Hello and Absolve all Black & Tans

March 17, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, LIFE, Ulalume |
"Have a nice day, Ireland!"(Portrait by Peter Lely)

"Have a nice day, Ireland!"(Portrait by Peter Lely)

Happy St Patrick’s Day! If Pátraic was so hot though, why does Ireland still have to put up with Sinn Féin? Anyway, top of the morning to Paddys everywhere, and we hope not to have been too inflammatory by passing-on the best wishes of well known hibernophile, Oliver Cromwell.  The more polite Irish tend to refer to Oliver as a “Special Occasion.”* [*euphemism with apologies to the late Elisabeth Wynhausen.]

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Gandhi’s Tax Revolt

March 12, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | HISTORY, LIFE, POLITICS, Ulalume |
No fries with this salt

No fries with this salt

On this day in 1930, Mahatma Gandhi started his long march to Dandi on the sea to collect some salt for himself.  This seemingly innocuous act was illegal at the time – the salt tax in India brought in lots of cash in olden times for the East India Company and now for the English King.  A hundred thousand Indians joined Gandhi along the 400 kilometre walk.  On arrival, Gandhi stooped and gathered some grains of salt, a gesture that would lead to his arrest, and presage the doom of the British Raj.  It seems the Tommys had forgotten the reaction that stems from…

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The Hitler Club

HitlerClubTree

(by Gary Gumpl and Richard Kleinig) (2007) It’s not easy being a Kraut. Hitler saw to that. He took more than two thousand years of German contributions to the world – legacies from sources such as Beethoven, Bonhoeffer, Brahms, Charlemagne, Marlene Dietrich, Dürer, Einstein, Friedrich, Goethe, Hesse, Hoffmann, Kant, Kleist, Liebniz, Luther, Mann, Mozart, Schiller, Schubert, and yes, Wagner (especially Wagner) – and sullied them, perhaps for ever.  The ‘don’t mention the war’ running joke in that Fawlty Towers episode is closer to the truth than we care to admit. In modern Germany especially, the shadow cast by Nazism is long. Grotesque irony abounded in the Nazis’ world.  For example, Himmler rattled around in a special train…

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The Afghan Cameleers of South-West Adelaide

March 2, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Australian History |
Minarets at the Little Gilbert Street mosque

Minarets at the Little Gilbert Street mosque

TVC devotees  know that I have a thing for the WEA.  So how could I resist the WEA walk/talk around the south-western corner of Adelaide, learning about the lives of the Afghan cameleers who lived there in the late 1800s and early 1900s? I couldn’t! I didn’t! In January 1866, Sir Thomas Elder (of Elder Hall fame – his statue is parked out front) brought 120 camels from India and Afghanistan and the first 31 cameleers. Burke and Wills had brought camels earlier (but we can bet they all died or were the wrong kind of camels or something). The cameleers – from…

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Ruskin’s Rocks

February 8, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, HISTORY, Non-Fiction, WRITING & LITERATURE |
RuskinIn_the_Pass_of_Killiecrankie

John Ruskin (8 February 1819 to 20 January 1900) was one of the last great aesthetes. He was a hugely influential critic and the first Slade Professor of Fine Art.  His best pronouncements come from the near invincible confidence he had in his own taste – later events, such as a barren marriage and a nasty libel suit, destroyed that early assurance.  But he retained the sensible aesthetic view that “Taste is not only a part and an index of morality – it is the ONLY morality.”*                       He took advantage of his…

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