Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Global Warming

The first notice I had of global warming came exactly one year ago today.

This was it.

Different globe, of course, but I'm sure western civ is still responsible.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Random Notes

After a very unexpected and not very pleasant Sunday morning, Sunday afternoon improved considerably, even if the weather was hotter than the hinges of hell, for the latest number of Gilbert Magazine came the other day and, once my eyes decided to function again, was available for a good read. Therein we found:
"If you ask me to extend my sympathy to the poor fox, pursued by savage sportsmen, shall I not also extend it to the poor sportsman, pursued by savage humanitarians?" ["Clemens", Chesterton, As Seen by His Contemporaries, p. 55]
"A great deal of modern art claims to be created in the spirit of tomorrow because it is very carefully and laboriously copied from what was done only yesterday. A thing is called futurist merely because it is fashionable; curiously ignoring the fact that the fashion will be over when the future arrives." [GKC's Introduction to The New World of the Theatre]
And on page 4 a notice that the brilliant, if exceedingly odd, Bobby Fischer, who died last January 17, received a Catholic funeral in Iceland where he died. I had not seen that before or had any idea that he might be Catholic.

The news from Reno reminds me that the traditional Roman Rite had votive prayers for just this sort of thing:

Almighty, everlasting God, who dost look upon the earth and make it tremble, spare those who are afraid, and be merciful to those who pray to Thee: that we who fear Thine anger, which shaketh the the foundations of the earth, may always experience Thy mercy, which healeth its commotions. Through our Lord. Amen.

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui respicis terram, et facis eam tremere: parce metuentibus, propitiare supplicibus: ut, cuius iram terræ fundamenta concutientem expavimus, clementiam contritiones eius sanantem iugiter sentiamus. Per Dominum nostrum Iesum Christum Filium ruum, qui tecum vivit. . . .Amen.

If the Pauline Rite has such a thing, it certainly isn't very widely available.

With Friends Like These

Mammas are wont to caution us about keeping bad company. St Obama should have paid more attention. We find this morning that the Rev Jeremiah Wright is going stick by his erstwhile parishioner. And he's on a speaking tour so he should have plenty of opportunity to render his verbal support. Mike Allen's "Politico" column says that, so far, it's going something like this:

The pastor also insisted Obama “didn’t denounce” him and “didn’t distance himself” from Wright’s controversial remarks, but “did what politicians do.”

Wright implied Obama still agrees with him by saying: “He had to distance himself, because he's a politician, from what the media was saying I had said, which was [portrayed as] anti-American.”
Oh, yeah. He's going to be a big help.

(Need more? Well, there's this fella.)

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Incomparable Peggy Noonan

. . . does it again. Today's piece in the WSJ pierces to the heart. No one who's ever been subjected to those nickel Nazis would think of disagreeing. Much less anyone who's ever had to stand by and watch his wife rousted by those cretins.

A must-read.

Iuxta Fontem Eliæ

The Wadi al-Siah is the original home of the Carmelite Order. The Haaretz newspaper tells something of how it stands today.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Found While Looking for Something Else

Staircases. Nine amazing staircases. The St Joseph staircase in New Mexico used to be there but the picture is missing now.

They didn't include this one, though. Should have. Which way is up?

Thursday, April 24, 2008

What, Again?

Yes, again. Whatever the virus/bacteria/bug/infection was that Mary brought back with her has done its work remarkably well. I have relapsed for the third time. Or is it the fourth? I've lost track. We have been ingesting large quantities of pills, tablets, syrups, tisanes and chicken soup, keeping warm, drinking plenty of liquid, and getting bloody fed up with coughing, sneezing, sore throats, fevers and ridiculous weakness.

We've even used up the little bottle of Lourdes water.

Sorry to turn this effort into a sort of online medical report but that has been the principal focus of our lives for the past few weeks. Or perhaps months if you don't count the few days of respite in between bouts.

More later. But about something completely different. With any luck at all.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ah, Diversity!

MIT twists itself into a pretzel, and all for diversity. The Closed Cafeteria explains it for you here.

America Welcomes the Holy Father

The American Media does it in its own special way. Media Research Center illustrates for us:

ABC's Harris Sees 'Controversial' 'Hardliner' Pope with 'Tin Ear'
CBS Labels Pope 'Hardliner'; Interviews Left-Wing Priest
CBS's Smith: 'Americans Maybe Little Unsure or Fearful' of Pope
Maher: 'Pope Used to Be a Nazi;' Compares Church to Mormon Cult

And many of our fine politicians have decided sacrilege would be another wonderful way to welcome the Holy Father. From Mike Allen's "Playbook":

In the lead story of Politico's print edition, Josephine Hearn and Ryan Grim report that Pope's visit is "pitting anti-abortion-rights activists against Roman Catholic lawmakers who support abortion rights, reviving an issue that has received scant attention in Congress or on the campaign trail in recent months":

"The conflict could come to a head Thursday, when the pope is scheduled to celebrate a Mass at the Washington Nationals' new ballpark. The Vatican has invited all Catholic lawmakers, and many abortion-rights-supporting Catholics — including Kerry and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — are expected to attend. … [Sen. John] Kerry spokesman David Wade said his boss also intends to take Communion on Thursday."

Flu and Taxes

They don't go together all that well, really. I filed my forms last night and this morning cycled up to the post office to mail the cheque to the FTB. That last was not the smartest move I've made this year. The cycling, I mean. That flu has really taken the starch out of me. Leading me to wonder: "If I have so little judgement as to think I could easily bicycle all the way to the P.O., what sort of judgement did I use filling out the tax forms?" Lord have mercy. I suppose I shall find out soon enough.

I don't suppose the revenuers are known for their sense of humour?

No. I suppose not.

