Pennies From Heaven, For a Whole Week

This post was first posted on July 30 and was a “sticky” feature for a week. Scroll down for more recent posts, including death threats for a Dutch Muslim mayor, the latest repression of the Copts in Egypt, coverage of Tommy Robinson by the Hungarian media, “cuddly justice” in Germany, a report on Muslims in northeastern India who are being made stateless, and last night’s news feed.

Summer Fundraiser 2018, Day Seven

Dymphna’s Sunday Update: What Is Love’s Worth?

Okay, y’all. Time to step up to the plate and hit one out of the park. Inflation will be here any minute (or so they tell us), so might as well part with your denarii while they’re still meaningful, right? That’s one way of looking at twisting your arm.

[Here’s the new direct PayPal link.]

Tip jarAs we come to the final day of the Summer Fundraiser, it’s good to see a mixture of new people among the old faithfuls (and some not so old, just enduring contributors). Our golden oldies’ contributions are heartening, and the newbies encourage us to believe that despite the Baron’s decrepitude, we’re still putting subjects and predicates together in a way that’s meaningful. Me? I’m Gates of Vienna emeritus.

I am also encouraged that our reach remains global. Two people in Virginia wielding keyboards on a less-than-speedy connection can still find Aussies and Kiwis and Eastern Europeans, plus the more ‘usual’ folk who’ve always come here. When we begin seeing new donors from New York City (as we have this time) we know we’re hitting all the right notes.

Or maybe they’re saying, “All right, shut up already.”

I will make a promise to all our donors: when any given quarter meets the previous quarter’s goal (plus inflation), we’ll quit at that point. I’ve realized it doesn’t need to be a whole week if our goals have been met. And yes, the B has spreadsheets galore to show me comparisons from previous quarters any way you care to slice it. He’s the numbers guy. But successful or not (and we always have been so far), when it’s over it’s over. We close up our sideshow and get back to whatever atrocity awaits all of us.

[But before we close entirely, it is always my great pleasure to send Vlad Tepes our quarterly tithe. The subject line is “Funny Munny” and I always admonish him not to spend it all in one place. Yeah, he thinks I’m real amusing… The funniest part is that he never remembers that we’re in the process of our quarterly, so the PayPal donation always surprises him. I like dependable people, and Vlad is definitely that, in more ways than I could name.]

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The song I chose for my final Fundraiser update has a back story. Be patient; the nuances are complicated.

When I was five years old, I went to live in a girls’ “home”. St. Mary’s Orphanage was set up after the Influenza Epidemic of 1918, but by the time I arrived generations later, it had long since morphed into an institution for girls whose parents couldn’t keep them for one reason or another. It was the end of May when I got to St. Mary’s and it would be five years before I went home for good in August of the year I magically turned ten. Ten is the legal age for being a latchkey kid.

Yes, it was a long, long time, but it was the best my mother could do in the circumstances. As an immigrant, she wasn’t entitled to welfare. As a middle-class Irish woman, I don’t know if she could have borne the (self-inflicted) humiliation, but the law precluded her having to make that choice. And by the time she put me in Saint Mary’s we’d been through nightmares of temporary placements.

Back then, Florida had a small Catholic population at somewhat less than two percent. The nuns and priests were mostly from Ireland: what American would live in Florida’s climate and what Irish clergy/nuns could resist the temptation of living in America? So they came and suffered. Thus the majority of professed religious people I knew growing up sounded more or less like my mother. The few times I heard an American accent coming from one of them, I was certain they weren’t kosher.

St. Mary’s was part of the city parish which served Catholics mostly of Italian descent, and, during the week, working people who dropped in for daily Mass on their lunch hour. There was a school going all the way to 12th grade for the whole parish not just St. Mary’s, and a church with the number of priests needed for a full regimen of Masses, plus a rectory to house the priests. The teaching nuns from the school lived at St. Mary’s and took their turns raising us while they were at it. This whole plant took up a square block.

When I was six, a Dublin-born priest came to live at the rectory. I thought of Father Doyle as quite elderly, but that didn’t turn out to be the case. When you’re six, most adults look old. At any rate, he took a particular shine to me because I was so obviously Irish to the bone — to the freckle, that is, many of which dotted my face and arms. Like my mother, Father Doyle was Dublin-born-and-bred. Like my mother, he enjoyed making me laugh — I was usually searching for a reason to laugh. I was a perfect audience.

