On the Birthday Omnibus

September 5, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | ART, FILM, HISTORY, MUSIC, OPERA, WRITING & LITERATURE |
Photo by Harry Whittier Frees

Photo by Harry Whittier Frees

September 5 Many happy birthdays to a range of historical and cultural notables!! 1638: Louis XIV The great empire-builder applied his zeal to the foundations laid by Cardinal Richelieu.  In the end, zeal undid much of his work but he still left a mighty legacy – he could little foresee on his 1715 deathbed that his great regal empire would last well under a century. Louis to the Duc d’Orléans on his deathbed: “‘You are about to see one King in his tomb and another in his cradle. Always cherish the memory of the first and the interests of the…

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National War Memorial

August 29, 2017 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Australian History, AUSTRALIANIA, HISTORY, TRAVEL, WW2 |
WMwalk

Canberra, August 2017         Big planes, subs, tanks…dioramas of the most prodigious quality…enough military paraphernalia to convert the most conscientious objector into a club bore…the Australian War Memorial, a short cab ride up the hill on the other side of Lake Burley Griffin, directly aligned with the walk up the hill to Parliament on the other side of that lake, is well worth a visit, and it is free (gold coin donation encouraged).  An eternal flame flickers (see main image) in order to remind us that our forebears died for us, whether we appreciate it or not….

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Alt-Citizens

HC1

The Australian Federal Parliament is in a tizz because a raft of Senators and Members of the House of Representatives have discovered they have, or may hold, dual citizenship. This disqualifies one from office, and already there have been resignations and stand-downs whilst ‘clarification’ is sought. The problem is section 44 of the Commonwealth Constitution, a document promulgated in 1901, when the optics of the world and his wife were slightly different. Any person who: is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights…

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National Portrait Gallery

Quentin

(Canberra, August 2017) Having breasted the paint-stripping wind blowing down the mountain and off Lake Burley Griffin, we wondered if this monument would rise to emblematise a great reference of images, or just amount to a pantheon of nonentities crowding Our Island Story? Actually, the galleries are small, but occasionally choice, and sometimes a laugh riot.  Little hordes of schoolchildren swept through on the hour (Canberra’s array of free stuff means almost every week there’s opportunity for a teaching free day or two) and little lessons were delivered by earnest folks who knew not what they were saying. Fortunately, P was…

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Zulu

August 17, 2017 | Posted by Lesley Jakobsen | Classic Film, FILM, HISTORY, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |
"The Defence of Rorke's Drift" by Alphonse de Neuville (1879-90)

"The Defence of Rorke's Drift" by Alphonse de Neuville (1879-90)

(Dir. Cy Endfield) (1963) This episode in the Anglo-Zulu War pitted some 4,500 against about 150, which shows how important fortifications (strategically useless) can be tactically decisive. The film is a pretty good treatment of the heroic skirmish, in which 11 Victorian Crosses were garnered, and great and good actors display stiff upper lips on both sides: we single out for praise Stanley Baker as the leader of the British defence (a much nicer role than his slimy turn in Accident), Michael Caine as the second in command, the wonderfully named Lieutenant Gonville Bromhead… …Nigel Green as the stern, stout Colour-Sergeant,…

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