Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Feeling

Oh dear, I'm doing it again.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Mixed bag

Well, today has been a bit of a mixed bag.

S went to her first Brownies meeting. She loved it and she has a new best friend to add to her little collection. I'm pleased about that and one of the mothers there was extraordinarily chatty and friendly: (I now know a lot about her bedroom furniture), but it was very nice & welcoming to be talked to straightaway.

On the less good side, stepdad has been taken into hospital this evening, ambulance and paramedic type job. Hopefully it's just precautionary. Mum's hoping to bring him home eventually tonight, but it remains to be seen.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The English croked

Strange to hear the English national anthem in Croke Park, but fabulous, historic even. I believe it is the first time an English team has played there. The lack of massacres on this occasion was a good thing.

For the ill-informed or uncaring, it was the Six Nations Ireland vs England match. (And for the very ill-informed, the massacre was on Bloody Sunday). The game was great and the Irish won, deservedly. In fact they pounded the English team. (By rights, I should support the English team, but I'm not big on nationalism: don't really understand being proud of where you were born. It just happens. It's a good place to live, but you won't see me waving any flags anytime soon). I supported Ireland because it's more fun cheering along with M.

I've always liked rugby better than football, which isn't saying a lot to tell the truth, but this is the first year I've been genuinely interested and excited by it. Great fun.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Jabby jabby catchy monkey. (Or rather bushbaby.)

In Senegal, chimps have been viewed fashioning and using spears to jab into tree hollows: apparently successfully capturing a bushbaby while under observation. I suppose even if they don't manage to impale any prey, such vigorous probing is likely to drive any creature hiding within to attempt to escape, giving an opportunity to grab it on exit.

You can read about it at the more learned Loom or read the Beeb's article. Or both, or somewhere else, or not at all, I don't mind. The Beeb have a photo of a chimp-created spear, which it chewed to a point.

This form of hunting appears to be habitual rather than occasional. The monkey hunts led by males that have been observed previously seem to involve a high-speed chasing-down of the prey, without use of tools, as far as I know. This newly observed behaviour is more akin to the termite/small insect fishing with sticks apes have long been known to engage in.

It is also interesting because it is primarily the females active in this. Of course this is the angle that is probably going to get most airing, especially in connection with human behaviour.

To me, it seems reasonable to expect that both sexes would be involved in acquiring food and that there ought not be a strict division in activities, but rather that any active member of a small social group would do its part of foraging and there should be a large amount of overlap. To rule out a portion of a group's able members on the basis of sex may be workable in larger societies, but it would unnecessarily constrain and limit small ones' abilities to feed themselves. Or at least that makes more sense to me than assuming a gender divide. Any individual should surely act on its opportunities to its own benefit and that of the group?

But I know nothing, I'm just rattling on.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Reading Lolita cont.

Cont. from this post.

An on-line friend commented that she would have preferred more about the students Nafisi taught in her secret literature class, in preference to the novels they read. I found, however, that the small glimpses we had of their real lives worked well. The autobiographical nature of the book means there can be no omniscient the narrator, and indeed, Nafisi is in the dark about as much as we are. All we can know about the students is what they were willing to tell in the classes, what Nafisi could glean from her social circles and what she was able to find out in retrospect. We don't have access to their inner lives, and that, of course, leaves a lot of questions.

Azin's marriage is a case in point. This seems to fit the sadly common pattern of domestic abuse (apparently unrestricted by cultural differences): episodes of violence driving Azin to her friends, even to lawyers, followed by contrition and promises by the husband, which hold for a short time and then, almost inevitably, it happens again. The narrator can never sure if Azin is telling the whole truth about her situation, and neither are we. It's more realistic that way.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Reading Lolita in Tehran

I just finished this book today: it's by Azar Nafisi, an account of living under Ayatollah Khomeini's regime under sharia law, told partly through discussions of literature.

To read this book was, for me, slightly disorientating: for I felt like I was reading dystopian fiction, having a window into these women's lives under the regime. Yet it is autobiographical.

