Friday, December 14, 2012



Meet Irena Sendler

This turned up on my Facebook page today:


The prize doesn't always go to the most deserving.

Irena Sendler
Died 12 May 2008 (aged 98)
Warsaw, Poland

During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw ghetto, as a plumbing/sewer specialist.  She had an 'ulterior motive'.

She KNEW what the Nazi's plans were for the Jews (being German).

Irena smuggled infants out in the bottom of t
he tool box she carried and she carried in the back of her truck a burlap sack, (for larger kids).

She also had a dog in the back that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in and out of the ghetto.  The soldiers of course wanted nothing to do with the dog and the barking covered the kids'/infants' noises.

During her time of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants.

She was caught, and the Nazi's broke both her legs, arms and beat her severely.

Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out and kept them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard.  After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived it and reunited the family.

Most had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes or adopted.

Last year Irena was up for the Nobel Peace Prize.  She was not selected.

President Obama won one year before becoming President for his work as a community organizer for ACORN, and Al Gore won also --- for a slide show on Global Warming.


This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the six million Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians and 1,900 Catholic priests who were murdered, massacred, raped, burned, starved and humiliated!

Now, more than ever, with Iran, and others, claiming the HOLOCAUST to be 'a myth', it's imperative to make sure the world never forgets, because there are others who would like to do it again.

Interestingly, a bunch of Kansas high school students seem to have done as much as anyone to preserve Irena's memory in the U.S.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Saves a lot of wasted time and trouble.

And yes, we agree with Benadryl Cuddlepups (in an unguarded moment, since "clarified") that the close of Series 2 (which we watched out of sheer morbid curiosity) was "sentimental, clichéd, and effing atrocious".

Speaking of Beenabroad Cameacropper, when absolutely everything SUCKS, as it does just now and will for the next, oh, four years, it is so TOTALLY time for THIS! (Can you hardly wait??????)

Bring on fantasy.      Reality reeks.

Bring on the stealth Catholic novel.      Reality....could change?

Saturday, November 10, 2012



Winefred's Well has been closed for business since September's attempt by the Taliban (that's "Tah-lee-bahn") to take out my kid in the attack on Camp Leatherneck.  That was the high point of my sheer panic in the event of another Obama term as Leader of the Free World [an office now ceded to Benjamin Netanyahu].  I guess I should be grateful that, at that particular moment, I switched all my internet activity over to Facebook, where posting one's fleeting thoughts and fears is so much faster and easier, and the feedback is immediate.  Thus, here at the Well, there is no evidence tracing my trajectory from panic to confidence that, November 6, we would be hailing the imminent arrival of President Romney.

To say that I was gob-smacked, shell-shocked, dazed and confused by the re-election of the most incompetent, disengaged, mendacious, nasty, anti-Semitic, juvenile slacker-president in American history is to have words completely FAIL.  I purposely did not include the words "uneducated, Marxist, America-loathing, anti-Christian" in my list of adjectives above, because I was comparing this specimen to his predecessors, some of whom have no doubt exhibited one or more of the first-listed traits in one degree or another. 

But I do think it is safe to say that never, in the 223-year history of having Presidents, have the people elected even one solitary example of an anti-Christian, or Marxist, or America-loathing man, or one so pathetically ignorant of the most basic facts of American and world history and economics.  Mr. Obama is one for the books.  And he's BA-A-A-A-CK!!!!!

So, in these days since zero-dark-thirty last Wednesday, I have searched for something appropriate with which to launch my return to the Well (of Despond?) -- some image, video, article, or quotation which would sum it all up very neatly.  At some point in the process I hit upon the music of Beethoven -- his 7th Symphony, 2nd movement -- and the brief scene from the 1981 Brideshead Revisited series in which Lady Marchmain's coffin is conveyed to the family plot in a full-bore funeral cortège with black horses wearing black plumes drawing a black hearse carriage draped in black crepe.  I couldn't find the image, and I wasn't satisfied with any of the musical arrangements.  But the hunt went on.

By happy accident, I lit upon a blog called Gem of the Ocean, and its posting from some years back with the picture of Charles Ryder genuflecting in the Brideshead chapel where the Sanctuary lamp had been re-lit even as the house surrendered its glories to the rough and rude forces of the British army, making camp to engage in training exercises in preparation for taking on the Nazis. 

All the melancholy of ages lost, beauty turned turned drab and ugly, time wasted in folly, culture repressed in quest of mere survival -- all the horrors, large and small, of the Age of Hooper, are summed up and put in their place in the closing paragraphs of the book, and the final frames of the film.  And I thank another American Catholic woman, resident across an ocean, for reminding me in the best possible way, of how we rebuild where we can, and accept when we must, taking courage from the small light in the Sanctuary. 

The builders did not know the uses to which their work would descend; they made a new house with the stones of the old castle; year by year, generation after generation, they enriched and extended it; year by year the great harvest of timber in the park grew to ripeness; until, in sudden frost, came the age of Hooper; the place was desolate and the work all brought to nothing; Quomodo sedet sola civitas. Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.

'And yet,' I thought, stepping out more briskly towards the camp, where the bugles after a pause had taken up the second call and were sounding “Pick-em-up, pick-em-up, hot potatoes”, 'and yet that is not the last word; it is not even an apt word; it is a dead word from ten years back.’

