Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Tavern Hate Speech Code

Yes, we do get some here. Hate Speech. In fact, quite a lot.  People will say things in here, standing right at the bar for all to hear, that are considered secular sins, and we are all for being hospitable to sinners. The sign on the door says so.

Some of our customers are very flawed people by modern standard. They make Judgements !  Yes, I know. They even Discriminate.  Shocking, eh what?  They look askance at 'Inclusiveness' and 'Tolerance'. Even at 'offence'. Indeed many have quite different ideas about what those concepts actually mean to those who prefer the Politically Correct howls of protest.

Most here are very welcoming but have short ranges of what is acceptible for being accepted.  Even out there in Hilary's Village most people would baulk at inviting Jack the Ripper in for afternoon tea. Not into their own house that is. Someone elses though ?..... that's another matter. They would object strongly to a meth lab being set up in the house next door by a Columbian drug cartel moonlighting. But in someone else's street? Hmmmm.

Only the dimmest of people would tolerate people who approve of murder and rape and slavery, surely, one might think. Or maybe the Dhimmiest. We don't get many of those people in the Tavern. But other Institutions do.
Koran should be read at Prince Charles' coronation says top bishop: 
Lord Harries said gesture would be a ‘creative act of accommodation’. Speaking in House of Lords he claimed it would help Muslims feel ‘embraced’
Critics attacked idea insisting 'British values stem from Christian heritage'. They attack proposal and accuse Church of England of 'losing confidence' in its own traditions.

Well, we might just see those Critics here in the Tavern someday, but Lord Harries may need to ask our Bouncer about coming in. 
Someone should tell Prince Chuck that he has a button missing. 
 I am not at all sure about this 'Lord Harries' fellow having the nod that something is about to happen to HM the Queen or that Prince Chuck is soon to be elevated up his Royal Family tree, but I am damned sure that Harries is off his own tree.
Prince Charles’s coronation service should be opened with a reading from the Koran, a senior Church of England bishop said yesterday.  The gesture would be a ‘creative act of accommodation’ to make Muslims feel ‘embraced’ by the nation, Lord Harries of Pentregarth said.
So, he is a Bishop of the C of E. That tells us quite a lot. 
But critics attacked the idea, accusing the Church of ‘losing confidence’ in its own institutions and traditions.

Lord Harries, a former Bishop of Oxford and a leading CofE liberal thinker, said he was sure Charles’s coronation would give scope to leaders of non-Christian religions to give their blessing to the new King.

Liberal thinker? Is that what they call it. How polite.  He does not suggest what should be read from the Koran, but I have some suggestions he - and you - could consider, at the end of this post.
The former Bishop of Oxford, who continues to serve as an assistant bishop in the diocese of Southwark, made the suggestion about the Koran during a House of Lords debate. He told peers the Church of England should take the lead in ‘exercising its historic position in a hospitable way’.

He said that at a civic service in Bristol Cathedral last year authorities had agreed to a reading of the opening passage of the Koran before the beginning of the Christian ritual. He said: ‘It was a brilliant creative act of accommodation that made the Muslim high sheriff feel, as she said, warmly embraced but did not alienate the core congregation.

That principle of hospitality can and should be reflected in many public ceremonies, including the next coronation service.’

Lord Harries’ suggestion comes more than 20 years after the Prince first said he would prefer to be seen as ‘Defender of Faith’ rather than be known by the monarch’s title of ‘Defender of the Faith’.

Charles said in 1994 he ‘always felt the Catholic subjects of the sovereign are equally as important as the Anglican ones, as the Protestant ones’.
Now that raises a 'proper' point. The UK has a law - the Catholic Emancipation Act - which allows Catholic Englishmen almost as many rights as a protestant, heretic one. The catholic chap (or chapess for that matter) cannot be Monarch, Consort to the Monarch, Prime Minister or Chancellor. There was a quite successful PM some time back who was Jewish though. Odd that. 

Prince Chuck may have a salient point.  But I fear he is just as loose in his thinking as ever.
‘Likewise, I think that Islamic subjects, or the Hindu subjects, or the Zoroastrian subjects of the sovereign, are of equal and vital importance.’ 
In 2006 the Prince made known that he wanted a multifaith coronation that would be more ‘focused and telecentric’ than his mother’s in 1953.
However traditionalist Christians condemned Lord Harries’s idea.   Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute think-tank said: ‘Most people will be amazed at the idea that a Christian leader would consider the use of the Koran at a Christian service in a Christian abbey. 
Count me as one of those, although I could think of a more pointed word to use.
People are just so disappointed when senior Church of England figures lose confidence in the claims of the Christian faith.’

Andrea Minichiello Williams, a member of the CofE’s parliament, the General Synod, and head of the Christian Concern pressure group, said: ‘At a time when we are looking at what British values mean, we cannot have values in a vacuum. 
British values stem from our Christian heritage.

‘We cannot pretend all religions are the same, or have the same benefits and outcomes for the nation.’
Here I have to cheer him on. Not only are all religions NOT the same but some 'beliefs' that are passed off as religions by the illiterati, the cultural marxists, the socialists, the thickos of whatever hue, are not even religions at all.
ISLAM in NOT a Religion 
Islam was a political theology invented to counter Religion - Judaism and it's child Christianity. Its roots and inspiration is Demonic, just as its Koran, behaviour and adherents demonstrate daily.
Douglas Murray, associate editor of the Spectator, said if Muslims were included in the coronation service, there must be room to for Hindus, Sikhs, and atheists.

