Archive for January, 2011

Unclear on the concept

Monday, January 31st, 2011

From News of the Weird comes the redaction of a story from the Orlando Sentinel:

In a December incident near Orlando, a former Ku Klux Klan “Cyclops,” George Hixon, 73, and his son, Troy, 45, and Troy’s girlfriend fought, resulting in Troy’s allegedly firing gunshots toward the woman’s feet and the subsequent arrests of the two men. According to Osceola County deputies, the altercation was precipitated by the girlfriend’s unhappiness that she got the “cheap beer” while the men kept the “good beer” (Budweiser) for themselves.

There is so much wrong with this story. First, there is a Biblical reference (by default) of cheap vs. good beer. This is reminiscent of the Wedding Feast at Cana, where Jesus changed water into wine, not only into wine, but the very best wine. The host of the feast was then commended for keeping back the best wine until last, contrary to the usual custom of starting off with the best wine and then carrying out the rotgut when everyone was too drunk to care.

However, most important, the lady in question seems to believe that Budweiser is the “good” beer. What must they have been serving her?

The Long Arm of the Law

Monday, January 31st, 2011

Foolish legislators in Malawi have introduced legislation that, among other things, will ban farting. This will put many low comedians out of business and severely inconvenience the majority of people who eat from time to time. Church bean suppers will be a thing of the past, garlic will be banished from the nation’s tables, and fart-filtering underwear will be in great demand.

In other news, King Canute is preparing to order the tides to reverse, bears are defecating in forests worldside, and the Vatican is preparing a news release confirming that the Pope is indeed a Catholic. Or was it that the bears are preparing for their First Communions and the Pope was seen bearing a roll of Charmin into a stand of trees? I get confused occasionally.

Today’s Sermon, and a reflection

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

I preached at St. John’s this morning. I really should have preached about the Ugandan martyr David Kato since the Beatitudes lend themselves to talking about such a meek and gentle man. But, to my shame, I preached something else instead.

However, the odd thing was that after the sermon was finished, the ministers on the altar (including me) lined up to proclaim the Peace. Father John started out, “Christ is our peace…” and then stopped dead. He’d dried up (he doesn’t use a book for this). Afterwards he said that the story I told at the end of the sermon was so deep for him that he was thinking of that instead of what he was supposed to be saying.

I am not boasting, as it’s not honourable to boast that your sermon knocked the words right out of a priest’s mouth. But this is the first time anything like that has ever happened to me.

In addition, there was an Asian couple (may have been Chinese but more likely to be Japanese) in the congregation, so I had to be careful to pronounce feng shui correctly (sounds like “fung shway”). The husband thanked me for the sermon afterward with many bows and handshakes.

30th January 2011 4th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Sermon delivered at St. John the Evangelist, 10 AM.

First Reading: Zephaniah 2:3;3:12-13; Ps. 145; Epistle: I Cor 1:26-31; Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12

In the name of God, the one, the Undivided Trinity. AMEN.

A major cultural mark of Chinese society is the practice of feng shui. You may have heard of it before, but in brief it’s the belief that the placement of items in your house or office must harmonise with the energies of the earth in that location. So, for example, Chinese houses often have entrances which twist and turn so that there is no direct path to the street. Or, if you’ve ever seen a Chinese movie, you’ll note that there is often a courtyard with a wall and a door in it in front of the actual house. This is to ensure that the luck of your family will not take a direct path out of the house.

There are feng shui experts not only in Chinese towns and cities, but even here in London and many other Western cities. These people, for a fee, examine your house and make recommendations on where to place your potted plants or your furniture in order to make your house more harmonious with the earth and more conducive to your family’s wealth and status.

We may think that this practice is harmless at best. Our Western (and, dare I say it) Christian sensibilities say that the placement of items in our homes and offices have nothing to do with the success of our businesses or the happiness of our home life.

At worst, we may find this practice to be superstition, and foolish in the extreme. After all, the feng shui master makes quite a good living by seeming to be wise and advising people on where to put the sofa and the spider plants.

It’s interesting that Paul talks about wise things being accounted as foolish by the world. His take on the followers of Christ at that time in Christian life was that the wise of the world—those who were powerful, important, and learned—were shamed by those who were unimportant in worldly eyes. Christians of those days were largely what Leona Helmsley in the United States used to call “the little people”.

Leona Helmsley was jailed for tax evasion in the US in the 1990’s, and famously said that “only the little people pay taxes”. The government helped her to understand that, in the matter of taxes, everyone is a “little person”.

For Paul, God did not choose the rich and famous as the people whom he favoured. He chose the poor, the penniless, the indigent as his special care. The Beatitudes put this in a particular light. The translation we use says that those who are favoured by God are “happy”, whereas the traditional word used in English is “blessed”, thus the Beatitudes.

Whether we are blessed or happy, the contrast that Jesus wishes to draw is the same one that Paul draws (and, you may recall, Paul wrote before Matthew). Those who are unfortunate in some way here on Earth will find that the tables are later reversed.

Jesus could easily have reversed the Beatitudes into something much darker. “How unhappy are the rich, for they shall not see the kingdom of heaven. Unhappy are those who are proud, for they shall lose all that they have.” He might have ended, “Unhappy are the persecutors of the righteous, for Heaven will never be theirs.”

Jesus chose to be positive. He does not want us to dwell on negativity, he would prefer to bring his message to those who are most despised in society. Poor people are not valued in society—that is why when times are tight they are the first to suffer. When you are gentle (I really prefer the traditional word “meek” to “gentle” but what can one do?) you get ridden over roughshod by the strong, the proud, and the rich.