Father Doyle found out my weakness for Waldorf salad, so he’d have the rectory housekeeper fix it for me. Oh, heaven! The nuns, of course, didn’t approve of this “special” relationship, but a priest outranks a nun, so there you go: Waldorf salad on Wednesdays after school. And Saint Valentine’s Day cards with little girls with freckles on the front. [No, there wasn’t any funny stuff. Just a lonely old man homesick and longing for home but unable to afford the fare, so I was the substitute.]

The good father liked American popular music, though he was a better listener than performer, but his lack of talent wasn’t an impediment. He’d often sing along with the Big Girls (any girl over the age of ten was officially a Big Girl). Back then, genres weren’t so rigid as they are now; “country” music and “pop” were played on the same stations. One song he used to sing to me was “If I Had a Nickel”. He only ever sang the first few lines, since they were the most entertaining.

One cold, overcast morning — January 18th, to be precise — the nuns told us in chapel that Father Doyle had died in his sleep during the night. I was inconsolable for days. Not all the threats of punishments could quell my tears. No threats they could devise compared with my utterly bereft sense of loss. Children are resilient and eventually I quieted, but I never forgot Father Doyle. Every January 18th I recall our brief friendship, healing on both sides. He was only forty-seven when he died, and it would be many years before I considered that “too young”.

The first two lines of his song stayed with me, too, but it wasn’t until the advent of YouTube that I found the song, in its earliest versions:

If you read the comments on that song, you’ll notice that many people came looking for it because they remembered its fragments the same way: a song their father or grandfather sang, one they thought had been made up especially for them. It is a child’s song, I think, because of its simplicity.

I’ll bet each of my children remember that song. I sang it to them as babies — it makes a good lullaby. Maybe that’s why some of them became musicians?

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Saturday’s denarii arrived from:

Stateside: Hawaii, Massachusetts, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia

Far Abroad: New Zealand, Sweden, and the UK

Canada: British Columbia and Ontario

That’s it for the Summer Fundraiser! Sometime tomorrow the Baron will include an overall summary in the wrap-up post.

Summer Fundraiser 2017, Day Five

The Baron’s Saturday Update: I shoulda learned to play them drums

This was supposed to be Dymphna’s update, but she’s feeling poorly this morning, so I’m filling in. Part of the reason for her indisposition is Tommy Robinson’s situation — since she suffers from PTSD, Tommy’s suffering resonates with her to the point that her symptoms flare up.

For today’s money-themed video, I’m using the one she would have posted herself if she were well enough. But before I get to that, I’ll recapitulate what we’re doing here for readers who had to work all week and are just checking in for the first time this weekend.

This is our quarterly effort to wheedle you into donating money to help keep this site alive for three more months. Inflation is a scourge: what began as “Pennies from Heaven” on Monday became dollars by midweek, and they’re now twenties, as can be seen from the graphic at the top of this post. What will the image be tomorrow…?

[An aside: During the reign of Hussein it was announced that Andrew Jackson’s gloomy mug was to be removed from the twenty-dollar bill and replaced with the face of some politically correct chick of color — Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Maya Angelou, somebody like that. Does anyone know what became of that innovation? Obviously Mr. Trump will not be replacing Mr. Jackson anytime soon. But maybe The Donald was able to put the brakes on the Modern Multicultural $20 Bill.]

Anyway, your job is to drop a Trump or two (or six! Live dangerously) into the tip cup on our sidebar. Or, if you prefer, you can use this new direct PayPal link.

This morning’s money-related song is “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits. It’s one of my favorites, despite its being After My Time, and despite the fact that it includes vocals by Sting. Mark Knopfler was and is one of the world’s great guitarists, even though he’s a geezer now (like me).

This version is a rarity — it has the original lyrics, including that naughty word “faggot”. Even back in the early ’80s (I think it was) it caused great controversy, and a new version had to be mastered that excluded the politically incorrect word.

Nowadays the performers wouldn’t even have recorded the version with the forbidden epithet. I mean, everyone knows the rules — why bother?

My favorite Dire Straits song is “Telegraph Road”, from the album Love Over Gold, which was released in 1982 (also After My Time — I was over 30 by then, for cryin’ out loud!).

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Friday’s dedicated donors chipped in from:

Stateside: Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, North Carolina, New York, Oregon, and Texas

Far Abroad: Sweden and the UK

Canada: Ontario

If Dymphna is feeling better, she’ll be back tomorrow to do the final update of Fundraising Week.

The Baron’s Friday Update: First thing you know, you’re gonna pull that trigger

Well, here we are at Friday already. Fundraising Week is nearly over. The weekend’s almost here. It won’t be long until normal programming resumes — and I can get some sleep.

