Thursday, August 28, 2014

Floods of memory

Treasure: just opened my copy of Lord of the World, and saw that the inscription reads, "Anne Muggeridge, from Michael Davies, Park Cottage, 1987"

Park Cottage was the Muggeridge family home at Robertsbridge, East Sussex. John talked a great deal about his childhood there. He told me that his father and Ian Flemming invented the character James Bond over late night whiskeys at Park Cottage.

A number of the books John gave me before he died have his father's personal bookplate in the front, and it is a lovely pen and ink drawing of the cottage.

I still miss him terribly.



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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dreadful place. Really not worth it at all...


Yeah, but Malta really isn't anywhere near this boring and awful. Trust me.

I had a conversation with the nice ticket lady at the airport last time. She was Maltese-Australian, but had come back to the island to get married to a Maltese architect. They were only waiting to get married because he was building them a new home in Gozo. I congratulated her most warmly, and then started talking about how wonderful Malta is and she agreed, and added that people were catching on to it around the world. More and more every year.

"Oh dear. Well that's no good. We'll have to start telling people how awful it is. We'll have to say the food's terrible, and the weather is crummy and the people are mean and not friendly at all, and the swimming is really dreadful..."



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Friday, August 22, 2014

Rad Trad Quote-Quiz of the Week

Identify the writer: (No cheating)

But amid this variety of languages a primary place must surely be given to that language which had its origins in Latium, and later proved so admirable a means for the spreading of Christianity throughout the West.

And since in God's special Providence this language united so many nations together under the authority of the Roman Empire -- and that for so many centuries -- it also became the rightful language of the Apostolic See. Preserved for posterity, it proved to be a bond of unity for the Christian peoples of Europe.

Of its very nature Latin is most suitable for promoting every form of culture among peoples. It gives rise to no jealousies. It does not favor any one nation, but presents itself with equal impartiality to all and is equally acceptable to all.

Nor must we overlook the characteristic nobility of Latin for mal structure. Its "concise, varied and harmonious style, full of majesty and dignity" makes for singular clarity and impressiveness of expression.



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Thursday, August 14, 2014


My mum's hair went completely white, like snowy, by the time she was about fifty, I think. It started to go pretty fast when she was in her forties. Mine took a little longer to get started, but it's going just as fast. I've been looking forward for years to having completely snowy white hair.

Salt n' pepper never did anyone any favours, so I generally cover it up with some henna/indigo stuff I get from Lush, but I don't dye it any more. They told me after I got my new post-chemo hair not to do any chemical treatment to it until it regained its normal texture, which took a little over a year. It's been back to normal (though it grew more slowly for a lot longer) for about the same amount of time, and now I just mostly can't be arsed to do any colouring.

But I'm still quite looking forward to the totally snowy white look. And when it goes there, I might just do something like in the pic above for a bit of a laugh. In fact, so much white is in there now, I'm thinking it might be fun to just go get it done on purpose. I hear that's a thing now.

I've never really been afraid of getting old because I grew up largely around much older people, and I've always preferred the company of older people. My grandma of course, was a huge influence, but also my mum had this friend, Joan Reid, a perfectly delightful human being, a real lady. She also had perfect, long, shiny snowy white hair which she always wore up and which I admired very much when I was a child.

The one thing I really dreaded regarding my appearance as I get older was the "poodle do". I always loathed that thing that ladies of a certain generation always did in getting a short haircut permed into this awful poodle look. Horrible!


I had very good role models as I was growing up, and I've always thought it is an awful burden to be young. Young people are dumb. No matter how much raw intelligence they might possess, they just don't know anything. And especially in our times, when they've abolished all the rules, it's even worse, since no one will tell you how you're supposed to live and what to do. You have to spend so much more time stumbling around the world trying to figure things out as you go along. I remember being young and it was awful, just awful! And with every year that I get older, the easier and better and happier my life gets.

One of the nicest conversations I had with Fr. Cassian at the Norcia monastery was just a wee chat on the steps of the church one morning after Mass. I said that it must be difficult being the oldest one in a monastery of quite young men (I think his sub-prior isn't even out of his thirties yet! and he's the most senior one). He said that while it was sometimes a bit difficult, he was just glad not to be so young himself any more. I agreed wholeheartedly and said, "Yes, being young was awful, wasn't it?" "Awful!" he agreed with feeling.



