Sunday, September 13, 2020

The Queen is not dead. Long live the Prince of Wales.

When Queen Victoria died at 81 in 1901, her eldest son, the 59-year-old Prince of Wales, became King Edward VII.

Fast forward 80 years. (It occurs to me that the phrase "fast forward" has disappeared from today's world along with "radio dial" and "telephone cord".)

In 1981, when Diana Spencer, future mother of the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex, became engaged to Prince Charles Philip Arthur George of the House of Mountbatten-Windsor, the current Prince of Wales, she left her ancestral home in Althorpe and moved into Clarence House, I think it was, in London to prepare for her forthcoming marriage and new role as Princess of Wales.

The person who was assigned to be her mentor, to teach her how to become part of the royal family, to show her the ropes as it were, was the person who, as far as Prince Charles's bedchamber goes, was both her predecessor and her successor, none other than Camilla Parker-Bowles.

Here are a couple of true historical snippets:

1. Camilla's great grandmother, Alice Frederica Edmonstone Keppel, was a longtime mistress of Charles's great-great-great-grandfather, the aforementioned King Edward VII. You can look it up.

2. Andrew Parker-Bowles, Camilla's husband, was an equerry to the Queen. On the wedding day of Charles and Diana, he wore a bright red uniform and a golden helmet amd rode horseback alongside their wedding carriage.

Camilla bore two children to Andrew, a son, Tom Parker-Bowles, and a daughter, Laura Parker-Bowles Lopes.

Since Camilla was cut out of the same cloth as her great-grandmother, Princess Diana once remarked in a filmed interview that "There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded."

As we all know, Diana died in a horrific automobile crash in Paris in 1997. Camilla, whose marriage to Andrew Parker-Bowles ended in 1995, continued on with Charles as before. Speaking of historical snippets, there is a recording of a telephone conversation between Charles and Camilla in which he stated his wish to be her tampon. They married on April 9, 2005. Camilla did not become the Princess of Wales, however. She became the Duchess of Cornwall instead.

Charles is now 71, and is still the Prince of Wales, the oldest one ever. His mother, Queen Elizabeth II, is now 94. She may outlive her own mother, who lived to the ripe old age of 101. Here is a photograph of the blended families with all of the step-siblings on Camilla's and Charles's wedding day in 2005:


If Charles, who is getting on up there and could die at any moment (as could Joe Biden or Donald Trump or you or I), outlives his mother he will become king and the world will remember him as Charles III or Philip I or Arthur I (or perhaps II?) or George VII. If she outlives him, however, then the first child of Charles and Diana, Prince William Arthur Philip Louis, the Duke of Cambridge (or as he is more popularly known, Kate Middleton's husband) would become king.

There is precedent for what I am saying. Before Edward VIII became king he was known as Prince David, and before George VI became king he was known as Prince Albert.

If you became the next British monarch instead of Charles or William, which of your names would you use? I could choose to become either Robert I or Henry IX. I would choose Robert.

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Which title is better for this blog's first-ever embedded video?

  1. You Take The High Road, And I'll Take The Low Road, And I'll Be In Scotland Afore Ye
  2. It's A Long Way To Tipperary
  3. Something else -- tell me in the comments


P.S. -- That was 13 seconds of your life that you will never get back.


Monday, September 7, 2020

My ma gave me a nickel to buy a pickle’

I didn't buy a pickle (as the old song goes),
I bought some chewin' gum.

CHORUS: Chew, chew, chew, chew,
Chew chewin' gum,
How I love chewin' gum.
I'm crazy over chewin' gum,
I chew, chew, chew.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, even when my aunt gave me a quarter for soda water, and my pop gave me a dollar to buy a collar, and my uncle gave me money to buy some honey, I still went out and spent it all on chewin' gum.

And I'm not the only one.

Singer Kitty Kallen did the same thing (2:10).

So did Dean Martin and Ella Fitzgerald and Teresa Brewer and numerous others, but to have included them all here would be cruel and unusual punishment indeed.

Actually, I haven't chewed gum in a very long time, and I hadn't thought of the word "chiclet" for decades until this morning when I ran across this very interesting article:

"How A Mexican General's Exile In Staten Island Led To Modern Chewing Gum".

As a guy who grew up in Texas I am very familiar with General Santa Anna -- he's the one who killed Davy Crockett and 180-some others at the Alamo -- but I never knew until now about his connection to chewing gum. I'll bet you didn't either.

Live and learn.


Saturday, September 5, 2020

Hi, my name is Bob and I’m a Pharisee

I hope, actually, that I'm not a Pharisee, but I needed to get your attention.

