Wednesday, June 29, 2011

As long as we're talking about abortion

This article by Steyn fits in with what Mrs. P. wrote about over at Mercatornet a few weeks ago.

Update: Hi there, PWPL readers! Thanks for dropping by. And thanks for the traffic, Andrea!



 Andrea Mrozek at PWPL posts about an article reflecting on the societal consequences of using the pill. I would have liked to leave a comment there, but a technical glitch prevented it.

In his 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI accurately predicted what would come of using the pill:

Consequences of Artificial Methods
17. Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection.
Finally, careful consideration should be given to the danger of this power passing into the hands of those public authorities who care little for the precepts of the moral law. Who will blame a government which in its attempt to resolve the problems affecting an entire country resorts to the same measures as are regarded as lawful by married people in the solution of a particular family difficulty? Who will prevent public authorities from favoring those contraceptive methods which they consider more effective? Should they regard this as necessary, they may even impose their use on everyone. It could well happen, therefore, that when people, either individually or in family or social life, experience the inherent difficulties of the divine law and are determined to avoid them, they may give into the hands of public authorities the power to intervene in the most personal and intimate responsibility of husband and wife.

Here's more.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Just for fun

I'm at the age where I can admit I actually like ABBA, and also enjoy a good parody of them. This is just too funny. From French and Saunders, who nail everything right down to the last mannerism. (My favourite spot in the vid is about at 2:20, which goes to show that every once in a while I'm a sucker for juvenile humour).

Friday, June 24, 2011

Just one more thing

Rest in peace, Columbo.

It's all about tolerance and freedom.

And that's why everyone must march in lockstep in our parade. That is all.


Say it ain't so, Steve! Cars 2 is... a ... I have to whisper, because I can't believe it... a bad movie.

A bad Pixar movie. That's like typing "square circle" or "sturdy wood product".

Nothing gold can stay.

Cut away the dead wood, Pixar, whatever that might be. You are Pixar! Pull yourselves together! Go! Confront the problem! Fight! Win!

And hire me when you get back. I would enjoy working for you.

Announcing the launch of a new category on DOH:

"SHUT UP!" they explained.

Good to know that Rogers employs some narrow-minded, anti-Catholic bigots who disapprove of peaceful expressions of religious belief. It makes me even more glad I cancelled their cable service last millennium.  I commend Mr. Goddard for stating what he believes, but I don't agree that an HRC should be involved, since those organizations are part of this very problem. Kind of like smoking more cigarettes in order to kill the tumor in your lung. However, it will certainly be interesting to watch the HRC dismiss this complaint at something near the speed of light.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Life is short; listen to Flannery.

The author reads A Good Man is Hard to Find.

Triple O!

Here's my favorite funny old ad.

I first saw it in a 1952 Colliers magazine. Advertising appears to have been a whole different ballgame back then. As my brother-in-law once observed, advertisers (incredibly) seemed confident that they could get people to buy their product through reasoning and persuasion. Hence the 500-word essay about a woman who had to pawn her wedding ring in order to support herself after she was widowed. (An ad for life insurance, of course.) This Ennds ad isn't quite as wordy as the dramatic life insurance re-enactment, but there's still plenty here to digest. Mr. B. and I couldn't help wondering about the guy in the picture - is this poor slob married to someone who is made this snarly by his morning breath? Is she the stenographer (this was the 50s, after all) who's suffered through ten thousand too many stinky dictations? Has the doctor in the lower picture recently cut the cheese, and is he surreptitiously watching the nurse to see if Ennds really masks the odor? Never mind the copy - there's a whole little drama in every picture.

It's also fun to see ads for products that never really caught on. Canned hamburgers, anyone?

Have you ever heard of Andy Mynarski?

