Friday, January 20, 2012

Funny business, this blogging.

I opened the blog this evening - after getting my ass waxed twice at "Axis & Allies - War at Sea" by an eight-and-a-half-year-old (proving once again the lesson that Admiral Canaris learned the hard way - that pitting Nazi warships against Allied airpower is one of the Classic Blunders. The jeep carrier's Helldivers and Avengers were just too much for the Scharnhorst, great compartmentalization or no...) and took a brief glance at the comments sections, and I have to wonder - there appear to be some things that just beg to start conversations and some that don't, and I seem to have no clue which is which.

For example, I thought that the very odd little "I am Xiao Li" video would be a sure discussion-starter. Nope.

I thought the politico-military types would be all over "Eating Soup With a Sieve".


The soccer, well, y'all have never really been that interested in discussing the joga bonita, so I didn't really expect much, and got about what I expected.

So at this point, I'm asking; is there something that you're interested in - or something that I've talked about previously or repeatedly - that you'd be curious about talking over? Topics burning a hole in your mental pocket? What would you like to talk over or shout about?

Consider the comments portion of this post a place to do that.


Lisa said...

O.K. -- totally out of left field, and far too huge to cover in any rigorous way, but asked in a general spirit and as this is a free-fire zone:

Do you have any thoughts on neuro-linguistics or NLP? Do you consciously take your thoughts places, or is it very stream-of consciousness (when out of the work environs, of course)? Only asked as it came up in convo tonight.

Oh, I could ask you any # of things pertaining to cinema or fashion or just people, but I'm afraid I can't broach any manly FDC sort of stuff.

I think we all enjoy your musings on all manner of topics.

Don Francisco said...

I like your football posts! I don't always comment on them, maybe partly because of recent I've fallen a bit out of love with the beautiful game. There's precious little romance in it in Scotland & England at the moment, just a competition to watch which rich oligarch is going to get bored of funding his team first.

I rarely get much free time these days and I like the variety of your posts. I wouldn't dare suggest any topics as the only ones running round my head these days are work related (snore).

rangeragainstwar said...

i get real frustrated b/c the stuff that i write that i think is important usually get no cmt's. often my throw aways get play.
what gives???!!
Lisa believes it's b/c people get intimidated.

BigFred said...

Artillery. Family. Bourbon. I am trying to do all in one afternoon.

very much enjoy your historical battle analysis. Do one on Benteen during Little Big Horn?

Leon said...

Why the hell does toast always fall buttered side down?

Actually I really enjoy reading your blog. Unfortunately I'm not into soccer/football and being single have very little to say with regards to kids or married life.

That said, there is one thing I'd like to read. As a life-long civy, I've limited knowledge of military life. Your blog posts that talk about the details of service are very interesting. Not just the usual stuff about guns, but the little tidbits - what was your typical day like, the composition of your squad, anecdotes, etc...

Just a request to indulge a liberal-hippy-eastern-seaboard-canuck.

Podunk Paul said...

Maybe you should judge interest by the number of visitors. Often there's nothing to say -- you've said it all.

I like your descriptions of concrete things -- how Seattle looks before dawn, the people you encounter in a cafe.

You might write about the Pacific war from the Japanese point of view. The subject seems timely, at least for those of us on the left.

Leon said...

Second that, the pacific war is little examined from the Japanese side. Not surprising since they've had a national bout of amnesia about it instead of confronting it head-on and making amends as the Germans did.

Don Francisco said...

Actually I think Leon and Paul might be onto something, though why limit it to the Japanese?

During long busines trips in the car I've recently been listening to Tony Judt's Postwar - a history of Europe from 1945-2006(ish). Germany (West that is) is one of the few countries which faced what happened during the war (in fact historically, I imagine it is an exception in general).

Lisa said...

Per Leon and Paul, I too like the concrete observations, the small, intimate slices of life.

Like Leon, I am not married nor was I in the military, so I always enjoy peeking into those lives through your lenses. "Midnight at the Oasis" was a favorite.

I enjoy your flights of fancy and semi-fictional work, like your pieces on the lives of animals form past epochs. You manage to imbue the excitement and terror of lives not our own -- a great achievement, IMHO.

