Iniquitous Theft

I was watching some stupid BBC-TV show about how a titled earl’s mansion was saved from ruin only by royal intervention (Prince Charles and his Prince’s Trust), and how the place was restored to its former glory and was now in essence a museum (said earl having relinquished title to the property many decades ago).

Which house and which earl is not important.  What was not said was why the place had to be abandoned in the first place, which can be summed up in just two words:  inheritance taxes.

Of all instances of government bastardy — and there are thousands — this is the one which gets my goat, because there are two major principles in play, and neither of them is good.

1)  The State decides that your property doesn’t really belong to you, so the gummint takes part of it it away from you (or more properly, from your heirs) after your death and puts it into their coffers.  It’s nothing less than fucking theft, pure and simple.

2)  The principle that “unearned income” — i.e. that your wealth gets passed on to your heirs, who didn’t work for it and therefore it should be treated as a windfall — is a bad thing because it simply perpetuates the wealth inequality of society.  The underlying Marxist lie that underpins this idea is self-explanatory:  that wealth is a finite quantity, and that keeping it in the family prevents others in society from benefiting from it.  (Never mind that history shows that almost all  great fortunes are dissipated within four — and usually three — generations because of multiple heirs, wastage, poor judgement and so on.)

What we also know is that inheritance taxes do not affect the very wealthy much, if at all, because they protect their property by a multitude of (perfectly-legal) tax avoidance schemes.  Instead, the taxes hit the middle classes (and especially family business owners and farmers) hardest of all.

So it’s all very well for HRH the Prince of Wales to come riding in on his faerie chariot and save some great house from ruin, when in fact it was the policies of his (and his forerunners’) government that was the principle cause of that ruin in the first place.

Just so we know the extent of the villainy:  the family was going to be forced to sell off the household effects to help pay the bills.  Which sounds trivial except that the earl was the owner of the largest collection of Chippendale furniture in the world (simply because the fifth earl had seen the first-ever catalog of the Chippendale Brothers furniture company in the 1750s, liked what he saw and bought hundreds of pieces of the stuff for his new country home, and all of which had stayed in the house ever since).  To give you an idea of its worth:  just one large glass-fronted bookcase — now being used to house some of the family’s equally-valuable china — would have fetched at auction around £20 million, and each of the hundreds of Chippendale chairs around £50,000… yes, each.

All the household goods had been packed up in an eighteen-wheeler, and were actually halfway to the auction house in London when the truck was intercepted and turned back to the house.  All very heroic stuff — and all completely unnecessary.

What’s interesting is that here in Murka, where we don’t even have titles and such, the popular antipathy towards inheritance taxes is profound — something like 80% of people polled hate the very idea of it, even though the vast majority of people are unlikely ever to be affected by inheritance taxes.

That’s because we’re not stupid, and we can recognize theft when we see it.  It’s the principle of the matter, and as this nation was founded upon principle, we can recognize its villainy where other countries’ inhabitants might not.


By the way, here’s the Wikipedia entry for Dumfries House.

Hatin’ On Them People

Wow.  How about this for a headline?

Keynote speaker at Bob Jones University diversity conference says Muslims should be ‘locked up’

Just kidding.  Here’s the actual headline:

Keynote speaker at Harvard diversity conference says Christians should be ‘locked up’

Read the rest, if you feel like it.  Then load up yer favorite gun and a couple hundred rounds of ammo, and head out to the range.  That’s what I’m going to do, later.

Fuck ’em.

Amen, Sister

Ripped from the headlines:

The one lesson I’ve learned from life: Actress Vicki Michelle says harmless flirting brightens your day

Vicki who?

Here she was, back in her yoot as an actress of some forgettable TV Britcom:

Here she is, in her middle years:

And here she is, at age… sixty-eight(!!!!!)

Okay, forget my freckled-shoulder fetish, this is a serious babe.

Needless to say, of course, Teh Sisterhood is probably going to react in predictable fashion:

I don’t care.  Miss Vicki has the truth of it.  Gentle flirting with the opposite sex is what makes us human, and (in my case anyway) is what stops us from killing every third person we meet.

And if you need me to explain the difference between harmless flirting and Harvey Weinstein behavior, you’re beyond help.

Perils Of Uniqueness

At his recent wedding, Idris Elba is reported to have said, “There’s no point in trying to fit in when you were born to stand out.”  And while that’s true, there’s also that Australian(?) saying that “The tall flower will always be the first to be cropped.”