Something quite remote from anything the builders intended, has come out of their work, and out of the fierce little human tragedy in which I played; something none of us thought about at the time; a small red flame - a beaten-copper lamp of deplorable design relit before the beaten-copper doors of a tabernacle; the flame which the old knights saw from their tombs, which they saw put out; that flame burns again for other soldiers, far from home, farther, in heart, than Acre or Jerusalem. It could not have been lit but for the builders and the tragedians, and there I found it this morning, burning anew among the old stones.


i just discovered, to my surprise, that I have quite a number of draft posts in my files that never made it to the surface.  They date back several years.  But, interestingly, even as the universe (or mine, anyway) has experienced some techtonic shifts, certain things repeat themselves.  Put your minds, dear readers, to the crisis now being faced by the residents of lower Manhattan, Staten Island, and New Jersey [even as Mayor Nanny Bloomberg has outlawed unlicensed Samaritans from giving food to the homeless].  Substitute these recent victims for their southern neighbours in past years, in Georgia or Louisianna.  Add snow and freezing temperatures.  Rinse and Repeat.  Here's a classic from the hit-parade of 2009:




Kanye West apparently had no comment. He seems to have felt no compulsion to go on TV and display his extraodinary eloquence, as he once did in this memorable testimonial to the usefulness of writers.

This time Kanye was quiet. Chris Rock was strangely silent (unlike back in 2007 when he savaged Bush about Katrina at an Obama campaign event).

Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Last Friday night I had missed my usual Special Report with Bret Baier, so turned on the Shep Smith Fox Report at 7:00.  First words out of smarmy Shep's mouth:  "Attack at Leatherneck -- two Marines killed and more wounded...."

Seven hours later (spent in an armchair reading the same news report over and over again from every corner of the globe), our Cincinnatus weighed in via email that he was among the living and intact.  He had been in country for all of three weeks, long enough to get sunburned and form an unfavourable opinion of people who murder American ambassadors.  Then it all went Kaboom.

I haven't anything more to say about that at the moment.  I'll just highlight a couple of grim assessments of the Leatherneck situation from intrepid self-embed Michael Yon (saints preserve him), here and here.

INSURRECTIONS WELCOME long as they are instigated by a wise law professor from Ithaca, mastermind at Legal Insurrection.  New contributor Joel Engel weighs in with his assessment of an American turning point embodied in this photograph.

I guess I should 'splain that the original photo has been, uh, tampered with.  Go to Quickmeme Defend the Constitution and enjoy all 1600 variations.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


British soldiers in Afghanistan show their support for the Naked Prince's antics in Las Vegas prior to his deployment

It's all over the interwebs, friends:

US Marines Guarding Embassy in Cairo Not Allowed to Carry Live Ammo
Update: There seems to be some question as to whether this report is true, but the jury's still out on that one.  Actually, the jury's been out on the news media as a whole for over four years now, because those of the 'mainstream' have not had one micro-particle of credibility since the dawn of the Obama candidacy.  I reserve judgement on the live ammo story.  Also -- no Marines killed, as was (and still is) reported.  The two security guys were former SEALs under private contract.  If that made any significant difference to the course of events, it has yet to be determined.

In other news:
Security outside embassies is the responsibility of the host country, and it’s “entirely possible” that U.S. officials asked for but didn’t receive help to push back the attackers that ultimately killed Stevens and the other staffers, said Fred Burton, a Stratfor analyst and former State Department counterterrorism agent.

“The question will be, once the dominoes fell in Cairo and protests started to occur, what was requested and what was done,” he said.
No U.S. Marines were guarding the consulate at the time of the attack, according to U.S. officials. But that is not necessarily unusual, Burton said.

“Having the Marines can be viewed as politically sensitive at times,” Burton said.
Meanwhile, back at the Yemeni ranch:

Protesters storm U.S. embassy in Sanaa

Wednesday, September 12, 2012



...with several important articles about all the places that are currently on fire.

Be warned: they feature graphic images -----LIKE THIS!

Inbred moron terrorists desecrate dead body of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens

Two Marines were also killed in this attack -- maybe the only two guards at the consulate?  Who knows.  But, naturally, to let the world know that the Obama administration is riddled with tough guys, some wobbly-lipped "officials", who "spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly" have now announced that 50 Marines from some elite task force are on their way to Tripoli [not Benghazi -- make sure everybody hears that] to shut the barn door after the horse has been stolen and put down.

"Several officials said the U.S. military was making no other moves to deploy troops, ships or aircraft in response to Tuesdays attack. A second Marine FAST element was standing by in Spain but had no orders to move, officials said."  [Ya gotta love those "officials".]  Thanks for the heads-up, guys -- now the inbred moron terrorists will be ready for them.

Of note:  Daily Caller has the trailer for the video which has supplied the excuse Islamofascists needed to mob and burn the embassies and kill people.  It apparently cost $5 million to make, though for the life of me I can't figure out what they spent the money on.  It's a total POS, not to put too fine a point on it.  But good sense and good taste never put the brakes on a mass of inbred morons with God on their side, did it?

Many other worthwhile pieces at Daily Caller too.

Wikipedia has been quick to update Stevens' short biography with the story of his death as we know it:  he had been taken to a second building, deemed safer, and he, his guards, and embassy employee Sean Smith died of smoke inhalation after a grenade was launched into the complex setting the buildings on fire.

