Saturday, September 29, 2012

In honour of Michaelmas

Or, the feast of St. Michael the Archangel. My favourite St. Michael poem, and my favourite image of St. Michael.

To St. Michael in Time of Peace
G.K. Chesterton

Michael, Michael: Michael of the Morning,
Michael of the Army of the Lord,
Stiffen thou the hand upon the still sword, Michael,
Folded and shut upon the sheathed sword, Michael,
Under the fullness of the white robes falling,
Gird us with the secret of the sword.

When the world cracked because of a sneer in heaven,
Leaving out for all time a scar upon the sky,
Thou didst rise up against the Horror in the highest,
Dragging down the highest that looked down on the Most High:
Rending from the seventh heaven the hell of exaltation
Down the seven heavens till the dark seas burn:
Thou that in thunder threwest down the Dragon
Knowest in what silence the Serpent can return.

Down through the universe the vast night falling
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the Morning!)
Far down the universe the deep calms calling
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the Sword!)
Bid us not forget in the baths of all forgetfulness,
In the sigh long drawn from the frenzy and the fretfulness
In the huge holy sempiternal silence
In the beginning was the Word.

When from the deeps of dying God astounded
Angels and devils who do all but die
Seeing Him fallen where thou couldst not follow,
Seeing Him mounted where thou couldst not fly,
Hand on the hilt, thou hast halted all thy legions
Waiting the Tetelestai and the acclaim,
Swords that salute Him dead and everlasting
God beyond God and greater than His Name.

Round us and over us the cold thoughts creeping
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the battle-cry!)
Round us and under us the thronged world sleeping
(Michael, Michael: Michael of the Charge!)
Guard us the Word; the trysting and the trusting
Edge upon the honour and the blade unrusting
Fine as the hair and tauter than the harpstring
Ready as when it rang upon the targe.

He that giveth peace unto us; not as the world giveth:
He that giveth law unto us; not as the scribes:
Shall he be softened for the softening of the cities
Patient in usury; delicate in bribes?
They that come to quiet us, saying the sword is broken,
Break man with famine, fetter them with gold,
Sell them as sheep; and He shall know the selling
For He was more than murdered. He was sold.

Michael, Michael: Michael of the Mustering,
Michael of the marching on the mountains of the Lord,
Marshal the world and purge of rot and riot
Rule through the world till all the world be quiet:
Only establish when the world is broken
What is unbroken is the word.


If you want to understand Obama's UN speech

If not his entire presidency, you need Mark Steyn, the only man on the planet who can make the Fall of Civilization seem funny. The accent and ginger hair are just a bonus.
If I understand correctly the cumulative vision of the speech, the future will belong to gay feminist ecumenical Muslims. You can take that to the bank. But make no mistake, as he would say, and in fact did: "We face a choice between the promise of the future or the prisons of the past, and we cannot afford to get it wrong." Because if we do, we could spend our future living in the prisons of the past, which we forgot to demolish in the present for breach of wheelchair-accessibility codes.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Monday, September 24, 2012

Just in case you have $16,000 plus change burning a hole in your pocket

You could purchase this collector's set of Andrew Lang's well-loved fairy tale books. 

Less pricey versions are, of course, available at Amazon and elsewhere. I've opted for the one-income homeschool mom's approach: downloading the audio books for free from Librivox.  Great for those tedious car trips to music lessons (20 miles) and swim lessons (45 miles).

Mr. Greenfield and his Steynesque ways

It is a mistake to think of such riots as a reaction to blasphemy. One might as well call the Fourth of July a reaction to fireworks. When the weather is warm, the economy is lousy and some politician stands to benefit from shouting, "Death to America" at an embassy or a fried chicken place, then the internet cafes in Cairo and Karachi begin buzzing with bearded men eagerly searching for something properly blasphemous to outrage the sensibilities of Muslim burghers waiting around to be shocked by the decadent infidels with their cartoon-drawing, chess-playing and kite-flying ways.

