Evzones: Traditional Uniform of the Elite Greek Guards
Everyone I know is sick to death of the multiple shootings appearing in the news every day. I look back at the text of the Second Amendment, so beloved of pudgy aged 50+ Texans and Midwesterners, and I wonder how we have come to this. Here is the entire text of the amendment:
A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.
Well, I say let them buy guns, but with one proviso: They must form a well-regulated militia, with frequent regular meetings, preferably scheduled during major sports playoffs, bowl games, and championships. Oh, and they must have a uniform. Otherwise, they can’t really be said to be a well-regulated militia, no?
As for the uniform, I prefer that of the Greek Evzones, illustrated above. Now although the uniform doesn’t look butch enough to most Americans, the Evzones were elite mountain and light infantry units that were tested in battle against the Turks in the 1920s and Communist insurgents of the 1950s.
Since I am opposed to cultural appropriation, I suggest that the skirts worn by the pot-bellied gun-toting militia be rainbow colored; and the pom-poms on the shoes should be pink.
The guards in the above photo are serious soldiers, which our NRA-loving militia would not be. But, by God, they would be well-regulated … to the point of complete exasperation and utter abashment.
Originally, there was a historical Mullah Nasruddin. He was born in Turkey and lived between 1208 and 1284. Stories multiplied about him, and eventually he was widely known between the Balkans and China. In the 20th Century, Idries Shah published a charming series of books featuring anecdotes about the Mullah. Here are two of them:
TWO IN ONE
Nasruddin was taking a shortcut home through the cemetery, where a burial was in progress. As he walked past the group of mourners, he overheard one of them saying: “Today is a sad day for us all. We have buried an honest man and a politician.”
A sad day indeed, Nasruddin thought to himself. I didn’t realise that the situation was so dire that they are now compelled to bury two people in the same grave!
One hot summer’s day, Nasruddin was relaxing in an orchard under the shade of an apricot tree. Looking around him, and marvelling at nature’s bounty, he wondered why apples, cherries, and other small fruit grew on trees, while large melons and pumpkins grew on vines at ground level.
Sometimes it is hard to understand god’s ways, he pondered. Imagine letting apricots, cherries, and apples grow on tall trees while large melons and pumpkins grow on delicate vines!
At that precise moment, the mullah’s reverie was interrupted by an unripe apricot falling from the tree and bouncing off his bald head. Roused from his musings, Nasruddin stood up, raised his hands and face towards heaven, and said humbly: “Forgive me, god, for questioning your wisdom. You are all-knowing and all-powerful. I would have been in a sorry state now if melons grew on trees.”
If you are ever feeling blue, the thing to do is pick up a P. G. Wodehouse novel. Within minutes, you will be in the hands of a master who can turn your frown upside down. I am currently most of the way through his The Girl in Blue. As I found myself laughing at Wodehouse’s mastery of the language, I thought I would share some of the funniest passages from his novels with you in this post.
Looking for a good place to start with Wodehouse’s books? I would recommend any of the Jeeves novels (particularly The Code of the Woosters) or the ones featuring Blandings Castle (such as Full Moon). You can find an extensive bibliography here.
In the meantime, here’s a sample of some of Wodehouse’s most penetrating observations:
A certain critic—for such men, I regret to say, do exist—made the nasty remark about my last novel that it contained ‘all the old Wodehouse characters under different names.’ He has probably by now been eaten by bears, like the children who made mock of the prophet Elisha: but if he still survives he will not be able to make a similar charge against Summer Lightning. With my superior intelligence, I have out-generalled the man this time by putting in all the old Wodehouse characters under the same names. Pretty silly it will make him feel, I rather fancy.
He had just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wanted to eat, but certainly no more.
He had the look of one who had drunk the cup of life and found a dead beetle at the bottom.
At the age of eleven or thereabouts women acquire a poise and an ability to handle difficult situations which a man, if he is lucky, manages to achieve somewhere in the later seventies.
“What ho!” I said. “What ho!” said Motty. “What ho! What ho!” “What ho! What ho! What ho!” After that it seemed rather difficult to go on with the conversation.
Freddie experienced the sort of abysmal soul-sadness which afflicts one of Tolstoy’s Russian peasants when, after putting in a heavy day’s work strangling his father, beating his wife, and dropping the baby into the city’s reservoir, he turns to the cupboards, only to find the vodka bottle empty.
