Archive for October, 2007

Today’s Hallowe’en URL

Friday, October 26th, 2007

…is here, and don’t forget to “Stomp!” (left click)

Writing Sunday’s Sermon

Friday, October 26th, 2007

I’m preaching at St. John’s on Sunday. The Gospel is Luke 18: 9-14, the story of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The last line of it is: “He who exalts himself shall be humbled, and he who humbles himself shall be exalted.” As you’re probably aware if you’ve read earlier sermons, I like to start with a joke, but I was having trouble thinking of one. Thank God for Google. I found two, and I’ll share the one I’m not going to use.

“Father Brown was such a humble and yet able vicar that his parishioners got together and one Sunday gave him a pin that said, ‘The Church’s Humblest Priest.’ He was quite touched, so the next Sunday he wore it on the lapel of his clerical suit, so they took it away from him.”

I have a different take on the story, thanks to the Episcopal News Service, so I shall be able to write it tomorrow, along with the discussion group I’ll be leading at St. Anne’s. Sunday, after St. John’s, I shall be going to Giles Goddard’s installation as an Honorary Canon of the Cathedral. So a busy weekend.

Today’s Literary URL

Friday, October 26th, 2007

…is a continuation of the previous literary URL.

Today’s Senator Tapper McWidestance Link

Friday, October 26th, 2007

A gentleman confesses that he knew the good Senator quite well, at least for the amount of time that it took Sen. McWidestance to screw him and throw him out of the house…

Today’s meme…

Friday, October 26th, 2007

How evil are you?

I always knew it, now this confirms it.

The Pope needs to see this one…

Friday, October 26th, 2007

and thanks to for this, which made me smile after a long week.

Update on the baptismal register

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

It seems as though the story was halfway true. What the court required the Church to do was to record next to the baptizand’s name the fact that he had left the Church. They did not require the church to remove his baptismal record entirely.

So that’s all right then!

Today’s Literary URL

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

I have a few books like these; I guess there are a lot more that I need to get for my “collection”.

Today’s Good News story

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

I googled for a link, but English link there were none (i’m in a rush, so I didn’t go through the entire listing)

Thanks to MadPriest, we have:


A Spanish court has ordered Catholic officials in Valencia to remove a man

Today’s meme…

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

The Blogalyser reveals…

Your blog/web page text has an overall readability index of 13.
This suggests that your writing style is conventional
(to communicate well you should aim for a figure between 10 and 20).
Your blog has 5 sentences per entry, which suggests your general message is distinguished by clarity
(writing for the web should be concise).


male malefemale female
self oneselfgroupworld world
past pastpresentfuture future

Your text shows characteristics which are 56% male and 44% female
(for more information see the Gender Genie).
Looking at pronoun indicators, you write mainly about yourself, then the world in general and finally your social circle. Also, your writing focuses primarily on the present, next the past and lastly the future.

Find out what your blogging style is like!

I write about myself primarily.

Who knew?

You may remember…

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

…when the Fundagelicals were saying that the New Orleans hurricane disaster was a result of its toleration of gay men and lesbians?

If that’s so, then I presume that the fires in Southern California are a result of The Terminator vetoing the same-sex marriage bill?

Just guessing.

(P.S. I don’t believe it either, but it gives us all food for thought.)

(P.P.S. All you Southern Californians are in my prayers tonight.)

Today’s Photography URL

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

Is this Elsa Lanchester in Bride of Frankenstein? I think we ought to be told.

Today’s Monetary URL

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

The largest note in England and Wales is a

The post is still screwed up…and nostalgia

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

I have only gotten one Church Times out of the four I have now missed, I haven’t gotten any of the Economists I’ve missed, and I got two of the same New Scientist from this week: why the same two, I don’t know.

