Why vote?

benito_mussolini_duce

 

Ever wonder why you bother to vote?  The same muppets always seem to get in and franky you don’t think much of any of them.

On this day in 1922 King Victor Emmanuel III handed power to Mussolini and the Fascists after the “March On Rome”.  30,000 men took democratic power from the Italian population.  In the years that followed a similar drama played out in Germany and Spain as Fascists used physical intimidation to wrest power from the people.

Democracy is not a right, it is a duty, an obligation.  As a citizen you exercise your vote even if only to let the politicians know that the people care, and they are being watched.

 

First they came…; by Pastor Martin Niemöller

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
 

 

Captain Jack

pirate-flag

On Oct 20th 1720 the Royal Navy captured Calico Jack and ended his pirate career.

Calico Jack has been the most influential pirate in terms of the modern popular view of piracy.  When we think of pirates the first image we conjure up is the black flag bearing a skull and crossbones.  This is based on the flag designed and flown by Calico Jack, the skull and crossed swords.

In the Pirates of the Carribean films Captain Jack Sparrow is clearly based on Calico Jack.
His theft of a british sloop is based on a similar exploit by Calico Jack and his crew when they stole a spanish sloop of war.

Pirates are depicted dressing flamboyantly today.  Jacks nickname “Calico” reflects his penchent for that light raw indian cloth.  Clothing more suited to the hot Caribbean weather than traditional canvas or denim worn by most sailors.

Like many pirates Calico Jack operated in a shady world between patriot, privateer and pirate.  He was pardoned of his piracy at one stage. Then he fell for a married woman, Anne Bonny.  When Anne’s husband complained to the Governor Jack eloped with her, and returned to piracy.  This is similar to story lines from Pirates of the Caribbean and also “Cutthroat Island” the Geena Davis pirate movie.  Indeed all pirate movies featuring female pirates are reflecting Calico Jack who carried two on his crew, Anne Bonny and Mary Read.

Assasins Creed IV:  Black Flag makes no bones about featuring Calico Jack, Bonny and Read in the main story line.  The game ends with a rendition of ‘The Parting Glass” sung by the Anne Bonny character.  Seemingly the most popular song in Scotland before Robbie Burns composed Auld Lang Syne, most people seem to think it is Irish.
Raise a parting glass to the passing of Calico Jack, arrrrrrr!

The Parting Glass:  Scottish Traditional
Of all the money that e’er I spent I’ve spent it in good company
And all the harm that ever I did  Alas, it was to none but me
And all I’ve done for want of wit  To memory now I can’t recall
So fill to me the parting glass  Good night and joy be with you all
Oh, all the comrades that e’er I had  They’re sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that e’er I had  They’d wish me one more day to stay
But since it falls unto my lot  That I should rise and you should not
I’ll gently rise and softly call  Good night and joy be with you all

Cruise Control Freak

country-road

You know Cruise Control, that excellent feature which allows you to set your speed in the car and take your foot off the accelerator.
It is good for the environment because it helps you drive efficiently.  It is good for your pocket too as fuel bills go down.
It is also a great way to avoid speeding traps and their associated fines, points on your license etc.

You also know what a control freak is.  This is someone who exhibits symptoms of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
They need to control their environment.  To achieve this control they need to control how others interact in the environment.
Control freaks tell everyone else how to behave.

Give Cruise Control to a Control Freak and you have a new hazard on the road, the Cruise Control Freak (CCF).
The CCF likes to control speed, costs, penalties etc.  But that is not enough for the control freak in them.
They want to control everyone else on the road too.  If you pass them out they become upset, especially if they are travelling at the max speed limit.

Mostly their issues are self contained.  The CCF is not a problem on a motorway or a dual carriageway.
On a minor road they become terrorists.  Imagine yourself on a secondary road in the Irish countryside.
The speed limit is ostensibly 80 km/h.  In reality the driving conditions are very variable.  At times you will manage 80km/h.
In many circumstances you will struggle to drive faster than 60km/h.  Driving flexibility is required.  These are not cruise control roads.
The CCF sets their cruise control at 80km and quickly finds they can’t maintain that speed safely.  So they drop it to 60km/h.

Along you come, and find yourself stuck behind a car cruising along blithely at 60km/h on a road that allows 80km/h.  The car ahead maintains speed.
The cruise control is set low and the driver is refusing to be flexible.  Congratulations, you have met a CCF.  Time to seethe and fume.

Another Year

death

Another year slides away.  If my life is the Samuel Beckett play, “Breath” I am on the exhale.  I intend to squeeze every drop of juice out of what is left.  If fatalism teaches you anything it teaches you to treasure the moment.  Just treasuring Dublin retaining the Sam Maguire at the moment.  Full time for Dublin, and I am (hopefully) still in the third quarter.

 

For a Birthday: by Thom Gunn

 

I have reached a time when words no longer

help:

Instead of guiding me across the moors

Strong landmarks in the uncertain out-of-doors,

Or like dependable friars on the Alp

Saving with wisdom and with brandy kegs,

They are gravel-stones, or tiny dogs which yelp

Biting my trousers, running round my legs.

Description and analysis degrade,

Limit, delay, slipped land from what has been;

And when we groan My Darling what we mean

Looked at more closely would too soon evade

The intellectual habit of our eyes;

And either the experience would fade

Or our approximations would be lies.

The snarling dogs are weight upon my haste,

Tons which I am detaching ounce by ounce.

All my agnostic irony I renounce

So I may climb to regions where I rest

In springs of speech, the dark before of truth:

The sweet moist wafer of your tongue I taste,

And find right meanings in your silent mouth.