Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Birds and the Bees of Gates of Vienna

The Crusades

2011 Spring Quarterly Fundraiser, Day 3

Here we are at Day Three of our Spring fundraiser and I’m feeling… confused. I’ve written a few — too few — acknowledgements to our first-day donors. This is unusual since the first day usually finds me full of energy for this task, one which will continue until all our donors have received a response.

So why the slow-down so early? Well, for one thing, I’ve been peeking ahead to look at the messages people put on their donations. Not everyone does, but each person who includes a note gives me a clue about himself. Even the first one for this time around, from a faithful Dane, sounded just as I imagine him: “Cheers!” is all he said, but I could picture a glass of snaps to go with it. The Baron says he really is like that in person.

Many of you add encouraging notes about our work (which is really the Baron’s work these days, plus the amazing contributions of our guest posters). My work is mostly confined to cooking and keeping up with email when I’m able to sit here. The cooking is an absolute necessity; if I didn’t fix meals the Baron would live on peanut butter, cheese and chocolate. He’ll fix omelets on occasion, but mostly he wants and needs “jump-in-your-mouth” food that he doesn’t have to think about. Keeping the blog going and freelance editing takes up very long hours for him. Exercise? Mowing the lawn and digging holes at my request. You know how gardeners are always moving things...

So today I fixed supper for us and answered some correspondence and responded to a few donations. But mostly I was reading the notes of the donors from yesterday and today, and thinking about how I came to be here “knowing” so many people who share our concerns about the way the world is going.

One of our most frequent givers usually has witty messages accompanying his gift. I laughed out loud the time I read “For Cheese Doodles”. That note was especially funny because we can’t eat them, but also for my own personal history reasons: when I was a child I once ate myself sick cramming Cheese Doodle after Cheese Doodle into a small body not used to junk food. On that occasion my mother had taken me to New York City to visit for a week with her aunt and uncle. The latter was the Irish Consul General to NYC, and they’d invited mother and me to come up. I remember the popovers that didn’t pop and my great aunt’s dismay; being perpetually hungry, they seemed fine to me. I also remember crying bitterly over the helium balloon that got away from me in Central Park. But mostly I remember being left to my own devices at a party given in my mother’s honor. So many grown-ups talking at one time! And talking so loudly to be heard over one another and over the small orchestra playing in the next room.

I remember standing next to the table covered in damask linen. Maids in black dresses weaved through the crowd with trays of drinks, but none for me. So I listened to the music while looking over the things on the table. The large bowl full of bright yellow-orange blobs attracted my eye. Bravely, I put one in my mouth and it was love at first bite. The texture, the crunchy sound when I bit down, the color and taste! I was in heaven as I worked my way methodically through that bowl. No one noticed. What adult with a martini ever looks over at a bowl of Cheese Doodles? What adult ever looks down at the small hand reaching for them?

I no longer remember how I ever got under the table to deposit those Doodles as they made their way back up, but that’s where I was when my frantic mother found me, my hands and arms colored bright orange up to my elbows, not to mention the orange overcast to my very green face. She told me later that even my freckles had a green hue.

Somehow I was washed and put to bed. I fell asleep listening to the orchestra being drowned out by a sea of murmuring voices. And I woke up still loving Cheese Doodles, though it would be a long time before I tasted another one.


Today, our witty donor noted that his gift was to be used for “cheerleader uniforms”. Again, I burst into laughter; he’d managed to push my personal history button again… I can picture these nubile young women — though probably not as vividly as the Baron can. They’d have skimpy crimson skirts and white shirts that read “Crusaders” across the back and a picture of the Gates on the front. Then I remembered that “Crusaders” was the name of all our sports teams in high school (need I say it was a Catholic school? I’ll bet they’re not crusaders anymore). But cheerleaders for Gates of Vienna is indeed an excellent idea, one that bears contemplation even in cyberspace… who knows what might come up?

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Today a reader asked about the origins of our blog:

Hello, Baron:

Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip and I’m glad Mr. Wilders’ got a taste of good old Southern hospitality, which he must have enjoyed, too.

Lately, I’ve been trying to find out more about how conservative blogs came into being, as in Gates of Vienna’s case: how you made the decision to start the blog, how you decided to design it, etc. I’ve searched the archives but haven’t located anything. I can’t even get to the first post, where, presumably, you announce GoV’s inception.

Have you ever been interviewed about your experiences with GoV? It would be interesting.

This is one of my favorite blogs because it deals with hot button issues, while at the same time, you all come across as extremely nice people. This in contrast to the shark tank ambience of some other blogs…

Oh the shark has pretty teeth dear,
And he shows them pearly white

Always loved that play. Cyber sharks have made me a better swimmer on the occasions I do venture into these waters.

