Archive for August, 2010

News video of Bishop Mary Glasspool in Los Angeles

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Many of you have heard reports about the consecration of a lesbian partnered priest as a bishop in Los Angeles. Well, here is some video of a TV news report about a pastoral visit she made. Extremely well-made, the video report allowed her to get the point across that the Episcopal Church welcomes absolutely everyone, which is a good message to spread these days.

Today’s excerpt from the Marblehead Police Log

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

I’ve been a bit remiss in reporting events from Marblehead. There was a Firemen’s Muster over the weekend, and the handtub competition was won by the hometown handtub, the Okammakamesit #2, with my brother on the crew and captained by my friend Rick, both of whom attended my Installation as WM of Goliath Lodge a few months ago. These used to be yearly events in Marblehead, but they have been somewhat neglected of late. They are a lot of fun, an occasion for consuming much malted fermented beverages, and an interesting insight into how fires were fought in the late 1800’s.

But the Police Log outdoes itself this week. I cannot begin to describe its wackiness. You must go and look for yourself, but the headline tells it all: Police Log: Suspicious Man Watches Cat.

There Will Always Be An England, Department of Vital Statistics, London Annexe

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

The Grauniad’s obituaries yesterday had a set of double-facing noble obituaries. On the right-hand page is the obituary of Lord McIntosh of Haringey, mhose main claim to fame was his loss of the leadership of the Greater London Council to the hard-left Labourite “Red” Ken Livingstone, whom many of you will recognise as later the first Mayor of London.

Among Lord McIntosh’s characteristics was the fact that he was a humanist and atheist. The last paragraph of the section of the obituary written by Jeremy Isaacs is the one that caused me to collapse into helpless laughter at the breakfast table, astonishing HWMBO, who wondered what was so funny about an obituary. Lord McIntosh had months to prepare for his own death, seeing friends and generally enjoying himself. The section ends thus:

An atheist to the last, (McIntosh) reviewed the engagements, most in Europe, he would not now keep, glad to escape an audience with the pope in Rome.

A lucky escape indeed.

There Will Always Be An England, Department of Vital Statistics, Scottish Annexe

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

The peer Colin Tennant, Lord Glenconner, died on August 27th. His obituary appeared in the Grauniad yesterday, and provoked some comment at the breakfast table. He once owned the Caribbean island of Mustique, and gave a house there to Princess Margaret. His life is the epitome of loucheness: his title and money came from hereditary stakes in the chemical industry, but his interests varied from landownership to Scottish National politics to where he seems to have ended up, as the owner of a restaurant and rum shop in the rain forests of St. Lucia in the Caribbean. The Independent obituary is even more illustrative of his native eccentricity.

The comment was provoked by the accompanying picture. As it’s copyrighted and owned by Getty Images, I don’t believe I should try to download or use it. However, I suppose a link is sufficient to give a flavour of what the man seems to have been like. The noble lord is sitting in a wicker chair, shaded by an ornate umbrella held by a nearly bare-chested and barefoot man of colour. The noble lord’s left arm is supported on the knees of a man of colour who is sitting to his side. I cannot begin to describe how wrong this is.

I was interested and disappointed that this picture that was printed in the dead-tree version of the Grauniad was not included in the online version. I presume that Getty Images wasn’t keen on it being reproduced online in that way. That’s why I’m friends-locking this post, in case their sniffers are looking around, like St. Peter’s devil-lion, for someone to devour.

From Twitter 08-30-2010

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010
  • 11:32:13: @maleaddict You should see your GP about your nose if this keeps up…
  • 11:33:11: @PuppyWadd Good morning to you too!
  • 17:26:01: RT from #fb: Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.
  • 20:56:22: RT @mikehillwig User couldn’t figure out why he was unable to enter data into a field. I ran up 3 flights to discover it was his numlock key

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Today’s Video Lesson

Monday, August 30th, 2010

We bang on a lot about marriage equality, the fact that marriage is a civil contract as opposed to a religious activity that has a civil aspect to it. And yet, it’s hard to get the differences across to some people. This video does it beautifully.

Thanks to Sean Chapin for the video and Towleroad for the posting.

From Twitter 08-29-2010

Monday, August 30th, 2010
  • 08:03:44: Morning all. Off to church in a bit. Sunday Program on R4 had a bit on Roman Catholic PR in advance of the Pope’s visit. Beware!
  • 22:53:27: @sbrettell Beware of Jesuits, of course. I’ve been away from the computer…
  • 22:54:34: @LucasLascivious I love children…properly cooked. I can’t eat a whole one, though…
  • 22:56:40: RT @jtbritto: do you want a safe life or an authentic life?
  • 23:05:38: There’s an aphorism in there somewhere… RT @JoexEd: One day I will be irresistible. On that day, you’ll want me but I won’t care.
  • 23:27:34: Well, all, off to bed. Dreams are getting progressively more vivid. I really need to write them down or something. Sweet dreams…

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From Twitter 08-28-2010

Sunday, August 29th, 2010
  • 09:07:20: @soveren Say “Hi!” to Mickey for me…
  • 09:08:05: Good morning, all. A Radio 4 Today correspondent referred to “4 am in the morning” and stirred the Squad Squad into action…
  • 16:42:30: Nearly everyone, I would guess… RT @JaysonGreyNYC: Who wants to jump in my bed and play with me??
  • 16:42:59: @bayjock Originally said by Mark Twain, I think.
  • 22:48:36: @jonk: @seismic007 You would be surprised how many people turn up @ the GP saying there’s blood in their stool who forgot last nite’s beets.
  • 22:49:52: Just returned from dinner with @fj , bitty, arthur, and their friend from the BiCon. Lovely company, so-so Indian food at Canary Wharf.
  • 22:51:41: Amazing what caps will do for two letters… RT @seismic007 @Hey_its_AJ I really hate BJ’s, tho I like bj’s.
  • 22:52:25: Now I lay me down to sleep, after doing my pills and shot. Quite tired. Will rest tomorrow. Night-night all. Play nice while I’m asleep.
  • 23:09:54: Todays Great Debate: Mormon proxy baptisms vs. #NSFW :

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Chicken stew

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

After tweeting yesterday: The chicken stew was lovely, if I do say so myself. The best I’ve ever made. The egg-beater was the secret… I got a request from for the recipe.

Well, who uses a recipe? My mother (God rest her soul) just put stuff in a pot and boiled it. That worked fine. However, I wanted a thicker stew, so I have a little secret. Thus, I will share my method for chicken stew. By the way, method is often used in preference to recipe by older cookbooks and especially English cookbooks.

Mother Hansen’s Chicken Stew

1 or 2 onions, chopped
4 or 5 ribs celery, chopped
1 or 2 green peppers (capsicum), chopped
3 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
1 box button mushrooms, washed and scrubbed (20-30 mushrooms)
2 to 3 tbl olive or other vegetable oil, or butter or margarine
1 bouquet garni
salt and pepper to taste
2 qts chicken stock, homemade preferably
8 to 10 large chicken thighs or drumsticks or both, skin on
4 or 5 carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2″ drums
10-15 new potatoes, washed, unpeeled, and quartered
1 swede/rutabaga/turnip, peeled & diced (optional)
15 to 20 small or baby onions, peeled (optional)
2 cans beans such as kidney, haricot or other similar bean, NOT green beans or lima beans (my choice, YMMV) with liquid
2 or 3 tbl cornstarch
boiling water

Put olive oil in stewpot large enough to comfortably contain 3-4 qts of liquid and stew. Don’t put this in a pot in which it will be a tight fit, as it will boil over or otherwise spoil your cooking. Put over high fire long enough to heat the oil and add the onions, celery, green peppers, and garlic. Turn down heat and saut

There Will Always Be An England, Department of Vital Statistics

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Yesterday’s Grauniad had an obituary for John Aris, a computer analyst who participated in the first team that applied computing to business objectives: the LEO (Lyons Electronic Office) system, for J. Lyons, then a major food business in the United Kingdom.

Aris began his academic study in mathematics in secondary school, but decided that classics (the study of Latin and Greek) was more interesting and pursued that subject through Magdalen College, Oxford, where he graduated with a degree.

In 1958, when he was recruited to the LEO project, the prevailing wisdom was that only mathematicians were fit to program and operate computers. This opinion was the prevailing one through the mid-1970’s—when I attended Columbia University, the Computer Studies Department only accepted people from the mathematics and philosophy departments (philosophy because logic was taught as part of that discipline).

What attracts me to Aris is this quotation:

At the time, the prevailing view was that work with computers required a trained mathematician. The Leo management thought otherwise and recruited using an aptitude test. John, an Oxford classics graduate, passed with flying colours, noting that “the great advantage of studying classics is that it does not fit you for anything specific”.

I have found in my life as a Latin and Greek graduate of Columbia, that truer words have rarely been spoken. Aris went on to other major posts in computer companies and retired from active work in 2000. But he should be remembered not only for his participation in LEO, but for explaining why an education in the classics is uniquely fitting for life in the modern world. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

From Twitter 08-27-2010

Saturday, August 28th, 2010
  • 07:43:18: Good morning, all. Kind of grey this morning. Off to breakfast.
  • 08:42:50: @dchizzle Yes. While Staten Island has few (but good) attractions, the ferry is a good place to get pics of the Statue of Liberty @ low cost
  • 08:45:39: @dchizzle @jonk Typical tourists, bah! Statue of Liberty is overrated and crowded. Likewise the other venues.
  • 08:48:03: RT @infernoxv: Alright uncle, you don’t wanna whistle at me, I’m a cold, dead soul inside this body. <-maybe he’s into necropaedophilia
  • 19:00:40: #ff @arjunbasu , because he tells the best 140-character short stories.
  • 19:51:51: Waiting for HWMBO so we can eat our chicken stew…
  • 21:42:56: The chicken stew was lovely, if I do say so myself. The best I’ve ever made. The egg-beater was the secret…
  • 23:21:35: Well, just about ready to hit the hay. Sorry I haven’t done but 1 #FF but I’ve been busy making and eating stew. Next Friday fo’ sure.

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There Will Always Be An England, Music Hall Department

Friday, August 27th, 2010

My favourite English comedian has to be Kenneth Williams. Not only an erudite autodidact, but a master of innuendo, the saucy laugh (“Ooooh, Matron!” he would giggle at Hattie Jacques), and the pun (“Infamy, infamy, they’ve all got it in for me!”).

