Let Freedom Ring, In Hong Kong

The Hong Kongeers are singing.

And this

And even this

This is western music in the Anglo-American tradition. How exactly does it differ from this

So  is this even if it is a  different genre

These people are in the mainstream of   Anglo-American freedom, it is our duty to support them however we can.

Yes, I recognize like Hungary in 1956 and  Chescksolockia in 1968, we may be limited in our ability to support them, it is incumbent on us to do what we can.

For we are the keepers of the flame of liberty, and if the city on the hill means anything it the encouragement of people around so the globe to aspire to liberty, It has been our mission since  1776.    It is time for us to recognize it again.

We ae  Americans, we know about long odds,    and the price the may demand.

And now in HongKong, we see the same admiration of freedom.




The Day the Music Died (and a Bonus)

I don’t have anything to add to what I said about the Super Bowl yesterday, except this”

Gladys Knight is just as perfect as she was all those many years ago when we were all singing along. Perfect.

You can watch it here since the NFL will not allow anyone else to show it.

And something connected. Sixty years ago last Sunday was “The Day the Music Died” in Don McLean’s perfect phrase. That night Buddy Holly, weary of his cold and constantly malfunctioning tour bus chartered an aircraft to take him to the next town. His bass player, Waylon Jennings, gave his place to The Big Bopper. They were joined by Ritchie Valens.

The £ Independent says this:

Twelve years later, on his single “American Pie”, Don McLean dubbed the tragedy “the day the music died”. It was an apt description; all three singers on board had talent in abundance. The Big Bopper’s smash hit, the playful, rockabilly number “Chantilly Lace”, had made him a star, and Ritchie Valens was helping pioneer the Mexican American Chicano rock movement. But it was Holly who was changing the landscape of rock’n’roll music.

With his goofy, bespectacled look and frequent falsetto tenor, Holly was a far cry from the rock stars who came before him. At the time, it was virtually unheard of for a singer to write his own songs, arrange them, and orchestrate the instrumentals too – but Holly was a different breed of artist.

Having made a name for himself opening for Elvis Presley, he signed to Decca Records at the age of 19, in 1956. After a handful of disappointing singles, though, he was dropped and instructed not to record with anyone else for five years. Undeterred, he teamed up with producer Norman Petty, formed a new group called The Crickets to get around that five-year clause, and released the honky-tonk anthem “That’ll Be the Day”. This time around, something about his hiccupping vocals, watertight melodies and simple but decisive rhythm and blues guitars struck a chord with young music fans.

“Buddy was distinctive and unmistakeable, both visually and aurally,” said The Searchers’ Frank Allen in Spencer Leigh’s biography Buddy Holly: Learning the Game. “While we were skiffling away, trying to find a fourth chord, Buddy was giving us the opening bars of “That’ll Be The Day” with unbelievable expertise and on an instrument that was the equivalent of a bullet-finned ’59 Cadillac. He looked gangly and geeky with those glasses but that guitar made him unbelievably cool. It was the revenge of the nerd. His records are almost without exception terrific.”

And you know, still now, sixty years on, they still Rock the House. Far better than most of what has come since. Admit it. Every one of you can hear Chantilly Lace or Peggy Sue in your head just from the mention of the titles. They died 60 years ago, and they’re still the best rock songs around. Who says?

The show, meanwhile, went on. After the crash, the Winter Dance Party tour continued for two more weeks, with Holly’s shoes being filled by a handful of up-and-coming artists, Frankie Avalon, Jimmy Clanton and Bobby Vee among them.

But no one could truly replace him. In the six decades that have followed, Holly has come to be considered a pioneer, a revolutionary, and one of the most influential creative forces in early rock’n’roll. Rolling Stone ranked him No 13 on their list of the 100 greatest artists, and he was among the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

He also influenced just about every rock star that followed him. John Lennon and Paul McCartney studied his records as teenagers, mimicked his persona, and even named their band, The Beatles, in homage to The Crickets. Elton John, despite having 20-20 vision, started wearing horn-rimmed glasses at the age of 13 to imitate Holly. A 17-year-old Bob Dylan attended his Minnesota show two nights before his death. “Something about him seemed permanent and he filled me with conviction,” Dylan said in his 2016 Nobel Lecture. “Then out of the blue, the most uncanny thing happened. He looked at me right straight there in the eye and he transmitted something, something I didn’t know what. It gave me the chills.”

