Thursday, September 30, 2010

Today is International Free Press Day

To celebrate, or just observe, as the case may be, go read this reprint of Steyn's about the Danish "Motoon" disaster.

Here's just a taste:
This story meets all the clich├ęs of journalistic self-aggrandizement: “Sunlight is the best disinfectant”, “News is what someone doesn’t want you to put in the paper”. But it seems it’s one thing to “speak truth to power” when the power’s George Bush or John Ashcroft, quite another when it’s an Islamist mob coming to burn your building down. Needless to say, reflex blowhardism is so ingrained in the media class they couldn’t resist passing off their prioritizing of self-preservation as a bold principled stand.


Or as Philip Lee, professor of journalism at St Thomas University in New Brunswick, put it:
"Freedom of the press means you can publish, or not. Not publishing is also an expression of freedom."
Up to a point, Lord Jello.

The "negatives" are currently in the lead

Just what the CBC was hoping and, I dare say, expecting--NOT. They're just asking for it with a title like this:

Pierre Trudeau: Did he have a positive or negative impact on Canada?

Go vote now.

Thanks to SDA for the heads up on this poll.

Mrs. B. chimes in:

Indeed, I'm surprised the question was so unbiased. I would have expected something more along these lines:

Pierre Trudeau: how much do you adore him?

a.madly
b.profoundly
c.devotedly
d.not as much as I adore Tommy Douglas

This kind of foolishness is a disgrace to our country, to say the least.

"House censures Maclean's over Quebec article"

Like certain Muslim leaders who are more outraged over cartoons than over the deaths of human beings, these politicians seem more upset by a critical article than they are about the actual corruption in Quebec. Are they always this protective?  I don't recall any parliamentary motions being passed to express "profound sadness" over criticism of Alberta's oil sands.

ONE MP objected to this and then left the chamber. Was he really the only one to realize that it's not the government's job to throw hissy fits over magazine articles?

Looking on the bright side, this does represent a slight improvement in government policy. If the MPs just want to get into their marabou-trimmed dressing gowns, open a box of truffles and have a bloody good cry over this Maclean's article, I guess that's better than what government bodies did to Steyn and Levant.

Now that our MPs have divined their real purpose in life, I eagerly await their opinion on other press(ing) matters:

"This House expresses total bum-outification over People's 'Top 100 Celebrity Breakups of 2010'...."
"This House reports rampant titillation in response to Cosmo's '25 Naughtiest First Date Stories'..."
"This House encourages Good Housekeeping to reprint 'Canada's Favorite Low-Fat Muffin Recipes'..."

Monday, September 27, 2010

As the eldest Miss Pinkerton says

"Mr. Bean and Beethoven: it doesn't get any better."

The Chesterton of our day

And I hope David Warren won't take offence at the notion. I'm slowly catching up on reading his essays and columns, from which I took a break over the summer.  
We do need laws to be enforced against specific, definable evils. But insofar as we are adults, we have never required comprehensive daycare.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Only 90 Spiritual Preparation Days Until Christmas!

 Make your list and check it twice. How can you be less naughty and a lot more nice? (I really mean, "How can you be more holy?" but obviously that doesn't rhyme with "twice".)

Make your list and check it wholly?

(No one is) Better than Ezra

His smackdown is, of course, a lot better than mine.

"It is easy enough to be against things, but in the end we should answer what we are for."

On the eve of another home schooling week, here is an energizer.

Mrs. P weighs in...
The entire piece is brilliant and bloody spot-on, but this made me chuckle (and of course, gave me hope at the same time):
We could hardly do worse, than achieve this state in which a child home-schooled in the most derelict family may emerge into adulthood in better moral and intellectual condition than the child criminalized by his peers in the perpetual day care.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Maclean's has offended again.

Are they outraged because they've been accused of being corrupt or because they've been described as being "in Canada"?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

polite atheists vs. those nasty religious guys


Everywhere he spoke with courtesy and respect and without insolence or irony. But everywhere he sought out common ground for promoting human dignity and religious freedom.

More with deeds than with words he gave a memorable lesson in tolerance.

