Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Archive for the ‘History’ Category

THROUGH THICK AND THIN

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It’s funny how memory works. I got a housecoat for Christmas, the first I’ve had in decades at least. (And how did I get to an age where I can say “decades at least?”) Putting it on this morning I suddenly remembered as a child I had a red housecoat. And I used to wear it and pretend I was a Redcoat, a British colonial era soldier. Something I haven’t thought about since I was a kid, but the memory was still buried there waiting for something to trigger it. I think I read once that smell was the best sense for triggering old memories, and a quick Internoodle search confirms it.

Speaking of Redcoats, 141 years ago today, over 700 of them had a really bad day. The famous Battle of Isandlwana, where an army of Zulu warriors surprised and overwhelmed a British force of over 1,000 regular and colonial troops. Warriors armed as seen above, vs trained British troops with modern rifles and cannons. It was the worst defeat of British forces to an indigenous force in history, over 1300 dead. Basically the British had wildly underestimated the Zulu’s capabilities, and had split their invading forces into a number of columns. And this particular column was more or less a reserve force, commanded by a guy who had no real combat creds. Who had set up camp without any thought that it might come under attack. So when the Zulu main army was spotted a few miles away, they had little time to set up proper defences before 20,000 guys with spears and a bad attitude showed up. This defeat ended the first British invasion of the Zulu Kingdom. They shipped an even bigger army south for the second invasion, that did the trick. Whew, can’t have independent African Kingdoms, it might give people the wrong idea. Brown people that is.

A few days ago was the anniversary, well, two anniversaries of the sinking of two British submarines. K-13 sank on 19 January 1917 and K-5 on 20 January 1920. The K-class submarines were an ill starred design, a number of them sank by accident killing hundreds of sailors, none was lost due to enemy action. Basically the K-class were big submarines designed to keep up with the battle fleet, the idea at the time being that submarines would take part in major surface warship battles. It was a bad idea that never worked well in practice. The feature of these subs that really got my attention was that they were 103 meters long (huge for a submarines of the day) but their maximum safe underwater depth was 60 meters. In other words if they dived too steeply, their bow would be at crush depth while their stern was still at the surface. The astute reader can guess why so many were lost accidentally.

In my continuing adult education program, I went to see Andrew Yang speak last night. I was impressed, in fact I may get a MATH hat. I already hung a MATH sign in my window. MATH is Yang’s thing: Make America Think Harder. Can’t argue with that, thinking appears to be a lost art in America. He makes a big deal about making giant corporations pay their taxes, because it’s insane that Fortune 400 companies get away with not paying any taxes. And he points out that giving money to poor and working class Americans and cradle-to-grave health care would be tremendous stimulants to the whole economy, not just the economy of the rich, the economy Washington has been stimulating for decades.

One thing he pointed out that really made me think, is that life expectancy has been dropping in the USA the past three years. The last time life expectancy dropped in the USA was over 100 years ago during the 1918 global flu pandemic which killed over 500,000 Americans. And no, life expectancy continues to climb in the rest of the developed world, can’t blame a global epidemic for this one. And if Trump was really doing the bang up job he claims he is, how does he account for this? How do his supporters account for this? And if it’s not Trump’s fault, what is he going to do to fix it? Snort. I’m not holding my breath.

And speaking of global pandemics, the Chinese Coronavirus continues to spread. It’s not time to panic yet, but it is getting a little worrisome. The ugly truth is that letting people travel all over the planet willy nilly is a really bad idea, and sooner or later it means that the next global pandemic will be completely out of control before we can do anything about it. Another one for the “We’re not really an intelligent species” file.

There’s still all sorts of stuff going on in the Middle East, but that’s for another day. Comments and shares appreciated.

(Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Zulu warriors in 1882. Credit: Unknown, Public Domain under US copyright law. It is from a book whose copyright has expired.)

Written by unitedcats

January 22, 2020 at 1:21 pm

Posted in Elections, History, Trump, War

HAPPY HOLIDAYS ETC

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The year end holiday season is upon us. This will be my last post until after the holidays barring some news event I feel compelled to blog about. Knock on wood, it would be nice to go a week or two without rending my garments. And in that vein of thinking, I wrote a list of garment rending topics to quickly touch on in this post. And now, after a beer and fondue party, I will attempt to expound on them. The cheese fondue course was followed by a chocolate fondue course, so I am feeling no pain on multiple levels.