Blasphemy for Fun and Prophet

Friday, September 21, 2012

Mr. Esolen knocks another one out of the park

Has this man written books? If so, where can I get them? Here he was last July, making me laugh. Now, he almost makes me weep. Parents, don't let your babies grow up to be the kind of young adults he describes in this article.

For more, here's Anthony Esolen's articles page at Crisis Magazine. I've bookmarked it.

h/t ProWomanProLife.

Thank Goodness It's Friday With The Avetts: Cars

Today I'm going car-shopping (yet again...yawn... I mean, Oh Yay!) with Mr. P.

It's high time that we found a vehicle to replace the minivan that died last May. Right now we're down to one reliable means of conveyance, and it happens to be our 15-passenger van. (I've always thought we should stencil the nickname "Carbon Footprint" somewhere on it.) I don't particularly like driving it (have certainly never attempted a parallel park in 9 years of ownership), and it just feels plain silly when you need to dash out on an errand and you're roaring around in that behemoth all by yourself. In today's climate (no pun) you almost expect to be scolded in public by some greenie for the sin of offending Gaia.

I don't know what kind of vehicle we'll buy, but it won't be a 63 Ford Galaxie 500 XL (this one is listed at $75,000--yes, you read that right; I didn't put in an extra zero by mistake).

And now, for your Friday listening pleasure, I offer the perennially delightful Seth singing a live rendition of "In the Curve," one of the bonus tracks on the iTunes version of the (uber-fabulous) album Emotionalism.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"A critical mass of disaffected men"

NatPo's Barbara Kay nails it in "Manliness Still Matters." You bet your boots it does.
It is hypocritical to endorse for women the exploitative sex that feminists used to condemn in men. Apart from that, I find it rings false historically. In my pre-feminist generation, women married very young. But that didn’t stop those with ambition from realizing their goals. On the contrary, they were undistracted by promiscuity’s sexual day trading, and being married wonderfully focused their minds.
Three cheers for manly men.

I love him cuz he makes me laugh

"You can wear a giant foam cowboy hat in public, or be a policy expert — but not both."

Mr. Caldwell on the U.S. economy: "To wit, whenever politicians get agitated to “do something,” they almost always do it wrong."

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Go Canadian Bishops!

Pinch me. I must be dreaming. LSN:
In an unprecedented move, Canada’s bishops have put a halt to Development and Peace’s fall education campaign after several bishops refused to allow the materials into their parishes.
The bishops’ beleaguered aid organization was forced to delay its traditional campaign until mid-October for revisions after complaints that it was too politically-focused, reports the Catholic Register’s Michael Swan. According to the news agency, it is the first time the bishops have directly intervened to stop one of D&P’s education campaigns.

"education" [snort] I guess that makes Che an educator too.

This latest intervention from the bishops comes as their official aid organization continues to be dogged by criticisms over its overseas funding partnerships with groups that promote abortion, contraception, and other activities contrary to Catholic teaching.
The bishops had launched a renewal of the organization in 2010 in response to the criticism, but D&P’s leadership has remained intact, they have refused to release a full list of partners, and have continued to partner with questionable groups.
As Ezra says, Fire. Them. All.

"Stroking your Cuisenaire rods and sobbing" only Simcha can say it.
You know what I'm seeing everywhere these days? Parents who've home schooled their kids for several years, and then suddenly, for no good reason, up and send their kids off to a regular classroom school. They do this without giving it much thought, because they either (a) are lazy and don't love their children, or (b) are disastrously naive about what the modern world is like, and assume that their kids will be taught Dick and Jane and how to open doors for their elders.
Or, wait. I'm seeing that nowhere. Nowhere at all.

What I am seeing is people who, for one reason or another, realized that homeschooling is no longer the best choice for their particular family. It is generally a gut-wrenching decision, made only after lots of prayer and fretting, research and weighing of options.
I'm not quitting homeschooling (this year), but I'm already having some sadness/withdrawal about getting rid of my preschool and K-2 stuff (especially my Math Manipulatives, which I love--it must be the bright colours or something). However, time marches on, seasons pass, and various other cliches.

