Let’s pretend I’ve come over to see you, and you’ve brewed me some tea
Oh where do we begin?
So much to cover
Your life, what you’ve done, what you’ve thought
I want to know what you think about
Isn’t it incredible?
Every day is another day for the media to go wild
He says anything
Whether it’s true or not
The man gives liars a bad name
You’ll say, but don’t you support him? Didn’t you prefer him to Hillary?
There will be a slight pause, and I’ll wonder
How you would know that
You’re not a reader
But we’ll continue, and I’ll say to you that I’m not a fan of Trump
Not that I liked Obama or Bush or Clinton either
Reagan I barely knew about
Are you a fan?
I don’t like Trump’s friendliness with Russia
Because I don’t like Russia
Because I don’t like what they have done in Ukraine
And what they are doing in Ukraine
And do you know what they’re doing in Ukraine?
The arrogance of Russia is extreme and very evil
I don’t like Trump’s readiness to say anything just to get an advantage in the moment
And the news of his infidelities was icky because it was true
Is lecherous the right word?
Yes, that would be the one
On one level you feel sorry for Melania, but on another level
Remember the time she wore that jacket that said she didn’t care?
Her spokesman said it was just a jacket
As if people were “reading something into it”
As if people weren’t just reading the words printed onto it
You’ll say, you read the news?
There will be a slight pause, and I’ll wonder
Why you would ask that
You’re not a reader
But we’ll continue, and I’ll explain that I was receiving the MSN news feed for a while
But yeah, it’s far better for me if I don’t see the headlines
It’s just depressing to see Trump all the time
And I can’t tell if he’s messing up as badly as the media says he is
Because I don’t follow him like they do
But when I watched the video of him inspecting the troops with the queen
I felt that those who had said he blew it
When he rounded the corner ahead of the queen
Were being a little too strict
When he actually couldn’t see her
It was very, very funny
And I don’t think he needs to give her any special respect
(But if he was late on purpose, that’s no good
If he was late by accident, that’s kind of funny)
The Americans don’t swear an oath of allegiance to what the English call royalty
Which is fine, though I think the American revolution was a terrible overreaction
It’s like Chesterton says
These revolutions keep going long after they should
The revolutionary apparatus gets set up, and the power intoxicates
Next thing you know, those who have upset the status quo
Come to love the status quo, which is to be in the process of upsetting the status quo
I can’t support the common man blocking streets using burning tires
Can’t support that
I can’t support the common man marching towards the government buildings
Holding homemade weapons and pieces of the cobblestone streets in their hands
Can’t support that
The aggression is unnecessary and immoral
The people in the government buildings are people too
They have families and they don’t want to die
But power intoxicates
The feeling that you are surrounded by many
That you are part of something momentous and massive
Can bring out the worst in men, don’t you think?
So what do you think about him?
Better than Hillary?
Yeah, I think so too
But it’s so good we’re not American
Aren’t you glad?
Everything there is so divided
It’s like a religion for them, isn’t it?
If you’re on one side, you’re supposed to believe everything said in favour of everyone on your side
As if you relinquish your right to think independently once you say you’re a Democrat
Once you say you’re a Republican
Seems like that, anyway
Seems like there are only two narratives, constantly in conflict over everything
Then you’ll put on some more tea
And I’ll say
Oh, but I want to know
What do you think about Meghan Markle?
No, you go first!
I really want to know!
No kidding. Those are exactly my thoughts!
Wow, we think alike
And did you watch that interview that she gave right after they were engaged?
Until I saw that interview, I didn’t have super strong feelings either way
But watching the way she navigated the questions
While looking at Harry to make sure he was gonna back her up was just kind of eww
Line after line
Meghan said something like, “I didn’t know about him, and he didn’t know about me”
As if to suggest that they met just person to person — just two individuals, and
As if there was an equivalence about their backgrounds
As if anybody would expect him to know anything at all about the television show she acted in
As if she’s had decades of world fame, like Elizabeth Taylor or even Julia Roberts.
Her former best friend said that Meghan owned a book about Princess Di, and loved the commoner-to-princess element of the whole story.
Didn’t know much about Harry because she’s American, yeah right.
And then there was the part where she said something like “My ONLY question was, ‘Is he nice?’ because if he’s not nice, then what’s the point?”
Oh give me a break
Give me a break
As if she wouldn’t be intrigued and eager no matter what
He’s a prince
If the answer was, “Well, you know, he’s okay, good days, bad days, you know”
Would Meghan have said
“Hmm, I think I better just forget about him and go back to my husband”?
