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Post About Nothing



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The recent Jerry Seinfeld movie Comedian is out this week on VHS and DVD. I haven’t seen it, but I have read the liner notes–written by none other than NRO contributor Mike Long. You can read them here.

Unbearable



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The thought that we could face a Supreme Court nomination process/fiasco/deadlock in the Senate soon.

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Deep Sixers



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Oh dear. I leave town for a couple of days and now log onto The Corner to discover that my good friend Jon Adler posted some chest-thumping nonsense about the Sixers beating the Pistons the other night. As it turned out, the Pistons beat the Sixers and knocked them out of the playoffs. (My hometown team didn’t fare so well yesterday, however, in losing the first game of the conference championship to the Nets.) Let’s stay friends Jon. Anytime, I’m willing to take a walk with you down “http://www.infoplease.com/ipsa/A0202761.html”>memory lane.

Web Briefing: September 18, 2014

King James, Again



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Thanks to the reader who pointed out another terrific review of that book on the King James Bible – this time by Jonathan Yardley in the Washington Post. The conclusion?

“The New English Bible, as T.S. Eliot wrote when it appeared, “astonishes in its combination of the vulgar, the trivial and the pedantic.” The King James Bible, by contrast, astonishes in its combination of the majestic, the singular and the exalting. That it has been replaced in most English-speaking Christian congregations by “modern” translations of surpassing mediocrity is one of the outrages of the age and one that says all too much about the age itself.”

Indeed it does, and to this long-lapsed member of the C of E, today’s tawdry texts are yet another reminder of how that once great national church has been reduced to slush, and to mush and to gush, as its ragbag collection of down at heel Bishops preside over a clergy of whom the defining characteristics are incoherence, sentimental piety, and pointless erudition.


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Spongebob Is No Democrat



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Some Corner-reading Spongebob watchers (with young kids) are offended by the suggestion Spongebob Squarepants could be a Dem.

Icc, Kyoto Next?



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Weird – and disturbing. Tommy Thompson should be ashamed of himself.

King James Bible



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There’s a fascinating piece in today’s New York Times by Christopher Hitchens on one of the greatest examples of the English language ever written. He’s reviewing a new book on the creation of the King James Bible. It looks well worth reading – and so is the review. As a bonus, Mary, Queen of Scots and Thomas More take a hit or two.

Moving Nato



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In response to the idea that NATO HQ be relocated to the Polish capital, one reader suggests that NATO should be renamed. His suggestion? The Warsaw Pact…

Raw Work At The Font (2)



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An indignant reader writes to complain that the Wodehouse quote is incorrect. It should, he says, read as follows:


From Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit: (Perennial Library edition, 1983):

“…And he shrinks, no doubt, from the prospect of being addressed for the remainder of his life as Sir Lemuel.”


“His name’s not Lemuel?”


“I fear so, sir.”


“Couldn’t he use his second name?”


“His second name is Gengulphus.”


“Golly, Jeeves,” I said, thinking of old Uncle Tom Portarlington, “there’s some raw work pulled at the font from time to time, is there not?”


“There is indeed, sir.”


Dogs



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Are best at reading humans according to a new study. Cosmo could have told them that.

A Bit of An Understatement



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Jayson Blair: “I can’t say anything other than the fact that I feel a range of emotions including guilt, shame, sadness, betrayal, freedom and appreciation for those who have stood by me, been tough on me, and have taken the time to understand that there is a deeper story and not to believe everything they read in the newspapers.”

Snatching Defeat From The Jaws of Victory?



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Making a mess of the occupation? Yet another worrying report – this time from the Sunday Telegraph.

Time to Move Nato?



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“Left-wing Belgian lawyer” – the very words conjure up an image that is petty, pedantic and yet somehow rather sinister. Well, one of these creatures is now trying to arrange for the prosecution of General Franks for “war crimes” in Iraq. The Sunday Telegraph has the background:


“A Brussels-based diplomat told The Telegraph that it would be “clearly unwise” for Gen Franks to visit the alliance’s headquarters while he faces the possibility of a war crimes prosecution.”


So is it time to move NATO headquarters from Brussels? Without the various international organizations to which it plays host, Brussels would be nothing more than a splendid, but bankrupt restaurant. So, it’s time to at least make the threat, even if it seems a little premature. Belgium needs to understand that there’s a price to be paid for its posing – and the prospect of all those departures from its capital city might concentrate its mind most wonderfully.