Australian fires. Yes, Australia is on fire. Two sad truths here, the first being that outside of Antarctica, Australia is the continent least suited to western style civilization, and such is making it even less habitable. Jerrod Diamond is where I got this nugget, so likely lots of codicils. Still, people have been living there for forty thousand years or more, and never found anything better than hunting and gathering. (Which is actually an underrated lifestyle.) And now, all the fires. Welcome to global warming, sad truth number two, which is exacerbating and increasing the droughts and such that are exploding the drier parts of the world. In our lifetime global warming is going to make large portions of the planet essentially uninhabitable, but we can’t do anything about it because it would hurt the economy. Go figure.

Generational conflict. So, yeah, some people are blaming the boomers for the state of the world. I chatted with one today. Yeh, right. (As an aside, love the English language, where a double positive can be a negative.) Give me a break in other words. Saying the boomers made the world today is like saying people in the past made the world we live in. Hardly a new or helpful observation. The world we live in is a mess, but hardly because a single generation screwed it up. Divide and distract is what the people running the world want us to do, so welcome to generational conflict. It’s not the hyper-rich families and corporations who have been running the world for centuries who screwed us over, oh no. It’s our parents and grandparents! A suggested fun topic with family over holiday meals.

And speaking of crazy pointless controversy, Merry Christmas! Apparently it’s a sin now in some quarters to say anything other than “Merry Christmas.” News flash, Christianity doesn’t own the calendar. So no one is required to say “Merry Christmas!,” nor is Christianity insulted in some way if one says otherwise. And if someone does get their knickers in a twist because someone wished them happy holidays or what not, it’s their problem. People wishing other people a good time is a good thing, duh.

This faux controversy is just a sign that the times have changed. When I was a kid, Christmas was treated essentially as a universal. It was just assumed and promoted in a million movies and TV shows that Christmas was an integral part of America, and the fact that millions of Americans didn’t celebrate Christmas was simply ignored. And we’re talking white, Jesus centered, heteronormative Christmas to boot. And now a lot of people would rather not be obliged to celebrate, or they want to celebrate it in their own way. None of which affects Christians who want to celebrate Christmas in any way, but lots of them like to pretend it does. And thus the faux “War on Christmas” was invented. Myself, I try to be polite to people in public. It’s worked so far, I recommend it.

Lastly. The 1914 Christmas truce, image above. World War One started in August 1914, And by Christmas the western front (where Germany was fighting France and England) was a line of opposing trenches from Switzerland to the Atlantic Ocean. 440 mi (700 km,) millions of men facing each other in a bloody struggle that had already killed half a million. There had never been a war like it. And on Christmas day in numerous places on the opposing trench lines spontaneous cease fires broke out. In many cases just so the dead could be retrieved. In many cases though the soldiers fraternized, even famously playing a bit of informal soccer. One of those historical events that was long forgotten, now resurrected by the magic of the Interwebs. All dead now, such is history.

And shamed by this spontaneous outbreak of goodwill between enemies, the leaders of both sides sat down and negotiated a peaceful end to one of history’s stupidest conflicts. Snort. No, they issued orders making damn sure something like this didn’t happen again, and on subsequent Christmas days the slaughter continued unabated. Phew, close one.

Happy Holidays all, have a great week whatever you are doing or celebrating.

(Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: World War One newspaper front page. Credit:The Daily Mirror. I guess they’re still around, but I believe this image is now Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

December 23, 2019 at 7:41 pm

ON THIS DAY: APOLLO 17, SPINNING PRINCES, AND FATAL FALLING SOUP KETTLES

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On December 11, 1972, 47 years ago today, humans landed on the Moon for the last time. Two men of course, women were still pretty much at the back of the bus then, Eugene Cernan and  Harrison Schmitt. Command Module Pilot Ronald Evans remained in orbit, as well as five mice. Upon return to Earth they were all dissected, their consolation prize being they got to go down in history. The mice were dissected, not the men.

Of the three men, only one is still alive. Evans died young of a heart attack in 1990. RIP. The other two got to live lives as minor celebrities, morphing into their later years spent punching Moon landing deniers. Cernan passed in 2017, but at 84 Schmitt is still with us, faithfully carrying water for the anti-global warming crowd. Sigh. The gentle reader can be forgiven for any thoughts this may inspire. Schmidt claims global warming is all a hoax to increase the government’s size and control over Americans. Louder sigh. Dude, they don’t need a hoax to do that, our ruling parties have been doing both in spades for decades, no excuse asked for or given.

