A new Godwin’s Law?

July 31, 2010

For the record, I offered this observation on Sentire:

I’m beginning to think that there should be a variation of Godwin’s Law for online Catholic DBs or blogs that states something like ‘as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of someone inviting others to join another church grows higher’.
It seems to range from:

  • a genuine enquiry, as in ‘why, with those views, would you want to stay?’.
  • a suggestion, as in ‘have you thought that you’d be better off in x?’.
  • a statement fairly unambiguously and uncharitably delivered, as in ‘p*** off you don’t belong with us‘. The clear implication being that ‘we’ are the arbiters of the ‘line in the sand’ and they don’t give a toss where you go as long as it’s away from ‘us’.

And, just to be clear, I’ve heard it applied from the ‘right and left’ (for want of better terms) of church politics.


F for Wryday (17)

July 29, 2010

This joke may end up being as popular as a polywaffle in a public pool, but here goes:

Two doctors, a psychiatrist and a proctologist, opened an office in a small town and put up a sign reading: “Dr. Smith and Dr. Jones: Hysterias and Posteriors.” The town council was not happy with the sign, so the doctors changed it to read, “Schizoids and Hemorrhoids”

This was not acceptable either, so in an effort to satisfy the council, they changed the sign to “Catatonics and High Colonics.” No go.

Next, they tried “Manic Depressives and Anal Retentives.” Thumbs down again.

Then came “Minds and Behinds” Still no good.

Another attempt resulted in “Lost Souls and Butt Holes.” Unacceptable again!

So they tried “Analysis and Anal Cysts.” Not a chance. “Nuts and Butts?” No way. “Freaks and Cheeks?” Still no go. “Loons and Moons?” Forget it.

Almost at their wit’s end, the doctors finally came up with: “Dr. Smith and Dr. Jones, Odds and Ends.”

Everyone loved it.


W is for Worday (2)

July 28, 2010

Continuing from last week’s made up words:

  • polyoyster: rubbery shellfish
  • pastilence: disease history
  • charcool: fashionably black
  • jungle bells: African Xmas
  • ginger bells: Asian Xmas
  • jingle bills: expensive Xmas
  • jangle bells: noisy Xmas
  • jingle balls: sporting Xmas
  • megazine: thick journal
  • kilowit: a thousand laughs
  • Baddist: peaceful criminal
  • spectikill: public hanging
  • rabbish: jewish leader gone wrong
  • fearway: frightening main road
  • kingregation: most parishioners are related
  • biginning: starting strong
  • borden: weight of monotony
  • notural: deceptive purity
  • emplayee: childcare worker
  • vergin: purity almost lost
  • toxation: government charges that make you sick
  • carrect: the right vehicle for the right price
  • champain: bubbly but annoying
  • luctation: milking good fortune for all its worth
  • crostacean: angry lobster
  • ripaste: quick retort well remembered
  • shrobbery: small plants stolen
  • reel estate: fishing ground
  • hurticulture: growing pains
  • smorgasbard: Shakespearian festival

I just have to say …

July 26, 2010

You know when someone says, ‘I just have to say …’, that they don’t really but I do feel compelled to comment on the goings on of my old online alma mater*.

Since I (oh yes … er … and a few others) have left it’s been very quiet place which, presumably, is just the way they like it. But there is still one thorn in the side of this peace in the form of good ol’ Alex. Now I’ve had my run-ins with Alex. I much prefer him when he straight-talks, but so often his online persona comes across as obscurity mixed with arrogance; a style that is given to easy misinterpretation which, to be fair, you could argue is not his problem (Lord knows, people on CathPews had huge problems with my style!).

But the effort for creating a spat where the is none surely must be Arabella’s ‘Vatican II on Devotion to the Blessed Sacrament‘. It seems like Exy and Kyle and John are determined to inject a bit of biffo into an issue where Alex hasn’t — not once — contradicted the original post. It seems if you don’t agree with what the original post … literally … word for word … then you’re suspected of some devious plot to disagree with it.

Alex’s style can be frustrating but the implications drawn by control freaks are just not there.

* Yes, I sneak a peek now and then! I just have to! 😉


Love and Theft

July 23, 2010

Last Sunday on Catholica James wrote a wonderful missive from Rome reflecting on what he saw and what, for him, what it all meant.

He starts in a positive vain:

It is some 35 years since I visited St. Peter’s and the Vatican Museum. I am no less astounded by the place than I was three and a half decades ago. In fact, probably even more so.
As I wandered around that great Renaissance pile and probably the greatest Museum in the world, a lot of thoughts went through my head.