The following is from the book 12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee (like me), written in 1970 by John Fischer. The original list was written in first person plural (we, our, us) but I decided to change it into first person singular (I, my, me) to help get what I hope is my point across more forcefully:

12 Steps for the Recovering Pharisee
  1. I admit that my single most unmitigated pleasure is to judge other people.
  2. I have come to believe that my means of obtaining greatness is to make everyone lower than myself in my mind.
  3. I realize that I detest mercy being given to those who, unlike me, haven’t worked for it and don’t deserve it.
  4. I have decided that I don’t want to get what I deserve after all, and I don’t want anyone else to either.
  5. I will cease all attempts to apply teaching and rebuke to anyone but myself.
  6. I am ready to have God remove all these defects of attitude and character.
  7. I embrace the belief that I am, and will always be, expert at sinning.
  8. I am looking closely at the lives of famous men and women of the Bible who turned out to be ordinary sinners like me.
  9. I am seeking through prayer and meditation to make a conscious effort to consider others better than myself.
  10. I embrace the state of astonishment as a permanent and glorious reality.
  11. I choose to rid myself of any attitude that is not bathed in gratitude.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, I will try to carry this message to others who think that Christians are better than anyone else.
i have just enough active gray matter left to discern that the above is sort of a self-test. I won't ask you your score and would appreciate it if you didn't ask me mine.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Let me count the ways

Once upon a time, 1852-1941 to be exact, there lived in England a man named William Arthur Dunkerley who wrote using the name his parents had given him at birth as well as the names John Oxenham and Julian Ross.

I once thought of writing something using the name Scott Silberman but nothing ever came of it. I actually did write something a few years back using the name Billy Ray Barnwell, but like the narrow way described by Jesus of Nazareth, few there be that find it.

A man named Matthew who was also called Levi wrote down a lot of things he heard J of N say one day to a big crowd on the side of a mountain, and it took up three chapters in his book. One of the things was this: "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat: because strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it."

William Arthur Dunkerley writing as John Oxenham composed a poem he called "The Ways" but it was not about a broad one and a narrow one:

The Waays
by John Oxenham

To every man there openeth
A Way, and Ways, and a Way.
The High Soul climbs the High way,
And the Low soul gropes the Low,
And in between, on the misty flats,
The rest drift to and fro.
But to every man there openeth
A High Way and a Low,
And every man decideth
Thw Way his soul shall go.

It goes without saying, ladies, that in the context of this very old poem "man" includes woman and "his" means his or her. Let's not quibble. For good or ill, I am an equal-opportunity feminist.

This post doesn't seem to have any identifiable theme. Still, I forge ahead.

Eric Blair wrote using the name George Orwell. Mary Ann Evans wrote using the name George Eliot. Samuel Langhorne Clemens wrote using the name Mark Twain.

Tell us, what is the name (other than your blogging name, if you have one) you would use to write your magnum opus blockbuster next book?

Saturday, August 29, 2020

This is my 92nd post of 2020

...and with it my output so far this year has exceeded the annual output of each of the last five years. Here's the proof from the sidebar:

2019 (79)
2018 (86)
2017 (71)
2016 (77)
2015 (91)

My most prolific year vis-à-vis blogging was 2008, when I published 228 posts. I was a busy bee.

Apparently I have had a new burst of energy. At my age, though, I will probably get tired, like these guys:
Hooray! Even Hip, Hip, Hooray! (or as they say across the pond, Hip, Hip, Hip, Hooray!)

This small celebration has occurred because I have just used New Blogger to insert an image into a post!

I followed Tasker's, Adrian's, and even Yorkshire Pudding's advice and logged out of blogger, logged back in, and clicked on "Try new blogger" (I had done this before but eventually reverted to the legacy blogger). This time more icons appeared in the line of editing functions than before. It now includes "Insert image" and "Insert video" -- HOWEVER, COMMA, even this new page DOES NOT INCLUDE THE THREE DOTS (...) THAT INDICATE MORE FUNCTIONS LURKING JUST OUT OF SIGHT.

I may never get the same New Blogger page that others seem to have, but at least I finally received a more complete one than I had received heretofore.

Those two tired kitties up there are Smokey (L) and Bandit (R) and they are recuperating from their hard day at the office on my daughter's verandah in Alabama.

In the feline world, there are no worries about COVID-19, no concerns about presidential elections, and no frettings over the activities of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

I am reminded of an old nursery rhyme:

Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, where have you been?
I've been to London to visit the Queen.
Pussy Cat, Pussy Cat, what did you there?
I frightened a little mouse under her chair.


The difference between Buckingham Palace in London and my daughter's verandah in Alabama is simply this:

In Alabama, thrones are occupied by cats, not queens.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

I wish they would tackle world peace instead

While we lesser creatures spend our lives creating blogposts and commenting on the blogposts of others, greater minds than ours ponder things like the following article from the current issue of Scientific American magazine:

"This Twist on Schrödinger’s Cat Paradox Has Major Implications for Quantum Theory"

which has the even more intriguing subtitle, 'A laboratory demonstration of the classic “Wigner’s friend” thought experiment could overturn cherished assumptions about reality'.

I am clearly out of my element and in over my head. I have never heard of Schrödinger’s Cat Paradox and don't care about Quantum Theory, I don't know what “Wigner’s friend” thought experiment proved or didn't prove, or why it is considered classic, and I have no cherished assumptions about reality that I am aware of.

I'm sure it is very important, but it seems like so much flotsam and jetsam to me.

So why even bring up the subject, you may be asking.

Simple. I want you to read the article from start ro finish and tell me what you think.

Only then can we begin to tackle world peace.

<b>The Queen is not dead. Long live the Prince of Wales.</b>

When Queen Victoria died at 81 in 1901, her eldest son, the 59-year-old Prince of Wales, became King Edward VII. Fast forward 80 years. (I...