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Belonging to the Old School, one of whose tenets is 'Never trust anyone wearing a suit', I was struck a couple of years back by how saturnine and excessively formalistic most world leaders --- and minor leaders, since it was the occasion when some awful little fellow who was governor of South Carolina went AWOL for a week to visit his mistress --- are nowadays. Messers Yeltsin and Kohl undoubtedly had faults, yet they managed a possibly spurious attitude of bonhomie and benevolence like a couple of drunk Cheeryble brothers: these sinister scoundrels combine devout self-belief with the amiablity of minor inquisitors' assistants. Recent world gatherings indicated they were issued with the same dark suits and blue ties by some cruel demob depot seeking to save costs.
One of their key mantras is economic reform, which is code for making the poor poorer; the shifty Mr. Sarkozy doesn't seem to have obsessed about this so much as Anglos do, concentrating more on domestic reforms which are probably silly yet less harmful. Nor, with his increase in presidential spending to 10,000 euros a day on food and 121 cars to ride in unsimultaneously, would he impress as an avid cost-cutter. Still, he could not help claiming recently that He Had Saved France, joing the long list of men who claimed to have Saved France, from Robespierre to Mirabeau to Napoleon to Thiers to Clemenceau to Petain to De Gaulle et al. None of them really did. One of his 'reforms' was steering the Three Strikes law against file-sharing, which is fairly doomed anyway as any fight against technology, not withstanding his palace was found to have indulged itself --- and merciful heaven, they chose to download a Ben Stiller 'comedy'...
However, he perhaps has some sympathy with the downtrodden, certainly his charming and very friendly wife appreciates what it is to be poor as can be seen in her excellent singing here:
Carla Bruni --- Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out
Fortuna --- in a style of Mucha
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, Other Writ
And superstitious dread came to the unsuperstitious Soames; he turned his eyes away lest he should stare the little house into real unreality. He walked on, past the barracks to the Park rails, still moving west, afraid of turning homewards till he was tired out. Past four o'clock, and still an empty town, empty of all that made it a living hive, and yet this very emptiness gave it intense meaning. He felt that he would always remember a town so different from that he saw every day; and himself he would remember --- walking thus, unseen and solitary with his desire.
He went past Prince's Gate and turned. After all he had his work --- ten-thirty at the office ! Road and Park and houses stared at him now in the full light of earliest morning. He turned from them into the Park and crossed to the Row side. Funny to see the Row with no horses tearing up and down, or trapesing past like cats on hot bricks, no stream of carriages, no rows of sitting people, nothing but trees and the tan track. The trees and grass, though no dew had fallen, breathed on him; and he stretched himself at full length along a bench, his hands behind his head, his hat crushed on his chest, his eyes fixed on the leaves patterned against the still brightening sky. The air stole faint and fresh about his cheeks and lips, and the backs of his hands. The first sunlight came stealing flat from trunk to trunk, birds did not sing but talked, a wood pigeon back among the trees was cooing. Soames closed his eyes, and instantly imagination began to paint, for the eyes deep down within him, pictures of her. Picture of her --- standing passive in her frock flounced to the gleaming floor, while he wrote his initials on her card. Picture of her adjusting with long gloved fingers a camellia come loose in her corsage; turning for him to put her cloak on --- pictures, countless pictures, and ever strange, of her face sparkling for moments, or brooding, or averse; of her cheek inclined for his kiss, of her lips turned from his lips, of her eyes looking at him with a question that seemed to have no answer; of her eyes, dark and soft over a grey cat purring in her arms; picture of her auburn hair flowing as he had not seen it yet. Ah ! but soon --- but soon ! And as if answering the call of his imagination a cry --- long, not shrill, not harsh exactly, but so poignant --- jerked the blood to his heart. From back over there it came trailing, again and again, passionate --- the lost soul's cry of peacock in early morning; and with it there uprose from the spaces of his inner being the vision that was for ever haunting there, of her with hair unbound, of her all white and lost, yielding to his arms. It seared him with delight, swooned in him, and was gone. He opened his eyes; an early water-cart was nearing down the Row.
Soames rose and walking fast beneath the trees sought sanity.
John Galsworthy : Cry of Peacock, 1883 from On Forsyte 'Change
John Atkinson Grimshaw --- A Wintry Moon
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Once when young I saw an old album cover which rather stuck in my memory, --- despite then and now being mostly uninterested in prog rock, as I here discover it was --- it's not everyday one sees a budgie waving a gun, let alone wearing a bandolier ( down-under, budgerigars roam in huge flocks, although I doubt they cover the sun with their wings nor the sound drowns out the wind and thunder: over here they are stuck singly or in pairs in small cages and called Petie ). Although it stayed, I never expected to find out where it was from. However, an hour back, from mere chance I typed the first word I thought of into Demonoid search under Music, not expecting any results at all --- it was 'napoleon' --- and it came up with 'Budgie's Bandolier'. With the instinct that only pure genius can achieve in mental comparison and patterning, like a flash I realised that it might quite possibly be connected to that ancient image. Which it was.
Budgie was a Welsh band of the 1970s ( Amazon ) and here there are pictures of them then and now. The music's fine enough...
More recently, here I made a post a few years back reffing Robert Browning with a postcard --- complete with camel in those innocent days --- of pre-Great War Venice Beach. The almost imperceptible joke being that Venice Beach is rather different now and whilst still worldly enough to satisfy Browning's magnificent judgemental gloom, has not the qualities to satisfy the exacting standards of the Haute Ton. Still, I daresay one can find cameltoes there if one looks sufficiently hard...
Although none of the comments can quite match mj88's perfect critique of California in a City Data Forums' thread
'I've never been to CA but they both sound like great and lovely areas (NOCAL or SOCAL). I always seem to hear positive things about CA such as the weather, friendly people, and beaches. The one and only drawback I have heard is that it occasionally gets congested on that one freeway in LA - can't remember its name at the moment.'
which carries subtlety to a new level, Yelp has a list of comments on Venice Beach which engagingly shows why it has an especial place in the hearts of it's countrymen:
The best way to describe Venice Beach is as a psychiatric hospital on a beach. Depending on how you feel about that, you can easily be entertained...or lose faith in humanity. Classic examples include guy collecting funds to rebuild Death Star and recruiting to kill off Jedi, guy in alien mask reading book in corner, and kids telling me how marijuana is the cure all drug (i.e. stub your toe...smoke a joint). In a one mile stretch, there were no less than 25 of these kids passing out cards. The numerous stands and booths all get horribly repetitive. Essentially, the boardwalk plays like one of those old time cartoons where the artists just recycled the background over and over. Food options are limited to mainly pizza places with a few burger places sprinkled in...and the occasional fruit cart.
Incense wafted everywhere like a light, perfumed fog it coiled about and hung over the Strand to mask or enhance the transitory and brief wisps of burning sage, scented candles, marijuana and body odor. Furry freaks danced with bespeckled nerds while tattooed rastafarian wanna-bes pulled stunned, pale and overweight tourists into impromptu reels as drums pounded incessantly to the accompaniment of piano, flute and electric guitar. Bleached blond surfers, salt-licked from a morning go-out passed by ancient hippies still peddling peace signs while cops turned their heads like they never saw the kid with the fat joint.
I especially thought the bums with a "Parents killed by ninja monkey. Help me pay for karate lessons" sign and a "I'm not going to lie, I want weed" sign were special.
If you don't like Venice Beach, you don't belong in California...
No, seriously get the hell out! This place is awesome! I love the atmosphere! Everyone's so chill. My only advice is be picky about the crazy people who perform their stunts, some of them aren't worth it, lol and I think they just spend the money on crack
2. I always see that guy who sells tongue whistles. I think the price is 5 different whistles for a dollar. I can't think of anything in this world that I would want less to spend a dollar on.
The creativity of the beggars is also notable. Just today I saw signs stating "Need fuel for my learjet", "Will fuck for weed" and "the happy wino".
I guess you have to love it or hate it. More on yelp love this place, but I have to disagree yet again with the yelpers. This place is nasty. Nasty in a dirty, homeless, shady, don;t bring your kids, way. My baby dropped her hat, (just purchased) and in 2 minutes it was gone. Someone stole a hat for a BABY that said Princess on it!!!! What real and I do mean real losers would do that? Even the homeless cannot possibly wear it.
What you get when you arrive, regardless of your reason for being there, is a dismal, despressing wasteland, and if you're from Nebraska or somewhere else decidedly non-Californian, much of what you'll see here you've already seen on your State Fair's sad midway. Decrepit and depressing tattoo parlor after tattoo parlor, sad and dejected t-shirt shops, and grimly appointed pizza stands make up the bulk of the boardwalk. The same astonishingly depressing people from your State Fair midway are here, too.
Sadly, Mr. Mozena has not yet become mayor of LA, and worse will not become write-in governor of CA, although there is no possibility that he could do worse than the laughable Arnold or either unholy front-runner in the present race between rich retards. However, on the credit side, Venice Beach has inspired many, many artists.
