Saturday, 31 March 2012

Stupid, Stupid, Stupid - Oh Jesus

Labour MPs have called for the resignation of Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude, who has faced a barrage or criticism since advising motorists earlier this week to store jerry cans of fuel in their garages.

Hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people up and down the country store petrol in their garages for their petrol lawn mowers - I do it myself. What Maude didn't tell people was to decant petrol indoors in the presence of a naked flame, like this woman who self-immolated herself  in the kitchen.

You can't call for someone to resign just because someone does something so hideously stupid! Come on Labour - get a grip! This just shows the depth of problems Labour must have if they have to resort to this. The biggest problem they currently have is the younger Milliband.

You know there are people who see images of Jesus in their toast or a sliced potato? Well, this beats the lot - it ain't just Jesus' face...

Courtesy of my friend George in NZ. They're strange like that down there....

Friday, 30 March 2012

Post Office Raid with Molotovs

Overheard in the Caravan:

Chairman: "It'll be a bugger getting used to stairs in the house."

Hay: "Come on - ancient man was out running down his prey on a daily basis - exercise is what the human body is designed for."

Chairman: "Ancient man was loping majestically across the Serengeti, not jogging up and down Mount bloody Kilimanjaro on a daily basis."

What with the price of stamps going exponential, I wonder if we're going to see Post Offices being raided by masked men with guns. When you think about it, making off with several grands' worth of stamps (about 6 books of 12) is far easier than wads of notes. They're also untraceable.

And as for the government telling us to fill our tanks and creating an ensuing panic among the drones - perhaps there's another, bigger announcement in the pipeline and they simply want the forecourts to be devoid of Molotov Cocktail ingredients...

Murdoch was railing against monopolies yesterday. Isn't that a bit like...... oh never mind.

Noticed something strange about the solar PV output over the last few days; while it's been sunny all day, and the daylight has been increasing by 3 minutes per day, the output in kWh has decreased slightly, but steadily. I suspect it's due to an accumulation of dust on the panels. Obviously it required the odd rain shower to keep the system at peak performance.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Benefit Pack of Compound Eyes (Panic!)

Don't panic! There are enough face transplants and breast implants to go around for everyone. No need to stockpile people bits, false or otherwise (I wonder if that will start a panic).

Why do so many women want breast implants in the first place? Looking at the ones on the news who want their dodgy ones replaced, you'd think a decent haircut and a few make-up tips would suffice.

Yesterday I went to the JobCentre to sign my dogs up for benefits. At first the lady said; "Dogs are not eligible to draw benefits." I explained to her that my dogs are mixed in colour, unemployed, lazy, can't speak English and have no clue who their fathers are. They expect me to feed them, provide them with housing and medical care. So she looked in her policy book to see what it takes to qualify. My dogs get their first benefit cheques next Friday.

Forgot about this photo - it was taken a couple of days ago when I was doing the washing up (yes, miracles do happen!).

The dishwater just came alive, spontaneously created order from chaos and made itself a perfectly serviceable and well-formed compound eye with which to stare me out.

After a little chat, I pulled the plug on it, which I guess nature must have done a billion times before  primordial dishwater finally resulted in the Liberal Democrats. Not exactly the apogee of evolution, but a reasonable stab.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Truth About Cash for Access to the Donkey Post

Overheard in the Caravan:

Hay: "I'd like you to reduce your wine intake to one glass a night."

Chairman: "No problem, just get me a pint wine glass."

Overheard watching Michael Portillo talking about train journeys:

Portillo: "My memories of holidays as a child comprise strawberries, trains, beaches, and yes, the occasional donkey."

Chairman: "His father was Spanish. Probably remembers eating the donkeys."

There's uproar at the Chipping Sodbury Yacht Club. 

The outgoing Commodore has confirmed that he is prepared to accept cash for access to him. A £100 donation to club funds will buy the donor a pint with him at The Boot. A £250 donation to funds will buy a seat at the Commodore's table over a vindaloo curry at the Sultan restaurant in Chipping Sodbury High Street.