I guess what hits hardest about the novel was that prior to Khomeini's accession, women were on a similarly liberated footing in Iran as in the West:

"At the start of the 20th Century, the age of marriage in Iran - 9, according to sharia laws - was changed to 13 and then later to 18. My mother had chosen whom she wanted to marry and she had been one of the first six women elected to Parliament in 1963. When I was growing up, in the 1960s, there was little difference between my rights and the rights of women in Western democracies. But it was not the fashion then to think that our culture was not compatible with modern democracy, that there were Western and Islamic versions of democracy and human rights. We all wanted opportunities and freedom. That is why we supported revolutionary change - we were demanding more rights, not fewer.

I married on the eve of revolution, a man I loved. [...] By the time my daughter was born five years later, the laws had regressed to what they had been before my grandmother's time: the first law to be repealed, months before the ratification of a new constitution, was the family-protection law, which guaranteed women's rights at home and at work. [...] My youthful years had witnessed the rise of two women to the rank of cabinet minister. After the revolution, these same two women were sentenced to death for the sins of warring with God and spreading prostitution. One of them [...] had been abroad at the time of the revolution and remained in exile. [...] The other, the minister of education and my former high school principal, was put in a sack and stoned or shot to death." (Reading Lolita in Tehran, Nafisi, p.261-262)

With its atmosphere of surveillance, propaganda and morality squads, it felt like I was reading something along the lines of Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale, because it seems so alien. Yet it is autobiographical. As you can probably tell, I didn't know much about the subject, and indeed, still know passing little.

I liked the way that books are reference points, memoirs, to the book. Nafisi taught literature and her enthusiasm for the texts translates well, (to the point I have a new list of books I wish to read or re-read) while also throwing the repressiveness of the regime into sharp relief.

Life is good

I'm very fortunate in that my problems are generally pretty trivial. The sun is out this morning and, to use a dreadful americanism: it's all good.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

It's all about ME

I have been very brave, for me, of late. I have actually initiated contact with people: invited someone to the gym with me, and phoned a new mum to get her child to come and play with S. This isn't so very remarkable, I guess, apart from it being me, off my own bat, without too much trepidation.

I think I must have finally come to terms with the fact we are staying around here for the foreseeable future, so the excuse that 'there's no point being sociable, because we'll just be leaving soon' doesn't fly anymore. And of course, that I no longer have a ready-made social life in the form of people in our pub, means I cannot be lazy socially. I have to actually make an effort, and for once I am. I feel like I've turned a corner, where perhaps there will seem a point to making proper new friends. I'm confident I'll retain my own self-sufficiency and at the moment, think people are actually likely to like me. I'm not sure where this foolhardy notion came from, but I may as well enjoy it while it lasts.

The drawback of being a landlady is that although you always have people willing to befriend you, you're never sure whether it's just for the sake of a possible lock-in invite. Or maybe I'm just cynical. Still, we're out of the lifestyle for the immediate future and indeed, have been for nearly two years, so I suppose it's long-past time I changed mindset.

As an aside, I've decided to stop using smiley punctuations in my blog for the moment, as I rely too heavily upon them to convey meaning/tone. Surely I should be able to write without them? Of course, blogging is a kind of conversational medium rather than expressive prose, (at least in my hands), but I still think I should be able to do without.

Well, I say conversational, but it's clearly a monologue all about me me me mememememe.

"In real terms"

What a wonderful expression that is, prime material for the politician. Buzz-words, politico-speke.

Perhaps it means contrary to public perception, counter-intuitively, the actual figures say we are better off.

Perhaps it means that the figures when seen through a series of mirrors, refracted through water, converted into spiritual vibrations by Mystic Meg and back into figures by a counting horse, show the real figures to be much improved on the other figures.

Real terms as opposed to imaginary terms?

S holds classes during the holidays, so I understand about imaginary terms. It's best to be headteacher in these cases, one doesn't have to do as much. Which just goes to show the difference between real and imaginary.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

'Ear a teacher feature

Pupils my granddad taught remember him with affection.

