Does This Drone Make Me Look Fat?

If you’re an impresario who wants to stage a fashion show in Saudi Arabia, you obviously can’t have any of those lascivious harlots parading down the runway in skimpy attire in front of men who are not their fathers, brothers, uncles, or sons. So what to do?

A Saudi entrepreneur has found an ingenious solution: use special-purposed drones to carry the garments through the room above the heads of the audience, creating what Vlad calls “Ghost Wives”.

This would have seemed a far-fetched gag if it appeared in a late-night TV spoof. Yet here it is — you definitely can’t make this excrement up:

Hat tip: Vlad Tepes.

The Handyman’s Tale

For readers who are unfamiliar with the novel The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood — to which the following allegorical pastiche by JLH pays non-hommage — here’s the Wikipedia entry for the book.

The Handyman’s Tale

or

Margaret Atwood meets Quentin Tarantino

by JLH

Birth of a Nation

It happened in a place once called California. There was a surprising change of leadership in the national government, which had, until then, pursued a reasonable policy of social benefits for the poor to offset the incredible wealth amassed by the governing class and its consiglieri, and a sensible foreign policy of financial rewards for countries most likely to dislike and attack us. With the unexpected shift in leadership came a fanciful desire to improve an economy that successive bipartisan leaders had shown could not be improved; and a wrong-headed insistence that this country — like any other — should stand up for itself.

The final straws were perverted, “fundamentalist” interpretations of the 1st and 2nd Amendments. A brush-fire revolutionary movement formed, led by a retired power politician named Barbara Wrestler (known to friend and foe alike as “Barbie Bananas”). 10-term Governor Lunagleem was persuaded to declare the Feminist Nation of Westland, with the Golden Teddy Bear as its symbol. Its ready-made rallying cry was the title of the runaway bestseller, Cherchez la femme puissante. A widespread and visceral distaste for “flyover fundamentalism” among the elite of Westland was the impetus for a decree that the official philosophy of the new nation would be based upon principles outlined in the sociological milestone 50 Shades of Pink. The defining motto on the Teddy Bear seal of the new nation would be “allectio privus puellae” — To each her own.

Governor Lunagleem — in recognition of his long and faithful service in government, and his unflagging advocacy of women’s rights — was retired with great honors and offered, by way of exception, a passport that would not expire, should he ever decide to leave Westland and seek the presidency of that other country.

Offal

Our tale of life in the Feminist Democratic Republic of Westland is largely contained in the life of Offal. We first encounter him in the exclusively female- staffed public pre-school (there was no private schooling, except for the few daughters of highly placed officials), where he learned that a dispute between boys was decided on the basis of which boy was perceived to be the aggressor, who was then punished by being sent to an isolation corner for a while. A dispute between girls was resolved by a serious talk with an advisor, who would mediate an agreement between them. A dispute between a girl and a boy was regarded as Right versus Wrong or Good versus Evil. The girl was Right and the boy was Wrong. He was required to stand alone, as all the girls circled him and slapped his face — some angrily, some more kindly and softly. If he resisted — which became increasingly rare — he graduated to being Evil. He was made to lean his elbows on the teacher’s desk; and each girl was given a willow switch to strike his buttocks as she passed by. Offal and his classmates learned two lessons from this: 1)Never argue with a girl within view of any authority; 2) Never wear shorts to school — some girls will choose to whip the bare legs.

Bathroom facilities in schools, as in all public institutions, were of two kinds: Female and General. Offal’s introduction to this system was witnessing an outraged 7-year-old classmate complaining to their teacher that there was a girl standing at the urinals, observing and commenting. “Of course, dear,” the teacher told him kindly, “How else will she learn? She aspires to be a urologist.”

After the conditioning of pre-school, Life Entry School offered more substantive knowledge in arithmetic, reading, writing and the History of the Golden Teddy Bear Republic. All classes were issued waterproof helmets for their required, weekly depilatory shower. Boys were observed, to decide when they should be issued facial depilatory. The goal was no visible hair below the eyes. Everyone alike. There would be no returning to the era of “hairy-chested men.”