I had never come across this video before. “Oh, what a beauty!” is an old music hall song that manages to be extremely smutty without actually ever using profanity or sexual language at all. It’s all how you sings it, Matron…

From Twitter 08-26-2010

Friday, August 27th, 2010
  • 07:28:38: I used to shop there all the time when I lived on Castro St. RT @jonk: @Mr_Kenneth_Wong ahh, the gayway
  • 07:29:42: Good morning, all. Up with the squirrel, who is demanding her breakfast peanuts. Foot clinic this afternoon. Chicken stew this evening.
  • 07:43:39: @Sgboy01 I hope it will be…
  • 08:41:07: @sonicchubb Good morning to you!
  • 08:54:03: RT @neilsleat: Hilarious racing commentary in 0830 sport on #r4today. 2 horses neck & neck: My Wife Knows Everything & My Wife Doesn’t know.
  • 18:42:57: @sonicchubb just back from the doctor…so i missed your last message. sorry…
  • 18:43:18: Turnabout is fair play:
  • 18:48:23: Heard on R4 comedy from Edinburgh: Doc: “I need a urine sample.” Patient: “What year? I’m not breaking out the ’65 for nothing, you know…”

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From Twitter 08-25-2010

Thursday, August 26th, 2010
  • 12:04:42: Good afternoon (just) all…hope all is well out there. Looks a bit grey in London, better get the Guardian before it start pelting down…
  • 13:45:30: @TylerMorgyn And a Happy Hump Day to you, as well. I hope you aren’t limited to one hump today…
  • 14:36:48: @sonicchubb If the sun comes out, that is…it’s getting pretty grim up Souf Lunnon…sky dark, sprinkles of rain…
  • 14:39:09: Now about to go upstairs, open up my iMac G3, & replace the backup battery. I hope I can get it all back together again-I’ll take a picture!
  • 18:01:10: @jonk I used to get that a lot (christine/christian) mostly as an anti-gay thang.
  • 18:18:53: Very cool… RT @sexydeadstar: Here I am. This is me today.
  • 18:43:53: If you’re easily offended, don’t go to this link: that is Catullus’s most obscene poem…On the other hand, it’s funny.
  • 18:53:35: 1,931 years ago today. Pliny the Elder died in the eruption of Vesuvius. RIP…
  • 22:43:12: John’s gel is showing RT DentonPolice: 08/25/2010 16:24 | 25 y o | County Record: | DPD
  • 22:43:33: Meow… RT @angelxxxcruz: i smell pussy

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Antoine Answers your Questions

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Antoine Dodson, the young African-American gay man living in the projects in Huntsville, AL, gained some fame recently when he was interviewed on TV about a crime that affected his family. The video remix of the interview went viral on YouTube, and he’s now made yet another video where he answers the questions that his legion of fans have sent in. He’s trying to make a few bucks out of it, and who can blame him?

For the record, he is very well-turned out, has a handsome face, and when he isn’t actively angry and upset is a gentle man who I hope will do well.

Two really brilliant paragraphs

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

I am reading an interview that Iain Dale has conducted with Matthew Parris, the radio broadcaster and former Conservative MP. It is brilliant, and I urge you to read the entire thing, but there are two paragraph that are really good.

The first one talks about political lobbying:

(Iain Dale:) Lobbying is a perfectly legitimate activity, if you want legal advice you go to a lawyer, why shouldn

From Twitter 08-24-2010

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010
  • 07:35:21: No matter how much you shake and dance/the last little drop goes down your pants. RT @jonk: i have bad luck when it comes to …
  • 07:40:03: Alejo is FAST! RT DentonPolice: 08/24/2010 00:09 | 20 yo | SPEEDING 80/55 MPH Z
  • 11:37:17: @jenny8lee there was a Chrome update pushed through yesterday–perhaps that’s the reason.
  • 19:32:42: Precocious, eh? RT @CBCNews: Boy, 13, charged in armed pizza robbery
  • 22:04:28: If you are ever tempted to speed down the freeway, watch this vid…
  • 22:14:19: Thief needs to go back to thief school… RT @petapixel: Thief accidentally appears in background of family photo:

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What is the secret of <i>Soylent Green?</i>

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

This is a trailer from the movie (quite long, actually) which I found in the LJ group “vintage_ads“. An oldie, but a goodie.

Happy birthday, <lj user=”cuyahogarvr”>&#8230;

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

…and many happy returns of the day!

From Twitter 08-23-2010

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010
  • 09:06:38: Morning, all. Grey day today, I’m afraid. Hope y’all have behaved yourselves during the night. Will now check…
  • 09:07:24: @RichTheTiger Good luck in job-hunting!
  • 14:18:34: You have nothing to hide… 😉 RT @therealgokwan: Warning! never stand on your balcony in JUST dressing gown… when windy!
  • 23:32:49: Well, tweeps & peeps, I am overjoyed: I found my camera on the floor next to my computer table. So I go to bed happy. See y’all!

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I didn’t actually have to appeal to St. Anthony&#8230;

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

I found my camera this afternoon. It had fallen off the left side of the computer desk into the gap between the printer table and the floor, and wasn’t readily “discoverable” unless you took a flashlight and peered down there. I happened to do that (for another purpose) and discovered, to my delight, that the camera was on the floor!

Hooray! Now I can (maybe) persuade HWMBO that we need a large LCD monitor for me, so that he can get the monitor that I have, so that the Sun Sparcstation 5 can get the (slightly defective) monitor that he has, so that I can put the Sparcstation upstairs and move the iMac. So complicated. Had we been required to buy a new camera, that money would have evaporated.

From Twitter 08-22-2010

Monday, August 23rd, 2010
  • 08:24:12: Good morning, all. Very grey and rainy today. May be blogging later about the rash of hung parliaments sweeping big Commonwealth countries.
  • 14:18:07: Looks a bit like @rustyrockets with a haircut… RT DentonPolice: 08/22/2010 02:57 | 24 yo | DL-EXPIRED GRA
  • 18:16:18: Awwww…..very sweet. RT @sexydeadstar: Look at my little boy Emmett eating his yogurt treat
  • 22:20:25: Well, all, time to retire. Been at the computer too long tonight. I feel better at the moment and hope to continue that this week. Cheers!!!

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Minority government in the Commonwealth

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

One of the things that people want from government is certainty. Up until very recently, elections delivered that certainty in the four oldest democracies in the British Commonwealth, as well as in the United States. In 2000, the episode of the Hanging Chads introduced Americans to the idea that the day after the election, they might not know who would be President of the United States on January 20th of the next year, at 12:01 pm.

Australia today woke up to their election results, which ended in what parliamentary democracies call a “hung Parliament” (no jokes, please! This is serious.) That is, no one party can command a majority in the lower house of Parliament. What has not been remarked upon is that all four of the oldest members of the British Commonwealth are now governed by a party that does not command an absolute majority in the lower (or the only) house of their Parliament.

The Dominion of Canada is governed by a minority party, governing alone but with the tacit voting cooperation of other parties in the House of Commons. The United Kingdom is governed by a coalition between a plurality party in the House of Commons and the smallest of the three major parties in the United Kingdom. The Realm of New Zealand has been governed by coalitions since a new voting system, mixed-member proportional representation, was put in place in 1996. They have a unicameral Parliament. The Commonwealth of Australia, emerging from an election last Saturday, faces the prospect of a coalition government or a minority government supported by independent and one Green MPs—at this writing the outcome is uncertain.

To my knowledge, this is the first time that all four of these countries have had non-majority governments at the same time. The UK had a minority government after the first general election in February, 1974. When Harold Wilson called the second election, in October 1974, he gained a majority of 3. Previously there was a coalition government in the UK during the Second World War, where Churchill was, of course, Prime Minister and a Conservative, Clement Attlee was Deputy Prime Minister and the head of the Labour Party, and the same Parliament sat from 1935, when the Conservatives won a majority, until 1945, when the war ended and Attlee demanded a General Election, which Labour won.

In 1940, the Federal election in Australia was narrowly won by the party of which the Liberal party of today is the descendant, with a majority supported by independent MPs. When two of those independents switched sides in the next year, Labour then took over the government and increased their majority in 1943. The Liberal Party governments since 1943 have all been “coalitions” between the National Party and the Liberal Party. The Wikipedia article on politics in Australia and some of the subsidiary articles, such as the one on the National Party, are most interesting in their chronicling of the fissiparous nature of party politics in Australia.

Canada has been governed by minority parties for two periods in the last 30 years or so. In the election of 1979, Joe Clark’s Progressive Conservatives won a plurality, and governed alone until Clark called an election in early 1980, resulting in a Liberal government. In 2004, a Liberal minority government was elected, and then in 2006 a Conservative minority government was elected, and then reelected in 2008. The country does not seem to want to go to the polls again so soon after the 2008 election, so unless the government loses a vote of confidence in the House of Commons it seems likely to soldier on until the Prime Minister thinks it likely that a general election will succeed in returning him with a majority government.

Where am I going with all this? Minority and coalition government in democracies descended from Great Britain had usually been the exception rather than the rule. Two-party government, with each party alternating governments, have been encouraged by plurality first-past-the-post electoral systems, where the candidate with the largest number of votes in a constituency wins the seat, whether s/he has an absolute majority or not. Duverger’s Law says that the first-past-the-post system tends to favour such governments, while some sort of alternative vote system tends to favour multi-party government. The United Kingdom will vote next May on whether to introduce the alternative vote system for Parliamentary elections, where candidates are numbered according to the voter’s preference, in descending order. If no one wins more than 50% of first-preference votes, the candidate with the least number of first-preference votes is knocked out, and the second preferences of his first-preference voters are added to the totals of the other candidates. This continues until one candidate has 50%+1 of all votes,. based on this redistribution. It is often called the “Instant Runoff Vote”, as this process is similar to holding a runoff election, without the expense of actually doing so. The plurality Conservatives are against this, as it is likely to result in fewer Conservatives being elected to Parliament. The minority Liberal Democrats are in favour, as in many seats it could make the difference between a LibDem being elected and one being a close second. Labour used to be in favour of it, but now when they are in opposition, have decided they are not in favour of it, simply to be bloody-minded.

The question in my mind is this: What constitutes a fair picture of the results of an election? If in a UK election the Conservatives get 40% of the total vote, Labour gets 35%, Liberal Democrats get 20% but the Conservatives get 45% of the seats, Labour gets 40%, and the Liberal Democrats get only 8% (not the current numbers, of course; I just picked them out of the air for illustration’s sake) is this fair? Are the LibDem votes that do not result in a LibDem MP wasted if they do not help elect a LibDem MP? Is the uncertainty currently surrounding the Australian election result good for the country? Should the voting system be changed so that elections are more likely to result in a majority government?

