Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Day of Wrath

Big day. First day of December and the first Sunday. I go down to the cellar in few hours.

Yes it is time attend to the Crypt.

I have come in for a bit of flack recently. Someone said I was 'Sanctimonious'.


I am a sinner on the road to redemption like everyone else. I just know it.

And the Crypt is where I do humble work, mopping the floor and getting the grime out from between the flagstones with a toothbrush. Thank goodness for modern equipment. The Keeper keeps the Grail's place tidy.

I like a bit of music to set the mood.

And when it is done, a proper Latin Mass.
Kyrie Eleison. Lord Have Mercy.

Pray for the Mothers, the Fathers, the Babies, the Children.
Pray for the Trolls.
They know not what they do.
Ask: Whom Does the Grail Serve.
Pax Dei Vobiscum.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Motorbike Mechanics aren't Rocket Scientists

They may not be, but by the Lord Harry they make damned fine Mayors. They can kick-start like nobody's business. And this Tavern welcomes such sleeves-rolled-up men who become Guardian Angels well before their time.

I speak of one here; one who dropped in to tell us what he DID, to save his town, his kids, his Soul. And were we pleased to see him.

Dale Williams is Mayor of Otorohanga, in New Zealand. Crikey, even in Christchurch they had never heard of his motorbike business. In Auckland, the Capital, his small town barely registered in the maps office.
But he put it on the map.

Take your helmets off and listen to what he had to say. You will be as pleased as all in the Bar. I'll pull a few pints for you.

Small town big change: Dale Williams at TEDxAuckland

(Until You Tube and Blogger sorts out which is which you will have to click the link)

Youth Unemployment is a real problem particularly when so much 'Government' strips kids of Parents who can give them the support they need. Not to mention the 'skools' being Dominated by female teachers (he carefully avoids mentioning that) who haven't a clue. 
Let's all drink to Dale. A Man who rolls his sleeves up and puts a ring-spanner to work.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Killing Unarmed People

 Updated: see at the end.

I turn my back for a minute and all Hell breaks loose. A week actually. I went off to Perth last week to attend a conference of highly intelligent folk - which includes this ancient Tavern Keeper - and returned to find that half-wits and Orcs have run amok in our State Legislature.

And Hells gates were opened.

I flagged this before from previous conversations in the bar, that our lefty-feminist-green wreckers were building up to mayhem, wanting to extend the Killing Fields into our pleasant land.

I have a history of armed conflict. I have never ran from battle. I have slain enemies. But they were always fighting back, with weapons. A Truwe Knight does not kill unarmed people, especially children. He does not disembowel mothers just to kill the child they are carrying.

But this Knight is not a Feminist or a Lefty or a Green.

Those people are sick. And despite every wish to extend compassion to them, they are also deliberate and cruel: Wicked even. So it has to be the sword.

This is just the Ticket.
Look at the gleam on that blade.

Out with the whetstones.

If Mothers do not care enough, 
the Fathers will have to Kilt-up.

Tasmanian lefties and feminists were insanely jealous of their sisters in Victoria, across the moat. That State introduced wicked legislation to kill innocents and jail anyone who objected. Tasmanian feminists conspired with the anti-human Greens in the Village to go one or two better. Or should that be worse. Their 'proposals' were well past wicked. Now they are reality.

Paul O'Rourke dropped by to explain.

Sorry baby, your removal is just another medical procedure.
22nd Nov 2013

 Abortion laws changed in Tasmania
Tasmania is the first State in Australia to ban peaceful protests within 150m of an abortion clinic.
Those who dare to interfere with a woman’s right to terminate her unborn child and injure herself, risk a  
$9750 fine or up to 12 months imprisonment.
So, just how does peacefully praying 149 mtrs away 'interfere'?

I intend to 'test' this.

And just how does a Priest or a Congregation in either of the two Christian Churches closer than 149 mtrs 'interfere'?

One small matter that is almost risable is the omission of the location.

I had better show it to you and tell you where it is.

It is on the corner of Macquarie and Victoria Streets. Just 100 mtrs from St Joseph's Catholic Church, one way, and 100 from the Anglican Cathedral.

Nice positioning, eh?

Look what it is called.

Does it remind you of 1984?

There is a nice seat just over the road. Its called a seat.
By a majority of nine to five, the Legislative Council approved last week abortion-on-demand to 16 weeks, and thereafter to term with the consent of two doctors who can take into account a woman’s physical, emotional and psychological circumstances.
After months of debate and submissions, the Upper House agreed with the Legislative Assembly .... 
that abortion is just another medical procedure, and that unborn children deserve no special protection.

 That statement, despite the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights (1947-8) which SPECIFICALLY mentions the unborn being in need of Special Protection by Legislators.

That Declaration to which Lefty Governments frequently Kow-Tow.

When it suits.
From sources including The Australian, The Mercury and Launceston Examiner. 
The legislation passed nine votes to five with Windemere MLC Ivan Dean, Launceston MLC Rosemary Armitage, Elwick MLC Adriana Taylor, Montgomery Liberal MLC Leonie Hiscutt and Rumney MLC Tony Mulder voting against. 
Abortions beyond 16 weeks, including to term, will require the consent of two doctors who can take into account a woman's physical, emotional and psychological state.   
Health Minister Michelle O'Byrne, who sponsored the legislation as a private member's Bill, said it was a "hugely significant piece of reform" and brought Tasmanian law into the 21st century.  
It is a "win" for government's social reform agenda  
....after the failure of voluntary euthanasia and same-sex marriage legislation. 
Does it strike you, as it does me, that the 'New-Speak',  "Health Minister" is a 'DoublePlus True' representation of this evil woman's job?  Like the 'Specialist Medical Centre'.

