21 October 2016

In your charity...

...please pray for my mother.  Also, please pray for my siblings, who do not seem to be handling this well.

20 October 2016

My opinion of democracy...

... is for the most part the same as Winston Churchill's: it is the worst system possible, with the exception of all other systems.   In other ways, it runs closer to Chesterton, who believed that Democracy was not about putting votes in a box, but more of a sense that the most important things in life are best left to the people themselves.  Chesterton's sense of democracy, I am afraid, has been eroded away, thinner than a piece of paper, and the ballot box is all we are left with.  Could it get any worse?

As a matter of fact, yes.  I have on my desk a new book entitled "Against Democracy"  It is written by an academic- naturally- who sees the flaws in democracy as surely as I do- I may even be able to point out a few flaws he does not see- and comes to a solution: it is time to set democracy itself aside, and epistocracy, the rule of the knowledgeable.

I have spent my entire adult life among the learned, am myself in some ways counted among the learned, and my reaction to this is very simple: for the love of God, no.

I do not know how anyone could possibly look at the way the learned run their own institutions and think this should be applied to the entire world.  Universities are filled with politicking, backstabbing, whisper campaigns and so much more- all the very worst impulses of humanity- magnified, and not diminished, because the people who so indulge are smarter than average.  I work at an institution filled with apologists for the bloodiest system ever created- socialism- who yearn and ache to give it one more try.  Not Stalin's thirty to forty million, not Mao's sixty to one hundred million, not Pol Pot's two million, and not even- dare I say it? Hitler's dead (for I see no reason why the leader of the National German Socialist's party should be excluded from this little group)- nor all those dead in other failed attempts can convince them otherwise.  Instead they claim it is the other systems which are bloody, to distract from the massacres done in the name of socialism, the great murders of the people in the name of the people and for the people, for the betterment of the people.  I can't remember the name of the socialist who wrote that all these dead would have been worth it if they had managed to create a true socialist state.  Frankly I don't wish to remember: anyone who can praise that much bloodshed does not deserve to be remembered.  For myself, I can't help but think that a good system of ruling would have been a trifle less bloody.

On a more whimsical note, I am wondering what, exactly, constitutes the knowledgeable and who decides?  is it a BA? A Master's? In what field? Are some fields more relevant than others?  Do degrees from some colleges and universities count more than from others?  Should a PhD be a requirement? Who decides which fields are relevant?  Ask any professor, and they believe their field is relevant, more so than any other.  The spectre of Dunning Kreuger looms large here: in order to judge whether or not one is an expert in any given field, one must in fact be an expert in that given field.  However, those who are not experts are often inclined to believe that they are, because they don't know enough to know that they aren't.  No one in any one field is fit to judge the usefulness or uselessness of any other field, but that is exactly what would have to happen for this system.  I don't know if the comic potential outweighs the tragic, or if it is the other way around.  Would this be a comedy of tragic proportions, or a tragedy of Comic ones? 

Elitism is one of the most dangerous  impulses in humanity, and that is writ here in large.  I can do better than you, I know better than you what is best for you.  I know professors are just itching to break free from their universities and apply their rules over the world as a whole, but that would be a bad thing for the rest of us. The most useful thing about universities is that they are asylums for these people: a place to lock them up and leave them to do whatever nonsense suits their fancy, and where they harm no one and kill nothing but their own time, while the rest of us go about our daily lives in reality.  Let's leave them there.  All of us, including them, especially them, are better off that way.

Here and there

I have not posted much here lately, so here's a few random items.

Elder is a full time university student.  Younger is doing well in high school.  She even joined the games club, raising the number of girls in the club to one.  Frodo remains in his own little world, although he has moments where he comes out and joins us in our world.  However, our world does not seem all that great to him, and he returns to his own.  It seems to be a happy place.  I wish I could join him.