I’m not absolutely certain of the facts, but I rather fancy it‘s Shakespeare who says that it‘s always just when a fellow is feeling particularly braced with things in general that Fate sneaks up behind him with the bit of lead piping.
A melancholy-looking man, he had the appearance of one who has searched for the leak in life’s gas-pipe with a lighted candle.
Mike nodded. A sombre nod. The nod Napoleon might have given if somebody had met him in 1812 and said, “So, you’re back from Moscow, eh?”
“Oh, Jeeves,” I said; “about that check suit.” “Yes, sir?” “Is it really a frost?” “A trifle too bizarre, sir, in my opinion.” “But lots of fellows have asked me who my tailor is.” “Doubtless in order to avoid him, sir.” “He’s supposed to be one of the best men in London.” “I am saying nothing against his moral character, sir.”
She looked away. Her attitude seemed to suggest that she had finished with him, and would be obliged if somebody would come and sweep him up.
Love is a delicate plant that needs constant tending and nurturing, and this cannot be done by snorting at the adored object like a gas explosion and calling her friends lice.
Chumps always make the best husbands. When you marry, Sally, grab a chump. Tap his head first, and if it rings solid, don’t hesitate. All the unhappy marriages come from husbands having brains. What good are brains to a man? They only unsettle him.
I have been reading a rare book of humor from the old Soviet Union. It is The Anti-Soviet Soviet Union by Vladimir Voinovich, who, for his pains, was expelled from the Soviet Writers’ Union in February 1974. Unable to make a living as a writer in Russia, he naturally fled to the West. The following excerpt from the book describes an amusing visit to the KGB (Soviet State Security) in Moscow.
During my last years in Moscow, a beginning writer would visit me from time to time when he was in town from the provinces. He’d complain of not being published and gave me his novels and stories, of which there were a great number, to see what I thought of them. He was certain that his works weren’t being published because their content was too critical. And indeed they did contain criticism of the Soviet system. But they had another major flaw as well: they lacked even the merest glimmer of talent. Sometimes he would request, and sometimes demand, that I send his manuscripts abroad and help get them published over there. I refused. Then he decided to go to the KGB and present them with an ultimatum: either they were immediately to issue orders that his works be published in the USSR or he would leave the USSR at once.
Apparently, it went something like this.
As soon as he had entered the KGB building, someone walked over to him and said: “Oh, hello there. So you’ve finally come to see us.!”
“You mean you know me?” asked the writer.
“Is there anyone who doesn’t?” said the KGB man, spreading his hands. “Have a seat. What brings you here? Do you want to tell us that you don’t like the Soviet system?”
“That’s right, I don’t,” said the writer.
“But what specifically don’t you kike about it?”
The writer replied that, in his opinion, there was no freedom in the Soviet Union, particularly artistic freedom. Human rights were violated, the standard of living was steadily declining—and he voiced other critical remarks as well. Good for about seven years in a camp.
Having listened politely, the KGB man asked: “But why are you telling me all this?”
“I wanted you to know.”
“We know. Everyone knows all that.”
“But if everyone knows, something should be done about it.”
“That’s where you’re wrong. Nothing has to be done about it!”
Surprised by that turn in the conversation, the writer fell silent.
“Have you said everything you wanted to?” asked the KGB man politely.
“Then why are you still sitting there?”
“I’m waiting for you to arrest me.”
“Aha, I see,” said the KGB man. “Unfortunately, there’s no way we can arrest you today. We’re too busy. If the desire doesn’t pass, come see us again, and we’ll do everything we can to oblige you.” And he showed the writer out.
The writer visited me a few more times before he disappeared. I think he finally may have achieved his goal and gotten someone to give him the full treatment for dissidence.
Thanks to George Santos fictionalizing his past and winning a New York congressional seat, I have decided to go into politics. If George can do it, so can I. Naturally, I will run as a Republican, because that party seems more friendly to liars and fabricators.
I feel I am uniquely qualified to represent California’s 33rd Congressional District. Although I see myself as a Never Trumper, I admire theex-President’s record of mendacity and fraud, which I will attempt to emulate in my own unique way.
What are my qualifications?
I am an ex-Navy Seal who was directly involved in the assassination of Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan.
After graduating Summa Cum Laude from Dartmouth College, I attended Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar in Law.
In my sophomore year, I won the Heisman Trophy as a soccer-style kicker for the Big Green’s football team.
I am married to the lovely Taylor Swift, with whom I have three sons (Huey, Dewey, and Louie) and one daughter (Hermenegild).
