Saturday, July 08, 2006

St Crispin

St. Crispen's Day Speech
Shakespeare's HENRY V
C. 1599

Although Shakespeare penned this work nearly two hundred years after the Battle of Agincourt (1415), it remains the finest dramatic interpretation of what leadership meant to the men in the Middle Ages.

Prior to the Battle, Henry V had led his English footmen across Northwestern France, seizing Calais and other cities in an attempt to win back holds in France that had once been in English possession and to claim the French crown through the obscure but powerful Salig Law.

The French, aware of Henry's troops weaking condition because of their distance from England and the attacks of Dystentary that had plagued the dwindling band, moved between King Henry and Calais, the port he needed to reach in order to return to England. The troops followed Henry's band along the rivers, preventing their crossing and daring them to a battle they thought they could not win.

The English knights fought on foot after the manner devised by Edward III. Archers were to be used in support, the English and Welsh longbows having established their credentials both at Crecy (1347) and at Poiters (1356). But here the French seemed to have sufficient numbers to deal with even this threat, and they refused to allow Henry pass, angered by the English seizure of the cities.

Morale in the English line as they looked upon the overwhelming force of heavily armoured, highly skilled French knights must have been extremely low. King Henry, rising to the occasion, spoke words of encouragement that rallied the English troops and carried them to a victory. As a result of the victory the French Princess Catherine was betrothed to Henry V, and France and England were at peace for the remainder of Henry's short life. He perished of dysentery in 1422, but was survived by his son (Henry VI) and was buried at Westminster Abbey, close to the shrine of Edward the Confessor.

Although the speech below is a work of fiction, it is evocative of the spirit with which Henry--and all strong medieval kings--ruled through the strength of their convictions and by force of their personality.

--Brian R. Price
--January 30, 1998


St. Crispen's Day Speech
William Shakespeare, 1599
Enter the KING
WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

KING. What's he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark'd to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God's will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God's peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man's company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say 'To-morrow is Saint Crispian.'
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say 'These wounds I had on Crispian's day.'
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.


This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,—
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.

ATTRIBUTION: King Richard II. Act ii. Sc. 1. [text]

Friday, July 07, 2006

Gay Marriage

If you support it, you are friend of mine.

If you don't, rot in hell. That's where Jesus puts you (yes he forbade divorce and marriage, a fact usually conveniently forgotten by the Non-Catholic religious right.)

That's the line: You are with me, or I hope you roast slowly on hell. With your illegitimate kids.

[And while should I not be as vile as your Christianist quote texts; How these Christians hate. They make Al-Qeada look rationale. Damn you all. May you get bone cancer and die the day the cure is found. Hey perhaps that shoud apply to your spouse, you care so little about us.]

All I want in the world is a man to curl up with an hold every night. Someone to be a soulmate that no women can be. It's probably too late at 45 and with AIDS, But unless you accept that is a legitimate goal of mine, you can never ever be my friend.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Me - as of July 6th, 2006

Me - as of July 6th, 2006 - Looking good for a 22 year old!

The Second Coming

The Poem by William Butler Yeats:

The Second Coming

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all convictions, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all around it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Going Viral

For a certain nerdy openminded person, this is a good blog - updated daily - and funny.

I want to go viral. Fuck with HIV I deserve to go viral. This has nothing to do with how many people click the google ads, but a general desire of mine to unscrew most people's notion of of reality.

I can see around 50 readers a day,

Hey guys - make me go viral.

NY Post Headline

Look, you don't expect subtly from the New York Post

The Post's headline about Ken Lay's death is just awful.

Before they put Cheato Lay's Coffin in the Grave, CHECK HE IS IN IT"

Maj-Gen Lord Monckton of Brenchley

Maj-Gen Lord Monckton of Brenchley

Another good Telegraph Obit. I knew his son, vaguely, the Hon. Christopher Monckton, who, while I was secretary of the Catholic Students' Union at the University of Edinburgh, we lured up ot give a talk - He was editor of the Catholic Universe. [Like Our Sunday Visitor but campier. It hand endless articles on "the barque of Peter" but also a cookery column by a gay Rabbi.]