He added: ‘If there were to be a reading from the Koran at the coronation, surely as a matter of reciprocity, all mosques in the UK should have prayers for the King and the Armed Forces every week at Friday prayers.’
The likelihood of that is remote.

Muslim clerics are not as stupid as C of E ones.

I will continue to encourage customers to 'Love the Sinner and hate the Sin', but make sure they understand that there are two parts to it.

The individual 'muslim' person may be a fine healthy human being with arms and legs to love, but while he continues to kill, encourage killing, teaches his children to kill and even kills his children when they dare to think a little more broadly that his archaic, demonic creed demand, then I shall shun him.

I will NOT tolerate Islam. 

It is offensive to anything that bears even a slight resemblance to civilised thinking and behaving.

You may note that Mr Condell is no fan of Catholics, but he is nevertheless welcome in my Tavern, as he usually behaves himself quite well. My judgement call.

I will not cease to exercise normal adult Judgement and Discriminate the Islamic creed from far more reasonable ones. 

Bishop Harries 'offends', too.

Is it any wonder that such a 'tolerant', 'inclusive' view comes from a bishop in a 'church' established by a King whose attitudes differed from Mohammed's only in the detail: a King who would have had Harries' head on the axman's block in a trice; a King who slaughtered Catholics and stole the heritage of an entire people (not that Henry was inspired by Sunnis and Shits, of course, but he did have an Earl wipe his bottom for him); a King who was almost as 'in Thrall' to the Prince of Lies as  Prince Chuck is to Greenery and UFO hunting

I suggest to the Bishop that if he is to call for any readings they shoud be from the Original Catholic Bible. But if he is insisting that some fool reads from the Koran in a Christian Cathedral, perhaps he can take what this chap suggests:

And get rid of Islam from a once and tacitly Christian country.

'Hate-speech' enough?


Now where did I put my sword.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Sex and the Single Hobbit

There comes a time in a chap's life when his dad takes him aside and talks about creatures that fly and the finer points of aerodynamics, curves, uplift, lace trim and the mile-high club. 

Well they used to. The fear of flying is not uncommon.

Some flying creatures are dragons and a young lad needs to know such things. I know my dad and I had 'the talk' when I was a simple apprentice Squire. How to tell a dragon from a bird or bee.

Perhaps it is less usual these days. Such matters seem to have been foisted upon the school-teacher at the behest of vocal persons of very odd sexual persuasions. Fathers are fewer due to the 'best interests of the children' mob who disapprove of dads.

And what is a dad to say these days?

Much of the mechanics are well known - though grossly misunderstood if one goes by pregnancy results - by pre-teens. The emotional aspects are tenderly imparted by teachers imbued with nurturing, sensitivity, empathy and especially with an eye for the young teen boy. Germaine Greer's attitude to young boys and their semen production capacities seems to have really impressed our female education workforce. I go by the number of newspaper page seven columns that constantly hide the rape of boys by school teachers.

The Lord Harry alone knows who teaches Hobbits of a tender age.

But my good Southern Gal friend brought Dr Albert along today to tell us something about that.
Tolkien on Sex
“This is a fallen world.”

The astounding popularity of J.R.R. Tolkien and his writings–magnified many times over by the success of the “Lord of the Rings” films–has ensured that Tolkien’s fantasy world of moral meaning stands as one of the great literary achievements of our times.

In some sense, Tolkien was a man born out of time. A philologist at heart, Tolkien was most at home in the world of ancient ages, even as he witnessed the barbarism and horrors of the 20th century. Celebrated as a popular author, he was an eloquent witness to permanent truths. His popularity on university campuses, extending from his own day right up to the present, is a powerful indication of the fact that Tolkien’s writings reach the hearts of the young, and those looking for answers.
Even as Tolkien is celebrated as an author and literary figure, some of his most important messages were communicated by means of letters, and some of the 
most important letters were written to his sons.

Tolkien married his wife Edith in 1916, and the marriage was blessed with four children. Of the four, three were boys. John was born in 1917, Michael in 1920, and Christopher in 1924. Priscilla, the Tolkiens’ only daughter, was born in 1929.
Tolkien dearly loved his children, and he left a literary legacy in the form of letters. Many of these letters were written to his sons, and these letters represent, not only a hallmark of literary quality, but 
a treasure of Christian teaching on matters of manhood, marriage, and sex. 
Taken together, these letters constitute a priceless legacy, not only to the Tolkien boys, but to all those with whom the letters have been shared.

In 1941, Tolkien wrote a masterful letter to his son Michael, dealing with marriage and the realities of human sexuality. 
The letter reflects Tolkien’s Christian worldview and his deep love for his sons, and at the same time, also acknowledges the powerful dangers inherent in unbridled sexuality.

“This is a fallen world,” Tolkien chided. 
“The dislocation of sex-instinct is one of the chief symptoms of the Fall. The world has been ‘going to the bad’ all down the ages. The various social forms shift, and each new mode has its special dangers: but the ‘hard spirit of concupiscence’ has walked down every street, and sat leering in every house, since Adam fell.” 
Always have a Sword handy, laddy. 
You may have to be a Dragon-Slayer one day.
This acknowledgement of human sin and the inevitable results of the Fall stands in stark contrast to the humanistic optimism that was shared by so many throughout the 20th century. Even when the horrors of two world wars, the Holocaust, and various other evils chastened the century’s dawning optimism of human progress, the 20th century gave evidence of an unshakable faith in sex and its liberating power. 
Tolkien would have none of this.