Lisa said...

Don says,

Germany (West that is) is one of the few countries which faced what happened during the war (in fact historically, I imagine it is an exception in general). ,,,

Of course, it's not like they could ignore it, esp. not with the allies committed efforts to make SURE they did not forget it.

Leon said...

I think there's quite a bit of literature from the German side. Some came out relatively soon after the war (The German Generals Talk/Other Side of the Hill) to personal biographies (Forgotten Soldier) and more traditional scholarly works (The Blitzkrieg Legend).

I can't say the same for the Pacific war, the only thing that comes out is pretty much always from the West's point of view. I think you'd need to learn Japanese to be able to get their side. How's your ability to learn languages chief?

Lisa - I wish the US had forced the Japanese to confront their actions. Reading comments from their far-right politicians white-washing history gives me the same stomach churn I get reading anything Ann Coulter (and her ilk) says.

FDChief said...

Thanks, gang! These all give me some great ideas.

One thing I did want to return to was a little sort of personal memoir of "the Army I knew". I came in at an interesting time (I think) - the very end of the "VOLAR" post-Vietnam period and the beginning of the resurrection of the Army that eventually became the pre-Iraq service, the one that fought in '91. When I came in I was among the last American soldiers to wear OD green, and I retired just before the arrival of the current fancy digital camoflauge. So I do want to return to that.

This month's "battle" is a sort of an odd one - it's the 1492 Fall of Granada and is more of a discussion about the military, economic, and political life of pre-Imperial Spain. And I will continue with that.

DF: Funny that you should talk about the rule of the rich and the well-born in the Premiership because I enjoyed the hell out of watching my Norwich City stymie the mighty Chelski - on the ball, City! One of the wonderful things about football is that a draw can feel like a win given the right combination of teams and circumstances.

The battle for this June is the Marianas Turkey Shoot (Philippine Sea), and I want to use it principally as a discussion of the broadly flawed geopolitical decisions that Japan made in the late 30s and the lead-up to WW2.

I'd also like to do one of the Soviet-Japanese Manchurian engagements, either Khalkhin Gol in 1939 or Operation August Storm in 1945. The thing that I'm always sort of amazed by is how truly crude the Japanese Army was as a strategic implement and even a tactical tool. The Japanese really were the least sophisticated of the major powers on land, and it's kind of amazing given the power the Army had on Japanese politics, expecially relative to their Navy which really WAS relatively decent.

Leon said...

Ooooh, looking forward to that.

FDChief said...

I have a post in my head about the volcano field that occupies the Portland metro area - the so-called "Boring Lavas". That should be entertaining to those of you geologic and prehistoric-critter fans; there have to be eyewitnesses and none of them are human, needless to say...

Lisa: I'm not very familiar with NLP, but I tend to be one or the other and both; when I am focused my thoughts are very directed. But if I let the reins drop my head is very much a sort of first-come-first-served sort of place, as the last travelogue about Redmond showed... So both, I think. Dunno of that answers your questions.

I'm afraid I'm hopeless about style; my personal style (as I mentioned earlier) was really formed by the prep-school ethic of my undergraduate school and hasn't changed all that much since then. My opinions about the movies and books are decided but odd and eclectic, and I do tend to post on them when something pops into my head that seems worth discussion (I enjoyed talking about Fred and Ginger, for example, and the Disney "Tangled" movie the Girl took me to, but in general I'm just so much less perceptive than the Self-Styled Siren that I tend to leave her the messy business of talking about films.

And people? Certainly, my dear, so long as we refrain from the subject of the awful Kardashians or related reality-show trash...

And while I often don't discuss these issues spontaneously I am more than willing to discuss any and all of those them so long as I don't have to be any more definitive than mere opinion. While I may have notions about those topics I am the worst and least-informed person in the world ON them...

Lisa said...

I'm excited about all of your proposed ideas -- "The Army you knew", the volcano field, all of it.

Per, "While I may have notions about those topics I am the worst and least-informed person in the world ON them..." -- piffle! You are extremely informed, and we shall never waste a breath on those things that exemplify the nadir of pop culture, save en mass, as caveat.


I do agree re. Japan.