I believe that there is one fact about coalition government that tends to make it a good government. When one party is in coalition with another, each party to the government has to temper its demands in reaction to the demands of the other party. In order to govern effectively, the coalition has to have internal debates, with give and take, negotiation, horse trading, and wheeling-and-dealing in order to formulate policy and get bills passed in Parliament. This sharpens the debate in the House itself, as debate and argument have already gone on internally. Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition often does not have this luxury, and with Labour currently eating itself alive during the leadership contest currently going on they definitely cannot take any position other than blind opposition to every proposal of the Coalition.

The unfortunate fact of coalition in the United Kingdom is that, despite all the signs with COALITION AHEAD!, BEWARE OF THE COALITION!, HANGING PARLIAMENT ABOVE!!, none of the three major parties seriously contemplated what they would do were a hung Parliament to be elected. So when they woke up the day after the election, the three leaders didn’t know what to do. Nick Clegg, the kingmaker and leader of the LibDems, finally cast his lot in with the Conservatives, as together they would command a majority in the House of Commons.

A coalition with Labour would have had two major difficulties. One of them was Gordon Brown, outgoing Prime Minister, who was clearly exhausted, repudiated by a majority of voters, prone to gaffes, and unsuited to continue in office. Replacing him, however, would have produced the UK’s second female Prime Minister in Harriet Harmon while Labour went through the cumbersome process (for them) of electing a new leader, who would take over. More uncertainty. The other was that a LibLab coalition would be a minority coalition, and would have to scrabble for votes from the Scottish Nationalists, Plaid Cymru, the Democratic Unionists of Northern Ireland, and a handful of independents and a Green. Labour as a whole was not up to the task of securing a majority for each bill they proposed—that kind of vote-chasing is tiring and would make government a pain for them. When John Major’s majority in Parliament evaporated in 1996 through deaths and lost by-elections, he had to scramble around for each and every vote and this contributed to the weariness of his government.

Now in government, the Liberal Democrats are still holding together, just. There have been rumours in the press that Charles Kennedy, the convivial and often tired and emotional former leader of the LibDems and MP for the Scottish Western Isles was contemplating a return to the Labour Party he left years ago. These have been hotly denied. I would not say that it is beyond the pale that other LibDems on the left of that traditionally sandal-wearing and free-thinking party might not join or re-join Labour. I am certain that Labour MPs are being encouraged to socialise with their LibDem MP friends in order to sound them out on the possibility of defection.

However, all of this avoids the reality of the situation. Much quoted lately, most recently by Julia Gillard, PM of Australia, is former US President Bill Clinton’s remark after the 2000 US Presidential election: “The American people have spoken but it’s going to take a little while to determine what they said.” In the UK and other British parliamentary-style democracies, each party runs on a manifesto (=US “platform”) which sets out, in detail, what the party intends to do if it forms a majority government. What the manifestos do NOT say is what the party intends to do if no party commands a majority in Parliament and it must explore coalition with other parties.

Not only do the manifestos not say anything about this, the electorate here does not understand the nature of negotiation in a coalition government. If I had a pound for every article I’ve read and every news report I’ve seen and heard over the airwaves scorching the LibDems for abandoning their stated manifesto pledges now that they are in government with the Conservatives, I’d be able to retire. Saying these things is stupid and unthinking.

The manifesto only applies when a party forms a majority government. When a party forms part of a coalition, its manifesto becomes aspirational, a basis for negotiation between the parties that are forming the government. While one can encourage one’s party to fight its corner in government, it is unreasonable to expect it to win every battle.

A week is a long time in politics (hackneyed phrase, but a true one). Who knows what will happen to the coalition here in the UK, or the government in Australia. Prime Minister Gillard may elect to continue on as Prime Minister of a minority government until and unless she loses a vote of confidence in the House of Representatives, although there is precedent for the Governor-General to dismiss a Prime Minister, it is very unlikely to happen and PM Gillard will remain as PM until and unless she resigns, as is customary in Parliamentary democracies. Prime Minister Harper of Canada has played fast and loose with Parliamentary procedures lately in order to deny opposition MPs the opportunity to investigate or call his government to account. The opposition has threatened to deny Harper the confidence of the House and force an election, but I believe they will wait until memories of the last election have faded a bit more. No one wants to go to the polls every two years in a Parliamentary democracy, and Canadians have trooped to a General Election in 2004, 2006, and 2008. New Zealand, as far as I am aware, has been ticking along nicely since the last election. But they have fourteen years’ experience of coalition government, so perhaps the New Zealand government has mastered the method of making it work, while we in the UK have yet to do so and the Labor Party of Australia has yet to have to try.

From Twitter 08-21-2010

Sunday, August 22nd, 2010
  • 07:17:55: @jonk Oh, well, at least you’re near the washroom…
  • 07:22:56: @JoexEd I am, barely
  • 07:24:12: @JoexEd Muacks!
  • 07:24:36: @JoexEd It’s 7:23 am…I always get up at 7am
  • 07:27:29: @JoexEd I’m a creature of habit, as Mother Superior said…
  • 07:28:22: @JoexEd just a jokey turn of phrase…
  • 07:31:14: @JoexEd I am approximately 30 years older than you…
  • 07:32:33: @JoexEd Who is “Rapture”? Anything like “Scary Spice”??
  • 07:34:20: @JoexEd Oh, I see. That’s one way that being 30 years older shows–I’m not up on the latest tunez
  • 07:36:22: @JoexEd OIC, well, I guess I’m not up on older tunez, either.
  • 07:38:44: @JoexEd I guess I agree with Goebbels; “When I hear the word ‘culture’ I reach for my revolver…”
  • 07:40:46: @JoexEd Goebbels was the head of the Gestapo in Nazi Germany
  • 07:41:51: @JoexEd ok, sleep tight. Lick “Culture” for me…
  • 07:42:59: @JoexEd heheheh. well, then, just sleep tight.
  • 10:19:07: RT @infernoxv: A: ‘Hi, sorry but you look really familiar, where have we met?’. B: ‘Here. Last month, when you used the same line on me.’.
  • 10:19:54: Good morning all. I have a slightly busy day today–out to the pharmacy to return the script that they got wrong and get new stuff…sigh.
  • 21:24:27: Where did those “10 credits” appear in my “Facebook account”? I didn’t ask for them & I didn’t pay for them. OMGWTF! Another privacy issue?
  • 21:28:53: @sonicchubb it’s been very quiet, really. big news of the day: I ordered Japanese Noodles with Roast Pork and got Ho Fun instead… 🙁
  • 21:29:34: Dear Twitter: I’ve neglected you yet again today. I apologise. Much luv and kisses xxx
  • 21:42:11: OMGWTF!RT @mattrett: So mind-blowingly depressing.
  • 21:43:21: RT @jonk: Omg y’all I’m breaking out something called a “compact disc” (because I’m too lazy to start netbook)
  • 21:44:08: Drinking rooibos tea. It’s really good. I should drink more of this and less coffee.
  • 21:47:08: We want pictures… RT @HotRyu: I was surprised with the amount of cum I released when I jerk off in the shower this morning. It was a lot..
  • 21:50:16: Only a geek knows how they taste while alive… RT @davidhoang: “Once they’re (chicken) dead, they’re delicious.”

Liu Wei’s got talent

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

By now you’ve all heard of the armless Chinese pianist who wow’ed ’em on China’s Got Talent. Here’s the video—it’s all in Chinese but you’ll find that it doesn’t matter in the slightest if you can’t understand Chinese.

From Twitter 08-20-2010

Saturday, August 21st, 2010
  • 15:36:50: Afternoon, all. Have had a hectic day so far; resurrected my ethernet bridge and iMac. Went to the store & struggled home. Tired…
  • 19:12:20: @sexydeadstar I guess someone _did_ help and dried you so much the pic blew away… 😉
  • 22:59:42: @soveren That sounds like a plan… (in re @sexydeadstar )
  • 23:00:49: @TylerMorgyn thanx for the #ff : y’all should follow TylerMorgan too…
  • 23:02:58: Well, hay-hitting time again. Have neglected you today, Twitter. Please forgive me.

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Bits and bobs

Friday, August 20th, 2010

I’ve lost my camera, somehow. It used to live on my desk in the study, and yesterday I wanted to take a picture and didn’t see it. I have torn the house apart and can’t find it. HWMBO has promised to help find it, but it’s just another annoyance among many. I suspect it was tidied away when we had our little dinner party last week. I hope to be able to find it. If not, I suppose the opportunity to buy a new one looms.

The problems I had with my Internet Bridge have been solved! and We have as a houseguest for a week. I am always happy to see Chaz; he’s exuberant, witty, fun, and very accomplished. He brings presents of peanut butter and smokehouse almonds for HWMBO, and adobo seasoning and Irish Spring soap for me. But he also brings his expertise.

Now I’ve posted before about my iMac and the travails I went through to upgrade it. I cannot find where I posted about my travails with the internet bridge that I was using to connect to my WiFi from the spare bedroom upstairs, but I’m sure I did. Tags are a beyotch sometimes.

In any case, about a year ago I went to turn on the iMac and it stubbornly refused to connect to the Internet. As the Internet is made of cats, I just assumed that something was wrong with the connection or the internet bridge. I tried everything I could to connect, but not being a Mac-head, I couldn’t get it to connect. I bought other hardware and tried that. No dice. I considered connecting up the room with ethernet cable. I never got around to that. Meanwhile, the iMac was stubbornly accusing me every time I went into the room.

When arrived, I pleaded (well, maybe not pleaded, but nearly) with him to take a look at it. He worked on it at intervals, and finally discovered that, far from being something wrong with the internet bridge, it was something wrong with the iMac’s software. I was gobsmacked. Figuring this out did not take Mac-itude, it took networkitude, and Chaz has it in spades. So I now have an upgraded original iMac that connects to the internet through the bridge. I am quite pleased, and look forward to playing with it at intervals in the future and learning more about it.