“The devil is endlessly ingenious, and sex is his favorite subject,” Tolkien insisted. “He is as good every bit at catching you through generous romantic or tender motives, as through baser or more animal ones.” Thus, Tolkien advised his young son, then 21, that the sexual fantasies of the 20th century were demonic lies, intended to ensnare human beings. 
Sex was a trap, Tolkien warned, because human beings are capable of almost infinite rationalization in terms of sexual motives. Romantic love is not sufficient as a justification for sex, Tolkien understood.

Taking the point further, Tolkien warned his son that “friendship” between a young man and a young woman, supposedly free from sexual desire, would not remain untroubled by sexual attraction for long. 
At least one of the partners is almost certain to be inflamed with sexual passion, Tolkien advised. This is especially true among the young, for Tolkien believed that such friendships might be possible later in life, “when sex cools down.”
Be especially wary of the Fey !
As any reader of Tolkien’s works understands, Tolkien was a romantic at heart. He celebrated the fact that “in our Western culture the romantic chivalric tradition [is] still strong,” though he recognized that “the times are inimical to it.” Even so, as a concerned father, Tolkien warned Michael to avoid allowing his romantic instinct to lead him astray, fooled by “the flattery of sympathy nicely seasoned with a titillation of sex.”
I think Tolkien would be horrified today. He would quite understand the flight of young men from marriage; MGTOW. He knew more about the deep roots that extend into young men than most young men today know about themselves. 
Beyond this, Tolkien demonstrated a profound understanding of male sexuality and the need for boundaries and restraint. 
Even as he was often criticized for having an overly negative understanding of male sexuality, Tolkien presented an honest assessment of the sex drive in a fallen world. He argued that men are not naturally monogamous. 
“Monogamy (although it has long been fundamental to our inherited ideas) is for us men a piece of ‘revealed’ ethic, according to faith and not to the flesh.” In his own times, Tolkien had seen the binding power of cultural custom and moral tradition recede into the historical memory. With the “sexual revolution” already visible on the horizon, Tolkien believed that Christianity’s revealed sex ethic would be the only force adequate to restrain the unbridled sexuality of fallen man. “Each of us could healthfully beget, in our 30 odd years of full manhood, a few hundred children, and enjoy the process,” Tolkien admonished his son. 
Nevertheless, the joys and satisfactions of monogamous marriage provide the only true context for sexuality without shame. Furthermore, Tolkien was confident that Christianity’s understanding of sex and marriage pointed to eternal, as well as temporal pleasures.

Even as he celebrated the integrity of Christian marriage, Tolkien advised Michael that true faithfulness in marriage would require a 
continual exercise of the will. 
Even in marriage, there remains a demand for denial, he insisted. “Faithfulness in Christian marriage entails that: great mortification. For a Christian man there is no escape. Marriage may help to sanctify and direct to its proper object his sexual desires; its grace may help him in the struggle; but the struggle remains. It will not satisfy him–as hunger may be kept off by regular meals. It will offer as many difficulties to the purity proper to that state, as it provides easements. No man, however truly he loved his betrothed and bride as a young man, has lived faithful to her as a wife in mind and body without deliberate conscious exercise of the will, without self-denial.”

Tolkien traced unhappiness in marriage, especially on the part of the husband, to the Church’s failure to teach these truths and to speak of marriage honestly. Those who see marriage as nothing more than the arena of ecstatic and romantic love will be disappointed, Tolkien understood. “When the glamour wears off, or merely works a bit thin, they think they have made a mistake, and that the real soul-mate is still to find. The real soul-mate too often proves to be the next sexually attractive person that comes along.”

With these words, Tolkien advised his middle son that marriage is an objective reality that is honorable in the eyes of God. Thus, marriage defines its own satisfactions. The integrity of Christian marriage requires a man to exercise his will even in the arena of love and to commit all of his sexual energy and passion to the honorable estate of marriage, refusing himself even the imagination of violating his marital vows.
In a letter to his friend C.S. Lewis, Tolkien advised: “Christian marriage is not a prohibition of sexual intercourse, but the correct way of sexual temperance–in fact probably the best way of getting the most satisfying sexual pleasure . . . .” In the face of a world increasingly committed to sexual anarchy, Tolkien understood that sex must be respected as a volatile and complex gift, bearing potential for great pleasure and even greater pain.
With deep moral insight, Tolkien understood that those who give themselves most unreservedly to sexual pleasure will derive the least pleasure and fulfillment in the end. As author Joseph Pearce, one of Tolkien’s most insightful interpreters explains, sexual temperance is necessary “because man does not live on sex alone.” Temperance and restraint represent “the moderate path between prudishness and prurience, the two extremes of sexual obsession,” Pearce expands.
Explicit references to sexuality are virtually missing from Tolkien’s published works, allegories, fables, and stories. Nevertheless, sex is always in the background as part of the moral landscape. Joseph Pearce understands this clearly, arguing that Tolkien’s literary characters “are certainly not sexless in the sense of being asexual but, on the contrary, are archetypically and stereotypically sexual.” Pearce makes this claim, notwithstanding the fact that there is no sexual activity or overt sexual enticement found in Tolkien’s tales.
How is this possible? In a profound employment of the moral spirit, Tolkien presented his characters in terms of honor and virtue, with heroic men demonstrating classical masculine virtues and the heroines appearing as women of honor, valor, and purity.
Nevertheless, we would be hard pressed to understand Tolkien’s understanding of sex, marriage, and family if we did not have considerable access into the realities of Tolkien’s family and his role as both husband and father. Tolkien’s letters, especially those written to his three sons, show the loving concern of a devoted father, as well as the rare literary gift Tolkien both possessed and employed with such power.
The letter Tolkien wrote Michael in the year 1941–with the world exploding in war and civilization coming apart at its seams–is a model of fatherly concern, counsel, and instruction. We should be grateful that this letter is now accessible to the larger world, and to the rest of us.
All of Tolkien's world is in the Internal Landscape of Mankind's Soul.
Including the Dragons.
From the vantage point of the 21st century, Tolkien will appear to many to be both out of step and out of tune with the sexual mores of our times. 
Tolkien would no doubt take this as a sincere, if unintended, compliment. 
He knew he was out of step, and he steadfastly refused to update his morality in order to pass the muster of the moderns.

