Saturday, 22 September 2018

Chilly days Ahead

Yesterday I changed into my tweed jacket, ready for Autumn and Winter.

So far this year weather has been disappointing.

Spring was unusually cold, and when hot weather arrived it was too hot to go out, except for brief visits to the shops early in the morning, and much of the evenings was spent watering thirsty plants.

Monday, 10 September 2018

A Triumph for an Aged Brain

When I went shopping today I left my shopping list behind, but still managed to remember every one of the nine items on it !!!

Wednesday, 29 August 2018

A Relic of the Drought

Although we've had a fair amount of rain in the last few weeks the River Welland is still just a trickle, mainly obscured by nettles growing in the river bed. Most of the rain water must have been soaked up by the parched earth.

Monday, 27 August 2018

Vetting Bishops

Catholic priests often influence the running of schools and have unsupervised and private access to individuals, including children, in the confessional.

That seems to  justify official checks on the appointment of priests, and especially of bishops who create priests. Perhaps episcopal appointments should require ratification by the Department of Education.

Sunday, 26 August 2018

Forgiveness by Proxy

It seems presumptuous for a third person to forgive someone for something they've done to someone else. I think that only the injured person is entitled to forgive.

Today it was reported that the Pope had asked God to forgive the Catholic Church for child abuse committed by members of religious orders. So far as I know it has never been claimed that God was the victim of abuse, so the Pope's appeal was misdirected.

Saturday, 25 August 2018

Speeding Up a Computer

For a while my laptop had run rather slowly, and various investigations failed to reveal the culprit.

Today I checked my virus checker and noticed that, as well as checking for viruses it was 'tuning up' the computer.

I switched off that and the the computer sped up most gratifyingly :-)

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Distracting Gesticulation

Some television programmes have a 'signer' gesticulating in one corner of the screen. I find that makes it hard for me to concentrate.

It is usually possible to select subtitles. I usually do because non-verbal noise in programs sometimes makes is hard to follow speech.

Subtitles are optional, one can switch them on or off according to taste, but the signer is not optional. One gets the signing whether one wants it or not, and however ugly the signer happens to be. Why can't deaf people use the subtitles? Why can't I turn off the signing?

Sunday, 19 August 2018

Intimations of Antiquity

When the death of someone famous is announced they are almost always either younger than me, or of about the same age.

I really am quite ancient!!!

Saturday, 18 August 2018

An American Coup ?

As Mr. Trump removes ever more people critical of himself, I wonder if he's preparing the way for a coup. I don't think that's likely in the near future, but  it might just be possible when his presidency nears its end. That could be at the end of his present term, or if not then, four years later.

His administration seems to be a conspiracy of dishonest rich people to cover up their misdeeds, and such conspiracies are likely to come undone when the conspirators lose power, so they need to stay in power to maintain their concealment. We often learn of Presidents using dubious means to extend term limits. It's become very common in Africa, but we shouldn't ignore the possibility of something of the sort happening in the USA.

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

Afraid of Thought

I recently watched a television interview of a young boy, about 7 years old. He was being interviewed about the availability of some drug he needed but towards the end of the interview the interviewer asked him what is his favourite subject at school.
When he replied that it is Maths she seemed quite taken aback and instead of encouraging him, squealed in astonishment.
It is sad that so many people who claim to be educated are repelled by the subject that above all others embodies precise thought.

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Who Uses a Strawberry Huller

I'm intrigued by kitchen gadgets, and spent several minutes browsing the selection when I went into a kitchen gadget shop to buy a pair of cook's scissors.

Despite my enthusiasm, some of the devices offered did puzzle me a little. I could understand that someone might occasionally use a mango stoner, though I don't need one after watching a televised Agatha Christie mystery in which Poirot stoned a mango using a dessert spoon. My attempt to duplicate his triumph was not as neat as his, but was still successful.

However I can't imagine why anyone might need a strawberry huller. Any reader who have ever used one, please testify here!!

Tuesday, 31 July 2018

Life and Death

The Home Secretary has been criticised for agreeing to provide US authorities with information that will help the prosecution of two captured IS terrorists, without demanding an assurance that they will not be in danger of execution. That incident following other acts of terrorism, and cases of intimidation by groups of criminals has made me rethink my opinion on execution. Former IS fighters are dangerous, and I should feel much safer if they were dead.

I have long had doubts about what is usually called 'capital punishment'. That is partly because I doubt the concept of punishment, partly because I have some sympathy with murderers who for many years were the only people executed in Britain, but mainly because I was worried about the impossibility of making restitution for miscarriages of justice when the victim of the injustice has been executed.

Tha danger of miscarriage of justice is greatest when someone is charged with an isolated offence. Quite a lot of muderers are honest people who just once give in to the temptation to elimininate someone trying. I do not support capital punishment in such cases.

However there are cases where guilt is manifest. The two captured IS fighters videoed their atrocities and posted the evidence on the Internet. We need not appeal to the rather dubious notion of punishment in such cases. Executing gangsters is the only way of stopping their criminal carreers and making the rest of us safe. Imprisonment offers little security to the general public as architects of crime seem able to organise further misdeeds even while imprisoned.

Discussion of crime and punishment often neglects something very important: restitution. It seems to be rare for criminals to compensate their victims, or to compensate the taxpayer for the cost of apprehending them. One form of compensation has been possible only in recent decades. When criminals are executed their organs could be used for transplant surgery. It is unlikely that such surgery would often help the victims of the criminal concerned, but it would benefit many people my reducing the waiting lists for transplant surgery.

This possibility is rarely discussed, and when it is people often express a horror that is not supported by any reasoning. There seems to be a primitive taboo. We should  try to overcome it.