Les Aventures de Tintin
"...I'd like to meet his Tailor..."
To the citizens of the United States of America, in the light of
your failure to elect a competent President of the USA and thus to
govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your
independence, effective today.
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical
duties over all states, commonwealths and other territories.
Except Utah, which she does not fancy.
Your new Prime Minister (The Right Honourable Tony Blair, MP for the
97.85% of you who have until now been unaware that there is a world
outside your borders) will appoint a Minister for America without
the need for further elections.
Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.
A questionnaire will be circulated next year to determine whether
any of you noticed. To aid in the transition to a British Crown
Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate
1. You should look up "revocation" in the Oxford English Dictionary.
Then look up "aluminium." Check the pronunciation guide. You will be
amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.
The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'favour' and
'neighbour'; skipping the letter 'U' is nothing more than laziness
on your part. Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without
skipping half the letters.
You will end your love affair with the letter 'Z' (pronounced 'zed'
not 'zee') and the suffix "ize" will be replaced by the suffix "ise."
You will learn that the suffix 'burgh' is pronounced 'burra' e.g.
Edinburgh. You are welcome to re-spell Pittsburgh as 'Pittsberg' if
you can't cope with correct pronunciation.
Generally, you should raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels.
Look up "vocabulary." Using the same thirty seven words interspersed
with filler noises such as "uhh", "like", and "you know" is an
unacceptable and inefficient form of communication.
Look up "interspersed."
There will be no more 'bleeps' in the Jerry Springer show. If you're
not old enough to cope with bad language then you shouldn't have
chat shows. When you learn to develop your vocabulary, then you
won't have to use bad language as often.
2. There is no such thing as "US English." We will let Microsoft
know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to
take account of the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of "-ize."
3. You should learn to distinguish the English and Australian accents.
It really isn't that hard. English accents are not limited to
cockney, upper-class twit or Mancunian (Daphne in Frasier).
You will also have to learn how to understand regional accents ---
Scottish dramas such as "Taggart" will no longer be broadcast with
While we're talking about regions, you must learn that there is no
such place as Devonshire in England. The name of the county is
"Devon." If you persist in calling it Devonshire, all American
States will become "shires" e.g. Texasshire, Floridashire,
4. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as
the good guys. Hollywood will be required to cast English actors to
play English characters.
British sit-coms such as "Men Behaving Badly" or "Red Dwarf" will
not be re-cast and watered down for a wishy-washy American audience
who can't cope with the humour of occasional political incorrectness.
5. You should relearn your original national anthem, "God Save The
Queen", but only after fully carrying out task 1. We would not want
you to get confused and give up half way through.
6. You should stop playing American "football." There is only one
kind of football. What you refer to as American "football" is not a
very good game.
The 2.15% of you who are aware that there is a world outside your
borders may have noticed that no one else plays "American" football.
You will no longer be allowed to play it, and should instead play
Initially, it would be best if you played with the girls. It is a
difficult game. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed
to play rugby (which is similar to American "football", but does not
involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full
kevlar body armour like nancies).
We are hoping to get together at least a US Rugby sevens side by
You should stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an
event called the 'World Series' for a game which is not played
outside of America. Since only 2.15% of you are aware that there is
a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. Instead
of baseball, you will be allowed to play a girls' game called
"rounders," which is baseball without fancy team strip, oversized
gloves, collector cards or hotdogs.
7. You will no longer be allowed to own or carry guns. You will no
longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous in public
than a vegetable peeler. Because we don't believe you are sensible
enough to handle potentially dangerous items, you will require a
permit if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
8. July 4th is no longer a public holiday. November 2nd will be a
new national holiday, but only in England. It will be called
9. All American cars are hereby banned. They are crap, and it is for
your own good. When we show you German cars, you will understand
what we mean.
All road intersections will be replaced with roundabouts. You will
start driving on the left with immediate effect. At the same time,
you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of
conversion tables. Roundabouts and metrication will help you
understand the British sense of humour.
10. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call
'French fries' are not real chips. Fries aren't even French, they
are Belgian though 97.85% of you (including the guy who discovered
fries while in Europe) are not aware of a country called Belgium.
Those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called
"crisps." Real chips are thick cut and fried in animal fat. The
traditional accompaniment to chips is beer which should be served
warm and flat.
Waitresses will be trained to be more aggressive with customers.
11. As a sign of penance 5 grams of sea salt per cup will be added
to all tea made within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this
quantity to be doubled for tea made within the city of Boston itself.
12. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling "beer" is not
actually beer at all, it is lager. From November 1st only proper
British Bitter will be referred to as "beer," and European brews of
known and accepted provenance will be referred to as "Lager." The
substances formerly known as "American Beer" will henceforth be
referred to as "Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine," with the exception of the
product of the American Budweiser company whose product will be
referred to as "Weak Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine." This will allow true
Budweiser (as manufactured for the last 1000 years in the Czech
Republic) to be sold without risk of confusion.
13. >From November 10th the UK will harmonise petrol (or "gasoline,"
as you will be permitted to keep calling it until April 1st 2005)
prices with the former USA. The UK will harmonise its prices to
those of the former USA and the Former USA will, in return, adopt UK
petrol prices (roughly $6/US gallon -- get used to it).
14. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns,
lawyers or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and
therapists shows that you're not adult enough to be independent.
Guns should only be handled by adults. If you're not adult enough to
sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist,
then you're not grown up enough to handle a gun.
15. Please tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us crazy.
16. Tax collectors from Her Majesty's Government will be with you
shortly to ensure the acquisition of all revenues due (backdated to 1776).
Thank you for your co-operation.
"...My grandfather was born in 1888 and he didn't have a lifestyle. He didn't need one: he had a life.
He had a hat and a car and a wife and two sons and a housekeeper and a maid and a nanny for the children, and the housekeeper had a dog and the dog had a canker and lived in a kennel.
My grandfather read Charles Dickens mostly. Sometimes they went on holiday. His house was furnished with furniture.
There were some exotic things in it, brought back from exotic places. The most exotic things were African carvings and Benares brassware. The African carving had been brought back from a war, possibly the Boer one.
The brassware was brought back from Benares by my grand-father's friend Dr Chand, who lived next door but was a Brahmin from Benares.
Dr Chand didn't have a lifestyle either. Nobody had a lifestyle then, because there was nobody to tell them to, and anyway they were too busy having lives.
They were grown-ups. They went about their business. In my grandfather's case, it was seeing patients and making them better, where possible. In Dr Chand's case, it was the same, because he was a doctor too.
I suspect that my grandfather's life was real in a sense that my father's life hasn't quite been, and my life is not at all.
The crucial difference is my grandfather's lack of self-consciousness, and that self-consciousness is a hallmark of the perpetual, infantilised adolescents we have all become, monsters of introspection hovering twitchily on the edge of self-obsession, occasionally aware that the life that exists only to be examined is barely manageable; barely, indeed, a life.
It is a preparation for a life. The consistently introspective life of the Big Baby is as much a simulacrum as life on Big Brother.
To keep the simulacrum going we need help. And we need that help because that help is available.
It's the old paradox. We need distraction from our fragmented and solitary lives because the distractions available to us have rendered our lives fragmented and solitary.
And we need lifestyle advice from magazines and websites and newspaper supplements and health advisers and personal trainers precisely because we are being nagged about our lifestyle all the time by magazines and websites and newspaper supplements and health advisers and personal trainers…
If one of the markers of adulthood is autonomy, then one of the preconditions of autonomy is being left alone.
My grandfather wasn't nagged. Once he turned 21, he was a man, and a grown-up, and nobody battered him round the clock with opportunities he was missing, miseries he didn't know he had, aspirations ditto, inadequacies doubly so.
Nobody told him about being good in bed, grooming tips, what his car said about him, what he should have to eat, how much he should drink, what his house said about him, how Benares brassware was so over, where he should go on holiday, what this season's must-have product would be, how his suits should look.
He knew some of these things, and didn't care about the others because nobody was drawing them to his attention. He knew what his suits should look like: trousers, waistcoat, jacket, all made out of the same material.
He knew about grooming: you shaved. He knew what he should eat: breakfast, lunch, dinner. He probably had no idea that good-in-bed even existed, or that furniture did anything except furnish, or that where he went on holiday was of any significance, or that his car said anything about him at all, except 'Oh, here comes Dr Bywater, I recognise his car.'
But the Big Babies have no such autonomy, and are harangued to death; nor have they learned the adult trick of simply ignoring the fishwife-and-huckster voices. Instead, Baby tries to comply.
Believing it when he is told that he is unhappy, he then believes the cure the same fishwives and hucksters proceed to offer..."
