I Did Not Have Sex With That…

I was shocked.

Shocked, I tell you. It was all I could do to catch my breath. I felt faint – had it not been for three stiff brandys I don’t know what would have become of me.

I remember the day well when I heard the news. It seared itself into my memory. The headline ” French Leader Had A Mistress ” blared out at me from page 23 of the local grazier’s and stockbreeder’s gazette. It was as if the fabric of the world had crumbled beneath my feet.

I felt my gorge rise – to think that a trusted leader of a Catholic country could abandon morality so blatantly – and for such a long period of time. How could any citizen of France emerge from their house and walk along the street after this news? What new horror lurked in the dark streets of Paris? Next thing you knew there could be women dancing bare-chested in cabarets and after that the earth would open up and swallow us all…

Well, we recovered. Eventually. Enough anguish was pressed into enough ink and printed in enough papers to eventually lay the whole sad thing to rest. France has recovered. Morality has been re-asserted. Curfew is tolled each night at 18:00 hours and everyone sleeps with their hands outside the bedsheets. And I think it has done the world good – even the world of the United States.

They seem to have been able to take possible revelations of their President’s liason with a strange woman in their stride. The thought that he may have paid her hush money when he realised that he would actually make it to the presidency and that she may have wanted more after she realised it too – the thought that she may have decided to take her story to other political entities who might also have access to money – and that now the money is nearly irrelevant – has occurred to many. It has occurred to me.

There may be some outraged by it all – for outrage is a powerful and useful emotion. There may be some  genuinely concerned for the morality of it all – again, morality is a real thing.

And there may be some who, like myself, have exhausted all our tears on His Majesty King Louis XVI, and have none to spare for Mr. Harding. And as we have not been paid any money to care, we don’t.

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Small, Blue, And Triangular…

And French, to boot. How much more mysterious could you get?

The Amilcar seen here at Hyde Park this year is the closest thing I could find on the day to my all-time favourite motor car – the Samson of M. Hulot. It has a little more style that the Samson, and this could be a problem for me as I have no style whatsoever, but for a car as lovely as this I would be prepared to wash, shave, and dress.

It is hard for a person with a limited grasp of the French language to read literature of the period – the 1920’s – and understand all the nuances of the country. I depend upon English translations and these can sometimes be a view filtered through glass coloured by any number of biases. But one does not need to be a master of literature to appreciate an object of the period – whether it be art, furniture, architecture, or mechanics. Thus the Amilcar acts simultaneously as a vigorous stimulant and delightful object of art.

And it is an adventure. Who could set out for any destination in this little roadster without experiencing a thrill of discovery – of danger, of wind, and dust, and velocity. Rain, too, though there is some provision for protection on the port quarter of the boat tail. Neither the driver nor the passenger will be in comfort, but neither will they care – they are racing against the clock to Monte Carlo, or Rheims, or the local IGA. And the Polly Farmer Tunnel at 80 Kph must be as good as a ride at Disneyland!

I’m rarely jealous of others’ motor cars. The troubles and expenses that they are faced with are a barrier to me – but I would be prepared to face them if there were a little mechanical delight like this as the reward.

But one thing puzzles…the blue triangle. I cannot find any sensible reference to it in a Google search. Perhaps readers can enlighten me.

 

Addendum: The Leatherworking Reverand has supplied an answer – apparently the blue triangle is an indicator panel required under CAMS rules to indicate where the battery of the car is located – for vintage motor racing. Thank you, Reverand.

On Ne Passe Pas

I just read several new posts on Facebook telling of incredible incidents…and I realised that I have been a Facebook criminal for many years.

The posts were from someone repeating posts from a third person, and were so vague as to be untraceable. That didn’t stop them from being sensational reading, mind – they spoke of stirring world events and social mores and the call to virtue and vice. All the good stuff.

The trouble was, they were very likely apocryphal. Legendary. Those are intellectual words for lies. Good lies, entertaining lies, educational lies – lies repeated by a person who is a very good person in other respects…but lies nevertheless. I’ve been seeing these lies for years – as long as I have subscribed to the main Facebook feed – and I’ve been complicit all that time.

Complicit? Why? Because I have just let them pass – pass along to the next person. Pass along to someone who might believe them and then pass them further. Some of the lies won’t do much harm or much good, but the constant stream of them must wear away any support for truth on the internet and eventually for truth in general society.

I repent of my crime. I shall reform. I will adopt the motto of Robert Nivelle. In the future the lies shall not pass.

Heading Image: A fine painted model French Poilu from the 2017 plastic model exhibition.

Bless You, Driver…

No idea. I have absolutely no idea. The radiator cap ornament seems to be someone who looks like a saint or priest. But I can’t find any trace through Google of a St. Darracq, or a town of the name. I can find the Wikipedia history of the car company, but no idea who the front-man is. Any help from the readers would be appreciated.

The car itself was sitting in the shade at Hyde Park and is as neat a little roadster as anyone could want. The history of it is the usual – multiple owners and restoration periodically. Sort of like the Gabor sisters. The sign says that it has been a part of the local old-car scene since at least 1958, but of course it is much older than that – 1909. I’m curious and kind of impressed that it has right-hand-drive…perhaps it was made for the British market. or perhaps the French motorists of the period had not settled upon which side to drive.