How about 'Social Reform'? I can just hear Hitler shouting 'social reform' to his hordes.

She cares not a jot for 'Health' in the crumbling Hospital system for which she is appointed to oversee, and is spending her taxpayer-paid time bringing in Private Member's Bill to serve the financial purposes of a Private sector Doctor who does not even resides in the State but flies in from the Mainland. He flies in, kills babies, and flies out again.

In America she would be called a 'Democrat'. Here she crawls under a Labor Values banner, is a rank Feminist and seeks to kill babies.

She cannot claim to be Christian in any sense. One has to wonder about all those who voted for the Bill as well.
Pembroke Liberal MLC Vanessa Goodwin and Apsley MLC Tania Rattray supported the reforms after changes were made to the obligations for doctors and counsellors who have a conscientious objection to abortion to refer the patient to another health service. 
"It's a compromise, it's not my preferred option, but given that significant changes have been made I will support it," Dr Goodwin said. 
The upper house scrapped a proposed $32,500 fine for counsellors (it was watered down from $65,000) who don't refer, specified that a doctor would fulfil their referral obligation by handing out a pamphlet listing appropriate services and clarified that a doctor could continue the consultation despite their objection, so long as they were open about it. 
Ms Armitage said the clause was still unnecessary and placed an unreasonable burden on affected doctors, who would still feel complicit.  
`I think if you can get pregnant, you can Google abortion and find a clinic,'' she said. 
It also reduced penalties for protesting within a 150 metre access zone around a clinic from a maximum $65,000 fine to a $9750 fine, but the maximum jail term of 12 months remained. 
By the Lord Harry. Isn't that a 'compromise. !!  We are only to be fined just under $10,000 for exercising our Free Speech.

Free Speech is suddenly to cost a lot in Tasmania.
"Free", no more.
However most MLCs said access zones were necessary. 
"No woman accessing a legal health service should be subject to any vilification from anybody," Western Tiers MLC Greg Hall said. 
We already have Laws against 'villification'. Even they are stupid in that no 'villification' may be intended, it only requires someone to 'feel' villified.

Such is the dilution of Law and Meaning in our 'Progressive' society that is being brought into the late 21C.
A move by Mr Dean to reduce the 16 week threshold to 14 weeks failed, as did a move by Ms Hiscutt to only partially decriminalise abortion by keeping terminations that did not fit the criteria laid out in the Bill subject to the Criminal Code, and its maximum 22 years imprisonment.

Meanwhile over in Victoria the 'worst scenario' is playing out and a Doctor who exercised his Conscience is being subjected to 'the Law.

Victorian Govt to rethink abortion law
8th Nov 2013

Henrietta Cook, told us:
The state government said it was interested in the outcome of the Medical Board of Victoria's investigation into Mark Hobart, a pro-life doctor who has been accused of breaking the state's abortion laws.

It comes as pro-life advocates run a concerted campaign to repeal a section of the Abortion Law Reform Act, which requires doctors who have a conscientious objection to abortion to refer a woman to someone with no such objection.

When asked if there would be any changes to the act, which decriminalises abortion and was passed by parliament in 2008, a government spokesman said it respected the decision of the parliament on "this important issue".

Mandy Rice Davis was heard far away saying, "Well he would say that wouldn't he?" 

As Mandy had a pub in Jerusalem (I have been there) and is therefore , technically, a Tavern Keeper too, I will raise a glass.

Pax Dei. We are in need.


A Troll took umbrage at this post and left several quite nasty comments, both here and on another post.

I will include him in my prayers.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Rubbishing 'Achievement'.

There are Heroes and Saints in this Tavern. And assorted sinners on the road away from perdition. That is what this rest-stop is for. And it takes effort. But effort and its fruits go against the grain of our modern Zozchial Zystem imposed and maintained by the Left.

People generally tried hard throughout history. Many succeeded, to the benefit of most of us and much to the chagrin of those that fell by the wayside. But the naysayers were generally dismissed by the strivers until the 'Left' came along with a fantastic policy of Envy for the Masses.

Thomas Sowell was in today chatting at the bar and having a well-earned top-up of Grace. He was 'holding forth' about achievement. He even wrote about it.

The War Against Achievement   
 Praising success would be disastrous for the Left, he said.

A friend recently sent me a link to an inspiring video about an upbeat young black man who was born without arms.  
It showed him going to work — unlike the record number of people living on government payments for “disabilities” that are far less serious, if not fictitious. 
Oz has a new 'Disability' Policy that will be of some small assistance to those in our country who are suffering with a disability, and to their 'carers', often aging parents or children 'managing' the old and infirm.

And of financial benefit to a host of charlatans 'suffering' from an overdose of alcohol and idleness. So Thom's words strike close home in more countries than just the USA.
How is this young man getting to work? He gets into his car and drives there — using controls set up so that he can operate the car with his feet.
It is Character, not hand-outs.

What kind of work does he do, and how does he do it? He is involved in the design of racing cars. He sits at his computer, looking at the screen, with the keyboard on the floor, where he uses his toes as others use their fingers. 
This is quite unlike a chap nearby in the village who sits at his doorstep, barely able to rise, drunk. Taxpayers via the Government fuel his constant state of decrepitude.
His story recalls the story of Helen Keller, who went to an elite college and on to a career, despite being born both deaf and blind. Her story was celebrated in books, in television documentaries, and in an inspiring movie, The Miracle Worker. 

