Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tea at the beach this morning

The Tyrrhenian today is the colour I have always mentally associated with the Med: blue-y-green-ey. And warm. Time to swim this weekend.

I'm looking for a new flat in Santa Mar for me and Winnie, but can't get on in estate agents' offices without a translator. So some kind friends came out to help. We saw three places, all quite nice and reasonable.

Then we went to the beach and wandered about and took tea at the beach cafe after.

Christopher and Fr. Brendan
deep in conversation about...something related to the bible, or something.
I don't know, really.

Wasn't paying much attention for some reason.

I think it is a pelican. It was quite far off and even the very good digital zoom on my camera wasn't quite able to make it out. But it looks pretty pellicanish to me.

Found one place that I really hope I can get. It's a little more expensive than the one I'm in, and quite a bit smaller, but the real draw is the garden. Kicking myself for not having taken some pics, (sorry) but it is lovely. A garden enclosed. With one of those brick and adobe barbeques.

The thing with rentals in Santa Mar. is that it is a resort town. In the summer, since time immemorial, Romans have got out of Dodge for the months of July and August, (and probably most of June) to take literally to the hills. So, the flats, of which there is an increasing number every year, are rented out cheap to students, giornalistas and other lowlifes during the "winter". At the end of May, all the students get kicked out and the flats, which are all minimally furnished, are re-rented for the summer to rich Romans who want to get away from the traffic, the noise, the heat and the tourists. They flock here and pay through the nose. The flat I'm in now will probably be rented for €2000 or €2400.

The trouble is, this pattern is so lucrative that there are very few tutto l'anno appartamenti for rent in town. And even fewer starting from June.

But I got lucky today...I hope. It's a little out of the way, and that means rather far from the beach and the train station, but that's in European terms. It means there will be a 20 minute walk to the trains instead of a three minute walk. Small price to pay for ground to dig in, a terrace and a potting shed.

I've asked St. Philip for his help and he has never let me down. (Although it is to be admitted that with Philip, it is a dangerous thing to ask him for things. You always get something good, usually much better than you expected, but with the joker saint, you know it's going to be something very very odd.)

* ~ * ~ *

One more flower pic:

What is this

very lowly, humble little way-side flower called?

Want a hint?

We seek him here, we seek him there,
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven?—Is he in hell?
That demmed, elusive...

Scarlet Pimpernel.

So, now you know.

Education makes you stupid

So, if Kathy Ireland, a woman who became famous because of how she looked in a bikini, can understand this and say it clearly,

why can't people with PhDs get it?

"...we've got to get politics out of it. We need to put it in the hands of science. Even if you don't share our faith, an atheist can know that it's wrong to take an innocent human life. That's why I don't mind imposing this on other people."

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Shock! The Horror!`

British religious schools will be allowed to teach...


It'll kill us all!

* * *

Sue Sanders of LGBT campaigning group Schools Out said: "It's fudging. It is supposed to be compulsory so it should be compulsory.

"It is the schools' duty to enable pupils to learn about diversity and equality but they can't do this if parents are permitted to remove their children from lessons.

"It is giving kids a double message."

Now, let's see. Which two messages are in conflict here?

"My parents are in charge of me, have responsibility for my welfare and their authority is upheld and guarded by the state."


"The state is the boss of me, the boss of my parents and it doesn't matter what we as a family believe, the state has the last word on my upbringing. We are thought-slaves to the state."

Does that about summ it up?

Did anyone else ever notice that in nearly every memorable episode, the Federation and Star Fleet, were the bad guys?

"I just don't understand why you pro-lifers are against embryonic stem cell research. It saves lives doesn't it?"

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

"Yay! It's raining less hard!"

British "conservative" Catholics react to the appointment of Abp. Vincent Nichols to Westminster.

Monday, April 27, 2009

You pull his string, see,

and he talks!

It's the talking Jesuit doll.

"Church should consider married priests"


Almost as much fun as zombies.

An Egyptian worker brushes an ancient Pharaonic sarcophagus of Illahun mayor's daughter dated to the 22nd Dynasty (ca. 931-725 BC) inside a rock-cut tomb which has been discovered by an Egyptian archaeological mission sponsored by the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) southeastern part of the pyramid field of Illahun, Sunday April 26, 2009, in Egypt's Fayoum region. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Some Egyptologists (didn't you go through an Egyptologist phase when you were a kid? Someone gave me a copy of Gods Graves and Scholars when I was about eight, and I wanted to be the next Carter) have discovered a necropolis of 53 "new" tombs
some as old as 4,000 years — were discovered recently on a sandy plateau overlooking farming fields in the village Illahun, located in the Fayoum oasis about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southwest of the Egyptian capital.

