This is what happened 10 years ago. CLICK HERE
UBI CARITAS ET AMOR. DEUS IBI EST.
Saturday 30 September 2023
This is what happened 10 years ago. CLICK HERE
Friday 29 September 2023
Now about rumours. There's a rumour amongst some of our church folks that we are near the end of times. All the signs are there, they say. Wars, famine, poverty, epidemics, trouble and strife and so on. Also, the light bulb on the stand next to my computer has just gone out - totally dead. Now there's a sign, some would say.
Well, that might be true or it might be wrong. My take on this is that every day is a day nearer to the end of times. Whether it happens tomorrow or next week or in a thousand years from now, it is still a day nearer.
Remember back in 2012 people were convinced that it would be the end of the world? Well, I was the only one to know different. I was sure it would not happen. You see, 2012 was the year of the London Olympics and as a country we had spent a fortune preparing for it. There was no way the Government would have allowed the end of the world to happen before getting back the benefits of all that money spent.
Now another rumour around here is about our neighbour down the road; a lady called Edna. Apparently, according to another neighbour, Edna wears wigs. Different coloured ones, Blonde, jet black, light brown and even a light tint of violet or blue. I often wondered why her hair was different colours, and I thought she dyed her hair. But I'm told it's different wigs. Apparently she washes them in the washing machine and hangs them out to dry in the back garden. As with all gossip; I'll never see Edna in the same light again.
And yet another rumour in our neighbourhood is about cats. Or one cat in particular. Apparently there's a big cat around. I'm not sure how big. Some folk says he's as big as a small dog, or a medium sized dog, or a big dog, or an elephant even ... depending on which neighbour you listen to. It is said he roams the streets at night and has been seen by some people; or to be precise, they saw his shadow as he passes by the street's lamp posts casting a menacing figure against the walls of the houses.
Worse still, I have been told by a friend, that a man living three streets down from here, has been told by his cousin, that his colleague down at the factory in town, has it on good authority that this large cat steals bicycles.
Can you imagine that? A big cat who steals bicycles! Whatever next? Crime of epidemic proportions. What if this cat gets a liking for motorcycles, or cars?
I think all these rumours are getting out of hand. I'll stop listening to them. I'll sit in front of the TV and watch the news instead. At least this is the honest, well researched, and authentically verified truth.
Wednesday 27 September 2023
MEVELY, a frequent visitor of this Blog, has asked me to research and report back on the famous statue known as Venus de Milo. You can visit Mevely HERE.
Strictly speaking Venus de Milo is a Greek statue. It is disputed as to whether it was sculpted by Praxiteles or Alexandros of Antioch. As there are no surviving Court manuscripts of legal actions between these two individuals relating to Copyright issues we'll never know the creator of this statue. It was rediscovered on the island of Milos, Greece in 1820.
Throughout history archaeologists and learned people have not been able to work out where and how her arms were positioned when the statue was first made. They wondered how the cloth hung there on her body and not fall off revealing her identity ... especially since Velcro had not been invented at the time.
Some scientists, using image projection, have surmised that she was holding on to the cloth and in fact looked like this:
And the statue was first entitled "does my bottom look big in this toga?" But some historians refute this theory pointing out that the toga was a Roman garment and not Greek ... and the statue is of Greek origin.
Undeterred by this controversy I have contacted a friend of mine. He is no historian or archaeologist but he often comes up with a plausible explanation to matters of great concern.
I can now reveal that the arms in the original statue, before it was broken, looked like this:
And it was entitled "TA DAAA" triumphantly showing off how she can keep her garment to defy gravity.
Come on dear readers ... suggest other works of art for me to research and review in this Art Series.
Monday 25 September 2023
SANDI - a reader of this Blog, suggested I research and write about Titian in this series about Art. You can visit Sandi HERE.
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio, or Titian in English, was born somewhere between 1488 and 1490 (must have been a long pregnancy!) and died on 27 August 1576.