Writing to Christopher, his youngest son, Tolkien explained this well. “We were born in a dark age out of due time (for us). But there is this comfort: otherwise we should not know, or so much love, what we do love. I imagine the fish out of water is the only fish to have an inkling of water.” 
Thanks to these letters, we have more than an inkling of what Tolkien meant. 

There is much to learn from the Old Men.

Would that young men would ask the right questions and know the right answers.


Friday, November 28, 2014

The Coming Fire-Works

No. Not riots or Armageddon. One cannot start planning for New Year too early. That is the rubrik of the firework-makers and the cities that employ them. 

The parties and mayhem we associate with New Year, in place of the 'first foot' rituals and the 'lang may yer lumb reek' wishes that such as I am used to, must be accompanied by huge displays these days. How else do we attract a million people to congregate in discomfort.

And spend several million dollars of the cash-strapped taxpayers' money.

Not that the Tavern does anything but superb comfort. And we have to plan too.

The TV gets to be full of cities around the world showing off their displays. The 'contours' of the various cities provide the variety, with Sydney and Melbourne starting the 24 hour ball rolling. Sydney of course has 'The Harbour Bridge'. Very hard to beat.

Mostly, one has to say, it is a riot of colour and noise, with often a hundred exposions happening at the same time and the sky awash with eye-stabbing light.  It all too often does not enable the viewers to appreciate to sheer beauty that can be created.  The inividual elements designed and displayed by the 'artist' gets lost.

And it is typically noisy enough without the ubiquitous and awful pop-songs wailing and thumping from our TVs while the light-show is on. 

Frankly the TV companies do a woeful job with what should be the most cost-free production (to them).

But what of the artists? The firework-makers. For that is what they are.  They have a sky for a canvas. They have a palette that extends by the year, offering sight, sound, colour and form and.... development infront of the eye to boot.

Here we have to mention Japan. They are The Best.

This year the Tavern has invited the very best firework makers to show us their wares so we can select and display the most magnificent.

So, you be the judge. We sat out on the Patio last evening and put these magicians of light and colour, form and shape, through their paces.

20 chaps and their teams were allowed just one shot each; A single 300mm shell. That's 12" in real measurements.

Stunning. Beatiful. Each one had its superb points. I may well invest a few dollars in No ....... ah.... nearly got myself there. 

YOU tell me which was 
the very best to you.

To be fair, most displays are not limited to single 12" shells, and we shall have a few different ones too.

So we have also looked at smaller and larger items too. 

Up to the World's largest at 48". 

We just might order one for 'afters'.

Get your plans ready. And book a table out on the Tavern's Patio.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Artist as a Man

When it comes to art, we know what we like, in the Tavern. And we have good eyes for a good artist. Most nations exault their 'culture' and 'art' is an important expression of culture. But what of a nation that is new and has people from many nations?  Does it have a singular, identifiable culture?

And what of a 'culture' that has artists 'employed' by the State? One where the artists are mainly of the "we don't want to starve in a garret" type and who constantly badger the taxpayer to give him grants and awards, subsidies and prizes for stuff for which no-one wants to pay hard-earned money ?

Oz is awash with such spongers who suck from the public teat.

So it is almost like bathing in a forest spring when a chap meets a real artist who is entirely self-sufficient and demands nothing from a Government Department; one who does not suck-up to his local MP or 'arts' body seeking a hand out.

On my recent journey overseas to the Big Island, on the occasion of my birthday, I visited Bruno Torfs' garden in Marysville.

Bruno: An Artist: A Man.

Bruno was born and raised in South America; he moved as a teen, with his family, to Belgium where he was a sort of 'hippy'. In the Tavern we do not hold hippy-types in high regard.  But this man is an exception. He travelled a lot and had work as a signwriter. This did not facilitate his artistic expression though, which he inherited from his artist father and was demanding its place in the world.

Later, with his wife and two daughters he moved to Oz where he found a lovely spot in deep Victorian country and set about his work. A couple of acres and a modest home in a small village. And his talent. And his self-reliance.

In the deep forests of Victoria, nestles the small Village of Marysville. Pop 299.
And Bruno's Garden.

Bruno developed a garden where his sculptures could be placed. It was a success. He continued as he always had, working at a furious pace, supporting his family from his artistic endeavours; seeking no hand-outs. His reputation grew like the local manferns and could not be contained in the forests of Victoria: 

but nature has a way of testing a man's metal 
in the furnace.

A bushfire virtually destroyed Marysville in 2009, along with several other small villages and Bruno's endeavours. Many people died. Bruno and his family were spared their lives. It was a huge tragedy and the loss of life of others overshadowed the loss of an artist's livelihood.