Ever noticed that when people are interviewed on radio or TV and they say; "The truth of the matter is...." then the next thing that comes from their mouths is anything but the truth.

The Chairman understands from the interweb that the cost of a first class stamp is shortly going to be 12 shillings. I shall write to my MP and demand lunch with the Prime Minister! That's the same as a stand seat at the Millwall v Workington match (Workington were at home) during the 64/65 season. Disgraceful!

Must try out some of this synthetic biology stuff that's all over the news and see if I can make an MP from some potato peelings and some basic building blocks of life - air, water, fire and earth - or possibly a mix of the basic humours, like phlegm, black bile, yellow bile and blood.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Because the Revolution's Here

Was watching the historian Niall Ferguson's TV program on China last night. Mark my words, with the phenomenal rate of change and the number who stand to be disenfranchised, the place is ripe for a communist revolution.

Monday, 26 March 2012


Overheard in the caravan:

No.1 Son: "Dad - what does antagonistic mean?"

Chairman: "Belligerent."

No.1 Son: "What does belligerent mean?"

Chairman: "Obstreperous."

No.1 Son: "What does obstreperous mean?"

Chairman: "The way I'm starting to feel!"

Sunday, 25 March 2012

A Taxing Issue

Did I hear correctly that Mrs Forbes-Hamilton is in pole position for the Malaysian GP? 

They say the minimum pricing proposal on alcohol is going to result in the heavy drinker paying £136 a year more on booze. I guess that means around £300 extra for me then. 

Going back to this 50p tax thingie; we need to reduce the deficit and simultaneously reduce unemployment from the 2.6m figure at which it currently stands. Every unemployed person is a drain on the economy, therefore reducing unemployment and getting more people paying tax is the logical key. 

Here’s a novel though on a taxation system to generate jobs – see what you think. 

Now we all know that millionaires arrange their tax such that they end up paying very little tax in the first place – every tactic to make them pay more ends in dismal failure with the result they pay only homeopathic tax (the simplest way to do this is to divert excess into a pension – which in itself attracts tax relief rather than taxation). 

Well, if all earnings over say £150k were tax free (or taxed at a low rate), then there would be no incentive to salt money away offshore, with the result that such cash would be either spent within the economy on conspicuous consumption (thus generating jobs), or invested on-shore for lending to businesses (thus generating jobs). It’s not as if millionaires keep wads of cash under the bed doing nothing; believe it or not, that’s not how you become a millionaire. Let’s face it - it’s only the wealthy or the government who have enough money to make any difference to the economy anyway. Such a regime might also attract more millionaires to our shores.

I suppose it all boils down to whether you think tax is better spent on making things (or services) within the private sector that can be traded and exported, or on public sector services (which we undoubtedly need to a certain extent) that focus inward and cannot be exported. A tax system that penalises the rich with an escalator factor above a certain level of income is inherently unfair – after all, bakers don’t change rich people more for a standard loaf of bread simply because they can afford it.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Your Call is of No Relevance to Us

Why, oh why do so many organisations have an automated voice service that says: "Your call is important to us," and then keep you waiting for 10 minutes before finally disconnecting?

VW dealership in Bath, take note!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Politics of Envy and Irony

The world's best ironic joke:

Brian: Look, you've got it all wrong! You don't NEED to follow ME, You don't NEED to follow ANYBODY! You've got to think for yourselves! You're ALL individuals! 

The Crowd: Yes! We're all individuals! 

Brian: You're all different! 

The Crowd: Yes, we ARE all different! 

Man in crowd: I'm not...

The press is all over the budget and calling it a raid on pensioners. Yet on the other hand they're also telling us that this generation of pensioners is the most wealthy ever and the youngsters of today will never enjoy such wealth. Wish the buggers would make up their minds. 

Others say it’s a budget for rich people at the expense of families. Rich people have families too and will have to do without the child benefit the poorer will still get (although poorer is a somewhat relative term when the cap is £50k). 