Next iMac-connected task: replace the onboard backup battery. As is usual, it’s not a PC-type “hearing aid” battery, but a 1/2AA 3.7V battery that even Maplin on the Strand didn’t have in stock. I have ordered one online, and with postage it came to more than

From Twitter 08-19-2010

Friday, August 20th, 2010
  • 09:56:21: Morning, all. Quiet day today. Houseguest is still asleep and we’re all going out to dinner tonight. Hooray!
  • 17:43:49: Hawt as feck… RT DentonPolice: 08/18/2010 17:49:01 | 20 years old | POSS CS PG 1 &gt;= 1G &lt; 4G
  • 17:44:36: @jonk Is “sofa king” related to “Nosmo King”??
  • 17:50:44: From @tsgnews comes today’s most repulsive crime: . Do NOT read while eating, especially a chocolate bar.
  • 17:55:59: Tell him to find a knothole.. RT @LucasLascivious: Just got this text: “I need to fuck something. Where are you?” How I love my friends/fbds
  • 18:02:09: RT @Shelbycub There is a joke here, I just know it RT @indystar Be aware: Manholes are exploding @ 300 Block of E. Mass Ave.
  • 18:11:19: Very Japanese… RT @alexlaserthrow: Lately I have the urge to have a shower after I fuck someone….ever felt like that???
  • 18:19:28: As long as you aren’t in the morgue, I suppose. #ThatWouldBeCold RT @TinaVuitton: When your body is next to my body. #ThatsHot !
  • 18:38:03: I’m old…

From Twitter 08-18-2010

Thursday, August 19th, 2010
  • 09:22:31: 2 incredibly hot men and a teenager use a pole to good effect! Indian Pole Gymnastics via @youtube
  • 09:48:39: @hungskateboy Yes. Now if they could just invent a tool that would remove clothing photographed on hunks…
  • 11:17:39: Morning, all. Nurse was here early–5 mins later and I would have been in the shower. Now ready to face the day…
  • 13:15:28: @Squibby_ Give a man a fish, he will eat for a day; teach him how to fish, and he’ll smell funny for the rest of his life.
  • 15:57:54: @dhruv_dhody “Balls!” said the Queen. “If you had ’em you’d be King.” replied the King.
  • 16:41:53: @dhruv_dhody hehehe…very good.
  • 17:35:35: @cemab4y hey! Hpw are you?
  • 19:39:43: @angelxxxcruz sounds good to me. been inhaling the fumes from the comb sanitiser? 😉
  • 21:25:50: Pssst! He’s looking for loopholes. RT @thechurchmouse: Did Dawkins just say he loves reading the Bible!?
  • 21:41:00: @daveyrobson: The only cock I got today was some homeless-looking guy. Decent sized, but rancid. #FML &lt;&lt; start him with a shower & a shave.
  • 23:05:15: Time to retire. Don’t all applaud at once–I hope to be back tomorrow, same Twit time, same Twit channel. Play safe, now!

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Today’s Exercise Video

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

I am not particularly clued into gymnastics. The men are normally good looking and very muscular and slight. I’m peripherally aware of the kinds of gymnastics that are practiced in the West: rings, trapezes, and the like. I was not aware that in India, poles are used just as the “horse” (I forget its proper name) is used here. You will be astounded that from a running start these men (and a teenage boy) catch and cling to the pole with their feet only. Watch the video. If you like bears, there is an Indian otter/bear who is quite handsome. If you like smooth men, the first one will be your choice.

From Twitter 08-17-2010

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010
  • 07:45:53: Good morning, all. Slept fairly well and dreamt that I won a raffle for a small but significant sum of money. I should buy a lottery ticket.
  • 09:40:23: Blog: Fighting a battle that has already been lost: English prof is banned from Starbucks for not speaking Starbuckese.
  • 09:55:18: Blogpost: OMGWTF! Racism in Grindr ad! My [white] friend Andy recently received a message from this guy…
  • 11:21:43: RT @Aiannucci: Coalition to cut Holy Trinity by 33%. ‘Scrapping Holy Ghost gets rid of an unnecessary tier of Supreme Being’ says Clegg.
  • 17:19:31: Just made egg salad with 6 free-range eggs bought for 71 pence as they were about to expire. That will give us excellent lunches.
  • 17:20:04: @NixonAzukiT She is the embodiment of asshattitude.
  • 17:20:50: @LucasLascivious There is excellent veggie sushi made with cucumber and avocado and the like.
  • 17:22:28: WTF? RT @therealgokwan: Just had half a can of beer to take the edge off the jet lag and it made my nipples ache! Strange yet satisfying! X
  • 17:24:39: @angelxxxcruz Would payola for porn blogging be called #fuckola ? I hope so…
  • 17:28:57: I’d buy it! RT @JaysonGreyNYC: I want to compile my life into a novel.
  • 17:29:47: That’s great! Keep it up…keep it asleep actually sounds better… RT @jonk: yay! almost 9 hours of sleep last night!
  • 17:34:33: @Glinner Fortunately I use a VPN based in the US, so I just log into that and Robert is your father’s brother as far as US blockage goes.
  • 17:40:23: @LucasLascivious U know why they call ’em “nuns”? They ain’t had none, ain’t got none, and won’t get none either.
  • 17:41:21: @urbanbohemian I prefer homemade muffins, actually. Corn muffins hot from the oven are lovely.
  • 17:47:44: RT @bbcnews: A Kenyan national who was attempting to sell an albino man has been arrested, police in Tanzania say.
  • 17:49:28: RT @alexgohdd: RT @mrbrown: Mah Bow Tan: “Buy a flat you can afford.” How about you build flats that we can afford?
  • 17:53:43: Well, then, they missed a trick! RT @LucasLascivious: @chrishansenhome Not at this particular fundraiser.
  • 21:55:12: He could have a mullet… RT @LucasLascivious: …could this guy look like any more of a douche?
  • 23:07:00: @hungskateboy : Don’t forget! Photoshop is your friend!
  • 23:26:41: Well, all, time for bed. Friend from NYC arrives tomorrow, w00t! Must finish cleaning out the spare room…play nice, y’all!

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Fighting a battle that has already been lost

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

Let’s be clear at the start: I patronise Starbucks. I like the fact that wherever I go, whether it’s Shanghai or Marblehead or central London, I get a predictable cup of coffee using a vocabulary that I understand and that the people who are serving me understand. I do not make any representation that a Starbucks coffee is gourmet coffee, that it is exceptionally good, or that there are no coffee shops and local caf

From Twitter 08-16-2010

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010
  • 10:06:57: Morning, all. So cold in London last night that I needed a blanket. In August, no less. Still cold. Also grey skies. Gloomy London Monday.
  • 23:39:40: @JoexEd Love your new icon. I can’t have lollipops so…
  • 23:51:35: Well, all, retiring later today as my PM got screwed up by the late arrival of Nurse to shove antibiotics into my arm. Nite-nite, all!

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The upside to Proposition 8

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Upside? You say?

Well, before the standing for an appeal is decided on Wednesday, there is one good thing that came out of the entire business. The Mormons, the Roman Catholics, and homophobes of all types and sizes raised scads of money to get Proposition 8 passed.

If the appeal goes no further, or is finally lost, all that money went for naught. I would submit that the money raised should have gone for the relief of poverty, the provision of food for hungry people, or shelter for those who have no place to live, or clothing for those who now stand up in their own rags. I am not a proof texter, but Matthew 25:31-46 comes to mind.

There have been many electrons spent on the subject of the likely outcome of any appeal, and the general consensus seems to be that as the defendants (the State of California, the Governor and the Attorney-General thereof) are not appealing, and previous decisions have said that people expressing an interest or being intervenors in the case do not have standing to appeal, the appeal will most probably be denied. The irony here is that the “strict constructionists” on the Supreme Court have consistently held that intervenors do not have standing to bring or appeal a case, they themselves would have trouble allowing an appeal by anyone other than those who were defendants. “Hoist by their own petard” now, aren’t they?

This has resulted in some who are in favour of upholding Proposition 8 to conclude that if the appeal is unsuccessful, a precedent wider than the state of California would be set. Of course, this would mean other states, or all states, would have to allow same-sex marriage. In their eyes, this would be less desirable than having one state (California) allow it.

Great legal minds have opined that, given the great set of statements of fact that Judge Walker has assembled, it would be difficult for the appellate courts or the Supreme Court to overturn those statements of fact. And appellate courts do not normally overturn statements of fact; they concentrate on identifying procedural errors in the original trial.

All in all, I’m cautiously optimistic that on Wednesday evening, California will be able to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, yet again.

The antis will now concentrate on repealing the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. They would be happy on two counts: not only could they forbid same-sex marriages again, but the ius soli—the principle that all children born on US soil are automatically US citizens—could then be invalidated. Hooray for racism and homophobia! I do not think they will be able to do it, but believe me, that’s the only way they would be able to do anything about it.

Thus, in time, the legal problems that stem from marriages being valid in one state and not in another will come to the fore. Already some couples legally married in Massachusetts who find its rules on divorce (you must be resident in the state for a year to get a divorce) restrictive since they live in other states, have filed for divorce in their own home states, which do not recognise same-sex marriage. There is one case in Texas that is wending its way through the courts. This messy situation will continue on until some court rules that the part of the Constitution that mandates that each State must treat all the acts of another State as licit means that all states will at least have to treat those same-sex married couples who got married in a state where it is legal as a married couple. Thus will the barriers finally come down, as any gay couple within reach of California, Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, or Vermont could then marry in one of those states and return to their home state as a married couple. In ten or twenty years, more states will decide that it is less profitable to prohibit the solemnisation of same-sex marriage than to allow it, as they will be losing out on marriage license fees and the like but having to hear same-sex divorce and child custody cases and pay their own legal costs. When in some Southern states interracial marriage was illegal, those interracial marriages performed in states where it was legal were recognised by the Southern states. They only prohibited such marriages from taking place in their state.

As we say here in England, and thus the Pyramids.

The bad things that came out of Proposition 8 (beside the homophobia and the money poured into the state by conservative religious groups) include the fact that the lesbian and gay community, yet again, ate itself alive after Proposition 8 was approved. Recriminations, accusations of poor public relations and advertising, and just plain disappointed bad feelings boomeranged around the state and nationally. None of that was necessary, really. A couple of determined couples filing suit against Prop 8 seems to have carried more weight than all the advertising and public relations put forward against Prop 8.

I hope to wake up Thursday morning here in London to see pictures of jubilant same-sex couples waving their California marriage licenses while coming down City Hall steps all over the state. In time, as it has in those states which now permit it, people all over the United States, whether they are conservative or liberal, Tea Party or Coffee Party, religious, agnostic, or atheist, will to a greater or lesser extent accept that same-sex married couples are legally married as far as the civil authorities are concerned. In this way societies are changed.

