Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Tuesday 20/01/09

Another quote, but I can’t remember who said it: It’s no more possible to believe to order as it is to love to order. I’m probably also paraphrasing. It was said in relation to belief in a deity.

Had to re-register for my surgery’s on-line repeat prescription service again last night – for the 5th time. Forgot the damned password and there’s no reminder thingy that e-mails it to you. Given I only order a repeat prescription once every couple of months and that you have to accept the password they give you (invariably something like Xcg67M7), it’s hardly surprising you forget the damned thing.

Gaza is a smoking ruin, 50,000 Palestinians are homeless, half a million are without water, 1,300 are dead (versus 14 Israelis) and yet Hamas’ Ismail Haniya said Israel had "failed to achieve its goals" and Hamas claims a "great victory" over Israel”. In a speech broadcast on Hamas TV he said, "God has granted us a great victory, not for one faction, or party, or area, but for our entire people." If that’s victory I wouldn’t like to see what the consequences of losing are. I’ve never heard such hubris since Chamberlain proclaimed peace in our time or George Best said he’d never touch another drop (American readers can replace that last one with General John Sedgwick when he uttered, “Nonsense, they couldn't hit an elephant at this distance,” before being killed by a bullet in his left eye).

Another Hamas chap - obviously on day-release from the same lunatic asylum as Haniya - said, “"We hereby stress that our rockets are being developed and are piling up, and that the enemy will receive more rockets and, God willing, our rockets will hit more targets." If that’s the attitude of Hamas, then no-one can blame Israel for finishing the job on the first Hamas calling-card landing on Israeli soil. As for hoping god will direct rockets toward civilian targets, ain’t that just a teensy bit in contravention of the kind of things god stands for? I could be wrong, as many a right-wing, ultra-religious nutter has called on god to smite the hell out of the innocent and Hamas is renowned for an approach to killing that could be described as indiscriminate.

If you’re thinking of redecorating your Palestinian ruin this year, the latest ‘in’ colour is Cosmic Latte (see below). This is the name that was given in 2002 to the average colour of all the light in the universe. Big Bang Buff was one of the names proposed, but Cosmic Latte won the day among the scientific community. It doesn’t really matter what you call it, there’s still no escaping the fact that the universe is basically beige.

Apparently one in five people use complimentary medicine. Maggie Dunn, the co-chairman of the new Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC), has promised to get tough with the complimentary therapy industry and drive out cowboy therapists. The new Council will judge whether practitioners operate a professional and safe business, meaning therapists will have to show they have the right training and experience, abide by a code of conduct and ensure they have insurance in place. The Council will not rule on the efficacy of therapies. I suppose they couldn’t do that as any such judgement would have to include a decision on the efficacy of prayer - and there would be too much of an outcry from the Church.

Talking of prayers, Ken Clarke has been dragged out of his coffin to add some semblance of hope to the Conservative front benches. I have to admit to liking the guy and the Conservatives could do much worse than elect him as their leader – such as allowing Cameroon to stay in place.

A friend sent me these viral marketing images yesterday. They’re quite amusing, but not at all representative of the fair sex. They’re meant to represent the thought processes before going out for a drink (the 2nd one is a bit hard to see at this resolution).


  1. Hmmmmmmmm! Complimentary Medicine - as far as I can see it's only called complimentry because it doesn't work - if it worked it'd be called mainstream and be available on tghe NHS.

  2. Irascible,

    That's a tad unfair. Never underestimate the power of the placebo.

    I agree that the placebo itself is not responsible for the cure, but it is an agent through which the mind can start to heal the body.


  3. Mind you I really like the idea of "Cowboy Therapists" - some form of treatment out in the wilderness, sitting round the camp-fire with rugged men in leather chaps?

    Just thinking about it is doing me good!

  4. Chairman - then the power of prayer - in your opinion - works?

    Some people wanted me to write "cancer" on bits of paper and burn them - although I enjoyed the attention I have no doubt that mainstream medicine would work better.

  5. The power of prayer? Naturally! However, don't expect prayer to miraculously raise one from the dead or to facilitate regrowth of a severed limb.

    As a therapy it's efficacy is almost on par with psychotherapy. It provides a support network, which is crucial to a feeling of well-being and hence prevention of anxiety and thus recovery from minor illnesses caused by stress.

    Would you not agree?

    It's the basis of witchcraft - some people in the 3rd world believe a curse will kill them - and because of that belief they die.

    The power of suggestion is the same as the power of prayer - and we all know suggestion works, or else there would be no advertising.


  6. You are of course correct - the only alternative therapy that might work is "belief" but that should equally apply to mainstream medicine - If I believe this NHS treatment will work then it will?

  7. To a point. To the rational mind there will always be doubt.

    Doubt is what drove (and continues to drive) scientific enquiry and discovery.

    Uncritical belief drives superstition and the Status Quo. Hence their 3 chord melody which has never changed.