‘When Pigs Fly’

‘When Pigs Fly’ December 24, 2012

Suggestions and criticism (constructive, please!) more than welcome.”

“Kevin has moved from ‘defending his house’ into sheer malice, in my opinion.”

“We need to (try to) look at the present by imagining how the future will see us as the past.”

“From the city’s perspective there’s not a noticeable difference in how Christians and non-Christians relate to their actual neighbors.”

“The Pope went from ‘Hey! Great to be here with all of you!’ to ‘Ours is a world without hope‘ in just four tweets over the space of just four hours.”

“Still, at some point, the way forward Smith claims — the life of prayer, liturgy, and engagement of the ‘Great Tradition’ — must also come to terms with science and history, and offer a way forward that genuinely engages the evidence rather than tables it.”

“We need to understand that these are crude, dirty jokes being told by this dirty, smelly guy wearing a thong.”

“From the literary context, Fergus Kerr says, it appears that the widow is impoverishing herself to contribute to an institution that is corrupt and doomed.”

“A sign of true spiritual maturity is that we simply don’t become offended by others.”

“The greatest minority under assault today are Christians. No doubt about it.”

They say we evolved from whatever, something out of the ocean, you’ve got to understand that evolution affects your mental processes.”

“The Puritans in the Massachusetts Bay Colony went one step further and actually outlawed the celebration of Christmas.”

“I expect that at the heart of most such exchanges is a fear of the loss of Christian cultural hegemony.”

“The death penalty will eventually be repealed, not because a majority of Americans believe it is morally wrong for the state to take a life, but because we have finally realized that the state is comprised of fallible, foolish human beings who aren’t up for playing God.”

“The answers to questions that you never thought to ask when you were one of them come so easily to you now.”

26 Amazing Facts About Finland’s Unorthodox Education System.” (via Jay Lake)

Church Sign Epic Fails, ‘Beer in Hell’

The video at the top of this post is a song written and performed by Israeli and Palestinian young people. It’s called “Bukra Fi Mishmish,” or, roughly, “When Pigs Fly.” The Velveteen Rabbi has the full story.

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  • LeRoc

    I really like the video! (Especially the polka section in the middle :)

  • Dave

    In Heaven there is no beer
    That’s why we drink it here
    And when we’re gone from here
    Our friends will be drinking all the beer

  • Michael Pullmann

    I wonder if Home Alone is beloved by NRA types, because it shows a young American defending his home from the criminal element, or despised, because it shows him doing so with almost no firearms whatsoever.

  • ReverendRef

    If you’re stuck having to go to work today . . .

    I’m pretty sure I don’t qualify to be one who gets to whine about having to work on Christmas Eve (or Day for that matter).

    Pretty sure I’m not getting time-and-a-half, either.

    Can’t complain, though, because this is really one of the more enjoyable parts of the job.  Besides, at 2 p.m. PST, I get to start swinging my thurible in preparation for services — woo hoo!

  • My response was something like:

    “The answers to questions that you never thought to ask when you were one of them come so easily to you now.”

    That sounds familiar.

    Wait.  I wrote that.  Didn’t I write that?  I think I wrote that.  Let me check.  *computer freezes* Come on!

    Yes.  I did write that.

    Thanks for the link Fred.  Now I’m off to read about Education in Finland.

  • Michael Pullmann

     Well, don’t swing your thurible in public. There are laws.

  • Tricksterson

    I think that’s Klezmer (aka Jewish Jazz), not Polka.  Could be wrong.

  • AnonymousSam

    Why is it that a man who is supposed to be closer than any mortal on the planet, infallible of mind and soul, is so bloody pessimistic? Come on, man, if God is love and you’re the left hand of God, then you should be better than this. I expect to see rainbows farting out of your tail end by early next year.

  • LeRoc

     It’s polka-style klezmer!

  • Worthless Beast

    I read the zombie story.  I thought it was brilliant.  It answers a lot of questions about the buggers and really humanizes them for lack of a better word.

    I’ve played with zombies a little bit in stories, the best one being an inside-joke among family about living next to a cemetary.  Too shy to link my stories here. I think if Fred ever recced anything of mine, I’d just die of surprise.  So, congrats!