Sir Peter Blake RA --- Madonna of Venice
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After dawdling around Monaco itself, we went round to the 'Jeux' --- a large gambling-house established on the shore near Monaco, upon the road to Mentone. There is a splendid hotel there, and the large house of sin, blazing with gas lamps by night. So we saw it from the road beneath Turbia our first night, flaming and shining by the shore like Pandemonium, or the habitation of some romantic witch. This place, in truth, resembles the gardens of Alcina, or any other magician's trap for catching souls which poets have devised. It lies close by the sea in a hollow of the sheltering hills. there winter cannot come --- the flowers bloom, the waves dance, and sunlight laughs all through the year. The air swoons with scent of lemon groves; tall palm trees wave their branches in the garden; music of the softest, loudest, most inebriating passion swells from the palace; rich meats and wines are served in a gorgeously painted hall; cool corridors and sunny seats stand ready for the noontide heat or evening calm; without are olive gardens, green and fresh and full of flowers. But the witch herself holds her high court and never-ending festival of sin in the hall of the green tables. There is a passion which subdues all others, making music, sweet scents and delicious food, the plash of melodious waves, the evening air and freedom of the everlasting hills subserve her own supremacy.
When the fiend of play has entered into a man, what does he care for the beauties of nature or even for the pleasure of the sense ? Yet in the moments of his trial he must drain the cup of passion, therefore let him have companions --- splendid women, with bold eyes and golden hair and marble columns of imperial throats, to laugh with him, to sing shrill songs, to drink, to tempt the glassy deep at midnight when the cold moon shines or all the headlands glitter with grey phosphorescence and the palace sends its flaring lights and sound of cymbals to the hills. And many, too, there are over whom love and wine hold empire hardly less than play. This is no vision; it is sober, sad reality. I have seen it to-day with my own eyes. I have been inside the palace and breathed its air. In no other place could this riotous daughter of hell have set her throne so seducingly. Here are the Sirens and Calypso and Dame Venus of Tannhäuser's dream. Almost every other scene of dissipation has disappointed me by its monotony and sordidness. But this inebriates; here nature is so lavish, so beautiful, so softly luxurious, that the harlot's cup is thrice more sweet to the taste, more stealing of the senses than elsewhere. I felt, while we listened to the music, strolled about the gardens and lounged in the play-rooms, as I have sometimes felt at the opera. All other pleasures, thoughts and interests of life seemed to be far off and trivial for the time. I was beclouded, carried off my balance, lapped in strange forebodings of things infinite outside me in the human heart. Yet all was unreal; for the touch of reason, like the hand of Galahad, caused the boiling of this impure fountain to cease --- the wizard's castle disappeared and, as I drove home to Mentone, the solemn hills and skies and seas remained and that house was, as it were, a mirage.
John Addington Symonds : Diary
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, High Germany
, Other Writ
About this time, as a relief from the graver matters which claimed his attention, Luther engaged in the occupation of turning. In a letter to Wenceslas Link, he begs his friend to purchase for him the necessary tools at Nuremburg... Luther returns his acknowledgements in a letter in which his characteristic gaiety of expression is apparent.
"We have received the turning tools, the quadrant, the cylinder, and the wooden clock. We greatly thank you for the trouble you have taken. One thing, however, you forgot: you did not mention how much more you expended, for the money I sent [ One guilder ] could not have been enough. For the present, we have got all we need, except you could send us some new machinery, which will turn by itself when Wolfgang is lazy or sleepy. The clock suits me perfectly, especially for showing the time to my drunken Saxons, who look more to the bottle than the hour, caring but little whether the sun, or the clock, or its hands show wrong."
Wolfgang had been for some years in Luther's service, and remained with him throughout his life. He was a worthy, honest fellow, devotedly attached to his master, and possessed but one failing, a frequent propensity to go to sleep over his work. This unconquerable drowsiness was often the subject of Luther's mock complaint. The master, with his own immense capacity for work without much interval for rest, was amused by the dull, heavy somnolence of his honest famulus. On one occasion, Wolfgang built a floor, and upon it fixed a contrivance for catching birds. Luther, whose nature was loving and feeling as that of a child, did not approve of this plan to entrap the feathered songsters, and drew out a Bird's Indictment against their foe. The birds besought Luther's protection against Wolfgang, whose sleepiness, they said, maliciously, everybody knew, as he never left his bed until eight o'clock in the morning; they required that every evening he should spread grain for their morning meal, as they rose up hours before him; and that his attention throughout the day should be devoted to catching frogs, snails, daws, mice and other pests, whereby he would be enabled to gratify his destructive instincts, without endeavouring to ensnare the poor birds, whose songs fully paid for the little grain they consumed. The Bird's Petition, brimful of soft pleadings on behalf of one of the Creator's sweetest gifts to charm the ears of that lordly creature, Man, concluded with a threat that if Wolfgang, their enemy, did not mend his ways, they ( the birds ) would pray to God to cause fleas and other insects to crawl about him at night, and torment him beyond endurance.
Luther took great delight in the simple happiness to be gained in his garden, cultivating the flowers, listening to the plashing of the waters of the fountain he had himself erected, to the singing of the birds, and to the gambols of the fish in a small pond. These small matters often took from his mind much of the trouble and anxiety inseparable from his position, and broke the hard intensity of intellectual and spiritual care.
...on the 3rd of April [ 1530 ], the Elector, unarmed and accompanied by one hundred and sixty horsemen, set out from Torgau on his way to meet the Emperor at Augsburg. Luther, Melanchthon, Jonas, Agricola, and Spalatin were with him. When they reached Coburg, the Elector directed Luther to remain there. The ban of the Empire prevented his appearance at the Diet. Without hesitation Luther obeyed the command of his prince. He proceeded to the fortress of Coburg, where he remained during the time of the proceedings at Augsburg. The elector with his followers reached Augsburg on the 2nd of May, and there awaited the arrival of the Emperor, which did not take place until the 15th of June. Luther, from the castle, wrote constantly to the Elector, to Spalatin, and to Melanchthon. The solitude and inaction to which he was constrained to submit were irksome and distressing. Writing to Melanchthon on the 22nd April he says: "I have arrived at my Sinai; but of this Sinai I will make a Sion: I will raise thereon three Tabernacles, one to the Psalmist, another to the Prophets, and lastly, one to Æsop..." He was at this time engaged in the translation of these fables.
Caspar Friedrich --- The Tree of Crows * Colour alternates
"There is nothing here to prevent my solitude from being complete. I live in a vast abode which overlooks the castle; I have the keys of all its apartments. There are scarcely thirty persons within the fortress, of whom twelve are watchers by night, and two other sentinels, constantly posted on the castle heights.
On the 9th of May he wrote to Spalatin an amusing account of the rooks and jackdaws, the denizens of the wood beneath the elevated part of the castle in which he lived.
"I am here in the midst of another diet, in the presence of the magnanimous sovereigns, dukes, grandees, and nobles of a kind different to those at Augsburg. Mine confer together upon State affairs with all the gravity of demeanour; they fill the air with unceasing voice, promulgating their decrees and their preachings. They do not seat themselves shut up in those royal caverns, you call palaces, but they hold their councils in the light of the sun, having the heavens for a canopy, and, for a carpet, the rich and varied verdure of the trees, on which they are congregated in liberty; the only limits to their domains being the boundaries of the earth. The stupid display of silk and gold inspires them with horror. They are all alike, in colour as in countenance --- black. Nor is their note different one from the other; the only dissonance being the agreeable contrast between the voices of the young and the deeper tones of their parents. In no instance have I ever heard them speak of an Emperor; they disdain with sovereign contempt the horse which is so indispensible to our cavaliers; they have a far better means of mocking the fury of cannon. In so far as I have been able to comprehend their decrees, they have determined to wage an incessant war during the present year against barley, corn, and grain of all sorts; in short, against all that is most enticing and agreeable amongst the fruits and products of the earth. It is much to be feared that they may become conquerors wherever they direct their efforts; for they are a race of combatants, wily and adroit; equally successful in their attempts to plunder, by force or by surprise. As for me, I am an idle spectator, assisting willingly, and with much satisfaction at their consultations. But enough of jesting ! Jesting which is, however, sometimes necessary to dispel the gloomy thoughts which overwhelm me."
The clamour of the rooks and crows, by which, as in another letter he wrote, "they charitably intend to bring sleep gently to my eyelids," was not altogether successful in diverting his attention from the grave business of the diet.
John Rae : Martin Luther --- Student, Monk, Reformer
Note that the More tag no longer works on this particular blog - it destroys the lay-out: for which lack we apologise...
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Seventeen years ago the federal government launched a siege and final assault against a group of private citizens who had not offended outside the beliefs they held or outside the group. To validate this process a propaganda campaign of falsehoods was instituted and was continued after.
This was not a punishment: it was a warning.
Punishments there were, in plenty, for the survivors.
Now, governments will do these things, whether in Indonesia, China or the USA --- and in the absence of government private parties will do such things, as in the Bastard Feudalistic phase of Late Mediaeval period during the Wars of the Roses or in the Gilded Age of America ( when Robber Barons like the unspeakable little republicans such as Carnegie or Frick randomly slaughtered their workers, Europeans were outraged not wholly at the murderous defence of Capital --- European polities were scarcely housing or in other ways treating their lower classes well, and were not averse though profoundly reluctant to sending the troops in if the police could not contain a strike --- but at the sheer insufferability of private citizens, including corporations as private citizens in the curious Anglo-American tradition, possessing and using armed private police forces to ensure their will ). This is not so much a question of the awfulness of government power, but the inane and disgusting purpose of an individual government.
