Saturday, 12 August 2017

We need a President who will......? We need preachers who will....?

We need a President who will......?

Without equivocation or obfuscation condemn racism, white supremacy, white nationalism, the resurgent KKK, and neo-Na-ism.

Don't hold your breath.


We need preachers who will....?

On Sunday August 13th  resist the temptation to utter pious pablum about "God Loves Everyone", or "We must strive for reconciliation".

Rather, they should without equivocation or obfuscation condemn racism, white supremacy, white nationalism, the resurgent KKK, and neo-Na-ism, noting that such beliefs are incompatible with the teachings of Jesus Christ.

Again, don't hold your breath.


I won't be in any Church tomorrow, nor will I listen/watch the Talk shows.  I cannot hold my breath that long.

Friday, 11 August 2017

Roosevelt. How many Americans know this?

Field of Roses/Roosevelt

Having just waded my way through a a comprehensive biography of Alexander Hamilton (see my earlier blog) at

I am now enjoying a biography (published in 1992 and written by Nathan Miller) of President Theodore Roosevelt.

Published by Quill//William Morrow1992
I'll bore you later with details of the book, but for now here is a bit of trivia.

The surname Roosevelt is Dutch by origin,  It arises from the town/area from which the family grew.

Roosevelt, and its alternative spellings,  means (in English)  FIELD OF ROSES.

Makes sense n'est pas?

But I wager that many Brits, Americans, and Europeans (apart from the Dutch) have never made this connection.

(I saw my Dutch/South African friend Pal Van D. this afternoon and he confirmed the meaning/origin of the Roosevelt name/)

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Ear worm through the sleeping (and waking) night hours.

I had an exceeding good night's sleep yesteryear (Wed 9th to Thurs 10th), but on the couple of occasions I stirred it was to encounter an ear worm.

I have no idea why but the song I "heard" was an the one-hundred year old  English Music Hall "My Dear Old Dutch".

I kept coming back to the line "I call her Sal, her proper name is Sarah".

It reminded me of my confusing as a young kid about my paternal grandmother's first name.

Sometimes she would tell me that it was Sarah, but on other times she said it was Sally.

So I thought that her name was Sally-Sarah, not knowing that Sal and Sally are diminutives for Sarah.

Which take me back to my ear worm.  The song was written by the Londoner (maybe Cockney) Albert Chevalier, with music by his brother under the pen name of Charles Ingle.

It's a tender, albeit sentimental song about  the 40 years of marriage of a working class couple.

Sentimental or not, I love the refrain:

We've been together now for forty years,

An' it don't seem a day too much,

As I'd "swop" for my dear old Dutch.

There ain't a lady livin' in the land

As I'd "swop" for my dear old Dutch.

*Dutch" Cockney slang for "Duchess".


Here are two versions.
The first by Chevalier himself (from the very early days of recording)

And a touching rendition by Peter Sellars (of all people).

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Hauntingly beautiful

"Somewhere along the Road" -  Steeleye Span.  (I've probably posted this before)

So wistfully lovely.

Too much plastic at Trader Joe's, Fresh Market and Publix.

Retail grocery stores binge on plastic.  It's not good for consumers, or for the planet.

For this reason I am rapidly falling out of love with Trader Joe's.

Their cheeses are good, their frozen foods are mostly fine, and their inexpensive wines are worth buying.

BUT  Oh, Trader Joe's is addicted to plastic. So much of their "stuff" (especially produce) is packaged in "clamshells", in cellophane bags. or on Styrofoam trays covered with plastic wrap.  Such a waste!

Maybe it's because their nearest distribution centre is in Daytona Beach, some 200 miles away.

Thus Trader Joe's offers very few foodstuffs if any  (especially produce) which are locally sourced.


I have a somewhat  jaundiced view of the "Fresh Market" chain, founded in Greensboro, N.C.

"Fresh Market" has an abundance of unpacked produce, meat, and fish at a premium price.

