VETERANS~?

There was a hoary old saying to the effect that—

OLD SOLDIERS NEVER DIE

THEY SIMPLY FADE AWAY.

—many a true word. So moving along in a bus where old soldiers are at best quaint, or (more normally) a damned inconvenience; let’s dwell a pause and ponder …

PERSONALLY I THINK IT’SScreen Shot 2019-01-19 at 19.28.51.png

wonderful that (to a point) we are ‘war free’ at the moment*. So of course pop stars are in (and grunts are out).

1-animated-arrow-right    For the moment~!

‘Twas ever thus.

Further below is an observation made some decades ago—but before you plough through it let me warn it’s in ancient English (pre 2000) and may be a bit rough on minds accustomed to television.

A few generations ago when lads joined the British Army their sign-up papers used the demo name “Thomas Atkins”; soon the word ‘Tommy’ became shorthand for someone who’d signed up. Brit soldiers became known as ‘Tommies’.

WHAT PROVOKED THIS

spiel? A news article came in—

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12181798&fbclid=IwAR08ISYtUIoT_pwaApwb0IB8kR-BibeyH-HfSB06FKRuD4XYxJDlKkfaPbo

—so?

So here’s yer poem:

I WENT into a public ‘ouse to get a pint o’ beer, 
The publican ‘e up an’ sez, ” We serve no red-coats here.” 
The girls be’ind the bar they laughed an’ giggled fit to die, 
I outs into the street again an’ to myself sez I: 
O it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ ” Tommy, go away ” ; 
But it’s ” Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play
The band begins to play, my boys, the band begins to play, 
O it’s ” Thank you, Mister Atkins,” when the band begins to play. 

I went into a theatre as sober as could be, 
They gave a drunk civilian room, but ‘adn’t none for me; 
They sent me to the gallery or round the music-‘alls, 
But when it comes to fightin’, Lord! they’ll shove me in the stalls! 
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ ” Tommy, wait outside “;
But it’s ” Special train for Atkins ” when the trooper’s on the tide
The troopship’s on the tide, my boys, the troopship’s on the tide, 
O it’s ” Special train for Atkins ” when the trooper’s on the tide. 

Yes, makin’ mock o’ uniforms that guard you while you sleep
Is cheaper than them uniforms, an’ they’re starvation cheap. 
An’ hustlin’ drunken soldiers when they’re goin’ large a bit
Is five times better business than paradin’ in full kit. 
Then it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Tommy, ‘ow’s yer soul? “
But it’s ” Thin red line of ‘eroes ” when the drums begin to roll
The drums begin to roll, my boys, the drums begin to roll, 
O it’s ” Thin red line of ‘eroes, ” when the drums begin to roll.

We aren’t no thin red ‘eroes, nor we aren’t no blackguards too, 
But single men in barricks, most remarkable like you; 
An’ if sometimes our conduck isn’t all your fancy paints, 
Why, single men in barricks don’t grow into plaster saints; 
While it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Tommy, fall be’ind,” 
But it’s ” Please to walk in front, sir,” when there’s trouble in the wind
There’s trouble in the wind, my boys, there’s trouble in the wind, 
O it’s ” Please to walk in front, sir,” when there’s trouble in the wind.

You talk o’ better food for us, an’ schools, an’ fires, an’ all: 
We’ll wait for extry rations if you treat us rational. 
Don’t mess about the cook-room slops, but prove it to our face
The Widow’s Uniform is not the soldier-man’s disgrace. 
For it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an` Chuck him out, the brute! “
But it’s ” Saviour of ‘is country ” when the guns begin to shoot; 
An’ it’s Tommy this, an’ Tommy that, an’ anything you please; 
An ‘Tommy ain’t a bloomin’ fool – you bet that Tommy sees!

active service.gif

AND, AS AN AFTERTHOUGHT—

from the UK’s ‘Telegraph’ newspaper:

” … If we routinely refer to all soldiers as “heroes” too glibly these days, conflating true heroism with the random tragedy of being in the wrong place at the wrong time when a roadside bomb explodes, there is something undeniably heroic about the willingness of young men and women to risk everything for their country …”

sourced:  CLICK HERE 

We do, too, you know, blatheringly refer to non-heroes as heroes* …

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dodododododo  dodododododo                                     dodo


* Why is that, do you think?

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TRITE~?!

not even an

EXCUSE.