About whom is Michael Cook speaking in regards to the pope's recent visit to Britain? Richard Dawkins or Benedict XIV? Do read the whole thing on MercatorNet.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

You just can't win with this guy.

Follow the Canada Food Guide, and you'll get fat!

Touch a McDonald's coupon, and you'll get fat! (This is what prompted the column to which I linked previously.)

If only human beings could control the type and amount of food that went into their mouths, or have a say in what restaurants they go to and how often, instead of being slaves to the government pamphlets and corporate coupons which are thrust upon them. I hope someone finds a solution to this someday. The government should start working on that.

You're well rid of this "sport", my dear. Try football.

This team is really doing its best to live up to the popular image of cheerleaders as vain, cold-hearted airheads by voting this girl off the team rather than re-evaluating the wisdom of teaching six year old girls to call attention to their own rear ends. Just another reason why I hate to see little girls uselessly dolled up on the sidelines instead of playing out on the field (or court, diamond, et cetera).

h/t Mark Shea

This is amazing.

"Miracle mom: Mayo surgeons cut her in half, cleared out her cancer"
 

Speaking of the well-turned phrase...

...check out this wonderfully titled post from Mark "OscarHammer" Steyn.

The Sound of Musicals

For the last few weeks I have been enjoying the soundtracks to "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers", "Meet Me in St. Louis" and "Carousel". I watched "Carousel" last week, for the first time in many years. The songs are nothing short of brilliant. Take these verses from "Soliloquy":

And I'm hanged if he'll marry his boss' daughter
A skinny-lipped lady with blood like water
Who'll give him a peck
And call it a kiss
And look in his eyes through a lorgnette...

Say, why am I takin' on like this?
My kid ain't even been born yet!

 
Lorgnette. Born yet. Oscar Hammerstein was a genius.

What I can't figure out are the parts in between the songs. It's not like there was no story to go on - Ferenc Molnar's Liliom sounds like an interesting play, but this big screen adaptation falls a little flat for me. And the dialogue about a slap from your man feeling like a kiss...Buh? Still, I'm glad "Carousel" was made, or Rodgers and Hammerstein might never have given this to the world:

Why Beazly?

The younger Miss Pinkertons wanted to know. Because when she was a little girl, she got glasses, and her brothers nicknamed her so.  The spelling, of course, is her own.

Autumn Arrives

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Some salty language from John Robson

goes well with this serving of common sense from David Warren...to which I will modestly add this torn packet of pepper from the bottom of the McDonald's bag.

(First link via Sobering Thoughts)

Forfatter og journalist

Sounds like an insult, but it's actually the label applied to Mark Steyn in this video (via SteynOnline).
Maybe Mr. Steyn would consider it an insult to be called a journalist.
Anyway, only six more weeks until the DOHs' favorite forfatter comes to Ottawa!

Back from the brink

Of Niagara Falls, that is. (That's the Maid of the Mist on the left.)



It was a great trip, other than a reservation mix-up which resulted in one night's stay at the worst motel in the world. But my only remark about staying there echoes what Annie Taylor reportedly said upon emerging from the barrel in which she'd taken her trip over the falls:  "Nobody ought ever do that again."

I'm glad we took this chance to see the falls, because they won't be there forever. According to the evidence  the falls are already seven miles back from where they were 12,500 years ago, and given current rates of erosion, it is estimated that in another 50,000 years they will have disappeared. I expect T-shirt sales will plummet correspondingly.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sounds eerily familiar

I have just started reading The Abbess of Andalusia, a survey of Flannery O'Connor's spiritual life, by Lorraine V. Murray (review to come later). Ms Murray states that Flannery O'Connor had a special devotion to St. Therese of Lisieux and relates an anecdote about the saint:

"One example of a...sacrifice that Therese made...involved another nun in the convent whose personality clashed sharply with her own. Therese found everything about this nun disagreeable, but she swallowed her dislike and faithfully followed the "little way" by treating this woman with love. Remarkably, Therese's ability to hide her natural antipathy worked so well that the woman came to believe she was Therese's favorite."

Suddenly I'm getting a sinking feeling thinking of all the nice, holy people I know who seem to enjoy spending time with me.

Read this.

