Saturday, 18 August 2007

Cats & Dogs Compared...

Sylvester, my cat, has just come in and demanded attention from me. He sat on the armchair and miaowed loudly, and then moved to lean on the computer table and head-butt me. I realised at this point that he wanted me to dry him off with a towel or something. I got off lightly - normally he comes in at 3am demanding to be dried off, drenching the bedclothes in the process.

I didn't have my camera handy, so missed the photo opportunity. However, googling "wet cats" brought up some amusing items...

Dear Pet Owner,

Cats and Dogs need different handling techniques...

Dog Washing Instructions

1. Wait for a hot Summer day. (Do not wash in Winter.)
2. Outside, turn on grass sprinkler.
3. When dog finishes playing with sprinkler, give dog big juicy bone to chew on until dog is done drying.

The 12 Step Cat Washing Program

1. First, thoroughly clean the toilet, remove the topmost lid covering the tank of water, and turn off the cold-water hose to the toilet.

2. Next, warm up 4 gallons of water to bath temperature. Flush, and add half the water to the tank.

3. Then, raise both lids, add the rest of the water directly to the toilet bowl, and add an ample amount of shampoo to the water.

4. Find a ball of string and entice the cat into the bathroom.

5. Close the bathroom door, and continue petting the cat.

6. In one swift move, pick up the cat, and drop the cat into the toilet bowl, closing both lids.

7. Jump on top of the toilet lid to prevent the cat from escaping.

8. CAUTION: Avoid placing any of your body parts near the edge of the toilet to avoid flailing claws reaching between the toilet and lid.

9. The cat will self-agitate and generate ample sudsing action. (Ignore ruckus from inside toilet, cat is enjoying this.)

10. Flush the toilet twice for a quick rinse or 4 times for an effective power rinse cycle, depending on the cat's fur cleaning needs.

11. Clear a path of open doors from the toilet to outside, and then jump off of the lid. CAUTION: Jump away from the bathroom door.

12. The now-clean cat will rocket out of the toilet to the outside. Air dry time: about 20 minutes.

Yours sincerely,

The Dog

Another Oldie-But-Goodie...

I have spotted this several times over the years, and I think it's brilliant.

Letter from a 98 year old woman to her bank manager.

Dear Sir,

I am writing to thank you for bouncing my cheque with which I endeavoured to pay my plumber last month.

By my calculation three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his having presented the cheque and the arrival in my account of funds sufficient to honour it. I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my entire pension, an arrangement, I admit, which has only been place for the last 38 years.

You are to be highly commended for siezing this brief window of opportunity and also for debiting my account £20 by way of penalty for the inconvenience experienced by your bank.

My thankfulness springs from the manner in which this incident has caused me to rethink my errant financial ways. I notice that whereas I personally attend to your telephone calls and letters, when I try to contact you, I am confronted by the impersonal, overcharging, pre-recorded, faceless entity which your bank has become.

From now on I, like you, choose only to deal with a 'Flesh and Blood' person. My Mortgage and Loan repayments will herefore and hereafter no longer be automatic but will be presented to an employee of your bank, whom you must nominate.

Be aware that it is an offence under the Postal Act for any person other than the nominee to open such an envelope.

Please find attached an Application Contact Status form which I require your chosen employee to complete. I am sorry that it runs to 12 pages but in order that I know as much about him/her as your bank knows about me there is no alternative.

Please note that all copies of his/her medical history must be countersigned by a Notary and the mandatory details of his/her financial situation must be accompanied by documented proof.
In due course I will issue your employee with a PIN number which he/she must quote in any dealings with me. I regret that it cannot be any shorter than 28 digits, but again, I have modelled it on the number of buttons that I have to press required for me to access my account. As they say, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery".

Regrettably. but again following your example, I must levy an establishment fee to cover the setting up of this new arrangement.

Your humble client,

Dorothea Lacey-Cotta

Mantilla-twitch to Philip at Carpe Canem.

Latin Grammar And Document Integrity

Heheheheh... a while back, I was chatting about blogging matters, and I happened to mention Philip Andrews' blog, Carpe Canum. It was mentioned that it should read Carpe Canem (something to do with a minor point of grammar, innit?) As I know even less about Latin than Philip, I decided that it was none of my business, and I would keep very, very quiet.

I was amused today to notice that the title bar has been changed, and the blog title is now "Carpe Canem." There have also been a couple of jokes in various com-boxes about accusatives, datives, declensions (or whatever... I said I knew nothing about grammar) so I deduce that someone on the blogosphere finally decided to point out the error...

I find this especially amusing because ICEL claim that they don't want the translations of texts for things such as the new Missal to appear on the internet because they are concerned for the accuracy of translation and preserving the integrity of the texts...

...I'd have said that the one place you can't have typos (there are loads in the Breviary) or inaccurate or misleading translations for any length of time would be the internet... there are always hoardes of people who will be only too happy to comment!

Now I've Seen Everything...

Fr. Justin has pointed out that he saw this sign at a crematorium. He's a priest, so I have to believe him, but...