A companion program in the summer found every boy at “Summer Camp” — a more social than pedagogical training. Instead of a recorded version of Reveille, the day began with a loud call of “Soo-ee, Soo-ee, Pig! Pig! Pig!” Breakfast was sugarless oatmeal served in lengthy wooden trenchers referred to as “troughs” and a thick slice of bread. After eating, each boy carried his trencher past an open spigot, rinsing it off as he passed and stacking it upside down on the large drainboard. Lunch was beans with some salt pork in the same trencher, and bread. Supper was meatballs in tomato sauce, and bread, with a suety chocolate pudding for dessert. Each meal was presided over by watchful female counselors, who roamed between the long tables, noting when a boy seemed not to be eating, and rapping him across the back with a bamboo stick, saying, “Eat, Piggy, Eat!”

Activities during the day were various kinds of manual labor: moving boulders, leveling paths and roadways, gathering firewood from the surrounding woods. The great advantage for both “campers” and “counselors” was that this regimen facilitated an exhausted sleep. Nonetheless, the older boys were pulled — one by one — out of their bunks during the night and taken to one of the counselors’ cabins for what the counselors laughingly called, “Sex 101,” where they learned all the ways in which a woman could be pleased.

Offal never did know what the girls’ Summer Camp was like, but he noticed that with each end-of-summer return to school, the girls seemed to become more distant and contemptuous of the boys.

The final levels of public education — before girls went to one of the plethora of Westland universities, and the boys went to either blue- or white-collar trade schools — were also the closing phases in the treatment of male toxicity. Boys were separated into algorithmically selected groups and pulled from class twice a week to attend “de-masculinizing” clinics, where they were electronically connected to monitoring devices. Conducted by therapists working in pairs, the clinics featured 50-minute videos of young people at various activities. Blood pressure, pulse and skin temperature often spiked with one of three things: dangerous activities like cliff diving or dirt bike racing; warlike confrontations between males; the sight of an unexpected expanse of female skin. Every boy who registered a spike received an instantaneous electric jolt high inside his thighs. By the end of the second year, the attraction of danger, physical conflict and sex had dwindled to such an extent that images that had once caused a spike now barely registered. Many of the boys just closed their eyes or looked away.

Boys’ credits for graduation — aside from the masculine detoxification sessions — included the ability to read a newspaper, math through plane geometry (algebra and beyond were considered too intricate), a comfortable acquaintance with a computer and keyboard, and at least six credits in gardening/farming, tool-handling and crafts.

Thus well-trained in the necessary rules and attitudes of the Feminist Republic of Westland, Offal matured into a shy, comely young fellow. He was appointed to be a Domestic Worker, and was given a multi-year assignment as a handyman for three of the leading Wives in his designated community, doing yard work, animal husbandry and carpentry.

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All Muslims LOVE Gay Sex!

Earlier this spring a group of socialists pulled a stunt where they went onto the streets and claimed Jesus was a homosexual, presumably with the intention of inciting Christians. It goes without saying that none of them would dare or even consider doing such a thing to Muslims.

Rasmus Paludan, a Danish lawyer and activist, decided to do just that recently in Copenhagen.

Many thanks to Mr. Paludan for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:

Video transcript:

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Merkel Akhbar!

The following report by Egri Nök was published earlier today at Vlad Tepes in a slightly different form.

German Press on Attack on Merkel: When someone runs towards you, yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’, don’t be bigoted!

by Egri Nök

Berlin — on Wednesday, a loudly yelling Afghan ran towards Angela Merkel as she was leaving the Reichstag, and was wrestled down by two security guards. It was caught on camera, and aired live, more or less accidentally.

Please have a look at the two following videos and compare.

The first one aired LIVE, so the interviewer and his guest keep on talking, as they have no idea what is going on. The sound is un-edited and you can hear the yelling very clearly.

Then please watch the second clip, produced by Bild newspaper afterwards, and compare the sound of the two.

1. The clip that aired live, relevant part beginning at 7 seconds in:

2. Bild’s edited clip. Please pay attention to the sound:

Die Welt reassure us that the “disturber was merely running towards Merkel”, no harm intended, and that there is no reason for a “knee jerk reaction”, just because someone runs toward you, yelling “something in a foreign language” that “sounds similar to Allahu akbar”.

