‘Murica, F**k Yeah!

John Hinderaker at PowerLine asks the question, “Shutdowns, what is the point?” It’s a very valid question and no politician anywhere is answering it coherently.

John quotes Robert Skidelsky, a member of Britain’s House of Lords and Professor Emeritus of Political Economy at Warwick University.

The default policy response has been to slow the spread of natural immunity until a vaccine can be developed. What “flattening the curve” really means is spacing out the number of expected deaths over a period long enough for medical facilities to cope and a vaccine to kick in.

But this strategy has a terrible weakness: governments cannot keep their populations locked down until a vaccine arrives. Apart from anything else, the economic cost would be unthinkable. So, they have to ease the lockdown gradually.

Doing this, however, lifts the cap on non-exposure gained from the lockdown. That is why no government has an explicit exit strategy: what political leaders call the “controlled easing” of lockdowns actually means controlled progress toward herd immunity.

Read the linked article but I think that’s about right, and it leaves the politicians between a rock and a hard place. They have to back off, or the economy will die and/or the people will revolt. So they obfuscate and lie. It won’t serve much longer, at least in America.


To that last phrase, America is still America, at least outside the cities, PJ Media had an excellent story from Califonia last Wednesday. Jeff Reynolds reports that.

In a time of non-stop bad news coming from every corner of the media during the CCP pandemic, a reminder of the American spirit can encourage us out of the doldrums. That’s exactly what inspired former PJTV contributor Chris Burgard to create the new country song and video, “American Heart.” With the subtitle, “You can’t lock down an American Heart,” the video has caught fire, with more than 20,000 views in the first 48 hours since its release.

With good reason. The song came out of a desire to show that fear had kept America in shackles, and that we have the power to reject it.

I asked Chris how this song came about, and he tells a very cool story. He says that the video shoot, which took place on his California horse ranch, met with strong skepticism at first. It took several weeks to put together a shoot, and at first it was just Chris and his guitar. Too many folks he invited declined, citing the virus as a reason to stay inside.

As he began setting up the video and the music, however, folks began to emerge. Soon, he had a full, professional, concert-quality country band at his ranch. Check below for the bios—there are a lot of big names in the industry that came together for this effort.

Viewers should not see this as a partisan issue, Chris told me, but rather a return to American values. Let’s leave behind fear and let’s return to the rugged sense of American freedom that we all inherited.

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Famericanmadeband2020%2Fvideos%2F2983395038423957%2F&show_text=0&width=560

Click that link! You know you want to and I can’t embed this one. You won’t regret it.

American Heart

Two months into COVID lockdown, we felt the country could use some inspiration.

Friends and neighbors agreed. So we started a band, recorded a song, and got the neighbors together to make this video.

We hope it makes folks happy and does a little bit to lift up our country. A portion of the proceeds from each download goes to COVID19 related charity, Meals For Heroes.

“Getting this many people to come out to do a nice Pro-American, Christian video is huge,” Burgard said. “The fact that you did it during Covid lockdown? You’re here because people are starting to figure out, yes we need to be cautious, yes we need to be smart, but we’re not frickin sheep. Ok? This country was founded on freedom. This country wasn’t founded on fear.”

Chris Burgard

So go download it already. What better way this year to start Memorial Day weekend!

 

As my neighbors out here in Nebraska would say:

Cowboy Up!

75 Years Ago Today

At 0001 hrs BDST 7 May 1945 the mission of this Allied force was accomplished.

signed Eisenhower.

75 Years ago today, Genera; Eisenhower sent that message to General Marshall.

A Lancaster from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight drops poppies over London during the 50th Anniversary of the VE Day Celebrations in 1995.

A Lancaster from the RAF Battle of Britain Memorial Flight drops poppies over London during the 50th Anniversary of the VE Day Celebrations in 1995. The 75th will be much quieter what with the house arrest and all. But once again we can feel the satisfaction of a job well done. And I personally will raise a glass of single malt tonight in honor of al;l those we left behind.

And so it ended. The war in Europe. Hitler had committed suicide. The Germans had surrendered unconditionally. Interesting that today will be largely a British holiday, although America will mark it, as will the Canadians and others. The Germans will mark what they have come to call ‘Liberation Day’, which while not entirely wrong strikes me as a bit misleading at best. The French will celebrate tomorrow something called ‘Europe Day’. Well whatever, they’ve always been ungrateful to the Anglo-Saxons. Probably we shouldn’t expect more from them.