Jesus is fond of reversals. When the wine ran low at the wedding feast at Cana, jars of water suddenly become wine. And not only wine, but the finest vintage. He might have turned the water into plonk; after all, why waste your power to help a host who was so negligent that he didn’t bother to buy enough wine for the wedding feast? But Jesus provides the best wine, and reverses the usual practice of starting out with the best wine, then providing rotgut later on when the guests are too sodden to care.

During his ministry, Jesus sometimes associates with the rich. A young man asks what to do to have eternal life, and Jesus reverses the usual order of things by telling him to sell all he has and follow him. The young man went away very sad, as he had many possessions.

However they are arranged in our life, possessions are not what makes us happy. What makes us happy is doing those things that Jesus mentions in the Beatitudes. Be poor in spirit, be gentle, mourn those whom you have loved, be avid to ensure that righteousness triumphs, be merciful, make peace, stand with those who are persecuted. Do these things, and you will be happy, even if the world around you conspires to do you in.

These are wise words, but the world believes them to be foolish.

I said at the beginning that many think that feng shui is foolish. While the world may think it foolish, some wisdom can be found in almost every philosophy, even though the philosophy, taken as a whole, isn’t productive of happiness or a good society.

A feng shui master set up shop in Chinatown. For a fee he would advise people on how to arrange their houses or offices so that they would become prosperous.

A rich woman came to his office and asked for a consultation. “Master,” she said, “I want to build an altar to the Buddha in my house, and I’d like you to advise me on the best place to put it.”

The feng shui master sat in his chair and looked at her. After a long pause he replied, “Madam, the best place for an altar to the Buddha is in your heart.”

He did not want any fee, so she went away thinking he was a fool. AMEN.

I told a friend in Australia the story about the master and the rich woman, and he asked, “Did you change the Buddha to something else?” I said that the Buddha is centuries older than Jesus and his teachings can be very valuable to us—I felt no compulsion to omit him from the story and the end results bore me out.

Today’s joke

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

Don’t blame me; blame Michael. I had nothing to do with it.

A tough looking biker was riding his Harley when he sees a girl about to jump off a bridge so he stops. “What are you doing?” he asks. “I’m going to commit suicide,” she says.

While he did not want to appear insensitive, he didn’t want to miss an opportunity. So he asked “Well, before you jump, why don’t you give me a kiss?” So, she does.

After she’s finished, the biker says, “Wow! That was the best kiss I have ever had. That’s a real talent you are wasting. You could be famous. Why would you want to commit suicide?”

“My parents don’t like me dressing up like a girl.”


Sunday, January 30th, 2011

I am about to go and preach a sermon at St. John’s Larcom Street. It’s well-balanced, addresses the readings, and should go over well.

I am heartily sorry, however, that instead of being about to preach a sermon on foolishness vs. wisdom, I am not about to preach a sermon concerning the recent troubling events in Uganda, culminating in the bludgeoning death of David Kato, a gay human-rights activist there.

When I return, for my penance I think I will write the sermon I should have delivered. If I were good enough at extempore preaching I would preach that sermon instead of the one I wrote. Unfortunately, I do not have the strength and presence of mind to preach off-the-cuff.

May David Kato’s soul rest in peace and rise in glory.

From Twitter 01-29-2011

Sunday, January 30th, 2011

  • 09:55:07: Good morning, all. Have another Columbia applicant to interview today, and must write his sermon for tomorrow. Rest otherwise!

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Today’s Tastelessly Bad Joke

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Don’t blame me, blame Fr. MadPriest‘s dad; actually, I blame Fr. MadPriest. He didn’t have to tell it again.

A blonde calls her boyfriend and says, “Please come over here and help me. I have a killer jigsaw puzzle, and I can’t figure out how to get started.”

Her boyfriend asks, “What is it supposed to be when it’s finished?”

The blonde says, “According to the picture on the box, it’s a rooster.”

Her boyfriend decides to go over and help with the puzzle. She lets him in and shows him where she has the puzzle spread all over the table. He studies the pieces for a moment, then looks at the box, then turns to her and says, “First of all, no matter what we do, we’re not going to be able to assemble these pieces into anything resembling a rooster.”

He takes her hand and says, “Second, I want you to relax. Let’s have a nice cup of tea, and then,” he said with a deep sigh, “let’s put all the Corn Flakes back in the box.”

From Twitter 01-28-2011

Saturday, January 29th, 2011
  • 20:47:10: RT @anthonyha: Like most libertarians, Ayn Rand only objected to govt assistance when it was going to someone else

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Squirrel Obstacle Course

Friday, January 28th, 2011

I’m sure you’re familiar with HWMBO’s love of squirrels, especially the one we’ve been feeding for five years, who he’s named Daring Squirrel.

Well, here’s another daring squirrel running an obstacle course to get food. Maybe we should set one up in the back garden.

From Twitter 01-27-2011

Friday, January 28th, 2011
  • 22:50:53: Good evening, tweepleverse. I am resting after interviewing two candidates for Columbia this afternoon. Very tiring. Cheerio and pip-pip!

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How the bailout works

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

From today’s Financial Times…

The rain beats down on a small Irish town. The streets are deserted. Times are tough. Everyone is in debt and living on credit. A rich German arrives at the local hotel, asks to view its rooms, and puts on the desk a €100 note. The owner gives him a bunch of keys and he goes off for an inspection.