Archaeologists gave journalists a rare tour of the ancient burial site Sunday, which is next to the nearly four millennia old pyramid of Pharaoh Sesostris II.

Science is just so very very cool!


I think I might be getting kinda too into this whole wildflowers, flora n' fauna thing. I was on the train the other day and saw that a favourite patch of flowers, (they look from a distance to be the exceedingly charming Bladder Campion) and grasses had been mown at the Santa Severa train station.

I let out an indignant yawp at the sight and have been quite put out since each time we have passed it on the train.

Still, am pleased to see a whole yellow field, a mass of wild mustard in bloom, with the addition of poppies growing up under the delicate shade of the flowers. Fields and fields of this. I'll wait until the seed pods are ripe and collect some of the seeds and see if I can't germinate them in a pot.

Italy's countryside is getting some very distinctly painterly qualities.

Some kind of wild alium.

I got my good field guide to western European wildflowers out last night and had a poke through. I'm sure I'll get some clews about the identity of our oversized vetch friend. I'm sure it is some kind of vetch, but it's not in the book. It's certainly one of the vetch-pea family though.

This pink thing grows in masses all along the train tracks.

Took a long hike a couple of weekends ago up the hills behind Santa Marinella and didn't see any up there. Even so close to the shore, the flora changes quite a bit up there. I brought home a big handful of wild gladiolus and bright yellow marigolds. I'll have to take another walk soon and take the camera.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

More flora

Purple bindweed blooming all over.

Feed me Seymour!

I was going to get someone to stand next to this monster to give an idea how big it is, but I was worried something bad might happen. It's part of the fascinating flora of the Santa Marinella train station.

These things are all over the place. I don't really read the local news sources, but it does make me wonder if there are a large number of missing persons in the area around Santa Mar. Or, not in the area, so to speak.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Self-annointed prophets

Fr. Philip Powell kindly gave me his commentary on the situation of the US anti-nuns. I was not able to use much of what he had given me, due to space restrictions, but I thought it was worth posting so:

As I understand it, the LCWR is being assessed by the CDF because the conference has taken some rather outrageous public positions against rock-bottom Catholic teachings in recent decades. Specifically, the CDF is looking into how the LCWR has worked to undermine the Church’s ancient teachings the universal and final effaciacy of Christ’s sacrifice; the apostolic foundation of his Church in the ministry of Peter and his successors; and the proper uses of our sexual gifts within a sacramental marriage.

Keynote addresses and presidential speeches at the LCWR assemblies in recent years have been uniformly anti-hierarchy, anti-clerical, anti-magisterium, and they tend to push an eco-feminist “new cosmology” ideology over and against basic Christian beliefs. They aren’t simply tinkering with the packaging here. They are gutting the gift.

Oddly, conference speakers bemoan the absence of a “diversity of voices” in the “institutional Church.” I say “oddly” because if the LCWR assembly speeches are any indication of their attitudes, they themselves only listen to themselves and those who confirm their dissent. Not one pro-magisterial voice is heard in the theological work of the assemblies. Not one voice challenging the LCWR to reconsider Catholic orthodoxy is heard.

The LCWR is simply deaf to the teaching office of the Church. If the leaders of women religious communities implement the ideas and suggestions of the conference, they will continue to devolve into smaller and smaller envirnomentally-friendly gnostic communes.

Two elements of women’s religious life in the US are particularly worriesome: 1) the claim to be prophetic in the name of the God without obedience to the Church—a form of self-anointment; and 2) the nearly uncritical and enthuastic embrace of neo-pagan practices and New Age cosmologies. LCWR addresses ring with clarion calls to the sisters to live prophetic lives. But they seem to define “being prophetic” as something like “fighting the Church to save the gospel.”

Being self-anointed prophets to the Church gives them and others the false assurance that they are doing something truly prophetic—something that coincides with the movement of the Holy Spirit, which has been given to the Body of God’s People and exercised by the magisterium. When the Church fails to enact their self-anointed prophetic agenda, they accused the “institutional Church” of not listening to “women’s voices.”

The Church is listening, carefully listening, and she’s rejecting these dissenting prophecies as decidedly un-Christian. The Church can both listen and disagree.

It seems that some in the LCWR are on a self-anointed prophetic mission to spread theological falsehood in the Church’s name in the form of pseudo-scientific cosmologies and “new myth-making.” This only adds to the danger posed by those who see themselves climbing a spiritual evolutionary ladder a step or two ahead of the rest of us.

