Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Wednesday 21/01/09

Another funny from my misogynist friend north of the border:

Secrets of a Good Marriage:

1. It is important to find a woman that cooks and cleans.

2. It is important to find a woman that makes good money.

3. It is important to find a woman that likes to have sex.

4. It is important that these three women never meet.

That reminds me of the old seafarer’s drinking toast; here’s to wives, lovers and girlfriends – may they never meet.

Wedding lists. Presumptuous constructs of a consumerist society, or useful systems that save time, effort and waste? Being lazy, I lean lightly toward the latter – Hay firmly toward the former. Wedding lists for people who have been living together as a couple for a number of years are definitely presumptuous. We were looking at a John Lewis wedding list last night on behalf of the Caravans, who have some friends whose kids are getting married. Nothing on the list is under 50 quid, which is not exactly fair on a couple of pensioners.

We were watching an episode of Grand Designs last night and realised, to our horror, that we haven’t considered the feng-shui of the new house. We could be building it on the dragon’s eye or, heaven forbid, in his lower colon. We’ve not even meditated on the interior yet. That could produce bad karma.

No, I haven’t gone loopy - I was being ironic.

Yesterday’s post on alternative therapies resulted in a flurry of comments which led me to promote doubt as the foundation of science. Doubt is not only crucial to science, but politics, ethics, law and philosophy. Blind faith, while being the friend of religion, Bob Seidermann and alternative therapists (and producing some remarkable healing cures through the power of placebo and the ability of the mind to heal a number of ailments) is nevertheless an enemy of rational thought and social progress. Just think of the atrocities that have been accomplished because people or communities had blind faith in a person.

Having said that I have to admit that some remarkable achievements have also been achieved due to faith (not be confused with persistence), but exactly what these achievements are escapes me at present.

Children have faith in their parents, but part of growing up and maturing is realising that your parents are not infallible and you can’t actually rely on them. It comes as a bit of a shock, but we all get over it and then assume unshakeable faith that we (rather than our parents) have all the right answers. It’s called being a teenager. It’s also called being over 50, or am I confusing that with just being curmudgeonly?

While religious people are said to have unshakeable faith, they also doubt. Their doubt results in doctrinal schisms and the proliferation of a myriad sects. The ability (and the drive) to doubt is what makes us human. To lose the ability to doubt turns us into automatons capable of being manipulated by the unscrupulous.

Given the choice, I’d rather doubt. I have no doubt that god gave us the ability to doubt so we didn’t have to believe in him.

Talking of doubt, I tend (like everyone else, except politicians) to doubt politicians. Tomorrow they are to vote on whether their expense accounts are to be free from public scrutiny. I urge you to read this and register your vote for democracy, freedom of information and accountability.

Connecting politicians and doubt, I can’t help feeling that the level of expectation being heaped on President Obama’s shoulders is overwhelming and probably more a result of America’s great relief at having rid itself of Bush. I haven’t seen this much expectation since the Summer of Love, when I was hunting around for some of this free love stuff myself. However, expectation is a long way from confidence. Expectation has first to be translated into tangible action that will produce confidence. The problem with confidence in markets is that it relies on the bold taking the first step, and the bold can be reckless.

Obama’s speech was good, but about 10 minutes too long for me. Do you think there’s room on Mount Rushmore for Obama?

Here’s a very amusing video of some lucky breaks - and very narrow escapes. They get better as the video progresses. Love the getaway-car scene.


  1. Phil, reading others' blogs 'over the pond', I sense that his supporters are feeling that same cautious optimism about Obama and the Politics of Hope! We shall see...

    I thought that after the, 'blink and you'll miss it' swearing-in, the speech was well over-long.

  2. At least him fluffing his lines during the swearing in made him more human.