Monday, November 30, 2015

Really nice

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Yoga Wars - What happens in India, stays in India

Yet another twist in the Case of the Vanishing Yoga Class.

With the suspension of a free yoga class for University of Ottawa students attracting international scrutiny, student leaders are backing away from comments that the class was shelved over “cultural issues” with yoga.
I should think so. The University of Ottawa became a worldwide laughing stock over its claims that a yoga class that had operated peacefully for 7 years was suddenly unclean because it was an example of "cultural appropriation".
In a statement on Facebook, the SFUO say the Sun report was a “misrepresentation” of its true motivations, and suggest declining attendance was the real culprit, saying, “We wanted to ensure that students’ money and resources was being used in a responsible and efficient way.”
So now we're up to three different excuses for cancelling the yoga class. First was "cultural appropriation", then when this attracted unwelcome attention, it shifted vaguely to "ableism". Now we come to "declining attendance", the excuse that, had it been used in the first place, would have occasioned no remark whatsoever.

Now I wonder if all these self-generating social justice tempests have similar roots. Instead of opting for the simplest, most prosaic reason reason for their outrage, the SJWs feel driven to prove their uniqueness by reaching for a fantastically convoluted pretext. If a restaurant were to serve terrible coffee, screw up the order, and then make a mistake on the bill, a normal person would decide not to go back. But a SJW would think that was too easy; why, any random, unenlightened boob would come to such a conclusion, and who wants to be lumped in with those nobodies? But the restaurant also has coconut palm décor and a Tiki lounge - how insensitive! This is a protest worthy of advanced thinkers, so we'll protest that instead.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Twist and Shout: Oppressive Yoga Edition

I guess everyone is now aware of the Beclowning Heard Round the World, wherein the Pecksniffs of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa cancelled a free yoga class that had been given for 7 years because of "cultural appropriation". Now that derision has reached world-wide proportions, the SFUO is backpedalling.

Now they're saying that the yoga program might come back; it's just being "reviewed".
Romeo Ahimakin said the program has not been cancelled, but is suspended while a review takes place to meet the “diverse and ever-changing needs of the student body.” In an email exchange today, Ahimakin would not comment on the controversy that has engulfed the student federation in the three days since yoga instructor Jennifer Scharf revealed that her U of O class had been cancelled because of concerns that it was not sufficiently sensitive to yoga’s cultural roots.
They don't want to talk about the "cultural appropriation" accusation now, it's too ridiculous to be credible. Instead, they put the blame for this stupidity on the Centre for Students with Disabilities. They're the ones doing the "review". They're also the ones who sponsored the yoga class for 7 years without problems, but that part is just smoothly ignored. Instead, we get this cloudy attempt at placation, with a Kafkaesque refusal to come right out and lay their cards on the table:
“The SFUO executive, as well as Centre for Students with Disabilities staff believe that it is important to look at the good and positive work that has been done and see how it can always be improved,” he wrote. “That is why we have taken this semester to do this review with a mind to reintroducing new programming in the winter semester.”
"New", how? They won't say. Instead, we have a recitation of the SJW litany, to be recited kneeling:
“We also acknowledge that ableism is not a siloed issue, but one that affects a variety of communities and individuals. In working to dismantle ableism, we also work to challenge all forms of oppression including, but not limited to, heterosexism, cissexism, homophobia, transphobia, biphobia, queerphobia, HIV-phobia, sex negativity, fatphobia, femmephobia, misogyny, transmisogyny, racism, classism, ableism, xenophobia, sexism, and linguistic discrimination.”
Somewhere in that tar pit there's an excuse for grabbing a yoga instructor and flinging her up against a wall, but I don't know enough about such garbage to be able to tell what it is.

There's a truly Canadian moment from this Feast of Fools, though:
Scharf even offered to rebrand the program as a “mindful stretching” class to distance it from any controversy over cultural appropriation, but that idea was rejected because a suitable French translation of the phrase could not be reached.
Only in Canada, you say? Thank God.

Thursday, November 19, 2015


I've been tidying up my blogroll, such as it is, and regretfully have had to delete my link to The Thinking Housewife. I used to very much enjoy her postings, but she appears to have completely flipped out over the past year.