Bruno talking with The Taverner's Lad. "Come in. Welcome"

It would have broken a lesser man.

Bruno rebuilt.

He had friends.

It is a delight to see the result. He is a delightful man. One that every artist could emulate.

I wish they would.

Now, if you look carefully, you can see the Tavern Keeper taking the snap.
It is a  sculpture set in a mirror.

A 'google' image search (Bruno's Art and Sculpture Garden) will show you a much more comprehensive selection of photographs.

My heart was uplifted. My long journey and busy time had its rewards and this was 'icing on the Birthday cake'.

I hope you may get to visit Bruno too.


Faux-Guilt and the ubiquitous Hypocrit

What stupid webs people weave when they take a stand on some stupid matter. There are many enough real issues that get ignored and swamped by fake complaint. 

The course of human history has never run smoothly and what our grand-mothers did, encouraging our grand-fathers onward to 'provide', holds some folk in thrall to faux guilt. And of course, what we do today.

Who wants to go back to a 'hunter-gatherer' society? 

Why some feel it necessary to whine about long-past generation's actions is beyond rational discussion. The 'changes' to traditional human practices in order to make life seem more 'inclusive' or 'tolerant', bring more problems than the small mind can imagine. Comforts and progress are hard won, but easily disparaged.

Two came into conversation in the bar while I was away. One in cartoon form.

The greenies and the 'black-armband' wassers never seem to want to put their own money where their forked tongue usually is. 

 The other example came from the animal rights mob.

Is fake fur even worse than the real thing? 
From destroying the planet to supporting sweatshops, why experts say faking it isn’t nearly as ethical as you think
Dazzlingly colourful and irresistibly fluffy, faux fur is taking over the High Street. From Bon Marché to Marks and Spencer, retailers are selling a wide range of stoles, hats, coats and bedspreads this winter. And shoppers are snapping them up after seeing celebrities such as Kate Moss and Victoria Beckham swathed in the fabric.
Proving she is not just a photogenic walking bottom.
But far from concealing the fact the fur isn’t real, they’re flaunting it as a way of proving their ethical credentials. No wonder: fur has been demonised to such an extent by animal-rights campaigners that wearing the real thing is likely to earn you a few severe looks at best, and public rants by strangers at worst.
Oh dear. The disapproving looks from the 'offenderatti' is just too much for some people. 
However, the fur industry is now fighting back with a devastating — and intriguing — suggestion that faux fur is actually far less ethical than real fur.  And the campaign is working: sales of real fur are booming again.
To understand the contentious issue, we have to go back to 1994, when five supermodels took off their clothes, sat on the floor and told the world: 
‘We’d rather go naked than wear fur.’   
Except of course that going naked is just so passe these days, unless one is a pulcritudinous Page Three girl. Then its a no-no. 
The campaign, by animal-rights charity Peta, was a triumph. Sales of mink, sable and chinchilla plummeted.
Since then, all but one of the five models (Christy Turlington) has failed to keep their word: Naomi Campbell, for example, posed in a £120,000 Russian sable coat in 2009, and Cindy Crawford promoted mink coats in 2004.
Celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, both Middleton sisters, Beyonce, Cara Delevingne and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley have worn fur in recent years.
Possum on a stick?

