Sunday morning open thread and book post

Today wasn’t a bad day (at all), but it was a very, very tiring day.  I meant to post this afternoon, but I simply dropped in my tracks when I got home.  If I get a break from family tomorrow, I’ll be back in business.  Until then, here’s a post that’s both an Open Thread and an opportunity for you to tell me what you’re reading.

To start the book theme off, I’m reading Frank: The Voice.  It’s well written, but Frank Sinatra is a difficult personality and it’s actually hard to read more than a chapter or so at a sitting.  It doesn’t help that, try as I will, I simply don’t “get” Sinatra.  I adore music from his era, but I don’t adore him.

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  1. Charles Martel says

    Sinatra is like Wagner. If you can get past the thug (Sinatra) and the Teuton racist (Wagner), there’s some great music to be enjoyed. Both were my first lessons in drastic compartmentalization.

  2. says

    As previously mentioned, I finished reading ML Extra/Unlimited and Ml Alternative. It’s a combination of many different things such as a thriller, science fiction, military war drama, romantic love triangles, and so on. When I say war drama I also mean a life and death drama: one that focuses on the meaning of life and death. A military war drama can be about the military or the war, but it doesn’t necessarily touch upon the concepts behind the meaning of living.

    One of the things I’ve heard mentioned a lot is the dramatic dichotomy between chick flicks and movies suited more towards a male demographic. Unmarried single women under 30 in a career. Married women with a family. Teenagers and those in college. Demographics can tell much about a group trend, hence the whole importance placed on age and demographics in marketing. Insurance companies also charge teenagers (15 year olds) much greater premium rates. Regardless of the individual variance in your demographic, the demographic itself is a very accurate portrayal of what the group is trending towards. Thus chick flicks have lately become specialized only for certain demographic groups of women, to the point where it turns off any other demographic. This is, in fact, an indication of plagiarism, un-originality, and a degradation in artistic talent. True artistic talent allows dramatic moments to touch any human, regardless of barriers. That is true artistic skill. There can be no art without a human utilizing artistic skill. When I see movies that have skewed positive reactions amongst a certain demographic, yet the format and themes are so derivative and unbalanced, this is a sign that they are specializing not because they are good at making movies that appeal to women but because they need that kind of specialization to cover up their own incompetence.

    That being said, ML Alternative is such a hybrid of so many different other things, which is in fact usual not unusual for the Japanese, that it becomes a stark contrast. In chick flicks, the focus is mostly on relationship issues and on guys apologizing. There’s no war to portray manly virtues or courage. There’s no external enemy or even competent rival. When the Japanese does love triangles, they make it as complex as humanly possible. Such things as two best friends falling in love with their childhood friend, while the childhood friend loves both girls, makes for interesting drama. There is more emotional bonds connecting all 3 together, so the pain or the joy becomes higher in nature. On the other hand, Hollywood does love triangles in a superficial sort of fashion. Either it’s a competition between boys and immature males or it’s a case of Pearl Harbor. There’s rivalry between friends, but they stop being friends for some reason when they compete against each other. There’s no such thing as a friendly competition or the old line “may the best man win”. Meaning much of Hollywood’s love triangles are backstabbing, deception orientated. Such negative emotions tend to affect everyone in a love triangle. It’s not as simple as conservatives prefer positive and happy relationships and LibProgs prefer backstabbing deceptions, but that’s how it tends to turn out given what I have read in America. I do not claim Japan is conservative by the measures Americans can judge, but the culture has several points of compatibility with American conservative culture.

    To get back to the main point, Alternative has many things women and men would find captivating. Relationship difficulties are present. Victory and defeat in war are also present. I’ve watched the last Pearl Harbor movie out of Hollywood. Could have been worse. Doesn’t compare to Alternative. If Alternative is the sun, Pearl Harbor is a beach. Both are hot and shiny. What makes Alternative extremely appealing to many demographics is simply the skill with which it has produced the hybrid intermingling of different characters, themes, concepts, and events. Instead of feeling like a jumbled up puzzle, it is a very clear and comprehensive picture. Almost a visual illusion.

