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24 February 2008

Is this the face that launched a thousand ships / and said "Tee-Hee!" to the old Senator on free rides on her corporate jet?

Sure, click, maybe she gets hotter.

Once again I am proud to be an American. Once again a young mieskeit (she was about 32 in the days of the Free Corporate Jet Rides) who is not the wife of a major political figure -- the presumptive Republican presidential nominee -- has tossed one of those round terrorist stink bombs into the democratic process, and grabbed my country's Page 1 headlines. For a change, the media tsunami is starting from the Top Down, with a bombshell story in The New York Times, descending thence toward the supermarket tabloids, and finally to your trusted source for all things U.S. Politics, Agence-Vleeptron Presse.

Though ordinarily I rely on The New York Times as an effective Sleep Aid -- its ability to send me to Dreamland ranks right up there with Henry James and the banned hypnotic Methaqualone
-- their story about Senator John McCain and the mieskeit lobbyist was almost exciting and vigorous. These are virtues distinct from Excellent Journalism, which the story indeed was. I read every fucking word and never nodded off once.

The McCain campaign's response and defense was that The New York Times is liar liar pants on fire and it is absolutely totally 100% Not True that the old married geezer ever inserted any part of his body or any tobacco products into the young mieskeit lobbyist's steaming, quivering orafices. Mrs. McCain stood proudly next to her beloved war hero husband to make her absolute belief in that fact absolutely clear.

Of course The Times never said he did any such thing. That wasn't what their story was about.

Their story was about an old fuzzy fool who, throughout his political career, trusts every Caucasian multimillionaire and billionaire in an expensive Italian suit who flies him around the country and the planet for free in a corporate jet and writes fat checks to the Senator's election campaigns. And of course the young female lobbyist representative of the Caucasian gazillionaire who's just there to see that the Senator is comfie and has an extra pillow and a nice drinky-poo while he flies for free from DC to Phoenix.

* * *


To the best of my knowledge, neither I nor any employee of A-VP has ever accepted a free ride on a private luxury corporate jet. To the best of my knowledge, neither I nor any employee of A-VP has ever been offered a free ride on a private luxury corporate jet.

* * *

So what's so disgusting about me that I have to buy coach tickets on American Airlines and take off my shoes and remove all metal objects while they hustle me through the metal detector, huh?

It's not that awful Geezer Age thing -- McCain is fully 10.4 years older than I am. Is it just his raw Navy bomber pilot war hero good looks? Does he shower and comb his hair more often than I do? Why isn't anybody offering me free rides on corporate jets so I can do valuable journalistic research in the Caribbean and Bali? Am I not a man and a brother?

Possibly, The Times suggested, it's because I'm not the chairman of the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, which oversees legislation beneficial to telecommunications gazillionaires. Yes indeed there was innuendo in The Times story. Low, sleazy, cheap innuendo. Anyone who knows John McCain knows he would never let huge campaign contributions or free trips on corporate jets or attractive young lobbyist women influence his votes in the Senate. The very suggestion is an insult to this fine, honest public servant. Let's all riot outside The New York Times building tomorrow to show our disgust at the way they've besmirched the reputation of this fine American who is just an ordinary joe just like you and me doing his best to become the next President.

McCain isn't dishonest or corrupt. Exactly. To be dishonest or corrupt, you have to have some crisp, clear notion that you're doing something dishonest or corrupt. And McCain is the original Senator Fuzzy. His gazillionaire banking pal Charles Keating calls him on the phone (my guess is on a straight-through private speed-dial number) and sings the blues to McCain that Evil Federal Banking Regulators are unfairly causing him and his huge Lincoln Savings & Loan Association woe and tsuris. And when a Caucasian gazillionaire contributor calls, McCain listens. McCain joined four other U.S. Senators to arrange a command meeting with the federal banking investigators to tell them to Back Off and Be Fair to their upstanding gentleman friend Charles Keating.

