Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Stanley Cup Finals - First game

Not the spectacular opening to the series we were hoping for - Anaheim beat Ottawa 3-2 in the first game. It was hard-fought, though, and hopefully Game 2 tomorrow night will show the Senators pushing back.

There was an annoying commercial during the game - David Suzuki appearing in some guy's basement to chide him over keeping a second fridge for beer. The guy was supposed to be a typical Canadian - slobby, overweight, with his shirt hanging out. Don't remember his name - might have been Bob. They're always Bob.

Anyway, Suzuki didn't waste much time trying to convince Slob Bob that he should worry about the environment because he was using more than his share of electricity. He cut to the chase and gave it to him in language he could understand: "And it costs $135 a year to operate!" Boob Bob got the message: "That's a lot of beer." (WARM beer, Bob.) Then Blob Bob went chasing through the house turning off lights and appliances, lured by the prospect of more beer. That's what Canadian bien pensants think about ordinary citizens - fat oafs ruled by their bellies, who'll only get to the Promised Land if you leave a trail of beer for them to lap up. Don't bother EXPLAINING anything to them! Just put out a saucer of beer! Well, why should I be surprised? During the last election, Scott Reid, a Liberal candidate, pooh-poohed the idea of giving us plebs with small children a tax break because we'd just blow it on "beer and popcorn". He might have been an English squire giving a shilling to a dodgy-looking forelock-tugger: "Don't spend it all on drink, my man." Scratch a liberal, and you'll find a raging oligarch.

Garden visitor

I was out looking at the garden yesterday morning, when to my astonishment, a hummingbird hovered over, and hung about for several seconds. There was nothing interesting for it to eat - they're attracted to bright colours, and it's too early for most of my flowers - but I think it was drawn by a small clump of orange tulips, now, unfortunately, very tired out and ready to fall. It's always a bit of a shock when a hummingbird appears. I can't immediately realize what it is - I thought this one was a dragonfly, even though my brain was trying to say, "No, that would be a VERY BIG dragonfly! This can't be right." And you can't see their wings when they're flying; finally, I saw the head, and recognized it as a bird.

Things are progressing nicely. About half the potatoes I planted have come up, and I expect more will follow. The Boyne raspberries are covered with flowers that haven't opened yet, but it looks like we'll get a lot of berries. Trial and error - not cutting the canes down last fall was the right thing to do, but it took me 3 years to figure it out.

Green onions have all sprouted, and about half the shallots. I've planted 9 different tomato plants, and 4 hot pepper plants. I'm not going to bother with the regular bell peppers; they produce more than we can use, and green peppers are readily available at the store.

My only worry is that the Benjamin Britten rose I transplanted to make room for the damson plum is looking a bit peaky - yellow leaves, some shrivelling. Maybe the soil doesn't agree with it. I'll try some foliar feeding to see if that helps; it doesn't seem to have any bugs.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Busy weekend - auction

Saturday I spent all day at an auction, and I mean ALL day! I left at 7:00 AM (late, as usual - I'd wanted to leave at 6:30 but I had to keep doing things for the kids and get a load of laundry in, so I didn't leave on time), and it was a 2 hour drive west to a farmhouse in the vicinity of Godfrey. It was a very beautiful location; there are lakes everywhere around there, and the property was a small house on 17 acres, with ponds behind it, and a tall rocky hill covered with woods that stretched out of view. I'd have loved to live in a place like that.

I got there at 9:00, precisely the start time for the auction, so I had to browse about the tables and try to keep an eye out for anything interesting that might come up for auction. You wouldn't believe the amount of stuff that was in this place! A lot of it had been stored in the barn, but the auction went on until 6:30PM! Then we had to stand in line for an hour to pay for our purchases - don't know why it was so slow, everyone was commenting on it. And after that, a 2-hour drive back home, so I didn't arrive back in Ottawa until 10:00. I really don't like being out that long; I prefer an auction I can go to and get back from in time for supper, but this one was worth it overall.

I finally got something we've been wanting for a long time - a deepfreeze! It's 10 cu.ft., about 2 years old, but looks brand new, cost $130, and it was just the right size to fit into the van. Dean and I got it into the house on Sunday. Now that we're turning into such farmers, raising our own produce and all, I feel we need somewhere besides the fridge to store stuff. Of course, as soon as I say that I think I'll cut up some rhubarb and freeze it, he's asking if he can't take it to the office and distribute it to people there instead. Oh well, it's not like we can't do both - the rhubarb is getting pretty big, and I've already made 3 pies.

That was the big purchase, but I got a few other things too, including a set of 1970s stainless steel cutlery with a nice modernist pattern for about $25 - now I can get rid of all that tarnished mismatched stuff we've been enduring for the last 2 years. The lady whose estate was being settled had been a primary school teacher, and I also got a box of very old schoolbooks. I swear I recognize some of them, but it may just be the font that they're printed in. There's something about those old fonts - they just don't use them anymore, and the minute you see them, you're back in the 60s. I'll scan a page or two just to show you. There was also a box of old recipe books and clippings, some of which are quite hilarious. My favourite so far was an ad from a 1967 special holiday recipe edition of the Detroit News. An ad for The Honey Baked Ham Co. was advertising hams for your holiday dinner (Christmas or Thanksgiving, they didn't say which), and the slogan read, "So good it will haunt you 'til it's gone". HAUNT you! That's not the first term I'd think of to describe a good ham.

There were also very interesting things to look at at this auction. Among all the bric-a-brac were several pieces of church furnishings, including a huge solid brass eagle lectern. There were also 2 church pews, but those aren't so unusual to find in country homes; what went for a big price was a couple pieces of solid wood panels with arched moldings. I don't know just what they were, but they looked like the front panels from a choir stall. They were very popular (well, comparatively popular - went for just of $100, I think). I was also sad to see a big pile of padded kneelers and a padded altar rail.

From talking to people, I learned that these things had come out of the Anglican Church in Verona, a few miles north, which had been closed about 2 years ago. I tried to find some information about it when I got home, but the most I could find was this planning report for the whole Diocese of Ontario. Verona is dealt with near the end, where it reads,

There were historically three churches in this parish, recently the church in Verona and Harrowsmith were closed. Verona has been sold and the Harrowsmith church is up for sale. The Rev. Art Turnball is the Priest in Charge. He has only been in the parish a few months. St. Paul's Sydenham is a very important location north of Kingston. The average Sunday attendance is 44; the age breakdown of the parish shows an aging congregation. This is already starting to change with the new incumbent.

