Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors

The Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors by James Hornfischer is about a desperate sea battle that took place in the Samar Gulf off the Philippines toward the end of the World War II. The fighting was a key part of the much larger Battle of the Leyte Gulf.

The Last Stand focuses primarily on the destroyers and destroyer escorts that urgently took the fight to an ultra large Japanese incursion force trying to hold (or reverse) advances to (or in) the Philippines. As such it is an in-depth assay on tactics and valor; those looking for more big picture strategy best turn to other tomes.

Which is not to say Hornfisher’s book dismisses strategy altogether. The driving forces that lead to this battle – often pictured as the likely the last big naval battle in history – are discussed. Moreover, the scene is set with detailed portraits of Japanese and American participants, somewhat on the order of the writing of Cornelius Ryan.

While strategy may not be exactly clean, it can be said that tactics can be very bloody. The severity of battle depiction here is intense. As much as literature allows, you experience the sudden shells, shrapnel and small ordinance raining down, boilers exploding, bulkheads heaving explosions. With this your shipmates bleed in gushes, limbs fly, death undoes mere youth. If they survive, they drift in the ocean, not always until help comes.

In many views, the battle was needless. If American Naval Hero Bull Halsey and his large-carrier force had not fallen fully for a Japanese carrier feint, the destroyers and escorts shielding a US small-carrier force would not have been thrust into hopeless attacks. According to the book, the Navy wanted to keep the sheen on Halsey’s star in luster. More on the topic would have made for a fuller story.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Smiling Jack On Trump Today 20170126 - Who's there?

In humanitarian move, Trump will equip Wall with doorbell. 

Meanwhile, National Guard dispatched to remove Guatemalan family above bodega in Chelsea.

Mexican president cancels Washington visit. "Peking is nice this time of year."

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Smiling Jack On Trump Today 20170124

Trump Day 2: Goes after the Native American tribes in Lakota territory. Thinks they will be good target, like handicaps, or woman
kind. This is first of many huge mistakes he will make. Native Americans in 2017 will not take it - and his hedge will begin to crumble. On top of that, so many of his white supporters have Cherokee blood... sad to resort to in-kind Trumpish putdown, but worse is ahead for his likes. The site of his tail between his legs..I see it now and chorttle.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Trump and dance of fake news

Underlying the larger discussion of Fake News is the fact that it has been a central element of Donald Trump's manner of gaining the White House. The Fake News ploy has been one of the trusted irons in his fantastic golf bag as he has run amok without replacing divots.

Evidence now shows that Trump re-tweets anything that helps his point - if it is planted misinformation, he doesn’t care.

*He took time out of his busy life style in 2011, to tweet that Obama wished America Happy Kwanza, but not happy Christmas. A lie.

*In 2012, Trump tells us Obama's birth certificate is a fraud. A lie. (Full disclosure: I was born at the same hospital as our first Black president, and I have a stat-foto replica of my own birth certificate, and heck if doesn't actually resemble Barak's.)

*Ted Cruz's father was part of the Kennedy Assassination.

*He didn’t lose the popular vote because the popular vote was a fake. And on and on.

Link Trump up with the retired KGBers over in Ruskie-land and you have a formula for an endless stream of total meaninglessness. Makes you want to start a commune.

Now, actually, I was prepared to give him some time to find his footing. But let’s throw that out the window. His first day on the job was sickening. As in to the point of nausea and puke that, hey, you could use to build a heck of a wall.

On his first day at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, he doubled down on the Fake News ploy saying comparative photos showing the Washington mall well-attended during Obama's 2008 inauguration and sparsely peopled during Trump's inauguration were false.

Then he went over to CIA HQ, and denied he ever criticized the CIA, and placed journalists among the most dishonest human beings on earth.

Fake new is often indistinguishable from basic Totalitarian propaganda. These things prey on mass psychology. Time to re-read Eric Hoffer – or Steve Bannon.

All this is very familiar to people who have studied the history of the world press. What's different today is Facebook - the number 1 arbiter of news. Ask yourself, what does the Internet do? It brings massive scaled computing to daily life, and it grabs the keys from the former gate keepers. Add one historical person ready to seize the day, and…

When in the late '40s Stalin published "Falsifiers of History" (It explained how the West goaded Hitler into starting World War II) or in 1964 when "None Dare Call It Treason" appeared (It was a rallying point for misinformation, more or less along the lines of Joe McCarthy blather), rumor and gossip spread largely by word of mouth between students, co-workers and families.

