To paraphrase Johnson (that’s Biff Johnson) when a person is tired of growling they are tired of life. This blog has lain fallow recently, not because there’s nothing to growl about but because there’s too much. In a year when the UK will decide what it really thinks about Brussels and when the United States looks like having to choose between an unstatesman-like blow-hard and a professional liar for its next President, I should be warming up my growling chords. But no.
I originally set up this blog after being advised that my political views might be costing me readers in my day job. My first thought was ‘who needs readers like that?’ Then the bank manager called me and said, ‘You do, you dumbell.’
It’s been good to have a dedicated growling arena, a ‘safe’ place as our intrepid undergraduates would now designate it, where I could let rip before retiring with my suckie blanket and my adult colouring book. Now there’s an oxymoron if ever I heard one. An adult colouring book.
Well gosh darn it, life comes along and gets in the way. Mr Growler’s steadily advancing dementia means I have less and less time for things that aren’t important. And let’s face it, growling to a small (but much appreciated) audience is an act of self-indulgence. Perhaps it’s even deleterious. When the future looks bleak it seems more important than ever to focus on positivity and joy and thankfulness. She said, through gritted teeth.
So The Growler is slinking off into the sunset. If you enjoy a bit of conservative snarling and haven’t already discovered the Scott Gronmark blog, I commend it to you and for an American perspective Mark Steyn is worth dropping in on any day. The last I heard Laurie Graham is still this side of the clay and blogging. I believe she’s contractually prevented from growling but she has been known to gripe, snipe and whimper. Which sounds like a firm of bespoke tailors. Gripe, Snipe and Whimper of St James’s.
Thank you, dear readers, for your attention and your comments. It has been cheering to be reminded that there are right-thinking people out there.
That’s all folks. Live free or die!
Chapeau to Richard Carreno of the Philadelphia Junto for this reminder of what’s going on in our finest universities. It requires no adorning comment from me. Just read it and weep.
It grieves me to growl on Easter Sunday and I know Easter is a pagan festival appropriated (or re-purposed, as we are now encouraged to say) by Christians but I have had to draw the line at chocolate Darth Vader helmets. I mean, is this any way to celebrate our Risen Lord?
If anyone has seen a worse Easter Egg, please advise.
As of this morning the number of Cambridge May Balls threatened with censorship has risen to four. Trinity Hall’s Tokyo to Kyoto theme is deemed by some of the brightest and best to be a bad case of cultural appropriation. Earlier in the week Darwin College’s Havana Nights theme got the thumbs down from the PC brigade, as did the proposed Orient Express ball and Around the World in 80 Days.
Presumably it would have been okay to go dressed as Phineas Fogg. Or even as his balloon. When I read the words ‘Orient Express’ I think of wealthy Americans in new sneakers, but to the younger generation they apparently connote toxic racial stereotypes. But what do I know? J K Rowling recently got her ear chewed by a Native American academic from Brown University, RI for daring to write about a tradition sacred to the Cherokee Nation. You start to see where undergrads are learning their hair-trigger touchiness about everything under gosh-darned sun. It’s enough to make you want to run into the street in black face and a coolie hat.
Can it really be four years since I had to go through my Facebook page and stifle the news feed of Friends who forgot their manners during the Presidential election campaign? It seems like only yesterday. But here we go again. The US primaries, and the mud-slinging is underway. Today, immediately after Growling duties, I have to put the mufflers on several more perpetrators who blithely presume that anyone worthy of their Facebook Friendship also shares their infantile loathing of political conservatives.
Madeleine Albright has already threatened us with Hades (not that Mads and I are Friends) and this past week I’ve received a much-Liked promise of insane asylum vacancies for anyone who votes Republican. How extremely, obnoxiously presumptious. And what on earth would the Founding Fathers think of this level of debate?
So now out with my Facebook pruning sheers. Anyone doesn’t play nicely, I’m not listening any more. Can’t hear you. Na-na-na-na-na…….
The now distinct possibility that the UK will leave Europe has got me doing some calculations. I’ve spent the last twenty years enjoying the rights of an EU citizen to live and work anywhere within the Community. Presumably that right would be revoked, perhaps even retrospectively on old ladies who thought they were settled for life. We may be bundled out of our chosen EU domicile, walking frame and all.