And that is meet and proper, the British and the Empire stood alone for two years, till the Japanese pulled our heads out of our fundaments, and stood the damage and the loss of life, including almost all the equipment of their premier expeditionary force at Dunkirk.

French Marshal Philippe Pétain, the future leader of the collaborationist Vichy French government was convinced that Germany would successfully invade Britain as it had done France. He told Churchill that in three weeks Britain would “have its neck wrung like a chicken.”

On December 30, 1941, the Prime Minister answered, speaking to the Canadian Parliament, in good short Anglo-Saxon words, “Some chicken, some neck.”

And that brings up something, Churchill may have been the best orator to have ever led an English speaking country, very few from any of our countries compare. When in 1963, he was made an honorary citizen of the United States, President Kennedy said this:

In proclaiming him an honorary citizen, I only propose a formal recognition of the place he has long since won in the history of freedom and in the affections of my — and now his — fellow countrymen.

Whenever and wherever tyranny threatened, he has always championed liberty. Facing firmly toward the future, he has never forgotten the past. Serving six monarchs of his native Great Britain, he has served all men’s freedom and dignity.

In the dark days and darker nights when England stood alone — and most men, save Englishmen, despaired of England’s life  — he mobilized the English language and sent it into battle. The incandescent quality of his words illuminated the courage of his countrymen.

And that he did superbly, in mostly short words, of Anglo-Saxon origin that every native speaker of English understood deep in his bones. They still echo in the soul.

Here is the document, and then a very small part of the story.

This was the result in London.

Here is the Prime Minister Winston Churchill

On 4 April 1945, elements of the United States Army’s 89th Infantry Division and the 4th Armored Division captured the Ohrdruf concentration camp outside the town of Gotha in south central Germany. Although the Americans didn’t know it at the time, Ohrdruf was one of several sub-camps serving the Buchenwald extermination camp, which was close to the city of Weimar several miles north of Gotha. Ohrdruf was a holding facility for over 11,000 prisoners on their way to the gas chambers and crematoria at Buchenwald. A few days before the Americans arrived to liberate Ohrdruf, the SS guards had assembled all of the inmates who could walk and marched them off to Buchenwald. They left in the sub-camp more than a thousand bodies of prisoners who had died of bullet wounds, starvation, abuse, and disease. The scene was an indescribable horror even to the combat-hardened troops who captured the camp. Bodies were piled throughout the camp. There was evidence everywhere of systematic butchery. Many of the mounds of dead bodies were still smoldering from failed attempts by the departing SS guards to burn them. The stench was horrible.

When General Eisenhower learned about the camp, he immediately arranged to meet Generals Bradley and Patton at Ohrdruf on the morning of April 12th. By that time, Buchenwald itself had been captured. Consequently, Ike decided to extend the group’s visit to include a tour of the Buchenwald extermination camp the next day. Eisenhower also ordered every American soldier in the area who was not on the front lines to visit Ohrdruf and Buchenwald. He wanted them to see for themselves what they were fighting against.

During the camp inspections with his top commanders Eisenhower said that the atrocities were “beyond the American mind to comprehend.” He ordered that every citizen of the town of Gotha personally tour the camp and, after having done so, the mayor and his wife went home and hanged themselves. Later on Ike wrote to Mamie, “I never dreamed that such cruelty, bestiality, and savagery could really exist in this world.” He cabled General Marshall to suggest that he come to Germany and see these camps for himself. He encouraged Marshall to bring Congressmen and journalists with him. It would be many months before the world would know the full scope of the Holocaust — many months before they knew that the Nazi murder apparatus that was being discovered at Buchenwald and dozens of other death camps had slaughtered millions of innocent people.

Read the entire account.

Most of the American, British, and Canadian forces having defeated the Germans were soon preparing to be transhipped to Asia to assist in the invasion of Japan, with the realism of veterans few expected to survive. But President Truman saved the allies perhaps one million casualties and possibly the entire population of Japan with his decision to drop the Atomic bomb.

Thus ended the war that Hitler had started on 17 Sept 1939, soon another and greater foe of liberty would arise in Europe, and the Allies would face that one down until it disappeared in 1990. Thus lending point to the old adage: “If you would have peace, prepare for war”.

American troops went on to occupation duty, soon General Patton at a review in Berlin would pronounce the 82d Airborne as ‘America’s Honor Guard’. In 1950, the Bundesrepublik Deutschland would be formed and would soon become the eastern bulwark of NATO, along with the Norwegians, British, Dutch, Italians, Turks, Canadians, and Americans. thus would freedom be sustained in western Europe and in God’s own time the Soviet Empire would fall, restoring freedom to all of Europe. The Americans and some British are still in Germany, no longer as an occupation force but, as an ally, and as a friend.