No biography that I can find gives any personal information about Stevens, so apparently he had no wife and kids.  The website of the embassy in Tripoli has not yet caught up with the news, and still shows his smiling face, ending with these chilling niceties:
When he’s not meeting with government officials or foreign diplomats, you can find Ambassador Stevens meeting with Libyan academics, business people, and civil society activists, exploring Libya’s rich archaeological sites, and enjoying Libya’s varied cuisine.
After several diplomatic assignments in the Middle East and North Africa, Ambassador Stevens understands and speaks Arabic and French. He likes the Facebook page of the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli and hopes you will, too.
Update:  The home page of the Tripoli embassy has caught up, to the extent that they have four or five STERNLY WORDED WARNINGS and deplorings from the President and Sec-State.  But the travel advisories are anywhere from two weeks to one year out of date.  So go for it, world travellers -- could be exciting.

Amb. J. Christopher Stevens Requiescat in pace.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11 reflections


 [I've got nothing to add.]

Day of fire, from the devil's den


Thursday, September 06, 2012



I've been away so long (committing regular infidelities with my Facebook page), even the following paragraph, which has been waiting on ice, is now out of date:
Having been virtually underground for a couple of months, your Intrepid Reporter is back in Newfoundland to finish out what was supposed to have been an entire summer ensconced among the rural wonders of the Rock.  Not to be.  Have just come off three weeks in So-Cal (that's southern California to all who don't live in southern California), first in charge of, and then just visiting, the wee grandchildren who lost their maternal Grandpa and said goodbye to their deploying Daddy within a very short time.  (Made longer, however, by the fact that the military had trouble exchanging the proper papers to get Daddy to Afghanistan, taking another two weeks after granting him a week's bereavement leave.)

Had the also unscheduled thrill of laying eyes on all four grandkiddies within a 24-hour period, since the nearer ones were making a stopover at our place when we got home.  They all grow and thrive, and increase in their Unsurpassable Cuteness, each in his or her own inimitable way.  Life is good.
Well, the week in Newfoundland turned out rushed and insufficient to wind down the summer.  So we're back in the stinky heat and haze of Toronto, looking ahead to another busy year, with many serious concerns, not least of which is the coming election.  That's the sort of thing I would usually be covering here in detail, but somehow it's been too exhausting a prospect -- and spitting out mini-thoughts on Facebook has been the easier, lazier way out.

I tried to feel hopeful as the candidate became inevitable, one whom I did not much support but who ended up being "the guy" in default, since better men or women chose not to enter an increasingly unseemly fray.  I've met Mitt, shaken his hand, and been left unwarmed.  I have no doubt of his competence as a manager and executive.  But he doesn't move me.

My man Rubio would have been a great VP, but the choice of Ryan has worked out well, and let us hope he has saved the American bacon.  The ultra-choreographed kabuki of the conventions is coming to an end.  The Tango in Tampa was pretty upbeat and impressive, and made me feel confident about the deep conservative bench.  The Charade in Charlotte has been less edifying on every scale -- chock full of deception and mean-spiritedness -- and despite any grandstanding to the contrary, the backstage movers of the party know that they are in deep doo-doo.

At this moment, Joe Biden is unrolling a colossal tissue of whoppers in his ordinary way from within the deep reaches of his alternate universe.  Can't wait to see the roll-out of facts checked tomorrow.  The only comfort is that fewer and fewer people actually watch this kabuki.  Some new program about child beauty pageants called Honey Boo-Boo rivalled the convention in viewership.

Biden is about to tell us how brilliant Obama has been as Commander-in-Chief.  The Bin Laden story is being lavishly embroidered in senile rapture -- "LITERALLY!!!!!"

On that subject, let me just reference this brief report from Sunni tribal leader Ahmad Abu-Risha, one of the courageous Iraqis who turned the tide in his own country as part of the Anbar awakening.  The headline says it all:

Iraqi leader to Obama: 
'Why did you leave Iraq to Iran?'

During the troop surge of 2007, the group had several meetings with General David Patraeus, President George W. Bush and military officials to strategize against al-Qaida and help set the foundation for a new government.
Communication has since fizzled. Although then-Senator Obama met with the group for 90 minutes in 2008 and committed to continuing cooperation, Abu-Risha says he hasn’t met with any American officials since U.S. troops left Iraq.
“Why did you give up the many sacrifices that Americans made? You can still have a partnership with us. If you are going to be president for the next four years, bring Iraq back into a strategic partnership with the United States and remember the people who fought against al Qaeda with you.”

Biden just stated "the only truly sacred obligation we have" [then what the hell are all the entitlements, stimuli, and programs for?????????] is to prepare those we send to war, and care for them when they come back.  Not a bad idea.  Democrats should try trimming their agenda in just such a fashion some time.

Monday, September 03, 2012


This post re-mounted after some sort of copyright fracas.  We aim to please.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Oh, nothing much...