Friday, 17 August 2007

New Papal Keyboard To Be Issued...

In view of the storm that has been brewing after the publication of a certain book and its endorsement by the Bishops Conference of England and Wales, I thought the Holy Father might appreciate the latest in modern keyboard technology...

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Our Lady Altar Yesterday...

Ha, silly me! I was so taken aback by the flat-pack furniture that I completely forgot about the picture I had taken of our Lady Altar, with the statue of Our Lady all decked out for the Feast of the Assumption.

Better late than never, so here you go:

That Time Of Year Again...

This is a blast from my mis-spent youth: I submit it for any youngsters out there who are getting their exam results today (AS and A2 Levels) or next week (GCSEs). They're probably too un-PC for today's television tastes (I think the latest ads for BT show a "typical" modern family - she has children from a previous relationship, he has a wandering eye...) but back in the mists of time, whenever anyone mentioned exams there was sure to be a a chorus of "an 'ology'? You got an 'ology,' you're a scientist..."

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

I Hate Flat-Pack Furniture !

...well, obviously I don't actually hate it once it's "up and running" - otherwise I wouldn't buy it! I just hate the hassle of having to put it together.

I desperately need more shelf space: I am tired of falling over piles of books. It's not good for the books, and it's not really good for me. The cat is starting to get irritated - I have piles of books on every available surface, including the sofa and the armchairs. This leaves only the chair in front of the computer... and I keep coming along and moving the cat so I can sit down and blog.

I tried looking at ready-made bookcases, but they were all terribly expensive: one bookcase would have cost about £130. And then I would have had to pay the delivery costs. I bought four flat-pack bookcases for £80...

...but now I need to unpack and assemble them... the problem is, first I have to clear enough floor space so that I can lay all the stuff out! Hmmmn... maybe I'll leave it until tomorrow!

Feast Of The Assumption

I love this Feast. Along with the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, I think it shows the most amazing love of Jesus for his Mother.

To paraphrase Scott Hahn, if you could choose your own mother, wouldn't you make her the most perfect human being on earth, and want to preserve her from any stain of Original Sin? Likewise, at the end of her life, wouldn't you want to prevent your mother from experiencing the pain of death (caused by the separation of soul and body)?

Well, Jesus could... and did! Wow, he has style!!

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Yes, We Have Some Standards...

As Ttony of the Muniment Room points out, it starts here. At least this Catholic Adoption Agency has decided to stick to its principles, and will refuse to place children with homosexual couples. However, under the current UK legislation, this means that the Agency has to stop placing children with anyone... how very, very sad!

The Point Of Catholic Education?

When I first decided that teaching was my vocation, I was convinced that Catholic schools were a great thing. Good discipline, good results, and good moral standards. And while there were plenty of state schools which could provide good discipline and good results, the Catholic schools won hands down on the moral teaching. After all, they were promoting the teachings of the Church, handed down by Christ to his Apostles...

I wasn't totally naive: I knew that many teachers failed to live up to the teachings of the Church in their everyday lives: but, well, we're all sinners... and at least the party line was that there was an ideal which should be striven for.

I soon realised that this was far from true. In my experience, in most secondary schools, the teaching of the Church was presented, at best, with a rather apologetic air, a sort of "this-is-what-we're-supposed-to-say-but-we-don't-really-believe-it" attitude. At worst, the teaching was derided as "unrealistic and medieval."

Having experienced this first-hand (I was threatened with disciplinary action for bringing the school into disrepute after I protested publicly about the promotion of condoms and the morning-after pill in sex education lessons) I began to have my doubts about the rationale behind our Catholic schools. However, most people assured me that the primary schools were still worth keeping.

The discovery that Channel 4's highly sexually-explicit and quite revolting programme was being used in at least one primary school in Southwark made me question this assumption. And now we have further proof that the raison d'être for our Catholic education system, namely the passing on of the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, has been dealt a body blow.

The Archdiocese of Liverpool has been unable to take action against Charles Coyne, the Head of St Cecilia's primary school, who has registered a partnership with Richard Jones, who is believed to work at a nearby school. Lawyers have told the Church that the Head cannot be sacked. You can read more about it over at the Telegraph.

I was under the impression that, at one time, being in an irregular relationship was a sackable offence for the Head or Deputy Head of a Catholic school (or a Head of RE for that matter.) A civil partnership is, according to the teachings of the Church, a very irregular relationship, and a homosexual civil partnership is even more so.

So, if we can't insist on being allowed to deliver the teachings of the Church to our pupils (as the SORs say this is homophobic and discriminatory... and therefore illegal) and we can't insist on moral standards being passed on by example, then what is the point of Catholic schools?

Ditch them, and use the money for something more worthwhile.

Lump In Throat, Tear In Eye...

Over at the Crescat, Carolina Cannonball and Steve have prepared posts on the martyrdom of St. Maximilian Kolbe and the reactions of Franciszek Gajowniczek (the man saved by the action of Fr. Kolbe) as today is St. Maximilian's feast day. It is very difficult to read either post without getting very, very emotional. Fabulous job guys...

