For Good October Ale

For Good October Ale:

August, of course, is the eighth month -- and so "October" beer is due starting about now. It's been a Grim's Hall tradition to celebrate the coming of Good October almost since our founding. Here is the 2004 post, for example.

In my mind, the coming of October beer always brings to mind the tales of Robin Hood, and merry making in the greenwood. We had a fine hike to the headwaters of the Amicalola today, and a feast roasted over a fire of hardwood. Here is a traditional ballad recalling the forest outlaws of those days, "The Lincolnshire Poacher."

Well, I was bound apprentice in famous Lincolnshire
And well I served my master for more than seven years
Till I took upon poaching, as you shall quickly hear
Oh, 'tis my delight on a shiny night in the season of the year.

As me and my companions was setting out a snare
'Twas then we spied the gamekeeper, for him we didn't care
For we can wrestle and fight, my boys, and jump from anywhere
Oh, 'tis my delight on a shiny night in the season of the year.

As me and my companions was setting four or five
And taking them all up again, we caught a hare alive
We caught a hare alive, my boys, and homeward we did steer
Oh, 'tis my delight on a shiny night in the season of the year.

We threw him over my shoulder, boys, and then we trudged home
We took him to a neighbour's house and sold him for a crown
We sold him for a crown, my boys, but I dare not tell you where
Oh, 'tis my delight on a shiny night in the season of the year.

Good luck to every gentleman that lives in Lincolnshire
Good luck to every poacher that wants to sell a hare
Bad luck to every gamekeeper that will not sell his deer
Oh, 'tis my delight on a shiny night in the season of the year.
I trust you're a merry folk tonight; and tomorrow we'll be sober, as the song says.

By the way: the song is not of purely academic interest. The tune can be found here, starting at 0:23.

You might want to read through the comments of this, and other allied videos. It's a little piece of... arcana.

That Won't Do

That Won't Do:

I almost never write about abortion. In reference to Peggy Noonan's column of today, though, I think I have to do so this once.

The Rick Warren debate mattered. Why? It took place at exactly the moment America was starting to pay attention. This is what it looked like by the end of the night: Mr. McCain, normal. Mr. Obama, not normal. You've seen this discussed elsewhere. Mr. McCain was direct and clear, Mr. Obama both more careful and more scattered. But on abortion in particular, Mr. McCain seemed old-time conservative, which is something we all understand, whether we like such a stance or not, and Mr. Obama seemed either radical or dodgy. He is "in favor . . . of limits" on late-term abortions, though some would consider those limits "inadequate." (In the past week much legal parsing on emanations of penumbras as to the viability of Roe v. Wade followed.)

As I watched I thought: How about "Let the baby live"? Don't parse it. Just "Let the baby live."
That won't do. You can't "let" a baby live. A baby will not live if you do not care for it. At that moment -- the one being discussed, when a baby has survived an abortion attempt and is now delivered and alive -- we must make a decision. We must accept the child into the human community and care for it, or let the baby die.

Which is it, Senator? That was the question: that is what he is trying to talk around. But there is no talking around it. You care for the child, or you choose to let the baby die.

The Romans did. The Vikings did. And so do we.

If that is what you want, swear to it.


Isn't It Still Early For This?

Slate Magazine: "Racism is the only reason Obama might lose."

I suppose we all knew this was coming, but somehow, I thought we might get a little closer to November before all opposition to Obama was officially racist.

Joltin Joe Biden!

Joltin' Joe Biden!

I still believe that the VP pick is of little consequence this year, but you have to admit, this one is amusing. The reaction is remarkable, given the affection the press has for Sen. Obama -- recall the recent AP story that said it was "innuendo and false rumor" that Sen. Obama had "attended a radical black church, explaining, "In fact, Obama... attended Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago." (Oh, well, our mistake!)

This morning, though, the AP has not one but two pieces declaring that lack of confidence is shown by the pick, and questioning if Obama is ready for the Presidency based on the choice. Oof.

What interests me is if this, coupled with the news that Sen. Obama's pulling his ads in red states, means that his internals are more negative than what we're seeing in the public polling. He was expected to choose Sen. Bayh, to help out in Indiana (and may have paid someone to print bumper stickers to that effect); or Sen. Kaine, to help bring Virginia aboard. Does this suggest that the plan to 'remake the map' is now admitted to be a fantasy in the private councils of the Obama campaign?

The choice does make Sen. McCain's job easier in some respects, as explored here. There's tape of Biden questioning Obama's experience, and stating that the Presidency is no place for 'on the job training'; he's about the same age as McCain, taking age off the table somewhat; he's been in Washington and the Senate even longer, since the Nixon administration; people who feel that Sen. Obama is arrogant will probably not be charmed by Biden's "My IQ is higher than yours" approach; etc.

