Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 22:08

Posted by Paul Campos

Recently I was listening to a program about Vietnam-era music on Music 101, a very interesting feature of a very interesting new public radio station in the Denver area. Thus I came to hear SSGT Barry Sadler sing The Ballad of the Green Berets, the #1 hit of the entire year in 1966, per the American Billboard pop charts. Here are the lyrics:

Fighting soldiers from the sky
Fearless men who jump and die
Men who mean just what they say
The brave men of the Green Beret

Silver wings upon their chest
These are men, America’s best
One hundred men will test today
But only three win the Green Beret

Trained to live off nature’s land
Trained in combat, hand-to-hand
Men who fight by night and day
Courage peak from the Green Berets

Silver wings upon their chest
These are men, America’s best
One hundred men will test today
But only three win the Green Beret

Back at home a young wife waits
Her Green Beret has met his fate
He has died for those oppressed
Leaving her his last request

Put silver wings on my son’s chest
Make him one of America’s best
He’ll be a man they’ll test one day
Have him win the Green Beret.

That this unabashed paean to nationalistic militarism and the American invasion of Vietnam in particular was such a huge hit is a good reminder that the Vietnam war itself was very popular with the American public at the time: indeed, in August of 1965 — Sadler recorded the song in December — war supporters outnumbered opponents by nearly three to one.

I’m not quite old enough to remember the song when it was dominating the airwaves in March and April of 1966, but I heard it a couple or three times in the decades since, and this most recent encounter caused me to wonder what subsequently became of SSGT Barry Sadler.

Sadler was born in Novemnber 1940. His parents divorced when he was five, and his father died two years later at the age of 36, leaving Barry in the sole custody of his mother, who moved around the American west working a series of fringe jobs. They were living in Leadville, CO, in the mid-1950s — Leadville is the highest inhabited town of any size in the USA, and must have been an exceptionally isolated place at the time — when Sadler dropped out of the 10th grade, thus ending his formal education.

For the next couple of years he seems to have been more or less what in those days was called a juvenile delinquent, before he joined the Air Force at the age of 17. He spent some time in Japan as a radar tech, and then enlisted in the Army Airborne and Special Forces in 1962, shortly after his discharge from the Air Force. In later years the story he gave out was that he enlisted in the Army rather than re-upping with the USAF because the Air Force recruiter happened to be out of the office that day, so Sadler just went one door down to the Army recruiter. A lot of stories Sadler told after he got famous should be taken, like the margaritas which he drank like lemonade, with many grains of salt. (Much of Sadler’s life story until he joined the Green Berets bears an eerie resemblance to that of his almost exact contemporary, Lee Harvey Oswald, before Oswald defected to the Soviet Union)

Sadler opted to become a medic in the Special Forces, and spent five months in Vietnam before he was seriously wounded by a Punji stick while on patrol in May of 1965. He was then sent back to the States for treatment and recovery. During his convalescence, he began to try to write songs about his military experience. Sadler eventually wrote The Ballad of the Green Berets with some assistance from Robin Moore, the author of the novel The Green Berets, which formed the basis for the 1968 movie of the same name, starring John Wayne, a shamelessly warmongering script, and a sunset into the eastern Pacific.

The song became such a massive hit that the Army decided to send him around the country on publicity tours, which he hated. The brass were certainly not going to put their handsome and telegenic pop star in harm’s way again, and Sadler left the service in 1967. At that point the publishing industry thought it would be a good idea to offer the 25-year-old’s dictated autobiography, I’m A Lucky One, to the public.

Sadler made a lot of money from his hit song and the album it was on. How much precisely is hard to nail down, but $500,000 seems like a reasonable estimate. (This would be nearly four million dollars in current money).

Sadler had gotten married in 1963 at the age of 22, and after leaving the military, he moved with his wife and two children to Tucson. He had a few bit parts in TV shows and one movie, and then quickly disappeared from the mainstream media consciousness.

By all rights that’s when this mildly interesting bit of social history should have exhausted its narrative potential, with Sadler becoming a salesman for the military division of Lockheed and settling down in Newport Beach or something. Instead, we are just getting started. Sadler opened up a bar in Tuscon, but proceeded to drink up all of his profit margin. (This is only a mild exaggeration. Everyone who knew him testifies to how prodigious Sadler’s feats of alcohol consumption were).

