Constable Chumley’s Quest (‘Oy, Rodney’)

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Constable Chumley is searching for caecilians–the legless, blind, secretive amphibians of the tropics, expected to descend on Scurveyshire in great ferocious masses in response to thousands of people squeaking squeaky toys.

“So begins Chapter CDXLI of my immortal, epic romance, Oy, Rodney,” author Violet Crepuscular crepusculates upon her readers. On second thought, there seems to be something oddly wrong with that sentence.

Ms. Crepuscular loses no time in getting involved in a controversy with reader Nikita Khrushchev of Bismuth City, Minnesota. The reader has insisted that there were no proper squeaky toys during the Victorian Era.

“This poltroon, this overcooked frankfurter, this podiatrist in sheep’s clothing–this squirming mealworm, this potted plant that affects human speech!–this annoying little nit!” she writes. “Obviously he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

“Has he never heard of poetic license? Sheesh! History records that the first reliable squeaky toy was created by the Swedish tent-maker, Elvira Madigan, in 1372. It was then put on the shelf until the 20th century, when the worldwide demand for squeaky toys manifested itself. Jumpin’ Jiminy,” she expostulates, “all these illiterate boobs out there who think they can be writers!”

But none of this is getting us to Constable Chumley, is it?

The constable is searching high and low for any caecilians that might have infiltrated into Scurveyshire. He is going house to house, explaining to puzzled homeowners, “Ay dankle yon frought yair doddening.” Johnno the Merry Minstrel reminds him not to waste time searching for caecilian footprints. “Och! Be dander!” cries Chumley. He has, alas, been using almost all his time searching for caecilian footprints.

That’s as far as Violet has got this week. Not even a loaf of pound cake with home-made toothpaste filling can lift her spirits.

Soviet Boss’s Public Tantrum, 1960

This was one of the iconic images of my childhood: Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev banging his shoe on the rostrum at the UN General Assembly. He was freaking out because they’d just shot down an American spy plane over Russia. Gasp! Oh, no! Did you say a spy plane? You mean you spied on us? [Bangs shoe on podium]

The hypocrisy was not lost on many people. Not even on 11-year-old kids.

Today, somehow I find it impossible to believe in the sincerity, or even the sanity, of some paunchy, middle-aged white liberal sitting behind a posh desk at The Guardian yelling and banging his shoe because there aren’t enough Minority central characters in children’s fiction and the government had ought to do something about it! Like dictate the content of books before they’re written! They could set up a special government agency just for that.

Will they never just dry up and blow away?

Memory Lane: A Pause in the Cold War

Nina Khrushchev – Yousuf Karsh

Nina Khrushchev

I was ten years old in 1959. The Cuban Missile Crisis still lay three years in the future, but this was the middle of the Cold War and the threat of a nuclear war kept a lot of people up at night.

And suddenly we learned that the head bad guy, the Russian bear himself, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, was going to visit the USA.

There were giants in the earth, in those days. Eisenhower and MacArthur. Haile Selassie. DeGaulle. And Winston Churchill, the greatest of them all. But Nikita loomed just as large. He could blow us up. But first, a visit. Thirteen days touring America.

My mother called him “the butcher of Budapest.” People made rude gestures when they saw him on TV.

And then America fell in love with Mrs. Khrushchev.

There was always something of the rough Ukranian peasant about Nikita; and Nina Khrushchev reminded you of your grandmother who grew up on a farm and could still drive a tractor if she had to. But the payoff was this:

“Nina will never let Nikita start a war and blow up the world! Never!”

And as far as we knew, she didn’t. Not even with the Cuban Missile Crisis.

I also seem to remember her chastening her husband, “We don’t make jokes in church!” Nina’s heart was always in the right place. And as sweet and motherly as she seemed to be, we also had the feeling that Nikita had better behave himself, or else.

She is a nice memory in a bad time.

God was not going to let us nuke ourselves into oblivion. He still isn’t. Signs abound. And I think Mrs. K. was one of them.

