Saturday, May 29, 2010

Only one possible answer to this:

Another one for my rapidly growing "I have the nicest readers in the world" file:

Dear Hilary

I have now finished Prof Scruton's Culture Counts: Faith and Feeling in a World Besieged. Would you like me to send it to you?

In Domino,


In case there is any doubt, the answer to such questions will always be the same:

Gosh, yes. Thanks!

you can send it to my office address:

Roma, Italia.

I rarely get anyone saying anything so welcome. I remember coming home one night after work, and one of my roommates said, "Hey Hilary, want some chicken?"

That was pretty good too.


Friday, May 28, 2010

Hey! I know that guy!

So, I was just wasting a little e-time scrolling down the submissions for a contest to create vocations posters for the beleaguered diocese of Rochester New York (about which the less said the better for all our sakes), and I saw one that featured a photo that I am pretty sure was not taken in Rochester.


Pretty sure, anyway.

But this one really really needs to get first prize:

H/T to the Carolina Canonball.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Am I the only one

who is still fairly freaked out by the words "Governor" and "Schwarzenegger" going together?

Is this an age-related thing? Do you have to be an old person to remember that Ahnold hasn't always been a politician?


Govern, teach and sanctify

Reason 186,345 to like Benedict better than the other one

He knows what his job is.


Oh, me too!

Me too!

Life is so difficult!

Why does everything have to be so complicated?!

Just to leave the house, you have to comb your hair, and put on clothes (frontways not backwards!) and remember which shoe goes on which foot, and not forget your keys and your money, and remember where you're going ....

and all that before you even get to the front door!

And I have to pack up the house! I've been doing laundry for two days (sixth load; towels). Now I have to put things in boxes. Not too hard, you say? What do you know?

I have to dig the boxes out from behind the closets where I stashed them a year ago. I have to mush them back into 3-D shape, tape them, then figure out what to put in them...

just thinking about all that is making me tired.

Plus, I'm having modern telecommunications technology meltdown. I have about six different things, facebook, skype, email, blog, messenger and the phone, and I don't really know how to use any of them.

I can hear the cop in my brain saying, "Just step away from the computer..."


Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cool stuff in Rome and some flowers

Everyone says Porta Portese market is pretty much tapped out for cool stuff, and I'm mostly in agreement. But it's still worth a stroll around, if you get there early enough. It closes around one, and if you show up at 11, you will think you're trapped in a remake of Soylent Green. Not for the crowd-ophobic.

But there are still a few things there worth taking pictures of, in the Old Stuff section. And I picked up a couple of sets of lace and net curtains to make some pretty mosquito netting for the new place.

For all your Busts of Emperors needs.

Actually, I was really tempted to get this one.

Some day, someone has to do a research project on the Madonellae, and then maybe a tour of the best ones. Rome, where you can't heave a paving stone without hitting some art.

There were two of these on the tree this year. The Big Lemon variety seems to take a really long time to ripen. They smell wonderful, but when you open them, you see they're mostly peel and pith.

The frogs have mostly disappeared for the year, but this fellow was out hunting the other night while I was walking home. You see a lot of these guys flattened on the roads. They really don't get the idea that you're supposed to run away from the Big Two-foots.

Took my wonderful new book out the other day for a stomp about.

Anyone know the Latin name for these things? They're not in my wildflower book, so I guess they're only a garden thing. The flowers are on to their second wave. The daffs and other early wildflowers have finished and we're getting the early summer crowd out now.

Santa Marinella spends about three months every year smelling of flowers. The Wisteria comes out first, then the stuff with shiny leaves and rather unattractive white flower bunches that smell heavenly. Not much to look at but people have huge ten foot hedges of it and in blooming season...well!

In May/June we get this stuff, walls of it.

I have finally figured out how to switch my camera over to a thing that will get extreme closeups.

This is a variety of wild garlic, Allium roseum. It's called Rosy Garlic because of the little red bulbils you can see here. These fall off and become the new bulb to grow a new plant. Our cultivated garlic doesn't do this, and cannot reproduce without human help. I pulled one of these up and the bulb was certainly very garlicky, but not as strong as the cultivated kind.

Don't know what these were.

They're not in my book, but aren't they pretty. Anyone got an idea?