But our culture has changed so much over the years that the young man with no arms is unlikely to get comparable publicity. Helen Keller’s achievement was seen as an inspiration for others,  
but this young man’s achievement is more like a threat to the prevailing ideology of our times. 
The vision on which the all-encompassing and all-controlling welfare state was built is a vision of widespread helplessness, requiring ever more expanding big government.  
Our “compassionate” statists would probably have wanted to take this young man without arms, early on, and put him in some government institution. 
But to celebrate him in the mainstream media today would undermine a whole ideological vision of the world  
— and of the vast government bureaucracies built on that vision. It might even cause people to think twice about giving money to able-bodied men who are standing on street corners, begging. 
The last thing the political Left needs, or can even afford, is self-reliant individuals.  
If such people became the norm, that would destroy not only the agenda and the careers of those on the left, but even their flattering image of themselves as saviors of the less fortunate. 
Victimhood is where it’s at.  
If there are not enough real victims, then fictitious victims must be created — as with the claim that there is “a war on women.”  

Why anyone would have an incentive or a motivation to create a war on women in the first place is just one of the questions that should be asked of those who promote this political slogan, obviously designed for the gullible. 
This particular 'war' is a fiction kept fed with ammunition by Feminism, itself an ideology that has developed such a warped view of the world and Human Beings that they are in full blown neurosis.  A created Unreality.

Its leaders of course are way out ahead in  mental illness. They are Psychotics. Dangerously so. Psychopaths love the idea of 'war'.
The real war — which is being waged in our schools, in the media, and among the intelligentsia —  
is the war on achievement.  
When President Obama told business owners, “You didn’t build that!” this was just one passing skirmish in the war on achievement. 
The very word “achievement” has been replaced by the word “privilege” in many writings of our times.  
Individuals or groups that have achieved more than others are called “privileged” individuals or groups, who are to be resented rather than emulated. 

Of course the main and decidedly undeserving 'Privileged' are White, Anglo-Saxon Men, for the quite obvious reason.

Not that 'reason' is ever brought into play by the Left and the Feminists working hand in panties. Every year we get the same old mantras about 'Pay-Gap' with absolutely no acknowledgement that men get paid more because they work harder, for longer at the more difficult, dirty and dangerous jobs.

Men working harder, longer and doing the dirty, dangerous jobs is apparently a ploy by the Patriarchy to make War on Women. Its a winner all round it seems. The harder they work, the more successful they are, much to men's satisfaction,  and that is affronting and offensive to the bone-idle part of society that the Left appeal to.
The length to which this kind of thinking — or lack of thinking — can be carried was shown in a report on various ethnic groups in Toronto. It said that people of Japanese ancestry in that city were the most “privileged” group there, because they had the highest average income. 
What made this claim of “privilege” grotesque was a history of anti-Japanese discrimination in Canada, climaxed by people of Japanese ancestry being interned during World War II longer than Japanese Americans. 
Men too are the ones that fight and die in the wars to protect the women we are supposedly making war upon !!.  The mind reels.
If the concept of achievement threatens the prevailing ideology, then real achievement in the face of obstacles is a deadly threat.  
That is why the achievements of Asians in general — and of people like the young black man with no arms — make those on the left uneasy. And why the achievements of people who created their own businesses have to be undermined by the President of the United States. 
What would happen if Americans in general, or blacks in particular, started celebrating people like this armless young man, instead of trying to make heroes out of hoodlums? Many of us would find that promising and inspiring. But it would be a political disaster for the Left — which is why it is not likely to happen.

But, who knows how long such a neurotic ideology can persist? History teaches us that it will either Hoist itself on its own Petard or the civilisation that has spawned it will collapse. Either way, it will be back to striving again.

And perhaps the Nemesis is on its way. Jonah Goldberg was also in the bar.

Obamacare Schadenfreudarama   
 It feels pretty good to watch the whole thing fail.  He said, talking of the latest Leftist fiasco in the USA.

The hubris of our ocean-commanding commander-in-chief surely isn’t news to readers of this website.  
He’s said that he’s smarter and better than everyone who works for him.  

His wife informed us that he has “brought us out of the dark and into the light” and that he would fix our broken souls.  
The man defined sin itself as “being out of alignment with my values.”  
We may be the ones we’ve been waiting for, but at the same time, everyone has been waiting for him. Or as he put it in 2007, “Every place is Barack Obama country once Barack Obama’s been there.” 
In every tale of hubris, the transgressor is eventually slapped across the face with the semi-frozen flounder of reality. The Greeks had a god, Nemesis, whose scythe performed the same function.  
It was Nemesis who lured Narcissus to the pool where he fell in love with his own reflection.  
Admittedly, most of Nemesis’s walk-on roles were in the Greek tragedies, but in the modern era, comeuppance-for-the-arrogant is more often found in comedies, and the “rollout” of has been downright hilarious.  
(I put quotation marks around “rollout” because the term implies actual rolling, and this thing has moved as gracefully as a grand piano in a peat bog.)  
But, as the president says, “it’s more than a website.”  
Indeed, the whole law is coming apart like a papier-mâché yacht in rough waters.  
The media feeding frenzy it has triggered from so many journalistic lapdogs has been both so funny and so poignant, it reminds me of nothing more than the climax of the classic film Air Bud, when the lovable basketball-playing golden retriever finally decides to maul the dog-abusing clown.

Meanwhile it is with a wry smile of anticipation - a long way ahead, mind you - that we await the downfall of the entire Leftist neurotic mindset. Before it takes the next and similarly historically-known turn... into Psychosis.