Moving right along, mission highlights are about as exciting as one could expect on a lifeless airless rock. Longest time out of the lander, furthest distance travelled on the surface, the greatest distance away from the lander. They utilized the LRV (Lunar Roving Vehicle) for these. They collected a lot of rocks and gravel. They also partially solved the light flash phenomena reported by previous lunar explorers, astronauts reported seeing flashes or streaks of light averaging 2 per minute while inbound, outbound, and in lunar orbit. Most noticeable when they were lights out and falling asleep. One of the astronauts on this mission always wore a cosmic ray detector, and thus as suspected, turns out the flashes were caused by cosmic rays. How, exactly, these cause visual phenomena is still unknown.

As for the Moon landing hoax people, they’re still going strong. I’m sure them and the flat Earthers have joint conventions now. I’ve pointed out the absurdity of both “theories” before, nothing new to add. Social beliefs, and pretty sure these fall into that category, are strongly resistant to logical argument. I’ll just relist this link for those that want to delve deeper into this silliness. The moon landing hoax no doubt inspired by this movie, notable for co-starring O.J. Simpson. In the movie he’s a murderee, not a murderer.

Well, that’s about all I can extract from this topic. What else happened on this day? In 1282 the Battle of Orewin Bridge where England crushed the last formal resistance to English rule in Wales. The Welsh leader, Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, wasn’t at the battle. One of the reasons it was lost. Worse, he arrived back at the battle scene just in time to be killed. He was the first and last Welsh Prince of Wales. No doubt he is spinning in his grave about Prince Cha Cha holding his office now.

In 1602 according to legend a cook in Geneva noticed armed men scaling the city’s walls. Thinking quickly, she dumped a pot of boiling vegetable soup on them, causing a commotion and helping to rouse the town. The falling pot itself killed one man. So this was the only known battle in history where the first salvo was boiling soup. Legends aside, the Catholic Duke of Savoy had sent a force to launch a surprise attack on the Protestant city. Roused by the soup commotion, the citizens of Geneva sallied forth and fighting side by side with the town militia, defeated the attackers. A number of prisoners were taken, several of them high born. To their dismay, since the Duke of savoy had repeatedly pledged peace with Geneva, they were summarily hung as bandits the next day. And until this day the city celebrates the festival of L’Escalade on this date. (Escalade is the scaling of defensive walls.)

And finally, on this day in 1962, Arthur Lucas became the last person to be executed in Canada. And with the abolition of the death penalty, major crimes spiralled out of control in Canada. Because we all know that fear of harsh punishment is the only thing keeping us in line. Snort. That was sarcasm. The death penalty is to satisfy blood lust, it’s deterrent effect is minimal to non-existent. Hell, a well publicized execution breifly raises the murder and suicide rate. Go figure. When informed that he would be the last person to be executed in Canada, Lucas said “Some consolation.”

As ever, comments, suggestions, and shares are appreciated.

(Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Eugene Cernan driving the LRV. Credit: NASA, as such it’s free to use as long as it doesn’t imply sponsorship by NASA. No such sponsorship is meant or implied. Photo details here.)

Written by unitedcats

December 11, 2019 at 12:15 pm

HAPPY MARY CELESTE DAY

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On this date in history, 4 December 1872, the sailing ship Mary Celeste (often mistakenly referred to as the Marie Celeste) was discovered in the mid Atlantic, sailing along in good shape, but minus her crew. The Mary Celeste was a small wooden merchant brigantine (a two masted ship) built in 1861, with an unremarkable prior history before her crew’s “mysterious’ disappearance earned her a place in the annals of history. The story was well known when I was a kid, at least among those with an interest in the bizarre and inexplicable. That was certainly me, still fascinated by same, now just a lot more grounded in reality. I hope.

The first thing to note about this mystery, like the STENDEC mystery,  is that it’s not really a mystery, just something unexplained. If the crew of the STENDEC airliner or the Mary Celeste had lived, no doubt a simple explanation would have been forthcoming. And the incident in question would be long forgotten. This is because in the case of the Mary Celeste, we know what happened. The crew abandoned ship, was unable to return to it, and were lost at sea in an open lifeboat. Why they abandoned ship is a mystery, but it’s a mystery with any number of perfectly prosaic potential explanations. Where’s the fun in that though?

Aside from the disappearance of the crew, the Mary Celeste story is a great example of how stories get embellished with fanciful details through the years by various authors writing about it. Why would authors make up fanciful details? The same reason authors now use clickbait titles to their Interwebs posts, to get more readers. Some things never change. The fact that the official inquiries who looked into the crew’s disappearance couldn’t find any smoking guns also added to the aura of mystery. It’s in fact been stated that the Mary Celeste fuelled the creation of ghost ship legends around the world.