Oh, and he voted to authorize the war in Iraq. Then he spoke kindly of Sen. McCain's push for the Surge. Then he rammed through a bill condemning the Surge as not in the nation's best interests. Then he...


Who Serves?

Who Serves?

This is a discussion we've had here occasionally through the history of the Hall, but I thought you'd like to see the latest figures. The US military continues to draw volunteers who are better educated than average, wealthier than average, and strongly disproportionately Southern:

What you'll see from the graph is that every single region in the nation is underrepresented except for the South, and the Mountain West. The Mountain West pulls 1.07 volunteers for every 1.00 recruit in the military; the South as a whole region, 1.19. The Midwest is close to parity, but just under, at 0.98 per 1.00. The Pacific states are all the way down at 0.88, but the Northeast and New England drag the tail at 0.73.

(The numbers are actually somewhat worse for the North than suggested here, because Maryland and Deleware are included in the "South Atlantic" region with Georgia and the Carolinas. We don't normally think of either as a Southern state. If they were broken out, the South's percentages would rise, and the north's drop yet further.)

All of this just confirms earlier data, but it's interesting to see that the trends hold in spite of a long war.

Clinton Dems

Clinton Democrats:

I've gotten an email tonight from a new group calling itself "Clinton Democrats." They wanted you to see this video, and as I did endorse Hillary back during the Primary season, I suppose I should show it to you.

So, if you're interested, here it is. It's long, and full of fairly serious charges.

It's an ad for a documentary about Texas voter fraud by the Obama campaign. This one is shorter and flashier, though it lacks a lot of the eyewitness accounts of fraud:

So the question we were discussing at Cass' place the other day is: is this a popular insurgency, or a Clinton-faction led insurgency?

Well, there sure are a lot of people from Texas in that video.

Dig that hole!

Dig That Hole!


"This is my American Prayer."

"This is the church you cannot see."

Yeah, I give up.

Strong Beere

"Strong Beere"

Some things never change.

Two soldiers of old acquaintance, having beene long asunder, chanced to meete, and after salutations they agree'd to enter an Ale-house, where a formall fashionable Tapster fill'd them as much nicke and froath with Petars of Tobacco, as made them (in his estimation) to bee reckoned at two shillings; they fell to the discourse of their severall Fortunes and Services, the one of Russia and Poland, the other of Germany and Sweaden; they talk't of hunger and thrift, cold, and nakednesse, sieges, and assaults, Artillery, Ammunition, Guns, and Drummes, wounds, scarres, death, and all the perils incident to men of the Sword.
If that puts you in the mood for a "gunne" of strong beer and a mighty feast, the site has quite a few Medieval and early Modern English recipes. In fact, that's how I happened on it -- I was looking for a good way to cook some Rock Cornish Game Hens. (Eric would have liked the result, as it featured bacon.)

Bacon Bourbon

"How to Baconify Your Bourbon"

I always appreciate it when you separate the sheep from the goats early.

[S]ince bacon and bourbon are two Agitator favorites, I thought a post about how to deliciously combine the two was the least I could offer. (Why would you want to put bacon in your bourbon? If you have to ask, this isn’t the post for you.)
Roger that.

(H/t: Southern Appeal, who were rather more enthusiastic about it.)

Sports and Fighting 3

Sports and Fighting:

The discussion to the introductory post was great: enlightening, intelligent, spirited and courteous. I commend all who participated.

William's remarks are insightful, and I note that one of his early comments contains the resolution to the dispute on the subject of children displaying courage 'without training.' As he points out, this is not quite so: they train for it all the time.

This is why children day dream of being great warriors and standing against (insert enemy du jour). They are training their mind to choose options in frightening situations. The enemy they are facing is both “real” and a surrogate for other frightening things that they will have to overcome in life. Hence, this applies not just to the warrior aspect, but to every aspect of life.
However, my own sense comes closest to the one Doc Russia put forward. Training in armor can create and nurture courage, if it is done correctly. If it is not -- if the spirit of the thing is lost -- what follows is of no use.

Doc points out the importance of training for stresses in excess of what is probable, so you can minimize your concerns in the event. By the same token, training should emphasize that the way to end the stress is victory, and only that. Anything else is destruction: of the reason to train, of the chance to nurture the virtue being sought, and of the spirit of the man.

G. K. Chesterton wrote of courage:
Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. “He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,” is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide or a drill book. This paradox is the whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly or quite brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if he will risk it on the precipice.

