Archive for March, 2011

Today’s Uplifting Video

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

Many of us live in cities with underground transport systems: Singapore’s MRT, London’s Tube system, New York’s Subway, Boston’s T. There is an unwritten rule on the train: do not talk to strangers unless there is an emergency.

The guy who made the video below broke that taboo, with amazing results. Thanks to Roger Ebert, a great blogger, for drawing it to my attention.

Today’s Easter Egg Video

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

The creme egg is a confectionery that I thought was limited to the UK but seems to have migrated across the Atlantic. We begin seeing them in the shops the week after Christmas, anticipating Easter.

Here’s an imaginative way of using them to make a point.

Today’s SPAM™

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

I don’t often read the obvious SPAM™ I get, but this one does take the biscuit.

I think that the reference to an “ananimous” donor who died “without any child through her life” is quite funny, as well as the fact that “she was able to receive a lot gifts and valuables”. Poor thing, to be so rich and yet hire a “lawyer” who has such a poor command of English as well as typing. The obviously fake email addresses are deleted in case some credulous soul stumbles upon this blog.











From Twitter 03-30-2011

Thursday, March 31st, 2011
  • 14:27:41: Back home now, recuperating. I will blog soon about the surreal afternoon I had yesterday. I’m now too busy calming down…
  • 22:22:07: London Stabbie’s hospital stay

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London Stabbie’s hospital stay

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

Now, as he’s said before, London Stabbie yields to no one in his respect for the National Health Service and its doctors, nurses, and supporting staff. They do a tremendous job in the face of massive government cuts, insensitive patients, and inadequate facilities.

However (Stabbie is certain you knew there was a “however”), the events of this last weekend have been very hard on Stabbie and nearly shook his faith in the NHS to the core.

On Thursday of last week, Stabbie received a letter informing him that a bed had been found for his procedure and that he would be called on Sunday to be told where to go. Besides the fact that Stabbie is up for more than one procedure, the letter itself was misleading, making Stabbie think that he’d neglected to confirm his appointment. So Stabbie’s first target is the person who wrote that form letter. As Stabbie is not particularly keen to shed any blood, what he does want to do is cut that person’s computer up into tiny little pieces and restrict him or her to writing with a quill pen. It might allow him to actually think about what he’s writing.

The call finally came at about 5pm on Sunday. Stabbie was to report to Vlad Dracula ward (the name has been changed to protect the guilty) at 7pm. Stabbie and his partner duly reported there and then Stabbie was left alone.

The procedure was an angioplasty of the leg, to try to improve the circulation to Stabbie’s foot. While this procedure is carried out under local anesthesia, the patient is not allowed to eat or drink anything from midnight the previous day. Normally they would have hooked Stabbie up to a combined glucose and insulin drip from midnight until the operation. This is suboptimal, as Stabbie would have had to be woken up each and every hour for a blood sugar check. So Stabbie convinced the nurse to allow him his usual dose of long-lasting insulin before bedtime and only to hook up the machine in the morning.

Vlad Dracula ward has about 12 beds in the men’s section. Stabbie’s neighbour was a big man (around 6’5″ tall and a bit heavy). When Stabbie tried to fall asleep (in the very inadequate hospital bed) his neighbour began to snore. It was probably a 90 decibel snore. This was not good. So when the snoring ceased, Stabbie was quite happy until it became clear that his neighbour has sleep apnea. After 30 seconds or so his neighbour’s breathing and snoring would begin again, starting with a phenomenal sound of sucking-in air. Now Stabbie occasionally snores (but not often), and Stabbie’s partner also occasionally snores (but not often), but this kind of snoring puts both Stabbie and his partner to shame. Stabbie is not one to cut up people who can’t help being annoying, but perhaps an emergency tracheotomy for this gentleman might be warranted. Stabbie will lend the doctor his knife for the occasion.

Monday dawned, and Stabbie was denied breakfast. Hours passed—Stabbie was then denied lunch. However, Stabbie could smell the food odours wafting their way from the adjoining cubicles. Fasting makes hospital food seem to be pure ambrosia, but it was an ambrosia that Stabbie was denied.

Finally the nurse came over (quite a cute male nurse—Stabbie was quite smitten) and said that he’d be taken down to the angioplasty lab at around 4pm. He was still connected to the glucose/insulin pump.

The angioplasty was interesting—Stabbie could see his arteries coloured on the X-ray picture as the surgeon threaded the wire down there. When the balloon was inflated, Stabbie could not only see it on the monitor, but feel it in his calf. It was like an electric shock. The operation took around 3/4 hour, and Stabbie was then returned to Vlad Dracula ward.

Of course, by this time the hot dinner was over, so Stabbie was forced to eat a sandwich. Quite inadequate. And Stabbie was also forced to lie flat for two hours to keep strain off the wound. Kings does not suture the arterial hole they use to feed in the wire and balloon, so the surgeon applies a complicated plaster and then pressed down on Stabbie’s groin for ten minutes. You may believe Stabbie when he says that it was not as erotic as the words would lead one to believe.

