Sunday, March 05, 2006

Luddite Adventures

I have to have a phone. But if I have to have one, I want one that does not beep, whistle, ullulate, squeek like a cicada or play the opening bars of any piece of popular classical music.

I have the (mis)fortune to live near a string of antique and junk shops. I argue that I needed a real phone. I had a nasty cheapie plastic touchtone that was getting extremely difficult lately. Horrid piece of junk, the buttons would only work one time in three. When you picked up the receiver you had to push the clicker down several times to get the buttons to work. I needed a new one so I looked in the phone store for something I could afford and that would not offend my sensibilities too much.

And those two criteria proved far beyond the capacities of the electonics manufacturers of our times. You should have seen the confused look on the poor young fellow's face when I asked for a rotary dial phone. Bit like the time I scoured Toronto shops for a clock you have to wind up. (Imagine the fun I had trying to explain the notion of 'winding a clock' to some of the semi-literate savages they keep behind counters in posh Bloor street shops.)

"You know," I said to the poor blighter, "like your grandmother used to the olden days..." just then his shirt pocked started playing the opening bars of Mozart's Marriage of Figaro and we both were looking confused.

The poor kid tried to make me get a cell phone. Just think about that for a second. I'll type it again...

He. Tried. To. Make


get a


It's OK, I'm sure he's fine now, after a bit of rest in a darkened room.

I have long thought that today's cell phones were designed by people who grew up wanting to be Captain Kirk. Come on! Don't those things look EXACTLY like a communicator? You can even get one with a speaker so you don't have to hold it up to your ear, but can hold it in front of you like Kirk know it's true. Nokia's even got a line of phones/blackberries that they call "Communicators."

Anyway, the upshot was that once again, I found what I wanted in a junk shop.

(I hate to imagine what are the larger implications of that fact.)

I brought it home today and am very pleased. Now my 1936 Underwood typewriter has something to keep it company. It has been such a long time since I used a rotary dial telephone that I had forgotten how nice it was.

In fact, much nicer than I remembered. When I was a kid, the R.D. phones were the late model plastic ones and the quality of construction of most mechanical devices was sailing downhill on a rocket-powered bobsled.

This phone is metal, weighs around six pounds so I'll know just what to swing when the burglar breaks in to steal all my expensive electronics. The action of the dial has a lovely smooth machined feel to it that you can't find in these terrible times of i-pods and other horrible little tweaking and beeping plastic boxes.

And yes. It works. It has been adapted to have one of those standard phone jack thingies and I just plugged it in. The only problem I have is that after such a long time since I used a rotary dial phone, without realizing it, I have memorized most of the phone numbers I use not from a string of digits but from the pattern of the key pad.

* ~ * ~ *

It's not even that I hate the modern world so much. I use CD's and telephones. I have a blog after all!

I just argue that the aesthetics are all wrong. I don't think I ever wanted to live on the set of a late '60' science fiction show and if they were to give it a moment's thought, neither would anyone else.

I mean, really, which seems more homey to you? Where would you rather wake up tomorrow morning?


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Lenten Penances for Bibliophiles

Fr. _____ and I were discussing appropriate Lenten penitential practices. I thought Fr.'s definition of the kind of book one can legitimately buy during Lent, particularly helpful, ie: the sort of book one would need if one were aware of its existence.

We share a kind of mystical mind about bookbuying. There are books that are simply meant for you, and that are waiting in bookshops for you to come and retrieve them. The small matter of cash exchanging hands is beside the point. Of the little rectangular bits of coloured paper, there will always be more sooner or later, if one only waits long enough. Of that book, there is only the one, since it is (usually) at least 50 years out of print and you may never see it again.

It's a game really. God spends His free evenings placing these books, like easter eggs in the garden, onto the shelves of bookshops for us and watches chuckling indulgently as we blunder about hunting for them.


Fr. Underscore wrote:

What I am doing for Lent is walking briskly to Abelard and back every day, no matter how cold it is while saying the Jesus prayer. That much I have determined I can keep up, I think. What I am not sure about is going to Abelard and not making at least a token purchase.

Hilary wrote:

Not entirely convinced that daily book-shopping is a legitimate Lenten penance for such as we. I suppose taking a daily three mile walk in the freezing cold could qualify though.

Mine is much simpler. Go to Mass every day and do not give up the practise of the Faith or lapse into despair.

Fr. U wrote:

What I'm trying to decide is whether occasionally buying a book (only of course when it is something one has long wanted or needed or would have wanted or needed had one only known about it) might not be justifiable. I find for long nasty walks one should have some kind of temporal goal in mind, as well.


P.S. Maybe it's okay to get a book if one doesn't stop off at Second Cup for a latte?

As I was walking back from getting Ashed this morning, I was re-thinking my criticism of Father Underscore's pentitential plan. It was about -13 C. this morning and the fifteen minutes it takes to get from there back to the comfort of my eremetical stylos, was quite enough for me!

I am sure that God will understand the necessity of stopping off for a latte on the way home.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Time to Waste; Books to Procrastinate

Some of the books I still intend to write before I die, barring premature senility, blindness or a miraculous and permanent resurgence of monsticism in the Church, include:

The Granola Gourmet:
Hippie Cuisine for Embittered 40-Something postmoderns

Remember the brown bread, eggs and rice of your carefree, shoe-free childhood? Pining for mom's homemade yogurt? The perfect gift book for the perpetually angry Gen-exer schlepping in a dead end office job far far from the tarpaper treehouse cabin of his Hornby Island homeland.

Bonus! ~ order now and get a free CD featuring the crashing of the waves on the beach at Tribune Bay accompanied by the soothing chants of the yoga retreatants at Deerhearts meditation sanctuary. ~ 40 years of exploring the energy of the heart ray. Pefect for those long Toronto February streetcar commutes. Order now!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Saving String

If you lived in England during the war and were a housewife, you saved string, and butcher paper and all sorts of little household oddments that were difficult to get because of rationing.

Also, if someone had a birthday or there was a wedding coming up, everyone saved the sugar rations for the cake and the clothing coupoons for the trousseau.

If you were raised by people who were raised in England at this time, you save and re-use string, Christmas and birthday wrapping paper, elastics, tin foil, plastic vegetable bags, twist-ties and any number of little household oddments because, you know, they might be hard to get soon...