The new incumbent has been working to enhance the worship and Christian education in the parish. They had a very positive Vestry meeting and several new members are now on Parish Council. They have a small Sunday school and are starting to see new families and young people in the parish. A Server's Guild has been started to get young people involved and community events are being used as an opportunity to meet people. He is running a Lenten Study "Essentials for the Church in the 21st Century" including some book studies. There are 10 to 12 people signed up for it. He hopes that this group may become a new core for the congregation. Integrating the newcomers into a close-knit congregation is often a challenge. There are a handful of people from Harrowsmith that have joined the parish. There are none from Verona attending at this time. Most of the Verona members attend the United Church where they have friends.
And thus it was that Verona's handsome brass lectern ended up at a country auction, where it was sold for $350. It just seems like such a sad way for a church to end up; and the remaining members drifted off to the United Church. I guess they were probably old people, as many are in the churches out there, and didn't want to travel to go worship with some strangers, they stayed where their friends were.

The whole report is pretty sad, actually. On page 29, there's a graph showing the aging of the diocese, compared with the general population of the area. Twice as many people over 65 as there are in the surrounding population. No wonder the whole thing is an endless litany of "final generation churches", which have to be provided with a sort of hospice care for their final years.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Current reading

At the moment, I'm reading "Nicholas and Alexandra" by Robert K. Massie. I don't know just where I obtained this book, but it's turned out to be quite an interesting read. It's a sympathetic portrait of the last of the Romanovs. As you can imagine, it's a pretty grim tale, but I think I came across the one funny story in the entire book - it made me laugh, anyway. It concerns the British Ambassador to Tsarist Russia, Sir George Buchanan:
Sir George Buchanan was an old-school diplomat, distinguished by discretion, silvery hair and a monocle. Seven years' service in Russia had left him weary and frail, but with a host of friends and admirers, including the Tsar himself. His only handicap in fulfilling his post was his inability to speak Russian. This made no difference in Petrograd, where everyone who mattered also spoke French or English. In 1916, however, Buchanan visited Moscow, where he was made an honorary citizen of the city and given a priceless icon and a massive silver loving cup. "In the heart of Russia," wrote R.H. Bruce Lockhart, the British Consul General, who was assisting in Buchanan's visit, "he had to say at least a word or two in Russian. We had carefully rehearsed the ambassador to hold it up and say to the distinguished audience, 'Spasibo', which is the short form of Russian for 'thank you.' Instead, Sir George, in a firm voice, held up the cup and said, 'Za pivo' which means 'for beer.'"
After I finish this, I'm going to go back and finish reading 'Pilgrim's Progress'. I'd started it, but when I picked up this book it interrupted my reading, so I'll go back to it later. I think I must have read it a long, long time ago, but after "Phantastes", I felt I needed to jump into a REAL allegory.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

They should get Sir Humphrey Appleby to write their press releases

Integrity Outraged at Canterbury's Choice of Bigotry And Discrimination Rather Than Inclusion Of Bishop Gene Robinson

May 22, 2007

"Integrity is outraged and appalled," said Integrity President Susan Russell. "This is not only a snub of Bishop Gene Robinson but an affront to the entire U.S. Episcopal Church. The Archbishop of Canterbury has allowed himself to be blackmailed by forces promoting bigotry and exclusion in the Anglican Communion. This action shows a disgraceful lack of leadership on Williams’ part."

Jim: I'm appalled.
Sir Humphrey: You're appalled? I'm appalled.
Jim: I just can't believe it I'm ... I'm appalled. What do you make of it Bernard?
Bernard: I'm appalled.
Jim: So am I, appalled.
Sir Humphrey: (after a pause) It's appalling.

- Yes, Minister, Episode #5, 'The Writing on the Wall'

Monday, May 21, 2007

Book meme (tag, you're IT!)

Kasia at The Clam Rampant has tagged me for a particularly juicy meme: recommended books. I'm glad I can go back and edit this post later; I find that when I try to come up with lists of books, I always think of better entries later on.

Three works of non-fiction everyone should read

1. 'The Everlasting Man', by G.K. Chesterton

2. 'The Life of Johnson', by James Boswell - so much good sense and inspiring wisdom packed into one book

3. 'Reflections on the Revolution in France', by Edmund Burke - living in another age of revolution, I find that this book is still as true as the day it was written.

and just to throw in one extra one, that's not particularly a book for the ages, but still a darn good read:

4. 'Forgiven' by Charles E. Shepard - the story of the rise and fall of the PTL Club. It's a fascinating story, just a perfect storm of greed and blindness, and it's very well-written.

Three works of fiction everyone should read

1. 'Mansfield Park', by Jane Austen - my favourite of her novels, because of the complexity of the story and quiet grace of the writing.

2. 'The Great Divorce', by C.S. Lewis - I gave this to my mom when she was dying, and I think it may have been instrumental in convincing her to be baptized on her deathbed. The images of the afterworld are something that I can't help adopting myself, even though I know that it's Lewis's own invention.

3. 'The Collected Ghost Stories of M.R. James' - ghost stories are a difficult genre to do well, and James was an absolute master. He never had to raise his voice, and he could create horror in the sober settings of a church, a library, a seaside hotel room. That's the scariest thing - imagining that it could happen to YOU, just sitting in your apartment or waiting for the bus.

Three authors everyone should read

1. G.K. Chesterton
2. Jane Austen
3. Mark Steyn

Three books no one should read

1. 'His Dark Materials' by Philip Pullman. Well, OK, you can read the first book, but not the others. The whole thing collapses under the weight of its author's malicious hatred for God.

2. 'Wuthering Heights' by Emily Bronte. It's just too hysterical and brutal.

3. 'Atlas Shrugged' by Ayn Rand. Teenagers go through a stage when they think this is a great book, but the older I get, the more I'm turned off by the crude materialism of the writer's viewpoint. The only part of it I enjoy now is what is generally thought of as its lesser quality - the action part, with the country collapsing into chaos as its leaders search for the superman who can rescue their rotten economic and moral system. The "love story" is laughable.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Vive le galop infernal

I guess I should have commented before now on Mrs. Schori's interview with the Austin American-Statesman. Other people did, but I just didn't feel like it. Frankly, it's hard to find much humour in TEC and its owners these days. I feel like someone who's gone from chuckling over a relative's scattered, eccentric antics to realizing with shame and horror that that relative has crossed the line from eccentricity into dementia, and is never coming back. It's just not funny sometimes.

