Thursday, March 28, 2013

Wouldn't this be a great way to start your day?


Bless me, Father, for I have sinned



I became an Altar boy because you could get out of school early twice a week. You did have to do an early mass (7:00 AM) once a week but what the hell. The priest that ran the program was a frustrated football coach. We would have our weekly meeting and he would roll a blackboard out onto the altar and diagram what we were supposed to do.

He also told us that when at rest, we should keep our hands loosely clasped at our waist not at crotch level. "You boys do not have balls big enough to walk around holding them," he would warn us.

The duties of an altar boy are vast and complex. You had to set up before mass – you making sure there was water and wine and enough hosts ready for mass. If you ever wanted to have your little mind blown, open up the jumbo bag o' Body of Christ and fill up the receptacle like so much cocktail peanuts.

Since these are not yet been consecrated, you are permitted to handle them. But you had to guess how many parishioners would attend mass because the priest hated waste and if he didn't have mass later that day, he had to consume the remaining hosts (nothing worse that stale Eucharists). But God forbid you didn't have enough and you had to run back in to get some more – that got you a smack to the head.

Yes, priests were allowed to smack the altar boys around. The priest was holy and you were a snot nosed kid, so if the priest hit you – you must have deserved it.

Then there was the issue of the 'Blood of Christ'. Each priest had his own special mixture of wine and water to create the sacrament. One priest liked sherry. Another liked white wine. The third like the traditional red wine. But monsignor liked his scotch, with just a splash of water for his `Blood o' Christ'.

"Boyo, don't be stingy with the scotch this morning, tis cold and you didn't pay for it," monsignor would hiss under his breath. "And not too much water. Christ wasn't anemic boyo."

Besides having to dole out the sacraments, Altar boys had to hold the bible for priest during mass. You had to mark the appropriate space for the daily mass and be prepared to open to that page when called upon to do so. Woe was you if you forgot to mark your place or didn't hold the book steady enough or close enough when the priest had a hangover and his sight was blurry. That got you a smack to the back of the head.

You also had to ring a special set of bells at a specific point in the mass. God forbid you rang them too enthusiastically (to get your friends attention) or worse, missed the cue and rang them too late. That got you another smack to the head.

You also had to lay out the correct vestments for the day's mass. The little old ladies, who were the handmaidens to priest, would tag them for you and you had to take them out of the garment bag. Sometimes the old ladies were running late or they forgot and you had to guess which garment. That could be you a boot in the ass for the wrong guess.

One of your main tasks was to play catcher for fallen hosts. For those of you who remember (or know), the priest had to place the body of Christ directly on the tongue of the receiver. The altar boy walks next to the priest, holding a small serving tray on a stick (salver) under the chin of the receiver, just in case, the priest dropped the Eucharist or it slipped from the receivers mouth. In that horrific case, the priest had to consume the host himself. Also if someone throws up right after receiving communion, the priest had to re-ingest the pre-digested communion wafer. (Yes, you know where we're going with this.)

Altar boys would practice the secret art of flicking the salver, so they could force their friends to spit up the host and watch the priest have to eat the pre-moistened host. But you had to do this, without the priest catching you – it meant instant dismissal from the ranks of altar boydom. Yes, I got one or two of my friends in the throat and never go caught.

Now we come up to the another important function of the altar boy – towel boy. At the end of communion, the priest cleans his hands and finishes the wine (Blood O' Christ) in the chalice.

The altar boy's job is to pour water for the priest as he rinses his fingers of the Crumbs O' Christ into the chalice and then offer him a hand towel before he finishes off his holy drink. Unlike the attendants in washrooms, no tips were offered for your services. It was just, `hurry it up, we're not washing my dick here' or `Not too much, that was the good sherry you poured today. I'm going to kill you when we get back into the sacristy'.

At this point, mass was nearly over and if you were lucky so was your torture. Either you had the beatings hanging over your head or you know you could make a quick get away. Once mass was over, you have to stow away the various items that were used during mass and hang up the priest's vestments. If you weren't in trouble or one of the little old ladies were there – you could make a mad dash by to school or to home. If you did something wrong or the priest was already deep into his cups – there could be hell to pay.

You'd hope for the quick smack to the back of the head. You could get the slow torture of thumbs against the wall. Place you hands straight in front of you then step back about a foot. Then lean against the wall with just your thumbs while the priest busied himself around the altar and sacristy after mass.

Have a good Holy Thursday

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

In case you were wondering

What foundation garments Sean Connery wore under his bridal gown

Wonder no more:

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Monday, March 25, 2013

The thrill was short lived

March 25,  1923 -
Police artists come up with a sketch of little Ernst's final sordid moments on the Einsame selbst Vergnügen Brücke in Berlin on this date.

His family never lived down the shame.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Friday, March 22, 2013

I really like this painting

trawling through the backwaters of the internet when I came upon this painting by Richard Bunkall -

it reminds me of something but I can't put my finger on it.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Tip of the day:

It's a bad day for Italian men in short dresses who are going to the Senate today.

So please, all you paisans, wear something sensible, perhaps a midcalf skirt or a pants suit.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Workers of the world unite!

March 14, 1883 -
Karl Marx, died on this date. His premature death prevented him from seeing the global impact of his progeny: Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Gummo and Zeppo. Karl Marx was born in Trier, Prussia May 5, 1818. He went to school at a time of severe repression. Pianos had to have skirts on for fear young men would become aroused by the sight of their bare legs. The Prussian government kept the teachers under police surveillance to make sure they wouldn't teach anything too radical like 2 + 2= 4 and so the students, including Marx, became extremely radical.

As a result of his beliefs, Marx was not able to get a job as a chicken inspector after he got his doctorate in philosophy. And without a job, he spent his time analyzing history and stealing tips left for waiters at the coffeehouses he frequented and came to the conclusion that all historical events were caused by economic forces.

He got involved in Communism - the belief that all private property should be abolished, men and women should not bathe or shave and pickled herring should be used as a cologne. Marx moved around Europe, writing for newspapers and pornographic pamphlet, studying, wanting to write a book about his economic ideas. But Marx was an obsessive researcher, and never knew when to stop reading and start writing. He only became productive after he met Friedrich Engels, a socialist who was also wealthy—the heir to a textile business and primitive whoopee cushion novelty item.

Their main theory was that the economic system was a perpetual conflict between those who controlled the capital and those who provided the labor, that the conflict would never be resolved peacefully, that in a free market, workers would continue periodically to lose their jobs, their standard of living would fall, and this would inevitably lead to violent revolution. He believed that giant corporations would dominate the world's industries, that globalism in trade would make markets even more unstable. He also believed that you could hard boil an egg by holding it under one's armpit for a week thus saving money by not paying the gas bill.



Marx and Engels published their Communist Manifesto and What the Butler Saw Whilst Polishing the Knob in 1848, and revolution did break out afterward in France, Italy, and Austria. Marx's newspaper was shut down. He had to flee the country. He moved to London, worked for years on his last book, Das Kapital. His family in poverty, Marx said, "I don't suppose anyone has ever written about 'money' when so short of the stuff." A spy from Prussia was keeping tabs on him and wrote, "Washing, grooming and changing his clothes are things he does rarely. He does not shave at all. But he does have an unnatural obsession watching Amenian women clip their toenails!"



He fed his family on bread and potatoes, and when one of his children died, his wife had to borrow money from a neighbor to buy a coffin.

When Marx died in 1883, only 11 persons came to his funeral. And they were all charged a mourners tax!