Talking of 'Smarter', I am off for a few days, taking a spot of leave from bar-keeping duties.

I am off to the other side of Oz, the Western regions where Oz Mensa is gathering to talk wildly improbable matters.

The world is puzzling. Politics and human beings in particular.

I will leave you with something to puzzle over.

Cheers. Do not pee on the carpets while I am away, but help yourself to what's behind the bar.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

It is International Men's Day. Anyone notice?

Any excuse for a party will do and so the Tavern had a throng of visitors today to celebrate Men. Remember men? Had your 'consciousness raised' above women's breasts lately?

It is the One Day of the Year when men get a nod in their direction, usually from a passing motorist lady driving a car specifically advertised for her to buy on her way to a Breast Awareness meeting. Not that this Taverner Knight has anything against breasts. Indeed I enjoy looking at them, which is fortunate as they are everywhere and exposed to view.

But men tend to go un-noticed other than when some gratuitous 'Blame' is spread around, as part of the usual female 'Consciousness Raising'.

Several chaps did have a few things to say on this International Men's Day ; in one case recycled from Father's Day. You remember that day of course. It is when Dad's get a Hallmark card telling him what a dork he is. No wonder we get more Spirit-seeking men in here than women.

So lets hear from two chaps.

First  Adam Shand. He writes to and for the general population in the Oz and is clearly a Dad, and he wanted to speak of his Dad-love for his Family. He told us "Why Dads Matter"
"IT may seem", he said,  "a little creepy but the old adage holds true: a father should be his son's first hero and his daughter's first love.
I am not sure why he had to suggest it was creepy, but I an guessing  he was tapping into the female zeitgeist that pervades our society. Better start with some off-to-one-side snide remark about men's motives.
In fact, the relationship with her father is the most important of her life, according to the experts. The connection with a mother's womb is clear and enduring while the father's influence is more abstract and fragile, yet crucial.
Every expert says the same which says a lot about the spread of expertise.  Except most lady experts, of course, who would much prefer you talk about Breasts. Gotta keep the Consciousness Raised.
For men, playing the hero comes naturally because a father was once a boy, but the relationship with a daughter is less straightforward. Men live their whole lives never grasping the infinite mysteries of women yet here we are responsible for creating the attitudes of our daughters. 
This is a cause of alarm in men, expressed mainly through intimations of hostility and violence towards young men who show interest in their daughters. But put away that shotgun, because the terrified boy standing on the doorstep will be nothing more than an avatar of yourself.
But that's enough about boys.  This is International Men's Day. Let's focus on the girls, eh?
A man's best and worst traits will be represented in his daughter's taste in men. It seems unfair the unwitting male can have such a lasting, even generational, effect on his daughter. I admit, as the father of a 17-year-old girl, to no little angst on the topic myself. 
Counselling psychologist Annie Gurton says women receive a powerful boost to their lifelong self-esteem from their fathers. 
"Women whose fathers have told them that they love them, that they are beautiful and wonderful, will have stronger, more robust self-esteem than those whose fathers did not, or criticised them," says Gurton. 
"For most fathers, their daughters are the apple of their eye and it's easy to do this. 
"I quickly know which clients had fathers who were mean-spirited, critical or abusive for they are the ones who value themselves lowly." 

There's a tendency in men to over-complicate the issue, but it all comes back to love, says Gurton. 
The compulsory and therefore ubiquitous fault-finding in men. It had to get in quickDamned fast this new breed of 'Counselling Psychologists'. International Men's Day cannot get by without an obligatory nod at 'abuse', now can it?
"My main message is that women whose fathers treated them badly will seek men who behave in the same way, for that behaviour is what they recognise as love," says Gurton, who acknowledges that this fate won't befall all those who had poor paternal influence.  
Many overcome this setback by seeking other positive male role models such as uncles or stepfathers, or by learning how to recalibrate their taste in men once they are adults. 
Well thank goodness for that. For a moment there I thought young Adam Shand had forgotten all about International Men's Day.
A research project at New Jersey's Rider University examined the role of the father-daughter bond in the development of positive romantic relationships. 
Researchers studied 78 teens and young adults (average age 19), who reported on the quality of their relationship with their fathers and boyfriends. 
Girls with good communication with their fathers also had significantly better communication with their boyfriends compared with girls who said their communication with their fathers was poor. A sense of trust with fathers led daughters to better levels of trust with boyfriends. 
I am waiting for follow-up articles pointing to the obvious Patriarchal message there, about how Fathers are responsible for setting up their daughters for abuse by default.
It was posited by the researchers that these girls learn to create secure attachments with their dads, which enable them to create relationships based on trust and clear communication. 
Though, to be fair on the researchers they did not get around to mentioning the concerted efforts made to throw fathers out of family life.  How our Courts take the Automatic position that Men=Bad.

