Saturday, 15 September 2007

The Problem With Blogger...

...has reminded me of this little gem which did the rounds by email for a few years.

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy. The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter. There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensi bl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru. Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze furst plas.

Wirklich sonderbar...

Has anyone else noticed that Blogger seems to be going all Euro on us?... Half of the instructions seem to have been put up in German...


Yet another exclusive... but only because Fr. Z and Fr. Tim are having technical difficulties... Anyway, I got to meet Fr. Z for lunch: even more entertaining in person than on his excellent blog. I hadn't realised that he'd read my blog, but he pointed out that I had mis-quoted his sermon in a previous post... I'd better put that right: I don't want to end up having my blog "fisked" !!

Bloggers At Blackfen...

You can see the photos for the High Mass yesterday, and they are well worth a look. I was amused to see that all the bloggers had been singled out for their own photo-shoot...

Left to right we have the Dúnadan (Cally's Kitchen), Fr. John Zuhlsdorf (What Does The Prayer Really Say?), Fr. Nicholas Schofield (Roman Miscellany), Fr. Tim Finigan (The Hermeneutic of Continuity), and, on the far right of the photo, Fr. John Boyle (South Ashford Priest). This was one occasion when I didn't have to endure being photographed: I had already scooted back to school at this point!

Friday, 14 September 2007

Summorum Pontificum And The Cross

We had a High Mass in Blackfen today to celebrate the full implementation of Summorum Pontificum. I was very upset when I realised that the Mass was going to be in the middle of the day: I didn't think that it would be a good idea to ask for an afternoon off school when we'd only just started...

...Imagine my delight when, on checking my timetable, I realised that this would be "Week B" (we have a two-week timetable) and on Friday of Week B I have a couple of free periods either side of lunch. Technically, one of the free periods is a "cover" - this means I could have to cover another absent teacher's lesson, so getting the opportunity to skip out of school wasn't a certainty: however, on the basis that if you don't ask, you don't get, I put in a request to be kept free. And I was hopeful: at this point in the year there aren't usually too many staff off sick.

So today I was able to attend the Mass. It was well attended, and I took a few little snaps with my dinky phone-camera.

Fr. Zuhlsdorf, the author of the blog "What does the Prayer Really Say?" preached the sermon. He pointed out that the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross was picked deliberately by the Holy Father for the implementation of Summorum Pontificum; and that we remove the mystery of the Cross from the celebration of Mass at our peril. He said a lot more, and as he appeared to have a recording device at the lectern, I'm hoping that a podcast will be available soon. (Ok, apparently not... technology is great, but only when it works. The text of his sermon is available HERE.)

Unfortunately I had only been "let out" for the free periods and lunch. This meant that I had to get back to teach a Year 7 class, and couldn't stay for the reception. That was a bit of a wrench - the place was positively swarming with fellow bloggers... Fr. Tim, Fr. Zuhlsdorf, Fr. Nicholas Schofield, the Dúnadan, Fr. John Boyle, and non-blogging (but much blogged-about) priest, Fr. Richard Whinder; ...and I was delighted to be greeted by Londiniensis (he doesn't have a blog of his own, but comments occasionally.)

Hopefully there will be some more reports about the day. Watch this space.

UPDATE: The Dúnadan has posted his account of the Mass... he seems to have been first off the mark!
UPDATE 2: Fr. Zuhlsdorf has blogged about the High Mass, as has Fr. Nicholas.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Blackfen Blogger Exclusive!

Heheheheh... After Benediction, Jonathan made a few "altar"ations in the church ready for tomorrow's High Mass... Fr. Tim was busy elsewhere, so I've scooped an exclusive!

Here we have the High Altar before Jonathan got to work...

And here we are afterwards:

I decided to try out a few angles. We weren't entirely sure about the flowers, but Hilda, our Sacristan, wasn't around, so we had to make do. It will be interesting to see what she comes up with tomorrow!

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Abortion: Is The Tide Turning At Last?

...Probably not. But I was encouraged to read the following articles.

