wipe his glasses clear.” Really? Come on.)

So I fired my last twenty rounds with mask down under chin. No-one seemed to mind.

——————————

* Not twenty as advertised. Have they been expanding to meet increased demand? Let’s hope so, but I didn’t think to ask.

Mask rage

That insouciance at the range keys in to the way mask-wearing has been politicized, like every other damn thing nowadays. Masks are virtuously woke; going maskless is dissident, probably white supremacist.

I wear a mask when required to—at the range, the Post Office, the stores—but not otherwise. I don’t, for instance, wear a mask when walking my dog around my quiet suburban neighborhood. When I meet people walking towards me, I call out a cheery greeting. Of those who are masked, most will greet me back; but from others I get back only silence and an angry glare from over the mask. The signal I’m reading is: Wear a damn mask, you fascist!

Mask rage is already a thing, and has generated acts of violence, at least in England. There have already been two mask rage fatalities in North America, one in Michigan (blacks), one in Minden, Ontario, Canada: elderly rural white male.

Man-management secrets

Heading out the door to the range, I reminded my lady of the old wife’s advice to a young wife on how to keep a man happy: “Let him get drunk once in a while, let him shoot guns once in a while.”

She: “Drunk once in a while? Ha! The rate you scarf down the bourbon?”

ORDER IT NOW

That is very unfair. Perhaps I have been taking one too many nightcaps recently; but hey, what’s more important than a good night’s sleep? And if the definition of an alcoholic is someone who drinks liquor before breakfast, I am not even close. I never drink liquor before dinner, except when visiting and pressed by hosts. I don’t want to be a bad guest, do I?

And I always thought the old wife left out the most important part of her advice: “… but not both at the same time.”

Hurricanes, real and imaginary

My sympathy to the unfortunate residents of Louisiana and Texas who found themselves in the path of Hurricane Laura on August 26th. A 20-ft storm surge? Hoo-ee.

If it’s any consolation, it could have been a lot worse. Here’s a New York Times story from four years ago.

Imagine a hurricane, a hurricane like Matthew, aimed straight at the heart of the American petrochemical industry.

Isaiah whirls through the sky, gathering strength from the Gulf of Mexico’s warm waters. Beach towns are evacuated. Citizens and companies in Texas’ petro-industrial enclaves from Bayou Vista to Morgan’s Point are warned: Prepare for the worst …

Isaiah’s monstrous arm reaches across the bay toward Houston, some 50 miles inland, adding water to water, and when it smashes into the Exxon Mobil Baytown refinery, the storm surge is over 25 feet high. It crashes through refineries, chemical storage facilities, wharves and production plants all along the Houston Ship Channel, cleaving pipelines from their moorings, lifting and breaking storage tanks.

As Isaiah passes inland, the iridescent, gray-brown flood rises, carrying jet fuel, sour crude and natural gas liquids into strip malls, parks, schools and offices. More than 200 petrochemical storage tanks have been wrecked, more than 100 million gallons of petroleum and chemicals spilled. Damages for the region are estimated at more than $100 billion. More than 3,500 are dead. It is one of the worst disasters in United States history …

The good news is that Isaiah hasn’t happened. It’s an imaginary calamity based on research and models. The bad news is that it’s only a matter of time before it does.

[When the Next Hurricane Hits Texas by Roy Scranton; New York Times, October 7th, 2016.]

The way things have been going in 2020, I wouldn’t have been surprised if we’d been visited by a horror on the scale of Isaiah. Laura was bad enough, though, goodness knows. My sympathies again to those afflicted.

No power to deliver

We Long Islanders didn’t get Isaiah, but we did get Isaias, barreling in on August 4th, with top wind speeds over 70 mph. Tree branches came down; entire trees came down; they brought the utility wires down with them; in a few places the utility poles themselves came down—one of them on top of a parked car in the next street to mine. Power and cable were out for four days.

All the grumbles I emitted in my April Diary apply again. Overhead utility wires, in a heavily wooded area, strung on utility poles that are allowed to get wormy and rotten? Isn’t this supposed to be a First World country? We can put men on the Moon, can’t we? Oh wait; actually we can’t, not any more. So … never mind.

But, “Isaias”? What kind of name is that? I had to look it up. It’s the Latin form of “Isaiah.” Apparently the names awarded to hurricanes, even imaginary ones, can only be used once. Since “Isaiah” and “Isaias” are basically the same name, like “Jack” and “Jacques,” it seems to me the meteorologists are cheating here, but no doubt they can make a case.

“Isaiah” is anyway apt for trying to find out when the utility companies would have us back in service.

Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? [Isaiah 50.ii.]

And I cannot forbear reporting with smug pride that the Derbyshire treehouse, now in its seventeenth year, emerged from the storm intact and unscathed. I build for the ages.

A miserable war

Chatting with a friend who knows a lot about the Korean War, I was made aware that I don’t. That’s mildly embarrassing, considering that my father-in-law fought in that war … on the other side.

After asking around for recommendations I settled on Fehrenbach’s This Kind of War, first published 1963. The author, the book jacket tells me, “commanded U.S. Army units in Korea at platoon, company, and battalion levels.”

It shows. Fehrenbach‘s accounts of military actions convey a vivid sense of what happened in mid-20th-century battles. His diversions into political and diplomatic events, although of course essential to the story line, are less gripping; but I couldn’t skip a page.

What a wretched, miserable war it was! What made it so was, that the Allies didn’t want to win it, they only wanted not to lose it—to restore the prewar status of a Korea divided between communist North and free South.

There were excellent geostrategic and political reasons for this half-heartedness.

  • Geostrategic: This was the first big conflict of the Atomic Age. The U.S.A. could not be sure how the U.S.S.R. would react to a crushing defeat for their Korean puppet regime. Action in Europe? Nuke strikes on the South?
  • Political: Just five years after WW2, Americans had no stomach for major mobilization on behalf of a small, distant country whose affairs did not directly concern us. Draftees slouched off reluctantly to Korea, and there were few enthusiastic volunteers.

Within those constraints, I don’t see how we could have done other than what we did. It made the war mighty frustrating for our troops, though. Once things stabilized after the great retreats and advances of the first few months, our guys were stuck in a WW1-type stalemate; but with the difference that while the two sides on the Western Front were well-matched, the Allies in Korea faced an enemy far inferior in every kind of technology.

It didn’t help morale at all that, as Fehrenbach tells us in Chapter 32: “Everything in Korea happened at night.” With the Allies totally dominating the skies, that was the only time the communists could conduct movements without being strafed, bombed, and napalmed to oblivion. Korea wasn’t just a miserable, frustrating war for our troops; it was miserable and frustrating in the dark.

