Practicing Heresy In An Orthodox Manner

I am all for orthodoxy. It is an equal personal favourite with heresy.

I like to give each of these a run in the park on alternate Wednesdays when the weather is fine, but I’m careful to take only one out of its cage at a time. I made the mistake the first day of putting them both on leads and trying to manage the pair together.

It was a madhouse. They chased each other around snapping and snarling and it was all we could do to untangle our legs and keep them from each other’s throats. It took a bucket of cold water to separate the combatants.

I was reminded of this by a recent Facebook posting recalling a French legend about a faithful dog that was martyred and how a shrine was set up to the body. It attracted peasant worship, which in turn attracted church disapproval and official punishment. There is enough pathos, morality, outrage, superstition, and hearsay in the story to wash a hog.

Mind you, it does explain some of the attitudes of various French republics at times to both organised and dis-organised religion. And what would Tom Paine have said about it all…?*

*  ” Age Of Reason ” is what he said…

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The Care And Feeding Of Road Rage

People have told me that there is no need to feed road rage – it has its own sources of nourishment. I am astounded by this – when I take my Toyota Crown 2000 along the Old Coast Road at Easter time towing the Blockmore caravan at 35 Km per hour I never see any rage. I’ve taken off the towing mirrors and I never look back.

Recently a person who was a great deal more Asian than I am was behind my little green Suzuki in a grey Subaru – a big one. I suspect I was not going fast enough to satisfy him – though it would have satisfied a magistrate, as it was the legal limit. In the brief glances I took into the rear-view mirror I could see lights flashing and violent gesticulations on his part. This may have been a folk dance, but if it was, the folk were unhappy.

I made sure I kept strictly to the road speed limits and drove safely – using my turn indicators  at the proper distance as required in the Act. My stern companion may not have read the Act, nor approved of it, as he kept repeating his light show. Perhaps there are different rules in the Dutch East Indies or French Indo-China regarding road use, and he has not had time to learn ours. In any case, when he peeled off to do important things elsewhere and I continued on to do trivial things in my part of the world, I reflected upon the lessons:

  1. Road rage sits beneath the surface of many psyches wearing many suits of clothing. You cannot assign it to any one group.
  2. It manifests itself when the practitioner is under stress – they are late – they have had a bad day at work – they are under financial pressure. Stress = rage potential.
  3. The trigger for the rage can be anything that frustrates them. If you drive at the legal speed in a lane within which they wish to break the law, you are target for that rage. They want to gamble with the laws and the Multinova fines. If you prevent this, you are culpable.
  4. The road-rager is better than you. Richer, stronger, handsomer, more powerful, etc. Some of this is in their mind and some of it may, indeed, be true – but if you do not allow them to show it, they are ANGRY. Arrogance only works if it is shared.
  5. You cannot satisfy the road-rager. Not by any means, whether that be defiance, or ignorance, or grovelling apology. The road rage is not directed at you – it is an inward attack that continues until the person has exhausted their fear and sorrow. You cannot make it better.
  6. You can, however, make it worse. If your behaviour has provoked the rage, the best and most sensible thing to do is to intensify it until the emotion rises to the point of psychotic and murderous mania. Until it is fury beyond boundary and stress beyond bearing. Get the road-rager to this stage, judge it accurately, and then slowly motor away. If you can pull into the forecourt of a hospital or police station – both well-provided with security cameras -and quickly go inside, you may be rewarded by the sight of the culprit exploding in the arms of authority. Be kind. Tell them to hold their temper…

Of course it goes without saying that you should make careful note of the licence plates of any offenders – these can be reported to the police or to people who will extract a suitable revenge for a small payment.

 

Kinda Canada, Eh?

I once lived in Canada – for about 17-18 years. Then I moved to Australia and have racked up another 50+ years here – with time out for a working holiday in England. Thus I have the basic qualifications to be horribly wrong about three countries. I make the best use of whatever false insights I have made over the years.

Note: I also lived in the USA for a couple of years as a youth and a student. So I can be an instant expert about the place, too. If I am dreadfully wrong, it can be no worse than most of the overseas posts and news reports you read anyway.