Best not talk about that on International Men's Day
Some researchers argue this also reflects the individual characteristics of the girls themselves and is not solely linked to the father-daughter bond.  
But if your daughter turns up with an outlaw biker with a face tattoo, you can rest assured that you had something to do with it.  
A hell-brew of individual characteristics and child-parent relationships has driven her to this. 
See what I mean? 
My teenage daughter is going through a phase of claiming that I am simply the man who pays her gym membership, a life support system for a wallet. If only our relationship were so simple.  
I took her out to the movies the other night and I can strongly recommend Tom Hanks's star turn in Captain Phillips. This, my daughter would say, is evidence that I am a bad parent who has scarred her for life.  
Halfway through the film, the low-fat, high-protein, chia-seed and quinoa-infused meal she had scoffed began a violent disagreement with her. She demanded to go home but with Hanks in the grip of Somali pirates on the high seas there was no turning back for me. 
I suggested it was perhaps sea sickness from watching Hanks and the pirates bobbing around in a lifeboat for most of the movie. Unamused, she stalked off to the bathroom and did not return. She was waiting at the back of the cinema for me at the end with a face like thunder. She could have died, she told me stonily.  
My suggestion that we could pop into the hospital on the way home for tests did not lighten her mood. 
If that was a test, I failed. I realise now that these innocent outings are, in fact, proto-dates that will set the pattern of her life. When her future husband proves to be an unreliable, uncaring cad I'm going to blame Tom Hanks. Other dads also complain of being played like a Stradivarius by their daughters. My mate Jez Privitelli says nothing works on his daughters, ages 12 and seven. 
"I confiscate iPhones only to give them back the next day," he says. "I put chores in place for them to do, only to end up doing them myself, and I say no regularly - which lasts for all of 20 minutes until the next time they ask. No matter how much I try to dig in I can't resist them. My wife thinks I'm too soft." 
My advice to Jez is simply to give in. If the experts are right, his daughters' future boyfriends will be generous, forgiving and merciful, like him. These are not battles a father can or should win. Don't forget a daughter's tears will always trump reason and principle. 
Another mate, Lyle Turner, confesses he has no idea. "I can't do or say anything that doesn't offend my daughters, aged nearly 14 and 18," he says. 
But the late English poet Philip Larkin should have the last word: They f . . k you up, your Mum and Dad. / They may not mean to but they do. / They fill you with the faults they had / And add some extra, just for you.
Now look. I am happy to serve good Grace with good grace to anyone who seeks it. But this purporting to speak up for Dad's on International Men's Day  whilst subtly undermining the chaps and focussing on the writers own daughter (thank goodness he didn't mention her breasts) is getting even me down. He could have spoken about sons a bit more, Shirley?

I poured him a pink gin with lemonade and moved down the bar to listen to a more eminent chap.

Boris Johnson. He is the tousled-haired Lord Mayor of London. And a funny chap to boot.

Boris may dispense humour where'ere he goes but he is also pragmatic. He doesn't even bother to mention men at all, just what some men DO. Like work hard and become rich.

He doesn't even blame them !!

We should be humbly thanking the super-rich, not bashing them
As well as creating jobs and giving to charity, the wealthy should be hailed as Tax Heroes, He says.

The great thing about being Mayor of London is you get to meet all sorts. It is my duty to stick up for every put-upon minority in the city – from the homeless to Irish travellers to ex-gang members to disgraced former MPs. After five years of slog, I have a fair idea where everyone is coming from. 
But there is one minority that I still behold with a benign bewilderment, and that is the very, very rich. I mean people who have so much money they can fly by private jet, and who have gin palaces moored in Puerto Banus, and who give their kids McLaren supercars for their 18th birthdays and scour the pages of the FT’s “How to Spend It” magazine for jewel-encrusted Cartier collars for their dogs. 
I am thinking of the type of people who never wear the same shirt twice, even though they shop in Jermyn Street, and who have other people almost everywhere to do their bidding: people to drive their cars and people to pick up their socks and people to rub their temples with eau de cologne and people to bid for the Munch etching at Christie’s. 
Notice. Take note. Attontione. He doesn't even mention 'Men'.
Please don’t get me wrong. I neither resent nor disapprove of such zillionaires; quite the reverse. I just wonder, a bit, what it is like to be so stonkingly rich, and I wonder – as the rest of us have wondered down the ages – whether you can really expect to be any happier for having so much dosh. 
I suspect that the answer, as Solon pointed out to Croesus, is not really, frankly; or no happier than the man  .......
(Hooray. He mentioned the word at last ! 'Scuse I interrupting)
....... with just enough to live on. If that is the case, and it really is true that having stupendous sums of money is very far from the same as being happy, then surely we should stop bashing the rich. 
On the contrary, the latest data suggest that we should be offering them humble and hearty thanks.  
It is through their restless concupiscent energy and sheer wealth-creating dynamism that we pay for an ever-growing proportion of public services.  
The top one per cent of earners now pay 29.8 per cent of all the income tax  
and National Insurance received by the Treasury. In 1979 – when Labour had a top marginal rate of 83 per cent tax after Denis Healey had earlier vowed to squeeze the rich until the pips squeaked – the top one per cent paid only 11 per cent of income tax.  
Now, the top 0.1 per cent – about 29,000 people – pay an amazing 14.1 per cent of all taxes. 
Nor, of course, is that the end of their contribution to the wider good.
But don't mention that the VAST majority of 'these people', these Rich folk are Men.  (Except where the super rich widows come in and come on). We can leave it to a conga-line of feminists to complain that men earn more than women (on average) and quite expect those same feminist dog-whistle-blowers to omit any mention of the vast amount more taxes that those even average chaps pay for all the health services and 'Zozchil Zervices' that are enjoyed predominantly and noisily by women.

There are more multi-millionaires in London than any other city in the world.