Of the situation in late 1951, the author writes:

It was now, not openly, but in mess tents and private gatherings along the brooding lines of entrenchments, that some men began to say, “MacArthur was right.”

It’s possible he was (he wanted to actually win, at the risk of WWIII) but it was not possible, strategically or politically, for Truman to take the chance of MacArthur being wrong.

A gripping story, a worthwhile read, but

(1) T*H*E*R*E A*R*E N*O M*A*P*S!!! Who the hell publishes a book about a major military campaign without including a single map? Brassey’s, that’s who. This should be a felony.

ORDER IT NOW

(2) The text is not edited. Having written books myself, I’m tolerant of the occasional blooper. Some of Fehrenbach’s are common enough to raise no more than a weary sigh. I’ve long since reconciled myself to the fact that I am the last living human being that knows how to spell “Attlee,” for instance, and one of the last few that knows the difference between the words “affect” and “effect.”

The quantity of errors in this 1994 Brassey’s edition—31 years after the book’s first publication!—is shameful, though. Three decades in print, and no publisher saw fit to correct horrors like this:

But what the editors of Time believed, and what was truth, were, as it so often is, two different things. [P. 253.]

The war without a song

One indicator of the low spirits in which the Allies fought that war is, there is no Korean War song.

Every war with any enthusiasm at all behind it has a song. When I was a kid, the oldest living cohort of big-war veterans in England were those of the Boer War of 1899-1902. Any one of them could sing you a couple of verses of “Goodbye, Dolly Gray.” (Over here, I am told, that same song accompanied the Spanish-American War.) Dang, I heard it so often I can sing the chorus myself unprompted.

For WW1 the Brits had “Keep the home fires burning,” while America had “Over there“: a telling contrast between the mist of melancholy that, to some degree or other, hangs over all English cultural productions, and the cheery youthful bumptiousness of the early 20th-century U.S.A.

By WW2 the radio and gramophone were universal. You can get an argument going about which song was the song characteristic of that war. I’d say it’s a toss-up between “I’ll be seeing you” and “Lili Marlene.” The latter was popular on both sides of the conflict—a thing that, so far as I know, never happened before and has never happened since.

But Korea? I just scanned the Top Thirty hits for 1950-53. Some great songs there, but nothing that really prompts the thought: “Oh yeah, the Korean War.”

Vietnam was almost as miserable a war as Korea, but at least we had Country Joe and the Fish.

Fiction of the month

Also military.

A few years ago I read and much enjoyed William Boyd’s 1981 novel A Good Man in Africa, from which a movie (Sean Connery, Diana Rigg) was made.

I meant to follow up and read more of Boyd’s fiction, but never did. Then this month, prompted by a chance reference to Boyd in some news story, I impulse-bought his second novel, An Ice-Cream War, which is about WW1 fighting in East Africa.

Remember that Germany participated enthusiastically in the late-19th-century colonial carve-up of Africa. Their biggest resulting possession was German East Africa, “nearly double the size of Germany,” according to the 1911 Britannica. Nowadays this land, plus the Zanzibar islands, is the nation of Tanzania.

German East Africa had a 400-mile border on the north with British East Africa (nowadays Kenya); so when WW1 broke out in 1914, there was bound to be trouble. That’s the background to the story.

An Ice-Cream War is not such boisterous fun as A Good Man in Africa, but Boyd knows the landscape well—he grew up in Africa—and he keeps a strong narrative thread going. He is very good on the messiness of life: how things—business ventures, wedding nights, battles—hardly ever work out the way the participants expected.

This is especially the case with battles, of course. It is not at all a coincidence that we owe the acronym “SNAFU” to the military. (Along with some lesser-known variants like “JANFU”—the all-too-common result of a joint Army-Navy operation.) Having just finished Fehrenbach’s history of the Korean War, I was nicely primed for this.

And Boyd’s novel, unlike Fehrenbach’s history, has a map!

Manual labor

Back when I learned computer languages for a living, I approached each new one on the same schedule:

  • Get some fairly clear idea what kind of task or tasks you want to code for.
  • If possible (it wasn’t always) find a primer text with some simple examples you could try out.
  • Get The Manual—a full reference, containing everything you might ever need to know about the language.
  • Start coding.

More than once over the past few years I have made a resolution to get my coding skills up to date, without much of a follow-through. With this latest resolution, though, taking on the C# (pronounced “c-sharp”) language, I have at least advanced to the Manual stage.

  • My task: Just some basic file processing and string manipulation, mainly to get my personal website in better shape.
  • My primer: Jamie Chan’s Learn C# in One Day. Simple and straightforward, although I seriously doubt that anyone coming completely cold to programming could absorb it in one day. On the upside, my inner reactionary is glad to know that the application of choice for beginners is still a payroll program, just as it was fifty years ago.
  • My manual: I am now the proud owner of Albahari and Johannsen’s C# 8.0 in a Nutshell. This is one heck of a nutshell: over a thousand small-print pages of description and definition. Thread pools! Jagged arrays! Coarse-grained concurrency! Lazy quantifiers!

This should be fun.

Math Corner

Math is now fully woke.

From the current (August/September 2020) issue of MAA Focus, newsmagazine of the Mathematical Association of America, page 12:

Resources for learning how to be an anti-racist

edited by Jacqueline Jensen-Vallin

As a community we are finally starting to hear more clearly the voices of our BIPOC colleagues. One of the many things that I have heard is that to dismantle the implicit and explicit racism in our academic institutions and workplaces, we need white colleagues to do their share of the work

And so on and driveling on for a full page and a quarter.

The MAA isn’t the only game in town. Here is the current (September 2020) issue of Notices of the American Mathematical Society.

Once past the table of contents and masthead, the first page of any interest is Letters to the Editor. The first letter is from one William Yslas Vélez, Emeritus Professor of Mathematics at the University of Arizona.

The video of Mr. George Floyd dying on the street is too difficult to watch yet its impact has been profound. Academia needs to reflect on this incident …[Letter to the Editor: Recognize Professional Privilege, August 1, 2020]

And so on and driveling on for 300 words.

To be fair to these journals, there is actually some math in both of them. They are not cover-to-cover Antiracism. Not yet.

No brainteaser this month, just a note on the Collatz Conjecture.

Everyone knows that there are longstanding open problems in math: statements of mathematical fact that no-one has been able to either prove or disprove. Most of them are too abstruse for non-mathematicians to understand without a patient and friendly guide. A few, however, concern nothing more than basic arithmetic.

Probably the most famous of these is the Goldbach Conjecture:

Every even number greater than two is the sum of two primes.