‘Lazy’ might be a acceptable for such a commentary—but the below isn’t an excuse, nor even a reason.

Screen Shot 2019-01-19 at 15.08.57.png

It is, however, and in my personal opinion — a wee bit pathetic; so let us make of it what we will:    down there

 

“René Lalique, Jeweler of Nature

Screen Shot 2019-01-19 at 14.59.13.png

The astounding success of Parisian goldsmith René Lalique was the result of a perfect storm of tragedienne, a rave for all things Japanese, and a world’s fair. Lalique’s luscious jewelry adorned the stage in Sarah Bernhardt’s melodramatic roles of Théodora and Gismonde in the mid 1890’s …”

The missing words here?

Try—

  • talent
    • brilliant
      • outstanding
        • unique

and of course the clincher:

  • genius~!

But as an uncultured lout it’s not for me to cast asparagus upon my superiors … especially when they are the experts and I’m just a tired old poo  dog.

Screen Shot 2019-01-19 at 15.13.33.png

“Dog” I said … but this guy (above) will do. (He looks the part …)

Screen Shot 2019-01-19 at 14.48.33.png

Screen Shot 2019-01-19 at 15.12.03.png

“You want ‘genius’, Argie?

Who else could have crafted

ME … ?”                       1-animated-arrow-right.gif

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOOM BOOM

IPSO FACTO

and

THANKS, INSP~!

this quote from the Abrahamic* explains a lot:

“This Book is not to be doubted…. As for the unbelievers, it is the same whether or not you forewarn them; they will not have faith. God has set a seal upon their hearts and ears; their sight is dimmed and grievous punishment awaits them.”

Quran 2:1/2:6-2:10

Sourced as below                     down there

 

Line, black.png

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line, black

WHICH BEGS THE QUESTION

(in all senses of the term)—

If God Almighty Himself ‘sets the seal’—

what chance does any mere mortal have?

 

Can any of the Godly please take that point and hopefully run with it, for me? I’m afraid that all I can see is the Almighty Himself making it impossible for any mere mortal to achieve Salvation. Cannot be done.

Not by any means …

Bop 2

 

WHERE DOES SENTIMENT END

and either

ARCHAEOLOGY,

or

SOUND COMMERCIAL SENSE

begin? A bit of a toughie … but before we go there, how come it’s always British? Nary a mention of US ships, or German, or any other buggers’ … perhaps it’s parochialism on the part of the reporters and the Truth is that they’re all doing it. Being done. Wotever …

I MENTIONED IN AN EARLIER

post (somewhere) that the sunken wreck of the WW2 Brit cruiser HMS Exeter (Battle of the River Plate, and others) has gone, existing now as just a recognisable dent in the seabed.

WHEN I WAS IN THE NAVY

and if we were in the vicinity we had to pop over to some wrecks to shoo off any vultures and to pay our respects. (Somewhere among my souvenirs I still have a very faded side-scan sonar trace of HMS Prince Of Wales.)

“The dull reverberations of the underwater explosions are clearly audible from the surface. The scavengers have returned, laying home-made charges to break up the hulls of two of the most celebrated British warships of the age, sunk in December 1941 and the last resting places of more than 830 Royal Navy sailors.”

Come on, come onnnnn~!

Bop 2

Whaddya expect, really?

Piles of dollars are just lying there for the grabbing—to be ignored, out of sentiment for human remains that were long ago fish fodder?

Sentiment for an ancient battle fought between foreigners, long generations ago?

Come on, get real!

Screen Shot 2019-01-16 at 10.04.24.png

Attacked by aircraft the two put up a fearsome fight until some rotten bugger hit Prince Of Wales with a fish right in the rudder/propulsion bits—and all went downhill from then. (Can’t complain, an act of God and all part of His Great Plan.) (Ruined a few days back in London, though.)

FRANKLY, IT WERE ME

in charge now (or even with just the means) I’d sneak out there at night and booby-trap those wrecks to the nth degree. Next burglar to burgle wouldn’t know about it … but it might slow some of the others down for a while~?

 

dodo

 

CONFIDENCE V.

HUBRIS  pc, not

—’twas ever thus.