Seems you can’t win - everyone wants the national debt paid off, but without making any sacrifices – or at least wanting such sacrifices to be made by anyone else but them - and preferably someone with more money. 

The order of the day appears to be to kick the well off for having the effrontery to have an education (not always), work hard (invariably), invest (almost always), make money as a result and only pay shedloads more tax than the average feckless pensioner with 30 kids, 10 grandchildren at university, a penchant for Saga cruises, an unhealthy addiction to Theakston’s Old Peculiar and a nasty Erinmore habit. That's the politics of envy and jealousy and it’s shallow, ugly and very, very British. 

Making your investments tax efficient through entirely legal means is no more morally repugnant that claiming every bit of benefit you’re entitled to. One thing I learned from my parents was to never trust a government to give you a pension. If you don’t save for a rainy day, then you only have yourself to blame. 

It looks as if the plans to introduce minimum pricing for alcohol means my Lidl whiskey is going up 50%.  Bastards! It's illegal under EU competition law anyway, as proven when they tried to do this in Holland.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Dodgy Second-Hand Customer Service

Overheard while trying to join Sky broadband:

Sky Operative: ".....and your first name?"

Chairman: "Philip."

Sky Operative: "May I call you Philip?"

Chairman: "No."

Sky Operative: "How would you like me to address you?"

Chairman: "Sir! You're customer services, not my best mate!"

Far too much forced familiarity posing as friendliness, sincerity or compassion these days, if you ask me. Whatever happened to respect for the customer who pays the wages?

Ended up with them not being able to provide me with a service anyway, as the house first has to be on the Post Office database. That didn't seem to phase BT or Vodafone, who have both managed to supply broadband to the caravan in the past.

Couldn't get a proper customer service number for the buggers either - every number I found on the web led me to the same automated voice that wouldn't give me the option of speaking to an adult, or even of joining Sky. Finally got through to the right department after choosing the option of reporting a technical fault - with their customer service. Technical faults MUST end up with you speaking to an adult, even if one with a dodgy accent and in a different time zone - or worse, in Newcastle.

Frank Dobson is on record as saying health minister Andrew Lansley has a "reckless, dodgy, second-hand car salesman approach to the NHS". Second-hand car salesmen are apparently up in arms after being compared to MPs in general, and government ministers in particular.

In a shock reaction to the dropping of the 50p tax band, the people who pay the extra tax said: "Thanks!"

An extra tax band does seem somewhat iniquitous when they pay vastly more tax than the average punter anyway by virtue of the existing higher rate, and the fact of tax being a percentage. There again, many products of our education system don't have a clue as to what a percentage actually is - especially union bosses.

Went for a scan on a small lump on my neck a few weeks ago. The lump turned out to be just a subcutaneous cyst, but in the process they discovered a nodule on my thyroid on the other side of my neck. Nothing to necessarily worry about at this stage, but it's strange how you can go into hospital to have one thing investigated, only to have something else raise its head. Happened to my father - he went in to have a hernia investigated and came out diagnosed with liver cancer and 6 months to live.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Women, Eh?

Hay: “You never got me anything for my birthday.” 

Chairman: “But you said you didn’t want anything.” 

Hay: “Yes, but you still didn’t get me anything.” 

Her Majesty has rededicated herself to the nation. I'll bet Prince Charles is a bit pissed off at that. 

Peru has cancelled a visit by a Royal Navy frigate as an act of solidarity with Argentina in its dispute with the UK over the Falkland Islands. I think the Royal Navy should just go there anyway and point a few guns at whatever fly-infested hell-hole passes for the capital.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Torching Solar BPO Design

Overheard during Hay's job search:

Hay: "There's a home-based VP of sales role here; £80 to £100k selling BPO. What's BPO?"

Chairman: "Total and utter bollocks that Muppets buy."

I heard the Olympic torch route is to include some of those locations that were torched in August last year - Hackney, Brixton, Bristol, Birmingham, Liverpool etc. 