It is just so very odd to have a leader who has such delicate, loving appreciation for lying. - Jack Vaughan

Sunday, January 15, 2017

All the Great Operas in 10 Minutes

Thinking on the strange blight of Fake News

From the Vault : A bit of ObamaBall

During the inauguration hoopla, I read that Michelle Robinson Obama, back in Chicago in the day and before she had been too very long originally dating Barak, asked her brother to play basketball with him and give a report. As the Obama era ends, I thought I would run the piece again. Jake helped create the art.

The thinking was that if Obama had genuine character flaws of any kind they would probably surface in a pick up game. I think that is a sort of street smarts; I like the idea. The idea that you study a person this way - it's almost Shakespearian to ask your brother to run the ploy. With that in mind I asked old buddy pick-up game all stars of yore for their take on suspect traits in a pick-up game player - traits that could divulge deep inner traits of character - ugly ones - ones you wouldn’t want to endure for a lifetime. How did they gauge other players? I invited my b-ball buds to forward the question to their team mates too. This ran on MoonTravellerHerald in March 2009 first.

Jim Haas says ...

Allright jack, you're talking to a hoop fan and a player. I try to watch every Warriors game, in spite of their record and play two hours of full-court each Wednesday night in what we call "the geezers league". Playground ball comes on the weekends.

What I find objectionable is a player who hogs the ball and feels he has to take a disproportionate number of shots - even if he's good and he makes a high percentage. That's not why the rest of of us are out there, to watch some other guy crank up his jump shot the whole time. We want in on the game too! Seems to me that someone like that has an inflated view of his own worth: the kind of person who is often blind to his defects and is oblivious to the talents or needs of others. In other words: an egotistical son of a bitch and I don't like him!

Another thing I don't much care for is serious trash-talking. But then, I don't really encounter it amongst the people I play with. Seems to me so very childish, unless it's done in a "friendly rivalry" sort of way. If someone I don't even know were to openly put me down for doing the best I can on the court or because they're better than I am, I feel it says a lot more about them than me. "Insecure"..."feelings of inadequacy"...even "malevolent" all come to mind. In fact, come to think of it, many years ago when my boys were probably 8 and 10 years old, we three were challenged to a playground game by a trio of 12-13 year olds. They could play and were beating us pretty handily - which was OK. We were having fun and getting exercise. But then they started taunting. After a while I took umbrage and decided to pass less, crash the boards more, defend harder and essentially drive to the basket right through them. It didn't take long before they felt threatened and stormed off retaining their bravado, calling out names and insults from a safe distance. When one finally yelled "suck my dick", I maturely came back with the rejoinder of a lifetime: "I would if you had one" (...wait a second, that's not how it was supposed to come out!)

Oh yeah, one more: the player who gets frustrated and as a result intentionally fouls hard or sets a pick with a fullback's block - more often than not it's the guy who weights 220 pounds, too. Gotta admit I'm not very fond of that. As seen in the previous paragraph, this can lead to unpleasant and regrettable results. I think such a person could use a little anger management and is unlikely to have the tenacity to remain steady in the face of adversity.

Running the ship of state or shooting hoops - it's all about the same human foibles and capacities. Michelle was right in looking for a team player, one with smarts and game as well.

(Drawing above by Jack Vaughan and Jacob Vaughan.)

Jeff DeMark says:
I haven’t been playing basketball for a few years now but I can think of a couple things:

1) If a person drives to the basket and misses or misses an outside shot they call “Foul” when they were clearly not fouled. They blame the miss on someone, not themself .

I used to just hate that and always looked at that person as a cheat.

2) Some one who is a ball hog, who will not pass and constantly shoots even if teammates are open. I always looked at them as selfish and egocentric, the opposite of a team player.

3) People who flashed anger quickly or took the game way too seriously I thought were out of balance and immature. If they had to win at all cost I usually thought I would not want to be their friend.

I saw people’s character flaws revealed many times on the court.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

A day on the Web and radio

10 am - Listen to John Faney - write poem

5pm - I pick the horse that places, Art Sherman's SceneStealer.

