Wednesday, July 26, 2017

The Knight of Cubs

Tavern customers speak for themselves and it is rare for me to speak about them, but today I shall make mention of one in particular. A good friend, well admired; indeed, a Knight, of the modern kind. And aviator of note. He is known around the bars here as 'The Major'.  He was particularly enthusiastic the other day when I showed a Cub aircraft. He is also very enthusiastic about my favourite Lady in the Tavern, the Southern Gal (who, by the way you will be pleased to hear is doing quite well, after her catastrophic accident).

So today we had a good sqizz at this remarkable little tomboy of a plane, which is now more than three times as old as he is. Now, the Major has flown leviathans of the air all the way down to the very small. But he has not had the pleasure of owning one. One day, should this aging old Knight win the lottery, I shall buy one for the young Knight and have 'the Major' painted by the cockpit hatch.

Wiki has some things to say about the Cub:
The Taylor E-2 Cub first appeared in 1930, built by Taylor Aircraft in Bradford, Pennsylvania. Sponsored by William T. Piper, a Bradford industrialist and investor, the affordable E-2 was meant to encourage greater interest in aviation. Later in 1930, the company went bankrupt, with Piper buying the assets, but keeping founder C. Gilbert Taylor on as president. 

In 1936, an earlier Cub was altered by employee Walter Jamouneau to become the J-2 while Taylor was on sick leave. (The coincidence led some to believe that the "J" stood for Jamouneau, while aviation historian Peter Bowers concluded that the letter simply followed the E, F, G and H models, with the I omitted because it could be mistaken for the numeral one.). When he saw the redesign, Taylor was so incensed that he fired Jamouneau. Piper, however, had encouraged Jamouneau's changes and hired him back. Piper then bought Taylor's share in the company, paying him US$250 per month for three years. 
This is a plane that a chap could, should he choose, keep and operate from his back yard. Given that the yard is larger than the average suburban block.  It can land not quite on a sixpence but certainly on a modest wallet of dollar bills laid end to end. It almost lifts off and lands like a Harrier but a great deal quieter.
The outbreak of hostilities in Europe in 1939, along with the growing realization that the United States might soon be drawn into World War II, resulted in the formation of the Civilian Pilot Training Program (CPTP). The Piper J-3 Cub became the primary trainer aircraft of the CPTP and played an integral role in its success, achieving legendary status. About 75% of all new pilots in the CPTP (from a total of 435,165 graduates) were trained in Cubs. By war's end, 80% of all United States military pilots had received their initial flight training in Piper Cubs.
The need for new pilots created an insatiable appetite for the Cub. In 1940, the year before the United States' entry into the war, 3,016 Cubs had been built; wartime demands soon increased that production rate to one Cub being built every 20 minutes.

An icon of the era and of American general aviation in general, the J-3 Cub has long been loved by pilots and nonpilots alike, with thousands still in use today. Piper sold 19,073 J-3s between 1938 and 1947, the majority of them L-4s and other military variants. After the war, thousands of Grasshoppers were civilian-registered under the designation J-3. Hundreds of Cubs were assembled from parts in Canada (by Cub Aircraft as the Cub Prospector), Denmark and Argentina and by a licensee in Oklahoma.
Of course, having a small plane in your back yard means you can get to work quicker than by car or bus or train. A fellow in Europe came to the same view and built his own. Not a cub, but a fine enough going-to-work-machine.
In the late 1940s, the J-3 was replaced by the Piper PA-11 Cub Special (1,500 produced), the first Piper Cub version to have a fully enclosed cowling for its powerplant and then the Piper PA-18 Super Cub, which Piper produced until 1981 when it sold the rights to WTA Inc. In all, Piper produced 2,650 Super Cubs. The Super Cub had a 150 hp (110 kW) engine which increased its top speed to 130 mph (210 km/h); its range was 460 miles (740 km).
Cubs are not confined to America. There are many in Oz too.  In fact Oz is an ideal place for small planes. We have a lot of adventurous blokes and plenty of space to play in.
Cub Aircraft Australia & Cub Crafters announced the delivery of 2 Carbon Cub SS Aircraft to Tyabb Airfield, close to Melbourne Australia. Stephen Buckle and his Cub Aircraft Australia team unpack the aircraft from the container. Cub Crafters sent a technician/ test pilot to Australia to supervise the first assembly of these initial aircraft, which have already been test flown at the Cub Crafters facility at Yakima, Washington State, close to Seatle USA.
Modernized and up-engined versions are produced today by Cub Crafters of Washington and by American Legend Aircraft in Texas, as the Cub continues to be sought after by bush pilots for its short takeoff and landing (STOL) capabilities, as well as by recreational pilots for its nostalgia appeal. The new aircraft are actually modeled on the PA-11, though the Legend company does sell an open-cowl version with the cylinder heads exposed, like the J-3 Cub. An electrical system is standard from both manufacturers.
The J-3 is distinguished from its successors by having a cowl that exposes its engine's cylinder heads — the exposed cylinders of any J-3's engine were usually fitted with sheet metal "eyebrow" air scoops to direct air over the cylinder's fins for more effective engine cooling in flight. Very few other examples exist of "flat" aircraft engine installations (as opposed to radial engines) in which the cylinder heads are exposed. From the PA-11 on through the present Super Cub models, the cowling surrounds the cylinder heads.
A curiosity of the J-3 is that when it is flown solo, the lone pilot normally occupies the rear seat for proper balance, to balance the fuel tank located at the firewall. Starting with the PA-11, as well as some L-4s, fuel was carried in wing tanks, allowing the pilot to fly solo from the front seat.
There is a rather questionable view that men are really little boys. That is a calumny from people - usually feminists - who just do not understand men. There is a spirit of adventure and freedom, risk and reach that spring up in a little boy's soul that most often does not go away. It matures: it changes; it reaches further than a small boy can. The grown man is a fine person for providing experience for his inner child. 

 And Oz, Tasmania in particular, is one of the best places in the world to have that adventure.  Mike Rudd, a chap I know, albeit very slightly as he lives on the Big Island, shows off, shows us, and shows beautiful Tasmania. Why have a runway when there are beaches?

