Archive for March, 2004

upgraded

Tuesday, March 16th, 2004

A couple of days ago I started using the Mozilla Firefox browser, on recommendation from Paul. So far it’s working really well for me, especially the extension which allows you to block not just popup ads, but also ad images on pages and makes reading almost anything a much less unpleasant experience. The extensions are really cool actually, there’s also one for mouse gestures, so that for example if you hold down the right mouse button and move your mouse from right to left it takes you back one page. I use this in the Opera browser at home, but Firefox is much more lightweight than Opera which is a good thing I think.

in the village

Monday, March 15th, 2004

Also noted in the Guardian, my friend Matt Wells is outstanding in his fabulous write-up of the first gay kiss in radio soap opera, The Archers.

odds on

Monday, March 15th, 2004

From The Guardian, here are the results of some research which posit that there is a 67% chance of God existing. In the short article, however, it does not state what kind of god they’re talking about – only a creator, or an omnipresent, caring deity, or many deities? I guess I’ll have to read the book.

It reminds me of Douglas Adams’ over-extended logic when he stated that God required people to believe in Him, as faith was what kept Him around. So when He did actually appear to humanity, who believed in Him, their faith (belief with no proof) became unneccessary, because they had proof, so God could no longer exist because there was no faith to keep Him around. Flawed logic, but kind of funny.

which air?

Friday, March 12th, 2004

I heard a story on the radio this morning about how the US Congress is planning to enact strict fines for broadcasters who air indecent material. This apparently was planned prior to the Janet Jackson over-reaction thing at the Superbowl, but of course everyone’s on the bandwagon now. One sane-sounding provision was that network affiliates wouldn’t be fined for what the parent company sends them, because they have little or no control. The broadcasters’ association of course objects to this – they say that they have a good system of voluntary enforcement which so far has been quite adequate.

So I have two questions. Firstly what will constitute “indecent”? As Paul has noted, many times we’ll be “treated” to very violent movies on TV, with quite explicit pictures of people being maimed and killed in the name of entertainment, but with swearwords overdubbed and any potentially titillating view of flesh cut. Because as we all know, guns don’t do any harm but bad words: the downfall of civilization.

Secondly, it does seem strange to me that the government feel the need to enforce laws to protect the airways, but are quite content to have voluntary frameworks to protect the actual air, as demonstrated by the Administration’s blocking of the Kyoto Protocol etc. Nice work on priorities there, ladies and gentlemen.

toby and the ladies

Friday, March 12th, 2004

Emma mailed me this today – I’m quite impressed, but she seems to be less so:

“As Toby was preparing to leave nursery yesterday he abandoned me to head for the door by himself with his usual casual wave and general ‘ bye, bye’ to the room. He was followed by Isabel and Gabrielle, but Gabby soon discovered she was a third wheel and left.

Toby and Isabel spent about 5 minutes leaning against the door staring at each other and giggling – big hearty giggles that Andrew & I can only bring out after 15 repeats of round-and-round-the-garden.

I was reasonably impressed with my boy’s flirting skills, but then pride turned to horror as the giggles stopped and they started waggling their tongues at each other making a ‘labba-labba-labba-labba’ sort of noise. A preview of the joys that await us in 15 years I suppose.

Oh, well, at least she’s cute.”

silly burglar

Wednesday, March 10th, 2004

This must be just about the most pathetic fraud attempt I’ve ever heard of.

a bit wiped

Monday, March 8th, 2004

Em and I were very glad that Toby went to bed at 8 last night, we hoped that we’d actually have some evening to ourselves, and that he’d sleep right through as he has been for the last few days, so that we’d be fighting fit for the new week. However he woke up at about 1am really upset over something, and just would not get back to sleep whatever we tried. Eventually at about 2:45am I put him in the car and we drove over to St Paul and back, during which time he finally fell asleep and I finally got to bed at 3:30. Great way to be set to face a Monday morning.

nice headline

Friday, March 5th, 2004

I find thisheadline highly amusing. If this is what gay marriage is going to result in, then more of it I say!

it’s the war

Friday, March 5th, 2004

Reading my daily dose of James Lileks’ Bleat today I just felt I had to write something as my own less-well written response because there seems to be a great deal of convenient forgetting of facts.

He’s written a screed knocking people who have complained about Bush’s first campaign ads of the election, some of which show some images from September 11, 2001. I heard something on the radio about this last night – the quote was “The Administration is using Sept 11 for political gain” – and immediately though, well, duh, you’ve only just realized? But when I spoke with Emma last night I agreed with her that of course Bush lived through it and guided the country through it, therefore it’s a part of his presidency, and therefore fair game for him to use in ads.

But to address Mr Lileks’ concerns. Yes of course it’s important that people remember that time. I don’t think I’ll forget the queasy feeling of being in any office building and thinking “what if it was here?” and the overall feeling of being totally disoriented, which was even more strange when we were being saturated with news reports. However, the view I object to is that we had to include Iraq in the whole thing.

Right after 9/11 I felt Bush showed admirable restraint in taking time to weigh up facts and even getting some kind of agreement that going into Afghanistan was necessary and would make us safer. And I believe that it has, although clearly there’s still an enormous amount of work to do there, but as far as I can tell it really hit to the heart of the people who were attacking us.

However the diversion from that necessary mission to go for Iraq (the quote “this is the guy who tried to kill my dad” – shudder) on shaky intelligence (see this in Slate for more details) while consuming resources from what was happening in Afghanistan and from protection actually in America is not admirable. Even though yes, there were mass graves and Saddam was funnelling money away from the UN. Undeniably bad things. But I guess my point is that Iraq was not part of the war against terrorism, it was a separate thing which should be treated on its own merits (or lack thereof). The war against terrorism is necessary to make the West safer, and will hopefully improve people’s lives in other parts of the world. The war in Iraq I’m sure had benefits, allowing Muslims to celebrate festivals which had been forbidden, and people to complain and demonstrate against the new government such as it is. And it may have helped prod Iran and Syria to start taking action on opening up their weapons programs. But to lump it into the war on terrorism and to use the remembrance of those horrible days back in 2001 to justify it and to put down people who would question it is not a view I subscribe to.

back to normal

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2004

So we’re back from the UK after rather a busy two weeks, and things are almost back to normal, although I haven’t quite finished unpacking yet (please don’t look in our spare room). It’s still odd for us to see Toby walking about so much around the house. He’s spent quite a lot of his time since we got back looking for Scout the cat who was staying with Dulce, his former owner. I went and picked him up last night after Toby had gone to bed, so they haven’t really been reunited yet but I bet it’ll be emotional, I think Toby’s really missed him. Anyway, Em and I are getting on with the usual stuff, plenty happening at work (a new exciting project for me) and at the Cathedral, where we’ve got concerts, extra services and other things going on. I rather rashly offered to be on a committee which is looking to hire a new priest, but it’s a lot less work and time than a couple of years ago when we were looking for the new Dean.