Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Basil Seal Takes Manhattan, but gives it back...


Part I
As you are all aware, I, Basil Seal recently traveled "out east", or "down east", or, well, east of the Mississippi then...Anyway, I was invited to attend a ball and to be a general Man about Manhattan, as opposed to Mayfair. My plan, if one uses a broad definition, had me meeting up with the usual suspects in the city, and then proceeding from there...And it went pretty much according to plan, give or take one or two small incidents which really held little or no interest to the local constabulary, on which more anon...Let me make one point before I begin in earnest. I am not from, or of New York, nor would I ever want to be, and I really know nothing about it. I especially know nothing about where I am, when I am there, in New York...So, although I would like to sound all knowing and native like, and chat about the five boroughs, and that I went uptown, downtown and up past Groome Street and into the Bowery to visit Bat Jarvis, I cannot. So, I can tell you where I was (name of building, pub, hotel, etc.) but could not tell you how to get there. I viewed the entire jaunt from the backseat of a car, and left the driving to others. And these others will fill in the details I am sure. But anyway, I arrived in the city with my case, a bucket of red paint and a brush...

Thursday Feb. 22: I landed at Teterboro and was met by the car sent for me by friend Fiendish. Well, actually I was met by the driver, and was introduced to the car a bit later, but anyway... Made the proverbial beeline for the NYAC, club of Fiendish (somewhere in NYC), who so graciously insisted that I stay as his guest. Arrived and was established in my room by a very charming staff and made welcome and comfortable by all. Very nice.


It was now time for luncheon. I went downstairs and found The Fiendish One and Mr. P waiting for me in the dining room. Mr. P had arrived after dropping Mrs. P into the bosom of her family, she was dropping in reluctantly I do believe, but being a good sport had given Mr. P his B & C liberty chit for 48 hours. This was my first face-to-face with Mr. P, as you all know I have lunched with Mrs. P, and had spoken to Mr. P briefly on the telephone. I say briefly due to the fact that the phone was slapped from the ear of Mr. P in mid-utterance by a minute-minding Mrs. C. So, we picked up where we had left off, as men do...This was the first actual meeting of the RCBfA, so The Fiendish One feted us in true New York style, and I must say that I am very fond of New York style, since he also picked up the tab. Hey, I heart NY too... I was very excited to be in the city. I asked Fiendish if we would be able to see a policeman display his superior wrist-work with his nightstick on some homeless people, or maybe some pimps and pushers, you know real desperate types, like maybe a bond trader or trial attorney. Mr. P being from Detroit was very familiar with mayhem and murder, so he said it would be best to skip all that boring stuff and shuffle off straight to the pubs (I like Mr. P). But we would try and spot some interesting people, places and things and gawk like farmers on the way. The Fiendish One, who I must say is a very big wheel in the justice system of NYC, I mean, when he is out of the office jurisprudence in NYC waits until he gets back, had to dash back to his office to set things straight but would meet up with us before the serious drinking began. So, The Fiendish One left his car and driver at our disposal and tootled off and Mr. P and I prepared for our first stop: The collection of Mr. Cusack...We were dressed by the best tailors, tanned, rested and ready for the city...



Later on Thursday, the offices of TNC (somewhere in NYC): I wasn't sure what to expect at the offices of this highly influential publication. I suppose I expected an outer lair where Pugsy Maloney sits near the door of the inter sanctum and wards off unwanted visitors. I expected to get the once over from Kid Brady as well. But in reality it is a simple, modern office space with very nice windows. It has somewhat the feel of a "loft" space with hardwood floors. I was excited at this chance to meet my heroes in the flesh; Mr. Kimball, Mr. "Boy Mulcaster" Panero, Mr. Yezzi, Cricket Farnsworth...former TNCer Mr. Beck as well, but we would have more luck running into him in a pub...But alas, when we arrived Mr. Cusack informed us that he had mentioned the impending visit of an esteemed subscriber by the name of Seal at around 3pm, and at 3:10pm he was alone in the office...Something about previous engagements or something. Well anyway, one gets used to it...We toured the offices, I sat in Mr. Kimball's chair, to get a view from the top, if only for a moment. I took one of the books from the box near Mr. Panero's desk and left it with a note to "please sign for Basil Seal" on his chair. We'll see if I ever get that...Mr. Cusack, the assistant editor of TNC and the former sub-editor of Cozy Moments has a very nice cubicle which he shares with the office fridge. Pretty convenient for him if you ask me. I took to Mr. Cusack right away, he is simply a delightful young man, and on this day, dressed in a tweed suit, even though we were in the city. Maybe an American thing, I don't know. Made me feel right at home, and since he was educated in the UK, we were able to converse with no trouble at all. I really wanted to meet Cricket Farnsworth for the simple reason that I wanted to meet someone named Cricket, and because she has always given me the brush-off in the nicest way when I called. But since she was not there I graded the child art near her desk and we departed the offices of TNC a little richer for the experience. By the way, I'm not sure what Mr. P was doing all this time. This was all old hat to him and he seemed to just be wondering about looking in drawers and scribbling in a notebook, tearing off a sheet and placing it in a drawer. Maybe it's an American thing...

Thursday evening, Friday morning, NYAC, The Players, Chumleys, Fraunces, face down on boot of police car (somewhere in NYC): To be continued...


Monday, February 26, 2007

Recovery

I am in the midst of recovery after my journey to points east...I am trying to piece together the series of events which led, at some point, to my fleeing at top speed from an irate blue hair Dame of Revolutions, or some such, Dame from Hell would be more apt...Anyway, fleeing at top speed down the back stairs from the St. Regis Penthouse while Mr. P attempted a delaying action near the punch bowl, a fine stand he made I must say...My ankle work around the last turn was a wonder to behold and I do hope Mr. P will survive his injury...From the size of that blue hair, I have my doubts...He was a brave man I will have you know...Anyway, let me collate, and I will be with you anon...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Ball commemorating Treason to the King



I am off to New York City, that hotbed of sedition, since I have been invited to a Ball in commemoration of the American Colonies Treasonous Acts against King George. I mean, really, should this be celebrated? I think not. The uniform I will be wearing is sure to raise eyebrows. But any hackles raised will be payback for having to spend an evening being addressed as Bay-sil, especially since Americans seem to be physically unable to use one's surname when addressing one. They will probably try and stick a name tag on me...I feel sorry for the chap who draws that duty. I hope to enjoy myself regaling the colonists with tales of my ancestors as they locked civilians in churches and set them afire. Except the women, at least the young ones that is, for rather obvious reasons. Laughing over tea while they burn of course. Then releasing the dogs and raising their taxes...Oh, those were the days...New York under British rule, seems to have been down hill ever since...

