Archive for March, 2007

caption competition

Friday, March 30th, 2007

Congratulations to my brother for winning today’s BBC caption competition. I think all the entries are pretty decent, but his pips them. Nice job, Robin!

dawkins on fresh air

Friday, March 30th, 2007

Fascinating and enlightening interview with biologist Richard Dawkins on Fresh Air from National Public Radio. Fresh Air is a great show, interviewing people in arts, politics, science and other public spheres, and has been running for years.

Richard Dawkins is a noted evolutionary biologist from England who has written several books including The Selfish Gene, The Blind Watchmaker, and lately, The God Delusion which has been a bestseller for many months (my brother Robin gave it to me for Christmas, in a move he described as being possibly the least Christmassy thing he could have done).

I very much enjoyed the interview, even if I didn’t agree with Dawkins 100% all the time (maybe 99%). He came across as being thoughtful, measured, respectful and very engaging.

you decide

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

I got an email from our choir director asking whether I’d need childcare for Toby during the upcoming Holy Week services, specifically for our wonderful Tenebrae service on the fourth.

This was sent to my gmail account which you may know has targeted ads shown discreetly on the right of the screen, based on the text in the message you might be reading.

So how, I wonder, did they decide to include this ad:

Ever Do A Colon Cleanse?
What is known. What is unknown. Real cleansing photos. You decide.

I have decided, and I do not want to see real cleansing photos.


Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

I got a note from today saying that they’re rolling out a beta service to Amazon Associates, which should automatically detect web page content and build a quick link to their site. So you might see some new links – I think that if you hover your mouse pointer over the links it’ll show a small pop-up window describing what they’re going to try to sell to you.

wild spring

Monday, March 26th, 2007

This weekend the weather really picked up – it’s over 70 degrees, about 25 degrees warmer than usual. So a lot of things woke up – we’re seeing buds on trees and shrubs, almost all the snow has finally gone, birds singing, and our cats enjoying the porch and windows being open.

There’s a downside – bugs are waking up. On Sunday morning Toby and I went down to the kitchen to make breakfast and Toby said “Dad, I see a bug on the floor. Dad, I see a lot of bugs on the floor.” I focused a bit and saw ants, all over the place. So I herded Toby through to the dining room, and the cats into the basement, and covered the floor with anti-ant spray – we left the kitchen for the morning for the spray to do its work. When we got back at lunchtime all the ants were dead – nothing moving, so I swept everything up before letting the cats out of the basement. Scout in typical melodramatic fashion had thrown up a little bit on the basement stairs so I had to deal with that too.

Other animals are waking up as well. In the evening I was reading Toby his story before bed, when we heard Nessie (the younger, female cat) yowling through the kitchen window as she does when she sees a strange cat near our house. Scout went over to see what was going on, and she turned on him, hissing and spitting, which she has occasionally done, but this seemed a bit of an overreaction. After a few minutes we heard yowling again, so we went to look too. It wasn’t a cat – there was a great big raccoon bumbling around in the yard, so no wonder Nessie was so upset. We watched the raccoon for a few minutes until it wandered away, but when we saw the kitchen floor we noticed drops of blood all over the place. My first thought was that maybe the raccoon had somehow scratched Nessie through the window screen but she seemed fine. The we realized that when she had gone for Scout she had given him a scratch on the back of one of his legs which had bled a little. It was just a tiny nick, and he recovered quickly – they seem to be good friends again this morning – but it was quite a dramatic evening for all of us.


Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

Tonight I was checking stuff on the web using the mac – Toby asked me “Dad, why, when you click on the house [home icon on the toolbar] why does it show all your memories?”

He means my email. He was a little sad when I showed him some of what email is (I don’t think he really gets it) and realized that I didn’t have any emails from him. Maybe I should set him up with an account.


Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

When I was about 2 or 3 years old my family moved to Aberdeen in Scotland, where I lived till I went to Glasgow University. My mother still lives there and it’s fun to go back – the place moves along but there are some old faithful things which don’t change a whole bunch.

One of those things is the local paper – the Press and Journal. Here’s the cover page we saw when we were back for Christmas back in 1999. I love the local, local news – old lady gets hurt, comedically named dog found, local old faithful store having a post-Christmas sale. This was Emma’s first experience of Aberdeen. Remember – the Aberdeen Press and Journal (click on the picture for a larger view):

Abedeen Press and Journal

the power of cheese

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

I’ve got to get me some of this: world’s smelliest cheese. I like that it’s even smellier than one which is banned from being taken on public transport in France.

There’s one I’ve bought from a store here which I need to wrap in two ziplocs and a box to stop it from stinking up the fridge, and Emma can tell from the living room when I open the box in the kitchen. Delicious.

good news from episcopal church

Thursday, March 22nd, 2007

Excellent news: Episcopal Bishops in U.S. Defy Anglican Communion.

Backstory, as noted in the article: The worldwide Anglican church, alarmed at the US Episcopal church being inclusive and supportive of gay and lesbian people, threatened to demote or expel the Episcopal church from the Anglican Communion unless certain demands were met. The Anglican church have said no way on some of these, and “we urgently need to talk” on others (this request has been rebuffed).

I’m proud of the Anglicans for not giving in to demands and standing their ground for what they believe to be right and true and peaceful and inclusive. So far nobody has told me what the actual impact of being severed from the wider Anglican Communion would be, but whatever it is I’d rather be out of it than in something unpleasant.

UPDATE: excellent editorial from the Guardian

god and his gays

Wednesday, March 21st, 2007

OK, another basic link to a story. This is an interesting one from today’s Washington Post: God and His Gays about how science is – gasp! – intruding on conservative Christian beliefs.

On an even more blasphemous note, how about this picture