The Goldbach Conjecture is dear to my heart because Prof. Estermann, who taught us analysis at University College, London, had made his name in math many years previously by proving that almost every even number greater than two is the sum of two primes. (There is a rigorous mathematical definition of that word “almost.”)

The Collatz Conjecture is even more simply arithmetical. You don’t even need to know what a prime number is.

Think of a positive whole number. If it’s even, divide it by two; if it’s odd, multiply it by three and then add one.

Whatever number you got from doing that, perform the same process on it.

Keep doing this. Sooner or later your answer will be one.

So if, for example, you start with 17 you get 52, 26, 13, 40, 20, 10, 5, 16, 8, 4, 2, 1.

(Once you have arrived at one, you are for ever after stuck in the cycle 4, 2, 1, 4, 2, 1, 4, 2, 1, …)

For worldwide fame you must of course prove rigorously that this will always be true; or at least, in the spirit of Teddy Estermann, that it will almost always be true.

ORDER IT NOW

This month’s news story is that Marijn Heule, a computer scientist at Carnegie Mellon University, thinks he can prove the Collatz Conjecture using a computerized technique called “satisfiability solving.” No, I won’t try to explain it, because I don’t understand it; read the news story for yourself if you’re inclined.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by VDARE.com com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

(Republished from VDare by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. Rational says:

    I HAVE MET THE ANTI-RACISTS, AND THE ANTI-RACISTS ARE US.

    I am an anti-racist, as I am against racism against whites, who are the real minority on a global scale, as below.

    I do not approve of pejorative terms such as “white supremacy”, “white privilege” “racist” etc. used against whites.

    We must stop using the word “minority” to refer to dark skinned people, as they are the majority on a global scale and whites are the real minorities, whose countries are being invaded.

    There are 7.5 billion people on earth today, and only ~ 2 billion (< 30%), if that, are whites (white skinned, excluding orientals). Most of the remaining are dark skinned and/or oriental.

    For proof, see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMiIu0BVrOE

    If you don’t have time to see the entire video, you can just see the pie chart below which shows whites at about 16% of the world population.

    https://www.quora.com/What-are-all-the-races-and-their-world-population-demographics-the-entire-world

    Since whites are the real minority, any attack on whites is racist. So all liberal anti-racists must start worshiping whites, the real minority and doing all they can to protect them. No kidding.

  2. there is no Korean War song.

    Well, there’s this.

    • Replies: @Rex Little
  3. dually says:

    police “racism, injustice and intolerance”

    The Democrats are a “big tent” party of hate. The appeal is to those who:

    Hate whites.

    Hate the working class (i.e. Trump).

    Hate Western Civilization.

    Of course whites expressing hatred of other whites because “racist” are never really self-effacing in their own self-loathing. In fact, they wear their shame with pride! Higher education has taught these uber-whites what they already knew: their own inherent moral superiority; and they really just hate the “uneducated” white under-class.

    The Church of Antiracism teaches that the end always justifies the means. It is an end result that no one actually believes: that different races, etc. can be forced to like one another. However such an impossible result can be used as the justification for all kinds of illegality as the means of accomplishing that end.

  4. i know of at least ONE korean war song:

  5. R.C. says:

    You should have bought ammo whenever you last left the state – that’s highway robbery and NOT worth it.

  6. How long before witnesses in our courts of law swear their oath on some Antiracist tract?

    In a way, that already happened to me two or three years ago, during vior dire the last time I was up for jury duty here in Connecticut.

    The defense lawyer asked me (paraphrasing from memory here) “Would you have a problem judging a defendant because he was Black?”

    Taken aback, I answered simply and without hesitation, “No.”

    During the questions before that one, it became apparent to me the the defense lawyer felt that my background, appearance, manner of speaking and whatever, branded me as an extreme White man of some kind. Honestly, all I did was show up well-dressed and tell everybody where I grew up, went to college and what kind of work I did.

    After waiting outside the courtroom for a few short minutes, I was directed back in and told I would not be on the jury.

    The defendant was a young Black man with a nice smile (he smiled at me when I said something about Boulder, Colorado and skiing. I am funny sometimes without even trying.) He looked very nice. How could he have shot somebody to death, I wondered?

    I would have been a very fair juror, but no, I was not allowed to be, because that young man’s defense attorney thought I was a White racist from Very White Boulder, Colorado.

    This is all so stupid.

    • Replies: @Wyatt
    , @not a hacker
  7. Miro23 says:

    By WW2 the radio and gramophone were universal. You can get an argument going about which song was the song characteristic of that war. I’d say it’s a toss-up between “I’ll be seeing you” and “Lili Marlene.” The latter was popular on both sides of the conflict—a thing that, so far as I know, never happened before and has never happened since.

    Here’s a U Boat crew (fictional) having a go at “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”.

    • Replies: @S
  8. @Rex Little

    Well, there’s this.

    Link worked in the preview, but for some reason failed when the comment was published. It’s the theme from M*A*S*H: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4gO7uemm6Yo

  9. I don’t, for instance, wear a mask when walking my dog around my quiet suburban neighborhood. When I meet people walking towards me, I call out a cheery greeting. Of those who are masked, most will greet me back; but from others I get back only silence and an angry glare from over the mask.

    That’s strange. In my neighborhood, nobody wears a mask when out walking. It’s a senior community (minimum age 55, average probably around 75), so presumably more vulnerable than average.

    An unmasked person walking outdoors clearly poses no danger to passers-by. What’s wrong with Derb’s neighbors?

  10. anonymous[245] • Disclaimer says:

    Instinctively adopting that Buchananesque pronoun propaganda (“we, us, our”), Mr. Derbyshire’s fealty for his adopted Uncle Sam is boundless. In his star spangled view, the only reasons Exceptionalia ever falls short of victory over little brown and yellow inferiors are irresolute politicians or a shortage of gullible cannon fodder:

    Political: Just five years after WW2, Americans had no stomach for major mobilization on behalf of a small, distant country whose affairs did not directly concern us. Draftees slouched off reluctantly to Korea, and there were few enthusiastic volunteers.

    So would this be his take on the subsequent crusade to bomb people into democracy?

    Political: Just ten years after Korea, Americans had no stomach for major mobilization on behalf of another small, distant country whose affairs did not directly concern us. Draftees slouched off reluctantly to Vietnam, and there were few enthusiastic volunteers.

    Without (direct) conscription, Washington now needs a more desperate working class and camouflaged uniforms on the Sportsball players to find even enough drone pilots to kill people with joysticks from cubicles safely here in the Homeland.