    One core example I can give is this. Hollywood treats death as either a convenient plot point or as a convenient way to support the main characters. They do not and cannot do what Serenity or the Japanese do, which is bitter-sweet moments. Sanctifying the importance of life, yet serene in the acceptance of dying for something of great importance. That’s because those who value their lives the highest, have a hard time understanding why anyone else would risk theirs for abstract ideals. Patriotism, love of country, is taught as being a bad thing that leads to wars. Such is true especially in Germany and Japan. The Japanese love of tradition and family values has allowed them to retain much of their history in societal sub groups. Their history is replete with warfare and tragedies, thus they can draw much from it even though they lack modern day experience. Our Civil War happened only recently in the eyes of world history, and we aren’t even over it. Japan’s last great civil war happened in 1600 at the battle of Sekigahara. Americans have not had enough time to see things as they really were. And for wars fought in other countries, that is even harder to comprehend for the ordinary citizens of America. It is hard enough to attempt to understand your mortal enemy that speaks another language, but if they are all fighting thousands of miles away from your peaceful life, how much understanding can you really obtain given the normal disinterest civilians have in such affairs?

    In an interesting state of affairs, the Japanese have better literature on the topic of war sacrifices and patriotism even though the US has a much higher institutional knowledge in patriotic parts of America and in the US military. Such is life, an infinite amount of contradictions.

    Some here may have read David Weber and may recall me mentioning him. Weber does war drama quite well and goes to great lengths to attempt to portray human factions honestly and as they truly are. Instead of the cookie cutter, absolute black and white, portrayal of reality by Leftist ideologues.

    This is why I laugh whenever Leftists say that we are parochial and mired in tradition and old ways. The Left is so bigoted, arrogant, and intolerant of other beliefs, so reactive, and so regressive that they don’t even have the right to call anyone else “traditional” to begin with. They have no such right. They have no power to generate such a right. They have nothing to deserve power or rights. All they can do is to beg other people to sacrifice for them. They don’t work. They don’t contribute to the community. They suck off of other people’s wealth. They damage the common good for selfish greed and arrogance. And yet they believe they should have rights?

    Both were my first lessons in drastic compartmentalization.

    Before or after training in California?

  3. 11B40 says

    Greetings:

    I’m reading “Bad Hand: A Biography of General Ranald S.Mackenzie” by Charles M. Robinson III.  It’s a follow on reading sparked by T.R. Fehrenbach’s “Comanches: The History of a People”.  The General was quite the warrior, distinguishing himself initially in the Civil War, in which he started of as a Lieutenant, and subsequently in the Indian wars in Texas.  The title sobriquet comes from an Indian reference to the two fingers he lost in action in the Civil War.  He, in the best tradition of the Cavalry, realized that the way to deal with the Indian raiders was fairly constant (all year round) patrolling until you find a trail and then pursuit to a conclusion. The old “Find ‘em, fix ‘em and finish ‘em, if you will. Yesterday, i read the chapters about his somewhat unauthorized raid into Mexico to deal with cross-border Indian attacks.  That raid was incorporated into the plot of John Ford’s movie “Rio Grande” in which John Wayne replicated the General’s action though under a different name.  On a personal level, it reminded me of my sojourn in sunny Southeast Asia not far from the inviolable (by us) Cambodian border. Where was General MacKenzie when I needed him?

    The prose itself is kind of journalistic, and the book was kind of pricey, but the General was quite a guy. I think we would have played well together. One of my current socio-political concerns is the hollowing out of our military and our military efforts under the false guise of humanitarianism. The General knew the truth on both a visceral level, from his many woundings in action and on an intellectual level.  War is brutal; it has to be if you want to do it right. His philosophy of going after the enemy’s “deep rear” logistical and social support networks is what resulted in victory. This is a lesson that has been lost in the death of a thousand humanitarian cuts that our military has to endure these days; collateral damage, force protection, homosexual rights, female participation.

