Open Thread

Open Thread #296

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40 thoughts on “Open Thread #296

  1. Aaron,

    I believe you’ve expressed before in an interest in having your own home gym one day. I have the same sentiment (My relatively well-off uncle might actually build his own,but I can only hope he goes through with the idea),but part of me does wonder if,from a purely cost efficiency perspective,its worth the investment.

    I dunno if this is taken into account when talking cost efficiency (if we’re only talking about money,maybe a home gym is not worth it if you’re able to get a cheap membership. or even a lifetime membership in some cases),but if we’re factoring in the value of Time,then I imagine its probably worth it. You get to avoid folks taking up any of the equipment,leaving you free to get all the work done (and in the order of workouts you prefer) as time efficiently (or non efficiently,because you don’t need to spare the equipment for someone else.) as you wish.

    I’d definitely like to hear Alek’s take here as well.

    I do like socializing when I’m doing Martial arts (and when I plan to get into other sportive hobbies). But when lifting,I definitely prefer to be left alone (except by my trainer/instructor if I’ve employed one) to get the work done as quick and efficiently as I can. I imagine most serious gymgoers (by that,I mean people who are seriously working towards achieving a physical transformation and not being one of the casual folk suffering from fuckarounditis) feel the same though.

    1. I loved having a rack and pulley system. It was super convenient and saved a ton of time. I could do pull ups on it also, or just do pull downs. Only thing I really missed from the gym was a leg press machine.

    2. I am in the process of setting up a home guy in my basement, and the cost is quite moderate. The sum of my actual and expected expenses equals about the cost of a one-year gym membership. The biggest benefit is that I can use my home gym basically whenever I want. As I am also fortunate to work mostly from home, I normally squeeze in a few sets between meetings in the morning.

      In terms of equipment, I currently own a bench (not a particularly sturdy one but it’s good enough), various bars (long bar, ez bar, olympic longbar), dumbbells, cast iron plates, bumper plates, and basic rack for the overhead press and the bench press. I am still missing a half-cage for squatting, and sooner or later I will have to get some more bumper plates.

    1. They could have improved the anatomy, too. There is an old Wii U game that features an excellent Zero Suit Samus costume as an unlockable:

      You will probably agree that it is far superior to that mod.

  2. Posting for the second time, my first post hasn’t been published for some reason.

    Hi Aaron, thanks for your books. What’s your way to deal with noise-inducing hearing damage? You are saying that bars and clubs are the best way to get laid. My problem with them is that they are way too loud. I.e. you start getting an irreversible hearing damage after just a couple of minutes of being there. I am thinking to get ear plugs, but wouldn’t it look dorky?

    1. Your first comment ended up in the spam folder, but it is not obvious why.

    2. Well, I used a one-time email service for it, I guess Akismet didn’t like it. Then I remembered I have a semipermanent pseudonymous email and used that instead.

      Btw, here is the link for the source of my claim that hearing damage occurs after a couple of minites:,risk%20of%20hearing%20loss%20occurs.

      I already have a mild form of tinnitus and I am really afraid of making it worse.

    3. This does not seem to have been an issue for me. I do not have tinnitus, but I also never danced right in front of the loudspeakers. In your case, I would strongly suggest getting ear plugs. The alternative is to damage your hearing further, and that is arguably not worth it.

  3. Any of you guys ever seen the movie by Spike Lee called “Da Five Bloods” from a few years ago? If not, don’t bother. It’s boring and typical Spike Lee propaganda. I must’ve been real bored watching that crap.

    Basically it’s about 4 Vietnam war buddies (and one of their sons) going back to Vietnam to retrieve burried treasure left for them by one of their commanding officers.

    The only thing that stuck out for me in this propagandistic bore-fest was when their Vietnamese tour guide told the vets that Ho Chi Minh was the “George Washington of Vietnam.” One of the vets said, “But your George Washington didn’t own slaves.”

    Just wow……….

    How self serving and ignorant. Ho imprisoned and murdered political rivals! Even former allies who helped the Viet Minh win independence from France. And this happened in the 1950s not the 1770s!!!!! FFS……….From what I know about colonists who supported the Brits during the Revolutionary War they were simply exiled to Canada. Not persecutied, jailed or murdered. This is the crazy state of affairs we currently live under.

