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December 25, 2009

The Colorful Holiday Customs Of Our European Friends
Posted by Patrick at 06:43 PM *

(Via Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer on Twitter.)

UPDATE: Frontline ethnographic researcher Kip Williams contributes traditional Pope-knocking-over songs.

Comments on The Colorful Holiday Customs Of Our European Friends:
#1 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2009, 06:59 PM:

Did PZ Myers have a hand in that headline juxtaposition?

#2 ::: Wirelizard ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2009, 07:11 PM:

I noticed that headline on CNN too, hadn't realized we needed to knock over an old German guy in a dress before the holiday could officially begin... bit hard on old German guys in dresses, but strange holiday traditions have to begin somewhere, don't they?

(PZ also came to mind, I'm surprised he hasn't jumped on it yet!)

#3 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2009, 07:16 PM:

*snort*

Now that's comedy gold.

#4 ::: Zak ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2009, 09:00 PM:

I'd been having a mildly crappy day today, and the little cluster of headlines on my news aggregator was a wonder and a delight (EXPLOSION ON PLANE, CAR ACCIDENT KILLS ONE AT NATIVITY, WOMAN KNOCKS DOWN POPE, SALVATION ARMY MAN KILLED IN FRONT OF CHILDREN). I had stopped paying attention.

Sharon came into my office to tell me something, took one look at the headlines and started laughing. Sure enough, this one was sitting right there staring me in the face.

What gets me is that it's well on its way to becoming a tradition!

#5 ::: Larry ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2009, 09:17 PM:

It seems it is not Christmas if a pope isn't getting knocked down eh?

#6 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2009, 09:30 PM:

Wouldn't it be more interesting if the pope got knocked up?

#7 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2009, 09:42 PM:

xeger, it would be an historic occasion. In more many ways.

#8 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2009, 09:49 PM:

Christmas is coming
The goose is getting fat
Won't you please knock down a pontiff
In a great big hat?

If you haven't got a pontiff,
A cardinal will do
If you haven't got a cardinal,
*** **** you!

#9 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2009, 10:00 PM:

As I was a-walkin' to holiday Mass
(Way, hey, knock the Pope down!)
A man in a dress landed flat on his back
(Give her some time, to knock the Pope down!)

At first he was standing, and then he was prone
(Way, hey, knock the Pope down!)
He muttered in German, like he was alone
(O give her some time, to knock the Pope down!)

#10 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2009, 10:05 PM:

*snerk*

#11 ::: Patrick Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2009, 11:21 PM:

Kip Williams, national treasure.

#13 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2009, 11:42 PM:

I see that Foul Old Ron is already slated to sing the first of Kip's songs.

#14 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 25, 2009, 11:56 PM:

I was listening to the BBC last night. Not only was the Pope getting knocked over at the top of the news, hour after hour, but they had consecutive reports, one of which said that the Pope was unaffected and calmly did his homily, and another which said he was shaken and it showed.

It doesn't matter which one was true (I'm saving my sympathies for the cardinal whose hip was broken) but doesn't the BBC keep track of what they're saying?

#15 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 12:19 AM:

Nancy Lebovitz @ 14 ...
Not only was the Pope getting knocked over at the top of the news, hour after hour

Y'know ... they do that sort of thing at church fundraisers, but it's usually a dunk tank, or pies...

#16 ::: nerdycellist ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 12:33 AM:

I read an account yesterday that mentioned it was a woman in a red hoodie who lunged at the pope - and that a woman in a red hoodie also jumped a barricade to get to the pope last year. They were not certain if it was the same woman.

Are we seeing the beginning of a new Christmas liturgy? Does the woman in the red maniple tackle the Pontiff before or after the thurifer walks through?

#17 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 03:49 AM:

xeger #6: Wouldn't it be more interesting if the pope got knocked up?

The Legend of Popess Joan

#18 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 04:18 AM:

Perhaps the ceremonial requirement of having someone relatively powerless knock over a figure of authority goes back to the reversals of Saturnalia.

The fact that the powerless figure in this case was not just a woman, but a woman in a red hood is significant. She's clearly personifying one of the least powerful figures in our collective mythos, a character so gorm-free that she couldn't recognize a wolf in a nightdress.

What more do you expect on a holiday that celebrates the overthrow of the old regime?

#19 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 08:04 AM:

If the Pope can get canned in the Vatican without a cantilever, will he cancel the canticles?

