These came up while the Czar was washing blood off his hands in the mens room. First up is JAB, who pops up from the Doublewide to tell an awesome story:
Dear Mr. Mandarin and Your Czarness:
Reading your “Literal Call to Arms” post made me wonder if you’ve been hanging out at the Trailer-Park-at-the-Edge-of-Town, listening to the gossip flowing from Betty’s Beauty Barn!
Why? Well, because on the 30th of March, three members of my family qualified for concealed carry permits. Going 3 for 3 is a reason for pride, right? Since the classes in our county are completely booked through the end of May [“All 50 states are overwhelmed with applications for concealed carry permits….”], it was a important that not a single one of them have to retake the class. Besides, none of them wanted to bring shame to the family name, because they’d NEVER, EVER hear the end of it.
They all decided that now was the time to get a permit before the government made it near impossible [“Rather, the average person is saying “Holy crap! I need to get a weapon now more than ever; and I don’t care how long it takes or what hoops I have to jump through.”]. It’s not like any of our houses lacks shotguns and rifles.
So without further ado, allow me to brag a little to you Gormogons, ’cause the girls at Betty’s Beauty Barn are getting tired of listening.
The 3rd highest qualifier in my little family group….my sister. But in her defense, a hot shell casing ejected from the next shooter at the range and went down the back of her blouse. She kept on shooting until she emptied her clip, but her later shots were high.
The 2nd highest qualifier was…my brother-in-law, who is not a shabby duck-hunter.
And now, a drum-roll….please…..
The highest scorer in the class was….my mother. That’s right, my 71-year-old mother. Her grouping was so good that the instructor at first thought she had totally missed the target. The he pulled in the target to check it. Turns out that she put 3 shots into the same spot at the top right of the cross in the middle. And then he had her do it again to prove it wasn’t luck. And it wasn’t.
The best part of this may be that for the rest of his life my brother-in-law will be known for not being able to out shoot his mother-in-law! Not that he’d say anything at all to rile her up!
Yours from the Doublewide,
What can the Czar say? Congratulations to your mother, obviously; the Czar has long-maintained that women make incredible shotson average, better than men, if they would only participate more. But no jokecongratulations to all of you for your hard work and, dare we say, patriotism?
And here is Island Dweller, who also puts together enough coherent sentences to re-emphasize how smart all our readers are:
It’s no secret North Korean civilians are starving to death; there are numerous stories coming out of the country about rural citizens making grass or tree-bark soup, or literally eating the grass in the fields due to food shortages. What this malnutrition is doing to the North Korean birth rate, or the mental development of growing North Korean children, is anyone’s guess.
China genuinely fears a war on the Korean peninsula for just the reasons you postulate. The collapse of North Korea will be one of the greater human tragedies of the 21st Century. There will be a massive surge of the populace toward the Chinese border, and the Chinese government does not want these individuals straining the Chinese economy. They can provide no service that will recompense China for their upkeep, therefore they must be kept out.
It will be similar to what happened when East Germany imploded. It will be a curse. Rebuilding East Germany’s run-down economy and infrastructure provided some jobs and investment for West Germany in particular and parts of Europe in general; it was more of an enormous burden on the West German social welfare state to absorb their less-fortunate Eastern bretheren into the social services fold.
The North Korean situation will be worse by orders of magnitude. North Korea is a Stalinist state, and pretty much a creation of the old Soviet Union – not Communist China. Russia won’t help North Korea. Here’s an interesting question: Will China see any profit to be made by investing in reshaping North Korea a la the Marshall Plan after a collapse? I don’t see them allowing the US, South Korea or Japan to conduct economic activity like that so close to their borders. But the humanitarian burden will swiftly overwhelm Chinese resources and stun the world. I’ll bet the PRC will pass on serious humanitarian aid and wait for the UN to step in.
The Czar thinks you are exactly right, and your knowledge of history and politics is spot-on: the creation of the problem, is sustenance, and its unfortunately obvious outcome is all tied in precisely the way you describe.
And you bring up another good point: perhaps the Czar over-stated the humanitarian role China will likely play, because the Czar thinks that we are seeing the extent of it right now. In other words, this is it. China has never been known as a group to swoop in during a crisis and help everyone out. China is more like the neighbor during a house fire who helps you carry less-damaged stuff out to the curb and right into her car. You will not see her doing much more than we are seeing right now. Excellent point.
Божію Поспѣшествующею Милостію Мы, Дима Грозный Императоръ и Самодержецъ Всероссiйскiй, цѣсарь Московскiй. The Czar was born in the steppes of Russia in 1267, and was cheated out of total control of all Russia upon the death of Boris Mikhailovich, who replaced Alexander Yaroslav Nevsky in 1263. However, in 1283, our Czar was passed over due to a clerical error and the rule of all Russia went to his second cousin Daniil (Даниил Александрович), whom Czar still resents. As a half-hearted apology, the Czar was awarded control over Muscovy, inconveniently located 5,000 miles away just outside Chicago. He now spends his time seething about this and writing about other stuff that bothers him.