He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine.
Miyamoto Musashi, in his Book of Five Rings, pointed out the error of the fighter in the video below -- and the virtue of the victor there.
When a warrior draws his sword the main intention must be to cut the enemy down. There is no reason to change your grip when you strike the enemy. When you have forced the enemy to lose control of his sword because of your parrying thrust, do not change your hand position.... Likewise, when you put aside the enemy's sword, or block the enemy's strike, you must be intent on following up with a powerful attack to win the fight. The martial arts are not a game to see who is stronger and who is faster. You must mean it when you strike the enemy. If you do not, you will certainly get hurt.
The martial arts are not the only sport in which this matters. It occurs also in horseback riding. When a horse panics, there is a fatal voice in the head that says: "Stop. Let go. Get off." If you do, injury or death await. The only chance is to sit deep and ride it out.

Even then, of course, the world may prove too strong for you. Yet that is the only chance: and it is the spirit that the fighting arts, and any warrior's sports, must train.

This is part two in the series. There will be another, but before we move on, let's talk about this.


On Metrosexuality:

Kim du Toit -- winding down his blogging career, with a planned retirement date about 100 days out -- speaks to ladies associated with metrosexual men. Shy away from the men who wear mascara, he warns!

...[M]ore interesting was the number of women who told me that they had once been attached to metrosexual men, but soon tired of them, and tossed them aside for men who were, well, men and not ur-women. And were now as happy as could be, content in their role as women, while the men were being men, and the women loved them for it.

In fact, although I know that mnost of my Lady Readers are attached, and well so, to Real Men, I would suggest that if any casual Lady Reader is unhappy with their current relationship, they should check for signs of metrosexuality in her partner. If the Metro Quotient is high, I would bet money that the lady’s unhappiness would disappear if she tossed the girlyman out of her life, and found instead a man who was not afraid of being a man.
If we're giving advice to young ladies on this subject, here's mine. Today was hot. My dog was hot, and panting hard. Finally I had to stop the truck, open up the back, take off my Stetson and pour a pint of water into it for my dog to lap up. When he was finished, I put the hat back on my head and we finished the drive home.

This is the proper use of a Stetson. Heck, it comes with instructions printed right on the liner.

If your man won't do that for his dog, he may not be the right man for you. Proverbs 12:10.

Sport 2

Sport II:

While I compose the next piece for discussion, a video that clarifies something of what I intend to say. This is the difference between sport and fighting, in spite of the ring, in spite of the rules. I've been sent this video by about a dozen of you folks:

As with the law, it's really the spirit of the thing that matters.


I Believe FARK Tags This "OBVIOUS"

A news story: apparently the Democratic Party leaders will be reviewing their nominating process. Can't imagine why.


On Dell:

My new motherboard arrived last night, accompanied by a Dell service representative who had never seen a dirt road before. Apparently there was some error at the factory with the old one, and it burned out cleanly; but so far, the new one works fine.

Dell seems to have moved its help center to India (along with the rest of the tech industry), and the experience of dealing with them is much like what you'd expect. However, once they determined (in the step-by-painful-step method that such call centers employ) that the error was indeed critical, they arranged to send someone to the house. The experience was painless: I borrowed the wee wife's computer for email and so forth, and now I'm back.

So: it looks like I need to sit down and read through an excellent discussion in the "On Sport" post, before I go further. I should leave you folks alone more often!

While Grim's Away...

While Grim's Away

...the peasantry will play. Full disclosure: this is going to be an utterly mindless post.

When the Editorial Staff were expecting our first grandchild (promptly dubbed "The Burrito" by his father upon arrival) we only half-jokingly began suggesting Manly Names for the prospective grand-progeny. Can you tell we were hoping for a boy? Since our eldest boy is of the law enforcement persuasion, our first Helpful Suggestions were "Law" and (our personal favorite) ...

[drum roll]


Inexplicably, our well thought out contributions were heartlessly disregarded. Apparently, the offspring had their own ideas about what our grandchild should be called. The *nerve* of some people.

This is what we get for all those years of loving care and attention. O! How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is, to have a thankless child...

/hand to forehead

But hope springs eternal in the grandmaternal breast, and so we have not given up. There is always the chance of further rugrats down the road. Consequently, we were gratified to see this list of The Manliest Names in the World, and even happier to see it included one of our fav actors.

Check it out. And feel free to suggest a name for our next grandchild in the comments section.

Death of Motherboard

A Hopefully Short Pause:

Due to a dead motherboard in the computer, I'll be away for what I hope will be a short bit. I regret the timing, as I had what I hoped would be an interesting series of post prepared for this week; but we'll get back to it as soon as we can.