#20 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 08:54 AM:

Somewhere, at this very moment, some hacker is feverishly trying to complete a bowling game for the Iphone, in which the player attempts to knock over a Pope and nine Cardinals. It will hit the App Store by Monday and make its programmer a small fortune...

My amusement has been tempered upon learning that Cardinal Roger Etchegaray was injured in the incident. A hip fracture is serious for anybody, but more so at the age of 87. May his recovery be swift.

#21 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 09:41 AM:

She wasn't wearing a red hoodie.

It was a red snuggie.

WHEN WILL ADMIT THAT THE PEOPLE WHO WEAR THOSE ARE IN A CULT and start relocating them far away from religious figures?

#22 ::: Mike Leung ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 09:56 AM:

You better not shout
You better not cry
Time to sneak up on a high-hatted guy
Papal falls are coming to town

He's keeping a list
And checking it twice
Time to clobber some guy keeping score of your vice
Papal falls are coming to town

He sees with whom you're sleeping
He knows whose lust you slake
He won't let you eat the Messiah as food
So as long as your damned, knock him off his feet

You better not shout
You better not cry
Time to sneak up on a high-hatted guy
Papal falls are coming to town

#23 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 10:29 AM:

Earl Cooley III @ 17 ...
The Legend of Popess Joan

Indeedy :) She had come to mind...

IIRC, the inspection these days is rather more of a formality.

#24 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 10:39 AM:
#18 ::: abi

Perhaps the ceremonial requirement of having someone relatively powerless knock over a figure of authority goes back to the reversals of Saturnalia.

The fact that the powerless figure in this case was not just a woman, but a woman in a red hood is significant. She's clearly personifying one of the least powerful figures in our collective mythos, a character so gorm-free that she couldn't recognize a wolf in a nightdress.

What more do you expect on a holiday that celebrates the overthrow of the old regime?

This sounds like something I'd hear on the BBC's My Word and shows off just one of the things that makes ML just a fun community

#25 ::: Sandy B. ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 10:41 AM:

Oh dear.

Come, they told me
to knock the Pope down
Visit the Holy See
and knock the Pope down
I have no gifts to bring
just knock the Pope down
for the immortal king
just knock the Pope down
Knock the Pope down
Knock the Pope down...


Best wishes to Cardinal Etchegaray and the Bishop of Rome.

#26 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 10:55 AM:

Say, wasn't Papal Falls where George Bailey lived? "Merry Christmas, Trevi Fountain! Merry Christmas, Spanish Steps! Merry Christmas, you old Vatican!"

#27 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 11:06 AM:

abi @18

Fortunately this moose cannot make anything that vaguely scans out of "gorm-free"
and the "Born Free" tune. Otherwise there would be TROUBLE,

It must be earworm season.

gormless n. totally lacking in gorm.

#28 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 11:13 AM:

He'll be Praying
When we're swaying
I'll be be kneeling...

Pope gets knocked down!
But he gets up again!
You're never going to keep him down!

Pope gets knocked down!
But he gets up again!
No you're never going to keep him down!

#29 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 11:33 AM:
It's nice to see pope-tipping making a resurgence. [Lori M. Wyndham, commenting at David Langford's Facebook]

---

Dashing through the crowd
In a snuggie once again,
Thro' humble folk, heads bowed
Laughing like a drain!
Swiss guards from Lucerne
Scatter left and right,
What fun it is to overturn
Saint Peter's heir tonight!

Fling the Pope!
Fling the Pope!
Fling him to the street!
Oh, what fun it is to hear
Him tumbled off his feet -- oh!
Fling the Pope!
Fling the Pope!
Knock him down, I say!
Oh, what fun to see him fall
On a winter holiday!

#30 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 11:50 AM:

Interestingly enough, Google will translate into Hebrew "Blessed are you, oh woman, who knocks the pope down" but won't provide a phonetic transcript. Because if I could get one, that could totally be a new Christmas tradition among my tribe. By which I mean snarky, nerdy, Jewish atheists in fandom.

#31 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 02:54 PM:

Bill Higgins @ 20... May he recover swiftly.

#32 ::: Jane Smith ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 04:19 PM:

Every time we watched the BBC news coverage yesterday I heard in my head the song, "Popes fall like dominoes, dominoes..."

