Sunday, June 25, 2017

Secular religion

Original notes, story-boarding key parts of Pink Floyd's famous "wall" album (picture taken at the V&A "Their mortal remains" exhibition) - this is the closest thing I've seen to a secular version of "holy" scripture, who knows, give it 500 years and it could well become part of some religion (seems to be how that stuff works)

Lazy hazy days

I'm always up for trying a new beer and whilst in London enjoying a little R&R with my wife this weekend I popped into the Draft House (a craft beer bar) in Charlotte Street. There I found a beer from Cloudwater called NE DIPA Citra, which if you're not into beer probably sounds like gibberish. When decoded by the nearest hipster, we learn it stands for "New England Double India Pale Ale with Citra hops". The resulting beer is hazy and thick with a mango/citrus/peach laden flavour, and packs a heavy punch at around 9% ABV, the beer uses oats as well as barley to achieve the haze and copies a popular style from the North East of the USA (i.e. New England) I would imagine this isn't to everyone's taste, probably a bit of a "marmite" beer. I couldn't drink more than a half a pint in a sitting, but, like good wine, I found it had a strangely alluring finish that keeps you coming back for another (small) sip, intriguing.

Decent plonk

Decided to celebrate my 18th wedding anniversary with a decent bottle of plonk last night. 

So we cracked open a bottle I bought back in 2001. It was the second wine of a well known Bordeaux chateaux called Pichon-Baron in Pauillac. I visited this chateaux about 10 years ago, it's a beautiful place and a delicious wine, typically "Pauillac", bold, intense and full of the joys of cassis, spice and resinous dark fruits. Even though this wine was a "second wine" (i.e. made from the grapes left over after the main wine selection has been made) it has aged beautifully and (unlike me) will effortlessly improve for another 10 years. I think I paid around a tenner for this bottle but if you were to seek it out today it would be at least 4-5 times that; a real treat.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Back to the future

Saddened to see that Turkey took another step backwards into obscurity and ignorance recently. The government there voted to stop teaching the scientific facts of evolution in school; now Turkish children will be denied access to one of the most elegant, true, and wonderful scientific theories there is, child abuse by any other name.

Of course the culprit is the usual one, the politicized religion of Islam and it's childish insistence on teaching a plagiarised version of the Old Testament myth of Adam and Eve, a ridiculous and obviously allegorical tale of men being "magic'd" out of the dust by the Jewish sky god Yahweh. I feel sorry for Turkish children, a generation denied the magic of reality.


Just spent an enjoyable couple of days in London having some "grown-up time" (kids both away) Even managed to visit the Pink Floyd exhibition at the V&A museum, highly recommended!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Send prayers

Luckily, Gene Roddenberry wasn't a religious man..

"Special" ideas

Even though you could argue that plurality and freedom of speech are just "ideas", I believe it's a slippery slope when you make one idea "special" and protect it through law or violence from scrutiny and criticism over all others; every dictatorship, theocracy and despot has started out that way.

Coz I said so..

The argument from authority, nicely summed up by J&M today..

Monday, June 19, 2017

Another day

It's another Monday morning and we're digesting another terror incident in our Capital, sadly, it seems like barbaric terror attacks are becoming part of the fabric of things, could we see a point when they're almost expected?

It's early days but I'd bet a lot of money on the motivation of this attack being some twisted notion of revenge for Manchester and Borough Market (and possibly other actions) My worry is that this kind of tit-for-tat killing will start to become a "thing", you kill one of ours and we'll kill one of yours. We've heard it all before in Northern Ireland, that little spat lead to over 30 years of terror attacks that created inconsolably deep divisions between communities based along religious and cultural fracture lines, it's easy to see how that kind of intractability and frustration could easily emerge from the current situation and would probably be far worse.

It's at times like this we look to our leaders to lead; unfortunately we seem to be in a deep trough of despair at the moment in terms of the quality of leadership we should expect. I can only hope that our Prime Minister doesn't go for the low hanging fruit of censorship in a futile attempt to shut down debate and criticism of religion so as not to "offend" the sensibilities of Muslims (or capitulation to violence as I would call it). I can already see some of the warning signs of this, that silly word-salad of  "Islamophobia" and "racism" is being liberally sprayed around the news today and no doubt we will hear lots of victim-hood speeches from "pop-up" Islamic apologists as the investigation continues.

The attributes and motivations of the murderers  in recent events were certainly different but from the perspective of how we should respond, and what laws and processes we use to do that, no distinction is needed.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Carpe diem

Cartoon in the Times today captures the moment perfectly..

Friday, June 16, 2017

Friday Smirk

Sad but true!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

The evolution of Farron

I read today (with some surprise) that Tim Farron has quit the Liberal Democratic party. He left with a rather strange parting shot, "We are kidding ourselves if we think we live in a liberal and tolerant society,”. 

The underpinning of this comment, I think, comes from the idea that it's impossible to be a "Bible believing" Christian and a leader of a political party in today's UK. It's an interesting idea but is it true? I'm left wondering if the Liberals couldn't live with a Christian leader or whether they simply couldn't live with this particular Christian leader or even if this particular Christian leader couldn't sit comfortably in a secular society that is essentially"liberal"? It's not clear to me what specific aspects of Christianity Farron felt weren't compatible with being the leader of his political party, I wonder if it was the whole "is gay sex a sin" thing, probably, but then again no one was asking Farron to have gay sex (presumably?) so in what way does having a viewpoint on something that runs counter to the majority, or even just some other interest-group, count as a disqualification from holding high-office? 

The absence of detail is causing many in the media today to speculate on the "real" reason for this resignation. Some are saying that it's just a cover story for his failures to win more seats, whereas others are digging a bit deeper into the whole church-state separation issue. I have sympathies with both these points of view. I believe that it's quite right and proper for the public to be able to question, probe and criticise the personal beliefs of someone standing for public office, after all it's these beliefs that will understandably influence positions taken. Anyone in this position must understand that people are free to disagree, no one is telling Farron what to think but if he holds a view that runs seriously counter to most people then he needs to be prepared to defend it. Unfortunately defending a societal position based on the defence that "it's written in a 2000 year old magic-book" is only going to appeal to a small minority of the population. At what point does a belief in the Bible stop and theocracy begin? For example, I suspect that in this very picture he's wearing a tie made from multiple fabrics, should we be expected to hold Tim to his word?

No doubt we will find answers to these questions in his memoirs, available at fine bookshops everywhere of course! (I bet Karen Armstrong has cash-registers ringing in her ears right now)