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As long-time readers may remember, I enjoy occasionally dipping my toes into the shallower tidal pools of theology and biblical apology. Basically because I find the tortured logic, the pedantic adherence to the literal meaning of obvious metaphors, the use of dodgy word play, the reliance on tiny context-free snippets of scripture and so on, to be rather amusing. (Except the various forms of the faux-logical ontological argument. They're not amusing; they're freakin' hilarious.)

So imagine my surprise when I realised, following a brief joke on the phrase "God's not dead," that I had stumbled upon just such a tortuous argument myself. Now, you may have noticed that many of these arguments appear to begin with an unspoken assumption that God exists, and then proceed to justify that assumption. This, you might think, could pose just a tiny bit of a problem for an atheist. Fear not. For this argument to work, we first need to assume that God is non-existent. What fun. Well, I hope it's fun, 'cause I'm about to present it to you in all its glory. Here, Gentle Reader, we go…

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Enough Is Enough

He danced the cenotaph step,
Sold secrets to the Czechs.
(Or was it to the Ruskies?)
A traitor? Yes he must be.
Let’s show him on a red background;
All ominously wrapped around
With a picture of the Kremlin
And this hat we ‘shopped him in.
Did he sing? He did not!
He’s a Maoist, he’s a Trot!
He’s a traitor, he’s a cad,
Thinks the IDF did bad.
Did ‘e speak to any Jews?
They’re the wrong kinda Jews!
They got the wrong kinda views!
It’s plastered all over the news.
Enough is enough! Media framin’ blues.

Daz

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If today is your birthday

You will experience slight solar eclipses, but it will wear off. New socks, hygiene products and garish shirts will appear as if by magic.

Try not to punch your embarrassing racist cousin. Again.

Sign Name & Date Prognostication & Advice
E'redoooomedway
Apr 13–May 22

You will find a new place to dwell; down at the end of Lonely Street, at Heartbreak Hotel.

Do not, under any circumstances, read this sentence.

Threenabit
May 23–Jun 14

In the evening you will come to suspect that people are avoiding sitting near you.

Today is the day to try to break the world record for the most baked beans eaten in one minute.

Aniscay etyay Anasyay
Jun 15–Jul 10

You will be overcome by a strange desire to run naked down the High Street shouting "Free tomatoes! Two and six a pound!"

Today would be a good day to alphabetise your toenails.

Praise for The Fabulous Flatline’s Quotidian Horoscopic Prognostication

Better than anything that clod Leibniz could manage! —Isaac Newton

Unnyfay Ashray
Jul 11–Aug 25

After eating far too many cabbages, you will be searching for some parsley to cure your stomach ache, when the owner of the purloined veggies will spot you and give chase with murderous intent and with pie in mind. After various adventures involving watering cans and cats, you will finally make your escape and return home to camomile tea and an early bed.

Today would be a good day to ponder the inexplicable stardom of Piers Morgan.

Clickalot
Aug 26–Sept 07

You will wander lonely as a cloud that floats on high o'er vales and hills, when all at once you'll see a crowd, a host, of golden daffodils.

Today you should put the freshness back by doing the shake 'n' vac.

Le Parapluie
Sept 08–Oct 20

Absolutely nothing of note will happen.

Today, you should avoid accidentally performing a backward dive with 1.5 somersaults and a twist into a vat of boiling acid.

Praise for The Fabulous Flatline’s Quotidian Horoscopic Prognostication

By gum, it'll be a good un. —Mother Shipton

Far Queue
Oct 21–Nov 23

You will find a weird-looking plastic object under the sofa. This will lead, via some whacky adventures involving a toilet brush, three balls of blue wool, a battered Honda Cub and a pack of cards with the three of diamonds missing, to you scaling Nelson's column wearing a tutu and a string vest.

Today would be a good day to polish your vowels.

Interrobang
Nov 24–Nov 29

You will discover a Welsh hermit living in a hole under your garden shed.

Today is the day to organise your LP collection by height.

Eremybrettjay
Nov 30–Jan 15

A couth and scrutable but sadly peccable blogger who is sometimes flappable but hopefully always ane, will remind you of the existence of lost positives.

Today, bus timetables would be best left unread.

