The Crank answers the pressing questions of the day….#3

16 Jan

“Why haven’t there been public inquiries into the banking collapse, to properly fix the blame?”

Because, since the Government started the whole mess by telling banks to lend money to people who couldn’t pay it back, the Government is deathly afraid that if it holds public hearings on who is at fault, it is likely to get told….in public.

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Witch Hunt

9 Jan

One of the keystones of the Liberal version of 20th Century history is the 1950’s Anti-Communist Witch Hunt. Books have been written about it, films made about it, children are taught about it in school. It is an important part of the Liberal/Progressive collective self-image.

It is also largely bushwah.

The public perception of the Salem Witch Trials is based largely on the play THE CRUCIBLE in which teenage girls make baseless accusations against innocent people and cause their deaths. In point of fact the actual historical Trials had both more complicated causes and more complex endings. But THE CRUCIBLE, which was deliberately written to echo the author’s perceived persecution at anti-communism hearings, is routinely taught in public schools, and thus strongly influences the public perception of the Trials.  When something is described as a “Witch Hunt” it is tacitly understood that no actual “Witches” exist, and that anyone caught up in the hunt is an innocent victim. We Modern Educated People are invited to feel superior to those stupid Puritans who believed in witches, and to make the jump to believing that in the modern “Witch Hunt” we are being asked to condemn, there also isn’t any actual quarry. And in the case of the “Anti-Communist Witch Hunt” that simply isn’t so.

Under Stalin, the USSR’s intelligence apparatus ran dozens, possibly hundreds, of agents in the United State both during and after the Second World War. This is irrefutable; we have proof from Soviet era records as well as from contemporary intelligence intercepts. The American Communist Party was substantially funded by the USSR for years. Anger Hiss and the Rosenbergs were demonstrably guilty. Many, if not all, of the “victims” of the “Hollywood Blacklist” were passionate Stalinists who worked seriously, if probably ineffectually, for a Communist Revolution.

This isn’t to say that Senator Joe McCarthy was a hero. He was almost certainly a political bully and general jackass and any damage he may have done to International Communism seems likely to have been accidental. But to the Political Left he was an absolute gift. If he hadn’t been real, they would have needed to invent him.

Because, you see, without the myth that the hunt for Communist agents in the United States was an unjust persecution of enormous proportions the Left would have to face the fact that the Communists of that era were a selection of moderately stupid dupes of a genuine Monster. That, in turn, might force them to examine the stupidity of the later dupes who fell headlong for Mao, who was , if anything, an even bigger monster. And much of their cherished air of Moral Superiority would evaporate like morning mist on a hot summer’s day.

The facts are that there was some justification for various Leftist Socialist delusions at the beginning of the 20th Century, but that by 1950 anyone who wasn’t at least dimly aware that the USSR was a brutal dictatorship was ideologically blinded, or exceptionally stupid, or both. The Intellectual Left embraces Communism and related impositions because such systems hold out the mirage of a society run by Intellectuals. And never mind that the Intellectual Class of any nation that suffers a Communist Revolution is almost instantly liquidated by the thugs and psychopaths that always seem to end up actually running things.

The Western Intellectuals have been allowed to wrap themselves in false Moral Superiority for far too long. They are no improvement on any other self-selected elite of would-be aristocrats. They have not, in the West, ever, suffered anything like the persecution they deserve for promoting a system that spreads death and misery the way Communism does. They should be told in no uncertain terms that their Witch Hunt narrative is hogwash, their Moral Superiority bushwah, and their suitability to tell other people how to live as illusory as a syphilitic Bishop’s.

Some thoughts about Christmas

2 Jan

OK. By now the shouting has died down. The shop clerks have stopped trembling from Holiday Overload (and started drinking from Returns Hell). The batteries in that screeching toy that Grandma sent (to get back at you for not visiting for a whole month in August) have run down. In a few days the first bars of Jingle Bell Rock won’t inspire homicidal fantasies. Lets talk about the true meaning of Christmas.

I do not refer to the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Most Biblical scholars agree that, so far as it can be pinpointed, he was born some other time of the year, possibly in summer. Christmas is a political holiday, placed in the dark of the year to supersede Pagan holidays … and if you’ve ever really thought about Woton’s character, I think you will agree that that was A Good Thing, even if you are an atheist. So, Christmas is what we have made it over the centuries.

Overall, I like the family gatherings (in sensible moderation), the general good cheer, and the slight falling off of the levels of Sex and Violence blared at me from every surface that can be made to support a flatscreen TV. And, of course, the presents. But I have learned, over the years, that GETTING presents, even presents you desperately wanted, is nothing compared to the pleasure of GIVING presents, when you have picked the right ones.

