Friday, February 29, 2008

Ronnie Barker corner..

News just in, the merger of Hinduism and Judaism (Hinjewism) has not worked out as planned, as instead of forming a super-religion to fight off the common Islamic enemy, they have instead created a race of 900 million people who, no matter how many times they are reincarnated, can never please their mothers....

Sod's law, you know it makes sense...

Found this little site, it looks like a UK version of the US based onion, its funny, for example here

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Joke du jour

I decided that I need more humour, so here is a joke,

Hear the one about the bloke standing in line at a bookshop signing, he got killed in a freak accident when a lump of frozen aircraft waste that came crashing through the roof and hit him on the head; you could say...

The shit really hit the fan...

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Harrow

I thought I'd blog about something other than religion for a change; what better than that other grand staple of life, good food!

As a Valentines day treat we thought we'd try the Harrow at Little Bedwyn in Wiltshire (WEB site is here) for dinner, having read rave reviews of the establishment in Decanter magazine and clocking it's newly acquired Michelin star expectations were high. I can say without hesitation that we weren't disappointed.

The setting is slightly odd in that the restaurant is in what looks like an old house set in a row of houses in a country lane, inside, the dividing walls that marked out the original rooms are still in place giving it a "homey" snug feel and dividing everything up into at least 3-4 separate eating compartments. There's a central bar, offering the usual pre-dinner range of drinks and nuts etc. everyone was welcoming and friendly, although this doesn't come across as "formal" compared to other starred establishments.

The place has a slightly "lived in" feel to it; freshly delivered boxes of wine litter the corridors and the halls, in fact wine plays a central role here, the owners are self confessed wine geeks (just my kind of place!) - the list is extensive and reasonably priced, big oz section, fair Bordeaux and Burgundy, good new world nothing too outrageous and some really interesting/unusual wines into the bargain, mark-up reasonably predictable at around 50-100%. I quickly engaged the barman in a "wine" conversation, and selected the slightly off-beat Domaine de Trevallon (1996) to have with our meal, generously he took me on a little tour of his cellar... nice touch I thought.

We selected the full menu gourmand, about 8 courses which came in at £60 per head, you could have a selection of (icon) wines with it for £120 a head which looked interesting, but I was driving so couldn't indulge myself. The food came quickly and looked good, first off we had a little cup of artichoke soup followed by tuna wrapped in that Japanese seaweed/paper like stuff with ginger and wasabi (interesting, but a red wine no-go zone); next up was black pudding, scallops and foie gras (yum, delightful combination), following this was turbot with mushrooms (ok) then the main course which was Venison on a bed of bashed neeps which was simple and delicious. Cheese followed the main, I was glad to see some English cheeses getting air time along with the more usual French varieties, then the mini-bread and butter puddings which were to die for.

After that little lot we were feeling very full; we skipped coffee etc. to make a quick get away since we had a 45 minute drive home, note to diary, definitely need to re-visit this with some wine geek friends and make sure suitable B&B accommodation is on hand!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Mr Brown.. he say.. NO!

Ever received an email from "10 Downing St."?

I had that dubious pleasure today and I must admit it did cause me to double take my inbox and sent a mild panic wave through me (did I remember to post that tax return...?). The email in question was actually a response to an e-petition I signed ages ago about faith schools, the details of the petition were as follows,

"Faith schools remove the rights of children to choose their own religious, philosophical and ethical beliefs. They also sanction ethnic segregation and create tension and divisiveness within society. Schools should be places where children are given a free education, not centres for indoctrination. Creationism and other religious myths should not be taught as fact regardless of the funding status of a school. Abolishing faith schools will provide children with more freedom of choice and help to promote a fully multi-cultural, peaceful society."

The idea clearly was to remove the "indoctrination" element from the education system for reasons of social cohesion and anti-segregation, notice this doesn't mean that children can't be indoctrinated at home if their parents or guardians so wish.

The response from the Government was as follows:

"The Government remains committed to a diverse range of schools for parents to choose from, including schools with a religious character or "faith schools" as they are commonly known.

Religious Education (RE) in all schools, including faith schools, is aimed at developing pupils' knowledge, understanding and awareness of the major religions represented in the country. It encourages respect for those holding different beliefs and helps promote pupils' moral, cultural and mental development. In partnership with national faith and belief organisations we have introduced a national framework for RE.

