Friday, 25 December 2009


Here we are – Christmas Day once again. Merry Christmas everyone. May you smile frequently, laugh often and live life to the full in 2010.

The Caravans have a turkey that came with a little red push-pin gadget. When the turkey is cooked the red dot in the middle pops out. A neat idea that must be based on a simple thermocouple. Saves you having to keep opening the oven and stabbing the bird to see if the juices run clear.

Forgot to mention; at our work Christmas lunch we were using Chinese Christmas crackers. I was amused to discover than on the reverse of the paper joke slip were the safety instructions, which could obviously only be read after using them.

One of my sons’ Christmas presents hasn’t shown up, despite it having been ordered as long ago as the 21st November. It did have to come all the way from China though. It’s some kind of iPod thing.

Talking of computers, it would appear that Hwelett Packard computers are racist. Face recognition software in the on-board cameras do not recognise our non-reflective brethren. See the video below for the details.

We were watching The Chronicles of Narnia on TV yesterday afternoon. Hay happened to mention the Christian allegory of the story and that CS Lewis had discovered God at the time of writing it. I disagreed that he ever had an atheistic period, as once you have been touched by the power of the sheer rationality of atheism, there’s simply no going back. Hay agreed, commenting that most believers lose their religiosity through a feeling of abandonment when God has let them down during particularly tough times. From this position there is still a path back to belief when the omens improve and things get better. Those having chosen atheism from a rationalist and analytical intellectual perspective have no return path to superstition, as they never felt abandoned by God in the first place. For we atheists shit just happens and we don’t attribute bad (or good) fortune to the supernatural.

I must say that the film’s use of centaurs as cavalry is inspired, as they never fall off their horses, have two hands available for combat and have no horse’s head obstructing their lunges. Phoenixes are handy allies too, although as everyone knows they do not burst into flame spontaneously as portrayed in the film. The aerial support provided by the griffons was a good strategic move; however, charging into a level field of combat when you have the advantage of the high ground shows Peter’s lack of strategic appreciation.

Talking lions is just silly though. And as for replacing one monarchy for another, that’s not really a good idea – the creatures of Narnia should have replaced the White Witch with the Democratic Republic of Narnia. Bad democratic leaders can be gotten rid of at the next election, whereas it takes just one bad monarch and the whole thing turns to poo.

Skandar Keynes, who plays Edmund in the film adaptation, is rather well connected. On his father's side, he is the great-great-great grandson of Charles Darwin, through whom he is descended from Thomas Howard, 3rd Duke of Norfolk (uncle to both Queen Anne Boleyn and Queen Catherine Howard) therefore making him distantly related to Queen Elizabeth I and King Edward I. Keynes is the great-great nephew of the economist John Maynard Keynes and the nephew of the historian and Cambridge professor Simon Keynes. He is related to the poet Ruth Padel and, through his ancestral connection to the Wedgwood family, to socialist politician Tony Benn. Through his great-grandmother, Hester Adrian, Baroness Adrian – the wife of Nobel Prize laureate Edgar Adrian, 1st Baron Adrian – he is also related to the Scottish philosopher David Hume.

While the Narnian universe is interesting, it is not as logically or internally consistent as Tolkien’s Middle Earth. I therefore put Tolkien streets (or multiverses) ahead of CS Lewis. Although a devout Catholic, Tolkien would have made a good atheist had he seen the light.

We’re off to Cornwall tomorrow and we don’t have internet access, so I’ll bid you all adieu for a week or so.


  1. The Phoenix did not spontaneously burst into flame - a flaming arrow was fired at him which he used to "Flame On"

    Happy Christmas


    Richard x x x x x

  2. Richard: Are you sure about that? As we all know, phoenixes only flame on when they die. That would be classed as a suicide attack, which is frowned on in the Christian faith. I must admit I missed the whole sequence as I was distracted by my computer.

  3. ✫✫✫ MERRY CHRISTMAS ✫✫✫

  4. Is Cornwall that far behind the times...


  5. I have a wonderful video I would like to share with you on your return.. remind me....