The sect remembered was a breakaway group of a breakaway ad infinitum group in the true tradition of faiths. Seventh-Day Adventists are fearfully respectable and cook delicious food in their restaurants: those who seceded, as is the common way with splinter-groups, grew loopier the further they strayed. By the time David Koresh was through his sect was the Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh-Day Adventists, the apple having rolled fairly far from the tree. Which is not to say the tenets of the Adventists are sane compared to Catholic doctrine --- and for Royalists, the Roman Catholics have always been the weak sisters to Monarchy and Western Civilisation: petty, corrupt and wilfully treacherous. For those loyal to higher powers than despicably elected mere Popes, Canossa is the Great Unforgotten as much as Kronstadt is to any decent communist. However, although their theology may not be persuasive it is at least coherent --- From the Wiki entry, all the Adventist groups share such flawed beliefs such as:
# Jesus Christ is to soon personally return to earth to gather together his elect and take them to heaven for 1000 years, after which he will return with them to this earth to dwell with them for eternity in his kingdom.
# The non-immortality of the soul. That is, the dead have no consciousness, nor being.
# There shall be a resurrection of both the just and of the unjust. The resurrection of the just will take place at the second coming of Christ; the resurrection of the unjust will take place 1000 years later, at the close of the millennium.
# There is a sanctuary in heaven in which Christ is ministering on behalf of mankind.
# There is an investigative judgment going on in the heavenly sanctuary that began on October 22, 1844 to determine who will come forth in each of the resurrections, and who will be translated without seeing death at the second coming of Christ. That said judgment began with the records of those who had died, and would eventually pass to the living.
Etc., etc.. This stuff shares the usual delusion of religion that God is subject to human desires and whims. One may be sure that the number '1000' is relied upon as being a definite span, not too large as to be incomprehensible, not too small as to be verifiable: but to imagine God is subject to human time-tabling is not merely impious, but as vain as a mayfly suggesting the God envisaged by mayflies will judge the risen mayflies within a month.
And in the Wiki entry for the Siege itself there is piece we recognise as classic Curious Religious Americana --- we are often belaboured with the fact that America has a deeply religious base as compared with decadent Europe, just as has Dar al-Islam. And what use is that if the religion itself is utterly insane ? This has more to do with Spengler's forecast of the Second Religosity amongst the peasantry during the Imperialistic period than a deep love of the Almighty --- which involves exhumation and guns.
Following the failure of this prophecy, control of Mt. Carmel fell to Benjamin Roden, and on his death to his wife, Lois. Lois Roden considered their son, George, unfit to assume the position of prophet. Instead, she groomed Vernon Howell, later known as David Koresh, as her chosen successor. In 1984, a meeting led to a division of the group with Howell leading one faction, calling themselves the Davidian Branch Davidian Seventh Day Adventists, and George Roden leading the competing faction. After this split, George Roden ran Howell and his followers off Mt. Carmel. Howell and his group relocated to Palestine, Texas.
After the death of Lois and the probate case, Howell attempted to gain control of the Mt Carmel center by force. George Roden had dug up the casket of Anna Hughes from the Davidian cemetery and had challenged Howell to a resurrection contest to prove who was the rightful heir. Howell instead went to the police and claimed Roden was guilty of corpse abuse. By October 31, 1987 the county prosecutors had refused to file charges without proof and so on November 3, 1987 Howell and seven armed companions attempted to access the Mt. Carmel chapel with the goal of photographing the body in the casket. George Roden was advised of the interlopers and grabbed an Uzi in response. The sheriff's department responded about 20 minutes into the gunfight. Sheriff Harwell got Howell on the phone and told him to stop shooting and surrender. Howell and his companions, dubbed the "Rodenville Eight" by the media, were tried on April 12, 1988; seven were acquitted and the jury was hung on Howell's verdict. The county prosecutors did not press the case further.
While waiting for the trial, George Roden was put in jail under contempt of court charges on March 21, 1988 because of his use of foul language in some court pleadings threatening the Texas court with AIDS and herpes if it ruled in favor of Howell. The very next day, Perry Jones and a number of Howell's other followers moved from their headquarters in Palestine, Texas to Mt. Carmel Center.
The bellowed threats of God's biological warfare smiting the court seem counterproductive to getting that court to look favorably upon one's cause...
The Most Intelligent Way Possible
However the prior antics of squabbling religious fanatics was unassociated with the later event, which was orchestrated under the leadership of Miss Janet Reno. Here, I shall defer to a recent report [ Dec 2009 ] from IFS Writers: God Bless You Janet Reno --- Child Killer.
For 51 days, the ATF and the FBI held these people hostage, and then lied to Congress. I just want to let everyone know that I too, remember these Americans, these little children and old people that Janet Reno had gunned down, mutilated and burnt in the name of justice. I remember that one male report, who would come to the microphone and TV camera, and report that - there was no food for the children, or the next time, the kids were being molested, or the very next time, the kids were being held as hostages, etc. I wonder how his career is during these days. America will never forget Janet Reno and her friends that kill children, mothers and old people. I know she will live a long fruitful life. After all one day she will meet each and everyone of those victims again. And at that time, there are no laws, police and anything thing else that will save her from the raft of hell.
Janet Reno, the former attorney general in the Clinton administration, received a lifetime achievement award Friday, April 18, 2009, from the American Judicature Society, a non-partisan justice advocacy network.
Speaking slowly because of the effects of Parkinson Disease, Reno praised violence prevention programs and the current direction of the Justice Department. “Now I can look at America and think this is a nation that is responding in the most intelligent way possible to deal with violence, especially domestic violence,” Reno said.
Poor old incompetent fool, it might be more charitable to assume she, as we assume of Reagan during his presidency, so crippled pre factum that the mental damage was already there rather than it being a punishment..
Oh, Say, Can You See....
On February 28, 1993, the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) launched the largest assault in its history against a small religious community in America. Approximately eighty armed agents invaded the compound, purportedly to execute a single search and arrest warrant. The raid went badly; six Branch Davidians and four agents were killed.
Attorney General Janet Reno asked for and received military support. The U.S. Army showed up with tanks.
After a fifty-one-day standoff, the United States Justice Department approved Reno’s plan to use CS gas and break down the walls with tanks to “save the children” of those barricaded inside.
On the 51st day tanks carrying the CS gas broke through the concrete walls and entered the compound. A fire broke out, and all seventy-four men, women and children inside perished. One third of them from gunshot wounds, the rest crushed by debris or burned to death.
After the compound had burned down the ATF flag was hoisted aloft to signify ‘victory’. At Janet Reno’s award ceremony today it was only mentioned that 74 “cult members” were killed.
Still Meant Over 10 Years In Quod For Resisting Arrest
In The Davidian trial judge sentenced five Davidians to the maximum sentence of 30 years each; one to 20 years; one to 15; one to 5 years and one to 3 years. On June 4, 2000 the Supreme Court cut 25 years from 4 Davidians' sentences and 5 years from one. On September 9, 2000 Judge Walter Smith followed the Court's instructions and cut those sentences, as well as the 25 year sentence of Livingstone Fagan who had not appealed.
All were released as of July 2007.
However... Quite ordinary American prisons appear training grounds for Guantánamo: from the Wiki article...
One, Derek Lovelock, was held in McLennan County Jail for seven months, often in solitary confinement. Livingston Fagan, another British citizen, who was among those convicted and imprisoned, recounts multiple beatings at the hands of prison guards, particularly at Leavenworth. He claims to have been doused with cold water from a high-pressure hose, which soaked both him and the contents and bedding of his cell, after which an industrial fan was placed outside the cell, blasting him with cold air. He was repeatedly moved between at least nine different facilities. He was strip-searched every time he took exercise, so refused exercise.
It's very difficult to imagine what pleasure a prison guard gets from beating up inmates...
And with all sieges where the external forces have world enough and time, All You Ever Have To Do Is Wait.
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The Wind in the Willows was not my initiation into reading --- the first book I was observed reading happened to be Of Mice and Men : and on review it is to be sincerely doubted that any seven-year-old would understand more than half of that --- yet this was the most important book of my childhood; and nothing, absolutely nothing, can overstate the incredible importance of this work to all true English men and women. Roughly the same significance as held the Bible in the seventeenth through the nineteenth centuries.
Winslow Homer -- Sloop at Nassau
The wayfarer was lean and keen-featured, and somewhat bowed at the shoulders; his paws were thin and long, his eyes much wrinkled at the corners, and he wore small gold ear rings in his neatly-set well-shaped ears. His knitted jersey was of a faded blue, his breeches, patched and stained, were based on a blue foundation, and his small belongings that he carried were tied up in a blue cotton handkerchief.
When he had rested awhile the stranger sighed, snuffed the air, and looked about him.
'That was clover, that warm whiff on the breeze,' he remarked; 'and those are cows we hear cropping the grass behind us and blowing softly between mouthfuls. There is a sound of distant reapers, and yonder rises a blue line of cottage smoke against the woodland. The river runs somewhere close by, for I hear the call of a moorhen, and I see by your build that you're a freshwater mariner. Everything seems asleep, and yet going on all the time. It is a goodly life that you lead, friend; no doubt the best in the world, if only you are strong enough to lead it !'
