Monday, November 28, 2005

Lord Muggs

Anecdotage from David Warren went round to a few of his friends and is posted here mainly for the benefit of the people of our acquaintance who are unable to be here:

>>... He went into Princess Margaret (needing oxygen) Thursday; on Friday morning he was perfectly lucid though continuing bright yellow from the failure of his liver. He said Confession to Fr. Roche (his Newfoundlandish cousin-in-law), Last Rites, then lingered only until a little after lunch. The whole week he'd been fading fast.
Yet was still joking, especially about our communist hospital bureaucracy. He thought it very amusing that, throughout his medical report, because he had originally been admitted to Toronto General the previous week as "Short Of Breath", he was referred to consistently as "S.O.B." & "the S.O.B."

There was a very good Indian-from-Uganda nurse, however. John noticed that
she was also quite pretty. (So did I.)

Spooky things: He died at 1:28 p.m., hospital time. At 1:27, on her office clock downtown, Hilary White, his tenant, suddenly decided she couldn't work, because she was overwhelmed by the idea John was going to die.

She started walking bleakly west on Queen, running into me by coincidence at the longitude of Abelard book shop, whenupon she communicated her funk. I took her back to my place to give her tea, then checking messages, we learned that John had just died. One of those messages was from my mother, 1:24 p.m. on Bell Canada time log. My mother's message was that she'd had a premonition, "John will die today."<<

Dannielle Frum has forwarded a picture of him taken last summer at the Frum house in Washington. I have it in my inbox and really would like to post it because it is of John before the terrible deterioration started that so characterized the last months of his life. It is of him sitting up, rather stiffly I thought, on the deck of the Frum guesthouse where, as I am given to understand, inmates there are generally photographed for future guest-archiving.

I wish I could show pictures of John in the places I knew him, sitting up at breakfast doing the cryptic crossword; surrounded by friends and his sprawling family at one of the innumerable dinner parties arguing politics; at Mass in rapt attention at the moment of the elevation; (or, as the altar servers removed the disposable wooden "altar" they use for the N.O. Mass at St. Vinnie's immediately prior to the True Mass, muttering "get that bloody ironing board out of there...").

John and Anne's acquaintance is vast and his eldest son, John Jr., was telling me that a huge part of the task is just remembering everyone to call. We are learning how many of the great and famous are his friends. I came home on Thursday night when John had gone into the hospital and checked messages and Conrad Black had called wanting to come for a visit.

For those who are within driving distance, the funeral Mass is going to be Tuesday, ten am, at St. Vincent De Paul Parish at 263 Roncesvalles Avenue. The royal lying-in-state is today at Turner and Porter funeral home at 436 Roncesvalles Ave. from 2-4 pm and 7-9 pm. As Anne quoted in her book, the Desolate City, "pity a feller has to die to get a Latin Mass..."

There is so much about death that is simply strange. Warren and Fr. Derek Cross and I went to lunch Saturday and we all remarked on it. Perhaps because his decline was so fast and his death so sudden, we agreed, it was as though we had been having a conversation over dinner and he had paused a moment asking us to 'hold that thought' and then seeing him getting into a taxi and driving off. I am left thinking, ' hang on...I wasn't finished that conversation..."

I apologize to whatever readers I have for the devotion to Muggeridgian themes to the next few posts, I don't really feel like thinking about much else at the moment. It is also good, I think for people to know about a man like His Lordship. One of the things we all appreciated about him was that he was living proof that it was possible to be the sort of person, the sort of Christian, that is celebrated in story and song. The sort we are supposed to be. We are used to bad news, disappointment and outrage, but in John there was only good news and triumph.


PS. If any of our technogeek friends can tell me how one goes about posting electronic photos on a blog, let me know.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

John Muggeridge

March 1933 - November 25 2005

God have mercy

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Umrao Singh: Hero

From Wikipedia:
On 15/16 December 1944 in the Kaladan Valley, Burma (now Myanmar), Umrao Singh was a field gun detachment commander in an advanced section of 33 Mountain Battery, Indian Artillery. After a sustained Japanese artillery bombardment, Singh's gun position was attacked by at least two companies of Japanese infantry. He used a Bren light machine gun and directed the rifle fire of the gunners, holding off the assault. He was wounded by two grenades.

A second wave of attackers killed all but Singh and two other gunners, but was also beaten off. The three soldiers had only few bullets remaining, and these were rapidly exhausted in the initial stages of the assault by a third wave of attackers. Undaunted, Singh picked up a "gun bearer" (a heavy iron rod, similar to a crow bar) and used that as a weapon in hand to hand fighting - he was seen to strike down three infantrymen before succumbing to a rain of blows.