In February 2006, the faith communities affirmed their support for the framework in a joint statement making it clear that all children should be given the opportunity to receive inclusive religious education, and that they are committed to making sure the framework is used in the development of religious education in all their schools and colleges.

The Churches have a long history of providing education in this country and have confirmed their commitment to community cohesion. Faith schools have an excellent record in providing high-quality education and serving disadvantaged communities and are some of the most ethnically and socially diverse in the country. Many parents who are not members of a particular faith value the structured environment provided by schools with a religious character."

IMO This response simply skirts around the entire central point of the petition not touching any aspect of it, what can you expect from politicians I suppose, but as a response it is somewhat disappointing.

In essence what HM Gov. is saying is that faith schools must teach some "comparative" religion as part of their curriculum (although it is not clear if this is mandatory), however each particular faith school can still legally qualify any statement about any religion with "this is what they believe but of course they are still wrong and we are right", it seems to be all about the parents and facilitating the tacit support within our education system of the passing on of their personal mythologies, no one seems to be asking the obvious question, what do the kids actually need.

Plus ca change ..

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Next time someone says...

"Yeh but there are millions of (insert religion of your choice) believers so there must be something in it"

Remind them how many "dead gods" there are, you know, gods that throughout our collective history people (often millions of them) have revered, worshipped, feared, slaughtered for and even sacrificed to, but are now dead. Here is a quick list to get you started it covers at least 500 of the better known ones, but the total estimate is around 20,000 - food for thought.