'Yes, it's THE life, the only life, to live,' responded the Water Rat dreamily, and without his usual whole-hearted conviction.
'I did not say exactly that,' replied the stranger cautiously; 'but no doubt it's the best. I've tried it, and I know. And because I've just tried it --- six months of it --- and know it's the best, here am I, footsore and hungry, tramping away from it, tramping southward, following the old call, back to the old life, THE life which is mine and which will not let me go.'
'Is this, then, yet another of them ?' mused the Rat. 'And where have you just come from ?' he asked. He hardly dared to ask where he was bound for; he seemed to know the answer only too well.
'Nice little farm,' replied the wayfarer, briefly. 'Upalong in that direction' --- he nodded northwards. 'Never mind about it. I had everything I could want --- everything I had any right to expect of life, and more; and here I am! Glad to be here all the same, though, glad to be here ! So many miles further on the road, so many hours nearer to my heart's desire !'
His shining eyes held fast to the horizon, and he seemed to be listening for some sound that was wanting from that inland acreage, vocal as it was with the cheerful music of pasturage and farmyard.
'You are not one of US,' said the Water Rat, 'nor yet a farmer; nor even, I should judge, of this country.'
'Right,' replied the stranger. 'I'm a seafaring rat, I am, and the port I originally hail from is Constantinople, though I'm a sort of a foreigner there too, in a manner of speaking. You will have heard of Constantinople, friend ? A fair city, and an ancient and glorious one. And you may have heard, too, of Sigurd, King of Norway, and how he sailed thither with sixty ships, and how he and his men rode up through streets all canopied in their honour with purple and gold; and how the Emperor and Empress came down and banqueted with him on board his ship. When Sigurd returned home, many of his Northmen remained behind and entered the Emperor's body-guard, and my ancestor, a Norwegian born, stayed behind too, with the ships that Sigurd gave the Emperor. Seafarers we have ever been, and no wonder; as for me, the city of my birth is no more my home than any pleasant port between there and the London River. I know them all, and they know me. Set me down on any of their quays or foreshores, and I am home again.'
'I suppose you go great voyages,' said the Water Rat with growing interest. 'Months and months out of sight of land, and provisions running short, and allowanced as to water, and your mind communing with the mighty ocean, and all that sort of thing?'
'By no means,' said the Sea Rat frankly. 'Such a life as you describe would not suit me at all. I'm in the coasting trade, and rarely out of sight of land. It's the jolly times on shore that appeal to me, as much as any seafaring. O, those southern seaports ! The smell of them, the riding-lights at night, the glamour !'
'Well, perhaps you have chosen the better way,' said the Water Rat, but rather doubtfully. 'Tell me something of your coasting, then, if you have a mind to, and what sort of harvest an animal of spirit might hope to bring home from it to warm his latter days with gallant memories by the fireside; for my life, I confess to you, feels to me to-day somewhat narrow and circumscribed.'
'My last voyage,' began the Sea Rat, 'that landed me eventually in this country, bound with high hopes for my inland farm, will serve as a good example of any of them, and, indeed, as an epitome of my highly-coloured life. Family troubles, as usual, began it. The domestic storm-cone was hoisted, and I shipped myself on board a small trading vessel bound from Constantinople, by classic seas whose every wave throbs with a deathless memory, to the Grecian Islands and the Levant. Those were golden days and balmy nights ! In and out of harbour all the time --- old friends everywhere --- sleeping in some cool temple or ruined cistern during the heat of the day --- feasting and song after sundown, under great stars set in a velvet sky ! Thence we turned and coasted up the Adriatic, its shores swimming in an atmosphere of amber, rose, and aquamarine; we lay in wide land-locked harbours, we roamed through ancient and noble cities, until at last one morning, as the sun rose royally behind us, we rode into Venice down a path of gold. O, Venice is a fine city, wherein a rat can wander at his ease and take his pleasure ! Or, when weary of wandering, can sit at the edge of the Grand Canal at night, feasting with his friends, when the air is full of music and the sky full of stars, and the lights flash and shimmer on the polished steel prows of the swaying gondolas, packed so that you could walk across the canal on them from side to side! And then the food --- do you like shellfish ? Well, well, we won't linger over that now.'
He was silent for a time; and the Water Rat, silent too and enthralled, floated on dream-canals and heard a phantom song pealing high between vaporous grey wave-lapped walls.
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, Self Writ
Puppetry over here was mainly confined to the rather dismal exploits of Punch and Judy. Over in Sicily though it was, and is, rather more swagger. A richer cultural life despite the poverty, and a stern tradition of memorising friends and neighbours for deathworthy offence, together with evergreen recollections of one of the major cultural enemies of Christendom --- the Barbary states kept this alive until fairly recently by frequently removing Sicilians, and others as far as Ireland and points north, to become slaves in what was, mainly, all things considered, mainly a vast slave plantation just called Islam --- made their pupi quite resplendent.
Opera dei pupi Siracusa
Pupi Siciliani dei Fratelli Napoli di Catania
Opera dei pupi Puticchio
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Two weeks ago I hired a van/driver and emptied the garage mentioned earlier to a temporary ( alas ) near location: most of the boxes can be, with some trouble, disposed of without much consideration; but this event does mean that I need never see the far-off town evermore. British cities being what they are, this is excellent. I may detail some of the recovered books later; however this, and some continual intimations of chest trouble --- which susurration ironically has led to an annoying semi-cessation of smoking at the precise time when I have obtained a supply of Marlboros from the Philippines --- has extended a neglect of this minor blog. Even once one has taken Marcus Aurelius on board and recognised the unimportance of nearly everything transient, one still waits upon events, seeking a succession of resolutions... In the longer term, I still have no idea where to move finally even when most of these minor annoyances of storage for that move are fixed...
So, in lieu of an entry, I'll post a few links that have been hanging around in Firefox for weeks waiting for a mention.
I too have never heard of Anders Zorn ( splendid name, though ), and his figures of Scandanavian young womanhood seem slightly robust compared to the more familiar coming-of-age visualisations of the art-photographer David Hamilton later in the century --- I should confess a distaste for styled studio photography --- but I liked this more fugitive piece
The first Pre-Raphaelites no matter what the skill can also often be too strenuous, however here is the site of the Delaware Art Museum; and here is a site with some of Kate Greenaway's still more delicate works that betray at least a faint influence of Morris.
Here's a stray Lady Gouldian Finch in a blog; and here's a history of Lost Wax Casting by an expert.
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"What is life ? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset."Crowfoot
By now Americans via Roosevelt II are blamed for both Pearl Habor and Jap internment camps as if horrors right up at the top of the genocide contest; Pilgrim Fathers and white invaders of America are blamed for being immigrants [ in order to defend further unfettered life-changing immigration into the USA now, in a retarded mislogic ] and their successors blamed for having an empire now --- economic and military ruling through satrapies rather than direct rule.
Now, these are some people I severely despise: liberal, and puritan, and homo americanus alike, but... they were doing what they would do; they were acting fairly correctly: you have to do various unpleasant things in war; all land grabbing is founded on Wordsworth's Good Old Rule * -- we are all the sons of slaughter --- and at certain stages in a country's life it will become an empire --- if it is lucky...
FDR's possible sin over allegedly permitting Pearl Harbor was venial compared to the Japanese assaults on humanity during WWII ( I am not blaming the Japanese for making war here ), although incorrect as regards care for his own people: yet even there, after all, a president does not have the mutual obligation of a King to his subjects and should not be held to any high account; as for the nisei camps, they were paralleled by the nazi internment of jewish people as potential traitors ( and in that case worse as an economic slave-force ), but not comparable, although again the same republican defence can be made of the fuhrer: basically, there is no way Americans then could have been expected not to consider that Japanese-Americans would not all automatically refrain from acts meant to aid Japan; if the Americans committed their fair share of war-crimes as usual, they weren't as unpleasant occupiers as were the Japanese Imperial Army, and an easily panicked populace naturally did not want to experience the latter --- a repeat of Nanking in San Francisco or Los Angeles seemed a possibility at the time. Maybe the taking of the continent, and relentless expansion of population by the invaders, was rough on American Indians, but face it: they would not be any better off if the Japanese had invaded in the 16th century instead. And had during the first two centuries of post-columbian America the natives driven the invaders back into the sea they certainly would not be now bemoaning their ancestors' past brutalities and indulging in despicable self-guilt.
One of the troubles with the previous native occupation of the land is that the Native American Indian was an appallingly bad custodian of Mother Earth and had no respect for Nature. He destroyed animal life wantonly and without care for any future: wiping out entire species as efficiently as modern man manages with the far superior tools we have presently **, and set forests ablaze, incinerating the inhabitants, merely to attract meat-bearing animals to the ashy remainder. From the destruction of birds and animals in pre-California researched by Jack M. Broughton, "Depending on when and where you look back in time, native peoples were either living in harmony with nature or eating their way through a vast array of large-sized, attractive prey species." Early California: A Killing Field, to modern-day reservations with uncontrolled hunting rights, "Over the past 25 years Shoshones and Arapahoes, equipped with snowmobiles, ATV's and high-powered rifles, have virtually wiped out elk, deer, moose and bighorns on the 2.2 million-acre Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Repeated motions for modest self-regulation emanating from within the reservation have been defeated by vote of the tribal leaders.... [I]n one confined area 31 dead elk were found. In another, a retired Indian game warden mowed down an entire herd of 14. Meat piled up at local dumps. Antlers were exported to the Orient where antlers and horns are ground to a power and hawked as an aphrodisiac." Dances with Myths, the record of wasteful slaughter is as grim as Chinese bodycounts.
