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Books | Anorak - Part 7

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The latest books and literature reviews, comment, features and interviews, with extracts from famous texts and neglected gems.

Library Rules of The Insane Asylum of California (1861)

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THESE are the Library Rules of the Insane Asylum of California (1861):

1. The Library of the male department shall be under the charge of the Supervisor. Every volume taken therefrom shall be charged to the borrower, except for the use of the patients, when it shall be charged to the Attendant, into whose ward it is taken, who will be responsible for its being used with ordinary care and returned in proper time.

2. If a volume shall be lost or destroyed, by any patient, the Attendant, having charge of the patient, will report the fact to the Supervisor, and, if practicable, exhibit the fragments. If lost or destroyed, by any other person, it must be replaced.

3. No one will be permitted to take from the library more than one volume at a time, or to keep a volume more than two weeks, without permission from the Superintendent or Assistant Physician, except Bibles, Testaments and Prayer books placed in the hands of the patients for daily reading.

4. The Supervisor will be responsible for books taken from the library and not charged.

5. The Library of the female department will be under the charge of the Matron, who, in its management, will be governed by the above rules, prescribing the duties and responsibilities of the Supervisor.

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Posted: 29th, December 2013 | In: Books, Flashback | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Extreme Dieting: Keith Moon Versus Hunter S Thompson

Keith Moon, the eccentric drummer of The Who, at Heathrow Airport with his girlfriend Annette Walker-Lax, on return from the United States. PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Keith Moon, the eccentric drummer of The Who, at Heathrow Airport with his girlfriend Annette Walker-Lax, on return from the United States. 

THE late Keith Moon was once asked whether he thought he was the greatest drummer in the world, he replied: “I’m the greatest Keith Moon-style drummer in the world”, and no one can argue with that. However Moon is just as famous, even today, for packing in far more than his fair share of convivial nights during his short eventful life. He died in September 1978 just two weeks after his 32nd birthday when he fell unconscious, never to wake up, in the Mayfair flat of his close-friend Harry Nilsson. Coincidentally, it was the very same bed where Mama Cass Elliot had died four years earlier.

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Posted: 27th, December 2013 | In: Books, Celebrities, Key Posts, Music | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Six Best Books of the Year 2013

Madame Arcati’s Six Best Books of the Year 2013

Who isn’t trying to flog a book these days? Independent publishing is fracking vast quantities of creative gas long ignored under our nose. Kindles everywhere are growing slow on free and cheap literary downloads, perhaps one day to be read when the kids or pets have flown and the only alternative to a heart-warming phone chat with one of Esther Rantzen’s Silver Line Friends is that book you meant to read 20 years ago.Excellent books are there to be found, and here’s Madame Arcati’s brief guide to the six best this festive season (all titles hyper-linked to Amazon):

 

Madame Arcati’s Most Excellent Book of the Year 

A Natural History of Ghosts: 500 Years of Hunting for Proof by Roger Clarke

A-Natural-History-of-GhostsDivine, darling. Or, as Craig Revel Horwood might say if not too busy eyeing up male dancer buttock curvature, ‘fab-u-larse!’ Published last year, the paperback released a few weeks ago, this is by far the most fascinating survey of paranormal sightings and encounters I have ever read.

Ingenuity starts at concept stage. Clarke sets out not to debate whether ghosts exist. He is much more interested in the anthropology of spectral experiences and research – or put another way, in relating true-life ghost tales, the ‘scientific’ attempts to understand them and in classifying the different types of spook: elementals, poltergeists, etc.

This is clever and fortuitous because Clarke knows he’d lose most of his mainstream critical audience if he entertained the notion, even for a moment, that ghosts exist as sentient post-mortem entities. One feature of secularism and atheism is the absolute conviction that life starts and ends with synaptic crackle ‘n’ pop. But there’s no question people have ghostly liaisons. I have seen a ghost. You probably have. Pliny wrote of a haunted house in 100 AD. The materialist will flesh out any unscientific explanation-away provided no concession is made to afterlife drivel. The winner is not rationalism but a replacement irrationalism.

Clarke knows all this as a veteran Poirot of psychical inquiry. So instead he sits us down by a log fire, creeps us out with weird tales, documents the countless vain attempts to solve the mystery of hauntings and treats the topic (of ghosts) as an aspect of immemorial human experience.

Clarke writes tremendously well – an essential component of any effects-driven tale both to satisfy the Bunsen burner know-all and trembly Susan Hill addict. The slightest hint of irony here and there gives sceptics their calorific fill while oo-ee-oo narrative pleases the rest of us. He is unafraid of the plodding nature of prose, the focus on patient set-ups – Gore Vidal called this vital writerly process ‘grazing’. The cow’s temperament is vital to story-telling.

I also commend Clarke’s end notes which combine scholarly learning with a sly sense of humour. At the very least you end up sceptically well-informed and enthralled.

