Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A little of this and a little of that, or Fast away the old year passes

Two more days and 2015 will be history. I'm still boggled at the thought that the 21st century has arrived, and already a sixth of it is down the drain.

A hundred years ago we (well, not we, but you know what I mean) were embroiled in World War I and the sinking of the Lusitania was just months away.

Two hundred years ago the Napoleonic Wars, which had lasted from May 1803 until November 1815, ended in Europe. On this side of the pond in America, General (and future President) Andrew Jackson defeated the British at the Battle of New Orleans early in 1815. Since 1959, thanks to country singer Johnny Horton, we former colonists remember it this way (2:28).

Three hundred years ago, the French had just lost Louis XIV after a 72-year reign (if Her Majesty reads this blog, there's a new goal for you) and the British were just beginning to get used to George I after the death of Queen Anne of rounded furniture legs fame. Here is a statue of her that stands in front of St. Paul's Cathedral in London.































A High Tory political opponent of Queen Anne wrote that "it was fitting she was depicted with her rump to the church, gazing longingly into a wineshop". Except that our president would be gazing at a golf course instead of a wineshop, many Americans know, as they prepare to enter a new year that will see the end of the reign tenure of Barack Obama, just how that Tory felt.

6 comments:

Snowbrush said...

“Two more days and 2015 will be history.”

This is a statement that brings up thoughts about the definition of history. Since the present is literally gone before we are aware of it, I should think that we never live in anything but history.

Toward what do you want your rump to face then you die?

rhymeswithplague said...

Snowbrush, I perceive that you enjoy arguing or at least you enjoy challenging everything you read or hear. I mean that in the best possible way.

We do not live in history. We live in a constant present that slips away from us no matter how much we want to hold on to it. Strictly speaking, we have no history and no future, just an eternal NOW.

This post sheds no light on my rump or your rump, only on Queen Anne's. Please note that the Tory stated that the queen's rump was "to the church", not that it (or yours or mine, for that matter) "faced" anything. Interesting word choice.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

It is so distressing that you had to have one final dig at heroic President Obama before the year ended. Another point I should like to raise concerns the alleged defeat of the British at The Battle of New Orleans in 1815. Where's your evidence for the outlandish claim? This was just cynical propaganda and in fact we British whupped your Yankee asses! Happy New Year Bob!

John Gray said...

Happy New year old bean , hoping 2016 will be a cracker xxxxxxx

Snowbrush said...

"Another point I should like to raise concerns the alleged defeat of the British at The Battle of New Orleans in 1815. Where's your evidence for the outlandish claim?"

I guess it doesn't much matter since the war was over before the battle was fought.

Snowbrush said...

“We live in a constant present that slips away from us no matter how much we want to hold on to it.”

I meant to say that there is a lap between everything we do, think, or perceive and our conscious awareness of what we do, think, or perceive. This has some interesting consequences. For example, we make decisions before even we are aware of those decisions, which puts the whole issue of free will into question. As for how I know this, decisions cause predictable changes in our brains, and these changes can be measured before we know that a decision has been made.

Somewhere in your recent posts, I mentioned being unable to remember the name of a conservative radio talk show host I used to like. It was Michael Medved, and he went off the air here years ago, but he’s still around, I think, although I read that he has stage three throat cancer. He stands out in my mind as being the only such host who didn’t resort to sarcasm or mockery.