Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Traditional - The Parting Glass

We are come hard up on the end of the year.  Modern New Years' Eve celebrations include the singing of Robert Burns' Auld Lang Syne, a traditional Scottish ballad.  But that's not the only song that was included in the party.  This one is older, perhaps almost two hundred years older.  It sings of the sorrow of parting, of reminiscing of times now gone.  The "parting glass" was the final toast offered to a departing guest, frequently served when the guest mounted his horse (i.e. a stirrup cup).

Burns referred to this song, so it was not only common but famous in his day - the music was incorrectly attributed to Joseph Haydn (!).  But the song dropped into obscurity.  It was Tommy Makem and The Clancy Brothers who re-introduced it into popular use; it became a signature number of theirs, and they would typically close concerts with it.

So this New Years' Eve when everyone dusts off the old Robert Burns, hoist a glass of cheer to the anonymous authors of this.  We even now saddle up to ride into the New Year; a parting glass is not too much to ask from 2019.

The Parting Glass (traditional)
Of all the money that e'er I had
I spent it in good company
And all the harm I've ever done
Alas it was to none but me
And all I've done for want of wit
To mem'ry now I can't recall
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be to you all

So fill to me the parting glass
And drink a health whate’er befall,
And gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be to you all

Of all the comrades that e'er I had
They're sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that e'er I had
They'd wish me one more day to stay

But since it fell unto my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be to you all

A man may drink and not be drunk
A man may fight and not be slain
A man may court a pretty girl
And perhaps be welcomed back again
But since it has so ought to be
By a time to rise and a time to fall
Come fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all
Good night and joy be with you all
To all our readers, we wish you a happy and healthy New Year!

Party time! Excellent!

I posted this ten years ago, and it's still funny.  You can get them here.

Tonight we're going to party like it's 1999 1912

Apologies to the artist formerly known as "Prince" ...

Monday, December 30, 2019

Thoughts on what's past, and what's ahead

A Republic, if you can keep it. 
- Benjamin Franklin, on the adoption of the Constitution
The swamp won't get drained:
Let me be clear on this: Once ruling hierarchies get beyond a certain point, they cannot be reformed. And I am sure that the modern West is beyond that point.
  • Do we really believe that central bankers will just lay down their monopolies?
  • Can we seriously expect a hundred trillion dollars of debt to be liquidated without any consequences?
  • Do we actually believe that politicians will walk away from their power and apologize for abusing us?
  • Do we really think that the corporations who own Congress will just give up the game that is enriching them?
  • Does anyone seriously believe that the NSA is going to say, “Gee, that Fourth Amendment really is kind of clear, and everything we do violates it… so, everyone here is fired and the last person out will please turn off the lights”?
It's a sobering post, in a let's party like it's 460 AD sort of way.  It reminded me of this old post:
I could keep myself up all night and into tomorrow by listing different groups of royalty and the ways they scam the system.
…except "scam the system" is a misnomer. I am not listing defects in a perfectable system. I am describing the system.
It is corrupt, corrupt, corrupt. From Ted Kennedy who killed a woman and yet is toasted as a "lion of liberalism", to George Bush who did his share of party drugs (and my share, and your share, and your share…) while young yet let other youngsters rot in jail for the exact same excesses instead of waving his royal wand of pardoning, to thousand of well-paid NSA employees who put the Stasi to shame in their ruthless destruction of our rights, to the Silicon Valley CEOs who buy vacation houses with the money they make forging and selling chains to Fort Meade, to every single bastard at RSA who had a hand in taking the thirty pieces of silver, to the three star generals who routinely screw subordinates and get away with it (even as sergeants are given dishonorable discharges for the same thing), to the MIT cops and Massachusetts prosecutor who drove Aaron Swartz to suicide, to every drug court judge who sends 22 year olds to jail for pot…while high on Quaalude and vodka because she's got some fucking personal tragedy and no one understands her pain, to every cop who's anally raped a citizen under color of law, to every other cop who's intentionally triggered a "drug" dog because the guy looked guilty, to every politician who goes on moral crusades while barebacking prostitutes and money laundering the payments, to every teacher who retired at age 60 on 80% salary, to every cop who has 50 state concealed carry even while the serfs are disarmed, to every politician, judge, or editorial-writer who has ever used the phrase "first amendment zone" non-ironically: this is how the system is designed to work.
The system is not fixable because it is not broken. It is working, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to give the insiders their royal prerogatives, and to shove the regulations, the laws, and the debt up the asses of everyone else.
I'm come to welcome the idea of the coming breakup, and Governor Blackface's Virginia reindeer games.  Donald Trump is a Romantic, in his attempt to drain the swamp.  It's tilting at windmills, a noble effort doomed to defeat.  The breakup that will follow won't reform the system, it will break the system into a million pieces.  Only then can the Res Publica shed all the layers of corruption that have attached themselves to the state.

Of course, new layers will emerge to take their place, but a fragmentation of power will make control of the center less attractive.  It's sad that likely millions will die during this breakup, as the current Powers That Be violently lurch towards the realization that they are Rome's last Emperor.
The generality of princes, if they were stripped of their purple, and cast naked into the world, would immediately sink to the lowest rank of society, without a hope of emerging from their obscurity.
- Edward Gibbon, The Decline And Fall Of The Roman Empire

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Ernest Tomlinson - Fantasia on Auld Lang Syne, for orchestra

Will wonders never cease?  Today's delightful New Years' composition comes from a modern classical composer whose music doesn't stink to high heaven.  I think that's a first here for the Sunday Classical posts.  Ernest Tomlinson was an English composer active from around 1950.  He was an anachronism in that he wrote music with melody, in great contrast to the a-tonal, a-rythmical dreck that is the wasteland of modern classical music.