Bashir al Assad's wife was pictured in the papers last weekend wearing Louboutins. Where on earth does Assad get all this money for designer shoes for his missus? I guess that as an eye surgeon he must do some private work on the side. 

Hay calls Louboutins baboon bum shoes, as when a woman is walking away from you when wearing them you get a flash of red.

What exactly is designer stuff? Would anyone use, drive or wear something that wasn’t designed? Oh, hang on, I forgot about the Ferrari Mondial 8 - obviously not designed; more thrown together by a baboon in a moment of ennui!

Day 20 of the solar PV and we're raking it in:

Monday, 19 March 2012

Liberal Sunday Cars

Overheard in the Caravan:

Hay's Dad: "You really need two cars - one for work and another for pleasure."

Chairman: "A bit like wives really,"

The government is considering dropping the Sunday trading laws for the duration of the Olympics, with a view to dropping them completely. It seems to me that it’s only those who don’t have to work Sundays that are all for them being dropped. That’s not very nice, if you ask me; it’s symptomatic of the me, me, me society. Sundays should be for eBay and Amazon shopping only. 

Have you noticed how the word ‘liberal’ has come to mean something wishy-washy and is now a pejorative term – especially in America? Liberal means tolerant, which probably says a lot about the ‘land of the free’.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Union Battle of Evermore

In response to the government’s plan to cut central wage bargaining, Unite's Len McCluskey said: "All this will do is drive workers to the better paid regions, leaving large parts of the country without the professionals essential to sustain local services." 

Len really can’t be very good at elementary maths. If pay is to be made relative to the local cost of living, it will benefit no-one to move to a better paid area – whatever they gain will be lost due to the higher cost of living. 

I was watching a YouTube video of Led Zep’s ‘The Battle of Evermore’, where John-Pail Jones performs the role made famous by Sandy Denny. It reminded me of the old joke: 

Robert: "If we do 'The Battle of Evermore' on the tour, we need someone to sing Sandy's part." 

Jonesy: "I'll do it." 

Robert: "Anyone else? Jimmy?" 

Jimmy: "No." 

Jonesy: "Robert, I said I-" 

Robert: "Bonzo?" 

Bonzo: "No thanks." 

Jonesy: "Robert! I said I would sing Sandy's part!" 

Robert: "Maybe I should give Sandy a ring?" 

Jonesy: "I'll play my Triple Neck." 

Robert: "Jonesy! If you wanted to sing Sandy's vocals you should have asked."

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Soylent Pink for Grey Nuts

It would seem schools and MacDonalds in the US are to remove Soylent Pink from their menus. If you don't get the reference then look up Soylent Green - it was a dystopian view of the future. However, if eating red meat takes a year off your life (assuming you would live to 80 without eating it), replacing it with Soylent Pink ain't perhaps such a bad idea.

Archbeard of Cadbury, Rowan Williams, is to give up church life and go back to macadamia, apparently (always did think him a bit of a nut). I wonder who is strong enough to oversee the inevitable disintegration of the Anglican Communion into a myriad sects? A poisoned chalice (or grail), if you ask me - which you haven't, but I thought I'd tell you anyway.

Rowan Williams

Disintegration is the ultimate destiny of any progressive and liberal church, as people come to realise that faith (and hence God) is relative and not absolute. With this dawns the concomitant realisation that a priestly caste is totally unnecessary for mediating with the unknown - you can in fact be your own priest (the clue is in the words 'the unknown'). We atheists are merely the extreme liberal wing of the CofE, as we profess not to know with absolute certainty that which cannot be known.

I do actually have a great deal of respect for Williams, despite some of his statements obviously being made to placate the more hardline elements of his regime - the ones who long for a totalitarian imposition of their view on everyone else.

I wonder if they'll choose that arch bigot and homophobe, John Sentamu, as the next High Priest? I guess it's time for a hardliner.