As soon as he has gone upstairs, the hotelier grabs the note and runs next door to pay his debt to the butcher. The butcher hurries down the street to pay what he owes to his feed merchant. The merchant heads for the pub and uses the note to pay his bar bill. The publican slips the note to the local hooker who’s been offering her services on credit. She rushes to the hotel to pay what she owes for room hire. As she puts the €100 note on the counter, the German appears, says the rooms are unsuitable, picks up his €100 note and leaves town.

No one did any work. No one earned anything. Everyone is out of debt. Everyone is feeling better. And that is how a bail-out works.

Attn: Singapore Live Journal friends!

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011

HWMBO, my husband, is currently in Singapore for CNY visiting his parents. He brought a mobile phone we no longer use to give to them. However, it was asking for a password, and none of the passwords I knew fit it.

HWMBO was just going to give up, but last night it occurred to me that the phone is probably still locked to Vodafone here in the UK—we never bothered to unlock it as we only used it for lending to houseguests and we had Vodafone SIM cards for that.

I’m not up on the latest information about handphone unlocking in Singapore (or even whether it’s available—but I’ll bet it is) so could one of my kind wonderful Singaporean Live Journal friends tell me whether unlocking is freely available in Singapore and, if it is, where to find someone to unlock the phone? I’ll bet Sim Lim Square, but I’d be happy for any information you can give me.

Next time I’m in Singapore, I’ll take you out to your favourite restaurant in return!

Thank you in advance for any help! It is much appreciated.

From Twitter 01-25-2011

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011
  • 01:39:19: @Fozzzzz hugs, many hugs from london
  • 01:40:54: RT @Fozzzzz: I never want any of you to die, okay? ;( <<< I’ll do my best…
  • 01:42:05: @Fozzzzz Anytime.
  • 01:43:02: Well, tweeps and peeps, I’m off to the land of Nod at the moment. Stayed up too late. That’s what happens when the husband’s is away… ;-(

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Today’s joke…

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

…is courtesy of Grandmère Mimi, who should know better.

A guy was getting ready to tee off on the first hole when a second golfer approached and asked if he could join him. The first said that he usually played alone, but agreed to the twosome.

They were even after the first few holes. The second guy said, “We’re about evenly matched; how about playing for five bucks a hole?” The first guy said that he wasn’t much for betting, but agreed to the terms.

The second guy won the remaining sixteen holes with ease.

As they were walking off number eighteen, the second guy was busy counting his $80.00. He confessed that he was the pro at a neighboring course and liked to pick on suckers. The first fellow revealed that he was the parish Monsignor.

The pro was flustered and apologetic, offering to return the money. The priest said, “No, you won fair and square, and I was foolish to bet with you. You keep your winnings.”

The embarrassed pro said, “Monsignor, is there anything I can do to make it up to you?”

The priest said, “Well, you could come to Mass on Sunday and make a donation. And, if you want to bring your mother and father along, I’ll marry them.”

From Twitter 01-24-2011

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011
  • 15:56:41: Good afternoon, all. HWMBO has landed safely in Singapore. It is the 17th anniversary of my arriving in the United Kingdom for a 4-month job
  • 15:58:02: RT @iYassin: Since light travels faster than sound, people appear bright until you hear them speak.
  • 16:14:15: @BubblePOPPA You are very welcome. Keep on spreading the love…#ManlyHugs to you too…

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Today’s Customer Service Video

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Have you ever been exasperated with the extremely low level of customer service from your mobile phone company? Many thousands of Belgians were annoyed with the customer service from Mobistar, and a satirical TV show decided to get some of their own back. See what transpired below. It’s in Flemish, but with subtitles. Enjoy (courtesy of BoingBoing)!

Rest in peace, Jack LaLanne

Monday, January 24th, 2011

To non-USans, the name Jack LaLanne will mean nothing at all. However, to USans of my vintage and below, he was something of a TV icon. Physical fitness was his life, and he lived a long one, dying at age 96 of pneumonia. He liked to say, “I can’t die: it would ruin my image.”

No it didn’t, Jack.


Monday, January 24th, 2011

Today is the 17th anniversary of my arrival in the United Kingdom.

From Twitter 01-23-2011

Monday, January 24th, 2011
  • 13:46:52: Good afternoon, all. HWMBO is now off to Singapore for 3 weeks, so I’m officially a bachelor. I don’t want to be one. Arggggghhhhhh!
  • 17:24:58: @BubblePOPPA What the world needs now is love, sweet love…I hope you will continue to spread it around to those who need it. Hugz.

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Be afraid, be very afraid

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011

One of the “joys” of January is Burns Night, which is celebrated throughout not only Scotland, his ancestral home, but also throughout the United Kingdom and, indeed, the world. Whiskey is consumed, and the star of the dinner is the haggis, piped into the dining room and hymned by Burns’s Address to the Haggis.

Alas, this has not been possible in the United States, where Burns Night is graced with vegetarian haggis or with some other fare, since importing haggis or making it is prohibited in the United States. The reason: one of the ingredients in the “great chieftain o’ the pudding race” is sheep’s lung, which may not be offered for consumption there.

So you should be afraid as a delegation from the US has been invited to Scotland to sample the delights of haggis, see for themselves the wonderful and sanitary conditions in which it is made, and (the Scots, especially Macsween, the major haggis producer, hope) perhaps persuade the US Department of Agriculture to allow its import and sale for the first time in 40 years.

If you do not wish this tragedy to befall the United States, write your Congresscritter! Demand that sheep’s lung continue to be prohibited for sale in the US! You may save countless would-be Scots from the horrible fate of eating haggis. Their very lives (not to mention their taste buds) depend on YOU!

