Sunday, August 31, 2008

Anniversary


Huh. Funny. I started this blog on Katrina Day three years ago.

Looks like we're heading into round two.

Officials expressed concern for the rest of the metro area as well, noting that extensive planned improvements to levees and flood walls throughout the city's intricate web of canals and waterways had not yet been completed.


And hey, guess what? A bunch of N'orliners are refusing to leave again. And they've got the same mayor.

Suddenly I feel three years younger.

Is there some reason anyone moved back after Katrina? I think I recall Kathy and others asking, rather pertinently, why a city was built below sea level in Hurricane Alley in the first place (oh yeah, the French...) And once it was totally knocked to smithereens, why, if they were determined to have a New Orleans, they didn't just build a new one futher inland, or perhaps on higher ground?

Can we give a Darwin Award to an entire city?

Muggeridge in 1979

Later on I want to say something about all this, showing how this humane holocaust, this dreadful slaughter that began with 50 million babies last year, will undoubtedly be extend-ed to the senile old and the mentally afflicted and mongoloid children, and so on, because of the large amount of money that maintaining them costs.

It is all the more ironical when one thinks about the holocaust western audiences, and the German population in particular, have been shuddering over, as it has been presented on their TV and cinema screens. Note this compassionate or humane holocaust, if, as I fear, it gains momentum, will quite put that other in the shade. And, as I shall try to explain, what is even more ironical, the actual considerations that led to the German holocaust were not, as is commonly suggested, due to Nazi terrorism, but were based upon the sort of legislation that advocates of euthanasia, or "mercy killing," in this country and in western Europe, are trying to get enacted.

It's not true that the German holocaust was simply a war crime, as it was judged to be at Nuremberg. In point of fact, it was based upon a perfectly coherent, legally enacted decree approved and operated by the German medical profession before the Nazis took over power. In other words, from the point of view of the Guinness Book of Records you can say that in our mad world

it takes about thirty years to transform a war crime into a compassionate act.

Yep.

In our time...

"In our time, all Greece was visited b a dearth of children and general decay of population...This evil grew upon us rapidly, and without attracting attention, by our men becoming perverted to a passion for show and money and the pleasures of an idle life."
Polybius

"We liberate slaves chiefly for the purpose of making out of them as many citizens as possible: we give our allies a share in the government that our numbers may increase; yet you, Romans of the original stock, including Quintii, Valerii, Iulli, are eager that your families and names at once shall perish with you."
Augustus

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A big Helloooo

Gosh, the internet is interesting. As I've probably said many times, I always more or less assume that I'm writing to myself and about five of my friends. I'm always surprised when I look at the site stats.

Today we have added some very far-flung guests indeed.

I'd like to extend a welcome to our new readers from

Kabul, Afghanistan
Beirut, Lebanon
Rosario, Argentina
Japan (exact place unspecified)
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan (Hi Dave!)
Budapest, Hungary
and Honiara, Solomon Islands

The Evil Empire

and it's equally evil subjects:

When a nimble Burman tripped me up on the football field and the referee (another Burman) looked the other way, the crowd yelled with hideous laughter. This happened more than once. In the end the sneering yellow faces of young men that met me everywhere, the insults hooted after me when I was at a safe distance, got badly on my nerves. The young Buddhist priests were the worst of all. There were several thousands of them in the town and none of them seemed to have anything to do except stand on street corners and jeer at Europeans.

All this was perplexing and upsetting. For at that time I had already made up my mind that imperialism was an evil thing and the sooner I chucked up my job and got out of it the better. Theoretically – and secretly, of course – I was all for the Burmese and all against their oppressors, the British. As for the job I was doing, I hated it more bitterly than I can perhaps make clear. In a job like that you see the dirty work of Empire at close quarters. The wretched prisoners huddling in the stinking cages of the lock-ups, the grey, cowed faces of the long-term convicts, the scarred buttocks of the men who had been Bogged with bamboos – all these oppressed me with an intolerable sense of guilt. But I could get nothing into perspective. I was young and ill-educated and I had had to think out my problems in the utter silence that is imposed on every Englishman in the East. I did not even know that the British Empire is dying, still less did I know that it is a great deal better than the younger empires that are going to supplant it.

All I knew was that I was stuck between my hatred of the empire I served and my rage against the evil-spirited little beasts who tried to make my job impossible. With one part of my mind I thought of the British Raj as an unbreakable tyranny, as something clamped down, in saecula saeculorum, upon the will of prostrate peoples; with another part I thought that the greatest joy in the world would be to drive a bayonet into a Buddhist priest's guts. Feelings like these are the normal by-products of imperialism; ask any Anglo-Indian official, if you can catch him off duty.

A Magnificent Genius

GAWWWWD but Orwell was a genius!

Sometimes I forget.

The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them . . . . To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies — all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.”


I remember when I first read 1984. I was fifteen and had asked my father (perhaps one of the last complete conversations I ever had with my gamete donor, now that I think of it) if it was good. He said, "It's painful, but good for you. A bit like going to the dentist".

"His mind slid away into the labyrinthine world of doublethink. To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully-constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them; to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy; to forget whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again: and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself. That was the ultimate subtlety: consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word 'doublethink' involved using doublethink.

