Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Careful what you wish for

New J&M today.. Freedom of speech and religion have always been awkward bed-fellows.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Hanging around

In town (London) for the second day running today. Yesterday was more fraught than today, a broken-down train on my normal Waterloo line forced a detour home via Paddington, ended up hanging around quite a bit in the freezing cold and being glad that I chose to take my ski-jacket with me! So glad I don't have to do this commute every-day.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Cold beer

I spent a couple of hours at my local craft brewery yesterday helping to celebrate their 5th birthday. It's great to see a local business thriving and so they should, their beer is outstanding. The only drawback was the weather and the fact that most of the party was housed in one of their industrial units which had a large sliding door that was open to the elements. Warm it was not, but in the best tradition of Englishmen and good ale, the inclement weather was unable to separate us.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Life in England

Yesterday I went for a walk at lunch-time and it was so hot in the sunshine that I had to take my coat off and still ended up sweaty. Today however, we have blizzard conditions with a centimeter of snow and 15 degrees colder. 

Yesterday all I had to do was sit in a nice warm office, today however I am attending an outdoor birthday party - such is life in England.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Friday Smirk

Not much in the news at the moment to be cheerful about, but hey, it's Friday and that's a reason to smile in itself! Here are a couple of photo-captions I came across this week that made me grin..

Spotted at Charing Cross, the UK expels the first of the Russian diplomats...

Spotted outside the Russian embassy, a handy guide to their canteen..

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Can't beat a-bit-a bully

What with Stephen Hawking dying yesterday events kind of overshadowed the death of another legend later in the day. The incomparable Jim Bowen of "Bulls Eye" fame, the mainstay of many an 80s student day-time TV consumption, including my own. Bulls eye was just the right combination of mind-candy (the questions weren't too taxing) and social experiment, centered around the game of darts it certainly weaved its way into the zeitgeist of the time. 

I actually played darts for a pub team back then, I wasn't too bad, I remember taking part in the county championship and losing my "arrows" the night before at the pre-match practice session. I had to dash out the the shops during my lunch-hour and get a brand new set on the day of the tournament which I thought would completely scupper me (i.e. because I wasn't used to them) But, in my first match, first throw I hit 180! I thought I'd hit the jackpot. Of course reality set in on the next throw and I soon settled back into my average scoring rate, I didn't do too badly individually, but our team came fourth overall, a placement which provided much needed "free pints" for many months. I was trying to think of a link between Stephen Hawking and Jim Bowen and couldn't, anyway, the balance of the Universe wasn't upset by their passing, after all, the non-darts player always goes first.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Cups of poison

The gangsters masquerading as the Russian Government really take the biscuit! Not only do they chuck their military grade nerve agents willy-nilly around sleepy Wiltshire towns, threatening life and limb, they then rub salt into the wound by insulting our intelligence, calling us "unprofessional" and claiming that it's all an invention of our imaginations. Thuggish and arrogant behaviour, unworthy of a supposedly civilised nation in my view. I see that we're to expel a few diplomats, no doubt they will follow suit and expel some of ours, a pretty pointless tit-for-tat exchange of paper-shufflers whilst innocent people lie in hospital critically ill.

There's not much we, as individuals, can do but I will make a strong conscious effort to boycott everything Russian from now on, both in my business and at home. No 2018 World Cup match will grace my living-room LCD panel, nor will any hint of a Russian product (not that there are many) cross my threshold or be bought my my firm. I'm sure Mr Putin, the absolute dictator of that land, will be quaking in his boots. No matter, I take solace in the fact that the ordinary Russian people have historically had a habit of eventually rising-up and dealing with absolute dictators in suitable ways.

A radiant mind

Very sad to hear that Stephen Hawking died today. I guess you really know you've made it in this world when you get a piece of the universe named after you. We have Darwin's Finches, Faraday Effect, Volts, Kelvin Bridges and, of course, Hawking Radiation. A great mind lost but also a great deal of value for Humankind gained from a life lived against all odds. I wonder if he'll be buried in Westminster alongside Newton? (he was an Atheist)

Miss gender

New J&M today, looks at the thorny subject of gender assignment. This is a modern problem invented in the noughties by primarily left-leaning academics who decided that people should be identified and addressed according to gender aggregations or groups that are entirely constructed, or even self identified. This (vocal) movement has lead to some countries (like Canada) enacting legislation to the effect that people must be referred to by the gender pronoun of their choice, or the person mis-gendering them could face prosecution. 

There are of course many problems with such legislation, not least of which is how the hell do you know how someone prefers to be addressed if you don't know them (and new labels are being invented all the time) The more insidious issue is that this represents compelled-speech, in other words a Government is telling it's people what words they MUST say (as opposed to banning certain speech, like hate speech). From here we take a short step to Animal Farm, Gulags and the killing fields, something that should be resisted by all reasonable Liberals the free-world over.