But what interested me is better expressed near the end:

Human nature does not seem to have changed very much, despite the call by a gentle man in some obscure Aramaic speaking part of the Roman Empire a few thousand years ago suggesting that we live a more humble, simple and less selfish existence.
It is very hard to find any evidence of that anywhere in the Vatican. But we have to be thankful. If Christians had taken Jesus seriously, none of this would be here.

What it expresses for me is the, at times, excruciating tension when visiting these particularly Catholic holy places.

I was lucky enough to spend some time in Europe this time last year and, for me and for different reasons, the high point of that tension was Lourdes.

But the Vatican, in particular, is that tension writ large because, as Exy says in his typically dismissive tone, the Vatican can lay claim to being ‘custodian of Western civilisation and history’. The question I (and others) ask is, is that role one for an organisation founded on the principle that material wealth is a serious impediment to a follower of Christ?

Speaking of CathPews, a number of regulars fessed up that they read the article and, as I’d expect, reacted quite defensively.

Arabella’s post, in particular, was right out of the Joseph Heller school of logic. Apparently she thinks that it’s hypocritical for someone who can afford to travel to the Vatican to criticise it. Why? Because they could have given that money to the poor which, ironically, is the very tension James is talking about in the first place. And, yes, it does apply to us all in that we are all, even those of us who are not materially wealthy, capable of making ‘stuff’ (money, power, possessions …) a god, but I don’t think even Bill Gates is in the league of acquisitiveness that the Vatican puts on display.

In CathPews defence, Sharon provides a link to an article penned by the prolific Vaticanista, John Allen, which does discuss in more depth and with more sense, but is no less dismissive.

The question remains, what kind of witness to these literally priceless treasures (as Allen calls them) provide to the world?

But, as I said, the high point of that tension for me was Lourdes. I found it at once moving, revolting, engaging, repelling, compelling and superstitious and a whole lot more descriptions that don’t sit comfortably with each other.

PS Love and Theft is the title of a favourite Bob Dyan album.


F for Wryday (16)

July 22, 2010

An old favourite that would also be a candidate for ‘W for Worday’:

How I Met My Wife

Jack Winter, the New Yorker, July 25, 1994.

It had been a rough day, so when I walked into the party I was very chalant, despite my efforts to appear gruntled and consolate.

I was furling my weildy umbrella for the coat check when I saw her standing alone in a corner. She was a descript person, a woman in a state of total array. Her hair was kempt, her clothing shevelled, and she moved in a gainly way.

I wanted desperately to meet her, but I knew I’d have to make bones about it, since I was travelling cognito. Beknowst to me, the hostess, whom I could see both hide and hair of, was very proper, so it would be skin off my nose if anything bad happened. And even though I had only swerving loyalty to her, my manners couldn’t be peccable. Only toward and heard-of behavior would do.

Fortunately, the embarrassment that my maculate appearance might cause was evitable. There were two ways about it, but the chances that someone as flappable as I would be ept enough to become persona grata or a sung hero were slim. I was, after all, something to sneeze at, someone you could easily hold a candle to, someone who usually aroused bridled passion.

So I decided not to risk it. But then, all at once, for some apparent reason, she looked in my direction and smiled in a way that I could make head or tails of.

I was plussed. It was concerting to see that she was communicado, and it nerved me that she was interested in a pareil like me, sight seen. Normally, I had a domitable spirit, but, being corrigible, I felt capacitated—as if this were something I was great shakes at—and forgot that I had succeeded in situations like this only a told number of times. So, after a terminable delay, I acted with mitigated gall and made my way through the ruly crowd with strong givings.

Nevertheless, since this was all new hat to me and I had not time to prepare a promptu speech, I was petuous. Wanting to make only called-for remarks, I started talking about the hors d’oeuvres, trying to abuse her of the notion that I was sipid, and perhaps even bunk a few myths about myselfs.

She responded well, and I was mayed that she considered me a savoury character who was up to some good. She told me who she was. “What a perfect nomer,” I said, advertently. The conversation became more and more choate, and we spoke at length to much avail. But I was defatigable, so I had to leave at a godly hour. I asked if she wanted to come with me. To my delight, she was committal. We left the party together and have been together ever since. I have given her my love, and she has requited it.

F for Wryday #16? Yeh, I know, numbers were never my strong suit.


W is for Worday (1)

July 21, 2010

A few years ago missive landed in my inbox with information about a Washington Post competition to create new words — with definitions — by changing one letter in a current word.