In case you haven’t been paying attention — or have been slothful — we’re chasing Pennies from Heaven this week. That is, we’re trolling for donations from readers who appreciate the content here and want to see it continue. Hence the selected musical riffs on the theme “money” that have been posted with each of these updates.

The Bible reminds us that the love of money is the root of all evil (Radix malorum est cupiditas). Not the greasy green stuff itself, mind you, but the love of it. Nevertheless, Dymphna and I have to get a little cupiditous when we run one of these fundraisers; it’s unavoidable. We just have to hope we don’t end up in a stinkin’ heap of malorum as a result…

I put Scrooge McDuck at the top of this update, and at the left. Uncle Scrooge is a character created for Disney comics by the legendary Carl Barks. Scrooge’s defining character trait is his relentless avarice, which kind of makes him the patron saint of cupidity. That’s why he’s watching over us here today at Schloss Bodissey while we go all avaricious on you.

And your job is to click that tip cup on the sidebar, or use this new direct PayPal link.

Strictly speaking, this morning’s musical number is not about money per se. Its theme is a combination of avarice and lust — thereby hitting two of the Seven Deadly Sins. [For bonus points, see if you can name the other five sins without resorting to a search engine. For myself, I couldn’t get past #6. Dymphna had to help me.]

This is the immortal song “Dupree’s Diamond Blues”, from the Grateful Dead album Aoxomoxoa (1969), with music by Jerry Garcia and lyrics by Robert Hunter.

The text of the lyrics may be found in the notes accompanying the video. For readers who are unfamiliar with American argot, a jelly roll is a certain, ahem, female organ that is of great interest to adult heterosexual males, while to know [someone] well is a euphemism for “to have carnal knowledge of [someone]”.

Dymphna featured a song by Abba the other day. Funnily enough, I don’t really know Abba at all — their music is from After My Time.

My time runs roughly from when the Beatles first toured the USA until disco hit the airwaves. I guess that’s about 1963-1975. When I started hearing disco, I stopped listening to pop music on the radio. That’s when I officially became a fuddy-duddy — in my mid-twenties.

So Aoxomoxoa and Abbey Road — albums whose songs I’ve featured here this week — are smack dab in the middle of my time. I haven’t picked out my final number yet; maybe I can find another money song from those golden years.

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Thursday’s generosity came in from:

Stateside: Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia

Far Abroad: Israel and the UK

Canada: Ontario

Australia: Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia

That’s all for now. Dymphna will be here tomorrow with a Saturday morning special.

Dymphna’s Thursday Update: Money Money

Given the good news about Tommy’s release from prison, it’s hard to focus on writing this update. Umm… well, focusing was never my strong point. But the time has come to beat the bushes and shake the money tree so as to make dollar bills fall into our hands. It’s double trouble at the moment. Used to be I could use Irish Writer’s Fluid™ to lubricate my essays, but such sustenance isn’t on my ketogenic eating plan.


So you get the stone cold sober Dymphna this week and from here on out. Sober as a judge. (Are judges ever sober?) No more aperitifs, no after-dinner drink or dessert. But also no cravings, either; this way of eating really does make me feel better.

The B — that for-better-or-worse man I married — is on the diet with me just because. Just as he’s faithfully traipsed through every other food theory I’ve tried. He hasn’t relinquished his caffeine or dark chocolate or every-other-day red wine, but in fellowship, he’s following me down the food aisle once again, just as he has every single dietary path I try. The patience of Job, I tell you.

So this time I looked on PayPal to fortify myself before beginning this Thursday appeal. A lot of different places for our donors, including that most liberal of lands, New Zealand. Wow! And some from Central Europe, too. We are fortunate to have such a worldwide readership. I’m waiting for France to put in an appearance, though. And the Netherlands?? How about our friends in Saudi Arabia?

Gosh, that reminds me of the now infamous post the B did one April Fools’ Day many years ago. He photoshopped Bill Gates into a burnoose and wrote about Mr. Gates’ conversion to Islam. As if. But it kept the Middle East visiting here for years.

By coincidence, the song I chose for this edition of “PAY UP, Y’ALL!” was one that a reader in Ireland also wrote to suggest. He sent a link to the more modern version, so I warn you: turn the sound down in the beginning. I like his better because of the visuals, so here goes:

It’s a good thing he emailed us. I was dithering over Jerry Lee Lewis’ version or the original by Barrett Strong.

Strong has disputed the claims of others to having contributed to the composition of this ditty. Since he has a string of other songs to his credit, he probably deserves this one, too.

Okay, folks, it’s midweek. Send some celebration money (you can click this new link if you want) so we can throw a Tommy’s Release Party here at Schloss Bodissey. Seriously.