Another worriesome claim made in some of the LCWR addresses is that young people are abandoning the Church in large numbers because the Church refuses to “read the signs of the times.” Wrong. The Church is reading the signs of the times and teaching a counter-cultural gospel that calls us all to sacrifice and service in the face of overwhelming pressure to conform to secular materialism and radical individualism. Young people are leaving the Church because dissenting groups in the Church like the LCWR have told them for thirty-something years now that the Church is unnecessary—even an obstacle—to a healthy spiritual life as a Catholic.

When you teach people that visiting a Native American sweat hut is as sacramental as active participation in the Eucharist, there’s no reason for them to get up on Sunday morning and go to Mass. When you tell young people that their sexual proclivities can be indulged because condoms and abortion are widely and rightly available, and you tell them that marriage is a form of slavery for women, well, don’t be surprised when they co-habitate, refuse to marry, and obtain abortions! Pope John Paul II demonstrated and Pope Benedict XVI is demonstrating now that when the undiminished gospel of life is preached and taught with the Church, young people will pile on. When challenged to live truly holy lives rather than excused for living sinful lives, young people will pack the pews.


Cheese balls. I'd live on these things if I could.

It wasn't until I got to Italy that I found out that I had previously had no idea what mozzarella cheese is. I had tried "bocconcini" in Canada and been unimpressed by the utter tastelessness of it. But real Mozzarella is a kind of heavenly foretaste of how something can be both a gentle and intense pleasure.

Good old Britain

We had to abandon having an offerory procession, not after the wine got drunk on several occassions or the ciborium was stolen, it was the dog excrement under the altar breads. We tried keeping the Church open but then someone hacked the collection box out of the wall, we closed it after someone was stopped with an armful of candlesticks.

I have to keep an eye out a Holy Communion for Satanists who want to steal hosts or drunks who just want a slug of the Precious Blood.

Now that's reasoned debate

Miss California a "dumb b**ch".

I have had the impression for some time that gallantry and good manners are generally heterosexual traits.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Now, I realise that this thing, technically is bilaterally symmetrical. And I see that, technically it has four, not eight legs, that are not actually growing directly out of its head...

but it's icky and slimy and one wonders just what the heck it is for in the greater scheme of things.

The first thing I thought of was, "What has that BAD MAN done to that bunny?!"

Monday, April 20, 2009

The day Blighty fell apart

September 15, 2004

There are a few well-sung days in history that everyone is supposed to remember. I was not around for the Kennedy assassination, but I remember what I was doing the day the Challenger space shuttle blew up.

But there are quite a few more unsung days that ought to be better remembered.

On Friday, a very small number of British journalists recalled the day the police force in Britain came out with its new look for New Labour.

Gerald Warner recalls it: the day the police clashed with a bunch of wellie-wearing, tweed flat-capped country people and bashed in some heads.

Well, you see, these were people who were standing in the way of Tony's efforts to save the cute little furry woodland creatures from the nasty upper-class English who wanted to shoot them. But really, it was a message sent out to the bastions of traditional British culture. "It's over people. The Britain you knew is no more and this is what will happen to you if you try to bring it back."

The Macpherson Report became the charter for the new politically correct gendarmerie that was designed to act as a force of repression against the law-abiding majority, to promote the privileged position of an assortment of minorities.

The date on which this transformation was dramatically manifested was September 15, 2004 when 1,300 police aggressively clashed with pro-hunting demonstrators in Parliament Square. The Countryside Alliance has published the facts and figures relating to that disgraceful episode. Countryside supporters suffered 40 serious head injuries and 425 complaints were lodged with the IPCC. Regulation 9 notices were served on 31 officers and 17 officers had files on their conduct passed to the Crown Prosecution Service for alleged crimes ranging from Common Assault to Actual Bodily Harm.

There were no convictions and no disciplinary action was taken, even against officers who had removed their ID - one of the complaints also being levelled at police involved in the G20 confrontations. The IPCC's 14-month inquiry produced no action whatsoever. Unlike the aggressive behaviour and deliberate purpose of anarchist demonstrators to trash banks, the Countryside Alliance demonstrations were invariably models of civility: they even picked up their own litter.

From the Mail:

The truncheons are going up and down like steam pistons. A man with blood all over his head gets another whack from a policeman in full riot gear.

A 37-year-old mother of two young boys, who has been pushed forward from the crowd by sheer pressure of bodies, is following a police order to 'get back' when an officer comes up behind her and pushes her to the ground.

