Friday, 15 May 2009

Friday 15/05/09

Pope celebrates mass with Nazareth. The Pope yesterday headlined alongside Nazareth, the iconic Scottish rock band of the mid to late 20th century. 40,000 Nazareth fans flocked to the stadium at Mount Precipice in Israel. Nazareth reportedly performed a hideously dated set, including ‘The Weight’, while the Pope, a former member of Shane McGowan and The Popes, performed some spontaneous Gregorian Rap and a rendition of ‘Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam’.

The acoustics were not ideal in the open-air stadium and a number of fans at the back swore they heard the Pope say: “Blessed are the cheesemakers,” and: “Blessed are the geeks,” the latter possibly being a reference to Bill Gates.

It was rumoured that The Angels were also going to perform, but it was not to be.

Whereas God gets a capital G, the Devil is usually (although not in this case) relegated to lowercase. Why is that? And why is God named as just God, whereas Satan is THE Devil, as if he's one among many? There is only one Satan.

Back to the expenses row (again). According to the Sunday Telegraph, the former Tory cabinet minister John Gummer claimed £9,000 a year ‘for gardening’. Good grief, I know MPs aren’t paid much, but moonlighting as a gardener on less than the minimum wage is taking it a bit far in trying to make ends meet.

The annual Cannes Frock Festival is currently under way, strangely enough in Cannes. Female film stars attend the event to display their borrowed designer frocks and then retire in private to watch interminably dull films with unknown actors and vote for the most obscure to receive an award.

There has been a spate of territorial claims on a bunch of uninhabited islands in the South China Sea. China has laid claim to the lot (see map). The dispute centres on the fact that there may be undiscovered oil in the area.

Now China’s southerly most point is Hai Nan Island, at about 18 degrees latitude. The disputed area that China claims extends to around 2.5 degrees latitude. Now my navigation skills tell me that’s roughly some 930 nautical miles from recognised Chinese land (and a nautical mile is 6,080 feet – or one minute of arc at the equator - as opposed to the 5,280 landlubber variety). It may look daft, but when you consider that the UK lays claim to the Falkland Islands, it’s not really all that daft, especially when China has a few garrisons on one or two of the islands in the Spratly group.

Another claim made by the Chinese is that shards of pottery and coins have been found on some of the islands, proving they were there centuries ago. Yes, the stuff found is from bloody shipwrecks! If you use shipwrecks as the basis for a territorial claim, then Spain can lay claim to the UK from the discovery of artifacts from the shipwrecked Armada.

I hear that on the basis of having an embassy in most world capitals, China is additionally laying claim to most of the civilized world.

Perhaps the Chinese should change tactics and base their claim on the name of the sea in which the islands lie – the South China Sea.

My hit counters provide me with data on where people came from in order to alight on my blog. In cases where the hit is as a result of a Google search, the data provides the search strings, many of which never cease to amaze me. It’s quite obvious that some people are not aware of how search engines work and simply ask Google a question, like, ‘what has been happening at ardley quarry in oxfordshire’ (not actually within quotes), as if Google is sentient and has the ability to interpret questions and come up with real answers like a human (or AI system that’s passed the Turing test).

Didn’t sleep that well last night – kept getting a dig in the ribs from Hay. I had one of those flapping bogies that act like a reed in a musical instrument and make it appear as if you’re a clarinet when breathing through your nose. Hay told me it was like sleeping next to Acker Bilk – although how she knows what it’s like to sleep next to Acker Bilk is a tad perplexing.

Had 16 tonnes of scalpings delivered yesterday for the hard-standing. They have blocked the Caravans’ entire driveway. Cat was last seen wearing an oxygen mask and clutching a British flag, having established base camp at the foot of the pile.

Thinking of giving up blogging. Don't think I've been on form of late as traffic is going down. What say you? Had enough?


  1. And why is God named as just God, whereas Satan is THE Devil.
    Because Julian is God... and that sounds a bit daft.
    And as for blogging traffic it's been sluggish of late [like the housing market] but seems to be picking up, so don't give up.

  2. SB: Julian? Lloyd-Webber? Lennon? Cope?

  3. Sorry but you can't give up on the blogging.
    Apart from a good read to catch up on the news, I can see when I last wrote on my blog!

  4. That questions to Google thing ? I have seen a relative ask a "real" question of Google (seen with my own eyes : where do I take old curtains?) and although I explained the principle of a search, the person still contnues to ask questions AND get annoyed that there are no replies. Other than that, the person is quite normal and, I would have said, above average intelligence but I'm not sure they'd pass the Turing test (a great sci-fi book - The Turing Option by Harry Harrison and Marvin Minsky - the storyline's a bit naf but the technology stuff is great fun)

    The Carry On Blogging (now I know why you brought up Babs Windsor the other day) question is obviously just a ploy to have us say "please don't go". As you have given me much enjoyment so far, I'm game so... please don't shoot me. No, sorry, wrong joke, please don't go.

  5. C'mon Scarlet-Blue, Julian who ? MacMahon, Schnabel, Hans, Luthor ? I am on tenterhooks.

  6. Kapgaf: The pressure of providing copy every day is stressful. I know how Jeremy Clarkson feels now.

  7. Blogging traffic is very much going down, Sir - I would say mine has all but halved...

    What's most important is to enjoy the great Harley ride - Slow, steady, paced, and not worry about whether the traffic has eased...

    Hope that helps... (I thought it was just me, and that people had got sick of me!)...

    Just recall where you were, Sir, when you didn't know just how many people were dropping by - It didn't matter - You were writing for you... x