Browsed by
Category: Book Notes

Triumph in Texas, 7 October 2016

Triumph in Texas, 7 October 2016

TriumphTanglewood Resort, Texas

The Vin­tage Tri­umph Reg­is­ter 2016 Con­ven­tion, Fri­day 7 Octo­ber 2016.

Guest speak­er: Richard Lang­worth 

Loca­tion: Tan­gle­wood Resort, 290 Tan­gle­wood Blvd., Potts­boro, Texas 75076 (90 min­utes north of Dal­las).

Triumph Memories

Syn­op­sis: Reflec­tions on fifty years of mess­ing about with Tri­umphs: “I’d nev­er say this if I were not among friends, but Fer­raris bore me. Just unaf­ford­able excel­lence. My fun derives from funky British cars.”

16-mayflowernjSpeak­er: Richard Lang­worth has been an auto­mo­tive writer since 1969, when he sent a free­lance arti­cle to Auto­mo­bile Quar­ter­ly, on the strength of which he joined AQ as asso­ciate and lat­er senior edi­tor. In 1975 he left to free­lance, and has since writ­ten or co-authored more than fifty books and 2000 arti­cles on auto­mo­tive his­to­ry. Richard and Bar­bara Lang­worth have owned ten Tri­umphs from a 1938 Dolomite to an assort­ment of Mayflow­ersRenownsTR3s, and TR4s. In 1975, he and some friends met in a Detroit bar and found­ed the Vin­tage Tri­umph Reg­is­ter, think­ing the time had come for an club devot­ed to every car Tri­umph built. In 1979, Richard teamed with Gra­ham Rob­son to write their bookTri­umph Cars: The Com­plete His­to­ry, from Tri-Car to Acclaim. The book was in print thir­ty years and they are now seek­ing to repub­lish.

“I start­ed with a TR3—a new 3A bought in 1962 for a king’s ran­som: $2365, most of it a loan from my dad. It was red on red, a rare com­bi­na­tion. I stu­pid­ly didn’t spec­i­fy the $35 option­al Miche­lin tires, and the stock Dun­lop Gold Seals wore out in 7000 miles. It was hit in the rear and after that was stolen. (You know how easy it is to hot-wire a TR3?)”


Hillsdale’s Alaska on “Crystal Serenity”

Hillsdale’s Alaska on “Crystal Serenity”

North to Alaska

The 2016 Hills­dale Col­lege cruise of south­west Alas­ka aboard Crys­tal Seren­i­ty (27 July-3 August) pro­vid­ed an impres­sive vis­it to a spec­tac­u­lar state. Accom­pa­ny­ing the fine din­ing and enter­tain­ment was a crew which could not have done more. Crys­tal Cruis­es seems to own all the high­est rat­ings in the busi­ness, and it’s easy to see why. There’s no sep­a­rate bar bill, and they’ll deliv­er up to two bot­tles a day to your state­room. No one could drink this much! Tips are includ­ed, nobody duns you for hand­outs, and you’re not pre­sent­ed with a list of “esti­mat­ed gra­tu­ities” on your last day aboard.

Crys­tal Seren­i­ty

Crys­tal ships offer more than aver­age pub­lic space. We had only 1000 pas­sen­gers (much less than capac­i­ty), aboard an 820 foot, 69,000-ton ship), so it nev­er felt con­gest­ed. As they used to say at Brook­lands rac­ing cir­cuit: “the right crowd and no crowd­ing.” More pas­sen­gers are usu­al, how­ev­er. On 16 August Seren­i­ty set sail to Alas­ka again with 1700 cus­tomers on a 28-day cruise from Van­cou­ver to New York via the North­west Pas­sage. She is the largest ship ever to nav­i­gate that course.

Fun Afloat

Aside from the atten­tive staff and per­fect orga­ni­za­tion, there was night­ly enter­tain­ment at four or five dif­fer­ent venues. Bar room piano play­er Per­ry Grant kept us at the Avenue Saloon 9:30-12:30 every night, as he played, sang and inter­viewed guests. Per­ry has a touch: nev­er too bawdy, always fun. He seems to know hun­dreds of tunes, hard­ly ever repeats one. For those of “a cer­tain age,” it’s a mem­o­rable com­bi­na­tion. We under­stand he has a small army of fol­low­ers, who sign on wher­ev­er he goes. Here’s Perry’s ver­sion of “My Way.”

