Feb 112013
 

So, the Pope is to “resign” – not “retire”, note – the reasons for which are not yet explained. Is it too much to hope for his resignation note, and reasoning, to read along the lines of:

I’m really most awfully sorry that I spent decades as a malingering evil fucking cunt, covering up the systematic rape and torture of defenceless children, accumulating power and vast wealth, lying about condoms and encouraging the spread of a pernicious, cruel, avoidable disease like HIV, subjugating women – forcing them to give up control over the reproductive cycle and thus remain second class citizens, slandering gays and lesbians and treating them as barely human; I realise, suddenly, how evil I have been and what an absolutely horrific waste of life mine has been, and can’t continue in this disgusting manner”?

Probably.

What about: “sorry”?

Probably.

Ah well, I’m sure that this can continue the reflection of badness on the church. Yay.

Nov 102012
 

Tomorrow is Remembrance Day / Armistice Day / Veterans’ Day. In the UK at least it’s become expected that one will wear a Red Poppy, to show one’s support of our former and current armed forces, and the sacrifices they have and do make, including far too often their lives. So much an expectation that it attracts comment – and attack – if those in public life don’t wear one.

Imagine a chat show host, a newscaster, politician, sportsman … anybody in the public eye who dared not to wear one; the criticism and vitriol which would be brought to bear don’t even bear thinking about. In which light, I was hugely gratified to see Frankie Boyle on the Jonathan Ross show recently, wearing a white poppy. Someone who is already such a target has little to lose; I like to think also that he genuinely supports the goals to which it pertains.

Reason one . . .  loathing compulsion and in-group mentalitites. 

 

“The Glorious Dead” . . . what an horrific concept. Dead isn’t glorious; it’s dead. Gone, no more to participate in the world, nothing further to contribute, you’re rotting in the ground, or scattered to the wind, and everything you ever could have done has either been done, or left forever undone. That’s not glorious.

Neither, I’m afraid to say, is the manner of their deaths. Oh, the causes may be just, and laudable, but sitting for months in a rat-infested trench, watching your extremities rot off your still-living body, starving to death, taking occasional shots at people a hundred metres away who are far more your equal than opposite; that’s not glorious. Bombing civilians, and destroying centuries of history and beauty, whether in Dresden or Coventry; that’s not glorious.

Sending an entire generation of American youth off to fight a non-extistent enemy in Vietnam, burning villages alive, raping and pillaging as though it were the 11th Century in Europe; that’s not glorious.

Guiding bombs into Baghdad, twenty years apart, by laser; that’s not glorious.

The sooner we start to acknowledge that it’s not glorious, or wonderful, or admirable, to go to war, but rather that it’s a failure of the entire human species, and while it may grudgingly sometimes be necessary, it should be a last after last after oh-good-grief last resort, the better for us all. We shouldn’t idolise the victims of our going to war, whether the “enemy” or our own troops; we should pity them. Teaching (mainly boys) children to aspire to this monstrosity is one of the most vile, obscene, unconscionable acts perpetrated against our future.

Reason two . . . glorification of violence 

 

Personally, I purchase a packet of White Poppies every year from the Peace Pledge Union.

From their website:

“War is a crime against humanity. I renounce war, and am therefore determined not to support any kind of war. I am also determined to work for the removal of all causes of war.’ So why, in the 21st century, with all our skills, knowledge and resources, are we still waging war?”

I’ve been accused of supporting pie-in-the-sky idealism, told that conflict is an innate part of human nature, that war will always be with us, that “if you’re not with us, you’re against us”, etc. Well, I certainly won’t argue that conflict isn’t part of human nature – so are any number things which we choose to abhor in modern society. Surely we could add conflict to that list? We acknowledge but resist it? As for idealism, well so what? Whoever really achieved anything by aspiring to the obviously and easily achievable? I want the seemingly impossible; I’ll work for it. As for ”if you’re not with us, you’re against us”, see above re “in-group mentalities”.
Reason three . . . there IS an alternative
White Poppy Wreath
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Unabashed promotion – click if you like!

