What is a dorque? One of this blog’s Faithful Readers (Fair Lady Sharon) emailed me that dorques are “those individuals who idle away hours combing through the internet looking for Mystery Doors”. I would prefer the term “Wonderfully Inquisitive People (WIPs)”, not to be confused with Inquisitors, of auto-da-fe fame, or whips, which the aforementioned Inquisitors wielded with such joyous fervor and abandon. (Hold that thought, though).
Okay, back to The Door in Question. Here is the close-up of The Door….
Incorrect answers included “a door in St. Augustine” (actually quite a good guess…) and a “garden door to home of elves” (a very clever answer). But the correct answer is that this very Spanish-looking door is located in The Villages, Florida, about 50 yards from Panera in Spanish Springs, in the little tower that sits at the intersection of Main Street and Highway 27/441. Congratulations to Annie, who lives here in The Villages, who was the first responder (no, she’s not an EMT) with the most correct answer! See the wide angle photo below…. note The Door at stage right. “Told ya’ this was an easy one!”
Okay, back to whips and chains (ooooohhhh, I’m getting excited), and the Spanish heritage of Florida… the Holy Office of the Inquisition was not one of the finest moments of the Catholic Church. The Spanish and Italian Offices seemed to be the most enthusiastic branches. Here is an image of Tomas de Torquemada, a 15th Century Spanish Dominican friar who was Spain’s Grand Inquisitor until he died in 1498. With a haircut like that, you can see why he might have been (a) a loser with the girls and (b) a bit grumpy. He actually made the Spanish Inquisition slightly less brutal than his predecessors, requiring that torture only be dosed out to those accused by “two persons of good nature”. Condemned people had to wear a penitental garment called a sanbenito; the sanbenito of those to be executed was adorned with embroidered hell’s flames, demons, dragons and snakes. (That must have encouraged the others to better adhere to church doctrine…)
In Italy, one of the most famous trials by the Holy Order is depicted in this painting. Here we see Galileo Galilei facing the Roman Inquisition. He was found “vehemently suspect of heresy” by believing in the Copernican theory that the Earth revolved around the sun; he was required to “abjure, curse and detest” those opinions contrary to the Church’s doctrine, and sentenced to imprisonment at the pleasure of the Inquisition. He was held under house arrest until he died. (We know how correct the Church was on this one, don’t we?)
On the positive side, the Holy Order of the Inquisition did a lot for the clothing industry in Spain and Italy. All of those sanbenitos had to be produced, and senior Holy Order clerics, like Juan Pardo de Tavera, one of the Grand Inquisitors of Spain, had to have many suits like this tailored to keep up appearances. After all, he couldn’t just buy them “off the rack”, could he? (Yes, the racks were quite full of the condemned… sorry for the pun).
I would like to officially recognize the debt that Western Civilization owes to former vice prez Al Bore (sorry, “Gore”) for inventing the Internet. I mean, this poor guy has been castigated for being one of the most boring elected officials in American History. He really should have been awarded the Nobel Prize. Think of where we’d be today if he hadn’t graciously given us the Internet…. I wouldn’t have been able to provide these photos of Torquemada and Juan Pardo… I thought about putting his picture up on the blog… but I just couldn’t do it. Inquisitors, yes; Al Bore, Naaaahhhhh…… I do have some standards.
As some readers are already aware, Your Faithful Correspondent is a geography freak. Part of it was inbred from my mother, the rest came from my Navy years. My Lovely Bride gave me a very nice globe a few years ago, and every now and then I will close my eyes, spin it, and put my finger down and see where it stops. I did this the other night ten times, just to see if I had been to any of the places that stopped under my digit. Here’s the list:
1. Iran – visited there (Bandar Abbas) in 1973, before the Shah was thrown under the bus by Jimmy Carter; it wasn’t too bad a place then, and we were treated very well by the Iranian Navy, most of whom were shot by the Ayatollah’s goon squads, otherwise known as the Revolutionary Guards. Thanks, Jimmy.
2. Angola – visited there in 1973, while it was still a Portuguese colony; then one of the breadbaskets of Africa, it was a delightful place, but that was before the civil war fomented by Castro and Soviets (Russians), which lasted from 1975-2002. Fidel Castro sent Cuban army thugs there to eliminate the “bad” Europeans. Fortunately, the Cubans got thrown out, and Angola is struggling to recover from decades of war and corruption. Not one of the places I would recommend visiting for vacation.
3. Oahu, Hawaii – stationed there aboard a frigate 1981-1983; lived in Aiea, close to Pearl Harbor; visited the Arizona Memorial a dozen times… sobering. Wished more Americans (including our current “commander-in-chief”) would learn the lessons of 1941. Was at sea 75% of the time, so didn’t do much sightseeing. Learned that Haoles aren’t real popular among the natives.
4. New Orleans – can’t believe my home town fell under my finger! Best food in the world. Otherwise, it’s a good place to be from…
5. Port Louis, Mauritius, Indian Ocean: visited there Christmas/New Year’s, 1981 or 1982. Beautiful island, poor but friendly people. Soviet Navy (Russians) were also in port. The Russkies had (have?) no sense of humor, especially when our guys were lighting off Roman candles and sky rockets on the pier on New Year’s Eve. They thought our sailors were attacking their ships. Russkies are not real bright; but then, anyone who thinks Putin is cool has a box of rocks for a brain.
6. Tristan de Cunha, South Atlantic Ocean, between South Africa and South America; part of the United Kingdom. Passed by on transit from the Cape of Good Hope to Brazil, but never stopped. Bummer, because this is the most isolated group of islands in the entire world. Was once called The Islands of Refreshment… how bad can they be?
7. Trinidad – stopped there in 1972 on the way across the Atlantic to Africa. Local Rastas beat up some of our sailors. One of my least favorite places on the planet. We called this one of the world’s “garden spots”. It was not meant as a compliment.
8. Baffin Island, Canada – never been there; the largest island in Canada, and fifth largest island in the world. Total population 10,700, about .02 persons per square mile. Really cool ice and polar bears, though, as long as you don’t get eaten. Polar bears are probably the most nasty, aggressive animals on the planet, far worse than great white sharks. But they have a great marketing department.
9. Surt, Libya – spent a couple of weeks on patrol on Gaddafi’s “Line of Death” off Surt and Benghazi back in 1989-1990. We kept hoping he’d send ships and fighters out to play; he sent out some MiGs to challenge our F-14 Tomcats – not a smart move, because the MiGs promptly got shot down. Tomcats 2, MiGs 0. I have long proposed that every American be required to spend a week or two in an Arab country to really appreciate what we have here in the USA…
10. Clipperton Island, 10-18N, 109-13W, about 620 miles SSW of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in the Pacific Ocean. Population ZERO, land area 2.3 square miles, used to be a guano (that’s bird doo-doo for the uninitiated) mining depot for the Frogs… sorry, the French. Now visited only occasionally by the French Navy, fishermen, scientific researchers, and odd shipwrecked sailors.
So, there you have it, a short geography tour from one sailor’s viewpoint. One of the neat parts about spending my adult life (yes, I was a grown-up for a while) in the Navy was traveling to 64 countries, some really cool and friendly, others decidedly less so. It’s a very big world out there…
Finally, I just finished reading a great book called “The Last Centurion” by John Ringo. One of the best books I’ve ever read, very highly recommended, especially if you’re a Hillary fan…