The end result was that 1 out of 3 of Stabbie’s leg arteries could be cleared. The other two are irretrievably calcified. Stabbie may have an arterial bypass if the quacks think that more blood is necessary. However, he noticed that his foot is pinker now.

After lying in bed for two hours, Stabbie wished to “spend a penny”, in the old English parlance. The nurse refused to let Stabbie walk the 20 or so steps to the loo; she brought in a commode and closed the curtain. Stabbie was not happy. We too shall draw the curtain over Stabbie’s Monday evening. Suffice it to say that Mr. Buzz-Saw in the next cubicle was in fine voice that evening and Stabbie did not get a whole lot of sleep then either.

Tuesday morning dawns! Stabbie is to be discharged today! Hurray! But first, Stabbie’s leg and foot have to be seen by the vascular surgical team to ensure that everything was working as it ought. Stabbie had originally had an appointment at the foot clinic for the Monday. However, then he got the letter, he called the clinic and tried to arrange it for the next Thursday, as he would be otherwise engaged on the Monday getting wires shoved down his groin and balloons inflated inside his arteries. The receptionist offered a Tuesday appointment. Stabbie thought, “Oh, I’ll be right here so Tuesday will be fine; I’ll just have to walk downstairs.” and took the appointment.

At around 10:30am Stabbie left Vlad Dracula ward, telling the staff that he was going to the Foot Clinic and would be back as soon as possible. When he got down to the clinic, the receptionist could not find his notes, and much running around ensued. Stabbie, meanwhile, waited in the clinic for 2-1/2 hours while everything was sorted out.

It transpires, when Stabbie is finally seated in an examining chair in the clinic, that the vascular team had tried to visit him in Vlad Dracula ward, was told that he had gone to the foot clinic, and decided not to call Stabbie back but to see him when they got down to the clinic.

The head vascular surgeon has a really good bedside manner and pronounced Stabbie’s operation a qualified success, as his foot is pinker and the pulse better. The podiatrist then poked around Stabbie’s foot with his scalpel at the ready, and said, “Oh, your ulcer’s healed now; there’s just a scab over it.”

So that was good news. However, worse news was to come. The nurse at the clinic couldn’t administer my antibiotic (IV) because he was off sick that day. The podiatrist told Stabbie to go back to Vlad Dracula ward and tell them to administer it. He also told Stabbie to return in 3 weeks. That’s almost a record. But the good news ends here.

When Stabbie got back to Vlad Dracula ward, he discovered that his hot lunch had been removed and the only thing he could eat was a ham sandwich with English mustard. On white. Oh, joy!

The nurse prepared Stabbie’s antibiotic (it’s a powder that must be diluted in water then injected into a drip bag to be dripped into Stabbie’s PICC line. Then she came back and informed Stabbie, “I can’t administer your antibiotic although I’ve prepared it; your drug chart is missing.” Stabbie suggested that the nurse find a doctor (it’s surprising how difficult it is to find a doctor in a hospital, but Stabbie digresses…) but she said that was totally impossible and Stabbie couldn’t have his antibiotic Tuesday.

After a bit of searching they found Stabbie’s drug chart tucked into the folder of the patient to Stabbie’s left. The nurse could then start the IV. But Stabbie’s got a little list, and the numpty who filed his drug chart in the folder for the next bed is on that list. Stabbie will content himself with taking that person’s medical diploma and slicing it into confetti with Stabbie’s dagger. That person obviously needs a refresher course in filing, and having to prove his qualifications again may make him think carefully before taking someone else’s drug chart.

The IV drip ended, and meanwhile the staff on Vlad Dracula ward were responsible for getting Stabbie’s repeat prescription for antibiotics. A jobsworth from the Pharmacy department hectored Stabbie to tell her how much insulin he takes and when. Stabbie protested that everyone who needed to know this information already did. “We need it for our records.” she responded coldly, and wouldn’t go away until Stabbie gave her the information. It went on a letter that no one will read.

Somehow Stabbie thinks that using his blade on jobsworths is unworthy of the blade. In a way, it stains it with blood that it should never touch. So Stabbie will not physically hurt the jobsworth. However, Stabbie would be pleased if the jobsworths in the Pharmacy Department were classed with the telephone sanitisers and telemarketers of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy when the revolution comes.

The jobsworth left Stabbie at 3 pm, saying that his antibiotics would be up at Vlad Dracula ward in an hour. Stabbie settled down to a book by Alfred Bester, and finished it by 5 pm as it was an interesting but easy read. No antibiotics. The nurses studiously avoided looking at Stabbie, all packed in his cubicle and ready to go home. So Stabbie went to the nurses’ desk and enquired, politely, when the prescription would be ready so that he could go home. They said that it was coming up right that second. Stabbie went back to his cubicle and fumed.

At 6 pm one of the charge nurses (who was quite cute) came to Stabbie’s cubicle and said, “You have a PICC line?” Stabbie’s short-sleeved shirt revealed the PICC line better than anything, and he just showed his arm to the nurse. Then the nurse said, “We will have to send a fax to the District Nurse to tell her that she has to visit you and after that we’ll give you the antibiotics.”

