4. Interesting Facts About Churchill (American)

4. American & British.  

05 churchill Walking-with-destinyChurchill’s mother was American and one of his stated secret desires, was to be able to hold a secret telegram correpondence with the United States president (which he did with Roosevelt).

Widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the 20th century, Winston Churchill was the first foreign national to be made an honorary citizen of the United States. The day named after him has been celebrated every 9 April since 1963 and marks the moment he was granted citizenship of eight individual states as a prelude to full citizenship, including New Hampshire, West Virginia and Maryland.  He was not always complimentary about Americans, but saw the US as the great power to save Western civilisation.  He lost his fortune on Wall Street and was almost killed crossing  a street in the US after looking right instead of left, spending several weeks in hospital.

He was invited to stay with JFK, but his close personal secretary declined the invitation without Churchill’s knowledge, because by then, he felt Churchill’s great legend would be undermined by his fraility and decrepitude and by then he was not good company. Or perhaps his secretary felt JFK was too eager to ‘appropriate’ the great man for local American political ends.  Harry Truman however, sought Churchill out before JFK.

  1. Interesting Facts About Churchill (Cigar)
  2. Interesting Facts About Churchill (TIME)
  3. Interesting Facts About Churchill (Writer)
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Signs of Our Times (2014 Election by Hoarding. 26/30).

Screen shot 2014-09-30 at 5.22.17 PMThis is a take on the popular “Doge” meme (like Grumpy Cat) who txts in a  certain way.

The last few hoardings to round out this series of 30 in October, are all National examples, seeing as they won the lion’s share of the party vote to form the government of the 51st parliament on 20 Sept.
 
There is an art form to witty and poignant defacing of public electioneering signs (hoardings).  It’s part of the dance twirled by the public and their hopeful political candidates. 2014 was hall-marked by wanton destruction and idiotic factional trashing of opponents’ hoardings (actually a crime) perpetrated principally by the “principled” (yeah right) Green party.  Several of their supporters were prosecuted in court. However, there was some more creative work. Here then for October, a series of witty and poignant hoarding graffitti and defacings by punters during the September 2014 New Zealand election campaign.
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7Best (Celebrities Then & Now. 7/7)

Leonardo DiCaprio in 2013 and 1989.  Final.  (Next week: Churchill & Bulldogs).

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That Tradie That Forgets to Turn Up?

This is for real; a friend photographed this in Mt Pleasant. LOL. Someone has a sense of humour.

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7 Best (Celebrities Then & Now. 6/7)

Mel Gibson in 1984 and 2013

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The NY Axe Attacker

safe_image.phpSo, this axe attack on two NY Ppolice officers by a crazed “Muslim” has rarked up the anti-Muslim hysteria which, like Ebola, we have to hold in perspective.  For example, dozens of Americans have walked in to schools and killed hundreds of people in slaughters over recent years (I think 80 separate incidents over the last few years. They’ll be a chart somewhere). So, this axe attack seemed at first to be a mentally ill man commiting a criminal act against police officers and he was incidentally Muslim. But then, here is his Facebook page.  Ahem. Screen-Shot-2014-10-23-at-8_40_53-PM-620x375 I suspect it is a case of the two.  He is radicalised AND mentally disturbed. Captured young ISIS fighters describe being given mind-altering drugs and being sent out, sometimes as suicide bobers which they’d never do normally.  Or told to fight or be beheaded. That said, we must implaccably resist ISIS and its fringe elements relentlessly.  But we have to be careful that ‘ordinary’ criminal acts (whether based on greed, drug-induced, or anti-establishment) don’t always become “terror.”  We’ll start barking at every noise if we go there.

Postscript: As if to reiterate the point above:  This today… High school shooting: 2 dead, shooter’s chilling tweets.

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3. Interesting Facts About Churchill (Writer)

3. Writer

WinstonWritesG_468x300Churchill won the Nobel prize for literature in 1953, beating EM Forster and Ernest Hemingway. The Nobel committee considered Churchill several times after the end of World War II, but the area of historial writing gained little literary support.

His previous 1899 novel Savrola was considered to be “without literary merit”. When he won the prize, however, he was praised for his six-volume history The Second World War and for his “mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values.”  For me, Churchill remains, even today, a great read.  His words amd phraseology flow effortlesly but with charm, colour and wit.

It should be remembered, that Churchill essentially supported his family throughout his life as a writer; they did not have a lot of money, so he had to take to the pen often and under a grind to get by.  he felt this one of his best achievements – supporting his family by his pen.

  1. Interesting Facts About Churchill (Cigar)
  2. Interesting Facts About Churchill (TIME)
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Signs of Our Times (2014 Election by Hoarding. 25/30).

Screen shot 2014-09-30 at 5.22.02 PMThe last few hoardings to round out this series of 30 in October, are all National examples, seeing as they won the lion’s share of the party vote to form the government of the 51st parliament on 20 Sept.

There is an art form to witty and poignant defacing of public electioneering signs (hoardings).  It’s part of the dance twirled by the public and their hopeful political candidates. 2014 was hall-marked by wanton destruction and idiotic factional trashing of opponents’ hoardings (actually a crime) perpetrated principally by the “principled” (yeah right) Green party.  Several of their supporters were prosecuted in court. However, there was some more creative work. Here then for October, a series of witty and poignant hoarding graffitti and defacings by punters during the September 2014 New Zealand election campaign.
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Face of the Day

Lucia Pittalis is an Italian makeup artist that can make amazing transformations. 

Heisenberg (Walter White).

