Irish doctor with too many thoughts, too little time and a blog that's supposed to check in on reality.

Monday, September 18, 2006

I just want to move to Stockholm

With my husband and invent a currency for cats and dogs to use. – Ali G’s character in Talladega Nights: the Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

I never thought I’d say it – mainly as a stand against all the socialists who want to get their heart attacks in Sweden – but I could live in Sweden.

Sweden has rejected the Feminist Initiative, who failed to get the 4% necessary to join the parliament, a feminist party who had Jane Fonda and Eve Ensler fly in to rally the troops prior to the election.

I could learn Swedish. I think.

Sometimes Sorry is the Wrong Word

I’m not a theologian but…. (yes, any sentence beginning with one’s admission of lack of expertise followed by a “but”, is not a very promising start)…I don’t think Benedict should have apologised.

No doubt God would like us all to apologise when we’ve been wrong or hurt someone (even the other “Oh wise one” sings about “Sorry seems to be the hardest word”), but there are times when we should just resist.
In this Pope-versus-Islam celebrity deathmatch type showdown, Benedict 16 should have stood his ground. Admittedly his apology doesn’t actually retract the substance of what he said, he merely expresses sorrow at being taken out of context in the middle of large scholarly speech, but he shouldn’t apologise. It may be hard to stand your ground in the face of burning effigies and angry mobs killing nuns and the like – but dialogue about religion can’t be stopped every time someone of 1 faith disagrees with someone of another.

In the age of spiritual people and candle burnings, tenets of religious life have been reduced to morsels of love, peace, forgiveness, acceptance, tolerance and deep-breathing. You can be a tepid Buddhist or a “modern” Catholic nun (or like my grand-aunt, a nun, be both) and still have a bit of “whatever you’re having yourself”. But away from our birth crystals, there exists the structured nuances of religions – the Bible for Christians, the Catechism, Councils and Crinkly Old Church Fathers of Catholicism, the Koran for Muslims etc. While the reason of the 2nd millennial babies is vastly different to the Reason of Thomas Aquinas, both exist in our hearts as part of the continual questioning of our personal faiths. And when those faiths meet head on in the public arena of the world, stark dogmas must fight it out. Islamic thought unashamedly carries a by-the-sword ideology, while Christianity, despite a robust defence/just war exception beats those swords into ploughshares. We all can’t go home crying to Mammy everytime someone challenges something about our religion. While it’s trite to say, as some Christians do, “look at me, I didn’t burn pictures of Crucifixes in Urine when my faith was defiled in museums”, there is a contrast in our experiences of perceived disrespect. Democracy is something that is fully compatible with the Christian person, the “imago Dei” notion of all us, and with the recognition of our human nature, we’re more than happy with the whole Western democracy set up. Fair enough, not enough people want to go to Mass on Sundays, but we’re not going to round them up with swords or Bazookas (most parishes attempt more lethal versions of “This little light of mine”) or even subject them to capital punishment as one London based Islamic cleric called for.

To bridge these differences, robust debate is called for, where religious voices dialogue with the confidence of their convictions, from which respect is built. Having to apologise for statements of fact or having to hide out under couch from fear of fatwas is not advancement. The onus lies not on the Christian religions, and by extension the Western world to step up to the mark, but on leading political and religious figures in the Islamic tradition, particularly in Western countries to engage without fear and quick recourse to the “you’ve to say sorry” rallies.

For a few interesting articles on the whole point of the speech – religion and rationality – Thomas Madden in NRO; the Cedar Lounge Revolution (disagreeing) and the Anchoress has a comprehensive round-up post.

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Thursday, September 14, 2006

How to Behave in Class

Before Miss Abigail Time Warp Advice became the cool blog it is now, I was a big fan.

In this installment from Abigail's massive collection of vintage advice books, this post, featuring excerpts from the little known classic "Everyday Manners for American Boys and Girls by the Faculty of the South Philadelphia High School for Girls (New York: MacMillan Company, 1923)" deals with behaving in school.

This post is aimed both at Northsiders (the Disillusioned Lefties) and at Culchies (the baby sister) who are starting college in coming days/weeks.

The traffic rule, Keep to the right, applies to classrooms as well as to streets and corridors. If you keep to the right, and leave a passageway at your left, you will make entrances and exits easy.

When you enter a classroom go at once to your own seat. Put into your desk everything you will not need for that period. Nothing looks worse than a roomful of desks littered with piles of books, packages of lunch, baseball gloves, and oranges.

Never borrow books, inkwells, pens, or pencils from the teacher's or a pupil's desk without asking permission. Never sit in the teacher's chair unless the chairmanship of the lesson has been given over to you. Never stand close behind a teacher's desk, except when talking to her. The books and papers on her desk are her private property. You have no more right to examine her papers or read any writing there than you have to read other people's letters.

Interruptions of any sort are just as rude in the classroom as anywhere else. If you raise your hand while another pupil is reciting, you interrupt him. Often the sight of hands waved madly in the air breaks one's train of thought and makes it impossible for one to go on. If you wish to ask or answer a question, wait until the one who is reciting has finished and until the teacher recognizes you. Try to break the hand-waving habit.

Never ask a new question until the one perviously asked has been answered. That, too, is an interruption. Do not answer a question addressed to some one else.

