Half a Millennium

14 11 2017

Wittenberg, Germany

Because I’m a Lutheran, LCMS in particular, I’ve been aware that the current year is the 500th anniversary of the 95 Theses, because the Church(es) all year have been making sure we know about it.  Strangely, ELCA has been rather mum about it, mainly because nowadays ELCA is leftist as just about any Christian denomination, and as such, they’re trying to put daylight between themselves and Martin Luther’s none too kind attitude about parentheticals in his late life.  That said, get ready for Martin Luther to be Robert E. Lee-ized.

However, I was not able to get back enough of my cognitive function on the observed day of the anniversary itself, October 31, (missed it by that much), such that I was really able to appreciate the significance of the day.  I should add that October 31, 1517 is observed as 95 Theses Day, but the switch from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar didn’t happen until later that century.  When the switch was ordained, ten days were skipped over, meaning that the day that was supposed to be October 5, 1582 became October 15, 1582.  This means that October 31, 1517 on the Julian is probably November 10, 1517 on the Gregorian, give or take.

Before I leave this be, I want to address the “it never happened” historical revisionist skepticism.  Their theory is that Martin Luther never nailed or even affixed any manifesto like this to the doors of the Wittenberg church where he was based, that he made the whole thing up about 30 years after the fact and after the Protestant Reformation gained serious political steam and became a thing in order to puff up his own legend.  What I think is possible is that he never “nailed” the 95 Theses to the doors with nails, if only because in those days, nails were expensive, and not a one was to be wasted.  But I do think that he actually did affix the Theses to the door, probably with glue, and did it on the night before All Saints’ Day, meaning October 31, 1517 (again, remember, Julian calendar), and where’s why:  Affixing clerical-professorial statements to church house doors was the way that the clerical-professorial class communicated with each other in those days, and they wrote their statements in Latin for that reason, because it was for the eggheads, not the common people.  Luther never really wanted to split away from the Church, he just wanted some massive major league internal reforms.  Which explains the Theses being originally written in Latin, and being affixed to the doors before ASD, because in those days, ASD was a BFD, way bigger than it is even among modern Catholics.  An official professorial statement that dramatic officially posted on the eve of ASD would have gotten paid attention to big time by the really important clerical officials of the day, just because of the importance of ASD.

Other anniversaries during my incapacity were:  The 40th anniversary of the plane crash that took out most of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the 100th anniversary of the Bolsheviks taking control of Russia. You know how that goes, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bolsheviks, Martin Luther, one of these things is not like the others.

Advertisements




My Unique Take on the Orange Crowned God-Emperor’s North Korean Bellicosity

14 11 2017

Pyongyang

I’m going to start with the conclusion and then conclude with the reasoning.

CONCLUSION

This is our last chance to win the Korean War.

REASONING

I have written in this space on several occasions in the last few years that we are in the Era of Peak Boomer, that is, the zenith of the Baby Boomer generation’s ability to exercise serious control over serious and consequential institutions.  So much so that we’re on our third President whose birth is part of the direct “nine months later” consequences of the orgasmic exuberance of the circumstance and aftermath of V-J Day.  Three Presidents, born Summer 1946.  Including the current one.

The first wave of the Boomers are currently in their last gasp of power and influence over serious institutions, and at the same time, are the last people who can exercise that kind of power who have any conscious memory of the Korean War, even though they were just little kids (ages 4-7 if you’re a Summer ’46er) during Korea.  The later you were born, the younger you were when Korea happened, meaning that even if you were alive, you have no conscious memory of it at all, and if you were born after July 1953, you weren’t even alive at all.

Yet and still, whether you were just barely old enough to know what was going on in Korea, or whether you were born after it was over, you had older relatives who were Korean vets, and they inevitably did the woulda-coulda-shoulda thing.  You grew up hearing all that griping.

Donald J. Trump both probably was just old enough to understand that we were at war in Korea when it was happening, and probably heard a lot of the woulda-coulda-shoulda kvetching in his ears as he got older from that point.  He just turned seven when we got out of Korea, and any seven-year old boy who doesn’t see his country emphatically win a war, especially since his very birth was a consequence of his country winning a really big war, is going to have his young male ego hurt.

And now, he’s President, and Korea is still divided along post-July ’53 lines.

See where this is going?  He thinks he can finish the job and close the loop on what got him butthurt at the age of seven.

Presuming the Constitutional process continues after Trump, and as you know, I don’t think it will, this is the last President we’ll have that was alive during the Korean War.  If we have another Boomer President, it will be late Boomer type, a 1959 birth year type, born after Korea, and by the time a 1959 birth year individual got old enough to understand such things, the woulda-coulda-shoulda-ism re Korea dissipated as our attention turned to another Asian civil war, that being Vietnam.  This means that the Trump Administration is last Presidency with “skin in the game” motivation to “win” the Korean War in the way the American foreign policy establishment thinks we should win it slash should have won it.  Speaking of, “our” official goal of “denuclearizing” the entire Korean peninsula is nothing more than a dog whistle for either the internal toppling or the external conquering of the DPRK, and subsuming its territory into the ROK.  There is no other credible route for there to be no nuclear ordinance on the Korean peninsula.  Which means that “denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” is a humanitarian-sounding front for what would in all essence be adding territory to the American Empire, i.e. winning the Korean War once and for all.  The stalemate is that the growing Chinese Empire wants the territory that is now the DPRK to be its protectorate, not ours.

