Friday, March 31, 2017

Tavern In Shock

Note: This post will be updated often.

Customers rallied around today when they heard the very sad and shocking news that the Lady of the House, the well-loved Southern Gal, had been injured in a road accident. It does not look good.

A call for Prayer from her fine Knight and Hero husband, the Major, a firm friend of all, was met by nearly forty customers who were present. Rosaries were supplied with every glass of ale.

He said: 
I want to ask for your prayers for her.  Last night she was involved in a very bad car accident.  She was hit on the passenger side by a pickup truck and praise the Lord the boys weren't with her because the little one's car seat isn't recognizable.  She is currently in the Intensive Care Unit at a local hospital. 
She broke all of her ribs on the right side and 4-5 on the left side. She has a hematoma on the right lobe of the lung as well as a leak on that side.  She had some bleeding in her abdomen and inside the liver capsule.  They operated on her last night to take care of that and it seems the bleeding is under control. They have her sedated and on a ventilator.   
The good news is the CT scan of her head and neck came back normal so it appears there is no brain bleeding and no neck injury which is a praise to Jesus. 
My prayers were immediate and have continued, joining those of so many others who heard the call. 

It is a shock. My poor and Beloved friend. I wept. This is a Lady that I hold dear.

My poor and admired friend the Major will be going through much angst and worry for a while. My thoughts and prayers are with him and his boys too.

The atmosphere here is well short of its usual cheeriness. It is sombre and quiet.

M'Lady has many friends here.

I shall be down in the Crypt for a while.

Pray for my dear Southern Gal.


Update: day 1
My Lady is 'stable' in intensive care. Heavily sedated and on a ventilator. She has responded to requests to move fingers and toes. There is quite a lot of significant injury but her spine and head seem OK. So many broken bones, specifically ribs with a punctured lung and some leaking in her airways. There has been some organ damage which needed immediate surgery. More will be needed. Her good husband says that the hospital staff are doing the best they can. The prognosis is 'good' at the moment with the doctors 'on top of it'. But there are days ahead when the situation may not improve or even go backward, so please continue with your prayers. 

I am so pleased with the response of so many people (Many 'comment' elsewhere). Our Southern Gal NEEDS you. Her Husband needs your prayers too. More than 60 are now praying.
God Bless you all.

Day 2
A customer's prayer.

Heavenly Father please touch this thy faithful Southern Gal and restore her to full health. Please watch over her and comfort her in her time of trouble. Let your peace rest upon her and let faith in your love arise in her soul. Thank you Lord for a speedy recovery and for a great testimony of your saving grace. Amen.

My Prayer, in the Crypt. 

Lord Jesus, I am an unworthy man and a poor Knight who seeks your forgiveness, so as to heal my Soul and make my Prayer to you Pure.  I praise you.  I raise my glass to you in the company of fine people who live by Your Word. 

We read in the Gospels that you spoke individually to many people, changing their lives as you showed them recognition and acceptance and as you brought them healing and wholeness. We read, too, of how some people (Mk 2:1-12 )were such good friends of a man who was weak and paralysed, that they carried him on his stretcher: making their way through the crowds, carrying him on to the roof, and gently lowering him down, so that he could be right in front of you. They must have been such good friends to him, and others could see the tenderness of their love and care as well as their extraordinary faith and trust in you, Lord, in bringing him into your presence. 

And isn’t it the very same that we are doing today, Lord - those of us who love and care for the Southern Gal, our Lady of the Tavern, as we bring her, carry her, in the strength of our love into the warmth and light of your presence: knowing that you, too, Love her? We can all but hear you calling our Southern Gal by her name ( Is 43:1 ) which is known to You, as you are also calling her your friend, (Jn 15:15) and we know that your love never fails. (1 Cor 13:8 ).

Lord, our Southern Gal, the one you love - is seriously injured and ill, (Jn 11:3) and those of us who join you in loving her and caring for her ask you to lay your hands upon her (Lk 4:40, Mk 5:23 )and transform her life once again, bringing her the fullness of your healing and your life. 

Restore her to us, Lord. Thy Will be done.


Update. Day 3 
The Major sends a message:

Thank you for the prayer and encouragement. I talked to one of her doctors who said she is progressing fairly well and will discuss with her other doctor about starting her on some small amounts of nutrition later today or tomorrow.  So that is positive news. Any little bit is a good thing.

The Major says:

They are still concerned the liver may bleed again.  Gods healing and rest are the only way to fix broken ribs.  Thank you for your prayers and support Sir Tavern Keeper, we appreciate them more than you know.

I talked with Pulmonologist and he and the surgeon are going to try and wake her up and start the weaning off the ventilator process tomorrow morning.  

Now the real pain begins as she'll be more aware of what is going on and moving around more.  

Please pray for her comfort and that God would ease any pain she will experience.

In the Tavern, deep below in the Crypt:

Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life, breathe for this, our dear friend, your servant. Restore her to good health.

Many others, not just me, are praying Major. I am sure that your friends in your Church are too. Here we offered a Latin Mass today presided by a very old and Holy priest,  that she be healed from her injuries. It is, as you say, in God's hands and those of his 'professional servants' at her bedside.  We prayed for them and the nurses that care for her too.

Update 3 April.
My lovely gal is fighting hard and doing it hard. I was able to speak to her today, enabled by her brave and constant husband, via skype and a hand-held device. I kept it short and let her know that you all were praying for her and wanting her recovery. She heard me and acknowledged. 

She is occasionally conscious as the doctors are weening her off the ventilator and the sedation. She is being given pain killers for the major pain she has from so much damage to her rib cage. It is a real mess. But the air-leaks are healing. The internal bleeding appears to have stopped thanks to skilled medical treatment.

As yet she is unable to speak but she can signal understanding with her eyes. The prognosis is as good as we can expect at this moment. 

Please keep praying for her and keep her in your thoughts. And pray too for her husband who carries such a weight of anxiety. He is a fine man.

Update. 4  April
The major has updated the news. 

They took her off sedation this morning and after running some tests they took her off of the ventilator and removed her breathing tube.  So that is a small victory there.

I read her what you'd written and it made her happy to know you are thinking of her. So far she is tolerating being off the ventilator pretty well.  Pray that she continues to gain strength. She is in excruciating pain all over her side, back and stomach.  Pray for continued comfort.

A little later he said:

She is starting to have a little relief. Starting some breathing treatments soon. But Sir Knight, my wife has an extremely high pain tolerance and she's saying it's 10 out of 10 for pain, it hurts me to see her like this.

It hurts me too and many of her friends reading this. The Southern Gal is a strong gal with a first class Character, and will survive and be restored to good health. But it is and will be a hard slog.  I shall pull pints and pray.

5 April

Some better news.
My Gal is almost off the sedation meds and is breathing on her own, albeit with immense pain. The Docs have riggered her up with an on-demand morphine pump so she can ease that pain within prescription limits. It gives not just some relief but 'control' back to her. 

But she is still has a way to go to be out of the deep woods. There have been some virtually sleepless nights, but we hope she will get some needed and refreshing sleep soon.

Update 6. April

I am amazed at the strength of the Gal. Today she was moved out of the ICU into a recovery ward. She is still in great pain and she still has a way to go, but is talking. Her boys have even been allowed to visit, which has done her no end of good.

There is much recovery to do yet though and your prayers are still needed. Include some for gratitude. We WILL get our Southern Gal back.

Update 7 April

Night time here in the Tavern and day where she is.

We exchanged words of encouragement, one to another. Skype is a wonderful facility. She is up. Taken steps. But rest and recovery is essential. There is much healing of this awful bodily assault that is yet to take place. It will take time. And care. And prayer.

I will cease this log now. But other posts from the Tavern will occasionally give you an update.


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Crowning Glory

So, the chaps are busy in the barber's seats and we turn our attention to the Ladies.  It is their turn in the Hairdressers' comfy chairs and to have their 'crowning glory' attended to. 

It has been said to me a few times - by wenches - that I am an old curmudgeon who does not like women. Some have even accused me of 'having problems' with the fair sex. This is sheer calumny of course, albeit with an element of truth in the latter. Who has not had problems with women? 

 Especially when they are having a 'Bad Hair Day'.

Put your hands up anyone who has escaped 'problems' with women. Crikey even women have problems with women. But we love them ne'ertheless. We love 'em long into their life if not well enough for their applause.

If truth had to be told, the ladies are and always have been the source of great pleasure and entertainment for me. For any red-blooded man (and my blood is red, I can tell you from having spilt so much on battlefields) loves the ladies. Knights especially.  He may go off and battle feminists and socialists and society wreckers because he has to, but he comes home to his Lady because he wants to.  His work is his burden and brings her jewels and bacon but his lady is his love and she brings him pleasure. We start that very early. 

And ladies start attending to their hair very early too. 

A woman's hair is her crowning glory, they say. Quite rightly so in many cases. And she can do so much with it if she is smart. The smart, witty, sensitive, feminine woman can be a delight to any man and especially when she attends to how she looks.

A chap can learn quite early on that playing with a lady's hair is as pleasurable as sitting in an exotic barber's chair mentioned earlier. A wise chap will share his pleasure with his wife, brushing her hair, and with his daughters, helping them to learn how to take care of it. It can be fun.

It can go well beyond this.....