The then moved to Hollywood and started a movie production company with much of the remaining proceeds of the Ballad. This went about as well as you might expect, although he did meet a lot of interesting film industry people in area bars, drinking all of them under the table. He had a scheme to start a chain of battery stores that never got off the ground. He moved to Nashville in 1973 with the ambition of becoming — wait for it — a country and western singer-songwriter. This also went nowhere. By now — around 1976 — he was out of money, drunk much of the time, and constantly getting into love or lust affairs with various single and married women.

At this point it somehow occurred to Sadler that he should become a historical novelist. Armed with a 10th-grade education, a library card, and a bottomless bottle of tequila, he started cranking out a series of what have been called male bodice-ripper historical romances. The most successful of these was what eventually became a 22-book series featuring a character named Casca Rufio Longinus. The protagonist was (and is: the series was revivified by other authors after Sadler’s death, and is now approaching 50 volumes) a combination of Longinus, the Roman soldier who qua medieval legend pierced Christ’s side with a lance, and the Wandering Jew, who, who according to a related tradition taunted Jesus en route to the Crucifixion, and was cursed to wander the earth as a result.

Casca was thus a soldier who was cursed to remain a soldier until the Second Coming. Apparently he is doomed to be killed in many nasty ways, only to be brought back to life, so that he can suffer and inflict ever-more martial carnage. Now I have to say this is just a fantastic — in every sense — premise for a pulp fiction series, and I’m tempted to track down one of these texts, which over the years have developed quite a fan club. (With any luck at least one LGM commenter is a member).

The Casca series doesn’t represent all of Sadler’s literary output by any means. I’ve tracked down 31 (!) novels written by him over the dozen years or so between his rebirth as a novelist and his untimely death. Apparently Sadler’s method was to write books in five-week dusk to dawn spurts of furious composition, that involved little if any re-writing or editing, and stupendous amounts of drinking.

Speaking of histories of violence, Sadler started publishing the Casca series immediately after he shot a man to death. It was, as you can probably imagine by now, a complicated situation: At the time of the shooting in December 1978 Sadler was involved with Darlene Sharpe, a woman who was the former girlfriend of country singer and songwriter Lee Emerson Bellamy (Bellamy was an ex-con who at one time managed the careers of both George Jones and Marty Robbins. I apologize to Erik for not saving this tale for his peripatetic cemetery visits).

Bellamy had apparently been harassing both Sharpe and Sadler, and had already had one violent confrontation with the two of them in a Nashville parking lot, during which, per court records, he threatened their lives.

One night Bellamy made several harassing phone calls, including one to the restaurant where Sadler and Sharpe were having dinner with friends. Sadler called the police, who did nothing. The couple then went to Darlene’s apartment, where soon Bellamy appeared. Sadler slipped out a side door; Bellamy saw him and retreated to his van. In court, Sadler testified that he saw a flash of metal, which he took to be a gun. He then shot Bellamy right between the eyes. (From forty feet away, with only a single streetlight for illumination, as he proudly related several years later to a bemused journalist). This is already not the greatest case I’ve ever heard of for a successful self-defense claim, but it gets a lot worse, as, according to court records, Sadler then planted a gun in Bellamy’s van.

Sadler was charged with second-degree murder, but eventually pled out to voluntary manslaughter. He was sentenced initially to four to five years in prison. Sadler had hired the top criminal lawyer in Nashville, who somehow subsequently managed to get the sentencing judge to reduce his client’s sentence to 30 days (!) in the country workhouse, of which he ended up serving 28. (The district attorney hadn’t wanted to bring the case to trial, because he thought that, in 1979, a Nashville jury would be reluctant to convict a war hero who had brought The Ballad of the Green Berets to America).

The final twist in this tangled tale is appropriately gothic. After the Bellamy affair, Sadler’s wife Lavona had had enough. She told her husband to leave and not come back until he got himself straightened out. Sadler traveled to Mexico and other central American locales, before eventually settling down, sort of, in a ranch near Guatemala City, which he rented for $300 per month. This price included a staff of three. At the time, Sadler was earning about $100,000 per year ($220,000 in current dollars), 90% of which came from his Casca novels. with the remainder made up of ongoing royalties from his long-ago music stardom. He dubbed the place Rancho Borracho.

Sadler kept cranking out Casca novels at a pace of two or three a year. He also intermittently provided free medical care to villages that I suspect reminded him of Vietnam, while sending regular checks back to Lavona and their three children in Nashville.