The more Mrs. Schori babbles her inane bromides about the great future ahead of TEC and "the field ripe for the harvest" that's supposedly just waiting for her eager beavers to reap and gather in, the more I feel that I'm watching a whole organization descending into insanity.

I've always been a great reader of ghost and horror stories, and now I'm reminded of a story called 'The Dancing Partner' by Jerome K. Jerome. It's the story of a man who builds a robot to dance with ladies at a ball. It isn't alive, but it's built to look like it is, and for a while, it does exactly what it's supposed to do - it dances perfectly, never steps on toes, never misses a step, and it sends out a continuous stream of "charming" platitudes, just like a real man. The problem, of course, is that it can't be trusted not to go wrong, and when it does, the disaster keeps building exponentially, and nobody knows how to stop it.
"Had any one retained a cool head, the figure, one cannot help thinking, might easily have been stopped. Two or three men acting in concert might have lifted it bodily off the floor, or have jammed it into a corner. But few human heads are capable of remaining cool under excitement. Those who are not present think how stupid must have been those who were; those who are reflect afterwards how simple it would have been to do this, that, or the other, if only they had thought of it at the time.

"The women grew hysterical. The men shouted contradictory directions to one another. Two of them made a bungling rush at the figure, which had the end result of forcing it out of its orbit at the centre of the room, and sending it crashing against the walls and furniture. A stream of blood showed itself down the girl's white frock, and followed her along the floor. The affair was becoming horrible. The women rushed screaming from the room. The men followed them.

"One sensible suggestion was made: 'Find Geibel -- fetch Geibel.'

"No one had noticed him leave the room, no one knew where he was. A party went in search of him. The others, too unnerved to go back into the ballroom, crowded outside the door and listened. They could hear the steady whir of the wheels upon the polished floor as the thing spun round and round; the dull thud as every now and again it dashed itself and its burden against some opposing object and ricocheted off in a new direction.

"And everlastingly it talked in that thin ghostly voice, repeating over and over the same formula: 'How charming you look to-night. What a lovely day it has been. Oh, don't be so cruel. I could go on dancing for ever -- with you. Have you had supper?'
That's what's happened to the Episcopal Church: when it first started going wrong, it could have been stopped and set right, but people were too confused and lost their chance. Now, it's racing around, faster and faster, smashing up against things and ricocheting off, causing more and more damage. Meanwhile, it goes on grinding out the same old meaningless platitudes, like a tinny recording, while leaving a trail of destruction in its path.

Garden photos

As requested, here are a few pictures of recent additions to the garden.

First, the apples:
That's the Cortland on the right, and the Northern Spy on the left. I'm actually standing right by the fence at the bottom of the garden, so this is sort of backwards from the way I usually view them when I'm looking out from the house. Those are raspberries growing at the corner of the Old Garden behind them.

Next, the new Damson Plum:
I was thinking of putting it down at the same level as the rest of the garden, but when I dragged it out to the patio, it looked so nice, I thought maybe we could keep it up at this higher level. Besides, damsons are not always reliably hardy - they're only rated as Zone 5 (in Canada), and that's just where we are. The closer things are to the house, the more sheltered they are, so it seemed to me that it would also be safer, as well as prettier, to plant the tree right in front of the deck. If it grows tall, it may even provide some shade to the house. Anyway, once it was planted, I realized that this is the very best spot in the whole yard - the tree is already about 6.5' tall, so it gets the sun as soon as it comes over the house, long before the plants on the ground get it. So it's in sun from about 8:00AM until the sun goes down - 11 hours a day right now, and that will get better as we get further into summer.

A few other items...

Two views of thhe Northstar sour cherry:

It's a dwarf cherry, so I think it may get about as tall as the fence. This year, it has a lot of cherries on it, so I'll be covering it with netting to see if we can save them from the birds.

Fritillaria meleagris:

This is such a cute bulb, but they're picky about where they want to live. I've planted lots of them around the house, but this clump is the only one that seems really happy, and slowly increases in size each year. The purple/white checked flower is called the "snakeshead fritillaria", and it's the one I really wanted, but sometimes they devolve back into the plain white variety, so I have both growing together here.

The pink currant bush:

This one is just loaded with flowers this year. It did well last year, but this time is beyond anything. The red currant next to it is doing well, too. Alas the black currant has had a setback. I think I nicked its roots with the rototiller, and it went into shock. Many leaf buds just froze and wouldn't open. It's gotten just a few flowers this year. I'll let it rest this year, then prune it back hard just before winter; that might allow it to regain strength and come back, though I fear it will never catch up with the other two.

ADDENDUM: I forgot to mention that I was explaining to Dean why I needed TWO apple trees, but could get by with just one cherry and plum tree.

"Apples need a second variety to cross-pollinate, but plums and cherries are, for the most part, self-fertilizing."

"You mean to say, this plum tree is going to do 'something funny' to itself?"

This comes from an old Florence King article from the time of the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal, and fortunately I was able to find a quote from it that illustrates what Dean meant, and why this expression has permanently entered our lexicon:
....It is 1952. Now 16, I have lost my baby fat and gone from duckling to swan, and my mother, who normally pays no attention to anything except baseball and her hero Sen. Joe McCarthy, is being uncharacteristically maternal. We are washing dishes when suddenly, out of the blue, she says:
"If a man ever asks you to do something funny to him, you tell him to go to hell, you hear?"
"What do you mean, 'something funny'?"
"Never mind, just promise me"
Mystified, I promise. The mystery deepens as she swung off on one of her patriotic tangents.
"That's why the French can't win a war without us! It saps their strength! They're so busy doing something funny to each other that the Germans just walk right in!"

Saturday, May 19, 2007

On to the Finals

The Ottawa Senators beat Buffalo 3-2 in overtime this afternoon, clinching their place for the Stanley Cup finals. Of course, I never doubted them for a moment, despite my comments when, in the third period, they gave away their lead and let Buffalo tie the game, forcing overtime. No, don't be fooled by my growling, "That's it! They're choking AGAIN!! That's Ottawa for you - you can always rely on them to let you down," as the third period closed with a 2-2 tie. I said to Dean, that if despite leading the series 3-0, Buffalo should manage to fight back to WIN, it would be a disgrace they'd never live down. As Krankor in "Prince of Space" might have said, 'If you don't win, then don't bother coming back!'