"...Wilson’s description of Mahoney’s death is as brutal and moving a description of the madness of combat as can be found in postwar fiction. But what happens to Rath as a result of that day in Karkow? Not much. It does not destroy him, or leave him permanently traumatized. The part of Rath’s war experience that leaves him truly guilt-ridden is the adulterous affair that he has with a woman named Maria while waiting for redeployment orders in Rome. In the elevator of his midtown office, he runs into a friend who knew Maria, and learns that he fathered a son. He obsessively goes over and over the affair in his mind, trying to square his feeling toward Maria with his love for his wife, and his marriage is fully restored only when he confesses to the existence of his Italian child. Killing his best friend, by contrast, is something that comes up and then gets tucked away. As Rath sat on the beach, and Mahoney’s body was finally taken away, Wilson writes:
A major, coming to squat beside him, said, “Some of these goddamn sailors got heads. They went ashore and got Jap heads, and they tried to boil them in the galley to get the skulls for souvenirs.”
Tom had shrugged and said nothing. The fact that he had been too quick to throw a hand grenade and had killed Mahoney, the fact that some young sailors had wanted skulls for souvenirs, and the fact that a few hundred men had lost their lives to take the island of Karkow—all these facts were simply incomprehensible and had to be forgotten. That, he had decided, was the final truth of the war, and he had greeted it with relief, greeted it eagerly, the simple fact that it was incomprehensible and had to be forgotten. Things just happen, he had decided; they happen and they happen again, and anybody who tries to make sense out of it goes out of his mind.
"We've lost Baby," she screamed.
"Do you mean that it's dead, or stampeded, or that you staked it at cards and lost it that way?" asked Clovis lazily.
"He was toddling about quite happily on the lawn," said Mrs. Momeby tearfully, "and Arnold had just come in, and I was asking him what sort of sauce he would like with the asparagus--"
"I hope he said hollandaise," interrupted Clovis, with a show of quickened interest, "because if there's anything I hate--"
"And all of a sudden I missed Baby," continued Mrs. Momeby in a shriller tone. "We've hunted high and low, in house and garden and outside the gates, and he's nowhere to be seen."
"Is he anywhere to he heard?" asked Clovis; "if not, he must be at least two miles away."
"But where? And how?" asked the distracted mother.
"Perhaps an eagle or a wild beast has carried him off," suggested Clovis.
"There aren't eagles and wild beasts in Surrey," said Mrs. Momeby, but a note of horror had crept into her voice.
"They escape now and then from travelling shows. Sometimes I think they let them get loose for the sake of the advertisement. Think what a sensational headline it would make in the local papers: ' Infant son of prominent Nonconformist devoured by spotted hyaena.' Your husband isn't a prominent Nonconformist, but his mother came of Wesleyan stock, and you must allow the newspapers some latitude."
"But we should have found his remains," sobbed Mrs. Momeby.
"If the hyaena was really hungry and not merely toying with his food there wouldn't be much in the way of remains. It would be like the small-boy-and-apple story--there ain't going to be no core."
Read the complete tales here...
After having faced the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Athletics in their previous four World Series appearances, the Cardinals found themselves up against another powerhouse opponent in the Detroit Tigers. Led by catcher Mickey Cochrane, Detroit had won its first pennant in 25 years, sending the city on wheels into extremes of delight. (Cochrane had been sold from the Athletics to the Tigers by a cash-hungry Connie Mack.)
On paper, the Tigers were the stronger team. But as wise men have been known to say, the game is not played on paper but on grass. And anyway, that noted prognosticator Dizzy Dean had already announced that "Me 'n Paul" would win two games apiece.
Middle-aged women are not old, they are experienced. It is a pleasure to dress your age. You've earned it. Now be wise enough to enjoy it..."
She is right on the money, there are few things more enticing than a women in riding habit...Trust me on this if you have never actually seen it...The point here is that why are so many women and men afraid of middle age? As you know, there are many middle aged women who are still striking...And they need not dress like a teenage hooker to draw attention to this...Middle age is the time intelligent women employ all the tools and experience they have acquired over a lifetime...Hide any imperfections and highlight the positives...They have, or should have, learned that the more things are covered up, the more enticing they become...This, what was once womanly wisdom passed down from mother to daughter and common modesty seem to have been lost along the way to moderninity...
One problem that goes hand-in-hand with the obvious lack of mirrors in most women's homes, is that the modern women has not, in most cases, been taught the "graces"...These have been jettisoned as reeking of patriarchy and we now have girls and women who dress, walk, talk, drink, cuss and fornicate like men. The feminine arts have been lost...And ladies, regardless of whether you are wearing pants or not, when you sit, you sit with your legs closed or crossed...And when you bend down, you bend at the knees, not at the waist...Just some helpful advice...
