Thursday, February 23, 2006

Time to Waste; Books to Procrastinate

Some of the books I still intend to write before I die, barring premature senility, blindness or a miraculous and permanent resurgence of monsticism in the Church, include:

The Granola Gourmet:
Hippie Cuisine for Embittered 40-Something postmoderns

Remember the brown bread, eggs and rice of your carefree, shoe-free childhood? Pining for mom's homemade yogurt? The perfect gift book for the perpetually angry Gen-exer schlepping in a dead end office job far far from the tarpaper treehouse cabin of his Hornby Island homeland.

Bonus! ~ order now and get a free CD featuring the crashing of the waves on the beach at Tribune Bay accompanied by the soothing chants of the yoga retreatants at Deerhearts meditation sanctuary. ~ 40 years of exploring the energy of the heart ray. Pefect for those long Toronto February streetcar commutes. Order now!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Saving String

If you lived in England during the war and were a housewife, you saved string, and butcher paper and all sorts of little household oddments that were difficult to get because of rationing.

Also, if someone had a birthday or there was a wedding coming up, everyone saved the sugar rations for the cake and the clothing coupoons for the trousseau.

If you were raised by people who were raised in England at this time, you save and re-use string, Christmas and birthday wrapping paper, elastics, tin foil, plastic vegetable bags, twist-ties and any number of little household oddments because, you know, they might be hard to get soon...

My mother likes to tell the story of when she first arrived in Canada. The boat that brought them over from Liverpool arrived on the St. Lawrence at Quebec City. Her first words upon seeing it were, "Where's the bomb damage?" She had been told it was a World War, after all and had never seen a city that wasn't smashed to pancakes.

She said she was very puzzled when her first school chum said, "let's go to the store and buy some candy." She replied, horrified, "I can't take your rations!"

She said she would never forget the time she saw a kid scoffing an entire bar of chocolate by himself. If you got chocolate in Manchester, you cut it up into the smallest fragments possible and gave it out to as many people as you could manage. Otherwise you would be thorougly pounded.

She always maintains that kids would be nicer if there were rationing.

I save string.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Julie Burchill, bisexual Marxist on Media Dhimmis

"...It's a long hard struggle trying to make bleeding-heart liberals see sense. Especially when you live in a country where a sizable part of the print and broadcasting media are such guilt-ridden cretins when it comes to Islam that if they saw Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein sexually sharing their own grandmother, they'd swear the poor old lady asked for it."


This was posted to a list by a friend who receives a lot of first-hand information from people living behind the lines of "Islamism". It was written by a man who presumably survived his experience. Bahman Aghai Diba PhD International Law
Persian Journal, 10 February 2006

It speaks for itself:

The old man had a calm face. He kept smiling mildly and looked around with appreciation. I had not met him before and this was the first time (and the last time) that he was walking with "us". I mean with our group of prisoners in the notorious Evin prison of Iran. It was one of good days that the prison administer had let our group to work as construction workers in a remote section of the prison. The old man that was walking with us that day was "Ke-shish (Christian Clergy ) Dibaji".

He was a Christian priest and his crime was changing his religion from Islam to Christianity. Dibaji had not only changed his religion, but as a clergy, he had tried to invite others to his religion. He had worked in places like north and west of Iran and even he had made travels to Afghanistan for preaching.

He was not one of my cellmates, and I noticed him because he was walking as person who was very satisfied and content. He was telling things slowly to himself that I could not understand at first. Later I came to know that he was reciting Christian hymns in Farsi and English. I asked him "why are you so joyful?" He said I am praying to God that has made this beautiful day possible for me. Look around you isn't it beautiful? The flowers, the sight of mountains and the huge trees are around us, and I am in the company of nice people. I am thankful to God.

Of course, I did not care about his Christianity, as I did not care about my Islam. However, in the middle of terrible conditions that existed there, and our lives were under the control of the Assdollah Lajevardi, the Butcher of Evin and his blood thirsty assistant (Karbelai, the administrative head of Evin who was called "Pishva" like Fuehrer) it was interesting for me that a person can have such a spirit. I felt that his feelings were respectful and he was spreading a positive wave.

That day I had my only serious quarrel with another fellow prisoner. The fellow prisoner was pretending that he was very Islamic and this new guy (Dibaji) was Najes (religiously unclean). I knew the protesting prisoner very well. He was a person that his personal life was only the story of drinking alcoholic beverages, cheating his wife and so on. I was famous among the prisoners as a calm person, but that day attacked the prisoner who pretended to be very Islamic and I told him that if he did not shut up, I would report all of his past actions to the prison authorities. He was so shocked from my reaction and we never talked with each other for several years.

