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Jotter - Is the Pope a Catholic?

This may come as a surprise to the Vatican. Pupils sitting the Intermediate 2 exam in religious, moral and philosophical studies last year were asked to give examples of "viewpoints independent of religious belief".

SQA assessors were taken aback to find significant minorities citing the Salvation Army and Roman Catholics.

Stone me

"The great cairn is built of wee stones," the recent parliamentary debate on (sometimes in) Gaelic heard last week - appropriately from a Mr Stone (the Liberal Democrat MSP Jamie). Members like to show off their skills on such occasions, so he gave the Gaelic rendering, which is undoubtedly more elegant: "Togar carn mor de chlachan beaga."

Now why didn't Neil Armstrong think of that when he took his first lunar "small step for man"?

Another Jamie, McGrigor of the Tories, recalled his first election contest in the Western Isles. Insisting that part of his electoral address be written in Gaelic, he pointed out that the Conservatives had put pound;16 million into Gaelic broadcasting.

"Unfortunately," he said, "my translator got one word wrong, which resulted in a daily newspaper saying that the Conservatives were putting pound;16 billion into Gaelic. That did me no harm, because our votes went up, although I had to admit my mistake."

Flew outbreak

Still on the trail of volcanic eruptions, we are grateful to The Herald for the story of the Glasgow teacher who, stranded in Portugal's Portimao, pondered in an email what teachers' sick notes might say as they attempt to avoid their pay being docked. Or, as she put it: "Forget swine flu. This is nobody flu."

Hyslop triumphs

Many people will recall the spoof clip played many times on YouTube in which Hitler is portrayed in his besieged Berlin bunker railing at his entourage (addressing him as Miss Hyslop) for not bringing him good news on Curriculum for Excellence.

"Curriculum for Excellence was supposed to be a triumph," the Fuhrer rants. "It's all your faults, not mine."

Perhaps now the curse of Fiona Hyslop has struck. For the makers of the original film, Der Untergang (Downfall), which starred Swiss actor Bruno Ganz as Hitler, are stepping up their campaign to assert their copyright to the material and demand that the lampoons are removed.

As Hyslop might have written (with apologies to Spike Milligan): "Hitler the Movie: My Part in its Downfall".

Once a heidie .

Glenrothes Labour MP Lindsay Roy is never going to put the classroom behind him. Responding to the curious affair of junior education minister Keith Brown appearing to jostle a Labour press officer to heckle Gordon Brown in his Ochil constituency, Roy declared: "If he was a pupil or teacher at my school, he would be disciplined or expelled."

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