Bleeding from a head wound and bruised all over, she is being comforted by a female friend when another police officer comes along, sits on the friend and forces her arms behind her head.


All around, there are bloody faces and bloody clothes. By the end of the day, the police will have inflicted dozens of what the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) will describe as 'serious head injuries'.

And yet, as these battered protesters make their way home - or come round in a hospital bed or a police cell - the voices of the liberal Left are strangely silent.


As far as the Metropolitan Police commanders are concerned, these were Tory-voting country folk and, thus, anathema to the metropolitan elite in charge of the country. So the police thought they deserved a good kick, too. And they got one..

Gosh, I'm turning pink!

When I said below that there was only one blog The Tablet could possibly be referring to as 'right-wing, virtuperative and polemical', I had forgotten, of course, about the homophobic, puppy-kicking, incandescent fireball that is Hilary Jane Margaret


Oh, BTW: it's "Miss" White. "Miss" is the correct term in the English language for an unmarried woman. "Ms" is a foul neologistic invention of the demonic forces that have destroyed Western Civilisation and All Good Things.

The Golden Rose

Visita del Santo Padre Benedetto XVI alle zone terremotate dell'Abruzzo, 28 Aprile 2009


(È presente la statua della Madonna di Roio, Nostra Signore della Croce, davanti alla quale il Santo Padre depone una rosa d’oro).

The Pope is taking a golden rose to the city of L'Aquila.

A precious and sacred ornament made of pure gold by skilled artificers, which the popes have been accustomed for centuries to bless each year, and occasionally confer upon illustrious churches and sanctuaries as a token of special reverence and devotion, upon Catholic kings or queens, princes or princesses, renowned generals or other distinguished personages, upon governments or cities conspicuous for their Catholic spirit and loyalty to the Holy See, as a mark of esteem and paternal affection.

Benedict has a good Traditional ear.

Oh come on Binky, don't hold back.

Tell us what you're really thinking

"President Obama is a bad man."
He is a liar and a deceiver. An appeaser. A racist. Treacherous to friend & enemy alike. A soft-fascist Marxist. A possible foreign-born muslim. A narcissistic neophyte, possibly mentally ill.

At the risk of sounding polemical and vituperative, I relate that a friend of mine, having just returned to Rome from a trip home to the US affirmed this weekend that the US left's love affair with Barack is on the wane. They're starting to wake up to the fact that their golden (ahem) boy is a child who hasn't the foggiest notion what he is doing.

As I've said before, saying "I told you so" just isn't providing the thrill one might hope for.

Yeah? So, what's your point?

"often right-wing, polemical and vituperative"

You say that like it's a bad thing.

"...the Tablet newspaper launched an attack on my parish because one of our four weekend precept Masses and one of our six weekday Masses is said in the extraordinary form.


"...that bloggers around the world were left in little doubt about the character of the Tablet. Whereas many people before had rather ignored it as a possibly slightly highbrow English weekly, they now took a closer look and realised, from various articles and snippets that were published and fisked around the web, that it is the English voice of dissent from Rome;

Almost overnight, the Tablet's position as a leading opinion former was compromised by the democratic and rather scary freedom of ordinary Catholics to write on the internet without editorial censorship. It is no surprise, then, that the Tablet has chosen to launch a blanket attack on Catholic blogging during the two weeks leading up to the Low Week meeting. After all, it would be very much in their interests if the Bishops were to go along with the idea that blogs are rather bad and dangerous.

One of the things I enjoy most about blogging is how angry it makes the left.

They're used to running the show, you see, and having the last editorial word in nearly every venue of public life. The fact that bugs like me can have a voice in public, or even worse, that an ordinary parish priest could have a means of countering and exposing them at every underhanded dirty little trick,

drives 'em nuts.

And that's the fun part.

Of course, all the usual suspects are dancing with glee at the Suppository's little temper tantrum.

Damian returns briefly to his previously amusing vituperative form:
The most revealing detail of all, however, is that the Tablet has to explain to its readers what the word blog means – "a corruption of web-log, invented in America".

Not that I'm surprised. A couple of months ago I accidentally walked into the Pill's annual lecture. Blimey. I don't want to be rude, but most people there looked liked they only knew what a mobile phone was because they'd been given one by their middle-aged children in case they had a fall.

Fr. Blake links to Fr. Longenecker, an American priest with ties in the UK who puts his finger on it:
that the readers have to have 'blog' defined for them is hilarious. Don't be misled. This is not a journalistic attempt at clarity--it is a classic, upper middle class English attempt at a back hand slam. It's an example of English snobbery. See, when you're really upper class you don't even know what such common and vulgar things are.