    Of course, there will always be a need for boots on the ground in order to keep the liberated safe and free. Will Mr. Derbyshire ever get his shooting skills up to the level where he’d willingly deploy?

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
    , @Svigor
  11. The girls in your photo do not appear to be wearing eye or ear protection. They may be hot but I doubt they’re on any approved range.

    • Replies: @Joe Stalin
  12. I thought a trip to the range for some rifle practice would be in order. I don’t know any better than you do what will happen this November 3rd, but I want to be armed and ready for the worst. I’m low on ammo, though, so off to the local gun store.

    Twilight of the Gods.

    My primer: Jamie Chan’s Learn C# in One Day. Simple and straightforward, although I seriously doubt that anyone coming completely cold to programming could absorb it in one day. On the upside, my inner reactionary is glad to know that the application of choice for beginners is still a payroll program, just as it was fifty years ago.

    Learning a computer programming language from scratch in one day is pure fiction.

    You need time to grasp basics like data types (integers, floats and strings), operators, data structures (lists, tuples, sets and dictionaries), functions, classes and inheritance, looping and conditions, exception (error) handling, working with files, regular expressions etc.

    You also need extra hours to get familiar with libraries which essentially are the useful bits in the real world e.g NumPy (arrays and matrices), pandas (tabular data), SciPy (scientific computing), Scikit-learn (machine learning) and Matplotlib (MATLAB-like plotting) in the case of Python.

  13. “A home”—what? So I can bring a sleeping bag and crash in the Rite Aid storeroom?

    No, she means: “A home where you can come in and steal our shit.”

  14. Wyatt says:
    @Buzz Mohawk

    I would have been a very fair juror, but no, I was not allowed to be, because that young man’s defense attorney thought I was a White racist from Very White Boulder, Colorado.

    So they thought you were Uncle Ruckus?

    • Replies: @Buzz Mohawk
  15. @Wyatt

    Pretty much, or at least that’s how it felt.

  16. Shame, shame, shame. That photo caption was clickbait and false advertising.

  17. “Mask rage” comes from the anti-maskers. They shoot people who tell them to wear masks in my town. You assholes are such liars. You say the exact opposite of the truth. Normal, law-abiding, sane people wear masks and don’t bitch about it. Insane, criminal, abnormal people get all bent out of shape because, oh, heaven forfend, they have to wear a mask.

    • Troll: Jus' Sayin'...
    • Replies: @Alfa158
  18. @Rex Little

    Sorry you are having so much trouble, Rex. Here is Suicide is Painless with the scene from the movie M*A*S*H*. The movie beats all hell out of the TV show. It is much more realistic with the 2 doctors being serious about the work but otherwise party animals without the lefty overbearing self-righteousness that Alan Alda portrayed.

    Here, you’ve got the lyrics, which are kind of weird, but make it a real song. See Radar O’Reilly. I think he’s the only guy from the movie who was also on the TV show.

  19. Mr. Derbyshire, that’s the only book on the Korean War I’ve read, and I agree with your opinion of it, and especially regarding the lack of maps. That was ridiculous. I don’t have the book on me, but weren’t there only 2 maps in the front?

    After 1/2 a year of the US pushing all the way up to China, then a few months of winter when millions of Chinese soldiers got across the Yalu River and set up, the few months of nothing but retreat for Americans almost completely off the peninsula, then the Allied landing at Inchon(?), there was the stalemate at the 38th || (approximately, as, that place is nothing but mountains), and 2 years of grinding back-and-forth waste of human lives.

    Should we have stayed out and let the North take the place? The domino effect was an important worry. The area of the world under Communism was already huge. I am in no shape to second-guess that war.

    Thank you for the Ice Cream War (and the previous) recommendation. Maybe the library will open up soon. Per the CDC, amazingly, we anti-panickers have been completely right! It’s kind of far to late to walk it back though.

    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
    , @Svigor
  20. There is a Korean War song. It’s called “Sweet Sixteen” as sung by B.B. King.

    My brother’s in Korea, baby
    My sister’s down in New Orleans
    Brother’s in Korea baby
    My sister’s down in New Orleans
    You know I’m having so much trouble woman
    Baby, I wonder, what in the world is gonna happen to me

    • Replies: @anonymous
  21. With respect to songs that became identified with World War II, how could Mr. Derbyshire—an Englishman!—have forgotten to mention ‘We’ll Meet Again’ by fellow countryman Vera Lynn, or ‘White Cliffs of Dover’, also by Miss Lynn. While ‘I’ll Be Seeing You’ was popular both here in the U.S., for British audiences certainly the winner of most beloved song of the war would have to be ‘We’ll Meet Again’, with ‘White Cliffs of Dover’ running a mid-distant second.

    But it wasn’t just British audiences. A few years ago I produced a video for an uncle’s 90th birthday celebration. During a segment on his WWII experiences, I had placed Vera Lynn’s ‘White Cliffs of Dover’ on the soundtrack. As I looked around the room at the assembled party-goers, over half of those of the WWII generation could be seen dabbing tears away—the song meant that much to them. Afterward, several people, my uncle among them, approached and thanked me for including such a memorable song, one that most of them reported having not heard since the war itself! That made my day, just as it will always make for a cherished memory.

    • Replies: @El Dato
  22. @Rex Little

    Do you guys find that incredibly sinister? That’s a perfect description of what it is, for those who understand the meaning of the song.

    You know that Netflix series, 13 reasons why, which is about suicide, of course, has lead to a spike in teen suicide! Sorrows of Young Werther, the Goethe novel, probably similar to the above in societal “purpose”, caused a rash of young suicides in its day as well!

  23. anonymous[245] • Disclaimer says:
    @obwandiyag

    That’s a passing reference to fill out a blues verse, not a song about Korea, baby.

    Jimmie Osborne and a handful of other country singers recorded some “patriotic” songs, uniformly forgettable but probably effective at the time in keeping the sheep in line. (“Dear John,” a song about a soldier being dumped by mail, used the Korean War as context.) It would have taken Mr. Derbyshire about five minutes of online research to answer his own question, by the way.

    • Replies: @obwandiyag
  24. Governments used to build military rifles like the Lee Enfield .303 to last for generations. That says something about the low time preference our ancestors worked with compared with the radical discounting of the future our current elites show.

    BTW, Derb, I hope you won’t have need of your rifle during civil unrest. I live in Phoenix, and I worry that we’ll see BLM and anarchist violence, looting and arson when the weather cools off in a few weeks. I have my trusty .357 Magnum Marlin lever action and some ammo stashed away, but I don’t want to have to shoot anyone, either, especially not in the current political environment.