But let's not mention any of that because it is International Men's Day. Back to the Rich, even if most men ain't.
These types of people are always the first target of the charity fund-raisers, whether they are looking for a new church roof or a children’s cancer ward. These are the people who put bread on the tables of families who – if the rich didn’t invest in supercars and employ eau de cologne-dabbers – might otherwise find themselves without a breadwinner. And yet they are brow-beaten and bullied and threatened with new taxes, by everyone from the Archbishop of Canterbury to Nick Clegg. 
The rich are resented, not so much for being rich, but for getting ever richer than the middle classes – and the trouble is that the gap is growing the whole time, and especially has done over the past 20 years. It is hard to say exactly why this is, but I will hazard a guess. Of all the self-made super-rich tycoons I have met, most belong to the following three fairly exclusive categories of human being: 
(1) They tend to be well above average, if not outstanding, in their powers of mathematical, scientific or at least logical reasoning.  
(2) They have a great deal of energy, confidence, risk-taking instinct and a desire to make money.  
(3) They have had the good fortune – by luck or birth – to be able to exploit these talents. 
So we are talking about the intersecting set in what are already three small-ish sets of people. It is easy to see how, in an ever more efficient and globalised economy, they are able to amass ever greater fortunes. 
The answer is surely not to try to stop them or curb them or punish them – but to widen those intersecting circles that they inhabit.
But punish them we must. If they were mostly women.... well that is another matter. 
There are kids everywhere who have a natural, if undiscovered, flair for mathematics and the mental arithmetic that business needs. They just don’t have the education to bring out that talent – which is why Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, is so right to be conducting his revolution in schools. 
There are loads of kids with the chutzpah to be kings of the deal, and there are plenty of businesses that could be the billion-pound companies of the future but are currently being held back – either by the weediness of the venture capital industry in this country, or else by something as simple as excessive business rates – the single biggest issue that is raised with me by London businesses. 
There is no point in wasting any more moral or mental energy in being jealous of the very rich. They are no happier than anyone else; they just have more money. We shouldn’t bother ourselves about why they want all this money, or why it is nicer to have a bath with gold taps. How does it hurt me, with my 20-year-old Toyota, if somebody else has a swish Mercedes? We both get stuck in the same traffic. 
We should be helping all those who can to join the ranks of the super-rich, and we should stop any bashing or moaning or preaching or bitching and simply give thanks for the prodigious sums of money that they are contributing to the tax revenues of this country, and that enable us to look after our sick and our elderly and to build roads, railways and schools. 
Indeed, it is possible, as the American economist Art Laffer pointed out, that they might contribute even more if we cut their rates of tax; but it is time we recognised the heroic contribution they already make.  
In fact, we should stop publishing rich lists in favour of an annual list of the top 100 Tax Heroes, with automatic knighthoods for the top 10.

So, we had daughters and Rich 'People' talked about in the bars on International Men's Day. But precious little about men.

It figures.

I need a drink.

Pax Dei

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Advice to a Distressed Lady in the Bar.

A Tavern Keeper overhears a lot in the bar. People tell their woes; others sip their ale and listen to the ailments. A Lady I know quite well, a 'regular' was seeking solace and one concerned chap gave his view.

A bit of background: I won't be giving names !

Let's call her Brenda, shall we. There are a lot of Brenda's around. Single, 'mature', very likely raised by a mother. She lives in a small place and finds it hard to make ends meet.  She has a cat. Of course. It is pretty old. Both the cat and Brenda are pussy cats.

So, she has not been in for a week and here she is sitting at the bar, a little hunched over, talking to a chap. He is asking how she is. She says:

"I am on the mend and will be going  to work on Monday. I am lucky the job waited for me." 
He asks if the job will be enough

"I have another job offer too. Some more hours and more money but I can't do both. I hate losing money. I wish I could clone me so I could totally exploit the other me."
Apparently she has a little extra money coming in by renting out her spare room to a chap but he is turning out to be more of a problem than the lack of money.
"I have been bedridden with the terrible flu all week, too ill to go to the shop for more Tylenol when I ran out. Can you believe even though I would hint, asking my lodger if he was going to the shop could he pick me up a few things to only get the reply ' Yes, if I go.'  and of course he did not.  We are half a block from the shop but he could not go out of his way to go there to pick me up a few bits  all weekend?  Although I keep the place immaculate, he could not wash the dishes or take the garbage out for once, seeing I was too ill? UN-fucking- BELIEVABLE."

"I have never met someone so selfish and ungiving in all my life! This is a guy I have cooked meals for to get him through til his next pay cheque when he had no food. A guy I have lent money to to carry him over. A guy whose dishes I do, whom I never ask to go to the shop for me, take out the garbage wash a dish, clean his own tub. Nothing!"

Then the outburst ! 

He has no life, no friends, when he is not at work he sits in his room getting drunk on cheap beer - and he lied to me that he did not drink except the odd beer if he was out with friends. I had told him I did not want any men I didn't know drinking here. He lied about everything to get the room and is a complete sociopath. He claims he hates people yet with that attitude I am not surprised he has lost faith in people. He is the most despicable person I have ever met.
She quietens down.

Her next seat at the bar companion of the moment sits there looking into his glass, waiting for her heartbeat to resume steady.

"You need cheering up." He says.

He said, slowly. "The Man. TELL him what you want him to do. Don’t ask if he can. Men do not like that one bit. Of course he ‘can’.

Second. How to get rid of him. TELL three other men what you want them to do for you – ie throw him out on his arse. Negotiate a deal suitable to you and them. DON’T ask if they ‘can’. Three men will not like it three times as much as one man. 
TELL them you are in need of a Brother. Or three. Perhaps offer yourself to them to be adopted as a sister for three months and will do something astonishingly silly once every week for the three months so they can laugh and point fingers.