 

‘Are They Out of Their So-Called Minds?’ (2018)

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Khrushchev pounding his show at the UN: one of the iconic images of my childhood

Every May, “workers” throughout the Western world set aside their luxuries and march… for freakin’ communism. They want communism.

Are They Out of Their So-Called Minds?

Teachers’ unions think they’re oppressed. They think Venezuela’s better than America.

To someone who grew up during the Cold War, this is incomprehensible. And then after that we had the spectacle of Mao Tse-tung wiping out at least 40 million of his own countrymen in peacetime, during the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution.

When Nikita Khrushchev stood in front of the UN General Assembly and said, “We will bury you,” we took it seriously.

Democrats nowadays would buy him a shovel.

Nostalgic for… the Old Cold War?

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This was one of the more indelible images from my childhood: Nikita Khrushchev, head honcho of the Soviet Union, banging his shoe on his desk at a United Nations meeting and saying things like “We will bury you” and “Your grandchildren will live under communism!” At that time we all understood that “communism” meant labor camps, the secret police breaking down your door in the middle of the night, “teachers” encouraging your kids to snitch on you–

Hey, wait a minute! Maybe old Nikita could foretell the future, after all.

But at least you knew exactly where he was coming from, and he wasn’t going to scare President Eisenhower–and besides, we all knew that Mrs. Khrushchev, Nina, would never let Nikita start World War III. However rambunctious her husband might get, Nina simply wasn’t going to let really bad things happen.

Nina Khrushchev – Yousuf Karsh

As I recall it, Nina Khrushchev was very popular with the American people. Surely Nikita got an earful for starting the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Oh, holy cow–am I waxing nostalgic for Nikita Khrushchev? I guess that’s a measure of how bad things are today.

The kingdoms of this world are the alternative to the Kingdom of Heaven: one damned crisis after another. See Matthew 24.

‘They Still Like Communism’ (2017)

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Nikita Khrushchev banging his shoe at the U.N. How quickly we forget.

I remember when Khrushchev threatened America, “Your grandchildren will live under communism.” He must’ve had a subscription to the New York Times.

They Still Like Communism

Two years ago, this alleged newspaper rekindled its long love affair with communism by celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution, one of the chief calamities of the 20th century.

And last week an audience of Democrats booed Michael Bloomberg for timidly suggesting, “Communism doesn’t work.”

Have we forgotten how deliriously happy people were when their countries’ communist regimes collapsed, all over the world? There’s still China, North Korea, Cuba, and a few other places. But people rejoiced at the destruction of the Berlin Wall and the sudden death of the Soviet Union.

It wasn’t that long ago. Surely someone on the Times must remember it.

Unless maybe they all get their brains wiped from time to time.

A Speech Trump Ought to Make

One of the most important speeches ever given was Nikita Khrushchev’s “secret speech” (“secret” because it wasn’t meant to be published; but of course it was) before the Communist Party Congress of the Soviet Union in 1956, in which he listed and denounced the crimes of his predecessor, Josef Stalin ( https://www.britannica.com/event/Khrushchevs-secret-speech ). He left out some of the dictator’s great crimes against the general population–but the historic effect of the speech was to make it impossible for the USSR ever to go back to pure Stalinism, leading, in the long run, to the liberalization and eventual demise of that evil empire.

I would like President Donald Trump to make a speech like that, listing the crimes and corruption of both the Clintons and various members of the Obama administration. It would be a long speech, but it’s necessary.

With all this talk of who’s going to get a presidential pardon, and who’s not, it’s vital to set the record straight for history–and because truth matters. Whether it’s using the IRS to disable political opponents, or using the Justice Dept. to cover up the corrupt practices of Bill and Hillary Clinton, their henchmen, and the Clinton Foundation, these wicked doings of the government need to be exposed and addressed.

It may not be possible to parade a whole mob of them off to federal prison, but it would surely be a serious error to sweep it all under the rug. If the malefactors can’t be punished, they must at least be identified. If we tolerate this much lawlessness on the part of government officials, we put our republic–and our freedom–in jeopardy.

If we must have the pardons, so be it. But we must have the truth. Our country’s future depends on it.