But one of the odder things I got was two DVDs from here. You may remember this post, where I waxed nostalgic about summer Sunday afternoon Red Sox games on TV, with their White Owl, Atlantic gasoline, and Narragansett Beer advertisements. Well, the two videos I embedded are no longer available for free, but does sell DVDs of various kinds of commercials. So I bought their two DVDs of cigarette commercials from the 50’s and the 60’s (not that there were many made after the 1960’s), and I got them a few days ago.

Nostalgia does not have to always be aimed at things you remember fondly and would like to have back. The days when no one minded cigarette, cigar, or pipe smoke are well and truly over, and I would hesitate to smoke anything, not that I ever took it up after it killed my mother. But watching some of these old commercials takes me back to those more innocent times when

  • The original Flintstones cartoon was not only sponsored by Winston cigarettes, the characters lit up and enjoyed them;
  • Benson and Hedges commercials showing people in silly situations because their cigarettes were too long were funny and won advertising prizes (if you’re my age or older, you can probably still hum the backing tune to this ad);
  • Women were encouraged to smoke cigarettes like Lucky Strike, which were (and are) unfiltered and possibly the most dangerous things you can smoke;
  • Old Gold cigarette packages with shapely women’s legs danced their way across stages into our hearts (and lungs);
  • Smoking a White Owl Invincible cigar would gather a roomful of beautiful women around you;
  • Kent’s jingle (“To a Frenchman, it’s the Eiffel Tower….to a Scotsman, it’s the reg-e-ment, to a smoker, it’s a Kent!”) could become an earworm after not hearing it for almost 40 years.

Nostalgia is the Bitch Goddess from a Non-Smoker’s Hades.

Apologies to two groups:

  • Non-North-Americans, and
  • Those who are under 45 years of age.

The members of the first group will not remember any of these commercials unless they spent a lot of time in a country that still permitted cigarette advertising on TV and had the same brands as the US. The members of the second group will possibly wonder why anyone ever allowed tobacco advertising on TV.

Happy birthday, <lj user=”alwaysroom4gelo”>!

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

…and many many happy returns of the day!

Today’s Religion URL

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

In Taipei, there is a native god of homosexuals. Thanks to MadPriest for the tip.

This morning’s service

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

This week was my stint at St. Anne’s Bermondsey. When we’re not taking the service, we’re just there to be with the congregation and soak up the ambiance, as it were.

It was, yet again, a Family Service, and the person who took the service, a lay reader, started out her sermon with ten minutes for the kiddies, in which she condescended to them in a very unfortunate way. (She didn’t bother to tell the adults that after condescending to the children, we’d get a dose ourselves). Then there was 8 minutes for us on prayer. I don’t usually comment on manner of speaking, but she has an unfortunate speech impediment which is common here: her “r”s come out as “w”s. Prayer becomes “pwayer”. I had a difficult time trying to separate her speech from her message, which was that pwayer, er, prayer is something we ought to be doing all the time and that God listens to our prayers. This is totally diometrically opposed to my own strategy when I preach on prayer: Prayer doesn’t work on God, prayer works on us.

The hymns were unfortunate: the first hymn, “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” is very familiar to most Anglicans, Protestants, and Roman Catholics. Unfortunately, the canned CD had six verses stored in it, but there were 8 in our hymnals. So we kind of stopped short in the middle of the hymn, as it were. The last hymn, Shine, Jesus, Shine, is a pimple on the buttocks of Protestantism and really ought to be treated with a giant tube of Clearasil and made to disappear forever. If it’s on the sheet at St. Matthew’s, I’d just not bother. At St. Anne’s I have to be a bit more circumspect, so I sing it, albeit very softly. But now I’ve got an earworm of the chorus. It must be something I did to God.

So this afternoon I’m off to the gym, but before then I have to decompress.

A powerful video

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

I strongly support the Singaporean lesbian and gay community’s efforts to repeal Section 377A, the part of the criminal code that makes gay sex illegal in Singapore.