The Rolling Stones’s Keith Richards, who modelled his early guitar playing on Holly, put it simply. “Holly passed it on via The Beatles, and via us,” he said. “He’s in everybody.” The music never really died after all.

Last Saturday in Advent

As usual, I will be heading back east for Christmas, and so this will be the last post that I am live on comments. I will have posts while I’m gone, some new, and some favorites, although they are unlikely to be as timely as usual. I’m not sure that isn’t a good thing, for me and for you. I intend to uncouple to a large extent and consider just how lucky we are, not only as freemen but as the people whom God has sent his Son to save.

For today, my friends (especially Margaret Ashworth) at A Conservative Woman have been writing on the story and presenting of our favorite carols all through Advent. The series starts here, and you can click on Margaret’s name to find the rest. I highly recommend it. The music of Christianity in the English speaking world is beyond magnificent, and much of the best of it proclaims our Savior’s birth. Most of the music here is from that series.

Like everybody else, it is simply not Christmas without this. Margaret reminds us

[F]or many of us, the ultimate Christmas movie is Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life from 1946. Its affirmation of the triumph of good over evil must have been a tonic in those uncertain days after the war which had shaken the West to its foundations. The uplifting final scene with the soundtrack of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing is a guaranteed tearjerker.

But there is also this, that Jess introduced me to years ago. It too has come to be required for Christmas, and in truth, it makes a good companion to A Wonderful Life.

And my favorite carol, as it was my Mom’s and so many of ours, from King’s last year.

None of you will be surprised to learn that I love the English cathedral choirs, especially King’s. But so often our choirs sound a bit weak, perhaps a bit effeminate, as does Christianity, itself. But it’s nothing of the sort, as this version will remind you.

Since I’ll be celebrating Christmas in my sister’s Dutch Reformed Church, I think I’ll end with this.

I’ll be with you sporadically for the next week, and be thinking of you all, as we celebrate this joyful season, and then we will resume normal service.

Happy Christmas!!!

Advent Saturday

Let’s take a break from politics and such today. It is halfway through advent. So it’s time for some music.

This ad from is a thoughtful one, and likely promotes a few things they don’t really support, but reality bites sometimes. Enjoy

Much as I love English cathedral choirs (choirs in general, really) King’s College, Cambridge gets a bit too much airplay. And since we’ve always been partial to Norfolk here, let’s feature the Norwich Cathedral Choir.

But one cannot do Christmas without King’s. 🙂 And my favorite Carol as well.

From Westminster: The Coventry Carol. One of the most interesting, to my mind.

From Winchester, the British arrangement of O Little Town of Bethlehem.

Remember, Christmas starts on 25 December, not Thanksgiving.


Happy Thanksgiving

April 30: George Washington becomes the first ...

April 30: George Washington becomes the first President of the United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, in America is Thanksgiving Day. It is a day of celebration of what we have made of God’s gift to us all. Its history reaches all the way back to our Pilgrim forebearers, who felt called to thank God that they had survived the first year in the Massachusetts Bay.

Now it is a day of parades, football, serious overeating, and sleeping off that overeating by sleeping through the football on TV. But I think we all deep in our hearts do remember to thank “The Big Guy” for all we have, and the freedom to enjoy it.

President Washington certainly knew something about dark days, far darker than ours are today, and he (and Congress) thought it fit to remember the Author of our blessings. So should we.

From the Heritage Foundation

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington

That’s the reason for the day put as well as anyone has, ever.

My family’s traditional table grace is this

In the press of daily events, it is not always easy to remember just how good we have it. Perry Metzger at Samizdata sums it up well.