If you're tired of reading about "adults" who will not take full responsibility for their choices, even as they are supposedly apologizing for them, here is the story of a young man who made better choices in far worse circumstances. There were, and are, such men in this world.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

There is so little time to blog

When you spend hours a day looking after your yard.  Summer has finally arrived! (Note: some of these pics are from previous years, but since Mrs. B. recently expressed an interest in doing more horticulture-type stuff, I thought I would treat her to a few snaps from our flower garden.)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Every now and then

You need to post a funny old ad. And the most amusing part is, this really works on Mr. Pinkerton! And sometimes, I don't even need vitamins.

Gone Fishin' with Nat

What a relief that the federal government is taking the economy seriously

Mr. Pinkerton works for Agriculture and Agri-food Canada. Yes, the federal government. This year marks the 125th anniversary of Agriculture Canada, and so the research facility where my husband works was "requested" (ordered) by the Powers That Be at Ag.Can (in Ottawa) to make a point of marking the anniversary at their upcoming Field Day. The head of the local research station decided to brave the weeks of waiting and mounds of red tape, and put in a request for funding for a cake to celebrate with staff and the farmers who show up at this annual field day.

It was denied.

And a good thing too! Such a waste of taxpayer's dollars! Why, a slab cake like that (with icing, and maybe even fancy writing or a laser food coloring photo of the Ag Can logo) might cost up to $35 or $40! How can the federal government afford such a thing, when they have to pay the six-figure pensions of recently defeated MPs (like that raving Canadian patriot Gilles Duceppe), or fund rock bands who have pictures of feces (in the form of Jesus) on their CD cover, or arts funding to elderly women who dance in slow motion, or funding to member-free pro-choice and feminist groups, or funding to the vast bureaucracy of  human rights commissions out crusading to save us from discrimination that we can't see, hear or even detect with our psychic mind powers, or funding for.... well, you get the picture.

When it comes to Ag researchers and farmers, let them eat cake... as long as they pay for it themselves.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Prayer for Priests

O Jesus, Eternal Priest, keep your priests within the shelter of your sacred heart, where none may touch them.
Keep unstained their anointed hands, which daily touch your sacred body.
Keep unsullied their lips, daily purpled with your precious blood.
Keep pure and unearthly their hearts, sealed with the sublime mark of your priesthood.
Let your holy love surround them, and shield them from the world’s contagion.
Bless their labors with abundant fruit,
and may the souls to whom they minister be their joy and consolation here on earth,
and in heaven, their everlasting crown.
Mary, Mother of Priests, pray for priests and vocations to the priesthood.
– St. Therese of Lisieux

Borrowed from The Deacon's Bench, with thanks. 

Blind fools

Hero worship is always always always a dangerous thing. A tragic and ultra-creepy turn in the (now formerly 'Father') John Corapi story.

Oops, did I say ultra-creepy? I meant super ultra mega-creepy. Mark Shea:
Whatever the merits of the charges against him, Dog has been planning to rebrand himself as "John Corapi (once called “father,” now "The Black Sheep Dog") since April 2010, long before he allegedly "learned" of the charges against him or any investigation began.

To cleanse your mind and soul, you will now read 1 Corinthians 3:4, and ponder the whole "I am for Paul; I am for Apollos" thing.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Won't someone PLEASE think of the children?!?

Because someone has to look after them while their teachers are out campaigning for the McGuinty government.

Music Men

Dear Dad,

        Happy Father's Day! You're the reason I can sing repeat all the lyrics from "The Sound of Music", "The Music Man", and "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers". Thank you!
        Here's an interesting piece on a song from your favorite musical. I highly recommend that you take all the time you save by not reading our blog to go and read Steyn.

Mrs. B.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

"Amina often flirted with Brooks, neither of the men realizing the other was pretending to be a lesbian."

