Friday, July 18, 2014

You can't kill people to solve your problems... or theirs

The peculiar British, utilitarianism-derived terror of "being a burden" is being exploited by the Death-peddlers.

As someone who was recently "a burden" on my loved ones, I can affirm that it made me a better person, more able to love and accept love from others, less interested in maintaining my white-knuckle grip on my own way in life.

The Brits are suffering from 200 years of philosophical and moral corruption that was visited on their culture by the secularist instinct that grew up like a cancer in the 18th century after the compromises and logical contradictions of the English Reformation failed to hold.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

A Victim of my own success...

Here's the problem with being a good cook. You look in the fridge and freezer, and discover you've got got zucchini, asparagus, little whole mushrooms, red onion, shrimps, cream and curry paste. You think, "Hmm... I'll just put those together and make an experiment. It probably won't work very well, but at least I'll be able to have a little bit of something before gym-time."

Putting them together to make a curry turns out to work magnificently, but then you think, curry's no fun without rice, so you make a bunch of tasty vietnamese rice noodles to go with it. In the end, you've made something you really want to eat.

Unfortunately you want to eat it so much that you pretty much eat all of it in one go, thus making futile your plans to go to the gym after a "light" lunch, because now all you want to do is have a little lie down.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014

When people have worked together a long, long time...

Editor: Oh come on, this is fun!

Hilary: Sure, kinda like riding a 50 year-old roller coaster in an ex-Soviet satellite state. It's fun right up to the moment it decapitates you.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Possibly the weirdest Beatles cover I've ever seen

in a lifetime of Beatles covers.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Bustin' a White n' Nerdy move.

This was 2007, and the guy was already in his fifties.

In. his. fifties!


Crushed on Donny Osmond

I have a crush on Donny Osmond, and I don’t care who knows it
After years of being THE teen boy-king, with the millions of screaming teenage girl fans around the world, he was suddenly a joke. Indeed, I remember the girls in school mocking him (which was a pretty unattractive thing for them to do, come to think of it). He wasn’t just forgotten, as the video says, but hated. And I think it has taken me until now to understand, to see why that particular brand of sneering hatred seems so familiar.

I listened to this documentary this weekend while puttering about my flat, and it struck me that neither Piers nor Donny himself had completely understood why the public had rejected him so powerfully.


Donny Osmond, with his whole family, represented something more than just silly teeny-bopper pop songs. They were sold as the “clean” pop act of their time, happy, innocent and cheerful. They made their name not only as a talented family act, but as one dedicated to the old fashioned religious-based virtues that had been hugely popular since the end of World War II. They were, in fact, the living embodiment of an innocent enjoyment of youth and, yes, I’ll say it, romantic love, that itself turned to “industry poison” at exactly that historical moment.

All growed up.


OK, I admit it

I've started using Twitter.


Of herbs and stewed fenek

I am proud to announce that I have tripled my Maltese vocabulary. I now know three words of Malti: "Kappillan," "Bonju," and "fenek". Which, really, is pretty much all a good Catholic needs. Maybe I should learn to say, "What time are confessions at this parish?"

Fenek is the Maltese national dish.


1/2 fenek, cut up into pieces
3 bay leaves,
handful of chopped sage
1/2 a lemon
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 sticks celery chopped
2-3 cups white wine
tablespoon or so of honey
dash of Lea n' Perrin's
little whole mushrooms
olive oil

Peel, chop and place in the bottom of your cast iron-enamel Dutch oven all the veg, including the garlic. On top, place the pieces of fenek. Drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle the sage over top, with a dash of salt n' pep. In a coffee cup, mix the white wine, lea-Perrins, juice of half the lemon and the honey. Mix vigorously, then pour over the fenek.

Pop the lid on and put in a medium oven for a long time. An hour at least.


So good! So so soooo good!


Good and bad Fantasy

Dallas Road Beach, Victoria, BC

So, a few days ago, I was having a discussion about what constitutes "cute". My friend and I agreed that miniature versions of things are nearly always cute. (This might be part of the appeal of Malta...)

It reminds me of my childhood attraction to tree and beach driftwood forts which I built nearly constantly from age six to twelve: a smaller and more contained and sort of fantasy version of the humdrum home I was used to.

Forts could become anything. Very often my tree fort was a pirate ship, but it doubled as the Tardis, the Enterprise and as an unspecified castle in Narnia under seige by Orcs, Morlocks and Calormenes. A whole world that was contained in my brain.

It's funny what your brain tells you. Most of my life, beaches looked like this:

And a beach without driftwood all over it was simply dull. What are you going to lean on when you're reading your book? How are you to build a fort if there's nothing but sand? What are you going to climb around on if there's no rocks? What's the point of a beach that's covered in sand where all you can do is just lie there? How boring is that?

It still throws me off and I'm afraid I look at Santa Marinella's beach culture as dumb, dull and pointless. Beaches are for climbing around on the rocks, gazing deep into tide pools and building forts. Period.


Tuesday, July 08, 2014

The ever-tightening vice

Via Facebook this morning.

BATON ROUGE, LA 70821-2028
PHONE: 225-387-0561 FAX: 225-336-8789

July 7, 2014

Official Statement of the Diocese of Baton Rouge
With Respect To
Supreme Court of Louisiana, Docket No. 2013-C-2879
Court of Appeals – First Circuit, Docket No. 2013-CW-0316

By matter of policy, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge does not normally comment on
pending legal cases, especially when the plaintiff files the case under seal. The Church respects the request
for sealing of the record and will not make statements. However, in the instant case, even though the district
court record is under seal, the opinion issued by the Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Baton Rouge
and the Writ opinion by the Supreme Court of Louisiana are not under seal.

Since those two opinions are public record and the media has contacted the Church for comment, we provide this statement of the position of the Catholic Church and Fr. Jeff Bayhi.

The issue as it relates to the “Church defendants” (Fr. Bayhi and the Diocese of Baton Rouge) attacks the seal of confession and the attempt by the plaintiffs to have the court compel testimony from the priest, Fr. Bayhi, as to whether or not there were confessions and, if so, what the contents of any such confessions were.

We contend that two conflicting statutes of the State of Louisiana are involved regarding mandatory reporting of knowledge concerning alleged sexual abuse or neglect of minors.

The case in question does not allege any such charge against any clergy, religious or paid staff member of the diocese. The Church has great compassion for those who have indicated an experience of such egregious misconduct.

The issue before the District Court, the First Circuit Court of Appeals and the Louisiana Supreme Court assaults the heart of a fundamental doctrine of the Catholic faith as relating to the absolute seal of sacred communications (Confession/Sacrament of Reconciliation).

The Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that the seal of confession preempted the Civil Court from ordering the priest to testify as to whether or not there was a confession and, if so, what the contents
of the confession revealed
. The Court of Appeals for the First Circuit dismissed the case against both Fr.
Bayhi and the Catholic Church of the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

A Writ of Certiorari was filed by the plaintiffs to the Supreme Court of Louisiana. The Supreme Court of Louisiana granted the Writ, reversed and vacated the First Circuit Court of Appeals judgment, in its entirety, reinstated the judgment of the trial court, and remanded for further proceedings in the District Court to hold a hearing concerning whether or not there was a “confession.” We contend that such a procedure is a clear violation of the Establishment Clause of the U. S. Constitution. The Supreme Court of Louisiana cannot order the District Court to do that which no civil court possibly can—determine what constitutes the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the Catholic Church. Indeed, both state and federal jurisprudence make clear that there is no jurisdiction to adjudicate claims that turn upon such purely religious questions.

A foundational doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church for thousands of years mandates that the seal of confession is absolute and inviolable. Pursuant to his oath to the Church, a priest is compelled never to break that seal. Neither is a priest allowed to admit that someone went to confession to him. If necessary, the priest would have to suffer a finding of contempt in a civil court and suffer imprisonment rather than violate his sacred duty and violate the seal of confession and his duty to the penitent.

This is not a gray area in the doctrines of the Roman Catholic Church. A priest/confessor who violates the seal of confession incurs an automatic excommunication reserved for forgiveness to the Apostolic See in Vatican City, Italy.

In this case, the priest acted appropriately and would not testify about the alleged confessions. Church law does not allow either the plaintiff (penitent) or anyone else to waive the seal of confession.

This matter cuts to the core of the Catholic faith, and for a civil court to inquire as to whether or not
a factual situation establishes the Sacrament of Confession is a clear and unfettered violation of the
Establishment Clause of the Constitution of the United States
. This matter is of serious consequence to all
religions, not just the Catholic faith. The statutes involved in this matter address “sacred communications”
which are confidential and are exempt from mandatory reporting. In other words, Protestant ministers,
Jewish Rabbis, clergy of the Muslim religion, etc. all counsel and receive sacred communication of a
confidential nature which are covered by these statutes.

The position of the Diocese of Baton Rouge and Fr. Bayhi is that the Supreme Court of Louisiana has
run afoul of the constitutional rights of both the Church and the priest, more particularly, has violated the
Establishment Clause and the separation of Church and State under the first amendment. For a civil court
to impinge upon the freedom of religion is a clear violation and the matter will be taken to the highest court
in the land by the Church in order to protect its free exercise of religion.

Welcome to the new normal.