I just saw this written on ‘s Facebook, and I had to steal it and embed it here. Watch it. If you’re Singaporean, spread it around.

As a non-Singaporean, the possibilities of my support are limited to moral support and good thoughts and prayers. But this video rocks!

This week, and welcome to it…

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

Had a very busy week, but not really at work. The client has brought me on site not to do work, particularly, but to keep me from being put on another project. He’s promised to pay my employer once the budget is approved in Head Office. This could take until January. In the meantime, there’s no way to start anything meaningful, so I have been sitting around reading technical documentation, eating lunch in the Big Investment Bank’s cafeteria, which is very sumptuous, and trying to look busy.

Meanwhile, we had Deanery Synod on Tuesday night. It was a joint meeting between Camberwell Deanery and Southwark and Newington Deanery. The focus was to be on crime and the Church’s response to crime and disorder. Some people from the Constabulary were due to join us, but through some oversight (not ours) they were never confirmed. So we had to talk amongst outselves. This got quite teejus quite quickly. The new Area Dean and his Camberwell counterpart hoped that we would do this again next year. Unless we run it, I’d say let’s just have a social event and have done with it.

By Thursday I decided that I’d better talk to Vodafone about renewing my phone contract. I had my heart set on a Blackberry, and that’s what I got, BlackBerry Curve 8310. However, it does seem a bit daunting and I haven’t as yet had enough time to configure it properly, although I have received a call and made a call. I gather it can be connected to my email account but haven’t succeeded in doing it just yet, and the software installer rots.

Did I say that the software installer ROTS???

Last night we went to a new Thai restaurant in the same premises as an old Thai restaurant on Old Compton Street. It was surprisingly good, even though the portions were smallish. The gado gado (Indonesian/SE Asian salad with peanut dressing) had bok choy as the vegetable, which was a bit…um…unusual but it tasted OK. My Thai green curry was very nice, and we got home satisfied. HWMBO had Singapore laksa (a kind of curried soup with chilies, seafood, chicken, noodles, and the like) and, when asked, he said that it wasn’t authentic. I believe that anyone who opens an authentic Singaporean restaurant in London would clean up just with the expats’ custom. Why has no one done this yet? Or has someone done it and we haven’t found out about it yet? Enquiring minds (and stomachs) want to know.

I had a call from a recruiter about a new job. Unfortunately, it was with another Indian outsourcer. I am not enamoured of being in a frying pan so to jump out into a fire is ill-advised. I doubt whether I’ll go for an interview but we’ll see what transpires with that. The last interview I went on also came back disappointingly: not because they didn’t like me, though. The finance director of the company has now decreed that there is no money to hire any testers or test managers for at least six months. It would have been cheaper and more polite to have conveyed this to the people who interviewed me BEFORE I went for the interview. I suspect that their internal processes are more chaotic than indicated.

Now we’re off to the Serpentine to see the Matthew Barney exhibition. He’s married to Bj

For <lj user=”fj”>, a link…

Friday, October 19th, 2007

…to which he might add an item or two…

Happy birthday, <lj user=”jwg”>

Friday, October 19th, 2007

…and many happy returns of the day. You’re nowhere near the point at which the BBC stopped wishing the Queen Mother many happy returns of the day, and just wished her a very happy day.

Oh, but have a happy day, too.

Today’s Village People URL

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

But, of course, the village’s in Finland…

Happy birthday, <lj user=”obsidianbear”>

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

…and many happy returns of the day.

<lj user=”spwebdesign”>, <lj user=”pinkfish”>, and <lj user=”chrishansenhome”>

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

is in the general area for a week and a half, so we grabbed the opportunity to have a bite of lunch and a drink with him this afternoon. HWMBO, of course, was there too, but the picture was taken by him so he’s not in it. We were in our local Chinese eatery, The Well, where the picture was taken.