But they also use all too much plastic.

For instance:  last Saturday, in a moment of  weakness, I chose to purchase a grilled chicken breast at Fresh Market.

It was a 4 oz portion at a high price.  ( I salved my conscience by using it for two meals).

This is how it was packed:

All this for four oz. of chicken breast.

Fresh Market should be ashamed.   

By contrast  I bought  6 oz of fish at my local Publix Supermarket for my supper tonight.,  It was appropriately wrapped.

Good for Publix of course,  but sadly this chain is also addicted to selling  produce on those horrid styrofoam trays.

Monday, 7 August 2017

For your funny bone

Since so few of you respond to my utterly wise, well researched, historically  accurate, and undoubtedly perspicacious historical and political posts (ahem!)  I decided this day to tickle your funny bone.

"When stores in eastern Massachusetts understand how we talk there".

Sunday, 6 August 2017

August 6th 1945

On this day in 1945 the United States Air Force dropped an atomic bomb over the City of Hiroshima in Japan.

The City of Nagasaki suffered the same fate on August 9th.

Estimates of civilian deaths are hard to come by, but a consensus is that between 90,000 and 146,000 perished in Hiroshima, and between 30,000 and 80,000 in Nagasaki.

Tokyo had been taken off the list of prospective targets because that City was largely a forest of rubble following the firebombing on 9/10 March earlier that year - resulting on some 100,000 deaths and 1,000,000 people rendered homeless.

See this for the background to the atomic bombings.  It makes for chilling reading.

Allied carpet bombing and firebombing had been perfected by the wartime chief of the R.A.F's Bomber Command Air Chief Marshall Arthur "Bomber" Harris.  "Bomber"  When he arrived at Bomber Command, he found a directive from the Air Ministry: 'the primary object of your operation should now be focused on the morale of the enemy civilian population and, in particular, of the industrial workers'. But he applied it with a relish.

Churchill's Wartime Cabinet had authorised blanket bombing in 1942.

Under Harris's command Hamburg had been firebombed on in February  1943, with the resultant deaths of 40,000; ( it was on the night of 27 July that most of Operation Gomorrah’s 40,000 victims would die.) The ten-day pounding of Hamburg was, Air Chief Marshal Arthur ‘Bomber’ Harris conceded, ‘incomparably more terrible’ than anything thus far visited upon Germany. Ten square miles of the city were obliterated, forcing 900,000 of its inhabitants out of their homes.    Dresden was carpet bombed  on February 13/14 1945, with 25,000 civilian deaths.

"Bomber" Harris was known as "Butcher" Harris by many  R.A.F members because of his apparent callous disregard  for their lives. Bomber Command had the highest casualty rate in the WWII British Military Forces.losing 55,173 of its 125,000 men.

The Americans had resisted carpet/fire bombing in Germany as being militarily unnecessary and wasteful of resources.

This "principled" resistance was laid to rest when it came to carpet/fire bombing of Tokyo.


Prof. Christopher Grayling (a philosopher)  wrote a book about the  fire/carpet bombings of Hamburg, Dresden and Tokyo.

I  read the book, and find Grayling's arguments to be powerfully convincing. But is you want to have your mind stretched, do read two reviews. one from the left (The Guardian) and one from  the right (The Telegraph).


What is clear to me is that the collective punishment of civilian non-combatants for the policies of their governments is always wrong.

The massacres at Lidice make this clear.


Of course the atrocities of the N-zi regime in Germany and in German occupied countries; and of the Japanese Empire in south east Asia were unconscionable.  Of that there should be  be no argument.

My question is "Did the fire/carpet and atomic bombings right those wrongs?"

And given the horrendous and cruel racism of the British Empire; and of the American genocides against Native Americans and African slaves, could the United Kingdom and the United States of America claim the moral high ground without deep and endemic hypocrisy in WWII?


Dresden flattened.

Hiroshima before and after