Saturday, 23 January 2016

Big Hair --The Return of Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin is back in the news. In a big way, following her endorsement of Donald Trump last week. This was The PJ's first report on Mrs. Palin, posted on 21 September 2008. The article, in a slightly different version, also appeared at
Where's the Coon-Skin Cap?
Give 'em hell, Sarah!

By Richard Carreño
[WC News Service]
At first, she was knocked as a new-comer to big-league politics. Too inexperienced to be just a heart beat away from the Presidency. She fired back: No darling of the liberal media elite was she. She was just plain-folks Palin. A gun totin', moose shootin', pro-life hockey Mom, and, yes, with an unwed daughter who's five months pregnant. In other words, women of America, just like you.

She might just be right. At least, in mirroring an increasingly visible segment of American womenhood.

For the fact is Sarah Palin, a cocksure, low-brow, unintellectual, baby totin' Alaskan frontier woman looks a lot more like many working single moms in the Lower Forty-Eight than those, on the East and West coasts, who scorn her as a under-educated rube. Where's the coon-skin cap? You know, the one Ben Franklin wore to the French Court as America's first down-homey.

Finally, the 800-pound gorilla is out of the cage. What really rankles America's educated, urbane (and urban) brie-and-Chablis crowd is the Palin is so plain, well, so plain common.

Thursday, 21 January 2016


New @ Philabooks|Press

Read below for a special discount offer
An excerpt from the NEW 2016 EXPANDED PAPERBACK edition follows

By Richard Carreño
IN LATE 1997, Alan Clark, then seventy-years-old, was preening as the Conservative Party's bête noire. Less to his liking was his other reputation as an aging Lothario. Both images were portrayed in an installment of Clark's tell-all diaries, the first published in 1993 as part of a trilogy that concluded in 2002.
I had written to Clark for an interview. Later I followed up with a phone call at his office in Westminster. Actually, I reached him at his house, Saltwood Castle, in Hyde, Kent. His positive response was immediate.
On a crisp autumn morning, I set out from my flat in Richmond on the District line to Parliament Square. This, for my meeting with one of the then stars of British political and cultural life. Clark was no one to underestimate. He often played the role of toff. One of better-known repartées during a political debate was to refer to his opponent as 'the kind of chap who needed to buy his own furniture.' (Whether he coined the retort or not, the barb still stung).

Wednesday, 20 January 2016


Lord of Hosts
The Life of Sir Henry 'Chips' Channon 
Richard Carreño

2016 Paperback edition now available from
Philabooks|Press. 296 pp $19.99 plus postage.
20 PERCENT OFF if purchased directly from
publisher via
More details at

Thursday, 14 January 2016



The PJ depends exclusively on reader support. Please help us continue by contributing directly via PayPal, or by contributing editorial content via Empowered by WritersClearinghouse | S.P.Q.R. 1976 Richard Carreño, Editor Copyright MMXVI. All Rights Reserved

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Clinton vs. Clinton

By Jackie Atkins
[WC News Service]
It was touted as the pivotal event of a lackluster political season for the former First Lady of Arkansas, the USA, Senator from New York,and Secretary of State. No longer would she have to exert enthusiasm to the masses in stump speeches before hand select interns at Town Hall Meetings on Junior College campuses in Iowa and New Hampshire.
The big cannon would be fired. Watch out Donald, you’ll meet your match now. 
The American people (those old enough) we were told looked forward to this. William Jefferson Clinton, forty second President of the United States would unleash his charismatic glance, known to have enticed twenty-one-year-old interns under the desk in the Oval Office, and legendary maestro at the podium, was to hit the campaign trail in support of his wife for President of the United States.

Monday, 28 December 2015

The Philadelphia Junto

The PJ depends exclusively on reader support. Please help us continue by contributing directly via PayPal, or by contributing editorial content via Empowered by WritersClearinghouse | S.P.Q.R. 1976 Richard Carreño, Editor Copyright MMXVI. All Rights Reserved