My mother likes to tell the story of when she first arrived in Canada. The boat that brought them over from Liverpool arrived on the St. Lawrence at Quebec City. Her first words upon seeing it were, "Where's the bomb damage?" She had been told it was a World War, after all and had never seen a city that wasn't smashed to pancakes.

She said she was very puzzled when her first school chum said, "let's go to the store and buy some candy." She replied, horrified, "I can't take your rations!"

She said she would never forget the time she saw a kid scoffing an entire bar of chocolate by himself. If you got chocolate in Manchester, you cut it up into the smallest fragments possible and gave it out to as many people as you could manage. Otherwise you would be thorougly pounded.

She always maintains that kids would be nicer if there were rationing.

I save string.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Julie Burchill, bisexual Marxist on Media Dhimmis

"...It's a long hard struggle trying to make bleeding-heart liberals see sense. Especially when you live in a country where a sizable part of the print and broadcasting media are such guilt-ridden cretins when it comes to Islam that if they saw Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein sexually sharing their own grandmother, they'd swear the poor old lady asked for it."


This was posted to a list by a friend who receives a lot of first-hand information from people living behind the lines of "Islamism". It was written by a man who presumably survived his experience. Bahman Aghai Diba PhD International Law
Persian Journal, 10 February 2006

It speaks for itself:

The old man had a calm face. He kept smiling mildly and looked around with appreciation. I had not met him before and this was the first time (and the last time) that he was walking with "us". I mean with our group of prisoners in the notorious Evin prison of Iran. It was one of good days that the prison administer had let our group to work as construction workers in a remote section of the prison. The old man that was walking with us that day was "Ke-shish (Christian Clergy ) Dibaji".

He was a Christian priest and his crime was changing his religion from Islam to Christianity. Dibaji had not only changed his religion, but as a clergy, he had tried to invite others to his religion. He had worked in places like north and west of Iran and even he had made travels to Afghanistan for preaching.

He was not one of my cellmates, and I noticed him because he was walking as person who was very satisfied and content. He was telling things slowly to himself that I could not understand at first. Later I came to know that he was reciting Christian hymns in Farsi and English. I asked him "why are you so joyful?" He said I am praying to God that has made this beautiful day possible for me. Look around you isn't it beautiful? The flowers, the sight of mountains and the huge trees are around us, and I am in the company of nice people. I am thankful to God.

Of course, I did not care about his Christianity, as I did not care about my Islam. However, in the middle of terrible conditions that existed there, and our lives were under the control of the Assdollah Lajevardi, the Butcher of Evin and his blood thirsty assistant (Karbelai, the administrative head of Evin who was called "Pishva" like Fuehrer) it was interesting for me that a person can have such a spirit. I felt that his feelings were respectful and he was spreading a positive wave.

That day I had my only serious quarrel with another fellow prisoner. The fellow prisoner was pretending that he was very Islamic and this new guy (Dibaji) was Najes (religiously unclean). I knew the protesting prisoner very well. He was a person that his personal life was only the story of drinking alcoholic beverages, cheating his wife and so on. I was famous among the prisoners as a calm person, but that day attacked the prisoner who pretended to be very Islamic and I told him that if he did not shut up, I would report all of his past actions to the prison authorities. He was so shocked from my reaction and we never talked with each other for several years.

Dibaji and I were both under heavy sentences and we waiting for a court that we knew it would not be fair. He was accused of "Ertedad", or changing religion from Islam to something else. The sentence for such a "crime", as far as men were concerned, was execution. As for the women, according to the religious rulings, the concerned female should be kept in prison and tortured five times a day, on the daily prayer times, until such time that she gives up her new religion and returns to Islam.

Dibaji was released from prison after a while, but it did not take much time that they found his body in the forests near Tehran. He was clearly tortured and murdered.

I think he was one of the first persons that were killed according to the program of the Serial Murders orchestrated by the Iranian intelligence officials.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Sense of Humour from the Dark Side

So, am I losing it? Or do the quotes in this article strike anyone else as hysterically funny?

Y'see, Australia has just legalised RU-486 the human pesticide.

Here's the reaction from some of the ladies in the government:

"Pregnancy is not safe. A whole lot of things about women's reproductive health are very dangerous, in fact."

"The death rate from this particular drug is much less, for example, than (from) Viagra," she said.

Tearful Liberal senator Judith Troeth hailed the result as "a victory for common sense ... for the nation's daughters and granddaughters".

OK, err...what daughters and granddaughters? The ones you aborted or the ones who died taking the drug?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


So, picture this scenario:

Your boss calls you up and offers you a choice of three things you can do:

1) Single-handedly picket the Paris mosques wearing a sign that has a picture of Mohammed with a bomb turban.

2) Get shoved feet first through a wood chipper.

3) Write a response to the CCCB's pastoral letter on the government's embryo research regulations.



Friday, February 10, 2006

Simple on How to Talk to Oriental Desert Savages

In a brief series of columns, Mr. Simple visits with General Sir Frederick Nidgett, who after an illustrious civil service career has been dispatched to darkest Araby to engage the might of the Empire with the Imam of Todi, whose effective armed forces consist of 35 Syrian-trained (in those days it meant ludicriously badly trained) Todi Scouts, equipped with muzzle-loading arquebuses. Todi is situated on the other side of the Great Jebel Snakhbar, a desert of formidable proportions riddled with savages.

Nidgett of Arabia

I have just seen a copy of a leaflet prepared by Capt. J.Birdbath, of the Psychological Warfare Branch of Gen. Nidgett's headquarters. Seven million copies have already been dropped on the territory of the Imam of Todi.

Capt. Birdbath, a noted lecturer and Arabist in civil life, believes he has found the answer to criticisms that our propaganda is out of date and that we have lost touch with the Arabs of today.

A rough translation reads:

"Sons of the Desert! Hearken to the voice of Gen. Sir Frederick Nidgett, G.C.V.O., T.D. Terror of the Universe, before whom the waves of the sea retire and the stars of heaven bow down! Though he come with an irresistible host, attended by powerful dijinns, Nidgett is your friend!

The accursed Imam of Todi, grown old in evil, has betrayed you, and is even now preparing to hand over his dominions to the demons of Iblis, in return for a futher supply of houris and false oil-share certificates.

Drive out the infidel Imam and welcome Nidgett with wine and corn, with ivory and ebony and cedarwood, with gold and porphyry and with feasting and dancing and joyful shouts. And remember to hand in your flintlocks to the nearest Field Security Section.

