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The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Impact of Islam
by Emmet Scott
Sir Walter Scott's Crusades and Other Fantasies
by Ibn Warraq
Fighting the Retreat from Arabia and the Gulf: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly. Vol. 1
edited by S.B. Kelly
The Literary Culture of France
by J. E. G. Dixon
Hamlet Made Simple and Other Essays
by David P. Gontar
Farewell Fear
by Theodore Dalrymple
The Eagle and The Bible: Lessons in Liberty from Holy Writ
by Kenneth Hanson
The West Speaks
interviews by Jerry Gordon
Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy
Emmet Scott
Why the West is Best: A Muslim Apostate's Defense of Liberal Democracy
Ibn Warraq
Anything Goes
by Theodore Dalrymple
Karimi Hotel
De Nidra Poller
The Left is Seldom Right
by Norman Berdichevsky
Allah is Dead: Why Islam is Not a Religion
by Rebecca Bynum
Virgins? What Virgins?: And Other Essays
by Ibn Warraq
An Introduction to Danish Culture
by Norman Berdichevsky
The New Vichy Syndrome:
by Theodore Dalrymple
Jihad and Genocide
by Richard L. Rubenstein
Spanish Vignettes: An Offbeat Look Into Spain's Culture, Society & History
by Norman Berdichevsky

These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 21, 2006.
Friday, 21 April 2006
United 93
Ed Driscoll has posted at his blog a United 93 trailer here.  No special software required:  It's You Tube. From Deroy Murdock's review  of the film at NRO:
"This is no PC film crafted by moral relativists in Malibu.  As soon as Universal Studios’ logo fades to black, a man  quietly prays in Arabic. He holds a small Koran in his palms while sitting atop a motel bed. 'It’s time,' one hijacker announces, and their murderous journey begins."
Posted on 04/21/2006 7:30 AM by Robert Bove
Friday, 21 April 2006
Happy Birthday, Ma'am

The Queen, Gawd bless ‘er, celebrates her 80th birthday:



She’s in good nick, isn’t she? Of course she can afford the best doctors and the best moisturisers. Forget free radicals – her radicals cost a Royal Mint. But for somebody who, as a late relative once told me, never goes to the toilet – or if she does, she closes her eyes for the Royal We and Royal Flush – she looks radiant and happy. Many Happy Returns, Your Majesty, and long may you continue to reign over us, if only so that the jug-eared plant-fancier doesn’t get a chance to rain over us.


It is good to see that the Queen has got over that bad case of annus horribilis she had a few years ago.


(As a little aside, one of Edinburgh's many private schools, which had better remain nameless, sent out letters advising parents about yet another rise in fees. Unfortunately, they made a spelling mistake and said that the fees would be payable "per anum" instead of "per annum". One parent wrote back and said he was prepared to pay the new amount, but would rather continue paying through the nose...)


The annus horribilis may have passed, but the state of Her Majesty’s vowels is another matter altogether. “Another metter,” she might have said at one time. But no longer: 

Once she sounded like Celia Johnson in Brief Encounter. Now, according to Australian researchers, the Queen sounds just a little more like Jonathan Ross in Film Night.

After tuning in to three decades of Christmas messages they found that, over the years, the royal vowels had shifted daintily down the social scale.

"Our analysis reveals that the Queen's pronunciation of some vowels has been influenced by the standard southern British [SSB] accent of the 1980s, which is more typically associated with speakers younger and lower in the social hierarchy," said Jonathan Harrington and three colleagues at Macquarie University in Sydney. "We conclude that the Queen no longer speaks the Queen's English of the 1950s, although the vowels of the 1980s Christmas message are still clearly set apart from those of an SSB accent."

The researchers report in Nature today that they see the gentle shift from cut-glass to cockney as part of the blurring of class distinctions in Britain. Modern received pronunciation, for instance, resists the dropped "h" of those born within the sound of Bow bells, but there is a cockney-influenced tendency to pronounce the "l" in milk as if it were a vowel. Some of these changes have been led by younger people who reject establishment pronunciation, the researchers say. Could the older generation have resisted the influence of the young?

So Dr Harrington and his colleagues went straight to the older generation at the pinnacle of the British establishment. "The Queen's Christmas broadcasts were ideal for addressing this issue. Firstly they have been annual for a long period of time; secondly the Queen's accent is obviously not going to be influenced by geographical changes; thirdly any changes we observe are not going to be influenced by changes to style and content of the messages, because these have been quite consistent throughout."

With the blessing of Buckingham Palace and help from the BBC archives, the team compared the royal vowels of the 1950s and 1980s with the vowels of other female broadcasters. They found that in each case the Queen's accent had drifted towards the vowels of the younger generation.

"We are all familiar with the change that has taken place in the vowels of words like 'that man' where, in the 1930s, we still had something like 'thet men,' " said Jonathan Wells, professor of linguistics at University College London. "She is only following along trends that exist in any case. She still remains well behind them, shall we say, and of course she still sounds upper-class, the way she always did."

At least the Queen still says “orf”. I have never met anybody who says “orf”. They are a bit thin on the ground where I live. In fact, I’m probably one of about three people in my street who have ever said “whom”. But it is good to know that, where it counts, people are still saying “orf”.