But all's well, they won, and now they'll be off for a week before the finals begin. After the game, there was a post-game show, with a camera set up on Elgin street, the "Senators Mile", where the celebration was being held. The commentator said, "Isn't it nice? All those people out celebrating, and they're drinking tea and coffee instead of beer!" Well, it was only 5:30, by now those people are probably drinking something else.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Tree of Temptation

A red-letter day on the gardening front. This morning, I went on a whim to Artistic Landscape Designs, just off Bank Street. I'd sworn off this place for a number of reasons, not least of which is that they're VERY EXPENSIVE! Another one is their location - wedged almost under an overpass, behind a car dealership. They have almost NO parking, and to turn around, you have to drive into their stoneyard, and dodge around caterpillars and trucks. And the worst thing is that they deal with the general public, like me, and also with professional landscapers. So you can end up at the checkout counter, trying to pay for one miserable hosta, and find that all the tellers are on the phone, negotiating with someone for the pickup or delivery of several acres'-worth of bark mulch, or enough granite slabs to front a pyramid. It's a terribly inefficient place. But they do have wonderful perennials, more hostas than anyone else in town (except maybe Budd Gardens), and a lot of things you'll never find anywhere else.

So when I was just across the street at Staples this morning, I thought what the hell, I'll just pop in and see what they've got. First of all, there was no place to park, reminding me again of why I hate going there. But when I'd finally found a spot, I went in and found that they're in full swing. A lot of nice roses, and they're a little bit cheaper than at Knippel's (though more than at the garden centers at the hardware or grocery stores). Anyway, I was wandering along their tree section, looking at the lilacs that are a lot nicer than mine, when I saw something I never thought I'd see in Ottawa - a lineup of Damson Plum trees!

I've been searching for damson plums for years, and this year finally gave up on the plan of growing my own. That's why I bought the two apple trees. Naturally, right at that moment, I find what I've been looking for! Well, there was nothing for it - I had to buy the damson, and now we're going to have to find a place for another tree, just when I thought that the garden was pretty well decided as far as big things go. The lady at the counter said I needed another plum to pollinate it, but I looked online when I got home, and found that damsons are self-fertile, though another plum will increase yields. If I can find a dwarf plum, maybe I'll go for it, but at the moment I'm going to stick with just the one.

I was so enthused by finding the tree, I went ahead and bought 3 David Austin 'Eglantyne' roses for the front yard, plus 2 gold-leaf Centaurea, and another purple-brown Baptisia (the one I ordered last fall seems to have died). An expensive trip, but a worthwhile one. (I still hate their parking, though.)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Hey, I SAID I was sorry!

The Ottawa Citizen seems to need a full-time apology editor. Last week, they had to apologize for their apology to Mark Steyn. Today, the front page of the City section contains this apology:
A photograph on page D1 of yesterday's Citizen is not of Peter John Graham, who was convicted Tuesday of sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl. The photograph is of Peter Reid Graham, who has never been charged with, or convicted of, any sexual assault. The Citizen apologizes unreservedly to Peter Reid Graham and his family for any distress caused by the erroneous publication of his photograph.
But the online edition doesn't show you what the print edition has: under an apology for printing Mr. Graham's photograph, they thoughtfully print his photograph! So the Citizen has now TWICE published the photo of the man who DIDN'T do the crime, and we have not yet seen ONE photo of the man who DID. I guess the innocent Mr. Graham can have have the apology laminated, and carry it on a string around his neck to show to people who do a doubletake when encountering him. Apart from that, well, maybe he never really wanted to live in Ottawa after all, and could just move.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

O Falwell! Where is thy sting?

I was complaining about the tepid Falwell farewells I'd been reading, when I noticed that the Swan of Newark had entered the lists with her typically moist prose. Of course, the Victorians went all-out when it came to death and mourning, so I shouldn't be surprised. But as this is the second celebrity obituary she's written in less than 6 months, maybe it would instructive to compare them.

Here's the one for Jerry Falwell.

The man's life is dealt with briskly: he was 73, and he was "said to be" the founder of the Moral Majority. (Actually, I thought he WAS its founder, but then Jesus Christ is said to be the founder of whatever it is the Lady Novelist does for a living, so I guess the elasticity is just built into the term.)

Now, let's get straight down to business here:
Matt Foreman, executive director of National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, extended condolences to those close to Falwell, BUT added: "Unfortunately, we will always remember him as a founder and leader of America's anti-gay industry, someone who exacerbated the nation's appalling response to the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic, someone who demonized and vilified us for political gain and someone who used religion to divide rather than unite our nation."
And who could possibly be a better judge of the life of a 73-year old man than a lobbyist with an axe to grind? I know when I die, I count on hearing the measured verdicts of all the telephone solicitors and panhandlers I've turned down in my life - you can trust them to give you an honest and disinterested opinion.
Perhaps Falwell will be remembered best for his . . ."analysis" . . .of the reason for the disaster of 9/11 as portrayed in the cartoon above.
Which is certainly much, MUCH scarier than what turned out to be the REAL reason for 9/11 - enslaving, murdering Islam. No, let us pull out once more our yellowing cartoons and enjoy again the frisson of woebegone victimhood at the hands of an enemy that uses hurtful, insensitive WORDS.
A Falwell Christian is one with a negative, narrow view of the human condition, someone who is both judging and judgmental, who grants forgiveness contingent upon a pledge of allegiance to the god of Falwell's own imaging, and conformity to a way of life strictly prescribed by Falwell's own understanding of the will of God as revealed by his interpretation of the fundamentals of scripture.
This is Victorian English, so let's see if I can update it and make it more "relevant" - after all, if it's good enough for the Prayer Book and the Bible...
A revisionist Episcopalian is one with a negative, narrow view of traditionalists, Catholics, Evangelicals, Charismatics and Africans, someone who is both judging and judgmental (of traditionalists, Catholics, Evangelicals, Charismatics and especially Africans), who grants forgiveness contingent upon a pledge of allegiance to the canons and to the central authority of 815, and conformity to a way of life strictly prescribed by the Zeitgeist as revealed by every individual's interpretation of their own experience.
(By the way, did you know that Jerry Falwell was a clergyman? You wouldn't have found out from reading this.)

Let's now turn to the tender obituary she provided for Saddam Hussein.

I listened, aghast and in horror, as the BBC televised an interview with an Iraqi woman, now living in Dearborn, Michigan, who proclaimed today as a day of "great celebration" in her displaced Iraqi community.