From Twitter 01-22-2011

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011
  • 00:12:14: Well, intarwebz, drizzle, drazzle, druzzle, drome, time for this one to go home (to sleep). Extra points for the reference. Night-night!
  • 23:26:51: Well, teh intarnetz, I have been catching up on everything else except Twitter. Hope you’ve played nice today. Sleep tight.

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From Twitter 01-21-2011

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011
  • 00:44:01: Dear Twitterverse: Sorry I’ve neglected you today…now it’s time for bed and I can’t spend much time with you. Sleep tight, see u tomorrow!
  • 13:03:57: Good afternoon, tweeps & peeps. Off to lunch w/ a friend. Andy Coulson has quit, hurrah! God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world!
  • 20:12:26: The News Quiz on BBC Radio 4 was pants-wettingly funny tonight. Listen tomorrow noon on R4 or on iPlayer if you possibly can!
  • 22:14:58: I always wanted to be a restaurant critic, but this guy’s experience makes me glad I never was
  • 22:15:54: I realise that I have been negligent in #FF these past few weeks. I promise I will try better next week, and thanks for all the #FF love!

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Yesterday’s Marblehead Police Log

Friday, January 21st, 2011

As the Marblehead Reporter has broken up the police log by days, I don’t often read it nowadays. Howeve,r the Reporter’s Facebook feed tipped me off that January 20, 2011 had been a rather interesting day in the life of Marblehead’s Finest. The police officers even managed to keep their junk in their trousers, in contradistinction to Her Majesty’s constabulary previously reported here.

Walk-in requested that police issue a ticket to her landlord for not removing ice from previous storm at 7:57 a.m. She was informed that there was no law that would allow police to issue a ticket, that it was a civil issue. The woman showed the dispatcher her lacerated wrist, which was wrapped in gauze. The dispatcher told the woman that she would document the injury but reiterated that it was a civil issue. The woman then turned around and pulled down her pants, revealing severely bruised buttocks. “Is this a civil matter?” she asked. Woman gave dispatcher the name of the landlord.

Caller on Village Street reported attempted e-mail scam at 9:37 a.m.

Conducted well-being check and investigation on Linden Street at 10:55 a.m.

Caller reported that cars were bypassing cones that Light Department had set up and were running into a block at the end of Beacon Street, where they had to turn around at 10:56 a.m. Light Department opened up the road a short time later.

Hanging street sign reported on Cross and Pleasant streets at 11:01 a.m.

Drivers speeding and parked three-deep near Glover School on Maple Street reported at 2:15 p.m.

Investigated report from the Marblehead High School office of a possible fight on the railroad right-of-way behind the post office on Smith Street at 2:23 p.m. Officers monitored the area, and there were no problems; however, at 3:26 p.m., police officers were called to Rowland Street where a fight had indeed broken out.

Anonymous caller, who had called police station previously, reported being harassed by various members of the NFL and the Actors Guild, among other allegations at 8:45 p.m. Initial attempt to trace call failed. However, she called back at 11:54 p.m., and police were able to trace call at that point.

And so another humdrum day in Marblehead, Massachusetts came to a close.

There’ll Always be an England, Secret Policemen’s Ball Department

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Those of you who read the foreign news (in the US) may have come across several articles in the Grauniad discussing the fact, just revealed, that an undercover policeman not only infiltrated a particularly harmless environmental activist organisation, but slept with several of the female activists. Another police undercover agent actually married an activist and they had two children before he broke down and confessed that he wasn’t who he had said he was.

Well, after two stories about policemen not being able to keep their trousers zipped, we heard yesterday that the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer (Treasury spokesman for the opposition Labour party) resigned his post for “personal reasons”. Normally if they themselves have transgressed they say that they are resigning to “spend more time with their family”. This morning we awoke to the news that he no longer has a family with which to spend time with as his former police bodyguard from the time he was Home Secretary has had (perhaps “is having”) an affair with Johnson’s wife and she has left him.

One wonders how many more cases of this nature are simmering just under the saucepan lid. There have been three undercover officers identified who infiltrated peaceful activist groups, two of which (the two men) got sexually involved with the people they were spying on. And a politician who (frankly) is one of the few Labour politicians I have time for as he is a hard worker, very personable, and doesn’t act as if being in the Cabinet made his sh*t not to stink, is poleaxed by his police bodyguard and his marriage ruined.

It used to be that bent coppers were limited to physical violence against prisoners and taking bribes. Now it seems they are becoming studs as well.

Later note; Guido Fawkes is now reporting that Johnson’s successor investigated Johnson’s private life and discovered that Johnson himself was having an affair with a civil servant. This doesn’t make it right for the bodyguard to have an affair with Johnson’s wife, but it certainly shows that what’s sauce for the goose is also sauce for the gander. Those old wives knew whereof they spoke. And of course, it’s really creepy that the new Shadow Chancellor might have been implicated in the discoveries which led to Johnson’s resignation, if that is true.

