Thursday, 25 April 2013

Repita A Revolução!!

Thirty-nine years ago today, dear reader, a most marvellous – and officially forbidden - song called Grandola, Vila Morena by honey-voiced José Zeca Afonso, rang out over all the Portuguese radio stations in the morning. This was the sign for the Portuguese army and the Portuguese people to rise against the Portuguese dictator Marcelo Caetano and his miserable regime, which kept the people in poverty and suppressed all protest with tear gas and the baton of the riot police.

It was the beginning of the Revolução dos Cravos, the ‘Carnation Revolution’. And what a splendid day that was! In the morning poor Portugal agonized under the boot of worm-eaten fascists; in the evening the beautiful land was free!

Today, yet another miserable regime, run by yet another Portuguese dictator and his cronies, is keeping the Portuguese people in poverty and suppresses all protest with tear gas and the riot police baton. Yes: I am speaking of good old First EU Commissar Jose Manuel Durao Barroso, of the Abominable Troika from Brussels and Frankfurt, and of their elected lackey Pedro Passos Coelho, the Portuguese Prime Minister, who does all he can to bleed his people so as to save the venomous €uro.

Never was the time more ripe for a repetition of the Glorious Revolution!

So all ye people of good will and honest faith… All you who know that things may be turned for the better if we hold together and tell them STOP, NOT ONE STEP FURTHER…! All you who wish the suffering Portuguese people well…. Turn up the volume button of your computer to the maximum; open the windows, the doors and your heart; go to THIS HERE LINK and Give The Signal !!!

Ça ira, ça ira, ça ira…!!
L’imagination au pouvoir!!
Viva o 25 de Abril!!

Monday, 22 April 2013

The Doors

Today a little Eye Candy from Old Al and the rest of the world, dear reader!

I just discovered a most fascinating site on that Facebook network you all know about. It is THIS ONE about door handles, knockers, letter boxes, locks and cast iron hinges (of all usually most uninspiring subjects). I guess only those of you who are subscribed to that Social Medium can possibly open this link. But for the rest of you, I will add a few of my own, rather prosaic, samples of the same subject...

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Golden Quotebook: Roger Cohen on being called Cohen...

When my father was about to emigrate from South Africa to England in the 1950s, a friend of the family suggested that a change of name was in order because it would be unwise to pursue his career in Britain while called “Cohen.”
My Dad, a young doctor, said he would think it over. A few days later he announced to the friend that he had decided to make the change.
“To what?” she asked with satisfaction.
“Einstein,” he deadpanned.

[Roger Cohen, A Jew in England, IHT 30 November 2009]

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Get your money and your children out of Europe!

Recommanded article of the day:

If you have a little patience, and are not too afraid of economics, read this here article about 'Europe's Monks and Zealots' by good old Ambrose to learn why you should get your money and your children out of Europe before it is too late.

Friday, 19 April 2013

And MORE Theft !!!

Thank you, Mr Timothy Holt-Wilson for bringing to my attention yet one more shameless theft of a priceless Alfred B Mittington find, to wit:

The fact is that I ought to have patented my felicitous jeu-de-mots in time (i.e. many decades ago), and I would now be rich in royalties and embarrassingly generous damages allotted by the courts. But Alfred B Mittington is an idealist, dear reader. Although some witty dunce with a very high opinion of himself once said that only a blockhead would ever write for anything except money, this is of course untrue of the Real Artist. The Veritable Wordmonger, like myself, writes only to seduce the Muse and please his public. Not for heaps of filthy lucre which he then lays out in gin and tobacco as he scribbles funny dictionaries that nobody ever asked for.

May your thieveries eat out the liver of your karma, O ye shameless rogues! 

How! I have spoken. Alfred B Mittington.

