Sunday, 31 March 2013

A Fragmented Holiday

Banks were closed on Friday, but open on Saturday.

If I worked in a bank I'd prefer to get a longer weekend break by working on Friday and taking Saturday off instead. I suspect that that's what would happen if the holiday times were settled by negotiation between banks and their employees.

As all too often happens, Government has imposed a less convenient arrangement.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Spite in the name of Love

Today two Clerics were televised denouncing gay marriage as a threat to Christianity. One was a superannuated archbishop who reigned in Canterbury long ago, and the other an evangelical Anglican with the hard face of a Calvinist bigot.

Gay marriage is no threat at all to to Christians content to love their fellow men. It is only a threat to those Christians who use their religion to justify feelings of superiority to the rest of us, feelings which encourage them to tell us how to behave. Feeling their status challenged they respond with spiteful invective, creating a religion of spite on the ruins of what was supposed to be a religion of love.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

Reassurance of Youth

John Major was the first prime Minister younger than I and since his appointment I've gradually become accustomed to important people being my juniors, until now every member of the cabinet is younger than I.

What a relief it is that at least I'm still younger than the Pope !!

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

What has become of Coffins ?

Reports of the death of the late President Chavez of Venezuela mentioned a procession accompanying his casket.

For me the word 'casket' conjures up a picture of a small box suitable for holding small precious items such a jewellery, or perhaps the ashes left after someone has been cremated.

A complete human body needs a much bigger box. I'd call that a 'coffin'.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

My First Biscuits

Today, for the first time in my life, I made some biscuits. I found a recipe for 'spicy biscuits' in the Penguin cookery book, the first cookery book I owned, bought when still a student.

Before cooking the mixture was surprisingly soft and therefore hard to shape. I feared I'd got the quantities wrong, but the final product was eminently crunchy and biscuity, so I concluded I'd got it right.

Incidentally the spell checker tried to change 'biscuity' to 'promiscuity'. While the perils of promiscuity are many, I shouldn't expect them to include biscuits crumbs in the private parts.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Coy Evasion

As we hear ever more accusations of 'inappropriate' behaviour in the distant past, I wonder precisely what the miscreant is supposed to have done. Was a private part caressed, a bottom patted, a knee squeezed, or just a non-consenting head patted?  We cannot be reasonably expected to conjure up the 'appropriate' degree of moral outrage unless we know what happened.

I think that acts that would at the time have been dismissed as just bad manners are now reinterpreted as serious assaults.

In a biographical essay on Bertrand Russell, Alistair Cooke wrote:

"During his wartime stay in Princeton, when he was in his early seventies, the groves of academe were flustered by rumours of Lord Russell's goatish ways. One lady whose testimony is to be trusted made the shivering confession the the groping of the noble lord in an automobile conveyed the sensation of 'dry leaves rustling up your thighs' "

That was published in the 1970's without provoking any public outrage.

The quotation is from Alistair Cooke, Six Men  p. 204 in the Penguin Edition.