Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Canada's Museum of Political Correctness to put Christ back in its calendar

Welcome to the Canadian Museum of Civilization. Bienvenue au Musée Canadien des Civilisations.

The slight difference in the treatment of "civilization" in the English and French versions -- the French word is a plural -- should be your first clue about how politically correct the Canadian government has become in modern times. Canadians might refer to "modern times" as "PT" -- "Post Trudeau" -- to distinguish the years since 1968 from the Ante Trudeau (AT) years, when dinosaurs roamed Parliament Hill.

The museum actually goes back to the mid-19th century, when it began as a display hall for the Geological Survey of Canada. By 1910 it had become the National Museum of Canada, and moved into the Victorian Memorial Museum building in downtown Ottawa.

With the rise of Québec nationalism [separatism, surely! Ed.] in the 60s, "national" became a loaded word, so after the coronation of the Sun King Pierre Elliott in 1968, the museum was split in two -- the Museum of Nature and the Museum of Man, both in the same ageing building. In 1982, the Trudeau government announced that the Museum of Man would be moved to its own separate facility on the Québec side of the river.

This was the 80s, eh, the heyday of wimmin's lib and "equal rights" for everyone, so the name "Museum of Man" was immediately denounced as gender-biased. The former "National Museum of Man" thus became the Canadian Museum of Civilization. In 1989, the museum moved into the new facility in Hull, which is actually an architectural gem containing some great exhibits, particularly the Canada Hall.

The museum also contains, on the ground floor, an exhibit of totem poles and other artifacts created by... errr... not "Indians and Eskimos", right? How about "Dene and Innu"? No, because that would legitimize the division between two distinct, errr, ethnic groups. So the space was called the "First Nations Hall". Note the past tense. "Nations" is not a good word, remember? So now it's the "First Peoples Hall", with no apostrophe before or after the "s" so it could be one people or, errr, two or more peoples.

That left the PC police with nothing to correct until someone complained that the word "civilization" suggested that "nations"... oops, countries or peoples... who are not Canadian might be UNcivilized, or, errr... well, not as good as Canucks, somehow. Rather than give offence to immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers, the Canadian government in its wisdom [bwuhahahaha! Ed.] Has decided to rename the place the "Canadian Museum of History"/"Musée Canadien de l'Histoire".

So that's the end of it, eh. Well, not quite. A museum of history must inevitably use dates in the description of its exhibits. The Museum of Civilization has for decades followed the politically correct -- meaning anti-Christian -- practice of dating things either "CE" (= Common Era, which we used to call "AD") or "BCE" (Before Common Era = "BC" = "Before Christ"). But now, in a stunning reversal, the Museum has decided to put "Christ" back in history!

According to a new style guide just released by the Museum, "It is now our style to use the Christian calendar abbreviations BC and AD, if necessary, to designate years."

There's nothing religious about the change, it seems. The reason for it was simply that most people didn't understand the PC terms. "It has nothing to do with the Christian calendar," said a Museum spokesthingy. "It has more to do with the fact that it's considered common usage."

Walt says "amen" to that and trusts the building's cornerstone will be re-incised with the date A.D. MCMLXXXVI.

Click here to visit the Museum's website. If you want to visit the Museum itself, go to Gatineau (formerly known as "Hull") Québec and look for the signs. Oh... No... The signs may be changed again by the time you get there. Better just look for the building.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

More on (race + poverty = Africa)

A few days ago, in "Race and poverty by the numbers", Walt posted statistics from the United Nations Human Development Index (as listed in The Economist's Pocket World in Figures, 2013 edition) confirming that the poorest, least developed countries on earth are for the most part in sub-Saharan -- i.e. black -- Africa.

There are other ways of measuring poverty and general hopelessness. One Arthur Okum devised The Misery Index, which looks at two basic things -- rates of unemployment and inflation. The idea is simple. If you haven't got a job, and the price of the necessities of life is soaring, you're going to be miserable. So, the higher the sum of these rates, the more miserable the country.

Yahoo!'s Business Insider looked at 197 countries and territories, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, to compile its Misery Index for 2013.

You may be surprised, gentle reader, to learn that the 10 most miserable countries are not all in sub-Saharan Africa. And they're not all black. Here, with Walt's comments, are numbers 10 through 7.

10. Syria - Not really a surprise that a country torn apart by a civil war should be miserable.

9. Kosovo - In the Balkans. Mostly Muslim.

8. Nepal - Small, landlocked, backward. Chief export: prostitutes sent to India.

7. Namibia - Another lately independent southern African country, formerly run by South Africa. Unemployment rate around 85%.

6. Djibouti - Check your atlas. On the horn of Africa. People chew qat all day and all night. That's all you need to know.

5. Turkmenistan - Part of formerly Soviet central Asia. Muslim.

4. Belarus - An unreconstructed Communist dictatorship between Poland and Russia. Chief export: see Nepal, but the chief importer is Turkey.

And now we come to the Most Miserable Three.

3. Burkina Faso, a.k.a. The Land of Upright Men. Formerly part of French West Africa. Large population (mostly Muslim) and very limited natural resources. Still reeling from the after-effects of a severe drought in 2011. Unemployment rampant. Chief export: nothing.

Even so, things are better than they used to be. According to CIA Factbook used by Yahoo! for this project, "The risk of a mass exodus of the 3 to 4 million Burkinabe who live and work in Côte D'Ivoire has dissipated and trade, power, and transport links are being restored."

2. Liberia. In the 19th century well-meaning American liberals tried to solve the "black problem" by sending freed slaves "back home" to a small chunk of west Africa which they called "Liberia". The capital is "Freetown". The flag has red and white stripes, like the US flag, but, like Freetown's best hotel, only one star.

Like many other sub-Saharan African countries, Liberia is heavily reliant on foreign aid. Its economy was destroyed by civil war, government mismanagement and corruption. 85% of the country's labour force cannot find steady employment. Maybe they should have stayed in the USA?

The worst of the worst, the most miserable country of all, is... Wait for it...

1. Zimbabwe

It's the same old African story -- sloth, ignorance, incompetence and corruption -- writ large by the kleptocracy of Comrade Bob Mugable, which denies Zimbabweans basic rights like freedom of assembly and the protection of the law.

Zimbabwe's economy is actually shrinking (source: Pocket World in Figures). So is the population with literally millions having fled to the UK, Canada, the USA, Australia, or any other non-black country. Or even South Africa which sends them back as fast as they can but still can't stem the tide of refugees.

After the Zimbabwe dollar (a.k.a. "Zimkwacha") reached exchange rates of billions for one US dollar in 2009, Comrade Bob was forced to abandon his worthless currency and adopt the US dollar, which reduced inflation to "normal" levels. However, the Zimbabwean unemployment rate is estimated to be 95%, and the CIA Factbook warns that the true rate is "unknowable" under current conditions.

Those who accused Walt of distorting reality and "blaming the victim" in "Blaming the white settlers for the plight of black Africa" don't need to take my word for it. Read the Misery Index! Better yet, go to Zimbabwe. If you can find any old-timers -- the few still alive who can remember what their country was like before "majority rule" -- ask them if they're better off now than they were in the days of "the racist white settler regime".

