Archive for March, 2014

Well, here we are, Gentle Reader. Same-sex marriage has been legal in England and Wales for nearly a whole day, and we've had neither floods nor lightning strikes. Giant tsunamis have utterly failed to appear off Brighton sea-front, and the Earth has not opened up to swallow the whole island.

An island which has, I should add, just become a fairer, and therefore nicer, place to live.

On the other hand, twenty-percent of British adults would, apparently, turn down an invitation to a same-sex wedding. Mind you, this is according to a 5-Live poll, so take that with a pinch of salt. Those with an axe to grind tend to be far more fussed about getting their views aired, than those who don't.

Representative of these axe-grinders, is the odious Andrea Williams, Bigot-In-Chief at Christian Concern. She says:

"We can't just redefine an institution – redefine something that always has been – because we say it's something that we want.

"This is actually very self-centred. This is not about rights, it's about seeking cultural dominance and seeking to redefine marriage for all of us."

To which the only appropriate reply would be: Fuck off, Andrea.

Oh I'm sorry. How impolite of me. Fuck off, Ms Williams.

But sod that. Just for once, let's end on a happy note.

To all those who got married today; but especially those who the change in the law allowed to do so, congratulations. May you have long and happy lives together.

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Right then, I'm getting the Friday Night Is Music Night post in early this week, so I don't go and do what I did last week and forget it until half-way through Saturday.

The theme this week is, "Gadzooks, that's bloody weird!" Have fun.


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Pictorial Titbits

Every now and again, I get the urge to put up a photo of some vaguely interesting thing, then decide that, no, it's not really interesting enough to base a blog-post on. On the other hand, they are still vaguely interesting, so here's a (very) small collection of them, posted in the hope that I'll gain by quantity what is lost in quality. Ho-hum.

This one was taken this very afternoon. Our garden is fairly well protected from the worst of the weather, and at the same time is at the south side of the house, so we're maybe a smidgen ahead of the trend here, but… Spring has most definitely sprung! Yay!

[Click picture to enbiggen]

This one is pretty-well self explanatory. How unlucky can you get?

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And here's a bit of DIY/make-do-and-mend I did a while back. I wanted a reading-light over my bed, with a string-operated pull-switch, so that I don't have to stir myself too much to switch it off, when the book starts to flop out of my hand and my eyes begin to close. (Just the act of doing so can wake me right back up again, an' I hate that.)

The case is an old trinket-box I've had for years. It held odds-and-ends like dice, drawing-pins, old keys; all the usual small clutter. A bit of light polishing took just enough of the patina off to leave an interesting highlighted-grain effect.

The light-fitting was off a broken lamp, the pull-switch was kicking around in the attic doing nothing, and the magnetic catch (Obligatory safety warning: I'd recommend nailing the box shut, if anyone wants to do the same, and has kids in their lives) was one of a multi-pack we'd bought because we needed two elsewhere. Total immediate cost: 70p for the light-bulb—though if I can ever find an old Bakelite or brass pull-switch, I might fork out enough to replace the modern plastic; there's a certain "early years of electricity" look to it that I think would be enhanced by an older-looking switch. (Oh, and yes; I've since added an earth-lead.)

[Click picture to enbiggen]

[Click picture to enbiggen]

And finally, this is part of why I like living in a smallish town. In the opposite direction, behind me as I was taking the photo, the town centre is five minutes' walk away. In front of me, this. I really don't think I'd want to live anywhere where the countryside was too far away to be within practical walking distance.

[Click picture to enbiggen]


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Regular readers may want to make sure they're sitting down before reading further. That's because I am about to do something very strange.

I'm going to thank Bob Hutton.

No, really, I am.

You might have noticed that I tend to publish in spurts. When the muse whacks me upside the head, I might publish at least one post per day for a week or so, and when it doesn't I'll publish almost nothing but music-video related things. Of course, what I ought to do is save the stuff that isn't current-affairs-related, and post one every couple of days during my "dry" periods. But… nah! Where's the fun in that?

Anyway, given that I kinda promised to address each of Hutton's posts in a fairly timely fashion, I'd like to note that (a) Bob seems to have upped his game a bit—four posts in a month, no less!—and (b) by doing so he's forcing me to stir myself to write summat.

So thanks, Bob.

Mind you, it's also worth noting that he still hasn't assigned credit for that copyrighted poem he stole. When you get to Hell, Bobby-boy, save me a seat by the fire, okay? Don't worry; the bars ain't dry and the music is way better down there (Pleased to meet you. Hope you guess my name!). It'll be fun!

So yeah; the latest diarrhetic dribbles from Hutton's arse.