Also not in the book, but clearly a type of flax. Possibly Linum bienne, or "Pale Flax".

Blue Hounds Tongue, Cynoglossum creticum. Mostly finished now, but there were still a few holding on at the very top of the hills. Interesting how different the varieties are just in the few hundred yards between the shore and higher up on the hills. There are almost no poppies up there, for example, but lots of things that you can't find lower down.

Every now and then, Rome reminds you that it still remembers. Graffiti on a wall at St. Peter's train station.

Took a tour with a friend the other day around the Vatican museums.

My favourite courtyard. Gregory called it some fancy thing in Italian, but it's obvious what the name ought to be.

The Courtyard of the Death Star.

Finally managed to get some decent shots of the Laocoon. As soon as I saw it, I started humming "It's a Small World After All".

Greg takes a question.

The hallowed Belvedere Torso.

I got multiple angles on this one, but I won't bore you with them. It's an art student thing.

Important rule whenever you're in a Roman building: Always look up.


Friday, May 21, 2010

I should write the world's headlines

"Massive Tragedy among UK Catholics: English Bishops Do Something Right, Thousands Keel Over Dead in Shock"


I've always wanted one of these things. They sell them quite regularly at Porta Portese market, for between 90 and 120 Euros. I've been meaning to save up for one.

I have a friend who is in the middle of some kind of Steampunk frenzy. She'd go nuts.

Viva il Papa!

Saw the pope on Sunday. It was really great. He looked happy too.

Catholicism is so open minded these days, they even let the heretics pretend to join in.

Carabinieri, best dressed cops in Europe.

These guys are very popular. They got many cheers.

There he is!

Everybody sush! he's talking.

Dear Pope Benedict,

I hope you are well. I was so pleased to see you on Sunday, looking so happy and saying all those nice things to us. I had a lovely time, and waved a lot when you came out to see us. I hope you saw me.

I see that you have just had a visit from this nice old man from Kuwait, and that he gave you some lovely carpets.

I hope you don't think it impertinent, but I would like to ask you a favour. I wonder if you would give me one of those carpets for my new flat. I like living in Italy, but find many of the Italian ways of doing things foreign and strange. One of these is their insistence on freezing cold tiles and marble floors and never any carpets.

You may have noticed that when you get out of bed in the mornings, even in summer, the floors really hurt your feet with the cold. I don't know why Italians love ice cold floors, do you? You are from lovely Bavaria where things are more English, so I suppose you have noticed it too.

Anyway, I would really be grateful for a carpet for my new flat which has these ice-cold floors I mentioned, since I cannot afford a new carpet and you probably have lots. I would take very good care of it.

I hope you have a lovely week, and look forward to seeing you again soon.

Your friend,

PS: don't forget about the carpet. Thanks.

PPS: Oh, and I just love your beautiful white mozzetta. It really looks terrific on you.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Harry Lime - everything I need to know about life, I learned from Film Noir

Grahame Greene, using the voice of Orson Wells, lays down in a few sentences what the western world has been doing since the War. A death cult.

Harry Lime is the new man who has lost his faith, his hope and his honour. He is, simply, modernity personified.

"Nobody thinks in terms of human beings. Governments don't why should we? They talk about the people and the proletariat; I talk about the suckers and the mugs, it's the same thing. They have their five-year plans and so have I."

"You used to believe in God."

"I still do believe in God, old man. I believe in God and mercy and ...all that. But the dead are happier dead. They don't miss much here, poor devils. What do you believe in?"

The opening words of the film are what the whole thing is about: "I never knew the old Vienna before the war with its Strauss music, its glamour and its easy charm. Constantinople suited me better. I really got to know it in the classic period of the black market. We'd run anything if people wanted it enough - mmm - had the money to pay."

All that has gone before, no matter how beautiful and how meaningful, is gone. No one knows it and it doesn't matter now.

Everybody Draw Mohammed Day

The Great Steyn hath spoken
I initially had mixed feelings about Everybody Draws Mohammed Day. Provocation for its own sake is one of the dreariest features of contemporary culture, but that's not what this is about. Nick Gillespie's post reminds us that the three most offensive of the "Danish cartoons" - including the one showing Mohammed as a pig - were not by any Jyllands-Posten cartoonists but were actually faked by Scandinavian imams for the purposes of stirring up outrage among Muslims...