Stabbie nearly lost his temper. He said, “I have been taking these antibiotics for a month and a half now. I have a good working relationship with the District Nurses and had already arranged for them to start coming again from Wednesday. You do not need to send them a fax; it’s been taken care of. I have been sitting here for three hours. All I want IS MY ANTIBIOTICS and to GO HOME NOW!” Stabbie’s last nerve had been plucked.

The nurse, alarmed at Stabbie’s reaction, brought the bag of antibiotics and other supplies over and quickly went over the paperwork. Stabbie thanked him coldly and started down the corridor leading away from Vlad Dracula ward. The nurse charged after him and asked, “I almost forgot; do you have syringes?” Stabbie fixed him with a stare and said, “All I need is the antibiotics and the saline bags; everything else is provided. Good bye!”

Now Stabbie would normally have thought of eviscerating the poor nursing staff for treating him like this, as well as the pharmacist who lied to him about the timing. But, Stabbie is a forgiving kind of chap, and the nurse (did Stabbie mention he was a Hispanic male nurse?) was very cute. So Stabbie would probably content himself with cutting the shirt, trousers and boxers off the guy and ensuring that pictures were taken for later, private, consumption.

All in all, while the angioplasty did some good and Stabbie’s foot ulcer is nearly healed, Stabbie’s blood pressure probably soared through the top of his head and all his nerves were plucked so hard that they played Dies Irae. Stabbie got home, dropped his bags, and had the first hot meal he’d had since Sunday lunch.

So Stabbie is grateful that the blood supply to his right foot has improved, and he is grateful that the right foot ulcer seems finally to be healing up. But every other part of the stay at Vlad Dracula ward was purest hell, and he hopes that he never has to stay there again, if for no other reason than that the staff will brand him as “difficult” and take every opportunity to ignore him.

Today’s Tech URL

Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

I am not an Apple-head by any means. I love my iPhone4 and my iPods, just like I loved my iPhone 3G. However, I don’t have any recent Apple Mac computer or an iPad (yet…) However, one thing that at least some Apple stores have is a service-oriented mentality. This column from ZDnet proves it. If other computer outlets don’t adopt this kind of customer service, they’re doomed.

From Twitter 03-28-2011

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

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From Twitter 03-27-2011

Monday, March 28th, 2011

  • 13:00:47: Not heard from the Hospital Admissions Dept. yet. Afraid they may have taken me off the list. Crumbs.
  • 14:08:54: @tawanTEO Oh, I think you’re as good as anyone and perhaps even better than most!
  • 14:18:40: @tawanTEO You’re welcome!
  • 14:43:24: RT @crime_economist: Profile of a MD prison librarian
  • 15:03:32: RT @mariocruzxxx: Help sometimes comes from unexpected places << Amen, brother!
  • 16:37:42: Just got the call. I’m to be at the hospital at 7 pm. Thank goodness.
  • 17:17:57: @jonk We’ll get you a straw for your teeth and some chewing tobacco. All you’ll need is a farmer’s tan and the image will be complete!
  • 17:23:03: @jonk Mentioning chewing t*b*cc* seems to have attracted a troll pushing smoking cessation devices. Faugh.
  • 18:10:40: OK, I’m off. See you later.
  • 19:15:47: @jonk we will want pics, you know…
  • 22:53:20: RT @Traphik Ohh and just to clarify for my UK peoples, no I’m not in England right now. But I might be soon! Stay tuned!<< Great! London?

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From Twitter 03-26-2011

Sunday, March 27th, 2011
  • 00:12:02: #FF @MartinFaulks who is a wise man and very good company indeed.
  • 00:14:20: #FF @Shelbycub because he is a great blogger, humourist, and all=round great guy whom I hope to meet in meatspace someday…
  • 00:15:17: #FF @jonk because he works all hours and needs fans,,,
  • 00:16:54: #ff @RichTheTiger , as he is virtuous tonight and deserves positive #FF love.
  • 00:19:51: @jonk Well, this surgery is to ream out my arteries, so I’m not “ill” in the sense of “Get me to the ER, STAT!” type ill. Tnx 4 kind words.
  • 00:20:41: #FF @angelxxxcruz: as he seems to be trying to drum up support with his last tweet… 😉
  • 00:22:45: @jonk They need to improve the circulation to my right foot so that the foot surgery has a chance to heal. Will try tweeting from hospital.
  • 00:34:00: OK, tweeps & peeps, off to the land of Nod. Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do. Liz Taylor: May she rest in peace and rise in glamour. Tnx Ann!
  • 23:20:18: Well, have to pack for the hospital tomorrow, so take care everyone! Will blog from my hospital bed.
  • 23:23:51: @LukeHall1995 It’s a leg angioplasty, to increase circulation to my foot so they can operate on it. Routine, they say. I’m in no pain…tnx!

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Off to the Quackery tomorrow

Saturday, March 26th, 2011

I got word this week that Kings College Hospital is going to admit me tomorrow for my leg angioplasty, which will happen on Monday, according to them. I shall try to tweet from there, and I hope that I’ll be out on Monday evening or Tuesday morning. Annoying, really. After that, they’ll schedule my foot operation, for whick I’ll have to go back into the hospital. To reassure everyone, this is just to increase circulation in my foot, and I’m not in imminent danger of anything.