We live lives of such astonishing wealth that we scarcely notice it. Only a fool would rather be an Emperor in 1600 than a poor person living today. Compared to a king of several centuries ago, poor people in the developed world live in astonishing luxury. In the developed world, we eat fresh vegetables in midwinter, our homes are heated toasty warm in the winter and cooled and dehumidified in the summer, we travel in enormous comfort (no wooden wheeled carriages without shock absorbers for us, and indeed, we can fly to the other side of the world for a quite modest sum of money), our medical care is incomparably better, our beds more comfortable, our entertainment options beyond any potentate’s wildest dreams. This is true even of quite poor people, at least in developed countries.

Whence comes this bounty? It is not because of union organizing, or minimum wage laws, or the triumph of the proletariat over the evil factory owners. Indeed, a few centuries ago, there were few mass production factories to triumph over.

No, the source of this bounty is productivity, and the engines of productivity are deferred consumption being invested in improved infrastructure (that is, capital accumulation), improved technology, and specialization. Thanks to our better means of making things and the sacrifices needed to construct those means, productivity per worker is orders of magnitude higher, and thus there’s more stuff to go around.

Read it all, but realize this is the characteristic American achievement, that we have shared with all the world, along with the freedom to enjoy it.

It is indeed meet that we thank our God for our Blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving

The Immortal Memory

As we commented the other day, we have entered the season of critical Anglo-Saxon Battles, yesterday was the 237th Anniversary of Lord Cornwallis”s surrender to General Washington at Yorktown. In 1918 the victorious battles of the allies would soon result in the Armistice. But today is the anniversary of perhaps the most important battle of the modern age.During the negotiations with France when we were trying to buy New Orléans President Jefferson wrote an open letter regarding the return of Louisiana to France from Spain, where he commented that “on that day we shall have to marry ourselves to the British fleet and people”, meaning if France took control of Louisiana it would mean war between France and the United States, and later commented “that from that day forward France shall end at her low water mark” Of course we know that France sold Louisiana to the US so it ended well.

But, this is the day that France (and Spain) would forever lose control of the sea to Great Britain.

Today is the anniversary of a battle to rank with Salamis, with Waterloo, and with Yorktown. For today the English-speaking peoples with our concepts of individual liberty and rights took control of the sea.

That battle is Trafalgar. The battle was fought off of the south-west coast of Spain between the British Squadron with 27 Ships-of-the-Line and the combined French and Spanish fleets with 33.

The Franco-Spanish fleet was under orders to sail for Brest to help accomplish the invasion of England, which was, by far, Napoleons most steadfast enemy.

Remember these were sailing ships, completely dependent on the wind. and at Trafalgar, there was very little. The French and especially the Spanish were short-handed and had to fill their ship’s companies with soldiers. The British on the other hand had blockaded the coast for years and had been drilled mercilessly. Their commander, himself, had not been off the flagship for more than two years.

Alfred Thayer Mahan in his classic The Influence of Sea Power upon History puts it this way: “Those distant, storm-tossed ships, never seen by the Grande Armee, were all that stood between it and world domination.

And so today, in 1805, the battle was joined. The British had the weather gage and a very unusual plan. Because of the light wind (and against standing orders), they would divide their battle line in two, with each squadron approaching the Franco-Spanish line at an acute angle. With a well-trained enemy, this would have been nearly suicidal but, under these conditions it allowed the British to engage the entire fleet and win the battle in a single day.

The British were under the command of a man who had his introduction to naval war in the American Revolution, he fought in several minor battles off Toulon, was integral in the capture of Corsica, was captain of HMS Captain at the Battle of Cape St. Vincent. At the Battle of Santa Cruz de Tenerife, he lost his right arm, he won a decisive victory over the French at The Battle of the Nile and against the Danes at the Battle of Copenhagen.

At Trafalgar the British fleet went into battle with this signal flying from the flagship:

That flagship is, of course, the HMS Victory, which is now the oldest naval ship in regular commission in the world.

HMS Victory

HMS Victory, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth

The Admiral in command was Horatio, Lord Nelson.