I will be put up at a club, and will rendezvous with my hosts somewhere at some time...I hope to survive, at least long enough to post my report on this colonial shindig...I pray I will be able to find some good port...I hope the Padre is there, he will at least know where they keep the good stuff...Until then...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Strange Death of Tory England

Has the most successful species in British political history finally become extinct? The Conservative party dominated British politics for 120 years from Disraeli's victory in 1874, culminating in an unprecedented eighteen-year spell in government after 1979. And yet at the very end of the century the Tories imploded so disastrously as to suggest the party might be doomed to follow the Liberals into oblivion. Geoffrey Wheatcroft has observed this extraordinary drama at close hand, interviewing all the key players on (and, more often, off) the record: from spirited exchanges with Margaret Thatcher to unprintable asides from Alan Clark. In this provocative and often acerbically funny book he first examines how the Tories came to enjoy their unlikely triumph: what was meant to be the century of the common man', with the unstoppable ascent of Labour, turned out to be the era of the Conservative, as the Tories reinvented themselves over and over again, not least entirely changing the party's class character. The Strange Death of Tory England demonstrates brilliantly how two profound truths explain the Conservatives' decline: that the Right had won politically, but the Left had won culturally; and that it was possible to win the battle, but lose the argument.

Mind The Gap

In this provocative and ruthlessly frank book Ferdinand Mount argues that there is a new class divide in Britain which is just as vicious and hard to get rid of as the old one. Through acute observation and vivid illustration, drawing on every aspect of life from soap operas, speech patterns and gardening to education and the distribution of wealth, he demolishes the illusion that we live in a classless society and shows how the worst-off in Britain today are more culturally deprived than their parents or grandparents. The author's solutions, like his explanations of what has gone wrong, are original, surprising and unsparing to intellectuals and politicians of all parties.

Decline & Fall


At the outset of the 1870s, the British aristocracy could rightly consider themselves the most fortunate people on earth: they held the lion's share of land, wealth and power in the world's greatest empire. By the end of the 1930s they had lost not only a generation of sons in the First World War, but also much of their prosperity, prestige and political significance.David Cannadine shows how this shift came about and how it was reinforced in the aftermath of the Second World War. Lucidly written and sparkling with wit, The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy is a landmark study that dramatically changes our understanding of British social history.

The Decline & Fall of the British Aristocracy

The Strange Death of Moral Britain

"It is the rare sociology book that warrants the epitaphs “exciting” and “brilliant.” Such is Christie Davies’ The Strange Death of Moral Britain, a book that deserves to be read by readers on the political right and left. The book’s argument is that between 1950 and 1960 a new form of political reasoning replaced the old ideology or “logic” of “moral Britain,” which underlay legal and social sensibility. The new outlook the author identifies as “causalism,” and it has insidiously become the ethos of modern British society. The consequences of “causalism” as a political ideology are that the tradition of individualism, the legal principle that a just society rewards just behavior, and even national sovereignty, all concepts based upon the idea of moral hierarchy, have been radically undermined..."
continue...

Sunday, February 18, 2007

"The bravest man I ever saw"


Father Joseph T. O'Callahan S. J.


Navy Roman Catholic Chaplain awarded The Medal of Honor, WWII:

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as Chaplain on board the U.S.S. Franklin when that vessel was fiercely attacked by enemy Japanese aircraft during offensive operations near Kobe, Japan, on 19 March 1945. A valiant and forceful leader, calmly braving the perilous barriers of flame and twisted metal to aid his men and his ship, Lieutenant Commander O'Callahan groped his way through smoke-filled corridors to the open flight deck and into the midst of violently exploding bombs, shells, rockets and other armament. With the ship rocked by incessant explosions, with debris and fragments raining down and fires raging in ever increasing fury, he ministered to the wounded and dying, comforting and encouraging men of all faiths; he organized and led fire-fighting crews into the blazing inferno on the flight deck; he directed the jettisoning of live ammunition and the flooding of the magazine; he manned a hose to cool hot, armed bombs rolling dangerously on the listing deck, continuing his efforts despite searing, suffocating smoke which forced men to fall back gasping and imperiled others who replaced them. Serving with courage, fortitude and deep spiritual strength, Lieutenant Commander O'Callahan inspired the gallant officers and men of the Franklin to fight heroically and with profound faith in the face of almost certain death and to return their stricken ship to port."



Father Vincent R. Capodanno

Navy Roman Catholic Chaplain awarded The Medal of Honor (posthumously) Vietnam:

"For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as Chaplain of the 3d Battalion, in connection with operations against enemy forces. In response to reports that the 2d Platoon of M Company was in danger of being overrun by a massed enemy assaulting force, Lt. Capodanno left the relative safety of the company command post and ran through an open area raked with fire, directly to the beleaguered platoon. Disregarding the intense enemy small-arms, automatic-weapons, and mortar fire, he moved about the battlefield administering last rites to the dying and giving medical aid to the wounded. When an exploding mortar round inflicted painful multiple wounds to his arms and legs, and severed a portion of his right hand, he steadfastly refused all medical aid. Instead, he directed the corpsmen to help their wounded comrades and, with calm vigor, continued to move about the battlefield as he provided encouragement by voice and example to the valiant marines. Upon encountering a wounded corpsman in the direct line of fire of an enemy machine gunner positioned approximately 15 yards away, Lt. Capodanno rushed a daring attempt to aid and assist the mortally wounded corpsman. At that instant, only inches from his goal, he was struck down by a burst of machine gun fire. By his heroic conduct on the battlefield, and his inspiring example, Lt. Capodanno upheld the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the cause of freedom."

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Rites & Wrongs of Passage



"The funeral was in the chapel of a navy base, conducted by a retired Episcopal priest of, I believe, Southern middle-of-the-road churchmanship. While the service was not without reverence and the priest was genuinely considerate of the sadness of the loss, he seemed to be trying to keep the service casual.

For the homily, he came out from behind the altar and leaned on the end of it rather than going to the pulpit. When he prepared the vessels on the altar for Communion, there was no formality to his actions: He might just as well have been getting dishes out of the kitchen cupboard for lunch.