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Cardinal Zen: Vatican appeasement hurts true Church in China

It has been some time since Walt wrote about the plight of the "underground" Roman Catholic Church in China. To recap, the "official" Catholic Church, sponsored by the Communist Chinese government, is called the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association (CPCA). It was organized following the Communist takeover of 1949, and many bishops and priests were coerced into joining. That is, they were pressured into switching their allegiance from Rome and the Pope to Beijing and Chairman Mao.

Putting it another way, the CPCA is schismatic -- not in communion with Rome and not truly part of Holy Mother Church. The remnant of Catholic priests and bishops who stayed loyal to Rome were driven underground, and the "underground Church" not only exists but thrives, in spite of continual harassment and persecution. See "Communist Chinese persecution of Catholic Church intensifies"

Finding a way to bring the CPCA back into the fold was to have been a priority of the pontificate of Benedict XVI. One of the key players was to have been Joseph Cardinal Zen Zekiun, Archbishop Emeritus of Hong Kong. See "Zen Catholicism".

Did the Holy Father's initiative work? Was the gap between the CPCA and the True Church bridged? Sadly, no. Why not? This week Cardinal Zen gave the answer which had long been apparent but not stated.

In a lengthy interview published in AsiaNews, the prelate charged that Vatican appeasement has helped the Chinese government strengthen its control over the CPCA as well as the underground Church. The Pope set appropriate policies, he said, but "his work was wasted by others close to him, who did not follow his line."

Who were those "others"? Cardinal Zen explains. "I mean people in the Vatican, but also those outside who, without the help of the Holy See, would not have done so much damage."

The cardinal said that Pope Benedict "has done things for China that he has not done for any other country," referring to the Pope's open letter to the Chinese Church, and that Chinese Catholics "should be profoundly grateful to him for this." But he repeated that Vatican officials had failed to follow the Pope's policies and failed to speak the direct truth about Beijing's efforts to seize control of the legitimate Chinese Church as well as their own schismatic group.

Here are the most significant passages from "Card. Zen: The Pope's great overture to China, held in check by the Vatican and Beijing".

"[The Pope] was a lonely voice in the wilderness. I have said and I repeat: his work was wasted by others close to him, who did not follow his line. I'm not here to judge consciences: it is likely that these his advisers thought that maybe he did not know enough about the situation [or] was unable to pursue the right strategy. In any case, these people have not implemented what Benedict XVI has established as the guidelines for the Church in China.

"We are facing an enemy that not only damages the Church, but China too, our motherland. They are government representatives and Church figures who indecently pursue their own interests, enslaving the bishops of the official Church with enormous pressures; leading them by the nose; forcing them to participate in illegitimate ordinations, making alliances with the worst elements.... If one day the supreme leaders of China decide to take a closer look at the work of these their representatives, they will discover horrors and atrocities....

"There are priests who are arrested, interrogated, beaten, tortured, imprisoned for days, but do not give up their faith and love for the Holy Father. Many priests will not accept illegal ordination, there is the case of Ma Daqin, the auxiliary bishop of Shanghai, who in deciding to quit the Patriotic Association was put under house arrest.

"Unfortunately, even in this case, the Holy See was too careful, it did not throw the full weight of its support behind his choice, opting for a policy of prudence and moderation. And we have lost an opportunity to help other bishops in China. While Msgr. Ma is deprived of liberty, they - especially the leaders of the so-called Chinese Bishops' Conference - are carted around in blue cars at the expense of the Party, to eat and drink at banquets, in exchange for obedience to the Party in making gestures against the Pope."

Who is responsible for relations between the Holy See and foreign governments? Who is the chief proponent within the Roman Curia of the long-discredited policy of Ostpolitik -- making nice with the Communists? It is none other than... wait for it... the Secretary of State, Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone. Beyond any doubt, he is chief of the "others".

Puffy senator lifts snout out of trough... slightly

Yesterday afternoon, Conservative Senator Mike Duffy, the porky prevaricator Canadians love to loathe -- see yesterday's post -- admitted that he might have made a mistake on those darn ambiguous residence forms, and would be giving back over $40,0000 in expenses he got by claiming to have his principal residence in (on?) Prince Edward Island.

Ah yes, those forms. Once a year senators are asked to declare whether their principal residence is (a) within 100 kilometres of Parliament Hill or (b) not within 100 kilometres of Parliament Hill. You have to tick one or the other box. How hard could it be? Well, the Supreme Trougher chose (b).

If the Senate were a game show [You mean it's not? Ed.] the Puffster wouldn't be going on to Round Two. The correct answer is (a), as the tubby Tory now admits. So that's why he's giving back the allowance he received. As New Democrat ethics critic Charlie Angus puts it, “He had to get caught. He had to get hounded. He came up with excuse after excuse and then finally pays the money back.”

Sadly for "Duff", as he likes to call himself, that's not the end of it. The Canadian Constitution requires that to be a senator representing Province X, you have to be a resident of Province X. As Walt pointed out last time, Duffy has not only a principal residence in Ontario, but an Ontario health card. And he does not claim to be a resident of PEI on his tax returns.

But, the senator sez, he has two cars with PEI licence plates. And he has a PEI driver's licence too! Presumably that's not the one which was suspended some years ago following a conviction for DUI. Is that enough to keep the Puffster from having to give up his extra-wide Senate seat?

Former Liberal leader Stéphane Dion, for one, is not convinced. In his usual impeccable English, M. Dion said, “I have no comment as to whether he’s qualified but if he is not a resident of PEI, more than to have a cottage to go to once and awhile, then he is not qualified.... It will be for the Senate to look at that. I will respect the proper process.”

Canadian taxpayers and lovers of irony await.

Further reading: "Memories of Mike Duffy: lawsuits and ‘smear’ campaigns" -- the fond recollections of Michael Bate, former editor of the now-defunct Canadian satirical magazine, Frank.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The two Commandments even the Pope couldn't enforce

The words "I quit" were barely out of Pope Benedict's mouth when cries of "Why?" ["Perche?" Surely. Ed.] Were heard throughout what we used to call Christendom. It didn't take long for Vaticanistas to start reading the entrails, but understanding what really precipitated the Pope's resignation will -- like miracles -- take a little longer.

The last 48 hours has seen three events which, taken together, may add up to an explanation. (Note the use of the indefinite article.) From Walt's perch in the belfry of St. Valentine's Church, the tips of three icebergs can be seen. (Or could it be three tips of one huge berg?)

I. German attorney Ernst von Freyberg has been named president of the Institute for Works of Religion (IOR), which is the proper name of the Vatican's bank. The appointment will be among the last of Benedict XVI's reign. The announcement (on page 2 of L'Osservatore Romano of 16/2/13) also says "the other four members of the board of supervision maintain their positions."

Also confirmed in their positions were the four prelates who comprise the commission that presides over the IOR. They are cardinals Jean-Louis Cardinal Tauran, Odilo P. Scherer, and Telesphore P. Toppo. But wait (I almost hear you say), that's only three. The fourth, who also happens to be keeping his position as president of the commission, is none other than Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State.

So what, I definitely hear you ask. Well... The anonymous writer of the report in Chiesa asks if it were truly necessary to renew the members of the commission of cardinals right on the heels of the announcement of the Pope's resignation. Wny not wait, he wonders, for the election of the new pope, who in any case will have the power to change the commission if he so wishes.