The problem, it seems to me, started with her announcement that she had become a sedevacantist. Now, I have to explain that, being a convert, I don't share the visceral distaste for sedevacantism that many Catholic bloggers exhibit. Mundabor and Steve Skojec, for example, openly warn people that any comment tainted with sede tendencies will be immediately deleted. They're so adamantly opposed to the idea that it isn't even open for discussion.

To me, the idea seems more a sort of consoling fantasy than a deadly threat. I can see why people would fall back on it, in the face of the catastrophic tide of effluent surging out of the Vatican these days. It's a way of preserving the purity of the Church, and warding off the terror that there might be nothing solid there at all. Americans sometimes display this tendency too. I've read many protests that the "real" America is not this corrupt, debt-ridden shambles on its way to collapse that we see before us. No, the real America is still there, among the good people who still remember and value what it used to be. Eventually, though, the strength of this saving fable dwindles, as the ugly reality grow stronger and even actively seeks out and crushes the good that remains.

So I never felt that one must shun sedevacantists because they're traitors, or weaklings, as others seem to think. Orthodox Catholics don't actually explain clearly WHY sedevacantism is such a no-no; I have the feeling that everyone knows the reason so they don't talk about it. People like me, who missed the lesson that day, are left a bit mystified, but I recognize that the reaction is strong and genuine, and I don't argue about it, particularly as sedevacantism is wholly unconvincing to me.

But now I have to implement my own rule banning sedevacantism from this blog. And the reason is not that it's insulting to the Pope or the Holy Ghost. The reason is simply that by my observation, it leads to insanity. I can't explain what's happened over at TTH any other way. I only realized that things were going seriously wrong when she first posted a "just asking" farrago of 9/11 Truther talking points. After that, there was speculation that Sandy Hook never happened, and now she's claiming that Friday's massacre in Paris was also faked. This has also been accompanied by rising invective against Jews, and a monomaniacal tendency to write them into every single bad event that happens anywhere in the world.

I think this is an example of what Doctor Johnson meant when he told Boswell, "Never accustom your mind to mingle virtue and vice." It seems that in admitting one conspiracy theory, regarding the "true identity" of the Pope, she has opened the doors of her mind to every other conspiracy theory, no matter how wild. Maybe vanity has taken hold, by flattering the conspiracist that she can see through the web of deceit that fools everyone else, and she's become so intoxicated by her insight that she now can see nothing at all except her funhouse mirror of debunkery. She and those who support her are like the Dwarfs in C.S. Lewis's The Last Battle:
"You see," said Aslan. "they will not let us help them. They have chosen cunning instead of belief. Their prison is only in their own minds, yet they are in that prison; and so afraid of being taken in that they cannot be taken out."


From Hilary White:
I am acquainted with Michael Coren's wife, since the family attended my parish in Toronto, and the general consensus is that she is a saint for putting up with him.

Synod on the Family (remember that?)

One disaster crowds out another these days. But only a few weeks ago we were rolling our eyes over the buffoonish Synod on the Family. The TV cameras are off, but in true termite fashion, the task of stealthy undermining goes on.

Here's the opening of the propaganda offensive in our own diocese:
The Synod and My Family

The Synod on the Family has had a mixed reception. Some are excited by the chance to increase dialogue with contemporary culture. Others are concerned by the tone and possible misunderstandings that can arise from such dialogue.

Everyone, however, is asking: “Where are we going? How are we to live the family in today’s Church?”

Dominican University College (DUC) wants to raise these questions head on—so that you can move forward on solid footing. Over three days, we will be hosting a conference where we can learn about the latest outcomes of the Synod. Most importantly, we are going to give you the opportunity to join the discussion and voice your desires about the future of family life in the Church.