    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
  25. El Dato says:

    “LET ME BE CLEAR: X, Y AND Z HAVE NO HOME IN [THIS SCHOOL][THIS HOUSE][THIS OR IN OUR COMMUNITIES”

    It’s called Baby Talk. No need to overanalyze this.

  26. @Achmed E. Newman

    The movie beats all hell out of the TV show. It is much more realistic with the 2 doctors being serious about the work but otherwise party animals without the lefty overbearing self-righteousness that Alan Alda portrayed.

    Agreed. However, if memory serves (not a sure thing at my age), the TV show wasn’t like that in its early years. I’m guessing that Alda gained more control over time.

    When they wrote Major Burns out of the show and replaced him with Col. Winchester, it struck me that Winchester was more like the book version of Burns than Burns (in the show) was. In the book, Burns was described as a good technical surgeon who didn’t care about his patients, rather than the complete buffoon he was in the show (and the movie).

    See Radar O’Reilly. I think he’s the only guy from the movie who was also on the TV show.

    He was indeed. Who could play that part but Gary Burghoff?

    • Replies: @Jus' Sayin'...
  27. El Dato says:
    @David Bartlett

    I only know Vera Lynn from the Pink Floyd song

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vera_(song)

    That’s some sad stuff.

    The Wall on repeat on a very early CD player was amazing. And also to The Final Cut.

    “Don’t do it now, man. Have a Guinness.”

  28. One indicator of the low spirits in which the Allies fought that war is, there is no Korean War song.

    Shame on you, Mr.Derbyshire, “This Kind of War” specifically mentions THE Korean War song of US troops, “The Bugout Boogie”. It was a spontaneous creation of American troops but it was so depressing that some commanders tried to make singing it a court martial offense. The lyrics varied widely but here are some representative ones copied from here https://turkeythicket.blogspot.com/2019/02/bug-out-boogie.html:

    [MORE]
    Over on that hill there’s a Russian tank
    A million Chinks are on my flank
    I’m movin’ on, I’ll soon be gone
    With my M1 broke, it ain’t no joke
    I’ll soon be gone.

    Million Chinks comin’ through the pass
    Playin’ burp-gun boogie all over my ass
    I’m movin’ on, I’ll soon be gone
    With my M1 broke, it ain’t no joke
    I’ll soon be gone.

    Twenty thousand Chinks comin’ through the pass
    I’m tellin’ you, baby, I’m haulin’ ass
    I’m moving on; I’ll soon be gone
    I’m haulin’ ass, not savin’ gas
    I’ll soon be gone.

    Standin’ in a rice paddy up to my belly
    From then on, they called me “Smelly”
    I’m moving on; I’ll soon be gone
    I’m haulin’ ass, not savin’ gas
    I’ll soon be gone.

    Here’s papasan comin’ down the track
    Old A-frame strapped to his back
    He’s moving on; he’ll soon be gone
    He’s haulin’ ass, not savin’ gas
    He’ll soon be gone.

    Here’s mamasan comin’ down the track
    Titty hangin’ out, baby on her back
    She’s moving on; she’ll soon be gone
    From her tits to her toes, she’s damn near froze
    She’ll soon be gone.

    I sung this song for the very last time
    Gonna get Korea off my mind
    I’m moving on; I’ll soon be gone
    I done my time in the shit and slime
    I’m movin’ on.

    I read “This Kind of War”, when I was in high school, just after it came out. My brother bought it and I borrowed it from him. I was shocked to discover later how little any of the adults I knew, including teachers and professors really knew about this tragedy, which continues to this day.

  29. @Achmed E. Newman

    After 1/2 a year of the US pushing all the way up to China, then a few months of winter when millions of Chinese soldiers got across the Yalu River and set up, the few months of nothing but retreat for Americans almost completely off the peninsula, then the Allied landing at Inchon(?), there was the stalemate at the 38th || (approximately, as, that place is nothing but mountains), and 2 years of grinding back-and-forth waste of human lives.

    Your temporal sequence is weong.

    The North Koreans invaded south and pushed the ROK army into a small pocket in the southeastern corner of the peninsula, the Pusan perimeter. The ROK forces were reinforced from Japan with any US forces that could be brought to bear and eventually UN troops from a variety of countries. To get out of this trap, McArthur planned and execute the landings at Inchon, attacking North Korean troops from the rear. The demoralized North Koreans fled north with UN troops in hot pursuit.

    McArthur used the old American standard of divided columns — the same strategy adopted during the Mexican War and later by Sherman and Custer — to dog the North Korean retreat. He did not believe intelligence that the PLA had crossed the Yalu and were massing for a counter attack. The PLA was likely assisted by intelligence from Kim Philby, who was the British military attache in Washington DC at the time.

    US, UN and ROK troops began reporting sporadic contacts with Chinese troops south of the Yalu and then all hell erupted, e.g., the fighting at the Chosin Reservoir. At that point PLA and North Korean troops drove the US, UN and ROK troops back until a solid defensive line could be established at the 38th parallel.

    • Replies: @Icy Blast
  30. @Rex Little

    Alda’s TV version of MASH was also the first step in quietly introducing homosexual propaganda to the boob tube. There was no Clinger in the movie. On TV he was introduced as a soldier who was malingering and seeking a Section Eight discharge by cross dressing. Ultimately Clinger morphed into a full blown homosexual.

  31. OK, thank you, J.S., that’s what I get for chiming in about 10 years or more after I read the book. I’m sure you are right. I remember now the first chapter on the really bad state of the US forces at the beginning of the war. There was somebody’s name, or unit name, used as a representation of this – maybe you can clue me in (or Mr. Derbyshire, who just got done reading it.

    Sorry all, for being wrong about this timeline. Yeah, it started off badly, looked like a done deal for our side by Christmas of the first year, and then went badly until the stalemate. As I recall, the US troops were fine when they could operate on open ground, but there was not much of that, and the Chinese/N. Koreans travelled by night and in the hills.

