Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Dumbing Down

Via that recalcitrant Proddie, Cranmer

1. Teaching Maths In 1970:
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for £100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his profit?

2. Teaching Maths In 1980:
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for £100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or £80. What is his profit?

3. Teaching Maths In 1990:
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for £100. His cost of production is £80. Did he make a profit?

4. Teaching Maths In 2000:
A logger sells a truckload of lumber for £100. His cost of production is £80 and his profit is £20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.

5. Teaching Maths In 2008:
A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of £20. What do you think of this way of making a living? Topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers.)

6. Teaching Maths 2018:
أ المسجل تبيع حموله شاحنة من الخشب من اجل 100 دولار. صاحب تكلفة الانتاج من الثمن. ما هو الربح

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Crisis? What crisis?

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Speccie this week

Two articles of Catholic interest in The Spectator this week.

First up, Jack Velero, of Opus Dei exposes the craven, arrogant BBC for its portrayal of the prelature in drama.

It all started when the BBC televised a drama called Waking the Dead. It featured a self-flagellating Opus Dei assassin called Philip who kills his lover, a serial adulterer who also belongs to Opus Dei. The detectives investigate, suspecting (bravo!) Opus Dei as the link. Fraud is uncovered. The oleaginous, sanctimonious, corrupt London director of Opus Dei (who at least didn’t look like me!) stays mute when the detectives reel off as facts a list of Opus Dei ‘crimes’, not least the death of Calvi. And he expels Philip from Opus Dei, not for being a killer, but for the unpardonable sin of being found out.

Know of any other secretive religious groups who DO go around killing their fellow citizens? Don't expect anything other than kidgloves from the BBC in that quarter. I am astounded by how offhand the BBC can be in its complaints procedure. That's OUR money you're using to pump out anti-Catholic propaganda, you know (and not just from the Licence Fee - from general taxation, too)

Meanwhile Taki praises the Holy Father for his visit to New York in, ahem, purple prose:

It goes to show that faith is far from dead, at least in this country, and the Pope’s beautiful countenance, the peace and hope he projected, rallied us all, no matter what the faith.

Hear! Hear!

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Woolworths discounted section.


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Monday, April 21, 2008

Men In Black

A conversation after Mass with The Curate a couple of weeks ago turned to the vestments the parish has. On the whole the vestments are good due to some shrewd purchases by Monsignor. No horse blankets. The Curate wants a decent Roman set. I agree. I asked about black - the colour I want when my mortal remains are put back into the earth. "We haven't got any!" says The Curate. "How so?" I replied. "Someone got rid of them in the 1970s."

Just who in the heck did priests think they were disposing of sacred things to goodness knows who and goodness knows where, when many of these sacred things were gifted by the people of the parish? I am quietly putting together a fund to purchase a decent set of black for the parish, probably from HERE. Hopefully, the successors of Monsignor and The Curate will have the grace not to sell them.

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Saturday, April 19, 2008

Rhubarbville and Borders

Sorry for the hiatus, chaps. Busy, busy, busy at work followed by a week en famille.

First off to see my sister in Wakefield (centre of the Great Rhubarb Triangle, I found out thanks to Big Sis). The parish there, St Austin's, is lovely and lively. There is the solid demographic of most Catholic parishes in the North of England - largely descendents of the Irish, Italian and Polish diasporas - but now with an admixture from other cultures who find their home in the parish. There is an extraordianry number of young people - teenagers and people in their twenties (most of them from the settled population rather than the new immigrants) which bodes well for the future. Can it be that they are attracted by the liturgy celebrated well by good priests? The choir is excellent and the Mass we heard had a mixture of plainsong, beautiful English settings and even a bit of Mozart thrown in. The hymns were solid, traditional, singable.

I have always found St Austin's very beautiful. I was amazed to see how the sanctuary has changed, though. I had thought the renovation done fairly tastefully but changed my mind when I saw what had been before. Where did all that stuff go?

After this, a week in the Scottish Borders in the familiar, near-Carthusian isolation of the in-laws' cottage. Nice to have peace and quiet and boys making bows and arrows, fishing in the burn and playing outside all day. Lots of good walks in the country round about.

I hope Mrs P's dad was pleased with my woodchopping - that's about a year's worth stacked up.

Mr Moley

Little lamb -Who made thee?

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Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A Decade Ago

Leutgb tags me for this meme:

What I was doing 10 years ago
Preparing to get married. We went down to Suffolk to see The Black Monk for our preparation which was done over lots of bottles of wine in his back garden (it was a warm Spring)

Working shifts in an incredibly busy oncology unit with some very driven consultants and some very ill patients. I was walking to work, though, which was lovely.