There were awkward pauses at several points while he flipped through his book, apparently looking for his place. He also seemed rushed. Since the service was lengthened by the inclusion of Holy Communion, one began to wonder whether he was afraid it would run too long, making us late for the committal at the cemetery.

The deceased was a retired Marine Corps Reserve officer, and, at the request of his widow, the Marine Corps provided pall bearers, as well as a detail for the rifle salute and taps at the interment. This took place in a nearby Veterans Administration cemetery. There the priest first conducted the committal service.

Marine Reverence

Then the marines took over. Everything they did was deliberate, well practiced, careful, unhurried. It was pure ritual. It was clear that they took seriously what they were doing. Every movement had been considered, and, I assume, drilled ahead of time. It was to be done correctly in every detail, with dignity and honor, without regard to time: Seemingly this was all that mattered to them.

The precision and dignity was a matter of honor. At the end, the flag was presented to the widow by the commander of the marines on the base. He could easily have sent a junior officer to deal with a reserve officer’s burial, but chose not to. It was all profoundly moving, as a number of mourners remarked after the services.

The care and dignity of the military rite put the Christian rites to shame. I don’t believe that the priest was intentionally irreverent or unprepared. But by comparison with the marines’ reverent ritual, the chapel service and the committal seemed slapdash..."

Shades of things to come...

In the colonies, on Feb. 17, 1801, the House of Representatives (Commons) broke an electoral tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, electing Jefferson president; Burr became vice president.

When the Electoral College (refer to ridiculous and now ignored U. S. Constitution, the Electoral College is a system to keep important matters, like the election of a President, out of the hands of the mob and in the hands of those who know best, but they are all equal of course) was first created, whoever got the most electoral votes became president and the runner-up became vice president. In 1800, electors votes resulted in a tie for presidential candidate Thomas Jefferson and his running mate, Aaron Burr. The House of Representatives settled the matter, voting to elect Jefferson president and Burr vice president. The crisis prompted an amendment to the Constitution (the 12th), mandating that electors cast separate votes for president and vice president.

Jefferson went on to speculate in French real estate and spend quality time with some of his more attractive slaves. Burr, who liked to shoot pistols (at people) and acquire large portions of real estate that just happened to belong to others, became a running mates worst nightmare and is believed to have gone into Public Relations consulting.


H. L. Hunley



On February 17, 1864, during the American Civil War, a.k.a. The War for Southern Independence, or, The War of Northern Aggression, the Union ship U.S.S. Housatonic was rammed and sunk in Charleston Harbor, S.C., by the Confederate hand-cranked submarine H.L. Hunley, which also sank.

H. L. Hunley was a submarine of the Confederate States Navy that demonstrated both the advantages and the dangers of undersea warfare. Hunley was the first submarine to sink a warship, though the sub was also lost following the engagement. Though some know the submarine by the name CSS H. L. Hunley, she was not commissioned and therefore does not warrant the "CSS" prefix.

The H. L. Hunley, almost 40-feet (12-m) long, was built at Mobile, Alabama, launched in July 1863, and shipped by rail to Charleston, SC on August 12, 1863. On February 17, 1864, Hunley attacked and sank the 1800-ton, steam-powered sloop-of-war USS Housatonic in Charleston harbor, but soon after, the Hunley also sank, drowning all 8 crewmen. Over 136 years later, on August 8, 2000, the wreck was recovered, and on April 17, 2004, the DNA-identified remains of the 8 Hunley crewmen were interred in Charleston's Magnolia Cemetery, with full military honors.

Hunley made her first attack against a live target on the night of February 17, 1864. The ship was USS Housatonic. Housatonic, an 1800-ton, steam-powered sloop-of-war with 12 large cannon, stationed at the entrance to Charleston, South Carolina harbor, about 5 miles (8 km) out to sea. In an effort to break the naval blockade of the city, Lieutenant George E. Dixon and a crew of seven volunteers attacked Housatonic, successfully embedding the barbed spar torpedo into her hull. The torpedo was detonated as the submarine backed away, sending Housatonic and five of her crew to the bottom of Charleston harbor in five minutes, although many survived in 2 lifeboats or by climbing rigging until rescued. Hunley also sank, moments after signaling shore of the successful attack, possibly from damage caused by the torpedo blast, though this is not certain. (NOTE: The possibility must be considered that the torpedo was not detonated on command, but rather malfunctioned due to damage incurred during the attack. In previous tests and actual attacks, it was intended that the torpedo should be detonated approximately 150 to 175 feet away from the target, so as to minimize any damage to the sub. However, witnesses aboard the Housatonic uniformly stated that the torpedo detonated at no more than about one hundred feet, and possibly as close as seventy-five.)

There is convincing evidence that Hunley actually survived as long as an hour after the attack (which took place at approximately 8:45 PM). Authors Mark Ragan and Clive Cussler both provide convincing evidence that George E. Dixon flashed a blue signal lantern to the sub's base at Fort Moultrie on Sullivan's Island as late as 9:30 PM, but the indications were that no one ever saw it except crew members of the Housatonic, who were in the ship's rigging awaiting rescue. At that point, George E. Dixon took the sub under to try and make it back to Sullivan's Island. However, shock damage from the torpedo and magazine explosion had probably opened the sub's seams, and she was slowly filling with water. Her crew, likely suffering from malnutrition, respiratory problems, cold, and exhaustion, would have failed to realize that the submarine was slowly going under. Submerging again would have put enough water aboard that her crew would likely have driven her directly into the shallow bottom, blocking the ballast intakes and maing it impossible to pump her back out. Cold and immersion would have killed the crew relatively quickly.

Her crew perished, but H.L. Hunley had earned a place in the history of undersea warfare as the first submarine to sink a ship in wartime.




Thursday, February 15, 2007

SAHD

I found myself smiling as I read Mr. Joke's post on the different "archetypes" of moms he has been cataloging during his stint as a SAHD. This is of interest to me as I too am a SAHD, although unlike Mr. Joke who seems to be a part-timer, I am a full-time professional SAHD. There are a few reasons for this, not least of which is that my wife, The Countess, realized early on that due to my breeding, classical education and general lack of intelligence, that I was totally unfit to actually earn a living in the 20/21st century. She also realized that this same lack of gray matter made me a dangerous proposition to leave around the house unsupervised or, heaven forbid, responsible for a child's well-being...So, with her characteristic hyper-intelligence she built a library, stocked it to the ceiling with Waugh, Wodehouse and Saki, placed a computer connected to a cable modem on the desk and told me not to come out until she called. So, here I am.

