This and That

Blog Post

Caption: Yonaguni Monument

 

Welcome to Tax Day

Consider this article by Jeffrey Folks, who will surely be put on the audit list:

As the federal income tax deadline approaches, it’s time to reflect on how well the Internal Revenue Service is serving the American people and whether we might do well to abolish it.

Recent polls reveal that 64% of Americans believe their taxes are too high.  Perhaps an even greater percentage despise the IRS and support Republican efforts to abolish it.  In January 2023, Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.) introduced the Fair Tax Act, which included language to abolish the personal income tax and rein in the IRS.

But nothing has come of the Fair Tax Act, and even that bill would shift taxes from the personal income tax to a national consumption tax similar to European VAT taxes.  America does not need another form of taxation, especially one where the level of tax can easily be raised, as with state sales taxes.  America needs lower spending levels and the elimination of all taxes on individuals.

This country belongs to its citizenry, and they have the right to decide how they are taxed and how their taxes are spent.  But for a very long time, they have not exercised that right.

As I see it, the IRS has lost all credibility and needs to be eliminated.  Imagine the total amount Americans would save — not just in taxes paid, but in the cost of record-keeping and filing.  According to the Tax Foundation, these costs include $20 billion in filing costs alone, along with 1.352 billion hours of individual time (at $50 per hour, equivalent to $67.6 billion), plus an additional 5 hours of record-keeping (much greater, of course, for complex returns) amounting to $41.75 billion.  Thus, the total cost of preparing and filing federal taxes is $129.35 billion. (more here)

 

Creating Money, American Style

 

Yonaguni Monument

The Yonaguni Monument is a submerged rock formation off the coast of Yonaguni, the southernmost of the Ryukyu Islands in Japan. It lies approximately 100 kilometers (54 nmi; 62 mi) east of Taiwan.

It was discovered in 1987 by a local diver exploring off the coast of the Ryukyu Islands. Twenty-five meters below the surface, he spotted a series of almost perfectly carved steps with straight edges. This massive 50m-long by 20m-wide behemoth is one of the world’s most unusual underwater sites.

Nicknamed “Japan’s Atlantis,” the rectangular, stacked pyramid-like monument is believed to be more than 10,000 years old. Some think it’s all that remains of a long-lost Pacific civilization, possibly built by Japan’s prehistoric Jomon people who inhabited these islands as early as 12000 BC.

Despite Yonaguni’s narrow passageways, arched entrances, and seemingly parallel 90-degree angles, the unusual formations are primarily believed to be natural rather than man-made, which sounds like so much hokum to me.

 

Bullet Points:

** I HAVE A DREAM – that one day, Americans will be able to walk down any street in the country without being harassed by a homeless panhandler or robbed at knife/gunpoint.

** Opportunities for savage alpha males in 2024. I think that he’s spot on.

** Another dream…is it achievable? I have my doubts. Our leaders can’t decide which bathroom to use.

** Pet Peeve—Hey, LL, I have a problem—buddy, would you help me? What a loaded question! My knee-jerk response is that I’d be happy to help. What follows is almost always something to the effect that they have an urgent and complicated problem wherein they’ve had others muddle about trying to reach a solution unsuccessfully. Unfortunately, they’re broke. “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” The request inevitably involves more than $50K that would need to be paid to subcontractors and will take a month of the time that I had scheduled for paying clients. When I turn them down, I usually hear “asshole” muttered under their breath.  Nobody who follows this blog has hit me up, but it’s something that I hear about twice a month. Or it’s a phone call from a third party who introduces themselves as a friend of (insert name here) and makes the same request.

