Monday, 27 October 2008

OK, I'VE GOT IT!


Modern documentaries, especially American ones tend to repeat everything in case the viewer doesn't have anything more than a 2 minute attention span and to dumb everything down in case the viewer is of low intellect. I just watched an FBI bank robbery reconstruction documentary (well half of it - I was so pissed off at having everything repeated that I switched it off).
Why do they do this? Is it catering to the lowest common denominator ? A catch-all for the greatest number of viewers? If so then it doesn't work. I'm sure that the most likely viewer of documentaries is not the Rambo or Bruce Willis movie watcher.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

SANCTUARY


I tend to give Robert, a friend of mine with strong religious beliefs, a bit of stick and (in fun I assure you) mock his sermonising. I am a lapsed Catholic which is a strange expression and suggests negativity as in 'my driving license lapsed because I forgot to renew it'. I did not choose to become a Catholic. My mother made that arrangement for me and so I went to Catholic primary schools and was taught by nuns; Catholic intermediate school and was taught by Marist brothers; and Catholic secondary school and was taught by Marist priests. A lot of the rote learning has remained with me (note the use of capitals when I write 'Catholic' and 'Marist'. I also do this if I write 'God' as in Robert's god).


One of the enduring things that I have from my Catholic education is a sense of Ethics (that deserves a capital) that helps steer me through life. This is bound up with the notion of conscience that was instilled from early days and refined under tutelage by the priests who often were intelligent and professional people who had Divinity degrees. This sense of knowing right from wrong, of being aware of others needs alongside my own I think makes me a better person. It is certainly of much greater importance than believing in The Holy Spirit, the ascension of Jesus, the 'miracle' of the mass and the assumption of Mary into heaven (what's that about? Sorry Robert!).


Another thing that I always liked and still do is the peace and serenity found in churches. Although increasingly the better churches and cathedrals are becoming tourist meccas and prostituting themselves to raise money for restoration and maintenance (Christchurch Cathedral is a case in point and recently when I was in Dunedin I was annoyed at the antics of a group of Korean tourists who were clambering all over the place taking photographs in a grand old Anglican church - I had to call out "Oi! Do you mind?" to one of them who was climbing on to the altar-table!), there are many still that provide a quiet place to sit and gather one's thoughts.

In Melbourne the other day I had some time to kill before going to the airport and wandered about the inner city for a bit. After a while, foot-sore and weary I just needed some time out. I found it in a charming old Catholic church right in the centre of the city. The hustle and bustle of midday traffic was left behind on entering. The peace and serenity was palpable and it was if I could feel the stress leaving my body by just sitting quietly for a few minutes. Fortunately it was not infested with (other) tourists and certainly no gymnastic Koreans. There were some devout Catholics about though and as the 1PM mass was about to start I quietly slipped out.


Here is on of the Wikipedia entries on 'Sanctuary' -


"In Europe, Christian churches were sometimes built on land considered as a particularly 'holy spot', perhaps where a miracle or martyrdom had taken place or where a holy person was buried. The place, and therefore the church built there, was considered to have been sanctified (made holy) by what happened there. In modern times, the Roman Catholic Church has continued this practice by placing in the altar of each church, when it is consecrated for use, a box (the sepulcrum) containing relics of a saint. The relics box is removed when the church is taken out of use as a church. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the antimension on the altar serves a similar function. It is a cloth icon of Christ's body taken down from the cross, and typically has the relics of a saint sewn into it. In addition, it is signed by the parish's bishop, and represents his authorization and blessing for the Eucharist to be celebrated on that altar.