See y’all later!

Today’s SPAM™

Saturday, March 26th, 2011


I am Mrs. Salabanzi from Malaysia, I was married to my late Kathie Salabanzi, who worked for years before he died in the year 2006 after a brief illness that lasted for only five days.

When my late husband was alive he deposited sum Money in a firm here. Following my ill health (Cancer of the Lungs) my Doctor told me that I may not live longer than required due to my health condition. I am looking forward to seeing someone who can use this money in charitable works. More details will be made known to you upon your response. May God Bless You.

Mrs. Carine Salabanzi

Dear Mrs. Salabanzi:

I am really sad that you may not live longer than required. These days even life is disposable.

Did your late husband have a sex change and forget to change his name along with it? And imagine, he had a brief illness that lasted only five days! I am really glad that his brief illness didn’t last for five years, as that would have been a really long brief illness.

I’m afraid that I can’t help you very much as all my wealth is concentrated in uncharitable works and if you gave me any I would probably fritter it away. Good luck in your quest for a patsy to help you get your money out.

Oh, and if you’d take my email address out of your list I would be most grateful.


Chris Hansen

From Twitter 03-25-2011

Saturday, March 26th, 2011
  • 00:46:47: Goodnight, all! Be good, and if you can’t be good be careful.

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Today’s Happy Quotation

Friday, March 25th, 2011

When asked why he had appointed William Temple Archbishop of Canterbury in 1942, even though Temple was a Socialist, Winston Churchill said “Because he was the only half-crown article in a sixpenny-ha’penny market.”

Sometimes I wonder whether that particular market has ever gone decimal.

From Twitter 03-24-2011

Friday, March 25th, 2011
  • 01:13:29: @Perignonic and we’d only have to have one birthday party!
  • 01:15:45: @Perignonic 8 November rocks!
  • 16:04:55: Got a letter from Kings College Hospital today. My angioplasty is on Monday and I need to be there Sunday afternoon. Wish me luck!
  • 16:10:12: @roughtradeX Thank you!
  • 16:10:40: @soveren Thanks!
  • 16:32:23: Thanks for all the good wishes. Will try to tweet from the hospital.
  • 19:13:11: A million thanks for all the good wishes. I had one after my heart attack, so it won’t be new. This time it’s going to the other end…leg.

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Websites we’d rather not have seen

Thursday, March 24th, 2011

When I lived in San Francisco I attended Trinity Episcopal Church, the second oldest Episcopal congregation in the West and the oldest in California. The Rev’d Robert Warren Cromey was Rector, and while he was controversial, he was on the side of the angels most of the time and kept an inclusive and warm church going.

The parish has fallen on hard times later, with some staff difficulties and the discovery that the church building, which survived the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes, might not be structurally safe in the next one.

But their website contains this sentence (note the phrase in RED):

TRINITY EPISCOPAL CHURCH was established in 1849 and is the oldest Episcopal church on the Pacific Coast. It is the second oldest congregation in the City of San Francisco. Known for its outspoken and progressive action on controversial topics (Add some here) Trinity lives on the edge of “then and now” constantly evolving and finding new life in its mission to bring the lords love, to any and all looking for the “peoples” church.

I hope and pray that this is a very recent first draft, but, sadly, I doubt it. I hope that the congregation grows and thrives; they deserve to after the upheavals of the past several years. But with a website as uninviting as this, the website won’t contribute much to its success.

From Twitter 03-23-2011

Thursday, March 24th, 2011
  • 20:32:54: @JesseBering Probably was once a vicarage next to a church now demolished.
  • 20:51:09: RT @ebertchicago: Elizabeth Taylor: In Memory, My obituary.
  • 21:04:09: RT @Perignonic: You & Me = Perfect Couple? &lt;&lt; Well, they say that Scorpios get along well together…

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From Twitter 03-22-2011

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
  • 18:43:01: @MartinFaulks Thanks for the kind words.
  • 18:44:11: RT @urbanbohemian: Does a company using your first name in a mass e-mail subject via mail merge feel creepy and weird to anyone else? &lt; Yeah

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Today’s Groaner

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

…is from Father MadPriest, who is trying to blame it on someone else but is failing miserably.

The local news station was interviewing an 85-year-old lady because she had just married for the fourth time. The interviewer asked her questions about her life, about what it felt like to be marrying again at 85, and then about her new husband’s occupation.

“He’s a funeral director,” she answered.

“Interesting,” the newsman thought. He then asked her if she wouldn’t mind telling him a little about her first three husbands and what they did for a living.

She paused for a few moments, needing time to reflect on all those years. After a short time, a smile came to her face and she answered proudly, explaining that she had first married a banker when she was in her early 20’s, then a circus ringmaster when in her 40’s, then a preacher when in her 60’s, and now in her 80’s, the funeral director. The interviewer looked at her, quite astonished, and asked why she had married four men with such diverse careers.