 Thai Nudes by Janwit Chaisee
Janwit Chaisee, a young Thai artist who graduated from the faculty of fine arts, sculpting and printmaking at Silpakorn University Thailand, was born in Pattani Province in the South of Thailand. In May 2015, he had solo art exhibit called “Kon” ("Human") at People’s Gallery in the Bangkok Art and Culture Center. His impressive works are realistic. Most of his pictures are oil paintings of Thai women in different poses and in various costumes. The works focus on Thai women of the past. Chaisee has had many contemporary art exhibitions since studying at Silpakorn University. In 2010, he joined in the 27th Contemporary Arts for Young Artists show. In 2011, he contributed his works to the Art of the Ganesha show at the Silpakorn Art Center. In 2014, he exhibited his art thesis for the faculty of fine arts, sculpting and printmaking at Silpakorn University.  -- Janine Yasovant in Bangkok     

Monday, 14 December 2015

LORD OF HOSTS The Life of Sir Henry 'Chips' Channon

LORD OF HOSTS The Life of Sir Henry 'Chips' Channon by Richard Carreño is the first full-length portrait of this controversial mid-20th century Anglo-American British politician. Though the bisexual Channon never rose to prominent political stature, he was well known for his tell-all diaries. Carreño reveals for the first time how the diaries were censored by Channon's lover Peter Coats and his only child, Paul Channon.

NEW PAPER EDITION from Philabooks|Press 282 pp $16.99

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Dr Ben -- The Thread

WHY is Dr Ben's back story important? you ask. Because he's made it a centrepiece of his 'rags to riches' 'thug to hug' history, and it's narrative that undergirds his support among his religious-right base. Insofar critics of Carson -- and I am one -- have NOT been able to dent his support by otherwise conventional means (his lack of qualifications, lack of policy specifics, his theocratic understanding of government, points that his base don't care about) the West Point story has become his chink in his armour. He has become, finally, rattled. He is expressing confusion. Watch his increased nervous hand motions, rotations, and butterfly folding of fingers and uptick in his fluttering eyelids as a marker of this. Carson is a high-functioning autistic. Like anyone afflicted as he is, if his pattern of thought is side-tracked (i.e. West Point), he loses it. Main stream media won't go there yet on his point. So finally, a means to take him down. Much worse than Trump, who's simply the PT. Barnum of our time. Carson is the Fr Coughlin of our era. He needs to be STOPPED! Facts might not matter. But lying? Just maybe.
The embarrassing lie was uncovered on the same day he challenged Americans on TV to decide whether he's an 'honest person' or a 'pathological liar.'

Tuesday, 3 November 2015


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Friday, 30 October 2015


By Richard Carreño
[WC News Service]
I might be in the running for this year's Imelda Marcos Prize for Acquiring Too Many Shoes. JV, Men's Division. I have almost fifty pairs. In all designs, colours, and materials. Wing-tips, cap-toes, monk straps, bowlers, duck boots, boat shoes, Chelsea boots, hiking boots, an assortment of slip-on moccasins, rubber field boots, tennis shoes, brogues, and lots of things in suede. And opera slippers. More than I need, of course. But that's a bit beside the point, init?
I have my favourites; usually preferring lace-up Oxfords.
Apart from sport shoes, my choices are mostly all in leather in either black or brown. Though I do have blue pair of suede wing-tips and a sort of orangery-coloured pair of Oxfords. (I got these in Madrid).
All are in name-tagged in wood (mostly cedar) shoe trees. All are polished to a spit-shine. This kind of maintenance is labour-intensive. I use good tools. Horse-hair brushes and the like. Like John O'Hara, I do the polishing myself, finding the cleaning and brushing, in an odd way, as O'Hara did, relaxing and therapeutic. And I won't deny taking pleasure in the wafting aroma of boot wax that fills the air of my dressing room.
When done, laces are tied. Buckles are buckled. And the shoes are queued in rows, by colour and style. They shine like Horse Guards on parade.

Monday, 26 October 2015

At the National Theatre

By R.J. Chellel
PJ Theatre Critic
[WC News Service]
Three Days In the Country, 'a version' of the Turgenov play by Patrick Marber who also directed. Cast included John Simm (outstanding as Rakitin), Mark Gatiss (as the melancholic, sarcastic doctor, Shpigelsky), John Light (with a big beard and oddly macho as the landowner, Arkady), Amanda Drew (as his bored and sexually frustrated wife), Royce Pierreson (the heart-throb student, Belyaev), Lily Sacofsky (the seventeen year-old Vera), and Nigel Betts (the foolish, fat, rich neighbour, Bolshintsov.) Also Debra Gillett, Gawn Grainger and Cherrelle Skeete.

