Friday, December 31, 2021

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!

Thursday, December 30, 2021

St. James Infirmary - Hugh Laurie

Who knew that Huge Laurie had blues chops?


What did the ocean say to the shore?

Nothing.  They just waved. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2021

Joe Bonamassa - Christmas Boogie

Long time readers know that I love me some blues.  And I love me some Christmas music.  And I love me some Joe B.

You're welcome.

Southwest Florida Blogshoot - Important Update

We are confirmed for Saturday, January 15 at Manatee Gun Club in Myakka City, FL. The club is now under new management so there will be a few changes from previous shoots.  Please do not arrive prior to 10:30am.  Do not stop in the office, just follow the signs to the end of the road where our range is.  Prior to January 15, please review and follow the 6 easy steps below.

Manatee Gun and Archery Club, 1805 Logue Rd, Myakka City, FL 34251

1. The Gun Club has an online waiver that everyone will need to fill out.  If you don't fill this out online you'll have to fill out a paper form when you get there which will be a bit of a pain for everyone.

2, Please forward an email to me (at borepatch at gmail dot com) listing your actual name, your blog name (if applicable), your email address, and how many are in your party (we collected some of this info previously but the royal scribes seem to have misplaced it).  This needs to be done, even if you've left a comment that you will be attending because we have to verify everyone's forms have or will be completed.  

3. IMPORTANT: We need to have some NRA certified Range Safety Officers.  If any of y'all are certified RSOs and would volunteer, please send me an email and attach your credentials so we can clear it with the club that we have the required RSOs.  

4.  When you get to the range, follow the signs that say "Borepatch Blogshoot" to the private range at the end of the road.  We have that reserved just for us.  Shooting stands are covered, and there are 180 yard rifle and 25 yard pistol ranges.

5. We're asking everyone for $20 to cover range costs.  As usual, TQOTW will cater lunch which is included in the cost.

6. Lastly, bring whichever guns you want to.  Last time we had enough firepower to invade Canada.  We will have targets and stands, but the more targets, the merrier.  Of course, bring eye and ear protection.  Also, bring clips to attach the targets to the stands since no staples are allowed at the range.

Many of you may be interested to know, we have some different out of town visitors this time:

Co-blogger and my brother-from-another mother ASM826, down from North Carolina

Long time commenter Libertyman, down from New Hampshire

(tentatively) B from In The Middle Of The Right, from Indiana (I am looking into airports and will email you shortly)

Autographing a rifle

Not just any rifle, an M1 Garand.  And not just any autographers, World War II vets:

There’s a story behind every name on “The Rifle.”

Soldiers who landed on the beaches of Normandy, sailors who hunted down U-boats, Marines who drove back the Japanese, one island at a time.

There are more than 200 names on the M-1 Garand rifle owned by Andy Biggio, all of them World War II veterans, all of them sharing stories in Biggio’s book, “The Rifle: Combat Stories from America’s Last WWII Veterans, Told Through an M1 Garand.”

Andrew Biggio was a Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan.  When he returned home, his parents mentioned that they had his Grand Uncle's letters if he wanted to read them.  Grand Uncle didn't make it back from World War II, but Biggio was interested and read the letters.  In one of them, his Grand Uncle went on and on about how much he loved the M1 Garand.

And so Biggio went out and bought one.  After he'd been to the range to shoot it, he wondered OK, now what? There was another former Marine - a WWII vet - in Biggio's neighborhood, one who never talked about what he saw in the war.  Biggio figured he'd take his new-to-him rifle over to show him.

And then something magic happened.  His neighbor light up, and talked for hours about what he'd seen on Okinawa and other places.  Biggio was stunned at the change that had come over this old veteran, and got him to autograph the rifle.  When he got home he thought There must be others like him still out there.  I wonder if I could find them.

And so he did - 207 others that he met, and wrote down their stories, and got their autographs on his rifle.  He has a book out, one that now is sitting on my coffee table (thank you to my darling Queen Of The World).  

They are a remarkable group, as you'd expect.  The Stars and Stripe article linked above includes this:

The oldest veteran present was 105-year-old Henry Maruszevicz, of Lowell, who served in the Army with the 276th Armored. He was also a recipient of the Legion of Honor. According to his daughter, he still lives alone, mows his lawn and drives.