If you do correct some one, do it tactfully. It is often the manner in which the correction is made, not the correction itself, that hurts. The one who is corrected should accept the criticism courteously.

Do not make fun of other's mistakes. To laugh reasonably at an amusing remark or happening is natural, but it is rude and unkind to make a boy or girl feel ridiculous.

At the end of the period, do not gather up your books until the signal for dismissal has been given. Never rattle paper or stand poised for flight while some one is talking.

If you are the first one to leave the room, fasten the door back. If it cannot be fastened, hold it open for the person behind you. He should hold it open for himself as soon as he reaches the door. Doors should never be slammed, but always closed quietly.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

New Music

I've put up some of the newish albums I'm listening to at the moment in the side bar. Will try to review some of them soon.
There's something for everyone there, except for fans of Backstreet Boys - there's this (or the ever touching real thing.


Common Sense about Rape a blog I read a lot and should link to more has a very interesting piece on date rape , slutty behaviour and that red-light trigger word "deserve".

Drinking until they pass out, acting with sexual aggression, celebrity pole notching, kiss and tells, dressing like porn stars and taking more and more risks.
It is an unpopular thing for a woman to say-I know I always get slated by my female friends whenever I say it- and sister of my friend gets particularly angry about it, but while yes, every woman has the right to be safe and not assualted or raped, those rights must go hand in hand with good sense.
If you are a young woman, staggering down a dark street, blind drunk, with hardly any clothes on, in the middle of the night, it does not mean you 'deserve'(I am really starting to hate that word) to get raped, far from it. But if you do get raped following the above scenario, you do need to ask yourself, did I practice good judgment? I don't deserve this, but was there anything I could have done to minimise the danger I put myself in.
At the end of the day rapists doesn't give a fiddler's fuck about rights, girl power, deserve, Sun campaigns, bloggers or consent. What the rapist is looking for is vulnerability. And that is something where we women can hold the upper hand.

Camille Paglia's opinions on date rape have had a similar ring of common sense about them -
"...feminism, which has waged a crusade for rape to be taken more seriously, has put young women in danger by hiding the truth about sex from them.
"In dramatizing the pervasiveness of rape, radical feminists have told young women that before they have sex with a man, they must give consent as explicit as a legal contract's. In this way, young women have been convinced that they have been the victims of rape."

(happily culled from Wendy Elroy's site - tried finding a different quote from Sex, Art and American Culture but my paperback version doesn't have a search function)


Monday, September 11, 2006

Blood Red Circle on the Cold Dark Ground

I hadn’t listened to Bruce Springsteen’s The Rising in a long time – then last week when I was reodering the CD shelf (well, shelves, stacks and bendy free standing holder thing), I decided to put it on again.

While some part of my mind registered the 911 anniversary bit, I was struck with emotion hearing it again – of all the post-911 stuff I have, The Rising speaks directly to the heart of the matter, “tears on the pillow darlin' where we slept”. The prosaic agonies of loss –  “your house is waiting for you to walk in”, those left behind when their loved ones act on honour - “I need your kiss, but love and duty called you someplace higher somewhere up the stairs into the fire”, the sense of a shifting centre “God's drifting in heaven, devil's in the mailbox I got dust on my shoes, nothing but teardrops” .

While on holidays in New York in May (and following a particularly disastrous experience of American baseball), I took the subway back into Manhattan from Yankee stadium. Standing beside me was a tall well built guy, chatting to his friends about his job as some sort of financial analyst. I know I shouldn’t eavesdrop on other people’s conversations, but I just can’t help it – he spoke about his best friend who was lost in the WTC and how this was the 1st subway ride he taken since 911 – he just wasn’t comfortable with the subway since.
While reading the plaques around ground zero a random business man approached us – he was from Chicago and everytime he came to NYC he came to appreciate the “nothingness” where “everything once was”.

I’m one of the few who supported, and supports various wars on terror and damning of evil axes, but regardless of where you stand, things were “forever changed in a misty cloud of pink vapour”.


And I’m A Junior Doctor

After a 36 hour shift – my 2nd Sunday on call in a row – with less than 3 hours sleep. And I’m watching other doctors do the same on the TV. And blogging about. Why am I not in bed?

More importantly, what do you, my readers (the few that’s left!), think of the Junior Doctors show and the life of the pond scum in the hospital, the junior doctor?
The main thing I’ve learnt so far in my internship is that I have to do what no one else will do – wheel patients down for scans, run to pathology, carry stuff from one place to another because porters don’t seem to “port”, nurses aren’t “certified” to do anything and no ECG machine ever seems to work. And in some bizarre twist of fate, the most reluctant of medical students has become 1 of the few interns in the hospital who’s actually enjoying the 80odd hour week.

Next week promises to be good – the interns fight back.

I’m a Ronseal Politician

Direct quote from Michael McDowell, the shiny new leader of the PDs on the 6.01 News.
As anyone who read this post will know, I am more fond of Michael McDowell, than I would be of say, Liz O’Donnell or Tom Parlon – and honestly, did they even think they could win the leadership contest?
But what does McDowell mean? He used the line in relation to his straight open, up and down persona he has created. Equally though it could mean that he identifies with the layer of noxious slime that you spend ages rubbing on to bits of wood that protects against wind, rain and liberals.