But, that aside, the clerics' action underlines what's going on: the real provocateurs are the perpetually aggrieved and ever more aggressive Islamic bullies - emboldened by the silence of "moderate Muslims" and the pre-emptive capitulation of western media.

causa finita.

But it's not just the western media.

Just finished this amusing and highly illustrative exchange on a facebook page where a friend of mine had posted a traditional Bomb Turban cartoon of old Mo in honour of the day. FB, whose profile made it clear that she is a white westerner, whould be a shoo-in for a job with the CBC multicultural relations department. Or maybe the CHRC.

I'm all for freedom of speech but that does not give people the right to say and do anything that they want. ps I am catholic (if you didn't already know and I go to church).

Hilary Jane Margaret White:
So, you like freedom of speech, as long as its not, you know, free.

Hilary I don't know you but if i started insulting you would that be ok??? You know free speech and all.

Hilary Jane Margaret White:
It should be legal. That's what free speech means. It means that if you insult me and I get mad, I can't have you thrown in prison.

Hilary Jane Margaret White
...or have your head cut off, or blow up your embassy, or shoot your priest, or kidnap and murder your journalists, or...

get it now?

Interesting theory you have got going there. Don't suppose you are American by any chance?

Hilary Jane Margaret White
Nope. Just rational.

Rational? If you say so..that's your free speech!

so logically, from the point of Hilary, people who blow up embessies [sic] are offended by freedom of speech!!!cuz it is not legal?

A, we could be friends but im getting the hell off facebook bc people do think they have the right to say and do anything they want.

Hilary Jane Margaret White
A, do you just put words into a bag and shake them up when you read things? So sentences are kind of like Scrabble pieces for you then...

A, don't be offended by Hilary. When people don't have anything to say they resort to comments like this.

Hilary Jane Margaret White
Ready to be arrested now, 'cause, you know, free speech should only be free when no one is offended...



William Blake


Gustave Doré

Salvador Dali

Mattheus van Beveren

Giovanni da Modena

A cask by losing centre-piece or cant
Was never shattered so, as I saw one
Rent from the chin to where one breaketh wind.

Between his legs were hanging down his entrails;
His heart was visible, and the dismal sack
That maketh excrement of what is eaten.

While I was all absorbed in seeing him,
He looked at me, and opened with his hands
His bosom, saying: "See now how I rend me;

How mutilated, see, is Mahomet;
In front of me doth Ali weeping go,
Cleft in the face from forelock unto chin;

And all the others whom thou here beholdest,
Disseminators of scandal and of schism
While living were, and therefore are cleft thus.

A devil is behind here, who doth cleave us
Thus cruelly, unto the falchion's edge
Putting again each one of all this ream,

When we have gone around the doleful road;
By reason that our wounds are closed again
Ere any one in front of him repass.

- Dante's Inferno, Canto 28

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I have the nicest readers on the net

Tom from New York writes,

Dear Hilary,

I'm slow-witted. Please tell me to what address I might send a book so that it reaches you?



Beauty, a signpost to The Real

The meaning of life in Pergolesi's Stabat Mater.

Beauty, not as Scruton says, a substitute for religion, but as a signpost to the Truth.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Of course, we know that our friends in the "conservative" Catholic movement in the US just love this whole "new evangelisation" thing. It was one of the most successful of JPII's many buzzy neologisms. The trouble with these is that, in keeping with modern trends of thought, they resist precise definition.

I don't think that Cardinal Ratzinger's definition below is very precise, but it is meaningful, in a broad sense, particularly with a mind to our ongoing discussion of living in The Real and rejecting Fantasy:
To evangelize means teach the art of living. At the beginning of his public life Jesus says: I have come to evangelize the poor (Luke 4:18); this means: I have the response to your fundamental question; I will show you the path of life, the path toward happiness—rather: I am that path.

The deepest poverty is the inability of joy, the tediousness of a life considered absurd and contradictory. This poverty is widespread today, in very different forms in the materially rich as well as the poor countries. The inability of joy presupposes and produces the inability to love, produces jealousy, avarice — all defects that devastate the life of individuals and of the world.