From Twitter 01-20-2011

Friday, January 21st, 2011
  • 00:09:22: Well, tweepleverse, time to retire. Foot quacks tomorrow…I hope they decide that things are going well pedally. Sleep tight, y’all!
  • 09:24:31: Morning, all. Off to the quack…wish me luck!
  • 15:27:37: Back from the quack. Nearly ended up with more IV antibiotics, but I am not infected enough. Sometimes I wonder about them…

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From Twitter 01-19-2011

Thursday, January 20th, 2011
  • 08:20:26: Good morning, tweeps & peeps. I have nothing to do today! I will try to do it well.
  • 18:43:52: RT @antoinedodson24: Thanks guys my mom iz doin well shes begin n to walk again. God bless << Great news!
  • 18:50:36: RT @infernoxv: Funny how nobody takes the old Saxon name Cnut anymore. Too many typos, perhaps? << There may be a Canute or ten though…

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From Twitter 01-18-2011

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011
  • 11:01:48: Good morning, all. Off to the quack this morning, then perhaps a Lodge meeting tonight. Produced a satirical hymn last night.
  • 11:04:53: @maleaddict Hope you feel better soon.
  • 16:33:11: RT @pujasumantri: And u know what? I’m fvcking sleepy rigth now. Good nite world 🙂 << Good night to you as well!
  • 22:29:50: Finally added all my Masonic and Diocesan dates to my Google Calendar. I will have a busy year.
  • 23:04:01: RT @hamlesh: Seriously… if you want people to login using their EMAIL address, DONT ASK FOR USERNAME… #rant #designedbymorons

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From Twitter 01-17-2011

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011

  • 04:39:21: Suffering from insomnia. Sing me a lullabye, please! I can haz sleeps?
  • 15:17:32: Enrique SNEERS at your school… RT DentonPolice: 01/17/2011 07:41 | 18 yo | COMPULSORY SCHOOL ATTENDANCE
  • 15:23:09: I’ll inspect José ANYtime… RT DentonPolice: 01/17/2011 07:47:38 | 18 yo | EXPIRED INSPECTION M
  • 23:18:19: Well, tweeples and y’all, time to retire. Deanery Synod was easy tonight, thank goodness. Got home in good time. Sleep tight, now!
  • 23:19:54: @jonk A British “flapjack” is like an oatmeal brownie slab. Pancakes are “pancakes” here. Want some spotted dick? 😉
  • 23:21:06: RT @jonk: googling “ironmonger” O_O (fyi it’s a hardware store, says wiki) << Got it in one. Robert Dyas the Ironmonger is the big chain.
  • 23:28:57: @jonk Spotted dick is a pudding with raisins. Actually pretty tasty, it’s just the name that reminds people of the clap.
  • 23:29:50: @jonk Oh, and flapjacks do taste good but the sugar content is pretty high…lots of golden syrup and honey.

Today’s Natatory URL

Monday, January 17th, 2011

I understand that water-wings are often used to help kids learn how to swim. And, of course, people blow up rafts or innertubes (do innertubes still exist?) and float on them, often sporting drinks with umbrellas in them. However, this pair of dimwits decided that another type of blow-up device was adequate for river use, with predictable unhappy consequences.

Cats Haz Gravity

Monday, January 17th, 2011

I am not normally glued to each and every Lolcats picture. The following is a video from the Annals of Improbable Research that demonstrates that “Cats Haz Gravity”.

From Twitter 01-16-2011

Monday, January 17th, 2011
  • 00:33:16: Night, tworld!
  • 09:05:13: Good morning, all. A bit of blue in the sky this morning: is the sun still shining?
  • 22:28:49: Well, O Tweetverse, not quite bedtime but I’m going to abandon you for reading. Be good, and if you can’t be good, well, you know what to do

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I am not a gamer…

Sunday, January 16th, 2011

…but this is quite amusing, even to an oldster like me.

From Twitter 01-15-2011

Sunday, January 16th, 2011
  • 00:02:49: OK, Tweepleverse, time to retire. Be good, and if you can’t be good, be careful. It’s a jungle out there, you know!
  • 09:13:31: Good morning, all. Quite grey in London this morning. I feel grey as well. Need coffee. It’s ——&gt; that way! See you.
  • 18:23:24: The three Tiber-swimmers have been reordained as RCs into the Leper Colony…er…the Anglican Ordinariate. The door hit them on the way out
  • 18:26:04: RT @Carlkr: I didn’t go to the beach once in 2010. oops&lt;&lt; About time you went, no?
  • 20:29:49: Just finished 1-1/2 bowls of homemade Broccoli & Stilton soup. It was worth the effort.
  • 22:45:55: @xenijardin if u get a URL pls post it!
  • 22:48:41: RT @xenijardin This is not the photo… SFW. You’re welcome. &lt; Holy jumped-up Jesus!
  • 22:49:46: RT @jonk apparently in english-english “fancy dress party” = “costume party”, not uhh, fancy dress party. &lt;&lt; Right you are!
  • 22:57:33: RT @masonictraveler Typing on an iPod is like eating rice with chopsticks…&lt;&lt;I can do that…rice w/ chopsticks, & I’m a gweilo.
  • 23:05:14: RT @antoinedodson24 Thanks guys I love u all!!!! &lt;&lt; and we love you too!!!

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From Twitter 01-14-2011

Saturday, January 15th, 2011
  • 10:06:59: Morning, all. Computer playing up a bit. Otherwise am in good form.
  • 16:47:17: It just finished hailing here in central London. What next? Dead birds dropping out of the sky?
  • 23:41:14: @dchizzle Now that I know it’s your birthday, Happy Birthday (and Hippo Birdies) to you! Many happy returns of the day.
  • 23:51:41: RT @LucasLascivious: Definitely the gayest thing I’ve ever seen &lt;&lt; Right on…

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From Twitter 01-13-2011

Friday, January 14th, 2011
  • 09:46:05: Tanner’s an OIT (Otter in Training) RT DentonPolice: 01/13/2011 01:25 | 21 yo | DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED
  • 16:47:33: Good news at the Retinal Clinic: my eyes are stable and I just need a picture taken of my retinas each year. Hurray!
  • 23:01:25: Eye clinic discharged me as my eyes are stable, yay! Made meatloaf for dinner, now to bed. Sleep well and behave yourselves!