I like the comment left by suburbancorrespondent on Simcha's post, though of course it's best not to make blanket generalizations about others' insecurities. (There are many and varied reasons to critique certain public schools, but let's not go there today.)
I do think it is homeschoolers’ insecurities that lead them to attack the public schools. But also, it is the endless questioning of their lifestyle by other people that produces some of that defensive tone. Everyone just needs to put their dukes down, I guess, and realize that all of us mere mortals are just bumbling along, doing the best we can for our kids…homeschooling/public schooling/private schooling alike.
Amen, friend.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mitt Romney is not joining your curling team

The smart, witty, and boyishly handsome Theo Caldwell on why Canucks should support Mr. Romney.
The Economy:

Canada benefits most when America is open to its products, and has the money to pay for them. Emotionally satisfying as it may be for Canadians to see the Loonie at parity or soaring above the American dollar, a stronger US currency maximizes Canada’s strengths.
(Ain’t that the truth! Some of my overseas writing jobs pay in U.S. dollars and by time the exchange rate kicks in--and stinking Paypal has taken their pound of flesh-- well, ouch.)

There are those who loudly insist our energy must come from wind, solar, and their own sense of self-satisfaction. But even the shrillest of Birkenstocked, Begley-ite, “No Blood for Oil” protesters must, on some level, be practical. Canada’s oil will be tapped and sold. Would they prefer it go to our imperfect ally, the United States, or to a demonstrably malevolent power like the People’s Republic of China? 
And the coup de grĂ¢ce (no double entendre intended):
Finally, if nothing else, consider this: If Obama is re-elected and his socialization of American health care becomes complete, where will Canadians go for treatment when waiting lines at home grow too long?

Ouch again, as Joe Biden would literally say. 

Exorcising my inner Mrs. Jellyby

Dated 2006, but fresh as a daisy (as truth is wont to be). Brilliant essay by Jim Forest at In Communion.

Mysticism is the antidote to getting too caught up in a 'cause', however worthy. Devotion to ideology can also be tempered by doing practical work for those in your immediate household.  Truly, charity begins at home.

h/t Kathy Shaidle

Could he be the Jewish Mark Steyn?

This guy is hilarious, even when he's scary.  Daniel Greenfield aka Sultan Knish.

"We are trying to hammer home the message that Salafists are normal people," an Egyptian Salafist told CNN, without acknowledging that Salafists with hammers are the last thing that anyone wants to see. "We eat the same food, drink the same beverages and frequent the same hangouts. So don't be surprised when you find Salafists sitting next to you at Costas, sipping lattes." And then possibly blowing up the place on the way out.

From his article "All the Islamophobia You Can Shake a Stick At."

Monday, September 17, 2012

A breath of fresh air

Steven Crowder on getting married the right way:
Feeling judged? I couldn’t care less. You know why? Because my wife and I were judged all throughout our relationship. People laughed, scoffed and poked fun at the young, celibate, naive Christian couple.
[...] I think it’s important to write this column not to gloat (though I’ll be glad to), but to speak up for all of the young couples that have also done things the right way. When people do marriage right, they don’t complain so much, and so their voices are silenced by the rabble of promiscuous charlatans, peddling their pathetic world view as “progressive.”
h/t LifeSiteNews

Related: Fr. Barron on the hookup culture.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Shana tova!