This is why we are in need of a new evangelization; if the art of living remains an unknown, nothing else works. But this art is not the object of a science. This art can only be communicated by [one] who has life, he who is the Gospel personified.

Odd but good

This one:
Give strong drink to them that are sad: and wine to them that are grieved in mind: Let them drink, and forget their want, and remember their sorrow no more. (Prov 31, 6-7)

needs to be more widely remembered.


Who knew there were still smart non-crazy people in England?

I'm now making a project of watching every Scruton video on Youtube.

And I'd really love to read his books about art and beauty.

(For the slower-witted amongst y'all, that's a hint.)

H/T and thanks to John Jalsevac for the tip.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Art is for Beauty

Funny isn't it? That statement would have been so obvious 150 years ago, that no one would have thought it worth saying.

Roger Scruton

Liar Liar

Pants. On. FIRE!!!
Legion Leaders Absolve Themselves Before They Sink
In an internal memo, published here, they say they never knew anything about the double life of their founder, Maciel.

It's good thing I'm not the Pope, because I'd be wearing out that Smite button.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Odd Bible

I keep running across these odd verses in the Bible, things hardly anyone knows about, and they strike me as the most interesting bits. I thought I would post a few of them.

For your amusement, Today's Odd Bible Verse:

In Which Bad Children are Eaten by Bears

Yes, really!

10. 2 Kings 2:23-24
Then he went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some youths came from the city and mocked him, and said to him, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” So he turned around and looked at them, and pronounced a curse on them in the name of the LORD. And two female bears came out of the woods and mauled forty-two of the youths.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

Come back Spanish Inquisition... all is forgiven

It's not the Chef's Sweden any more...
All hail the Great Steyn

still making me laugh, while Civilisation burns...

last week, the head of Canada's intelligence service testified to the House of Commons about hundreds of "second- or third-generation Canadians" who are "relatively well integrated" "economically and socially" but who have become so "very very disenchanted" with "the way we want to structure our society" that they have developed "strong links to homelands" that are "in distress."

Homelands such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Hmm. If you're wondering what those countries might have in common, keep wondering. No words beginning with "I-" and ending with "-slam" passed the director's lips.


Friday, May 14, 2010

Devoutly to be wished...

Angela says the
future of the EU was at stake in the challenges to its monetary amalgamation.

"If the euro fails, not only the currency fails. Europe fails too, [yay!] and the idea of European unification [YAY!!]. We have a common currency, but no common political and economic union [Double YAY!!!]. And this is exactly what we must change [Booo!]. To achieve this - therein lies the opportunity of this crisis."
I really don't get the "unification" mania of these people. I'm not even convinced they really know what it means or what it's really supposed to accomplish.

Oh, wait. Maybe I do.


They could be among us right now!

Think about it.

Plain-clothes opera singers working under cover in your neighbourhood.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Kathy still makes me laugh

"...Like shaking a bag of feral cats, then sticking your head in to see how they're doing..."

I'm going to use that some day.

Hilary's Little Life Axioms

Only the real counts.

Never trust anything Catholic that is less than 500 years old.

Abolish everything. (Catholic)

Never join anything. (Catholic)

Never found, start, organise or volunteer for anything. (General)

Abolish Christmas. (General)

When you can no longer resist the urge to kill someone, always kill someone else, never yourself.

(Perhaps paradoxically) You can't kill people to solve your problems.

If you can't get out of it, get into it.

Reality is conservative. (Thanks Mrs. Thatcher)

No temptation is so great that it can't be resisted by running away.

Old things are better than new things.

Contrary to what everyone thinks, it actually is sometimes too late.

A better lizard part II

Well, to no one's surprise, we got a new set of lizards.

I wonder if anyone was making these kinds of jokes on blogs back when the barbarians were swarming all over the Empire.

Day three of the occupation and William "Maarklaar" Hague is still moaning about the fit of his latex rubber mask.

Despite that, a new television model has been prepared, to compete with the World Cup, as male earthlings are fascinated by big bouncy things. And the High Command are meeting in a cupboard in a bid to convince the earthlings that they are listening to their pitiful wishes and mean them no harm.

