You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2009.

On the more serious side:

–  I say “coo-pon”  instead of “kew-pon”.

–  I say “off-en” instead of “oft-en”.

–  I say “aye-ther” and “naye-ther” instead of “ee-ther” and “nee-ther”.

– I say “ah-men” instead of “a-men”.

On the sillier side:

– Thanks to Gene Wilder, I say “Frahnkensteen” instead of “Frankenstein“.

–  Thanks to a fishing guide I knew in New Brunswick, I often say “bu-day-duh” instead of  “potato”.   Thanks to the same guide, “coffee” sometimes becomes “a kaafee”.

– Thanks to God knows what source, “pinot noir” comes out as “peeeeeeno nooo-wharrr”.

–  Thanks to Patrick O’Brian’s Preserved Killick, “sandwich” has become either “sammich” or “sanglewich”.

–  And thanks to my Texas childhood, I still sometimes say “Y’all”.

How about you? What linguistic quirks lurk within ye?

NASA prepares to demonstrate the power of its fully operational battle station on the Moon:

The aim is to see whether any traces of water will be revealed by the disruption caused to the planet’s surface. Nasa will analyse the space cloud caused by the explosion for any sign of water or vapour.

Scientists expect the impact to blast out a huge cloud of dust, gas and vaporized water ice at least 6 miles high – making it visible from Earth.

If the search is successful it could provide vital supplies for a moonbase. The moon is mostly dry desert but ice may be trapped in craters which never see sunlight.

The unmanned Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite mission (LCROSS) will fire a Centaur rocket into the surface at twice the speed of a bullet.

An accompanying spacecraft will orbit the moon for a year looking for possible landing sites for astronauts. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter will spend at least a year creating the most minutely detailed map of the moon’s surface ever seen.

The vessel swill be the first American spacecrafts to make a lunar trip since 1999.

Personally, I think the whole “water search” is just a blind, and that the real reason for firing a missile at the Moon was that someone at NASA thought it would be really coo-el.

Father Longenecker gets it in one:

The divide between the God lovers and the people lovers exists not because one is right and the other is wrong. The divide exists because we have not prioritized properly.

The lovers of people may not like to hear this, but the love of God is the first priority. Love of neighbor comes after the love of God and is dependent on the love of God. We cannot love our neighbor if we do not love God first. Why? Because we have no motive, no power and no grace to love our neighbor if we have not loved God first.

Therefore, the love of God is the Catholic priority. Loving our neighbor is mandatory and cannot be overlooked, but it comes after the love of God. If this is true, then we must ask ourselves where we properly love God and where we properly love our neighbor. The answer is that we love God primarily within the life of prayer and worship: within and through the liturgy.

If we love God in church, then we love our neighbor outside of church. Most of the problems with modernist liturgy and worship are that progressive Catholics have brought into the Church what rightly belongs outside of the Church. In other words, the fellowship, the peace and justice, the social activism, the missionary enterprise, the education and health care and family concern — all of this is the proper activity of the people of God outside of the liturgy, and we have brought it into the liturgy.

As a result, the liturgy has become all about loving people instead of loving God. Why is this? Because too many Catholics have actually replaced the love of God with the love of people. Clever theologians thought that the supernatural, otherworldly aspect of worship seemed too much of a stretch for ordinary, modern, scientific people, and they made the liturgy folksy and people-centered in order to adapt the faith for modern man.

The result has been a disaster. Catholics, therefore, love people, but many have lost the language for loving God; and the greatest sadness is that once you no longer love God, it is not very long before you are no longer able to love people either, for what do you find to love in people if you have not loved God first? For the only thing I truly love in my neighbor is the image of God in him, and the only way I can discern this is by first learning to love God.

The final result of all this is that we have been left with the only remaining remnant: the love of ourselves. Thus, in too much of Catholic worship what was once the glorious worship of Almighty God has become a jumble of comfort hymns and self-help therapy.

The only remedy is to return to Christ’s priorities: to learn once more how to put the love of God first in our lives so that we may eventually learn again how to love our neighbor.

The Padre is talking about division within HMC, but as a matter of fact, this is as good a summation of why I left the Palies as anything else I’ve read.

Regular port-swillers will know that I usually hit the Tridintine Mass on Sundays.  This week we will be driving up to Pennsylvania to drop the gels off at camp, so I’ll have to go to the Saturday evening Vigil instead.  It’s certainly not awful at my Church – no liturgical dances, no modern musick – but it’s still in the modern form, and even a casual comparison suggests that a lot of the worshippers aren’t nearly as focused as they tend to be in my normal haunt.

Plus, there are a lot of kids.

I confess I’m not much looking forward to it.

You’d think I’d be happy about a study that proves dogs are smarter than cats, but really, what’s needed is MORE ROLLED-UP NEWSPAPER, this time for the “researchers”:

The thought processes of 15 cats were tested by attaching food to the end of lengths of string and observing whether they could figure out that pulling the line brought the treats closer.