Rosh Hashanah begins in this evening, and ends on Tuesday evening. I could go for that: a celebration of New Year that lasts for three days. 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Barry does Vegas

As only Mark Steyn can tell it.
The president is surrounded by delirious fanbois and fangurls screaming "We love you," too drunk on his celebrity to understand that this is the first photo-op in the aftermath of a national humiliation. [...] 
The president is too lazy and cocksure to have learned any prepared remarks or mastered the appropriate tone, notwithstanding that a government that spends more money than any government in the history of the planet has ever spent can surely provide him with both a speechwriting team and a quiet corner on his private wide-bodied jet to consider what might be fitting for the occasion. So instead he sloughs off the words, bloodless and unfelt: "And obviously our hearts are broken..." Yeah, it's totally obvious. [...]
When it comes to a flailing, blundering superpower, I am generally wary of ascribing to malevolence what is more often sheer stupidity and incompetence.
A must-read.

Say what you will about Dubya, but never in a thousand years would be have behaved in this manner.

Homeschoolers, what could YOU do with $11,572?

Not as in, one lump sum. That's PER child, PER year. That's what New York City spends on "education" per pupil. And all for what?

Daniel Greenfield (whose critique is on postmodern western education, BTW, not just that promulgated in NYC):  
Meta-culture is even more useless as it is aimed at internalizing the specialized vocabularies created through categorizing culture to group identities. It is not only a useless egotistical exercise, but also quite pernicious as well. Analyzing analyses of culture and then critiquing them for political conformity used to be for aspiring Marxist poets singing marching songs from the Spanish Civil War. Now it's for everyone. Ten years from now, we will spending three times as much on education and most students will have trouble with basic math and literacy, but will immediately be able to look at a Bugs Bunny cartoon and determine whose narrative it privileges. (Hint: White men.)
The more you universalize education, the lower the value of that education becomes. When the goal of education is not to teach, but to graduate, then the educational system becomes a cattle run which exists only to move students through the system and then out the door through classroom promotion. The High School education of today is inferior to the Elementary School education of yesterday and the four year college graduate of today couldn't even begin to match wits with a high school graduate from 1946. College has become the new High School. Graduate school is the new college.
Read it all.

Friday, September 14, 2012


Sometimes the old words are the coolest. Today is the feast of the Triumph of the Cross.

Lift high the cross,
the love of Christ proclaim
till all the world adore
his sacred Name.

Come, brethren, follow where our Captain trod,
our King victorious, Christ the Son of God. 

Led on their way by this triumphant sign,
the hosts of God in conquering ranks combine. 

Each newborn soldier of the Crucified
bears on the brow the seal of him who died. 

This is the sign which Satan's legions fear
and angels veil their faces to rever. 

Saved by this Cross whereon their Lord was slain,
the sons of Adam their lost home regain. 

From north and south, from east and west they raise
in growing unison their songs of praise. 

O Lord, once lifted on the glorious tree,
as thou hast promised, draw the world to thee. 

Let every race and every language tell
of him who saves our souls from death and hell. 

From farthest regions let their homage bring,
and on his Cross adore their Savior King. 

Set up thy throne, that earth's despair may cease
beneath the shadow of its healing peace. 

For thy blest Cross which doth for all atone
creation's praises rise before thy throne. 

Words: George William Kitchen and Michael Robert Newbolt, 1916

I don't always agree with everything he says

But Daniel Greenfield sure has a way of cutting through the lying wimpy dhimmified rhetoric of Obama, the MSM, academe et al.
In Libya, we already had a tyrant like that, and we hunted him down and watched him be sodomized to death by the brave Libyan people in the name of freedom, democracy and apple pie. And then nearly a year later, the brave Libyan people were playing with our ambassador's corpse the way that they had with their tyrant's-- because once you unleash the savages, they don't just go back to hoeing olive trees and dragging sacks of sand through the desert. Why would they, when they can make ten times as much by enlisting in a militia and burning our consulates to the ground?
There are no bloodless victories, but we can choose whether to bleed our enemy or to bleed our hearts. And when our hearts bleed for the enemy, than the blood sooner or later stops being a metaphor and becomes a sticky dark red liquid on the boots of the brave Afghan people, the brave Iraqi people, the brave Libyan people or the brave Syrian people and all the other brave peoples we will set out to save from the hells they make for themselves.

