Showing posts with label There will always be an England. So what?. Show all posts
Showing posts with label There will always be an England. So what?. Show all posts

Jul 7, 2015

Screw Canada

I tried to raise my children to be absolutely cynical about anything and anybody having anything to do with governments. They were urged to believe that virtually any public-trough functionary, from the guy who collects the garbage to the guy who lives in the White House, is in some part a blend of leech and thug.

One summer in Canada, my teachings took a hit. We were on a long camping trip through northwest Ontario,  bedding down sometimes in the wilderness, sometimes in the superb provincial parks.  In one of them (Rushing River Park, I think)  I came briefly to love bureaucrats as represented by the park staff.

Checking in, we were taken with the youth, attractiveness,  and personability  of the young men and  women assigned to collect our money,  help us select a site,  and generally make us feel welcome. The girl taking the camping fee was a special delight and not only because she was decked out like a like a grown-up and alluring Brownie.

There was some confusion about the exchange rate. Ontario's parks were perfectly willing to take U.S. currency, but there was a small discrepancy between the actual charge and the greenback I handed over. It amounted to a few cents in our favor.  I waved it away. She wouldn't hear of such a thing and disappeared for a minute or two,  long enough to collect some coins to make it just right. Then she apologized for delaying us. I was about ready to inquire about the immigration laws.

All of which is to say I had a mild love affair with our northern neighbor.


Maybe that kind of cordiality was laid on strictly for the tourist trade, though somehow I doubt it. On that trip and some others back in the day, I always found Canada and Canadians a congenial bunch embracing a live-and-let-live attitude and celebrating their occasional outbursts of odd-ball nonconformity.

Maybe Canada is turning,  like its Mother Country, into a meek bastion of rampant  nannyism where any deviation from officially prescribed behavior is grounds for police action.

I mean, c'mon, how much danger could this guy pose to public safety?  Suppose that everything failed at once, catastrophically. All the carnival balloons pop. His parachute doesn't open. He plummets to earth, a willing victim of his own free spirit, his sense of fun and adventure, his refusal to march in the drab gray line with Winston Smith.

The report leads us to believe everyone Calgary was gawking at this man aloft. Certainly they would have had enough warning to evade his plunging body and lawn chair, probably even enough to flee the disgusting splatter.

I wish someone with clout in Buckingham would cut and paste this and make sure Her Majesty sees it. We could then dream that she agrees with us that a formal Royal Pronouncement is needed.

 It should read, "WTF is happening among Our Subjects? Doesn't anyone remember Jim Tytler?"


Feb 14, 2015

Vocabulary Lesson

Optimism: That trait leading a loophole-bound citizen to stuff his wallet with all the  Federal Reserve Cartoons his modest circumstances permit AND root around for the small, light, nylon bag AND reflect that the sack would comfortably hold an Artillery Luger,  an unissued USN-marked 1918 Model 1911 AND a shootable 4" Colt Python. Also, maybe, a signed first edition of No Second Place Winner.

Reality: That mindset based on personal history of coming home  too often from even the best of the big loopholes  with the wallet untouched except for one's share of the post-show beer tab at Adrian, Minnesota where (Edit: formerly) the girl behind the bar is (was) both cute and tolerant of old farts trying to be flirty.

Sioux Falls this weekend, and it's one of the loopies we all recommend, particularly for you guys who like cowboy guns.

I suppose I wrote all this because it suddenly occurred to me that life is pretty good.


Update:  Reality, mostly.


Technical addendum. Blogger's spell check hates "loopies" and offers "loo pies" as a suggested alternative. How gross.

Dec 24, 2014

Another Shot in the Dark (or) Fleet Street Explains All

One event.  Two headlines and two ledes:


Tense scenes in Missouri after police shoot another black teen 


(Reuters) - An 18-year-old black man was shot and killed by police late on Tuesday at a gas station in a St. Louis suburb near where unarmed teen Michael Brown was killed by a white officer in August, police and local media said.



BERKELEY, Mo. (AP) -- A suburban St. Louis police officer shot and killed a man who pointed a gun at him at a gas station, police said.