Basically, it's an admission, along the lines of "Give me a child until he is seven," that the best way to "save" people is to make sure to catch them while they're still young and impressionable, rather than wait until they're old enough to question what they're being told, think about it for themselves, and make their own minds up.

You know; what we in the non-evangelical world call indoctrination. Or grooming. Take your pick.

He begins:

The country of France is even more secular and godless than the UK (if this was possible!). An example of this being the fact that the Gideons are not allowed into French state schools with a view to distributing New Testaments.

Oh noes! Teh Ebil Frenchies isn't letting teh Bible-Bashers hand out Nu Tasty-Mints!

Quite why a religious organisation (any religion, any organisation) should be allowed free access to other people's children, Bob doesn't quite make clear. Nor does he appear to stop to think what would happen if it were allowed, and (because of a quaint idea known as "equality") every religion was given the same right. Just guessing, but I'd lay a small pile of change on that being 'cause Bob thinks his own brand of godliness should obviously be given special status. Because, let us face facts here, Bob is a bear of very little brain; and the little brain he has is in very good condition by virtue of having hardly been used. He should sell it on eBay. "Pristine brain, in almost as-new condition. Barely-used unwanted gift."

[Note to Bob. That word "secular." I don't think it means what you think it means. You're fond of telling people to look stuff up (of which, more later). Here's a dictionary. Use it.]

He then continues with one of the oddest turns-of-phrase it's been my privilege to happen upon in a lifetime of reading:

This means that multiplied thousands of French kids are not being given the chance to hear/read the Gospel.

"Multiplied thousands"? Without wanting to get all pedantic here—well, okay, I do want to get all pedantic here, because I'm petty—I think you meant "multiple," Bob. Though quite why the word "many" isn't good enough, I don't know. Maybe you should read some Orwell on the use of language.

Anyways, Bob then goes on to bemoan how French children's souls are being put in danger of being punished by an oh-so-merciful god for the crime of not having been exposed to a book, and therefore not knowing that they needed to be exposed to the book. (Circles in the sand go around and around)

But fear not, for Brave Sir Bobby and his fellow Knights are on the case! Catch the godless little French heathens when they visit England; that's the way! They have a Special French-Language Leaflet they give out to French kids, complete with the address of a French-language website, where kids, who presumably haven't noticed those bloody-gert buildings with spires, towers, gargoyles, stained-glass windows, very loud bells and so on, can find out where French churches are. My God, this plan is brilliant!

And here Bob pulls off one of his most annoying little tricks:

The English title of this booklet is "This was your life"; if you want to read this online simply Google "This was your Life cartoon booklet".

He does this all the bleedin' time. Because, what, taking a whole thirty seconds to provide a link would be too bloody difficult? Well, yes. I've come to the conclusion that Bob does not know how to create a link, and doesn't want to admit it. So let me digress. (Those of you who either know how to form an HTML link or don't care; please feel free to skip this digression.)

Bob, there's a reason it's called the World Wide Web. That's because it's a huge, interlinked set of documents. The need to form such links was a (if not the) major reason for its creation. The very name of the supporting language reflects this: Hyper-Text Mark-up Language. You're not merely avoiding doing something which is considered a basic politeness when you don't provide links to the things you're talking about, Bob. Although it is considered as basic a politeness as please-and-thank-you. You are badly misusing and abusing the very technology which you are employing—free of charge, no less—to spread your message. That's not merely impolite; it's ungrateful and petty to an extreme.

So, okay, being a very very kind man, I'll give you the basics, Bob.

Method 1: Copy the address (AKA the URL) of the page you want to link to, and paste it into brackets (making sure to leave a space before and after the URL) in the appropriate place in your text. Say I want to link to Google's homepage. I'd say something like "Go to the Google homepage ( https://www.google.co.uk ) and take a look at…." It's ugly, especially with really long URLs, but it works. Blogger should turn it into a clickable link, but if not, then people—your readers—will at least be able to copy it.

Method 2: I don't know what Blogger's editing page looks like, but I'd be very surprised if they don't have a button you can click, which will form a link for you so that a word you've selected can be made into the anchor-text ("clickable text") of a link. It'll probably look like a two-or-three-linked chain, possibly with a globe as background. Use your mouse to highlight the text you want to make into anchor-text, click that link-button, and it'll probably ask you to paste in the URL you want the link to go to. Job done.

Method 3: Do it yourself. Edit the HTML (Blogger might call it the "source" or "source code") of your post. Find where you want to put the link. Type this:

<a href=""></a>

(The "brackets" are the greater-than and less-than signs, on the comma and full-stop keys. Make sure to use straight quotation-marks, like this " not the curly-quotes like this ” which some word-processors produce.)