The exaggerations started early. In 1883 the Los Angeles Times reported that the Mary Celeste was running under full sail, the galley fire going, nothing out of place, the ship’s log showing nothing wrong up to an hour before her discovery. Cue Twilight Zone music. In actuality the Mary Celeste’s crew had disappeared about ten days before she was discovered, and there was nothing remarkable about the state of the ship. Other than the crew (and lifeboat) being missing. I know I’ve read subsequent versions where food was intact on the table as if the crew had left mid meal, the lifeboat was still aboard, etc.

And then a young Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote a story about the Mary celeste in 1884, renaming it the Marie Celeste and changing all sorts of other details to make the story more fantastic. And the floodgates were open, with ever more fanciful stories and speculation spreading ever outwards. Aliens, Bigfoot, Judge Crater, Obama and everything else have all been proposed as solutions to the mystery. I’m sure the gentle reader can come up with new ones, all it takes is a little imagination and an aversion to facts and logic, voila, Marie Celeste mystery solved.

The real solution is fairly straightforward. The captain had his wife and infant daughter aboard. Something startled him or even panicked him, and the ship was hastily abandoned. Tragic, but nothing otherworldly need apply. It’s highly unlikely their remains will ever be found, baring near magical scanning technology decades or more likely centuries from now. God rest their souls, it was not a good way to get into the history books.

I am going to write a post about the comment left on Monday’s post about Russia and Ukraine, it’s just that the Mary Celeste anniversary was too good an opportunity to miss. Possibly Friday unless some other exciting topic intervenes. Reality, it’s like the Universe is making stuff up as it goes along. Who knew?

I hope everyone is having a great week. Comments, questions, suggestions, and especially shares appreciated!

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: A painting of the Mary Celeste in 1861, named the Amazon at the time. Credit:Unconfirmed, possibly Honore Pellegrin (1800–c.1870). Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

December 4, 2019 at 8:20 am

Posted in History, Paranormal

HAPPY TURKEY DAY

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Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that were better when I was a kid. Better in the sense that as a kid I was blissfully unaware that Indians don’t regard the landing of the Mayflower as something to celebrate. It would be like Russians celebrating the first day Hitler’s legions marched into Russia. Now that I know better, it’s not quite the shallow family food orgy of my youth. On the other hand, I can celebrate Turkey Day as a gathering of friends and family and appreciation of the good things that have happened this year. No God, genocidal European invaders, or infantilized Indians required. Separating the good from the bad is one of those adulting things. We will have a toast to the people fighting the colonial mindset that is poisoning the west to this day.

I limit my fighting to words, it’s what I do best. Well, that and playing Tetris, but the later skill set rarely comes into play and is highly unlikely to ever make much of a positive influence in the world. Packing a moving van though, I’m the guy. In any event, that’s the obligatory part. Now some fun, a break from my usual dark humor. 27 November 1809, London, England. A certain wag, one Theodore Hook, bet a friend that he could make a random address in London the talk of the town for a week. The good Mr Hook (1788-1841) is mostly remembered for his practical jokes, though he did receive the world’s first postcard (which he probably mailed himself.)

I digress. London, 1809. No bicycles, trains, or cars. All foot and horse drawn vehicles. The first steam powered boats and vehicles were around, but they were still largely a novelty item. None were in regular use. So, the random address, on 54 Berner Street. Basically at 5am a dozen chimney sweeps showed up, none of whom were expected, and they were turned away. Then followed coal deliveries. And soon tradesmen of all sorts, doctors summoned, vicars to give last rites, VIPs, thousands all told, started to arrive at said address on Berner Street all day until early evening. It was complete chaos, every policemen that could be spared was sent, but a large part of London was shut down for the better part of a day. Mr Hook and a friend watched it all from a nearby house, after which he slipped away.

And slip away is right, a great hue and cry went up to find the perpetrator of the hoax. Hook was never publicly identified, but his friends suspected. And I guess somehow it became known to history that he was the perpetrator. It’s his biggest claim to fame, but it was enough. He’ll be in the history books as long as there are history books. Nowadays, I guess people are in history until a solar flare erases all of our computer memory.

