Category Archives: rants and rambling muse with views

The plight of the Ortolan


My ginormous Book of Birds tells us that the Ortolan (Emberiza hortulana) is a bird in the bunting family Emberizidae, a passerine family. The bird’s common name is French, from the Latin hortulanus, the gardener bird, (from hortus, a garden).

It’s a cutey. What a nice little beak it has.

Apparently it’s also very, very tasty – in a weird French cuisine sort of way…

Ortolans used to be netted in great numbers, kept alive in an artificially lighted, or darkened room to disrupt their feeding schedule, and fed with heaps of oats and millet – sometimes the odd fig. In a very short time they became enormously huge – a bit like my big Book of Birds.

They are then drowned in Brandy, roasted and you pop them in your mouth – whole.

Chowdown and swallow the lot.

In 1976 Craig Claiborne, the New York Times food critic, made a winning $300 bid in an auction for a dinner for two, courtesy of American Express, at any restaurant in the world that takes Amex. Claiborne selected Chez Denis in Paris for a $4000 meal that included a course of ortolans. It led to a front-page story, and some controversy.

It’s illegal to catch and kill the Ortolan – but it’s not illegal to eat one. Oh, only the French.

It’s black and white!

I’m a proud Pies supporter tonight. Thanks for all the jokes, cartoons and the fun things you Sainter and ABC barrackers have been sending my way of late. Collingwood at least, and at last, have shaken the mantle of wobblers. It wasnt the Pies that choked today. No room tonight for graciousness, in such a commanding and sustained performance. Get your hot Pies here.

Tomorrow the smugness will abate, but I will put my mind to back-to-back cups in 2011! You can knock Pies supporters all you like, question their legitimacy and call their Mum bad names – but can never, ever question our passion and loyalty. It’s black and white.

Half time at the footy

I am a Collingwood barrack-er.

We got the wobbles at the first Grand Final.

The Saints they had heart, and fought back after The Pies dominated the first half.

But the black and white lads couldn’t withstand a spirited attack and the Saints got in front.

Then it a was one-pointer with a minute to go, and then a draw.

Back again next week…

One team will win comfortably. Until Saturday evening I thought the Pies would do it easily.

But perhaps the Pies are yet to really turn it on…perhaps they will run away with it second time around and be easy winners – with all that Grand Final experience they got last week.

Perhaps no Dehli on the telly

Perhaps no Dehli on the telly?

The roof is falling in.

Perhaps no more Commonwealth Games?

It has now proved that you cant just keep building sporting arenas – especially when the bulk of your country lives in or near poverty. Olympic and Commonwealth Games – and World Cup Soccer.  Why not just re-use those that are already built. Have the sport- but save some money. Many in India would much prefer a hospital to a swimming pool centre or a weight lifting auditorium – albeit with a dodgy ceiling.

The Holy See

Oh we see. And it is far from holy.

On his recent trip to the UK Pope Benedict the XVI had a chance to make a major announcement on action by the Catholic Church on how they might start to answer for their deplorable behaviour.

It cant be a case of not having enough money to cover legal and compensation costs.

The Catholic Church has BILLION$ and it could easily compensate with some real money. Money will alone will not erase what has happened – but it’s a way to help victims get their lives in order.

The Vatican’s Bank  is known officially as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR). It looks after a lot of the Catholic purse.

Thank you, but we are well aware of the Catholic Church and some of its recent and past attempts at “religious works”.

So they have an “institute”? Well the Institute has now been found transfering many millions of Euros from its account to other Italian and European banks – and the Italian Tax Office is very interested.

The BBC recently reported:

The head of the Vatican Bank, Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, is under investigation as part of a money-laundering inquiry, police sources say. Prosecutors also seized 23m euros ($30m; £19m) from the bank’s accounts with another smaller institution. The inquiry was launched after two suspicious transactions were reported to tax police in Rome.

The Vatican said it was “perplexed and astonished”, and expressed full confidence in Mr Tedeschi. The Vatican Bank, known officially as the Institute for Religious Works (IOR), was created during World War II to administer accounts held by religious orders, cardinals, bishops and priests.

Read it all at the BBC.

What can you say? They have hundreds of billions of dollars in deposits, stocks and property etc. They then try to “ship” some of the money off to avoid taxes. And yet they refuse to properly deal with the whole matter of abuse and the ensuing cover-up.

I dont think there is a long Papacy ahead for Pope Benedict XVI.

Before he became Pope, Joseph Alois Ratzinger, once the Archbishop of Munich, was in a position to do something about the abuse he was aware of, and any cover up.

He didn’t.

He must act now, or make way for a new leader of the Church. He has yet to do anything – apart from delivering a few well rehearsed platitudes – as he did on his recent UK visit.

The Church just lurches from one calamitous issue to another.