40 years ago: the fall of Saigon

I knew a guy, Michael, who almost certainly died from Agent Orange exposure in early 1982, just after his daughter was born.

S. Vietnamese in Da Nang struggle to climb aboard ships that will evacuate them to Cam Ranh Ba
S. Vietnamese in Da Nang struggle to climb aboard ships that will evacuate them to Cam Ranh Ba

I’ve been reading several news articles about the documentary ‘Last Days in Vietnam’, directed by Rory Kennedy, daughter of RFK, which revisits the fall of Saigon in 1975. If I get the opportunity, I’ll have to watch it.

I became actively opposed to the Vietnam war in mid-1968, as much because of a 1967 speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. as anything.

Prior to that – I WAS only 15 -it was more that it was an American war, and I was an American, so I didn’t really need to think about it much.

After that evolution of thought, I actually LOOKED at how the United States, after France’s final defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, ended up in Vietnam, first with “advisers”. Then, after the lie that spurred the Gulf of Tonkin resolution in August 1964, there was a much-expanded presence in Vietnam, propping up one failed leadership in South Vietnam after another.

Only much later, I discovered how Richard Nixon sabotaged the 1968 Vietnam peace talks to get elected President, an arguably treasonous act, something that cost the United States an additional 22,000 lives, of the 58,000 US military killed, not to mention those tens of thousands of Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians who died needlessly.

So when the Americans effectively stopped fighting in January 1973, through a program called Vietnamization – read this and see if it reminds you of the US policy in Iraq this century – it led to the inevitable collapse of the South Vietnam government. “By the end of April 30th, South Vietnam was wholly under the control of North Vietnam who swiftly announced the creation of a united Vietnam. Saigon was renamed Ho Chi Minh City.”

Yet I felt terrible about those South Vietnamese who were left behind, who undoubtedly felt the Americans would take care of them, but, for the most part, were not able to; an estimated one million people died after reunification. Moreover, I am fascinated by the normalization of relations between the US and a united Vietnam in the past three decades.

One of the legacies of the American involvement in the war the use of the defoliant Agent Orange. I knew a guy, Michael – a good friend of my girlfriend at the time – who almost certainly died from Agent Orange exposure in early 1982, just after his daughter was born. It took nearly another decade before the government acknowledged a link between the chemical and a number of neurological diseases.

Now the U.S. finally accepting responsibility for the devastating ongoing effects of Agent Orange in Vietnam. But is this funding just a way to get USAID in the door to meddle in the country’s affairs?
***
From 2015: SamuraiFrog revisits Good Morning, Vietnam.

From 2014: US Government sanitizes Vietnam War history.

From 2012: ‘Napalm Girl’: An Iconic Image Of War Turns 40.

April Rambling: Mr. Rogers, and SNL

“A wonderful experience, but it also tests the limits of human emotions.”

dino
Here’s A News Report We’d Be Reading If Walter Scott’s Killing Wasn’t On Video. Also, from Albany: Chief Krokoff’s Retirement And The Ivy Incident.

Orioles COO John Angelos offers an eye-opening perspective on Baltimore protests. And from late 2013, David Simon: ‘There are now two Americas. My country is a horror show’.

Looking forward to watching the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight this weekend? I’m not.

Religious Freedom: Colorado’s sensible middle way. Also, ‘The Good Wife’ Defends Gay Marriage Against ‘Religious Freedom’ and Matthew Vines: “God and the Gay Christian”.

Thomas Jefferson’s Qur’an” and Practicing Islam At A Catholic University.

Kitty Litter Shuts Down Sole US Nuclear Weapons Waste Facility.

20 photos that change the Holocaust narrative.

Not everyone has come to grips with the reality of that spring day in 1995.

Virginia is still imprisoning an almost certainly innocent man—even after he did the time.

Meryl Jaffe analyzes “March: Book 2” by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell.

Before Jackie Robinson.

Six things not to say to a mixed-race person.

The Radical Politics of Mister Rogers.

Jeb ‘Put Me Through Hell’. “Michael Schiavo knows as well as anyone what Jeb Bush can do with executive power. He thinks you ought to know too.”

In the “really sucks” category, my buddy Eddie Mitchell still has cancer.

Dustbury’s blog turns 19. I love that Steely Dan song. Speaking of which, he masterfully blends Meghan Trainor, Maya Angelou and Steely Dan in a piece about selfies.

ADD asks “How Do You Decide What’s Right and Wrong?”

Mark Evanier and his dad: on retirement.

Jack Rollins celebrates his 100th birthday. He has managed Harry Belafonte, Woody Allen, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Joan Rivers, Nichols and May, Tony Bennett, Jim Carrey, Dick Cavett, Diane Keaton, David Letterman, and a bunch more.

A telegram Joan Crawford sent to Rod Serling after she saw The Planet of the Apes (1968).

The Inside Story of the Civil War for the Soul of NBC News. Also, A DUMB JOB: How is it possible that the inane institution of the anchorman has endured for more than 60 years?

SNL is: Nora Dunn: “A traumatic experience. It’s something you have to survive.”. Also, “‘A wonderful experience, but it also tests the limits of human emotions”: Gary Kroeger looks back on his three seasons.

Frog explains how the filmmakers wrecked The Incredible Hulk movie.

What the critics wrote about the Beatles in 1964. And The least-celebrated Beatle is finally getting the respect he deserves.