Dibaji and I were both under heavy sentences and we waiting for a court that we knew it would not be fair. He was accused of "Ertedad", or changing religion from Islam to something else. The sentence for such a "crime", as far as men were concerned, was execution. As for the women, according to the religious rulings, the concerned female should be kept in prison and tortured five times a day, on the daily prayer times, until such time that she gives up her new religion and returns to Islam.

Dibaji was released from prison after a while, but it did not take much time that they found his body in the forests near Tehran. He was clearly tortured and murdered.

I think he was one of the first persons that were killed according to the program of the Serial Murders orchestrated by the Iranian intelligence officials.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Sense of Humour from the Dark Side

So, am I losing it? Or do the quotes in this article strike anyone else as hysterically funny?

Y'see, Australia has just legalised RU-486 the human pesticide.

Here's the reaction from some of the ladies in the government:

"Pregnancy is not safe. A whole lot of things about women's reproductive health are very dangerous, in fact."

"The death rate from this particular drug is much less, for example, than (from) Viagra," she said.

Tearful Liberal senator Judith Troeth hailed the result as "a victory for common sense ... for the nation's daughters and granddaughters".

OK, err...what daughters and granddaughters? The ones you aborted or the ones who died taking the drug?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


So, picture this scenario:

Your boss calls you up and offers you a choice of three things you can do:

1) Single-handedly picket the Paris mosques wearing a sign that has a picture of Mohammed with a bomb turban.

2) Get shoved feet first through a wood chipper.

3) Write a response to the CCCB's pastoral letter on the government's embryo research regulations.



Friday, February 10, 2006

Simple on How to Talk to Oriental Desert Savages

In a brief series of columns, Mr. Simple visits with General Sir Frederick Nidgett, who after an illustrious civil service career has been dispatched to darkest Araby to engage the might of the Empire with the Imam of Todi, whose effective armed forces consist of 35 Syrian-trained (in those days it meant ludicriously badly trained) Todi Scouts, equipped with muzzle-loading arquebuses. Todi is situated on the other side of the Great Jebel Snakhbar, a desert of formidable proportions riddled with savages.

Nidgett of Arabia

I have just seen a copy of a leaflet prepared by Capt. J.Birdbath, of the Psychological Warfare Branch of Gen. Nidgett's headquarters. Seven million copies have already been dropped on the territory of the Imam of Todi.

Capt. Birdbath, a noted lecturer and Arabist in civil life, believes he has found the answer to criticisms that our propaganda is out of date and that we have lost touch with the Arabs of today.

A rough translation reads:

"Sons of the Desert! Hearken to the voice of Gen. Sir Frederick Nidgett, G.C.V.O., T.D. Terror of the Universe, before whom the waves of the sea retire and the stars of heaven bow down! Though he come with an irresistible host, attended by powerful dijinns, Nidgett is your friend!

The accursed Imam of Todi, grown old in evil, has betrayed you, and is even now preparing to hand over his dominions to the demons of Iblis, in return for a futher supply of houris and false oil-share certificates.

Drive out the infidel Imam and welcome Nidgett with wine and corn, with ivory and ebony and cedarwood, with gold and porphyry and with feasting and dancing and joyful shouts. And remember to hand in your flintlocks to the nearest Field Security Section.

Fear not the magic birds which bring these messages. Like the giant Roc of Socotra, which carried Sinbad of old, they are now in the service of the wise enchanter Nidgett. If you heed his words, they will do you no manner of harm. Tremble and obey."

* ~ * ~ *

In a later colum, Mr. Simple happily reports that the Imam had fled to the Jebel Snakhbar during the night and taken refuge in the remote fastnesses of the Bojd.

Gen. Nidgett declared "Operation Backache" a "Cracking good show!"

Espana Antigua

He really does look like Robert DeNiro, don't you think?

Jordi Savall

Unanimously recognized as one of the most important performers of ancient music at the present time, Jordi Savall is amply one of the most multi-faceted musical personalities of his generation: viol player, conductor and creator of an unmistakable style, his concert, pedagogical and research activities place him among the main architects of the present process of revaluation of historical music. With his essential contribution to Alain Corneau’s film Tous les matins du monde (which has been awarded with Seven Cesars, including soundtrack and recently re-issued by Alia Vox), he has shown that ancient music is not necessarily elitist or for minorities and that it can interest an increasingly younger and wider audience. He has made also the soundtracks of the films Jeanne la Pucelle (1993) by Jacques Rivette, El pájaro de la felicidad (1993) by Pilar Miró and Marquise (1997) by Vera Belmont.

