GIVE TIL IT HURTS!

Words mean things

Except, of course, when they don’t.

Political science professor Gay — who stepped down amid a tempest of allegations that she did not do enough to combat antisemitism and academic plagiarism Tuesday — will return to a position on the Cambridge, Mass., school’s faculty.

Bold mine, and indicative of some truly prime bullshit: 1) they are NOT “allegations,” and 2) it isn’t that she “didn’t do enough” to combat anything—she did plenty. Among other disgraceful things she is known for a fact to have done: she DID commit plagiarism, and she DID express her ((((JooJooJooJOOOOO!!!)))) hate clearly, unequivocally, even pridefully.

This, mind, while the selfsame dicks-with-ears puff out their sunken chests to indignantly declare the madman Trump ineligible to run for President because he’s a known “insurrectionist” and treasonous revolutionary—proving for all time that they really are incapable of shame, because otherwise they’d all be blushing so hard they’d stroke out and die of it.

The above rampant horsepuckey is but one of many abuses of the Mother Tongue we see perpetrated in the mass media every single day; in fact, I doubt it was even the most egregious example from that particular day. Fred Reed offers a primer for those who aspire to do better, a category which would not include any “mainstream” Jurassic Media “journalists.”

English, What’s Left of It, & Its Management
Recently I took part in a discussion of writing and how to do it on Counter-Currents. This being a topic of some importance to me, I decided to throw together a few thoughts in a form more coherent that I could do in a podcast. A danger in doing this is that readers will joyfully point out instances in which I have failed to follow my own suggestions. To these sins I confess in advance. Anyway:

This is not a golden age of writing. For one thing, few today have the grasp of English grammar that long ago we had learned by the fifth grade, or any idea why it might be important. Nor, I suspect, have many read much in the best authors in English, and so have not acquired an ingrained feel for what is good and what isn’t. I may be wrong. I hope so.

For another, good writing is elitist, and must be. Elitism means a preference for the better to the worse. In an intellectual climate resembling that of an urban bus station, in which the lower cultural orders seek to drag standards to the bottom, few will prefer good writing to bad, or know the difference.

Further, when people are in constant communication via telephones, garbling and semi-literacy are less important than they were when poor communication demanded clarity. In the following we will pretend that it is 1955 and that I am speaking to young people who want to write well.

To begin, my advice to the aspiring writer is to forget “creativity.” Writing is first a craft, involving rules and principles and things to which the student should learn to pay attention. Later, perhaps, writing is an art. You have to learn the notes before playing a concerto. Accepting this is important.

Also important, crucial I would say, is the habit of paying attention to language itself, not just its content. By this I mean the structure of sentences, choice of words, turn of phrase. If you read a piece and think it good, read it again and ask why it is good. If an analytical piece, is the analysis clear and compelling? The phrasing fresh and devoid of cliché? The vocabulary extensive and correct in use?

To again use a comparison to music, the listener doesn’t have to know music theory, but the musician does.

Lots, lots more good stuff to follow, including several rules I gleefully traduce on a habitual basis myself, just ’cause I think it’s funny. Even if you’re not a professional writer, you may find it interesting. NYPost link via JJ, Fred link via WRSA. Thanks, fellas!

Update! Also via JJ, Bill Ackerman digs deeper into the Gay brouhaha.

I first became concerned about @Harvard when 34 Harvard student organizations, early on the morning of October 8th before Israel had taken any military actions in Gaza, came out publicly in support of Hamas, a globally recognized terrorist organization, holding Israel ‘solely responsible’ for Hamas’ barbaric and heinous acts.

How could this be? I wondered.

When I saw President Gay’s initial statement about the massacre, it provided more context (!) for the student groups’ statement of support for terrorism. The protests began as pro-Palestine and then became anti-Israel. Shortly, thereafter, antisemitism exploded on campus as protesters who violated Harvard’s own codes of conduct were emboldened by the lack of enforcement of Harvard’s rules, and kept testing the limits on how aggressive, intimidating, and disruptive they could be to Jewish and Israeli students, and the student body at large. Sadly, antisemitism remains a simmering source of hate even at our best universities among a subset of students.