Oh, the tremblings and palpitations! I placed my hand to my quivering heart as the lurid glow of the burning ricks illumined my ceiling with a ghastly red glow, as if the very gates of Hades itself had opened before my bower window. The peasantry, intoxicated with drink and the unaccustomed leisure of a half-holiday, danced the Carmagnole with uncouth whoops and bounds, totally ignorant of all sense of tempo or decorum.
"Oh, there will be great rejoicing," she said, her head covered, as was her entire body, in the modest black cloth prescribed for women by her religion.
Of course, no truly modest woman would ever let a word like "rejoicing" cross her lips, but it would take a sensibility as highly refined as my own to appreciate the irony of the scene.
"We will dance and sing and rejoice," she said, seemingly completely unaware of the oppression her religion continues to visit upon her merely for being born female - even though she now speaks English fluently and lives in America - the "land of the free and the home of the brave."
Oh, irony upon irony! Thank goodness I am here to limn this scene, for Swift is no more. I shall be sure to inform that benighted woman (WHEN she's stopped leaping about like a zany) of the state of oppression she lives in thanks to Islam...as soon as that nice Mr. Khatami has finished his speech in the National Cathedral.
I understand that there were those in the observer galley of the death chamber who were calling out insults and taunts to Saddam, as he, ankles and wrists shackled, made his way to the gallows prepared for his hanging.

Saddam carried the Koran in his hand - the Holy Scripture, as he understood it, by which he lived his life - as he shuffled his way to his death.
Doesn't that just bring a tear to your eye? There's a real spiritual man for you - was Jerry Falwell holding the Holy Scripture when HE died? Well? Was he? I thought not. He probably had to have someone hold it for him, being in a cowardly coma and all. Not like Saddam.
We are told that he refused to wear a black hood over his head and face. Somehow, I understand that decision, which seems to me to be clearly designed to give greater protection and consolation to his executioners than whatever human pride Saddam might have left.
Speaking truth to power right to the end, that's Our Saddam.
He received some assurance, at the end of his life, of the promises of his faith to be received into heaven a martyr, perfect in body in eternity as he had been given by God on earth.
Nothing like going out on a high note.
Was the man a monster of humanity or a martyr of his faith?

Can one be both a martyr and a monster?

Does violence always beget violence, or does the violent death of one evil man absolve the violent deaths of thousands of innocent people?

Will we know the answers to these questions in our life and time, or will history claim the final, definitive answer?

God only knows.
Unless you're Jerry Falwell, in which case, I know all the answers.


Ands, ifs, buts or maybes (but mostly buts)

Very surprising news that Jerry Falwell died yesterday. I don't bother going along to the trash sites on the Left like DU or Daily Kos, because I always feel like I need a bath afterwards. I WAS surprised, though, by the tentative tone of the comments on the conservative sites I frequent.

After 9/11, Mark Steyn quickly identified the way Western pseudo-sophisticates would expose themselves when trying to sound evenhanded in their sympathy; it was the inevitable "but" that would give them away. As in "9/11 was a terrible disaster, BUT..." "I don't condone terrorism, BUT..." That "but" automatically turned the speaker into a hypocrite and a liar. So I was astonished to read the huge number of comments on Jerry Falwell go something like, "I didn't agree with him, BUT (may he rest in peace, Godspeed and see you in Heaven, etc....)" One or two, I wouldn't have noticed, but when more than half the comments on the StandFirm thread (until the house troll derailed it) took this tack, the effect became something between comical and infuriating. It was like watching a Carpathian peasant reflexively crossing himself whenever he caught a glimpse of Castle Dracula. Is it really THAT compromising to say the usual "Prayers for his family," without adding, "Oh, and here are my bona fides to prove that I can't be tainted by association with the man." In such cases, maybe silence is just the best option.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Looks like we got a good one

The Holy Father has named the Most Rev'd Terrence Prendergast, S.J. to be our new archbishop. He's currently Archbishop of Sydney and Yarmouth in Nova Scotia. A press release on the archdiocese's website gives his background.

And today's Ottawa Citizen has an article with a bit more colourful detail. It's not quite what I'd call a "Welcome to Ottawa!" piece - the writer seems determined to scrounge up every single thing the Archbishop might have said or done that could effectively pin the sign "Beware - TROUBLEMAKER" on the man. He particularly focussed on Prendergast's efforts to head off same-sex marriage legislation.
In the letter, he also asked Catholic groups to organize their efforts to make their voices heard.

"The issue is something significant enough that every MP should have a chance to vote freely and talk freely on the issue, which wasn't the case last time," he wrote

The letter was the latest sign that Archbishop Prendergast is not prepared to accept the will of Parliament on the issue.
Well, that's rather a funny way of putting it. I don't think he's going to go around throwing Molotov cocktails, which is what someone who "is not prepared to accept the will of Parliament" would tend to do. On the other hand, no Canadian is required to engage in self-brainwashing to conform his opinions to whatever Parliament has voted to enact. Our Parliament has put troops in Afghanistan, to the chagrin of many people, some of them even ordained, but nobody goes around sniffing that they're not prepared to accept the will of Parliament because they keep saying how they think things should be done differently.
But last December, Prime Minister Stephen Harper officially declared the same-sex marriage issue settled after MPs handily defeated a motion to revisit a 2005 law allowing gays and lesbians to wed.

"I don't see reopening this question in the future," Mr. Harper told reporters minutes after the House of Commons voted 175-123 against his minority government's bid to introduce legislation to restore the traditional definition of marriage.
Newsflash, Mr. Citizen Reporter: Archbishop Prendergast doesn't get his orders from Prime Minister Harper. He can go on arguing against Parliament's decision on this or any other subject, for as long as he likes.

So far, though, it sounds pretty good to me: spoke out against the Da Vinci Code con, against same-sex marriage, protests that Christian viewpoints are being censored in public forums. But just in case we conservatives might be feeling too happy about this guy, the writer tosses in this little detail:
Archbishop Prendergast also shut a historic church in Halifax -- a decision that may bode ill for parishioners at St. Brigid's, the Centretown church that former Archbishop Marcel Gervais wants to close, arguing it would cost too much to restore and maintain it. Parishioners of St. Brigid's disagree and are fighting to keep it.
You see? He'll betray you too, you conservatives! We'll see. I'm not a fanatic for saving St. Brigid's - I think there should be a downright conservative Catholic parish in Ottawa (at least one), but I don't think we should be slaves to bricks and mortar. Buildings do get too old and decrepit - if it's a lost cause, it should be abandoned, and the parish relocated somewhere else. What's important to me is that its spiritual character be preserved, not that it be tied to a particular patch of ground. Maybe the new guy will be able to come up with a fresh approach to this; relations between that parish and Gervais had been pretty poisoned, things might improve with a new man in charge.