64, the Great Fire of Rome began

1290, King Edward I of England issues the Edict of Expulsion, banishing all Jews (numbering about 16,000) from England; this was Tisha B'Av on the Hebrew calendar, a day that commemorates many Jewish calamities

1536, the English Parliament passed an act declaring the authority of the pope void in England

1870, the First Vatican Council decrees the dogma of papal infallibility

1914, the U.S. Congress forms the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps, giving definite status to aircraft within the U.S. Army for the first time

1925, Adolf Hitler, ym"sh, publishes his personal manifesto Mein Kampf

1939, after a sneak preview of "The Wizard of Oz," producers debated about removing one of the songs because it seemed to slow things down. They finally decided to leave it in. The song: "Over the Rainbow"

1942, during World War II: the Germans test fly the Messerschmitt Me-262 using only its jet engines for the first time

1955, Disneyland theme park, in Anaheim, California, officially opens to the public

1969, after a party on Chappaquiddick Island, a drunk Senator Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts drives an Oldsmobile off a bridge and leaves his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, to die. He escapes prosecution and survives with career intact

1976, Nadia Comaneci became the first person in Olympic Games history to score a perfect 10 in gymnastics at that year's Summer Olympics

1977, Vietnam was admitted to the United Nations

2002, accused 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui tried to plead guilty to charges that could have brought the death penalty, but a federal judge in Alexandria, Va., insisted he take time to think about it

2008, Israeli authorities confirmed they had arrested six people in an alleged al-Qaida plot to kill U.S. President George W. Bush during a visit to Israel

Sunday, July 15, 2012

SO LET ME GET THIS STRAIGHT....admission is free now?


According to Box Office Mojo, Marvel's The Avengers, directed by Joss Whedon, cost $220 million to make, and has so far grossed $1.5 billion -- that's BILLION -- worldwide.  But for some reason, Whedon doesn't consider himself to be a man involved in the workings of "big bid'ness".  He recently went on an extended rant against capitalism -- you know, that economic process by which you invest $220 million and make back $1.5 billion and distribute the earnings, in varying proportions, to those who contributed to the enterprise.

Finding out what the director earned isn't an easy Google, but let's figure he had a percentage deal not entirely unlike that of star Robert Downey Jr., whose paycheck is estimated at $50 million or more for the picture.  No details on whether Scarlett Johanssen had a similar arrangement, but if she signs on for Avengers 2 the buzz is that she'll get at least $20 million.  [No sex discrimination there, Hollywood!]

Over at the always enlightening Breitbart (pbuh) site, John Nolte wonders aloud what kind of compensation the other contributors got -- and one must wonder indeed whether even Robert or Scarlett would have been worth their paychecks (or even their paycheques, Canada) without the good offices of costume, make-up, and digital effects specialists -- think any of them earned eight figures for their efforts?

But the more important question is, will Mr. Whedon be offering free admission to his next film for all members of the so-called 99%? 

Or would he perhaps even refund the admission already paid by my son and his wife, who dutifully shelled out their hard-earned bucks to see the first damn movie -- bucks hard-earned by being a serving member of the United States military and a serving member of the grit-and-guts home front, living on a salary you'd have multiply exponentially just to bounce them anywhere near the famous 1% -- that anonymous group of vilified capitalist pigs whom you can join if you earn more than (wait for it)... $250,000 per annum.  [That represents a significant crash since Mr. Obama took office, btw:  in 2007 you had to earn at least $425K to get into that top 1% bracket.]

Wonder how many zeroes there are after the decimal point to measure the percentage wealth bracket in which we'd find Mr. Whedon and his stable of stars?  And will they work for nothing next time in order to, as Mr. Obama once said to a certain midwestern plumber, "spread the wealth around"?  These and other questions will most certainly go unanswered.

Appropos of absolutely nothing:

Scarlett Johanssen is one of the most beautiful women in the Hollywood sphere, by the way, mostly because she has a face that doesn't look like everybody else's, but also because the lady has some curves on her -- actual flesh with actual smooth contours. One is reminded of that standard of beauty when one lays eyes (far too often, in my view) on the likes of Keira Knightley, whom I saw the other night in Atonement.  Both the film and the actress were far too light-weight for their own good.

Knightley is a bag of bones who (in this film) struts around striking poses reminiscent of Bette Davis or Katherine Hepburn in high gear, without achieving anything like their weight as an actress, and nor the old-style glamour she is trying to evoke.  There is no glamour in emaciation, and the shimmering green backless evening gown hangs on her like wet seaweed.  It's downright icky.  Top that with her gaunt and conventional pretty face, and she is losing the magnetism race to the heftier Johanssen by miles.

I've never thought Knightley was much of an actress, and I've heard others say the same of Johanssen, but I can't be objective in the latter case.  She was the luminous, perfect Girl with a Pearl Earring (okay, so maybe she'd had her lips fluffed) -- and I was smitten with the painting long before the movie came out, so it's a done deal.

Unexpected bonus:  I've had the vid of Atonement for more than a year and just got around to watching it.  Cast listed on the cover did not include Candlewick Bumbershoot, who suddenly entered in a highly symbolic yellow jacket (couldn't keep his stinger in), telegraphing his role as a perfectly diz-ghusting rapist and pivotal-to-the-plot (such as it was) sleezebag.

James McAvoy, however, was just precious.  Isn't he always?
[Read the link -- he kind of sounds like a decent guy too, not that it's any of our business.  Or even bid'ness.]

Right now my bid'ness is to go out and photograph more of glorious Newfoundland [UNBELIEVABLE good weather these days].  And then to go buy some flowers to enhance the chances of our burg winning another "Tidy Towns" award.  Life is good.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tuesday, July 10, 2012



Thursday, July 05, 2012


freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others

Under our roof, first we celebrate 'Judicial Independence Day' (June 12) marking the promulgation of one small article ["quamdiu se bene gesserint"] within the otherwise execrable, anti-Catholic Act of Settlement of 1701;

Then on July 1st we celebrate Canada (formerly 'Dominion') Day, commemorating the establishment of the Dominion of Canada under the British North America Act of the British Parliament in 1867.

And then, wheresoe'er we may be, we remember the 4th of July, American Independence Day, this year the 236th anniversary of the founding of the Great Experiment which is the United States of America -- the place that, for all its faults and streaks of crassness, is still the first and last and best bastion of real freedom for the mind and the ambition and the wandering feet of its citizens.

Apparently it can look like this in New York City:

'Round here in Newfoundland, it looked like this.  The locals don't mind -- they're friendlier than most Canadians toward the country many of them would have preferred to join in 1949.  Nice to have friends.

Let freedom ring.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Parting words to eldest son, who ships off to the 'Stan in a month:

"Remember:  the Taliban aren't evil -- they're just misunderstood."

He replies:  "I think I'll return fire anyway."

Background:  (in case he missed it)


Watched in the air between here and San Diego:

Mirror Mirror -- mildly funny, not for children.  Writers probably felt they were extremely clever.

Crazy Stupid Love -- Steve Carell hits another home run on behalf of families and marriage, while illustrating the devastating effects of modern amorality and family breakdown.  As an indictment of easy-outs from marriage and the ease with which post-sixties parents eat their young, it rates with Mrs. Doubtfire and 'Spanglish.  Cry for the children.

Also, in the documentary department:  God is the Bigger Elvis, a profile of Mother Prioress Delores Hart, the young screen goddess who opted for God at the pinnacle of a hot career, having starred opposite numerous screen gods (Elvis among them), but chose to join America's (then) only cloistered Benedictine female monastery in 1963.  I remember it because my mother talked about it with amazement, and I always did wonder what happened to her.  Now we know.  There's something slightly hippie-dippy about the convent, but they do appear to keep the rule and sing the songs with dedication.  What's amazing, and a little sad and creepy, is that the man Hart romanced for five years and was engaged to when she bolted, never married, and remained in love with her and a regular convent visitor until his death last November.

The late Patricia Neal is buried at the abbey, having been a long-time friend of Hart's, and a convert to Catholicism just prior to her death in 2010.

The film was nominated for an Oscar and brought Mother Prioress and her abbey into the news, which is a good thing, because these days hardly anybody believes that anything other than unbridled sex can possibly provide one with a happy life.  (Buy some stuff from the shop.)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012



Told ya so.

These are the facts [if you ask Michael Yon, Michael Totten, Bill Roggio, J.D. Johannes]:

By summer of 2008 the Iraq war was essentially over.   Under President G.W. Bush and Gen David Petraeus, the Iraqi/American alliance had won.

The next step was to win the peace.  Under President Barack Obama and an incoherent foreign policy based on publicly trumpeted premature evacuation, the Iraqi/skedaddling-American alliance is in the process of losing.

Everyone who was actually there knows that the job was left unfinished.  And it takes no great crystal balls to predict that we may well have to return and clean up our mess.

Told ya so.
Unnecessary Factoid Report 
[results of further internet dumpster diving]:

"Operation Demographic Balance" gets an even bigger boost from Sherlock's detective inspectoriffic.  Dreamy actor Rupert Graves has 5, count 'em, FIVE children!  Dude!  What an excellent investment of DNA.  (And I don't know about you, ladies, but I am diggin' the silver-streaked glory of his Lestradean middle years.)

Apropos of  absolutely nothing:  you win the refrigerator, the knife set, and Jeopardy Home Game if you can guess the identity of this fair damsel:

[hint:  Oooooh, some sharp looker, eh, old bean?]

Monday, June 11, 2012



said the man to the horse.

Just watched a movie last night, from 2010, the classically Canadian take on Wild West adventure, fittingly called Gunless (how Canadian is that?).  Starring Paul Gross, who was terrific and is his own man, but was also channelling his inner Viggo (gruff charm, looks great wearing mud, smaller eyes but whiter teeth -- bad wig, though -- should have borrowed Viggo's from LOTR).  Check out the trailer HERE.  It's a keeper.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

JUNE 6, 1944


Remembering all of it, through the real Band of Brothers and The Boys of Pointe du Hoc [nobody said it better than RR -- ever. Well, maybe Winnie -- then again, maybe not].   

This was their finest hour.   May they, may all of us, some day be worthy again.


Everyone seems to be having fun and enjoying the whole royal deal, but the staid fountain in front of Buck House may never recover from being so garishly covered,

...and the Palace itself (always a bit of an architectural yawn, except for the fence) got the tarting up of its life with delightfully clever projected images below the rooftop performance of Our House by the band Madness (whose name I had never heard until tonight, but at least the song was familiar to this old fart).

H.R.M. meets some of the artists backstage after the concert.  Check out the two people with the white hair -- at least they know how to age gracefully!  How many collective quarts of hair-dye and hours of eye-lifts do the other four represent???   [Update:  I took a closer look at 50% of the white-haired crowd, and I stand corrected -- Sir Tom Jones' face is a road-map of surgical possibilities.  Or, as Dylan Thomas scripted it for Mrs. Dai Bread Two in Under Milk Wood, "He got a wall eye."]

 [And at least Elton John can still sing, as best I can tell -- can't say as much for the Sirs Cliff and Paul.  Cliff Richard's performance was valiant but rather pathetic to watch.  I actually remember his 1961 movie -- why does he think he shouldn't have changed since then?  Oh well, at least he knows how to behave -- a good example for Sir Paul Macaw, who spared his audience snotty comments about the alleged stupidity of previous monarchs, of the sort he couldn't contain in  his display of appalling bad manners when entertaining the Obamas at the White House.  Paul, to his credit, stuck to the good old Beatle stuff and didn't perform any songs from his mediocre solo career, other than his Bond theme.  All the lasers and flame-jets show that he has learned from his musical descendants how to use visual crap to distract from the fact that his voice is SHOT.  Time to retire and count your billions, Paul.]

Best of the concert was saved for last, with the appearance of the small royal circle, remarks by the heir (apparent?) and the singing of her anthem by the assembled thousands upon thousands.  And then classic music [some Handel Zadok, a bit of Holst vows, and a swath of Hope and Glory] provided the background for truly magnificent fireworks.  God save her.  And save us from the troglodytes who don't see the point.

I haven't seen a whole lot of the celebrations, so must start digging around for the videos.  But I have the impression that Britain (or most of it) has enjoyed a monster injection of the kind of national pride that has been absent and unfashionable in recent decades.

Or maybe they're just drunker than usual.  But I think not -- it looks very genuine from here.


Granddaughter finds the selection of latte flavours for the Tassimo machine not up to her usual standards.

Grandson completes the next phase of his Jedi training.

Life is good.

Saturday, June 02, 2012


Long time -- blogging more hiatus than hi y'all.

After my splenetic spazz-out to the family upon seeing Act of Valor (see here), I've been trying to avoid being relentlessly, angrily negative about the Celebrity-in-Chief, so..... wow.  What's there to talk about?

Hmmmmm.  Let's try these on.  [UPDATED!]


Ah, the kiddies always pull it off in the end.  With few prompts, only one major set-change screw up (oh for gawd's sake, children, just push the damn chair into position even if it's the wrong one!  And don't leave the damn fireplace sitting in the middle of the bedroom!!! but I digress...)

...a packed house, massive delegation (6, + large bouncer-like seminarian) from the Oratory fathers, students, families, community hangers-on, good fun had by all.

Small but earnest Sherlock was delightful; evil villain Rylott chillingly represented by small, quiet Grade 8 girl; interfering Methodist grocer impressively and amusingly portrayed by tall, reserved son of organic dairy farmer from up north; deftly acted Watson (also a small Grade 8 girl) sufficiently self-possessed to hang her bowler on a set of mounted antlers which no one had seen until performance night; rubber snake soundly beaten with genuine camel whip.

A few hundred bucks spent at Home Depot and every Good Will store for ten miles (plus brilliant concept and instruction from yours truly) made a silk-like purse out of an old sow's ear gym, comme ça:

But I was most proud of the pivoting book-flats that transformed into other locations.  I won't show the stage left transformation, since under-rehearsed stage-hands (also sound technicians and actors -- we were all very busy) got it all, well,... wrong, but the true staging highlight was Baker Street, stage right:

[The untrained eye will fail to notice the bright red tape marks to the left of the left-hand chair showing where it was supposed to be placed.  Sigh.]

[This seems like an appropriate moment to
 mention that I hate, loathe, despise, and abominate the new Blogger set-up.  I would love to have put up a slightly different version of this picture, under the spotlight with no flash -- but Blogger refuses to put it right-side up no matter how many times I've tried.  I hate you Blogger, possibly even more than Facebook.]

[Yay!  I figured it out!  With NO help whatsoever from Blogger!]

Anyway, big success, fun, etc.  Another gold star on the resumés of all concerned.


It's not that Canada is incapable of producing interesting television -- after all, there's Republic of Doyle (AWESOME!), Mr. D (our buddy Gerry D. reminds us of the good old days when he taught our kids-- and he's still SO funny).  And I even like good old Murdoch Mysteries.  And the truth is, I was intrigued enough by last year's new Global TV offering, Combat Hospital, to take a peek.  It promised to be a gritty, realistic look at emergency medical care under fire in a Canadian military hospital in Afghanistan.  Promises, promises.

I took a brief look at episode one, and picked up this whiff of precisely what I had feared:  that, like almost every other serious drama that starts out being about people in a demanding profession, it would end up being all about who's humping whom.  I probably didn't watch more than a few minutes of the series over the ensuing months, usually by bumping into it accidentally while channel surfing.  At some point i became aware that they actually shot the thing in a large studio complex about five minutes from my house, a place I passed all the time on my way to my favourite shopping destinations.  Never stopped to give a listen, and see if I could pick up the sounds of outdoor scenes, which were being shot in a sort of courtyard thing created by a long row of shipping containers, two high, set out in the parking lot next to the big warehouse/studio building -- an arrangement which passed reasonably well as the hospital building out in the Kandahar desert.

Then one day I read that Combat Hospital had been cancelled, so suddenly and thoroughly that the final episode, wrapped up and in the can, couldn't find enough sponsorship to even be broadcast.  Wow.  Just how bad do you have to suck to have that happen?  So I decided to tune in as it drew to a close and see what had gone wrong.  It took a very few minutes to see that my "whiff" had become the stench:  that week's plot revolved around a young girl so badly burned that those with triage responsibility objected to her continued treatment when there were countless others rolling in off the battle field who could benefit more from medical attention -- a fact which did nothing to prevent one doctor and one nurse setting up chairs by the little girl's bedside to monitor her progress.  Apparently they had nothing better to do.  Oh the gritty realism of Combat Hospital!  And was it these same two, or some other couple (I was getting confused) who also found themselves unoccupied long enough to sneak off and have sex in the shower?  Whadd-I-tell-ya?  Click.