Or to give him his full name:

Admiral Lord Nelson

The Most Noble Lord Horatio Nelson, Viscount and Baron Nelson, of the Nile and of Burnham Thorpe in the County of Norfolk, Baron Nelson of the Nile and of Hilborough in the said County, Knight of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Vice Admiral of the White Squadron of the Fleet, Commander in Chief of his Majesty’s Ships and Vessels in the Mediterranean, Duke of Bronté in the Kingdom of Sicily, Knight Grand Cross of the Sicilian Order of St Ferdinand and of Merit, Member of the Ottoman Order of the Crescent, Knight Grand Commander of the Order of St Joachim

as it is inscribed on his coffin in St. Paul’s Cathedral, for he was killed by a French marine during the battle.

The first tribute to Nelson was fittingly offered at sea by sailors of Vice-Admiral Dmitry Senyavin’s passing Russian squadron, which saluted on learning of the death.

It is also interesting Nelson being Vice Admiral of the White is the reason that the Royal Navy from that day flies the White Ensign before it flew all three depending on the fleet commander’s rank. The black hatband on British, American, and Russian naval enlisted caps all memorialize Nelson as well.

King George III, upon receiving the news, is reported to have said, in tears, “We have lost more than we have won”.

And the Times reported:

We do not know whether we should mourn or rejoice. The country has gained the most splendid and decisive Victory that has ever graced the naval annals of England; but it has been dearly purchased.

Great Britain would hold uncontested command of the sea, even joining World War I partly to prevent Germany from overtaking the Royal Navy until, in 1921, she agreed to parity with the United States at the Washington Naval Conference. And it should be noted, that even then, it was not willingly, Britain was exhausted and bankrupt from the Great War, and probably recognized that the US would use her sea power much as Britain had, which has proved to be the case. It is also from this date that the United Kingdom began to recede from the first rank of great powers, although her legacy has been for the most part upheld by the US and the Commonwealth.

That’s fine, I hear you say, what’s that got to do with me, especially as an American, these 212 years later? Several things which we will talk about a bit here.

  1. The Atlantic Slave Trade ended because the British decided that it should and the Americans agreed. This led to the establishment of patrols by both navies off the west coast of Africa, effectively ending the trade. Without this, and without the Abolitionist sentiment in the United Kingdom, it is almost inconceivable that slavery would have ended in the western world.
  2. The South and Central American Republics remain independent (and sometimes free) countries. After the Napoleonic wars, Metternich’s Council of Vienna considered all of continental Europe helping Spain recover her American colonies until they found out that they would have to go through the Royal Navy. Yes, we proclaimed the Monroe Doctrine in 1823 after Prime Minister George Canning proposed a joint statement, the story is that Secretary of State John Q. Adams said that would make us look like a cockboat in the wake of the British man-of-war. Therefore, we proclaimed it unilaterally. But it was enforced almost exclusively until the Spanish-American War by the Royal Navy because it was to the advantage of British mercantile interests. Britain thereby performed the same service for the New World that the US would for Europe in the last half of the Twentieth Century.
  3. The growth and development of America, if a continental power had regained control of Mexico there is a very good chance that it would have expanded into the heartland of America, certainly Texas and entirely possibly all or most of the Louisiana Purchase.

And so we, as Americans, even as the British, should remain grateful for those ‘distant storm-tossed ships’ of the Royal Navy, led by one of the great commanders of history.

And so, I give you the toast that will be drunk tonight in the Royal Navy and the Commonwealth navies, and at least in some places in the United States Navy and even in other navies and places. It is the one traditionally naval toast that is drunk in total silence:

The Immortal Memory of Lord Nelson and those who fell with him”

The traditional music to follow the toast is Rule Britannia.

And so today as the Queen Elizabeth, the first of the CVFs prepares to join the fleet, we again see the Royal Navy preparing to take on all the tasks that the Anglo-Saxons have performed for the world’s benefit since the Armada, itself.

In a remarkable coincidence, the other remaining warship of the period USS Constitution was christened on this day in 1797 at the Boston Navy Yard. While HMS Victory is the oldest ship in commission, USS Constitution (nicknamed “Old Ironsides”) is the oldest warship still afloat and able to sail on its own. Victory is in permanent drydock.

And yes, last night, this happened.

#Tyler Strong

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