Or "you'll feel like such a dork".

Friday, September 10, 2010

If I loved Jane Austen adaptations less, I might be able to blog about them more.

I have just finished watching the latest adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma. I think I like it even better than the 1996 A&E production starring Kate Beckinsale, although I haven't seen that one in a few years so it's hard to judge.

As every woman who loves them knows, a period drama can be measured by the quality of its proposal scene (which you shouldn't watch if you haven't seen the film yet and don't want to spoil it):



Now, lovely as this is, I still got a little chuckle from Mr. Knightley's gentle heads up that he is going to be one of those less communicative husbands when it comes to relationship issues: "If I loved you less, I might be able to talk about it more." I can just see where this is going:
"If I didn't think you were so beautiful, I'd have to tell you so more."
"If your cooking wasn't so wonderful, I'd have to compliment it more."
"If you weren't such a great housekeeper, I'd have to drop my socks in the hamper more."
It's because he wants to watch period dramas with you so much that he can't bear to watch them with you more!

I never, ever, ever, ever would have seen this coming.

I presume he'll be travelling to Alberta on a bicycle...

...whose chain is oil-free.

Cameron says he plans to fly north to Fort Chipewyan to meet with community leaders.

Must be bringing one of those fancy dragons along, too.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The House in the Middle (cue ominous music)

Mark Shea with some pithy commentary (including a good Chesterton quote) on this strange little public service message:



Yeah, making sure your magazines are put in a rack is going to save you in the event that a nuclear bomb falls in your neighborhood. Why don't they tell you to do something useful, like get under a table?

I only wish they had fleshed this drama out a bit. Here's the pitch I'd write for The National Clean-Up Paint-Up Fix-Up Bureau:

In the moment after the atom bomb fell, Betty realized that her tidy white house with its pretty sidewalk border of pansies would be the only one left partially standing on her quiet, residential street long after the ramshackle eyesore belonging to the Hobarts, as well as the Jeffersons' unpainted, rotting hovel, had gone up in flames, their screaming inhabitants igniting as quickly as the bottles, trash and unsightly old newspapers which littered their yards and which had so vexed Betty every laundry day. As she fell back against her plastic-draped sofa, upsetting her spotlessly tidy coffee table, she recalled how the Hobarts' cat had always pooped in her azaleas and she felt a keen satisfaction at its annihilation - or was that just the sensation of being vaporized?

Henry V and the Battle of Achin' Sore

As I mentioned in my previous post, work multiplies when the home school year begins. Meals, laundry and cleaning continue (sort of) and to those tasks we now add lesson planning, marking, and cultivating a 12-year-old's interest in Henry V. (I left out my hobbies of lion taming and performing home root canals because they are so relaxing and painless by comparison.) So you'll forgive me - you few, you marginally satisfied few - if new posts are scarce for the next little while.

The curriculum I have chosen lists King Harry's speech before the Battle of Agincourt, the St. Crispin's Day Speech, as the first selection for my seventh grader to memorize this year. I blanched a little when I read it today, wondering if we might be in slightly over our heads by trying to commit it to memory. As my soon-to-be-teenager lamented, "This doesn't even rhyme!"

I know there are gentler ways to introduce a child to Shakespeare - Lambs' Tales From Shakespeare is one that Mrs. P. recommended to me - but if one is attempting to memorize a passage from a play, obviously there's no point in translating that into more modern English. Anyway, who doesn't love to make Shakespeare's lexicon part of their everyday language?  Phrases such as, "But soft - a telemarketer calls again, I trow. Bacon-fed knave! Fie on't!" or "An it were meet, I'd leave yon errant sock atop the TV for the nonce," can really bring high drama to the most ordinary day.

Perhaps a little analogy would help my seventh grader enter the Bard's world: "Imagine," I'd say to my son, "that your brother is France and you are England. France and England are out in the yard playing football, and England thinks he should gain a few extra yards. France doesn't like that idea and although he lets England move the line of scrimmage a few feet, eventually he thinks better of it and yanks on the back of England's shirt collar, strangling him for a few seconds. England falls down, hits his head, and is so angry he turns around and socks France on the jaw, whereupon France comes crying into the house. The speech you're going to memorize would fit in between hitting your head and socking your brother." Since this is exactly what happened during our lunch break today, this should really make Shakespeare come alive! "We few, we happy few, we banged-up brothers...."