A few weeks later, I went up to campus to see things with my own eyes, and listen and learn from students and faculty. I met with 15 or so members of the faculty and a few hundred students in small and large settings, and a clearer picture began to emerge.

I ultimately concluded that antisemitism was not the core of the problem, it was simply a troubling warning sign – it was the “canary in the coal mine” – despite how destructive it was in impacting student life and learning on campus.  

I came to learn that the root cause of antisemitism at Harvard was an ideology that had been promulgated on campus, an oppressor/oppressed framework, that provided the intellectual bulwark behind the protests, helping to generate anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hate speech and harassment.

Then I did more research. The more I learned, the more concerned I became, and the more ignorant I realized I had been about DEI, a powerful movement that has not only pervaded Harvard, but the educational system at large. I came to understand that Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion was not what I had naively thought these words meant.

I have always believed that diversity is an important feature of a successful organization, but by diversity I mean diversity in its broadest form: diversity of viewpoints, politics, ethnicity, race, age, religion, experience, socioeconomic background, sexual identity, gender, one’s upbringing, and more. 

What I learned, however, was that DEI was not about diversity in its purest form, but rather DEI was a political advocacy movement on behalf of certain groups that are deemed oppressed under DEI’s own methodology.

OHHH yeah, you’ll want to read all of this one. It’s choice stuff, covering a heckuva lot of bases well beyond the Gay business, and I haven’t finished it yet myself.

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Back atcha!

This. This. Right. Here.

Then the People’s House damned well better pass the thing, and may the D卐M☭CRATs all die screaming of apoplexy from it. Tonight, preferably. Via WRSA.

Update! Tyler Durden posts an extremely chilling map.

As jarring as it’s been to witness the anti-democratic, one-two punch in which a court in Colorado and an unelected bureaucrat in Maine decided Donald Trump cannot appear on primary election ballots, there are many more states where litigation is underway to ban the candidate who’s currently leading the national race.

In addition to Colorado and Maine, there are currently active lawsuits challenging Trump’s eligibility in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Louisiana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, South Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming, according to a New York Times survey of the situation.  

Together, the states where Trump’s status is under active challenge account for 269 electoral votes—in a game where you need 270 to win.

Bad enough, to be sure—very bad indeed, actually. But it gets even worse.

While there’s a lot of red on that map, it understates the scope of the phenomenon. These are only the states where either officials have decided Trump can’t appear on a ballot, or where litigation is currently underway.

Expect other states to turn “red” in a bad way. Some of them are states like Michigan and Minnesota, where challenges to Trump’s appearance on primary ballots have been dismissed. Those rulings didn’t cover the general election, so look for those plaintiffs to crawl out of their litigation graves after the GOP primaries.

Also via WRSA, a timely reminder.

As if all the above weren’t plenty of upper-case BAD to do us already.

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It’s a wonderful movie

I’ve written more than once here about what I consider to be hands-down the greatest Christmas flick of them all, and probably ran this clip from it at some point also.

Jimmy Stewart, of course, has long been hailed as one of the finest actors ever, and rightly so. As it happens, though, that scene may well not have been one hundred-percent acting.

The movie was Capra’s idea, and he knew from the start that he wanted Stewart to play the iconic role of George Bailey. But Stewart, an Army Air Corps squadron commander who was grounded by PTSD after 20 combat missions over Europe in a B-24, wanted to do a comedy.

Stewart told reporters when he returned to Hollywood that the world had seen enough death and misery, and when Capra approached him with the story of a family man nearly driven to suicide, he balked and left the meeting.

But Stewart, who at the time was sharing an apartment with fellow veteran Henry Fonda, wasn’t getting any other offers. He eventually agreed to take the role.

After learning the history behind the film, I watched it again with new eyes — and I saw Stewart battling his personal demons in every scene.

I saw his heart and his head at war as he chose the woman he loved over his lifelong desire to leave Bedford Falls.

Army veteran Alex Plitsas told the Daily Caller that it was only after returning from Iraq that he truly understood Stewart’s performance in “It’s a Wonderful Life.”