(We couldn’t get enough. This one’s for you, and you know who you are….)

The route began from Van­cou­ver to Juneau, Alaska’s cap­i­tal. There was a sea voy­age the Hub­bard Glac­i­er, then to the Alas­ka towns of Hoonah, Skag­way and Ketchikan. We reen­tered British Colum­bia via Nanaimo, and end­ed in Van­cou­ver. Well orga­nized excur­sions (extra cost) were avail­able, but you could eas­i­ly pass a day walk­ing around a town, or just relax­ing on the ship.

We aren’t cruise folk. Viking’s Danube Riv­er cruise, with 180 aboard, is more our style. We con­fess to han­ker­ing for a canal barge for twelve, a big ketch for six, or the Clay­more II, sup­ply ship for Pit­cairn Island, which takes three days to float six pas­sen­gers to the sto­ried hide­away of Fletch­er Chris­t­ian and a hand­ful of rebels after the Mutiny on the Boun­ty. That we enjoyed a “big” cruise speaks vol­umes of Crys­tal qual­i­ty and Hillsdale’s orga­niz­ing.

Hillsdale Seminars

The College’s edu­ca­tion­al pro­gram is a great way to while away days at sea. Our speak­ers were an eclec­tic mix. Hills­dale Pres­i­dent Lar­ry Arnn always has worth­while things to say to thought­ful peo­ple. Wor­ri­some things these days, with so many uncer­tain­ties fac­ing Amer­i­ca and the world. Vic­tor Davis Han­son spoke about Athens and Spar­ta, elo­quent­ly and well, not with­out par­al­lels to mod­ern prob­lems. John Steele Gor­don, the his­to­ri­an and colum­nist, spoke about his illu­mi­nat­ing book on the Wash­ing­ton Mon­u­ment and oth­er obelisks.

Screen­writer Michael Walsh said movies don’t real­ly start off to be lib­er­al or con­ser­v­a­tive. If you want to write one of those, you’re on the wrong track. What matters—despite Hollywood’s rep­u­ta­tion as a hotbed of wealthy left­ies who can bear any tax bur­den levied on the rest of us—is the sto­ry line: “The God­fa­ther could have been set a mil­lion years BC and would still have been a suc­cess because of the sto­ry line.”

Walsh inci­den­tal­ly wrote a great prequel/sequel to Casablan­ca called As Time Goes By, which all Casablan­ca fans should read. The pre­quel explains why Rick Blaine(who grew up in New York as Itzhak Baline) could not return to his home town. The sequel describes how Elsa, Vic­tor, Louie, Sam and Rick  helped to assas­si­nate Rein­hard Hey­drich, “the Butch­er of Prague.”  So now you know how that hap­pened.

David Gold­man was so riv­et­ing on the demo­graph­ics of Islam and the Mid­dle East that I bought his book. Prompt­ed by a Turk­ish wait­er, I also asked him about Turkey, which is wor­thy of a sep­a­rate post.

For infor­ma­tion on future Hills­dale cruis­es, click here.



Refugees: Trump is like Churchill?

Refugees: Trump is like Churchill?

National Geographic
Nation­al Geo­graph­ic

The Huff­in­g­ton Post for Novem­ber 23rd (“Shocked by anti-Mus­lim Hys­te­ria? Churchill Want­ed to ‘Col­lar the Lot'”). They include an unsub­stan­ti­at­ed Churchill quote to describe some­thing about Syr­i­an refugees Don­ald Trump said, or did not say. It dis­torts Churchill’s record.

Anent Trump’s alleged pro­pos­al for a data­base of Mus­lims (which he did not pro­pose, exact­ly), the Post assures us this was noth­ing com­pared to that well-known xeno­phobe, Win­ston Churchill:

Churchill went even far­ther. He ordered the intern­ment of tens of thou­sands of Jew­ish refugees in Eng­land, label­ing them dan­ger­ous ene­my aliens. … Nation­als from Ger­many and Aus­tria, who were liv­ing in Eng­land when World War II broke out, had already been assigned to dif­fer­ent group­ings based on their appar­ent threat to the UK. Cat­e­go­ry A were the “high secu­ri­ty risks.” All 600 of them were imme­di­ate­ly interned.