Not a combination of words one would expect to find in a coherent English sentence. It's also not a pitch for an edgy new sit-com coming out on the CBC this fall. But it is quoted within this Steynian gold:
On Sunday, Amina Arraf, the young vivacious Syrian lesbian activist whose inspiring blog "A Gay Girl In Damascus" had captured hearts around the world, was revealed to be, in humdrum reality, one Tom MacMaster, a 40-year-old college student from Georgia. The following day, Paula Brooks, the lesbian activist and founder of the website LezGetReal, was revealed to be one Bill Graber, a 58-year-old construction worker from Ohio. In their capacity as leading lesbians in the Sapphic blogosphere, "Miss Brooks" and "Miss Arraf" were colleagues. "Amina" had posted at LezGetReal before starting "A Gay Girl In Damascus." As one lesbian to another, they got along swimmingly.
The Washington Post reported: "Amina often flirted with Brooks, neither of the men realizing the other was pretending to be a lesbian."

Mrs. P simply can't resist weighing in. If not a CBC sit-com, surely a Hollywood chickflick about two middle aged guys pretending to be pretty young lesbians, carrying on a flirtatious relationship online until it all comes crashing down in ruin and despair. It could be titled  Brokeblog Mountain or You've Got Male.

Little Lord Fauntleriot

We've all seen the damage now.

What a gentleman! Moron who comes prepared to pillage and burn still blanches at the idea of writing the f-word on his sign. If only the police had hurled expletives instead of rubber bullets, these thugs might have swooned like delicate Southern belles and retired to their boudoirs.
This columnist opined, "We haven't progressed since '94". I would say they haven't yet emerged  from the stone age.

Wind up

The CBC places itself in the wheelhouse of the nation.

Have fun!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Abolish Section 13

Kevin Libin's excellent op-ed piece in the National Post on the Calgary gathering of "human rights" racketeers. This line was rather disturbing:
Where “new realities” means rooting out new varieties of discrimination, even indiscernible types
Er, if it's "indiscernible" then how can it actually be classified as discrimination? No worries; the various HRCs will find a way. And you will pay for it.

H/t to Deborah Gyapong, with whom I heartily agree:
So Mr. Justice Minister Rob Nicholson, when can we see legislation to get rid of this open-ended and illiberal clause? What good is having a majority government if you do not use it to restore Canadian principles of civil rights and legal fair play?
 I also agree with Commentor "Socialism Kills", who says:
 I know some people in the "human rights industry". Without exception, they are the most narrow-minded, zealous, hateful people I have ever met. The sooner we can knee-cap this foolishness and get back to allowing the Courts to deal with human rights, the better.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The joy of having daughters, featuring the Music Animation Machine

I suppose I could have titled my post "The joy of having musicians in your home," because boys can play the piano too. But I don't have any boys. Nor do I have a video of my 17-year-old daughter playing this piece, but she can, and no matter how often she does, I never, NEVER get tired of hearing it. So, for your listening pleasure, here is the Music Animation Machine version of Debussy's sublime "Clair de lune." This vid is so cool.

Sears: into everything imaginable, including fraud

This just blew me away. I received a letter in the mail from Sears Canada the other day, which was headed AGREEMENT OFFER and looked very much like a legitimate invoice. It read:

Thank you for the interest you have shown in our Sears Protection Agreement Program. During our recent conversation, you manifested the wish to receive detailed information on our products and the type of Protection Agreement coverage we can offer you. This information has been outlined for you below, including the cost for each item listed. If you are interested to give yourself peace of mind, please check the plan coverage you prefer, specify the method of payment and return the signed form.

The 'coverage' offered is insurance to extend the warranty on "EXERCISE EQUIP" worth $1000-$1499, at a cost of $108.94. I was instructed to detach the lower part of the form, sign it, date it, include my credit card number, and then I would have insurance (and "peace of mind"!) on my 'exercise equip' until June 3, 2013. Sounds great! However, there's just one teeny tiny problem:

- I had NO recent conversation with Sears (no phone call, no email, no letter, no personal contact with a sales rep.).

- I expressed NO interest (or for that matter, "manifested the wish") for information about product insurance or extended warranty. Since when does anyone in the business world use a phrase like that anyway? Maybe "manifested the wish" means the "conversation" was conducted using psychic mind powers. While both parties were asleep.

- (and here's the beeeyootiful part) I PURCHASED NO EXERCISE EQUIPMENT WORTH $1000-$1499 within the last year.