Well, now that my son, The Baron, is older and not likely to be led into mischief or danger by his old pater, I am allowed to drop-off and pick-up and the like when The Countess deems it necessary. So it has been in the last year or so (The Baron is now 30) (just kidding) that I have had an opportunity to observe and catalog some of these females that hang about the place at The Baron's parochial school. Now The Countess has let it be known that she would prefer that I do not actually speak to anyone she knows while I am there, but sometimes people will speak to me first, so I feel one must be at least, civil.

Now, as you know, due to parentage and what-not I have the ability to speak with an American or an English accent. The English accent always helps me to break the ice when I am out numbered 1000 to 1 and they all fear The Countess (for good reason, I fear her too). So, when I am at the school, I plum up the English accent and sometimes chat with the mob. It is funny though, when they hear the English accent, coupled to my bespoke wardrobe, they either think that I am a servant of The Countess (which I suppose I am), or try to recruit me as the football (soccer) coach, sometimes both. Oh, what fun...Now this brings me, in a roundabout way, to Mr. Joke's archetypes...They are all at my school as well, and I must say that Mr. Joke's powers of observation are spot on. Here is his list:

"...About half the moms (new or established) simply cannot manage to stick to my memory banks. Many are yet another example of an archetype, many are just dull--regardless of archetype.

Anyway, in addition to the regulars, this year we have the following:

1- Love Is Blind Mom. She is what everyone's definition of a trophy wife ought be. Tall, blonde, dazzling features, and is in amazing shape. All the moms would hate her except her husband, poor bastid, looks like Danny de Vito caught in a permanent pre-sneeze and has Einstein hair. Sadly, the kids took dad's DNA.
2- Kung Fu Mom. Tiny-short, dirty-blonde hair in a pixie cut. Not terribly pretty, but has maximized what she has to work with. Permanent smile. Usually arrives at pickup wearing loose cotton slacks and one of several XYZ Martial Arts center t-shirts. She is TOO fit, and likely can kick anyone's ass. All the other moms like her, or maybe they are too afraid to say otherwise.
3- Chatterbox Mom. Talks to TWO different people at the same time (different conversations) and also usually has a cellphone attached.
4- Bus Mom. Has a van-van, not a minivan which is, apparently, for pansies. 5 kids. A bit chubby, shortish. Talks with her hands a lot, but in a coreographed way, not at all flail-ish. Has a bit of a nervous laugh. All the kids are chubby too, but they don't laugh. Does a lot of crosswords. 5- Bitter mom. Just moved in. Bad, recent divorce. Lots (I mean LOTS) of self-help books. I try to hide my Y chromosome, because one day she's going to go postal.
and
6- Gardening mom. BIG straw hat. HUGE tote bag. Sometimes dirt on knees. Tailgate of minivan is often open with flats of some plants the name of which escape me, or would escape me if I could be bothered to try to learn their names..."


I just love it...But I think I have one to add...At least here in my area this seems to be the most prevalent mom archetype:

The Pixie Mom: This mom is noted for being the same size and weight as a typical 8 year old girl. If wearing a plaid skirt, impossible to tell the difference. Usually the mother of three or more children, all who are bigger than her by the time they reach the 5th grade. Usually very pretty or cute with short hair in bob cut, wearing children's clothing and shoes. Usually drives a large vehicle, Hummers are the norm. Husbands always seem to be 6ft. 4in and above, usually overweight and somewhat slovenly, poorly dressed in off-the-rack fashion rubbish, with six electronic gadgets clipped to his belt, but rich, which always improves a man's looks. Usually polite, especially when they want you to coach football, but quite aware that they rule the world of women (except for The Countess and her female relatives, they stand no chance against that crew) by virtue of their smallness, the very tiny woman being the most desirable to most men.

I would, then, add the Pixie Mom to the list...Mr. Joke, do you have Pixie Moms at your school?

The World of Psmith


Mike (1909) Mike and Psmith, or Enter Psmith (1953)

Within the world of Wodehouse, Rupert Psmith (the P is silent, like the tomb) has always been my favorite character. Although Psmith is an adolescent, he is actually Wodehouse's first adult character. With Psmith Wodehouse moved from the boy's stories he had been writing into the adult comedies we now know and love such as Jeeves & Wooster and the Blandings stories. But Psmith was the first, and in my mind the best of his creations. Unlike Bertie Wooster and the Blandings crowd, Psmith is in no way a bumbler. He is very astute and sure of himself, and with good reason, since he is more clever and sly than anyone else around him. Psmith is such a forceful character that he starts as a sidekick to his school chum Mike, who is actually the main character in the first novel, which is really a boys story centered on cricket at the fictional public school of Wrykyn. Mike is quickly shunted to the wings (which in Wodehouse means he gets engaged and then married) in the successive stories until in the last, Leave it to Psmith, he makes only a cameo appearance for old times sake. With his immaculate wardrobe, his monocle, his money, his clubs and his mode of addressing everyone as "Comrade" coupled with his machine gun delivery of witty dialog, I find Psmith impossible to resist. Many name Leave it to Psmith as their favorite Psmith novel, but it is my least favorite book. In it Psmith has been stripped of everything that made him Psmith. Without his riches, which allow him to do as he pleases, Psmith loses some of his allure. Psmith, like Bertie, is not funny as a poor man. Although Psmith only appears in four novels, the last being a Blandings novel, he does seem to reappear later in the form of Uncle Fred, who for all intents and purposes is a grown up Psmith.



Psmith in the City (1910)
After Wrykyn, Mike and Psmith get roped into working at a bank with hilarious consequences. Battles with bank managers, Psmith's battles with badly dressed co-workers, Socialist Workers meetings and cricket at Lords...


Psmith Journalist (1915)
While at Cambridge, Mike and Psmith take a trip to America over a summers holiday. Mike to play cricket for England and Psmith brings yellow journalism to New York City as he helps acting editor Billy Windsor change the image of Cosy Moments magazine and they are stalked by gangsters when their expose of slum tenements angers an unscrupulous landlord. Mike spends almost all of this book offstage playing cricket during Psmith's adventures in NYC.


Leave it to Psmith (1923)
The Hon. Freddie Threepwood is to make his debut as a jewel thief, but is not alone. Blandings is brimming with criminals and imposters, all intent on stealing Aunt Constance's diamond necklace. It is left to the debonair Psmith, with his usual aplomb, to defeat the efficient Baxter and to discover the identities of one and all. Mike, married and working as the estate manager for Psmith's family, loses his job when the Psmith fortunes turn south. He becomes a school master and makes a cameo appearance early in the novel. A funny book, but a penniless Psmith is just not the same. Psmith becomes engaged at the end of the story which we all know means the end of Psmith. Wodehouse does note in his introduction that he is sure that Psmith read for the bar, took silk and became a famous judge.