Those deemed “no-secu­ri­ty risk” in Class C, includ­ed 55,000 refugees from Nazi oppres­sion. The great major­i­ty of them were Jew­ish. They were left free—at first. But then, in the Spring of 1940, with the fall of France, the fear of a Ger­man inva­sion, and the entry of Italy into the war, there was an out­break of spy fever in Eng­land, a demand that more be done about the thou­sands of “dan­ger­ous aliens” liv­ing there. Unwill­ing to con­sid­er which of those for­eign­ers might actu­al­ly be dan­ger­ous, Churchill com­mand­ed “Col­lar them all.”

“Collaring” Refugees

Churchill had oth­er things on his mind in Spring 1940 than which refugees were dan­ger­ous. But let it go. Peo­ple who write such things have no con­cept of what it was like to live in 1940 Britain, under the threat of immi­nent extinc­tion.

The “round­ing up” of 70,000 Ger­man, Czech and Aus­tri­an aliens in Britain was done regard­less of reli­gion. No doubt a lot were Jews—they had the best rea­son to be run­ning from the Greater Ger­man Reich.

Accord­ing to Nor­man Rose in Churchill: The Unruly Giant, “col­lar the lot,” or “col­lar them all” was an expres­sion meant to pro­tect alien refugees from “out­raged pubic opin­ion.” It did not refer to pre­vent­ing spy­ing or acts of sab­o­tage. That we can believe. Dur­ing World War I, Lon­don­ers kicked dachs­hunds in the streets because they were a Ger­man breed. But I can’t find either expres­sion in any­thing Churchill said or wrote.


We often dis­tort these quotes. I have just gone round with a read­er of my piece on François Hol­lande  who insists—re bomb­ing ISIS—that we should mim­ic Churchill, who want­ed to “make the rub­ble dance” in Nazi Ger­many. But what Churchill said referred not to bomb­ing Ger­many but to London’s brav­ery in the Blitz. He said that after awhile, the only thing the Ger­mans could do to make things worse in Lon­don was “make the rub­ble jump.” Which is quite dif­fer­ent.

Hills­dale College’s Win­ston S. Churchill, Doc­u­ment Vol­ume 15 shows that Churchill soon recon­sid­ered his atti­tude toward interned aliens. In 1940, he favored expelling them, but a year lat­er he had recon­sid­ered. He said it would be more humane to con­script some into pub­lic ser­vice, per­haps as “a For­eign Legion.” You can look it up: page 391.

What Churchill Concluded

Churchill was in the van­guard of those urg­ing that wartime restric­tions on lib­er­ty be lift­ed as soon as pos­si­ble. In 1943 he ordered the release of the British fas­cist leader Oswald Mosley, who had been interned in 1940:

The pow­er of the Exec­u­tive to cast a man into prison with­out for­mu­lat­ing any charge known to the law, and par­tic­u­lar­ly to deny him judge­ment by his peers for an indef­i­nite peri­od, is in the high­est degree odi­ous, and is the foun­da­tion of all total­i­tar­i­an Gov­ern­ments, whether Nazi or Communist….Nothing can be more abhor­rent to democ­ra­cy than to imprison a per­son or keep him in prison because he is unpop­u­lar. This is real­ly the test of civil­i­sa­tion. Churchill by Him­self, 102

Churchill, as William Man­ches­ter wrote, “always had sec­ond and third thoughts, and they usu­al­ly improved as he went along. It was part of this pat­tern of response to any polit­i­cal issue that while his ear­ly reac­tions were often emo­tion­al, and even unwor­thy of him, they were usu­al­ly suc­ceed­ed by rea­son and gen­eros­i­ty.”

It isn’t worth remon­strat­ing with the Huff­in­g­ton Post, which is only look­ing for anoth­er way to skew­er Mr. Trump—who says so many skew­er­able things that it’s hard­ly nec­es­sary to make any up.

It does sug­gest anoth­er chap­ter for my next book: Churchill Urban Myths: Lies, Fables, Tall Tales, Dis­tor­tions, and Things that Go Bump in the Night.