The Art of Tetman Callis

Some of the stories and poems may be inappropriate for persons under 16

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Entries from January 2017

The blood is always red

January 31st, 2017 · No Comments

“At the most forward edge of Love Company was the Second Platoon, commanded by Lieutenant Gene Takahashi of Cleveland, Ohio. Takahashi—Tak, not Gene, to his men— had, as a Japanese-American, spent part of his World War II boyhood in an internment camp in California. Impressed by the exploits of the famed, highly-decorated all-Nisei 442nd Regimental […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · Politics & Law · The Korean War

It hurts so good

January 30th, 2017 · No Comments

“All of us living in Judeo-Christian or Islamic cultures have imbibed from infancy a conception of sexuality—and desire more generally—as dangerous and destructive unless strictly controlled, of repression and self-sacrifice as indispensable virtues. Movements that  encourage us to fulfill our desires are bound to arouse conflicting emotions, to intensify people’s yearnings for freedom and pleasure, […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Politics & Law

Easy-peasey

January 22nd, 2017 · No Comments

“To be a hero, you only had to be brave for a moment … But to be a coward was to embark on a career that lasted a lifetime … Being a coward required pertinacity, persistence, a refusal to change – which made it, in a way, a kind of courage.” – Julian Barnes, The […]

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Tags: Verandah

They’d’ve seen it coming if they’d’ve looked

January 21st, 2017 · No Comments

“It was on the night of November 25 [1950] that the Chinese finally struck. Rarely has so large an army had such an element of surprise against its adversary. The Chinese had precise intelligence on the Americans, and the Americans on the [Korean] west coast—the Marines on the east were shrewder and better led—were essentially […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · The Korean War

They warned us but we wouldn’t listen

January 20th, 2017 · No Comments

“Of the American military miscalculations of the twentieth century, Douglas MacArthur’s decision to send his troops all the way to the Yalu stands alone. (Vietnam was a political miscalculation and the chief architects of it were civilians.) All sorts of red flags were there for him, flags that he chose not to see. So it […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · The Korean War

Nobody’s fool

January 19th, 2017 · No Comments

“In 1949, Josef Stalin was the dominant figure in the entire Communist world. He had controlled Russia for more than a quarter of a century. Of the leading architects of the Russian Revolution, he was the last one standing. Others might have been more brilliant, more charismatic, better speakers, more original strategists, but he was […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · Politics & Law · The Korean War

One of a kind love affair

January 18th, 2017 · No Comments

“In World War I [General Douglas MacArthur] had worn riding breeches, a turtleneck sweater, and a four-foot scarf—‘the fighting dude,’ his men called him. He did not merely seek the limelight, he had an addiction to it. He was aware of camera positioning, always making sure that his famous jaw jutted at just the right […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · The Korean War

The place to be

January 17th, 2017 · No Comments

“The artist believes in the future because he lives in the future.” – Modest Mussorgsky (quoted by David Dubal in The Essential Canon of Classical Music)

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Verandah

Look behind you

January 16th, 2017 · No Comments

“I’m always more intrigued with the story no one is telling than the story everyone is telling.” – Liz Ann Sonders, Senior Vice President, Chief Investment Strategist, Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.

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Tags: Economics · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law · Verandah

No trespassing

January 15th, 2017 · No Comments

“In the premodern world, control reached to points and the lines connecting them; there simply was not enough prevention of motion to go around to cover an entire plane and bring it all under control. In the modern world, this changed, and the topology was inverted: control reached everywhere, and only isolated points were left […]

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Tags: Economics · Politics & Law

No pasaran

January 14th, 2017 · No Comments

“Define, on the two-dimensional surface of the earth, lines across which motion is to be prevented, and you have one of the key themes of history.” – Reviel Netz, Barbed Wire

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Tags: Economics · Politics & Law

The one right thing

January 13th, 2017 · No Comments

“Inchon was to be Douglas MacArthur’s last great success, and his alone. It was a brilliant, daring gamble. It surely saved thousands of America lives just as he predicted. He had fought for it almost alone against the doubts of the principal Navy planners and very much against the wishes of the Joint Chiefs. Inchon […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · The Korean War