Well done, Reporter  Suhr, with a nod to your editors on the St. Louis bureau night desk.


Each version appeared about the same time, shortly before 7 a.m. Each reporter  had access to the same information.

It took Reuters five paragraphs to get to the second most important point: The dead man had pointed a pistol at the cop.   Reporter Johnson and his editors decided Ferguson and  its protests were more important than the apparent facts in their spot news report. What's a little incitement to riot  when you are reaching for headline drama?

Sep 17, 2014' I'll take the low road

A romantic impulse commands me to cheer the Scot "Yes" forces,  and  I dream of Highland independence -- at long last -- from the English usurpers.

It is not only my image of a hundred thousand kilted stalwarts flashing their Claymores at Hadrian's Wall, chorusing out the newest Presbyterian hymn. (Still unwritten but to be titled Thus Far and no Further Ye English Bawjaw Dobber.)

It could be the beginning of world-wide ascent of the Celts. Ireland would welcome the Caledonia clans as brother and sisters. Together they open their arms to the Welsh. Together they ally their stout hearts to free all Ulster still enslaved under Cross St. George.  The sons of The Wild Geese would return to ancestral homes. Likewise the rest of the Celtic diaspora excepting only those inferiors any race produces. (I am thinking here of such things as the Massachusetts Kennedys. )

On close examination, however, my fantasy of tomorrow's vote as the harbinger of Celtic world rule crumbles.

You know why those gobshite yessers north of the big firths are pissed and want to run away? It is because London is not liberal enough for them. Their campaign slogan could just as well be a resounding "MORE DOLE."  No such group, no matter how noble its ancestry, should be entrusted with operating a nation or other adult responsibility.

Sep 6, 2014

A little car porn while I'm warming up

My dad certainly saw this car, and may have been in it. Assigned to the staff of the Algona POW camp, it was in service during the years when he drove German prisoners from Algona to the marijuana factory hemp plant  in Humboldt.

There was a Ford of his own in his future. The Terraplane by Hudson blew up...

(That's not Mom.) we made do with Model A for a year or so.

Warming up for what? A couple of breathless anti-government tirades, that's what.    

But first, I note that the family transportation tastes seem to have regressed.

I again warn her that they're easy to lose in even small snow drifts. New Dog Libby moonfully concurs, I think.

But maybe it is a Minisootie Special,  computer chipped for easy location in the snowiest months,  September through June. 

Pip-pip and cheerio.

Mar 11, 2014

Beer for the warriors; no REMFs need apply

By late October, 1944, all was foretold on the great battlefields of Europe. The death of the Nazi was a matter of when, not if.

But Winston Churchill was still a busy man, overseeing Montgomery on the left  and Alexander down in the Mediterranean. Not to mention fighting the opening skirmishes of World War III,  telling Stalin, "No. You may not have Greece and Poland and Istria, (etc.)."

So an old grunt develops a certain affection for the guy facing all that who still finds time for:

Prime Minister to Secretary of State for War         23 Oct. 44 

A serious appeal was made to me by General Alexander for more beer for the troops in Italy. The Americans are said to get four bottles a week, and the British rarely get one. You should make an immediate effort and come to me for support in case other departments are involved. Let me have a plan, with time schedule, for this beer. ...  The priority issue is to go to the fighting troops at the front..."

Properly exercised power can be a wonderful thing.

 Prime Minister to Secretary of State for War    20 Nov. 44

Good. Press on. Make sure that the beer -- four pints a week --  goes to the troops under fire of the enemy before any of the parties to the rear get a drop.

Nine months later the voters sent him packing.  No wonder we call it the place where Great Britain used to be.


Churchill, Triumph and Tragedy, H/M BCE, 1953, pp. 705, 709.

Feb 23, 2014

Scatter shots; Indian Country

Somebody loved those four shot-dead Paiutes up in the high desert of backwater California, 200 miles or more from the nearest Starbucks. The accused, a bully, probably also had her admirers, perhaps even as many friends as tattoos.

The universe of this chaos is small, 35 members of a federally recognized tribe in and around Alturas and Cedarville, California. Together they own a 26-acre reservation, a "rancheria" in local lingo.