And she’s right; we’re more like goldfish…

Tip jar…as to our origins, they go back to 2004. I think this may be our first post. Before that, I’d been writing a blog on my own, one I’d deleted before we decided to start Gates of Vienna. The name for our blog was his idea — his A-Level study of European history stood him in good stead there. He chose his nic from a Jack Vance novel; this was an inside joke for Vance readers since BB is never actually on stage in those stories. People simply refer to him. The Baron also suggested my name. He knew I liked the idea of Saint Dymphna and how her life story fit in with my former work with abused families. Not to mention her protection for lunatics, of which I am decidedly one. I loved the idea of using her name, though having the “Saint” appellation had already been taken.

It was also the Baron’s idea that keeping up a blog might help me with my grief over my daughter’s death. I’d found The Belmont Club and was delighted to read someone who thought like I did, but who wrote so lucidly. Wretchard remains the model. Funny thing was, I somehow knew that the name of his blog referred obliquely to the town of that name in Massachusetts. I lived just a short distance from there for years and was often in Belmont visiting relatives. Wretchard, on the other hand, was living a scholarship student’s life; slim pickings in a boarding house while he attended Harvard.

My comments at Belmont Club were beginning to be too long. And it was hard to stay on topic when Wretchard’s analyses created such new lines of thought. At any rate we were taking up more bandwidth than courtesy really allowed, and the Baron was right in thinking that a blog of our own, something we did together even though he was gone for much of the week for his job, would help ease my grief. It certainly was graphotherapy, as Buddy Larsen, a fellow commenter at Belmont put it. He has a new identity now, but he’s that same old Scandinavian wit he always was. And he’s still active at Wretchard’s place, which has long since moved to Pajamas Media.

The Baron’s met a lot of people we’d only read when we started this blog. I asked him if there was anyone he’d be excited to meet now. He told me he’d gotten over his “famous people” idea, and that the thrill of meeting Fjordman still remains a high point for him.

We’d both still like to meet Wretchard. The thing is, you can tell by his writing style that’s he’s an introvert just like the Baron. So every time I picture such an encounter, it’s the two guys just standing there while I babble into all the empty places…

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Here’s all the places everyone came from today to give to Gates of Vienna.


California, Florida, Illinois, Iowa, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas

Near Abroad:


Far Abroad:

Australia, Denmark, Israel, the Netherlands, and the UK

What a generous group y’all are!

The tip jar in the text above is just for decoration. To donate, click the tin cup on our sidebar, or the donate button. If you prefer a monthly subscription, click the “subscribe” button.


Vortac said...

Posts like these give the overall nice and friendly feeling to the GoV. Nobody wants to read about jihad and counterjihad ALL the time.

bewick said...

Well now Dymphna. This month is a seriously expensive month for me since a nephew is getting married. Already had to buy some new tyres for the car (hell HOW they've increased) + the wedding present and much else. Tomorrow I shall test my latest suit. It did fit a couple of years ago , (the last funeral!!!) so with luck, it will fit again and I can say "it fits it fits, so I CAN go to the Ball" but then my "middle age spread" has come somewhat late in life (laziness and too much ale?) so I may just have to dash out and pay yet more. Aaagh. Putting off the reality.
Whatever, I get back to my beloved Derbyshire so no price is too great.EVER. Think "in the blue ridge mountains of Virginia" and you may be close. Not too close though.

I cannot commit to a monthly donation at the Paypal imposed minimum (as detailed by the Baron) but, despite my straightened finances, I feel it encumbent on me to support you since you do valuable work and I point others to GoV - when that is I sense their feelings and that happens more and more and by the day. May take some of them a year or so to feel confident enough of your bona fides to contribute.
Hey we may have a "pyramid selling" thing here.
As it happens I am very good at witticisms but can only do that face to face and at the time. Even famous for it. In writing I'm not so good. Sorry.
I struggle with your accounts. An orphan who manages to remember great occasions with her parents? What happened?
Perhaps you need to publish a brief but composite account of your life before Ned?
I'm 67. I can actually remember a street party at my Grandma's house. We lived 60 miles away. I must have been about 2 so it must have been the final end of WW2 in 1946 when Japan conceded.
Older kids were excited to see Spitfires crossing the sky.
They re-enacted dog fights in mime (with some noise so not quite mime).
My grandma lived in what was then a village, but now a town, which had a major steelworks nearby. Sadly gone now.

I have contributed via Paypal but had no means to add a message so this is it.

Bewick aka john.burt@

bewick said...

Sadly I cannot go to the ball and must buy a new suit and shirt.
Middle age spread seems to have visited me finally somewhat 20 years late. Time to starve myself to get back into my Jaeger suit?

Dymphna said...