Third. Ditch the cat and find a good man. One of the three 'Brothers’ might be suitable or at least give some hints as to who would be and even how to get him. 
Tell the cat 'goodbye and good luck'.  It's got nine lives and you have just the one. The cat never went to the store to get any Tylenol for you either.  
Tell the new man you want to be cherished, and cut a deal suitable to you both. Any man you choose is going to be less selfish and un-giving than the one you say is the most selfish and un-giving man you have ever met. Or the cat. You can only do better.  
You won’t find a man while you have the cat.

Fourth. Go and get some really splendid underwear. It will help you feel good and also help cut the deal with the one Mr Right Enough.  I could recommend some styles. 

Its a pity I do not live close by or I could help you find some and give helpful, candid opinions on the spot. Make sure the bra fits properly. 90% of women do not know their correct size.   
Their cats don’t either."

 Brenda looked up and laughed. The first 'happy' from her all night. Then she looked into her glass.

"First I need the new body to go into the new knickers".

I wandered off to serve another customer, leaving restored good humour.

The Joys of Stoicism - and More

When you have finished a glass of beer, there is no use crying about it. Think positive, dig your wallet out and buy another one. If the wallet is empty, don't get cranky; go home. That's what a stoic would tell you.

A 'sound' fellow, Peter Jones, a Professor by rank, dropped by for a swift half and told us about stoicism. He writes occasionally for the Specci.

On 21 November The Spectator is hosting a discussion about addiction — disease or choice? — and how we should best treat it.  
This neatly coincides with ‘Live like a Stoic’ week (25 November–1 December), which culminates in academics and doctors discussing how far problems of everyday life can be solved by the Stoic practice of thinking rationally about them — in modern parlance ‘cognitive behavioural therapy’ — rather than by expensive medical intervention.
Stoicism was invented by Zeno, a Greek from Citium in Cyprus. In about 301 bc, he began teaching in one of Athens’ covered walkways (a stoa, whence ‘stoicism’).  
His work was to influence two thinkers in particular: Epictetus (c. ad 50–135), a Greek who started life as a slave and ended up leading a famous school of philosophy, consulted (we are told) by the emperor Hadrian; and the ancient world’s most famous doctor, Galen (c. ad 130–210).
Epictetus’s contribution was to insist that we should distinguish between what we can and what we cannot control.

We can, he insisted, control what goes on in our head — our beliefs, motives and state of mind; but we cannot control, hard though we may try, our health, property or social standing. Happiness therefore depended not on ‘externals’ like money or society, but on our thought-processes.
Think properly, control what we can control, and never come to harm. 
Hmmmmm. If only it were that easy. But then 'ease' was not so high on the Stoic agenda. And 'harm' comes from unexpected places.
Galen had a wider vision: a balance that must be maintained between e.g. food and drink, exercise, mental state and so on, and ways of helping patients to achieve this for themselves.  
Both were practical thinkers, arguing that happiness was in our own hands. Not that it was easy: both insisted that one had to work hard at it by regular, disciplined reflection and action. 
Coming soon: an Epicurean week? Not that Epicurus was all fun and frolics. He classified ‘desire’ into three categories: (i) natural and necessary, (ii) natural and unnecessary, and (iii) unnatural and unnecessary, and reckoned only (i) made you happy. Spoil-sport.
Spoil sport or not may have to wait for another post, I think.  But keep those three categories in mind for then. We will get onto other matters in a moment.

'Stoicism for Everyday Life’ will be held on Saturday 30 November in the Clore Management Centre, Birkbeck, University of London  should anyone be interested and in the vicinity. You could follow-up at:( 

Now. Moving on. Let me pull you a pint.

The issue of control goes far further of course; further than Epictetus or even the average Cognitive Behavioural Psychologist would have us think. And I should know. I have quite a bit of knowledge in that area. We live in an age where we are supposed to be, encouraged to be, indeed 'pressured' to be in control of our lives.

Our lives.

As if !

With politicians such as we have seen and do see in Gillard and Obama lying like Dickie Mint trim sheets*, control over our lives gets more and more difficult by the day.  Bosses, duties, bureaucrats, Laws, and so on all try to control us! And we strive to control pretty well everything in response.

But this bizzo of control has far greater impact than just on 'happiness' or even health. It has a marked impact on our Psyche.

There's another hark-back to Greek. Psyche is Greek for Soul. The more modern concept of 'Character' has a lot to do with our soul and stoic souls are needed in our era. Many men, in particular, are 'controlled' rather than have control. Ask any Father who has been divorced and has had his children taken from him. Suicide amongst them is higher than any other category.

Men are not 'empowered' in our society. Indeed, men are disempowered.

Being in Control is one of the mainstays of adulthood. It is fair to say that one of the most defining features of being an adult is being responsible for the (our) choices which generally determines what goes on in our lives. And of our response to the control that is exercised over us.

We have to choose all the time, between this action and that, between one way of behaving and another, and choosing our state of mind and our thoughts and feelings is crucial.

We have to consider and gauge the consequences of our choices and actions, otherwise our decisions are unconscious, 'automatic': un-adult: - like a child's.
 That can lead us into all sorts of trouble. Many woman in our society are encouraged by Feminism to disregard the consequences of their own thoughts and feelings and simply blame someone else when things go wrong.

Choice and Control are inter-dependant. We need to carefully gauge them to ensure that our Character is not distorted. 

While we like to be in control and have ourselves less anxious, less vulnerable we need to understand and know

what we can control and what we cannot.

Just as Epictetus said.

We often discriminate poorly. We often "overdo it". At great cost.

The main issue when we have a choice, is whether or not to DO something. We choose to ACT or not to Act. By 'not to act' I mean deliberately refraining,
having thought carefully about it.

This choice has a PROFOUND EFFECT on us.