The result of the Second World War was thus the Liberation of Europe as a result of what was in Eisenhower’s term The Mighty Endeavor.

Thusly:

Even though large tracts of Europe and many old and famous States have fallen or may fall into the grip of the Gestapo and all the odious apparatus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender, and if, which I do not for a moment believe, this island or a large part of it were subjugated and starving, then our Empire beyond the seas, armed and guarded by the British Fleet, would carry on the struggle, until, in God’s good time, the New World, with all its power and might, steps forth to the rescue and the liberation of the old.

And so, as we face another dark time, this time not, as yet, on the battlefield it would a good time to recall the heroism and steadfastness of those whom we call our cousins: the British.


The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald

There’s a wonderful young man who has a YouTube channel, Jamel a.k.a. Jamal, who does ‘reaction’ videos to music. He’s just a sweetheart and really nice guy. I subscribe to his channel and always look forward to his reactions to the music of my youth. I just watched a video of his reaction to The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald (written and sung by Gordon Lightfoot)

I was 24 years old (do NOT do the math!!!) when the song came out and I just loved it. I thought it was a great story and wasn’t Lightfoot clever to have thought it up. I was even impressed that it had an old sea chanty sound to it. It wasn’t until many years later that I learned it was a true story. Which fact, of course, brought a greater appreciation for the song and its story.

While listening to the song this morning with my buddy Jamel, I started reading the comments and was moved by the remarks of so many people. For many of the folks, the event and song are part of their personal history because they grew up in the areas of the Great Lakes. Some folks know “the wives, the sons, and the daughters”. Quite a few were recreational sailors, some were U.S. Navy. Many tears from many people who are touched by the tragedy.

One of the commenters suggested watching this particular video. The opening gave me chills. The lighthouse made me cry. I found this documentary that relates the harrowing experience.

.

I am reminded of this Psalm. https://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Psalms-107-23/.

 23They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters; 24These see the works of the LORD, and his wonders in the deep. 25For he commandeth, and raiseth the stormy wind, which lifteth up the waves thereof. 26They mount up to the heaven, they go down again to the depths: their soul is melted because of trouble.

We tend to feel sorry for the folks ‘from there’; it couldn’t have an effect on us ‘here’. Imagine my surprise and shock to find out that one of the hands was from Bradenton, Florida – just over the bridge from me; and one was from Clearwater, Florida, the second town north from me. But we have since learned, because of September 11th, 2001, that events are usually more than ‘from there’ – it wasn’t just a New York thing, or a U.S. thing. How many countries were affected by that event?

The youngest hand on the Edmund Fitzgerald was 20 years old.

The Glory and Beauty of the Liturgy

Photo: Interior of the Hagia Sophia today by Ian Scott / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0) via Wikimedia Commons

Gene Veith at Cranach found a story that fascinates me. Let’s let him establish the base.

The Hagia Sophia in Constantinople was one of the most magnificent cathedrals in the history of the church.  It is also one of the oldest, having been built in 537 A.D.

The building, whose name means “Holy Wisdom”–a reference to the Logos of John 1–is considered one of the greatest achievements in the history of architecture.  Its vast dome, its interior arches, and its other design elements are marvels of ancient architecture.  It was adorned with magnificent mosaics and other works of art and its acoustics for music were legendary. Built by the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, the cathedral–the world’s largest for a thousand years–became a major center for the Orthodox Church.

In 987 A.D., the King of the Russian tribes, Vladimir the Great, resolved to put away his people’s pagan gods and find a new religion.  He sent out emissaries to investigate the major religions of the surrounding nations:  Islam, Judaism, Catholicism, and Orthodoxy.  Vladimir resolved to adopt a religion for himself and the Russian people based on their reports.

From the website of St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral:

When they experienced the Divine Liturgy at the Hagia Sophia Cathedral there, here is what they reported:

We knew not whether we were in heaven or on earth. For on earth there is no such splendor or beauty, and we are at a loss how to describe it. We only know that God dwells there among men and their service is fairer than the ceremonies of other nations. For we cannot forget the beauty.

In an example of the role aesthetics can play in apologetics, this overwhelming experience of transcendent beauty led to Russia’s commitment to the Orthodox Church ever since.

And so the beauty of the sung Liturgy at Hagia Sophia is one of the reasons that Russia is an Orthodox country. It sounds a bit far fetched, doesn’t it? But is it?