Aa, Aah, Abil Addu, Addu, Adeona, Adjassou-Linguetor, Adjinakou, Adya Houn'tò, Agassou, Agé, Agwé, Ahijah, Ahti, Aizen Myō-ō, Ajisukitakahikone, Ak Ana, Aken , Aker , Äkräs, Aku, Allatu, Altjira, Amano-Iwato, Ame-no-Koyane, Am-heh, Amihan, Amon-Re, Amun, Amurru, Anapel, Anath, Andjety, Anhur, Anit, Anu, Anubis, Apsu, Arianrod, Ash , Ashtoreth, Assur, Astarte, Aten, Atum, Ayida-Weddo, Ayizan, Azaka Medeh, Azaka-Tonnerre, Azumi-no-isora, Baal, Bacalou, Badessy, Bagadjimbiri, Bahloo, Baiame, Bakunawa, Bamapana, Banaitja, Ba-Pef, Baron Cimetière, Baron La Croix, Baron Samedi, Barraiya, Bata , Bathala, Bau, Beltis, Beltu, Belus, Bernardo Carpio, Bes, Biamie, Bilé, Binbeal, Boli Shah, Bossou Ashadeh, Budai, Budai, Bugady Musun, Bugid Y Aiba, Bunjil, Cai Shen, Ceros, Chenti-cheti, Chi You, Chimata-No-Kami, Chun Kwan, Cihang Zhenren, City god, Clermeil, Congo (loa), Consus, Cronos, Cunina, Dagan, Dagda, Dagon, Daikokuten, Damballa, Dan Petro, Dan Wédo, Dauke, Dea Dia, Dhakhan, Diable Tonnere, Diana of Ephesus, Diejuste, Dimmer, Dinclinsin, Dragon King, Dragon King of the East Sea, Duamutef, Dumu-zi-abzu, Ea, Ebisu, Edulia, El, Elali, Elder Zhang Guo, Elum, Engurra, Enki, Enma, En-Mersi, Enurestu, Erlang Shen, Erzulie, Ezili Dantor, Fan Kuai, Fei Lian, Feng Bo, Four sons of Horus, Fu Lu Shou, Fu Xi, Fūjin, Fukurokuju, Furrina, Futsunushi, Gasan lil, Gasan-abzu, Goibniu, Gong Gong, Govannon, Gran Maître, Grand Bois, Guan Yu, Guangchengzi, Gunfled, Gwydion, Hachiman, Hadad, Hakudo Maru, Han Xiang, Hapi, Hapy, Heka , Hemen, Hermanubis, Hermes , Heryshaf, Hoderi, Hongjun Laozu, Hoori, Horus, Houyi, Huang Feihu, Hung Shing, Iah, Ibong Adarna, Iku-Turso, Ilmarinen, Ilmatar, Ilmatar, Imhotep, Imset, Iron-Crutch Li, Isis, Istar, Isum, Iuno Lucina, Izanagi, Jade Emperor, Jar'Edo Wens, Ji Gong, Julana, Jumala, Jupiter, Juroujin, Kaawan, Kagu-tsuchi, Kalfu, Kalma, Kara Khan, Karora, Kerridwen, Khaltesh-Anki, Khepri, Khnum, Khonsu, Kidili, Kini'je, Kitchen God, Kneph, Kōjin, Ksitigarbha, Kui Xing, Kuk, Kumakatok, Kuski-banda, Kuu, Ku'urkil, Lagas, Lan Caihe, Lei Gong, Leizhenzi, Lemminkäinen, Lempo, Ler, Li Jing , L'inglesou, Llaw Gyffes, Lleu, Loco (loa), Lü Dongbin, Lugal-Amarada, Maahes, Ma-banba-anna, Mademoiselle Charlotte, Maîtresse Délai, Maîtresse Hounon'gon, Maman Brigitte, Mamaragan, Mami, Mamlambo, Manawyddan, Mandulis, Mangar-kunjer-kunja, Marassa Jumeaux, Marduk, Maria Cacao, Maria Makiling, Maria Sinukuan, Marinette, Mars, Marzin, Matet boat, Mayari, Mbaba Mwana Waresa, Meditrina, Mehen, Melek, Memetona, Menthu, Merodach, Mider, Mielikki, Min , Molech, Mombu, Morrigu, Mounanchou, Mulu-hursang, Mu-ul-lil, Muzha , Na Tuk Kong, Nana Buluku, Naunet, Nebo, Nehebkau, Nergal, Nezha , Nga, Nin, Ninib, Ninigi-no-Mikoto, Nin-lil-la, Nin-man, Nio, Nirig, Ni-zu, Njirana, Nogomain, Nuada Argetlam, Numakulla, Num-Torum, Nusku, Nu'tenut, Nyyrikki, Odin, Ogma, Ogoun, Ogoun, Ogyrvan, Ohoyamatsumi, Ōkuninushi, Omoikane (Shinto), Ops, Osiris, Pa-cha, Pangu, Papa Legba, Peko, Perkele, Persephone, Petbe, Pie (loa), Pluto, Potina, Ptah, Pugu, Pundjel, Pwyll, Qarradu, Qebehsenuef, Qin Shubao, Qingxu Daode Zhenjun, Ra, Raijin, Randeng Daoren, Rauni , Resheph, Rigantona, Robigus, Royal Uncle Cao, Ryūjin, Saa, Sahi, Samas, Sarutahiko, Saturn, Sebek, Seker, Serapis, Sesmu, Shakpana, Shalem, Shangdi, Shango, Sharrab, Shen , Shennong, Shezmu, Shina-Tsu-Hiko, Simbi, Sin, Sirtumu, Sobek, Sobkou, Sōjōbō, Sokk-mimi, Sopdu, Sousson-Pannan, Statilinus, Suijin, Suiren, Suqamunu, Susanoo, Tagd, Taiyi Zhenren, Tala, Tam Kung, Tammuz, Tapio, Tenenet, Tengu, Tenjin, Theban Triad, Thoth, Ti Jean Quinto, Ti Malice, Tian, Ti-Jean Petro, Tilmun, Todote, Toko'yoto, Tomam, Tu Di Gong, Tu Er Shen, Tuonetar, Tuoni, Ubargisi, Ubilulu, U-dimmer-an-kia, Ueras, Ugayafukiaezu, U-ki, Ukko, UKqili, Umai, U-Mersi, Umvelinqangi, Ungud, Unkulunkulu, Ura-gala, U-sab-sib, Usiququmadevu, U-Tin-dir-ki, U-urugal, Väinämöinen, Vaisravana, Vaticanus, Vediovis, Vellamo, Venus, Vesta, Wadj-wer, Wen Zhong , Weneg, Wenshu Guangfa Tianzun, Wepwawet, Werethekau, Wollunqua, Wong Tai Sin, Wuluwaid, Xargi, Xaya Iccita, Xevioso, Xuan Wu , Yama, Yau, Yemaja, Youchao, Yuanshi Tianzun, Yuchi Jingde, Yunzhongzi, Zagaga, Zaraqu, Zer-panitu, Zhang Guifang, Zheng Lun, Zhongli Quan, Zhu Rong and Zonget.