And real-fur sales have increased globally by 58 per cent since the end of the Nineties, says the British Fur Trade Association (BFTA).
Indeed, almost 500 designers, including Diane von Furstenberg, Yves Saint Laurent and Roberto Cavalli, currently use fur in their collections. And some furriers claim almost three-quarters of this year’s catwalk shows feature fur.
TV stylist Mark Heyes says: ‘Without question, it’s becoming more fashionable. I’ve never seen so much fur on the High Street. Faux or real, it’s on almost every item going, from dresses to tops and even keyrings.’
So, what on Earth has happened to change our minds on fur so radically?
The battle between the anti and pro-fur lobbies is still being fought vehemently. But Mike Moser, chief executive of BFTA, thinks that the new generation of fashionistas is waking up to the environmental impact of faux-fur production — and deciding that climate change is their main concern.
‘Younger people in particular want to hear all the facts then make up their own minds,’ he says. ‘The argument that we should replace real fur with fake is completely wrong. For environmental reasons, it should be the other way around.
Hah! When have 'young people' ever wanted to 'hear all the facts'? A more 'follow the crowd' age one cannot imagine.
‘There isn’t any doubt that the environmental impact of fake fur is profoundly worse than fur-farming.’
It’s undeniable that fake fur is made from non-renewable petroleum-based products, such as nylon, acrylic and polyester, then treated with heat and chemicals to improve its look and feel.
These industrial processes use three times as much non-renewable energy as real fur, according to the International Fur Trade Federation.
But fashion-conscious consumers often dump their faux-fur garments after just one season. 
Many end up in landfill and, just like petroleum-based plastic bags, can take up to 1,000 years to decompose.
Real fur, meanwhile, biodegrades naturally within six months to a year, and can even be composted in the garden, says Mike Moser.
Washing fake fur may harm the environment, too. With every machine wash, says a 2011 paper for the Environmental Science & Technology journal, each garment releases an average of 1,900 tiny particles of plastic, which are then swilled into rivers, lakes and, eventually, the sea.
It’s feared these particles may kill marine life and disrupt food chains.
Pro-fur lobbies also point to the unethical working practices of some faux-fur manufacturers. It’s already widely known that disposable fashion often relies on Third World sweatshop labour, paltry wages and toxic working conditions. 
But the International Fur Trade Federation claims that the manufacture of fake fur doubles the risk of ill-health in workers due to the emissions of carcinogenic substances during production.
And American Fur Commission spokesman Michael Whelan says: ‘Fast fashion is promoting dependence on foreign oil and exacerbating child-labour issues in the Third World.’ Given all this, should we not be buying the real deal instead?
Costume designer Minna Attala, who has worked for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and Asos and is a life-long vegetarian, says it’s a grey area. ‘I’m not pro-fur but, because I’ve been educated on the subject, I’m not against it either,’ she says.
‘Killing animals for vanity is not right, but there are whole communities of people who rely on this industry for employment, and, in the majority of cases, the animals are treated well, so that they’ll have healthy coats.
‘Animals are treated horrifyingly in the meat industry, and nobody is throwing cans of red paint at steak-eaters.’
Around 20 per cent of fur comes not from farms, but trapping wild animals. These creatures, claim the pro-fur campaigners, are often killed quickly and humanely. Some are culled to help balance animal populations and native ecosystems. In New Zealand. for example, the government has encouraged people to buy what they call ‘the world’s most ecological fur’ — that of the paihamu, a small, non-native, furry animal that has been wreaking havoc on native species.
Meanwhile, fur-friendly companies, such as the Gucci Group, insist that all their furs are vegetable-dyed and tanned via traditional, non-toxic methods. However, this comes at a price — a mink scarf from Gucci costs £1,500.
Let us not mention - in all this hoo-haa - the gender of the majority of the purchacers. 
Yet none of this will convince Peta’s UK director Mimi Bekhechi that real fur is anything other than abhorrent. She maintains that the pro-lobby have got it wrong on the environmental impact of faux fur, and says there are plenty of eco-friendly faux options available.
‘Fur is only “natural” when it’s on the animal who was born with it,’ says Mimi.
‘Recent independent studies have found that the impact of production of a mink coat on climate change is three to ten times higher than the impact of a faux-fur coat.
‘We all have the choice to be cruel or kind. So, when real fur involves electrocuting a fox, or slitting the throat of a rabbit for fur trim, choosing one of the many soft, warm and luxurious faux or fur-free options, which are also more eco-friendly, becomes a no-brainer.’
Meanwhile, Minna Attala says: ‘If someone was to be truly to-the- letter ethical, they ought to forego both real and faux fur — and also fast fashion in general.’

Life is complicated enough.


Thursday, November 13, 2014

No Gain without Pain?

Someone in the bar was 'encouraging'. It happens when someone needs a shove. But by the Lord Harry some people do say the daftest things. They can lose all sense of proportion.

We have seen a legion of 'Gurus" arise in the past 50 odd years, all mouthing questionable platitudes. Some are quite stupid; some dangerous; some simply charlatans.

Many here know that even Knights can admire airplanes and pilots. The pilots of military planes are generally quite courageous chaps, especially those who do the 'testing'. They push the envelope and generally without mindless encouragement. They don't usually say much that gets reported.

That is not always the case with their 'bosses', especially when said 'Boss' is a dilettante and a dill, And even when he is a 'successful' dill.

Sir Richard of the Hair and Teeth.
So some words tumbled from the mouth of Sir Richard Branson the other day, on the occasion of the death of a pilot. He was taken to task by Peter Jones.

Someone had to say it.
No, Richard Branson, our greatest achievements don’t come from our greatest pain
The ancients would have found the idea absurd. And they proved it wrong
Explaining the death of a pilot testing a Virgin Galactic rocket-ship, Sir Richard Branson intoned: ‘I truly believe that humanity’s greatest achievements come out of the greatest pain.’ 
The ancients would have been appalled, both at the crass ignorance of the sentiment and its implication.
It is hard to see how papyrus, made out of marsh plants in Egypt since about 3,000 BC, resulted from ‘the greatest pain’. Yet, in combination with the presumably pain-free invention of the Greek alphabet, from which the Roman and our alphabet derive, this material was to drive literacy and a knowledge revolution across the Mediterranean. 
The technology took another dramatic leap forward when the codex, or book, was invented by the Romans in the 1st century BC, replacing the clumsy and inefficient scroll. 
One wonders how many lost their lives doing that.
To turn to the work of the mind, not many died when Euclid’s axiomatic method laid the secure foundation for later mathematics or Archimedes did work ranked with that of Newton, Gauss and Euler. 
Few fatalities were incurred when Aristotle invented biology and the rules of logic, Homer invented epic and Herodotus history. 
When, without a single casualty, the Roman poet Lucretius made Epicurus’ atomist theory of life the subject of his great poem On the Nature of the Universe, it would revolutionise our understanding of the world 1,700 years later. 
And all that from just the ancient world.
Further, Branson’s assertion that sending millionaires on holidays into suborbital space will be one of ‘humanity’s greatest achievements’ is grotesque enough; but the implication that ‘the greatest pain’ — i.e. the death of members of his workforce — is a price well worth paying in the cause of his saint-like devotion to the betterment of mankind suggests he is close to losing all sense of proportion. 
A Greek sentiment, surviving in Latin, might sum up his situation: quem Jupiter vult perdere, dementat prius — ‘whom Jupiter wishes to destroy, he first drives mad’.

Yes, some advances are painful. My sympathies go to the brave pilots and the grieving family. But let us be free of mindless cant. 