Fear not the magic birds which bring these messages. Like the giant Roc of Socotra, which carried Sinbad of old, they are now in the service of the wise enchanter Nidgett. If you heed his words, they will do you no manner of harm. Tremble and obey."

* ~ * ~ *

In a later colum, Mr. Simple happily reports that the Imam had fled to the Jebel Snakhbar during the night and taken refuge in the remote fastnesses of the Bojd.

Gen. Nidgett declared "Operation Backache" a "Cracking good show!"

Espana Antigua

He really does look like Robert DeNiro, don't you think?

Jordi Savall

Unanimously recognized as one of the most important performers of ancient music at the present time, Jordi Savall is amply one of the most multi-faceted musical personalities of his generation: viol player, conductor and creator of an unmistakable style, his concert, pedagogical and research activities place him among the main architects of the present process of revaluation of historical music. With his essential contribution to Alain Corneau’s film Tous les matins du monde (which has been awarded with Seven Cesars, including soundtrack and recently re-issued by Alia Vox), he has shown that ancient music is not necessarily elitist or for minorities and that it can interest an increasingly younger and wider audience. He has made also the soundtracks of the films Jeanne la Pucelle (1993) by Jacques Rivette, El pájaro de la felicidad (1993) by Pilar Miró and Marquise (1997) by Vera Belmont.

Jordi Savall was born in Igualada (Barcelona) in 1941. His musical career started when he was 6 years old: musical experience, practice and training from the heart of his home town children’s choir and musical and cello education that he finishes in the “Conservatori Superior de Música de Barcelona” in 1965. From 1968, he completes his training in the “Schola Cantorum Basiliensis” (Switzerland) where he succeeds his master, August Wenzinger, in 1973. A pioneer eager for new horizons, he soon realises the importance of ancient music.

Simple on Socialism

1955: [Best read accompanied by a CD of Noel Coward songs, particularly the one about the Duchess whose son went red.]

Babes in the bath

You may see Socialism as a great road, stretching to infinity across a barren, waterless waste. Along it trudge half the peoples of the world, bowed, manacled, parched, exhausted. By the verges lie the gaunt wrecks of crashed and burnt-out nations; and skeletons picked clean by vultures and bleached by the pitiless sun.

Appalled by the prospect before them, certain Socialists, fainter in heart or stronger in head than the rest, have hesitated, halted or even turned back. These are now rebuked by Prof. G.D. H. Cole, who still steps stoutly ahead, undeterred, undeterrable, invincibly blind and cheerful.

Be of good courage, he bids his wavering comrades. "Much has been done bacdly amiss in the Soviet Union," he concedes but the Soviet worker enjoys "in most immensely enlarged freedom." To throw away Socialism because it can be "perverted" to serve totalitarian ends is "to throw out the baby with the dirty bath-water."

This is familiar
[indeed, I heard it from my very modern and freethinking English grandfather, so Mr. Simple isn't making it up, it was the popular train of thought with early 20th c. upper-middle class English socialists. ed.] and most m anifest nonsense. What has gone "amiss" in Socialist countries is not mere chance disfigurement, like a false moustache scrawled by a madman on a masterpiece. It is Socialism itself, taken to its logical conclusion.

The death of freedom, the enslavement of the masses, the withering of art and culture, the restless, ruthless hunt for scapegoats, the aggressive folie de grandeur of Socialist dictators - these are no mere "perversions" of Socialistm. They are Socialism unperverted, an integral and predictable part of any truly Socialist system.

We are not faced here with so much dirty bath-water surrounding a perfectly healthy, wholesome Socialist baby. The dirty bathwater is Socialism, and the baby was drowned in it at birth."

Music, Monks and the Melancholic Tory

A friend of mine is culling his CD herd and I am the grateful recipient of a lot of his castoffs. It's quite a pile and a great deal more than I would be able to afford if I took it upon myself to buy them. Collections of Bach's concerti and sonatas from Deutsche Grammophon, a pile of Vivaldi's violin concerti and whatnot.

Right now I'm working through a 8-disk set of medieval and baroque music from Spain, Espana Antigua by Jordi Savall (who looks surprisingly like Robert DeNiro if the picture is to be believed,) and all his little friends. For some reason I am cottoning on to medieval Spanish music lately. I quite enjoyed disk #2 which is mostly 14th. c. It's cheery and bouncy. Medieval rockabilly.

Funny to think that people in the 14th.c. were sticking in bits of Gregorian chant for the same sort of dreamy antique effect for which it is prized by modern pop singers today. It is easy to forget that by the 14th.c. the good bits of the middle ages were already pretty much wrapping up and stuff like Gregorian was already hundreds of years out of date. Of course, the Plague was shortly to come along and lend considerable assistance to the project of sweeping aside the old order.

* ~ * ~ *
Speaking of monks,

I did a thing today on that Carthusian monk movie. I was struck particularly by a comment the director made about his experience coming back down from the mountain into the seething atmosphere of the 21st. century.

"When I left the monastery... having had this experience of living with people who are pretty free of fear makes you realize how fear-driven our society is. We tend to say that our society is driven by consumerism or greed but it’s not true. Greed, consumerism, wanting to have a new Porsche, for example, is a disguise of pure fear. It’s a near panicking society..."

* ~ * ~ *

Just reading the obit in the (UK) Spectator of Michael Wharton, aka Peter Simple, one of English journalism's last great Tory satirists, and again thanking God, (with Whom I seem to be having very slightly improved relations lately) that I knew John Muggeridge long enough for him to drag me out of my sinkhole of journalistic, political and literary ignorance.

No less a personage than A.N. Wilson wrote the piece in the Spec: "In the death of Michael Wharton we have lost both the funniest writer of our generation , and the truest. Time was when The Reactionary Times and Feudal Chronicle was scarcely distinguishable from those parts of the Telegraph, Daily and SUnday, written by Michael's friends, Colin Welch, Malcolm Muggeridge or Peregrine Worsthorne...

"Little by little, however, like the Welsh language or the Grey Elves in Tolkien, the Old Believers died out, and soon their voice was only to be heard in the 'Peter Simple' column.

