Sunday, June 25, 2006


I have been doing this blog since July 2002 and in all that time I cannot remember saying anything about the cars I drive -- which makes me a rather unusual male blogger, I think. So just to show that I am not totally weird, I think I will say a bit about that now as a Sunday reflection.

I have always been a demon driver. People who get into my car often emerge shaking. So I buy very small cars -- which enable me to flash through traffic down lanes that are not supposed to be there. I remember one occasion when I upset some guy in a big Ford without being aware of it and he decided to chase me to remonstrate with me. I was just driving in my normal way but it still stretched him to chase me. By the time he caught up with me he was too exhausted to say much to me. If I had been aware of him chasing me, he would never have caught up.

But the cars I drive are not powerful ones. Not at all ones that rev-heads like The Good Blair would approve of. My first car was a VW and those since have always been small and humble too. Though I did at one stage have a Mini K -- which was an Australian version of the Morris Mini Minor but with an 1100cc motor in it -- and did that thing go! There is NO car that is as much fun to drive as a Mini.

At the beginning of 2005, I had two cars -- a 1991 Ford Festiva (really a Korean-made Kia) and a 1995 Daihatsu Charade. The Festiva was as near as I had come to a Mini in terms of fun to drive. It was a real Go-Kart. But my son Joe was just starting university so I gave him the choice of which car he wanted to drive and he chose the Festiva. It was a VERY old car as small cars go, however, so at the beginning of this year the motor blew up and I reluctantly gave it away and gave Joe the Daihatsu instead.

I then bought a one-year-old ex-hire Toyota Echo off Hertz for myself. I had always thought that my Daihatsu was the easiest car to drive ever made but the Echo was even easier. If you see them being driven around the place they are almost always flying and that is because they are such a Swiss-watch of a car. They feel like a single thing to drive rather than a mechanical device.

But that was not enough. I have always wanted a really old car as well, and now that age has slowed me down I thought it was time. Vintage cars are of course wonderful but you virtually need to be a mechanic to keep them going so I have compromised on a veteran car -- and not such a veteran one at that. I have just bought a 1963 Humber Super Snipe off a family who had been driving it since new. It is a big old English car and, as such, bound to need lots of work to keep it going but I have a mechanic friend living just over the road so I think I can afford it! I remember that when they were new the Humbers were being advertised as being able to cruise on the open road at 100 mph but I am not going to try that. I am sure it would blow up if I tried it at this stage in its life.

The difference in handling of the two cars is of course enormous but I used to be a cab-driver many years ago so I am not bothered by big clumsy cars. The style of the Humber makes up for all else, in my view, particularly as the car has been very well-maintained and looks immaculate.

Collecting the Humber yesterday morning was rather fun. Everybody who heard about the impending purchase was enthusiastic and none more than an old friend who was born and bred in Coventry, England, where the Humber was built. The first car he ever drove was a Humber so he couldn't wait to see my Humber and came along with me to collect it. And my stepson Paul was equally enthusiastic. He and his wife drove us out to collect it and both were delighted by the car.

When we got the car home, we all had steak pies, teacake and tea on my verandah to celebrate.



Wow! Mike Adams really socks it to his employers in his latest column: "North Carolina's most notorious bigots, racists and segregationists are no longer found within the leadership of the KKK. They are found within the leadership of the UNC system.... In fact, as of now, I am abolishing the requirement that my students conduct themselves in an honest and truthful manner. I want each one to have the character and integrity of a UNC administrator."

The movies misrepresent business: "Fundamentally these film-makers and lobbyists are anti-capitalist. They equate business activity with greed. They would probably be happier in a world where everyone worked in the public sector, and no one made any profits. We have seen this world, those of us who remember it. It was called communism and it reduced the human condition to squalor and servitude. The business corporation, by contrast, is one of the most benign institutions ever created by humankind. Men and women have banded together and risked some of their wealth to create new wealth. In the process they have generated employment, trade and opportunity. They have not usually done this by theft and trickery, but by offering people goods and services they will freely pay for. In doing so many of them have made themselves richer, but they have made humankind richer still. At the heart of this dislike of business is a complete misunderstanding of how it works. There is a primitive and naive view that one person can only get rich at someone else's expense, and that if a business is making money, someone else must be losing it. This "zero sum game" fallacy completely misses the point, which is that business activity creates wealth instead of just redistributing it."

Mohammed was a capitalist: "Is Islam compatible with modernity? This has become a hotly debated question in the past few decades... Most Islamists would reply to this question with a resounding "no!" Since they perceive Islam as an all-encompassing socio-political system, they regard capitalism as a rival and an enemy... However such radical rejections of the capitalist economy don't seem well-suited to the theological attitude and the historical experience of Islam towards business and profit-making. As a religion founded by a businessman -- Prophet Muhammad was a successful merchant for the greater part of his life -- and one that has cherished trade from its very beginning, Islam can in fact be very compatible with a capitalist economy supplemented by a set of moral values that emphasize the care for the poor and the needy. This interesting compatibility between Islam and capitalism has been studied extensively. A classic work on this theme is Maxime Rodinson's famed book, Islam and Capitalism (1966)."

Bipartisan effort to expose P.A. treatment of Christians: " Two congressional representatives are seeking their colleagues' support for a resolution condemning the alleged persecution of Christians by the Palestinian Authority. The "Dear Colleague" letter sent this week by Reps. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) said Christians around the world are at risk of losing access to the most ancient and holy Christian sites. "It's time for Congress, the president and the international community to address the systematic destruction of the oldest Christian community in the world," they wrote. "Since the Palestinian Authority gained control over the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, the political, social and economic status of the Christian community has declined precipitously."

Pennsylvania city to crack down on illegal immigration: "With tensions rising and the Police Department and municipal budget stretched thin, Hazleton is about to embark on one of the toughest crackdowns on undocumented immigrants anywhere in the United States. Last week, the mayor of this former coal town introduced, and the City Council tentatively approved, a measure that would revoke the business licenses of companies that employ undocumented immigrants; impose $1,000 fines on landlords who rent to such immigrants; and make English the official language of the city. "Illegal immigrants are destroying the city," said Mayor Lou Barletta, a Republican. "I don't want them here, period." Barletta said he had no choice but to act after two undocumented immigrants from the Dominican Republic were charged last month with shooting and killing a 29-year-old man. Other recent incidents involving undocumented immigrants have rattled this city 80 miles northwest of Philadelphia, including the arrest of a 14-year-old boy for firing a gun at a playground"



"All the worth which the human being possesses, all spiritual reality, he possesses only through the State." -- 19th century German philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. Hegel is the most influential philosopher of the Left -- inspiring Karl Marx, the American "Progressives" of the early 20th century and university socialists to this day.

The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialistisch)

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