The Religious Education Board Game

With the National School Chaplaincy Program, under threat from constitutional High Court challenges, there is a real concern that $244 million dollars of Commonwealth funding may now instead be used for trained teachers who know the difference between fairy stories and education. With this in mind, I found this work of art in my six-year-old’s school bag at the end of a day that must have featured religious education.

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It’s instantly obvious why they wanted the extra $250M. This handout is hand-drawn, clag-ridden, shoddily photocopied and someone has walked on it. I’m almost positive that even my 1979 Sunday School teacher would be horrified with such an amateur effort. Also, if transported 35 years into the future, she would be bitterly disappointed that a holographic version of Jesus wasn’t in routine use. She was a huge Star Wars fan.

I must admit at this point, and I know it’s not a popular view, that I’m not particularly against the odd session of religious education. I find it greatly assists my children’s appreciation of Life of Brian. And every parent knows that the educational alternative for those denied religious education is “an hour playing games on the iPad”. So I was tempted to post the pic with a simple tweet. Something like: “Religious education is baffling” would probably sum it up. But I think it deserves so much more. Whoever thought up this religious board game concept was truly inspired.

This game is a race to see who can make it to the crucifixion first, with a cheery gravesite and prostitutes lurking at the finish line. In case you needed any more encouragement to go for the win, some dead bodies that you won’t remember from the Bible await you outside the tomb. (No, look again. They’re clearly not asleep.) You have been crucified. Miss three turns before rising from the dead.

As a Sunday School survivor, I thought I knew my bible stories pretty well – the top 10 anyway. But I can’t remember the one in which Mary* offers fruit to her friend who should have gone home hours ago because it’s way past her bedtime. Anyone?

I guess I should be relieved the school chaplain is not trying to teach my son to count – because they’re obviously not qualified teachers. You can see this by the way the instructor has numbered the squares. Nope, no way my son did that. Because if he was really that bad at counting, surely he’d get an extra hour of numeracy rather than religion? Right?

Just when you were thinking this was a genuine retro ’70s recreation, we land on a square that harks back to road safety in the ’50s. Looking for a chance to jump ahead in the game? Bonus points for putting your sibling in the most dangerous spot in the car whilst appearing kindhearted and thoughtful. Finally a biblical idiom I can recognise. Act as wolf in sheep’s clothing – advance 11 squares.

This board game truly annoys me. Mainly because the other half of it (that is missing) no doubt contains additional delights that I’ll never enjoy. The UFO for example. And the square with the bonus: “Throw a six and you don’t have to wear a seatbelt.”

Imagine how many sophisticated, hand-drawn board games we could have made out of $250M? And tragically our kids will never see that holodeck version of hell now. But never fear – Tony Abbott says he still wants the School Chaplaincy Program to continue. Hope he’s got his pink paper and crayons ready.

*they’re all called Mary

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Tummy Eggs

TUMMY EGGS

I am Geoff Shaw
And sure I am
On women’s rights
Don’t give a damn

Do you like eggs?
The non-snake kind
Let’s save them all
But keep in mind

I’m hoping for a baby boom
Without once mentioning the womb
I cannot call it uterus
I find the word too humorous

I pay no heed to ovulation
Tiresome rules of fertilisation
To keep your eggs in the safest place
The tummy sure has lots of space

Do you want abortion law
Rewritten by the same Geoff Shaw
Who spouts this tummy egg deception?
(It’s not his only misconception)

And so Geoff Shaw are you a dummy?
We’re not denying eggs are yummy
But storing them within a tummy
Will not help you become a mummy

_________________________________________

(With apologies for anapaestic meter crimes.)

Geoff Shaw, Independent MP, Victorian Parliament: “Here in Australia we can’t kill snake eggs but we are quite happy to kill an egg in the tummy and it should be the safest place for a baby to be.”
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/may/08/geoff-shaw-proposes-radical-changes-victoria-abortion-laws

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Dean Elgar – anagrammatic cricketer

Must admit, I’m a bit of a Dean Elgar fan.

Not so much for his cricket, but because he has the most anagrammatic name in the eager land of South Africa.

Not everyone sees him as such a dear angel though.

