New Iceland

New Guinea Iceland:

An interesting piece from The New Yorker about the rules of honor in New Guinea's "payback culture." The term is an unfortunate choice, because it gives a modern flavor to what is really an ancient feud. It is ruled by ideas of honor, though. (By a quirk of fate, the tribesman's name is Daniel, much like our own companion whose ethical ideals are not without harmony here.)

On one occasion, I asked Daniel whether there are any rules that limit how one may kill enemies. He said, “In a night raid in which we sneak into an enemy village and surround the hut of a targeted enemy individual, we can tear down the hut to force the enemy to come out so that we can kill him. But it’s not acceptable to set fire to the hut and burn him to death.” I then asked, “Is it acceptable for six of you surrounding a hut to attack and kill a single outnumbered enemy?” Daniel answered, “Yes, that’s considered fair, because it’s already extremely dangerous for us to penetrate enemy territory, where we are greatly outnumbered.”
These are sometimes honored in the breach.
[T]he quest of a Tudawhe friend of mine, Kariniga, to avenge the killing of his father and many other relatives by the Daribi tribe culminated when Kariniga and his surviving relatives marched through the jungle at night to surround the Daribi village just before dawn, set fire to the huts, and speared the sleepy occupants as they stumbled out.
This was true elsewhere: "We shall have to boast of something else than that Njal has been burnt in his house," says Flosi, "for there is no glory in that."

Another thing that is true is the rule that our Daniel was referencing below:
“If you die in a fight, you will be considered a hero, and people will remember you for a long time,” he said. “But if you die of a disease you will be remembered for only a day or a few weeks, and then you will be forgotten.” Daniel was proud both of the aggressiveness displayed by all the warring clans of his Nipa tribe and of their faultless recall of debts and grievances. He likened Nipa people to “light elephants”: “They remember what happened thirty years ago, and their words continue to float in the air. The way that we come to understand things in life is by telling stories, like the stories I am telling you now, and like all the stories that grandfathers tell their grandchildren about their relatives who must be avenged.
But read all the way through, for a remarkable tale of an unavenged murder in the anthropologist's own family. "I came to appreciate the terrible personal price that law-abiding citizens pay for leaving vengeance to the state," he writes, contrasting the Western system of government with the old way.

Memento Mori

Memento Mori:

My sister recommended this gallery of the dead. The photos came from a hospice, and were taken in pairs: one before, and one after death.

The photos are respectful, but the accompanying text hides nothing of the horror -- and, sometimes, the peace -- of dying. What sorts of things give peace? What sort of man and woman can die well, and what sort dies hard? Confer the experience of those who have religious faith with those who are famed for their personal strength at that hour when personal strength fails.

A memory of death is keenly important to also remembering to live a good life, now, while you have the chance. This concept has a long and high history not only in the West, but also among the Samurai of Japan.

Lord Tennyson wrote, of the knight Geraint and his lady Enid:

And there he kept the justice of the King
So vigorously yet mildly, that all hearts
Applauded, and the spiteful whisper died:
And being ever foremost in the chase,
And victor at the tilt and tournament,
They called him the great Prince and man of men.
But Enid, whom her ladies loved to call
Enid the Fair, a grateful people named
Enid the Good; and in their halls arose
The cry of children, Enids and Geraints
Of times to be; nor did he doubt her more,
But rested in her fealty, till he crowned
A happy life with a fair death, and fell
Against the heathen of the Northern Sea
In battle, fighting for the blameless King.
That is a phrase we do not often hear: "He crowned a happy life with a fair death." It is a good concept, and a meaningful one. It is wise to think, now, not only of the fact that you have to die, but of how you want to die.

The King Who Comes Again

The King Who Sleeps:

In our talk about England and Saint George, Joel wrote:

A nation that will so publicly sacrifice their heroes and legends to mollify an implacable minority will go submissively to the gallows when that same minority becomes the majority.
It is for that reason I mention a new theory of King Arthur, locating him and his court in Lincoln:
Broughton-based Dr Leahy (61) said: "Following the withdrawal of the Romans in the early fourth century, Lindsey was a nation in its own right with its own kings and bishops.

"Excavations and metal detecting have shown how rich and exciting the kingdom was.

"We have decorated metalwork, some of which is of outstanding artistry, as shown in the book."

Dr Leahy, who retired last March as the keeper of local archaeology at North Lincolnshire Museum, believes King Arthur, who led the Celtic resistance against Saxon invaders, fought many of his battles in the Kingdom of Lindsey at Brigg.

"An eighth century account of King Arthur's battles states four of them were in Linnuis - which is likely to have been Lindsey," he said.