When I spoke to my sister (who had already spoken with our brother, the priest) it turned out that the story had cheered them both immensely. Both of my siblings felt that there's nothing as funny as watching a bunch of pompous blokes in frocks being made to look faintly ridiculous. Especially when news coverage of the event makes it clear that if the security blokes had left well alone that poor old Cardinal wouldn't have been pulled to the floor, and so wouldn't have broken his thigh, god bless him.

Sorry. I'm feeling irreverent today. As is my brother (said priest, who trained at the Vatican), who can't own up to agreeing with any of this right now.

#33 ::: Penh ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 08:50 PM:

I hope this becomes an annual tradition. Every year someone needs to break through security and knock over the Pope. I hope that one year security is so incredibly tight that nobody is able to get through, and the crackling blue electric Hand of God appears and pushes the Pope down a short flight of stairs. From then on, every year a designated Papal Pusher gets to knock him down. People will sell little Pope dolls that you can push over for good luck. When you're on a hot streak, people will say, "Wow, you must have knocked over the Pope or something!" When your luck is bad, you can strike a dramatic pose and shout, "Would someone please knock over the Pope!" So anyway, that's my Grand Idea for the year, in just under the deadline. May 2010 be a Pope-knocking year for you all!!

#34 ::: Julia S. ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 09:45 PM:

There's a fortune to be made here in Whack-A-Pope carnival games.

My brother sent me a video of this with the Punch-Out "Body blow! Body blow!" dubbed over it. I will be seeing him in Hell.

#35 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 09:47 PM:

Josh Jasper @30:
That's okay; that "translation" sucks horribly. I'd go with:
ברוך הי האישה שמפיל את האפיפיור
barukh hi, ishah she-mafil et ha-apifior
(bah-rookh hee, hah-ee-shah sheh-mah-feel eht hah-ah-pee-fee-ohr)

#36 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 09:53 PM:

Tangent to the above: apparently I should trust my Hebrew instincts more. My initial thought was that the key verb root was נפל, then I let a Hebrew dictionary lead me off course. :)

#37 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 10:39 PM:

So much for Papal Unfallability.

#38 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 10:51 PM:

#37--

whoa--nice work melissa!

#39 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 11:46 PM:

Nancy Lebovitz:

...doesn't the BBC keep track of what they're saying?

Not based on their newscasts, they aren't. If I hear one more report on the UK spending a fortune to rebuild/retrofit "Shin--Ooook" helicopters I swear I'm going to throw the Librarian through the radio. To hell with "BBC Standard English," the term was invented in the PNW to cover the name of the language and I've NEVER heard anyone who can speak "Shin--uck" pronounce it with an "ooook." This isn't Aluminium or Colour or Leftenant, damn it: there's only one way to say it!

#40 ::: Wyman Cooke ::: (view all by) ::: December 26, 2009, 11:47 PM:

Deck the halls with falls of holies.

Fa-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.

#41 ::: Mike Leung ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 03:47 AM:

His account is that you are a gnomon
From the words of Christ his club wrote down
He says you cannot marry 'cause you're both men
You want to send the pope's ass to the ground

If you are lead
By your desire
He says you'll burn
Eternal fire
Because some love's wrong
You do not belong
--knocking down the pope onto the land

#42 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 04:53 AM:

The BBC has finally learned to pronounce Maryland. It's Merrih-land, not Mary-land.

I don't know whether there's a Mary-land in England, or they were just getting it wrong.

#43 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 11:07 AM:

All of which makes me wonder: are there real-world traditional ceremonies (outside of BDSM) that traditionally involve someone powerful or respected getting ceremoniously humiliated?

#44 ::: Melissa Mead ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 11:09 AM:

kid bitzer @ #38: Thanks!

#45 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 11:23 AM:

Raphael @ 43: There are a variety of Christmas-time traditions which involve the masters and servants trading roles.

#46 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 11:32 AM:

Bruce E. Durocher II @ 39: [On the BBC and Chinook helicopters] I've NEVER heard anyone who can speak "Shin--uck" pronounce it with an "ooook."

Ok, so that's the vowel sound. But isn't Chinook pronounced with an affricate "ch" either?

#47 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 12:00 PM:

#39 and #46:  in Alberta, the warm wind that gets the temperature from -40°C to +5 in a day is also pronounced “Shin—oook”.  Maybe it’s just a way of distinguishing between a wind or a helicopter and a Native American.