That dreadful O’Doul’s stuff is expensive.

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Wednesday’s generosity flowed in from:

Stateside: California, Colorado, Connecticut, New York, Ohio, Texas, and Washington

Far Abroad: Denmark, Germany, Luxembourg, New Zealand, Thailand, and the UK

Canada: Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario

Australia: New South Wales and Victoria

[Note from the Baron: the image at the top of this post is a scan of a Silver Certificate — what used to be called a “dollar bill” until 1964. Back then you could take your buck to the bank and demand an actual SILVER DOLLAR, one Troy ounce of the finest silver. After 1964, you just had to take the word of the Federal Reserve.

1964 was also the year the Treasury retired our silver coinage and replace our silver dimes, quarters, and half dollars with “Johnson slugs” — nickel and copper sandwiches. But I’m sure that’s just a coincidence.

Also: the full video of Viktor Orbán’s speech has been delayed until tomorrow, due to the press of Tommy Robinson events. I mean, Vlad has uploaded it (you can find it on his channel), but I haven’t had time to write an intro for it when I post it.]

The Baron’s Wednesday Update: Oh, that magic feeling — nowhere to go

Yesterday was a busy day. In addition to all the work here (including collecting donation data and writing thank-you notes), I had to take Dymphna to an appointment. So this update is coming in late.

A reminder to anyone who hasn’t noticed yet: we’re doing our quarterly bleg here, asking our readers to chip in to help keep this site going for another three months. You can hit the tip cup on the main page to donate, or click this new link (which is also PayPal).

Even though this week’s theme is “Pennies From Heaven”, today’s header graphic is an 1891 Morgan silver dollar. That’s because of inflation. By Sunday, I suspect we will be using one of those trillion-dollar bills bearing the gnarly old visage of Georgie Soros…

For this morning’s musical interlude I picked out a Beatles song: “You Never Give Me Your Money” from the Abbey Road album. In my opinion it’s one of the best by Paul McCartney from the last years of his time with the Beatles. It was recorded, if I’m not mistaken, in the final studio sessions before the Beatles broke up:

I still remember the time when that album came out, almost forty-nine years ago. I was in the throes of A-level studies that autumn [I was in England, so it was autumn; if I had been here, it would have been fall].

My three A-level subjects were Maths, English, and History. For history I specialized — insofar as you could specialize in A-level history — in the “Between the Wars” period. So when I heard the opening lines of the song, I immediately thought of the Great Inflation of 1923 in Weimar Germany. The singer was a combination of France and Britain, of course:

You never give me your money
You only give me your funny paper
And in the middle of negotiations, you break down

The day after it came out I said to my friends, “Hey, that song is about the German inflation of 1923!” I don’t recall their reactions all that well, but I suspect they looked at me askance and sidled away. Even my history master was nonplussed when I told him.

[We had two history masters, one for British history and one for European history. The period covered for A-levels was 1871-1945, from the founding of the German Empire (the Second Reich) to the Götterdämmerung in the Führerbunker. Our European history master was very young, in his twenties, and his passionate energy for history transmitted itself to me. He gave me my lifelong interest in European history. A-level history studies were very intensive, especially since I planned to take Special Papers, so a lot of the material I absorbed back then has stayed with me to this day.]

Back to 2018.

I want to give y’all a brief account of the process of what I do here — the standard workflow in our online group. We’re all unpaid volunteers, with no boss, so our work is found and allocated on an ad-hoc basis — what looks the most important and interesting, who is available to do their part, etc.

The most common routine action is to translate and subtitle a video. Sometimes Vlad finds the video and asks the translators to look at it; sometimes they find it themselves. They prepare a translated and timed transcript, which comes to me to be edited and turned into a subtitle file that Vlad can import. He does the rest — the titling, the video editing, etc. Most days we do at least one video this way.

As it happens, two important videos came in over the weekend. One was the talk given by a Swede named Nina Drakfors in Copenhagen; the other was Viktor Orbán’s speech at the annual summer camp in Romania. Each of them was more than forty minutes long — a major undertaking for all involved.

Tania Groth of For Frihed translated the Swedish video. I got that one first, and edited it on Sunday night. CrossWare translated the Orbán video, and I edited it on Monday and Tuesday.

Translating a timed transcript of that length is a mammoth job; I don’t know how they manage it. Both translators deserve our deepest gratitude.

The text-editing is not as tough. All of our translators are fluent in English, obviously, but their transcripts still need to be tidied up. The times and title lengths have to be normalized — sometimes that takes quite a while. Then punctuation has to be adjusted, idioms have to be modified, etc. So a transcript of that length may require a number of hours of work by me before it is ready to go to Vlad.

