Monday, August 27, 2007

Gullible is not in the Dictionary

There is a video clip on youtube:

It is an unexceptional clip about religion and gullibility by a teenager. What was exceptional was the response. If you search youtube you will find hundreds of responses from the religious right going over the top in their criticisms, denying her right to have an opinion and literally threatening to kill her.

So much for Christians turning the other cheek!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Make Poverty History?

It hasn't happened and I cannot claim to be very surprised.

In the nineteenth century there was appalling poverty and people reacted to it. they didn't react by holding a chamber concert and trying to persuade Gladstone and Disraeli to wear "make poverty history" wristbands.

They said "you are rich because we are poor. We are poor because you are rich. We need to turn the world upside down."

This is not exactly volume three of Das Capital but it is the beginning of a theory which could make poverty history for real.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Alan Hardman Cartoons

Cardiac Arrest

My experience is commonplace. I had a heart attack and I was rushed to my local hospital. That hospital A and E is being closed. If I were to have another heart attack (and it’s on the cards) the ambulance would have to travel further.

The latest report from Sheffield Medical Care Research Unit concludes, “Our data suggests that increasing journey distances for all emergency patients may lead to an increase in mortality for some.” For every six miles further you have to travel there is a one percent increase in mortality.

Twenty years ago we were campaigning against the closure of our local hospital. The Labour Party (yes the Labour Party) was at the forefront of that campaign. Now it is New Labour spearheading the attack on the health service.

With astonishing hypocrisy – well they are Tories so astonishing is perhaps inappropriate – the Conservative Party is claiming to oppose the cuts in the NHS. When in power they drove through massive cuts in the NHS while Thatcher boasted she could be treated “at the time I want by the doctor I want” because of course she went private.

The conventional response from New Labour was heard on the radio immediately the report came to light. “The data is outdated and does not take into account innovations in medical technique.” The spokesman then went on to mention the medical procedure angioplasty as one of these new techniques. Actually angioplasty has been available since the 1990s. How can you tell if a New Labour spokesman is lying? His lips are moving.

So if I kick the bucket in the ambulance that will be one fewer person to oppose the cuts. A win-win situation for New Labour.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A level day

Of course the Telegraph and the Mail are saying the exams are getting easier. Certainly their job is getting easier, they just dust off last year's article. It would be nice to see what results the journalists got at A level and what the Telegraph and the Mail, or perhaps the Anglo Saxon Chronicle, was saying about "the exams all being too easy these days" at the time.

The journalists just suck these opinions out of their thumbs don't they. If more people are passing, the exams are easy. If fewer, then the schools are failing. If it is exactly the same "no progress in education - teachers to blame."

There is a simple anglo saxon term for these people but I am too polite to use it here.

Boycott Sun

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Richard Dawkins on Channel 4

Richard Dawkins' new series on Channel 4 is as amusing and thought-provoking as his work always is.

It's a free country and Dawkins is entitled to his opinion. I think that horoscopes and tarot cards are a bit of a soft target after "The God Delusion" (which my whole family has now enjoyed). Most of the people who read them do not take them seriously. Even those who believe in astrology do not take the "Mystic Meg" stuff in the newspapers seriously. The horoscopes have traditionally been a job for a junior member of staff who can't be trusted with anything more important

And even people who believe in all sorts of nonsense will still trust their lives to orthodox medicine when it comes to the crunch. Even in Forest Row, you don't often hear "I've got a ventricular aneurism - have you got a healing crystal for that?"

I think there is a genuine problem with people thinking they can communicate with the dead and the way his program exposed some of the tricks employed by mediums was worthwhile.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Shop Signs - Edinburgh Blog

Shop Signs

Edin burger

Do you have the balls to wear this? (on a kilt shop)

Battered mars bars £1

And the Church of Scotland had its deliberately austere building opposite the ornate Episcopalian church enlivened by a tennis picture with the caption “love all”. What was missing was the asterisk “* with the exception of homosexuals, single mothers, communists and most of all those infernal Episcopalians opposite!”

Friday, August 10, 2007

Under Milk Wood – Edinburgh Blog

Under Milk Wood – Edinburgh Blog

The Plant Life production was the best I have seen. I have only ever heard it on the radio before. However I enjoyed it despite the inability of the cast to pronounce “sago”. I think they were wise not to attempt Welsh accents and the presentation was impressive – as was the poetry of course.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Dougie C – Edinburgh Blog

Dougie C – Edinburgh Blog

The history of Magic. Impressive prestidigitation. His act started out very tame and standard but then it became apparent that the simple tricks were just a diversion as he was building up to some very clever stuff. He even did the “catch a bullet in your mouth” stunt, except he did it with a paintball.