He may have singlehandedly saved much of this sort of music in 1984.  The BBC decided to eliminate their archive of light classical music - it was ever so unfashionable, old chap - and he got the entire archive.  50,000 works are now in the Library Of Light Orchestral Music.  Tomlinson was awarded the Member of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of his service to music.

This piece is simply a delight.  Everyone will recognize the primary theme - Auld Lang Syne, the traditional New Years' Eve song.  But Tomlinson weaves in brief snippets of 152 other pieces.  It was a completely unexpected pleasure to discover this, and a fitting high note to say goodbye to 2019.

Ernest Tomlinson passed on in 2015.  His obituary is worth a read:
After falling out of favour in the middle of the last century, light music, once a major part of British cultural life, has enjoyed a modest renaissance in recent years. Nobody did more to encourage this revival of interest than Ernest Tomlinson, who has died aged 90. He was a prolific composer, praised by the singer and broadcaster Catherine Bott for his “exceptional technical skills allied to a rare gift for melody”. Equally, he fought to preserve the light music heritage by founding the Library of Light Orchestral Music and acting as consultant and performer for an important series of CD recordings.
He was an anachronism inn modern classical music, living an admirably traditional life.  Married 57 years, this part of his obituary stood out:
He is survived by his children, Ann, Geoffrey, Hilary and Linda, eight grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Jean died in 2006.
Rest in peace, and thanks for the great music.

Friday, December 27, 2019

The Calm

It's the end of the year, and at least at Castle Borepatch it's very quiet and peaceful.  Calm.  Looking at the state of the Republic, perhaps it's the calm before the storm.

Democrats seem to be in a big hurry in the Old Dominion state.  Certainly the citizens of that state think so - almost 100 counties have declared themselves Second Amendment sanctuaries.  Senior Democrat politicians are openly musing about calling out the National Guard to confiscate firearms.  I guess we'll see just how serious they are.

Me, I think that the Re-Elect Trump 2020 campaign thanks them for their support.  This seems to be the fastest way on earth to turn a purple state red, if it doesn't start the Electric Boogaloo first.

Meanwhile, impeachment has turned out to be a big Nothingburger farce.  The Senate is waiting impatiently for the Articles of Impeachment, to see if they contain High Crimes and Misdemeanors.  We know what the Senate is ...
SENATE, n. A body of elderly gentlemen charged with high duties and misdemeanors.
- Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
But for now, everything is calm.  Except for the polls, where Trump seems to be surging against each Democratic challenger.  Given what the Democrats have done up until now (when they thought they could bump Trump off the perch) it will be interesting to see what they do around March or so when their front runner begins to emerge and everyone begins to realize that Trump is going to roll to a 35 state landslide.  That will be a new situation for the Republic - an impeached President winning big in the next election.

We've been told for 3 years now that Trump is destroying the norms of our civilized political institutions, but strangely it's the Progressives who just can't seem to accept the results of elections.  It's the Progressives that are forcing unpopular laws on large minority populations (Republicans are a minority in Virginia, for example, but they are 49% of the electorate).  The population is seeing the imposition of unpopular ideas by Democrats who have a thin majority: impeachment, gun confiscation in Virginia, Bake That Cake, men in women's rest rooms, the corruption of the FBI.

But for the moment, it's delightfully calm, at least here at Castle Borepatch.  The Queen Of The World and I are going for long walks with Wolfgang - after all, he has new frisbees to break in.  It's nice.  Peaceful.

And unlikely to last.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas morning

Wolfgang hopes you got lots of puppy loot, too!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Merry Christmas to All

From all of us to all of you, may the joy of the season surround you all.  The Queen Of The World and I have just put on "It's A Wonderful Life" and are tuning out the 'net for the evening.  You can get the Norad Santa app for your phone to track the Big Guy, but we like something older.  Not earliest Christmas carol ever old, but still old.  This is the earliest Christmas Carol from the New World (that we know of).  I like this song because it reminds us of the reason for the Season.
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Philippians 2:5-8
We all know the story, that's the problem.  We know it so well that we don't think about the story, and what it means.  It helps to put the story in a different setting to make us think on the meaning again.

Huron Carol is the oldest Christmas Carol from Canada, and perhaps from the New World.  It was written in 1642 by Jean de Brébeuf, a Jesuit missionary to the Huron tribes.  It tells the story of the nativity in terms that were familiar to the Huron: instead of a stable, the baby was born in a lodge of broken bark.  Instead of three wise men there were three chiefs from far off tribes.  Instead of frankincense and myrrh there were gifts of fox and beaver pelts.  He wrote in their native language, as necessity called for.  If you would tell a tale, you must use words the listener will understand.

Tomorrow is the feast of the Redeemer.  Amidst the holiday cheer, gifts, and yes, feasting, think on the familiar meaning as explained in a different tongue, a tale made new again.


The original words of the carol in the Wyandot language (Huron).
Ehstehn yayau deh tsaun we yisus ahattonnia
O na wateh wado:kwi nonnwa 'ndasqua entai
ehnau sherskwa trivota nonnwa 'ndi yaun rashata
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia.

Ayoki onki hm-ashe eran yayeh raunnaun
yauntaun kanntatya hm-deh 'ndyaun sehnsatoa ronnyaun
Waria hnawakweh tond Yosehf sataunn haronnyaun
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia.

Asheh kaunnta horraskwa deh ha tirri gwames
Tishyaun ayau ha'ndeh ta aun hwa ashya a ha trreh
aundata:kwa Tishyaun yayaun yaun n-dehta
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia.

Dau yishyeh sta atyaun errdautau 'ndi Yisus
avwa tateh dn-deh Tishyaun stanshi teya wennyau
aha yaunna torrehntehn yataun katsyaun skehnn
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia.