One way to react to winning the Nobel Prize for Literature

Saturday, October 13th, 2007

Doris Lessing wasn’t aware that she had won the Nobel Prize for Literature as she was out shopping when the announcement was made. The media were all gathered outside her residence when she returned, and here is her reaction on video.

I think that “underwhelmed” is the word I’d use to characterise what she thought of the whole business.

This week and welcome to it…

Saturday, October 13th, 2007

It’s been a busy week. Monday I got a surprise in the morning when I discovered that I was supposed to be on site that very morning, when I had resigned myself to another week without an assignment. So I scrambled and got to Big Investment Bank’s (BIB) office at Canary Wharf. The rest of the week was spent in starting to familiarise myself with the applications which we will be testing. It has become blindingly obvious that, although BIB has not gotten budgetary approval for the project, the project manager was afraid of losing me to another project. Thus, they agreed to pay my employer retroactively for my services once approval is achieved. The QA project manager admitted to me that he has no idea when, or even whether, approval will happen. So, there is nothing to do but read online documentation and get my head around it. I fall asleep quite frequently for short amounts of time, as the material is, at best, soporific.

Tuesday night I went to Lodge of Improvement at Kenton, blowing off a meeting of Diocesan Lay Chairs. Unfortunately, not enough brethren showed up at the meeting, so we spent the time chatting and having a drink. While that was nice, I am a bit miffed about it. I wish that the meeting were in a place that was more accessible to my Lodge brothers so that they might be more likely to attend.

Wednesday night was yoga class. I managed to do several things that I couldn’t do before, which was quite good. There will be no classes next week as the teacher is going on holiday, so I’ll just have to do my cardio.

Thursday morning I had blood taken for my diabetic appointment at the end of the month. There was a bruise in my arm when I took the Bandaid off later that day. The nurse is very good at slipping the needle in without much pain, but I think a little bit of blood leaked out. Thursday night I thought I was going to a book signing, but discovered when I got there that I’d misread the date and it had happened a week earlier. Boy, did I feel annoyed.

Friday evening, instead of going to the gym like I should we went out to Nando’s to have chicken, and then I tried to shift the backlog of emails and communications I’ve had all week. I finally did it this morning. I discovered that celery and carrot juice, mixed with some ginger beer, is quite tasty. Everyone else in the house went “Yuck!” but I think it was fine, and solved the problem of what to do with a half glass of ginger beer (diet) that was left in the bottle.

Today I have to prepare for the second meeting of the Nurture group at St. Anne’s, and try to relax a bit. I hope it will work well.

Carabba the cat, part II

Saturday, October 13th, 2007

You may remember this post, in which I related the story of Carabba, a very sick cat. Well, I’m happy to say that he has now made a full recovery and is at home with his adoring companion^Wowner. A picture is below:

A post detailing this week will follow anon.

The postal strike

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

We had a postal strike last week that extended into Monday, and kept a shedload of post in the mailboxes.

So this week, on Wednesday, we got our first post for a week.

It was three pieces of mail.

None of them was for anyone in this flat.

Am I bovvered? You bet your sweet donkey I am!

Today’s Religion Meme

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007
Which theologian are you?
created with
You scored as Paul Tillich

Paul Tillich sought to express Christian truth in an existentialist way. Our primary problem is alienation from the ground of our being, so that our life is meaningless. Great for psychotherapy, but no longer very influential.

Paul Tillich



My day, and welcome to it!

Monday, October 8th, 2007

I figured I’d stay home today and take care of HWMBO, as he has a slight cold, while staying in touch with the office via my laptop. Well, all hell broke loose at 9 am when I set up the laptop and discovered emails sent long after I had left for the day Friday–I was to start at Big Investment Bank (subsequently BIB) this morning at 9. It was a bit embarrassing but I made it.

Meetings for the rest of the day. At least now I can’t say that I am not making any money for my employer.

Today’s Senator Tapper Mc Widestance post

Monday, October 8th, 2007

…is an embedded video which may not actually stay up too long so go for it, guys and gals. You’ll split your sides.