You can see above his self portray. Considering it is in profile, he must have had a cricked neck turning round every few minutes to look himself in the mirror. Although some art experts believe he got a friend to take a Polaroid photo and he painted from that. This theory is disputed by other camera manufacturers.
He was very versatile painting portraits, landscape backgrounds and
mythological and religious subjects and was famous for his use of colour -
no black and white monochromes from good old Titian. It is said that he preferred to paint in red. This is because the paint was cheaper than any other colour - 53 cents a can compared to 56 cents for other colours.
Another peculiarity of Titian is that he liked to paint round about 3 o'clock.
This next painting was completed a little later in 1550 (ten to four). It is entitled "Venus and Organist and Little Dog".
A most intriguing scene indeed. Venus has just finished the housework and wants to relax after a long day of cleaning, cooking and doing the washing up.
She wants to listen to some music, so she takes all her clothes off and lies on the bed and calls in one of
her minions and asks him to play the piano.
As you can see, the pianist is somewhat distracted and, because he knows the tune to "how much is that doggie in the window" by heart, he decides to take a swift look round for further inspiration whilst the lady is occupied with the dog.
The dog yaps to warn the lady, whereupon she casually says to the man, "Keep your eyes on your organ please. And whilst you're at it, would you mind drawing the curtains. I don't want anyone outside to see my behind!"
Further suggestions from my readers for artists to be researched and posted here are welcome.
Friday 22 September 2023
By Victor S E Moubarak
Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles strive after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. (Matthew 6:31-33)
It is understandable that in a busy and ever-changing world demanding so much of our time, our attention and our resources, that we tend to lose focus and concentrate so much on life in the here-and-now rather than reflect on our spiritual life and its future into eternity. With the waning of spirituality people turn their attention to materialistic things, possessions, instant gratification and pleasure; because their concentration and focus is on the present rather than a spiritual future which they might not believe in.
This book may not change your life. It is not meant to. Not by itself. But hopefully it will make you stop and think where your life is going. Where is it heading. What is your focus in life?
“Keep your mind set on the things that are in Heaven, not on things here on earth.” (Colossians 3).
Thursday 21 September 2023
The work depicts a nude man sitting on a rock. I thought it was a toilet but I am assured it is a rock.
He is seen leaning over, his right elbow placed on his left thigh, holding the weight of his chin on the back of his right hand. The pose is one of deep thought and contemplation. I thought it was constipation. But I am assured it is not so.
Let's consider the pose. It must be uncomfortable leaning forwards with your right elbow on your left thigh. Try it.
I did and fell off my chair bringing down the computer keyboard and mouse too.
Why not lean forwards naturally with your right elbow on your right thigh?
And why sit naked? It must be very cold on one's posterior sitting like that on a rock. And how about ants? Very uncomfortable, I should say, if they start hunting around about one's privacy.
But what intrigues me the most is, what is this man thinking about?
The cost of living? Global warming? Saving the planet? The rate of inflation? Interest rates? Or where the heck has he put his clothes?
Join the discussion art lovers. Tell us what you think.
And suggest more subjects to be studied and discussed in this Art Series.
Tuesday 19 September 2023
Monday 18 September 2023
There was Bald Basilica Ben. We called him that because he had a head like the dome at the Vatican. I remember at school when the nun, Sister Crumply Face ... we called her that because she had a lot of wrinkles on her face ... like a bed in the morning when it has not been made up ...
Anyway ... when Sister Crumply Face finished the Religion class she said, "let us pray like Jesus taught us."
Bald Basilica Ben said, "I did not know Jesus had a tortoise!"
She sent him to the Headmaster for a good talking to. He was called, Mr Limp ... on account that this was his real name and unfortunately he walked with a limp on account of a motorbike accident when he was young.
Apparently, he searched the Bible and could not find any reference to Jesus having a tortoise. So he told Bald Basilica Ben that Sister Crumply Face was perhaps mistaken when she said "let us pray like Jesus' tortoise!"