I phoned Sears Customer Service and (after getting transferred about five times) was told that it’s standard practice to phone customers when their product warranties are about to expire, and offer them extended insurance coverage. Fair enough. Further, she informed me, if and when customers do not answer their phones, it is standard practice for Sears to send out the form letter saying, “During our recent conversation…”

Heck, never mind that it’s a bold-faced lie!

Call me obtuse, but it’s not technically, legally or morally a “conversation” if one party doesn’t pick up the phone, and the other party doesn’t even leave a message on the answering machine. She said that Sears phoned me in late May, 2011, because the warranty on my exercise cycle (purchased last June) was about to expire. Except that I didn’t purchase one, and I told her so.

The fact is, I DID purchase some exercise equipment last year: a pair of weighted gloves. Worth $14.99. As far as I know, the gloves had no warranty, but if they did, I wouldn’t pay nearly $110 to extend it. I asked how the exercise bike got onto my records. She said it was “an error” and apologized.

Yah, sure.

I’m much more inclined to think it’s standard practice. I told her that what they are doing borders on fraud. I can only imagine how much money Sears has extorted from forgetful seniors by using this method. “Peace of mind,” for crying out loud? If that’s not deliberately calculated to bamboozle vulnerable elderly folk, I don’t know what is. Scumbags.

Greatest irony of all? Sears has a "Fraud Prevention" page on its website. I quote:

They even provide a link to the Government of Canada Anti-Fraud Centre.


Maybe I'll mosey on over and complain about Sears and their sketchy insurance racket. And maybe ask my brother the lawyer to send Sears a letter. I wonder how they might react to a threatened lawsuit for attempted fraud, lost productivity (I've already spent several hours of my life ranting to my husband and/or assorted relatives, phoning Sears, and writing this blog post) and --of course-- mental anguish (I'm sure being royally pissed off qualifies).

I will, of course, offer to settle out of court. For $110 or so. Because I'm interested to give myself peace of mind.


Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flannery Quotation of the Day/Week/Month

If I had sub-categories in my personal collection of Flannery quotations (beyond the current "Fiction" and "Non-fiction"), this one would have to go under "Quirky." It just tickled my funny bone. Garwrsh, I love her use of language.

“He was considerably irked by the hole in his head.”

"A Late Encounter with the Enemy (short story)

The joy of having daughters... and Miss Vanderbilt

I had a really long day last Friday. Was gone all day from home with two of the girls who were performing Royal Conservatory piano exams in a town 50 miles away. Their exam times? 10:48 a.m. and 3:50 p.m. (At the cost of gas, I couldn't run back and forth twice in one day). So we had a whole day to kill in between, in a town with basically one nice store. The library was closed. We arrived home at supper time, tired, wilted, and hungry, and there were my three oldest girls, bustling in the kitchen. They'd prepared salad, crab-stuffed mushrooms, tiny shell pasta with white sauce (mixed with the leftover crab stuffing), salad, and for dessert, PIE (not one, but THREE different kinds: cherry, blueberry and rhubarb, which still counts, even though I don't like it). The pie crusts (which were lovely, and something I never could have achieved at that age) were either latticed or fluted and decorated with pastry cut-outs of eighth notes, in honour of the piano exams. I wish I'd taken photographs. (Mrs. Jones is going to scold me for not doing so.)

Will it atone to include the recipe?

Stuffed Mushrooms (Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Cookbook)

1 pound mushrooms
4 Tbsp butter or margarine
1/4 cup finely cut onion
1/4 cup finely sliced celery
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 tsp salt (or less, to taste--we found this was a bit much)
1/8 tsp pepper
Melted butter
1/4 cup grated processed American cheese (girls used cheddar)

Wash mushrooms. Drain. Remove stems. Chop or slice stems fine. Heat butter or margarine in large skillet. Add onion, celery, mushroom stems. Simmer until celery is tender. Stir in Worcestershire, salt, and pepper. Brush mushroom caps with melted butter. Fill caps with onion mixture. Start oven at moderate (350 degrees F). Arrange stuffed caps, stuffed side up, in greased shallow baking pan (or skip the grease and use parchment paper). Sprinkle caps with cheese. Bake 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Makes 4 or 5 servings.