 

 

 

Nov 022012
 

First things first, let me state for the record, I have most assuredly drunk the Kool-Aid, and am that most reviled of things, an Apple Fanboy. I tried to resist, wouldn’t try, touch the water, for so long.

My first foray into Apple-land was my MacBook – oh, it was a strange beast, things didn’t work in that Windows way to which I’d become so accustomed. But I adjusted rapidly and, with only two minor tweaks, am now completely happy with Mac OSX. More than, in fact.

iPhone – oh, pride went before a fall on this one! I had a BlackBerry, then an Android ‘phone, always advocating the open nature of this system compared to Apple. What a mistake!! In a year of owning my Android handset, it wasn’t available to me for over a month, as it was away being repaired, leaving me with as good as nothing!

I love my iPhone. It’s an iPhone 4, and there are some things I’d change, but overall it’s absolutely brilliant. Doesn’t require hacks, or constantly reinstalling the OS just to make the handset work. It’s beautiful, design wise, inside and out. It does, as the saying goes, just work.

So why am I disappointed?

 

Recent history …

 

OSX – Mountain Lion

I was happy to pay for this upgrade, especially given the low price. Some of the features (this also applies to iOS 6) were useful, especially the Facebook integration, made it worth having. Until, that is, the awful problems with Mail. It became almost unusable. It took me, with my not-too-great understanding of the behind the scenes issues, and a very dear friend who can navigate OSX almost blindfold, to make the app useable again. That’s not good. That’s not Apple.

iOS 6

Again, integration with social media FTW, as I believe the kids will have it. Very much to be desired.

However, having updated it, strange thing happened. Like, contact pictures randomly being reassigned to people. None of them is right. I’ve tried everything I can imagine to make it better to no avail. Even *new* contacts added are pulling contact pics from other people . . . I’m not sure how to address this.

Also, text expansion/keyboard shortcuts – I make great use of these. Email addresses, telephone numbers, etc. These are all things I love(d). And it’s not that they don’t work now; neither is it that they do; it’s that you can’t tell from one moment to another whether or not they will. That’s fucking annoying.

So when I saw today’s update to iOS 6.0.1 I thought it might finally address some of these really annoying factors and was happy to sign up. More Kool-Aid? Yes please!!

 

No.

 

The “problems” which it sought to address were to me nonexistent, and even were they to exist, far less problematic than those to which I’ve already referred. Nonetheless, I proceeded.

 

Agony. A – GO – NY!!

 

Over two hours of waiting for the update to install – via iTunes, not OTA – and eventually I had to give up. When restarting it, it failed to restore properly. I’m now trying to get my ‘phone back to where it began 2 hours ago.

 

Apple

I love Apple, and Apple products. I really do. I just feel like recently things have been rushed out too quickly, without being tested sufficiently. They’re starting to make me feel like a Windows/Android user, and if that’s what they want, then they need to charge Windows/Android prices. I’m happy to pay for the premium; provide it!

 

Oct 162012
 

The following was initially written in response to someone’s saying they didn’t know who these two were. Then I thought, actually, it kind of stands on its own as a very brief tribute to them both. So here it is …

Christopher Hitchens was probably the most eloquent, erudite and unapologetic opponent of organised religion ever. He was a genius, a genuine renaissance man and polymath, and your life is immeasurably impoverished by ignorance of him and his work. 

Richard Dawkins is an eminent evolutionary biologist and wildly published in both scientific and more general media. His ‘popular science’ works on evolution as incredibly accessible and information while his diatribe against organised religion “The God Delusion” is a deserved best seller.

Oct 092012
 

I really do not, and cannot at present, understand how anyone can defend or indeed promote the death penalty.

1) The overwhelming evidence is that is doesn’t work and any kind of deterrent.

2) It’s purely retributive, based on revenge.

3) If we make a mistake, we can’t release an innocent person; we’ve killed him.

 

I’m genuinely open to trying to understand more; I’d like to comprehend how anyone can logically or rationally support the death penalty.

 

Can anyone? Please? I’d like a debate ….

Oct 052012
 

I’m a criminal. On paper, anyway.