The power of persuasion

January 12th, 2017 · No Comments

“The battle had been hard on his platoon, and [Sergeant] Piazza had fought in a rage . . . . There had been a young man named Ronnie Taylor, barely eighteen, an enlistee from Oakland, Mississippi, whom Piazza felt it was his sacred duty to protect because he was so young, and here he was […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · The Korean War

Small and determined to stay that way

January 11th, 2017 · No Comments

“Theirs was the America of the turn of the century, an America of sound business practices and old-fashioned virtues, of which they were exemplars. They did not owe money and did not depend on the government to employ them. They were the town leaders in an era when that leadership was almost exclusively white, male, […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · Economics · Politics & Law · The Korean War

Same as it ever is

January 10th, 2017 · No Comments

“Probably as good a date as any for the beginning of World War II is July 1937, when Chinese troops clashed with Japanese invaders near Beijing, close to the Chinese-Manchurian border. If nothing else, it surely ended any hope of the rise of a modern, semi-democratic China under Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist or Guomindang Party, the […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · Economics · Politics & Law · The Korean War · The Second World War

Circling the wagon, hoisting the petard

January 9th, 2017 · No Comments

“It is an undeniable privilege of every man to prove himself right in the thesis that the world is his enemy; for if he reiterates it frequently enough and makes it the background of his conduct he is bound eventually to be right.” – George F. Kennan, “The Sources of Soviet Conduct”

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Tags: Politics & Law · Verandah

Pissing with the big dogs now

January 8th, 2017 · No Comments

“Truman and his administration had spanned a critical moment in American history. America was changing, like it or not, from the America that had been, that is, the America that was powerful but did not yet know it and was hesitant to use its industrial muscularity internationally, to the America that would be America the […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · Economics · Politics & Law · The Korean War

Blind being led by the blinded

January 7th, 2017 · No Comments

“Dwell on the past an you’ll lose an eye. Forget the past and you’ll lose both eyes.” – Russian proverb (quoted by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn in The Gulag Archipelago)

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Tags: Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn · Economics · Lit & Crit · Politics & Law

Spooked

January 6th, 2017 · No Comments

“Two points about rationalism stand out: It becomes our privileged way of accessing the world and making sense of the things around us, to the exclusion of other ways of appreciating meaning: moods, our use of tools and other instruments, and our communal traditions captured in language. But the chief defect of this narrowed, receptive […]

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Tags: Lit & Crit · Martin Heidegger · Other Stuff

Garret troopers

January 5th, 2017 · No Comments

“The United States would go to war [in Korea] totally unprepared. The first American units thrown into battle were poorly armed, in terrible shape physically, and, more often than not, poorly led. The mighty army that had stood victorious in two great theaters of war, Europe and Asia, just five years earlier was a mere […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · Economics · Politics & Law · The Korean War

Viceroy of the Eastern Marches

January 4th, 2017 · No Comments

“In 1950 [General Douglas] MacArthur was so grand a figure that everyone had to play by his rules. In effect he had created not only his own little army within a larger army, which he alone was allowed to command, but his own little world where he alone could govern. Any instructions or orders or […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · The Korean War

Adding up to an unexpected sum

January 3rd, 2017 · No Comments

“Of the many miscalculations made by both sides during the Korean War, perhaps the most egregious on the Communist side was the misunderstanding of how Western democracies, principally the United States, would respond to a North Korean invasion of the South, that it would be viewed through the prism of Munich. [President] Truman’s thoughts were, […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · The Korean War

Men of steel

January 2nd, 2017 · No Comments

“Stalin was a new kind of tsar, a people’s tsar, driven as much by an age-old paranoia—in his case both national and personal—in dealing with the West, a man with little interest or belief in the possibilities of a postwar alliance. By 1950, the Harry Truman who had made the first rather sympathetic run at […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · The Korean War

Would you like another cup of tea, dear

January 1st, 2017 · No Comments

“The Japanese, sure of their imperial mission and their superiority as a race, had set out to destroy almost all vestiges of Korean independence. What they wanted was nothing less than to obliterate Korean culture, starting with the language. The official language of Korea was proclaimed to be Japanese; in school, lessons were to be […]

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Tags: David Halberstam · The Korean War