II. There has been another significant personnel change, involving Bertone's Secretariat of State.

Monsignor Ettore Balestrero, an undersecretary of the Vatican's Foreign Ministry since 2009, was this week issued with Kevlar vestments and a steel (not the gun but the cute hat) and sent to Colombia as the new Papal Nuncio (ambassador). Colombia is not the end of the Catholic world, but it's 1000s of miles from Rome, which seems to be the point.

The Vatican's senior spokesthingy, Father Federico Lombardi, said today that the transfer had been in the works for months, and had nothing whatever to do with item III on Walt's list, which is...

III. The leak to the Rome daily La Repubblica of the contents of a confidential report into the Vatileaks scandal. Three cardinals -- Julian Herranz (Spanish), Salvatore De Giorgi (Italian), and Jozef Tomko (Slovak) -- were asked by Pope Benedict to investigate the leaking last year of a series of Vatican documents which seriously undermined his papacy.

The leaked papers included private letters to the Pope complaining of corruption and cronyism in the awarding of Vatican contracts. Allegations of money-laundering at the Vatican's bank -- there's the connection -- were reignited.

Who was behind all this? Was it just crooked financiers bent on enriching themselves with the Church's money? Sadly, no.

According to the Rome newspaper, the cardinals reported to the Holy Father several factions within the Vatican, including "a cross-party network united by sexual orientation", were breaking commandments, including the sixth (Thou shalt not commit adultery) and seventh (Thou shalt not steal).

The stealing mentioned was in reference to "mismanagement" at the IOR, and the sixth commandment is often referenced when speaking of homosexuality.

La Repubblica said the 300-page report alleges the gay network convened in a handful of locations in and around Rome, including a sauna, a beauty parlor, university housing being used by a provincial Italian archbishop, and a villa. "For the first time, the word homosexual was pronounced," the newspaper said, referring to a meeting when the cardinals reported their findings to the Holy Father.

Could this be true? Really?! Let's ask Father Lombardi. Oh. He says we shouldn't expect anyone from the Vatican to confirm or deny the allegations. "We're not going to run after all the speculation, the fantasies or the opinions that will be expressed on this issue," he said in a statement published by the Guardian. "And don't expect the three cardinals to give you interviews, either, because they have agreed not to answer [questions] or give information on this issue."

In fact, Father Lombardi won't even admit that the report exists. Kind of like theThird Secret of Fatima.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Rick Mercer unloads on Canada's prize ass-kisser

It has been a while since Walt wrote about the senator that all Canadians (except one) love to loathe. I refer of course to the "Honourable" Mike Duffy, the biggest -- literally -- toady ever to waddle up to the hog trough that is the Senate of Canada.

For those of you who don't follow Canadian politics, Mr. Puffy used to lurk at CTV, where he held the position of chief political correspondent. When "Call me Steve" Harper became leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition, and looked on the way to becoming prime minister as the Liberals imploded, Duffus began a campaign of sycophancy, toadying, ass-kissing and general sucking up that would have made anyone with even a milligram of pride blush with embarrassment.

Not the Puffster though. During the elections of 2004, 2006 and 2008 -- and at all times in between -- every single "report" on Duffy's segment of the CTV news praised Harper's Tories and put down the Gliberals and Knee-dippers. One would have thought that his scripts were written by the Conservative campaign staff, but no-one was ever able to prove it.

In 2008, a panel of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council ruled that Duffy had violated broadcasting codes and ethics during that year's election. The panel concluded that Duffy's decision to air 'false starts' of an interview with then-Liberal leader Stéphane Dion “was not fair, balanced, or even-handed" and that during the same broadcast, Duffy “significantly misrepresented the view of one of the three members of his Panel, Liberal MP Geoff Regan.

But by then the damage had been done. Harper won the election and Duffy claimed his just desserts -- a big fat reward for the big fat crony of the not-quite-so-fat Prime Minister. And what a payoff it was -- appointment to the Canadian Senate as a representative of Duffy's home province, Prince Edward Island.

The position carries with it a six-figure salary, plus a generous expense allowance, including thousands of dollars per month towards the cost of maintaining a home in Ottawa, for those senators whose residence is a certain distance away from Canada's capital.

Senator Puffy's entitlement to the housing allowance was called into question a couple of weeks ago when doubt was expressed about whether he actually resided in PEI. It's Canada's smallest province, eh, and if Duffy actually set foot on the island, it would doubtless tilt in his direction. However, no such phenomenon has been noted. What has been revealed is that Duffy files his income tax return as a non-resident, and uses an Ontario health card. So his residency is, as I said, debatable.

Joining the debate this week is one of Canada's top comedians, Rick Mercer. Here's what he had to say about the poster-boy for patronage and privilege.

Walt couldn't agree more. Well said, Rick!

Canada to lecture ROTW on religious freedom (especially for the non-religious)

In a bout of holier-than-thou hypocrisy rare even for him, Canadian Prime Minister "Call me Steve" Harper yesterday announced the establishment of Canada's brand new, ultra-PC Office of Religious Freedom.

With a staff of five and a budget of C$5,000,000 -- that would be about a million per head -- the ORF is about "building awareness about the issue of religious freedom abroad," according to its head, Dr. Andrew Bennett. And not just abroad! "It's [also] about interacting with the various communities here in Canada who are in the diaspora from these areas where religious freedom is not respected."

And who might they be? Well, errr, Muslims for example. And Tibetan Buddhists. And Sikhs. And did we mention Muslims? Immigrants (legal and illegal), refugees and asylum-seekers -- all potential voters. (If you think illegal immigrants don't get to vote in Canada, Walt has some land in Nunavut he'd like to talk to you about.)

Nothing was said about protecting the freedom of Canadian Christians to preach and practise their religion, free from government interference (as in the so-called Catholic schools) and attacks by secular humanists (in the lamestream media, particularly the CBC).

But noooo, says Mr. Harpoon. "This is not an office to promote any particular religion. It is an office to promote religious diversity and religious tolerance around the world." Ah yes. Diversity and tolerance.

And pluralism. Don't forget "pluralism", another PC buzzword of the day. "People who choose not to believe, that's a valid religious and democratic perspective that we all must also accept and promote," said the PM. "We're not trying to oppose, we're trying to respect people's own religions, their own faith choices, or non-faith choices, and not impose those choices on others. Just as it is important that religion be respected in a pluralistic and democratic society by those who don't share religion, it is likewise expected in a very religious society that those who don't share faith will be respected." (Walt's italics.)

So you see, it's just another part of the Canadian Conservatives' initiative to Draw All Faiths Together (DAFT). Yes...ORF is DAFT. No doubt about it. But will Canadians tell Harper to bugger ORF? Not likely. (Lifetime pct .990)

Bertone to blame for Pope's downfall?

Immediately following the news of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation, Walt was one of the first to point the finger of blame and shame at Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone. See "Walt tells you who the next Pope won't be".

Four days later, I told you I'm not the only one who feels responsibility for the misdirection of the Church and the Holy Father is the fault of his Secretary of State. See "''Bertone must go!' -- cardinal's warning to Benedict".