Six hours later, after a counter-attack, he was found alive but unconscious near to his artillery piece, almost unrecognisable after head injury. Ten Japanese lay dead nearby. His field gun was operable and was in action later that day.

Thanks to W for the tip.

The Mighty

From the obituary of Captain Umrao Singh, V.C. in The Times:

In 1983 he was farming a two-acre smallholding inherited from his father in his home village. He owned a single buffalo and a cart, lived in a small mud-brick house and was finding life hard on a basic Indian Army pension of £14 a month. A friend who knew of his award suggested that he should sell his decoration, as he had heard that a VC had recently been sold for £20,000 in London.

In spite of his straitened circumstances, Captain Singh refused to sell his VC for an offered sum of £32,000, saying to do so "would stain the honour of those who fell in battle beside me". Subsequently he received a Haryana state pension of £50 per month.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Muggeridge on Reagan

His Britannic Maj. wrote an article last year (over which he fretted most unnecessarily) on the Great Ronald Reagan for Human Life Review which he has honored by being a senior editor.

I offer it for your edification:

For Ronald Reagan religion and patriotism coincided. He took the words of the Declaration of Independence at their face value. His America was a promised land, flowing with democracy and freedom, under, of course, the rule of God. For Reagan, acceptance of divine authority was the key to social order. "If we will not be governed by God," he warned an audience of Evangelicals in March, 1983, quoting William Penn, "we must be governed by tyrants."

Like the Israelites of old, in ignoring God's laws, Americans brooked disaster. But Reagan was American enough never to lose faith in their essential goodness. Corrupt government had led them astray, as had King Joram his subjects when "he made the inhabitants of Jerusalem to commit fornication and Juda to transgress." It took another century and a half, but didn't Ezechias finally manage to undo the evil Joram had caused? Reagan expected the same sort of reformation in his own kingdom of Judah. Restore prayer to public schools; keep parents informed of what was really happening to their teenage children in birth control clinics; fight child pornography, but above all put an end to the massacre of innocent children that had resulted from the Roe v. Wade decision of 1972, and, as Reagan confidently assumed, Americans would be brought back to their senses.

Some day, he promised his evangelical audience, Congress would indeed enact human life legislation to end the tragedy of abortion on demand; meanwhile, they must never rest until that happened. Their task was no less than that of helping to enforce the Declaration of Independence. Since science dictates that preborn children are indeed living persons, their right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness required protecting.

And the same American-born spirit of militant hopefulness animated Reagan's foreign policy. He fought the Cold War not to placate the Soviets, but to defeat them. Hence he refused to countenance a nuclear freeze. Pursuing peace by leaving your enemy permanently in possession of superior military force to him seemed suicidal. The thing to do was end the arms race by winning it. Reagan believed that the United States was founded on moral principles. And, since in the end good must prevail over evil, the Soviet Union, as he told members of the British House of Commons in 1982, was indeed destined for the ash heap of history. Thus perish all evil empires.

Nevertheless, like American abortion advocates in high places, Soviet freedom-usurpers in the Kremlin were not about to quit without a fight. So in 1983, his ears plugged against the massed choirs of anti-war protesters, Reagan advanced U.S. Pershing and cruise missiles to within range of Eastern European targets. Soviet negotiators stormed out of arms limitation talks. Pundits around the world rose as one man in protest. Reagan responded by announcing that U.S. scientists had started work on a missile shield in space. This was the so-called Strategic Defence Initiative, parodied by opponents of Reagan's foreign policy as "Star Wars."

Peaceniks mocked S.D.I., but ruling circles in Moscow treated it with deadly seriousness. They knew that, should Washington ever develop an effective defence against on-coming missiles, Mass Assured Destruction would for their country become Mass Assured Defeat. S.D.I, persuaded the Kremlin to resume arms limitation talks, as Reagan predicted it would.

Here's the rest

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Naming Names

The CBC continues its highly entertaining coverage of the escalation of the Eurabian Civil War. My journalist friend (a good old fashioned English racist) keeps us up with the actual facts on his daily "Frogs n' Wogs" updates, but what fun are facts? For your entertainment dollar there's nothing like the fellow travellers at the CBC to keep us amused.

This morning we had the announcement of the French plan to increase social spending giving anyone under 25 years old free job training, subsidized jobs and life-long tax-free status. (Reminds of a teenager with mom's credit card doesn't it? Can you say "revolving debt"?)

They interviewed one woman who said, (I paraphrase of course) "We've got to create a tolerant society in which we no longer call people names like 'violent hoodlum.'"

