Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Woo hoo!

I'm more famous!

Now, when do we get to the "rich" and "rules the world" part?

Monday, August 30, 2010


As it is an error to imagine that the current disaster in the Catholic Church had its beginning in the social and sexual revolution of the 1960s, so it is clear that the catastrophes currently engulfing the mother country have their roots deep in modern British history. I am just reading the memoirs of the late William F. Deedes, the great 20th century journalist, wrote in his memoirs of his first job in the trade in 1931. He describes the Morning Post as “extremely right wing,” the sort of paper in which the managers of great country estates would advertise for butlers, and which the butler would iron in the morning to lay alongside the breakfast dishes.

The Morning Post, he said, was starting to decline after the First World War after which, he said, “the style of life in this country changed radically”.

“The Labour party was on the horizon. Round a true-blue newspaper of mildly eccentric habits, which declared that it stood foremost for King and Country, shadows gathered.”

Dark shadows indeed.

Books, redux

It looks like my recent book bleg has been a smash success. I had several offers of Mindszenty-related material, one of which was the actual book I had asked for, which I am told is now winging its way Rome-ward from the exotic shores of California.

I had a number of other offers, (all of which were perfectly gentlemanly) including a few in which people offered to donate money to the cause of my great and glorious wonderfulness. This was greatly flattering, needless to say, but really isn't the sort of thing I feel terribly comfortable with, so to those who offered, thank you very kindly, but I must decline.

The Amazon book wishlist, however is still up and growing, and as always, donations of books in English are greatly welcome since they are difficult to find in Rome. There are lots of bookshops of course, and Italians have quite good taste in reading material (education in this country not yet being entirely stamped out as it is in Britain and Canada) but their English language sections are wretched enough to make one rethink supporting a public book-euthanasia programme. (Books about Obama. Books about Vampires. Books about living in Italy. Not kidding.)

I have put a functioning mailing address on the Wish List, for any of y'all who can no longer resist the urge to throw your money away.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ask me a riddle and I reply...

Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
A fly can't bird, but a bird can fly.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.

Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
Why does a chicken? I don't know why.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.

Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie,
A fish can't whistle and neither can I.
Ask me a riddle and I reply
Cottleston Cottleston Cottleston Pie.

It would be this religion, specifically.

Maybe we should call it the "Chairsinacircle" religion.

What we all got in Catholic school. And the parish. And catechism. And the TV. And the movies. And the news. And university...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ok everyone, calm down. Obama isn't a Muslim

It's quite simple. Obama belongs to the same religion as his colleagues in the political world. The same as Mrs. Pelosi, Mr. Biden and Mr. Kerry. The same as his European counterparts Dave Cameron, Sarkiozy and Merkel. The same, in fact, as most Catholic bishops of the United States, Canada, England and Wales, Belgium, Austria, Germany, France and Scandanavia. As most "Catholic" journalists and nearly every journalist on the "religion" beat. As the entire editorial staff of National Catholic Reporter, the Tablet and America, and probably about half of the staff of L'Osservatore Romano (all to varying degrees of faithfulness and fervency, of course).

Is there a name for it? Modernism, springs to mind. Narcissism, perhaps...

Monday, August 23, 2010

For heaven's sake, do something!


According to his wife, Rod Serling often said that "the ultimate obscenity is not caring, not doing something about what you feel, not feeling! Just drawing back and drawing in; becoming narcissistic."


New Cat Guy video!

Everyone's cat.

Rod Serling: prophet

This is not a new world: It is simply an extension of what began in the old one. It has patterned itself after every dictator who has ever planted the ripping imprint of a boot on the pages of history since the beginning of time. It has refinements, technological advances, and a more sophisticated approach to the destruction of human freedom. But like every one of the super states that preceded it, it has one iron rule: Logic is an enemy, and truth is a menace.


Any state, any entity, any ideology that fails to recognise the worth and dignity, the rights of man, that state is obsolete.

part 2
part 3

...back when television programmes had "writing" in them.


Why England is better than Italy

Well, it's not full of foreigners, to start with.

But this is the really big one.


High 18°C

Low 10°C,

Current 15.9°C

Conditions Cloudy, Recent showers

Santa Marinella:

High 33°C

Low 22°C

Current 31.0°C


Sunday, August 22, 2010

The new look

I got tired of the old standard templates for Blogger and just one day decided to make it all over (again). I think the combo of Daphne and the little birds are quite good, and I like the colour scheme.

Inspired by a friend, I just put a new thing at the very very bottom. I may add to it now and then, just for fun.

The thoughts, ideas and outrageous opinions expressed on this blog, unless otherwise stated, are entirely my own fault and are not anyone's fault but mine. My fault, mine own fault, mine own most grievous fault.

This means that they are not the opinions nor the fault of my employers or any of the people who edit any publication for which I write... except this one, of course, which actually is my fault, since I invented it.

If they sound loony, offensive or even brilliant, this is not their fault but mine.

So there.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Glad I'm not the only one who has this problem

"What is difficult is not to believe in God, but to believe that we matter to Him."

At war deep in the bottom part of my mind are two equally terrifying ideas; this above articulated by Don Colacho, or that I don't really exist.