My Gran told me that she was talking to some builders at her sheltered accommodation and she asked if they were at school at the time he was teaching, and they all enthused about him. OK, they could have been humouring her, but I think it is likely to have been genuine as "not remembering" would have been a perfectly legitimate response. My Mum has also been button-holed on occasions by ex-pupils reminiscing about him, which makes me think he must have been a good teacher.

Apparently he was a very good shot with the chalk and had a firm grasp of the earlobe! Of course, time was, that was acceptable discipline from a teacher. And it doesn't seem to have made the pupils who got such treatment resent him at all, they still appear to recall him as a good egg, as such. One guy apparently laughingly claimed one of his earlobes is flatter & longer than the other through his agency. :D

He had to be very careful with the girls, for they tended to get crushes on him: he was good-looking, blond, athletic. If he decided to eat his lunch in the classroom, some would always try to wangle their way into spending the lunch-break with him, to moon about after him. He had to avoid getting into those sorts of situations.

He found teaching quite stressful, however, and this was part of the reason they moved a few times while my Mum was a teen. I think one of the moves was inspired by the news that his school was becoming a comprehensive and he didn't approve of that.

Ironically the school he moved to (and stayed with until he retired) became a comprehensive before the one he left for that reason.

He hadn't been happy at one of the schools he taught in, and apparently Gran went in and complained to the headmaster about the discipline in the school. She says she must have been ever so much bolder then, and I guess that's true. Although I remember quite clearly when her doing such a thing wouldn't have seemed such a stretch at all. I wonder how Granddad felt about her doing that. I can't see that it would have made life any easier for him at the school. Fortunately, shortly afterwards the headmaster went off in a boat with the music mistress and they were never to return.

I don't think they sank ;).

Knock knock.. Who's there?.. Mandy.. Mandy who?

Man de life-boats, we're sinking.

Ba-boom, tish!

I managed to talk with Gran a bit without interruption today, and asked her about how she was "shipwrecked", as she had announced it proudly after we were discussing the unexpected and rather disgusting adventure of the day: moving dead sheep. (I'm not going to explain about that).

Gran was about 17 and she was on holiday with her family. This must have been the early 1930s. Every year they would have a week or two at the seaside, at Bridlington in East Yorkshire. She was the youngest, the rest of the group were elderly members of the family. (I assume her brother had left home by then. He was a bit older). So to keep her from boredom, her father took her out for boat-trips, which the older ladies didn't fancy.

One day, shortly after the boat had set out, she says, they noticed something was amiss - their feet were getting wet and the deck was covered in water!

She started to wonder if she could manage to swim to Flamborough, as the crew signalled for help.

Modern Bridlington

Of course, another boat came out and they had to leap across to be taken to safety. Apparently while moored overnight, the tide had dropped the boat onto a sandbar, and the keel had pushed up slightly through the wooden hull causing the leak. This went unnoticed until the boat started to sink while taking its holiday-makers across the bay the next day.

She spent most of the rest of the holiday ashore, not because she was particularly frightened by this, it had all been a bit of an adventure to her (while her father wasn't so keen, since he wasn't as sprightly as he had once been) but because she had access to a horse to ride at a relative's farm, a mare called Lady.

She talked a little about Granddad as well: she always reminds me, as we drive "Oh Granddad used to say if you see a corner marked in Cornwall, you may know it is a corner. "

Saturday, February 17, 2007


It's been like a Spring day this morning (global warming?! Aiee!). The spring-cleaning urge hit me, so windows and kitchen are all spruced up and the children were forced outdoors to enjoy the sunshine. Which they did (enjoy it, I mean, although S was initially reluctant to go out, favouring tv and books) and they helped with window-smearing too :D. I played music loudly and I really enjoyed the cleaning for once, got a sense of smug self-satisfaction about it. Now it's just the eternal struggle to keep it this way, and of course, upstairs still to do.

We now have a wormery.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Perishing kids

I've had this trouble before - one of the children does something to my startbar and it ends up at the top of my screen or on the side. I hate it when that happens. It belongs at the bottom of my screen, nowhere else! Meddling small persons.