The rest of the exterior oak cladding is arriving next week, so the house will shortly look as it's meant to - from the outside at least. With time, the oak will go all grey and silver - a bit like the ex-Archbeard himself.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Social Tools for Death & Carbon

The leader of the Church of England, Archbishop Rowan Williams, has said the law should not be used as a tool to bring about social changes, such as gay marriage. 

You could say the same about the abolition of slavery – oh, hang on, the CofE was against the emancipation of slaves too. When the Abolition of Slaves Act came into force, the then Archbishop of Canterbury received £8,823 8s 9d, about £500,000 in today's money, for the loss of slave labour on his Codrington plantation in Barbados. The Bishop of Exeter received even more, nearly £13,000. Another bit of social change brought about by a tool called the law, which the church opposed.

Every bit of social progress, from the abolition of slavery to votes for women, has been brought about by using the blunt instrument of the law. Sadly, the church has a record of opposing almost every shred of social and moral progress, which is somewhat incongruous for an institution which holds itself up to be the nation's moral conscience.

There's a bit of a kerfuffle about the number of horses that end up dead after the Cheltenham Festival. I heard that there are some 2,000 odd (let's say 2,500) horses raced in a year in the UK. The number that died in some year (I can't remember which) was 9. That means 0.036% of horses were killed by horse racing in that particular year.

Translate those stats to football, where there are some 4,500 professional players, and it would mean around 16 players dropping dead or needing to be shot because of broken legs every year. That's more than an entire team! I have some friends who wish it could be Man Utd., although they already made their contribution in 1958.

Learned something useful from Hay last night. You know how difficult it is to remove burnt on food from crockery? Well, I've always known that washing powder is very effective, but I never realised it was because of the fact it had bicarbonate of soda in it. Burnt food is essentially carbon, which has positively charged hydrogen ions, whereas bicarb (or baking powder) is negatively charged. A pairing of the electrons renders the carbon inert and easily removed. Used a solution of pure bicarb last night (didn't have any washing powder) and the dishes came up clean as Rowan Williams' conscience.

Thursday, 15 March 2012


I think they should replace animals used in biomedical testing with fundamentalist animal rights activists.

In a bid to appear more customer friendly, Starbucks are going to ask customers their name and address them as such. I shall say my name is 'sir'!

You know these no-win-no-fee court actions? I wonder if these lawyers would be willing to take on no-win-no-fee divorce cases, or indeed if there are such things as no-win-no-fee marriages?

I'm going off gastro-pubs - the ones where chefs change more often than my son changes his shirt. Every time the chef changes you run the risk of the quality yo-yo-ing and the food being inedible. Chef-proprietor establishments are far better as you know what you're going to get year on year. 

Wednesday, 14 March 2012


Technology will make UK e-borders "genuinely secure, fluid and complete" over the next few years, Immigration Minister Damian Green will say.

I wonder if that means as secure as e-mail?

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Cross Frescoes

Equalities Minister, Lynne Featherstone, has instructed government lawyers to oppose Christians taking their claim to wear crosses at work to the European Court of Human Rights.

That's taking things a bit too far - I fully support Christians' rights to wear crosses, if they wish. In fact they should be made to wear them as they are useful workplace identifiers - it enables you to spot Christians early and avoid having them harangue you about their saviour at the photocopier or tea urn.

It's strange - while Christians and Moslems proselytize, Jews generally don't actually want anyone from other religions (or no religion at all) to convert to Judaism, and those who do are frowned upon by the more orthodox believers. 

Researchers in Florence have found what they believe to be a 15th century Banksy behind a Vasari fresco.

Just take 20 seconds to watch this - very amusing!

Monday, 12 March 2012

A Pint of Tribute, Please

Last year I wanted to get some tickets for the Oz Pink Floyd gig at the Colston Hall in Bristol next week for my birthday. Just remembered today and was devastated to see they're all sold out.

However, Brit Floyd (a splinter band from Oz Pink Floyd - a bit like the People's Front for Judea) are playing Colston Hall in June.