Christopher saved our finances by turning down our proffered speaker's fee.


Funny things you discover in your closet

It turns out that ten years ago I got ordained by the Universal Life Church of Modesto California.


I am now available to conduct weddings, holy unions, and exorcisms. A sliding scale will apply.

Sexuality and Religion: What's the Connection?: Rush Limbaugh's hypocrisy

I think they are going after Limbaugh a bit much, but then I think the real issue is that he poses as a social conservative and is not married., so what's the Viagra for? To cope with the ED caused by taking the opiates?

Limbaugh has been nasty to so many people that one simply cannot help but be bemused when the nasty-machine he has created turns round and grabs him.

Sexuality and Religion: What's the Connection?: Rush Limbaugh's hypocrisy

But what is wrong with witch-hunting the witch-hunters?

If he came out and said the Constitution allows us to pursue happiness anyway we want, I would be right behind him. Cocaine, Oxycodone, and Mountain climbing are all bad for you: why are some banned?

As it is people can do really dangerous things (hang-gliding, water ski-ing, mountain climbing) all for the dopamine rush, and yet they are not curtailed. Why should Rush (who functioned perfectly well) not have been able to take Oxycontin or Viagra (and I have a script for 57 of them!).

I have no objection to what he does, just to the hypocrisy.

I have never used heroin, but I do know that Catholic nuns in the UK are amongst its largest purchers. Why because heroin is about the best pain killer we have, and they have developped a hospice system of rapid turning, to avoid bed sores, and two hour low-dose administrations of the drug (to retain alertness).

Rush's problem is not what he does, but the hypocrisy. I KNOW drugs can mess you up: I also know the hypocrisy around them can do more harm.

On 7/6/06, James R wrote:
> I do not understand the hoopla. Rush was found with a prescription drug.
> Whoopee. Some doctor gave him a prescription, and he has the bottle. So
> what? It is not like he was using heroin, or smuggling opium.
> Even if he has the bottle, it does not mean that he is using it right now.
> Maybe it was left over from his last marriage. Just another witch hunt.

Paul Halsall Internet History Sourcebooks Project

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Trey Menefee in China

One of my former students (and ww shall not discuss the relation of Irish Car Bombs, Trey and me in Santiago) is on a teaching tour in China.

It's worth reading his blog


Rosaries are things you either hate as superstitious nonsense, or the basis of a prayer and meditation habbit that can be life and sanity sustaining. Catholics are not the only ones to use them, as Muslim have "worry beads" [Tasbeeah ], and Buddhist medidation beads serve similar purposes. For me at least, saying at least a decade of the rosary (usually one of the happier mysteriers, such as the crowning of Mary as Queen of Heaven) is the only way I can go to see a dentist.

Since for me, Mary is the feminine face of God, it does not matter if I have been bad or nasty, I/We know that a mother will not turn her back on her children.

There is now a blog on Rosaries PATERNOSTER for those who want to delve more.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The Sacred Band Is Pleased

The Sacred Band of Thebes was the elite part of the mid 4th century BC hegemonic Greek army, and was composed of homosexual pairs.

Andrew Sullivan links to a story in the Free New Mexican on two Spanish soldiers about to marry.

Hell Freezes Over

The Australian Prime minister has called for good taste in television programmes [ BBC ].

This from a country which gave us Rupert Murdoch, Kerry Packer, Barry MacKenzie and Neighbours!

I wonder what "good taste" can possibly mean in Australia?

Monday, July 03, 2006

The founding fathers save America's soul

See Andrew Sullivan's article in The Sunday Times.

It's hard to express to Americans how scary and disgusting the Bush administration's conduct has been in the war to Brits like me, who generally regard the US as the essential nation.

