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Tuesday Open Thread


A dispute between an Indian man and a White man over penis size turned deadly in South Africa. Standing at a urinal the Indian guy said his was bigger than the white guy’s. An argument and fight ensued. The Indian and his friends returned with firearms, killed three people, and critically wounded two others.

***Originally posted by Floyd on 9/12/08 titled Black Hunter, White Meat

This month marks the 6th year of Threedonia… so Open Threads will resurrect old posts from our first month of operation — back when we had 7 people regularly posting. A lot has happened in 6 years… brief brushes with greatness and breakout success, real world meetings with a couple of my fellow bloggers, a few Instalanches and new friendships (and even a movie!).

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Peter Wolf. Come as you are, or don’t come at all…

Last Five Movies Watched

A little holiday filler and movies… Last 5 movies watched (channeling John FN Wayne)….

1. The Horse Soldiers (1959)… not John Ford’s best picture, but with the Duke, William Holden, and Constance Towers (in fine form here as a Southern lady brought along with the Duke’s regiment on a mission to interrupt Confederate supply lines in the Deep South). It’s a good not a great movie, but worth a watch.

2. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) Even if you don’t like comic book movies or are unfamiliar with this particular comic (yours truly on the latter) you’ll like this. Run, don’t walk to the theater (or wait a few weeks for it to get to the discount theaters). It’s chockablock with classical virtues (if you don’t care about that, fair enough, but it’s the reasons you liked or will like this film) — friendship, higher loyalties, etc. Marvel hit a home run with this one.

3. The Maltese Falcon (1941) Humphrey, Mary, Sydney, and Peter… Duh.

4. Roxanne (1987) Sakes alive when Steve Martin is on he is on fire. This genius remake of Cyrano de Bergerac is so well made it makes Rick Rossovich look awkward and Daryl Hannah seem normal. This is well written, well acted and good-natured fun. Martin had quite the run from The Jerk through Bowfinger (we’ll just ignore Sgt. Bilko since a pitch meeting in 1995 where the words “Steve Martin and Phil Hartman in a movie” sounds like a great idea and thus grace is extended. Oh, and Damn! I miss Phil Hartman).

5. The Amazing Spiderman 2 (2014). Ducking tomatoes… I like these… yeah nowhere near as good as Marvel’s other offerings (see themes of Guardians above — Peter Parker is too self involved and the “great power/great responsibility” theme is gone from this iteration — which hurts it) but since I’m not a fanboy/purist I watch it for the pulp summer entertainment that it is.

Labor Day Open Thread

The Stone Breakers by Gustave Courbet

The Stone Breakers by Gustave Courbet

Top Gun Down Under

Bloomberg has an interesting piece on our Air Force and Marines in Darwin, Australia and a growing number of brushes with the Chinese Air Forces… Fore!

In Australia’s remote top end U.S. fighter pilots are engaged in combat drills, while Marines sip beers at night in pubs in the tropical city of Darwin. Thousands of kilometers to the north, the U.S. finds itself in increasingly real standoffs with China’s air force.

“The planes are noisy but they’re just a part of life,” said Rachael Molloy, 24, who sells crocodile skin whips at the evening beach markets in Darwin, which plays host to the 22-day exercises where jets roar overhead until late at night. “They’re massive, beautiful planes.”

Pitch Black, held every two years, serves as a reminder of Australian and U.S. military heft as China presses its claims to the South China Sea, where shipping lanes carry more than $5 trillion in goods each year. While the U.S. touts its role in Asia as a counterpoint to China, it is also seeking to minimize the risk from militaries operating in greater proximity, highlighted when a Chinese fighter buzzed within 20 feet of a U.S. surveillance plane in international waters on Aug. 19 and did a barrel roll over it.

More than 4,200 kilometers from the southern Chinese island of Hainan, Australia’s gateway to Asian nations such as Indonesia and Singapore offers the U.S. an advantage: It is distant enough from China to avoid the appearance of a major threat, and close enough to Southeast Asia to offer a bulwark against China’s rise.

“While Australia has always been seen by the U.S. as a useful friend, in previous decades it was seen as remote from the real heartland of Asia,” said Andrew Carr, a research fellow at the Australian National University’s Strategic and Defence Studies Centre in Canberra. “With the rise of powerful nations like China that are more willing to assert their national interests, that remoteness has become more useful as it gives it a way into the region without stepping on toes.”

Meanwhile our POTUS (whose basing deal with Australia I agreed with) putters around. A lot more at the link.