I try to keep a record of the plays I've seen, usually writing down my impressions in a sort of review -- as  kind of aide memoire.  As I've been to nearly sixty plays this year alone, this amounts to quite a few pages, even if I don't get around to reviewing every production.  
I tend to avoid the big West End theatres. But I do go to the National Theatre fairly often. There are three auditoriums there:  the two huge ones (the Lyttelton and the Olivier), and the smaller studio theatre, now called the Dorfman in honour of the big cheese of the TravelEx money-changing company who has donated zillions to the NT.  

Obviously producers at the National have enormous (state-subsidised) budgets to work with, sums fringe companies can only dream about.  Whether the money necessarily buys quality is an interesting question.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Thai Art Show

 The 9th solo art exhibition of Sriwan Janehuttakarnkit was held last month and through this month at Wangna Theater, Bunditpatanasilpa Institute. The exhibition was called "Dharma, Nature, and Normality." Sriwan is a famous Thai art lecturer, formerly at Srinakharinwirot University in Bangkok, but now is retired. She obtained a bachelor’s degree and a master's degree in printmaking from Silpakorn University. From 2004, she has had selected solo and group exhibitions several times in Thailand and abroad. After her retirement, she moved from Bangkok to near the Mekong River.  On the day I visited Sriwan Janehuttakarnkit at her house near Golden Triangle, Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai Province, she told me that she had just finished murals at a temple at “Doi Sa Ngo” mountain and was preparing the 9th solo art exhibition. I also saw the art gallery she built to house some of her paintings, sculptures, and ceramics for the exhibition. 
-- Janine Yasovant

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Rainy Days

Oxford Circus, London, 7 October 2015
Photo: WC News Service
Paris Street Rainy Day (1877) by Gustave Cuillbotte

The PJ depends exclusively on reader support. Please help us continue by contributing directly via PayPal, or by contributing editorial content via Empowered by WritersClearinghouse | S.P.Q.R. 1976 Richard Carreño, Editor Copyright MMXV. All Rights Reserved

Theatre Review: Valhalla at Theatre503

By Paul Murphy|Directed by Jo McInnes|To 24 October at Theatre503, 503 Battersea Road, London SW11                                                                          

As violence sweeps the city, an exhausted couple seek refuge in an isolated Nordic research centre. They are on the brink of discovering the cure for a devastating global disease when cracks in their marriage start to appear. Suddenly they find themselves forced to choose between conflicting allegiances to love and science. Conceived against the backdrop of a bewitching volcanic landscape, this extraordinary play questions the ethics of medical research, genetics and the endurance of human love.


By R.J. CHELLEL, PJ Theatre Critic

LONDON [WC News Service]- After attending VaIhalla at Theatre503 the other night, I read that wretched play on the way home, and it's as bad on the page as it was on the stage.

I remembered those flashed-up Icelandic titles at the beginning of each act.  I looked them up, and they, all four of them, relate to Norse mythology.  So, for example, Nastrond  (sorry, I don't know how to do diacriticals on the computer) at the start of Act III means 'Corpse Shore', the place in the afterlife where Nithoggr lives and chews on the bodies of those guilty of murder, adultery and oath-breaking -- which Norsemen considered the worse possible crime.

Two questions arise:  (1) how is anyone in the audience (apart from the odd Viking) supposed to know this?  And (2) what has it got to do with the play?  The melange of mythology, magic and science never made much sense to me. 

Monday, 28 September 2015


Mr. Bogglehead:
The Man Who Closed A City
By Richard Carreño
[WC News Service]
Let's set aside the security excesses.
There were of course, many during Pope Francis' pop-in in Philadelphia last weekend. Too many.
Let's even move beyond, for the moment, the gross municipal incompetence in planning Francis' visit here, though Mayor Nutter and his crew had more than six months to strategize the event. Details regarding the occasion were always confused, opaque, and contradictory. And usually wrong.
Somehow Nutter got it in his head that more than 1-million, even 1.5-million attendees would arrive. The overly-optimistic figure was pulled out of thin air. It became fixed and operative. And, eventually, it helped lead to the various cock-ups that ensued.
But it was Nutter's favourite number, and one he insisted upon. A record number that would result in the biggest event in Philadelphia's history. On his watch. In the closing months of his mayoralty.

