Tag Archives: History

How’s that empire thing working?

Maybe most of us don’t care for the idea of empires because we think of them as being something other countries have, but we don’t.    Despite what’s before our eyes ever time we look at a map or watch a news program.  And of course, empires haven’t been faring too well lately.

US expansion 1867 1914

Heck, the British Empire folded up more-or-less spontaneously during the decades after WWII.    Around the same time as the French were getting their deserving asses kicked out of Indo-China to them, Vietnam to us.   Indo-China, Algeria, and pretty much everything else they called their empire.

colonial empires 1910

But around a century ago everyone was still doing it.   Grabbing real estate outside their boundaries and making a fight to keep it.

Here’s a short video demonstrating how empires worked worldwide until around 1945:

https://youtu.be/1csr0dxalpI

That’s how it was done mostly, except when the imperial powers fought one another.   Which wasn’t something anyone liked to do if they could help it because it tended to get a lot of white people killed.

But I’ve digressed.   What I intended to talk about was a remark I made this morning during coffee with Johnny, across the hall.   In some context or other involving the government shut-down and Puerto Rico, I casually mentioned the American empire.

“American empire?   Haw haw haw!   What the hell are you talking about?”

“Heck Johnny, do you think we aren’t an empire.”

“Haw haw haw!   Where do you come up with this stuff?”

I tried a while longer, but the discussion just couldn’t move forward on that tack.   Johnny doesn’t believe the US is an empire and the concept is so foreign to him he refuses even to think about it.

I’m a bit awed by this entire concept.    Are there really people in the world who don’t think the US is an empire?  Well, yes, there are.

Same as there are people who think the moon landings were faked by NASA and that the world is flat.

People believe all sorts of things.

I wonder if there used to be people who didn’t think the British, the French, even the Romans weren’t an empire.

Damn I love this life for the surprises.   The constant surprises.

Old Jules

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A better way – Getting new royalty when the President croaks

This still seems about as salubrious a means of replacing a prez as the one we’ve been using. Time we bellied up to the bar and admitted we love being governed by dynasties of aristocrats. And that aristocrats in this country are anyone who’s a celebrity and rich. Michael Douglas for prez, for instance, because he’s got such a wide range of experience in the movies qualifies him. Provided he has a sexy wife to succeed him when some returned US Navy SEAL offs him with a sniper rifle. Recall, Lee Harvey Oswald and Charlie Whitman were both ex-Marines.

So Far From Heaven

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.  Not all of this is humor.

Must have been November, 1962, election day in Massachusetts though we didn’t know it.  Three young GIs in uniform, Tony Bozza, Julio Ditata and I were off work.  We lived in a brownstone house converted to apartments on Beacon Street, so we wandered over to an ice-cream joint on Boylston Street across from Boston Plaza.

As we finished off our ice cream we saw police cordoning off Boylston Street, people drifting in behind them.  Something was happening so we rushed out for a front-line position.  Asked one of the cops what was going on.

King/President Kennedy was in town.  Came to vote for his brother for the Senate.  Maybe State Senate.  I can’t recall for certain.  JFK was going to stay at the Plaza Hotel across the street.  “Salute when he drives by

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Miss World 1967 visits the troops

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Bob Hope used to do those USO shows every year.  In fact Al Jolson died in the aftermath of returning from a USO show in Korea.  Fact is, any Christmas entertainment that includes John Wayne jokes and nasty jibes at draft dodgers burning their draft cards is probably worth a rerun anytime anyone is singing songs about Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men.

Ms. Welch, at least, is about reality, which every USO show should include a taste of.

As an aside, a lot of you probably didn’t know Clint Eastwood’s real identity was Andy Williams.  Here he is singing something I thought of as a favorite in 1963.

No Christmas is complete without Clint Eastwood singing Old Bilbao Moon.

Here’s wishing everyone a merry little war.