It was good to start off such a dark rainy day with such a hearty laugh.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Why it's important to read history

so you can figure out what is going to happen tomorrow.

This from a friend:

The analysts in the French media agree, last night was a turning point. When you have persistent rioting in France, the test is always Sunday night. If the rioting is less Sunday night than Saturday night, it's going to fade. If it's more, there's gonna be (yet) a(nother) revolution.

What the analysts don't realize is that the rioters aren't French.

However, Sunday trumped Saturday, so there's gonna be a revolution. You have it from Le Monde & Le Figaro & the talking heads on French TV. seems to me the Muzzies have been shadow boxing so far. It's all Molotov cocktails & shotguns & Allahou Akhbar Allahou Akhbar Allahou Akhbar Allahou Akhbar. That's the way the Intifada started in Israel in 2000. Weeks before there were any serious casualties. But they get there, give them time. They're still probably organizing the weapons delivery systems. Remember, they are not the most efficient people in tout le monde.

...This is their main, immediate political goal: to "validate the postulate" of multiculturalism, which holds that as Muslims, they owe no loyalty to the French state, & the French state owes them money & apologies for existing.

Once their SUZs are secure, the Intifada can begin in earnest, with suicide bombers, carbombs & the like, a la West Bank/Gaza/Sunni Triangle. But first they need to establish viable enclaves, such that any attempt by French police or army to enter these zones will be seen as equivalent to the Israelis sending the IAF into Palestinian territory, & so reported by the international media...

Even Chirac & Co. have some vague idea that when Illustrious France has conceded independence to the Islamic Emirates within, she has ceased to be Illustrious France.

"youths of African descent"

Six-Bells John has some interesting stuff on the French "unrest" and the media coverage thereof.

This from the LA Times.

"Although Islamic extremism is seen as a serious problem in some of the affected neighborhoods, there is no indication that Muslim fundamentalist leaders have encouraged the unrest, authorities say."

Oh good. I feel so much better.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

The Poor Little Dears

So, I've been thinking about elephants lately.

Having been raised in the English manner in which the avoidance of unpleasantness has been raised to the level of a universal national neurosis and the ability to speak obliquely is among the most important of social skills, I am thoroughly conversant with the technique. But I always wondered how far it would go.

What if the elephant is not simply docilely pottering about the living room breaking the occasional piece of china while it tries to take tea with you? What if the elephant is maddened and armed? What if it is connected to a well-funded and organized international elephant terrorist underground and is carrying automatic weapons and molotov cocktails and is being egged on by its friends at the mosque and motivated by the complete lack of realistic opposition by the owners of the house?

How far can the elephant push it before ghost of Nelson is awakened and someone grabs the Winchester over the mantel?

I know nothing about being French, but it seems that the dhimmis running that country want to do one thing: no matter how hard they are pushed, they will never ever admit to once having been a Catholic country, which is the only thing that will allow them to address what is happening to them. The Muslims know perfectly well what they are conquering, even if the conquerees have forgotten. (Actually there is something grimly entertaining in watching the European reaction. "But we overcame our oppressive and primitive past so that everyone would love us! Why don't you love us?!")

The desire in Europe is not only to repudiate their Catholic history, but to deny it ever existed ("we have absolutely no idea what ancient civilization built this large pointy building, but it is clear that it was exceedingly primitive and savage..."). The trouble is, that it is the very post-Enlightenment thinking they wish to preserve that produces the current paralysis. The Muslims, never having experienced either the civilizing influence of Christian thought and morality, or the moral paralysis of 18th century French liberalism, are taking the weakness of the French response, as a sign of, well, weakness.

I had to laugh when I read that the mayor of Evreux, Jean-Louis Debré -- a confidante of Chirac -- had said:

"To those responsible for the violence, I want to say: Be serious! ... If you want to live in a fairer, more fraternal society, this is not how to go about it."

He clearly has no idea what sort of assumptions he is staring with or that only a man of Christian and post-Christian thinking could possibly have said something like this and that it is going to be heard by the men torching their government-funded suburban slums, if it is comprehended at all, as more proof of European weakness, an invitation to come and burn down the Mayor's own house.

One French politician, don't remember which one, frankly said that there is a civil war going on. But of course, we must avoid at all costs identifying parties A and B in the war. It is, as it always was, a war between Islam and Christianity, but it is a Christianity that has suffered for 250 years from a terrible suicidal mental illness called, Modernity. Islam sees what the rest of us see, that Christianity is weak; weak unto death. The Imams directing the show in France probably see themselves as administering a mercy killing to a hopeless case. Indeed, it may be so. And the avoidance of this admission is going to be costly indeed. In fact, I think it will actually literally cost all.