He also described the classic Indian Rope Trick – a rope appears to disappear up into a cloud, a small boy climbs up it, the magician follows him up and hacks him to pieces with a sword, climbs down the rope, puts the bits together, gives them a good kick and the boy comes back to life. He then did some very clever tricks with rope but not that one – no children were dismembered during the course of this act which was free.

Luke Wright – Poet and Man – Edinburgh Blog

“One of the first rules of stand up comedy is not to paraphrase Simone de Beauvoir” The only stand up comic with a bookshelf to which he referred during the act. The act was divided up into chapters and he kept the audience interested and involved for an hour. I even found myself buying his CD afterwards and other members of the audience walked away with “I glassed a swan” badges – a reference to one of the more surprising stories in his act.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Get Up Stand Up - Edinburgh Blog

Get Up Stand Up is put on by the WMD Awareness program. It has stand-up comedians, most of whom have their own shows, musicians and a film, the depressing “Anthropology 101 - The 'end of the world' lecture”

Geoff Norcott was a deaf comedian and very funny. One less good comedian ended on a very funny tagline: “I am going back now to finish off a video ‘anal lesbians’ – to be honest though it is not very good. They spent the first half hour making labels for all the things in the fridge.”

The underlying message of “Get Up Stand Up!” is serious:
The US is estimated to have spent around $4 trillion on nuclear weapons from 1940-1995 – and that does not include the cost of other WMD.
One in three children under 5 years old suffers from malnutrition.
Where do you think that money would be best used?

Ivor Dembina was a Jewish Comedian and can therefore get away with a joke about Auschwitz. “There is a plaque commemorating all the thousands of Jews killed there. Another mentions gypsies, disabled people, communists and gay victims of the Nazis. Zionists do not like that. They do not wish to be lumped with gippos, cripples, lefties and queers. It’s not your schwitz it’s our schwitz.”

He also went to synagogue to be given his “original name” which turned out to sound like “yidscock”. He was also given a Jaffa orange and told he had a place in Israel. When he asked to see where Israel was he was shown a place in Palestine. He said he wanted to go to Palestine as that was its original name. They suggested his father enroll him in a progressive synagogue down the road.

And they took back his orange.

In addition, one night “Get Up Stand Up” also had Bruce Kent (former CND leader) to give a less depressing perspective on the film. The film suggests we will lose the battle against global warming and nuclear war. He suggested many examples where people could make a difference.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Stewart Lee

Stewart Lee demonstrates the funniest moment on TV - David Jason falling over. And questions whether this is really the funniest the public could have chosen

“41st best stand-up ever”

His mother, however, thinks Tom O’Connor is a much better comedian as when she saw him on a cruise ship he went to a guy in the front row and aked him what he did for a living
“I’m in oil”
Back as quick as a whippet came Tom O’Connor: “Are you a sardine?”

He derided Channel 4, Big Brother, Russell Brand (boo!) and Carphone Warehouse for their pretended opposition to racism.

He went on to the issue of “political correctness gone mad” and quoted Richard Littlejohn’s objection to the police describing a murdered teenager as “a woman working as a prostitute” Richard Littlejohn insisted that she was not a woman but a prostitute. Stewart Lee had Littlejohn sneaking into the graveyard at dead of night to laboriously chisel on her gravestone….
“not a woman who worked as a prostitute”
“a prostitute”
“Richard Littlejohn”
“Not a man employed as a cunt.”

He also talked about the world before political correctness.
An Asian boy in his class at school was never called by name, but only ever as “black spot.”
People clubbed together to stop a black family moving into their street.
And the Conservative Party won the Smethwick by election on the slogan “if you want a nigger for a neighbour, vote Labour”

Sunday, August 05, 2007

David Zanthor - Edinburgh Blog

David’s act is a satire on magic shows with some genuine prestidigitation thrown in. He also has a myspace presence with an astonishing number of friends. A fair amount of his act involved talking about the state of his marriage in between a range of tricks most involving audience participation.

He made helpers from the audience feel welcome. He didn’t ridicule them and showed them how to do tricks. This would no doubt get him expelled from the magic circle.

It was a free show and well worth the time. The climax is surprising :)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Street performers - Edinburgh Blog.

The slack rope looks a lot more dangerous than the tight rope but the guy who was doing it spent his time casually chatting to the audience and telling jokes while juggling. It was impressive and great to be able to sit around a table – actually a barrel – outside a pub and watch it. A lot of the street performers’ art is in building up the audience response – telling them when to applaud and teasing them into applauding – but some of the acts are well worth the applause.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Things my mother told me

What did your mother say which you remember?

This comes from a discussion on a teacher website: INFET

"It is at times like this I wish I had listened to what my mother used to say."

