Thursday, 20 September 2012

In Passing V

Was on a departmental excursion a couple of weeks back to a nature reserve in France. This is a heavily Catholic area and there were crucifixes at most prominent junctions, road islands and village squares and sure enough, there was one at the car park as well.

Rather garish and kitschy, like most contemporary Catholic devotional knickknacks. This one though was eye-catching due to the rather unfortunate positioning of the support strut.

And to think that all this while, despite 13 years in a Catholic school, I'd thought that the Gospel account from John 19:34 "But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water" meant the SIDE of the body.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Sunday, 16 September 2012

O tempora o mores II

As with every thing else in this vale of tears, even the quality of spam appears to be going downhill. I received the following from a "Steve Finberg" the other day:

They could at least try a little bit harder. It almost makes one long for the Nigerian Central Bank scammers.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Two Fucks and a Bitch

Spotted this publication while doing a literature search on ovarian cancer.

Unfortunately I could only read the abstract (and not the full paper) as our library doesn't subscribe to the journal. I'm tempted to write the authors for a reprint.

"Dear Dr Fuck

I read with great interest the abstract to your 2006 publication on ovarian teratomas in a female canine (Vet Rec. 2006 158:565-67). Unfortunately our local library does not subscribe to the journal and I would be glad if you could kindly send me a reprint of the publication.

With best regards and collegially yours,


PS I would be delighted if you and your co-authors were to do me the honour of inscribing the reprint. My thanks in advance."

On second thought I guess that would be jejune and I should just console myself with the expectation that the blogpost heading should send the number of daily hits into the stratosphere.

In Passing IV

On sale at the local Apotheke

Someone quickly get on the phone to Sandra Fluke (pronounced 'Fluck'... snort)
"Anti-baby pills" looks really harsh in 6-inch high letters but then German is a solid, matter-of-fact sort of language. Tram or bus passengers without a valid ticket are called Schwarzfahrers (Black Riders) although ironically, hardly any blacks are nabbed for it as most blacks in Basel are asylum-seekers that get to ride for free on public transport courtesy of us tax-paying drones. PC is making some inroads though, a local confection called the Mohrenkopf (Moor's Head) was renamed a Schokokuss (Chocolate Kiss... quick, someone get on the phone to Hershey's this time). According to a colleague, in the 70s it was referred to even more provocatively as a Negerkuss.

It seems rather spineless to rename a simple sweet out of some perceived slight to Moorish sensitivities. The Moors raided Southern European coastlines for centuries, sacking towns and capturing white slaves for the North African slave trade. The number of slaves torn from their families and forced to convert to Islam is estimated to be between 1-2 million. Young white slave girls would fetch a premium in the souks, and as for slave boys..... well, lets just say Allah is bountiful. Of course, the West gets castigated for slavery despite the fact that it was the abolitionists, prominent among whom were churchmen, that finally outlawed the once universal practice of slavery. The last five countries to legally abolish slavery were Saudi Arabia (1962), Yemen (1962), the UAE (1963), Oman (1970) and Mauritania (1981). There's something linking all these countries that I can't quite put my finger on. The Barbary slave trade was only stopped after punitive raids by the US in the early 19th century ("The shores of Tripoli...") and French colonialisation of the region. If anyone is entitled to play the victim card in this scenario, it would be present-day Europeans as descendants, albeit indirectly, of the white slaves and yet it is the exact opposite, deferring to the feelings of the party associated with slaving, that has occurred. As I said, spineless.

On the other hand, even I can see that Negerkuss is definitely beyond the pale these days and the confectioner responsible for the creation below should be forced to undergo immediate sensitivity training at the nearest re-education camp.

Insult, meet injury...