“I was able to understand the movie and [Stewart’s] performance in particular much better after coming home from Iraq. It’s as much of a war film as ‘Die Hard’ is a Christmas movie,” Plitsas said, adding, “Jimmy Stewart’s performance in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ during the throes of Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) is recognizable to many veterans. PTS was referred to as “shell shock” back then and wasn’t really spoken about nor was there good treatment available. Stewart appeared to use acting as therapy to get through it, and it’s visible in his performance.”

The above article first appeared back in 2020; I seem to recall doing a post on it then, but didn’t bother checking to confirm. It’s well worth a rerun anyhoo, methinks.

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Hitting the wrong target

Spurred on by this comment, I’m finally getting around to clearing out another one of those long-open tabs.

How Right-Wing Characters Become Sitcom Sensations

In spite of all the worst intentions of Hollywood shitlib producers and/or writers like Norman Lear, who thought he had himself a horse of a very different color in his overbroadly-drawn, intentionally-insulting caricature of what clueless pricks like him think your average Joe Lunchbucket is really like, that’s how.

Y’know, kinda like when a hoplophobic Leftard who’s never knowingly been in the same room with a firearm starts in regurgitating the nonsense they’ve gulped down about projectile weapons to some gun-savvy 2A individual, thereby unwittingly making a complete fool of Zhim/Xhrr/Theyselves without ever even realizing it.

If you’ve ever seen the television show Friends, you know that it’s about six young people in Manhattan, navigating romance, career, and friendships. Or is it? Maybe it’s actually about a homeless psychotic woman—the character of Phoebe, played by Lisa Kudrow—who peers into the window of the hip coffee joint and imagines the lives and adventures of the personalities she spies on, with herself as a beloved member of the group of friends. It’s all in her mind, all 10 seasons, and the theory is given a little bit of ballast by the series finale, in which the other characters move out of Manhattan and leave Phoebe alone, like the unmedicated schizophrenic she is.

According to this particular fan theory, anyway. Probably not what the creators and executive producers of the show had in mind, but if you think about it long enough, it starts to seem possible—maybe even preferable to the original.

Google the words “alternate interpretation of” or “fan theory for” and then insert the title of a popular movie or television show, and you’ll get a cascade of hilarious and often very dark results. It seems that people who love a show also love rethinking it from an entirely unexpected point of view.

If your show is indelible enough to inspire lunatic speculations from superfans, that’s what we in show business call “a high-class problem.” One of the ways you know you have a hit show on your hands is that your viewers quickly take ownership of the series. The characters become their characters, and whatever point the creators were trying to make, whatever message they were trying to send, utterly evaporates in the face of that kind of devoted fandom.

If you’re really lucky, this happens while your show is still on the air.

I noticed the same odd phenomenon in my own show-biz career: a fan would painstakingly explain to me after the show all about how the lyrics of a song he or she absolutely loved meant this, or that, or the other thing…and the interpretation would be at wide variance every time with what my actual intention was when I wrote the damned thing.

Eventually, I learned to just accept it and nod, shake the person’s hand, and mumble “Thagsverrmudge” in my best Fat Elvis voice, then move on to the next in line. Whatever a song was supposed to have been in the beginning, once it’s been released into the wild and audiences get hold of it the song is no longer exclusively your intellectual property—it’s now shared between you as the songwriter, the band you perform the song onstage with, and the audience, all of whom are assuredly going to exercise their right to make of your creation what they will.

I wasn’t at all bothered by this puzzling development myself, just considered it one of those strange, bemusing knuckleballs life tends to throw at you as a working artist in The Biz. You just gotta roll with it; who knows, the audience could well be righter about it than you know. But in the case of shitlibs like Lear, it can come back to bite ‘em on the ass in ways they never imagined it might.

In the early 1970’s, All in the Family captured the tumultuous controversies of its time. The show’s main character, Archie Bunker, was a reactionary bigot always mixing it up with his progressive, liberal son-in-law, Meathead. The show was designed by the producer Norman Lear to be a form of left-wing agitprop that would expound on the virtues of the younger, modern, and open-minded generation while exposing and mocking the petty small-minded prejudices of Archie. He would rail weekly against the changing American culture using scandalously edgy language that today is utterly unthinkable. Archie Bunker was supposed to be the butt of the joke, the dinosaur heading to extinction, a symbol of everything that was wrong with America in 1970.