Another school friend in the photos was Pest Control Pete. We called him that because once in class he broke wind and the smell was so strong the teacher had to open the window. He said there's a smell here that would obliterate rats for miles around. I had to look up the word obliterate in the dictionary. From that day we called Peter "Pest Control Pete".
The teacher did not know who broke wind in class. We called him Mr Car Doors. He was called Mr Cartwright, but we called him Car Doors on account that he had sticking out ears like a car with its doors open. On a windy day he would revolve round like a ballerina doing a pirouette ... or a revolving hotel door.
Then there was another kid called Fungus Face. We called him that because once we dared him to eat an onion. He took a bite and made a funny face holding back the tears trying to be brave. He kept the onion bits in his mouth for a while and then spat them out on Steve. It was so funny. Steve was covered in onion bits and saliva. So from then we called him Spat-On Steve.
There was also Harry; we called him Grass Eater because he liked boiled cabbage when we had school lunches. In those days, the teacher said grace before we started eating. I doubt it happens now in schools. I used to hate tapioca. We used to call it frogs spawn because it looked like little balls of jelly. We used to like spotted dick though ... do you know what that is?
Did you have a funny name when you were young? Or now?
I was called Professor, because when I got my glasses the priest said I looked like a Professor.
Saturday 16 September 2023
Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, if my brother keeps on sinning against me, how many times do I have to forgive him? Seven times?”
By my calculations this makes 490 times. I've forgiven someone 489 times; so they're getting very close to a thump on the head!
Seriously though, Jesus is teaching us here to forgive any wrongdoings against us time and again. But what is forgiveness?
It is to accept the wrongdoing done to us and not to seek any revenge, retribution, punishment, pay-back of any ill-will against the one who hurt us. To just let him go freely. Whether he has asked for forgiveness or not. Whether he cares for our forgiveness or not. Just let him go and in your heart truly forgive him.
This does not necessarily mean reconciliation. There are times when reconciliation is not possible, nor advisable. Just let the person go freely in peace.
Also, this does not mean that the hurt will go away. Often the hurt will remain with you. The slightest memory, and the pain and the hurt of the wrongdoing done to you will return. Use this as a trigger to forgive once again. Whenever Jesus sees the wounds in His hands, feet and side He forgives once again. Be like Jesus.
When the bad memories come back pray for the one who hurt you. You cannot possible hate anyone you pray for.
And should you hear news or gossip that something bad has happened to the one who has hurt you, do not rejoice at his misfortune. This nullifies all your forgiveness.
If the person who has hurt you has passed away, He is now in the sight of God and has seen the event in all its facets and his role, and yours, in it. The matter is between him and God now.
If you were in any way guilty in the event, ask God for forgiveness and earnestly repent for your part in it.
And accept God's forgiveness. Don't keep going back on the events and wonder if you've been forgiven, and feel guilty all over again. By doing so you're insulting God by suggesting He hasn't truly forgiven you.
Now ... have you got a calculator?
Thursday 14 September 2023
Tuesday 12 September 2023
It was another Saturday morning and Father Ignatius made his way into the confessional and sat there praying silently.
It was one of those old fashioned wooden confessionals consisting of a large cubicle into which he sat and at either side of him there was a little window covered by a thick curtain. On the other side of the window his parishioners would kneel to confess their sins; alternating one on the left and one on the right.
He was half-way through reciting the Hail Mary when he heard two people kneeling at either side of him. He leant to his right and said quietly “In the name of the Father, and of the Son and the Holy Ghost. Amen.”
This was his signal for the person at the other side of the curtain to start his confession.
At first he had two or three young children confessing their usual “I have been naughty … I disobeyed my parents … I forgot to say my evening prayers …” type of sins.
These were then followed by a few adults with more mature sins to confess. Nothing too serious though like murder or robbing a bank; but the usual sins he had heard times before perfectly symbolizing the frailty of human nature and the tendency to fail again and again at the same stumbling block.