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Stabbie’s Week

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Stabbie’s been stabbed with needles this week, but that’s not why he’s a bit crabby.

Stabbie has a foot condition which requires a change of dressing every two days. Stabbie is perfectly able to change the dressing, so on Wednesday he was doing the needful (as his former Indian workmates used to say). He cuts off the old dressing, takes a look at the foot ulcers, and then cleans off the foot and the ulcers with a disinfectant. Then he soaks a square of gauze in the disinfectant and soaks the ulcers to kill any little critters that might have taken up residence. During this time Stabbie sits back and relaxes.

Wednesday Stabbie’s foot was soaking when the doorbell rang. As the ulcers are on the bottom of the foot at the front, Stabbie jumped up, hobbled to the door on his heel, and answered the intercom, “HELLO!” Stabbie does not like to answer the door when his foot is soaking but he dislikes traipsing to the Royal Mail even more if the letter carrier drops a card rather than the package.

The cheery voice came back over the intercom, “My, that was a forceful hello! We’re here to discuss the Bible with you…” which was as far as he could get when Stabbie roared, “NO. THANK YOU. GOODBYE!!!”

Now, there is no one who is more willing to discuss Scripture than Stabbie. All those years in the seminary, plus the many sermons he’s preached over the last 20 years, make him very mindful that Scripture is eminently discussable and holds many treasures for people to take away, especially in this 400th anniversary of the commissioning of the King James Bible. But Stabbie does not go from door to door and disturb people at their medical necessities to discuss the Bible. He waits until a teachable moment occurs, often in the context of a church service.

Stabbie believes in all the commandments, especially the Fifth. However, had Stabbie been able to hobble out to the front door with a cleaver, the Feeding of the Five Thousand might have had a bit of meat in it rather than just bread and fish.

Stabbie is also a Freemason. This is something that Stabbie loves and that has allowed him to excel in ritual and given him insights into human nature. However, not everyone in Freemasonry is actuated by such lofty motives. Some are more interested in honours, purple aprons, and various pins and chains. These people don’t impress Stabby very much, and he tries to avoid them when possible.

At a Lodge meeting on Tuesday evening, a group of Purple Aprons attended, bringing along their own Director of Ceremonies. This results in a separate procession into and out of the Lodge room. These went off fairly well.

However, Lodges normally have a formal dinner after meetings, and the group of Purple Aprons attends that as well, and processes in after all the Brethren have assembled. The table was arranged in a “W” shape, and Stabbie was sitting on the inside of the leg of the “W” closest to the door. The Purple Aprons were announced by their Director of Ceremonies, who led them in. The Director of Ceremonies stopped and impatiently waved at all the Brethren placed on the other side of the “W” and motioned them to stand back while the Purple Aprons entered, instead of just detouring a foot or so and walking behind them.

Now Stabbie gives all due respect to Purple Aprons. They often have responsible jobs to do within the Craft and sometimes visit three or four Lodges a week. Rank, however, should have its graces as well. To wave Brethren away from the table just so the Purple Aprons did not have to detour a couple of feet to get to their places at table is pomposity at its height.

Stabbie thinks that the poniard which is used to test the candidates at initiation might very well have other uses, and we might want to take it to dinner next time the Purple Aprons threaten to show. Then the Purple Aprons might have to find a new Director of Ceremonies.

From Twitter 01-12-2011

Thursday, January 13th, 2011
  • 00:16:36: Night-night, twitterverse. We still have two foxes in the back garden tonigt; they were terrifying the local cat. Sleep tight!
  • 09:31:03: Morning, all. No sign of the foxes this morning but I suspect they took cover in the next back garden to escape the rain. We will see.
  • 13:02:00: Listening to the Shipping Forecast. About to go to the quack to have a steroid injection into my hand which may cure my trigger finger.
  • 15:02:26: Back from the quack. Most painful injection I’ve had in 50 years. Hope it cures the trigger finger.
  • 22:13:52: Foxes disappeared today. Squirrels showed up again. Finger hurts like a mother. Oh well, nothing to do but read. Sleep tight. all!

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From Twitter 01-11-2011

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011
  • 12:52:58: Good morning, all. Two or three foxes have taken up residence in our back gardens. Gave the gas fitter a scare this morning.

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Doings in Southwark

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

At around 6:30 am, I heard what sounded like a dogfight in the back garden. I turned over and said to HWMBO: “I’ll bet there are foxes out there.” He said he didn’t think so.

When I came downstairs at 7:15 to make breakfast, there were indeed two foxes in the back garden. They were no longer fighting, but one was curled up in front of our back door and the other one was halfway up the garden. That one has retreated under a tarpaulin in the next garden, but the first one is still curled up in front of the back door, seemingly asleep.

I have some pictures, but they will have to wait until I can make them smaller to fit onto a regular blog page. The gas fitter came to examine the boiler, and he had to go into the back garden to check on the flue. I was a bit nervous that the fox would either attack him or run into the house, which would be a disaster. Luckily, when he opened the back door the fox ran away. It has now come back, though.

Fox in the back garden

Fox in the back garden

More as it happens. You wouldn’t expect this level of wildlife activity in the centre of a big city like London, but there you go.

