Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Seventy Five Years Ago Britain Declares War On Germany For Its Invasion of Poland

September 1, 2014 was the 75th anniversary of the invasion of Poland by Germany. Two days later Britain was at war. At this link you can hear Neville Chamberlain explaining the reason for War. "We have a clear conscience." Six years of war would be necessary to clear the foreign policy failures of the "low dishonest decade" of the 30's.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Sailor Setting Son.

When this blog started we would sometimes post obituaries of interesting British warriors who served the King (and later Queen's) far flung but eventually fading 20th Century Empire and Commonwealth, under the title "Setting Sons." Capt North Dalrymple-Hamilton is a worthy addition, having seen the Bismark sink after coming under its guns (along with his father), joining his father again upon D-Day, marrying a Governor of the Raj's daughter and relearning to walk in his 50's after a helicopter accident. I revivie it with this fellow: and again Hopefully one of those took. A father son team at the sinking of the Bismark is an interesting angle. Capt North Dalrymple-Hamilton was so British he has one of those hyphen names the British upper crust had even before feminism.

A Priest Who Knew How To Priest.

I came across this Telegraph obituary of a rather unusual priest. A man who charged from horseback, wielding a sword, and prayed for the return of the Holy Roman Empire has to be somewhat of a rarity among clergy of our time. Throne and Altar is not popular in the U.S. either, or much in Europe anymore it appears. I'm reading my sons the Three Musketeers, however, and he surely would fit comfortably in with that particular Court! Burke famously wrote of the death by Revolutionary murder of Marie Antoinette that if chivalry lived in that age in France as it had in the past "10,000 swords" would have flown clear before allowing such a travesty. In 20th and a little bit 21st century France, one last sword remained.

UPDATE 8/29: Hi, Dave S. here. I read the obit via other means and immediately fixed the link so that others might learn about this character.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

And You Want to Be My A-League Farm Team...

Following up on an earlier post, Seinfeld Night didn't turn out so well for the home team, which turned in a Brazil-like performance to lose 18-2 to the Aberdeen Iron Birds (formerly the Utica Blue Sox, whose Irsay-esque spiriting away to northeast Maryland* is the only black mark** on the otherwise sainted*** Cal Ripken).

In related news, NBC had a backup plan in case Hernandez failed to produce. That would have been a good show in and of itself as opposed to one of the greatest hours of television ever broadcast.

*The only true part of that is the move. It was all above-board, Cal built an awesome park for the team plus miniature ballparks for his affiliated Little League teams whose beneficence Bryan has experienced first hand we love you Cal!

**Cheerfully withdrawn.

***Guy's a total saint.

Drink. Discuss. Repeat (though not necessarily in that order).

The masthead (and possibly the readership; both show scant evidence of existence) boasts a fair number of hopheads so I thought this ranking of American IPAs would be of interest. I have had about half of the IPAs mentioned and can attest to the quality of the Racer 5 (for which I believe I have CRH to thank for introducing to me). Bell's Two-Hearted (thanks JWT!) is an admitted omission, Brooklyn IPA is also quite good, and I would have placed the Dogfish Head much higher but perhaps the unsampled beers are that much better.As Saruman would say, "We have work to do."

As always, when enjoying a craft beer, raise a toast to History's Greatest Monster for deregulating the brewing industry and making all of this possible. On a (literally) related note, I was delighted to learn recently, via cleaning out my mother's basement, that Billy Beer was produced by (among others) what became the Matt Brewing Company, whose fine products Laura, CRH, and Mrs. JJV will soon be sampling in their native environment. Circle of Life, baby!

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Mr. Gorbachev--Tear Down This Wall--and Have It Appear on Every Channel.

Yesterday on the 4th Dave and I saw each other and one topic of the discussion was my preference for late adoption of technology. I still play cassete tapes in my car and until this year used a film camera. In fact, other than the cell phone and email I would be fine with 1980's daily technology. Jim Geraghty is waxing nostalgic over the 80's and notes its shared cultural moments. He notes the top five performers on Itunes right now. The performers of the top five singles on iTunes right now: 1) Five Seconds of Summer 2) MAGIC! 3) Sam Smith 4) Ariana Grande 5) Nico & Vinz This stunned me, until I looked up what I-Tunes is--as I have never downloaded an I Tune or even know how one gets I Tuned.. but after that it is interesting to note that the stadium filling bands known to all pretty much stopped being manufactured in the 90's. Who today has songs as widely known as Springsteen, Madonna, Prince, Billy Joel, and of course Michael Jackson had in the 80's and into the 90's? Ga Ga? Miley? Bieber? nope. The closest are cross-over country artists like Taylor Swift. T.V. shows like Cosby's or even Seinfeld do not exist. That is shows that half the country watched-AT THE SAME TIME-every week. The internet and the change in technology has shattered cultural markers. Now we have nothing in common but cute cat videos. On the other hand, pierced faces and dyed hair are pretty bad but no one today need wear parachute pants. Progress!