And then you’ll pour the tea, and say that you didn’t know that I was that much of a royal watcher
And I’ll say, that no, I wasn’t, but that I grew up knowing who the characters were
Anybody buying groceries sees the magazine covers
There was the mom, the queen, Elizabeth
And this guy who was her husband but who wasn’t a king
That part didn’t make sense to me, because the fairytale always has a king and a queen
Not a queen and some guy
But anyway, the queen has some kids
Most of whom really don’t matter because they’re not in line to the throne
The one who matters is named Charles
Charles doesn’t seem to get married forever, which puts everything into Jeopardy
He finally marries a blond woman and I’ll admit that I liked her poufy wedding dress
Made of ivory silk taffeta
Though it was ridiculously long, come to think of it
So this blond woman is Diana, and she tilts her head down just like this, and
Wears eyeliner right on the inside rim of her eyes
She looks demure, but she’s wily, and the palace is always trying to contain her
She sneaks off in the night to Do Good Deeds
Charles and Diana have two boys, and we all start seeing pictures of them
The first is named William, which seemed like quite the odd name at the time, but not as strange to the modern ear as
Which soon became Harry
It didn’t sound very fancy
Not quite what I imagined as a name you’d choose when there are so many good choices
But not long afterwards, the world finds out that
Charles liked a woman named Camilla better than his wife, and
We all hear about how much he likes this nondescript woman
Diana does an interview exposing tons, and chooses, vengefully, to have it air on Charles’ birthday
The name Camilla is forever ruined for baby girls everywhere
Then Diana, whom you feel sorry for on one level, starts dating, and
We hear the name Dodi for the first time
Dodi and Diana
But they get murdered in a car crash by those who opposed the romance
(Just don’t assume that the royals were behind it
There was opposition to Diana from the Dodi side too)
On hearing the news, I am stunned
Thought I’d hear about Diana for decades more
So her two sons grow up
William starts dating a girl with long brown hair
Okay, that’s fine, whatever. I wish them well
But I perked up when the wedding happened
I was interested in her dress, because I love a fairytale
What did you think of her dress?
I thought it was a little unfortunate, because I didn’t like the bodice
The shaping and strong division between the lace on top and the rest of the dress
I don’t know
I didn’t think it was that great
And that was when Pippa Middleton made her appearance
So then William and Kate began having children and faded mostly out of my mind
Their kids are fine, but everything was pretty much according to script
But then Meghan arrives on the scene, and I start seeing her picture on all the magazines and tabloids
(“We just don’t read them,” she said in her interview, a little too quickly and pointedly for me to believe her)
Who is this?
Nobody knows who this woman is, hence all the Google searches
Living in Toronto because that’s where she works, but actually an American
Dating a chef even though she’s married
Which came first, the divorce or the dating?
I don’t know
Then dating a prince
Did the chef know about the prince?
Did the prince know about the chef?
Which came first, the breakup or the date with the prince?
I don’t know
What I do know is that it’s all very messy, messy, messy
I don’t like a story where the prince marries a woman who has already been married
Whose husband is still around
What kind of story is this?
Get married, get divorced, meet the Prince, and live happily ever after?
Marriage is a temporary state
Until you meet Someone Better?
And I won’t even get into the situation with her father and her half-siblings, only to say that it’s all ugly
Would I invite such relatives to the wedding?
If I were the relatives, would I want to be invited?
Meanwhile, everyone is tripping over themselves to sidle up to Meghan and whomever is in her good books
Oprah gives kumquats to Meghan’s mom
All of a sudden, Meghan’s mom is really worth Oprah the Billionaire’s time
It’s America, where royalty doesn’t matter, right?
And what did you think about Meghan’s wedding dress?
I was astounded at how boring it was
I was actually confused
The woman could have had any kind of dress, and that’s all she did?
The preacher made the wedding about himself, and watching the royals trying not to laugh
Was really funny
Especially when you watched it on mute
I found it telling that Meghan chose to schedule her wedding when Kate was recovering from having her third child
Kate had a few short weeks with her new baby in the spotlight, and then she had to be on public display
Women do not like that
No woman in the modern western world wants to be photographed while her face is still pudgy from the excess weight, while the abdomen is still settling down
So Kate shows up wearing an outfit that looks nearly white
At some point, Kate’s sister Pippa marries a guy with a small head atop a long neck
Couldn’t she do better, after all that attention?
(Turns out, he’s due to inherit a title when his aunt or someone dies)
Kate and Meghan then alternate with being in the spotlight
Kate runs across the field and kisses or hugs someone when her husband’s team wins at some sport — a polo match?
Soon afterwards, magazines feature Meghan kissing Harry after his team wins at some sport — a polo match?