Ms. Cherie Lash Rhoades was chief of the tribe until it fired her as the FBI investigated missing tribal funds, about $50,000.

Money. If it isn't sex, it is money, isn't it? Cherchez la femme or her man; that petering out, cherchez l'argent.

L'argent here is $1.1 million in one year, 2012. At its source, the figure is much higher, allowing for normal government overhead. First you -- and I mean you -- must earn it; the IRS must extract it from you; the money must be trundled from Treasury to the Department of the Interior to its Bureau of Indian Affairs and finally to whom ever handles the net tribal take --  the $1.1 million -- for 35 souls. All along the twisty route beady little eyes dart about as greedy little fingers dip and dip and dip.

Of course you just fingered your little calculator and said "wow!" That amounts to $31,428.57 per Paiute. Assuming they family-up at roughly the national all-races average, you multiply by 3-plus for something like $95,000-plus per family. They could afford a Starbucks and professional aromatherapists.


This is not totally fair. The AP reports that about half the money goes for roads.

Or maybe it is. The little tribe also gets a few dollars from the Indian-casino industry, a federally protected activity. There's income from cheap (because untaxed) smokes. One assumes that Jerry Brown's California also contributes, assuaging its guilt for what we did en route to our Manifest Destiny.


Guilt is justified to one degree or another, but as time passes it should moderate.*  We White Eyes murdered our last Redskins in job-lot quantities more than 124 years ago, on the banks of Wounded Knee Creek. We killed about 150, many or most with Hotchkiss guns, a weapon notorious for non-discrimination among braves, little old grandmas, and babes-in-arms.

But over that five or six generations, amends have been made, or attempted, however misguided and inept.  The results are mixed, at best, and on average probably well illustrated by the grief among the 31 surviving Paiutes of  Alturas, a grief rooted in the outcome of condeming a race to permanent wardship.

I wonder what would happen if we decided to end it over next two generations with what once was fashionably called "tough love."

"Here is the school. It's free. It is your gateway to the pride of self-sufficiency. Don't fuck it up."


Humility requires a qualification of everything above. Maybe the killer was just crazy as Hell and would have run amok in any society in which she found herself.

And finally, it might be suggested that she would have created less tragedy had she been confronted with counterforce the second she displayed one of her two pistols.  Unfortunately it happened in California where practical counterforce is reckoned to be calling the cleanup service, available through 911.


*If not, I am personally entitled to vast sums from Her Majesty's exchequer in recompense for my family's Annaly estates, stolen at gunpoint by English thugs  c. 1400-1700.

Feb 12, 2014

The media grinds it out

We need to make allowances for English commentary on firearms.  After all, they are well into the third generation of their official eeeekagun stance. Would you ask your great grandpa to analyze this week's Billboard Hot Rock Top 40?

Nevertheless. Reuters is competing for a most-errors-per-line award in story on slow sales of modified AR15-types in New York.

--The two main modifications to the AR 15 rifles are the lack of a muzzle brake, which controls the rapid fire of bullets,  Full fail, there, Fleet Street, and a silly one at that. It tends to help control felt recoil and muzzle jump. And you probably don't really mean "rapid fire of bullets"  anyway. You're groping for the term "rate of fire," I suppose.

--and a flash hider, or suppressor, which limits the flash of light coming out of the barrel, Kielbasa said. The suppressor allowed night-time shooters to obscure their location by masking the "flash" of light.  

A couple of problems there, Cyril. You get a little slack on the use of "suppressor" because in comman usage it is sometimes used to designate the flash hider. Just as often it is a synonym for "silencer."  The greater sin is reporting its purpose to be obscuring the location of the rifle. It hangs out there mostly to shield the shooter's eye from a bright flash which might, at night, disrupt his subsequent-shot aim.

By the way, the Mr. Kielbasa quoted is the gun shop owner in New York. He said new state laws regulating rifle cosmetics might force him to quit selling them altogether,  That would a vurst-case scenario.