In that post I wondered why Pope Ratzinger is so loyal to Cardinal Bertone, given that the latter has got him into so much trouble. We shall probably never know, but a number of possibilities come to mind. For instance, they might be lodge brothers! It is an "open secret" that there are Freemasons in the highest ranks of the Church -- enemies within the walls plotting to install one of their own as the next pope. (See "'Peter the Roman': the last Pope?").

Getting back to Bertone, I want to share with you part of the Economist's take on the situation. The Economist is no friend of Holy Mother Church, but that doesn't mean they don't keep an eye on doings the Vatican. Here's what they had to say on 16 February.

In Benedict's first sermon as pope, he asked the faithful to pray for their new shephered "that I may not flee for fear of the wolves". His fans feel the wolves won. A toxic row between his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, and other Vatican factions lay behind the so-called Vatileaks scandal last year.

The Pope's own butler was found to have leaked documents clearly damaging to Cardinal Bertone.... To his critics Benedict is not a victim, but a weak pope who gave free rein to an ill-prepared and unsuitable secretary of state. The Vatileaks documents cast a bad light on him too.

Vatican watchers, both religious and secular, have long said that Bertone was miffed that Ratzinger had been chosen pope rather than his progressive and intelligent self. I wasn't kidding when I posted a picture, some months ago, of Bertone with his hand behind Benedict's back, and asked (in jest of course) if he was holding a knife. Whether he meant to or not, Bertone has brought Benedict down. But he will not be "Peter the Roman".

Sunday, February 17, 2013

You scream, I scream, Bibi screams for ice cream

Here's a news item you may have missed -- a scoop from Associated Press.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, has frozen his annual budget for, errr, ice cream. Pun definitely intended!

Mr. Netanyahu’s office said today that after the Israeli economic newspaper Calcalist published details of the taxpayer-funded contract to purchase ice cream from Bibi's favourite Jerusalem parlour, the PM ordered it stopped immediately. Netanyahu said he would always be willing to accept his just desserts [enough puns! Ed.] but called the contract “excessive and unacceptable.”

Calcalist reported that the prime minister’s annual expense budget included $2,700 for ice cream, ordered in from the nearby Metudela ice cream shop. It wasn't all for himself though. He shared the frozen dairy [Is that kosher? Ed.] with high-ranking officials at his official residence.

If you're wondering, Bibi's favourite flavours are said to be pistachio, vanilla, and jewsy fruit. [You're fired! Ed.]

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Blaming the white settlers for the plight of black Africa

In yesterday's post about the correlation between race and poverty -- the poorest countries on earth being overwhelmingly in black (sub-Saharan) Africa -- I anticipated the hoary left liberal argument that it's all the fault of the colonists.

Here's what the revisionist historians and lamestream media keep telling us.
The British, French and others took all the resources and left nothing behind.
They drew "national boundaries" without regard to linguistic, cultural and, errr, tribal differences.
They imposed on Africa systems of social organization and government which are "unsuitable" to Africans. Like democracy.

Let me just relate my own personal observations of southern Africa.

I first visited Zimbabwe in the days when it was still Rhodesia. The status of the country, in 1968-9 when I was there, was disputed. Its white government  -- called "the white settler regime" by the Western (and Communist) media -- declared independence from Britain on 11 November 1965. We can run our own affairs, they told the Brits. There was a precedent for this course of action, set back in... wait for it... 1776, by a country which has gone on to achieve considerable stature in the world.

Why would the rest of the world not recognize Rhodesia's Unilateral Declaration of Independence? The problem was race. Of course. The founding fathers of the USA were white. And they kept black slaves, or at least some of them did. But the white folks were in the majority of the Thirteen Colonies, so everything was OK, except perhaps with George III and Lord North.

The government of Ian Smith  was similarly composed of white men. They (or their families) came to their country from Britain and did what they could to develop the land and the people they found there. Unlike Washington and Jefferson, though, they did not keep slaves.

Unfortunately for the white Rhodesians, they comprised only about 1% of the population at the time of UDI. Thus the Smith government was inevitably and always referred to as "the white minority regime".

"Africa for Africans" was the slogan shouted incessantly following Harold Macmillan's "Winds of Change" speech, which signalled Britain's loss of will to govern its colonies. "We're tired," said the Brits. "Let the Africans look after themselves."

What was wrong with "Africa for Africans"? The "white tribes" of Rhodesia and South Africa were quick to point out that they were Africans too -- not just by adoption or settlement, but by birth, with family histories in Africa going back in some cases to the 17th century.

So, the liberals and those bent on the destruction of the West changed the party line to "Africa for the real Africans", meaning the blacks. Well, OK, coloureds too. And maybe Asians. Everyone except the honkies.

Rhodesia was the second-last of the white dominoes to fall. The Portuguese  gave up on Moçambique and Angola in the 70s. South Africa finally succumbed to "majority rule" in 1994. The British betrayed their kith and kin and Rhodesia, effectively selling out to Comrade Robert Mugabe and his terrorist buddies in 1980.

When I visited Rhodesia in 1968-9, there was a small but healthy economy, growing in spite of illegal international sanctions. The country was more than self-sufficient in food, a net exporter to the rest of the continent. The Rhodesian dollar was worth around two US dollars. The major cities (Salisbury, Bulawayo and Umtali) had electricity and clean water, and were connected by well-maintained paved highways. There was a small but reliable airline. Schools and hospitals provided all Rhodesians -- black and white -- with education and health care unmatched in any of the "black countries" to the north.

All this -- the thriving economy, the modern infrastructure, the lot -- was the work of the "evil white settlers". This was the legacy the "racist colonialists" handed over to Mugabe and his henchmen.

By the time I returned to Zimbabwe, as Rhodesia was renamed, in 1992, the capital city (now called "Harare") was in a state of decay. It has got worse still in the 20 years since. You can't drink the water now. Electricity is intermittent. Air Zimbabwe exists only to fly Comrade Bob to hospitals and shopping malls in other parts of the world. The roads are crumbling. Traffic lights have been stolen for the scrap value of the metal frames.

Hospitals are short-staffed and virtually without equipment or even medicines. The educational system is a shambles. The economy, which all but collapsed with the Zimbabwe dollar, is actually shrinking, and has never matched its pre-independence levels. And as land seized from white farmers lies idle, hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans are starving.

Who is responsible for the plight of today's Zimbabwe? The government has been in the hands of "the majority" -- actually a "majority" of just one man -- for nearly 33 years. A perusal of The Economist's Pocket World in Figures reveals the country as a basket case. It is going back to bush, and that's a fact! It's also a fact that it wasn't the "evil white settlers" -- most of whom are gone now -- who built the basket.

Zimbabwe's wounds are, like those of the rest of Africa, self-inflicted. The "real Africans" got their hands on the "white houses and white cars" they coveted, and they have made their country "really African".

Picture credit: The image of Ian Smith is taken from a cover of Time magazine. Mr. Smith died in 2007.

Friday, February 15, 2013

"Bertone must go!" -- cardinal's warning to Benedict

On the day of Pope Benedict XVI's resignation, Walt told you that his successor would not be Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone. (Lifetime pct .987) A reader asks why I said that with such confidence. Very simple. [You said it! Ed.]