The area around the altar was also considered holy because of the physical presence of God in the Eucharist both during the Mass and in the tabernacle on the altar the rest of the time. So that people could tell when Jesus was there (in the tabernacle), the "sanctuary lamp" would be lit, indicating that anyone approaching the altar should genuflect (bow by bending the knee and inclining the head), to show respect for Him. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Eastern Catholic Churches of Byzantine rite and Coptic Orthodox churches, the sanctuary is separated from the nave (where the people pray) by an iconostasis, literally a wall oficons, with three doors in it. In other Oriental Orthodox traditions, a sanctuary curtain is used. In most Protestant Churches, the term sanctuary denotes the entire worship area while the term chancel is used to refer to the area around the altar table In many traditions, such as the Anglican Church, Roman Catholic Church and United Methodist Church, altar rails sometimes mark the edge of the sanctuary or chancel.
The area around the altar came to be called the "sanctuary," and that terminology does not apply to Christian churches alone: King Solomon's temple, built in about 950 BC, had a sanctuary ("Holy of Holies") where the tabernacle (" Ark of the Covenant
") was, and the term applies to the corresponding part of any house of worship. In most modern synagogues
, the main room for prayer is known as the sanctuary, to contrast it with smaller rooms dedicated to various other services and functions."

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

WHERE DOES ALL THE MONEY GO?


OK, we hear of global financial meltdowns and how it affects us all. What I want to know is where does all the money go?

Assuming on basic economic principals that the stuff moves around; that some people hoard it; that others lend it; and that others borrow it, but if too many borrow it and the lenders stop lending it as a result who the hell gets it? I know I don't have it so come on you bastards who have it - cough it up, pass the ball, piss or get off the pot!

Saturday, 4 October 2008

TURN THE OTHER CHEEK...


Another Auckland shopkeeper was stabbed yesterday and has bad injuries.

The Police should be pleased because he did what they have suggested - stand there, don't be aggressive and watch closely so you can remember the attacker - not too closely or they might stab you in the eyes as well.
The stabbing happened on the day police told retailers to use common sense when defending themselves after a 40-year-old man stabbed in a fight outside his liquor store was himself arrested. Varinder Singh appeared in Manukau District Court facing two charges of injuring with intent to injure following the altercation outside his Gilbert Rd liquor store in Otara on Tuesday night. He was attacked with knives and other weapons and sensibly defended himself.

The Police said "The arrest serves as a reminder to all who take the law into their own hands in some circumstances (it) cannot be justified. The law states that reasonable force and reasonable steps for shop owners in defending themselves, any other persons or their property is acceptable. Those that clearly exceed that force can expect to be arrested and held accountable before the criminal courts ... people need to use their common sense." Yeah well those people who should use common sense are the Police themselves. What a crock. The Police spokesman went on to say "Shop owners who feared for their safety need to get on the phone, dial 111 and the police will respond and deal with it". OK. Tell that to the recent victims who have waited hours for a response.

I guess the best way of dealing with things then is to be like the Knight in Monty Pythons The Holy Grail. Stand there while the bastards chop your arms and legs off saying "I'm only the victim I can't fight you back"

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

OH BROTHER PAULINUS, WHERE ART THOU?


Jesus! (yes? - but that's another story), what the hell is going on in our schools?
I just watched a news report on TVONE where school teachers talked about being terrorized by kids as young as six! These kids are so unsocialised they behave like wild animals. The older ones (year 9? What's that? In my day we said 14 year old or Form IV.) not only threaten the teachers but taunt them with exposure and sacking if they raise a hand (or in the news report, a piece of paper) to the student. It looks like the stupid 'bleeding-heart liberals' have won (and ultimately lost).
So how do we have a situation where school teachers fear for their safety from being attacked by children for Christsakes (Yes?)? In my day I can't imagine taking on the scary nuns, brothers and priests without getting my arse severely kicked. At Marist Newtown the Headmaster Brother Paulinus used to throw wooden backed blackboard dusters at our heads if we were talking or not paying attention. It didn't cause me any ill-effects it didn't cause me any ill effects it effects didn't me cause ill any it... beep... sorry! The point is if we had kicked Paulinus he would have thrown us through the window. If we had complained to our parents or someone else they would have said it serves you right for kicking the teacher.
Maybe the old days weren't always right but there was respect (no matter how it was earned). Now we have no respect - in schools, in homes and in the workplace. No wonder we have situations in South Auckland where teenagers attack female shopkeepers. Bastards!

NORMAL SERVICE WILL BE RESUMED AS SOON AS POSSIBLE

**************** Sorry for the peremptory sign but The Darker Curmudgeon took things a bit too literally when I asked him to ...