Feb 10, 2014

World Leaders -- Armed and Ready

You read Churchill's epic -- all six volumes -- twice, once for a quick overview of how this guy and his country operated 1935-1945. Okay, a slow overview. Much later in life you read it again to flesh out your information from other sources.

Finally, you keep it handy on your shelf for who-knows-what reason, maybe a time-passer when it is 25 below zero* and you couldn't  be pried from your fireside chair with a crow bar. Just sort of leaf through looking for little nuggets among the old blowhard's Germanic thoroughness of detail, from the important to the trivial.

And speaking of guns, I found one.

Winston had just been made first lord of the Admiralty. He knew the Nazis wouldn't like that and that there were supposedly some 20,000 of them lurking about the Sceptred Isle.  He would really rawther not get shot.

"I had no official protection and I did not wish to ask for any; but I thought myself sufficiently prominent to take precautions. I had enough information to convince me Hitler recognized me as a foe. My former Scotland Yard detective, Inspector Thompson,  was in retirement. I told him to come long and bring his pistol with him. I got out my own weapons, which were good. While one slept, the other watched. Thus nobody would have had a walkover."**

He doesn't tell us about his guns at Chartwell, and that is too bad. If we knew we could have a lively internet debate about whether he was tactical enough. Nevertheless, there's plenty of evidence that Churchill was at least passingly familiar with small, lethal weapons.

(From left: Eisenhower, Churchill, Bradley busting M1 Carbine caps.)

Lucky England. And lucky us who, here in the colonies, some three generations later, also enjoy courageous personal leadership.


(Sotto voice)  Psssst. Mr. President.: Rule 3 violation, but nothing Photo-Shop can't fix. Alert Jay.


*And it was; coldest of the season, but things are looking up now.

**Churchill, The Gathering Storm, Houghten-Mifflin BCE, 1948, p. 401

Jan 29, 2014

A blizzard in paradise

One late-winter day a long time ago, I was King of the World, a legend in my own mind. The Henderson, back from six months in the mysterious Orient,  docked at the San Diego Destroyer Base. I had just sewn on a petty officer crow  (Imagine. Me. Not yet 19, A noncom. I fear I may have strutted a little bit.). I had also qualified for special proficiency pay. My income had about doubled to something like $160 a month.  To top it off, I'd had some luck in the bos'n locker poker session the last night at sea.

So, for about $75,  I bought a 1950 Morris Minor, a little ratty but sound insofar as the word could (or can) be applied to an English mechanical device. I tuned her in my sorta-girl friend's yard and spent a few nice liberties at beaches you couldn't get to by bus -- about as far as Redondo Huntington Beach, I think.

Then came a letter from the real girl friend. She was back in San Francisco from an unhappy career move to  Seattle and  would I care to pop up for a visit?

Wangle a 96-hour liberty. Varoom.

Highway 101 takes you through Los Angeles. No other way. We all hated the traffic even then. But what the Hell.

I'll tell you the Hell. It snowed in L.A. For ten or 12 minutes. Traffic on the wet six-lane stopped. More than one piece of long, fat Detroit iron slewed across a lane or two. I pulled off and drank coffee until the sky brightened and the CHIPS had reorganized the highway. I resumed, pushing the dowager as close to her 64 mph max as I could.

Further adventures of the long weekend need not be spoken of, but Little Morris  created no drama, and I returned from liberty without having to worry about finessing an AWOL chit. The blizzard amidst the palms still sometimes generates a grin when  I scrape a few inches of global warming from my windshield.


She had only one factor of cool. The turn signals spoke semaphore. Hit the lever. Up flips an orange-lighted plastic flag from the pillar. For that reason alone I'd like to have her back.

Jan 18, 2014

A warmup; anarchy; a little light porn for desert rats

Assemble the trumpet chorus of tall vestals in flowing white gowns.  We need to rehearse for the big day tomorrow.

At the coordinates of Camp Jiggleview, of which I am Commandant,  winter is being put to rout. Statistically anyway. On January 19, the average daily high advances. From 25 to 26. Ta da.

As soon as the girls are in good tune, if will come time to unpack my spring fashion ensemble, even to the Speedo in anarchy black.