Jordi Savall was born in Igualada (Barcelona) in 1941. His musical career started when he was 6 years old: musical experience, practice and training from the heart of his home town children’s choir and musical and cello education that he finishes in the “Conservatori Superior de Música de Barcelona” in 1965. From 1968, he completes his training in the “Schola Cantorum Basiliensis” (Switzerland) where he succeeds his master, August Wenzinger, in 1973. A pioneer eager for new horizons, he soon realises the importance of ancient music.

Simple on Socialism

1955: [Best read accompanied by a CD of Noel Coward songs, particularly the one about the Duchess whose son went red.]

Babes in the bath

You may see Socialism as a great road, stretching to infinity across a barren, waterless waste. Along it trudge half the peoples of the world, bowed, manacled, parched, exhausted. By the verges lie the gaunt wrecks of crashed and burnt-out nations; and skeletons picked clean by vultures and bleached by the pitiless sun.

Appalled by the prospect before them, certain Socialists, fainter in heart or stronger in head than the rest, have hesitated, halted or even turned back. These are now rebuked by Prof. G.D. H. Cole, who still steps stoutly ahead, undeterred, undeterrable, invincibly blind and cheerful.

Be of good courage, he bids his wavering comrades. "Much has been done bacdly amiss in the Soviet Union," he concedes but the Soviet worker enjoys "in most immensely enlarged freedom." To throw away Socialism because it can be "perverted" to serve totalitarian ends is "to throw out the baby with the dirty bath-water."

This is familiar
[indeed, I heard it from my very modern and freethinking English grandfather, so Mr. Simple isn't making it up, it was the popular train of thought with early 20th c. upper-middle class English socialists. ed.] and most m anifest nonsense. What has gone "amiss" in Socialist countries is not mere chance disfigurement, like a false moustache scrawled by a madman on a masterpiece. It is Socialism itself, taken to its logical conclusion.

The death of freedom, the enslavement of the masses, the withering of art and culture, the restless, ruthless hunt for scapegoats, the aggressive folie de grandeur of Socialist dictators - these are no mere "perversions" of Socialistm. They are Socialism unperverted, an integral and predictable part of any truly Socialist system.

We are not faced here with so much dirty bath-water surrounding a perfectly healthy, wholesome Socialist baby. The dirty bathwater is Socialism, and the baby was drowned in it at birth."

Music, Monks and the Melancholic Tory

A friend of mine is culling his CD herd and I am the grateful recipient of a lot of his castoffs. It's quite a pile and a great deal more than I would be able to afford if I took it upon myself to buy them. Collections of Bach's concerti and sonatas from Deutsche Grammophon, a pile of Vivaldi's violin concerti and whatnot.

Right now I'm working through a 8-disk set of medieval and baroque music from Spain, Espana Antigua by Jordi Savall (who looks surprisingly like Robert DeNiro if the picture is to be believed,) and all his little friends. For some reason I am cottoning on to medieval Spanish music lately. I quite enjoyed disk #2 which is mostly 14th. c. It's cheery and bouncy. Medieval rockabilly.

Funny to think that people in the 14th.c. were sticking in bits of Gregorian chant for the same sort of dreamy antique effect for which it is prized by modern pop singers today. It is easy to forget that by the 14th.c. the good bits of the middle ages were already pretty much wrapping up and stuff like Gregorian was already hundreds of years out of date. Of course, the Plague was shortly to come along and lend considerable assistance to the project of sweeping aside the old order.

* ~ * ~ *
Speaking of monks,

I did a thing today on that Carthusian monk movie. I was struck particularly by a comment the director made about his experience coming back down from the mountain into the seething atmosphere of the 21st. century.

"When I left the monastery... having had this experience of living with people who are pretty free of fear makes you realize how fear-driven our society is. We tend to say that our society is driven by consumerism or greed but it’s not true. Greed, consumerism, wanting to have a new Porsche, for example, is a disguise of pure fear. It’s a near panicking society..."

* ~ * ~ *

Just reading the obit in the (UK) Spectator of Michael Wharton, aka Peter Simple, one of English journalism's last great Tory satirists, and again thanking God, (with Whom I seem to be having very slightly improved relations lately) that I knew John Muggeridge long enough for him to drag me out of my sinkhole of journalistic, political and literary ignorance.

No less a personage than A.N. Wilson wrote the piece in the Spec: "In the death of Michael Wharton we have lost both the funniest writer of our generation , and the truest. Time was when The Reactionary Times and Feudal Chronicle was scarcely distinguishable from those parts of the Telegraph, Daily and SUnday, written by Michael's friends, Colin Welch, Malcolm Muggeridge or Peregrine Worsthorne...

"Little by little, however, like the Welsh language or the Grey Elves in Tolkien, the Old Believers died out, and soon their voice was only to be heard in the 'Peter Simple' column.