#48 ::: John Stanning ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 12:13 PM:

The BBC has a Pronunciation Unit which is supposed to know how to pronounce names;  maybe the World Service does get them right, but sometimes the knowledge doesn’t read across to BBC national radio and TV, because I’m often irritated when they fail on names in languages that I know how to pronounce.

But Mary-land is the normal British pronuncation, not unnaturally – after all, the place is named for a British queen.

#49 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 12:55 PM:

#43 Raphael

All of which makes me wonder: are there real-world traditional ceremonies (outside of BDSM) that traditionally involve someone powerful or respected getting ceremoniously humiliated?

There probably are lots of them. The one which occurred to me first is Harvard's Hasty Pudding annual event feting someone who acts in the entertainment industry, wherein a famous, prestigious entertainer, gets skittered (mugging English here, to make skit into a verb..). Some of them are even people who were members of the Hasty Pudding society when there were Harvard undergraduates.

http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2009/2/17/franco-crowned-hasty-pudding-man-of/

Franco Crowned Hasty Pudding Man of the Year
By Lauren D. Kiel, CRIMSON STAFF WRITER
Published: Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Over the course of the roast, Franco was forced to don an eye patch, purple high heels, a blonde wig, and a sparkling golden bra shaped like a pineapple, before he was presented with the traditional Pudding Pot.

Then there are all those "celebrity roasts" in general. There are one or two annual political ones in Boston....

#50 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 02:40 PM:

And riffing off that, Paula, there's the whole ceremony of "roasting" various media celebrities. It's been done to SF writers as well. And one can look at Stephen Colbert speaking at the National Press Club for George W. Bush....

#51 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 03:03 PM:

The BBC's pronunciation sets me off. They have whole books on how to pronounce the names of musty old lords, but when it comes to a foreign language with simple and unambiguous rules, we get things like "Nick-a-rag-you-uh" and "Jag-you-are."

#52 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 03:27 PM:

Bruce E. Durocher II #39:

I admit to being undecided. It sets my teeth on edge when American journalists pronounce Iraq, "eye-rack". But then, what about tomato? Should it be "Pa-riss" or "Pa-ree" as the French would pronounce it?

#53 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 04:58 PM:

Centuries from now, we'll have WWIII reenactment societies demonstrate the quaint ritual of The Tipping of the Pope.

#54 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 06:06 PM:

Soon Lee @ 52

I see your eye-rack and raise you "nucular".

#55 ::: Mike Leung ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 08:18 PM:

re: Kip W @ #51: The Jaguar carmakers report "jag-you-are" as the literal correct pronunciation, and Merriam-Webster online lists it as a correct pronunciation.

#56 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 09:27 PM:

Raphael @ 43:

If memory serves, there's an annual Ceremony in which The Pope, Himself, washes the feet of twelve poor people. (One might assume that said feet are already reasonably clean, but it's the Idea that counts.)

And I think a newly-elected Pope prostrates Himself on the floor in front of the altar at some point during the investiture ceremonies.

None of which indicates that any given Bishop of Rome really feels humble, just that he's supposed to.

#57 ::: xeger ::: (view all by) ::: December 27, 2009, 10:16 PM:

Don Fitch @ 56 ...
It's a part of the easter week ceremonies, and not unique to the pontiff.

#58 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 12:52 AM:

Roy G. Ovrebo:

But isn't Chinook pronounced with an affricate "ch" either?

I just went over to the Merriam-Webster site and listened to their digitized version. The Chi part is pronounced as something vaguely between the Shin and Ch sounds, but the Ook is an Ook, not an Uck. I'm trying to believe this, but *I've* never heard it pronounced with an ook.

Soon Lee: I'm not a good judge on this one since I keep thinking of the Gershwin's take on the question which distracts me.

Cadbury Moose: Remember Walt Kelly and Howland Owl's old line, "Nuclear Physics ain't so new and it ain't so clear."

#59 ::: Soon Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 01:23 AM:

Bruce #58:
So it's called off then?

#60 ::: Ken Brown ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 02:23 AM:

Raphael43:"...are there real-world traditional ceremonies (outside of BDSM) that traditionally involve someone powerful or respected getting ceremoniously humiliated?"

We call them "elections".

#61 ::: Julie L. ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 02:42 AM:

Earlier this month, I bemusedly listened to the BBC repeatedly talking about a military junta, which they pronounced with an initial J-as-in-jam sound and approximately rhyming with "punter" (allowing for the terminal non-rhotic R).