Of course, the CBC has been covering the violence in France. I woke this morning in time to hear the nine am broadcast.

(Sarkozy) said authorities had to be firm, but also understood the feeling of injustice in poor neighbourhoods, where people are battling high unemployment, poor housing conditions, racism and other social problems.

The broadcast news was extremely careful to omit one very important point in its lachrymose coverage of the youffs doing the burning and pillaging, and focused on the terrible social and employment prospects of these poor underprivileged "French youth," and the awful frustration they must be feeling their intractable situation. (CBC didn't use the word "intractable" of course.)

Interestingly, the Post didn't mention the M word either and went with the "poor underprivileged youth" whereas the online edition of the CBC's news actually did use the M word, to wit:

Many people view the violence as the expression of pent-up anger by the country's unemployed and underemployed youth, particularly in Muslim immigrant communities, and as a sign of the difficulty North Africans have experienced in trying to integrate into French society.

But certainly the general gist is that the poor poor Muslims are being excluded from the benefits of France's material wealth (the example cited is a health club that they could not join). The underlying theme, moreover, is that it is racism that has inspired the white (Christian) Frenchies to keep these desperate young fellows down and if only they could have a job that would include membership in a nice health club, they would have no reason to resort to violence.

Naturally, it is also the fault of the white (Christian) Froggies that the Muslim culture is being oppressed. That headscarf ban for instance...

As one man surveyed the damage, he complained the local mayor hadn't done enough to help those who need jobs and support. He pointed out a recreation club that he said was off-limits to the young men in the area. "This is why they burn this."

Interesting though, that the Post buried the story in the front section, under World News, A-12 and the CBC has it as the top story on their website complete with pics of the burning cars.

The big story in the World News section of Saturday's Post was of anti-Bush protesters at the World Summit of the Americas and a nice big pic of a surprisingly British-looking yob kicking in a shop window with his Doc Martens, eagerly being pursued by a pack of photographers.

The Muzzie riots in France got a side column, no pic.

Isn't the Post supposed to be a Jewish paper? While the Post has shown few signs of being pro-Bush, I would have thought that what Steyn identified as the ongoing "low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools," in France might have inspired a little more interest from the Aspers.

I might go out today and see if I can find a real Jewish paper and see what they are saying. There must be one in Tranna somewhere.

Ah, here's the one o'clock news from the Communist Broadcasting Service of Canada. Let's see if we can jot down some of the key phrases, "Urban violence. 1300 vehicles... unrest in immigrant neighbourhoods... years of broken (government)promises... the citizens living in these areas have been hearing about ambitious (welfare) projects...poverty and unemployment are rampant... deep frustration..."

Nope, not even their old dodge phrase, "sectarian violence" that they liked when the Muslims of Indonesia were killing East Timorese Catholic priests and bishops.

As usual, Steyn says it better than I.

"French youths fired at police and burned over 300 cars last night as towns around Paris experienced their worst night of violence in a week of urban unrest."

"French youths," huh? You mean Pierre and Jacques and Marcel and Alphonse? Granted that most of the "youths" are technically citizens of the French Republic, it doesn't take much time in les banlieus of Paris to discover that the rioters do not think of their primary identity as ''French'': They're young men from North Africa growing ever more estranged from the broader community with each passing year and wedded ever more intensely to an assertive Muslim identity...


Mr Warren offers some good advice to those of us who cannot stand to turn off the CBC...

Curiously, four different Doganlistas have independently reported to me what they heard from CBC News on rising this morning -- about how the rioters in France are poor underprivileged youff & blah blah blah. May I counsel Dogans, especially the women, to use their native wits & not set their clock-radios to wake them with the CBC News? What are you, crazy? Suicidal? Neurotic?

As the soon-to-be-Doganized Marchioness Judith of Anderson notes, CBC stands for "Cretinous Bastards on Coke". You don't need to know their opinion of anything. Surely you can find a C&W station.

Friday, November 04, 2005

The Dark Ages of the Cosmos

Science is just SO COOL!

The first stars in the cosmos have been discovered by some smartysmart NASA astronomers.

"It seems these first stars were quite unlike those we see today. They were huge thermonuclear furnaces; few and far between, but they burned ferociously because they were so massive,"

It is believed that these earliest stars manufactured the metals that would become important for later populations of stars.

Astronomers have detected a faint glow from the first stars to form in the Universe, Nature journal reports.

This earliest group of stars, called Population III, probably formed from primordial gas less than 200 million years after the Big Bang.