As men and women, young and old, we can gain clarity about current developments in family life and bear witness to the beautiful truths of the family in contemporary times as we reflect and discuss together.
And what a fine rogues' gallery we have coming!
Keynote Speakers:

Thursday, Nov. 19th, Vespers 6:30 pm, Talk 7:30 pm

Fr. Peter & Presbytera Olenka Galadza, Sheptytsky Institute of Easter Christian Studies at Saint Paul University

Friday, Nov. 20th, Prayer 7:15 pm, Talk 7:30 pm

Fr. Tom Rosica & Sebastian Gomes, Salt and Light Television

Saturday, Nov. 21st

Mass, 11:45 am, Archbishop Terrence Prendergast s.j., Archbishop of Ottawa

3:30 pm, Talk, Archbishop Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau
Prendergast might be OK; he hasn't done anything stupid since beoming Archbishop of Ottawa in 2007. But Durocher's onboard with all the usual Francis crap. (His appointment was another piece of Benedict Brilliance.) Rosica was notorious for his biased reportingand pro-homosexuality propaganda during the Synod. And Galadza I don't know anything about, but dragging in an eastern Orthodox speaker makes me suspect he'll be proselytizing on behalf of divorce and remarriage.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Leaf Thief

Wednesday's garbage day here, and last night when I went for a walk around the neighbourhood I noticed a lot of leaf bags out for collection. I had only 7 bags of shredded leaves in the shed from raking our yard - not nearly enough to mulch the potatoes we want to grow next year. So when I got home I got out the car and... drove around STEALING bags of dead leaves. I made 3 trips, and got 22 bags. If I'd still had the van, I could have done it in 2 trips, but the Fit has a lot of cargo room for such a small car, and I was able to get 5 and even 6 big bags inside.

Dean was shocked when I told him what I'd done, but it turned out he thought I'd gone around and RAKED the neighbours' yards to get these leaves. No, no, I said, I don't have time to do that sort of work! I just sneaked around after dark and stole the leaves they'd already raked!

Now it's going to rain tonight and tomorrow, so I spent the entire afternoon shredding the leaves and stuffing the bags into the shed. I rejected one bag because it had a lot of sticks and cedar trimmings in it - I'll put it out in the trash next week - but the rest were all fine, mostly maple leaves. Anway, now I can relax over next year's garden, even if I had to become the Leaf Thief to do it!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Right on cue

Pope Shitty the First blubbers and wets himself in public:
Pope Francis condemned Friday night’s Paris massacre, calling the attacks a part of a disorganized World War III. “I am close to the people of France, to the families of the victims, and I am praying for all of them,” the pontiff said Saturday, according to the Vatican Radio. “I am moved and I am saddened. I do not understand — these things are hard to understand.”
Actually, it looked pretty well-organized to me, which is more than I can say for his reaction. But it must have been long past the befuddled old fool's bedtime when he made those remarks. By this morning, he'd slept it off and had figured out a way to drag his pet project into the foreground:
The Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the Paris attacks would not deter the church from going ahead with events for the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which begins on Dec. 8.

“If we permit ourselves to be frightened, they have already reached their first objective,” he said.

Of course, he added, “we must be prudent and not irresponsible, taking all reasonable precautions, he said.

He added:

I’d say that the Jubilee of Mercy is all the more necessary. A message of mercy, that is the love of God that has as a consequence reciprocal love and reconciliation. Even today, when Pope Francis speaks of a piecemeal third world war, the message of mercy is necessary to make us able to reconcile and build bridges. This is not the time to renounce having the Jubilee or to be afraid. We need it more than ever. We must live it wisely, but also with courage, and with spiritual enthusiasm, looking ahead with hope, despite the attacks of hate. Pope Francis guides us and invites us to have faith in the Spirit of the Lord that accompanies us.
Countdown for Shea at Little Green Footballs to start bleating about "Mehhhhrrrrrcccyyy!" starts now.

The Kinder Egg Kaper

I came across this interesting little short film, entitled "Crooked Candy".

It's about a man who moved from Bulgaria to America, only to find that his favourite treat, Kinder Eggs, are banned by law. When he was a child, Kinder Eggs were rare treats, because the supply to the Iron Curtain country was so limited. Now he's in the land of freedom, but he finds that bossy nanny-state regulation makes them unavailable here, too.

His solution: CRIME! He smuggles Kinder Eggs into the U.S. at every opportunity, for his own enjoyment, of course, not to sell on the black market.

Mark Steyn has written many times about the bossy-boots U.S. Customs officers who confiscate his children's Kinder Eggs when they drive over the Quebec border. I used to be a strict law and order type myself, but this sort of heavy-handed "for the children" smothering has turned me into an anarchic supporter of chocolate egg smuggling, too. Fight the man!