"What he shared with the truly religious, (two of his wives were Catholics) was a perpetual sense of exile, and this sprang not from his non-English ancestry but from being a human being. The essential strangeness of life on this planet, especially in England during the period of her putrescent decline, would create this sense of exile in any but the insensitive."

I have two Simple books, starting in 1967 and am now able not only to know what the Spec's obit is talking about, but am able properly to mourn the loss of another one of the Old English Conservatives. I am becoming, perhaps, over sensitive to the loss of these old conservative English guys with Tory sensibilities and Catholic wives. They are disappearing at an alarming rate, and being replaced with humourless people who like David Cameron.

Certainly the gloomy mood that everything once great is fading away never to be recovered is palpable in all the books I have been reading lately. I fear to pick up another early 20th. century English writer. All the guys on my shortlist of Things I Must Get to Next are of the same ilk. Not fearfule so much, but more melancholie and nostalgick.

I was eyeing something by Waugh a minute ago and thinking about what to pick up after Robert Hugh Benson, but now I might have to read something less depressing. Maybe David Frum's stuff on how to be a good right wing American. They're much more cheerful.

* ~ * ~ *

Benson has been quite a wonderful discovery for which I have to thank not John this time but Fr. David Roche who said, quite rightly, that if I had liked Michael O'Brien's Catholic paranoia novels, I would loooove Benson who invented the genre. Benson is certainly one of those names that should have been household. Had he lived longer, he certainly would have been as famous among the early 20th c. English converts as Knox and Chesterton. I found his life by C.C. Martindale SJ., (another of that clique) as one of the overlooked leftovers from the Muggeridge collection.

Lord of the World was written at a time when the Great Ideological States were still only the stuff of the feverish dreams of conspiratorial apostates and syphilitic undergraduate maniacs. The old world was about to topple, but still looked solid enough to most. It was published in aught seven and in it, Benson predicts the late 20th century, post-war anti-Christian leftist stateism that we have now spreading its diseased tendrils everywhere.

He envisioned a terrible war between the socialistic West, which, too busy cramming its ideologies down the throats of a spiritually starving post-Christian populace, does not notice until too late the rise of the recently re-barbarized Eastern Empire.

In Benson's future, Protestantism is dead, finally splintered down to atomized particles so small that no one can reside in it. Catholicism is under legal attack everywhere in a socialist European Superstate.

In the first forty pages, one recognizes the modern world. And he wrote before electricity was common, before inter-continental communications, before the aeroplane for Pete sake! He predicts atomic weapons, the socialist welfare state, the EU, the rise of militant oriental religions and the ever-so-gentle, imperceptible destruction of the Church. I was especially struck by one scene in which a young woman witnesses the crash of a passenger plane ("volors" in Benson's astonishingly prescient imagination).

"...a voice hissed suddenly in her ears: “Let me through. I am a priest.”

She stood there a moment longer, dazed by the suddenness of the whole affair, and watched almost unintelligently the grey-haired young priest on his knees, with his coat torn open, and a crucifix out; she saw him bend close, wave his hand in a swift sign, and heard a murmur of a language she did not know. Then he was up again, holding the crucifix before him, and she saw him begin to move forward into the midst of the red-flooded pavement, looking this way and that as if for a signal. Down the steps of the great hospital on her right came figures running now, hatless, each carrying what looked like an old-fashioned camera. She knew what those men were, and her heart leaped in relief.

They were the ministers of euthanasia."

The one thing he didn't seem to foresee was that the Church would be colluding in its own destruction. In Beson's time, the Modernist crisis was thought to be over. Benson's future English Catholics, those who survive, still have the Mass, still rejoice (not apologise) over converts. It is the same, strong, coherent Catholicism he knew. I cannot help but wonder if his confidence might have been shaken by the capitulation of the Conciliar renewal. I wonder what he would have made of the Vatican's wheedling, dhimmi-esque press release on the Khartoon riots.

Certainly, if you enjoyed having your black-helicopter-secret-government-concentration-camp Catholic paranoia buttons pushed by Father Elijah or Eclipse of the Sun, it's worth tracking down a copy of Lord of the World.

I just can't resist one more boast though: my copy is signed "to Anne Muggerdige, Michael Davies, Park Cottage 1987."

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

!@#*@&!$# !!! Bell Canada!!!!

Bell Canada will have my internet up and running sometime soon.

Any minute now

aaaaaannnny minute now...


I have complete confidence in our glorious Revolutionary, Government-subsidised telephone service.

Everything is getting better and better under the watchful eye of our dear leaders. I entirely denounce the wicked plots of the US-backed cultural imperialists who would impose their so-called competetive dogmas on our economy.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The Love Pope

The lefties in the press, having set up their memes, are now shocked and horrified as Ratzi, like John Paul before him, openly defies their categorizations...

Could it be "part of a vast, rightwing Opus Dei conspiracy, one to set expectations so low that when his first encyclical was released giving us love, love, love everyone is perplexed"?

Hey, everyone said he was evil, and a Nazi and Hitler and everything...

What gives with all the love stuff? This must be a trick.

I have to say I burst out laughing when I read the New York Times headline: "Benedict's First Encyclical Shuns Strictures of Orthodoxy"

because, of course, if you're the New York Times, the entire doctrine and dogma, discipline and sacraments, art and history of the Roman Catholic Church is about contraception, abortion and gays. If the New York Times says that the Church's "strictures of Orthodoxy" are about the Big Three Topics, it must be so...

Now we have a Times columnist getting a clue. Do these people read nothing but each other's editorials?

So, we've never come across St. John of the Cross hey? Never heard of Teresa or Therese?

There's something here the crossed my mind. Perhaps Ratzi didn't like being the prefect of the CDF, a job that was far from using his talents to the full. A guy like Ratzinger, someone whose love of God needs to pour out of him in words, having only his piano to express it, cast by the whole world as the heavy, the Church's bad cop. Maybe he likes being pope better because he can tell us all the stuff he has been saving up and have the world's biggest pulpit to do it from.

Passionate Prose is a Real Revelation
By Ruth Gledhill
Times UK

I STARTED reading Deus Caritas Est expecting to be disappointed, chastised and generally laid low. An encyclical on love from a right-wing pope could only contain more damning condemnations of our materialistic, westernised society, more evocations of the “intrinsic evil” of contraception, married priests, homosexuality. It would surely continue the Church’s grand tradition of contempt for the erotic, a tradition that ensures a guilty hangover in any Roman Catholic who dares to indulge in lovemaking for any reason other than the primary one of reproduction. How wonderful it is to be proven wrong.