All of these novels are available in an omnibus edition as well. Highly recommended if you have not yet met Psmith. And if you have not...Why not?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Literary Converts


Literary Converts by Joseph Pearce

This erudite book vividly contrasts the faith that marked the lives of many of Great Britain's more prominent writers of the 20th century with the unbelief that, the author believes, largely marked their times. Many of the book's "converts" began life as Anglicans and then converted to Roman Catholicism, though some, such as C.S. Lewis and T.S. Eliot, remained with the Church of England. Pearce is at his best when he situates writers within the frameworks of a changing Church and a changing world. For example, he claims that the Catholic Church's move away from the Latin mass hastened the emotional deterioration that directly preceded Evelyn Waugh's death. Pearce suggests that because of communist attacks on Catholics in Spain, Scottish poet Roy Campbell supported Franco and was somewhat sympathetic to Nazism. In discussing the post-World War II era, Pearce loses some of his focus: too many minor figures, including Ronald Knox and novelist Robert Hugh Benson, crowd the stage and detract from his more compelling descriptions of such deeply influential authors as G.K. Chesterton, Waugh, Eliot and Graham Greene. Despite its flaws, this volume nonetheless will edify and absorb the reader.

Literary Giants, Literary Catholics

Literary Giants, Literary Catholics by Joseph Pearce

British author Joseph Pearce has firmly established himself as the premier literary biographer of our time, especially in interpreting the spiritual depths of the Catholic literary tradition. In this new book, Pearce examines a plethora of authors, taking the reader through a dazzling tour of the creative landscape of Catholic prose and poetry. Literary Giants, Literary Catholics covers the vast terrain from Dante to Tolkien, from Shakespeare to Waugh.

Focusing on the literary revival of the 20th century, Joseph Pearce touches on well-known authors like Evelyn Waugh, G.K. Chesterton and J.R.R. Tolkien, but also introduces readers to lesser-known writers like Roy Campell, Maurice Baring, and Owen Barfield. Anyone who appreciates English literature will be entranced by the wealth and depth of this new masterpiece.

A Bitter Trial

A Bitter Trial: Evelyn Waugh and John Carmel Cardinal Heenan on the Liturgical Changes Edited by Scott M. P. Reid

"Evelyn Waugh was remarkably prescient about what radical liturgical reformers would do with their newfound post-conciliar freedom. Below are excerpts from Fr. James Schall's review:

"The 'bitter trial' was Waugh's reaction to the changes in the Church, especially in the Liturgy, stemming from Vatican II. Heenan seems to play the role of a sympathetic Prelate who listens to his famous countryman with patience but with little awareness that what Waugh feared would mostly come about. Waugh seeks to inform the British Prelate of the reactions of many an English Catholic, especially a convert like himself, of a sense of betrayal and a loss of dignity and beauty in the worship of the Church."
...
"Waugh could be acid in his description of movements in the Church. 'If the Mass is changed in form so as to emphasize its social character, many souls will find themselves put at a further distance from their true aim.' Waugh thought that the liturgical changes were largely the product of the Germans-'I think it a great cheek of the Germans to try to teach the rest of the world anything about religion.' Waugh could be biting: 'The Mass is no longer the Holy Sacrifice but the Meal at which the priest is the waiter. The bishop, I suppose, is the head waiter.'
...
"Waugh was also acutely aware that there were theological problems barely below the surface of the changes in the Mass. 'More than the aesthetic changes which rob the Church of poetry, mystery and dignity, there are suggested changes in Faith and morals which alarm me. A kind of anti-clericalism is abroad which seeks to reduce the priest's unique sacramental position. The Mass is written off as a "social meal" in which the "people of God" perform the consecration.'" --Rich Leonardi

"As an orthodox Catholic convert with a fondness for high quality British fiction, I had to have this book of Evelyn Waugh's gripes and barks at poor Cardinal Heenan concerning the end of the Latin Liturgy following Vatican II. As you would expect, Waugh comes off as witty, sardonic, and somewhat tenderly brokenhearted. It is rare to see Waugh in this mode, but you can tell he felt the changes in the Mass on a personal level. Modernity drove Waugh to drink & bouts of fantastic & biting satire, but in these letters he comes across like a very intelligent child who has lost it's mother. Heenan is the villain of the piece, though no fault of Waugh: the Cardinal's letters show him to be a smooth liar firmly bent on pursuing the Gospel of Trendiness with little regard for the feelings of his flock. All in all, a poignant chronicle of one man's dealings with a Bishop-as-Bureaucrat."--K. Derek E. Gray

Guide To Workplace Etiquette

Take a look inside:

Dress Code
There is only one rule for dressing at work or anywhere else; wear your best clothes always.

If in doing so you eclipse the President of your company and show him or her to be the vagrant and charlatan that he or she surely is, then so be it.

You may be summarily dismissed, but you will walk out with your head held high and with right on your side.

Avoiding doing work while at work
This is an odd one. What the devil would a chap be doing in the place other than avoiding work? For gawd's sake. He only took the damn thing because he was getting it in the neck from his tailor and the Trouble. He fully expects to be fired the moment they realise how woefully under-qualified he is. He has no intention whatsoever of learning to play golf with the chairman or making merry with the sales director. If he's not out with a month then he'll have to resort to plan B and burn the place down. Work? While at work? Ridiculous.

Hierarchy and how to subvert it
Always dress better than your boss. Let it be known, by occasional reference to your tailor, that you are entirely bespoke. We are often told that the best way to maintain one's nerve in front of an audience is to imagine them naked. There are few things more humorous than watching a man try to maintain his dignity while dressing you down for some petty transgression in an off-the-peg suit and bad shoes.

Behaviour in the Lavatories
Make no noise whatsoever.

If spoken to, reply with a monosyllable and leave immediately. Always wash your hands no matter what. If you take newspaper in with you, which is perfectly acceptable, then take it out with you. Don't leave it there.

Now one might assume that these rules could be applied no matter which side of the Atlantic a chap finds himself working on. Particularly in a country genetically incapable of saying the word toilet, choosing instead words like bathroom, washroom and even lounge.

Alas this would be to accord undue credit to our American cousins.

For a start they seem to think that a flimsy wooden panel from mid-thigh to head-height, with wide gaps either side of the door, is sufficient to allow a chap privacy for his ablutions.
It is not. And if compromising his own privacy weren't enough think of what other users must endure. Intolerable.
And should you find yourself staring peacefully at the porcelain, don't expect to be left to your thoughts. Rather expect a slap on the back from a 'buddy' or a word about work from your boss. Ye Gods! You might even hear a comment chipped in from the occupant of one of the stalls.

The only solution is to eschew the workplace lavatory altogether. Needing little incentive to go out for fresh air go and find a luxury hotel nearby. Each day pop in and tell them you would like to look at a room for the imminent visit of your maiden aunt. Then make full and free use of the hotel loo. Perhaps having a quick shower and a lie down afterwards.

Advertising gak-heads or members of SH who like to travel up the Northern Line can take this opportunity to indulge.
As an added bonus inter-employee frottage is perfectly possible. Better that than delicately turned stilletoed heels poking out either side of the office toilet stall for all to see.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

It is snowing, so you need the British Warm...


British Officers Warm Greatcoat

The original British warm takes its fabric and styling from the greatcoats worn by officers during the First World War. Intended to go over khaki tunic and jodhpurs and be accompanied by high field boots and an officer's cap, the coat was standard-issue British army. There is a rather moving photo of the princes of Wales and York lamentedly contemplating the battle scene at Zeebrugge in 1918, both wearing their regulation British warms (York's was belted, a style that led to the "wrap coats" of civilian fashion that followed). These officers coats were slightly shaped and fell to just above the knee, always double-breasted in style, with six buttons (three of which are buttoned), with peaked lapels and epaulets on the shoulders.

The most characteristic aspect of the British warm is the fabric itself: a heavy, taupe-colored, slightly fleecy melton cloth. The name comes from Melton Mowbray, a town in Leicestershire, England, where this thick, tightly woven, napped cloth was first woven for riding and hunting garments. "The authentic melton cloth weighs in at 34 ounces," the custom tailor Leonard Logsdail informs us, "and perhaps a bit of body-building boot camp is necessary to wear it."

The redoubtable British warm saw duty in the Second World War and is still worn by officers in the British army, with metal regimental buttons. The civilian-adapted model takes woven leather buttons, may dispense with the epaulets and may be worn slightly longer. Wrap coats--the double-breasted versions with a belt--partake of elements from both the British warm and the polo coat.

Gentleman's Relish


Gentleman's Relish is a type of anchovy paste. It is also known as Patum Peperium.

It was created in 1828 by an Englishman called John Osborn. It tastes very strong, very salty and slightly fishy and contains anchovies (minimum 60%), butter, herbs and spices. The exact recipe however has remained a secret and was passed down by word of mouth over the years. Today, only Elsenham Quality Foods in Elsenham, England is licensed to make it.

The traditional way of eating Gentleman's Relish is on thin slices of buttered white bread toast, either on its own, or with cucumber, or mustard and cress.

Gentleman's Relish can also be added to mince for a different-tasting shepherd's pie or to the mixture for fish cakes, potato cakes and croquettes. Alternatively it can be melted into scrambled eggs or be used as a topping for jacket potatoes.

In recent times Patum Peperium became a blog.

Fleming mentions Patum Perperium sandwiches (with cucumber) in the Bond canon.

The Chesterfield


"...The chesterfield is the most formal and classic town coat a gentleman can own. It was originally a variation of the basic Victorian frock coat, whose skirt descended straight to the bottom hem--in either a single- or a double-breasted version--but, unlike the frock, had no waist seam. It was named for the sixth Earl of Chesterfield (not the famous fourth earl, who wrote all those instructive letters to his bastard son), a leader of fashion among the Regency dandies who strolled Bond Street in the early years of the nineteenth century. He probably didn't invent the velvet collar--the coat's trademark. But he was certainly a great popularizer of the style, because when he died in 1866 his name had already become common coinage for the garment.

By the turn of the twentieth century, the chesterfield had assumed the classic lines and details it retains today: a full-length (which at the moment means to the calf) usually single-breasted coat with fly-front closure on the single-breasted version, shaped body, velvet collar, center back vent, two side pockets and set-in sleeves. As the dressiest of town coats, it's usually tailored in dark blue, dark gray or black patternless wool or cashmere. Variations, though limited, include patterns of self-striped wool and herringbone tweed in brown, as well as gray and blue. The most popular variation these days is the chesterfield done in fawn (a marled greenish tan) covert or whipcord twill, with either a bottle green or dark chestnut brown velvet collar. The velvet collar cover--whose color is intended to quietly complement rather than contrast with the coat's color--is not only a bit of discreet adornment, but was, in an age when men wore their hair longer, a practical way of dealing with soiled collars: it's easier and cheaper to replace the velvet cover than to dispense with the entire collar..."

While in London, Father M. wants you to visit...

Father M. who is the official Padre of Man About Mayfair and Chaplain for the RCBfA has suggested some things to see while you are in London visiting the Drones...You will do so, because he is a Priest and he said so...Thanks Padre...

Westminster Cathedral in London, England, is the mother church of the Roman Catholic community in England and Wales and the Metropolitan Church and Cathedral for the Archdiocese of Westminster.

The cathedral is located in Victoria, SW1, in the City of Westminster. It is the largest Roman Catholic church in England and Wales. Not to be confused with Westminster Abbey of the Church of England, Westminster Cathedral is the seat of the Archbishop of Westminster, currently Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, shepherd of the Archdiocese of Westminster. As a matter of custom each newly appointed Archbishop of Westminster has been created a cardinal in consistory.

Mr. Elk knows something about The Campanile...


The Church of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, popularly but incorrectly known as the Brompton Oratory, is a church in Knightsbridge, London. It is situated on Brompton Road, next to the Victoria and Albert Museum, at the junction with Cromwell Gardens.

Designed by Herbert Gribble, and consecrated April 16, 1884, it stands 200 ft tall and is the second largest Roman Catholic church in London, after Westminster Cathedral.

Italian Renaissance in style, it is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and splendid churches in London, with its superb marble columns and altar rails, its huge vaulted dome, its mosaics, and its carvings in wood and stone. In addition, it houses 12 statues of the apostles by Mazzuoli (1644–1725).

The Church belongs to and is served by the Congregation of the London Oratory. There are two other Oratories in the UK, the Birmingham Oratory and the Oxford Oratory.