It got to the point that, over the years, he got to recognize his parishioners by their voices and he could foretell their litany of sins before they even started speaking.
“Ah … it’s Mrs Salter once again …” he would think, “and here comes that same old sin once more … it’s like going to the doctor for a repeat prescription for the same old ailments!”
He would yet again, gently and with love and sympathy, dispense his words of wisdom before absolving her and mete out a penance.
And Mrs Salter would be followed by Mrs James … and Mr Collins … and so on and so forth … all religiously kneeling beside him confessing, more out of habit rather than determination, the same old sins week in and week out.
He’d fantasized that one day he’d stop one of his parishioners before they started and he’d say, “Now let me guess … you’ve done this and that once again this week … and you’ve also done this …”
Of course, Father Ignatius would never sully the sanctity of the Confession by doing such a thing, but the thought had crossed his mind many a time. Besides, if he did such a thing they’d probably think he was a mind-reader … and that would be worse for his reputation!
One Sunday morning he resolved to address the problem head on; but he had to do it with kindness and diplomacy.
He approached the lectern and said:
“I love ginger marmalade!”
Well … that certainly focused his parishioners’ attention.
“I have ginger marmalade on toast for breakfast every morning,” he continued, “sometimes Mrs Davenport, our kind and very helpful housekeeper, only serves me two slices of toast for breakfast …
“So I wait when she's not looking and sneak into the kitchen for two more slices!”
Mrs Davenport frowned in the front pew as the congregation laughed.
“Mrs Davenport says that I am putting on weight …” said Father Ignatius, “and it’s true that when I stand on the weighing machine it confirms what she says …
“So I have resolved to do something about it …
“From now on, I promise to stop weighing myself!”
The congregation laughed again. The priest waited until they’d settled down before going on.
“You see … ginger marmalade is my weakness. You may call it my sin.
“No matter how much I try … I always weaken and have some more. Sometimes I serve a little bit more marmalade than I need on my plate; and then, having finished the toast, all four slices, I enjoy the extra marmalade by itself …
“But this is not my only sin of course. I confess many others to Father Donald and Monsignor Thomas when he visits here …
“Now I don’t know about you … but I find that I frequently seem to confess the same sins I committed before …
“Just like ginger marmalade … the wily old devil seems to know my weakness and he tricks me yet again into the same sins.
“Do you remember I wonder when the Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman caught committing adultery?
“Now that was a whopper of a sin! Not just an extra spoon of ginger marmalade … was it?”
The congregation laughed.
“And according to Jewish law she had to be stoned to death for that sin,” continued Father Ignatius gently.
“Now we’re told in the Gospel of John that Jesus wrote in the sand with His finger.
“We’re not told what He wrote … I guess He wrote ‘Dear God … will they never learn?’
“But that’s not important … what is important is that after He said let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone … and when they all left one by one … Jesus turned to the woman and asked ‘Is there no one left to condemn you?’
“She said ‘No one …’
“And Jesus replied ‘I do not condemn you either. Go, but do not sin again.’ ”
Father Ignatius paused for a few moments.
“Go, but do not sin again,” he repeated.
“Now Jesus did not mean do not sin any sin whatsoever ever again for the rest of your life …
“He knew that that would be impossible. The woman was human, and it is natural that she would sin again.
“Jesus knows our human nature and He knows that we are liable to sin again and again …
“What Jesus said to the woman is, do not commit that particular sin again … it is serious enough to get you into a lot of trouble with the Pharisees as well as with God Himself.
“And that’s what Jesus is saying to us today …
“He knows we are weak … He knows that we will sin … which is why we have the Holy Sacrament of Confession.
“By saying ‘do not sin again’ Jesus is warning us to beware of those particular sins which are serious enough to lead us into damnation, and into an eternity of exclusion from our Father in Heaven.
“As we prepare for our weekly confession we need to consider carefully the seriousness of our sins. Which ones are ginger marmalade sins; and which ones are grave enough to exclude us from God’s ever lasting love.