Lots of affection in front of the cameras
It’s at this point that I say to myself, I really need to not know anything more about these characters
And for a while, I avert my eyes
But then Eugenie gets married, and I want to see the wedding pictures
Princess Eugenie is the daughter of somebody, and has a history of looking bad, along with her sister
However, on the day of her wedding, she looks good, and I’m happy for her
Her husband looks pretty good too. I was happy for them
What did you think of her dress?
I thought it was quite nice. It had a deep V in the front and back, which, in principle, I don’t really love, but the overall effect was flattering
Did you not see it?
Oh, and Sarah Ferguson was there
That’s the red-haired woman who married into the royal family a long time ago.
She was some kind of hurricane that blew in and out of it
She has extreme gestures and facial expressions
She raised her arm in a fist shape as she greeted onlookers
Some kind of victory gesture
As if she had accomplished something by attending her daughter’s wedding
Meanwhile, Camilla skipped the wedding because she had to attend a “harvest festival” at some elementary school that day
We’re supposed to believe that it’s because, as her spokesman said, it’s not as easy as you think to reschedule things
Oh, the lies that people tell!
Do not become a spokesman if you care about truth
The reason Camilla wasn’t there was simple: she didn’t want to be there
But tell me, I will say
What do you think about royalty, in general?
Do you think it’s a good thing?
And you’ll tell me that you really haven’t thought about it much
So then I’ll ask you to think about it right now
And I’ll have some tea, which has finally cooled off enough to be drinkable
You say that you really don’t know
I’m not sure if you really don’t have an opinion or
If it’s because you think that I’ll have one
And you want me to go first while you decide
So I tell you what I think
It’s not so good
It leads to certain temptations that would not exist otherwise
People are tempted to marry people who have little else going for them
People are tempted to change their religion for reasons unrelated to religion, and, conversely
People refrain from changing their religion for reasons unrelated to religion
People are tempted to do things to keep themselves in the spotlight
People are tempted to do things that keep others out of the spotlight
But more importantly, this business of having titles warps family life
And family life is a very precious thing that should be spared from such pressures
You see, people keep track of their position in line for the throne
And each new baby who is born is resented
If that baby’s birth causes them to fall further down the line
Baby news is actually quite devastating in royal circles
Unless that baby is yours
I read that Meghan and Harry announced Meghan’s pregnancy
Right at the wedding reception of Princess Eugenie and husband
That’s not right
That’s stealing the spotlight in an extreme way
Don’t tell me that it couldn’t have been done at another time
So that’s what I think
The emphasis on closeness to the throne throws everything off kilter
Some people become ‘worth’ more
One person must bow or curtsey to another
One person must walk behind or stand behind another
One person must not begin eating before another
The tiniest preferences and whims of those who are ‘higher’ affect far too many
And instead of these things being set aside in the hidden world of family
They are brought into sharp relief there
Everyone needs to bow to grandma, because, well, she’s the queen
Nobody asked me how to set things up
Nobody asked me if I wanted to have a queen
I was born into a country that had a queen, and at one point
I even took an oath to serve her and her heirs
I don’t know how consensual that oath was, come to think of it
But anyway, at least the queen is over there and not here
She’s on my money but she’s not in my country, thank God
It’s good to be Canadian
Oh, but that reminds me!
What do you think about the legalization of cannabis?
Ha ha, I thought you’d say something like that
Isn’t it amazing how the language surrounding the use of pot has changed, almost overnight?
Now government and educational institutions speak about it so cheerfully and nonchalantly
As if they were never opposed to drug use in the first place
As if they wouldn’t be so
Backwards as to see it as a bad thing
I won’t change my views about it
Marijuana is not a plus
Drugs are not good, and their use should be discouraged by the government, somehow
But nobody asked me
The new Correct Attitude shows how people take their cues about what’s right and what’s wrong from the law
But something being illegal isn’t the same thing as something being immoral
Some things are illegal which are not, in fact, immoral, and some things are immoral but legal
The worse the government, the more mixed up things get
So now Canadians can buy marijuana openly, but raw milk only secretly
The legacy of Justin Trudeau is shameful
Hey, did you see all those photos of him and his family playing ‘dress up’ in India?
What’s the word for that?
All of the above?
He and his family wore elaborate traditional Indian clothing repeatedly,
And posed with their hands like this
It was exciting for him, but his popularity back home plummeted as photo after photo started appearing on our computer screens
THAT is my Prime Minister?
What on earth does he think he’s doing?
He’s not as stupid as he seems, which makes the whole thing more problematic
Talking about weed makes me think about addictions in general
The thing about addiction is that people still have their free will
As long as they’re able to think, they still have the ability to escape
The difference is that by choosing to begin an addicting behaviour, a person gives the enemy a huge advantage, increasing, manyfold, the power of the temptation
And the enemy is Satan, obviously
You know your catechism, right?
