On this day, a few years ago:

Not that we’re still angry about it, or anything — or else Toyota wouldn’t still be the top-selling automotive brand in the United States.

From The Archives

Seen SOTI, this intriguing little question:

Note too the reference to Cuba.  Then this:

Someone tell James Cameron… and speaking of getting it wrong:

Still asleep, apparently.


Given the newspaper, I’m amazed they didn’t lead with “Connally Shot” and only then in the sub-head: “Kennedy Caught In Cross-Fire”.

Good times, good times.

Highly Recommended

I just finished reading Lynne Olson’s Citizens Of London, and all I can say is I wish I’d read it before Tony Judt’s Postwar (which I recommended earlier).

Of course, as a keen student of 20th-century European history, I’m very familiar with the WWII period — or at least, I thought I was.  In fact, I’ve always been more interested in the military history thereof rather than the diplomatic side… and Citizens Of London  took care of that for me, in spades.

Oh, good grief:  how could I have been so ignorant?  Of course I knew about Edward R. Murrow (“the voice of the Blitz”), and Averill Harriman (more so for his post-war career).  But Gilbert Winant?  All I knew about him was that he was successor to the horrible-in-every-way-imaginable Joe Kennedy as U.S. Ambassador to Britain, and I vaguely remember him as one-time governor of New Hampshire.

Olson’s book has set me straight on that, and if you are similarly ignorant about this period and these characters, it will do the same for you.  Run, don’t walk, to your favorite bookstore or to Amazon, and buy this book because it will change your perspective on WWII completely.

I should point out in passing that in this history, Franklin D. Roosevelt does not come out well (not that this is a Bad Thing, of course), and nor does his successor Harry S Truman.  And I have never read so personal and compelling a story about not just Winston Churchill, but also the entire Churchill family during this period.

It is clear that but for Murrow, Harriman and Winant — with an excellent assist from Dwight D. Eisenhower — there may well have been a completely different outcome to the events of 1939-45.

And if that doesn’t get you to read Citizens Of London, we can’t be friends.

Plus Ça Change…

I’ve just finished re-reading Barbara Tuchman’s The Proud Tower — which, if you haven’t read yet, I urge you to do so — and despite the fact that Tuchman was a tired old Lefty, she still was of an era where historians relied on facts, uncomfortable though they may be.  Unlike today’s crop of Newspeak toads, for whom the old adage “If the facts don’t conform with the theory, they must be eliminated” is carved into their stony little hearts.

Here’s one such fact, and it’s a quote of then-Speaker of the House Thomas B. Reed (R-Maine), who said of the Progressives of his era:

It was true of Progressives back then, and it’s still more true of their philosophical descendants of today, whether politicians, Greens or the Gender Studies Brigade [some considerable overlap].

Seriously:  think of Guam “tipping over”, the “trillion-dollar coin”, “defunding the police”, “anthropomorphic climate change”, “ESG”, “patriarchal hegemony”, “DEI”, “Green New Deal” and all the other modernist, oh-so fashionable tropes and tell me that these “philosophies” (actually more like religions because they rely on belief rather than substance) are not doing today exactly what Reed ascribed to the mountebanks of his era.

Actually, today’s “progressive” tropes are even more antithetical to knowledge than before, because they insist on ignoring or worse, destroying the fundamentals of civilization’s accrued wisdom — because it’s obvious that it’s only without that wisdom that their policies can survive the first question or challenge.

Even worse, when the time comes to write the history of their many failures, the historians, being of the same tribe, will almost certainly lie and ascribe the causes thereof to “fascists”, “counterrevolutionaries” (an old Marxist standby), “revanchists”, “Trumpists” or whatever their fevered little imaginations can devise — anything other than admit to the inherent fallacies of their policies and the crashing, grinding failures and concomitant miseries caused thereby.

Even Tuchman would weep.

[stupidity erased because embarrassing]


For those who’ve been living on the Planet Zarq and have only recently returned to Earth, or for those with failing memories, let me remind you all of how Othias and Mae’s C&Rsenal has made amateur gun geeks like me completely superfluous (and that is a really good thing).

So if you’re doing nothing special tonight (and over the whole weekend, come to think of it), go there and indulge yourself.

They are absolutely my favorite couple on Teh Intarwebz.

Changing History, Just A Little

This little flight of fantasy was inspired by Chris Muir’s cartoon from yesterday and the day before.

In the spirit of our Crossing America series, imagine that you and a dozen of so of your best buddies were able to go back to any time during the Civil War and enlist in the army of your choice, at an appropriate age and level of fitness.  In your travel back through time you could take the battle rifle and sidearm of your choice and 500/50 rounds of ammo for each piece respectively, subject to the following conditions:

  • no full-auto rifles or machine guns of any type;
  • no explosive ordnance e.g. hand- or rifle grenades
  • no fanciful crap like lasers or photon pulse guns — you know what I’m aiming for, here.  You’d be a foot-soldier but by the standards of the time, a Starship Trooper.

To make life even easier, let’s assume that you could pick the campaign or battle you’d fight in, under your choice of battlefield commander, but you and your platoon would have a certain degree of autonomy.

Your choices and supporting arguments in Comments.

My weapons of choice:

Swedish Mauser M96 (6.5x55mm) as equipped below:

…with a bagful of loaded stripper clips, to save on weight.

Next (to nobody’s surprise):

Springfield 1911 in .45 ACP:

…ammo pre-loaded in five 10-round Chip McCormick magazines.

As to the battles and such, I’ll have to think about that for a while longer, but I’m leaning towards Stones River, on the Confederate side.