    1. Now that I think about it…….I was being generous to Ho Chi Minh. Ho murdered people who were on his side during their war for independence. Washington exiled actual enemy collaborators.

    2. I’ve seen some of Lee’s stuff. I enjoyed the vibe/aesthetic of 25th Hour, but yeah, his messaging is always annoying and self-serving.`

    3. Spike Lee is one of the most overrated directors out there. I watched a few of his movies, and did not like a single one. I wonder why he gets promoted by Hollywood so much. It’s a total mystery to me.

    4. And yes. HCM was rotten. Plenty of Vietnamese locals, especially in the south (ironically where the city HCMC is located), know this. There are of course very careful who they talk to about this.

    5. At Herk,
      Yes, in fact the residents of HCMC still call it Saigon 🙂 I’ve met a few here in San Diego. Lots of Vietnamese refugees here as well as California in general. I met one that told me that Biden voted in the House to cut aid to South Vietnam and even to not allow the refugees to even come here after the war. Total ass hole.

    6. I am currently in Saigon and went to events managed by young Vietnamese Americans. Within this specific population, the spirit of reconciliation is high. Their parents want to return home and pass their last days there.

      Vietnam War legacy should be over within the next 2 generations. Accepting Communist rule will be the norm.

    7. Comparing Ho to Washington is like comparing Hitler to Napoleon.

      The first generation of American leaders were star constellation unseen in American history. They designed a system that, till now, though deformed, benefits millions of Americans who are to fall heir to.

      Ho Chi Minh left a nation with incredibly corrupted institution which retards the progress of his own nation. He was a charismatic, enigmatic and effective war time leader, but failed miserably in devising a working political institution for posterity.

    8. @ CQV,

      I read another book you recommended from Pierre Asselin, Vietnam’s American War. Excellent book. Even better than Hanoi’s Road to the Vietnam War. 2 things really struck me:

      #1. Hanoi’s international propaganda campaign was brilliant. Even in the US. It was so strong that throughout the 80s and 90s you could hear echoes of it through Oliver Stone movies, KPBS and HBO documentaries, and Leftist college professors.

      #2. The effect of the American perception of the Tet Offensive. I hadn’t realized what a devastating failure it was for Le Xuan. He accomplished none of his objectives. The American media played it like a propaganda victory. In reality Le Xuan was getting frustrated at the stale mate by 1968 to the point where he through everything and the kitchen sink in a hail Mary attempt to win the war. It wasn’t until after the US media misrepresented what had happened that he claimed it was to demoralize the Americans. Asselin and other historians have said Le Xuan snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. They always look awkward when they say it. I think what they mean is that the US media snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

      Thanks again for the recommendation. I’ll read A Bitter Peace next. Asselin is currently working on a book that zeroes in on Hanoi’s international diplomatic campaign. Should be great, can’t wait for it to come out.

    9. @Aaron and Herk,

      Spikes movies do tend to be aesthetically pleasing and, like Tarantino, gets gifted talented actors. While the Jews who run Hollywood were a bit peeved about his depiction of them in Mo Betta Blue’s, his anti white propaganda gets rewarded with fat contracts and good actors.

    10. It is obvious now that Tet Offensive was a massive failure. However, if you pause for a second and think, then you would see that the uprisings occurred all throughout US and South Vietnam territories. This means that the Allied did not ensure enough security, and proves that the Communists were in control everywhere.

      What needs to be said on this issue, and it was actually mentioned by you, is that had the US media downplayed the widespread uprisings and emphasized the loss of manpower and materials of the enemy, then the public perception would change drastically. This teaches us the valuability of having the media in tight control. The US allowed too much free coverage with Leftist bias and it was the most crucial element in causing a collapse in the Home Front.

      The problem with the Vietnam War, which is not mentioned by Asselin, is the lack of self-sufficiency of South Vietnam. Once the US pulled out, the whole state collapsed like a house of card.