Long and short is that since Korea is still divided, we still think we can win it, and we now have as a Commander-in-Chief someone who wants to win it for personal reasons.

Incidentally, that is why we gave up on Vietnam in the long run, in spite of all the very similar woulda-coulda-shoulda-ism on the part of Vietnam vets that still takes place to this day, (including that on the part of a man who is on the other side of a wall from me right now whereas I write this), because Vietnam didn’t stay divided, the Paris Accords didn’t hold, the North ignored them and overran the South and created a North-ran unitary Vietnam.  If that had not happened, there’d still be separate North and South Vietnams to this day, with a DMZ between them, and we’d still be treating Vietnam like we’re treating Korea, which is, a thing we can still win in the long run.

My late older blood uncle, my late uncle-by-marriage, and my late great uncle, are all Korean vets, the middle one is technically a casualty but one who didn’t succumb to the war injuries until 1988.  Incidentally, my younger blood uncle, who I just alluded to above, the one who you know, thanks to Norm, is one of the three principals of my existence right now and has been since July 19, the others being Norm himself and my lawyer, all of them have legal rights therein, is a Vietnam vet.  So as you can see, I have a plenty of blood and quasi-blood relative investment in eastern Asia.  So what I’m about to write, I’m not writing out of a sense of disloyalty or sedition.  And I know I’m gonna hear from a few people.  But I have to say it anyway:

Those gooks aren’t worth it.  Nary a bone of a single Pomeranian grenadier.





Twilights of Rage

16 06 2017

Miami

OCGE reversed some of Obama’s last moment Cuba policy changeups, and insinuates that none of them will go back in that direction until, among other things, Havana hands over Joanne Chesimard, aka Assata Shakur.

ICYMI, here’s a long but excellent book review that’s probably as worthy as the book itself, that puts, among other people, the lovely and gracious Miss Chesimard, into context.  We think it’s never been worse, but the 1970s make our times look Halcyon.





We’re About to Open an Early ’80s Time Capsule

16 06 2017

USA

* Cannonball Run reboot.

* Atari reboot.

Could silver ghettoblaster boomboxes be far behind?





Garden State of Mind

11 06 2017

New Jersey

Slashdot:

Before Silicon Valley, New Jersey Was Tech Capital

It was in New Jersey that Thomas Edison invented sound recording, motion pictures, and the light bulb in what is considered the first modern corporate R&D facility. In other words, Edison invented the modern lab — teams of people working together, sharing ideas and perfecting devices. In the century after Edison, New Jersey became the place to set up shop if you wanted to invent. On top of all the other assets, the state had lots of inexpensive land available. The transistor and cellular communications came out of AT&T’s Bell Labs, also in New Jersey. If it was 1955 and you had to bet on where the next half-century of technical innovation would emerge, the Garden State would be the most likely winner, not some farmland south of San Francisco. As a couple of Jersey natives at NPR note, it didn’t quite work out that way. What happened?

I’ll take a stab.

(1) Average January high in Newark is 39, in Palo Alto 58.  Average annual snowfall in Newark is 28 inches, in Palo Alto, none.  Average annual rainfall in Newark is 46 inches, in Palo Alto 16 inches.

(2) Father Lewis Terman and son Fred Terman.  That father-son combination was brilliant and Machiavellian, and exploited the best parts of the raw drive for human intelligence, measurement and selection, California’s one-time individualist-libertarian political climate, and channeling a lot of Federal military-defense R&D money into the area.

(3) New Jersey is smack dab in the Bos-Wash northeastern Acela corridor, which for a long time has had a business climate focused on large corporations.  I am of the opinion that the personal computer could have never been invented or popularized by the big three-letter Acela corporations, because, as far as they were concerned, computing only concerned large corporations, and therefore, individuals and their households had no use or need for them.  It took the California individualist-narcissistic mentality (that it once had) to fathom an individual even wanting a computer.  For the same reason, historically, team sports were popular in Eastern industrial towns, while they weren’t that much in California.  Because team sports carried the same connotation as team employment or team industry, the large corporation, the large factory.  Olympic style sports, which are generally more individual than team affairs, were both popular in and sometimes grew out of, a place like California, because of its (former) atomistic-libertarian climate.

(4) “Had lots of inexpensive land.”  By 1955, that wasn’t so true in New Jersey anymore, but it was true “south of San Francisco.”

(5)  The Termans, Fred especially, developed the business-academic mentality, again, rooted in what California’s political climate used to be, of the Stanford-to-startup pipeline.  This new industry generally attracted people who were, along with being highly geeky and intelligent, also highly entrepreneurial.  So, if their two options were corporate slave in New Jersey or roll-your-own between San Francisco and San Jose, guess where they were going to go.

(6)  Part of what hurt Edison and New Jersey insofar as motion pictures is that certain ((())) intent on ripping off Edison’s IP set up shop fairly close to the Mexican border, so they could quickly schlep across it if process servers came calling.





Shorpy Does Downtown

7 05 2017

Downtown

In 1900.

Today.

The building on the northeast corner is still there, as you can see.





Another Ten

15 04 2017

Brooklyn

I’ve been blogging for so long that I blogged on the day of the 60th.

And today is the 70th.

About that stale link in my post of ten years ago today:  I saved it, and cut-and-pasted it in a post here about a year ago.