The fans, though, refused to see it that way.

Archie Bunker caught fire with audiences. He became a national sensation, his catchphrases on T-shirts and lunch boxes and used in Johnny Carson monologues. The progressive writers and creators of the show may have thought Archie was the bad guy, but the audience saw a hard-working veteran who paid the bills and put food on the table—Archie held down two jobs!—all the while being forced to listen to his ultra-lefty layabout jobless graduate-student son-in-law tell him what a terrible person he was, often with his mouth full of a pork chop Archie had paid for. If Archie occasionally refers to Jews, African Americans, and homosexuals with hateful slurs, well, hey, the guy pays the mortgage. He’s earned the right to rant a little.

It helped that Archie was, by far, the most hilarious character on television at the time. Comedy writers, even really really liberal ones, naturally want to write for the character who brings the most heat to the screen. The more talented the writer, in fact, the more likely it is that he will sell out his principles for a really solid laugh. Still, it must have rankled Lear and his team to see Archie embraced by the audience, to realize that the character wasn’t theirs anymore—that the fans preferred their own version.

Had Google existed back then, and had you Googled “insane theory about All in the Family,” you’d probably be directed to something like this: “All in the Family is a show about a guy who dreams of being an empty-nester with his devoted wife but who instead is forced to support his married daughter and her lazy, super-woke husband. To get them to move into a place of their own, he does everything he can to drive them away, including loudly emitting a fusillade of reactionary notions. But the kids, especially his worthless son-in-law, are too lazy to move.”

Hollywood liberals keep making the same mistake. They try to create a right-wing villain and end up writing an audience favorite.

And you just know it’s gotta burn their asses up but GOOD. Sure hope so, at any rate.

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Well, well, well, well, WELL

Now we know why they’re so desperately trying to get him locked up and out of sight, on whatever flimsy pretext they can conjure.


Update! Screengrab of the Poso Tweet, in case it doesn’t show up properly for ya above.

“Raising alarms among intel officials.” Yeah, I just bet it did at that, the fucking pond scum. Heartfelt apologies to any gobs of green slime afloat on small bodies of water who might take offense at the comparison.

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THAT’S how you do it!

Effing BRILLIANT.

Good on you, sir. Via WRSA. Backstory and further details here.

Update! Ruminations on the Cassidy saga from Bayou Peter.

Speaking as a Christian and a retired pastor, I entirely approve of Mr. Cassidy’s actions. I would have contributed to his legal defense fund, except that it was shut down within three hours due to being oversubscribed. Clearly, many Americans feel the same as I do about him, which pleases me.

On Tuesday, “Gov. Kim Reynolds called the display ‘absolutely objectionable’ but said that ‘in a free society, the best response to objectionable speech is more speech’.” I agree with him, of course. Freedom of religion is constitutional, and should remain so. Equally, Mr. Cassidy is, IMHO, correct that any of the Founding Fathers, confronted with the same display, would do as he did, or take even stronger action. The Satanic Temple can protest all it likes that it doesn’t actually worship Satan as he is described in the Christian Bible, but is rather an atheist organization using that name. Nevertheless, the generally accepted understanding of Satan in all three of the great monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – is as the root of all evil, a being from whom grace and goodness are utterly absent. They need not be surprised if people act on that understanding.

Most of all, I applaud Mr. Cassidy for his honesty. He acted, then took responsibility for his actions, and is prepared to stand trial for acting on his beliefs. Good for him! If his legal defense fund opens up again, I’ll be standing in line to contribute.

Much more at the link, all of it intriguing, thought-provoking stuff, as is BRM’s usual wont.

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The feel-good story of the week month year decade century

GOD, how I love this. Who says there’s no good news anymore?

1930s Luxury Vehicle Going Into Production Again?
Packard Motors, an American luxury automobile company that first produced automobiles in 1899, is on the verge of manufacturing vehicles in Ohio.

One of the “Three Ps” – alongside Peerless Motor Company and Pierce-Arrow – the Packard Motor Car Company gained a reputation for building high-quality luxury automobiles pre-WWII.