Old Jules

 

 

 

 

Asian grocery mystery

Hi readers. Thanks for coming by for a read.  A few days ago Jeanne decided to give me a shot of rare pleasure.  She took me to my favorite place in the Kansas City area:  A giant Asian grocery store.

As we entered the large vestibule at the entrance I noticed large ceramic pots for sale and the one below caught my eye.

IMG_5046

I walked over for a closer look and called to Jeanne.  “Look at this!”  Pointing with my cane, “These are petroglyphs from the US!”

Meanwhile an Oriental man noticed me from inside and rushed out.  “One hunnerd dollars!  One hunnerd dollars!”  I dragged my attention away from the pot and stared at him.  He pointed to another pot.  “Fifty dollars!  Fifty dollars!”

IMG_5045

Then he pointed inside the pot and shouted, “Look!”

IMG_5047

So the burning question is, are Asian petroglyphs so similar to Native American petroglyphs as to be indistinguishable from them?  These pots seem to be decorated with some symbols definitely not Native American, mixed promiscuously with reproductions of petroglyphs I’ve seen countless times in New Mexico and Arizona, Colorado and Utah.

It’s clear no matter what the answer might be that Asians have gotten the jump, however, on the ceramic petroglyph trade.

If I had someplace to put one of those pots and something I wanted to put in it and $100 lying around with nothing to do I think I’d just buy one of those pots.  And maybe haul it over to Zuni or Acoma to give them a looksee.  The tribes have been losing business to Asians copying their fetishes, their kachinas, their other crafts for a longish while.  Maybe a bit of reversed engineering of petroglyph covered pots  would provide a shot in the arm for them.

Aside from the fact nobody’s likely to buy some damned pot covered with petroglyphs.

Old Jules

Japanese Bonsai Charges Onto Good American Machine Guns

Good morning readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Most of you probably are celebrating the return to the Philippine Islands this day in Nineteen-hunnerd and forty-four today.  Or in the instance of my charming ex-wife, Caroline, merely being born in Nineteen-hunnerd and forty-seven.  Both events teetering the scales of the human  balance in the Universe somewhat in the direction of ‘good’.

The US Military experience in the Philippines was ‘good’ mostly because contrary to previous behavior on other islands the Japanese didn’t come storming out of caves with fixed bayonets pruning trees as they ran down onto US machine guns.  Those damned trees remained intact for the most part if they weren’t hit by good US bullets and shells.  No damned bonsai forests of fancy trees for the Filipino population to deal with after the surrender.

That, and there wasn’t a problem with Death Marches the way happened the last time the US military ran up against the Japanese military in the Philippines.  That Bataan Death March was evidently most unpleasant, both for the GIs being forced to walk shoeless and hungry across the island, and for the Japanese having to shoot or stick them with bayonets for lollygagging.  Nothing of that sort in 1944.  The Japanese were perfectly well behaved, though uncompromising.  And the GIs resisted the entirely justified impulse to kill every last man of them.

The harbor at Manilla ended up being a great place for US sailors to put in and get drunk and whore.

All in all everything worked out well in the end.  Seemed almost no-time at all the US was fire bombing Tokyo and nuking Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  Then rebuilding the Japanese steel and other industries bombed to rubble during the war so’s everyone made a pile of money.  And another great place for GIs to get drunk and whore!

Heck, guys were still getting drunk and whoring in Japan all the way up into the Vietnam War.  When I was in Korea almost all the GIs took two weeks ‘rest and recuperation’ leave to Japan sometime during their tours.  The Japanese whores were generally more cosmopolitan, it was believed, than Korean ladies.

So for those of us alive December 16, 1944, it was the first day of the rest of our lives and it all turned out good.  Except for a few Japanese troops hiding in the jungles who wouldn’t listen to reason.

Think of it!  If Japan had surrendered December 16, 1944, it could have avoided having Tokyo firebombed and Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuked.  And I’d have been able to celebrate it with this blog entry.

Old Jules

Stolen valor? Give me a freaking break.

