What is Best in Life Conan?

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What is Best in Life Conan?

To invest in Gamestop, see their stock driven up before you, and to hear the lamentations of the hedge fund managers.

To invest in Gamestop, see their stock driven up before you, and to hear the lamentations of the hedge fund managers.

 

Thanks to Nate Winchester for the below:

To invest in Gamestop, see their stock driven up before you, and to hear the lamentations of the hedge fund managers.

 

Thanks to Nate Winchester for the below:

 

To invest in Gamestop, see their stock driven up before you, and to hear the lamentations of the hedge fund managers.

 

Thanks to Nate Winchester for the below:

 

 

Something for the weekend.  Money, Money, Money (1976) by ABBA.  Any relationship to current events is purely intentional.

 

Something for the weekend.  Money, Money, Money (1976) by ABBA.  Any relationship to current events is purely intentional.

 

Something for the weekend.  Money, Money, Money (1976) by ABBA.  Any relationship to current events is purely intentional.

I have long thought that there was a hilarious dark comedy waiting to be written about the power struggle that occurred in the Soviet Union after the death of Stalin.  His daughter described his dying which took several days:

“Father’s death was slow and difficult…. His face became dark and different… his features were becoming unrecognizable…. The death agony was terrible. It choked him slowly as we watched… At the last moment he suddenly opened his eyes. It was a horrible look — either mad, or angry and full of fear of death…. Suddenly he raised his left hand and sort of either pointed up somewhere, or shook his finger at us all… The next moment his soul, after one last effort, broke away from his body.”

The film is coming out on October 20, and judging from the trailer it looks rather historically accurate.  Stalin’s death began a long chain of events that ended with the fall of the Soviet Union.  A fitting “celebration” of the centennial of the October Revolution.

 (I posted this at The American Catholic and I thought the stock market mavens of Almost Chosen People might get a chuckle out of it.)

Thanks to Nate Winchester for the below:

Published in: on January 31, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on What is Best in Life Conan?  
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Edelweiss

 

Something for the weekend.  Edelweiss, from The Sound of Music.  A show tune written for the musical it refers to the sturdy mountain flower, which in the 19th century became a symbol for the people of the Alps.  In 1907 it became a symbol of the elite Alpine troops of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  The song is a good reflection of the quiet Austrian patriotism of a most remarkable man:  Georg Johannes Ritter von Trapp.

Georgvontrapp

Born in 1880 he was the son of a Commander in the Austro-Hungarian navy who had been elevated to the nobility in 1876.  This gave his son Ritter (Knight) status, allowing him to put von in his name and to be addressed as baron.  His father died when Georg was four, which did not deter him from following in his father’s footsteps by entering the Austrian naval academy in 1894. (more…)

Published in: on January 30, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Edelweiss  
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January 29, 1845: Poe’s Raven is Published

The publication of the macabre poem The Raven gave Edgar Allan Poe the literary fame he had sought all his life, although the meager financial reward of $9.00 typified his life long failure to earn a living as a writer.  Two years later his wife died at 24, replicating in Poe’s life the role of Lenore in his poem.  Poe himself would die in mysterious circumstances two years later at age 40, his sad and frequently bizarre life worthy of the pen of Poe.

 

Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,
Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore—
    While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,
As of some one gently rapping, rapping at my chamber door.
“’Tis some visitor,” I muttered, “tapping at my chamber door—
            Only this and nothing more.”
    Ah, distinctly I remember it was in the bleak December;
And each separate dying ember wrought its ghost upon the floor.
    Eagerly I wished the morrow;—vainly I had sought to borrow
    From my books surcease of sorrow—sorrow for the lost Lenore—
For the rare and radiant maiden whom the angels name Lenore—
            Nameless here for evermore.
    And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before;
    So that now, to still the beating of my heart, I stood repeating
    “’Tis some visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door—
Some late visitor entreating entrance at my chamber door;—
            This it is and nothing more.”
    Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
    But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
    And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—
            Darkness there and nothing more.
    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there wondering, fearing,
Doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before;
    But the silence was unbroken, and the stillness gave no token,
    And the only word there spoken was the whispered word, “Lenore?”
This I whispered, and an echo murmured back the word, “Lenore!”—
            Merely this and nothing more.
    Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning,
Soon again I heard a tapping somewhat louder than before.
    “Surely,” said I, “surely that is something at my window lattice;
      Let me see, then, what thereat is, and this mystery explore—
Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore;—
            ’Tis the wind and nothing more!”

(more…)

Published in: on January 29, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on January 29, 1845: Poe’s Raven is Published  
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Ronald Reagan: January 28, 1986: The Future Doesn’t Belong to the Faint Hearted

And I want to say something to the schoolchildren of America who were watching the live coverage of the shuttle’s takeoff. I know it is hard to understand, but sometimes painful things like this happen. It’s all part of the process of exploration and discovery. It’s all part of taking a chance and expanding man’s horizons. The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted; it belongs to the brave. The Challenger crew was pulling us into the future, and we’ll continue to follow them.