I speak twelve languages fluently, including: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Armenian, Syriac, Latin, Sanskrit, Iñupiat, and Choctaw.
My personal fortune is worth $100 billion, mostly as a result of my investments in cryptocurrencies and block-chain technology.
I invented the Internet.
A talented jazz musician, I play the saxophone, French horn, bassoon, and harmonica.
Currently, I am ranked third in the world in chess based on my Elo Rating.
I have published numerous books on constitutional law in the United States, Moldova, and the Seychelles Islands.
As you can see, I am a shoo-in for any political position that requires skill, judgment, and giant whoppers.
Some of the best books about the American West were written by Mary Hunter Austin (1868-1934). In the last year of her life, she published a collection of short stories entitled One-Smoke Stories, in which the following appears:
So Taku-Wakin, who was afterward called Bow-Returning, went toward the mountain called Going-to-the-Sun for his fast, and as he went he felt the thoughts of his mother push him. He went far, climbed the high mountains and bathed in the sacred lakes, keeping holy science. On the mountain, when by fasting he was removed from himself, his eyes were opened. He saw all the earth and the sky as One Thing, even as the bow is one thing and the cord of the bow which draws it. Even so he saw the thoughts of men pulling at the corners of the world as the cord pulls at the bow, and the bow bending and returning. In the silence he heard in his heart the One-Who-Walks-in-the-Sky talking.
‘This is true medicine, Taku-Wakin. All things are one, man and the mire, the small grass and the mountain, the deer and the hunter pursuing, the thing that is made and the maker, even as the bow and the cord are one thing. As the bow bends to the cord, so all things bend and return, and are opposed and together. The meaning of the medicine is that man can hurt nothing without also hurting himself.’ Thus said the One-Who-Walks-in-the-Sky to Taku-Wakin….
After long seeking he heard the voice of the Sky-Walker. Then said Bow-Returning: ‘This is my medicine, that everything is One Thing, and in this fashion I have kept it. Meat I have taken for my needs according to the law of food-taking, but I have hurt no man. Neither the flower in the field have I crushed, nor trodden on the ant in my pathway. How is it, then, that my wife is dead, my son given to another, and my medicine is gone from me?’
Then said the One-Who-Walks-in-the-Sky to Bow-Returning, ‘Did I not also make woman?’
My first real job was an odd one: Over a period of a year, I had to proofread and edit two dictionary databases. In the process, I began to collect strange words such as septemfluous, rotl, crwth, and medioxumous. The last of these means of or relating to the middle class of deities. This post comes from Philip Matyszak’s amusing book The Classical Compendium. It consists of some classical deities of which you have likely never heard:
Viriplaca. The goddess who reconciled wives with their husbands after a quarrel.
Vervactor, The god who ensured a favourable first ploughing of fallow land.
Vallonia. As you might expect, the goddess of valleys.
Terminus. The god of boundary stones.
Sterculinus. The god of manure spreading [and of Fox News?]
Rumina. The goddess who protects nursing mothers.
Nona. The goddess who, with Decima, presided over the final months of pregnancy.
Meliona. The goddess of bees and honey.
Laverna [and Shirley?]. The goddess of thieves and conmen.
To put it simply, Thomas De Quincey was an opium addict. There were times when he wrote like an angel. Other times, reading him could be heavy slogging. Oft times you will find both in the same book, or even in the same essay. I have just finished reading his long essay “On Murder, Considered as One of the Fine Arts.” His description of the crimes of serial murderer John Williams is detailed and ghastly. Yet earlier in the essay is the following light touch:
For, if once a man indulges himself in murder, very soon he comes to think little of robbing, and from robbing he comes next to drinking and Sabbath-breaking, and from that to incivility and procrastination. Once begun on this downward path, you never know where you are to stop. Many a man has dated his ruin from some murder or other that perhaps he thought little of at the time.
No doubt you’ve heard of those one-of-a-kind words in English that just won’t rhyme with any other words. Well, it seems that the Futility Closet has punked three of those unrhymable words: month, orange, and oblige. Let’s have a look-see at Willard R. Espy’s poem on the subject:
It is unth- inkable to find A rhyme for month Except this special kind.
The four eng- ineers Wore orange Brassieres.
Love’s lost its glow? No need to lie; j- ust tell me “go!” And I’ll oblige.
In the meantime, I’ll go searching for those four engineers wearing orange brassieres.
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