Or, at least, reach under a stall or two…

The most interesting thing that I saw today…

Sunday, October 7th, 2007

…was an urban fox, in broad daylight, on Swan Street on my way to a meeting at the Cathedral. It probably lives in the bushes on the corner, behind a fence. It was just standing out in the open, staring at me. I’ve seen him before on that corner, but only at night.

We are surrounded by fauna here in the centre of the city.

The country takes an aspirin to quell election fever

Saturday, October 6th, 2007

This noon I got a call from the local Liberal Democratic party, of which I’m a member. They were asking me if, in view of the impending General Election, I would put a poster in my window or do various other things like canvassing. I said that I’d do as much as I was able to do.

Then Gordon Brown punctured everyone’s bubble by ruling out a General Election this year, barring unforeseen circumstances.

What a let-down! The Tories and LibDems are now able to accuse him of wimping out. It may be that, like Jim Callaghan in 1978, Brown has just blown his electoral chances. Callaghan decided not to call an election in 1978, when Labour was relatively popular. By 1979, when “Labour’s not working” was the Tories’ cry under Margaret Thatcher, Milk-Snatcher, Callaghan lost in a landslide.

I wonder if Gordon Brown will do the same when he finally goes to the country. I suppose that if the polls are bleak, he may even do a John Major and wait until the last possible day under the Representation of the People Act to call an election.

And most of us remember what happened to John Major in that election.

The juicer

Saturday, October 6th, 2007

A while back HWMBO was awarded

Carrabba the cat

Saturday, October 6th, 2007

Last night I was online talking to Mikiefresh of and a new person came online: lilash. She joined the conversation and after a while told us that her cat was ill but she herself was too broke to be able to get her cat looked at. I was upset, especially when she said that the cat was crying, so I decided that I had to help. So I wired

Farewell, Marta

Saturday, October 6th, 2007

Well, we bade farewell to Marta at the office yesterday. She is one of the few bright lights there, and unfortunately, for family reasons she has to move back to her native Australia. The company, however, transferred her to our Melbourne office, and yesterday was her final day in our London office. We went to a bar around the corner and were very convivial–I had a martini with olive, which was marred only by the fact that the olive was unpitted, and I missed the pimiento. Goodbye, Marta! I hope that someday HWMBO and I will visit Melbourne and see you again, and I hope that your move goes well.

Today’s Cocktail URL

Friday, October 5th, 2007

It’s a picture, and there is no recipe, sadly, but I think that this picture might be attractive to a certain ailuropod, namely . I came across it as I was adding tags to previous posts, and just could not resist. Yum! I think I’ll have one before dinner.

A charming story

Friday, October 5th, 2007

I’ve only been in LA twice, but this story is enchanting, whether you’ve been there or not.

I don’t suppose that any of the principals are still alive, but I’d love to have a meal at the Original Spanish Kitchen.

I followed a link from this Wikipedia article, listing unusual Wikipedia articles. Well worth a trawl.

Senator Tapper McWidestance will be around until January 2009

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

He’s been denied the right to withdraw his guilty plea, but he says that nonetheless he’ll stay around until the end of his term, when he’ll retire from the Senate.

Oh, goodie! He’ll be around to torment the Republicans for months to come through the 2008 general election. O frabjous day! Calloo, callay! he chortled in his joy. No vorpal blade is needed.

Today’s Rant

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

Earlier this week a pimp^Wrecruiter called and asked whether I’d be interested in going on a job interview on Thursday. I told him, “Fine, what’s the job?” He had no spec, only the name of the company.

I told him, “OK, send me what you’ve got and I’m free at 3pm on Thursday.”

No email from him ever came. So I thought he either hadn’t been able to get the appointment or he’d lost interest in me as an interviewee. In addition, like all the other pimps^Wrecruiters, he withholds his phone number when he calls so that companies he’s cold calling can’t tell it’s him when he calls them to beg for a job to fill. So I didn’t have his email address or his phone number. I promptly forgot about it.