The cats had no problem with tackling single pieces of string. However, when faced with two options, experts discovered that unlike their canine counterparts, cats were unable to consistently pick a baited string over a dummy.

Psychology lecturer Britta Osthaus, who conducted the study, said the findings shatter the myth that cats are smarter than dogs.

Mrs Osthaus, of Canterbury Christ Church University, Kent, said: “This finding is somehow surprising as cats regularly use their paws and claws to pull things towards them during play and hunting.

“They performed even worse than dogs, which can at least solve the parallel string task.”

She added that the results show that cats do not understand cause-and-effect connections between objects.

The experiments involved attaching fish and biscuit treats to one end of a piece of string, placing them under a plastic screen to make them unreachable.

They were tested in three ways, using a single baited string, two parallel strings where only one was baited, and two crossed strings where only one was baited.

With two crossed strings, one cat always made the wrong choice and others succeeded no more than might be expected by chance.

So why do these people need to be beaten about the heads with dead-tree products?  Because they don’t realize they’re being scammed even when they say they are:

Mrs Osthaus added: “If we know their limits we won’t expect too much of them, which in turn is important for their welfare.

“I am not trying to say cats are stupid, just they are different. We are so anthropomorphic we can’t see the world through their eyes.”

Emphasis added.  Dogs have never tried to hide their intelligence, being too good-hearted and honest for such trickery.  The result?  They’re made to do stupid tricks at home.  They’re dragooned into dangerous service with the military, police and fire departments.  They earn their keep herding sheep and other animals.  It’s no coincidence that the term “a dog’s life” has made it into the language as an expression for drudgery.

Cats, on the other hand, spend their lives loafing about, being bitchy and inscrutible, and pretty much getting whatever they want whenever they want it.  Do you really believe that they’re going to throw all this away by actually demonstrating that they know perfectly well which damned bit of string to pull for a bunch of behavioral scientists?  I don’t think so.

UPDATE: Cosmo the  Wonder Dog sends along a cat-spinner’s take (one, I may add, that I don’t buy for an instant).

This evening the eleven year old gel confided that she had been ragged on at school today because she didn’t know who “Lady GaGa” was and had never heard of the song “Poker Face”.

Neither had I.  I just YouTubed up the video to find out what she was talking about.

Jesus.  Mary.  Joseph.

(I had thought of posting the vid here, but no thank you.  Go check it out yourselves if you wish.)

You know what?   Thank God she doesn’t know what her classmates are talking about.

Thank God also for the decision reached this week that the gel is going to go back to St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method next year to finish out her elementary schooling and then head to the parochial school attached to my Church for what used to be called Junior High.  Yes, the gel decided she really does not like public school very much, and she used the bait of St. John’s for middle school to get my consent to go back to St. M of the BEM next year.

In other words, she made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Perhaps tonight “Lady GaGa” swims with the fishes……..

UPDATE: I was talking to the gel about this business this morning.   There is a streak of Cromwellian puritanism that manifests itself in our family now and again and I begin to suspect that she has inherited it, for it was perfectly plain to me that she has no interest at all in the croonings of “Lady GaGa” and her ilk.   And she was quite grateful when I suggested she use “My Dad won’t let me” as an excuse to explain away her ignorance and to decline invitations to find out what it’s all about.

More rolled up newspaper!  This time, the subject is dog talk:

What’s happening between dog and owner-turned-voice-coach is fairly straightforward, [the University of British Columbia’s Stanley] Coren says: Owner hears the dog making a sound that resembles a phrase, says the phrase back to the dog, who then repeats the sound and is rewarded with a treat. Eventually the dog learns a modified version of her original sound. As Lucas puts it, “dogs have limited vocal imitation skills, so these sounds usually need to be shaped by selective attention and social reward.”

In the Letterman video “a pug says, ‘I love you’ and it’s very cute, but the pug has no idea what it means,” Coren says. “If dogs could talk, they would tell you, ‘I’m just in it for the cookies.'”

Again, utter nonsense. Coran’s thinking cats.  And if they could talk, they would tell you, “The only reason I’m not eating you is that you’re bigger than me.”

The Scottie I mentioned in the post below not only could speak (and had a filthy vocabulary to boot), he also loved to sing in accompaniment to the piano.  This practice became extremely irritating at times, especially when I was trying to practice, and one of my books of Haydn sonatas still has his teeth marks on it, the result of a serious disagreement we had about his uninvited duets one afternoon when I was a teenager.

I would also swear that Fergus (that was his name) actually had his favorites.  Baroque musick generally left him cold.  He seemed to prefer Haydn to Mozart.  He was on again, off again about Beethoven.  But his absolute all-time favorite was Schumann’s “Traumerei”, which Mom would play for him, milking it for every last ounce of sap.   When he got cranked up, you’d think all the woes of the world had descended on his shoulders.

Funny old guy.