He ought to learn the basics.  Here is a tutorial for the Fast French Braid. Once you get this down, you can knock it out in just a few minutes. This hairstyle is great for sports, gymnastics or running. Practice makes perfect, so daddies please try it. 

Many women spend large amounts of money in the hairdressers. They often take pleasure in getting their hair done. But sometimes 'tis best they do things themselves. They might diet easier too.  Bythe way, don't stop watching when she says stop. You know how it is when they say 'stop'. 

So, for the ladies, some hairdressing tips. And pay attention gentlemen. Your lady (or wench) may seek your assistance. You must be up to the task !

Here is a simple French Braid.

The Dutch go one better.

I know which I prefer, but each to his (and her) own.

There are complex styles which can be mastered. (?) Mistressed?  And some not.

Don't try this at home.

Practice not only makes perfect but can afford a couple a fun time together. Does this look as difficult to do as the end result looks beautiful? 

How about an elegant bun?  Frankly chaps, if she can do it behind her head, you can do it for her right before your nose. (Especially with clean and sweet smelling hair)

Start from simple and work your way up.

A Twist can go down well too. It is elegant and suits many 'occasions' including staying at home in your castle. Just the two of you.

For the busy woman who has to look after the castle while you are away, and supervise all the wenches that 'do' and try to out-do her, she could simply put her hair up along with her sleeves, but keep it sweet.

There are many quite practical reasons why woman 'DIY' their hair, which gives a chap opportunity to lend a loving hand. Among the reasons is the fact that not all hairdressing establishments are patronised by nice people. Wenches ain't ladies. There are such wenches that ought to be on the battlefield !!

But enough.

Well coiffeured ladies and heroes, fill and raise your glasses.

To the Ladies.

God Bless 'em.


The Exotic Barber

As Lent draws to its finale toward Easter we do the 'Washing of Feet' in humility and it looks as though this year I shall have to put my feet in the frame at my Church. But here in the Tavern I decided to give my customers a treat at the other end. The Head. So I invited some barbers in from around the world. Today it was for the chaps. The Gentlemen and Heroes, the Saints and the Knights, yea even unto the King m'self. I shall let some loose on the ladies soon enough.

I usually get my hair sorted in a straight forward fashion thrice or four times a year: short back and sides and a beard trim.  It is a no-nonsense bizzo. But I am an old fashioned sort of chap, unlike the modern 'metrosexual' bloke who prefers to doxy his hair like some sort of nancy in the manner of a footballer or other such thug who carves lines and signs on his scalp.  

Most men's haircuts are not designed to be a 'pleasurable' affair, but there are exceptions. 

I recall many years ago when travelling to battle in the far eastern lands I would more frequently visit a barber who sat his clients on the pavement next to a busy street and treated them not just to a fine haircut but to luxurious and really pleasurable handling of face and scalp, and even deal blows to aches in the shoulders and neck.  They offered a wide choice of service.

In strange lands one can find exotic barbers. 

So too did I offer my customers choice.

Yes, I would let him loose on my visage. Even the ladies seem to enjoy such ministrations, albeit without the razor.  Of course they get additional services that might get a chap rolling his eyes. Here, Baba the Cosmic Barber calls down the powers of the Universe that float into his establishment, just to add to her good looks.

I doubt she would have sat on the street though.

The Italians are always good for splendid service too and quite unafraid of letting ladies loose on suitably restrained gentlemen. (And Knights).

The Scapicchio Family is one of the most ancient family barber businesses still in activity in Italy. Since 1820 five generations have been handing down the art of shaving. It was a great honor to have them visit the Tavern. Here the first part of the face shave performed by Master Enzo with the help of Pina.

Pina can hot-towel my face for a full hour. I would take a nap ! Soft hands: gentle touch. What more can a chap want. Well, a shave I guess.

I do not wholly recommend Turkish barbers. Not only is a Mohammedan with a razor at your throat a bit of a worry, they sometimes use fire too ! I suppose one could talk to them nicely and avoid mentioning football. 

This is a typical Turkish barber in action, from "Sultanahmet" in Istanbul,Turkey.

A Complete Service....Cut, Shave, Head Massage, and Trimming the hairs out of the ears with Fire: the art of shaving, eh ! 

Perhaps they use fire to express something about bald chaps being seen in the shop.

I mentioned the nancies.  There are some really weird ways of having one's hair it seems. Men's haircuts for women and vice versa. Haircuts for 'other-than-humans' too. Even totally bald chaps can get 'treatment'.

 There are wide choices and strange requests. Be careful what you ask for.

But almost overlooked are the fine chaps with beards. I have had hair long and short and my beard too. Beards need a skilled professional, although to my knowledge most chaps take care of their own. At least we can see our beards. 

But enough. Hot towels away and out with the hairspray. We shall look next time at the ladies and what gymnastics they put their hairdressers through.

Meanwhile quench your thirst and douse any singed hair with fine ale. Drink up.


Saturday, March 25, 2017

Cassie Jaye's Red Pill Journey

I had heard of the documentary film, of course, but only today did I get the opportunity to watch The Red Pill  all the way through. Yes, even a busy Tavern Keeper can find an hour and a half to put to good use. In my case it was more like two and half as I had to stop it from time to time to ponder, reflect, smoke several pipes and frankly admire the way Cassie Jaye confronted her own difficulty as the Truth dawned and her feminist agitprop drained away. 

She cried. I empathised.

I shall screen the film in the Tavern tonight and post additional bouncers at the gates to deal with the expected hordes trying to shout it down.

You may recall that I mentioned Cassie a little while ago. Someone reviewed the film well before I laid hands on it.
The Red Pill chronicles Jaye’s journey beginning as a skeptical feminist investigating what she believes to be a hate movement. She goes on to discover that the movement is different from what she expected and begins to question her own views on gender, power, and privilege. 

The film discusses numerous issues facing men and boys such as male suicide rates, workplace fatalities and high-risk jobs, false allegations of rape, military conscription, lack of services for male victims of domestic violence and rape, higher rates of violent victimization, issues concerning divorce and child custody, disparity in criminal sentencing, disproportionate funding and research on men's health issues, educational inequality, societal tolerance of misandry, and men's lack of reproductive rights.

It includes interviews with men's rights activists and those supportive of the movement, such as Paul Elam, founder of A Voice for Men; Harry Crouch, president of the National Coalition for Men; Warren Farrell, author of The Myth of Male Power; and Erin Pizzey, who started the first domestic violence shelter in the modern world. It also includes interviews with feminists critical of the movement, such as Ms. magazine executive editor Katherine Spillar, and sociologist Michael Kimmel. It also contains excerpts from Jaye’s video diary.

As a long-time  advocate for men's rights, all of the arguements for and against, as well as all the 'players' interviewed by Cassie, were well known to me. I did not watch to learn to suck eggs. I just wanted to see just what so many ratbag protesters did not want us to see. And boy, do they get their moment in the sun too. A gory glory.

Let us hear what Cassie has to say about it. Her statement.

She has given several interviews since the film was released. I put one here for you. And there have been many interviews of other people about her and her film. It has provoked a lot of discussion and a lot of censorious protest.

What struck me mostly was not so much the material with which I was quite familiar, but herself. Her struggle. She documented it in a 'personal' vlog, exerpts of which were shown in the film itself. 

I have seen such personal, internal struggles many times. It is always painful. Many people do not complete the task. But as it was almost a 'side-issue' for her, an unintended consequence, she continued her filming task ( in a most impartial and fair way, I might add) and had to deal with the personal confrontation with all the lies she had absorbed from the society around her. 

She went down the rabbit hole.

She was not a happy girl. She had to make room in her feminist philosophy for insights that did not fit. She was confronted with nice men. Intelligent men. She was used to the denigration of men by her peers, and she even in the past made some films on 'wimmin's ishoos'. She was shown facts and statistics and personal stories that directly contradicted what she had previously taken for granted. She dug deep to find her own experience which she was able to look at from an outside, objective perspective.  Truth. That, ladies and gentlemen, is what makes you the Knights, Saints and Heroes, and what should fit her for your company.

Oh, what was that? What does the film show? You will have to watch it but here is a taste.  As you can see she starts from a  feminist false premise but progresses to a factual one.

The film has been 'ran out of town' in various places. On several continents.

Here Oz. One closely cropped talking head even has the timerity to bring in calumnies as though they were truths, and even when they were not even in the film! 

And here in Canada.

Feminism is a multi-billion dollar business, populated by many awful women. Chanty Bix, 'Big Red' is not an untypical example. Although many others are intelligent, articulate and even polite, they all know on which side their bread is buttered and where the jam is. 

Cassie was not deterred. She met with kindness from polite men and women who seek the truth.

So, I recommend you book a table, order a nice meal and sit back to have your assumptions rocked.

The greatest respect you can show this intelligent and courageous woman is by watching her work. 

You can watch it here. You have to 'Register' when you get to it.

And drinking to her health.

A Fine Gal she is.

Update: A review by a young woman with no ax to grind. What happened when the film was shown in Melbourne, Oz.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Maddy Prior returns to the Tavern

It has been a while but tonight we will have Maddy and the lads of Steeleye Span bringing foot-tapping oldies and goodies, ancient and modern English music to the Tavern. I have been humming along - and yes, even croaking out some words - to old favourites, while fixing up barrels to pumps. They are getting old, like me, but are still going strong after near 50 years.  Yesterday's hippy mob are now old and Dodgy Bastards, and very welcome.

Steeleye Span began in late 1969, when London-born bass player Ashley Hutchings departed Fairport Convention, the band he had co-founded in 1967. Fairport had been involved in a road accident in 1969 in which the drummer, Martin Lamble, was killed and other band members injured. They convalesced in a rented house near Winchester in Hampshire.

Hutchings' new band was formed after he met established duo Tim Hart and Maddy Prior on the London folk club scene, and the initial line-up was completed by husband and wife team Terry Woods (formerly of Sweeney's Men, later of The Pogues) and Gay Woods. 

With two female singers, the original line-up was unusual for the time, and indeed, never performed live, as the Woodses departed the band shortly after the release of the group's debut album.

The name Steeleye Span comes from a character in the traditional song "Horkstow Grange"  The song gives an account of a fight between John "Steeleye" Span and John Bowlin, neither of whom are proven to have been real people. Carthy gave Hart the idea to name the band after the song character. 

When the band discussed names, they decided to choose among the three suggestions "Middlemarch Wait", "Iyubidin's Wait", and "Steeleye Span". 

Although there were only five members in the band, six ballots appeared and "Steeleye Span" won. 

Only in 1978 did Hart confess that he had voted twice.

Maddy has been the centre and heart ever since.

 Enough. I have ale to sort out and pumps to clean out. Tables to wipe down and lay for dinner. The restaurant walls will open to the music room and the patio  and I shall hope for good weather. Meanwhile I shall listen to rehearsals. First though, for you, Maddy and the chaps can tell us of their latest offerings.

 On with the music.

They are rehearsing the tale of a lass sent nearby many years ago. Tasmania was once called.... Van Diemen's Land. And yes, women were 'transported' here long before Captain Kirk showed us all his transporter.

They seem to have picked up a backing group which was banned in the UK by Political Correctness fanatics. Dark Morris men. They can show their faces here.

Maddy is not a bit reluctant to include old English hymns in her performances. 


A very early song (both in their career and in provenance) next. And a favourite of mine.

Thomas the Rhymer.

I knew Thomas. Several times he appeared in my Court, back when I was a King. He sang and wooed the ladies with his poetic ballads.  He made a good effort to cheer me up in my pain and I rewarded him well. Then he seemed to disappear one day. No-one saw him go. No-one knew where he'd gone. Now we do. Stolen away by a fey Elfen Queen.

For the Intermission while Maddy and the boys whet their whistles with my fine ales I have arranged for the orchestral 'Horkstow Grange' which as part of a longer piece by Percy Grainger. Performed here, in the Tavern, by the North Texas Wind Symphony. (just a bit. It is a rehearsal)

(The Miser and his Man)

""In Horkstow Grange there lives an old miser, you all do know him as I've heard tell, It was him and his man that was called John Bowlin', they fell out one market day.""

And back again for some gaity ! From an earlier time when gaity meant, well.... gaity.

And gaity was in the air when a maid married. Moistiness too ! 

But enough.

If you want more you will have to buy a ticket for tonight's performance.

Tickets are free.

Drinks too.


What Could Possibly Go Wrong

The Powers and Principalities are in overdrive in this age, especially the ejected ones. One hopes that those who stayed in Heaven are doing their bit to lend a hand to us down here. Meanwhile we mortals seem to want to emulate them, take power for ourselves (not an unreasonable wish, not-quite-all things considered) and confer all sorts of power to half-wits - on our behalf, of course. 

And the downsides? 

Forget Murphy and Sodd, just look around the world of politics. 
The accusations of one President spying on another who would be President have inadvertently thrown some light up into the murk at the top of the greasy pole. Not that many are pleased. Particularly the smoke and mirrors salespersons.

The Judge here, a long time go-to man for legal comment by the news media, has lost his moonlighting job for blowing the lid off this can of worms.

Phew! A chap can get caught up in phrases and cliches, mixing metaphors and end up shooting hisself in the foot. Political training, perhaps?

We elect people to 'represent' us but do not pay sufficient attention to what they do.

They assume powers for themselves but are rarely called out.

No, Ray, you answered correctly. But it was very murky up there. 

Have a drink.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Democracy on the Skids.

One cannot be so blind as to miss the fact that Democracy has its faults. Not only is it cumbersome but it is also prone to corruption, and not only from those that gain power. It is corrupt to its roots in the voters.  A Chinese lady came by asking whether we in the Tavern thought Democracy actually worked and whether or not I and my customers voted. She had no experience of living in such a system.

She was almost endearingly niaive asking an old cynic like me.

We who do not live under a Communist Party regime will no doubt have an opinion about Democracy from a lot of experience.  Supposedly we vote in people who will 'Represent' us.  Usually that is the last thing on their list of priorities.

The recent American election gained massive coverage, worldwide, exposing everyone to the way it is rorted, corrupted, manipulated and distorted. And that in the most Democratic of countries and largely by a Party and people who even call themselves Democrats.  

Talk about Americans not understanding Irony !

But what about other nations who claim Democracy as a central feature. They all share similarities in their processes. 

We are fortunate that Caesars no longer exist in the west. 
We might, if Christian, feel obliged to 'render unto' one. 

But in the absence we vote for a chap from the village. Or chapess. We are not morally obliged to render a pig's ear to them. And boy do they know about pig's ears. 

First a very small group of people choose someone from the next street, in secret, to 'stand' for election. You and I have no say in the choice.  Most of us have no clue even who comprise this small group. Several such small groups choose several 'candidates' with often opposing views on a small range of matters. Oddly they all say similar things which are barely believable from the outset. 

Then the hoohaaa explodes into the media where excoriations of one another pour forth from the 'candidates' mouths and from others who are already elected in the past who dip their poisoned oars in the water to destroy any vestige of credibility in those candidates.

Eventually after a huge amount of publicity monies are poured down the drain, the voters get a chance to show their hands. These voters usually do not know the candidates nor anything about them. The available information about them, in this Information Age, is scant and biased. At least the Americans conduct televised debates. Most nations do not go that far. 

But those debates are rife with corruption, with one candidate or another being favoured with a look at the questions beforehand. The voters have no idea who wrote the questions, which generally do not address matters that the voters might want to hear about.

So, devoid of any hope of guessing what a candidate might do when having to decide on some important matter, the voter votes as he or she has always done - along Tribal lines - like their parents and close friends do. 

Hardly anyone bothers to phone the candidate and ask questions. Nor email. Hardly anyone wants to even meet the candidate, share a cup of coffee, natter about life the Universe and anything, let alone Everything. 

The vast majority (clearly evidenced) vote for what goodies are 'promised' according to some TV autocue reader, knowing well that any promises made are going to be broken or ignored. And so they usually are.

At the Polling Booths we most often encounter some helpful souls who offer guidance. They hand out 'How to Vote' pamphlets. They will as easily guide you to Hell , penury, obligation to take from the poor and hand it to the rich, steal your wallet, this week and next, and in many other was seek to 'persuade'. 

These people are clearly under the entirely correct impression that you 'know not what you do'. 

We had a masked man (wearing a dog collar) come by the Tavern with his 'how to vote' pamphlet. I took a copy.  

Yes, yes, he does say it is for Catholics. But pretend, why don't you. Just while you drink this pint of good grace I am pulling for you.
Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics
This voter’s guide helps you cast your vote in an informed manner consistent with Catholic moral teaching. It helps you avoid choosing candidates who endorse policies that cannot be reconciled with moral norms that used to be held by all Christians.
As an aside, I might add, that non-Catholic voters might pay attention and see some merit here. 

On most issues that come before voters or legislators, the task is selecting the most effective strategy among several morally good options. A Catholic can take one side or the other and not act contrary to the faith. 
Most matters do not have a "Catholic position."
But some issues concern "non-negotiable" moral principles that do not admit of exception or compromise. One’s position either accords with those principles or does not. No one endorsing the wrong side of these issues can be said to act in accord with the Church’s moral norms.
This voter’s guide identifies five issues involving "non-negotiable" moral values in current politics and helps you narrow down the list of acceptable candidates, whether they are running for national, state, or local offices.
You should avoid to the greatest extent possible voting for candidates who endorse or promote intrinsically evil policies. 
As far as possible, you should vote for those who promote policies in line with the moral law.
In many elections there are situations where all of the available candidates take morally unacceptable positions on one or more of the "non-negotiable" issues.
In such situations, a citizen will be called upon to make tough choices. In those cases, citizens must vote in the way that will most limit the harm that would be done by the available candidates.
In this guide we will look first at the principles that should be applied in clear-cut races where there is an unambiguously good moral choice. These same principles help lay the groundwork for what to do in situations that are more difficult.
Knowing the principles that are applied in ideal situations is useful when facing problematic ones, so as you review the principles you should keep in mind that they often must be applied in situations where the choice is more difficult. At the end of the guide we will offer practical advice about how to decide to cast your vote in those cases.
Catholics have a moral obligation to promote the common good through the exercise of their voting privileges 
(cf. CCC 2240). 
It is not just civil authorities who have responsibility for a country. "Service of the common good require[s] citizens to fulfill their roles in the life of the political community" (CCC 2239). This means citizens should participate in the political process at the ballot box.
But voting cannot be arbitrary. 
"A well-formed Christian conscience does not permit one to vote for a political program or an individual law that contradicts the fundamental contents of faith and morals" (CPL 4). A citizen’s vote most often means voting for a candidate who will be the one directly voting on laws or programs. But being one step removed from law-making doesn’t let citizens off the hook, since morality requires that we avoid doing evil to the greatest extent possible, even indirectly.
Some things are always wrong, and no one may deliberately vote in favor of them. 
Legislators, who have a direct vote, may not support these evils in legislation or programs. Citizens support these evils indirectly if they vote in favor of candidates who propose to advance them. Thus, to the greatest extent possible, Catholics must avoid voting for any candidate who intends to support programs or laws that are intrinsically evil. When all of the candidates endorse morally harmful policies, citizens must vote in a way that will limit the harm likely to be done.
These five current issues concern actions that are intrinsically evil and must never be promoted by the law. Intrinsically evil actions are those that fundamentally conflict with the moral law and can never be deliberately performed under any circumstances
It is a serious sin to deliberately endorse or promote any of these actions, and no candidate who really wants to advance the common good will support any action contrary to the non-negotiable principles involved in these issues.
1. Abortion
The Church teaches that, regarding a law permitting abortions, it is "never licit to obey it, or to take part in a propaganda campaign in favor of such a law, or to vote for it" (EV 73). Abortion is the intentional and direct killing of an innocent human being, and therefore it is a form of homicide.
The unborn child is always an innocent party, and no law may permit the taking of his life. Even when a child is conceived through rape or incest, the fault is not the child’s, who should not suffer death for others’ sins.
2. Euthanasia
Often disguised by the name "mercy killing," euthanasia is also a form of homicide. No person has a right to take his own life, and no one has the right to take the life of any innocent person.
In euthanasia, the ill or elderly are killed, by action or omission, out of a misplaced sense of compassion, but true compassion cannot include intentionally doing something intrinsically evil to another person (cf. EV 73).
3. Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Human embryos are human beings. "Respect for the dignity of the human being excludes all experimental manipulation or exploitation of the human embryo" (CRF 4b).
Recent scientific advances show that often medical treatments that researchers hope to develop from experimentation on embryonic stem cells can be developed by using adult stem cells instead. Adult stem cells can be obtained without doing harm to the adults from whom they come. Thus there is no valid medical argument in favor of using embryonic stem cells. And even if there were benefits to be had from such experiments, they would not justify destroying innocent embryonic humans.
4. Human Cloning
"Attempts . . . for obtaining a human being without any connection with sexuality through ‘twin fission,’ cloning, or parthenogenesis are to be considered contrary to the moral law, since they are in opposition to the dignity both of human procreation and of the conjugal union" (RHL I:6).
Human cloning also involves abortion because the "rejected" or "unsuccessful" embryonic clones are destroyed, yet each clone is a human being.
5. Homosexual "Marriage"
True marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Legal recognition of any other union as "marriage" undermines true marriage, and legal recognition of homosexual unions actually does homosexual persons a disfavor by encouraging them to persist in what is an objectively immoral arrangement.
Not just 'Honk' but 'VOTE'

"When legislation in favor of the recognition of homosexual unions is proposed for the first time in a legislative assembly, the Catholic lawmaker has a moral duty to express his opposition clearly and publicly and to vote against it. To vote in favor of a law so harmful to the common good is gravely immoral" (UHP 10).
Laws are passed by the legislature, enforced by the executive branch, and interpreted by the judiciary. This means you should scrutinize any candidate for the legislature, anyone running for an executive office, and anyone nominated for the bench. This is true not only at the national level but also at the state and local levels.
In America Judges are elected. In most other nations they are appointed.  
True, the lesser the office, the less likely the office holder will take up certain issues. Your city council, for example, perhaps will never take up the issue of human cloning but may take up issues connected with abortion clinics. It is important that you evaluate candidates in light of each non-negotiable moral issue that will come before them in the offices they are seeking.
Few people achieve high office without first holding a lower office. Some people become congressional representatives, senators, or presidents without having been elected to a lesser office. But most representatives, senators, and presidents started their political careers at the local level. The same is true for state lawmakers. Most of them began on city councils and school boards and worked their way up the political ladder.
Tomorrow’s candidates for higher offices will come mainly from today’s candidates for lower offices. It is therefore prudent to apply comparable standards to local candidates. One should seek to elect to lower offices candidates who support Christian morality so that they will have a greater ability to be elected to higher offices where their moral stances may come directly into play.
1. The higher the office, the easier this will be. Congressional representatives and senators, for example, repeatedly have seen these issues come before them and so have taken positions on them. Often the same can be said at the state level. In either case, learning a candidate’s position can be as easy as reading newspaper or magazine articles, looking up his views on the Internet, or studying one of the many printed candidate surveys that are distributed at election time.

2. It is often more difficult to learn the views of candidates for local offices because few of them have an opportunity to consider legislation on such things as abortion, cloning, and the sanctity of marriage. But these candidates, being local, often can be contacted directly or have local campaign offices that will explain their positions.
3. If you cannot determine a candidate’s views by other means, do not hesitate to write directly to the candidate, asking for his position on the issues covered above.
1. Do not vote based just on your political party affiliation, your earlier voting habits, or your family’s voting tradition. Years ago, these may have been trustworthy ways to determine whom to vote for, but today they are often not reliable. You need to look at the stands each candidate takes. This means that you may end up casting votes for candidates from more than one party.
2. Do not cast your vote based on candidates’ appearance, personality, or "media savvy." Some attractive, engaging, and "sound-bite-capable" candidates endorse intrinsic evils, while other candidates, who may be plain-looking, uninspiring, and ill at ease in front of cameras, endorse legislation in accord with basic Christian principles.
3. Do not vote for candidates simply because they declare themselves to be Catholic 
Unfortunately, many self-described Catholic candidates reject basic Catholic moral teaching.
4. Do not choose among candidates based on "What’s in it for me?" Make your decision based on which candidates seem most likely to promote the common good, even if you will not benefit directly or immediately from the legislation they propose.
5. Do not vote for candidates who are right on lesser issues but will vote wrongly on key moral issues. One candidate may have a record of voting in line with Catholic values except for, say, euthanasia. Such a voting record is a clear signal that the candidate should not be chosen by a Catholic voter unless the other candidates have voting records even less in accord with these moral norms.
1. For each office, first determine how each candidate stands on each of the issues that will come before him and involve non-negotiable principles.
2. Rank the candidates according to how well their positions align with these non-negotiable moral principles.
3. Give preference to candidates who do not propose positions that contradict these principles.
4. Where every candidate endorses positions contrary to non-negotiable principles, choose the candidate likely to do the least harm. If several are equal, evaluate them based on their views on other, lesser issues.
Hmmmmm. Of course, when push comes to shove and there are no decent candidates, do not encourage any of them.  
5. Remember that your vote today may affect the offices a candidate later achieves.
In some political races, each candidate takes a wrong position on one or more issues involving non-negotiable moral principles. In such a case you may vote for the candidate who takes the fewest such positions or who seems least likely to be able to advance immoral legislation, or you may choose to vote for no one.
Again, do not compromise. That is as bad as a con-promise. 
A vote cast in such a situation is not morally the same as a positive endorsement for candidates, laws, or programs that promote intrinsic evils: It is only tolerating a lesser evil to avoid an even greater evil. As Pope John Paul II indicated regarding a situation where it is not possible to overturn or completely defeat a law allowing abortion, "an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality"(EV 73; also CPL 4).
This is a whole subject in itself. Politicians are all too eager to 'sell-out' in an effort to gain on something by approving something else. Be careful what that something else is, and beware the sell-outers. 
Catholics must strive to put in place candidates, laws, and political programs that are in full accord with non-negotiable moral values. Where a perfect candidate, law, or program is not on the table, we are to choose the best option, the one that promotes the greatest good and entails the least evil. 
Not voting may sometimes be the only moral course of action,... 
...but we must consider whether not voting actually promotes good and limits evil in a specific instance. 
The role of citizens and elected officials is to promote intrinsic moral values as much as possible today while continuing to work toward better candidates, laws, and programs in the future.
Conscience is like an alarm. It warns you when you are about to do something that you know is wrong. 
It does not itself determine what is right or wrong. 
For your conscience to work properly, it must be properly informed—that is, you must inform yourself about what is right and what is wrong. Only then will your conscience be a trusted guide.
Unfortunately, today many Catholics have not formed their consciences adequately regarding key moral issues. The result is that their consciences do not "sound off" at appropriate times, including on Election Day.
A well-formed conscience will never contradict Catholic moral teaching. For that reason, if you are unsure where your conscience is leading you when at the ballot box, place your trust in the unwavering moral teachings of the Church. (The Catechism of the Catholic Church is an excellent source of authentic moral teaching.)
Please do not keep this voter’s guide to yourself. Read it, learn from it, and prepare your selection of candidates based on it. Then give this voter’s guide to a friend, and ask your friend to read it and pass it on to others. The more people who vote in accord with basic moral principles, the better off our country will be.
CCC Catechism of the Catholic Church
CPL Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Doctrinal Notes on Some Questions regarding the Participation of Catholics in Political Life
CRF Pontifical Council for the Family, Charter of the Rights of the Family
EV John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life)
RHL Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction on Respect for Human Life in Its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation
UHP Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons
Our political systems need constant scrutiny. That is down to you.

But for the nice Chinese lady, I shall let Winston say his bit while I pull pints all round.

Drink up. Vote early, and just the once. 

If you have to. 

Which you don't.