So the next time I turned the corner from Norseman onto Kipling, there it was:  the long blue wall that stood in for the action shots of helicopters delivering the wounded, and presumably the desert terrain where stuff got blowed up good.  The wall had previously been hidden behind the double-decker shipping containers, which had now vanished without a trace.


 Sic transit Gloria Swanson.


Well not technically right this minute, but lately in the car I've been listening to Hugh Laurie's recent recording called Let Them Talk.   Hugh Laurie is better known these days as [American] TV's Dr. Gregory House, and formerly known as [British] telly's Bertie Wooster, regular Blackadder resident Upper-class Twit in various avatars, and the skinnier bit of Fry and Laurie.

Knew he was a fantastic pianist, and knew he had mastered a fantastic American accent, but it was a surprising treat to hear him combine the two and not be kidding around.

In the spirit of Europe's three-century-long disdain for the supposedly low culture of the American colonies, I'm sure there's many a "luvvy" over there in London town who sniffs at the idea of one of their own settling down in Hollywood and making big Yankee bucks doing crass, commercial Yankee TV.  Don't know if any have dared to mutter disapprovingly that perhaps Hugh Laurie has become one of these "westward ho's", but if so, it's my impression that he'd swat such drivel away like a little insect.

Laurie, you see, is a different kind of Englishman abroad.  Whatever his overall opinion of the United States may be, he has at least arrived at it by (1) opening up his mind at an early age to a segment of American culture which is entirely unique and utterly foreign to his native surroundings, and (2) actually committing himself to long-term residence among "those people over there".

In the typically dry and hilarious liner notes to his musical album, Laurie recounts his lifelong love affair with the Blues of N'Awlins, Looozianna.  Apparently he has been working on his piano & song style and his American accent since he was knee-high to a Cambridge don -- a lot longer than the duration of his career as Dr. House.  [The accent on the album is flawless, except where I think we catch him singing about "goin' down to that S'nt James Infirmary".)  His ever-growing fame and his proximity to The Source has now allowed him to self-produce this album reflecting the music dearest to his heart, and he has a roaring good time at it, joined by great studio musicians and guest artists.  And he's good!  Give it a listen, and a buy.


The answer to this question depends upon whether or not the Anglicans are Catholic -- Roman Catholic, that is -- or maybe it isn't, since they are now their own rite, that is to say, "use" within the Roman Church.  Welcome home, dahlings!

I attended my first Anglican Use Catholic Mass some years ago in Houston, Texas, where there seemed to have been a substantial outbreak of Tiber-swimming fever, and five Anglican Use parishes were operating in the state, having been admitted into Communion with Rome on a case by case basis.  It was definitely a different programme of worship, not radically new in content in the general sense, but differing in English prose style and in order of service.  (Actually, when it comes to the English Novus Ordo of the Roman Church, to refer to it having been written in any known "English prose style" is a compliment it did not merit until the recent text reforms.)

With the coming of Benedict XVI, the case-by-case approach to Anglican reunification with Rome accelerated into a full-blown Personal Ordinariate, as promulgated by the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.  Small Anglican communities that felt themselves so moved began making their arrangements to be received, and with the official establishment of a hierarchical heartland headquartered at the parish I had visited in Houston, the splendid Our Lady of Walsingham, the door opened next for Canada.

With much fanfare from fans of traditional liturgy, the first Mass of the new Toronto Sodality of the Anglican Use took place on May 6, with a beautiful professional choir (among whom were three members of the fabulously talented Mahon family, who felt the compelling call to conversion some years ago, and have been waiting patiently for a return to the liturgy they had grown up with and loved -- take that, Romans!  You'll never hear them singing in your churches again!!!!).

I delight to add that, in spite of the fact that there were only about 30 of us in attendance, the good folks of the Sodality saw fit to distribute the full-fledged order of service with detailed musical parts provided so as to encourage the congregation to sing along with the choir on everything!  A huge sore spot in mine own parish........

The liturgical texts of the new Anglican Use have been tweaked a little from the form we knew at Walsingham (Houston) years ago, to conform slightly more to things Romish.  But it was essentially the same, in the glorious Tudor English that has been its firm foundation for these five and a half centuries, succulent fruit of a poisoned tree now re-grafted onto its ancient roots (which show evidence of rot from time to time, but are still strong and unbroken.)

'Tis a strange world.  This first Mass of the new/old English Church found its temporary home in Toronto's first French church, Paroisse du Sacré Coeur (1887), whose immigrant founders from the Church's "eldest daughter" (as France has been called since the 5th century) would now see their parish self-described by their descendants as
...a Christian congregation serving the Toronto community and seeking, engaging, and encouraging others through a life-changing Christian journey.

Sacre-Coeur Parish... seeks to be a loving, friendly community that worships God, and serves others. We place a high priority on teaching from the Bible and following the example of Jesus.

Our vision is to impact and renew Toronto, Ontario and beyond with the transforming message of Jesus Christ through words and actions. Everyone is welcome. Come as you are - we'd love to get to know you.
OMG, gag me with a spoon!   COULD YOU JUST HURL????!!

Let us pray (Oremus) that with the ascent of the Anglican Use, the former Anglicans make better use of this storied little building than the current habitants.






Bruce Springsteen -- Working class hero?  Mmmm, not so much.