Part of the reason for being a monarchist (like me) in the British context is that NO Prime Minister can arrogate to him/herself both all power and loyalty. Brits like me can critics Callaghan/Thatcher/Major/Blair all we want, and still resist any claim we are unpatriotic because we can assert out loyalty to the essence of Britain incarnate in Her Majesty. [I admit, since the current Queen is and always has been unimpeachable this is easy: the argument works less well if the monarch is awful: but, since she has been there for the entire lives of most living British people, when she dies, I think our grief will be unimaginable.]

This has been a great week for the American Republic.

Do I Love America?

I have lived here 19 years now. The past few years have been tough, and my encounter with the criminal justice system has not been nice. So DO I LOVE America?

Well, it' better than a lot of other places, and there are lots of great people here, but I do not love America. Israel is more intense; France is more sensual; Canada is more humane. But most of all, I never met the one here (or I missed him in the rush).

Now I want to go home to Blighty.

And in fact words spoken by my Uncle Geoff decades ago now haunt me: you will travel the entire world, but you will never find home away from Manchester.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Global Warming

My friend Scott Carson comments on the recent global warming warmings:

So it's worth keeping an eye on these reports--in some cases they may actually come close to the truth, but if the history of science teaches us anything at all, it teaches us that science itself is just a long sequence of theories and explanations being proved false. Why should any of these theories about the climate be exceptions to that long and invariable history?

An Examined Life

I think he is right. Modern science is the most exciting intellectual adventure of humanity (one I failed at because, at 16 years old, I never could see the point in Calculus. Why would I want to know the trajectory of a curve at X point? Actually, I think I do see the point nowadays - perhaps I should repeat the two years of Calc I actually took and passed). But scientists have no sense of history. They change their views, and after 5-10 years seem to forget anyone held a different view. [A few years ago they had the embarrassment of finding some stars which were older than the Universe!].

But, Scott (and other rich oil executives :) ) something is going on with the climate. Since I grew up in Manchester, England and now live in Florida, I am not personally in a good position to judge. [I dislike the redneckness, but love January and February, when you still do not need to wear anything more than a T-Shirt.] Nevertheless, from family and newspaper reports it is getting warmer.

Now this might be a good thing. If the Hudson Bay become a major oceanic destination, Canada may take over the world, which can only be a good think, since Canada is the perfect society (apart from Ann Murray and Celine Dion).

But then, if the Artic Ocean becomes ice-free, evil nations like Norway (think Whales) and Russia (think really boring movies) might take over the world. Perhaps this is the time to invest in land on Baffin Island.

At all events, coastal property in Florida or the Grand banks of North Caroline do seem bad investments. Fire Island Pines is problematic also.

