Winter is Coming

January 21, 2016 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Non-Fiction, POLITICS, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

'Winter is Coming and I don't care...' (photo c/- Russian Presidential Press and Information Office)

(Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped) (by Garry Kasparov) When the Soviet Union finally bit the dust, and the new Russia elected itself a vodka-swilling party animal (Boris Yeltsin) as President, who could have foreseen that a mere few years later, an obscure KGB Lieutenant, a colourless unknown, would assume power, and rise to the status of absolute dictator after the style of that chap Hitler? Well this fellow, Garry Kasparov, did.  He has suffered for it, certainly, but in the face of ignorance, cowardice and corruption, he is a valuable Cassandra to remind us what President…

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Cold Cream: My Early Life & Other Mistakes

(by Ferdinand Mount) (2008) It will come as no surprise to the reader that the “cold cream” of the title is the Pond’s cold cream used as a cure-all by the writer’s mother when he was a child.  Somewhat less commonplace is the probable reason for Mrs Mount’s adherence to the unpleasant ointment – she earned a lifetime’s supply as a result of having spruiked it before her marriage – “Lady Julia Pakenham says she owes her flawless complexion to Pond’s Cold Cream”. Lady Julia, the youngest daughter of the 5th Earl of Longford KC,  married Robert Francis (“Robin”) Mount who, when at…

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“Marriage Equality”

November 28, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | LIFE, PETER'S WRITING, POLITICS |

The Marriage Settlement by William Hogarth

Rather, it appears to me As special pleading, don’t you see, Equality is not the name For making difference all the same And social change, go carefully About your task, respectfully; If to shadow-lands dissent Is forced, we’ll find new ways to vent And those could sting. For social concord, here’s a thing That could restore freedoms of old – Instead of choosing to be told What’s right, equal, or ‘appropriate’; Perhaps we should de-legislate And banish State from communal bed, Let couples choose to state instead What they are or wish to be – Let clerics moot matrimony.          

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November 22, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | PETER'S WRITING, POLITICS, Ulalume |

By Hubert van Ravesteyn (1671)

It looks like any other nut. The outer shell is hard And seemingly impervious, The flesh within is poisoned. Despite the strength of its integument This is prone to burst-forth After fermentation. It will lay in a shrinking room, Touching all within. So this is a nut one must not crack In the event its toxic traces Spill over the table.  

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November 15, 2015 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Biography, POLITICS, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

(By Kenneth Harris) (1982) A big comprehensive tome on the bland, modest and decent Labour leader who as a rather supine Prime Minister from 1945-1951, gave the Brits post-war austerity and de-colonization.  He seems to have oozed integrity, to the point where he was as clean and dull as an Eagle Scout Master (remember the quip “An empty taxi arrived at 10 Downing Street and Mr Attlee got out”) but he was an invaluable brake on the zealous excesses of Churchill, within that curious and brilliant creature, the wartime coalition. This is reflected in the golden vignette of January 1945, when Attlee wrote…

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