"Why, what did she say?"

"I don't know. I didn't listen."

(Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy)

The earliest joke I can remember. (This dates me)

"Why do fascists wear black shirts?"

"Because they never wash their filthy necks."

She also used to say "there's a war on." to justify anything we couldn't have or to explain why we had to do as she said. I was born in 1951.

Chimera! wrote:

"If you break both your legs don't come running to me!"

and the enigmatic remark "If things don't alter

(.....long pause......)

they'll stop as they are."

Anyway there was a war on in 1951....there's always a war on....Korea I think.

Bad_Seed wrote:

When asked 'whats for dinner' it was always 'wait and see' every night we had wait and see for dinner.

plotter wrote:

"If he's the right man, you'll no be asking me if he's right."

"You really shouldn't eat sand from the sand pit"

deltafun wrote:

where should you eat sand from then?

Angua wrote:

Something like you would die if you had a bath when on your period was one of my mums. She was weird though.

untamedbeauty wrote:

Watch crossing the road.

Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about! (She never did though)


deltafun wrote:

where should you eat sand from then?

Dunno - never thought to ask that!

deltafun wrote:

Would seem important to me lol

One wonders why mums would not say "don`t eat sand". The specifics of it being from a sand pit would seem to be something of a Moot point.

Probably because I did eat sand from the sandpit when I was little.

spiz wrote:

Because cats crap in sand pits. For similar reasons, don't eat yellow snow.

Always thought my Mum was quite normal - it was Grandma (Dad's mum) that said things like, in response to "Why?", "That's for me to know, and for you to find out". er, yes, that's what I'm trying to do!

And her sister's favourite admonition was "Oh, go in and get your breakfast."

deltafun wrote:

One would think that eating sand was a very bad thing to do regardless of the cat crap content lol

Angua wrote:

My mum used to randomly tell me to 'get on with my knitting' if I was asking too many questions or being generally irritating.

She is very weird though.

plotter wrote:

I don't think sand will hurt you as such, but the potential for animal crap in sandpits is reasonably high.

Plus, I didn't eat sand from anywhere else, just the sandpit Laughing

buntycat wrote:

We also had "waitensee" for dinner. It took me years to realise that this exotic sounding meal was actually 3 separate words.

My poor old mum worked a lot harder than I do, for far less money and even though in retrospect, I can see that she was often stressed and a bit fed up, she always found time to tell us an anecdote or dispense some wisdom.

With all the arrogance of the young woman, who is better educated than her parents (at the expense of their retirement savings), I was always convinced that I'd be a far cooler adult and of course a much better parent. Of course, I have failed on both counts and have a lot more respect for her.

wordy wrote:

if i ever commented negatively about something, for example i remember once saying a woman's dress was a bit 'tarty', she would say 'tarty is as tarty does'. Actually when i think about it, it's a bit Sartrean isn't it? He always said it's not what you say you are but what you do that shows who you are.

Her really annoying one is, if i ever complain about the consequences of something i had done, eg had 3 kids, she says, 'well, you would have them, wouldn't you?'

Actually, now i think about it, i think she's well annoying.

user1951 wrote:

"Thunder is caused by the clouds banging together."

"If you go out in the rain you will catch a cold."

"If the wind changes your face will be stuck like that."

(Of course a lot of things my mother said were perfectly sensible, "Never trust a Tory." "Don't put your hand in there." and "Those aren't her own!")

luvinit wrote:

We used to have wigwam and diddledams for tea...where did that come from?

Mum used to say she would put a brick on my head to stop me growing (cried for days), that there was only so much noise in the world and if i wasn't quiet she would have to kill my music box to stop me losing my voice before christmas, if you bit your fingernails you'd bleed to death when they ripped your stomach apart, children who didn't do the washingup would go to hell....I could go on...I have developed a very healthy distrust of all things my mother says.

Angua wrote:

They fuck you up your mum and dad . . .


'Keep away from men.

ha bloody ha.

Lots of stuff I never listened to and still don't (stuff like line your kitchen cupboards with kitchen roll).

A very effective piece of advice I received was from my more than anything else absent father:

Don't bite your nails, if you do pigs' trotters grow out of your nose.

I have never bitten my nails.

And from my Scotts Granddaddy....never ever give in, never ever give up.

And I never have. He is a wise old laddie.

user1951 wrote:

"They tuck you up your mum and dad." was the version I heard. Don't tell me it was bowdlerised Wink

And masturbation makes you deaf.


Actually I think that one is catching up with me now.

Back to school?

I think only killjoys would put up "back to school" adverts before the holiday even started. There is every chance that this could backfire if people boycott the first store to put up a BTS advert.

I believe in school. I believe in education. I also believe in holidays however.

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