OK so I've accepted an invitation to join this blog to a latter day Scriblerus Club - if we're a tenth as good as the original one, it will be excellent:
The Scriblerus Club was an informal association of authors, based in London, that came together in the early 18th century. They were prominent figures in the Augustan Age of English letters. The nucleus of the club included the satirists Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope. Other members were John Gay, John Arbuthnot, Henry St. John and Thomas Parnell.
You can click through to the Martin Scriblerus pages via the icon on the side bar - most of the members are in my blogroll too. Not sure how all this will play out - the original club met some place and probably drank a lot while discussing important things like horses, girls and poetry but any group with Leg Iron, Longrider and Julia in won't be quiet.
Anyhow, I'm featuring a weekly 'scribblings' - at least until I forget or get bored or both - pulling out the posts from Martin Scriblerus members that most tickled, inspired, educated or other wise appealed to me. Here's the first few:
James Higham at Nourishing Obscurity writes about the culture of grassing people up - the unofficial collaborators of East Germany and the Soviet Union:
This girl’s mother had been the Russian equivalent of die inoffizielle Mitarbeiter or informer. Not only that but there was a policy across the USSR of ‘denunciation’. So, if you didn’t like something someone had done or said, you went to a special little hut in one of the yards and made your report or else you went far away to an office somewhere on the other side of town.
We should guard against any moves to empowering people to act as voluntary behaviour police.
On a lighter note Mark in Mayenne breaks off from French life for a second to remind us about the creative way in which huge boxes contain not very much product (something the buyers of potato crisps are very familiar with).
The Churchmouse meanwhile introduces us to Charles Simeon an 18th century evangelical churchman:
The churchwardens tried desperately to stop Simeon. Simeon’s struggle continued for 12 years. The churchwardens and trustees locked the church to which he had no key. Once he had a key, they locked the box pews, so that anyone attending had to stand. Simeon rented chairs, but they were removed. Other men were brought in to give Sunday afternoon lectures, without Simeon’s permission. College students attended services only to attack him verbally when he was preaching. Some threw bricks through the church windows when he was preaching. On the streets of Cambridge, they harassed him with false rumours about his reputation.
And - while we're on religion - Leg Iron ponders an Islamic reformation (and isn't entirely convinced):
Now there is a movement within Islam to stop the indiscriminate killing. It is completely indiscriminate. It kills as many, probably more, Muslims as non-Muslims and it’s just getting sillier by the day. Islam is at last organising to stop it. It starts tomorrow (well okay, today).
Moving swiftly from religion to sewage, A K Haart lays the blame for all the failings of local government on what Peter Simple was wont to call the 'terrible Heatho-Walkerian reforms' of 1974. Times were better before then:
One should not see that trailer load of sewage sludge through rose-tinted spectacles, but for a short time I was working at the local sewage works and I enjoyed it. Effectively we were all working for the Borough Engineer and via him for local people. We knew why we were there, why we did what we did and for whom. By modern standards it may not have been an efficient arrangement but after 1974 a sense of working for people slowly evolved into a sense of working for a salary.
It did rather bring to mind Paul Jennings's essay on 'Activated Sludge' - you really should read his essays they are a delight.
Finally (for now) we have Bill Sticker explaining to Yanks why moving to Canada to escape Trump might not be as great as they think:
To begin with, north of the 49th parallel we do not enjoy the same diversity of goods as in the US of A. Grocery stores do not stock wine or even lite beer. Did I also mention it’s more expensive to live up here as well? Food and rent prices are generally higher, and property costs more to buy, even with the current exchange rate. A lot of places close on public holidays as well as Sundays and Mondays and Wal-Mart is no longer taking VISA payments in some of its stores. And if you want to shop at Target instead… oh, wait. You can’t. They’re all shut. Permanently. Then there’s the bears. Who aren’t to be messed with, even in the suburbs of Vancouver. They’re are also known to break into cars (To be fair, it was a Lexus). On the plus side, the wildlife does tend to keep the human varmints indoors, when they’re not indulging in the odd gang shooting (The gang bangers, not the Bears or Cougars). Which keeps our local Police busy. Yes, and Marijuana isn’t fully legal just yet. So before you sell up and fill up the U-Haul, take a deep breath.
A pretty good start - and there's loads more to go for so pop across a have a read. Worth your time.