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Thursday, December 14, 2017

History Revised

Singapore
I thought the Vietnam War was a disaster from the get go, mostly because of the reports I heard about how the government of South Vietnam was corrupt, which sounded pretty believable. Now I come across this explanation from George Scott on Quora, which surprised the heck out of me.
About 30 years ago, Prime Minister Lee of Singapore, who is largely credited with the “Singapore Miracle” (turning a backwater nation into an economically prosperous nation) wrote an op ed in the New York Times in which he claimed the U.S. had largely won the Vietnam War.
His contention was that the U.S. wasn’t just fighting to protect South Vietnam from the Communist yoke, but that the U.S. was fighting to protect all of Southeast Asia (including his native Singapore). He wrote that although South Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos fell to Communism, the U.S.’s fight delayed the Communist surge long enough for Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines to develop their nations economically enough to make the Communist lure undesirable.
Prime Minister Lee argued that had the U.S. not fought the Vietnam War, Communism would have taken over all of Southeast Asia. The U.S.’s participation in the Vietnam War allowed the much larger portion of the Southeast Asian population to escape the yoke of Communism. And in Prime Minister Lee’s eyes (as a significant insider), this meant the U.S. largely won the Vietnam War, even though Indochina fell to Communism.
The New York Times has an interesting column about Prime Minister Lee.

Who knows what

Illustration of the idea behind Diffie-Hellman key Exchange

I'm reading about the Diffie–Hellman Key Exchange and I come across this phrase:
The chart below depicts who knows what,
Who knows what? Are you kidding me? Isn't that the phrase we use when we don't know what the subject is? Does this mean that whoever is writing the description of this chart does not know what it depicts? Well, that's dumb. How can you write a description of something you don't understand? But then I realize that the chart shows what information is known by which people, i.e. who knows what.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Apple Pie Moonshine

Brody's Apple Pie Moonshine
Saw this at the liquor store yesterday evening. Shades of Justified. I had forgotten the name of the show, but it only took a few key words (TV, man with a hat, Kentucky) for the cashier to come up with it, whereupon we enjoyed a few moments of fond recollection.

Mags Bennett (Margo Martindale)

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Gangsters

A man gets out of a Volvo 144 to head to a parade in Pyongyang in 2012. 
In the 1970s, North Korea ordered 1,000 Volvo 144s from Sweden. 
To this day, the cars have not been paid for. - Tanya L. Procyshyn
Uniberp has a long history of Volvos. In fact he has owned three Volvo 144's, the same model as the ones in this story about criminal North Korea. It's kind of small potatoes now that they're threatening the entire world with nuclear missiles. I guess it just goes to show you shouldn't give a gangster an even break, which kind of makes me wonder whether we should have relaxed our positions with Iran and Cuba. I can sort of understand how Iran got to be fucked up. That part of the world has thousands of years of squabbling to their credit. It might not be possible to untangle that mess. But Cuba, criminently, the revolution was only 60-odd years ago. Then again, maybe the tropics are doomed to be ruled by gangsters. Before the revolution it was the Mafia, now it's communists. In both cases the working class is getting screwed over by the elite.

Which reminds me of a story told in the opening episode of Ozark. It seems a woman has been working in a grocery store for umpteen years and the owner was very happy with her. She was diligent and productive. Then one day he sees her slip a few pesos out of the till and into her pocket. Now the question is, what should the owner do? Should he warn her not to do it again and give her a second chance? The correct answer in the context of this show is to fire her. Because while this might be the first time she has been caught stealing, it is not necessarily the first time she has stolen something.

Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux

Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux at Madison Square Garden
The kids went to NYC for a long weekend and Osmany managed to see one of his coutrymen in a highly touted fight (Rigondeaux is from Cuba). The fight was kind of a bust. Lomachenko is two weight classes above Rigondeaux. Rigondeaux retired after six rounds complaining about a broken hand. The entire fight is available on YouTube with a Spanish soundtrack.

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Dead South - In Hell I'll Be In Good Company


The Dead South - In Hell I'll Be In Good Company [Official Music Video]

This video is just over one year old, has 36 million views, and until yesterday I had never heard of it, but I like it well enough that just one day later I'm posting it.

Update the next day: The lyrics are way out there, or maybe way inside. A little incoherent, but life is crazy like that.

Missing Joke

Narcissus by Caravaggio, gazing at his own reflection.
"Narcissistic personality disorder" has popped up a couple of times in conversation recently. This picture shows up on Wikipedia's article on the subject. The painting was done by Caravaggio. I spent a few hours reading about this guy a while back, and since I spent more than five seconds on him that should have produced a blog post, but I can find nothing. And then I remember hearing a long joke / story / pun that confused Caravaggio with Ragtime Cowboy Joe, but I can't find anything about it either.


Ragtime Cowboy Joe - The Sons of the Pioneers with Tommy Doss 1960