Barry Sadler was shot in the head in a taxicab in September 1988, in Guatemala City. He never recovered and died the next year, five days after his 49th birthday. The local authorities concluded he accidentally shot himself while drunk. This is needless to say a plausible theory, as is the belief of his family and friends, that he was murdered by a never-identified enemy of some sort (At the time he was shot, Sadler was, as was his inveterate custom, keeping company with a woman other than his wife).

In his latter days Sadler often lamented the success of The Ballad of the Green Berets. He told friends and acquaintances that, if not for that song, he would have just stayed in the Army — which he said he loved — for 20 years, and then retired with a pension that would have allowed him to travel the country in an RV, hunting, fishing, and not brooding on the fate of the eternal soldier.

A biography of Sadler has just been published. Written by Marc Leepson, it has the appropriately pulpy title Ballad of the Green Beret: The Life and Wars of Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler from the Vietnam War and Pop Stardom to Murder and an Unsolved, Violent Death.


Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 21:50

Posted by Shakezula

Cupid, draw back and LOL
Cupid, 1744, marble. Edme Bouchardon – National Gallery of Art

Conservatives aren’t good for much. Projection. Making up stupid rules that even they can’t explain. More projection. Blaming other people for their mistakes.

Typing out their incoherent temper tantrums and sending them swill mills like The Federalist is another thing they manage without fucking up too badly.

And then they provide amusement for normal people who read Your Refusal To Date Conservatives Is One Reason We Have Donald Trump.

Right away one wonders: Who the hell is the intended audience for this crap? Psychomasochistic liberals whose kink is subscribing to the Feduhralist is a good guess. However, this is the written equivalent of the street creep yelling insults at a woman who walked past wearing headphones. He thinks she ignored him, she’s blissfully unaware of his existence, passersby laugh at the shouty dumbass.

At any rate, I often read the first paragraph of these things and skip to the last because stupidity is dense and it sinks.

The popular dating website OkCupid announced Wednesday that it would make the online dating scene a little easier for progressives who can’t risk interacting with someone with whom they disagree (imagine the horror!).

Why can’t liberals be open-minded? Like the right wing blubberers who go Code PantyBunch at the thought that somewhere a liberal might be avoiding them.

He concludes by declaring that liberals aren’t allowed to refuse to date Jerrod Laber conservatives if Jerrod Laber wants to date them the refusal is a form of protest.

If a progressive doesn’t want to date a conservative and vice versa, that’s perfectly fine. Everyone has deal-breakers. But as a political protest, this form of virtue-signaling is counterproductive in the long run.

So please, if a conservative asks you out on a date, and you respond by suggesting the conservative go Bannon himself, please make sure you present them the following note:

“Dear conservative. I am not refusing to date you as a form of protest. I am refusing to date you because to me you are like a mountain; a vast bowl of pus. Get lost. XO – A liberal who would rather eat his/her own feces than date you.”

But what exactly did a liberal who Laber wanted to date OKCupid do?

They announced a partnership with Planned Parenthood that allows site users to put a badge on their profile signifying support for the nation’s largest abortion provider, much the way Facebook becomes saturated with similar kinds of profile pictures during the newest disaster.

Planned Parenthood isn’t the nation’s largest abortion provider, but being a dishonest dickhead is another thing conservatives can do in their sleep. The fact that they aren’t mobbed by love-lorn liberals is indeed a deep mystery.

It’s about this time that Laber runs into a common problem of conservatives who complain about a Bad Thing a liberal has allegedly done. He can’t articulate what it is the liberal has done. In this case, if conservatives are turned off by Planned Parenthood icons, they’re the one refusing to date liberals. So he starts gabbling about assortative mating. And citing Charles Murray.

Assortative mating is when someone partners and starts a family with someone of a similar background. It can be based on innate characteristics, such as race and ethnicity, or socioeconomic backgrounds. People have always engaged in assortative mating of some kind or another, but as social scientist Charles Murray explains in his book “Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960–2010,” there was a shift to a particular type of mating in the ‘60s which continues through the present day.

How does people sticking to their kind – something cons are very much into, unless the same kind is the same gender – put tRump in office? It was not decades of demagoguery by the Republican party, of course. City-slicker progressives and lower-class conservatives from Smallville didn’t engage enough assortativeness. This left the Smallvillians open to the blandishments of Donald Trump.