It was just my luck that those two huge and important jobs hit me right as the fundraiser was beginning. They had to be crammed into three very busy days — with sleep being the biggest loser, of course.

Anyway… In case you were wondering about the light posting early this week, that was one of the main reasons.

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Tuesday’s donors trucked in from:

Stateside: Arizona, California, Idaho, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and West Virginia

Far Abroad: Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, New Zealand, and the UK

Canada: Newfoundland, and Saskatchewan

Australia: New South Wales

Monday was mostly first-time donors, but yesterday the majority were some of the usual suspects, for some reason.

Dymphna will see you here tomorrow morning.

Dymphna’s Tuesday Update: Abba Dabba Do

Just so y’all know, I left a message for Peter Thiel to leave us a small donation. I mean, he was one of the founders of PayPal and all. Besides, ’tis the time for conservative plutocrats to rise up and donate to our quarterly fundraiser. We’re a better bet than some of his dream schemes. Thiel is so rich that the libs out in La La Land have to pay him at least public respect, even if he does like President Trump. Thiel’s unusual politics, which I find sound and thoughtful even when I disagree with him, makes the New York Times grind its elegantly repaired teeth. Oh — I forgot: I left a message at Trump Winery (not too far down the road from us) — to hit the bucket, too. They could even drop in a bottle of red for the B while they’re at it.

I haven’t known many rilly rilly rich people, but you only need to meet a few to know their brains are become wired differently. I think it has to do with knowing you’ll never have to worry about where your next Kobe steak is coming from, or perhaps it’s the certainty you’ll never have to wait in another TSA line at the airport, or have your junk manhandled by the POD (Pervs on Duty, who are now exempt from complaints by mere passengers). Or stand in a checkout queue at Wal-Mart.

Well, whilst I’m holding my breath waiting for the plutocrats to get back to us with a cheque, let me remind our readers that any and all plebs are most welcome to join in the donation dance this week. Given that I suggested to the Baron our theme ought to be played out with money songs, the old standard “Jingle, Jangle, Jingle” has been strangely going through my contrary head all day, even though it has nothing to do with money. I think the reason it goes round and round is because that’s the sound of money hitting the tip jar. Unless you’re using paper money, in which case the sound is much softer, like maybe the B clearing his throat to call me back to the task at hand: money, money, money.

Heavens to Betsy, I’m glad we only do this once a quarter. You can tell how avoidant we are, since we’re always late when it comes to passing this here plate among the congregation…

For today’s performance, I chose the politically incorrect Abba song, Money, Money, Money, whose lyrics are here.

Even if they were still around, Abba sure couldn’t sing this song without causing heart attacks amongst the feminists in Sweden. Hmm, that’s a good enough reason for the tune to continue to be played. It takes a whole lotta ruination to put paid to a culture or a country, but the Fems in Sweden have managed to do just that. And the Swedes in Minnesota are working hard to create the same kind of no-go zones in Minnesota. Must be a DNA thing.

By the way, when a song goes round and round in your head without surcease, it’s known as an “earworm”. It may be the case that Mark Spahn told me this on a long-ago post. Or maybe not. At any rate, a German music group called “The Wiseguys” performed just such a song, “Ohrwurm”. So this is a friendly warning to German-speakers: don’t click this link. Since the words are in German, I am immune. However, hum eight bars of this, and I’m doomed for days. So is the Baron if I forget and start singing it out loud. He will run screaming from the room. Hmmm… so many parodies, so little time.

Y’all enjoy Abba till the Baron returns. And keep hitting that there jar till it rings… Trump calling 😉

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The first day’s donors dropped in from:

Stateside: California, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia

Far Abroad: Estonia, Finland, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK

The Baron will be updating you tomorrow morning.

Monday’s post by the Baron:

Well, another quarter has gone by already. The thunder is a-rumblin’ and the wildfires are a-roarin’, which means the lazy hazy crazy days of summer are here (at least in the Northern Hemisphere). And it’s also time for Gates of Vienna’s summer fundraiser.

For readers who are unfamiliar with the drill, here’s the way it goes: ten years ago we decided to keep this space ad-free (not counting the static book-ads on the sidebar for our friends). To make up for the missing revenue, we beg for money from our readers four times a year. And somehow, magically, during that week-long extravaganza we manage to put together the wherewithal to keep this site open and running for another quarter.

It’s pennies from heaven! Which happens to be the title of this song from 1936 by Bing Crosby:

The song was also featured in the movie of the same name (starring Bing and Madge Evans), the poster for which is at the top of this post.