There are times when an old Knight could be persuaded to exchange his wisdom and experience for the chance to be a young chap again. Were I in my thirties, I would have a plane. A cub would do me fine.

Let us drink to my mate, the Major. And to Knights. And planes. And dreams.


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Demonic Hobart

Trigger Warning. Blood and Gore ahead.

One would imagine that the Devil has worse places to go than Hobart when he wants a holiday. But even we in this beautiful Island cannot escape his wicked finger poking at souls.  The good can turn bad in a moment's inattention, causing God no end of trouble making it all good again. It takes many a pint in the Tavern, I can tell you. 

We have a benefactor in Hobart who through judicious betting at casino tables has amassed a huge fortune with which he has endowed Tasmania, in Hobart, with a world-class museum and art gallery - the famous MONA. The Museum of Old and New Art.  The old art consists of many a fine piece but the new leaves much to be desired and has much to be reviled.

Some of that new 'art' is 'performance' and takes place in the public square: to the dismay of many and the horror now of many more. 

Admittedly some has been spectacular, such as the fingers of light which winnings have paid for. 

Recently we were subjected to sheer horror. The local press had a few things to say in its usual wishy-washy way. And we had a guest, Clarissa, in the Oz room speaking of her experience of the spectacle. First the news:
Art’s lasting impression
AFTER five years of winter wildness and weirdness, Dark Mofo reaches an apogee of controversy the other weekend with Hermann Nitsch’s 150.Action.
The city’s streets are heaving with visitors, the restaurants are full, an off-season cruise ship is docked on the wharves. This weekend sees a smorgasbord of action to confront, engage, entertain and perplex. Our invigorating winter has become more invigorating still. For those who are getting out and about to enjoy the festivities, be safe and have fun.
This year, talk of our winter festival has been dominated by the fate of a bull. From the moment it was announced, Austrian artist Hermann Nitsch’s performance has dominated talk of the event.

Mofo describes 150. Action as “a bloody, sacrificial ritual performed by the patriarch of Viennese Actionism, his devoted disciples and an orchestra”.
For those who have somehow missed the detail, the ritualistic and existential performances of the avant-garde Orgy Mystery Theatre involves a beef carcass, its blood and its entrails. Lots of them.
The event has sold out, there have been petitions and there are likely to be protests aimed at the performance.
For many, the performance is deeply confronting and upsetting. A petition against it raised thousands of signatures from near and far.
Lord Mayor Sue Hickey calls the performance “perverse”, Premier Will Hodgman has declined to intervene, noting the state government is not the art police.
While he has faced court and even been jailed overseas, it does not appear Hermann Nitsch will breach any local laws.
For many, the performance and the response to it raises questions about where the limits on artistic expression should be and whether freedom of expression should be absolute ... or have limits.
Just as there is no right to be protected from confronting and even offensive ideas, there is no right that free expression may not be answered by more of the same. This has been a vigorous and passionate debate. No doubt there will be those who seek to show protest against 150.Action.
Regardless of the emotion across the broad spectrum of opinion, tough times and tough debates help us define who we are and what we stand for.
Art has the capacity to change the way we see ourselves and we see our world. Perhaps the enduring message to the people of Hobart of 150. Action is more profound and lasting than what the artist intends. Perhaps it’s not about meat and murder and death and shining a light on deep taboo.
Perhaps we are forced to take something to heart whether we choose to attend, to turn away in disgust, or remain indifferent. It’s a lesson, a test and a reminder of how we conduct the most passionate of debates. And that’s peacefully and with respect.
The debate and protest were quite ignored by the PTB. Gore and blood poured onto Hobart's otherwise pleasant streets. 

We must be 'Tolerant' of 'Diversity' and not be  'Divisive'.

The Multiculturalism of Austria in Hobart has yet to bring Spain's offerings of Bullfights and death in the Bellerive Cricket Stadium. We may be thankful for small mercy but who knows what MoFo will bring next.

Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore braved all including her soul and ventured to the orgy of blood to tell us about it.
Done to death
The Hermann Nitsch experience
‘I’m bored!’ declares my companion while yet another naked body is hoisted – like Jesus – onto a makeshift cross. ‘‘This is shit!’ he shouts above the discordant organ and brass band.
Workers dressed in white pour blood into the mouths of the nude man and woman. 
They are blindfolded. The liquid bubbles around their expectant lips and spills down their chests, creating a sticky red river. It gathers around their genitals and – drip, drip, drip – collects in a pool on the canvas floor.
We are a third of the way through a three and a half hour performance by Hermann Nitsch that can only be described as a marathon of the dark arts. The Austrian artist is in Hobart to direct his 150th Orgien Mysterien Theater (Theatre of Orgies and Mysteries), otherwise known as ‘actions’, for MONA’s Dark Mofo festival. A sacrificial ritual involving 500 litres of blood, a bull carcass, and – later – lots of lithe bodies squirming in entrails, it is graphic and explicit, a ceremony that requires complete surrender to the senses.
And of the sense, of course. Abandon ye, all hope here. 

Best charge your glasses with clean Ale before reading on.