7 pm - Cook Japanese Curry Stew Thing

8 pm - Comment on big thing I learned recently... that is... Sir Tim Berners-Lee-My thought: WWW unleashed massive scale - and that is changing course of human evolution. Also recall WWW inventer Tim Berners-Lee is one of the famous people that I met (or saw) - I ran up and questioned him after a conf keynote in Boston at Hynes. All flustered was I. Send the question via email he said, it is much better for clarity. So true, not least of all because he talks fast. I saved the email- it's around here somewhere...

8:30 pm - Forgo Pats playoff game, and listen to Symphony live on FM radio.

Trump Per Stones

Monday, January 09, 2017

Smiling Jack Read Krebs on Security 01091701

Kremlin-financed media outlet RT (formerly Russia Today) is little more than a propaganda machine controlled by Russian intelligence agencies. yet...Anyone shocked by the Kremlin-funded news station RT in all of this probably never heard of Voice of America, a U.S. government-funded news service that broadcast the American response to Soviet propaganda during the Cold War. This stuff is taking me back to college days. I took a class on World Press at BU led by Larry Martin - actually Lawrence Martin-Bittman, a former Czech Intelligence Agent - who had a unique view on "News".

Sunday, January 08, 2017

The crystal hit the waves

The crystal hit the waves.

The clarinet played the lattice. 

The jack the knife sprang.

The V.U. meter measured amps of micros.

The crystal hit the waves. 

- Jack Vaughan

Smiling Jack 01081702 - Who is going to build your wall?

We will pay for the wall, then we will bill Mexico. Trump knows the art of the deal. I have gotten tired with rednecks, excuse me, rural americans to the point where I wonder: Wont they spend their time in gyms with weights and Fox News (on Trump Gym vouchers, in case you didnt hear about the replacement for Obamacare)...and leave it to Trump to drive over to Walmart parking lot and get some migrant day workers to build the wall? 

Smiling Jack 01081701

When Arnold quotes Lincoln to Trump, I listen - The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the cause of our union.

Misc - I came Twitter as I was

I came Twitter as I was.. as I was asked to by my employers. That is how JackIVaughan on Twitter happened. Later I adopted a Smiling Jack persona there. I gathered followers, many related to technology. It spread out over time to encompass sports, music etc too. Thereafter my employers asked me to create a Twitter account that explicitly named them. So I had two accnts, and the new one like the former, gained technology related followers. Then I formed a third account, dedicated to Tom Paine and politics. (I shut it down after the 2016 Democratic election debacle, which social media, I think, had a hand in.) I didnt and still dont think it is my place to inflict my political point of view on people that followed me for technology chatter. I feel somewhat similarly about Facebook - it seems more a place to show pics of the grandkids and recall high school schenanigans, rather than do politics (to a point). And there are some folks who use Facebook that way that I would like to pie. So what? I did get used to spouting off, and I am trying here to use a portion of Moon Traveller as a political forum. We will see how it goes. - Jack Vaughan

So that splains things. Here are my two Twitter handles:@JackIVaughan and @JackVaughanatTT  

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Smiling Jack 01071702

When the September Employment numbers came out they were an "Absolute Disaster." When the same numbers come out in February they will be 'Fantastic" and "Huge." That per the Snake Oil Salesman who made it big time.

Smiling Jack 01071701

Wednesday will be a real world, brick and mortar DoS assault on the news-cycle itself. It's a code the GOP has learned from watching the Russians.

From the Vaults: Kerouac in Orlando

Goodbye, faithful Paper of Record!

Krugman and fake policy

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

404 Error - Claude - Out for Chinese

The back story is that once there was a Chinese Food Restaurant in Hong Kong and the proprietor wanted an English name on the marquee. He needed a translation of something like ''Noble Lotus Noodle''. So he searched the term on the WWW and got a 404 as a result, and it ended up in neon out front. [Click to Enlarge.]- Jack Vaughan

Monday, January 02, 2017

On hearing Getachew Mekurya and the Ex

On hearing Getachew Mekurya and the Ex

I had a little girl
total sweetness dont you know

like the bakery* in the night
baking sweetflour dough

She told me she loved me
someday I will see

she's got the dougth
will get a rise from me

Riding around the town
the girls like that yknow

I keep my eye on the donut
and not upon the hole.

Life is a trip
you float, rise and dip

you step on the gas
you slap her on the ass

you try to stay
off the dole - like tommy told

keep your eye on the donut
and not on the hole.