I asked Hay whether she'd like to come with me, but she said she wasn't into tribute bands. Asked her whether she considered the London Symphony Orchestra or the Berlin Philharmonic tribute bands and whether she wouldn't go to see them either.

If the music is faithful to the original, or the interpretation is good, then I see no problem with tribute bands. 

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Ten Days Later

After 10 days, here's the result of the solar PV generation:

Click to enlarge. £42.26 for the first ten days of March ain't too bad. 

You know, I'm dreading any of my kids coming home and telling me they're Roman Catholic and are coming out of the closet - or confessional, as they call it.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

The Sodbury Festivals

We need something here to attract visitors and bring in foreign money - from say Dursley.

  • The Old Sodbury Literary Festival?
  • The Chipping Sodbury Fringe?
  • The Little Sodbury End Arts Festival?
  • The Lesser Sodbury Food Festival?
  • The Sodbury-sub-Hamden Cheese Rolling Festival?
  • The Sodbury-cum-Whychwood Cat Skinning Championships? 
  • The Bloody Sodbury Assizes & Executions. Mmmmm, I like that one!

Friday, 9 March 2012

Appraisal Time

It's that time of year again. Have you been appraised at work yet?

Load of nonsense - a tick-box exercise to justify HR's existence, if you ask me. I have a theory that appraisal time invariably correlates with a drop in revenues.

The good manager manages his or her people on a daily or weekly basis, not once or twice a year. The clue is in the job title.

Got any good appraisal paragraphs I can cut and paste?

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Galling in the Teeth of China - Boo!

Actress: "His gall bladder is compromised."

Hay: "Where's your gall bladder, Badger?"

Chairman: "Gaul?"

No.1 Son: "Boo!"

Chairman: "Never creep up on a man who is trained to kill."

In a moment of ennui we were watching a TV program about Gok Wan trying to discover his heritage in China (I assure you there was nothing else on). There was a factory where they apparently make London cabs. A slogan printed over the production line read; "Efficient Execution". I suppose that means one bullet for 3 men.

I was brushing my tooth last night and pondering why nature gave us such imperfect tools for chewing food.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Credo (If I Had One)

God. If such an entity exists, must surely be the one manifest and present in all creation; impersonal, beyond rational analysis and incapable of comprehension by the human intellect – usually termed the God of Spinoza (or the God of Nature), the same one Einstein espoused.

Organised religions are philosophically rationalised, unnecessarily extrapolated (well beyond the reach of Occam’s Razor) interpretations of the founder’s search for a personal relationship with God. This search for a rationalised, personal God reached its apogee in Calvinism, where God is given fully human attributes – which makes him a bit scary to say the least and rather unpalatable (think Margaret Thatcher).

Any deep search for a personal relationship with the infinite would appear to demand a high degree of mysticism, often involving fasting, sleep deprivation, meditation, withdrawal from daily life, intense prayer, drugs or even sex to produce an altered state of mind receptive to the immanent. Some can achieve this rapture or union through communal song, watching the precise timing of the Riverdance finale (I know - I was there) or having been present at a Led Zep or Pink Floyd gig.

Such altered states have generally shown to lead to a conversation with one’s own subconscious, the result being nothing more theologically valid than one’s existing personal prejudices tinged with a fleeting feeling of connection with something greater than oneself – interpreted as ‘the infinite’. The analogy I would use is the good and bad drug ‘trip’. In the words of Meister Eckhart, a 13th and 14th century Dominican mystic: "The Eye with which I see God is the same Eye with which God sees me." 

This feeling of immanence bolsters and buffers the pre-existing beliefs and prejudices of the 'adept', as evidenced by some people doing incredibly evil things under the firm belief they were told to do it by God. Basically, if you’re a bad bugger to start with, glimpsing the infinite will make you infinitely worse; if you’re good, you become infinitely holier-than-thou - and insufferable.

