Friday, March 31, 2006

Carnival of the Curmudgeons - Mark Twelve

Twelve Marks, something veddy British about that...oh, now I remember, in the old days before the Brits went Metric, their money was NOT based upon the decimal system. There were TWELVE pence to the Shilling, and TWENTY Shillings to the Pound (21 Shillings to the Guinea). I lived there in those days, in the '50's. The penny (pence) was sub-divided into ha'pennies (half-pennies) and even Farthings (a quarter-penny).

There were, in order of value, the following coins: Farthing (1/4p), Ha'penny (1/2p), Penny, Tuppence (two-penny), Thruppence (the three-penny coin had been retired, but you occasionly got one in change), Sixpence (six-penny, silver, about the size of a dime) and Shilling, a silver (and later nickel) coin about the size of a quarter. There were also Gold Guineas, but you never saw one in circulation. They were small gold coins, about between the size of (our) penny and nickel. I have a couple dozen of them in the vault. Dono about their value, but they are worth at least $500/ounce, like the rest of my gold.

The Brits were short on bills. They had only two then, the one-pound-note (the "quid"), slightly larger than US currency, and the five-Pound note ("fiver"), which was about 7 X 9 inches, and had to be folded several times to fit in the wallet. It was hard to carry a lot of cash, but then, no one had a lot. The Pound Sterling was worth about $2.80US, and the average Brit bloke maintained his family on 7 to 12 pounds a week wages. My father, a USN Captain then, on both Flight Pay and Doctor's (incentive) Pay, with hi-cost Foreign housing allowance, made in the upper ONE PERCENT of all wages and salaries in Great Britain then (Just over $20,000/year, which was HUGE money then).

We lived like Dukes and Duchesses (in fact, had more income than most of the nobility) while my Dad was stationed in England, running the US Navy Office of Naval Research (he worked directly for the Chief of Naval Operations, ADM. Hyman Rickover). We lived in a fine 250-year old house (Pelham Cottage) that King Charles II had built for a mistress (out in the boondocks when it was built, today it sits in the middle of South Kensington). It was a country cottage in the French style, with both a formal garden (necessitated hiring a twice-a-week gardner, Mr. Tilly, who liked to play the horses with the generous wage my dad paid him) and a Vegetable Garden, with espaliered fruit trees and berry vines and a large vegetable patch. We also had a daily maid/nanny, Mrs. Purtell, who was a decent cook as well.

London, as most major cities of the civilized world in those days, was perfectly safe for a teenage girl (my sister) and two pre-teen boys (my brother and I) to wander in. The subway or bus fare was seldom over thruppence for trips around the area (it was graduated on how far you went then, with a conductor on every bus and a manned ticket booth at every Underground station). I grew up in my three years in London, attaining the ripe old age of 12 before I came back to the US, and learning how to be a gentleman (they still taught the subject there, and even then, the US schools were starting to ignore manners).

I LOVED my three years in London, and so did my brother, but my Sis hated it. Something about rebelling against tradition. She was one of the first WOMYN, and after high school, was in the Beat Generation and became one of the first Hippies as well. Of course, I hold all that culture-busting against her, but at least she's genuine about it, unlike 99.9 of the other wimmen who profess these views.

Ah, nostalgia. As we curmudgeons get older, it has a bigger place in our lives.

Now to the Peeve of the Week.

Here are the candidates.

First is the MSM (almost a perennial candidate) with their full-court press on Global Warming - "We're all gonna Die!" screech. If we are warming up globally (and I don't believe the MSM's stats, because they pick and choose their temperature-measuring places), two things stand out like sore thumbs, and the MSM/greenies will never admit them: first, the warming could be (and probably is) an irreversable solar-cycle phenomenon and we will have to ride it out and second, anything we can and will do in the way of trying to alter the composition of gasses in the atmosphere (lower car emissions, shut down some industries, etc) will have such a negligible effect on the warming cycle that it is laughable to even attempt it. Increased insolation (warming of the atmosphere by the sun) is of such an order of magnitude that nothing we can do will alter or stop it. The best guess (and ALL of the atmospheric predictions are guesses) is that it is a short, 30-year cycle which will result in a two-degree global warmup, which will result in a one-meter rise in the ocean level. Civilizations 4,000 years ago built seawalls, and so can we.