All this leads me to a question; how long does one have to actually be in a country to be able to make a rational judgment on and useful report of it. How long does one need to form real memories – as opposed to the ones the glimpses airports and freeways give. How far down the biological and social chain does one need to go to reach the real experience? And is it worth going there?

Well, if your entire experience of, say, Canada was an arrival at Vancouver airport, transfer to a cruise ship and up the coast…then a quick trip to a ski resort and back to the airport…you might be forgiven for a really distorted view of the country. It might have been a pleasant holiday – in between two horrendous airplane flights – but you’d have no idea of summer in the fire season or winter on the prairies or the smell of hockey skates drying in an enclosed space. The same could be said for the tourist who comes to Australia  – though most of the North American visitors spend more time here than we do there. It’s the Asian tourists who do a quick round of casinos, beaches, and wildlife parks and then scatter back to their homes. Possibly with a glazed look in their eyes.

Does anyone ever take home a real view of a real place?

Pink Is A Girly Colour

And the heading image of the PRU Spitfire should prove that.

The original intention of the pink paint – to hide the photo-reconnaissance aircraft under clouds  over Europe in WW 2 – is somewhat negated by the black and white invasion stripes painted under the fuselage – but they were probably more worried about the jittery Allied AA gunners than the German ones. Or someone in the hangar had had enough of the pink and couldn’t stand it any more.

There was also a colour known as Mountbatten Pink that the Royal Navy used for a number of ships to hide them at dawn or dusk. I’m indebted to the research done by another blogger – ferrebeekeeper – for the pictures  to show the shade of paint and for the story of the paint. Go to https://ferrebeekeeper.wordpress.com/2013/04/08/mountbatten-pink

As well, here are screen grabs of other girly paint jobs.

With the exception of the Soviet tank in Prague, all the rest are British. Govern yourselves accordingly…

 

Why Brexit?

I have been pondering for some months about the whole Brexit situation – as an outsider before they voted, I could only speculate about the issues and frame of mind of the pro and anti voters. But as it seems to have been decided in the affirmative, I can concentrate more on the question of why. I’m still and outsider, but the question is now…Why did Great Britain vote to end its connection with the European Common Market or European Union? Here’s some possibilities:

  1. The new formation of a European army was a timely reminder of the last few times the Europeans have formed armies under Napoleon, Hitler, etc. and of what Europeans would like to do with their armies. There’s only one tunnel under the Channel but there’s always the Channel.
  2. The trade and farming regulations from Brussels that prevent some British farmers from working their land for produce and profit are a thorn in the side.
  3. The ready supply of illegal migrants camping in France and other places with an eye to getting to the UK and disappearing is a daunting prospect.
  4. The continued prospect of propping up spendthrift regimes and dole bludgers in the sunnier climes of the Mediterranean is a particular annoyance to people who live in the damp climate of Wales and other rural portions of the UK. They might as well spend the money on parish cases at home.
  5. Why not?
  6. The French have hated the English since the time of the King Henries. In the last century they dragged them into two world wars, and left them to play the last one out by themselves for years. Then they supplied De Gaulle to make it all better. The French idea of better may not be the same for the rest of us…
  7. The English do not trust the French or Germans. Or the Italians, for that matter.
  8. The loss of the Empire and the colonies was traumatic. But there was still the Commonwealth. With the EEC and EU experiment, a lot of the Commonwealth interest drifted away. If they Brexit the European door shut, they might re-open the Commonwealth door.

There’s no new political insight in there, but it does go some cynical way to supplying reasons. If it proves a bad idea – like the First World War or convict transportation – you can always blame the Manchester Board Of trade and the Admiralty. Or Trump and the Americans. But don’t blame them too hard in case you need Lend-Lease and Spam again.

” Not Known To Me “

Spoke with a friend regarding the success of a new book he has written about his childhood. It was far away and long ago, but he does have a good memory and clear writing style. The people who lived there then and still do now are buying the book and, presumably, enjoying it.