It is not coincidental that Moses, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed and a host of religiously inspired sages prefaced their ministry with the adoption of ascetic practises – fasting in the wilderness for 40 days, periods of intense meditation, spending years living up a pole, etc. Only the Buddha seems to have focused on attaining an egoless state of mind and emptying his head of all thought and longing, which is perhaps why he didn’t see a 'god' in his experience of the ‘infinite’ - just bloke things.

Some seekers simply suffer from schizophrenia and are unable to distinguish their own internal voices from real external ones – reality and fantasy become blurred – a bit like being David Cameron.

All glimpses of the infinite are as valid as any other and to presume your glimpse has any more validity (while natural, due to it being subjective and totally personal) is both presumptuous and hubristic. Therefore the polytheist’s view is as valid as that of the monotheist – they are merely different views of the same psychological phenomenon, mediated through cultural and personal filters. Living in Manchester doesn't bode well for your transcendental experience.

I don’t disbelieve than man is a spiritual entity – I simply believe spirituality is man’s attempt to define his relationship with the infinite universe. Thus atheists can be as spiritual as the theist, if not more so due to the absence of needlessly extrapolated religious dogma based on a foundation of sand through the search for a non-existent personal God and a philosophical focus on the nature and attributes of God, rather than its essence.

It is from a rationalistic search for the nature of God (and utter certainty) that fundamentalism arises – If we assume he’s thus, then God must also have this attribute and think so-and-so. It’s all based on anthropomorphism and an assumption God is entirely like us – heaven forbid!

If God is present in everything (including us), then the laws of nature necessarily flow from God with the consequence that there can be no such phenomena as miracles, prophesy or anything we call the supernatural – they would be against the natural order (or ‘will of God’, if you prefer a theological metaphor, despite Spinoza’s God not having a will).

However, I don’t believe in God – only the incredible beauty and majesty of the universe, the mind-blowing power of quantum mechanics, the enigma of consciousness and the break-up of large banks.

Yesterday my son was told by his physics teacher that it is not possible to create something from nothing. If you're religious, you won't believe this; if you know anything of inflation or quantum fluctuations, you also won't believe this. Physics teachers should surely know about quantum fluctuations and inflation.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Price of Excercise

Hay wants me to do some exercise. Having watched some TV program about 4 minutes of really hard exercise a week on an exercise bike being enough, I thought I'd get one.

Went on eBay and put in a bid on a tatty old exercise bike having some rust, but local. Thought I'd go as high as £10, thinking I was in with a good chance. Well, a bidding frenzy ensued - bloody thing went for £196. The buggers went berserk and paid well over the odds! This is it:

Hay then went on Amazon and got a brand new cross-trainer / exercise bike for £75. 

Which would you rather have? The only problem is that it comes in bits and I have to mantle it first.

Got it wrong yesterday about the 1,000th post. Yesterday was the 1,000th, not today's.

I hear the Scottish government is to hold a competition to name the new Forth crossing. The Fith crossing?

Monday, 5 March 2012

Remantling Magic for the 999th Time

If you dismantle something and then rebuild it, are you actually remantling it? Can you in fact mantle anything in the first place?

I was listening to an interview on Radio 4 yesterday morning concerning the recent case of a child being killed due to his carers’ belief he was practising witchcraft – the so-called witchcraft trial. 

A bishop was asked whether he believed witchcraft existed. Said bishop was desperate to avoid being asked whether it existed as a practise that works, as he would then be open to defending his brand of magic against that of witchcraft; admit to one working and you must logically admit to the other doing so too. Of course, neither works. 

Tomorrow is my 1,000th post. I've actually posted a lot more, but I had to remove several hundred posts due to the ex insisting any pictures of the kids being deleted. Not sure why, but what the hell.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

Transubstantiating Starman Booze

Cardinal Keith O'Brien has accused the government of redefining reality. I'm not sure what's got his goat now, but I guess what he means is something like the dogma of transubstantiation.