“Owning a Packard was considered prestigious, and surviving examples are found in museums, car shows, and automobile collections,” Wikipedia writes.

“Packard vehicles featured innovations, including the modern steering wheel, air-conditioning in a passenger car, and one of the first production 12-cylinder engines, adapted from developing the Liberty L-12 engine used during World War I to power warplanes,” it added.

“The handmade vehicles were exported in record numbers to Europe and competed successfully with Rolls Royce and Mercedes Benz,” Cleveland.com states.

“After surviving two world wars and the swings of the auto market, the last true Packard rolled off the assembly line on June 25, 1956. The company closed in 1958 after a failed strategic takeover of Studebaker Corporation,” Packard Motors writes.

Now, a 1934-style convertible could bring the company back to life.

If I could just live long enough to see one of these beautiful beasts rolling down the highway, I could die a happy man. Further details here, including several pics. This is pretty danged cool too:

Andrews collaborated with his friend, Steve Constantino, on the prospect of building new versions of 1930s Packards.

“They found a company in Nebraska that makes all the parts for those particular vehicles. Andrews researched and now owns the legal rights to the Packard brands, patents and trademarks, which was a major step in moving forward,” Cleveland.com writes.

Lastly but by no means leastly:


Of course the new Packard will be far, far out of my pitiful price range, but who cares? Such a vision of loveliness is its own reward, even when the beauty is beheld from afar.

Creepy AF update! And within mere minutes of posting the above, what should arrive in my email inbox but an ad from eBay headlined thusly: Under the hood: An ice-making Land Cruiser and Cadillac Woody, offering all kinds of car paraphernalia for sale, from the aforementioned 56 Cadillac View Master resto to chrome mags to race-driving gear to you name it. Why, if I didn’t know better I’d think I was being watched by somebody or something.

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Short stop

A few thoughts from Diogenes Sarcastica.

I fully intend to haunt people after I die. I have a list.

Somewhere in the world there is a tree that sprouted the very montent you were born and has grown along with you all this time. And I think that is wonderful!

When my mother was pregnant with my little bro and we were on the side of the road struggling with a flat tire, a car with three men stopped, not to help but to ask directions to a local golf course. Mom sent them 15 mile in the wrong direction. She is the Legend that shaped me.

There are 13 minerals that are essential for human life, and all of them can be found in Wine. Coincidence? I Think Not!

I do feel bad about the confrontation tonight and the lady at Costcos with her son on a leash. Lady I’m sorry I asked if he was a rescue. The profanity wasn’t really necessary, but thank you for not siccing him on me.

Plenty more rich, buttery goodness where that came from, folks.

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Urethra, I have found it!

As Kelly Bundy used to say. Ladies and germs,  I give you what just might be the greatest Christmas tune in history.

Via the AoSHQ ONT.

Update! Another superb AoSHQ find, this one via Weasel’s Sunday Gun Thread.

As you might guess from the screen grab, Liberal Tears appears to be for real. The blurb puts it straight:

DESCRIPTION
Guns have only two enemies; Rust and Liberals. Liberal Tears Gun Oil protects against both. We have bottled Liberal Tears to create a CLP that gives you guaranteed 2nd Amendment protection.

I hope the folks behind LT make a million bazillion dollars off the idea.

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New meme

Spent all damned evening working this one up to my satisfaction, but I think you meme-lover miscreants in the CF Lifer ranks will agree it was worth the effort.

Still haven’t figured out how to do a stroke-outline on text in that damned Gimp software, but oh well. Layer and/or object alignment is another Gimp mystery that gives me hissy fits, although tonight I DID figure out how to do straight (kinda-sorta-somewhat) lines via the “shift” key after some bootless mucking about with the “path” tool, there being no “line” or “custom shapes” tool available therein. No way to nudge objects a pixel or two at a time with the arrow keys either, or if there is I haven’t managed to find it yet.