A far better assessment, and words, were from Bill Whittle. He recognises the brilliance and the risks and praises as due.


I have a boat to catch.

Smoking Guns

Which are more stupid? Our 'leaders' or the we, the People, who vote for them? In my very early days as a Knight, a chap gained his spurs early on by being booted out of house and home so that his older brother could inherit the land. A chap was considered pretty useless and indeed a liability and a threat until he could prove himself worthy, and preferably prove it a long way away. He did not get to vote on the matter.

Then we became civilised. Women got the vote whilst men still were sent off to fight and mostly die. Elsewhere. Out of sight. And so it is today, although many more and more fauous excuses are invented to get him out of his home and onto furrin shores. Our leaders are full of quite stupid  excuses. They lie and decieve.

Two examples in recent days may illustrate this all-too-often ignored feature of leaders and the led.

British men are sent to far-flung places to fight. What for? We do have to ask. Men's lives are on the line.

American men - and women - are lied to about life and death and deliberately deceived about the healthcare at home. (And of course, many sent overseas to join the British men and men from Oz, too, getting the 'opportunity' to prove themselves). Let us ask a few questions.

Vince Cooper asked first as he had the first pint.

Why did British troops go to Afghanistan?
British troops were being killed and maimed in Afghanistan, yet Westminster politicians and top brass cannot offer coherent reasons for their presence in the country or an approach to Islam that makes any sense
Why were British troops sent to fight in Afghanistan? The question is worth asking as, now that the last British troops have left the country, the top brass of the army are in serious disagreement with each other over the purpose of the whole enterprise.
In a letter to the Sunday Telegraph Colonel Richard Kemp, Former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan rejected General Lord Dannatt’s claim that British Forces were deployed to help the Afghans “get a life after two decades of bloody civil war.”
Colonel Kemp dismisses Lord Dannatt’s almost social worker interpretation of the role of the army. He states categorically that British troops were sent to Afghanistan “to throw out or destroy al-Qaeda and to prevent the country from again becoming a base that international jihadists could use to attack the West.”
That’s a serious disagreement.
And it is a serious indictment too. The 'working' soldier has a full-on military ethos, as one hopes. His General tells a different and altogether 'weenie' tale. 
In a war where well over four hundred British troops were killed and thousands injured, many maimed for life. The purpose of such suffering needs real justification, not contradiction.
THIS is the Boy Next Door. A Fine young man. He died in Battle. An Australian.
He put his life in harm's way, as many a Knight has done for generations. For YOU.
At the behest of liars, thieves, deceivers and swindlers.
Will YOU let it be a waste?

Yet contradiction is what is on offer. Lord Dannatt seems to believe Britain went to war for 
humanitarian and social reasons. 
This interpretation contradicts not only Colonel Kemp, but Prime Minister Tony Blair, who sent in the troops in the first place. Mr Blair stated the war aim was to “shut down the terrorist network” and -- almost as an afterthought -- to destroy the heroin supply (the opium poppy crop).
So far, Colonel Kemp’s interpretation seems to agree with Tony Blair’s, yet John Reid, Labour’s defence secretary in 2005-2006 stated he would be “perfectly happy” if British troops in Afghanistan left “without firing a shot.” 
But how could British troops “shut down the terrorist network” without firing a shot?
British troops were being killed and maimed in Afghanistan, yet Westminster politicians could not offer coherent reasons for their presence. And the contradictions over Afghanistan took a further twist when Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth said in 2009 that troops were there “as a result of our assessment of the terrorist threat facing Britain.”
The streets of Britain had now become the new front in the Afghan war. 
Later, under David Cameron, the Defence Secretary Liam Fox continued the same theme. British soldiers were not in Afghanistan “for the sake of the education policy in a broken 13th century country”, he said. The reason British troops were in Afghanistan was “so the people of Britain and our global interests are not threatened.”
The explanations for the war in Afghanistan had come full circle: to turf out al-Qaeda and burn the poppy-crop; to protect an education policy for Afghan women, and finally to protect the streets of Britain from Islamist attacks.
The politicians, from the safety of Westminster have chopped and changed for political convenience over the thirteen years of this Afghan war, while the troops put their lives on the line. 
Lucy Aldridge, mother of the youngest British soldier to fight in Afghanistan said: “I think that from the outset the conflict was ill-conceived, ill-planned, and I think that is something that definitely needs to be looked at post-withdrawal.”
Mrs Aldridge lost her brave son in that war. Given the vacillation of Westminster politicians, she surely deserves the enquiry that she demands.
Another very serious question needs to be asked. 
But if British troops were in Afghanistan to fight “the terrorist threat facing Britain”, 
why was Muslim immigration to Britain not severely reduced or stopped altogether, 
at least as an emergency? 
After all, the main way an al-Qaeda terrorist can hit the UK is by being here. Not all Muslims are terrorists of course; only a tiny minority. But it is from within the Muslim community that most terrorists come.

Just a tiny minority of  around 160 million worldwide. 
Some minority !

Military forces are established and maintained to defend the country. In times of peace such forces can become slack and ill-used. They can lose vital skills and experience. Hense it has always been an unspoken - certainly an unwritten - policy for UK troops to find battles to take some part in. It keeps the 'sharp' end sharp. 

But such a policy can itself be misused.

Now to America which is suffering from the worst President in its history.  And to an issue not to do with fighting political and military enemies abroad but fighting the day-to-day physical ailments and illnesses at home. 