 

Yes, this is my confession. I have, at times, consumed narcotics. Class A. Jazz salt. Etc.

 

Of course, I’m hardly alone in that. The (so-called) wider community is rife with it, with the nature of the product consumed depending as much as anything on the bank balance of the user in question. Between junky and judge, there’s really little other difference.

 

But we are often told that in the LGBT community, the incidence of drug use is much higher. I’m in no real position to assess the validity of that claim, but taking it to be true, what reasons could there be for this?

 

Mental health issues are likewise, apparently, more prevalent in our community. Are we self-medicating, to alleviate the symptoms of depression, for example? Or does the causation run the other way? Does drug use lead to the conditions in question? Almost certainly, both of these statements are true in some cases, but they don’t strike me as the case particularly widely.

 

Perhaps its our innately hedonistic lifestyle? Sex on tap, clubbing ‘til dawn, champers and coke, darling! Well, if anybody knows where that’s going on, could they please tell me? While there may be a tendency to be more up front and honest about our activities and proclivities, I don’t think there’s really much difference in frequency! The heteros are at it just as much as we are, though most probably with far less panache.  

 

Is it our marginalisation from mainstream society? Does the impossibility of the pipe and slippers home life drive us to drugs? Well, even if it once did, that’s hardly plausible now. We’ve attained the same level of boring as everyone else.

 

Perhaps the reality is that, as in other aspects of our lives, we’re generally far more open   . It’s not that long ago that just being us put us on the wrong side of the law; perhaps there’s some cultural attitude we’ve all adopted in some way, that makes us less hesitant to share these things? I’m gay, so what? I enjoy sex, so what? I take drugs, so what?

 

Happily, that reaction seems to be trickling down to the general population. Maybe it’s a generational thing, maybe it’s just social evolution, maybe it’s none of the above. But in the past fifty years, homosexuality has gone from outré, to passé, and the enjoyment of sex has gone from sinful to joyful. Given the wealth of data supporting the fact that drugs should be legalised, that drug use is less damaging to both the individual and society than alcohol, and that a significant proportion of all crime is related to the criminal status of drugs, perhaps we as a whole are about to wake up and realise “oh, you do drugs? So what?”

 

 

 

Nov 152011
 

Ok, I admit it, I’m an ante-diluvian Luddite, and shouldn’t be allowed near that-there Interwebs without supervision.

But I just … don’t … get … Twitter.

I’ve pared back the number of people I follow from 200+ to around 100, fewer than most of my friends follow. I still can’t read it all. And I know – I know – that I should just ignore the posts I miss. But I simply can’t do that. I get frustrated at missing things, and whenever I give Twitter a go, I’m perpetually scrolling down to pick up where I left off.

I find Twitter frustrating, aggravating and just not for me.

So I’ve finally deactivated my account. I’ll stick to telegrams from now on …

Nov 142011
 

… at best. At worst, he’s deliberately misunderstanding and misrepresenting an issue, framing a genuine concern for animal welfare as “an(other) assault on religious freedom in Europe“.

Never mind that Europe is probably the freest place in the world in which to hold, practise and preach your particular brand of self delusion. Sorry, religion.

Never mind the genesis of the kosher and halal rules are, at best, confused.

Never mind the fact that there are glaring errors in the definition of “clean” and “unclean” animals (really, the hare chews the cud, does it? Morons!).

Lyons expounds here upon his opinion that the Dutch ban on kosher and halal slaughter is “[t]aking a knife to liberty and tolerance”. Because, of course, the Netherlands are well known for being a repressive, restrictive and illiberal state. Yes, that seems right …

Taking it as a given that there is a “recent intolerant trend in Europe against religious minorities”, without providing the slightest evidence for this (hint: there is none), he proceeds to rape reason with Godwin, equating the Dutch law promoting animal welfare with – wait for it – the Nazis. Observing quite accurately the fact that “the last time kosher slaughter was banned in the Netherlands was during the Nazi occupation” he proceeds immediately to call this an “embarrassing parallel for modern-day Dutch politicians”.