Friday, November 13, 2015

Get a room!

Robyn Urback in the National Post wrote a good piece on our new PM and his "look deep into my eyes" shtick.
Nearly everyone who has been on a double date understands the discomfort of sitting opposite another couple who, for some reason, insists on holding hands, or stroking arms, or sneaking kisses during a meal. It’s a scene that is utterly perplexing to socially awkward, stoical types such as myself, who can’t fathom why two people would want to stroke each other’s hair in front of an audience. In my mind I’m imploring the couple to just keep their hands to themselves, but all I can do outwardly is smile like an idiot and chew my salad while I try not to stare at the rainfall of dandruff that has now settled upon the table.
This was how our leader and his wife wanted to be photographed at public ceremonies on Remembrance Day:

Urback thinks it's just Justin being Justin. I think it's also a symptom of the decay of democracy. We no longer decide matters (or choose leaders) based on reasoning; we're reprimitivizing and lunging from point to point driven by emotion. Instead of the natural reaction of "Ewww, can't these people save it until they're home?" the popular reaction is more like "Ug-ug-ug... leader virile... corn grow high this year!"

Of course, we've already been treated to 7 years of The Greatest Love Story Ever!!!!© which will soon be coming to the silver screen:
Actors Parker Sawyers and Tika Sumpter have been cast as Barack and Michelle Obama in a forthcoming romance about the couple’s first date.

Southside With You is about the Obamas’ first outing in 1989 when Obama and lawyer Michelle Robinson visited the Art Institute of Chicago and watched a screening of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing. The pair also apparently kissed outside an ice cream parlour.
It's bad enough that we have to put up with this tasteless exhibition, but being Canada, we're stuck with the provincial touring company while the Americans get the splashy professional show!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day, 2015. I was saying to Dean the other day, that this must be the only holiday on the calendar that hasn't been commercialized. No more than via the sale of poppies, such as that one above, which is a tradition in itself and doesn't really count.

No, Remembrance Day is still pristine. When I was a kid, all the stores were closed for Remembrance Day, (which made it one of the most boring holidays of the year, to my immature mind) and even now, stores have to stay closed until the afternoon.

No sales, no discounts, let alone cards, parties, presents and the rest of the frippery that now goes even with harmless little homegrown festivities like Valentine's Day. Just as well, I suppose. It's hard to imagine anything more tasteless than a Remembrance Day party - "Go in costume, dressed as Kaiser Wilhelm! Ten great mustard recipes for your Remembrance Day dinner! Serve the same menu as that of the last night of the Lusitania!" (This last isn't that far-fetched; I've read of people painstakingly reconstructing the Titanic's dinners.)

In the U.S., I think its status is matched by Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. No cards, decorations, parties associated with it, nor big sales, though it hasn't been around that long as a holiday, so I'd want to revisit the question in another 15 or 20 years. By then, things might have changed. I recall when the holiday first started, someone was joking about how long it would be before it came to the same end as President's Day or Columbus day. "I have a dream... about the fantastic savings at Menards!"

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Great Holocaust documentary

Holocaust Education week just ended, but it's never too late to watch a great documentary, and this is a fine one.

It tells a story I'd never heard of before: the great violin virtuoso, Bronislaw Huberman, realized that the Nazis were bent on eradicating Jews and Jewish culture from Germany, so he refused to play in the country after 1933. But he did something more: he personally set about collecting the very best Jewish musicians from Germany and eastern Europe, many of whom had been dismissed and denied employment under the Nazi race laws. He assembled enough players to create a symphony orchestra, then obtained visas for them and their families to emigrate to Palestine. Altogether, he saved nearly a thousand lives, and the musicians he rescued formed what was to become the Israel Philharmonic.

From the director's website:
In the early 1930s Hitler began forcing Jewish musicians out of orchestras across central Europe; never before had so many experienced players been jobless simultaneously. The Nazis unwittingly presented a unique opportunity and with the short window of time still available, Huberman dedicated himself to fulfilling a dream.

