Some old stuff from about seven years ago that seems apropos to the present moment.
There just might be a figure in the present that bears a resemblance.
The following concerns the sociopathic moron my Granddad referred to as: "Kaiser Bill".
Willie for short.
Let's just say: Willie was wound a bit tight.
First of all: He liked uniforms - a lot. Not only did he commission way-cool uni's for himself but, during the first seventeen years of his reign, he ordered thirty-seven changes to officer's uniforms. It only slowed when Willie was tactfully told that, although army tailors were prospering, some junior members of his officer corps were going broke.
Everybody recognized that Willie was all bullshit and bluster - and correctly but they also believed him to be somewhat aware of reality.
The Boxer Rebellion sealed it.
This was a complex diplomatic crisis that the cooler heads in Germany correctly believed ought to have some participation from the world's newest global power - especially considering that the German ambassador had been murdered (Benghazi!). You know the drill; show up walk around looking dangerous so the diplomats can do their thing.
The entire trip had been Willie's idea but he wasn't content to just let it ride.
He showed up to address the troops before they left for China.
He demanded that those under his command "raze Peking to the ground..." and that everyone in China should be so indelibly imprinted with terror of Deutschland that they'd never be able to look a German in the face.
Everyone picked their jaw up off the floor and a light came on.
The whole mess in China was solved by diplomats from Britain, Russia and Japan well before Willie's traumatically-inspired soldiers arrived.
He was furious.
What follows is the first of these Willie-related posts - followed by the sad tale of Willie's ignominious end.
Willie saw some dynamite,
Couldn't understand it quite;
Curiosity never pays:
It rained Willie seven days.
He's quite a young man in this photo. In spite of that, two things stand out.
First off: The attitude - he's The Crown Prince of Prussia (well, son of the Crown Prince), future emperor of Germany (...that's got some working out to do - but it'll happen).
In short - Willie's got it wired. He's got it goin' on.
Secondly, his left arm, casually held underneath the other, was shorter than his right and atrophied, the result of a breech birth.
The little fella had tried to come out sideways against the better judgment of the Mom, one of the Daughters of Queen Victoria.
It's a sad thing. He was said to have been very athletic and "into" all sorts of things where two good arms would have been nice.
He had always tried to conceal the deformity, either by keeping his left hand on his sword hilt or carrying a pair of gloves so that his arm would seem longer.
June 1887. Big party at Grandma's house - Buckingham Palace. The occasion:the 50th anniversary of the Queen's ascension, her "Golden Jubilee".
Of course, everyone and his dog had to be invited - fifty-some monarchs of various flavors from around the globe. It was going to be huge.
But, there was a problem.
The family, that is the Royal family knew our lad, at 28, to be somewhat problematic.
He had opinions - lots of them - and he liked to share them.
Queen Vic was reluctant to let him come at all. Her concern was that William would "...show his dislikes and be disagreeable."
Her son and heir-apparent, played it a little smarter, pointing out that, even though Willie was second in the succession, his Dad was dying from throat cancer, while the present Kaiser, Wilhelm I, at ninety, refused to die.
Seeing the wisdom of not alienating the, almost certain future ruler of Germany, Victoria agreed - but the Price of Wales was charged with riding herd on Little Willie and "...keeping William sweet."
First off, the Prince of Wales was a great uncle - by that I mean a fun uncle.
Also, Willie, once you knew him was a bit of a cheap date.
He liked things military. A lot.
Uncle Edward took him on a whirlwind tour of things, martial.
Parades, reviews, maneuvers, Willie was in hog-heaven.
The culmination of this glut of military pageantry came about when he was allowed to spend the day with the Prince of Wale's own regiment, the 10th Royal Hussars.
The commander, Colonel Liddell had a new toy that Willie was quite taken with.
The Colonel had purchased, with his own money, a machine gun.
It was a Nordenfelt and he'd had it mounted on its own carriage.
it was the pride of the regiment.
Needless to say, Willie was orgasmic. He'd never had such a good time.
