"...everyone is bored,and devotes himself to cultivating habits..these habits are not peculiar to our town.." Albert Camus "The Plague"

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

So I'm Jingoistic....

Very well then, I'm a Jingo*. I was called Jingoistic in another forum after posting the above photo and a description of the event, where Barack Obama stands idle, while the others have right hands over hearts.

You can see a video of the event here; which, incidentally, plays the most hideously sung rendition of the national anthem I have ever heard. I am not talking PC here, but common decency and respect for our flag and our national anthem. I don't think the iconoclastic approach taken by Obama here and elsewhere is indicative of a personal character capable of leading our nation.

A section of U.S. Code pertaining to the national anthem and flag reads as follows:

a) Designation.— The composition consisting of the words and music known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem.
(b) Conduct During Playing.— During a rendition of the national anthem—
(1) when the flag is displayed—
(A) all present except those in uniform should stand at attention facing the flag with the right hand over the heart;
(B) men not in uniform should remove their headdress with their right hand and hold the headdress at the left shoulder, the hand being over the heart; and
(C) individuals in uniform should give the military salute at the first note of the anthem and maintain that position until the last note; and
(2) when the flag is not displayed, all present should face toward the music and act in the same manner they would if the flag were displayed.

As a practical matter however no one is suggesting penalties here, rather that we recognize the custom of respect, honored more often in the breech than in the observance, for our national symbols. By the way, in all fairness, if the pictured individuals had strictly obeyed the above code they would have to be facing the flag behind them, unless of course there was another flag near the music source. See Snopes for more detail on this controversy.

By Jingo, I'm Jingoistic; I don't think I've ever been called that; although I recall using the word years ago as a misguided lefty. A little well directed jingoism now and then can do a world of good. In the 1960's to 1980's period there was a spate of spoken word records which I suppose one could label hyper-jingoistic, and I mocked them at that time. The progenitor of this genre might be Victor Lundberg's "Letter to a Teenage Son"(1967 MP3). An interesting discussion of hyper-jingoism can be found on the web site of WFMU, Jersey City, NJ. with many more examples. From the site:

The grand-daddy of them all, and the pathetic answer song it inspired. Lundberg was briefly the spokesman of the American Libertarian Party in the Sixties. The success of this single inspired Lundberg to record an entire album of such material, but no track came close to that majestic moment when Victor declares to his son "When you burn your draft card, burn your birth certificate too, because from that moment on, I have no son." Now that's the way this genre is done!

Oh, as to the origin of the term; it apparently derives from this ditty about the Russo-Turkish war (1877-8):

We don't want to fight,
But by Jingo if we do,
We've got the ships,
We've got the men,
And got the money too.
We've fought the Bear before,
And while we're Britons true,
The Russians shall not have Constantinople.

Jingo originated as a word from the patter and jargon of 17th century conjurers, possibly yet another euphemistic form of Jesus. The term Jingoism came in use after the above popular music-hall song by G. W. Hunt, which appeared at the time of the Russo-Turkish War (1877-8), when anti-Russian feeling ran high and Disraeli (theBritish Prime Minister of the day) ordered the Mediterranean fleet to Constantinople. The Russophobes became known as Jingoes, and any belligerent patriotism has been labeled jingoism ever since.
Source: http://ingeb.org/songs/wedontwa.html

An earlier use of the term is found in the poem "French and English" (1839) by Thomas Hood.
Never go to France,
Unless you know the lingo,
If you do, like me,
You will repent, by jingo.

Jingoism defined: ....advocacy of a policy of aggressive nationalism....an aggressive attitude combining excessive patriotism and contempt for other countries.. (2 sources)

Tags:jingo,jingoism,jingoistic,victor lundberg,snopes,us flag code,wfmu radio,belligerent patriotism,patriotism

Monday, October 29, 2007

"Bury Me.... on the Lone Prairie"

"In a narrow grave, just six by three
We buried him there on the lone prairie"
American funeral practices are undergoing rapid changes with so called "natural" and "green" options becoming more common methods of dealing with the deceased. Religionink.org lists several increasingly popular practices including "Celebrations", "Cremation", "Going Green", and "Do-it-Yourself Funerals". The Portland Press-Herald (ME) reported yesterday about "green" cemeteries:

(an) alternative that is just emerging in Maine is natural burial in a green cemetery: wooded graveyards that ban chemicals and caskets that won't easily decompose.