Bertone is easily the most disliked member of the Roman Curia -- reviled by the others for his overweaning ambition and attempts to usurp the Pope's authority, rather like Gen. Alexander Haig in the Reagan years. Then there is the matter of Bertone's incompetence in matters of state, such as his complete mishandling of the controversy over the Third Secret of Fatima. (See The Secret Still Hidden, by Christopher Ferrara. Good Counsel Publications, 2008)

Then there was the Williamson affair -- the question of what to do about Bishop Richard Williamson, of the Society of St. Pius X, who was accused of being a "Holocause denier". Bishop Williamson, along with three other SSPX bishops consecrated by Abp. Lefebvre, was supposedly excommunicated. Then, as part of the Vatican's campaign to make the traditionalists bend the knee to Rome, they were "unexcommunicated".

About 30 seconds later the modernists started whining that Williamson should have remained beyond the pale, rather than risk giving offence to the Jews with whom the Church is now supposed to make nice. Another own goal for Bertone.

That's what Joachim Cardinal Meisner of Cologne told Benedict XVI when he pleaded with the Holy Father to replace Bertone as Vatican Secretary of State. Cardinal Meisner told Frankfurter Rundschau that he approached the Pope, on behalf of several cardinals, to demand a change because Cardinal Bertone had proven incapable of handling his office.

But did the Pontiff listen? Nooo... The German cardinal said the Pope dismissed the suggestion immediately, showing his loyalty to Cardinal Bertone. Cardinal Meisner recalled: "He looked at me and said, 'Listen to me carefully! Bertone remains! Basta! Basta! Basta!' After that I never brought up the subject again."

Walt has long wondered why Pope Ratzinger has such "loyalty" to the Man Who Would Be Pope, the more so after the Vatileaks scandal of last year. Could it be that Bertone has "something" on the Pope? Something like photos of the Pope with a duck? (Agent 78 says this means something.)

Could this deep, dark and dirty secret -- if such there be -- have anything to do with Benedict's resignation? Will we ever be told the truth of the Ratzinger-Bertone relationship, or the Pope's decision to go now, before anything else happens?

Ordinarily, the Vatican being what it is, Walt would say we will never know. But... it's interesting -- verrry interresting -- that Cardinal Meisner should have chosen this moment to tell his little story to Frankfurther Rundschau. Maybe this little story has great hidden significance. Or maybe not.

Race and poverty by the numbers

Pocket World in Figures comes with Walt's subscription to the Economist. It's a great little fact book, very appealing to the kind of people who enjoy reading dictionaries and telephone books. [Do telephone books even exist any more? Ed.]

You might think tables of "the world's biggest", "the world's worst", "the world's and so on" would be boring, but the trick is to read between the lines. At the same time, keep asking yourself questions that begin with "why". Look for correlations.

Here are some stone truths that "progressive thinkers" in the West don't like to talk about, except of course when they're laying that old liberal guilt trip on the rest of us.

Rich and poor in black and white. One of the most common ways to measure a nation's wealth is in GDP (Gross Domestic Product). The 19 countries with the highest GDP are all (ahem) "white", if we count the Arabs in Qatar (#5) as honorary whites. Japan is #20, Canada #14, the USA #12 and Australia #9. Luxembourg is on top of the league table.

The other end of the list -- the countries with the lowest GDP per head -- begins with Somalia. No prizes for guessing that one. You go on through another 13 African countries until you get to Afghanistan and North Korea, tied for #15. Could a liberal intellectual please explain to us the link between race and poverty/prosperity? Or does it all come down to colonialism?

Where's a good place to live? There's more to life than money, right? [Really? Ed.] GDP and the quality of life aren't necessarily the same. To measure the latter, you use the Disunited Nations Human Development Index (HDI), which combines stats on income, life expectancy, education and all the things we include when we say "Have a nice life."

Let's see now... Isn't this amazing... The top 10 countries on the HDI are all, errr, white. Norway is #1, beating out Australia (#2), the USA (tied with the Netherlands for #3) and Canada (tied with Eire and New Zealand for #5). First Asian countries on the list are Japan (#11) and Hong Kong (tied with Iceland for #12).

At the very bottom of the HDI is Congo (the bigger one, formerly known as Zaire, formerly known as the Congo, etc), followed by Niger, Burundi, Mozambique and so on. All black African states right through to Walt's old stomping ground, Zimbabwe, in 15th place. Afghanistan comes in at #16. Then it's all black Africa again through #23 (Djibouti tied with Zambia), which is where the fecal roster ends.

Wow, Walt is only up to page 28 of the 2013 edition of the Economist's Pocket World in Figures. This should be good for another two posts, minimum. More anon.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Peace and love on St. Valentine's Day

Ah yes, St. Valentine's Day... Or just "Valentine's Day" to all you modern Catholics and non-believers. A day when we celebrate love, peace and tolerance for those of other races and creeds. Here are two items from today's news.

Lots of Westerners don't know this, but the largest Muslim country in the world is actually Indonesia. The huge archipelago [there's that word again! Ed.] has significant Christian and Hindu minorities, whom the Muslim extremists in and out of government keep trying to suppress. They can't help it -- or won't help it -- because that's the nature of Islam.

Anyway, on Wednesday Indonesian officials and Muslim clerics called for young people to skip Valentine's Day, saying it's an excuse for couples to have forbidden sex. Not to mention buying gifts for persons of the opposite sex, which was also banned in the province of Aceh.

The deputy mayor of a town on the outskirts of Jakarta called on parents not to give their children any chance to celebrate Valentine's Day "because they may be expressing love to their lovers more freely.… It could lead to forbidden sexual relations."

He called on residents to make their children take cold showers. When told that almost no-one in his town had hot running water, he advised taking the children to Islamic religious activities instead.

OK, premarital sex is forbidden (in theory, at least) by the Church too. But what's wrong with giving gifts? Well, a prominent cleric of the Aceh Ulema Council says, "It does not reflect love in accordance with Islamic teachings.… It's the same as promoting faiths other than Islam." So there.

Meanwhile, Father Raymond de Souza reports from the Promised Land on the struggle between ultra-Orthodox Jews and the rest of Israeli society.

You don't have to be religious to be Jewish. One can be a Jew, culturally, and yet be an atheist or an agnostic. And amongst religious Jews there is a broad spectrum of faith and observance, ranging from the the ultra-liberal Reform branch of Judaism all the way to the ultra-Orthodox -- the ones with the hats and lots of kids.

That's fine in America, but in Israel, Father de Souza tells us, many people feel that while there are many Jews, there are too few synagogues. That is, there is a lack of pluralism. There is only the ultra-Orthodox Judaism which meshes with political Zionism.

The norms that regulate prayer and deportment at Jerusalem's Western Wall are set by its chief rabbi. The rabbinate of the Western Wall is controlled by the ultra-Orthodox and, over the past years, the regulations have become increasingly reflective of ultra-Orthodox practice. For the large majority of Jews, both in Israel and globally, who are not ultra-Orthodox, how they are permitted to pray at the Western Wall has become a priority both practical and symbolic.

On Monday, Father de Souza goes on, a group called Women of the Wall held a prayer service. The service was in reality a demonstration against the ultra-Orthodox strictures imposed upon them there, including the space allocated to them and the prohibitions on women praying aloud and wearing prayer shawls. The Women of the Wall did both of those things, and for their pains, got themselves arrested.