We are translating it for the humor:

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The Shape of Mud

Below is JLH’s latest comment on Hollywood’s contribution to our life and thought. He says: “You might call it “Alfred Hitchcock’s Revenge’.”

The Shape of Mud

by JLH

Once upon a time there was a fairy-tale land, where fairy-tale people lived fairy-tale lives and made up fairy-tale tales to entertain all the people who did not live fairy-tale lives. Among those unfortunate souls who lived drab and ordinary lives — and unlike the paragon of perfection symbolized by the statuette given as the highest fairy-tale land award for story-telling — their ordinary males were encumbered by brazen masculine procreative equipment. Pedestrian persons from outside fairy-tale land paid a significant amount of money to see the tales made in fairy-tale land, so fairy-tale land accumulated vast wealth, and thus felt its responsibility to instruct and guide the patrons of its storytelling.

It came to pass that some of the fairy-tale folk conceived the idea of enticing the benighted souls outside of fairy-tale land to become a little more sensitive by showing them a fairy-tale alternative — the way to a fairy-tale existence almost as exalted as the lives in fairy-tale land. They thought about other fairy tales that had gently and subtly demonstrated human inferiority to other species — a tenet of faith in fairy tale land that applied to all of mankind, with a few exceptions, like the residents of fairy-tale land. There had been a very successful tale of a whole world of blue people (what a wonderful concept!) who only wanted to be left in peace to settle their own differences in their own way. But along came humans astride their superior technology, and wrought havoc. It was left to the one or two truly sensitive humans to try to save this exotic civilization.

The first principle to be derived from this older tale was that the OTHER must be shockingly different, but not repulsive. Even a tail is all right, if it is attractive. A long history of tale-telling in fairy-tale land had established that non-humans who are hostile and evil are usually repulsive in at least one of their manifestations.

Positive alien representatives must also be recognizably like us, but ever so much better, like Rousseau’s noble savage. And if they are to serve the purpose, they must be incapable of doing humankind any real harm.

The answer they found was a touching tale about Mignon, a shy woman with a crippling handicap — severe, incurable progressivism. Unable to hold a job in the white-collar world despite her BA, MA, PhD in intercontinental floral design, she has become a full-time cleaner in a government facility. She is befriended by Kaytee — a kindly, if undereducated, co-cleaner who also lives in one of the many apartments in the large Victorian house where Mignon lives. As befits a film from fairy-tale land, both Mignon and Kaytee are incredibly beautiful women. They are both aware of the toxic masculinity of the male of the species. They have had limited, and largely unpleasant, contacts with boys-to-men.

Day after day, as they clean, they pass by a door that is always locked. Above the door is a sign: Gregor’s Place. They clean so unobtrusively and efficiently and always on schedule, that they are eventually rewarded with extended work time, pay raises and the key to the locked door of Gregor’s Place. They enter with mixed apprehension and excitement. It is a large, rectangular room, one-half of which is a large, glass-walled terrarium filled with tropical plants. Their job is to clean the open half of the room and keep the high glass partition spotless. As they do this, they can identify — among other things — orchids, and something similar to a very large Venus Flytrap. Once, when a small bird flutters down from an opened slot in the ceiling above, it ventures too close to the predatory flower, and disappears in its maw. At intervals, other kinds of nutrition fall from other openings, into the terrarium — often a kind of light-green rain.

Kaytee is fascinated at first, but gradually loses interest and cleans stoically. Mignon, however, studies the various plants and comes to the conclusion that the Gregor in the name over he door refers to Gregor Mendel, and that this is a giant experiment in creating new genotypes. So she always devotes a few minutes to watching the plants and trying to identify their characteristics.

One day, while she watches, leaning slightly forward, with both hands flat on the glass, a plant emerges alone, moving with a curious gliding motion, and approaching the glass. It has an almost sylphic figure and a stamen-like appendage dangling between its two ambulatory limbs. With a shock, she casts her mind back to her studies and identifies the figure before her as a fully human-sized, independent rosette of the Orchis Italica or Naked Man Orchid, with its usually sketchy facial features more finished and its “physique” not only enlarged, but strengthened. The presence of an apparent stamen and no pistil tells her she is looking at a masculine plant.