She smiled and patiently explained, ” I married one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and four to go.”

One of those memes…

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

No obligation…but I want to find out about the person who posted this meme, so I’m posting it myself. Please just pass by if you don’t do memes. I will screen the comments.

If you’re on my friends list, I want to know 36 things about you. I don’t care if we never talk, or if we already know everything about each other. Short and sweet or long and detailed, all is good. Even if you’re not on my friends list, and if you wanna tell me, sure…go ahead, just tell me who you are so I can put an identity to the description.

Comment here with your answers and repost the questionnaire on your own journal.
01) Are you currently in a serious relationship?
02) What was your dream growing up?
03) What talent do you wish you had?
04) If I bought you a drink what would it be?
05) Favorite vegetable?
06) What was the last book you read?
07) What zodiac sign are you?
08) Any Tattoos and/or Piercings? Explain where.
09) Worst Habit?
10) If you saw me walking down the street would you offer me a ride?
11) What is your favorite sport?
12) Do you have a Pessimistic or Optimistic attitude?
13) What would you do if you were stuck in an elevator with me?
14) Worst thing to ever happen to you?
15) Tell me one weird fact about you.
16) Do you have any pets?
17) What if I showed up at your house unexpectedly?
18) What was your first impression of me?
19) Do you think clowns are cute or scary?
20) If you could change one thing about how you look, what would it be?
21) Would you be my crime partner or my conscience?
22) What color eyes do you have?
23) Ever been arrested?
24) Bottle or can soda?
25) If you won $10,000 today, what would you do with it?
26) What’s your favorite place to hang out at?
27) Do you believe in ghosts?
28) Favorite thing to do in your spare time?
29) Do you swear a lot?
30) Biggest pet peeve?
31) In one word, how would you describe yourself?
32) Do you believe/appreciate romance?
33) Favourite and least favourite food?
34) Do you believe in God?
35) Will you repost this so I can fill it out and do the same for you?
36) Favourite band(s) of ALL time?

From Twitter 03-21-2011

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011
  • 19:09:28: Coming back from the hospital where they cleared an obstruction in my PICC line. A whole day wasted.

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Today’s Travel Video

Monday, March 21st, 2011

USans may or may not be familiar with a certain budget airline here in Europe (which will remain anonymous) that often advertises flights for 50 pence (round trip £1). This particular budget airline is based in the Emerald Isle, and so are the singers in this little video, telling of their experiences on the 50 pence flight.

Today’s Mad Men moment

Monday, March 21st, 2011

Advertising was quite different years ago. This is a commercial for Telefunken vacuum tubes (=UK “valves”). Politically correct it isn’t.

From Twitter 03-20-2011

Monday, March 21st, 2011
  • 00:09:08: Bob must have been drinking longnecks… RT DentonPolice 03/19/2011 05:48 | 23 yo | ALCOHOL PUBLIC INTOXICATION
  • 00:27:40: @jjjap My Singaporean-Chinese husband says that I smell like milk. I’m not even lactating!
  • 00:37:28: Well, tweeps & peeps, off to bed now. Have to get cracking on getting new computer up to speed. Cheers!
  • 00:38:37: RT @RichTheTiger: I am just not sure I’m ready for a boyfriend? #damagedtiger &lt;&lt; Perhaps a boyfriend is ready for you, though!
  • 00:43:10: RT @jonk: sudo make me a chocolate haupia pie &lt;&lt; POOF! You’re a chocolate haupia pie! (whatever that is)…
  • 00:51:06: @jonk OMG OMG OMG! I just looked at the recipe and I think I can make & eat it if I use Splenda instead of sugar. Nomnomnomnom…..
  • 00:55:55: @jonk Making blueberry shortcake tomorrow, so will bake it later. I have almost all the ingredients. It’s almost midnight and I’m hungry 🙁

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From Twitter 03-18-2011

Saturday, March 19th, 2011
  • 23:14:21: RT @mhisham: @chrishansenhome but you can go get some Guinness or Heineken! 😉 &lt;&lt; Heineken is for St Ursula’s Day…
  • 23:38:52: @mhisham um…I made a boo-boo. Heineken is Dutch, isn’t it. Should have been St. Willibrord’s Day (whenever that is)…

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Today’s Nun joke…

Friday, March 18th, 2011

…courtesy of Father MadPriest:

Two Irish nuns have just arrived in USA by boat, and one says to the other, “I hear that the people in this country actually eat dogs.”

“Odd,” her companion replies, “but if we are going to live in America , we might as well do as the Americans do.”

As they sit, they hear a push cart vendor yelling, “Hot Dogs, get your dogs here,” and they both walk towards the hot dog cart.

“Two dogs, please!,” says one.

The vendor is very pleased to oblige, wraps both hot dogs in foil and hands them over. Excited, the nuns hurry to a bench and begin to unwrap their ‘dogs.’ The mother superior is first to open hers. She begins to blush, and then staring at it for a moment, leans to the other nun and in a soft brogue whispers……

“What part did you get?”