But no matter how often it happens, (which isn't that often, really, but it's happened more than once, so I should surely have the knack by now?) I can never remember how to get it back. I work it out eventually - I think it's merely a matter of click and drag, but you have to hit it just in the right place and it drives me nuts trying to do it.

I'll never adapt to its new position, tho.

Language, Timothy

I visited a site yesterday which made me quite cross due to the racist language used. It would be of little comment, as there are plenty of unsavoury sites around, but the content was apparently created by a black American into hip-hop culture. This is not something I'm at all familiar with and I'm still not sure whether the language used on the site was a reflection of that culture, or if it was satirical or whether I'm completely missing something. Maybe using those sorts of terms is an attempt to wrest them from racists, or maybe it is racism/self-hatred. I suppose famously Richard Pryor was known for using racial epithets in his act, but after a visit to Africa, he publicly announced he would never use the n-word again. Hmm.

I'm not sure hate-words ever can be reclaimed or made positive, because no matter what, given the wrong audience or speaker, the old meaning can return.

Language can evolve, obviously, as with the rise of 'gay', intended as a positive word. But of course, modern yoof seem to have turned it into their word for 'sad' or 'pathetic', which is rather dispiriting.

Ms was supposed to replace Mrs & Miss, but instead of no longer being defined by our marital status, women now have a third way of being defined as divorced or feminist or both. #Rolls eyes#. I guess you can't force change through language alone.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


I don't usually add videos but gotta move with the times, baby.

They can be a bit of a disappointment on blogs - and a positive menace & annoyance on forums. Sometimes posters start a thread with a YouTube link, expect you to visit it, come back and comment about it, when they haven't bothered to explain why they want you to look at it (and of course you run the risk of having something you really don't want to see, impressed on the back of your retinas). Almost as bad is when someone replies on a thread with just a link: ARGH! I don't wanna go there.

Although I've done it myself: there's a fabulously weird exercise video featuring people-poodles (and yes, I know I'm a big old hypocrite, thank you! :D).

But this is my blog so I can do what I like and my hypocrisy can run amok if it pleases. I like Amy Winehouse's voice a lot, so neah :P.

A fine romance

I'm not very romantic, but we ended up having a relatively slushy evening for us. I gave M a card in the morning, at which he was aghast (as we'd said we do nothing as it's commercialised, I'm as romantic as a brick, and it seems a waste of money). It wasn't much above nothing, I thought, but he seemed to think it was.

Anyway, in the evening he returned with a bottle of Baileys and packet of Jaffa Cakes :D. Then he cooked Thai Green curry, which we ate while watching the Brits, followed by Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

And we found heart shaped chocolates in the packet of misshapes I bought yesterday and stuck them to our foreheads. :D

Now that's womance!

We only saw the last hour or so of the Brits, so missed Amy Winehouse, whose voice I love. I was profoundly irritated by Oasis, whose bad boy act got old a long time ago. Liam's remark about 'not getting nominated for anything anymore so this shit will have to do' or something to that effect, was full of such winsome charm - what a nice boy! #Rolls eyes# His performance wasn't particularly good either: his vocals were poor. So I turned over quite quickly into their set.

Buzzcocks was funny. I was expecting the host to say something really vile to Preston (some schmuck from Celebrity Big Brother) as I'd heard he had walked out during the show, but what was said seemed pretty mild. Of course, the show is edited so we don't know if the hosty guy, Simon Amstell, had been worse. But anyway Preston didn't shine. His substitute did the part better. :D

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Went for a toddle

My toddler and I went for a little walk and we saw:

and puddles
and streams
and grass
and mud
and daffodils
and daffodil pickers
and daffodil pickers' temporary toilets
and sticks
and a man with a broom (who said 'hello' and 'were we out for a walk?' and smiled)
and a red car
and a lady in a car (who leaned out as she passed and had a little chat about how we were 'out for a walk' and smiled)
and sunshine
and crows
and sheep
and a helicopter.