Second POTW candidate is medical providers, generally. During my colonoscopy this week, done in a clinic that does nothing but stomach and butt scoping, I was swamped with inflexible rules and uncaring providers, UNTIL I GOT TO THE ACTUAL DOC, WHO WAS VERY GOOD. This is getting to be more and more the case in US medicine. I've had several colonoscopies before, and while they are uncomfortable procedures to undergo, there is no lasting pain involved. In fact, the pain is so fleeting that three short panting breaths will get you by any of it. Why in the hell does the clinic damn near INSIST on knocking me almost out with a heavy sedative then? I almost had to yell to make the point that I wasn't going to have a sedative or IV. I did have to make them sign a paper that said that they wouldn't try. This is lawyer-driven practice of medicine, and it sucks. If we don't get the lawyers out of the ordinary, everyday practice of medicine soon, our whole medical establishment will degrade to second-class status.

The third candidate is the immigration nazis. Yep, nazis. This subject has been hijacked by more factions than I can name. They are all hoping to have the catbird seat when this becomes THE hotbutton issue for the next election. The Hard Boyz of the immigration question are the "wall" advocates. Then there are the give-in types, mostly those of the (D)onk persuasion, who see any forced return of 12-20 million of potential (and some actual) voters amongst the illegals as being dangerous to their job prospects as hogs at the public trough. They are all nazis. Victor Davis Hanson said it brilliantly yesterday when he reminded us of our history: "where's the desire of assimilation?". All of our glory years came from the assimilation of immigrants. By and large, the Mexicans who want to work here have good values. There are exceptions, but a few bad apples don't spoil the whole bushel, baby. Why do we want to refuse this infusion of the good values of hard work and family into our culture, which seems to have lost a lot of those two values lately? Is it because the Mexicans have demonstrated that they would rather work for dollars in a capitalist system than suck dollars from a socialist one? The Mexicans would still be here, working hard, if we never gave them a dollar of welfare or educated one of their kids. The good ones would anyway, and the losers would go back. If we're to have a guest-worker program, make it so we actually have slots for WORKERS, and keep the welfare-sucking drones OUT. We don't need a wall for that, just a little help from the employers and the Feds, who should REQUIRE the cooperation of the state and local governments.

The envelopes, please.

The winner is:

The Medical profession. Clean up your act, Doctors. I come from a medical family, and I KNOW how it should be run. When I get the feeling that I'm walking into a welfare office instead of a DOCTOR'S office, something is badly wrong. Doctors, kick the lawyers out of your lives and clinics. The people will soon learn one of the great truths in life: anyone can do without a lawyer, but try going without a doctor when you're sick. Maybe the medical profession should refuse to treat ANY lawyer until medical tort reform is the law of the land.

This week's links:

The Analog Kid has a minor difference of opinion with the Analog Wife over the Gunny Perfume, Hoppe's #9. Hillarious. Read the comments also.

Acidman at Gut Rumbles passes on a good idea about illegal aliens. Then he turns around and brings us news of his good buddy, Dax Montana, who lost HIS tolerance for the corporate weasel he worked for and so ended his employment. OK, Dax, you did remember to reformat the hard drive on your corporate computer before leaving your office, didn't you?

Bitter Bitch, who doesn't have half the years on to be a curmudgeonette yet, still has a curmudgeonly revelation here.

Mr. Completely has valuable curmudgeonly advice on recognizing a Brain Attack, or stroke.

Finally, another youth, far too young to be a curmudgeon but with all his curmudgeon ducks lined up already, Aaron Neal, of Dad's Garage blog. He needs help, in making a life decision on whether or not to enlist in the National guard. I'll advise him privately, but readers may do so either privately or in the comments on his post.

Finally for this Mark, the humor section:

A traveler flies into Houston Airport from offshore and enters the Immigration check-in line…

"May I see your identification, please?", asks
the ICE agent.

"I'm sorry, but I lost my wallet," replies
the guy.

"Sure, buddy, I hear that every day. No ID,
no crossing the border”, says the agent.

"But I can prove that I'm an American", he
exclaims. "I have a picture of Ronald Reagan tattooed on one butt cheek and
a picture of George Bush on the other."

"This I gotta see”, replies the agent.

With that, the guy drops his pants and bends
over in front of the agent.

"By golly, you're right!" exclaims the agent.
"Go on home to Boston."

"Thanks!" he says. "But how did you know I
was from Boston?"

The agent replies, "I recognized the picture
of Ted Kennedy in the middle."

Hat tip to Mike, a curmudgeon and great friend.


Blogger Aaron Neal said...

I'm gonna have to steal that joke. And thanks for including me in this week's Carnival!


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