The state broadcasting apparatus was instructed to convey to the earthlings that being in the cupboard was "a wonderful feeling", especially seeing the Supreme Leader in the prime minister's chair. So far, the earthlings seem to be buying it - they seem strangely reassured by the appointment of our cupboard.

Warning Label

Korean food.

Much of it is bright orange in colour. A bit like those deadly poisonous Amazonian tree frogs that come in varying shades of brilliant colour one doesn't usually expect to find in nature, in order to, I was told, warn off predators who will get a mouthful of death if they try it.

There is a Korean grocery in the same building as the office. Fortunately, when one is really desperate for a nice cup-o-noodles, they have the Japanese kind, but at 3 Euros, it's outrageously priced. Today I tried the cheaper Korean kind.


It just serves me right, really, for eating any food that comes with a "flavour packet".

What's What from John Ruskin

The poor fellow really didn't have a happy love life. I'm sympathetic. But he was a genius. One of the really huge names of the 19th century, and I'm beginning to see that he was one of the last of the proponents of The Real, one of the last that cried out against the trends in thought and government, art and philosophy, education and business, that were then gaining strength and would end up destroying everything.

A good friend has kindly sent me two of his books, Elements of Design and Modern Painters. I also have a few books of literary criticism, one of which is a cute little thing from Oxford Press, that was first published in 1916 and survived no fewer than 18 reprintings until the End of the World put a stop to most intelligent discussion of art.

It includes an essay, an excerpt from Modern Painters, "Of the Pathetic Fallacy", in which he has a hearty kick at the philosophers who try to convince us that things have characteristics only inasmuch as we perceive them. Things are only what they are when they are being experienced.

German dullness and English affectation, have of late much multiplied among us the use of two of the most objectionable words that were ever coined by the troublesomeness of metaphysicians - namely, "objective" and "subjective".

No words can be more exquisitely and in all points useless

The word "blue," say certain philosophers, means the sensation of colour which the human eye receives in looking at the open sky, or at a bell gentian.

Now, say they farther, as this sensation can only be felt when the eye is turned to the object, and as therefore, no such sensation is produced by the object when no body looks at it, therefore the thing, when it is not looked at, is not blue; and thus (say they) there are many qualities of things which depend as much on somethng else as on themselves. To be sweet, a thing must have a taster; it is only sweet while it is being tasted, and if the tongue had not the capacity of taste, then the sugar would not have the quality of sweetness.

And then they agree that the qualities of things which thus depend upon our perception of them and upon our human nature as affected by them, shall be called Subjective; and the qualities of things which they always have, irrespective of any other nature, as roundness or squareness, shall be called Objective.

From these ingenious views the step is very easy to a farther opinion, that it does not much matter what things are in themselves, but only what they are to us; and that the only real truth of them is their appearance to, or effect upon, us. From which position, with a hearty desire for mystification, and much egotism, selfishness, shallowness, and impertinence, a philosopher may easily go so far as to believe, and say, that everything in the world depends upon his seeing or thinking of it, and that nothing, therefore, exists but what he sees or thinks of. [Yep, thanks Descartes, you idiot].

...In like manner, a gentian does not produce the sensation of blueness if you don't look at it. But it has always the power of doing so; its particles being everlastingly so arranged by its Maker. And, therefore, the gentian and the sky are always verily blue, whatever philosophy may say to the contrary; and if you do not see then blue when you look at them, it is not their fault but yours.

Hence I would say to the philosophers: if, instead of using the sonorous phrase, "It is objectively so," you will use the plain old phrase "It is so," and if instead of the sonorous prhase, "it is subjectively so," you will say in plain old English, "It does so," or "It seems so to me," you will, on the whole, be more intelligible to your fellow-creatures: and besides, if you find that a thing which generally "does so" to other people, (as a gentian looks blue to most men), does not so to will not fall into the impertinence of saying, that the thing is not so, or did not so but you will say simply - what you will be all the better for speedily finding out - that something is the matter with you.

Only The Real counts.


It's hard being dumb - HJW update

So, I went out last Saturday and climbed up the hills behind Santa Marinella and collected some wildflowers, taking along my new Mediterranean Wildflowers book, and took some lovely pictures for y'all...