I recently received a request to help a Chinese company fronting for the Communist Government of China in its struggle with a country in Africa. (The Chinese are notoriously cheap) The requesting party said it would help their face in China if I did this. I said that I needed to know their overall budget for the solution and explained that I’d need a deposit of $150K by way of good good-faith retainer to begin to explore their problem. I had a solution in mind and knew roughly what implementing it would cost. The Chinese were willing to give me a share of their net profits (after they figured out their expenses) but didn’t want to front any funds. I suggested they wish in one hand and shit in the other and decide which weighed more. I’m thrilled that the Chicoms are floundering in Africa, and their costs have gone through the roof. I didn’t intend to take their money if they’d paid, but I knew they wouldn’t. I’ve had dozens of inquiries from Chicom-related entities, and it’s the same deal. It’s an honor to be the slave of celestials. They’re mystified when you tell them, “There ain’t enough whiskey in Texas.”

** States removing a political candidate from the ballot – A historical commentary.

** The Texas Quote of the Day is an 1871 description of Texans: “They were a mixed class with very little good in the mixture…..The masses wore spurs on their heels, generally the immense wheel-spur, and though they were not born with them on, they might as well have been, for they not only rode in them but walked in them, ate in them, and slept in them. Their clanking as they walked was like a man in chains. They wore belts around the waist, suspending one or two revolvers and a Bowie knife, were experts in the saddle, had a reckless dare-(d)evil look, and were always ready for whiskey and a big chew of tobacco. The handwriting of passion and appetite was all over them. They were cowboys from the wild woods and prairies, sons of the low-class planters, with a strong sprinkling of the low white trash clay eaters, so plentiful in the Atlantic Southern States.” – Thomas North, “Five Years in Texas,” published in 1871.

** Thoughts on the Group – Queers4Palestine – Self-hating Jews, Queers4Palestine, and conservatives walk into a bar and ask for the most potent drink available. The bartender says, “Are you sure? It’s pretty strong.” One of the groups replies, “We’re not afraid of extinction; we’re embracing it!”

The group of activists has a death wish manifesting as a burning desire to receive a Darwin Award. I wish them luck. The good that will come from their demise will hopefully serve as a teachable moment—cognitive dissonance on toast.

Likewise, the selfhating Jews, i.e., those who support Hamas and the So-Called Palestinians (SCPs), have a death wish. It is no secret that the object of their love will kill them, given half a chance. (more here)

** (Veterans and Cancer) More than two decades since the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, veterans of the War on Terror are coming to terms with the physical consequences of their service. Chief among them? Cancer.

Unfortunately, there is still much to learn about the deadly disease and its impact on the military population.

The U.S. Special Operations Command recently published a memo calling for all special operations forces (SOF) service members and veterans to report any cancer screenings and diagnoses so their records are up to date for ongoing research on the prevalence of cancer within SOF.

 

From the Days of Fighting Sail

 

Red Gun Decks – As late as the late 1700s, the standard practice aboard warships of the French, Spanish, and British Navy was to paint the decks, inner bulwarks, and gun port lights red. This was done so that the delicate natures of new sailors wouldn’t be unduly upset by the sight of blood splattered about during the height of a Battle.

Aloof—When sailing close to a lee shore (with the wind blowing onto it), the helmsman might be instructed to hold the ship “a-luff”—that is, close to the wind—to prevent it from crashing onto the rocks. To be ” a-luff” or aloof, therefore came to mean keeping your distance.

Chinese Flower Boats—Flower boats have existed for centuries, perhaps since the 14th century, but earlier is also possible. They were initially only available to the noble elite. They were luxury brothels with noble courtesans on board. The ships resembled luxurious pleasure boats, with a sun deck, a private chamber, and a pavilion at the stern. Not much can be said about the early designs and appearance, as records only began around 1700.

At this time, the boats began to change. The stern became increasingly drawn upwards, looking very much like a beak. There was a special reason for this, but more about that momentarily.