I don’t think so. Compare say O Holy Night sung by some very good carolers in your local mall, to the same carol sung at King’s College, Cambridge. Quite the difference acoustics makes, isn’t it? One of the reasons I no longer go to theaters to see movies lies in the fact that a box of concrete blocks totally destroys the soundtrack and so it is much better at home. Yes, gentle reader, there are other reasons as well. If you doubt that, find one of the rare old theaters still running films, you will be amazed.

But back to Hagia Sofia:

Two researchers from Stanford, two scholars at Stanford University, art history professor Bissera Pentcheva and computer music specialist Jonathan Abel, were discussing the Hagia Sophia.  They realized that it would be possible to analyze the acoustics of the building today and to create a filter using that data, which would make music sound as if it were being performed in the Hagia Sophia.

Prof. Pentcheva went to  Turkey, got permission to visit the museum after hours, and after setting up microphones and recording equipment, popped a balloon.

That single sound–its echoes, resonance, and tonal qualities–provided data that was analyzed by computers and turned into an algorithm that could be applied to other electronic recordings.  And thus the sound of a choir singing in the 13th century could be recreated today.

That is a remarkable thing that is completely taken for granted. It is possible to greatly change the acoustical environment this way, as you’ll see, The Link goes to an NPR report on this which is fascinating.

https://www.npr.org/player/embed/808404928/808404929

Hagia Sofia, like many churches, is obviously very live acoustically, that balloon pop is a remarkable recording in and of itself. It is also coherent, which is the difference between it and trying to understand the PA in most gymnasiums. They too are very live, but they also have incredible standing waves, which depending where you are may multiply or completely negate some sounds. Here from one of Pastor Veith’s readers is a different experiment.

Surprisingly this has some of the coherence of the Hagia Sofia, which I would attribute to a grain bin not having any parallel walls or ceilings. It is a lot ‘livelier’ because of the difference between sheet metal and stone. If you ever been in a grain bin when somebody hits it with a hammer you’ll understand.

It can also be hard to understand spoken words in a bin, but it was not designed to be a soundstage nor a church, and even six inches of grain on the floor makes a dramatic change.

That Constantine’s engineers had all this figured out in the 6th century and were able to engineer this cathedral for this specific sound is almost beyond belief. In fact, for me, it is beyond my belief in Eastern Roman engineering, but not beyond my belief in God’s engineering.

Capella Romana has released a whole album recorded with the filter for Hagia Sofia, and tracks are available on YouTube, or the album may be purchased. Here is one.

Wow!

Fairy Tales for adults

Back in 2015, as she started blogging once again, after her illness, Jessica posted a song, which I understand is a very popular Christmas song in Britain. While I was overjoyed that she had returned to us, the situation was gloomy indeed, the Brexit vote which started the renaissance of the Anglo-Saxons was still 6 months in the future, and for us Trump was still mostly a joke. 

Thus this song hit home with its pathos and broken dreams. I commented that day:

Probably you are a girl whose view of America was shaped by movies. But what movies, and so what, a lot of American girls, and guys like me, were too.

It is an unusual Christmas song, one I hadn’t run across, but I like it, a lot. And you know, you’re right again, it couldn’t be a “Fairytale of London, or Paris, or Dublin, although it could be of Dubuque, or Omaha, or a thousand other places, large and small, in America. In an acorn shell, that is the American Dream, you haven’t lost until you quit.

Nothing, really to do with material success, although we talk a lot about that, and that is important, because we really do want our kids to have it better than we did, and we’ve usually managed to make it so.

Another one of your outstanding posts, dearest friend. 🙂 xx

And I retract not a single word of that. And mind both we and the British have a long road ahead of us to restore our nations to their proper place, but perhaps we are seeing “the end of the beginning”, as Churchill said after El Alamein. The main thing is that we remember that it is up to us, nobody is going to do it for us.

The comments on her post are still worth a read, so the original is here. The rest of this post is exactly as she published it 4 years ago. Neo

One of the songs that marks Christmas for me is ‘Fairy Tale of New York’, with the Pogues and the wonderful Kirsty MacColl; if I ever wanted to be anyone but me, it was Kirsty. I remember asking my daddy why he couldn’t marry her because she would make a good mum – he laughed and said ‘she’s already taken little one’; seemed a good idea to me – fathers, let the tiniest obstacle get in the way 🙂

It’s an odd Christmas song, but it is a powerful one, because, in part it reflects a version of the immigrant experience which fails to make it into the Hollywood version. The two characters are Irish immigrants, not too long out of the ‘awld country’ – he still says ‘happy Christmas babe’ (an American would surely say “merry Christmas”? She still uses the English vulgarity “happy Christmas my arse” rather than the American “ass”. Their dreams have soured – he’s in the drunk tank on Christmas Eve, and she hopes it is their last time. There is a sadness, the sadness that accompanies the death of any relationship. But is it dead? One of the reasons – apart from powerful lyrics and a great performance, it still works, is that like all good fiction, it doesn’t tell you what you’d like to know – it leaves loose ends and inferences you could read any way you liked.

