Saturday, January 03, 2004

Job swaps

Via Broken Irish, here's an interesting story from Burnley that I'm surprised Harry hasn't mentioned yet: a vicar and Imam have swapped jobs for a time to better understand each other's perspectives and communities.

Friday, January 02, 2004

40%

Hi, I'm Nick, and I'm not a blogaholic:
40 points is in the 21 through 50 precent [sic]

You are a casual weblogger. You only blog when you have nothing better to do, which is not very often. There's nothing wrong with that. But if you'd post a little more often, you'd make your readers very happy.

Vote No on Jesus: A Message from Pat Robertson

I originally saw this on Gez Smith's blog and tracked down the original to McSweeney's, which should have been the first place I looked, of course:
Today's America should not cater to the bleeding-heart politics of men like Howard Dean and Jesus. Frankly, the policies advocated by Christ have not only been Un-American, but, dare I say, Un-Christian. Jesus has refused to condemn homosexuals, abortion doctors, Muslims, feminists, atheists, communists, convicted murderers, or even the ACLU. His moral relativism knows no bounds: "Let anyone among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone," He whines, His words as empty and non-committal as those of a typical do-nothing democrat. Worst of all, He has gone so far as to challenge the virtue of Operation: Iraqi Freedom. As our brave men and women fight in the trenches for the liberation of the Iraqi people, Jesus has repeatedly denounced our efforts and naively pleaded for a non-violent solution. Instead of inspiring our courageous troops with the truth of God's Word, He has instead chosen to spew the same empty rhetoric of Blame-America-First liberals: "Put up again thy sword into its place: for all they that take the sword shall perish by the sword." "First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye," He drones. Must I direct Jesus to the Book of Exodus? How about "an eye for an eye" — did He miss that one? Grow up, Jesus. Welcome to the real world.
The whole thing is worth reading, of course.

Michael Howard's earworm

Matthew Turner has a good post about Michael Howard's beliefs to which I'd add that I was amazed Howard didn't declare himself in favour of good things, against bad things and a believer in truth, justice and the American British Way.

And while The Guardian compared it to R Kelly, I've found that, thanks to Michael Howard, I've spent most of the time this morning with Stevie Wonder's 'I Believe' running through my head, though that may bebecause of watching High Fidelity on Tuesday night.

Thursday, January 01, 2004

Raw materials

A couple of Philip Pullman related links. From Nick at 4Glengate comes this guide on how to read the alethiometer and from 'muscardinus', a commenter at Beatniksalad, comes an interesting transcript of an interview with Pullman on Radio 3's Belief programme.

While we're on the subject

The Onion's holiday reruns throws up a look at a different end of the world as we know it.

The end of the world as we know it...again

Tim Dowling explains the numerous prophecies of the imminent doom we can all expect this year:
Every year has its own end-of-the-world predictions. A group called the Watcher Ministries has pegged 2004 as the year of the second coming, using complex calculations based on measurements of the Pyramid at Giza. Another apocalyptic number-cruncher named Clay Cantrell is more specific, setting October 17 as the start date for the Rapture. Australian doomsday prophet William Kamm, whose followers call him the Little Pebble, predicts the end of the world as we know it for Easter Sunday. In The Bible Code II: The Countdown, Michael Drosnin plumps for a June nuclear attack on New York City, touching off the third world war and hastening the end-time. One to keep your eye on.
There's nothing too special, really, and certainly nothing to match my favourite doomsday prediction from the 90s when a rather demented individual took out full page adverts in several newspapers to tell us that the impact of Shoemaker-Levy into Jupiter would cause a giant flare from the Great Red Spot that would kill all life on Earth unless we got down on our knees and began to repent. If you're going to predict the end of the world, you should at least be original rather than going back to hoary old favourites like the Pyramid of Giza.

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Auld acquaintance and all that

A quick Happy New Year to you all. Unlike, it seems, many other UK bloggers, I will be out tonight getting drunk and having fun so if you see a strange person lying in the streets of South London sometime tonight or tomorrow, be careful it could be me.

I shall be making the same New Year's Resolutions that I've made and kept since the late 80s. During 2004 I shall neither run naked down the middle of the M6 nor emigrate to Bolivia. With a bit of luck, I should be able to keep them.

Monday, December 29, 2003

I am the rightful heir!

Just reading this story about an Australian who may be the 'rightful King of England' (found via Tom Watson and Bloggerheads) and I think I've noticed a slight problem with the story. It's probably a mistake in the reporting, which doesn't really give full details of his lineage and why it gives him the right to claim the throne, but it seems to rely on a historian claiming that Edward IV was illegitimate and therefore, not a rightful King.

Now, the evidence as reported in the story does seem quite convincing on first inspection, it's just that in terms of who holds the throne nowadays it's completely irrelevant whether Edward IV was illegitimate or not, as the current Queen's claim to the throne doesn't come through the line of Edward IV. As this family tree (pdf file) from the royal website shows, Henry VII, the first of the Tudors claimed the throne as a descendent of Edward III - his only relation to Edward IV was that Henry married his daughter, Elizabeth of York. None of the House of Tudor, House of Stuart or House of Hanover/Saxe-Coburg-Gotha/Windsor claim their right to the throne as descendents of Edward IV, so even if he was illegitimate, it doesn't have any bearing on the current monarch.

Of course, as history has shown on many occasions, just being the 'rightful' heir doesn't mean you get to be King or Queen as any Jacobite could tell you.

A question

I'm quite aware of the fact that when you ask four economists for a prediction, you get five answers (or however that saying goes) but I thought I'd ask this question anyway, as I know at least some of my readers know more about current trends in economics than me.

A relative of mine is going to the US for a holiday in a couple of months time and wants to know whether it's best to buy dollars now when the exchange rate is so good ($1.77 to the pound according to the BBC's Market Data page) or if it's likely to drop any further over the next couple of months making it worthwhile to wait until March to buy them.

So, any suggestions and speculations as to what's likely to happen will be gratefully received, even if it conflicts with what others have said.

And you thought 2003 couldn't get any weirder...

Peter Cuthbertson obviously had far too much cheese to eat over Christmas:
While I slept soundly and undisturbed by thoughts of weblogs in my regular-posting days, I have had three dreams featuring bloggers in the last few weeks, the most recent, on Sunday morning, involving me cleaning a mansion that turned out to be owned by Nick Barlow. I don't need Freud for this one; I just need to post more. So I shall.