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Do You Support or Oppose the Homophone Agenda?

This post from Language Log’s Mark Liberman has me vigorously shaking my head. Quoting Paul Rolly of the Salt Lake Tribune:

Homophones, as any English grammarian can tell you, are words that sound the same but have different meanings and often different spellings — such as be and bee, through and threw, which and witch, their and there.

This concept is taught early on to foreign students learning English because it can be confusing to someone whose native language does not have that feature.

But when the social-media specialist for a private Provo-based English language learning center wrote a blog explaining homophones, he was let go for creating the perception that the school promoted a gay agenda.

Erm… What?

Of course, Liberman’s final sentence is the one that really has me worried:

Since intelligent people are not a protected group under U.S. employment law, Mr. Woodger was apparently on solid legal ground in firing Torkildson.

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Oxford City Council, You’re a Bunch of Idiots

Get this:

Through centuries and across countries, it has remained a staple of traditional Easter celebrations. 

But that rich history, it seems, has been rather lost on one council bureaucrat – who forced a church to cancel its Passion play because he apparently thought it was a sex show.

The performance, telling the story of the crucifixion of Christ, had been planned for Good Friday by St Stephen’s House Theological College and Saints Mary and John Church in Oxford.

That was until an official at the local Labour council refused to rubber-stamp the event, forcing the church to scrap it at short notice. 

Oxford City Council banned the re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ…wrongly believing the play was a sex show and could cause ‘grave offence’

Actors had planned to walk through the streets of Oxford on Friday to re-enact the lead up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ has they had done previously in 2012.

The worker in question apparently did not know that a Passion play was a religious affair – and thought it was an obscene production.

Last night ministers, MPs and religious groups criticised the ‘unbelievable’ actions of Oxford City Council, saying it showed Christians were becoming increasingly marginalised in society.

A Passion play is a dramatic performance of the Passion of Christ, depicting the trial, crucifixion and death of Jesus. The name comes from the Latin verb ‘pati’, meaning ‘to suffer’.

The Oxford performance was previously held in 2012, without a licence, when an audience of some 200 watched Mischa Richards, playing Jesus, haul a wooden cross from Cowley Road Methodist church to Saints Mary and John. 

This year, the organisers decided to stage a repeat, but were told they must apply for a council licence – and were astonished when they were turned down.

A church source told MailOnline: ‘A council official didn’t read the paperwork properly and didn’t realise it was a religious play, so told us we needed an events licence when we didn’t.

‘If they’d told us 24 hours earlier, we would have had time to apply for and get one, but we ran out of time. It’s frustrating because we didn’t need one in any case – they just hadn’t read what the play was about.’

SS Mary and John vicar, Adam Romanis, said: ‘It’s very upsetting because so many people were looking forward to it.

‘Someone said to me: “You can’t hold a crucifixion these days without a licence”.’

Chozen: A Passover Parody

For those of you who aren’t sick to death of the music from Frozen—and its various covers and parodies—here’s one for Passover:

Late for Church? Here’s a Handy Guide for What to Do

Courtesy of Ben Myers.

In 1948 the World Council of Churches proposed to establish a Commission on Late Arrivals. However, plans were abandoned when it became apparent that the representative churches were unable to agree on a definition of the word “late”. A prominent Greek Orthodox delegate argued that “lateness” designates arrival more than twenty minutes after the specified starting time; while several Presbyterian theologians insisted that “lateness” technically refers to any arrival less than three minutes prior to starting time. These thorny and intractable questions of definition perhaps belong more to the philosophy of time than to liturgical studies, and as a result I make no attempt to resolve them here. The following ecumenical manual has been prepared simply as a general guide to the differing Liturgical Rules for late arrivals in various church traditions. It is hoped that this manual will lay the foundation for further study in this field, and that it will prove useful as a practical aid for those emergencies of punctuality that can strike even the most conscientious of churchgoers.

(I’m mostly sure that paragraph was a joke.)

A Sign of the Times?

I wonder if they went around posting notices like this in the days of Noah…mesopotamia_closed

Bible Papers: Don’t Let This Be You!

Top 10 ways to fail a Bible paper, provided for your edification by Phillip J. Long. Here’s the list. Read the whole thing for the explanations:

  • #10 – “My youth pastor told me that. . .”
  • #9 – Pauline Lit Paper, only quote Jesus.
  • #8 – Any of these words: Satin, Pilot, Angles.
  • #7 – Referring to scholars by their first name: “As Tom says in Challenge of Jesus.
  • #6 – “As biblical Scholar J. Vernon McGee says….”
  • #5 – Comparing Jesus and Spiderman.
  • #4 – 1000 word paper, 500 word block quote.
  • #3 – “In The Message translation it says….”
  • #2 – “Dictionary.com defines justification as….”
  • #1 – “For many thousands of years people have debated….”

Christmas vs. Chanukkah

Dorothy King explains it all, and admirably!

Just in case anyone asks you what the difference is between Christmas and Chanukah, you will know what and how to answer.

1. Christmas is one day, same day every year, December 25th. Jews also love December 25th. It’s another paid day off from work. We go to the movies and out for Chinese food and Israeli dancing. Chanukah is 8 days. It starts the evening of the 24th of Kislev, whenever that falls. No one is ever sure. Jews never know until a non-Jewish friend asks when Chanukah starts, forcing us to consult a calendar so we don’t look like idiots. We all have the same calendar, provided free with a donation from the World Jewish Congress, the kosher butcher or the local Sinai Memorial Chapel (especially in Florida ) or other Jewish funeral homes.

2. Christmas is a major holiday. Chanukah is a minor holiday with the same theme as most Jewish holidays. They tried to kill us, we survived, let’s eat.

Eleven more points to ponder over at PhDiva.