With some 1,000 people loitering around the cold, cavernous warehouse, however, it feels like we, the audience, are being tested as much as the strung-up savants. Nearing 80 years old, Nitsch overlooks his bloody theatre like a macabre Santa Claus: rotund, with flowing silver hair and beard, he presides over a table where offal is displayed like glinting jewels on an altar.
As ‘disciples’ are stretched naked – at one point, a woman is turned upside down on a cross, legs pressed together as crimson blood is poured into her crotch, creating the illusion of grotesque menstrual flow – only the slightest flicker of emotion crosses his forehead. 
It reminds me of the Red Wedding, the infamous massacre scene in Game of Thrones, and Nitsch feels eerily omnipresent,.... 
a puppeteer silently egging on his charges to cross ever more into the obscene.
Dark Mofo’s decision to put on 150.Action, of course, attracted the ire of animal rights activists: more than 22,000 people signed a petition demanding that the performance be stopped (festival organisers received death threats). On the day itself just a few dozen protestors stand outside holding up placards and hand-held mirrors – ‘to make you look at yourself,’ one tells me.
Nitsch, too, calls himself an animal rights activist (the bull used for the performance was already destined for the slaughterhouse and killed at an abattoir prior to the event.) If nothing else his actions are a reminder of what eating meat really means in a sanitised supermarket world.
MONA founder David Walsh, a vegetarian who watched the entire performance wearing a shirt covered in kitsch neon grapefruits and clutching a plastic cup of red wine, stated in April: ‘I want the audience to ponder why meat for food is okay (at least people aren’t protesting at Mona’s barbeque), but meat for ritual or entertainment isn’t.’
Nitsch is part of a group of Viennese artists known as The Actionists whose post-war, visceral, violent performance art demanded that the audience confront life at its most brutal: so controversial were the works that he was arrested in Austria three times. Half a century later, his pieces remain confronting and the so-called ‘relics’ – canvasses containing stains from the event or, more poetically, paintings with blood – are reminders of the carnage he carefully orchestrates.
Saturating the room is the stench of raw flesh. 
More overwhelming still is the repetition. True, there is a build up of tension (one man’s privates are covered in animal organs; when he is carried out he shakes uncontrollably). Still, for many, the question is less if such performances count as art and more if they remain interesting.
‘I won’t be going to see Nitsch because I think that as an idea and as a spectacle, his animal sacrifices and bloody entrails performances have been done to death… Deadly boring. Spare me; spare the bull. The moment when such a work was avant-garde is long… dead,’ wrote Maria Kunda, a lecturer in art theory at the University of Tasmania, in April. Or as one friend put it the night before, ‘Forget the cow! What about me?’
Then, two hours in, something shifted. What was painful, dull, frustrating, becomes suddenly thrilling. Or, more uncomfortable still, moving.
Captured by depravity, perhaps, Clarissa? 
A slight naked girl is lain down in front of Nitsch on the floor, blindfolded, a female sacrifice to a potent male force.
Not a sight or sound of a naked Feminist protester though, 'raising consciousness' about male oppression of woman. Not a peep about treating woman as meat.  
Behind her, wheeled out on a giant trolley, is, finally, the bull. As the music pumps up, its shroud is ripped off and the carcass is hoisted – headless, skinned, legs splayed – from a wooden pulley onto a chariot and paraded through the crowd. Finishing its cavalcade, it is disembowelled: disciples dive inside its guts in a frenzied, feverish dance
Standing beside me, Walsh’s wife, American artist Kirsha Kaechele, whispered: ‘It’s beautiful.’
And it was. Beautiful and disturbing. Not just because of the paganistic and religious overtones (the elaborate drinking of blood seems to channel drinking the blood of Christ) but because of the restraint and officiousness of the process, too.
Directing the floor was Nitsch’s second-in-command, a graying man in white with a whistle around his neck, glasses perched on his nose, and a clipboard under his arm. 
As the bloodbath unfolds around him, he refers to his schedule, slotting leaves into a folder. Reminiscent of the Nazis, who committed genocide with the tightest of paperwork, or the Aztecs, who went through elaborate rituals to kill children to appease the gods, the hysteria was less chilling to me than whistle and clipboard.
By the end, half the audience remained. In a crescendo operatic in scale, the bull is opened up entirely and the performers dive in, mixing fleshy tissue with oranges and grapes, a celebration of both death and fertility. The music heightens and Nitsch – until now, seated – stands up, eyes lifted to the heavens, and raises his hands to implore the disciples to go further, further still. I look over to my companion. He’s now in the midst of it all, cheering wildly, standing in offal, his face ecstatic. There is blood on his shoes.
I stand behind my bartops, washing glasses, pouring pints and ladylike cocktails for my customers and ponder what goes on outside the Tavern's protective hedges.  All is not well with the world and some parts are decidedly unwell.

Hobart is a place of Beauty.  A place of Light. It has been 'corrected' by my Supplier from its beginnings as a prison. He makes all things Good. He gazes down on what we make of it all.

But that does not mean His main opposition does not try to spoil things.

Drink up. 

Clean your mouths.


Friday, July 21, 2017

Good Evening. This is the BBC

It was quiet in the bar so I turned the news on. The BBC's news. It was quite enlightening. I don't often get to hear the BBC, being as wot I are in Oz and all so unedicatered. We are all proles and common folk here. So, what did I hear?

Good Evening. This is the BBC News and I am Huw Edwards.  I get paid vastly more than you so believe all that I say. I am reading the autocue upon which are written words by someone else. I get paid far more than them too. Whoever they are.  Peasants very likely. My pay grade is well above that of the most senior General in the Army so Shaddap and listen. And Believe.  Here are the headlines. The Pay Gap was mentioned today in Parliament, just as it is almost every day here at the BBC. It is scandalous that ladies are paid less than Gentlemen just because they are inferior.  The American people, represented by a select group rose up and demanded the removal of President Trump's testicles. 14 people blocked a road in some small village in Idaho, wherever that is. And in breaking news, that B*astard John Humphrys in the next studio gets even more than me !!

He went on and on. 

The Tavern was abuzz with the news that the BBC has been forced to reveal the  pay of its staff, who as Mr Edwards points out, are very keen on telling you the truth and object very strenuously to the 'pay gap'. Sitting trouserless behind his desk, the famed autocue reader tried desperately to change the subject, telling us all the truth behind Syria, Mrs Merkel and that other utter B*stard, President Trump (who insists on taking no pay at all).

Even Ben Shapiro over in the US Room was chuckling.
Leftist BBC Trumpeted The Gender Pay Gap. 
Turns Out They Have A GIANT Gender Pay Gap.
So, the BBC, which has been whining about the gender pay gap for a while, has a little problem: the gender pay gap among its employees is huge.
BBC boss Tony Hall has promised to close the gender pay gap by 2020, but there’s a lot of work to do. Here are some examples, as The Guardian reported:
Huw Edwards, the lead presenter for BBC News at Ten, the corporation’s flagship news broadcast, and who presents BBC coverage of state and international events, makes a yearly salary of between £550,000 and £599,999. 
Fiona Bruce, [I rather like Fiona. Such an 'English' girl] who has presented BBC News at Six, BBC News at Ten, Crimewatch, Antiques Roadshow and most recently Fake or Fortune, has a yearly salary between £350,000 and £399,999.
John Humphrys, the presenter on BBC Radio 4’s Today program since 1987 and the host of the BBC Two quiz show Mastermind since 2003 makes £600,000 to £649,999. Mishal Husain, another presenter on the Today program, along with BBC World News and BBC Weekend News makes £200,000 to £250,000.
Gary Lineker, the BBC’s anchorman for soccer coverage makes £1,750,000 to £1,799,999. Clare Balding, reporter and presenter for coverage of major sporting events including six Olympic Games, horse-racing, Wimbledon tennis tournament and BBC Sports Personality of the Year makes £150,000 to £199,999.
Among the 96 top names earning £150,000 or more, 62 are male and 34 are female.
Our US customers might want to look up the exchange rate for those UK Pound thingos.  