Eyeh kwata tehnaunnte aheh kwashyehn ayehn
kiyeh kwanaun aukwayaun dehtsaun we 'ndeh adeh
tarrya diskwann aunkwe yishyehr eya ke naun sta
Iesus Ahattonnia, Ahattonnia, Iesus Ahattonnia.


The 1926 English version by Jesse Edgar Middleton.
'Twas in the moon of winter-time
When all the birds had fled,
That mighty Gitchi Manitou
Sent angel choirs instead;
Before their light the stars grew dim,
And wandering hunters heard the hymn:
"Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria."

Within a lodge of broken bark
The tender Babe was found,
A ragged robe of rabbit skin
Enwrapp'd His beauty round;
But as the hunter braves drew nigh,
The angel song rang loud and high...
"Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria."

The earliest moon of wintertime
Is not so round and fair
As was the ring of glory
On the helpless infant there.
The chiefs from far before him knelt
With gifts of fox and beaver pelt.
Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria.

O children of the forest free,
O sons of Manitou,
The Holy Child of earth and heaven
Is born today for you.
Come kneel before the radiant Boy
Who brings you beauty, peace and joy.
"Jesus your King is born, Jesus is born,
In excelsis gloria."

Overheard at Christmas

Well, it's not quite but it's a quiet day and so lots of calls to kids.  But this is the funniest thing I've heard so far today:
Instapot?  That's not some marajuana thing, is it?
Heh. For those who haven't run across it, it's not at all a marajuana thing.  Good if you have munchies, I'd think.  I so need to make my pot roast in ours ...

The Truce

I've posted each year about the "Christmas Truce" on the Western Front in 1914.  This year is no exception, but I want to preface things by describing just how the opening weeks of The War To End Wars is nothing like what we think.  In many ways it was worse for the men on the ground, which only makes the spontaneous outbreak of peace even more amazing.  The bitterness that the soldiers of both sides must have felt would have burned bright, and yet the feelings of the season overcame all that.

When we think of that war, we think of trenches, barbed wire, and machine guns.  That's quite a good description of the western front, but not until 2 or 3 months into the conflict.  Initially instead of a slog over No Man's Land, it was a war of movement, with massive armies covering hundreds of miles.  August and September 1914 saw men pushed to their limits because they had to march 15 miles and then fight the enemy, and then wake up and do it all over again.  And again.  And again.

The losses were unbelievable.  The first six weeks saw the following killed, wounded, and missing: 300,000 (France), 300,000 (Germany), 300,000 (Austria-Hungary), 250,000 (Russia), 200,000 (Serbia), 15,000 (Britain).  That last seems out of place with the rivers of blood from the other combatants, but Britain's army in 1914 was not a mass of draftees - rather, it was a small force of professional veterans.  15,000 was a quarter of the entire force.

October followed up these million and a half with the Kindermord, the "slaughter of the children".  The generals were horrified at the losses, not so much because of the incredible human loss but because their forces were so rapidly depleted.  Trainees were rushed from basic training straight to the front.  At the First Battle of Ypres 60,000 of these kids were mowed down as they marched, singing, into the rifles of the Cold Stream Guards.

The German artist Käthe Kollwitz made a sculpture in remembrance of her son, Peter, killed in the Kindermord.  He, like most of his comrades, was 18.  You can see it if you go to the Vladslo German cemetery in Diksmuid, Belgum.  The grief and bitterness is captured in stone.

Only then did it settle down to trenches, barbed wire, and No Man's Land.  So if anyone was justified in holding a grudge, it was everyone in a trench on the Western Front in December 1914.  And yet, this happened instead.

105 years ago today, 100,000 soldiers in the trenches of the Western Front stopped shooting each other, at least for a little while.  Instead, moved by the spirit of the season, they met in No Man's Land to exchange greetings and brandy, and to play soccer.  
Image from the Illustrated London News, 9 Jan 1915
The Generals were less than amused, and cracked down in following years.  Captain Sir Iain Colquhoun was Court-marshalled for his participation.  After they convicted him someone recalled that he was related to the British Prime Minister, and so they swept it all under the carpet.

Historians now occupy the field of battle because all the eye witnesses are now long dead.  All that we have are stories from those who remember those witnesses. But we know that December 1914 saw something unique in trench warfare: Christmas showed that the human heart still beat on the front lines.  This song from 1984 was back when some of those men still lived, and John 
McCutcheon tells of how some of them came to his concert because they heard the song on the radio:
All our lives, our family our friends told us we were crazy.  Couldn't possibly have happened to us.  Then we heard your song on the radio and said "See? See? We were there."

Christmas In The Trenches (Songwriter: John McCutcheon)

My name is Francis Tolliver. I come from Liverpool.
Two years ago the war was waiting for me after school.
To Belgium and to Flanders, to Germany to here,
I fought for King and country I love dear.

It was Christmas in the trenches where the frost so bitter hung.
The frozen field of France were still, no Christmas song was sung.
Our families back in England were toasting us that day,
their brave and glorious lads so far away.

I was lyin' with my mess-mates on the cold and rocky ground
when across the lines of battle came a most peculiar sound.
Says I "Now listen up me boys", each soldier strained to hear
as one young German voice sang out so clear.

"He's singin' bloddy well you know", my partner says to me.
Soon one by one each German voice joined in in harmony.
The cannons rested silent. The gas cloud rolled no more
as Christmas brought us respite from the war.

As soon as they were finished a reverent pause was spent.
'God rest ye merry, gentlemen' struck up some lads from Kent.
The next they sang was 'Stille Nacht". "Tis 'Silent Night'" says I
and in two toungues one song filled up that sky.

"There's someone commin' towards us" the front-line sentry cried.
All sights were fixed on one lone figure trudging from their side.
His truce flag, like a Christmas star, shone on that plain so bright
as he bravely strode, unarmed, into the night.