This particular battle came after a couple of other school-related disagreements, but at least it was the only one that resulted in a sore jaw. After we finished our school work I decided we'd watch a little more of Kenneth Branagh's "Henry V", also recommended by our curriculum, but so far, not much favored by the student. "Ha, ha," France taunted, obviously not having learned his lesson, in any sense. "You have to watch that 'Henry the Eighth' movie."

England bargained movie time down to thirty minutes, and France went off to play with a friend who had come over. Even I was not paying full attention, having stayed up too late last night, and I started to nod off in my chair as Henry made the rounds of his camp.  However, when I heard those first lines which England had been working on a few hours earlier, I was alert again, and indeed we were transfixed during the speech - even France, who had crept back into the room, stood motionless, watching the whole scene:



After a discouraging day of home school I would not have expected to get a boost from plowing into a sometimes dry film that no one seemed very inclined to watch. But that's the power of Shakespeare for you. And so...once more unto the speech, dear friends, once more!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

As that guy said...

"...summer's lease hath all too short a date". And as that other guy said, "Work is not rabbit"... except for in the way it multiplies when the home school year starts.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Your Duh-ly Newsflash: Conservatives have no use for conservatives

Andrea at PWPL muses upon that persona non grata, the "social conservative", and a couple of journalists who seem to think they have provided some kind of revelation to pro-life voters.  Sorry, guys, we've known for a long time that there is no mainstream political party that is friendly to conservatives. All we try to do is, as Andrea says, "go where you get the better hearing". In ridings where I've lived that has sometimes meant voting Conservative, but that doesn't mean I'm under any illusion that the Conservatives are our saviors and that they will always do what is right. I don't believe that about any party or politician.

I think the only people who are continually "being had" are the ones who trust government to rid our society of its ills, whatever they perceive those to be. It's not social conservatives who are putting their faith in the idea that overeating, smoking, or hateful thoughts can be legislated out of existence by various levels of government. Government can't even bring my mail to the right address, so I think the profound change of heart required to make abortion unthinkable is a bit beyond them.

That's not to say that it doesn't matter one way or another whether Canada funds abortions in foreign lands. It matters very much, and I'm sorry to see my tax dollars helping to spread the scourge of abortion to other nations. But I'm not surprised. We won't have good policies or just laws when the people who are making them care more about being in power than they care about anything else.

0 and 3

My son's football team has gone to 0 and 3. This after a spring baseball season for my older son that went 2-11 and a summer season that went 1-11-1. I wouldn't say that members of our family are doomed to go down as Bad News Bears types...maybe Unfortunate Tidings Ursi?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I'm glad I didn't spend the $20.38

(no, don't click to look inside. The photo was copped from Amazon.ca)
This book has been around for some time, but I just read it this past summer. I had long wanted to read it, as I'm a classical music addict, and had always rather wondered why listening to some music (Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin, Debussy, Faure, to name but a few) made me feel as though I had died and gone to heaven. The book contained many interesting nuggets (such as esplainin' why 80's music sounds the way it does--yes, there's a reason, and even someone to blame for it!) but on the whole, it was a bit disappointing. I often felt lost in his professional jargon (I'm sure other brainiacs in his line of research thought it was a thrill ride), but I found it occasionally boring and technical. I guess when you read something by a professor who studies brain physiology and evolutionary psychology, you can't always expect the sublime. Instead, the "science" of your brain on music pretty much boiled down to why groupies want to **** Mick Jagger. Ah, the Baby Boom generation. You gotta tolerate them...for a few more decades at least.

Meanwhile, on a slightly related note, here's a worthwhile read. Not written by a Baby Boomer. John Paul II's Letter to Artists. Yes, he wrote one.

And more traffic

Next month's headline: "Child run over as motorist  distracted by hologram in middle of street."
"I swear, officer, it was Princess Leia - and I was her only hope!"

"...[P]arents are often the worst offenders, speeding, pulling u-turns and talking on cellphones...."