    11. The media free reign access is what makes the Vietnam War absolutely unique in the history of American warfare, and warfare in general. The US government gave generous access to a media that was tearing down the credibility of that very government. Even Korea was tightly controlled. I wonder how Americans would react to the daily brutality of that war, the American losses, and the corruption of Soule. And WWII was nothing but Army propaganda movies and fireside chats. The government apparently learned their lesson as we hear almost nothing of the past 20 years in the wars in the mid-east. Most Americans probably don’t even know we are in Syria.

      Through my research I have come across Le-Hang Nguyen. Have you read her material? She seems to have even greater access to the Hanoi archives than Asselin. Even though they both speak Vietnamese. Perhaps it’s because Nguyen is ethnically Vietnamese. Even though she is a member of the diaspora community, it looks like she has more access than any other Westerner.

      I skipped over the Ken Burns documentary. It just looks like more of the same liberal propaganda. Especially when considering the huge 10 year endeavor, attempting to mend the fences etc. All to give us the same biased crap that KPBS has been promoting about Vietnam for 30 years. Seems little difference with the 1983 documentary based on Stanley Karnow’s book that it bore little resemblance to. I actually thought Karnow was unbiased and informative with his book. But now he is thrown in with Neil Sheehan and other liberal reporters of the era. Never read A Bright Shining Lie but I saw the movie. Not really interested in Sheehan’s work either.

    12. I have not read Le Hang Nguyen, but you can find her book here:
      Hanoi’s War- An International History of the War for Peace in Vietnam

      It was awarded prestigiously.

      I think you are ready to read Qiang Zhai:

      China and the Vietnam Wars, 1950-1975 (The New Cold War History)

      There you will find lots of interesting details, particularly the Chinese and Vietnamese influence in Laos and Cambodia.

      The Soviet Union and the Vietnam War

      Ilya Gaiduk.

      This book is great to understand the perspective of the USSR during the conflict.

      The Vietnam war represented a labyrinth of convoluted thoughts. If we Vietnamese chose to resist the French, America would be our enemy because she could never abandon France. We would also be subjected to Communism as well. But if we laid down arms and surrendered to the French, we would endure years of colonialism as well. Which ways to go? I am seriously unable to get out of this mess.

  4. Thank you for the suggestions. I will definitely check them out. The different national perspectives are fascinating and downright confusing. The #1 reason that Ike funded the French effort to regain their empire in Indochina seems to be to keep them in the Western camp and away from the USSR. France in the 1950s must have been an interesting place. The body politic in France actually wavered between imperialism and socialism. So Ike decided to fund them to keep them in our camp, but not to the level of direct intervention.

    The Sino-Soviet split has always boggled my mind. It started inn1953 when Stalin died and Nikita Khrushchev denounced Stalinism and embraced peaceful coexistence with the West. Then the divide widened during Vietnam in the 1960s with the CCP being closer to Hanoi and aggressively pursuing world wide revolution. With the Russians being much more tepid, and pursuing reconciliation with the West. If the US were to take a side, it looks clear as day it would be with the Russians. I’ve never understood how the relationship between the 3 global powers ended up the way it did. Mao reaching out to the Americans,pushing Hanoi into Russia’s arms etc. It’s amazing how China repeatedly sided with Western powers against Soviet interests in proxy wars of the 1970s and actually invaded Vietnam in the early 80s.

    My only guess is that the US put ideology aside and placed greater emphasis on defeating the more powerful global threat. As fare as the Russians and Chinese? No idea. I honestly have concluded that these 2 nations just simply hate each other lol. Again, history and nationalism over Cold War ideology.

    1. C’mon bro. He needs to leave out the drugs he’s addicted to. Possibly Crack, Methamphetamine, and PCP. Cause, ya know, they don’t cause agressive behavior.

  5. Tell me what is your overall view of the Vietnam War. Do you think American intervention was necessary? Do you think America could win the war had things were done differently?

    Let me tell me my view of the war.

    I support the vision of Communist leaders that Vietnam should be united, that Vietnam should be a self-determined country. But I don’t want Vietnam to become a Communist country, I want it to retain the kind of government that is similar to American democracy. I think American intervention was unnecessary and drove Vietnam more into the arms of Communism.

