Say Goodbye to Hollywood

Last week, in a discussion thread on a story about plans to revamp Hollywood Boulevard and make it attractive to tourists, against an apparently overwhelming tide of homelessness, addiction and petty crime, someone posted a link to this Billy Joel song. For some curious reason it struck me, since I have been saying goodbye to Hollywood – the physical place, and the entertainment concept – over the last couple of decades.

Read more

Quote of the Day

“Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” has often struck me as the Bourbon Restoration attempted with rotgut whiskey.”

Wretchard T. Cat, on Facebook

His earlier comment in the thread provides context: “The key to [the Greatest Generation’s]  success was that they did not try to restore the pre-WW2 system. They let the British and European colonial empires die. The world was rebuilt on first principles. Subsequent generations have done the opposite. They’ve focused on preserving the World Order.”

Reprise Post: Sunday Morning at the End of the World

(A repeat post from 2007, from my original milblog, on the anniversary of the Japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor)

“Life in the wide world goes on much as it has these past age, full of its own comings and goings, scarcely aware of the existence of hobbits… for which I am very thankful.” – Gandalf, from “The Fellowship of the Ring”

There are some things that are so obvious that 20-20 hind-sight is not required, and Sunday, December 7th 1941 is one of them. The events of a couple of hours in the skies over a tiny Pacific Island previously known more as a tourist destination and a source for sugar and pineapples created a rift across the American consciousness, an abrupt demarcation between “then” and “now”. Very much like the effect of 9-11, a snap of a cosmically huge cracker into two pieces; you could look across to the other half of the cracker, and see that on either side of the chasm everything appeared to look just the same… but in your heart, you knew that things were not the same, and would never be quite the same again.

It was a smaller world, that America of seven decades ago, a very local, insular and insulated world, and one which moved comparatively slowly. Only the wealthiest or most adventurous traveled widely. Those who did travel did so by train, or passenger steamship in varying degrees of luxury. Passenger air travel was in its infancy, an exotic and expensive curiosity, as was television – a fancy futuristic gadget displayed at the 1939 World’s Fair. People got their news from newspapers and movie news reels, from weekly magazines like “Life” and “The Saturday Evening Post”, and from the radio. Telephones were large clumsy black objects, nine out of ten on a party line, if you had one at all in your home. Urgent news came by telegram, a little slip of paper delivered by a bicycle messenger.

Read more

The Russo-Ukrainian War’s Electronic Warfare Front

I did a direct message interview with Forbes Magazine journalist David Axe the first week of November 2023 about the state of the “Wizard War,” that is electronic warfare, between Ukraine and Russia.  I’ve cleaned it up for mis-spellings, removed extraneous comments, adding links and photos for clarity and I am presenting it below:

 

1. The Russians were famous for their battlefield EW prior to the 2022 invasion of Ukraine. How do you think this EW complex stacked up against other countries’ own EW systems?

Russian EW kit has ranged from good to adequate to poor in terms of individual performance compared to Western standards.

The biggest gap seems to be in the latest VKS (Russian Air Force) Khibiny M Electronic Warfare Self Protection Pod (EWSP), which seems to lack the latest digital radio frequency memory (DRFM) technology. [In 2017 the Russians claimed a Su-24M FENCER carrying the new Khibiny M EWSP system had disabled the SPY-1 Aegis weapon system on the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer. See the picture below] DFRM is needed to survive very long range air to air missile combat engagements and for delivering anti-radar Kh-31/AS-17 KRYPTON missiles, like the US HARM, against ground radars.

KREB "Khibiny-M" Khibiny-M electronic warfare pod
KREB “Khibiny-M” Khibiny-M electronic warfare pod

There have been X (formerly Twitter) social media videos of VKS jets with pairs of Kh-31 and no EWSP pods. Which meant the jets were using the Kh-31 missile seekers to hunt Ukrainian radars. Shooting both Kh-31 missiles left the jet defenseless!

Where the Russians were outstanding in Feb. 2022 was in terms of the shear numbers of jammers they had with both the force structure and doctrine to operate them. Russia is still a big believer in “Quantity has a quality all its own.

Read more