I think he might be missing a little nuance here, in that in England, "liberalism" is fashionable for upper class Catholics for much the same reason it was expedient for recusants in general to keep a low profile. It was a subtle way of blending with Anglican, society. I suppose a variation on Americanism in the US Church. A way of saying, "Well, yes, we're Catholic, but it doesn't have to make us social or political pariahs now does it?" Now that Anglicanism has completed its 500 year transformation into hard-core anti-Christian secularism, it is incumbent on the English Tablet Catholics to keep up. Hence the kind of Catholicism of a Fr. Finigan - all anti-abortion rallies, Rosary processions and vulgar plaster statues of St. Mary the Virgin - is a source of deep-seated English snobbery which comes from fear of association.

You will note that most of the Plaster-Statue-Totin' Catholics in the UK have names like "Finigan" and "O'Donohue". Not a coincidence.

It reminds me of the kind of "pro-lifer" you usually find in All-Party Parliamentary groups on either side of the Atlantic. "Well, yes, of course, we're pro-life, but it's not like we're fanatics or anything. We can be pro-life and still affirm a woman's right to choose."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Who's abortion for again?

It's for women, right? It's all about a woman's choice, a woman's right to decide the direction of her life, what she does with her body.

It has nothing to do with men right? It doesn't benefit them in any way.


(Yes, this ad actually ran in Oregon and as far as I understand it, there was not a single whiff of irony intended.)


Scott's little acronym is unforgettable for those who've gone through the programme. It's like a secret password.

Two pro-lifers go to a Planned Parenthood conference under cover. At the drinks break between speakers they are introduced to each other:
PL1: I was really hoping they'd talk about the size of the abortion movement as well as its level of development.

PL2: Yeah, and I find this hotel environment to be engendering a high degree of dependency on the open bar

Wink wink...

The Anti-Choice Project

I hope they're horrible hateful Rightwing anti-woman homophobic puppy-kickers like me.

The Anti-Choice Project (ACP) is an anti-abortion organization, which exists to expose the ugly face of "choice," primarily through the use of pictures. We believe that one picture of an aborted baby is worth 1000 pro-life arguments, as it reveals the unfiltered horror that abortion is an act of violence which kills a baby.

Just glancing at the comments on their "about us" page, I can't help but think again that it is very difficult to tell whether this:

What about rape? Incest? Women who have abused drugs during the beginning of their pregnancy? What about the risk of giving birth to the baby harming the mother?
I hope you realize that you're working this angle in a largely liberal community, and you're not going to get far.
If you're so against abortion, don't have one. BUT LEAVE THE CHOICE FOR THE REST OF US!
And get off the corner of my college. You're photos are scaring the children walking by.

is really a comment from a pro-death person, or whether it was written as a parody of the kind of chanting you hear when you're on patrol in the pro-life movement.

Slap a few bullet points onto this list and it could be used as a training exercise for pro-life 101.

When I first started taking the pro-life apologetics training, Scott told us that there are really only five abortion slogans. Five? Is that it? You've got to be exaggerating. They can't have based an entire culture of legalised murder on five pathetic slogans.

But yep. They can and did. In ten years now, I've never heard anything but the same five. It's as if they've all got a string with a plastic ring on it between their shoulder blades.

Italy from the train

The daily dose of campagna

Took these this morning. What I find remarkable is how incredibly green everything is. We had record rainfall this winter (remember my leaking walls?) and now I imagine we're in for a bumper harvest on everything.

Just outside Santa Mar.

Masses of wild mustard lining the tracks and filling the fields with a yellow glow.

Little farm outbuilding. Looking more Irish than Italian.

These lines of stately umbrella pines, marching down country lanes,

with the cypresses, are possibly the most evocative sights.
They are the first thing you see when you arrive that says you're not in a temperate zone anymore.

A field of carciofi and an old farm house.

Lots of vineyards, olive groves and orchards along the way.

Also surprised to see a lot of big mature oaks.

Green green green green.

The rural areas are lovely, but the towns along the route to Santa Mar are very run down and horrible looking. An abandoned factory of some kind at Macarese.

A farm closer to Rome.

The little trees in rows down the hill from the house are olives, I think.

What's freedom?

This from a new Facebook friend pretty much sums it up.

"In America you can do what you want but can't be happy, in Italy you can be happy but can't do what you want"

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Economic Survivalists

Sounds good. Where do I sign up?

I knit a pretty mean pair of socks you know.

They look miserable, don't they?

And, naturellement, they have a blog.