St George was a Homosexual

The gendering of the major saints was complicated: most saints were male, but male sanctity, or rather saintly masculinity, was distinctly odd. Although Byzantine hagiographers repeatedly invoked the masculine heroes of the ancient world, we find among major male saints rather many beardless virgins and celibate ascetics. In one important respect, however, the middle Byzantine period saw the consolidation of a major new motif of saintly masculinity, that of the military saint. Let us begin with one of the beardless virgins who became a great warrior, St. George of Lydda.
George's cult is among the most prominent in surviving documents, in church dedications, and in iconography. Unlike the saints of the middle Byzantine period, with their usually modest dossiers of documents, there is a vast Greek literature on George that would require another dissertation to analyze. His Life was edited in the Metaphrastic corpus in what became the normative text, and he was one of the saints whose feast day was so major that most manuscripts of the SynaxCP list no other saints for the day. I use George as a paradigm case with which to explore the masculinity of the major saints because his cult was among the very largest, and yet overlaps in its main features with that of the other leading saints.
At first glance, it might appear that no saint was more masculine than George. His most renowned later images portray him as a military saint, usually in armor and sometimes on a horse. Although his most famous story, the killing of the dragon and aiding the princess, is a late addition, George was just as heroic in his other stories. Oddly, for one of the most popular of all saints, nothing whatsoever can be established about him as a historical figure. Among the earliest references to his cult in the West are papal condemnations by Pope Gelasius I of the myths surrounding him. George's masculinity derives then, not from any historical figure, but purely from the features of his cult; the texts, the expectations his clients held of him, and perhaps most importantly, the iconography.
As discussed at length below, elements of George's legend blur gender lines; he was feminized in relation to Christ, who kept George as "a pure virginal bridegroom for himself." In his activities within the world, however, from the earliest days George manifested several strands of masculinity: those of the classical hero, the Biblical prophet, and the philosophic sage. His legend focused on his multiple sufferings and death; in facing these George showed andreia, that is "courage" or more literally "manliness," a standard trope of classical masculinity. Part of the reason for George's suffering is that he was a foremost exponent of parrhesia. This "free speech" was the common attribute of saints that enabled them to speak the truth of the faith to the powerful. There are Biblical antecedents to this motif -- the prophets of the Jewish Bible spoke out against the sins of Israel. Greek Christian sources, however, also based parrhesia on the saint's apatheia, a passionless attitude towards the things of this world, and an ideal that recalls the Cynic and Stoic ideals of the sage. In addition to his passion legends, George was a saint honored in many miracle collections. These celebrated above all the power of the saint to intercede with God and produce results in this world. In one much-discussed story, a Muslim soldier throws an object at a mosaic of George. George showed his power and ability to act by turning the missile around and striking the attacker in the heart.
The masculine themes of the texts echo in what we know of his clients' expectations. For most saints, it is difficult to know exactly what part they played in their clients' lives. With George, we have some possibility of understanding his appeal, since the seventh-century Life of Theodore of Sykeon presents Theodore as a devotee of George. George is Theodore's guide and defender. When Theodore is ill-treated,
God's holy martyr, George, appeared to Theodore's mother and the other women, girt with a sword, which he drew as he came towards them saying threateningly, 'Now I shall cut off your heads because you ill­treat and punish the boy and prevent his coming to me.' On their swearing solemnly that they would never do it again, he took back his threat and disappeared.