Not really really.

One is preferable to the other, in fact.

Today's top Mad Britain headlines

From our "hell in a handcart" files...

Two that Kathy put together as a matched set:
England: Gay vicar, 65, to "marry" Nigerian male model less than half his age
Beware of the cobbles: Parishioners told path at 1,300 year-old medieval abbey is too dangerous to walk on

Advertising Standards Authority to investigate offensive "gay ads".

"The advert showed a family scene, but ‘mum’ is played by a man with a New York accent. During the ad he kisses another man who plays the father role.

Viewers said it was ‘offensive’, ‘inappropriate’ and ‘unsuitable to be seen by children’."

I hope the ASA took the names and addresses of people making the complaints to give to police. Aren't assertions that homosexuality same sex relationships are offensive and dangerous to children classified as hate speech in the UK?

Plus another item from the Chester Chronicle:

"Couple's Car Surrounded by 'Perverts'"

(I paraphrase here for brevity's sake)

A couple were returning from a holiday in Ireland when they decided to pull over into a picnic area for a rest and a bite to eat. Their car was immediately surrounded by "seven or eight men" who wanted to know if the couple were there to "put on a show" for them. When the couple reacted angrily, the men became threatening and told them to clear off, saying they were "spoiling their fun".

The picnic area is a notorious "dogging" site, meaning a place where homosexuals come to meet and do with their body parts whatever it is they do.

Police Inspector Phil Hodge told the Chron, "It's totally unacceptable and very intimidating and I will be looking to take positive action in the matter if the lady wants to make a complaint."

Remember, it's notorious.

Five "incidents" have been registered in recent months about errr... activities at the site.

The Inspector added, "information has been posted on various websites explaining that people may be committing offences such as outraging public decency. It does cause offence to people..."

But most important,

"the participants are putting their sexual health in jeopardy."

Well! we can't have that!...

Maybe the local constabulary should fill their pockets with condoms the next time they are patrolling the area, just to make sure no one's "sexual health" is being endangered.

Naturally, the Chron did not mention if the sexual activities going on "notoriously" in this roadside picnic area included women.

For some reason, only men were mentioned in the complaint.


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Distinctions vs. Differences

Fr. Lombardi is at pains to demonstrate that "the Vatican" is not demanding that the people of Britain pay for a ticket to go to Mass.
Papal events in Britain are unusual, Fr Lombardi said, because “people cannot move freely on foot to where the three major public events will be taking place: they must use arranged transportation and all the seats must be allocated to an extremely precise number”.

He said the unusual constraints were “dictated by the security needs of civil authorities”.

“Thus,” he said, “the Church authorities themselves had to organise groups of faithful who could travel on arranged transportation, thereby giving them a ‘pass’, a special passport for all the faithful who are to take part and this is delivered along with a small ‘kit’ – that is both pastoral and logistical – and so a small contribution has been asked from every group that is organising itself to attend this event.”

Therefore, Fr Lombardi said, the pass was in fact not a ticket “paid by the individual to go to Mass”.

But in order to attend the Mass, you have to pay money, and for that money, you receive a piece of paper which you present at the entrance to the event.

There's absolutely no reason whatever to call this a "ticket". Nosur!


Sooooo, hands up everyone who thought the papal visit to Britain was going to be a huge success and an organisational triumph!




If this is a newsworthy headline

then there's something seriously wrong with your religion.
First Friday prayers of Ramadan end peacefully in Jerusalem

Or, as Kathy likes to put it, "Lourdes marks 54,827th riot free day"


The right way


What did you have for breakfast today, Hilary?

Fried tomato, three slices of good English bacon, two eggs on toast and a nice little slice of black pudding.



The Locus of Control


A Danish psychologist who has worked with young criminals for many years, offers some observations on the cultural differences between Westerners (those raised in a culturally Christian millieu) and Muslims.

Aggression: or, why do the shrieking Islams on TV all look mildly idiotic, no matter how threatening they are? Why do we instinctively ridicule them? Why has this man become a figure of fun on blogs across the 'sphere?

In the eyes of most Westerners it looks immature and childish when people try to use threatening behavior, to mark their dislikes...

To us, aggressive behavior is a clear sign of weakness.
It is a sign of not being in control of oneself and lacking ability to handle a situation.


The Islamic expression of “holy anger” is therefore completely contradictory to any Western understanding. Those two words in the same sentence sound contradictory to us. The terror-threatening and violent reaction of Muslims to the Danish Mohammed cartoons showing their prophet as a man willing to use violence to spread his message, is seen from our Western eyes as ironic. Muslims’ aggressive reaction to a picture showing their prophet as aggressive, completely confirms the truth of the statement made by Kurt Westergaard in his satiric drawing.

Expressions of anger and threats are probably the quickest way to lose one’s face in Western culture. In discussions, those who lose their temper have automatically lost, and I guess most people have observed the feeling of shame and loss of social status following expressions of aggression at one’s work place or at home. In the Muslim culture, aggressive behavior, especially threats, are generally seen to be accepted, and even expected as a way of handling conflicts and social discrepancies.

If a Muslim does not respond in a threatening way to insults or social irritation, he... is seen as weak, as someone who cannot be depended upon and loses face.

In the eyes of most Westerners it looks immature and childish when people try to use threatening behavior, to mark their dislikes.

Who's in control?
There is another strong difference between the people of Western and Muslim cultures; their locus of control. Locus of control is a psychological term describing whether people experience their life influenced mainly, by internal or external factors. It is clear from a psychological point of view that Westerners feel that their lives are mainly influenced by inner forces – ourselves.


Our phone books have columns of addresses for psychologists, coaches and therapists. All these things are aimed at helping us to help ourselves create the life that we want. Some might argue that all this introspectiveness is too much and that just doing what is useful for oneself and others here-and-now would be more constructive, but this is how our culture is.

All these things do not exist in Muslim culture and countries.


If we are raised in a culture where we learn that “…I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul,” as William Ernest Henley wrote in his famous poem Invictus in 1875; we will, in case of personal problems, look at ourselves and ask: “…What did I do wrong?” and “…What can I do to change the situation?” People who have been taught throughout their entire lives that outer rules and traditions are more important than individual freedom and self reflection, will ask: “Who did this to me?” and “Who has to do something for me?”

Thus, the locus of control is central to the individual’s understanding of freedom and responsibility. Even though our Christian based societies may, in certain situations, give too much emphasis on feelings of guilt; it also strengthens the individual’s sense of being able to take responsibility for, and change one’s own life.

In societies shaped under Islamic and Qu’ranic influence there may be fewer feelings of guilt and thus, more freedom to demand the surroundings to adapt to one’s own wishes
and desires. This may include demands to wear Islamic costumes which can result in more Muslim demands for Islamization of our Western societies, but it is also a powerful source of victim mentality and leads to endless demands on one’s surroundings. In a very concrete way this cultural tendency, shows itself in therapy, as a lack of remorse.

The standard answer from violent Muslims was always: “…It is his own fault that I beat him up. He provoked me.” Such excuses show that people experience their own reactions as caused by external factors and not by their own emotions, motivation and free will. Even though one’s own feelings, when experiencing an insult, can be moderated by one’s own point of view, this kind of self reflection does not happen to the same degree among Muslims as it does among Westerners.

It only takes one person to beat up another: the guy who is doing the hitting. It also only takes one person to feel insulted. Being beaten and feeling insulted are thus strictly different social events. The latter depends on ones self, while the former is solely caused by outer circumstances. Unfortunately, this fact is not considered in Muslim culture and apparently also not by the supporters of laws on hate speech, racism and defamation.

So, you're saying they're a culture entirely composed of sulky, spoiled six year-olds.

Six year-olds with guns.

He concludes with a rather important observation, and a question.

If integration just consists of learning the language and finding a job, it is not so difficult. But if integration also includes developing mental habits of equally respecting non-Muslims it is simply impossible for most Muslims. They see themselves as special, will always try to live together, create their own Muslim/Islamic parallel societies, feel separated and have less respect towards non-Muslims. True integration doesn’t have to, necessarily, imply religious conversion. However, for Muslims it certainly presupposes cultural conversion. Clearly, very few Muslims have the will, social freedom and strength of personality to go through such a psychologically demanding process.

So, this is THE question. Will integration of Muslims happen, satisfactorily, to the extent necessary? If you think yes, then on what basis do you make the assumption? If no, then what will you expect the consequences to be?


Monday, August 16, 2010

I write like Swift



Check this out:

Check which famous writer you write like with this statistical analysis tool, which analyzes your word choice and writing style and compares them with those of the famous writers.

Any text in English will do: your latest blog post, journal entry, comment, chapter of your unfinished book, etc. For reliable results paste at least a few paragraphs (not tweets).

This piece "Does Richard Dawkins Think He’s Napoleon?" was actually deliberately Swiftian.

I'll try it again later when I'm feeling more Newmanoid.


Well, I tried three pieces of fiction and a couple of editorials and it is not encouraging. Two Dan Brown's, one Steven King, one Mario Puzo and now H.P. Lovecraft for a movie review.

I think I've had enough of this game...


It's society's fault


Took a stomp around the old village today. Climbed some stiles, chased some sheep, ate a few early blackberries and some lovely little yellow plums that are coming ripe now. Breathed the free air of England. 22 degrees today, described by a friend yesterday as "hot and humid". I did not manage to refrain from laughing, I'm afraid.

Stopped at the Sportsman's Arms for a half pint of cider and a read of the newspaper on the way home.

This item in the Chester Chronicle struck me especially:

A woman was nicked by police this week for stealing a handbag at a children's party she had arranged. It seems that she did it on the spur of the moment, after three extra children showed up to the party unexpectedly and she didn't have the extra 30 quid to cover the costs.

She was sentenced, in addition to a sort of house arrest between 7 pm and 7 am, to attendance at an "enhanced thinking course".

Her counsel, a woman, said that her client had re-offended because she had not been able to attend the enhanced thinking course to which she had previously been remanded for a similar offence.

It was "through no fault of her own" since "no course had been available".


Michael's canoe tips over the falls

Welcome to the Dark Side, Michael. Or perhaps we should say, "Welcome to the desert of the Real".

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Visit to England I


Went shopping in Chester, almost as my feet touched the ground. The charity shops are going to have to restock before I hit them again later this week. I feel like the Visigoths must have felt on arriving in Rome.

Auntie Gill at a tea shop on the first shopping day. All tuckered out and ready for a little sit-down.

Proper tea with scones and clotted cream, for €30 £5.

Uncle Mike, driving me to Crewe this morning to catch the train to Birmingham to go see an old friend who's staying at the B. Oratory.

Fr. Dan Utrecht in front of the sign that says that J.R.R. Tolkein lived in this house. Down the road a bit from the Oratory. He showed me the book he's working on about the Lion of Munster, Blessed Clemens August Graf von Galen, a Catholic hero of WWII who needs to be more famous in the English speaking world. Fr. Dan made me a fan.

Caught me with my eyes closed. And looking a little bedraggled after getting rained on. Ooooohhh. Lovely lovely English rain! How I have missed you so!

Sorry about the poor light, but this is the famous turn in the refectory at the Birmingham oratory into which the Tolkein brothers used to place the community cat, as well as each other occasionally.

St. Philip, whose fault it all is.

Newman's relics, in their chapel in the Oratory church.

More to come...


Friday, August 13, 2010

Please pray for my cousin Millie.

Right now please.

Update, Saturday night:

Millie recovering. Thanks so much, everyone.

Pro-life activists:

they're all just a bunch of angry old wife-beatin' redneck white supremacists...

...oh wait...

Thursday, August 12, 2010

England England England

Well, I'm off. Two weeks. Oooo...

Stilton. Fry-ups. English bacon. Black pudding. Fish, chips and mushy peas!...

Oh baby!

Perk me up

The other day I recommended to a friend a simple way to elevate your mood when you're feeling down. Depression is a complex illness, it comes, it goes, you tend to have bad periods and good. Sometimes it comes in sudden attacks which can be kind of frightening.

I won't take the drugs that people talk about. Had a bad experience and found out that I'm contraindicated. I can't say yay or nay on the drug issue for other people though. Way outside my range. But I do know there are a lot of simple things you can do to just plain make yourself feel better, some of them are long term (green vegetables and exercise cures nearly everything) some are good for a quick lift.

The quick ones I like best are going for a snorkel in the Mediterranean (I realise that this is less of a quick-fix option for others though) and a bike ride. The other day, I had got caught by the Gravity Ray and knew I had to do something to break free. Pushed my bike up the hill with a collecting bag and five yogurt tubs and collected four and a half pounds of blackberries and made some jam.

But if you are really stuck, and can't tear yourself away from the comforting glow of the internet, that's OK. The internet can be a useful tool. I recommend fifteen minutes of funny videos on YouTube:


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Trad 101

Someone asked a while ago, possibly a long while ago, if there is a go-to site on the net that gives the Trad 101 thing all in one place. I couldn't think of any (other than Fisheaters), but I had forgotten about the wonderful Seattle Catholic website.

Seattle Catholic, sadly, is updated no more, and has not been for some years. But its archives are still there for the enlightenment and edification of the people, and to cause gnashing of teeth in all the right quarters.

I read it extensively when I was trying to choke that Red Pill down.

(Thanks for the reminder, Jeff)


Book Bleg

There's a book I used to own but left behind in Canada. It's out of print but I really want to have and read it again. My copy was a gift from John Muggeridge, but I don't think I ever quite finished it the first time.

Memoirs of Josef Mindszenty

If anyone has a spare copy of this lying around at the bottom of a bookshelf, I'd be very grateful for a donation.


I actually meet quite a few people here who have no time for Communism or its sissy younger sibling Liberalism. Most of them are from places like Romania, Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia...

I feel the need to re-charge my anti-communist batteries, and there is nothing that does that more effectively, or makes my blood boil more against Novusordoism's fellow-traveller status, than the Mindszenty story.

Reason 963, 427 to say that Paul VI was the worst pope in modern history:
Eventually, Pope Paul VI offered a compromise: declaring Mindszenty a "victim of history" (instead of communism) and annulling the excommunication imposed on his political opponents [They tortured him. They fracking tortured him, you pathetic, limp-wristed traitorous...ghah!]

...In December 1973, at the age of 82, Mindszenty was stripped of his titles by the Pope, who declared the Hungarian cardinal's seat officially vacated, but refused to fill the seat while Mindszenty was still alive.

...In early 1976, the Pope made Bishop László Lékai the primate of Hungary, ending a long struggle with the communist government. Lékai turned out to be quite cordial towards the Kádár government.

Really?! You don't say...



Ok, I've just taken the advice of ... someone...possibly Zach...and started an Amazon Wish List. I've received many kind offers from loyal readers who want to send me books. (In fact, some have even wanted to send me money!), so if y'all want to know what I really REALLY want for Christmas, here you go. It's also been posted on the sidebar.


Update to the Update:

There doesn't seem to be any place where one can put a mailing address in the Amazon Wish List thingy. I think the idea is that you are supposed to email me and make the arrangement on the quiet. This is probably a security thing, I would guess. In case someone wants to send you an Anthrax Ripple.


I see I'm not the only one

who hates and fears the phone.

It seems that "older people," by which the article seems to mean "Boomers" are frustrated with the next generation's obsession with texting and emailing. They complain that the young people don't talk on the phone.


I was always frightened by the phone. How could you possibly know if it was someone calling you who wanted to yell at you and tell you what a bad person you are. Or that you owe them money you can't afford to pay. Or that your mother had died. Or worse, your cat had been hit by a car. The phone was a horrible instrument of anxiety. Back in the days when I still had a landline, I looked upon it as an unpredicably vicious dog. It might be nice to you, but it is more likely to bite you when you reach your hand out toward it. Best to leave it alone.

I love email. I love getting them. I love writing them. If I want to talk to someone on the phone, I email them first and ask when would be convenient. Phoning people is demanding their time, intruding on their day or work or, well, everything. It's what Grandma said never to do: calling attention to yourself and demanding that everyone look.

Communication companies are saying that people are widely dropping phone calling in favour of texting (and they find this inexplicable...while continuing to jack up the cost of calls...).

Well, isn't this a good thing? Don't we lament the fact that no one ever writes letters?


No, you don't have to watch the whole thing

The very first Facebook group I joined was "Praise bands annoy God"

H/T to Gillibrand

I've also just realised

that I like headlines better than articles. The latter just have too many words.

It's so far to the bottom of the page.



It just occurred to me

that today is the last day for the foreseeable future that I will be able to lounge about in my jammies all morning, mindlessly surfing the net reading the news and doing research while I drink my tea. My new roommate, Sarah, is due to arrive the day after I get back from England.

I've almost forgotten what it is like to have to keep up appearances at home. I suppose I'll have to do housework now and then, and wash the tea cup before using it, and drink milk from a glass instead of straight out of the bottle...



Gort, Klaatu barada nikto

RIP Patricia Neal. I pray you find peace.


(Go to :43 for some of the best theremin work done in the movies)

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Atheist Luuurve

"Atheists: feel the love"

Binky is ruminating on what happens when atheists take over governments.

He links to Pat Condell, whom I still like quite a lot and wouldn't object to having a beer with, who has, in is own terms, been "excommunicated" from the Atheist Church for having heretical beliefs about Muslims. I suppose I can't really claim dibs on the observation that atheism, being a belief in the non-existence of God, is as based on un-provable, spiritual ideas as theism. Is, in fact, a religion. And a particularly nasty one.

Not quite as nasty, yet, as the Religion of Pieces, but certainly as dedicated to shutting up all opposition.

Just this evening, I read a thing from an Australian newspaper, in which a group of radical feminists concerned citizens, wrote an open letter complaining that if Tony Abbott, a rather bland liberal Catholic, were to win the general election, he would - gasp - "impose" his wicked Catholic beliefs on the country.

Well, I guess the JFK solution hasn't stuck, has it.

Of course, there may have been a different letter offered to the press from Christians, (who, I might add, still make up the majority in Australia, as in most other Western countries) warning of the dire consequences of electing Julia Gillard, an avowed atheist and pro-abort feminist. But we'll never know, will we?

No voices were heard warning that a Gillard premiership will impose atheist beliefs on the country. But of course, not having been heard doesn't mean that no one tried.


Having one of those "what the hell am I doing with my life" moments

I never wanted to get into a situation in life in which I know without looking how to spell the surname of the current governor of California.


I also seem to know, without looking it up, the capital of Latvia.

What the hell kind of person knows the capital of Latvia without having to peek at Wikipedia? I mean really!

(Apart from Latvians, I guess)

Monday, August 09, 2010


As of five 15 pm, Rome time, today I have communicated with people from two continents by:

Facebook message - South Dakota
Facebook text chat - South Dakota, Vancouver
Skype phone calls - London
Skype text message - Rhode Island
Email - Michigan, Toronto, London and Tallinn, Estonia
Cell phone text message - Rome
MSN Messenger - Virginia, Ontario (two locations)
and internet conference calling - all over...

I'm communicated-out. I can't stands no more!

And the landline on my desk gathers dust.

The world has become too weird for me.


Ruskin's wit

On the existence of beauty...
"The world does indeed succeed - oftener than is perhaps altogether well for the world - in making Yes mean No, and No mean Yes. But the world has never succeeded, nor ever will, in making itself delight in black clouds more than in blue sky, or love the dark earth better than the rose that grows in it."

On the laws of rational thought...
"Next to imagination, the power of perceiving logical relation is one of the rarest among men; certainly of those with whom I have conversed, I have found always ten who had deep feeling, quick wit, or extended knowledge for one who could set down a syllogism without a flaw. And for ten who could set down a syllogism, only one who could entirely understand that a square has four sides."

Asking what makes "great art"...
"To follow art for the sake of being a great man, and therefore to cast about continually for some means of achieving position or attracting admiration, is the surest way of ending in total extinction."


Sunday, August 08, 2010

Well, that will be something to look forward to then...

Robert Pattinson didn't find anything sexy about Uma Thurman in their new movie, "Bel Ami." "The sex scenes with [her] are kind of disturbing," the "Twilight" star reveals. But he can't blame Uma for the lack of steam. Explains Pattinson: "Her character, Madeleine, kind of uses sex as a sort of weapon, and my character thinks like an animal."

Can't wait.

A while ago, I had a discussion with someone about the entertainment business and how or whether it should be taken back a few stages to consider the moral impact of its products on society. I'm really not one to advocate making only the Sound of Music and the Song of Bernadette over and over again. My favourite film - in my opinion the greatest film ever made - is the Godfather. Gangster films are my favourite genre.

I don't think that entertainment, art, should be all sweetness and light. I don't think the approach of, say, EWTN and its endless soft-focus videos of flowers and bunnies and perpetual rosaries is really the answer. Entertainment, as we have come to use the word over the last 500 years or so, is supposed to reflect, and help us reflect on, real life. Macbeth is still a better play that R&J and at the end of the play that most people regard as the greatest in dramatic history since the Trojan Women, everyone dies, most of them violently.

I will quite cheefully sit through, say, John Carpenter's The Thing (but prefer the original), or any of the Aliens films, or any number of apocalyptic/monster/zombie explosion films (though I never saw the point of the teenage slasher flicks). WWII, Viet Nam, heck, anything involving soldiers (I admit that I even liked Troy). I am always up for some gratuitous violence, car chases, fight scenes, shoot-em-ups. My favourite director is still John Woo.

I like the stuff that explores the darker end of the human soul and the chronic idiocies of our modern civilisation. (Which is why Fight Club might be my runner-up after the Godfather). I have even identified myself as a conscious and systematic student of human evil...another word for a journalist. This stuff is worth making movies and TV shows about.

But I am not the only person who prefers all sorts of blood and guts to a hideous thing like The Talented Mr. Ripley, a film that you could not pay me to sit through again. A film that even mentioning gives me the willies.

It might be difficult to find anyone who, when cornered, would honestly say that the nihilism and despair of the post-modern entertainment world has had a positive effect on people.

Can this trend be stopped? Should it be stopped?

Most people in the theatre seats aren't nihilists. Don't want to see films in which awful people do awful things in an awful world where nothing has any meaning. Indeed, in many countries, most of the people in the theatre seats are at least nominal or cultural Christians and get kind of down when the Judeo-Christian moral code is mocked or denied. Even if subconsciously.

But the entertainment industry seems to be in a little world all its own. I always thought that the bottom line was really, you know, the bottom line in these multi-gajillion dollar businesses. But I guess when you're that rich already, you start to have other priorities, agendas. To think of other things.

And they all seem to be bad things.

Should we just be letting this whole generation of sex/death maniacs finish up while we ignore them and keep downloading old black and white films until the regime change? Is there going to be a regime change?

Do we have the power to shift the focus?

Where should it be shifted to?

Is it the job of entertainment to fix society? Is it not, perhaps, a case of getting what we deserve? That we have so corrupted our society that our entertainment industry is simply showing us ourselves? Is it merely a kind of mirror in which we don't like what we see?

I'm really asking.


Failure on a civilisational scale


Just reading a thing about permanently unfinished municipal projects in Italy.

There are a lot of them.

They do these things differently in Italy. Or rather, fail to do them. Failure on the epic scale is an everyday Italian experience. It's as if they were in competition with the ancients, bent on creating instant ruins to rank alongside the Colosseum and the Roman Forum. Motorways, viaducts, stadiums, swimming pools, museums, multi-storey car parks, theatres, railway stations... there is almost no type of public building that, in the past half century, the Italians have not given up on halfway.

A new survey of Italy's unfinished building works found 360 scattered around the country, with 160 in Sicily alone.


A couple of kilometres up the road, a municipal swimming pool and a so-called "polyfunctional centre" containing an open-air theatre, both of them sink holes for investments of tens of billions of lire and many years of work, stand unfinished, vacant and half-wrecked. A multi-storey car park in the town, under construction for a generation, was completed only a couple of months back. So was the town's hospital, after 40 years on the stocks, but as one local man told me, "It was born old. And although it's been opened, now they are closing it down again, as part of the rationalisation of Sicily's health service." Meanwhile, the town's theatre, begun nearly 60 years ago, and a children's play centre (intended 20 years ago to be the main attraction of a local park) have yet to be completed.

Local people offer explanations for these failures, but it is hard to know whether or not to take them seriously. In the case of the polo stadium, I was told that the architects had made a mistake in their calculations and given the stands too steep a rake, breaking the legal norms. Meanwhile, the technicians involved in building the swimming pool supposedly made it 49 metres long instead of the regulation 50 metres.

Can such idiocy be credited?

...I might add that when the Italians do finish something, they do such a colossally bad job of it, the thing they build has to be torn down in ten years as a public safety hazard.

...and then isn't.

A friend of mine posits that Italy is a country in retirement. It has pretty much done everything it set out to do:

Conquered the world. Check.
Become the cradle of post-Imperial Christian civilisation. Check.
Rediscovered the writing of the ancient Greeks and started the Renaissance. Check.
Invented banking and money. Check.
Produced the greatest painters and sculptors the world has ever seen. Check.

And now, as the American bumper stickers say, it's spending its kids' inheritance as fast as it can.

Except that there aren't any kids.


This is your career on drugs

Architects beware. This is what a lifetime of pot can do to your work.

(Actually, I think it's kind of neat...)

An important rule about cats

From the time I was born, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents at their beautiful cliff-side house up island. They had an orange cat named Timoshenko (no, I never found out why they named a perfectly ordinary long-haired ginger cat after a famous Russian general, but grandpa was a bit of a leftie), with whom I was immediately enamoured. By the time I had learned to walk, I would go into a kind of ecstasy and chase Timmo around the house yelling "pussypussypussypussy..."

No matter how many times Grandma would say the cat didn't like it, I simply could not stop myself. Timmo never scratched me though, that I can recall.

But that cat didn't die until I was in my early 20s and it never, ever came near me.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Real Thing

I wrote something recently about the coming state persecution. It always does the Church good.

One man here says that the Church is Christ's and He will not allow it to disappear. But I think this is only partially true. I think He will allow it to disappear in some places. This is a reality we must face.


Things I don't miss at all aboot Canada

I never lived in N. Ontario, but I lived in the NWT.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Fat Man and Little Boy


Remember when we were kids and in school they told us all about how the Bomb was going to kill us all, in fact, wipe out all life on planet earth down to the microbial level?

Remember when "If you love this planet" was sent round to all the high schools and we would go on ban the bomb rallies as part of our civics classes?

When "every fifteen minute period could be your last"?

They told us that the worst thing that could possibly happen was the Bomb. The end of the world, and all that.

We were told that atom bombs were "radioactive" (though I note that no one ever actually bothered to define it...we thought microwave ovens were radioactive too) and where they fell, no one and nothing could live for twenty or thirty or fifty thousand years after...

The early bombs were pretty "dirty" it is true. They caused a lot of long-term medical problems in the people who were in the vicinity and survived the first blast.

how many people live in Hiroshima today?

Just askin...

Wiki: "By 1955, the city's population had returned to pre-war levels."


Nuns on TV


I once had a conversation with Mother Assumpta Long. And she looked through me, who thinks of myself as pretty comfortably opaque, as though I were made of glass.

She asked me some questions about my life that indicated that she knew instantly things about me that I didn't want anyone to know.

She's a power. I don't like the thing she's created. That order of cheerleaders gives me the screaming heebie jeebies for many reasons. I had a rather bad experience and left a vocations retreat of theirs, that was supposed to have been three days long, after fewer than 24 hours, though I had already been invited to apply.

But the woman who started the thing is a power.

It's not often I meet someone who has bigger and scarier mind powers than I.


Six more sleeps

Cheshire's area is 2,343 square kilometres (905 sq mi) and its population is just over a million.

Short story

The distance between the front door and the bathroom was only twelve paces. Short, indoor paces. She knew this because in moments of stress she had the habit of counting footfalls. Footfalls were real. They were the moment when the self connected with the external. She counted footfalls, the moment the heel struck the floor or the ground, because those were the instants when it could be concretely established that the self was also real. Twelve paces were twelve irrefutable instances of existence, which was, surprisingly perhaps, not always easy to establish.

Tonight, she wished that she did not know how many paces there were between the front door and the bathroom. How fast could that distance be traversed? The orange street light colour glowed in through the slats in the blinds. She could hear nothing, either from the bathroom or from the street outside. She was still standing in front of the door with her hand on the knob, listening. The only thing she could hear was her own heart and the sound of blood in her ears.

She stared through the gloom down her wide hallway. The twelve paces looked shorter tonight. The bathroom door was closed, it’s brass handle shone dully against the white painted wood. No light was on as she pulled the key out of the lock and quietly closed the door. It was hot, though it was nearly eleven.

When she was a little girl, she had been terrified of her grandmother’s bathroom. Her grandparents lived outside of town and in the autumn the wolf spiders would come inside where it was warmer. Up the drains they would climb, perhaps smelling their way forwards, up through a little circle of light and into the bath. For them, it was a trap. The claws on the ends of their legs could not find purchase on the smooth porcelain of the old white bathtub. A clawfoot bathtub.




Thursday, August 05, 2010

Ah yes, good old Italy...

never fails to disappoint.

The February 28 concert of the well-known band, specializing in performing baroque and late Renaissance music, in the Pantheon, was coming to an end, but a woman, apparently a Pantheon keeper, got onto the stage and said the concert was over, requesting everyone to leave the building.

She said the hall should be closed at 18:00. The audience of several hundred did not believe their ears and asked the musicians to continue performing, but another Pantheon employee, a man, stopped the concert again and told everyone to leave the building to the audience's indignant cries "Disgrace!"

"I sent a letter with apologies on my behalf and on behalf of the Cultural Heritage Ministry to the Russian musicians for the impermissible behavior by some Pantheon keepers who vulgarly interrupted the concert because the visiting time was over," Bondi said in an official statement distributed Sunday.

The video of the incident was posted on RIA Novosti's Russian-language website and on YouTube. The YouTube recording shows the woman appear on the stage at the time of 5:00.