We can severely criticise a 'Presidential' decision to send troops into obscure places to fight outbreaks of disease and illness. Viruses do not carry guns or place artilliary. 

Such troops are not medical specialists for that purpose.  No-one in Africa was declaring war on America.

But home based healthcare is a battle we all need to fight. And the President made war in the American public in his efforts to 'improve' their health.

This was a matter to engage everyone, shirley? A matter that affected everyone, even the ladies who vote. The public had a big stake in the matter and needed to know 'The Plan'.

But the 'Great Leader', Chairman O Ba Ma, could not treat his subjects as adults. He thinks of them as stupid. In part he is right. He did get voted in. Twice.

David Limbaugh took his pint in hand and addressed the bar.
A Smoking Gun for Us 'Stupid American Voters'

Recently, a very disturbing video emerged that contains the metaphorical smoking gun concerning President Obama’s many lies about Obamacare. This should remove any lingering doubt that we’re dealing with a fascist-type administration.

Of course, there should be no need for a smoking gun, because it is now undeniable that Obama lied on his major selling points about the Affordable Care Act. Unlike many Democrats in falsely accusing President George W. Bush of lying about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, I don’t use the term “lie” lightly.

I don’t mean that Obama made good-faith statements about his bill that he honestly believed at the time but would later turn out to be erroneous. I am not even suggesting that he made promises he knew would be difficult to fulfill that he ultimately could not. 
I am saying that he made statements that he knew to be false when he made them.

Obama said countless times, despite knowing better, that if Americans liked their health care plans and their doctors, they could keep them. 
He said that average health care premiums for a family of four would decrease by some $2,500. 
He said his bill would be budget-neutral. 
His administration talked out of both sides of its mouth in characterizing the bill variously as a tax and as a penalty, depending on which label served his interests at the time. 
Team Obama assured us that employer-based plans would not be wedged out.

No one should need further proof of these multiple and oft-repeated lies, but should you need more, there is indeed more – and it’s explosive and hot off the presses.

The Daily Caller reports that in a newly surfaced video, Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber, an MIT professor, made some stunning admissions concerning how the administration presented the bill and how it overtly deceived the public because the bill never would have passed otherwise.

To understand the administration’s contempt for the American people, it is important for you to watch the video.
(It’s on YouTube, titled “GRUBER: ‘Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage.”) 
But in case you cannot, here is what Gruber said: 
“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure (the Congressional Budget Office) did not score the mandate as taxes. If CBO scored the mandate as taxes, the bill dies. OK? So it’s written to do that. 
In terms of risk-rated subsidies, if you had a law which said healthy people are going to pay in – you made explicit that healthy people pay in and sick people get money – it would not have passed. … Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage. And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically, that was really, really critical to getting the thing to pass. … Look, I wish (health economist) Mark (Pauly) was right (that) we could make it all transparent, but I’d rather have this law than not.”

You can see the mindset that these people have. There is no mistaking it. They know better than we “stupid” American people what is good for us, so they’ll do whatever is necessary, including purposely deceiving us, to advance their political agenda.

This is the stuff of outright tyrants – arrogant, unaccountable, cavalier despots. This is political fascism. This is not representative government. This type of behavior nullifies the Constitution and disenfranchises the American people.
One is reminded of the most senior woman voter in the country, Nancy Pelosi - you know of her from earlier posts. She is the abortion supporting Catholic. A moron befitting the oxymoron.

She' leading the House, declared that the Representatives of the voting public would have to pass the Bill before they could understand what was in it.

Well she was right about that at least.

Not that anyone seriously boxed her ears, took her knickers down and gave her a sound spanking and said 'Repeat after me. The Public pays me to read this shit BEFORE I pass it". someone should have.

It’s one thing to have strong ideological views. It’s altogether another to impose those views at any cost and in derogation of the people’s rights. 
This is who this president is. 
These are the people he surrounds himself with.

Obama and his team are not chastened, much less repentant, over the recent election results. They remain undeterred, and they intend to continue using whatever means they deem necessary, in their self-assessed superior wisdom, to accomplish their political ends, beginning with immigration.

It’s hard to believe that this man was ever elected and exceedingly harder to believe he was re-elected, but it is now quite clear that even he and his team believe he wouldn’t have been able to achieve re-election or advance much of his agenda had he been truly honest and transparent about his aims and the effects of various bills.

If you were unaware of or in denial about Obama’s character and his willingness to deceive and act against the will of the American people before – despite other smoking guns, such as those concerning his lies on the Benghazi, Libya, attacks – you have no excuse now.

Two dangerous years remain in Obama’s term. Even Democrats who might agree with many of Obama’s remaining agenda items have a duty to oppose his further abuse of our system, including on immigration. But whether or not they step up, it is imperative that Republicans take a hard line against any such corrosive acts against the rule of law and our Constitution.

We, the Public, must ask ourselves - not just our leaders.... Are we stupid?

We do after all keep electing these crass liars. 

OK, many of us do not.  It is the clod next door, the Big Brother, who continually votes-in other big bothers. We often find ourselves in the minority.

But look what Muslims do with their minority !

They take up arms too.

Gird your loins. Put on the Armour of TRUTH.  Take up Your Sword.


Addendum: The Tavern Keeper is taking to the sea, with steed and baggage, on a journey to the Big Island. The Tavern will still be open and a buxom wench will be on hand to serve fine ale and Grace while I am away.  
Comments will be held until a message reaches me.
I shall return before two weeks have passed.