Anarchy could be a lot of fun, and I have a soft spot in my heart for anarchists, even somewhat dreamy ones like John Zerzan. The internet persona he projects is one of a nice, very thoughtful,  guy who dead centers some of our post-modernist (what the Hell does that mean? dunno.)  ills.

He's part of the anarcho-primitivist school, yearning for a return to the hunter-gatherer system of economics.That makes him a romanticist Luddite, just like me when my reality connections are a little corroded. In some of my nicer fantasies I battle the sabre-tooth tiger approaching my woman in our cave.  She looks a lot like Kim Novak. I always win.

Philosophically, the dream breaks down the next morning when my clan huddles to plan the death of a nice, juicy, mammoth. Quite naturally, I am the leader -- in 20th Century terms the Minister of Plenty. There goes the egalitarianism that Zerzanites like so much.

There are probably some serious Zerzan students among the readers. I've been only vaguely aware of him and his work, but something  triggered a net wander this morning. I think I'll read more of his stuff. He seems too smart to have fallen completely for the serene glamour of the noble savage, and he makes a decent point or two about the dehumanizing effect of this and that in the digital age.


Also before I hie myself off to work, I need to pacify my buddy John of the GMA, a commendable man but also a dude always grumping about the aesthetics of my WWCO selections -- most recently Twiggy of London. He wonders why I didn't choose Whatzername. I'll tell you why, Pardner. Because my apology to Bernanke had substance enough only for an A-Cup.  Anything larger would have been a waste of good silk and wire.

But since you insist:


Jan 17, 2014

Skinny Amends

I keep putting off a moral obligation: apologizing to Ben Bernanke. The tanked United States economy is not totally his fault. He's a tool, a dupe if you will, like some guy who tugs his forelock and says yassah Master when ordered to modify gravity.

The job of the Fed boss for a century has been to palpate the money supply to promote (a) full employment and (b) stable prices.

Ben, like every other Federal Reserve chairman, is too smart to believe that a doable proposition. But, also like his predecessors, he's perfectly willing to play the game in order to be one of the most powerful men in the world, a status which gets a guy invited to all the best parties with super models and single malt. I'd be tempted myself. So consider this a hemi-semi-demi apology, really tiny.

One trouble is that Ben is personally likable and seems so sincere, even when being more than a little dissimulative. For instance:

Last month, hard money hawks (so to speak) finally persuaded him to reduce the  Kwee 3 production of thin-air money a bit -- from $85 billion a month to $75 billion.

He took a deep breath and pronounced that good, but before he could exhale, his inner Keynes leaped forth.

"But don't worry Mr. President and all you vote-buying thugs in Congress. We're still going to be easy, perhaps even easier. So go cheerfully about your business.  Spend away.  Bike trails and ag subsidies and roads to no where;  idiotic billions to political buddies with a solar dream: farting around in the Third World pretending that we know how to build other nations; creating regulations costing ten bucks to administer for every 37 cents in benefits, if that much. Whatever will make the unwashed voter love you." 

(How? HIs Fed promises to keep fiat money gushing by some level of Kweeing, plus interest rates effectively zero for a long, long time -- probably through the first Chelsea administration, at least.)

Would it help if more of us became a little more focused  on Econ 101 as presented by someone other than Paul Samuelson?

Price stability depends on many things, but above all on money stability; that is,  a person should have reasonable confidence that the five-dollar bill in his pocket today will also buy a pound of bacon next year. Lacking that belief, he'll go immediately to Starbucks and piss it away while studying food stamp eligibility rules on his G4 phone.

Full employment depends on a population making, buying, and selling things. Their ability to do so depends in large part on greedy capitalists who somehow get some money and gamble it on factories, drug stores, farms, distilleries, and gas stations. Every man and woman in the mix must have an ordinarily decent character and diligence -- plus an expectation that his wages and profits as measured in money will hold their value, or nearly so.

Excessive taxes discourage that sort of diligence and willingness to take risks, but  currency inflation can make confiscatory taxes seem like a comparative angel kiss.