#62 ::: SeanH ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 05:42 AM:

So far it's sounding like a lot of these apparent mistakes are just the English dialect, coupled with a policy of pronouncing words as if they were English. Which is unsatisfactory, but better than expecting a newscaster to be able to satisfactorily produce every vowel and consonant on God's Green. "Junta" is a good example: that rough Spanish J is pretty difficult to get the hang of.

Soon Lee #52: You should hear them mangle "Deutschland". And don't get me started on "Daehan-minguk".

#63 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 10:10 AM:

Mike Leung @ 55: It was not until I heard the three-syllable pronunciation of "jaguar" that the bit wherein Pooh and Piglet discuss the animal in question made sense, as I couldn't get "jagular" from "jaguar" no matter how I tried.

Regarding the pope-tipping, the husband and I were bemused by the chair being passed along through the crowd immediately after the incident. I understand that ceremonies of this sort are crowded, and that one might want more standing room, but wouldn't you think the guards might be a little wary of something that throwable being passed hand-to-hand at head level?

#64 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 11:05 AM:

John Stanning @48:

Maryland was not named for any of the British Queens whose regnal name was "Mary." It was named for the Queen of Heaven -- Lord Baltimore, the founder of the colony, was Catholic. And "Merrih-lnnd" is the correct (local) pronunciation -- the "a" in the second syllable vanishes.

IIRC, Maryland was the first colony founded on true religious freedom, not sure if Pennsylvania or Rhode Island can claim to be the second.

#65 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 11:31 AM:

Lori, #64: In 1776 it's pronounced "Mary-land", and the footnotes to the libretto note that this was the common period pronunciation. Apparently this has only changed here in the colonies. :-)

#66 ::: Sarah K ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 11:33 AM:

Lori Coulson @ #64:

The way I read the history, Maryland was founded on a principle more closely resembling "Oh crap, we founded this colony and don't even have a large enough minority to be able to safely decree that our religion be official, guess we'd better let everyone else have theirs so they don't revolt."

But hey, if it worked it worked. ;)

Also, more generally, I would love to see someone manufacture a pope-shaped drinking duck. Maybe with a woman behind it with outstretched hands?

#67 ::: Rebecca Scudder ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 11:46 AM:

Well, webbles wobble but they don't fall down
But pontiffs waffle and hit with a frown...
When Vatican guards make a red hat slip
Collateral cardinal breaks his hip

#68 ::: David Dyer-Bennet ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 12:08 PM:

Kip, lovely work! It helps that I can figure out the origiinals, so I know what the scansion is supposed to be.

#69 ::: Roy G. Ovrebo ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 12:45 PM:

Lori Coulson @64: Maryland was not named for any of the British Queens whose regnal name was "Mary." It was named for the Queen of Heaven -- Lord Baltimore, the founder of the colony, was Catholic.

That's not what the Maryland State Archives say:
"Maryland's name honors Queen Henrietta Maria (1609-1669), wife of Charles I (1600-1649), King of Great Britain and Ireland, who signed the 1632 charter establishing the Maryland colony."

#70 ::: Lori Coulson ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 01:51 PM:

Ok -- so much for my source which claimed it was because the founder was Catholic! Hmmm, Henrietta-Maria...isn't she the one who had to flee from England due to the Civil War? IIRC, Charles I lost his head to the Rebels.

#71 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 02:08 PM:

70
Lord Baltimore actually was Catholic, though.

#72 ::: Nicholas Rogers ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 03:21 PM:

@70, 71:

FWIW (and it's very little), as a student in Maryland, the general consensus I heard was that attributing the naming to Charles I's wife Henrietta was essentially a retcon almost a century later.

It was pretty emphatically stated that naming a place "Mary's Land" after the Queen of Heaven would be more likely for the idealistic Lord Baltimore than naming it after his patron's wife's second given name. Essentially, he wasn’t allowed to call it “Catholic-Land-neener-neener-on-YOU!” and claim true religious indifference and equality at the same time, so he dialed it back a notch. A small notch.

It should also be pointed out that claiming Charles's wife as inspiration wasn't exactly mollifying to the anti-catholics anyway, so the point always seemed a bit lost. More like backwards adoption of a good Catholic queen who was forced to flee to France than a direct contemporary inspiration.