Friday, June 27, 2014

ArchDuke's and Armageddon

There is a lot in this article which repeats myths about the First World War on what will be tomorrow the 100th anniversary of the assasination of Arch Duke Ferdinand. But the First World War did destroy Europe and usher in the two worst kinds of Socialism, National and International. I tend to believe that the Germans were so hellbent on domination that war was inevitable but was that war inevitable? If the Agadir crisis of 1911 had triggered instead would the same stalemate have occurred? The period 1914-1945 was in some sense another 30 years war and it left Europe ravaged. I remember World War I veterans and their stories (my grandfather was one). But the living memory of it is gone now. I recommend to anyone who wants to get the flavor of the mood after the war the original "Saint" novels (not the Roger Moore T.V. show). In those books The Saint is always trying to stop a shadowy arms dealing villain from Central Europe from restarting war for the purpose of selling armaments. It was not industry or profit that caused the war, they just made it more terrible. It was the centrifugal forces nationalism. That nationalism was often "progressive" in character. Think Wilson and his 14 points and a nation for every people. The call the 20th Century the "short century" from June 28, 1911-to 1991 and the fall of the Soviet Union. It ended well but quite a brutal interval.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Han, Leia and Luke are Busting Her Out of There!

The Above was my first thought when I saw this headline: Hope Solo Jailed After Altercation Here's the article: If every time people got drunk at a family gathering and two sisters went at it, it resulted in arrest, "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" would have to be renamed "Orange is the New Black." Finally, if you read the story carefully you will note her football (real i.e. American) player husband was nowhere in sight. Apparently he learned his lesson the day before they were married.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Colin Firth: Man of Time

The only time (heh) I read TIME magazine is when I am visiting Mom. As circumstances would have it, I am in fact at Mom's, and so this morning I of course checked out TIME's 100 Most Influential Etc. Because I was eating breakfast (also breathing and registering a pulse) I skipped Karl Rove's paean to the Koch Brothers but happened to see, tucked away in a corner, an entry on Benedict Cumberbatch by Colin Firth.

I'll give the lady readers a moment to re-focus.


Anyway, do read it, it is fantastic, but ladies, it may leave you CONFLICTED.

I actually looked at the issue under that one and, lo and behold, there was a Q & A with Colin Firth.


With a full-length photo.


It's also worth a read, but have your fans ready: there is a reference to That Shirt.

Based on this evidence Colin Firth is TIME's Man of the Hour and Possibly Our Overlord. We could do worse.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

He's Still Keith Hernandez

Via Awful Announcing we have learned that July 5 is Seinfeld Night at the Mets' farm team in Brooklyn. Presumably the Keith Hernandez bobblehead (click through if you don't believe me) only bobbles back and to the left. Quoting the site in full, because excerpting would not do it justice, here's what they have in store:
  • MCU Park will known as Vandelay Industries Park for one night only.
  • Mailmen in uniform get to throw out a ceremonial first pitch ("Hello Newman!")
  • Anyone who has a business card indicating that they are in fact a "Latex Salesman" will also receive a free ticket to the game.  If we call the number and it's some apartment on the Upper East Side, you won't qualify for the freebie. 
  • Fans can visit the information table for an "airing of grievances."
  • Closest to the pin / whale's blow hole competition ("Is that a Titleist?")
  • The foul poles will be known as Festivus Poles.
  • "Low-Talking" PA Announcer.
  • Elaine Dancing Contest
  • Everyone Runs the Bases Post-game...but anyone named Jerry gets a head start (Take that Duncan Meyer).
  • Game of "Risk" on the Concourse
  • Cereal eating contests
  • Anyone named George Costanza will be allowed to join our radio broadcast as a color analyst for an inning
  • Players in puffy shirts for batting practice.
This makes me want to re-grow my beard, buy a handmade vintage bike and head north!