I don't see the point of this. Do adults really need to be tricked into obeying traffic laws? Why would jackasses pay any more attention to an optical illusion than they would to the live children they already know are really there? Maybe a 3-D image showing them what  jerks they are would be more helpful.

Traffic

For those of you just joining us with your morning coffee, excitement levels at DOH have skyrocketed with the appearance of a "Reader of the Day" link from SteynOnline. It's cool when you get more hits in a few hours than you usually get in a week, especially when some of those visitors are actually staying to read other posts! Despite the subtle aroma of "online stalker" which hangs about the name, I'm starting to wish we had called our blog "TwoGalsWhoLoveMarkSteynOnline" after all.

Just because I feel like it.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

MARK STEYN IS COMING TO OTTAWA!

I know this will be difficult, but  please remain calm...especially if you don't have the $250 it will cost to hear him. Say, kids - you didn't really need groceries for those last couple of weeks of October, did you?  You can make up those calories with your Halloween candy.

Can't you just see us there, Mrs. P.? It would eclipse even the time we got free tinfoil after that Alcan opera night!

And another thing...Ezra Levant will be there, too, so that means you're paying $125 for Mark and $125 for Ezra. Think of all the great stuff they've written! Think of how you're supporting free speech in Canada! Think of how transfixed you were hearing Mark Steyn talk about pie for an hour on his 2009 Christmas podcast, and know that it will be even more edifying to hear him talk about something meatier!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Tell it like it is.

Yesterday, I made a delicious bison/vegetable stew for supper (dinner). As I was serving the youngest Miss Pinkerton, I said, "You don't like beets, do you?"
"I like them," she assured me. So I placed one on her plate.
"I just don't eat them," she added.

Really, the jelly ones are the best.

Invest seven minutes of your time only if you are a diehard SCTV fan and/or have fond memories of "The Martin Short Comedy Special" from 1986. (Bonus impersonation of Doug Henning.)







Hope you enjoyed those, Cob. Looks like YouTube has other segments from the show.
Okay, CBC, I grudgingly admit that this was worth one billion dollars. One billion 1986 dollars.

From what I hear, Al Gore causes most people to experience the opposite of "awakening".

But I guess we've got all kinds.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Q: What are you doing at home?

A: What many women only wish they were doing.

Having never been to a cocktail party in my life, I can't say I've witnessed the scenario which Kathryn Jean Lopez describes in the opening paragraphs of this article. However, I have been asked why I'm home with my kids when I seem to be so intelligent! I have heard women apologize for publicly expressing the wish to stay at home and raise their children. I have been asked, by a slightly confused bank employee from whom I was buying an RRSP, whether I was a homemaker in my own home, or in someone else's - as though he could not fathom the former. (I couldn't quite fathom the latter - I always thought they were called "housekeepers", but I wasn't about to further crease his brow by asking for an explanation.) The message I'm hearing loud and clear is that you can be anything you want, girls, except a Dumb Old Housewife/Mother - that alone is not a valid choice. (Hence our satirically named blog. You did realize it was satirical, right?)

I feel really lucky to be home with my children. So many people fret about not having enough time to spend with family, but it's my job to spend time with mine. I wish that every woman who wanted to do the same could have the luxury of making that choice. Of course, to say that one has that "luxury" isn't to say that every family living on one income can only do so because that income is of a size that allows them to live in luxury. For most of us it is a choice that requires certain sacrifices. Every day we are harangued about what we should give up in order to "save the earth": incandescent bulbs, bottled water, air conditioning, that third -or second, or first! - child. But to suggest that we might give up that yearly vacation, that second car, that flat-screen TV, so that one parent can stay home to raise their children - well, it's not something you hear much about from our secular society. Human beings aren't worth that kind of sacrifice.

h/t PWPL

Not everything about summer ending is bad.

Mark's back.

It was recently reported that in one children’s soccer league in Ottawa any team that racked up a five-goal lead would be deemed to have lost, and the losing team declared the winners, to spare their feelings. 

I always feel special when Ottawa makes headlines like this. Fortunately this idiotic policy has now been reversed, reportedly due to many complaints.