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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tash is Aslan; Aslan is Tash!


I hope there aren't too many people still proposing the idea that "after all, we all worship the same God."

To this, I hope we don't have to go looking for pictures of beheaded three year-old Chaldean Catholic children or piles of dehydrating bodies on a Kurdish mountainside.

Instead, let's have a little thought experiment:

A duck walks into a room. It weighs approximately one and a half tonnes, has lots of baggy grey skin, big flappy ears and trumpets its entrance very loudly through its long, prehensile nose.

I must say that I am getting a little fed up, whenever I or any of my sane friends say, "Hey, that's not a duck! it's an elephant!" of having everyone around us turn, point and screech "HATER!"

Please,” said the Lamb, “I can’t understand. What have we to do with the Calormenes? We belong to Aslan. They belong to Tash. They say Tash has four arms and the head of a vulture. They kill Men on his altar . . . how could Aslan be friends with him?” ...

“Baby!” he hissed. “Silly little bleater! Go home to your mother and drink milk. What do you understand of such things? But you others, listen. Tash is only another name for Aslan. All that old idea of us being right and the Calormenes wrong is silly. We know better now. The Calormenes use different words but we all mean the same thing. Tash and Aslan are only two different names for you know Who. That’s why there can never be any quarrel between them. Get that into your heads, you stupid brutes. Tash is Aslan: Aslan is Tash.”



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Saturday, August 09, 2014

Saturday goofing off


OK, so you know that thing where people sing the funny weird lyrics they think is in the song just from hearing it for years, and it's hilarious because it's all gibberish and nonsense? Well, I guess They Might be Giants thought that was hilarious too...

"I'm sick of this beeswax...I'm sick of these second-story Sleestaks..." Oh me too! (Bonus Gen-X nerd-points if you know what a Sleestak is without Googling.)

I get it, Internet, I really do. Gaza, Iraq, ISIS, ebola, Synod/schism, gay marriage, Siberian Cthulhu... it's all comin' for us. And I realise we ought to be running around outside and pointing up at the sky and screaming, and falling to our knees and begging God to spare us and stuff... but I figure if it's all going to come crashing down and we all have to go live in the Mad Max world for the rest of our unpleasant and short lives, we might as well get as much fooling around and goofing off done as possible while we still can, right?


Points of interest for the day:

- So, watching archaeology videos on YouTube you often have to watch dumb adverts that have become my main means of keeping up with the weird crap Modernia gets up to. Today's was an advert from a guy who works as a "designer" for Lego telling us all about the latest thing from Lego, which is a Lego Mini Cooper... yah, that's the latest thing the kids will love. A Lego Mini Cooper.

What the hell, Lego? Why do you even have "designers"? How come Lego now only comes in these kit things that make you build what they say. I thought the point of legos was that you built stuff you made up yourself. Now it's all "Lego-X wing" and "Lego Ferrari". What's fun about that? Why not just give the kid an X-wing?

I realise that Community is a show for Gen-Xers and ... whatever the thing is that came after us... and it's all about how none of us ever managed to grow up and we all want to go back to building blanket forts and playing paintball in high school, but srsly, do kids even still build blanket forts? Are we the last generation to know how? Do they even still make space ships and time machines out of cardboard boxes? Or is it all Lego pre-fab kits for building little models of the latest iPad?

Oh, and apparently people take this so seriously that there are a dozen "review" videos on YT by grownups talking about the Lego Mini Cooper. No, I'm not even making that up to be ironic.

Every time I can be bothered to look at it, Modernia makes me anxious and confused.

~ * ~
This picture of Malta. You're welcome.

~ * ~

- Wait, what?! They banned Lawn Darts? Seriously?! What's next, Croquet? Because it's a mean game and kids could get mad and belt each other over the head with the mallets?

Back in the 1970s (and earlier), parents didn’t stress about our health and safety as much as they do today. It’s not that they cared less – they just didn’t worry compulsively about it.

I've got an idea why. The parents of young children today are my age and a bit younger, and we were all raised in the Cold War thinking we're all about to die. No wonder we're all jumpy as water in a hot fry pan.

(Also, all morning I've been laughing out loud, for realsies, every time I read the phrase, "...belt each other over the heads with the mallets..." because I'm evil or something, I guess.)

~ * ~

- Here's a thing about Rome's sculptural skeletons. Yep, yep, yep. These things are TOTally awesome, and they're all over the place in the Festering Old Town.

~ * ~


- Also, here's something that will make you jealous. Lemon Cisk. (you pronounce the "ci" in Malti, as in Italian, like "ch" in "church.") I guzzled quite a lot of this stuff, and discovering it was a revelation. There's only one drawback (well, two if you count the sugar) and that's that it is only sold in Malta. Sorry.

Moretti makes a lemon lager that I tried the other day, but it wasn't as good. Not beery enough and too sweet.

I suppose I could buy a regular beer and add some in a glass. I realise it would be cheaper and easier than moving to Malta. But...

Maybe I'll just put lemon in my beer in summer.

(Yes, Malta is that great. In fact, wait, the video ad makes it look way more boring than it is.)

~ * ~

One last thing: Hey BillyHW... you still out there, boy? Shout if you're still alive.



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Friday, August 08, 2014

Contacts

Just to remind everyone, if you want to email me, the old address, quicustodiet... etc. is dead. Due to some inexplicable glitch by Yahoo, I was locked out of my account at that address. V. annoying since it was the one I'd used as a blogger and for all my private correspondence for over ten years.

If you've been sending anything to that address and I haven't responded, that's why. I've not been able to get into it, despite all the best efforts of computer-geek friends, since abruptly being locked out last February.

I've put my work address in the profile in case anyone wants to communicate privately.



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Friday, August 01, 2014


Sci fi author John C. Wright talks about what happened when he decided not to go along with the sexual revolution no more...

The other day I wrote a thing for Lifesite about the cost of conversion, even conversion from sexual libertinism to sexual continence, that often involves alienation from family and friends and can end or drastically alter career paths...

I was 41 years old when I heard an argument that convinced me to no longer to support the pro-homosexual position. Logic forced me, very much against my inclinations, to adopt the pro-chastity position. I was not a Christian at the time, nor was I destined to become a Christian for quite some time. But I had mightily offended Christianity’s main rival religion in America, which is a death cult called Secular Progressivism. And Progressivism is a jealous God. A pro-chastity atheist is not welcome there.

...
I told one amateur reporter from one amateur school newspaper about my conversion, and in a moment every webpage that mentioned my name now was aflame with hatred and contumely because I was a humble, meek, and mild follower of Christ, and I had vowed no longer to hurt or hate my enemies, but to love them.


This is one of the opening-day offerings from my old bloggie buddy Steve Skojec's new project, 1 Peter 5.

Go. Read. You won't be sorry.



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It's not Cthulhu...


Nope, sorry.

It's a pingo that had its ice plug popped out by gas pushing up from below.

I know, I know, I also wish it were Cthulhu, but pingos are pretty cool too...

They're a feature in the tundra, where ice builds up under the layer of earth on top of permafrost and forms a thing that is, essentially, a big ice-pimple. When the permafrost is covering the world's largest natural gas field, I guess they also occasionally pop like pimples too.


But what both of these do look like is the work of a pingo - a natural geological process that experts have theorized formed the first hole after the initial on-site investigation. According to the British Society for Geomorphology, pingos occur when elevated temperatures cause rising ground water to build and push a mass of ice towards the surface. Once the ice pops like a cork from a Champaign bottle, it melts away, leaving a very deep hole and ice water.

Still, that doesn't mean that experts should simply ignore the accounts of excited locals, no matter how fantastical they may seem. A bright flash? An explosion? It's possible considering the second hole discovered is relatively close to a huge natural gas extraction plant.

Pingos



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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Psst... want to live in Santa Marinella?




Am posting this around in appropriate places...
I've got a nice room available in a large and sunny flat near the beach in Santa Marinella. It's suitable for a sensible student or a working person (for someone who doesn't mind a painless train commute). Must be tidy, cat-tolerant, and like good food, good books and friendly company (different languages OK). S. Mar is a very quiet and friendly, pleasant town out of Rome but within shouting distance. Ladies only please. Rent 400 + bills.


S. Marinella in spring.


Our promenade in April