Amanda Platell from the Daily Mail has a good article on why she, as a feminist, believes that abortion should be a last resort, with a reduction of the upper age limit. I do not agree with much of what she has written - for example, I do not believe that quite so many women were killed through backstreet abortions (the majority of which were carried out by "sympathetic" doctors.) But it is interesting to read her comments on how the ready availability of abortion and the view of it as just another form of contraception have turned her against it. She also makes a pertinent point about how abstinance is the best method of contraception, and that the Catholic Church is vilified for daring to say so.

Steve Doughty, also from the Daily Mail reports how 70% of women want to stop abortion after thirteen weeks. Support for limits to the number and time-limit of abortions is apparently coming mostly from women, young people aged under 24, and pensioners.

Finally, there is a poll by the Daily Mail asking about limits to abortion. The first option is actually 0 weeks, but because of the numbering of options it looks like ten weeks. At the time of writing, the poll stood at 42% at zero weeks (ie. no abortion), 43% at thirteen weeks, and 15% want the limit to remain at 24 weeks.

You can see the poll HERE. Twitch of the mantilla to Chris Hack who set up the Post-Faith Conference Pro-Life Support Group on Facebook.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

How To Give Your Cat A Pill...

A friend of mine forwarded some photos of reluctant cats being washed in baths. I wasn't too keen on the pictures (and so won't be posting them) but it did remind me of this great set of instructions which did the rounds by email for many years...

How to Give Your Cat a Pill...

1) Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

2) Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

3) Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.

4) Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

5) Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call friend.

6) Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get friend to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down, remove ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

7) Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered Doulton figures from hearth and set to one side for glueing later.

8) Wrap cat in large towel and get friend to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force cat's mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

9) Check label to make sure pill is not harmful to humans, drink glass of water to take taste away. Apply band-aid to friend's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

10) Retrieve cat from neighbour's shed. Get another pill. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.

11) Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Throw Tee-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

12) Ring fire brigade to retrieve cat from tree across the road. Apologise to neighbour who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil-wrap.

13) Tie cat's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed, hold cat's mouth open with small spanner. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet of steak. Hold head vertically and pour pint of water down throat to wash pill down.

14) Get friend to drive you to the emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new table.

15) Arrange for RSPCA to collect cat. Ring local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.

While googling for that one, I stumbled upon this genuine piece of advice... I kept waiting for the photo showing the chewed fingers, but I guess that they didn't post that one!

Ooooh, scary!

Monday, 10 September 2007

Not So Innocent...!

Oh bother! I really enjoy "Innocent Smoothies" - I can even tolerate the fact that I might "catch" a vitamin or two... But, I see on Facebook that:

"The Innocent Foundation is a grant giving charity, set up by Innocent Drinks, that works in partnership with community based projects and NGOs.

One of the charities they support is Womankind, a group that promotes abortion."

It's worth telling Innocent that funding abortion (even second-hand) is likely to lose them customers. Not to mention bringing the "Innocent" trademark into disrepute! It is possible to email or go to the website.

Just To Prove I'm Still Alive...

...I'm too tired to blog, but I don't want to be accused of hypocrisy after binning some of the more inactive blogs on my roll. So I thought I'd share a little kitty-pic...

...and a great Papal-pic...

Twitch of the mantilla to the Curt Jester for the snap of the Pontiff (and Jeff has a brilliant caption for it too!)

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Obviously Working Too Hard...

Life has rather overtaken me this week. The new job is taking up all of my mental and physical energy. The school is really great, and I think I will be very happy... and Half-Term is in six weeks.

The fact that my brain is even more scrambled than usual was brought home to me on Friday. There was a bit of a get-together for the staff, and they had a draw for the Rugby World Cup. I decided that I might as well have a bash, and so put my name in.

When my name was called out along with the country drawn, I looked round at the others in my department: "Ok, I know nothing about rugby. Are they any good?"

I was a little taken aback by the mirth. And then my one surviving brain cell kicked in.

New Zealand... also known as the All Blacks. I believe they're "quite good..."

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