From Twitter 01-10-2011

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

  • 09:08:38: @r4today For goodness’ sake, Tucson is pronounced TOO-sohn, not TOO-sen.
  • 09:20:48: Good morning, Tweeterverse. Annoyed about @r4today as British announcers can’t pronounce Tucson correctly.
  • 10:20:15: @sjjh Yes, but the correspondent on the ground in AZ was constantly mispronouncing it…so naughty. Michigan is also mispronounced on R4.

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From Twitter 01-09-2011

Monday, January 10th, 2011
  • 08:46:18: Morning, all. Rough night last night, but I am hopeful that today will be restful and relatively easy. Remind me how much I hate netbooks!
  • 13:28:42: Good afternoon, twitterverse. Bereft as I’ve missed I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. Quiet afternoon in as HWMBO is doing his yoga.
  • 13:29:29: @chocolatepistol Depends on what he’s got curving, I guess…
  • 22:11:31: RT @internetsdairy: Amazon is recommending I buy a box of 48 packets of Walkers Roast Chicken crisps.&lt;&lt; That’s really dangerous!
  • 22:13:24: RT @mariocruzxxx: It sucks to be on my shoes right now &lt;&lt; You ok, sweetheart?
  • 23:49:07: Well, tweeples, time for hay-hitting. Backup continues on my main computer, but I’m OK with the netbook. Sleep tight, all!

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Computer shenanigans

Sunday, January 9th, 2011

As some of you will remember from previous posts, I am having trouble with my main desktop computer. To sum up what is a long, sad story, Vista sucks, and it especially sucks when it updates a previous XP installation which probably updated a previous Windows 98 installation. The amount of cruft and general stupidity that accrues when you update a Windows installation is beyond belief. I have suffered from the following:

  • When I right-click on a disk drive in the Explorer window to, for example, format a thumb drive, Windows Explorer freezes and must eventually be rebooted. Why? I believe that at one time I installed an add-on to the right-click menu that was ill-considered. I can’t even remember what it was now. But, ever since, through the upgrade to Vista, this behaviour has persisted.
  • The Ethernet connection has been flaky for about a month. I think that it was having some trouble with O2’s DNS server. However, I don’t think it was O2 because none of the other computers in the house had this problem.
  • There have been lots of unexplained and (seemingly) unexplainable crashes, where Vista just stops. I don’t know whether it’s the computer, or Vista.
  • Occasionally, but more and more frequently, when I reboot the computer it goes into CHKDSK and, after a very long pause, complains about a file named gameuxmig.dll. This file is associated with the Windows Migration Tool, which I have never to my knowledge used.
  • After an attempt to fix some of these matters with a piece of software I bought (which shall remain anonymous to protect the guilty) I have now found that I cannot boot into my desktop. The computer stalls after logon, and the desktop never comes up.
  • MSN has stopped working after an upgrade. I think I can log in, but all I get is an empty frame, and the actual user list and menu never get shown.

So here I am. After a lot of thought, I’ve decided what I have to do.

I have to make a backup, wipe the disk clean, get a fresh install (not an update) of Windows 7, and install that.

To that end, I booted into the computer using safe mode with networking, and I’m now backing my hard disk up to the NAS box. This will take quite a while, but is worth it. I don’t do it often enough. When I finally figure out how to use ViceVersa most efficiently, it will be faster. Now I’m just using it as a blunt-edged sword, to get all the files off.

Last night I discovered that if I copied my Thunderbird Profile directory to the other drive in the NAS box, I could access all my email from the netbook. I can’t tell you how neat this is. I suppose that I could have accessed Eudora from the NAS box too, or at least the email files, but this brings along my profile too, so Thunderbird on my netbook looks exactly the same as Thunderbird on my desktop. If I like I can install Thunderbird on my Ubuntu notebook and access my emails from that as well. What this means is that my online life can continue while I rebuild my desktop computer in a leisurely fashion. LJ, Facebook, Twitter, email, and MSN all continue on the netbook.

The next step is to take the list of installed programs and, one by one, take the setup files off the computer and put them on an external disk drive, along with any license keys needed for reinstallation. This wll take time. I will also have to make sure that the installation programs for all my peripherals such as the monitor, the webcam, the audio console, and the like are also available.

Then I have to buy a copy of Windows 7. Will be looking for the best bargain (if any) but not a pirated version. I might join Tech-Net again if I can get a license through it that won’t expire.

Dell set up the hard disks in a RAID 0 array (I think; I can’t check at the moment). What I need to do is get bigger disks (perhaps 1 TB) and install them in an array so that I have redundancy. This will take a while. As I have lots of time during the day. I shouldn’t have much of a problem doing all this (although the expense may be a problem).

Next step is installing Windows 7 and making sure that all the peripherals work with it. This may be easy, or not. I’m not sure at this point.

Finally, I need to reinstall all the programs I want, and make sure they work. I expect this to be a bit frustrating. Some of these programs have been on my computer for years, and I may not have the latest versions. I know that the programs I use most (such as Office) should be OK, it’s other ones that I’m worried about.

I don’t expect to be finished with this until spring. But, if I don’t do it now, I’ll never have a functioning computer again until I buy a new one and I can’t see that happening for a long time. In fact, I suspect that my next main computer will be a notebook of some sort (not a tablet yet). I’m exhausted just thinking about all this.