“In our propensity to sin, God is loving and caring enough to forgive us again and again.
“But with our confession there should also be remorse and guilt for what we have done. Confession should not be just a laborious recitation of the same old sins; and a futile exercise which serves no one and certainly does not fool God Himself.
“Without true remorse, and a genuine resolve not to repeat our sins; then confession means nothing. And it would be better not to come to confession at all. At least that is honest in the eyes of God."
TAKE CARE OF MY SHEEP
Sunday 10 September 2023
Wherever you live so shall I live.
Your people will be my people,
and your God will be my God too.
and there shall I be buried beside you.
We will be together forever,
and our love will be the gift of our life.
I want to say something to all of you
who have become a part
of the fabric of my life.
which you have brought into my being
have become a song,
and I want to sing it forever.
which makes things happen
when the paths of other persons
and we have to be there
and let it happen.
of our particular sunset comes
our thing, our accomplishment,
won’t really matter a great deal.
with which we have loved others
will speak with vitality
of the great gift of life
we have been for each other.
Wherever you live so shall I live.
Your people will be my people,
and your God will be my God too.
and there shall I be buried beside you.
We will be together forever,
and our love will be the gift of our life.
Friday 8 September 2023
She asked about the mosquito. I told her it's not feeling well. I let it out in the garden at night to go fend for itself and feed. It comes back in the morning exhausted and gasping for breath. It's losing weight.
She asked me how do I know. I said I weigh her on the bathroom scales. First me and the mosquito on my finger. Then me alone. And I subtract the two weights and the difference is the mosquito.
I said I think the mosquito is not eating any more. She said it's probably become vegetarian. It happens sometimes. People decide not to eat meat any more. And mosquitoes are people, aren't they? This one has probably gone vegetarian and will not take blood.
How can this be possible, I asked her. Seems strange, she said, but the other day she had a lion here who would only eat lettuce. I asked her what she did. She replied "lettuce prey!"
Then she explained that she also had a claustrophobic tortoise. It was too afraid to go into its shell. She operated and gave the tortoise a new shell made of glass. Now it goes in and thinks it is out.
Also a goldfish which would not swim because water got in its eyes. So she designed special goggles for it and now it swims happily.
And an eagle with a fear of heights. He would just hop along and not fly. So she taught him to eat worms.
How about my mosquito, I asked. She said she wanted to take its blood pressure but did not know which arm or leg to use. Besides, does a vegetarian mosquito have blood?
I suggested a blood transfusion. She said her assistant Rocky had a compatible blood type; but try taking blood out of a stone!
I left totally dejected, although I did not know what it meant. So I bought a dictionary on the way home. It was a French dictionary so I can now always find the mot juste.
Last night I let my mosquito go as usual. This morning it returned with another mosquito. It was in love all along. So I composed a love song for them ...
Where zee blazes are all zeese mosquitoes eez coming from?
(French accent from French dictionary)
Wednesday 6 September 2023
I'm good at mathematics. I rang our radio station recently. They ran a competition to attract new listeners; just like me trying to attract new readers. They said "on air" - Congratulations. You are our first caller today. Just answer a simple question and you win our grand prize!
I was overwhelmed and beside myself at the same time. I asked, "What's the prize?"
They said, "It's a simple mathematics question. Get it right and you win two VIP tickets to a Justin Bieber concert and you get to meet him backstage afterwards. What is 2+2?"
I replied, "7".
Anyway, back to more mundane matters. We went to the zoo last week. We had visitors from overseas and as a treat we went to an open-air zoo. The animals are not in cages but they are left to roam free in large enclosures and the public gets to see them as if they're in the wild.
I don't particularly like zoos. I think zoos should only contain a few animals - the lion, tiger, monkey, elephant and giraffe. No need for any more. That's all that people are interested in. Who cares about the horned toad or the lesser spotted butterfly? Just put the few animals I mentioned in a zoo and that's all you need.