I love walking with my little boy, everything becomes so interesting, exciting and especially beautiful.
(Apart from the temporary toilets! :D)

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."

I wonder if I will ever read Valis all the way through. It's a book I've attempted loads of times, and it sits in the bathroom where occasionally I re-open it. It's a bit of a stereotypically male thing that, reading in the toilet, and it's not something I usually subscribe to (as a sneering woman), but somehow Valis sits in there and offers itself to me.

But I can't bring myself to start it all over again, so I dip in and out of it. I went through a phase when I was reading a lot of Philip K Dick, but since I got stuck on Valis I haven't read anything more of his. It's a self-imposed "no more Dick until you've finished your last one" mandate. :D

It's been years. Stubborn, me?!

Evilution :P

It always cheers me up to know that there are moderates out there. Interacting on the net sometimes gives an unbalanced picture where a very vocal group seem to dominate, while in fact there are more amenable people out there.

Evolution Sunday seems an instance of this: "For far too long, strident voices, in the name of Christianity, have been claiming that people must choose between religion and modern science," says Michael Zimmerman, founder of Evolution Sunday and dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Butler University in Indianapolis. "We're saying you can have your faith, and you can also have science.

Zimmerman and his backers believe the biblical account of creation is allegorical. "Creationists fear that if you believe evolution, you're an atheist," he says. But for Zimmerman, attempts to try and "ratify God's existence" through intelligent design signify lack of faith. "If you have enough faith, you don't need science to prove God exists, and science can't prove this anyway," he says.
The event arose from the Clergy Letter Project, a pro-evolution letter signed in 2004 by 10,500 Christian clergy. "

Monday, February 12, 2007

I didn't know that.

I always enjoy looking through Snopes but haven't availed myself lately. But today I had a look at their "Cokelore" pages and found, to my surprise, that according to them, Coke isn't responsible for the present day representation of Santa Claus as a red-suited roly-poly. It's certainly something I had bought into without really thinking about it.

Apparently their advertising campaigns using the image began in the '40s while the image of Santa had become essentially standardised in the '20s, as reported in the New York Times in 1927.

Oh well, slight red-face here, but in a happy way. Accepted wisdom isn't always that wise.

Today I have mostly been reading ...

... about gay sheep. Which is interesting - and the article title "BrokeBack Mutton" was inspired! :D

Apparently 8 to 10% of rams are attracted to other males for the old dance of lurvve and "studies have failed to identify any compelling social factors that can predict or explain the variations in sexual partner preferences of rams". So it appears that being a gay sheep is biologically determined.

BadScience has this demolition of scare stories on the subject.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


Friday, February 09, 2007

Zappa Lyrics

Valley girl
Shes a valley girl
Valley girl
Shes a valley girl
Okay, fine...
Fer sure, fer sure
Shes a valley girl
In a clothing store
Okay, fine...

Fer sure, fer sure
Shes aLike, oh my god!
(valley girl)
Like - totally
(valley girl)
Encino is like so bitchen
(valley girl)
Theres like the galleria
(valley girl)
And like all these like really great shoe stores
I love going into like clothing stores and stuff
I like buy the neatest mini-skirts and stuff
Its like so bitchen cuz like everybodys like
Super-super nice...
Its like so bitchen...

On ventura, there she goes
She just bought some bitchen clothes
Tosses her head n flips her hair
She got a whole bunch of nothin in there
Anyway, he goes are you into s and m?
I go, oh right...
Could you like just picture me in like a leather teddy
Yeah right, hurt me, hurt me...
Im sure! no way!
He was like freaking me out...
He called me a beastie...
Thats cuz like he was totally blitzed
He goes like bag your face!
Im sure!
Valley girl
Shes a valley girl
Valley girl
Shes a valley girl
Okay, fine...