...and have forgotten to bring to the office the cable I need to hook the camera up to the computer to show them to you.

Sorry. I'll try to get my act together tomorrow.

Plus, sorry for having been away for a while, and for the phoning-it-in ambiance around here lately. Reasons unmentionable.

But also, just slow of mind lately and don't really have much that is comprehensible to say. Getting mentally ready to move again, I hope this time will be the last for at least a few years. Any number of things could go wrong with the new flat, but I am rather hopeful about it. It's closer to the train and the beach and the other Santa Marinellans, larger and brighter and generally better. Dunno. Maybe the neighbours will turn out to be noisy or the landlord will be crazy or impossible, or some other thing. It's something I really dislike about life: you never know how anything will turn out, and just have to keep gambling on things. Big, important things. Gah.

Been reading Ruskin on the train. Got a lovely little Oxford Press book of essays on poetry by the Big Names of 19th century poetry and criticism. He's pretty good on the difference between good poetry and bad, and why. I'll share soon. It's good stuff about the meaning of life and beauty, truth and goodness and all that. Ruskin was a philosopher of The Real, and the things he says about art in general can be taken as part of the big instructions for living in The Real, about which I have been thinking a lot. At least, on the days when I've been capable of rational thought.

Rome and the Romans continue to be very annoying in myriad tiny and large ways. The weather has been better this year than last though, alternately rainy and sunny-but-not-too-hot. I might wish for a couple of unequivocally bright warm sunny days to go snorkeling but I remain conscious of the danger of wishing for hot weather in this country. The evil gods are always listening and ready to give unwary mortals exactly what they ask for.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention. I've bought a snorkel and mask and plan on getting a few more bits of underwater gear, and hope to find a decently priced underwater camera and dazzle everyone with the neat underwater things I find. Those who hang out on Facebook already know about this.

Anyway, I guess I'm just feeling boring lately. Not bored myself, but lordy, I'm not much fun to hang out with.

I'll leave you with another musical discovery.

Alison Krauss.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

"Wasn't there something I was going to do today?"

Hey! HEY! Is anyone out there?

Have you noticed that no one is really talking much about the election?

Is it me, or has there been kind of a dearth of commentary?

Is everyone still just stunned?

Heloooooo...? (echo of "hellooohellooohellooo...")



(...crickets chirping...)

Did we have an election on Thursday or did I just dream that?





Why aren't the pundits telling me what to think?

How can I figure out how to make outrageous jokes if no one is going to tell me what will offend the most?

Come ON people!

Alien Adbduction Probe

Ok, that's it. These guys are officially my new favourite band.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Kobayashi Maru

A hung parliament?


Ther Broon?

The other guy?

Someone tell me what democracy was supposed to achieve again?

After all of the votes are counted, parliament is considered "hung" if no one party ends up with enough seats to form a majority in Britain’s 650-member House of Commons.

Britain and the rest of the world won't have to wait much longer. UK election results should start to trickle out shortly after 10 pm in the UK (5 pm EST), when the polls close. While surprises are possible, opinion polls ahead of the election showed David Cameron's Conservative Party in the lead, but about 20 seats shy of a majority.

The last time the UK had a hung parliament was in 1974, when the two largest parties (the Conservatives and the rival Labour Party) lost considerable shares of the nationwide vote, thanks largely to a surge by a third force, the Liberals. The Liberals later merged with another party to become the Liberal Democrats, who are currently running third. If parliament is hung this time, the Liberal Democrats may enter into a coalition arrangement with one of the "big two."


and Queen.

Two things that just really shouldn't go this well together.

New new favourite thing!

Y'all are going to think I'm just a serial enthusiast

but seriously, have you ever heard anything better than this?

Yee Haw!

It's Election Day!

Big fun.

It's not looking good for Labour, not matter what else.

You know you're in trouble, Gordo, when even the Guardian is baying for your blood.

Beaver City

You can see it from space,

which is pretty Science-is-cool-ish all by itself.

...That we can see things from space, I mean.
Parks Canada on Wednesday released photographs of the world's biggest beaver dam, which is so large it can be seen from space.

