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It is a whirlwind in here

Trump And Bannon Walk Into A Bar

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~ Now whose the dirty Nazi?

~ Lots of mud. Lots of mud to throw, believe me.

~ So you’re going to throw it on me?

~ If the shoe fits.

~ And throw me under the bus?

~ Tire marks in the mud. It’s where you live.

~ You come from here, too.

~ Mud doesn’t stick to me.

~ I helped make you.

~ I’m a self-made man. Proof everywhere.

~ Don’t believe your own Press.

~ I don’t believe the Fake News.

~ I know about the Press.

~ I know about the people.

~ They’ll turn on you.

~ No – they want to be me.

~ That’s kinda crazy.

~ If they were in my position – if they had my power – they’d do what I’m doing.

~ That might be true.

~ They’d love to stick it to their betters. They love having a scapegoat.

~ It’s a mob that can turn.

~ Nah! Believe me. They have nowhere else to go.

DE

(image)i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2017/07/22/06/429285D700000578-4720054-image-a-74_150070035

When The Army Wanted Kafka As A Soldier

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Kafka recorded the beginning of the First World War in his diary this way:

August 2, 1914: Germany has declared war on Russia. Went swimming in the afternoon.

That was it.

But, regardless of his lack of enthusiasm, Kafka believed in the duties of the citizen. He tried to join the army to fight. In fact, he tried to join a number of times. He was always refused because the government deemed his civil/government job was too important for him to relinquish.

But, near the end of the war, when Kafka was so sick he had lengthy periods of leave from his job to recuperate, the army came calling.  Kafka had to appear before authorities with medical proof of his illness.

In my novel, Kafka In The Castle, I ‘fill in’ one of his diary entries describing such a situation.

DE

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07 February 1918

I find I must go to Prague at the end of next week. Such knowledge is proof that one should not open one’s mail. The Military yet again wishes to snare me, and I must once again prove that my hide is not worth the effort.

There were times (very rare) when my father would despair. Not his usual anger at the general incompetence and perfidy of the world around him, but a resignation to the belief that things would never get any better.

“If they want to drag me down,” he would say, “Then I may as well join them. I’ll go out into the street and let myself be swept away by the mob. I’ll become part of their common, grubby life, and let them wipe their boots on me.”

That is much as I feel right now. Let the army take me, dress me in their uniform, point me toward the Americans, and have some cowboy shoot me. Going into battle could be no worse than going into Prague.

 

Trump And A Nazi Walk Into A Bar

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~ Willkommen, Mein Führer.

~ Now cut that out.

~ But we are at your service.

~ You good old boys are giving me a bad name.

~ We support you in your Holy Crusade.

~ To make America great again?

~ If those are the code words you want to use.

~ The words are broad … and vague.

~ You should be more exact.

~ Like ‘living space’?

~ The Volk liked that phrase – they understood we needed land.

~  Old times. Today they understand ‘the wall’. Believe me.

~  We’ll help you build your wall.

~  By driving cars into people?

~  There’ll always be the crazies.

~ Don’t I know it.

~ We can’t keep tabs on everyone.

~ Don’t I know it.

~ We’ll sacrifice the schmuck.

~ Yeh – but. Tell me this one thing.

~ What?

~ Torches?

~ What?

~ Did you morons really have to use torches?

DE

(image)https://static.independent.co.uk/s3fs-public/styles/article_small/public/thumbnails/image/2017/08/12/09/virginia-torch-protest-salute.jpg

Cruise Ship Queen Mary 2 Heads Out To Sea

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The larger-than-life cruise ship, Queen Mary 2, was in Halifax for the day, and departed this evening. It probably gets special attention because of its grandeur. Also, the Cunard Shipping Line, nominal owner of the ship, was the creation of a Halifax chap, Samuel Cunard, back in 1839. The Cunard Line is now folded into the Carnival empire, but that’s business.

As The Queen Mary 2 left, it was escorted by a Canadian Navy Coastal Defence Vessel – the HMCS Summerside, a harbour fire boat spraying arcs of water, and even a helicopter flew overhead. It took its time leaving.

I have written about the the launch of Queen Mary 2 in my novel Fame’s Victim. The main character of my novel, known as ST, is good friends with the actual Queen Elizabeth the Second, who launched the ship. ST and his lady friend, a famous actress whom he always refers to as Garbo (though she be not the actual Garbo) are on the maiden voyage of the Queen Mary 2. That chapter is below.

DE

(image)https://www.ctvnews.ca/polopoly_fs/1.2462900.1436552018!/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_620/image.jpg

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Excerpt From Fame’s Victim:

“Your Majesty.”

ST extends his hand just as a volley of the extensive fireworks light up The Queen Mary 2 and the harbour side where she has just been launched. He flinches but the Queen does not.

“So much for the Queen’s weather.” The Queen points to the torrents pelting the dock. “It rains on my reign.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” ST hears Garbo’s barely repressed giggle behind him. “I believe you have not met – “

“This charming lady with the delightful sense of humour.” The Queen looks past ST. “No, I have not.”

ST takes a side step as Garbo extends her hand.

“Your Majesty.”

Garbo has been instructed that formal curtsies are not in fashion, but the actress in her makes her modified one very graceful. The Queen is obviously amused and pleased.

“We understand you both are on the maiden voyage to the United States.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Is he attempting some sort of record, do you think?” The Queen points to ST.

“Ma’am?” Garbo is confused.

“The last flight of the Concorde and now the first voyage of QM2.” The Queen smiles. “It sounds to me like some type of Time muddle.”

“Ma’am.” Garbo giggles and ignores protocol by touching the Queen’s arm. “I don’t make theories about Time and he doesn’t try to act.”

“Very sensible.” The Queen looks from one to the other. “I don’t act either.”

There is another eruption of fireworks, and they look into the dark sky. The vibrant colours flash against the side of the ship and sparkle on the water’s surface.

“We had best go in.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

Even before ST has agreed, ship’s crew and members of the Queen’s entourage have opened doors and produced umbrellas for the twenty second walk.

“I’m not sure what my grandmother would think of her namesake.” The Queen indicates that ST and Garbo walk beside her, which causes some manoeuvring as the Queen is using a cane because of her hip operation. “Perhaps a ship which dwarfs the Titanic would be beyond her comprehension.”

Three abreast confuses those in attendance though the ranks quickly settle into place. As they approach the doorway ST executes a couple of half steps so the women go through the entrance without crowding. He then quickly returns to his place.

“Mind you, Queen Mary would certainly appreciate the opulence.” There is a quick royal chuckle. “And she could tally the worth of each item to within ten pound, if not sometimes to the shilling.”

ST assumes the Queen would know the powers of her own grandmother, but he wonders if anyone could rightly cost the grandeur that surrounds them. He and Garbo will shortly be taking a tour of the high points while the Royal party will be given a different tour of other high points. He has been told that a complete tour of all the high points would take ten hours. A leisurely inspection will take three days of their trip if he so desires. It is a far cry from the Concorde where twenty minutes served the same purpose.

“My walking stick shortens my own look around.” The Queen smiles up at the couple. “However there is a Wedgwood Panel I have insisted upon. Do try to see it on your own – it graces a wall in Kings Court.”

“Yes. Ma’am.” ST answers with less enthusiasm though he will give it a close examination, as he will no doubt be queried the next time they meet.

The three of them now cross a wide and carpeted expanse where ship’s crew and invited guests line both walls. The Queen notes a decidedly younger crowd mingling together and glances at Garbo.

“Let’s work either side of the room. I would guess that section is more for you than me.”

“Yes, Ma’am.” Garbo blushes. “I’m sure they would be happy to see you.”

“Not ‘as happy’.” The Queen nods in their direction. “One knows one’s time and place.”

As Garbo approaches the now-applauding group, the Queen slows her pace, making ST do likewise. Her voice is low enough to make him lean closer to her.

“”You’ve been in the news.”

“Ma’am?”

“Hollywood sightings and Paris auctions and the trailing of Google.”

“Yes, Ma’am.”

“Welcome back.”

Down To The Sea In Ships On National Lighthouse Day

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Cape George Lighthouse

Since it is National Lighhouse Day, let me celebrate.

I have enjoyed going to lighthouses, and have done so for years. If anything, I keep finding them more and more evocative. A number of years ago, from high cliffs over the Northumberland Straight, this is what I saw one afternoon from a lighthouse.

One old fishing boat:

One sleek new fishing boat:

One chubby fishing boat:

One fading green fishing boat:

One distant white sailboat under sail:

One close white sailboat under sail:

Two small outboard boats:

One tugboat pulling . . .

One rusting barge.

Happily, the Cape George Lighthouse is now listed as a Heritage Site by the government of Canada.

(photo)https://opto.ca/sites/default/files/pictures/featured_items/nova_scotia_-_cape_george_lighthouse.jpg

DE

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I have also written a couple of chapters in one of my novels that were set in a lighthouse. This is a section of one of them.

Let the light shine.

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Excerpt from: He Lives In The City / He Drives To The Country

“Well, Blaine, the place is as sturdy as the rock it’s on. Government inspected every spring. We even sat pretty through the Great Groundhog Day Gale in 1976, the worst storm in over a hundred years.”

Fred Gannet nudged Blaine to the huge windows. He pointed into the distance, although neither could see through the fog.

“Waves forty feet smashed up against us. We clocked winds at one hundred and thirty-seven miles an hour. We had the warning, so we got most of this battened down. Turned over my van, but I had it far from the cliff. Smashed out a window in the living room. I had a bitch of a time getting plywood over it. Lost power and phone of course, but everything here can run on emergency generator. And part of the roof lifted, but it didn’t do that much damage.” He jabbed his finger at the rain spattered windows. “This is a baby compared to that whore.”

He gave a whoop of a laugh, and took off his cap.

“Old George Crenshaw, he’s the keep on Goat Island, a mile square drop of nothing about eight miles further out to sea. Well, he took the brunt of that bitch, and we were all sure he was a goner. For hours after it passed, there was no boats could get through the waves, or helicopters through the wind. Even the radios were gone, and no one had talked to the old bugger for twelve hours.

“We kept trying and trying, and finally I heard his call letters, but real faint like. I turn my juice ’til the needle’s in the red, and I’m yelling, to find out how he is. You know the first thing any of us hear that old son of a bitch say?”     The large man’s body was actually shaking with laughter, something Blaine had rarely seen in anyone.

“Old George’s thin voice comes out of the radio, like a fart out of a ghost, and he says: `Well, boys, that was quite a breeze’.”

Ten ways to survive an Italian heatwave

Variations of these can be used in any Hot hot hot city. For those of us who start getting uncomfortable at anything above 25C, well, I’ll happily close my shutters and have iced coffee.

Source: Ten ways to survive an Italian heatwave

Fishing With God And The Elephant

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A story from The Elephant Talks To God

 

The elephant was on his side in the river, where he had flopped without much ceremony beside the boulder.

He raised his left front and his left hind leg into the air, and his trunk trailed in the current like an eel. He sloshed water over the exposed parts of his body with an erratic fortissimo.

“So.” The elephant gulped water. “Explain fish to me.”

“I beg your pardon.” The boulder sputtered, for it had been caught in the back spray.

“Fish,” said the elephant. “Marine animals; sub-aquatic creatures; denizens of the deep: puffers, scuppers, suckers, guppies, herring, flounder, anchovies — ”

“An elephant,” interrupted God, “has many attributes. But very low on this mammoth list is the ability to be cute.” The boulder paused significantly. “So get to the point.”

“When you’re ponderous, it’s known as being profound,” pointed out the elephant.

“I’m the Creator, so I get to make the rules,” pointed out God. “So. What is it with the fish?”

“Well – they’re so weird. They look strange, they’re poor conversationalists, they breath in water, and they choke on air.” The elephant finally scrambled to his feet. “And they never stay still. It’s always `moving with the current’, or `moving against the current’. I mean no disrespect, and we’re all God’s creatures, but – they’re real losers.”

“I wonder,” asked the boulder, after a moment’s thought, “if you’ve heard about the group of blind men asked to describe an elephant.”

“No,” said the elephant. “I haven’t.”

“Each man touched a different part.”

As God began, he raised his voice for the benefit of the fish, who were ranged in concentric circles around the oblivious elephant. They were going to enjoy this.

Ship’s Cat, Erik The Red, Leaves For Final Port of Call

I shall repost this repost, as the illustrous life of Erik The Red comes to its close. I was always on the outlook for him when I passed The CSS Acadia.

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Erik The Red, the mouser of The CSS Acadia, moored permanently in Halifax harbour as a museum ship, retires today. Even as I write this. So, I will repost my own encounter with Erik, one day during the winter.

Dark comes early these days, and will do so for months. My frequent walks along Halifax harbour now usually begin in the dusk and always end in the dark. The lights near and far are beautiful, and the lack of fellow travellers is pleasing. And any ships that pass in the night on their way to sea are well-lit sights to see.

On ship stays in port, however. It is The CSS Acadia. The CSS Acadia survived the Halifax Explosion and sailed for many a long year afterward. She served in both World Wars and retains her original steam engines and boilers. She even has her original crew quarters. The CSS Acadia is still afloat in Halifax Harbour and is a part of the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic.  She is open to visitors and receives many. She also has a cat.

I met the cat the other night (not for the first time). He is an orange tabby called Erik, and is classed as the ship’s Junior Rodent Control Officer (Junior because there is a more senior cat aboard). He is not a “house cat”, but ranges the wharves at will. He is generally intent upon his business but deigns to be  friendly. If he deems he has the time, he’ll give you a look over and allow some fraternizing. Perhaps the lack of human folk prompted him to trot toward me and encourage some human hand contact. At any rate he allowed himself to be patted a few minutes. He even walked with me  (well . . . scooted around me as I walked) for a few ship lengths before he returned to his nocturnal endeavours. A sleek, gold arrow aimed into the dark.

DE

(death notice)https://haligonia.ca/beloved-erik-the-red-passes-away-after-brief-illness-200456/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=haligonia

(image)https://haligonia.ca/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/FB_IMG_1501779912940.jpg

 

Trump And A Soldier Walk Into A Bar

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~ Good Day to you, Mr. President.

~ Take it easy, soldier.

~ Sir.

~ You know – at ease.

~ Yes, Sir.

~ What can I get you?

~ I’m not allowed to drink on duty, Sir.

~ I’m your Commander-in-Chief. I can allow it.

~ You’d have to order me, Sir.

~ Would that work?

~ I don’t know, Sir. That’s above my pay grade.

~ Not above mine.

~ No, Sir.

~ I have billions.

~ Yes, Sir.

~ Billions and billions and billions.

~ Yes, Sir.

~ I could pay you to drink.

~ I couldn’t take pay, Sir.

~ It would be a bribe?

~ No other word for it, Sir.

~ So – what do you think of the cross-dressers?

~ Pardon me, Sir?

~ You know – cross-dressers in the military.

~ We’re all cross-dressers in the military, Sir.

~ What?

~We take off our civvies and put on a uniform. Sir.

~ Then that isn’t it.

~ No, Sir.

~ Gotcha. It’s the transgenders.You know them?

~ In truth, I don’t, Sir. Those uniforms keep things private.

~ But you must wonder about them.

~ Not for a second, Sir.

~ You don’t care what’s between their legs?

~ No, Sir.

~ That doesn’t sound natural.

~ Sir, as long as they carry a gun and got my back – I don’t care what’s between their legs.

DE

(image)a57.foxnews.com/images.foxnews.com/content/fox-news/us/2017/04/13/ap-fact-check-do-trump-mar-lago-trips-cost-3-million/_jcr_content/par/featured-media/media-2.img.jpg/876/493/1492068958122.jpg?ve=1&tl=1

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