The first half of the encyclical, the part on eros written by the new Pope himself, is a startling revelation, almost akin to reading one of George’s Herbert’s poems on love and God
, or C.S. Lewis’ The Four Loves. The language itself verges at times on the erotic.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Believe me, happiness is shy,

And comes not aye when sought, man.

Happy Feast Day!
(translated in Canada to the following Sunday)

Today, one is obliged to be Scottish.

On the plus side, lovely lovely plaid, soft mists, echoing hills covered with heather, warm fires, and single malt whiskey.

on the down side...

Presbyterians and haggis.

One must take the good with the bad.

(For our friend John Cahill, our most loyal fan.)

* ~ * ~ *

Address Of Beelzebub

To the Right Honourable the Earl of Breadalbane, President of the Right
Honourable and Honourable the Highland Society, which met on the 23rd of May last at the Shakespeare, Covent Garden, to concert ways and means to frustrate the designs of five hundred Highlanders, who, as the Society were informed by Mr. M'Kenzie of Applecross, were so audacious as to attempt an escape from their lawful lords and masters whose property they were, by emigrating from the lands of Mr. Macdonald of Glengary to the wilds of Canada, in search of that fantastic thing-Liberty.

Long life, my Lord, an' health be yours,
Unskaithed by hunger'd Highland boors;
Lord grant me nae duddie, desperate beggar,
Wi' dirk, claymore, and rusty trigger,
May twin auld Scotland o' a life
She likes-as butchers like a knife.

Faith you and Applecross were right
To keep the Highland hounds in sight:
I doubt na! they wad bid nae better,
Than let them ance out owre the water,
Then up among thae lakes and seas,
They'll mak what rules and laws they please:
Some daring Hancocke, or a Franklin,
May set their Highland bluid a-ranklin;
Some Washington again may head them,
Or some Montgomery, fearless, lead them,
Till God knows what may be effected
When by such heads and hearts directed,
Poor dunghill sons of dirt and mire
May to Patrician rights aspire!
Nae sage North now, nor sager Sackville,
To watch and premier o'er the pack vile, -
An' whare will ye get Howes and Clintons
To bring them to a right repentance-
To cowe the rebel generation,
An' save the honour o' the nation?
They, an' be d-d! what right hae they
To meat, or sleep, or light o' day?
Far less-to riches, pow'r, or freedom,
But what your lordship likes to gie them?

But hear, my lord! Glengarry, hear!
Your hand's owre light to them, I fear;
Your factors, grieves, trustees, and bailies,
I canna say but they do gaylies;
They lay aside a' tender mercies,
An' tirl the hallions to the birses;
Yet while they're only poind't and herriet,
They'll keep their stubborn Highland spirit:
But smash them! crash them a' to spails,
An' rot the dyvors i' the jails!
The young dogs, swinge them to the labour;
Let wark an' hunger mak them sober!
The hizzies, if they're aughtlins fawsont,
Let them in Drury-lane be lesson'd!
An' if the wives an' dirty brats
Come thiggin at your doors an' yetts,
Flaffin wi' duds, an' grey wi' beas',
Frightin away your ducks an' geese;
Get out a horsewhip or a jowler,
The langest thong, the fiercest growler,
An' gar the tatter'd gypsies pack
Wi' a' their bastards on their back!
Go on, my Lord! I lang to meet you,
An' in my house at hame to greet you;
Wi' common lords ye shanna mingle,
The benmost neuk beside the ingle,
At my right han' assigned your seat,
'Tween Herod's hip an' Polycrate:
Or if you on your station tarrow,
Between Almagro and Pizarro,
A seat, I'm sure ye're well deservin't;
An' till ye come-your humble servant,

June 1st, Anno Mundi, 5790.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Worth dying for?

At dinner with a friend the other night, we were discussing Canada and the perennial vexer, 'national identity.' We talked about the legitimacy, in Catholic teaching, of patriotism as one of the natural loves and whether it is possible to be a Canadian patriot under our current diminished circumstances. Does Canada qualify as a country for which one can have this natural love?

C.S. Lewis gave one of the best starter-kit descriptions I have yet come across for patriotism (which we must distinguish from nationalism.) Despite his reputation as a logician, Lewis had a keen sense of the poetic and visceral. He said, if I remember rightly, that patriotism is simply the natural love of one's home.

But we have a difficult conundrum here. Our home no longer loves us. It is difficult to see why those of us who have been used as a scapegoat in this election, who every party in the race has defined as the enemies of freedom and the principles upon which the country is founded, would continue to love that country. If your country hates you, can you be a patriot?

In the course of our conversation, my friend Neil pointed out that some months ago, there had appeared a little burst of letters to the editor from veterans who said that this thing created in the image and likeness of Pierre Trudeau was not the country they had fought for and for which many of their friends had given their lives.

That is an interesting question isn't it?

Would you die for Canada as it is defined by the Liberal party flackmachine? By Margaret Atwood, Peter C. Newman, Bill Graham and Irwin Cotler?

Who will write high heroic poetry about the New Canada? Who will go over the top of the trench for it? (Notice it seems silly to use the feminine pronoun "her".) Who now, after having been raised in the Liberal party's threatened child indoctrination centres, will love Canada for anything other than the handouts? The state-subsidized housing projects and medical care and state euthanasia centres to speed you painlessly on your way? As Steyn put it a few weeks ago, countries cannot make its secondary products into its primary aims.

How can one die for a meaningless abstraction like "multiculturalism"?

Canada suffers not only from an abandonment of its original guiding principles - they were not perfect, but they at least were founded in something concrete and related to the Natual Law - but from a surfeit, perhaps an obsession with things for which there is no concrete reality. Ephemeral and indefinable slogans have replaced the historic principles. Where we had notions like "Peace, order and good government," "God, the Queen and my country" (if I remember correctly from the Brownie pledge), we now have a state that bases itself on "a woman's right to choose." A euphemism that was devised to deceive, a slogan that leaves one wondering, "Choose what?" (But of course, with a finger laid to the side of the nose, we all know what the woman is choosing yes? No need to say it, no need to embarrass her or ourselves.)

Martin's hysterics in the last days of the campaign have, at last, shown us what this country is all about: Abortion.