Ben won't publicly address basics like that, but, as I say, the perks of being a perceived Midas are compelling, so on a strictly personal level, I understand, Sir. Therefore I formally offer my apology for five years of verbally abusing you, an apology heart felt but so wee and flat as to be almost imperceptible.

Jan 15, 2014

Wet your kangaroo down, Sport.

Mad dogs and Englishmen founded Australia and  taught it everything it knows. So the Melbourne Aussies  (probably with great enthusiasm from their tourist bureau) decided to have a big tennis tournament in January, the depth of summer down there.

Givens: Tennis is a hot sport. Melbourne is a hot town in January -- about the same equatorial displacement as St. Louis. People who schedule made-for-teevee tennis extravaganzas should understand those things. So should  the players and spectators.

And, to get to the point,  you would expect the same from world famous reporting heads in the electric teevee news industry. You would be disappointed.  They are so agog with Melbourne weather that they're making it about the second or third lede on their programs about all the vital news this morning.

If it weren't for Justin Bieber getting busted for throwing eggs, Melbourne would be first or second on the lineup.

Sep 17, 2013

It is true. Global cooling is icing up the Northwest Passage, and Exxon Tankers will have no more luck passing the Bering Straits than Captain Cook's little Endeavor did in 1778.

I wanted to soberly report this for two reasons. One is the smart-alecky post a few days back attributing the same facts to the Mail, a Brit tab best known for overuse of modifiers and some of the best cleavage shots in the business. It later occurred to me that depending on the Mail might mar the TMR reputation for rigorous academic citation.

The other is American public television which is in the middle of a multi-part report on the melting of the Arctic Ocean. It is all in the can, being doled out periodically on the PBS nightly slightly newsish program, so I tend to doubt it will be diluted with the latest from the federal-trough ice scientists who confirm it may be unwise to compete for a Sandals resort franchise near Prudhoe.

The public teevee segment might have gone in one ear and out the other except for the presenter's lead: "Due to climate change...".  She could have just said: "And now, let us beg the question."*

A little more amusement ensued as she focused on a melting glacier and a commercial captain lamenting that this made the "new water" more treacherous to  navigate.

I couldn't resist shouting, "Look, you Queeg ninny, stay in the channels proven safe since, errrr,  about 1788, I guess."  I had to apologize upon learning that his lot in the life of high seas adventuring was to ferry gaping tourists as close to the glaciers as possible so they could get nice cell phone shots of medium blue ice,  highlighted by lighter blue ice. This is yet another dramatic tragedy resulting from your refusal to buy a Volt.

Sep 9, 2013

Say, Tipper, is that the ice man I hear coming?

Or, There Goes the Northwest Passage Again as the Arctic freezes over in blatant defiance of the wishes of former Vice President Gore and clueless climate alarmists everywhere.

The "Mail" -- a British tab -- gets a big laugh from printing that it's stogy competitor, the BBC, carried reports that the Arctic Ocean would be ice free by the summer of 2013.

This is all very satisfying, but it plays havoc with my water ski franchise on Point Barrow. Besides, it means New York City will continue to exist.

Aug 23, 2013

The Bastard King of Handguns*

It was time for a chore, pawing through the parts inventory of a deceased friend. Little on the planet will humiliate a man more. You amble through life thinking you're a pretty savvy firearms enthusiast. Then you start examining box after box and find you can confidently identify perhaps one part in 100. Toward the end you babble about whether this gizmo is for a Daisy Red Ryder or a Holland and Holland .577 Nitro Express.

I did okay on the .45 ACP stuff and actually carried away two projects. One is simple enough, a small tray of  parts which I'll try to sell for the family. The other may constitute a career.

It appeared to be about three-fourths of an AMT-frame-based  Colt Commander clone. I brought it home half-minded to try to sell it with the other parts, half-inclined to finish it up and buy it myself. That's still the unsettled state of my ambition, but the build is looking iffier and iffier.

The new aluminum frame is cut for a 4 1/4-inch barrel. The slide is a butchered reblue of  an unmarked something for a 4 and 1/4 inch barrel. Among other issues, the slide safety cut is 1/8-inch to far aft, meaning the safety can be engaged only with the gun out of battery that much. Not to mention the the barrel is .38 Super and the slide .45.