The original piece in which the above was referenced is a great example of "I'm Keith Hernandez..." The woman actually looks a bit like Elaine Benes.

And, because "The Boyfriend" is still one of the greatest things I have ever seen on TV, I have to throw this is in as well:

OK, OK, fine, one more, if you insist:

Neocons, Paleocons and James Bond.

I got a big kick out of this conflict of views on who is the best James Bond between Jonah Goldberg and Taki Theodorscopulos (Just "Taki" usually). As it happens, I have read both of them for years and had drinks with both; Jonah at the various NRO get togethers and talks now and again and Taki in a memorable evening (for me) in the long closed "Z" club in D.C. The reason this conflict of views is so funny is that each man plays to his strengths and does not break character. Jonah, nerdy, knowledgeable and pop culture friendly and savy. Taki, worldly, old world, wealthy and a ranconteur who knows everybody of a certain set and despairs of modern mores. The young, middle-class, neocon and the old, wealthy, paleocon on James Bond. Jonah thinks Daniel Craig is a better actor than Sean Connery and I agree. But James Bond does not require an actor, he requires an icon. That is why, for all Craig has done with the franchise, I side with Taki and his personal take. Bond is bigger than life and so is Connery. I spend so little time in Gstaad however that I have no personal acquaintence with either Sir Sean or Sir Roger. Next week George Will is going to inform us why George Lazenby is the truly greatest bond if only we had the right sensibility.

Wednesday, April 09, 2014

No Pining for the Fjords Here

Via the AV Club comes one of the more wonderful news stories I have seen in some time:

That is extremely silly and I expect the Colonel to show up at any time to put a stop to it.

And now for something completely the inspiration for the above:

Special thanks to Nick C. for allowing me to exercise right of first refusal on posting this.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

So THAT'S what emojis are for...

With the season 4 premiere of Game of Thrones rapidly approaching, Cara Rose DeFabio (via YouTube and the Emoji Foundation) brings us an iPhone masterwork wrapping up Game of Thrones so far. To say this is a work of sheer genius is an understatement.

It goes fast which may require multiple viewings to take it all in. Or perhaps take random screen grabs to turn into a trivia game for your next GoT viewing party!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Notes from Mostly Underground

Many thanks to the WMATA for taking the train out of service conveniently at Farragut North, allowing me to do the above ground transfer to the Orange Line via Farragut Square.

Also, it's great to see that Farragut Square is now Food Truck Central. Wish it was like that when I worked there; the place was a culinary wasteland 10 years ago.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Take the Cannoli. Leave the Atmosphere.

Loyal reader and contributor Powaqattsi wishes to draw attention to the latest achievement of his fellow Sicilians. Behold the birth of the Sicilian Space Program!

Now I'm picturing a giant rotating pizza in orbit a la 2001.

Leave your best Chico Marx impression in the comments. 

Saturday, March 08, 2014

Nemesis or Archenemy?

I just saw this piece by a fellow named Closterman. It was linked to by someone on National Review Online, so don't get the idea I read Esquire. It is very rare unless I'm reading Christopher Buckley or P.J. O'Rourke that I say I wish I'd written that. Well Closterman you enter the club. It used to be that on blogger you just pasted something and it linked. I am one of those ten percent who thinks HTML is a venereal disease:,0,1188415.story#axzz2vODeJDi7 And I haven't caught it.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Harold Ramis Should Have Made More Movies-R.I.P.

So at the link below I learned that Harold Ramis has died at the age of 69. This is incredibly sad. Dan Akroyd and Bill Murray are more famous but Ramis is, as a movie maker and writer, even funnier than they are. His movies bear watching again and again. One aspect of them is the warmth of the characters. Caddyshack, Ghostbusters (I and II); National Lampoon's Animal House, Meatballs, Stripes, Back to School, Analyze This and particularly a movie I think will be watched in a hundred years from now, Groundhog Day, are never mean spirited. One masterpiece is a lot, five is amazing. (I count Groundhog Day, Animal House, Ghostbusters, Stripes and Back To School--in that order). As an actor he seemed to have enormous fun, he did a wonderful turn as a physician who makes house calls in As Good As It Gets. It appears Harold Ramis never got an Oscar--for anything. That shows the incredible undervaluing of comedy in Hollywood. Its by now a cliche but Harold Ramis really will be missed. Here are some Ramis clips: