Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Manly singing

Today's musical choice for background noise while I'm working and folding laundry is Eastern Chant.

And as I was listening to it, something interesting popped into mind.

And suddenly I've understood better than before what has gone wrong in the (Latin) Church. Or gone away, more to the point:



What a pope looks like

What a pope says:

“I am worried by the Blessed Virgin's messages to Lucy of Fatima. This persistence of Mary about the dangers which menace the Church is a divine warning against the suicide of altering the Faith, in her liturgy, her theology and her soul….

“I hear all around me innovators who wish to dismantle the Sacred Chapel, destroy the universal flame of the Church, reject her ornaments and make her feel remorse for her historical past.

“A day will come when the civilized world will deny its God, when the Church will doubt as Peter doubted. She will be tempted to believe that man has become God. In our churches, Christians will search in vain for the red lamp where God awaits them, like Mary Magdalene weeping before the empty tomb, they will ask, 'Where have they taken Him?'”


How to be a jerk

Attention, Italy. I'd just like to clear up a few things:

You're acting like a jerk if you stop in the middle of the sidewalk and just stand there when there are dozens, or hundreds, of people trying to get by. You're acting like a jerk if you are getting off a train or a bus and you get as far as the doorway and then just stand there, looking through your purse or typing into your phone (Are you a cat? are you looking around waiting to see if it's safe? There are 500 people behind you trying to get home. MOVE!).

You're acting like a jerk when you butt in front of someone in a queue. You're acting like a jerk if you leave your car/motorino parked in such a way as to block handicapped/wheelchair access, box in other parked cars, take up two parking spaces or are parked ON THE FRIGGING SIDEWALK.

You're acting like a jerk when you demand exact or extra change from every customer who buys something in your store (It's your JOB to go get change and maintain an adequate float). You're acting like a jerk when you shove your way onto a crowded bus before letting other passengers off.

Let me explain a basic concept of civilisation: you're not supposed to not give a %#@! about the needs or comfort of anyone or everyone around you. Generally, you're acting like a jerk if you act as though you live in a little bubble-universe all your own and there is no one else in existence.


Oh, and when there is functioning air conditioning in a train compartment, you CAN'T MAKE IT WORK BETTER BY OPENING A WINDOW!!


(Oooooo, I could go on...)


Welcome to NuChurch

...and have a nice day.


Monday, July 29, 2013

Now we go down into the dark

Remember that sense of pervading doom and depression I had at the Conclave?

the Franciscans of the Immaculate are one of the most flourishing religious communities born in the Catholic Church in recent decades, with male and female branches, with many young vocations, spread over several continents and with a mission in Argentina as well.

... a core group of internal dissidents... appealed to the Vatican authorities complaining of the excessive propensity of their congregation to celebrate the Mass in the ancient rite, with the effect of creating exclusion and opposition within the communities, of undermining internal unity and, worse, of weakening the more general "sentire cum Ecclesia."

The Vatican authorities responded by sending an apostolic visitor one year ago. And now comes the appointment of the commissioner.

But what is most astonishing are the last five lines of the decree of July 11:

"In addition to the above, the Holy Father Francis has directed that every religious of the congregation of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate is required to celebrate the liturgy according to the ordinary rite and that, if the occasion should arise,

the use of the extraordinary form (Vetus Ordo) must be explicitly authorized by the competent authorities,

for every religious and/or community that makes the request.”

The astonishment stems from the fact that what is decreed contradicts the dispositions given by Benedict XVI, which for the celebration of the Mass in the ancient rite “sine populo" demand no previous request for authorization whatsoever.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


What the hell?

Where did all these people come from?

Don't you have anything to do?

Go away!

(Cripes! it's like coming home to discover your roommates are throwing a huge party, and all you want to do is have a quiet evening at home.)


Kiron update

One of our friends has been in touch with Kiron's family.... Here is the latest:

Thanks again for all your prayers. Kiron was hit by a taxi while cycling in Rome and sustained a serious head injury. The good news is that the bleeding has stopped, and the area has drained. Kiron is being kept in a medically-induced coma on a breathing machine in the ICU -- the doctors intend to keep her in the coma for 1 or 2 weeks.

Her condition is gravely serious but stable. The haematoma has so far not worsened and the inter cranial pressure is good. All her vitals her fine. He also said that they would be monitoring the haematoma in case it worsens.

The doctors have encouraged people to come to visit -- to sit with her, talk, read, pray . . . . She's at St. Camillo hospital. Visiting hours are from 1-3 and 5-11. Fortunately, many of Kiron’s friends have been able to visit, and her father is here from the States.

Latest today from her family:
"Kiron is not worsening so that is good and the only thing to be done now is keep her in a coma so that she may heal. She is being monitored closely with a drain in her head to relieve and monitor cranial pressure. She is also being administered progesterone which is the new protocol and been shown to help limit damage and aid recovery. It looks like the doctor today said it may be 1 to 2 weeks that Kiron will be kept in coma. So for next week the the good news would be that there will be nothing to report as she is left to heal."

Please keep praying!

Our Lady of Pompeii, pray for us!
Saint Pantaleon, pray for us!
All ye holy Helpers, pray for us!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Ladies in puffy dresses

When I was a little kid, I was obsessed with ladies in puffy dresses. I drew endless pictures with the ladies with perfect 1969 flip hairdos and huge bell-shaped skirts, puffy sleeves and pushing a little baby pram. The baby in the pram often had a perfect flip hair do too. My mother loved them, and saved a bunch.

My grandfather had an opera record of Joan Sutherland that had her in this fantastic dress from the 50s, made of about ten acres of blue duchess satin. Oh man. I used to sneak into the closet and pull it out, and just gaze.

I think I spent 20 years in the SCA because this obsession really never left me, and I made some amazing clothes in that time. Lots of bombasted, puff n' slash sleeves and padded velvet, lemme tell ya.

It could be why I got so into art classes. Maybe that's what I'll do for a living when I'm ready to retire from the Wars. There have to be lots of loaded ladies out there who want their portrait done in the manner of Gainsborough or Fragonard.

Anyway, it's Saturday, and it's fiercely hot (30+) and I really don't want to do anything but look at pretty pictures of ladies in puffy dresses on the internet. So, here. Let's loaf about together.

Lately been getting into Van Eyck, but it's the same general principle.

I remember seeing this one in the National Gallery in DC a few years ago, and sticking my nose up as close to it as I figured I could without getting arrested. Van Eyck rewards close inspection.

In fact, here's an awesome documentary on this amazing painting.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Pope Francis prepares for culminating event of World Youth Day[s] the cathedral of Rio de Janeiro.

What does it remind me of...architecturally speaking, I mean...


Let's see... what could it be?

Oh yeah!


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Prayers for a friend, please

A friend of ours, one of our little ex-pat gang, has had a serious bike accident tonight and is in a coma in the hospital. Suspected traumatic brain injury with bleeding on the brain.

More later.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

First portrait in oils

... at least, the first one I'm willing to post.

Oil painting, as it turns out, is really, really hard!

Stage one: charcoal drawing. Doing fine.

Stage two: the underpainting. Starting to worry.

The charming Jordan Sokol, a natural teacher.


Monday, July 22, 2013

Why I don't work on the front lines

Some people have the ability to stand in front of an abortion facility and pray and talk to people in a regular, normal tone of voice.

I don't.

Years ago, when I was working in the TO office of CLC, I got a call from a guy from Honduras who was asking for legal help to rescue his girlfriend and unborn child. They had come up to Canada together and he had lost his illegal job and couldn't find another. She was offered a bed in a womyn's shelter, supposedly as a temporary thing. He was allowed to visit her until it was discovered that she was pregnant. At that point, he was refused entry and she had her "phone privileges" revoked.

He had found out that the thugs in charge had brought in a government social worker who told the girlfriend that if she didn't have an abortion she would be arrested and deported as an illegal. It was a lie, but how was she to know? He had tried several times to see her, even waiting around on the sidewalk and trying to talk to her through a window. The womyn in the place literally dragged her away from the window.

She had been effectively imprisoned, without charge or due process, by the warm and welcoming Canadian liberal/feminist social safety net.

He called us in desperation, with a few days left before the appointment, to ask what his legal recourse was. His English wasn't great and it took me about five tries to explain to him that he had absolutely no rights at all, and that if he tried to intervene, he'd find himself in jail. One of the most horrifying and painful conversations I've ever had. I had to go home after and go to bed.

The next day, as I was sitting on the subway on the way to the office, I wanted to start screaming, "Do you people know what's going on?!"

It was not long after that I started working from home for LifeSite. Being that close to the action was too much for me.

It's what's coming in Ireland when the Fine Gael bill passes. Right now, this is still possible. But when it passes, all the parents or boyfriend (or pimp) have to do is find a pro-abort social worker, or a pro-abort shrink willing to sign the pre-approved forms. And it won't be long before this little formality is also cleared out of the way.
UK abortion clinics routinely violate law, forge abortion documents: government investigation

And no one wants to know about it.
Gov. drags its feet for almost 18 months over investigating docs who pre-signed abortion forms

Mostly because it's out of sight. As long as the public is still shielded from the reality, as long as the pro-lifers are more interested in sparing people's widdle feewings, no one is ever going to know what's going on.

Man in forced abortion threat case grateful to pro-life group SPUC


The Monday morning beat

Coffee and an almond/hazelnut/plum bakie with ricotta on top for breakfast.
It's nine-thirty and the birds are tweeting,

but they're singing in Italian,

so I tune it out ... as usual.

The sofa is so soft, man,

but I gotta get up and go

Go to the gym, man...

Gotta get me a bongo.

~ * ~

And, have discovered awesome new band

Neon Trees

~ * ~



Someone get me a steam engineer!!


Sunday, July 21, 2013

Coffee experiment

So, day two of the coffee/gym/metabolism experiment was a bit of a disappointment. I'm figuring out, I think, how to use this legal stimulant but I can see it's going to be tricky to balance everything.

Tired out from the Huge Gym Day on Fri, I didn't get nearly as crazy again yesterday and was pretty draggy most of the day. And that was with double the dose: I downed four... yes four ... double espressos through the course of the morning while puttering about the house, and it wasn't nearly the same. Got a bunch of housework done and later was still perked up enough to get on the bike and go pay the bills, but didn't make it over to the gym until 2:30 and discovered that, being Italian, the nice Gym Lady doesn't open in the afternoons on Saturdays. I wasn't disappointed, in fact, and was just as glad to go home again. Not a lot of energy left over by Saturday evening. Artificial stimulants, at least the legal kind, have limits, I guess.

I'm guessing that the explosion on Friday, and the 5.78 km power walk, increased weights etc, just made me more tired than usual and it's taking an extra day to recuperate. I'll go back tomorrow morning and see how I get on.

Also, have to remember to eat. The biggest factor in the equation in getting draggy was probably food. I forgot that one of the things caffeine does to you is suppress appetite. In fact, it gave me a kind of gloopy tummy; not sick exactly, just not interested in food. When I got back home on Friday, I just went to work as usual and felt fine. Just had cucumber salad and little gorgonzola on pomodorini for dinner.

On Friday morning I'd had protein, vitamin and iron-rich leftover Fegato alla Veneziana for breakfast, with a couple of peaches, and then poured in the coffee on top. Saturday morning, I was feeling gloopy, so just went with a little fruit, then forgot to eat anything at all for the rest of the day. By the time I'd got to the gym at 2:30 I was starting to get light headed when I stood up too quickly. So it shouldn't be surprising that I was feeling most of the day like I was wading through mud.

Sleeping was definitely interrupted. I was truly pooped by Friday night, but unsurprisingly had trouble sleeping. Last night, I had a work thing to finish which took till nearly one thirty, then couldn't sleep at all until nearly three.

Taking a control day today. Nothing but iced tea and fruit and yogurt after church, and am about to make some lunch and then might take a snooze. I'll try a little short dose of coffee again around five to perk up enough to go to the beach-o for a swim. That's about when Wicked Old Yellowface has eased off enough to make it safe to go out. Nothing like an evening snorkel to make you feel alive.

My friend who works in a fancy-schmancy Tea Shoppe in Vancouver tells me that the caffeine in tea and the caffeine in coffee are actually two different chemicals. Too much tea caffeine has always just made me jiggly and clumsy. Coffee caffeine makes me think I can RULE THE WORLD. So it'll be interesting to see what comes of this new thing.


Friday, July 19, 2013

All grown up

Well, I made coffee this morning, using Sarah Eby's little coffee engine. I looked up how to do it on Youtube, but they didn't say how much coffee to use.

It was... well, pretty awful. But I'm drinking it. It's supposed to raise your metabolism, or something. It's making me feel very sophisticated and European, kinda like an existential novel from the 1930s. I expect to start writing free verse any second now. Maybe I'll get a bongo.

~ * ~
Housework tip of the day:

OK, anyone else in Italy have this problem? You've got marble tile floors, and you spill some water on them, maybe while watering the plants. The water, being Italian water, is dense with calcium. It leaves huge cloudy, chalky marks on your beautiful shiny floors.

I learned that the very worst thing you can do is use Viakal. DO NOT USE VIAKAL on your marble tile floors. Marble is made of calcium, so the Viakal will just dissolve it, and ruin the surface. Then you'll have to go to the ferramenta and figure out how to ask the guy what you do to re-buff your marble floors. He won't understand you and it will be all embarrassing as you try to mime spilling water and polishing floors. He will look at you with that uniquely Italian blank stare and you'll feel like an idiot.

Here's a way to avoid looking like a dumb straniera in front of your ferramenta guy:

Take a lemon, slice off the top, and rub the lemon stub over the mark. You will see the lemon dissolving the calcium; it will make a sort of paste. Then take a dry cloth and buff off the paste. Your floors will be incredibly shiny and clean and smooth.

~ * ~

I think I'm going to try a new format for blogging. I'll put the day's thoughts and snippets all on one post, so there'll be a post a day. Maybe that will be less confusing for people. We'll try it for a few days and y'all can tell me what you think.

~ * ~

Me after two double espressos this morning.

So, the caffeine thing... well, well, quite an experience! I can see now why people get really into coffee. It's not about the taste; I see that now. It still tastes kind of like burnt acorns to me, but what the hell. Who cares when it does that to you.

I found it rather... difficult...(ahem) to sit still, so went off to the gym ... and may have hurt myself. I attacked the treadmill with a look on my face that said, "Get in my way, and I'll kill and eat you." Did an hour and kept having to push up the speed and difficulty level. When I was done, the display thingy said I'd burned 456 calories and power-walked 5.78 km.

I assume there's going to be a crash of some sort, right?

All very interesting. I might do it again tomorrow. Must always do experiments several times to see if we reproduce the same results.

It's all for science.

~ * ~

Never forget how fast, and how drastically, politics can change.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


This thing on the net tells you what your site's "rank" is compared to all the other sites on the net.

We're 25,689,403th.


Whereas LifeSite is 12,228th in the world. And 25.2% of our traffic comes from Facebook.


Walken - king of teh weird

And was I the last one to learn he could dance?


if Walken can make an amateur cooking show out of his own kitchen with a cheap-o video cam, so can I.


Hope in Francis

Finally, something about this papacy that is filling me with hope.

Hope that World Youth Day, those wretched festivals of self-congratulation and liturgical chicanery, will finally be cancelled...

Just THINK of all the poor Brazilians, -- who are rioting in the streets! -- who could use those hundreds of millions of dollars for food, and shelter, and free health care!
"...Participants are being asked to pay fees ranging from $51 to $283,...

"O Globo reported that registrations for World Youth Day were expected to be in the neighborhood of 1 million to 2 million, with participant fees covering at least 70 percent of the total estimated cost of $140 million.

"Meanwhile, space-clearing efforts in two World Youth Day venues that involved plans to cut down trees have also sparked concern.

"In the Serra da Tiririca national park, 334 trees were reportedly removed from an Atlantic rainforest in order to accommodate a gathering of some 800 youth from the diocese of São Sebastião de Itaipu prior to the pope's arrival.

"The deputy mayor of the city of Niterói, where the forest is located, complained to local media that church officials had not sought permission."

If only John Allen were on our side.


Don't drink Coke

Go to your cupboard or fridge. Take out any thing in a tin or bottle that isn't water. Look at the ingredients list. Very nearly everything will have high fructose corn syrup or glucose syrup as one of the first things on the list.

Stop consuming processed foods.

And yes, stop drinking Coke.


Conversion, not so fun, actually...

“You can give irrefutable proofs of the stupidity of birth-control theories and of the harm that comes from putting them into practice; but as long as there is no sincere determination to let the Creator carry on His work as He chooses, then human selfishness will always find new sophistries and excuses to still the voice of conscience and to carry on abuses.”

- Pope Pius XII, The Large Family, 1958

Mike is writing about the link between contraception and "gay marriage," but the quote above reminded me of something I learned some time ago.

When I first became involved in the pro-life movement, I did so because I had learned certain true things. I knew they were true because they were in accord with medical science (empirical evidence), with my own observations and were not internally contradictory. I assumed, in my naivete, that other people would also change their minds about these things if they were shown the same facts. People, I reasoned, were basically good and wanted to do the right thing and lacked only knowledge. Exposure to reality was the only thing wanting.

I forgot, or didn't know, that there is always a factor of willfulness to human ignorance, and that the general culture had taught people that there is nothing more important than getting what they want. Nothing. Not truth or facts or even monstrous evil.

The only thing that saved me from the same trap was, ironically, probably my weird hippie upbringing, the first axiom of which was that the general culture is always wrong and bad. I was raised by people who were consciously and deliberately non-conformists. Of course, being humans, the hippie culture fell into the normal traps for humans, and, some time between the 1970s and 80s, became the conformity, the general culture which I had been trained to resist.

I had no problem with this, especially after I had figured out how logically to discern the difference between objective right and wrong (something the hippies weren't big on that took many more years). After that it was easy to understand what was going on and how important it was to shun what John Paul II eventually helpfully named the Culture of Death.

But it wasn't until I started speaking and writing on the things I'd learned that I found out this sadder, darker part of human nature. The part that will go on "believing" something that is demonstrably untrue because believing it gets the person what he wants. And because changing his mind about it would mean admitting that he had been wrong, and in most cases, in the wrong, on the wrong side, the bad side.

I can understand that too, because I had been on the Bad Side for a long time and had done and believed terrible, miserable, evil and damaging things most of my life. It was a horrible realisation, and one that cost a great deal of suffering until I had come to terms with it. I was actually made seriously ill for over a year when the understanding really hit home. So, I really get it. I know how hard it is to give up the righteous self-justification, the tangle of egotism and lies one lives in when caught up in the ideas common to the "general culture". It's damn hard to think outside the cultural box.

And it can create havok in your relationships. I know someone who came from a working class Catholic family in Nova Scotia and did nothing more than learn more about the Church's teachings, on a variety of topics, and nearly alienated her whole family, and all her friends. Though she had never been exposed to booky people, she had a naturally inquisitive mind and sharp intelligence and had always been aware that there was something lacking, something not being talked about, in the mainstream of Novus Ordo Catholicism. We became friends and I loaned her a few books and we talked a lot. She started meeting other people who knew lots of things and talking and reading and thinking. We actually prayed together a great deal and finally formed a little women's prayer group who met for tea, Divine Office and chats at my apartment in Halifax. (Yes there was a time when I was actually devout... sigh). She became more serious about her faith, more serious about the life issues, more attentive and discerning about politics and generally more grown up and responsible, more serious as a person all 'round.

Eventually, she decided to leave her job and attend a small independent Catholic college in Ontario for a year to learn more. She didn't want to become an academic, or an "intellectual" or really change her life very much at all (which was perfectly satisfactory in most respects) but she had a great deal of curiosity and wanted to learn things.

Her family completely flipped out. She was, from their working class perspective, getting above herself by going to college. But worse, she was starting to act as though they were not holy and pious enough. Who was she to find the regular English Mass at their parish not good enough? Who was she to start telling them that contraception was evil and destructive? Who was she, all high and mighty all of a sudden, to wear a mantilla at Mass and talk like she'd swallowed the Catholic encyclopedia?

Obviously there was a lot of classism going into this clash, and given the demographics, it's pretty understandable. Being one of the best humans I've ever met, she was able finally to work past this with her family, but she never moved back to Nova Scotia. She never was able to move back into their world at all, and they knew it. Love overcame, but it was hard. You can't un-know what you know. You can't go back into the Matrix once you're out.

(Shout-out: you know who you are, darling, dearest friend. I wish you would write or email or something.)

The other day, I was sneakily looking at the FB pages of some of my friends from high school. I remarked that it was strange, extremely strange, to look at those faces, so very familiar but so changed at the same time. Most of my friends from school turned out really well, by secular standards. They've all got pretty good jobs, nice homes. Most of them got married and most of them have at least a couple of kids. They all look generally happy and prosperous. As you would expect from people of that millieu, having grown up in one of the most beautiful and wealthy places in the world.

It was weird. They were all normal and nearly all of them had stayed in or around Victoria. What's more, a lot of them had stayed in touch, and were still hanging out to a degree. What the hell had happened to me to so totally remove me from what had once been my whole world? It's hard to describe the feeling I had. I told a friend it was feeling like a replicant (except, as he pointed out, replicants have the opposite problem and feel like normal people, but aren't), as though I had no real past and that all my memories were implanted engrams generated by a computer.

I didn't contact any of them, and didn't want to. It was too weird for one thing, but also I knew that they lived in a kind of parallel universe, and though probably many of them still loved me, we would have no way of communicating. Looking back at my life then is like looking down the reverse end of a telescope at a life lived by someone else. Or a life from someone in a book or a movie I watched once a long time ago and had mostly forgotten about.

In other words, conversion changes you. It does so in a way that is irreversible and progressive. You keep changing afterwards because once you have made the first big change, you begin to see things that you need to know, whole worlds of knowledge and ideas that you didn't know were there, and it comes along with an urgent need to learn them. So not only do you move far away from what you were, and frequently all in one big heave, you keep moving away, like a moon that's been knocked out of its orbit around a planet and now has nothing to stop it from heading for deep space.

When you've changed because of learning something shocking, something totally life-altering, you can't go back. And often, you can't replicate the experience for your friends and family. You can't make them have it, so you have to leave them behind. You have no choice.

For a long time in the early time of my involvement with the pro-life movement, I tried to bring people with me, and in every case, totally failed. Through the mercy of God I had moved 3000 miles away, so there wasn't much more pain to be had in the way of rejection. My family had already long since disappeared and I fell in with a very good crowd of young Catholics, many of whom were, for various reasons, having exactly the same experience. It all very much smacked of a Plan. But it was a costly one. It required giving up everything I had that I loved. And nearly everyone. Even real love has a hard time overcoming such an enormous change.

16 years later, I've learned a great deal about how the conversion process works, and what it does to you. So I'm not in the least surprised that people don't suddenly change their minds about, say, abortion or homosexuality or any of that stuff. How do you change to a worldview that is totally separate from the one nearly everyone else inhabits? How do you even want to? There has to be something niggling in the back of your mind. You have to have had a life-long awareness, like my friend above did, that something, something is not quite right. Something in this world of charms and flowers is wrong, there's a sour note in the symphony. Something that just seems odd, off, out of place.

Then one day you see it, grinning at you, showing all its teeth, and you realise with a horrifying shock that everything you think is wrong. There is a monster attached to you by its mouthparts, and it's grinning at you, and at everyone you know, because it knows you can't see it and it will be able to eat you in the end. Eat you forever.

Here's a song that one of those Ancients of my life put me on to, that I haven't listened to since then.


Sunday, July 14, 2013

Just a little laugh

Love this ad. (Ignore the car part.)


Post-Gardone Blues

Just sent this note to Mike Matt at the Remnant:
"So, I was just watching the videos you posted to FB and thinking, 'I feel like I'm still there, and my brain is all confused. Where is everybody? When's the next talk? What am I doing home? Why didn't I get to play any tennis today?' I'm already homesick for it.

"That's the problem with getting to make friends with so many people from so many different places. You spend all your time wishing you were somewhere else."

It was even more wonderful this year. I can't describe. I've got a lot of photos to post, but am still pretty tired from the full-day ride home on Friday; ferry and trains and lugging stuff across the country.

Still mulling over the many, many conversations and often astonishing lectures I was privileged to have with quite simply some of the most interesting and intelligent people I'm ever likely to know. The only conference I ever go to where I try hard to get to all the talks. It's the one place where the lecture will always, every time, teach you something or some way of thinking about something that had never occurred to you before. I have come away full of ideas and must spend some time cogitating and digesting.

But of course, the weather has finally become very hot, so perhaps the thinking will be a little slower than usual.

But I'm home. And Winnie is fine, and all my lovely friends are here. So, that's good, anyway.


Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Sooooo cute!

The other evening, I was walking a friend home and we ran into some other friends who had been at the beach. They had with them a big cardboard box with holes punched in it and asked us if we wanted a baby duck. There had been this guy at the beach that day selling baby ducks and chicks to passersby and they had not been able to resist, but now realised that they were all headed back to the States for the remainder of the summer and wouldn't be able to look after him.

I looked and looked at that adorable little ball of yellow fluff and very nearly caved. The truth is that I've always wanted a pet duck. Fortunately, there's a park just up the road from us that has lots of ducks and geese, so the little feller had a place to go. But ooooo, I wanted to take that little duck home!


Friday, July 05, 2013

At Gardone

so, things are going to be a little sparse here for the next while. I'm at the Roman Forum conference in Gardone Riviera, thanks to the kindness of a generous donor.

Here's some photos:
Had a full day of trains and ferries on Tuesday, starting at five to get the six am train to Termini, then off to Milan, from there to Desenzano, walk down to the ferry terminal and took the slow boat across Lake Garda. Arrived at the Angeli hotel in Gardone Sopra by suppertime, totally exhausted. But happy to be here again.

Train to Desenzano at Milano Centrale station: built tough by Canadians.

What you do when you've got two hours to kill in Desenzano while waiting for the ferry across Lake Garda.

Central marina in Desenzano del Garda.

Grabbed a surprisingly cheap lunch at the cafe on the marina.

Here comes the boat.

Bye bye Desenzano.

Castle at Sirmione, a little island in the middle of Lake Garda.

Where to eat in Sirmione.

Life on the lake.

It's an Imperial-era villa of someone important... Catullus, Cthulhu... Cato... someone famous...

Western shore of Lake Garda is lined with resorts: people have been taking their holidays here for thousands of years.

The Vittoriale, house of Gabriele D'Annunzio, the mad prophet, in Gardone Sopra.

The Church of St. Nicholas in Gardone Sopra, a lovely Baroque re-make of the earlier medieval church. We have Mass here every day.

Salo cathedral, one ferry stop past Gardone. Ferry passes Gardone to stop in Salo, then turns around and goes back. All the shopping you need to do can be done in Salo. And the cathedral is famous

Salo marina.

And, at last! Gardone itself. The little trenino takes you and your tired self and all your goods and chattels up the hill.

Arrived just in time for dinner at the perennial Mario's

Life at the Roman Forum happens rather more slowly than elsewhere. Modernity not welcome.

...except for the internet. The work room. Free wifi at the Angeli and Sofia hotels, so we all spend a lot of time ticking away while the chatting goes on around us.

Prof. Thomas Stark of Austria, embodying, as usual, the Gardone style.

Dr. John Rao, lecturing on the first day on the incarnational understanding of society.

Mike Matt, Remnant editor, listening.

John Medaille, lecturing on how the global corporations have bought us all... "It's the real thing!"

And as always, lovely Gardone waits outside.

More later.


Monday, July 01, 2013

Happy Dominion Day, Canadians!

Five points to any Canadian who can identify "Wolfe" in the first line.

(Bonus point for anyone who can locate the Plains of Abraham on a map)