All in all, what can I say. I feel like I’m slowly but surely getting better with the Gimp; I’m grateful the Gimp is there, mind, and the price is certainly right, but I am and likely ever shall remain a Photoshop guy in my coal-black heart. Back when I was working at the magazines we had to use Illustrator to do front covers and suchlike, with interior page-layouts assembled using InDesign, which I actually liked a lot better than Quark anyhoo. Still, for designing the ads (my main job) I sneaked back over to P-shop every time I could get by with it, rather than endure another agonizing, interminable slog through Illy. P-shop is what I cut my graphic-design teeth on many years ago: it’s what I’m used to, I understand and am entirely comfortable with it, and I’m far too old a dog to be learning much in the way of new tricks now, alas.

DISCLAIMER: Shrub’s half-assed moose-tache was not my doing; that and the odd halo were already in place when I scooped the image off Luxxle, so I refuse to shoulder any of the blame for it. I just DL’d the image, cropped/scaled it a little to fit the space, and pasted it in without further undue fuss. The other two sloppily-drawn nutdusters, on Tricky Dick and Ronnie the Great, I admit my guilt freely. No need to adorn Pedo Peter with a ’stache, since the Hellfire-and-brimstone backdrop and Too Old Jaux’s angry gesticulating make the point well enough already, I felt.

Any fellow Persons Of Blogge out there who are given to running these pitchers-with-funny-words thingamajiggers—Pete, I’m looking at you, buddy—may feel free to run the above creation to your heart’s content with my blessing and humble thanks. I credited myself at the bottom right, as you can see, so don’t feel obligated to go to any such trouble your own self.

Heh. Alzhitler. I’ll say it again: I slay me. A-HENH!

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Solidarnosc

Fake News work stoppage.

The Babylon Bee Writers Stand In Solidarity With Our Fellow Fake News Writers Going On Strike At The Washington Post
It has come to our attention that the delightfully witty satirists of The Washington Post are going on strike this week. We here at The Babylon Bee stand in solidarity with our fellow comedians and join them in demanding fair wages. The writers at WP work hard to bring us their daring and uproarious brand of comedy every day, and they deserve compensation for their work.

Where else can we find comedic gems like “Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, austere religious scholar at helm of Islamic State, dies at 48” or “Does that Jason Aldean song go on a playlist? Or a watchlist?” Where else can we find stories on race, gender, and foreign policy so consistently hilarious that they brighten our days and keep us hungrily coming back for more again and again?

Not to mention this classic howler:

Stop it, WaPo hacks, you’re killing me over here. Making me kinda hungry, too.

Update! Thought I was joking about that last one, did ya? ’Fraid not.

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Moar Christmas tunage

Man, can these kids sing or WHAT?!?

Although I picked this up from that Irish Christmas music channel I mentioned last week, strictly speaking the absolutely gorgeous Pie Jesu isn’t actually a Christmas song.

“Pie Jesu” (/ˈpiː.eɪ ˈjeɪ.zuː, -suː/ PEE-ay-YAY-zu; original Latin: “Pie Iesu” /ˈpi.e ˈje.su/) is a text from the final couplet of the hymn “Dies irae”, and is often included in musical settings of the Requiem Mass as a motet. The phrase means “pious Jesus” in the vocative.

The settings of the Requiem Mass by Luigi Cherubini, Antonin Dvořák, Gabriel Fauré, Maurice Duruflé, John Rutter, Karl Jenkins, Kim André Arnesen and Fredrik Sixten include a “Pie Jesu” as an independent movement. Decidedly, the best known is the “Pie Jesu” from Fauré’s Requiem. Camille Saint-Saëns, who died in 1921, said of Fauré’s “Pie Jesu”: “Just as Mozart’s is the only ‘Ave verum corpus’, this is the only ‘Pie Jesu’.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s setting of “Pie Jesu” in his Requiem (1985) has also become well known and has been widely recorded, including by Sarah Brightman, Charlotte Church, Jackie Evancho, Sissel Kyrkjebø, Ylvis, Marie Osmond, Anna Netrebko, and others. Performed by Sarah Brightman and Paul Miles-Kingston, it was a certified Silver hit in the UK in 1985.

The mood set by the above achingly-beautiful Angelis performance of Lloyd-Webber’s version is as placid and soul-soothing as Christmas morn itself, making it close enough to Christmas music to do for me. Translation from the Latin:

Pious Jesus,
Who takes away the sins of the world,
Give them rest.