    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
  32. Anonymous[366] • Disclaimer says:

    Fehrenbach mentions “Bless ‘Em All,” the song the Marines sang at Chosen Reservoir, but perhaps you meant a then-current popular song that everyone of the time associated with the war.
    I asked my parents if they remember my grandparents having a favorite song from the Korean War (one grandfather was an Air Force FAC on the ground at Hungnam during the “Christmas Miracle” of 1950 and the other flew flak suppression missions over North Korea in 1951, escorting F4Us and ADs while flying an F9F), but they couldn’t think of any, although my mother recalled they both enjoyed singing “Good-night Irene” which, perhaps by coincidence was repopularized by the Weavers in 1950.
    My mother did recall that they both had a favorite song from World War II — “Just as Though You Were Here,” sung by Frank Sinatra with the Tommy Dorsey band. My grandfather, a naval aviator, was at sea when Pearl Harbor was attacked and my grandmother, hoping thereby to be have more opportunities to see him, became a Navy nurse. That was a mistake because their duties never allowed them to meet and they didn’t see each other again till well after VJ Day. The closest they came to “meeting” was during the Iwo Jima invasion, when my grandfather was part of the task force that beat up Iwo in preparation for the landing and my grandmother was aboard a hospital ship heading for Iwo. They may have gotten as close as two or three hundred miles to each other.
    As for songs from the Viet Nam War, I asked my parents, both of whom served (father as a naval aviator; mother as an Army nurse) and my dad said that some wag would always play The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s version of “All Along the Watchtower” before an Iron Hand mission during Linebacker II, so if he should hear it even so many decades later, those days recrudesce in his memory.
    My mother, who served a few years before my father, says that “See You in September” by the Happenings always brings back memories of Cu Chi, red dust, the sounds of medevacs and her Tropic Lightning boys. If it comes on the car radio, she has to turn it off.
    Both despise that Country Joe and the Fish song you reference: it belongs to the hippy-dippy make love not war peace man! scum they are utterly contemptuous of.

  33. IvyMike says:

    I can’t establish it mathematically but think it probable that Fehrenbach’s book on Korea is one of the least satisfying.

    • Replies: @JMcG
  34. R.C. says:
    @Anonymous

    Good family history. My father was USAF in Korea.

  35. anarchyst says:
    @Anonymous

    “Leaving On a Jet Plane” was also popular during the Vietnam war.

  36. @Buzz Mohawk

    .. an extreme White man of some kind …”

    That happened to me yesterday. I went into a Whole Foods in Sonoma to use the restroom (I never shop there), and a zoomer clerk with blue hair and nose piercing tracked me with a shocked look on her face, as if my shirt read “Trump Campaign Mgr.”

  37. @Diversity Heretic

    They were probably trying to ascertain if the 1980s claim of “Real Men are found at rifle ranges” was actually true and not just something their fathers told them.

  38. @anonymous

    You fucking imbecile. Don’t you dare “correct” me. Because you’re wrong. And you’re a lying liar. And I am too far above you for you to “debate” me. It would be like me “debating” a flea.

    • Replies: @Mr. Anon
    , @JMcG
    , @fish
  39. AceDeuce says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Robert Altman wanted the lyrics to sound stupid, so he asked his teenage son to write them. Since the kid was legally speaking, one of the songwriters, he made a crapload of money from it.

  40. Alfa158 says:
    @obwandiyag

    “ They shoot people who tell them to wear masks in my town.” Wow, that only happens in the roughest of black ghettos where the slightest hint of dissin someone draws a ballistic rejoinder. Where do you live? Baltimore? East St. Louis? I admire your grit.

  41. Mr. Anon says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    I believe that Robert Altman stated that he was thinking more of the then-current Vietnam War than the Korean War. But he couldn’t make a studio-backed anti-war movie about Vietnam, so he shoe-horned it into M.A.S.H. Although if there is any particular political message in the movie, it isn’t obvious. The author of the novel, Hiester Hornberger, who was an army surgeon in Korea, and for whom the Hawkeye Pierce character was a stand-in, was conservative, and disliked Alda’s portrayal of the character as a bleeding-heart liberal. The TV show was at least funny for the first couple years, but went south after Wayne Rogers left. It got to be ever more liberal and simply ridiculous, especially as all the actors turned gray – the show lasted nearly three times longer than the war did.

    It’s interesting that Alan Alda, who played a “nice guy” in the TV show, spent most of the rest of his career playing smarmy, corrupt lawyers, politicians, and media figures – at which he’s pretty good.

    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
  42. Polymath says:

    If anyone wants a math puzzle this month:
    The NBA playoffs this year are at a neutral location so there is no home-court advantage. Suppose the stronger team has a probability p>0.5 of winning any game in a 7-game series, and the games are independent. After a certain number of games have been played, the stronger team is ahead, but the weaker team is not discouraged because their likelihood of winning the series is no worse than it was at the start of the series. How low can p be? (Full credit only for an exact solution.)

  43. I wonder what Mrs. Derb would make of this.

    Yes, she is holding a pink rifle.

    Here’s another gratuitous one. Caution: Some scenes may induce catholic school flashbacks.

  44. @advancedatheist

    Derb’s choice of a .303 Short Magazine Lee Enfield is a good one, providing he doesn’t have to carry it too far and has sights appropriate to his 75-year old eyes. The SMLE is arguably the best bolt-action battle rifle every produced. Your choice of a lever-action carbine in a pistol caliber rather mystifies me, however. If you’re going to put up with the weight and bulk of a carbine, why not a .30-30, which has a lot more range and power than the .357 Magnum?

  45. @Achmed E. Newman

    Taskk Force Smith was the name of the ad hoc U.S. unit that was essentially routed in the early days of the Korean War. I think that the U.S. Army adopted a motto of “No more Task Force Smiths,” at least for a while.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    , @Hunsdon
  46. @Mr. Anon

    My impression always was that that the television show was about the Vietnam War retroconned into Korea. Another example of that (I think) was the movie Kelly’s Heroes, a virulently anti-war film set in World War II.

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @S
    , @David In TN
  47. anonymous[245] • Disclaimer says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    Why “virulently”? Are you pro-war?

    • Replies: @Diversity Heretic
  48. @anonymous

    My characterization of Kelly’s Heroes is that there is absolutely no indication that either side is fighting for anything worthwhile. The Telly Savalas character says in his conversation with the German tank commander something on the order of, “We don’t even know what this thing is about,” and throughout the movie, there is a moral equivalence presumed between the German and American sides.”An interesting alternative would have been to have the German say, “You’re invading my country.”) The two sides then cooperate to rob a bank and divide the gold proceeds among themselves, which is presented as a desirable result. The regular army commander (portrayed by Carroll O’Connor) is a self-centered buffoon. That is, in my opinion, a very extreme anti-war attitude, especially in a film targeting an American audience in 1970, when WWII was still considered the last good war. My interpretation is that it was really about Vietnam, although I’m open to others.

    No, I’m not pro-war, although it may be necessary (e.g., Afghans resisting the invasion of their country);

    • Replies: @anonymous
    , @Mr. Anon
  49. @Diversity Heretic

    That’s it! Thank you very much, D.H.

  50. JMcG says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    Great book. Fehrenbach’s book on the Comanches is also very good.