As Humphys pointed out, he gets far and away more than  the Head of the British Army who commands tens of thousands of chaps who can be armed to the teeth and ready for war with just a fortnight's notice and 5000 tons of paperwork with their signatures for the weaponry.

Peter Oborne says let’s compare and contrast two men called Nick.

General Nick Carter, the head of the British Army, has served his country for almost 40 years. He’s seen active service in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. Frequently risking his life, he holds the Distinguished Service Order, a medal for exemplary bravery.

This 58-year-old father of four earns £175,000 a year, and few would deny that he’s worth every penny.

Now let’s meet Nick Grimshaw, a presenter on Radio 1. Mr Grimshaw has done well since he joined the BBC in 2007.

This rather scruffy little scrote Nick has not enough personal presence nor natural authority to order a pidgeon to shit.

He has his own BBC breakfast show, and the high media profile that affords him meant he landed another plum job as a judge on ITV’s X Factor, as well as appearing in soap operas such as Coronation Street and EastEnders. 

Now in his early 30s, Mr Grimshaw, who likes to go out partying with the model Kate Moss, earns about £375,000 — 

that’s more than twice as much of our money as General Carter receives.

That’s morally offensive, and in itself a sign that something has gone horribly wrong with public service in Britain.

If Mr Grimshaw worked in the private sector, it would be none of our business. We could shrug our shoulders and blame market forces.

But Nick Grimshaw doesn’t work in the private sector, he works for one of Britain’s great national institutions, the BBC. 

It takes about 2,500 licence fee payers, each forking out nearly £150 a year, to pay Nick Grimshaw’s hefty salary.

Many of those people will be struggling to pay their mortgage and raise a family. Yet if they want to have a television, they do not have a choice in whether they pay for a licence. They get prosecuted if they refuse to pay.

This disparity is indefensible. 

Remember that the BBC fought a long rearguard action to prevent the world knowing about the extortionate sums it pays its senior employees. Now we know why.

The bosses at the BBC didn’t want licence fee payers to know about the culture of greed that has taken over at the top of an organisation that used to be renowned for its integrity. Nick Grimshaw is not by any means the worst offender. Many of the salaries paid to the senior BBC stars are far more disturbing.

Take the case of Huw Edwards, a talking head who presents the news by reading an autocue. A soft, easy job if ever there was one. Edwards, one of life’s plodders, might struggle to command £50,000 or £60,000 a year out in the real world.

Yet he is paid an unbelievable £550,000 per annum. 

That’s 20 times the national average wage.

Gary Lineker, meanwhile, gets £1.8 million — that’s more than ten times General Nick Carter — for his part-time BBC assignment talking about football.

More than 12,000 licence fee payers have to put their hands in their pockets each year to pay for Lineker, who is notorious for dabbling in tax avoidance schemes.

And that £1.8 million is just a fraction of Lineker’s income, because he also works for BT Sport and has lucrative advertising contracts for such things as crisps.

Yesterday, just before the salaries were announced, Lineker tweeted this deeply offensive message: ‘Happy BBC salary day. I blame my agent and the other TV channels that pay more. Now where did I put my tin helmet?’

He clearly thinks the whole thing is good for a joke and all very funny.

Mr Lineker then followed up with a second hilarious tweet: ‘This whole BBC salary exposure business is an absolute outrage ... I mean how can Chris Evans be on more than me?’

No doubt all those people who pay his BBC wages felt their sides splitting. 

Lineker — who loves to display his Left-wing conscience on Twitter — appears to have no conception whatever how offensive to ordinary licence fee payers all this is.

It has become clear that the publication of these grotesque salaries is the BBC’s equivalent of the MPs’ expenses scandal which brought the House of Commons low nine years ago. (It is not without irony that it’s only thanks to the efforts of MPs that the Beeb has been forced to unveil these salaries.)

Parliament largely cleaned up its act after the expenses scandal. 

Will the BBC do the same?

The signs are that it has no intention of doing so at all. 

Yesterday morning, the BBC director-general Tony Hall was asked by Today programme host Mishal Husain whether every one of those people is worth every penny of the licence fee that they earn. 

Does Hall honestly think that Radio 5 part-time ‘shock jock’ Steve Nolan is worth £450,000 per annum (paid by more than 3,000 licence fees)? 

That Chris Evans is worth £2.2 million?

Consider, by the way, that while General Nick Carter earns around ten times the salary of a private soldier in the Army, Chris Evans earns in the region of 80 times what a BBC researcher would. 

That hardly smacks of decent moral values. And let’s not forget that many BBC presenters use their fame to earn massive extra income from speaking fees, as well as receiving a cast-iron pension.

The fact is that in the past 25 years, the BBC has been captured by a financially ravenous metropolitan media elite.

As far as this financial elite is concerned, it is right and proper that a newsreader such as Huw Edwards should be paid nearly four times as much from what is effectively the public purse as the British prime minister.

Almost as bad, the huge sums the state-owned BBC pays its stars distorts national political debate. 

Lavishly remunerated presenters naturally feel gratitude to the state for their comfortable lifestyles, and see more government spending as the answer to every problem. Perhaps that’s why the BBC seems to spend so much time putting the case for increases in public sector pay.

How can Tony Hall really believe that his overpaid and pampered talent are worth every penny they earn?

I regret to say that we need to look no further than the American political novelist Sinclair Lewis for the answer. Lewis remarked: 

‘It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.’

But the real problem for the BBC is that if it remains so divorced from the values and experiences of ordinary Britons, why should these licence fee payers feel obliged to support it with their hard-earned money.