The whites finished the job of destroying the buffalo of course --- ironically in order as primary purpose to destroy the life and freedoms of the Indians who had massacred the buffalo so much --- yet if the mass executions by rifle were hideous, the previous methods were still more vile; particularly the Bison Jumps scattered throughout the continent. A favorite buffalo hunting technique was to stampede huge herds of them over cliffs. Many such Buffalo jump sites have been found in the West, some with remains of as many as 300,000 buffalo. The technique is detailed here.
From wiki, here is one little fellow galloping through the rare art of Eadweard Muybridge: watch him go !
Hungarian Bison mixing it [ or perhaps Aurochs ? ]
* "The creatures see of flood and field,
And those that travel on the wind !
With them no strife can last; they live
In peace, and peace of mind."
"For why ? --- because the good old rule
Sufficeth them, the simple plan,
That they should take, who have the power,
And they should keep who can."
William Wordsworth : Rob Roy's Grave
** Investigations into the fossil record and carbon dating techniques have shown that 80% of the North American animal population disappeared within 1000 years of the arrival of man.
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(Manners not Morals
, Self Writ
It is well that anti-racialists are so terrible, otherwise we might grow too fond of anti-racialism… However, the converse also applies, and the rancid rancour of those who incontinently attempt universal love mixed with private self-loathing is well-matched with the dubious pretensions of those who proclaim the excellence of their own race. Whenever a superlative standard such as ‘best’, or ‘better’ is involved the question, ‘better for what ?’ has to come into play… If not especially fond of races not my own this has to be balanced by the fact that I’m not massively in love with my own people, nor even with other related peoples whom I slightly prefer — the major faults of any race are so amazingly obvious.
In general, people prefer for all sorts of reasons, but mostly those of safety, to live in at least vaguely homogeneous neighbourhoods; the downside to that is a certain continuous increase in dullness. Be it understood that in this instance I am certainly not criticizing the area involved, and I’m sure that it has many splendid qualities which shall attract others, and their lives are as happy as can be expected in a vail of tears — although the predominant mix of Norwegian, Swede and German may induce that overpowering foreboding gloom characteristic of refined Nordics — just that it seems so depressingly wholesome, allied to the essential existentialism of American life, that some ( pointless ) rebellion might seem the only proper response…
Anyway, I found this in a eBay advertisement for one of those oddly flimsy looking American dwellings. It would be unfair to link to it, not merely because such things are even more transient than the lives of men, but because the seller had no wish nor notion of giving offence. It included details from the town’s website…
The residents and city officials of Maddock would like to extend an open invitation to come visit the peaceful, rural community of Maddock and experience small town hospitality at its finest. Maddock is rural North Dakota
* Rural North Dakota, where you still find children playing carefree outside and people that greet each other as they walk down the street
* Rural North Dakota, where there is plenty of fresh clean air and little or no crime.
* Rural North Dakota, where the pace of life is slower and the concept of helping one another still exists.
* Rural North Dakota, where a short drive in the county finds more wildlife, than oncoming traffic.
* Rural North Dakota, where your child doesn’t know everyone in their class…they know everyone in the school.
* Rural North Dakota, Where the loudest noise heard at night is the 10 o’clock whistle.
* Rural North Dakota, where the American dream of owning a home is still affordable.
What sets Maddock apart from rural North Dakota? Plenty!! In Maddock you will find all the benefits of rural North Dakota plus: beautiful parks, basketball courts, baseball diamonds, volleyball courts, a swimming pool, a nine-hole golf course, bowling lanes, and an internet café. Maddock is home to a 29,000 square foot event center, a 12,000 square foot state of the art business and technology center, and a multi-function community center.
Maddock has an active business district, boosting more businesses than many communities two or three times our size. We are proud to have Summers Manufacturing, an internationally know farm implement manufacturer, call Maddock home.
Is your passion outdoor recreation? The Maddock area is in the middle of the Central North American Flyway offering some of the best goose and duck hunting found. Each year millions of ducks and geese migrate through our area creating fantastic outings for the avid hunter. Maddock is in the heart of Benson County which offers some of North Dakota’s finest fishing for anglers. Like the ducks and geese, sportsman from around the nation migrate to our area each fall to experience not only our abundant hunting and fishing, but our outstanding hospitality and our fantastic way of life. Young or old, novice or pro, our area will prove to be more than just another trip, it will be an experience long remembered!
then, after the words Rural North Dakota have been so seared into the mind forever more, gave rather more gratuitous information that I found amusing:
Races in Maddock:
* White Non-Hispanic (99.4%)
Maddock, North Dakota is virtually made up of 100% Caucasian Race.
Statistically only 1 person in the entire city is not American or of European Descent.
First ancestries reported:
* Norwegian: 277
* German: 111
* Swedish: 12
* Other groups: 12
* Dutch: 11
* French (except Basque): 11
* Scottish: 11
* Scandinavian: 5
* English: 4
* Irish: 4
* United States or American: 4
* Danish: 3
* Slovene: 2
* Polish: 1
It is both poignant and puzzling to ponder on the statistical single person not of American nor European descent; but it’s weird to consider that Americans still base their advertisements on the promise of racial exclusion much as in Sinclair Lewis’s day. I can’t really give even the tiniest of flying fucks — less than the most fleeting fucks upon the wing of the two tiniest flying ducks winging away from Maddock in the autumn twilight if they have the faintest sense — about laughable issues as supposed equality or racial sensitivity which obsess petty minds; but it seems so obnoxiously damn ill-bred…
I had a choice here for the illustration: one for the holocaust of shot birds; and one for the ethnic make-up ( which is, I repeat, in no way a bad thing per se: but, uh, dull ), so here are both:
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Lingering self-respect has oftimes preserved me --- 'gainst all temptations --- from the more egregious effects of the zeitgeist of sentimentality: a modest pride holds in that I have never ever seen either It's A Wonderful Life or The Wizard Of Oz, f'rinstance. Now, Upton Sinclair was a notable story-teller, but a Hemingwayesquely poor writer --- 'What other culture could have produced someone like Hemingway and not seen the joke ?' as Gore Vidal wrote of his native land --- and his themes here are rather trite; bad capitalists... bad religion... exploiters... the family saga genre... so it's rather unlikely I shall bother to watch There Will Be Blood. Having a nearly all-male crew probably clinches it --- single sex movies suck as much as single sex communities... However the title is awfully good --- especially considering the vast importance of titling and it's common neglect --- so I tried to find from whence it came.
The Boston Globe attributed it to Byron:
Tears Like Mist
It makes good on the film's title, which may be taken from Lord Byron. "The king-times are fast finishing," he said. "There will be blood shed like water, and tears like mist. But the peoples will conquer in the end. I shall not live to see it, but I foresee it."
This is pretty painful stuff even for Byron, who ever veered precariously betwixt plodding doggerel and occasionally splendid fustian, and rarely hit the rocks of glorious lyricism. And as with Marx --- But Hubbard’s superb record for inaccuracy of statement clouded any of his positive remarks with a fog of doubt. to quote Stewart H. Holbrook on a notable capitalist of the latter's era --- it's not easy to ascertain the finished construct of the promised Paradise: presumably it will include peace, love, harmony, compulsory gender and racial equality, an incredible amount of daily uplift though one way communication, and a total absence of thought. Or, let us say, no class whatsoever.
Fortunately though, the probably ever-reliable China Daily gave the definitive origin:
Smite The Waters
The film's resonantly Old Testament title comes from the seventh chapter of Exodus where God, via Moses, orders Aaron to smite the waters so that "they may become blood; and that there may be blood throughout all the land of Egypt". In the context of the film this biblical blood is oil, the contaminating element dealt in by its forceful central character.
The Bible is so beautiful...
[sarc] And God said, "Let there be Blood." [/sarc].
More importantly, a link from the China Daily went on to better news; in Düsseldorf the police are equipping their dogs with shoes.
Small, Medium And Large
"All 20 of our police dogs -- German and Belgian shepherds -- are currently being trained to walk in these shoes," Andre Hartwich said. "I'm not sure they like it, but they'll have to get used to it."
The unusual footwear is not a fashion statement, Hartwich said, but rather a necessity due to the high rate of paw injuries on duty. Especially in the city's historical old town -- famous for both its pubs and drunken revelers -- the dogs often step into broken beer bottles.
"Even the street-cleaning doesn't manage to remove all the glass pieces from between the streets' cobble stones," Hartwich said, adding that the dogs frequently get injured by little pieces sticking deep in their paws.
The dogs will start wearing the shoes this spring but only during operations that demand special foot protection. The shoes comes in sizes small, medium and large and were ordered in blue to match the officers uniforms, Hartwich said.