When y’all drop your pennies from heaven on us, that makes you our angels. If we had our act together, we’d do like public radio and send out a little angel pin to each donor as a premium. But those gewgaws wouldn’t be your typical angels — no kitschy saccharine Estrogen Channel angels for us! No, our angel pins would be modeled after the better angels of our nature: the Polish winged hussars who played such a prominent role in the breaking of the Second Siege of Vienna in 1683.

I can just picture it — a little gold pin with colored highlights, depicting one of the fearsome angels who saved Vienna and finally rolled back the advance of Islam into Central Europe.

[An aside: as the hussars galloped into battle, the wind through those wings was said to make such a fearsome roaring sound that their enemies became paralyzed with terror. Such an effect, however, was incidental to the purpose of the wings, which was to foil ropes thrown by opposing cavalry and make it difficult to lasso the hussars from their saddles.]

So all you angels up there in the empyrean can drop your pennies into the tip cup on the sidebar. Or, if you prefer, you can use this new link. It’s still PayPal, but it works differently (and I think more simply).

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This fundraiser, like so many others, has been delayed, both in the month and in the day. We put it off until this week for various reasons, among them the fact that I had to get a needle in the eye last week, which tends to inhibit my work capacity for a day or two. However, it also got delayed this morning — I should have sat up and written this post in the wee hours, like I usually do. But I was too exhausted — I just couldn’t do it.

One of the things that tired me out was spending several hours yesterday preparing the subtitles for an important 41-minute video from Sweden. It’s a talk by a woman who used to be a good Swedish socialist, but somehow woke up to what is being done to her country. I think Vlad has now uploaded the video, so I’ll be embedding it here later today. After that will come a 43-minute translated video of a speech by Viktor Orbán. So it’s going to be a busy day.

Speaking of Vlad — since his video work is so crucial to what we do here, we send Vlad 10% of our pennies from heaven. So bear that in mind, and if you want him to receive more, drop by Vlad’s place and click his donate button.

This post will remain the “sticky” feature all week, and we’ll update it every morning. If her health holds up, Dymphna will be adding tomorrow’s update. I know she’s planning to include more music in her contribution, because last night I heard the fruits of her research come thrumming up the stairs from her office just below me. I don’t know exactly what she has planned, but at least some of it will be good old boogie-woogie…

The tip jar in the text above is just for decoration. To donate, click the tin cup (or the donate button) on the sidebar of our main page. If you prefer a monthly subscription, click the “subscribe” button.

30 thoughts on “Pennies From Heaven, For a Whole Week

  1. Aye, the PayPal window still said Spring 2018, but I’m sure you’ll know it’s for the summer tithe…
    WestDivide, the old cowboy from Watkins…

  2. wow, Abbey Road, that was smashing! If you still love it, hear it performed live by The Fab Faux on video or even in their show. I saw the Beatles on stage and I assure you that they were not as perfect as the Faux. And this is not mere nostalgia. Every pro musician melts away when you mention this album.

  3. And what about Billy Shears? John said that he had buried Paul, after a car crash on Abbey Road? Notice the bare feet.
    OK, it all could be a Running Gag, or Standing Joke. (Sioux Indian comedians)

      • Billy Shears was a quote from Sgt. Pepper’s and Paul’s burial was from Strawberry Fields and the bare feet typical of the dressed up corpse was on the cover of Abbey Road. Fuel for conjecture that was probably supplied by John Lennon who was known for his wit and practical jokes as well as being an ogre before his first cup of coffee.

  4. Gotta give a shout-out to the late great Rick Griffin, one of the finest of the underground artists, who did the Aoxomoxoa album cover. RIP, Rick.

    • Thanks for pointing that out. He died at the age of 47 in a motorcycle accident – a true native Californian with no helmet.

      At the bottom of his wiki there is a good round-up of underground cartoonists. Surprisingly, there were some women in that list. They were definitely a minority, but a sizeable one for the times.

          • It was the best that I could do for a song that came out in 1975 and was only heard on KMEL (Camel Radio) San Jose. Of course, there was Pink Floyd’s “You’re gonna ride the gravy train” from their Pigs, Dogs, and Sheep album released in 1978 if I recall correctly.
            Finally, my all time fave because cabinet makers (injured/retired) were finally mentioned by Dire Straights’ “Money for Nothing” with the video that shows you who your friends really are. Of course that one came out a little to late to qualify for the Baron’s time frame. sniff!