So, when he says ‘I could have been someone’, she says cynically. ‘well so could anyone’, but his reply to her claim that he took her dreams away is heartbreaking in its vulnerability – ‘I kept them with me babe, I put them with my own, can’t make it on my own, built them round you’. What a world there is in all of that, of young love frustrated, of ambition broken by circumstances, but also of the hope that springs eternal in the human heart – and the American dream.

Isn’t that what America is really about? That vision, that idea? Has there ever been a country founded on an idea of hope? Has there ever been such a hodge-podge of immigrants all battling and hoping, some falling, some rising, but however low you fall, always with the hope of rising? Is that why so many now feel a sense of despair – as though those times are gone?

I’m only a Welsh girl living far away, and probably, like Shane MacGowan, with a vision of America shaped by the movies, but I’d like to think that, just like the couple in the song, the fairy tale has a happy ending – and, of course, if it isn’t a happy ending, it isn’t the end yet.

For Christians, we are all ‘someone’ – beloved of God, in whose image we are made, and there is, in that, a reassurance. It is no accident – I think – that it was Christians from the West who had the vision and courage to create a great nation out of the wilderness they encountered. The ‘Shining city of a hill’ was their inspiration – and remains one for many Americans – however much secularists try to replace that dream with their own fairytales.

Good music and poetry (and good lyrics are poetry) have the power to transform things and to take us places in our imagination – and here, in a few short verses, we can see something profound about the immigrant – and the American experience – encapsulated. Either that, or I just have a vivid imagination – either way – something to share with all you wonderful people here at this season.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Well, guys, next week is Christmas, and I’m declaring the political end of the year. They are unlikely to either destroy or renew the Republic (or the Realm) in the next week and a half, even including the two major holidays. They should go home and think about the damage they have caused. But they probably won’t so the war will soon resume. Call it a Christmas truce. That’s pretty much life.

In any case, I’m getting on a jet plane to go see my family for Christmas Monday, and so posting next week will be some of my (and your) favorite holiday posts over the years. We will all enjoy revisiting them. And they will incorporate the Christmas post that Jessica wrote that so many of you have been sneak peeking.

Today, I just want to share some of my favorite secular Christmas songs. Yes, even Christians like some of them. Tomorrow will be  Sunday Funnies, Monday, I don’t know yet, and the rest of the week will be favorites time. I’ll presumably be back sometime Saturday, and maybe I’ll get something up Sunday. That said, all I’m taking along is my phone, so don’t expect much from me, maybe I’ll answer some comments, but even that will be limited. You guys feel free to talk amongst yourselves, over the years you’ve added a lot to the place, so have fun, keep it reasonably clean and have fun. No running with scissors, though!

There were a couple of videos out of Parliament this week, which were intentionally funny, and succeeded. Let’s join in the laughter for once with instead of at the politicians.

Tracey Crouch was chosen to give the first Loyal Address (What’s that? I haven’t a clue either, the British are a bit strange sometimes) Anyway, it’s funny, good-natured, an altogether good time. Enjoy!

And other than tomorrow’s memes, that pretty well wraps up politics for 2019, finally!

I’ve been listening mostly to a British station that plays music from the late 30s to the early 50s… I’ve been finding it most restful, and they play a lot of Christmas music, mostly by the people we grew up listening to on the radio or watching on TV. As dark as the world was then, they produced some of the most uplifting music imaginable.

One thing that has happened is that I’ve become a huge fan of the Andrews Sisters. Why? There are a few reasons scattered through this post. Like this one.

Or this, with Bing Crosby

I’ve never heard this better performed.

Maybe an ad with my favorite singer, Petula Clark.

I assume our British friends have long since seen this, but it is a lovely advert.

Those rough men who keep us safe, may not be so rough after all, keep them in mind.

Petula and Rod McKuen? They do an excellent job.

Without comment!

And of course:

But my favorite for this year is this, from the Andrews Sisters. I can’t remember ever hearing it before.

 

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