I can sympathize with the weight thing. The Baron has one good suit, bought when he was still working. Since he began blogging full time, he'd put on weight.

However, when he compassionately offered to go on my fibromyalgia diet with me so I'd be compliant (iow, get all the forbidden food out of the house), his kind deed paid off for him, too.

He lost 15+ pounds without thinking about it, and he says he'll never return to the old way of eating. He now goes long periods without feeling hungry and he has more energy. Aches and pains he thought were due to age have disappeared also.

So I recommend Conservative Swede's LCHF diet. Low carb and high fat. Google it...

For me it works especially well. Lowers my pain and fatigue levels some, and gives me more stamina.

We eat more carbs than some ppl do, but no grains, no starches, limited legumes, and no sugar.

When I say "no grains" it's not entirely true: we eat *small* servings of a form of rice once or twice a week. It's called poha -- an Indian form in which the grain is (perhaps?) precooked and then the grains are flattend and sliced thin? It's easy to prepare and a little goes a long way served with a variety of meats and 5% veggies...if we gain weight with poha, then I'll reduce our consumption even more.

When I started on this way of eating, I went into a kind of starch withdrawal -- tired, headache, etc. The Baron never noticed any of that. He just felt better immediately. My intuition says my ability to process sugar (which is what starch becomes) is more impaired than the Baron's. Hence he had no problems.

It really does work. Cream in my coffee, but no milk (lactose) at all. Butter on my veggies but NO bread. Little or no fruit, and don't have it every day. Permitted fruit: strawberries & cantaloups. When you're at your correct weight, you can add other berries, but never eat fruit every day.

/food sermon

You can do this on the cheap or you can eat expensive meats/protein. For example, the "farm raised" salmon is full of soy and other stuff normal salmon don't eat. Wild-caught salmon, straight out of the can, is a much healthier & cheaper alternative (drain the salt & rinse in a colander if you have salt problems). Canned salmon has far more calcium and none of the trash like soy which farmed salmon are fed.

If you want some recipes for salmon patties, salmon salad, fish stew, etc., let me know.

bewick said...

Thanks for that Dymphna. Useful.
Have copied to Word so that I don't lose it and shall check when I get back.

I've already cut down on the bread because I knew that was a potential problem. I so liked making bread.
Rarely eat breakfast or even lunch and rarely feel hungry. Rarely eat grains either and am fond of oily fish.
I tend to prefer black coffee but like milk in tea. Perhaps should switch to lemon juice. Or redbush tea or tell the milk lady to start leaving full cream again instead of skimmed. (don't know why she changed that but I never objected)
Don't touch sugar apart from the odd chocolate bar.
Funny thing is that, perhaps like the Baron, I had no problems when working even though much of that was sedentary. Suppose I burned off the calories via nervous energy and high brain activity. Always ended the week seriously tired.

Whatever.I only had the one good suit left having gradually ditched the older working suits as no longer needed and less than good.

It almost fit but was just too tight, but only just, so perhaps your dietary advice could get me back to size. Some physical work might assist!
No matter a quick trip to the wonderful Marks and Spencer this afternoon provided a really smart suit,and a shirt which doesn't constrict my neck, at a price I couldn't believe - far cheaper than I expected. Perhaps a good job that in most respects I am a regular fit. Still needed a new belt though.
Ah and and - I shall be sticking to the speed limits on my long journey tomorrow so no tickets for me. Then again, here they are usually about $100 here not $300, + 3 penalty points on the licence (12 and you get banned from driving for a while). Then again petrol is about $10 a gallon here.
Good job I swapped the powerful gas guzzler for a tinky winky.(1 litre toyota).
Thanks again for your advice and I shall definitely be trying it. May even request the recipes. And to think I used to be so frustrated when my ex was always on a diet.

Shall need to find if Scottish farmed salmon gets fed the way you describe. OR I buy a rod and licence since the river 50 yards away is one of the best salmon rivers in England. (and brown trout) Must be better than sitting in front of a screen.
I have a big freezer.
As for economy. Well I'm very good at that already. I know when "best by" or "use by" dates are just EU nonsense so I grab bargains.
I'm not exactly a pauper but I still have an interest only mortgage to service and must pay it off in just 3 years.


bewick said...

and PS. If your advice reduces my weight by 15lbs I shall be well pleased. For 30-40 years I was 11st 2lb perhaps varying up to 11 5. Currently just about 15lb overweight (but still within acceptable for my height) Problem is the weight is in the wrong place. Ha ha. "inch of pinch" and all that. Time to get the bike out of the shed.

Luddite said...

As a fellow fibromyalgia sufferer, I can concur with Dymphna's diet. It makes a huge difference to health. My DH, who has diabetes, has managed to reduce his meds by two-thirds.

You don't feel hungry, but you do lose weight. Perfick!