Just in: The 9th Circuit has stayed the judgment until it has ruled on the appeal. So no gay marriages on Wednesday. Briefs are due in by November 1st, which I gather is relatively aggressive for a Circuit Court. I do hope that it doesn’t take too long to decide—I want to see more California same-sex marriages by early next year.

Today’s Medical Video

Monday, August 16th, 2010

Have you ever had one of those friends or acquaintances who can smile, laugh, and uplift you no matter what is happening? Don’t you sometimes (most of the time?) find them insufferable? Well, don’t despair—relief is on the way, courtesy of The Onion

From Twitter 08-15-2010

Monday, August 16th, 2010
  • 07:36:25: DWB arrest, can be “black” or “bear”. RT DentonPolice: 08/14/2010 23:19 | 32 yo |SEAT BELT LAW
  • 07:37:39: Quincy is sultry… RT DentonPolice: 08/14/2010 20:58 | 19 yo | DRIVING WHILE LICENS
  • 07:40:39: Morning, all. Denton has been busy last night, so have caught up with them. Church later, then rest and relax.
  • 07:45:39: Are you channelling his spirit or his endowment? Would be lovely… RT @LucasLascivious: John Holmes died seven days before I was born.
  • 07:51:20: @jmspool In other scientific news, scientists have shown that the Pope is a Roman Catholic and that bears defecate in forests.
  • 07:54:44: I think @jonk will like these… RT @Minervity: Glowing Sneakers | Fluorescent Colored Geekiness –
  • 07:56:34: RT @sshawnn: What does an egg think when it meets a roasted chicken? By Terry Border (Bent Objects)
  • 08:01:17: @jonk The real problem with Chinatown in London is that it’s surrounded by Piccadilly Circus and the tourists are all over.
  • 08:09:13: @jonk I hate Central London tourists. I really do. Perhaps we could move them all to Ealing or Croydon so we can enjoy Piccadilly again.
  • 11:53:48: @jonk What one does here is get on the tourist bus so that you say you have seen everything, then go on day trips. Dover Castle is great!
  • 19:16:41: @jonk Why not?
  • 19:17:20: @jonk Well, don’t expire until you’ve told us what “It” is…
  • 19:19:05: What’s killing _me_ is Winamp…what a good potential app with a very bad learning curb…
  • 19:19:46: @jonk well, i hope that work gets lighter. Do you ever take a whole weekend off? Stress+cholesterol=cardiac difficulties.
  • 19:20:20: Oh, crumbs, the Curse of Coren’s Typist strikes again. It’s “learning curve”, of course…
  • 19:33:32: @jonk Well, I hope you do take a rest and enjoy it…the weekend(s) off, that is.
  • 20:36:48: @dchizzle @brybryy I presume you’ve both heard the joke about the two gay judges who tried each other…
  • 20:43:59: @GaySkyHooker Pizza…haven’t had that in ages. I just made two strawberry shortcakes with homemade whipped cream for HWMBO and me…oink!
  • 20:45:38: @dchizzle Chrome. It’s easy to install, most every webpage will render at least legibly in it, and it doesn’t crash like Firefox.
  • 21:29:26: Well, tweeps and peeps, it’s a bit early but I’m tuckered out. See y’all tomorrow, assuming we are all here tomorrow, which I hope we are.

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From Twitter 08-14-2010

Sunday, August 15th, 2010
  • 09:33:03: No charge listed, must be DRIVING WHILE CUTE… RT DentonPolice: 08/13/2010 23:58:47 | 21 years old |
  • 09:41:57: His dimples are misplaced… RT @DentonPolice: 08/13/2010 21:42:06 | 23 years old | UNL CARRYING WEAPON
  • 09:57:05: Well, I’m up, HWMBO is off to table-tennis, and the day looks pretty grey. London at its finest.
  • 14:05:30: @sonicchubb Mine is very quiet so far. What about yours?
  • 20:17:33: @jonk Yes, you do. Believe me. I wish I could go to the gym.
  • 20:27:57: @angelxxxcruz Make that two espressi…
  • 20:28:04: RT @ashdayo: Went to the bar yesterday where the iPhone 4 prototype was found w/ @codery and @jordanbreeding. Didn’t find an iPhone 5.. #fb
  • 20:31:41: @jonk Well, that should motivate you to go even more. Plus, you want to fit into skinny jeans, not Lane Bryant… 😉
  • 20:33:29: @jonk I didn’t know how much I needed to go until I couldn’t go for a year and had to give it up for health reasons.
  • 20:41:06: @jonk Why would it be awkward to return? Were there unfortunate incidents in the showers? 😉 I’m sure there weren’t, of course…
  • 20:41:42: @jonk Oh, and it will do wonders for your cholesterol and your heart.
  • 20:42:10: @jonk I think they care about a paycheck, really.
  • 20:43:06: @jonk I hope to hear good things about your endurance on the spinning machines and the number of KM you do on the treadmill…
  • 20:53:59: @dchizzle @jonk why hide it?
  • 20:58:29: Picture? RT @sonicchubb: My shirt is soaking wet with sweat my nipples actually showing ……….
  • 21:00:06: @dchizzle @jonk Hm, nothing scares me anymore…I’ve seen it all (or most of it).
  • 21:08:04: @dchizzle @jonk hm…I love small children…properly cooked. However, I draw the line at smacking them away in that manner…
  • 21:11:11: @dchizzle you just like to pull @jonk’s (third) leg… 😉
  • 21:19:42: @dchizzle @jonk “at his side”, not “in his side”? I note that @jonk is ignoring this exchange. Wise man…
  • 21:21:30: @jonk you can speed it up at the gym (your metabolism, that is). Really and truly, start going again. Make yourself go.
  • 23:10:13: Well, all, off to bed. Had a quiet day, hope for a quiet night and a quiet Sunday. Play nice, y’all.

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From Twitter 08-13-2010

Saturday, August 14th, 2010
  • 08:37:01: Morning, all. Found that a Bishop followed me overnight. I blocked him as I don’t want to be inhibited in what I tweet. Sorry, Bishop!
  • 08:38:13: #FF @BubblePOPPA as his tweets are always entertaining and sometimes very sexy.
  • 08:39:45: #FF @AsCorrespondent as the news stories from Asia that it tweets links to are often very interesting.
  • 08:40:14: #ff @citygay as he’s in heat at the moment 😉
  • 08:42:20: Dear me! Very Harry-Otterish! RT @DentonPolice: 08/13/2010 01:20:44 | 21 years old | POSS MARIJ &lt; 2OZ
  • 08:44:06: #ff @PulseonGadgets for all the gadget freaks who read this. Early news on new gadgets to lust after.
  • 08:44:51: #ff @sexydeadstar because he scoffs at triskaidekaphobia.
  • 08:47:35: Here it’s a “Sleeping Policeman” as it lies there & slows u down. RT @TheNatural: Do you guys call it a speed bump or a speed hump? lol
  • 08:49:22: @Liturgy Only twits use TrueTwit. Better to look i person at people who follow you to determine whether you want to follow or block them.
  • 08:50:28: #ff @pierregoh because he is always sassy and funny and sometimes a bit naughty (you HAVE been warned!)
  • 08:52:55: #ff @LucasLascivious & remember that he is sassy, naughty, & posts links to a lot of NSFW pictures. That’s why I followed him! YMMV, tho.
  • 08:56:23: #ff @Fox_Mullder who has great NSFW pictures, good links, and lots of good one-liners.
  • 09:09:51: #ff @jonk because anyone who makes me look up a phrase like “transitive closure” in Wikipedia must have good things to tweet (and he does).
  • 09:14:15: Josh would be hawt ‘cept for the apparent bed hair. RT DentonPolice: 08/13/2010 01:25 | 20 yo | POSS CS PG 1 &lt;1G
  • 09:16:55: #ff @mariocruzxxx because he’s stunning, gay, NSFW, & a great all-round tweeter & blogger. He photographs quite well too… (tnx 4 the ff 2)
  • 09:18:27: Pope St. Gregory the Great made a pun on Angles vs. Angels. You’re in good company. RT @jonk: omg ANGELS, even. it’s gonna be a long night.
  • 09:20:22: @TylerMorgyn thanx for the FF!
  • 09:21:31: #ff @soveren because his manager’s keeping the no. of his tweets down today, so we have to sympathise.
  • 09:21:51: @Huntermoore I’m up…how about you?
  • 09:22:46: Great news, that! RT @Sgboy01: @chrishansenhome the reason for the low birth rate?…..We are churning out gay men in record numbers…
  • 09:23:51: You know Singlish! RT @robmarais: Gahmen on marriage just talking cock, lah!
  • 09:24:49: @jonk Oh, that’s OK. Even after I read the Wiki on it I didn’t understand it. Seems to have to do with air stewards flying from X to Y.
  • 09:28:17: @Huntermoore I’ve been up for 2-1/2 hrs. I’m in London and it’s 0927.
  • 09:29:57: This sounds as scary as bungee jumping. RT @MartinFaulks: This is what I am doing tomorrow
  • 09:33:22: BBC article on bariatric surgery: . I was denied it on the NHS but if I had sleep apnea I might have gotten it.
  • 12:12:26: @mariocruzxxx NSFW is Nakedly Sexy for Wankers…um…well…maybe not… #NSFW
  • 18:53:26: @mariocruzxxx Sorry I’m a bit late. No, it means Not Safe for Work but I always like to get some filth into everything I tweet! 😉
  • 18:54:58: #ff @OahuAJ because following nice people from Hawai’i helps me imagine lovely beaches in the dead of a London winter.
  • 18:55:53: @Sgboy01 Oh, I’d love for a bishop to follow me. I follow one. However, I don’t think that my definition of NSFW earlier would please him.
  • 18:58:43: @mariocruzxxx Hope I didn’t confuse too much. I’m not working at the moment, so I lurve your tweets and blog and pics. Thanks for tweeting!
  • 19:02:43: @urbanbohemian Well, as long as you take your #CommandoFriday picture that’s OK. Oh, post it as well, of course.
  • 19:09:26: Gary. Deer. Headlights. RT DentonPolice: 08/13/2010 12:25 | 34 yo | DENTON CO SO WARR (great URL!)
  • 19:15:06: They’re behiiiiiiind you! … RT DentonPolice: 08/13/2010 12:14 | 35 yo | SPEEDING 74 IN 60 MPH ZONE | NO DL
  • 19:17:14: RT @PulseonGadgets: How a 16-yo Kid Made His First Million Dollars Following His Hero, Steve Jobs: Christian Owens.
  • 19:21:15: So when will Stephen get his “Kt”? … Stephen Fry is appointed to the board of Norwich City Football Club.
  • 19:21:36: RT @TMNinja: Strange. Friday the 13th, and my site counter is reading 13,666. Uh…someone do something quick. cc @chrisbrogan
  • 19:22:03: @TMNinja Obviously, you are the Unlucky AntiChrist.
  • 19:23:57: We want it all for US, that’s why! RT @urbanbohemian: Today is National Filet Mignon Day?! Why wasn’t I informed of this?!
  • 19:26:47: RT @SunnyRainer: It always seems impossible unitl it’s done – Anonymous
  • 19:29:17: I love it! Thanks! RT @soveren: #ff @chrishansenhome for his abfab bishopevasion tactics 😉
  • 19:33:52: My unlucky Friday the 13th tweet:RT @urbanbohemian: My pants are still comfy. No pics for you. :p
  • 19:35:42: No, will b lotsa muffintops RT @SagX_80: I have a theory. If they stop making XXL clothing will if force the population to stop getting fat?
  • 19:36:20: @jonk I shall look for a recipe for Pho Cupcakes for you.
  • 19:37:25: I really need to have Mother Hansen’s Spaghetti & Meatballs, Day 2. HWMBO drinking with workmates as one is leaving so I’ll eat alone… 🙁
  • 21:41:52: @mariocruzxxx I’m not able to work at the moment so your every Tweet is safe for me AND appreciated, too! XXX &lt;3
  • 21:43:32: @urbanbohemian Any change in the pants situation? 😉
  • 21:44:51: @CollegePup Anyone who is famous just for being on Twitter is not famous at all. They’re just twits.
  • 21:49:30: How in heaven’s name did you stumble across that? RT @jonk: learned something new today:
  • 21:52:01: #ff @arjunbasu because his 140-character Twitter short stories are fabulous
  • 21:53:12: OMGWTF! New antibiotic? RT @brybryy: Hmmm. My condensed milk has turned brown. *looks at bottom of can* Expires February… 2009. huh o_0
  • 21:54:31: We need a cleaning person… RT @JoexEd: The Real Housewife of This-Is-Lame-Shit County starring me and very un-glam cleaning supplies.
  • 21:59:19: @JaysonGreyNYC Please don’t–just slog through. I know it’s hard, but hugs anyway.
  • 23:29:16: @jonk Holy jumped-up Jesus. What a chain of articles. My brain is exploding and my eyes have just come to rest on my chest.
  • 23:30:45: @CollegePup “Everyday life? What’s an everyday life?” = “Q: What do 2 gay men do on a 2nd date?” “A: What’s a 2nd date?”
  • 23:31:58: @jonk I will see tailless cats and three legs on a wheel in my nightmares tonight…
  • 23:48:23: Well, tweeps & peeps, time to hit the hay. Another week down the tubes, pretty much…
  • 23:49:04: Thanks–I needed that! RT @OahuAJ: @chrishansenhome glad I can help you out

