The art - and craft! - of the eulogy: I am provoked to this particular 'rumble' by an article I read via the ever-excellent Arts & Letters Daily. It is a review of a book on the subject of eulogies which rather intrigued me because I have, on two or three occasions, been asked to deliver eulogies on dead friends. Should you ever be invited to do it let me warn you that it's a damn ticklish business! In the very nature of friendship you become aware of, shall we say, the highs and lows of a friend's character. That's OK but it is the realisation that almost everyone at the ceremony is equally aware. Too much gush and you will sound like a total hypocrite, too much honesty and the widow is likely to faint. Minefield clearance is easier!
No, really, truly, honestly: There is another interesting essay pointed to by A&LD on the subject of good, old-fashioned dishonesty in public discourse. It suggests, among other things, that whilst we know that our leaders lie to us constantly we don't really care any more. That can't be right, can it?
Another film for my Top Ten: And yes, I know there are at least 38 films in my Top Ten but that merely goes to prove the breadth of my good taste! Actually, this one is probably in there already but I happened to catch it again last night and I had forgotten how superb it is. I refer to Master and Commander, directed by Peter Weir and starring Russell Crowe and Paul Bettany. Nor should I forget the original writer, Patrick O'Brian, who invented two of the greatest characters in fiction. Before you rush off to buy any of O'Brian's books let me warn you that they do contain a fair amount of sailing-ship jargon which is indecipherable to land-lubbers like me but if you develop the knack of skim-reading you can whizz past all that 'haul away the starboard fo'cstle main sail' stuff and just enjoy the yarns. Or better still, just watch Peter Weir's superlative film.
They never stop: I refer to the EU fanatics who run the closed-shop government of the European (dis)Union. Apparently the Brussels bureaucrats are busy totting up the total medal-count of EU countries taking part in the Olympic games in order to prove that Europe is better than America. Why can't they just concentrate on the important things, like their expense accounts?
'The evil that men do' just multiplies: On hearing the news that yet another suicide bomber had wreaked havoc and horror, alas, I merely shrugged. Then I heard that the 'perp' had deliberately targeted a wedding party and killed 50+ and wounded God knows how many. Now what kind of twisted mind can actually choose a wedding party? Surely, a happy, harmless occasion common to all people of all religions, everywhere. Then I learned that the 'perp' was between 14 and 16 years of age. Who, I wondered, could deliberately indoctrinate a kid of that age into doing their dirty work for them? My mind wandered to that evil s.o.b. who got away with preaching hate to young Muslims here in Britain for over ten years before, finally, the law acted - even though he only received a sentence of 10 years and will thus probably be out in five.
"Oh, the horror, the horror!" When it comes to matters of truly horrific, ghastly, car-crash ladies' fashion, I am forced to rely on my lovely - and elegant - e-pal, 'Sister Wolf', for guidance. She deserves a Congressional Medal of Honour for courage above and beyond the call of duty in the way that she scours the depths of female fashion in order to warn the 'sisterhood'. Here is a prime example:
It's the sort of thing you might find on a charity stall in support of the blind! But actually, they cost - wait for it! - $795!
Well done, Sir Ian! I have been a 'fan' of Sir Ian McKellen for some time now, not least because I was able to see him live in one or two of his Shakespeare productions and also his one-man show on the subject of Shakespeare and his plays. However, with the exception of his film version of Richard III, I have not seen him on the screen and certainly not the film of Lord of the Rings in which he played, famously, the character of Gandalf. I'm sure it was excellent and all that but it's just not my thing! Even so, it speaks well of Sir Ian that, according to The Telegraph, he turned down $1.5 million to officiate at the wedding of some brain-dead American 'zillionaire' who wanted the 'ceremony' conducted in the style of Lord of the Rings with Sir Ian dressed as Gandalf. I'm only a tad disappointed that Sir Ian never thought to pass the offer on to another distinguished 'thesp', er, me, actually! I'd have done it for half the money - oh alright then, a quarter!
And here is my final - but loud - raspberry to the Olympics: Apparently the 'lady' who won the female 800 metres has two internal testes and no womb or ovaries. The 'ladies' who finished second and third have similar abnormalities. I say bring back the tractor 'girls' of Sverdlovsk who used to win the hammer throwing competition back in the day!
No more rumbles today