Saturday, March 17, 2018

Life in England

Yesterday I went for a walk at lunch-time and it was so hot in the sunshine that I had to take my coat off and still ended up sweaty. Today however, we have blizzard conditions with a centimeter of snow and 15 degrees colder. 

Yesterday all I had to do was sit in a nice warm office, today however I am attending an outdoor birthday party - such is life in England.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday Smirk

Not much in the news at the moment to be cheerful about, but hey, it's Friday and that's a reason to smile in itself! Here are a couple of photo-captions I came across this week that made me grin..

Spotted at Charing Cross, the UK expels the first of the Russian diplomats...

Spotted outside the Russian embassy, a handy guide to their canteen..

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Can't beat a-bit-a bully

What with Stephen Hawking dying yesterday events kind of overshadowed the death of another legend later in the day. The incomparable Jim Bowen of "Bulls Eye" fame, the mainstay of many an 80s student day-time TV consumption, including my own. Bulls eye was just the right combination of mind-candy (the questions weren't too taxing) and social experiment, centered around the game of darts it certainly weaved its way into the zeitgeist of the time. 

I actually played darts for a pub team back then, I wasn't too bad, I remember taking part in the county championship and losing my "arrows" the night before at the pre-match practice session. I had to dash out the the shops during my lunch-hour and get a brand new set on the day of the tournament which I thought would completely scupper me (i.e. because I wasn't used to them) But, in my first match, first throw I hit 180! I thought I'd hit the jackpot. Of course reality set in on the next throw and I soon settled back into my average scoring rate, I didn't do too badly individually, but our team came fourth overall, a placement which provided much needed "free pints" for many months. I was trying to think of a link between Stephen Hawking and Jim Bowen and couldn't, anyway, the balance of the Universe wasn't upset by their passing, after all, the non-darts player always goes first.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Cups of poison

The gangsters masquerading as the Russian Government really take the biscuit! Not only do they chuck their military grade nerve agents willy-nilly around sleepy Wiltshire towns, threatening life and limb, they then rub salt into the wound by insulting our intelligence, calling us "unprofessional" and claiming that it's all an invention of our imaginations. Thuggish and arrogant behaviour, unworthy of a supposedly civilised nation in my view. I see that we're to expel a few diplomats, no doubt they will follow suit and expel some of ours, a pretty pointless tit-for-tat exchange of paper-shufflers whilst innocent people lie in hospital critically ill.

There's not much we, as individuals, can do but I will make a strong conscious effort to boycott everything Russian from now on, both in my business and at home. No 2018 World Cup match will grace my living-room LCD panel, nor will any hint of a Russian product (not that there are many) cross my threshold or be bought my my firm. I'm sure Mr Putin, the absolute dictator of that land, will be quaking in his boots. No matter, I take solace in the fact that the ordinary Russian people have historically had a habit of eventually rising-up and dealing with absolute dictators in suitable ways.

A radiant mind

Very sad to hear that Stephen Hawking died today. I guess you really know you've made it in this world when you get a piece of the universe named after you. We have Darwin's Finches, Faraday Effect, Volts, Kelvin Bridges and, of course, Hawking Radiation. A great mind lost but also a great deal of value for Humankind gained from a life lived against all odds. I wonder if he'll be buried in Westminster alongside Newton? (he was an Atheist)

Miss gender

New J&M today, looks at the thorny subject of gender assignment. This is a modern problem invented in the noughties by primarily left-leaning academics who decided that people should be identified and addressed according to gender aggregations or groups that are entirely constructed, or even self identified. This (vocal) movement has lead to some countries (like Canada) enacting legislation to the effect that people must be referred to by the gender pronoun of their choice, or the person mis-gendering them could face prosecution. 

There are of course many problems with such legislation, not least of which is how the hell do you know how someone prefers to be addressed if you don't know them (and new labels are being invented all the time) The more insidious issue is that this represents compelled-speech, in other words a Government is telling it's people what words they MUST say (as opposed to banning certain speech, like hate speech). From here we take a short step to Animal Farm, Gulags and the killing fields, something that should be resisted by all reasonable Liberals the free-world over.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Smile, it's Sunday!

Clearly an atheist who's experienced the M25

Thursday, March 08, 2018

International Women's Day

On International Women's Day we have lot's of positive heart-warming stories about Women who overcame disadvantage and/or prejudice to succeed in their chosen fields, this is a good thing. 

From Tehran, that bastion of irrationality, we have the news that a Woman there has been sentenced to two years (yes, you read that right!) for simply removing her head-scarf in public. I guess that's what you get when you live in a theocracy based on misogyny disguised as ancient superstition. I believe it would help the lot of Women in those backward countries if more feminists here spoke out against the abuses of religions like Islam and Catholicism with regard to equal gender rights. A campaign focused on Women and oppressive religions along the lines of the successful resistance to Apartheid back in the 70s and 80s would seem to me to be entirely justified and appropriate.


Brexit - The undefined negotiated by the unprepared to secure the unspecified for the uninformed.

Winston would turn in his grave..

Many faiths

Faith. It's such a loaded and emotional word for many primates, but what does it really mean? 

For me it's just a simple short-hand for expressing hope that something is going to happen. I think the key difference between this definition and the religious kind is that I would only subscribe to something if there was sufficient evidence that what I was hoping for was actually likely to happen.

Some would argue that the word "faith" implies belief in or hope for something with no evidence or perhaps even, despite the evidence. In the religious usage of the word this might well be true, it certainly seems that way for most of them. On the other hand when I say something like "I have faith in the people I work with", it's not because I have some fluffy, emotional or "spiritual" connection to them but because in the past they have proven (many times) to be competent and I have no reason to believe that will change. I suppose I would use the word faith in everyday language to substitute for the word "trust" whereas in a religious setting it seems to have completely different connotations. 

Language is such an imperfect method of communication.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Religious feminism?

As long as I live I will never understand why intelligent Women (who have a choice) subscribe to any of the Abrahamic religions. Of course most (globally) Women don't actually have a real choice. If they don't submit to the same male dominated cultures, superstitions and rituals that the men do in the places that they live, they'll be ostracised, beaten, disfigured or far worse. We really are just a bunch of monkeys in shoes.