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Part 6. GANGNAM Style: Visiting North & South Korea 2014.

Typical shopping plaza in South Korea (Incheon) which at night transforms to a Times Square-type neon tapestry. And some more of that modern architecture I mentioned.

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Back to the JSA.  So, this is where the two Korean borders converge inside the DMZ. The Joint Security Area is the only portion of the Korean Demilitarized Zone where South and North Korean forces stand face-to-face and ‘share’ an enclosed area that straddles both countries. For this reason it is often called the “Truce Village” by the media and the military or as I call it the Standoff OK Corral.

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North Korea is above the red MDL line (Military Demarcation Line) which transects the blue conference rooms. The House of Freedom is the main gathering building for South tourists with the curved roof (photo below) across which is the Panmon Hall or Tongilgak I think it is also called. Behind that is a North barracks which is why this area is so tense.  It could be overrun quite easily, which would essentially cause a war.  Note that there are lots of access roads on the North side up to the MDL, but hardly any on the South, which identifies the respective intents.

The MDL line is demarcated by a series of white 1m high wooden posts set at 10m intervals so that the boundary is unequivocal.  The post line extends between the blue conference rooms as a concrete sill, which you can see in the photos. Inside those buildings, the space becomes ‘shared’ but the north half is seen as North Korean, etc.

The JSA is used by the two Koreas for diplomatic engagements and, until March 1991, was also the site of military negotiations between North Korea and the United Nations Command (UNC). Troops and even past Koreans leaders have actually met here, to agree terms, set boundaries and protocols.  For example, North & South Korean troops met and mingled while inspecting open casket repatriatons of UN troops in 1993.  In the conference rooms, the respective parties meet turn and turn about (ie they have turns to call a meeting) to discuss minor armistice violations, various admin., and the Olympics. There are two representatives of the Chinese army present.  Only the senior officer of the calling side speaks.  A statement is read first in Korean, then English, then Chinese.  These meetings are extremely formal, often hostile and always unfriendly.  There are no mutual greetings or handshakes.

I asked why some of the South side soldiers stand half obscured behind the buildings.  This is to present only half a target in case of a sudden attack, ie at least two soldiers might remain to defend the MDL.  This indicates how hazardous this duty is.

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In this photo is the North Korean Tongilgak white building at the back. Note in this older photo it has only two stories. The concrete ‘post’ sill runs left to right immediately behind the brown soft hat North Korean with his back to us.

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In our photo 2014 you can see the North Koreans have added a third story, apparently a recreation room. But it is hardly ever used, sitting there simply to be higher than the South Korean Freedom House (see below).

The blue buildings are conference rooms and management rooms where officials from both sides can meet.  For example, the two security forces for the JSA meet in the blue building to the right to discuss tensions and incidents in an attempt to diffuse issues.  Despite being very formal and not friendly, it seems to work.  The blue building to the left is the conference room and we move single file in to here under strict behaviour instructions and with an armed guard.  The 38th parallel goes right through this building and even the central table, so half is North Korea.  There is a door on their side which is locked from the outside.  South Korea has a door on their side, also locked from the outside.  At agreed periods, each side can bring their tourists in to this conference room where a number of high level meetings have taken place, but never together.  

Note the number of windows, 3 for each side and one in the middle which is neutral. If you were to escape to either side, this is the place and there have been attempts. There was a gunfight when a man fled from the North side over to South Korea.  He dropped into a sunken garden area (before the current complexes were built) and there was a gun fight.

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The door to North Korea. The ROK soldier stands guard on the North Korean side of the room, during their allocated inhabitation period.

Inside the conference room, which is bright sky blue, are mahogany tables and chairs.  Its quite cramped and only really for conferences, rather than tourists cramming in.  But its fascinating being in here and standing ‘over the line’ on the North Korean side.

This obscenity actually explains a lot about North Korea.  For them, much of the division is about their mana.  They want everything equal and even minor imbalances are seen as threatening their fragile sense of nationhood (ala the Axe Murder Incident, more later) or cultural self esteem.

Take North Korea’s big white Tongilgak/Panmon Hall behind.  It used to be only two levels, but when the JSA nations put some communications stuff on their roof, which made it slightly higher, well the North Koreans immediately built that whole third floor, simply to be “higher” than South Korea.

Below is what the view is from the North side.  You can see the communications installations covered over by the curved roof, Freedom House.  You stand between the two central pillars and then move into one of the buildings in front on the right hand side.

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Leaving this viewing Standoff OK Corral we take a short bus ride around the rest of Punganuk and pass a North Korean town a short distance away which can be glimpsed through the trees. This is Daeseong-dong. The West has a large flag pole at the JSA, so the North Koreans came in and built this massive obscene flag  pole and hung a gigantic flag from the top at Dong, to be “bigger” than South Korea.  In both cases, the West has not responded tit for tat, content to allow the North Koreans to feel they are ‘superior’ by peeing higher up the wall. You can see it quite clearly through the trees, a forbidden zone, untouchable fruit, with its hideous flag fluttering above them.

I can’t help but think about Orwell’s 1984, and what life must be like for people living in this rather run down grimy village so close to the liberty and freedoms of the West.  If only they knew.  I suspect only the most “politically correct” people (with family hostages elsewhere) are allowed to farm here.

As we drive around this area, we are strictly forbidden to take photos of towers and aerial installations, etc. The whole visit is very sobering and you can sense the tension. Then we come to the spot where some tree pruning became violent and fatal.

Next time: The Axe Murder Incident.

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