                                              President Ronald Reagan, January 28, 1986

As regular readers of this blog know, I am honored to share my birthday, February 6, with the greatest president of my lifetime:  Ronald Wilson Reagan.  One aspect of his Presidency was the power of his oratory:  Mr. Reagan being a master of giving voice to sentiments with verbal images that could move and inspire his listeners.  One of the best short samples of his skill, is the speech that he gave on the day of the Challenger disaster.  Reagan, obviously filled with grief himself, did not allow his speech to be a mere lament.  While honoring the dead he pointed to the future, and told the hard truth that loss and disaster are the inevitable price to be paid for exploration and new frontiers.  Here is the text of his speech: (more…)

Published in: on January 28, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Ronald Reagan: January 28, 1986: The Future Doesn’t Belong to the Faint Hearted  
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The Master Sergeant Was a Modest Hero

Roddie Edmonds

A nightmare for every Jewish GI serving in the European Theater of Operations was to be captured by the Nazis.  For a group of American Jewish POWs on January 27, 1945, their worst nightmare seemed about to come true.  The Commandant of Stalag IXA, Major Siegmann, had ordered the Jews among the thousand Americans to report outside their barracks the next morning could be imagined.  Master Sergeant Roddie Edmonds of the 422nd Infantry Regiment, a resident of Tennessee, was the ranking NCO at the camp and he was not going to allow the Nazis to murder some of his men.  He ordered every American to show up outside the barracks and informed the astonished Commandant that they were all Jews.  The Commandant exclaimed that they could not all be Jews and took out his pistol.  Edmonds remained calm:  “According to the Geneva Convention, we only have to give our name, rank and serial number. If you shoot me, you will have to shoot all of us, and after the war you will be tried for war crimes.”   The Commandant turned around and stalked off.  No further attempts were made by him to get his hands on the Jewish GIs. (more…)

Published in: on January 27, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Master Sergeant Was a Modest Hero  
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January 26, 1945: Audie Murphy Earns Medal of Honor

The real heroes are dead.

Audie Murphy

When Audie Murphy starred in his aptly titled World War II biopic, To Hell and Back, his battlefield exploits were downplayed.  Partially this was due to Murphy’s modesty, he had not wanted to appear in the movie and did so only after he was promised that much of the focus of the film would be on his buddies who died during the War, and partially due to the fact that what he did during the War was so unbelievably courageous that film audiences might have refused to believe it.  Here is his Medal of Honor citation that he earned in truly hellish fighting near Holtzwihr, France on January 26, 1945:

 

General Orders No. 65

WAR DEPARTMENT

Washington 25, D.C., 9 August 1945

MEDAL OF HONOR – Award

Section
1
* * * * *

I. MEDAL OF HONOR. – By direction of the President, under the provisions of the act of Congress approved 9 July 1918 (WD Bul. 43, 1918), a Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty was awarded by the War Department in the name of Congress to the following-named officer:

Second Lieutenant Audie L. Murphy, 01692509, 15th Infantry, Army of the United States, on 26 January 1945, near Holtzwihr, France, commanded Company B, which was attacked by six tanks and waves of infantry. Lieutenant Murphy ordered his men to withdraw to a prepared position in a woods while he remained forward at his command post and continued to give fire directions to the artillery by telephone. Behind him to his right one of our tank destroyers received a direct hit and began to burn. It’s crew withdrew to the woods. Lieutenant Murphy continued to direct artillery fire which killed large numbers of the advancing enemy infantry. With the enemy tanks abreast of his position, Lieutenant Murphy climbed on the burning tank destroyer which was in danger of blowing up any instant and employed its .50 caliber machine gun against the enemy. He was alone and exposed to the German fire from three sides, but his deadly fire killed dozens of Germans and caused their infantry attack to waver. the enemy tanks, losing infantry support, began to fall back. For an hour the Germans tried every available weapon to eliminated Lieutenant Murphy, but he continued to hold his position and wiped out a squad which was trying to creep up unnoticed on his right flank. Germans reached as close as 10 yards only to be mowed down by his fire. He received a leg wound but ignored it and continued the single-handed fight until his ammunition was exhausted. He then made his way to his company, refused medical attention, and organized the company in a counterattack which forced the Germans to withdraw. His directing of artillery fire wiped out many of the enemy; he personally killed or wounded about 50. Lieutenant Murphy’s indomitable courage and his refusal to give an inch of ground saved his company from possible encirclement and destruction and enabled it to hold the woods which had been the enemy’s objective.
* * * * *

BY ORDER OF THE SECRETARY OF WAR:
OFFICIAL:

EDWARD F. WITSELL
Major General
Acting the Adjutant General

G.C. MARSHALL
Chief of Staff

 

During his post war screen career Audie Murphy played many heroes, but in his real life he had earned that title many times over.

 

Published in: on January 26, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on January 26, 1945: Audie Murphy Earns Medal of Honor  
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The Leper Colony

 

 

 

The movie Twelve O’Clock High (1949) is an interesting study of command techniques in war, and the film has been used in the military to examine what works and what doesn’t work.  I have been intrigued by the the Leper Colony strategy of putting all your bad eggs in one basket:

 

General Savage I take it you don’t really care about the part you had in breaking one of the best men you’ll ever know. Add to it that as Air Exec you were automatically in command the moment Colonel Davenport left – and you met that responsibility exactly as you met his need: you ran out on it. You left the station to get drunk. Gately, as far as I’m concerned, you’re yellow. A traitor to yourself, to this group, to the uniform you wear. It would be the easiest course for me to transfer you out, to saddle some unsuspecting guy with a deadbeat. Maybe you think that’s what you’re gonna get out of this, a free ride in some combat unit. But I’m not gonna pass the buck. I’m gonna keep you right here. I hate a man like you so much that I’m gonna get your head down in the mud and tramp on it. I’m gonna make you wish you’d never been born.

Lt. Col. Ben Gately If that’s all, sir…

General Savage I’m just getting started. You’re gonna stay right here and get a bellyful of flying. You’re gonna make every mission. You’re not air exec anymore. You’re just an airplane commander. And I want you to paint this name on the nose of your ship: Leper Colony. Because in it you’re gonna get every deadbeat in the outfit. Every man with a penchant for head colds. If there’s a bombardier who can’t hit his plate with his fork, you get him. If there’s a navigator who can’t find the men’s room, you get him. Because you rate him.

In a bombing group I think it made a lot of sense.  A shock treatment leading to redemption, or all the bad eggs go down in flames together.  Rough, but no rougher than the risks everyone else was taking.

 

In the film, predictably, redemption resulted:

 

 

Leadership is a tough skill to master.  It is even tougher in a war where effective leadership sees good men going to their deaths.  However, you can almost be certain that if the leadership is poor the death toll will be higher.

Published in: on January 25, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Leper Colony  
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January 24, 1972: Sergeant Shoichi Yokoi is Captured

If there were any question as to the fanaticism, or raw courage and determination if one prefers, of the Japanese military during World War II, the tale of Sergeant Shoichi Yokoi would have answered it.  For 28 years after the liberation of Guam he survived in the jungles, initially with nine other soldiers.  He learned in 1952 that Japan had lost the War, but he did not surrender because Japanese soldiers did not do that.  On January 24, 1972 he was discovered by two local villagers on Guam who subdued him and brought him from the jungle with minor bruising.  On returning to Japan he said, “It is with much embarrassment, but I have returned.”

Two Japanese soldiers of World War II surrendered in 1974 and none since then.  Shoichi Yokoi married, became a popular television personality and advocated leading an austere lifestyle.  He passed away in 1997, his tombstone being the one purchased by his mother in 1955 under the assumption that he was dead.

Published in: on January 24, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on January 24, 1972: Sergeant Shoichi Yokoi is Captured  
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Shenandoah

 

Something for the weekend.  The haunting American folk song Shenandoah.  The above version is by Tennessee Ernie Ford.

Here is a fine violin version by the Irish group Celtic Woman:

(more…)

Published in: on January 23, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Shenandoah  
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January 22, 1973: Roe v. Wade

 

 

As we observe the sad forty-seventh anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court decision that overturned all state laws banning abortions and effectively served as a judicial death warrant for tens of millions of innocents, I think it is appropriate to pay tribute to the two dissenting Justices, Byron White, a Democrat, and William Rehnquist, a Republican.  Here are the texts of their dissents:

MR. JUSTICE WHITE, with whom MR. JUSTICE REHNQUIST joins, dissenting.

At the heart of the controversy in these cases are those recurring pregnancies that pose no danger whatsoever to the life or health of the mother but are, nevertheless, unwanted for any one or more of a variety of reasons — convenience, family planning, economics, dislike of children, the embarrassment of illegitimacy, etc. The common claim before us is that, for any one of such reasons, or for no reason at all, and without asserting or claiming any threat to life or health, any woman is entitled to an abortion at her request if she is able to find a medical adviser willing to undertake the procedure.

The Court, for the most part, sustains this position: during the period prior to the time the fetus becomes viable, the Constitution of the United States values the convenience, whim, or caprice of the putative mother more than the life or potential life of the fetus; the Constitution, therefore, guarantees the right to an abortion as against any state law or policy seeking to protect the fetus from an abortion not prompted by more compelling reasons of the mother.

With all due respect, I dissent. I find nothing in the language or history of the Constitution to support the Court’s judgment. The Court simply fashions and announces a new constitutional right for pregnant mothers [410 U.S. 222] and, with scarcely any reason or authority for its action, invests that right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes. The upshot is that the people and the legislatures of the 50 States are constitutionally dissentitled to weigh the relative importance of the continued existence and development of the fetus, on the one hand, against a spectrum of possible impacts on the mother, on the other hand. As an exercise of raw judicial power, the Court perhaps has authority to do what it does today; but, in my view, its judgment is an improvident and extravagant exercise of the power of judicial review that the Constitution extends to this Court.

(more…)

Published in: on January 22, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on January 22, 1973: Roe v. Wade  
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