It's rarely one sees police-dogs in Great Britain --- nearly as rarely as police-horses --- but I hope they institute it here: broken glass on the streets, however, is not rare at all. [ If randomly picking up shards, I've found that one hand can hold a dozen of any size, but not more; and of course, one can only fill one hand... ]
I was born in Düsseldorf, and that is why they call me Rolf...
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Manstein ordered a signal to be sent back: "Withdrawal must be stopped at once."
But the signal no longer got through. Corps headquarters did not reply any more. Count Sponeck had already had his wireless station dismantled. It was the first instance of a commanding general's disobedience since the beginning of the campaign in the East. It was a symptomatic case, involving fundamental principles. Lieutenant-General Hans Count von Sponeck, the scion of a Düsseldorf family of regular officers, born in 1888, formerly an officer in the Imperial Guards, was a man of great personal courage and an excellent commander in the field. While commanding the famous 22nd Airborne Division, which in 1940 captured the "fortress of Holland" with a bold stroke, he had earned for himself the Knights Cross in the Western campaign. Subsequently, as the commander of 22nd Infantry Division, into which the Airborne Division had been converted, he also distinguished himself by outstanding gallantry during the crossing of the Dnieper.
The significance of the affair lay in the fact that Count Sponeck was the first commanding general on the Eastern Front who, when the attack of two Soviet Armies against a single German division faced him with the alternatives of hanging on and being wiped out or withdrawing, refused to choose the former alternative. He reacted to the Soviet threat not in accordance with Hitlerite principles of leadership, but according to the principles of his Prussian General Staff upbringing. This demanded of a commanding officer that he should judge each situation accurately and dispassionately, react to it flexibly, and not allow his troops to be slaughtered unless there was some compelling and inescapable reason for it. Sponeck saw no such reason.
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, Other Writ
Not merely because that year was a turning point, making a far truer start to the 20th century than 1901: the publication of 'Three Men in a Boat' in 1888 signalled a sea-change in literature: writing became more accessible --- unlike, say, Scott --- and humour became actual --- unlike, say, Dickens.
However, this is from Jerome K. Jerome's autobiography, which I found in a bookshop in Canterbury maybe five years back: it seems intensely rare... He began as a Cromwellian, and ended up as a socialist, but was generally agreeable. In this passage there is a really perfect joke; but it's only gonna be accessible to those teutonophiles who are at least vaguely acquainted with America's less than optimal entry into the Great War.
I cannot help fancying that London was a cosier place to dwell in, when I was a young man. For one thing, it was less crowded. Life was not one everlasting scrimmage. There was time for self-respect, for courtesy. For another thing, one got out of it quicker. On summer afternoons, four-horse brakes would set out for Barnet, Esher Woods, Chingford and Hampton Court. One takes now the motor 'bus, and goes further; but it is through endless miles of brick and mortar. And at the end, one is but in another crowd. Forty years ago, one passed by fields and leafy ways, and came to pleasant tea gardens, with bowling greens, and birds, and lovers' lanes.
Of a night time, threepenny 'buses took us to Cremorne Gardens, where bands played, and we, danced and supped under a thousand twinkling lights. Or one walked there through the village of Chelsea, past the old wooden bridge. Battersea Park was in the making, and farm lands came down to the water's edge. The ladies may not all have been as good as they were beautiful; but somehow the open sky and the flowing river took the sordidness away. Under the trees and down the flower-bordered paths, it was possible to imagine the shadow of Romance. The Argyll Rooms, Evans' and others were more commonplace. But even so, they were more human --- less brutal than our present orgy of the streets. Fashion sipped its tea, and stayed to dinner, at the lordly "Star & Garter," and drove home in phaeton or high dog-cart across Richmond Park and Putney Heath. The river was a crowded highway. One went by steamer to "The Ship" at Greenwich, for its famous fish dinner, with Mouton Rothschild at eight and six the bottle. Or further on, to "The Falcon" at Gravesend, where the long dining-room looked out upon the river, and one watched the ships passing silently upon the evening tide. On Sundays, for half a crown, one travelled to Southend and back. Unlimited tea was served on board, with shrimps and watercress, for ninepence. We lads had not spent much money on our lunch, but the fat stewardess would only laugh as she brought us another pile of thick-cut bread and butter. I was on the "Princess Alice" on her last completed voyage. She went down the following Sunday, and nearly every soul on board was drowned. So, also, I was on the last complete voyage the "Lusitania" made from New York. They would not let us land at Liverpool, but made us anchor at the mouth of the Mersey, and took us off in tugs. We were loaded up to the water line with ammunition. "Agricultural Machinery," I think it was labelled. Penny gaffs were common. They were the Repertory Theatre of the period. One sat on benches and ate whelks and fried potatoes and drank beer. "Sweeney Todd, the Barber of Fleet Street," was always a great draw, though "Maria Martin, or The Murder in the Red Barn," ran it close. "Hamlet," cut down to three-quarters of an hour, and consisting chiefly of broad-sword combats, was also popular. Prize fights took place on Hackney marshes, generally on Sunday morning; and foot-pads lurked on Hampstead Heath. Theatre patrons had no cause to complain of scanty measure. The programme lasted generally from six till twelve. It began with a farce, included a drama and an opera, and ended up with a burlesque. After nine o'clock, half prices were charged for admission. At most of the bridges one paid toll. Waterloo was the cheapest. Foot passengers there were charged only a halfpenny. It came to be known as the Scotchman's bridge. The traditional Scotchman, on a visit to a friend in London, was supposed to have been taken everywhere and treated. Coming to Waterloo Bridge, his host put his hand in his pocket, as usual, to draw out the required penny. The Scotchman with a fine gesture stepped in front of him. "My turn," said the Scotchman. Before the Aerated Bread Company came along, there were only three places in London, so far as I can remember, where a cup of tea could be obtained : one in St. Paul's Churchyard, another in the Strand called the Bun Shop, and the third in Regent Street at the end of the Quadrant. It was the same in New York when I first went there. I offered to make Charles Frohman's fortune for him. My idea was that he should put down five thousand dollars, and that we should start tea shops, beginning in Fifth Avenue.
Jerome K. Jerome : My Life and Times
Joseph Mallord William Turner - Nocturne : Moonlight
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Not many weeks later, committing the charge and defence of his capital to Ooryphas, the Prefect, Michael again set forth to invade the Caliph's dominions. But even, as it would seem, before he reached the frontier, he was recalled ( in June ) by the alarming news that the Russians had attacked Constantinople. When the danger had passed, he started again for the East, to encounter Omar, the Emir of Melitene, who had in the meantime taken the field. Michael marched along the great high-road which leads to the Upper Euphrates by Ancyra and Sebastea. Having passed Gaziura, he encamped in the plain of Dazimon, where Afshin had inflicted on his father an overwhelming defeat. Here he awaited the approach of the Emir, who was near at hand, advancing, as we may with certainty assume, from Sebastea.
An enemy marching by this road, against Amasea, had the choice of two ways. He might proceed northward to Dazimon and then westward by Gaziura; or he might turn westward at Verisa ( Bolous ) and reach Amasea by Sebastopolis ( Sulu-serai ) and Zela. On this occasion the first route was barred by the Roman army, which lay near the strong fortress of Dazimon, and could not be advantageously attacked on this side. It would have been possible for Omar, following the second route, to have reached Gaziura from Zela, and entered the plain of Dazimon from the west. But he preferred a bolder course, which surprised the Greeks, who acknowledged his strategic ability. Leaving the Zela road, a little to the west of Verisa, he led his forces northward across the hills ( Ak-Dagh ), and descending into the Dazimon plain occupied a favourable position at Chonarion, not far from the Greek camp. The battle which ensued resulted in a rout of the Imperial army, and Michael sought a refuge on the summit of the same steep hill of Anzên which marked the scene of his father's defeat. Here he was besieged for some hours, but want of water and pasture induced the Emir to withdraw his forces.
It is possible that the victorious general followed up his success by advancing as far as Sinope. But three years later, Omar revisited the same regions, devastated the Armeniac Theme, and reached the coast of the Euxine ( A.D. 863 ). His plan seems to have been to march right across the centre of Asia Minor and return to Saracen territory by the Pass of the Cilician Gates. He took and sacked the city of Amisus ( Samsun ), and the impression which the unaccustomed appearance of an enemy on that coast made upon the inhabitants was reflected in the resuscitation of an ancient legend. Omar, furious that the sea set a bound to his northern advance, was said, like Xerxes, to have scourged the waves. The Emperor appointed his uncle Petronas, who was still stratêgos of the Thrakesian Theme, to the supreme command of the army ; and not only all the troops of Asia, but the armies of Thrace and Macedonia, and the Tagmatic regiments, were placed at his disposal. When Omar heard at Amisus of the preparations which were afoot, he was advised by his officers to retire by the way he had come. But he determined to carry out his original plan, and setting out from Amisus in August, he chose a route which would lead him by the west bank of the Halys to Tyana and Podandos. The object of Petronas was now to intercept him. Though the obscure localities named in the chronicles have not been identified, the general data suggest the conclusion that it was between LakeTatta and the Halys that he decided to surround the foe. The troops of the Armeniac, Bukellarian, Paphlagonian, and Kolonean Themes converged upon the north, after Omar had passed Ancyra. The Anatolic, Opsikian, and Cappadocian armies, reinforced by the troops of Seleucia and Charsianon, gathered on the south and south-east ; while Petronas himself, with the Tagmata, the Thracians, and Macedonians, as well as his own Thrakesians, appeared on the west of the enemy's line of march. A hill separated Petronas from the Saracen camp, and he was successful in a struggle to occupy the height. Omar was caught in a trap. Finding it impossible to escape to the north or to the south, he attacked Petronas, who held his ground. Then the generals of the northern and southern armies closed in, and the Saracen forces were almost annihilated. Omar himself fell. His son escaped across the Halys, but was caught by the turmarch of Charsianon. The victory of Poson ( such was the name of the place ), and the death of one of the ablest Moslem generals were a compensation for the defeat of Chonarion. Petronas was rewarded by receiving the high post of the Domestic of the Schools, and the order of magister. Strains of triumph at a victory so signal resounded in the Hippodrome, and a special chant celebrated the death of the Emir on the field of battle, a rare occurrence in the annals of the warfare with the Moslems.
