Friday, December 27, 2019

Two Paths

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I --
I took the one less travelled by,
And that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost
John Wilder (yes, THE John Wilder) has a great post today on adversity and perseverance.
As usual, RTWT.
We'll be here when you're done.
Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing great or small, large or petty – never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense."  
– Winston Churchill
Yeah, and Sylvester Stallone was on his second trip around the studios, who had all rejected his script for Rocky multiple times, and so broke he was about to be evicted from his crappy one-bedroom apartment, before he finally found someone who’d make the movie and let him play the lead.
Which only turned out to be the Best Picture of 1976.

But, natzsofast, Guido.

The illustrations we chose can make a big difference in the story we tell.
So let's give equal time to an opposing view.

Let us also remember another guy’s story of failure.

Bob was an executive, not a failure, per se. But he hadn’t really made his mark and hit the top tier.
So he spearheaded the drive to create a revolutionary new car, for one of the top auto makers in the world.
Anyone who knows cars knows it as the Edsel.
Yes, Bob was truly one of the best and brightest.

So best and bright that JFK made him Secretary of Defense, and then his failures kicked into high gear.
He thought a war in South Vietnam was not just necessary, but winnable.
He thought the F-111 would make a great airplane, for both the Air Farce and the Navy.
He made the Army buy the M-16.
And he thought drafting literal retards would be great for battlefield success.
Anyone reading this can google how those brilliant stunts turned out.

After such a lifetime of failure, you’d have thought Bob would have retired 0-for-Ever, but he was just hitting his stride.

Bob moved on to the World Bank, and came up with the genius idea to lend billions to Turd World countries like Mexico, and dozens of others, knowing they had no way to repay it, ever.

What could possibly go wrong?

There are thus three morals to this story:

1) Don’t be Bob.
2) Sometimes, your first failure is nature’s way of telling you to go home, stick a gun in your mouth, and do humanity a favor, by taking one for the team.
3) Know which thing Failure is telling you.

Because sometimes failure, like with Edison, is just teaching you 999 ways not to make a light bulb.
Other times, like with Bob, failure is telling you that your greatest service to humanity would be as a soil supplement.


Desert Rat said...

Bob was the Ambrose Burnside of his day (though I think Burnside had more success in the private sector). Right now it appears that all we have are Bobs and Ambroses popping up with swell new ideas and innovations guaranteed to produce the unexpected result.

James M Dakin said...

Is Musk's first name Bob? What an overvalued waste of sperm that guy is. He definitely went Full Bob. But wait, isn't there a church of Bob? Now I'm confused if Bobs are bad or not. Heinlein comes to mind. Good, or bad? There was the whole series of stories with incest. But then, libertarian and survivalist ones too. Not the right time for coffee, so...

Anonymous said...

When the army choose the AR15 platform and renamed it the M16 they made a few changes to the rifle and that is where the malfunction problem came from. They discovered that with better maintenance/cleaning/oiling it was far more dependable. But the real reason the army adopted the AR/M16 was because the soldier could carry twice as much ammo for the same weight as they could with a 308 or 30/30.

Aesop said...

Without getting into theweeds of a 19-page ordnance technical dissertation on all the ways Big Green made the M-16 suck (until about 1983) the Army definitely helped royally fuck up Stoner's original design.

But let's be clear: with bullets 1/3 the weight, and magazines that wouldn't reliably feed when full, you aren't getting "twice the ammo".
You're getting 1.35 times the number of Bangs (27 rounds vs. 20), with 1/3 the Thwap at the terminal end, and at much shorter maximum ranges.
Doing the math, that means 45% of the ammo, best case.

When it chose to cycle and feed.

Which, for several years at the height of the Vietnam War, was rather the problem.

The reason the Army adopted the M16 was because McNamara told them to.

RandyGC said...

I still think it is a grave injustice that the Socialist Republic of Vietnam never awarded Bob their equivalent of Hero of the Soviet Union for being one of the 3 people (after Ho Chi Mihn and General Giap) most responsible for their victory.

Aesop just skimmed the surface of the "great" ideas he and his "wiz kids" inflicted. We were still dealing with them in the 80's.

Anonymous, let's not forget to credit the genius that decided to use a different powder the ammo issued to the troops in combat with the M-16, as opposed to the actual powder the rifle was designed to operate with.

There were just SO many good ideas from people helping (as in Fog Horn Leghorn helping) the troops in the combat zone.

Anonymous said...

There is a special place in Satan's colon for McNamara. I hope his grave reeks of piss for the next 500 years.

beau said...

'bob' is the representation of the point where arrogance and pomposity meet with deadly consequence.

it is good this arrogant pissant is not heard from any longer. his obit will be well received by many.

Anonymous said...

Of all of Bob's follies " Project 100,000" is my nomination for the nadir; we were still dealing with many of those retards well into the 90's.
Boat Guy

John Wilder said...

100% correct on Bob and lowering the IQ. A boss of mine was in Big Green during the 1980's - he was a West Pointer. He relayed a story about a presentation he was giving in Germany on how to camouflage helicopters. He had a slide deck and one of the netting patterns made the helicopter look like a tree.

A hand went up.
PFC: "Lieutenant?"
My Boss: "Yes?"
PFC: "I don't understand."
My Boss: "What don't you understand?"
PFC: "Trees don't fly. I think the Russians know that."

Annabel Lee said...

Anonymous said...

McNamara sucks and was an incompetent SecDef. My dad was on air crews during Viet Nam and talked about how McNamara was an idiot and made things harder for fighting the Viet Nam war. For example, fighter pilots were not allowed to engage enemy fighters on the ground, only when they had taken off and retracted their landing gear. Supposedly this was to prevent accidentally killing possible Russian ground crew. Also, they couldn't attack SAM sites being built because once again, they might accidentally kill Russian technical advisers. Having said that, your link to the Edsel in Wikipedia relays the following comments in regards to McNamara and the Edsel:

"McNamara was very much a throwback to Henry Ford in that, like the elder Ford, McNamara was committed to the Ford marque to the almost total exclusion of the company's other products. Thus, McNamara had little use for the Continental, Lincoln, Mercury and Edsel brand cars made by the company."

"During the 1964 presidential election, Republican nominee Barry Goldwater blamed McNamara, then Secretary of Defense, for Edsel's failure. Eventually, Ford's former executive vice president Ernest R. Breech, who was a financial contributor to Goldwater, wrote to the Senator's campaign, explaining that "Mr. McNamara ... had nothing to do with the plans for the Edsel car or any part of the program." However, the charge continued to be leveled against McNamara for years. During his time as head of the World Bank, McNamara instructed his public affairs officer to distribute copies of Breech's letter to the press whenever the accusation was made.[20]"

Doesn't make McNamara any better, just he wasn't part of the Edsel program.