Hidden in the remote southeast corner of Alberta's Wood Buffalo National Park, the dam stretches for more than 850 metres -- longer than eight football fields stretched end-to-end, or one and a half times the height of the CN Tower.

Park spokesman Mike Keizer said officials learned about the dam two years ago and organized a flyover to see if there was any way to inspect the enormous structure.

They found it deep in the boreal forest of the Birch Mountains, halfway between the south tip of Lac Clair and the park's southern border.

"It's in one of the most remote areas you'll find in this park," he said. "It is quite literally in the middle of nowhere -- there are no roads, no navigable streams to it. The only way we can see right now is to land a helicopter there, and then take a two-day hike in."

Keizer said the beavers likely capitalized on a natural dam made up of old, dead and burned trees that got knotted up during a flood.

He suspects beavers have been working on it for some time because it is overgrown with vegetation -- and because progressive satellite images from as far back as the 1970s show it expanding year after year.
There's something about beavers. Everybody likes them.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Next movie I buy at Feltrinelli's

will be Oh Brother Where Art Thou?

Billy: how's that?

Down in the river...

This one always reminds me of the revival meeting in Flannery O'Connor's story where the little boy, Bevil, dies by drowning in the end to avoid a child molester.

So, it's kind of a weird association, really.

I wish I could be a redneck

But I couldn't do justice to the accent

and I'd spend too much of my time correcting grammar.

So ska was really just White Guy Reggae...

...only with more Doc Martens and working-class English bitterness


Tuesday, May 04, 2010

What is it with liberals and food, anyway?

Kathy asks,
What IS it with liberals and their stomachs?

..."It's a happy invasion for most people in this country," Clift proclaimed. "[W]e love the diversity of food."

I sent her an email,

...actually there is an answer to this question.

philosophically, the large grouping of ideologies that we usually call "liberalism" for brevity's sake, all come from the same root: radical materialism. They don't admit of anything higher than the material world. Their "ideals" all have to do with the material world; the causes they champion are strictly relegated to material ends. They deny any meaning or relevance of any transcendent value, and it tends to impoverish their minds and souls.

This was one of John Muggeridge's themes in our conversations. He held that most 'liberals' are obsessed with things that strike us normal people as very petty and transient. He also said they tend to develop food fetishes. John's father, he said, never got over his weird insistences about the way his food was cooked and what sort of food he ate, even long after he had more or less converted from liberalism to reality.

While I lived with John, we had a family friend from way back, in fact Anne's school friend from Newfoundland, come to stay for a while. I didn't get much contact in those days with the liberals and hippies in Toronto, being somewhat shielded by the Oratory and my work, and this woman, though she was very like the hippies and lefties and feminists I grew up around, struck me as extremely odd. She lived in a strange little world of her own in which very petty things took up a great deal of her attention. For example, she insisted on buying organic eggs, of which she would only eat the whites. The yolks, she said, were "contaminated".

They're materialists, so they have to make up things to become obsessed with that, while remaining strictly within the material realm, can be imbued with a counterfeit, substitute significance.

One of these is food. The other is sex.

Monday, May 03, 2010


I think Facebook was designed by clinically depressed people who are conflicted over their deep need to feel connected with their friends, but who can't actually stand to leave the house to see them.

...and who have long since fallen into the neurotic habit of referring to themselves in the third person...

Today on Facebook:
Hilary Jane Margaret White has long felt that there are internet spirits or "kami" who try to communicate with us through the word verification windows. Their messages are often obscure and cryptic, but I think it's like the Delphic Oracle: they need to be properly interpreted.

Hilary Jane Margaret White watched the John Carpenter version of The Thing last night, and was blown away by how cool and scary non-digital special effects used to be.

Hilary Jane Margaret White is wondering if I've had a stroke of something. Everything I've eaten and drunk today tastes bitter. Like licking an inner tube.

Hilary Jane Margaret White will be buying a second set of snorkel stuff after she moves into her new flat so friends can come and do it too.

Hilary Jane Margaret White 's new favouritest thing in the whole world is snorkeling. It's like flying above a magic world...amazing!

Hilary Jane Margaret White is taking her new snorkeling stuff to the beach today.

Monday Music

Many of our "conservative" friends think this song is just awful. Dreadful. Terrible.


Of course it is.