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Showing posts from February, 2008

Beginning the week with a quotation

Propagating the view that my blog is like buses - nothing for a while and then several posts at once - I'm going to pop my head up again, for one last time this evening.

Whilst reading the comments beneath the Times article I referenced in my previous post, I came across this:

"It never ceases to surprise me that apparently intelligent people, who ought to know enough history to understand the nature of socialism, nevertheless keep getting fooled."

I rather liked it.

Environmental Issues (again)

Not for the first time I'm worried about the fact that when it comes to the environment people don't always consider the big picture.

Today, for example, I read about Virgin Atlantic's headline grabbing First Commercial Biofuel Flight. Aside from the fact I don't see how a special plane running three of it's four engines on standard Jet fuel and carrying no passengers qualifies as "biofuel" or "commercial" I have big reservations about the whole thing. Last week I read in New Scientist that the draining of the Indonesian Peat Bogs for biofuel crops is one of the biggest causes of CO2 being released in to the atmosphere. It was noted that Indonesia isn't part of the Kyoto Agreement. Have I missed something or is it really as bad as it seems?

Then there are the new plans for the London Congestion Charge, supposedly with the environment in mind. If you were wondering why I'd never vote for Ken Livingstone here's one of many good reas…

Mmm, das sieht sehr sexy aus (Zwei)

After I wrote my last post, the couple opposite were mercifully interrupted by a child throwing a bottle of water everywhere. Normally that would have annoyed me as well, but on this occasion it was the lesser of two evils, as they say.

Anyway, this afforded me the opportunity to see if I was right, and before I got off the train I asked if they were from Austria (I had nothing to lose, after all). I was wrong, they were from Germany. Bavaria, to be precise, which does have it's own strong dialect, but even so. *JP hangs his head in shame at his inability to accurately detect Germanic accents*.

JP thinks a bit about American Politics

Like a lot of you, I'm sure, I've been enjoying keeping a beady eye on the build up to the American Presidential election. In some ways this is another good thing the Metro is good for, as it allows me to have my daily fix of such matters from the comfort of my train to work.

However - and perhaps you can blame the Metro for this - I'm fairly clueless about the policies upheld and promised by each of the various candidates, and therefore who I'd vote for if I could.

My thinking is that in an ideal world I'd probably be a McCain supporter given that the Republicans are the more conservative end of the spectrum. As far as I understand it, at least.

But then it seems to be generally accepted that the next president is likely to be a Democrat. I don't want to play the game of "voting for the party who's most likely to get power" but I probably should have an opinion about which of the Democrat candidates I prefer. Currently that's Mr Obama, witho…

Mmm, das sieht sehr sexy aus.

Speaking from (on going) bitter experience I have learned that one of the less desirable things to do after work is sit opposite an Austrian* couple who are evidently "very much in love". As ever, I'm on a train and it's not as though I can avert my eyes for their canoodling is clearly reflected in the window. I thought that Austrian people were stereotypically prude but I might be mistaken. Unhelpfully though, as I think of stereotypes the thought has just passed through my head that the girl repeatedly kissing the bloke opposite might have hairy armpits.Sorry folks, I just had to share that.>>
*I think they're Austrian. In between the 'mmm' and the giggling I can definitely hear 'German with a heavy accent'.

Shouldn't you be taking the plank out of your own eye, Mr Darling?

It's an all too regular feature of this blog that I rant about the government interfering with the running of the railways and then laying the blame for anything which isn't right squarely at the foot of the Train Operating Companies.

Fortunately, angry though I was with Mr Darling's "First Great Western should get a grip on the franchise or risk losing it" (..."because we want to run the trains ourselves"),
someone else has done the ranting for me on this occassion.

Enjoy.

humorously unhelpful?

I was reading a book at work today (about C++, he says, hoping not to sound like too much of a geek), and I came across this helpful little tip about ANSI:

"ANSI...is pronounced "antsy" with a silent 't'".

before we get to Sharia Law...

...I want to talk about this article in which a gay man has won a £47,000 payout after not being offered a job as a church youthworker. It might not surprise you to know that this has really annoyed me.

Quoting from the article,

"In his evidence to the original tribunal, Bishop Priddis said anyone in a sexual relationship outside marriage would have been rejected."

As it says further down, this is the crux of the matter, not sexual orientation. On this basis, the fuss made by Stonewall was misguided, and thanks to their campaigning (and doubtless the media portrayal) we have an incident which makes the church appear homophobic, when it wasn't.

Now, you might or might not agree with the idea that anyone in a sexual relationship outside marriage would have been rejected. But it's part of the teaching of the church, and as I've said before, I feel that it's important that leaders do their best to be exemplary. No-one is perfect, but as people so often cry "…

starting the pre-empted debate

Those of you who read comments on this blog will note that Dave has made reference to the comments made by Rowan Williams about Sharia law. Unfortunately I've not yet had time to read up properly on it, and my beloved Metro wasn't up to the challenge of equipping me for educated debate. Blame the fact that I've been very busy in the last couple of days*.

I'm bound to wade in and have my say at some point but in the meantime I'd like to start with what Dave had to say.

"Interesting. If ever there was good evidence as to why any religiously biased character shouldn't be allowed anywhere near Parliament, this is it."

Like it or lump it, atheists are also "religiously biased". Food for thought...

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*And the fact that Dave agreed with me for once on something; I've been in a state of shock.

don't scare me with your driving, or I'll sue

I read in the paper yesterday that some of the passengers on the BA flight which crashed at Heathrow last month are to sue - "for developing a fear of flying, and possible hearing damage". Is there nothing which some people won't sink to in this increasingly greedy and unfortunately sue-happy society?

Following a discussion over lunch at work, I'm happy to concede that if injury - e.g. hearing damage - has incurred then it would be nice if some money was available to cover any necessary treatment costs. But doesn't travel insurance cover that? Or the NHS? Besides, I'm sceptical that anyone suffered hearing damage in a crash which didn't involve a sudden drop, and which many passengers just assumed to be a heavy landing.

As for "fear of flying", see the title of this post. If that's the trend you wish to embrace...

Personally I think that if you buy a ticket to transport you at 500 miles an hour at a height of 35,000 feet then you've go…

anywhere is within walking distance...

...if you have enough time.