But (Battle of Savo Island)—

Admiral Turner assessed why his forces were so soundly defeated in the battle:

“The Navy was still obsessed with a strong feeling of technical and mental superiority over the enemy. In spite of ample evidence as to enemy capabilities, most of our officers and men despised the enemy and felt themselves sure victors in all encounters under any circumstances. The net result of all this was a fatal lethargy of mind which induced a confidence without readiness, and a routine acceptance of outworn peacetime standards of conduct. I believe that this psychological factor, as a cause of our defeat, was even more important than the element of surprise”.[1]:123

from:  CLICK HERE

One has to ask with all due humility—

—has anything changed?

But wait, it gets better—

The report of the inquiry caused the US Navy to make many operational, and structural, changes.

Virtually every US Navy cruiser was retrofitted with emergency diesel electric generators. The fire mains of the ships were changed to a vertical loop design that could be broken many times and still function.

—and still the objective observer may note the same old patterns emerging; until there can be only one question left—

WHY WEREN’T ALL THOSE CHANGES MADE

BEFORE 

CIRCUMSTANCES DICTATED THE NECESSITY?

  • Lack of imagination? 
  • Complacency?
  • Hubris?

I blitzed an article in some obscure publication recently—to the effect that about nine years before Pearl Harbour some war games involving the US fleet took place. A mock battle group had to ‘attack’ PH, and dammit—

—it damned well did … Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 22.18.10.png

They left their own battleships behind; a couple of fast carriers snuck in on a Sunday morning to launch a “catch ’em napping” attack. Did a truly lovely job of it, too—quite sorted out the mighty fleet.

Apparently—

—there were Japanese spies in the hills and shrubbery. Interestingly Yamamoto’s merry men followed that exact same American template … this time for real.

And again, just as before, caught ’em all napping.  Sunday, aaaah—the good guys all washed and brushed and at church, the others still abed with their shack-ups. Boom boom!

I’VE LONG SINCE

lost touch with naval anything but I like sometimes to ponder the wotiffs …

In February 1932, Yarnell pioneered carrier tactics in an exercise that later came to be discussed as Fleet Problem XIII. Rear Admiral Yarnell commanded the carriers Lexington and Saratoga in an effort to demonstrate that Hawaii was vulnerable to naval air power … … … The Navy’s war-game umpires declared the attack a total success.

So?

So if I may be so bold … my prediction (Think ‘black swan’) is that people enthusiastically training for the last war will be—always, as always—surprised by the next one. active service

Let Wiki have the last word—

“The umpire’s report did not even mention the stunning success of Yarnell’s exercise. Instead they wrote, “It is doubtful if air attacks can be launched against Oahu in the face of strong defensive aviation without subjecting the attacking carriers to the danger of material damage and consequent great losses in the attack air force.”

Indeed, a valid point—

—YOU take it, History …

1 ac

HUMOUR

or, for those of us that can’t spel—

HUMOR

and now we’ve covered all bases in the once-was-English language. I love it, especially when I think back on the unpleasantness that was the fate of any poor wee kid that/who/wot misspelled a word or got the context/syntax/tintax or anything else wrong.

BUT HUMOUR

was inviolate—provided that it was ‘decent’.

Risqué (it means risky, but sounds posher) was best left for the educated and rebellious; and great lengths were taken to make sure it stayed on the north side of the divider between good and foul.

Foul was definitely for the lower classes and uneducated—for the toffs and for those who could turn a page subtlety was in. Children especially were to be kept north of the equator of decency; so of course anything referring to poops (euphemism for shit) or copulation (another euphemism, for fucking) was infra dig. (Or obscene, depending on the state of your extremities.)

YESTERDAY IN THE SUPERMARKET

I was doing the usual (pushing of the trolley whilst She Who Must Be Etc etc was shovelling stuff in—some of which I had me doubts about but as a married dog of long standing know when to not query) …

… and en passant by the greetings cards rack I noticed this down there.gif

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and

Screen Shot 2019-01-15 at 08.03.57.png

—which reminded myself that

(a) it’s a sign of the times, and

b) not so much these days but not too long ago humour in New Zealand was only funny if it referred none too delicately to bodily parts normally concealed (or bodily functions likewise and/or reserved for privacy).

Make of it what we will, time marches along in fits and starts (and clichés, lest as Tennyson put it: “… one good custom should corrupt the world”).

YOU WANT ONE

of those cards?

Just send me your name, address, full credit card details (or a blank cheque) and I can pop along and get you some …

pc, not

dodo