  5. Re: Harriet Tubman on the 20$ bill, here’s a link to a (somewhat rational for them) WaPo story from 2016:

    and a link to an update from The Daily Beast from this past April:

    Also in 2016, the American Thinker provided a different slant on Harriet, one that might give the leftists the vapors:

  6. I owe you one Baron. Money for Nothing is still a fave. I am, or was, a finish carpenter/cabinetmaker/door hanger. We use a tape measure but also deal with thousandths of an inch. I have installed microwave ovens where they shouldn’t have fit at all, just because the customer said so. When the song first came out I couldn’t believe that someone was singing about us. The songs were usually about a world we could never hope to know or live in. I listened very carefully to the words and then realized that Mark Knopfler was one of us and had to work hard for a living even while being in ‘dire straits’ (pun intended). I had just turned 30 when I first heard it while installing hardwood flooring in a restaurant after it had closed for the night. I wondered about all those people who made lots of money making public fools of themselves. As I watched them grow old I saw how the money that they had when they were young now had them as they grew old. The chicks might be for free, but I doubt there is any love and certainly no family. Thanks anyway, but I will take my wife and grandkids instead and play rock ‘n roll and blues at home with the grandkids.

    • This is a great story…finding out someone has written your song. Thanks for sharing it.

      I chose this one because I rilly rilly like Mark Knopfler and this one was particularly fine. If you haven’t looked up Knopfler’s solo work, I recommend doing so. He has continued to grow and develop as a musician. Like many guitarists, he’s had more than one marriage.

    • BTW, I love carpenters. The ones who come into Schloss Bodissey and don’t moan about the fact that in the older parts nothing is plumb or square, but just work with what they find. This house was built by poor, probably illiterate black folk, descendants of slaves who lived out their lives on a nearby plantation. These people were cut from stubborn cloth; they decided to bloom where they were planted rather than set out for work in the cities.

      They weren’t skilled carpenters, but they built something lasting, warm, and solid. I think of them every day.

  7. BTW, doesn’t the word ‘faggot’ refer to a piece of wood that is a glowing coal without a flame that is transported from one fireplace to another to start a fire burning. As such, I suppose you could say that a faggot gives one hearth burn.

    • In the old days in Ireland, my mother said they referred to cigarettes as fags.

      She sometimes told the story of her strict father being approached on the street by a young person during a real pea-soup fog. The boy asked politely if her father had a match for his fag. Her father recognized the voice and equally politely lit the match. When it flared up, the boy was looking up into the eyes of their Da.

      [I don’t tell the tale with her panache, but I do remember her kindred feeling for her brother’s shame at being caught out. She conveyed that quite well.]

  8. THANKS…truth and wonderful music!
    Dire Straits and the extremely talented Mark Knopfler…Top 3 for me.
    Best concert experience seeing them in Ottawa July 2005…Heaven for me…one of the devoted fans.

    from the land of ozero

  9. Oh, my – Baroness !

    For a lady who wasn’t feeling so well yesterday, and got hubbie to fill in for her, you sure came back with a roar. What a great reminiscence, your story of St. Mary’s, and good old Fr. Doyle. Worth a donation all for its own sake!

    It’s great to hear (for once, these days) a recollection of a good, old priest from whom there was no ‘funny stuff,’ as you put it.

    I can certainly relate. Newfoundland has often been called the most Irish place outside Ireland. Certainly the most concentrated pocket of Irish who came from the same vicinities in Ireland – and most of them from before the Famine. About 20 years ago, shortly before his demise at age ca. 89, I met the last surviving native-born Newfoundland Irish speaker, Ally O’Brien, whose Irish was probably closer to the old Irish than what is taught in Irish schools today. (Our isolation preserved the dialect, and the accents. Same with Dorset and Devon accents / vocabulary, with the English descendants).

    We even have our own ‘Dictionary of Newfoundland English’ (in which close to half the words are ‘Newfoundland-ized’ Irish words ! (slieveen, omadhan, etc. My father used to use those ones on me – though he spoke no Irish). Many of my relatives still spell their Christian names with the Irish anglicized (e.g. ‘Mairin’ for ‘Maureen’)

    The scandalous modern revelations first came to light here, too, sadly. The Mount Cashel Orphanage exposures pre-dated the Boston scandals, and those in Ireland.

    Not joining Canada until 1949, we have been sucked into the maw, along with everyone else. Having once been independant, and a ‘Dominion’ like South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, we now have our own surge of Muslim ‘refugee’ plantations, leading to calls for a bigger mosque to accommodate their burgeoning population.

    And our naive, ignorant, unsophisticated, cowardly and politically correct politicians ‘pride’ themselves [I should have included ‘illiterate’ !] on welcoming all this, and for having revised our provincial laws to allow gender dysphorics to retroactively edit their birth certificates to the sex of their choice! What can you do with such people?