And that’s it for this post. Swamped in food preparations for the fest on Thursday. And six inches of the atmosphere froze and fell to the ground last night. Inconvenient at best, we may need a dogsled to go pick up our turkey. Someday the American Midwest will be abandoned as it’s not really fit for human life. Another post before Monday between feast preparations, I’ve saved up some interesting links to share. And stuff just keeps on happening in the real world. And then the circus news from Washington. Have a safe Thanksgiving everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Berner Street Hoax caricature, 1810 Credit: William Heath, Public Domain under US copyright law.)

Written by unitedcats

November 27, 2019 at 5:58 am

Posted in History

SICK AGAIN, CYBERTRUCKS, DEAD POP STARS, POOR OLD PEOPLE, AND EXPLODING BATTLESHIPS

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Friday morning I woke up sick again. Seems like the same sickness I had a few weeks back. An encore performance? Can germs do that? I managed to get Friday’s blog up, but then pretty much lost it afterwards. So my plans for Monday’s blog dissolved like so many overused tissues. Instead, random ramblings. It’s Sunday now and I feel a bit better today. It could pass though, isn’t that a famous tombstone epitaph? “But I was feeling better today!” On the plus side, no one I know has died in nearly a week.

Tesla announced a new cybertruck with less than stellar success. While demonstrating its ‘bulletproof’ windows … the windows broke. Oops. One would think that it would have been a simple matter for the staff to get that right, how hard could it be to test the vehicle’s windows repeatedly beforehand? It’s stuff like this that makes me chuckle when people believe that thousands of people could secretly work together for decades to do things like say, flawlessly hoax the Moon landings. The cybertruck also got a lot of criticism for its styling, which is unconventional at best. Not surprising, America is one of the most conformist societies on Earth, and American car styles generally reflect that. Hell, even our car colours are insanely conformist. I kinda like the cybertruck though, and if advance orders are any indication, plenty of other people do too. Order one here.

A Korean pop star, Goo Hara, has been found dead in her home, 28 years old. RIP. Suicide, drugs, likely a little of both. One certainly hears a lot of stories like this, I’m about as far from plugged into popular culture as it gets, and I can think of a number of stars who died before their time. Before going into a rant, I thought, better see how real this is. Do stars often die young?

Yes. Pop stars are twice as likely to die young, especially in the years following fame. Not too surprising, instant fame and fortune must be mind-numbingly stressful. Just for starters, one can’t go out in public anymore. And virtually everyone one meets will have expectations, not to mention there are a whole coterie of people expert at taking advantage of the newly rich and famous. Add to that the insane amount of cyber stalking and harassment one would get, one couldn’t even be on Facebook. It would be tough for most people I expect.

The rant is actually pretty short. More of an observation. If becoming rich and famous dramatically increases one’s chances of dying young … maybe we as a people are doing something wrong? It certainly doesn’t seem like a sign of a healthy culture. Or this that I just stumbled upon, about a fifth of Americans over 65 live in poverty. A rate that compares very unfavorably with the rest of the developed world. It’s somewhere between embarrassing and shameful, since the USA is the richest damn country the world has ever seen. It’s a safe bet that most of those people worked their entire lives, yet somehow the rich have all the money? I know, I know, I’m not supposed to complain if I don’t have a solution. That’s called deflection, one of the many tactics the rich use to avoid even discussing the problem. That’s the whole point of pointing out and acknowledging a problem, to come up with better ways of doing things. Not pretend it will go away or simply defending the status quo.

Another day though. I will be spending three days a week writing from now on. ‘Content is King’ as a friend recently said. We’ll end today with a depressing ‘on this date’ story. 25 November, 1941. The HMS Barham, a World War One era British battleship was sunk by a German U-boat off the coast of Egypt. I believe it was the only battleship sunk in the open sea by a submarine during World War Two. Basically the U-boat got lucky as an escort destroyer misread a sonar contact, and it was able to fire four torpedoes at point blank range. Three of them struck amidships, the Barham was mortally damaged, rolled over on her side, and four minutes later a magazine exploded and she sank. Amazingly enough, a cameraman on a nearby ship was able to capture it on film. More than 800 people died, one can see many of them in the footage. God rest their souls. Watch at one’s own recognizance.