You heard it here folks.

Enough to drive you to drink? 

Have one anyway.


Cool stuff: Planes and Ladies.

The past few days have been 'serious' in the Tavern and we needed some lightening up. What better then than watching planes and girls. Old planes, fancy planes, playful planes and exotic ones. And ladies that match. 

It is a way to pass a few minutes.

First up the 50's gal. She has style and is well cared-for, good performance and looks darned pretty. 

Curvey is the motif. Sleek? Hmmm. Not overly. Maybe a little fast for some but very presentable. Great in a small group.

Then we have the little tomboy. Dad's favourite? The delightful child that just wants to play.  With the boys. Doing boy stuff.  No fancy dress. No ribbons. 
Or maybe grown up....she can hook you. Especially in the Idaho back country.

She is a bit wild. Loves to touch and go. She reaches parts of your soul few others get to see.

Play can sometimes be competitive, needing agility, flexibility and alacrity. These girls set records and even blow your pants off.

Call that Low?  Hmmm. When only 'unoffical' watchers are about......we go lower and faster. Raise the hair on your arms. Get that blood racing .... but be careful you don't die for her.

And we must never overlook the exotic; the high flyers. The High Maintenance 'empowered' girl. 

You have to prepare yourself!  Few can manage her. 

I am ready for a stiff drink !


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Phobias and Fauxbias.

Phobias are wired-in. They are atavistic, stemming from deep experiences of early mankind when spiders and snakes and cliffs posed a great danger. Indeed, inducing Terror and Dread. No-one today has a phobia about cocktails or BMWs or tartan or pork pies. Nor do they have atavistic, wired-in, irrational (that is, without a rational basis) fear of buggery or islamic fanatics. Not that you would ever guess that from the screetchings of the 'Left'.

'Left': Sinister, in Latin.

We are beset on all sides by fascists and morons who cast slurs on those that think and feel disgust (a different wiring-in) at some behaviours that are increasingly seen on our streets.

Such sinister folk have tried to make 'phobia' a blameworthy condition, even to criminalising it. Their ideas of phobia are 


The same folk would have us not 'label' people or 'stigmatise' mental and physical deficiencies. They are irrationally quick to stigmatise ordinary, normal people who take umbrage at many of the awfulnesses that we are to 'tolerate'. They will not tolerate even gentle criticism. They refuse themselves to tolerate disagreement with their destructivness of even the young and vulnerable. 

Vulnerability is what a phobia guards us against. 

We sometimes have to hard-win some learning too.

A phobia does not have to be learned. Human beings have a marvellous capacity to learn but also have some minor difficulty in learning. We need much exposure and experience before we grasp some things; some skills; some knowledge.  We try, we fail. We try again and fail again. We strive and eventually grasp competence. It a hard-won gain.  

Not so with a phobia. One exposure is enough to incite terror in us such that we immediately move away. Fearful.

Normally when we encounter someone beset by a phobia we have some compassion and understanding. We pity and recognise that we too most often have the same phobias although we have, often, managed to contain our response. We learn that too.

We help them.

Not so the lefties. 

They blame.

They see a natural and considered caution, based as it is on an underlying sound emotional response, disgust,  as a deliberate fault. They want such rational, natural and considered caution criminalised.

That is irrational and far more damaging than a phobia.

So they invent false phobias.

They try to convince the gullible that such response to repulsiveness is 'wrong'. Severely wrong. Culpably wrong. Even when they deny that there is any such thing as right or wrong ! 

Such destructive people must be resisted.

They will try to convince you that the perverse is 'fun'. They will dress it up and make a game of it - to suck you in and to blame you when you refuse.

They will claim that their perversions are beliefs are 'natural'. Spiders and snakes and cliff edges are natural too. 

Should we have compassion for their being the sort of folk who cast slurs and blame; who 'trespass against us'? Yes we should, under certain conditions.

There are sad folk who are swept up and along by falsity and rage. They are perhaps dim people, or young and lacking in knowledge and experience. They have been deceived. They have been 'taught' by Professors of Cant.  Yes we can have compassion and even forgiveness.

Then there are the mad. They have little or no grasp on reality, either through some organic mental problem or more usually today from drug-induced damage to their critical faculties. Yes, we can have some compassion and forgiveness.

But then we get to the bad. They are evil people. They know what they are doing and they are the ones who invariably are behind the sad and the mad, urging them on into the destructive ends they seek. For these we may ask for God's merciful judgement, but also we must avoid them like the spiders and snakes they are. 

Trying to engage with them will drag you over the cliff and into the Abyss.

These are the ones who invent fauxbias.

Laugh at them, refuse their gifts of blame and slur and hatred. Their offerings are theirs and they can keep them. 

Forgive them for the hurts, trespasses, against you, but have no truck with them.  Pray for them and turn your back. Not your cheek.

The proliferation (that's not pro-life) of scare and fright words is such that I await the first sightings of Bigfauxt on a college campus somewhere.

Protect yourselves and your children. Protect the society around you, choosing that society wisely.

Drink deep of Grace.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

History's Lessons Lost

Not being able to foretell the future is excusable, but forgetting the past is not.  Deliberately destroying the past is even worse but oh so much fun for the destructive. The aftermath is as  uncomfortable as having ants in your chain mail underpants. It can throw a chap off his horse. This is especially unfortunate for the future when it happens at a fork in the road.

I was reminded of this the other day by my friend Laramie Hirsch who set me off listening to others in the bars as I pulled pints and wiped tables. Someone had shown one of those now-frequent videos of people being asked simple questions at the American seaside: you know the sort (I shall endeavour to show one below) "What does July 4th celebrate?": "From whom did we gain Independance?" You might think every American could answer those but no. Many just have no idea.

Even when one consults a history teacher (hah!) in schools, all a child gets is mendacious myths and mantras. Quickly forgotten.  The truth is rarely known, to be forgotten too.

It was 'British taxes'. It was 'no representation'.  

No. It was religion. And it stems from religious disagreement way, way back. And not just 'religion' but heresy.

Again our western world faces an inplacable religious enemy. We are dealing with it as poorly and short-sightedly as we ever did.