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From Twitter 08-12-2010

Friday, August 13th, 2010
  • 05:37:15: Juan has a long soul patch…or is it drool? RT DentonPolice: 08/11/2010 22:09 | 29 yo | DCSO WARRANT / AS
  • 05:53:10: We’re getting Xmas stuff in stores here… RT @MrPandaBehr: Oooo… The Halloween candy is out at Wegmans. Time to start gorging early. ??
  • 06:18:48: #airfreshenerkeptmeawake so I sealed it in a zip bag. #novelreasonsforinsomnia
  • 08:29:38: Interesting view of apostolic succession and women’s ordination:
  • 09:34:07: Morning, all. Big day has arrived; Mother Hansen’s Spaghetti and Meatballs tonight…preparations under way…
  • 10:45:56: If you’re single and in Singapore, the gahmen wants you to get married and procreate. Die die must try!
  • 11:08:19: “swordfish” RT @ixthel15: The password is……
  • 11:10:55: I’m surprised you can sleep at all after that… RT @jonk: off to bed, but not before i read this riveting article.
  • 11:12:51: HWMBO will love this one… (sugar packets are his specialty) RT @jjjap: Photo: thestolendreams:
  • 11:21:00: @soveren They’re buying sand to fill in the ocean as fast as they can…plus the great social welfare system in Sg will kill off oldsters!
  • 11:25:10: @soveren It’s mostly Vietnamese running Chinese restaurants. At least it was 10 years ago.
  • 23:08:24: And no one deserves to get married more than you do, sir. RT @ltdanchoi: We can get married in California next week!
  • 23:44:33: Well, all, dinner party a success. Daniel & Pei have just left, the Spag&Meatballs put away, washing up done and ready 4 bed. Nite-nite all!

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From Twitter 08-11-2010

Thursday, August 12th, 2010
  • 14:21:17: Afternoon, all. Have been remiss today as we are having a couple over for dinner tomorrow and I’m in Dinner Party Mode. Will dip in and out.
  • 21:25:11: @studfucker How long is a leash and dog collar?
  • 22:08:21: Kind of poetic, really… RT @swissbusiness: Missing chef’s body found in freezer
  • 22:11:33: Would that make you Connie Chung? RT @LucasLascivious: Waking up at the crack of #Maury. I’ve got to get my sleep schedule on track.
  • 23:16:18: Well, all, rested and relaxed so it’s time for bed, natch! In-and-out tomorrow as cooking and socialising take me away from the computer.

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Stabbie’s Medical Woes

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Under normal circumstances, Stabbie would withdraw into his shell after a jeremiad such as yesterday’s and not come out for a month or two. These are not normal circumstances. London Stabbie feels that he is justified in writing only one day after his epic posting in order to ensure that just deserts are meted out quickly.

As he mentioned yesterday, London Stabbie has a gammy foot. Part of his therapy is to receive intravenous antibiotics every day. Yesterday the District Nurse, who is called a “Visiting Nurse” in the United States, called on London Stabbie to administer his antibiotics and to renew the dressing on his foot. The nurse who showed up was quite jolly, and very nice, and between Stabbie and the nurse the antibiotics were administered and the dressing renewed. During the visit, Stabbie mentioned that he had an appointment at the Diabetic Foot Clinic today (ie, Tuesday 10th August). He asked her to pass the message along to the managing nurse who scheduled visits, and she said she would. Remember this last sentence while Stabbie continues with his story.

So, this morning LS toddled along to the hospital well ahead of the appointment time (11:30), and sat in the waiting area with about 15 other people. If it’s Tuesday in the Diabetic Foot Clinic it must be Vascular Day! So at around 12:30pm Stabbie’s name was called and he was put in a side office on a chair to await the podiatrist and then the Vascular Surgeon. A delightful Jamaican woman was put in the next chair and we had a lovely conversation, and her good news was quite good: the wound where her right little toe had been has healed, and she can be discharged from constant antibiotics and dressings. Let no one say that London Stabbie has nothing good to say about anyone! They had a right old good time chatting away while the podiatrists were inundated in the next room and Stabbie would be honoured to share a room in the clinic with her at any time.

At around 12:50 pm the podiatrist arrived, removed the previous dressings, and covered them with gauze saying, “the surgeons are in the next room; they’ll be right here.” Like h*ll, they would! The Jamaican lady and Stabbie continued chatting for another 40 minutes, until the surgeon arrived, pronounced her in good shape, only needing her two stitches removed, and looked at Stabbie’s ulcer, which had been produced through therapy to heal another ulcer. The surgeon has put Stabbie on the list for a surgical debridement which will be day surgery. He spent two minutes with LS (two hours + after LS had arrived) and swept out with his retinue.

Now, you may recall the LS needs to have intravenous antibiotics (Teicoplanin) every day, and he had called off the District Nurse. So the lovely nurse at the Foot Clinic supplies that service when he visits for his foot. Aside from the fact that she forgot that LS was in the other examination room, she did a perfect job of removing the dressing over LS’s PICC line, only taking a few hairs with it down to the roots, and replacing it with a new dressing. When the line jammed a bit, she unclogged it with great aplomb. Stabbie likes her very much and tries to make her laugh very hard every time he visits—and he succeeded in that effort today, in spades. She took the prescription for LS’s next stash of antibiotics at 2:25 pm, and London Stabbie was ready to pick it up at around 3:20 pm.

When LS got to the pharmacy, there was a surfeit of children in there. So LS’s first targets for today are the parents of those children, who allowed their little darlings to shout and scream in a way eerily similar to steam whistles, run around the rather small pharmacy waiting area, and generally raise havoc. The little darlings were too young to know how to behave, so the task of teaching them how falls to their parents. Mum and Dad have signally failed at that, so when the children have grown and are out of Mum and Dad’s hands, someone is going to be visiting the happy parents to ensure that they realise the error of their ways.

London Stabbie then went up to the window. The pharmacy bears an eerie resemblance to a doughnut shop, with a “Now serving” number sign above the counter. This sign was showing “091”, but the number on London Stabbie’s ticket was 518. This was quite illogical, so LS went to the desk at 3:25 pm and enquired. The person behind the counter went to check, and said, “It’ll be about five minutes. We’ll call you when it’s ready.”

At 4:45 pm, LS had been sitting for an hour and 10 minutes, with no “518” clarion call from the counter. One of the two nurses from the clinic came in for something else, and Stabbie called out to her and asked whether she’d find out what had happened and when his medicine would be ready.

Of course, all of London Stabbie’s Dear Readers are way ahead of me. The package for “518” had been sitting there, un-called-out, for quite a while. But LS, being a patient, kind, real Londoner who enquires once and then follows the instructions given did not go to the counter a second time. So the counter clerk is the next person who will feel the blade of Stabbie’s wrath. It is possible that, instead of naked steel, Stabbie will prefer to give her a taste of her own medicine, and frost a cake with the loveliest chocolate Ex-Lax imaginable. This is especially apt given that the clerk insisted that she had called it out. Stabbie informed her that his hearing was quite good and that he had not budged from the waiting room the entire time. She shrugged and said, “The ‘Now Serving’ display does not go up to ‘518’.” as if that would excuse her from Stabbie’s wrath. In fact, the person who decided that numbers that are too big to display on the board should be given out to people picking up medications probably deserves more opprobrium than the clerk, who was merely stupid. So after the clerk has her slice of cake, Stabbie thinks that the rest of the cake goes to Number Planning Person, then all the toilets in the building will be locked and marked “Closed for Cleaning; open at 26:00 hours”.