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

RAYMOND CHELLEL, The PJ's UK-based correspondent, wonders ...

Jeremy Corbyn
Though Not Certain -- Test Will Come in By-Elections
'Interesting -- But Probably Not in a Good Way'

LONDON [WC News Service] -- Corbyn!  There are two British political groups celebrating the election last week of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Leader:  The unreconstructed, hard-left socialist wing of the party, and just about all Conservatives, who, with good reason, believe this lurch to the left will make Labour unelectable for years to come.  After all, Corbyn's predecessor, Ed Miliband (who, with the support of the trade unions, beat his brother to the leadership) moved the party to the left and consequently presided over one of the worst electoral defeats in Labour history.

Monday, 7 September 2015


Pure Literature,
Purer Enjoyment
Purity is high literary achievement, although, admittedly, not great literature. It is a complex ganglia of characterizations that speak to our time, unravelling the complexities of our Internet age in narrative form.

                                Oprah would hate it. I loved it. You should read it. You'll then know why Jonathan Franzen is America's best 21st century contemporary novelist. In fact, he well be the Charles Dickens of our era. -- Hotspur for The Philadelphia Junto.

The PJ depends exclusively on reader support. Please help us continue by contributing directly via PayPal, or by contributing editorial content via Empowered by WritersClearinghouse | S.P.Q.R. 1976 Richard Carreño, Editor Copyright MMXV. All Rights Reserved

Saturday, 29 August 2015


Narongdech Sudjai
Narongdech Sudjai is a Thai artist who's famous among foreign art collectors. He also does mural paintings. He lives in Chiang Saen District, Chiang Rai Province in the north of Thailand. There foreign visitors come to visit the Golden Triangle, where the Mekong River flows past Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos. Chiang Saen is a city with long historical background. It used to be the frontier city of the Lanna Empire. Sudjai is originally from Bangkok, but many years ago he decided to settle in Chiang Saen. He now runs a studio called the Opium Art Gallery in front of the Opium Museum, near the Golden Triangle. 
-- Janine Yasovant

Friday, 21 August 2015

Penn Museum Biblical Exhibit

By Pam Kosty
Penn Museum
[Special to WC News Service] 
They are treasures that have survived centuries and even millennia: one of the world¹s oldest fragments of the gospel of Saint Matthew; the first Bible printed in the Americas, in the Native American Massachusett language; a New Testament Bible published in twelve languages in Nuremberg, Germany, 1599; the earliest version of the Mesopotamian flood story, pre-dating the Biblical story of Noah, written on clay over 3,500 years ago.

In honor of the first visit by Pope Francis and the World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia next month, the Penn Museum, in conjunction with the Penn Libraries, offers Sacred Writings: Extraordinary Texts of the Biblical World, a special exhibition of rare artifacts from the Museum Collection and rare books and manuscripts from the Penn Libraries. On view August 15 through November 7, Sacred Writings provides the centerpiece experience for a Museum visit, where a special focus on the ancient Near East, Egypt, and the Canaan and Ancient Israel galleries and beyond affords visitors a unique opportunity to delve into ancient cultures and Bible-era art and artifacts.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

The OTHER Picasso Museum

Pablo Picasso
in Lucerne
[WC News Service]
Lucerne, Switzerland
Many Pablo Picasso fans have already made the pilgrimage to the newly-opened Musée Picasso in Paris, and thus, surrounded by scores the artist's works, have encountered the hordes that flock to museum. Like most museums in Paris, these galleries double as tourist attractions, especially when they feature marquee artists (Picasso) or iconic paintings (Mona Lisa at the Louvre). The result are crowds. Big crowds. Sometimes, in the summer, especially, titanic crowds that can put off even the most hardy museum-goer. (Ssshh... The solution are skip-the-line tickets. Sometimes costly. But always well worth the expense).
Or, for true, die-hard Picasso dévotees, how does immediate access to one of the best, small collections of his works anywhere sound? And with no crowds. In fact, hardly any fellow museum-goers to contend with.

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Mark Twain:

Lion and Friend
Photo: WC News Service/Joan T. Kane


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia The Lion Monument (German: Löwendenkmal), or the Lion of Lucerne, is a sculpture in Lucerne, Switzerland, designed by Bertel Thorvaldsen and hewn in 1820–21 by Lukas Ahorn. It commemorates the Swiss Guards who were massacred in 1792 during the French Revolution, when revolutionaries stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris, France. Mark Twain praised the sculpture of a mortally-wounded lion as "the most mournful and moving piece of stone in the world."

Monday, 3 August 2015

Lausanne's Métro

Photos; WC News Service/Richard Carreño
[WC News Service]
LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- Most subway straphangers consider themselves lucky if the train they're riding foretells an upcoming station stop with a PA update (too often muffled, too heavily accented, and/or generally unintelligible), or, at best, with a visual announcement that requires a neck-straining contortion to check it out. Lausanne's Métro has such methods beat: Welcome to the world's smallest city with a full-fledged subway. And, arguably, also the world's quirkiest, where approaching stations are announced by animal sounds. As from horses and cows. And rushing water, as in a waterfall.

Forget verbal announcements or visual legends. In their place, at alternating stations, are the amplified sounds of cows mooing and the hoof beats of stampeding horses. The pattern seems random: As I approached the Line 2's Croisettes stop, it might have been the horses that I was hearing. Thirteen stops away, at Ouchy, mooing might have been cued up. Either way, be forewarned to alight if your stop were next.

Thursday, 30 July 2015


[WC News Service]
Le Corbusier (1887-1965), the professional name of the Swiss-French architect, who was born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret, is arguably Switzerland's most famous architect, and, along with Alberto Giacometti, the Swiss-Italian sculptor, one of that country's marque-brand artists.
Interestingly, Le Corbusier's profile is not as high in the United States, as in other parts of the world. His only building in North America is the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, built in 1963 at Harvard. It's not very inspiring -- just a layered mass of rough-hewn, poured concrete that's equal parts Brutalism and boring.
There might be another reason for the architect's lacklustre popularity on this side of the Atlantic, namely Le Corbusier's little-known penchant as an admirer of the Soviet social order (one of his grandest commissions was in Russia during the 1930s) and fascist states (Mussolini's Italy and Marshal Pétain's Vichy). Also there's simply the work -- a non-humanist approach in aesthetics and scale. Like I said, mostly Brutalism and boring.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

At the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Mary Cassat
By Ken Johnson
The New York Times
24 July 2015
Casual observers might suppose that mega-galleries like Larry Gagosian’s and David Zwirner’s are a distinctively 21st-century phenomenon. But the gallery of Paul Durand-Ruel, the Paris dealer who put Impressionism on the international map, preceded them by more than a century and a half. His fascinating and instructive story is the subject of “Discovering the Impressionists: Paul Durand-Ruel and the New Painting,” a gorgeous exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
This show presents more than 90 paintings, including many Impressionist works that haven’t been seen in the United States in decades or ever, all of which passed through Durand-Ruel’s hands at some point. The paintings alone make the show a popular draw. But it’s the tale of Durand-Ruel’s career, richly detailed in essays by scholars in the exhibition catalog, that makes this more than just another crowd-pleaser.

Thursday, 23 July 2015


Zurich HB Rail Station
21 July 2015
Richard Carreño/WC News Service

The PJ depends exclusively on reader support. Please help us continue by contributing directly via PayPal, or by contributing editorial content via Empowered by WritersClearinghouse | S.P.Q.R. 1976 Richard Carreño, Editor Copyright MMXV. All Rights Reserved

Watana Kreetong

'On the Road' with Thai Artist
By Janine Yasovant
[WC News Service]
Recently I had a chance to meet he Thai artist Watana Kreetong in Chiang Mai, Thailand. He was born in Chumporn Province in the south of Thailand. When he was a student at Silpakorn University, he was a student leader and participated in the Friendship Program for 21st Century in Japan. He also received awards and stipulation money for young artists, as well as exhibiting his artworks in National Art Exhibitions in Thailand several times. After he graduated he worked in the advertising business for more than fifteen years. Many times he had ideas to use his remaining time so he quitted his job in 2010 to pursue his goal to create works of art.

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Watch Out Heidi!

Next Week Departure

The PJ depends exclusively on reader support. Please help us continue by contributing directly via PayPal, or by contributing editorial content via Empowered by WritersClearinghouse | S.P.Q.R. 1976 Richard Carreño, Editor Copyright MMXV. All Rights Reserved


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