One reader, however, had to chime in with the fact that the writer was not known to him – perhaps the most superfluous comment of the year. There are nine billion people on the planet who are not known to me, and I am satisfied with it. But the phrase is no more than a conventionality to garner attention – and it leads me to speculate upon the other phrases of this sort that we encounter:

  1. ” At this point in time “. If you’re giving a history lesson and are tracing the Peninsular wars month-by-month, the expression is excusable. If you’re merely trying to make yourself sound big instead of saying ” Now”, it is not.
  2. ” My good lady wife “. As opposed to your other one who is bad, or a trollop, or merely a scrap of meat on the plate? Does she describe you in similar terms, and you just haven’t been there to cringe at the time?
  3. ” I’m putting you on notice “. The speech of the headmaster when he cannot control the class. The vague threat made vaguer by the grammatical pointlessness of it. Throw a rock at the pompous ass.
  4. ” I hear what you are saying. “. As opposed to tasting it? Or smelling it? As this phrase is invariably followed by ” But…”, perhaps it is the smell that features large…
  5. ” It is what it is “. Oh thank God for that. I have been in terror that either it is what it isn’t or it isn’t what it is. Existentialism was never this hard and we wore raincoats for that.

My thanks to another weblog writer  – Tony – for sensitizing me to baloney. But bad news, Tony. Here in Australia it is sometimes spelled ” Polony “. Same gritty luncheon meat but cruder packaging.

Riding The Horse – Part Six – The Collector’s Edition

If anyone ever meets you on the road and tells you that the only reason they collect something – whether it be stamps, coins, or matchbook covers – is for the investment value of them, you must treat them like Buddha. You must kill them. Because they are either telling you the truth or a lie…and neither one is acceptable.

The collection urge is a basic part of the human psyche – and there are studies that show it to be something that other animals do as well. Unfortunately there have not been enough funded studies employing perpetual students that have concentrated upon the animal part of it – we still do not know why crows and magpies collect junk bonds. But as far as people go, everyone has a latent collector inside them.

The classical collections involve art, antiquities, coins, postage stamps, china and porcelain, and silver and gold objects. These have an intrinsic value in themselves  – with the possible exception of outdated postage stamps – and can be turned into a current in the income stream of the collector. Of course most turn out to be money sinks, but that is the nature of the con game.

The actual objects to be collected is immaterial – it is the amassing of a group of them that forms the gratification. If they can be supported by specialist shops, publications, scholarly works, fairs, and auctions…so much the better. Sometimes they run afoul of laws, as in the collection of weapons and firearms, but that’s never stopped any keen enthusiast that I’ve ever met. The man with the working anti-tank gun is ample evidence of this. In any case no real collector lets anything – money, law, or good sense – stand in his way. The only irksome part for him may be the necessity to keep the collection hidden.

Can there be too many things in a collection? Not according to the collectors. Can the collection be too wide in scope? Again, no. Can it be too narrow? Well, I met a proud collector who concentrated his efforts upon a toy plastic boat that was produced as a promotional giveaway in the 80’s and he has found enough variants in it to base his entire happiness upon. All the items look the same until he tells you the minute history of them and lets you examine them carefully with a magnifying glass. At that point you wish you were a gun collector…

Can the objets de collection be too expensive? Well they can be so for the average person, and that for a number of reasons, but for the unlimited budget person, nothing is too dear. They are the explorers after El Dorado that poison the land for all the rest – they elevate prices and depress common sense in any field they enter. And yet. And yet…

Remember our first paragraph. In every collector’s heart is a small section that really does want their beloved collection of dried goat udders to be the secret desire of a fabulously-wealthy sheik…who will pay an enormous price for them. This small portion of the heart is known as the Jesse James valve, and it flutters in the presence of loose money. 

Collectors are easy meat for the purveyors of dreck – see the back of any woman’s magazine for the porcelain figures of the Royal Plumbers Of Tonga at only $ 256 each in a signed edition. They are also the natural fodder for makers of collection cases, display shelves, storage books, and fanciful catalogues. They can be seen at all sorts of trade shows, secondhand fairs, and repulsive little shops cruising for the bargains. The shopkeepers know ‘em in a minute and it is all they can do from salivating visibly.

Is there any harm in being a collector? No, if you do not go so far down the rabbit hole that you find the subject has collected you. This is the sad fate of several of the gun collectors I know who’ve sacrificed money, property, and good sense to serve their masters…the guns. It is not possible to bring them to their senses, but they are mostly harmless. The fate of many collectors is to find that their friends and family avoid them – at least when they start to talk about The Collection.