Taken Too Young

When I grow up, I want to be like the recently-deceased historian John Lukacs, who has often been labeled an “iconoclast” (i.e. someone who destroys icons and sacred cows).  I think John Willson’s description fits him perfectly:

“John Lukacs is well known not so much for speaking truth to power as speaking truth to audiences he senses have settled into safe and unexamined opinions.”

No better example was when Rudi Giuliani compared the spirit and endurance of 9/11 New Yorkers to 1940s-era Londoners, which the irritated historian called nonsense — he thought (with plenty of justification) that the Blitzed Londoners had had it far worse than New Yorkers.

In addition to all that, Lukacs was an unashamed fan of BritPM Sir Winston Churchill, which is yet another reason to respect him.  When pomo historians attempted to downplay Churchill’s wartime achievements, Lukacs shot them down like RAF Spitfires did Nazi Heinkels.

We need more historians like John Lukacs:  many, many more.  For those who want to read his stuff, I can absolutely recommend two works in particular:  Five Days In London and The Legacy of World War II.  I’ve read his Budapest: 1900 three times.

Lukacs was 95 when he died, so I have thirty years’ work to do, and I’m going to set myself a goal of reading a “new” Lukacs book (i.e. ones I haven’t already read) every six months.

Border Force

Now we’re talking:

At their talks in Budapest on Thursday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Italy’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini agreed on the importance of strong nation states, on the need to give priority in Europe to European culture based on Christian values, and on border defence.
At a joint press conference held with Mr. Salvini – who is also head of the Italian government party Lega – Mr. Orbán said they both believe the following: that there will be no strong Europe without strong and successful nation states; that on the continent priority must be given to European culture based on Christian values; and that “Europe’s borders must be defended against the migrant invasion”.

I know it’s kinda unfashionable to talk about “European culture” and “Christian values” in this day and age, especially at the national level, but let’s hope they can do it.

Oh, and screw the EU, especially Old Commie Angela Merkel and Grab-A-Granny Emmanuel Macron.

Begging Your Indulgence

…in that today is a special day for me.

The Son&Heir turns 30 today (and if you’re a Longtime Friend and/or Reader, you have my permission to go ahead and feel very old).  It is customary for a proud father to brag about his son, but in my case, I am truly blessed.  (And those of you who have met him, please feel free to weigh in with your opinions.)

Eagle Scout, champion pistol shooter, drummer, cum laude  college graduate and now junior executive at a successful retail business;  he’s popular with everyone who meets him, works with him or has anything to do with him.  He’s witty, polite, well-mannered, intelligent, astonishingly well-read, and the best dinner companion anyone could wish for.

He never reads my blog — not one of my kids has ever read anything  I’ve written: blog, novels, whatever — so he might or might not read this, but I don’t care.  I bless the day he came into my life, and every day since.  He is my son, I love him dearly, and he is a fine, fine man.

Happy birthday, boy.

— Dad

(aged 15, at Faro Airport in Portugal)

Quite Right

Brit TV presenter Kirstie Allsopp has been making waves:

Kirstie Allsopp has been vocal about her desire to ban homework in the past, and today the presenter hit out again, branding it a ‘waste of time’.

…and I agree with that, completely.

However, it’s what else she says that’s the best advice anyone can give:

The Location, Location, Location host, 47, who has two sons Bay, 12, and Oscar, 10 with husband Ben Andersen, took to Twitter to respond to new figures released today, which revealed a ‘decline in reading for pleasure.’
According to the research, just over half (52.5 per cent) of eight to 18-year-olds read for pleasure in 2019, down from 58.8 per cent in 2016.

She wrote: ‘No evidence that under 10s gain from homework AND kids hate it, parents hate it and teachers hate it.’
‘Homework is an absurd hangover from another time. Much, much better to focus on reading, reading, reading and more reading.’

Yup.  Back when we homeschooled our three kids, the only mandatory exercise we imposed was three hours’ reading per day, no excuses, no “I’ll catch up tomorrow” or any of that jive.  Three hours straight, and the kids had to read outside their rooms (no distractions), whether in the library (where there was no TV) or, if the weather was suitable, outdoors.  For reading choice, there was my humble book collection (e.g. Bookcase #1 in the library):

…but the kids could also get their own, and the monthly trip to Barnes & Noble was a delight.  There was no spending limit other than self-imposed, but the books had to be text-only, i.e. no coffee-table picture books, comics or manga etc.

The kids could study other subjects, and did, but the reading was non-negotiable.  Kirstie has the truth of it:  all three of our kids are scarily literate.

Dept. Of Righteous Shootings

Choirboy saunters up to a young woman on street corner, shows her a weapon and attempts a little involuntary financial redistribution, whereupon Our Heroine pulls her gun and shoots the little asshole in the neck, said wound eventually sending him to join Hell’s Chorus.

[pause to allow cheers and applause to die down]

This incident would be fairly unremarkable except that it happened on Chicago’s South Side, and the young lady in question had an Illinois carry permit (!!!), which as any fule kno is of hen’s teeth scarcity.  [Note to the gun confiscators:  this is how you reduce violent crime; not by disallowing law-abiding citizens to carry guns.]

Note too that this is an incident of gun violence (duh), but as any right-thinking person would agree, the right kind of gun violence.

(Thanks to Reader Brad_In_IL for the heartwarming report.)