It has been a pretty abortion-free campaign until he stated panicking and telling us what he really thinks. He has told us, the foundational right of the Nation of Rights-without-responsibilities, is abortion. Ours is the abortion state.

In the early days of the campaign, at the debates for example, the old Liberal party rule applied: never never use the "A" word.

For a very long time I have known that the one thing that is strictly off limits for discussion, is the one thing that must be protected, the heart of the matter, the holy of holies and core of our national identity. No other issue is protected so closely that we are forbidden to use the word: Abortion.

If we must mention it, we must use the approved slogans and euphemisms; the knowing wink that we all know what we are talking about, but that it is so sacred it must never be threatened by revealing its true name. This was a hard rule under Chretien, and was broken only on the back of Stockwell Day, that sweet man who never mentioned the "A" word either until the Globe and Mail was ordered by the Party to attack him on the subject.

But again we see it is the Liberal party secret weapon, being weilded very ineptly by Paul Martin. It has long been my thought that abortion being the one thing the Liberal party will never mention, never address in Parliament, never talk about in the media, is in fact, the foundation stone of their government. The right of a private citizen to kill another without even legal scrutiny, never mind legal repercussions, is the right that must ultimately undermine the proper rights of the government to rule.

Looking at it quite apart from the moral issue of whether it is acceptable to kill a defenceless innocent, the rammifications for a government who cedes the ultimate power over the lives of its citizens into the hands of the individual, is a government that has cut off its own feet.

So we have a strange situation. There is no capital punishment in Canada, and for various reasons, though I am in agreement with the Church that capital punishment must remain the right of the state, I sincerely hope that we do not reinstate it until political sanity has been restored. We have a government that on the one hand has deliberately denied itself its proper powers, has eliminated its international stature (once considerable) as a fighting force with a patriotic and strong-minded, stout-hearted populace, and on the other hand has granted the ultimate authority to kill citizens to anyone who wants to. (Oh, I correct myself, to any woman who wants to. But we will save the examination of this other inversion of the natural order for another day.)

It is why the whole enterprise of the New Canada will fail. It is failing of course, but the old assumptions held by most Canadians, (outside the 416 area code) are propping it up. A government that denies itself its proper authority, will not rule long. What I fear is that something much worse will replace it.

Something that does not fear to call itself what it is.

We have been liberated from freedom and citizenship and all to the tune of "rights." But a country that can invent new rights out of whole cloth can do anything. It may have ceded its proper earthly authority, but it has replaced that authority in its own fond imaginings, with godlike powers to invent "rights" ex nihilo. A state with such powers to grant "rights" to selected bodies of the population, is in a position to remove rights with equal facility from other bodies.

What has disturbed me in the course of the election campaign, is that the body most vilified, most demonized has been the chimera, "social conservatives." Harper, Martin, Layton and that other guy, have been unanimous in their characterization of this straw man as Canada's deadliest enemy. The trouble again, with undefined and indefinable slogans is that, having no concrete reality to create a distinction between what a thing is and is not, the indefinable definition can be applied to anyone. In the shifting sands of Canadian political opinion, a "social conservative" is a very useful label. It can be slapped on anyone who does not go along with the crowd.

Having been made the new scapegoats for the New Canada's set of indefinable defining slogans, Social Conservatives have become, without having done anything, enemies of the state. It would be interesting to insist to someone like Martin on a clear definition and examples. But of course, everyone who knows, knows. We know they are among us. They are everywhere. Why, your own family might harbour Social Conservatives. They might be sitting next to you in Church listening. They might be skulking around the water cooler at work. They might be taking notes on your conversation on the streetcar.

There is a lot wrong with this country, but I still find an amusing irony here. It is the Social Conservatives who are able to define Canada. The new breed of Canadian, having been raised in the shifting hall of mirrors that is postmodernism, cannot define a rock on which he has tripped. The Social Conservatives, are the type that are willing to give their lives for their country. They know how to define a country, without agonizing or editorializing or establishing a Royal Commission. They know too what value a country has. But we are the enemy, the snake in the grass seeking to destroy the new indefinitions.

By giving the very definition of Canada over to those who resist the principle of definitions, the New Canadians risk having their country disappear, as if it was eating its own tail and finally got to the head.

What will remain to govern those who live within the Old Canada's geographic territory is anyone's guess. But I don't imagine it will be somewhere I or any of my friends would want to live. I venure to guess also, it will not be to the liking of the latte-sipping Annex crowd either. The trouble is that by the time it arrives, people with the will to resist it will already have been made to disappear along with the old definitions.

I am a Canadian,
a free Canadian,
Free to speak without fear,
Free to worship God in my own way,
Free to stand for what I think right,
Free to oppose what I believe wrong,
Free to choose those who shall govern my country.
This heritage of freedom,
I pledge to uphold,
For myself and all mankind.

Toronto Pravda

If Canada were the old Soviet Union, Toronto would be wallowing in nostalgia for the glory days of Communist rule.

Led by The Globe and Mail and the Toronto Star, the Pravda and Isvestia of Canadian journalism, the entrenched media in Toronto are giant fronts for the old and decrepit Liberal/NDP establishment, wellsprings of agitprop for more and bigger government. On this election alone you could write a book about Toronto journalism and the relentless anti-Conservative twist embedded in most stories and opinion.

That's Terence Corcoran writing in the National Post.

The same National Post that is headed up by David Asper. Who is actively backing the Conservtives. Of course, that sounds good until you look at what kind of Conservative he is backing.

Friday, January 20, 2006

And the Rule of Law is...?


"I'm merely pointing out a fact that courts for the most part have been appointed by another party,"

And the other party is?

Justice Minister and Attorney General Irwin Cotler suggested Harper's statements had been "disrespectful of the rule of law, of the independence of the judiciary and the administration of justice."

and they've really picked some people with a firm and deep grasp of jurisprudence. yah.

McLachlin laid out her plan for the re-engineering of Canadian – or any like-minded liberal society – away from democratic principles saying, “The rule of law requires judges to uphold unwritten constitutional norms, even in the face of clearly enacted laws or hostile public opinion.”
McLachlin told the law students that Justices must be “emboldened” to supercede even the letter of such foundational documents as a nation’s constitution and that their role ought to supercede that of elected representatives. “I believe that judges have the duty to insist that legislative and executive branches of government conform to certain established and fundamental norms, even in times of trouble,” she said.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

In Search of the Lost World of H.V. Morton

In between thinking Large Thoughts and following the election, I have been enjoying a set of books written by a charming English gentleman, and, in his time, famous travel writer, H.V. Morton.