  51. JMcG says:
    @IvyMike

    Serious question: What do you recommend? I’m currently reading On Desperate Ground which is concerned mainly with the 1st Marine Division.

  52. JMcG says:
    @obwandiyag

    Take this man seriously, nigerians know from fleas.

  53. @Jus' Sayin'...

    A great recent book on the Korean war is Max Hastings

    Very depressing although not as depressing as his book on Vietnam.
    After reading both books, I think the reason we lost in Vietnam but were able to hold out in Korea was that the North Koreans totally antagonized the South during their initial victory. South Koreans knew for sure that they did not want to be ruled by those murderous thugs and North Koreans were never able to create a Viet Cong type force. The tragedy for South Vietnam was they never fully appreciated how horrible the communists were going to be until after it was too late.

    • Thanks: JMcG, Achmed E. Newman
  54. Mr. Anon says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    he Telly Savalas character says in his conversation with the German tank commander something on the order of, “We don’t even know what this thing is about,” and throughout the movie, there is a moral equivalence presumed between the German and American sides. An interesting alternative would have been to have the German say, “You’re invading my country.”)

    The story took place in France.

    The two sides then cooperate to rob a bank and divide the gold proceeds among themselves, which is presented as a desirable result. The regular army commander (portrayed by Carroll O’Connor) is a self-centered buffoon. That is, in my opinion, a very extreme anti-war attitude, especially in a film targeting an American audience in 1970, when WWII was still considered the last good war. My interpretation is that it was really about Vietnam, although I’m open to others.

    I never viewed it as an anti-war movie, just a heist movie set during a war. It certainly had a certain irreverence about the war, and was obviously informed by the vibe of the time (Donald Sutherland played his character as a proto-hippy). The fact is that most guys were there fighting because they were drafted. Even a lot of the ones who volunteered did so only because they knew they would be drafted. And if you ask a lot of soldiers, they would tell you that their commander is a buffoon, because often he is. The movie posits a very good question: What do most ordinary soldiers get out of war?

  55. S says:
    @Miro23

    Here’s a U Boat crew (fictional) having a go at “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary”.

    Apparently that was a song the Germans had some familiarity with. I’ve read more than one account that Joachim Peiper (of the Battle of the Bulge) when motoring past a line of captured US soldiers ‘cheerfully called out to them “It’s a long way to Tipperary!”‘

  56. S says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    Another example of that (I think) was the movie Kelly’s Heroes, a virulently anti-war film set in World War II.

    I think you’re right.

    Another film being anti-Vietnam War by WWII proxy would be Catch 22 released in 1970.

    The way things are going though, and being WWII is considered something of a holy war, I could in time see where such films have mandatory advisories making sure the viewers know that, if their dvd commentaries don’t already tell the viewer.

    My impression has been that during the Vietnam War itself, while the corporate mass media might make a rare, fairly neutral, reference to ‘Vietnam’ in TV series and such, they steered clear of outright condemning the war.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catch-22_(film)

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  57. fish says:
    @obwandiyag

    Jeez Obi……take a Valium…..! You’re like Tiny Duck’s Id if it had been gulping steroids and taking methamphetamine all afternoon long.

  58. prosa123 says:

    Target Sports USA will ship ammo directly to New York residents. Like most online dealers, however, their inventory is very scanty right now.
    While the Brookhaven range is okay I prefer the Calverton range, about five miles further east. It’s very basic, no overhead canopies for one thing, but there’s something more friendly about it.

  59. @S

    S, I read the book Catch-22 before seeing the movie, and I remember it better. It was anti-war but also had a lot of anti-bureaucratic-stupidity in it too. Heller never really wrote against the point of the war, but plenty about the US Army (Army Air Corp) bureaucracy. (I doubt that was specifically about the US forces alone.) Some of that reminds me of Apocalypse Now

    There’s a 2014 move called Fury that is about WWII and does not glorify the war at all.

    • Replies: @S
  60. @Anonymous

    I saw the Happenings performing “See You in September” on-stage at Molloy College, Long Island a few months ago. Incredibly, they are still performing, mostly cruise ships & such.

    • Replies: @Reg Cæsar
  61. @anonymous

    So would this be his take on the subsequent crusade to bomb people into democracy?

    Good. Someone else here knows that the Lindberghs were right. Jeannette Rankin, too.

    Jeannette Rankin casts sole vote against WWII

    Jeannette Rankin: “I Cannot Vote for War”

    We need allies in our quest to strip the war criminal from the dime. And restore the lady he replaced.

    • Agree: Bubba
  62. @John Derbyshire

    I saw the Happenings performing “See You in September” on-stage at Molloy College, Long Island a few months ago. Incredibly, they are still performing, mostly cruise ships & such.

    They do a killer rendition of “My Mammy”, as well. I hope they’re not doing “Hare Krishna” anymore, though, the worst hit cover out of Hair!

    The Four Freshmen perform every year at Butler University in Indiana, where they started 73 years ago. Of course, all the originals are gone.

  63. “… there is no Korean War song.”

    Yes there is: “Itazuke Tower”.

    Looks as though my direct personal memory trumps your google.

  64. S says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    Heller never really wrote against the point of the war, but plenty about the US Army (Army Air Corp) bureaucracy. (I doubt that was specifically about the US forces alone.)

    Yes, true. Even so, I do think the movie version of his novel was used as a backdoor jab at Vietnam, not so much as against the expressed purpose of WWII as you say.

    Even so, I do wonder if it hadn’t been for the Vietnam War if Catch 22 would have even got made, at least at that time, same for Kelly’s Heros, as there were plenty of WWII veterans still around and only in their forties, who might have taken it as an affront..ie they’re saying these vices is what war is really about, even my WWII?

    Kelly’s Hero’s seemed to have had a lighter touch than the movie version of Catch 22, though making many of the same points about the cynicism of some (many?) of those fighting the war…ie looting oportunities/profit taking from black markets, glory seeking, buffoonery of some officers, etc.

    I’ve always enjoyed Kelly’s Heros, though Catch 22 had a lot of humor in it as well.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
    , @Piglet
  65. Icy Blast says:
    @Jus' Sayin'...

    Most likely Adlai Stevenson helped Kim Philby et al. Memoirs by South Korean generals reveal that Stevenson insisted on inspecting every South Korean position during the early phases of the war.

  66. MEH 0910 says:

  67. @S

    Mr. S, I grew up on TV showings of all those WWII movies, as my Dad liked them. Let me tell you a funny story: I was in Germany, staying at a hotel with just a small B&W TV. The Dirty Dozen was on. Of course, everyone in the movie was speaking German with what I reckoned were German accents, but maybe the guys that were supposed to be Americans were putting on English accents in German – how would I know?