The dispute at the Western Wall touches a deeper issue in Israeli society: should Judaism in Israel be defined by the ultra-Orthodox? Israel desires to be a Jewish state, but for which kinds of Jews? As noted above, there are many streams of Judaism, but the only official synagogue belongs to the minority ultra-Orthodox.

The issue can thus be seen as one of basic religious freedom. How can it be that Jews (who happen to be women) can be arrested at the Western Wall for praying as they do at synagogues in London or Los Angeles? Yair Lapid, leader of a party which one 19 Knesset seats in last month's election, asks, "Can it be that the only place in the Western world that Jews do not have religious freedom is at the Western Wall?"

So, outside of politically correct North America, it would appear that prospects for religious pluralism and the celebration of diversity are as dim as ever.
Memo to "Peter the Roman" (or whatever the next pope will call himself): All paths of faith do not lead to the One True God.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Heart Attack Grill spokesman dies of... wait for it...

It was the fatty food -- meals weighing in (geddit?) at close to 10,000 calories -- that killed John Alleman, an unpaid and unofficial spokesman for the Heart Attack Grill, in Las Vegas.

Following the death in 2011 of the previous unofficial mascot, Blair "Gentle Giant" River, weight 575 pounds, Mr. Alleman, aged 52 and a mere 180 pounds, appointed himself chief meeter and greeter, standing outside the restaurant's doors every day to  say hello to the trencherpersons coming in to risk death by cholesterol.

The grill's owner told the Las Vegas Sun that Alleman's death isn't going to mean the demise of "Flatliner Fries" or what the restaurant says is the world's "most calorific burger." His policy, he said, is to let people be themselves. Which apparently means obese. "Over 350 lbs eats free", says the sign. Only in America.

Alleman succumbed to a heart attack while waiting for a bus. What else could it have been? Well, "Gentle Giant" River died of pneumonia. Farewell, then, to both of them. Hope they're not in a hell of rice crackers and undressed salads.

Footnote: Walt isn't sure if Mr. Alleman qualifies for a Darwin Award, since his death could be considered intentional. Still, eating oneself into an early grave is stupid, isn't it.

Query to readers: Walt recollects an episode of The Simpsons in which Homer tackles a giant steak, only to suffer a heart attack. Can anyone provide details?

Monday, February 11, 2013

"Peter the Roman": the last pope?

Saint Malachy (1094-1148) was known as great prophet. While in Rome in 1139 he received a vision showing him all the popes from his day to the end of time. According to these prophecies, there would be only two more popes after John Paul II.

While on his way to the Vatican to assume the post of papal legate for Ireland, he fell into a trance and saw a line of papal reigns stretching from the successor to Innocent II and extending through centuries to the last of the line.

When he committed his vision to paper, St. Malachy assigned short descriptions in Latin to each pope. These phrases or mottoes usually refer to a family name, birthplace, coat-of-arms, or office held before election to the papacy.

Some of the phrases are multiple prophecies, written with ingenious word play. They purport to describe each of the Roman Catholic popes (along with a few anti-popes), beginning with Pope Celestine II (elected in 1143) and concluding with a pope described in the prophecy as "Peter the Roman", whose pontificate will end in the destruction of the city of Rome.

Through the centuries, his prophecies have turned out to be amazingly accurate, even prophesying the date of his death. In all, 112 popes and their characteristics are listed from 1143 to the prophesied end of the world, or perhaps religion as we know it, when the Truth of human creation and destiny is finally revealed. And now the video.

Saint Malachy's prophecies - The Last 10 Popes

1. The Burning Fire. PIUS X. 1903-1914. This Pope showed a burning passion for spiritual renewal in the Church.

2. Religion Laid Waste. BENEDICT XV. 1914-1922. During this Pope's reign saw Communism move into Russia where religious life was laid waste, and World War I with the death of millions of Christians who were carnage in Flanders Field and elsewhere.

3. Unshaken Faith. PIUS XI. 1922-1939. This Pope faced tremendous pressure from fascist and sinister powers in Germany and Italy, but he was an outspoken critic of Communism and Fascism which enraged Hitler.

4. An Angelic Shepherd. PIUS XII. 1939-1958. This Pope had an affinity for the spiritual world and received visions which have not been made public. Peter Bander says Pius XII "has emerged as one of the great Popes of all time," and he "was in the truest sense of the word an Angelic Pastor to the flock..."

5. Pastor and Mariner. JOHN XXIII. 1958-1963. John was a pastor to the world, much beloved, and the Patriarch of Venice. The connection to "mariner" is thus remarkable.

6. Flower of Flowers. PAUL VI. 1963-1978. Paul's coat-of-arms depicts three fleurs-de-lis, corresponding to Malachay's prophecy. His coat of arms included three fleurs-de-lis (iris blossoms).

7. Of the Half Moon. JOHN PAUL I. 1978-1978. John Paul I was elected Pope on August 26, 1978, when there was a half moon. He reigned 33 days, that is, about one month, when he died, although many think he was murdered. He was the 109th Pope - is "De Medietate Lunae" (Of the Half Moon). The corresponding pope was John Paul I (1978-78), who was born in the diocese of Belluno (beautiful moon) and was baptized Albino Luciani (white light). He became pope on August 26, 1978, when the moon appeared exactly half full. It was in its waning phase. He died the following month, soon after an eclipse of the moon.

8. The Labour of the Son. JOHN PAUL II. 1978-2005. Pope John Paul II was the most travelled Pope in history. He circled the globe numerous times, preaching to huge audiences everywhere he went. He survived an assassination attempt. He has written a book which has enjoyed a large circulation. Like the sun which never ceases to labor and provides light daily, this Pope has been incessant. He was born on May 18, 1920. On that date in the morning there was a near total eclipse of the sun over Europe. Prophecy - The 110th Pope is "De Labore Solis" (Of the Solar Eclipse, or, From the Toil of the Sun). Like the sun he came out of the East (Poland).

9. The Glory of the Olive. The Order of St. BENEDICT has said this Pope will come from their order. It is interesting that Jesus gave his apocalyptic prophecy about the end of time from the Mount of Olives. This Pope will reign during the beginning of the tribulation Jesus spoke of. The 111th prophesy is "Gloria Olivae" (The Glory of the Olive). The Order of Saint Benedict has claimed that this pope will come from their ranks. Saint Benedict himself prophesied that before the end of the world his Order, known also as the Olivetans, will triumphantly lead the Catholic Church in its fight against evil.

10. Peter the Roman - This final Pope will likely be Satan, taking the form of a man named Peter who will gain a worldwide allegiance and adoration. He will be the final antichrist which prophecy students have long foretold. If it were possible, even the very elect would be deceived. The 112th prophecy states: "In the final persecution of the Holy Roman Church there will reign Petrus Romanus, who will feed his flock amid many tribulations; after which the seven-hilled city will be destroyed and the dreadful Judge will judge the people. The End."

DISCLAIMER: The commentator in this video is an evangelical Protestant, not a spokesperson for the Church. However, like so many Protestants, he understands that to know God's plan for us, we must know the Bible and the traditions of the Church. What he says makes sense to me. Even if you don't believe in prophecies made after the last book of the Bible (the Apocalypse, or Revelation as the speaker refers to it), the signs of the last times are there, in the Bible itself. We have only to read and heed.  