From far and wide

Wow, the internet is cool huh?

Welcoming readers today from some very far-flung places indeed. And especially our first reader from China.

Bucharest, Bucuresti Romania,
Dongguan, Guangdong China,
Osaka, Japan,
Dublin, Ireland (Hi Chris)
Omaha, Nebraska, USA
Los Baos, Laguna, Philippines
Canberra, Australian Capital Territory (is that you Julian?)
Saltillo, Coahuila de Zaragoza, Mexico

Cost Effective Termination

Here's to you, Mrs. Sanger:

Genetic testing + socialised medicine + legal abortion = Eugenics

Researchers have been able to diagnose certain genetic conditions, like Down syndrome, in fetuses since the 1960s. ... The fetal DNA is compared to control DNA stored on a "gene chip." It detects chromosomal anomalies 100 times smaller than those revealed by traditional tests.

"I think there's going to be a major change in the way prenatal diagnosis is done," says Dr. Arthur Beaudet, chairman of the Department of Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. "It's cost-effective if couples are going to terminate. For children born with severe disabilities, their lifelong care is very expensive."

Some ghosts just refuse to stay quiet, hey?

Italy still a free country

One of the things I like about Italy is its brilliantly politically incorrect leader. And the fact that this man, who is the living bella figura embodiment of everything the grouchy, sore-loser be-birkenstocked left loathes, is the second longest-serving Prime Minister of the Italian Republic.


This week, he thrilled the harpies of the press when he told a female doctor working with quake victims in L'Aquila, "I wouldn't mind being resuscitated by you."

And I bet he pinches the bottoms of the female political interns too.

Once again, Gerald Warner strikes the right note contrasting uptight government-controlled Britain and freedom and happiness-loving Italy:
In this country, some heavily moustachioed harpie from a feminist quango would have hauled Silvio up in front of more tribunals than an MP has houses, before you could say "Harriet Harridan." His diary would have been so full of appointments at compulsory diversity training workshops he would not have had time for any ministerial engagements.

That faint popping sound you can hear

is the exploding heads of America's Anti-Nuns.

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is launching a "doctrinal assessment" of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR)


I'm SO excited!

(Yes yes, I know. It is 40 years too late. But remember, 26 of that was under John Paul the Wonderpope, so what can you expect?)

Tyrrhenian Sea and Domestic Bliss Report

When I was a child, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents up the coast of Vancouver Island in a little place called Beachcomber near Nanoose Bay. In those days it was the wildnerness (since turned into a suburb of that stinking pesthole Nanaimo) and was glorious. My grandparents bought their property in 1964 and built their house to be a little paradise of English colonial tranquility.

Every morning my grandfather would rise at 7 and bring tea (Twining's Earl Grey) and toast to my grandmother in bed. I would hear tea cups rattling on the tray as he passed my room and would get up and join them. Grandpa would sit on the counter with the cat on his lap, his back to the big window looking out over the veranda and down onto the inlet where little sail boats would usually be plying back and forth. Grandma and I would sip our tea and eat our toast and we would discuss the day's plans.

For me, these almost invariably involved climbing around on the rocks at the beach either at the bottom of the cliff on which the house sat, or down at The Park where there were fossils. Sometimes it would be a trip into Parksville for shopping and sometimes, a rare treat in summer, one of the local ladies would be hosting a garden party. This would mean croquet and tea and cake and all manner of heavenly pleasures.

All my life I've assumed that there could be no greater happiness in this life or any other than the times spent Up Island with grandma and grandpa.

Italy is coming close though.

The Daily Tyrrhenian Sea report:

Choppy today, with a fresh breeze and quite a bit of mist.

Whitecaps and the palm trees waving vigorously.

Domestic Bliss Report:

Tea. And it's Twining's Earl Grey.
Habits of a lifetime, not likely to die out soon. Flowers collected on Monday afternoon on what I hope will be only the first of many happy country stomps up the hills behind the village and around the farms. (Next time, I'll bring camera).

Where to eat your tea and toast in mid-April.

Winnie has developed some new habits. She spends her days burrowed under the covers sleeping, and her evenings charging madly around the flat. Every day, I pat the lump under the covers and she gives a little squeek to let me know she is still alive in there. I have wondered for some time why she doesn't smother. Cats are mysterious.

Mr. Bear, being of a more stoic mind, does not approve of all this feline lounging about. He likes to get up early and get on with his day.

(Yes yes. I know I promised pics of the countryside today, but the train was ridiculously crowded and it made me cranky. Tomorrow maybe.)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

You mean, they're not flocking to your churches.