    No wonder I think I can’t survive without Gates of Vienna. It’s one of the remaining bastions of sane people!

    Think I’ll make another donation, before you reach your target, and close up shop for the quarter.

    • I was fortunate to be in an orphanage where none of that stuff happened. It was funded by Catholic Charities and the Knights of Columbus were a big help. My mother also kept careful watch; in that god-awful Florida heat, she’d walk (in the torturous high heels required for her job) the twelve blocks from her job to visit with me at lunchtime. I don’t remember the whole of this incident, but she told me later that one day she found me sitting on a bench in time out for some breach of behavior and she discovered I was running a fever. So she marched to the Catholic Charities office at the front of the building and demanded that something be done. They called the nurse and she ushered me up to the infirmary.

      I do remember being put to bed up there and how cool and quiet it was. I slept for a long time. I loved the infirmary; surprisingly I didn’t turn into a hypochondriac – didn’t go there often enough for it to become a habit.

      The thing about being “homeless” – i.e., without a family – is that a young child usually becomes a city of one. Sibling connections seldom develop as they would in a family. There was a girl my age, Sylvia Rivera, and we were very close but I don’t recall how long that lasted because one day, out of the blue, her father came and took her back to Cuba. We never even got to say goodbye. I never got close to anyone else again until I left the orphanage, though of course, I didn’t recognize that at the time. I replaced Sylvia with books, hundreds of them.

      • The majority of the boys at the Mt. Cashel orphanage also said that they never experienced, or even witnessed, any abuse there … but of course the media weren’t interested in them.

        And re: what your Mom told you, about the ‘old days’ in Ireland : calling cigarettes ‘fags’ was still commonplace in St. John’s when I was growing up in the ’50s and ’60s, and I discovered it still pretty widespread in England (Lancashire) when I arrived there in the mid-’60s.

        And I experienced much the same thing: lost contact with close friends from school in St. John’s when I went to England, then went through the same thing 5 years later, when I returned. Can be a bit of an ‘isolating’ formation, but fosters self-reliance too.

  10. I’m Gates of Vienna emeritus.

    Excuse the Latin purist in me, but the correct form for you, Dymphna, is emerita (sheesh, didn’t Father Doyle of blessed memory teach you Latin?).

    Anyway, sent what I could. I’ve just had cataract surgery in both eyes and expecting some serious damage to the budget from the local hospital’s outpatient clinic, but didn’t want to skip this quarter’s fundraiser.

    Apropos of carpenters: my dad’s younger brother, my Uncle Don, was a master carpenter who specialized in custom-built kitchens and similar work that took a high level of skill. He could hang a door without the help of an apprentice, which I am told is one mark of a true craftsman. And BTW, tradition has it that Jesus learned a few things about carpentry from St. Joseph.

    Apropos of Fr. Doyle’s death in January: my beloved doctoral advisor died on January 8 at the age of 94. He became a friend down the years as well as teacher and dissertation director. It was a friendship made richer by shared membership in the local parish church as well as the university. I miss him more than I can say, but I know you can understand; oremus pro invicem.

    • Indeed I do understand missing a beloved academic mentor. They are irreplaceable. Father Doyle was never that.

      You know, I pondered emeritus, wondering if emerita was simply the plural. But as the Baron pointed out, it follows the same rule as alumnus, alumna. My bad.

      But poor Father Doyle (pbuh) never tried to teach me Latin; not at the age of six.* When I was in the Gregorian choir we were taught proper enunciation/pronunciation, but it wasn’t until I got to high school that I took Latin as a subject. So blame Sister Benignus, poor soul. She loved my ability to read Latin aloud with fluency; I could never get her to remember it was because of that Gregorian choir back in my home parish from 5th through 8th grades. I still miss it.

      *beginning at the age of seven, in order to stay awake at 6:30 while attending daily morning Mass, I got in the habit of playing with the long Latin words in my Missal, e.g., Confiteor, breaking them down into as many smaller English words as I could think of. Keeping track on my fingers was difficult, but it worked as a way to ignore my growling stomach and to appear attentive in that huge, cold, dimly lit cathedral. Kneeling was hard, even back then, because of my (undiagnosed) scoliosis combined with being so very hungry.

      RE your cataract recovery, I do wish you a VERY speedy recovery. I read recently that glucosamine was good for preserving eye integrity and bought some for the Baron. It wouldn’t hurt you to try it (skip the quarterly if you have to. Send us prayers and smooches instead).

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