Then one by one on either side walked into no-mans-land
with neither gun nor bayonet we met there hand to hand.
We shared some secret brandy and wished each other well
and in a flare-lit soccer game we gave 'em hell.

We traded chocolates, cigarettes and photographs from home
these sons and fathers far away from families of their own.
Young Sanders played his squeeze box and they had a violin
this curious and unlikely band of men.

Soon daylight stole upon us and France was France once more.
With sad farewells we each began to settle back to war.
But the question haunted every heart that lived that wondrous night
"whose family have I fixed within my sights?"

It was Christmas in the trenches where the frost so bitter hung.
The frozen fields of France were warmed as songs of peace were sung.
For the walls they'd kept between us to exact the work of war
had been crumbled and were gone for ever more.

My name is Francis Tolliver. In Liverpool I dwell.
Each Christmas come since World War One
I've learned it's lessons well.
That the ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame
and on each end of the rifle we're the same.
This Christmas Eve, remember those caught up in the killing fields of Flanders, and the Ardennes, and Khe Sanh. And remember those who still stand post far from home and family tonight.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Brad Paisley & Steven Tyler - Run Run Rudolph

The hottest day ever in Australia

It was last week if you believe the Australian Bureau of Meterology.  It was in 1896 if you believe newspapers published then:
But look at the temperatures reported in newspapers across the country during the month of January in 1896 when people were going mad with axes, dropping dead in coaches and railway stations and birds were falling lifeless from the trees? Emergency trains were ferrying people from the country to the mountains. Panic stricken people fled the outback on special trains and the death toll was in the hundreds.

Fifty years later scientists would publish papers talking about how Australian summers had cooled since then.
You might call all those old newspaper stories an Inconvenient Truth.  The number of places reporting record temperatures was amazing:

Here are the links to the hot days that were recorded but don’t exist 
History down the memory hole: Links go to the newspaper article of the day
Geraldton W.A. Wednesday, 1 Jan 1896 - 114° F “at Geraldton observatory“.
Geraldton W.A. Thursday, 2 Jan - 115° F “A child succumbs to the heat. ” at “ Northampton, where the thermometer ranged even higher than at Geraldton.”
Geraldton W.A. Friday, 3 Jan - 125° F most papers, 115° F in some (possibly a date error as it matches the previous day).
Perth W.A. 3 Jan - 112° F ” Five deaths have been reported in the city on account of the great heat.”
Mullewa W.A. 3 Jan - 121° F “The town has been enveloped in clouds of dust.”and “crowds of people have bad to sleep out of doors. Water is very scarce.”
Carnarvon W.A. 3 Jan - 121° F Brick House station “It is farther reported that the mercury has been up as high as 125 in the shade there.”
Pinjarrah W.A. 3 Jan - 114° F followed by a minimum of 97° F.
Southern Cross W.A. Week ending 5 Jan - ”averaged 115deg.” “It has often been as high as 122deg.” Mr Mkay died in his office chair of heat apoplexy.
Cue W.A. Sunday, 5 Jan - ”Three weeks of uninterrupted excesive heat“ ”each day exceeded 105“ ”on two occasions reaching 118.“
Wilcannia N.S.W. Monday, 6 Jan - 117° F “Wyalong follows close with 114°. Then come Nowra and Corowa with 112.”
Isisford Qld. 6 Jan - 112° F ” The Government Astronomer states that the high temperature has been caused by a heat wave which has come across the continent from Port Darwin,“.
Bourke N.S.W. 6 Jan - ”The fact is that out of 93 weather telegrams sent in, 64 gave temperatures ranging from 100° at Cooma, Tabulam, Tenterfield, and a few other places, up to 118° in the shade recorded at Brewarrina and at Bourke. There were 22 stations which reported temperatures ranging from 110° to 118° inclusive.“
Canowindra N.S.W. 6 Jan - 114° F “Reaching the highest point on record“.
Farina S.A. 6 Jan - 113.5° F “the place occupied by the thermometer being a shadebox such as is used at the Adelaide Observatory.“
Ungarie N.S.W 6 Jan - 125° F “rural districts do not always recognise the nice distinctions between true shade and other shade.”
Farina S.A. Thursday, 9 Jan - 112.3° F
Quirindi N.S.W. Monday, 13 Jan - 120° F. Out of 54 temperatures shown on that list only one does not meet the 95° F (35° C) heatwave threshold.
Bulli N.S.W. 13 Jan - 115° F “This has been, the hottest day known“.
Kiama N.S.W. 13 Jan - 117° F ” A Scorcher Everywhere. Death and Distress.“
Parramatta N.S.W. 13 Jan – 111 ° F “Fruit Broiled on the Trees.” “Birds and Animals Drop Dead.”
Camden N.S.W. Tuesday, 14 Jan - 123°F ”Great Heat Wave ” “LIST OF CASUALTIES.”
Araluen N.S.W. Friday, 17 Jan - 110° F “It was thought that the heat had passed, but it was back again to-day“
Brewarrina N.S.W 17 Jan - 122° F “125 deaths attributable to heat apoplexy” (Sydney).
West Wyalong N.S.W 17 Jan - 114° F “The thermometer at the post office“.
Nannine W.A. Saturday, Jan 18 - ”After about three weeks of most oppressive heat, with the thermometer frequently registering 120deg. in the shade, the weather has broken.”
Farina S.A. Tuesday, Jan 21 - 112.3° F “Old residents say this is the hottest summer they have ever experienced.”
Broken Hill N.S.W. Wednesday, Jan 22 – 113½° F ”Two horses dropped dead in the street from the effects of the heat.“
Farina S.A. 22 Jan - 113° F “The temperature of our police cell was 148° several times.”
Charleville or Cunnamulla QLD. 22 Jan – 120.5 ° F (116 °F official ) “The average daily temperature from the 1st instant exceeded 114 degrees.” 25 days!!
Olary S.A. Thursday, 23 Jan - 116° F “and dust flying in clouds during the afternoon.”
Adelaide S.A. 23 Jan - 111° F “Herbert Crown, an ostler at the Langham Hotel, fell down in King William-street this afternoon with sunstroke.”
Swan Hill Vic 23 Jan - 116° F “To-day, it is again exceedingly oppressive”.
Farina S.A. 23 Jan - 114.3° F “Five deaths have occurred in the town and one outside“.
Mildura Vic 23 Jan - 120° F “PHENOMENAL HEAT IN VICTORIA.“
Broken Hill 23 Jan - 115° F “Dr Enill took the temperature of the body an hour and a hall after death, and found that it was 109¾ .”
Halbury S.A. 23 Jan – 118° F “Many children are unwell, and it will go hard with them unless a change soon, comes.”.
Rapanyup Vic 23 Jan - 113° F “To-day it is again exceedingly oppressive“.
Natimuk Vic 23 Jan - 115° F ”Telegrams from the country districts show that the heat was general throughout the colony.”(Victoria).
Bega N.S.W. 23 Jan - 113° F “The minimum heat during last night was 73 . To-day the heat was terrific In the true shade the reading was 113 at 2pm“.
Geelong Vic 23 Jan - 110° F ” Largely due to a burning north-west wind.“
Hergott Springs S.A. 23 Jan “On three different days it showed 118° and three times 116°, the average for the last month having been 113°F. “
Grenfell and Ivanhoe N.S.W. 23 Jan - 122 ° F “At Ivanhoe the heat was so intense that the mail horses fell dead on the road.”
Charleville / Cunnamulla QLD. Friday, 24 Jan – 126/5° F “The official readings at the Post Office are lower; but the instruments used are placed in a thickly-planted garden which has been heavily irrigated during the last week,” So at which town was this garden and non stevenson screen recording? The clue is in the name “Grosvenor” here.
Cunnamulla QLD 24 Jan – ” The official record showed a reading on Tuesday of 111 degs. in the shade, on Wednesday 116 degs., and to-day 117 degs. On Wednesday at midnight, the high temperature of 99 degs. was recorded.”
Isisford QLD 24 Jan – “The thermometer on Monday rose to 114 degs., on Tuesday to 112 degs., on “Wednesday 115 degs., and to-day 118 degs. The country is very bare and the water is giving out fast.”
Wilcannia N.S.W 24 Jan - 123° F “not a breath of wind was stirring during the night”.
Hillston N.S.W. 24 Jan- 115° F “Anything under 110 is now beginning to be looked upon as contemptibly cool.”
Wilcannia N.S.W. Saturday, 25 Jan – 120° F “The thermometer fell 50deg. at Wilcannia, but a death from sunstroke occurred there yesterday.”