J. B. Bury : A History of the Eastern Roman Empire --- A.D. 802 - 867
"Glory to God who shatters our enemies ! Glory to God who has destroyed the godless ! Glory to God the author of victory ! Glory to God who crowned thee, O lord of the earth ! Hail, Lord, felicity of the Romans ! Hail, Lord, valour of thy army ! Hail, Lord, by whom --- Omar --- was laid low ! Hail, Lord --- Michael ---, destroyer ! God will keep thee in the purple, for the honour and raising up of the Romans, along with the honourable Augustae --- Eudocia, Theodora, Thecla --- in the purple. God will hearken to your people !" Ceremonial Book
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A few years ago an Italian friend of mine travelled by train from Boston to Providence. She had only been in America for a couple weeks and hadn’t seen much of the country yet. She arrived looking astonished. “It’s so ugly !”
People from other rich countries can scarcely imagine the squalor of the man-made bits of America. In travel books they show you mostly natural environments: the Grand Canyon, whitewater rafting, horses in a field. If you see pictures with man-made things in them, it will be either a view of the New York skyline shot from a discreet distance, or a carefully cropped image of a seacoast town in Maine.
How can it be, visitors must wonder. How can the richest country in the world look like this ?
Attempting to find via Google — an increasingly futile exercise — why the USA, which has so many marvellous resources, and so much ( misdirected ) energies, should have created rather awful urban and rural landscapes, James Howard Kunstler seems to have as much of the truth as the article in the first quote. Certainly the author over-romanticises, say the British experience, yet our countryside, both rural and wild, will still retain some beauty awhile. For naturally the rest of the world has ugliness too, and increasing with both population rises and the copying of the American and soviet models for humanity; yet it is the contrast between the vast wealth — which of course mostly ends up with the money-chosen elites — and the reality which makes America ever more depressing yet. Inevitable destruction is one thing, but still better played out before a noble and harmonious backdrop; anomie is one thing more, but still I should prefer to be alienated from a civilisation I could respect rather than the trite horror of the endgame of the last few centuries.
“Eighty percent of everything ever built in America has been built in the last 50 years, and most of it is depressing, brutal, ugly, unhealthy and spiritually degrading: the jive-plastic commuter tract home wastelands, the Potemkin village shopping plazas with their vast parking lagoons, the Lego-block hotel complexes, the ‘gourmet mansardic’ junk-food joints, the Orwellian office ‘parks’ featuring buildings sheathed in the same reflective glass as the sunglasses worn by chain-gang guards, the particle-board garden apartments rising up in every meadow and cornfield, the freeway loops around every big and little city with their clusters of discount merchandise marts, the whole destructive, wasteful, toxic, agoraphobia-inducing spectacle that politicians proudly call ‘growth.’ [ Book: The Geography of Nowhere ]”
With very few exceptions, our cities are hollowed out ruins. Our towns have committed ritualized suicide in thrall to the WalMart God. Most Americans live in suburban habitats that are isolating, disaggregated, and neurologically punishing, and from which every last human quality unrelated to shopping convenience and personal hygiene has been expunged. We live in places where virtually no activity or service can be accessed without driving a car, and the (usually solo) journey past horrifying vistas of on-ramps and off-ramps offers no chance of a social encounter along the way. Our suburban environments have by definition destroyed the transition between the urban habitat and the rural hinterlands. In other words, we can’t walk out of town into the countryside anywhere. Our “homes,” as we have taken to calling mere mass-produced vinyl boxes at the prompting of the realtors, exist in settings leached of meaningful public space or connection to civic amenity, with all activity focused inward to the canned entertainments piped into giant receivers – where the children in particular sprawl in masturbatory trances, fondling joysticks and keyboards, engorged on Cheez Doodles and taco chips. Big and Blue in the USA
A talk by Mr. Kunstler on The Tragedy of Suburbia at Ted Talks : Mp4 video
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I could not finish the book, and even the rather stagy film showed the good doctor to be modelled on the faint-hearted spirit of his creator --- only a fool provokes tyrants : only a craven fears them --- and yet... at school I whistled this theme each lunchtime. Unfortunately, whilst Cheltenham looks a bit better in places than most English towns, it didn't look anything like this...
Not that most ex-soviet housing areas do either. Lara's Theme
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It was easier to see what was happening if you were a visitor from a less frantically prospering land. J. B. Priestley, affronted by the impact of Texas on his English prejudices in 1954, described the ugly results with pungency in Journey Down A Rainbow. He summed up the system of increasing productivity plus high-pressure advertising and salesmanship, plus mass communications, in the word Admass --- 'the creation of the mass mind, the mass man.' One of the characteristics of Admass was the uniformity of the food on offer. 'If a good Admass man does not order a steak, either he is not hungry or he can't afford the price.' Between Fort Worth and Dallas he found the nomads wandering from motel to motel, 'the tuneless gipsies of the machine age', along roads lined with trailer courts, gas stations, second-hand car dealers, supermarkets, drive-in banks, movie theatres and restaurants, all serving the same food, movies, television, songs and cigarettes. 'It offers movement without any essential change,' he wrote, 'It is a street three thousand miles long. You burn 150 gallons of gasoline to arrive nowhere.' This pattern of life was being copied in Britain and all over the motorized world with greater or less fidelity.
Priestley's warning was that it was essentially a cheat. It did not offer more choice but less than there was before. The freedom to wander at will is illusory if all fhe destinations are indistinguishable. 'The people who live there are dissatisfied, restless and bitter,' he warned, 'Especially the women --- still girls in a mining camp'. It may be unfair to picture the horrors of Texas as if they are worse than the horrors of industrial Britain. The motel-supermarket-hamburger civilization has now been superimposed on what was left of nineteenth-century towns, and has further worn down the differences between one region and the next.
Peter Lewis : The 50s
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For the first time in ages, rain was bucketing down this morning — since sadly, and contrary to forecast, having stopped — I had to go and purchase electricity, and so went to Hadleigh, discovering another new useless métier in that driving through heavy rain is sheer delight, giving some purpose to the mindless activity… This meant going through tiny twisting lanes generally at 30mph since families of pheasants wander, devoted to kamikazi tactics — most motorists here aver that pheasants and partridges are the most stupid of all birdlife when confronted by cars, but this seems as deeply incomprehensible as most human assertions: they are goddamned pheasants after all; one can’t expect them to spend their rather short lives until shot or with wrung neck studying motor mechanics.
Anyway, en route I saw signs, and so discovered St. James’ Chapel, and took a few quick snapshots. It’s an absolutely perfect little building.
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, Other Writ
Usually, however, the Dutch were practical in their naming, and like the Indians considered that the various parts of the river should have secure names even if the whole did not. To a boatman the stream could be simply "The River," but he needed terms for every section, to locate himself, or give directions, or to gossip about past voyages. In the very first years, before 1625, the skippers named every reach and point, so that still along that river men say names ending in rack and hook, like Claverack, "Clover Reach."
With the Indian names the Dutch did as all the others had done, making the words over to be more like their own language. So arose Hackensack, and Poughkeepsie, and Scheaenhechstede ( which became Schenectady ) looking enough like Dutch to deceive an Englishman.
With Hopoakan-hacking the Dutch went even further. This was a place across the river from Manhattan, meaning in the local dialect "at the place of the tobacco-pipe." But Hopoakan sounded like the name of a village in Flanders, and there were also Dutch people of the name, one of whom came to New Netherland as a schoolmaster. So the name soon came to be, and remained --- Hoboken.
With their towns and villages the men of New Netherland followed no system. Often they used names from the old country, as with their chief settlement, New Amsterdam. So they also transplanted Breukelyn, Vlissingen, and Haerlem.
Sometimes the name arose from the landholder. One settler was Jonas Bronck, a Dane, who had a farm just north of Manhattan. From him men came to speak of Bronck's River. Also apparently they said "the Broncks," as men say in English "the Smiths," meaning where the Smiths live, and so came the Bronx.
Still a little farther north was the settlement known officially as Colen Donck, "Donck's Colony." But this Adriaen van der Donck bore a courtesy title "Jonkheer," meaning about the same as "Squire." By that title his tenants usually addressed him; before long they began to call Colen Donck merely "the Jonkheer's," and so came Yonkers.