Warren started me on him by giving me his book In the Steps of St. Paul last year. Just recently, I have been finding him everywhere. I got In the Steps of Our Lord somewhere recently; at least, there it was on my shelf one day so I assume I bought it.

Then when it came time to go prospecting in the Muggeridge library, I found an entire collection. My Morton library now boasts, In Search of England, Ireland (green leather binding and gold edges!), Scotland and Wales, In the Footsteps both of St. Paul and Our Lord. All filled with the lovliest descriptions of the people and places he met on his long rambles and interspersed with beautiful sepia-toned pictures of a world that was, in mere moments, about to disappear forever.

Much of his descriptions are slightly melancholy as, even in the 1920's, '30's and '40's the world he was describing was fading away like elves left behind. It is to this England that I have always wanted to run away, having been raised on books published before 1950. I have to keep reminding myself that were I to go and look for it, I would only end up disillusioned. Best to just keep reading the books I suppose.

I have In Search of England on my lap. Here is Morton's description of his visit to Cornwall:

"There is a strangeness about Cornwall. You feel it as soon as you cross the Tor Ferry. The first sight that pleased me was a girl with a shingled head driving a cow with a crumpled horn. I knew, of course, that I was in fairyland! And the next thing was a village that was trying to climb a hill. One whitewashed cottage had reached the top, but all the others had stuck half-way, with their gardens gazing in a rather surprised manner over their chimney pots. In these lovely, disorderly gardens some of the oldest men I have ever seen had apparently taken root in the act of watching the beans.

When I stopped to give the car a drink of water, a woman came to a cottage door with a jug. And she sang her words prettily, as the Welsh do! Like the Welsh, these people possess a fine Celtic fluency, so that their lies are more convincing than a Saxon truth."

Now I discover that there are quite a few H.V. fans out there. Enough to have a website or two.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Medical matters

Remind me never to go near a doctor again as long as I live...

This from Uncle Di on the new medical ethics (what Diogenes does not mention, is that Servatius was also a doctor. He knew all about the new ethics):

"The trial of Adolf Eichmann, from Hannah Arendt's 1963 book Eichmann in Jerusalem. Robert Servatius was Eichmann's defense attorney (emphasis original):

The moment, one of the few great ones in the whole trial, occurred during the short oral plaidoyer of the defense, after which the court withdrew for four months to write its judgment. Servatius declared the accused innocent of charges bearing on his responsibility for "the collection of skeletons, sterilizations, killings by gas, and similar medical matters," whereupon Judge Halevi interrupted him: "Dr. Servatius, I assume you made a slip of the tongue when you said that killing by gas was a medical matter." To which Servatius replied: "It was indeed a medical matter, since it was prepared by physicians; it was a matter of killing, and killing too is a medical matter."

Anyone who wants to know what is happening in hospital bioethics committees these days, (yes, the Catholic ones too) needs only to read two books, Arendt's Eichmann in Jerusalem, and Singer's Practical Ethics.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

FLASH!!! - Depressed People Want Euthanasia 4 Times more than Happy People

Well, it's news to the Dutch doctors in charge of deciding who should be killed at public expense.

The patient's wish to hasten death cannot be put on par with a well-considered and persistent request for euthanasia in an environment where euthanasia is customary.”

“Our clinical impression was that such requests were well considered decisions, thoroughly discussed with healthcare workers and family. We thought the patients requesting euthanasia were more accepting their impending death and we therefore expected them to be less depressed. To our surprise, we found that a depressed mood was associated with more requests.”

These are the people in charge folks!

Saturday, January 14, 2006

"Dogs and cats living together..."

"Mass panic!"

Globe and Mail Endorses Stephen Harper
Toronto Annex-dwellers spotted running in circles at Bloor and Bathurst, weeping into lattes.

Elizabeth II Announces England to be Catholic Confessional State by Spring
Figurehead no more! says Liz kissing Pope's foot

Black Sunrise has Astronomers Stumped - unable to explain rain of "blood"
"We've been hearing this strange sort of musical sound from the sky," says Mt. Palomar researcher

Tuns on Muggs

Paul Tuns is the editor of the Interim, the pro-life newspaper that I sometimes contribute to. Paul is a friend and came out to the pub once or twice with John Muggs. He is the successor as Interim editor to John's son Peter who headed it before I arrived on the scene.

John Muggeridge, a Catholic writer and retired teacher, passed away at the age of 72 at Princess Margaret Hospital on November 25 after a long battle with cancer.

Muggeridge, an editorial adviser to and senior editor at the New York-based Human Life Review, was the son of noted English author and journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, the husband of Catholic author Anne Roche Muggeridge (author of The Desolate City), and father to former Interim editor Peter Muggeridge, as well as former Interim contributor Charles Muggeridge. He was himself an occasional contributor to The Interim, as well as Catholic Insight magazine and other religious publications.

John Muggeridge was not nearly as famous as his father, but his influence is arguably as great. He counted as friends some of the leading lights of Canadian journalism, including David Frum, George Jonas, Peter Worthington and David Warren, and Catholic leaders, such as Fr. Jonathan Robinson and Janet Smith. In a column for the Ottawa Citizen, Warren said that Muggeridge was a “man of national significance,” even though “he was nearly invisible as a public character, was aloof from conventional politics, had no ambitions in the media (and) sought no audience.”

Yet, Warren notes, “his influence was steady.” Warren continued: “John was a man who, simply in being what he was, helped to keep the old Canada alive. Men and women of good will came to him, spontaneously.” He no doubt influenced them during countless discussions in his home and at the pub. As Warren said, his teaching extended beyond the classroom and often merely by example.

Muggeridge was a member of the advisory board of LifeSite and penned several stories for them. The Interim reprinted his article on the politics of new Governor-General Michaelle Jean in September.

He also wrote one of the first scathing critiques of Pierre Elliot Trudeau for the now-defunct Northern Institute Quarterly. Yet, as his friend Warren said, he hated writing, it being an almost painful exercise. In a column remembering John Muggeridge, George Jonas wrote in the National Post: “It’s one of life’s ironies that the best writers often dislike the process of writing and the best people rarely put a premium on self-expression. The best are busy being spouses, parents and friends. They’re spouses, parents and friends first and writers second.”