A little bit later, Charles Keating was led away in handcuffs, did four years in the can, Lincoln had gone belly-up, Keating pled guilty to $1,000,000 worth of bankruptcy fraud, and though Keating claims to be flat broke, he has agreed to repay the federal government U$4,300,000,000 (yes, Billion) if he or his wife ever find any money around the house. (Later an appeal nullified that debt, Mr. and Mrs. Keating now owe taxpayers nothing.)

In his memoirs, McCain writes extensively about how this experience as a founding meatball of "The Keating Five" broke his heart and caused him terrible dismay and public embarrassment. How he should have known better. How he would have acted differently if only he had realized that his Caucasian gazillionaire big-contributor pal in a great Italian suit might not be 100 percent honest and kosher or dealing straight with him. But how could he reasonably have been expected to know? All signs pointed to Outstanding Caucasian Family Values American Businessman: The suit, the jet, the wife and 4 kids, the dog, the golf. He even had a nice strong Anglo-Saxon name.

I wonder how easy it would be to phone Senator John McCain and chat with him, just him and me, for fifteen minutes about some issue which I feel is very important to me and to the nation and the world? Maybe on Monday I'll start phoning. I know he's a very busy man. But who knows, maybe his staff will put me through to the Senator and I can use my access to this Good Listener and Concerned Legislator to pursuade him to support my cause. I'll pay any long-distance phone fees, but I'm sure it won't cost me any big campaign donations. Because I think that would be sort of unethical, n'est-ce pas? To send his campaign $25,000 and then try to get him on the phone?

Well, maybe it would be legal under current laws and Congressional ethics rules. (Congressional ethics reform is McCain's Big Deal, he's a-gonna Clean Up This Congress and purge it of unseemly big-corporate-money influence.) But it -- well, it just seems fishy smelly. I'm sure he'll take my call and chat with me without any big up-front campaign contribution.

If his staff wants the check stub number before they put me through to The Big Guy, I'm sort of in trouble, I don't think I can afford more than $25. Maybe that will buy me 0.75 seconds of the Senator's time. But that should be enough, he's a great listener.

Anyway, check out the image. I think the suburban Virginia lobbying firm Alcalde & Fay

Drawing on the expertise of former members of the Executive Branch, Congress and Congressional staffs, Alcalde & Fay is able to provide efficient, effective representation of your views and input to federal decision-makers. Efficient, because we've worked with Washington leadership for over 25 years. Effective, because they respect our expertise and the high caliber of our work standards.

In Washington's complex maze, it's important to have someone representing your legislative agenda in person, every day.

Alcalde & Fay is recognized worldwide for its expertise in municipalities/public bodies, education, transportation infrastructure, environment/energy, maritime, telecommunications/broadcast, international, advocacy communications, federal marketing and general corporate and tax issue areas.

Our expertise, our bi-partisan profile and our extensive knowledge of the process by which public policy is made, ensure that Alcalde & Fay clients achieve success.

has yanked this photo from their website, but it was still lingering on a Google image search. You got to grab these things quick, they tend to evaporate and disappear.

Whaddya think? Is she hot hot hot? Is she Worthy to bring the presumptive Republican presidential nominee staggering to his knees?

Boy, this is a great campaign. Highly entertaining. I am so proud to be an American. And I'll bet she never even unbuttoned the top button of her blouse while she was flying to Phoenix with the old fool. She probably just laughed heartily at the old geezer's jokes and listened raptly to his stirring war reminiscences, and then chatted informally with him about telecommunications issues pending before his committee.


James J. Olson said...

In the interest of full disclosure, this Agence-Vleeptron reporter, covering all matters religious and spiritual, has accepted an offer of a ride on a private corporate jet in exchange for religious services. I was flown to a private and confidential location to perform a wedding for persons who shall remain unnamed, by the father of one of said persons, who is a big Corporate Banking Type and owns his own Gulfstream IV. I was provided luxurious accommodations for the duration of my stay, including a servant to attend to my needs, and several days of unfettered access to the amenities available at the location, which was tropical, in February, after what had been a long unpleasant winter here in New England.

In exchange for the aforementioned benefits, I celebrated a lovely wedding for a lovely couple, overlooking a STUNNING sunset at an architecturally significant home.

At no time during my stay at the aforementioned location, did I act or do anything in any way inappropriate, nor did I betray the trust of the American people, nor did I do anything that would embarrass my mother, unless I told her.

Vleeptron Dude said...


James J. Olson said...

J.C.'s first public miracle was to turn the water in the enormous anphoras (I don't know the hebrew word..mikvoth?) for ritual washing on the sabbath into vast quantities of excellent wine. WWJD? feh. WDJD? He blessed a wedding by coming up with a whole lot of booze. His mother was even there, and approved. Such a mensch he was.

Vleeptron Dude said...

Ah, look, private corporate jets hadn't been invented in Jesus' day, so we have absolutely no idea what he would have done if a lobbyist had offered him free rides all over the Mediterranean.

Well, look, you're practically the only person I know who ever got one of these rides and didn't have to take off his shoes and be pushed rudely through the metal detector. How was it? Did they give you an extra pillow and a drinky-poo? What's a flight on a Gulfstream like? With the price of oil shooting through the roof, I'm really worried that private corporate luxury jets may be an endangered species, and may go extinct before I ever get my chance to whiz to Cancun. That sucks.

On our (American Airlines) flight back from San Juan to Hartford, the guy across the aisle from me bought and drank all the liquor he wanted from an idiot flight attendant and got roaring drunk and somewhat disruptive. He was vertical and walking when he boarded, but the flight crew had to wheel him off the plane in a wheelchair.

Anonymous said...

(no atheist remarks in this comment)

eh ? wanst that water into wine thing done at the last Supper ? Bread represents the body, wine the blood ? he also did it there i thingk. but what am i to knwo as an Atheist ?

so, is she hothothot ? nah, not a face that would launch a thousand ships like Helen of Troja, she has tohose evil Hillary eyes and eyebrows.

Anyway, what is so interesting about a presidential candidate hanging out with a lobbyst ? No weed-smoking, military-academy fleeing candidate this year ? We europeans can only watch, so you better give us some entertainment and some real dirty laundry to wash in public. you get the ruler you deserve, we get the laughs and Schadenfreude.

Vleeptron Dude said...

New Testament
King James Version

[1] And the third day there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee; and the mother of Jesus was there:
[2] And both Jesus was called, and his disciples, to the marriage.
[3] And when they wanted wine, the mother of Jesus saith unto him, They have no wine.
[4] Jesus saith unto her,

{traditionally, a direct quote from Jesus is printed in red:}

Woman, what have I to do with thee? mine hour is not yet come.
[5] His mother saith unto the servants, Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it.
[6] And there were set there six waterpots of stone, after the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three firkins apiece.
[7] Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water. And they filled them up to the brim.
[8] And he saith unto them, Draw out now, and bear unto the governor of the feast. And they bare it.
[9] When the ruler of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and knew not whence it was: (but the servants which drew the water knew;) the governor of the feast called the bridegroom,
[10] And saith unto him, Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now.
[11] This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and his disciples believed on him.

Vleeptron Dude said...


A Firkin is an old English unit of volume. The name is derived from the Middle Dutch word vierdekijn, which means fourth, i.e. a fourth of a full-size barrel. The firkin (a firkin of water) is the base unit of mass in the FFF (Furlong/Firkin/Fortnight) System of units.

For beer and ale a firkin is equal to 9 Imperial gallons (about 40.915 L) or a quarter of a barrel. Casks in this size (themselves called firkins) are the most common container for cask ale. The word "firkin" (as in "Fox & Firkin") is frequently considered a suitably atmospheric word by those naming an English-style pub — by implication, the establishment will thus be either a new pub in the UK or a foreign imitation of a British pub.

For wine the firkin had a larger size, namely a third of a tun. A tun being 210 gallons in the UK and 252 fluid gallons in the US, thus a wine firkin is about 318 L (318.226 or 317.975). It is also called tertian or, preferably, puncheon (in the US also shortened to pon).

Butter and soap used to be sold by the firkin, too. In these cases it was rather a measure of weight, 56 lb (25.4 kg) and 64 lb (29.0 kg) respectively.

The term Firkin is currently used to refer to antique wooden buckets, usually with wood handle and lid, about 10-in high and 10-in diameter, formerly used to store sugar and other items.

James J. Olson said...

Bob, dude. Stop using the KJV. Great english, bad translation of the original. If you read KJV in church, you're either in a super-fundie church, a stuffy old-fashioned Rite 1 Episcopal church, or in England. It will bore people to death, and they won't know what you're talking about, because it is not the colloquial English we speak. In the 16th and 17th c., it was colloquial English...all the thees and thous and thys are used the same way as in Shakespeare: it was and remains the informal form of English. What we speak today, with all the yous and yours is actually the formal form of English, and would have been used only in legal and business proceedings in the 16th. and 17th c.

Try this. New Revised Standard Version. Most current, best dynamic equivalent translation of what we have of the original text, in English that most people speak.

On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine.’ And Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you.’ Now standing there were six stone water-jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to them, ‘Fill the jars with water.’ And they filled them up to the brim. He said to them, ‘Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.’ So they took it. When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom and said to him, ‘Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.’ Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

James J. Olson said...

Oh, and in England, some translations to convert from gallons to litres.

James J. Olson said...

Oh, and did you just tip your hand that you were in Puerto Rico?

Anonymous said...

so i thought, but Puerto Rico is not a colony as it seems to me, at least not the one in question

thanks Rev for the correct interpretation, now I understand what was menat, did not understand a word in that King James Bible. Same thing for Martin Luther btw, he "invented* high or common german with his translation that became common knowledge, it can still be read, but with difficulty. Just a quick sidenote. the now lost distinction of thou and you is still known in german (Sie, Du etc.)
(and another comment without Atheism in it. i think I am getting good at this)

What was the original subjetct again ? Oh, a presidential candidate having a geschleipf with a lobbyist and getting FOC flights. he often seemed to me like a sleeping pill so that makes things a bit more interesting. has she made any comments in public yet ?

Vleeptron Dude said...

Geschliepf, fur das ville danke, Geschliepf. S.W.M.B.O. also appreciates this bon mot and translates it "sleepover," which is what 9-year-olds do at one another's house now and then with mom's permission. During the Geschliepf they sit on the sofa and play many happy hours of Nintendo.

Oboy a public fistfight here in the Comment Sewers deep beneath Ciudad Vleeptron.

I come at this KJV thing not from any kind of theological direction, but from the literary, and the KJV, and John Bunyan, these were without a doubt the High Moment of my mother tongue, English. It was never that good before -- well maybe Chaucer -- but it certainly never got that wonderful after the KJV. It is to my eye and mind and heart by far the most beautiful English translation of the Bible ever produced, and it is what I choose to read and to quote.

The KJV is not just for whacko fundies. It is, however, perhaps a favorite with Older Geezers because it is the language of their faith which they learned when they were children. Nostalgia is neither a recognized Virtue nor one of the listed Sins. Granted, I could live without the return of the Tridentine Mass, but the KJV has no vice worse than being Hard To Understand by Youthful Whippersnappers. So much is hard to understand for whippersnappers. Ethics. Morals. Manners. Good behavior. Hygiene. Why they should not tattoo their foreheads with symbols of defeated war enemies. So if the Holy Book is also hard for the MTV generation to grok in a particular translation, who cares?