Is it driveable? Well, it drove there. Will it drive home? Yes, but I’d suggest not after dark. the headlamps and tail lamp are extremely historic and not likely to help on Perth’s dusk roads. I’ll bet there is some sort of police requirement that restricts this car to motoring an hour after sunrise and an hour before sunset. Also it is probably not allowed to exceed 300 Kph in the metro area.

As usual, the details make the viewing memorable, from the coil spring riders on the rear leaves ( I suspect they are shock absorbers of some sort, or at least dampeners. ) to the lubricator box on the dashboard. The front suspension was also an elegant thing with the deeply curved steering arm. Note the lubricating pot on the king pin.

Lastly the radiateur…who else signs their cooling system?

Mors The Pity…

I regularly review my car show pictures from one year to the next to discover who has been seen before and who can be reported. The yellow Mors car seen here in 2018 first came to my attention in 2014 and was photographed with a Fujifilm X-E2. At the time I was learning how to fill in harsh Western Australian shadows in noonday sun and tended to over flash everything.

This week I did it differently – I took a Fujifilm X-T10 camera with a short zoom lens and left the flash gun at home. I knew the camera would be capable of extreme resolution as it had performed well at the Sydney and Melbourne hot rod shows. But I was curious to see if the RAW files could be treated in the Lightroom computer program in such a way as to render the fill-flash unnecessary. Avoiding one big, heavy, piece of gear on a trip is a good thing, and not having to do mental arithmetic while shooting is another.

Well, it looks as though the business worked. I stoked the ISO up to 800, set an aperture of f:8 on the lens, and let the camera choose its own shutter speed. In the RAW files I increased the shadow detail and dialled down the highlights, but the essence of what I saw in the park has still come through. To be honest, I am happier with today’s tonal rendering than I was with 2014’s. And it was all so easy.

I am not adverse to easy…

Note: From the looks of the headlamp, this is a daytime Mors.

 

The Users Guide To Self-Entitlement

Or ” What to do until Dr. Guillotine comes.”

Finding an aristocrat these days is easier than it used to be. We no longer have to consult De Bretts or the Almanach de Gotha to see whether the person we are looking at is expected to enter the reception hall of the Bishop of Salzburg before or after a Viscount prior to Maundy Thursday. The amount of research, memorization, and snap judgement required has been dramatically reduced. In fact, all we need to know is one number:

How much the subject of our enquiry is worth.

This can be a simple bank balance – a series of numbers with a Euro, Dollar, or Pound sign in front and a string of zeros behind. The longer the zero trail, the higher the position in society.

It is rarely that simple, however, as many of those who wish to be modern fiscal princes and princesses are at pains to conceal that number – to make it so diffuse throughout the Caribbean, Swiss Alps, and Pacific islands as to defy actual definition…let alone discovery. They do, however, wish to let you know that they are entitled to the social position, even if you cannot touch the cash.

They’ll let you see clues – hints of worthiness, if you will. There will be large and splendid motor cars, expensive watches, designer clothing that changes as often as the wind blows through the streets of Paris and Milano, and wonderful feasts held in palatial mansions. You’ll not be invited to these, mind, but you can read about them in supermarket magazines.

These possessions and processions are really not necessary to let us know how grand the new aristocrats are. We could judge and be awed by them as they go about their daily business of extraordinary life. Just watching and listening to them deal with lesser creatures would do it. They could probably get away with not actually owning a thing, as long as they were arrogant enough – and I suspect that a few of them are doing just that.

The wonderful thing about life is that it repeats itself over the centuries. Epicurus knew a thing or two about dealing with aristocracy and about the methods of leading a kindly and satisfying life. I suppose Diogenes did as well, though I doubt the tub was as comfortable as all that. We could all do well to investigate the way that the aristo-pluto-cratic society was dealt with in the past and consider whether it might be done again as well.

If you can find a tumbril, I can bring my knitting.

The Virtue Signal Has Two Settings

Australia’s national civil holiday is called Australia Day. It is celebrated on January 26…recorded as the day that the First Fleet…of convict and settler ships… landed in what is now New South Wales. Like the 4th of July in the United States, the 1st of July in Canada, and the 14th of Juillet in France, it is generally a day of national pride and joy.

Some claim not so. There are some indigenous groups and political activists who refer to it as Invasion Day, and like similar minded activists in some cities in the USA who want to rename Columbus Day, they seek to press their sense of outrage upon modern citizens. Some local councils who have a high proportion of activists in their area have gone along with this in the past couple of years and refused a civic celebration of the day.

In most cases the residents of their communities have ignored the political opportunists and gone ahead and had a good time on the day, but it is interesting to see the occasional person try to join in on an individual basis…for whatever purpose they imagine will be served.

The federal government is having none of this nay-saying on a local council level. If local councils refuse to perform citizenship ceremonies on the day, they face the prospect of being dismissed and replaced. So far no state government controversy seems to have arisen.

Silly? Petty? Opportunistic? Well, the readers have to decide for themselves…but I must say I have taken a little amusement on my own social media page to see a chance acquaintance try for her moment of virtue with a posting. I’m sure she’ll get it. And it would be churlish to deny her…people in the entertainment business need all the publicity available.

As for me, I’m going to watch the Australia Day parade and cheer the dancing Japanese ladies and the Indian Seniors as they go by. They are happy to be part of the nation and so am I.