  4. says

    This is a lesson that has been lost in the death of a thousand humanitarian cuts that our military has to endure these days; collateral damage, force protection, homosexual rights, female participation.

    This is only true when it comes from the Left. Thus the original cause is Leftist sabotage, not the removal of the draft, homosexuals, or females.

    In a world without the Left, normal problems can be resolved, whatever their nature. But in a Leftist world, even if you put back the draft, removed homosexuals and females, the Left would still completely CF up the military eventually.

  5. Mike Devx says

    Do you really think reinstituting the draft will teach the parasites the values of heroism, patriotism, love of country, and dedication to duty, and the benefits of teamwork?

    I don’t see that the draft worked such wonders during the Vietnam War.  Reinstituting the draft may result in that old problem: the road to hell being paved with good intentions… and the unanticipated, unexpected, unforeseen results of “benevolent” social engineering.  (The Right can be just as guilty of “benevolent” social engineering as the Left…)

    I believe the volunteer military is doing just fine.  Our military has its problems, but I don’t think ANY of those vexing problems are caused by its volunteer nature.  Most of those problems are caused by either its massive bureaucracy or by its steady leftward drift.  And reinstituting the draft won’t alleviate those problems.

  6. says

    A volunteer military is less vulnerable to Leftist astro turf anti-war marches. The ones trying to scare the youth vote into voting Democrat were using the draft as a stalking horse, implying that Republicans would bring it back. The point is, the Left would gain the most from it politically. What it would do to the military is meaningless.

    The military doesn’t decide how many die in Fed up dumb arse wars that get people killed for nothing. The politicians do.

  7. 11B40 says

    Greetings:  especially “Mike Devx” at #7

    My problem with the suspension of the military results from the diffusion of responsibility that occurs when a society relieves its menfolk from the need to defend their rights, property and lives.  

    The volunteer army may have actually worked had it not continued on in the hollowing out of the social justice process.  But the proof of my pudding was back during the dire days of the Iraq war when troops were being rotated into the war zone early and then being kept longer than expected. That’s a pretty good indicator of a lack of manpower. And even then, there was no call by any of our leaders to re-instate the draft. That does not smell like success to me.

    Now, after the peformances of the taxpayers subsidized students at California’s state universities and the public employees of Wisconsin, our leaders may well have been right to let the sleeping military draft dog lie.  But when a country of 300+ million people can’t field enough troops to handle two piss-ant countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, the question needs to be raised. Has our country taken the volunteer military concept as far as it can go?  Just recently, I came across another article about a military unit whose return to Afghanistan had to be moved up due to manpower shortages.

    As to teaching values, the military does a decent job developing those values and did so even in the days of the Viet Nam war.  Certainly some seed will fall on barren ground, but nowadays, a couple of years in the military might well prove to be a viable antidote to what’s going on in our public education systems. There were brigs and stockades during the Viet Nam war as there are brigs and stockades in the volunteer military era.  I was a rifleman in an infantry company.  Our company had three rifle platoons and a mortar platoon. The latter was where the men who didn’t rifle well went. If that didn’t work there were further alternatives.  It was a sheep and goats kind of thing and it seemed to work because there were always more sheep and goats in the draft pipeline.

    One of the things that I dislike the most about the current Selective Service registration nonsense is that our young men can sign up once and then forget about it.  If it were up to me, I would at least require them to send in a postcard every year confirming their address and contact information and indicating if they were interested in either serving in the military or being contacted by a military recruiter. They should not be too comfortable in their irresponsibility.

  8. says

    That’s a pretty good indicator of a lack of manpower.

    It couldn’t be helped. For various reasons, the actual manpower was stuck in places like Germany, Korea, and Okinawa. And there was no plan or even ability to shift them around.

    And even then, there was no call by any of our leaders to re-instate the draft. That does not smell like success to me.

    Drafts are only necessary in total wars, not limited ones or police action ones. Limited goals means limited manpower requirements. They rotate them out because people figured out PTSD requires decompression after combat to get rid of or even detect. Morale was also an issue as extended deployments cause enormous hardships on the families. Why were so many Vietnam units deployed for so long without breaks, to the point where My Lai started going on, even though there was plenty of manpower through the draft? because. They didn’t know.

    ut when a country of 300+ million people can’t field enough troops to handle two piss-ant countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, the question needs to be raised.