When he got home he dashed off thank-you letters to all his hosts, along with pictures of himself and invitations to come and see his regiment, the Garde Hussarien.
The Brits took him up on the offer and showed up next year with a surprise.
Who'd a seen this coming?
They'd brought Willie his own Nordenfelt (Naval version pictured at left).
The gift included the temporary services of one Corporal Hustler of the Royal Hussars, charged with showing them how to operate the damned thing.
The story's a bit predicable from here.
Willie enjoyed his stone-age, hand-cranked Nordenfelt but, when Hiram Maxim ten years later showed him his machine gun, Willie said "This is the gun. There is no other."
Oh fuck, Willie; you have well-and truly trodden upon your Oscar Mayer. With your callow idiocy, you've unleashed the most devastating war in history - until the second installment arrived twenty-years later.
We're still working out the details.
"Your abdication has become necessary to save Germany from civil war and to fulfill your mission as a peace making emperor to the end...
The great majority of the people believe you to be responsible for the present situation. The belief is false, but there it is."
Willie's cousin Prince Max, in a phone conversation taking place during the earlier, gentler stages of the push for Willy to step down.
November 8, 1918.
The tough old bird to the left is neither Willie nor his cousin. That would be the lovely and talented Paul Von Hindenburg, the last one to get the opportunity to persuade Willy.
Willie was in Belgium at the time, in the city of Spa and, although delusional to the end he did recognize that Germany was getting their pants pulled down on the front.
The near anarchy back home he dismissed as amounting to "...a few hundred Jews and a thousand workmen."
His belief was that, after this ugly, armistice business was settled, he'd gather his loyal troops and lead them home to restore order.
So, they hauled in the big guns.
The lot fell to his loyal old general, Hindenburg.
The next morning he and Ludendorf's replacement General Groener showed up at the Kaiser's hotel.
In tears, Hindenburg let Groener tactfully tell Willie that he was out of options.
The home front is in revolt and the front is collapsing.
Willie: "I shall remain at Spa, and lead my troops back to Germany."
Groener: "Sire, you no longer have an army for it no longer stands behind you.
Hindenburg added that he, personally couldn't vouch for the loyalty of the men under him either.
The light started to come on in Willie's melon.
He told them that, if they could prove that he could no longer command his army, then he'd abdicate.
Twenty-four senior officers were summoned and asked if their troops would follow the Kaiser home.
With one lone "yes-man" dissenting, twenty-three said "no".
In the end, it didn't matter that Willie had finally made up his mind.
His cousin in Berlin, panicking at the thought of a rebellion, had already announced that the Kaiser was stepping down.
Now, loyal old Hindenburg got to lead Willie by the hand on why it was not a good idea to sit in his hotel and wait until the British came to capture him.
Neutral Holland was only sixty miles away, he should go there.
He had to go there.
And so it came to pass, that on the morning of November 10, Willie and four cars full of entourage showed up at a Dutch border crossing.
The guard - and this must have absolutely made his week - examined the passports of everyone on each car - taking his time, being thorough - and he let no one through until one of Willie's aides finally managed to phone a Dutch official willing to let them in.
All the while - Willie had to wait in the car - for a long time.
Once over the border Willie was recognized even though he'd dressed in civvies which was not - with four cars worth of gold braid and medals accompanying - the most clever of disguises.
He was welcomed into the land that was to be his home for the rest of his life with greeting such as:
"Ah, Kamerad Kaputt!" and "Vive la France!"
Home at last.
The working of Willie's first love, animated
"I don't make hell for nobody. I'm only the instrument of a laughing providence. Sometimes I don't like it myself, but I couldn't help it if I was born smart."
1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"
1st Sgt. Milton Anthony Warden.
"From here to Eternity"
"You are in love with intelligence, until it frightens you. For your ideas are terrifying and your hearts are faint. Your acts of pity and cruelty are absurd, committed with no calm, as if they were irresistible. Finally, you fear blood more and more. Blood and time."
The Wisdom of the Ages
"When a young man, I read somewhere the following: God the Almighty said, 'All that is too complex is unnecessary, and it is simple that is needed',"