Don't mind me, I'm just eating my heart out

Because I am NOT in P.E.I. at this very moment. And I am NOT going to the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival this weekend. And so I will NOT be attending the Avett's last concert of 2012 on Canadian soil this very evening. How to console myself?

From their latest album, The Carpenter: a song of new fatherhood...just beautiful. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

You can have my moustache--when you shave it from my cold, dead face

Good on ya!

Hair as a political statement: hippies, call your OWS tents

Mark Steyn with the latest from the surreal world of Things Islamists Find Offensive.
If we could have President Obama’s and General Dempsey’s backbones replaced by waxed Pakistani mustaches, we might have a sporting chance.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

"Work needs a PR campaign"

Ain't that the truth. I can't say I regret my Arts degree because it did help me (I hope) to become a better writer and a better tutor for my children, and I might not have met Mr. P, had I gone to welding school...

But it's true that not everyone should go to college/university. And it's true that North America is desperately short of skilled labour. And it's true that our society is too snobbish about 'blue collar' work (despite the irony that those skilled guys and gals make actual money, and sometimes lots of it). And it's true that our economy is in a mess largely because people no longer want to do hands-on labour. And it's true that there are more and more Completely Useless degree programs being offered (Gender Studies? ye gods...) which engender nothing but debt--and wonky thinking. We all seem to want to live in the Ivory Tower (and get paid handsomely for it), but what happens when the plumbing breaks down?

As the folks in the video below point out, nothing is stopping you from pursuing the liberal arts (and becoming a Renaissance man) AFTER you've acquired a marketable skill. But your first challenge upon leaving the nest is basic financial survival. (The path we've adopted: amass huge debt on a useless degree, then move back in with Mom and Dad, clearly is not working--no pun intended.)

And dang, if I'd taken a plumbing or carpentry course, I wouldn't be waiting 14 years for my kitchen renovation to be complete.

One of many money quotes: "Usefulness makes you happy." That would explain a lot about my life.

Worth a listen, despite slight language warning.

h/t SDA

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

In Memoriam

Strong Son of God, immortal Love,
Whom we, that have not seen thy face,
By faith, and faith alone, embrace,
Believing where we cannot prove;

Thine are these orbs of light and shade;
Thou madest Life in man and brute;
Thou madest Death; and lo, thy foot
Is on the skull which thou hast made.

Thou wilt not leave us in the dust:
Thou madest man, he knows not why,
He thinks he was not made to die;
And thou hast made him: thou art just.

Thou seemest human and divine,
The highest, holiest manhood, thou.
Our wills are ours, we know not how;
Our wills are ours, to make them thine.

Our little systems have their day;
They have their day and cease to be:
They are but broken lights of thee,
And thou, O Lord, art more than they.

We have but faith: we cannot know;
For knowledge is of things we see
And yet we trust it comes from thee,
A beam in darkness: let it grow.

Let knowledge grow from more to more,
But more of reverence in us dwell;
That mind and soul, according well,
May make one music as before,

But vaster. We are fools and slight;
We mock thee when we do not fear:
But help thy foolish ones to bear;
Help thy vain worlds to bear thy light.

Forgive what seem'd my sin in me;
What seem'd my worth since I began;
For merit lives from man to man,
And not from man, O Lord, to thee.

Forgive my grief for one removed,
Thy creature, whom I found so fair.
I trust he lives in thee, and there
I find him worthier to be loved.

Forgive these wild and wandering cries,
Confusions of a wasted youth;
Forgive them where they fail in truth,
And in thy wisdom make me wise.

Alfred, Lord Tennyson 1849.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

From Lady Gaga's lips to God's ears

Wants to move to a new planet if "IfObamaDontWin".

That must be the planet where they're storing the trillions to pay off the U.S. debt. Hope she takes all her lefty lib pals with her.