You can listen to an interview with Biggio where he talks about what caused him to seek these old veterans out on the History Unplugged podcast.

Monday, December 27, 2021

Dad Joke CLIII

Why do Dasher and Dancer love coffee?

Because they're Santa's star bucks. 

Building a medieval castle using only medieval technology

It seems that this is a thing, and has been for a couple decades:

Guedelon Castle in Burgundy, France, is built using only techniques and materials that were available in the Middle Ages. Michel Guyot and Maryline Martin started the project in 1997, and it has been nearing its inevitable completion ever since. Today, it has created over 55 jobs and draws more than 300,000 visitors every year.

It looks pretty cool:

Here's their web site, Building A Castle From Scratch.  I'd go there, if I ever get the chance.

Sunday, December 26, 2021

Irving Berlin - White Christmas

Not only is it the best song I ever wrote, it's the best song anybody ever wrote.

- Irving Berlin
A regular feature for Christmas television is the 1954 film "White Christmas".  But the title song was a lot older than that, originally appearing in the 1942 film "Holiday Inn" - for which it won the Academy Award for best original song.  While a ton of artists have recorded this song, Bing's versions make up roughly half of the 100 million copies sold.  Irving Berlin knew he had a hit with this one.

Friday, December 24, 2021

Huron Carol/Twas in the Moon of Wintertime

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."

Man, it was cold this morning

 It was maybe even colder than that.  Maybe.  And yes, it does look like the bottom picture.

Don't blame me, The Queen Of The World found this.

The Christmas Truce

The opening weeks of The War To End Wars were 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.

It may be that as many as 10% of all combat casualties of the entire war occurred in the first three months.  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 on December 24, 1914.  And yet, this happened instead.
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. 

(This is something that I've posted each year for quite a while) 

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Michael Bublé - Silver Bells


Why we celebrate Christmas on December 25

A lot of people know that this goes all the way back to the Roman Empire - not surprising when you think that the Emperor Constantine made Christianity the state religion of the Emperors in the 320s AD.  But a lot of people mistakenly think that the date for Christmas was chosen to coincide with the old Roman holiday of Saturnalia, a goofy end of year celebration where slaves were given the opportunity to act as masters for a day (as long as they really didn't try to).  No, it was something different, and more important for the development of the early Church, something that grew out of one of the most difficult times in the Empire's history and came from one of their very greatest Emperors.

The third century AD was a terrible time for the Empire, with a succession of generals usurping the Imperial crown and the empire assaulted by external enemies like the great Persian king Sharpur II.  Things got so bad that the Empire split into three pieces - a "Gallic Empire" in the West comprising Britain, France, and Spain; the rich eastern provinces of Egypt and Syria falling under the domination of Queen Zenobia's oasis city state of Palmyra, and a rump Empire of Italy and Africa.  It was really possible for a moment that the Roman Empire would simply dissolve - the bonds holding it together looked too weak to hold.

A gold coin from Aurelian's reign
But the Empire was saved by emperor Aurelian, who brought the whole thing back together.  A grateful Senate awarded him the title "Restitutor Orbis" - Restorer of the World.  Mike Duncan in his great History Of Rome Podcast describes Aurelian as the Sandy Koufax of Roman Emperors - he didn't have the longest career or the most strikeouts or wins, but while he played he was simply unhittable - Left Hand Of God.  You really should listen to the first couple minutes of this podcast episode as it is Mike Duncan at his very best.

So in five short years Aurelian restored the Roman world.  But he wasn't just one of the best generals in Roman history, he was also a great statesman.  He turned his mind to why the Empire was so fragile; if he could knit it more tightly together he might be able to prevent a repeat breakup.  Aurelian believed that a big problem was that the Empire was a collection of diverse peoples - Gauls and Britons and Egyptians and Syrians who all had different cultures and beliefs.  In short, they had little in common other than the Emperor of the day and everyone had just seen how that had worked out.

And so Aurelian tried to overlay some commonality on his peoples.  Each worshiped their own local gods, but most of these religious systems were fairly flexible.  Aurelian introduced an Empire-wide cult, thinking that having some similarities would help create a common sense of Roman-ness.  Aurelian chose a cult that was popular with the Army since the closest thing that the Empire had to a single common institution throughout the Empire was the Army.