I read it, and, having been raised on cheap trashy sci-fi and fantasy kid-lit, my fifteen year-old brain was only interested in plot and story, which I found highly unsatisfactory. But despite the total lack of romance, even the anti-romance of it, even on this simplistic, comic booky, soap opera level it was riveting, with characters you liked in spite of not wanting to. I recall perfectly that when I had stayed up to two am reading the last bit, when I got to the end, where Winston loves Big Brother, I was so mad, I flung the book across my room and wrote an outraged diary entry about it.

It was not for years afterward that I began to understand the incredible prescience of Orwell's ideas about where Things were going. A friend put me on to his essays, particularly Politics and the English Language. I moved on to Burmese Days, which made me loathe not the English Raj (which I suppose was the purpose) but their corrupt and amoral Asiatic subjects (just a born reactionary I guess).

Being, ultimately, just a girl, I cried when the elephant was shot. The mental picture of the huge placid beast yanking up tufts of grass, banging them on its knees to get the soil off, then stuffing them in its mouth, somehow arouses an almost maternal response.

How a man of this kind of intelligence could have remained a socialist, even after having fought with them in the Spanish Civil War, remains a mystery to me. Perhaps it is one of those cases of the darkening of the intellect brought on by Original Sin.

Here's a low-key quiz for a warm sunny Saturday:

1) How many Orwell books have you read?

2) Which ones do you remember best?

3) Which ones haven't you read, but have either actively lied about reading, or passively allowed people to assume you've read?

4) Which ones made you think differently about the world?

Friday, August 29, 2008

For those not quite gettting it

welcome home from Mars.

...and on that cheery note...

how about a little poetry?

An update from the Idylls of the Ring series:

The Plain of Rohan (after the style of William Blake)

"I draw my sword, by Elves remade."
"I bend my bow, of Lorien bole."
"I swing my axe, O Orc-heads, roll!"
"We arm ourselves with shaft, dart, blade!
We will pursue, though dark the sky,
The trail across the horsemen's lands,
Till we have caught the Uruk-Hai,
And snatched the hobbits from their hands."




The author notes: "I modified the rhyming scheme in the first half (ABBA instead of ABAB): this was to put Aragorn first, of course."

Desperate makes you stupid, I guess

When Ester Blandford was born, 18 months ago, the Swedish state did all it could to ease her way into the world — and encourage her parents to have even more kids. Her mother, Therese, 29, a children's librarian in the small southern town of Nyhamnsl√§ge, took 15 months off work, most of it at 80% pay, to care for the baby, her first child. She now works part-time. Ester's dad, Christian, also 29, a physical therapist, stays home one day a week to help out. He too gets 80% pay from the state for the day spent with his daughter.


80% for fifteen months?!

A state that is willing to bankrupt itself to try to get it's people to perpetuate the species.

And the result?

A whopping 0.21 increase in the Swedish general fertility rate from totally catastrophic to merely disastrous: 1.5 children per woman in 1999 to 1.71.

Yep.

That's socialism.

Bang or Whimper?

Place your bets, ladies and gentlemen.

Hurry though, because the House is closing down for the night.

A long night.

Get it right

I wish these American conservative bigots would get their facts straight:

Clifford May writes:
In Canada, "human rights commissions" attempt to enforce this taboo by putting such writers as Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant on trial for the "crime" of expressing opinions that offend Islamic grievance groups — and also for quoting Islamists accurately and thereby casting them in an unfavorable light. If that’s not Orwellian, what is?


No no NO!

It's not a trial for a crime; it's a human rights complaint. The HRCs do not prosecute crimes.

The difference is very important.

In criminal cases, courts are bound to observe things like rules of evidence and procedure, presumption of innocence, the right to confront accusers. In a criminal case the important thing are facts and the law.

If HRCs were bound by these things,

well...

the country would be governed by the rule of law.

Then who could we complain to about our feelings?

Sheesh

It's politically incorrect day

One of the troubles with writing about the population crises is that people get all upset when you start asking certain difficult questions.

For example (this one's for you Anastasia, just to see if you're still obsessing over my racism), I saw a news report today that says that "France" is "growing" in population.

Now let's pause for a moment to examine this statement, to ask for a few definitions and clarifications.

By "France" are we referring to the geographical region at 46 00 N, 2 00 E ? The largest country of Western Europe, bordered by Belgium, Luxembourg, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Monaco, Andorra, and Spain.?

Or are we talking about something else?

Something to do with wine, truffles, cathedrals, Edith Piaf, literature, philosophy, cheese, lace making, Charlemagne, Capetians and Carolingians, Bourbons and Valois, the Lex Salica...

You see, to understand the assertion that the population of "France" is growing, we need to know what "France" is. Are we talking about The French? Or are we just talking about people who live between 46 00 N and 2 00 E ? Does living within those geographic boundaries make one "French"? Or is it something else?

Immigration is singled out as the sole mitigating factor, seen as crucial to maintaining population growth. But the report says this probably will not be enough to reverse the trend of population decline in many countries.

The survey predicts that Britain's population by 2060 will increase by 25% from the current figure of just over 61 million to almost 77 million.

Germany is the biggest country in the EU, with more than 82 million people, but it is likely to shed almost 12 million by 2060, says the report. The widely praised family policies and support of working women in France means that the French population will rise to almost 72 million by 2060.


Here's some stats:

Total population: 60,876,136 (not including colonies)

Median age of women: 40.7 years

Total fertility rate: 1.98 children born/woman

According to the French National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies, France has an estimated 4.9 million foreign-born immigrants, of which 2 million have acquired French citizenship. France is the leading asylum destination in Western Europe with an estimated 50,000 applications in 2005.