If I decide to take on the project, I'll report the geekery with photos -- not in hopes of  acquiring your admiration, merely to illustrate that there are still men who like to audition for the role of Sisyphus.


Advertisement:   If any blog buddies are interested, the parts box holds a few GI:

triggers ... recoil spring plugs ... thumb safeties ... grip safeties ... and new  Coltish checkered walnut grip panels.  Also that barrel marked "Colt  .38 Super Match" looking lightly used.

Pricing: Check Brownell's. Knock off 40 per cent. Add about $5 for the USPS. Pay by  personal check made out to the family member, not me. Email me at  --   alongfordmick aht yahoo daught kahm.


*Referring only to the Commanderish project, not the sainted JMB's concept and execution of the world's only really necessary center-fire handgun.

Aug 16, 2013

A Pound, a Pound, My Kingdom for a Pound

Things are tough in Merrye Olde Theme Parke these days, and at first I thought this was a made-up deal -- Parliament looking for ways to stimulate the economy, specifically the enterprises of barristers, solicitors, Her Majesty's royal judges, and, probably only indirectly, the powdered wig industry.

It occurs that I was wrong, or mostly so, because the English have discovered an avid interest and much controversy in the dug-up bones of Richard III. 

I dunno, but probably, if you had asked him, he was sufficiently content to continue resting under the Leicester church  (later a parking lot) for 538 years, until some busybodies (busier than his, anyway) dug him up for a DNA swab. Yes, it was  White Rose himself. That settled, it was time to replantegenet him, and here the issue got thorny.

His relatives, including a  -- get this -- 17th great-grand-nephew* demand he be sent to York for his final resting place; or maybe just semi-final given the English propensity to seize any excuse to relieve boredom.

The issue went to a judge who said the relatives could, in fact, sue, but he really wished they wouldn't. He asked them to get together over a nice cup of tea and work it out to avoid a trail which would be, shudder, "unseemly, undignified and unedifying...". 

Just so. And there it stands for the moment, bearing in mind that we have not yet addressed the question of why Leicester wants so badly to keep the majestic bones. AP to the final-paragraph rescue:

Leicester is hoping for a tourism boost from its association with the king, and is building a 4 million-pound ($6.3 million) visitor center near the spot where his remains were found.

Gee, so it is about money. In which case may your American cousin, suggest something? Thank you.

Stuff him. Put him on a flatcar and roll him around the countryside, charging a few pence a peek. Every week you can count the take; dole out a little here, a little there. You know, something like Jumbo.

Jul 24, 2013

My latest pome

I be not a ze, nor am I a zir.
My dad took a look and said I ain't her.

So "him" I am stuck with for all of my alls,
a captive of both those imperious balls.

It's pleasant enough for this hillbilly, hence
I harbor no envy for androgenous prince.

Or princess mayhap, depending, you see,
on the position ze chooses when needing to pee.


For crying out loud. 

Jul 13, 2013

The knock-knock jury

By decree of all the news jockeys, I am required to identify this  period in American History as "Verdict Watch."

In the latest high-drama instant, the cable channel I have on for background noise has decided the jury is considering manslaughter because it asked the judge to clarify the manslaughter instruction. She responded she will do so only if they clarify what they want clarified.

It is no secret that I find Zimmerman not guilty of any crime. That was the opinion before the trial opened. After doing my damnedest to listen with an open mind, like a juror, nothing changed it.  Nor did my conviction that he is morally culpable for bad judgement.

It wouldn't surprise me if jurors are of a similar opinion but looking for a loophole to allow legal punishment for merely stupid acts.  Should that principle enter the law, about 90 per cent of us (raising hand) would be hoping for a nice, straight cellie, smaller than outselves.

Since this is one of those famous hard cases which make bad law, I doubt a manslaughter conviction will create a case-law landmark, but it would still be a setback for the moral right to defend yourself, to  turn us back into English-like subjects, strictly obligated to wait for the Bobbies as the thug bangs our head on the cobblestones.