From Twitter 01-08-2011

Sunday, January 9th, 2011
  • 21:21:06: Good evening, all. Tweeting from my netbook, as my desktop seems to have shit the bed. Still able to get into safe mode, tho. &lt;3 Thunderbird

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From Twitter 01-07-2011

Saturday, January 8th, 2011
  • 10:03:25: @dentalgaymer No.
  • 13:34:09: @dentalgaymer I was up because it was after 9am here in London!
  • 13:54:07: @daraobriain Fish all over Britain refuse even to be wrapped in the Mail. Pay them no mind. Keep stargazing.
  • 13:58:39: RT @CoryBooker: “There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.” Beverly Sills
  • 21:14:50: #FF @playboyadonis because he has the answer to the theodicy!
  • 21:15:28: @sonicchubb Sorry about that. I hope everything works out OK over the weekend.
  • 21:19:06: A bit the worse for wear but blond … RT DentonPolice: 01/07/2011 14:02:34 | 26 years old |
  • 21:19:39: #FF @latinoboy628 because he’s a good guy and grateful too!
  • 21:20:21: #FF @antoinedodson24 as he’s a thoughtful, kind, and funny guy.
  • 21:24:57: #FF @jonk because he knows GAP’s stock better than GAP employees at the tills.
  • 21:26:16: #FF @angelxxxcruz because he knows the best people on Twitter.
  • 21:28:40: RT @Fozzzzz: Did everyone get a slanket for Christmas, sounds like it? &lt;&lt; Not I, unfortunately, and it wasn’t for want of asking, either.
  • 21:31:19: RT @jonk: @chrishansenhome 😀 (at first i read “tits”, not “tills” lol) &lt;&lt; The optometrist is —–&gt; that way! hehehe
  • 21:32:14: RT @alicearnold1: Supper is cheese and biscuits with ice cream and maltesers for pudding. Forgot to go shopping. &lt;&lt; have u enough for 2-3?
  • 21:33:34: #FF @soveren — he’s up Nawth but we don’t hold it against him and he follows @jonk — always a good sign.

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Finally, an English sporting triumph

Friday, January 7th, 2011

I don’t normally read the Sports section of the Grauniad, nor listen with more than 1/2 an ear to the sports news on radio. However, I have been aware in the past few years that England were rubbish at almost every sport in which they engaged, especially soccer. England crashed out of the World Cup of soccer this last summer, ignominiously. There was a lot of crying into beer. While the United Kingdom had done well in the Olympics, the Commonwealth Games in India weren’t especially spectacular. There haven’t been any world-class English teams since the Rugby World Cup in in 2003.

Now comes word that England has not only retained the Cricket Ashes cup, but has won the series of matches in Australia 3-1 with one draw. Translation for non-UKers or those from non-cricketing countries. There is a long-standing series of cricket rivalries between Australia and England. This started in 1882 and continues down to the present day. The Wikipedia article on the Ashes is quite comprehensive, although you won’t learn much about the rules of cricket there if you aren’t already familiar with them.

What matters to me is that, finally, there is something international that England is good at. Most Brits are soccer-mad, but cricket can now lay claim to be the national sport at which we excel. Our team has set all sorts of records, including some from a youngish player named Alistair Cook, who was named the man of the match and series today.

Could this be the first step in regaining our sporting nerve?

From Twitter 01-06-2011

Friday, January 7th, 2011
  • 10:11:32: RT @AuntiiiMartiii: Morning world. Hair cut is imminent. Scared! &lt;&lt; You getting them all cut, or just one?
  • 10:12:12: Good morning, all. About to go out to the quack. Then foot clinic this afternoon. A medical day. Faugh.
  • 10:14:00: Blotchy but nice… RT DentonPolice: 01/06/2011 01:22:40 | 22 years old | ALCOHOL PUBLIC INTOXICATION
  • 10:14:53: Clint turns his nose up at coppers… RT DentonPolice: 01/06/2011 03:06 | 26 yo | DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED
  • 22:54:49: Well, tweeps & peeps, I’m exhausted and need to disconnect from the computer for the evening. Play nice now, keep it clean!

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For trawnapanda

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

For once, a reference that doesn’t include P**ps or chemists blowing up labs.

Happy birthday, f45one

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

…and many happy returns of the day!

From Twitter 01-05-2011

Thursday, January 6th, 2011
  • 11:30:24: @maleaddict That’s perfect: most guys with a paunch want to go out with guys who are buff, and that is you. Go on!
  • 12:01:52: Good morning, all. Lunch with a friend today is the major item on the agenda.
  • 12:02:07: @RyanAfricanGay Sorry to hear it; hope you get better soon.
  • 17:20:03: @nakedboy Good luck! Hope you have breakfast with a boif!
  • 19:28:10: Had a marvelous lunch with a young friend today–such depth of understanding and deep conversation is rare today.
  • 21:11:49: @RyanAfricanGay you’re most welcome! Sending healthy thoughts your way.
  • 21:13:57: Watching Stargazing Live on BBC2. A great use of my license fee.
  • 21:23:54: Stephen, meet headlights! RT DentonPolice 01/05/2011 13:30 | 23 yo | POSS CS PG 1 &lt; 1G
  • 21:26:21: RT @seismic007: [J Edgar] Hoover would never wear taupe. He was an autumn.
  • 21:28:18: RT @SunnyRainer: Every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future -Oscar Wilde
  • 21:35:17: RT @SGnews: [TR] One law for the

The plural of “octopus” should really be “eight-tentacled cephalopods”

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Every once in a while an flurry of posts on your choice of Internet fora (used to be USENET, now in blogs and on Facebook or Twitter) concerned the proper plural form of the word “octopus”. So is it “two octopuses”, “two octopi”, or “two octopodes”?

This video provides the answer: all three. Enjoy.