Anyway, thanks Your Holiness! This man looks pretty good.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Game 3 - Ottawa 1, Buffalo 0

Ottawa is now up 3-0 in this series; it looks like they really might take it after all. Tonight's game was hard-played, but very little scoring. Goalies were doing a good job, though the Buffalo goalie got a harder workout than Ottawa's Emery. Next game is Thursday, I think - I wonder if they'll sew up the series here at home?

Some ambitious gardening going on today - I've planted two little apple trees at the bottom of the garden. We've planted a cherry tree 3 years ago that's growing well, but apples take a lot of care, with attention to spraying schedules and pruning, so this is a bit of a gamble. However, I saw these two nice trees at Canadian Tire - a Cortland and a Northern Spy - and thought we'd give it a try. "Northern Spys for Apple Pies," Dean always says. They're both late trees, so hopefully they will bloom at the same time and cross-fertilize each other. If that fails, there are two old apple trees in the yard next door, so there is still hope for fertilization from that direction.

I've finished most of the fun gardening, and now I have to get around to the dull stuff, like pulling up weeds and setting down barriers between the planting beds and the lawn to keep the crabgrass from spreading into the flowers. Always such a tiresome job. Once I've got rid of a lot of the weeds, I'll invest in some bark mulch, but this cleanup work comes first. Today I bought 25 bags of black soil, which I lugged from the van to the back yard in the wheelbarrow (3 bags per trip). It's to improve and replace soil that got removed when I pulled up the turf, trying to make neater flower beds. Hardly seems to make a dent in the landscape at all - I used two of the bags for planting the apple trees, because the soil down at the bottom of the garden is not great - a lot of clay when you dig down 18", so I mixed the original soil with black earth, sand, compost, and even a bit of sawdust, to try to make it a bit friendlier to the apples. At least it's going to rain tonight and tomorrow, at last - it's been very dry this spring. I actually put a sprinkler out today for the new trees, and also to help along the seeds planted last week. A few radishes are poking out from where I planted them among the carrots. A little water really helps.

Guilt-based and shame-based cultures

Dr. Sanity has been on a roll this week - her Tuesday essay using the Satan of Paradise Lost as an illustration of what has gone wrong with the Left is quite brilliant.

But I think it ties in very well with something she's been writing about for some time - the difference between "guilt-based" and "shame-based" cultures. It would be interesting to have a list of the two. I think "shame-based" are the more common. Our Western culture is a guilt-based culture, which comes from our Christian origin. We know that God knows the secrets of our heart, so no matter how good everything looks to everyone else, they're not the audience that really matters; God is the real audience, and He can never be fooled. Of course, the guilt-base trait descended to Christianity through Judaism, which also focussed on a God who knew our inmost thoughts and was not contented with just the appearance of goodness.

Among the shame-based cultures, Islam is the most prominent today. One thing about the modern Left that is a real puzzle is the way this highly evolved product of a guilt-based culture has mutated into a supporter of a shame-based culture like Islam. I think looking at the table Dr. Sanity reproduced in her essay on these opposing cultures is very informative:
Now, it seems to me that a lot of people on the Left are caught in our guilt-based culture and are desperately seeking a way out. In the past, we Westerners had our faith in God, which could lift the burden of guilt from us and enable us to continue living even joyfully. But today's "liberals" no longer have any real faith that God can take a guilty human and save him. Their faith is now so etiolated, they can only conceive of a God who flatters them with professions of fellowship and never has the bad taste to refer to sin or guilt at all. This only suppresses guilt - it cannot heal it. Hence, the insistence by liberals that what we used to call sin (usually sexual sin) isn't really sin at all, and so they don't have to feel guilty. But guilt isn't gotten rid of so easily, and so the quest for deliverance hasn't been satisfied by just pretending that nobody cares what happens in the bedroom. This failure has set the stage for Phase II - the abandonment of the guilt-based culture altogether, and its replacement by the shame-based culture.

It has always seemed incredible that liberals who have nothing good to say about traditional Christianity could be so indulgent towards Islam. At first I thought it was mere opportunism - any old stick will do to beat the Christianity-based culture that liberals find so irksome, and at the moment Islam is a stick that looks like it could do some damage. But I think it's deeper than that.

I think, in some way, liberals crave life under a shame-based culture. In some ways, it's easier - if despite all the arguments and protests and convoluted arguments, you still can't make yourself forget that God has said that what you're doing is wrong, think what a relief it would be to live in a world where all you have to do is make sure the people around you think well of you. No more inner conflicts, where you're always on trial and always bound to lose - in this culture, even if you're guilty, if no one else knows, your place in society is secure. You're safe at last.

This would explain the fanatical exertions liberals devote to stamping out dissent - in a shame-based culture, it matters what others think of you, so it is essential that there can be no conflicting voices among the "others". A shame-based culture only works if everyone agrees on the rules, and can move like a school of fish, all in the same direction at the same time. If some people think it's terrible to get drunk in public, and other people think it's joyful and freespirited, and still others think that it's just not worth even bothering about, there is no possibility of shaming people who break the rules, because it's clear that the rules are not firmly fixed. Depending on who might be standing by, a drunk can be a jerk, or a hero, or just a bore. And that puts you right back at having to decide for yourself what to think about your own drunkeness, which is what a guilt-based culture does.

But if you don't WANT that kind of freedom, if it is an intolerable burden to have to realize again and again that you're a guilty failure, the simplicity of Islam is very tempting in an abstract way. All you have to do is make sure the rules are exactly suited to yourself, and then follow the rules. And if there's one thing that Islam and liberalism have in common, it's a passion for a minutely-regulated, rule-bound existence.

This, I think, is the key to the most perplexing thing about liberals: they keep up this bizarre courtship of Islam, even while we tell them, "Don't you realize that under this system, you would be killed?" But they never answer. They're looking at something completely different - they don't see Islam as it is, a culture where the homosexuals would be executed and the women enslaved. They see it as a vehicle that will carry them away from the terrible Christian God, and the burden of conscience and guilt He has heaped on them, and which is crushing them.

Liberalism and Islam have one thing in common: they are both debased forms of Christianity. Liberalism is what you get when Christianity runs dry; it's taken Western liberals hundreds of years, but they've finally arrived at a point where they're eager to exchange the burden of freedom for a handful of threadbare maxims and the mindless safety of the herd.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

He shoots, he scores!!!!

A very happy Ottawa today - the Senators won the second game of the semi-finals against Buffalo last night. We only watched through part of the second period, when the score was 2-2; it went into double overtime before Ottawa got the tiebreaker. These games are starting at 8:00PM, no doubt so the west coast can see them in prime time too, and we just get too tired to see the whole thing.