Sol Invictus was popular with the troops, the Unconquered Sun god.  Most parts of the Empire adopted this seamlessly as one of the many gods, although it seems that Aurelian seemed to believe that Sol Invictus was the only god who took many forms which were interpreted as the local deities. This was an emergent idea in the Ancient world and an expression in the chronicles say the one wax takes many moulds.

Aurelian introduced his cult on December 25, 274 AD and it became really the first Empire-wide holiday.   He succeeded in founding a common belief across the Empire, perhaps succeeded more than even he hoped.  Because the idea stuck: Emperor Constantine didn't just introduce Christianity. It's from him that we get the word Sunday, since he decreed that across the Empire the weekly day of rest would be the day of the sun - the dies Solis.

And so the early Church had a challenge from a popular cult, but this was also an opportunity for them. Sol Invictus was the first half step towards monotheism and identifying Jesus Christ with the unconquered sun didn't actually turn out to be all that hard for the early Church Fathers.  Indeed, what is Easter if not the celebration of the Unconquered Son?  December 25 stuck in the calendar.  It's been celebrated all the way down through the ages - ever since 274 AD.

It wasn't the silliness of Saturnalia that had to be co-opted, it was the Feast of the Nativity of the Unconquered Son.  May this week's feast day be festive indeed.  You might even want to offer a toast to Aurelian Restitutor Orbis. 

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Dad Joke CLII

When your iPhone battery is almost dead it means that you're just about out of Apple juice. 

Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Jimmy Buffett - Mele Kalikimaka

It's 70 degrees here in Florida.

Is Log4j the security bug from hell?

I'm getting multiple people asking.  The short answer is that this is very, very bad.  However, for most readers there's nothing they can (or should) do.

The long answer is, well, long.  Security guru Bruce Schneier thinks that it's really bad.  Lawrence has an excellent post for the non Security nerd that goes into some depth on why this is so bad.  It will also be obvious to you why there's nothing you can do about this (unless you're a professional IT Security Geek).

The medium length answer is that Log4j is an open source logging program included in just about everything on the Internet.  Logging is A Good Thing, because if someone messes around with your system the logs will tell you a lot about what they were up to.  However, Log4j doesn't check the data that it writes to the log file, and in particular allows a malicious attacker to include executable code that the system will run.  So an attacker can attempt to log in using a made up username that executes all sorts of malicious commands.  It's basically an Internet-wide Bobby Tables situation:

And like I said, there's pretty much nothing you can do.

Global Warming causes snowfall in Alexandria, Egypt

That's some righteous Global Warming:

Residents claimed this is the first snowfall in the city in over a decade, and flooded social media with pictures and videos of the snow-covered city as they excitedly shared their experience witnessing this “European” weather.

The Egyptian Meteorological Authority (EMA) predicted that most parts of Egypt will see very cold weather on Monday.

 ZOMG!  It's the HOTTEST YEAR EVER!!!11!!eleventy!!!

This mockery is brought to you by Mother Nature, who noticed all of the breathless hyperventilation about the heat last summer ...


Monday, December 20, 2021

Dad Joke CLI

What do kangaroos like the best about beer?

The hops. 

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Dad Joke CL

What did the sheep say on Christmas?

Fleece Navidad. 

Aurelius Prudentius Clemens - Corde Natus ex Parentis

Prudentius was a Roman poet who lived in the province of Hispania in the late fourth and early fifth century.  He blended classical themes with Christian ones, and became enormously influential in the middle ages.  C. S. Lewis thought him over rated but there is no doubt that he authored the second oldest Christmas Carol.  It is still performed today, 1600 years later.

Saturday, December 18, 2021

Alison Kraus and Yo Yo Ma - Wexford Carol

This is so so not "Who put the pecker on the snowman".  It's actually the opposite of that song.

I mean, you can listen to this with your kids.  Srlsy.


What did the hat say to the scarf?

You hang around for a while.  I'll go on ahead. 

FreddyB - Who Put The Pecker On The Snowman

They say that Country music is music you can listen to with your kids.  Especially at Christmas.


The Queen Of The World laughed until she cried.


I usually post the lyrics but yeah, not happening.  

Friday, December 17, 2021


How do trees communicate with each other?

They bark. 