Image

Flower Boat at Shanghai” wood engraved print with recent hand color, published in All Around the World, about 1880 

From then on, the boats were available in different sizes and various price categories. There were small ones with only one or two girls or large ones with up to 10 or more, all of different ages. Even little girls were included, although they were still learning until they were 12 before they received their first customers. Most of these women were no longer noble courtesans but women from poor families who were sold to the ship owners. With the emergence of European trading companies, they also got access to flower boats, albeit illegally, but this could be regulated with a small bribe from the officials. Unfortunately, these meetings also further encouraged the exchange of exotic sexually transmitted diseases.

Image

Ivory Flower boat model, late 18th century 

What was to be expected on such boats depended on the price of the respective ladies. With the high-priced ladies, entertainment, and culture were already included. The middle price ranges offered some additional types of games, and the cheap ones were for quick encounters.

Image

A model from the late or early 20th century 

These boats were to be found at all harbors, rivers, and even whole streets. But let’s move on to the very high stern, which, from the 18th century onwards, could take on very bizarre proportions. The ships did not always stay in the harbor to save space and prevent epidemics. The ships were towed or sailed on their own, up and down the rivers, and because they were so high at the stern, they started to bob faster, which was supposed to increase the fun of the customers even more.

Image

A Canton Flower Boat on the Pearl River, late 19th century 

They continued to exist into WWII, although these trips became increasingly rare from the 19th century onwards and ceased altogether. Many boats were also abandoned and became floating restaurants.

**

Identify the Aircraft

1

 

2

3

Not a B-24

4

5

 

Parting Shot

46 thoughts on “This and That

  1. 1.C-133
    2. S-2 Tracker
    3. B-32 prototype. Later to a single tail.
    4. UKN but it smells like Grumman.
    5. A Gloster type UKN.

  2. There used to be quite a number of sampans, on the Perfume River in Hue, Republic of Vietnam, operated during the hours of darkness by “girls of the night” in the mid to late 1960s (before the Tet offensive of early 1968). The decor of the vessels varied, as did the quality of the staff, from the cheap, basic, mattress on the deck under the awning types, with girls from the rice paddies, to quite elaborate setups with the commensurate more expensive, higher quality, better educated, ladies. The rocking of the vessel, on the gentle current, was supposed to enhance the bonding experience. The clientele serviced was almost entirely Vietnamese although, undoubtedly, there was the odd Caucasian customer somewhere in the mix.

    Whilst I never patronised the services these vessels offered, Nga and I did go aboard one of the more elaborately set up ones late one evening. We were there to dispatch the working girl and the customer she was then entertaining. The girl was the co-ordinator of a small network of National Liberation Front (NLF)/Viet Cong (VC) agents operating in the city of Hue and her customer was her immediate superior, supposedly there to receive her report. The impact, upon their receiving a couple of bursts from a suppressed Sterling submachine gun and a suppressed Swedish K submachine gun, along with the gently rocking boat, would certainly have added to their amorous experience. Following the dispatching we took the craft out into the middle of the river, knocked a number of holes in the vessels plank bottom and, as we were picked up, it was slowly filling with water as it drifted downstream.

    1. Thanks for sharing the story today and the specific details on the weapons. Special military operations are seldom documented as well as your writing. Today’s short story was an excellent addition to LL’s history lesson and was on point. Plus I’ve read your book “Hunting in the Shadows” twice. Once quickly as I couldn’t set it down, and once very slowly. Amazing writing, I could, hear, and smell the locations. A big thank you for taking the time to write the book.

        1. Mike is one of my very best friends. There is a small circle of friends, and it’s getting smaller. I was honored to edit Mike’s memoirs because it’s living history. As his comment on the flower boat post parting of “Fighting Sail” would indicate, there’s even more to the story. The other friends in the circle each had their stories and it made for interesting quiet moments when we got together.

    2. Thank you for this incredible addition to “Hunting in the Shadows.” Real life always surpasses art, LL’s best efforts notwithstanding.