Here is a KJV passage and a modern translation. I invite you to engrave the modern version into a slab of polished New Hampshire granite or Vermont marble:

I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

* * *

Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

Vleeptron Dude said...

geschleipf, geschleipf, sorry for the misspelling. my translator robot reports:

geschleipf (deutsches) = geschleipf (englisch)

that is one stoopid robot

Anonymous said...

geschleipf or gschleipf, geschleick, dialect word in bärndütsch (but not just), could be of yiddisch origin, not sure, need to find SweetiePies etymology cd-rom which she gave me. your wife saw the word schleifn and thought schlafen for sleep.
Sleepover is not menant isn this context however, schleifen (mitschleifen, drag s.o. along) here means schleppen (i.e. moving an object under great difficulty), geschleipf is a negative expression of having an affair, mostly alledged (ohh, did you hear that the man from the bank and Mrs Jones from next door have been seen together ? A geschleipf, useless, not worth it, better ignore it etc etc). Lenny Bruce often uses the term schlep, schleppen or schleppl, the correct origin of that is jiddisch (I think) and therefore not exactly my department, though I use jiddisch words all day long without knowing. Bloody etymology, now I am rather confused. Well, at least your Translate-o-bot will get some new food...

Where were we again ? Oh, Politics....

Vleeptron Dude said...

Oh oh, I remembered a well-known Yiddish vulgar, crude word for the Sex Act: schtup. "He's been schtupping the cute young dental hygienist for the last six months and his wife still hasn't caught on ..."

I don't know if it has a deutsches equivalent or deutsches derivation.

Anonymous said...

oh, there are so many words, sometimes rather innocent...
Cant think of your word thougnh, i aint no etymologist, hey that must be fun ! Maybne it is coming somewhere from the direction of stuffing (stopfen in german)
My expression is rather innocent ant not vulgar, nobody would even look at you if you would use it in a daily conversation

Anonymous said...

ok got it now. it is indeed jddisch, actually means pushing (in german stupsen, jemandem einen Stups geben, give someone a gentle push, say in a crowd or while standing in line etc). Not used in a vulgar context anymore, a similar word for pushing would be stossen which can be used in both normal and vulgar ways. My word, I better stop, I am starting to lecture again :)

Vleeptron Dude said...

As I was researching my entimological research (is that words or insects, I always get them mixed up) I came upon and was reminded of this remarkable movie song, "I'm Tired," from Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles."

Madeleine Kahn portrays the supersexy saloon entertainer Lili von Schtupp. The song, of course, is a wonderfully comic homage to Marleine Dietrich's "See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have" from the James Stewart western "Destry Rides Again."

Kahn turns Lili von Schtupp into some sort of verkakte hybrid between Dietrich and Elmer Fudd. "Blazing Saddles" is not my favorite movie -- I could live without the lengthy scene of the cowboys who have just eaten massive amounts of beans sitting around the campfire -- but this song is an absolute classic, and perfectly captures the strange uniqueness of Marlene Dietrich when she relocated herself from der Blau Angel (1930) to a Wild West saloon.

Toward the end of her life, she always sang both "Falling in Love Again" and "See What the Boys in the Back Room Will Have" at her hugely successful theater concerts.

In her interview movie with Maximillian Schell, she said Emil Jannings was a big fat ham -- an actor whose talent is primarily hogging the camera or the stage for his own glory. But it was actually something very different that caused their conflict and dislike. Jannings was the last of the great 19th century stage and silent movie melodrama actors who depended entirely on broad physical gesture to act. So he was making a silent movie, while the very young Dietrich was literally *inventing* the art and craft of sound movie acting. God knows what Sternberg must have thought of this mortal combat on the set, but it's such a wonderful movie.

Kurt Jurgens and Mae Britt ain't too shabby in the remake, but the Diedrich/Jannings is like a hydrogen bomb of sexuality and jealousy and humiliation.

Vleeptron Dude said...

Der Blaue Engel
Der Blaue Engel
Der Blaue Engel

Just waking up, no coffee has reached my brain yet.

Well speak of the devil -- Der Blaue Engel is from the novel "Professor Unrat" by Thomas Mann's older brother, Heinrich Mann! Very talented family!

James J. Olson said...

Oh, I'm not saying that the KJV is not the pinnacle of the English language, it is. But it is not always the most accurate translation of what the Hebrew, Greek and Arameic of the original languages said, hence its lack of clarity, and frankly, lack of honesty.

Look, it is and remains the best attempt of the 16th c. divines to translate the Bible into the vernacular of the people. And, for nearly five centuries now, it is still the most widely read book.

And true, it is the language of the Bible and of church that many of us, myself included, have in our ears and our hearts.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want,
he maketh me to lie down in green pastures...etc.
resonates in most Christians ears as the one we memorised as children.

But there is little to commend today in using this version for most readings in church. The entire point of the translation in the first place was to make it understandable by the people sitting in the pews. There is a letter by Lancelot Andrewes, one of the main translators that suggests that future generations of biblical scholars and churchmen would and should revisit the translation to see that the most current research methods of Greek, Hebrew and Arameic be periodically re-applied to the texts to strive for accuracy. (Andrewes was a Cambridge man, both Universities had a large hand in the translation, and Oxford University Press still holds the copyright on the KJV.)

So, it has happened. In the 1930's, work began anew, centuries later than Andrewes or any of the other translators hoped. The "Authorised Version" of the Bible became frozen in time, and was not allowed the organic, subtle changes that the Translators had hoped over time. The Revised Standard Version of the 1950's, and the New Revised Standard Version of the 1980's were traumatic for people, and are still not 'Authorised Versions' in churches that have that rule and tradition.

There are now a proliferation of translations. Many are quite good, but you do have to be quite careful about the theological motives behind the translations. The best ones are done by a committee of scholars who are not being paid by a church or denomination to do the translation. (NRSV, NIV, NASB) The worst ones are translations done by single individuals with a theological axe to grind.

And all of this is only in English. There are similar difficulties, and not as good scholarship, in other languages. French translations, for instance, have not had the academic work done as happened in English in the '50s and '80s, the only thing that has been done to those translations is that the forms have been updated, without working on the actual texts. (Old French thys have been simply changed to yours, for example, and word endings have been modernised.)

Vleeptron Dude said...

I think there's always going to be a tug of war between being modern and up-to-date, and the yearning of many in the faith community to harken back to the past. Certainly one of the biggest "selling points" of many religions is the opportunity to "tap into" ancient traditions, into a body of belief that Does Not Change century after century. As I said, I'm a fan of KJV not for religious reasons but for my adoration of this High Moment of English. If the translators got half the Greek and most of the Hebrew all wrong ... well, for me, that's just not the point of my adoration.

Most people of the day were barely literate, and the KJV translators took it upon themselves to provide for these people a language of universal simplicity and clarity as well as sacred grandeur and dignity. Even the illiterate would soon memorize and love to hear "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want ..."

You make a fine case for the way the passage of the centuries has now made this very clarity unclear to modern eyes and minds. But for that matter, isn't it time to tear down all those old-fashioned cathedrals? They're so architecturally outmoded and inefficient. Let's replace them all with the work of the most modern great architects.

But when people enter an old, old church, they forgive all its architectural shortcomings. Even the fire inspector bends over backwards to keep the old church open for the worshippers who love it so, because it's their connection with the ancient -- even, they can imagine while they pray, with the Eternal.

If I catch you lifting any of this for one of your sermons, I'm going to expose you on YouTube.

James J. Olson said...

I wouldn't dream of using material in a sermon that was not properly annotated.

Your point about the architectural language of the church is well put as well, but I will say that even in the great Cathedrals and other ancient churches, use of the space changes over time. A visit to almost any church will reveal a variety of 'languages' being spoken...sometimes with mixed results, sometimes with excellent results.

Take for example the movement of the Altar in most Cathdrals with the reforms of Vatican II. Before, the Mass was said ad orientem, that is, with the priest and people all facing liturgical east. But on a Sunday in 1962, aside from the change from Latin to English (or German or French) for the entirety of the Mass, the priest said the mass facing the people, versus populum. This worked in some churches and not in others. Many churches were 'wreckonstructed' to eliminate the High Altar, and new churches were constructed without one at all.

Now, the pendulum is swinging back the other way. BXVI has given universal permission for the Mass to be said ad orientem again.

James J. Olson said...

Think too about pews and chairs in ancient churches. They are largely a 19th c. invention. Prior to this, the people stood.