With the median age of women in France well over the age at which women find it easy to conceive, are we not talking about a canoe that is just about to tip over the edge of the falls?

Perhaps the news reports are exaggerated a little. Maybe they mean that it's not so much that "France is growing" as it is shrinking, largely due to immigration, somewhat less quickly than most other European countries. Which might look like growth, in the same way that a car going 40 mph on the highway looks like it is standing still to someone doing 120.

I feel fine


When depressed about the end of the world, just sing along...

Chastisements

I was discussing with a friend the other day about the puzzling of officialdom over the infertility crisis.

In the UK, male infertility is still being referred to in the media as a "crisis".

A quick glance at the google news search will reveal that quite a number of possible causes are being investigated. Men are warned not to use a laptop on their laps. Mobile phones, which, despite their ubiquity are still a very new technology, are eyed suspiciously. Scientists watching the average British waistline bulging out are issuing warnings about the connection between male infertility and obesity and diabetes. Some have even said that various toxic household chemicals that men typically handle like motor oil, anti-freeze and turpentine affects fertility.

But of course, apart from a few environmental scientists and a few religious nuts (that's us) no one is bothering their heads over the enormous quantity of artificial hormones that have been flushed into the world's water systems in the last 40 years.

Ah yes the Pill. Saviour of the human race. Nice little irony there, wot?

What's even more fun is watching the heads of the leftist Environutters explode when they try to talk about the massive increase in environmental oestrogens and the damage it's doing to the newts and voles while continuing to tout the wonders of artificial hormones to keep the human vermin from proliferating.

"Now listen to me carefully Norman...I'm lying"

Anyway, we agreed that there was quite a bit of justice, if of a somewhat Grecian kind, in the stupid Euros having rendered themselves incapable of having children.

Be careful what you wish for.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

More later

I've got about two hundred Caldey pics.

I'll ration them a bit I think.

Caldey: the Holy Isle

Caldey Island is one of the Holy Isles of Britain. The official history books say there have been monks on the island since the 6th century, but there is a little sign in the monks' garden that says there are signs of Celtic monastics on the island going back to the third century. The heavenly odor of sanctity comes off the rocks there.

Plus, there are ducks.

You start in Tenby, on the pier, paying a rather hefty ten quid for a return ticket in the open boat. There is a Royal Mail boat that goes out early enough to get you to the monks' daily Mass, but no one wants to get up that early on holiday.

Us,

all our stuff

plus about thirty-eight other passengers, and all their picnic stuff.


leaving Tenby, Wales, and this world, to go Somewhere Else


St. Catherine's Island and Castle hill from the other side


The first thing you see is this, completely serene and empty beach


where the only thing to do is swim in the stupidly cold water, and then dig a really big hole in the sand.

Me in my bathing costume (and cardie, of course), giving a show to the Tenby binoculars-gazers on the other side of the straight.

Julie insisted on getting in

Freakshow



Straying from the soothing wonders of Wales for a moment, to have a quick, but noisesome slog through the muck of American Catholic politics, (oh, I can't be bothered to find a link. Here, look it up yourselves.)

a friend was asked by Protestant inquirers: "From what Catholic freakshow did Pelosi, Biden, Kerry, & Teddy Kennedy escape?"

he offers, briefly:

Quebec is the best place to look, sez I, for the beginning of an understanding of the problem. It was like a dam burst, all at once, about 1960. Literally, centuries of restraint within a pre-modern Catholic order, which had effectively survived from the Late Middle Ages without significant alteration, turned overnight into total antinomian chaos, with a sudden explosive loss of faith. Some monasteries, & especially nunneries, have cracked like this, too: an overnight bust-up from tight Catholic discipline to screaming heebees.

We acknowledge that the result of such dam-bursts is worse than if the people had never been Catholic at all. It is as if they instantly switched sides, en masse, from Christ to Satan, whereas, something a little more Protestant & moderate might have been preferable.

What we have in USA & English-speaking Canada now is (mostly) more subtle & individualized.

Our Premier McGuinty in Ontario here came from a family like the Democrats you mentioned. The parents were pretty Catholic, but trying very hard to integrate into a Protestant world. The kids all "broke out" into post-modernity. They retained their Catholic "ethnicity" as if it were their "right" -- in the case of politicians, their "right" to the Catholic vote, as it were -- but nothing more.

They truly despise Catholic teaching, & look on their fellow Catholics as "backward" -- the way the Democrat elite looks on all their constituencies. They desperately crave acceptance as "ethnic Catholics" from non-Catholics.

Their Catholic identity becomes a kind of demented narcissism.

More

When the tide is out, St. Catherine's island stops being an island.

The Big Scary Yellow Thing was out for a few hours when we got there, and I had a hard time not jumping in the water. Vitamin O, being sadly lacking in the atmosphere around here.

The Victorian hotels up on the bluff. (I know; I thought the sky was a funny colour too. Happily, the Yellow Thing went away later and the next day, the sky was back to it's normal colour and we could put our proper cardies and woolies back on.)

All along the beach there are these wonderful sea caves. I failed to get pics. Sorry.

My nice young friend Julie. Her last weekend before starting at Manchester University.


Albert, the beloved prince. Tenby, after centuries of war, fishing and trade with France and Spain, finally found its true vocation as a seaside resort for Victorian English people. Seaside holidays are a proper English institution.



No seaside holiday resort would be complete without a carriage ride. Here's the horse having his morning shower before going off to work. It was about 9 am.


A typical street in the medieval part of Tenby, that within the walls, that is. At the end, you can see the grey stone building. That's the Tudor Merchant's house that is reputed to be haunted. On the right is the Caldey Island shop where you can buy lots of really good Catholic stuff as well as some of the excellent chocolate made by the monks.


Tenby harbour, looking towards the castle. Count three from the left, big brown building, skinny white building, then the blue one, then the road that leads up to the castle. Next to that is the arch leading down to castle beach. Looking down is the fisherman's church where Evensong is still offered on Sundays. The place really is tiny. I was supposed to meet Julie "in fifteen minutes" at the five arches outside the walls, from a book shop in front of the Tudor house. I hurried. Silly me.


Looking back up to where I was standing to take the last one.


Julie, who doesn't mind being pushed around. I'd strongly recommend anyone who goes on holiday take a wheelchair. When your friend doesn't need it to walk around, you can put all the bags and picnic baskets, and beach things, and umbrellas on it. When she does need it, you can put all that stuff on her lap.

In addition, when you've got a wheelchair with you, people whom you've never met before, become extremely nice and helpful. Also, when faced with a steep downward incline, it's fun to jump on the back and ride down.

Dinbych-y-Pysgod,

"little town of the fishes or little fortress of the fish" or "Tenby" has been a fishing town since at least the 9th century, but archaeologists have found remains of humans and their tools dating back 40,000 years in the area.

Had a wonderful time. And the big scary shiny thing in the sky, hardly ever came out to bother us.

I liked the beach best.


from the north beach towards the harbour and the castle.


fisherman's chapel on the harbour


and the 13th century defensive walls were pretty cool


view through the arrow slots in the wall


Tenby castle, first built in Norman times and mostly destroyed by the time of the Civil War.


St. Catherine's Island, with its Victorian prison and holy Caldey Island in the distance.


More castle and pretty pastel coloured houses of Tenby.




Castle beach and city walls.

There's one gone..

Thought for the day

At last, someone more politically incorrect than me:


How the Olympics ought to be:

It was the Salmon Mousse!

Speaking of the afterlife:

All things rude and nasty, the Lord God made the lot

Ten miles an hour?!

Anyone remember that very silly movie with Robin Williams about the afterlife?

Guy dies and his wife commits suicide. He gets to...well, not really heaven, but anyway, the gnostic afterlife I guess, and he wants to go rescue his wife from hell.

He gets to hell and it's more or less like the Greek afterlife and his wife barely remembers him, but she is plagued with spiders that crawl around and are all over the place.

To me, that's definitely hell.

Spiders = hell.

Don't click this link if you don't like pictures of big spiders.
Found in desert regions, camel spiders can grow up to 6ins and reach speeds of up to 10mph, making them devils to catch.

[The family] are now refusing to return to the property until the killer spider is captured by the RSPCA.


I should bloody well say so!

Every time I learn something more about Afghanistan, I'm convinced that it is somewhere no one would or should want to live.

All together now...

All things dull and ugly, all creatures short and squat
All things rude and nasty, the Lord God made the lot
Each little snake that poisons, each little wasp that stings
He made their brutish venom, He made their horrid wings

All things sick and cancerous, all evil great and small
All things foul and dangerous, the Lord God made them all
Each nasty little hornet, each beastly little squid
Who made the spiky urchin? Who made the shark? He did

All things scabbed and ulcerous, all pox both great and small
Putrid, foul and gangrenous, the Lord God made them all

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Got new doohickey

and loads of pics that I don't have time right now to post. But there's some good stuff coming. Castles. Monasteries. Ruins. English flora and fauna. Giant mushrooms. Miniature horses. Wonders and prodigies.

Later.

Meanwhile, I went to the Curry's in Chester today (a shop in which, to my great disappointment when I first arrived, one cannot buy any curry at all), and the guy there was only too happy to show me their full range of gadgets that allow one to go "fully mobile". They've got this thing where you plug the thing into the back of your blackberry and it makes a "virtual keyboard" as a hologram sort of thing that you can actually type on... just like in the movies! And there are teeny weeny laptops that weigh next to nothing that fit into your handbag. And they've got this thing where you plug a thing like a USB stick into the computer and it picks up an internet signal like a mobile phone...

Hoo! I am beginning to like the modern world. Imagine me with a holographic keyboard! Neat!

I will likely need to go mobilissimus soon since, it might as well be announced officially, I'm working on making a semi-permanent/indefinite move to Rome. Probably some time later this winter.

Hooo Boy! Rome!

Life, as Ferris Beueller was wont to say, moves pretty fast.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Tenby



and Caldey Island pics will have to wait.


To my great annoyance, I have lost the doohickey that takes the pictures off my camera and puts them into my computer. It's a kind of a plastic thingy with a little plug-in thing on the end...

you know.

Anyway, gotta go buy a new one.

But Tenby !

Gosh!

Here are some other people's pics:


With respect to Bill and Ted, air guitar does not reduce air pollution.

But apparently medieval stained glass windows do.

"For centuries people appreciated only the beautiful works of art, and long life of the colors, but little did they realize that these works of art are also, in modern language, photocatalytic air purifier with nanostructured gold catalyst," said Zhu Huai Yong, a material scientist at the Queensland University of Technology...

