Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A new patron saint

Sister Mary MacKillop of Australia is about to become beatified by the pope.  You can read about her here.  Interestingly the CathNews article discusses that she was excommunicated (ferendæ sententiæ) in retribution for reporting a priest for child abuse while other articles clearly state that the child abuse was more specifically pedophilia.  It seems that after all that time the men who control the Catholic church are still more interested in protecting their holy and anointed fraternal order than the lives of their flock of little lambs and dumb sheep.  At least they have now given their flock a patron saint for victims of priests.

And remember: ordaining women as priests is as grave an offense as pedophilia.  You will either be excommunicated or relocated, depending on your gender.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Speak English

It all began with a pregnancy.  My friend N posted the following phrase: up the duff and over the moon.  I had never heard the word "duff" used before so I Googled it.  Apparently N is pregnant and very excited.  Up the duff is a term for a usually unplanned pregnancy in a roundabout way because duff = dough = pudding = slang for penis.  Uh huh. 

I have previously referenced moments where my comprehension of others' English has been tested.  T, my Welsh friend, tests my understanding every time he has a few drinks in him.  My rugby team in Texas had a few ladies from North-East Texas whose accents were so strong that even the rest of the Texans had difficulty figuring them out.  We eventually all picked up the heavy drawl when we discovered that the other West teams couldn't understand us at all and we were able to call out our plays to each other without need for codes. 

Let us not forget the colloquialisms.  I previously described the weird conversation we had with some finely mannered vertebrate creatures from another rugby club whose smug behavior was lost on us due to a different interpretation of a phrase.

Last night I was chatting with a mutual friend who thought it was hysterical that I had to look up the phrase.  "What did you think up the duff meant?" She asked.  Well, whatever it was, I was hoping that it was curable.  Then a man who was at the table behind us started up very loudly about how American English was terrible, unlike "proper" British English.  If I had a nickel for every time I have heard this I would be be able to buy a few more drinks to properly prepare me for hearing this again.  Don't misunderstand me- I quite like the British accent. It is different to mine and therefore interesting.  I am charmed by the polished, slightly nasal tones and prim facial expressions when you are making fun of my accent but at least no American finishes a statement with innit. 

The fact of the matter is that English is a living, evolving language (and no, Sarah Palin, this does not excuse your ignorant fabrication of grammar and syntax).  If we were to compare the dialects I think that by virtue of its isolation, American English evolved at a slower rate and may actually be more similar to the original English than modern British English.

According to Spiritus Temporis:
In many ways, compared to British English, American English is conservative in its phonology. It is sometimes claimed that certain rural areas in North America speak "Elizabethan English," and there may be some truth to this, but the standard American English of the upper Midwest has a sound profile much closer to 17th century English than contemporary speech in England. Most North American speech is rhotic, as English was everywhere in the 17th century.

With all the influences upon English from everywhere else in the world, I doubt that anyone can claim to be the possessor of the proper English dialect.  From what I remember of Canterbury Tales, proper English disappeared long before Englishmen took the language across foreign seas.

Friday, September 10, 2010

From the horse's mouth

"The Girl Scouts allow homosexuals and atheists to join their ranks, and they have become a pro-abortion, feminist training corps. If the Girl Scouts of America can't get back to teaching real character, perhaps it will be time to look for our cookies elsewhere."

- Hans Zeiger, a Republican candidate for Washington State's House of Representatives

Where were these girl scouts when I was a kid?  If they had revealed their evil feminist agenda to me, perhaps I would have sold more cookies to further their wicked, Wicca plans.

Monday, September 6, 2010

An awakening

I agree with reports which claim that our sense of smell is closely linked to memory (the olfactory bulb is part of the brain's limbic system, an area associated with memory and emotion).  I see things all the time that are related to my childhood here, twenty years ago, and distantly recall it from my past but a smell can send me hurtling through time and space.

This weekend I had two very evocative moments related to scents.  I smelled something in the Wanchai market that caused me to shrink into the body of a four year old girl walking through the market in Iloilo with a banana leaf wrapped sweet in her hand.  The caramelized sticky rice treat was probably the most delicious thing I had ever tasted at the time.

Then later that day as I was returning home a not so pleasant smell really sent me reeling.  I can't describe the smell- probably something related to old, musty buildings.  What I can describe is the uncanny amount of recollection I experienced.  The smell was that of my second ever apartment that I lived in for two years while I was in San Antonio. But it was so much more than that.  In that instant I was reminded of myself at the age of twenty having just gone through a terrible experience that I won't go into detail about but when I moved into the apartment I was sad and lost and yet hopeful all at the same time.  It was the beginning of a time of major transformation for me when I went through the trauma of growing up alone but also somehow evolved into something wiser, stronger and better than what I was.  I don't know if I became who I am because of life's hard knocks or in spite of it.  Somehow there was enough Pollyanna and enough Candide to power me through the hills and troughs until I learned to stop getting carried away by my life and start living on my own terms.

So to me of yesteryears I am so happy to have met up with you again but I am even happier that you are behind me because those were some damn crazy years, both good and bad, and I prefer to remember you than to relive you.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Uncommon cold

The abundance of colleagues wearing face masks tipped me to the possibility that all was not well in the office.  My suspicions were confirmed by an email from our vice-chairman informing us that he had left some type of vitamin C packets with the studio secretaries should anyone need any.  By Friday I started noticing that my vertigo was back and I was hearing as though in a vacuum.  I had a cold.

I bought a bag of ibuprofen at Watsons and 200mg lasted me through most of the morning.  In the afternoon I went to the nearest general practitioner in my insurance scheme and left with bags upon bags of medicine.  Some of the medicine was labeled: generic zyrtec, some type of decongestant, cough drops, paracetamol (to add to my growing collection); and some of the medicine was mysterious.  Thanks to Google I was able to identify another type of allergy medicine.  Should doctors be handing out bags of meds with no explanation?  What is up with everyone's love of paracetamol?  It has been given to us for everything from stomach flu to bronchitis.

My bag of goodies only cost $30 copay.  I added them to my overflowing stash of meds that I don't need to take.  A good night's rest and plenty of water did the trick.

I'm sure there must be an overprescription black market somewhere in Canada where I can make a killing.