There are a limited number of choices open to us and each one affects our Soul.

And we do have to choose in the context of what we can & cannot control. If we choose incorrectly, we bring much pain down on ourselves. We can destroy our balance and character.

Choose correctly and we can bring much joy and happiness into our lives.

We have, in basic terms, FOUR CHOICES.

1. Take Action on things we can Control;
2. Try to take Action on things we cannot control;
3. Take no action on things we can control; and
4. Take no Action on things we cannot Control.

Four scenarios cover pretty well every choice and action we may make and  take.

So, you might ask, as you hold your glass out for a refill, what are these 'profound effects'?

Let's look at the first option. 1.

Take Action on things we can Control.

We try. We may fail. Most everything we do in life has a 'first time' and we usually have no idea how to do it properly. We try again. We may fail again, but we get better over time. We may eventually succeed. We very often do it well enough. We some times get to do it perfectly.

Thank goodness we had very little thinking power when we were babies learning to walk. We would have given up!! Instead, we persisted, despite constantly falling over and getting hurt. We were encouraged. It was for our own good.

We achieved MASTERY.
We develop SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, and our TALENTS.
We learn how to INFLUENCE larger things / events / people.
We are AGENTS in the world, changing things. Doing things.
We have EVIDENCE of our achievements.
We KNOW we have TRIED.
We develop HIGH  SELF- ESTEEM.
We FEEL very POSITIVE;  We feel like adults. Even children can feel "Grown-Up".

We have dug deep and found ability.

We have dug up some Raw Material with which to construct a 'Person'.

But what if we don't take action when we could? If we choose not to act on something  we can control? Because we are afraid of failing, or are lazy, or 'don't care'?

This is option 3.

We give up.

We fail to confront our difficulties. We give away our power. We lose resolve.
We fail to become competent.

And we Know it.

We may try to ignore it or pretend it isn't the case.


But we know it to be true.

We feel SHAME; GUILT. These days many in our society are told, very clearly and often that they must not be ashamed or feel guilty. It must be someone else's fault if they 'try to make you'. Mostly women are told - by feminist agitprop; and men are blamed.

Denying reality, even the reality of how we feel, brings neurosis.

Such faux-shameless and faux-guiltless people are denying themselves valuable signs that their soul is being sapped and is decaying. 

They are neurotic.

Their Character is deficient.

Under such 'self-threat, we get STRESSED. We get DEPRESSION and ANXIETY problems.

Our self esteem falls. Of course it does. Our "self" is no longer estimable !

We can even  feel CONTEMPT for ourselves.  Panic Attacks can develop. We become NEGATIVE. We BLAME. We feel Un-Adult.

This Ain't Good !!


Acting to Control what we cannot control.

Now we really get DEEP in it ! And do we ever suffer. So many of us.

We embark on UNREMITTING TOIL, trying to get the better of the many things  that are inherently uncontrollable.

That includes OTHER PEOPLE  --The most 'common' problem 'thing' in this category.


We are Ok recognizing some uncontrollable things. If we are smart we can try to INFLUENCE these things. (Go back to number 1).

But if we are unwise we STRUGGLE and CONSTANTLY FAIL, fruitlessly DEMANDING what we cannot have.

We DEMEAN the Integrity of others - and of ourselves.

Recognise anyone?

So. Should we just give up again?

No. Choice 4 is to ….. LET  GO.

It takes great strength, often, paradoxically, born out of exhaustion. We Choose to Let-Go, Understanding that this thing/Person/ event is not 'Ours' to control.

We Can-Not. Or - Should Not - or Must Not even try to control 'it', but control ourselves.

We can gain a profound sense of RELIEF.
We recognise our limitations, in common with all others.

We attain HUMILITY.

It is the final stage toward FORGIVENESS  &  HEALING.

S0, you might wonder, what can we control? How do we become 'Stoics'?

We can choose to Start with OURSELVES.

We are close to home, after all.  We are important to us. We need us.
We want the best for ourselves and who better to provide for us than ourselves.
We deserve our own efforts. We deserve our own time and attention.
We deserve our own self-Knowledge, Respect and Understanding.

These are the main features of LOVE.

If I am acting to control myself, YOU don't have to worry yourself about controlling me, for me, or for yourself. I would resist you anyway. But why would I want to resist myself?

I would happily pull a Pint for you and for me though. As I do.

We can control our own lives, taking responsibility for what we do.

We can Attend INWARDS. We can control our emotions, choosing them, restraining and directing them, for our benefit and the benefit of others.

We can examine our own thinking, eradicating distortions and base beliefs (what we 'live our life by') on some evidence or educated Faith rather than 'wants'.

We can Attend OUTWARDS. We can LISTEN to other people more often. Talk less. We can attempt to understand others;  act with more kindness.

If you think that exercising so much control over ourselves is too hard, consider this: It is much easier to focus attention and control ONE person, ourselves,
than it is to try to control others.

There are 7,000,000,000 others.


Grant me the Serenity to Accept the things I cannot change;
The Courage to Change  the things I can change;
And The Wisdom to Know  the Difference.
It makes a strong and healthy Soul.

Oh. Nearly forgot. That asterisk.
* Dickie Mint was an Air Loadmaster ( a Loadie) and responsible for ensuring that aircraft were loaded in such a manner that the aircraft was 'balanced', with weight distributed evenly.  In Aviator terms this is 'Trim'.  Loadies have a Trim Sheet - a diagram showing where all the different weights are placed.
Dickie Mint's trim sheets bore no resemblance to reality.
Pax Dei.