You may think that this is enough malice behindthought for London Stabbie for one day, but no! There’s more. He was lucky to get on the bus and find that all the Priority Seats were filled, but discover that a young woman only had to be asked once before she slid out of her seat to allow London Stabbie, in his cast, to sit down.

When London Stabbie reached Chez Stabbie, he opened the door and found a note. The District Nurse had called and not found him in, and he should call 020 xxxx xxxx in order to reschedule the appointment for his antibiotic. If you have been keeping score, LS asked the nurse who came on Monday to inform the head nurse that no nurse would be required on Tuesday as LS would be attending the hospital. It seems that yesterday’s nurse had failed to pass along the message. Two phone messages were on LS’s phone asking him, in politest terms, where the hell he was so that he could get his antibiotic. So London Stabbie has the greatest respect for the nursing profession, but yesterday’s nurse ranks along with the nurse who tried to take his blood pressure from his forearm and the one who years ago didn’t know how to take blood pressure and took a reading well above anything LS had ever had. She didn’t pass along the message so that a trip and two phone calls were wasted.

London Stabbie would not want to deprive the nursing profession of any nurse except for a medical cause. Two of his great-aunts were nurses and he admired their profession and talents. But he feels that there is a shortage of communication in the NHS that could, in certain circumstances, lead to serious illness or an unscheduled visit to the Choir Celestial to audition for tenor. So the nurse who did not pass along the message, or the nurse who took no notice of the one who did pass along the message, gets a “Get Away from London Stabbie” card this time. The card carries a warning, though: “This is a one-use card: it cannot be sterilised and used for any other patient foul-up situation than the one to which it is now applied. This means you!” Beware, and communicate effectively!

As London Stabbie missed his lunch through all the waiting, he has informed his partner that the two of them are dining out tonight. This may put Stabbie on his partner’s hit list but no matter!

London Stabbie realises that the humour may wear thin, but believe me, his vast sense of humour and great tolerance and even acceptance of the lack of intelligence and common sense among his fellow Londoners are the only things between him and mass mayhem in the Capital, after which the collective IQ has a chance of rising to new heights and everyone will wait for the green man at the Zebra (pronounced ZEBB-rah) crossing rather than jaywalk and get picked off by a lorry.

And now, the usual Disclaimers!

London Stabbie welcomes submissions for consideration for inclusion on Stabbie’s little list. Direct messages to the owner of this blog, who has kindly agreed to forward them to Stabbie, will be promptly dealt with.

Disclaimers: This blog is a satire, and no animals or thoughtless nincompoops were harmed during its writing, nor will any harm come to them in the future, except through the shame and embarrassment of discovering their own asshattery. Your mileage may vary. Reading of London Stabbie, we hope, will induce laughter but is not intended to incapacitate you. Check with your doctor to see if London Stabbie is right for you. Do not read London Stabbie while driving or using heavy machinery. If you recognise yourself in this column we recommend that you go to confession in your nearest Roman Catholic church and do your penance. Sister Mary Ignatius knows where you live.

From Twitter 08-09-2010

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010
  • 08:55:47: This will interest the Prince of Wales, who talks to his plants. RT @Minervity: Now Your Plants Can Tweet Too! –
  • 08:58:11: Happy National Day to all my Singapore friends: 45 years of independence.
  • 09:05:16: Justin is hawt but violent… RT DentonPolice: 08/09/2010 01:27 | 24 yo | ASSLT CAUSES BODILY INJURY FAMILY
  • 09:08:29: Dangerously cute.. RT DentonPolice 08/08 14:54 | 29 yo | ASSLT CAUSES BODILY INJURY FAMILY VIOLENCE | NOL | FMFR
  • 09:15:44: RT @dchizzle: Gay Asian & Pacific Islander Men of NY (GAPIMNY). Best of luck with the upcoming anniversary! ?????
  • 15:32:55: The question is really: Is Monday ready to face you? 😉 RT @jonk: not particularly ready to face a monday
  • 17:53:28: In the US, this is 080910 (August 9, 2010). In the UK it is an ordinary 090810. Next month is 080910 here. Should I celebrate?
  • 19:21:09: @urbanbohemian If it had been a horse it would have been taken outside and shot and rendered for glue. Our license fee at work…
  • 19:22:12: @urbanbohemian that’s “If ‘Last of the Summer Wine ‘ were a horse…”. damn you Twitter, where are your threads!
  • 20:51:41: @jonk that wiki link was awesome. I get angry when I hear people make fun of Chinese language/people like that but now I know more about it.

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Marblehead Police Log for August 8, 2010

Monday, August 9th, 2010

I haven’t posted from the Marblehead Police log for a while as the Marblehead Reporter has fragmented the entries: there used to be one entry a week, but they now post them a few days after the date in the report. It became too troublesome to follow it, so I stopped.

However the Reporter’s Facebook entry pointed out today’s entry, and I think it’s worthy of inclusion in its entirety. I don’t know whether it was a full moon yesterday, but, boy, it must have seemed like it in Marblehead.

Marblehead Reporter
Posted Aug 09, 2010 @ 01:55 PM

London Stabbie

Monday, August 9th, 2010

The famous London black cab driver is an icon of London. Black cabs are ubiquitous (except when you want one), and are often referred to as “London Cabbies”.

Well, in homage to , who has the New York franchise, I bring you London Stabbie, the person who is always on the lookout for fuckwits in London who do not deserve to contribute further to the gene pool because of obvious stupidity or sheer inattention to their fellow Londoners.

There is a gentleman who works for the local supermarket (whose name shall remain nameless but it begins with “T” and ends with “esco”). He is quite overweight, but that’s not what bothers Stabbie. What really effing bothers Stabbie is that he sneezes with great force and loudness, but without benefit of covering his mouth. His target is the groceries that Stabbie and dozens of others unsuspectingly buy. London Stabbie has been startled out of his wits in aisle 4 when this staff member sneezes in aisle 1, right next to the produce. Stabbie believes that the last two infections he got can be traced to the lettuces on which this guy sneezed. Gentleman Sneezer, London Stabbie will be after you first. Stabbie promises not to get any blood on the broccoli, however.

Second was the gentleman in the till queue 2 people ahead of Stabbie today. He had coupons, which is of course OK. However, one of the coupons did not register at the till. No matter how many times the cashier swiped it across the scanner, it refused to register. The cashier told the man to go to Customer Service (Stabbie might be after them next, who knows, but in this case they would have been lifesavers) but, no! Gentleman, you stood there and argued with the cashier that he ought to give you your lousy 30 pence whether or not the coupon scanned. At that point, your transaction was completed and you paid the cashier. Then, you looked at your receipt and discovered that the poor cashier, whom you had previously hectored to within an inch of his life, had neglected to add your two green points for using your own bags. With the queue at the till steadily growing, you began to argue with the cashier that he should add the points right away. (Note for the non-Brit: these green points totalled exactly


Monday, August 9th, 2010

HWMBO is opposed to the high prices charged in movie theatres for first-run movies. We have lifetime membership passes to the Prince Charles Cinema, and rarely if ever go to see movies in other cinemas, even though I am a member of the BFI on South Bank and should be going over there regularly to see films. We haven’t been to but one or two films in the Lesbian and Gay Film Festival in the last 5 years. Thus do our tastes change as we both get older. I suspect that the BFI membership will be allowed to lapse at the end of this year.

So I wasn’t surprised when HWMBO arrived home on Saturday from shopping with a large bag of popcorn and a copy of Avatar which he had borrowed from the library on the Walworth Road. He was very proud that he had a coupon allowing him to borrow it for free (I believe it’s normally GBP 1.00) so we get to watch the movie for the price of a bag of popcorn (I think it was about 70 pence, around US$1.10).

So we settled down yesterday evening to watch it, in old-fashioned 2D. The movie was lush, showing what throwing lots of resource at the problem of creating an alien environment can do. I enjoyed the movie itself and, as would be expected, found the Na’vi, with their big wide-set eyes, quite attractive. Interesting that Sigourney Weaver was cast in it, undoubtedly giving rise to memories of the Alien franchise.

The movie must have been even more lush in 3D, with all the jumping off precipices, flying around, and other vertigo-inducing features. I somewhat regret that we didn’t go to see it in 3D—if it is ever shown in 3D here again in a movie theatre, or in the IMAX theatre at Waterloo, I’ll be on it like a shot.

However, thinking of the plot (which was very affecting), my summary, in a phrase: “Cowboys and Indians, and the Indians win this time.”

I expect there will be a sequel (or at least a possible or contemplated sequel) where the corporation that wants the Unobtanium returns with more firepower and engages the Na’vi once again. I don’t know whether this would be a mistake or not. To go as far as Shrek or Toy Story would be quite wrong for Avatar.

For <lj user=”tim1965″>

Saturday, August 7th, 2010

I came across this book about Washington DC and Freemasonry, written by the author of Freemasons for Dummies, W. Bro. Christopher Hodapp. I thought you might find it interesting.

From Twitter 08-05-2010

Friday, August 6th, 2010
  • 09:41:54: @riazat_butt You mean no one has ever knocked on _your_ door at night and given you a pouch of diamonds? You must have been overlooked.. 😉
  • 09:43:19: @Sgboy01 In re girls at American high schools: the answer: “No, they aren’t.” I expect a fee equal to 1/10th of the US airfare for the info.
  • 09:45:53: Great photo of a time past in Singapore:RT @Wilsurn: Photo: Slice of past in Orchard.
  • 09:57:26: @jonk That’s OK, we can indeed buy brownie mix here. I just can’t actually eat them (except in very small doses). They looked yummy, tho!
  • 15:06:24: Back from a jaunt to Warren St. and Euston Station. Checked my feet and they look fine. No significant pain.I think I’ll have a biscuit.
  • 15:13:29: The guy in flat 4 is a serious annoyance. His music is loud, heavy on the bass, and goes all hours (including now). No chance to meditate.
  • 23:44:01: Well, tweeps and peeps, time to hit the hay. Had a busy day today and feel pretty good at the end of it. Mildly optimistic. Play nice, now!

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A Peculiarly English Maths Problem

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

In one of the email lists I have the pleasure of participating in, I was asked the question:

1. Before the Brits revised their currency to a decimal system, we were forced to try to learn to use arcane divisions of the English pound: guineas, sovereigns,shillings, pence, ha’pennies, etc. It is clearly impossible for someone who is not born a Brit to get comfortable with this Byzantine system and it allowed crafty Brits to victimize us in even the simplest financial transactions. By the way, what is a Pound? A pound of what? Gold, porridge, or what?

