Tuesday, October 01, 2019

As China turns 70

Properly Woke Americans like to think of the United States as a racist, misogynist society ruled by a fascist with orange hair. But whenever repression really hits the fan, anywhere in the world, people still wave the Stars and Stripes, as protesters in Hong Kong are doing here.

In 1949, Mao Zedong and the Peoples Liberation Army won the civil war and sent the former Nationalist government fleeing to Taiwan. Seventy years later, both mainland China and its offshore island are prospering, but only Taiwan is free. The people of Hong Kong know that, and they know that the absolute dictator in Bejing is determined that they too will be brought under the heel of his secret police, total surveillance, and "re-education" camps.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

The new, new Royal Family

How could any government do better than this? It's not just Meghan, either -- Prince Harry has more joy in his bones than any Royal I've ever seen. Of course it doesn't hurt one's mood to have all that pulchritude in his line of vision!

But yeah, I've got to admit, most nights this year we've watched an episode of Suits on Amazon Prime Video.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Europe discovers the virtues of "English" measure

I've never liked the metric system, one of many bad ideas introduced to France, Europe, and the world by the French Revolution of 1789. I didn't even mind the British notion of the "stone" (I weighed 10 stone at the time; I'm considerably heavier now).

After all, who cares at what temperature water freezes and boils? All I want to know is whether the day is hot or cold, and for that, Fahrenheit is brilliant. Zero is really cold; 100 is really hot. They're also the temps at which human existence becomes a bit dodgy and it pays to pay attention to how you dress and what you're doing.

This is the summer that Europe discovers the virtues of Fahrenheit. Yesterday or the day before, on a trustworthy thermometer, Britain recorded 101 deg, Netherlands 104, Germany 107, and France (where the stupidity of Celsius got its start) 109.

Ah, Robespierre, thou shouldst be living at this hour! The thermometer you inspired may read 42.77778 deg, but in my world it's 109, and it's really, really, hot.

Saturday, July 20, 2019

John Bull hitches up his trousers -- for Sweden?

Turns out the "British" ship hijacked by Iran is owned by a Swedish company. So why isn't the Swedish navy steaming to the Gulf?

The easy solution for this kerfluffle would be for Britain to recall all the Red Ensigns it has loaned out to foreigners. I'm sure that's what a Labour government would do.

In the meantime, the US Navy ought to consider the benefits of home-porting its warships in London, so we'd be sure of having an ally in the next confrontation.

Thursday, July 04, 2019

A Rebel in the County Cork

When I was a student at King's College London (MA in War Studies, 2010), I had to write and submit "long essays" -- what in the US we called research papers. At the time, I published A Rebel in the County Cork for Amazon's new and revolutionary Kindle e-reader. Yesterday I revised and expanded it, and added it to the US Amazon store, to other Amazon stores worldwide, and to other online booksellers and subscription services.  (It may take a while to percolate through the internet.) It's about 4000 words, with notes, bibliography, and photographs. The cost is $2.99 -- hey, that's less than a cup of coffee! Blue skies -- Dan Ford

Wednesday, July 03, 2019

Nike strikes the Betsy Ross flag

What a public relations triumph! Nike announced a special edition Air Max shoe for the Fourth of July holiday, only to cancel it when instructed to do so by Colin Kaepernick, who also doesn't believe in standing for the national anthem. Well, to each his own, as they say. And what I say is, I won't be buying Nikes any time soon.

It helps that my budget inclines me more toward New Balance anyhow.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Back to the future in France

On Saturday, clergy in hard hats celebrated Mass in a chapel of Notre Dame, two months after the blaze that destroyed the cathedral's roof and spire and nearly brought the whole thing down. Those who attended were all or mostly religious and cathedral workers.

Meanwhile, the Yellow Vests who have more or less brought France to a standstill every Saturday since November has mostly hung up their gilets jaunes, allowing President Macron to edge back into his (really very modest) labor reforms, which have already improved the economy somewhat. He has not, however, ventured to talk of the gasoline tax that set off the movement that for a month put upwards of a hundred thousand protesters on the streets of Paris and other cities. So that is some recompense for all the fuss and property damage.

In another wonderfully French moment, I find that the Friends of Notre Dame still haven't updated their website to take account of the fire. Certainly you can make a tax-deductible contribution, but for what? I clicked through the link entitled "The Problem" and found this rather outdated reason for helping out: "Although the recently restored western façade is radiant, the same cannot be said of the rest of the building."