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FaceAche Strikes Again

Well, that Terrible Twos developmentally delayed troika – Facebook and Gargle/YahooTube – have banned/suspended Jordan Peterson. This round goes to FaceAche, since it’s the one currently messing with him:

GoV readers know how much I loathe Zuck; but you may not know I traded in Gargle for DuckDuckGo a few years ago. YahooTube is a muddle of inconsistency: currently, Dr. Peterson’s 574,000 subscribers wouldn’t stop them from banning him, either – just as they did previously.

I didn’t investigate his experience with Twee; I’ll bet he’s living on borrowed time flying on the back of Stalin’s bluebird-brain, too.

What these totalitarians don’t realize is that Dr. Peterson is a force of nature. If they keep fooling around with his accounts, he’s smart enough to find/build alternative routes for his work. What he’s doing is far too important to be erased by The Totalitarians.

Just wait till the angry people start demanding these modern-day Robber Barons be brought to heel. They’ll get to learn a little history.

The Serendipity of a Newspaper Typo

Yesterday I read an article in The Express that referred to someone as a “Euro-septic” (I think they were talking about Matteo Salvini of the Lega Nord). It seemed to me that the unfortunate typo just cried out to be memed, so I made this pic:

That’s Nigel Farage on the left and Jean-Claude Juncker on the right. Since Mr. Farage is British, I used the Brit spelling of “skeptic”.

Dr Peterson, Ms. DimBulb, and a Lobster Walk into a Bar

[The title of this post was lifted and changed; with apologies to a YouTube channel, The Saad Truth, found here. Since seeing his title, all others seem too tame now, which will become apparent in the course of this takedown – on the off chance you haven’t yet witnessed this humiliation.]

Being an American, I was (gratefully) unaware of this BBC Channel Four news babe. Or journalista, if you prefer. Ignorance of her future work is greatly to be desired since, as is the case for much of the American MSM, she appears to suffer from a terminal case of cognitive dissonance. Combined with her inability to hear or to parse Dr. Peterson’s statements, these deficits should, one thinks, serve her well in her chosen profession (and we all know how old that profession is).

Dr. Peterson evidently appeared on this wymyn’s program in aid of selling his book,

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Our GoV link for the book is here.

The book can be pre-ordered, to arrive tomorrow, if you want the Kindle version.

An editorial review (by one of my favorite culture critics) says:

Jordan Peterson is the most important and influential Canadian thinker since Marshall McLuhan. His international fame and impact continue to grow exponentially. Peterson’s bold interdisciplinary synthesis of psychology, anthropology, science, politics and comparative religion is forming the template for the genuinely humanistic university of the future.” —Camille Paglia

For those too young to remember McLuhan, he no doubt has a wiki page. For those old enough to remember his predictions, you know how prescient he was.

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Channel Four is no doubt off somewhere licking its wounds and wondering if they’re mortal afflictions. Those lacerations certainly are as wide as a church door. Well, at the very least, a small country church door.

My acquaintance with Dr Peterson’s work is fairly recent, but I plan to make up for my ignorance with an in-depth study of his writings. I do wish his early research on the sons of alcoholics was more widely available. Yes, the many articles are co-authored with other young scholars, but just based on their breadth, they deserve wider dissemination.

We’ll be posting more of his talks in the future.

I welcome your comments on this video or on his work in general.

A Cup of Joe — With Golliwogs

Machwitz Coffee (Machwitz Kaffee) is roasted and brewed in the German city of Hannover. In a time of universal political correctness, the company’s logo is endearingly un-PC:

I can’t tell whether those are golliwogs or golliwogesses. They seem to be of indeterminate sex — short nappy hair, but those look like dresses hanging down below the shield with the company’s name.