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Southwest Florida Blogshoot - January 15

I've had some scheduling hiccups but have secured the private range at the Gun Club.  180 yard rifle range and 25 yard pistol range.  Private (only us!) and covered shooting.

Here's the venue info - please RSVP in the comments if you will come.

The Venue:

When: Saturday, January 15 at 12:00 noon until 4:00 PM.

Where: Manatee Gun and Archery Club1805 Logue Rd, Myakka City, FL 34251

Facilities:  Some of our readers are bringing their betters halves (as am I) and the fairer sex will be relieved to know that there are proper, civilized facilities in the club house.   

Cost: $20 per person to cover range rental and sundries.

Lunch: Will be catered by The Queen Of The World and is included in the price.

Mike at Cold Fury needs our help

Late to the posting keyboard on this, but Mike over at Cold Fury has some really serious - maybe critical - health issues.

Here's his GoFundMe

Here's info over at Cold Fury.

Here's info at Big Country's place.

Mike's one of ours, and has been blogging since the really early days of the blogosphere.

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Robert Earl Keene - Merry Christmas from the Family



Parallel lines have so much in common.  It's a shame they'll never meet. 

Donald Trump's manifesto for America

Holy crap!  This is breaking news from Donald Trump:

For years, the same feeling has swept you along, oppressed you, shamed you: a strange and penetrating feeling of dispossession. You walk down the streets in your towns, and you don’t recognize them.  You look at your computer screens and they speak to you in a language that is strange, and in the end foreign. You turn your eyes and ears to advertisements, TV series, football games, films, live performances, songs, and the schoolbooks of your children.

You take the subways and trains. You go to train stations and airports. You wait for your sons and your daughters outside their school. You take your mother to the emergency room. You stand in line at the post office or the employment agency. You wait at a police station or a courthouse. 

And you have the impression that you are no longer in a country that you know.  You remember the country of your childhood. You remember the country that your parents told you about. You remember the country found in films and books. 

This country— at the same time light-hearted and industrious. This country— at the same time literary and scientific. This country— intelligent and one-of-a-kind. The country of the moon landing and nuclear power. The country that created cinema and the automobile.This country— that you search for everywhere with dismay. No, your children are homesick, without even having known this country that you cherish. It is disappearing.

You haven’t left, and yet you have the feeling of no longer being at home. You have not left your country. Your country left you.

You feel like foreigners in your own country. You are internal exiles. For a long time, you believed you were the only one to see, to hear, to think, to doubt. You were afraid to say it. You were ashamed of your feelings. For a long time, you dared not say what you are seeing, and above all you dared not see what you were seeing.

And then you said it to your wife. To your husband. To your children. To your father. To your mother. To your friends. To your coworkers. To your neighbors. And then to strangers. And you understood that your feeling of dispossession was shared by everyone.

France is no longer France, and everyone sees it.

OK, I admit it - this wasn't Donald Trump.  This is a speech by Eric Zemmour who is running for President in France.  I took out a couple lines and changed a couple more to hide the fact that M. Zemmour is speaking not in french, and not to the French, but to all of us.  Here's the rest of his outstanding speech, unedited and in full:

Of course, they despised you: the powerful, the élites, the conformists, the journalists, the politicians, the professors, the sociologists, the union bosses, the religious authorities.They told you it’s all a ploy, it’s all fake, it’s all wrong. But you understood in time that it was them who were a ploy, them who had it all wrong, them who did you wrong.

The disappearance of our civilization is not the only question that harasses us, although it towers over everything. Immigration is not the cause of all our problems, although it aggravates everything. The third-worlding of our country and our people impoverishes as much as it disintegrates, ruins as much as it torments.

It’s why you often have a hard time making ends meet. It’s why we must re-industrialize France. It’s why we must equalize the balance of trade. It’s why we must reduce our growing debt, bring back to France our companies that left, give jobs to our unemployed.

It’s why we must protect our technological marvels and stop selling them to foreigners. It’s why we must allow our small businesses to live, and to grow, and to pass from generation to generation.It’s why we must preserve our architectural, cultural, and natural heritage. It’s why we must restore our republican education, its excellence and its belief in merit, and stop surrendering our children to the experiments of egalitarians and pedagogists and the Doctor Strangeloves of gender theory and Islamo-leftism.

It’s why we must take back our sovereignty, abandoned to European technocrats and judges, who rob the French people of the ability to control their destiny in the name of a fantasy – a Europe that will never be a nation. Yes, we must give power to the people, take it back from the minority that unceasingly tyrannizes the majority and from judges who substitute their judicial rulings for government of the people, for the people, by the people.

For decades, our elected officials of the right and the left have led us down this dire path of decline and decadence. Right and left have lied and concealed the gravity of our diminishment. They have hidden from you the reality of our replacement.

You have known me for many years. You know what I say, what I diagnose, what I proclaim. I have long been content with the role of journalist, writer, Cassandra, whistleblower. Back then, I believed that a politician would take up the flame that I had lit. I said to myself, to each his own job, to each his own role, to each his own fight.

I have lost this illusion. Like you, I have lost confidence. Like you, I have decided to take our destiny in hand.

I saw that no politician had the courage to save our country from the tragic fate that awaits it. I saw that all these supposed professionals were, above all, impotent.That President Macron, who had presented himself as an outsider, was in fact the synthesis of his two predecessors, or worse. That all the parties were contenting themselves with reforms, while time passes them by.

There is no more time to reform France – but there is time to save her. That is why I have decided to run for President.

I have decided to ask your votes to become your President of the Republic, so that our children and grandchildren do not know barbarism. So that our daughters are not veiled and our sons are not forced to submit. So that we can bequeath to them the France we have known and that we received from our ancestors. So that we can still preserve our way of life, our traditions, our language, our conversations, our debates about history and fashion, our taste for literature and food.

So that the French remain French, proud of their past and confident in their future. So that the French once again feel at home. So that the newest arrivals assimilate their culture, adapt their history, and are remade as French in France – not foreigners in an unknown land.

We, the French, are a great nation. A great people. Our glorious past pleads for our future. Our soldiers have conquered Europe and the world. Our writers and artists have aroused universal admiration. Our scientific discoveries and industrial production have stamped their epochs. The charm of our art de vivre excites longing and joy in all who taste it.

We have known great victories, and we have overcome cruel defeats. For a thousand years, we have been one of the powers who have written the history of the world. We are worthy of our ancestors. We will not allow ourselves to be mastered, vassalized, conquered, colonized. We will not allow ourselves to be replaced.

In front of us, a cold and determined monster rises up, who seeks to dishonor us. They will say that you are racist. They will say that you are motivated by contemptible passions, when in fact it is the most lovely passion that animates you – passion for France.

They will say the worst about me. But I will keep going amidst the jeers, and I don’t care if they spit on me. I will never bend the head. For we have a mission to accomplish.

The French people have been intimidated, crippled, indoctrinated, blamed— but they lift up their heads, they drop the masks, they clear the air of lies, they hunt down these evil perjuries.

We are going to carry France on. We are going to pursue the beautiful and noble French adventure. We are going to pass the flame to the coming generations. Join with me. Rise up. We, the French, have always triumphed over all.

Long live the Republic, and above all, long live France!

Vive la République, vive la France, et vive le (futur) Président Zemmour.  If the (US) Republican Party - the Stupid Party - and Donald Trump are paying attention, he's someone in Europe - in France for crying out loud - who's  singing from the same hymnal.


But yannow, La Belle France has come back from worse (as have we).  I have proof (with apologies to a Frau Merkel that thought she had ultimately won World War II, and who are no doubt shocked - shocked - to find that they are perhaps being closed down for gambling after they thought they had won it all ...):

Eighty years later, art still has its say.  And just to show that the Cool Kids didn't all live in the 1940s, here's another that says the same thing:

Yeah, yeah, I know - don't play in the street.  But know that you are not alone.

Tuesday, December 14, 2021

Tom Lehrer - A Christmas Carol

This is perhaps the most cynical Christmas Carol ever written.  Perhaps.  I have a different one - a redneck one - for tomorrow as a comparison.

But if you have local businesses, please patronize them this (never ending Covid) season.  Amazon makes so much money that they're branching out to space tourism.  Your local guy will keep the money here on Mother Earth.



I asked my astronomy teacher to explain what an eclipse was, but she left me in the dark. 

