Posts Tagged ‘Rome.’

Almost the Pope

February 26, 2019
Image result for Pell

With a bit of luck and the application of the law, cardinal Pell will be in a cell tonight. There might be a God after all! One wonders how this will be faced by this man who for years denied justice to those child victims subjected to terrible abuse. I never like the man. Each time he was on TV I could not help but feel he was a man devoid of feeling. The Pope has now been given a list of 6000 paedophile priests. Those priests are still alive. The Pope in his celestial wisdom announced they were ‘The Tools of Satan’.  Even now, he is not willing to face the terrible truth that each of those abusers should have been dealt with by the law. The Catholic church still prefers to hide the fact that for decades the only thing the church was interested in was to hide the truth of rampant paedophilia. The victims were secondary in this whole debacle.

Cardinal Pell was the third highest in the hierarchy of the catholic Church. Almost a Pope. The Catholic church now has a crisis on its hands. It can no longer persists in one of its strongest dogmas of its insistence on celibacy. People have sex. The denial of that is just plain stupid. Of course, abuse of children is not just concentrated by the catholic church. It happens everywhere but, the catholic church is the one religion which stands out above all the others in its treatment of the victims.  The hiding and moving paedophile priests to other parishes was a matter of routine. It seems unbelievable that that was the norm. Pell seemed to blame the victims of abuse. A callous man devoid of compassion and empathy.

It is now seen as an institution run by feeble old men run for feeble old men. You look at those images of all those old purple clad men huddling together eager to kiss the withered hand of a shaky mitered Pope in Rome. Where are the women in all this? There needs to be a revolution by the catholic church.

In any case, Pell will be locked up tonight. One can only wonder what he will be thinking. Is there going to be a moment, just a split second, whereby he will acknowledge within his frosty heart, the terrible deeds he now has been found guilty of?

The Serif is coming and take your margins.

February 29, 2016


If you hear the dreaded mid-night knock on the door, it could well be the serif. This time of the year they look for errant margins or fonts that allow too many characters on a single line. The serif escaped from Holland some centuries ago when it was jailed for dominating the written word above all the accepted norms. The  twirls and florid decorations of letters were being pushed aside by change. Changes always are disturbing. But the serif (schreef) protested. When the Treaty of Utrecht was signed it spelled the beginning of the end of the serif. It was jailed after the signing and did not rear its head again till another war broke out between England and France. The French wanted to revive the poor old serif but was defeated by someone named Charles who remained without progeny to take on the Throne.

Ever since, there are those that hold strong ‘serif and sans serif’ opinions. There are pockets of warring factions who congregate within the gated communities of suburbs of many cities, including Rome, Warsaw and Amsterdam.  It is not as simple as just serif or sans serif. The serif fans are divided between those of the Time Roman, Courier, Palatino and New Century persuasions.  Please consider amongst the sans serifs the strong presentation of the Helvetica mobs, Avant Garde (wearing red berets), Arial and Geneva fonts ( especially in Amsterdam).

So, what to do? Absolutely nothing. Let them knock. Don’t let them in. If they force their way in it is best to show compassion.

Personally I never heard of serif or sans serif and thought at first it was an exotic potato. It was after I started inquiring about how to get a book together that I learned  it. I pretended knowledge and nodded sagely when the word was mentioned. How do people know those things? Next time I am around people who still talk and read words printed on paper I’ll swing the conversation towards serif and even throw in a few fonts. I might even ask; how are your margins going? Because, next to serif margins can easily crowd in the written word. It was astonishing to learn that the different sized margins are evenly split between uneven and even numbered pages.

And then the ongoing war between those that give two spaces after the end of a sentence and those that give it just a single space. It seems, that not only do words and their meanings sometimes change, but also the way they are put in print. One of our friends heard some schools are now not teaching running-writing anymore. Is that true? Some experts predict writing by hand is close to disappearing. What about shopping lists? I still see shoppers ticking off the hand written shopping list. There is hope!

Who would have thought?

Holiday Planning

August 30, 2013

Holiday planning.

Lately we have got an urge to visit foreign shores again. It has been years since we last packed our bags, checked the passport and counted the travel cheques. Things have changed though. We have had more birthdays and things aren’t the same as they used to. For a start, I have reached the age where I need to be geographically acquainted to the nearest available toilet at all times. Is there a mobile App for that and does it work in Turkey?