    That’s a very wrong assessment of the situation. Wars are no longer fought by numbers. We’re not using Japan’s human wave tactics nor are we using WWI trench attrition tactics.

    As General Petraeus demonstrated, it’s not the number of troops deployed but how you use them. Petraeus needed so many more, because people allowed it to get so much worse than it was in 2003-4. Time is not a commodity that one can buy in war. When it is wasted, it’s gone. I would also mention that no other country has the capability to invade even one country at so far a distance from their homeland. Even Russia has problems with Georgia, and they’re right next to each other almost. A country of 300 million people had the luxury of rotating troops back home for rest and replenishment even though that country was covering Okinawa, Japan, South Korea, Germany, independent forces in Africa, and so on. That’s the more accurate strategic situation.

    Just recently, I came across another article about a military unit whose return to Afghanistan had to be moved up due to manpower shortages.

    That’s due to Congress cutting the military’s funding. No recruits, no manpower. Pretty simple. Not due to a lack of potential recruits. There’s no money to pay them with. Obama was going to make the military pay for their own medical care. Saves money for more socialist programs.

    As to teaching values, the military does a decent job developing those values and did so even in the days of the Viet Nam war.  Certainly some seed will fall on barren ground, but nowadays, a couple of years in the military might well prove to be a viable antidote to what’s going on in our public education systems.

  9. says

    [Book, your comment format is seriously bugged. I'm copying stuff from the comments and pasting this in here but it's causing the parser to actually make blank everything that comes after the paste code. Just tell your web page technician to make the comment section parse pure html and not rich text as an option]
    I would conclude that there is no antidote for the teacher’s union except to eliminate it. Let’s say the military has 5 million it can re-educate every 4 years. How many years would it take to educate the X number of millions of youths in this country? If the military can’t find the funding even using volunteers now, where is the funding going to be for a draft army? The army cannot run without beans and bullets, after all.
     
    Besides, no matter how many people the Vietnam era educated, Vietnam fell and Democrats were elected. Nothing much happened to affect the political front either way, so what’s the point of trying to use the draft education system to make people more virtuous. They’ll just be voting for Democrats and blackwhite Obamas more. The military is not political, thus they cannot solve political problems. And their education system cannot solve social problems created by political problems.
     
    It’s the political problems causing the social problems. You cannot get rid of the social problems without dealing with the political problems. The military is not designed to deal with political problems in the United States of America. Thus it’s an inefficient use of time and resources to use military resources to deal with social issues. The military can produce men like Allen West. But change happens when they become politicians. It doesn’t work automatically. It doesn’t work based upon numbers. And it doesn’t matter how many people become more patriotic by joining the military. The Democrats aren’t going to count their votes anyway, because the Dems have the power and other people just get trampled on.

  10. Charles Martel says

    The people in this room, with the exception of young Zach, I think are in agreement that our beloved United States has entered a period where it is struggling for its very existence. The ascension to the presidency of an angry, utterly feckless and unqualified man, and the takeover of the federal government and the culture by self-serving elitists, are hammer blows that all of us feel daily.

    But there is another threat, one that I became familiar with as a schoolboy many years ago. I’ve kept an eye on it since, but not lately. Then today, on Instapundit, I ran across the link below. It may be that the final blow will come from nature.

    http://www.dailyimpact.net/2011/04/28/mississippi-rising-apocalypse-now/

  11. says

    Afterward, the badly frightened engineers of the Corps wondered how close it had been.

    They got to lay it on less thick then that. I’m detecting propaganda tones already. The Engineer Corps isn’t the Marine Corps and they don’t have combat, yet, to be afraid of.

  12. Mike Devx says

    Ymar wrote:
    > As previously mentioned, I finished reading ML Extra/Unlimited and Ml Alternative. 