In a less polarized environment, that schtick might be seen for the nonsense that it is. But in a world of ignorant voters and social stratification––in which progressives who live in wealthy ZIP codes and small-town conservatives share a mutual disdain for one another––you get stratification that populist blowhards can exploit. Humans naturally form groups, but when rampant partisanship is the foundation upon which the group lies, extreme politicians are those most likely to win their sympathy.

It is possible that at this point Laber realized that Liberals should relocate and marry conservatives to keep Republican whackaloons out of office is significantly dumber than Liberals shouldn’t put Planned Parenthood icons on their OKCupid profiles. At any rate, the finger-wag about protest un-dating is his last say in the matter. Or perhaps he’s going to follow up with his ideas for shipping city-dwelling liberals to more conservative rural areas. Keep an eye peeled for the recruiting posters!


Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 01:22
ботинками не стучали. И спич даже красивый вышел. И реформа ООН давно нужна. Только вряд ли она будет :(
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 17:16
Не волнуйтесь, ребята! У меня и моих близких все в порядке. 
Это было самое сильное землетрясение для меня за 23 года. В первый раз сердечко ёк-ёк.
Сначала тряхнуло, а потом сирена. Обычно наоборот, потому что эпицентр далеко. 
Выключил комп, трясло уже сильнее, захлопнул кабинет. Я с третьего этажа бегу, та лестница, которую выбрал узковата, двигатся приходилось не очень быстро, медленно, прямо скажем, потому что пожилые и неуклюжие не позволяют развить крейсерскую скорость. Мало того что сильно трясло, еще и свет мигал, наверно это усугубляло ощущение...
Ну, когда все вывалились и стояли около зданий более полу-часа, все время прислушивался к своим пяточным сенсорам: казалось снова качает. Но это был обман чувств.

PS. А, еще вспомнил! Перед окончательным уходом с работы заскочил в туалет, там три кефелины со стенки отвалились.
Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 01:09
Для описания своей эмоции хотел найти кусочек видео, где персонаж Стивена Болдуина из Usual Suspects после резни на корабле выходит из темноты со словами "Strangest thing..." (и падает, потому что у него нож торчит в спине), но не нашел.

А по-другому не получается. Речь не о предательстве, как в фильме, а о такой ошеломляющей, неожиданной и разрушительной залепухе... нет, "залепухе" очень грубо, как же это назвать...
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 17:12
Риэлторский вебсайт составил -- видимо, для удобства баб -- список американских городов, где мужчин больше, чем женщин. Ну, что такое мужчин больше чем женщин? Наверное 50.5 процентов, может быть, 51 процент? Нет, цифры такие:

Sumner, IL: 94.2% of Residents are Male
Richwood, LA: 86.5% of Residents are Male
Westville, IN: 84.9% of Residents are Male
Fort Dix, NJ: 82.5% of Residents are Male
и так далее: http://myhousekit.com/chicagotribune.com/wlist/tw-202+sw-null+input--1

В чём дело? Вооружившись википедией, несложно догадаться )
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 18:03
А сегодня мне довелось ехать в Большой Город на meeting. и поскольку Ди Билл Блазио совсем сделал город непригодным не для житья ни для проезда я решила оставив машину на Айленде воспользоватся обчественным транспортом.

И чуть не поимела инфаркт. В автобусе номер 79 идущим через мост, забитый мост, забитый до состояния непроезда по pампу до светофора выхода с интерборо хайвея, на котором "стоят все" и выходяшие и едущие дальше, в автобусах в которые из за подобного стояния заходят все кто собирался ехать и этим и следуюдим (а когда он приедет этот "следующий"?) чтоб не было грустно Билл ДиБлазио повесил аж целых ДВА телевизора.

Как в самолете, два один спереди один ближе к задней площадке.

Ну чтоб мы чувствовали себя как в аэропорту как на транатлантическом рейсе, чтоб от тоски долгого перелета переезда через мост мы не впали в депрессию возненавидев мэра и сидящий при исполнении гимна ситиконсул.

Ну а показывают там, ведомо.... нет не СиэНэН (а лучше б показали б) а одну картинку-Welcome to New York. Welcome, блин, to New York!
Нет, я конечно не бигот какой то... но где, где горячие обеды, ДиБлазио Билл, где напитки дорогой (во всех смыслах) ситиконсул?

Какой же после этого в ж.пу Welcome to New York?
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 14:48

Где-то в ленте мелькало про план Маршалла для Мексики...
Они что, сговорились, что ли?