In rants passim, I’ve railed against the follies of architectural folly, wherein the ego of the architect takes over the aesthetic sensibilities of the building, making it a tall flower in the neighborhood.  Making the building an extremely personal statement, therefore, is all very well, as long as you acknowledge the fact that your taste isn’t for everybody — with all its concomitant perils.  Here’s an example:

The asking price of a property that appeared on TV’s Grand Designs has been slashed by almost £1million in just six months.
The owners Bram and Lisa Vis have taken the drastic step after the ultra-modern property with six bedrooms failed to sell.
The huge 7,200 square foot house is set within 2.2 acres of land with an additional 3.8 acres of private beach, along with a heated swimming pool and a jacuzzi.
The luxury home on the Isle of Wight was completed in 2014, and featured on Channel 4’s Grand Designs the following year.

The key word is this: “ultra-modern”.  Here are a couple-three pics:

Because of all this, and despite having matchless coastal views:

And despite having had nationwide, even worldwide exposure on TV, we have this unfortunate outcome:

The significant reduction has seen the asking price drop from £3.95million in autumn last year to £2.99million today and means the couple are selling the property for less than the project cost to complete.

I have to admit, even if I had the money, there is no way I would even consider this modernist carbuncle — and clearly I am not alone in this judgement, hence the lack of interest in the market.  Furthermore, there’s a life lesson to be learned from this sorry tale.

Go ahead and indulge your ego by all means.  Just be aware that “standing out” (especially in the extreme, as in the above house’s style) may not always result in a favorable outcome.

The Full Texas Thang

Last Saturday I took New Wife out for a Full Texas Day (I know, I know:  never go Full Texas).

Part One was the Fort Worth Gun Show (that was for me, of course, although she found several Girly-things to buy there, and did).  Blessedly, there was more on display than the usual AR-15/Glock/Tacticool stuff (although there was plenty of that too):

… although that mythical unicorn (mint condition Colt Python for under $1,000) was nowhere to be found, of course.  There was a S&W Mod 65-3 for sale, but it looked like it had been towed behind a Ford F-150 for a mile or two, and they wanted $700 for it, so:  pass.  However, there was a vendor selling from a huge  selection of Anza knives, and somehow I managed not to buy a single one (although I could have bought six or seven, easily).

Good grief, they’re lovely knives.  I’m rapidly starting to think of Anza knives as I do .22 rifles — i.e. every home should have at least one — and the next time I go to the Ft. Worth gun show, I’m going to buy another one, because… I shouldn’t have to explain myself on this one, should I?  Here’s one that caught my eye, just because of the shape:

…but honestly, I could also see myself getting any one of these little beauties too.

We were planning on getting a late lunch of BBQ in downtown Ft. Worth (Part Two), but as it happened, there was a vendor at the show from Robinson’s BBQ (“since 1947”) so that was the brisket taken care of — and it was excellent.

We did take a little drive trip through Ft. Worth, and would have stopped to listen to the orchestra playing in Sundance Square, but parking in downtown is crappy, so we didn’t.  Instead, we went out to The Stockyards for a little shopping and entertainment.

The shopping at the various Western wear stores (Part Three) was patchy — some expensive stuff there, Bubba — but I did manage to snag a decent summer-weight vest which doesn’t look like a mil-surp, fishing- or photographer’s vest for a decent price.  New Wife, not so lucky.  (She steadfastly refused to let me buy her some cowboy boots, but hey:  she’s been in Texas less than five months, and I only got a pair of cowboy boots after over fifteen years  here, so it’s a long-term project.)  Also:

Anyway, it was getting late, so we went into Riscky’s for more BBQ and margaritas (Part Four):

Decent ribs, outstanding  grilled shrimp (seriously, maybe the best I’ve ever tasted), and Ernesto the barman is brilliant.  (I tended bar in my distant yoot, so I know the trade.)

Dinner over, we went to Part Five of the Full Texas Thang:

Oh yeah, baby… rodeo! 

Now I have to confess that I’m no expert on rodeo — mostly, I think it’s cheap country entertainment — but you can’t go Full Texas without rodeo, right?  So we watched the bull-riding, bronco busting, calf-roping and all that, until the over-loud PA (and screaming commentator) got to my tinnitus and the hissing/whistling sound became unbearable (my ears are still ringing as I write this, the day after).

But New Wife enjoyed the day thoroughly, even the gun show — although she won’t be going to another one anytime soon — and hey… how often do you get to go Full Texas with a newbie?

Monday Funnies

Weekend’s over:  back on the wheel, Hamsters (borrowed from Knuckledragger).

So to get you to wake up chuckling:

For a little beauty to help get you back on the wheel:

And finally, remember to buckle up: