Zythophile remembers today the victims of the London Beer Flood which occurred 200 years ago today:
Wherever you are at 5.30pm this evening, please stop a moment and raise a thought – a glass, too, if you have one, preferably of porter – to Hannah Banfield, aged four years and four months; Eleanor Cooper, 14, a pub servant; Elizabeth Smith, 27, the wife of a bricklayer; Mary Mulvey, 30, and her son by a previous marriage, Thomas Murry (sic), aged three; Sarah Bates, aged three years and five months; Ann Saville, 60; and Catharine Butler, a widow aged 65. All eight died 200 years ago today, victims of the Great London Beer Flood, when a huge vat filled with maturing porter fell apart at Henry Meux’s Horse Shoe brewery at the bottom of Tottenham Court Road, and more than 570 tons of beer crashed through the brewery’s back wall and out into the slums behind in a vast wave at least 15 feet high, flooding streets and cellars and smashing into buildings, in at least one case knocking people from a first-floor room. It could have been worse: the vat that broke was actually one of the smallest of 70 or so at the brewery, and contained just under 3,600 barrels of beer, while the largest vat at the brewery held 18,000 barrels. In addition, if the vat had burst an hour or so later, the men of the district would have been home from work, and the buildings behind the brewery, all in multiple occupancy, with one family to a room, would have been much fuller when the tsunami of porter hit them.
Read the whole thing.
Hat tip to Rafal Heydel-Mankoo.
Rehana became famous in Kurdish Twitter circles after a photo of her giving a peace sign began to circulate on the social network. …
According to the International Business Times, Rehana is a YPJ (Kurdish female Peshmerga) soldier under the command of famed female soldier Mayssa Abdo, who herself has become famous for running the operation to keep the Syrian border town of Kobani out of the hands of the Islamic State. …
Rehana is one of many Female Kurdish soldiers who have become the front lines in the battle against the Islamic State. Islamic State jihadists believe that their martyrdom will not result in the promised gifts of the afterlife should they die at the hands of a woman, making the YPJ particularly indispensable against this enemy. YPJ units fight in both Syria and Iraq, and regularly post to social media to report on their successes in battle.
Hat tip to Clarice Feldman.
Dan Greenfield is fed up with all the cant about Islam as just another religion.
Islam is not a spiritual religion, even its paradise is a materialistic place, a fantasy harem where the physical pleasures of life can be enjoyed without restraint. That gives it an advantage over Judaism and Christianity, just as it gives the Saudis and the Pakistanis an advantage over the Americans and Israelis. There is no angst in Islam, no spiritual seeking and no room for doubt. The marching orders are always clear and individual deeds and thoughts matter less than a willingness to always obey.
Islam came out of the desert and it has never left the desert, instead it has brought the desert with it along with its codes, its deep hatreds, its constant deprivation, its deceptiveness and its nomadic expansionism. Where Islam goes, the desert rises, its tents, its red knives and its insecurities. It was backward even at the time of its birth and it has only become more so, but its singlemindedness is an advantage in an age of effete leftectuals and eurocrats dreaming of a transnational world.
While the leftectuals dream of windmills, the Saudis hire foreigners to pump their oil and then sell it to them, the money goes to fund the Hegira, its mosques in every city from Dublin to Moscow to Buenos Aires and Toronto, the fatwas, the bombs, the websites where the masked faithful hold up AK-47’s, the Islamic science courses and sessions on learning to love the Hijab and then the Burqa,
The Saudis just want what everyone wants, for everyone to acknowledge their greatness and live like them. They can hardly be blamed for that when the West spends almost as much money promoting democracy and its own way of life to people who still execute witches and blasphemers. They may be savages, but they fell ass backward into enough black gold to fuel a global religious war, and they’re using it cleverly and cunningly to transform our societies and wage war against us even while attending dinners at the White House. It’s smoother work than our diplomats are capable of.
You can hardly blame the desert bandits for being what they are, but you can blame the apostles of reason for preaching about a golden age of tolerance and enlightenment from every purloined pulpit and then turning away the heartland to a religion that is nakedly brutal and intolerant at home.
An honest look at Saudi Arabia, at its cruelty, its slaves, its intolerance of other religions and even of women, should be enough to tell even the dimmest Eton or Harvard grad exactly what the West is in for. No matter how many specialists in Muslim tolerance show up at universities, there is the Grand Mufti explaining that Mohammed commanded the eradication of Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula, and therefore there can be no churches allowed there. …
There are two Islams. The real Islam of the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and an imaginary Islam that exists only in the mosques of air and card table Korans of academics apologists and political pundits who have decided that Islam cannot be bad, because no religion can be bad, not even one which kills and kills, it must just be misunderstood.