Here’s an example:

  • Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
  • Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
  • Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.
  • Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn’t get it.
  • Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
  • Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.
  • Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease.
  • Karmageddon: It’s like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the
  • Earth explodes and it’s like, a serious bummer.
  • Glibido: All talk and no action.
  • Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when you have been smoking marijuana.
  • Ignoranus: A person who’s both stupid and an ass

At the time I used a number of idle moments to create my own and here’s my first effort:

  • Ignorunt: small and stupid
  • Suitebull: well dressed and horny
  • Sellphone: telemarketer
  • Buildung: crappy accommodation
  • Supperb: excellent evening meal
  • Sobberb: sad neighbourhood
  • Sublame: beautiful guilt
  • Doorbill: accounts home delivered
  • Ransaid: rotten conversation
  • Matrimoney: marrying for wrong reason
  • Keybored: tedious data entry
  • Carpunter: risky driver
  • Upartment: top floor flat

To be continued …


Epic fail?

July 20, 2010

Since hearing about the new Vatican Norms last week I’ve been scratching my virtual head to find a way of expressing a view. I can see that from the point of a view of an ancient bureaucracy, releasing such a document in the way that they did makes sense and I certainly don’t hold to the views expressed by writers such as Maureen Dowd in the NYT (see Rome Fiddles, We Burn) when she opens with:

If the Vatican is trying to restore the impression that its moral sense is intact, issuing a document that equates pedophilia with the ordination of women doesn’t really do that.

There’s no way, short of the most damning conspiracy theory, that this represents and ‘equating’ of pedophilia with the ordination of women.

But I do want to record my exasperation with what is either gross insensitivity or incompetence or both. The commentator who perhaps expresses that best is Elizabeth Scalia when she writes:

On the rare occasion where you’ve done something that will bring you a cautious measure of good will, or at least less-hostile reportage, you don’t tie it in with a controversial issue and allow nonsense equivalences to be drawn by people who do not move beyond headlines and soundbites! … FAIL, Curia! This is a FAIL! EPIC fail!”

I came across the quote in the post Does the Vatican really hate women that much? by John Norton which, in turn, I stumbled on courtesy of an old sparring partner, ‘John’, on CathPews in a post entitled In case anyone is still fixated on a perception of “gaffes” . . ..

I find it extraordinary that someone with an ear to the Pope or to the guy who is responsible for Vatican communications didn’t say, ‘Hey, we could avoid a lot of flak if we just released these documents separately!’. Either nobody said it or nobody listened. I’m not sure which is worse.

But even if we take these norms at face value, particularly those relating to abuse procedures, they’re really just codifying what has been widely practiced (or, more to the point, all too often not practiced already). David Clohessy from SNAP puts it bluntly (see 2nd SNAP response to new Vatican guidelines):

We’ve long pushed for action, not words, by the Vatican. This is, potentially, a tiny step closer to action. But it’s really just another in a long series of promises by church officials – in writing this time, rather than just verbal – that are rarely kept.

And then there’s the ‘codified’ slap in the face to women. But that’s another story …


M for Punday (1)

July 18, 2010

According the authority of my inbox, here are the ten first place winners in the International Pun Contest:

1. A vulture boards an airplane, carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at him and says, “I’m sorry, sir, only one carrion allowed per passenger.”

2. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says “Dam!”

3. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Unsurprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can’t have your kayak and heat it too.

4. Two hydrogen atoms meet. One says “I’ve lost my electron.” The other says “Are you sure?” The first replies “Yes, I’m positive.”

5. Did you hear about the Buddhist who refused Novocain during a root canal? His goal: transcend dental medication.

6. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse.

“But why?”, they asked, as they moved off.

“Because,” he said,” I can’t stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer.”

7. A woman has twins and gives them up for adoption.
One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named “Ahmal.” The other goes to a family in Spain; they name him “Juan. ” Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal. Her husband responds, “They’re twins! If you’ve seen Juan, you’ve seen Ahmal.”

8. A group of friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not. He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to “persuade” them to close.

Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he’d be back if they didn’t close up shop.

Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that only Hugh can prevent florist friars.

9. Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and, with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him (Oh, man, this is so bad, it’s good) a super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

10. And finally, there was the person who sent ten different puns to friends, with the hope that at least one of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.


F for Wryday (18)

July 15, 2010

These jokes have been circulating for a long time but I received the first in my inbox from a male friend and the second and third were posted by a female on Catholica. Go figure.