Walt tells you who the next Pope won't be

Will the next Pope be Catholic? By that I mean, someone who holds to the Traditional Faith, given to us by Jesus Christ, while He was here on earth with us, and handed down to us by His apostles through Holy Mother Church.

If someone who keeps the Faith is to become Pope -- as Walt hopes and earnestly prays -- that would exclude the Great Pretender, the prelate who likes to think of himself as "Deputy Pope" and "prime minister of the Church". That would be Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, perhaps the most reviled man in the curia.

Speculation is rife as to the reasoning behind Pope Ratzinger's decision to resign. The Holy Father said that he no longer had the mental and physical strength which he believes the position requires. And it is reported this morning that he told a German journalist two years ago that he would resign if he no longer felt he could carry on.

In this, one can see the Holy Father's wish to avoid the sad and sorry spectacle of Pope John Paul II, who, in the last years of his pontificate, objectively appeared to have lost some of his faculties. If JPII had been your grandfather, you'd have put him in a home! It was painful to watch him die in office, but he was determined, it seems, to carry on to the end.

But his doing so had grave consequences for his papacy and for Holy Mother Church. Some of the things he said and did, in those last years, caused many believers -- not just traditionalists either -- to question whether the pope had taken leave of his senses. I refer to the travesty of the syncretic sacrilege at Assisi, and JPII's whimsical decision to add a fourth set of Mysteries to the Holy Rosary given to us by Our Lady.

The older and more "out of it" John Paul got, the worse things became. Questions were rightly asked about who was really running the Church! The answer is that even though the pope was Polish, the powers behind the throne were the Secretaries of State: Cardinals Casaroli, Sodano and Bertone -- every one an Italian, every one a modernist, and every one behaving as if he, not the pope, was the real Vicar of Christ.

That's why Bertone will not be elected at the conclave to be held next month. There is recognition -- at last -- that the decisions made and directions taken in the last two or three decades have been not just wrong but disastrously wrong.

When John Paul II was elevated to the papacy, there was a glimmer of hope that the suicidal errors of Vatican II might be undone, and the Church set back on Her true and traditional course. But any ideas JPII may have had along those lines were thwarted by his "prime ministers" and a Roman curia rotten with Freemasons, protestants, and -- yes -- apostates.

Walt predicts that, although the Italians will lobby strenuously to have one of their own "restored to power", prelates from the Third World will campaign successfully to have not just a non-Italian but a non-European pope, for the first time in history. Lifetime pct .987.

"I declare that I renounce the ministry of the Bishop of Rome". Click here to read the English translation of Pope Benedict's statement (read in Latin).
Further reading: Fr. Divo Barsotti's criticisms of Vatican Council II. If you want to understand why I call the direction of the modern Church "suicidal", don't fail to read this! I'm no theologian, but Father Barsotti certainly was.

HUGE news: Pope to resign at end of February!

Walt didn't see it coming. (Lifetime pct .987) Pope Benedict XVI surprised just about everyone this morning by announcing he would resign from the leadership of the One True Church, effective at the end of the month. The pontiff said he no longer has the mental and physical strength to cope with the demands of his ministry.

The Holy Father's aides are reported to be "incredulous". Death, one might have foreseen, but not resignation. It is not the popes never quit. But the last one to resign was Celestine V, way back in 1296.

When Benedict was first elected eight years ago -- it seems longer, doesn't it -- conservative Catholics rejoiced in hopes that under the leadership of "God's rottweiler" the Church's drift into Protestanism and heresy could be halted, perhaps even reversed. Traditionalists looked to him to heal the schism between the modernists and those who hold to the Traditional Faith. They have been sorely disappointed.

A Vatican spokesman said the Pope had not resigned because of "difficulties in the papacy". But of course that would be the official party line, wouldn't it.  Still, it's significant that the spokesman added "The Pope does not fear schism in the Church after his resignation."

This is obviously breaking news... huge news. Walt will have more reaction and comment very soon.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Irish brothel

Ed. here. Walt has been a little under the weather (geddit?) thus too cold to compose. Fortunately Agent 9 has sent us a little story from the auld sod.

Three Irishmen are sitting in the pub window seat, watching the front door of the brothel over the road.

The local Methodist pastor appears, and quickly goes inside.
"Would you look at that!" says the first Irishman. "Didn't I always say what a bunch of hypocrites they are ?"

No sooner are the words out of his mouth than a Rabbi appears at the door, knocks, and goes inside.
Says the second Irishman, "Dere's another one! Trying to fool everyone with pious preaching and a stupid hat!"

They continue drinking their Guinness roundly condemning the vicar and the rabbi when they see their own parish priest knock on the door.
"Ah, now dat's sad." says the third Irishman. "One of the girls must be dying..."

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Field guide to Canadian donuts

You think Springfield Police Chief Clancy Wiggum is the stereotype of the fat donut-loving cop? You should see the cops in Canada! If you're in trouble and need a policeman [policeperson? Ed.] just head for the nearest Tim Horton's.

What's "Tim Horton's", I hear you Americans asking. You may already have noticed the familiar (to Canadians) logo on stores springing up in the northeastern States. Today New York, tomorrow Florida (Canada's 11th province) and soon  ... the world!

Why, Tim Hortons was even mentioned a few days ago on How I Met Your Mother! Canuck actor Jason Priestley, playing himself, said he had proudly crammed a Timbit into a strawberry vanilla doughnut. A "Timbit" for the uninitiated, is the piece of dough left over when you make the hole in the donut! They're too good to waste, so Tim's sells them as "Timbits".

Today, the National Post's Steve Murray took a look at what Canadians, and Canadian institutions, could be honoured (as Jason Priestley was by Tim's) with their own delicious doughnut. Like Timmy's donuts, Steve's piece is too good not to share.



Walt and Ed. wish a Happy New Year of the Snake
to all our Chinese readers!
May the coming year bring you happiness and prosperity.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Komodo dragon expert

There's a story on the AP mojo wire this morning from the wilds of eastern Indonesia. It's in that eastern part of the archipelago [How long have you been waiting to use that word? Ed.] that you would find the islands of Komodo, Padar and Rinca, home of the fabled and fearsome Komodo dragon.

Yes, folks, the Komodo dragon really does exist. And here's what one looks like.

Ugly brute, isn't it? How would you feel if one of those wandered into your workplace? Well, that's what happened at Komodo National Park, where one of the monster reptiles attacked two park rangers... in their office!

A KNP spokesthingy, Heru Rudiharto -- no hero he! -- said the 2-metre-long lizard bit the rangers badly enough that  both had to be evacuated to a hospital on Bali.

This story reminded me of a classic sketch by the greatest radio comedians ever to be heard on US airwaves. I refer of course to Bob Elliott and Ray Goulding,  known to legions of fans as "Bob and Ray".

The Bob and Ray Show began, more by accident than anything else, in 1946 on WHDH in Boston. It ran under various titles on national networks including NBC and NPR, until 1987. There was even a TV version, briefly, back in the golden (i.e. black-and-white) years. The TV version didn't do all that well, possibly because the spoofs were created for radio, and didn't depend at all on visuals for the gags.