  • Well, Charlotte Allen’s anti- school violence platform relies somewhat heavily on assuming that “Home Alone” depicts how a real showdown between an unarmed child and a murderous gunman would play out most of the time. The NRA might not endorse that movie but she would.

  • I think the Pope’s tweet about a world without hope is him quoting a question. He doesn’t appear to understand RT.

    I get this from his next three tweets.

    https://twitter.com/Pontifex/status/278862015253061633 <– clearly a rather platitudy answer

    https://twitter.com/Pontifex/status/278907093065535488 <– definitely a quoted question

    https://twitter.com/Pontifex/status/278907314810023938 <– again an answer.

    And while we're at it https://twitter.com/Pontifex/status/282090792053510144 <– Amen to that though I doubt we agree what that would look like.

  • Lori

    Charlotte Allen and Megan McArdle. Both of them have embarrassed themselves pretty thoroughly on the topic by displaying that they are some combination of dead inside and dumber than dirt that adds up to truly horrifying.

  • I’m not sure I ‘get’ the Home Alone thing.

    Isn’t the whole point of such movies to be totally absurd in a way that ends up being funny, precisely because the kind of home defence Kevin comes up with could never be realistic?

  • We Must Dissent

    A couple of comments about the article on education in Finland:

    1) They use “merit pay” without irony, indicating how far that anti-union phrase was wormed its way into the general conception of education in the US.

    2) My understanding is that not only are all teachers required to have master’s degrees, but those degrees are in the subject, not in education. I have two master’s degrees: one in engineering and one in teaching. The former was a rigorous program and good education. The latter was clearly designed to be a way for teacher’s to get master’s degrees, which my state requires eventually. The licenses that only require a bachelor’s degree are not indefinitely renewable.

  • Come on, man, if God is love and you’re the left hand of God, then you should be better than this.

    God must be right-handed. Though shouldn’t God be ambidextrous?

  • No imagination (which always goes with no sense of humor) means everything must be either realistic or sent from Satan (or equivalent). 

  • vsm

    That depends on whether you’re teaching in middle school or high school. You only need a master’s degree in something and a minor (60 ECTS) in all your subjects and education to teach in middle school. To teach in high school, you need to have majored in one of of the subjects you teach, but as long as you have that and the minor in education, you can also teach subjects you only minored in. In my old high school, all the math teachers also taught physics and chemistry, and the Swedish teacher did her best to make me understand how Russian verbs work.

  • Rhubarbarian82

    Twice I’ve found myself reading a particularly terrible opinion piece, then going to check the byline and finding it was written by Charlotte Allen. I have a bad memory, so I’ll hazily recall the name being associated with someone horrific, and I’ll google “Charlotte Allen fraternity” and find this piece she wrote for the LA Times a few years back.
    I’m not sure if Allen represents the absolute bottom of the barrel, but she’s definitely bottom 5.

  • Well, yeah, but in her editorial Allen remarks that “some of the huskier 12-year old boys” might have been able to take out Lanza. I assume that she means in hand-to-hand combat (with a gun-wielding assailant) rather than using the complicated traps from the movie. 

    I’ll leave it to you, though, to determine which of these is less reasonable: the booby traps from the movie or the idea that being “husky” makes it easier for you to evade/withstand gunfire.

  • Tricksterson

    They both came from Eastern Europe in the mid 19th century so, sure.

  • Lori

    You had Swedish and Russian at your school? Where was your school? I guess that’s the equivalent of a US school having Spanish?

  • Lori

    McArdle wants kids, regardless of “huskiness”, to be taught to rush a gunman because he won’t be able to kill them all. Sure, a bunch of the rushers will die but the overall death toll will be lower so it’s all good.

    Like I said, they’re both soulless and dumb and the fact that they get paid for the opinions is to our national shame.

  • I suppose that if the only alternative is “everyone dies”, then just by the numbers it is quite literally better than nothing.

    The problem is that, being a pro-gun conservative, she can’t even imagine there beign a desirable solution that doesn’t end with someone being dead.

  • We Must Dissent

      For comparison, the US definition of “highly qualified”–which is only
    required for core subjects–is a non-provisional teaching license, a
    bachelor’s degree in *anything*, and passing the subject area exam. My
    state requires Master’s degrees for “terminal” (i.e., indefinitely
    renewable) licenses. Teachers with anything other than an
    education-related master’s are a very small minority. In my master’s
    program, very few of the classes contributed anything of value to my
    ability to teach. I did learn a lot of buzzwords for interviews, though.

    strangely the worst instruction I’ve ever had was from the instructors
    during my teacher training. A few were very good, but many were just
    awful. The worst one by far was one we had to take three different
    classes from.

    The only reason I have a master’s in teaching is
    because you can’t government financial aid for licensure programs that
    do not grant degrees. I couldn’t financially afford to not get a second

    Personally, I’d just like enough funding to be restored so that I can both have classes of less than 30 students each and not have to special order basic office supplies like pencils and erasers.

  • “Pontifex”? Really? Bit on the nose, innit? I’d go obscure, like Eggs16, or Popeonarope, RatInTheHat…something like that. 

  •  I have to admit Pontifex makes me think of Majipoor. X-D

  • abi

    Was anyone else surprised to find that the “dirty, smelly man wearing a thong” article was about John the Baptist and not Rob Delaney?

  • vsm

    Finland has two official languages, Swedish and Finnish. Everyone is in principle required to study both, but it’s possible to be excused from learning one of them, often if you’re an immigrant who’s fluent in neither. Everyone also needs to pick one additional foreign language in third grade, which is usually English. I suppose that would be our equivalent of  taking Spanish. Russian is actually fairly uncommon.

    I went to a decent but  unexceptional small public high school in Southern Finland. Along with the previously mentioned, the school also offered classes in German (which I took) and French. Bigger schools tend to offer more languages. I know someone who studied a decent amount of Latin back in the day.

  • Lliira

    I am jealous. My decent but unexceptional small high school in the U.S. only offered French, Spanish, and German. You could not start learning them until high school, and the way classes were planned, you could only take one language. A big high school nearby also offered Latin in addition to those. Why Latin and not something far more useful — like, say, Russian or Arabic or Mandarin or Japanese — I don’t know.

    People like to make fun of U.S.ians for only knowing one language. And it’s true, we should know more. But compared to people in other countries, we’re hamstringed — most of us can’t learn another language in elementary school, it is not offered, and can only learn one in high school. Then we can either extend our knowledge of that one in college or learn a different one or, if we had enough time in the language in high school, skip it altogether and save the money and time. Picking up a new language in college is an exercise in frustration, because the classes go extremely fast and the professors assume you’ve already had experience in the language. A few of the students, those from very large and wealthy public school districts or from private schools, have, and professors plan their courses around them.

    Our educational system is built around the idea of us learning one language in high school enough to be a non-embarrassed tourist in one country. Anything more is actually difficult to get.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Latin is marvelously useful. So many SAT words have Latin roots, so even if you don’t know the SAT word, if you know enough Latin you can puzzle out the meaning.

    (…apparently I can’t make that properly sarcastic. Maybe it’s because my standard vocabulary actually includes SAT words.)

  • vsm

    I suppose you don’t really have much incentive to learn another language either, what with already speaking the lingua franca. Despite all these opportunities, most Finns just focus on learning English. Some even take pride in not knowing Swedish. Personally, I think it’s a delightful language. Speaking it never fails to put me in a good mood.

  • Lori

    The problem is that, being a pro-gun conservative, she can’t even
    imagine there beign a desirable solution that doesn’t end with someone being dead.  

    McArdle is more of a glibertarian, but yes the heart of her problem is that she refuses to acknowledge even the possibility acceptable and effective gun control. That means the guns stay and that in turn means some number of people are going to die and she apparently thinks that coming up with a deeply stupid idea to supposedly reduce the total number of deaths is the best that can be done.

  • Lori
  • vsm

    My reaction to the Swedish Chef is pretty much the same as the writer’s wife’s.  It’s a pretty good article, though. I don’t think many journalists would have included an introduction to the prosody of Southern Swedish accents in an article about a gibberish-spouting Muppet.

  • Lori

    I was just surprised to find that asking Swedes about the Swedish Chef is apparently a common thing. Asking about Ikea or The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,/i> is at least sort of legitimate. There’s no reason to expect that every Swede has an opinion about either of them and/or their fame outside Sweden, but it’s at least a reasonable conversation starter. The Swedish Chef, not so much.