**Oh, you know the old joke about the talking dog whose favorite ball player was “Ruth”.

Time to reach for the rolled up newspaper:

Anthropomorphisms are regularly used by owners in describing their dogs. Of interest is whether attributions of understanding and emotions to dogs are sound, or are unwarranted applications of human psychological terms to non-humans. One attribution commonly made to dogs is that the “guilty look” shows that dogs feel guilt at doing a disallowed action. In the current study, this anthropomorphism is empirically tested. The behaviours of 14 domestic dogs (Canis familiaris) were videotaped over a series of trials and analyzed for elements that correspond to an owner-identified “guilty look.” Trials varied the opportunity for dogs to disobey an owner’s command not to eat a desirable treat while the owner was out of the room, and varied the owners’ knowledge of what their dogs did in their absence. The results revealed no difference in behaviours associated with the guilty look. By contrast, more such behaviours were seen in trials when owners scolded their dogs. The effect of scolding was more pronounced when the dogs were obedient, not disobedient. These results indicate that a better description of the so-called guilty look is that it is a response to owner cues, rather than that it shows an appreciation of a misdeed.

That this demonstrates dogs have no sense of guilt is nonsense, and I’ll tell you why:  While there might be a correlation between the guilty look and owner cues in this study, it doesn’t explain away the appearance of the guilty look before the owner provides such cues.  How many times over the years have I rounded a corner, for instance, and taken my cue from the look already on a certain someone’s face showing that he knows he’s been a very naughty Scottie?

Cats, on the other hand, of course merely stare at you as if to say, “Prove it.”

Caine ZuluThis weekend, I have two of my very favorite action movies coming along from Netflix, Zulu and The Hunt For Red October.  I plan to let the eldest gel watch them with me.  She’s eleven now, and is ready to start stepping up to this sort of thing.

It occurred to me that in setting up the stories for the gel, it is going to take at least as much effort to explain the Soviet Union and the Cold War as it is to explain 19th Century British Imperialism.   This was a bit of a staggerer, given that at her age, the Iron Curtain and the Soviet threat were very real and everyday facts to me.  Just goes to show my age, I suppose.  Connery October

Of course, the other aspect of her age is that I wonder what she will make of Caine and Connery?  No harm in drawing her attention to the right sort of fellah earlier rather than later.  Who knows? It might even get her off her Orlando Bloom kick.

Yesterday afternoon as I was driving over to softball practice  I took a sharp turn, causing the sunglasses that were sitting on the ol’ Jeep’s dashboard to go flying out over the right hand door and into the middle of a busy intersection.

Well, so much for them.

What kind of shades are teh cool kids wearing these days?

Yesterday afternoon was the annual spring arts production at St. Marie of the Blessed Educational Method.

As they do every year, the lower elementary kiddies put on a production of a musickal called “Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters”.  Set in ancient Zimbabwe, it tells the tale of Manyara and Nyasha.  The latter is sweet and kind and considerate.  The former is a bitch.  One day, a messenger comes from the King stating that he seeks a wife and is summoning all the beautiful girls of the kingdom to his city.  Well, you know how these things go….Manyara winds up getting sunk by her own bitchiness:  On her journey thither, she’s nasty to a hungry child, some old people and some trees and a big, bird-shaped, spirit thingy.  Nyasha, on the other hand, does all she can to be nice to them.  And in the end, when she meets the King, it turns out that he’s a magickal king and all these other characters were really him in disguise.

So the King marries Nyasha, and they kill and cook Maynara for the wedding feast.

Okay, I made up that last part.

The nine year old, in a piece of obvious type-casting, played the part of Nyasha.  And I must say that as revolting as the play itself was, I couldn’t help a small tear or two as I watched her up on the stage, beaming like a searchlight.  Somehow, it’s not going to be all that hard if and when her elder sister turns into a nasty, snarling teenager because that gel is already something of a crab-apple.  It will be infinitely harder to bear if this one, who currently has the temperment of an angel, should undergo such a metamorphosis.

The seven year old was in the play to, assigned a part in the chorus.  At one point, they were to mimic jungle creatures ad lib.  The gel, in another piece of type-casting, chose for herself a screaming monkey, emitting a high-pitched shriek that nearly took off the top of my head.   But with “Mufara’s Beautiful Daughters”, she was just getting warmed up.  After the play, the French and Spanish classes came on to show off their linguistic achievements in song.  The gel is in the Spanish class, along with about thirty other kids.  And yet, as they sang “Cieto Lindo” and “La Bamba”, she positively stole the show, jumpin’ and jammin’ like a combination of John Travolta and James Brown, while most of the rest of them stayed relatively stationary.  As I looked around, I noticed more and more people focusing their gaze on my little dynamo, who was positively lapping up.  If her sister’s eyes beamed like a searchlight, her’s were closer to twin acetyline torches.

Ham, anybody?


Blog Stats

  • 473,005 hits
June 2009