*The Kappus Bakery was on about 16th St. Brusha and Peterson worked there among others.

Sunday, January 01, 2017

Self help is timeless

My father had a few home library shelves fulled with self help books. Perusing one today on habits.  Self help is timeless.- Jack Vaughan

Remembering The Children's Library

The Children's Library was such a nice little place. A feast of pictures and words. Big print! And in the stacks they had old Popular Science and Popular Mechanics and all. (And stacks were good for making out with my girlfriend who worked upstairs. The meetings were fun until one of them old librarians chanced upon a tryst. Enough of that! nicely said Supervisor) One night (one night only) they assigned me to cover the Bookmobile as it was stationed on Melvin Ave. Had one patron. Remember that. The books on wheels idea was, well it was like the Internet! On Friday nights while J.S. read at the desk I reinforced and glue bound childrens' periodicals and discarded withdrawn childrens’ books (cutting out good drawings and so on for future ref). - Jack Vaughan

Remembering a recording of Hubert Sumlin

Remembering a recording of Hubert Sumlin playing acoustic guitar and talking at my house (1 Eldora) on Mission Hill. WMBR DJ David Herwaldt and a friend in charge. Nobody thought to take the phone of the hook, so when I call from 'the road' the phone rings in the recording. David thought Hubert could be a great acoustic player – which would be the farthest thing from my mind.. and though he did it once and a while, I don’t think it was top of mind for Hubert. Someone brought the guitar for him to use…maybe it was a Martin. Hubert was very sensitive and could go in a cocoon while still talking to you – or playing – which I think he did at times that day. He liked David a lot, however, I should note. - Jack Vaughan

Remembering Sunnyland Slim at the Paradise

Remembering Sunnyland Slim at the Paradise in about 1978. It was the second week after the Paradise opened. (The first week featured Lou Reed, who everyone said was a schmuck and surrounded by schmucks.) Sunnyland opened for the Talking Heads. Neither their fans nor the band cared too much about Slim. He was happy to do his sets, and the spread backstage was really nice. He was in fine form. This went on for two or three nights. I recall a funny moment I think where Slim asks the audience to give a big round of applause for the Talking Hands. He could really fracture names. - Jack Vaughan

From a brief history of technology

I am not sure what is going on here, but I'd say it is unfinished. For me, in a way, technology starts with Sputnik. I can recall adults pointing to satellites moving in the sky after Sputnik. Shock and awed 1. Viet Nam and cluster bombing via my beloved B-52 was another step, more sinister. Computerized probability in action. Some coming out of the Army Math Research Center in Madison when I went there. Shocked and Awe 2. Not sure what comes next.. Jack Vaughan

Eulogy for Aunt Claire

Claire Hickey Roche was born on an August day in 1920 into the household of Lawrence and Katherine Hickey who'd come over from Ireland. With Lonnie, John,  and Mary, they lived in Brighton on Corey Rd and elsewhere. Claire was first to be born in a hospital perhaps. The others at home. Kate still did some work as a domestic, Lawrence was conductor on the trolleys, and she and my mother would meet him at the end of the day at the end of his run. I've seen a picture of little Claire on a pony – they'd trot them around the neighborhood so the kids could have their pictures taken. I have a picture of Claire with her sister, my mother, and their mother, who's my grandmother. It's like the 1940s, you can imagine the big radio, and the swing music, and Claire is smiling, a young girl with the future ahead. As the other children went off, as far as Hawaii and Japan, Claire stayed home with mother Katherine, after her father's passing.  That was a bit tough, no doubt, but I will always remember that she had a smile. Something like 40 years at the first national bank of Boston… I'd stop by the teller booth. and she was smiling. And then to find Barry Roche for a partner for life. Surrounded by the porcelain and the great books in Salem and in Marblehead. In Salem, living next to the cemetery. The neighbors are quiet she told me. Up in Marblenhead. Then, cards, swimming, church. calling my mom dutifully. Beauty by the pond. Again and again coming to the church. Through her difficult paralysis, she had such courage. She remained Claire. With a smile. Now she's with Barry, her mother, father and brothers. Anyone who just knew her knew she brought beauty and care and love and happiness to the world. The road could be hard, but she could see a better day.- Jack Vaughan

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