I answered thus:

A pound sterling, as its full name might suggest, was originally a pound of sterling silver (.925 pure). Successive monarchs debased the currency until one of them had the bright idea of printing “One Pound” on pieces of paper thus allowing him to keep all the silver for himself. The note said that you could exchange it for one pound sterling at the Cashier’s Window of the Bank of England, but if you went there and tried to exchange a pound note for one pound sterling they’d just give you another pound note which said exactly the same thing. The cashier was trained to continue to do this until you got tired of asking and went away.

So what’s so difficult about 12 pence to the shilling, 20 shillings (bob) to the pound, 21 shillings to the guinea, 1/2 a penny to a ha’penny, 1/4 penny to the farthing, three pennies to the thruppenny bit, 2s 6d to the half crown, 5s to the crown, sixpence to the tanner, 2 shillings to the florin?

Here’s a maths problem which even a first form child could have solved. If Featherstonehaugh (pronounced “Freestonhew”) has a pound note which his mother has given him to get the groceries, and she wanted:

1 packet of Twiglets (8d)
1 packet of Woodbines (2s)
1 box of Swan Vestas (to light the Woodbines) (1s 5d)
1 pint of milk (2s 7d)
1 loaf of bread (2s 3-1/4d)
2 bacon butties for his and his mum’s tea (1s 11d each)
1 potato for Dad’s (the Old Man’s) dinner ( 5d )
1 slice of gammon (ditto the dinner) (2s 6-1/2d)
1 bottle of Bass (ditto ditto) (3s 3-1/4d)

and on his way home with the groceries Featherstonehaugh encounters the neighbourhood bully, who demands a tanner for sweets and threatens to beat him up if he doesn’t give it him, then why on the next day did Featherstonehaugh fail his history O-levels exam?

Answers on a postcard, please. My answer is below under a cut.

Snip to diversion (cue the travelling music, played by the maestro on the old joanna:)

“The ragazzo of the Elephant and Castle, that’s me.” Ya got me there, Chris. Am completely gobsmacked. What does it mean? Inquiring minds wanna know!

I live in the area of Souf Lunnon referred to as the Elephant and Castle, probably named after the heraldic device of someone connected to the area of an elephant with a castle on its back, and not after the Infanta del Castile or some such piffle. It is known for its historic pub named, er, the Elephant and Castle, and for Newington Butts, so named after the area where the local yeomen were required to do their archery practice when the King or Queen wanted to conquer someplace or hold off someone’s army while the Navy kicked them in the bum on the high seas. Ragazzo is, I believe, Italian for “boy”.

Anyone interested in the answer to the maths problem I set above (questions on exams here are “set”, rather than “given” or “asked” or “administered”).?

Featherstonehaugh Featherstonehaugh III (pronounced “Freestonhew Fanshaw” as “Featherstonehaugh” is pronounced differently as a Christian name than it is as a family name) failed his history O-levels because he hadn’t eaten for almost the whole day because his mum (Frances “Fanny” Featherstonehaugh) washed his mouth out with strong carbolic which left a nasty taste in his mouth and removed his appetite entirely after he called his father (F. Featherstonehaugh Jr.) a “bloody a*sehole” because he caned poor F.F. III as he had come home with no change because the grocery bill had come to 19 shillings and the grocer gave him just one bob as his change and since the bully wouldn’t take “I haven’t got a tanner” for an answer Featherstonehaugh Featherstonehaugh III had to give the bully the entire shilling thus leaving no change for his mum and dad when he got home and F.F. Jr. accused the lad of buying loose Woodbines to smoke behind the bicycle shed at school with the bob instead of bringing it home.

Simple, no?

I believe that is the longest sentence I’ve ever written with no commas, colons, dashes, or semicolons in it.

More on changing hearts and minds by being “out”

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

I blogged earlier today about the value of being “out” in terms of help to change people’s hearts and minds about same-sex marriage. Well, from USA Today comes a comment by a self-styled “conservative Christian. This sums up beautifully what I was trying to say. Knowing someone or a couple who are “out” makes it easier for people to not only tolerate but also to accept homosexuality and same-sex marriage.

I am a conservative Christian. I’ve done a lot of soul searching on this issue, read a lot in the Bible and asked God for guidance because my heart was heavy that our country was going to hell in the hands of the homosexuals. Our media and schools are filled with messages that were against my belief system. I literally cried at times… I had thoughts of such frustration that it made me want to throttle some of the people in forums like this where I had read messages supporting homosexuals and their lifestyle. I had no idea what to do about it and I felt that I should do SOMETHING to help save our country and our children.

About nine months ago, I met a homosexual couple at a National Park in South Dakota while me and my wife were on vacation. They saved our dog from running into the street and getting hit by a car, and were very nice to us, even though I barely wanted to speak to them at all. We ended up getting into a conversation and talking about how beautiful the National Park was. It was clear to me after a very long while that these two men—though I couldn’t understand it, nor could I agree with it, nor could I deal with it—were in love with each other. They had been together 11 years, and had more love in their eyes for each other than my wife and I did after about the same amount of time. At first it made me upset—and then I realized that God had made that and it was simply none of my concern. God makes Love happen, and I can’t get in the way of that. These were not degenerates, they weren’t trying to shove their ‘lifestyle’ on us, they didn’t even mention that they were a couple or say anything of the sort, it was just obvious. They weren’t trying to corrupt anyone—in fact I think just being around them made me feel better, more loving towards my own wife—it made me want to be a better person in the eyes of God, and I finally realized that all this time *I* was the one who had been filled with hatred, mistrust and all of the evil, not them. I’ve changed my mind about this issue now, if anybody should be able to get married, it should be those two men who love each other so much. Good Luck, Ted and Andy.

Now I don’t believe that every conservative religious person would walk down this particular Damascene Road. Scales will not be falling from millions of eyes. And yet, one out (and not even that out) couple has made a real difference in one person’s thoughts about homosexuality andsame-sex marriage.

Just one couple.

Could the next hate-filled conservative who loses the scales from his or her eye do so because of YOU?

Endnote: The conservative says that “…I think just being around them made me feel better, more loving towards my own wife&#8212it made me want to be a better person in the eyes of God…” Now is that an example of how same-sex marriage destroys heterosexual marriage?

Proposition 8 ruling and its implications

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

Those of us who are not in the United States will rejoice with our sisters and brothers in California and the other 49 states that Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment that removed the right to marry from same-sex partners, has been struck down as against the United States Constitution. There has been a shedload of comment about it, and one of the best is ‘s posting on it. I would like to quote one part of it (but advise you to read the entire post):

I know a nurse who said that she never thought about gay rights until the day that a man’s partner passed away suddenly from a brain anurysm. They tried to save him, but there was nothing that could be done.

She said for the first time in 9 years as a nurse, when someone cried out in grief, she put her hands to her ears. She said that the grief of loss was so profound that it was almost unbearable. The poor man was alone at the hospital, since no other family members had the time to arrive just yet. He wanted some time alone, so he went into another room.

When the grieving man’s partner’s family arrived, they were very cold to him. Words were said on both sides, and rather than helping each other to grieve, they only poured salt in each other’s wounds. But after all was said and done, however, the family had each other, and the widower had no one.

My friend went to him, and going against her own rules of nursing, asked the man if he had anyone who could come to be with him. He said he didn’t, what was left of his family being scattered all over the country, and none were really close to him.

She asked if there were any friends, and he said yes, but he didn’t know if he could call them.

She asked for his phone, and just started going through the phones contact list, until she found someone who was close to the man, and could contact others. Within a half an hour, the man had several friends who were holding his hand, letting him cry, and helping him grieve.

“I didn’t sleep at all that night,” she said to me, “because I knew that seeing that changed how I saw people.” (Emphasis mine. CH)

I asked her if she had ever seen anything like that before, and she said she hadn’t. Not of that magnitude.

Now the point I want to make, and the point that needs to be made, is that anonymous pictures of same-sex couples being married, shedding tears of joy, or otherwise celebrating what is about to become their right (I hope and trust) do not necessarily melt hearts and change minds. Militant homophobes will only see in them mirrors of their own homophobia and religious revulsion against what they believe is sin and perversion.

What can change hearts and minds is knowing someone who is out, living his or her life as an authentic person. As St. Irenaeus of Lyons said, The glory of God is man, fully alive. (man being understood here as encompassing men and women equally).

Marriage, besides being a civil activity (as the judge ruled yesterday), is also a public one. Records are kept, notice is given, and the ceremony is often open to the public in a courthouse. The most important part of the ruling, and characterised as a statement of fact (ie, a finding that is a concrete reality, not a legal interpretation of reality), is that we are talking not about a religious relationship between two people, but a civil contract sanctioned by the state. The judge ruled that clergy are allowed or licensed by the civil authorities to solemnise marriages. Thus marriage as a religious relationship is different from marriage as a civil relationship. The corollary to this is that divorce is also a civil relationship, and is a reality no matter whether the religious authorities of whichever religion believe that marriage is indissoluble and that the two partners of a couple who are civilly divorced are still married.

Those of us in favour of civil marriage for same-sex couples have for years argued this position: civil marriage is a separate item from religious marriage. So the finding of the judge vindicates that position.

The implications of this ruling will, if upheld in superior courts and ultimately, by the Supreme Court, will be far-reaching. For example, no state will be allowed to refuse a marriage license or a civil marriage ceremony to a same-sex couple. That will apply as much in Alabama as it does in Massachusetts today. It will require the Federal Government to recognise same-sex marriages for a number of situations in which it does not today. Same-sex married couples will be able to immigrate to the US from abroad (where one partner is a US citizen) on the same basis that different-sex married couples do. Tax breaks for different-sex married couples will have to be extended to same-sex married couples. Social Security survivor’s benefits will have to be extended in a similar manner. So, besides there being civil rights implications, there will be financial implications. This is, of course, not taking into account the question of whether such benefits and privileges ought to be extended to married couples generally.

The ultimate effect of this ruling is that religious beliefs, however conventional or widely held, cannot control or be seen to control the civil law of the land. The equal-protection clauses in the Constitution cannot be set aside because of a religious belief that two groups are not equal or entitled to equal protection under the law. This ruling is our Brown v. Board of Education. Even if it is overturned (and various Justices of the Supreme Court will find it difficult to vote against it because it is congruent with previous rulings of theirs), it will be the subject of study in our schools and especially in law schools. I am reminded that the ruling which upheld the constitutionality of laws criminalising same-sex sexual activity was, a few decades later, overturned by the same Court that ruled these laws constitutional.