 

 

Madame Arcati’s Most Promising Foreplay Read of 2014

The View from the Tower by Charles Lambert

TowerOne of the joys of reading is the foreplay. Before immersion I like to examine covers, read blurbs, savour hints in reviews or previews, gaze at the author pic (if any), perhaps tantalise myself with a glimpse of the first and last pages (I am intolerant of sequence and secrets – no author will control moi). Charles Lambert is new to me, I have not read his fiction yet; but we are engaged in foreplay (one-sidedly I hasten to add). I am sampling his work at present. I intend to go all the way with his novelThe View from the Tower, published on 2 January 2014.

This is the second in a Rome-set trilogy, so really I ought to consummate with the first in the series,Any Human Face (published in 2011). ‘A dark and fast-paced literary thriller about love, sex, art and death,’ is the terse description. I have the book in front of me. On the cover, a slim man in a black suit gazes warily up an ancient alleyway. An old-style pale blue motor scooter before him startles the period monochrome. Is the man hunting or being hunted? I don’t know.

I may read Any Human Face first. It has Malaysian nuns killing time at a second-hand bookstall – a sufficiently kinky observation to grab my attention. I suspect Lambert notices much that is surprising. I can smell his curiosity and his taste for the perverse.The View from the Tower is  ‘a psychological thriller about love and betrayal, and the damage done when ideals and human lives come into conflict.’ But I suspect it’s rich in peculiar detail, too. That’s what I want. Isn’t foreplay fun?

 

 

Madame Arcati’s Best Poppet Book of the Year 2013

Sleeping With Dogs: A Peripheral Autobiography by Brian Sewell

dogsI just know I would hate art critic Brian Sewell in person. That face, fixed in a state of appalled shock. That voice, strangled to last-breath whine by an odd form of hostile genteelness – the sharp chip in the Whittard of Chelsea teacup rim. In death his visage will slowly, ineluctably draw into one final pull of grotesque disapproval, perhaps impossible in life, now achievable by the new physics of rot. Not even Tracey Emin’s art could trigger such a look.

Yet even a glorious c**t has his good side. Should you have a tail, a long tongue and a readiness to shit in public – Brian’s all yours. Preferably, you will not bore him with actual speech but simply advertise your wants with a growl and a howl. Brian has loved 17 doggies and there’s little they can do to sour his canine fetish. One bark and I’m already thinking of RSPCA extermination. But Brian loves the constant music of dog – and the relentless me-ism, the diva presumptions, the bad breath and foul turds. Why, he has four dogs at a time in his bed.

Brian is probably correct in thinking that dogs share with us the same range of emotions, hence the peculiar show that is Crufts. What perhaps he adores about them is their immediacy and lack of guile, that unmediated need for a cuddle and a scoff and walkies that requires nothing more from us than basic delivery followed by unconditional gratitude (the dog’s).

How can one fail to be ensorcelled by evidence of the total collapse of Brian’s default snobbery and disdain in the presence of his best friends? Meanwhile, dog walkers should continue to place street dog turd in plastic bags. Such sights please me no end.

 

 

Madame Arcati’s Most Wondair Book of the Year 2013

The Mitford Girls’ Guide to Life by Lyndsy Spence

Mitford Girls CoverI reviewed this delightful book back in August (clickhere) and am not in the least surprised at its success. It’s quirky, quintessentially English (which is odd because Lyndsy is Irish – I think), a guide and etiquette book of sorts but also a wallow in 20th Century interwar eccentricity. Daffy is another word that comes to mind.

Lyndsy has gutted the lives of the Mitford girls and turned them into parables, bullet point social codes and how-to guidance to live this life successfully. From Unity’s fixation on and pursuit of Hitler we learn:  ‘Don’t rush head first into an encounter with your idol as this will label you as another fan. Edge your way in slowly and discreetly.’ This example does raise a question over the precise location of Lyndsy’s tongue at times (in cheek, perhaps?) but there is sufficient quantity of information on the Mitford lives to reassure on overall deadpan purpose. Certainly I learnt a great deal more about the Mitties.

Lyndsy Spence is an author to watch. She is very young – and driven by a passion for old school glamour and style. Not only has she founded The Mitford Society with a large following but she has found time to release the first of the The Mitford Societyannuals which comprises many features and essays on the aristocratic clan. One piece is authored by me – I take you to the Arcati Horoscope Revue Bar where we learn more about the astrology of the gels as stripper potential is appraised. It’s all done in the best possible taste.

 

 

Madame Arcati’s Most Peculiar Novel Award 2013Death Flies, Missing Girls and Brigitte Bardot by Kenneth George King

death fliesQuite the oddest book I ever did read is this outré and outrageous nugget which bears the name Kenneth George King. Call me a spoilsport but one may as well know that the author is Eurovision’s very own bastard son and general vile perv, Jonathan King – the man who gave us Everyone’s Gone To The Moon. This fact alone will cause certain flowers to wilt. But hardier annuals and the odd cactus or two will be rewarded in their staying power. By the end of this book you will be dreaming about flies, naked boys and sex stars and other causes of ruin. JK has well and truly gone over to the surreal side – and the result is something most interesting.