Today’s Parable

Friday, March 18th, 2011

There was a little old cleaning woman that went to the local church. When the altar call was given at the end of the service, she went forward wanting to become a member. The pastor listened as she told him how she had accepted Jesus and wanted to be baptized and become a member of the church.

The pastor thought to himself, “Oh my, she is so unkempt, even smells a little, and her fingernails are not clean. She picks up garbage, cleans toilets—what would the members think of her.” He told her that she needed to go home and pray about it and then decide.

The following week, here she came again. She told the pastor that she had prayed about it and still wanted to be baptized. “I have passed this church for so long. It is so beautiful, and I truly want to become a member.”

Again the pastor told her to go home and pray some more. A few weeks later while out eating at a restaurant, the pastor saw the little old lady. He did not want her to think that he was ignoring her so he approached her and said, “I have not seen you for a while. Is everything all right?”

“Oh, yes,” she said. “I talked with Jesus, and he told me not to worry about becoming a member of your church.”

“He did?” said the pastor.

“Oh, yes” she replied. “He said even He hasn’t been able to get into your church yet, and He’s been trying for years.”


Too many churches are like the one in this story. The next time someone unkempt or a bit odd drops in on Sunday morning, welcome him or her. We all fall short of this sometimes, and perhaps it’s a large part of the reason why churches are emptier these days.

From Twitter 03-17-2011

Friday, March 18th, 2011
  • 18:35:37: @PatrikIanPolk happy St Patrik’s day!
  • 22:45:16: Forgot it was St. Patrick’s Day and wore a bright orange polo shirt #StPatricksDayFAIL

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From Twitter 03-16-2011

Thursday, March 17th, 2011
  • 00:02:15: Well, good night all. I have no engagements tomorrow, for a change. Hooray! Be careful–it’s a jungle out there!

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From Twitter 03-15-2011

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011
  • 21:31:26: Look me in the eyes…the eyes! RT DentonPolice: 03/15/2011 14:29:56 | 22 years old | THEFT PROP &gt;=$50 &lt; $500
  • 21:39:46: About to serve my Mango Tiramisu to HWMBO. I hope he likes it.
  • 21:40:05: RT @xenijardin: RT @Reuters: FLASH: Japan nuclear safety agency says Fukushima No. 4 reactor roof is cracked
  • 22:43:16: @momfood We liked it. I might have been a little heavy on the Drambuie, but otherwise it was fine. I will be writing up the recipe 4 Momfood

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From Twitter 03-14-2011

Tuesday, March 15th, 2011
  • 13:54:18: RT @RicherSounds: RT this to win 1 of 5 annual Gourmet Society memberships worth

From Twitter 03-13-2011

Monday, March 14th, 2011
  • 19:38:57: RT @Mickeyelliottc: I like to think of laziness as resting before you get tired

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Stabbie’s on the loose again

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

As you probably mostly know, Stabbie is partially laid up with diabetic foot problems. He has mostly been well-cared for by the NHS. They do a marvellous job with fewer staff than they should have and less material with which to do it. But, sometimes Stabbie wonders.

On Wednesday this week Stabbie was hoping to go out to do some shopping for various things that he can’t get at the local shops. This would have to be done after the District (=US “Visiting”) Nurse had come and administered his daily IV antibiotic. The time-pocket for this service is 11am to 2pm. Stabbie was ready for her at 11am. Stabbie was still ready for her at 2pm. At 2:30pm Stabbie called the nurse’s office, and he got a call back from the nursing team leader saying that somehow he’d been left off the list and someone would be by that afternoon. At 5pm the someone showed up and did Stabbie’s IV. At that point shopping was useless. Stabbie held his tongue.

On Saturday Stabbie had an all day meeting of Diocesan Synod, so he arranged for an evening visit. This went off very well, as did the Synod meeting.

On Sunday Stabbie preached at St. John’s as usual, and then came home to await the nurse, who comes after 12 noon on Sundays due to Stabbie’s stubborn refusal to have a lie-in on Sundays and instead attend church. Stabbie waited until 3 pm to have lunch, and then called the emergency nurse line at 4 pm. At 6 pm the nurse (same one as yesterday) showed up and told him that the nurse who was scheduled to shove antibiotics into Stabbie’s arm had just forgotten to come.

Now Stabbie loves the National Health Service. It’s the only institution that keeps him above ground, and is free at the point of use. Most of the NHS’s employees are great. They are polite, willing to explain to you what is happening, and thorough in their diagnosis and treatment. However, occasionally Stabbie comes across a jobsworth who is sitting behind the receptionist’s desk and who considers his job to be ensuring that no patient gets treated without permission from the Health Secretary. And, occasionally Stabbie comes across someone in the field, so to speak, who is not paying attention. Had this person been a terminal cancer patient, wanting to die at home but in terrible pain, then forgetting to see him and administer his pain killers would have been a much bigger deal than forgetting to see Stabbie, who merely needs some antibiotics.

Stabbie would not want to harm a fly—oh no, not Stabbie! But his knife could be used for other things, such as scratching the paint on the forgetful one’s car, and giving the sharp edge of his tongue to the errant nurse would also not be pleasant. But Stabbie feels it’s his duty to keep the nursing staff on their toes. After all, inattention on their part can lead to death on Stabbie’s part, and (for Stabbie at least) that would put a crimp in his day.