    It was in black and white, so the uniforms looked roughly the same, and they were all speaking German. That big scene in which the America unit had infiltrated the German underground big meeting/ball room got just confusing as hell!

    .

    .

    BTW for the writer, John Derbyshire: A big majority of the comments have been about the Korean War, only one of your many segments of this diary. I ask you for a 3rd time, have you written to Mr. Unz to ask if you can publish the segments separately? You have a lot to discuss, but people (such as me) get fixated on one or sometimes just a few usually.

    • LOL: S
  68. Anon[299] • Disclaimer says:

    ‘That crazy Asian war ‘ referenced in Kenny Rogers’ Ruby, was a reference to Korea.

    • Replies: @prosa123
  69. vinteuil says:

    But what the editors of Time believed, and what was truth, were, as it so often is, two different things. [P. 253.]

    Jesus, Mary & Joseph. How could anybody calling himself an editor not catch that?

    And it can be (more or less) fixed so easily: “But what the editors of Time believed, and the truth, were, as so often, two different things.”

  70. Dube says:

    If by war song we mean one sung to rally the public and uplift the cause, there was only one during Vietnam as I recall, and I noted that fact throughout the conflict. It was The Ballad of the Green Beret, which came out early in the history and then bowed out, but never was followed by any more such patriotic surges.

    Have there been any stirring musical encouragements for the Iraq war, Afghanistan, Syria? Is popular acceptance of morale tunes a kind of validation?

    • Replies: @Dube
    , @JMcG
  71. prosa123 says:
    @Anon

    That crazy Asian war ‘ referenced in Kenny Rogers’ Ruby, was a reference to Korea.

    Mel Tillis, the songwriter, said he actually had been thinking of World War II, though I’m not sure if many people thought of that as an “Asian” war. Korea seems more likely.
    It probably wasn’t Vietnam, as Tillis wrote the song in 1966, when the war was still in its earlier stages.

  72. Dube says:
    @Dube

    Although The Ballad of the Green Beret stepped off the Vietnam war with martial confidence, it must be added that the anti-war movement was carried thereafter by one hit after another from the dissident troubadours.

  73. Piglet says:
    @S

    That’s Army Air Corps, not Army Air Corp (it wasn’t a corporation), and to be more accurate, it was the Army Air Forces. Also, the film was Kelly’s Heroes, not Kelly’s Heros or Hero’s.

    It’s our language and we should distinguish ourselves from others by speaking and writing it properly.

    • Replies: @Achmed E. Newman
  74. @Piglet

    That part in S’s blockquote was from me, and was a typo. I had corps in my head, didn’t want to type a homonym (which happens quite a bit to me), “core”, but forgot the “s”. I did not catch the missing “e” in heroes but was not too concerned about it either.

    Listen, if you agree with the folks, which I believe I do for your comments, based on those I’ve read, it’s not worth it to possibly piss them off with these corrections.

    • Replies: @Piglet
  75. @Diversity Heretic

    I remember a review of “Kelly’s Heroes.” The reviewer said the story was supposed to be taking place in 1944 but the movie’s characterizations were 1970, especially Donald Sutherland’s hippie tank commander.

    • Agree: Achmed E. Newman
  76. J1234 says:

    That looks like a very nice Enfield, John. I bought one recently, but know nothing about them, and that probably isn’t the best strategy for getting into the multi-variant Enfield brand. I knew the stock had been modified (“sporterized”), but it was a WW1 example and so it had some historical interest for me. I’ve seen much nicer examples at the local gun shop, but they were more expensive and of later vintage.

    Enfields aren’t known for their accuracy, but they work very smoothly. The dubious bore on my rifle makes me think it won’t be accurate beyond 30 or 40 yards. I had another one earlier earlier in life and it wasn’t even that accurate. Yours looks to be in much better (and original) condition than either my current or previously owned examples, and it should serve you well. I’ll probably rely on one of my other guns for SHTF.

    Ammo? Get used to the high prices for obsolete or obscure ammunition. I couldn’t even find new ammo for these guns back in the 1980’s or 90’s, so it could be worse. (I reloaded with one of those crappy little single Lee loaders.)

  77. Piglet says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    You’re right. I came off as being rather prickly, which isn’t my intention.

    • Thanks: Achmed E. Newman
  78. Hunsdon says:
    @Diversity Heretic

    The .357 Magnum really benefits from the extra velocity provided by a 16″ (or longer) barrel. Additionally, the .357 Magnum gives significantly higher capacity in a lever action rifle vice the .30-30 (or .30 WCF if you’re going to be all akshually). Recoil is also a good bit lower than the .30-30, if that matters. As a further benefit, you can run .38 Specials through a .357 Magnum lever action rifle and they feel like gallery loads, very quiet, virtually no recoil, just a lot of fun to shoot.

  79. JMcG says:
    @Dube

    It went to number 1 for five weeks in 1966.

  80. Svigor says:

    Lee Enfield, lol. Never seen one in the wild, never mind held one, but I’m guessing if you use it to exercise with you’ll be jacked enough to deal with home invaders empty-handed.

    I bet if you have one in good condition its sale would pay for a budget AR and a nice ammo stash. Well, it would have a couple months ago; it wasn’t long ago I saw a deal for an AR kit for like 200 or 250 bucks, everything but the stripped lower and sights/optics. I think it was a Palmetto State Armory kit. That is friggin dirt cheap, amigo.

    Since then there’s been a steep ramp-up in guns, parts, and ammo prices.

    (I just checked a couple sites; prices on Enfields are all over the place)

  81. Svigor says:
    @anonymous

    Without (direct) conscription, Washington now needs a more desperate working class and camouflaged uniforms on the Sportsball players to find even enough drone pilots to kill people with joysticks from cubicles safely here in the Homeland.

    I laughed out loud and at length @ this one.

    Thx.

  82. Svigor says:
    @Achmed E. Newman

    I know nothing of the Korean War. I learned more about it from Derb’s brief book review than I knew previously. I know nothing of the strategic concerns but the obvious.

    That said, I think we could have gotten away with letting them have it. But that is pure hindsight, knowing that the Soviets were probably a good bit more afraid of us than we suspected, and that they may have been more right than we knew. Which is my way of saying that if we’d made it clear, hey commies, no taking Japan or Europe or we’ll gladly nuke you, we probably could have gotten away with not fighting a war for Korea.

    But they probably knew a lot more about the situation they were in than I do now. Just like I figure Hitler and Stalin and everybody else probably knew a lot more about the situations they were in than I do now.

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