Now that we live in a world of Twitter and gnomic ejaculation, King has produced what seems like a cut-up novel thrown together kaleidoscopically for attention deficit consumption. This is not quite Burroughs cut-up style but the many autobiographical bits strewn through the narrative have a snip-snip-paste quality. We learn quite a lot about prisons, Arab straight boys who like homosex, Barbara Windsor, a bit about Bardot of course and her right-wing husband, and, oh, glam hot places where JK goes for his hols. And about police procedure.

But what’s it all abaht? Well, yes. Good question. There is indeed a car accident in Morocco. And girls go missing in England, as the blurb promises. A killer lurks and plots and an old ‘superb’ detective sniffs. Flies offer clues of sorts. Different voices tell us what they see and do, not all of their perspectives entirely relevant; but always fascinating. That’s what it’s all abaht.

We are told on the cover that the novel has been submitted for the Man Booker Prize 2014. If an astrology novel can win, so can this.

 

 

Madame Arcati’s Novella of the Year 2013You’re Never Too Old by Fiona Pitt-Kethley
 

too oldThe world could do with a few more Fiona Pitt-Kethleys. Here’s a woman who could give Boudicca a run for her money. I love her poetry. I adore the stories about her. Non-payers will soon discover what I mean. You cross Fiona at your peril. She lives in Spain with her chess champion husband and family and cats. She cooks.

Here’s the thing about her very short novel, available only on Kindle at 77p. It’s not about James Bond – it can’t be because the Ian Fleming estate wouldn’t permit it. No siree. No, let’s get this straight. It’s not about Bond, James Bond. It’s about James Round – a retired spy. The sort of ‘feisty oldie’ Fiona worships. Perhaps Round sees himself as a latter-day Bond. We all have our dreams. In another universe I’m a pop star. Friends with Michael.

Anyway, Round is ancient. He’s stuck in some cold hovel in Scotland. He longs to get back to his old life of action, double agenting and leg-overing nubile pin-ups. A chance meeting re-opens up his life and before you know it he’s on a spying mission to a spa in Israel with senile drunken secretary Penny. Oh the fun we have. Round ain’t passed it. It’s treble dry Martinis all round.

I love Pitt-Kethley’s droll, throw-away humour, the teasing satire and the hopeful moral for the silver surfers. Saga magazine should serialise this tale. You’ll smile and you’ll laugh.

 

You can get your hands on the Madame’s book her – please do.

Follow him here and on Twitter here.

Posted: 19th, December 2013 | In: Books, Key Posts | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Dictionary Update Says Geeks Are Cool And Not In the Least Bit Socially Awkward

geeks

SO the language changes once again. Collins, the dictionary people, has just released its list of words of the year. They always do this just before Christmas in order to remind middle aged men that dictionaries make very good presents from Santa for their children. Just like their own fathers told them 35 years ago.

In the list change this year we’ve a change in the definition of “geek”. From one who is socially awkward, near incompetent, to one who is now at the blazing, leading, edge of contemporary culture.

“Often we find that they achieve better longevity too. Just compare previous generations’ use of words like ‘cloud’, ‘tweet’ and ‘tablet’ to ours.

“‘Geek’ is a great example of a word that has evolved from having a negative meaning to having a positive one.

“Its origins are in the 19th century, but it has most recently changed from describing someone preoccupied with computing to someone who is passionate about any field of expertise.

“This change in meaning represents a positive change in perceptions about specialist expertise, and is a result of the influence of technology on people’s lives in 2013.

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Posted: 16th, December 2013 | In: Books, Reviews, Technology | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Bob Carey Travels The World In His Pink Tutu To Make His Cancer-Suffering Wife Laugh

BOB Carey made his cancer-suffering wife laugh by dressing up in a pink tutu. When in 2003 Bob heard that his beloved Linda has breast cancer, he wanted to help. So. During the ordeal of chemotherapy, he set out to brighten her day.

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Posted: 14th, December 2013 | In: Books | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Buy An Angel And Keep A Cartoonist In His London Home This Christmas

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BRIAN Davis has been handing out free drawings in London. The cartoonist currently faces eviction from his London flat due to rent arrears and is hoping to raise funds to help through his book Angel Delights for him to stay in his Finchley home.

You can find out more about Brian on his website, and buy his book here.

 

Posted: 13th, December 2013 | In: Books | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


A.A. Milne Reads Winnie The Pooh In 1929 (With Photos Of The Writer Playing With ‘Christopher Robin’)

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IN 1929 A.A. Milne (above) was recorded reading aloud a passage from his book, Winnie-the-Pooh.

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Posted: 7th, December 2013 | In: Books, Flashback | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Free Nelson Mandela Comic Books

IN 2005, former South African President Nelson Mandela starred in the Madiba Legacy Series comic books – a nine-part comic book series based on Nelson Mandela’s life freely distributed in schools and newspapers. It was created by the Nelson Mandela Foundation.

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Posted: 5th, December 2013 | In: Books, Politicians | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Judith Kerr: The Artist Who Came From Nazi Germany To Write A Wonderful Book About A Tiger Who Liked Tea

ALAN Yentob’s Imagine focuses on Judith Kerr, the author of such children’s books as Mog, My Henry, When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and most famously of all The Tiger Who Came to Tea. Kerr’s 90 and living in London. But she wasn’t born in England. Judith Kerr was born in Berlin. She fled Nazi Germany aged nine. Her father, Alfred Kerr, the dramatist and writer, had spoken out against the Nazis. The family should leave. A policeman told her father his passport was about to be seized. After they left, the Nazis burnt his books.

 

 

Children’s author Judith Kerr signs books for fans during the Tingle Creek Christmas Festival at Sandown Park.Date: 03/12/2011.

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There a plaque at the station where she and her brother set off for swimming: “From this station the Berlin Jews were transported to Auschwitz.”

They settled in Paris. And then in 1936, her parents decided to move to England.

In Britain, she worked for the Red Cross, helping wounded soldiers. A talented Artist, Kerr was encouraged by her lover and soon-to-be-husband scriptwriter Nigel Kneale (creator of Quatermass) to find work at BBC television scriptwriter.

 

 

 

Judith Kerr proudly holds her Order of the British Empire (OBE) medal, after it was presented to her by the Prince of Wales during the Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace in central London. Picture date: Friday January 25, 2013.

 

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* By the start of the second world war, she was living in a grim residential hotel in Bloomsbury with parents who carried suicide pills in case of a German invasion. Her father made propaganda broadcasts for the BBC, while her mother became the main wage-earner as secretary to a wealthy socialite.

That period ended when the hotel was bombed with the Kerr family inside it: only a wardrobe prevented the ceiling in her father’s room from falling on his head. Her brother Michael, by then a law scholar at Cambridge, was interned on the Isle of Wight. “This is a good country, you know,” she says, not for the first time. “Germans were classed as enemy aliens, but people like us were officially called friendly enemy aliens. We had to report to the police if we went more than five miles away so we knew them well. My mother went straight to them when we heard Michael was interned and they tried to get a call through to him.”

As soon as Michael was released, he joined the RAF. Judith, meanwhile, began to attend life-drawing classes. She sold her first drawing for 3s 6d to a man she met at a Lyons Teashop, and then talked her way into painting murals for a restaurant in Victoria.

 

 

tiger tea

 

 

She left behind her pink rabbit in Germany. She was allowed to travel with just one toy. She never forgot.

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In When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, she writes:

“ I always knew we should have brought the games compendium” said Max, “Hitler’s probably playing Snakes & Ladders with it this very minute.” “And playing with Pink Rabbit!” Said Anna and laughed. But some tears had come into her eyes and were running down her cheeks all the same.” “Oh well, we’re lucky to be here at all,” said Max. “What do you mean?” Asked Anna. Max looked carefully passed her out of the window. “Papa heard from Heimpi,” he said with elaborate casualness. “The Nazis came for all out passports the morning after the elections.”

 

She writes in Judith Kerr’s Creatures’, by Judith Kerr:

* I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to draw. It seemed a normal way to pass one’s time, just as it was normal for my brother Michael to kick a ball about. I liked to draw figures in motion, and I always drew them from the feet up, which I would now find difficult. My visual memory has always been very eccentric. My memory holds onto people walking on the street, how their trousers hang, how they move their arms. That stays.

No one else in my Jewish family drew, but my mother was very proud of my drawing and carefully preserved my better efforts…

I wanted to be a painter, but I didn’t do enough to get really good. After I left art school I was offered a job as a script reader for the BBC. I said yes, and loved it, though I sometimes felt a bit guilty, as though I’d betrayed something. It seems extraordinary to me now that for about 12 years of my life, I did not do any serious drawing. On the other hand, I feel I’m catching up now…

When I had my first child, Tacy, my husband Tom and I both made up stories for her. Quite often we went to the zoo. In those days, before David Attenborough, it was the only way you could see animals. After these visits I used to make up stories about the animals, and one she liked was about a tiger. She would say imperiously, “Talk the tiger.” That story became my first picture book, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, published in October 1968.

mog

“Mog was a composite of many cats. Every cat is extraordinary – they all do different, very strange things. Our cat Wienitz was the strangest one: a very solid cat who was terribly fearful. She was frightened of heights and she was terrified of Christmas trees. I never meant to do a whole lot of books about Mog but I thought I could do a book about that…

“After The Tiger I thought I would be very methodical, and so before I wrote Mog I bought all these inks, and decided that I would try them out on a bit of paper. It was probably a delaying tactic so as not to have to start work! I drew the family as well, to refer back to.”