Today’s Sermon

Sunday, March 13th, 2011

I was supposed to preach last week, but the Vicar of St. John’s asked me to put it off for a week. Sadly, I had already written the sermon. I’ve put it in the “bank”, and preached this week instead.

Sermon delivered at St. John the Evangelist, 13 March, 2011, 1st Sunday of Lent. Readings: Gen 2:7-9;3:1-7; Ps 50; Rom 5:12-19; Mt 4:1-11

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

I don’t know whether it ever penetrated here, but in the 1980’s and 90’s there was a comic strip in American newspapers called Calvin and Hobbes. Calvin was a happy-go-lucky 6-year-old boy, and Hobbes was his stuffed tiger.

As in the world of comics six-year-old boys and stuffed tigers can not only talk but have rational conversations with each other, one strip has particular application to our readings today.

Calvin asks Hobbes: “Do you believe in the devil? You know, a supreme evil being dedicated to the temptation, corruption, and destruction of man?” Hobbes answers: “I’m not sure that man needs the help.”

Temptation in our readings today seems to be entirely instigated by the devil. The story of Adam, Eve, and the serpent is well known and ingrained in our memories and in our culture. We are also amazed that Jesus, the Son of God, could either be tempted by the devil or even in our wildest imaginations succumb to temptation by anyone, the Devil included.

Paul’s Letter to the Romans even shares the common theme of sin and temptation. This is out of the ordinary, as most of the time those who compiled the Lectionary pair the reading from the Hebrew Scriptures with the Gospel, while choosing another theme for the Epistle, in case the preacher isn’t sufficiently inspired by the other two readings.
So for the first Sunday in Lent we have a heavy message to hear. Sin began with the first stirrings of civilisation and self-awareness of the human race. It continues through Biblical times and even tests the humanity of Jesus, who was also Son of God.

In a religious organisation I was a member of in the United States, there was a weekly Eucharist put on by the local group. However, many in this group wanted to omit the penitential rite from the weekly Eucharist because they felt that people too often heard about sin and death when they attended church, and not enough about affirmation and eternal life. As I was in charge of putting together the weekly service, this idea remained just that: an idea.

Sin is a fact, say these readings. We have committed sins, we are committing sins, and we will commit sins. And, just as God does not directly will all things that happen in the world, good or bad, the Devil does not will every bad thing that happens or every sin that we commit. Hobbes is right: we need no help in committing sin—we do it all the time.

So why do we start out our Lenten Sundays with temptation? It’s always with us; we know that we are subject to it, we succumb to it, and we’re sorry for it afterwards.

I like to think that the Sundays of Lent tell a story of the history of sin, from the first sin through to the end of sin and death in the Resurrection. That history of sin is a pretty sordid tale.

The story in Genesis, taken allegorically, tells us that sinfulness stems from disobedience to God. It doesn’t matter what the sin actually is; it is more important to note that there are laws and norms in society and that transgressing those laws and norms carries consequences. The temptation doesn’t come from a snake, or from the Devil directly; I’m certain that the Devil has as much to occupy his time as God does.

Paul’s contribution is very interesting. We often think of sin as being the act of breaking some law or rule. Paul, on the other hand, says that sin existed before the Law—by which he means the Law of Moses or the Ten Commandments. To Paul, our lives up to the point at which Christ arrives on the scene are a constant judicial trial with a sentence of death. But Jesus is like the governor who sends a last-minute reprieve to the condemned prisoner. When he is incarnated, the death of sin turns to a life of grace, brought by Jesus Christ.

And finally we have the Temptation of Christ, where the devil tempts Jesus with all sorts of wealth and power. The sin that the devil is trying to get Jesus to commit is that of turning away from his mission on earth.

It is in human nature to sin and fall short of the expectations of God and ourselves as to how we will act. The serpent, far from being the Devil, is our own inner devil, urging us on to do things that we should not and must not do. We all have a serpent slithering around in our minds, and the challenge of being human is to ignore it.

The great concept behind Christ’s temptation is to show that he is not only fully God, but also fully human. For temptation is Jesus’s inner serpent. Along with the rest of us, he’s tempted to do what he ought not to do by that urge that we all share.

As we begin our Lenten devotions, we too should use our own strength of will, fed with the study of Scripture, to overcome temptation and become the better persons that God wants us to be. If Jesus, fully human, could banish the snake of temptation, we, fully human, can too. AMEN.