It's good news, but I must say, I thought Buffalo really outplayed Ottawa, at least for the half of the game I saw. And I'm sorry, but I would have counted that disallowed Buffalo goal in the first period. I guess they were just applying the rules very strictly, but Don Cherry was right - the puck hit the player's glove, and bounced off him into the net. He only moved his hand (which was still holding his stick) in a reflex action. If he'd stayed still, the puck would have still gone in, and it would have counted. As it was, the combination of puck-glove-movement fell under the rule against batting the puck into the net, so the goal was disallowed. Lucky for Ottawa, or they'd have been down 3-0 after 10 minutes, and probably would never have recovered. They were really outplayed in that first period - looked very sleepy compared to Buffalo.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Beautiful weather

Blogging is light right now, because we're in the middle of some uncommonly wonderful weather, and I'm trying to get some garden work done.

I planted 60 potato plants on Monday; 30 each of Chaleur and Chieftain; I'm still waiting for those pink potatoes I ordered, and I hope they come soon or I'll have to call the company. Yesterday I planted 15 scallion bulbs, and found I only had enough for one row, so I'll be off to pick up another package for the second row. They say to plant them 4" apart, but at that spacing, I'd have had to plant about 40, and that seemed really a bit too much (plus I'd have had to buy a third package of bulbs). So I've spaced them 6" apart, and that will come to 24 plants altogether.

I've got the rows ready for the carrots (including the famous Purple Haze!), but the package said to soak the seeds 24 hours before planting, so I've delayed the planting until today. All that's left then is to plant the swiss chard seeds, and to get the beds ready for the tomatoes and the sweet potatoes.

I emptied out the compost bin at the back, transferring the compost to the garden, and so now I can start up in that bin again, and leave the one at the side of the house to finish breaking down the compost - it's almost full, and I suppose I should go and turn it over a few times to hurry it along. My compost from the back didn't work out as well as usual; too many dry leaves, I think, and there hasn't been much rain, so a lot of the leaves were still intact. They'll break down eventually, but it wasn't quite the good compost I like. An open bin does tend to dry out a bit.

I got the last of the miscanthus out (that I could find, at any rate) and have moved our chives and rosemary up there; it's a nice convenient spot for growing herbs, but I'll also put in some more perennials once I get a chance to work on it.

One bad thing; the alder trees over the fence are coming into leaf, and they're shedding these sticky shells. Every time Yin goes out there, she comes back with a bunch in her long fur, and I have to pull them out - a lot of fur comes out along with them, too. I'm going to keep her in for a day or two, and also take her for a haircut, so we won't have quite the problem with mess and tangles every time she steps out the door.

And a nice thing: this morning I was sitting outside with my coffee. I had my legs crossed, and a little bird flew up and perched on my shoe! He sat there for about 10 seconds, then hopped over to the garden bin beside me, which is covered with an old hooked rug. He then very industriously started pecking the rug, pulling up bits of loose fluff, obviously for nest-building! (I noticed he got one of my white hairs in there, too.) It was amazing how much he could keep in his beak, while still adding more; the tongue must hold the contents back and leave the tip of the beak still able to open and close. I noticed he really preferred the red wool over the white and black on the rug. I just hope they're not building a nest in one of my drainpipes, as happened two years ago, or all that work will be wasted when I knock it out to unblock the drain!

UPDATE: No sooner do I publicly fret about my pink potatoes than lo and behold, they arrive in today's mail! Now I can get those in the ground, too. And Canadian Tire had a great price on fuchsias - $9.99 for a 12" hanging basket of the pink/purple kind - and the non-stop begonias are in the garden center too, so I bought about 8 of those to go in the planting boxes by the front door. Good times...

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Boris and Gleb

This is our icon of Sts. Boris and Gleb. I had to lighten the picture, because it's quite old and very dark; this way you can see it a little more clearly. You can click on it to see more detail, but be warned, it's a large picture.

Princes Boris and Gleb were the sons of the Grand Duke Vladimir of Kieven Rus, who adopted Christianity with his subjects in 988. They were both baptized, and were much loved by the people, which drew the jealousy of their eldest brother, Svyatopolk. When their father died, Svyatapolk plotted to murder his brothers to secure his claim to the crown. Both were more concerned with how to behave as Christians than with trying to combat Svyatapolk, and offered no resistence when they were trapped and martyred by their brother's agents.
Although Boris and Gleb were not martyred for their faith (they are properly called 'passion-bearers' rather than martyrs), their voluntary and meek sacrifice for the sake of averting the suffering of others and preserving the Christian ideal, had a profound effect on the subsequent development of Christianity in Russia. Whereas in Byzantine Christianity God was often depicted as Pantocrator--stern and all-powerful, in Russia the emphasis was on Christ as the sacrificial Lamb Who 'opened not his mouth before his shearer'. Russian piety came to be characterized by a tender humility and an acceptance of suffering following the example of Christ. In this century Russia's New Martyrs offer a supreme testimony to the enduring influence of this otherworldly orientation which that country first witnessed in the exploit of the two youthful brother princes and passion-bearers, Boris and Gleb.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Best wishes to Bishop Minns, Bishop Duncan and Archbishop Akinola

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Recent reading

I've just finished George MacDonald's "Phantastes". As we all know, this book had a great influence on C.S. Lewis, helping to turn him away from atheism and materialism. He said in his introduction to it that in everything he wrote, he somehow quoted or was inspired by MacDonald's work.

It's hard for me to see the great attraction, but what touches a person's soul is a very private and subjective matter. Something about this work must have opened to Lewis a window, through which he glimpsed a different, better world. I'm grateful for it, because Lewis is a favourite author. "Phantastes" doesn't work all that well for me, though. I found it very meandering and old-fashioned (hardly surprising; it's from the mid-19th century). Also, it has the decided air of an allegory to which I don't have the key, and am just a bit too tired to go searching for.

One thing I got right away: I knew what the shadow was that appeared and followed him everywhere. But the rest of it - who was the marble lady? What was the singing globe? What was the deal with all the dancing statues? Why was the Ash tree so dangerous? I couldn't immediately see, and I just wasn't involved enough in the story to figure out. One part that I thought worked well was the self-contained little story about the lady who was imprisoned in the mirror. It seemed very E.T.A. Hoffmann-ish, and I liked it.