Two such cemeteries are now preparing to do natural burials in Maine, in Limington and in Orrington. There are only about six operating green cemeteries in the United States, but many more are planned, according to those tracking the trend.

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Some organizations and companies active in "natural burial" are Native Woodland, operating in the U.K., the Natural Burial Association (Canada), and Kinkaraco, a San Francisco (U.S.) dealer in "Green Burial Shrouds"(see photograph).
Green Burials (U.S.) (motto: "Return Naturally"} has much information regarding newer burial practices.
What is Green Burial?

Simple and natural. Green burial, or natural burial, ensure the burial site remains as natural as possible in all respects. Interment of the bodies is done in a bio-degradable casket, shroud, or a favorite blanket. No embalming fluid, no concrete vaults.

The Natural Burial Company (U.K.) sells biodegradable caskets made of recycled paper, sea grass or bamboo. Their willow casket illustrated:
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

On Caring for Your Own Dead web site we find much information about the old American tradition of home burial and the laws of various states regarding this practice today.

The laws in Connecticut are in conflict with each other, begging for a law suit. The laws specifically provide that the custody and contol of remains . . . shall belong to the surviving spouse . . . or . . . next of kin . . . [Sec. 45-253]. On the other hand, a funeral director's signature is required on the death certificate, and only a funeral director or embalmer may "remove the body of a deceased person from one town to another" when a person dies in Connecticut, but towns and ecclesiastical societies may provide a hearse and pall for burial of the dead. Go figure. A licensed embalmer must be in charge when death is from a communicable disease. Because the laws are conflicting in this state, a family wishing to care for its own dead may wish to seek the help of legal counsel. The FCA office may be able to help by filing a friend of the court brief.

While in Massachusetts:

In 1996, the Memorial Society here convinced the State Board of Health that Commonwealth laws permitted families to care for their own dead. It was left to the discretion of the individual boards of health whether or not to comply with the state's opinion. Although many towns have agreed to do so, a court case will be pursued if difficulty arises. Personnel in the Department of Health have been very helpful with recalcitrant local officers.

In Michigan:

A 1995 court decision affirmed a family's right to possess a body "for the purpose of preparation, mourning and burial." This state also has one of the best home burial statutes. Families wishing to care for their own dead in this state may run into officials who are not aware of the court case.

Returning to the Portland Herald Press story:

Klara Tammany's mother didn't want a typical American funeral. No embalming, no metal casket, not even a funeral home.

When she died after a long illness a couple of years ago, family members and friends washed and dressed her body and put it in a homemade wooden casket, which was laid across two sawhorses in the dining room of her condo in Brunswick.

Then, for two days, friends and family visited, brought cut flowers, wrote messages on the casket's lid and said goodbye.

"We had this wake, and it was wonderful," Tammany said.

The home funeral is part of an emerging trend that some believe will change the way Americans deal with death. Send-offs like the one Tammany planned with her mother are called "green" funerals because they avoid preservative chemicals and steel and concrete tombs, all designed to keep a body from decomposing naturally.

After the wake, Tammany's mother was cremated and her ashes buried near the family's camp in Monmouth.

"It makes no difference, so I've been told
Where the body lies when life grows cold
But grant, I pray, one wish to me
O bury me not on the lone prairie"

I say, "Do bury me on the lone prairie, or better yet, in the warm green woods!
To hear a very folksy version of this traditional song click here

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Friday, October 26, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Sleeve Sneeze....

The germ phobia sweeping the nation, not to mention all the other alarms, has resulted in the widespread appearance of hand sanitizers. A blogger at Wesleying is "all for hand sanitizing, and stations everywhere".

Illustrated left is "the politically correct and patriotic method of sneezing and/or coughing". According to a humorous? video produced by CoughSafe we need to "develop appropriate coughing and sneezing strategies consistent with our our clothing and accessories choices each day". Expelled germs will be trapped in fabric where they will dessicate and die. (dying germs below)
More information: Infection Control @ WES

h/t Mullings and Wesleying

Friday, October 19, 2007

Blues for Grim Reaper....