And here’s a delicious-looking sample of Machwitz Coffee in the company’s custom cup:


Jede Tasse Extraklasse — Kaffeetradition seit 1883
“Each cup, extra class — coffee tradition since 1883”

Earlier this evening I discussed the Machwitz golliwogs with our German correspondent Egri Nök:

Baron:   But doesn’t Machwitz get in trouble for having wogs on its products? I mean, it’s so WAYCIST. Sweden had to purge itself of all instances of that sort of thing.
Egri:   Yes, they did get into trouble recently — now, as of this week. Thanks to an American cultural studies professor. The company said they were open to discussing the logo with him. My bet is that they will have to remove it.
Baron:   Better buy up those cups now, then! They’ll be valuable collectors’ items.
 

If you’re a WAYCIST, and plan to visit Germany in the near future, my advice is to stop by Hannover and get your photo taken with the Machwitz golliwogs. They won’t be around much longer.

Golliwogs in general are an endangered species. I expect them to be completely extinct within a generation.

The Ballad of the Blue-Collar Billionaire

For a change of pace, our German translator JLH channels Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in this little ditty about the Bumpkin From the Big Apple.

The Ballad of the Blue-Collar Billionaire

by JLH

                                        I

Come listen my children and you shall hear
A political tale that will bring you good cheer.
On November the eighth in the year ’16,
A man was elected that none had foreseen
Or thought or guessed, let alone, expected
Would be nominated, much less, elected.

He stepped on the stage at that very first meeting,
Expected by all to take a great beating.
The Fourth Estate was in tears of joy:
Here was the perfect whipping boy.
His mouth was so big, his tweets even bigger,
And always good for a snort or a snigger.
Whatever he said — be it false, be it true,
There just was no limit to what they could do.
They prepared to record the brief but wild flare,
Of the man who would be the Blue-Collar Billionaire.

As the Redcoats had massed at Lexington,
So “neutral” moderators first sought to stun,
With fusillades of factoids and lethal spin,
But it all bounced off a fight-toughened skin.
Questions intended to demonize him,
To tear him asunder and limb from limb,
Were seen by the watching multitude
As proof of humanity, if not rectitude.

When interrogators wanted a loyalty oath,
He said that’s alright, but only if both
The party and others said to his face
That they would support him, if he won the race.
There were some opponents who looked down their noses
And made cutting remarks while striking great poses;
Claimed knowledge, experience and comprehension
To smooth over quarrels and lessen dissension.
All versus a man from the building domain,
Whose language was blunt, if not outright profane.

Then there began the chipping away:
His crazy ideas would make taxpayers pay
For impossible schemes that no one could do —
Politically impractical, as everyone (else) knew.
His demeanor was bumptious; his language askew;
How could he know what statesmen should do?
The elegant thinking of political types
Was beyond a man who lived only by hype.

But there also began a most startling display
Of competing in a counterintuitive way.
He played the bully as well as the fool;
He called them all names like a kid after school.
And then he did something that was really unfair —
So embarrassing it was, it was so hard to bear.
He did something that almost seemed underhand:
He proclaimed his unabashed love for this land!
He also had a cap that was red with white letters,
Which he proudly flourished in front of his betters.

Not patriotism, too! For the love of God!
Does he not know that makes him look odd?
And what was that, that he just threw out?
He’s pledging support to those credulous louts,
Evangelical Christians — he’s got their back.
When we already have them! The ignorant hack!

And another religious wave he would make —
He read out the story of Al Miller’s “The Snake.”

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A Week Passes Like Nothing…

We had a Gilbert Shelton week for our quarterly fundraiser, which means we covered the “humor” topic pretty well — there are a lot of laughs in the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and Fat Freddy’s Cat.

I wonder what we’ll do next quarter — maybe contact Robin Williams or Jonathan Winters via the Ouija board? Jeff Foxworthy videos on YouTube?

Anyway, here’s the complete list of places, as of late evening on Monday:

Stateside: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming

Near Abroad: Dominican Republic

Far Abroad: Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Thailand, and the UK

Canada: British Columbia, Newfoundland, Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Yukon

Australia: Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, and Victoria

Many thanks to everybody who chipped in. We’ll see y’all again in the early spring — probably when the daffodils are blooming (at least here in Central Virginia).

Bracket Creep Fundraising

Early Winter Fundraiser 2017, Day Six

Today is the final day of our quarterly fundraising week. For those who have been tardy about clinking the tip cup, there are still 24 hours left! After that, your carriage will turn into a pumpkin drawn by voles.

