Notes from around the Human Experience…
MINE’S BIGGER!: Fabulous. Our president is in a p*ssing contest with a dictator whose attention needs are every bit as enormous as his. At issue is the minor detail about whose country can better annihilate the other’s via nuclear weapons.
Way To Deescalate, Mr President: Stuff like this right up President Trump’s alley, of course. A man whose only real talent is drawing to attention to himself, he is completely in his element tossing rhetoric like this around, today promising that if North Korea didn’t stop this nonsense they could count on:
Fire and fury like the world has never seen…
LOL: For their part, the North Korean military said they were reviewing their plans for attacking Guam.
Dry, Technical Matter: Why those zany Koreans think Guam is strategically important is not immediately clear, even to us. Guam is located in the western Pacific and is over 2,000 miles from North Korea and you do not have to be General MacArthur to know that Guam would be about as useful as the moon as a staging area by the United States should we ever decide to attack them.
FunFact(s): Guam became a US possession when Spain forked it over after losing the Spanish-American War. It’s residents are American citizens and while Guamanians do not have votes in either the Congress or the Electoral College, they do elect their own governor and a 15-member senate.
Oh Jesus H: They do field their own national athletic teams, too, and have competed in the past eight Summer Olympics, as well as the 1988 Winter Games. They seldom have athletes advance past the first round, however.
Back On Message: Exactly what North Korea is capable of isn’t clear. They started their nuclear program in the early 1990’s and conducted their first nuclear explosion in 2006. It is believed they have can now put a small warhead on a long range missile, but who the hell knows for sure?
OTOH: Or maybe they can’t. During the 1950’s, when nuclear tensions between the US and the Soviet Union were rising, it was thought the Soviets were to be feared, especially when they refused treaties whose terms included inspections. History, however, has shown the Soviets feared any inspection would show how weak they really were.
The Bottom Line: Either way, the world is paying attention to, and fearing, North Korea right now, and that is a lot of what they are looking for.
ON THIS DATE! ON THIS DATE!: Walden; or, Life in the Woods by Henry David Thoreau is published by Ticknor and Fields on this date in 1854. Though now generally highly regarded, Walden did not receive universal acclaim, and it took a few years to sell even a couple of thousand books.
Yeah, This Is Interesting: Walden developed from 18 essays Thoreau had written about the two-year period in the mid-1840’s he had spent living in a cabin he had built near Walden Pond. Thoreau ultimately produced eight drafts before publication.
Some Philosophy Crap: If your only experience with Walden are some of its famous quotes, do yourself a favor and read the entire book. Walden is part memoir and part spiritual quest and Thoreau talks a lot about living simply and other exciting concepts. And while the terms “quaint” or “eccentric” – or even “whackjob” – might come to mind while reading it, Walden has rewards for those who make it all the way through.
Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires: One of America’s most iconic advertising symbols, Smokey Bear, debuts on this date in 1944, on posters released by the US Forest Service.
Designed to call attention to preventing forest fires, Smokey would later appear, among other places, on radio shows and in comic strips and cartoon.
Oh Yeah: Over the years Smokey has often been seen wearing a campaign hat, similar to those worn by some in the military and law enforcement. This led long haul truckers to call cops ‘smokies’ or ‘bears’.
That’ll Show ‘Em: Three days after bombing Hiroshima, the United States drops another atomic bomb on Japan, this time attacking Nagasaki on this date in 1945.
Uh, Gee, Thanks Guys: Mankind’s second nuclear bombing had originally been scheduled for Kokura a couple of days later, but some bad weather in the forecast necessitated the change.
“Moreover, The Enemy Now Possesses A New And Terrible Weapon…”: Between 129,000 and 225,000 are estimated to have been killed either directly or indirectly by the two bombings, but the entire total – which includes 20 allied prisoners of war – will never be known.
What The Hell’s Going On Here: Tired of constant bickering and racial tensions, Malaysia kicks Singapore out the country on this date in 1965. Despite the troubles, Singapore didn’t really want this, and they remain the only country in history to gain independence unwillingly.
I Do Solemnly Swear…: Gerald Ford becomes the 38th president of the United States on this date in 1974, following the resignation of Richard Nixon. Ford would serve the remaining two-and-a-half years of Nixon’s term and would lose to Jimmy Carter in the 1980 presidential election.
Quotebook: I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. – Henry David Thoreau, Walden
Answer To The Last Trivia Question: Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton are the presidents other than Richard Nixon to have impeachment charges against them considered by the House of Representatives. Unlike Nixon, both were actually impeached by the House before being acquitted at trial in the US Senate.
Today’s Stumper: The Trivia feature will return.