I still remember that they have some strange public facilities/toilets elsewhere and even though the saying urges tourists; “do in Rome like the Romans,” I still have trepidations of unknown public bowel& bladder facilities and habits in foreign places. I believe there are places in some tropical paradises where one is advised to avoid the right hand of strangers. Perhaps it was the left hand? I have forgotten! I remember squatting really low down in gay Paris, keen as mustard for paper, any paper, and in howling desperation used unsigned travel cheques.

There is something very reassuring to the idea of combining both, to visit foreign shores and to always be within a couple of meters or shouting distance of a toilet. The answer, ‘the world cruise’. Can you just imagine the joy of peering over the QE 2 railing watching the African coast glide by, dream of Dr David Livingstone and at the first intestinal rumble be seated on gleaming lavender scented porcelain within seconds? Can you imagine?

Helvi is more circumspect about world cruising and even though she danced with the ship’s captain on a previous trip from Italy to Australia in 1966, ( our honeymoon) she suggested that one could be locked into spending weeks sailing around the world with some dreadfully boring people. Food for thought, she added. Can you imagine sitting around some couple at the dining table who keep going on talking about their superannuation or Camellias? 😉

People might think the same of us, I suggested. Speak for yourself was her quick and needle sharp retort. Have I been boring you, I asked her with my guilt on post-war automatic? Well, sometimes you can be, (never to let an opportunity like that one to get past), she answers with brutish honesty, but with a smile I know so well and love. Anyway, most of those cruises are by old fogeys and probably have intestinal problems like yours, she added.

What makes you think you are the sole owner of QE2 toilets? There is most likely a flurry of elderly people toing and froing to the toilets 24 hours each day and night, probably even queues, she added.

Remember that cruise boat laying idle mid-ocean a few weeks ago? All the generators had died, no power to flush the toilets with passengers laid out on the decks in heat of 40C with nappies and all sorts of other medical emergencies. After a few days they were towed into a harbour and met by ambulances. A nightmare.

Yes, but of the hundreds of thousands on cruises, that was just an exception. Come darling, let me decide on this holiday. There are gyms, libraries, swimming pools and lots of shops on board. We will probably meet new friends, like-minded and fascinating people who like Woody Allan, Kant and Chomsky. We could escape next winter, visit Finland and Venice, Dubrovnik and Messina, New York. That sound nice Gerard, why don’t you get some brochures?

Oh, I have downloaded them already darling. Here are just some.

Travel adventures behind the Computer.

April 15, 2012

It’s almost two years since our departure from our lovely farm. We have nestled down very nicely. The books have found their place on the shelves, knives and forks in the right trays and chairs’ restless rotating around different spots have calmed as well.

It is strange how with age one seems to find domestic permanency a much more pressing need than when young. Moving around comes with youth. I was looking at the travel section of the Herald yesterday. “Fancy fourteen days on a Rhine cruise” I asked H? “I don’t know”, “depends on the company that we might have to share the dining table with”, answered H.

Too right, just imagine the horrors of some pro-Hanson or anti boat people sharing the lasagna with, or, leaning over the railing surveying yet another Castle perched on a rocky outcrop at Karlsruhe, a remark “ I wonder how Mavis is going with her divorce from that bastard Jason at Wollongong?”

We have perused many travel options and all seem to have lost the appeal of exploration or sight-seeing. I am and was never one to visit ‘sights’ and the Niagara Falls or Machu Picchu will have to forget the Oostermans ever visiting them. The ‘Mother Temple’ in Bali might have to be included as well. We never managed to go there despite having visited that island of magic many times. Walt Disney’s fun parks, oh no never. Never even been a fan of comic strips except ‘Eric the Norseman’,  which my dear old Aunt Agnes would cut out of her Amsterdam newspaper and sent it by post to me in The Hague. I remember one episode whereby a man’s head was chopped off by a large and evil man lifting his sword. I dwelled on that for months. I read yesterday, that children are naturally drawn to stories that include much sadness. Chopping a head off is a sad thing, very permanently sad.

The one travel option we are still dwelling over is the possibility of going to France or Italy and just rent an apartment and live a bit like the locals, observe all the going ons of a ‘normal life’ but set in a different country with different language and cultural habits. I’ll just have to Google all the available apartments in Rome or Paris.

I’ll put on the coffee now, can’t wait to go and travel around on the Internet.