An electromagnetic field generated by sunlight couples with the gold electrons' oscillations to create a resonance, said Zhu.


Science is just so very cool!

I, me, mine

It really does say everything that needs to be said about Novusordoism, doesn't it?

"I looked all around for the tabernacle in the dim light," the Congregation of Jesus nun admitted to UCA News, "but all I could see was a small ceiling fan, a tube light and a gigantic mirror on a wall."

The sari-clad nun, 32, began wondering why the room did not even have a crucifix, but then her eye caught a black, wooden sign above the two-square-meter mirror. Written on it were the English words "God within" and a phrase in Sanskrit, "Aham brahmasmi (I am God)."

Monday, August 25, 2008

I'm Hooooooome!

Just back from a long weekend in



and am feeling very groovy.

More later with pics.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Apparently, we need to revisit The Rules

Rule one: "God-like powers"
I'm the boss.

That means I'm the absolute ruler. The person with my finger over the Smite button. It also means that I apply the rules with a capricious and whimsical arbitrariness according to my mood, the weather or how many cups of tea I've had.

No rules apply, either democratic or otherwise, to my blog other than my own. This is not a democracy. Those who complain are encouraged to be men and not whiney crybabies. If you keep a civil tone, own manfully up to your statements and say intelligent things related to the posts, the odds are about even that you will not incur my Smite button.

If I'm in a mood or it is raining, or I've received my BT bill that day, or I'm having a row with someone, or if it is a full moon Tuesday in a leap year, I will not ask politely; I will merely push the Smite button and enjoy watching you gurgle down the drain.

If I'm in a particularly nasty mood, which I frequently am, I will apply my time-tested three-fold punishment for Those Who Annoy: Public ridicule and mockery; scorn and humiliation; Smite.

There is no appeal process.

Rule two: "Nasty"
Anyone posting Nasty under an obviously assumed name or anonymously has no reason to expect not to be deleted; we don't do nasty here. Cowards hide behind false names or no name. We don't do cowardice here either.

The only person at this site who is allowed to be unpleasant is me. (cf. Rule One, above)

Rule three: "Trolls"
People making unpleasant comments or using an incivil tone will not be asked to leave; they will be deleted without comment.

I do not feed trolls.

And a "troll" is defined, according to my own entirely arbitrary criteria, as anyone I don't like or whose tone offends me personally.

Remember Rule one: my blog is my universe.

Rule four: "Pseudonyms"
Posters have to use a real or plausible-sounding name. We use real names here. The kind used on driving(ers) licenses and birth certificates. We do not use pseudonyms or monikers. If you sign in as "Sage Mossyrock", (and no, I don't care, actually, how many years you have been using it on the 'net) you will be asked to show proof that this is indeed the name your mother gave you. If you cannot provide convincing proof, and if I'm feeling particularly magnanimous, you will be asked politely but firmly to change it to something less obviously made up or to leave.

If you cannot resist the temptation to hide your identity, you may call yourself something like "Ian" or "George" or "Janet" or "Mary". This will serve to keep your Big Important Identity a state secret whilst avoiding the tiresome implication that you and your insufferable ego have a Big Important Identity to keep secret.

If you really are a Person of Consequence who would be sacked or kicked out of the seminary for posting a comment here, you may email me and convince me that your case merits an exception and I will assign you an acceptable pseudonym from my long and growing list of obscure early Anglo-Saxon saints. Being named Aethelfridwich will be a suitably humbling experience for the person so afflicted and a salutary warning pour encourager les autres.

It is to be remembered that one of the great criticisms of the internet and its residents is that we do not know the difference between reality and our own egos.

These policies are in place to help our readers maintain a healthy perspective and have stood me very well in five years of blogging.

That is all. There is no Rule five.


(If you're Billy HW, you may post anything you like, all the time. You've earned it.)

Well, it made me laugh

Now, I know we don't hear much in this space about the US presidential thing (ssssnoooooooze),

but this,




Made me laugh.




(I guess you had to have lived a rather odd life to get it.)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"the owls are not what they seem"

The Prom Queen.

The Dwarf.

The Log Lady.

The Sherrif.

The Giant.

The Biker.

The Psychopathic Trucker.

The FBI Agent.

Bob.

The terrifying cosmic struggle between supernatural good and evil.

Remember life before the X-Files?

Twin Peaks.

I have to say, I'd forgotten most of this show, except that it was possibly the strangest, and at times one of the most frightening things ever to appear on TV.

Very very slow pace, interspersed with the occasional shocked and perplexed laugh, gruesome murder, and absurdist surrealism.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Bishop Calls for Catholic Apologetics

I am just reading through a copy of the latest document from Bishop O'Donohue, "Fit for Mission? Church", and the good bishop has made one of the most sensible suggestions I've seen from a member of the English hierarchy: to renew Catholic apologetics.

An urgent demand of the times is that we encourage and foster members of the Catholic faithful to become apologists with the knowledge and courage to proclaim the rationality and beauty of our Catholic faith. The question of God’s existence is again a popular topic due to polemical works from writers such as Richard Dawkins. This is a great opportunity to present the rationality of belief in God developed by the Church’s natural theology tradition.

I would like interested parties and individuals to contact me with recommendations about how we develop this vital ministry in the Church.

I recommend the following works of Catholic apologetics:
• Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s Christianity Pure and Simple series of booklets published by Catholic Truth Society. Also, his Adventures in Orthodoxy
• Peter Keeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics, Intervasity Press, 1994.
• Mgr Ronald Knox, The Beliefs of Catholics, Ignatius Press, 2000.
• Patrick Madrid, Where is that in the Bible? Our Sunday Visitor, 2001.
• Resources for Believing. Aseries of pamphlets published by the Faith Movement.


Anyone have any more to suggest to his Excellency?

There is one person in the world who will get this joke

Humorous Pictures


...and she knows who she is.

The Russians are coming!


Mr. Warner tells us that we had better pack up the anti-Americanism sooner rather than later. It might look a little better if we have put it all away when we go across the Atlantic again begging them for help.

I have to admit that I have not given the Georgian thing much attention, but I do recall once, quite a little while ago now, meeting a friend for tea in Halifax. I had arrived a bit early and was reading the paper, on the front page of which was a full colour photo of Vladimir Putin, smiling his reptilian smile, whilst sharing a seat in the royal Landau with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

My friend arrived, and commented, "Never thought you'd see the day huh?"

Indeed not. And I believe I speculated that the day would soon end...in tears.

Once upon a time

in Canada,


There was a club. It wasn't much of a club, just a big empty expensive space. Rumour had it that it had been built for something else that never happened.

So a bunch of strangers wandered over one by one and started using the space. It was more or less free. It wasn't licensed or zoned or any of that stuff. There had never been anything like that before, so people made up their own rules for using it.

Some people put on punk rock concerts. Fans and performers cursed, spat and fought. Within the confines of the club, that was "normal."

Some people staged fights. Within the confines of the ring, people battered each other until they bled. Had they fought outside the ring, outside the club, someone would have called the cops.

There were burlesque shows and insult comics and debates.

The space was the birthplace of many relationships, political movements, businesses large and small, and more. Everybody understood how it worked.

They understood -- because it was patently obvious -- that magic spells were an entertaining fiction. That asking stupid, crazy questions -- "did six million really die?" -- didn't somehow kill six million more people. That questioning global warming didn't make the world hotter, or even colder. Words were not nooses or bullets or fists. They were words.

It was like a movie or a play. Only children or simpletons thought that violence and deaths they watched on a screen or a stage were real. Oh sure: that didn't mean that in the entire history of movies, some poor guy had actually died on the set because a stunt went terribly wrong. But that wasn't the norm. Nobody said: let's shut down all of Hollywood, just in case... People die. That's life. Or used to be.

Then one day the lawyers showed up.

The lawyers couldn't decide whether or not to join the club or shut it down.

Being lawyers, they decided to do both.

First they showed up and shouted, 'hey, there's a FIGHT going on in here!' And everybody laughed at them.

So they gave brash speeches like other folks did, and sometimes these speeches were outrageous, rude and insulting, packed with lies. But if you heckled the lawyers or challenged their behaviour, they sued. Afraid of being sued, lots of long time clubbers simply left.

Other veteran clubbers defied the lawyers. They got sued, too, then got tired of that and left. The club wasn't the same anyway now.

When the lawyers weren't in the club, they worked for Very Special People called politicians, or became politicians themselves.

These politicians were allowed to say whatever they wanted about each other without being sued, in a club of their own, called Parliament. When they were rude or outrageous, other politicians cheered or booed. But that's as bad as it could get, because their special club had that special rule.

The lawyers didn't see the irony of this. They were lawyers, after all...

After the penultimate lawyer in the club sued the last lawyer left, the club was purchased by a bunch of lawyers and politicians and turned into a factory that manufactured children's bike helmets that also filtered out particles of peanut butter.

The best part was, the filters were recyclable!

And that's how lawyers destroyed the internet.



This was just too good not to post in full.

Kathy can sue me later, when she's finished being ruined by the minions of Sauron.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Science is Cool Quiz:



1) Is it real?

2) How big is it?

3) How old is it?

3) Can you eat it?

Ghosts

Ghosts







I cracked

cat
more cat pictures




I know, "Cat pictures, Hilary? What are you some kind of girl?"

It's Mac's fault. She did it first.

The Great Divorce

The brutal suppression of the monasteries would soon follow. More than one thousand monasteries and convents were destroyed and monks and nuns turned out into the street to find, in Cromwell’s words, "real work." In destroying them, Henry introduced the modern welfare state. Once, the poor were cared for in dignity and charity by men and women religious. Now they were dependent on the state. Anyone with a passing familiarity with public housing projects can appreciate this bitter fruit of the Protestant rebellion in England.

Indeed, because England was destined for "a unique good fortune in the leadership of the world it is through its effect in England that the Reformation survives today as a world force," (Philip Hughes, A Popular History of the Reformation, 161) and the worst manifestations of it, from Christendom’s first state-sanctioned regicide, to the ugliness of industrialization, to the treatment of indigenous peoples, including American Indians, are this so-called Reformation’s darker legacy. With the exception of literature, English intellectual life declined, and even within English literature, it is the Catholics—Shakespeare, Dryden, Chesterton—who shine. English philosophers are more political theorists, and their ideas sparked the errors of the Enlightenment. The suppression of the Church in England was the dress rehearsal for the French Revolution, the Italian Risorgimento, the Mexican Revolution, and the Spanish Civil War. Henry VIII’s divorce is the reason America is a Protestant country.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

What the...?



It says "A non-Newtonian fluid that changes from a liquid state to a solid state when stress is applied (ie shaking of the metal sheet with sound waves)."

OK, first,

"a non Newtonian fluid?

What the?...

and if anything started behaving like this when I started singing to it,

I'd run for it.

Man, science is ....

weird.

Like, Star Trek weird.

(Actually, I think the contents of the milk jug looked a bit like this the last time I went to bed without putting it in the fridge. I'll try to get a video when it starts crawling out of the jug and demanding to see a lawyer.)



H/T to Ann. (I miss you).

Saturday, August 16, 2008

The English Reformation was a Crime Against Humanity

Bit bored today. Tried to take a nap, but kept waking up cause I couldn't breathe properly. Always happens when the weather shifts to damp.

What do you do?

Start a Facebook Group:



The so-called English Reformation, and Acts of Supremacy
and Settlement, were the original disasters that have
resulted in the current calamitous state of decay and
degradation suffered by the British nation. It was one of
the great calamities of western civilisation and the
errors of the English Reformation have infected the whole
of the formerly Christian world.

England was known as one of the most devoutly Catholic
nations on earth, Mary's Dowry, the home of one of the
four great pilgrimage shrines of Christendom, Walsingham
and her Catholicism was the reason she was called "merrie".

Henry and his usurper, tyrant, bastard daughter destroyed
the native English religion and the entire social order.
They replaced it, out of greed and demonic lust for
power, with a state-sponsored tyranny and state theft on
an unprecedented scale. They installed a totalitarian
police state in which the common people were bullied,
priests and devout laymen murdered, the welfare of the
people abandoned by the destruction of the monastic system
and the robber barons fattened on the lacerated backs
of Christ's poor.

What has replaced it has been five hundred years of denial
and a tea-party quasi- religion that has finally
collapsed under the weight of its own internal contradictions
and self-deceptions.

Thanks to Henry and Elizabeth, England has been a state of
denial for centuries in which none dare to love God or
ask questions about Truth.

Restoration of the Catholic Faith is the only choice now
between total social collapse and a new tyranny of
relativistic secularist dictatorship.

Free the English people: Bring Back the True English Faith.

Pray to Our Lady of Walsingham, Queen of our islands.


One commenter has already offered:
Q: A bit harsh, don't you think?

A: NO, NO, NO, NON, NEIN, NYET, NEVER, NOT A BIT OF IT!!!!

Looming Islamicisation is only the latest in a series of conquests of national character to which the British are doing a slow surrender. As charming a people as they have always been, one begins to wonder if it was Churchill who was the freak and Chamberlain who was embodiment of the national soul. I grieve for this nation which I have regarded as a second home (even as I stuff cheesy St. Joseph medals into secret corners of their most valued Anglican [occupied] sacred real estate -- bwahahahahaha!!!!). Thank God they were subjected to a Churchill-mandated reverse spinectomy when the Barbarians were at the gate in '39, but sadly the relapse is almost complete. Our Lady of Walsingham, get out your bitter withy!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

1st Vespers


Assumption at the London Oratory

Whatever

Steve Skojec: "Hey, you guys should all go over to Inside Catholic."

HJW: "Why?"

SS: "Shea's being an ass over the Trad-bashing thing again."

HJW: Yaaaaawnnn

"Oh"

Kraken

Further to my efforts to become a poetry non-philistine, I offer,


The Kraken

Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far, far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides: above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumbered and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages and will lie
Battening upon huge sea-worms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die.
Alfred Lord Tennyson





I am pleased to see that he had the correct attitude towards the radially symmetrical in our midst.

And make no mistake, they are HERE.

Hey, new nun video

Kat, some nungazing for you.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Can it last?



Of course not.

At a Buckingham Palace garden party, you see the Britain that others imagine when they talk about us. We are formally dressed -- in some cases looking superb, ...

People are introduced to one another; the mood is friendly, but restrained. Everyone comments on the weather.

The band stops. People rise. An elderly couple walks with brisk pace and upright carriage out from the palace and stops at the front of the terrace with split-second timing. As they come to a halt, the band strikes up the National Anthem. Everything stands stock still. As the notes fade away, there is applause. This is why we are here. For a moment, childhood memories of Christmas broadcasts, pictures in the press, national events shared on TV, all coalesce. Here we are: I am at Buckingham Palace, and this is the queen in front of me.

Can all this last? London is not a city of garden parties and tea urns. Drunken young people totter about our shopping centers on Friday and Saturday nights, shrieking at one another, vomiting, fighting. The structures of family life are cracked and wobbling: Over half of all births are now out of wedlock, and divorce is on an epic scale. Over five million of our relations and friends are missing, aborted before birth. Same-sex unions are celebrated with "gay weddings."

Time for some happy



I've exchanged a couple of emails with Matt, and he's a standup bloke.

If you're looking for a good place to waste some time in the internet, I'd suggest reading his travel diaries. They're incredibly interesting and surprisingly well written for someone who is under 40 and went to public schools.

The man knows how to use an apostrophe.

The Reverse Dictionary

Examine the following description:

the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought...The power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction.


Choose one:

1) a requirement of holding public office in Britain

2) the job description of BBC and Guardian journalists

3) job description for the post of Archbishop of Canterbury

4) all of the above.

Taken for Chumps

Now, I know that the principles of rational thought are not popular these days, equally in schools as in parliaments, but one has to wonder at the willingness of so many to have their intelligence, whether real or imagined, so brazenly insulted, and their compassion manipulated, as it is by the abortion lobby in the case of the "rape exception".