On my good days — which come and go — cooking and gardening are my favorite activities. With December coming in, my time outside is more limited, though I’m still planting spring bulbs. The skunks don’t eat bulbs, thank Heavens, but the voles sure do. So one of the things I do is bury each one with bone meal (for the bulb) and a healthy dose of cayenne powder in the hole to discourage the voles. Doesn’t hurt the bulb, but it sure does cause the voles some pain. Liberal sprinklings of powdered coyote urine also make them feel unwelcome.

As for cooking, it is the one thing I can do with almost no effort. I’ve been the supper cook in my house since I was ten years old: my mother worked, so I cooked. It was a matter of self-defense, because otherwise she’d come home and fix poached eggs. It wasn’t long before I was doing the weekly shopping. It was a long, hot haul from the grocery store to home.

The B claims I can take a pickle and a glass of water and make a meal for six. Okay, that’s hyperbole, but it’s also the reason why I chose this cartoon: I like to celebrate unlikely food. In this episode, Fat Freddy’s Cat knows darn well his Furry Friends don’t like mouses — he’s releasing them for his own future dining entertainment.

[Remember the late B. Kliban’s cats? My favorite was the one who did the BB King imitation, here. After reading the legalese on that site, it seems one daren’t quote it directly, but that’s still one of my favorite little ditties on cats’ favorite food. It must be the juxtaposition of the lyrics with that BB King-esque blues guitar.]

Tip jarThese quarterly fundraisers are much on my mind when I make my grocery list. How well we do in a given quarter decides the menus for the coming three months. But I’m used to that: being married to a starving artist taught me to make do. In fact, one of our first arguments was in a grocery store: living on very little (I was job-hunting then) meant watching every penny. So we came to the crucial moment of deciding whether to classify parmesan cheese as a necessity or a luxury. The Baron thought it was something we could live without, while I made the case for: “What is the point of living without parmesan for flavor?” Neither of us can remember who won that ‘discussion’. Probably moi — the B is ever a pushover for women’s wantings. Smart man.

I love the things Americans often consider the nasty bits — you know… those tasty entrails. For years I didn’t cook tongue or kidneys or sweetbreads because family members would flee. Now I cook ’em when I can get em’ while still maintaining a standard diet for the Baron and assorted relatives/friends. I love braunschweiger, and I know the difference between it and liverwurst; no one else will eat either one. Oh, well — more for me. Chicken foot broth, anyone? Actually, I prefer to combine the feet with the stripped carcass of the chicken; it makes for a more deeply-flavored broth. I’ve never had prairie oysters, but I’ll bet they make good eating, too.

It was too cold today to work outside so I stayed by the stove, making oxtail soup and pondering this post, this fundraiser… Pondering is a by-product of food preparation in my experience. When the broth was done, I removed the bone and gristle, skimmed the fat for other uses, and made a beef vegetable soup, roasting the vegetables first.

As long as I remove the bones and gristle, the Baron likes it just fine. I saved half the broth to make sweet and sour cabbage later this week. That’s one dish the B really likes, and it’s always better the next day. Once a guest of ours said, with tears in his eyes, that the sweet and sour cabbage I’d served for supper was as good as his Bubbe’s. I was touched by his declaration but made him promise never to tell her that; what grandmother could forgive such a betrayal?

Of late, the flavors of Indian foods don’t appeal as they once did. I’m returning to the comfort food of my childhood, which means that oxymoron, Irish cuisine — or what passed for middle-class food in Ireland when my mother was growing up. Back then, “Irish food” was cabbage, ham, lamb stew, beef brisket. Or shepherd’s pie [these days, I cut the starch by blending mashed potatoes with pureed cauliflower]. We seldom had roasts; they were too expensive. But my mother could wax eloquent on the size of the roast in her childhood. Or her mother’s recipe for trifle.