I wonder if there might be other factors involved in that.

One wonders what Episcopal boundaries and barriers have yet to be crossed that the dying embers of historic Christianity could possibly fan into life. That the Diocese of Massachusetts has a functioning transgendered priest complete with a sex change operation (he appeared at Lambeth 2008) mocks not only marriage, but any notion of what normalcy in sexual matters might mean in The Episcopal Church. ... They mock The Episcopal Church as a Christian denomination.

Dear me, but I'm longing to have a drink with this man

Gerald Warner on The Blair.

It beggars belief that idiots somewhere will dig deep into their pockets to hear the relentless claptrap that this nation would once have paid its entire GDP to silence.
there was something very special about Tony, Bloke of Blokes, Father of All Kids, the ultimate product of the delusion industry that is celebrity politics. We shall not look upon his like again - not even Barack Obama can run him close. This was a unique cocktail of narcissism, self-deception, self-interest and doe-eyed mendacity such as no other politician has been able to replicate or to rival.

Toasty Turcotte

At the end of the Pope's blessing at the Urbi et Orbi this Sunday, the crowd burst into its usual applause as the Holy Father retired from view, and a friend turned to me and remarked,

"Ad multos annos. And may you bury all your cardinals."

Starting with this one.

To paraphrase: Abortion is murder but it's A-OK as long as it's self defence.

Nice guy.

Dismemberment and Pieces

Soooo, D&P is funding abortion lobbyists in the developing world huh?

Don't know if you've been following this one, but lots of Canuckistanis are all in a tizzy over it.

I've been thinking a bit about this whole kerfuffle and have found it an interesting exercise to examine where the objections are coming from. LifeSite did a little digging, (and it didn't take much) and discovered that the social development agency of the Canadian Catholic Bishops is funding a large number of very energetic leftist/feminist groups in places like Mexico and Nigeria who, surprise surprise, have as their main interest loosening, by any means fair or foul, legal restrictions on abortion.

I pointed out something on a LSN conference call a few weeks ago that I thought would have been obvious.

There are certain segments of the Canadian Catholic Church who have reacted with fury at LSN for daring to lift that rock and take a peek at the wriggling things living under it. Bishops and bishops' minions have screeched at us like vampires dragged out into the sun.


Is it because LSN has found and published information that is not true?

No. Everything that was published about this subject is easy to verify, just by looking up the relevant web pages.

Is it because LifeSite has asked that D&P funding be suspended?

No. There has been nothing published but the who-what-where-whens. Calls for D&P funding to be halted or suspended have come from elsewhere.

It's this:

D&P represents the heart and soul of the Canadian Catholic Church. Everything that D&P does and is, everything it stands for and believes is emblematic of how the Canadian Catholic Church sees itself. D&P is the essence of Canadian Catholicism.

If D&P is grossly corrupt and its habits and beliefs are, (shall we say for the sake of brevity) incompatible with the teachings of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, then...


One begins to understand the reason for the shrieking.

Once again,

me n' Binks, thinking the same thoughts on the same day. I'm beginning to wonder if he's really me and I never really left Canadia and the me that lives in Italy is realy someone else...
~ IF MEN ARE FROM MARS AND women are from Venus, then Conservatives are from reality, and Liberals are from UpSideDownistan. Take every particle of common-sense, law, custom, morality, and stand them on their heads.

Maybe I don't really exist after all.

That would be a relief. It means that someone else can do my Purgatory.


There may have been ancient civilizations for which we only know names. Really: if there were folks living in a town in Jericho c. 10 000BC, how much do we really know about that era? I’m not talking about aliens or anything, just that if civilization arose long ago, environmental collapse, plague, or some other collapse could have hidden much of it from us over the intervening years.

Not having the history of those people doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. Atlantis may be a garbled remembrance, though some of that may also be ancient Thera 7 Crete as remembered by the Greeks. In any case, I’m not saying it makes much difference to us– only that we haven’t got the whole story.

he seems to be thinking about the same topics as me too.

I don't know if I've mentioned this, but I've been thinking about/working on a novel for some time now that involves the proposal that human civilisations, complete with fancy schmancy architecture, writing, mathematics and government corruption existed before the big Ice Ages. The ice would have wiped out all traces of them right? and would have sent the human population back to hunting/gathering and nomadic habits right? So how do we know?

Some of my longer-term readers might remember my brief flash of obsession a few years ago about this. Well, I'm still thinking about it.

But it's weird about the Binky/Hilary mental link hey?

Must be sunspots or something.

Flowers in April

I think it's amazing that flowers can bloom so splendidly just growing out of a stone wall.