As a women, what is wrong with middle age? You are still beautiful, you are smarter and more experienced, you have much nicer jewelry, can afford much better attorneys and have much more insurance than any young woman...Men have a much harder time...All we can hope for is a fat wallet by this time...As this is the only attraction we have left. And in my case, the fat wallet happens to belong to my wife...
I am a middle aged man, not what I once was, but still slim, which I count a major victory...But as I tell my son when he laughs at my thinning pate: "I had it when I needed it..."
"...The covert coat is named for the cloth from which it is made. The term comes from the French couvert, meaning a shady place or thicket, and in English came to mean a hiding place for game birds. Covert cloth is a twill-woven fabric in which a combination of two threads of different tones of the same color are twisted together to form a marled effect--i.e., a slightly mottled look rather than a clear color. The cloth itself is fairly stout, closely woven, and has a certain elasticity--all of which makes for a very resistant and durable material and a very smart-looking, long-wearing garment. It is sometimes waterproofed for additional protection.
While covert cloth can be used for trousers, jackets and a variety of field coats, its most popular use is for topcoats. Originally made as a country outer coat, the classic straight-cut, single-breasted,fly-fronted covert is always fawn-colored, although dressier mid-gray versions are often seen. Characterized by its four rows of stitches on each sleeve cuff and on the bottom hem, which falls no lower than the knee, the classic covert coat has two side pockets and a ticket pocket, and it's acceptable to add a green velvet collar cover for a dressier look..."
Six weeks after his birth James was baptised according to Anglican rites by William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury. His godparents were his aunt Elizabeth, Electress Palatine of the Rhine ("Winter Queen of Bohemia"); her son, Charles Louis, Elector Palatine of the Rhine; and Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange.
In 1638 James was named Lord High Admiral of England. He was named a Knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, April 20, 1642, and raised to the Peerage of England with the title of "Duke of York", January 27, 1644.
"...Whereas the new business casual costume works to eliminate concepts of professionalism and mutual respect, the other component to this sartorial problem affects private character. Outside the business arena standards of attire have plummeted to what must be, barring some universal adoption of nightshirts and thonged underwear in all settings, the nadir of human apparel since the loin cloth..."
"...One cannot fail to notice that here too the slovenliness of his dress is the least of the contemporary male's behavioral issues. His appreciation of female sexuality seldom rises above sniggering at women's fake tits, his tastes in art and entertainment have not changed appreciably since he was a teenager (and they were bad then), and his consumption habits have turned him into a reverse portrait of Dorian Gray – somewhere there is a Polaraoid of him getting slimmer and more elegant..."
"...But his dress is the outward sign that you notice whether you know everything or nothing about him; it is, again, an indication of his concern over what anyone thinks about him. But why would anyone care what others think? For an American, this is tantamount to servility, allowing others to control or define how he sees himself. So, like a rebellious child, he is determined not to care, and to cling to a therapy-resistant inflated self-esteem as if this alone will soon vault him into the leadership caste where his judgements on cartoons and breast sizes will define society..."Read the whole thing, I could'nt agree more...
VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI has decided to loosen restrictions on use of the old Latin Mass, making a major concession to ultraconservatives who split with the Vatican to protest liberalizing reforms, a Vatican official said Wednesday.
The pope's intent is to "help overcome the schism and help bring (the ultraconservatives) back to the Church," said the official, who asked that his name not be used because the papal document has not yet been released.
It was not immediately clear when the pope will make his decision public, but the Vatican official said it was expected soon. The Times of London, in a report Wednesday, said the pope had already signed the order and it could be published in the next few weeks.
The late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre founded the Swiss-based Society of St. Pius X in 1969 in opposition to the reforms of the 1962-65 Second Vatican Council, particularly allowing Mass to be celebrated in local languages instead of Latin. The Vatican excommunicated Lefebvre in 1988 after he consecrated four bishops without Rome's consent.
Benedict has indicated he wants relations with the St. Pius X group to be normalized. He met last year with the current head of the society, Bishop Bernard.
The Tridentine Mass, the name of the old Latin Mass, can now only be celebrated with permission of the local bishop. In addition to the use of Latin, the priest faces the altar - away from the worshippers - and there are no lay readers as in the modern Mass.