Praise for The Fabulous Flatline’s Quotidian Horoscopic Prognostication

More accurate than a less accurate thing. —Oprah Winfrey

Totherway
Jan 16–Feb 20

Your aging mother will swallow a fly. Under the impression that this is somehow a life-threatening event, various overworked and underfunded doctors will prescribe the ingestion of increasingly large animals in lieu of the actual medicine they might have administered, had the NHS two farthings to rub together. Eventually, after a horse is crammed down her gullet, she will die.

Today would be a good day to write an abusive letter to Jeremy Hunt.

Kenhamus Moronicus
Feb 21–Mar 17

Tonight you will dream strange dreams in which a trio of popes are chased around a deserted funfair by Gregory Peck and a blue goose.

Today would be a good day to try LSD.

Yusalu
Mar 18–Apr 12

Occasional showers, increasing to baths later in the afternoon, with possible plunge-pools overnight.

Today is a good day to sort your collection of interesting stones by date of birth.

This Prognostication™ was produced after spending literally minutes exposing my chakra to the quantumness of the universe, throwing reason out of the window, and generally making shit up. It may, for all I know, contain one or more predictions which will actually come to pass. Don't say I didn't warn you!

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If today is your birthday

Apart from an early-morning zombie attack, a rain of fire from the heavens at around lunch time, a meteorite strike at three in the afternoon and a gas-mains explosion at tea-time, all interspersed by brief but extremely violent street-riots, it will be a quiet day.

Make some time and space for yourself. Lock the rest of your family in the attic.

Sign Name & Date Prognostication & Advice
E'redoooomedway
Apr 13–May 22

You will be knocked out, kidnapped and placed aboard a ship, the intention being to send you into indentured servitude in the West Indies. Following a gunfight and a storm, you will be shipwrecked on a small tidal island, from where you will journey, in the company of a Jacobite rebel, across a deeply divided Scotland.

Today would be a good day to buy a camel.

Threenabit
May 23–Jun 14

An encounter with a tall, dark and handsome stranger will leave you emotionally scarred for life.

You need to learn to be more out-going. Try exchanging a brief "hello" with people you've never met.

Aniscay etyay Anasyay
Jun 15–Jul 10

You will lightly sprain your right shoulder while trying to reach an itch in the middle of your back.

Do not attempt to adjust the picture. For the next hour sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear.

Praise for The Fabulous Flatline’s Quotidian Horoscopic Prognostication

The accuratist predictificationing I have ever red. —G. W. Bush

Unnyfay Ashray
Jul 11–Aug 25

A small quarrel over a game of Scrabble™ will escalate, leading to your eventual incarceration for mass murder.

Today is a good day to buy that antique fire-fighter's axe you've always thought would look nice hanging over the mantelpiece.

Clickalot
Aug 26–Sept 07

An offhand remark you make upon viewing a model of the Titanic will set in motion a chain of events which will culminate in you receiving the Nobel Peace Prize.

Today is not a good day to give up smoking, drinking, amphetamines or glue-sniffing.

Le Parapluie
Sept 08–Oct 20

Papa's gonna buy you a mockingbird.

Today is the right day for you to wheel your wheelbarrow through streets broad and narrow, crying "Cockles and mussels, alive, alive-oh."

Praise for The Fabulous Flatline’s Quotidian Horoscopic Prognostication

It’s chewier than a ten-story block of flats. —Deepak Chopra

Far Queue
Oct 21–Nov 23

Today you will begin an epic journey. Starting from Cartagena in southern Spain, you will travel two thousand miles to Italy, crossing both the Pyrenees and the Alps along the way.

Make sure you've packed properly! You'll need your visas and other travel documents, sandwiches for the journey, and thirty-seven elephants.

Interrobang
Nov 24–Nov 29

You'll spend the afternoon wandering around the house in complete boredom. Nothing you consider doing will seem appealing. Eventually six o'clock will roll around, and you'll spend an invigorating half hour shouting at politicians on the television news. Then it's off to the pub for eight pints of extra-strong lager, followed by a dangerously hot curry from the local Indian take-away. You will have an uncomfortable night, sleeping fitfully and making several panicked rushes to the toilet, where you will vomit copiously.

Today you should take care not to chop your own head off with a chainsaw.