Well, no, it isn’t. Because, you fucking idiot, the Nazis banned kosher slaughter because it was, y’know, FUCKING JEWISH and the Dutch ban is because it’s FUCKING CRUEL! Does that distinction escape you, Lyons?

His piss-poor potshots against our oh-so-illiberal intolerance continues:

“While such restrictions are often imposed in the name of modern, liberal values, they are their very opposites. A free and open society should be able to tolerate a diversity of beliefs and practices, even when they are at odds with the views of the majority.”

Ok, almost completely right. Just remove “practices”. Believe what you will; fine. Do what you will; not fine.

I may believe that stabbing all people with brown eyes through the very centre of their foreheads with a silver plate cake slice will guarantee their eternal bliss. In no way should there be any legislation in place to prevent my so believing.

However, if I were to act upon that belief … well, you see where I’m going.

The bottom line: we are obliged to respect people’s right to hold whatever beliefs they wish (or have been inculcated to believe). We are NOT obliged to respect those beliefs themselves. And we are absolutely not obliged to accommodate practices which are in conflict with what we as a society have come to see as acceptable.

Cruel, painful, agonising slaughter of animals to comply with the archaic, barbaric strictures of an Iron Age, bucolic belief system which, even at its inception was unsophisticated, ill-informed and idiotic compared to the many far more advanced societies around it, is wrong. Simply, and utterly wrong.

The Dutch are to be applauded.

The rest of us are to be upbraided for not having done the same.

The proponents of kosher or halal slaughter are to be ignored, or mocked, or both.

And Rob Lyons is a fucking moron, who is to be ignored. And preferably never published again.

 

Jul 182011
 

A report at Irish Central tells us today that Irish Priest will refuse to recognise and obey a new piece of legislation which requires them to report certain issues to the police which are revealed to them during confession, specifically child abuse. Which anyone of even a moderate level of common sense would presumably see as, at best, a good start.

But, of course, the priests consider that minimal requirement an affront to their religious freedom. In which case, please, by all means, be affronted, but fuck your religious freedom; I would sooner every single catholic on this planet be convinced they are going to burn in hell than that one innocent child be RAPED, SODOMISED, ABUSED by an adult in whom they are told to put their trust.

Of course, the monkey-monks see things differently;

Father P.J. Madden, spokesman for the Association of Catholic Priests, however, insisted that the sacramental seal of confession is “above and beyond all else.”

 Fuck you.

Thank goodness, at least, that the Irish government appears to have found its balls and is seriously using them now. No more pussy-footing around, the gloves would appear – for now at least – to be off:

Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny said on July 14 that canon law can not supersede state law.

Minister Fitzgerald said the government was firm on this point.

Good; be firm!

Don’t let them fight their evil little propaganda war against you and get away with it. Throw the fuckers in jail at the first sign of breaking this law. Because claims like the following – from David Quinn, director of the Iona Institute – fraudulent, misrepresentative lies, that raise fear and pedal panic, are only going to increase:

” … such a law is very unlikely to lead to a single conviction and, at a maximum, will be counterproductive and will make society less safe, rather than more safe.”

You fucking lying fuck. Fuck off!

Throw them in jail, or throw them out of the country.

St Patrick didn’t throw the snakes out of Ireland, the saints, the priest, the church – they are the serpents, and their pestilential influence should be at an end.

Jul 082011
 

Just a quick throw out to the world, that 11 July (Monday) is the International Day Against Stoning.

You can read about it here.

An excerpt of what can be done:

  • Standing in a city square with a photo or poster of Sakineh, tweeting, or organising an act of solidarity or a flash mob to raise awareness and attention, and posting your actions on Facebook;
  • Sending letters of protest to the Islamic regime of Iran;
  • Writing to government officials, heads of state, MEPs and MPs calling on them to intervene to demand Sakineh and her lawyer Houtan Kian’s release and to cease recognition of a regime that stones people to death

 

Please do something – get involved in some way – as small or large a gesture as possible. Given that Iran is now executing an average of two people per day, anything to fight this regime’s evil is a good thing.