Monday, April 14, 2008


There's nothing like two days left to finish the taxes to inspire one to spend the rest of the day blogging. Or practising pipes. Or napping. Or practically anything else.

But instead, it's off to see how many unwarranted assumptions, improper assignments, and dropped balance transfers this year's version of TurboTax can make.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Oremus pro Invicem

Last week was rather devastating for Mary. On Monday she learned that Maureen, a good friend of hers, was in hospital after a heart attack on the Sunday prior. On Wednesday a call came that another friend had died suddenly after an evening walk. This was an especially sad case, at least for those who believe as we do, as Joan was a fallen-away Catholic. And on Friday morning Mary got the call we have been expecting since she returned from Ireland, that her mother had died.

There's no death without sadness. But Rosaleen's had for us the great consolation of knowing her own personal holiness. Rosie was a daily Mass goers for as long as she could. And after her health made that impossible, her prayer-life increased. Two hours of prayer in the morning and another hour or two in the evening was not unusual. When she was in hospital, all she wanted - other than to be out of the hospital and back home - was her Rosary.

It's difficult to write about another's goodness. But Rosie radiated goodness. Her kindness and sweet nature were the first things you would notice about her. And her innocence. The connivings and machinations of the world never touched her.

The "valiant woman" in the scripture was renowned for how well she provisioned her household. Rosie could match her in the modern context. She was one of the best cooks in the world. She made wonderful meals out of the simplest ingredients. And woe be tide the merchant who tried to sell her less than perfection. The unsatisfactory will be returned.

If you have a spare moment to breathe a prayer for Rosie and Mary's two friends it would be greatly appreciated. And for my Mary, too. She has called her mother every morning for years now; she'll miss her greatly.

Fun With Virii

Yet again, it has been a while since I have paid sufficient attention to The Inn. There have been several reasons this time. None of them good news.

The most immediately pertinent has been yet another round of flu. Here’s what Al Gore’s internet had to say:

“What are flu symptoms?

“Typical clinical features of influenza include
fever (usually 100° F to 103° F in adults and often even higher in children),
respiratory symptoms such as
sore throat,
runny or stuffy nose,
muscle aches, and
fatigue, sometimes extreme.

. . . . .

“Most people who get the flu recover completely in one to two weeks, but some people develop serious and potentially life-threatening medical complications, such as pneumonia. In an average year, influenza is associated with about 20,000 deaths nationwide and many more hospitalizations.”

I missed out on the sore throat, the hospitalization, and the death but nailed all the other “features”. Two other symptoms included a complete lack of desire for either playing pipes or blogging. So for the second time in three months, I am remiss in tending to The Inn and woefully out of practice for the event I have to play for tomorrow. I do hope two doses of flu is sufficient for this year.

Flu Advice:

Chicken soup seems to help. Be forewarned: the "reduced salt" kind is tasteless.

Over-the-counter cough mixtures do nothing. If you like low-quality alcohol, you can get it much cheaper in other formats.

After the major productive coughing is over, cough drops seem to help, at least while the drops are in the mouth.

Herbal tisanes didn't cure anything. But at least some of them were remarkably comforting. Would any warm, steamy liquid have served as well? Perhaps. But if you're sitting up all night because your lungs fill up when you lie down, this stuff was a pleasantly comforting companion.

[Note: It is not yet statutory in this state, but it is the position of most courts, that taking medical advice from me will shift the burden of proving your own mental competence to you.]

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


It says here that I'm supposed to reveal the "Top-Five Critically-Lauded Movies I Simply Detest". Since one cannot say "no" to Hilary, I have to give this a shot.[NB: Since we have been obsessed by politics lately, it may be worthwhile to mention that this is the Good Hilary we are referring to, not the Bad Hillary. For future reference, the Bad Hillary uses two Ls and the Good Hilary the statutory one.]

It starts out easy. All the certified movie buffs -- although, I think we have to call them cinema critics or some such in this rarified atmosphere -- come over all faint at the very mention of Citizen Kane. A slam dunk for purposes of this meme: two hours of unrelieved tedium for me. I even saw it twice; maybe it was just a bad day the first time. Nope. Boring as hell the second time, too. And, no, I'm not related to the Hearst family. Although, I do kind of miss the old Herald Examiner -- the last evening paper in L.A.

After that I have to work at it. The problem is the failure to go to enough movies. There are whole warehouses full of films I don't like based on the reviews. But what have I actually seen? Uh. . . . .

Fortunately, Hilary reminds me of Gandhi. I was in the theatre for the whole of that movie. That should entitle me to list it even though I fell asleep for a largish chunk of it. (The only time I can recall ever having fallen asleep in a theatre. After all, it was about 8 or 9 hours long, wasn't it?) Magnificent colour photography didn't quite make up for all the exceedingly pious drivel being promoted.

Since I loathe spaghetti westerns, it occurs to me that I really could fill up the remaining three rather easily by just looking up Sergio Leone or Clint Eastwood. But let's not violate the spirit of the meme. We'll just choose one. Say, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. That'll do. Rubbish from first to last. Not a "tribute", whatever your Film Seminar Professor said. The word is "travesty". John Ford makes westerns. Leone just wastes celluloid.

From the other room, Someone reminds me how much I don't like Dr Zhivago. Leitmotiv morality. If the proper theme music is playing, you can do anything you want. And for heaven's sake, if you're supposed to be in freezing cold Russia, find a way to give the actors "steamy" breath. The "ice house" was a beautiful set, but obviously not cold.

Finally, a revelation from my childhood: I never could stand The Wizard of Oz. My mother loved it so I was sat down in front of it every time it came on television. I think she thought it was "improving" or something. Sorry, mom. It wasn't. I can't stand the sight or sound of Judy Garland to this day.