So I’ve been entertaining the idea of applying for Irish citizenship but the fee, of around 1000 Euro, gave me pause. Would I get my money’s worth? Mr Growler will soon be 70. I’m only a year behind him. Life expectancy is now 81 but very few of my forbears got within candle-snuffing reach of 80. I guess I need an algorithm to work out whether to spend money securing my future in Ireland or blow it on a handbag from Mulberry. Just kidding. I mean, what kind of moron spends 1000 big ones on a bag?
Meanwhile, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, what was John Kerry doing in Hollywood? Was he taking a screen test? Was he rattling his begging bowl? No, he was pitching a movie idea to studio chiefs: a film so powerful that it will shake the resolve of jihadists and cause the fall of ISIS. A very tall order, I think you’ll agree. ISIS followers seem only to like homemade snuff movies. Perhaps this is one for Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy.
Dublin’s fair city, where the girls are so pretty, seems to be turning into Dodge and as it can only be a matter of time before some passer-by gets caught in the crossfire, I have a radical suggestion.
Membership of these rival gangs is well-established. So the Gardai should round up all relevant parties, ( I realise this sounds fascistic, but bear with me) each with their weapon of choice. They should then be locked in Croke Park stadium for an hour and left to get on with it. Call it natural selection.
Every one of them is some mother’s son and gangland hearts would be broken but their numbers are insignificant compared to the hearts broken and the lives destroyed by the drugs these gobshites trade in. I just think it would balance the books a little.
As of going to press the Taoiseach hasn’t called me for advice but he knows where he can find me.
It is a tribute to lovely Dalkey, where volunteer pensioners keep the streets cleared of litter and an old geezer haircut costs only 9 euro, that I have found so little cause to growl since we moved there. But there is something that’s really annoying me this week: the ever more frequent requests for consumer feedback.
How would I rate the packaging on my recently purchased copy of The Grand Chessboard? Oh, you know, it was brown cardboard, pink would have been cheerier, but it was fairly easy to rip open, no pesky paper cuts or anything. Do I realise I still have items waiting in my on-line shopping basket? Yes thank you. What are you now, my mother? And the house insurance company would like me to tell them how they’re doing. They’re annoying me, that’s what. Nor can I think of any conceivable reason for befriending the gas company on Facebook or following them on Twitter.
But there is one woman to whom I would like to give some feedback this week: Dame Sally Davies, the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, who shared with us the misery-guts information that she now does a little risk assessment before raising a glass of wine to her lips. Does she really want that wine, she asks herself. Does she really want to raise her risk of breast cancer?
Dr Davies must be a lot of fun to live with. But never mind, we can give her a wide berth. However, if I’m unlucky enough to cross her path I would dearly love to ask her, a) how on earth does she think wine glugging nations like the French and the Italians ever survived as a going concern? b) as she has survived to the age of 66 doesn’t she think she’s being a bit… neurotic? And c) is it her ambition to live for ever?
Enough feedback for you, Nanny?
The Growler has survived The Mother of all House Moves! Time to tune up for a new year of bellyaching, nitpicking and generalised kvetching. I’ll keep it brief today – no sense in straining growling chords that have lain idle for several weeks.
The British press announced yesterday that exam boards are considering rescheduling exam dates in 2016 to spare Muslim students the strain of sitting exams during Ramadan. A couple of points of information: school children are not expected to fast during Ramadan. Neither, strictly speaking, do Muslims fast for a month. They just don’t eat till after sundown, then they consume a huge meal which deprives them of restful sleep. It’s a personal option, as are the fasts kept by Orthodox Christians, to be exercised privately and without fuss. This exam date business is yet another silly example of making unnecessary concessions to Islam, probably dreamed up by someone who’s been on a course.
And speaking of fuss, I’d like to share with you Hal Sirowitz’s wonderful poem, Why There Are No More Miracles.
God would perform miracles in the old days,
Father said, but nowadays if He set a bush
On fire, like He did for Moses, the fire department
Would rush to put it out. The newspapers
Would send photographers. There’d be
An investigation. A reward would be given
To help find the arsonist. Some innocent person
Would get blamed. God has enough people
Believing in Him. Why does He need
All that commotion for the sake of a few more?
Someone just wished me ‘a safe Christmas.’