Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Peppa Pig, Your Days Are Numbered

Oxford University Press has announced that authors who publish books through their house may no longer mention pigs.  Or pork, or bacon, or ham, and it won't be long before they add Spam to the list.

Why?  Because the mention of pork offends Muslims.

From today's International Business Times:

"The move was revealed during a discussion on free speech during BBC Radio 4's Today programme in the wake of the attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hedbo and its decision to use an image of the Prophet Mohammed on the cover of its latest issue.
Presenter Jim Naughtie said: "I've got a letter here that was sent out by OUP to an author doing something for young people.
"Among the things prohibited in the text that was commissioned by OUP was the following: Pigs plus sausages, or anything else which could be perceived as pork."

An OUP spokesman added, An OUP spokesperson said: "Our materials are sold in nearly 200 countries, and as such, and without compromising our commitment in any way, we encourage some authors of educational materials respectfully to consider cultural differences and sensitivities.

Read the whole thing here:


Thursday, January 01, 2015

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Eve a good day to skip reading the newspapers.
Why?  Because today is Annual Look Back Day.
For the life of me, I cannot understand why anyone would read that kind of article.

"It's so much fun.  Let's all look back!" 

Who died in 2014?  Gotta keep up with the dead guys.  It's so embarrassing when you think somebody's dead and he's still alive.  And I always think people are dead.  I know Abe Vigoda is still alive- glad we got that one ironed out!- but otherwise I tend to get a little confused.

Then there's Obamacare.  Let's look back on how Obamacare came to be.  On second thought, let's not. Let's concentrate on praying the Supreme Court throws the damn thing out next year.

Grubergate?  That can be kind of fun to contemplate this New Year's Eve.  Mostly because just the fact that I am not him, or related to him, gives me a sense of profound peace.  Desperate Irish Housewife may have her failings, but being Jonathon Gruber is not among them.  Thanks, God!

Celebrity weddings?   Yawn.  Get back to me after 30 years together, Mr and Mrs. Clooney.  Maybe then you'll have some interesting thoughts.

Celebrity divorces?  Isn't that half the reason they get married in the first place?  Twice the ink, baby.  Twice the ink.

Sure, there were plenty of genuine tragedies.  Murdered cops, murdered children... plenty of reasons to lie awake at night.  Here's a tip:  keep your rosary handy on your nightstand.  That way at three in the morning  you can actually do something for those poor people.

No, I think I'll skip the papers this morning.  Maybe tomorrow, too.  I don't want to read any articles about how nobody keeps their New Year's Resolutions, either.

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Feast of Stephen

So!  How was everybody's Christmas?

We mixed it up a little this year.  For the first time in I don't know how many years we decided not to go to the Vigil Mass on Christmas Eve.  Rumor had it a bishop was going to show up and you know what that means:  A looooooong sermon.  And we just weren't feeling up to it.

We did observe our Christmas Eve tradition of going out for Chinese food.  This was also a little different this year.  I should have been suspicious when I was able to get a reservation a little too easily.  We sat down at our table at 6:30, just as agreed, a server took our order and then said, "You do know it's going to be an hour and fifteen minutes before the food is ready, right?"

He wasn't kidding.  Note to self:  try another restaurant next year.  Make the reservation weeks earlier.  And make sure the place has a full bar.  That would definitely have come in handy the other night.

My daughter and I hit the 11 am Mass on Christmas morning while the spouse stayed home with a fever. (Hey, it's Christmas, somebody has to be sick, right?)  Completely different crowd from the Vigil Mass.  I hardly knew anyone there.  Out of town relatives, maybe?  People who only come to church on Christmas?  No way to be sure.  But I did learn another thing:  the last mass of Christmas can be kind of relaxing.  After vigil masses and midnight masses and masses at dawn, everyone is too exhausted to go overboard.  And that's a good thing.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas

FROM St. Peter's Complaint, 1595      
By Robert Southwell

As I in hoary winter's night stood shivering in the snow,
Surprised I was with sudden heat which made my heart to glow ;
And lifting up a fearful eye to view what fire was near,
A pretty babe all burning bright did in the air appear ;
Who, scorchëd with excessive heat, such floods of tears did shed
As though his floods should quench his flames which with his tears were fed.
Alas, quoth he, but newly born in fiery heats I fry,
Yet none approach to warm their hearts or feel my fire but I !
My faultless breast the furnace is, the fuel wounding thorns,
Love is the fire, and sighs the smoke, the ashes shame and scorns ;
The fuel justice layeth on, and mercy blows the coals,
The metal in this furnace wrought are men's defilëd souls,
For which, as now on fire I am to work them to their good,
So will I melt into a bath to wash them in my blood.
With this he vanished out of sight and swiftly shrunk away,
And straight I callëd unto mind that it was Christmas day.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

How Irish Is This?

My father had a health crisis last week.  He is 86 and was hospitalized for - well no one was sure at the time.  They thought at first he'd had a stroke.

It turned out that what he had was some kind of simple viral infection.  In a younger person it would have been a cold.  At 86 it was enough to send him into a tailspin

He is fine now, and back home after 2 nights in the hospital.  His only complaint now is visitors.

"I know what they're all thinking," he told me over the phone.  "They're thinking, Jeez. poor guy, he's had the course.  Better go see him now before he buys the farm.  It's so annoying."

We initially thought we should drive to the Est Coast to see my dad, but after that conversation I realized if we did, my father would add us to the list of "people who think the poor guy is dying."

So we are staying put for Christmas.  We will plan a Spring Break trip to New York, though.  Sneak up on him.  "Hey, we didn't come to see you, we came to see, uh, a play or something."

That will work, I am sure of it.

I'm glad we are Irish, but man, sometimes, it's too much.