Apparently, Dancing with the Stars and The Voice are using the arrangements of Postmodern Jukebox without acknowledging the group. Here are their versions of Wiggle (Jason Derulo/Snoop Dogg cover) and Creep (Radiohead cover).

Joni Mitchell is Not a “60s Folksinger”.

Percy Sledge.

SamuraiFrog ranking Weird Al: 115-101 and 100-91.

K-Chuck Radio: Guitars sound better with fuzz.

The Laughing Heart (Listen – it’s just one minute.) Never Let Go – Tom Waits Cover.

The top 100 movie number quotes.

Muppets: 40 minutes of “Sam and Friends and Tough Pigs has been collecting those Muppet Moments from Disney Junior and Aveggies: Age of Bon Bons and Cookie Monster, artist and Game of Chairs and one grouch’s trash is another grouch’s outfit and Taraji P. Henson on Sesame Street (sort of) and SamuraiFrog’s Toad Dweebie and Miss Piggy is recipient of prestigious New York museum award.

Passover, Rube Goldberg style.

GOOGLE ALERT (me)

After a hiatus of more than a year, the podcast 2political is back on a regular schedule! With Arthur (yes, THAT Arthur) and Jason, from DC.

Jaquandor answers a bunch of my questions.

Dustbury points out the Judgmental Map of Oklahoma City. He is also disinclined to get a smartphone.

Gordon now has a greater appreciation for the work of librarians and realizes why libraries are important.

GOOGLE ALERT (not me)

This was unsettling: Ex-Burnley teacher Roger Green dies aged 62. BTW, I am 62.

P is for phraseology

Arthur turned me on to the Anglophenia posts.

Select-Language-iconThere is a movement at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, which I once visited, to “bring a collection of old school words back into the modern-day vernacular.” They are:

Caterwaul – A shrill howling or wailing noise.
Concinnity – The skillful and harmonious arrangement or fitting together of the different parts of something.
Flapdoodle – Nonsense.
Knavery – A roguish or mischievous act.
Melange – A mixture of different things.

Obambulate – To walk about.
Opsimath – A person who begins to learn or study only late in life.
Philistine – A person who is hostile or indifferent to culture and the arts, or who has no understanding of them.
Rapscallion – A mischievous person.
Subtopia – Monotonous urban sprawl of standardized buildings.

Caterwaul and philistine I use as often as possible, myself.

Arthur asked: “But who’s championing the case of the words we should lose?”

Why, Lake Superior State University, ALSO in Michigan, is! LSSU put out its 40th Annual List of words to be banished, among them “bae,” “cra-cra”, “curated,” ”skill set,” ”takeaway”, and “polar vortex.” The only one that really makes me crazy is cra-cra, meaning crazy, and like terms that are no shorter than the original word, and sound foolish.

I do agree with the complaint about curate: “It used to have a special significance reserved mainly for fine art and museums. Now everything is curated. Monthly food and clothing subscription boxes claim to be finely ‘curated.'”

More phraseology

7 Lost American Slang Words.

The Daughter found it humorous that “monosyllabic” has five syllables. There’s one thing which we all — regardless of language — may have in common. One syllable, that is.

Flammable Versus Inflammable – What Is the Difference?
***
Arthur turned me on to the Anglophenia posts:

How To Speak British
How To Insult Like the British

Untying the Not describes the “Wicked Bible.”

15 unique illnesses you can only come down with in German

ABC Wednesday – Round 16

Pinterest and other things

When the Mets had an 11-game winning streak, I had to root for them.

LPG artI finally found a use for Pinterest. I’ve had an account for a while. People follow my Pinterest page, but I don’t know why, because there was literally nothing there, since I didn’t know what to do with it.

I’ve seen other people put what seemed to me to be random photos, irrespective of things such as copyright or context.

Then I realized that I can never find pictures my sister posts on Facebook, that my eldest niece, Rebecca Jade, gets lots of pictures taken of her, and that the Daughter is starting to experiment with the camera (it’s her piece on this page).

Maybe I should have put them on Instagram, which I don’t have, and don’t have the inclination to learn at this time; or some other platform, such as the “cloud”, which has burned me before with music I had, but lost.

I’m not going to make a great retrospective effort, but I’ll use Pinterest as time and inspiration allow.

Also

Someone asked what to do to help the folks in Nepal after the massive earthquake: this article has some suggestions.

There are now eight music videos posted on YouTube from First Presbyterian Church in Albany, seven from various First Friday performances, and one from a recent worship service.

I was a Yankees fan from way back, but when the Bronx Bombers were going to play the New York Mets in the Subway Series, and the Mets had an 11-game winning streak, I had to root for them. They lost but rebounded the next day.

Flipping through the channels, I caught part of the White House Correspondents’ Dinner. Here’s President Obama and Cecily Strong, from Saturday Night Live.

I saw the end of an episode of the ABC-TV show Grey’s Anatomy, and I figured McDreamy would buy the farm the next episode. Then he did. The fan base is all upset, but the show has done such egregious crap before (the shootings in the hospital, the plane crash)… whatever.

This coming Sunday, MeTV is airing the MASH finale, along with new interviews with members of the cast and production team. Like half the US, I watched it. I found it lugubrious and overlong, and I haven’t seen it since. I’m thinking about watching it again for the first time in over 30 years.

I probably need to do a lot more short posts like this, for time reasons. I’ve had posts I want to write, but have not had the opportunity.