Read the whole thing.
Eddie Rickenbacker (who would just a few years later shoot down thirteen Fokker D.VIIs, four other German fighters, five highly defended observation balloons, and four two-seated reconnaissance planes) beats Barney Oldfield at the Sioux City Speedway, July 4, 1914. Rickenbacker is probably driving a Peugeot; Oldfield either a Fiat or a Stutz.
Commenter Pico knows the correct answers: “Rickenbacker won driving a Duesenberg, Oldfield a Stutz, which dropped out due to a cracked cylinder.”
From Iowahawk via Karen L. Myers.
Charles Hartley: “Amazing folding stock on a North Italian snaphaunce coach gun, made so it fits into a leg of mutton gun case.
Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.
Cary Grant’s North By Northwest suit, described by one critic as “by far the best suit in the movie, in the movies, perhaps the whole world.”
A.A. Gill, in the New Statesman, argues that the suit is Britain’s greatest invention of all time. It is certainly a British invention with an extraordinarily durable world-wide range of influence.
The suit is the polite taming, the socialising, the neutering, of riding and military kit. Those pointless buttons on the cuff were moved from lateral to vertical. You used to be able to fold the end of your sleeve over and forward and button it like a mitten, for riding in the cold. Incidentally, the buttons on the cuff should correspond to the number of buttons on the front, not for any practical reason, but just because that’s what they should do. The vents at the back are made for sitting on a horse. The slanting pockets are for easy access when mounted. The suit that we wear was, in essence, invented by Beau Brummell – an obsessive, highly strung, socially insecure, thin-skinned aesthete, snob and genius. And, of course, an Etonian. He wanted to simplify the extraordinarily otiose decorative court dress to give men an elegant line. When the bailiffs finally broke into his rooms, they found only a simple deal table with a note that said, archly, “Starch is everything.” Beau escaped to France, where people said he looked like an Englishman and he died in an asylum.
We have to thank the members of the Romantic movement for the sober colours of suits. It was their love of the Gothic that put us in grey and black but the suit stuck. It said something and it meant something to men around the world; it said and meant so much that they would discard their local dress, the costumes of millennia, their culture and their link to their ancestors, to dress up like English insurance brokers. There is not a corner of the world where the suit is not the default clobber of power, authority, knowledge, judgement, trust and, most importantly, continuity. The curtained changing rooms of Savile Row welcome the naked knees of the most despotic and murderous, immoral and venal dictators and kleptocrats, who are turned out looking benignly conservative, their sins carefully and expertly hidden, like the little hangman’s loops under their lapels.
Radicals have always had a problem with the suit, always underestimated it. They tried to co-opt it as the Sunday best of Methodism, the Saturday night of working-class lads released from overalls, muck and sweat. They wanted the suit to signify the working-class respect for achievement, the rite of passage to grammar and university, wedding and funeral. But the suit is not simply an empty sack, not just a few yards of worsted with some silly buttons. It has an innate opinion. It comes with the power.
Read the whole thing.
The New York Times admits that, not only were there WMDs in Iraq, American and coalition forces were exposed to them on multiple occasions.
From 2004 to 2011, American and American-trained Iraqi troops repeatedly encountered, and on at least six occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons remaining from years earlier in Saddam Hussein’s rule.
In all, American troops secretly reported finding roughly 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs, according to interviews with dozens of participants, Iraqi and American officials, and heavily redacted intelligence documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act.
And there are reports that ISIS is using chemical weapons from Saddam Hussein’s former stockpiles against its Kurdish opponents.
[T]he waters of the Fleet were renowned for being clear and sparkling. As the medieval city began to grow, mills, tanneries and meat markets sprang up along its banks. Water was vital to keep these industries functioning and growing and gradually the river was polluted with blood, sewage and other waste – it effectively became a waste tip, a handy repository to discard anything unwanted including the carcasses of dead livestock.
As a result, over the years the river became shallower and the water much slower than in previous generations, only exacerbating the burgeoning problem of the health hazard it now presented. It would silt up in the summer and although the spas and wells upstream remained open and functioning the Fleet in the city of London became an open sewer with a mix of slums and prisons on its banks. Something had to be done.
The Great Fire of London in 1666 provided that opportunity. The architect Sir Christopher Wren was afforded the chance of transforming the lower Fleet.