The Oratorian Fathers emphasise the liturgy. Mass is celebrated every day in Latin in both the Novus Ordo and Tridentine rites. Every Sunday, mass is celebrated according to the Tridentine liturgy.


St Mary of the Angels Catholic Church, Bayswater, London is a large, friendly and vibrant parish in a busy part of London. The Church was built in 1857, and for over 100 years was served by priests of the Order of St Charles Borromeo, whose motto HUMILITAS (humility) can be seen around the Church.

Originally, the parish served the Irish Immigrants who were building Paddington Station. Their numbers were later swelled by members of the Caribbean and Hispanic Communities. Now, St Mary's hosts a large Portuguese congregation, and includes parishioners from every part of the world. The parish is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Westminster, and serves the varied and vibrant community of Bayswater and Notting Hill.






Farm Street Church

In Mayfair, somewhat between Berkeley Square and Grosvenor Square (pronounced "Grove-nuh" Square, it's where the Yanks live...Plus statues of Ike and FDR), on Mount Street sits The Church of the Immaculate Conception Farm Street. This church of The Society of Jesus is where Evelyn Waugh and many others received instruction and were received into the Roman Catholic Church. The red brick building next door is the headquarters of the British Jesuits.


Monday, February 12, 2007

The Pandagon Papers

This is just hilarious...Please go and read the whole thing...I can't stop laughing...

To: Senator John Edwards
From: Amanda Marcotte
Re: Campaign Ideas

Dear Senator Edwards:

I had a couple of ideas for getting the campaign off to a fucking roaring start. I ran some numbers and discovered that (1) Orange County North Carolina has a shocking lack of women's reproductive health centers, and (2) your new home there has 28,000 square feet of space. What better way to address community health needs -- and appeal to the women's vote -- than by installing an abortion clinic inside your own house? It would only take up about 500 square feet total (not counting the exterior biohazard dumpster), and you appear to have a fucking awesome space between the indoor basketball court and reflective koi pond.

I also discovered that North Carolina is home to NASCAR, which as you know is the official sport of toothless Southern white supremecist racists. I think would make fucking great campaign street theater to drive over to one of the local fucking dickwad reich wing repugnican NASCAR garages and piss all over their goddamn earth-destroying Klan-mobiles. On the way there, it probably wouldn't fucking kill you to drop in at the Durham courthouse to support District Attorney Nifong in his brave battle to bring the white rapist Duke lacrosse team to justice.

To help organize the local campaign swing, I've lined up a couple of camera crews and programmed directions into the GPS of your Benz (the silver one).

On To The White House!
Amanda

PS - I cross-posted my thoughts at the official campaign site, I will let you know about voter feedback.


Thank you Christine...

The Tomb

Lincoln's Tomb Springfield, Illinois dedicated Oct. 15, 1874


On Feb. 12, 1809, Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, was born in present-day Larue County, Ky. He was assassinated and died on April 15, 1865 and is buried in Springfield, Illinois.

Two years after the dedication, Lincoln's body escaped a failed attempt by a counterfeiting ring to steal his body and hold it for a ransom of $200,000 and the freedom of the gang's imprisoned master engraver. In all, Lincoln's coffin has been moved 17 times, mainly due to reconstruction, and has been opened five times. The last time for both was September 26, 1901, when officials verified that the remains were Lincoln's and then set his coffin in a concrete crypt beneath the monument's floor surrounded by reinforced steel, in part to prevent further attempts at desecration. Despite additional reconstructions, Lincoln's remains have rested in peace since 1901. Thousands continue to journey to the tomb each year to pay their respects to one of the country's most revered leaders. It seems that the National Lincoln Monument Association completed its task of erecting a tribute that conveys the country's estimate placed upon his life, virtues, and public services.


Lincoln's sarcophagus in the monument's burial chamber lies 10 feet below this marker in a steel reinforced concrete crypt. His wife and three of his four children are buried in the walls of the burial chamber.



A bust of Lincoln outside the tomb, and one of the many statues within...As you can see from these photographs, the shiny portions, the nose and foot, are created by people touching Lincoln as they pass around and though the tomb. All statues that can be reached exhibit these shiny patches.



A stone from the wall of Servius Tullius, presented to Lincoln by the citizens of Rome in 1865 and now part of the Lincoln Tomb.

The Nine Day Queen

le Supplice de Jeanne Grey by Paul Delaroche 1833


On February 12, 1554, Lady Jane Grey, who had claimed the throne of England for nine days, and her husband, Guildford Dudley, were beheaded after being condemned for high treason.

Lord Yaxley




Sir P. G. Wodehouse never got around to writing about it...But based on what he did write, it seems that upon the death of his Uncle George, Bertie will become Lord Yaxley, being the oldest male nephew...I always found this amusing and wish Wodehouse had taken the stories in that direction. I'm sure he would have come up with something hilarious.

This is exactly what happened, and you can read about it in C. Northcote Parkinson's biography of Reginald Jeeves: Jeeves: A Gentleman's Personal Gentleman

Curzon Street

This is a door in Curzon Street, Mayfair...We all know whose door this is...The Junior Ganymede Club is also located in Curzon Street.

The Junior Ganymede is a club for "gentlemen's gentlemen", of which Reginald Jeeves is a member.

One of the club's rules states that its members are required to enter any embarrassing or compromising information about their employers into the Junior Ganymede Club Book, and it is a much-laughed-about fact among the members that the section entitled WOOSTER B is the largest, containing eleven pages. While the rule requires that members keep the information recorded in the book strictly confidential, Jeeves uses it on occasion to help his employer, most notably to discover the nature of Roderick Spode's business in The Code of the Woosters.

In Much Obliged, Jeeves, Bingley, a former valet of Bertie's friend Ginger Winship, steals the Club Book and threatens to sell it, endangering Winship's campaign for election to the House of Commons; however, Jeeves promptly recovers it by drugging Bingley's drink.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Dover Street

This is Dover Street, Mayfair...That would be pronounced "Dovah" as in "Come on Dovah, move your bloomin' arse"...Here you will find the Drones Club, home to Bertie Wooster and his gang. The Arts Club is in this street as well. When in Dover Street you might see some of these gents:


The Two Classes of Gentlemen's Clubs

The gentlemens' clubs of London were a very important part of the genteel world of the twenties, and Wodehouse's satire of them is continuous and hilarious. While American club life tends to be business oriented, the British clubs are elegant clandestine establishments designed to serve as escapes form the responsibilities - and often the drabness - of their members' home lives. Wooster's club is The Drones, whose exclusively upper-class members are invariably shown in their beautifully furnished clubrooms jumping on sofas, playing catch with cricket balls, or throwing dinner rolls at one another. Jeeves' club is the Ganymede, whose equally exclusive membership is composed of butlers, valets, gentlemen's gentlemen, and other in the upper reached of London's servant class. The Ganymede clubrooms are as elegant as The Drones', but the behavior of the Ganymede members is impeccable. The club names themselves are a deft malicious touch. Drones, of course, are the stingless male bees that make no honey and live off the work of other bees. Ganymede, in classic mythology, is the cup-bearer to the gods.

