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A Christmas Drink

By Mahons On December 23rd, 2011 at 8:17 pm

Nothing warms the heart and hardens the liver like that wonderful seasonal concoction known as A Christmas Drink.  Indeed, recall the reformed Scrooge whose glad tidings at the end of A Christmas Carol to Bob Crachit include the promise to raise his salary, assist his struggling family and discuss his circumstances over a bowl of Smoking Bishop (a hot spiced wine).  Dickens, the author of Christmas Cheer, knew that if Scrooge needed anything, it was a good drink.  Why else send all those spirits…..

I will take mine in a warm and cosy local country pub where upstate New York begins.  Where the liquor bottles line the shelf like old friends and the horseshoe bar permits toasting one’s fellow men instead of some mirror.  The bartender has been there for thirty years and the regulars and irregulars are treated like a Norm as soon as they walk in from the night.   The jukebox plays 45’s which means that current crappy cacophony of what passes for present day popular music is avoided and instead the wonderful sounds of Hank Williams, The Drifters, Creedance Clearwater Revival, Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones, Harry Belafonte, Dusty Springfield, Elvis, Van Morrison, The Kinks, The Beatles, Johny Cash, and the Band  weave in between the carols of Bing Croby, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Tennesse Ernie Ford and Burl Ives. 

No credit cards accepted which further keeps out the yuppies.  Coats hung on pegs on the wall, cold beer flowing on the command of constantly moving taps, the doors open at two ends to admit smiling patrons of all ages who come into the warm bar from the cold night.  There will be clapping backs, shaking hands and kissing the girls and making them laugh.  Good solid pub food – burgers, chili, soup, sandwichs and fries.  People walk in who you saw yesterday and people you saw twenty years ago as if it had only just been yesterday as well.   We’ll drink to goodwill to men (and women) and peace and joy.  Nothing will dismay.   And I myself will raise a glass of cheer to the writers and  readers of this blog for a Merry Christmas to you all and a Happy New Year.


By David Vance On December 23rd, 2011 at 11:18 am

It’s an interesting if somewhat macabre story; I refer to the question of whether the skeleton of “the Irish giant” Charles Byrne should be buried at sea.  The skeleton has been displayed at the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons for almost 200 years. Mr Byrne was 8 foot tall at a time when 5ft 6inches was considered a good height.

As Theodore Dalyrymple observes;

“Byrne, driven to drink by his fame (or perhaps inclined to it anyway), feared to be exhibited after his death, and said that he wanted to be buried at sea in a lead coffin.

But his corpse was much sought after by the medical profession, and one observer wrote: “The whole tribe of surgeons put in a claim for the poor departed Irishman and surrounded his house just as harpoonists would an enormous whale.” Hunter’s claim was successful: he paid £500 for Byrne’s body, an enormous sum at the time.

Thomas Muinzer, a legal academic in Belfas says it is now time to honour Byrne’s last wishes and make retrospective amends for the continued unseemly display of his skeleton, which satisfies morbid curiosity without any intellectual or scientific purpose.

There is little doubt that Byrne’s wishes would be respected today. But is this a decisive argument? Does not the passage of time make a difference to the fidelity with which a man’s dying wishes are to be respected?

If the answer is no, it is not only Byrne’s skeleton that must be removed from public view, but every body or relic of those who may be presumed not to have wished for public exposure after death. The mummies in the British Museum (to say nothing of those in the Egyptian Museum) would have to be removed from the sight of the idly curious. It is true that the wishes of the mummified are not as precisely known as those of Charles Byrne, but it may be presumed that they did not desire the fate that befell them and it is likely that they would have been appalled had they known it.”

A Moment of Loudness

By Mahons On December 22nd, 2011 at 10:49 pm

The United Nations General Assembly had a moment of silence for the departed North Korean Dear Leader.  Tells you all you need to know about their moral force these days.  By the way, they didn’t have one for Havel.   

So I propose a Moment of Loudness instead, for those of us in the rest of the World who aren’t saddened to see the Dear Leader buy the farm at long last.  No particular words are needed, a simple laugh or chuckle will do. 

When I pass the UN tonight on my way to the train station I’ll flip them the bird and give Old Kim a Bronx shoutdown.  I’d moon the UN bastards too but there are too many Christmas tourists with video cameras on 42nd Street and I don’t intend to become a Youtube sensation.   Yeah, a moment of loudness seems the right send off for that old demon nutjob.


By David Vance On December 22nd, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Well then, I had no idea that my ATW “person of the year” little post would get you all talking but now is the moment when I must reveal my decision.

To start with, there is no ATW person of the year.

Not ANOTHER  sell-out from Vance, I hear my critics moan! But wait….

It is an ATW couple that I wish to single out for the coveted award.

Who are they?

Let’s start at the beginning, shall we? The beginning of ATW, that is.

This blog has been called many things, some good, some bad, some right and some wrong. But after all these years, one thing I am very clear on – it has established itself as an on-line community where we come here, argue, sometimes vehemently, often with wit, occasionally in anger. It has a life of itself, beyond me, and I cannot begin to thank each and every one of you that make up ATW. Over the years, I have seen people come and go. But even some that have stopped blogging here still visit and I retain my fondness for them all.