This afternoon, at 2 pm, I got a call. It was the recruiter. “Are you ready for your interview?” he said, brightly? I said, “No, you never got back to me.” “I sent you an email!” he said, indignantly. I checked MailWasher’s email log afterwards, and nothing came from his address so he’d not sent it, but that’s beside the point. I said, “I’m not prepared for a 3 pm interview as I’d assumed I wouldn’t have one today. I can do a 4pm.” He got back to me and said that was OK.

It’s a firm that’s basically in the same boat as my last permanent job: a relatively young company which has invested in developers and support staff but has not invested in testing. They don’t have any testers at all.

I think I did OK, and the job would be interesting. I think my price is a bit steep for them, but I’m not budging. If they have no testing function at all, and they want me to start one, they’ll have to pay me more than Searchspace paid me when I started there 6 years ago. Inflation, you know. I’m looking for

Today’s Telephone Sex URL

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

If you go into a church, courtroom, or business meeting, fergawdsake turn off your phone, or at least put it on silent. If not, you might end up embarrassing yourself like this bloke in Australia.

Today’s Wonders of Modern Technology URL

Thursday, October 4th, 2007

If you were cut off from a California state government website recently, this is probably the explanation. I do hope these people have nothing to do with launching missiles.

Today’s Terrorism URL

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

If you want to cook some Thai chili sauce (spelled “chilli” here in Blighty) you might want to warn passers-by that the odour they are sensing is cooking, not poisonous gas.

Perpetual links

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

As I go through my livejournal entries adding tags, I’ve become very fond of news sources of links that have not expired. The Register is one favourite, the BBC is another. Other news sources, especially small town newspapers (which of course often have the most interesting and weird stories), don’t bother to keep their stories around, or change their addresses so that when you look for them a year or more later, they’re gone.

I’ve had to delete a few entries that contain dead links which I cannot resurrect. Some I’ve been able to refresh the links with a different, and perhaps more lasting, link to the same story.

As of today I’m mired in January 2007; I hope to have finished attaching tags to every post within a few weeks or so.


Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

Last year, I posted, just after I started my current job, that I would have to cut down on my livejournal reading because of time constraints.

With the benefit of a year’s hindsight, I needn’t have bothered to worry.

I almost overlooked yesterday’s anniversary!

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

Nineteen years ago yesterday (October 2, 1988), I was received into the Anglican Communion at the Church of the Holy Apostles on Ninth Avenue and 28th Street, in Manhattan.

Happy birthday, <lj user=”legalmoose”>

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

…and many happy returns of the day!

Last Sunday’s Sermon, as promised

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

30 September 2007
Sermon delivered at St. Anne

I spoke too soon…

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

…of course, as soon as I started listening to KKSF, I accidentally downloaded some spyware and it took an hour and

Would that all problems were solved so neatly

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

As y’all know, I’ve been having trouble with my ISP. Briefly, the DNS server connection was continuously being lost, and just this weekend I could not set up a VPN that I had bought and paid for. I asked BT for a Migration Access Code and got one, with a request to call them to see if they could help.

I was put on to a rather incompetent call centre droid from India who did not understand what a DNS was and continued to insist that my line had not gone down for years. I asked for someone who was competent (not in those words) and got someone who gave me the global DNS address. I entered this as the lookup address and, lo and behold, I lost the ability to control my router from the desktop interface. I decided to try going back to the router I had previously.

Well, folks, it was the router. Once I changed routers, I was able to connect to the VPN first time, and the DNS lookup problem seems to have disappeared (I hope).

I am now listening to KKSF San Francisco over the Web for the first time in more than a year, since Comcast cut off service internationally for copyright reasons (the VPN has a US IP address).

O frabjous day! Calloo, callay!

I’m chortling in my joy!