Fer sure, fer sure
Shes a valley girl
So sweet n pure
Okay, fine...
Fer sure, fer sure
Shes a
Its really sad
(valley girl)
Like my english teacher
Hes like...
(valley girl)
Hes like mr. bu-fu
(valley girl)
Were talking lord God king bu-fu
(valley girl)
I am so sure
Hes like so gross
He like sits there and like plays with all his rings
And he like flirts with all the guys in the class
Its like totally disgustingIm like so sure
Its like barf me out...
Gag me with a spoon!
Last idea to cross her mind
Had something to do with where to find
A pair of jeans to fit her butt
And where to get her toenails cut
So like I go into this like salon place, yknow
And I wanted like to get my toenails done
And the lady like goes, oh my god, your toenails
Are like so grody
It was like really embarrassing
Shes like oh my god, like bag those toenails
Im like sure...
She goes, uh, I dont know if I can handle this, yknow...
I was like really embarrassed...
Valley girl
Shes a valley girl
Valley girl
Shes a valley girl
Okay, fine

Fer sure, fer sure
Shes a valley girl
And there is no cure
Okay, fine

Fer sure, fer sure
Shes a valley girl
And there is no cure
Like my mother is like a total space cadet
(valley girl)
She like makes me do the dishes and
(valley girl)
Clean the cat box
(valley girl)
I am sure
Thats like gross
(valley girl)
Barf out!
(valley girl)
Oh my God
(valley girl)
(valley girl)
My name?
My name is ondrya wolfson
(valley girl)
Thats right, ondrya
(valley girl)
Uh-huh...I know
Its like...
(valley girl)
I do not talk funny...
Im sure
(valley girl)
Whatsa matter with the way I talk?
(valley girl)
I am a val, I know
(valley girl)
But I live like in a really good part of encino so its okay
(valley girl)
(valley girl)
So like, I dont know
(valley girl)
Im like freaking out totally
(valley girl)
Oh my god!
(valley girl)
Hi - I have to go to the orthodontist
(valley girl)
Im getting my braces off, yknow
(valley girl)
But I have to wear a retainer
Thats going to be really like a total bummer
Im freaking out
Im sure
Its like those things that like stick in your mouth
Theyre so gross...
You like get saliva all over them
But like, I dont know, its going to be cool, yknow
So you can see my smile
Itll be like really cool
Except my like my teeth are like too small
But no biggie...
Its so awesome
Its like tubular, yknow
Well, Im not like really ugly or anything
Its just like
I dont know
You know me,
Im like into like the clean stuff
Like pac-man and like,
I dont know
Like my mother like makes me do the dishes
Its like so gross...
Like all the stuff like sticks to the plates
And its like, its like somebody elses food, yknow
Its like grody...
Grody to the max
Im sure
Its like really nauseating
Like barf out
Gag me with a spoon
I am sure

She's only seventeen
She's really sort of cute
She's working in the street
She's a teen-age prostitute
She ran away from home
Her mom was destitute
Her daddy doesn't care
She's a teen-age prostitute
"I have got a pimp
He treats me like a dog..."
(All the stuff she's shooting
Keeps her in a fog)
"I would really like to try and get away..."
(But if she gets caught he'll cause her some dismay)
Tiny little pants
Chain around my boot
Shakin' in the dark
I'm a teen-age prostitute

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


Chuffed as a chuffed thing, because my mum's LP has been returned with CD, and I can listen to the music! :D

And the LP has been cleaned and is all nice & shiny. It was really quick and I'm happy. I've been annoying M by playing the CD on various things around the house - it would play on the PC and CD player, but not on the DVD player (and don't duhhh-me, it does usually play CDs as well as DVDs :P). But we can't have everything.

I'm really pleased with the Vinyl Replica people. Bless their cotton socks. :D

Monday, February 05, 2007

Cautionary tales

by: Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953)

