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.

Friday, June 01, 2012


AND NSFW.  (language alert)