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Tuesday, April 05, 2005

[General/Comment] Being the Pope Means Wearing the Big Hat

This is my third post of the day please read the two below as well.

First a test: tell me where the apostrophe goes in these two sentences:

1 We have a cat. Its grey.
2 We have a cat, its grey.

Answers at the bottom

This is brought on by a test conducted on Campbell: Live last night. Many New Zealanders do have terrible punctuation skills and equally bad grammar. Please do not start scrutinising this blog because there will be mistakes somewhere (usually sentence fragments, “but “sentence fragment” is a sentence fragment”). Interestingly the spell checker employed by Blogger.com says that blog is a spelling mistake.

I went on a grammar and punctuation curse for work. Man, I knew nothing! Grammar had just been phased out when I went through the schooling system. What this meant was that my Chinese workmate, who learned English as a second language, kicked my arse. “Hadyn that is a conjunctive pro-adverb and so does not need an articulated subjugating noun”.

So the Pope died, did you hear? You probably did, it’s only everywhere! This is a big celebrity death. It is kind of annoying when there is a gigantic out-pouring of grief by millions for someone who could have done a lot more, and when some one who did all they could dies the remembrance is normally quite small (i.e. Mother Theresa). There was a discussion on the B yesterday morning (another reason I love Auckland) about Pope JPII’s passing. “Was he a good man?” was the basic question of the day. Many people said “yes” but that he could have done more. A lot more said “no” he should have done more.

AIDS and Africa came up a lot in the piece. I thought about this and tried to put my self in his shoes. If I was the Pope, and this is quite hard for someone who has limited (or no) belief in a higher being, then I would truly believe that not only is there a God but that He (I actually like to think of my Gods as non-gender-specific but I’m trying to think like the Pope here) has a direct influence on the world. So if you do not follow the Catholic teachings of monogamy and sex after marriage etc and then you catch AIDS or another STD then that must be God’s punishment on you. Please remember that this is not what I think but rather what the Pope might have thought.

The area I think that Pope should have done more in is that of war and conflict between religions especially. Had JPII put out a Papal decree that all Catholics must oppose the war in Iraq then would American have done all the awful things that they did? I guess we’ll never know. Although, I saw GW Bush give a speech about the Pope yesterday. Maybe I got the wrong end of the stick but it seemed to go like this: “The Pope was a great man, he told last time that I met him that America was a great country and that we were great and free and that America was awesome, fuck yeah!” Obviously this is not a quote. But how could Bush turn a eulogy for the Pope into an ad for America?

So while millions file into the world’s smallest country to see a dead body (does anyone else find it creepy that he’s just lying there?) the Vatican delegates are getting set to pick a new Pope. Quick question: is the JPII still the Pope even though he is dead? What if Jesus came back today and demanded to talk to the Pope, what would they say? “Shit, you just missed him; in fact you probably passed him on the way down here”.

All of the non-Catholics are picking the African I think the smart money is on the Italian. By the way, if you are Catholic you can apply to be the Pope yourself, no joke; I think you can get a registration form here (actually I couldn’t find it, but maybe it’s in that “secret archives” bit on the left).

On the other side of the coin, reports from America today that (surprise, surprise) US teenagers like oral sex. Duh. The scary part is that they don’t consider it to be sex. A gay friend of mine once said that when gay people say “sex” they usually mean “oral sex”. I found these differences in lexicon to be incredibly important. The US teens said oral sex felt less risky and less emotional. If teenagers prefer sexual contact that requires less emotional attachment then I think we need to muse on this a little and decide what we have been telling our kids about sex for the last few years, especially through the media. You can’t stop teenagers having sex, so perhaps we should be teaching them more about how to deal with the emotional issues that surround sex.

Enough of the real stuff, you have a lot to chew through. Here are the answers:

1 We have a cat. It’s grey.
2 We have a cat, its grey.

The first sentence requires an apostrophe after the t in “its” because this is a shortening of “it is”.
The second sentence does not need an apostrophe.

Commas are powerful things

1 comment:

mike said...

I hate to be picky and immolate (at least partially) your excellent post, but I'm pretty sure the second grammar example is it's as well, as reading the sentence I take it to be a contraction of "it is". Unless you were meaning something else and I am confused (easily done)? The only time i, t and s form an its is when it's possessive. If you said something like "Its coat is grey" then I can see it being its and not it's.

Still, a comma is definitely a powerful thing. Eats, shoots and leaves, for example.

(and yeah, even though I am an injuneer, I did get my highest bursary mark in English. Hmmmm, don't know what that says about my endjinearing skills, therefore. Perhaps the less said the better - in fact, as I'm a telecommunications enginere, that's probably exactly what will happen :-)