125°F at Middle camp station Netely (Perhaps 160 kilometres south-east of Broken Hill).
129°F at Gundabooka Station near Bourke. (or try here).
125°F at Nelyambo station (Near Nyngan?).
121°F at Namagee N.S.W. “There is no appearance of a change“.
125°F at White Cliffs.
124°F at New Angeldool, Jan 27.
124°F at Mossgiel (Where is that?).
There are even more extreme examples listed in the original 1896 post, like Berlino 130F, which ““hangs on a stone house with a thickly thatched verandah facing West” … “never reached by the sun“. Instead, these seemed like the more reliable estimates.
We've seen over and over that if the past data don't fit the narrative, that the data gets disappeared.  It's the finest science that government funding can buy, as long as it supports the government's narrative.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Nine candles

To our Jewish readers, we wish you a happy beginning of the Festival of Lights.

Nat King Cole - The Christmas Song

This is perhaps the ultimate of all the Christmas songs.

The SJWs are about to de-platform Mother Nature

Funny how the media is simply ignoring what's starting out as a brutal winter.  It's not just here in North America, either; Europe is being smothered under record showfall.  We're only a day into winter, so there's lots of opportunity for more.

The Concert of the century

Beethoven in 1805
I'm taking a break from Christmas music today, but that's actually part of the story.  On this day in 1808, Ludwig van Beethoven gave what is without doubt the most astonishing concert of the nineteenth century.  Beethoven had been giving a lot of charity concerts at Vienna's Theater an der Wein, but ever short of cash had convinced the theater's owner to let him do a concert there for his own benefit.

While this might seem an odd time of the year for a concert in what was essentially an unheated hall, the laws of the Austrian empire prohibited performance of Opera during Advent - the opera mad Austrians needed something to scratch their classical music itch, so to say.

Beethoven had to scramble to put together an orchestra - there were many, many charity concerts at that time of year.  He assembled a mixed group of professionals and amateur performers, and for the last time took the stage to perform on the piano (his increasing deafness would not allow this in the future).

This concert was the world premier of his Symphony No. 5, his Symphony No. 6, his Fourth Piano Concerto, and his Choral Fantasy.  Here is the entire concert for your enjoyment, in the order it was performed.

Hat tip to The Queen Of The World who pointed out this anniversary.   She's not just pretty as a picture, she knows stuff too.

This wins the Christmas Sweater contest

My local newspaper had a photo of this.  Heh.

You  can get one here.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Happy Plymouth Rock Day!

399 years ago one of my ancestors landed in Plymouth, Mass.  It's not recorded whether my Indian ancestors were there to greet them.

Oh, yeah, happy Solstice too.  Now it's winter, and it looks like we're all going to get it good and hard this season.

Vince Vaughn in Fred Claus - Elvis' Rubberneckin'

Santa's brother Fred is sick of the regular Christmas music and kicks it up with some Elvis.  I do a lot of Christmas music and something different is sometimes a welcome change.