In later years there grew up a legend that these early Dutch were dull-witted and ox-like, notable mainly for baggy trousers. But more truly those first Dutch were as wild a crew as any that ever landed in Virginia, and they looked upon the New Englanders as parson-ridden snivelers with no appreciation of rum or a bawdy song or an Indian wench. Their word gat which they used so freely for "channel" or "passage," meant also "hole" in its most derogatory sense, so that a map of New Netherland must have impressed a contemporary Hollander as of a peculiar pungency. They named a Hoeren Eiland in the Fresh River, and a Hoeren Kill on South River. A tradition is preserved about the naming of the latter, and though it may not be wholly correct, it shows what the next generation thought a likely story:
These men or traders came ashore with their goods, where they traded with the Indians and frequenting so much with the Indian women, till they got the country duties, otherwise called the pox, and so they named that place Whore-kill, that is in English the Whores' Creek.
This writer told also of another name on the South River:
remembering ( I suppose) how they had been served at the Whore-Kill, they went some ten or twelve miles higher, where they landed again and traded with the Indians, trusting the Indians to come into their stores ashore, and likewise aboard of their sloop drinking and debauching with the Indians till they were all at last barbarously murdered, and so that place was christened with their blood and to this day is called the Murderer-kill, that is, Murderers Creek.
And so to this day also there is on that coast a stream called Murderkill River.
George R. Stewart : Names on the Land 
Ælbert Cuyp --- Countryside beside the Rhine Cows in Pasture [c. 1650]
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These important changes in the social role of women ought to be considered alongside the 1978 amendments to the Code of Personal Status introduced by the Ba˘th. The preamble states that the new code is based on “the principles of the Islamic shari˘a [ Islamic law ], but only those that are suited to the spirit of today.” The break with tradition as it affected women occurred in two important areas: first, authority was given to a state-appointed judge to overrule the wishes of the father in the case of early marriages; second, the new legislation nullified forced marriages and severely curtailed the traditional panoply of rights held over women by the men of the larger kinship group ( uncles, cousins, and so on ). The intent of the legislation as a whole was to diminish the power of the patriarchal family, and separate out the nuclear family from the larger kinship group whose hold over the lives of women was considerably weakened.
In general, wherever women were clearly being involved in new areas of decision making, these were explicitly formulated as pertaining somehow to their sex ( not their individual personhood ) and simultaneously “politicized” to a remarkably unnecessary extent. The only way in which the “popular committees” could function is as pressuring agencies, forcing couples to conform to whatever outcome the party line deemed suitable. The facts of the case, the letter of the law, and the “rights” of everyone concerned are shunted aside in such arrangements. In addition whenever traditional male rights over women were weakened or abolished, the state adopted this role, acting “on behalf of” the female sex, not upgrading the status of women as individuals who were being discriminated against because of their sex.
The Ba˘thi measures must not be exaggerated. No social group, least of all Iraqi women, was exerting pressure on them. But by choosing a particular “style” of legislating on this issue, they reveal how they think when not being boxed into a corner by the “contradictory demands of modernization and development and those of ‘cultural authenticity.’”
Ba˘thist ideals, tied up as they are with the Ba˘thist view of the Islamic experience, provide the ultimate source of authority and the final test for what is justified. Even the power of the Leader is derivative from these ideals, and all sources of authority outside them threaten the Ba˘th. It rankles to have fathers, brothers, uncles, and cousins, all lined up to exert varying degrees of real power and control over half of the Iraqi population. Thus, if a new loyalty to the Leader, the party, and the state is to form, women must be “freed” from the loyalties that traditionally bound them to their husbands and male kin. This was the essential purpose of the 1978 legislation on Personal Status, which diminished the power of the patriarchal family. Therefore, women, ( like children, as we have seen ) gain somewhat in status in relation to these particular groups of men, only what they must lose in freedom to the Ba˘th. Politically, the appropriate imagery is once again that provided by Saddam Husain of the child informer.
Samir Al-Khalil : Republic of Fear — Saddam’s Iraq
Actually, the Invasion, and imperialist imposition of a new regime over there has rather nullified most of the Ba'athist sexual equality measures, leading to the restoration of the traditional opportunities for muslim women. The joy of the above passages relate to the fact that feminism, like other ploys, was merely a means for the revolutionary state to shatter opposition and tighten control. As has happened here also.
Whether either Saddam's pro-feminism or the new lot's older ways were better should be regarded as a deep question, involving the various alleged rights of plenty of differing and utterly disparate groups; the rights of imperialist conquest; the rights of indigenous peoples; questions of religion and questions of culture, that can best be answered by 'Meh, who cares ?'
Nonetheless, the sort of people who go around looking wise, and pontificating: 'Only Time will provide an answer.' are in rare luck.
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Although uninterested in automobiles, I'm terribly fond of my little Pajero, 'Baby', as I call her without the faintest trace of mawkishness. Certainly she may lack a dainty grace, but she could go through a large crowd of people in 10 seconds. She looks like this ( except goldish champagne ):
Yesterday I went to the dentist in Ipswich keeping a wary eye out for cop-cars; keeping to the correct mileage to the sulphurous annoyance of the drivers behind; and inter alia running a red light unnoticed. After picking up some more boxes from the garage, glancing without pleasure at the rest to be moved --- since we've not really had a summer the cold and wet inculcates mould ---- I left Baby in a multi-story since cars there attract less attention than on the road. Unfortunately there were a couple of hours to kill, and this not merely reinforced my distaste for a place where I had been far too often, but emphasised how further along the road to booklessness towns are on. Two books only could I buy: of thousands of books most were modern trash, and the rest either uninteresting or read. On my own road to perdition, it shewed that I have, on most subjects, read as much as I shall ever want to. And of the few types of books I still do want to read, these are unobtainable in shops... Which is one form of defeat.
Still, and this is more a subject for a separate paper, Defeat is illusory --- as much as is Victory --- vital, and necessitous. It is not only part of the human condition, but the major part; and is far more enriching than the equally temporary feat of victory. Apart from the fact that without defeat we could no longer fight ---- I have never heard of any commander who, lying, didn't proclaim the ultimate aim was universal peace; peace on their terms no doubt, but boring deadly peace nonetheless --- it may not be the lostness of lost causes that is the potent attraction, but that those causes being more correct than others were bound to lose, and gain a shining aura in the process. The Prussians were powerfully beaten at Jena, but their fighting there should be as cherished as that in any of their victories. And... in Valhalla both victors and defeated are created anew to battle the next day...
On the other hand, for a future post on Himmelstürmers, I came across this related page on the new GMC Yukons with pop-up Gatlings, and I can honestly say that if I ever wanted another SUV than my sweet Baby, it would be one of these. The Prussians could have used one at Jena; and it would be useful if I ever visited Jena, Louisiana.
The locals seemed friendly...
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, Self Writ
Ocktoberfest is upon us --- begun in commemoration of the nuptials of that prince who was to be crowned Ludwig I, as fully interesting a monarch as Ludwig II, as not only did he disdain Napoleon; give a fifth of his income to people in want; and introduce the Athenic ideal into the composition of München, but had an excellent affair with the charming, but tiresome Lola.
Ludwig I Lola Montez
Since my King, the present Head of the House of Stuart, is also Head of the House of Wittelsbach, I feel drawn to this event; yet I'm guessing that the entire dislike of beer might be rather a drawback.
[ More available at the site above. ]
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The most poignant pain is reserved for that which we have lost --- I'm gonna merely assume that the word derives from poignard for this truly is the stiletto that never ceases mincing the instantly reconstituted aorta and ventricle chambers.
Aged about 9 I lost on a train my Edwardian copy of Olaf The Glorious; I could get a modern reprint, but I've never since seen an original despite spending my life in second-hand bookshops, and asking for it most times. Similiarly, I may, or may not, have lost my copy of Fortescue ( by I think, Sinclair Gaudie and Harold Lamb ) a spoof of mid-victoriana.
Of particular note was the eponymous hero's descent into --- very comparative --- vice in attending a Judge & Jury show presided over by the genial Renton Nicholson at the Coal Hole in the Strand ( and also at the Cider Cellars in Covent Garden ) Eheu Fugaces, this was when London still had interesting things to do... A Gabs Ray site can explain a little of the show; plus there's a puritanic view of the end here. Even Thomas Hardy cheered himself up there. Nicholson was also a writer; here's a story of his, The Actor's Tale, from HorrorMasters * although it's not horror.
A few times I used to bulk up my C.V. with working at Renton Nicholson's, Strand, London. It does sound like any firm one can imagine, and it was a surety few hiring morons would make any connection.
* As a child I was often rather terrified each night; and as a child I read deeply of this kind of Victorian junk on ghosts etc.. It is possible the two facts may be intimately related... ( particularly the one about a nun's visiting skeleton being shattered, and coming back as individual bones reconstituting at the end of the bed. )
Archibald S. Henning --- The Judge and Jury Society in the Cider Cellar
Wednesday went to Layer Marney Tower in Essex. Unfinished start of a palatial building. Many animals. Early Tudor is always the most comfortable style of architecture.
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