"If I had to bet on where these battles were, I would put my money on Brigg which, controlling the crossing of the Ancholme, was of great strategic importance."

A former foundry engineer, Dr Leahy - who now works as a part-time consultant for the British Museum - accepts many Arthurian experts will find his claim 'remarkable'.

But, he added: "The legends of King Arthur in their original form describe not a man but a military situation where the Britons and the Anglo-Saxons faced each other.

"This is true more of Lindsey than anywhere else.

"There is good evidence that in Lindsey the local Romano-British authorities managed to stay in control when the Anglo-Saxons arrived.

"Lincoln kept its original name, and there are no early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries near the city.

"For an Anglo-Saxon kingdom, Lindsey has produced an amazing amount of Welsh-type metalwork."
The point here is not that Lincolnshire is, or is not, likely to have been the site of Camelot. It is that the English still care: that their scholars and archaeologists still wonder and search for Avalon, and the books they write still sell.

So long as that is true, there remains hope for Britain.

2 + 2 = Blue

2 + 2 = Blue

Pizza hut fires a deliveryman for defending himself from armed robbery. Turns out, they don't like that he was carrying a gun. From the comments:

[We] discussed this last night in an adult ed college class, in Des Moines. The mostly female, liberal group thought Pizza Hut was right, for all the stupid reasons unarmed people usually do. Too dangerous, why did he have to shoot multiple times, etc, etc. But here’s the strange part. They all agreed that if the crook has shot and killed an unarmed Pizza Hut delivery driver, the driver’s family should sue Pizza Hut because the driver was not protected.
Let's all pause to ponder the majesty of that thinking.

The Danes are Right

The Danes Weigh In:

...and once again, we see that beer points the way to wisdom.


Maintaining Our Pron Rating:

Since we remain banned at Camp Victory as a pornography site, I feel obligated to maintain our status. Naturally, being mostly virtuous myself, I am obligated to turn to certain wives for some aid in this regard. If you appreciate their aid, by all means buy their album.

Now: "Come Roll Me Away" by the Merry Wives of Windsor.

I met with a soldier whose sword was so long
When I first did unsheathe it, I burst into song!
We battled for hours, up there in the flowers;
But then came the dawn, and I rolled him away!

I met with a sailor who'd just come from sea
Sure the list in his mast sure did fill me with glee;
Starboard and port for and that was well store'd
But then came the dawn, and I rolled him away!

Come roll me, come roll me, come roll me away!
For a toss in the furs, or a romp in the hay!
I can roll any man, at least three times a day!
So dear laddies, come roll me away!


I met with a tinker who fixed all the locks,
His tools were so fine that I opened my box,
And he fixed my tick-tock with his glorious... hammer?
But then came the dawn, and I rolled him away!

Come roll me, come roll me, come roll me away!
For a toss in the furs, or a romp in the hay!
I can roll any man, at least three times a day!
So dear laddies, come roll me away!
There's quite a bit more, if you like that sort of thing -- and if you don't, I'm not sure why you're here, given our pron status. At any rate, I trust there won't be any complaints from the distaff side.

St George! For Merry England

St. George for Merry England!

Gateway Pundit warns us that England has canceled the St. George's Day Parade, which would have featured 1,500 schoolchildren who'd made little flags to carry, out of fear of Muslim riots. He posts this graphic (now that I think of it, I believe that graph from a couple of posts down was also his, originally):

There was apparently some streetfighting in 2001, when a Muslim was stabbed by a National Front member. That one bad act touched off a riot in the Muslim neighborhoods that injured 300 policemen.

The English are naturally being careful here. They have seen this sort of thing before, in their neighbor Ireland. For years there were regular riots on many a 12th of July, because of the celebration of the Battle of the Boyne, where William of Orange and his Protestant army defeated the Stewarts, and the Irish Catholics who made up the majority of the population. The similarity with St. George, insofar as it exists, would appear to be this:

The saint became an English hero during the crusades against the Muslim armies that captured Jerusalem in the 11th century. An apparition of George is said to have appeared to the crusader army at the Battle of Antioch in 1098.
So this is part of efforts to avoid increasing tensions between Englishman and Muslim, by avoiding any symbolism with even the most tangential association with violence or discord. It's sad for the schoolchildren, but recognizing that there are a small number of bad actors in their community, the English are sacrificing as a group in order to protect the feelings of their neighbors. Of course, the Muslim community has been equally circumspect.
Conservative opposition spokesman David Davis said slogans such as "Massacre those who insult Islam" and "Europe you will pay, your 9/11 will come" amounted to incitement to murder and that police should take a "no tolerance" approach to them.
Oh, right.

Happy San Jacinto Day!