I was going to take my mother to Ottawa this weekend to visit with some family.  My mother believes her 70 year old god daughter could do with a visit from her 92 year old god mother. Unfortunately, mother got an injection for her right eye which left her pretty much immobilized for the time being.  It's too bad.  I was looking forward to getting her out and about, showing her fall colours and all, and seeing my cousins.  We've had some wonderful times visiting in the past.

Puff's anxiety returned for a time, but she is starting to get it back under control.

I have been busy with building some stands to hold pictures for my group of knights, finishing a commission, making  things for the next round of bazaars, correcting Elder's essays, taking younger to air cadets, watching Frodo, baking goods for Younger's lunch (which, I discovered, she sells to her friends), working, singing, practicing my singing, the miscellanea of keeping a house up and running, and a hundred others things. I quit facebook for a month to give myself more time to tend to these other things.  I really haven't noticed any extra time popping up without it.

I have also been trying to get my Brief History into some form that I may send to the Cardinal.  This has proven to be something of a challenge.  I didn't keep proper footnotes when I was writing, because I never intended it at the time to be anything more than a series of edifying yet entertaining blog posts, and now I believe it should be properly annotated if I am going to publish it and sell literally a few copies.  Unfortunately, most of my research was on line, and several of the sites I used no longer exist.  Even better, my research through journals and periodicals has uncovered variant versions of the events I covered- not variations in the interpretations of events, mind, but variations in the events themselves.  I have no way of determining which variant is true.  Also, I have been a little thin on primary sources, as the only primary sources to which I have any sort of easily available access are newspapers- and I can only do that if I have hours of time to look. I don't have hours of time to look.  More and more, this is looking like a stupid idea.  But, the Cardinal said he would be happy to go over it, and I feel now obligated to send something to him.  The first part, which begins with Father O'Grady arriving at St Paul's parish and ends with the death of Michael Power, is almost complete.  If I could find just ten hours to work on it, it would be... more ready than it is now.

I also got off Facebook because I no longer wanted to be bombarded with the American election.  I had that, hoped being a Canadian, I would be insulated from it.  Instead, I found it unavoidable.  I even got into an argument with my sister when visiting my mother some weeks ago.  Somehow, she took my statements that "I think both candidates are awful" was a declaration of my unwavering support for Trump.  "I thought you were smarter than that!" she cried. No one knows how to debate any more.  No one actually listens anymore.  They don't hear your meaning, only their own feelings- what it feels like to be told you're wrong, or that the party you have chosen, the party you have embraced, the party that you declare to be good, is not good at all, although it might, just might, be the lesser of two evils.  But what of that?   It seems very simple to me, and a very swift leap down a very dark ladder: when you vote for the lesser of two evils what you get is evil.  When you embrace the lesser of two evils, what you embrace is evil.  When you declare the lesser of two evils to be a positive good- you have become depraved and stand in need of a miracle.

And that's why I have not blogged much of late.  Now it's time to get back to work.

14 October 2016

It was 950 years ago today....

...that the Battle of Hastings occurred, and good king Harold Godwinson took an arrow to the eye.

Poor Harold had the misfortune of being invaded twice in about a month's time.  He headed north and defeated the Vikings under Harald Hadrada  at Stamford Bridge, and then and then turned south to be defeated at Hastings.  William the Bastard of Normandy won the battle and the English crown.  In fact, he is regarded as the first English kind, even though there was a long line of kings before him, and the man he defeated was himself a king. But, for most historians.  England began here.

Among other results of this battle is the language in which I am writing this post- English.  Were it not for this battle, the language of England would be much closer to its Germanic roots.

7 October 2016


     White founts falling in the Courts of the sun,
     And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
     There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
     It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard;
     It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips;
     For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
     They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
     They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
     And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
     And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.
     The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
     The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
     From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
     And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

     Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
     Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
     Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
     The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
     The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
     That once went singing southward when all the world was young.
     In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
     Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
     Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
     Don John of Austria is going to the war,
     Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
     In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
     Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
     Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
     Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
     Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
     Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
     Love-light of Spain--hurrah!
     Death-light of Africa!
     Don John of Austria
     Is riding to the sea.

     Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
     (Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
     He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri's knees,
     His turban that is woven of the sunsets and the seas.
     He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
     And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees;
     And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
     Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
     Giants and the Genii,
     Multiplex of wing and eye,
     Whose strong obedience broke the sky
     When Solomon was king.

     They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn,
     From the temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn;
     They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea
     Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be,
     On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl,
     Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl;
     They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground,--
     They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound.
     And he saith, "Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide,
     And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide,
     And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest,
     For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
     We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun,
     Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done.
     But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
     The voice that shook our palaces--four hundred years ago:
     It is he that saith not 'Kismet'; it is he that knows not Fate;
     It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey at the gate!
     It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
     Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth."
     For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
     (Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
     Sudden and still--hurrah!
     Bolt from Iberia!
     Don John of Austria
     Is gone by Alcalar.

     St. Michaels on his Mountain in the sea-roads of the north
     (Don John of Austria is girt and going forth.)
     Where the grey seas glitter and the sharp tides shift
     And the sea-folk labour and the red sails lift.
     He shakes his lance of iron and he claps his wings of stone;
     The noise is gone through Normandy; the noise is gone alone;
     The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes,
     And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
     And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
     And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
     And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,--
     But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea.
     Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse
     Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips,
     Trumpet that sayeth ha!
         Domino gloria!
     Don John of Austria
     Is shouting to the ships.

     King Philip's in his closet with the Fleece about his neck
     (Don John of Austria is armed upon the deck.)
     The walls are hung with velvet that is black and soft as sin,
     And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in.
     He holds a crystal phial that has colours like the moon,
     He touches, and it tingles, and he trembles very soon,
     And his face is as a fungus of a leprous white and grey
     Like plants in the high houses that are shuttered from the day,
     And death is in the phial and the end of noble work,
     But Don John of Austria has fired upon the Turk.
     Don John's hunting, and his hounds have bayed--
     Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid.
     Gun upon gun, ha! ha!
     Gun upon gun, hurrah!
     Don John of Austria
     Has loosed the cannonade.

     The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
     (Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
     The hidden room in man's house where God sits all the year,
     The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
     He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
     The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
     They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
     They veil the plum├Ęd lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
     And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
     And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
     Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
     Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
     They are lost like slaves that sweat, and in the skies of morning hung
     The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
     They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
     Before the high Kings' horses in the granite of Babylon.
     And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
     Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
     And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign--
     (But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
     Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
     Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate's sloop,
     Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
     Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
     Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
     White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.

     Vivat Hispania!
     Domino Gloria!
     Don John of Austria
     Has set his people free!

     Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
     (Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.)
     And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
     Up which a lean and foolish knight for ever rides in vain,
     And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade....
     (But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.)

-GK Chesterton.

6 October 2016


For some reason, my list of links and several other sidebars have vanished from the blog.  It was not my doing, and I have no idea how it happened.  If anyone feel slighted by being deleted from the list- as I have said, it was not intentional.  I'll get around to restoring the list one of these days.

4 October 2016

Ha! I said so.

Somewhere in my more than a dozen posts about St Michael's cathedral and its renovations, I posted my belief, based on absolutely no concrete evidence whatsoever, that, upon its reopening and rededication, st Michael's would announce that it is now a basilica. And behold, today I go to its website and see their new banner for St Michael's Cathedral Basilica.  What a gift it is to be able to see the blindingly obvious.

(My belief came from the fact that Our Lady Immaculate in Guelph, which reopened after extensive renovations just before last Christmas, announced upon reopening that it was now a basilica. This meant that the diocese of Hamilton now had two basilicas whereas the archdiocese of Toronto had but one.  I was sure someone in the dicastry was going to try and even the score.  it was thin reasoning, but it turned out to be accurate.)

25 September 2016

This is actually how most of my plans turn out.

I spent a week learning and polishing the communion chant for today.  Then, while singing the chant, my glasses slip down my nose, effectively flushing that week's worth of work down the toilet.