Repeatedly the Life of Theodore raises the theme of George as both strong defender and counselor. When Theodore gives advice to another, the role he ascribes to George is clear, "The Lord Jesus Christ, Who knoweth secrets, will give effect to the mediation of the holy martyr George according to your faith and He will fulfil your request." George always presents himself to Theodore as a young man, but he is a young man who is powerful to act as defender and intercessor in this world because of his relationship to God. Theodore was not alone in putting his trust in George, whose appeal grew throughout the span of Byzantine culture. The strength of George's cult must have derived from what he offered his clients -- the protection of a powerful intercessor in heaven and the world.
George's reputation as an efficacious saint received a powerful boost when his iconographic type stabilized as that of a young warrior. The image of the mounted soldier symbolizes one of the most powerful marks of masculine physical power, yet it was not one of George's earliest characteristics. Indeed, the motif of the military saint seems only to have crystallized in Constantinople during the tenth century when a list of "soldier saints," to support the imperial armies, formalized the older metaphor of a "soldier of Christ." Some early martyrs, including George, were soldiers in their Lives. The creation of the military saint category, however, led to the rewriting of other saints' Lives to remake them as soldiers when they were alive. Demetrios, for example, a deacon in ninth-century texts, became a military officer by the time of his tenth-century Metaphrastic Life. George's miracula began to present him as a mounted knight, and by the eleventh-century as dragon-killer. George was among the most common subjects of religious art, and the militarization of his iconography occurred during the same period. In the twelfth century, John II Komnenos made sure everyone knew George as a soldier when he placed an image of the saint in military garb on coins.
The promotion of the military saints may have been an imperial project, but their reception and popularity among the faithful went far beyond the military. Christopher Walter comments that, "Without acquiring a monopoly of functions, the military saints exercised them with an efficacy which encouraged their invocation." Henry Maguire also notes that, "in order to encourage confidence in the beholder," Byzantine artists represented the military saints as "strong, solid and physically active." Scholars have not previously noted that the creation and success of the cult of military saints represented a significant intensification in the cultural representation of saintly masculinity.
While icons depict most male saints with beards, a clear indicator of masculinity, a puzzling aspect of the cult of military saints is that beardless young men are disproportionately prominent. Some commentators suggest that the image of George as a young beardless man appealed because of a certain androgyny. If androgyny was present, it was not unique to George. Other military saints also appeared as beardless youths. Their beardless state, however, was not a reflection of their age; according to their passio, the beardless Sergios and Bacchos were both officers of some rank. The depiction of warrior saints without beards may have been an effort at historical accuracy by iconographers, but if so, they were not consistent. The crux here is that the very saints whose power to act in the world was guaranteed by the unmistakable masculine image of knighthood, jettisoned or reversed other marks of male social power such as beards and family attachment. We see a similar pattern in the cult of the archangels. Angels were sexless by definition, and were beardless in art, but they still manifested masculinity. The Archangel Michael for instance typically appeared as a warrior and general of the armies of heaven. Christine Havice proposed that "the choice to emphasize George's or Demetrios' youth, beyond corresponding to textual details, underlines innocence, perhaps even sexual immaturity, perhaps an analogue to the virginity topos for so many female saints." There may be something to this, since women were the other major category of saints who were usually shown young. But before trying to resolve this ambiguity in saintly masculinity, it may help to consider the cult of a very different saint.
Nicholas of Myra was the only major saint whose cult in the Byzantine era grew as greatly as George's. He competes with George also in the number of surviving images. Like George, Nicholas was attractive to clients because of his power to do miracles. Unlike George and the other military saints, Nicholas was not a martyr. His icons show him as a bishop, and conventionally masculine in dress, beard, and baldness. His dossier was not composed of exciting accounts of tortures, but almost entirely of accounts of his miracles. As Henry Maguire notes, iconography reflects this difference; George's sufferings are depicted in imitation of the sufferings of Christ, while Nicholas' images usually concern more mundane miracles. There is an interesting consequence: whereas George's power derives from his relationship with Christ, as Christ's victor, and as Christ's beloved, Nicholas stands as a much more autonomous worker of wonders. One consequence, perhaps, is that there is never any impetus to compromise Nicholas' masculinity, since his cult treats him more as a substitute divinity to deal with the everyday problems of life than as a mediator with Christ.
Here then may be a clue to the iconography of many military saints. Their military status and the exploits they undertook secured their masculinity, and the power it gave them to intervene for their clients. Their youth, beardlessness, and innocence, however, separated them from the worldly cares of adult males, and put them in a more intimate relationship with Christ. Icons portrayed bishops and monks, by contrast, as adult men, with their separation from the world witnessed by their ascetic appearance.
Henry Maguire notes that Byzantine artists adopted schematic registers of corporeality for different types of saints: they stressed the immateriality of ascetics and bishops, while allowing Biblical figures and the military saints to exist in a more fully articulated space. In this context, we may note that Nicholas, although a bishop, was represented as active and moving in space. While both incorporeality and youthful innocence were iconographic modes that separated the saint from secular society, the saints with a relatively more dynamic representation were the ones with the largest cults. In effect, the Byzantine cult of saints evolved a model of saintly masculinity connected to the themes of secular masculinity, but distinct in that it found a variety of ways to desexualize the bodies of the saints.

The Somme and Pineapples and Me

BBC Story.

Today is being celebrated as the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. This was a battle in which Britain had 60,000 casulties on the first day, a battle where the British bombarded the German defences for days beforehand without realizing how deep the German defences were. When the men went "over the top" they were mowed down by German machine guns.

According to the BBC "The British suffered around 420,000 casualties, the French 195,000 and the Germans around 650,000." That's right, for a five mile advance 1,265,000 men (including some women) died.

My Grandad (my father's father), Brian Slater, was there. If he had not survived, I would not be here.

How did he survive? According to the family story he went over the top but then got isolated in a shell hole. He stayed there for two days living off one can of tinned pineapples.

I never met him. He died before I was born.