(Нет уж, если Реконкиста Реконструкция, то сначала Калифорнии, пожалуйста.)
Wednesday, September 20th, 2017 00:36

Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 23:51
По случаю выстрела по своим на учениях

Вспомнилось такое:

During field practice exercises, a missile weapon system was carrying both practice and live missiles to a remote site and was using the transit time for slewing practice. Practice and live missiles were located on opposite sides of the vehicle. The acquisition and tracking radar was located between the two sides causing a known obstruction to the missiles’ field of view.
While correctly following command-approved procedures, the operator acquired the willing target, tracked it through various maneuvers, and pressed the weapons release button to simulate firing the practice missile. Without the knowledge of the operator, the software was programmed to override his missile selection in order to present the best target to the best weapon. The software noted that the current maneuver placed the radar obstruction in front of the practice missile seeker while the live missile had acquired a positive lock on the target and was unobstructed. The software, therefore, optimized the problem and deselected the practice missile and selected the live missile. When the release command was sent, it went to the live missile; and “missile away” was observed from the active missile side of the vehicle when no launch was expected.
The “friendly” target had been observing the maneuvers of the incident vehicle and noted the
unexpected live launch. Fortunately, the target pilot was experienced and began evasive maneuvers, but the missile tracked and still detonated in close proximity.

Лажи случаются у всех. Это событие произошло до 1999 года, но когда точно - сказать не могу. Если бы мы являлись свидетелями этого, то могли бы сделать примерно те же выводы, которые сделали по имеющемуся видео. И тут можно легко ввести себя в заблуждение. Наверное, на этих учениях в Белоруссии было сделано тысячи успешных выстрелов, но нам показали лажу - и по ней мы составили впечатления. На самом деле, этот инцидент статистически незначим, и разбитые самолеты статистически незначимы. Несмотря на то, что россияне лажают чаще чем остальные, степень угрозы меньше от этого не становится.
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 15:40
The worst impacts of climate change can still be avoided, senior scientists have said after revising their previous predictions. The world has warmed more slowly than had been forecast by computer models, which were “on the hot side” and overstated the impact of emissions, a new study has found. Its projections suggest that the world has a better chance than previously claimed of meeting the goal set by the Paris agreement on climate change to limit warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Скажите пожалуйста, какое важное и своевременное научное октрытие! А если бы президент Трамп не победил???
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 23:28
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 13:54
В воспоминаниях о дореволюционной жизни мы читаем, что уличные торговцы зазывали покупателей каждый своим кличем, полуговором-полупением, т.е. таким "лейт-мотивом", как в операх Вагнера, чтобы его отличали и узнавали.

В Коста Рике эта традиция жива, только торговцы ездят по субурбиям на автомобилях и их лейт-мотивы записаны и проигрываются безостановочно через мегафон. Вот, только что проехал мужичок, у которого я обычно покупаю яйца:

"Cartón con treinta huevos, llegaron huevos!"
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 20:43
Москва. 19 сентября. INTERFAX.RU - Российская делегация покинула зал заседаний Генеральной ассамблеи ООН перед выступлением президента Литвы Дали Грибаускайте, сообщает корреспондент "Интерфакса".

Перед выступлением Грибаускайте, которая стала 14-м по счету оратором, российская делегация покинула зал Генассамблеи, где во вторник началась ежегодная общеполитическая дискуссия.

Ранее во вторник на Генассамблее ООН выступил президент США Дональд Трамп.


То есть Трампа послушали. И еще дюжину глав государств. А Литва, значит, теперь враг №1. Видимо, в зале ООН продолжились учения "Запад".
Tuesday, September 19th, 2017 11:20
Прочитал в IEEEшном журнале про концепцию реверсивных вычислений. Но без внятных подробностей. Попытался придумать, как оно может работать, чтоб сравнить с тем, как оно на самом деле работает. Но в интернетах подробности как-то тоже не очень нашлись, так что как оно на самом деле работает я так и не знаю, но у меня получилось как-то на удивление просто, и поэтому непонятно, в чем их страдания: http://babkin-cep.blogspot.com/2017/09/reversible-computing.html (там же и ссылка на IEEEшную статью).

А вот как оно может работать на уровне транзисторов, мне все еще непонятно. В интернетах находится про реализации на квантовых точках в сверхпроводниках, а не про транзисторы. То, что у меня выдумывается на транзисторах, похоже по сути сводится к аналогии "использовать выход первого элемента в качестве питания второго элемента". Но я не транзисторщик, а так, мимо проходил.