Where could NATO go? Well, over in New Europe, the Poles would probably be glad to oblige – Warsaw’s weirdly attractive Palace of Culture would be a suitably ironic location.


Fair Cop



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The Sunday Telegraph is reporting that a senior British policeman has called for the decriminalization of hard drugs.

“Chief Supt Anthony Wills, the borough commander of Hammersmith and Fulham in London, said that as the state could not control the criminal trade in drugs, it should take it over instead.


“I would have no problems with decriminalising drugs full stop,” said Mr Wills. “There have to be very stringent measures over the production and supply of drugs and we have got to remove the drug market from criminals. I do not want people to take drugs but if they are going to, I want them to take them safely, with a degree of purity and in a controlled way.””


He makes a strong case – and one that is at least worthy of serious debate. Needless to say, Britain’s hapless Conservatives respond with bluster and blather. As the Telegraph reports:


“Last night his decision to air his views caused a row. Senior Conservatives said he would encourage young people to think that taking drugs was supported by the police and called on him to issue a retraction.


Ann Widdecombe, the former shadow home secretary, said: “When young people read views like this from a senior policeman they get the impression that taking drugs is okay – well it isn’t. Hard drugs kill people and cannabis is proven scientifically to be harmful.””


What is it about individual responsibility that the Tories do not understand?


Metropolitan



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Notorious free-thinker and urban sophisticate John Derbyshire has recently outed himself as a Metro-Con. For another example of metropolitan (if not conservative) bias in the media take a look at this article from today’s New York Times. It’s a story describing how Wal-Mart “has bent American popular culture towards the tastes of their relatively traditionalist customers.”

Well, that’s one way of looking at it. Another is simply to acknowledge that Wal-Mart is not shaping popular culture, but responding to it. The store is merely reacting to the signals it receives from its customer base in red–state America and if that includes, sigh, banning Maxim and stocking didactic vegetable videos and novels about the Rapture, so be it. If they’ve got it wrong, somebody else will emerge to satisfy the market that Wal-Mart is ignoring.


Al-Qaeda



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17,000 al-Qaeda members still at large? Here’s a gloomy but perceptive article from the Independent. Timely reading in the wake of the atrocities in Morocco.

Stiff Upper Lip



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This story via Andrew Sullivan tells the tale of a British golfer who was struck by lightning at the 14th hole. He then continued to play his round and was struck again – this time at the 17th. Undaunted, he completed the game, but won’t disclose his score:
“I won’t tell you my score. It was a bad day. But I don’t think that was anything to do with the lightning. I just had a stinker.”

Raw Work At The Font



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A reader writes in with the context:

“Jeeves is explaining to Bertie why L. G. Trotter has declined a knighthood. He dreads being called Sir Lemuel. Bertie says he could use his second name.


Jeeves: “His second name is Glengolfus, sir.”


Bertie: “There’s raw work pulled at the font sometimes Jeeves.” “


PG Wodehouse – genius.


Orwell-Sibelius



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George Orwell is, these days, remembered as a secular saint, a voice of rationalism in a world gone mad. He was a wonderful, shrewd and perceptive writer, but his belief in a rather primitive form of socialist economics was always difficult to reconcile with the notion of his much vaunted commonsense. Well, here’s another blow to that image. Black magic?

Steven Runciman, the source of this story, was by all accounts a fascinating individual. A friend of mine was at a dinner party a few years ago where the then aged Runciman presided. An evening of uninhibited namedropping (he knew everybody, my dear) and hours of tawdry, but fascinating gossip about the vaguely famous of half a century ago (King Carol of Roumania! Max Beerbohm!) then followed. In particular, after hearing some tales of this evening, I’ve never been able to listen to anything written by Sibelius without bursting into laughter. That’s a response that tends to shock Finns. They are a rather solemn people and Sibelius is a revered figure up North, but when I explain my reasons they laugh too. Finns laughing? Yes really (definition of a Finnish extrovert – someone who looks at your shoes when he’s talking to you), they do. This is a family-oriented web-site, so, alas, I cannot say why.


The Great Democratic Hope



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“The only hope they have is to lower the voting age to six and nominate Spongebob Square Pants.”–Dan Akroyd as Andy Card on SNL.

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