New Wording to the Catholic Mass in English

I am of course an unreconstructed liberal. I think the incarnation (which I believe in absolutely) is about Theodicy, not atonement, and I dislike ICEL's shilly-shallying about terms. But on the new wording of the Nicene creed they are just wrong. Homoousias should continue to be translated "one in being" (which is literal from the Greek") and not consubstantial as will be the case from now on.

We are NOT commmited as Catholics to medieval physics: we probably are committed to expressing a Jewish narrative approach to truth in the form of a theology in Greek/Rational terms. What this means is that we are committed to the truths behind the formularies, not to any particular formulation. We can reject "consubstantial" as a meaningless formulation and yet still believe in the underlying truth that the word was trying to convey.

Ancient and medieval theologians were essentially trying to make sense of Christian doctrinces, at first expressed as Jewish stories, by using the terms of Greek physics. They found the apparent contradictions in the faith (One or Three Gods, Jesus as both human and divine, the Eucharist as both a sacred meal and a sacrifice) could be resolved by using some of the theoretical distinctions available in Greek science.

The substance/accidence dichotomy is irrelevant in modern science (as I, imperfectly understand it), and to defend the theological use such terms we are reduced to claiming that such terms are "poetically" true. (As my friend, and confirmer Aidan Nichols used to claim about Freud). In effect we are defending the poetic truths of Christian doctrines by using the "poetic truths" of ancient and medieval science.

I suppose some theologian familiar with modern physics could try to recast Catholic doctrine in terms of modern physics (with books on things like "The Incarnation and Super-String Theory"). If Schroedinger's cat can be both dead and alive in Quantum Theory, perhaps some genius could use that to explain Jesus as both God and Man! The problem is that modern physical theories seem to be too changeable to make this a viable proposition.

As to the way Catholics celebrate the mass these days -

Look, I would prefer the mass in Latin in its Novus Ordo (sp?) form (the 1962 and earlier rites are just awful), with Mozart, Hayden, and Tallis settings. I am gay after all.

But it is not simplistic translation from the Latin that explains bad Catholic liturgies. We fail because a) we are too mean to pay for "ringers" in the choir; and b) because of those awful "cantors" who sing at the front of the Church into a mike and dominate the voices of the people.

How is it that the so-called "pagan" liberal Catholics in THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH, put on one stunning liturgy after another? [The girls need to get real about processions though!] Answer, the pay the choir and look at music history. So should we.

Advice to a Friend Going to China

"Shai, Shai" is "thank you" in Mandarin.

The phrases are MOST important in any language are:




Sometimes all three come in useful at the same time.

[P.S. If there is no toilet paper, work out what your left hand is for, and understand why you cannot use it to eat from public dishes in Muslim countries. Hey, it's better than a small island in the Mediterranean where you have to share sponges...]

Follow Trey at


An odd bit of historical information.

Portugal is England's oldest ally. English crusaders secured Lisbon from Muslim control (1146) for the expanding county/kingdom of Portugal on the way to the Second Crusade.

The English have shown a surprising love of Oporto's finest product, Port wine, and remained (at least until recently) its main imbibers, And the Portuguese always had the advantage of not being Spaniards!

How dare they beat us.

As I said earlier "Allons enfants de la patrie, la jour...."

England Out

England lost on penalties.

It's a five minute feeling of loss.

We will win sometime.

Who to support now?

France, Italy, Germany, or Portugal?

I chose France. On looks Germany should get a gay man's vote (fallacy!), but Zidane is the footballer who in and of himself demands support. As an hereditary Manchester United supporter (I was born with 2 miles of the ground (stadium to Yanks), and as a kid I saw George Best, den's Law and Bobby Charlton play, so there), no player could ever be more God-like than Bobby Charlton. But Zidane comes close.

If you don't know who Bobby Charlton is, God forgive you. He is the equivalent to a baseball player who would never bunt. (Is that the word? Baseball is my favorite US sport, and since I lived longest in the Bronx than elsewhere, I feel justified in supporting the Yankees. But not as much as Manchester United. Baseball is a game: Football is a religion.)

So, from now on, Vive la France!.