I did seem to see some traces of influence on Lewis's writing. There's a part near the beginning, where Anodos can understand some squirrels having a conversation:
At times, to my surprise, I found myself listening attentively, as if it were no unusual thing with me, to a conversation between two squirrels or monkeys. The subjects were not very interesting, except as associated with the individual life and necessities of the little creatures: where the best nuts were to be found in the neighbourhood, and who could crack them best, or who had most laid up for the winter, and such like; only they never said where the store was.
I'm sure that must be the origin of the passage in 'Prince Caspian', where Caspian is warned not to watch the squirrel going back to his hole, because it's considered very bad manners to look as if you're interested in where he stores his food.

The other book I've recently read is Beyond Black by Hilary Mantel. I hardly ever read modern fiction - Mantel is the exception. I love her novels. She's a genius writer, and every novel is different.

This one is about an obese, disorganized mild-mannered psychic named Alison, who takes on a frighteningly efficient assistant named Colette, who builds her business into a well-run, profitable enterprise. As the book goes on, we learn more about Alison's hideously abusive childhood, and the nightmarish visitors from the other world who haunt her continuously. What's interesting is that Mantel is quite unsentimental about the business side of spiritualism. It's a shoddy, sleazy life, travelling about to Psychic Fayres in seedy hotels and halls, tailoring messages for the gullible. And there are a lot of frauds in the trade. In her work, Alison is often barely distinguishable from the phoneys, but she's quite clear in her own mind about the difference:
Sometimes the punters would ask, 'What's the difference between a clairaudient and an aura reader, a wotsit and a thing?' and Alison would say, 'No great difference, my dear, it's not the instrument you choose that matters, it's not the method, it's not the technique, it's your attunement to a higher reality.' But what she really wanted to do was lean across the table and say, you know what's the difference, the difference between them and me? Most of them can't do it, and I can.
Her "act" is partly a filtering process, sparing the customers the full horror of what life in the next world is like.

She's followed by the ghosts of horrible men who abused her horribly when she was young; one of them, Morris, is her own Spirit Guide, and she spends a lot of time trying to fend him off and escape from him. Mantel's novels have a curious quality - they're both horrible and hilarious. I always start one with trepidation, wondering if I can really take it, because the horror really seems almost unendurable, until you find yourself laughing at her wry wordplay and detached view. I'm always worried that at some point the humour will fail, and the story will get so ugly that I'll have to stop, and won't be able to forget what I've read, but she hasn't done that yet.

Alison and Colette end up making enough money to buy a house together; Alison wants a brand-new house, because old ones always have ghosts in them. The description of the shoddy workmanship is awful but funny, because you can so easily imagine the frustration of having to live in such surroundings.
Trucks jolted up with glue-on timbers of plastic oak, bound together in bundles like kindling. Swearing men in woolly hats unloaded paper-thin panels of false brickwork, which they pinned to the raw building blocks; they disembarked stick-on anchor motifs, and panels of faux pargeting with dolphin and mermaid designs. The beeping, roaring and drilling began promptly at seven, each morning. Inside the house there were a few mistakes, like a couple of the internal doors being hung the wrong way round, and the Adam-style fireplace being off-centre. Nothing, Al said, that really affected your quality of life.
Of course, when the kitchen ceiling falls in, that does tend to affect your quality of life.
The development progressed piecemal, the houses at the fringes going up before the midle was filled in. They would look over to the opposite ridge, against the screen of pines, and see the householders running out into the streets, or where the streets would be, fleeing from gas leaks, flood and falling masonry. Colette made tea for the next-door neighbours from the Beatty, when their kitchen ceiling came down in its turn...
That's what their whole world is like - crummy cardboard, held together with string and scotch tape, like a professional magician's kit.

As the story progresses, Alison and Colette's relationship sours, and Colette becomes verbally abusive and controlling. Obviously Alison's abusive history is repeating itself. But what I like about Mantel is that she can make Alison a victim, but never JUST a victim. She herself almost seems to wear her victimhood lightly. She never sinks into self-pity or uses her past as an excuse for anything, even though it would be so easy to do so. And in the end, somehow, Mantel pulls off a sort of happy ending, though you'd think it would be impossible. Part of the dread of coming to the end of 'Beyond Black' is knowing that Mantel is quite capable of giving her characters a dark ending. Colette certainly ends up that way, though she doesn't realize it herself. But here the author is kind to her main character, and Alison ends up as happy as she can be in this world, even though we have no reassurance of what will await her in the next.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Braxton's Lear - Argumentum ad nazium

Pooh! You speak like a green girl
Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.
Braxton's Lear usually isn't wasted on a political figure - the military doesn't give out medals for standing in the chow line, and we don't bestow distinctions upon over-the-top stump speeches. They're both just a part of life. But there are a few extenuating circumstances in the case of this dramatic monologue by Elizabeth May, leader of Canada's Green Party.

First of all, I once said something nice about her. It turns out that Dean was right, she IS crazier than Ted Kennedy in a Barney suit.
Green leader Elizabeth May is standing by her comments over the weekend that condemn Prime Minister Stephen Harper's stance on climate change, comparing it to "a grievance worse than Neville Chamberlain's appeasement of the Nazis."
If it were only May's resort to the argumentum ad nazium, this would be a short post. After all, it is accepted practice that dragging in a reference to Hitler or the Nazis in an argument not directly connected with those subjects, results in an automatic loss of argument for the person doing it (see also Godwin's Law).

But wait. There's more.
The longtime environmentalist, who said she was having "a lousy week" because of the federal government's weak action plan on the environment, was standing by comments she made on the weekend to a church congregation in London, Ont....Ms. May delivered what she called an "environmental sermon" to the Wesley Knox United Church in Wortley Village on Sunday, saying the government is threatening the genocide of mankind by failing to take action to remedy global warming.
When you're a 54-year old woman, getting emotional and having lousy weeks is not unusual; but most of us find better ways of coping with it than getting up in church and yelling at a bewildered congregation. But I suppose she's just getting some practice in:
Liberal MP Glen Pearson, who invited Ms. May, an Anglican minister-in-training, to speak to his church after defeating her in the byelection in the London NorthCentre riding, likened the Green party leader to an Old Testament prophet.
Elizabeth Kaeton had better watch her back; I think this gal is angling for her job.
However, Mr. Pearson said yesterday that he was not comfortable with Ms. May's Nazis analogy and he believed it perhaps crossed the line for proper discourse in a church.

"Canadians need to get more serious about it, but the whole link to the Nazis over that went beyond the pale, for me. You have to be careful there. We have all messed up on the environment, right?" Mr. Pearson said.
Too over-the-top even for a LIBERAL - that's saying a lot.