Monday, December 13, 2021

A Public Service Announcement

There are a ton of people moving here to Florida, and a lot of them are from New York.  Blogger Don Surber has a comment that I need to reproduce here to inform New Yorkers of the peril they face moving here:

A reader named Bill wrote, "You left a lot out of your column regarding Florida being the future. I’ve been in Florida my entire life and you should know the truth. More importantly, you should let your readers know that: 

  • Florida gets a major hurricane twice a month 
  • Alligators are the size of tractor trailers and they eat New Yorkers
  • The state sales tax is 58%
  • It takes 45 minutes to drive 2 miles to work 
  • Mosquitoes kill 30,000 people each year (mostly New Yorkers, weird)
  • 1 in 4 Florida residents will be the victim of a violent crime…….tomorrow 
  • Sharks troll the coastline looking for New Yorkers

"Please warn your readers!"

Actually, it's worse than that.  Yes, it's 80° here right now, but this is Castle Perilous. 


What are bald sea captains most worried about?

Cap sizes. 

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Note sure if being on the "Nice List" will get you this

The Queen Of The World asked her son what he and his family wanted for Christmas.  Here's what he replied:

I’m pretty sure everyone wants an AR-10 in 308 win mag.  Step-son wants the 18” barrel.  Wife Unit wants the M1 SOCOM, also in 308 win mag, with the kryptek cammo pattern.  Step-Daughter wants a Sig P365.  

They've been good and all, but I'm not sure they've been nice enough to get on that list.  And TQOTW says that she thinks he's probably on the naughty list.

St. Ambrose - Veni Redemptor Genitum

St. Ambrose is often described as one of the four Latin Doctors of the Church*, influential theologians who established the foundations of the church in the fourth century.  Unlike his compatriot Doctors, Ambrose was a most unusual saint.  He was the Roman governor of the province around Milan when he (kind of accidentally) became bishop of Milan.  He was quite popular as Governor and when the crowd was beginning to get rowdy debating who would become the next bishop, someone called out his name as a suggestion.  Suddenly it was a done deal

Except there was this little problem: not only was Ambrose not a priest, he wasn't even baptized as a Christian.  The crowd wasn't about to let minor issues like that stand between them and their new bishop.  So Governor Aurelius Ambrosius became Bishop Ambrose.

He was a force to be reckoned with, even excommunicating Emperor Theodosius the Great (I think that this was the first time this had ever happened).

He also composed the first Christmas Carol,
 Veni Redemptor Genitum (Come, Redeemer of the Nations).  It is still performed today, 1650 years later.


Veni, redemptor gentium;
ostende partum Virginis;
miretur omne saeculum:
talis decet partus Deum.

English translation:
Come, Redeemer of the nations;
show forth the Virgin birth;
let every age marvel:
such a birth befits God.

Now the Christmas season is upon us.  It seemed right to start our annual christmas music posts with the very first Christmas carol.

* The others are St. Jerome, St. Augustine, and St. Gregory the Great.  It was sort of a Murderer's Row lineup of the early Church batting order.

Saturday, December 11, 2021

Michael Buble and Thalia - Feliz Navidad

This is just fun.  And now The Queen Of The World and I are off to view the Christmas lights.  She's pretty caliente herself.

Garth Brooks & Trisha Yearwood - I'm beginning to see the light

This is a fun cover of the Duke Ellington classic, performed for the 2016 lighting of the national christmas tree in Washington D.C.


I'm Beginning to See the Light (Songwriters: Duke Ellington, Don George, Johnny Hodges, Harry James)
I never cared much for moonlit skies I never wink back at fireflies But now that the stars are in your eyes I'm beginning to see the light I never went in for afterglow Or candlelight on the mistletoe But now when you turn the lamp down low I'm beginning to see the light Used to ramble through the park Shadow boxing in the dark Then you came and caused a spark That's a four-alarm fire, now I never made love by lantern shine I never saw rainbows in my wine But now that your lips are burning mine I'm beginning to see the light I never cared much for moonlit skies I never wink back at fireflies But now that the stars are in your eyes I'm beginning to see the light I never went in for afterglow Or candlelight on the mistletoe But now when you turn the lamp down low I'm beginning to see the light Used to ramble through the park Shadow boxing in the dark Then you came and caused a spark That's a four-alarm fire, now I never made love by lantern shine I never saw rainbows in my wine But now that your lips are burning mine I'm beginning to see the light Now that the stars are in your eyes I'm beginning to see the light Now when you turn the lamp down low I'm beginning to see the light Used to ramble through the park Shadow boxing in the dark Then you came and caused a spark That's a four-alarm fire, now Now that your lips are burning mine I'm beginning to see the light I'm beginning to see the light I'm beginning to see the light Now that your lips are burning mine I'm beginning to see the light

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Joe Bonamassa - Santa Claus is back in Town

The torch has been passed from B. B. King (rest in peace) and Eric Clapton (on his last tour).  Joe B. has got to be the best guitarist for our age.