It seems like only yesterday (as in last March) that Bruce Springsteen sent a wee shock wave through those of his fans who still really dig his music even if they have to look the other way regarding his left-wing politics.  Seems he had leapt on the bandwagon of "Eat the rich" Occupiers with his album Wrecking Ball, to the point where he seemed to be making homicidal threats aimed towards the evil one-per-centers.  

Now we find out that such sentiments on his part could be ultimately self-destructive, since the boy from Jersey is not only rolling in cash from a successful music career (and more power to him -- nothing wrong with that), but he's pretty darned comfortable living the 1% lifestyle too -- like wheeling and dealing for an $850,000 horse for his daughter, a recent competitor on the royal turfs of Ye Jollye Olde Englande.  Again, as the say in Seinfeldian, "Not that there's anything wrong with that."  'Cuz there isn't.

Unless, of course, your last name is Romney -- then being rich enough to join the "horsey set" is just plain mortal sin.  Or so says the New York Times, in its latest partisan hit piece, that trashes Ann Romney for playing Mrs. Rich Bitch in that little-known exotic pursuit called "dressage" -- wow -- what on God's green earth could that be?  I guess we poor folk could never even have heard of that kind of "sport of kings" activity.  Unless, of course, your last name is Springsteen.

I think I just ate my tail.

What's that old saying?  "Hypocrisy is the compliment vice pays to virtue."  The vice is not being wealthy and living in cloud cuckoo-land.  It's pretending about it:  pretending there's something wrong with the very thing you do, and pretending you don't do it because that would make you as wrong as the other guy, who's not really doing anything wrong but you have to pretend he is, because he's the other guy.

Big hat-tip:  Instapundit.



Having done a little bit of internet dumpster diving to learn more about the 21st century's Sherlock (Bandersnatch Cumberbund) I decided to do the same about his equally frabjous sidekick Martin Freeman.  Screaming out of the Googled possibilities was a category in which his name was followed by the unflattering epithet printed above.  (Exsqueeeeze me?)

In a tribute to the sterling quality of modern public education, Mr. Freeman, a proud liberalated lefty, was being vilified by reactionary vapor-heads for having said some eminently sensible things in an interview about the downside of (gasp) official multiculturalism and race consciousness in modern PC society.  (And also about the sterling quality of modern education...)  Oh my -- it's tough to be a grown-up these days and have the gall to speak like one.  Suffice to say, he's none of the above (as in "racist homophobe").

And kudos to him -- he's at least doing his part for Operation Demographic Balance (see Blog's lower right sidebar), having sprouted two kids of his own.  (No cloning -- ladyfriend Amanda Abbington was involved.)

As for being a hobbit, well, guilty as charged.  We'll see him next Christmastime as Bilbo Baggins in the Peter Jackson pre-quel film.  It's called The Hobbit.  Did I mention that?  He shall, no doubt, be brilliant.  And if we listen carefully, we will also hear in the film the round golden tones of Bindlestiff Combermere, who is voicing Smaug and baby Sauron.  Because, well, you know about Holmes and Watson and their inability to leave each other for even a minute....

Of note:  In the ongoing contest for lyrical manglings of the perfectly respectable name of Benedict Cumberbatch,  I think this particular site [scroll down] wins the prize.


I find myself thinking of the sole compliment former Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Anchorperson Dennis Miller [the mullet king, best W.U. anchor ever] is able to muster about the current occupant of the Oval Orifice, the un-Precedented BarWhack'em (Who's Sane?) Obomb-a has become a KILLING MACHINE! Dennis has been saying this for a long time, but now we have some official corroboration. 

Even his party faithful are beginning to notice that the man of peace and "smart diplomacy" and no "dumb wars" and, er, premature withdrawal -- the scourge of Renditioners and WaterBoarders everywhere -- has become the King of the Hit-men!  And we thought it was just when he gave speeches that he was  droning on and on and on -- well DRONE THIS, BABY!!!   Papa's got a drone list, and the HITS JUST KEEP ON COMIN'!

Secret 'Kill List' tests Obama's Principles and Will says the New York Times.  Not really -- when your basic principle is that waterboarding must be evil, but also knowing that it has the inconvenient result of leaving people alive and walkin' around, and then you have to deal with them without looking like such a weasel that it might cost you votes -- much better to totally "pink mist" them with your handy-dandy man-less drone.  Guess it's not cruel if they never knew what hit them.

When we hear things like this, or like the "Polish death camp" gaffe, or the outing of every conceivable detail about Seal Team Six and UBL or Stuxnet in Iran -- well, it's time for that ultimate litmus test:  how badly would every single Democrat and every single mainstream press outlet be crucifying the President if his name were "Bush".  And then there was that toast to the Queen at Buck House dinner...[If you're still awake by the time he gets to the actual toasting part, watch him treat Britain's national anthem like a fitting soundtrack to his personal awesomeness.]


HUZZAH! on the celebration of her Diamond Jubilee.

Flipped through my copy of the Jubilee Hello while watching clips of the Thames Flotilla.  Old secret monarchist heart going thump-thump.  Rule Britannia!  (just not over the American colonies, mmkay?)  Love the barge.  Hey, somebody get that skinny Middleton girl a coupla sandwiches, wha?

And now....


A reading from Second Sherlock, Book 1, verse 14 minutes, 45 seconds:

"Are you wearing any pants?"



Here endeth the lesson.