 

Posted: 26th, November 2013 | In: Books | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Costco Sells The Bible As Fiction

bible fiction

“I NEVER, ever in my entire life had seen a Bible labelled as fiction,” says pastor Caleb Kaltenbach. He saw the Bible in the ‘fiction’ section at his local Costco store. “I just took the picture. I think really what has been revealed is a larger conversation over faith. There are people who are passionate about their faith in Christ and passionate against it.”

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Posted: 22nd, November 2013 | In: Books, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Did Christian Teachers Michael And Debi Pearl Train Parents To Kill Four Children?

DOES reading and adhering to the book To Train Up a Child by Tennessee-based Christian preachers Michael and Debi Pearl make your a child killer? Larry and Carri Williams have been found guilty of beating and starving their adopted daughter Hana to death. They adopted Hana from Ethiopia in 2008.

The Pearls run a Christian ministry called No Greater Joy.

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He looks a bit like Santa. (That’s them in the above photo). Their website states:

No Greater Joy is the ministry of Michael & Debi Pearl under the auspices of No Greater Joy Ministries Inc. Michael has been a pastor, missionary, and evangelist for over 40 years. The Pearls’ five children were all homeschooled, and have grown up to become missionaries and church leaders. Though holding a degree from the Mid-South Bible College (now Victory University), when Michael is asked for his credentials on child training he points to his five children. Read more!

We do read more:

 

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In a section called Is a Child Too Young To Spank? He outlines the plan:

While we can reasonably agree that the small child is too young to be punished, and we can understand that he is too immature to profit from reproof, are we to leave the child to himself until he gets old enough to discuss his fleshly actions and riotous ways? “…a child left to himself bringeth his mother to shame” (Proverbs 29:15). Too young for corporal punishment and too immature for reproof? What’s left to us is “Training.” “Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6). Biblical training will incorporate the principle of the rod as a reinforcement to parental commands. By the term “rod,” I mean spanking. The Bible never uses the word “spank,” but it is bold in its use of the word “rod” in regard to child training. “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him” (Proverbs 22:15). Notice, it is a rod of correction, not a rod of punishment. The rod that corrects is the rod that trains.

We have made the point here that children under three (give or take six months or so) cannot profit from corporal punishment, but we have made the point elsewhere that small children do profit from the application of the training rod. How are they different? In both cases, the child is being swatted with an instrument. There is a great deal of difference in both the severity and the number of “licks,” and also in the parents’ expectations and perspective. For that reason, we cannot arbitrarily specify a suitable age and declare that it is fitting to spank a child beginning at that point. Children differ, spankings differ, circumstances differ, and parents differ.

 

Meet the Pearls. 

 

In the section Dogs Cats And Kids we read:

I just got through feeding the dogs and cats. They are nearly as stupid as humans, controlled by their impulses and prejudices. I scatter dry dog food along the driveway so the two cats and two dogs can eat without being too close to each other. But the two dogs think it is their life’s calling to starve cats to death. One dog, whom I call “Useless,” is the worst cat hater. He will prevent the cats from eating, to his own detriment. I can put a quart of dog food on the driveway and throw a handful under the car where the cats can get to it, and Useless will run around the car, here and there lying on his side, pushing his head up under the car with his tongue stretched to the limit, and scraping up gravel and crushed leaves, all with one purpose: trying to deprive the cat of a single pellet of dog food. Meanwhile, the other dog will be gobbling up all the readily available food assigned to both of them. By the time the cat has eaten and the dog has rescued three or four morsels of food, the other dog will have finished off the first dog’s portion, leaving Stupid Useless with nothing to eat. But, at least the cat knew who was boss!

Now, I have seen kids act the same way, and it makes no sense at all. A child has a room full of toys, and another child comes over to visit. When the visitor picks up a single toy that has not felt the hands of its owner in six months, suddenly it is the very toy Snotty wants to play with. It is disheartening to see your child with no more sense than a useless mutt saved from the dog pound’s gas chamber—unthankful, selfish, self-centered, pouty, and downright mean-spirited. Need I point out that all children are descendents of fallen Adam, born into the world without God, possessed of selfish drives that will most certainly result in sinful attitudes and actions?

 

He talks of The Rod:

When a parent is prepared and willing to use the rod to enforce his word, there is never an occasion when tensions build and tempers flare. The child knows that the parent is going to speak once, and if there is not immediate obedience, the rod will fall. The sure application of the rod will sober a child and cause him to give very serious thought to his conduct and attitude…

Training is done on the spot, without much discussion or hesitation. The rod falls within three seconds of the disobedience. You don’t even break stride. Onlookers hardly notice it, whereas chastisement is more involved and demanding…

The soul of your child needs to be punished. He feels the need to suffer for his misdeeds…

As a rule, do not use your hand. Hands are for loving and helping. If an adult swings his or her hand fast enough to cause pain to the surface of the skin, there is a danger of damaging bones and joints. The most painful nerves are just under the surface of the skin. A swift swat with a light, flexible instrument will sting without bruising or causing internal damage. Many people are using a section of ¼ inch plumber’s supply line as a spanking instrument. It will fit in your purse or hang around you neck. You can buy them for under $1.00 at Home Depot or any hardware store. They come cheaper by the dozen and can be widely distributed in every room and vehicle. Just the high profile of their accessibility keeps the kids in line…

A proper spanking leaves children without breath to complain.