Eremybrettjay
Nov 30–Jan 15

A cold front moving from the north-east will be met by a warm front from the south-east. After a few hours of unsettled weather, victory will be achieved when two tepid-to-mild fronts perform a pincer movement, driving the frigid battalions from the field. A United Nations Overbearingly Humid force will arrive later in the day, to keep the peace.

Today you should prioritise hat-pins.

Praise for The Fabulous Flatline’s Quotidian Horoscopic Prognostication

F**k me sideways, it’s b****y brilliant! —Beatrix Potter

Totherway
Jan 16–Feb 20

At nine o'clock in the morning you will unsuspectingly click a link to a TV Tropes page. At nine o'clock in the evening your browser will finally freeze due to the huge number of tabs you have open, and you will realise that you have spent an entire day without eating or drinking or even reading to the end of a single page.

With Saturn just entering the house of the rising sun, now is a good time to sink into a morass of existential dread.

Kenhamus Moronicus
Feb 21–Mar 17

After a friend of a friend of a friend comes through with an unspecified employment opportunity which you'd never really expected to pan out, you will be surprised to find that you are now the U.S. Secretary of Defence.

Today, belladonna would be best left uneaten.

Yusalu
Mar 18–Apr 12

You don't want to know. Seriously. You don't. It turns my stomach just thinking about it.

I'd just take it easy if I were you. Have you got a short novel you could start? A novella? A pamphlet?

This Prognostication™ was produced after spending literally minutes exposing my chakra to the quantumness of the universe, throwing reason out of the window, and generally making shit up. It may, for all I know, contain one or more predictions which will actually come to pass. Don't say I didn't warn you!

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I've decided to take up the noble art of horoscoping…

Basically, if I take on summat which requires me to write everyday, I'm hoping it'll force me to re-engage with the blog. 'Cause I'm a lazy sod and need forcing. So here we go, Gentle Reader. Apart from some superficial changes, like better signs than those boring old Tauruses and Leos etc, it's exactly the same as your bog-standard normal horoscope. Except mine is guaranteed accurate, of course. Ahem.
Daz

If today is your birthday

At the exact second of the anniversary of your birth, Donald trump, mistaking the Big Red Button marked "ARMAGEDDON! DO NOT PRESS UNLESS YOU'RE REALLY REALLY SURE. (THIS MEANS YOU, MR PRESIDENT, SIR.)" for the "Send Moronic Tweet" button, will bring about the end of the world. By the time you're x-years and ten minutes old, the Earth will be a lifeless cinder ball.

So, on the upside, you may as well hog out on the whole birthday cake. Any weight-gain will be strictly temporary.

Sign Name & Date Prognostication & Advice
E'redoooomedway
Apr 13–May 22

Sunny, with a fifty percent chance of cucumbers in the early evening.

For today, you should avoid stabbing yourself with sharp pointy objects.

Threenabit
May 23–Jun 14

You will develop a large and unsightly zit at the corner of your left nostril.

With Jupiter fast approaching Uranus, today would be a good day to binge-watch innuendo-strewn 1970s sit-coms. Try to avoid Mrs Slocombe's pussy.

Aniscay etyay Anasyay
Jun 15–Jul 10

At some point today, someone will tell you not to picture a pink elephant.

Do not picture a pink elephant today. Only bad things will come of it.

Unnyfay Ashray
Jul 11–Aug 25

You will temporarily lose the ability to read.

Hiubo mij joitifaring. Cambitax breftint humbit! Really. Don't. It could ruin your life.

Clickalot
Aug 26–Sept 07

At some point in the day, you will find yourself reading this sentence. And this one. And this one. And also this one.

Try the expensive one. Go on. You know you want to.

Le Parapluie
Sept 08–Oct 20

With Neptune demanding to know what Venus is still doing in the damn toilet, things may take a turn for the worse for you, job-wise.

Now would be a good day to ask for a raise.

Far Queue
Oct 21–Nov 23

There may be trouble, music and moonlight ahead.

Honesty is the best policy today. Admit that it isn't the boogie's fault, but your own.

Interrobang
Nov 24–Nov 29

You will be arrested for stealing a pair of knickers off your neighbour's washing-line.

Watch out. There's a Humphrey about.