I write here because I enjoy it, because it is often stimulating and because I like the people who read what is posted here. Quite early in the history of ATW, two people started to comment here, as I did on their blogs! These two people are the ATW couple of the year and their names are…….drumroll and fanfare……Paddy and Monica aka Troll and Grizzly Mama.

This is why.

Earlier this year, Troll shared the news with us that Grizzly Mama had a double mastectomy but was thankfully in recovery. Amazingly, he told us this whilst apologising for not being on the site so often. My goodness, he has nothing to apologise for but it stopped me in my tracks and made me think.

My wife means everything to me and the fact that Troll and his wife Grizzly Mama (and their two girls) should have gone through ALL that anxiety and still want to be here with us is humbling to me. I have spoken with Monica on Facebook several times and follow her return to good health with prayerful concern.  I am touched by her bravery, her courage and her true grit in the face of such a major upheaval.

Paddy and Monica are a great couple, great parents, and great Americans. They also have been loyal to this site for a very long time and so I thought it would be nice if at the end of such a gruelling year, we saluted them. I know Monica does not comment here so much these days but she must follow some of our many lively debates and Paddy more than stands his ground in his contributions.

Take a moment, just think of what they have been through, and join me in extending an extra special ATW seasonal embrace to them and wishing them a great 2012, with Monica continuing to improve.

We may discuss all kinds of political issues and engage on the merits of all kinds of politicians and the madness of this world BUT what binds ATW together…. is us.

God bless you all at this Season.


By David Vance On December 22nd, 2011 at 3:29 pm

I’m afraid I prefer Christmas Carols to modern Christmas songs. And this one is particularly moving…it’s a chart topper from 1818 and still resonates with that sense of wonder, joy and praise that is the REAL Christmas. Take a moment from the commercial madness and just enjoy the illusive meaning of Christmas.

Mystery ATW Man of the Year?

By Patty On December 21st, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Michael O’Leary of RyanAir…if he’s not David’s pick for ATW man of the year, he should be!


By David Vance On December 21st, 2011 at 5:22 pm

I’ve never done this before but this year, I plan to announce the ATW person of the year.

Who will it be and why? I have already made my mind up and will reveal all in the next day or so.

READ, and Understand

By Patrick Van Roy On December 20th, 2011 at 6:46 pm

Newt is my man, I’ve made that quite clear. I can’t seem to be able to conjure the argument to present to you why he is the right man, and why I don’t share your despair. So maybe this article will help.

The Past and the Present

By Thomas Sowell

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | If Newt Gingrich were being nominated for sainthood, many of us would vote very differently from the way we would vote if he were being nominated for a political office.

What the media call Gingrich’s “baggage” concerns largely his personal life and the fact that he made a lot of money running a consulting firm after he left Congress. This kind of stuff makes lots of talking points that we will no doubt hear, again and again, over the next weeks and months.

But how much weight should we give to this stuff when we are talking about the future of a nation?

This is not just another election and Barack Obama is not just another president whose policies we may not like. With all of President Obama’s broken promises, glib demagoguery and cynical political moves, one promise he has kept all too well. That was his boast on the eve of the 2008 election: “We are going to change the United States of America.”

Many Americans are already saying that they can hardly recognize the country they grew up in. We have already started down the path that has led Western European nations to the brink of financial disaster.

Read the rest of this entry »


By David Vance On December 19th, 2011 at 10:00 pm

Things are looking up! I was pleased to see that the UK has said NO to giving any further of our ££billions to the IMF so it in turn can transfer this to the doomed EU.

 Euro zone ministers agreed on Monday to boost IMF resources by 150 billion euros to ward off the debt crisis and won support for more money from EU allies, but it was unclear if the bloc would reach its 200 billion euro target after Britain bowed out. (It didn’t)

Following a three-hour conference call, European Union finance ministers said currency zone outsiders the Czech Republic, Denmark, Poland and Sweden would also grant loans to the International Monetary Fund to help save the 17-nation zone. But the EU said those lenders must first win parliamentary approval, while Britain made it clear it would not participate in the plan.

Those Nations throwing billions at the Eurofarce will see no return, no benefit and no hope. The Eurozone is going down in 2012 and nothing can save the current model. I am pleased Cameron has said NO again, it is becoming an endearing habit. Watching the sustained decline and fall of the Eurozone is sad to see but it has been brought on by the hubris of the Euroelite.

The Gall

By Patrick Van Roy On December 19th, 2011 at 4:02 pm

Attorney General Eric Holder accused his growing chorus of critics of racist motivations in a Sunday interview published in the New York Times. When reached by The Daily Caller Monday morning, the Department of Justice provided no evidence to support the attorney general’s claims.

Holder said some unspecified faction — what he refers to as the “more extreme segment” — is driven to criticize both him and President Barack Obama due to the color of their skin. Holder did not appear to elaborate on who he considered to make up the “more extreme segment.”

“This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him,” Holder said, according to the Times. “Both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American”.

No you twit, it’s not because your Black it’s because your STUPID! You sold 2500 guns to drug dealers so that guns would show up at crime scene’s. Two of those crime scene’s happen to be the murder scenes of American Law Enforcement Officers. It’s got nothing to do with race, you ass!