Doofus Nonsensical Comedy

John Hayward at Human Events brilliantly dissects the rhetoric at the DNC. Too funny.
Bill Clinton used his speech to say that Obama’s 2008 promises were unrealistic, and no one could possibly have delivered them. 24 hours later, Obama took the stage to make the same promises all over again. But you can trust him this time!
Obama actually felt it necessary to remind the audience that “I’m no longer just a candidate, I’m the President” – a matter that might actually be in doubt among the Democrat faithful, if they’ve been taking Obama’s endless whining about the enduring power of George Bush seriously.
You will search this speech in vain for any acknowledgement of error, any sense that Barack Obama understands what he has done wrong, or indeed has the faintest clue why his economy teeters on the edge of recession. We just have to try his failed ideas a little harder, with a fresh infusion of cash, and they’ll suddenly start working. And if you want to scale back his irresponsible spending – why, you want to “gut education,” and let companies release “toxic pollution into the air your children breathe.” As always, the bloated bureaucracies and billion-dollar crony deals are hidden behind teachers, cops, firefighters, and children.

Friday, September 7, 2012

TGIFWTA: Just FOUR more days!

Until the new Avett Brothers CD is released. Here's the lead/title track from the album, "The Once and Future Carpenter." (Go Joe! Love that cello.)

"If I live the life I'm given, I won't be scared to die." Wise words. 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mummy dearest

Absolutely, positively one for the "What were they thinking????" files. More weird and wonderful stuff from Awkward Family

Monday, September 3, 2012

Maybe he's compensating for something

Those who can, do. Those who can't, pretend to be the bestest (ever!) at everything else, even stuff that totally doesn't matter.
In 2010, he began by announcing that he would perform “the best rendition ever” of “Green Eggs and Ham,” ripping into his Sam-I-Ams with unusual conviction.
NYT's Jodi Cantor on the Big 0's arrogance exceedingly healthy sense of self-esteem.
Now Mr. Obama is in the climactic contest of his career, about to receive the ultimate judgment on his performance from the American people.
As one friend emailed some days ago: "I sincerely hope that Obama suffers the most crushing defeat in US presidential election history. He claims to be the most outstanding at everything else, but that is one record I'd like to see him hold."

That's not wishing him ill;  it might benefit him in the long run for his hubris to be taken down a few dozen pegs or so.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

It's too late to outlaw the 1970s

But surely something could be done about legislating sideburns out of existence for future generations.

Courtesy of Awkward Family Photos.

And pantsuits, just... no.
What kind of man allows himself to be talked into dressing like his wife and three-year-old daughter???? Or worse, maybe it was HIS idea...

and HAIR
(this pic didn't need to be any larger)


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Thanks, Communism!

Russia is reeling in horror as crosses are cut down, relics are stolen from churches, and a mother and daughter are found murdered in their apartment with the words “Free Pussy Riot” scrawled on the wall in what appears to be their blood, following the conviction of the leftist “punk rock” band for an obscenity-laden protest in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral earlier this month.

Some people run with the bulls, some people eat fugu, some people sue Mark Steyn.

How do you  flirt with destruction?

This is an alarming trend. Soon Mr. Steyn won't be able to so much as submit his favorite pie recipe to the town compilation cookbook without somebody suing him over the quantity of lard.

Here's your weekend slice of Steyn Pie:
  When you don't have frighteningly white upscale liberals obsessing about the racist subtext of golf, it's amazing how much time it frees up to talk about other stuff. For example, as dysfunctional as Greece undoubtedly is, if you criticize the government's plans for public pensions, there are no Chris Matthews-types with such a highly evolved state of racial consciousness that they reflexively hear "watermelon" instead of the word "pensions." So, instead, everyone discusses the actual text rather than the imaginary subtext. Which may be why political discourse in the eurozone is marginally less unreal than ours right now: At least they're talking about "austerity"; over here, we're still spending, and more than ever.
This reminds me of that Twilight Zone episode where all the words in the English language were redefined over the course of a week or so: "lunch" became "dinosaur", "Wednesday" was now the word for "dog", etc. We seem to be well into the twilight zone at this point.