Eremybrettjay
Nov 30–Jan 15

You will encounter a stranger in a train station tea-room and partake of a brief but chaste romantic interlude with them, to a backdrop of clinking tea-cups and that extraordinarily soot-free smoke and steam which you thought existed only in movies.

Avoid crocodiles in the afternoon.

Totherway
Jan 16–Feb 20

Pea-and-ham soup will occur.

George. Don't do that.

Kenhamus Moronicus
Feb 21–Mar 17

You and several thousand other people will gather on a hillside near Hastings, divide into two teams and proceed to batter the living snot out of each other. By the time evening comes, England will have a new king.

Try to be more upbeat. You'll find it makes you much more popular at work.

Yusalu
Mar 18–Apr 12

Tonight, you sleep with the fishes.

Treat yourself to a new wardrobe.

This Prognostication™ was produced after spending literally minutes exposing my chakra to the quantumness of the universe, throwing reason out of the window, and generally making shit up. It may, for all I know, contain one or more predictions which will actually come to pass. Don't say I didn't warn you!

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<acronym title=""></acronym> <blockquote></blockquote> <del></del>* <strike></strike>† <em></em>* <i></i>† <strong></strong>* <b></b>†

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Good Bye Stephen Hawking

I’m no good at good-byes and even less good at obituaries. And I most certainly don’t want to waste my time on Bob Hutton’s predicable and despicable use of the death of a human being to try to score cheap-shots.

So here’s a video.
Daz

Edit: I've not verified this, but apparently this, below, is Professor Hawkings' final reddit comment. Whether that's true or not, I completely agree with the views expressed.

I'm rather late to the question-asking party, but I'll ask anyway and hope. Have you thought about the possibility of technological unemployment, where we develop automated processes that ultimately cause large unemployment by performing jobs faster and/or cheaper than people can perform them? Some compare this thought to the thoughts of the Luddites, whose revolt was caused in part by perceived technological unemployment over 100 years ago. In particular, do you foresee a world where people work less because so much work is automated? Do you think people will always either find work or manufacture more work to be done? Thank you for your time and your contributions. I've found research to be a largely social endeavor, and you've been an inspiration to so many.

Answer:

If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution.
[emphasis added by twitter-poster]

So far, the trend seems to be toward the second option, with technology driving ever-increasing inequality.

Damn right! Unfortunately, on both counts.
Daz

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The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) will take place in the UK in April 2018. We urge the CHOGM 2018 organisers to:

  • Include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and inter-sex (LGBTI) human rights on the main CHOGM agenda
  • Invite openly LGBTI people from the Commonwealth to address the CHOGM leaders.

We appeal to all Commonwealth countries to:

  • Decriminalise same-sex relations
  • Prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation & gender identity
  • Enforce laws against threats & violence, to protect LGBTI people from hate crime
  • Consult and dialogue with LGBTI organisations

The Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) has never in its entire six-decade history discussed LGBTI human rights. The time has come.

37 out of the 53 member countries of the Commonwealth criminalise same-sex relations. They account for half of the world’s nations where homosexuality is illegal. Most of these countries inherited their anti-gay laws from Britain during the period of colonial rule; making these laws a hang-over from the colonial era.

At least eight of these 37 countries have a maximum sentence of life imprisonment for same-sex acts and there is the death penalty in parts of northern Nigeria and rural Pakistan.

Hate crimes against LGBTI people often pass unchecked in most Commonwealth countries, with frequent mob violence. The majority of LGBTIs living in Commonwealth states have no legal protection against discrimination in employment, housing and the provision of goods and services.

This makes a mockery of Commonwealth values and the Commonwealth Charter 2013.

We urge CHOGM 2018 to lead the way in raising awareness of LGBTI rights as human rights and to act to remedy LGBTI rights abuses.

Four out of five Commonwealth countries, which are signatories to the Charter, have failed to adhere to its principles and the Commonwealth has failed to ensure that these nations respect the human rights of their LGBTI citizens.

The criminalisation of LGBTI people in Commonwealth countries often goes hand-in-hand with other human rights violations, such as restrictions on free speech and the right to protest/strike, media censorship and discrimination against women and ethnic and faith minorities.

We stand in solidarity with all Commonwealth citizens who are victims of human rights abuses.

Please consider signing this petition.
Daz

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