MATILDA told such Dreadful Lies,
It made one Gasp and Stretch one's Eyes;
Her Aunt, who, from her Earliest Youth,
Had kept a Strict Regard for Truth,
Attempted to Believe Matilda:
The effort very nearly killed her,
And would have done so, had not She
Discovered this Infirmity.
For once, towards the Close of Day,
Matilda, growing tired of play,
And finding she was left alone,
Went tiptoe to the Telephone
And summoned the Immediate Aid
Of London's Noble Fire-Brigade.
Within an hour the Gallant Band
Were pouring in on every hand,
From Putney, Hackney Downs, and Bow.
With Courage high and Hearts a-glow,
They galloped, roaring through the Town,
'Matilda's House is Burning Down!'
Inspired by British Cheers and Loud
Proceeding from the Frenzied Crowd,
They ran their ladders through a score
Of windows on the Ball Room Floor;
And took Peculiar Pains to Souse
The Pictures up and down the House,
Until Matilda's Aunt succeeded
In showing them they were not needed;
And even then she had to pay
To get the Men to go away!
It happened that a few Weeks later
Her Aunt was off to the Theatre
To see that Interesting Play
The Second Mrs. Tanqueray.
She had refused to take her Niece
To hear this Entertaining Piece:
A Deprivation Just and Wise
To Punish her for Telling Lies.
That Night a Fire did break out-
-You should have heard Matilda Shout!
You should have heard her Scream and Bawl,
And throw the window up and call
To People passing in the Street-
-(The rapidly increasing Heat
Encouraging her to obtain
Their confidence) -- but all in vain!
For every time she shouted 'Fire!'
They only answered 'Little Liar!'
And therefore when her Aunt returned,
Matilda, and the House, were Burned.

Godzilla and sell-by dates

I got an email from my transferring to CD people saying they'd received my order and would be doing the deed in the next few days, so me happy and hopeful about this. :D

I'm currently about half-way through Is God past his Sell-by Date and finding it less irritating than the Lee Strobel I read last year. I'm sure Strobel's apologetics appeal to a Christian readership, but his manner gets my goat somewhat.

It reminds me of an interview I once heard with a radio DJ who was asking really inane questions of someone concerned with the remake of Godzilla, asking with feigned surprise about Godzilla having originated from Japan. Which annoyed me because it was patently false emotion and such a dumb question. The DJ may have been a genuinely dim bulb, but it seemed to me he asked all leading questions, knowing what answers he was going to get. Simply going through the motions. I suppose that's what interview are, but this one seemed very false, very staged, and while it may have been catering to a completely non-Gojira aware audience, it made me shout at the radio before switching it off. Which might be a reasonable analogy with my feelings re. Strobel. Although I did read Case for Faith all the way through, except for the final chapter.

Anyway Godzilla interviews aside, Blanchard isn't turning me off to the same extent as Strobel did. Although I have trouble with a lot of his arguments and what he uses to support them. For example, in his chapter "Cards on the Table" he argues that "no other known piece of ancient literature, religious or otherwise, has anything remotely approaching the Bible's credentials in this area. For example, nobody doubts that Julius Caesar came to Britain in 55 BC, but there are only nine or ten manuscripts to support this, and the earliest was written 900 years after he came!" Oh dearie me. Well, it all sounds very impressive and how foolish we are to believe in Julius Caesar on such slim pickings... except we don't just have some old manuscripts to support the existence of Julius Caesar. We have archeological evidence, like coins with his name and face imprinted on them. :D Like the one below.

There is even a coin which commemorates his assassination: the Eid Mar coin.

It would be preposterous to ask for a coin with Jesus on it or a building he commissioned, but the claim that there is less evidence for Caesar than there is for him, is obviously a flawed and inaccurate. It relies on you not knowing about the coins and other physical remnants of Caesar's rule - or dismissing them (as what?).

It smacks of sleight-of-hand, misdirection or misrepresentation, which makes me suspicious. In efforts to talk up the solidity and historicity of the Bible, it shouldn't be necessary to pretend that our knowledge of Caesar is solely reliant on 10 manuscripts, should it? I don't understand: it's a claim I've seen before, and it just makes me wonder. If you're prepared to ignore/deny/omit facts that damage your analogy, it doesn't lend credence to your argument, it detracts from it.

Another (but trivial) thing that is bothering & amusing me in turns, as I continue through the text: all atheists and scientists (whether theistic or no) "confess", "admit" or "concede" so far. None just say anything. :D Mwahahaha.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

In the mood for sharing

Having been flicking through blogs, using the suspiciously obviously named "next blog" button, I thought I'd do a little list of the people/sites whose blogs I read on a fairly regular basis, as it seems the done thing.