Citing a dearth of death the Grim Reaper has postponed purchase of new scythes and laid off hundreds of staff.

Turning good news into bad, leave it to the main stream media. A sharp drop in the numbers of Iraqi deaths due to the improved military situation there has caused concern among the nation's cemetery workers:

NAJAF, Iraq — At what's believed to be the world's largest cemetery, where Shiite Muslims aspire to be buried and millions already have been, business isn't good.

A drop in violence around Iraq has cut burials in the huge Wadi al Salam cemetery here by at least one-third in the past six months, and that's cut the pay of thousands of workers who make their living digging graves, washing corpses or selling burial shrouds.
Source: Yahoo News

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

McCain Touts Longevity Genes..


Republican presidential candidate John McCain is certain that his age is no barrier to election because he has inherited longevity genes from his mother, who at 95 is active in his campaign. In the photo above she is shown at her retirement home proudly wearing her McCain badge! McCain, who is now 71 years old, if elected president would be the oldest to attain that office.

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - Dogged by suggestions he's too old to be president, John McCain often says he should bring his mother to campaign stops to demonstrate his good genes. On Wednesday he did.

"I am so happy to be here. I think I'm going to cry," 95-year-old Roberta McCain said as she introduced her son to about 200 seniors at a retirement community. She said three generations of McCain women are supporting his campaign.

Source: MyWay News

Monday, October 15, 2007

Wesleyan (CT) Library Concert....

"you know you go to wesleyan when:
concerts happen at the library"

A humorous look at higher education!

h/t Wesleying

Saturday, October 13, 2007

More Gore....More War

Image: Paul Atroshenko

Quotes for today:

Parson Al winning the Nobel Peace Prize was as predictable as his Oscar for Best Documentary, and represents the final debasement of a once-prestigious award. It used to be that the award went to people of genuine humanitarian or diplomatic accomplishment, like Mother Teresa, Albert Schweitzer or Doctors Without Borders. Now it goes to frauds and poseurs like Rigoberta Menchu, Yassir Arafat, the U.N. (three times now, counting Gore’s co-winner, the U.N.’s climate change panel), and Jimmy Carter. About the only way to top this would be to give the next Peace Prize to Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. More likely the Nobel committee will, one of these days, simply pat itself on the back and give the award to . . . themselves... Steven F. Hayward, NRO (10/12/07)
Also from NRO comes these interesting observations on Americans at war....

Why Are We Winning? [Michael Ledeen]

As I am often vilified for claiming that America is the homeland of "creative destruction," these two quotations (lifted from some comments on The Long War Journal make me palpitate:

"The reason Americans do so well in war, is war is chaos, and Americans practice chaos on a daily basis." Rommel 1942

"The difficulty in planning against American doctrine is that Americans neither see fit to follow their doctrine nor even read their manuals." KGB Document

To which one should add Churchill's observation that Americans always do the right thing after having exhausted all the other possibilities.

And it follows, I think, that the impulse to screw up is ever present, and so while things may look pretty good today, tomorrow is always another day. We still have no Iran policy, do we?

Monday, October 08, 2007

30 Millions Here Illegally?

Immigration Controversy Continues.....
"If it is noble and laudable for immigrants to come to American to "make a better life" for themselves and their families, then it must be equally noble and laudable for ordinary Americans to oppose mass immigration that erodes the prospects for a better life for themselves and their families." John Tanton
The Houston (TX) Chronicle reports today:
Californians for Population Stabilization released a study claiming there are 20 million to 38 million illegal immigrants in America, not the 12 million the federal government says.

"Immigration is in a state of anarchy," organization member James Walsh, a former Immigration and Naturalization Service lawyer, fervently told the room. "Not chaos, anarchy."

The web site NumbersUSA has interesting graphics and statistics that illustrates the national crisis resulting from mass immigration and overpopulation. Meanwhile Mexican President Felipe Calderone is critical of our border fence proposal saying; "The world is open in new ways, we are building fences instead of bridges."

Also see Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).

Click the box below to see where the Presidential candidats stand on immigration.

Find out where candidates stand on immigration issues

Monday, October 01, 2007

Domination: Pay By The Lash....

This could quickly add up to serious money!

h/t The Stranger-Seattle's Only Newspaper