Wow. The Church has such great saints... It makes me proud to be Catholic.

Monday, 13 August 2007

The Wisdom Of Solomon (Or Lack Of It)

I've had quite a few comments indicating disgust, anger, annoyance, disappointment and hurt at the lack of sensitivity demonstrated by the Westminster Cathedral authorities in allowing a film which is so biased against the Catholic Church to be shot in the Cathedral itself, let alone actually saying it is a "must-see" ! I sent a comment to Monsignor Langham, and several others indicated that they had done the same... it would appear that none of these (negative) comments are going to be published...

Now, I wonder: what should one make of a priest who warmly recommends going to see a heretical film?

UPDATE: Not only is the good Monsignor deleting unfavourable comments (I've done that in the past to the occasional rude or completely off-topic comment) but it appears that he's also deleting links - so no-one reading his blog will realise that there is a whole tranch of opposition. How very interesting. Please do go and leave your opinions...

NEW UPDATE: Heheheheh... the links have been re-established. Probably because people are clicking on them from this end (and from Carpe Canum and Gem of the Ocean) - anyone care to lay bets on how long before they get deleted again??

I'm Not A Feminist, But...

...I seriously hope I never meet this chap, or he's going to have to eat his words, teeth, and a knuckle sandwich...

Mantilla twitched in the direction of my favourite Neanderthal, whose attitude to women is actually far less cavemanlike than that of many more liberal types I've encountered... unless those women happen to be the brainless feminazi liberal trendies playing at being stealth-priestesses...!

Animal Or Vegetable...?

Reading Joanna Bogle's post on Bramble Cheese, where she explains the importance of making it clear to children where our food actually comes from, reminded me of a lesson I taught a few years ago.

I was teaching a Year 11 class a unit on something vaguely biological (it was a few years ago, so the exact context escapes me) and I realised that their earlier education had gone seriously astray when I was challenged on the statement that "all food is either plant or animal in origin."

Now Year 11 is the final year of GCSEs, (that's a class of 15-16 year-olds for anyone unfamiliar with the UK educational set-up, or Fifth Year to anyone in Britain who was born before1980!) and since most of this class were planning to leave schooling for ever at the end of the year, I realised that I needed to address the issue before they were let loose on an unsuspecting public...

I ditched the lesson plan and opened a discussion. They weren't having any of it. Food couldn't possibly be from just plants and animals... So, I got them to name some foods, and proceeded to demonstrate that they couldn't find a food which wasn't of plant or animal origin. Pizza was a fairly predictable item. Cornflakes was slightly more worrying. And then one student came up with a blinder: "Hah, tomato ketchup! That's not from animals or plants..." My simple rejoinder, "...And tomato ketchup is made of, well..?" was acknowledged with a triumphant "Tomatoes... Oh, yeah... oops" and a sheepish grin.

I had to restrain myself though. One student wanted to know where spaghetti came from, and I was sorely tempted to say that it grew on spaghetti trees... but they might have believed me!

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Solomon's Foot-In-Mouth Saga

Oh boy. The Westminster Cathedral crowd really do seem to have a knack for dropping enough bricks to build... well... a cathedral!

To add to their use of napkins (see my post for a definition) at high-profile events like Corpus Christi processions, the débacle of hosting the launch for Jeffrey Archer's so-called Gospel of Judas, and then the kerfuffle over Taverner's 99 Beautiful Names, they now add another faux pas.

The sequel to the awful film Elizabeth is due out later this year. It will be screened in Canada in September, and over here some time after that. Elizabeth was bad enough: the myths about "good" Queen Bess were perpetuated and a whole bunch of lies about the Catholic Church (including the presentation of a Jesuit priest as a murderous assassin) were presented as absolute fact. The sequel, called The Golden Age, promises to be even worse: it continues with the idea that the Catholic martyrs of the Reformation period were all bloodthirsty murderers, and asserts that the Armada was bringing the Spanish Inquisition along with it (with the implication that this would be a bad thing...)

And now for the rub: they couldn't use the Escorial (not entirely sure why... perhaps the Spanish felt rather more strongly about the lies being perpetuated by the film) so they needed to find a suitable "stand-in." And yes, they picked Westminster Cathedral...

Monsignor Langham actually seems to be pleased about this. And he can't plead ignorance of what was going to be portrayed in the film. The post on his own blog, Solomon, I Have Surpassed Thee, makes this quite clear...

"The trailer is now available; from it one gleans a thrilling, if distorted, version of historical events, and it does appear to perpetuate the myth of 'killer priests'. However, it does look spectacular and evocative, and is a 'must see' for the autumn!"

Oh, right... it distorts the truth and brings the Catholic priesthood into further disrepute among ordinary non-Catholics who don't actually know any history and believe everything they hear on the BBC and read in the papers... but if it's a good film, then it doesn't matter... oh, well, that's okay then...!

Twitch of the mantilla to Carpe Canum.
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