Friday, February 9, 2007

Berkeley Square


This, of course, is Berkeley Square, Mayfair...That would be pronounced "Bark-lee" Square by the way. It is here that Bertie Wooster and Reginald Jeeves live at 3A Berkeley Mansions, Berkeley Square, London, W1. Please visit soon, won't you?......Remember, "Bark-lee" Square.

Encyclopedia Jeevesiana

What ho! My hero, P. G. Wodehouse

by Stephen Fry

"Had his only contribution to literature been Lord Emsworth and Blandings Castle, his place in history would have been assured. Had he written of none but Mike and Psmith, he would be cherished today as the best and brightest of our comic authors. If Jeeves and Wooster had been his solitary theme, still he would be hailed as the Master. If he had given us only Ukridge, or nothing but recollections of the Mulliner family, or a pure diet of golfing stories, Doctor Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse would nonetheless be considered immortal. That he gave us all those - and more - is our good fortune and a testament to the most industrious, prolific and beneficent author ever to have sat down, scratched his head and banged out a sentence.

If I were to say that the defining characteristic of Wodehouse, the man, was his professionalism, that might make him sound rather dull. We look for eccentricity, sexual weirdness, family trauma and personal demons in our great men. Wodehouse, who knew just what was expected of authors, was used to having to apologise for a childhood that was "as normal as rice-pudding" and a life that consisted of little more than "sitting in front of the typewriter and cursing a bit"..."

continue...

Thursday, February 8, 2007

If your phone doesn't ring...It's me...

Last weekend, I returned home from my club and found an urgent email from someone or other listing phone numbers, declaring emergency and demanding I call. Now, as you all know, I am not one for modern technology, a modern Luddite would best describe me, but I do have a telephone, placed in the foyer in case a call to the local constabulary is required.

Intrigued by this e-missive, I dialed and immediately was embroiled in an argument about whether or not it was actually me on the phone or someone else. Of course with the raucous laughter and breaking glass sounds in the background, I realized at once that I had reached either Mrs. P or the Card's Wife...I was surprised that they didn't ask if I had Prince Albert in a can, etc.

If, by chance, you have phoned someone in the midst of a drunken pub crawl you realize that the conversation is not on a level that one would normally desire, and that the volume might be described as somewhat shrill...Although I did get a few words with The Card and Mr. P, there was a cry about 'minutes' in the background and I found myself discussing Saki with a dial tone.

Well, it was nice to hear from them anyway...

Live in glass houses, don't throw stones, etc.


"...Under its corrupt government, which is widely believed to sell seats in the upper house of parliament in return for contributions to ruling party funds, the once-free nation of Britain is rapidly turning into a police state. Pre-trial detention, once limited to 72 hours, is being repeatedly extended to far longer periods. Old rules about the accused being innocent until proved guilty are being cast aside. The right to silence has been abolished and so has the law which prevented anyone being tried twice for the same offence. The police increasingly take action against individuals for expressing opinions which defy 'political correctness', the official orthodoxy of the British state. The major Churches claim that new laws discriminate against their freedom of conscience.

The streets are under perpetual surveillance by closed-circuit TV cameras recording every action. The citizens are shortly to be issued with internal passports similar to Russian ones, and will be compelled to provide their fingerprints to their authorities. Schoolchildren are already being fingerprinted on such pretexts as allowing library access. The police increasingly use arrests - not followed by charges - to harass those they wish to pursue - and anyone arrested - whether convicted or not - is now compelled to give a DNA sample. As a result, Britain now has the most comprehensive DNA records of its population, anywhere in the world. Many state bodies now have the power to search people's homes, and the old maxim that 'An Englishman's Home is His Castle' is now so untrue as to be laughable.

Elections are still held, but are a sham in which all the parties have more or less the same policies. The main political movements, which have lost much of their popular support, are kept going by state subsidies and contributions from millionaire businessmen. The main state-owned broadcasting system is slavishly loyal to the government and keeps minority viewpoints off the air, or treats them with contempt and derision, while the other channels mostly purvey low-grade pornographic entertainment, so-called 'reality' shows of stunning banality, old movies and sport.

Meanwhile, actual crime is out of control, though citizens are legally prevented from many actions of self-defence and a government minister recently advised Britons to 'jump up and down' if they saw an old woman being attacked in the street, in the hope of distracting the attacker. This is the country which lectures Russia about 'civil society' and 'human rights'..."

Mr. Peter Hitchens via Mr. Cusack of TNC fame...

Taki's Top Drawer


"I want to shake up the stodgy world of so-called ‘conservative’ opinion. For the past ten years at least, the conservative movement has been dominated by a bunch of pudgy, pasty-faced kids in bow-ties and blue blazers who spent their youths playing Risk in gothic dormitories, while sipping port and smoking their father’s stolen cigars. Thanks to the tragedy of September 11—and a compliant and dim-witted president—these kids got the chance to play Risk with real soldiers, with American soldiers. Patriotic men and women are dying over in Iraq for a war that was never in America’s interests. And now these spitball gunners, these chicken hawks, want to attack Iran—which is no threat to the U.S. at all.

One thing I can tell you for sure, there may well be some atheists in foxholes—but you’ll never find a neocon. They prefer to send blue-collar kids out to die on their behalf, so they get to feel macho—and make up for all the times they got wedgies in prep school. It shall be our considered task to take on the chicken-hawks of this world, and give them wedgies again.”

We want to reflect a traditional conservatism that prefers peace with honor to proxy wars, Western civilization to multicultural barbarism, Christendom to the European Union, and Russell Kirk to Leon Trotsky. This will undoubtedly infuriate many in the mainstream ‘conservative’ movement, who have transferred their loyalties elsewhere. It’s time to raise their blood pressure a few points—and help them burn off some of those five-course meals they’ve been eating down on K Street."