The Long Way Home

Pfc. Cecil E. Harris of Shelbyville, TN

Pfc. Cecil E. Harris of Shelbyville, TN

Private First Class Cecil E. Harris, MIA in France since January 1945… finally returned home. From The Army Times:

Helen Harris Cooke had her whole life ahead of her when her first husband, Cecil E. Harris, was lost in the fog of war and the mountains of northeastern France.

Pregnant when Harris left home in Shelbyville to fight in World War II, a 20-year-old mother the last time she heard from him, Cooke remarried and had two more children after Harris was declared dead.

But she never stopped hoping and praying that some sign of him would turn up someday.

Amazingly, it did.

“I always say my prayers at night,” said Cooke, now 90. “The Lord answered my prayers after 70 years.”

Harris was a 19-year-old private first class in the U.S. Army’s 179th Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Division, when his rifle platoon came under heavy fire from German troops in Dambach, France, on the second day of 1945. American soldiers who survived the German attack later realized he was missing.

But four French men stumbled upon what turned out to be a human skull while hiking near Dambach, near the German border, last year. Discovery of the shallow hilltop grave led to an ID tag bearing Harris’ name, a DNA match, the return of the remains to American soil and, finally, a funeral Friday morning at Red Bank Baptist Church in Chattanooga, where Cooke lives.

About 100 people, many of them relatives and veterans, attended the solemn service seven decades after his passing. Members of the Tennessee Army National Guard carried in Harris’ casket, draped by the American flag. Many-Bears Grinder, commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs, presented Cooke a state flag and other gifts, and Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, a Chattanooga Republican, gave the widow her husband’s military medals.

A bagpiper played taps and “Amazing Grace.”

Harris will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery on Oct. 22. His and Cooke’s son, Eddie Harris, who was just a few months old the only time he ever saw his father, said he’s looking forward to burying him with the full military honors he deserves.

Here’s some local news on Harris.

Welcome home soldier. RIP.

h/t: Joshua Trevino’s FB newsfeed

A Sunday Video

I will stipulate that this guy is no Kenn Christenson, but this is some pretty good stuff…even if it does feature some French aircraft.

ERIC MAGNAN – Director Showreel from AIRBORNE FILMS on Vimeo.

Sunday Open Thread

The guns of August… by this date 100 years ago the French had suffered 260,000 casualties in 25 days of fighting — 140,000 alone in the last 4 days Battle of the Frontiers. Of the total — 75,000 were killed (27,000 just on August 22). The British had 30,000 casualties, and the Germans had over 600.000 by November… that’s just the Western Front for August and before Ypres, Verdun, Somme, Passchendaele, Ypres, et al. Some moderate estimates of casualties of the Napoleonic Wars have British losses at 25,000 and French killed at 330,000 for the entire decade plus conflicts.

Sunday Gospel

Carl, Roy, Johnny, and Jerry Lee

Everything Dies Baby, That’s a Fact

Atlantic City, New Jersey seems to be perpetually on the edge — belying the fact that the gambling industry doesn’t always bring much less ensure riches and jobs. It’s about to get two more punches to the gut:

A time few could imagine during the not-too-distant glory days of casino gambling has arrived in Atlantic City, where two casinos will close this weekend and a third will shut down in two weeks.

More than 5,000 workers will lose their jobs in an unprecedented weekend in the seaside gambling resort, leaving many feeling betrayed by a system that once promised stable, well-paying jobs.

The Showboat is closing Sunday, followed by Revel on Monday and Tuesday. Trump Plaza is next, closing Sept. 16. To the thousands who will be left behind, it still seems unreal.

“We never thought this would happen,” said Chris Ireland, who has been a bartender at the Showboat since it opened. His wife works there, too, as a cocktail server. Before dinnertime Sunday, neither will have a job.

What makes it even tougher to swallow is that the Showboat – one of four Atlantic City casinos owned by Caesars Entertainment – is still turning a profit. But the company says it is closing Showboat to help reduce the total number of casinos in Atlantic City. Caesars also teamed with Tropicana Entertainment to buy the Atlantic Club last December and close it in January.

“They just want to eliminate competition,” Ireland said. “Everyone’s in favor of a free market until it doesn’t exactly work for them.”
Yet many analysts and casino executives say the painful contraction now shrinking Atlantic City’s casino market is exactly what the city needs to survive. Since 2006, Atlantic City’s casino revenue has fallen from $5.2 billion to $2.86 billion last year, and it will fall further this year. Atlantic City will end the year with eight casinos after beginning the year with 12.

Maybe it will be addition by subtraction. Free markets are stern (bit not as stern as a command economies).