Category Archive 'The Right Stuff'
24 Jun 2021
From Stephen L. Miller in The Spectator:
Underneath the paranoia and craziness of his last years, beneath a persona that took on what felt like a bit of a forced Hank Scorpio world supervillain act, was someone who understood the very foundations of personal liberty and freedom. As he said in the 2016 Libertarian party debate, ‘Our minds and our bodies belong to us.’ This was a basic foundational principle of his politics — a constitutional tenet that neither Donald Trump nor Joe Biden, nor many members of either major political party seem to grasp today. In the end, as we learned yesterday, he would rather check out altogether than have either have his freedoms curtailed by any government. …
John possessed an extraordinary emotional intelligence behind the leathery exterior. He had the soul of a poet and composer. In interviews about his latest crypto or blockchain scheme, he would veer off-topic and talk about, say, the genius of John Lennon. That was ultimately the most fascinating thing about him. It made him truly accessible in the social media age. He regularly conversed with his social media followers and responded to unsolicited podcast appearance requests, genuinely because it seemed he loved putting on a show. He had real charisma. John McAfee also built up an entire myth of himself. What was real? What wasn’t? This made him even more absurdly well-suited to the social media age. He understood the media enough to manipulate it. He once mused on Twitter that ‘A world in which dogs write poetry is more believable than the world as seen through the eyes of the media.’ That’s a great line. As old world media collides and colludes with new tech oligarchs, it has become more and more true.
McAfee understood the new tech empires because he helped build them. He would have been an invaluable ally, a lunatic suicide bomber and recruiter, in the coming information-and-techology wars, where the truth is now suppressed by YouTube, Google and Facebook as they preach about ‘false news’. This is a big deal — and McAfee understood that.
I didn’t come of age with Hunter S. Thompson, though of course like almost every other high-school kid or college student I read him. But this Thompson line immediately jumps to mind when I think of McAfee: ‘One of God’s own prototypes. A high-powered mutant of some kind never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die.’ God doesn’t make many of these guys. When he does, he never takes them back. John McAfee is beyond the great blue yonder now, aboard his eternal freedom boat to sea, a drink in hand, still searching for that great white whale to fuck.
18 Apr 2021
A North Carolina man and woman were attacked by a bobcat in their driveway earlier this week, and things got real crazy, real fast. What starts off as a sleepy suburban morning becomes a chaotic scene, culminating in the man throwing the bobcat and yelling “I’LL SHOOT THE FUCKER!”
The day seems to start off innocuously enough, as the man and woman begin their morning by loading things into a Ford Explorer. To the side is a fabulous Ford Freestyle, a vehicle that never got its proper due despite being a wagon.
The man bids good morning to a runner and turns to the Explorer. He carries a tray of food and what looks like coffee, which he then sets down on the hood right after reminding himself that he needs to wash his car. I mean, coffee on the hood is a risky move already, but it pales in comparison to what’s next.
05 Apr 2021
Let me die a youngman’s death
Let me die a youngman’s death
not a clean and inbetween
the sheets holywater death
not a famous-last-words
peaceful out of breath death
When I’m 73
and in constant good tumour
may I be mown down at dawn
by a bright red sports car
on my way home
from an allnight party
Or when I’m 91
with silver hair
and sitting in a barber’s chair
may rival gangsters
with hamfisted tommyguns burst in
and give me a short back and insides
Or when I’m 104
and banned from the Cavern
may my mistress
catching me in bed with her daughter
and fearing for her son
cut me up into little pieces
and throw away every piece but one
Let me die a youngman’s death
not a free from sin tiptoe in
candle wax and waning death
not a curtains drawn by angels borne
‘what a nice way to go’ death
— Roger McGough
Personally, I think John Buchan imagined “the best death” even better in his 1900 novel, “The Half-Hearted.”
24 Oct 2020
No social distancing, no masks, no screens, no kids, no women, just well dressed men having a drink and a smoke after work.
A perfect Friday night.
18 Oct 2020
(click on image for link to larger version and sales web-site.)
I like just about all of them.
10 Oct 2020
For once the Times outdoes the Telegraph in its obituary of a colorful British figure.