I don’t remember how old I was when I first gave a present that really had an impact; sometime in my teens. I DO remember what the present was, and who I gave it to. My Father was primarily a scholar, but he was also a woodworker as a hobby, and he loved good tools. For years my Mother and I had conspired to get him a few good tools every year, and they were always a hit. One year, though, I was seized by the idea of getting him a knife. He had a penknife that he used all the time, but it was a fiddly little thing. I had seen a Buck Folding Hunter, with wood inlay, and I could just about afford to get it with my own money. If I had gone to my mother, she would have been happy to give me the money to buy it for him, but I decided I wanted to buy this all on my own. He was delighted. He kept that knife by him for the rest of his life, and used it every day. It gave him real pleasure, and that showed. I still have that knife. When he passed, just a couple of years ago, I made sure that it didn’t get lost in the shuffle. It lives in my tool drawer, and whenever I see it, it makes me happy to remember that Christmas.

Every year I try to give presents like that. I don’t succeed every year, or even every five years, but the effort is great fun in itself, and the occasional success is just wonderful. This year I have started to ask “Did you give any good presents?” instead of “Did you GET any good presents?”. It perks people right up. Even if they don’t have a story from this year, they frequently have a treasured success they want to share from years past.

I’m not against gift cards, mind. We get a number every year, and use them happily, and try to remember to tell people what we got with them. But I think I pity the people I run into who only give gift cards. They are missing so much.

 

Geezerhood

26 Dec

One of the aspects of being a Crank is what I shall term Early Onset Geezerhood (I have no idea what the female equivalent is, though I know it exists). EOG means that a Crank finds himself reacting in a way that might be expected of somebody well into their “Golden Years”, while still too young to retire.

Examples;

If you find that you no longer have much patience with pretentious pop-band names, and think of, for example, Depeche Mode as Depressed Melba, you might have EOG.

If you are in a mall, watching the female teenie-boppers ripple past and your mind reacts to your hormonal interest by saying “Yes, but they’d want to TALK afterwards, and they have nothing to say.”, you might have EOG.

Teen Music

19 Dec

Each generation has its own popular singers who warble, in an adenoidal whine, about the angst of being young. This is as inevitable as the pain of childbirth or the decay of the grave.

No generation has much patience with the whine of any other generation. This is as it should be.

No generation pays the slightest attention to the criticism of its whines by any other generation. This is also as it should be.

No, I am not going to go into detail about which particular whine of which generation it was that set me off. It doesn’t matter.

Pharmacies

12 Dec

My Lady has a number of prescriptions. At least six, and maybe as many as a dozen (I don’t keep track of them beyond a certain point). I have seven. No doctor I have ever met seems to be willing to write prescriptions one to a sheet unless he’s only writing one. Prescriptions, even those that were all written at the same time, do not naturally run in sync. So, inevitably, one ends up bringing in multiple prescriptions on the same sheet, asking for one, and leaving the rest “on file”.

My personal experience has been that chain drugstores cannot find prescriptions that have been left “on file”. Since the ability to find things in a filing system is a basic skill, not part of a pharmacist’s specialized training, I can only conclude that chain drugstores, as a matter of policy, hire the bewildered.

My personal experience has also been that chain drugstores are incapable of taking your information, calling the doctor involved, and straightening the matter out while you do your other shopping. You have to stand in the center of their counter, throwing a tantrum, and interfering with their sales or they lose track of what they are doing for you.

I thought that this was universal for pharmacies. For years the only drug stores I had available (that I knew of, anyway) were chain stores. Then, in 1998, I moved into a rural area where the nearest drugstore was a small, locally owned operation. And they could file things without losing them, and be trusted to do what they said they would do without immediate oversight. It was WONDERFUL. Since then I have move again, and go to another small, locally owned pharmacy. And they are the same. HEAVEN!

If you only get occasional prescriptions, this doesn’t matter. Even the worst CVS is capable of filling one written prescription while you wait. But as we get older (and the lucky ones will) the old Dupont slogan “better living through chemistry” becomes more and more of a fact of life.

Local Pharmacies are a little more expensive than the big chains. But, let me assure you, anything extra you spend you will certainly save on ulcer medication.

A Short Rant About Turn Signals

5 Dec

The point of turn signals is that they tell other drivers what you intend to do, so that they have a good chance to NOT RUN INTO YOU.  I understand that there are places where using them marks you as weak, such as Manhattan, but in most places in the United States they will make you safer if you use them.  Starting to signal after you have started to turn is next to useless.

And don’t get me started on all the cars designed with turn signals so lost in the rest of the car’s lights that they can’t be seen.