So, in no particular order:

5 Chinese Crackers
Spiral Skies
Growing Passion
The Loom
Pandas Thumb
Psychosis Unlimited
Blogging the Bible

Not so many really, but I thought I'd do it this way with a link to this post in my music & ents section as I've done for books. I suppose I could do a list down the side in the links, but I've already got quite a lot there.


DOA: Dead or Alive (rather than Dead On Arrival). Well, that's an hour and a half of my life I won't get back.

Another computer game become live action flick: its plot was basically the same as numerous others in the genre, with a mysterious tournament involving only the elite amongst fighters. The only slight innovation is having the main characters female.

And we know why.

It definitely appealed to the teenaged boy ogle that still lurks within M. They were attractive women being all athletic and fierce, so ideal fare for a good gawp, really. No plot to speak of, and what there was you could drive a juggernaut through, doing some hand-brake turns, skids and stunts without coming close to collision with anything solid. Swiss-cheese had nothing on it.

But for silly action, yes, it filled a gap in the evening. And Kane Kosugi and Hung Lin were pleasant to look upon.

Friday, February 02, 2007

See a girl standing at a bus stop

My replacement copy LP arrived this morning. Now that was quick service, gotta love Ebay. (Or some of it anyway, as with anything involving people. :D)

So now I wait with bated breath to see if the other returns with an accompanying CD of itself.

Well, I better abate the bating as it's going to get uncomfortable; I've got to allow them some time to do their thing. #Shuffles impatiently#.

Today was quite a pleasant day: I took the young master to his swimming lesson, which he had a high old time at. He was kicking his legs well and leaping into the pool with alacrity, again and again and again and again. And two other mums and their children turned up too, which was nice. The last time we went we were the only ones in the lesson.

Afterwards we met up with my new friend from the internet and her son for a coffee. It was very nice although T started his normal chase-me routine, as it's his favourite game, and two kids tearing round a bistro is not all that conducive to conversation. I was worried about the staff getting annoyed with us, and fussed a bit.

Then we went to the library. I returned the two CDs I'd borrowed. One was Franz Ferdinand and the other was Lemar, but I never actually listened to the escapee-from-reality-talent-show's album: Franz Ferdinand went into the machine when I first got it home and stayed there until its return today. I took out another Michael Connelly and Minette Walters to read, and also a book called Is God Past His Sell-By Date, which is a Christian apologetics book by John Blanchard. Catchy title.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


In my self-appointed mission to get a vinyl album of my Mum's transferred onto CD, my caution knows no bounds.

There's a business on-line that transfers such material, so I'm sending them the LP. First I layered it with cardboard, then surrounded it with bubble wrap, then stiff brown paper. I'm also going to label it vigorously & sternly as "fragile!" and send it recorded.

I do like to add strangely dull photos. :P

As a back-up, I searched for another copy of the LP, and when I found it on Ebay, bought it. This was a bit premature, don't you think? I should have waited until Mum's copy is lost by the post office, half-inched by scammers or broken by either, before buying its replacement. :D

Chances were that the copy on Ebay would have failed to sell as it did on its previous outing and be put up for auction again. But I didn't like to risk it and be unable to find another in the event of it all going wrong. So now I have to worry about getting the transfer done and wait for the extra one to come as well! :D

Oh well, it's important to me. And I blame A for reminding me of the music, for now I hunger for it in listenable form. :D

I've also registered M & I for tickets for Glastonbury. You can't actually buy any until the 1st of April, but register (with photos and everything) you can. It doesn't mean you'll actually be able to get a ticket or anything, just sets the wheels in motion. I haven't been to a festival in years, and M looked all startled that I would want to try to go.

But there's life in the old gal yet. I think. And it does rest on a few (possibly dodgy) assumptions: that my Mum will babysit, we will have the spare money and we will be able to get tickets. Oh, and a tent. :D