The rape exception is the one argument that most irritates me. Not because of its inherent dishonesty - one expects only dishonesty from people conniving to murder helpless infants - but for the blind, drooling stupidity of the people who buy it, normally without the slightest examination. Or perhaps I should say the willing connivance of the marks. It is said that people who go to carnivals with a few shillings to spend on the ring-toss game, actually want to be swindled. Why else would one to go a carnival?

When I am talking to school groups about abortion, naturally after we have painstakingly gone through and demonstrated the existence of a human being in the womb (don't they tell these kids any more where babies come from? What are they doing in all those sex-education classes in kindergarten anyway?) someone in the back of the room will invariably put his (it is always a he) hand up and say "Yeah, but what about rape?"

He says this for two reasons: he has been taught that favouring abortion for rape is a mark of deep sensitivity and that "sensitivity" is a sure fire method of getting girls into bed, and that it is a stumper. He believes, in effect, that because the pro-life position is inherently flawed by its hatred of women and desire to oppress and subjugate them, that this is The Big One that will always end the discussion. This, he believes will establish his feminist political cred...which is also a sure fire method of getting girls into bed.

He expects me to have no answer, and sadly, this is the case with most of the people who consider themselves pro-life. In Britain, I would suggest, because there is no pro-life movement to speak of and those who imagine themselves to be pro-life have not the slightest notion of what it means, it is doubly the case. The British "pro-life" "movement" has failed so absolutely because it is based on warm fuzzy feelings towards cute little babies and depends wholly on a vestigial culturally generated moral sense that can now be found only in the previous generation, who themselves only ever had a hazy grasp of the meaning of the word "principle". Once the little old ladies, cooing gently over the sight of a sweet-faced cherub are gone, even that will vanish. And nothing will replace it. The world will belong to Generation Why. Maybe we could re-name them Generation Why Not?

What is saddest, and most ironic, about the eagerness of most of our progressively minded modern people, as well as many "pro-life" people, to defend the rape exception, is that they love it because it is held up as a model of compassion and toleration towards the victimised. This is especially tempting to pro-lifers who are possibly tired of being called EVIL FASCISTS. They long to be included in the ranks of the tolerant and compassionate. The same people will, with precisely the same earnest expressions, tell you all about the evils of capital punishment. They have such strong feeeeelings, you see, for the downtrodden, the oppressed, the victimised.

But no one stops to wonder who it is exactly that is doing the "holding up". Who exactly, has told them that abortion is a requirement in cases of pregnancy due to rape? And what are their motives?

But these goodthinkful people will not question the motives or origin of the received wisdom. That's why we call it that. When you ask them why they support the death penalty for the children of criminals, they simply look at you with a fullwise goodthinkfully blank expression and you can almost see their grey cells desperately rushing to batten down the hatches and close the sea doors.

"Doubleplusungoodthink. unoft, plusungoodthink or ungoodthink. Oldthink is unwith BB and party. oldthinkers unluv doubleplusgood waylive BB command. Oldthinkers oft is crimethinkers. Oldthinkers oft make crimethink."

Crimestop.

...

When giving talks in schools, I was able to relieve the tedium by setting these sorts of traps and watching the poor chumps dive eagerly into them. (Even more amusing than tripping blind people).

"Hands up everyone who supports the death penalty." Never any takers for that one, especially in Catholic schools.

"Good. It is true that most western progressive countries, those who have been governed for centuries by the rule of law, have abolished the death penalty. Even for serious crimes like treason, murder and rape.

"We do not execute rapists, in the hopes, perhaps, that they will be reformed. Or perhaps only on the grounds that it is simply wrong to kill, even to kill a dangerous criminal."

General agreement, but at the same time a vague sense of discomfort growing...they know something is going on, but haven't the acuity to guess what.

"Now, let's examine a country that does have it. Communist China has more capital offenses [brief pause to explain the terms 'Communist' and 'capital offense'] than any other country in the world. And they carry out more executions than any other country. Even than the United States.

"Let us pretend for a moment that you are an official of China's legal system charged with carrying out executions. Would you consider granting clemency to a rapist?" [pause to explain 'clemency'.]

...nod nod nod...

"What about to the rapist's 18 month-old daughter?"

Silence.

Crimestop.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's always something isn't it?



It wasn't "climate change" that killed off Tasmania's giant marsupials, it was us.

Research led by UK and Australian scientists sheds new light on the role that our ancestors played in the extinction of Australia's prehistoric animals. The study, published this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, provides the first evidence that Tasmania's giant kangaroos and marsupial 'rhinos' and 'leopards' were still roaming the island when humans first arrived. The findings suggest that the mass extinction of Tasmania's large prehistoric animals was the result of human hunting, and not climate change as previously believed.

Scientists have long argued over the reasons behind the worldwide mass extinctions that took place towards the end of the last ice age. The main culprits are generally thought to be climate change or some form of human impact. People only arrived in Tasmania around 43,000 years ago, when the island became temporarily connected by a land bridge to mainland Australia. None of Tasmania's giant animals, known as 'megafauna' were known to have survived until this time. This appeared to clear humans of any involvement in the disappearance of the island's large megafauna [sic].


Of course, the climate change was probably also our fault.

...

and so was the asteroid.


Still, while the anti-human ideologies of many scientists are a tedious (and increasingly predictable) bore,

science is still

WAY cool.

The skull is a Protemnodon

Which is something like a really big wallaby.