It came as something of a surprise, then, when stage versions -- Bob and Ray: the Two and Only and A Night of Two Stars -- played for months to packed houses at Carnegie Hall and on the road. Walt was there, and remembers clearly hearing and watching them do one of their best radio sketches, "The Komodo Dragon expert". No video has found its way to YouTube, but here's the audio portion.

Hey... they're not making that stuff up. What the expert told you are the facts about Komodo dragons. If you'd like to know more about life in the land they come from -- eastern Indonesia -- you're in luck, because one of Walt's agents lives and works there. Click here to read her blog, "Life is a gift; live it!" Good words to remember, especially if a Komodo dragon wanders into your workplace.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

ممكن المعارضه دى تحصل فى ميدان التحرير

You know, of course, that the Egyptians are still revolting. Well, maybe not revolting, but demonstrating against the failure of last year's revolution. There's more to this than rioting over football matches -- soon to be made an Olympic sport.

Egyptians seem to feel that the overthrow of Mubarak made things worse than before, now that they have a new dictator -- let's be honest about it -- and a government dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood. One of the things they really object to is moves to enshrine Sharia law in a proposed new constitution. That (I'm told) is the message these demonstrators wish to get across.

No, this is not Tahrir Square. (As if!!!) I'm told the ladies are actually Ukrainians -- perhaps the same professional demonstrators pictured in one of last year's posts -- and they are demonstrating against the Egyptian constitution outside the Egyptian embassy in, errr, Stockholm. Makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Canada officially penniless!

Did you see the Google doodle today? Yes, even the great American shibboleth [eh? Ed.] noticed that something momentous happened north of the world's longest undefended border. Dear readers, today Canadians mourn the passing -- or should we say dropping -- of the penny.

The government of Canada stopped making cents last fall. [And stopped making sense long before that. Ed.] But today the Royal Canadian Mint officially stopped distributing the little red cents to financial institutions.

The idea is to take the coins of little value out of circulation. Eventually. The one-cent piece has not been demonetized. That is, it remains legal tender. And there are something like 35 billion pennies still in circulation. Given that a fair proportion of these are squirrelled away in piggy banks and gigantic Maple Leafs jars (to be opened only when the Leafs win the Stanley Cup), this is going to take awhile.

The Mint's spokesthingy, Christine Aquino, told the Vancouver Province they're estimating three or four years, but Walt thinks three or four decades would be more like it. [Lifetime pct .992] Walt also wonders if they've factored in all the American pennies which will be brought across the border and cheerfully accepted by Canuck retailers and tourist trappers.

Walt also predicts that a number of coppery figures of speech will lose currency. (Geddit?) Canucks will speak no more of: "my two cents' worth", "not worth a red cent", and "a penny for your thoughts". Canada, if not the world, will be the poorer for losing its centses.

PS & WOW!!! A million for one offer!

If you can find a genuine (verified by the Royal Canadian Mint) penny dated 2013 (like the one in the Google doodle), I will give you (the equivalent of) a MILLION pennies. That's $10,000, in any dollar currency you like: Canadian dollars, US dollars, Australian dollars, Bahamian dollars, Hong Kong dollars, whatever. If you've got one, e-mail Walt at the usual address.

"We don't need no stinkin' badges!"

Seems quite a few readers enjoyed yesterday's story about the power of the federal DEA badge. So, by way of follow-up, Walt is pleased to present this excellent mashup, created by Peter DeCristofaro and posted on YouTube.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Norwegian icebreaker to clear North Saskatchewan River

Agent 9 reports that it's cold on the Canadian prairie... mighty cold!

To quote the late Ed McMahon, "How cold was it?!" Well... it's been sooo cold that the government of Alberta has borrowed a Norwegian icebreaker to clear the North Saskatchewan River for freighter traffic.

The icebreaker is starting near Devon AB and working its way northward. Here is a picture as the hard work of icebreaking begins. Impressive!

As with  yesterday's report from Agent 6, Ed. has had difficulty verifying this one, but Walt can't believe that a man of the cloth would just make this up... would he?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Arrogant DEA agent gets justice in Texas

From sunnier climes (where the groundhog almost always sees his shadow) Agent 6 sends us this tale of arrogance receiving poetic justice. Ed. has been unable to verify this story, but it's so good that we'll take Agent 6's word for it...

A DEA officer stopped at a ranch in Texas, and spoke to the old rancher. "I need to inspect your ranch for illegally grown drugs," said the agent.

Replied the rancher said, "OK, but don't go in that field over there," pointing out the area which was off limits.

On hearing this, the DEA officer verbally exploded! "Mister," he yelled, "I have the authority of the Federal Government with me!"

Whereupon he reached into his rear pants pocket, pulled his badge therefrom and proudly displayed it to the rancher. "See this fucking badge?! This badge means I am allowed to go wherever I wish... On any land! No questions asked or answers given! Have I made myself clear?! Do you understand?!"

The rancher nodded politely, apologized, and went about his chores, while the DEA agent went about his.

A short time later, the country person heard loud screams, looked up, and saw the DEA officer running for his life, being chased by the rancher's big Santa Gertrudis bull.

With every step the bull was gaining ground on the officer, and it seemed likely that he'd sure enough get gored before he reached safety. The officer was clearly terrified! The rancher threw down his tools, ran to the fence and yelled at the top of his lungs.....

[Walt just loves this part...]

"Your badge! Show him your fucking BADGE!!"

Groundhog day results conclusive: early spring!

Ed. here. The results are in! First out of his hole this morning was Shubenacadie Sam, who was greeted by bright sunshine. Somewhat later Punxatawney Phil (the Great American Groundhog) did not see his shadow. So far, a tie... Carrying with it the possiblity of cross-border hostilities.

Shortly after 0800 (EST) Wiarton Willie had the same vision, or lack thereof, as Phil. And now... Wait for it... Walt has likewise failed to see his shadow. Yes folks, it's a 3 to 1 vote for an early spring!

Walt needs a little rest so Ye Ed. will dip into readers' e-mail and answer some burning questions.

Lon Moore sends a TXT msg: HOW OLD WALT REALLY?
Ed.: Old Walt really fine. How you?

Rick Tushernia asks: Walt sometimes writes "Lifetime pct .991" or some other number. What is he talking about?
Ed.: You're obviously not a fan of baseball, the sport that entertains through the minute analysis of statistics. Walt is referring to his record of correct vs incorrect predictions. As of today he has been right 991 times out of 1000. Walt is occasionally wrong, but never in doubt!

Pat Strami writes from Rye NY: Don't you think Walt is just a bit anti-Semitic?
Ed.: Tell me who or what you think Semites are and I'll tell you the answer. Walt says some of his best friends are Jews.

Cordelia Weatherbee wants to know Walt's opinion of marriage.
Ed.: Walt thinks marriage is a fine institution, if you want to be in an institution. But, he warns, anyone who thinks "love means never having to say you're sorry" has never been married.

Bess Arabia enquires how Walt voted in the last election.
Ed.: Walt voted early and often, but it didn't do any good. Next time (he says) he won't vote; it only encourages them.

And remember folks... Blessed are the flexible, for they shall never get bent out of shape.