Vary the stuffing: Substitute flaked, boned crab meat for celery. Mix crab with a little mayonnaise.


Flannery Quotation of the Day/Week/Month

“Dudley had always been slow on his feet. It went that way with fat people.”

"The Geranium" (short story)

Just in case you didn't have anything to pray about today

My Mercator post about the growing problem of child prostitution in the U.S. I expect this one will garner a few comments (there are 5 so far). Horrific. Lord have mercy.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Flannery Quotation of the Day/Week/Month

"Everywhere I go I'm asked if I think the university stifles writers. My opinion is that they don't stifle enough of them. There's many a best-seller that could have been prevented by a good teacher."


Just Because

Is there ever NOT a good time for Chopin? The sublime second movement (Larghetto) of Piano Concerto No.2.
Stephen Hough, soloist.

Watch this one if you want to see the same piece played by 10-year-old Yoon A In (sound not as good. But WOW anyway.)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Or lose you to a summer summer

As Mrs. P. mentioned below, the eldest Miss P. will soon celebrate her convocation. At the family party on the weekend of my high school graduation, when Mrs. P, Miss P. and I were all just a little younger, Miss P. treated us to a lively rendition of the following. (She was a great singer even then.)  I may not be the Wolfman Jack (more like the Slothwoman Janet) but this one goes out to you, Miss P. Congratulations and happy travels as you begin your career!

Friday, June 10, 2011

All on the Same Page

Hot dawg! Two delicious offerings from Steyn, on pols and pages whose urge for self-expression trumps all. As usual, he cuts through the baloney.

...or the weiner, as the case may be. Sorry, couldn't resist! (Mrs. P. here. This crazy site won't let me post comments under my "Google Account" username, or any other name for that matter. I don't know what's wrong, and I hardly need add, I have no idea how to fix it. But it's extremely frustrating.)

Repeat until true: This is not brainwashing, this is not brainwashing....

“If a parent asks for his or her child to be exempted for any discussions of LGBTQ family issues as a religious accommodation, this request cannot be made because it violates the Human Rights Policy,” the document reads.
Religious freedom, they write further, “is not absolute” and religious accommodation in the school board “is carried out in the larger context of the secular education system.”

Score one (billion) for home school, the place where you can teach your child to exercise charity toward all human beings because we are all made in God's image. Reference to or knowledge of how others use their genitals (mercifully) not required.

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Air Canada and Canada Post on strike at the same time? How will we ever cope?

Who will bring me the insurance policy of the guy one street over with the same house number? Who will offer me a choice of mid-afternoon departure times and then cancel them all and ram everyone onto the 6 a.m. flight? Who will lose my tax package for the next two years in a row? Who will bring me an in-flight "meal" which consists of a jar of cold, liquefied beef for my toddler, if I had one?

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The joy of the used book room at the library

It's where you find books like Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Cookbook. And they cost you a dime.

She had me at "Squabs Alexandra," the first recipe upon which my eyes alighted when I randomly opened the book (page 223).

From the Introduction: "I believe that the ability to prepare and serve good and attractive meals is a delightful feminine virtue." And so do I, of course, or I would not have bought this book.

Mrs. Vanderbilt goes on to say: "Many people have said, since the publication of Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette in 1952, that it should be followed by a complete cookbook. For, of course, I can cook."

Oh, to be able to say so with such confidence!


"My children and I, despite my career, have a warm and loving relationship. This comes partly, I believe, because they know that their mother, when necessity arises--and it certainly does-- is able to run the household and feed them good meals under cheerful, happy circumstances no matter what happens. Children get a great feeling of security knowing just this: that despite her necessary and often greatly enjoyed outside activities, a mother considers her children's welfare first and is willing to contribute to it with her own domestic talents."

