Friday, March 25, 2016

Nostalgia Isn't What It Used to Be





Along the Way of Sorrows

The old ladies you usually pester with questions of a religious nature are busy today: they are doing the Stations of the Cross. Since you probably have not been to church since at least Christmas and more like than not, have completely forgotten your entire religious training

(ACME will extend a Papal Dispensation to all non-Christians on this test) -


Here are the Stations of the Cross:


First Station: Jesus is condemned to death


Second Station: Jesus carries His cross


Third Station: Jesus falls the first time


Fourth Station: Jesus meets his mother


Fifth Station: Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry his cross


Sixth Station: Veronica wipes the face of Jesus


Seventh Station: Jesus falls the second time


Eighth Station: Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem


Ninth Station: Jesus falls a third time




10th Station: Jesus clothes are taken away


11th Station: Jesus is nailed to the cross




12th Station: Jesus dies on the cross




13th Station: The body of Jesus is taken down from the cross




14th Station: Jesus is laid in the tomb



And so it goes

Thursday, March 24, 2016

All we asked was for the Coast Guard to give the women the chance,

and the women made good.



Dorothy Constance Stratton, educator and director of SPARS, the United States Coast Guard Women’s Reserve during WWII

ex toto corde paenitet me omnium meorum peccatorum

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 salver (serving tray) on a stick (paten) 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 paten, 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



And so it goes.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Painting over our mistakes.




(Off-Topic, again) Here's yesterday's answer key

The Death of the Czars:
A. 6
B. 1
C. 2
D. 5
E. 4
F. 3


So how did you do? We will be grading on a curve.

A. Nicholas II

6. Shot to death by revolutionaries -  Russian Czar Nicholas II was murdered with his family and servants by the Bolsheviks at Yekaterinburg, July 17, 1918. This included his daughter Anastasia, who may not actually have been killed with the rest of them but was almost certainly killed along with the rest of them despite persistent rumors to the contrary--even in the face of almost insurmountable evidence suggesting otherwise (except when interpreted differently). Even if she wasn't dead then, she's certainly dead now. This has been scientifically proven by scientists who ought to know.


B. Peter III

1. Overthrown by his own wife, imprisoned, killed by his wife’s favorite - It has been rumored that the Czar was murdered at the castle Ropsha by Alexius Orlov, Theodore Baryatinski and a group of compatriots, at the behest of Gregory Orlov (Alexius' brother,) Catherine II lover. Gregory hoped to be able to marry his mistress and become consort once Peter was out of the way.

C. Paul I

2. Struck in the head with a sword, then strangled and trampled to death in his bedroom. - Paul was murdered in his bedroom in the newly built St Michael's Castle by a band of dismissed officers headed by General Bennigsen, a Hanoverian in the Russian service, and General Yashvil, a Georgian. They charged into his bedroom, flushed with drink after supping together, and found Paul hiding behind some drapes in the corner. The conspirators pulled him out, forced him to the table, and tried to compel him to sign his abdication. Paul offered some resistance, and one of the assassins struck him with a sword, after which he was strangled and trampled to death.


D. Peter the Great

5. Caught a chill and died - a rumor has it that Peter had gone to Lakhta along the Finnish Gulf to inspect some ironworks, Peter saw a group of soldiers drowning near shore and, wading out into near-waist deep water, came to their rescue. Peter's health declined after the event (although probably due to continuing bladder issues) and died a few months after the event.


E. Ivan VI

4. Overthrown in a coup, exiled, imprisoned, killed while trying to escape - Ivan VI was named Tsar as a child but never reigned.  He was overthrown by Empress Elizabeth II in 1741 and thrown into prison.  He languished there nearly forgotten until 1761 when a sub-lieutenant of the garrison, Vasily Mirovich, learned of his identity and formed a plan for freeing and proclaiming him Emperor. At midnight on July 5 1764, Mirovich won over some of the garrison, arrested the commandant, Berednikov, and demanded the release of Ivan. His jailers, on orders of their commander, an officer named Chekin, immediately murdered Ivan in compliance with the secret instructions already in their possession.


F. Alexander II

3. Killed by a bomb thrown by a revolutionary - An anarchist Nikolai Rysakov, from the radical group People's Will threw a bomb which disrupts Czar Alexander II's motorcade. Startled but unharmed, Alexander thanked God for his deliverance, another anarchist Ignacy Hryniewiecki, yelled "It is too early to thank God" and throws a second bomb, causing severe injuries from which Alexander bleeds to death several hours later. (Nicholas II, Alexander grandson, was one of the unfortunate witnesses to Czar's gruesome death.)


And so it goes.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I love being by myself.


(Off Topic for the month) The Test for today

Kids, have you been paying attention:
Please match the Russian Czar (Tzar, Tsar) with how he met his untimely end:

A. Nicholas II

B. Peter III

C. Paul I

D. Peter the Great

E. Ivan VI

F. Alexander II


1. Overthrown by his own wife, imprisoned, killed by his wife’s favorite
2. Struck in the head with a sword, then strangled and trampled to death in his bedroom.
3. Killed by a bomb thrown by a revolutionary
4. Overthrown in a coup, exiled, imprisoned, killed while trying to escape
5. Caught a chill and died
6. Shot to death by revolutionaries

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Thursday, March 10, 2016

There is no greater honour than to serve Canadians.


 

March 10, 1947 -  
Avril Phædra Douglas Kim Campbell, Canada's (19th overall and) first female Prime Minister, born in Port Alberni, British Columbia on this date.