It was a mark of the man that he didn’t need, nor want to write, to become famous and popular. He was busy raising his four sons and one daughter and being a grandfather to his 16 grandchildren and grandfatherly to other children. The Globe and Mail reported in its obituary that Muggeridge “subsumed his own ambitions” to raise and support his family, but that implies a sacrificial choice. By all accounts, he never thought of it that way. He was a husband, a father and a grandfather. A friend and a teacher. He taught through the written word only reluctantly.

But when he did write, he wrote masterfully and often scathingly in defence of truth and against the perpetrators, enablers and defenders of the culture of death. In a June 2004 eulogy for Ronald Reagan composed for LifeSite, Muggeridge recalled the stirring words of the former president in defence of the unborn and pondered: “Wouldn’t it be nice if our own Paul Martin could bring himself to use such language in public? Canadians still wait for such a defence of life in any of their leaders.”

The funeral for Muggeridge, who often battled with the Catholic hierarchy over liturgical disputes, was held at Toronto’s St. Vincent de Paul Roman Catholic Church in the Traditional Latin funeral rite.

His friend, Catholic writer Hilary White, mused: “I thought that it was one of John’s great jokes, played on all his nice neo-Cath and non-Catholic friends, to force every one of them to attend the mighty traditional liturgy of the church and done at its best (in this country, anyway.) As though he was saying, ‘See? This is what Anne and I have been going on about all this time.’”

He continued to visit his wife Anne at Castlewood Wychwood, where she has been convalescing in recent years, battling an Alzheimer’s-like disease that sometimes has left family wondering if she remembers them.

Still, as Jonas recalled in his column: “He saw the best in the wife he loved so dearly and continued to see it even as she fell ill with an Alzheimer-type disease in her early 50s and failed to recognize him. Cancer should not be allowed to stop his caring. Every sort of medical indignity was embraced by him, if only it would yield the strength for one more month to visit her and the time to see his children. Those who did not know him might have thought, observing his grace in the face of so ferocious an illness, that he was putting on a brave performance. It was not performance, only the man himself.”

Friends and family will miss John Muggeridge, because as Hilary White said just days before he died, “The world needs more people like John Muggeridge, one of the most gentle, decent and intelligent men I’ve met and soon, it won’t have the one it has.”

The Cassandra Club

Now Steyn gets to say it too...

"If it's a Muslim who finally makes it to the Supreme Court of Canada with a polygamy case, I'd reckon their lordships will rule that forbidding it is an unwarranted restriction of charter rights. And I'd wager a few of those justices will be happy to license polygamy if only to prove that their demolition job on 'traditional marriage' was legally grounded rather than mere modish solidarity."

Anyone want to take that bet?

Going too far

"Why are they doing this? I feel violated!"

We call it "freedom of speech" duckie.

There there. Don't cry dear. I'm sure there will be plenty of people who still want to kill your child for you.

Hey kids!

Scare your mum!

Terrify your friends and teachers

with this do-it-yourself "I'm a Scary Conservative with a Hidden Agenda" Self-Demonization kit!

(This ad in no way implies endorsement of Stephen Harper or the Conservative Party of Canada, who are not scary and, as far as real social conservatives can figure, has absolutely no intention of turning back the clock one single minute.)

Canadians are Soooooo Stupid!

How stupid are they?

A friend of mine passed around the following to some people:

"We need to get people giggling whenever they see a Liberal attack ad:"

* * * * *
Stephen Harper has a dog.
You know who else had a dog?
Adolf Hitler.
That's who.
Did Stephen Harper train his dog to attack racial minorities?
We don't know.
He's not saying.

Choose Your Canada.


He then started recieving emails from people on that list who were terribly upset that Stephen Harper has trained his dog to attack ethnic minorities.

He was happy to report, however, that even these drooling morons were still so fed up with the Liberals that they were going to vote conservative anyway. (No, not making it up!)

Someone alert PETA!


I suppose that so much subtlety is more than a typical Glib n' Stale-reading, Annex-dwelling Toronto halfwit can assimilate.

Maybe these ones from a Saskatchewan radio station will be obvious enough for them. I hope so, they are clearly labelled, "parody."

* * * * * * *

Have you ever noticed that Stephen Harper's hair never moves?
You've seen it, know why?
He's got the mark of the beast on his head.
That's right.
Stephen Harper.
Mark of the beast.
Stephen Harper is the anti-Christ.
Is that what you want for Canada?
January 23, vote for the non-anti-Christ.
Vote Liberal.

* * * * * *

Stephen Harper likes guns.
Stephen Harper likes to shoot guns.
Stephen Harper will use his guns to kill the Easter Bunny.
Easter Bunny.
Stephen Harper.
No Chocolate eggs for you.
Is that what you want for Canada?
January 23, vote for all things warm and fuzzy.
Vote Liberal.

* * * * * *

Now, compare them with the real thing on the Librano website and see if they don't make you giggle. They parody themselves.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Who's Crazy and Paranoid again?

yes yes, I know; everyone is carrying this...

Study recommends repealing polygamy ban in Canada

It's funny though, the "I told you so" thing isn't giving me the thrill I expected.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006


I guess if you're as famous and respected as Leon Kass, you get to say that and no one accuses you of being ingenteel.

I normally avoid bioethics lectures because of the difficulty I usually experience at them of refraining from standing up and screaming and going into apoplexy followed by coma. But I went to listen to Kass once at UofT speak on whether we really want to indefintely prolong human life.

Yes, I kid you not, this is a serious line of thought in the bioethics world, "do we want to live forever?"

Errr. yeah. So, you're assuming we can huh?

And they say the pro-lifers are irresponsible fantasists.

Still, his lecture was interesting.

"Even now Dr. Kass remains stuck in what he wearily calls 'embryoville.' Ever since his appointment in 2001 as chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics (a position he relinquished last fall), he has been gamely and evenhandedly trying to work his way through the embryo debate, which really is just a salient in the larger culture war between 'choice' and 'life.' But in an era in which biomedical technologies have already begun to alter the broad and basic contours of human nature, questions about when life begins, or what is permissible in the name of medicine, seem almost quaint. 'Killing the creature made in God's image is an old story,' he says. 'Redesigning him after our own fantasies: That's what's really new.'