PS In a comment which I have since forcefully deleted from this MY blog, yet another funny fellow dared to doubt the authenticity of my brilliant find. 'Are you sure that you came up with it first, Mr know-it-all Mittington?' were more or less the words this illiterate baboon dared to entrust to the pixels. Well I am, ye scoundrel, if only because I first coined the phrase in the context of the Iron Duke, i.e. good old Arthus Wellesley, Duke of Wellington, in a 1934 article of incomparable insights called 'Tally-Ho in Talavera' (see my Collected Works, vol. xxxiv, p. 456-498). Wanna argue with that, you suggestive foulmouthed fool??

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Patio de los Leones

Yesterday, as I innocently strolled down the hill to the village praza for my daily constitutional and chess game, I was asked by a toothless old farmer of the name of Eufemio Almeida Souto (who grows turnips for the pigs and an occasional cannabis plant for passing tourists on the plot of our former graveyard) what precisely I found so very revolting in this one 'charming picture' of the fountain which I posted April 7 ult.

Ah yes, dear reader... The kind of folk that read one's blog....!!

Now, it is hard to explain to one who has never visited the Bilbao Guggenheim, what KITSCH really is. So I will let my pictures speak more than the thousand words I could easily scribble upon the subject, and let all of you (e tu, Eufemio!!) compare and decide for your own worthy selves.

The snapshot I published last Sunday is this one:

Which happens to be a sickeningly white plaster imitation of the famous Patio de los Leones in the Alhambra Nazarí Palace of Granada, run up - at considerable cost to the tax-payer, no doubt - in a tiny public square of the tiny little municipality of Camariñas, on the north coast of Galicia. 

The original looks like this:

And if anybody still fails to see the difference, then I propose that he or she refrain forever after from making ANY statement whatsoever concerning art, beauty, good taste, elegance or the bullfight (which, as we all know, is just as artistic as a Mozart concierto or a Rembrandt painting, according to its aficionados, most sophisticated people that they are...) 

Oh, and talking of bovines: let me share with you my incomparable antiquarian's lore, and explain to you that it is far from certain that the animals depicted here were indeed originally meant as lions. All sorts of other beasts have been proposed by knowledgeable folk, such as bears and dogs and horses. However, there is a fine chance that in reality, the whole set-up goes back to the so-called Molten Sea in front of the Temple of Solomon, in which case the twelve beasts would originally have been twelve bulls. As in this here picture. 

And so you see, dear reader (et tu, Eufemius!): civilization marches on forever! From Jerusalem in 1000 BCE, to Granada in 1400 AD, to Camariñas in the year 2009...

O Tempora... O Mores...

PS Oh, incidentally: I think I know where the Camariñas town hall ordered that excellent copy of the  Patio de los Leones fountain. Check out this fine company which will sell you a truthful 'facsimile' for a mere 39 €uros 64 !!!

Friday, 12 April 2013

THEFT !!!!

The Cheek!!! The brazen, barefaced, devilish shamelessness!!! Them roguish good-for-nothing boy-'n-the-Hood spray-paint-splashers of miserable IQ and worse morals STOLE A FIND OF ALFRED B. MITTINGTON and re-published it without due reference !!

Alfred B. Mittington's revenge will be horrible !! That I promise you!!

(Does anybody know where this happens to be, so that I may ask my good friend the First Chairman of the North Korean Communist Workers Party Kim Jong-un to re-direct one of his infallible nuclear missiles so as to hit this most despicable municipality??)

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

'Cher Is Dead' ???

Oh, this is a good one!! A REAL good one!! I’m sure most of my readers of Taste and Sophistication have missed it (because not all of us are cursed with two godchildren who are avid and fanatical Twitterers) but only yesterday occurred one of the very best, the most marvellous, splendid, gorgeous, magnificent social media foul-ups that this old yours truly ever witnessed!