It's a cute movie.

Quote of the Day: Santa edition

From View Through The Windshield:
Four Stages of a Man's Life: 1. You believe in Santa Claus. 2. You don't believe in Santa Claus. 3. You are Santa Claus. 4. You look like Santa Claus.
I like to claim I'm in stage 3 ...

Loretta Lynn - I Wont Decorate Your Christmas Tree

Next week is Christmas, and you don't get much more country christmas than Loretta Lynn telling Santa that she's leaving her husband.

I Wont Decorate Your Christmas Tree (Songwriters: Bob Cummings, Barbara Cummings, Loretta Lynn)
Well I wrote to Santa just today I told him I don't plan to stay
Cause you've been bad yes you've been treatin' me wrong
So listen to me here's Christmas cheers because you won't be with me here
I won't decorate your Christmas tree this year
You can stay out there to toast and cheer with all of your friends
Don't hang on me a bein' here when you come back again
Your bags are burnt out and your fancy don't shine I just won't be a waitin' this time
I won't decorate your Christmas tree this year

Well I won't be here this Christmas Day I wouldn't give a present anyway
But have a good time and be concerned about me
I'm going back to my mom and dad they love me more than you ever had
I won't decorate your Christmas tree this year
You can stay out there...
No I won't decorate your Christmas tree this year

Friday, December 20, 2019

Are U.S. Navy Captains now in charge of Carnival Cruise ships?

2 Carnival Cruise ships collide in Cozumel, Mexico; at least 6 people injured.

On the plus side, it wasn't a Destroyer running into the world's largest container ship.  On the down side, one of the ships was docked, so I'm guessing that at least one Carnival Captain is polishing up resume.doc.

Dang, we were just there three weeks ago.  How come all the fun happens when I'm gone?

The Mighty Saints of Soul - Christmas In Carolina

This is just fun.

President Trump to step down


Thursday, December 19, 2019

Veni redemptor gentium - Vocalis Chamber Choir

This is the oldest Christmas Carol that we know of, written by Bishop Ambrose of Milan sometime before 400 A.D.  The title translates as Come, Redeemer of the nations.  If you don't like the typical Christmas carols, give this a try.  It's as peaceful as a silent winter night.

Why does Government smother everything it touches?

Historic 13th century pub could be shut down due to government regulations.

T.S. Elliott didn't write The Waste Land about government, but it sure applies.

The Democrats' "Lost Cause" myth

We live immersed in a world of lies.  I've posted about how history as taught today about the Civil War* is retarded.  Nowhere is this on better display than the Wikipedia page about the "Lost Cause Mythos":
The Lost Cause of the Confederacy, or simply the Lost Cause, is an American pseudo-historicalnegationist ideology that holds that the cause of the  Confederacy during the American Civil War was a just and heroic one. The ideology endorses the supposed virtues of the antebellum South, viewing the war as a struggle primarily to save what they view as the beneficent and ethical Southern way of life,[1] or "states' rights" in the face of overwhelming "Northern aggression." At the same time, the Lost Cause minimizes or denies outright the central role of slavery in the buildup to and outbreak of the war. [my emphasis on this last sentence - Borepatch]
This is retarded.  A simple scanning of the dates of secession confirms this:
South Carolina: December 20, 1860
Mississippi: January 9, 1861
Florida: January 10, 1861
Alabama: January 11, 1861
Georgia: January 19, 1861
Louisiana: January 26, 1861
Texas: February 1, 1861
Missing from this list is the Virginia Secession Convention which voted to remain in the Union on 6 December 1861.  Also missing is Lincoln's attempt to break the blockade of Ft. Sumpter at the beginning of April 1861.  Up until this point, secession had been limited to the deep south; after what was seen as an act of war by the Federal government against a state, four other southern states seceded.
Virginia: April 17, 1861
Arkansas: May 6, 1861
North Carolina: May 20, 1861
Tennessee: June 8, 1861
Kentucky: Ordinance passed by people in 1861
Missouri: Ordinance passed, but not presented to people
But this isn't the limit of the Wikipedia article's retardedness.  Look at that last sentence, and ponder that the following slave states never seceded: Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky (mostly because of force of Northern arms) and Missouri (ditto).  So the best you can say is that 7 slave states seceded over slavery, 4 more seceded over Federal aggression (but not over slavery), two more never seceded at all, and two were occupied by the Federal army and so the issue became moot.

In a world where we're continually informed by our betters that we're not well educated enough to correctly interpret all the nuance of the world, it sure would be nice to get a little nuance from historians.  But they have their red, white, and blue cardboard history cutout and so we once again find ourselves swimming in an ocean of lies.**

Democrats don't seem to like nuance, no matter what platitudes they mouth.  It's not surprising, then, they get bitter, they cling to abortion or the Ivy League or antipathy to people who live in Fly Over Country or anti-American sentiment or pro-impeachment sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.***

The impeachment circus will circle back to bite them.  The word that nobody in the press is saying today is "Nineteen" - that's how many House seats Republicans have to pick up to win back the majority.  There are 29 Democrats holding seats in House districts won by Donald Trump in 2016.  It looks grim for the Democrats.

Nancy Pelosi started rolling out a Lost Cause mythos for the Democrats yesterday, with the "solemn" vote on a bag of nothing.  It will come to nothing, but the victory laps being taken by the Democrats show that politics is now a game of humiliating your enemies.  Unfortunately, people have noticed and the American electorate is pretty unhappy with the whole Democratic charade.  We shall see how many more than nineteen districts flip next year.

The Democrats will need their Lost Cause mythos.  Unlike the Civil War* one, this one will not be based on a noble cause like Virginia choosing to resist Federal aggression.  Rather, it will be based on a small and mean desire to humiliate an opponent.  Worse, it targeted an opponent who punches back.

* It wasn't a Civil War at all: the Southern states weren't trying to take over and dominate the northern ones.  They wanted independence.  My preferred name for that conflict is the American War of Southern Independence.

** Note that I say this even though I'm not southern.  I'm from firmly midwest yankee stock and grew up in Maine.  As I like to joke, where we were Boston was in the south and New York was in the deep south.

*** Yes, this was modeled on another famous quote.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Alison Krauss, Yo Yo Ma, Natalie MacMaster, Shane Shanahan & Cristiana Pato - Wexford Carol

The end of the American Republic

The most worthless of mankind are not afraid to condemn in others the same disorders which they allow in themselves; and can readily discover some nice difference in age, character, or station, to justify the partial distinction.
- Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire
Future historians will mark this date as the day that the American Republic began its inexorable slide into Civil War and secession.  While this process has been under way for quite some time, this is a tidy date so loved by lazy historians.  Before this, the Republic; after this, whatever comes next.

This impeachment is so nakedly partisan and so devoid of anything but the lust for power that nobody can pretend that the Old Ways of Decorum can still be in effect.  In essence, Nancy Pelosi has done what they accuse Trump of doing: upending the traditions of democracy.  What's most striking about this is that they've done it all for nothing.

The Democrats don't look happy at all.  Indeed, many of them dressed in black for the occasion.  The spin was that they're somber for this solemn occasion, but you know that many have looked at the polls and heard from furious constituents and think that they're guests at their own political funerals.  It all looks like a huge miscalculation - rather than the impeachment process driving Trump's poll numbers down it's done the reverse.  Voters everywhere are annoyed at the whole charade and Trump's supporters are infuriated.  The Democrats didn't see that coming at all, because a biased media makes them stupid.

It's a bit like the run up to the First World War.  Nobody really wanted that Armageddon, but once the wheels were turning that way it was impossible for anyone to back out.  That's Nancy Pelosi's problem - her cunning plan was going to put the hammer to Donald Trump, but when she realized that it was probably going to cost her the House majority (and thus her Speakership) it was too late to put the brakes on things.  It would destroy her reputation and infuriate the Democratic base just as the primaries came around to vote on.

And so it will end not with a bang but with a whimper.  This will demoralize the Democratic base, but Donald Trump's base will still be infuriated.  They will want payback.  Not revenge, but a reckoning:

The Democrats have been shameless in their use of raw political power.  Well, two can play that game, and Republicans are finding that they don't have to curl up into the fetal position when talking to the media - indeed, you can gain voters by sneering at the clearly biased media.  The appetite for raw power grows with the tasting, and while this has pretty much been a Democrat game for a while there's no reason to think that both parties can't wet their beaks from that pond.
Power corrupts.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Almost all great men have been bad men.
- Lord Acton
And so the bonds that once knit this Republic will likely get unraveled a bit further, as the reckoning happens.  This will infuriate the Democratic base for the next election, and they will demand tit for tat.  And so on, and so on.  Each iteration will further whittle away at the sense of what is unthinkable in American politics.  Fast forward ten years and we're in uncharted territory.  It won't be the American Republic by then.  Or more specifically, it will be a new American Republic - number five by my count.

But as the bonds stretch and snap, people will rationally question whether the whole can be saved (it can't).  18 December 2019 will go down as the beginning of the end of the American Republic.  Sic transit Gloria Mundi.
Revenge is profitable, gratitude is expensive. 
- Edward Gibbon, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire

The highest paid athlete of all time

As a change of pace from Climate Change and the impending Electric Boogaloo in Virginia, here's some interesting trivia.  The highest paid athlete of all time lived in the Roman Empire:
Gaius Appuleius Diocles (104 – after 146 AD) was a Roman charioteer who became one of the most celebrated athletes in ancient history. He is often cited as the highest-paid athlete of all-time.[1][2]
Now it's notoriously difficult to compare prices in societies two thousand years apart, but Diocles seems legit:
His winnings reportedly totaled 35,863,120 sesterces, equivalent to 358,631.20 gold aureus or 26,000 kg of gold. As one modius (6.67 kg) of wheat in 79 AD Pompeii cost seven sestertii, Gaius Appuleius could have acquired 34.172 metric tons of wheat, equivalent to US$6.49 million in 2019. His earnings could provide a year’s supply of grain to the entire city of Rome, or pay the Roman army at its height for a fifth of a year. Classics professor Peter Struck describes him as "the best paid athlete of all time".[1]
Wheat is a lousy measure for comparison, because modern agricultural productivity is so far beyond what the Romans had that wheat is essentially free.  A better comparison is that whole "pay the Roman army at its height for a fifth of a year".  Taking the US DoD budget as around $800B, this gives us a modern equivalent wealth of around $160B - around 100 times what Michael Jordan made (the top modern athlete in terms of earnings).

And a note about the 35M sesterces - you needed to be worth 1M to qualify for Senatorial rank, so Diocles would have been in like flint.  However, the social status of gladiators and charioteers (no matter how popular) was very low, in fact just one minor step up from the status of slaves.  So there's no way that the Romans would have considered him for the Senate.  Probably just as well since it was a stuffy body full of hot air and nonsense by this time.  While it's not true that the Emperor Caligula appointed his horse to that body, he should have.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Just how much does the government spend on climate research?

tl;dr: A lot.

The longer answer is one I posted ten years ago.  The numbers are higher now, certainly over $100B.  To the Fed.Gov this must look like money well spent, using it as an excuse to carbon taxes and the like.

Originally posted 17 December 2009.

Make Big Money, doing Climate Research from home!

Well, I don't know about the "work from home" part, and whether you need to stuff envelopes, but the money's sweet: $79B since 1989, just from the US Fed.Gov. Add in the fellow traveler Euro.Govs and you've maybe doubled that.

Note that's "B" as in "Billion". Skim a lot off the top for Department of Energy and other bureaucrats, and there's plenty of cold hard cash, as long as you toe the line:
  • The US government has provided over $79 billion since 1989 on policies related to climate change, including science and technology research, foreign aid, and tax breaks.
  • Despite the billions: “audits” of the science are left to unpaid volunteers. A dedicated but largely uncoordinated grassroots movement of scientists has sprung up around the globe to test the integrity of the theory and compete with a well funded highly organized climate monopoly. They have exposed major errors.
  • Carbon trading worldwide reached $126 billion in 2008. Banks are calling for more carbon-trading. And experts are predicting the carbon market will reach $2 – $10 trillion making carbon the largest single commodity traded.
  • Meanwhile in a distracting sideshow, Exxon-Mobil Corp is repeatedly attacked for paying a grand total of $23 million to skeptics—less than a thousandth of what the US government has put in, and less than one five-thousandth of the value of carbon trading in just the single year of 2008.
  • The large expenditure in search of a connection between carbon and climate creates enormous momentum and a powerful set of vested interests. By pouring so much money into one theory, have we inadvertently created a self-fulfilling prophesy instead of an unbiased investigation?
Silly me, thinking that the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy was going to send me bushel baskets of unmarked bills for all my Denier ravings. The Big Money's all on the other side.

And yes, I know that this was posted months ago.  I'm a little slow sometimes.

Monday, December 16, 2019

Canadian Government deletes 100 years of climate data

Well, well, well:
Canadians already suspicious of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax are likely be even more suspicious given a report by Ottawa-based Blacklock’s Reporter that Environment Canada omitted a century’s worth of observed weather data in developing its computer models on the impacts of climate change.

The scrapping of all observed weather data from 1850 to 1949 was necessary, a spokesman for Environment Canada told Blacklock’s Reporter, after researchers concluded that historically, there weren’t enough weather stations to create a reliable data set for that 100-year period.

“The historical data is not observed historical data,” the spokesman said. “It is modelled historical data … 24 models from historical simulations spanning 1950 to 2005 were used.”
So the data weren't up to Environment Canada's no doubt high standards and they replaced it with model data?

[blink] [blink] [blink]

At this point, everyone who ever said the words Republican War on Science unironically can just sit down in the back of the room.  Grownups are talking.

While this certainly might make the politics of a carbon tax a little easier, it means that the science is done.  It's not science.  You don't just delete 100 years of recorded data because you don't like it.  A cynic might wonder if the data were airbrushed from history because the data are so not convenient:
Blacklock’s Reporter, which describes itself as “the only reporter-owned and operated newsroom in Ottawa” focusing on intensive reporting of government documents, notes that in many cases the observed temperatures scrapped by Environment Canada in creating its computer models, were higher in the past than today.

For example, Vancouver had a higher record temperature in 1910 (30.6C) than in 2017 (29.5C).

Toronto had a warmer summer in 1852 (32.2C) than in 2017 (31.7C).


Brandon, Man., had 49 days where the average daily temperature was above 20C in 1936, compared to only 16 in 2017, with a high temperature of 43.3C that year compared to 34.3C in 2017.
Sharp-eyed readers will recognize 1936 as the year that 14 of the 50 US States (well, 48 back then) set all time high temperature records.  But Manitoba's temperature records have been removed and replaced with new data generated by computer models.  Now two plus two equals five.

Eisenhower's farewell address is famous for its warning against the power - and danger - of a military-industrial complex.  Certainly the history of the last 60 years bears this out.  But even more prophetic were his remarks immediately following this:
Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientifictechnological elite.
The climate science industry has certainly provided a comfortable living for the climate scientists.  They get tenure, nice salaries, and junkets to expensive and exotic locations - all they have to do is make sure that their scientific results support the "right" political conclusions.  FYI, the "right" political conclusions include $300B/year to the UN.  Really.  Paid by you and me.

I have complained for a long, long time about the terrible quality of the temperature databases, but this is the most fraudulent abuse of science that I've ever seen.  This post is tagged Climate Bullshit because, well, you know.

It seems that Eric Holder is back in the news

He put himself in the limelight with a bold assertion:
Eric Holder, the former attorney general of the United States, former political hack for boss man Barack Obama, penned a scathing piece in The Washington Post against today Attorney General William Barr, calling him, get this, hold the phone, grab a seat and take a breath — “nakedly partisan.”
Well allrightee, then.

The linked article does a great job skewering Holder's nonsense, but only briefly mentions what got Holder held in Contempt (the first Cabinet Secretary in the Republic's history to be so held) - the "Fast and Furious" gun running operation that got Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry shot.

Well, not everyone has forgotten Fast And Furious.  Ammo.com has a great overview of that whole fiasco that is worth a read.

Me, I think that this is a sign that the investigation is showing signs of closing in on Obama himself.  The noise that you hear is the Palace Guard is closing ranks to protect The One.  It's the kicked dog that yelps.

Sic Semper Tyrannis

The only thing that would make this better was if Northam were in blackface ...

Quote of the day on this matter goes to Aesop, with advise to the Virginia National Guard:
Incoming fire always has the right of way.
It will be interesting to see how next year's elections end up.  The Democrats haven't let the mask slip, they've pulled the damn thing off, shredded it, and are daring everyone to say anything about it.  The 2020 elections are a fork in the road: one way leads to saner heads prevailing in a much-reduced Democratic Party humbled by a Boris Johnson style landslide by a Donald Trump with long, long coat tails.  The other branch leads to Sarajevo.  I guess we'll see.

UPDATE 16 December 2019 11:34: Endorsed: