Still there, &c.

On patrol in Zabul province, Afghanistan, June 14, 2011 (DOD/Staff Sgt. Brian Ferguson, USAF)


Let me quote something I wrote recently: “Balfour lived to the age of 81, from 1848 to 1930. He was prime minister and foreign secretary. According to his niece, he said in his last days that ‘what he had been able to do for the Jews had been the thing he looked back upon as the most worth his doing.’”

So, seven people in Saudi Arabia are to be executed — “by crucifixion and firing squad.” (Article here.) Crucifixion? Golly.

From American “liberals” — though it pains me to use this once-golden word about nasty leftists — there has been an outpouring of praise for the late Hugo Chávez. Remember what our president did, not long after being sworn in: He clasped Chávez in a soul-brother handshake and called him “mi amigo,” his friend. Chávez was no friend to any democrat — to Democrats, yes.

Our “liberals” stopped being liberal a long time ago. I guess they call themselves “progressives” now, in the main. They have “progressed” to brutish leftism.

It has long bothered me that, when the question of North Korea comes up, Americans say, “It’s China’s problem, really.” So I was heartened by Ed Royce, the new chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee — who said, “It is important to realize we have more options . . . than to simply rely on Beijing to ‘do more.’”

Quite so. (For a relevant news article, go here.)

Have you been following this terrible story? Sergei Filin, the artistic director of the Bolshoi Ballet, was the victim of an acid attack. They threw acid in his face. “They”? The attack was organized by a principal dancer, Pavel Dmitrichenko.

I would like to cite two things from the above-linked report. First, the report says, “Dmitrichenko . . . has danced several major parts in recent years, including the villain in ‘Swan Lake.’” Kind of a snarky touch, on the part of the reporter, but I sort of like it.

And you gotta hear this — but it’ll take some setting up. Dmitrichenko may have been motivated by revenge in behalf of his girlfriend. That woman is Anzhelina Vorontsova, also a dancer. She was “known to have been at odds with Filin.” She studies with Nikolai Tsiskaridze — a foe of Filin’s, apparently.

Okay, here we go:

The Izvestia daily on Wednesday quoted ballet teacher Marina Kondratyeva as saying that Dmitrichenko had a brilliant career and would not have needed to seek revenge on Filin.

Kondratyeva admitted that his girlfriend Vorontsova had not been given leading parts lately but for a good reason: “How could Filin ‘elbow her out’? Tsiskaridze is mentoring and coaching her — but she was just plain fat.”

I’ve known several “worlds” in my time: politics, music, academia, sports, media. I’m not sure that any is meaner than ballet. (Although opera may give it a run for its money.)

John Wilpers has died — he was “the last known surviving member of a team of Army intelligence officers who captured the Japanese prime minister, Hideki Tojo, after World War II, foiling his attempted suicide so he could be brought to trial for his role in the attack on Pearl Harbor and other war crimes.”

I have quoted from this obit. After leaving the Army, Wilpers worked for the CIA. He did not talk much about the war, to anyone. As one of his sons said, that was in part because CIA men learn to be taciturn, and in part because “that generation didn’t come back and brag.”

Yes. That seems such a different America. An American child takes a dump today, he’s taught to beat his breast and say how proud he is.

Shall we end with some sports talk? As regular readers know, I’m a Michigander, who grew up in the Detroit orbit, so my NFL team is the Lions. I have long argued, or suspected, that the Lions are the worst sports franchise in history. (We have done a lot better by the Tigers, Pistons, and Red Wings.)

This article tells us that four NFL teams have yet to be in the Super Bowl: Detroit (of course), the Cleveland Browns, the Houston Texans, and the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Houston and Jacksonville teams were established a couple of seconds ago, so leave them to one side. Detroit was established in the 1930s; Cleveland was established in the 1940s.

And our overall records? We, the Lions, are 510–611–32. They, the Browns, are 494–421–13. A virtual powerhouse.

But one good thing about being a Lions fan? We’re always getting number-one draft picks . . .

See you!

 To order Jay Nordlinger’s book Peace, They Say: A History of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Most Famous and Controversial Prize in the World, go here. To order his collection Here, There & Everywhere, go here.