  3. Identify the Aircraft:
    1. Lockheed C-130A
    2. Grumman C-1 Trader
    3. XB-32-CO
    4. Grumman F3F-1 (it’s on the rudder)
    5. Gloster Meteor

      1. Not quite on #1- I’m going to quibble on the C-130. It has the original YC-130/C-130A “Roman nose” without the normal production radome. The paint scheme is typical of flight test, Edwards or possibly Eglin AFB. Early three-blade engines and small outboard fuel tanks typical of the C-130A. But the big give-away is the bubble on top of the forward fuselage. Cannot tell if it is open in the front, or possibly an aperture of some kind. Not quite the right shape for a radome, and SATCOM bubbles came much later in the game. Not in-flight refueling receptacle (dealt with those, not a bubble). I saw one picture of what appeared to be a C-130 with a small quad-barrel gun in that position, probably a test article, on a different C-130. And another C-130 with a flatter bubble as well. But nothing on this one. The tail number, while partially readable, does not seem to be in C-130.net. There’s even a “JC-130” with similar but not exact match for the overhead bubble.
        So, LL, Surly, and anyone else, please help me out – what are the specifics on this variant!!! This former C-5/EC-130E Flight Engineer would love to know…

          1. Wow, now that’s a unique adaptation. I’ve heard of the capsule recovery systems, along with the Fulton system. Neat to see the info. Thx much

  4. THAT is some seriously skilled craftsmanship on the ivory boat model. Astounding. Someone has a lot of patience.
    *
    Federal Taxes: 10% Flat Tax Card: 1) “Gross income” x 2) “10%” = 3) “Pay This amount”. Done. Simple (but gov’t doesn’t like simple because…lawyers and politicians.). Oh, and no more Social Security Tax. While we’re at it 2A allows no Federal anything on firearms, exception would be for actual Dealers, register only…like DrMrsPaulM’s DEA license, 3 years per fee. Time to whittle back the proverbial long arm, which includes a significant reduction of the takings of our income to line their corrupt pockets. “It’s not theirs to give”…but also “it’s not theirs to take.” Starve the beast. Time For A Reset ™.
    *
    Texas- That’s a nice hat band. Not a fan of the Texas hat shape, but if it fits then it’s a good hat.

    1. PS. Exceptional content this morning. Danka. (Now to get ready before the ‘WinterSpringtime in the Rockies’ returns with cold and snow after a 72 degree day yesterday, might snow but likely rain, which we never complain, we’ll take all we can get, and by the looks of the 73 yo tree cut down last year, it averages a 5-6 year wet/dry cycle.)

      1. PaulM, if I didn’t know better, I’d think that is a climate denier statement. It’s a slippery slope. You begin to deny settled science, then you’re Islamophobic, you begin to believe that Big Mike might not make a good president, then you’re ranidaphobic and suddenly you’re at SISU MAGA.

          1. Exactly Ed. Someone posted a comment the other day: “ When the first one is tarred and feather and run out of town on rail, and all their assets seized, that may make the other scumbag Sewer Dwellers take a pause.”
            —-
            Not holding my breath. Then we have todays NYC/Bragg-ert fabricated asinine idiocy (I’ll stop at three reprobate descriptors)…they were actually picking a jury. Then the judge sets the trial date the same day as Baron’s HS graduation. I wouldn’t show. SISU UKTRA MAGA (not pseudo- tradmarked yet)

        1. It was 77* here before the front came through this afternoon. Temps dropped 20* in about 30 minutes, and the NW wind came roaring back….

          1. Yeah well, crappy out today…BUT no complaints as we have been graced with some Globalclimatewarmingcoolingchange moisture falling from the skies (not at all Chicken Little). But once again someone has left the gates of Wyoming open and we are getting their windy offal in spades. Clouds are moving quicker than a Cessna 142 running upstream.

    1. Thanks Rob,
      Much appreciated. I read ” Texas” by James Michener. Five years will be added to my list. Also Gutenberg, another resource similar to Librevox?