I'm going to take the camera home tonight so I can get y'all some pics of the Italian countryside from the train coming into Rome. The wheat fields are blooming and the grass is tall, and the carciofi are being harvested and showing up by the bushel-full in all the markets.

All this says summer to my Canadian brain.

So, how's mid-April where you are?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I kind of miss this stuff about the HRCs in Canada

Being now officially a member of the Eurotrash demographic, it just doesn't seem like my fight any more. But it's still pretty fun to watch from a distance. A bit like whales that way.

Anyway, if there is anyone left in the 'sphere who hasn't seen Ezra's take-down of that HRC toady...oh...what'shername...I can't remember...but in case you are the last one to know, here's the link to the greatest scolding a Sane Person ever gave to the Newfangled Left.

I don't know if there is anyone after that who might still be wondering what the deal is with the HRCs, but in case you are,

Blazing will explain it all to you:

...the Left draws most of its motivating energy from imaginary problems, like global warming, DDT, backalley coathanger abortions, and the chronic boredome of American housewives in 1950s suburbia. The Left is very concerned about something they like to call “social justice”, which I define as the stubborn application of unworkable solutions to imaginary problems.


Today, gay Canadians outnumber Muslim Canadians; when that balance shifts, and it will for obvious reasons, it will be interesting to see which side Canada’s liberal establishment decides to take, or is obliged to.

[Oh me too!]

"...the HRCs are engaged in class warfare. The majority of “hate speech” cases are brought by highly educated, highly privileged white liberals -- against less educated, working class, blue collar “reactionary” whites, who insist on speaking to each other about topics like immigration, using old fashioned, politically incorrect language.

I was pleasantly surprised that Ken Whyte and his crew fought back because, well, they’re Canadians. To continue the metaphor, I’ve often said that had United 93 been an Air Canada flight, the passengers would have held the cockpit door open for the terrorists -- then said “sorry” when they stepped on their feet.

Ezra likes to say that the HRCs and Section 13 are “unCanadian.” I respectfully disagree. I can’t think of anything more Canadian. They perfectly embody the Trudeaupian, Centennial celebration Canada I was born into.


I am just, barely, old enough to remember when all this stuff started but not quite old enough to have known what Canada was before it was put through the Trudeaupian Presto-Change-O Commie Transmogrifier. I remember the process by which it was changed, both at the national level by legislation and at the local level by hippies going to their little GestaltDreamTherapyPrimalScreamGroupHug workshops. I remember being used as part of that great experiment (gotta get to the kids right?). But I never got to see the Before Time.

But I know people who remember. And what strikes me is that when they talk about it, it is clear they are talking about something Real, about something that concerns itself with the Real. What strikes me about Canuckistan, and about our whole Mirror Universe civilisation (in Britain, Europe, Massachusetts, Oregon, etc.,) that started at the Big Bang of 1968, is that it concerns itself with nothing real. It is devoted to unreality. Its language is made up of unwords. It's politics is about imaginary grievances, and its history is make-believe history. It is as if the deadly hypnotism that addled the pates of my mother's hippie/feminist friends in 1972, had leaked out into the real, transforming it into the strange landscape of their drug-induced fantasies.

"a male-female partnership"

Your Eminence, I think there's probably a word for that in German isn't there?

I know there's one in English.

Starts with an "m"...?




A note to Gregory's Mum,

We're all very pleased here to hear that things went well.

(Would have put a note up earlier, but someone failed to tell us until Urbi et Orbi.)

A Bit of Easter Liturgical Fun

Blessing the feast is an ancient Catholic custom. You go shopping (all day on Saturday!) and you take the feast to the parish priest for the blessings.

No kidding, there are separate distinct liturgical blessings for each kind of food.

(Note shopping cart parked in the sacristy.)

The lamb, the bread, the eggs, the olive oil, the veg, the butter and cheese, the dolce and the beer.

With cassocks and surplices and everything.

You know you're in the right religion when they have a proper blessing for the beer.
Bene+dic, Domine, creaturam istam cerevisae, quam ex adipe frumenti producere dignatus es: ut sit remedium salutare humano generi: et praesta per invocationem nominis tui sancti, ut, quicumque ex ea biberint, sanitatem corporis, et animae tutelam percipiant. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.


Rome at prayer II

Altars of Repose in Rome

St. Louis of France,

Sant. Agostino

The shrine to Our Lady in S. Agostino is a favourite place for ladies of Rome to pray for safe childbirth.

Santa Maria Sopra Minerva

The Chiesa Nuova