Lamb of God,
Who takes away the sins of the world,
Give them rest,
Everlasting
Rest.

If there really are “choirs of angels” waiting to sing us to our Heavenly rest, this HAS to be exactly what they sound like.

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Product: ENDORSED

With all my heart and soul.

Saw that this morning, and I haven’t stopped laughing since. Having broken the bank and gone without eating a cpl-three days last month to buy my musically-gifted daughter a 70s-vintage King Tempo trumpet off of eBay, to be specific:

Nickel plated, with raw-brass tuning slides and valve caps for contrast, in A-1 shape for its age—a bit of corrosion at the grab-points from skin oils and/or sweat, along with some very minor scratches and scuffs, as one must expect with anything this old. The case is in slightly worse shape, alas; as you can see from the pic, the felt has separated from the shell up by the grab handle. But no worries: my friend Greg is generously donating his like-new, barely used Benge case to make up for it.

I played a King myself during my band career and for many years after (a 601, if I remember right), and my poor horn was one hell of a lot more battered and beat-up by the time I parted with it than this fine instrument is. Hey, the great Harry James was a King man throughout his illustrious career—what better endorsement could one possibly want?

So you can bet your sweet bippy my young ‘un will be getting herself a BrassTache from dear old dad this Christmas to adorn and enliven her noble old King. She inherited the same silly, juvenile sense of humor her old man has, so I know she’s gonna love it all to pieces. And laugh herself sick over it, like papa did.

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On laying hose

So you think you want to be a fireman, eh kid?

The hose that runs from the fire hydrant to the fire truck is called supply line. Most supply line is 3 inches or more in diameter, and in Central Florida, it’s usually 5 inches. (Orlando uses 4 inch, but that is because they typically have fire hydrants that are close together).

First, a bit of engineering.

The reason for this is hydrodynamics and friction loss. The average water main pressure is about 65 psi. At 1,000 gallons per minute, a 3 inch hose loses 80 pounds of pressure every 100 feet of hose length due to friction between the moving water and the hose itself, while a 4 inch diameter hose loses 20 pounds of pressure, and a 5 inch hose loses only 8 pounds. That means, if you want longer hose lays with high flow, the larger the diameter of your supply line, the better.

There is a lot of math involved in being the driver of a fire engine. You need to be able to calculate your friction losses in your head, rapidly, and remember that the lives of the guys in the burning building depend on you getting it correct. When you are flowing 2,000 gallons per minute through half a dozen different hose lines at 2 in the morning at a burning strip mall isn’t the time to realize that you are math deficient.

5 inch supply line has what is called a “sexless coupling” meaning that there is no male or female end, the couplings are interchangeable (butbutbut WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER 872+ GENDERS?!?—M). This allows you to start laying from either the fire to the hydrant, called a reverse lay, or from the hydrant to the fire, called a forward lay. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, but we won’t talk about that in this post.

My fire truck carried 1200 feet of 5 inch diameter supply line. That means with standard hydrant pressure, I could get a bit more than 800 gallons per minute into my engine without having to put another fire engine at the hydrant to boost pressure.

A whole bunch more fascinating stuff regarding what-all you need to know but almost certainly don’t when it comes to how fires are fought nowadays is included in this must-read post from Divemedic. Even if you never cared anything about being a fireman when you grew up—I didn’t, I admit, nor about being a cowboy, although being an astronaut did sound pretty cool—this stuff is just too good to miss out on reading, and you shouldn’t. There’s a video too, just for additional incentive to go check it out.

Back when I was working at the H-D shop, my boss Goose wanted desperately to be a fireman, but after failing the dummy-drag test three times he finally had to give it up as a lost cause. Goose practiced and strength-trained for months and months—and being a former USMC F4 mechanic, you know he wasn’t lacking in either intelligence or iron-willed determination—but in the end he’s a small, slight fella and those damned dummies are damned heavy. In fact, I think the dummy actually outweighed him by about twenty-thirty pounds.

At any rate, from hearing Goose talk about it, I probably know more than the average bear about what it takes to be a fireman, but even so DM still covers things I never heard about before.

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