  5. ** Another dream…is it achievable?
    A one world, secular, non-religious civilization?

    I think Jesus has other plans for the place he bought
    I hope the tenants cooperate.

  6. Hunting in the Shadows. Loaned my copy to a neighbor. He was a Navy Yeoman, fluent in several languages, who physically wasn’t up for Special Ops training but was in Special Ops units. He tells me the book brings back “memories”. Also, that there isn’t one iota of b.s. in the book.

  7. Red Lead Paint was a known anti-rot paint, which is why it was so popular on barns for so long. Same reason to use it on ships, too.

    1. Fang Fang looks like she climbed to the top of the ugly tree, slipped and hit every branch on the way down. I’m sure that her Sparrow training imparted useful skills, so she could suck-start a Yak…or something like that. Still, in the world of pleasure gardens, I expect that the best she could hope to be is a “fluffer.”

        1. Being called “A yak-breath Chinese” must be viewed as insulting, but who really knows? It could be a badge of honor.

  8. Lander County Nevada has no homeless and almost no panhandlers – the occasional ones (1 or 2 for a day once a year) are VERY well behaved.
    It’s odd that neighboring counties have problems with both…

    1. They congregate where it benefits them. They are well-behaved when disorderly behavior would lead to an ass-kicking. Human nature. For example, there are no traditional homeless or panhandlers where I live. We see transient campers in the forest during good weather and they leave with the snow. I haven’t known them to cause problems. They may instinctively understand that if they don’t create a problem, there won’t be one.

      1. Considering how few people and how much open range there is in Lander County, it’s no surprise that there are so few homeless. However, how many campers and RVs are parked in the middle of nowhere as off-grid housing. Living in the county just west of Lander, I’ve been through various parts of that territory and know that there ain’t much there. Hwy 50 isn’t called “The Loneliest Highway in America” just because they could name it thus, it’s very descriptive. Been there, done Hwy 50 and I-80 as well, multiple times.
        Even BLM (the evil BLM) was encouraged to “Move Along” by the citizenry in my county, Lander County, and other counties, in the midst of their stirrings. Citizenry weren’t going to put up with their shenanigans and troubles that they leave in their wake.

        1. I’ve had run-ins with BLM while driving on a marked road through turf they claim. I will not go into details but in the end I did what I planned to do, delay notwithstanding. They tried muscle but they were muscling the wrong citizen. Small people making small paychecks wearing a silly uniform. To be fair, the good ones wouldn’t have harassed me and I have no idea how many good ones there are.

          1. Heh, you somehow strike me as someone who shouldn’t be fscked with.
            OBTW, some of your older compatriots have an installation on base here. Some neat vehicles…

  9. The Texas comment is ‘close’…but we don’t wear spurs to bed… And I’m glad the young lady is shooting a revolver with those ‘assets’ exposed like they are! 🙂

    1. I heard that cowboys DID wear spurs in bed during certain activities. Thanks for the fact check.

  10. Re BLM
    The county north of us has an area designated by the BLM for target practice
    A few years ago one of the “small people in silly uniforms” took it upon themselves to confiscate from three shooters some magazines and firearms he thought were in violation of California law.
    The shooters contacted the sheriff.
    The sheriff phoned the local BLM HMFIC and explained to him that the BLM arrest powers were on loan to the BLM from himself, the county sheriff and would be withdrawn if the mags and weapons were not returned post haste and the idiot BLM “ranger” transferred out of the county immediately.
    Done and done.
    Oh, the shooters were City of Redding, CA police officers.
    Stupid is as stupid does.

    1. Redding PD excells in delivering ice to parties. They’re blow average at other chores. My mother lives in Redding…

  11. 🎶My man is all man.
    My man’s a tall man.
    He goes to bed with his six-gun on and never takes off his spurs.🎶

    My mom used to sometimes sing this while she worked.
    Dad is a Texan and owns a pair of Garcia spurs.

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