1961: when a cookbook was not just a cookbook, but a way of life. Come to think of it, cookbooks today still tell you how to live, but it has more to do with avoiding trans fats and saving the earth.

And yet more:

"In my school I learned not only haute cuisine, but all the arts of housekeeping, even to the pleating of nightgowns with a pleating iron. For us there were no shortcuts, no scouring powders (we used brickdust), no canned, dehydrated, or frozen foods. Perhaps because of this training, I was once able to make a perfect zabaglione on a kerosene stove by the light of an oil lamp in a Virginia cabin!"

It's going to be a great summer of reading.

P.S. Pleating of nightgowns?

P.P.S. Zabaglione?

New Feature

Life has been busy. I'm sure both our readers have noticed that I haven't been around for a week or so. Not only have I been occupied with, and at times overwhelmed by, the usual stuff: year-end school testing, eldest child convocating WITH DISTINCTION from university (having never spent a day in school in her life), procrastinating on editorial deadlines, washing dishes, pulling weeds, attending utterly pointless meetings...

I have also been reading the complete stories of Flannery O'Connor.

I reckon I ain't many words to describe how all she's affectin me. But only t' say that if I was ever to grow up, I wisht I could write like that.

It's like living on the set of O Brother, Where Art Thou? and loving every minute, even if you're too obtuse to understand some of the stories. And regrettably, I am. It's like my brain has R-U-N-N-O-F-T.

But the new feature is this: Flannery Quotation of the (Day/Week/Month), whatever tickles my fancy.

Monday, June 6, 2011


With spring has come another wave of basement cleaning. If the Collyer brothers got to heaven, I hope they are praying for me. I think about them almost every day. I went looking for something to read about them, too, but the Ottawa Public Library copies of Franz Lidz's Ghosty Men were - you guessed it - both listed as "lost". I wonder what compulsive hoarders' ceiling-high piles of junk they're sitting under right now? I bought my own copy. I even know where it is.

Today I was packing up games our kids have outgrown. Crazy Eights, Thomas the Tank Engine dominoes, Scrabble Junior, and Memory.

Many Memories have passed through our games cabinet. First there was the original, with generic pictures of everyday objects. Our eldest son would cry if someone else found the pair of trains. He always wanted to trade one of his pairs for them.

Then came the 'Bob the Builder' version. They didn't have so many characters "back in my day", as our newly minted teenager sometimes sagely remarks, and it could be quite a challenge to keep the 'Spud the Scarecrow Dancing' card from getting mixed up with 'Spud Walking' or 'Spud Using Heavy Machinery in a Life-Threatening Manner'. I'm sure other parents agree that a 'Bob Having an Accident with his Propane Torch' card would have solved the Spud dilemma once and for all.

After 'B the B' there was the 'Toy Story' version, which also had overly-similar, multiple poses of a couple of the characters. It's very humbling to be beaten at anything by a three year old. Equally challenging was the Tonka Memory game given to Son #2, who loved anything with wheels. There again, it could be difficult to tell a wrecker from a dump truck; Son 2 also turned up his cards like he was playing Texas Hold'em. That whole thing about everyone having to see what he had uncovered probably just seemed like bad strategy.

I have checked every Memory box, and every card is there. I have sealed them in Ziploc bags so the next little lover of trains, tractors, or Jesse the Yodelin' Cowgirl will not go without his or her favorite pair. Each Memory is packed and ready to go; each memory remains, sweetly intact.

Harper's asking for your votes again.

But this time it's to decide what to name the family cat.

Mr. Harper, I suggest you name it "Birdseat". Then, whenever anyone in your household uses the phrase, "the cat, Birdseat," it will be a pleasant reminder to you of where you've been sitting since May 2nd.

Now you know how important a piece of news has to be to bring me out of retirement.

Mrs. P. chimes in. I have a name for the cat: Pitty Sing. Read this story to find out why. (Think of it as a metaphor, if not a cautionary tale, for those of us who voted conservative.)