Jesus was
There were 3 good arguments that Jesus was Black:
1. He called everyone brother
2. He liked Gospel
3. He didn’t get a fair trial
But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was Jewish:
1. He went into His Father’s business
2. He lived at home until he was 33
3. He was sure his Mother was a virgin and his Mother was sure He was God
But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was Italian:
1. He talked with His hands
2. He had wine with His meals
3. He used olive oil
But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was a Californian:
1. He never cut His hair
2. He walked around barefoot all the time
3. He started a new religion
But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was an American Indian:
1. He was at peace with nature
2. He ate a lot of fish
3. He talked about the Great Spirit
But then there were 3 equally good arguments that Jesus was Irish:
1. He never got married..
2. He was always telling stories.
3. He loved green pastures.
But the most compelling evidence of all – 3 proofs that Jesus was a woman:
1. He fed a crowd at a moment’s notice when there was virtually no food
2. He kept trying to get a message across to a bunch of men who just didn’t get it
3. And even when He was dead, He had to get up because there was still work to do

The ‘Man’ Rules for Women to Know
At last a guy has taken the time to write this all down. Finally, the guys’ side of the story. (must admit, it’s pretty good..)
We always hear “the rules” from the female side. Now here are the rules from the male side. These are our rules! Please note…these are all numbered “1” ON PURPOSE!

1. Men are NOT mind readers.
1. Learn to work the toilet seat. You’re a big girl. If it’s up, put it down. We need it up, you need it down. You don’t hear us complaining about you leaving it down.
1. Sunday sports: It’s like the full moon or the changing of the tides. Let it be.
1. Crying is blackmail.
1. Ask for what you want.
Let us be clear on this one:
Subtle hints do not work!
Strong hints do not work!
Obvious hints do not work!
Just say it!
1. Yes and No are perfectly acceptable answers to almost every question.
1. Come to us with a problem only if you want help solving it. That’s what we do. Sympathy is what your girlfriends are for.
1. Anything we said 6 months ago is inadmissible in an argument. In fact, all comments become Null and void after 7 Days.
1.. If you think you’re fat, you probably are. Don’t ask us.
1. If something we said can be interpreted two ways and one of the ways makes you sad or angry, we meant the other one
1. You can either ask us to do something or tell us how you want it done. Not both. If you already know best how to do it, just do it yourself.
1. Whenever possible, please say whatever you have to say during commercials. …
1. Christopher Columbus did NOT need directions and neither do we.
1. ALL men see in only 16 colors, like Windows default settings. Peach, for example, is a fruit, not a color. Pumpkin is also a fruit. We have no idea what mauve is.
1. If it itches, it will be scratched. We do that.
1. If we ask what is wrong and you say “nothing,” we will act like nothing’s wrong. We know you are lying, but it is just not worth the hassle.
1. If you ask a question you don’t want an answer to, expect an answer you don’t want to hear.
1. When we have to go somewhere, absolutely anything you wear is fine…Really
1. Don’t ask us what we’re thinking about unless you are prepared to discuss such topics as FOOTBALL or motor sports
1. You have enough clothes.
1. You have too many shoes.
1. I am in shape. Round IS a shape!
1. Thank you for reading this.
Yes, I know, I have to sleep on the couch tonight; But did you know men really don’t mind that? It’s like camping.
Pass this to as many men as you can to give them a laugh.
Pass this to as many women as you can to give them a bigger laugh.

The Driver
A police officer pulls over a speeding car. The officer says,’ I clocked you at 80 miles per hour, sir.’
The driver says, ‘Gee, officer, I had it on cruise control at 60; perhaps your radar gun needs calibrating. ‘
Not looking up from her knitting the wife says: ‘Now don’t be silly — you know that this car doesn’t have cruise control.’
As the officer writes out the ticket, the driver looks over at his wife and growls, ‘Can’t you please keep quiet for once!!’
The wife smiles and says, ‘Well, you should be thankful your radar detector went off when it did or your speed would have been higher.’
As the officer makes out the second ticket for the illegal radar detector unit, the man glowers at his wife and says through clenched teeth,’Can’t you be quiet?’
The officer frowns and says, ‘And I notice that you’re not wearing your seat belt, sir. That’s an automatic $75 fine.’
The driver says, ‘Yeah, well, you see, officer, I had it on, but I took it off when you pulled me over so that I could get my license out of my back pocket.’
The wife says, ‘Now, you know very well that you didn’t have your seat belt on. You never wear your seat belt when you’re driving.’
And as the police officer is writing out the third ticket, the driver turns to his wife and barks, ‘WILL YOU PLEASE SHUT UP??’
The officer looks over at the woman and asks, ‘Does your husband always talk to you this way, Ma’am?’
‘Only when he’s been drinking!’