If it looks like a biscuit and tastes like a biscuit, chances are it is a biscuit and not a bit of bloke, no matter what ritual incantations one makes over it. To change one substance into another you have to actually do something physical to it - not merely utter magical words.

There were reports of a comet streaking across Britain's skies last night. There have already been sightings of a nude Jeff Bridges.

I see Cameron is protecting middle class alcoholics by only putting up the price of cheap booze. Thank God he's not putting the price of meths up!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Overheard About the Olympics Crematorium

The Chairman and Hay are watching a news report about some swimmer's bid to be in the in the Olympic swimming team.

Hay: "Her conk ain't very streamlined."

Chairman: "A popular misconception - acts like a drop keel and aids hydrodynamic stability." 

A crematorium in Bath is to remove a cross etched into one of its windows as part of a renovation. The object of the exercise is to make the place a little more ecumenical and less a bastion of in-your-face, Anglo Saxon, masculine Christianity.

People wishing to worship a deity during the process of incinerating their loved ones will be free to wheel in whatever magic symbol they wish as the case dictates, but the local council is keen not to permanently stamp the place with the iconography of one particular, and largely irrelevant sect.

A local militant Christian (and probably Anglican - one of God's own) is up in arms, complaining of rampant secularisation and generating a petition on behalf of his co-religionists to retain the cross.

What has this country come to? Did our ancestors fight several bloody crusades and slaughter hundreds of thousands of Muslims (and a few innocent Jews and Byzantine heretics on the way) for this? I demand Christian iconography be emblazoned across all our public buildings to demonstrate just how intolerant of other religions (and atheists) we really are.

I also think we should reintroduce the blasphemy laws, witch trials and set about recapturing the Holy Land - I shall write to my MP about it. There is only one God, she regularly attends Conservative party conferences, rides to hounds and is worshipped in the shires.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Jesus' Tomb Found

Some blokes in Jerusalem have found what they claim to be the family tomb of Jesus under a block of flats.

The evidence for this is what they believe to be an etching of a fish symbol (below) representing  Jonah's whale on one of the tombs, which became one of the first symbols of Christianity.

Now personally I think this theory is baldersdash, as this is plainly an etching of a spacecraft (proving beyond a shadow of a doubt Erich von Daniken's theory that aliens visited us in the past), or at the very least a comet. Note the similarity with the image of the USS Enterprise from the Bayeux Tapestry.

In any case, it's simply not possible for there to be any remains of Jesus, as the bible tells us that he commanded his mates to hide the evidence by drinking his blood and eating his flesh (possibly with some fava beans and a nice chianti), leaving no earthly trace of his remains whatsoever.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Making Money While the Sun Shines

As of yesterday we're making money - the solar PV system was hooked up to the grid at midday and we started generating electricity from that big yellow nuclear reactor in the sky.

During cloud at about 2pm it was generating 300W and when the skies cleared it was peaking at a shade over 3kW - enough to drive a kettle. Stood there for ages watching the money coming in. By 4pm, with a clear sky, it was still generating 1kW and we amassed some 8 kW/h during the day. That's £3.44 from the feed-in tariff.

Come summer, and the sun being higher, we should be peaking at about 4.5kW, or thereabouts.

Seriously considering getting a 12V battery bank and saving the power for night-time use, rather than pumping it out to the proles who won't appreciate the quality artisan electricity.

N-Power sent us our first electricity bill the other day - £167 and we haven't even used any yet (the sockets have yet to be fitted in the house). The bastards estimated it - badly.

We were mooting house names, as houses round here don't have numbers at all. Some of the ideas we had included:

  • AGA Acres,
  • Cinnamon & Gooseberry Yoghurt Villas,
  • Toad Hall,
  • Posh Place,
  • Valhalla,
  • The Mead Hall,
  • Fondue House,
  • Seven Years of Scrimping and Saving Place,
  • The Sidings (we live near a railway line),
  • The Power Station,
  • Yate Whine Lodge (my personal favourite - Yate being the nearest town).