Monday, December 19, 2011

One Less Hydraphobey Skunk!

 Haven't had much to write about lately, a lot going on but it seems that by the time I find out about it, then think of something to say, someone else has already said it.

 So, I was polishing the all brass shotshells I use in Cowboy Action Shooting and doing a little other cleaning of my various accountrements when I finally turned on the Internet and discovered that Kim Jong Il is seriously dead. I hope the readers can forgive me for hoping it was painful and frightening.

 Korea is an interesting experiment. In the South we have Capitalism, in the North, Stalinism. It's funny, the difference. Two countries with the same people, genetically, the same resources, the same climate and topography. One county starving, the other country well fed.

 I managed to spend my late teens and early twenties kicking around the Orient, courtesy of my then wealthy Uncle Samuel.  I never got to spend much time in the Republic of Korea but I did visit, Older Koreans were kind of scrawny, by the time the post-Korean War kids had grown up they were towering over their grandparents. That's South Korea. North Korea, why there was no growth spurt. Most of the younger generation of the north are functionally mentally retarded through malnutrition.

 I wonder what is going to happen when that whole house of cards in the DRPK collapses. Is the poor excuse for a government going to be able to transition to a new "leader"? If not, what happens? The only way they'll keep the starving people in is with the military. Meanwhile, that military is on it's last legs. Yes, they have a bazillion obsolete artillery tubes dug into tunnels near the North-South border. That would be even more scary if only the artillerymen were nor so malnourished that they can hardly handle the shells these days.

 So, the North Koreans coming over the Chinese borders won't be too much trouble, the Chinese have never fainted at the sight of Korean blood. It's the ones coming south or, worse yet, if Korea is again unified, it will take at least a generation, more likely two or three, before the North Koreans are healthy enough to be useful in a modern society. This means they'll need to be cared for. Question is, by whom?

 Oddly, with the evidence of the two Koreas, the two halves of Germany and the way Cubans are still betting their lives on getting to Florida, people still believe that Socialism can work. Sigh.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


There they were, lined up like the ducks, bunnies and bears of the old-time Coney Island shooting galleries, the Battleships of the mighty United States Pacific Fleet. Never mind that the world was at war, the Pacific Fleet was still in peaceful slumber.
In one of the most closely held secrets of the war the USA had broken some, not all, of the Japanese codes. We actually did know that Japan was going to attack and had even some clue of when. Not the date and time but within a couple of months. Why, then, was the Pacific Fleet asleep?
First, we thought the Japanese were going to attack south toward the oil fields and rubber plantations of (then) Malaya. After that the mighty Pacific Fleet could sail out and savage Japan's supply lines. We also knew that Pearl Harbor was too shallow for aerial torpedoes. We knew that when a torpedo bomber dropped in water as shallow as the waters of Pearl, the torpedoes would bury themselves in the underwater mud.
No one knows exactly why the giant brains of the US Navy had slept through the night of 11-12 November, 1940 when the British sent their own aerial torpedo planes into the shallow harbor of Taranto and sunk the Italian Fleet. The Japanese, though, were awake.
After learning that this was possible the Japanese Navy went to work, practicing and modifying her torpedoes until they found that if they put a modified rudder fin assembly on the rear of the torpedoes and dropped from a certain precise altitude and speed the fish would stay out of the sand and mud and drive straight home.
And so, on December the seventh, 1941, they did. This, of course, was not the only failure of imagination on that day, seventy years ago. The airplanes of the Army Air Corps were all lined up neatly on he fields of both Hawaii and in the Philippines. Seems the brass wanted to protect our airplanes against sabotage. After all, can't have those evil people sneaking around with bombs.
Funny how that works. We had partial information ten years ago, too.What we didn't have then, and don't have now, is the imagination to use that partial information. In 1941 those Battleships were moored instead of at sea. Now we all know that a ship must spend time in port, the crews need rest, the ships need to be maintained. One must wonder why, though, that all of the Battleships needed to be in port at once. During my war, some two and a half decades later, our ships spent extra time in port because the Navy was having to save on the costs of fuel. We will see more of this as the 'cross the boards budget cuts happen.
Another Pearl Harbor, another 9/11 is coming. The sooper duper geniuses to our government demand it in the name of keeping us safe!