"What he shared with the truly religious, (two of his wives were Catholics) was a perpetual sense of exile, and this sprang not from his non-English ancestry but from being a human being. The essential strangeness of life on this planet, especially in England during the period of her putrescent decline, would create this sense of exile in any but the insensitive."

I have two Simple books, starting in 1967 and am now able not only to know what the Spec's obit is talking about, but am able properly to mourn the loss of another one of the Old English Conservatives. I am becoming, perhaps, over sensitive to the loss of these old conservative English guys with Tory sensibilities and Catholic wives. They are disappearing at an alarming rate, and being replaced with humourless people who like David Cameron.

Certainly the gloomy mood that everything once great is fading away never to be recovered is palpable in all the books I have been reading lately. I fear to pick up another early 20th. century English writer. All the guys on my shortlist of Things I Must Get to Next are of the same ilk. Not fearfule so much, but more melancholie and nostalgick.

I was eyeing something by Waugh a minute ago and thinking about what to pick up after Robert Hugh Benson, but now I might have to read something less depressing. Maybe David Frum's stuff on how to be a good right wing American. They're much more cheerful.

* ~ * ~ *

Benson has been quite a wonderful discovery for which I have to thank not John this time but Fr. David Roche who said, quite rightly, that if I had liked Michael O'Brien's Catholic paranoia novels, I would loooove Benson who invented the genre. Benson is certainly one of those names that should have been household. Had he lived longer, he certainly would have been as famous among the early 20th c. English converts as Knox and Chesterton. I found his life by C.C. Martindale SJ., (another of that clique) as one of the overlooked leftovers from the Muggeridge collection.

Lord of the World was written at a time when the Great Ideological States were still only the stuff of the feverish dreams of conspiratorial apostates and syphilitic undergraduate maniacs. The old world was about to topple, but still looked solid enough to most. It was published in aught seven and in it, Benson predicts the late 20th century, post-war anti-Christian leftist stateism that we have now spreading its diseased tendrils everywhere.

He envisioned a terrible war between the socialistic West, which, too busy cramming its ideologies down the throats of a spiritually starving post-Christian populace, does not notice until too late the rise of the recently re-barbarized Eastern Empire.

In Benson's future, Protestantism is dead, finally splintered down to atomized particles so small that no one can reside in it. Catholicism is under legal attack everywhere in a socialist European Superstate.

In the first forty pages, one recognizes the modern world. And he wrote before electricity was common, before inter-continental communications, before the aeroplane for Pete sake! He predicts atomic weapons, the socialist welfare state, the EU, the rise of militant oriental religions and the ever-so-gentle, imperceptible destruction of the Church. I was especially struck by one scene in which a young woman witnesses the crash of a passenger plane ("volors" in Benson's astonishingly prescient imagination).

"...a voice hissed suddenly in her ears: “Let me through. I am a priest.”

She stood there a moment longer, dazed by the suddenness of the whole affair, and watched almost unintelligently the grey-haired young priest on his knees, with his coat torn open, and a crucifix out; she saw him bend close, wave his hand in a swift sign, and heard a murmur of a language she did not know. Then he was up again, holding the crucifix before him, and she saw him begin to move forward into the midst of the red-flooded pavement, looking this way and that as if for a signal. Down the steps of the great hospital on her right came figures running now, hatless, each carrying what looked like an old-fashioned camera. She knew what those men were, and her heart leaped in relief.

They were the ministers of euthanasia."

The one thing he didn't seem to foresee was that the Church would be colluding in its own destruction. In Beson's time, the Modernist crisis was thought to be over. Benson's future English Catholics, those who survive, still have the Mass, still rejoice (not apologise) over converts. It is the same, strong, coherent Catholicism he knew. I cannot help but wonder if his confidence might have been shaken by the capitulation of the Conciliar renewal. I wonder what he would have made of the Vatican's wheedling, dhimmi-esque press release on the Khartoon riots.

Certainly, if you enjoyed having your black-helicopter-secret-government-concentration-camp Catholic paranoia buttons pushed by Father Elijah or Eclipse of the Sun, it's worth tracking down a copy of Lord of the World.

I just can't resist one more boast though: my copy is signed "to Anne Muggerdige, Michael Davies, Park Cottage 1987."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

!@#*@&!$# !!! Bell Canada!!!!

Bell Canada will have my internet up and running sometime soon.

Any minute now

aaaaaannnny minute now...


I have complete confidence in our glorious Revolutionary, Government-subsidised telephone service.

Everything is getting better and better under the watchful eye of our dear leaders. I entirely denounce the wicked plots of the US-backed cultural imperialists who would impose their so-called competetive dogmas on our economy.