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Gangs, whether it’s Hell’s Angels, Banditos, cops or [now] Army Navy Marine and Airforce volunteerees, tend to be jealous whenever some non-member sports their colors.  A tattoo artist acquaintance in Austin, Texas, started keeping a Thompson submachine gun under his mattress when he learned he’d tattooed a non-Bambino with a Bandito badge of honor, for instance.

But now what with the Valor-this and Valor-that being bandied about by the ‘thankyouforyourservice’ clubs, the big issue of the day is what you can see down at the VA hospital any working day.  People sitting around lying to one another about what John Waynes they used to be.

However, this is mostly a different breed.  Guys claiming to have been Navy Seals or Army Snipers getting all riled up because some dumbass down at the mall is pretending to be a soldier.  Sick enough the dumbass wants to do it, but how needy are those Seals and Snipers who haven’t suicided yet over the serious bullshit going on inside their heads?  They’ve got to go around looking for dumbasses to out to jack themselves up into something with a life worth living?

Probably there needs to be a little Ferguson platoon burning down the local recruiting offices.  This stuff is getting all out of hand.  Those guys are beginning to believe their own bullshit.

Now back in the day when I was John Wayne I wouldn’t have put up with all that crap by either side.

Old Jules

Brain Drain: Charley Whitman’s brain is missing!

Most of you won’t remember Charley Whitman’s shooting spree off the Texas Tower.  And most of you also won’t remember Kinky Friedman’s song about it.

Hells bells, most of you aren’t going to be impressed the ex-Marine, ex-Eagle Scout’s brain is wandering around somewhere unaccounted for.    We’re not talking about Dr. Wossname, Frankenscense here.  These are the times that clone men’s souls if we don’t keep close track of where they get off to.

Leave it to the University of Texas to lose the only brain with any historical significance ever to set foot on the damned campus:

About 100 brains missing from University of Texas

Associated Press
6 hrs ago
The University of Texas at Austin is missing about 100 brains — about half of the specimens the university had in a collection of brains preserved in jars of formaldehyde. © Nick Koudis/Getty The University of Texas at Austin is missing about 100 brains — about half of the specimens the university had in a collection of brains preserved in jars of formaldehyde. The University of Texas at Austin is missing about 100 brains — about half of the specimens the university had in a collection of brains preserved in jars of formaldehyde.

One of the missing brains is believed to have belonged to clock tower sniper Charles Whitman.

“We think somebody may have taken the brains, but we don’t know at all for sure,” psychology Professor Tim Schallert, co-curator of the collection, told the Austin American-Statesman (http://bit.ly/11R7vym ).

His co-curator, psychology Professor Lawrence Cormack, said, “It’s entirely possible word got around among undergraduates and people started swiping them for living rooms or Halloween pranks.”

The Austin State Hospital had transferred the brains to the university about 28 years ago under a “temporary possession” agreement. Schallert said his psychology lab had room for only 100 brains, so the rest were moved to the basement of the university’s Animal Resources Center.

“They are no longer in the basement,” Cormack said.

The university said in a statement that it will investigate “the circumstances surrounding this collection since it came here nearly 30 years ago” and that it’s “committed to treating the brain specimens with respect.” It says the remaining brain specimens on campus are used “as a teaching tool and carefully curated by faculty.”

The university’s agreement with the hospital required the school to remove any data that might identify the person from whom the brain came. However, Schallert said Whitman’s brain likely was part of the collection.

“It would make sense it would be in this group. We can’t find that brain,” he said.

Whitman’s 1966 rampage at the University of Texas killed 16 people, including his mother and wife.

The 100 remaining brains at the school have been moved to the Norman Hackerman Building, where they are being scanned with high-resolution resonance imaging equipment, Cormack said.

“These MRI images will be both useful teaching and research tools. It keeps the brains intact,” he told the newspaper.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/about-100-brains-missing-from-university-of-texas/ar-BBggiWW?ocid=ansnewsap11

A brain, though, is a terrible thing to waste.  Hopefully someone out there will make better use of this one than the last two owners.

Old Jules

 

 

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