The issue of the Mass will only be one of the points in the papal document that will reach out to the ultraconservatives, the Vatican official said.
The pope already took a concrete step in that direction when in September he approved an institute for French priests who left the movement. The small group based in Bordeaux, made up of five priests and some seminarians, is allowed to celebrate the old-style Latin Mass in exchange for their recognition of the pope's authority.
"Books have their dates, and books have their fates, and at a sale at the Library of Serendip I recently discovered a copy of Once A Grand Duke, published in 1931, a book of memoirs by Grand Duke Alexander of Russia. The title promised monarchical nostalgia of the Czarist court, along the possible lines of Madame Cantacuzene, the descendant of General Grant who married a Russian and ended up consorting with grand duchesses in
`But in a tragedy,' I insisted, `the catastrophe MUST be
led up to, step by step. My dear Brown, the end of
the hero MUST be logical and rational.'
`I don't see that,' he said, as we crossed
Piccadilly Circus. `In actual life it isn't so.
What is there to prevent a motor-omnibus
from knocking me over and killing me at this moment?'
At that moment, by what has always seemed
to me the strangest of coincidences, and just
the sort of thing that playwrights ought to
avoid, a motor-omnibus knocked Brown over and killed him.
- From `SAVONAROLA' BROWN 1919
"...I think I may have met a new member of possibly bucket #1, quite likely bucket #2, and probably bucket #4. You remember the buckets, don't you? For those who are uninitiated and those just too lazy to follow the link, let me 'splain. You see, dear reader, it seems that all of the men I meet fall into one of four buckets:
Bucket #2: Mentally unstable
Bucket #3: Gay (whether they know it or not)
Bucket #4: Some or all of the above..."
"About the only thing less pleasing than having to sit through Hans Neuenfels's production of Mozart's 1781 opera "Idomeneo" is the news that Berlin's Deutsche Oper, citing an "incalculable" security risk from enraged Muslims, has decided to cancel its scheduled showing of the piece.
Don't get me wrong. I am certain that the production, which premiered in 2003, is a horror. In Mozart's version, the opera, set on Crete in the aftermath of the Trojan War, is a play about sacrifice and reconciliation. The opera ends with King Idomeneo issuing a "last command. I announce peace," before ceding power to his son.
Mr. Neuenfels's version is Modern German--i.e., gratuitously offensive. It is more Neuenfels than Mozart. Instead of appearing as the harbinger of peace, Idomeneo ends the opera parading the severed heads of Poseidon, Jesus, Buddha and the Prophet Muhammad. How do you spell "anachronistic balderdash"?
Poor Mozart. Mr. Neuenfels is one of those directors more interested in nurturing his own pathologies than in offering a faithful presentation of the geniuses with whose work he has been entrusted..."
"...In Scotland my roommate for a time was an English fellow, and his father, who was a novelist, owned a lovely secluded Georgian house in the countryside of Surrey. I spent one Christmas at that house and returned many times in later years. Apart from the good company, I was attracted by the glass-enclosed bookcases in the sitting room. That collection represents, for me, a fine example of an English gentleman's library from an earlier era, when there was ample time and space to read and think. The library contained the Sussex Edition of Rudyard Kipling (in 36 volumes), the Vailima Edition of Robert Louis Stevenson (26 volumes), and the novels of John Galsworthy, W. Somerset Maugham, and Hugh Walpole, among others.
In such a library, one also always found a copy of Palgrave's Golden Treasury of English verse and poems by Robert Bridges, John Masefield, and Algernon Swinburne. Those were collections redolent of Edwardian England, when every room had a fireplace, and the smell of fires permeated the books themselves. As the British have always been world travelers (and world conquerors, alas), one usually also found an array of travel books a genre in which the British excelled..." Note: Mr. Parini's regret that the British conquered the world, is regrettably typical of today's Englishmen...
"...Another novelist I once visited was Anthony Powell, who actually wrote a novel called Books Do Furnish a Room. Indeed, they did so in his case. He lived deep in the English countryside, in Somerset, in an old stone manor on many green acres. We had tea in his sitting room, which had floor-to-ceiling shelves on every wall. There were first editions by his good friend Evelyn Waugh, and countless volumes culled from his decades as a reviewer. "I can't give a book up, if it's a book that meant something to me," he said. "I always imagine I'll go back to it one day. I rarely do, but the intention is there, and I get a warm feeling among my books." I wished I could have spent days wandering in that house, as he had books in nearly every room..."