Friday, March 29, 2013

Jimmy Carter in a dress

Yeah, there, I said it.  That's what I think of the new pope.  No, I don't like him.  I haven't liked him from the moment on that spooky, rainy night when he stepped out on the balcony and glared down at the crowd in St. Peter's Square, and I don't think he's improved upon acquaintance.

I suppose this puts me in the ranks of the "rad-trad" haters, even though I've never been to a Latin mass in my life.  Too bad.  I've got a memory long enough to have seen this sort of "breath of fresh air" blowing a lot of dust around.  Plus, I've got the experience of Anglicanism to spot the warning signs of destructive modernism hiding behind a butter-wouldn't-melt-in-my-mouth facade of mildness.

I was so shocked by Benedict XVI's abdication, I still haven't really gotten over it.  Maybe I never will.  What's clear by now, at least, is that the indefatigable "look on the bright side" brigade who filled the blogosphere with their sage explanations of why this was such a brilliant strategic masterstroke got things completely wrong.  So much for the theories that this was a way for Benedict to "influence" who would succeed him; that a younger man could be ushered in who would ensure the continuation of his work, rather than allowing age and illness to weaken him to the point where his pontificate would fall into the untrustworthy hands of the Curia.

Instead, Benedict's Folly insulted the Holy Spirit, demanding He show up and perform to our schedule, and now we've received the reward we deserve.  I'm not surprised the former pope looked frail and shaky when he met his successor last week.  I'd be feeling shaky too if I'd spent a week contemplating how I'd just pissed away my life's work. 

I finally came around to grudging forgiveness when I reflected that greater powers than Benedict were at work here, and he didn't know for what purpose God was using him.  I think though that this is a working-out of the final Fatima prophecy, and he may very well finish his life as a martyr.  Isn't it odd that as Cardinal Ratzinger, he was the one who tried so hard to slam the door shut on this particular mystery, and he might end up being the one who causes it to be fulfilled?  I always thought that the official explanation that seized on the attempted assassination of JPII as the final and 3rd prophecy was lame; it was so obvious that 1981 was not the "culmination" of anything.  In the more than 3 decades since, things have just gotten worse and worse for the Church.

 Honestly, I thought that though everything else was falling apart, Rome would stand to the end.  Now I don't know what to think.  But I don't expect anything but trouble from Francis.

Too clever not to preserve

This is about to scroll off the front page of Ace of Spades, and once it's gone, I don't know if I'd be able to find it again.  So just because it's so clever, I'm going to preserve it here, so I can look it up again when I need a laugh:

At this point, [his] fate is about as mysterious as the guy on Columbo who tells Patrick McGoohan "I'm going to keep blackmailing you for every penny you have and there's not a damned thing you can do about it. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to perform a minor but dangerous DIY electrical-repair operation in my isolated mountain cabin."

And then the camera goes to Patrick McGoohan, whose eyes narrow in that "Hmmmm..." kind of way.
"And you've told no one else about this blackmail information,
or about your relationship with me?
Absolutely no one else, you say?"

Friday, March 22, 2013


From Ninety Miles From Tyranny (by way of American Digest, where I first saw it):


Monday, March 11, 2013

Casting off

Last week I did something I'd been talking about for a long time, but somehow never managed to rouse myself to do: I cancelled our cable TV service.

My sister got rid of her cable some time ago, and I kept reading posts from people on blogs stating that they'd done the same, so for the last 6 months or so I'd occasionally mention doing the same. It seemed to me that we didn't really watch that much TV anymore, and we could use the money we saved, but somehow it never seemed very urgent. True, the last TV series I'd watched was "V", which petered out ignobly in the second season. "Hoarders" is being cancelled, and I was finally getting tired of the increasingly bizarre and disgusting people who were being featured on it anyway. I wasn't even watching golf that much anymore (especially now that that asshole Tiger Woods is winning again).

But what finally galvanized me was an incident a few weeks ago. I'd hired a handyman to install wood panelling on one wall in the TV room. It was necessary to disconnect the cable box and move the TV to the other side of the room so he could do his work. The job was done in 2 days, and so then I moved the TV back, reconnected all the cables and plugged everything in again. However, I forgot to turn on the button on the surge protector/power bar all the units were plugged into. It was four days before I noticed!

 At that point I said to myself that this was ridiculous - we really didn't watch much TV anymore if I could go that long without even turning on the TV! I also got my cable bill shortly after, and discovered that we were paying over $100/mo for a digital cable box and an HD cable box. That's a lot of money for something we hardly use, so I called up Rogers and told them I wanted to cancel.

Naturally, they wanted me to continue, and offered me a reduced bill for just one box (the digital cable); but that STILL would have been $50/mo for something I don't really use much anymore. I mean, $50 just to watch the Weather Network? And yet that's what's happening most of the time. If it were $50 for the HD box, maybe I'd have agreed, because I really do enjoy the aesthetic beauty of HD.  I happened to catch 'The Wizard of Oz' on an HD channel last week, and I was stunned by all the detail I'd never seen before!  Even the walls and the doorknobs on the sets!  At the end, when Dorothy and the Wizard are preparing to fly back to Kansas in the balloon, I noticed things like these weird silver spiky wheels scattered throughout the crowd of Ozians waving and cheering.  What are those things?  I'd never noticed them before - it had always just been a big blurred crowd scene to me.  But no, it was just the regular non-HD cable channels I'd have gotten, and as I said, I can barely find anything to watch anymore.

So I said no, cancel it all.

I have to admit, though, that after I'd done it I felt really queasy and shaken for a day or two. It was as if I'd announced I was marrying out of the tribe, or something. Give up cable? It's like seceding from society! I'll be an outsider! I got over it, though, and every day since, when I've noticed that I click through all the channels without finding a thing to watch, or see ads for some new upcoming show about backwoods hillbillies and vulgar tattooed boors, I feel that I've made the right choice. We still have the cable boxes until the end of the month, but I'll have them packed up and ready to go when they come to collect them.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Vulgarity - it's what's for breakfast!

I happened to read this piece at American Digest today:
It is no surprise to anyone paying attention to the long and unwinding national nutrition neurosis that we need to have some new mountain of diet bullshit to climb every five years of so.

Mount Organic.
Mount Sustainable.
Mount Lo-Fat No-Fat.
Mount Creamy No-Fat.

Yes, it is a libidinal landscape made of featureless false and phony foods. It is a dietary desert of drifting sans. Sans lactose. Sans meat. Sans chicken. Sans land animal. Sans face. Salt free. Sugar free. Gluten free. And, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever will be, Kosher.

But I only wandered in that brave new kelpflaked world beyond bogglement for a bit before I came across, just this afternoon, a new product that offered me even less food for more money. It was something called "Crispibread" and its selling points were proudly displayed on the box:
And then, just by chance, one of the kids I drive in the morning mentioned that he'd seen a new cereal in the grocery store, and I came home to look it up. Here it is:

Each bag is 225 grams and contains 8 full servings

gluten free
lactose free
sugar free
salt free
nut free
high in fibre and iron
source of calcium
source of omega -3 and -6
no cooking required

But it also adds a roguishly vulgar name, something the innocent-sounding 'Crispibread' can't claim.

Maybe it could be adopted as the official breakfast cereal of the Episcopal Church and the ACC.

Oh, and it's made in Canada, just to add shame to the disgust I was already feeling. Bon appetit!