I think that’s the first time I ever used the word recognizance in a sentence. Have a great week everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: The new Tesla cybertruck. Credit: Tesla, used without permission. However since it’s a publicity shot and I’m plugging their vehicle, I hope I can be forgiven)

Written by unitedcats

November 25, 2019 at 5:44 am

Posted in History, World War Two

22 NOVEMBER 1963: THE DAY CAMELOT DIED

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22 November 1963, President John F Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Huge deal at the time, though at 6 years old I was only dimly aware of it. I am reasonably sure I remember seeing his funeral on TV, possibly the first news event I have recollection of. I also remember the buzz when the Beatles came to the US a few months later, the grown ups were excited about that too. I couldn’t understand why some beetles from England were such a big deal, I was not a worldly six year old. What I thought about the Kent State shooting a few years later is even more embarrassing.

So yes, big deal at the time. Fourth US president to be assassinated. And seventh US president to die in office due to the “Curse of Tippecanoe.” IE starting in 1840 every president elected in a year divisible by 20 died in office. Reagan being elected in 1980 finally broke the curse, though one wonders just how senile he was near the end of his term, maybe technically he didn’t. The curse was completely broken by George W. Bush in 2,000, since he was appointed by the Supreme Court, not elected. Don’t worry, I’ll bash Dem presidents in future blogs, I despise virtually all politicians.

Kennedy’s assassination started the modern conspiracy theory movement. Almost from the beginning, people had trouble with the official narrative. And it’s grown by leaps and bounds since. Including all sorts of theories and quotes about what Kennedy was going to do if he hadn’t been murdered. The meme above is a great example of this sort of nonsense. And nonsense it is, Kennedy never said any such thing. The poor man probably has more fake quotes attributed to him than almost anyone in history. Most of the conspiracy theories are based on similar factual errors.

His assassination is still an interesting case, there are minor discrepancies and mysteries. I noticed a few years back when I saw a nice aerial shot of the ambush sight … what a perfect location for an L shaped ambush. That’s an ambush where the ambushers are firing from in front and the side of the people being ambushed. That way the ambushed can’t take cover behind their vehicles. And if it was an L shaped ambush, Oswald was shooting from the side, and the front shooter would be on the grassy knoll. The infamous grassy knoll where some witnesses claimed to hear shots coming from. Still, without evidence, it’s just conjecture.

One of the unsolved curiosities of the assassination is the Babushka Lady. She appears in a number of the images and films of the scene, a heavy set, possibly middle aged woman wearing a headscarf tied under her chin reminiscent of how old Russian women wear scarves. (Babushka is grandmother in Russian.) At no point though is her face visible, because she is looking away from the camera, or her own camera is obscuring her face. That’s why there is such interest in her, no film or pictures attributable to her have ever surfaced. So possibly there is photographic evidence of the Kennedy assassination that has never been examined. And she was right freaking there in the middle of it, in fact she continued to film while the people around her were running for cover!

One can be sure every effort has been made to locate her. A Beverly Oliver claimed to be the Babushka Lady in 1970 and beyond, but her story is sketchy at best. And Beverly claims mysterious men confiscated her film. That’s convenient. Maybe someday the Babushka Lady’s film will show up somewhere, likely solving nothing or even adding more mystery. All that aside though, the Babushka Lady herself is evidence of nothing. There are all sorts of utterly prosaic reasons that could explain why her and her film never showed up. Like the infamous STENDEC mystery, just because we don’t know something doesn’t mean there’s anything important behind it.

So RIP John, your death was a tragedy for the nation. A wound that hasn’t healed yet. On the plus side, President Johnson was able to get a lot of JFK’s legacy enacted, in Johnson’s Great Society initiative. This was the last time a president accomplished anything for America’s poor and working class, subsequent presidents all threw poor and working class Americans under the bus. With the possible exception of Carter, but I would need to read up on that. And sadly, JFK was the one that got the US deeply involved in a stupid little war trying to prop up an unpopular American puppet state in South Vietnam. A war that proved Johnson’s downfall as well.

I remember in third grade the teacher writing ‘Vietnam’ on the chalkboard (do schools even have those anymore?) so we would know how to spell it. This would have been 1965 or 1966, when the Vietnam War was really starting to grind people’s gears.

In local news, our lake froze a few weeks back. And last night it unfroze. The temperature has been above freezing, barely, plus rain. Not much of an Indian Summer, but I’ll take what I can get. More pictures of leafless trees coming up. If one likes leafless trees and muddy fields of corn stubble, Iowa is beautiful this time of year. Have a great weekend everyone.

Copyright © 2019 Doug Stych. All rights reserved.

(Image: Fake Kennedy quote meme. Credit: Anonymous, used without permission, likely a Public Domain image.)

Written by unitedcats

November 22, 2019 at 4:29 am

Posted in History, Politics, Vietnam