At least, that's how I heard it. I'm not a native, or even a local, so LARGE grain of salt needed.

#73 ::: Jules ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 04:06 PM:

Nancy @14: "doesn't the BBC keep track of what they're saying?"

No. The studio report is written by one reporter, the video report by another, and I doubt they have time to check them for consistency. I regularly catch them out contradicting each other, or with the video report clearly written building up to a reveal half way through of some fact that was already mentioned in the studio introduction.

nerdycellist @16: "I read an account yesterday that mentioned it was a woman in a red hoodie who lunged at the pope - and that a woman in a red hoodie also jumped a barricade to get to the pope last year. They were not certain if it was the same woman."

The BBC were quite clear: it was the same woman. How she managed to get within half a mile of the cathedral second time round is not entirely clear. Isn't the pope supposed to have some kind of security?

#74 ::: Ledasmom ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 04:36 PM:

She was wearing the same outfit both times?
That does seem like a security lapse right there.

#75 ::: Bruce E. Durocher II ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 11:35 PM:

Or a tragic lack of fashion sense.

#76 ::: Leroy F. Berven ::: (view all by) ::: December 28, 2009, 11:55 PM:

Bruce @ 58: "The Chi part is pronounced as something vaguely between the Shin and Ch sounds, but the Ook is an Ook, not an Uck. I'm trying to believe this, but *I've* never heard it pronounced with an ook."

When I was growing up in Montana, the local "received pronunciation", for both the weather phenomenon and the town, was "shin-ook". With equal emphasis on both syllables, or just a little more on the second.

Both the weather and the locality were very much recognized as parts of the local community. (To the extent that you can use the term "local" to describe a whole state, especially one which spans an entire time zone.)

#77 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2009, 04:06 AM:

Bruce @75:

Well, he was probably wearing much the same clothing too.

Wait, yeah, that doesn't help.

#78 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2009, 07:27 AM:

oh holy night

oh holy night!
when pontiffs prance in praaada,
it is the night, when i tackle the pope.
lost in the crowd,
i'm incommunicaaaada,
til he appears,
and i lunge past the rope.

a race ensues,
the guards surround the vicar,
his grace's shoes,
are chic, but mine are quicker:

fall! on your knees!
adhere! to ankles vise-like,
oh nigh-ight divine
oh night, when popes go down
oh night, divine
oh night, divine!

#79 ::: Janet Croft ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2009, 10:59 AM:

Okay, #78 was hilarious... I can just see this whole thing becoming a Discworld custom. I mean, if it's happened twice, that's narrativium at work and it has to KEEP happening!

#80 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 29, 2009, 12:42 PM:

#79--

thanks, janet--very glad you enjoyed it.

#81 ::: Kip W ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2009, 11:18 AM:

Nice job, kid!

#82 ::: kid bitzer ::: (view all by) ::: December 31, 2009, 11:25 AM:

thanks, kip w--yours were the inspiration.

#83 ::: Nancy C. Mittens ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2010, 04:56 PM:

On this day, as we celebrate the Incarnation of the Lord, the taking on of Human Flesh by God, an old woman, as a symbol of age and wisdom, is selected to remind the Pope, as the divine Christ's representative on Earth, that he too is human and corporeal.

#84 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: January 01, 2010, 07:42 PM:

Well, obviously, it's another miraculous apparition of Our Lady of Knock (Over).

#85 ::: Paul A. ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2010, 10:27 AM:

abi @ #18: a character so gorm-free that she couldn't recognize a wolf in a nightdress.

Cadbury Moose @ #27: Fortunately this moose cannot make anything that vaguely scans out of "gorm-free" and the "Born Free" tune.


Gorm free!
Now where did that wolf go?
Do I really care? No.
Gorm free, I stray off the track.

Home free!
With her gone, I'm free to
Get there first, and see to
Grandma before she gets back!

Grandma!
What big ears you have now!
And big eyes, and great big jaws
and teeth, and furry paws!

Gorm free!
That girl was quite tasty!
Good thing she was hasty
She was gorm free!


(You're welcome.)

#86 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: January 03, 2010, 11:04 AM:

I *love* this place.

#87 ::: Cadbury Moose ::: (view all by) ::: January 05, 2010, 03:49 AM:

Aieeeee! Congratulations to Paul A. at 85.

This moose was definitely not ready for that.

Have a truffle, have several... (FX: offers box around and ducks hastily.)

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