Now paste the URL in between the quotation-marks, and type your anchor-text between the > sign and the < sign. Using my example above:

"Go to the <a href="https://www.google.co.uk">Google homepage</a> and take a look at…"

When you publish your post, what the reader will see will be a link like this:

"Go to the Google homepage and take a look at…"

There. That's my good deed for the day done 'n' dusted. Although I could be wrong. Bob might merely be an ignorant, impolite git, so wrapped up in his own idea of piety that normal politeness and good manners are beneath him. But anyway…

For those who skipped the digression, it just ended.

Where were we? Oh yeah. That Amazing Leaflet that Bob and his cronies are handing to the Godless Heathen French children. Apparently some of them "come up to [him] and ask for copies when they see what their friends have got!" and this means it "represents a wonderful opportunity to spread the Word of God."

Well let us, Gentle Reader, take a look at this Miracle Leaflet.

Oh dear.

It's a bloody Chick Tract. (Knowing Bob's nefarious plagiarism habit, I assume he's printed it directly from the website, rather than bother to pay for it, too.)

Now far be it from me to burst Bob's bubble, but what I'm picturing here is this: Some kid glances at this bit of paper and sees that their mate has been given a cartoon. They haven't had time to read it; they probably assume that it, like most cartoons aimed at kids, is going to be funny. Still an' all, if they hang on to them for longer than it takes to pass the next rubbish-bin, I 'spect they'll be glad of some quality paper-aeroplane construction-material.

And so, according to Bob the Braggart:

Over the years hundreds of French kids have been reached in this way. Only eternity will reveal what good has been done in the salvation of precious souls.

Because accosting minors when they're far away from home and parental guidance is a good thing.

Bob asks:

What lessons can we draw from this?

Erm… None?

Bob's not shown us anything except that he and some other people have done some things. He's not shown that these things have had any result. He's not shown us that the desired result can possibly be attained, because he's not shown that souls, gods, heavens, hells or afterlives even exist. Beyond the bare fact of people doing things, there is no lesson to be drawn because no other facts have been given.

To take the classic schoolroom example, he's stated that a train leaves the station at 09:30, given us no distance-travelled or time of arrival, and then asked us to say how fast the train travelled. The question is a nonsense.

Needless to say, the only answer which can be given to a nonsense-question is more nonsense. Which—also needless to say—Bob can supply by the lorry-load. He gabbles on about how they've cheated the devil, who doesn't want people to be saved from God's punishment of people for completely innocently not being exposed to the only thing which would have informed them that they needed saving. And he waffles on about the French government being tools of Andy Hamilton Satan.

What is this, the fourteenth century?

Then, finally, he paints himself and his fellow Leaflet-Warriors Of God as veritable heroes in the struggle between Good and Evil. Megalomania, much?

All in all Bob, I have to say, you're a fuckin' talentless joke, me ol' mucker. Not only do you spout bullshit but, frankly, even your bullshit is embarrassingly badly spread.

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FNIMN: Rampant Materialism

Oops! I kinda missed most of Friday. This week's Friday Night Is Music Night Belated Themed Music-Post (somewhat hurriedly thrown together) is all about materials. The stuff wot things is made of. So feel free to also add any plastic-themed songs you didn't think of when we did plastic, the other week


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Now, gather round me people, and listen to my tale,
'bout our second-highest judge, Baroness Hale.
Noting that some folk get more exemptions from the law
Than others do, she said "We shouldn't do this any more,"
Then proceeded to explain that what we really need to do
Is make sure that the Christians can get exemptions too.


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I mentioned, over at Northier Than Thou, the other day, where Daniel had posted a really odd (but rather good; you should check it out) cover-version of of Led Zeppelin's Moby Dick, that I've been meaning to post an occasional piece on rockabilly cover-versions of rock and pop numbers. Because; why not? So here we are with the first of those.

I should, I suppose, say right out front that I'm in no way claiming that such reworked versions are better than, or even necessarily as good as, the originals. I do, though, have something of a soft-spot for cover-versions which radically change the style and feel of a song, rather than the usual method, which often—it seems to me—ends up being more an imitation or, gawd-forbid, an impersonation, with no real creative input. And, of course, I'm a life-long fan of rockabilly music in all its many forms, so that part of my preferred choice of genre-switch is pretty-much pre-ordained.

I'd intended to post four videos in all; two cover-versions and the originals, so that you could compare and contast, if you felt inclined. I'll probably stick to that in future, but this one features six videos—three songs—because a chain of links occurred to me, which I can't resist taking advantage of.


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