Happy Birthday Johnathan Swift


It’s Jonathan Swift’s birthday …. We could use a crazy Irish writer like him right now to offer A Modest Proposal on everything from Ferguson to, well, everything.

“It is a maxim among these lawyers, that whatever hath been done before may legally be done again: and therefore they take special care to record all the decisions formerly made against common justice and the general reason of mankind. These, under the name of precedents, they produce as authorities, to justify the most iniquitous opinions; and the judges never fail of decreeing accordingly.


The Eleventh Minute of the … Have You Forgotten Yet?

Perhaps if we take  a moment to remember that today is Veterans-Armistice-Remembrance Day; that at eleven past eleven this morning in 1918 The War to End All Wars ended; and then take another to really read Siegfried  Sassoon’s poem – written in the trenches – we would stop churning out veterans.

HAVE you forgotten yet? …
For the world’s events have rumbled on since those gagged days,
Like traffic checked while at the crossing of city-ways:
And the haunted gap in your mind has filled with thoughts that flow

Like clouds in the lit heavens of life; and you’re a man reprieved to go,
Taking your peaceful share of Time, with joy to spare.
But the past is just the same — and War’s a bloody game. …
Have you forgotten yet? …
Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you’ll never forget.
Do you remember the dark months you held the sector at Mametz–
The nights you watched and wired and dug and piled sandbags on parapets.
Do you remember the rats; and the stench
Of corpses rotting in front of the front-line trench–
And dawn coming, dirty-white and chill with a hopeless rain?
Do you ever stop and ask, “Is it all going to happen again?”
Do you remember that hour of din before the attack–
And the anger, the blind compassion that seized and shook you
As you peered at the doomed and haggard faces of your men?
Do you remember the stretcher cases lurching back
With dying eyes and lolling heads – those ashen-grey
Mask of the lads who once were keen and kind and gay?
Have you forgotten yet?
Look up, and swear by the green of the spring that you’ll never forget.


Paul Ryan, newly attuned to his Irish heritage

Paul Ryan, newly attuned to his Irish heritage

Paul Ryan announced today that after immersing himself in Irish history and literature he will be announcing a new poverty initiative in the coming weeks.

“The criticism last week really got to me,” Ryan said, “I mean, I’ve seen The Quiet Man like a hundred times, drink green beer on St. Patty’s day, loved The Departed, and the Family Guy Irish history episode . . . but I guess none of that counted with the liberal media.”

Nevertheless, the Congressman began an intensive study, with unexpected results.

swift“It was remarkable, really,” Ryan gushed, “I had just finished some leftist drivel about Oliver Cromwell and was dreading tackling the Penal Laws,” the Congressman rolled his eyes, “when I saw it …. ”

“A well thought out, well written answer for our ongoing poverty problem. Brilliant, really – and to think it was called A Modest Proposal!”


Barf-o-Rama, True Detective, and Television Critics

I haven’t had the time, nor the energy to be honest, to figure out if this is a continuation of my last post’s theme or just another new and festering peeve, though I suspect it’s a little of both.

Anyway . . . there’s a great scene in Stand By Me, around a campfire in the woods, the Will Wheaten as young Stephen King tells a story about another outsiders revenge against a town of bullies – the great pie eating contest barf-o-rama.

Nice story, the kids love it . . . for about 30 seconds. Then, since they are in such proximity to the author they start with, “Great, but why’d you end it there? I wouldda . . .” “Yeah, or you could’ve put a ….” “What if the kid did this ….”

All of which the young author handles with perfect, unperturbed, so very beyond his years maturity and confidence: “Because that’s the way the story goes, that’s the way the story ends.”

True Detective ended last night (this morning for those of us trying to get on the HBOGO web site) and Monday Morning Quarterbacking from television critics far and wide, professional and self-appointed has commenced resembling nothing less than a continuation of Lardass’ barfing chain letter.

Women critics are incensed there were no strong women characters (Michelle Monaghan should be insulted – she was great); mystery/crime fan-critics are equally pissed there were so many loose threads; occult fan-critics outraged there was nothing occult about the ending; HP Lovecraft & Robert Chambers adherents devastated the answer wasn’t in the supernatural; conspiracy advocates irate that, in order, 1. Cohle; 2. Hart; 3. Maggie’s father; weren’t revealed as the killer in a startling Sixth Sense denouement.

True Detective ended last night. It’s over. It left scores of questions hanging in the Sopranos_ep311breeze. Kinda like real life. It ended as it did because that’s how it ends. Anyone stewing over it can go out and create their own story and end it as they feel fit and, guess what? That’s how that story will end. Because.

Absent that, accept it or sit around all day wondering what happened to the Soprano’s ‘Russian Interior decorator’ who killed all those Czechs.

R.I.P. Peter O’Toole

Royals Peter OToole


I’m convinced a goodly measure of my fascination with history and an even greater measure of the way I write about it is directly attributable to Peter O’Toole. I saw Becket, Lawrence of Arabia, and The Lion in Winter early on …. the easiest way to describe it is also the quickest – that’s all it took.