The Pearls are not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. But is their advice a call to kill? No. It’s not.

But Janet Heimlich, author of Breaking Their Will: Shedding Light on Religious Child Maltreatment, is no fan:

Pearl’s methods include making children who are challenged with potty training take cold baths, denying food to disobedient children, and whipping them with quarter-inch plumbing line. Pearl sees nothing wrong with applying his techniques to infants. One expert recently denounced Pearl’s techniques as interfering with child development. Most alarming, some children have been seriously abused by adults who were followers of Pearl. Three children have been killed.

She recounts an episode from the couple’s blog:

Pearl recounts riding in the family’s car late at night when the family’s toddler son becomes upset. He was not sitting near his mother and wanted to sit in her lap. The preacher describes the boy as having “a tough hide that at times absolutely resisted all control. He would whine, and whine, and cry, and plead, and demand.” Then Pearl writes,

Mother was reaching for her baby when the father turned to me and asked, “What should I do?” Again I explained the principle: by allowing the child to dictate terms through his whining and crying, you are confirming his habit of whining and consenting to his technique of control. So I told the daddy to tell the boy that he would not be allowed to sit in his mother’s lap, and that he was to stop crying. Of course, according to former protocol, he intensified his crying to express the sincerity of his desires. . . . I told the father to stop the car and without recourse give him three to five licks with a switch. After doing so the child only screamed a louder protest. This is not the time to give in. After two or three minutes driving down the road listening to his background wails, I told the father to COMMAND the child to stop crying. He only cried more loudly.

The crying and stopping the car and spanking continue with Pearl’s approval. “This was repeated for about twenty miles down a lonesome highway at 11:00 on a winter night,” he writes. Meanwhile, no one heeds the concerns of the mother, whom Pearl describes as a woman who had been emotionally and physically abused as a child and who was, as he puts it, “a very ‘sensitive’ person”. She tells the men that the boy “doesn’t understand”. She had also remarked that he was hungry, sleepy, and cold. Pearl then writes:

I told the father to command the boy to stop crying immediately or he would again be spanked. The boy ignored him until Father took his foot off the gas, preparatory to stopping. In the midst of his crying, he understood the issues well enough to understand that the slowing of the car was a response to his crying. The family was relieved to have him stop and the father started to resume his drive.

But, according to Pearl, the child had not yet been properly trained. In his view, the boy’s behavior still required more spanking.

I said “No; you told him he was to stop crying immediately or you would spank him; he waited until you began stopping. He has not obeyed; he is just beginning to show confidence in your resolve. Spank him again and tell him that you will continue to stop and continue to spank until you get instant compliance.” He did. . . . This time, after the spanking, when Daddy gave his command, the boy dried it up like a paper towel. The parents had won, and the boy was the beneficiary.

They don’t advocate killing. But they do support controlled violence.

 

The New York Times reports on the aforesaid Hana:

Late one night in May this year, the adopted girl, Hana, was found face down, naked and emaciated in the backyard; her death was caused by hypothermia and malnutrition, officials determined. According to the sheriff’s report, the parents had deprived her of food for days at a time and had made her sleep in a cold barn or a closet and shower outside with a hose. And they often whipped her, leaving marks on her legs. The mother had praised the Pearls’ book and given a copy to a friend, the sheriff’s report said. Hana had been beaten the day of her death, the report said, with the 15-inch plastic tube recommended by Mr. Pearl.

Michael Pearl confronts the issue:

Hana Williams’ parents were given the maximum prison sentences. Articles are appearing in blogs and newspapers across the country that are full of fabrications, lies and misstatements about To Train Up a Child. It should not be taken as fact just because it is written somewhere.

Oh, the irony from a man who cites the Bible as reason for hitting children. Go on:

It is alleged that Hana’s parents owned a copy of the book; they either did not read it or totally ignored the content. The book repeatedly warns parents against abuse, and emphasizes the parents’ responsibility to love and properly care for their children. There are hundreds of thousands of parents who have and are properly applying the philosophy of the book with the joyous results of happy, productive, and well-adjusted children.

The proper application of the book could have corrected their poor parenting and prevented the abuse and death of Hana Williams.

What else has been written about them?