As all of you are surely aware (I was too, oh yes I was…) every ‘Twitter-string’ comes provided with a so-called ‘hashtag’. That’s like the title of a series, with a ‘sharp’ sign ( # ) in front, so that you know what the interconnected airheads are twittering about and what kind of stuff you may encounter if you decide to set out and read it all… (1)

Now yesterday morning, as the news of The Iron Lady’s demise broke, one of them airheads attached to his twitter-text the following hashtag:


by which hashtag said hash-head meant to communicate to the world that Lady Margaret Thatcher, long-time Tory leader and Prime Minister of Great Britain, had been called to greener pastures (which said hash-head surely imagined as interminable acres planted with prime quality cannabis, but that’s beside the point here…)

Unfortunately, several of the folks who received this Twitter message (a.k.a. Tweet) understood this differently. They did not read

# now Thatcher is dead


            # now that Cher is dead

And guess what?? The Entire Global Sonny & Cher Fanclub (most of whom hate bonny Sonny with a vengeance by the by) went bonkers and bananas and berserk and wrote, sent, replied, retwittered and expanded a veritable tsunami of desperate, weeping, sad and suicidal Tweets enough to fill the entire Library of Congress with once again as many words as it contains at present over the passing of their favourite and much admitted Queen of Camp

Really, dear readers, this world of ours is coming to an end! For in this our Twitter universe, Beauty lies with the Beast, the Lion with the Lamb, and the Brilliant with the merely very Buxom…

O Tempora, O Muertos!

(1) And why, I wonder would it be called that way except that those who manage to write it find their inspiration, Nomen Est Omen style, in the use and abuse of certain substances…??)

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Cookbook: Ukrainian Lamb Soup

I am not too fond of lamb, dear reader. Or better said: I am extremely fond of lamb, but I am horridly repelled by the notion of eating a poor little animal which has been slaughtered after only a few weeks of miserable existence in a pitch dark pen.

Therefore: much as I am the proud owner of the secret recipe for the world famous Leg of Lamb ‘Che Guevara’, and although I learned to roast lamb chops nearly as well as that one brilliant 6 foot 7 Bantu chef of the Tangala Wildlife Park, just north of Graskop, RSA, I usually abstain from all forms of under-aged mutton.

The taste of lamb, however, is an altogether different story. It is something which I crave for almost every day. It is something which I dream of, with my eyes open and closed… Oh yes: I could become a shepherd in the noxious, arid wastes of La Provence, driven stark mad by loneliness and ample absinth like my ancestor Van Ghog, merely so as to partake daily of the riches I produce with the perfectly clean conscience of the ignorant toddler… This, of course, is not to be (at my age), so I had to find another solution. And it will not surprise the regular readers of this blog that Alfred B Mittington, once he set out and attacked a problem, vanquished, overcame and conquered it, as he always has.

So there. I found a recipe which gives you all the taste of lamb, while using only an extremely small slice of meat. It’s all a matter of the alchemy of the ingredients. This Secret Formula comes – strange to say – from Kiev, and was taken to these Lusitanian shores, then to the lower slopes of the valley I live in, and finally from there into my cookbook, by my dear friend Igor Velikov, father of the two errant children with whom I still have an ax to grind concerning that little matter of Hair Mayonnaise (Yukyukyuk!)

So here goes…

Igor Velikov’s Ukrainian Curry Rice Lamb Soup

Take two pans out of the cupboard and fill them both with fresh clean water.

Boil some 20 grams of rice per person in the smaller one.

Add to the bigger one (of about 1 to 1.5 l of water) the following ingredients: a small piece of lamb (preferably on the bone), a small clove of garlic, half a small onion (in one piece), a twig of rosemary and a couple of bay leaves. Bring to a boil, cover, lower the flame and let this simmer for however long it takes for the meat to drop off the bone. An hour ought to do it.

Fish all the ingredients out of the broth and select the meat. Throw the rest away. Add half a beef cube, one spoonful of quality vinegar, and a good spoonful of curry powder to the broth. Cut up the meat and return it to the pan.

When dinner time arrives, bring the soup to a boil again. Get out the plates. Put a spoonful of rice into each plate, and pour the soup over it. Serve as you say a prayer for the soul of the poor little lamb that died for your delight.

Oh, incidentally, talking about sheep: did I tell you my compatriots the French are stark raving mad??? Read here.