We all remember when he was just a green lad, making an unfortunate pair in his debut test in Perth in 2012. 

So when selected for the 2nd test in this series, his batting record enlarged a level of confidence in the Australian camp.

How Clarke and Haddin did laugh and regale the newer players with stories of his mediocre batting and omission from contracts.

“Let’s make sure our best sledges are angled at Elgar” said Johnson.

I seem to remember ‘anal edger’ was one unfortunate choice.

That was the worst kind of ear nag – led by Shaun Marsh who, granted, is an authority on ducks.

Elgar’s bowling though deserved some criticism – the ball spinning like a leaden rag.

But he’s only a part-timer so it’s hardly his fault if he doesn’t dare angle it too sharply.

Steyn’s recent injury means Elgar is bowling more than usual, so it’s hardly surprising if he harbours some Dale anger.

Not sure if Steyn will bowl again – I guess it depends how sore his hamstring and leg are.

Elgar looks calm enough, but who knows what bowling-laden rage lurks within?

He might have even give Steyn a bit of a Dean glare as he was padding up.

Dale will definitely have to shout Dean lager later.

So, most anagrammatic name in the land – agree?

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Frozen – just another princess movie?

[No major Frozen spoilers below, but it will make more sense if you’ve already seen the movie.]

I found myself with the kids in front of Frozen without having seen a single trailer, plot synopsis or review. I went in cold (too lazy to avoid the pun). But as usual with princess movies, particularly singing ones, I found it irritating. Later I went in search of reviews and blogs that would validate my impression and found few. Everyone loves it apparently. It’s a feminist masterpiece apparently. It turns traditional princess themes on their heads. Apparently. And I found myself getting more and more irritated.

Because Frozen did none of these things for me. Frozen didn’t annoy me so much for lack of faith to the masterful fairy tale, The Snow Queen. I can cope with that disappointment. Sisterly love and two female leads on the big screen are rare. This is very encouraging (although to be honest, I found the two ugly sisters in Cinderella had more of a bond). I’m not denying that the film had many positive messages and heartwarming moments. There were two girls yes, hooray! But both were flawed and fragile – one physically and one emotionally – in a rather stereotypical way. Here are the take home messages I got from each sister:

ELSA (older sibling with magical ability to turn things to ice)

-Give a girl a superpower and she will be completely incompetent at using it.
-If a female has a special skill it will be a curse.
-Also, girls are not teachable so lock her up for 18 years.
-Hide your talents or pursue them in secret.
-The only way to portray a woman as strong is to make her violent. (She mortally wounds her sister. Twice.)
-Show your talents and you’ll end up in a cold frozen place. Alone.
-Losing control of your emotions makes bad things happen. Women need to be taught to suppress emotions for their own good.
-You may be happy in your cold tower singing an inspirational song about freedom; meanwhile you froze an entire town and everyone is suffering.
-Strong woman will end up unhappy and alone.

ANNA (younger sibling, travels to find and rescue sister)

-Sings starry-eyed song about being incomplete without a man, finding a handsome prince and getting married.
-No need to remove your evening dress if embarking on a quest to save someone in the arctic circle.
-Girls going on a trek need a hunky male love interest companion.
-Even if girls are feisty and brave, they will still spend much of the movie injured/dying/needing male assistance.
-Never actually rescued her sister. Largely incompetent. (Was rescued by ice cutter he man several times.)
-Silly girls will always ignore the nice guy and fall for the villain.

When Anna’s health is in peril, she can be saved (surprise surprise) by a kiss from a handsome prince. She pursues this for lengthy periods of the movie. Sure, there’s a twist at the end, but it doesn’t negate the overwhelming film time spent on this tired trope.

SUMMING UP….

Let’s distract the feminists with a sisterhood reunited scene, but basically the good princess will end up happy ever after with the good guy. The strong princess won’t be popular with the boys though. Make your choice girly.

Despite the much lauded twist, Frozen’s climax does indeed, yet again, involve a man coming to the rescue of a starry eyed princess. I found it to be a rather traditional princess movie complete with negative female stereotypes. If this is the most feminist animated feature ever made, I despair.

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