Laramie was talking of Lord Baltimore, who had established the Colony of Maryland. The British had sent many a fine chap to the New World, and some of the talk later in the bars turned to that and to why it was the way it was. Religion again. Not Pure religion but Puritans. And Protesters. We have a lot of protesters in the street these days and they seem to be cut from the same cloth.

Today it is stopping you saying what you want, how you want: it was the same back then. And the violence has not changed much either. And the PC Puritans are a long way from pure.

Laramie was saying:

George Calvert, properly known as Lord Baltimore, had the idea of establishing a New World refuge for the fiercely persecuted Catholic Englishmen, and so Maryland would be the place where they could practice the Faith freely without fear of being arrested.
Maryland was named for Mary the Mother of Christ. 
So, why is there no Catholic paradise in Maryland today? What was the problem for Maryland from the outset? A lack of spine, force, and conviction.

Lord Baltimore was a convert from Protestantism. As such, he had the bright idea of giving non-Catholics the same freedom in his colony. But even this concession to the Protestants drew heavy protest form the Puritan government of Virginia. 
One can see the same sort of false thinking in places where Muslim mayors are elected and Sharia Law infiltrated. 
As Charles Coulombe explains in his book, Puritan’s Empire:

Maryland was, of course, a different case. Like his father and grandfather, the third Lord Baltimore, Charles Calvert, allowed Protestants to freely settle in Maryland and enjoy full civil rights. By 1689, they were a majority of the population. A group of the more wealthy and influential formed, when the news from London arrived, the Protestant Association. On July 27, the Association seized the capital at St. Mary’s City. In 1690, King William officially took control of the colony, and voided the rights of the Catholic proprietor. The Assembly made it illegal for Catholics to hold office in Maryland.
Lord Baltimore was timid with the Faith. How was Catholicism to find a refuge, when one of the first orders was that “all Acts of the Roman Catholic Religion…be done as privately as may be”?

To make matters worse, Lord Baltimore did not establish the Catholic Church as Maryland’s religion. The other Puritan colonies were all too happy to put Puritanical laws on the books that would penalize Catholics. However, Lord Baltimore feared any resemblance to his hateful neighbours.

Instead, Lord Baltimore demonstrated his weakness and granted the Protestants equality.
Insult was later piled on top of the Catholic Marylanders’ grievous mistake:
1704 saw a political victory for the Protestants in Maryland as great as Moore’s in Florida was for Carolina. In that year the Assembly passed the Act to Prevent The Growth of Popery. This prohibited Catholic worship and forbade priests to make converts or baptize any but children of Catholic parents. The wealthier Catholics of the colony petitioned for a temporary reprieve from the first clause in respect to private homes; in an extraordinary move, Queen Anne intervened to make the exception permanent. Because of this, Catholic Maryland survived.

It survived in tatters, never becoming what it was supposed to be. 
While the Catholics of Maryland were fully prepared to be merciful, be tolerant, embrace pluralism, 
and pretend there was unity, in reality their enemies stood next to them the entire time holding concealed knives behind their backs.
But, one might ask, why did Catholics feel safer there than in what was once Catholic England?  Why were so many people eager to escape Protestant England.  So We heard of the great exodus and what caused it. From Katrina Gulliver: a fine gal who was plied with drink for the evening.
Why the English sailed to the new world, Emigrants reviewed

How the Puritans, not the Pilgrims, colonised America

What led a person in 17th-century England to get on a ship bound for the Americas? James Evans attempts to answer that question by exploring both the push and pull factors involved.
His descriptions are vivid, so the reader can imagine the life choices that would lead to one finding oneself heaving up over the side of a small ship somewhere in the mid-Atlantic, or watching the burial at sea of a fellow passenger, and hoping to God one had made the right choice. 
God, of course, was a big part of the choice for many of them.
The Mayflower pilgrims, who landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620, are the quintessential ‘religious liberty’ seekers, so many of whom headed across the Atlantic. They had already been in exile in Holland for 12 years, when the arrival of Spanish authority was likely to put them in danger again.
It is easy to imagine their desire to be free from persecution. What is harder for us to imagine is the depth of their faith: today, when Anglican is almost a synonym for agnostic, the absolute belief in the providence of the Lord that led this group to take such risks is hard for us to grasp.

The emergence of the Pilgrims, a small separatist group mostly from Lincolnshire, at just a time when settling in the Americas became a viable option, was one of history’s coincidences. 
They did not seem destined for historical importance. Their settlement in Plymouth was tiny, and within 50 years it would be surrounded, swallowed up by the Puritan great migration that followed (the Pilgrims and the Puritans were not the same group, although Evans seems to think they were).

But by another twist of history, during the Protestant revival in the 19th century, the historical reputation of the Pilgrims got the wind behind it. 
Conscious efforts to build a national identity in the United States — including the invention of Thanksgiving — turned the Mayflower group into the Pilgrim Fathers, spiritual ancestors. 
Even now most people think they were the first English settlers in America (never mind that Jamestown beat them by more than a decade — royalist, tobacco-planting pirates didn’t really fit the national image).

The focus on New England also means we tend to forget that only a minority of colonists went there. 
Of the 180,000 Britons who shipped off to North America during the 1600s, 120,000 went to Virginia.
Unfortunately, while the Puritans in New England multiplied, their Chesapeake cousins died. Perhaps 10,000 people arrived in Jamestown between 1607 and 1624: only 1,275 of them were alive at the end of that period. Even after 1630, the death rate in Virginia was double that in Massachusetts. These figures improved over time, but a mortality gap would remain for the next 200 years.

Many of the English who went to Virginia were indentured servants. 
Later, some 50,000 were sent from Britain's overcrowded jails as convicts to America. Not many Americans are even aware of that. It was the 'Revolution' that saw the following tranches sent to the second New World down under. 
Evans classifies his emigrants by theme headings including ‘liberty’, ‘fur’, and ‘king’; for the indentured he has the motive ‘despair’. He reminds us that these were volunteers who had signed up for their situation. The changing economy in England during the 17th century meant there were plenty who were willing to trade several years’ labour for cash and land at the end.
Somewhat like the Roman  Legion practice, but of shorter duration and less battle.
Of course, the recruiters presented an overly rosy view of life in the colonies, and many would have regretted their choice as they lay dying of hunger or fever in Virginia.