You’ve got your phone, right?
Search “Catholic Catechism” and “drugs”
There it is
The use of drugs inflicts very grave damage on human health and life. Their use, except on strictly therapeutic grounds, is a grave offense. Clandestine production of and trafficking in drugs are scandalous practices. They constitute direct co-operation in evil, since they encourage people to practices gravely contrary to moral law.
So there’s that
Man. I love the wisdom of the Catholic Church
I love the Catholic Church
And yes, I heard
Of course I’m unhappy to hear of those who abuse their position within the Church for their own financial gain, or for their own perverted pleasures
There are many, many men who became priests for the wrong reasons
They wanted to avoid questions about their lives, about their
And so they joined the priesthood to avoid scrutiny
Once inside, they began doing their damage
Harming those who were entrusted to them
Shame on these men and
Shame on those who covered the actions of these men
The notion that one cannot criticize a priest has led to immense harm
I will criticize a priest, if he has done wrong
There will be a slight pause, and I’ll wonder whether you’re agreeing with my last sentence or the one before, and I’ll wonder if you’ve read those few posts
But we’ll move on
And I’ll say
Speaking of all things Catholic
Have you heard about that Catholic parish in Edmonton with 24 people on the payroll?
It rakes in a lot of money, but can’t balance its budget
Employing 24 people to do the work that other parishes do with 4 people is expensive maybe?
That parish even hires people to teach RCIA, something which, in other parishes, is done by volunteers
Teaching RCIA is not difficult
It’s fun, in fact, if you do it for the right reasons
But it’s work when you’re paid to do it
They pay people to do everything, but the bathrooms aren’t even predictably clean
What’s the word for that?
Who was on duty while that parish hired and hired and hired and hired and hired and hired and hired and hired and hired and hired and hired and hired and hired and hired and hired and hired and hired and hired and hired and hired and hired and hired and hired and hired?
Father Andrew Bogdanovich?
And who was on parish council approving this excess
This squandering of donations collected?
I wouldn’t donate to a parish that seems to exist for the sake of employing people
Why encourage mismanagement?
What a disgrace
We’ll sit back for a moment, just shaking our heads
Then I’ll ask you about that guy who drove that armoured personnel carrier through Richmond Virginia
He said that he was just following military orders when he took it through the streets of the city “to test police response”
Did you see it?
The video of it went everywhere because it was so bizarre
He wasn’t going fast, which made the entire thing very, very funny, because there was a whole fleet of police cars following him, and they just looked, well, ridiculous and inept
The story was widely popular, and almost everyone was cheering for the ‘tank’ driver
Once he parked, the befuddled police decided that this fellow needed to appear in court on July 11, 2018, and I was wanting to see how it all turned out
I even searched online, but the story appears to have been frozen, without anything further, and everyone who laughed and watched incredulously are acting like they didn’t, because the internet has now agreed that he’s not cool
But I’ll admit that I laughed
I laughed a lot
Joshua Phillip Yabut, I wish you well, wherever you are, whatever you’re driving
So we’ll drink our tea
Then I’ll ask you what music you’re listening to these days
You didn’t know I cared about music
But I do
As a matter of fact, I’m the first one to admit that it’s powerful stuff
To be handled with care
And maybe taken in small doses
Music brings you somewhere else
With someone else
Makes you want what you shouldn’t want
Makes you sad
Makes you lonely
Makes you happy
Makes you confident
Makes you remember
Makes you forget
Don’t say I don’t get it
I get it
I get it
Sheena said to me “You’re not the dancing type”
As if anybody isn’t the dancing type
If you’re human
You’re the dancing type
I still like “I Can’t Feel My Face” (The Weeknd)
And I still like “Love Me Like You Do” (Ellie Goulding)
And Shawn Hook’s “Sound of Your Heart”
You’re listening to the radio?
And that’s all.
So you think these songs are inspired?
There will be a slight pause as I consider the question —
The kind of question a reader might ask
Hell, no! I’ll say.
(Or maybe I won’t
You might get too freaked out to hear me say “hell,” like that
Some people are sensitive,
And some people like to pretend they’re sensitive)
These messages, these lyrics, no
I’m not saying they’re inspired
I’m saying I like them
And I like Taylor Swift’s song “Delicate,” the first song by her that I’ve liked
You won’t be sure what to say
So I suppose the topic would die and we’d find another
Would we talk about travelling?
Would we talk about cooking?
Would we talk about food?
Would we talk about people we know?
Would we talk about family?
Would we talk about aging?
Would we talk about God?
I don’t know
The only thing I know is that
We won’t talk about the fact that
You’re a Reader
A Chat Meeting:
Reflections on a Bunch of Stuff