Applying for specialty training as a registrar. I convinced myself for some time after that I got the job because they felt sorry for me. The interview was about half an hour long with 12 interviewers. When I went into the room I sat down and crossed my legs under a table, cutting off the blood supply to my right leg. When I got up I had foot-drop and limped out of the room. I think they thought I was disabled and putting a brave face on it.

Five things on my To Do List today:
Do ward round
Put in my appraisal forms to my boss
Phone HR to make sure the clinical fellow gets paid
Prepare a lecture
Get home in time to go to eldest boy’s choir concert

Snacks I enjoy:
Sweet chilli Kettle chips
Bananas and apples
Dry roasted peanuts
Prawn crackers
Carr’s cheese melts with really mature cheddar
Lemon drizzle cake
Cold sausages and anything else that annoys health fascists.

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
Offer to knock down concrete modernist churches and replace them with beautiful neo-Gothic or neo-Classically designed churches and fill them with elegant vestments and plate.

Buy the proposed site of the London Mega-Mosque and build a HUGE basilica on it to be consecrated in honour of Our Lady of Lepanto

Give lots of money to Aid to the Church In Need, Mary’s Meals, The Linacre Centre

Fund a credible candidate to stand gainst Barry Sheerman and/or Evan Harris

Fund postgraduate research in my specialty.

Buy a house in Tuscany

Five jobs that I have done
Auxiliary Nurse
University Lecturer
Bricklayer’s labourer

Three of my bad habits:
Getting tired and grumpy.
Scratching my ear when nervous
Biting my bottom lip

Five places I have lived:
Nso, Cameroon


Pray for Zimbabwe

It's on a knife-edge tonight. One can only pray that violence is avoided and the corrupt old thug Mugabe goes quietly. I am not given to quoting Oliver Cromwell approvingly but his speech to the Rump Parliament in April 1653 seems to fit the moment:

You have sat too long for any good you have been doing lately ... Depart, I say; and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!


Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Film Meme

Mac tags me with this. It's simple:the "top-five critically lauded movies I detest" meme.

1. An Inconvenient Truth.
It won the old fraud a Nobel Prize, for crying out loud!

2. Fahrenheit 9/11.
I'm not a Bush fan but this bloated conspiracy theorist, Michael Moore, is a parasite.

3. Titanic.
I saw it in French and I could still tell it was a huge pile of steaming horse manure. The iceberg is the true hero in that film.

4. The Motorcycle Diaries
Che Guevara, all round good egg and cool revolutionary dude. Rather ignores the fact that he was a cold-blooded, sadistic killer. What next "Harold Shipman's Campervan Diaries"? "Monsieur Dahmer's Holiday"?

5. The Da Vinci Code.
OK, not critically acclaimed but even the slamming it got by the critics counts as over-rated.

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More Westminster strife in store

This from the news wires:

Catholicism ‘the engine of booze culture’

Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 April 2008, 00:28 GMT

Government ministers will come down hard on the Catholic Church after ministerial sources described the Catholic Church as one of the main drivers of Britain’s binge drinking culture. Senior Catholic officials and heads of religious orders are likely to be called before the Health Select Committee at Westminster to answer suggestions that the culture of Catholicism is responsible for a role in the issues associated with problem drinking.

A source close to the committee was quoted as saying “The Catholic Church is geared towards the encouragement of drinking and a booze culture. We would be particularly interested to question senior members of the religious orders who have interests in the drinks industry, particularly the Benedictines and the Carthusians. These are orders which rely for their existence on alcohol at a time when binge drinking is a scourge on our streets and a major cost in terms of health.”

The Benedictines have as part of their monastic rule, developed by St Benedict of Nursia in the 5th Century a provision for the drinking of up to a pint of wine a day.

A spokesman for AlcoholWatchUK, a campaigning group said “When one thinks that the Benedictines, with their association with alcohol, run some of the top private schools in the country, it really beggars belief that they should be in charge of children. Ampleforth, for instance produces cider and cider brandy. What kind of message does that send? The Catholic Church really does need to adopt a more responsible attitude”

One ministerial source claimed that the Christian liturgy lay at the heart of the problem “Given that Catholicism along with other Christian Churches has the drinking of wine at the core of its ceremonies, I think they should look long and hard at whether changes need to be made to that. This is not a problem associated with other religions – Islam being the obvious example.”

No date has been set for the Select Committee meeting as Parliament is currently in the Easter recess.