    Do you have a link?  I can’t find anything reliably pointing to a particular book.  Your recommendation of David Weber’s Honor Harrington series and the Safehold series have certainly resulted (for me) in much enjoyable sci-fi reading.

    p.s. – I haven’t forgotten that I’m to follow up on our discussion in the comment section of Book’s post on S&M going mainstream.  Work consumes time; and my spare time has been focused on my main current hobby of consuming all of Dean Koontz’ books. 

     

  13. Charles Martel says

    Just heard the great news that Osama bin Laden has been killed by a U.S. military strike somewhere in Pakistan.

    Now waiting to see how NBOTUS will attempt to take credit.

    Anyway, Osama is now working his way through his 72 virgins in Allah’s Bordello. Considering that the man was a master diddler in life, this new task will fit him well.

  14. Mike Devx says

    Osama Bin-Laden is dead.  Apparently, he’s been dead for a few days, and we got him.  And now we have the bddy, too.

    As a reminder:
    In 1998, he [Bin-Laden] issued an edict openly declared war on America: “We — with God’s help — call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God’s order to kill the Americans and plunder their money wherever and whenever they find it.”

    His involvement in the establishment of Al-Qaeda, and in numerous attacks on U.S. property, culminating in the 9-11 atrocities, makes his declaration of war serious, and our own subsequent response, ending with his death, justifiable.

    Good riddance to him.  Come tomorrow’s dawn, the world will be a brighter place with him no longer in it.

    And a huge, heartfelt “Congratulations!!!” to our military, which is responsible for his death, if early reports are correct.

  15. says

    Mike,

    Don’t feel particularly bothered to trouble yourself over the SM conversation. I consider it a side conversation of peripheral importance to the main issue, which is deviancy amongst the Left. I’m fine with ignoring it if people aren’t interested in pursuing the sub-culture. Even mainstream cultures have sub-cultures of their own.

    ML Alternative and ML Unlimited are Japanese products, with no English language version available yet that I have heard of. Well, if you really want to check it out in English, send me a mail at my address. ymarsakar on yahoo. I’ll give you the details and then you can decide whether you want to go to the trouble of getting it.

    ML Alternative is one of those hybrid media mediums. You’ve heard of audio books and graphic audio books that sound like a “movie in your head”. MLA is sorta like 2 hard back novels, put together with a full audio track with most words spoken, and with several minutes of CGI movies. It’s not an audio book. It’s not a movie. It’s not a tv series. It’s not a novel. A hybrid it is.

  16. Mike Devx says

    Ymar,
    I will followup, perhaps on your website, on our discussion point.  We’d moved into the territory of epistemology and mainly a philosophical question: When is it acceptable, and why, to (publicly) judge others’ actions if no laws are being broken?  It remains an interesting question of itself and is broader than the deviancy post that prompted the discussion.

    Thanks for the info on MLAlternative.

  17. says

    I’m always open to talking about philosophy and epistemology.

    The procedure is rather complicated to reading ML Alternative in English, so be sure to send me a mail for the specific directions.

  18. Danny Lemieux says

    11B40 – I will need to read your latest book recommendation. “Comanches” was absolutely first rate and I am recommending it to others. 

    I am with you as I am with General William Tecumseh Sherman: trying to make war humanitarian only draws it out so that civilians suffer the deaths of thousands of cuts.

    Sherman recognized that “war is hell” and concluded that the most humane thing to do is to finish it quickly and overpoweringly.

  19. Charles Martel says

    “. . .the most humane thing to do is to finish it quickly and overpoweringly.”

    Reminds me of a fight I stupidly picked at age 12 with my gentle older brother, who was 15. There was the sound of something moving swiftly through the air, a huge mass suddenly in front of my eyes, a momentary lapse of consciousness, and then coming to a heartbeat later to a wonderful view of blue sky from my supine position. All this in three seconds.

    My brother was very humane that day.

  20. says

    Many Southerners still consider Sherman to be a monster, of course. You may not notice this living in California, but I’m in the Bible Belt. Deep South and it’s pretty noticeable, even on the net.

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