Many Italians condemned the Pantheon keepers for the incident, writing that they were "ashamed to be Italian."

Don't worry about it. As an official representative of the Outside World,

I'm authorised to tell you, we're used to it.


Where do we begin?


So, it turns out that the Party That Must Never Be Named was right. Muslim Asian men in Manchester and other places in the north are in fact "grooming" young teenage white girls for use as prostitutes.


Well, Labour MP Ann Cryer is ready with the correct spin an answer.

It's all the fault of traditional Muslim Asian culture and their arranged marriages, see.

Because these men are all from "traditional" "conservative" Islamic families, they have their marriages arranged for them. This means that they can't sleep around when they're young like normal people, so, naturally, they turn to kidnapping, drugging and raping 14 year old girls, and forcing them into prostitution...

as you do.
"I am merely pointing out fact in saying that all the victims of these terrible crimes are white girls and all the alleged perpetrators are Asian men," she said.

"That is a significant fact and needs to be addressed."

In her view, young Asian men in traditional communities were unable to pursue casual relationships in the manner of their white peers because they were tied to arranged marriages.

Caught between two cultures, a small number were tempted to target vulnerable young girls, she said.

She was criticised by Muslim community activists, and a subsequent Channel 4 documentary focusing on the problem was pulled amid fears that it would hand political ammunition to the BNP Party that Must Never be Named.


The Summer Office


Many mornings, I work from the balcony of my apartment. The birds, the flowers, the sea breezes... beats the hell out of the train-o into Rome.


I've hit the big time


Well well. The godless...commie liberal mainstream media knows I exist.

I feel so special.

Maybe I'll have to start reconsidering that dream job.


Tuesday, August 03, 2010

I'm looking at you,


Santissima Trinita...


Streaming in...


Yep. Anglicans are coming into the Church in tens.

Tens of tens!


The Asteroid 101


Now, y'all know that I pretty much dropped the liturgical issues some years ago. I figure, it's not my department. You can't be everywhere and I am now surrounded by people who can (and do) write books on this stuff. Indeed, it is sometimes difficult to keep my eyes from glazing over at the post-Mass pranza when they start going on (and on...and on...) about it. About ten years ago now I started the whole process of coming out of the Novus Ordo Matrix, did all the reading, came to the usual conclusions (it's not the same religion), had the usual crises, and generally went through the pain involved in swallowing that Red Pill.

These days, I am happy enough with my liturgical situation. Secure enough in what I've learned that I don't need to go stomping around telling people what's Really Going On in breathless stage whispers. I just don't attend that other thing v. often, and when I do, I'm fine with leaving the people around me alone about it. I just pick something in the church to look at, a statue or stained glass window or something, that gives no offense. I don't know enough Italian for anything the priest says to get under my skin.

One thing the Trad Mass has taught me is that the liturgy does not depend upon my minute moment-to-moment attention. It's OK to let your mind wander off.

Anyway, I'm surrounded, as I said, by experts whose job it is to worry about it. In the same way that I let the US writers pay attention to the US political scene, I let my liturgy friends do the liturgy worrying for me.

But a couple of weeks ago, I met a nice young fellow from a seminary in Ireland who had been taken along to a Trad conference by his grandparents, for a holiday, they said. I had seen him attending the conferences and had been briefly introduced, but on the last night, was seated opposite him at dinner and I suddenly found myself in the position of the one explaining the deficiencies of the New Rite and New Theology. He was a clever enough young fellow (working on a degree in math and physics) and had the Faith, so it was fairly easy to show him the more obvious logical and theological inconsistencies about what he had been taught about liturgy. It was pretty much Trad 101 stuff and he was willing to listen. He knows some Trads in the seminary and had been unimpressed with their conversation (I can imagine!) and explanations.

In the end, though, I could see that this was a young man who was never going to be satisfied with half-answers from either side of the argument. Ultimately, he was a nice young guy who wanted to know The Real and seemed willing to face the consequences of what he learned.

I asked him, "What is your intellect for?"

He replied, "To know God."

"Yes. When you seek to know God, do you seek only partial truths? Or do you want to know everything that is within your power to know?"

He didn't answer, but gave me a rather pained look.

At the end of the conversation, after rather easily batting away all his objections (he was only 19, after all), I told him, "Of course, there is no reason at all for you to do anything about this. You can secure your salvation in NewChurch. As you said, the Holy Spirit has rescued the NO Mass and the other sacraments from outright invalidity. You can lead a perfectly holy sacramental life in the new dispensation and go to heaven. You don't have to look up and compare the two texts of the Mass and see what was removed and speculate on why. You don't have to read the Von Hildebrands.

You don't have to ask yourself these difficult and frightening questions."

"I can take the Blue Pill."

"You can take the Blue Pill."


Today, Michael Voris offers a little short course in the Asteroid 101. How it happened, who the major players were and why they said they did what they did. Michael is a Reform of the Reform neo-con, but the information is there for the most part.

It's just a primer and It's pretty old hat stuff to me, but I guess there are still people out there like my young Irish friend who haven't heard it yet.

If you've got an hour to kill...