After the death of 7 year-old Lydia Schatz, family friend Paul Mathers wrote on his blog (via Alicia Bayer):

“The Schatzes followed, to a “t”, a system of child rearing which came from Michael and Debi Pearl… The Pearls are not professionally trained or educated in child development. They came up with this darkness out of the abundance of their hearts… It is one of the most hate-filled, wicked and evil systems I’ve encountered in my life, all with a sheen of ‘Christian’ and ‘happy families.'”

Mathers told Salon.com:

“I would love to see the people rise up and say no to the Pearls, that this will not stand. I would love to see the Pearl system become anathema, disgusting, and shunned by the world. I would love to see the Pearls out of a job. Before another child dies.”

There there was the death of 4-year-old Sean Paddock of North Carolina.

Lynn Paddock  surfed the Internet, said her attorney, Michael Reece. She found literature by an evangelical minister and his wife who recommended using plumbing supply lines to spank misbehaving children. Paddock ordered Michael and Debi Pearl’s books and started spanking her adopted children as suggested. After Sean, the youngest of Paddock’s six adopted children, died last month, his older sister and brother told investigators about Paddock’s spankings.
 
Sean’s 9-year-old brother was beaten so badly he limped, a prosecutor said. Bruises marred Sean’s backside, too, doctors found.
 
Sean died after being wrapped so tightly in blankets he suffocated. That, too, was a form of punishment, Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell said.

In 2011, the Seattle Times added:

Sean Paddock suffocated when he was wrapped too tightly in blankets.

Lydia Schatz died after being spanked for several hours.

And Hana Grace-Rose Williams, of Sedro-Woolley, was left out in the cold, where she died naked, face down in the mud.

The deaths of the three children occurred in different parts of the country — North Carolina, California and Washington — but each allegedly happened at the hands of their parents, all of whom were charged with murder.

The parents had several things in common: They adopted children, home-schooled them and lashed them with quarter-inch-diameter plastic tubes. They also used the child-rearing teachings of a Tennessee evangelist, Michael Pearl, and his wife, Debi.

Noting:

The Pearls, however, issue a warning to parents: Never spank in anger. And they say many people have “misconstrued” their words.

Critics claim the couple’s advice amounts to a prescription for child abuse.

“It’s truly an evil book,” said Michael Ramsey, the district attorney for Butte County, Calif.

Michael Pearl is far from media ignorant: He noted in 2010:

You may have noticed No Greater Joy and Michael Pearl receiving a lot of negative press lately over advocating corporal discipline as part of a comprehensive child training program. Television reporters came out to the office. We were in newspapers from coast to coast. Even CBS, after running an uninformed criticism of us, offered to fly us to New York to answer their unfounded charges on The Morning Show. I was eager to answer, and readily agreed. Those of you on our email list were immediately informed and many of you prayed for the will of God to be done. CBS called for a pre-interview and then canceled the afternoon before the show. I think they discovered in the pre-interview that I was not the Bible-thumping caricature they had hoped. One news outlet reviewed our website and gave a very positive review, saying there was nothing in our material that would ever lead to child abuse. On the bright side, our sales skyrocketed this month. Even before this recent publicity, one out of every 75 Americans have been introduced to our ministry.

It’s free speech. The Pearls are breaking no laws. They cannot be held accountable of any children’s deaths. But anyone who reads their books and thinks hitting a child with a length of pipe a good idea is, in our opinion, a nutcase who has lost the plot. And if that’s not good enough for you to eschew the Pearls, then why not take God’s advice?

Posted: 21st, November 2013 | In: Books, Key Posts, Reviews | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Semenology – The Semen Bartender’s Handbook

STUCK for a cocktail? You need semen. In Semenology – The Semen Bartender’s Handbook you can learn how to enliven your drinks.

Semenology - The Semen Bartender's Handbook

 

 

A Personal Touch (or several)

 

1 Semenology - The Semen Bartender's Handbook

 

 

Anorak’s drink expert recommends a Semen Shake to accompany…

 

Cooking_With_Poo

 

Posted: 15th, November 2013 | In: Books, The Consumer | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Not Up To Dick: 100 Wonderful Victorian Slang Words You Should Be Using

passing english in the victorian era

WANT top speak like a Victorian? James Redding Ware, the pen name of writer Andrew Forrester, documented slang English terms of that perverted period in British history in his book Passing English of the Victorian era, a dictionary of heterodox English, slang and phrase.

“Thousands of words and phrases in existence in 1870 have drifted away, or changed their forms, or been absorbed, while as many have been added or are being added,” he writes in the book’s introduction. “‘Passing English’ ripples from countless sources, forming a river of new language which has its tide and its ebb, while its current brings down new ideas and carries away those that have dribbled out of fashion.”

passing english in the victorian era 1

 

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Posted: 12th, November 2013 | In: Books, Flashback, Key Posts | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Nazi Uniforms: Sid Vicious, Peter Rabbit, Prince Harry And Other People Who Still Wear Them

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PAUL Dutton, 48, was ejected from his local branch of Asda in Cambridge, after a fellow shopper complained about his attire – a classic formal black suit of the type produced by Hugo Boss in the 1940s.

Unfortunately this suit happened to closely resemble the uniform of Hitler’s notorious SS, and even more unfortunately the resemblance was entirely uncoincidental. Mr Dutton’s “hobby” is Adolf Hitler, you see, and his fascination is such that his living room boasts a painting of himself being decorated by the Fuhrer – a man who once earned an honest living decorating people’s homes as a housepainter.

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Posted: 11th, November 2013 | In: Books, Flashback, Key Posts, Music, Reviews | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


William S. Burroughs Sings Songs Of Poets From The Beatnik Book

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WILLIAM S. Burroughs is known for his collaboration with rock musicians in the 1990s. But he had previous.

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Posted: 3rd, November 2013 | In: Books, Flashback, Music | Comments (2) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Gertrude Stein: A Great Rejection Letter And A Study Of The Back Of Her Head

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ON April 19, 1912, Gertrude STrine received this letter from Arthur C Fifield, Publisher.

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Posted: 25th, October 2013 | In: Books, Celebrities, Flashback | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Coreyography: Corey Feldman On Growing Up One Step Down From Slavery

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IN Coreyography, former child star Corey Feldman tells of his life. Parts of it sound awful. Although, as he said:

“I had a terrible childhood. I can only compare it to someone born in Ethiopia, or Iraq, or who is born into slavery, or gang life. Well I haven’t lived through that, but the next step down.”

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Posted: 23rd, October 2013 | In: Books, Celebrities | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Peter Serafinowicz Sings The First Page Of Morrissey’s Autobiography

PETER Serafinowicz will now sing the first page of Morrissey’s autobiography:

Peter Serafinowicz ‏@

Posted: 17th, October 2013 | In: Books, Music | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Stanley Kubrick explains the meaning of 2001: A Space Odyssey

2001 A Space Odyssey kubrick

STANLEY Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey was a film about… Well, what is about? In 1969, Kubrick told Joseph Gelmis:

You begin with an artifact left on earth four million years ago by extraterrestrial explorers who observed the behavior of the man-apes of the time and decided to influence their evolutionary progression. Then you have a second artifact buried deep on the lunar surface and programmed to signal word of man’s first baby steps into the universe—a kind of cosmic burglar alarm. And finally there’s a third artifact placed in orbit around Jupiter and waiting for the time when man has reached the outer rim of his own solar system.

When the surviving astronaut, Bowman, ultimately reaches Jupiter, this artifact sweeps him into a force field or star gate that hurls him on a journey through inner and outer space and finally transports him to another part of the galaxy, where he’s placed in a human zoo approximating a hospital terrestrial environment drawn out of his own dreams and imagination. In a timeless state, his life passes from middle age to senescence to death. He is reborn, an enhanced being, a star child, an angel, a superman, if you like, and returns to earth prepared for the next leap forward of man’s evolutionary destiny.

That is what happens on the film’s simplest level. Since an encounter with an advanced interstellar intelligence would be incomprehensible within our present earthbound frames of reference, reactions to it will have elements of philosophy and metaphysics that have nothing to do with the bare plot outline itself.

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Posted: 14th, October 2013 | In: Books, Film, Flashback | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Princess Michael Of Kent: ‘Don’t be up too late, darling’ and notes on a plain Ryvita

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PLUGGING her book of fiction The Queen of Four Kingdoms (‘The epic true story of a rich and riveting period of French and English history, all witnessed by the captivating and complex heroine Yolande”), Princess Michael of Kent shows off some remarkable gems. She remains very uncommon in the Sunday Times interview:

I have a tray brought to my bedroom at 9am. Breakfast is served on my Herend china and I sit in an old armchair so I can read the papers. I have zero-fat yoghurt with cinnamon, which is meant to be a fat-burner, and a pot of ginger tea made with grated ginger. This I have with lavender honey and one plain Ryvita. Life is a battle against the expanding waistline, so some mornings I just have a fresh juice made from five vegetables that my manicurist told me about. It’s frightfully good.

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Posted: 13th, October 2013 | In: Books, Royal Family | Comment | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Malala Yousafzai: father regrets not protecting her from Bono and extracts from her auobiography

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TO write I Am Malala: The Girl who Stood up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, Christina Lamb spent a year in Birmingham with Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban. A few extracts from it. One notable fact is that her mother,  Tor Pekai, is  illiterate.

I had travelled up from London by train with her agent. As I am quickly to discover, there is a circus of people around Malala, including a leading PR company, an investment-banker friend of the family, do-good celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, and even former prime minister Gordon Brown, who hired Malala’s dad as an adviser to his own role as global education envoy for the UN. Everyone wants a part of her.

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Posted: 13th, October 2013 | In: Books, Celebrities, Reviews | Comment (1) | Comments RSS feed:RSS 2.0