As I was saying, we went to the zoo. Whilst there my mother-in-law got bitten by a snake. What a tragedy that was. We all panicked. We called the zoo keepers, they called the medics, who called an ambulance ... sadly, after a couple of hours of horrible writhing agony the snake died.
On the way out we called at the gift shop. They had the usual selection of toys. Cuddly bears, lions, tigers and all sorts of animals which you can cuddle and take with you to bed if you are that way inclined. I asked the shop assistant, "Have you got a toy mosquito?"
She looked puzzled. I explained, "I'm not interested in a toy lion or tiger ... I want a mosquito, or perhaps a fly ... they are animals too you know. I saw one on a rotting apple in the monkey's enclosure. Why do you have toy monkeys but not toy flies?"
She called security so we left hurriedly.
Ironically, as we were leaving I got bitten by an insect at the back of the neck. It got inflamed and very sore. We drove to the nearest medical centre. As a precaution they gave me several injections in my bottom ... just in case ... not Justin Bieber.
Which goes to prove: Always wear clean underwear because you never know when you'll show your backside to perfect strangers.
Monday 4 September 2023
I believe we have now reached a situation in world history where a large number of people do not know anything about the existence of God. They may have heard about Him, but never got to know Him or experience His existence and love. So how can they possibly miss Him in their lives?
Modern lives are busy and full of distractions, concerns, worries, ambitions, goals and many other things good as well as bad on which to focus our attention.
We just do not have time for God. To search for Him, to learn about Him, and to get to know Him.
If He is not in our lives we can hardly miss Him.
Until one day when we get to meet Him face to face. And then it will be too late.
Because then we will get to really know Who God is, we would experience and witness His infinite love for His creations and yet we would have willingly excluded ourselves from this eternal love.
All because we did not take the time to find Him in this life.
Saturday 2 September 2023
It's as if the devil is in full production to keep our mind occupied in any thing else than what is important for us and our leading a good life.
Take for example the choices we have when shopping. Have you considered how many types and brands of ice creams there are available? The other day in the supermarket I discovered Gin and Tonic ice cream.
There were other drinks too. I don't mean G and T flavour but actual gin
in it. It even had a warning not to be sold to under 18s and it stated
on the packet the amount of alcohol in it.
Why would someone want to have an ice cream at home with alcohol in it? And if this is your particular weakness, why not buy ordinary ice cream and pour whatever drink you wish on it?
Think of other products too; like toothpaste, soap, clothing, shoes and so on. So many different kinds and types and brands to choose from.
Same with entertainment. So many TV channels, plus those you subscribe to, and those you download on your cell phones etc ... etc ...
The other day on the bus almost everyone was distracted on their cell-phones. Who are they texting to, and what did they do before cell-phones were invented?
I have a cell-phone, almost always switched off. When I'm at home, if people want to contact me they can ring the land-line. If I'm busy in the garden, or cooking, or writing this Blog I put the answering machine on. I don't want to rush out of the shower to answer the phone and scandalise the dog.
You know something? In all these years I have not had one world leader, religious person like the Pope, eminent doctor or scientist or whatever else, ring me urgently to ask for my views or opinion on anything. Anyone who phoned me needing something left a message on the answering machine.
Same with the cell-phone. Always off. I take it with me when out in case I have to contact someone. The other day I switched it on and discovered a message that's been left there years ago. It was Julius Caesar asking me to lend him my ear. I told him to go buy his own.
The point I'm trying to make here is that the devil enjoys distractions. It keeps us away from God. We look the other way and get interested in something else. Be it entertainment, food, self-importance, fashion, music or whatever.
Any distraction is a good distraction if it stops us from praying. If it stops us from thinking of God. If it stops us contacting Him, loving Him, serving Him, or spreading His Word amongst others.
Better for the seeds from the sower to go to waste rather than fall on good ground.
The age of distraction is here. And the devil is having a good time.