    The problem with such a vision is that by letting Vietnam to be a self-determined country, we virtually allow Communism to take power by fraud election or by force. In a country that was so backward, various contending factions would find it hard to work in peace in order to forge a solution for common good. But then, who knows, had America stopped intervening in Vietnam, the Communist might be willing to share power with other progressive political parties. In an interview with Ho Chi Minh, a French journalist asked Ho what he thought about a non-aligned Southeast Asia, and Ho responded that he considered the idea interesting, but it depends upon the will of the people.

    1. I do not think the US should have intervened in Vietnam. But I feel the same way about Korea and both world wars. I’m an isolationist of the nationalist variety. But, being a nationalist, I detest much of the anti-war movement of the era, and their depiction of the war ever since. Their deception and out right lies making the communists the good guys and the US and, especially our servicemen, the bad guys who performed poorly. Contrast that with their treatment of WWII. “The good war.”. As if there is such a thing.

      Like repeating endlessly that the Gulf of Tonkin incident didn’t happen. Even Hanoi admits that it did indeed. But probably not the second reported attack. Leftists need to make that distinction and they never do. Or treating our intervention like an invasion, when NVA regulars were in the South before regular US combat forces. Or making the US GIs look like baby killers. Ignoring crimes committed by the communists. Almost everyone here heard of My Lai. Almost nobody has heard of Hue. FAR more civilians were targeted and incinerated in Japan and Germany in WWII. Or the coverage and legacy of Tet. They made it look like a loss when it was a significant and devastating victory, as every significant battle was for the Americans. Like when they said that the VC held the embassy. Bullshit. They blew up the embassy court yard wall and got lit up immediately. Even the treatment of General Loan. I don’t condone what he did but a literal snap shot does not tell the whole story. The guy who took the shot later apologized to Loan and later testified in his favor at his deportation hearing. The country was horrified by the image. Then why is it cool and funny when it’s done to German POWs is Hollywood movies? My favorite quote from a Leftist journalist was, “We don’t support dictators.” ROTFL!!!!! Hell, we did in WWII for Gods sakes.

      Or how about the notion that we military lost the war? “Got the crud kicked out of us,” as a character said in Oliver Sone’s Born on the Fourth of July. Many Americans believe that we lost more men in Vietnam than any other war. Far more died in the Civil War, WWI and and WWII, and almost as many in Korea in a much shorter time period Or that it was unpopular in America. That the hippie scum were representative of Americans. Through most of the war the public supported the effort until Johnson threw in the towel. It was the conduction of the war people opposed. A good representative of this was when the “Hard Hats” kicked the living shit out of those enemy flag waving bastards in NYC. As immigrant coffee shop owners, restauranteurs, and local residents cheered them on. And cops twirled their batons. Nixon wiped the electoral map with the anti-war hippie candidates face in ’72 Their victimization of the protesters at the 1968 Democratic convention and the Kent State shooting. In both cases the protesters threw dangerous projectiles at the police and National Guard respectively. The depiction of the Vietnam vet as opposing the war. 66 percent reported they would go back and fight if given the chance. Or the false notion that we had no friends. They should tell that to South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and the Philippines. Or the big deal made of Americans fleeing to Canada to avoid the draft. Never a mention of the 35,000 Canadians who volunteered to fight along side us. I prefer them by far anyway.

      In short. I despise much of the anti-war movement of the time. Many snot nosed, spoiled, obnoxious brats. They always rubbed me the wrong way. Their lies and deceptions are enormous and permeate Hollywood, the MSM, and higher education. A non-interventionist case can certainly be made without deception and treason. They were the beginning of the modern Left.

      Could the war have been won by the US? The short answer is no. It was a Vietnamese civil war. Not to be won or lost by the US. But I think the South would have a fighting chance if we didn’t depose Diem, if General Abrams would have been chosen from the get go, pacification favored over search and destroy. Most importantly if Congress didn’t cut off aid to the South as lavish aid was provided to the North by Russia and China. Also Watergate destroying Nixon’s presidency, and therefore no resumption of promised B-52 airstrikes if Hanoi violated the Paris accords.