If you have to die, it’s nice to have so as to be memorialized like Peregrine Worsthorne.
It was said of Sir Peregrine Worsthorne that he wrote as he dressed, with style and flamboyance. His bow ties, spongebag trousers and Leander socks were combined with wavy, collar-length silver hair, giving him the appearance of an aesthete on his way to the Athenaeum Club. To complement his exhibitionist tendencies he had an amused, fluting voice and, unusually for a High Tory Fleet Street editor, he was considered something of a flaneur and a bohemian. He was also a man whose engaging recklessness was, on occasion, his undoing.
As a commentator he could be salty, moralistic, reactionary, contrary and even, on occasion, self-contradictory, but he was rarely, if ever, boring or predictable. On Desert Island Discs in 1992 he chose as his luxury item a lifetime supply of LSD. His columns, meanwhile, were less formal argument than a series of assertions, often enough strikingly original and elegantly expressed, but sometimes merely silly, or so outrageous as to disturb even his most unflinchingly right-wing readers. For much of his career he longed for an editorial chair as well as a polemicistâ€™s pulpit; when it finally came, its sweets were short-lived. …
In 1961 he became deputy editor of the newly founded Sunday Telegraph, a post he was to hold for the next 15 years (complementing Welch, who was deputy editor of the daily from 1964 to 1980). He was then associate editor until 1986.
He wrote in the first edition of the paper and, in some ways, thereafter became its personification. The values he was to espouse in his political columns for the next 36 years were not for the faint of heart: they were to include an argument that voluntary repatriation was the answer to Britainâ€™s supposed immigration problems, for example, as well as a vigorous defence of Ian Smithâ€™s white minority government in Rhodesia. His views on homosexualists, as he was wont to call them, could seem especially unpalatable. Despite his experience at his public school, Worsthorne castigated Roy Jenkins in one editorial for his tolerance of â€œqueersâ€.
It became clear that the editorship he was waiting for would never come as long as Lord Hartwell was proprietor. Hartwell admired Worsthorne as a controversialist but did not think him staid or reliable enough for the editorial chair. There was some evidence for this view, in his professional and also in his private life. He had married in 1950 Claudia Bertrand de Colasse, a Frenchwoman previously married to an RAF officer. Yet, as he described with remarkable candour in his 1993 autobiography Tricks of Memory, it was far from a conventional marriage, and he was far from a faithful husband, with many liaisons, prolonged or casual. They had a daughter, Dominique, who is married to the potter Jim Keeling.
The Worsthornes mixed in a notably raffish set, including the journalists Henry Fairlie, George Gale and Paul Johnson and the dons Michael Oakeshott and Maurice Cowling. By some of these friendsâ€™ standards Worsthorne was temperate â€” an early bout of jaundice made heavy drinking impossible â€” but his life was chequered with comically untoward incidents. Over dinner in a Brighton restaurant, he and the late Vanessa Lawson, then the wife of Nigel Lawson, later of AJ Ayer, decided to exchange shirt and blouse while sitting at their table, an episode reported back to the proprietor by a mauvaise langue among his colleagues.
When appearing on an early-evening programme in 1973 to discuss the abrupt resignation of Lord Lambton from the government, he became the second man, after Kenneth Tynan, to use a well-known monosyllable on television, lightly remarking that the public did not â€œgive a f***â€ about the affair. This brought a period of suspension from the paperâ€™s pages.
In print, Worsthorne was almost as unpredictable. He was no dialectician, no scholar, indeed, and (despite his aspirations) no intellectual. His attempts at serious political thought were repetitious but persuasive even at column length, still more so in his one book in this vein, The Socialist Myth (1971).
But he was a wonderfully readable columnist, with a feline knack of puncturing specious arguments, of seeing through humbug with a single memorable phrase. He once argued ingeniously that the advertisements in newspapers were in a sense more truthful than the news pages. In the news, houses burn down and aircraft crash, killing and bereaving. In the ads, families live securely and happily in their homes, while flights land on time reuniting loved ones, a far more accurate reflection of everyday life. And it was Worsthorne who described the mood of the Thatcherite 1980s as â€œbourgeois triumphalismâ€, a phrase which has lasted longer than most coined by the left.
His leaders apart, Worsthorne was at his best writing Spectator diaries where he could be as irresponsible and malicious as he chose.
19 Sep 2020
HT: Ann Althouse via Bird Dog via Karen L. Myers.
15 Sep 2020
John Burns became a very early photographic subject after the battle.
[I]magine a veteran of the War of 1812 and the Mexican War fighting in the Civil War. That’s a span of more than 60 yearsâ€”much longer than the 24 years that separated the beginning of WWII and the Vietnam War. Then again, during the 20th century, pivotal battles weren’t literally in our front yard.
An average 69-year-old might be happy to ride out his golden years from a rocking chair.
But not John Burns.
He fought in the War of 1812 and the Mexican War and even tried to work as a supply driver for the Union Army but was sent back to his home in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
He wasn’t too happy to be excluded from the war.
See, Burns already lived nearly twice as long as the average American of the time and was ready to do more for his country. But Gettysburg was much further north than the Confederates could ever attackâ€”or so he thought.
Burns was considered “eccentric” by the rest of the town. That’s what happens when you’re fighting wars for longer than most people at the time spent in school.
When Confederate Gen. Jubal Early captured the town, Burns was the constable and was jailed for trying to interfere with Confederate military operations. When the Confederates were pushed out of Gettysburg by the Union, Burns began arresting Confederate stragglers for treason.
His contributions to the Union didn’t end there.
On the morning of July 1, 1863, Burns watched as the Battle of Gettysburg began to unfold near his home. Like a true American hero, he picked up his rifleâ€”a flintlock musket, which required the use of a powder hornâ€”and calmly walked over to the battle to see how he could help.
He “borrowed” a more modern musket (now a long-standing Army tradition) from a wounded Union soldier, picked up some cartridges, then walked over to the commander of the 150th Pennsylvania Infantry and asked to join the regiment.
This time, he wasn’t turned away, though the 150th Pennsylvania commanders did send Burns to Herbst Woods, away from where the officers believed the main area of fighting would be.
They were wrong.
Herbst Woods was the site of the first Confederate offensive of the battle. Burns, sharpshooting for the Iron Brigade, helped repel this offensive as part of a surprise counterattack.
John Burns was mocked by other troops for showing up to fight with his antiquated weapon and “swallowtail coat with brass buttons, yellow vest, and tall hat”. But when the bullets started to fly, he calmly took cover behind a tree and started to shoot back with his modern rifle.
He also fought alongside the 7th Wisconsin Infantry and then moved to support the 24th Michigan. He was wounded in the arm, legs, and chest and was left on the field when the Union forces had to fall back.
He ditched his rifle and buried his ammo and then passed out from blood loss. He tried to convince the Rebels he was an old man looking to find help for his wife, but accounts of how well that story worked vary. Anyone fighting in an army outside of a uniform could be executed, but the ruse must have worked on some levelâ€”he survived his wounds and lived for another nine years.
Burns was photographed (being a hero in the North), had a poem written about him by Brett Harte, and has his own monument on the battlefield.
06 Sep 2020
Jalopnik reports: Some unidentified gazillionaire ordered himself a special custom one-of-a-kind automobile from Aston Martin. It’s a V-12 with a manual transmission. Right on!
Naturally aspirated 7.3-liter V12 from the One-77, tuned by Cosworth to a claimed 836 brake horsepower and 599 lb-ft of torque.
Six-speed manual transmission made by Graziano (The UK division of axle authority Dana) with a â€œbespoke motorsports clutchâ€ that would probably cost more to replace than Iâ€™ve spent on car maintenance in my life so far.
380mm front, 360mm rear Brembo CMM-R carbon ceramic brakes.
Inboard springs and dampers from the track-only Aston Martin Vulcan.
Worked on by the team bringing the Valkyrie hypercar to life.
Finished in â€œPentland Greenâ€ and satin carbon fiber with a Forest Green interior sewn by fancy leather outfit Conker Bridge of Weir which used cashmere on the headliner.
Also: The solid walnut(!) dashboard is Crown cut, whatever that means, and matches the wood shift knob.
Special bespoke clutch ?!
Cashmere headliner ?!
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