The Woman In The Red Dress is not on your side

Life imitates art, and not in a good way.  An early scene from The Matrix shows a simulation that Morpheus uses to instruct Neo on how the "reality" he experiences is all a front, a distraction, a dangerous  manipulation:

Here we are 23 years later, and we find that social media is precisely what was shown in this scene:

Lots of people commented on it and how it looked as much like a Fed Boi false flag as the "Only Feds" one last September.  "Hello, fellow insurrectionists! I'm happy to meet you for the first time so we can all MAGA together. Let's ask the other MAGAs if they have forgotten their AR-15,'s and offer to give them some." 


It seems that there's some evidence being talked about that one of the main voices behind the "rally" on Twitter is an AI Bot, given an AI face blend (made up face) of a pretty young blond woman.  (Because that won't attract attention, right?) 

...  There’s an entire Twitter thread devoted to this young lady, who joined Twitter last month and whose existence can’t be verified anywhere else.  The guy who posted this picture says he did a search engine dive for the screen name she's using, “Sheryl Lewellen,” and can find only one other thing she supposedly posted: a GoFundMe to help her friend's dog get surgery.  

That's right, no Google history at all.  Two Twitter threads.

The only difference between her and the Woman In The Red Dress is that this bot seems to "like dogs".  23 years doesn't seem like a very long time for this sort of prediction to become apparent reality.  And so the next time someone on social media who tells you Hello, fellow insurrectionists! I'm happy to meet you for the first time so we can all MAGA together, remember one thing: there is no spoon.

Seriously.  There is no spoon, at least none that you'll get from someone on social media.  Especially if she's blonde.

California Dreaming

So I'm back from my trip to silicon valley.  I've been working remotely for a number of years, and while there's a very Jetsons-living-in-the-future vibe to video conferencing I have to say that it was nice to meet my colleagues (most for the first time in real life).  It was a whirlwind trip and I'm pretty wiped out (I'm not 30 any more, or even 40), but there were some interesting impressions from being in California.  I present them here in no particular order.

My rent a car was an electric hybrid.  I'd never driven one before and I have to say that if you're in an urban environment like the Bay Area, this might be a good commuter choice.  It used battery power a lot, and it was disconcerting when the engine started up solely to charge the car.  It's not cool like the Jeep is - no lift kit, super swamper tires, winch on the bumper, etc - but it sure got good gas mileage.  Which leads me to the next impression of California.

Holy cow, is gas expensive.  I paid $4.79/gal to fill up the the rental car.  Hokey smokes.  That's what I pay in Florida - if you add 50% to the price!  The good thing was that in a 4 day trip I used less than 2 gallons (!) in the rental car.  Still not as fun as the Jeep, though.

There was a lot of interest in my group about all things Florida.  While they all thought that the weather in California was "what everyone wanted", more than one showed a little bit of envy when I looked up the weather back home and said "Sunny and 79°" when it was 59 and foggy in California.  Glad the meeting was in December, not July ...

Lord, the traffic.  I complain about Florida drivers, but holy cow.  I had more than one conversation with folks out there about motorcycles.  The consensus is that riding over the hills to Hall Moon Bay - good; riding anywhere on route 101 - express lane to the Emergency Room (or the morgue).

Once you get off route 101, it's a pretty area.  Crazy expensive to live there, but pretty.

All in all, my impression of life there was that California is living the life of an aging Diva, getting dinners and compliments of a renowned past but still with a hint of her former beauty and much of her former wit.  It wasn't a bad trip (other than four 12 hour days) but you can tell it's not 1965 any more.  Or even 1995.  But while the greatness that was California is gone, it's still perceptible that the greatness was in its day very great indeed.