‘It is only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated…that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation.’
William Tecumseh Sherman
The markets have been dull lately.
US stocks were up a bit yesterday…after being down a bit the day before.
By contrast, the US presidential primaries have been at least as exciting as a mud-wrestling match.
The opponents slip up and slide out from one hold or another, none able to get a firm grip on issues…facts…or reality.
But we admire the courage of the GOP establishment… and its neocon standard bearers.
Taking up their shields and bucklers, grabbing their swords and grenades, they bravely head for the pass of Thermopylae…or a Northern Virginia Starbucks.
From there, they will send their missiles to the Washington Post, the New York Times, the National Review.
The war on Trump
Surely, there is some special medal that the Deep State could mint for these middle-aged heroes.
A plump little ribbon of black and blue, perhaps, thanking them for their service…and for risking their time, reputations, and fortunes in the fight against the nation’s biggest enemy: Donald Trump.
‘GOP hawks declare war on Trump,’ says an article on Beltway blog POLITICO. They’ve even started to abandon the Republican Party, choosing instead the proven war monger and reliable Deep State shill, Hillary Clinton.
What do they have against Trump?
He swears he is as militaristic as any of them. He promises to torture the bad guys. He claims he loves Israel. Isn’t that enough?
And yet, he doesn’t seem to be going along with the program.
Instead of confronting Vladimir Putin, for example, Donald says he’ll talk to him. Instead of pushing the Palestinians around on Israel’s behalf, Donald says he’ll be ‘neutral.’ Instead of signing on for more cockamamie disasters in the Middle East, Donald says he’ll back off.
We don’t know which way the battle between the Republican neocons and Trump will go. But it’s too bad this battle can’t be fought with real artillery and live shells.
Wolfowitz, Kagan, Kristol et al were instrumental in giving war a chance. They bamboozled the nation into invading Iraq. They encouraged the woebegone troop ‘surge’ in Baghdad and Al Anbar… and the heavy fighting in Afghanistan.
And they suckered the US taxpayers into spending $4 trillion on the pointless and endless ‘War on Terror.’
The hum of drones…the pop of rifles…the smell of burning flesh and the sight of mangled bodies — let the fat-arsed suburban warriors savour the sights and sounds of a real fight!
But we’ll lay off on the politics…and turn to the archives for something else entirely.
Episcopalian’s Guide to Sex
Originally published on 14 May 2001
‘No one knows what goes on behind closed doors.’
Throughout all of Christendom, no group has more attractive churches — nor more fetching women — than Episcopalians.
I say this after attending a service at the American Cathedral of Paris — a huge edifice tarted up in the ecclesiastical style of the 19th century.
Paris is full of Episcopalians.
Sure, there must be a few Baptists and evangelicals drinking grape juice in some stifling basement in a bad neighbourhood. But here on the swanky Avenue George V, hundreds of Episcopalians (and a few Anglicans) gather each week — and put on a great show.
Enjoying the trip
Episcopalians love Paris. It is the world’s most beautiful city…
Its tree-lined avenues. Its Belle Époque apartments. Its gracious bridges and stunning public buildings. Let the Methodists have Cincinnati. The Unitarians can take Boston. The Mormons are welcome in Salt Lake City. Evangelicals and Seventh-Day Adventists can drive around in Southern California all they want. We’ll walk the streets of Paris.
‘Beauty is only skin deep,’ say the dour Calvinists. ‘That’s deep enough for us,’ reply the Episcopalians.
Baptists can put up with the ugly churches, bad food and teetotalism of the South. For them, life is just a short passage on their way to heaven, like a crowded subway car you take to get to a good restaurant; you don’t mind standing up for a while, if it leads to a cushy seat in paradise.
But Episcopalians, unsure of the promise of heaven and suspicious of the threat of hell, don’t like to take chances. Enjoy the trip. Who knows where it leads?
Elizabeth and I had dinner at La Rotonde de la Muette on Friday night. We sat outside, admiring the trees, the people, the fragrance of the nearby park, and the soft light of the late evening.
‘It’s so beautiful when spring comes,’ Elizabeth said, inspiring heavily. ‘It’s like falling in love or eating too much chocolate.’
Last week, the city threw off the grey overcoat of the long winter and bloomed. It is May already. Soon, it will be June.
On the sidewalk not far away, a young couple enjoyed a long kiss, of the sort that would be described as a ‘French kiss’ in the US The whole city seems alive, aroused, pullulating, beating with new life.
Saturated with sex
Indeed, Paris is saturated with sex — drenched with it, as though after a warm spring downpour. Pigeons meet up and coo together on the rooftops. Couples snoogle on the subway. Shopkeepers flirt with their clients…Waiters wink at passers-by.
I know no more about sex than I do about the stock market. But I have spent more time thinking about it.
Last week at the office, for example, sex was forced upon me. I opened an innocent looking email, which somehow took me to a porn site.
Those clever porno mongers had figured out not only how to get me there…but how to keep me. Each click took me to another site — there was no way out. Finally, after a very long time, I had to turn my computer off to escape.
If information is really the key to success…people in the 21st century are guaranteed the best sex lives of any creatures in history.
They can find out anything they want. Neither race nor age was any barrier. My brief excursion into Web porno-land invited me to check out ‘Asian Hotties’…teenaged something or others…and ‘Yo Mammas.’
‘Old Ladies’ were just a click away at one point. And another click offered ‘Animal Acts’ (though, I admit, I saw no place to click for ‘Vegetable Acts’ nor ‘Mineral Acts’ — suggesting a gap in the market and an opportunity for someone).
Even the respectable press is in full disclosure mode. An article in France’s Le Figaro Magazine shows two middle-aged Paris intellectuals — a husband and wife team — in bed.
Each has written a bare-all book, confessing sins against God and each other. The man’s book features a photo of his wife’s derriere on the cover. Hers provides readers with a blow-by-blow chronicle of her sex life.
Sex never seems to go out of style. Still, fashions change in sex just as they do in the stock market.
When the bull market was at its throbbing climax, Ted Turner described deal making as ‘better than sex.’ Now that deals are more difficult to pull off, sex seems to be making a comeback.
How often should you have sex?
‘As often as possible,’ comes the Protestant’s reply. But Episcopalian realises that quality is often more important than quantity. And more is not necessarily better. Like everything else, it depends on the context and the aesthetic details.
Ask yourself, which would you prefer: a single night with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in a wispy negligee…or a whole month with ‘Stormin’ Norman’ Schwarzkopf in full battle gear?
In many Episcopal churches, you would get an even show of hands for either choice. But Episcopalians have a relaxed attitude to Old Testament interdictions. All may not be permitted, but all is readily forgiven, if not forgotten.
The mechanics of sex are pretty simple — everything you need to know can be picked up by an 18-year-old in just a few minutes on the Internet. It’s the romantic gear box that is more difficult to grasp.
Like fragile spring wildflowers, these nuances d’amour whither on the internet…or in the harsh light of day. They are almost impossible to grow commercially or in an open field. Instead, they need a little shadow…and the dark of night.
Your Episcopalian correspondent,
For Markets and Money, Australia