Evans is good on the internal conditions in Britain that made so many want to leave, and he relates in a readable style the lives of people who chose to make the journey. Unfortunately, we know little of what became of many of them. Their personal choices can only be guessed at from limited records.

The literate middle classes were obviously more likely to leave accounts, and those who went for political or religious reasons were generally keen to make this known. But records are fragile. Evans mentions the relatively high literacy rate in New Amsterdam, meaning much more was written down of life in the Dutch territory. He does not mention the archive fire in Albany in 1911, in which many of those papers were lost, being perhaps the reason so little can be found of his New York subjects now.
Nonetheless, some records thought lost are found, as with William Bradford’s Of Plimoth Plantation, his account of the Mayflower voyage and settlement. The manuscript disappeared during the Revolutionary war, and in another of history’s accidents, wound up in the Bishop of London’s library, where it was found in 1850.
Bradford’s story of the Pilgrims’ lives is as vivid as any retelling, with the kind of human moments that remind us they were not so different from us. Soon after arrival, one ill pilgrim ‘lay cursing his wife, saying if it had not ben for her he had never come this unlucky viage’.
OK, that is clear although it just touches the surface. Follow through in the corner yourselves with a few pints. It still doesn't explain why England was in such turmoil. So let us look at that. In a word, 'Reformation'. It was anything but, very much in line with the modern use of the word 'reform'. That is, Cant.

Dominic Selwood helped us out here with some back and foretell. Dominic is a historian, author and barrister. 
What Catholic England would look like today

If the English Reformation had never happened our cathedrals would blaze with colour, our monasteries would house the homeless and our nation would be less gloomy.
The 19-year-old King Henry VIII took to the field arrayed in cloth of gold and blue velvet, all spangled with golden hearts and K’s for his 25-year-old wife, Katherine of Aragon, whose honour he defended as “Sir Loyal Heart”. The joust was the most lavish of Henry’s reign, celebrating the birth, 10 days earlier on New Year’s Day, of their son, Prince Henry, Duke of Cornwall.
The Field of the Cloth of Gold.
Henry VIII and Katherine went on to preside over England’s first truly Renaissance court, where the progressive influence of Thomas More and Erasmus brought a gentle but keen appreciation of the classics and humanities. 
When Henry died an old man, he was mourned as our greatest scholar king.
Remember, Dominic is telling how it could have been: should have been, 
His son, King Henry IX, acceded to the throne, inaugurating one of England’s most luminous reigns. He sponsored the maritime genius of Drake and Raleigh, oversaw England’s first substantial colonies in the New World, and witnessed the consolidation of England and Spain as Europe’s leading Catholic powers.

Of course, that is not what happened. 
Personal tragedy struck just 43 days after Henry’s glittering joust at Westminster. Out of the blue, the seven-week-old prince died. Distraught, Katherine repeatedly tried again. Over a period of eight years, her agonising labours produced two sons and four daughters, but all except Mary were stillborn or died as infants.

Undeterred, Henry became fixated on a male heir to secure his lineage (ironic, given that two of his daughters rank among England’s best-known rulers). 
With increasing tunnel vision, he proceeded to scythe through wives and advisers in an orgy of beheadings.

Years earlier, Henry had been a stalwart of the Counter-Reformation, tearing into Luther’s theology in Assertio Septem Sacramentorum (1521), a heartfelt defence of Catholic beliefs. 
Had his monomania for a male heir not led him to co-opt Protestantism as a utilitarian tool to secure a divorce, he would no doubt have continued his strong public support of Catholic teachings, which he always maintained in private.
It is a sad testament to the power of the Spin Doctor that so many today revile Catholics. They simply mouth mantras invented by the raging Henry's staff of psycho-sychophants. 
Although Henry’s marital intrigues inflicted serious damage on traditional English religion – most notably in the asset-stripping of over 800 monasteries – 
it was Edward VI who bulldozed Catholicism off the English landscape, 
....smashing up parish churches and bulk-importing foreign Protestants via an open-door immigration policy for the continent’s ambitious Lutherans and Calvinists.
Just as Europe is mass-importing Muslims. 
But let’s rejoin the story with Henry VIII, and ask what would have happened if Henry and Katherine had never divorced. How might England be different today?
First, the Reformation would almost certainly not have reached England, then known affectionately for the deepness of its Catholic faith as “Mary’s Dowry”. 
There were few Protestants this side of the Channel, and nothing suggests they would have grown in any significant numbers. So, like most of continental Europe, England would have remained Catholic.

There would have been no Edward VI, Elizabeth I, Stuarts, or the need to pass over 50 Catholic heirs before giving the throne to the acceptably Protestant Hanoverians. There would be no Bonfire Night or Guy to burn on November 5 each year. And Nelson would not have fought the Spanish at Trafalgar, so the centre of London might now commemorate some other victory: as Geneva Square, perhaps, marking a long-forgotten dust-up with Alpine Calvinists.

Geopolitically, the most significant consequence would be that the great colonisation of the New World – by England, Spain, Portugal and France – would have resulted in uniformly Catholic settlements in North America. 
There would have been no Puritan “Pilgrim Fathers”, who, like Catholics, were criminalised in England from 1559 for not attending the shiny new Tudor Church. Although Catholicism is still comfortably the world’s largest Christian denomination, the Protestant bond linking England with her former colonies is the ideological cement of a shared modern “Anglo-Saxon” identity. 
(It is an odd image, seeing as the Anglo-Saxons were firmly Catholic.)

England’s cultural and political links with Europe would be deeper, and we would look to the continent for “special relationships”. This is what Henry VIII was aiming for by marrying Katherine. 
The Tudors were young, with a fragile and complex claim to the English throne. By contrast, Katherine was the daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, los Reyes Catolicós, as well as aunt to the Holy Roman Emperor. She outgunned Henry by a country mile, and was even directly descended from a fistful of Plantagenet kings of England.