    2. Let me also state this very frankly: while we don’t think an intervention is necessary, I don’t believe that the presence of America was unwanted. A very significant number of Vietnamese do not want to live under Communism and just want to be in the South. The Vietnamese refugees were the proofs of this.

      You mention Viet Cong’s war crime. Let us not forget that the Viet Cong used other humans as shields in order to combat US and South Vietnam troops. That much is forgotten by most people in both the US and Vietnam.

      Like you I want a return of Isolanism. The US should focus on internal issues and claiming South America its own turf (Monroe Doctrine) rather than trigger wars with Russia and China. We should live in peace.

    3. Very good point about the communists using villagers as human shields. This was actually illustrated by, of all people, Oliver Stone in Born on the Fourth of July. I know I’ve been tough on Stone, but sometimes he lets a little truth deep out. When Tom Cruise’s character tells his superior officer about the accidental killing of civilians the officer said, “The enemy used the villagers as cover.”

  6. Another thing that is good about Communism is a good control of the social media and media in general. I can see that China could shield itself from Western degenerated ideologies and subversive social programming. America has allowed itself to be a country that knows only of profits and benefits. Such a kind of money-hungry and money-grabbing attitude should forever be banished from the land of the East.

    Promiscuity, for example, should be erased from most daily facets of life, because it undermines familial stability and lead a country slide into obscurity.

    I much prefer the dating culture in Vietnam. Boys and girls take it slow and make effort to find out about each other more without those sex-raging behaviours. Girls are free to build for themselves a career and travel, living life to the fullest without being under the shadow of sluttiness. What else can be better than that? They don’t care about dating just yet, they don’t want a boyfriend, which is radically different from Western girls who become sexually active too soon and too eagerly.

    1. I saw the degeneration pick up rapid momentum in the 1990s. Bill Clinton certainly didn’t help. But the US had the dating culture that you describe in the 1950s and beyond. This goes back to the 1960s counter-culture shit. It was an experiment. Definitely fueled by cultural Marxists like the Frankfurt School. Like most social scientific theories it looked good on paper. In practice it gave us cat ladies and sexless marriages.

    2. On a related note, I am currently reading Schwarzenegger’s autobiography Total Recall. This guy is not a particularly deep thinker but he is an elite-level opportunist. He writes that one reason for toning down the violence in the early nineties was due to the shifting political tide. He defended Last Action Hero by referring to Clinton sitting in the White House. Arguably, the much reduced violence in Terminator 2 can also be explained this way but because this was Schwarzenegger’s most successful movie, he did not really question the decisions of James Cameron. Of course, it is incontestable that masculine movies were no longer tolerated by Hollywood in the 1990s and beyond, but I don’t think I have come across any other statement that was as direct as Schwarzenegger’s.

    3. Aaron, it also coincided with the rise in rap culture. Suddenly in 91/92 it wasn’t cool to be white anymore. The surf and skate culture dominated the 1980s. Then. Suddenly. All the white boys started to dress like gangsters. I’m not exaggerating. It was quick. And I’m talking middle/upper middle income suburbanites. I remember a wigger saying, “white guys are pussies.”. A Eurasian female saying, “I wish my dad wasn’t white.” A Latino gang member killed a white student which racially divided the school. Racial identity politics started to become the norm.

    4. @GoodLookingAndSleazy
      “I saw the degeneration pick up rapid momentum in the 1990s”

      Im not sure how old you are but do you remember the rebel scene in the 90s? The 90s marked the end of relationships and the beginning of hook up culture. It started in Los Angeles from my understanding. The party/rebel scene reached its peak around 95-96 and ended somewhere in 97-98 due to gang violence. The rebel scene then shifted to Hollywood. Around this time, Circus and The Areana were the most popular clubs at the time.

      This party scene marked the beginning of all them baby mamas with different baby daddies.

    5. @Chris
      I don’t remember that specific scene. But I definitely saw the results of it. Unfortunately this is when my sister’s were in college. All three of us desperately needed a father. But the snowball rolled on.

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