It is said that Prince Harry once attended his brother William’s fancy dress party, not as a Nazi, but as a character from the children’s television series, “Vision On”. “What have you come as?” asked Prince William. “I’m Morph,” said Prince Harry. Prince William looked disappointed. “Must you go so soon?” 

Posted on 04/21/2006 10:02 AM by Mary Jackson
Friday, 21 April 2006
It's only rock and roll, but I like it.


Earlier this week I rather factitiously commented on one of the Samuel Becket items, indicating that the song Waiting for an Alibi by the rock band Thin Lizzy was rather more to my taste than Waiting for Godot.


Valentino's in a cold sweat, placed all his money on that last bet
Against all the odds he smokes another cigarette
Says it helps him to forget
He's a nervous wreck

It's not that he misses much                                                               

Phil Lynott from Thin Lizzy performing on Top of the Pops

Or even that he lost his lucky touch
It's just that he gambles so much                                                             
And you know that it's wrong

Waiting for an alibi
Waiting for an alibi
Waiting just to catch your eye
Waiting for an alibi


The lyric to that song has been going round my brain ever since.  I had a discussion with someone who knows about poetry recently, about how I find poetry that was meant to be sung or read aloud more accessible.  Although I did not have this in mind; at the time I was actually thinking of the folk songs of Ewan MacColl.


Unfortunately none of these appeared in the vote for the UK's favourite song lyric.  This was an unfair contest as the voters were given a selection of 100 lyrics to choose from.  Too many of which were from the Smiths.


I very much doubt that any line from this new song will grace a list of future favourite lyrics. World at your Feet by Embrace is the England World Cup 2006 anthem. Alternative title, Die Welt zu deinen Füssen as it has been suggested that England supporters in Germany in 6 weeks might like to sing songs in German to show that they appreciate their welcome. This is a football anthem that fails to mention the beautiful game.


With the world at your feet
There’s no height you can’t reach
This could be the one
It’s calling, it’s calling you now
You know it’s going to be our time
’Cause the world is at your feet, yes the world is at your feet


Presumably With the world at your feet There’s no height you can’t reach is because you are standing on the world in order to gain height?  I have only heard the tune on-line so it may grow on me.  And the music industry has to take notice of my opinion. Mum rock is a formidable marketing force.


According to the Telegraph

Music industry figures show that album sales have risen 18 per cent in the past five years, with the over-40s now spending more than the under-30s.

Women are responsible for an ever bigger share of this market, in a trend that has been dubbed "mum rock". The artists benefiting from this trend range from young singer songwriters such as James Blunt and Katie Melua to old crooners such as Neil Sedaka, Barry Manilow and David Essex. 

I do still like David Essex. The last CD I bought was a present for my husband, On an Island by David Gilmore. For myself I have replaced a cassette of Deep Purple's House of Blue Light, have some Spocks Beard lent to me by a friend who insists that I will love it, some Dave Swarbrick and 450 Sheep by Zdob si Zdub. No problem with the lyrics there. Dave Swarbrick is mainly instrumental fiddle and Zdob si Zdub sing in Moldovan.


As there are real musicians, and real poets on this site lets leave it there, for tonight.              


Note Mary has expressed some interest in Zdob si Zdub.  They were the Moldovan entry in the Eurovision song contest 2005.  They play a lively punk/folk rock using some traditional instruments which I rather like. This is a link to their website.             

Posted on 04/21/2006 5:24 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Friday, 21 April 2006
Why Russia backs Iran

"Our advice to our Iranian colleagues and friends is to complete work with the International Atomic Energy Authority and to calmly continue its nuclear energy programme... and on this path we are ready to provide assistance to Iran," Sergei Kislyak, the Deputy Foreign Minister, told a security conference in Moscow.

The Russian rulers see America as darkly plotting to weaken Russia when the American government hardly knows where to put its feet and hands. And the bombing of the Serbs was not based on some kind of anti-Slav campaign.

The Russian rulers lock up the best of the bunch of semi-demi-hemi-bankers in the semibankirshchina, the one who actually wanted to do political good with his Lukos money, and now one wonders, after his being slashed, whether he will ever get out alive.

The Russian rulers view the world as a series of overlapping or intersecting conspiracies, with Russia as the target, when everyone in the Western world, if it bothers to think of Russia at all, wishes it would come to its senses.

The Russian rulers think that they can win friends among those who run the Islamic Republic of Iran, and that this, somehow, will sate rather than whet the Muslim ambitions in the Caucasus; they are willing to throw not only Israel to the wolves, but Armenia and Georgia as well.

The Russian rulers are not keeping track of demographic trends in Russia itself -- even in Moscow itself. Just look around. Who will be left to read Konyok-Gorbunok to the children? Who will be left in a century to recite from "Evgeniy Onegin" -- a distinctly un-Islamic book, by that most thoroughly un-Islamic of writers, Aleksandr Sergeevich Pushkin?

The American government was stupid, in the way that it regarded Islam as a "bulwark against Communism." It no longer does that, but it still has a long way to go. And now the Russian government is stupid, for it is beginning to view Islam as a "bulwark against America." Or at least its policies suggest that such idiocies are wandering the halls, and even being admitted to the reception rooms, of the Kremlin.

Posted on 04/21/2006 8:14 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald

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