Although David Starkey and others are championing a movement for historians to assert that England has a minimal shared cultural history with Europe, this view is light on history and heavy on 2015 Europolitics. 
Before the Reformation, England was an integral, interconnected and longstanding pillar of European Christendom.
Now, of course, like America, it is barely even Christian, although there are pockets of fine, faithful christians and even Catholics to be found in both nations. Generally being beset by 'modernism'. 
Another difference would lie in the words of Shakespeare, whose influence continues to shape our language and identity. He was writing when the Triple Tree at Tyburn was busy with Elizabeth’s religious and political enemies, executing up to 24 people at a time.
A tad too close to Muslim practice today. 
Like all Elizabethan writers, Shakespeare chose his words with caution. Speculation about whether he was a secret Catholic rumbles on; the evidence may suggest his father was. But it is self-evident that, if the political climate at Elizabeth’s court had not been so toxic, Shakespeare would have been freer to write without sensing her secret police at his elbow. If the environment were different, who knows what works he may have left us.

There would be no concept of “the Dark Ages”, 
....which exists as an idea uniquely in the English language – largely because the Reformation destroyed centuries of medieval colour and beauty. 
Until the reigns of Henry VIII and Edward VI, our cathedrals were exploding with polychromy. There was nothing dark about them. Neither was the medieval world intellectually penumbral. Monastery, cathedral and university libraries were piled high with the weight of Christian and classical learning.

What brought darkness were mobs of iconoclasts and book-burners under successive Protestant regimes – vandals who destroyed 90 per cent of England’s historic artistic heritage as surely and mindlessly as ISIS is pulverising Iraq’s. 
If the Reformation had not reached England, our precious and irreplaceable heritage would have been spared the hammers, pickaxes and bonfires. Moreover, the austere grey puritanical gloom we now associate with medieval churches might today be the riots of colour and vibrancy they were always intended to be.

The Church would not, of course, have stood still. 
Humanists such as the Catholic priest Erasmus and the layman Thomas More were spearheading an intellectual renewal, broadening the medieval scholastic vision to include history, poetry and increased priestly education. If the violence of the Reformation had not intervened, perhaps they would have quietly opened up new avenues.

For instance, key biblical books had long been available in the vernacular: like the fourth-century Bible in Gothic, the Wessex Gospels of 990 or the 12th-century Ormulum. 
Luther and Tyndale were doing nothing new in the act of translating Scripture. English Catholics in exile published the official Douay-Rheims New Testament in English in 1582, a full 29 years before the Church of England brought out its literary masterpiece, the King James Version of 1611.

With no Reformation, maybe “the spacious, luminous world of Catholic humanism” (in Evelyn Waugh’s words) would have overseen an English scriptural renaissance, but without the bloodshed that scarred our country for centuries. The project would doubtless have appealed to one of the most eloquent Englishmen of the day, who could so easily have ended up as Cardinal Archbishop Edmund Campion.

Even if Henry had not detonated the Reformation under English society, the religious landscape would nevertheless look vastly different today. Europe has become a more global and areligious place, with traditional faith in steady decline. Nevertheless, a Catholic England (even if increasingly secular) would have defining characteristics, and it is worth mentioning three.
Pre-Reformation English spiritualty was vibrant, exuberant and community-centred. It was a celebration of colour, folklore, faith and song. The sober changes brought by Protestantism have undoubtedly made us a more dour, serious and less effervescent people.
Catholic England also revelled in the public spectacle of mystery plays, in which cities vied to outdo each other, roping in hundreds of participants. It is hard to see why this would have died out if it had not been stamped out. So today, in addition to Morris and maypole dancing and school nativity plays, our folk traditions might still include mystery plays. They would perhaps be secular, satirical theatre by now, but after watching London’s ever-grander New Year celebrations, there is no doubt we still love a spectacular son et lumière to tell the world we are here.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there is a good case for thinking the welfare state would have assistance.
When Henry took the throne, England was carpeted with monasteries.
Many would have closed naturally over time as the world modernised. 
But forcibly ripping them out of the English landscape destroyed an identifiable sector of society devoted to caring, feeding, housing, healing and educating. When Wolf Hall’s Thomas Cromwell talks superciliously about legions of indolent monks growing rich on dodgy relics, he is spinning Tudor high propaganda, not history.

Medieval monasteries mostly grew because ordinary people gave them money to conduct charitable works. On the eve of the Reformation, most wills, even by people of modest means, contained donations to religious houses for the relief of the poor. 
A century later, this Christian tradition was gone. 
Before Henry and Cromwell, London alone had 35 religious hospitals, including St Bartholomew’s and St Thomas’s, which are now both over 800 years old. 
Religion was inseparable from community caring.

The Reformation’s wholesale replacement of a Catholic framework devoted to the needy (salvation by faith and works of mercy) with a Protestant one of Bible study and personal prayer (salvation by faith alone) altered our society fundamentally, refocusing us into ourselves and cutting off an entire infrastructure of charity. 
If we still had monasteries with the money to heal, feed, clothe, educate and offer hospitality to the poor, I doubt we would have nearly so many in our society sleeping rough with nowhere to go.

Finally, it would be fascinating to imagine what England might feel like today. On the negative side, we would probably miss the familiarity of our parliamentary system, whose development was keenly informed by the individualism of Protestant thinking. And we would also mourn the absence of Church of England choral music, which is undoubtedly one of the finest gems in our country’s cultural heritage.

More broadly, to envisage a modern Catholic England, there is little point looking to other countries as examples. Like food, humour, clothing and music, a country’s religion is uniquely shaped by its people’s national characteristics. 
English Catholicism has always been a good-humoured affair: more Friar Tuck than Venerable Jorge, the grim Name of the Rose villain. 
For instance, the Inquisition never set foot in England, largely because our ancient common law is adversarial, relying on witnesses and jurors not judicial inquiries. (Well, there was one exception – the trial of the Templars – but you can blame the French for that.)

England’s Catholicism has always been, and remains, a very English affair. It is as quintessentially subversive and quirky as warm beer, cricket, Winston Churchill and the shipping forecast – a formative and integral part of English culture that deserves to be recognised and acknowledged.
Ah, what might have been.

Peoples and Nations come to forks in the road and often take the wrong path.  They do so more often when history is forgotten or deliberately and violently expunged.

Now, that questioning of ignorant folk we started with. Look, listen and weep. 

And have some long, cool drinks. On the House.
(This is a Catholic Tavern, after all)