From Twitter 03-12-2011

Sunday, March 13th, 2011
  • 00:10:59: RT @TheBlackoutBlog: RT @maddiemarie: when life hands you melons……get tested for dyslexia.
  • 00:15:17: RT @DerekDaSilva: People are talking end of the world again. It’s telling that eschatology and scatology are almost the same word.
  • 01:12:16: Night-night, all. Diodesan Synod tomorrow, then preaching on Sunday. Exhausting just thinking about it.
  • 18:34:53: @jonk well, have some Virgin Marys, begging your indulgence & with no implication.
  • 18:40:31: RT @cemab4y: Unemployed. I need a job. See PLEASE RETWEET Telecommunications Engineer.
  • 18:47:05: RT @jordansammy Woke up & realized today is: 7 months w/ the boyfriend 🙂 &lt;&lt; Congrats! Many happy returns of the day!
  • 18:54:41: RT @JosephPMathews I won’t wear khakis under a cassock. I will wear jeans and rust colored chucks. &lt; Shorts & black shoes & sox with garters
  • 23:42:53: @miketriplex ok, you?

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From Twitter 03-11-2011

Saturday, March 12th, 2011
  • 10:14:48: @jonk 1st class on Acela is defo worth it. The free booze alone makes it worthwhile. The food’s good, too.

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Today’s Disaster Relief URL

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Several weeks ago Christchurch, New Zealand was devastated by a very powerful earthquake. One of the consequences of such a natural disaster is the loss of many municipal services. One of the worst losses is that of water and sewer services. You can get bottled water to drink, but how does one wash? And, more importantly, how does one flush the toilet?

The answer, for many Christchurchers, was to go retro and build outhouses (referred to as dunnies or longdrops down there) in their back gardens.

And, in this Internet age, what would be more natural than to construct a website to showcase the most stylish of these facilities?

From Twitter 03-10-2011

Friday, March 11th, 2011

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Today’s SPAM™ email

Wednesday, March 9th, 2011

What is wrong with this email?

Dear Customer

Your online statement summary is now available to view online.
View Statement [link to a website in the .ru domain.]

Have you considered going paperless?

By switching to online statements, you can manage your account easily while reducing mail and paper cluttering your desk. Plus, when you stop your monthly credit card account statements, you can help the environment by reducing paper consumption. Go Paperless now!

When you go paperless, you can:

View the same information that’s on your official paper statement.
Receive monthly e-mail notification when your new official statement is available to view online.
Decrease the possibility of mail fraud and identity theft.

What’s the difference between an official statement & online statement summary?

Your online statement summary contains most of the same details about charges, credits and payments as the official statement you receive by post each month. However, it does not include all of the information that is on your official statement such as account disclosures or statement messages, so it is important to review your official statement.

I wonder who would click on the link to the statement when nothing in the email indicates which company is sending you the email?

From Twitter 03-07-2011

Tuesday, March 8th, 2011
  • 09:34:15: Good morning, all. @johnprescott will be reading the Shipping Forecast later this month! I can’t wait!

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From Twitter 03-06-2011

Monday, March 7th, 2011
  • 19:09:39: @momfood Thanks for the kind words. I’ll tell HWMBO that someone DID care…
  • 19:10:34: Just back from the enthronement of the new Bishop of Southwark. Many grandees were seen.
  • 19:11:06: As I was walking to the bus, I saw a Buddhist monk walk out of the door of the Cathedral, turn, and bow toward the building. Much moved.

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Without the Third Declension, there is no libertas!

Sunday, March 6th, 2011

The Internationale never sounded so classical!

From Twitter 03-05-2011

Sunday, March 6th, 2011
  • 18:13:11: @momfood Believe me, curried dilled pasta salad IS grand, if I do say so myself. BTW, sourced beef consomm

From Twitter 03-04-2011

Saturday, March 5th, 2011
  • 01:11:02: @alexlaserthrow Mommy, mommy, why is daddy so white and cold? Shut up and keep digging.
  • 01:11:33: Well, tweeps & peeps, timne for bed. Have neglected you again. Too much shopping and risotto-making to do! Sleep tight, all!

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From Twitter 03-03-2011

Friday, March 4th, 2011

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From Twitter 03-02-2011

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011
  • 00:36:14: Nighty-night, tweeps & peeps. HWMBO is just home from table tennis. I have been a ping-pong bachelor.

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From Twitter 03-01-2011

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2011
  • 00:17:27: Well, tweeps & peeps, way past my bedtime. “Drizzle, drazzle, druzzle, drome, time for this one to go home (to bed).” Nighty-night, all!
  • 13:03:23: Perils of showering: delivery arriving just as you are about to step in; nurse arriving as you are stepping out. Embarrassing.
  • 13:07:07: I just voted for this photo
  • 13:08:42: @urbanbohemian Well, wouldn’t you?
  • 13:11:01: @urbanbohemian You don’t know whatyou’re missing.
  • 13:15:14: Off to lunch, then a trip to Highbury & Islington to sample the new LondonOverground Extension. May get off at Shoreditch for rye bread.
  • 21:35:00: RT @angelxxxcruz: Johnny Weir has a great ass… #letstryitout &lt;&lt; The rest of him is pretty good too.

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Where I am on the social spectrum

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011

My Political Views
I am a left social libertarian
Left: 6.09, Libertarian: 3.56

Political Spectrum Quiz

From Twitter 02-28-2011

Tuesday, March 1st, 2011
  • 20:16:40: RT @johannhari101: The King’s Speech was funded by the Film Council, which David Cameron has abolished. #dismantlingbritainonestepatatime

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