One time her youngest brother, my Irish immigrant uncle who lived with us for a while when he first came to America (my mother was his sponsor), brought home a steak and asked me to prepare it. I cooked it the same way I did every other piece of beef: braised in a thickened broth. In other words, a flatter version of stew. Ummm…it wasn’t a culinary hit; I’d committed the sin of “ruining a nice bit of beef”. To his credit, my uncle ate it anyway and the next day he came home with another steak and showed me how to prepare it properly. My first taste of rare beef! Who knew such a bloody thing could be so good?

Though she was an indifferent cook, my mother took to American foods with gusto. We could (and did) get buckets of fresh shrimp for ten cents a pound. And she loved collard greens with fatback. Grits with eggs and bacon on Sunday mornings. The point of ketchup was lost on her, though. Since it was decidedly American she’d buy a bottle…and after a year or so in the Florida heat it would gum up and turn dark so we’d throw it away and she’d buy a fresh bottle. To this day I’ve never figured it out either; I only use ketchup to make the red seafood sauce the Baron likes. The commercial kind has way too much sugar and high fructose corn syrup.

It must be hard for families today to maintain supper routines. Often both parents work, the kids have sports activities, everyone is connected to a device of some kind. I hope (and literally pray) that children are learning the loving routines involved in breaking bread together every day. Those habits are the mortar that will cement their lives as they grow up and look back fondly at the family of their young years.

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Saturday’s generosity came in from:

Stateside: Alaska, California, Colorado, Georgia, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Tennessee, and Texas

Near Abroad: Dominican Republic

Far Abroad: The Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Thailand, and the UK

Canada: Ontario

Australia: New South Wales

The Baron will post a wrap-up of the week (featuring a full list of the places donors came from) sometime tomorrow.

Saturday’s update from the Baron:

Continuing with the Furry Freak Brothers theme, the image at the top is the famous poster of Freewheelin’ Franklin with his big fat doobie.

In my senior year in college there was a guy in our dorm who was a dead ringer for Franklin, right down to the hair and hat. But his schnozz wasn’t quite as big as the Freaker’s.

Those were the days. Sigh…

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After long acquaintance with the New Testament, especially the Gospels, it becomes clear that some of the parables that Jesus told must have been quite humorous to an audience immersed in the language and context of first-century Judea. For example, consider the Parable of the Unjust Judge, as told in Luke 18:2-8 (New International Version):

“In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

The widow and the judge were probably both recognizable character types in the context of the time. Widows had very limited rights under Jewish law in those days; that’s why the judge didn’t have to rule in her favor. So she would have been portrayed as pushy and loud-mouthed, and the judge was probably vain, pompous, and haughty.

Who knows what facial expressions and hand gestures Jesus used to mime this story? Did he put on the voices of each character in turn?

It was probably quite a hoot for those who heard it; that’s one of the reasons it was remembered and passed down. But it had to migrate from the original Aramaic into spoken and then written Greek, losing its original flavor in the process. And we English-speakers get yet another translation.

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The Mueller’s Tale

Our German translator JLH was recently idled by Tropical Storm Philippe, which knocked out his Internet connection when it struck New England. While he was in limbo, he wrote the following pastiche about former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who is now the special counsel investigating the supposed coordination between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government.

The Mueller’s Tale *

by JLH

“Can you lie a little faster? You’re moving like a snail,
A committee’s close behind me and it’s treading on our tale.
Oh, how eager are the Antifa to do their old flimflam.
They are waiting at the cliffside — will you come and join the scam?
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,
                    will you join the scam?
    Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,
                    won’t you join the scam?”

“You can really have no notion of the ecstasy we’ll reach,
If we lie and cheat, inveigle, and manage to impeach!”
A few there were, who looked askance at joining in this sham.
Said, “Thank you very kindly,” but they wouldn’t join the scam.
Would not, could not, would not, could not,
                    would not join the scam.
     Would not, could not, would not,
                    could not, could not join the scam.

“What matters it how much we lie? There is another side.
Even if we don’t succeed, the b….ds will be fried.
We sell the thought that other folks should go into the slam,
And we should not — and there, my friend, you have the perfect scam.
Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,
                    will you join the scam?
    Will you, won’t you, will you, won’t you,
                    won’t you join the scam?”

*   Formerly “The Lobster Quadrille” a.k.a. “The Mock Turtle’s Song” by Lewis Carroll