By 1680 this part of the river had been turned in to the New Canal. It was hailed as the Venice of England but its days were numbered from the very beginning.
It was poorly used as a canal and, despite its new clothes, it still stank to high heaven. … Within a generation it was no longer fit for purpose as a canal.
The river was channelled underground in the 1730s from Holborn to Fleet Street, which still bears its name. Decades later it was filled in and arched over from Fleet Street down to the river Thames and is covered by what is now New Bridge Street. …
[T]he final blow was to come in the 1860s. It was at this point that the sunken river was incorporated in to the new network of sewers – an astonishing piece of industrial scale engineering designed by the visionary civil engineer Joseph Bazalgette. A little later its upper reaches in Hamstead and Kentish Town disappeared forever as well.
Via Fred Lapides.
Only slightly modified from HuffPo quotation of Reuters’ story:
In a dramatic shift in tone, a Vatican document said on Monday that fallen angels had “gifts and qualities to offer” and asked if Catholicism could accept demons and recognize positive aspects of spirits damned to Hell throughout Eternity.
The document, prepared after a week of discussions at an assembly of 200 bishops, said the Church should challenge itself to find “a fraternal space” for fallen angels without compromising Catholic doctrine on theology and the afterlife.
While the text did not signal any change in the Church’s condemnation of rebellion in Heaven or its opposition to the overthrow of God, it used language that was less judgmental and more compassionate than past Vatican statements under previous popes.
The document will be the basis for discussion for the second and final week of the assembly, known as a synod, which was called by Pope Francis and focuses on the theme of the angelic.
It will also serve for further reflection among Catholics around the world ahead of another, definitive synod next year.
“Fallen angels have gifts and qualities to offer the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these spirits, guaranteeing to them a further space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home,” said the document, known by its Latin name “relatio”.
“Are our communities capable of proving that, accepting and valuing their political orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on theology and the afterlife?” it asked.
John Thavis, Vatican expert and author of the bestselling 2013 book “The Vatican Diaries”, called the document “an earthquake” in the Church’s attitude towards damned spirits.
“The document clearly reflects Pope Francis’ desire to adopt a more merciful pastoral approach on theology and the afterlife,” he said.
A number of participants at the closed-door synod have said the Church should tone down its condemnatory language when referring to fallen angels and avoid phrases such as “devils” and “tempters” when speaking of former angels.
Sophie Gilbert, in The Atlantic, makes the case against Carrie Matheson.
Carrie is a terrible spy. If this weren’t a television show, she wouldn’t be allowed within 10 miles of Langley. Sirens would go off if her car so much as entered the GW Parkway. Yes, she has a history of mental illness that has seen her institutionalized and forcibly medicated; yes, she suffers from a related lack of impulse control, and is a narcissist with a complete lack of sympathy for anyone who isn’t herself. But she’s also insanely unprofessional and sloppy in a way that’s more grating in Homeland’s fourth season than ever.
In her relatively short and extremely stormy tenure at the CIA, Carrie has slept with her boss (Estes) and broken up his marriage, seen one asset (Hasan) executed in Pakistan, lied to another (Lynne) that she was under CIA protective surveillance (after which Lynne was promptly assassinated), illegally spied on a returning Marine (Brody), slept with said Marine and given him information that helped him beat a polygraph, gotten another asset (al-Zahrani) killed by a briefcase bomb during a meet, gone rogue on the streets of Beirut, slept with Brody after she knew he was hatching terrorist plots against the U.S., gotten pregnant by Brody after she knew he helped assassinate the vice president, and then helped Brody escape after a bombing she failed to predict that ended up killing almost 200 people at Langley. And that’s just the first two seasons. …
Carrie’s incompetence matters because her only saving grace as a character is the oft-repeated assertion that she’s professionally extraordinary. “I missed something once—I won’t do that again,” is her mantra, both in the show’s opening credits, and in life. “She means well, and she is kind of a superhero,” is how Danes once described her character to The New York Times. But she also embodies the ugliest stereotypes about women in the workplace: that they’re hysterical, brittle, rude, entitled, inefficient, and governed by emotions rather than logic. Instead of earning her promotions, Carrie either fails her way up the CIA ladder (after practically everyone else is killed by the Langley car bomb) or threatens people into giving her what she wants. Her current position in Islamabad was achieved by blackmailing CIA chief Lockhart. …
Read the whole thing.
Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.
Anne Hathaway’s SNL Homeland Parody