April 21, 1836
General Sam Houston led 800 Texans against 1400 Mexicans. In the 15-20 minute battle the Texans killed 630, wounded 200, and took the remainder prisoner. We lost only 9, with 30 wounded.

We gained our vengeance for the Alamo and Goliad and we secured our freedom as a Sovereign Republic.

La Posta di Falcone

La Posta di Falcone:

If any of you saw Kingdom of Heaven, a movie I disliked the first time I saw it, but like better on each subsequent viewing, you saw a bit of genuine Medieval swordwork:

"Genuine Medieval," but not for the time shown: This type of sword was not used in the Crusading period. It is true that the "Italians" called the guard "la posta di falcone" -- at least, we know that one of them did.

Philippo Vadi of Pisa was an Italian student of arms, who thought much of how to maintain social harmony through training in arms. He begins his work with a call to be careful whom you teach:
This way he, with a generous heart, who sees my work should love it as a jewel and treasure and keep it in his heart, so that never, by means, should this Art and doctrine fall into the hands of unrefined and low born men. Because Heaven did not generate these men, unrefined and without wit or skill, and without any agility, but they were rather generated as unreasonable animals, only able to bear burdens and to do vile and unrefined works.
My experience has been that the 'unrefined' folks are that way out of laziness rather than in-born character: as you can lead a horse to water but can't make him drink it, so you can lead them to a "jewel and treasure," but you can't get them to perform the rigorous practice and thinking necessary to internalize it. With this as with other defensive arts of more modern use, there is little to fear: Colonel Coopers' letters are freely available online, but the criminal class carries on not training itself in the fine points of the weapons they misuse. They are not interested: the arms are only the means to a momentary satisfaction of a passing desire. If they had what it took to master the arms, they would not need to be criminals.

In fact, if you can find one whose interest in these skills is strong enough that he does show some willingness to develop newfound discipline and dedication in order to learn them, by all means teach him. Whatever peril there is in his learning the use of arms, there is also at least that much hope in his learning self-control. The first use of the sword is against yourself: to cut away the parts that are lazy, that are cowardly, that are overly aggressive, that are unjust and unforgiving. It is not for no reason that a man who has taken the time to master the sword -- as Vadi -- turns his thoughts more and more to the business of peace.

It is these men who make the peace, and it is the training that makes the men. It also fulfils a mystery:
And with these documents often it happens that a man weak and of small stature submits, brings to the ground and conquers one large, strong and valiant, and the same way the humble conquers the haughty and the unarmed conquers the armed; and many times he who is on foot conquers a horseman. Since it would be very unbecoming that such a noble doctrine should perish and fail by carelessness, I Philippo of Vadi from Pisa, having practiced this Art from the years of my youth, having searched and traveled many different countries and lands, castles and cities to learn from many masters perfect in the Art[.]
Last summer in Iraq, we pushed out of our strong places of fortification, intending to move out among the people and live with them. We built many smaller fortifications, less imposing and easier to reduce. We put more people out on patrol. Our soldiers and Marines spent more time outside the wire.

We said that we knew this would bring worse casualties, but it would be a risk that soldiers would run in order to protect the people. What happened instead -- which we did not expect -- was that our own casualties declined as well:

We should not have been surprised. The chief thing is being willing to meet the danger.

What allows 'the humble to conquer the haughty' is a heart willing to encounter the danger, combined with a mind that is awake and ready to learn. Both of these things can be brought out of a man's character only through training and self-discipline.

If he has them, though, he has learned the 'high guard' -- the posture of the falcon, which surveys all the world and decides how to deal with it.

Moral of the story

The Moral:

My father sends:

The teacher gave her fifth grade class an assignment:

Get their parents to tell them a story with a moral at the end of it.

The next day the kids came back and one by one began to tell their stories.

'Tony, do you have a story to share?'

'Yes ma'am. My daddy told a story about my Aunt Karen.

She was a pilot in Desert Storm and her plane got hit. She had to bail
out over enemy territory and all she had was a flask of whiskey, a pistol, and a survival knife.

She quickly drank the whiskey on the way down, knowing it
would shatter and go to waste otherwise and just then her parachute
opened and she landed right in the middle of twenty enemy troops.

She shot fifteen of them with the gun until she ran out of
bullets, killed four more with the knife, till the blade broke, and
then she killed the last enemy with her bare hands.'

'Good Heavens' said the horrified teacher. 'What kind of
moral did your daddy tell you from this horrible story?'

'Stay far away from Aunt Karen when she's drinking.'
Sadly, the JAGs had to put her away for the violation of General Order #1.
Sometimes, Even Before:

H/t: Euphoric Reality.