The struggle to create the Palestine Symphony is a densely layered story with a range of key characters that could hardly be more diverse. Among them: a high Nazi official, Goebbels; renowned conductors, Furtwangler and Toscanini; a future head of state, Chaim Weizmann; and the families of victimized Jewish musicians who made up the ranks of orchestras across central Europe. Even the most famous Jew in the world played a role; a man who, among other pursuits, was an amateur violinist who liked to read music with Huberman - Albert Einstein.

Huberman knew that his orchestra would serve a broader purpose as well - a top flight orchestra of Jewish immigrants would be a powerful tool to fight the savage anti-Semitism spreading out from Germany, and it would build the prestige of Jews. Huberman foresaw that by arranging for these families to emigrate, hundreds of Jews would be saved whose fate would otherwise have been the gas chamber. In all Huberman saved close to a thousand people.

These are the paths our story tracks: the timeless tale of a brilliant young man coming of age and the suspenseful chronicle of how his efforts impacted cultural history. Perhaps most important, the film challenges us to look inward and ask the hard questions: how would I have reacted and what would I have done in the face of those momentous events in that terrible troubled time?

Canonizations, past and present

I came across this comparison between how canonizations were carried out in the past and the changes that have taken place over recent decades.

However, I think it needs a third column:

Canonization Post-2013
The Pope receives an email from the Holy Spirit and the new saints are installed in the next Birthday Honours List.

We call this the posthumous "jobs for the boys" method.

Thanks to Unam Sanctam Catholicam

As American as strip-searches

Mark Steyn's just posted an essay about the ever-increasing tyranny of life in the United States. This time it's about the royal right-to-push-around exercised by the Once and Future Queen, Hillary "Sag-Hag" Clinton.
On Monday, the former Secretary of State, who currently holds no public office, filed her entry as a presidential candidate in the New Hampshire primary. This is a formal requirement which these days candidates turn into a promotional event. However, in the four decades he has served as New Hampshire's Secretary of State, Bill Gardner has never been treated as contemptuously as he was yesterday by Mrs Clinton. Her Secret Service detail required that Secretary Gardner submit to a humiliating pat down for the privilege of entering his own office to participate in Hillary's crappy photo op.

Steyn goes on to lambaste the Secret Service:
As for the Secret Service agents willing to do this, they too are beneath contempt. This is a stupid and wasteful agency that can't secure the White House grounds or keep its hands off Cartagena hookers, and used its money-no-object to budget to fly a bazillion agents into South Africa for Nelson Mandela's funeral to stand the President three feet away from a violent schizophrenic with a necklacing conviction. Even so, what sort of depraved husk of a human being do you have to be not to understand that what they did to Mr Gardner is not only inappropriate - they're guests of his - but ultimately profoundly corrupting of the integrity of the republic.

But I think he misses the deeper problem: I don't think Americans DO see this as an abomination. On the contrary, except for a few conservatives who still can remember the traditional virtues of freedom and independence, most are perversely proud of these sorts of excesses, if they notice them at all. Unless people are personally inconvenienced by some blimped-up security cavalcade shutting down rush hour traffic as it lounges its way toward the airport, nobody really cares.

The hooker scandals elicit a sort of roguish "Boys will be boys" chuckle, with an assumption that such tough men, in such tough jobs are entitled to their carnal pleasures. And Americans almost seem to relish the sight of their bosses' flunkies kicking sand in the faces of weaker men. As America becomes softer and soggier everywhere else in the world, its citizens retreat into a sort of illusion of toughness, where this sort of theater substitutes for real strength.

I've visited enough blogs and forums to know what to expect if someone edges a little too close to the crime of lèse majesté. Merely pointing out that back in the day, when America was a real country that counted, someone like Obama or Hillary Clinton would have ended up like Huey Long, is enough to call forth immediate chiding and gleeful predictions of "a visit from the Secret Service". Everyone thinks it's the greatest thing in the world, and is eager to assure any minders from the regime who might be reading of their eagerness to help round up the badthinker and turn him over for appropriate treatment.

Once upon a time, kings of England could send a man to the Tower with nothing but a signature. Now America's monarch can send a scapegoat to jail with a lie, and people just shrug and figure that's how things are in "the greatest country on earth".